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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pakatan show of force at Sodomy II verdict

Anwar begins tour ahead of sodomy verdict

He will visit eight states in a whirlwind six-day tour beginning in Johor and ending in a courthouse rally.

By Romen Bose

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim embarks Tuesday on a nationwide tour ahead of a verdict in his long-running sodomy trial, to declare his innocence and campaign for a change of government.

The trial, which opened nearly two years ago, is the latest crisis for the former finance minister who was sacked and jailed on separate sodomy charges a decade ago, only to make a comeback at the helm of a resurgent opposition.

Ahead of the Jan 9 verdict which could see Anwar jailed for up to 20 years, he will visit eight states in a whirlwind six-day tour beginning in southern Johor state and ending in a courthouse rally.

“I am making a call for change, enough of this arrogance of power, the abuses of the ruling party, we need change so that such baseless accusations, the persecution of individuals like myself, do not continue,” he told AFP.

“The tour is not only to declare my innocence but to convince the people that it is time to vote out Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s government so as to move towards greater democracy and openness.”

Najib has until March 2013 to call general election, but is widely expected to go to the people this year with hopes of winding back the stunning gains the opposition secured in the last polls in 2008.

Anwar’s opposition alliance, led by his PKR, won an unprecedented one-third of parliamentary seats in that ballot, stunning the Barisan Nasional government which has ruled for half a century.

The new sodomy allegations, levelled by a young former aide, were lodged soon after, fuelling Anwar’s allegations that the charges were concocted to destroy his political career.

Anwar’s tour begins in the ruling party’s bastion of Johor before heading to the central states of Negeri Sembilan and Malacca on Wednesday, and the opposition’s stronghold of Kelantan in the north on Thursday.

Jan 9 rally

Event organisers say they are expecting several thousand supporters at the late-night event in Johor to hear Anwar speak in a boisterous ceramah.

Anwar is famed for his eloquence and charisma and in cities and villages alike typically gathers large crowds keen for a display of his caustic wit and fiery rhetoric.

The roadshow will Friday move on to Malaysia’s richest state Selangor, which surrounds the capital Kuala Lumpur, followed by Penang, Pahang and Terengganu on Saturday.

After a gathering Sunday night at Anwar’s residence — long a rallying point for his supporters — the tour will culminate on Jan 9 in a rally outside the Kuala Lumpur High Court where the verdict will be handed down.

“We are expecting over 20,000 people to turn up at the courthouse following the country-wide tour, for people to show their support for Anwar,” PKR young wing leader, Shamsul Iskandar, told AFP.

Anwar’s original conviction sparked unprecedented protests and police have urged the leaders of the courthouse rally to cancel the event, warning it would be “unlawful and threaten public order”.

Sodomy is illegal in conservative, Muslim-majority Malaysia and legal experts say a guilty verdict would bar Anwar from contesting the upcoming polls, although others say he may be able to run until appeals are exhausted.

Pakatan struggle will continue

“I have my family around me and party leaders with me, we will speak to the people and reiterate my innocence and pray for the best on Jan 9,” the 64-year-old opposition leader said.

“However, even if I am found guilty and jailed, the opposition’s struggle will go on. We are prepared.”

Anwar’s legal battles have loomed over Malaysian politics for years.

He had been groomed to take the helm of the multi-cultural nation but a bitter split with his boss, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in 1997 led to his arrest the following year.

He was later convicted on sodomy and corruption charges widely seen as politically motivated, but was freed from jail in 2004 after the sodomy conviction was overturned.

- AFP

Dr Nedu: I’m still contesting in GE13

The MCLM-backed candidate confirms that he will contest in the Kapar seat in the next general election.

PETALING JAYA: The first Barisan Rakyat Independent Candidate (BRIC), Dr Nedunchelian Vengu, has affirmed that he will still be battling it out for the Kapar seat in the 13th general election.

His clarification this morning was a move to clear up the confusion following a recent statement by the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) chairman, Raja Petra Kamarudin, that the movement would not be fielding any candidates for the upcoming polls.

“I have been receiving concerned calls from my team and Kapar residents about my candidacy and I’d like to assure them that I will still be contesting the Kapar seat,” Nedunchelian told FMT.

“I was never an MCLM candidate so even if MCLM isn’t around tomorrow, my election campaign will continue. I started my groundwork before MCLM’s endorsement, so Raja Petra’s statement has in no way affected my decision to stand for elections.”

Last July Nedunchelian was officially introduced to the public as a BRIC and an MCLM-backed candidate.

“I accepted MCLM’s support because the tenets of my personal campaign agenda fit with the movement’s social inclusion agenda,” he had said back then.

MCLM’s former president, Haris Ibrahim, had however emphasised that Nedunchelian would remain independent from the movement.

Haris, who announced his resignation from MCLM yesterday, also said that contrary to Raja Petra’s statement, no decision had been made on the fielding of MCLM-backed candidates.

Nedunchelian was born and raised in Kapar, and opened his first dental practice there. As such he pointed out that it was only right for him to contest in his hometown.

“Of the numerous people who offered themselves as candidates under BRIC, I was one of the few to survive MCLM’s stringent vetting and be acknowledged as a winnable candidate,” he said.

“Part of that reason is because I have been close to the grassroots through my community work. I’ve conducted numerous free medical and dental clinics for the needy and children as well as programmes for single mothers and the underpriviledged.”

Nedunchelian will most likely be facing incumbent, PKR’s S Manikasagam, and acandidate from MIC for the seat.

Karzai orders probe in torture of 15-year-old Afghan girl


Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai called for an investigation into the torture of a 15-year-old girl, who police say they rescued after she was locked in the basement of her in-laws' house, starved and her nails pulled out.

Karzai ordered the Interior Ministry on Sunday to look into the case of Sahar Gul, saying the issue "must be seriously investigated," his office said in a statement. He also ordered the deputy minister of the interior to arrest those behind the torture of the girl.

Last month, authorities in the northern Baghlan province said they rescued the girl after hearing reports that she was tortured after she refused to be forced into prostitution. But, they said, they were waiting for her to fully recover to talk to her and learn more.

Sahar was married off to a 30-year-old man about seven months ago. After her parents reported not seeing her for months, police launched their investigation, Baghlan police official Jawid Basharat said at the time.

"After police rescued her from a dark room of her in-laws' house, we saw her nails had been pulled out by her husband. And she said with broken voice that her husband used to cut her flesh using pliers," he said.

The girl was also denied food, he said.

Rahima Zarifi, director of the Women's Affairs Department in Baghlan, said Sahar was immediately hospitalized.

Police have arrested her in-laws, but her husband fled.

The case, Zarifi has said, highlights how women continue to suffer in parts of Afghanistan despite overall progress since the fall of the Taliban.

In the second quarter of this year, the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) registered 1,026 cases of violence against women. Last year, 2,700 cases were recorded.

In December, gunmen attacked and sprayed an Afghan family with acid in their home after the father rejected a man's bid to marry his teenage daughter.

In another case, a 21-year-old, identified only as Gulnaz for her own protection, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after she reported that her cousin's husband had raped her.

Her plight attracted international attention when it came out that she had agreed to marry her attacker to gain her freedom and legitimize a daughter conceived in the attack.

She was eventually freed, following the president's intervention.

Nude pictures land wife in jail... husband free

Court grants the husband divorce without paying dowry

The Abu Dhabi Court of Appeal upheld the verdict of the Abu Dhabi Criminal Court which sentenced a woman to three months in jail for publishing indecent photos of herself on one of the websites, reported 'Al Bayan'.

The family court also issued a ruling of her being divorced from her husband without getting her dowry.

The husband had filed a complaint accusing his wife of publishing nude pictures on pornographic sites.

Investigations revealed that nine pictures were real and five fake.

Meanwhile, the woman - a government employee - accused her husband of taking such photos on his mobile phone under the influence of alcohol to get rid of her and to deprive her of the custody of her children as well as the dowry.

But when the Court of Appeal dismissed her appeal, saying the pictures speak of her act, she justified it by claiming that she took such photos on her husband's demand because he missed her when she was not around.

PKR: RPK ‘hired’ to smear Anwar ahead of Sodomy II verdict


PKR claims Raja Petra’s criticism was meant to dissuade the public from turning up in support of Anwar on January 9. — File pic


KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 2 — PKR today sought to discredit Raja Petra Kamarudin as a “hired Umno blogger” and part of a larger plot to smear Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim ahead of the latter’s sodomy trial verdict.

The PKR de facto leader will learn the verdict on his sodomy charge on January 9. He is accused of sodomising a former aide, a charge he has vehemently denied and claims is a conspiracy to destroy his political career.

Today, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said Umno and Barisan Nasional were determined to see Anwar jailed, adding that the attacks against Anwar was meant to deflect from the government’s financial scandals.

“It should not be forgotten that Raja Petra Kamarudin, now more known as a ‘hired Umno blogger’, once made a sworn statement that (Datuk Seri) Najib (Razak) and (Datin Seri) Rosmah (Mansor) were involved in the brutal murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shariibuu...

“The latest are spins by Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian, Umno-owned media who ... pick and contort Raja Petra Kamarudin’s statement on lies and allegations about Anwar’s case in their front pages,” Saifuddin said in a statement.

The self-exiled blogger told Utusan Malaysia that Anwar was morally unfit to become prime minister as Malaysians could not accept a homosexual leading the country.

Raja Petra did not explicitly call Anwar homosexual but said there was no room in Malaysia for someone who is gay and wants to become PM.

He also said he was “90 per cent” sure the man in the “Datuk T” sex video was Anwar, and that many of the latter’s friends believed in the authenticity of the video.

Saifuddin said the interview was a part of Umno’s “desperation” to discourage Malaysians from turning up at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on January 9 to show support for Anwar.

“Anwar is the opposition leader of Malaysia, the Permatang Pauh MP and PKR de facto leader. As a political leader, he has his followers and supporters.

“The attendance of his followers and supporters and PKR members to support him should not be seen as an attempt to cause chaos,” added Saifuddin.

The Machang MP went on to claim that Umno would cause havoc on January 9, and urged Malaysians to see past Umno’s dirty tactics.

“All the discrepancies and financial abuse by Umno and Barisan Nasional has not been answered by Najib and his Cabinet,” added Saifuddin, referring to PKR’s allegations of abuse against Senator Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and her husband in the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal.

RPK: Azmin can only plot and scheme

Raja Petra trains his gun at Azmin Ali, saying that Anwar's blue-eyed boy is not the right person to lead PKR post-Anwar.

INTERVIEW
PETALING JAYA: Influential blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin predicts an internal revolt in PKR if Anwar Ibrahim tries to promote deputy president Azmin Ali to take over the party after his (Anwar’s) sentencing for sodomy.

“In fact there is already an internal revolt. If Anwar pushes for Azmin, there will be a backlash,” Raja Petra told FMT in an interview recently.

Raja Petra said Azmin is devious, likes to plot and scheme, and more worryingly, still had Umno culture in him.

“I have not seen anything from Azmin this far which impresses me or convinces me that he can lead.
“His forte is scheming and plotting, and that’s about it. But sooner or later we need to stop scheming and plotting and get down to business. This, Azmin appears incapable of,” he said.

“Azmin is deceitful and he will put his personal interests and ambition above the interests of the party and the rakyat.

“He is basically a product of Umno who has not been able to shed the Umno culture. He is still Umno through and through. And what we want is ABU: anything but Umno,” said Raja Petra.

Raja Petra also reiterated that PKR members would not have forgotten Azmin’s role in pushing out Zaid Ibrahim from PKR after the contentious party polls in 2010.

“The tragedy of Zaid leaving the party was Azmin’s doing. Then they tried to paint a picture of Zaid being a Trojan horse and whatnot,” he said.

He also added that even Pakatan Rakyat partners PAS and DAP would prefer someone else apart from Azmin to lead PKR.

“Azmin may be acceptable to Anwar as his anointed successor but PAS and DAP do not trust him and do not regard him highly.”

Nurul should take charge

When asked who could fill the leadership mantle in the party post-Anwar, Raja Petra said it was time for vice-president Nurul Izzah to step up and take charge.

“Nurul needs to get out of the father’s shadow. She needs to be Nurul Izzah, not Nurul the daughter of Anwar.

“She also needs to oppose her father if need be whenever she feels her father is wrong. Maybe the best thing for her would be if Anwar were to be sent to jail. Then Nurul can be her own woman.”

He also brushed aside general concerns that Nurul was inexperienced and too young to helm PKR, especially going into an election year.

“They say Nurul is too young. 200 years ago girls got married at 11, boys joined the army at 13, and by 30 you were considered old and over the hill.

“Nurul, by the standards of 200 years ago, would be old and over the hill. So, no, I do not think she is too young and certainly she is of the age when she can take over the leadership of the party.

“But does she have enough experience? If she does not play a leadership rolenow  then how is she to get the experience? It is a catch 22 situation,” he said.

He was also harsh on Anwar’s leadership, especially in the lack of direction after the massive wins gained in the 2008 general election.

“Over the last three years, he has made more than 60 overseas trips. It appears like Anwar is more interested in lecturing at forums and universities than of managing Selangor as its economic adviser or managing party matters as the party adviser.

“Would Anwar’s absence really be missed?” he asked.

On the attack

On Sunday, Raja Petra told FMT that it was certain Anwar would be jailed for sodomy on Jan 9. He also alluded that Anwar was in fact guilty of the sodomy charge, saying that the PKR supremo was a victim of a honey-trap.

Apart from talking to FMT, Raja Petra had also granted interviews to other mainstream media in which he had said that Malaysians were unable to accept a homosexual to lead the country. However he did not state Anwar was homosexual.

He had also claimed that he was almost 90 percent sure that the man featured in a sex video released by the Datuk T trio was Anwar. He added that Anwar had lied by stating that he did not know the main personality behind the Datuk T trio, Shazryl Eskay Abdullah.

Anwar has not officially responded to Raja Petra’s hard-hitting interviews but PKR vice-president N Surendran said that Raja Petra’s “statements, insinuations and innuendos are unfair,untrue, unsupported by any believable evidence and plainly libelous”.

Surendran reiterated Anwar’s stand that the sodomy trial was “a transparent fabrication by Umno/BN with the connivance and cooperation of the police force and the Attorney General’s office”.

“Raja Petra’s insinuations are thus based upon a malicious conspiracy which is widely disbelieved throughout this country and abroad,” he said in a statement.

The Selangor government also took offence to Raja Petra’s claims that there was rampant corruption in the PKR-led state and that Anwar, as the economic adviser to the state, had not done anything to improve the state economically.

Political secretary to Selangor Menteri Besar Faekah Husin said the state was willing to finance Raja Petra to visit the state secretariat from wherever he is presently located to hear out his evidence of corruption in the state.

She also accused him of selling out on PKR and Anwar so that he would be allowed back into the country by the Barisan Nasional government.

Many online commentators also lashed out at Raja Petra for his attacks on Anwar, PKR and Pakatan in his interviews.

However Raja Petra, in a blog posting in his website Malaysia-Today today, said that he had expected to get a whacking and that he was unapologetic for his views.

“Not many can accept the truth. They would rather I say what is pleasing to their ears. I am to say that the emperor wears clothes even if he is stark naked,” he said.

Protest over temple land leased for car wash

Butterworth residents stage a protest against the Penang Hindu Endowments Board for leasing a temple land for a car wash business.

BUTTERWORTH: A group of local ethnic Indian residents protested against the Hindu Endowments Board, Penang, for allegedly leasing out a temple land here for a car wash business.

The 20-minute peaceful protest was held today from 10am near the Jalan Siram – Jalan Telaga Air junction, next to a Hindu cemetery, on a land which belongs to the temple, Butterworth Sri Mariamman Kovil endowments.

The protesters condemned the commercial endevour as being against lay Hindu public interests and demanded Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy to resign immediately as the board chairman.

They also called on for the repeal of the Hindu Endowment Ordinance 1906 and abolishment of the board.

During the protest, they displayed anti-HEB and anti-Ramasamy banners and chanted similar slogans.
A protester A Raja said the board was overstepping its boundary as caretaker and trustee of Hindu properties under the temple jurisdiction.

“The board cannot simply privatise temple land without the committee’s knowledge,” said Raja.
When contacted, Ramasamy said he was unaware of the purpose of the protest.

He said that until now, no one from Butterworth had met him to discuss the controversial issue.
He added that he would have to gather details of the car wash leasing before he could response to the public.

“Anyway, I am willing to meet the people to find an amicable solution to the issue,” Ramasamy told FMT.

The unknown operator of the car wash business had already set up a shed and done some earth clearance on the plot of land.

No positive response

Raja (left) meanwhile said he had telephoned Ramasamy on Dec 14 after 9pm to inform the DAP leader on the Hindu public objection to the project.

“But I did not receive a positive answer,” Raja, a temple trustee at nearby Periacheeamman Alayam, told newsmen during the protest.

Another protester S Rajasegaran said the car wash operations would disrupt Hindu devotees’ frequent use of the land to perform religious rituals and rites during temple festivals.

He claims neighbourhood Hindus have been using the land for the purpose for past 150 years.
“Who is the board to take away our rights? It’s Hindu land, not the board’s,” insisted Rajasegaran.
When locals brought up the issue to the board’s attention several weeks ago, he said several board officials, who were inspecting the site, had brushed aside the locals’ demands.

Rajasegaran alleged that the officials even challenged locals “to do whatever you all want to do. We will carry out our project.”

“The board officials were rude and ill-mannered.”

No comments from HEB

When contacted, HEB official M Ramachandran declined to comment, saying that the board would issue a written reply to the controversy tomorrow.


Periacheeamman Alayam chairman K Jaganathan, 64, said under the colonial ordinance, the board was only a trustee to safe keep several Hindu properties.

As such, he cautioned the board of over-stepping its jurisdiction to manage Hindu properties in Butterworth because “the temple committee is the real manager.”

In today’s property market, value of the endowments, which are all located in prime areas, would be over RM500 million.

Which category are you in?


Of course I expected to get a whacking. I told my wife that that is exactly what is going to happen once my interview with the mainstream media is published. Not many can accept the truth. They would rather I say what is pleasing to their ears. I am to say that the emperor wears clothes even if he is stark naked.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
The more important issue is not what you think of me. Certainly you will say I have been bought, have sold out, have turned, am a traitor, and whatnot. I have read your comments in Malaysia Today, Free Malaysia Today, Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider and whatnot. I have received your private messages and e-mails. The more important issue is: which category are you in?

Are you amongst the less than 4 million Malaysians who voted opposition in the last general election in 2008 or are you amongst the more than 11 million eligible voters who did not vote opposition, did not vote at all, or did not even register to vote?

If you are in the first category then I value your comments. If you are in the second then your comments are of no importance.

Are you amongst the handful of one million Malaysians who live overseas and came back to Malaysia to vote opposition in the last general election in 2008 or are you amongst the majority of the overseas eligible voters who came home to vote but voted Barisan Nasional, did not come home to vote, or did not even register to vote?

If you are in the first category then I value your comments. If you are in the second then your comments are of no importance.

Are you amongst the 20 student demonstrators in Tanjong Malim or the 100 ‘V for Vendetta’ protestors at Dataran Merdeka last night or are you amongst the 28 million Malaysians who stayed home or did other things last night instead of supporting the fight for change?

If you are in the first category then I value your comments. If you are in the second then your comments are of no importance.

Are you amongst those one or two who post comments in the Blogs and websites under you real name because you are committed to the cause or are you amongst the 99.9% of the readers who post comments under fictitious names because you prefer to throw stones while hiding your hands in case you get into trouble.

If you are in the first category then I value your comments. If you are in the second then your comments are of no importance.

Are you, like me, wondering who is running Selangor -- EXCO Member Hasan Ali, Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, or Selangor State Economic Adviser Anwar Ibrahim -- after you heard of the raid on the pubs last night, or are you not concerned that there appears to be some confusion as to who is in charge in Selangor, especially with the deafening silence by the Pakatan Rakyat leaders today?

If you are in the first category then I value your comments. If you are in the second then your comments are of no importance.

Yes, I value your comments, but only if you fall in the first category of all those various groups above. If not, then your comments are of no significance. And that would probably mean almost all if not all of those who are commenting.

Wawancara bersama Raja Petra Kamarudin

I have resigned as MCLM president

By Haris Ibrahim,

From the very first post in this blog to this day, my political viewpoint has been the same.

If we are to transform this into a nation of a single, united people, and to finally start to see a just distribution of the nation’s wealth, to offer equal educational and economic opportunities to all our children, and, most importantly, to restore vital institutions of state back to their role as servants of the people, UMNO and BN had to be removed from Putrajaya.

My faith, though, in seeing this realised, has been with an awakening people working with the non-BN political parties who are truly pro-rakyat.

This, too, remains unchanged.

On 30th October, 2010, whilst attending to guests at an SABM dinner, lecture, I received an sms from RPK informing that that very night, in London, at the inaugural meeting of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement, I had been unanimously elected as president.

3 weeks later, I was in Manchester where, after much deliberation with RPK, I agreed to accept the position subject to our agreement on several issues.

I will only mention two here that I believe relevant to the difficult decision I have made today.

First, matters of policy and direction of MCLM were to be determined and made after mutual consultation and consensus between us.

Second, RPK would oversee the administrative affairs of MCLM, in his capacity as chairman, as well as look into all overseas matters. whilst I would drive our operations here at home.

In December, 2010, in London, RPK announced the launch of our Barisan Rakyat Independent Candidate Initiative.

In July, last year, MCLM announced the deployment of our first candidate, Dr Neduchelian, in the Kapar consitutuency.

In December, last year, after conferring with RPK, MCLM joined several other groups in issuing a warning to Najib that should he call snap elections without first carrying through the electoral reforms demanded by BERSIH 2.0, he should brace himself for street rallies that might culminate in his government being toppled. I wish to reiterate here that this was no idle threat.

Again, after conferring with RPK, MCLM had, last month, firmly aligned itself with the many NGOs and several political parties that hve given life to the Asalkan Bukan Umno / Anything But Umno (ABU) initiative.

Yesterday, the New Straits Times published an interview with RPK that was conducted in Singapore last week.

I had been informed by RPK whilst I was with him in Phuket over the Christmas holiday that this interview was to take place. I was not, however, fully appraised of all that was to be said in the course of the interview.

The matters spoken of by RPK have been quite wide-ranging.

I only propose to allude here to the two parts that have led me to the decision I have made today.

Under the heading “Rights group not a third force – RPK” that appeared in the NST and is reproduced in full on Malaysia Today, RPK is reported to have said that “MCLM had decided it would not field any candidates for the coming general election”.

I can confirm now that no such decision has been made after due consultation.

And under the heading “RPK – Anwar may become irrelevant”, also reproduced in full on Malaysia Today, RPK is reported to have said that “the Egypt-style people’s revolution was not an answer for Malaysia due to the delicate racial balance. “They (Chinese voters) don’t want Tahrir Square type of change”.”

These comments just referred to greatly undermine efforts I am making, albeit through MLCM, in the ABU initiative.

It also saddens me that even as initiatives like SABM and so many others continue daily to undo the ill-effects of UMNO /BN’s 40 over years of race-based, divide-and-rule, my friend should continue to see us as Malays, Chinese, Indians, dll.

I remain committed to all efforts to see this a nation of a single people, all equal.

And I am fully committed to the cause of ABU.

In the circumstances, I find it impossible to continue to serve MCLM as its president.

I have communicated my resignation to RPK by email.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the many who have come forward and volunteered their time and energy towards the cause of MCLM. We could not have made it this far without you.

I want to apologise to the funders in UK for this sudden decision of mine and pray that they will understand that my commitment to see change in our country, whether through elections or on the streets, remains unwavering.

To my friends in Sabah and Sarawak, my commitment to your pursuit of the promises of the 1963 agreement and to rid yourselves of the curse that UMNO and BN have become, remain on course.

I am fully committed to the reforms that we have, up to now, been pressing to see introduced by a new pro-rakyat government in Putrajaya.
God willing, we will, together, plant love, tenderness and respect in this land of ours.

How Raja Petra lost the plot and became irrelevant

It will not work. In fact what Raja Petra has done in his interview will only harden the entrenched views of those who are going to vote for the Opposition and push the fence-sitters (who were hitherto guarding their wallets and feeding their stomachs) to the arms of the Opposition. There will be a thousand and one ways to use the Raja Petra issue to inflict pain on the BN and it does not require much imagination.

By Matthias Chang

This article will come as a shock to many just as Raja Petra’s interview with the New Sunday Times about Anwar but not for those in the political inside track. To those in charge of propaganda in UMNO, the interview in which Raja Petra let loose his pent-up anger on Anwar is a major propaganda coup that will surely turn the tide against the opposition.

There will be some within the ranks of the Opposition who will be disheartened by this open attack on Anwar by a former “loyalist” and founder of Malaysia-Today. There will be many within the ranks of Barisan Nasional who will consider this exposé as the nail in the Opposition’s coffin and contribute to the success of Barisan Nasional in the next General Election.
But I beg to differ.

Here are my reasons.

When I was the political secretary to Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, I was not a member of any political party and till today, I am still not a member of any political party so as to remain an independent observer and opinion maker. I gave my views, opinions and advice just as a lawyer would to his client, honestly and without fear or favour. I would do my research and give the pros and cons and finally my conclusions and recommendations. I endeavoured to be as objective as possible. It makes no difference to me whether my views, opinions and advice were accepted or not. I gave my best efforts and would move on to the next assignment.

By adopting any other attitude in such a position would result inevitably in a subjective and bias approach to one’s assignment. This was how Vice-President Dick Cheney and his team gathered every morsel of intelligence (regardless of their cogency and veracity) to support the policy of waging war against Iraq. The intelligence collected was to serve a pre-conceived agenda.

So, we have to be very discerning about information, views and “advice” given in such POLITICAL SITUATIONS, as any misjudgment would end up in a fiasco.

Let this be a warning!

It is often quoted in political circles that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Yes, it is true up to a point and would depend on the degree of usefulness of this particular “friend”.

In intelligence work, there is always a lingering doubt whether a “defector” is a genuine defector or a “double agent” – whether he is planting and giving enough intelligence jewels to convince the bait that he is genuine. To understand the mindset of such a person, his motive is all important. We should not be easily taken in by the information / propaganda jewels given on a silver platter. There are no free lunches. Everything has a price and consequences.

To those who take the views of Raja Petra seriously, have you asked one critical question: What caused the “fallout” between Raja Petra and Anwar? Do you really know about this “fallout”?

Why was Raja Petra not a member of Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)? Or was he? If he is not a member of the party, why is he trying to dictate the composition of leadership of PKR even to the extent of supporting a maverick and a political frog in the person of Zaid Ibrahim, who resigned as the Law Minister and UMNO member to vie for the leadership of PKR? What locus standi has Raja Petra to interfere in the internal affairs of PKR?

Why is he questioning the leadership of DAP and PAS in their support for Anwar? Is Raja Petra really acting in the interest of the Barisan Nasional? What is the ultimate role of the so-called “Civil Liberties Movement” (more commonly referred to as the “third force”)?

Can Raja Petra and the so-called “third force” dictate how a party (whether in the Barisan Nasional or the Pakatan Rakyat coalition) selects the candidates for an election when they are not subject to any party discipline and or adhere to the party’s policies?

Raja Petra is even willing to offer the so-called “electable candidates” of the “third force” to any party who is willing to subscribe to his agenda / policies. Therefore, what is his agenda???

So, before Barisan Nasional embraces Raja Petra and the so-called “third force” so eagerly, it should adopt a wary stance for what is on offer may well be a poison chalice! There may be more than meets the eye.

Differences in a political party are normal. It is part of the democratic process of any party and Raja Petra has always demanded such freedom within the Opposition parties. Yet, he highlights differences of minor players within the ranks of the Opposition parties and exaggerates the implications on the basis that this is the view of the voters.

What voters does Raja Petra or the “third force” represent? Who are these voters?

In 2010, Raja Petra announced that he has thirty “electable candidates” that will stand in the next General Election and will provide their names every week or so. But what happened? Other than giving two names (I stand to be corrected on this) and even if it may be more than two, he certainly did not deliver the thirty names.

Another question that needs an urgent answer – not being a PKR member, how did he end up collaborating with Zaid Ibrahim and supporting his candidacy for Deputy President against Azmin Ali? And when Zaid Ibrahim lost the battle and abandoned the party, Raja Petra went ballistics! Why? Wayang Kulit (shadow play)?

Is Raja Petra “a man who has lost the plot” or something else?

After Raja Petra’s interview with TV3, just before the Sawarak State Election, he lost all credibility in the eyes of the voters who supported the opposition. DAP did rather well notwithstanding the interview. He then gave an elaborate explanation on how he was misquoted etc. He fell for the bait of having publicity on prime time television – an ego trip, and lost big time! His followers abandoned him.

Now, he gives an interview timed just before the High Court’s judgment on Sodomy II fixed for the 9th January 2012.
Why?

So many questions, but so few answers! He claims that he wants clarity and focus on critical issues, but his actions muddy further the already polluted waters. That he needs another constituency to survive and to reap the political harvest in the next General Election from whichever political coalition willing to pay his political ransom is all too clear. So he comes bearing gifts to the Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional as a teaser and prelude to extract the ultimate political ransom.

The trillion dollar question: Why is Raja Petra bearing gifts to Barisan Nasional? But he says that he still supports the Opposition. Is he playing both sides? If he is, and gets away with it, he is indeed a political fiddler par excellence.

In my previous article, “Malaysia – 2012, National Suicide or A New Paradigm”, I had warned that the next General Election will be a “no-holds-barred” political slug fest and it will be ugly. Post-2008, no one can take for granted that the voters would be as gullible as pre-2008. On the contrary, they are more informed and discerning and can see through the fog of the political war.

In the past, such an interview by a former “loyalist” may be the ruin of a political leader, but not this time, as Raja Petra is not the first and will not be the last “loyalist” that will lambast the leader of the Opposition. Prior to Raja Petra, there was Ezam Mohd Nor, one-time “loyal supporter” of Anwar. But Anwar survived this fallout and it is Ezam who has now become irrelevant. I believe that Anwar will survive Raja Petra’s attacks and in due course, Raja Petra will also become irrelevant. Raja Petra is a desperate man and we must all be on guard against such a desperado.

That is why it is so dangerous to assume that this attack by Raja Petra will be the end of Anwar and that this will assist Barisan Nasional to triumph in the next General Election. This would be a gross miscalculation and if Barisan Nasional formulates its strategy on these lines, Prime Minister Najib will definitely be a one-term leader.
Why do I say this?

People are sick and fed-up of the Sodomy II case, not because as alleged by Raja Petra that Anwar dragged on the case, but because the majority of the people have already made up their mind that Anwar is innocent and this is a sham trial to lynch Anwar and bury him once and for all. It matters not whether you agree with this perception or conclusion. But this is the reality. If Sodomy I could not kill Anwar, how can Sodomy II and the other stupid pornographic video bury Anwar?

Anwar went to jail after Sodomy I and came out even stronger and more resilient. Even if Raja Petra says that it is Anwar in the said pornographic video, is he an expert? As far as the people are concerned, Sodomy II is another episode of gutter politics. This is the bloody reality! They are fed-up and disgusted with the way this has been used against Anwar.

I was told once by a political leader that after Sodomy I, the country will not tolerate another sodomy trial against any politician as a means to end his political career.

So, I question Raja Petra’s accusations and allegations against Anwar at this particular juncture. Who will be the ultimate beneficiary of his tirade against Anwar?

Just as Hasan Ali is toxic to PAS members and to many Chinese and Christians who are now supporting PAS and are no longer afraid of Islam, Raja Petra is equally toxic to those in PKR and DAP and those Chinese and Indians who are supporting PKR and DAP. Nothing will change their minds because they are riled by the perceived abuse of power by the leaders of Barisan Nasional and the contradictions and inconsistencies of the BN policies, the various flip-flops.

Anger has now turned into contempt. And we are talking about the conservative middle-class. This is another reality.
I am only the messenger. You may not want to agree or accept this reality. But the fact remains that many people have this mindset. Period!

I would caution the BN to be wary and not embrace Raja Petra too readily. He is toxic like the financial derivatives that almost destroyed the global financial system in the 2007 / 2008 financial tsunami!

In my view, the granting of two full-page of Raja Petra’s propaganda in the New Sunday Times and the Malay mass-media is a desperate attempt by Barisan Nasional to deflect the attention from the various scandals afflicting the BN to Anwar’s Sodomy II trial.

It will not work. In fact what Raja Petra has done in his interview will only harden the entrenched views of those who are going to vote for the Opposition and push the fence-sitters (who were hitherto guarding their wallets and feeding their stomachs) to the arms of the Opposition. There will be a thousand and one ways to use the Raja Petra issue to inflict pain on the BN and it does not require much imagination.

Do you know what decent apolitical families are saying? They have been saying and continue to say, “How can these people be so cruel to inflict so much pain on Anwar’s family?”

You may well consider this view as being superficial and subjective, but can you rid this perception from the people? Raja Petra in his personal vendetta against Anwar for whatever wrong, real or perceived, that Anwar has done to him, has revealed a side of his character that has not been revealed to his supporters all these years – vindictiveness over political differences. And this is an insecure and dangerous trait.

Raja Petra and his family have suffered tremendously for his political beliefs and views and I sympathise and admire his tenacity for enduring such hardships. But, I cannot allow personal sentiments to cloud my judgment.

Raja Petra has demanded that truth be told. I say that if truth be told, Raja Petra has lost the plot and has become a victim of his own vindictiveness. He is not a leader that can be respected or entrusted to change the country as he professes to do so.

Raja Petra may not be too happy reading this article and his band may well mount a counter-attack on me. But it matters not, for in the past, his band has maligned me with profanities instead of debating the issues raised by me in a mature way in his website. What else can they do after they have called me: “Mahathir’s barking dog”, “Mahathir’s crony”, “bastard”, “M#@*%@ F#@*%#”, “scumbag” etc.

Let’s gather our thoughts on the so-called Civil Liberties Movement (the “Third Force”) and its agenda. I have no doubt that there are many genuine people who want to better the country and have indeed made tremendous sacrifices and are willing to follow Raja Petra as the pied-piper.

But, do they know Raja Petra’s ultimate agenda?

Let me summarise for you. It is quite simple. His ambition is to hold the balance of power in Parliament in the event of a Hung Parliament and leverage to the hilt whichever political coalition that is willing to pay the political ransom demanded.
The essence of his ambition is power. Let’s not kid ourselves. Politicians do not venture into politics for altruistic ideals. They want power to fulfill their ambitions. If the country is fortunate, she may from time to time have a politician who does good for the country, but there are far and few.

Yes, I agree that Nelson Mandela is one of the few. Raja Petra does not think that Anwar, Najib, etc. belong to that category. But neither is Raja Petra!

Let us not be distracted by personalities and exaggerated egos across the political divide. We have enough of them. Let us focus on those who can unite our country and lead us to greater heights of excellence and by 2020 to be a developed nation for a start.

RPK’s Statement Baseless And Unsupported

I refer to blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s interview in which he discusses ‘ gay Prime Ministers’ in relation to the sodomy trial of federal Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. He also says he is ’90 per cent sure’ that the person in the notorious ‘Datuk T’ sex video is Anwar Ibrahim. I do not wish to speculate as to RPK’s motives in making such statements. However I do say that his statements, insinuations and innuendoes are unfair,untrue, unsupported by any believable evidence and plainly libellous. For some reason, RPK ignores the fact that the entire sodomy case is a transparent fabrication by Umno/BN with the connivance and cooperation of the police force and the Attorney General’s office. RPK’s insinuations are thus based upon a malicious conspiracy which is widely disbelieved throughout this country and abroad. Anwar’s trial has made a mockery of justice, and fair and accepted legal procedures; and it has been condemned as such by civil and political leaders as well as rights bodies worldwide. The failure to disclose material evidence critical to the defence; the serious flaws in the way forensic samples were obtained,stored and analyzed; the unusual and legally unsound pre-judgement of the case by Judge Zabidin at the end of prosecution case; the extraordinary meeting between the complainant and the Prime Minister, and the PM’s lying explanation for it, are but some of the proofs of a wide-ranging conspiracy behind the Sodomy II case. Upon this shaky ground, RPK builds a ramshackle tower of vague suppositions and wild innuendoes.

As for the sex video, it was concocted out of desperation by UMNO-linked conspirators as a result of Sodomy II’s failure to turn the rakyat against Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Rakyat. A key figure in the shameful sex video fiasco is the former UMNO Vice-President and Chief Minister of Melaka, Rahim Thamby Chik who was forced to resign over a sex scandal involving a minor. Tens of thousands of copies of the pornographic video were freely distributed all over the country, while the police sat by and took no action against the porn-peddlers. When after months of public pressure, the Datuk T trio were charged for a minor offence, the A-G’s chambers took advantage of the proceedings to slander and attack the reputation of Anwar Ibrahim. Has RPK forgotten UMNO’s long, disgraceful and criminal history of abusing the police, prosecution and judiciary in order to silence or neutralize key opposition figures? Further, he provides not the slightest basis or evidence for his extraordinary claim that he is ’90 %’ certain that it is Anwar in the sex video.

It is extremely fortunate that the people of this country have not fallen for these UMNO-inspired plots, which are simply underhand and criminal attempts to halt the reform movement and Pakatan Rakyat’s march to federal power. UMNO must engage in democratic politics by debate and discussion, and stop using dirty and dishonest means to try to bring down Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat.

Issued by,
N SURENDRAN
VICE PRESIDENT
KEADILAN

ABU cukuplah

Half-century long struggle against ISA

The year 2011 will be remembered for the decision to do away with the ISA – a move which vindicates the half-century long struggle against this oppressive law.
But we need to be especially vigilant about what kind of laws will eventually replace the ISA. No to detention without trial.
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s announcement on 15 September 2011, on the eve of Malaysia Day, that the government would repeal the Internal Security Act (ISA) and lift the proclamations of Emergency removed a heavy mill-stone that has weighed down on the nation’s psyche.
Despite the long delay before the actual repeal (supposedly in March 2011), the announcement vindicates the long struggle by ordinary Malaysians to rid the nation of this obnoxious detention without trial law.
The dumping of the ISA would be testimony to the strength of People Power for over half a century. A droplet of discontent grew into a stream and then a raging river which flowed into a sea of protest, the biggest of which was the Abolish ISA rally in 2009.
Even when the peninsula achieved Independence in 1957, we were not fully liberated. The Emergency Regulations Ordinance, introduced in 1948 remained in force. Introduced by the British High Commissioner Edward Gent, the Ordinance was anything but gentlemanly. It allowed for detentions not exceeding one year. Not only suspected communists, but thousands of nationalists including Malay political activists outside the Umno fold such as Ahmad Boestamam and Pak Sako were detained without trial.
Full article in Aliran Monthly.