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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mother Shayma Ali killed daughter, four, 'as sacrifice'

A woman "sacrificed" her daughter to Allah to "exorcise evil spirits", the Old Bailey has heard.

Shayma Ali, 36, who was suffering from psychosis, stabbed the four-year-old up to 40 times and took out her liver.

The girl's body was found at her east London flat on the Chatsworth Estate, Clapton, east London, in December.

Ali pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. She was sent to a mental hospital indefinitely.

When police arrived at their east London home, the woman was chanting: "I seek refuge in God from the curse of Satan".

The Old Bailey heard Ali had sunk "suddenly and deeply into mental illness" and was convinced the spirits or jinn had entered the bodies of members of her family.

Koranic verses
 
Her daughter had remained at the flat in December because she had been ill and was not allowed to go to nursery.

After her arrest, Ali told her husband: "Suddenly it came into my mind that I should correct my behaviour towards Allah.

"Then a voice told me 'if you love Allah you should sacrifice your daughter."'

She told a doctor she strangled the child and when she was unconscious, she carried her on to the kitchen table where she used the knife to ensure the spirits were exorcised.

As she stabbed the girl, Koranic verses were played in the background on an electronic device, the court heard.

Judge Anthony Morris told Ali: "One of the horrifying aspects of this case is how quickly you lost control of yourself."

Gary Dolby, head of London's Crown Prosecution Service Homicide Unit, said: "Family members and police officers encountered appalling scenes when they entered the house.

"This is clearly a very sad case and our thoughts go to the family at this difficult time."

Guan Eng wants Najib to apologise for Bumi quota flip-flop

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng wants the prime minister to apologise for another “flip-flop”, this time over the scrapping of Bumiputera quotas.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday he had not promised to abolish the 30 per cent quota eventually despite media reports to the contrary.

But Lim (picture) pointed out today it was hard to believe state news agency Bernama, which also carried the alleged misquote, would dare to misrepresent the prime minister.

“As it is hard to imagine a government news department like Bernama daring to misquote or misrepresent what the prime minister said, will the prime minister be compelled to apologise for saying the wrong thing?” Lim said in a statement.

Bernama, several online news portals and the Chinese media reported earlier this week that Najib had called for the eventual removal of Bumiputera quotas.

“We want to do away from (with) quotas but we must support them (Bumiputera entrepreneurs) in a way that would allow them to grow,” Najib told the Khazanah Megatrends Forum 2011 here on Tuesday night.

The prime minister, however, denied yesterday he had meant for such quotas to be scrapped and that he was merely trying to urge Bumiputera entrepreneurs to be more self-sufficient.

“I did not say we want to abolish quotas, but I said we cannot be too reliant on them,” he had said after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting here.

Critics have accused Najib of diluting his New Economic Model (NEM) reforms by creating agencies like Teraju and failing to focus on needs- and merit-based affirmative action policies.

But government officials said the move was necessary as Bumiputera equity in the economy remained low despite the billions doled out since the New Economic Policy (NEP) began in 1971.

Hudud laws okay in Kelantan

However, FMT readers are confident that it would not be implemented nationwide when Pakatan Rakyat comes to power.

PETALING JAYA: A majority of FMT readers are not seeing red over the implementation of hudud in Kelantan but, at the same time, do not expect hudud to be featured in a Pakatan Rakyat federal government.

In a FMT poll conducted for the past two weeks, some 81 percent or 1,968 out of 2,417 readers, voted that hudud would not be Pakatan’s national policy compared with 300 readers who voted “yes”.

Only seven percent or 149 voters were undecided on the issue.

The controversy over the implementation of hudud was sparked a fortnight ago when Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat, who is also PAS spiritual adviser, announced that he wants to implement hudud in Kelantan.

The DAP, a partner in the Pakatan Rakyat alliance, promptly opposed it on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim announced that hudud will not be implemented due to a lack of consensus after a meeting of Pakatan top brass to discuss the hot-button issue on Sept 29..
On the implementation of the Islamic law in Kelantan, fewer than 1,449 readers disagreed with Nik Aziz’s plans.

Those who supported hudud totalled 1,285 or 45% while 133 readers or 4% did not have an opinion over the issue.

Deputy minister implicated in PPR flat scam

A deputy minister's name has been used in a housing scam and the affected buyers want their money back. The deputy minister says he is innocent and wants swift police action.

KUALA LUMPUR: A deputy minister has been accused of masterminding a scam which has allegedly cheated over 40 people of some RM350,000 by “selling” low-cost flats (People’s Housing Project/PPR) on behalf of Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).

Deputy Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister M Saravanan was named as one of the people behind this “PPR scam syndicate” in a police report lodged against him on Thursday.

The complainant, insurance manager M Vagindraj @ Christopher Raj Mohan, had lodged the report at the Dang Wangi police headquarters here late Thursday night.

However Saravanan, when contacted, said that he had “nothing to do with this”, saying that when Christopher met him over the issue, he even advised him to lodge a report over the matter.

Saravanan, a MIC vice-president, said he had also lodged a report in September last year about someone who has been impersonating him on Facebook and trying to misuse his name to dupe unsuspecting people.

A similar complaint was sent to the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), seeking the authorities to take action.

He said the police and the MCMC should investigate the matter urgently to catch the culprits.

Being an agent

In his report, Christopher alleged that he had corresponded via the social networking site Facebook with someone named “M Saravanan”, allegedly a deputy minister, about being an “agent” to help sell City Hall’s PPR flats.

“On Sept 13, 2010, ‘YB Saravanan’ sent me a message via his Facebook, telling me that the PPR houses in Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territories, are open for sale at RM35,000 (per unit),” Christopher claimed in his report.

Each of those houses, Christopher said he was told, came with three bedrooms and two toilets. “He asked me to assist him in selling those housing units by finding buyers who are interested and (even those) ineligible for those houses.”

Christopher said “Saravanan” told him this was the “last chance” for someone without a home to own one.

“He told me all information contained in his Facebook messages to me must be private and confidential,” said Christopher

He added that “Saravanan” told him all communication and payment transactions should be made through a “City Hall officer” and “trusted man” by the name of Aru (Arumugham Munusamy).

Christopher said he was told to get a downpayment of RM3,500 (which later was increased to RM4,500) from each buyer as a “legal, processing and service fee”.

“Saravanan”, through Facebook message, had allegedly explained after the fee was paid, that an offer letter would be sent to the interested buyer in three or four week’s time.

Christopher also said that he was asked to collect his own commission from that advance payment before banking the amount into the account of Saravanan’s “proxy” officer “Aru”.

Buyers paying in cash should settle the full RM35,000 amount while those taking loans were supposed to submit certain documents for “Aru” to obtain a loan from City Hall’s panel bank or Bank Islam, Christopher was informed

“As of July 21, 2011, I have banked in money from 41 buyers into Aru’s account, totalling RM357,000 (39 loans and two cash buyers),” said Christopher.

However, Christopher realised that he was swindled when “Saravanan” and Aru cut off all communications with him.

“The documents for loan approvals were never sent to the banks, it was all lies,” he said.

Meeting Deputy Minister Saravanan

On May 18 this year, Christopher said he had arranged to meet with Saravanan to confront him, with the help of MIC Cheras division chairman Peru Karuppan.

“On that same day we saw him, Saravanan’s Facebook page was suddenly deleted, and this was confirmed to be true by Saravanan’s secretary Nirmalan,” said Christopher,.

Christoper claimed that Saravanan, when told of the deals, blamed someone named Mahendran for the fraud.

“Saravanan kept asking Peru why Mahendran would do such improper work, but Peru kept his head down without answering Saravanan,”

Christopher said during the meeting, Saravanan also denied possessing a Facebook account but was taken aback when it was pointed out that his own secretary had confirmed it.

“Saravanan looked angrily and severely at Nirmalan and looked at Peru with a regretful face,” said
Christopher, alleging that Saravanan had lied about his Facebook.

In the police report, Christopher said his question was if Saravanan knew it was “all Mahendran’s doing”, then “why did he keep quiet and did nothing?”

Christopher said it was later in July 2011, when he visited DBKL that he discovered that the offer letters for the houses were forged.

He said following the incident, the buyers have been pressuring him to deliver the houses but all attempts to seek out Saravanan, DBKL, or other MIC leaders were in vain.

Christopher told FMT that he was lodging the report now as he believes that Saravanan has cheated him and the buyers.

Saravan denies wrongdoing

When contacted, Saravanan, the Tapah MP, admitted that an individual did approach him to complain about the matter.

“In fact, somebody came and asked me about this. An unknown character came to my office and claimed he was cheated,” said Saravanan, who confirmed that the individual’s name was Christopher.

“Christopher said he paid money to someone to get him the houses… so I advised him to lodge a police report.”

“First of all, he should not have paid such a huge amount to someone, listening to unknown people. I believe the police can trace who is the person whom the amount was given,” he said.

Asked if he possessed a Facebook account, Saravanan said he does not.

“I don’t have a Facebook. I have lodged a police report one year ago to Bukit Aman and the MCMC, saying that somebody had used my name in Facebook,” he said.

Saravanan’s reports, made available to FMT, had claimed that someone had misused his name to cheat people into a similar PPR scam.

“Best thing is to let the police investigate this. How can you pay as much as RM130,000 through such people. A cheater is a cheater.”

Saravanan also said that the buyers of the homes are also considered “party to the crime”. “The police also have to charge whoever collected and whoever paid the money.

“How can you pay money to buy PPR flats in DBKL? It’s supposed to be for the poor people in Kuala Lumpur. We don’t allow third parties to ‘sell’ these homes. Both… are criminals,” he said.

He also said that he doesn’t know anyone called “Mahendran”, the person mentioned by Christopher.

Wall Street protesters march on police


(Reuters) - Protesters who have camped out near Wall Street for two weeks marched on Friday on police headquarters in Manhattan over what they viewed as a heavy-handed police response to a previous demonstration.

The Occupy Wall Street movement, whose members have vowed to stay through the winter, are protesting issues including the 2008 bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment.

More than 1,000 people marched past City Hall and arrived at a plaza outside police headquarters in the late afternoon. Some held banners criticizing police, while others chanted: "We are the 99 percent" and "The banks got bailed out, we got sold out."

Workers from the financial district on their way home watched as the marchers passed, with some saying it was not obvious what outcome organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement wanted.

Police observed the march and kept protesters on the sidewalk, but no clashes were reported. Police said no arrests were made before the protest dispersed peaceably by 8 p.m. after the march.

"No to the NYPD crackdown on Wall St. protesters," organizers had said on their website, promoting the march. Other online flyers for the march read: "No to Stop-and-Frisk in Black & Latino neighborhoods" and "No to Spying and Harassment of Muslim Communities."

The protest came less than a week after police arrested 80 people during a march to the bustling Union Square shopping district, the most arrests by New York police at a demonstration since hundreds were detained outside the Republican National Convention in 2004.

A police commander used pepper spray on four women at last weekend's march and a video of the incident went viral on the Internet, angering many protesters who vowed to continue their protests indefinitely.

Police have said pepper spray was a better alternative than night sticks to subdue those blocking traffic.

RIGHT TO PROTEST

Friday's crowd appeared to have been boosted by an announcement that the rock band Radiohead would perform at 4 p.m. Later, organizers said on their website, "Radiohead will not being playing. This was a hoax. Please accept our apologies."

"We heard about Radiohead coming here on Facebook," said Alegra Felter, a 34-year-old teacher from Brooklyn who was among the disappointed rock fans.

The protest encampment in Zuccotti Park in downtown Manhattan is festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. There is a makeshift kitchen and library, and celebrities from filmmaker Michael Moore to actress Susan Sarandon have stopped by to show solidarity.

Asked on his weekly radio show on Friday whether the protesters could stay indefinitely at the private park they call their base, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "We'll see."

Bloomberg added: "People have a right to protest. But we also have to make sure that people who don't want to protest can go down the street unmolested."

While the protest has been made up mostly of young people, it also has recently attracted the support of a loose coalition of labor and community organizations.

Marty Goodman, a unionized subway worker, said, "Last year we had 900 of our members laid off ... These are our issues too: Wall Street, the banks, layoffs, the struggle that these young people are spearheading is our struggle too."

Among those pledging solidarity were the United Federation of Teachers and the Transport Workers Union Local 100, which has 38,000 members. The unions could provide important organizational and financial support for the largely leaderless movement.

Similar but smaller protests have also sprouted in other cities in recent days, including Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.

Please walk the talk — Lucius Goon

SEPT 30 — One day soon, I hope a Malaysian leader will emerge who will say what he means and means what he says.

This leader will not tailor his message to his audience, be in love with symbolic acts and depend on image makeovers.

This leader will not be afraid of making unpopular but necessary decisions and policies for the country and will not allow family members or associates to plunder the country at will.

Prime Minister Najib Razak last night spoke at a gathering of Malay business and economic NGOs. He told them not to be too infatuated with protectionism. That was good but in the same speech he also reminded them that the government had reserved more than 40 per cent of the massive MRT project for Bumiputera companies.

That certainly sounds like protectionism to me, and molly-coddling a group of businessmen and creating unnatural business conditions for them.

Najib’s mixed-signal speech last night would be the equivalent of a parent warning a spendthrift son that the days of loans to settle debts were over and then slapped the boy on his back and reminded him that money had been credited into his bank account.

Do you think that the son would be persuaded to change his profligate ways? Similarly, how many of the Malay NGOs last night would actually take to heart that message of cutting the reliance on protectionism, etc?

The more I see it the more I am convinced that Malaysia will only prosper and be a healthy democracy if we have leaders who mean what they say and say what they mean.

* Lucius Goon reads The Malaysian Insider.

Gold rush ravages Malaysian forest

Officials warn that gold mining is polluting rivers and causing erosion in country's southern Johor province


Malaysian forestry officials have warned that illegal mining is polluting rivers, causing soil erosion and damaging trees in the country's pristine forests.

Mining for gold has been taking place in Malaysia's southern state of Johor since the 1960s, but as gold prices have soared in recent months the hunt for the precious metal has intensified.

Al Jazeera correspondent Stephanie Scawen reports from Johor.

Failed asylum seeker strangled and drowned bakery worker who refused to marry him so he could stay in the UK

A failed asylum seeker strangled and drowned a bakery worker who refused to marry him so he could stay in the UK.


Iranian-born Hossein Abdollahzadeh, 32, left Agnieszka Dziegielewska's naked body in a bath full of water at her flat in Swinton, near Rotherham, just weeks after she kicked him out.


He later hanged himself in his prison cell while on remand charged with Dziegielewska's murder, the inquest in Rotherham heard.

Agnieszka moved to the UK from Bialystok, Poland, in 2004 - the year the country became a full member of the EU - and met Abdollahzadeh four years later at his takeaway pizza shop in Swinton. 


Marrying Agnieszka, an EU citizen, would have enabled the Iranian to continue living in the UK. 

The inquest heard Agnieszka Dziegielewska had been throttled with a ligature before having her head pushed under bath water. A chair had also been placed over her body
The inquest heard Agnieszka Dziegielewska had been throttled with a ligature before having her head pushed under bath water. A chair had also been placed over her body
It emerged at the hearing that Abdollahzadeh treated his partner of two years 'like a servant', regularly slapping and beating her which left her covered in bruises. He also refused to believe their relationship was over when she left him to escape the violence.

Ms Dziegielewska's mother said Abdollahzadeh had previously tried to strangle her daughter in 2008, holding her neck with both hands and issuing the chilling warning: 'Nobody can help you now.'

She added: 'He started treating her like a servant and humiliating her in public. On one occasion he slapped her so hard her tooth got loose. Each time he would explain he didn't know why it had happened, and it wouldn't happen again.'


The inquest was told that when he killed her in January last year she had been throttled with a ligature before having her head pushed under the bath water. A chair had also been placed over her body.
 When she finally plucked up the courage to ask her partner to leave he wrote 'I love you' in the snow outside and bought her flowers and a cake with candles for her 30th birthday
 
Pathologist Dr Peter Vanezis, who examined the body, said she could have been attacked for up to 10 minutes, and that Agnieszka had fought back by 'struggling significantly' before her death.


Detective Superintendent Colin Fisher told the inquest: 'He had failed in his application for political asylum having claimed he had been persecuted as a journalist.


'He could not work or claim benefits yet still set up his own business and was drawing an income.

'His appeals were coming to an end and his last chance of staying in the UK was for him to marry an EU citizen.'


When asked by coroner Nicola Mundy if anyone else was involved in Miss Dziegielewska's death, he replied: 'No ma'am. There is no evidence of any other person being involved.'


Witnesses told the inquest that Abdollahzadeh - who ran an illegal pizza takeaway service - only went out with Miss Dziegielewska because he wanted to marry her so he could stay in the UK.


Det Supt Fisher told the court that her new boyfriend Daniel Sandhall, a shift manager at her bakery, had been completely exonerated of murder and Abdollahzadeh was the only suspect.


Grisly end: The 30-year-old woman was murdered at her flat in Swinton, Rotherham, after refusing to marry her asylum-seeker ex-boyfriend
Grisly end: The 30-year-old woman was murdered at her flat in Swinton, Rotherham, after refusing to marry her asylum-seeker ex-boyfriend

Det Supt Fisher said a fingerprint at the flat, CCTV footage and mobile phone records placed Abdollahzadeh at the crime scene.


Further evidence of his record of domestic violence against the victim and property he stole from the flat linked him to the murder.


The Iranian had claimed he spent that night working and then went to a friend's house, and he maintained that alibi in prison.


A note was found by his body in prison. Det Supt Fisher said: 'He didn't admit to the death of Agnieszka but does not seek to blame anybody else.


'He started treating her like a servant and humiliating her in public. On one occasion he slapped her so hard her tooth got loose. Each time he would explain he didn't know why it had happened, and it wouldn't happen again'
 
'He doesn't offer an alternative alibi and the tone of this letter was more about his self-interest.'

Miss Dziegielewska's parents Piotr and Jolanta Mlodzian flew from Poland for the inquest.


Mrs Mlodzian said in a statement read at the inquest that her hard-working daughter had worked at the Maple Leaf Bakery in Swinton since arriving in the UK four years previously.


Miss Dziegielewska and Abdollahzadeh were living together in her Swinton flat by 2008.


But their initial happiness turned sour as her Iranian partner battered and verbally abused the Polish woman from September 2008 onwards.


She was too scared to call in the police. Her mother, who spoke to her daughter every day by phone said: 'She was afraid of the consequences and an escalation of the violence on his side.'


When she finally plucked up the courage to ask her partner to leave he wrote 'I love you' in the snow outside and bought her flowers and a cake with candles for her 30th birthday.


By this time Miss Dziegielewska had begun a relationship with Mr Sandhall. Her parents came over from Poland to help their daughter sort things out with Abdollahzadeh.


Mrs Mlodzian said of him: 'He only cared about himself and nobody else. He considered himself the centre of the world without giving anything back.'


She told the inquest: 'I thought he only wanted to be here to obtain clearance to stay in the UK.'

The Iranian finally moved out of the flat on January 15 last year and Miss Dziegielewska changed the locks.


On the evening before the Polish woman's death, her mother spoke to her by telephone.


She said: 'She was cheerful and happy that things had started to go well with David. She felt safe and respected with him.'


Saman Aghababaei, a friend of Abdollahzadeh, said in a statement: 'I never once saw him take her out or buy a present for her.


'I told him he was messing her about. I think he was using her to obtain a visa.'


He said she told him she had wasted two years with Abdollahzadeh and wanted the relationship to end.

'She had found someone else she liked and wanted to marry.'


Miss Dziegielewska's Polish friend Agnieszka Blazejewicz told the hearing: 'He began shouting at her and wouldn't let her go anywhere alone. He wanted to know everything she did.

'He was very controlling. She gave him chance to change but nothing changed so she asked him to leave.'

Ms Blazejewicz later received a threatening telephone call from Abdollahzadeh. She said: 'He told me if she leaves he will kill her and then me because I don't help him.'


She relayed this to Miss Dziegielewska, who said he had made such threats before.


'He said he would kill her as she could never be with anyone else.'


Mr Sandhall called the police when he got no response to his calls. He last saw Miss Dziegielewska on January 27 last year as they left work.


He said: 'We spoke about each other's feelings and moving in together. We had a kiss and a cuddle and she just drove off.'


Miss Dziegielewska's body was found in her flat the next day. The coroner said it was clear Abdollazadeh had been violent towards his ex-partner and was reluctant to end the relationship.


She had also invited the killer into her home 'whether after some persuasion or a degree of reluctance on her part' as nothing had been disturbed apart from in the bedroom.


Ms Mundy said 'she died at the hand of another' and gave a verdict of unlawful killing.

Belgian cop attacked for trying to unveil Muslim woman

Belgium banned wearing of the niqab, in June.
Belgium banned wearing of the niqab, in June.
A police officer has been attacked by a Muslim man in Brussels after he demanded that the man’s wife remove her veil. Belgium outlawed the wearing of Islamic garments which cover the face.

The incident occurred after the couple was spotted by a police squad patrolling the Saint-Josse community – a neighborhood where many immigrants live, reports Belga news agency.

One of the officers demanded the woman’s ID and wanted to see her face for proper identification. The husband became angry and threatened the officers with death should they ever come close to his wife again.

The ensuing quarrel quickly became a fistfight, which ended with one of the policemen receiving mild injuries.

The 37-year-old assailant was detained and charged with attacking an officer of the law. His wife will be issued a fine for wearing the forbidden garment.

Belgium banned wearing of clothes that hide face, such as the burqa or the niqab, in June. Violations carry a 137.5 euro fine and up to seven days in jail.

France was the first European country to ban the face-concealing Muslim garments in April.

PM: Namewee supports 1 Malaysia


Namewee was given encouragement to continue with his efforts by Najib today. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today called controversial rapper-turned-filmmaker Wee Meng Chee “a strong supporter of 1 Malaysia” today, in the face of calls for action to be taken against the “Nasi Lemak 2.0” producer for past criticism of the country.

The prime minister and Umno president said that Wee, who uses the stage name Namewee, is “unique and unconventional in his methods and thinking”, when quizzed about the performer’s expletive-laden video attacking Umno’s Utusan Malaysia for suggesting his debut movie was not worth watching due to his allegedly racist past.

“What is important is that Namewee and other parties support what we are doing for the country. I understand he is a strong supporter of 1 Malaysia, so I encourage him to continue with his views as a blogger and [in] other media such as film,” the prime minister said.

In what is seen as a run-up to the next polls, Najib has moved to burnish his credentials as a “cool” reformist leader, announcing a raft of democratic reforms to security and press laws in his Malaysia Day address.

He has also employed a new team of image consultants who include the experts behind Tony Blair’s “New Labour” and Paul Stadlen, the former boss of APCO Malaysia.

A new Najib — one who attends concerts, plays pranks on national radio and speaks of being “cool” — has already emerged despite the short time the “Blair team” has been working here.

Following the editorial on his film in the Malay-language daily, a three-minute clip was posted on YouTube showing Wee slamming Utusan Malaysia for passing judgement on “Nasi Lemak 2.0” without having seen it first.

“They said ... that director, Namewee, he’s the one who criticised Malaysia. He did this before, he wrote that song before. Eh, ****** lah. What the **** is with the past?” he said in the video.

Wee also defended his previous songs as being patriotic because they urged Malaysians not to be racist, and pointed out that “Nasi Lemak 2.0” featured Malay, Chinese and Indian actors collaborating together.

He added that de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz had once defended him by saying his songs were not racist in nature, and that Wee had been “grossly misunderstood” by his detractors.

Utusan Malaysia carried an opinion piece last week in which the writer said she refused to watch “Nasi Lemak 2.0” despite the star-studded cast as Wee had previously insulted Malaysians, in particular Malays and Muslims.

Najib also reiterated today that “there is no ban” on the “Undilah” video that encourages the public to vote and it is “up to stations” to decide if they wanted to screen the clip.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) was forced to deny reports that it took the clip off the air as it featured opposition figures and a speech by Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah saying Malaysia had “many problems.”

The regulator said that the video produced by musician Pete Teo was pulled as it has not been approved by the Film Censorship Board (FCB).

ISA to be repealed in March

Najib's political reforms will start with the repeal of the Banishment and Restricted Residence Act when Parliament reconvenes on Monday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said today the Internal Security Act (ISA) will be repealed in March after the two replacement laws have been drafted.

“ISA will be done in March as we need to draft two new laws,” said Najib after chairing the Umno supreme council meeting here this evening.

Najib said the implementation of his reform packages will start with the repeal of the Banishment and Restricted Residence Act when Parliament reconvenes on Monday.

This will follow with the amendments to the Police Act to allow for freedom of assembly other than street protests in November, added the premier.

Najib had announced the repeal of the ISA, a law often described as Barisan Nasional’s political tool that allows detention without trial, on the eve of Malaysia Day.

The announcement came with a slew of other reforms including the lifting of three states of emergency in his Malaysia Day address, and vowed to improve civil liberties in Malaysian.

The move was seen as a desperate attempt to regain the moderate votes after his disastrous handling of the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9. The march had called for a free and fair election.

Along with a parliamentary select committee on electoral reforms, the repeal of the ISA appear to be key concessions by Najib in a drastic move to win back middle Malaysia as BN prepares for the 13th general election.

The premier is expected to hold elections within six months and Putrajaya’s reform packages is seen an last election push amid Najib’s dipping approval rating.

But observers and opposition leaders have cast doubt over his ability to carry on the reforms following opposition from the hawks in his own party and influential Malay rights group like Perkasa.

Families in ‘limbo’ as Malaysia targets tough laws

Families of detainees still do not know whether the repeal of the ISA will mean freedom for those now held under the draconian law.

by Romen Bose

KUALA LUMPUR: When Ganasari Nokiah’s (picture, left) husband vanished into Malaysian police custody last year, it sent her on a downward slide that left her destitute, hopeless and suicidal.

Ravichandran Vellian was detained in March 2010 on suspicion of buying stolen goods in the capital Kuala Lumpur under the Emergency Ordinance (EO), a dreaded 1969 law allowing virtually indefinite detention without trial.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak surprised observers this month by vowing to ease authoritarian laws used for decades to maintain order in the multi-racial country but widely criticised for violating rights.

But families of detainees still do not know whether this will mean freedom for those now held – many merely on suspicion of petty crimes – and say the move does nothing to fix the damage done by the harsh detentions.

“I have gone through hell. I have begged the police on my knees to free my husband,” said Ganasari, 31, who lives with her five children in a decrepit single room in one of Kuala Lumpur’s poorest neighbourhoods.

Seated on a bare floor, Ganasari repeatedly broke down describing the loss of her husband and his income. She said she and her children had not eaten for two days.

She confessed her despair drove her to attempt to poison herself and the children to death. All survived.

“What do we have to live for?” she asked.

Growing criticism

Authoritarian rule has marked Malaysia’s history since its independence in 1957, enabled by tough laws allowing preventive detention to nip perceived security threats in the bud.

The Internal Security Act (ISA) was enacted in 1960 in the wake of a failed communist insurgency.

The EO was brought in after race riots in 1969 shook ties between Malays – who make up more than half of Malaysia’s 28 million people – and the country’s Chinese and Indian minorities.

Police say more than 700 people were detained under the EO this year alone. Up to 6,000 are currently held, according to the UN Human Rights Council.

Malaysian human rights group Suaram says 30 are now held under the ISA, which is often employed against opposition politicians, activists and suspected Islamic militants.

The long-ruling Malay-dominated government now headed by Najib has said such laws ensured the stability that allowed Malaysia to prosper into a Southeast Asian economic success story.

Indeed, no major racial unrest has occurred since 1969 and neither has the Muslim-majority country seen large terrorist attacks.

But criticism has grown over detentions that are often unexplained, apparently aimed at stifling legitimate dissent, or that target small-time criminals in an abuse of the intent of such laws.

Torture and other police brutality have been well-documented.

Eager to shore up flagging public support ahead of elections he is expected to call within months, Najib said he would repeal the ISA and work toward reform of the EO.

Wrongful use of EO

But no timetables have been given and there are fears that many detainees could remain in custody under new security measures Najib said would replace the old.

Nazri Aziz, Najib’s minister for legal affairs, indicated that was a possibility, but urged patience as the new laws are worked out.

In the meantime, families are in “limbo,” said Abdul Razak, whose 29-year-old son was detained last year under the ISA for allegedly recruiting people for Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a Southeast Asian terror group with Al-Qaeda links.

“(The laws) not only break the detainee in the detention camp, but they also break the families,” said Abdul Razak, 53, who has been shown no evidence justifying the detention.

Nalini Elumalai, an activist campaigning to abolish the security laws, said the wrongful use of the EO to address petty crime is routine, although no figures are available.

Lawsuits by former detainees under both laws typically fail in the courts, she adds.

“This is the reality of a judicial system in which detainees cannot expect to get any relief from detention without trial,” she said.

Ganasari admitted her husband “is no angel,” citing his 1994 arrest for fencing stolen goods, but she insisted six years in jail had reformed him and he had started a scrap-metal business.

Farcical ‘roadshow’

She said police had sent Ravichandran on a farcical, 18-day “roadshow” around police stations across the country, seeking anyone who would corroborate his guilt on the stolen goods allegation.

No one did, but police gave him two years’ EO detention anyway. Ganasari fears that will be extended later.

Najib’s announcement has sparked new calls by the political opposition and activists for the government to go further and fully repeal the EO, the Sedition Act and other controversial restrictions.

And while Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has ruled out any government apologies for past detentions, calls for such a gesture are growing.

“Removing the laws is not enough. What about the families the authorities destroyed or are destroying as a result of the arrests they made and the stigma of being labelled an ISA detainee?” said Norlaila Othman.

Her husband, former civil servant Mat Sah Mohamad Satray, was detained for seven years under the ISA for alleged JI links until his 2009 release.

Mat Sah, who declined comment due to rules barring past detainees from speaking to the media, now performs odd jobs, unable to find better work due to the ISA stigma.

An official apology and compensation for all past detainees is “the only way that those hurt by these draconian laws can forgive,” Norlaila said.

Report: MIC still in ‘critical’ condition

According to a report by the Prime Minister's Office, only three out of the nine Parliament seats the party is eyeing for are considered safe bets.

KUALA LUMPUR: A report from the Prime Minister’s Office reveals that MIC is still in a precarious position.

The party, which now has a new president after 30 years in G Palanivel, will probably be facing its toughest election battle yet. It must regain the ground it lost in the last polls.

In the 2008 general election, MIC only won three parliament and seven state seats out of the nine and 19 contested.

Last year, MIC’s P Kamalanathan added another MP seat to the stable when he defeated PKR candidate Zaid Ibrahim in the Hulu Selangor by-election.

According to the report from the PM’s Office, only three out of the nine Parliament seats could be considered safe for MIC. The three were Cameron Highlands (Pahang), Hulu Selangor (Selangor) and Tapah (Perak).

Party vice-president and Deputy Minister in the PM’s Department SK Devamany is the incumbent Cameron Highlands MP whereas another vice-president and Federal Territory and Urban Well-Being Deputy Minister M Saravan holds the Tapah seat.

Speaking to FMT, a senior officer from the PM’s Department, who declined to be named, said that MIC would face an uphill task in the next election.

“Palanivel is expected to maintain all of the winners in the last election in their respective seats despite earlier rumours of Devamany being dropped to make way for the president and Saravanan to compete in Kapar,” he said.

As for the other seats, the officer classified Segamat (Johor), Teluk Kemang (Negrei Sembilan) and Sungai Siput (Perak) as “semi-critical”. The other three seats Subang, Kapar and Kota Raja were expected to be retained by the opposition.

Segamat is a crucial seat as it housed MIC deputy president and Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

The trouble with this constituency, according to the officer, was the 51% Chinese voters. The latter are predominantly pro-opposition.

Picking the right candidates

The officer stated that for MIC to remain relevant it must field candidates who were accepted by the people and those who would work for the interest of all races.

“No matter if the candidates are old, new or middle-aged as long as they can win,” he added.

Meanwhile, a party insider claimed that the party had already prepared a list of names for the general-election.

However, he stressed that the candidates must be familiar with the initiavies and programmes carried out by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s administration.

He conceded that some of the candidates and party leaders were in the dark about these issues and this would jeopardise the party’s chances.

“For example, the candidates needs to know the government’s initiatives on subsidies, loans, grant programmes, affordable housing (PPRT), food, health care and so on,” he said.

He also urged Palanivel to respect the wishes of the grassroots with regard to selecting candidates.

When the word TOO is hidden



On the one hand we have PERKASA. On the other hand we have Malaysia Today’s readers. They are actually all cut from the same cloth, the other side of the coin, so to speak. And the following comments seem to strengthen this view. And the moral of the story is: don’t you dare question or criticise Pakatan Rakyat.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin

Pakatan, too, must come clean on ‘covert funds’,” said University of Malaya Professor, Edmund Terence Gomez. The word TOO was very cleverly hidden so that many Malaysia Today readers did not spot it.
That was actually a very dirty trick that Gomez played on our readers. If he had not hidden the word TOO, then many would have spotted it and would not have gone and commented as below.
Gomez has actually written dozens of books over more than a decade (http://www.bookfinder.com/author/edmund-terence-gomez/), some jointly with S. Jomo (http://www.bookfinder.com/author/jomo-k-s/), who moved to New York City as UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development after retiring from the University of Malaya in 2004.
**************************************
written by Wakeupmsia, September 30, 2011 15:16:42
It's premature to ask that. Wait till they secure Putrajaya. BTW, have you asked Jibby about the Scopene commission or perhaps the funds he promised at the last few by-elections? Remember what he said "You help me, I help You"

written by arazak, September 30, 2011 15:59:02
Hello Gomez,
Go ask where UMNO got their money first? They have been stealing from the people for decades and you don't even bother to ask where they got their money? And mind you, the money they have been stealing from us would probably have been several thousand billions by now. Did UMNO disclose where they got their money to us? No, never!
I'll put you together in the same boat (or same dish) as the other Professor "kangkongs"; Zainal Keling and Khoo Kay Kim. What do we have here then. . .? Truely "1 Malaysia Kangkong" academicians who do nothing to improve our education standard other than sucking UMNO's dick!
You can all shove your Kangkong PhDs up your arses, please!

written by Sam V. Vellu, September 30, 2011 16:02:03
Come on lah Terrance ! when billions of dollars were being siphoned out of the country you never said anything , now suddenly when the General Election is near you are coming out to share in the potty. You are typical of catholic ball carriers of the Archbishop.

written by Q-Baron, September 30, 2011 16:03:16
All too well, Mr. T.G.. You have just shown us what a fine (BN) terrier you are yourself. Not bad but you would agree it should start with you here. Please tell us who is that covertly funded you to make this statement? Thanks.

written by ksmaniam28, September 30, 2011 16:10:47
I say it is a trap. Who is this guy to ask this question. The EC should do it. EC is not asking the question because if it ask the question, its biasedness will be too obvious is it. so they get a spy to do the job. Wow BN is trying very hard guys so watch it. They are curious how Pakatan is funded. If they know how it is done, the next thing will be that funder will not be funding Pakatan anymore. Cut the funds and Pakatan will die a natural death.
So whatever happens do not divulge the info. HOwever funding in such a manner should not be condoned. The EC should take a hard look at the funding. Yes, we can also hope to see pigs fly. Mt 2 cents worth.

written by chris, September 30, 2011 16:14:12
Gomez, were you just borned yesterday??? Why didn't you first posed this question to BN??? For over 50 years no one has raised the question to them and you had the gall to ask PKR???? I'm sure your promotion to Chancellor letter is in the mail.....

written by ng chai hing, September 30, 2011 16:31:03
Gomez do you know how much money had been squandered and siphoned by BN leaders year in year out ? i think you have eyes but cannot see, you have ears but cannot hear and you have mouth but cannot speak.

PM: Govt Treats All Schools Equally

(Bernama) -- Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak reaffirmed that the federal government under his leadership treats all streams of schools in Malaysia equally without discrimination.

He said the government would continue to support and assist both public and private education institutions in Malaysia.

"Let me reaffirm that my government is the people's government and we will treat all streams of schools in Malaysia equally without discrimination," he said in his opening speech during Han Chiang College's "Golden Achievements Awards" ceremony here on Thursday.

The text of his speech was read out by Information, Communications and Culture Minister Dr Rais Yatim.

Najib also said the unity of all Malaysians would assist the country to pull through the world economic crisis and set a good example to other countries in the world.

"I believe that if we work together with no racial discrimination, we would be able to move towards a fair society and become a developed country in 2020," he said.

However, Najib said educational institutions could also put in more effort to advocate racial harmony to make Malaysia a better country.

"I always uphold liberal education. For instance, in 1998, when I was the Minister of Education, I approved the establishment of Foon Yew High School's new campus in Kulai, Johor.

"Today, Foon Yew High School has become the largest Chinese school in Malaysia with nearly 10,000 students," he said, adding that Han Chiang College was set up a year later in 1999.

He said the establishment of Foon Yew High School in the south and Han Chiang College in the north proved that the government was open and supportive of Chinese education in Malaysia in line with its democratic education policies.

"I would like to congratulate Han Chiang college on its efforts and tremendous achievements in educating and nurturing talents for the country for the past ten years, especially in cultivating media pactitioners," he added.

Press Release: Hudud cannot be implemented within the current constitutional and legislative framework


ImageThe Malaysian Bar views with concern the recent political posturing in reviving the possibility of implementation of hudud, the class of crimes prescribed under Islamic law, in Malaysia.
 
The law, as it stands, does not allow for the implementation of hudud by the States.  The Federal Constitution only allows the States to enact laws creating offences by persons professing the religion of Islam, against the precepts of Islam, and the respective punishments for such offences.
 
With respect to the nature of such offences, these offences cannot include matters within the legislative powers of the Federal Government.  Therefore, there can be no replication of any of the offences within any Federal law with a different degree of punishment only for Muslims. Further, these laws, if enacted, must themselves be consistent with fundamental liberties guaranteed to all citizens, including Muslims, under Part II of the Federal Constitution.

As to the scope of the punishments for offences against the precepts of Islam, the extent must be conferred by Federal law.  The Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 provides that the Syariah Courts in all States shall not exercise jurisdiction “in respect of any offence punishable with imprisonment for a term exceeding three years or with any fine exceeding five thousand ringgit or with whipping exceeding six strokes or with any combination thereof.”  Hence, the penalties that Syariah Courts can mete out are clearly circumscribed, and do not include the punishments provided under hudud

Hudud, being essentially penal laws, comes under the jurisdiction of the Federal Parliament.  The Ninth Schedule of the Federal Constitution lists criminal laws and procedure, as well as internal security and public order, under the Federal list.  Such matters thus fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Parliament, and not the individual State Legislative Assemblies.
 
In Che Omar Bin Che Soh v Public Prosecutor [1988] 2 MLJ 55, the then-Supreme Court held that laws in Malaysia do not have to conform to Islamic principles, and confirmed that Malaysia is a secular state.  Taking this principle, if hudud were brought into the criminal justice system, it would result in the importation of Islamic penal laws into laws that are secular, which is wrong in law. 

Based on media reports, it would appear that hudud, if implemented in Malaysia, would only apply to Muslims and not to non-Muslims.  This would run counter to the equality provision of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution, as it would result in divergent procedures, evidential rules, and punishment relating to criminal offences being applicable to Muslims, as compared to non-Muslims.  A Muslim offender would face the possibility of stricter punishment under hudud for the same offence, in contrast to a non-Muslim offender.  A Muslim person would also be exposed to two separate prosecutions or convictions: one under hudud and one under the Penal Code, contrary to the prohibition against repeated trials in Article 7(2) of the Federal Constitution.
 
Hudud cannot be implemented within the current constitutional and legislative framework.  The Malaysian Bar calls upon all parties to uphold the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land and to cease all rhetoric regarding the implementation of hudud, which has inevitably caused confusion and divisions within society. The Malaysian Bar urges all parties to focus instead on the strengthening of the rule of law and democratic process for a better Malaysia.
 
Lim Chee Wee
President
Malaysian Bar

Najib To Table Motions Abolishing Two Acts Next Week

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will table motions in the Dewan Rakyat next week to abolish the Banishment Act 1959 and the Restricted Residence Act 1933.

The motion to abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA), which is to be replaced with two new acts, would be tabled in March next year. An amendment will also be made to Section 27 of the Police Act 1967 in November this year.

"Whatever we can speed up, we speed up. We must focus and cannot be hasty so that the move fulfils the aspirations and objectives.

"There are many things that we must carefully study," he told reporters after chairing a meeting of the Umno supreme council here Friday.

Najib said the supreme council gave its full support to the announcement he made on the eve of Malaysia Day (on Sept 15) to abolish several acts, including the Banishment Act 1959, Restricted Residence Act 1933 and the ISA.

He said the move to abolish several acts was seen as complementary to the government transformation process involving the Government Transformation Programme (GTP), Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) and the Political Transformation Programme (PTP).

"This indicates that we have a comprehensive agenda to make Malaysia not only developed economically but also to be on par with other nations which practise the so-called modern progressive democracy," he said.

Najib, in a special message on Sept 15, announced that the ISA would be abolished and replaced with two suitable new acts which would be drafted to protect the peace, well-being and the harmony of the people and nation.

He said the new laws would be drafted under the 'spirit and umbrella' of Article 149 of the Federal Constitution to prevent subversive acts, planned violence and crime.

He had also announced the abolishing of the Banishment Act 1959, a comprehensive review of the Restricted Residence Act 1933, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and Section 27 of the Police Act 1967.