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Friday, September 16, 2011

Liberty is just a mirage

Actor Mano Maniam peels away the facade and discovers that Malaysia lost its liberty when it was covertly replaced by feudalism under the labels of 'Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera'.
FEATURE
When Mano Maniam speaks, the world takes a deep breath and perceptibly slows down.

Mano has a manner of articulating his thoughts with the steady calmness that only illuminates their strength.

It’s with this same calmness that he refuses to have his picture included alongside this interview lest he is tagged as “that Kopitiam fella” and his words dismissed.

The potentiality is particularly worrisome because Mano, 66, has a lot to say on liberty in Malaysia. Two full pages of thoughts to be exact.

“I came home dog-tired last night and went straight to bed but got up again to write all this down,” he said, showing off his scribbled notes.

“I told myself that someone was going to ask me about liberty today and I had better have something worthwhile to say.”

He begins reading aloud.

“Liberty is a state of being. A natural organic environment where the ‘be’ in human being is simply allowed to realise the true and full state of being but never ‘becomes’.”

“When you ‘become’ it is a finality but to ‘be’ is a state of process.

“When you lose your liberty, you lose that state of being, you are forced to conform and you become.
“And that state of becoming is a natural organic death.”

Loss of liberty

By the time he looks up again he has morphed from a public personality with an opinion into a national patriach who takes liberty very seriously because he knows how much of it has been lost.

While many lament the loss of liberty, Mano scorns its facade in Malaysia.

From where he stands, Aug 31 should be a yearly milestone in the strive for liberty rather than the celebration of a non-existent state of being.
With a social activist and freedom fighter as a father, his views on liberty are far from cliched.

But he will tell you that those of politicians are very much that.

“If you ask them whether there really is freedom in this country, they will say that freedom is abstract, needs definition and limitation and cannot exist in totality,” he parrots.

“Everyone knows that! But they say that to justify the curbing of freedom under their terms.”
“Over the years you can see the dumbing down of individual ideas, individuality and originality.

“This is especially apparent in youths aged 17 to 27. So what we have lost in terms of liberty is a whole generation and its ability to think,” he adds.

Mano’s description of the Aug 31, 1957, aftermath is waking up to a song titled “Negaraku”, an identity card and a flag that was no longer red, white and blue.

‘We didn’t fight for freedom’

His 12-year-old self then joined a sea of others who were also defining themselves by these symbolisms, which were attached to meanings and changes that no one quite comprehended.
Malaysia’s liberty, Mano points out, was grayer than in nations where blood, gunshots and strife won them independence.

“We had adopted the modern concept of nation-state without understanding what it meant because we didn’t have to fight for it,” he said.

“And without a fight what did we gain independence from?”

“OK, so now we have our own way of doing things, we make our own decisions and we don’t have someone from Westminster watching over us… but we had to create what liberty meant to us as we went along.”

Mentally walking through the passages of time, Mano notes that liberty began seeping out of the young country just a few years after 1957.

The new citizenship rules had placed the non-Malays on an almost equal footing with the Malays and this revived bitter memories of 1511 when the Malay culture temporarily faltered.

“The Malays saw 1957 as a restitution of what they had lost generations ago and they wanted to take it back,” he says.

“Anyone who was not part of that group was in a servile state.”

“So has liberty been eroded through the birth of the nation?

“Yes. And what we live in now is a totalitarian feudal society masquerading as a functioning democracy in which there is a clear division between the Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras.”

‘Nobody can be a negative’

The latter term is one which Mano deeply loathes.

These days when called a “non-Bumiputera”, he summons enough strength to walk away and keep his cool.

But he isn’t above turning right around and branding the name-caller a non-Indian either.
“If you call me what I am not like you, then I have the right to call you what you are not like me,” he says hotly.

“Non means negative and nobody can be a negative or a minus anything.
“It was at this point that we started losing our liberty.”

Sejarah diseleweng demi kepentingan pihak tertentu

Mana mungkin, kita menafikan perjuangan tokoh-tokoh yang dilatari pelbagai faham perjuangan, baik dari gerakan Islam, aliran kiri mahupun dari aliran kanan, kata Anwar.

PETALING JAYA: Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim menegaskan sejarah diselewengkan demi kepentingan sesetengah pihak sahaja sekaligus menafikan perjuangan golongan lain yang bersama bertungkus lumus menentang penjajahan.

Menurut beliau, sudah sekian lama rakyat negara ini disogokkan dengan naratif sejarah yang dilakar oleh sesetengah pihak sahaja sedangan tujuan asal sejarah perjuangan menuntut kemerdekaan disampaikan kepada generasi seterusnya ternyata menyimpang dari halatuju yang sebenarnya.

Ahli Parlimen Permatang Pauh itu berkata, mana mungkin, kita menafikan perjuangan tokoh-tokoh yang dilatari pelbagai faham perjuangan, baik dari gerakan Islam, aliran kiri mahupun dari aliran kanan.

“Mereka ini walaupun berbeda pandangan, hakikatnya punyai matlamat yang sama, iaitu mahu tanah air kita merdeka dari penjajah,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan bersempena sambutan ulang tahun ke 54 kemerdekaan dan Hari Malaysia hari ini.

Tegas beliau, “adalah suatu keangkuhan sekiranya kita menafikan sumbangan golongan tertentu menuntut kemerdekaan hanya kerana mereka tidak sehaluan dengan kita.

“Jikalau kita jujur berhadapan dengan sejarah, ternyata selain dari Dato’ Onn Jaafar dan Tunku Abdul Rahman, ramai lagi seumpama Dr Burhanuddin al Helmi, Ishak Haji Muhammad, V.T Sambanthan, Tan Cheng Lock, Rosli Dhobi di Sarawak dan Mat Salleh di Sabah ternyata gigih menentang penjajahan terutamanya penjajahan British.

“Tidak wajar dilupakan juga sumbangan tokoh persuratan seumpama Syed Sheh al Hadi dan Pendita Zaaba yang berusaha membina kesadaran membawa pembaharuan kepada masyarakat,” tambahnya.

Menurutnya, fakta sejarah diabaikan manakala naratif sejarah terbabas dari landasan rasional sehinggakan ada mereka yang mendabik dada sebagai intelektual, kerana mahu mengampu pemerintah, menafikan negara ini pernah dijajah.

Anwar menegur para intelektual atau sarjana agar tidak dihinggapi penyakit “bebalisme,” suatu penyakit malas berfikir, kelesuan intelektual dan takut menyatakan yang benar.

Katanya, tidaklah menjadi suatu kesalahan sekalipun, tatkala kita mengakui sumbangan Dato’ Onn dan Tunku Abdul Rahman, adalah fakta sejarah.

Hisbul Muslimin

Ujar beliau, “sememangnya Umno itu lunak dengan pemerintahan British berbanding golongan lainnya sehinggakan pendiri Umno itu pernah menyelar Hizbul Muslimin yang didirikan antaranya oleh Almarhum Ustaz Abu Bakar Baqir sebagai “bahaya dari gunung.”

“Karya berjudul ‘From Malayan Union to Singapore Separation’ tulisan Dr. Nordin Sopiee, mantan Pengerusi ISIS, sebuah badan pemikir bagi pemerintah turut mengakui hakikat ini,” terang Anwar.

Anwar menegaskan negara kini berada di persimpangan, ketika rakyat negara ini mahu mengetahui sejarah sebenar perjuangan kemerdekaan serta berhasrat menolak dongengan ciptaan pemerintah, para sarjana dan intelektual tidak boleh lagi tinggal diam membisu.

“Mereka harus bingkas bangun bersama rakyat keseluruhannya menjadi penyuluh menelusuri jalan memaknai Kemerdekaan dan Membangun Negara Malaysia ini.

“Antara tugas intelektual ketika ini menjadi suara menyatakan kebenaran tanpa rasa takut. Kita masyhgul apabila wacana pensejarahan menjadi medan untuk mereka yang berkuasa menunding siapa pengkhianat dan siapa yang bukan.

“Sewajarnya wacana pensejarahan sebegini sesuai sebagai pentas menyemak kembali fakta memperkaya pengetahuan rakyat, bukannya sebagai upaya politik murahan hatta mengenepikan hakikat sejarah,” tambahnya.

Menurutnya, polemik Mat Indera yang tercetus baru-baru ini menggasak pimpinan Umno bertindak balas dengan nada emosi.

“Retorika seumpama pengkhianat dan tidak kenang budi dicanang seluruh negara sedangkan rujukan seperti karya berjudul “Pengukir

Nama Johor” terbitan Yayasan Warisan Johor serta disunting Profesor Dato’ Abu Bakar A. Hamid dan Md Ismail Zam Zam itu menjelaskan Mat Indera antara mereka yang gigih menentang penjajahan British “Janganlah pula kerana kesediaan kita menghargai kegigihan Mat Indera itu, maka dilabelkan kita sebagai mendokong agenda komunisme,” tegas beliau.

Iraqi asylum seeker, 17, took part in gang rape just four months after arriving in Britain



Salman Ahmed, 17, has been jailed for over five years for the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman
Salman Ahmed, 17, has been jailed for over five years for the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman


  • Teenager will be deported after serving five-year sentence in young offenders' institution
  • He will also be on sex offenders' register for life
  • A 17-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker who had only been in Britain for four months took part in a gang rape and laughed as he humiliated the victim.

    Salman Ahmed, who was thought to be drunk at the time of the assault in Oxford, was told that he would be deported after serving his sentence of five years and three months at a young offenders' institution.

    The teenager 'enjoyed the humiliation, pain and harm' during the attack on March 16, according to Judge Anthony King at Oxford Crown Court.


    Ahmed and an accomplice, who police are still trying to track down, repeatedly raped the 23-year-old victim, after snaring her while on a night out.

    According to the prosecution they told the unnamed woman: 'You have been making two guys happy.'

    Mr King heard how Ahmed and his accomplice held the woman down as each raped her.

    Salman Ahmed was told at Oxford Crown Court that he would deported after serving his sentence of five years and three months at a young offenders institution
    Salman Ahmed was told at Oxford Crown Court that he would be deported after serving his sentence of five years and three months at a young offenders' institution

    He said: 'When you had no reason to believe that this young woman would consent to any form of sexual contact you and a man with you took hold of her, detained her and while you lay upon her the other man then raped her.

    'Throughout she protested and sought to escape. Once that first man had raped her with your help you then separately raped her while he held her down.


    'That was not enough for you. Both of you then raped her again, each assisting the other to do so.

    'You were clearly laughing as you were enjoying the humiliation, the pain and harm you were inflicting upon her.'

    He added: 'These were grave offences. I find there was an element of pre-planning between you and the other man who has not yet been brought to justice.'


    The judge was told that the victim had been sober on the evening of the attack, however, Ahmed had suffered an 'alcoholic blackout' and could not remember the incident.


    Jeannie Mackie, defending, said he was previously 'without sexual experience'.
    Ahmed pleaded guilty when DNA evidence linked him to the crime.


    His lawyer said: 'Alcohol has been an issue in my defendant's life.

    'Although he comes from a Muslim family he had not drunk alcohol until November 2010 when he came to this country, and alcohol has become a problem.'


    Ahmed was also placed on the Violent and Sex Offender Register for life.

    Sweden: Imam calls to kill converts on Radio Sweden

    Sweden: Imam calls to kill converts on Radio Sweden Via Dagen (Swedish): "It is the duty of every Muslim to kill those who leave Islam." This statement was made on Radio Sweden recently when an Imam from Rinkeby (Stockholm) was allowed to speak about how people should act against Somalis who convert to Christianity.

    The program with the death threats against converts was broadcast by the Somali department of Radio Sweden and was a follow-up on a previous segment about a group of Christian Somalis who came to Rinkeby Square to evangelize. They also got to talk about it in the radio report.

    "I was there when they preached about Christianity. I also spoke with the guys who converted," said Kenadid Mohamed, the reporter who did the segment.

    Rinkeby is a suburb of Stockholm where many Somalis live, and the evangelizing Somalis got a crowd who understood the language.

    "Some saw it as a provocation that they came and preached about Christianity outside the msoque during Ramadan," says Kenadid Mohamed.

    He says that there were various feelings among the Somalis who were there. Many were surprised since it's unusual that Somalis are Christians. The reactions among the Somali audience were mixed. Some thought it was OK to hear a sermon and prayer in Somali and referred to Swedish freedom of religion. (...)

    US names Indian Mujahideen to terror blacklist

    Indian soldiers stand near the bodies of militants belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen group after a gun battle in Haritar, north of Srinagar in this file photo of April 24, 2009. The United States named the Indian Mujahideen to its official blacklist of foreign terrorist organisations on September 15, 2011. – Reuters pic
    WASHINGTON, Sept 15 – The United States named the Indian Mujahideen (IM) to its official blacklist of foreign terrorist organisations today, saying it has killed hundreds of innocent civilians in attacks dating back to 2005.

    “IM’s primary method of attack is multiple coordinated bombings in crowded areas against economic and civilian targets to maximize terror and casualties,” the State Department said in announcing the designation, which bars US citizens from providing any material support to the group and freezes any assets it may have in the United States.

    The State Department said the IM, while based in India, has “significant links” to Pakistan and close ties to other groups on the US terror blacklist including Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI).

    The United States and India have sought to step up counterterrorism coordination over the past several years as the two countries improve ties, although Indian officials say they would like more help, including better intelligence sharing.

    The State Department said the IM carried out a 2010 bombing of a popular German bakery in Pune, India frequented by tourists, killing 17 and injuring over 60 people, and another attack in Delhi in 2008 that killed 30 people.

    It said IM was also responsible for 16 synchronised bomb blasts in crowded urban centres and a local hospital that killed 38 and injured more than 100 in Ahmedabad and played a “facilitative role” in the 2008 Mumbai attack carried out by LeT that killed 163 people, including six Americans.

    “These designations highlight the threat posed by IM not only to Western interests, but to India, a close US partner,” ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator, said in a statement.

    “The Indian populace has borne the brunt of IM’s wanton violence and today’s actions illustrate our solidarity with the Indian government,” he said. – Reuters

    ISA abolished, host of changes promised

    Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak says two new laws will be introduced to safeguard peace and order.
    FULL REPORT
     
    KUALA LUMPUR: The Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960 will be abolished and two new laws will be introduced to safeguard peace and order, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said.

    The prime minister also announced that the government would repeal the Banishment Act 1959 and reviewing other laws to be in line with current needs.

    A comprehensive study will be carried out on the Restricted Residence Act 1993 and the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 where annual renewals would be done away with, and replaced with issuance of licence until it is revoked.

    He also said that three Emergency declarations will also be lifted. Once that is done, ISA-like preventive law Emergency Ordinance will also lapse.

    The motion to lift the May 15, 1969 nationwide Emergency, the Sept 14, 1969 Sarawak Emergency and the Nov 8, 1977 Kelantan Emergency will be tabled in Parliament, he added.

    Announcing the matter tonight in his special Malaysia Day message, Najib said the two new laws would be formulated “under the spirit and umbrella” of Article 149 of the Federal Constitution to prevent subversive elements as well as fighting organised terrorism and crime, in order to safeguard peace and public order.

    In the message delivered in front of 800 people at Angkasapuri and aired live over TV1 and TVi, the prime minister said the new laws replacing the ISA would provide for a shorter detention period.

    He added that extension of detention can only be done through a court order, except in the law concerning terrorism where the power remained with the minister.

    “Generally, the power to extend the detention period will shift from the executive to the judiciary, except in matters concerning terrorism,” he said.

    Stern action against street protesters

    Najib had promised when he first took over the helm of the country’s administration on April 3, 2009 that he would carry out a comprehensive review of the ISA.

    Najib said tonight that the government would ensure that the rights of those being taken action under the new law would be safeguarded in line with the spirit of the Federal Constitution.

    He said the government also assured that individuals would not be detained because of their political ideologies.

    “The government will also review Section 27 of the Police Act 1967, taking into account the provision in Article 10 of the Federal Constitutions concerning freedom of assembly,” he said.

    Najib stressed, however, that stern action would remain against street demonstrators.

    He said that the permit to assemble would be given under certain set of criteria to be determined later, taking into consideration the norms at the international level.

    Najib said the government would not hesitate to amend or repeal laws which are no longer relevant.

    Revoking the proclamations of emergency

    Najib said the parliamentary motion to lift the Emergency proclamations will be made under Clause 3, Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, and was in line with the people’s aspiration for Malaysia to be more open and its democracy, more dynamic.

    “As many are aware, only the emergency proclamation made following the confrontation in 1964 had been implicitly revoked, while the other emergency proclamations are regarded to be in force until today,” he said.

    He said, realising that Malaysia had changed over the years and in line with the people’s aspirations based on the universal philosophy on democracy, the government would table in the lower and upper houses of parliament for the three emergency proclamations to be revoked.

    Clause 3, Article 150 of the Federal Constitution gives the power to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to revoke the emergency proclamations and ordinance, or these to be ineffective if decided by parliament.

    The prime minister said the time had come for Malaysia to move towards a future with a paradigm based on new hopes and not shackled by nostalgia.

    Najib stressed that the government would stay committed to upholding the country’s system of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, sovereignty of law, federation principle, and the system of check and balance among the three branches of the government.

    Hisham: ISA-replacement legislation soon

    In a related development, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the new legislation to replace the ISA will not take long to draft because no amendments need to be tabled in Parliament.

    He said that the government might look at similar legislation in other countries when drawing up two bills.

    “Laws related to terrorism such as the Patriot Act in the US and the Anti-Terrorism Act in the United Kingdom and Australia can all be used as a model,” he told reporters here.

    Hishammuddin said the main consideration for the government in drafting the two new pieces of legislation would be to find a balance between national security and personal freedom.

    He also said the government started reviewing the ISA two years ago and made the decision to abolish it after getting the views of the police, armed forces and other relevant agencies.

    - Bernama

    ‘AG abused power in Chithirakala case’

    Lawyer Kengadharan says the public prosecutor has too much clout and this must be reduced to ensure justice

    PETALING JAYA: A lawyer-activist today urged the government to review Article 145 of the Federal Constitution to reduce the power of the Attorney General.

    R Kengadharan, commenting on a recent cheating case involving the former CEO of MIC’s education arm, said the article’s weakness was that it gave “absolute power” to the AG to proceed with or discontinue a court case.

    He said such power was open to abuse and that the current AG, Abdul Gani Patail, did abuse it recently when he dropped the case against P Chithirakala Vasu, who had been charged with three counts of cheating the Maju Institute of Education. The amount involved was RM4 million.

    Chithirakala was acquitted and discharged after the prosecution explained that she had returned the money she allegedly siphoned away.

    Article 145 essentially provides the AG with the discretion to institute, conduct or discontinue proceedings over any offence.

    “The attorney-general has wide discretion over the control and direction of all criminal prosecutions,” said Kengadharan, who is a former detainee under the Internal Security Act.

    Such “absolute power” was anathema to a sound judicial system, he told FMT.

    Referring to Chithirakala’s case, he said her disclosure that she had returned the money amounted to an admission that she had committed the crime. The court should therefore punish her, he added.

    He said he feared that other offenders might now “employ the same tactic”.

    “The only way to make things right for the future is to revisit Article 145, to ensure that the AG may not use his prosecutions power in bad faith.”

    Meanwhile, a PKR leader has challenged the judiciary to provide an “acceptable explanation” for allowing Chithirakala to walk free.

    S Jeevan of PKR Johor said the Sessions Court’s decision was “disgusting”.

    “What we learn from the case is that if someone robs or steals and then returns the stolen goods, then he can go free,” he said.

    The case had further eroded the public’s faith in the judiciary, he added.

    Pak Samad backs call to stop Merdeka fests

    The national laureate asks why Mahathir allowed celebrations for 22 years if he believed that the British never colonised Malaysia.

    PETALING JAYA: National laureate A Samad Said today joined the call for a stop to all Merdeka celebrations until Malaysians settle the question of whether Malaysia was ever a British colony.

    The poet, novelist and activist said the issue needed clarification, now that former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Zainal Kling of the National Professors’ Council had gone against conventional belief to assert that the British never colonised this country.

    “So now I think we have every reason to rectify this,” he said. “And I agree that we shouldn’t celebrate until we really know whether we’re Merdeka or not.”

    Samad said he wondered why Mahathir had taken so long to tell Malaysians what he truly believed about Malaysia’s past relationship with the British.

    “You must know that Mahathir was the PM for at least 22 years. Why didn’t he tell us this before? That’s very funny. Why did he allow the nation to celebrate Merdeka for 22 years under his reign?”

    The 76-year-old Samad said it was his opinion that Malaysia was in fact colonised. “We really cannot say we were not.”

    Commenting on the idea of calling in a team of experts to re-study Malaysian history, Samad said: “Yes, as usual, you need a team of experts, but this time you need to include the opposition historians.”

    He said the recording of Malaysian history had, for many years, been skewed towards “one side only”, ignoring the substantial contribution of people like Mat Indera, Mat Kilau, Ahmad Boestamam and Ishak Haji Muhammad in the struggle for independence.

    “They fought for independence, but have not been given good space in history,” he said. “I think the door of history is open now. Now you can see what is inside and rectify anything that you think is not right.”

    Receiver of independence



    Samad stuck to an opinion he expressed in a recent forum – that Tunku Abdul Rahman was more a “receiver of independence” and less the “father of independence” that official history has made him out to be.

    “He was not a fighter for independence. He was more like a receiver. There were many other people who fought for independence. He came in when the fight had almost ended.

    He was picked because the British thought he was more suitable for their interests at the time.”

    Joseph Milton Fernando, a senior lecturer in Universiti Malaya’s History Department, said the question was more complex than most people would think.

    He said the British had “considerable control” over the Federated Malay States although these were officially “protectorates”. Other states that eventually became members of the Malay Federation were either “crown colonies” or “protected states”.

    “But I do not think we could just say we were not colonised, because if we were never colonised, there would not be a need to struggle for independence,” said Fernando, who has written several books on the history of Malaysian independence.

    Commenting on suggestions for the banning of Merdeka celebrations and history books, he said some groups were being “mischievous”.

    “Merdeka was not given on a silver platter,” he said. “Many groups contributed to independence, some more than others.”

    Setting record straight



    MIC secretary-general S Murugessan said calling for a ban of Merdeka celebrations or history texts was “going overboard”.
    He said not a single country in the world could claim that its official history was beyond dispute.

    “Even a single historical event can give rise to many interpretations. Scholars, historians and politicians have, through the ages, interpreted history from their own standpoints.

    “However, Merdeka is a national celebration and is etched in the collective memory of all Malaysians.”

    He said there was no need for an independent team to review Malaysian history because the public had access to enough materials and records.

    “However, I do agree that we need a multiracial and independent panel to vet all historical textbooks to maintain factual accuracy and to prevent authors from passing off their own judgment and opinions as fact,” he said.

    Yap Pian Hon, a veteran MCA leader, said that the government should “set the record straight” and not let the issue continue to confuse the public.

    Zaid a tyrant, says sacked Kita man

    Muhammad Firdaus Christopher alleges that the party boss has financial problems and behaves like Saddam Hussein.

    KUALA LUMPUR: Former Kita central executive committee member Muhammad Firdaus Christopher today accused Zaid Ibrahim of running the party like a dictator, calling him a “Saddam Hussein”.

    Seething over the way he has been sacked from the party, he said the allegations against him were lies.

    Kita working secretary Masrum Dayat announced in a press statement yesterday that the party had terminated Firdaus’s membership because he had smeared its name on his personal Facebook and Twitter pages.

    Masrum alleged that Firdaus was avenging the recent termination and also insinuated that Firdaus was behind the technical problems that the party’s website faced yesterday.

    Firdaus told FMT today that no one informed him of his sacking before Masrum released his statement and alleged that neither the statement nor Masrum’s position in the party was legitimate.

    “The person who signed the statement is not a Kita member, but a PAS member,” he told FMT. “And there is no such position as a ‘working secretary’ in the party.”

    He said he learnt of his termination only last night, after receiving calls from news reporters.
    He added, however, that he had left his position as a paid employee of Zaid three months ago because the Kita president had stopped paying him.

    He explained that he was one of three people in the party whom Zaid had been paying out of his own pocket, the other two being treasurer Rashid Azad Khan and Selangor Election director and Zaid campaign manager Pak Malek Baretta.

    “Zaid stopped all our salaries three months ago due to personal financial difficulties,” he said. “He told us he didn’t have any more money and that we should look for funds for the party and take part of those funds as our salaries.

    “Three months ago, Rashid received a text message from Zaid informing him that he had been removed as treasurer because he was too slow in getting funds. But that’s not a treasurer’s job.”

    According to Firdaus, both he and Rashid had tried to look for funds, but that the job proved difficult, with many party members and supporters questioning why they had to fund a rich man’s political party.

    “Rashid’s replacement, a Dr Rajaratnam, also left last month because he was under too much pressure to look for funds,” he said. “You can’t put a gun to someone’s head like that.”

    Talking to the wall

    Firdaus denied allegations that he had been smearing the party’s name, saying that he had only launched a direct attack on Zaid for his “arrogant, tyrannical and dictatorial” behaviour.

    “He doesn’t listen to anyone but his own voice,” he said. “He doesn’t have meetings with anyone. He hires and fires alone and he doesn’t adhere to the party constitution. Giving him feedback is like talking to the wall.

    “Kita is nine months old and not a single soul has received an appointment letter. When secretary-general Latif Thamby Chik brought up the constitution, Zaid shouted that it wasn’t Latif’s charter and to forget about it because this was the way he ran his party. Isn’t that like Saddam Hussein?”

    Zaid has since appointed two party liaison directors, Masrum and Aziz Kadir. According to Firdaus, their task is to spread word about the alleged treachery of the four who used to work for him and to carry out shady operations in Kita’s state branches.

    “We had agreed in the inaugral meeting that state branches would have to be registered once the membership hit the 100 mark,” he said. “A meeting would then be called to elect the office bearers.

    “But now Masrum and Aziz have been told to go to each branch and create prepared minutes of meetings with 15 names on them to be submitted to the Registrar of Companies as a pro-tem committee.

    “What about the other members who want to be part of the committee? We’re talking about malpractice here.”

    Firdaus worked closely with Zaid during his candidacy for the Hulu Selangor by-election last April and also during the PKR party elections. But he said he never saw this side of Zaid before.

    “The only problem I had with him in Hulu Selangor was that he never kept to the schedule,” he said. “And he was very mellow during the PKR elections. It was only when he became party chief that all hell broke loose.”

    When contacted, Zaid said he would comment on the accusations at a later date.

    Ibrahim Ali FINALLY admits that Malaya was colonised for 400 years


    Ibrahim Ali finally admits that Malaya was colonised over a period of 400 years. Actually the Portuguese colonised Melaka exactly 500 years ago in 1511 and the Northern states paid tribute to and were vassals of the Kingdom of Siam while the Southern states were part of the Riau Empire.

    THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
    Raja Petra Kamarudin 


    Perkasa: ‘Melayu dijajah 400 tahun, tindakan afirmatif dua dekad DEB mana cukup’
    (The Malaysian Insider) - Presiden Perkasa, Datuk Ibrahim Ali, menegaskan orang Melayu dan Bumiputera telah dijajah lebih 400 tahun dan, oleh itu, tidak mungkin boleh maju dalam dua dekad sejak Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) dilaksanakan.

    Tempoh 20 tahun DEB berakhir 1990 dan matlamat dasar itu diteruskan menerusi dasar-dasar susulan sejak itu.

    Sehubungan itu kata beliau, orang Melayu dan Bumiputera sewajarnya diberi masa dengan menganggap bahawa tempoh DEB antara 1970 hingga 1990 sebagai fasa pertama dan era selepas 1990 sebagai “fasa kedua.”

    “Harus diingat bahawa Melayu dan Bumiputera telah dijajah lebih 400 tahun. DEB hanya dilaksanakan dari 1970 hingga 1990.

    “Mana mungkin (kaum yang) dijajah 400 lebih boleh maju, berjaya dalam tempoh 20 tahun dan waktu DEB dilancar dan dilaksanakan, orang Melayu dan Bumiputera belum bersedia dan serba kekurangan,” kata Ibrahim dalam satu kenyataan dikeluarkan hari ini.

    Ibrahim menggunakan rujukan dijajah dengan tempoh pelaksanaan memajukan orang Melayu dan Bumiputera ketika negara berhadapan dengan polemik sama ada Tanah Melayu benar-benar dijajah oleh British dan kuasa asing.

    ***********************************
    Sovereignty of Malay Rulers a legal fiction
    DR CHANDRA MUZAFFAR, The Star 

    In the midst of the controversy over Mat Sabu and Bukit Kepong certain views have been expressed about British rule which may have the unintended effect of confusing rather than enlightening.

    It is true that the Malay states – unlike Penang, Malacca and Singapore – were not British colonies in the formal sense. Nonetheless, they were under British rule. The sovereignty of the Malay Rulers was a legal fiction.

    The Ruler was required in both the Federated and Unfederated Malay States to seek, and act upon, the advice of the British Resident or Adviser “on all questions other than those touching Malay Religion and Custom”. 

    In other words, decision-making powers were effectively in the hands of the British.

    Apart from laws and treaties which established the actual locus of authority with the British, every important dimension of the economy was under their control. Issues pertaining to land, resources,
    labour, capital and market in the Malay states were all determined by British policy and British interests.
    This made the situation in the Malay states no different from the three British colonies in their vicinity. Indeed, it was British control over both the internal and external economy of the Malay states that rendered them de facto colonies.

    Economic control led to the exploitation of Chinese and Indian workers in the tin mining and plantation sectors and the marginalisation of the Malay masses in the peasant sector.

    The creation of a dual economy with the commodity based, exported oriented sector directed towards the colonial metropolis was a common characteristic of most colonial economies. In reality, the Malay states bore all the iniquities and injustices associated with colonial rule.

    It is mainly because there was de facto colonialism that Umno in the 50s and Parti Kebangsaan Melayu in the 40s championed the cause of merdeka (independence) from the British.

    They were focussed upon the substance – rather than the form – of British rule.

    Malaysian Scorpene Submarine Corruption Case Legal Briefing



    The Solicitors International Human Right’s Group (SIHRG) and Malaysian Human Rights NGO (SUARAM) will be hosting a briefing and fund raising event in relation to the French Scorpene submarine deal in which French giant shipbuilder DCNS is alleged to have paid millions of Euros in kickbacks to top Malaysian officials.
    Joseph Breham, a renowned French lawyer from Sherpa, a non-profit organisation dealing with human rights legal issues and Cynthia Gabriel from Suaram will provide up-to-date briefings followed by an open dialogue session. William Bourdon, a colleague of Mr Breham, who is also part of the French legal team, was unfortunately deported by Malaysian authorities in July this year en route to speak at fund raising events in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur. Please join us for what is bound to be an interesting and engaging evening.
    Date : Friday 30th Sept 2011
    Venue : Lecture theatre BPP Law School, 68-70 Red Lion Street, London WC1R 4NY
    Time : Registration : 6pm  Briefing and Dialogue Panel : 6.30pm-8.00pm
    A nasi lemak supper will be on sale at the venue. All proceeds will go towards the legal fund. Admission is free but donations towards the legal case are welcome.
    Please register at http://malaysianscorpenesubmarinecorruptioncaselegalbrief.eventbrite.com/
    For further details pertaining to the case please see below:
    Briefing on the Scorpene Submarine Case
    Chronology:
    5 June 2002:   Malaysian Government signed an agreement with French DCNS and Spainish Navantia for the procurement of two (2) Scorpene class submarines.
    The procurement contract was through direct negotiation with the manufacturing companies, said to be with the service of Perimekar Sdn Bhd.
    According to the Government explanation, the contract was divided into two parts:
    a.   Cost of two Scorpene submarines together with the package that covers Integrated Logistic Support and training amounted to Euro 969.15m (however on 14 May 2008, Najib told the Parliament that this part cost Euro 999.15)
    b.    Payment to Perimekar Sdn Bhd in the name of “coordination services” for a period of six years, the sum was Euro 114.96m
    It is widely believed that payment for the second package was in reality the commission for Najib/Rosmah through Razak Baginda as the owner of Perimekar.
    With the exchange rate at the time, the cost was equivalent to:
    1)    Payment for submarine cost between: RM 2.14b (Euro=RM3.2 in 2002) – RM 5.43b (Euro=RM5.6 in 2008) (nowEuro=RM4.7)
    2)    Commission: probably about RM 540m (exchange rate at the time of payment)
    26 July 2006: Royal Malaysian Navy announced these vessels will be named after the first and second prime ministers. The first hull will be named KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and the second hull KD Tun Razak.
    24 Oct 2007:   The first vessel, KD Tunku Abdul Rahman was launched by then Defence Minister Najib on at the DCNS dockyard, Cherbourg, France.
    (According to Sharribuu, Altantuya was in France with Najib during the launch)
    3 Sept 2009:   The first Scorpene submarine KD Tunku Abdul Rahman, arrived at a Port Klang naval base after a 54-day voyage from France. The second of the series, KD Tun Razak, is scheduled for delivery in late 2009. However it only arrived in mid 2010.
    10 Feb 2009:   It was reported that KD Tunku Abdul Rahman could not dive due to technical faults. The Navy sources admitted that the defect had prevented it from diving for three months. However the Government claimed that the problem was fixed in early February and it was allowed to undergo tropical water trial since then.
    As a result, builder DCNS SA extended the warranty for the submarine, which was supposed to expire on 25 January 2010, until May 2010 so the submarine could complete its trials as the first step to obtaining its Initial Operational Capability (IOC).
    25 May 2010:  KD Tunku Abdul Rahman warranty expired.
    2 July 2010:    KD Tun Razak, the second Scorpene submarine, arrived at the Lumut RMN Base. It was more than 6 months behind schedule.
    7 July 2010:    Marhalim Abas of the Malay Mail again reported that Malaysian submarine crews had remained on dry land since the first arrival due to continuous problems of KD Tunku Abdul Rahman; the crews risked to lose their submarine rating for unable to participate any trial dive.
    Both submarines are now parked at Sabah Sepanggar Naval base, to date neither of them had undergone the necessary tropical water trial dive.
    What is the actual cost of the Scorpene submarines?
    Agreement signed with DCNS/Navantia costed Malaysian taxpayer Euro 1.08b (with Euro 114.96m commission for Perimekar). Nonetheless, we later found out that the price did not include many items.
    What are the missing items that need additional payments?
    1.   Maintenance services: Malaysian Government had awarded a joint venture Boustead-DCN Bhd (BDCN) as the services provider for the submarine maintenance. Until today the cost had not been finalized. Nonetheless, in June 2009 Boustead Heavy Industries in a statement to Bursa Malaysia informed that the government had expressed an intent to award a contract worth RM600 million to its joint-venture unit for in-service support for submarines.
    March 2010: Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi clarified that for the first year maintenance would cost about RM270m and the annual maintenance cost will be capped at RM600m per year.
    2.   LIMA 2009: Defence Minister announced additional contract worth Euro37.5m (about RM150m) for the supply of Support and Test Equipment (S&TE) for Scorpene submarines.
    3.   Weapon not included: on 22 June 2010 Defence Minister answered parliament question revealed that the Government has paid Euro219.265m (about RM890m) for 40 units Exocet SM39 missile and 30 units Black Shark torpedo, to be delivered by 2013.
    4.   Infrastructure for submarine base in Sabah (not yet constructed)?
    5.   Training for crews, support staff etc. No price yet.

    Grand total (rough estimate):
    Hardware: two Scorpene class submarines                         RM 5,430m
    Commission: in the form of services by Perimekar               RM 540m
    Package for simulation and training, S&TE                          RM 150m
    Weapons: 40 Exocet missiles and 30 Black Sharp torpedo     RM 890m
    Total: RM 6.98b
    Maintenance service (under negotiation)                             RM 270m (first year)/ RM600m (max)
    Money spent to date                                                         RM 7.3b    
    If we add RM600m maintenance                                         RM 7.58b (for 3 years)
    Uncertain for repair cost to overcome defect                         RM ???

    ISA to go; can we shut down Kamunting now?

    On the eve of Malaysia Day, a light-hearted look at the recent controversy over history from the folks at That Effing Show.



    Najib disappoints again: Glamour ISA announcements but little real change

    Najib disappoints again: Glamour ISA announcements but little real change
    UPDATE3 Prime Minister Najib Razak's promise to repeal the Internal Security Act 1960 and several other oppressive laws were cautiously greeted by PKR leaders as a victory for the people, including the thousands of activists both local and foreign who fought through the decades for their removal.

    However, they slammed Najib for trying to give a false impression to Malaysians that they could look forward to greater democracy and social justice, when effectively, there was little real change and a possibility that new laws made to replace the ISA could contain similarly oppressive clauses.

    "Firstly, we don't know what new laws will be made to replace the ISA and Emergency Ordinance. They could be worse. Also, if Najib was really sincere, he would have lifted the Sedition Act and the Official Secrets Act, which they are already using to force the people into obedience. We have always said there was no need for the ISA. The Sedition Act and the OSA were bad enough," PKR strategies director Rafizi Ramli  told Malaysia Chronicle.

    Malaysia Chronicle also spoke to several professionals working in the Golden Triangle area. One of them, an investment director who only wanted to be known as MK, said what was more important was how the laws were carried out by the people entrusted to do so.

    "What Najib has done is he has effectively admitted that outdated laws like ISA and EO have been abused by the government and the police to achieve ends which the laws were never designed for. Now he calls for their repeal, which of course is a good thing, but for real changes to be felt by the people, it is not only the law which needs change, but the manner in which they are used," MK told Malaysia Chronicle. 

    "Until the government stops the systematic abuse and misuse of not just the legal system but also institutions like the police and the election commission, civil liberties remain out of reach for us Malaysians.  After all, we used to have an independent judiciary who interpreted the law without fear or favour. Nowadays, the government can enact all the shiny new laws they want, because it is the interpretation and administration of those laws which can be perverted."

    Freedom of expression and speech is as curtailed as before


    PKR leaders were also not impressed by the lifting of a requirement for media firms to renew their publishing licenses on a yearly basis. They pointed out that a licence still needed to be obtained from the Home Ministry, and that the power to rescind such licenses at any time and for any reason whatsoever was still available to the Home Minister.

    "All the mainstream media are already owned by the political parties like Umno, MCA and MIC. They will toe the party line whether or not the license needs annual renewal. For the alternative media, the beneficiaries are the PAS papers like Harakah. But even then these can be banned at anytime," PKR vice president and Batu MP Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

    "Also notice, Najib did not uplift the ban on Suara Keadilan. In other words, he uplifted a superfluous clause. If you don't believe, try applying for a licence to publish a Malaysia Chronicle daily or weekly and see whether you can get any approval?"

    Still refusing to acknowledge a two-party system

    Indeed, it does not augur well and implies that the current chaotic political environment will continue until even after the next general elections, which many believe will be held within the next few months.
    Najib's tacit refusal to grant greater democratic space, or any acknowledgment that a two-party political system is already in place in the country, signals a refusal to embrace real reforms.

    "The governments stranglehold on our freedoms remains. It is particularly striking that the PM throughout his speech uses the language of oppression and underlying menace to declare apparent new freedoms. Every pronouncement is accompanied by warnings, caveats and restrictions. This does not augur well as a precursor to a new freer Malaysia," N Surendran, human rights lawyer and PKR vice president, told Malaysia Chronicle.

    Electoral reforms ignored

    While he promised to review the law forbidding Malaysians to assemble in public, agreeing to allow freedom of assembly according to international norms, seasoned human rights activists said Malaysia has long been a signatory to the United Nations human rights declarations and still flouted the prescribed standards. What guarantee that Najib - known for his flip flops - would keep to his word?

    "He should have declared the abolition of the requirement of a permit for such assemblies," said Surendran.

    Najib was also ominously silent on the electoral reforms demanded by the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally.

    Already, a Parliamentary Select Committee for election reforms that he set up last month has run into trouble after a heady start, much like Thursday night's glitzy show. Najib soon made clear there were limits as to what he would allow, prompting rebuke all round and a threat by the Pakatan to boycott the PSC.

    "This is the core of democracy - the right to vote and to be sure your vote is properly accounted. The current system is so corrupt and skewed it is a mockery of our fundamental democratic rights," said Tian.
    "I cannot believe Najib could completely ignore electoral reforms. he could have at least renewed his promise to ensure that the electoral roll is cleaned up before he calls for snap polls."
    The announcements
    In his Malaysia Day eve address televised live on prime time TV, Najib had promised to revoke the ISA and the thre Emergency laws once Parliament begins on October 3. Other changes he announced included:

    *Government to table motion in parliament to repeal all 3 Proclamations of Emergency currently in force so that Malaysians can move forward
    *Internal Security Act to be repealed; replaced with anti-terrorism laws limiting detention without trial; no one to be arrested for their political ideology
    *Banishment Act 1959 to be abolished; Restricted Residence Act 1933 to be reviewed
    *Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, that requires yearly renewal of publishing licence by media companies, will be abolished
    *The law forbidding assembly in public places will be reviewed to allow freedom of assembly according to international norms

    Najib also said that new laws would be enacted to protect the peace, harmony and security of the country.
    MORE TO COME

    After 54 years independence, Malaysia still sufferring in the middle income trap

    By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life advisor

    There is not much to celebrate after 54 years of independence, as Malaysia is still caught in a middle income trap, where 60% of our households are living below the poverty line of RM3000 per month.

    In the past few weeks, PM Najib made some moves calculated to impress the people that the economy is resurging and well on the way to full recovery.

    The first plan was to announce that FDIs (foreign direct investments) inflow was spectacular. He admitted that the FDI dropped to a low of US$1.5 billion in 2009 but in 2010 it had rebounded by over 500 per cent to US$9 billion. It looks impressive, but the increase was large only because it rebounded from a very low baseline.

    However, the US$9 billion was minuscule compared to a FDI of US$38 billion in 2010 for Singapore, US$15 billion for Indonesia and US$105 billion for China.

    It is quite clear that Malaysia has a long way to go to convince that there are liberal incentives for foreign investors to park their money in Malaysia.

    GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS RANKING

    Najib next strategy to give a better impression of his government was to announce that Malaysia had its Global Competitiveness Ranking rise to 21 in 2011 – 2012 from 26 the year before 2010 – 2011. this is nothing new, as Malaysia’s ranking had been hovering between 21 to 26 during the past four years.

    However, looking at the performance rankings of Malaysia it is indeed surprising that better performing economies like New Zealand, South Korea, China could be lower in competitiveness.

    Besides Malaysia’s corruption perceptions index stands at 56 way below the standing of S. Korea, or New Zealand. Corruption is so rife in this country that is hurting every aspect of the economy, big or small.

    ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION PROGRAM

    This is the program designed to stimulate the economy with super-gigantic projects in a desperate effort to stimulate the economy after the havoc wrought by the New Economic Policy. Najib tried to introduce a liberal strategy to the ETP by removing the bumi quota on all new investments whether foreign or local. This was gunned down by PERKASA which insisted that the bumi equity quota stay.

    Hampered by the bumi quota ruling, foreign investments are still wary about investing in Malaysia. Hence the much lower FDIs to Malaysia compared to other countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Najib is pouring hundreds of billions to stimulate the economy, in the same way that Tun Mahathir did during his tenure as Prime Minister (1982 – 2002).

    All to no avail, as World Bank tabulated a chart which showed that Malaysia’s economy slowed down considerably after 1971 when the NEP was implemented, while other economics like Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and S. Korea boomed.

    PER CAPITA INCOME

    After 1971, the Tiger economies of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and S. Korea zoomed upwards while Malaysia’s PCI stagnated. the following figures are explanatory.
    Country PER CAPITA INCOMES (US$) WORLD BANK RANKING (2010)
    MALAYSIA 8,519 47
    SINGAPORE 43,324 12
    HONG KONG 31,877 19
    SOUTH KOREA 20,757 26
    CHINA PR 4,393 74
    JAPAN 43,161 13

    At independence, Malaya had the second highest per capita income, after Japan. These are frank stark figures from World Bank. It depicts just how sorry the Malaysian economy has lagged behind other countries in Asia. Malaysia’s economy was dragged down by the NEP.

    Secret of the success of the tiger economies of Singapore, Hong Kong, S. Korea and Taiwan. All these countries practise a market economy and they have a global outlook.

    The solution for Malaysia is to be liberal and to be global. If Malaysia keeps the NEP and refuses to embrace globalism, then Malaysia will forever stay as a middle income economy. Most of Malaysian households will stay poor.