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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hasten civil suit, pleads Altantuya's dad

EXCLUSIVE After a long hiatus, the father of slain Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu has appealed to the Malaysian courts to hasten the hearing of the RM100 million civil suit he has filed against the government.

parliament 2008 first day 280408 setevSetev Shaariibuu (left), who filed the suit on June 4, 2007, is suing the Malaysian government and those responsible for the gruesome murder of Altantuya in a jungle clearing in Shah Alam on Oct 19, 2006.

In a letter translated into English by his lawyer Mukhsaruul Mijiddorj, Shaariibuu said he has paid a substantial amount of money to the Malaysian court last year.

The money, amounting to RM60,000 as security bond, was paid by the Mongolian government, on behalf of Shariibuu.

However, a year has passed but he has yet to receive any news of the commencement of the court case, Shariibuu lamented.

“The fact that your government does not make positive steps towards the issue raised by Mongolia (may) perhaps adversely impact the interest of hundreds of Mongolians who are studying and living in Malaysia,” he said.

“Despite the fact that the government of Mongolia proposed to discuss the issue by appointing and sending its representatives to Malaysia, it has been one year without any response,” he added.

Karpal frustrated case delayed


Shaariibuu did not elaborate on who and when the representatives he was referring to had come to the country to discuss the matter.

It is learnt that the letter, a copy of which was provided toMalaysiakini, is currently in the possession of Karpal Singh, who is representing Shariibuu in this case on a pro-bono basis.

Earlier this month, Karpal expressed frustration that the hearing of the suit has been delayed as the two police personnel convicted of the murder have filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

Karpal said he has written many times to the court for case management of the suit, but has yet to receive a response.

Shaariibuu and his spouse Altantsetseg Sanjaa are now the guardians of Altantuya’s children, one of whom suffers from a medical disorder which requires expensive treatment.

As executors of Altantuya’s estate and on behalf of her dependents, they are also seeking special, aggravated and punitive damages.

MPs’ support sought


Meanwhile, Shaariibuu, via his letter to Karpal, has pleaded for all members of Parliament to support his cause “for the sake of charitable purposes”.

He admitted that Malaysia’s judiciary was fair to have convicted the two policemen - former bodyguards of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak - found guilty of brutally murdering Altantuya five years ago.

abdul razak baginda altantuya murder 141108Najib’s close confidante and political analysist Abdul Razak Baginda was acquitted of her murder without his defence being called.

Najib, who was then Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister when the incident occurred, has denied any involvement in the case.

It is widely believed that Altantuya acted as the Mongolian translator in Malaysia’s Scorpene submarine purchase from Russia.

Shaariibuu said one of the reasons why he wants the civil suit to commence quickly is that it could help Altantuya’s soul to rest in peace.

“There are vital matters pending such as to resolve the deceased’s funeral and pacify her spirit through charitable attention to the orphaned children,” said Shaariibuu.

“Honoured members of the Parliament of Malaysia, I would like you to pay attention to my request and to treat this issue from the stand worthy of intelligent human beings,” he added.

Panel's final call for 42,051 'doubtful' voters

The New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission will be forced to strike out the names of 42,051 "doubtful" voters from its roll if their particulars could not be verified following a week-long public display beginning today.

Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said this would be the final call for the 42,051 'doubtful' voters.

"Our stringent cross-checks with National Registration Department have uncovered this 'doubtful' voters whose MyKad particulars could not be verified.

"We have to take this action to clean the roll. I hope the public will take this seriously and check out the details of these 'doubtful' voters which will be displayed nationwide."

Aziz said the commission hoped that relatives or friends of the those on the 'doubtful' list would get in touch with the commission.

He said the commission felt that it would be unfair to delete their names without first making them public.


Aziz said if these 'doubtful' voters should suddenly turn up to vote in the next general election -- despite having been deleted -- they would not be able to vote and would be advised to contact the NRD to verify their details.

"But bear in mind that 42,051 are still a small number compared with the 12.3 million registered voters we have in our electoral roll," he added.

On Tuesday, the commission public relation officer Sabri Said issued a statement that the list of the 42,052 electors would be displayed together with the electoral roll for third quarter of 2011 in 987 locations nationwide.

The list of doubtful names was not for the purpose of objection, but for verification by the electors or their next-of-kin, said Sabri.

"If the electors find their names in the list, then they should clear the matter with the NRD and sort out the their identification records, before referring the matter back to the EC," it said. 

On the electoral roll for the third quarter of 2011, he said it contained 264,404 applications for new registrations and 52,215 for a change in address. 

It added that those who had registered during the exercise from July to September but found their names missing from the list should present their case by filling up Form B and sent it to state EC offices within seven days from the date of display. 

Objections to the names in the electoral roll can be made by filling up Form C, it said, reminding the public, however, to not to make objection for the sake of objecting, but should be accompanied by valid reasons.

Mahathir: Human rights used to save 'someone'


Opposition politicians are using human rights issues for their political benefit, warned former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In saying this, Mahathir said he agrees with concerns raised that certain quarters were using the 'human rights wave' to "save someone".
NONE"...While we respect human rights, it should be implemented within our capabilities," said Mahathir today
"If we follow the West, which adopts extreme human rights that allows men to get married with (other) men and women getting married with (other) women, (that) should be rejected outright," he added.

Mahathir said as a developing, multiracial and multireligious country Malaysia is not like countries in the West.

"When they are trapped in, they impose much more worse human rights violations compared to us, as what is done in Guantanamo Bay."

"They (United States) don't have laws to detain people without trial, as in Guantanamo (Bay detention camp), and now it is already 11 years. Why don't they release (those detainees)?"

He said while Malaysia has laws to arrest people like the Internal Security Act, the US do not have such laws, but they still arrest and torture detainees for 11 years.

"Their government allows the torture of the detainees. Do not focus on our human rights record, lah. If you want to criticise, criticise (Barack) Obama, lah, for the human rights violations."

He stressed that Malaysia should focus on issues relevant to Malaysia and not adopt all the values in the West.
Yesterday, former inspector-general of police Abdul Rahim Noor, when addressing the second Perkasa annual general meeting, warned of people using human rights issues to harm the country.

Ibrahim Ali disappointed by Himpun turnout

Datuk Ibrahim Ali giving his winding-up speech during Perkasa’s second general assembly, in Kuala Lumpur. – Picture by Jack OoiKUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 – Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali has expressed embarrassment over the poor turnout at the Himpunan Sejuta Umat rally, despite the Malay rights movement earlier shrugging off the low attendance.
Only 5,000 people filled the 100,000-seat Shah Alam Stadium where the rally against the alleged Christianisation of Malaysia took place last weekend.

“Even as late at 4pm, there were fewer than 10,000 people... I was embarrassed as a Malay and a Muslim. Where are our Malays?

“But when there’s a conference or an assembly, why this, why that?” Ibrahim said in his winding-up speech at the 2nd Perkasa general assembly here.

The Malay rights leader lamented that Malays were very good at asking for things but were reluctant to put their money where their mouth was when time came for action.

“What is our sacrifice? How far are we willing to go?” he said.

Ibrahim added that if Malays remained too passive in voicing their objections despite being “under attack from within and without”, they would suffer the same fate as Singaporean Malays and Malays in Penang, whom he said were marginalised.

Himpun was organised by various right-wing religious groups calling for Muslims to rise up and fight the “challenge of Christianisation” to Muslims in Malaysia.

The mass rally was mooted following the controversial August 3 raid by Selangor Islamic authorities on Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC), where it was alleged that Christians were converting Muslims.

Christian leaders have denied claims that Christians were attempting to convert Muslims and have called Himpun’s fight “irrelevant”.

The Real Reason Why Gadaffi Was Killed & Why We're In Libya

A Marshall Plan for South Asia



Image
Warming up?

A proposal to break the deadlock
The war of words between the United States and Pakistan in recent weeks has put in stark relief the two core strategic conundrums Washington has vis-à-vis Islamabad, as well as the integral role India plays in both of them.

The first is to encourage a more constructive Pakistani approach in Afghanistan, which Islamabad regards as a theater for its endemic rivalry with New Delhi. The second is to steer a nuclear-armed but deeply dysfunctional Pakistan away from failed state status, a harrowing prospect that many believe is all too plausible unless Islamabad is convinced that its prospering neighbor to the East actually represents an economic opportunity rather than an existential threat.

The Obama administration entered office believing that Pakistani cooperation on Afghanistan was a function of addressing its acute security anxieties regarding India. Two weeks before the November 2008 election, Barack Obama declared that resolving the perennially-inflamed dispute over the Kashmir region was one of the “critical tasks” for U.S. foreign policy and worthy of “serious diplomatic resources.”

It was a valid observation but the manner in which Washington pursued it guaranteed a quick failure. Moves to appoint a turbocharged envoy (in the person of Richard Holbrooke) with the mandate of mediating the Kashmir issue– similar to U.S. efforts to broker the Middle East peace talks – met with Pakistani approval but proved too much for the sovereignty-conscious Indians to accept.

For the past three years, Washington has struggled to find a way to bring the two sides together and focus them on their common interests. Fortunately, the parties may have found one themselves. Despite the obvious displays of mutual suspicion in both capitals, a consensus is growing in the two countries – especially evident in their business communities – that the time has come for a more normalized relationship.

After a three-year hiatus caused by the 2008 terrorist strikes in Mumbai, India and Pakistan have restarted their peace dialogue. In July, Pakistan’s new foreign minister, the 34-year-old Hina Rabbani Khar, held unexpectedly warm talks in New Delhi, where she emphasized that a “mind-set change” was occurring among younger Indians and Pakistanis. Last month, for the first time in 35 years, Pakistan’s commerce minister visited New Delhi, bringing with him a notably large business delegation.

The trip was especially productive. The two countries pledged to more than double their two-way trade flows – to the $6 billion annual level – by 2015. They agreed to ease visa rules for business travel and to open a new customs post at the Wagah border crossing that lies midway between Lahore and Amritsar. Islamabad also committed to extending “most favored nation” trade status to New Delhi, reciprocating the status India earlier conferred upon Pakistan.

This last development promises to enliven the 2006 South Asia Free Trade Agreement which up until this point has been all but a dead letter. India’s commerce minister, Anand Sharma, captured the spirit of the meeting when he exclaimed that “only shared prosperity can bring lasting peace.”

The annals of India-Pakistan relations are filled with numerous false dawns and the current moves toward greater economic engagement could well founder upon the sharp historical animosities that regularly bedevil bilateral affairs. But things may be different this time. Reports out of Islamabad indicate that the Pakistani government realizes the country is in desperate economic straits and that closer ties with India constitute a much needed lifeline. The military establishment is also said to understand that the eastern border needs to be stabilized so resources can be focused on combating rising internal security threats.

If enhanced trade ties were to develop between South Asia’s largest economies, they would produce significant economic and (eventually) security dividends for both countries. Despite the common civilizational and historical bonds that permeate South Asia, as well as the unified market forged by the British Raj, the region today is remarkably fragmented economically. Trade flows between India and Pakistan, for instance, represent a miniscule fraction of each country’s overall trade portfolio.

Wagah is the only vehicle crossing along the 1,800-mile-long international border. The two-lane road there is only open a mere eight hours a day and the cargo that passes through it must be unloaded and transferred to local trucks. Indeed, the crossing, which some refer to as the “Berlin Wall of Asia,” is better known for the Kabuki-like displays put on by the border guards than as an efficient transit point.

The pervasive barriers to bilateral economic cooperation have also spurred circuitous and highly inefficient trade patterns. A booming India requires cement for its construction sector yet is forced to import it from Africa instead of Pakistan, where the cement industry has excess capacity. Off-the-books trade – the value of which easily rivals official levels – is also conducted via third countries like Dubai, Singapore and Afghanistan. According to various studies, a more liberalized trade regime would increase bilateral exchange at least 20 times above current figures as well as boost economic prosperity in both countries.

The Obama administration would do well to reinforce the current stirrings by launching a Marshall Plan-like initiative geared toward the expansion of cross-border economic linkages between the two countries. One of the keys to the Marshall Plan’s far-reaching success was the major financial inducement it gave European countries devastated by World War II to frame their economic futures in conjunction with their neighbors.

By putting an emphasis on reconstruction projects that crossed national frontiers, it was an important catalyst for the historic reconciliation between France and Germany and paved the way for the deep economic integration embodied in today’s European Union.

A similar vision should inspire a US effort to bolster cross-border economic cooperation between India and Pakistan. This initiative would be aimed at helping the two countries, on a joint basis, upgrade and expand the meager transportation infrastructure presenting connecting them. It would support projects that increase road and rail linkages, as well as the number and capacity of customs posts. It would help provide resources for modernized seaport facilities that enable more two-way trade.

And with each country plagued by chronic power shortages, it would help bankroll cross-border energy projects such as joint electrical grids or the proposed natural gas pipeline connecting Central and South Asia via Afghanistan.

This effort would dovetail well with the “New Silk Road” initiative that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently announced to foster the economic integration of Central and South Asia. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was born in what is now Pakistan, has spoken eloquently of the powerful role stronger economic linkages can play in bridging South Asia’s deep political fissures. In early 2007, he spelled out his vision for regional integration:

“I dream of a day when, while retaining our respective identities, one can have breakfast in Amritsar, lunch in Lahore and dinner in Kabul. That was how my forefathers lived. That is how I want our grandchildren to live.”

For his part, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has even expressed the hope that India and Pakistan could one day join together in an economically-unified zone like the EU.

The original Marshall Plan entailed a staggering sum of money – well over $100 billion in today’s terms – and an austerity-minded U.S. Congress would certainly balk at any scheme with a similar price tag. But the initiative outlined here need only entail a modest level of expenditures – say, $50-75 million per year over a five-year period – and could be paid for by redirecting funding already authorized under the 2009 Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act. Better known as the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, the act provides $1.5 billion annually in non-military assistance to Pakistan through 2013. But due to a variety of factors, much of its economic development funds remain unspent.

To avoid potential concerns in New Delhi and Islamabad that Washington might try to extract diplomatic concessions from specific funding decisions, resources could be routed through the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank, where professional staff would assess the viability and impact of proposals submitted jointly by the two countries and make final judgments on which projects go forward. Additional countries, such as those assembled by Secretary Clinton in New York last month to discuss the New Silk Road plan, also could be invited to contribute resources.

Obviously, this initiative offers no magic bullet for transforming the singular intensity of the India-Pakistan strategic rivalry. But it would be a creative investment in nurturing promising developments already underway in both countries, which if they take root over the long term would help lead to a game-changing situation in South Asia: One in which Islamabad looks upon New Delhi more as a partner than as an outright enemy. If such a development came to pass, U.S. interests in the region would be vastly easier to safeguard than they are today.

(David J. Karl ( dkarl@usc.edu) is president of the Asia Strategy Initiative, a political and economic consultancy. He earlier served as project director of the Task Force on Enhancing India-U.S. Cooperation in the Global Innovation Economy, jointly sponsored by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry and the Pacific Council on International Policy.)

Panel's final call for 42,051 'doubtful' voters

The New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: The Election Commission will be forced to strike out the names of 42,051 "doubtful" voters from its roll if their particulars could not be verified following a week-long public display beginning today.

Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said this would be the final call for the 42,051 'doubtful' voters.

"Our stringent cross-checks with National Registration Department have uncovered this 'doubtful' voters whose MyKad particulars could not be verified.

"We have to take this action to clean the roll. I hope the public will take this seriously and check out the details of these 'doubtful' voters which will be displayed nationwide." 

Aziz said the commission hoped that relatives or friends of the those on the 'doubtful' list would get in touch with the commission.

He said the commission felt that it would be unfair to delete their names without first making them public.


Aziz said if these 'doubtful' voters should suddenly turn up to vote in the next general election -- despite having been deleted -- they would not be able to vote and would be advised to contact the NRD to verify their details.

"But bear in mind that 42,051 are still a small number compared with the 12.3 million registered voters we have in our electoral roll," he added.

On Tuesday, the commission public relation officer Sabri Said issued a statement that the list of the 42,052 electors would be displayed together with the electoral roll for third quarter of 2011 in 987 locations nationwide.

The list of doubtful names was not for the purpose of objection, but for verification by the electors or their next-of-kin, said Sabri.

"If the electors find their names in the list, then they should clear the matter with the NRD and sort out the their identification records, before referring the matter back to the EC," it said. 

On the electoral roll for the third quarter of 2011, he said it contained 264,404 applications for new registrations and 52,215 for a change in address. 

It added that those who had registered during the exercise from July to September but found their names missing from the list should present their case by filling up Form B and sent it to state EC offices within seven days from the date of display. 

Objections to the names in the electoral roll can be made by filling up Form C, it said, reminding the public, however, to not to make objection for the sake of objecting, but should be accompanied by valid reasons.

Death penalty for woman

The Star 

SHAH ALAM: A Japanese woman said she brought a bag to Kuala Lumpur thinking it only contained clothes.

A High Court here, however, did not buy her story and sentenced her to death for trafficking in 3,493gm of methamphetamine at the KL International Airport two years ago.

Justice Siti Mariah Ahmad ruled on Tuesday that former nurse Mariko Takeuchi, 37, had failed to raise reasonable doubt in her defence.

The accused said she had gone to Dubai to meet a man named Alex, to get some money from him and to pass the cash to a good friend in Kuala Lumpur.

However, she claimed, instead of meeting him, she met a driver who said he was a friend of Alex and that he, too, was going to Kuala Lumpur.

She claimed the driver asked her to bring along a bag, which she was made to understand contained only clothes.

Takeuchi was arrested at a Customs inspection counter at the international arrival hall of the KLIA at 9.55pm on Oct 30, 2009.

In her judgement, Justice Siti Mariah said she found the testimony of the accused fake and illogical.

“The excuse that the accused went to Dubai to get the money is unreasonable and highly suspicious.

“Her own good friend could have gone there herself. Or Alex could have wired the money to her,” she said, adding the court noted that Takeuchi had been in and out of Malaysia five times between September and October 2009.

Justice Siti Mariah added: “The court finds it illogical and suspicious that going back and forth between Kuala Lumpur and Dubai, as claimed by the accused, is cheaper than staying put in Dubai.

Deputy public prosecutor Aimie Yusreena Yunus prosecuted while Takeuchi was represented by lawyer Mohd Rafik Rahem.

Raja Muda Of Perlis Wants UniMAP Staff To Be Bold In Challenging Status Quo

GEORGE TOWN, Oct 27 (Bernama) -- The Raja Muda of Perlis, Tuanku Syed Faizuddin Putra Jamalullail has called on the staff of Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) to be bold in challenging the status quo in efforts to empower the university.

Tuanku Syed Faizuddin, who is also the UniMAP Chancellor, said they should have the courage to take risk and should not fear to make mistakes which should instead be treated as a major challenge to improve the situation.

In his speech at the pre-launch of the "Sedekad UniMAP" programme on board the cruise ship, Superstar Libra, in Penang waters last night, he said the university staff should always be open minded and competent in their respective disciplines.

He wanted the UniMAP to create three new programmes namely the sports technology, marine and exotics to widen its programme size as it entered its tenth year.

The Raja Muda said the initiative was in line with the government's aspiration to develop the country's higher education sector.