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Monday, October 24, 2011

Gov't 'studying' anti-apostasy law proposal

The government is studying a proposal for a new law to punish those who convert Muslims, according to Jamil Khir Baharom, a Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

NONE"We are studying a few matters because it concerns federal and state jurisdiction... We'll see how it goes," Berita Harian quoted him as saying in a report today.

In the report, Jamil said constitutional amendments would be involved at both levels of government, and that these have to be studied to prevent conflicts in law, if the proposal is implemented.

The statement comes two days after some 5,000 people converged at Stadium Shah Alam for an anti-apotasy rally organised by Himpun.

Himpun came up with a 10-point declaration, one of which called for a new law to curb proselytising to Muslims.

himpun rally 221011 crowd frontimageThe rally was organised in response to what organisers claimed to be controversies involving ‘Christianisation’.

On Aug 3, the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) had conducted ‘an inspection’ at a multi-racial thanksgiving dinner organised by welfare NGO Harapan Komunity at the Damansara Utama Methodist Church.

Jais claimed to be acting on information that the organiser wasproselytising to Muslims.

Following a probe, the Selangor sultan declared there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the 12 Muslims who were at the dinner, but directed that they receive counselling.

The Trouble Brewing Inside Tibet

Image
Repression increases

An unprecedented series of suicides erodes Beijing’s repressive policies, hinting at a new wave of unrest

What is responsible for the unprecedented recent spate of Tibetans setting themselves afire? Over the past eight months, nine monks, former monks and a nun have immolated themselves. At least five have died, in what they have said is an attempt to send a message about dramatically deteriorating relations between Beijing and Tibetans.

Tibetan Buddhists say growing religious repression has gripped the Ngaba (sometimes called Aba) prefecture of China’s eastern Sichuan Province. The most recent incidents have occurred inKirti Gompa, one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and the site of frequent unrest over the past three years. Ngaba County is in a state of siege, activists say.

China accuses the Dalai Lama of encouraging separatism, saying that the self-immolations are part of a plan to violently overthrow Chinese rule in Tibet. Beijing has angrily rejected any foreign interference in regard to Tibet, insisting that Tibet is an integral part of the People’s Republic of China. Authorities have imposed a news blackout and restricted access to the region, making it difficult to independently verify any information coming out of the Tibetan areas.

“In the wake of the incidents, overseas Tibet independence forces and the Dalai Lama group did not criticize the cases but on the contrary glorified such cases and incited more people to follow suit," a Chinese government spokeswoman, Jiang Yu, said at a daily news briefing in Beijing. "As we know, such splittist activity at the cost of human life is violence and terrorism in disguise."

The latest self-immolation came on Oct. 17 when Tenzin Wangmo died outside the Dechen Chokorling nunnery. The 20-year-old nun before setting herself ablaze called for religious freedom, an independent Tibet and the return of their exiled spiritual head, the 14th Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

“That Tibetans feel they must resort to such a form of protest is illustrative of their desperation in the face of China’s brutal and oppressive policies,” said Stephanie Bridgen, director of Free Tibet, a London-based protest NGO. “These young Tibetans (all are under the age of 30, and many are teenagers) are willing to give their lives in order to draw international attention to China’s occupation of Tibet, one of the world’s greatest and longest-standing human rights crises.”

Observers believe the deadly pattern is linked to Chinese authorities’ strict policies and in particular the imposition of regulations in the Kirti monasteries to force ‘patriotic education” onto Tibetan monks. The monks are being urged to sign declarations supporting the Chinese Communist Party. Reports suggest the authorities have made it all but impossible for the monks to go about their normal religious lives. They have reportedly been told to slander the Dalai Lama, which has triggered fresh debate over human rights inside Tibet itself.

The other likely reason is the impasse since January 2010 over talks between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and Beijing authorities. There is also fear over the succession of the current Dalai Lama. Beijing has announced its intention to choose its own reincarnation of the religious leader. In recent months a verbal war between the exiled Dalai Lama and the Communist regime has entered a new high.

At that, it is unsure if the reincarnation tradition will continue. Last month, the 76-year-old religious leader said that when he is ‘about 90’ he will consult the ‘high Lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist traditions, the Tibetan public, and other concerned people who follow Tibetan Buddhism, and re-evaluate whether the institution of the Dalai Lama should continue or not.’

“Bear in mind that, apart from the reincarnation recognized through such legitimate methods, no recognition or acceptance should be given to a candidate chosen for political ends by anyone, including those in the People’s Republic of China,” the Buddhist prelate’s statement added.

“There …may be frustration contributing to the self-immolations: the inability of the Tibetan government in exile to attain negotiations with the Chinese government and therefore the lack of significant changes in the relationship between the state and monasteries, such as Kirti, where protest has been prevalent,” said Tibet expert Barry Sautman, an associate professor of social science from the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology.

Although there is no general suppression of religion in China, Sautman said, there is interference with religious practices where there is state concern about separatism, particularly in Tibet and Xinjiang.

“There is a heavy security presence in most Tibetan areas, but the self-immolations have been largely confined to monks at one large monastery, Kirti Gompa, and associated small monasteries and nunneries,” he said.

“China’s policies in Tibet are aimed at cementing China’s occupation of Tibet,” the Free Tibet group told Asia Sentinel. “The Chinese Communist Party’s ruthless determination to integrate Tibet and Tibetans into the ‘Motherland’ is the root of the human rights violations, from arbitrary detentions, torture, lengthy imprisonment for ‘splittism,’ to violations of freedom of religion – including the imposition of patriotic re-education campaigns in monasteries such as Kirti, violations of freedom of expression, the systematic erosion of Tibetan as a language for public life. The Chinese regime works relentlessly to enforce loyalty to the Motherland and to eradicate loyalty to a distinct Tibetan identity which is seen as a threat to the State.”

The first reported self-immolation came of March 16, just after the third anniversary of 2008 riots when Phuntsok, a 21-year-old monk from Kirti monastery, set himself afire outside a hotel and died of his injuries. The pace began to pick up in August, with the death of another monk. In September, two young monks, both from Kirti monastery, were hospitalized in critical condition. Their whereabouts and condition are unknown. Five have immolated themselves in October, with three dying. The whereabouts and condition of the other two are unknown.

“Most Tibetans live in fear because of suppressive and unfair government policies but they dare not speak up," Tibetan writer and activist Tsering Woeser was quoted as saying. “Tibetan Buddhists can't use violence to protest; therefore they can only do violence to themselves, such as self-immolation, to make people pay attention to their situation. This is not suicide; this is sacrifice in order to draw the world's attention.”

In Dharamsala, the exile capital of Tibetans, the Dalai Lama led prayers for the victims on Oct. 19 as Tibetans tended butter lamps. Top lamas and other Tibetan settlements in exile also commemorated the self-immolations. After the prayers, young Tibetans took to the streets shouting anti-China slogans and burning China’s flag. The exiled head of one of the Kirti monastery’s sister complexes, established in Dharamsala, has described the situation in the monastery as a “virtual prison.” Elsewhere hunger strikes, candlelight vigils and protests were reported. Social networking websites are buzzing, calling for a free Tibet and trashing Beijing’s policies.

The elected political head of Tibetan exiles, Lobsang Sangay also paid tribute to the lives lost and expressed solidarity during the prayer service in which he urged China to loosen its control on Tibetan religious freedom and called on the United Nations to send fact-finding teams to the Himalayan region.

"We would like to appeal to the Chinese government to immediately stop its repressive policies in Tibet, and to resolve the issue of Tibet through peaceful means," Sangay said in a prepared statement. “Through its propaganda, Beijing shows a different image, but in reality China practices colonialism and systematic destruction of the unique Tibetan culture, religion, language, and environment because of which Tibetans have peacefully demonstrated time and again.”

China has invested heavily in developing Tibet and other areas with large Tibetan populations in the recent years, including rebuilding monasteries damaged during the Cultural Revolution. China on Oct.20 also opened a Tibet Buddhist Theological Institute, which aims to promote the study of Tibetan Buddhism, in the Tibet autonomous region. More than 600 people, including 150 newly-enrolled students as well as Buddhist delegates and government officials, attended a grand opening ceremony held in the regional capital of Lhasa, according to the state-owned news service Xinhua.

However major world powers and human right have shown serious concerns to the recent incidents believing the tension have reached a critical state. The US State Department in an Oct. 20 press briefing said that: “These acts clearly represent anger and frustration with regard to Tibetan human rights, including religious freedom, inside China. We urge Chinese leaders to address counterproductive policies in Tibetan areas that have created tensions; and to protect Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity,” it said.

A German Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Oct. 21 that China should ‘shape its policies to reduce the existing tension’ and also urged the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader to use his influence to stop the young nuns and monks from killing themselves.

The New York based Human Rights Watch indicates from its latest report that the conflict is partly a result of heavy-handed tactics by the security forces. Beijing’s spending on ‘public security’ in Ngaba region is 4.5 times higher the amount spent on keeping the peace in other parts of Sichuan.

Tseten Peldon Zöchbauer, an exiled Tibetan living in Vienna, says: “If the bravest (those self-immolated Tibetans inside Tibet) leave, who'll resist? I think by now most Tibetans prefer to die than to become Chinese but it is time to unite and bring the democratic world to take responsibility by urging a fact finding delegation entering most urgently to Tibet.

And while the more the Dalai Lama and Beijing are at odds given the impasse over Tibet talks and over the incarnation, the more will remain fear among the Tibetans whose fidelity for their religious head is unquestionable. Their responses of support by such demonstrations and actions appeal to the world to understand the gravity of situation inside Tibet.

(Saransh Sehgal is based in the Tibetan exile community of Dharamsala, India. He can be reached atsaranshsehgal@gmail.com)

Beating The War Drums On UMNO

Four Nations, Four Lessons

AS the economy languishes, politicians and pundits are debating what to do next. When we look around the world, it’s hard to find positive role models. But as we search for answers, it is useful to keep in mind those fates that we would like to avoid.

The recent economic histories of four nations are noteworthy: France,Greece, Japan and Zimbabwe. Each illustrates a kind of policy mistake that could, if we are not careful, presage the future of the United States economy. Think of them as the four horsemen of the economic apocalypse.Let’s start with Zimbabwe. If there were an award for the world’s worst economic policy, it might well have won it several times over the past decade. In particular, in 2008 and 2009, it experienced truly spectacular hyperinflation. Prices rose so fast that the central bank eventually printed 100 trillion-dollar notes for people to carry. The nation has since abandoned using its own currency, but you can still buy one of those notes as a novelty item for about $5 (American, that is).

Some may find it hard to imagine that the United States would ever go down this route. But reckless money creation is apparently a concern of Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president. He suggested in August that it would be “almost treasonous” if Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, were to print too much money before the election. Mr. Perry is not alone in his concerns. Many on the right fear that the Fed’s recent policies aimed at fighting high unemployment will mainly serve to ignite excessive inflation.

Mr. Bernanke, however, is less worried about the United States turning into Zimbabwe than he is about it turning into Japan.

Those old enough to remember the 1980s will recall that Japan used to be an up-and-coming economic superpower. Many people then worried (too much, in my view) that Japan’s rapid growth was a threat to prosperity in the United States, in much the same way that many people worry today (too much, in my view) about rapid growth in China.

The concerns about Japanese hegemony came to a quick end after bubbles in the real estate and stock markets burst in the early 1990s. Since then, Japan has struggled to regain its footing. Critics of the Bank of Japan say it has been too focused on quelling phantom inflationary threats and insufficiently concerned about restoring robust economic growth.

One of those critics was Mr. Bernanke, before he became Fed chairman. Watching Japanese timidity and failures has surely made him more willing to experiment with unconventional forms of monetary policy in the aftermath of our own financial crisis.

The economists in the Obama administration are also well aware of the Japanese experience. That is one reason they are pushing for more stimulus spending to prop up the aggregate demand for goods and services.

Yet this fiscal policy comes with its own risks. The more we rely on deficit spending to keep the economy afloat, the more we risk the kind of sovereign debt crisis we have witnessed in Greece over the past year. The Standard & Poor’s downgrade of United States debt over the summer is a portent of what could lie ahead. In the long run, we have to pay our debts — or face dire consequences.

To be sure, the bond market doesn’t seem particularly worried about the solvency of the federal government. It is still willing to lend to the United States at low rates of interest. But the same thing was true of Greece four years ago. Once the bond market starts changing its mind, the verdict can be swift, and can lead to a vicious circle of rising interest rates, increasing debt service and budget deficits, and falling confidence.

Bond markets are now giving the United States the benefit of the doubt, partly because other nations look even riskier, and partly in the belief that we will, in time, get our fiscal house in order. The big political question is how.

The nation faces a fundamental decision about priorities. To maintain current levels of taxation, we will need to substantially reduce spending on the social safety net, includingSocial Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the new health care program sometimes called Obamacare. Alternatively, we can preserve the current social safety net and raise taxes substantially to pay for it. Or we may choose a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. This brings us to the last of our cautionary tales: France.

Here are two facts about the French economy. First, gross domestic product per capita in France is 29 percent less than it is in the United States, in large part because the French work many fewer hours over their lifetimes than Americans do. Second, the French are taxed more than Americans. In 2009, taxes were 24 percent of G.D.P. in the United States but 42 percent in France.

Economists debate whether higher taxation in France and other European nations is the cause of the reduced work effort and incomes there. Perhaps it is something else entirely — a certain joie de vivre that escapes the nose-to-the-grindstone American culture.

We may soon be running a natural experiment to find out. If American policy makers don’t rein in entitlement spending over the next several decades, they will have little choice but to raise taxes close to European levels. We can then see whether the next generation of Americans spends less time at work earning a living and more time sipping espresso in outdoor cafes.

N. Gregory Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard. He is advising Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, in the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

Kg Buah Pala: Pagar makan padi

Developer Kampung Buah Pala di Pulau Pinang untung berbilion.

“Yang menjadi mangsa ialah orang kampung.” — M. Sugumaran, wakil penduduk Kampung Buah Pala

Kg Buah Pala dirobohkan.--gambar The Star

“Apa yang kami tidak faham ialah mengapa kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat ini, dia bukan nak selamat kampung [sebaliknya] nak roboh kampung. Bila di bawah pimpinan Barisan Nasional, 30 tahun kami dok bincang, bincang, bincang 30 tahun tapi tak roboh le.” [Sugumaran, YouTube]

Penghuni Kg Buah Pala amat malang kerana dari mulut harimau masuk ke mulut buaya.

Saya pernah dikhabarkan bahawa Hindraf gagal juga dalam usaha mereka untuk mengadakan perjumpaan dengan Lim Guan Eng supaya mencari penyelesaian yang baik kepada isu.

Hindraf difahamkan Guan Eng tidak ada minat untuk melayan sebuah organisasi yang membela kelompok daif kaum India kerana sebagai seorang ‘Malaysian First’, ketua menteri merangkap setiausaha agung DAP itu menganggap Hindraf bersifat rasis.

(Kuali mengata cerek hitam, Guan Eng nampaknya lupa akan “Malaysian agenda” yang diuar-uarkan partinya - screenshot di bawah - apabila dia mengkritik Johortatkala berada di Singapura.)

Petikan Malaysiakini (14 April 2010)

Kawan-kawan Hindraf saya juga berkata sepanjang saga kampung gembala lembu itu meleret, Guan Eng enggan turun ke padang untuk bersua dengan penduduk kampung kaum India yang (bukan Kristian dan bukan golongan profesional) terlibat.

Namun semalam ketika majlis penyerahan kunci dilangsungkan di tapak Kg Buah Pala (yang dirobohkan dua tahun lepas), Guan Eng dengan muka tebal sekali muncul untuk mengambil kesempatan ‘foto op’ (peluang bergambar) demi meraih publisiti murahan.

P. Uthayakumar:

“Saya berasa amat sedih sekali sebab pada hari ini saya terpaksa mengambil ‘banner’ untuk menyatakan bahawa kami bantah salah guna kuasa oleh ketua menteri Pulau Pinang ini.” [YouTube, 3:06]

“Saya masih ingat lebih kurang 20 tahun dahulu semasa berlaku isu Kampung Khoo Kongsi di Penang, Lim Guan Eng, Lim Kit Siang, DAP bertungkus-lumus bermati-matian untuk menjaga kepentingan kampung Cina di Khoo Kongsi.

“Tetapi bila mangsanya ialah orang-orang India, a different set of rules applies,” kata Uthaya.

Kg Buah Pala – yang tanahnya diamanahkan keluarga peladang Brown kepada buruh India mereka – telah menjadi tempat kediaman cucu-cicit pekerja-pekerja India itu selama lebih 110 tahun … sehinggalah pemaju Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd berjaya mengambil alih hakmilik selepas berlakunya pengkhianatan oleh ketua-ketua DAP Pulau Pinang.

9 keluarga hilang segala-galanya

Sebanyak 24 keluarga telah menerima kunci rumah baru masing-masing sementara sembilan lagi buah keluarga yang diusir dari kampung itu tidak mendapat apa-apa setelah menolak pampasan tunai RM125,000 yang ditawarkan oleh pengarah eksekutif Nusmetro, Gary Ho.

Pekerja India di Ladang Buah Pala, P. Pinang, c.1850. Lukisan cat air/Joliffe

Semalam juga seorang pemimpin kanan DAP, iaitu Karpal Singh, pada akhirnya terpaksa membuat pengakuan bahawa Pakatan gagal menunaikan janji-janji yang ditabur mereka kepada penduduk kampung itu.

Karpal sendiri yang mengaku juga bahawa pemaju tanah Nusmetro akan mengaut keuntungan berbilion ringgit dari projek ini.

Mengikut laporan Malaysiakini, Karpal telah memberi sebagai alasannya bahawa ketua menteri boleh dipenjarakan jika dia ingkar terhadap keputusan Mahkamah Persekutuan pada 24 Jun 2009 yang memenangkan Nusmetro.

Karpal telah dipetik sebagai berkata dalam ucapannya:

“Ramai yang bertanya, apa yang berlaku kepada janji-janji? Macam mana dengan janji Lim [Guan Eng] yang berkata kami akan mempertahankan kampung itu? Betul, kami semua berkata begitu.”

“[Namun] jika kami hina mahkamah bukan sahaja kami akan diheret ke penjara … tetapi kerajaan negeri juga boleh dilucutkan kuasa.”

DAP kerap menyalahkan kerajaan Barisan Nasional pra-2008. Itu hanya cerita mudah.

Penjelasan rumit yang diberitahu penduduk kampung kepada aktivis adalah lain.

DAP yang menggali kubur

“Tanah [Kg Buah Pala] yang diberimilik ini [kepada penduduk India oleh keluarga Brown] tidak boleh dipindahmilik, cagar, pajak, pajakan kecil atau sebarang bentuk urusniaga tanpa kebenaran bertulis daripada pihak berkuasa negeri,” kata A. Thiruvengadam.

Dalam klip YouTube, Bhg 1-4, Thiruvengadam seorang bekas councilor Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) menceritakan penyelewengan yang berlaku di mana golongan penduduk kampung penternak lembu susu tersebut ditipu.

Hujah Thiruvengadam ialah kerajaan negeri mempunyai kuasa dan kata pemutus atas urusan Kg Buah Pala. [Nota: Catatan minit-minit exco mengenai Kg Buah Pala masih belum didedahkan kepada umum. Ke mana perginya CAT kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang?]

Akan tetapi sepertimana didakwa oleh Sugumaran (wakil penduduk Kg Buah Pala) dan pihak-pihak sukarelawan lain yang prihatin dengan nasib golongan India kurang berpendidikan itu, rupa-rupanya Guan Eng dari awal-awal lagi sudah menetapkan bagi pemaju Nusmetro meneruskan projek pembinaan tersebut.

Memanglah, Guan Eng kan merupakan exco Pulau Pinang yang memegang ‘portfolio tanah‘.

(Baca sini tentang projek-projek perumahan di Pulau Pinang yang bak cendawan tumbuh lepas hujan / selepas Mac 2008.)

Tidak berhati perut

Ramai para penyokong Guan Eng berkata “padan muka” sembilan keluarga India tersebut yang kehilangan tempat tinggal.

Screenshot komen-komen pembaca Malaysiakini ini adalah tipikal kepada penghinaan yang sering dicurahkan ke atas penduduk Kg Buah Pala “bodoh” oleh puak DAP yang cerdik-pandai.

Bagaimana acuan begitulah kuihnya.

KISAH LATAR

Thiruvengadam mendakwa bahawa Nusmetro sudahpun menjual condo kepada para pembeli serta menandatangani perjanjian jual-beli (S&P) dengan mereka dua bulan sebelum pemaju itu berjaya memperolehi surat hakmilik tanah.

Ex-MPPJ Councilor Mr. A. Thiruvengadam

(1)

“How could the developer Nusmetro caveat this piece of Buah Pala land to this company’s name when the condition [i.e. cannot be transferred, mortgaged, pawned, sublet, or used as a business instrument without getting written consent from the state authority/exco] on the land title is still there?”

YouTube: Chronology of Buah Pala Land Scam, Part 1

(2)

“The lawyers [consulted] are telling that the state government under the leadership of Lim Guan Eng can still save this piece of land because the state authority has got special power by certain clauses in the law.”

“If the state government itself is making a report to MACC on this particular land transaction, it shows that there is some basic of fraud in the land transaction. …Why did this new government complete the transaction? This new government is the one which has issued the land title. WHY?

“If fraud is proven, the state government can withdraw the land title.”

[Nota: Laporan kepada SPRM dibuat oleh Timbalan Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang (I) dan (II) Mansor Othman dan P. Ramasamy pada 13 Julai 2009.]

YouTube: Chronology of Buah Pala Land Scam, Part 2

(3)

“Let me tell you this. Lim Guan Eng is the main culprit in announcing all this kind of news and this news [is] being carried in the media that can be the cause to reduce public support for these villagers.”

YouTube: Chronology of Buah Pala Land Scam, Part 3

(4)

“Imagine this kampung is a Chinese kampung. … Do you think Lim Guan Eng would act like this?”

“How can a chief minister, how can a state government, force the people to go into illegal transaction to accept the offer by this developer and leave the kampung?”

Karpal: CM could've been jailed over Kg Buah Pala

Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh said today that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng could have been jailed if he defied the Federal Court decision for the residents to vacate the village in 2009.

NONEThe Federal Court in Aug, 2009, stood by its June 24 decision that the Kg Buah Pala residents must vacate their homes and hand over the property to the developer who had obtained approval to redevelop the area.

Due to this decision, Karpal admitted that Pakatan Rakyat was unable to fulfil the promises made to the villagers, although its leaders - including opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim - had said they would defend the village at all cost.

"Many are asking, what happened to the promises? What about Lim saying we will defend the village to the last? Yes, all of us said so," said the veteran lawyer.

" (But) What alternative did the chief minister have here, short of defying the court order? As elected representative of the people, we have to obey the decision of the court, whether we like it or not," said the DAP national chairperson.

NONE"Contempt of court is this: you are not only dragged to jail until you purge your contempt and apologise, but the state government could have been dismissed" he added during his speech at a ceremony to hand over keys to former residents of Kg Buah Pala in Penang today.

About 100 attended the ceremony organised by Nusmetro Sdn Bhd, where Lim, Deputy Chief Minister P Ramasamy and Batu Maung assemblyperson Abdul Malik Abul Kassim were also present.

Twenty-four families were issued the houses after a bitter tussle with the state government and developer to maintain the village, popularly known as Penang High Chapparal.

penang kg buah pala 010709 m sugumaranNine families - led by Kg Buah Pala Resident Association chairperson M Sugumaran (far right, in photo) - have declined to accept the houses, claiming the Pakatan government had not provided the residents a proper compensation package.

Sugumaran also alleged that Karpal was more interested in defending Anwar with his Sodomy II trial in Kuala Lumpur than helping the villagers.

Karpal, however, recounted the detention of Pakatan leaders, including Lim, for the welfare of the common people.

"It is not that we did not want to fulfil our promises, but were bound by the court decision" he reiterated to the 100-strong crowd who attended the ceremony today.

NONEKarpal said the case was not filed in the Penang High Court by Pakatan lawyers, as the residents did not appoint them for the matter.

However, Pakatan still did its best and managed to get 24 units for the residents, notwithstanding the nine families who had declined to accept the offer, said Karpal.

Lamenting that the developer would be making billions of ringgit out of this project, Karpal said no developer should be allowed to make that much out of the people.

"It was the best bargain that we could get from the developer," he said.

"It is not the Pakatan government which brought this upon the residents, the BN did," he added.

NONEThe nine families led by Sugumaran, however, have publicly defied the government, said Karpal.

"No government worth its salt would want to kneel down and bow to ransom by anyone, developer or otherwise. We would lose our dignity and credibility," he said.

Karpal also rubbished claims by representatives of the nine families that he was more interested in defending Anwar Ibrahim as the he was earning a large amount of money as the latter's defense counsel.

Karpal said he wanted to put on record that he was not earning a single cent from Anwar, although he has defended the case for two years

"I want to make it clear to Sugumaran to be careful, unless you want to make me ensure that you answer to every court of law for your conduct," he warned.