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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kg Buah Pala: Where is MIC now?


Penang MIC Youth chief J Dhinagaran (below) has urged Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy to bear responsibility for his role in the Buah Pala fiasco.
NONETired of being repeatedly blamed for the Kampung Buah Pala controversy, the state government is pushing the responsibility to the MIC for having a hand in the homeslessness of the nine families, he added.

Ramasamy had asked the families, who had failed to get compensation from the developer, to seek help from MIC leaders, who backed them during the height of their showdown with developer, Nusmetro Venture Sdn Bhd.

Ramasamy said state MIC leaders had persuaded them not to sign the agreement in February last year for a double-storey house measuring 1,400sq ft, on the Kampung Buah Pala site.

He targeted his missiles at state MIC Youth leaders, who Ramasamykg buah pala 020709 villagers protest 02described as "the ones responsible" for this fiasco, which saw Penang lose its Tamil High Chapparal, one of the last remaining Indian traditional villages.

"Where are they now? Ask them to give money to the nine families," Ramasamy toldMalaysiakini, when asked to respond to the lamentations of the nine families who will not enjoy any cheer on Deepavali day.

Only legal remedy for residents
The 24 families evicted in 2009 will be receiving their keys at a ceremony on Sunday at the village grounds.

The ones left out of obtaining the homes, currently worth RM500,000 each, claimed that the government had cold storaged  them for challenging the state leaders for better compensation.

kampung buah pala penang p ramasamy meeting 120609 01Asked if the state government would do anything to help them secure homes, Ramasamy (right) threw back a challenge "how can I help them now?"

However, he said, they could take legal action against the developer or the state government for the compensation.

He would welcome the legal suit, he added, and if they could obtain a proper package from the developer, "I would be very happy".

Ramasamy said he had met with their lawyer last month and had explained to him the actual circumstances surrounding the case.

It is learnt that the families are refiling their summons against the developer and state government, he added.

In 2009, the Kg Buah Pala residents failed to obtain Federal Court leave to appeal against a Court of Appeal order for them to vacate the land.

"I waited four months for them to sign the agreement but they never showed up," reiterated Ramasamy.

Nothing more to expose

When informed that the activists had complained about being prevented from seeing him in his Komtar office at that time, Ramasamy rubbished the charge.

kampung buah pala penang p ramasamy meeting 120609 05He said if the state had allowed the 15 families to sign the agreement, it would have done the same for  the nine.

On the threat by the activists to "expose the truth" during the icoming general election, on  how the state government had treated them, Ramasamy said they were welcome to do so.

"We have explained everything. What else can they expose?" he asked.

On whether the keys were being handed over to the residents as a publicity stunt ahead of the Deepavali celebration as well as an election ploy, Ramasamy said the houses were ready, "so why wait?"

"If the election comes, it is only incidental," he quipped, referring to the polls which may be called next month or in the early part of next year, although not due until 2013.

‘Ramasamy, show proof!'

In an immediate response, state MIC youth chief J Dhinagaran asked Ramasamy to show proof that his party had kept the nine families from signing the agreement.

Dhinagaran said if he failed to show the proof, he should provide houses for them.

He urged Ramasamy to bear the responsibility for the mistakes instead of blaming the MIC.

"Don't throw the ball into our court now. This mistake will be a curse for the state government and Pakatan Rakyat in the coming election," Dhinagaran warned.

"They bought the people's votes by saying the residents would lose their homes over their dead bodies, now they have to pay for it," he added.

Dhinagaran, who is national MIC Youth treasurer, said it was because of MIC that the other Buah Pala villagers were able to get such nice homes.

No Deepavali cheer for nine Kg Buah Pala families


The 24 families who were evicted from their homes in 2009 to pave the way for a housing project in Kampung Buah Pala would be delighted to receive an early Deepavali gift this Sunday.
It is learnt that the families, who have been waiting for this moment for months, would finally get the keys to their compensation units, located on a piece of land once known as “the last remaining Indian traditional village”.
An official ceremony for the handing-over of the keys is planned at 10am, and would be attended by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, his deputy P Ramasamy and Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer.
It is learnt that the Penang Municipal Council had been rushed to issue the occupying certificates for the homes recently so that the keys could be handed over to the residents before Deepavali, which falls on Oct 26.
The houses, which have a built up area of 1,400 sq ft and land size of 20ft by 60ft, were supposed to be ready by August, but were delayed due to technical problems during construction.
It is learnt that the residents are expected to pay about RM200 each for the ceremony, and purchase three garlands of flowers each for the trio as a sign of gratitude for the homes.
Ramasamy, who is state executive council member for economic planning, education, human resources, science, technology and innovation, has denied that residents were asked to make the said payment.
Nine families feel sore
However, this happy development would not be shared by the nine ‘activists’ families who have fought long and hard since 2008 for a proper compensation package for the Kampung Buah Pala folk.
Despite feeling sore about not being able to share the cheer, the activists felt thankful that at least their village friends can now own a double-storey terrace house worth RM500,000 on prime land.
When contacted, Kampung Buah Pala residents association chairperson M Sugumaran said the event this weekend has been hastened due to the coming polls, which may be called as early as next month or in the first quarter of next year.
He said although the effort of the nine families have been futile, the activists felt happy that their village friends now have a roof over their heads.
He added that if not for the action of the nine,  no families would have been able to obtain a proper compensation package from the developer, Nusmetro Venture Sdn Bhd.
NONEHe noted that since the Buah Pala episode exploded in 2009, the state now deals with eviction cases in a much better manner, citing the latest residents’ protest in Bayan Bay, where Lim held back a potential reclamation exercise.
Sugumaran, who now works in Ipoh, said none of the activist-families would be showing their faces at this Sunday’s event.
“But we are waiting for the election to come. We will expose the truth of what the state government has done to us, the people must know about it,” he told Malaysiakini.
“We are truly disappointed because we thought the Pakatan government would be able to help us, but we are wrong. BN was no better,so we will whack both sides during the polls,” he warned.
Election campaign to expose truth
Sugumaran said he and the other activists would not be campaigning for another political party but will stand as NGOs in their own right to reveal the facts behind the controversial land deal and eviction case.
NONEHe also questioned why Bukit Gelugor MP and DAP national chief Karpal Singh has not made any effort to help the embattled families.
“He is our MP but all he does is fight for (opposition leader) Anwar Ibrahim. He does it all for money,” lamented Sugumaran.
More than 65 families have been living in the village, known as the ‘Tamil High Chapparal’, for five generations since about 200 years ago.
However, the villagers were ordered to depart before Aug 3, 2009, following the sale of the 2.6ha land by the previous BN government to Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd, which then appointed Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd to develop the land.
NONEAccording to records, BN had initiated the sale of the land but the confirmation letter on the land ownership was issued by the present state government led by Lim on March 27, 2008.
Lim has denied ever evicting anyone from Kampung Buah Pala and Kampung Pokok Asam during Pakatan’s leadership in Penang, despite court orders.

In the Kampung Buah Pala case, the residents have all the while been depending on temporary occupation licences and the land was seized by the BN government for private projects, he added.
In May, Ramasamy expressed sympathy for the nine families but said his office had given them four months to come around and accept the deal, the best the developer could offer.
Since they refused, he claimed, the houses were later given to villagers who had agreed to the original compensation package.
‘State government vengeful’
Meanwhile, KBP residents association deputy secretary Thamaraj Chandran said that the state had ignored their pleas and had prevented the families from visiting Lim or Ramasamy at their offices in Komtar.
He said he felt that the state was “vengeful” of their actions and fighting spirit by not providing them the same compensation package as the other families.
NONEHe added they had been taught a hard lesson for disobeying state leaders, whom they had once backed strongly, contributing to the former’s victory in Penang in the 2008 election.
“But these leaders have been blaming everyone - the BN and the developer - except themselves for our housing woes,” said Thamaraj.
Thamaraj and his friends, who live scattered across the Island and mainland, will also not show up at the Sunday event, saying “we are not beggars”.
“To be honest, this is how we feel but we also know that someday, everyone would know the true story of how they have manipulated the situation and cheated us,” he added.
“They have stolen everything from us, taken our dignity and pride. We thought the new government (Pakatan) would help us, especially after we saw how they preached with their help the poor and anti-capitalist slogans,” he stressed.
“But in the end, when we fought for the villagers and demanded our rights, we suffered and are now without homes,” he decried.

Imam's on-air death threat 'not hate speech'


It was not hate speech when Swedish public service broadcaster Sveriges Radio (SR) featured a programme in which a Somali imam called for all converts from Islam to be killed, the Swedish Chancellor of Justice (JustitiekanslernJK) has ruled.

The motivation for the decision not to open up an investigation into the matter was that the presenter protested against what the imam said immediately following the controversial statement. 

The decision said that ”the programme features opinions that could be taken as a threat aginst those who have converted from Islam”.

However, due to the responses from the presenter, the Chancellor has decided not to investigate the matter further. 

The programme in question was a panel discussion and was broadcast live by SR International's Somali service.

The initial police report was filed by Erik Johansson, at the Swedish Evangelical Mission (Evangeliska Fosterlands-Stiftelsen - EFS), after friends told him of the imam's words underlining every Muslim's responsibility to kill anyone who leaves Islam. 

"I received a call from my Somali friends who had heard the programme. I don't speak the language myself and when they explained to me, I concluded that this wasn't a message which should be on an SR channel," Erik Johansson told The Local at the time.

Johansson also contacted Sveriges Radio in order to register his dismay that the item was left available on their website for more than two weeks. Soon after his telephone call the programme was removed from the website.

In a comment to the Christian newspaper Dagen following the report, SR International head Ingemar Löfgren said that he decided to pull the transcript from SR's website pending receipt of an official translation, pointing out that he is responsible for several channels broadcast in languages which he does not speak.

"If an imam calls for other Muslims to kill converts, then we have a journalistic responsibility... If he didn't get any follow-up questions then we have failed in our journalistic responsibility," he said.

Erik Johansson told The Local that the journalist had reminded the imam that they were in Sweden, to which the imam had replied that the same rules apply here.

Had the presenter not reacted as he did to the imam's statements, JK might have investigated the matter further.

”It's hard to say if we would or not. The statement was based on personal faith and the ceiling is pretty high when it comes to that kind of statement,” said Marcus Agnvall, of the the Chancellor's office to newspaper Dagen, 

After the Chancellor's decision was made public, Johansson told the paper that SR has worked hard at balancing the controversial programme after the incident and that this is a direct result of being reported for hate speech.
The Local/rm (news@thelocal.se)

‘Free EO detainees on Deepavali’

The Human Rights Party wants all ISA and Emergency Ordinance detainees released so that they can celebrate Deepavali.

p-uthayakumarPETALING JAYA: Hundreds of people still detained under the Emergency Ordinance (EO) and the Internal Security Act (ISA) should be released this Deepavali, said the Human Rights Party (HRP).

HRP pro-tem secretary P Uthayakumar said that the federal government needed to free these detainees. The party claimed that 80% of those held under the EO were poor Indians.

“We hereby call upon Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Home Minister (Hishammuddin Hussein) on Deepavali – Nov 26- to release all the hundreds of EO detainees…at the Simpang Renggam and Machang, Kelantan prisons and also all the ISA detainees from Kamunting,” he said in a press statement.

“We symphatise with the mothers, wives, children, families and their loved ones who suffer the most from these arbitrary EO and ISA detentions.”

Uthayakumar added that these detainees should have been given due process of the law, as well as full legal aid.

He also claimed that the police was abusing its power through the use of the EO.

“The Royal Malaysian Police Force must really buck up and prove efficiency with their RM232.8 billion allocation in the 2012 Budget,” he said.

The reason Malays don't respect Sultans


The federal Islamic development agency claimed today that many Muslim do not respect the authority of the Malay Rulers who are heads of religions for their respective states. On the eve of a planned gathering of a million Muslims to defend the faith, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) prepared a Friday sermon that accused some parties of putting political interests ahead of the religion. “Many Muslims today do not respect the views and authority and in fact question the Sultan heads of the Islamic religious councils. The sanctity of the faith has been politicised and the split among Muslims has affected the function and role of the councils,” said the sermon titled “State Islamic religious councils drive the transformation of the faithful”.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Therefore, the opinion that Rajas should be placed under a Constitution that determined the status and role of the Rajas was born. With this method, the Rajas could no longer act as they liked. The powers of the Rajas would be determined by the Constitution, that is the country's basic law. Yet, there were Rajas who were willing to hand over their own states to foreign powers while ignoring the Constitution.
Although the representatives were free to speak in the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Undangan Negeri about any topic, but they could not touch on the Rajas because any criticism of the Rajas could be interpreted as sedition and they could be charged under the Sedition Act. This provision was a result of an amendment made in 1971. Before this, criticism of the Rajas could be made in the house. In Britain and other countries, the Parliament was free to criticize the Rajas. It is clear that that criticizing the Rajas does not destroy the Rajas' majesty.
While this prohibition on criticism is said to protect the Rajas' majesty, but when the Rajas are not criticized, they will not be aware of the wrongs that they have committed. Hence, maybe more wrongs will be committed and these wrongs may become more serious. This not only contaminates the Rajas' majesty but can also cause the People to hate the Rajas. It is not true to say the prohibition on criticizing the Rajas will protect the Rajas' majesty. Actually, the majesty of the Rajas will be contaminated because of this prohibition.
Unfortunately, because the Chief Ministers and Prime Minister are Malays that are unwilling to be on bad terms with the Rajas, when the Rajas do something that is not supposed to be done, no effective criticism is made. Even if there is, the unwillingness of the Rajas to care about the criticisms of these official advisers does not bring about any action towards the Rajas.
Hence, in the history of independent Malaysia, the actions of the Rajas and parties who hide behind the Rajas that exceed the rights and privileges of the Rajas become more serious over time. The possibility is that it will become more serious in the future. If there are no amendments to the law, like those suggested here, without doubt worse matters will happen that will cause the Raja Institution to be hated by the people. It is not impossible that if one day in the future, demands are made to completely abolish the Raja System although there are provisions in the Constitution.
Hence this amendment that is suggested aims to avoid or prevent the escalation of hatred towards the Rajas that could bring about demands to abolish the Raja System. This amendment is to save the Rajas themselves and the Constitutional Monarchy system. To strengthen the Constitutional provisions to maintain the Raja System, provisions are made such that any suggestion to abolish the Raja System will be interpreted as sedition and falls under Sedition Laws.
If Malaysia intends to become a country that practices Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy, the immunity that is given to the Rajas must be abolished. Because the Constitution in countries that practice the Constitutional Monarchy System doesn't give immunity to their Kings, the abolishment of the immunity of the Malay Rajas cannot jeopardize their sovereignty. In the modern era, only because the King can't commit crimes as they like, the King's status will not be jeopardized, especially in a country that practices Parliamentary Democracy and Constitutional Monarchy.
The interpretation of the sedition towards the King in the Constitution is so wide until no criticism is can be made in Parliament by members of the Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Undangan. Hence, the media also has no opportunity to report. Criticism can only be made by the Rajas' advisors behind closed doors. If this criticism is ineffective, there is nothing that can be done.
Actually all three former Prime Ministers, as advisors to the Rajas, have already criticized the Rajas many times while they were in service. I know criticisms have been made because this matter has been repeatedly reported in Cabinet meetings and also the UMNO Supreme Council.
It should be reminded that the respect of the People towards the Raja cannot be determined by laws. With your permission, 'Respect must be earned'. Having laws that scare the People will not bring 'respect'. With the realization that the Rajas can be brought to court, Rajas will certainly avoid committing acts that will cause the people not to respect the Rajas. Hence, the Raja Institution will be better respected and better preserved.
Extract of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's speech in the Malaysian Parliament (1993)

Many Muslims don’t respect Sultan, says Jakim

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 21 — The federal Islamic development agency claimed today that many Muslim do not respect the authority of the Malay Rulers who are heads of religions for their respective states.

On the eve of a planned gathering of a million Muslims to defend the faith, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) prepared a Friday sermon that accused some parties of putting political interests ahead of the religion.

“Many Muslims today do not respect the views and authority and in fact question the Sultan heads of the Islamic religious councils.

“The sanctity of the faith has been politicised and the split among Muslims has affected the function and role of the councils,” said the sermon titled “State Islamic religious councils drive the transformation of the faithful”.

The sermon added that the councils are looked down on and seen to be mere government agencies, causing their authority over religious matters to be ignored.

Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bari was suspended by the International Islamic University (IIU) this week as police investigate allegations that he had disrespected the Selangor Sultan.

Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah had decreed recently that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had found evidence of proselytisation by non-Muslims during a dinner held at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) on August 3 but said it was insufficient for further legal action.

Abdul Aziz had said the intervention was “unusual and inconsistent” and should have been done in line with Islamic teachings, causing a furore in Parliament among Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs who urged that action be taken against the law professor.

Although a police report has been lodged against him, the outspoken academician has decided against apologising for his remarks, insisting he had not meant to challenge the Sultan.

The sermon said the erosion of Islam’s dignity “cannot happen without being implicitly planned.”

The Himpunan Sejuta Umat (Himpun), or Gathering of a Million Faithful, is being organised by various right-wing groups such as Perkasa to rally Muslims against the “challenge of Christianisation” on the back of alleged proselytising by Christians.

A large crowd at the Shah Alam Stadium tomorrow could push Umno and PAS to seek relevance among more religious Malays and raise already simmering fears of Islamisation among non-Muslims and more liberal Malays.

Christian leaders have labelled Himpun’s fight against proselytisation “irrelevant” and cautioned the group against provoking religious tension by going ahead with the rally.

Although Umno has defended Himpun’s freedom to assemble, its partners in the ruling BN, the MCA and Gerakan, have urged for the rally to be called off as it will harm race and religious relations.

PAS has said the gathering should remain apolitical while PKR insists there is no threat from Christians.

R. Punaveswaran, Chan Kah Yan Named Federal Territory's Sportspersons Of 2010

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 (Bernama) -- Ex-national athletes R. Puvaneswaran and swimmer Chan Kah Yan were crowned the Federal Territory's sportspersons of 2010 at the Federal Teritory Sports Award Ceremony here, Friday night.

They each received a trophy and RM5,000 which were presented by Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin at the Putra World Trade Centre's Tun Dr Ismail hall.

Punaveswaran, 36, who won the gold medal in the Kumite under 55kg event at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China was active in karate since 1994 and retired as national athlete early this year.

Kah Yan, 19, won seven gold medals and two silver medals at Malaysia Sukma Melaka 2010 and represented Malaysia to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and Guangzhou Asian Games last year.

"This award will spur me to do my best at the SEA Games in Indonesia, this November," she told reporters.

List of sports award receipients Federal Territory 2010

Male Athlete

R. Puvaneswaran (karate)

Woman Athlete

Chan Kah Yan (aquatics)

Most Promising Athlete

Joshua Lee Leam Yoong (aquatics)

Most Promising Woman Athlete

Wendy Ng Yan Yee (aquatics)

Best Men's Team

Tun Razak Cup Hockey team

Best Women's Team

Federal Territory Net Ball Team

Jury Award (Paralympic Athlete)

Cheah Liek Hou (Badminton)

Best Sports Official

Mohd Hisham Bin Mohd Nor (Bowling)

Best Coach

Dzulkarnain Sapian (Bowling)

Federal Territory Sports Figure Award

Datuk Bakaruddin Othman

Inside Gadhafi's last moments

Gadhafi was hiding in drainage pipe