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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Syria rejects Arab troop proposal

Foreign ministry says comments by Qatar's emir risk "killing" chance of Syria working with the Arab League.

Syria has rejected any plans to send Arab troops into the country, saying it will "confront" and "stand firm" against military intervention after the ruler of Qatar said in a television interview that Arab countries should step in with force.

The state-run SANA news agency quoted a "credible source" at the foreign ministry as saying on Tuesday that the country is "shocked" by the Qatari emir's comments, which "could worsen the conflict and kill the chances of Syria working closely with Arabs".

The source warned that it will be "unfortunate to see Arab blood flow on Syrian soil".

Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani was quoted by an American television programme on Sunday as suggesting that Arab troops should be sent to Syria to stop the deadly violence.

The interview, which was conducted late last year, was the first time an Arab leader had called for the deployment of troops inside the country.

The United Nations estimated in December that at least 5,000 people have been killed since protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad broke out in March.

The organisation also believes at least 400 people have been killed since the Arab League first deployed observers - meant to oversee the implementation of a League-brokered peace plan - on December 26.

Militarised conflict

The initially peaceful uprising against Assad was met with deadly force and mass arrests and has in recent months turned into a militarised conflict between the government on one side and army defectors and armed civilians on the other.

Qatar, which once had close relations with Damascus, has been a harsh critic of crackdown and withdrew its ambassador during the summer.

Since revolts began to sweep the Arab world in December 2010, Qatar has aggressively supported opposition movements, most prominently in Libya, where it trained, armed and guided the fighters who overthrew the country's longstanding ruler, Muammar Gaddafi.

Assad and his government say "terrorists" are behind the uprising and that armed gangs are acting out a foreign conspiracy to destabilise the country.

The Syrian foreign ministry source told SANA on Tuesday that "it will be unfortunate to see Arab blood flow on Syrian territory just for the purpose of serving known agendas, especially that the foreign conspiracy against Syria has become very clear".

The statement also called on Arab countries to "help prevent the infiltration of terrorists and the smuggling of weapons into Syria".

The Arab League observer mission is expected to announce this week that Syria has failed to implement a peace plan brokered by the regional bloc.

Tug-of-war at UN

International diplomats at the UN Security Council, meanwhile, are debating a new resolution that will call for an end to the violence and is set to come to a vote in two weeks.

The US and European nations are at odds with Russia, which proposed the draft language and opposes intervention in Syria.

"Western countries say the resolution isn't tough enough, [the] Russians say it's not the Security Council's place to take sides in civil dispute," Al Jazeera's Kristin Saloomey reported from the United Nations.

The Russians do not want to see a Libya-style military intervention and "are not alone" in that desire, our correspondent said.

The draft resolution does not mention sanctioning Syria, which the US and European Union have done independently, she said.

Mandate to expire

The Arab League mission's mandate is due to expire on Thursday, and the bloc is set to meet on Sunday to discuss next steps, including possibly renewing the mission.

"The outcome of the contacts that have taken place over the past week between the Arab League and Syria have affirmed that Syria will not reject the renewal of the Arab monitoring mission for another month ... if the Arab foreign ministers call for this at the coming meeting," an Arab source told the Reuters news agency.

Syria will allow the number of monitors, currently fewer than 200, to increase, but will not agree to give them official fact-finding duties or let them visit off-limits "military zones".

Activists reported that at least 20 people died in Syria on Tuesday, mostly in the flashpoint city of Homs.

SANA reported that an "armed terrorist group" fired rocket-propelled grenades at an army checkpoint 9km southwest of Damascus on Monday, killing an officer and five soldiers.

Fighting intimidation: Raped and robbed, victim appeals for justice

Claims the accused threatened her with dire consequences.
HARIPUR:  A married woman subjected to rape and blackmail by rapists, who filmed the incident, petitioned the court for registering an FIR against the accused, on Saturday.
The court has summoned the concerned station house officer on Monday. Nazia*, 25, a resident of Kangra village petitioned the district judge, Haripur, after the police refused to register a case.
She said she was asleep with her two minor children when two persons entered her room after scaling the boundary wall on Eidul Fitr. Her husband was with his first wife in a neighboring village.
The accused whom she identified as Roshan* and Israr*, held her at gunpoint and looted Rs1,80,000 cash. They subsequently raped her in front of her two minor children and filmed the incident. They threatened her of dire consequences in case she told her family when they left.
Nazia called her husband the next morning and he lodged a complaint with the Kotnajibullah police nominating the two accused for robbery. She said she had concealed the rape fearing they might harm her husband and children.
The accused who were not booked by the police began to blackmail her and threatened to upload her movie on the internet if she failed to pay up or revealed their names.
She said the accused called her and threatened her on her mobile phone four days back. Her husband, who had eavesdropped on the conversation, contacted the Kotnajibullah police again for registration of an FIR but the police was using delaying tactics.
When approached for comments, police sources said that neither the woman nor her husband had lodged any complaint of rape or robbery with them and there was no mechanism to determine the veracity of the claim of a married woman after four months. However, he confirmed that one of the accused has been booked.
This was the second case of rape in which the incident was filmed in a fortnight in Hazara. A girl was sexually assaulted in Kaghan valley and her rapist had filmed the crime and uploaded the movie on the internet. She had also kept quiet about the rape out of fear. He was later arrested by the police.
Names have been changed to protect identity
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2012.

Bersih hints of another rally if polls reform fails

High Court decision tomorrow on HRP denied registration to be able to contest in 13th General Election. Will P.M. Najib & Judiciary dispense Justice like for Anwar Ibrahim?


hIGH cOURT

Way back in 2000 itself some 13 years ago the present the Human Rights Party (HRP) the predecessor of then Parti Reformasi Insan Malaysia (PRIM) made an application to be registered as a political party and was denied.
Then on 18/6/2009 an application was made to register HRP as a political party to the Registrar of Societies. (ROS)
On the third Anniversary of the 25/11/2010 HRP formally submitted it’s full application to be a registered political party. But the Registrar of Societies refused to even reply to our application.
This led us to on 6/4/2011 file a High Court Application for Judicial Review to compel the legal Registration of HRP. At the hearing date the Judge Y.A.Dato Rohana amended the prayers so that the Registrar of Societies (ROS) replies to our application.
The Judge indicated that this may buy ROS some three month or so to reply to HRP.
On the eve of the next Hearing date ie on 4/8/2011 the ROS rejected HRPs’ application to be registered at political party.
The next day on 5/8/2011 even when we had submitted that it was not our fault that the ROS did not reply to us earlier and praying for no order as to costs as this matter has now become academic, the UMNO Judge punished P.Uthayakumar by imposing costs of RM2,500.00 payable to ROS.
And then vide HRPs’ appeal letter dated 19/8/2011 to Dato Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein, the Home Minister, HRP appealed against the ROSs’ decision.
And when the Home Minister refused to reply we again on 11/10/2011 filed another High Court Judicial review to Registrar HRP.
On 17/11/11 Judge Abang Iskandar bin Abang Hashim recused himself and this matter is now “fixed” before the new UMNO Judge Y.A.Dato Rohana binti Yusof.
Because Judge Iskandar had earlier struck out Hindrafs’ registration and in December 2007 he had allowed an appeal by UMNO Attorney General Tan Sri Gani Patail allowing the Sedition criminal charges against P.Uthayakumar dismissed by Klang Sessions Court Judge Junaidah (who was sacked for this pro Hindraf Judgement) to be reinstated.
The UMNO Attorney General Gani Patail refused to reply to P.Uthayakumar’s 127 page affidavit with 12 exhibits and yet again avoids the truth by putting in Preliminary Objections to strike out (TKO) this HRP civil suit for being frivolous vexations and abuse of process of Court without even hearing the merits.
Why is it that 46,871 NGOs’ & 31 political parties are approved by ROS, P.M & Home Minister without any problems except 1 Hindraf & 1 HRP in 1 Malay-sia.
From the above it is so plain and obvious that even the 98% Malay muslim 1 Malay-sian Judiciary is playing the Yo yo and the Snake and Ladder game simply to politically paralyse HRP and Indian poor political representation at the highest political level ie Parliament and the State Assemblies.
And to stop HRP from contesting under it’s logo in the very imminent 13th General Elections which will be held anytime now.
Will justice be dispensed to HRP tomorrow like for Anwar Ibrahim?
Especially before the very same UMNO Judge Dato Rohana binti Yusof ?
Karunai Nithi @ Compassionate Justice

Ex-minister claims BN bought votes with cash

PETALING JAYA, Jan 17 — A former federal minister from Umno claimed today that cash was handed out in previous election campaigns in attempts to buy votes, a tactic known as “bomb”.

Tan Sri Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said in a forum today that he had experienced himself how cash handouts ranging from RM200 to RM1,000 was used in Barisan Nasional’s election campaigns to gain voter support.

“I have been the head of delegation of many campaigns and I have been given lump sums of money to distribute,” said the former Information Minister at the Malaysia Strategic Outlook Conference 2012 here. “It was a blatant use of money to buy votes.”

Abdul Kadir (picture), who was also formerly the Minister of Culture, Arts and Tourism, said that the word used for the strategy was called “bomb”.

He added though that he personally didn’t use the money.

James Chin, who heads the School of Social Sciences at Monash University at Sunway, and who spoke at the forum after Abdul Kadir said that “bombing” was a very effective tool in Sabah and Sarawak.

During his presentation, Abdul Kadir said that while he still held positions in Umno, he wanted to remind them of the “Merdeka trust” — which meant giving the people the right to truly free and fair elections.

He also urged Umno not to fear losing if it was sincere in its intentions.

“If you lose accept it; people change governments all the time in US and Australia,” he said. “I am an Umno man, I don’t mind if I lose. If you are there just to make millions for yourself and your cronies or if I have made my billions and am afraid I will be arrested after I lose power, then I will do all these tricks.”

“If you are sincere, you have nothing to fear,” he added.

He said that to have free and fair elections, there must be equal access to the media and GLCs and government departments must be neutral.

“You must give them (the opposition) the freedom to have TV, radio and newspapers,” he said. “For 50 years, PAS has been asking for a newspaper licence but none given — the government is a big bully.”

He also said that during elections, Barisan Nasional should not be making use of the Ministry of Information, Felda, Felcra, the Special Branch and other federal agencies to support their campaign.

Abdul Kadir is also the deputy president of non-partisan pro-unity NGO Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) and executive chairman of the Sazean group.

Flurry to register BN-friendly Sabah parties

Top Umno leaders were in town to shore up Umno Sabah and to make sure more friendly parties are registered quickly.

KOTA KINABALU: Amidst increasing concerns over Umno Sabah’s ability to hold itself together ahead of a defining 13th general election, Home Ministry officials today met with representatives from 12 groups aspiring to register themselves as political parties.

The meeting with the 12 pro-tem presidents and secretaries-general also saw the presence of a deputy minister. This indicates that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has given the “green light” for more parties to be registered in Sabah and for this to be done “quickly”.

Some of these parties had applied for registration years ago and had been put on hold until now.

Among the aspiring political parties represented at the meeting were Usno Baru, Parti Cinta Sabah, Parti Perpaduan Rakyat, Parti Kebenaran Sabah, Parti Kebangsaan Sabah, Pakar, Parti Pembangunan Warisan Sabah, Parti Ekonomi Rakyat Sabah, and Parti Bersatu Bugis Sabah.

Each of the parties was represented by its president and secretary-general.

According to those present at the closed-door meeting with with deputy minister Lee Chee Leong, they were told them that their applications would be given due consideration bearing in mind “their democratic right” and the impending general election.

He apparently said: “We will bring today’s matters to another (higher level) meeting where we will deliberate on your applications…”

Registrar of Societies (ROS) officers, who were approached, refused to reveal the names of the parties and the nature of the discussion with Lee except to say that “it is the final process (of registration)”.

‘Three new parties likely’

Meanwhile, a pro-tem secretary-general of an aspiring party told FMT that the meeting could have been ordered by Najib who is already being accused of practising doubl standard in democratisation and transparency by delaying or refusing outright to register applications of new political parties from Sabah.

“I sense that the authority may approve three new parties soon in Sabah.

“We don’t know which parties will be approved but it seems they do not want to be accused of denying us our democratic rights.

“They know we can go to court for a ‘mandamus order’ to compel the ROS to register, so why must go to court if Najib is sincere in liberalising the country?” said the man who requested anonymity.

Another secretary-general, who also asked not to be identified, claimed that he deciphered “signals” from the briefing that new parties would be registered if it is to bring advantages to the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

Speculations are rife that Najib is setting in motion his gameplan to contain Umno Sabah and BN’s weakening grip in the state.

BN is struggling under relentless attacks over alleged abuse of power, land grabs, unfair federal policies, victimisation and escalating cost of living.

Observers here see today’s meeting as an indication that the BN-direct membership process is finally taking shape and that Najib is putting his gameplan into action.

They were also curious about the timing of the meeting with 12 “new” parties, some of whom had given up hope of registrating their party and are known to have joined other political parties like Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), STAR and also Kita.

Lajim ignores Muhyiddin

Coincidence or otherwise, several top Umno leaders – Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, and vice-presidents Hishammuddin Hussein and Shafie Apdal – were also in town today.

They have been busy meeting with local Umno warlords and gauging the “real” situation on the ground.

Rumblings of dissent among the ranks is worrying Najib.

At last night’s meeting with Muhyiddin, a key Umno member, Lajim Ukin, was missing.

Lajim’s absence has further fuelled speculations that the party’s influential chieftain in Beaufort, south of Sabah, is set to quit Umno.

Rumour has it that Lajim is set to lead a small Bumiputera party and that he had met with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Lajim also apparently has made it known that he is available for talks with the Anything But Umno (ABU) group.

Lajim’s “fame” dates back to 1994 when he allegedly triggered the downfall of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).

Bersih kicks off voter turnout campaign

The electoral reform watchdog says a 100 percent turnout would strengthen democracy.

KUALA LUMPUR: Electoral reform watchdog, Bersih 2.0, launched a programme called “Jom 100” to increase voter turnout for the 13th general election.

Bersih 2.0 chairman S Ambiga said: “A 100 percent turnout would strengthen democracy and mitigate gerrymandering and electoral fraud.”

At a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall here, she also said that 100 percent voter turnout would allow the people to re-shape the future of Malaysia.

She added that the Jom 100 programme is geared towards educating voters on their rights and importance of casting their voters.

Ambiga also urged overseas-based Malaysian voters to return and vote in the general election.

“If the Election Commission (EC) doesn’t make arrangements at the embassies, please come home and vote.

“Some are already looking into that possibility,” she said following a High Court decision to dismiss a case by six UK-based Malaysians to compel the EC to allow them to vote as absent voters.

Jom 100 will kick off after the Chinese New Year holidays next week with a focus on rural constituencies. The campaign will start in Kuala Terengganu on Friday.

Ambiga also welcomed the government, political parties and NGOs to jointly embark on this non-partisan campaign.

“We are more than happy if the government enabled people to vote. We welcome political parties to spread the word. We have been in collaboration with other NGOs,” she said.

Ambiga, the former Bar Council president, said there are more than three million eligible Malaysians who are not registered voters.

To question, she also did not rule out the possibility of a Bersih 3.0 rally if the demands of Bersih 2.0 are not met before the next general election.

“We are trying all those things – negotiations with the EC, the Parliametary Select Committee (PSC) on election reforms – but if the recommendations are not fulfilled, do not rule out Bersih 3.0,” she said.

She also said holding the general election before Bersih’s demands are met meant that the government had “no respect for the PSC, Parliament and the people”.

Ambiga announced the appointment of national laureate, A Samad Said, as Bersih co-chairman and Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia chairman Ahmad Shukri Razak as Bersih 2.0 committee member.

Tentang Seks, Pentas dan Negara

Naskhah teater turut menjadi senduk untuk Ann Lee dan rakan “masak-masak”nya memperkatakan pelbagai isu semasa.
COMMENT

Saya tidak berpeluang menonton “The Vagina Monologues” karya Eve Ensler yang diarah oleh Ann Lee sebelum dan selepas pementasannya diharamkan di Malaysia suatu masa dahulu.

Namun, apabila mendapat tahu bahawa buku “Sex, Stage & State: Kuali Works Plays” yang memuatkan tujuh skrip yang dihasilkan Ann Lee dan rakan-rakan “kuali”nya akan dilancarkan di Bali, Indonesia pada 7 Oktober tahun lalu, saya tidak melepaskan peluang untuk hadir sama pada majlis eksklusif itu.

Sebenarnya, kebetulan saya berada di sana kerana menyertai Ubud Writers & Readers Festival dan majlis pelancaran buku berkenaan adalah sebahagian acara sampingan festival.

Buku setebal 297 halaman ini diterbitkan oleh Parama Adhi Perkasa, Jakarta pada September 2011 dan amat sesuai dijadikan koleksi peminat teater bermutu tanpa mengira kewarganegaraan.

Sharon Bakar dan saya menghadiri majlis pelancaran “Sex, Stage & State” di Rumah Valentine, Ubud antara lain kerana mahu memberi sokongan moral kepada Ann Lee dan rakan-rakannya yang giat mengangkat martabat teater di Malaysia.

Beliau yang lahir di Tawau, Sabah serta mendapat pendidikan di Universiti Westminster dan Universiti Oxford, pernah menjadi penyampai berita di Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM). Malah, di situlah persahabatan kami bermula.

Di Rumah Valentine pula, saya turut berpeluang bertemu Goh Soon Siew, Foo May Lyn, Kathy Rowland dan Jo Kukathas yang merupakan antara orang kuat yang terlibat dengan Kuali Works secara langsung atau tidak langsung.

Facebook

Jo Kukathas hanya rakan saya di ruang siber menerusi Facebook. Saya mengenali dan mengagumi beliau manakala beliau tidak mengenali saya, demikian andaian saya pada mulanya).

Pengarah, penulis dan pelakon teater ini juga pengarah artistik di Instant Cafe Theatre Company. Terkini, Jo Kukathas mengarah teater “Parah” karya Alfian Sa’at yang dijadual dipentaskan di Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPAC) pada 1-5 Februari 2012.

Kathy Rowland pernah saya temui suatu ketika dahulu – entah di mana; kami berdua sudah lupa dan kami kadang-kadang berkomunikasi menerusi e-mel.

Pertemuan di Rumah Valentine pula membuka ruang dan peluang untuk kami semua duduk berbual tentang pelbagai perkara: sastera, seni, politik, makanan dan rakyat.

Berbalik pada “Sex, Stage & State”, kesemua tujuh skrip yang termuat di dalamnya adalah bahan dokumentasi yang penting; khususnya dalam meneliti “suara” golongan aktivis teater – khasnya wanita – dalam mengetengahkan “women’s issues – that is, anything under the sun” seperti yang menjadi pegangan Kuali Works sejak ditubuhkan pada 1994.

“Happy Families” yang ditulis dan diarah oleh Ann Lee pada 18-22 November 1993 berlatarkan Sabah dan mengangkat tema penderaan seksual. Kisah disampaikan menerusi pengalaman sekumpulan kanak-kanak yang baru mula mengenai makna “dewasa”.

Petikan teater ini turut dipersembahkan oleh Ann Lee, Foo May Lyn dan Jo Kukathas semasa pelancaran buku di Rumah Valentine. Mesej yang terkandung dalam teater itu merentas zaman, batas geografi dan budaya. Sesiapa sahaja boleh menjadi “mangsa”.

Mke Tyson

“Kuala Lumpur Knock-Out” yang pertama kali dipersembahkan di Panggung Eksperimen, Kuala Lumpur pada 6-11 November 1996 bukan sekadar kisah seorang “minah kilang” yang bercita-cita menentang Mike Tyson di gelanggang tinju.

“Ternyata Ann Lee mendapat idea daripada peristiwa seorang politikus penting pada waktu itu yang dilaporkan mengadakan hubungan sulit bersama seorang remaja wajah umur.

“Tidak lama kemudian, beberapa lagi politikus tampil membuat pendedahan mengaibkan mengenai remaja itu hingga akhirnya tumpuan media yang dikuasai politik sudah berpindah daripada kisah seorang politikus merogol gadis bawah umur kepada kisah gadis tidak bermoral,” kata Kathy Rowland sewaktu memperkatakan skrip berkenaan.

Teater “Sang Kancil – the Mousedeer that Roared” yang ditulis bersama oleh Ann Lee dan Foo May Lyn juga ada kisah tersendiri yang mungkin kurang diketahui orang.

“Apabila pementasan teater itu sudah bermula, Kuali Works mendapat panggilan telefon daripada seorang individu yang memperkenalkan dirinya sebagai Inspektor Nathan dari Bukit Aman dan mahu tahu di mana saya berada.

“Skrip teater itu adalah berdasarkan insiden yang berlaku ke atas Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim pada 1998. Maka, saya rasa terancam berikutan panggilan telefon itu. Akibatnya, saya tidak bermalam di tempat yang sama selama beberapa hari kerana bimbang ditahan di bawah ISA,” Ann Lee menceritakan.

Sang kancil

Kathy Rowland turut memuji kemampuan dan keberanian Ann Lee dan Foo May Lyn mengadun kisah tradisi dan isu politik semasa dengan mengangkat watak Sang Kancil yang berjaya memanipulasi sekumpulan buaya tetapi kemudian mendapati dirinya terpinggir dan hilang moral akibat perbuatan sendiri.

Sedutan teater berkenaan yang dipersembahkan oleh Foo May Lyn pada 7 Oktober 2011 membuktikan kekuatan skrip dan kehebatan lakonannya dalam membawakan watak Sang Kancil yang sesungguhnya adalah gambaran orang politik tertentu yang licik menipu rakyat.

Dalam perkembangan lain, hakim Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur, Datuk Mohamad Zabidin memutuskan pada Isnin minggu lalu bahawa Anwar tidak bersalah, lalu mengarahkan beliau dibebaskan dan dilepaskan.

Segera saya membaca semula skrip kisah “Sang Kancil” dengan penuh minat dan dengan interpretasi yang berbeza; khususnya selepas menerima e-mel daripada Ann Lee dan Kathy Rowland pada hari berkenaan berkaitan keputusan kes di mahkamah.

Monolog “Hang Li Poh – Melakan Princess” ditulis dan diarahkan oleh Ann Lee pada 8-14 Julai 1998 serta menampilkan Mew Chang Tsing sebagai pelakon tunggal memegang lapan watak.

Skrip berkenaan kini sedang dalam proses terjemahan untuk dipersembahkan di Indonesia kepada khalayak yang lebih besar. Malah, beberapa teater yang diusahakan Kuali Works turut mendapat pengiktirafan antarabangsa.

Teater “From Table Mountain to Teluk Intan” lebih berupa kisah diri Shahimah (Charmaine W) Idris, wanita Melayu kelahiran Cape Town, Afrika Selatan yang ditikam di tempat letak kereta di Kuala Lumpur pada 1997.

`Nostalgia zaman kanak-kanak’

Kisah itu pertama kali dipentaskan di Kuala Lumpur pada 2-21 Oktober 2000. Kemudian turut dipentaskan pada New York International Fringe Festival pada 15-21 Ogos 2002.

“Tarap Man” yang dipentaskan di Kuala Lumpur pada 5-9 Disember 2007 sekali lagi menggunakan latar negeri Sabah. Bagaimanapun, teater ini tidak lagi berciri “nostalgia zaman kanak-kanak” seperti “Happy Families”.

“Aashi, seorang wartawan kanan, ditukarkan ke Malaysia Timur kerana tidak tunduk pada permintaan sang ketua yang ada motif politik. Dengan berlatarkan negeri kelahiran Ann Lee, teater ini berjaya mengungkapkan ketegangan politik yang wujud antara kerajaan pusat dan kerajaan negeri pada waktu itu,” Kathy Rowland menghuraikan.

“Perpustakaan” pula sebuah teater tanpa dialog. Saya masih terbayang-bayang aksi lucu Jo Kukathas yang melakonkan watak pustakawan semasa majlis pelancaran “Sex, Stage & State” tempoh hari!

Di luar daripada lingkungan buku ini, karya-karya yang diterbitkan oleh Kuali Works turut diperkatakan secara akademik dalam pelbagai buku dan jurnal antarabangsa; antaranya “The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English” (2010) dan “The Drama Review” (2002).

Hasil tulisan Ann Lee turut dimuatkan dalam “Body 2 Body: A Malaysian Queer Anthology” (2009), “March 8: Time for Real Change” (2010) dan “Malaysian Tales: Retold & Remixed” (2011).

`Ratu Sukan’

Bermula dengan pementasan “Colour Blind” karya Karen Kuah pada 1996, Kuali Works yang ditubuhkan pada 1994 sudah menjayakan pementasan 17 teater.

Kathy Rowland yang menulis pengenalan pada buku “Sex, Stage & State” menyebut bahawa syarikat itu juga pernah menerbitkan siri televisyen “Ratu Sukan” sempena 100 tahun pencapaian cemerlang wanita Malaysia dalam bidang sukan.

Dari 1996 hingga 1999, Kuali Works turut menganjurkan siri seminar dan bengkel khas bagi wanita dalam pelbagai bidang seni, termasuk pengurusan kewangan dan penerbitan teater.

Agak malang bahawa pada akhir tahun 2010, Kuali Works terpaksa ditutup atas pelbagai faktor. Namun, walaupun “kuali” sudah ditutup, penulisan sejarah perkembangan teater Malaysia tidak akan lengkap tanpa menyebut nama syarikat itu.

Memiliki senaskhah “Sex, Stage & State” pula umpama memiliki secebis daripada serpihan sejarah itu sendiri yang tidak ternilai harganya.

As I said, it’s about history


Today, Hang Li Po, Hang Tuah, etc., are debunked. Tomorrow, it could be others whom are said to have also existed will be debunked. And, for thousands of years, millions of people have been killed for not believing in events that never happened and in people who never existed.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
History books to stick to facts

‘Hang Li Po, Hang Tuah did not exist’

I think it was probably ten years or so ago that I wrote about the probability of Hang Tuah and his cohorts being a mere myth. The other possibility is that if they did exist, then they were all Chinese and not Malays -- bodyguards of the Chinese princess, Hang Li Po.

Of course, the Malay ‘nationalists’ were outraged at my suggestion. Even renowned historians did not utter such a possibility. How can I, with no PhD to my name, come to that conclusion?

I suppose it is all about whether you have a PhD to your name. If you do not then what you say matters not and is of no significance. In fact, you are not qualified to make comments if you are not a certified ‘authority’.

My reasoning (yes, I apply reasoning, as what we were taught to do in the Philosophy of Religion course that I recently took) is that if Hang Li Po was Chinese then the rest of the Hang tribe must have been Chinese as well. If Hang Li Po was Chinese, how can Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekir and Hang Lekiu all be Malays?

The next point is on the special Silat (martial arts) that the five ‘Malay’ warriors were said to have practiced. It was a Silat that no one had ever seen before and is said to be more powerful than the traditional Silat that the Malays practiced.

My argument was that it must have been Chinese Kungfu and not Silat. That was why the Malays had never seen it before. And the fact that Hang Tuah and gang beat the shit out of the Malays was probably because it was a very unique form of Kungfu, more superior to Silat.

I mean, Silat is full of dancing before the exponent moves in for the kill. In Kungfu, you just step in and beat the daylights out of the dancer before he knows what hit him.

The next point is about the story regarding Hang Tuah going over to Indonesia as an envoy of the Sultan of Melaka. The story goes that when he was there they tried to get him drunk so that they can beat him up. However, never mind how much liquor they gave him, he held his liquor well and did not fall down drunk. When they made their move on him, Hang Tuah beat the shit out of his attackers, sober as hell.

Now, if Hang Tuah drank liquor and could hold his liquor well, this means he could not have been Malay. First of all, he drank. Secondly, he must have been a regular drinker to be able to drink so much and still stay sober enough to beat off his attackers.

Anyway, I was basing my reasoning on the stories that we were told. Now it appears that all these stories were myths after all. Yet, Malaysian historians and history being taught in Malaysian schools told us that all these stories were true and that all these people existed even though there is no tangible evidence to support the theory of their existence.

This is exactly what I have been saying about religion. Hang Tuah and whatnot are supposed to have existed a mere few hundred years ago when they already had recorded history. Yet, today, that has been put to question. What about stories of people and events that were supposed to have happened thousands of years ago at a time when there was no recorded history and when stories were passed down through the generations by word of mouth? Would there not be even more reason to question these so-called ‘facts’?

When I talk about religious history most would respond with dogma. They will quote verses from the Bible or the Quran to counter my arguments. What these people can’t seem to understand is that they are arguing theology. And there is a big difference between theology, history, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, etc.

Theology is based on dogma, not on history or whatever. And the belief in dogma is based on faith, not evidence. If you demand evidence to support dogma, then the dogma would be demolished. You must accept dogma based on the lack of evidence. Hence it is called faith, the belief in the unseen or the unproven.

It will be impossible to engage when we are not on the same page. I talk about one thing and you talk about another. And you apply reasoning in circles to argue your case. I would be even more blunt in saying that you can’t use a lie to support a lie.

For example, you tell someone that Raja Petra Kamarudin says he is a Prophet of God. Someone then asks you: how do you know this? You reply: it is written in this book. This person then asks you: who wrote this book? You reply: Raja Petra Kamarudin wrote this book.

This would be called reasoning in circles.

Or, you reply: it is written in this book. This person then asks you: who wrote this book? You reply: it was written by someone 200 years after Raja Petra Kamarudin died. You ask: where did this person get the information since it was written 200 years after Raja Petra Kamarudin died? You reply: the information was passed down by word of mouth over almost ten generations.

If you want to believe that Hang Tuah, or whoever it may be, did exist and that this is what they are alleged to have said and done, carry on. No one is stopping you from believing what you want to believe even if you want to believe in the tooth fairy. Just do not force others to also believe the same thing and then arrest them and send them to jail on charges of heresy if they do not also believe what you believe.

That is the issue here.

Today, Hang Li Po, Hang Tuah, etc., are debunked. Tomorrow, it could be others whom are said to have also existed will be debunked. And, for thousands of years, millions of people have been killed for not believing in events that never happened and in people who never existed.

Why I disagree with ABU

Anas Zubedy

With all due respect to those who are promoting ABU (Anything But UMNO/ Asalkan Bukan UMNO) especially Haris Ibrahim, someone who I have high regard of; a genuine change agent– I do not see ABU’s approach as the right way to go. I would like to offer an alternative point of view.

Let me explain.

When we try to use an all-or-nothing approach, we are essentially giving license to the other side to slack.

An effort like ABU takes the assumption that everyone in UMNO is bad and everyone in the opposition is good; but what if the UMNO candidate fighting for the same seat is a better candidate, who should we vote?

An all-or-nothing, blanket approval or dismissal for any party is like giving a blank cheque to the candidates and the party. I see it as an irresponsible, unthinking way to choose our MPs and ADUNS.

While I support the ideals ABU wants to promote, it is the approach I find questionable. For the change we want we cannot be in a hurry. Some may see that we need to reduce UMNO’s influence in order to change our nation for the better, but we must be careful with our action, lest we throw the baby out with the bathwater.

This is why a more balanced approach is needed. We ask people to be thinking voters, to scrutinize individuals from all parties, and choose the best among them, not the party. If the non- UMNO candidate is better, by all means choose him or her. But if the UMNO candidate is better, he or she deserves our vote.

We must understand that while the backing of a good structure, processes and systems (of political parties) can help an MP/ADUN perform well, an excellent candidate without a good party will still be able to serve the rakyat with heart and soul. It is like an excellent teacher in a school without amenities and support. That is why we must give foremost consideration to the individual calons, not his/her political party.

Instead of taking an all-or-nothing blanket approach, an approach that is based on reason, conscience and the Constitution is recommended. We must not allow any candidate or party a free ride. A ‘No Free Rides’ campaign is the better approach. In that way we will get only the best people as MPs and ADUNs.

We need to change Malaysia in the right way towards the right goal. It will be slow but sure. Let’s do it one MP at a time.

Finally, the ABU campaign has a longer term danger. It promotes the kind of unthinking decision making process that is potentially destructive. This campaign may be the catalyst for more unthinking divisive positions like ABC – Asalkan Bukan Cina or Asalkan Bukan Christian, or ABK - Asalkan Bukan Kafir, etc etc.

Is this the way we want to go?

India Looks At Israel Gas

Image
Plenty to burn
Political as well as natural resource development in the deal
India and Israel, already partners in areas such as defense, counter-terrorism and agriculture, could extend it to gas in the wake of huge findings in the so-called Levant Basin in water 1,675 meters deep off Israel’s coast.

The Israeli discovery, made in 2010, goes some distance towards solving a knotty political problem for India as well as taking care of some of its energy needs, as well as altering slightly the balance of energy production in the middle east and making Israel a player.

Driven by US demands, India has been seeking ways to cut down on energy imports from Iran and to build on relationships with Saudi Arabia as well as other parts of the Middle East and Africa. New Delhi’s other efforts to procure natural gas via pipelines from Iran, Myanmar or Turkmenistan are also stuck due to multiple reasons related to security, transit fees, competition from China and strategic factors.

Israel and India have explored possibilities of Israel exporting gas to India, given its rising needs, especially in the wake of inadequate domestic output. Gas consumption is increasing rapidly across sectors in India that include auto, power, industry and households.

The offer of gas to India was made by Israel’s minister of finance Yuval Steinitz during his New Delhi visit last month, when he met with high-ranking ministers and officials, including finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and India’s national security adviser Shivshankar Menon.

Steinitz has been quoted in the media to say that Israel and India engaged in talks about a potential gas deal. “Israel will be to receive delegations from India to discuss the issue,” he said.

Indian and Israeli officials again reportedly discussed ways of getting the gas to India last week, when foreign minister S M Krishna’s visited Jerusalem. The gas find is not without its problems. Lebanon has claimed the basin may extend into Lebanese waters although no action has been taken as yet. The two countries have fought four wars since 1949 and have had long periods of hostility.

Although Israeli officials say the Dalit and Tamar gas fields are within Israel’s contiguous economic zone, Israel has never signed nor ratified the United Nations Law of the Sea, promulgated in 2002, which is designed to set sea borders between maritime nations. CNOOC, China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation, which has energy concerns equal to India’s, is also negotiating an interest in the Tamar field.

Win Win Scenario

Though Israel has been an energy deficient nation for years, good gas potential has been discovered at the Leviathan and Tamar fields over the last couple of years.

Leviathan field reserves are estimated at 16 trillion cubic feet of gas, valued over US$160 billion, with production expected in 2016 – one of the biggest offshore finds in more than a decade, according to industry analysts. Tamar reserves stand at 8 trillion cubic feet, with production expected next year.

Israel is today estimated to be sitting over 400 bcm of gas. The bonanza, off the country’s north coast, has the potential of earning the country huge export revenues.

India, meanwhile, meets bulk of its oil and gas needs via imports. Over the recent years the country has been seeking to diversify its energy import basket to reduce dependence on a few nations. In the case of gas India is working with Algeria and now Israel beyond the usual imports from Qatar and Oman.

India’s gas demand-supply gap has turned out to be much more than envisaged due to the failure of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) KG-D6 block to meet the gas output envisaged. The gas being produced at KG-DG is less than half the 80 mmscmd that was predicted.

India's natural gas output, meanwhile, is about 120 mmscmd while demand stands about 220 mmscmd and expected to double in five years time. The country imports about 45 mmscmd expensive LNG that still does not take care of the needs.

New Delhi is thus backing efforts to tap unconventional gas such as coal bed methane, underground coal gasification and shale. Gas from Israel is an option that India does not want to lose out.

India-Israel Ties

Though relations between India and Israel have been impacted by the complex Arab-Palestine politics, Jerusalem and New Delhi now share a good comfort level in doing business, with bilateral trade over US$5 billion.

One reflection of strong ties between the two countries is the rising defense supplies by Israel to India.

Over the past few years Israel has matched and overtaken India’s traditional arms suppliers Russia, Sweden, France and UK, in the supply of armaments that have ranged from missiles to air defense systems, missiles and radars.

Progressive Indian states such as Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, meanwhile, closely collaborate with Israel in agriculture, horticulture, water management and sprinkler systems.

These positive developments have co-incidentally happened even as Washington has removed sanctions on export of dual use technologies to India that harked back to the Cold War era.

Impositions connected to India testing nuclear weapons in the 70s and again in the 90s have also been withdrawn.

Over the past five years, America has opened doors to India to purchase US armaments, nuclear reactors to produce electricity and is closely involved with New Delhi’s efforts to produce shale gas.

India and America have grown closer as strategic partners in the region to nullify the influence of China, even as Arab nations have opened channels of communication with Israel.

America also does not want to lose out on the enormous potential of doing business with emerging economy India.

In this context, Indo-Israel energy relations are sure to be endorsed by America that has otherwise opposed India’s efforts to tap the enormous hydrocarbon resources of Iran.

Washington has issues with Tehran’s insistence on pursuing an independent nuclear program that it fears comprises building of atom bombs. Due to pressure from America, India has opted out of the ambitious Iran-Pakistan India (IPI) gas pipeline as well that Iran and Pakistan continue to pursue.

The option of shipping LNG from Iran has also not worked out to the levels expected. Companies such as explorer Oil & Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and private major Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) have consciously reduced their investment and oil and gas trade exposure with Iran to avoid inviting US sanctions.

It could be opportune for Israel to step in.

(Siddharth Srivastava is a New Delhi-based journalist. He can be reached at sidsri@yahoo.com)

HAK MERAYU

1. Dalam sejarah kehakiman di Malaysia, Anwar menang pertandingan membuat “appeal” atau rayuan terhadap keputusan mahkamah yang dikenakan kepadanya.

2. Selama empat tahun kita tidak dengar lain selain daripada appeal Anwar terhadap keputusan mahkamah berkenaan dirinya dalam kes Saiful.

3. Awal-awal lagi dituntut supaya hakim ditukar kerana kononnya berat sebelah. Dengan itu perbicaraan ditangguh sementara tuntutannya ditimbang oleh mahkamah. Masa berbulan-bulan berlalu kerana mahkamah terpaksa menentukan tarikh untuk mendengar rayuannya.

4. Setelah diputus yang hakim berkenaan boleh dengar rayuannya, ada lagi rayuan yang dikemukakan.

5. Jika keputusan yang dibuat baru-baru ini mendapati Anwar bersalah, percayalah ia akan membuat appeal kepada Mahkamah Rayuan (Appeal Court).

6. Jika Appeal Court bersetuju dengan keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi, maka Anwar akan rayu kepada Federal Court.

7. Jika Federal Court mengesahkan keputusan oleh High Court dan Appeal Court, maka Anwar akan tuntut untuk kesnya dibawa kepada Special Court.

8. Tetapi apabila Anwar didapati tidak bersalah kerana tidak ada corroborating evidence, hak mangsanya untuk membuat rayuan dipertikaikan.

9. Apakah dalam negara ini pembesar pembangkang mempunyai hak istimewa bahawa keadilan hanya berlaku apabila ia didapati tidak bersalah?

10. Apakah dalam negara ini mangsa yang kerdil tidak berhak kepada keadilan sehingga dia tidak boleh merayu untuk didengar oleh mahkamah yang lebih tinggi?

11. Apakah di negara ini keengganan pembesar pembangkang mengangkat sumpah bukan sahaja di masjid dengan menjunjung Al Quran tetapi semasa dibicara dalam mahkamah biasa tidak mempunyai apa-apa makna terutama kepada orang Islam, dan sumpah laknat oleh si kerdil juga tidak boleh diambilkira?

12. Atau apakah menjadi satu daripada perjuangan Pakatan bahawa apa yang disarankan oleh Anwar dalam BBC bahawa undang-undang negara ini sudah lapok dan perlu ditukar kepada kebebasan untuk meliwat mengikut liberalisme Barat?

DSAI Begins Legal Action Against Utusan Malaysia

I refer to certain reports published in the Utusan Malaysia newspaper on January 17th 2012 alleging that the Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had made statements in a BBC interview calling for the legalizing of homosexuality.

These reports are defamatory, scurrilous, politically motivated and gutter journalism of the lowest kind.
In the BBC interview, the Opposition Leader whilst calling for review of archaic laws, went on to state that “we, Muslim and non-muslim generally believe and are committed to support the sanctity of marriage between man and woman in Malaysia. We do not promote homosexuality in the public sphere and domain”. Thus the Utusan Malaysia report is completely and blatantly false.

The UMNO-linked Utusan Malaysia newspaper has consistently published false, mischievous and scurrilous reports against the political opposition. Indeed, politically motivated and dishonest media reporting has become the norm among many mainstream media organizations such as Utusan Malaysia.

This dismal state of affairs has been created, fostered and encouraged by the Barisan Nasional government.
In view of this, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has in the public interest begun legal action against Utusan Malaysia. Through his solicitors, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has on 17.1.2012 issued a demand notice against Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd which is the proprietor of Utusan Malaysia

newspaper and against the Editor of Utusan Malaysia, demanding retraction of the above allegations, an apology and damages. He brings this action as a matter of principle and in vindication of the people’s right to fair media reporting.
Issued by,

N. SURENDRAN
VICE PRESIDENT
KEADILAN

People's Well-being Is BN's Main Agenda: Muhyiddin

TAWAU, Jan 17 (Bernama) -- Ensuring the well-being of the people is Barisan Nasional's (BN) main agenda in the quest to turn the country into a developed nation by 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said.

This was clearly spelled out in the 2012 Budget tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak last year along with numerous initiatives and programmes for the benefit of the people, he added.

"This means that no one will be left out of the social net provided by the government. We don't discriminate, we provide assistance irrespective of race, religion or creed. Every citizen of 1Malaysia will be assisted.

"The BN-led government is doing this to provide comfort to the people," he said at the handing over of 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) for Tawau and Kalabakan constituencies here.

Muhyiddin said that apart from the various assistance such as the RM100 for school students, RM500 in BR1M for households earning RM3,000 or less a month and RM200 in book vouchers for university students, there were many other facilities given by the government which the people might not be aware of.

For instance, he said, the government spent RM22 billion a year for essential goods subsidy to ensure prices were controlled and lower than the prices which the people would have paid without the subsidy.

He said the government also spent about RM300 million a year to subsidise sugar prices and RM10 billion for fuel.

"If petroleum companies were to impose the market price for diesel and petrol, the RM10 billion would have to come from our pockets. But do you know who paid for this RM10 billion? The government is the one paying it.

"So isn't the BN a good government?" asked Muhyiddin, to which the audience responded in a resounding "yes."

He took to task the opposition which he said had deliberately refused to acknowledge the deeds of the BN government and instead resorted to accusing it of being unfair and not helpful to the people.

Muhyiddin added that the people themselves were reaping the benefit from the assistance provided by the government.

Revealed: Survival International alerted Andaman authorities to human safaris two years ago

Vehicles queue to enter the Jarawa reserve along the Andaman Trunk Road
Vehicles queue to enter the Jarawa reserve along the Andaman Trunk Road
© G Chamberlain/ Survival
The Andaman authorities were alerted to the existence of human safaris two years ago by Survival International – but the problem has continued.
On January 11, 2010, Survival wrote to the Lieutenant Governor of the Islands, warning him that ‘a number of tour operators are promoting tours which include sightings of, or encounters with, the Jarawa tribe .’
Survival received no response to the letter or subsequent appeals, even after launching a boycott of the Andaman Trunk Road with local organization Search.
In July 2011, Survival wrote again as a matter of ‘great urgency’, in response to ‘severe international concern about the Jarawa’s predicament and the threat that tourists pose’, but still the problem continued.
Four months ago, a complaint was also lodged by social worker Arvind Rai Sharma, after he saw a tour company’s promotional video of Jarawa women and children being ‘humiliated in front of tourists’.
Speaking to Survival, he said, ‘I personally handed in the letter to the Andaman authorities, and met the Director of Tribal Welfare. But they still did not take my complaint seriously, even though it was such a sensitive matter’.
Tourist films Jarawa on the Andaman Trunk Road
Tourist films Jarawa on the Andaman Trunk Road
© Survival
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘It’s extraordinary that the local government appears only now to realize the extent of these ‘human safaris’. Survival first wrote to the administration in 2010 to highlight the issue. If they’re serious about finally tackling this problem, they need to close the Andaman Trunk Road, ten years after the Supreme Court told them to. It’s the only real solution.’
Read Survival’s letters to the Andaman administration from 2010 (pdf, 294 KB) and 2011 (pdf, 229 KB)
Read Arvind Rai Sharma’s letter to the Andaman administration (pdf, 5.3 MB)