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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How do I love thee, let me count the ways


I wrote some years back that I will have ‘arrived’ when both sides of the political divide hate me. I also wrote that I am not running a popularity contest and really don’t care whether the ‘Raja Petra Fan Club’ exists or not. Well, the good news is, the Raja Petra Fan Club has now officially closed.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
It’s been an interesting start to a new year, at least for some of us. Anyway, they did say that 2012 is supposed to be a year of turmoil; a year of change; maybe even the year the world, as we know it, will end…if what the Mayan calendar says is correct.

Whether you realise it or not, the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) is now ‘high profile’, even if for the wrong reasons. But is not right and wrong relative? To some, putting apostates to death is right while to others it is wrong. So, certainly right and wrong is relative, relative to your value system.

Okay, so we have a situation here. But is it a hopeless situation, or is it a situation that can be simply solved with a stroke of the pen?

Let’s use this analogy. A bee has stung a man’s prick and his prick is swollen and he is in pain. He goes to the doctor and asks the doctor to remove the pain but not the size.

MCLM has been stung by a bee and is swollen and in pain. So, let’s just remove the pain without disturbing the size. And in this case the pain is me: Raja Petra Kamarudin. So, just remove Raja Petra Kamarudin and the pain will go away.

And this is what I am telling the MCLM committee and the founding members. Just remove me and allow MCLM to go on with its mission and vision. The agenda need not change. Only the head needs to change. After all, I can’t return to Malaysia to lead MCLM anyway and the present committee is a mere protem committee, not legally elected in the AGM, which is yet to be held and must be held very soon by law.

Is this so difficult to do? MCLM is about the cause. The cause is above the person. People come and go. But the cause must remain.

One reason Pakatan Rakyat refuses to engage MCLM is because of the ‘Independent Candidate Initiative’. Pakatan Rakyat is not prepared to give way to independent candidates. If independent candidates come in then we are going to see three- or even four-corner contests.

I know many of you were foaming at the mouth for exactly this point. You accused MCLM of serving Barisan Nasional’s agenda, of being a Trojan horse, for being guilty of triggering multi-corner contests and hence denying Pakatan Rakyat the possibility of winning the next general election.

Over and over I wrote in Malaysia Today that this is not true. MCLM is committed to a two-party system and in seeing the emergence of a strong opposition and is not attempting to grab votes away from Pakatan Rakyat by fielding a third candidate. But this assurance is not accepted. The only way everyone can be assured would be if MCLM is closed down and the independent candidates abandon their plan of contesting the election.

Well, the independent candidates have now announced they are withdrawing. In fact, they are severing ties with MCLM altogether. Only one still insists on contesting and even then he has said he would like to contest under a Pakatan Rakyat ticket.

Is this not what you wanted all along?

But when I say this, again and again, in Malaysia Today, the explanation is not accepted and the allegations of MCLM being a spoiler continues.

I try to talk to the ‘alternative’ media but am told by friends in Pakatan Rakyat that the order given was: do not engage MCLM and do not give them any space. In short, boycott MCLM and black out all news on MCLM.

Okay, you don’t believe what I say in Malaysia Today. The alternative media blacks me out. So I say it in the mainstream media. And I said very clearly that MCLM is NOT contesting the general election and we are NOT fielding candidates and in fact NEVER intended to contest the elections in the first place because we are NOT a political party.

It seems that is also the wrong thing to say. So what do you want me to say -- that we WILL contest the general election and WILL engage in three-corner contests or that we will NOT contest the general election and WILL support a two-party system?

It appears like many of you are confused about what you want.

I wrote some years back that I will have ‘arrived’ when both sides of the political divide hate me. I also wrote that I am not running a popularity contest and really don’t care whether the ‘Raja Petra Fan Club’ exists or not. Well, the good news is, the Raja Petra Fan Club has now officially closed.

The Umno Blogs say that Malaysia Today is being financed by Anwar Ibrahim and that Raja Petra is a Pakatan Rakyat stooge. That is the spin in the Umno blogs. I deny it profusely and still the allegations continue.

Okay, what are the Umno Blogs going to say now? Now the Pakatan Rakyat Blogs are saying that Najib Tun Razak is financing Malaysia Today and that Raja Petra is an Umno stooge.

I must be the smartest Blogger in the world if I can get BOTH Anwar and Najib to finance Malaysia Today. Maybe I should instead be the Prime Minister or Opposition Leader if I am capable of this.

So, whose boy am I, Anwar’s or Najib’s? Yes, I know, those posting comments below are going to still insist I am Najib’s boy while the Umno Blogs are still going to insist I am Anwar’s boy.

It’s simple, really. There are no two ways about it. You have to be either Anwar’s boy or Najib’s boy. It MUST be one or the other. You cannot be no one’s boy. That is not allowed.

I suppose that is the same with religion and race. Either you are a Muslim or you are a non-Muslim. There are only two categories. You are also either Bumiputera or non-Bumiputera -- again, only two categories.

Is the world just either black or white? Must it be only black and white? Isn’t there more than just black and white in this world? And must it either be Anwar’s boy or Najib’s boy?

Could I possibly be Muhyiddin Yassin’s boy? Could I not also be Mat Sabu’s boy? Can’t I be Ronnie Liu’s boy? Or Datuk Kamarul Baharin’s boy, maybe? Is it not possible I am no one’s boy? Is there absolutely no likelihood that I dislike ALL politicians, both sides of the political divide?

I remember back in the 1970s when I had an argument with Dr Zakaria Salim and Encik Ibrahim (the head of ITM Dungun) during a function in the Sultan of Terengganu’s palace. They were both, of course, hardcore Umno men. The argument was about politics and politicians.

Halfway through the ‘debate’, I shocked everyone when I shouted: to me, all politicians should be lined up against the wall and shot with a bullet in the head. All politicians are leeches and slimeballs. We need a people’s revolution so that we can kill all the politicians.

There was a stunned silence as I walked off.

What makes you think my views from the 1970s have changed? I idolised Che Guevara back then and still do now. And I have stated time and time again that I want to be a Che Guevara and not a Castro -- and if you don’t understand what that means then blame Malaysia’s education system.

I am not contesting the elections so I don’t need your votes. I know I am called ‘hero to zero’. You called me that back in April last year. I thought I was already a zero last year? How can I now, again, be a ‘hero to zero’ when I am already a zero? Make up your mind.

As my final word, Faekah Husin, the MB’s political secretary, has challenged me to produce the evidence of corruption or wrongdoing in Selangor. Be careful what you wish for. If you want me to do that I can do just that. Just make sure you don’t, again, start foaming at the mouth when I do.

Let me close with this short story.

A husband and wife were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary over a candlelight dinner when a fairy godmother suddenly popped up and asked them what they would like to wish as a present for their wedding anniversary.

The wife said she had never been on a world cruise and wishes for that and, poof, the fairy godmother made two cruise tickets appear.

The husband said he wishes his wife can be thirty years younger than him and, poof, the fairy godmother turned him into a 99-year old man.

Yes, be careful what you wish for because Raja Petra Kamarudin is known to grant wishes.

M’sia’s political future hinges on outcome of sex trial

Rights groups and opposition activists say the government seems intent on removing Anwar as a political foe.
ANALYSIS

By Julia Yeow

KUALA LUMPUR: When the Kuala Lumpur High Court delivers a verdict in the sex trial of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim on Monday, the ruling would mark an end to one of the nation’s most controversial cases as well as the beginning of a new political era.

Anwar, 64, faces 20 years in prison if found guilty of sodomizing a 24-year-old former male aide in 2008, a charge he has vehemently denied and claimed was concocted by political foes.

Throughout the trial, which began in February 2010, his lawyers decried what they claimed to be repeated efforts to hamper the defence, such as denying access to testimonies and evidence.

Although the opposition alliance has its fair share of infighting and problems, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is well aware of the threat that Anwar represents. Many educated, urban voters are increasingly impatient with his government over corruption and soaring inflation.

In the most recent elections in 2008, Anwar’s alliance wrested control of five of the nation’s 13 states from the government and denied it a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

The upset forced then-premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down in favour of Najib, and Anwar declared his intention to take over the government, a threat Najib has taken seriously.

The premier has publicly warned his alliance to improve its performance or risk losing power in the next elections, which could be called as early as the first half of this year.

If Anwar is found not guilty, he is likely to pose a real threat to Najib, whose popularity is flagging despite populist policies and attempts to endear himself to younger voters.

But if Anwar is convicted and sentenced to even one year in jail, he would be barred from politics for up to five years, weakening the opposition bloc that has yet to name a successor.

Rights groups and opposition activists said the government seems intent on removing Anwar as a political foe by using a colonial-era law against sodomy, which outlaws it even when it is consensual.

Defying the odds

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, charged the proceedings have been conducted unfairly since the outset. He said the government did not appear “sincere” in its earlier pledge to offer Anwar and his accuser equal rights and treatment.

“Obviously, we cannot really speculate on what the verdict will be, but we do have very serious concerns that he is even being tried on this charge, which should not be considered a crime in the first place,” Robertson said.

In 1998, Anwar was accused of sodomizing his driver and then using his power as then-deputy premier to cover it up, a charge he also claimed was trumped up to prevent him from challenging former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He was convicted and jailed for six years before being released in 2004 when a Federal Court panel overturned his conviction, saying the main witness against him was unreliable and Anwar should have been acquitted.

Then, as now, the government denied any conspiracy.

“The fact that he has been tried for this ‘crime’ twice now when thankfully there are very few prosecutions under this antiquated British colonial law also raises the fundamental question of why the government is singling Anwar out,” Robertson said.

But just as he defied the odds to rise from political ruin to become opposition leader, Anwar’s supporters said it would take more than a conviction next week to remove him or his followers from Malaysian politics.

- dpa

Court to decide on absentee voters in UK on Friday

The New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will decide on Friday whether six Malaysians living in the United Kingdom can register and vote as absentee voters in this country.
 Judge Datuk Rohana Yusuf fixed the date after both parties concluded their submissions yesterday.

Dr Teo Hoon Seong, 43,  Dr Yolanda Sidney Augustin, 31,   electrical engineer V. Vinesh, 32, entrepreneur Paramjeet Singh, 54, translator Sim Tze Wei, 28, and software architect Leong See See, 41, had filed the judicial review application on Oct 25.

They were given the green light by the High Court on Nov 14 to challenge the  Election Commission's decision to reject their application to become  absentee voters in the next general election.

They claimed that because they were not defined as absentee voters, their right to vote was denied.

The applicants  stated in their application that the commission had no reason why the postal-vote system used by university students, government officers and army personnel abroad could not be used by Malaysians working in the private sector, retirees or the  unemployed living overseas.


 

Counsel Edmund Bon yesterday submitted that the commission had erred in excluding the applicants from being entitled to register and vote as  absentee voters.

He said the exclusion was unfair and not justified by the commission.

"The burden is on the EC to justify why members of armed forces, government servants, full-time students and their spouses are allowed to vote as  absentee voters, but other Malaysians residing overseas are not allowed to do so."

He said  applicants were  disqualified only because the commission decided so.

He said the exercise of power was arbitrary, discriminatory and a constitutional violation of the applicants' rights under the Federal Constitution.

Senior federal counsel Amarjeet Singh, who appeared for the commission, submitted that the applicants had not been deprived of their constitutional right to vote as they had  been registered as electors and were, therefore, entitled to vote.

"The applicants do not have the right to be registered as  absentee voters on grounds that they do not come within the limited categories of persons allowed to be absentee voters by election laws."

He added that the commission had  acted in accordance with the law.

We did not know it was a hospital, say police officers

The Star
officers did not realise the hospital was there, the Suhakam public inquiry into the Bersih 2.0 rally heard.

“I did not know the building was a hospital. Our vision in the truck was limited due to the rainy weather, smoky air and water on the truck's windscreen,” said Insp Nor Hisham Razali, the officer in charge of the water cannon truck that went to the area during the July 9 street march last year.

He said he and the four policemen controlling the truck were from Ipoh.

Insp Nor Hisham, 37, said the water cannon was fired to disperse protesters who were standing outside the hospital.

The spray from the cannon, which could reach as far as 30m, had hit the hospital grounds unintentionally, he told the inquiry yesterday.

He added that although he had passed through the area before, he was not aware that the building was a hospital.

Insp Nor Hisham said the protesters near the hospital were throwing objects such as stones and plastic bottles at the truck.

“If we didn't do anything, we may have been attacked. So, we fired the water cannon.

“It was only after our vision became clearer that I saw the sign of a maternity hospital and immediately ordered my men to stop firing,” he said.

When Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee suggested it was dangerous for the police to use the water cannon when their vision was limited, Insp Nor Hisham said it was directed at the protesters.

Asked if he could see any senior citizen, disabled people or child- ren who may have been present, Insp Nor Hisham said: “Our vision was blurred. However, the Govern-ment had already given prior warning to the public to avoid the rally.”

To a question, the police officer said he did not see protesters damaging other public property besides the water cannon truck.

Another witness, Sjn Idzha Salim, who was one of the officers handling the water cannon truck, also said he was not aware there was a hospital in the area as he was not from Kuala Lumpur.

The inquiry, chaired by Suhakam vice-chairman Prof Datuk Dr Khaw Lake Tee, was set up to look into alleged human rights violations during the rally.

The inquiry resumes at 9.15am today and is expected to include a site visit to the hospital.

Muhyiddin Disturbed Many Pupils Attend School Without Breakfast

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin visited a school here on the first day of its new school year today, and was disturbed to learn that many of the pupils he talked to had come to school without having their breakfast.

Immediately, he suggested that Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Bukit Pantai and other schools in the same situation bring forward their recess to 8.30 am or 9 am for the first week at least to enable such pupils to have some food and have the energy to follow lessons.

The schools can bring forward the recess, especially in the first week of the school year, so that every pupil has something to eat before the lessons start, Muhyiddin, who is also the education minister, told reporters during the visit.

"This matter cannot be taken lightly as it can jeopardise the pupils' ability to follow lessons. Even an adult like I can become lethargic when I get to the office without breakfast, what more children," he said.

Muhyiddin said he was not suggesting that all schools should change the time of recess but they can consider the matter in accordance with the need.

On textbooks and desks and chairs for schools, he said all the facilities have been provided satisfactorily as the preparations were made early.

He said he was happy with the smooth start to the new school year as all infrastructure, including desks and chairs, have been made available with a RM20 million allocation from the government.

Muhyiddin arrived at Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Bukit Pantai at 8 am and was greeted by Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin and headmaster Sopian Mokhtar.

He went to four classrooms and chatted with several of the 145 Year One pupils. The school has a total of 847 pupils.

Muhyiddin also talked to the teachers as well as some of the parents of the Year One pupils waiting along the corridors.

Snubbed millionaire's brutal attack on girlfriend

Boyfriend could not control rage after his marriage proposal was turned down


A Norwegian girl was brutally attacked by her boyfriend as she refused to marry him.
Twenty four year old Sulvy Leopreez Sakkur was severely beaten by her Egyptian millionaire boyfriend. 

The lady confirmed the news in an interview with Al Wafd newspaper. She identified her boyfriend as Ahmed AL Ajati, the son of Egyptian millionaire Yahiya Al Ajati.

She said, “The reason behind this was because I refused to marry him and asked him to end our relationship".

Sulvy said she feared to speak up about her ordeal for fear of being punished more by the businessman and his son.

The incident took place on September 7th when she was in her flat at Ma’adi accompanied by her boyfriend. Sulvy asked him to end their relationship and refused his marriage proposal.

She was surprised by his reactiono as he started screaming hysterically then hit her small dog on the wall and trumpled it under his feet.

She pleaded and begged him to stop, but instead directed his anger towards her. He hit her hard on his face and stomach.

She experienced heavy blood flow from her mouth and face. Her neighbour heard the comotion and inquired about the reason for her cries. But Ahmed threatened to beat Sulvy more if she dared to open her mouth.

Ahmed AL Ajat lied to the neighbour who was at the door of her apartment.

Soon after he dragged Sulvy by her hair from her apartment from the fifth floor to the ground and pulled her into the car.

Sulvy tried to call her friend but could not manage to do so as Ahmed grabbed her hand and threw the mobile out of the car.

Sulvy testified that she was saved by pedestrians who carried her to the hospital and reported the incident to the police. But she feared more torture from the powerful business family.

Pakatan prepared to face Anwar's jailing



Lawyer: Cops denied assault before proper probe

Charge ‘violent’ cops, say students

The alleged excessive force used on students who gathered on New Year's Day must be investigated and those responsible must be brought to court.
VIDEO INSIDE

KUALA LUMPUR: The police have been urged to investigate the alleged use of excessive force in dispersing students who gathered at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Tanjung Malim, Perak, in the early morning of New Year’s Day.

A representative of the students and spokesperson for the Movement for Academic Freedom (Bebas) Haziq Abdullah Abdul Aziz said the policemen involved must be brought to court.

“Those who attacked the students should be charged and punished so this does not happen to other Malaysian citizens,” he told reporters outside the Dang Wangi police headquarters here.

Among other violations, Haziq alleged that the police arrested the students violently and without proper reason.

“All these arrests are against the law and done in mala fide (malice)” he said.

He urged the Bukit Aman federal police headquarters to be “neutral, fair and just” in conducting an independent probe into the incident.

On Jan 1, 17 people were arrested after some 100 students were allegedly violently dispersed by the police and riot police in front of UPSI.

They were protesting for academic freedom and against the Universities and University Colleges Act. They had also wanted UPSI to drop charges against student leader Adam Adli, who had undergone disciplinary action for replacing a flag depicting the prime minister’s face with a banner proclaiming academic freedom two weeks ago.

‘There was no warning’


Haziq, who was also one of those arrested, claimed that police failed to give any warning before proceeding to disperse them.

“Many of us were intimidated by the police. The usage of some 200 personel was unnecessary and the police should have negotiated with the organisers. Why should they do all this in the name of ‘public order’ and ‘mengikut arahan’ (following orders)?” he asked.

Haziq said the students were peacefully assembling in solidariti with Adam who is to be tried under the UUCA on Jan 9 and had not brought any dangerous weapons that morning.

“We brought hailers, flowers and banners but it was confiscated before we even begun. We were threatened by the FRU (riot police) who had batons and tear gas, without any warning they provoked us and were assaulted and pushed to the ground,” he said.

“We also witnessed one student, Muhammad Safwan Anang, who complained of pains from being assaulted by the police,” said Haziq.

Safwan, who was previously admitted to the Slim River Hospital, was present today in a wheelchair.

The Gerakan Menuntut Kebebasan Akademik (Bebas) chairperson complained of difficulty in breathing and appeared weak. It was learnt that his car windscreen was smashed while he was receiving treatment in hospital.

‘Culture of impunity must stop’

Meanwhile, Lawyers For Liberty’s Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, who represented the students, said according to

international human rights standards, minimal force should only be used if necessary to disperse a crowd.

“But here, more than 200 policemen were deployed. Clearly there are criminal elements here,” she said.

Also present were supporters from Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and rights group Suaram.

Suaram coordinator E Nalini said: ” The culture of impunity and covering such acts should be stopped now. Can police use any kind of force against people who assemble? Is this what the new Peaceful Assembly Act would do to us?”

Meanwhile, other student groups urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar and the Perak police to apologise over the incident.

GAMIS (Coalition of Malaysian Islamic Students) president Akram Ikrami said:”We give you 24 hours to apologise or you will see a bigger student uprising. This is serious. Blood has been spilled.”

Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) head Ahmad Syukri Abdullah condemned the police’s action to force Safwan to sign a document that stated he fell.

“What sort of ‘investigation’ is this? We also condemn UPSI for kicking two students out of their dorms without any notices or letters. Take that back and apologise too or you will face a stronger student force,” he said.

Another student leader Syahid Mohd Zaini said the government should not treat students like animals and the same human rights should be given to all.

MCLM-backed candidates step down

RPK's attack on Anwar has cost MCLM two of its candidates.

PETALING JAYA: Raja Petra Kamarudin appears to have shot himself in the foot with his weekend of verbal salvos against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Two independent candidates backed by the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) of which he is the chairman today announced their withdrawal from the candidacy and their disassociation with the movement.

The two are prominent lawyer and National Human Rights Society president, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, and human rights lawyer, Sreekant Pillai.

The duo’s resignation comes barely a day after MCLM’s president, Haris Ibrahim, stepped down. All three attributed their decision to the recent interviews given by Raja Petra, better known as RPK, to selected media.

In the interviews, the popular blogger declared Anwar “unfit” to be the next prime minister, alluded that the latter was guilty of the sodomy charge and expressed certainty that Anwar was the man featured in the sex video.

He also said that MCLM would not be fielding any candidates for the 13th general election, a statement that Haris said had never been discussed within the movement.

In a blog posting this afternoon Malik clarified that while he had never been a MCLM member he had nevertheless committed to working for the the movement to further the reform agenda.

He explained that his agreement to stand as an independent candidate hinged on his satisfaction that there was a cause for it.

Malik also emphasised that he continued to believe that Pakatan Rakyat was pivotal in any campaign reform and had resolved to stand only where there wouldn’t be a three-corner fight.

“Much has occurred since the announcement of the initiative,” he said. “For one, Pakatan appeared to commit to a sustained effort to identify and field quality candidates.”

“For another, Raja Petra felt it necessary to state his personal views as he did, in an interview with TV3 last year and recently in interviews published in the New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia.”

Undermined MCLM’s credibility

While Malik refrained from delving into RPK’s recent statements, he stated that they had cast a less than positive light on MCLM in so far as its commitment to principle was concerned.

He also added that he did not share RPK’s views which were entirely personal to the latter and not belonging to MCLM.

“Raja Petra had however allowed the impression that he spoke on behalf of MCLM and in his capacity as chairman of the movement,” Malik pointed out. “That is regrettable as it is an impression that has undermined the credibility of the MCLM and its efforts.”

“It has also undermined the tremendous efforts of a number of highly committed and selfless individuals in their untiring efforts to develop various civil society initiatives under the banner of MCLM.”

Malik reiterated that it was for this reason that he and Sreekant had decided to disassociate themselves from the movement and withdraw from the independent candidate initiative.

“I wish to state that my decision to remain independent of any political parties and to stand as a candidate was mine and mine alone,” he said. “It has been some years since Raja Petra and I have spoken and he has not in any way influenced any of my decisions.”

This had left MCLM with only one endorsed candidate, Dr Nedunchelian Vengu, who earlier announced that he would still be contesting the Kapar seat as a Barisan Rakyat Independent Candidate.

Four arrested over pig skulls outside mosque

Police are looking for a 40-year old man to help in their investigations.

KUALA LUMPUR: The police said today they had arrested four people and were looking for another individual over the discovery of pig skulls and pork outside a mosque last week.

Mokhtar Mohammad Shariff, Johor state police chief, told AFP that the four had been arrested after officials found four pig skulls and pork outside the rear fence and front entrance of the Al-Falah mosque last Friday.

“We are still carrying out investigations and are on the lookout for a 40-year-old man who can help us in our investigations,” he said.

The incident triggered memories of a spate of attacks on places of worship two years ago, after a row over the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims that saw violence against 11 churches, a mosque and two Muslim prayer halls.

Muslim district religious leader Abdul Atan Awang downplayed the incident, saying that it was unlikely to have anything to do with the earlier controversy.

“Although the case is still being investigated, we suspect that this is more likely to be a dispute between some members of the local community and we urged everyone to stay calm until the real facts emerge,” he said.

Christian leaders contacted by AFP said the incident appeared to be confined to a particular mosque and did not appear to be related to the “Allah” issue.

- AFP

HEB: It’s our land

The Hindu Endowments Board has dismissed allegations that it has infringed Hindu public land and interests.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang Hindu Endowments Board has rubbished allegations that it has usurped and leased out a temple land for commercial gains.

The board’s executive director M Ramachandran insisted that the 69,717 sq feet land, located near the Jalan Siram – Jalan Telaga Air junction, next to the Butterworth Hindu cemetery, belonged to the board.

Displaying the land registration document and map, he said the land fell under the Butterworth Temple Endowments, which has been under the management of Butterworth’s Sri Maha Mariamman Kovil.

The land is registered under the Seberang Perai Utara district and land office as Lot 2236.

“The question of a land grab or anyone’s rights being seized, board being trespasser, overstepping its boundary as caretaker and trustee of Hindu properties or privatising temple land do not arise.

“HEB never seized temple properties as claimed. We ask the complainants to provide necessary evidence,” said Ramachandran at a press conference here today.

He confirmed that the land has been earmarked for rental to cater for a car wash (5,000 square feet) and second hand car dealership (3,600 square feet).

The car wash operator, G Puvaneswaran from Weld Quay, George Town, would pay RM600 monthly rental while the used car dealer, N Muniswaran from Butterworth, would fork out RM400 to the board.

Ramachandran explained that the commercial activities would not hamper local Hindus from using the land for religious purposes during temple festivals in the neighbourhood.

‘Their right to lodge reports’


Yesterday morning, a group of locals held a protest against the board’s business endevours, alleging that it had infringed Hindu public land and interests.

The protesters demanded Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy to resign immediately as the board’s chairman.

They also called 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.

Ramachandran said the board observed all procedures before deciding to rent out the idle land to gain commercial revenue.

He said HEB’s 12-member board of commissioners and Butterworth temple endowments management committee were well-informed about the project.

However, he said it would not be feasible to consult all Hindus in Butterworth on the project.

Nonetheless, he said the board had no qualms if anyone wanted to lodge reports with the police or Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) on the issue.

“It’s their right,” Ramachandran said.

He said the board would continue to allot its land for Indian business operations given that many of them were now squatting on council lands and paying exorbitant rentals for private lands.

“The board will always assist Indian business growth within its legal means,” he added.

Zaid Ibrahim: Raja Petra di pihak salah

(Merdeka Review) - Dua minggu lalu, saya menulis tentang bagaimanakah kita boleh menjadikan pembangkang lebih kuat.  Saya mencadangkan agar pihak pembangkang harus mengambil pendekatan yang inklusif dan tidak membiarkan perbezaan kecil dengan cara mewujudkan barisan bersatu.

Ini bermakna termasuk kumpulan kecil atau sampingan yang berada di dalam stratosfera politik.  Saya juga berkata bahawa kita tidak harus lupa Hindu Rights Action Force atau HINDRAF, dan penulis blog Raja Petra Kamarudin (gambar kanan), yang mana kedua-dua ini merupakan pemain utama dalam kebangkitan politik 2008.

Jadi, saya terkejut apabila membaca New Sunday Times pada hari tahun baru yang menyiarkan temu bual dengan Raja Petra yang telah dijalankan di Singapura.  Bukannya dia tidak mempunyai apa-apa untuk diperkatakan mengenai Anwar Ibrahim yang mana dia tidak pernah pun menyebutnya sebelum pilihan raya Sarawak dahulu.  Ia adalah perkara yang sama, dan saya tidak akan mengulanginya lagi.  Apa yang saya kurang faham ialah mengapa Raja Petra memilih untuk menyerang Anwar dari semua sudut - dan pada masa yang sama mahu melihat pembangkang menjadi lebih kuat.

Benar kata Raja Petra, apabila mendakwa pihak pembangkang tidak hanya mengenai Anwar dan nasib politik beliau.  Ia sebuah gerakan yang lebih besar, dan menjadi suara alternatif yang kuat buat rakyat.  Tetapi, ia tidak logik untuk mengalih sebahagian daripada parti-parti pembangkang (yang sememangnya Anwar sebahagian daripada gerakan ini) dan mengatakan bahawa itulah caranya menjadikan pembangkang lebih kuat.

Pembangkang mungkin tidak dapat memenangi Pilihan Raya Umum akan datang, tetapi kepada kita yang mahu melihat kebebasan dan demokrasi yang lebih baik dan amalan rasuah serta penyalahgunaan kuasa yang berkurangan, perjuangan tetap perlu diteruskan walau apa jua rintangan yang menghalang.  Pilihan raya akan datang setiap lima tahun dan satu hari nanti, kita akan pasti menang.

Saya rasa terpaksa mengulangi apa yang saya katakan sebelum ini, tetapi dengan sedikit pembetulan.  Kami harus menjadi inklusif dan kita tidak boleh tidak termasuk orang-orang kita yang mahu melihat pembaharuan dan perubahan dalam cara negara kita diperintah.

Kita perlu berjuang untuk perpaduan dan keharmonian untuk seluruh rakyat Malaysia.  Mereka yang mengatakan mahu melihat pembangkang menjadi lebih kuat lagi tetapi sanggup mengenepikan beberapa pemimpin kerana tidak bersetuju, tidak boleh dianggap sebagai sekutu.  Petra pasti di pihak yang salah.  Di medan perang ini, kita mesti belajar untuk menilai sumbangan semua orang, tetapi hanya untuk orang-orang yang masih mahu melihat demokrasi menyala.

*Tulisan ini dipetik dari laman Parti Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air (KITA), oleh Zaid Ibrahim (gambar kanan) selaku Ketua Parti.

The MCLM will enter into second gear today (FLASHBACK 20th November 2010)


There appears to be some confusion as to what I said in my NST interview and what the MCLM committee actually agreed more than a year ago. Below is the article I wrote in this column on 20th November 2010. Maybe you can read what I said at the time the MCLM was mooted and launched. I trust this will clear up the confusion and get the record set straight. There is actually no inconsistency or deviation from what was agreed.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin

I just want to pen a short note to tell you that the draft Constitution of the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MLCM) has just been finalised. MCLM’s lawyer has just sent it through to me and I am studying it now.

Later today I shall be fetching Haris Ibrahim from the tube station. He will be arriving about 5.00am this morning UK time. Haris and I will then go through the Constitution to make sure that it is in order before releasing it to the public.

Haris will be spending about a week with me here in the UK to go through the mission and vision of the MCLM. Basically, what we will focus on will be:

1. The MCLM will become a pressure group of civil society movement activists with a view to engage politicians, not to become politicians.

2. The MCLM will assist any political party that may be looking for candidates from amongst the civil society movement activists to field in the next general election.

3. The MCLM committee members and officer bearers themselves will not be contesting the general election to prevent anyone from using the MCLM as a platform to further their own political careers.
4. The MCLM will attempt to mould and shape the Malaysian political landscape and culture, not instead to be moulded or shaped by the political culture.

5. The MCLM will stand on the outside looking in, not get in and become tainted by politics.
These are just some of my early thoughts on the entire thing and I know that Haris has more up his sleeve.

By next Saturday, 27 November 2010, I hope to call for the second committee meeting of the MCLM and finalise all these issues. Thereafter, we shall make known what has transpired, where we are coming from, and where we hope to get to.

In the meantime, the website (http://mclm.org.uk/) is being completed and we hope to open it for public viewing soon so that those who share the aspirations of the MCLM can sign up as members. The Constitution, membership form, Mission and Vision Statement, etc., will all be on the website. Rest assured that the MCLM will be run with complete transparency as a demonstration to the political parties how we would like things done in the political arena.

Till then stay tuned and I shall update you as we go along.
http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/no-holds-barred/36078-the-mclm-will-enter-into-second-gear-today

Hutang Umno pada budi orang Melayu — Sakmongkol AK47

3 JAN — Dalam masa seminggu ini saya di hujani soalan adakah benar saya dan saudara Aspan Alias akan memasuki DAP? Cuba baca berita yang mula2 di keluarkan oleh The Malaysian Insider. Disana di nyatakan bahawa tiada keputusan yang di capai. Ertinya, karya TMI itu bersifat spekulatif. Demikian juga rencana yang di keluarkan oleh Free Malaysia Today. Artikel itu juga bersifat spekulatif dan menimbulkan lebih banyak persoalan dari memberi jawapan.
Tidakkah terfikir oleh sesiapa bahawa jika kami berdua cederung menyokong DAP atau parti lawan Umno, sikap tersebut ialah kerana di dorongi oleh kepercayaan dan prinsip2 tertentu? Kita tidak boleh konsisten jika hanya di dorong oleh rasa frust, dendam dan sebagainya. Sikap konsisten hanya datang dari asas yang lebih stabil dan kekal- seperti di pacu oleh keyakinan dan kepercayaan kepada prinsip2.
Sebagai contoh, kami berdua merasakan Umno sudah bertukar watak menjadi suatu Frankenstein yang tidak lagi boleh di kawal. Ia menjadi wadah untuk mencuri harta benda rakyat, membelakangkan political decency, memanipulasi rule of law, dan paling dasyat sekali melupakan budi orang Melayu kepada Umno. Dan kami telah lama menerima apa yang di sebut oleh Presiden Umno yang paling lama mengetuai Umno iaitu Dr Mahathir yang menyatakan Umno is rotten to the core dan kerajaan Umno korap dari atas hingga ke bawah.  Izinkan saya membawa perhatian orang Melayu kepada suatu perkara yang sangat tidak betul pada Umno. Seringkali kita di banjiri dengan nasihat supaya orang Melayu mengenang budi Umno. Tapi bagaimana pula dengan Umno yang tidak mengenang budi orang Melayu? Bukankah Umno itu hidup atas budi orang Melayu dan amanah yang di pertanggungjawabkan?
Biarkan saya menyimpul pendekatan Umno hari ini. Pimpinan Umno hari ini meniru apa yang John Kennedy ucapkan dalam pidato sulung ketika menerima perlantikan sebagai Presiden USA. Kita dapat membayangkan mana2 pemimpin Umno hari ini menyatakan: jangan tanya apa Umno boleh lakukan kepada kamu, tanya apa yang kamu boleh lakukan kepada Umno.
Inlah titik tolak penentangan kami kepada Umno kerana sikap seperti ini merosakkan orang Melayu. Ia menjadi orang Melayu peminta sedekah kepada Umno. Umno bukan pemberi rezeki orang Melayu yang beragama Islam. Sanggupkah kita menerima dan melihat orang Melayu tertunduk tunduk sebagai tambi suruhan? Inilah yang di lakukan oleh Umno hari ini kepada orang Melayu.
Bahagian pertama ungkapan tersebut jangan tanya apa Umno boleh lakukan kepada kamu memberi pengertian bahawa Umno itu tuan dan ahlinya adalah hamba. Umno itu penaung dan rakyat adalah yang bergantung kepada mereka. Umno itu bersifat ketuhanan yang mesti disembah kerana ianya pemberi segala rezeki kepada orang Melayu.
Bahagian kedua ungkapan tersebut tanya apa kamu boleh lakukan kepada Umno membawa erti bahawa Umno itu sesuatu yang perlu ditaati dan di takuti serta punca segala kesenangan untuk orang Melayu.
Kedua2 bahagaian ungkapan tersebut merosakkan orang Melayu dan bertentangan dengan piagam orang yang berjiwa merdeka. Orang Melayu yang berjiwa merdeka akan melihat Umno sebagai suatu wadah dengan dan melalui nya, mencapai obejektif 2 besar dalam masyarakat. Umno bukan sesuatu yang mesti disembah atau dalam bahasa yang selalu di sebut oleh pimpinan Umno — mesti mengenang budi Umno.
* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

Special task force to quash violence allegations by students

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The police will set up a special task force to counter claims of alleged police brutality when dispersing student demonstrators outside Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Tanjong Malim.

Perak police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Shukri Dahlan said the police had evidence to dismiss the brutality allegations.

“Police photographers and cameraman were recording the incident to prove that police did not resort to violence, including injuring the students.

“As such, I have instructed the task force to be set up to counter these baseless allegations,” DCP Mohd Shukri said yesterday.

He said action would be taken against blogs that defamed the police over the incident.

Police had earlier denied that force was used to disperse the illegal assembly by some 70 students, which was organised by student movement Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia outside UPSI’s entrance on New Year’s eve.

The students from several universities around the country as-sembled outside UPSI’s entrance, demanding the abolition of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971.

They wanted to protest any disciplinary action against UPSI student Adam Adli Abdul Halim.

Adam Adli had taken down a flag bearing the image of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak outside the Umno headquarters on Dec 17.

Malaysian Student Died In Crash In New Jersey

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 4 (Bernama) -- A Malaysian student was killed while four others were injured in a car crash in New Jersey on Monday, according to The Republic newspaper, based in Columbus, Indiana, United States.

The report said police confirmed that the student, who was killed in an accident on Interstate 78, attended Ohio State University, but have not released his name.

A second student was in critical condition and three others were listed in stable condition. All five were between 19 and 21 years.

The nationalities of the other four students were not given.

The report said the crash occurred around 4pm Monday (local time) when a Chevrolet Equinox SUV veered off the road and crashed into trees and a light pole. Police blamed driver fatigue.

Meanwhile, Wisma Putra (Foreign Ministry) when contacted, said they did not have any information regarding the incident but were still trying to contact the Malaysian embassy in Washington DC for further details.