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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

MACC invited to vet declarations in Judiciary’s bid to graft-proof operations

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: The Judiciary is the latest institution of public interest wanting to further graft-proof its operations by inviting the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on board.

Chief Justice Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria, who issued the invitation yesterday, said judges had nothing to fear if their work was clean.

Justice Arifin said judges of higher courts would be required to declare their assets soon and the MACC called in to check the information if there were allegations.

“I'm sure all of you have nothing to fear so we have to work together with MACC on this matter,” he said during the third day of the Conference of Judges here.

The move would affect judges in the Federal Court, the Court of Appeal and High Courts and judicial commissioners.

Under Section 9 of the Judges Code of Ethics 2009, a judge shall declare in writing all his assets to the Chief Justice of the Federal Court upon his appointment or any time thereafter, if required so.

At the conference, the Chief Justice also reminded judges to maintain the independence of the Judiciary and not put up with any interference in reaching their verdicts.

“But there are other interferences one of them may be your spouse. So, make sure there are no discussions,” he quipped.

The statement by Justice Arifin came just three days after MACC advised mega project owner MRT Corp not to consider a bid by a French company that was still under investigation for alleged corruption.

MRT Corp, the project owner of the multi-billion ringgit Klang Valley MY Rapid Transit, had asked MACC to help keep a hawk's eye to ensure that there was no corruption, especially in the procurement process.

Various groups lauded the move by Justice Arifin and suggested ways of cooperation.

Malaysian Bar president Lim Chee Wee said allegations of financial impropriety against judges would be easier to deal with if MACC audited their assets as soon as they were declared.

“This has been one of the many issues discussed by the Judiciary and the Bar on how to improve public confidence in the Judiciary,” Lim said.

He said allegations although without documentary evidence, so far as the Bar Council was aware impacted negatively on the image of the Judiciary, especially “when lawyers and litigants claim that they have bribed judge(s)”.

Retired Court of Appeal judges Datuk Shaik Daud Ismail and Datuk K.C. Vohrah said they had never been asked to declare their assets as judges.

“But I think it is a good idea,” said Vohrah in an SMS from overseas.

Former chief justice Tun Zaki Azmi said he declared his assets to the Chief Secretary's Office when he was appointed to the Federal Court in 2007.

“I asked new judicial commissioners to declare their assets to me when I was CJ.”

Chairman of Asli's Centre for Public Policy Studies Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam described Justice Arifin's announcement as “important” in judicial leadership.

However, he suggested that judges, Cabinet members and Members of Parliament declare their assets to an independent commission instead, adding that they should also be declaring their liabilities.

Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism and Human Rights founder Edmund Bon asked for declared assets by the judges to be made public “to a certain extent”.

Girls being raped and tortured

“I saw two of my daughters being raped in front of me,” an old lady from Essa Nagri told The News. “It is considered that Chooras have no integrity.” She says that around midnight, men from other areas start gathering in their neighbourhood. “They are usually drunk. They choose which home they will plunder.”

She adds that one night they stormed into her home and raped two of her girls, while she “was locked in another room hearing their cries for help”. “I am a widow without any financial prospects, but I did go to the MPA representing us. What good is he if he can’t do anything to protect us?” The fear to report these cases is such that at first, no one even admits that an incident of rape or torture has taken place.

Forcible conversions

Within the past three months, nine women have been abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. MPA Javed adds that the purpose is not to gain good deeds, but to sell them. A majority of the Christian girls converted are married, he says.

According to reports he received from different areas of the city, the abducted women are later sold to feudal lords in Sindh and Punjab. Citing a recent example, Javed says that in Essa Nagri, a 23-year-old married girl was forcibly remarried to a 60-year-old Muslim man, who was notorious for selling girls.

Javed said that the man was known to be pious, but had a side business of selling Christian girls. He says many people apart from him knew the truth. The only information that the family received was by a phone call through which they were informed by somebody that their girl is in Punjab.

He points out that there is a judgment by the Lahore High Court which clearly states that a “married Christian woman cannot be remarried to a Muslim even if converted,” but these cases do not even go to the police to be challenged in the high courts.

Brothel beside a church

Ayub Goth, near the Meteorological Department, is another area known for ethnic and religious discord. The Christians living in the area complain that a brothel was recently established right beside a Catholic church in the area.

In the evening women from outside are brought by “some people.” Residents say that these people have enough political clout to ensure that no one dares raise a finger.

Chaudhry, a former councillor of the area, says that the residents have grown tired of squabbling for space and now offer their prayers in a school right behind the church.

Munawar Baig, a resident of the area, says that if the same thing occurred in a Muslim dominated area, it would have been “treated differently”.

“We are not going anywhere,” says Abraham Masih, an 80-year-old resident of Ayub Goth. “We were born here and we’ll die here. I cannot preach with a gun, I can only pray for such people.”

“I have read the Bible as well as the Holy Quran and know for a fact that the religion does not use force on any one. It is not meant to make lives miserable for other people. If only those who cry about knowing the religion would understand that,” adds Javed.

Alien Serial Rapist in France Asks Victims Their Nationality and Religion Before Raping Them

On 23 December this man raped two blonde-haired, blue-eyed women in Paris then another two days later in √Čtampes (Essonne). The police had numerous photographs and CCTV images of this man but did not release them until the story was picked up in a magazine called Le Nouveau Detective (The New Detective) and then the newspaper Le Parisien, which published an artificial photofit image of him.

Le Parisien said that the detective division of the French police was "observing the strictest silence in this affair" which was described as "very sensitive".

This is yet another example of European police forces putting the lives of Europeans at greater risk for political purposes. They feel they have some kind of professional obligation to prevent the release of information that might cause Europeans to question the wisdom of allowing their countries being colonised by third-world immigrants. We saw exactly the same thing in the case of the Paki rape gangs in Britain. Of course, as I have written about before, this behaviour is imposed on the police by Council of Europe directives.

This man is considered very dangerous. He has shown himself to be very violent but at the same time, he has spoken to his victims a great deal, notably asking them their religious affiliation or their nationality.

"He also wounded the adolescent with several blows of the knife before trying to strangle her. He becomes very violent when the victims struggle. It seems he only attacks young European women, with light-coloured hair and blue eyes. He also apologised to them after having raped them and stabbed them. This type of behaviour is very troubling."

Jelajah Hasan Ali dedah 'parasit' PAS

NFCorp: Credit card bills were ‘business development expenses’

MACC officers arrive at NFCorp’s office in Kuala Lumpur, December 23, 2011. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — The National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp)’s management today admitted that money from the federally-funded project was used for credit card expenses, but maintained that these were solely for business purposes.

Earlier today, PKR alleged that Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s family had used nearly RM600,000 from the NFC project funds to pay for their credit card bills in 2009.

The party’s strategic director, Rafizi Ramli, said in a statement today that the Wanita Umno chief’s husband and three children, all of whom sit on the NFC board, used funds from the RM250 million cattle farming project to pay credit card bills averaging over RM10,000 per month each across the year.

In response, NFCorp executive director Wan Shahinur Izmir Salleh said that the credit card expenses were “corporate cards” and used for “business development purposes.”

“There are no personal expenses as alleged. The business development expenses by the four directors reflect the magnitude of its multi-million ringgit sales,” he said in a statement.

Wan Shahinur said that all the relevant facts were with the authorities, and added that the company would soon clarify other “misnomers and distortions that have affected public perception of the company.”

He also denied allegations that NFCorp’s directors had been paid “unjustifiable salaries”, saying that they were earning “nowhere near” the figures alleged by some parties. He also pointed out the authorities had the necessary information and bank statements for verification.

“The highly exaggerated figures first emerged from a mysterious prank blogger who had drawn the media’s attention to it. Since then, the blogger has disappeared and his erroneous post continues to be picked up by the public,” he added.

In the past two months, PKR has repeatedly accused Shahrizat’s family of abusing public funds, including spending at least RM27 million to buy land and property unrelated to cattle farming.

Rafizi said today NFC released RM182,525, RM160,673, RM127,900 and RM122,402 to pay credit card bills belonging to Shahrizat’s husband and NFC chairman, Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh, and her three children respectively in 2009.

The women, family and community development minister took three weeks’ leave last week to allow the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to probe the allegations.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced on Saturday that NFC’s assets have been frozen but Wan Shahinur, who is Shahrizat’s son, yesterday said it was “business as usual”.

Wan Shahinur also pointed out today that the Auditor-General’s report had never stated that the NFC project was in a mess, claiming that it was a false and mischievous allegation.

Anwar a hit in Umno stronghold

Pakatan launches its Negri Sembilan election manifesto in Gemas, where the NFC farm is located.

GEMAS: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim last night attracted his biggest crowd in Negri Sembilan in recent memory when he launched the Pakatan Rakyat election manifesto for the state.

Estimates put the size of the audience at more than 6,000 people, which was a remarkable number because Gemas is one of the strongest Umno fortresses in the state and the Tampin District Council had torn down hundreds of posters and banners advertising the event.

Before this, no Pakatan Rakyat figure has been able to attract more than 4,000 to an event in Negri Sembilan. The largest crowds before last night were at events in the Pakatan strongholds of Seremban and Rasah.

In his speech, Anwar repeated his challenge to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to an open debate in response to the latter’s oft-repeated remark that Pakatan was making empty promises.

“I tell you again, we will reduce fuel prices the day after we take over Putrajaya,” he told the multiracial crowd.

“In two weeks, we will reduce the electricity tariffs. We will give an ultimatum to the independent power producers to come up with new rates within two weeks.

“We will abolish the highway tolls.

“But Najib says I’m making empty promises. Let us run the government and we’ll show you. If Najib thinks I’m bluffing, let us have an open debate and let the public decide who is bluffing.”

‘Please save the country’

Also at the event were PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, state PAS commissioner Mohd Taufek Abdul Ghani, state PKR chairman Kamarul Baharin Abbas and state DAP chairman Loke Siew Fook.

Malays, Chinese and Indians stood shoulder to shoulder listening as Anwar spoke on diverse subjects, ranging from local concerns to his sodomy trial to national issues such as bad governance and systemic corruption.

Gemas is where the beleaguered National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) has its farm. Speaking about PKR’s series of expos√© of alleged corruption in NFC, Anwar said it was unfair that the government charge only two percent interest on its loan to the corporation but double the rate on loans given to civil servants.

“Please save the country before it goes bankrupt,” he told the crowd. “The government must be changed in the coming general election.”

According to Tampin PAS chief Zakaria Khalim, Gemas, which hosts a large army camp, has 19,369 voters, including 3,384 postal voters.

Gemas is a state seat within the parliamentary constituency of Tampin. There are six Felda schemes in the area, giving Barisan Nasional a great advantage in any election as Felda folk are known to be hardcore Umno supporters.

Each of the Felda schemes had about a thousand voters.
“Gemas has never been an easy place for us to get support,” Zakaria said.

Strategic reasons

However, he added, the NFC scandal might have opened the eyes of voters in the area, including the Felda settlers.

“Tampin Umno is feeling the heat,” he said. “All of a sudden, the sleeping Tampin Umno is awake. Lately, we have been prevented from having our ceramahs, even at the Repah DAP service centre.

“Somehow, for strategic reasons, the Negri Sembilan Pakatan Rakyat council decided to launch the election manifesto in Gemas.

“Our nightmare started last week when all the posters, buntings and banners along the Tampin-Gemas federal road were torn and removed by the Tampin District Council.”

The removal of the materials resulted in a fight last Monday between district enforcement officers and five Tampin PAS members. Police arrested the PAS five, who included information officer Zainil Suboh, and held them in remand for three days.

“My men were returning from Gemas after sticking the posters, when they noticed a few guys tearing them down,” Zakaria said. “When they approached the vandals, they tried to run away and a fight ensued.
“Both sides lodged police reports, but my men were remanded for obstructing civil servants carrying out their work.

“The issue here is why did they try to run away, why weren’t they in uniform and why didn’t they show their identification?”

No Indian face in Pakatan banners

Pakatan and DAP members feel that the omission was not a mistake, but a deliberate attempt by Pakatan leadership to show that only Malays and Chinese counted in the coalition.

GEORGE TOWN: There was no Indian face in the Pakatan Rakyat banner displayed at its national convention in Alor Setar last Saturday .

And this has riled up Pakatan and DAP Indian members. They feel that the omission was not a mistake, but a deliberate attempt by Pakatan leadership to show that only Malays and Chinese counted in the coalition.

The DAP Indian members are angry that their party supremo Karpal Singh pictorial montage was not included in the banner.

It was Karpal, as a lead counsel, who fought and got Anwar Ibrahim acquitted from the Sodomy II charge last Monday.

“How could Pakatan leadership forget Karpal?” they asked.

Human Rights Party secretary-general P Uthayakumar said that Barisan Nasional, for all its shortcomings, at least showcased Indian faces.

But by omitting an Indian face altogether from its official banner, he said Pakatan had indicated of things to come if it were to capture Putrajaya.

He claimed it was reflective of Pakatan future policies to undermine and sidestep Indian representation at the highest level of its decision-making hierarchy.

“Pakatan Malay and Chinese leaders demonstrated that they will make do without constructive Indian representations if they have federal powers,” alleged Uthayakumar.

He said Pakatan may have omitted Indian face because its leaders thought they can make do with only Malay and Chinese votes.

He reasoned that it was maybe because Indian community does not form a majority in the country’s 222 parliamentary constituencies despite having 715,099 registered voters as of general election 2008 electoral roll.

Since 1957, he alleged that Umno had has gerrymandered constituencies, with sizeable Indian population, to politically paralyse the community.

Sungai Petani, Padang Serai, Batu Kawan, Ipoh Barat, Bagan Datoh, Teluk Intan, Hulu Selangor, Kuala Selangor, Kota Raja, Klang, Teluk Kemang, Rasah and Cameron Highlands are among seats in question.

Compared to Sabah’s 25 federal and 60 state seats with 837,584 registered voters, he noted that Pakatan leaders have shown more political zest to look into the north Borneo state affairs.

Meanwhile, Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M Manoharan has been receiving calls since Saturday over the Pakatan banner.

He said the callers, including his constituents and Pakatan supporters, raised questions on whether “Pakatan was only interested in Indian votes, not Indian representations let alone their problems”.

Interview CNBC:Malaysia Opposition Leader: ‘Racist Policies Must End’

Five tests whether International Conference on Global Movement of Moderates is meaningful and Najib qualifies to be regarded as the voice of moderates in Malaysia

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is to launch and institutionalize “the Global Movement of the Moderates” at the inaugural International Conference on the Global Movement of the Moderates in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

In international conferences in the past two years, whether at the United Nations General Assembly or in Europe, Najib had kept to the theme calling on the moderates of the world to unite against extremists.

However, when he returns to Malaysia, he has allowed the forces of extremism, unreason and falsehoods a field day to the extent that Malaysia had never been more polarised on ethnic and religious grounds in the first three years of a Prime Minister than under him in the history of the nation.

Tonight, I want to put forth five tests to determine whether the International Conference on Global Movement of Moderates is meaningful or an exercise in hypocrisy and double-talk and whether Najib qualifies to be regarded as the voice of moderates in Malaysia.

Firstly, Najib must salvage his signature 1Malaysia policy, which he promulgated on becoming the sixth Prime Minister – to create a Malaysia where every Malaysian regards himself or herself as Malaysian first, and his race, religion, geography and socio-economic status second.

In March 2010, in response to my challenge in Parliament, the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin rubbished Najib’s 1Malaysia policy, declaring that he is Malay first and Malaysian second.

If after two years, Najib is unable to bring his Deputy Prime Minister into line to unequivocally and unconditionally support his signature 1Malaysia policy, it is a terrible reflection of his failure as Prime Minister and as voice of moderation in Malaysia.

Secondly, let him declare at the International Conference on Global Movement of Moderates tomorrow that he will spearhead a national campaign to end gutter politics and the politics of lies, falsehood and incitement which have seen their worst manifestation in 54 years of Malaysian nationhood in the 33 months he became Prime Minister.

DAP for instance is accused by UMNO leaders and apparatus as anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-Malay Rulers when these are downright lies and falsehoods.

Is Najib prepared to be the voice of moderates against the forces of extremism to end gutter politics and the politics of lies, falsehoods and incitement in Malaysia?

Third, let Najib declare at the International Conference of Moderates tomorrow that Utusan Malaysia, the official mouthpiece of UMNO, will immediately be transformed into a Voice of Moderation instead of being the strident voice of extremism and lies, undermining Malaysian nation-building in the process.

Fourthly, let Najib announce that he and all UMNO leaders will not use the threat of May 13 in the forthcoming 13th general elections or any future general elections to create fear and distrust among the voters.

Fifthly, let Najib make a public commitment that as a moderate to make Malaysia “the best democracy in the world”, he and all UMNO leaders will fully and peacefully accept the electoral verdict of Malaysians in the 13th general elections, including a change of government in Putrajaya and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the seventh Prime Minister to head a Pakatan Rakyat federal government.

He should retract his “crushed bodies, lives lost” declaration (“walau berkecai tulang dan juga badan, walau bercerai jasad dari nyawa”) to the Umno General Assembly two years ago to defend UMNO in Putrajaya, as a moderate will not conceive of any “crushed bodies, lives lost” in a peaceful democratic general elections where the will and verdict of the electorate is regarded as supreme and sacred.

[Speech at the Negri Sembilan Pakatan Rakyat Public Ceramah in Gemas to launch the PR Negri Sembilan Manifesto on Sunday, 15th January 2012 at 10 pm]

Kugan's mum claims RM100mil in damages

CJ: Senior Judges Cannot Influence Decision Made By Lower Court Judges

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 16 (Bernama) -- Senior judges cannot influence the judges of the High Courts and subordinate courts in arriving at their decision on court cases, said Chief Justice Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria.

He said a police report could be lodged if there were attempts of interference.

"Appellate court judges and Federal Court judges cannot influence the decision of a magistrate. Nobody at all, even the Chief Justice cannot talk to the magistrate.

"If I were to tell the magistrate to decide one way, it is an offence," said Arifin at the closing of the Judges Conference held at the Putrajaya Marriot Hotel, here Monday.

"Nobody is above the law, said Arifin.

The chief justice said appellate court judges and Federal Court judges appointed as managing judges to oversee the administration aspect in the High Courts and subordinate courts could not interfere with the decision-making of the high court judges and subordinate court judges.

Arifin said the practice of having managing judges to oversee the administration at the lower courts would be retained.

"This is because it is good practice. The court of appeal judges and Federal Court judges are experienced judges and they would assist and guide these judges," he said.

He said managing judges were appointed to monitor the number of court cases that were being fixed for hearing in a day as well as how many cases were disposed off to ensure expeditious administration of justice.

The system of having managing judges was introduced by former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi replacing the previous system where a judge with similar seniority was designated to manage the courts.

Arifin also said the second judges conference would be held in the middle of the year for the judiciary to see how far it had progressed.

Meanwhile, Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif said there would not be any expansion on the number of judges to sit on the appellate panel to hear criminal and civil cases.

He, however, said he would consider constituting a panel comprising more than three judges in exceptional cases if there was an application made by parties in the case.

At the opening of the Legal Year 2012 held on Saturday, Arifin announced that effective January this year, all criminal and civil cases at the Federal Court would be heard by a panel comprising five judges as compared to three previously.

He said the increase in the number of judges to sit on the panel was aimed at improving the quality of judgments and decisions.