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Monday, December 5, 2011

Karpal hits out at DAP warlords

It’s the CEC, the party supreme decision-making body, which decides on candidates and seats, says the DAP national chairman.

GEORGE TOWN: DAP national chairman Karpal Singh today warned certain party leaders against becoming political warlords by circumventing the leadership to promise and announce seats for their cronies on their own accord.

He said that no party leader or even member has the right to bypass the party top decision-making body, the central executive committee (CEC), to allot seats for their cronies.

“No one has the authority to choose or announce candidates and seats.

“Only the top leadership has the rightful privilege to do so,” Karpal, the Bukit Gelugor MP, told FMT here today.

Firing a broadside against Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy, Karpal stressed that the party would not hesitate to take stern disciplinary action against the “warlords”.

“There is no room for warlords in DAP.

“The party never had warlords and will never entertain it in future,” he said.

He was commenting on a recent vernacular newspaper article quoting Ramasamy, a CEC member, as saying that the party had decided to field three Indian women – D Kamachi, Kasturi (daughter of the late DAP stalwart P Patto) , and an unknown lawyer from Penang, Mangleswari.

Ramasamy was also quoted as saying that parliamentarians M Kulasegaran (Ipoh Barat), Charles Santiago (Klang) and M Manogaran, and assemblyman A Sivanesan (Sungkai) were virtually certain of contesting in the coming general election.

According to the article, Ramasamy, the Penang DAP deputy chief, has also claimed that he would re-contest both his Prai state and Batu Kawan federal seats.

This has irked Karpal who has repeatedly said that the DAP would field one candidate for one seat in the next polls, albeit minor exemptions to the rule.

Dismissing Ramasamy’s claim that the party had given him the green light to contest both seats, Karpal said the CEC was yet to decide on party candidates and their seats for the next general election.

He also pointed out that current incumbent elected representatives do not even have the luxury to choose their seat in next polls.

He said the incumbents would even be dropped altogether if found to be incompetent.

He added that it was for the CEC to decide on candidates and their seats based on performance and winning credentials.

One exemption

One exemption to the “one man-one seat” rule, however, is that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng would be allowed to contest both in state and parliamentary seats.

For time being, Karpal said the chief minister needed to be a MP to raise state issues in Parliament.

Another exemption will be applied in Sabah and Sarawak due to lack of credible candidates.

“Elsewhere, a person can only contest one seat,” said Karpal.

The one man-one seat decision, which has been agreed on principle by the CEC and backed by many party members, would affect at least five current double-seat elected representatives.

Apart from Ramasamy, the others are Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow (Tanjung MP and Padang Kota assemblyman), Perak DAP chairman Ngeh Koo Ham (Beruas MP and Sitiawan assemblyman) and secretary Nga Kor Ming (Taiping MP and Pantai Remis assemblyman), and Teresa Kok Suh Sim (Seputeh MP and Kinrara assemblywoman).

Karpal said the double-seat incumbents were not privileged to decide on which seat to omit and which to contest.

“It’s the CEC, the party supreme decision-making body, which decides.

“Hence, no one shall act like a warlord and make premature announcements,” Karpal said in a pointed reference to Ramasamy.

PSM fears dirtiest election ever

Frequent BN scandals plaguing its leaders including Umno's Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who is embroiled in the NFC scandal, are spurring its loss of credibility.

SUNGAI SIPUT: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), a political party that is not a member of Pakatan Rakyat but aligned to it, believes that the ruling Barisan Nasional is poised to lose grip on power in the impending 13th general election, if it is to be a clean election.

PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan said despite of what Umno, the back-bone of BN, is trying to portray to voters, the coalition is tainted and has actually already lost ground among the rakyat including the Malays, its traditional source of strength.

He said the frequent BN scandals plaguing its leaders including Umno’s sole woman cabinet member Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who is embroiled in the National Feedlot Council (NFC) scandal involving her husband who heads the NFC, are spurring its loss of credibility.

“If they don’t cheat (in the election), they will surely lose this time. If they cheat we will hit the streets and stop them and to install a new government,” he said in his speech during PSM’s political talk at Kampung Baru Rimba Panjang here on Saturday.

Arutchelvan also reminded that even Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had referred to the coming general election as “the mother of all elections” at the Umno annual assembly last week.

He said judging from what Muhyiddin and other Umno leaders have said so far, the coming election could also be the “dirtiest election ever” Malaysians would see and urged those who are concerned to be brave enough to go to the streets and protest.

Speaking on other issue, the PSM leader reiterated that the party would use its own symbol this time unlike in 2008. “Our party was registered via a court order soon after the last election and hence this time we will use our own symbol,” he said.

Currently PSM has two people representatives who “borrowed” the symbol of PKR in the last general election. The two are PSM chairman Dr Nasir Hashim who is state assemblyman for Kota Damansara in Selangor, and Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, the MP for Perak’s Sungai Siput.

In 2008, Jeyakumar, a popular medical doctor, created the biggest upset by defeating then MIC president S Samy Vellu by more than 1,000 votes.

PSM is understood to be eyeing at least another two state assembly seats, one each in Selangor (Semenyih) and Perak (Jelapang) at the coming general election.

On Sungai Siput seat, Arutchelvan said PSM with the support of its allies PKR-DAP-PAS is working hard not to let it slip away. Observers here said there is growing evidence that Vell Paari, a son of Samy, could be fielded by MIC there.

MIC and Samy Vellu would consider it as “sweet revenge” to recapture Sungai Siput as the large seat had always been the seat represented by MIC presidents from VT Sambanthan and Samy Vellu’s immediate predecessor, V Manickavasagam to the former president.

Abolish death penalty, says lawyer

The Star

A LAWYER has called on the Government to abolish the death penalty and other forms of capital punishment if it opposes hudud law.

Edmund Bon said certain forms of punishment under hudud law such as amputation was cruel and inhumane, and similar to whipping and the death penalty.

“If we are against punishment that allows amputation, then abolish all capital punishment as well,” he said at the forum.

Otherwise, he said all arguments against hudud law would fall flat.

Bon, a campaigner for the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights, also said a new set of offences needs to be included under the Federal Constitution if hudud law was to be implemented.

“Hudud law cannot be simply implemented without the Federal Constitution being amended. If the Government does not approve amending the constitution to include amputation, lashing and chopping of the hands, then it cannot be implemented, simple as that,” Bon said.

PM Hails Nicol David As Malaysia's Most Successful Sports Icon

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 5 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak hailed national squash queen Datuk Nicol Ann David on Monday as the country's most successful sports icon, saying her ability to defend the world title for six consecutive years is unmatched.

Speaking to reporters after receiving a courtesy call by the World No. 1 squash player at his office here, Najib expressed the hope that her success would spur other athletes to similarly excel in their respective sports.

"On behalf of the government and the people Malaysia, I would like to extend heartiest congratulations to Nicol," he said.

Present were Nicol's parents, Desmond David and Anne Marie David, as well as CIMP Group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.

"Nicol should be made a role model because she is the most successful sports icon in our country's history," he said.

He wished Nicol all the best and more success in the future, and said that it would set a high benchmark for the country's sports, especially in squash.

Nicol described the meeting with the prime minister as a truly meaningful event for her and her parents.

"It was a great honour for me and family to get the recognition from the government and Malaysians. Thank you for the all support," she said.

Indian Mujahideen targeting tourist areas

India’s growing tourism industry is now on the radar of the Indian Mujahideen terror outfit, which appears determined to project India being unsafe for tourists.

This was why it targeted German Bakery in Pune, which is frequented by foreigners visiting the nearby Osho commune, as well as Taiwanese tourists outside Delhi’s Jama Masjid.

This alarming shift in the IM’s modus operandi was revealed after one of its terror modules was busted recently.

Pakistani Jaish-e-Mohammed militant Mohammed Adil, alias Ajmal, said during interrogation that he had also surveyed Dilli Haat and the Paharganj area, which is frequented by budget tourists.

“This marks a shift in the IM’s strategy, obviously done at the insistence of its Pakistani handlers, the Inter-Services Intelligence. Prior to 2008, the IM usually targeted only crowded places like markets,” a senior intelligence official said.

Pune blast plot hatched in Pak

Investigations have confirmed that the conspiracy for the German Bakery blast was also hatched in Pakistan by Riyaz Bhatkal following which he directed Ahmad Siddi Bappa, alias Shahrukh, to go to Pune and organise the necessary logistics for which he travelled to Pune several times.

In fact, Sahahrukh was so secretive about his operations that when in India he used to contact the Bhatkal brothers in Karachi only through the e-mail while he used to talk to them on phone only when he went to Nepal which he often did.

Shahrukh, the investigators claim, was highly suspicious that his phones would be easily tracked by the intelligence agencies and did not want to take any chances.

The intelligence agencies have now managed to get a series of phone numbers in Nepal that were being used regularly by Shahrukh and other IM operatives.

Questioning of the six IM operatives has also revealed that the outfit had set up a network in Mirganj and Araria in Bihar apart from Sitamarhi, Darbhanga and Madhubani. Shahrukh in fact stayed at both Mirganj and Araria when he was on the run after IM’s top leadership was wiped out in wake of the Batla House encounter in 2008.

Investigators claim the possibility of Shahrukh having sneaked into Nepal cannot be ruled out.

Institutional Racism & Religious Freedom

Institutional Racism & Religious Freedom

Najib mengecewakan: Memuji diri sendiri dan memburukkan Pakatan

Seperti yang dijangka, Perdana Menteri Najib Razak tiada agenda yang penting untuk disampaikan dalam ucapan polisi beliau untuk Parti Umno melainkan mengutuk dan mengeluarkan amarah. Perhimpunan agong itu dikatakan sebagai mesyuarat terpenting kerana Najib dijangka akan mengadakan pilihanraya umum awal tahun depan, sungguhpun begitu, apa yang beliau hanya mampu buat adalah memburuk-burukkan Pakatan Rakyat yang dipimpin Anwar Ibrahim dan menyakinkan bahawa Umno adalah parti paling demokratik di dunia.
Najib yang juga merupakan Presiden Umno telah mengulangi bahawa pilihanraya umum ke 13 akan diadakan tidak lama lagi tetapi, tidak memberi petunjuk kukuh bila ia akan berlaku. Cara beliau yang tidak mahu memberi notis awal kepada pihak pembangkang ini dilihat sebagai tidak demokratik dan akan pandang sinis oleh negara-negara demokrasi yang matang.
Ia merupakan ucapan yang mengecewakan kerana tidak memberikan arah tujuan kepada Umno dan menunjukkan bahawa tiada perubahan signifikan dibawah Najib. Nampaknya, ia lebih teruk berbanding masa Abdullah Badawi atau Mahathir di mana sekurang-kurangnya terdapat juga perkembangan ekonomi untuk mengimbangi kekurangan kebebasan awam. Sekarang, dalam tahun 2011, Malaysia bukannya kekal dalam pertumbuhan ekonomi malah ia sedang jatuh dan Najib menutupnya dengan penipuan. Berapa banyak reformasi telah Umno lakukan?” ujar Timbalan presiden PKR Chua Jui Meng kepada Malaysia Chronicle.
Malaysia sekarang negara paling teruk di ASEAN dari segi kebebasan berhimpun

Jui Meng merujuk kepada ucapan Najib yang tiada isi itu di mana beliau menegaskan bahawa Umno lebih demokratik berbanding parti pembangkang PKR, PAS dan DAP.
Yang peliknya, beberapa hari yang lalu Najib telah pun mencipta sejarah sebagai pemimpin yang telah menjadikan Malaysia negara paling teruk di Asia Tenggara dengan Akta kontroversi Perhimpunan Aman yang menyekat kebebasan rakyat untuk berhimpun dan menyuarakan pendapat. Selain daripada ahli politik tempatan, Majlis Peguam Negara, masyarakat umum, badan-badan antarabangsa termasuk LawAsia, Amnesty International dan Human Rights Watch telah mengutuk akta tersebut kerana bersifat menekan, menentang hak asasi dan tidak selari dengan demokrasi.
Sungguhpun begitu, Najib tetap tidak memperdulikan itu semua dan terus menegaskan bahawa Malaysia kearah menjadi negara demokrasi terbaik disebabkan oleh pentadbiran beliau.
“Kita membenarkan ramai orang Umno untuk memilih pemimpin mereka dan Umno bukanlah parti yang takut pada demokrasi, berbanding lawan kita. Kita tidak seperti parti pembangkang. Umno berpegang kepada demokrasi seperti pepatah Inggeris, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating’” beliau memberitahu dalam Perhimpuan Umno 2011 yang berlangsung di Pusat Dagangan Dunia Putra pada hari Khamis.
“Kami tidak pernah mendominasi atau berniat untuk mendominasi parti komponen lain. Kami bukanlah parti yang bersifat perkauman tetapi berusaha ke arahpembangunan nasional. Selain itu, dalam PKR, presiden parti adalh isteri pemimpin de-facto dan anak perempuan sulungnya menjadi timbalan presiden. Perlu kita cakap apa-apa lagi?”
Selepas memburukkan Anwar, beliau meneruskan kepada DAP dan PAS.
“Adakah demokratik apabila delegasi daripada bahagian memilih 20 ahli komiti utama dan mereka pula memilih pemimpin parti? Ini jelas tidak menunjukkan kemahuam ahli-ahlinya” kata Najib merujuk kepada DAP.
“Orang ini, (mursyidul am) adalah lebih berkuasa daripada presiden” tambah beliau mengenai PAS pula.

Tikam dari belakang

Ramai yang hairan mengapa Najib, yang seharusnya melakukan permulaan baru atau letupan idea lebih berminat untuk fokus kepada apa yang berlaku dalam parti lawan. Ini mungkin kerana beliau sudah kehabisan idea dan tiada jalan lain lagi. Dengan itu beliau terburu-buru mendapatkan kelulusan Akta Perhimpunan itu untuk mengelak daripada berlakunya tujuk perasaan jalanan sekiranya BN menang dengan cara yang mencurigakan pada PRU 13 nanti.
“Sangat mengejutkan dalam masa yang kritikal begini, Najib mahu membuat perbandingan antara parti beliau dengan parti kita. Sama ada beliau merasa sangat tidak selamat ataupun ramai ahli Umno yang telah memberi isyarat bahawa mereka mahu menyertai parti dalam Pakatan. Tetapi, untuk menjawab pertanyaan beliau, bagaimanakah Umno boleh menjadi lebih demokrasi berbanding PKR? Kita mempunyai sistem satu ahli satu undi, manakala, hanya sedikit sahaja ahli Umno yang dapat mengundi terus pemimpin mereka. Mereka harus melalui delegasi yang semestinya telah mengambil faedah politik wang dan mengundi seperti yang dikehendaki oleh elit Umno.” Jelas Jui Meng.
“Bagi PAS pula, struktur dalaman mereka memang meletakkan Mursyidul Am PAS lebih tinggi berbanding presiden parti. Jadi Najib bercakap mengenai apa sebenarnya? Sebagai presiden Umno dan PM, beliau sepatutnya memberitahu partinya bagaimana untuk menyelamatkan Malaysia daripada kejatuhan ekonomi, bagaimana hendak membersihkan parti daripada rasuah dan bukan mempertahankan rasuah. Beliau sepatutnya memberitahu Malaysia betapa gahnya Umno dengan memberi bayangan kepada masa depan yang diwarnai dengan demokrasi tulen dan harapan untuk rakyat terutamanya yang lemah dan miskin. Bukannya menghentam orang lain dari belakang!”
Berwawasan atau hanya handal berkata-kata?

Najib juga menggunakan perkataan seperti ‘berwawasan’ tetapi tidak menerangkan apa maksud sebenar selain daripada menyebut media baru, realiti politik baru dan minda baru pengundi.
Sungguhpun begitu, beliau dilihat masih mempertahankan cara Umno dank omen beliau disifatkan lebih kepada menunjuk-nunjuk untuk kelihatan baik dan bukan untuk diusahakan. Najib sememangnya menyuarakan kepada calon-calon yang tidak popular untuk tidak mempertahankan kerusi mereka tetapi beliau tidak menyentuh isu-isu yang telah merosakkan Umno seperti rasuah dan kuasa di tangan elit.
Perhimpunan Agong Umno diadakan tidak lama selepas Ketua Wanita dituduh menyalahgunakan kuasa dan rasuah dalam ahli keluarga beliau. Namun, sehari yang lalu, Pemuda Umno telah digesa untuk mempertahankan Shahrizat dan tidak pula menasihatkan beliau untuk merelakan diri disiasat untuk membersihkan nama beliau. Umno dilihat sebagai menyalahgunakan kuasa polis dengan pengumuman Timbalan ketua Polis Khalid Bakar mengenai tiada unsure-unsur rasuah yang dijumpai semasa siasatan terhadap NFC setakat ini. Ini mengundang tuduhan bahawa Khalid digunakan untuk menyelamatkan Umno.
Indeks rasuah jatuh, satu komen pun tiada mengenai rasuah

Pengkritik juga mengatakan bahawa adalah pelik bahawa Najib menyuarakan hasrat untuk melihat wujudnya Malaysia baru yang lebih baik, untuk partinya pula, beliau langsung tidak berani mengutarakan perkataan “rasuah”.
Sementara itu, Indeks Rasuah telah jatuh kepada 60 daripada 56 pada tahun lepas dan ini menunjukkan bahawa kerosakkan yang dilakukan Umno terhadap negara adalah sangat dalam.
“Kita harus faham bahawa sekiranya Umno gagal untuk memahami faktor yang membawa kepada insane ‘berwawasan’dan tidak mengambil langkah untuk memperbaharui ‘pelan permainan’ iaitu yang telah kita rangka pelan tersebut, maka kita akan ditimpa tragedi. Sekiranya Umno tidak memahami realiti lanskap politik baru, bagaimanakah Umno dan BN akan berjaya? Kedua, media baru,” kata Najib.
“Suka atau tidak, Umno harus menguasai media baru kerana hari ini, sekarang ini, ia dapat menentukan kejayaan atau kekalahan. Ia boleh memberikan serampang dua mata kepada kita disamping menjadikan peperangan kita tidak sama rata. Ketiga, Umni harus memahami bahawa terdapat pemikiran baru disemua peringkat pengundi, jadi kita haruslah mendapatkan sokongan mereka. Umno tidak boleh dilihat sebagai angkuh dan tidak relevan kerana sekiranya itu berlaku, rakyat akan mengenepikan kita.
Bukan perkauman atau hipokrit

Berkemungkinan tahap hipokrasi Najib yang tertinggi adalah apabila beliau mengisytiharkan bahawa Umno bukan perkauman. Beliau langsung tidak memarahi Ketua Penerangan Umno, Ahmad Maslan yang dalam tahun ini telah mengeluarkan beberapa kenyataan berbau perkauman.

“Umno sebenarnya adalah pemangkin kepada semangat kerjasama antara kaum yang telah akhirnya mencipta kestabilan sosial dan keharmonian nasional.” Ujar Najib. “Umno sehinggakan sanggup menyokong calon yang bukan daripada kaum Melayu, untuk kepentingan yang lebih besar iaitu memenangi pilihanraya, mencipta kerajaan dan kebebasan.”
Ahmad Maslan, Timbalan menteri di jabatan perdana menteri dan juga Ahli Parlimen Pontian telah mengeluh dengan kehilangan tempat kepada pemimpin bukan melayu dan mengatakan bahawa ia tidak dapat diterima. Beliau suka menghentam kaun cina dan memberi amaran bahawa sekiranya Pakatan menang dalam PRU dan terjadi parlimen tergantung, orang melayulah yang akan kerugian besar kerana mereka akan kehilangan bahasa dan Islam akan diganti dengan Kristian.
Pengkritik menyelar Najib kerana sanggup membuat ‘kenyataan yang lemah’ bahawa Umno bukan bersifat perkauman.
“Ini adalah lawak paling besar. Tak hairanlah Umno harus menipu dalam pilihanraya. Mereka sering memutarbelit kebenaran daripada mengakui dan membetulkan kesilapan mereka. Ia bertambah teruk tahun demi tahun.” Ujar Jui Meng.
“Tidak ada sebab untuk bicara mengenai “wawasan” atau menggunakan bahasa yang canggih. Baliklah kepada yang asas. Berkhidmatlah untuk rakyat dan dengarlah apa yang mereka mahu, dan sedarlah bahawa inilah yang penting dan bukannya kemahuan Umno elit sahaja. Hapuskan rasuah walaupun layaknya agak terlambat. Ia akan memakan kita dan membankrapkan kita. Hukumlah ahli yang bersikap perkauman termasuk Muhyiddin dan Mahathir sebelum mengaku bahawa Umno tidak bersifat perkauman. Kemudian, barulah kami akan kata bahawa kamu bukan hipokrit!”
Malaysia Chronicle

Najib’s Transformation Programme in fighting corruption a major wash-out when TI CPI 2011 shows Malaysia in 2½ years under the new PM is more corrupt than 5 years under Abdullah and 22 years under Mahathir

When Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2011 was released Thursday, Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) said Malaysia’s latest ranking is the worst in 10 years – falling from 56th place last year to 60th place out of 183 countries while its CPI score fell to the lowest-ever of 4.3.
The TI-M statement is incorrect. In fact, Malaysia’s 2011 TI CPI ranking is the worst in 17 years since the introduction of TI’s annual CPI in 1995.
In the nine years from 1995 to 2003, Tun Dr. Mahathir as Prime Minister saw Malaysia’s TI CPI score stuck in the narrow groove between 4.8 in 2000 to 5.32 in 1996 while the CPI ranking fell 14 places from No. 23 in 1995 to No. 37 in 2003. (10 is highly clean while 0 is highly corrupt)
In the five-year premiership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysia’s TI CPI ranking fell 10 places from 37 in 2003 to 47 placing in 2008, while the CPI score stuck between 5.0 to 5.1.
In his 2 ½ years as Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak presided over the worst TI CPI ranking and score for Malaysia on many fronts, viz:
* worst single-year plunge in TI CPI ranking of nine placings. i.e. fall from No. 47 in 2008 to No. 56 in 2009.
* most precipitous fall in TI CPI ranking in 2 ½ years under Najib’s premiership, falling 13 placings from No. 47 in 2008 to No. 60 in 2011; when in five years under Abdullah, Malaysia fell 10 places from No. 37 in 2003 to No. 47 in 2008 and in nine years under Mahathir, Malaysia fell 14 places from No. 23 in 1995 to No. 37 in 2003.
* In the past three years 2009 – 2011, the CPI score consistently falling below the score 5, when in first 14 years from 1995 to 2008, Malaysia had only twice fallen below the score of 5, viz: 4.8 in 2000 and 4.9 in 2002.
* Consecutively in the past three years 2009 – 2011, Malaysia’s CPI score falling to ever new lows, i.e. 4.5 for 2009, 4.4 for 2010 and 4.3 for 2011.
There was no mention or reference to the worsening TI CPI ranking and worst TI CPI 2011 score for Malaysia by anyone, whether leader or delegate, in the UMNO General Assembly, although the results were announced on the same day as the UMNO Presidential Speech by Najib Razak last Thursday.
Najib’s Transformation Programme in fighting corruption is a major wash-out when we have TI CPI 2011 showing Malaysia as perceived as more corrupt in 2 ½ years under the new Prime Minister than five years under Abdullah and 22 years under Mahathir!
What is worse, the country was given the impression that the entire UMNO leadership and membership had rallied in support of the UMNO Wanita Leader and Minister for Women, Family and Community Development, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil despite the RM300 million Cattle Gate “cow condo” scandal.
The message from the UMNO General Assembly cannot be clearer. The war against corruption, cronyism, abuse of power and the urgent need for national reforms to ensure accountability, transparency and integrity are just not in the UMNO DNA and are totally beyond the political will and capacity of UMNO and Barisan Nasional.
Malaysia can only be saved from corruption to begin a new era of national prosperity, international competitiveness, government efficiency, accountability, transparency, integrity, justice and democracy if the country is saved from UMNO and Barisan Nasional in the 13th general elections.
(Speech at the Pakatan Rakyat national rally at Stadium Melawati, Shah Alam on Sunday, 4th December 2011 at 10.30 pm)

A step closer to indelible ink

The Star (Used by permission)

PETALING JAYA: The Election Commission is set to employ the indelible ink in the next general election once the legal, religious and procedural requirements over its usage are met, said its deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Omar.

“The EC has no objection to the use of indelible ink in the coming polls.

“However, the issue over its use can only be answered once the legal requirements are met,” he said here yesterday.

He said that assuming the use of the ink in the polls merely because it was one of the Parlia­mentary Select Committee (PSC) on Elec­toral Re­­forms’ recommendations would be like “putting the cart before the horse.”

“Once the laws are in place, only then will other considerations be looked into, such as the ink’s source, its chemistry content and halal status,” he said.

This process, he added, involved verifying the ink’s source with samples sent to the Chemistry Depart­ment for analysis.

“The results of the analysis will then be forwarded to the National Fatwa Council for a conclusion on its halal status,” he said, adding that the commission was taking a thorough approach on the matter to avoid doubts over its use once it had been accepted as part of the electoral process.

“We are aware of the sensitivities and don’t want it to be questioned or made into an issue by certain quarters if it is to be used in the polls,” said Wan Ahmad.

On Thursday, PSC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said the committee was optimistic that the use of the ink to prevent multiple vo­­ting would become part of the polls process within the next two months.

The halal status of the ink, Wan Ahmad said, should not be an issue because it had been used for elections in Muslim countries, such as Indonesia, Nigeria and Malawi.

It would not affect a Muslim’s ablution (mandatory cleansing ritual) before prayers as the ink would be marked on the fingernail, not the person’s skin, he added.

Once accepted, Wan Ahmad said a booklet outlining the use of the ink would be issued by the commission to ensure a uniform implementation during polls.

On Thursday, Malay rights’ group Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali, who is also Pasir Mas independent MP, caused a furore in Parliament when he claimed that the use of the ink on the fingers of Muslims would nullify their daily obligatory prayers.

In June 2007, the council announced the use of indelible ink in the 12th general election but withdrew its decision four days before polling on March 8, 2008.

Government Determined To Maintain Record In Preserving Peace, Stability, Says DPM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 4 (Bernama) -- The Barisan Nasional (BN) government is determined to maintain its record in preserving peace and stability in the country through multiracial cooperation in various fields, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said the cooperation included political power-sharing and economic cooperation which contributed to peace, stability and prosperity.

Muhyiddin said the BN government was also committed to continuous safeguarding of the interests of all races in the country without sidelining any so that its prosperity could be enjoyed by all.

"I believe the Chinese community is rational and they would always want to see a stable and harmonious Malaysia so that they can live and do business in peace and happiness," he said in his speech at the 20th anniversary dinner of the Federation of Chinese Associations (Hua Zong) and taking of oath by its central committee members, here, Sunday night.

He hoped Hua Zong and other non-governmental oganisations could together with the government in contributing towards enriching pluralism in order to build a more progressive Malaysian society, increase economic growth, preserve national stability and to protect the rights of the people in practising their respective religions, languages and culture.

Muhyiddin said that as a government which was responsive and sensitive to the needs of the people, it was always willing to hear their 'pulse' and grouses regardless of race and religion.

As proof, he said, many views from the Chinese community, whether on the economy, education, welfare and social matters had been accepted and implemented by the government.

"With the combined efforts of the government and the country's multiracial population, Malaysia has achieved a level of progress and development that we can be proud of and is a role model for other countries.

"We are one of the most successful multiracial nations in preserving peace, stability and prosperity from the early days of our independence until now. Not many multiracial countries in the world have achieved what we have in this area."

Muhyiddin said with mutual understanding, tolerance, respect and cooperation, Malaysia had emerged as a prosperous and peaceful multiracial nation.

In this era of globalisation, Malaysia as a multiracial country is in a strategic position to have the edge, based on its plural society and cultural and religious diversity.

"The uniqueness of every community here in terms of traditions and culture, and intelligence and skills in various economic sectors is our biggest asset in enhancing our capability and capacity, and the country's competitiveness at the international level," he added.

Also present at the function were Hua Zong president Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen.

Muhyiddin also presented certificates of service to the committee members who have served Hua Zong for more than 10 years.

Residents alarmed by high-rise, high-density project

Residents in the Lorong Lembah Permai 3 and 4 area of Tanjung Bunga are worried about plans for a high-rise, high-density project in their quiet neighbourhood.
Residents protest against a project in their neighbourhood
They are also concerned about the road-widening which they believe could “remove or damage the trees that have been there for many decades, decrease the five-foot path width on the sides, increase the traffic by a huge amount…”
One of the key issues in dispute is whether Tanjung Bunga should be a primary or secondary corridor of development and how this project was approved.