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Friday, September 2, 2011

Mat Sabu hits back, claims Umno near collapse

Mat Sabu’s reported remarks have allowed opponents Umno to hang a bulls-eye on him. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 2 — PAS is close to declaring itself victors in its contest with Umno for the Malay rural vote during Hari Raya, with its deputy president Mohamad Sabu confidently saying that “Umno is going to collapse very soon”. The vocal leader, who has been battling criticisms for his Bukit Kepong tragedy remarks, insisted to The Malaysian Insider yesterday that the party’s Hari Raya campaign blitz had been successful in garnering more Malay support for the federal opposition.
“Our ceramahs in the suraus and the mosques have been great. Very good response from the people,” he said.
Both Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Barisan Nasional (BN) embarked on separate pre-polls Hari Raya campaigns during the month of Ramadan, with each trumpeting their respective agendas and messages to the Malay electorate, particularly in the Malay heartlands outside the capital.
But PAS came under fire on Saturday when Utusan Malaysia quoted Mohamad as saying that the communists who attacked the Bukit Kepong police station in 1950 during the pre-Independence insurgency were heroes.
The Umno-owned newspaper accused him of disparaging the country’s armed forces and expressing support for communists but Mohamad, popularly known as Mat Sabu, has since denied the report and accused the Malay-language daily of fabricating the quote.
The incident resulted in BN lawmakers going on the offensive after months of scrambling to control the fallout from rising inflation and the July 9 Bersih rally, hoping that Mohamad’s remarks would help Umno plant seeds of doubt among the Malay electorate, for whom communism remains a bogeyman especially in the rural heartland.
Despite this, Mohamad has remained confident, choosing instead to scoff at Umno’s attacks against him and saying it was clear that the Malay party was feeling pressured and “desperate”.
“You see, I am just a very, very small person. Not a big person... but yet, they attack me... five days and five nights. They are clearly desperate,” he said.
He said during PAS’s Hari Raya campaign, party leaders have been explaining to voters Bersih 2.0’s key demands for electoral reforms, the controversies surrounding postal ballots and discrepancies found in the present electoral roll.
“Other issues include corruption, the RM24 million diamond ring scandal by the prime minister’s wife... they have not properly explained that yet,” he said.
Reaction from the public has been warming, said Mohamad, indicating a likelihood that PAS has managed to drive home its point.
“Whatever it is, Umno is going to collapse very soon. You will see,” he said confidently.
During the entire Hari Raya festivities, PAS members aired Bersih videos and distributed some 200,000 DVDs on the tumultuous July 9 rally in their respective villages, hoping to counter police claims that no violence had been used against protestors.
The move was part of the Islamist party’s “balik kampung” programme, which ran throughout the Ramadan fasting month up until Hari Raya Aidilfitri, and was aimed at helping PAS garner more support ahead of the coming general election.

Empowering the already powerful majority

Helan Ang argues that Pakatan's non-Malay representatives have a willingness to do anything to get the Malay vote.
By Helen Ang

DAP chairman Karpal Singh wants Mohamad Sabu to immediately retract his comments on the Bukit Kepong incident, and why?

Because – as FMT and other news outlets have reported – he is minded that the general election is just around the corner and the PAS deputy president’s remarks could well be “very damaging” to Pakatan prospects.

Karpal wants Mohamad Sabu – popularly known as Mat Sabu – to withdraw his observation in order to staunch any possible backlash against Pakatan Rakyat stemming from the attempt by the pro-Umno media and bloggers to whip up frenzy among the Malays.

The only concern of the DAP chairman in his press conference yesterday seems to be Malay votes.
He appears to show little concern for historical scholarship and the intellectual honesty which we should apply to critical interpretation of that particular bloody episode alluded to by Mat Sabu.

It was another case of ‘politics as usual’ evidently trumping the greater need for truth and accuracy in shaping our national narrative pertaining to independence, and understanding the roles played by the various contributors towards Malayan self-determination.

Karpal’s attitude is hardly surprising given the ‘Hasnah Yeop Syndrome’ afflicting the Pakatan non-Malay representatives who rode on the tsunami to their fortuitous seats in parliament and the state assemblies.

Bending over backwards

If you’re wondering who ‘Hasnah Yeop’ is, she/it is a fictional name that blogger Rockybru bestowed on Subang Jaya Adun Hannah Yeoh. One key symptom of the Hasnah Yeop condition is a willingness to do anything to get the Malay vote.

This wanting to win over the Malay electorate at all cost is again recently illustrated by the assiduous activities of the Pakatan Chinese Aduns worming their way into Malay areas during the run-up to Raya.

Like chameleons changing their colour, these politicians metaphorically don a Malay skin – as Net photos of the Selendang Squad attending various functions will attest. (They are not similarly enamoured with trying to look Indian though.)
DAP’s Teo Nie Ching was once even banned by the Selangor religious authorities from further shenanigans in the surau despite her subsequent tutup aurat (covering up). Non-Malays wearing baju kurung and baju Melayu is nothing contentious as these have already come to be adopted as our national costume of sorts.

The tudung however is another kettle of fish and has religious connotations. There is no reason for non-Muslims to use it in situations that do not warrant veiling, i.e. these women are not within the confines of the mosque.

Recently photographs of a Chinese-looking man clad in baju Melayu and songkok, engaged in what has been described as ‘takbir’ were uploaded in Malay-language blogosphere. The Umno blogs identified the man in question as Chan Ming Kai, PKR Adun for Simpang Pulai (main photo).

Waiting for their conversions

Dr Novandri Hasan, an Umno leader in Bukit Gelugor (Karpal’s parliamentary constituency) commented that Chan participating in the Muslim practice is welcome if he genuinely desires to embrace Islam but deplorable if it were only a piece of play-acting to fish Malay votes.

The blogger Sungai Rapat Online (of the blog almost indistinguishable from the interests of Hamidah Osman, an Umno Adun and Perak senior exco) commented: “Saya kenal benar dengan perangai Chang Meng Kai [sic] ini dia ni hanya berlakon sahaja untuk mendapatkan undi Melayu.”

Sungai Rapat Online also accused Chan of being two-faced, saying one thing to his Malay listeners and another to the Chinese.

This same accusation of tailoring the message to suit different audiences had been made earlier by Wanita MCA Penang chief Tan Cheng Liang regarding the DAP. Tan noted too that her political rivals said one thing in the Malay language and another in the Chinese tongue.

As with the inherent nature of contagions, the Hasnah Yeop Syndrome is not limited to post-March 8 politicians but its other symptoms extended to political commentators as well.

Siding solely with the strong

In an Aug 23 piece by FMT columnist Jeswan Kaur, it was revealed that her good friend, a Muslim woman, had wanted to rename her [Jeswan] with a Malay name – with the friend even going to the extent of repeatedly urging her to say ‘bismillah’.

To recap Jeswan’s experience, she wrote about the said friend who “would tease [her] for not returning to the ‘true path’, that is, to Islam” as well as “point-blank asked [Jeswan] to convert”.

Another matter which Jeswan prided herself was in electing to fast throughout Ramadan.

(For comparison, India which is predominantly Hindu puts the shoe on the other foot. There, in keeping with the dietary wishes of the dominant faith community, McDonald’s outlets do not sell beef burgers.)
The sheer force of the majority usually prevails but isn’t it the conscientious duty of those elected to public office to ensure that minorities are protected? Pakatan operates quite the opposite.

Under Penang’s DAP-led administration these past three years, 100 percent of drainage and irrigation contracts and 98 percent of tenders approved between January 2008 and November 2010 went to bumiputera contractors.

This sudden turnabout comes on the heels of decades where DAP (before the party’s first taste of power) was unhappy with even the 30 percent NEP quota.

From the state statistics boasted by DAP to show its current good care of the bumi groups, it would appear Penang Indians got nothing although belonging to the country’s weakest minority.

One-sided and sad apologia 

It is a trait in common with Pakatan politicians who do not treat Hindu devotees in the fawning manner they do the Muslim devout.

In the course of hosting buka puasa (an activity in which Hannah Yeoh is competing with Teo Nie Ching to be queen bee doing the copious rounds), our surau-hopping politicians are liberal with their shower of cash and kind donations.

But we hardly hear of the pathetic Hindu temples, which are more sorely in need of assistance, receiving Yang Berhormat visitors.

Going back to Karpal and the imminent election wherein Malay votes are most pivotal, one can see how those in the Pakatan camp believe that Indian votes are inconsequential to their Putrajaya ambition.
Hence Indians sadly don’t figure in the present socio-political calculus.

From other self-disclosures in Jeswan’s column, we learn that she listens to Islamic religious talks on television. She is familiar with Islamic customs such as ‘puasa ganti’ and aware that Muslims use ‘sejadah’ during worship. She is able to roll Islamic terms such as ‘sahur’ and ‘iftar’ easily off her tongue.

Not just that, Jeswan is also vicariously excited about the Mecca pilgrimage and is knowledgeable about the ‘saie’ and ‘tawaf’ requirements during the Haj ritual.

I’m only left to wonder if Jeswan’s close Muslim friend knows anything at all about Sikh prayer. Or has ever shown a pinch of interest in Punjabi culture and customs … if only to reciprocate the eager enthusiasm exhibited by the FMT columnist.

Since Jeswan did not write about any inverse scenario, the reader can only conclude that the relationship between the two women is a one-way street. Yet Jeswan appears totally oblivious to this imbalance that the rest of us can easily decipher.

The Hasnah Yeop syndrome is one where non-Malay elected representatives find it expedient to further empower the already powerful majority. And these politicians display a similar lack of self-awareness as to the one-sidedness of their behaviour that pays scant attention to neglected minorities.

DAP’s disdain of Indians is best encapsulated in the disequilibrium of Hannah’s mixed race child ending up a ‘Chinese’ baby in her birth cert. Over-the-top politicking may just backfire when 5,000-year old cultural traditions bite back.

These issues have been discussed in greater detail at

Gaddafi asks loyalists to 'resist aggression'

In message aired on Al-Rai TV, toppled Libyan leader urges continuation of "struggle against foreign aggression".

Muammar Gaddafi has urged his supporters to keep up their resistance to the uprising in Libya that has forced him into hiding, the Syria-based Al-Rai television channel said.

The toppled leader asked his supporters to continue what he called "struggle against foreign aggression" and said those against him were divided, he was quoted as saying in a message.

He vowed again not to surrender, saying he would carry on fighting, the pro-Gaddafi television channel said.
"Even if you cannot hear my voice, continue the resistance," Gaddafi said.

We will not surrender. We are not women and we are going to keep on fighting," the message said.
Gaddafi called on his supporters to set Libya alight, vowed that his backers would not give up, he said in the message.

"Let there be a long fight and let Libya be engulfed in flames." He said the "balance of power is now leveled as all tribes are now armed".

The pro-Gaddafi station carried written extracts from a message from the fallen leader, saying it would be broadcast later.

Gaddafi's location

The fugitive leader was speaking on the 42nd anniversary of the military coup that toppled King Idris and brought him to power in 1969 when he was a 27-year-old army captain.

There have been conflicting reports about Gaddafi's location since his Tripoli compound was overrun on August 23.

A senior military commander of the Libyan interim leadership said Gaddafi was in a desert town outside Tripoli, along with his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi, planning a fight-back.
All three fugitives are wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged crimes against humanity.

Abdel Majid Mlegta, co-ordinator of the Tripoli military operations room, told Reuters news agency "someone we trust" had said Gaddafi had fled to Bani Walid, 150km southeast of the capital.

He said Ali al-Ahwal, Gaddafi's coordinator for tribes, was also in Bani Walid, a stronghold of the powerful Warfalla tribe, Libya's biggest tribe among a population of six million, but many say their loyalty is divided.

"We are capable of ending the crisis but military action is out of the question right now," Mlegta said.
"We cannot attack this tribe because many of our brigades in Benghazi and Zintan are from Bani Walid. The sons of Bani Walid hold the key."

An Algerian newspaper said Gaddafi was in the border town of Ghadamis and had tried to call Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika to appeal for refuge.

Bouteflika would not take the call, even though Algeria gave sanctuary to Gaddafi's wife and three of his children when they crossed the border on Monday.

Give chance to Mat Sabu to clarify

Opposition Leader Anwar also says the battle for Putrajaya in the next general election starts from Permatang Pauh.

PERMATANG PAUH: Upset with the trial by media, Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim today insisted that PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu must be given all opportunities to clarify on his political statement on the Bukit Kepong incident.

Parliamentary Opposition Leader Anwar rebuked the trial currently carried out by Umno-owned media on the charismatic PAS leader, who is popularly known as Mat Sabu.

Anwar noted that Mat Sabu has indeed already denied all allegations raised by the media over his Bukit Kepong remarks.

“We should disallow space for trial by media. Instead we should allow room for Mat Sabu to clarify his stance,” said Anwar, the Permatang Pauh MP.

He was speaking to newsmen after attending Deputy Deputy Chief Minister I and PKR state chief Mansor Othman’s Hari Raya ‘open house’ in Kubang Semang here today.

During a political rally in Tasek Gelugor on Aug 21, Mat Sabu allegedly said in his speech that the communist attackers who razed a police station in Bukit Kepong on Feb 23, 1950 were true freedom fighters.

He also allegedly termed the policemen who were killed in the attack as British officers. In the attack, 13 policemen, six Home Guards, three women and a child were killed.

Anwar recalled that since his days as a student in Universiti Malaya, he had grown up with a generational ideology strongly against the communism.

“Personally I have been a strong opponent of communist ideology,” Anwar said.

But, he also called on the people to learn to accept different views on historical happenings, even though it could be sensitive.

“I understand Mat Sabu remarks could be sensitive to the Malays. But we must also be able to tolerate
different interpretations of views on a historical issue,” stressed the PKR de facto leader.
DAP national chairman Karpal Singh has already called on Mat Sabu to retract his Bukit Kepong remarks to halt any negative implications impinging on Pakatan.

Umno’s Anwar-phobia

Anwar also welcomed Putrajaya’s decision to hold the 1Malaysia national Hari Raya ‘open house’ on Sept 11 in his parliamentary constituency.

“The people of Permatang Pauh and I are honoured by it,” he exclaimed.

He called on his constituents and Penangites to join the open house and enjoy the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s reception treat.

“Children should attend the open house to collect Hari Raya packets,” he said, hinting he may even attend it if invited.

On political perspective, he concurred with a media question that the choice of his constituency as the venue for the national event was a symbolic display that “the battle for Putrajaya in the next general election starts from Permatang Pauh.”

He said it also confirmed his belief that Umno politics was very much dominated by ‘Anwar-phobia.’
“Everything is about me … from having Jewish link to being a Chinese tool.

“Indeed I have to thank Mat Sabu for stealing the limelight on me for time being,” Anwar joked.

Karpal: Mat Sabu must retract remarks

To arrest a worsening situation, Mat Sabu must apologise for his remark on Bukit Kepong incident.

GEORGE TOWN: DAP national chairman Karpal Singh today called on PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, who is better known as Mat Sabu, to retract his ill-adviced remarks on the Bukit Kepong incident that happened on Feb 23, 1950.

Karpal said if Mat Sabu retracts his remark immediately, then he can arrest the negative political implications on Pakatan Rakyat from getting worse.

Speaking at a press conference in Air Itam, Karpal said Mat Sabu’s remarks, in which the PAS leader allegedly hailed the communist attackers as ‘independent heroes’, can be “very damaging” to Pakatan political prospects, especially with the general election around the corner.

He said Mat Sabu’s alleged remarks were also insensitive to the families of the victims.
“Mat Sabu should retract immediately and maybe explain his remarks.

“He should do it to assuage the feelings of families of those who perished in the attack.
“On whether he wants to apologise or not, I will leave it to his good senses,” said Karpal, the Bukit Gelugor MP during his constituency visit.

Mat Sabu erred

During a political rally in Tasek Gelugor on Aug 21, Mat Sabu allegedly said in his speech that “nearing Merdeka, the Bukit Kepong clip will be aired”.

“In Bukit Kepong, the police were British policemen. Those who attacked Bukit Kepong were the true freedom fighters. Their leader was Muhammad Indera.”

Karpal also noted that the historical attack on the police station happened some seven years before Malaya gained independence from the colonial British administration.

In the attack, the station was razed to the ground and 13 policemen, six Home Guards, three women and a child were killed.

After the emergency was declared in 1948, he said the communist was involved in an armed conflict with the British administration.

As a result, he said the Emergency Regulations 1948 was enacted at the height of communist insurgency and, the security forces all came under the British.

He said the police personnel and Home Guards manning the police station had every right to repel the attack.

“Therefore the attack on the police station must be viewed in its proper context,” said Karpal.

Internal check and balance

Mat Sabu had reportedly said that he was contemplating suing Umno-owned daily, Utusan Malaysia, for allegedly distorting his speech in its Aug 27 article and in subsequent reports.

Utusan Malaysia aside, another Umno-controlled daily Berita Harian has also hit the town with anti-Mat Sabu headlines on the news.

Karpal said he was not against Mat Sabu, and considered the PAS leader as an asset to Pakatan.
He also dismissed suggestion that he should have exhausted internal avenue first to resolve the issue before going public in the media.

“I don’t think I broke any Pakatan code … it’s a serious issue that needed to addressed immediately.
“There must be an internal check and balance on statements by Pakatan leaders,” said Karpal, a lawyer by profession.

More than 20 police reports have been lodged against Mat Sabu.

Police are investigating him under Section 505 of the Penal Code for making statements conducive of public mischief.

Rosmah at Altantuya murder 'implausible'

The present of Rosmah Mansor, wife of premier Najib Razak, at the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder appeared “implausible”, according to a United States diplomat in a secret cable sent to Washington three years ago.

The diplomatic cable was dispatched by the United States embassy in Kuala Lumpur two weeks after controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin pledged in a statutory declaration that Rosmah was at the scene of the October 2006 murder of the Mongolian woman.

However, while the allegations against Rosmah “seem implausible”, the cable said that it would “nevertheless will have resonance with a Malaysian public that does not have confidence in the integrity of the Altantuya murder investigation.”

najib razak and rosmah mansor 1It also said that the continued public attention to such allegations also could damage Najib's chances, who was then deputy prime minister, of replacing Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as the country's new leader.

On June 18, Raja Petra has sworn that he was "reliably informed" that Rosmah, together with her aide Norhayati Hassan and acting Colonel Aziz Buyong - who is Norhayati's husband - were present at the scene of the sensational murder.

The sworn statement came at a time of heightened political tensions in Malaysia where talk was rife over a possible change in government on Sept 16, 2008, through a mass defection of government MPs.

Two weeks after Raja Petra's revelations, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, an aide to Anwar Ibrahim, lodged a police report claiming that he had been sodomised by the opposition politician.

Soon after, on Aug 26, Anwar returned to active politics after winning a by-election in Permatang Puah, a parliamentary seat which was vacated by his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

However, Anwar's vow to take over Putrajaya fell flat when not a single BN parliamentarian changed sides.

RPK put himself at great risk

According to the leaked cable, political observers had remarked that Raja Petra had “put himself at great risk, and therefore they speculated that he must have some evidence in hand.”

“If this is a bluff, 'it will cost him and his family,' one MP remarked,” added the confidential cable.

raja petra exile new scotland yardRaja Petra was eventually charged with defaming Rosmah, Norhayati and Abdul Aziz on July 17, 2008.

The blogger subsequently fled the country along with his wife, Marina, and both are living in United Kingdom (left).

In 2009, the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court granted Raja Petra a discharge not amounting to an acquittal because the police could not trace him to serve the warrant of arrest.

Raja Petra has later distanced himself from the statutory declaration, saying that the accusations were based on information given by former deputy army special branch chief Kol Azmi Zainal Abidin.

The US cable said that most Malaysians would believe there was at least some truth in Raja Petra's allegations as they have no confidence in the integrity of the government's investigation into the Altantuya murder.

The art of wayang kulit

Berikutan isu orang Melayu terus terpinggir di Pulau Pinang, Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia mencadangkan Perbadanan Pembangunan Pulau Pinang (PDC) diletakkan di bawah kuasa Timbalan Ketua Menteri, Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah.
Raja Petra Kamarudin

Wayang kulit is a popular Malay shadow play, especially in the East Coast of West Malaysia. The Malays are very good at this. Well, actually, the Malaysian Chinese too are very good at this.

I suppose, as they say, the dog understands its master, especially when it licks its master’s ass every day. So, with so much ass-licking going on, the Chinese running dogs of the Malay lembus ape their masters very well indeed.

Hmm…dog, ape, lembu, ass -- quite an animal kingdom we have out there.

Anyway, the wayang kuilit that the Chinese dogs and the Malay lembus are playing is with regards to the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat state government of Penang.

MCA, the Chinese running dog, is alleging that since the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat government took over Penang in March 2008, the Chinese have been sidelined.

The Umno lembu, in turn, alleges that since the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat government took over Penang in March 2008, the Malays have been sidelined.

Hmm…come to think of it, this is the same allegation by the Indians. Hindraf alleges that since the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat government took over Penang in March 2008, the Indians have been sidelined.
Hold on, if ALL the Malays, Chinese and Indians have been sidelined since the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat government took over Penang in March 2008, then who the fuck is benefiting?

Okay, now I see it. Since the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat government took over Penang in March 2008, the Malays, Chinese and Indians have ALL been sidelined. The ones benefiting are the Mamaks.

Okay, guys and gals, time to boycott the Mamak shops and nasi kandar. They are already getting too rich since the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat government took over Penang in March 2008. They don’t need your money. The Penang state government is already making them super-rich.

This is a demonstration of what I mean by wayang kulit. 

The Chinese politicians will tell the Chinese that they are being sidelined since the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat government took over Penang in March 2008.

The Malay politicians will tell the Malays that they are being sidelined since the DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat government took over Penang in March 2008.

And the Indians, not wanting to be left out, will jump onto the bandwagon -- or, as the Malays would say, tumpang semangkuk (May I Come or MIC) -- and also allege that the Indians are being sidelined.

I suppose wayang kulit can work and people can be easily fooled by it when 90% of Malaysians and 50% of Malaysia Today’s readers are stupid.

Or are 50% of Malaysia Today’s readers stupid enough to believe this?
Well, let’s see come the next election.

Anyway, the statistics below can shed some light as to whether the Malays in Penang are really being sidelined. Even Umno Malays are getting contracts in Penang.

Isu Melayu Terpinggir 
(Pemuda Umno Malaysia) -- Berikutan isu orang Melayu terus terpinggir di Pulau Pinang, Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO Malaysia mencadangkan Perbadanan Pembangunan Pulau Pinang (PDC) diletakkan di bawah kuasa Timbalan Ketua Menteri, Datuk Abdul Rashid Abdullah.

Pengerusi Biro Ekonominya, Reezal Marican Naina Marican berkata, langkah itu akan dapat memastikan misi nasional iaitu usaha merapatkan jurang antara orang Melayu dan bukan Melayu khususnya di bandar tercapai.

Jelas beliau lagi cadangan tersebut juga bagi memastikan tumpuan dapat diberikan bagi membela nasib orang Melayu di negeri itu.

"Ketua Menteri, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon mempunyai banyak tanggungjawab besar terhadap pembangunan Pulau Pinang seperti agenda perindustrian dan pelaburan dan tidak dapat memberi tumpuan sepenuhnya kepada isu mikro.

"Oleh itu, adalah wajar jika tugas itu diserahkan kepada Timbalan Ketua Menteri yang juga wakil UMNO di Kerajaan Negeri," katanya dalam satu kenyataan di sini, hari ini.

Beliau menambah tindakan itu juga selaras dengan konsep perkongsian kuasa yang diamalkan Barisan Nasional (BN).

├ó€┼ôKeresahan orang Melayu yang melihat diri mereka terpinggir di Pulau Pinang dan dibangkitkan Pemuda UMNO negeri baru-baru ini sebenarnya tertumpu kepada masalah penempatan di bandar selain isu kemiskinan.

"Keresahan orang Melayu sememangnya berasas dan diakui sendiri Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dan Koh Tsu Koon," ujarnya.

Justeru, beliau berkata, PDC sebagai anak syarikat Perbadanan Kemajuan Ekonomi Negeri yang bertanggungjawab dalam pembangunan hartanah di negeri itu, adalah jentera yang sesuai untuk menangani keresahan itu.

Sebelum ini hampir semua Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO bahagian di Pulau Pinang membangkitkan cadangan penggiliran itu pada mesyuarat mereka yang sedang berlangsung ketika ini, sebagai tidak puas hati berhubung kegagalan kerajaan negeri membantu menjaga kepentingan orang Melayu. 

MCA Mengutuk Kerajaan Negeri
Tiada Kontrak untuk Kontraktor Cina bagi Projek Pengairan & Saliran Di Pulau Pinang

(Bernama) -- Ketua Wanita MCA Tan Cheng Liang mengutuk bahawa selepas Pakatan Rakyat mengambil alih kerajaan negeri,tiada satu pun kontraktor Cina mendapat kontrak di kelima-lima daerah di negeri ini.        
Tan berkata, Lim Guan Eng tidak boleh menafikan peranannya sebagai Ketua Menteri. Tindakannya ini telah membuktikan parti DAP telah menggunakan taktik" cina bertentang cina (Chinese against Chinese)" sekali gus mengugatkan hak kaum Cina selepas menjadi mereka dipilih memerintah kerajaan. 

"Saya tahu DAP tidak boleh menerima hakikat bahawa mereka tidak boleh bergantung kepada orang Cina untuk mengukuhkan kuasa politik. Saya berharap hak orang bukan Melayu tidak akan terkorban semata- mata untuk mengambil hati orang Melayu menjelang pilihanraya umum."

Tan juga berkata, DAP yang menggunakan slogan "Ubah" telah berjaya menewaskan kebanyakan wakil SUPP di Sarawak, tetapi ini tidak membawa sebarang perubahan tetapi  sebaliknya telah melemahkan perwakilan Cina dalam kerajaan.

Semalam, Lim Guan Eng mengumumkan bahawa kontraktor yang terlibat dalam projek pengairan dan saliran semuanya orang Melayu, Bumiputera dan India Muslim. Daripada keseluruhan, 20 peratus terdiri daripada kontraktor wanita. 

Tan bertanya "Saya tidak faham kenapa negeri Pulau Pinang yang kebanyakan penduduknya kaum Cina, kontraktor Cina satu kontrak pun tidak dapat, jangan kata semua kontraktor Cina tidak tahu maklumat tender terbuka untuk projek pengairan dan saliran yang sedang dijalankan? Ataupun permohonan mereka tidak pernah dipedulikan? "

Dia berkata, Lim Guan Eng selaku Ketua Menteri dan ADUN, haruslah memberi maklumat terperinci mengenai projek tersebut kepada semua rakyat. Ini bukan sahaja sahaja untuk memastikan persaingan adil antara kontraktor pelbagai kaum, tetapi juga untuk memastikan projek dapat dijalankan dengan lancarnya supaya kualiti projek terjamin dan membawa manfaat kepada semua.

Puasa dari makan nasi, wang dan orang

Buka puasa! (Pic by Amrufm @ Flickr)
UNTUK pertama kalinya saya menyambut Ramadan di Indonesia, negara yang mempunyai rakyat beragama Islam yang teramai di dunia. Lebih kurang 90% dari penduduknya yang seramai 270 juta orang ini beragama Islam. Namun, Indonesia tidak ada undang-undang menghukum orang yang makan dan minum di khalayak ramai semasa bulan puasa.
Malah, kegiatan harian diteruskan seperti biasa. Konsert tetap dianjurkan. Saya pergi ke Konsert Iwan Fals, penyanyi terkenal yang membawa tema isu masyarakat, di bulan puasa. Warung-warung dibuka dari tengah hari. Ibu-ibu bawa anak kecil ke warung untuk diberi makan dan ada beberapa anak muda juga membeli air. Di hari menyambut kemerdekaan Indonesia baru-baru ini, banyak gerai-gerai bergerak yang menjual makanan di sekitar kawasan perarakan. Kelihatan juga beberapa orang yang makan dan minum, tetapi tidak ramai.
Apa yang tidak kelihatan adalah kerlingan tajam atau sindiran, baik dari ibu-ibu penjual di warung atau dari orang-orang sekeliling yang melihat orang yang makan dan minum. Jauh sekali dari sikap sadis untuk memalukan orang yang makan itu di khalayak ramai. Mereka biasa-biasa saja. Mungkin kerana berbaik sangka bahawa yang minum dan makan itu adalah musafir, sakit atau uzur atau berpegang pada prinsip itu isu antara dia dan Tuhan yang Maha Mengetahui.
Perlukah undang-undang mengenai puasa?
Yang nyata, walau tiada hukuman terhadap orang yang makan dan minum di bulan puasa, tidak juga membuatkan berbondong-bondong orang makan di siang hari. Saya lihat majoriti anak-anak muda dan juga ibu-ibu yang menonton konsert Iwan Fals hanya makan dan minum waktu berbuka puasa.
Bukan saja Indonesia, masyarakat Islam di negara-negara seperti India, Thailand dan England juga tetap berpuasa walau tanpa sebarang ancaman hukuman. Iman mereka tidak menggelupur tergoda melihat orang sekeliling makan dan minum di depan mata. Niat tidak perlu diucap kuat-kuat. Bila memang sudah niat mahu puasa, walau bekerja sebagai tukang masak di hotel lima bintang yang harus menghidangkan makanan yang lazat-lazat dari pagi pun, dia akan tetap berpuasa.
Tirani orang berpuasa
Pak Goenawan (Wiki commons)
Saya tertarik dengan tulisan tokoh terkenal Indonesia, Pak Goenawan Mohamad, tentang isu puasa. Beliau mengkritik bagaimana orang berpuasa yang seharusnya bersabar dan bersedia melatih diri dalam menghadapi sebarang cubaan dan ujian, justeru menjadi takut pada godaan.
Kita yang berpuasa bukan saja minta dihormati, malah orang lain dikehendaki bersedia berkorban untuk kita. Kita menghalalkan mereka yang mengambil sikap agresif dengan memaki-maki dan menghukum sesiapa saja yang boleh membuatkan dia tergoda untuk makan dan minum. Kita menjadi seperti anak manja yang rasa berhak mendapat perlindungan istimewa dari sebarang bentuk ujian, sehingga meminta Negara menghukum sesiapa saja yang berani menggoda kita.
Maka wujudlah undang-undang untuk menangkap dan mendenda orang yang makan dan minum di khalayak ramai. Warung dan restoran tidak boleh menjual makanan sebelum pukul tiga petang. Peniaga bukan Islam pun turut dikenakan tindakan kerana menjual makanan pada orang Islam di siang hari.
Padahal, puasa bukan sekadar menahan diri dari makan dan minum, tetapi juga menahan diri dari membazir, menyakiti dan menganiaya orang lain. Puasa seharusnya mengajar kita supaya menjadi orang yang sabar, beretika, baik hati, tidak sadis serta menghormati dan berbaik sangka terhadap orang lain.
Pengalaman di Indonesia
Sepanjang bulan Ramadan di Jakarta, saya menghadiri acara diskusi sebelum dan selepas berbuka puasa yang dianjurkan oleh gereja-gereja. Penceramah-penceramah undangan adalah tokoh-tokoh Islam terkemuka seperti Ahmad Syafi’I Maarif, mantan Ketua Muhammadiyah (pertubuhan Islam yang sangat besar) dan kiyai pesantren (ulama madrasah).
Gereja menyediakan ruang untuk orang-orang Islam sembahyang Maghrib. Mungkin ramai orang Islam merasa “memang sewajarnyalah begitu”. Ujian litmus untuk kita sebenarnya. Pertama sekali, apakah imam-imam kita sudi mengundang tokoh-tokoh bukan Islam untuk berdiskusi di masjid? Demikian juga, berapa ramai orang Islam yang rasa sewajarnya untuk orang Islam beri ruang pada orang Kristian atau penganut agama lain bersembahyang (menurut cara agama mereka) di dalam masjid? Jika ada yang terkedip mata, ternganga, seriau dan ngilu, maka pertanyakan kembali apakah sinar ibadah puasa telah menyirami dan meresapi jiwa kita?
Ibu Sinta Nuriyah (Wiki commons)
Saya juga menghadiri acara diskusi sebelum buka puasa di sebuah pesantren (madrasah) dengan penceramah undangan Ibu Sinta Nuriyah, isteri mantan Presiden Indonesia Abdurrahman Wahid. Ibu Sintha menganjurkan sikap toleransi dan menghormati hak berkeyakinan semua manusia, walau apa pun kepercayaan dan agama mereka. Beliau juga mengajak kita lebih peka dan cuba memahami masalah orang lain dan menahan diri dari sikap egois dan keras.
Beberapa tokoh Kristian dan Hindu juga hadir di acara itu. Walaupun Ibu Sinta gembira berdiskusi dengan tokoh-tokoh agama dan penduduk di Bogor, namun beliau sebenarnya terkejut kerana beliau lebih mengharapkan dapat berbuka puasa bersama golongan miskin dan yang termaginalisasi seperti yang biasa beliau lakukan.
Ibu Sintha  memang sering bersahur dan berbuka puasa dengan golongan yang terpinggir dan masyarakat berpendapatan rendah seperti peniaga pasar, penarik beca dan penyapu sampah. Beliau berdialog bersama mereka dan makan apa yang mereka makan, di tempat mereka hidup dan bekerja, sama ada di pasar atau di bawah jambatan. Sangat mudah untuk mengadakan “open house” dan mengundang masyarakat yang miskin.
Akan tetapi, memerlukan kerendahan hati yang tulus untuk pergi memasuki alam masyarakat miskin dan turut sama merasakan kejerihan hidup yang mereka lalui. Saya tidak pernah dengar ada pembesar-pembesar atau tokoh-tokoh agama di Malaysia yang berbuat perkara yang sama.
Kayu ukur kejayaan puasa
Dengan hanya memastikan umat Islam berpuasa di bulan Ramadan, apakah ia simbol kejayaan penguatkuasa dan tokoh-tokoh agama? Apakah kayu ukur untuk menilai kejayaan ibadah puasa itu? Apakah masyarakat Islam langsung lebih berjimat dalam perbelanjaan, tidak membazir, tidak sombong dan angkuh, tidak mengambil rasuah dan menyalahgunakan kuasa serta lebih terdorong untuk membantu memperbaiki mutu kehidupan orang yang lemah, miskin atau tidak berupaya?
Apakah umat Islam mula melihat dunia dari kacamata yang penuh kasih sayang, empati, memahami dan bertolak ansur serta lebih bersemangat untuk menegakkan keadilan dan mempertahankan hak orang tertindas? Seorang kiyai pesantren mengingatkan puasa bukan sekadar tidak makan nasi, tetapi juga tidak makan wang dan tidak makan orang.
Dalam hal-hal ibadah yang berkaitan dengan Tuhan, ia adalah hubungan peribadi antara makhluk dan Tuhannya. Justeru, hanya Allah swt sahaja yang menghakimi nilai ibadah kita dan hanya terpulang kepadaNya untuk menerimanya.
Tugas Negara adalah mewujudkan mekanisma mantap yang dapat melindungi manusia dari sebarang bentuk penganiayaan dan kezaliman. Banyak lagi hal-hal kemanusiaan yang belum beres, seperti bagaimana memastikan orang-orang yang lemah, teraniaya dan terpinggir serta golongan minoriti mendapatkan keadilan, hak dan bantuan. Bagaimana undang-undang dapat memastikan golongan minoriti seperti penganut agama dan kepercayaan lain terjaga haknya? Bagaimana memastikan para isteri dan anak-anak tidak didera, dizalimi dan teraniaya?
Apakah makna puasa?
Yang pasti, kejayaan puasa bukan sekadar menahan diri dari makan dan minum selama sebulan. Puasa juga tentunya bukan untuk meingkatkan sifat ke’aku’an sehingga kita menjadi orang yang terlalu mementingkan diri sendiri. Apalah makna puasa pada:
  bapa-bapa yang enggan bayar harta sepencarian serta nafkah pada bekas isteri dan anak-anak;
  suami-suami berpoligami yang masih tidak berlaku adil pada isteri-isteri dan ana-anaknya;
  orang-orang yang sentiasa buruk sangka malah memfitnah dan menzalimi penganut agama lain;
  orang yang tetap mengambil rasuah dan menyalahgunakan kuasa; dan,
  orang yang masih menyakiti orang lain samada secara emosi, mental atau fizikal.
Di bulan Ramadan yang mulia ini kita menyaksikan Ezam Mohd Noor dan Datuk Ibrahim Ali yang mengambil sikap keras dalam menghadapi isu.  Atas nama Islam, mereka merasa berhak mengugut untuk membakar bangunan-bangunan media yang mereka tidak senangi.
Masya’allah … apakah makna puasa?

Oz Court Decision on Refugees Creates a Quandary

Maybe try Nauru
Both Malaysia and Australia ask what next
(Asia Sentinel) The decision Wednesday by Australia’s highest court to void the so-called “Malaysia Solution,” in which Australia would swap refugees with Malaysia, leaves both countries in a continuing quandary.

Under the policy, announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in May, Australia would have accepted 4,000 certified refugees from Malaysia, most of them Christian or Buddhist Burmese, in exchange for 800 asylum seekers who were to be sent to Malaysia. The 4,000 that Australia wished to trade, including unaccompanied children, are currently held on Christmas Island, 2,750 km from Darwin. They are believed to be mostly Muslims. The scheme was an attempt to stem a continuing influx into Australia from poverty-stricken or war-torn countries, particularly Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

The idea behind the swap – to be paid for by the Australian government – was to both seek to come up with a regional solution and to put an end to dangerous boat trips. However, the scheme ran afoul of the fact that Malaysia, like many other Southeast Asian nations, is not a signatory to the United Nations Convention on Refugees and thus, according to lawyers arguing in the High Court against the plan, there was no way to guarantee that the refugees to be swapped would be treated humanely. The decision also appears to doom Australian plans to send some refugees to Manus Island, a part of Papua New Guinea, or anyplace else in Southeast Asia. East Timor has also been suggested as a processing option.

The swap, of a total of just 4,800 refugees, is only a small part of a major problem, as poor or oppressed Asians, like their millions of counterparts from Latin America and Africa who are seeking to get into the United States or the Eurozone, have acquired both the knowledge that there are better places to live out there, and the ambition and means to get there. Senior Asian and European officials are to meet next week in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, next week to discuss the challenge of dealing with immigration and attempts to prevent trafficking.

Malaysia and Australia are perhaps the two biggest magnets for refugees in Asia – Australia because it is a tidy, resource-rich country with an annual per-capital gross domestic product by purchasing power parity of US$41,000, Malaysia because it sits next to Indonesia, which is neither tidy nor rich. Malaysia’s GDP by PPP is US$14,700 annually, three times that of Indonesia’s at US$4,200. Malaysia’s borders, especially in East Malaysia where it abuts the Indonesian province of Kalimantan not to mention across the Strait of Malacca, are porous.

There are believed to be as many as 2 million Indonesian illegal migrants or more – some estimates go as high as 3 million -- living and working in Malaysia. Tens of thousands more have arrived from Burma. The Indonesians have raised the political temperature not only because they might now make up more than 10 percent of the country’s population of 28.3 million but because the Chinese and Indian ethnic minorities have accused the government of seeking to register them as citizens to tilt the always-sensitive racial balance in favor of ethnic Malays. The government periodically initiates crackdowns to attempt to send them home, to little avail. As in the west, most have crossed the border or the strait because they are willing to do the jobs that richer people won’t.

Likewise, immigration has been an issue for three decades in Australia, whose population is 22.6 million, because of the flood of migrants, and not just illegal ones. Some 300,000 new legal migrants had been expected to arrive in 2009 and 2009 before the government announced a 14 percent cut in intake and later cut back again. Unlike Malaysia, where the Indonesians are culturally and religiously akin to the majority of the locals, Australians, especially conservative ones, fear the new arrivals will change the complexion of the country.

According to a background note prepared for the Australian parliament, most undocumented aliens arrive in Australia by air and filter into the general population. There are believed to be as many as 100,000 of them in the country, many of them in white-collar jobs. But it is the boat people who have caused Australia’s biggest problem, fleeing political violence or poverty in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Indochina and other areas of Asia.

It is more an emotional problem. The boat people number a fraction of those who arrive by other means. In the seven years between 2001 and February 2008, only 1,637 people had been detained in facilities on the islands of Nauru and Manus. Of those, 70 percent were resettled in Australia or other countries. Untold hundreds of others are believed to have drowned.

Mandatory detention was introduced in 1992 by the Keating government and has been the law ever since, with the exception of a period between 1999 and 2002 and from the middle of 2009 to the present as boat arrivals have continued to increase.

The government has remained committed to mandatory detention, offshore processing, and if necessary turning the boats around at sea and sending them somewhere else, which resulted in a major controversy several years ago when 433 asylum seekers were rescued by a Norwegian freighter that was refused entry to Australia. The ship’s master, however, defied the order and did enter Australian waters. The refugees were eventually transferred to another ship and sent to Nauru.

That controversy gave rise to the so-called “Pacific solution,” in which the islands of Christmas, Ashmore, Cartier and Cocos were excised from the migration zone. Anybody seeking a visa to enter Australia from one of those islands was not allowed to do so unless the Immigration Minister determined it was in the public interest.

The Rudd and Gillard governments have sought since 2007 to come up with a different solution. According to a December, 2010, report, processing freezes on detainees “has placed significant pressure on immigration detention facilities.” The government responded by moving detainees from Christmas Island to mainland facilities. However, by December 2010, 25 percent of the detainees had been held for three to six months, and 40 percent of them had been there between six months and a year.

Thus the “Malaysia Solution,” announced in May, under which Australia would simply swap refugees it wanted to take in with those from Malaysia. That option is now probably off the table, along with any other Asian nations that have not signed the UN convention on refugees. Its failure at the hands of the court probably means facilities “rented” by the Australian government on the island of Nauru will have to be reopened to accommodate those who have arrived since the Malaysian Solution was signed.

The fallout for the Gillard government has been considerable, with the newly energized Conservatives claiming it was the latest in a long string of disasters that began years ago when the Rudd government first sought to change the policy. With the fleeing Afghans and Sri Lankans increasing in numbers, now the government is going to have to try to figure out where to put them.

Humane decision as Malaysian plan springs a leak

David Marr
The Sydney Morning Herald
September 1, 2011

‘A devastating blow for the government’
It’s about fairness. For a long time the High Court has ticked off on the remarkable difficulties Australia puts in the way of asylum seekers who come here by boat. Even mandatory detention for life has been given the nod by the court. But lately the judges have ruled boat people must at least be dealt with fairly while they are caught up in the system.

Yesterday’s emphatic six to one decision extended that principle to those men, women and children Australia had wanted to send away to Malaysia. The court could find no guarantee they would be dealt with fairly once they arrived there. So the minister Chris Bowen’s choice of Malaysia as a safe haven was declared invalid.

It was not enough, said the Chief Justice Robert French, for the minister to have a “hope or belief or expectation” that the asylum seekers would be dealt with properly by Malaysia. They needed laws to protect them now and in the years ahead. “It is an agreed fact,” French observed, “that Malaysia does not recognise the status of refugees in domestic law”.

The court was not plucking these human rights obligations out of the air. When the ”Pacific solution” was hurriedly set up in 2001, strict criteria were laid down in the Migration Act to identify the kinds of countries we might export asylum seekers to. These safe havens had to allow refugee assessment and meet “relevant human rights standards” in protecting asylum seekers before and after that assessment process.

Bowen brought to the court the arrangement he signed with Malaysia, the Malaysia order exempting the 800 we planned to send there from the harsh provisions of local laws – fines, whippings and imprisonment – and his own sense that “the Malaysian government had made a significant conceptual shift in its thinking about how it wanted to treat refugees and asylum seekers”.

Six of the judges declared this was not enough. Justices William Gummow, Ken Hayne, Susan Crennan and Virginia Bell said in their joint judgment that access to the protections demanded by law must be provided by Malaysia “as a matter of legal obligation”.

Bowen brought to court Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advice on the harsh reality in Malaysia for the 100,000 or so asylum seekers – mainly Burmese – already living there. The minister claimed the advice backed his declaration of Malaysia as a safe haven. But six of the judges declared, on the contrary, that the advice demonstrated Malaysia could not meet the requirements of Australian law.

Justice Dyson Heydon was the government’s only friend in court. All Malaysia had to provide, he said, was “practical access, practical protections, and a meeting of standards in practice”. He cautioned that Australia’s dealings with Malaysia “are within the province of the Executive. Intrusion by the courts into those dealings may be very damaging to international comity and good relations”.

Perhaps the best ammunition the plaintiffs had were the reiterated claims by governments through the years that every tough action taken against boat people was an expression – not a repudiation – of Australia’s obligations under the refugee conventions. The court took the politicians at their word and reached yesterday’s humane conclusion.

Nauru and Manus may survive under their ruling – with strict legal safeguards in place – but if Canberra wants to try once again to set up machinery as vindictive as the Malaysian plan, it’s going to have to come clean and admit, for the first time, that we are backing away from our international obligations. Admit that fact and almost any law is possible.

Or Canberra will now abandon these schemes to send our problems away and do what other countries do and the recent Nielsen poll showed most Australians want: simply assess these people here.

Apologise To The People, Says Puteri Umno To Mat Sabu

Apologise To The People, Says Puteri Umno To Mat Sabu
PAPAR, Sept 1 (Bernama) -- Puteri Umno chief Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin said PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu should apologise for insinuating that the perpetrators in the Bukit Kepong offensive were the real heroes.

"He should realise that had it not been for the sacrifice of our freedom fighters, he and his family would not have been able to enjoy the peace that the country enjoys," she said at her Hari Raya Open House at the community hall here today.

She regarded the statement by Mohamad Sabu who is also known as Mat Sabu as totally irresponsible and disheartening to the families of the Bukit Kepong heroes, particularly at this time when Aidilfitri and Merdeka Day should be doubly celebrated with joy.

Mat Sabu allegedly remarked during a talk in Penang on Aug 21 that the communist guerillas who attacked and killed 25 police personnel and their families in the Bukit Kepong tragedy were the real heroes as they were actually fighting the British.

He later clarified the remark, stating that those who attacked Bukit Kepong were heroes because they were freedom fighters, and not because they attacked Malay policemen.