Share |

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

INDIAN AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS FORUM

(718) 478-5735/(718) 271-0453
Katarian@aol.com
PRESS RELEASE:
APPEAL TO SAVE HINDUS AND SIKHS FROM EXTINCTION IN PAKISTAN

We are appalled and horrified to know that over one hundred Hindu families (about 500 people) in Pakistan’s Balochistan province are making frantic efforts to seek political asylum in India after becoming the target of a campaign of vilification, demonization, kidnapping and extortion by Jihadists supported by Pakistan’s spy agency ISI.


Over the last 5 years, more than 5,000 Hindus have already moved from Pakistan’s Sind province to Rajasthan, India. Their tattered clothes, emotionless faces and vacuous eyes tell their dismal tale. Most of these Hindus refugees look like zombies.


Although no figures are made available, anecdotal evidence and human rights groups say that persecution and conversion of Hindus and Sikhs have risen in the last two years, with temples and gurudwaras being desecrated and worshippers being attacked.


According to Basant Lal Gulshan, Balochistan’s Minorities Affair Minister “forty-one Hindus were abducted during the past three years and four more were killed when they resisted kidnapping attempts.


In the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), Talibans have warned Hindu men to grow beard and Hindu women to wear burqa in order to avoid being beaten or fined by Lashkar extremists.


Last year, Islamic militants directed Sikh community in the NWFP either to convert to Islam, leave the land of their forefathers or pay 12 million rupees ($140,000) jizya – the medieval tax levied on non-Muslims in Islamic state.

‘DNA” reported in its issue of May 28, 2010 that over 50 Pakistani Hindus have converted to Islam in the Sialkot district of Punjab within a week (between May 14 and May 19) under pressure from their Muslim employers in a bid to retain their jobs and survive in the Muslim-dominated society.


Hindu women are raped. Men are harassed, beaten up or slain, and children are abducted. Harassment and torture of minorities – Hindus and Christians - in Pakistan is going on unabated. In the latest matter, a Hindu girl near Karachi, Pakistan, was abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and kept in a Muslim mosque in Pakistan. It is the Taliban effect.


At the time of Partition of India in 1947, there were somewhere between 20 to 24% Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan. They were forced to convert to Islam or leave the country. In the last 63 years Hindus and Sikhs have been ethnically cleansed from Pakistan.


It is not only Hindus and Sikhs who suffer indignity and humiliation; Christians are also treated like criminals, and charges of blasphemy are leveled against them on the flimsiest of excuses.


In March, 2010, Dr. Manjit Singh Randhawa, President of Sikh Nation Organisation, had appealed to the United Nations against forced conversion and racial discrimination of minorities (Hindus and Sikhs) to prevail upon Pakistan to repeal the 'Nizam-e-Adl 2009 Regulation' that has "legitimized and legalized tyranny" by 'Taliban', in complete disregard to its international commitments under various UN Conventions, to safeguard Human Rights of its citizens within international borders of Pakistan.


Jihadists in collaboration with Pakistan military have radicalized Pakistani society in the most dangerous manner. In a show of strength, on January 9, 2011, over 40,000 Islamists gathered in the streets in Karachi, the capital of Sind province in Pakistan, under the banner of Tahaffauz-e-Namoos-e-Risalat which is a conglomerate of religious parties opposed to amendments of the country's blasphemy laws. They showed support in favor of Mumtaz Quadri, the assassin of Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, and showered him with rose petals. Speakers at the meeting openly threatened to kill anyone supporting amendment to blasphemy law while 3,000 police officers watched them helplessly. Mumtaz Quadri was promised legal help by 200 lawyers. For more information on this you may contact Gopinath Kumar, Editor-in-Chief of Pakistan Hindu Post at http://pakistanhindupost.blogspot.com.


Hindus and Sikhs in Pakistan are facing an uncertain future. Their plight is miserable. They live in fear of abduction for ransom, armed robberies and murder.


Under the circumstances, we appeal to the governments of India, the USA, the United Nations, and all global human rights groups to stop egregious human rights violations and rescue these hapless Hindus, Sikhs and Christians from the jaws of death as soon as possible.


Narain Kataria

President


Cc:

Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

Hon. Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, Washington

Hon. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,

New York

Hon. Meera Shankar, Ambassader, Embassy of India, Washington,

for necessary action as deemed fit

Hon. Prabhu Dayal, Consul General of India in New York, for

necessary action as deemed fit.

Hon. Faqir Syed Asif Hussain, Consul General of Pakistan,

New York, for necessary action as deemed fit.

Outgoing CJ defends judges-PM meet

(Malaysiakini) The meeting between Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the judges today will not compromise the independence of the judiciary, outgoing Chief Justice Zaki Azmi says.

Zaki, 66, who will retire on Monday, said the visit would not interfere in the administration of justice as alleged by certain quarters. 

council of judges conference 070911The meeting was meant to brief the premier on how federal government funds were being used to improve the court delivery system, Zaki told reporters.

The judiciary had asked for an allocation of RM130 million for the courts for recording transcriptions and the judiciary's national e-filing system.
"Mind you, we do not appoint any consultants for this transformation," he said. 

Zaki, 66, who will retire on Monday, also said the such meetings were not new and that there had been a similar meeting with then premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad on two occassions. 

"It is nothing out of the ordinary as alleged (by certain quarters) as the judges' conference had been planned six months ago and the prime minister informed us of wanting to visit the court only last week.

"There is nothing hidden in the meeting as suggested. It will not affect our impartiality and independence in delivering judgments," he said in reference to the Council of Judges Conference held today in Kuala Lumpur.

Zaki said this was out in the open for all to see.
A total of 130 judges from the High Court, Court of Appeal and Federal Court will be meeting the prime minister at the Palace of Justice.

Umno seleweng fakta sejarah

Umno menggunakan analogi yang salah apabila mengaitkan parti itu sahaja yang memperjuangkan kemerdekaan.

COMMENT - FMT
Jika anda tidak percaya bahawa Umno sudah putus tali hayat sebagai sebuah parti politik yang berpengaruh, anda perlu lihat sahaja kepada pimpinannya yang memperalatkan seluruh aparatus propaganda guna untuk menyerang Timbalan Presiden PAS Mohamad Sabu.

Namun adalah wajar mereka bertindak sedemikian jika sekiranya Mohamad Sabu atau lebih mesra dipanggil Mat Sabu melakukan kesalahan tetapi sebenarnya beliau tidak melakukan apa-apa kesalahan.

Mat Sabu hanya mendedahkan mitos atau kepercayaan bahawa hanya Umno merupakan satu-satunya golongan yang berjuang dan mendapatkan kemerdekaan Malaya dari cengkaman penjajah British.

Kenyataan Mat Sabu yang menyanjung Muhammad Indera (atau lebih mesra disebut Mat Indera) sebagai pejuang kemerdekaan hanya dalam konteks untuk membidas Umno yang memutar belit fakta peristiwa Bukit Kepong.

Umno menyeleweng fakta sejarah bahawa peristiwa serangan ke atas Bukit Kepong yang diulang-ulang pada setiap Hari Kemerdekaan kerana mahu memberi gambaran bahawa parti itu sahaja yang memperjuangkan kemerdekaan negara.

Kecaman terhadap Mat Sabu

Mereka menyerang Mat Sabu berdasarkan kenyataan positif beliau tentang Mat Indera.  Mereka mengecam Mat Sabu dan termasuk PAS, kerana kononnya memuji komunis dan memberi gambaran baik tentang komunisme dan bercita-cita menukar negara ini menjadi sebuah republik.

Dengan menggunakan seluruh kekuatan, Umno menyerang pendirian Mat Sabu yang didakwa menyokong sistem komunis.

Tetapi tidakkah mereka dapat berfikir sejenak bahawa Mat Sabu tidak  pernah pun menyebut perkataan “komunis” atau “komunisme” dalam ucapannya?

Dalam usaha mencari kebenaran, mari kita merenung kembali ucapan Mat Sabu, yang disampaikan dalam satu ceramah di Tasek Gelugor, Pulau Pinang pada 21 Ogos lalu:

“Apabila Hari Kemerdekaan menjelang tiba program televisyen akan menayangkan peristiwa serangan ke atas Bukit Kepong.  Anggota- anggota polis yang mati ketika peristiwa itu adalah mereka yang berkhidmat dengan kerajaan British.

“Mereka yang menyerang Bukit Kepong adalah sebenarnya para pejuang menuntut kemerdekaan.  Perajurit  yang menyerang Bukit

Kepong ialah Mat Indera.  Beliau adalah seorang Melayu, tetapi namanya tidak disebut dalam buku-buku sejarah.

“Jins Shamsudin membuat filem ini.  Jins Shamsudin dari Umno. Filemnya tentang Bukit Kepong memberi gambaran bahawa para penyerang sebagai petualang.

“Para anggota polis adalah polis British.  Selepas merdeka, negara kita diperintah oleh British.  Tetapi dalam filem, British digambarkan sebagai hero manakala para pejuang kemerdekaan dianggap sebagai teroris.”

Mat Sabu juga dalam ucapannya berkata Umno telah menggunakan Hari Merdeka untuk mencari nama dan menafikan peranan gerakan -gerakan lain selain Umno yang turut memberi sumbangan ke arah kemerdekaan.

Latar belakang sejarah

Untuk memahami isu ini dengan lebih baik, mari kita lihat insiden Bukit Kepong dari perspektif sejarah yang sebenar.

Ketika itu tahun 1950, dua tahun selepas pengisytiharan Darurat (untuk menangani pemberontakan bersenjata Parti Komunis Malaya (PKM)) dan tujuh tahun sebelum negara mencapai kemerdekaan.

Peristiwa itu berlaku pada kemuncak perang gurila yang diisytihar oleh PKM untuk merebut kemerdekaan daripada penjajah British.

Pada malam 23 Februari 1950, segerombolan pejuang kemerdekaan menyerang sebuah balai polis di Bukit Kepong, Johor dan membunuh 25 orang, kebanyakannya anggota polis dan ahli keluarga mereka.
Serangan ini diketuai oleh Mat Indera, seorang Melayu, dan anggota-anggota polis juga orang Melayu, yang berkhidmat dengan kerajaan British.

Insiden ini merupakan salah satu titik hitam dari ruang lingkup perang gurila yang lebih besar di antara para pejuang kemerdekaan yang diterajui oleh PKM di satu pihak dan kerajaan British yang berusaha keras untuk mempertahankan penjajahannya di satu pihak yang lain.

Soalan yang kita hendak kemukakan kepada Umno ialah: memandangkan ini merupakan perang gurila untuk menuntut kemerdekaan, bagaimana Mat Sabu boleh dikatakan salah apabila beliau berkata Ma Indera berjuang untuk kemerdekaan?

Dan, bagaimana boleh dianggap Mat Sabu bersalah apabila beliau berkata anggota-anggota polis yang mati adalah kepunyaan British?

Tidakkah mereka berkhidmat untuk kerajaan penjajah? Tidakkah mereka berperang untuk melindungi kerajaan penjajah?

Memandangkan tidak ada perkataan “komunis” atau “komunisme” yang pernah disebut oleh Mat Sabu, bagaimana Umno boleh membuat kesimpulan bahawa Mat Sabu memuji atau mengagung-agungkan komunis atau komunisme?

Alam fantasi


Bukankah para pemimpin Umno dan aparatus propagandanya melangkah ke alam fantasi apabila menuduh PAS ada hubungan dengan komunis?

Adakah benar apa yang disebut oleh Mat Sabu ialah Umno menggunakan analogi yang salah apabila menampil diri atas dakwaan yang salah – bahawa mereka sahaja yang berjuang untuk kemerdekaan?

Apa yang disebut oleh Mat Sabu tidak ada kena mengena dengan komunisme.  Apa yang disebut beliau tidak juga bertujuan merendah- rendahkan sumbangan para pemimpin Melayu dalam gerakan mencapai kemerdekaan negara ini – seperti yang dituduh dan disalaherti oleh para pemimpin Umno.

Mengenai peranan PKM dalam perjuangan menuntut kemerdekaan, kita harus berkata begini.  Walaupun kita tidak suka komunis atau bersetuju dengan ideologi komunis, tetapi tidak dapat dinafikan bahawa PKM telah berjuang untuk mencapai kemerdekaan.

Malahan, PKM terpaksa membayar harga yang mahal kerana banyak daripada mereka yang terkorban sehingga mendorong Queen Elizabeth memendekkan tempoh peralihan kuasa kepada pewaris-pewaris (Perikatan) yang dipilihnya untuk meneruskan legasinya.

Dalam hubungan ini, perjuangan PKM telah mempercepatkan proses kemerdekaan.

Walaupun dilindungi oleh gerombolan komunis, tidak semua adalah komunis, kerana ramai yang menyertai perang gurila bukan untuk berkhidmat dengan komunisme tetapi berjuang untuk membebaskan negara ini dari penjajahan.

Gabungan berbagai pertubuhan

Berhubung dengan dakwaan Umno bahawa mereka sahaja yang berjuang untuk kemerdekaan, dakwaan ini jauh dari benar. Selain PKM, gerakan nasionalis lain telah pun bekerja keras sejurus selepas tamat Perang Dunia Kedua (sejak Umno belum ditubuhkan lagi) turutberjuang untuk menuntut kemerdekaan.

Gerakan-gerakan ini bergerak di bawah dua gabungan, Pusat Tenaga Rakyat (Putera) yang merangkumi pertubuhan-pertubuhan Melayu, Majlis Tindakan Bersama (AMCJA – All-Malayan Council of Joint Action), sebuah gabungan kesatuan dan pertubuhan pelbagai kaum termasuk PKM.

Kedua-dua gabungan ini bertindak untuk bersama-sama memberi tekanan kepada kerajaan British untuk memberi kemerdekaan (ketika itu Malaya), termasuk penggubalan Perlembagaan Rakyat yang dicadangkan pada 1947 namun British menolak cadangan ini.

Ketika kerajaan memburu gerakan-gerakan ini, yang mengakibatkan ramai pemimpin ditahan, beberapa pemimpin nasionalis termasuk Mat Indera, bergabung dengan PKM bagi meneruskan perjuangan menuntut kemerdekaan melalui pemberontakan bersenjata.

Sepertimana disebutkan sebelum ini, pemberontakan bersenjata inilah, yang bermula pada 1948 apabila Darurat diisytiharkan, yang terus mendesak dan mengakibatkan British mempercepatkan proses penyerahanan kuasa.

Gabungan inilah yang membawa kemerdekaan Malaya pada 1957.  Namun kita harus mengakui bahawa Perikatan – Umno, MCA dan MIC – sebagai gabungan parti-parti politik yang disukai oleh British memainkan peranan penting ketika rundingan untuk mencapai kemerdekaan.

Tetapi untuk Umno mendakwa bahawa mereka sahaja yang berusaha untuk mendapatkan kemerdekaan, sepertimana yang tercatat dalam buku-buku sejarah, malahan dengan mengenepikan peranan rakan sendiri seperti MCA dan MIC, adalah suatu bentuk ketidakadilan kerana rakyat bukan dari parti Umno turut memberi sumbangan.

Dari perspektif ini, Mat Sabu yang menimbulkan contoh Bukit Kepong telah memberi kesedaran kepada rakyat terhadap penyelewengan sejarah oleh Umno.

Pejuang kemerdekaan


Gerakan nasionalis lain, termasuk pemimpin pejuang kemerdekaan seperti Burhanuddin al-Helmy dan Ahmad Boestamam, termasuk PKM, juga memberi sumbangan yang bermakna ke arah mempercepatkan proses kemerdekaan.

Oleh itu, kempen untuk memburuk-burukan Mat Sabu oleh Umno, adalah suatu propaganda jahat bertujuan untuk mengalih sokongan dari PAS dan Pakatan Rakyat.

Umno terpaksa menggunakan strategi yang kebudak-budakan dan rapuh ini untuk meraih sokongan rakyat dan melestarikan nasib masa depannya yang kian meruncing.

Tindakan ini jelas menunjukkan Umno kini kehilangan taring sebagai  sebuah parti politik kerana ia tidak memiliki keyakinan untuk bertanding di atas platfom yang sah dan sama rata.

PM’s tea with judges implies political tampering, say legal eagles

Najib’s public tea session with the judges is being seen as the first such meeting in the country. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — The annual Conference of Judges that kicks off today will include, for possibly the first time, a meeting with the prime minister that critics say will further erode public confidence in the independence of the judiciary.


The Malaysian Insider understands that the judges were initially scheduled to discuss writing judgments this afternoon but a last minute change meant a trip to Putrajaya to meet Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a delegation led by outgoing Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi.

Zaki, who set a record for being the fastest-rising judge when he was appointed to the top post after spending less than three years on the Bench, will be clocking out on Friday.

Judicial sources said the initial conference agenda focused on judgments as the paperwork is crucial to close disputes brought to court and can mean life or death in criminal cases. There was also supposed to be a briefing on arbitration.

“This has never happened during my time,” retired judge Datuk Shaik Daud Ismail replied to The Malaysian Insider when asked if there had been any similar meetings between the head of the executive branch of government and the judicial arm of government in past conferences.

Shaik Daud was first appointed to the High Court in 1984 and stepped down from the Court of Appeal in June 2001.

According to a copy of the conference schedule obtained yesterday by The Malaysian Insider, the judges are to attend the opening ceremony at the JW Marriott Hotel here from 8.30am before boarding a bus after lunch to the yellow-domed Palace of Justice (PoJ) in the national administrative capital some 34km away to meet and take pictures with Najib at 5pm.

After the photo session, Najib will be given a tour of an in-house museum and the courtrooms before being escorted to the top judge’s chambers by the judiciary’s top four — incoming-CJ Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria, newly-appointed Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif, Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Richard Malanjum, and Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.
The annual judges’ meeting ends with a tea party with the PM in the august courthouse’s banquet hall.

Lawyer Ragunath Kesavan, who is the immediate past president of the Malaysian Bar, denounced the judiciary’s likely unprecedented meeting with the prime minister during an official conference to discuss its duties, as a “blurring of lines between the separate branches of government”.

He said the fact that the meeting will be photographed made it worse.

“The meeting between the prime minister and the judiciary at the judges’ conference implies there is no separation of powers,” he told The Malaysian Insider when contacted last night.

“The photo session makes it worse because it is important that the public perceives the judges to be independent,” Ragunath added, explaining that capturing the PM together with judges during a meet meant to discuss the judiciary’s duties and responsibilities was different from a law conference which talks about disputes.

The judiciary, which has been cast under a cloud since the 1988 controversial sacking of its top judge, former Lord President Tun Salleh Abas, has been under even heavier fire after Election 2008 when Zaki, a former Umno lawyer, was picked to be Chief Justice.

Zaki has introduced several measures to speed up cases and ensure judgments are issued on time but his retirement has been touched by controversy over amendments that allow him to get a full pension despite serving just a few years in the judiciary.

Respect our law, Jakarta tells KL

The Sun
by Alyaa Alhadjri


KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 7, 2011): The practice of allowing Malaysian employers to directly recruit Indonesian domestic maids, a practice prohibited by Jakarta, has irked its embassy. It wants the Malaysian government to respect Indonesian law.

The embassy’s minister counsellor for information, social and cultural affairs Suryana Sastradiredja said yesterday it was wrong for the Malaysian governmennt to allow direct recruitment of Indonesian domestic helpers “as it contempt of Indonesian law”.

“Malaysia should not attempt to create problems with Indonesia which has always been a good neighbour, and the two countries have a long history of strong bilateral ties,” he told theSun.

His comment comes in the wake of Labour Department director-general Datuk Sheikh Yahya Sheikh Mohamed’s statement on Monday that the practice of direct recruitment is not barred by Malaysia.

Sheikh Yahaya was quoted as saying that the government will not stop Malaysians from directly recruiting maids from Indonesia as there was a high demand for maids following the two-year ban on maids coming
to Malaysia via employment agencies.

“We will only stop the direct hiring when the ban by Indonesia on the hiring of their domestic workers is lifted,” he said. However, he added that Malaysia was “not desperate” as maids were also being recruited from 11 other countries.

Suryana said as the Malaysian government was aware of Indonesian law No. 39/2004 on placement and protection of its workforce overseas, it should immediately stop issuing permits to Indonesian domestic helpers who initially came in under social visit passes.

“If you (Malaysia) say you are not desperate, please stop issuing the work permits. You have to respect the laws of another country,” he said.

Suryana said recruitment and placement agencies play an important role to protect the rights of Indonesian domestic helpers working overseas.

“If the maids run into any problems with their employers, the agents can be held accountable to offer assistance. On other hand, maids who are directly recruited may be exposed to the threats of human trafficking and our government has no way of tracking them down,” he said.

Suryana also took a swipe at Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) acting president Jeffrey Foo who on Monday urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to intervene in the execution of terms set out under a revised memorandum of understanding (MoU) for Indonesian maid employment.

It has been more than three months since the MoU was signed in Bandung, but to date, Indonesian agencies have yet to start sending in the maids.

Foo claimed it was due to Indonesia’s unhappiness with the RM1,800 agency fee stipulated in the MoU, as it was “too low” to cover their agencies’ costs for providing training, travel and accommodation for the maids.

“The Indonesian government engaged the agencies and related NGOs before the fees and other details of the MoU were finalised with Malaysia,” stressed Suryana.

However, as Indonesia is also supplying maids to other countries which pay more and since the cost structure is determined by market forces, the agencies’ decision to send their maids, or the maids’ decision to work in countries other than Malaysia, is something that cannot be forced on them, he said.

MCA can't buy Chinese, now turning to Indians

The MCA president is frequently reported in the main stream newspapers busy giving out cash handouts to Indian and Chinese temples and its related NGOs like the Hindu society.
Yesterday it was reported in Tamil papers that Chua Soi Lek had given away RM141,000 to 17 Hindu temples and Hindu societies in Tanjong Malim parliamentary constituency.

Chua was also reported in earlier days, giving out cash handout to Hindu temples, Chinese temples and Indian churches in Labis constituency. It's heartwarming to see the MCA president handing out cash generously to religious institutions.

But these cash handouts are needed by people who are alienated and marginalised urban squatters and not the religious institutions which will be taken care by providence itself. The MCA president seems to opportunistically use the poverty of rural Indians for his political expediency.

Such handouts will make these rural people dependent on BN. This is a great service of the MCA president to the Indian community.

The Indians have been long marginalised and deprived by the BN government of job opportunities, scholarships, higher education facilities and small business opportunities, of jobs in local councils and government agencies and of inclusive government policies.

These are the urgent needs of the Indians, and not cash handouts to temples. The Indian community needs to recover and regain its political right as citizens of this country which has been steadily eroded by BN with the support of MIC.

By offering cash handouts to Indian temples while simultaneously supporting Umno's racist policies, is Chua trying to keep Indians under the thumbs of Umno? In offering cash to temples does Chua have the best of intentions for the Indians, or is this one form of bribery to entice Indian votes for MCA?

Looks like Chua is bribing the Indian Gods to secure Indian votes because the Chinese votes are no longer up for sale.

The way the MCA president is disbursing cash is clearly targeted at garnering Indian votes in MCA constituencies. Money handouts by MCA started much earlier than the actual election dates.

Cash and goodies flow all year round for BN parties. Only the Election Commission (EC) is blind to the cash handouts.

It is clearly visible that, after the 2008 elections, Umno has lost confidence in MCA and MIC to secure the Chinese and Indian votes. The prime minister has appointed special officers reporting directly to him to reach out to Chinese and Indian voters with handouts of their own.

Umno operates as though they don't need any other component parties. They can disburse cash themselves. They don't need Chua Soi Lek to distribute their cash. But Chua Soi Lek needs to show gullible voters that they are also powerful in BN and they too have cash to distribute.

As the saying goes that some things never change. Umno cannot be reformed therefore it has to be removed. MCA and MIC hangs on to Umno for their own survival and keep bribing and giving false hope to their members that all is well and good.

If MCA and MIC have any pride and dignity for themselves and their party, they should stop bribing voters to vote for Umno. The stakes are high for the MCA president to get his son Chua Tee Yong to be appointed as a minister after the next election.

After all MCA and MIC are all about what is in it for them. That's what these disbursements of cash are all about. Throw in small fish to catch big fish.


S Ramakrishnan is a senator.

Military personnel’s husband registered as female voter

The DAP has detected 22 more cases of discrepancies in postal votes in Negri Sembilan.

KUALA LUMPUR: The DAP detected 22 more cases of discrepancies involving fresh postal voters registered at an army camp at the Rasah parliamentary constituency in Negri Sembilan.

One that stands out is a female military personnel, Yuzina Nodin, who had registered her spouse also as a female postal voter with an almost similar name, Yuniza Nodin.

“I never knew the Malaysian army allowed same-sex marriages. This is a joke,” DAP Youth chief Anthony Loke said at a press conference at the party’s headquarters here today.

Also present was DAP election committee secretary Vincent Wu.

Loke, who is also Rasah MP, said the rest of the newly registered postal voters at the Rasah military camp, mostly spouses of military officers, had discrepancies in their MyKad numbers.

“We found 19 spouses of male army personnel are registered under their husband’s MyKad numbers, which are odd numbers. The other two female army officers registered their spouses using the former’s MyKad numbers, which are even.

“It’s a known fact that only males are given odd numbers in their MyKads while females carry even numbers. Can the Election Commission (EC) explain this?

“In addition, most of them have the same date of birth as their spouses,” said Loke.

Open to voting fraud

This is not the first time Loke detected discrepancies involving postal voters. Last month, he uncovered the case of a 111-year old military officer who registered as a postal voter in the Bagan Pinang state assembly seat.

Loke also said a retired military personnel, M Kalidass, told the Perak DAP recently that he was still registered as a postal voter in Kluang, Johor.

“When we checked using his MyKad number, he is registered as a voter in Sungai Siput parliamentary constituency. However, when we used his former military identification number, the EC website also shows him to be registered as a postal voter in Kluang,” said Loke.

This could increase chances of a voting fraud as anyone could use Kalidass’ postal ballot to vote on his behalf, he added.

He said that a postal ballot would be issued under Kalidass’ name and any unscrupulous individual could use the latter’s ballot paper to vote.

“We are not allowed to enter an army camp. Nobody knows who is responsible for the ballot papers there,” said Loke.

Loke said he would file a complaint with the EC after compiling a full list of discrepancies involving postal votes.

“However, I doubt we can do much as the (electoral) list had already been gazetted,” he said.

Minor errors can be amended

Loke added the trend is worrying as his constituency alone saw an increase of about 600 army postal voters between April and June.

“In 2008, there were about 2,000 postal voters in my constituency and I suspect the number may double soon,” he said.

Meanwhile, EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar urged Loke to file an official report at the nearest EC office as soon as possible.

“I appreciate Loke’s efforts. He can submit his official complaint at our office in Negri Sembilan. He can even approach me directly,” he said when contacted.

Although the list had been gazetted, Wan Ahmad said EC still had authority to amend minor errors in the electoral list such as the MyKad numbers, gender and religious status.

On the errors, he said EC’s data entry clerks or the assistant registrars tasked with registering postal voters at the defence ministry could have made the mistakes in the course of compiling the particulars.

Wan Ahmad said the EC would not tolerate such mistakes from anyone, even if they were the assistant registrars at the defence ministry.

“We will inform their superiors and blacklist them,” he said.

Selangor Anjur Sambutan Kemerdekaan Dan Hari Malaysia

–Kenyataan Akhbar–

Kerajaan Negeri Selangor akan menganjurkan Sambutan Kemerdekaan dan Hari Malaysia pada 16 September ini bertempat di Dataran Kemerdekaan Shah Alam .

Tema sambutan tahun ini ialah Selangorku Berjaya, Rakyat Sejahtera. Program sambutan akan bermula jam 8 malam sehingga 12 tengah malam.

Acara-acara menarika yang disediakan termasuklah persembahan kebudayaan, pertunjukan seni mempertahankan diri dari pelbagai kaum, persembahan pancaragam sekolah-sekolah serta persembahan dari pihak berkuasa tempatan dan agensi kerajaan.

Kemuncak sambutan akan dimeriahkan dengan pertunjukkan bunga api.

Semua rakyat Selangor dijemput menghadiri program ini bagi memeriahkan sambutan Ulang tahun Kemerdekaan negara ke-54 dan pembentukan Malaysia.

TAN SRI ABDUL KHALID IBRAHIM
DATO’ MENTERI BESAR SELANGOR

India's Trade Balance Problems with China


Image
China ships to India
The Delhi government seeks to draft an action plan to do something about it 

Stung by a rapidly widening trade deficit with China and Beijing’s continued rebuff of Indian attempts to reset the equation, the Congress-led government is fleshing out a draft action plan to seek combat its Asian rival.

India’s trade ministry has consistently raised “serious concern” that the India-China deficit may become unsustainable. India’s trade deficit with China is forecast to balloon to US$278.5 billion by 2014, a 20-fold increase from US$14.3 billion in 2004. At US$40.8 billion, Chinese exports to India were nearly double the US$ 20.8 billion in Indian exports to China, mainly driven by cotton and iron ore.

The action plan includes a multilateral strategy to get its neighbor to not just trade but also “invest and produce” here. According to Ministry of Commerce sources, India is also looking at raising duties on tier-two products (where it has minimal dependence) and creating non-tariff barriers where dependence is high.

A concerted effort is also expected be made to ensure that Chinese state-owned procurement agencies buy in bulk from Indian companies. Overall, the ministry will also seek to harness the strengths of the domestic market to gain access into Chinese markets in pharmaceuticals and information technology, its two strongest areas.

As an indication of the seriousness with which the Indian government regards t he problems, senior members from the Department of Commerce and other ministries including Power, Telecom, IT and Heavy Industries met recently with the deputy national security advisor to devise the contours of the action plan, which is to be firmed up over the next few weeks.

“A large widening of the trade deficit can potentially result in payments difficulties,” said the ministry in a strategy document. “Such a situation is simply unacceptable because it may jeopardize the entire growth process,” it said.

Broadly, New Delhi’s China plan is designed to bolster areas where India is not competitive, how duties could be realigned to bring about a level playing field, how Indian industries could whittle down their dependence on China’s semi-finished products and how India’s advantages could be harnessed to maximum gain.

Efforts will also be made to diversify the bilateral trade agenda with a renewed emphasis on manufactured goods. “All this will need to be done within the ambit of WTO since India cannot extend unfair treatment to Beijing given the fact that both India and China are WTO members,’ said the source.

New Delhi’s disquiet over Beijing’s commercial acumen is hardly new. But this is the first time the government and its ministries are working urgently to tackle the trade imbalance and its adverse domino effect on Indian industry.

While India's merchandise trade with China rose from US$12.70 billion in 2004-05, the figure reached US$42.37 billion in 2009-10. From US$1.48 billion in 2004-05, China’s trade surplus grew to US$19.21 billion in 2009-10. Imports from China have gone up by a staggering 365 per cent in 2010-11.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brought up the issue during Chinese Premier Hu Jintao’s India visit last year, telling Hu that the trade imbalance in favor of China was a “matter of concern” to India and he sought greater market access to bridge it. The issue resurfaced yet again when the two leaders met on the sidelines of Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) Summit this April.

India has repeatedly sought more access in Chinese markets across the board so that the gap could be reduced. Although China has assured India that it would give access through government contracts in sectors like pharmaceuticals and IT, penetration into the Chinese market has been far from easy.

Frustrated, India has also occasionally barred Chinese investments in certain sectors citing “national security concerns”. In December 2009, India banned import of all mobile phones from China which did not have IEMI numbers (specific numbers that a handset carries which enables tracking it).

The Indian government is also irritated with China for not fulfilling its promise to import more IT, IT-enabled services and pharmaceutical products. China's Health Minister Chen Zhu last year welcomed Indian pharmaceutical companies, known for their cost-competitiveness, to help address the growing demands of the Chinese market. But India’s creaky infrastructure, erratic policies and a shortage of skilled labor have hampered that ambition.

An undervalued yuan has further hurt India by tilting the trade balance decidedly in China’s favor. The rupee has retreated almost 6 percent to 6.87 per yuan from last year’s high of 6.48.

The trade imbalance, however, is not all China’s fault. Indian iron ore exports to China plummeted by more than half in the last year as the southern Indian state of Karnataka banned iron ore exports due to a political scandal while the western state of Goa ceased ore exports due to the monsoon. India is the world’s third largest iron ore supplier, with most of its exports going to China, which houses the world’s largest steel industry.

In the wake of the export ban, not only are domestic Indian iron ore manufacturers hit badly but international prices too, have risen almost 4 percent leading China to seek newer markets such as Australia and Brazil to source from.

Analysts predict that in the long term, the uneven bilateral trade could mean that India will look to impose trade barriers on Chinese commodities in order to rebalance trade and protect domestic manufacturers.

“If that happens,” says Pratap Bhasin of a Delhi-based chartered and auditing firm, “it will be difficult for the two countries to meet their US$60 billion bilateral trade target by this year-end and Indian infrastructure, IT, telecom and engineering industries that rely on cheaper Chinese equipment could get affected.”

India’s infrastructure development has not kept pace with the demands of its manufacturing. “Power is in short supply, highways are clogged with traffic and ports are too crowded,” a recent Reuters report said. “The Chinese government has spent a huge lot of money, creating cities where the vendors will be placed, creating infrastructure there. Those things are not in focus in India.”

However, Indian officials are hopeful that with China set to accelerate a US$2-billion reform in its healthcare sector in the coming months, Indian pharmaceutical companies could get to share the spoils.

“While the intention seems good, bureaucratic incompetence is India’s biggest bottleneck,” says Naveen Modi, a Delhi-based industrialist with business interests in Shanghai. “I won’t be surprised if things are soon in disarray with ministries quibbling over whose opinion is accepted in the final policy and action plan.”

Rather than obsessing over China, why doesn’t India focus on bolstering its manufacturing sector, job skills, governmental transparency and organizational efficiency? Modi asked.

(Neeta Lal is a New Delhi-based journalist; neetalal@hotmail.com)

Shah Alam MP Explains To Jais

SHAH ALAM, 6 Sept (Bernama) -- Shah Alam Member of Parliament Khalid Samad came to the Selangor Islamic Department JAIS to give a statement in conjunction with a report that he gave a religious lecture in Klang last month without having the credentials to do so.

Assistant director of the Public Relations and Publication Unit of JAIS Nurhamizah Othman said that Khalid was called by the enforcement division to help investigate the report that he gave a religious lecture at the Taman Seri Sementa surau in Kapar.

She said that Khalid gave his explanation at about 10am and that the investigation was continuing.

The Selangor Administration of Islam Enactment 2003 prohibits anyone giving a lecture on the religion without proper accreditation.

An offender can be fined not more than RM3,000 or jailed up to two years or both.