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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Police involvement in ‘human safaris’ exposed in the Andaman Islands

Tourist films Jarawa on the Andaman Trunk Road
Tourist films Jarawa on the Andaman Trunk Road
© Survival
British newspaper The Observer has revealed evidence of police involvement in ‘human safaris’ in India’s Andaman Islands.
The scandal, first exposed by Survival in 2010, involves tourists using an illegal road to enter the reserve of the Jarawa tribe. Tour companies and cab drivers ‘attract’ the Jarawa with biscuits and sweets.
The Observer has obtained a video showing a group of Jarawa women being ordered to dance for tourists by a policeman, who had reportedly accepted a £200 bribe to take them into the reserve.
One tourist has previously described a similar trip: ‘The journey through tribal reserve was like a safari ride as we were going amidst dense tropical rainforest and looking for wild animals, Jarawa tribals to be specific’.
In recent weeks the Islands’ administration has again ruled out closing the road, known as the Andaman Trunk Road revealed for the first time that it plans to open an alternative route by sea to bypass most of the Jarawa reserve.
Tourists arriving at the Andaman Islands take flyers about the trunk road boycott
Tourists arriving at the Andaman Islands take flyers about the trunk road boycott
© SEARCH/Survival
Survival has called for tourists to boycott the road, which the Supreme Court ordered closed in 2002. Working with a local organization, SEARCH, Survival has distributed leaflets to tourists arriving at the Islands’ airport warning of the dangers of using the road.
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘This story reeks of colonialism and the disgusting and degrading ‘human zoos’ of the past. Quite clearly, some people’s attitudes towards tribal peoples haven’t moved on a jot. The Jarawa are not circus ponies bound to dance at anyone’s bidding.’

Indian breed Cows are most beneficial than foreign breeds. Save ‘Vechur’ and ‘Kasargode’ like Heritage Cow breeds. Stop Cow slaughter in India.

Indian breed Cows are most beneficial than foreign breeds. Holy Indian Cow breeds give us healthier, life-saving, most fortified and nectar like milk. Actually the cow progeny was considered as Cow-Wealth and it was considered as the back bone of Indian agriculture, health, economy and cultural development. Cows are considered so holy to all Arya-Hindu roots for ever and not to be killed anyway for any purpose. But for dismantle the Indian system, foreign breeds/products are imported in every respect for seed, cows, fertilizers, pesticides, day-to-day consumer products to weaken us in every foot-step. Why should we accept foreign things, while we may produce best from our soil and toil? Please take the vow to accept SWADESHI (Indigenous Breeds/Products) and arouse SWABHIMAN (Self Reliance) to make our MOTHERLAND as “World Mother” and the “Viswa Guru” (World Teacher). Read the following eye opener in the field of Indian breeds of Holy Cows. Vande Gomataram !! ~ Upananda Brahmachari.

Cattle class: native vs exotic


MOTHER AND CHILD: The mother Vechur cow is 82 cm tall. Vechur is the world’s smallest cattle breed. Photo : P. Sainath. Courtesy : The Hindu.
Kerala is feeling the ill-effects of an official policy that favoured disease-prone crossbreeds over low-maintenance native breeds.
Visitors flow in and out of Chandran Master’s compound in P. Vemballur, Thrissur, Kerala. Students, teachers, trainees in animal husbandry work and even officials walk around like it’s a public space. And in some ways, it is. People come a distance to see his 22 cows and two bulls — mostly from rare indigenous breeds. Also, the many kinds of mango, bamboo and fish he has cultivated, again species native to India. The former English teacher also boasts a classic Kathiawari horse and several native breeds of poultry. But the star attractions are the tiny Vechur — “the world’s smallest cow” — and other dwarf varieties of Kerala cattle.
The visitors’ interest also reflects a growing concern in the State about the fate of domestic breeds of cattle and other livestock. Like elsewhere, a strong emphasis on crossbred cattle that aimed at higher milk production also saw a sharp decline in native animals. There is now a serious debate on the results of that approach. Kerala’s cattle population declined by around 48 per cent between 1996 and 2007.


Dr. R. Vijayakumar, Director of Kerala’s Animal Husbandry Department (AHD), says the State’s new breeding policy “limits exotic [that is, non-native] germplasm to 50 per cent of cattle. We are now also propagating native breeds. We even conduct artificial insemination with the semen of native bulls.” And while the number of animals may have fallen between 1996 and 2007, “milk productivity of cows in the State rose in that period. From an average of six litres a day to 8.5 litres, even as crossbreeds came to account for 87 per cent of Kerala’s cattle.”
However, the cost of milk production is much higher with the crossbreeds. The feed requirement of native dwarf breeds like Vechur and Kasargode are very minor. Their feed-to-milk conversion is very good. The crossbreeds are high-maintenance animals and are disease-prone. “See this Vadakara Dwarf,” says Chandran Master. “I doubt I spend five to ten rupees on her feed daily. Still she gives me three to four litres. But the quality of her milk is highly prized and I could get Rs.50 a litre for it. So even in that way, the benefit is greater. There is no high standard of feed required either. Kitchen scraps and leftovers can be used. And they don’t require special sheds or anything.” He, however, does not sell milk. He does sell “very few calves each year when the numbers exceed my capacity to manage.”
Of the Vechur, he says its milk has medicinal qualities recorded by Ayurveda ages ago. In more recent times, studies at the Kerala Agricultural University have also shown the percentage of fats and total solids of the Vechur cow to be higher than that found in crossbred cows. The smaller size of the fat globules in the Vechur’s milk makes it more suitable for infants and the sick.
AHD Director R. Vijayakumar says the decline of native species had many causes. Not just the castrations of ‘non-descript’ varieties that had occurred in a much earlier period. He points to “the trend towards cash crops which brought about a decline in animal-based agriculture and to a younger generation of farmers with no time or patience for rearing large animals — they prefer smaller ruminants. And to a greater interest in crossbreeds due to their higher milk productivity.”


But costs and maintenance are another matter. “Before I switched to local breeds in 1994,” says Chandran Master, “I had three crossbreds, including one Swiss Brown. I had to spend up to Rs.400 a day on each. The feed was very costly and over Rs.200 a day. Pellet feed, rice powder, wheat powder, oil cake, green grass, it’s endless. They would fall ill all the time and the vet was here every week, with each visit costing me Rs.150 apart from the expense of arranging a vehicle for him.”
Since making his switch: “No vet has attended my cows for 17 years. And I have not even insured a single one of them. These are hardy, healthy creatures.” And several experts do point out that India’s native cattle (Bos indicus) have evolved to cope with the climate and to “withstand diseases, parasites and calve easily without human assistance.” Scientists like Dr. Sosamma Iype, who pioneered the revival of the Vechur at KAU, also point out that these dwarf animals “have good resistance to foot and mouth disease and mastitis. Both, diseases which plague crossbred cows in Kerala. Vechur cattle also have a far lower incidence of respiratory infections.”
Most livestock owners in Kerala are either small or marginal farmers or even landless. The State has the highest percentage of crossbreeds in the country. And while its average milk yield has risen, production is far below demand. The State is not amongst the top producers in the country. Feed utilisation per litre of milk is also one of the highest in India. Critics say it’s wrong to ignore the steep fall in cattle numbers and native breeds that has hurt the State, alongside decades-old policies that made it illegal for a farmer to keep any bull without a licence for it. That licence is only granted at the level of State Director of the AHD.
Technically, Chandran Master and others are breaking the law. But surely the State has no way of knowing whether a farmer is keeping an “illegal” bull? “A hostile panchayat can make life hell for a farmer,” says one expert. “If that farmer is at odds with the ruling outfit of that panchayat, they can keep him in court for months.”


Haritha Bhoomi (Green Earth) a journal on agriculture recently summed up the red tape involved in permissions of any kind: Say a farmer wishes to exceed the limit of six large animals and 20 head of poultry, even by a minor number. He needs clearances from the panchayat to just start the process. If you exceed the quota, you have to go to the Pollution Control Board. Depending on the size of the establishment you wish to build, you will need certificates from the District Town Planner. Perhaps even from the State Chief Town Planner. Manage to get these done and you have to prepare a technical report for the panchayat and get three or four certificates from them. Then the farmer must get clearances from the district medical officer to whom he has to submit NOCs from all residents within 100 metres of his planned farm.
On my first visit to Chandran Master’s home I had run into a Livestock Inspector (LI) from another region. Wishing to remain unnamed, he told me “On most of my visits I see the problems faced by the crossbreeds. They fall ill with the slightest change in climate. They cannot take the heat.” Chandran Master chipped in: “You cannot sleep one night peacefully. Crossbreds can’t stand ten minutes of rain. With local breeds, you don’t even need cowsheds.” The LI nodded: “If I keep a cow, it will be a Vechur.”
(PS: Following Thursday’s story in The Hindu, the Sahabaghya Vikash Abhiyan, a community-based body deeply involved in Kalahandi’s agriculture, has announced it will gift Chandran Master two calves of the rare Khariar breed. The challenge now is to transport them from western Orissa to Thrissur in Kerala.)

Muslim jailed for holding ex-wife prisoner on the toilet after blasting her western knickers as SATAN

  • Khalique Miah held Zahanara Begum in the bathroom for more than an hour
  • He then cut off her hair after criticising the highlights
Khalique Miah was jailed for 18 months at Snaresbrook Crown Court for the attack on his ex-wife
Khalique Miah was jailed for 18 months at Snaresbrook Crown Court for the attack on his ex-wife
A devout Muslim held his ex-wife prisoner on the toilet for an hour and physically assaulted her as punishment for wearing Western clothes.

Khalique Miah has been jailed for 18 months for the attack on Zahanara Begum.

She was on the loo when her former husband burst in dressed in black, wielding a hammer and referring to her underwear as 'Satan'.

Miah, 35, covered her mouth with a gloved hand to stop her screaming, punched her in the chest and stomach then climbed on top of her, holding her in place, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

He started haranguing her about her plucked eyebrows, shaved legs and highlighted hair, telling her she should not wear Western clothes and calling her knickers 'Satan'.

The couple’s three-year-old daughter woke up and started crying, but Miah refused to let Mrs Begum go and comfort her.

After an hour she begged for her freedom and he relented, telling her to get in the bath.

He then took her into the living room, where the father-of-two said her hair would have to go.

She agreed, not realising what he meant until he went into the kitchen, fetched a pair of scissors and started snipping it off into a carrier bag.

By this point it was nearly 3am, but Mrs Begum decided to wake the couple’s children in the hope their presence would stop Miah hurting her.

The defendant pocketed his ex-wife’s mobile phone, cut her landline and refused to let her leave the flat until 10am the next day, when she persuaded him she wanted to give the marriage another go.

He agreed to phone her family and when they arrived at the address in Whitechapel, East London, Mrs Begum asked them to call the police.

Miah admitted false imprisonment and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Passing sentence, Judge Simon Wilkinson said the victim had been through a 'terrifying ordeal' at the hands of her former husband.

He said: 'At 11pm, you arrived at her address unannounced and uninvited. You were dressed in black and carrying a hammer in the waistband of your trousers.

'You surprised her when she was sitting on the WC in her bathroom. She could not have been more vulnerable.

'You put your gloved hand over her mouth to stifle her screams then punched her and slapped her to the chest area.

'When you finally allowed her off the toilet seat you cut off her hair with a pair of scissors. You also cut her landline and took her mobile phone. Such conduct cannot and will not be tolerated.'

Miah, who works at Tesco in Bow, East London, has no previous convictions and had been on the supermarket’s fast-track management programme.

He was married to Mrs Begum for eight years and they had two children, now aged three and seven.

Mathew Dance, defending, said: 'He has indicated genuine remorse. He says he has learned his lesson.

'He wants to put all this behind him and get on with his life.'

Miah, of Whitechapel, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and assault causing actual bodily harm.

Rakyat Malaysia tak bodoh tapi diperbodohkan

‘There’s still the sex video issue’

Singapore political analyst Bridget Welsh is skeptical about Anwar Ibrahim's victory and the BN government's apparent yielding to the ruling.

PETALING JAYA: It has been 14 years since the first sodomy charge was slapped against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and yesterday’s unexpected verdict has left analysts with mixed feelings.

Some believe that the government may finally end its persecution of Anwar as it has more to lose than gain by pursuing the matter, while others fear that another plan is underway to imprison him on a technicality.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister, was yesterday acquitted and discharged from a sodomy charge – his second – levelled against him. The sodomy II case, which began in 2010, was brought against him by his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari who is almost 40 years his junior.

In an immediate reaction Anwar, greeting thousands of supporters who thronged Jalan Duta Court Complex yesterday, said he was finally “vindicated”.

Being the galvanizing figure of a disparate opposition coalition, Anwar was credited for the 2008 political tsunami which saw Barisan Nasional lose five states – Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor – to the opposition DAP, PAS and PKR. BN wrested back Perak shortly after in a reverse takeover.

Since then Umno-led BN has been obsessed with discrediting Anwar and in the process has seen its own sway over voters, particularly the Malays, drop.

According to Ooi Kee Beng, Deputy Director of the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies, ISEAS, the BN government cannot afford to further persecute Anwar.

He opined that the persecution on the de-facto PKR head may end here as the BN government stands to lose further political clout if it continues to crucify the Permatang Pauh MP in the future.

Appeal unlikely

Ooi added that Anwar and this sodomy case would not drag on further as an appeal would not highlight any new aspects to the case which the the prosecution had already “failed” to establish during the year-long trial.

Asked if the issue of this sodomy case would be prolonged, Ooi answered in the negative.

“Of course the government can bring upon charges against him in the future but for this case, this is all they have and it failed.

“In order to appeal you need a good case you can’t just appeal for fun.

“The prosecution has done everything they could (during the trial) and yet they have failed.

“Anwar’s persecution has gone too far (and) in this time and age with all the information flow it will not work in their (the government’s) favour,” he told FMT.

Fellow political analyst, James Chin of Monash University also said that Anwar may be spared from further prosecution.

Chin indicated that the message from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) delivered through Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim was a signal that there will be no further appeals on this case.

“There will be no appeal because PMO has already issued a statement declaring how the verdict has proven that the judiciary is independent,” said Chin.

AG yet to decide on appeal

In an immediate reaction to the verdict, Rais had in a statement declared that the verdict showed that the Malaysian judiciary was independent and “reputable”.

While calling for the verdict to be respected, Rais added that he was proud that the court had “discharged its duties without fear or favour”.

Yesterday FMT reported that the prosecution team has yet to decide if they will appeal the case.

Chief prosecutor Mohd Yusoff Zainal Abiden said they will wait for the written judgment before any decision is made to appeal the court ruling.

While complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan is fervently hoping that they will appeal, many other parties, however, have voiced hope that the Attorney-General’s chambers will not waste more public funds by pursuing the matter.

Sex video issue

Meanwhile another political analyst Bridget Welsh said the celebrations over Anwar’s release may be short-lived.

“I don’t want to prejudge but there is always a possibility that this isn’t the last of the case.

“The second sodomy case has gone on for almost three years and was taken to court without concrete evidence so there is always a chance that it can be prolonged via the appeal process,” said Welsh, who is an an associate professor in political science at the Singapore Management University.

Welsh reminded that the smearing campaign and persecution is far from over, and Anwar has the sex-video scandal which surfaced last March.

“There is the sex video tape investigations that are still ongoing,” she said, referring to the revelation of a sex video by the trio dubbed ‘Datuk T’ of a man resembling Anwar allegedly having sex with a Chinese prostitute.

In the latest twist to the sex video issue, a probe was launched against Anwar last November after the investigating officer in the case, DSP Shanmugan Moorthy, lodged a police report that Anwar had knowingly given him false information, an offence under Section 182 of the Penal Code.

Anwar has claimed that the sex-video allegations are politically motivated and that this new twist, was a desperate attempt to “keep him busy” and imprison him.

Punca murtad: Kristianisasi atau diri sendiri?

Himpun mengaku bahawa kajian dan fakta di antara lain, menunjukkan bahawa majoriti punca murtad adalah disebabkan individu terbabit dibelenggu kemiskinan.

Bahagian Pertama

Himpunan Sejuta Umat Selamatkan Aqidah (Himpun) mengadakan himpunan ketiga mereka di Seremban semalam yang dihadiri oleh 3,000 umat Islam sekitar Negeri Sembilan.

Himpunan yang bermula 9.00 pagi itu berakhir empat jam kemudian. Antara barisan penceramah yang menyampaikan ucapan ialah Exco

Kerajaan Selangor Datuk Dr Hasan Ali, Bekas Mufti Negeri Sembilan Datuk Murtadza Ahmad, Pengerusi Himpun Azmi Abdul Hamid dan Timbalan Pengerusi Himpun Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman.

Semua penceramah menyampaikan ucapan dengan penuh bersemangat. Contohnya antara ucapan ringkas pengacara majlis dipetik berkata “Jangan cari pasal dengan Islam. Islam agama rasmi, Islam agama Malaysia”.

Di dalam Stadium Tertutup Kompleks Sukan Paroi, tempat berlangsungnya Himpunan tersebut terdapat banyak kain rentang dengan slogan seperti ‘Melayu di martabat, Islam hebat’; ‘Melayu sepakat, Islam berdaulat’; ‘Jangan permainkan agama Islam’ dan ‘Bersatu mempertahankan aqidah umat Islam dan institusi Raja’.

Intipati hampir kesemua penceramah tersebut adalah untuk memberitahu umat Islam bagaimana umat Islam kini di ancam dengan Gerakan Kristianisasi dan umat Islam perlu mempertahankan agama Islam dan aqidah mereka.

Memperkasa Islam

Dalam email yang pernah dihantar kepada media sebelum ini Himpun berkata perhimpunan itu dianjur untuk memperkasakan Islam, mempertahankan artikel 153 Perlembagaan Negara, cegah murtad dan menghapuskan usaha Gerakan Kristian menegakkan kerajaan Kristian.

Walaubagaimanapun ucapan Murtadza agak berlainan dan amat berbeza dengan ucapan penceramah-penceramah yang lain. Beliau menyentuh isu murtad di kalangan umat Islam dalam konteks hukum itu sendiri dan hujah beliau bersifat intelektual dan akademik.

Beliau melontarkan satu persoalan di luar kotak pemikiran yang setakat ini tidak pernah di sentuh olah mana-mana pihak termasuk pemimpin politik dari mana-mana parti termasuk Hasan sendiri yang merupakan pemimpin politik Islam paling lantang membincangkan isu Murtad dan gerakan Kristianisasi.

“Masa penjajahan dulu tidak murtad, masa sekarang kita murtad,” kata Murtadza.

Persoalan tersebut harus ditanya oleh umat Islam sendiri terutama pemimpin parti kerajaan kerana sejak merdeka selama 54 tahun merekalah yang berkuasa melaksanakan Undang-Undang Syariah, yang menguruskan Jabatan Agama Islam, Baitulmal, Pusat Zakat, masjid dan surau.

Apa yang menarik selain Murtadza, kesemua penceramah yang lain termasuk kepimpinan Himpun itu sendiri mengutarakan permasalahan dan punca utama murtad di kalangan umat Islam.

Sama ada di dalam ucapan mereka, mahu pun di dalam sidang akhbar, Himpun mengaku bahawa kajian dan fakta menunjukkan bahawa majoriti punca murtad adalah disebabkan individu yang terbabit dibelenggu dengan kemiskinan, berasal dari keluarga yang retak dan bermasalah dan juga kes-kes saudara baru yang akhirnya kembali ke agama asal kerana hilang tempat bergantung dan berada dalam keadaan yang terdesak kerana faktor kewangan.

Maka kepimpinan Himpun sedar atau tidak, masalah akar umbi umat Islam murtad adalah disebabkan oleh umat Islam dan agensi berkuasa agama Islam itu sendiri.

Kenyataan Himpun mengenai punca umat Islam murtad amat jelas menunjukkan berlaku kepincangan dalam sistem pentadbiran Jabatan

Agama Islam, Baitulmal, Pusat Zakat, Jawatankuasa masjid dan surau yang tidak menjalankan tugas dengan efektif sehingga mereka yang bermasalah dan tersepit dengan keadaan ekonomi akhirnya mencari bantuan dari pihak gereja.

Faktor Gerakan Kristianisasi hanya berlaku kemudian atau pada tahap kedua. Jika pada tahap pertama kesemua masalah yang membelenggu umat Islam dapat ditangani, tidak ada ruang untuk elemen Gerakan Kristianisasi itu berlaku sama sekali melainkan dalam kes terpencil seperti kes Lina Joy kerana faktor cinta.

Lima fokus

Dalam risalah yang diedarkan oleh Himpun terdapat lima fokus rancangan tindakan:

Apa tindakan terhadap pihak yang cuba memurtadkan umat Islam?
Apa tindakan terhadap pihak yang cuba mencemarkan Islam?
Apa tindakan terhadap umat Islam yang telah dimurtadkan oleh pihak tersebut?
Apa tindakan terhadap umat Islam yang memurtadkan diri sendiri?
Apa tindakan proaktif menangani kes murtad?

Malangnya tidak disebut apa tindakan untuk mencegah murtad atau mengelak murtad itu berlaku terlebih dahulu. Tidak juga disebut apa tindakan untuk mencari jalan penyelesaian apabila seorang umat Islam itu memilih untuk murtad.

Sebaliknya fokus hanya diberikan kepada tindakan apabila kes murtad itu telah pun berlaku bukannya sebelum berlaku.

Trend baru

Sementara itu Setiausaha Agung Himpun, Aminuddin Yahaya berkata berlaku trend baru dalam kes murtad membabitkan remaja perempuan Melayu yang berumur dari 20 hingga 25 tahun.

Aminuddin berkata trend baru itu melalui jaringan facebook.

“Mereka berkenalan dengan pemuda bukan Islam melalui laman facebook. Selepas berkenalan akhirnya mereka jatuh cinta dan murtad kerana mengikuti ajaran agama teman lelaki mereka,“ jelas Aminuddin.

Walaubagaimanapun apabila ditanya pihak media berapa ramai gadis Melayu murtad dengan trend sebegitu, Aminuddin berkata buat masa ini mereka masih belum mempunyai statistik lengkap.

Adalah diharap Himpun berbuat sesuatu untuk membantu dan mendidik umat Islam yang menghadapi kesusahan, kesempitan hidup dan keluarga bermasalah termasuk saudara baru dan orang Asli.

Jika ikhlas Himpun juga harus membantu menangani gejala sosial di kalangan remaja Melayu atau Islam yang ketika ini semakin kritikal.

Gejala bohsia, mat rempit, ketagih dadah, merokok, buang bayi, gay, pengkid, minum arak, hiburan melampau dan seks sebelum bernikah seperti tidak boleh dibendung lagi.

Masalah gejala sosial di kalangan remaja Islam lebih parah berbanding masalah murtad yang masih terkawal. Tiada maknanya Islam atas nama sahaja tetapi amalan dan gaya hidup lebih teruk dari Barat.

Jika Himpun benar-benar mempunyai bukti bahawa memang berlaku Gerakan Kristianisasi maka seharusnya semua bukti dan maklumat itu diberikan kepada Jabatan Agama Islam dan Jabatan Mufti untuk diambil tindakan kerana pihak ini yang sebenarnya mempunyai kuasa penguatkuasaan untuk melakukan pendakwaan dan bentuk tindakan.

Tidak salah Himpun menyerahkan tugas memulih akidah kepada NGO-NGO Islam tetapi sudah pasti ruang skop atau sumber NGO itu sendiri terhad dan terbatas.

Seharusnya Himpun, NGO dan Jabatan Agama Islam sendiri harus berganding bahu menyelesaikan masalah yang menyebabkan gejala murtad berlaku dan pencegahan dilakukan agar ianya terkawal.

Mahathir Launched ABU in 2008, Claims Raja Petra

(Malaysian Digest) - Self-exiled blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin yesterday claimed that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed was the one who had 'launched' the ABU (Anyone But Umno) movement in 2008.

In his latest article in Malaysia Today, he said in 2008 Dr Mahathir had launched ABU when the latter told a press conference to not vote Umno in the 2008 general election.

Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying “vote anyone but Umno” when he met the Chinese association leaders and told them to support the opposition, especially in Penang, then prome minister Tun Abdullah Badawi’s home state, resulting in the opposition taking over that state.

“I don’t care whether Dr Mahathir is sincere about supporting the opposition or whether he had ulterior motives – such as to bring Abdullah Badawi down.

“Dr Mahathir’s charity is not my concern. How the opposition can benefit by Dr Mahathir becoming Umno’s enemy is. And that is what I focused on," said Raja Petra who is also the editor and founder of the Malaysia Today portal.

In May 2008, Dr Mahathir along with fellow Umno veteran Tan Sri Sanusi Junid announced that they are quitting Umno.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced his decision, citing a lack of confidence in the current leadership of then prime minister Abdullah.

Mahathir had been critical of his appointed successor Abdullah or fondly known as Pak Lah, blaming him for the party's disappointing performance in the 12th general election where Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) won the March 8 election with a simple majority, and saw four more states join Kelantan under Opposition rule.

Zaid Ibrahim: “It will get better”

LAWYER-turned-politician Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim, 60, knows that politics can be a dirty game. He joined Umno and won the Kota Baru parliamentary seat in the 2004 general election. The party did not field him for the 2008 elections, however. After winning with a severely reduced majority, the ruling coalition under Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi nevertheless appointed Zaid senator and minister in the prime minister’s department.
As minister, Zaid made the headlines when he advocated a restoration of judicial independence, and opposed Malay supremacy and the abuse of the Internal Security Act (ISA), among others. In fact, his resignation as minister in September 2008 in protest of the ISA made headlines everywhere. He was subsequently sacked from Umno for being too chummy with the federal opposition, and joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in 2009.
(All pics courtesy of Zaid Ibrahim)
In April 2010, he was fielded as PKR’s candidate for the Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election. Almost immediately, he was attacked by the Umno-owned media for drinking alcohol, and subsequently lost. Later that year, Zaid contested in the PKR party polls for the deputy presidency, but eventually withdrew from the race and party, alleging that PKR’s leadership condoned malpractice. In December 2010, he was elected to lead political party Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia and renamed it Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air.
Zaid sat down with The Nut Graph for this exclusive interview in Petaling Jaya on 18 March 2010, back when he was still with PKR and gearing up for Hulu Selangor.
TNG: When and where were you born?
I was born in Kampung Chap, which is about 30km from Kota Baru, in 1951, after the (Second World) War. But it is in the district of Bachok.
Are there any stories from your parents or grandparents that made you the person you are today?
I think I had quite a free childhood, in the sense that I did not have that many restrictions, other than the chores I had to do. For example in Kota Baru, my father was working in a kedai kopi, and I would work helping him out, cleaning up dishes.
I used to sell ice cream, just to make some money after school. I mean, selling ice cream is a tough job, because you have to go around and if your friends see you, it’s quite embarrassing. But after a while you just take it in your stride.
But Kota Baru was also a nice place then because there was a lot of freedom.
And at that time it was already under PAS rule, wasn’t it?
Yes, but it was different. I mean, you had nightclubs. The elites would go to Prince Hotel, and I would just sit downstairs and listen to the music. You could hear [music], and you could see people wearing bow ties; they were very English those days, the elites of Kelantan. It was not a sleepy town at all.
Family portrait with Zaid as a boy
Family portrait with Zaid as a boy
Did your father have any political inclinations?
My father was a PAS supporter. He introduced me to political ceramah. But he wasn’t an activist, like a card-carrying member. He was just a supporter of (former PAS president Tan Sri Mohd) Asri (Muda) in those days.
Until his death, he was always a PAS member, and he was always critical of me being in Umno. My father said to me, “Why do people go to university?” I said, “So that you can get a job or something.” He said, “No, so that you can think.” He was being sarcastic, you see, because [to him], if you can think then why would you want to join Umno? (chuckles)
My mother was a strong Umno [supporter]. [Most] of the time my father was PAS, she was Umno. That was a common thing in Kelantan. Families were divided.
It was not a cause to disown half the family?
No, that was later. Those extreme political views became more prevalent in the [1980s], not in the [1960s].
Would you say you are ideologically consistent even though now you are in a different party?
Ya, it is more about how you are going to achieve [your] objective. I once thought that the transformation would only happen if you were from within.
On the issue of [Malay] privileges, I have always had the same stand even in Umno. At some point, Mahathir seemed to have had that view, but he always flip flops depending on what he [wants to achieve]. You know, when he said, “We don’t need crutches” and all that, I thought that was very bold on his part, and I was very supportive.
You see, the problem with privileges is that if you distort the message, if you give a false message, it becomes counter-productive, [and] it becomes a problem, even for the recipient. You see [that now there is confusion between] privileges and rights, which is the crux of the discourse today – that Malay [Malaysians] are being told by Umno that they have special rights.
So if you have special rights, why do you bother to do anything? You just ask for this, ask for that. But Malay [Malaysians] actually don’t have special rights, they have privileges in certain situations. And that’s not supposed to be permanent; it’s supposed to depend on situations. It may last a long time, or it may not last a long time.
But now it has become “rights”. It’s like, “We have more rights than you.” And that sort of fallacy or myth is counter-productive, because not only is it not true, it’s wrong. It also is divisive. And what for?
The only reason I can think of is that it makes Umno politicians have this convenient tool, this popularity, as the defender of so-called “rights”. And they would be indispensable. But if somebody else comes to power, they would be exposed.
Zaid receiving a prize when he was in Standard 6
Zaid receiving a prize when he was in Standard 6
But even two years ago when (Selangor Menteri Besar) Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim suggested opening up Mara University of Technology to non-Malay Malaysians, the backlash was fantastic.
If you read Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian and watch TV3, of course it looks like a backlash. But if you talk to Malay [Malaysians] in a sensible way and explain to them why competition in Mara would be good for them, I’m sure they would accept it.
I mean, Malay [Malaysians] are not mad, you know. They are sensible people. Umno is mad.
Another thing you’ve been consistent on is the policing of people’s personal beliefs and religious expression. [...] When you were running as an Umno Member of Parliament in Kota Baru, one of the things you did was you actually went to the ground to explain something to the people.
Yes, it was in 2004, because there was this massive controversy about my taking action against hudud (Islamic criminal law) [in Kelantan]. Muslims were all riled up, saying that I opposed the implementation of hudud.
I had to explain to people in Kota Baru the action by PAS to pass that law in 1993. I took up [legal] action [against Kelantan’s PAS government] only in the year 2000 or 2001.
I was more interested as a lawyer, and I think that people should understand that whatever you want to do in this country you have to do by constitutional means. If you don’t follow the constitution, then we’ll be in chaos. So whether it is Islamic or whatever, you still have to follow the law, the constitution.
So I filed the action to get the Federal Court to determine whether state legislatures are competent to legislate on criminal matters. And my view is that they cannot. If they cannot, then the enactment is null and void.
But Umno opposed my action. That is the irony of it all. And they had to ask me to withdraw because they didn’t want to be seen as opposing hudud.
But this is how this country is run. [Nobody] wants to face the facts. On the one hand, you have PAS, which portrays itself as Islamic and therefore wants to implement this law. On the other hand, Umno was not keen to be seen to be opposing it, because it’s Islamic law. But I don’t think this is how this country should be run. This country should be run in an honest way.
So you have to tell them that the way to do it is, when you have enough seats in Parliament, then you can amend the constitution. I’m not saying that you should, but if you want to do it, then you should do it that way.
So I explained my position to the people of Kota Baru and I won. And some people told me I will not succeed if this is my style of politics. But I said success is for me to define. If I think that in my involvement in all these political matters, I have managed to transform a bit, if not all, then that is success to me.
With PAS leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat
With PAS leader Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat
In all your interviews and writings, you come off as an optimist all the time. Do you think it will get worse [in Malaysia] before it gets better?
Oh, I think it’s already very bad.
(Laughs) Can it get worse?
No, it will get better. I don’t think there’s any country in the world today that’s so backward, not in a material sense, but backward in terms of our values. We have racist newspapers like Utusan Malaysia. We have ministers making statements that are totally ridiculous. We have racist statements coming from everywhere. The worst that you can think of has now been spewed out. I don’t think we can get any worse, and so it can only get better. I still believe that people are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for.
While I am optimistic, I am not unrealistic. I know the message may not get through, the understanding may be warped, the playing field might be uneven, [those in power] might rig [election] results, anything can happen. It’s not going to be smooth. But at the end of the day, I think the people will prevail…
People know what’s going on in the world. It’s not like the days when I was young when I didn’t know what was going on in the world.
But as an optimist, is there anything that you still grapple with? Perhaps as a Malay [Malaysian], or a leader?
My concern is that people don’t get the facts right. They don’t get the message right [because we don’t have the means to communicate with them].
Can you visualise a Malaysia you want to leave behind for your grandchildren and their grandchildren?
Yes, [for] prosperity to be for all. This country is rich enough for everyone. This country is structured on the basis of respect for freedom, liberty – these are words used in the constitution. And these are not concepts that are archaic. These are eternal, right from the time of the Greeks.
And I think Muslims and Malay [Malaysians] want to live in peace and with respect with other communities. They just want a fair share of the cake. They don’t want any abuse, because that is what Islam asks them to do, to be fair. A Muslim’s primary duty, apart from obligations to God, is to create a just society in this world. You know, when you are in school, the ustaz will tell you that. This is not your world, it is God’s world.

Rakaman 901 Di Sekitar Jalan Duta Dan Kediaman DSAI

Anwar’s acquittal a victory for justice but not yet a triumph for the justice system

By Lim Kit Siang,

I had in my first response to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal from Sodomy II charges yesterday said that it was a victory for justice.

There was immediate response from detractors accusing me of double standards, alleging that I would regard the justice system as fair and just when Anwar is freed but the opposite if Anwar is imprisoned.

These detractors have got me wrong. Anwar’s acquittal was a victory for justice but not yet a triumph for the justice system.

Just as a swallow does not make a summer, the justice system in Malaysia has a very long way to go despite the Anwar Sodomy II acquittal to restore national and international confidence in its in efficiency, independence and integrity.

In acquitting Anwar, Judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah cited the possibility that the DNA samples were compromised and the lack of corroborative evidence. On these grounds alone, Anwar should never had been charged in this first place. Furthermore, Anwar’s defence should not have been called at the end of the prosecution case.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today joined the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Rais Yatim to proclaim that Anwar’s acquittal was proof of the independence of the judiciary in Malaysia and would increase the confidence of Malaysians and international community in Najib’s transformation promises.

Such claims and proclamations are most fragile.

Firstly, it will not be easily forgotten that the crisis of confidence in the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law reached a new climax under Najib’s premiership, when he orchestrated the unconstitutional coup d’etat and power grab in Perak state which was given legitimacy by compromised and subservient judiciary.

Secondly, such claims would be instantly destroyed if Anwar is subject to new and further persecutions, whether in a decision to appeal against Anwar’s acquittal or to harass him with new charges.

I call on Najib to end all gutter politics and character assassination of political opponents and the politics of lies and hate, which of late has poisoned Malaysian politics and the nation-building process – as for instance the incessant lies trying to portray the DAP as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Malay Rulers.

Let the battle for the hearts and minds of the voters be on policies and programmes and not on character-assassination, lies and falsehoods.

Anwar’s acquittal yesterday has given hope that the decay of key national institutions have not reached the point of no return and that it is possible to effect changes and reforms from within the present system – although there can be no better surety of fundamental reforms of key national institutions than to bring about a change of federal power in Putrajaya in the next general elections.

Anwar’s acquittal is likely to affect Najib’s time-table for the holding of the next general elections as the possibility of dissolution of Parliament immediately after the Chinese New Year has receded into the background.

This is probably why Parliament has announced the dates for the new Parliamentary calender this year – with official opening of Parliament by the Yang di Pertuan Agong on March 12 starting a 20-day meeting for Dewan Rakyat from March 12 to April 12, 2012; a second parliamentary meeting of 12 days from 11th June to 28th June and a 34-day 2013 Budget meeting from Sept. 24 to Nov. 27, 2012.

As of now, I expect the March meeting of Parliament to be held but not the June meeting, as otherwise the “feel good” feeling generated from Najib’s 2012 Budget “goodies” would have been completely dissipated.

Independence of judiciary proven


> Verdict shows neither politics nor politicians have influence over dispensation of justice: Najib 

PETALING JAYA: Barisan Nasional leaders said the verdict in the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial proves that the judiciary is independent, as opposed to what is alleged by opposition leaders.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday’s court ruling has seen the government cleared once and for all of the many baseless accusations of political interference and conspiracy against the opposition leader. 

“Today’s verdict shows once again that, despite what many have claimed, the Malaysian judiciary is an independent institution where neither politics nor politicians have any influence over the dispensation of justice,” he said. 

Najib said this further strengthens the clear separation of powers of each branch of the Malaysian government, with neither branch interfering with the workings of the other.

“As head of the executive branch, I respect the decisions of the other branch of government, the judiciary,” the prime minister said in a statement issued after his return yesterday from a visit to South Africa.  

The High Court acquitted and discharged Anwar, 64, on a charge of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 26, in 2008. Najib said this case was brought by a private individual and it was important that he had his accusations heard in court. “Far from being a politicallymotivated prosecution, it has been an unwelcome distraction from the serious business of running our country in the interests of the people,” he said. 

* Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told theSun that the decision proves what the Opposition has claimed is wrong.

“Unlike them (the Opposition), we respect the decision of the judge. All this while, they have said our judiciary 
is not fair but now it is proven that the courts are very independent.”

* Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah: “As lawabiding citizens, the outcome of the trial must be accepted and respected.” On claim of an unfair judiciary system, he said: “I have always respected the judiciary institution so there is no question on its independence.”

Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said the decision is vindication for the judiciary. Although the prosecution has the right to appeal the verdict, Abdul Rahman however felt that the country needs closure and should move on.

“We now need to focus on nation building. I personally believe although law provides for appeal, looking at the bigger picture, the court decided that there was not enough evidence and so because of that, Anwar was acquitted. 

“How are you going to appeal on that basis unless there is new evidence presented.”

* Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam tweeted: “The verdict on Anwar should put an end to all accusations of a manipulated judiciary.”

* Gerakan deputy president Datuk Chang Ko Youn in a statement called on Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders to apologise to the public for “the wild and baseless allegations made against the judiciary and the government with regard to the trial”.

“It is only fair they apologise to the public because over the past three years, they have made wild, spurious and unfounded allegations against the judiciary and government of manipulating the judicial process.”

* Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the verdict shows that the country’s judiciary is independent and able to deliver judgment without fear or favour. 

“The judgment has been made, and with this, it is proven that the country’s judiciary is reputable, and its judgments are on par with those made in the developed countries, which are based on the rule of law,” he said.

In a statement issued earlier, Rais noted Anwar’s acquittal proved that the government did not hold sway over judges’ decisions. 

* Land and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the verdict proved that the judiciary is independent and there is no interference from the authorities. 

BN Feels No Pressure With Court's Decision On Anwar Ibrahim's Case

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- Barisan Nasional (BN) feels no fear nor pressure at all with the Kuala Lumpur High Court's decision yesterday to acquit and discharge opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Dismissing such insinuations, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said BN had bravely gone through 12 general elections before and was prepared for the coming one, expected to be held this year.

Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president and BN deputy chairman, said the experience gained all this while would assist the BN election machinery in facing the coming general election.

"There's no pressure. Who says we are under pressure? Whatever the decision, it was the court's. We prepare for the elections not because we are under pressure, then only we get cracking. But we have been working as usual.

"We have gone through the general election not once, but it's going to be for the 13th time. We have a lot of experience. So, we are not under pressure in this matter. We will face it no matter what the situation is."

Muhyiddin said this after delivering a special address to officers and staff of the Educaton Ministry at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, today.

He said BN respected the court's decision on Anwar's sodomy case and stressed that the judiciary had always been independent in making decisions, without any interference from outside, including political parties.

He said the court's decision too would definitely raise public confidence in the country's democratic practices pillared by the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary without interfering with each other's jurisdiction.

He added that yesterday's court decision also proved the transparency of the country's system of democracy to the outside world.

Muhyiddin believed that after this, no quarters including the opposition would accuse the BN government of injustice for what was happening in the country.

"I believe the court's decision would also convince Malaysians and the international community on the earnestness of the government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in bringing the national transformation process to a higher level.

"This already could be seen at the Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday," he said.