Share |

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Who do the police serve – rakyat or Najib?

The PM's refusal to acknowledge the role of the IPCMC speaks volumes of the government's indifference to the sufferings endured by the rakyat at the hands of the police.
COMMENT - FMT
Police officers may drive black and white cars; however, what goes on in their jobs is a lot of gray. – Arik Matson

The 204-year-old Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) has made news for so many wrong reasons: behaving in a trigger-happy manner, forcing a woman to do squats in the nude, raping a teenage girl inside a police station, whacking detainees which have led to their deaths, threatening and intimidating the layman, working with car-theft syndicates and refusing to help Sarawak’s Penan women and girls who for many years have been crying for help against the rapes suffered at the hands of timber loggers.

Now, the latest story about the abuse of power by the police comes from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) which said its detained activists were asked, among others, to undress in the presence of male police officers.

Thirty-six of its activists were detained last month while carrying out their “Udahlah Bersaralah” (Enough already, Retire Now) campaign in Perak, to remind Malaysians of the pitfalls of returning Barisan Nasional to power in the 13th general election.

Complaints of sexual misconduct by police were made by detainees in Kepala Batas, Penang and Ipoh, respectively, and PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan said a police officer told them they needed six months to investigate the report.

Not only does the six-long-month period sounds ridiculous, it is equally befuddling to note that the police would be investigating their own officers. What assurance is there that the police would act in a fair and just manner?

It is precisely due to such concerns that the implementation of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) is no longer an option for the federal government headed by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Putting it sarcastically, IPCMC is so desperately needed to save the people from being “bullied” by the police. The PDRM has, through its own doing, earned a besmirched image, hardly showing any interest in improving for the better and living up to its responsibility as a professional and law abiding force.

Yet, the Barisan Nasional-led government dares say establishing such a commission is not necessary!

Doors remain shut

Earlier in the year, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein confirmed that the door was still shut to IPCMC and insisted that the commission would not help resolve police abuse cases.

Defending his decision, Hishammuddin said “political will” to transform the police force was more crucial.

In 2005, a 634-page report by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Police Force, headed by a former judge, revealed that the police were brutal, inept and the most corrupt among the government departments.

Between 1999 and 2003, there were 5,726 formal corruption complaints involving the police force and it was recommended that the police force be monitored by an independent watchdog. Yet, the federal government has no faith in the role of the IPCMC. Why?

Had Najib walked his talk of “people first”, he would have taken the extra mile to ensure the police constable who beat up a 23-year-old suspected car thief, A Kugan, while under police custody in 2009, be taken to task. Instead, the cop was declared a free man by the court, leaving the deceased’s family with sleepless nights after justice eluded them.

Is that the best a people’s leader can do? Or is that how a leader like Najib reflects his concern, ditching the rakyat when they need him most?

According to a non-governmental organisation, Astivaaram Foundation, between 2003 and 2007, there were 85 custodial deaths. This number excluded those who were shot dead.

“The commission is long overdue. Currently, the police themselves investigate cases of police abuse and I believe they tend to cover up such cases,” the foundation’s vice-president R Sanjeevan once told FMT.

Can the rakyat rely on the police?

On May 26 this year, FMT highlighted the case of police brutality suffered by a 20-year-old student, S Ganesan, who claimed that he was beaten up and verbally abused by the police after he knocked into a policeman’s motorcycle at a roadblock in Rembau, Negri Sembilan, in the early hours of the morning.

“The policeman kept beating me and called me ‘keling’. They also shouted at me, saying I should just die so that they can close the case,” said Ganesan.

The youngster was then warned not to report the matter before he was bundled into an ambulance and despatched to the Tunku Jaafar Hospital.

The police also seemed least perturbed when in February this year, a domestic violence victim, Pakaim Subramaniam, was found dead after a mere month of married life.

Pakaim’s father, M Subramaniam, alleged his daughter was the victim of domestic violence due to the severe injuries she had sustained. He said the police failed to investigate the case, which then led him seek help from Suhakam, the country’s human rights commission.

And during the July 9, 2011, “Walk for Democracy” rally organised by election watchdog Bersih 2.0, the police unleashed the devil in them when they started spraying rally supporters with water cannons and tear gas and even hitting some of the participants.

With police notoriety having become the norm rather than the exception, the need for a body to keep an eye on the cops and admonish them when necessary has to be instituted.

The federal government’s refusal to acknowledge the role of the IPCMC speaks volumes of its indifference towards the sufferings endured by the rakyat at the hands of the police.

The question the people keep asking, and which Najib has to answer, is, “can we rely on the police?”

Najib doesn’t relate to rakyat


Veteran DAP chief Lim Kit Siang had earlier in the year said Hishammuddin’s insistence that the IPCMC is not necessary was the strongest proof of the continuing lack of political will to eradicate police abuses and corruption.

“It was Hishammuddin who led the opposition to the establishment of the IPCMC when it was proposed by the Dzaiddin Royal Police Commission five years ago.

“The IPCMC was the most important of its 125 recommendations to create an efficient, incorruptible, professional and world-class police force,” Lim had said.

Lim pointed out that the Dzaiddin Royal Police Commission had even accompanied its recommendation with an enclosed draft legislation which detailed the IPCMC’s powers of investigation and inquiry to help fight corruption in the force and to investigate public complaints.

However, Umno Youth in an immediate reaction shot down the recommendation over concerns that the IPCMC would be turned into an avenue by certain quarters to expose the weaknesses in the country’s administration.

Two months after the recommendation, the Bar Council, in supporting the commission, launched a signature campaign which was handed over to then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

In December 2007, Parliament unveiled the Special Complaints Commission (SCC) in place of the IPCMC, which was aimed at addressing misconduct by all enforcement agencies.

However, the SCC was denounced by Amnesty International Malaysia as a poor substitute that lacked independence and failed to address the need for a mechanism that demanded police accountability for their actions.

“Hishammuddin even went against Abdullah who had publicly committed himself to accept and implement the IPCMC recommendation.

“The combined opposition of Umno and the police forced Abdullah to backtrack and finally scuttle the IPCMC proposal,” Lim had said.

In June 2009, the BN government also rejected the proposal on the basis that its powers were “too broad and unconstitutional”.

To the DAP chief, the recent spate of high-profile police abuse cases and custodial deaths had once again highlighted the need for an IPCMC to address these cases with seriousness, authority, independence, impartiality and professionalism.

“With Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s ‘People First, Performance Now’ slogan, Hishammuddin should table a formal proposal to ask the Cabinet to revisit the IPCMC recommendation instead of continuing to spearhead its opposition,” he said.

Who does PDRM really serve – the rakyat or Najib?

As for Najib, just how long more does he and cousin Hishammuddin intend to allow the PDRM to manhandle, abuse and intimidate the rakyat, in the process giving the few good cops out there a bad name as well?

Jeswan Kaur is a freelance journalist and a FMT columnist.

BBC apologizes for promoting pork dish for Muslim holiday

63148

BBC apologizes through A.A.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has apologized through the Anadolu Agency (A.A) for promoting pork dish for the major Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

BBC told the A.A that the dish "pork vindaloo" was included among Eid al-Fitr recipes posted on its web-site by mistake.

It said that the automatic suggestion system caused the mistake.

BBC apologized for the inconvenience it caused.

Earlier, Muslim people reacted harshly to BBC's mistake.

Hakan Camuz, chairman of the Independent Industrialists' & Businessmen's Association (MUSIAD) in the United Kingdom, told the A.A that BBC had the vision to be aware of importance of the Eid al-Fitr for Muslim people. "But it is unacceptable that BBC could ignore the fact that Muslim people do not eat pork. This is disrespectful," he said and called on BBC to apologize from Muslim people.

Ahmed Versi, editor of the Muslim News, said that BBC made a big mistake by promoting a pork dish for Eid al-Fitr.

Eid al-Fitr is the three-day Muslim holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan, the holy month when Muslim people fast from dawn to sunset.

Najib renames revamped bus station ‘Pudu Sentral’

The newly-christened “Pudu Sentral” terminal was upgraded at a cost of RM52 million. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — The newly-upgraded Puduraya bus station here will be renamed “Pudu Sentral”, Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today.


The prime minister said he had decided that a new name was needed as part of the station’s new image and “branding,” and that there have been requests from the public for a renaming.

“I had tweeted during sahur this morning that I would be visiting Pudu station... when I said I would be visiting Pudu, there were suggestions that the name be changed.

“After thinking about it, I have decided that Pudu station will be renamed Pudu Sentral,” Najib told reporters here.

The PM decided last year that the 35-year old bus terminal required an upgrade after a walkabout and feedback from the public, including bus and taxi companies.

The upgrade bill weighed in at RM52 million and work was completed this April 16.
“Overall, it’s very clean and so modern... it gives the impression that everything is [like] clockwork, spick and span.

“I even spoke to a German couple at this station; they said the new terminal feels like an airport,” Najib added.

The PM also conducted a quick walkabout and handed goodies to some of the people who were in the station.

Safety features have also undergone a major improvement, as the whole station will now be under 24-hour closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance as part of the government’s efforts to combat crime.

Palanivel to look after Public Complaints Bureau

The newly appointed MIC Minister says the Public Complaints Bureau has a critical and serious role to play in govt administration.

KUALA LUMPUR: The newly appointed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department G Palanivel has been given the he Public Complaints Bureau (PCB) portfolio.

Speaking after a thanksgiving dinner at the MIC headquarters last night, Palanivel, who is also MIC president, said the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) and the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) is also included in his new portfolio.

“I  will also be in-charge of a special functions unit. However, I can only reveal details about the unit in two weeks time as I’m still adjusting to my new role,” said Palanivel.

Last month, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced that Palanivel, the-then Plantation Industries and Commodities deputy minister, would be made a full minister during the MIC annual general meeting.
He was then sworn-in in August 9.

Palanivel said he went for briefing session on PCB  functions and found out that the bureau receives approximately 14,000 complaints yearly on various issues.

“So I need to do a lot of study on it. For example, I need to identify which are the serious complaints so that I can look into it as the minor ones can be handled by the officers ,” said Palanivel.

He added that he was also considering ways to improve its current outreach programme to allow more people to come forward with their grouses.

When said that the PCB was handled by a deputy minister (T Murugiah) previously, Palanivel retorted by saying although it was handled by Murugiah then,  the bureau itself was under the purview of a fellow minister, Koh Tsu Koon.

“And it is a serious and a critical role. I still need advise from  Najib on how to go about it,” he said.
Meanwhile, asked on his performance as the  MIC supremo so far, Palanivel said that he is  good leader.
“I’m a good leader as I’m  good to all. Just dealing with some minor distractions,” said Palanivel without elaborating.

In Dec 2010, its-then long serving party president S Samy Vellu stepped down to make way for Palanivel to helm the Barisan Nasional component party.

Since then, Palanivel has embarked on an amnesty programme, allowing former members and defunct party branches to be reinstated in a bid to unite the Indian community under the MIC flag.

The judiciary's renaissance man

ENDURING LEGACY: Some may not agree with Zaki's (left) changes to the judiciary, but others opine that he has revolutionised the Malaysian legal system. He is seen here speaking to 'The Malay Mail' executive editor Terence Fernandez in a recent interview in Putrajaya — Pic: Samsul SaidMalay Mail
 Down2Earth with TERENCE FERNANDEZ

First published in Malay Mail on 25 Aug 2011

THE country's outgoing Chief justice (CJ) Tun Zaki Azmi is one man who will admit that he is not prone to making mistakes.

In an interview with The Malay Mail on Monday, Zaki revealed his fears when asked to take on the job by (then) Prime Minister Datuk Seri (now Tun) Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"I gave reasons why I should not be appointed as CJ," Zaki shared in the candid interview at his office at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya.

He said he feared that "old stories" with regards to his private life as well as his link to the ruling party would not make him the ideal candidate when Abdullah approached him for the job in mid 2007. It would even give critics fodder against him and those who appointed him.

Furthermore, if he were to say "Yes", Zaki would be an outsider, directly appointed into the Federal Court -- the nation's first.

But as Zaki said: "If the Prime Minister comes down to your level and asks you to do something, how do you say 'No'?"

And so the Umno lawyer and Disciplinary Board member entered the record books on Sept 5, 2007 following his direct appointment as a Federal Court judge.

Following which he was elevated to President of the Court of Appeal three months later and then Chief Justice on Oct 21, 2008.

When I interviewed Abdullah before Zaki's appointment in 2007, Pak Lah opined that he felt Zaki (despite the so-called "baggage") was a good candidate as he was not from within the system. Hence, he said Zaki would bring fresh approaches to the judiciary, long seen as archaic and out of touch with the masses.

There was also a matter of trust that was a consideration for the then premier. This included having someone he could rely on to help push through his reforms to gain back public confidence and respect for the administration and especially the judiciary.

Zaki did not want to draw parallels to the judiciary, post and pre-1988 (the year of the infamous siege on the judiciary by the executive) in terms of whether the institution had regained some semblance of confidence from the people.

He was also conscious of the fact that his appointment further exacerbated some of the loud criticisms on the government, the ruling party and the judiciary.

"I made it a point not to hear any political case, but of course people can say by virtue of my position as CJ, I can influence," he sighed.

Zaki may have managed to silence some critics, following certain judicial decisions which were not in favour of the ruling coalition but the verdict is still out on whether he has been able to gain mass confidence.

His fast-tracking of cases, computerising case filings to reduce corruption in the court offices, unprecedented appointment of members of the Bar to the Bench and the setting up of new civil courts are among the steps he has taken to make the system work better for both counsel and clients.

The notorious delay tactics of parties have also been reduced as cases are heard faster and even thrown out or given judgment in default if parties abuse the court's time.

Zaki's experience as a lawyer lent itself a sense of empathy to those who deal with the courts everyday. He brought with him his years of experience being on the other side, where he had even made a controversial remark about having to "bribe" court officers to expedite his firm's cases.

But whether cutting red tape, making judges more accountable for their actions and decisions may be seen as taking the judiciary into uncharted waters of accountability, to the public at large, it must also mean ensuring justice is served.

Several contentious issues were brought before the courts, such as that of S. Shamala who was fighting for custody of her two children who had been taken by her Muslim-convert husband.

Many felt the court had missed a great opportunity to once and for all settle the prickly issues surrounding the jurisdiction of the Civil and Syariah courts.

Zaki was quick to point out that there was a contempt proceeding against Shamala who had by then fled to Australia with her children.

Here he emphasised that even the court's hands were tied: "The court can only decide on what is put before it!"

The debate on whether he was one of the better CJs we have had will rage on long after Zaki's retirement on Sept 12.

But what one cannot deny is the unprecedented access Zaki had given to the public at large and what he has done for the judicial system.

There are two sides to a coin and as much as he has gained plaudits for his efforts, he has also failed to convert some critics who prefer to deal with his past and focus on his political links.

By his own admission, Zaki is not perfect and will have to answer for some of his decisions and actions made before and during his tenure.

Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria, a career judge who is poised to take over, may want to review some of these efforts. This includes the fast-tracking which some lawyers say is a victim of its own success as cases are moved up for hearing even though parties are not prepared.

But Zaki is confident that his successor will continue his efforts.

As he says, being an "outsider", he felt he had a lot to prove to his brother judges.

But the feedback I received from Zaki's contemporaries in the Federal Court including Arifin, Tan Sri Raus Sharif, Tan Sri James Foong, Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin and Tan Sri Abdull Hamid Embong is that he has revolutionised the judiciary.

If they feel that Zaki is a tough act to follow, then surely, he must have done some things right and the judiciary is better for it.

The Chief Justice's full interview with The Malay Mail will be published the following week. Feedback: terence@mmail.com.my

Bar takes Govt to task for deportation

The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Bar Council has accused the Government of violating customary international laws when it deported 11 Chinese nationals of Uighur ethnicity.

“We have our own laws to prosecute foreigners involved in human trafficking,” said its Human Rights Committee chairman Andrew Khoo yesterday.

“There is no reason to deport them back to China where they may face danger,” he said.

On Thursday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein explained that the 11 Chinese nationals were deported last week after they were found to have been involved in human trafficking.

He said the group was wanted by the Chinese government.

Khoo said the Government had gone against the principle of non-refoulement.

Non-refoulement is the protection of refugees against being returned to the place where their lives or freedoms are threatened.

Khoo added that it was surprising that Malaysia deported the Uighurs, who are Muslims, without any concern for their safety.

“It is possible that they (the Chinese nationals) were here because they were afraid their government would take action against them.”

Islamists suspected in deadly Nigeria UN bombing


A damaged U.N. vehicle is seen after a bomb blast at the United Nations offices in the Nigerian capital of Abuja August 26, 2011. The blast happened after a car rammed into the building, and witnesses said they had seen a number of dead bodies being carried from the site. REUTERS/NTA via Reuters TVBy Felix Onuah and Camillus Eboh

ABUJA, Aug 27 (Reuters) - At least 18 people were killed by a car bomb that ripped through the United Nations' building in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Friday -- a rare attack on an international institution in a country wracked by local conflicts.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the final casualty toll was likely to be high and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan ordered tighter security around the capital after what he called a "most despicable assault".

Security sources and witnesses said the car rammed into the building and blew up, badly damaging parts of an office complex where close to 400 people normally work for U.N. agencies.

"This was an assault on those who devote their lives to helping others," Ban said in a statement. "We condemn this terrible act, utterly."

Body parts were strewn on the ground as emergency workers, soldiers and police swarmed around the building, cordoned roads and rushed the wounded to hospital.

"Different people have been taken to different hospitals so we're not sure of casualty figures. It is at least 18," said Mike Zuokumor, Abuja police commissioner.

Norway's government said a Norwegian citizen was among the dead. She was named as Ingrid Midtgaard, a 30-year-old lawyer employed by the United Nations.

"We cannot give an update at the moment, our people are around all the hospitals working hard," a Red Cross spokesman said.

The BBC reported that a spokesman for the Islamist group Boko Haram had said in a phone call that it had carried out the attack. The BBC gave no further details.

It is difficult to get confirmation of attacks by Boko Haram because the group has an ill-defined command structure and a variety of people who speak on its behalf. The police and the government have not said who was responsible.

Speaking before the BBC report, an Abuja-based security source said he suspected Boko Haram, whose strikes have grown in intensity and spread further afield, or al Qaeda's North African arm.

In Friday’s attack the car slammed through security gates of the U.N. complex, crashed into the basement and exploded, sending vehicles flying and setting the building ablaze.

"When the car got inside it went straight to the basement and exploded, killing people in reception, right and left," said Abuja resident James John, who saw the attack.

"The entire building, from the ground floor to the topmost, was just fire and smoke. I saw six bodies being carried."

Michael Ocilaje, a U.N. employee at the complex, said: "All the people in the basement were killed. Their bodies are littered all over the place."

The building was blackened from top to bottom. In places, walls were blown away and reduced to rubble.

British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke on Friday to Ban and President Jonathan to pass on his condolences.

"The Prime Minister described it as an appalling attack. He said Britain and Nigeria faced a common threat in Islamic extremism, and offered to do all we could to help find the perpetrators," a British spokesman said.

The Addis Ababa-based African Union condemned what it called “these abhorrent and criminal attacks which cannot be justified under any circumstances".

SIMILAR ATTACK

Militant attacks in the oil-producing regions of southern Nigeria have subsided but the north has been hit by a round of bombings and killings by Islamist extremists.

Boko Haram, whose name translates from the northern Hausa language as "Western education is sinful", has been behind almost daily bombings and shootings, mostly targeting police in the northeast of Africa's most populous nation.

The group claimed responsibility for a June bomb attack on the car park of the Abuja police headquarters which bore similarities to Friday's blast.

In the June attack, a car rammed through the gates of the police headquarters and exploded, killing the bomber and narrowly missing the chief of police.

Boko Haram's ambitions are growing and if it is confirmed to be responsible for Friday's attack, this would mark a shift beyond domestic targets.

In London, Henry Wilkinson of Janusian risk consultants, told Reuters: "This attack will prompt many Western organisations and business to reassess the threat the group poses."

"The targeting of the U.N. building indicates a more global outlook probably influenced by al Qaeda ideology."

In Abuja President Jonathan ordered tighter security.

"The President believes that the attack is a most despicable assault on the United Nations' objectives of global peace and security, and the sanctity of human life to which Nigeria wholly subscribes," a government statement said.

Security sources and diplomats are concerned that Boko Haram has links with more organised groups outside Nigeria.

These include Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb which operates over the border in Niger and has kidnapped foreign workers there. It was also suspected of kidnapping a Briton and an Italian in Nigeria earlier this year.

In December 2007, a car bombing at the U.N. building in Algiers killed at least 41 people. In 2003, 15 staff and seven others were killed by a bomb attack at the U.N. building in Baghdad.

Teen Hindu escapes 2-year forced sex work nightmare


N, 14, was kept as a prisoner for two years till she escaped on August 23. PHOTO: FILE 

KARACHI: Kidnapped and forced into sex work at the age of 12 years, N, a Hindu girl, thought it was a nightmare that would never end.

Duped by a man named Younus who was welcomed into the family home in Teen Hatti as an old friend, N and her family never suspected that a man who showered attention and presents on them would do such a thing. N claims that he would drop by their house quite often and one day when she was alone he showed up with his wife and lured her to their house in Korangi.

What followed remained a mystery for two years till August 23 – the day she escaped.

An unlatched door led N, now 14 years old, to freedom from the brothel in Nasir colony run by Younus, his wife and son Rehman. She was forced to work as a sex worker along with three young girls, including two other Hindu girls, who escaped with her.

N claimed that one of the girls had been abducted before her while the other two were brought in after her. She was taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital for a medical examination where the medico-legal officer said that N’s results showed that she had routine sexual intercourse. The officer added that she had been given a contraceptive injection every two months to avoid a pregnancy.

N said that she was forced to do what her captors said, as they had drugged her. She told The Express Tribune that sometimes she had two to three visitors per night and the family charged them Rs1,500 to Rs2,000 per person.

Cursing her time at the brothel, N added that Younus and his son sexually abused her and the other girls as well.

Talking about the girls who had escaped with her, N explained that they hired a rickshaw and instructed the driver to head towards a main road. She added that when they recognised the area, she dropped off the girls and went to her parent’s house in Teen Hatti. “Her family immediately contacted Roshni Helpline, a child rights non-government organisation (NGO) that had been following the case for two years,” said the NGO’s Mohammad Ali.

Ali told The Express Tribune that a neighbour caught Rehman trying to stop one of the girls from escaping.

In his statement in front of the authorities, Rehman admitted that his family had been involved in the business and they targeted young girls from different minorities. “Their backgrounds were not influential so there was little that they could do once their daughter was abducted,” he said. “The brothel ran unnoticed in a small area usually inhabited by labourers.”

While Younus and his wife are still at large, the investigating officer ASI Rana Nisar from the Supermarket police station in Liaquatabad claimed that Rehman’s statement had provided leads to his parent’s whereabouts. He added that they would conduct another raid to find out more.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 25th,  2011.

Selangor forms ‘faith-rescue unit’ for Muslims

Hasan urged Muslims considering Christian aid to turn to his office instead. — File pic
SHAH ALAM, Aug 26 — Selangor religious councillor Datuk Hasan Ali has set up a “faith-rescue unit”, or Unit Selamat Aqidah, to look into problems faced by Muslims that could expose them to risks of losing their religious conviction amid allegations of proselytisation in the state.


The PAS leader said his office was concerned about the issue of proselytisation as troubled Muslims could resort to help from other groups that might lead them away from Islam.

“This office takes a serious view of the negative perceptions of the state agencies, bodies and voluntary organisations that appear not to help solve the problems of this group of people.

“This office has taken the initiative to set up the Unit Selamat Aqidah, which, among others, is a service centre to accept complaints and applications to help reduce the burden of life of these people,” Hasan said in a statement

He said the unit will work with the Selangor Zakat Board and voluntary organisations concerned about the issue, adding the board will name officials who will process applications for aid.

“It is hoped that Muslims who have received or are thinking of receiving aid from churches or Christian organisations can come to the Islamic Affairs, Malay Culture, Infrastructure and Public Amenities Exco to give their details so that help can be provided immediately,” Hasan said.

The conservative Muslim leader assured such people that his office would help them to avoid being trapped in moves to make them apostates.

Pro-Umno newspapers have been highlighting alleged attempts by Christians to convert Muslims since the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raided an evangelical church in Petaling Jaya on August 3. Proselytising Muslims is an offence in Malaysia.

Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia also reported recently an allegation that underprivileged Muslims living in a squatter area near Old Klang Road were being proselytised by Christians under the guise of free English classes.

The tuition centre was subsequently shut down for purportedly not owning a valid permit.

Influential cleric Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, however, said yesterday that Muslims should take care of their own poor instead of accusing Christians of proselytism when churches helped poor Muslims.

Tensions between Christians and Muslims have heightened after Jais swooped on the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC), on claims that it was investigating a complaint that Muslims were being converted at a dinner the church was hosting for a local NGO.

The Selangor state government met with Jais and representatives of the Harapan Komuniti NGO yesterday to resolve the debacle that has sparked attacks from both Muslims and Christians against the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) administration.

In Dr M’s elephant clash, the deer perishes

Based on P Uthayakumar's interpretation of the former premier's defence of the NEP, the elephants are the Malays and well-heeled Chinese, whereas the poor Indians represent the mouse deer.

PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad penned a lengthy defence of the New Economic Policy (NEP), detailing how the affirmative action blueprint elevated the status of the Malays and other bumiputeras.

According to Human Rights Party (HRP) leader P Uthayakumar, the former premier’s stand was akin to the Malay proverb of a mouse deer being trampled to death in the midst of two clashing elephants.

Based on his interpretation, the two elephants were the Malays and economically superior Chinese whereas the mouse deer represented the poor Indians.

“Mahathir, the prime minister for 22 long years conceded that almost all those (Malays) who succeeded benefitted from the NEP.

“The whole of Mahathir’s view vis-a-vis Umno’s position reminds us of the Malay proverb ‘gajah sama gajah berlaga, pelanduk mati ditengah’,” said Uthayakumar.

He argued that while the entire framework of the NEP was crafted to ensure that the Malays matched the successful Chinese who controlled some 70% of the nation’s economy, poor Indians were also conveniently lumped in the same non-bumiputera category with the abovementioned segment of the Chinese community.

“Thereafter being the soft targets, segregated and excluded from the mainstream development in Malaysia,” he said, adding that Umno justified this based on Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

The article provided for the safeguarding of the special position of the Malays, which Uthayakumar claimed, had been “stretched to the brim” over the past 54 years and in the process, victimising the Indian poor.

“It must be emphasised that neither special rights nor special privileges (as widely proclaimed by Umno) has ever been provided for in Article 153 (1) of the Federal Constitution or any law in Malaysia.

“But what Umno has successfully and completely sidestepped is the second limb of Article 153 (1) that is ‘the Yang Di Pertuan Agong shall safeguard the legitimate interests of the non- Malays’.

“If at all this special position may be a specification for affirmative action policies for the Malay poor, it was never intended to be implemented as Malay-Muslim supremacy as it is today and oppressing and segregating especially the Indians in the process,” he said.

Uthayakumar, a lawyer by profession, asked where in the Federal Constitution or other laws was it stated that the deserving Indian poor could be discriminated, segregated and excluded?

‘From womb to tomb’

Claiming that the discrimination, segregation and exclusion were almost 100%, starting from the womb and ending in the tomb, he cited several examples.

“Being denied birth certificates, Permata kindergardens, places in the 12,440 vacancies in fully residential MRSM Colleges, almost 98% of full overseas and local PSD, Petronas, Yayasan, GLC scholarships, 98% of civil service jobs and 100% of the 200,000 places in UITM is for Malays only.

“Even foreign Muslim students are allowed entry into UITM but not fifth generation Malaysian- born deserving Indian students,” he said.

“In almost all other areas like securing direct government contracts, becoming vendors and suppliers to government agencies and GLCs and in the private sector, government and GLC panelship for professionals like lawyers, doctors, architects, engineers and accountants, Indians are also segregated and excluded,” he added.

As far as Uthayakumar was concerned, Malaysian Indians were segregated and excluded in almost every aspect of their lives.

“This level of racism and religious supremacy does not exist in any other part of the world,” he said.
In a blog posting yesterday, Mahathir defended the NEP, introduced in 1971, against its critics, including his former deputy and current opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

He accused the opposition of giving the impression that the NEP was the most deplorable policy ever conceived and implemented in Malaysia.

The former premier said that non-bumiputeras had also benefitted from the policy, which some claimed helped cement the Malay superiority concept, due to the trickling down effect.

DAP’s Sungkai rep accused of swindling

He denies the charge and calls PKR man Arjunan a liar.

SHAH ALAM: A PKR leader has accused Sungkai assemblyman A Sivanesan (photo) of misappropriating funds that were supposed to be given to the parents of a child who died after falling into a ditch in 2003.

MS Arjunan, who is Taman Ehsan Tasek PKR branch chief in Perak, lodged a police report yesterday against Sivanesan, a prominent member of Perak DAP.

On Wednesday, the Tamil daily Malaysian Nanban carried a story about the 2003 tragedy of the death of four-year-old S Tamilaarasan. He fell into a ditch in Slim River at a site of the construction of the double-track railway between Rawang and Ipoh.

His father made a police report after the death, alleging that Malayan Railway Bhd and DRB-Hicom were negligent in not installing enough safety signs.

Malaysian Nanban quoted the parents as saying that no action had to date been taken against the two companies. They apparently approached Arjunan for help recently.

Arjunan told FMT today that Sivanesan called him after reading the paper on Wednesday and advised him not to get involved in the case.

He claimed Sivanesan also told him the parents had received compensation but when he checked with Tamilaarasen’s mother, she denied this.

“Something fishy is happening and I urge police to investigate Sivanesan,” he said.
Sivanesan denied the allegation, calling Arjunan a liar.

“I have never discussed anything about the case with Arjunan,” he told FMT. “I told him that there was no way to proceed with the case after eight years.

“Arjunan is publicity crazy. He has lodged more than 100 police reports against political leaders.”
He added that police should act against Arjunan if they find his allegation baseless.

‘RM30mil to back BN’: Ganabatirao sees red

The MI-Voice leader denies an allegation that he has agreed to help BN win Indian votes for a sum of RM30 million.

PETALING JAYA: V Ganabatirao, the co-founder of Malaysian Indian-Voice (MI-Voice), denied speculations that his NGO will help Barisan Nasional to win Indian votes in the next general election.

It was alleged that MI-Voice would be aiding BN to rake in Indian votes in return for RM30 million.
However, Ganabatirao hit the roof when asked about this.

“The allegation is absolutely ridiculous and nonsensical,” thundered the DAP member.
On the contrary, he added that such allegations proved that BN feared him and his influence.

According to a highly-placed source, MI-Voice had agreed to work for BN following negotiations with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s special officer, P Ravin.

The negotiation allegedly took place in Putrajaya in June beetween the special officer and Ganabatirao’s brother, Raidu.

The source claimed that Raidu had proposed starting up something similar to the Cabinet Indian task force and threfore the RM30 million was needed.

“I want to sue those who made the claim,” said Ganabatirao, who was among the five Hindraf leaders jailed under the Internal Security Act following a mammoth street protest in 2007.

He claimed that those spreading these rumours were attempting to kill his political career.
However, he admitted to bumping into Ravin once but that was about eight months ago when he was at the Registrar of Societies (ROS) office in Putrajaya.

“I have kept away from BN and MIC even though they have been attempting to lure me into MIC.
“Just because I met (former MIC president S) Samy Vellu accidentally during lunch several months ago doesn’t mean that I am joining MIC. But there were rumours,” he said.

He also claimed that DAP was offering him a state seat in Selangor and therefore this rendered the allegation baseless.

Ganabatirao, a lawyer by profession, is also a director of the Selangor-state owned mining company, Kumpulan Semesta.

Following their release from ISA detention in 2009, Ganabatirao had a fallout with Hindraf’s P Uthayakumar, leading the former to venture on his own.

Kerajaan lemah, rasuah punca perpecahan Melayu-Islam

"Kenyataan Mufti Perak tersebut juga mengesahkan pendirian kita selama ini bahawa tuduhan liwat ke atas Anwar adalah tidak sah," kata Dr Muhammad Nur Manuty.

PETALING JAYA:  PKR hari ini mengalu-alukan kenyataan Mufti Perak Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria di media massa bahawa punca perpecahan Melayu-Islam adalah kerana Kerajaan yang lemah, tidak amanah dan rasuah.

Beliau mendedahkan bahawa demi menjaga perpaduan Melayu, beliau pernah menasihati mantan perdana menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad agar tidak memecat

Timbalannya ketika itu, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim serta membuat tuduhan liwat tanpa membawa empat orang saksi.

“Jelaslah bahawa apa yang ditanggapi sebagai perpecahan Melayu-Islam pada masa kini adalah berpunca dari permainan politik kotor para pemimpin Umno sendiri bermula dari Dr. Mahathir,” ujar Ketua Penerangan PKR Dr Muhammad Nur Manuty dalam satu kenyataan media.

Beliau menambah, kenyataan ini juga menjelaskan dengan terang bahawa perpecahan orang Melayu pada masa kini bukan di sebabkan oleh Anwar dan Pakatan Rakyat seperti yang digembar-gemburkan selama ini.

“Kenyataan Mufti Perak tersebut juga mengesahkan pendirian kita selama ini bahawa tuduhan liwat ke atas Anwar adalah tidak sah dan fitnah semata-mata untuk menjatuhkan beliau sebagai pemimpin politik harapan orang Melayu-Islam,” terang beliau.

Konspirasi jahat Dr Mahathir

Dr Manuty menerangkan adalah jelas bahawa pemecatan Anwar bukan kerana faktor moral tetapi konspirasi jahat Dr Mahathir dan para kuncunya.

“Dengan pendedahan yang dibuat ini, rakyat perlulah membuka mata dan menyatakan sikap menolak dengan tegas fitnah yang dilemparkan ke atas Anwar.

“Malah, semua yang cintakan keadilan perlulah bersama-sama bertanggungjawab dan bertindak untuk membela beliau dari segala kezaliman dan pembohongan berterusan sejak lebih satu dekad yang lalu,” tambahnya.

Justeru itu katanya, bersempena dengan hari-hari terakhir bulan Ramadhan yang mulia dan padanya diturunkan kitab suci al Qur’an, kita menyeru para pemimpin Umno supaya melakukan muhasabah diri dan menghentikan kezaliman ke atas Anwar demi perpaduan ummah dan seluruh masyarakat Malaysia amnya.

“Kita berkeyakinan penuh bahawa selagi kezaliman terhadap Anwar tidak dihentikan, isu perpaduan Melayu-Islam tidak akan dapat diselesaikan secara tuntas,” katanya lagi.

Pada 24 Ogos lalu, FMT membawa laporan bertajuk “Nasihat saya ada diterima, ada ditolak” hasil petikan ucapan Mufti Perak itu dalam majlis ‘Wacana Mengenai Ulama Politik: Untuk Dakwah atau Parti’ anjuran akhbar Sinar Harian di Auditorium Kompleks Kumpulan Media Karangkraf di Shah Alam.

Antara lain, beliau dipetik sebagai berkata, perpecahan Melayu-Islam adalah disebabkan kerajaan sekarang cukup lemah, tidak amanah dan rasuah.

Beliau pernah menasihati Dr Mahathir supaya tidak memecat Anwar dari jawatan Timbalan Perdana Menteri pada ketika itu kerana ini akan menyebabkan berlakunya perpecahan di kalangan orang-orang Melayu kerana Anwar mempunyai pengaruh yang kuat.

Harussani juga menasihati mereka yang membuat tuduhan liwat terhadap Anwar supaya mengemukakan saksi-saksi jika tidak buruk padanya.

'Pristine condition' of rectal swabs puzzles expert

(Malaysiakini) How is it that three cotton swabs retrieved from the rectum of sodomy complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan showed no sign of degradation when tested some 100 hours later?
This is the issue that is puzzling Australian DNA expert Dr Brian McDonald.

dr brian mcdonald sodomy llDescribing the findings from the three swabs marked B7, B8 and B9 from the high and low rectal areas of the complainant as "pristine", McDonald (right) told the Sodomy II trial of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim that this was "inconsistent with the history".

"This is because there is no sign of degradation and the samples are pristine," he said about the three samples taken from Saiful's rectum 56 hours after the alleged sodomy took place between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

Saiful was examined by four doctors at Hospital Kuala Lumpur between 9pm on June 28 and midnight on June 29, 2008.

Investigating officer Supt Jude Blacious Pereira had earlier testified that the samples were kept in a drawer in his air-conditioned office and handed over to chemist Dr Seah Lay Hong at around 7pm on June 30, 2008.
Yesterday, McDonald, 60, told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that the samples should ideally be kept in a freezer at minus 20 degrees Celsius.

Questioned on the three samples by defence counsel Ram Karpal Singh, McDonald said the 'Male Y' DNA was prevalent in the low rectal swabs.

However, the witness noted, Saiful's DNA was prevalent in the high rectal swab.

"Hence, I cannot discount the possibility that Saiful's semen or sperm could have been up in the high rectal area, based on the tests," McDonald said.

"Furthermore," he added, "the three samples from the swab are pristine, although they should have degraded under the circumstances."

Another Australian expert witness, Dr David Wells, had testified earlier that he would not take samples from a sexual assault victim 36 hours after the attack.

McDonald had also testified that such a sample would be deeply degraded after 56 hours.
Saiful's semen sperm in anus?

McDonald also explained that chemists Dr Seah Lay Hong was guilty of “guessing” in treating Saiful's sample, as there was no indication in her report where the sample originates and that he did not use the same numbering system employed by the doctors.

NONE“We have to assume where the swab came from as this is not reflected in Seah's (right) report,” he said, adding Seah should verify where it came from in sodomy cases.

“It could come from a cigarette butt. Seah did not provide the information in the report. She has not reported anything on the sample whether it came somewhere or another.”

McDonald said Seah did not properly do the differential extraction process (DEP) test from the samples taken to resolve the issue of sperm and non-sperm cells.

This, he said, has to be done again and again until what is left are sperm and not other contaminants.

He said this has resulted in findings of Saiful's DNA in the rectum.

“That is the case of the complainant's semen is in his rectum,” he said, adding one cannot assume there is Saiful's sperm is in his own rectum initially but this had to be assumed following the results of the test.

“I would say Seah's evidence is a guess.”

Ram: Why is that?

McDonald: Because she did not slide on the receptacle and put it under a microscope to verify. That is only way to determine and if there is further, the process has to be repeated again to remove the contaminants.

Ram: Is it possible that there is Saiful's sperm in his anus.

McDonald: If she had done it properly, we can cut out on such a possibility. The sample taken cannot be relied on because (it contain Saiful's DNA).

Ram: Can we conclusively say that Saiful's sperm is not in his anus?

McDonald: No, she is guessing that there are other cells. She did not do the DEP test properly. The Male Y (allegedly Anwar's DNA) is predominant in B7 the low rectal swab. However, on the B8 (high rectal), Saiful's DNA was predominant.We cannot discount Saiful's sperm was up in his own anus, based on the result.

Anwar Ibrahim is charged with sodomising Saiful at the Desa Damansara condominium between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

The trial continues from Sept 19 to 23 with McDonald's testimony.

Malaysia Recognises National Transitional Council As Libya's Interim Government

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has expressed its recognition of the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate interim government in Libya.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Kuala Lumpur was hopeful that the NTC, supported by the Libyan people, would govern the interim administration towards national unity, reconciliation, inclusiveness and reconstruction that would bring lasting peace and stability to Libya and its people.

The NTC is under the leadership of Mustafa Abdul Jalil and Mahmoud Jibril as well as other appointed members.

"Malaysia joins other international voices in calling for the Gaddafi forces to submit to the choices of the majority of the Libyan people," Anifah said in a statement Friday night.

This, he said, was to prevent further bloodshed among fellow Libyans and avoid the northern African country from drifting into a tragic humanitarian disaster.

Tajudin Ramli sues Malaysian Insider for RM200m

I see the Star – and broadcast media, I am told – has reported that former MAS chairman Tajudin Ramli is suing the Malaysian Insider, its CEO Jahabar Sadiq and journalist Shazwan Mustafa Kamal for RM200m.
The lawsuit reportedly is over allegedly defamatory words in an article on the airline suffering losses of RM8bn titled “MACC clear A-G of graft allegations” on 31 May 2011.
I will be following this case closely as I know the 20-something Shazwan, an ex-Penang Free School boy and communications graduate from Monash University: I think he is one of the brightest and most promising young journalists around, a decent guy, and he will go far. I just feel sorry for his family that this is happening just days before Raya.
No doubt, press freedom groups and many Malaysians will also be watching this case with great concern.