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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Malaya bleeding us dry

Putrajaya's version of history has contaminated the minds of children and stripped Sabahans of their dignity, says economist and author Zainal Ajamain.

By Zainal Ajamain

These words “we demand autonomy or Sabah Negeri, Merdeka” must be on the lips and hearts of all true leaders in Sabah.

On both sides of Sabah’s political divide, our leaders have long been incapacitated by their fear of their perceived Malaya masters.

They will not speak out against the daily injustices towards fellow Sabahans. And even when they do speak up it is just passive shouting – a token resistance, just to show they are saying something.

It is like a dog that is supposed to guard a house against a thief – while it barks it retreats to the back, easily allowing the thief into the house and all its belongings.

But now, for many of us, an awakening has come. We have been stirred from our slumber and now find ourselves thrust into a new political era .
We now must accept the challenge that we each have to safeguard our Sabah.

Lightning pace of greed

For too long our political play has been about, rampantly and blatantly, using money to buy votes.

The traditional concept of ideals and the meaningful struggle to live and respect those ideals are being replaced by self-interest and greed. These values are being replaced at a lightning speed.

Sabah cannot keep pace with the speed of this greed and that is why we now find our beautiful state dangerously set on the path to self-destruction.

Therefore, we insist that this most indecent form of politics be arrested and changed not only for our own respectability now, but so that our children and their successors will forever be known as honourable people.

As the last general election indicated, both the incumbent government and opposition need to win the hearts and minds of the people of Sabah in order to have the right to govern the state.

Political parties must stop the practice of buying the people’s hearts and minds with handouts and minor projects while continuing to keep promises unfulfilled and leaving a string of broken dreams.

The hopelessness all true Sabahans feel because their votes are invalidated by “imported” voters must end and we believe there are among us persons who can bring back hope and integrity.

Clean and just elections

We ask, now with a louder and stronger voice, that elections in Malaysia be clean and just.

This way the losers can accept, without question, the true will of the people and may the winner be humble in victory and rise immediately to the challenge of fulfilling your election manifesto.

If Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) cannot give in to this fair and reasonable demand, then we should have autonomy, independence within Malaysia. We are not asking for a permanent separation – yet.

However, if these demands continuously fall on deaf ears and are met with disdain from the present leadership, it gives Sabahans no other alternative but to initiate efforts to gain its own sovereignty according to the terms agreed in 1963.

The leaders in Malaya must make their choice now, before the 13th general election.

After the election, the choice is no more in the hands of the leaders but in the hands of the people.

The ultimate losers at the end of this protracted battle will not be the Sabahans but Malaya, because Malaya has too little resource to sustain its growing population – ironically, a population growth engineered to sustain its own political survival.

Malaya took away our birth right

We cannot see any reason why Sabah needs to concede her rights to Putrajaya any longer.

How much more does Malaya need to bleed from us? They have taken our petroleum and gas. They have taken our land – our birthright.

They have imposed upon us a higher cost of living by choking our commerce, trade and industries with their carbotage policy.

Malaya is bleeding us dry!

Now, most recently splashed in headlines all over our local and national newspapers, they also twist and distort our history.

All these years, history has been written for their own glorification and to reinforce their supremacy over the people in Sabah and Sarawak. They have contaminated the minds of our children.

The indoctrination must stop now! We want history written as it happened and not how Putrajaya wants it to be.

We want Sabah back

We want a balanced economy. We want an equitable and an honest distribution of wealth.

If they do not change their current lopsided policies, then we want self-determination.

Malaya can keep their history, they can keep on mismanaging the economy and piling public debts and they can keep their societies polarised to serve their political ends. We want Sabah back.

We Sabahans are educated, better suited to and more than capable of looking after our own affairs and we shall not be belittled.

Kuala Lumpur has been saying that Sabahans cannot govern the state effectively. That statement truly borders on insult.

Worst still is the present state government’s implicit agreement that we really cannot do anything for ourselves as it refers and defers to Putrajaya.

No compromise on education

But in all honesty, this is more about control than ability. The minister in Sabah responsible for education freely admits that he has no power over education. The director of education is but a rubber stamp.

Everything must be referred to Putrajaya.

The federal-state relationship that we see today is against all that is agreed upon and promised in the Malaysia Agreement 1963.

Is it wrong then that we demand our education system back?

Since 1975, for the sake of nation-building, we have put up with the national curriculum and in the process we have sacrificed 36 years of real progress.

Our tolerance over the last 36 years for “The Malaysia Education System” has cost Sabah three generations of global competitiveness.

No more shall we in Sabah make sacrifices in the name of nation-building at the expense of our children.

There is no bright and illustrious future for us with the present Malaysian education system. Where education is concerned, we must be free to chart our own destiny.

We cannot compromise on this issue.

Sabah’s dignity

As a democracy, we accept anyone who comes to Sabah to set up and expand their political party.

However, there is an important criterion – the state anthem “Sabah Tanah Airku” must be respected by all political parties in Sabah.

For every political party, this is a measure of your sincerity towards the people of Sabah; that you are here not just for your own political gain but that you are here to work with the people to make Sabah the best she can be in every way.

Yes, this is our demand and this is only one of the many criteria for being in Sabah.

“Sabah Tanah Airku” encapsulates what it means to be a Sabahan.

Our founding fathers chose the state anthem because it carried a message and they had every intention for that message to be the doctrine by which we live.

“Merdeka Sepanjang Masa” and “Sabah, Negeri Merdeka” – this is what we are.

We are independent and we shall always be.

Zainal Ajamain is an economist and co-founder of Sabah-based United Borneo Front.


In what one prominent newspaper editor privately called "the beginning of his own cult of personality," Abdullah orchestrated his entrance into the grand assembly hall as a prophet coming to address his people. As Abdullah entered the hall, the audience began singing a well-known Muslim hymn commemorating the Prophet Mohammed's entrance into Medina. Privately, local journalists and some Middle-eastern diplomats were astonished and somewhat offended that Abdullah would equate himself with the Prophet, though newspapers failed to report his entrance procession.
Raja Petra Kamarudin

1.  (C) Summary:  The United Malays National Organization's (UMNO) General Assembly marked Prime Minister's Abdullah consolidation of power within UMNO and the clear political defeat of his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad after months of public attacks by Mahathir.  Mahathir did not attend the assembly due to timely health reasons, but he remained the elephant in the room that everyone knew was there but no one wanted to mention. 
A week prior to the assembly, Mahathir suffered from a "minor heart attack" and later refused to see a visiting Abdullah.  Prior to the assembly, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi declared he would not be a one-term prime minister and threatened the party leadership not to take him for granted. 
A local editor claimed Abdullah is trying to build a new cult of personality, as Abdullah evoked comparisons to himself and the Prophet Mohammed.  Mukhriz Mahathir assumed his father's role as Abdullah's chief critic at the assembly, but faced a political backlash for his disloyalty to the party leader.  This is the first in a series of reports covering the 57th UMNO General Assembly which was held in Kuala Lumpur, November 13-17.  End Summary.
Mahathir avoids the dance
2.  (C) Less than a week before the convocation of the UMNO General Assembly, former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed admitted himself to the National Heart Institute with complaints of chest pains.  Deemed to have suffered from a "minor heart attack", Mahathir remained hospitalized until November 14, one day prior to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's opening of the 2006 UMNO General Assembly.
Conveniently, Mahathir's health provided an excellent excuse not to attend the assembly and face a possibly hostile reception with little or no opportunity to present his own criticism of Abdullah.  Given Abdullah's control over the party and its rules of order, the Prime Minister was certain to use the the assembly to reaffirm his position of leadership. 
Mahathir's loss as a party delegate in his long-time constituency of Kubang Paso in September (ref A), in the face of strong machine politics, was evidence enough that he no longer controlled the party he once led for 22 years.
3.  (SBU) A survivor of heart bypass surgery in 1989, Mahathir's "faulty ticker" created an unassailable and face-saving excuse not to attend the assembly he fought so hard to crash.  However, his hospitalization did not bring any semblance of death-bed forgiveness or reconciliation.
The day after his admission to the hospital, Abdullah paid a visit to the hospital to greet his predecessor, only to be shooed away by doctors and advised that Mahathir could not see Abdullah as he was sleeping and was not able to have visitors.  Mahathir was not going to attend the assembly, but he was not about to reconcile his differences with Abdullah either.
"I am not a one-term prime minister"
4.  (SBU) In the run-up to the assembly, Abdullah gave an exclusive interview to an UMNO-linked newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, which headlined Abdullah's declaration: "I am not a one-term prime minister." 
Dispelling rumors that he would not seek a second term, or conjecture that Mahathir's attacks had weakened his resolve, Abdullah went on to say, "I will not run away.  I am here to stay.  I have long term plans and I will ensure that these plans are implemented."  Abdullah acknowledged that Mahathir's attacks were "no longer about the bridge or his other projects.  He has begun a total fight against me and the government." 
In a closed door meeting with party leaders the following day, Abdullah advised party officials that it was becoming increasingly difficult to be nice, but warned that he could certainly be otherwise if pushed too far. As one attendee remarked, "Abdullah's main message was 'don't take me for granted.' He showed us he was firmly in control."
Najib sets the tone for the assembly
5.  (U) Opening the early sessions of the General Assembly for UMNO Wanita (Women), Puteri (Young Women) and Pemuda (Youth), Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy President of UMNO, Najib Tun Razak, declared the policy that would preside throughout the entire assembly: "The tradition in UMNO has been the complete loyalty to our leaders.  We must be united behind Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, our party President and Prime Minister." 
Najib praised Malaysia's past leaders, but warned "there is great apprehension when the leaders we cherish begin to squabble.  And the worry increases when the opposition tries to take advantage. . .Quarrels will only lead to disunity."  While never mentioning Mahathir by name, Najib made it clear that past leaders would always be honored and revered, but "disunity" would not be tolerated.  Four days later his closing remarks Najib reiterated the party's undivided support for Abdullah in a traditional Malay poem: ". . .This is Pak Lah's era . . .our country he has changed; our religion he has honored, our race he has defended. . .We give him our support. . .in the name of religion, race and country."
Building a cult of personality
6.  (C) In what one prominent newspaper editor privately called "the beginning of his own cult of personality," Abdullah orchestrated his entrance into the grand assembly hall as a prophet coming to address his people.  As Abdullah entered the hall, the audience began singing a well-known Muslim hymn commemorating the Prophet Mohammed's entrance into Medina. 
Privately, local journalists and some Middle-eastern diplomats were astonished and somewhat offended that Abdullah would equate himself with the Prophet, though newspapers failed to report his entrance procession.
7.  (C) Equally telling were the verses Abdullah had recited from the Holy Quran before delivering his key-note address. The readings were from Surah 49. Al-Hujurat, verses 6 - 13, and carried a clear message that  UMNO attendees should reject Mahathir and embrace Abdullah. 
"O you who believe! If an evil person comes to you with any news, verify it, lest you should harm people in ignorance. . . And if two parties among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both.  But if one of the outrages against the other, then fight you all against the one which outrages till it complies with the command of Allah. . .Let not a group scoff an another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. . .Nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames.  How bad is it to insult one's brother after having faith.  And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed the wrong-doers." 
The readings from the Holy Quran lasted nearly 20 minutes, and it was commonly heard uttered among visitors and the media that not even PAS (Malaysia's conservative Islamic opposition party) read that many verses at their annual meeting or dared compare their leader with the Prophet.
Abdullah wishes Mahathir a speedy recovery
8. (SBU)  The subtle use of the Quranic verses aside, press reports all applauded Abdullah for "avoiding any mention" of Mahathir.  Many had expected Abdullah to launch a few veiled salvos at Mahathir, but what they heard were the soft words of their Prime Minister urging the attendees to "pray to the Almighty so that Tun Dr. Mahathir has a speedy recovery.  Let us also pray that Tun Dr. Siti Hasmah (Mahathir's wife) and members of her family be given the strength and patience to see through this difficult period."
The son carries on the fight
9. (C)  Just the day before Abdullah's speech, Mahathir had received a long ovation from the UMNO Youth delegates when it was mentioned he had that day returned home from the hospital.  Moreover, Mahathir's absence did not ensure the assembly avoided the fracas he had long ago begun.  Standing in as his father's proxy, Mukhriz Mahathir was quick to criticize Abdullah's performance. 
Echoing what many others mumbled but no others dared utter, Mukhriz called Abdullah's key-note address disappointing.  "I think it's an address he delivered last year.  I was hoping for something new. Perhaps he has other ideas,"  Mukhriz told reporters.
(Abdullah's keynote speech will be reported septel.)
10.  (C) Mukhriz's comments brought quick rebukes from UMNO Youth President Hishamuddin Tun Hussein and threats that Mukhriz risked being expelled from the UMNO Youth Executive Committee.  However, no one took the threats seriously, and many continue to speculate that the 42 year old Mukhriz will run for one of the 25 positions on the UMNO Executive Committee during the next election cycle, guaranteeing his name will remain in the lime-light, and ensuring his father's issues with Abdullah do not merely fade away.
11.  (C) The UMNO General Assembly demonstrated Abdullah's consolidation of his party power base and signified defeat for Mahathir's attempt to bring Abdullah's leadership to an early end.  Abdullah made it clear that pretenders would not be welcome if they tried to unseat him before he was ready to step down, and DPM Najib responded dutifully as the head cheerleader.  Mahathir's absence from the assembly was convenient, if not well planned, and prevented any rumors or threats of a division within Malaysia's dominant political party.  Mahathir's criticisms of the current administration will not quickly fade away, and will still attract tremendous interest from the public at large, but it is apparent they will have less traction after Abdullah's successful defense and consolidation of his own authority as leader of Malaysia's dominant political party.
LAFLEUR (November 2006)

‘Police abuse’ victims sue cops

The two claim to have been beaten with rubber hoses and that the cops poured hot water on their bodies.

KUALA LUMPUR: Two alleged police abuse victims filed a civil suit against seven police officers whom the duo accused of torturing them while in custody in 2008.

Also named in the suit were Brickfields police chief Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid and the Malaysian government.

In their suit, V Prabakar and C Solomon Raj demanded the officers pay for general, aggravated, exemplary and punitive damages plus costs.

The two claimed that they were beaten with rubber hoses and forced to confess to crimes they did not commit. They also alleged that the police poured hot water on their bodies.

While two of the officers were ordered by the court to enter their defence, the rest were cleared by police investigation.

read more

DAP distances itself from Manoharan’s statement

The party's disciplinary committee also shows no signs of taking action against Manoharan as yet.

PETALING JAYA: DAP has appeared to distance itself from a controversial statement by Kota Alam Shah assemblyman, M Manoharan, on the national flag by emphasising that it didn’t represent the party.

Last Thursday Manoharan wrote on his Facebook that the Jalur Gemilang should be modified as its current design resembled Barisan Nasional’s flag and didn’t reflect Malaysia.

In the wake of the uproar that followed, he apologised, removed the posting and clarified that the opinion was his alone and had nothing to do with Pakatan Rakyat.

But the criticism hasn’t abated with MCA Youth yesterday slamming DAP for its silence and challenging the party to take disciplinary action against Manoharan.

This morning’s Twitter feed was also peppered with BN MPs and supporters commenting on DAP’s “deafening silence” and questioning whether the party actually supported his statement.

“I absolutely disagree with him and my party feels the same way,” DAP Disciplinary Committee (DC) chairman, Tan Kok Wai, told FMT today. “DAP has always been a patriotic party and in that regard it is second to none.”

He however stopped short of saying whether any action would be taken against Manoharan and instead pointed out that Manoharan had already realised his mistake and had made an effort to rectify it.

When pressed on how seriously this issue was being viewed within the party, Tan said that the DC would be holding its routine meeting this Friday and the issue would be discussed.

“Several Selangor leaders have voiced their opinions on the matter but the DC hasn’t received any formal complaints so far,” he added. “It also isn’t true that the party has been silent over the issue as the media has run many reactions from our leaders.”

At this stage it is likely that Manoharan will only receive a warning which will aggravate certain quarters who are demanding a harsher punishment.

Tan also expressed confidence that Manoharan’s statement would not have any bearing on the party’s image as DAP has already secured its position among the people as a patriotic party.

“It isn’t possible for his statement to do any damage to the party image,” he said. “People already know DAP’s stand and the party has never insulted the Jalur Gemilang.”

Najib must retract his “crushed bodies, lives lost” speech and declare that he will accept the general election verdict of the people, including a change of government in Sri Perdana Putrajaya

On Sunday the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak claimed that his Malaysia Day speech announcement of the repeal of the Internal Security Act and other law reforms was an effort to make Malaysia “the best democracy in the world”.

Within 48 hours however Najib demonstrated that he has neither the political commitment nor the necessary mindset to “walk the talk” of making Malaysia “the best democracy in the world” when he spoke to the Association of Former Members of the Social Welfare Department (PBAKM) calling for assistance to defend Putrajaya by declaring that Seri Perdana is the residence of UMNO and a BN Prime Minister.

Najib cannot be more wrong as Sri Perdana is not the private property of UMNO and Barisan Nasional but the public property of the people of Malaysia, regardless of the outcome of any general election.

No Prime Minister can be serious in wanting make Malaysia “the best democracy in the world” when he refuses to accept the verdict of the people in a general election and uphold the important distinctions among public, party and personal spheres of responsibility, which is the root cause of the rampant corruption, abuse of power and flawed democracy in the country.

Malaysians are reminded of Najib’s deplorable speech at the UMNO General Assembly last year when he used the language of “crushed bodies, lives lost” for Umno to defend power at any cost in Putrajaya.

As Najib is now talking about wanting to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”, the first thing he should do to demonstrate his sincerity and credibility by retracting his “crushed bodies, lives lost” declaration to the UMNO General Assembly last year and make a firm public commitment that he, UMNO and Barisan Nasional will accept the verdict of the people, including for a change of government in Sri Perdana, Putrajaya in the next general election.

If Najib is not prepared to make such a retraction and publicly declare acceptance of the general election verdict of the people, the sincerity and credibility of his claim of wanting to make Malaysia “the best democracy in the world” stands immediately exposed as an empty and meaningless stance.

Changes in the nation’s horizon

ImageThe Star
Reflecting On The Law By Shad Saleem Faruqi

Whether by revocation by the King or annulment by Parliament, all emergency legislations will cease to exist six months after the end of an emergency proclamation.

THE Prime Minister’s surprise announcement that the Emergency will be lifted, that the Internal Security Act will be repealed, and that laws like the Printing Presses and Publications Act will be amended to constitutionalise and humanise them has fired everybody’s imagination, and at the same time raised apprehension among the defenders of the status quo.

One reader asked whether the Prime Minister consulted with, and obtained, the consent of the Cabinet before making these bold pronouncements.

No outsider can answer this accurately, but what can be pointed out is that in parliamentary democracies, prime ministers are known to launch bold initiatives on their own and to present their Cabinets and their countries with a fait accompli.

Clear examples are decisions on premature dissolution of Parliament and budget and foreign policy initiatives.

In 1956, Anthony Eden of Britain got his country embroiled in the disastrous Suez invasion, and informed his Cabinet only after British paratroopers had landed on Egyptian soil.

In a strictly legal way, the prime minister is not bound by the Cabinet; instead the Cabinet is bound by the direction he supplies.

Politics may, of course, encourage a consultative approach but all students of parliamentary government know that the prime minister is the sun around which the Cabinet revolves.

Individual ministers are bound under the doctrine of collective ministerial responsibility to support their prime minister or step down from office.

Another reader asked whether the Prime Minister’s announcement means that the Emergency is already lifted?

The answer is in the negative.

The Emergency is proclaimed by the King and either he must revoke his proclamation(s) or the two Houses must by resolution annul the proclamation(s).

If the King (acting on advice) revokes a proclamation, the revocation comes into effect immediately.

However, if the two Houses are to debate and vote on a resolution to annul, that process can be expected to take some weeks or months because the Dewan Negara will probably convene only after the Dewan Rakyat’s lengthy budget session beginning in October.

However, if immediate parliamentary action to annul the 1966, 1969 and 1977 proclamations is thought desirable, the two Houses can meet concurrently to draw to a close the 47-year saga of the existing post-independence Emergency.

Once a proclamation expires, whether by revocation by the King or annulment by Parliament through an Emergency Act of Parliament or a piece of subsidiary legislation under an emergency law, all emergency legislations will cease to exist six months after the proclamation.

If the Emergency ends, does the Internal Security Act (ISA) also cease to exist? The answer is in the negative.

The ISA is a law against subversion under Article 149.

It is independent of Article 150 and has a life of its own, no matter what happens to the Emergency.

If the ISA is repealed, will those detained under the ISA have to be released? Undoubtedly, yes.

If the basis of their detention is extinguished, the detention, too, ceases to be valid.

Even if there is a new law under Article 149 to deal with security or terrorism cases, that law cannot be backdated due to the prohibition of Article 7(1).

Of course, the detainees may face new prosecutions under the Penal Code or the new laws.

The rule of double jeopardy will not apply.

Will the Government have to pay compensation to all people detained under the ISA, including in previous years?

The answer is “no” because the legality of an act must be judged by the law at the time of the commission of the act and not by what happens afterwards.

How can the ISA be repealed? Does its repeal require the consent of the Conference of Rulers?

Under Article 149, any law against subversion may be passed or repealed by Parliament.

A simple majority vote is sufficient.

The consent of the Conference of Rulers is not needed.

From what we have heard, the ISA will be replaced by two laws on terrorism and national security.

Some cynics are saying that the move is therefore purely cosmetic and political.

The ISA may end but preventive detention may remain.

I think we should hold our judgment on this issue till we see the substantive content of the proposed new laws.

I would give anxious consideration to the following issues:

> The concepts of terrorism and national security must be precisely and objectively defined and must not have any catch-all tendencies.

> There should be no exclusion of judicial review so that any abuse or misuse of power can be tested in the courts.

It is acceptable that on matters of security, the political executive must have a strong say without excluding the power of the courts to determine independently whether security was indeed involved or not.

> There must be some safeguards against political detentions.

> The power of the police to detain for purposes of investigation must be drastically reduced from the present 60 days to no more than three weeks.

> The Minister’s power, as at present, to order detention for two years and for such further periods as he deems necessary must be abolished.

Detentions on the orders of the Minister raise the unconscionable issue of accuser, adjudicator and executioner being combined. Some separation of powers and some check and balance is desirable.

Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done.

> The power to try, to convict and to detain must be committed to a Special Security Court or Anti-Terrorism Court (or by whatever name called).

> Anxious consideration must be given to the composition of this Special Court which must arouse public confidence.

> The executive must accuse, the court must decide.

> Special procedural rules for security trials exist in many countries and must be examined.

Perhaps trials should be held in camera (without the public present).

Whatever the case, there must be fair due process. The accused must know the charge.

No incriminating evidence must be withheld from him and from the judge, as is possible at present.

The accused must be allowed to defend himself fully and fairly.

> The penalties and the maximum period of detention must be prescribed.

> Whether there should be no appeal in “security” and “terrorist” trials is a matter for further consideration.

We have many model legislations from many countries that we can emulate.

Whatever we follow must show fidelity to our own Constitution and to the primary instruments of international law.

> Shad Saleem Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM and Visiting Professor at USM.

BN Policies Far Superior To Changes Proposed By Opposition - Muhyiddin

DUNGUN, Sept 20 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the policies introduced by the Barisan Nasional (BN) were far superior to the proposed changes promised by the opposition pact.

As such, he said, the people should support the BN government and guard against being influenced by the propaganda of the opposition.

"The government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak always strives to improve facilities and raise the income of the people through various programmes to make the country a developed nation by 2020," he said at an Aidilfitri open house for the people at the Dewan Merdeka padang here.

Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said and Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob were also present at the reception attended by about 15,000 people.

Muhyiddin dismissed as empty promises the opposition pact's proposed major changes listed in its "Buku Jingga" (Orange Book). The book, among other things, spells out the opposition's agenda for the country in relation to the economy and social justice.

"Based on an analysis, implementing the proposals in the book will bankrupt the country in just two years," the deputy prime minister said.

Muhyiddin said the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) of the government had the capacity to mould Malaysia into a developed nation by 2020, and called on government and private sector employees and the people to help achieve the noble intention.

"The prime minister has introduced various political and economic transformation programmes, the latest being the abolition of the Internal Security Act, in line with the government's desire to make Malaysia a developed nation," he said.

Muhyiddin said the government was sensitive to the needs and welfare of the people and always strived to improve their lives.

He said the opposition parties were incapable of doing what the BN government had done, was doing and would do for the people, and advised the people not to gamble away their future by supporting them.

Mat Sabu charged in Butterworth court

Pas deputy president Mat Sabu was charged with criminal defamation in the Butterworth court this morning.

He was charged under s500 of the Penal Code and the case is likely to be heard in December. If convicted, he could be jailed for up to two years or fined or both.

Bail was set at RM15000.

A crowd of a few hundred gathered in and around court this morning.

Whatever positive sentiment that greeted Najib’s announcement of the repeal of the ISA would surely have evaporated.

The entire saga including Mat Sabu’s statements on the Bukit Kepung incident has thrown wide open the interpretation of historical events leading up to Merdeka.

Google's social network opens to everyone

A Google+ feature called
(CNN) -- Google's answer to Facebook went public on Tuesday afternoon.

For the past three months, Google+, the company's social network, was available only to users who had been invited by the company or by friends who already had access to the site.

"For the past 12 weeks we've been in field trial, and during that time we've listened and learned a great deal," Google's Vic Gundotra, a senior vice president for engineering, said in a blog post. "We're nowhere near done, but with the improvements we've made so far we're ready to move from field trial to beta, and introduce our 100th feature: open sign-ups.

"This way anyone can visit, join the project and connect with the people they care about."

The update comes as many people who use the site are questioning its value.

"My Google+ home page is worse than a ghost town. It doesn't even feel haunted," wrote Rainbow Rowell, a columnist at the Omaha World-Herald.

Writing on the PBS blog Mediashift, Dan Reimold adds: "The stream of updates has basically run dry -- reduced to one buddy who regularly writes. My initial excitement about signing on and inviting people to join me has waned. Nowadays, I apparently get tired just thinking about it."

Others disagree.

"I must be doing something wrong on Google+," Harry McCracken, founder of the blog Technologizer, wrote on his Google+ page. "It isn't 'worse than a ghost town' for me. It's active and pleasant, albeit lacking some of the initial rush."

Introduced in late June, Google Plus gained an estimated 25 million users by early August, although the company has released no recent figures on its membership. By contrast, Facebook has more than 750 million users, and Twitter has more than 175 million.

Google continues to add features to its social network in an apparent effort to spur growth and further differentiate itself from Facebook and Twitter. On Tuesday, the company announced a few more, including:

Better search for topics and personalities on the site: "Google+ search results include items that only you can see, so family updates are just as easy to find as international news," the company says.

"On-air" Hangouts: Google's group video-chat feature, called Hangouts, has helped it stand out from Facebook, which does not have a similar tool. Now users can broadcast these group chats to the public: "The setup is simple enough: just start a normal hangout, and you'll have the option to broadcast and record your session. Once you're 'On Air,' up to nine others can join your hangout (as usual), and anyone can watch your live broadcast," Google's blog post says.

Mobile Hangouts: These video chats now work on smartphones running Google's Android 2.3 operating systems. Support for the iPhone is coming soon, Google says.

To promote the new Hangouts features, Google will host an On-Air Hangout with rapper on Wednesday.

What do you think? Now that Google+ is public, will you join? Or is yet another social network too many?

Let us know in the comments, or, if you're so inclined, join a conversation about this on my Google+ page.

“Death to Jews” did they chant on Sunday in Paris

“About 30 pro-Palestinean activists invaded the embark lobby of the Israeli airline El-Al at Roissy, crying “Death to Israel” “Death to the jews” and preventing the checkin of passengers.”

According to witnesses on the spot”a wild horde terrorized, threatened, intimidated passengers.” They were responding to a call from the extremist organization EuroPalestine. Some wore t-shirts calling for a boycott of Israel.

The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA) condemned “the attack” and appealed to the Prefect of Seine Saint Denis “to stop this aggression and discrimination that those responsible are arrested and brought to justice for disturbing the public order and incitement to hatred “.

The police and security service from the airport intervened and asked the reinforcements to disperse the demonstrators.

New security laws to focus on terrorism, race and religion

Nazri said speculation that the new laws would be more repressive than the ISA or that they would merely be a mere repackaging of it was “ridiculous”. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — One of the two new security laws will focus on terrorism while the other will regulate race and religious issues, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today.

But the de facto law minister pledged that the two new laws to replace the Internal Security Act (ISA) would not be as repressive as the controversial law being repealed.

He stressed that the two replacement laws “cannot” be more repressive in nature as the prime minister had promised meaningful reforms to the country’s preventive laws.

The minister said that one of the laws would tackle terrorism while the second would specifically deal with safeguarding public peace and order, and touch on racial and religious relations.

“But these laws, as the PM said last week, must comply with two fundamental issues — one, no one can be arrested on the basis of differences in political ideologies and two, extended detention can only be approve through the courts. These are the two safeguards,” he told reporters after meeting with representatives from the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia here this evening.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced last Thursday the repeal of the ISA, the three Emergency Declarations and also the need for annual printing and publishing permits when both Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat have their next sitting.

The Umno president said two new laws would be enacted in place of the ISA to protect the peace, harmony and security of the country but admitted that they were “risky but necessary for our survival.”

Just days after Najib’s announcement, resistance began to surface, with political hardliners like Perkasa’s Datuk Ibrahim Ali calling on the prime minister to preserve the spirit of the ISA in the two new laws.

Those across the political divide remained cautiously optimistic of the reforms, expressing fears that the enactment of two new laws meant the ISA was merely being repackaged.

Nazri, however, reminded Malaysians that both laws would still be subject to lengthy parliamentary debates and public consultation before they are enacted.

He rubbished criticisms that the laws could be more repressive than the ISA or that they would merely be a repackaging of the ISA, saying such statements were “ridiculous”.

“If they are that repressive and yet are passed in Parliament, then the opposition must be sleeping,” said the outspoken minister.

Nazri also revealed that the Attorney-General (A-G) is scheduled to brief the Cabinet tomorrow on the abolition of the ISA and issues surrounding the two new laws to be drafted.

He said the laws should be ready to be tabled by the March Parliamentary sitting after the A-G gathers feedback and consults with all relevant stakeholders.

On proposals to repeal and make further amendments to other security and press laws in the country, Nazri expressed confidence that if the ISA, the “mother of all laws”, could be repealed, the government would likely have no qualms doing the same to other pieces of legislation in the future.

The minister also said there was no need for the government to apologise or compensate former ISA detainees, insisting that they had been lawfully detained.

“Anything that was done in the past was done according to the law.

“Similarly, if we decide one day that it is no longer illegal to steal, should we then apologise or compensate all the thieves who were punished under the law in the past?” he reasoned.

What if it was Najib in the sex video?

Some NGOs want to know why Pakatan Rakyat leaders are remaining silent on Anwar being implicated in a sex scandal and would they keep quiet if it was Najib Tun Razak.

PETALING JAYA: Would Pakatan Rakyat leaders remain silent if there was a video implicating Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak in a sex scandal?

This was a question an NGO popped up when referring to the latest video on Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The video snippet allegedly showed Anwar entering a hotel with businessman Shazryl Eskay Abdullah.

Commenting on the video, Coalition of Malay Students in Peninsular Malaysia (GPMS) secretary-general Zambri Mohd Isa criticised opposition supporters for practising double standard.

“When Kelana Jaya MP Low Gwo Burne recorded a video of a lawyer allegedly trying to fix judicial appointments, the opposition leaders went to town with it prompting a Royal Commission of Inquiry to be established to investigate the matter.

“But when it comes to Anwar’s case, not even a squeak is heard from his supporters,” Zambri said.

Last week, pro-Umno blogger Papagomo posted the new video snippet purportedly linking Anwar to the sex video released in April.

Early this year, a trio calling themselves “Datuk Trio” released a video allegedly showing Anwar engaged in sex with a prostitute.

In an extension to the video, Papagomo released the latest snippet last week showing “Anwar” entering a hotel lift with Shazryl. Shazryl is one of trio that released the sex video early this year.

Impeachment in Parliament

Zambri hailed former health minister Dr Chua Soi Lek’s decision to resign from office in 2008 after he was implicated in a sex scandal.

He said that even Selangor opposition leader, Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, resigned from office last year when implicated in a corruption scandal.

“But Anwar refuses to even swear in the mosque to prove his innocence,” he added.

As a people’s representative, Zambri said Anwar should answer all the allegations against him.
“He is not a common man in the street. Anwar is a parliamentarian. If we want to be a great nation, we must be brave to face this,” he said.

Selangor Coalition of NGOs against Corruption (GAPS) chairman Hamidzun Khairuddin said that Parliament should impeach Anwar over the allegations.

“If Anwar is not investigated, it will make a mockery of our august house,” Hamidzun said.

With Anwar’s moral standing under a cloud, he said it was time for someone from DAP or PAS to take over Pakatan’s helm.

“We have to address this moral decay. In my view, (PAS president) Hadi Awang and (DAP secretary-general) Lim Guan Eng are morally superior to Anwar,” he added.

Best to ignore

However, PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub dismissed the NGOs’ arguments and reiterated their support for Anwar.

“In principle, we stick to qazaf where an accuser must provide four witnesses to prove their allegation. In Anwar’s case, no witnesses have come forward,” Salahuddin said.

On whether Anwar’s indifference over the matter would hurt Pakatan, Salahuddin dismissed the notion outright.

“For decades the government had accused Anwar of many things but the people are still with us as they know the truth,” he said.

On why Anwar refused to comment on the recent allegation, the PAS leader said that probably Anwar was tired responding to the accusation.

“I think he is just fed up with it. It’s best for him to ignore it,” he said.

Echoing Salahuddin’s sentiments, DAP Youth leader Anthony Loke also said Anwar’s alleged sexual misconduct issue is just being played up to confuse the public.

“Let’s just ignore the matter and move forward, “ said Loke.

MIC man asks party treasurer to quit

Jaspal Singh is accused of giving confusing answers about a plot of land near party headquarters.

PETALING JAYA: A local MIC leader today called for the resignation of the party’s treasurer-general, Jaspal Singh, accusing him of confusing members about the status of a piece of land adjacent to the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

The government granted the land to Maika Holdings Bhd some time in the mid-1980s. It is not clear whether Maika, MIC’s investment arm, still owns it.

Jaspal has been giving “contradictory replies” to party members asking about the land, according to V Thiagarajen, who heads the Taman Mujur MIC branch here.

He recalled that at the party’s annual general meeting last July, Jaspal responded to a delegate’s question by saying that the land no longer belonged to MIC or any of its agencies.

“However, at a recent Selangor MIC meeting, he said he did not know anything about the status of the land,” Thiagarajen added.

He said party members were confused and called on Jaspal to either “clear the air immediately” or give up his position to make way for “someone more credible”.

When it acquired the land, Maika had planned to build a 32-storey multipurpose tower on it, but financial problems forced it to abandon the idea. It turned the plot into a car park instead.

Mano: I didn’t condemn Jalur Gemilang

Kota Alam Shah assemblyman Manoharan says the suggestion that the Malaysian flag be changed was his personal opinion and had nothing to do with Pakatan Rakyat.

PETALING JAYA: DAP’s embattled Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M Manoharan was made to eat humble pie when his “demeaning” comments on the Malaysian flag on his Facebook went viral.

Today, he said he has apologised and removed the suggestion to modify the national flag from his Facebook. He also said the suggestion was his personal stand and had nothing to do with Pakatan Rakyat.

“It is my personal stand, not Pakatan’s. I don’t know about Pakatan’s stand,” said the first-term state assemblyman.

On Malaysia Day last Thursday, Manoharan wrote in his Facebook that the flag – Jalur Gemilang – should be modified as its current design resembled Barisan Nasional’s flag and did not reflect Malaysia.

He added that he had distributed DAP flags in his constituency on Malaysia Day as “he did not have the heart” to wave the national flag.

Since then, Manoharan has come under heavy criticism from BN politicians, including from Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

Apart from urging the police to take action against the DAP assemblyman, many BN politicians have also tied Manoharan’s comment as being Pakatan’s official stand. Pakatan leaders have insisted that Manaoharan only made a personal remark.

“I only suggested, not condemned, the national flag,” Manoharan said today when contacted.

Sink or swim with DAP

On another development, Manoharan expressed his wish to be retained as a candidate for the Kota Alam Shah seat.

“I am working hard to be retained in this seat. I don’t see any reason why I should be dropped,” he said.

When asked whether he would stand as an independent candidate if dropped, he said: “I will sink or swim with the DAP.”

There are rumours that he will not be retained for the general election as he is seen more as a Hindraf representative than a DAP man.

“I hope that the central leadership would understand my predicament,” said Manoharan who shot to fame via the Hindraf movement in 2008.

He also denied rumours that he would be joining the MIC which he called a sinking ship.

Mat Sabu arrested over alleged Bukit Kepong remarks

(The Star) - PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu has been arrested by police in connection with his alleged remarks on the Bukit Kepong incident.

Mohamad, or Mat Sabu, had voluntarily gone to the state police headquarters at 8.30pm before he was detained.
He was released on bail at 9.05pm.

Mat Sabu is expected to be charged for criminal defamation under Section 500 of the Penal Code on Wednesday.

The Netherlands to Abandon Multiculturalism

The Dutch government says it will abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands.

A new integration bill (covering letter and 15-page action plan), which Dutch Interior Minister Piet Hein Donner presented to parliament on June 16, reads: “The government shares the social dissatisfaction over the multicultural society model and plans to shift priority to the values of the Dutch people. In the new integration system, the values of the Dutch society play a central role. With this change, the government steps away from the model of a multicultural society.”

The letter continues: “A more obligatory integration is justified because the government also demands that from its own citizens. It is necessary because otherwise the society gradually grows apart and eventually no one feels at home anymore in the Netherlands. The integration will not be tailored to different groups.”

The new integration policy will place more demands on immigrants. For example, immigrants will be required to learn the Dutch language, and the government will take a tougher approach to immigrants to ignore Dutch values or disobey Dutch law.

The government will also stop offering special subsidies for Muslim immigrants because, according to Donner, “it is not the government’s job to integrate immigrants.” The government will introduce new legislation that outlaws forced marriages and will also impose tougher measures against Muslim immigrants who lower their chances of employment by the way they dress. More specifically, the government will impose a ban on face-covering Islamic burqas as of January 1, 2013.

If necessary, the government will introduce extra measures to allow the removal of residence permits from immigrants who fail their integration course.

The measures are being imposed by the new center-right government of Conservatives (VVD) and Christian Democrats (CDA), with parliamentary support from the anti-Islam Freedom Party (PVV), whose leader, Geert Wilders, is currently on trial in Amsterdam for “inciting hatred” against Muslims.

As expected, Muslim organizations in Holland have been quick to criticize the proposals. The Moroccan-Dutch organization Samenwerkingsverband van Marokkaanse Nederlanders, which advises the government on integration matters, argues that Muslim immigrants need extra support to find a job. The umbrella Muslim group Contactorgaan Moslims en Overheid says that although it agrees that immigrants should be better integrated into Dutch society, it is opposed to a ban on burqas.

But polls show that a majority of Dutch voters support the government’s skepticism about multiculturalism. According to a Maurice de Hond poll published by the center-right newspaper Trouw on June 19, 74 percent of Dutch voters say immigrants should conform to Dutch values. Moreover, 83 percent of those polled support a ban on burqas in public spaces.

The proper integration of the more than one million Muslims now living in Holland has been a major political issue ever since 2002, when Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was assassinated for his views on Muslim immigration, and since 2004, when Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was stabbed to death for producing a movie that criticized Islam.

Muslim immigration to the Netherlands can be traced back to the 1960s and 1970s, when a blue collar labor shortage prompted the Dutch government to conclude recruitment agreements with countries like Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey. In the 1980s and 1990s, Muslims also arrived in the Netherlands as asylum seekers and refugees, mainly from Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia.

There are now an estimated 1.2 million Muslims in the Netherlands, which is equivalent to about 6 percent of the country’s overall population. Moroccans and Turks comprise nearly two-thirds of all Muslims in the Netherlands. Most Muslims live in the four major cities of the country: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.

As their numbers grow, Muslim immigrants have become increasingly more assertive in carving out a role for Islam within Dutch society. For example, a documentary aired by the television program Netwerk in June 2009 reported that Dutch law was being systematically undermined by the growth of Sharia justice in the Netherlands.

In December 2004, the Dutch Ministry of the Interior published a 60-page report titled From Dawa to Jihad. Prepared by the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD, the report says that the Netherlands is home to up to 50,000 radical Muslims whose key ideological aim is to target the Western way of life and to confront Western political, economic, and cultural domination.

The report concludes that Dutch society is poorly equipped to resist the threat of radical Islam because of “a culture of permissiveness” that has become synonymous with “closing one’s eyes” to multiple transgressions of the law.

As for Interior Minister Donner, he has undergone a late-in-life conversion on the issue of Muslim immigration. In September 2006, while serving as justice minister, Donner provoked an outcry after saying that he welcomed the introduction of Islamic Sharia law in the Netherlands if the majority wants it. He also said Holland should give Muslims more freedoms to behave according to their traditions.

After applauding Queen Beatrix for respecting Islam by not insisting that a Muslim leader shake hands with her during a visit to the Mobarak Mosque in The Hague, Donner said: “A tone that I do not like has crept into the political debate on integration. A tone of: ‘Thou shalt assimilate. Thou shalt adopt our values in public. Be reasonable, do it our way.’ That is not my approach.”

Fast forward to 2011 and Donner now says his government “will distance itself from the relativism contained in the model of a multicultural society.” Although society changes, he says, it must not be “interchangeable with any other form of society.”

'Gaddafi evading capture in a Mercedes 4x4 bristling with anti-tracking systems... and it was given to him by Nicolas Sarkozy'

Muammar Gaddafi has escaped in a state-of-the-art armoured vehicle provided by Nicolas Sarkozy, it emerged today. 

In the latest extraordinary twist to the Libyan rebellion, it emerged that the French President gave the ‘green light’ to the Arab dictator receiving the £3.5 million converted Mercedes 4x4 in 2008. 

Not only is it filled with communications systems capable of keeping Gaddafi in touch with his forces, but it can foil the kind of tracking systems used by the military as they try to hunt him down. 

Stealthy and bulletproof: A road-going Mercedes ML, the type which has been modified with armour plating and jamming technology, and allegedly given to Muammar Gaddafi by France
Stealthy and bulletproof: A road-going Mercedes ML, the type which has been modified with armour plating and jamming technology, and allegedly given to Muammar Gaddafi by France

It was Mr Sarkozy who ordered French jets to start bombing Gaddafi’s forces back in March, and last week he and Prime Minister David Cameron enjoyed a triumphant trip to the newly liberated Tripoli. 

But investigative news site Mediapart has found documents proving that French technology firm Amesys was allowed to provide Gaddafi with the command vehicle. 

The revelation comes on the day that pro-Gaddafi fighters fired anti-aircraft guns at revolutionary forces holding the northern gate of Bani Walid for a second day, as frustration with weeks of halting advances grows among the former rebel ranks. 

Launching an attack: Libyan rebel fighters fire rockets as they press forward near Ouagadougou Conference Center in the outskirts of Sirte. A second front has reportedly opened up in the city's east
Launching an attack: Libyan rebel fighters fire rockets as they press forward near Ouagadougou Conference Center in the outskirts of Sirte. A second front has reportedly opened up in the city's east

Weapons salvage: Anti-Gaddafi forces sift through the abandoned weapons in Sirte, taking what they can use and destroying everything left behind. Fighting remains fierce in Gaddafi's remaining strongholds
Weapons salvage: Anti-Gaddafi forces sift through the abandoned weapons in Sirte, taking what they can use and destroying everything left behind. Fighting remains fierce in Gaddafi's remaining strongholds

Ragtag front line: Revolutionary forces have pulled back from Bani Walid, leaving a thin front of mainly young fighters with little experience or support
Ragtag front line: Revolutionary forces have pulled back from Bani Walid, leaving a thin front of mainly young fighters with little experience or support

Forces - no longer rebels but the military of the National Transitional Council, Libya's interim government - have been massed outside Bani Walid since shortly after Libya's new rulers gained control of Tripoli and other parts of the country in August.

Block-by-block fighting continues in Gaddafi's home town of Sirte, with revolutionary forces claiming to have opened a second front in the east of the city.

Of Sarkozy's armoured 4x4, Mediapart says: ‘In 2007 the sale was approved by the then Interior Minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, and his chief of staff Claude Gueant.


Gadhafi spokesman Moussa Ibrahim has told the Syrian Al-Rai TV station, the Gaddafi media mouthpiece, that 17 mercenaries from Britain, France and Qatar had been captured near Bani Walid. 

Britain's Foreign Office said it was aware of Mr Ibrahim's claims, but had no evidence that they were correct. 

Mr Ibrahim said: 'A group was captured in Bani Walid consisting of 17 mercenaries. They are technical experts and they include consultative officers.

Most of them are French, one of them is from an Asian country that has not been identified, two English people and one Qatari.'

The French foreign ministry said it had no information about the report. Qatari officials were not immediately available for comment.

‘The vehicle was eventually delivered in 2008 - this time with the green light from the President.’
The site goes on to give details of the armoured 4X4 Mercedes ML - equipped with a protection cage made by Faraday, which prevents all electronic fields from affecting the vehicle. 

It also comes with an electronic device capable of knocking out all radio frequencies within some 300ft of the vehicle. This would make the kind of targeted bombing, which has seen hundreds of Libyan Army vehicles destroyed over the past six months, almost impossible. 

A military source in Paris said: ‘Gaddafi has almost certainly used the vehicle to get away. It is a product of superb French engineering, and an obvious means of escape.

‘Gaddafi would be able to stay out sight of military targeters, and be extremely well protected if he met enemy forces on the ground.’ 

In a further disastrous revelation for Mr Sarkozy, it emerged that the 4X4 was part of a £25million-plus deal that also saw the French provide Libya with the means to conduct email surveillance over their own people. 

The deal was put together by the French-Lebanese arms dealer Ziad Takieddine, which is at the centre of a party-funding scandal involving Mr Sarkozy.

The scandal, known in France as ‘Karachigate’, is linked to the selling of submarines to Pakistan.
The unidentified military source added: ‘All of this is disastrous for Mr Sarkozy. On one hand he is presenting himself as the saviour of Libya, while in reality he did more to keep Gaddafi in arms than almost anybody else.’ 

PR disaster: Revelations that Nicolas Sarkozy essentially gave Muammar Gaddafi the means of his escape from capture will be a major embarrassment for the French President. Both men are seen here in a 2007 photo
PR disaster: Revelations that Nicolas Sarkozy essentially gave Muammar Gaddafi the means of his escape from capture will be a major embarrassment for the French President. Both men are seen here in a 2007 photo

Sherpa, a French Internet watchdog group, last week filed a complaint against Amesys for selling equipment to Gaddafi designed ‘to track rebel forces’.

An Elysee Palace spokesman said: ‘We have no comment to make on any of this.’
Today trained fighters pulled away from Bani Walid to regroup and reinforce for a new assault, after they were heavily beaten in the city Friday.

Gaddafi forces opened up on the bands of ragtag, undisciplined fighters left on on the front line.
These include fighters as young as 18 who spend hours smoking hash, shooting at plastic bottles, arguing with one another and sometimes just firing wildly into the streets out of apparent boredom.

Slow but steady progress: Anti-Gaddafi fighters advance to bomb an area where they exchange fire with Gaddafi loyalists near Herawa, 32 miles east of Sirte
Slow but steady progress: Anti-Gaddafi fighters advance to bomb an area where they exchange fire with Gaddafi loyalists near Herawa, 32 miles east of Sirte
Victory is in the air: As Libyan fighters chant slogans, after taking control of Gaddafi strongholds in the desert south of Tripoli, there remains the feeling that revolutionary forces will slowly but surely triumph
Victory is in the air: As Libyan fighters chant slogans, after taking control of Gaddafi strongholds in the desert south of Tripoli, there remains the feeling that revolutionary forces will slowly but surely triumph
Fighting is raging at Sirte, Gaddafi's hometown on the Mediterranean coast. The regime stronghold of Sabha lies hundreds of miles away in the southern deserts, and there are others deep in the central deserts like the cities of Houn and Zallah. 

Revolutionaries involved in the battle at Sirte are more organised but have have made slow progress.
Today revolutionary forces shelled the city with Grad rockets and the sound of gunfights echoed through the streets.

White smoke wafted over the city, and civilians continued to flee. Gaddafi forces answered back with occasional Katyusha rockets. 

Regular truckloads of fuel and food arrive from Misrata to keep the fighters supplied outside Sirte.
In the past three days, they have battled block-by-block into the western side of Sirte, along the beach and along a eucalyptus tree-lined main avenue parallel to the coast.