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Friday, January 27, 2012

Breast implant maker's founder arrested, police say

Paris (CNN) -- The founder of a French company that makes breast implants linked to a health scare was arrested Thursday, the French national police said.

Jean-Claude Mas, founder of Poly Implant Protheses, or PIP, was detained in Six-Fours-les-Plages, near Toulon in southern France, police said.

PIP Director Claude Couty was arrested around the same time in nearby La Seyne-sur-Mer, and investigators searched his home, according to CNN affiliate France 2.

Mas was arrested in connection with an investigation into manslaughter and involuntary harm following the cancer death of a French woman with PIP implants in 2010, police in Marseille said.

Prosecutors opened the probe in December in Marseille.

Marseille police and and public health officials are conducting the investigation, police said.

PIP implants have sparked health scares in Europe and South America.

A French attorney representing women with implants welcomed the arrest of Mas, though he said it could have come sooner.

"I don't expect much from his hearing as we have already heard his lack of respect with regard to all of the victims," said the lawyer, Philippe Courtois.

"He will undoubtedly say there was no problem with the gel, but that is not his decision to make," Courtois added.

An estimated 300,000 women in 65 countries received breast implants from the company. The implants were banned in 2010, and the company went bankrupt later that year.

The implants are not approved for use in the United States.

French authorities announced last month that the government would pay for the removal of the bankrupt company's implants, which a British medical group says were made from "nonmedical grade silicone believed by the manufacturers to be made for mattresses."

German medical groups recommended this month that women seek removal of PIP breast implants, saying they need not hurry but the devices could pose eventual health problems.

Authorities in France and England have dismissed fears of cancer from the implants but have said the devices are prone to rupture and could cause inflammation, scarring and fibrosis.

More than 500 French women have had the implants removed since last year, according to the French government agency that evaluates the safety of medical products. Since then, more than 1,000 implants have ruptured, the agency said.

The British government says there is still no statistical data to show that PIP implants are either toxic or more prone to rupturing than others.

"Our advice remains the same that there is not sufficient evidence to recommend routine removal. We have always recommended that women who are concerned should speak to their surgeon or GP," British Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said in a statement.

"The (National Health Service) will support removal of PIP implants if, after this consultation, the patient still has concerns and with her doctor she decides that it is right to do so," he said.

"We believe that private health care providers have a moral duty to offer the same service to their patients that we will offer to NHS patients -- free information, consultations, scans and removal if necessary."

Radical Tunisian Imam in Paris Faces Possible Deportation

Tunisian imam Mohammed Hammami

Mohamed Hammami, a Tunisian imam, is accused of giving anti-semitic sermons and advocating the killing of adulterous women. The French Interior Minister, Claude Gueant, initiated eviction charges against Hammami for “violent anti-semitic utterances.” A “deportation committee” will deliver its verdict on Hammami’s deporatation on February 7th.
Hammami is the imam of Tabligh Omar mosque on Jean-Pierre Timbaud Street, located in the 11th district of Paris, France.
Hammami is believed to have delivered an anti-semitic sermon in which he said, “The money of those who are faithful should not be placed in banks, since that would benefit the Jews.” He is also believed to have said that adulterous woman should be punished by getting “whipped to death.”
The Tabligh Omar mosque was founded by Hammami and belongs to the Tabligh Jamaat movement – a Muslim missionary movement that aims to revive the faith of Muslims through a literal interpretation of the Qur’an. The movement is accused of promoting terrorism. Several French jihadists are thought to attend Hammami’s mosque.
Hammami was born in 1935 and moved to France in the 1960s. He may soon become the 35th imam to get expelled from French territories in the last 10 years.  Since September 11, 2001, French authorities have put imams’ sermons under closer surveillance.
Source: Le Figaro (French newspaper)

'First Lady of Shopping' reported to MACC

Instruct police to speed up NFCorp probe, ex-top cop tells Najib

The NFCorp scandal has been linked to Shahrizat and her family. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak should use his powers as prime minister to expedite the probe into the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), a former senior police officer said today.

Former city CID chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim said Najib could instruct the police, graftbusters and the Attorney-General’s Chambers to finish investigating the scandal-hit livestock company within a fortnight.

“Straightforward criminal breach of trust cases like [NFCorp] need at most two weeks,” he said in a statement.

“If the PM says he can’t interfere in the investigation or decision to prosecute, that’s just a weak and childish excuse.”

Mat Zain pointed out that in 1998, then-Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had ordered him to quickly wrap up the high-profile investigation into Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s black eye, failing which a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) would be set up to look into the police force.

He noted that Dr Mahathir formed the RCI on January 27, 1999 as promised when the results of the investigation were allegedly stalled by the Attorney-General.

“Based on existing precedent, Najib has no reason to draw out this NFC issue beyond two weeks,” Mat Zain stressed, saying that Putrajaya’s move to appoint an auditor to look into NFCorp’s books was a delaying tactic.

He added that the appointment of the auditor would waste more taxpayers’ money and was a slight to the integrity of the Auditor-General, who had been appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“It is very unfair to the people if Najib is willing to destroy the credibility of royal institutions like the Auditor-General just to protect Shahrizat,” he said.

NFCorp hit the headlines following last year’s Auditor-General’s Report, and has continued to hog the limelight after it was linked to federal minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil’s family.

The publicly funded company is headed by her husband, Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail. Their three children also hold executive posts in the company.

PKR has since made several revelations relating to the scandal, including NFCorp’s purchase of two luxury condominium units in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, and the alleged use of project funds to pay for Shahrizat and her family’s personal expenses.

The opposition party has also alleged that Shahrizat’s family used nearly RM600,000 from NFCorp’s funds to settle their credit card bills in 2009.

But the management of NFCorp has maintained that the credit card expenses were solely for business purposes.

It has also denied allegations that funds from the RM250 million government loan were channelled into its accounts before the loan agreement was signed.

Shahrizat applied for three weeks’ leave from her duties earlier this month after new allegations of bribery surfaced.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced last week Putrajaya would appoint an auditor to scrutinise NFCorp’s books in light of accusations made against the company.

Brother: It’s Uthayakumar’s personal view

P Waythamoorthy clarifies that it is his brother's personal view not to back the 'Anything But Umno' movement. Hindraf's stand, he adds, is different.

GEORGE TOWN: P Uthayakumar’s statement that Hindraf Makkal Sakti has withdrawn its support for the Anything But Umno (ABU) movement is his personal stand, said his brother.

According to Hindraf Makkal Sakti chairman Waythamoorthy, the movement respected Uthayakumar’s view, but had reached a collective stand to the contrary.

He said Hindraf’s official stand was to fully support and cooperate with ABU because “ousting Umno from Putrajaya is a common goal for all.”

“We in Hindraf respect his views though collectively we differ from his personal opinions. Hindraf’s voice is a mix of its grassroots supporters, not based on an individual,” he added.

Yesterday, Human Rights Party (HRP), Hindraf’s political offshoot, information chief S Jayathas issued a statement that a five-member Hindraf supreme council had decided to pull out from ABU.

The statement advised supporters not to attend any future ABU forums, in light of the violent attack on Hindraf activists in Jalan Kebun, Shah Alam on Jan 21.

The statement also listed Uthayakumar as Hindraf’s de facto leader.

However, when contacted this morning, Jayathas failed to clarify who appointed Uthayakumar to this post and when was it done.

Asked why Uthayakumar had previously declared Waythamoorthy as Hindraf’s leader and that he was only a legal advisor, Jayathas said it was to stop certain quarters from manipulating the issue.

A few minutes later, Jayathas uploaded a 2007 Wikipedia posting on the HRP website which referred to Uthayakumar as “Hindraf de facto leader.”

On the five-man supreme council, Jayathas claimed that it was formed well before Hindraf’s mammoth street protest on Nov 25, 2007 and its members were P Karuna, P Siva, K Waran, besides Uthayakumar and himself.

Asked why the supreme council was never publicised before, he said: “We laid low. But now, we want to be active.”

‘We can’t do it alone’

Meanwhile, Waythamoorthy stressed that Hindraf’s collective official stand was to support any third force from the Peninsular, Sabah and Sarawak to “dethrone Umno and its mandores from Putrajaya”.

He said Hindraf would continue to work in tandem and move forward with any force that had a similar agenda to ABU’s.

“We will work with anyone to end Umno and their mandores’ atrocities against society, especially the poor and marginalised communities,” the London-based activist told FMT.

Hindraf’s decision to adopt a multi-pronged strategy and engage with any third party forces to oust Umno was made at the movement’s second annual convention held on Dec 4, 2011.

Uthayakumar did not attend the convention.

Waythamoorthy said Hindraf had consistently fought to end Umno’s rule but realised that it could not do this on its own.

He said Hindraf’s cooperation with third forces against Umno was solely based on a consensus that human rights and equality should be across the board starting with the poorest groups.

He said Hindraf coordinators unanimously agreed that a concerted effort from all parties irrespective of race, religion or creed was the best way to address the issue of the poor and marginalised Malaysian Indians and those in a similar position.

“Hindraf can never do it alone, without cooperating with others who have common goals,” he said.

Is Umno a racist party?

Based on the rule book, anyone can become a member of Umno, provided that the person is a Muslim, speaks Malay and practices the Malay culture.

In the days when FMT still allowed comments from readers, we often got to see lively colourful opinions penned (or typed) under each and every article.

Regardless of what the news might be, whether about a government policy, political squabbling, international relations, opinion pieces or even sports, there was always a barrage of angry comments that linked everything to Umno and that everything was screwed because Umno was a racist party.

In many of the talks and public forums, pseudo intellectuals who pretended to be neutral insisted that Umno was a racist party, an organisation of narrow-minded people, run by a bunch of “keris” wielding warlords waiting to bathe their daggers with the blood of the other races.

A racist by definition is someone who believes that one particular race is superior to the other and this was why the National Socialist Party (Nazi) operated on the premise of racial purity because of their belief in the superiority of the Aryan race and that only those of pure blood could be a member of the party.

Although Umno might not be that extreme, the perception towards the party was somewhat similar, by which people see that only Malays were allowed to be a member.

The ‘metallic black’ remark

Then one fine day Nga Kor Ming, DAP’s Perak state secretary, in a ceramah consisting of mostly Malay PAS supporters, uttered this infamous statement: “Di negeri Perak ‘darul takut’ ini, kita ada menteri besar ‘hitam metalik’ yang haram jadah itu.” [In Perak, state of the fearful, we have a metallic black chief minister who is a (insert insult)]”.

Nga was referring to Perak Chief Minister Zambry Abdul Kadir who happened to be dark skinned.

Since he was talking to a predominantly Malay crowd, many interpreted the remark as referring to the irony that Zambry, being dark skinned looked more Indian rather than Malay, and how come someone so dark was heading the state chapter of Umno.

Nga defended his remark with the usual political “tai chi”, saying that “Metallic Black” was a referrence to the power tussle that happened in the state a few years earlier. But based on the premise of which the statement was made, many concluded that it was clearly a racist remark.

This raised a significant question: If indeed Umno was a racist party, how could they elect a leader who seemed to be more of Indian blood than Malay in the first place?

This also begged the question that if hypothetically someone managed to prove that Zambry was of Indian descent would he be stripped of his party membership?

First, let us take a look at Umno’s constitution regarding membership:

FASAL 5 – Pendaftaran Keahlian (5.1): Tiap-tiap orang Melayu dan Bumiputera berhak mendaftar diri sebagai ahli Umno mengikut Perlembagaan dan peraturannya (Every Malay and Bumiputera has the right to register as an Umno member according to the constitution and laws).

Right. So far Umno seems to be a an exclusive party where only the Malays and Bumiputeras were allowed to join as members. But how does one define a Malay? Well it was written “mengikut perlembagaan” (following the constitution) hence we should be able to find it in the federal constitution.

Perlembagaan Persekutuan Malaysia Perkata 160 – Tafsiran: “Orang Melayu” ertinya seseorang yang menganuti agama Islam, lazim bercakap bahasa Melayu, menurut adat Melayu” (A Malay is someone who is a Muslim, speaks the Malay language and practices the Malay culture).

Now for a race-based party, surely it would appear ironic that there was no mention of ancestry or certain racial traits and profiling.

The reason why we generally despise racial politics is because we carry the notion that a man should be judged for who he is and not who his father was, we loathe at the prospect of defining a character via bloodlines, ancestry or skin colour. Indeed it was quite a revelation that this supposedly racist party did not endorse or made any mention of that.

Because if you look at the definition, a Malay was someone who was a Muslim, spoke Malay and followed the culture, that would mean, technically anyone could become a Malay. All you got to do was be a Muslim, be fluent in Malay and occasionally wear “baju melayu” (traditional attire) during Hari Raya while having a flair for “pantun” (poetry) would be considered a bonus.

National, not racial identity

The thing is, this is the way Umno, and to a certain extent the Malay community, see it – being Malay was more of a national identity rather than a racial identity. That the characteristics of being a Malay were not based on skin colour or ancestry,but rather upon the ideology of Islam that was intertwined with culture and language.

Of course one could argue that it was still an exclusive discriminatory political movement and that not everyone could be a member of the party, seeing that non-Muslims were excluded from it. But let’s look at it from this angle, could a democrat be a member of a Communist Party? Could a free market capitalist be a member of a socialist party? A communist is a person who endorses the teachings of Karl Marx just as much as a Malay endorses the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w). Whether you agree or disagree with that notion, it is how Umno sees it.

Back when opponents taunted former Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad of being more Indian than Malay, with stories of his ancestors having come from Kerala, it didn’t really have much of an effect on Umno members or the Malay community in general.

As far as Umno members were concerned, he was a Malay leader not because of who his grandfather was but for who he was, ideologically, linguistically and culturally.

So now we are back with the original predicament, a philosophical question you could say, is Umno really a racist party or are those who insist that Malay is a racial term the real racist? I shall leave it to you.

Zaidel Baharuddin is Mr Right, Mr Right Wing that is, electronics engineer by day writer by night, Frank Sinatra fanboy all day long, catch me at, or follow me on twitter via @Sinatra_Z. He is a FMT columnist.

Kelab Taat Suami bikin kontroversi lagi?

Bila perkataan seks diketengahkan dan Rasulullah SAW dijadikan tokoh utama, pasti ada orang kata KTS buat kontroversi lagi atau cari publisiti lagi, kata Fauziah Ariffin.

PETALING JAYA: Kelab Taat Suami (KTS) yang pernah mencetuskan kontroversi dengan menyifatkan isteri ibarat pelacur kelas pertama dan menerbit buku panduan Seks Islam sebelum ini, kini melancarkan kempen ‘Rasulullah Tokoh Seks Suci Islam’, bersempena sambutan Maulidur Rasul pada 5 Februari ini.

Wakil KTS di Malaysia, Fauziah Ariffin berkata kempen itu mengajak umat Islam mencontohi Rasulullah SAW dalam semua aspek kehidupan.

Jelas beliau, kempen ini juga memberi kesedaran kepada semua bahawa Rasulullah SAW adalah contoh terbaik bagi seluruh umat manusia.

“Bila perkataan seks diketengahkan dan Rasulullah SAW dijadikan tokoh utama, pasti ada orang kata KTS buat kontroversi lagi atau cari publisiti lagi.

“Sebenarnya tidak. Perkataan seks itu sendiri sudah sangat dirosakkan oleh golongan tertentu dengan mengamalkan hubungan seks secara haram iaitu seks bebas, seks luar tabii dan sebagainya.

Contoh terbaik

“Bahkan dalam kehidupan dalam sesebuah rumah tangga pun semestinya kita menjadikan baginda sebagai model ikutan. Sebab Allah SWT pun menyebut di dalam Al Quran, yang antara maksudnya ‘pada diri Rasulullah itu terdapat contoh tauladan yang baik’,” katanya kepada FMT.

Ujar Fauziah, pihak KTS tidak akan memperkatakan sesuatu yang tidak setanding atau setaraf dengan kedudukan baginda, apatah lagi, jauh sekali dari mahu mencemar manusia paling mulia dan agung yang diciptakan oleh Allah itu.

Katanya, kerukunan dan keharmonian rumah tangga Rasulullah SAW sebagai suami dan pemimpin kepada 11 isterinya patut dicontohi, walaupun untuk umat Islam hanya dibenarkan beristeri empat.

“Sebenarnya seks suci yang berlandaskan perkahwinan yang sah disisi Islam adalah nikmat tertinggi yang dikurniakan Allah di dunia ini.

“Sudah tentu orang yang boleh menikmatinya adalah orang yang paling bertaqwa dan orang yang paling bertaqwa adalah Rasulullah sendiri,” ujar Fauziah.

Beliau menyoal, “kalau masyarakat berlurus hati kenapa tidak dapat menerimanya? Bukankah kehidupan berumah tangga atau dalam erti kata yang lain kehidupan seks itu sebahagian dari kehidupan normal manusia?.”

Semalam turut diadakan pelancaran kempen ‘Rasulullah Tokoh Seks Suci Islam’ di Pusat Perdagangan Pelangi, Damansara.

Kempen itu diadakan selama 12 hari bermula semalam sebagai menyambut hari keputeraan Nabi Muhammad SAW yang jatuh pada 5 Februari ini atau 12 Rabiul Awwal 1433H mengikut kalendar Islam.

How many MIC nominees are there in GLCs?

Branch leader demands full disclosure from party president.

PETALING JAYA: A local MIC leader today demanded that party president G Palanivel reveal the number of nominees placed by the party in government-linked companies (GLCs).

V Thiagarajen, chairman of MIC’s Taman Mujur branch, accused Palanivel of treating the party as his personal fiefdom and appointing his clansmen to positions in these GLCs.

He said party members were still in the dark over the number of party nominees in the GLCs and their roles in these GLCs, but he added that he had learnt from a veteran party leader that there were more than 100 places allocated for MIC.

All Barisan Nasional member parties are allowed to place their nominees in the GLCs.

“Until today, no one apart from the party president can say for sure how many positions are exactly connected to MIC,” he said.

“He must also reveal who the directors of these companies are.”

He also asked Palanivel to explain the benefits that the Indian community had derived from MIC’s association with the GLCs.

“Parties like Umno and MCA get contracts from GLCs, but where the MIC is concerned, members are still in the dark over their operations.

“MIC must live up to its corporate social responsibility and be transparent with members about it dealings with these GLCs.”

He called on Palanivel to put himself in line with the Najib administration’s avowed intention to govern with transparency and accountability.

P. Uthayakumar – you are not HINDRAF

Dear Mr P. Uhtayakumar, your criticism on the participation of HINDRAF with ABU may be well founded for your own reasons, but HINDRAF is not only about you, it is about me, and many like me.

R. Shan, Human Being

I think Mr P. Uthayakumar needs to get something right. HINDRAF is a mass movement of the grassroots poor not an individual agenda or an agenda for the kiasu Malaysians.

HINDRAF’s only identity is its masses’ consciousness to galvanize a movement of people from all walks of life. HINDRAF’s notion and objective from its inception may have been seen as an Indian agenda as this poverty strickened minority needed a voice for the voiceless. That was the situation then, but in all fairness, the Malaysian community did embrace them and understand their predicament. Changes are not going to happen overnight but it is high time, rather than running a narrow agenda, HINDRAF has to evolve and work with the rest of the community.

Nobody is taking the glory away from you. Uthayakumar and other comrades were detained under the ISA for the cause of the public but now, it takes guts and courage for HINDRAF to take baby steps to work with the rest of the community to move ahead like the initiative that had been done with ABU.

Nobody denies that the Malaysian Indians do face a protruded policy that had set the Malaysian Indians in such backward waters although they were in the forefront at least 30 years ago. Nobody also denies along with the Malaysian Indians, the rest of the Malaysian community had also been set aback with policies that promote cronyism, corruption and nepotism to stifle the growth of the nation.

All said and credit to HINDRAF, we see today various attempts by the ruling government and the opposition to appease the Malaysian Indians and those deprived like them, but this would only turn out to be short term benefits or shall I say a political gimmicks unless and until we as Malaysian Indians can work with other Malaysians to ensure that we will be the change that we want collectively.

Dear Mr P. Uhtayakumar, your criticism on the participation of HINDRAF with ABU may be well founded for your own reasons, but HINDRAF is not only about you, it is about me, and many like me. HINDRAF had provided the flexibility to exercise humanity and consciousness for the community on a collective basis not on a personal agenda even though it was initiated as a Malaysian Indian movement.

I am a supporter of HINDRAF not because it is a Malaysian Indian movement, but more so because it has a humane cause. Therefore, any humane cause like ABU and any other such organizations have my ears. And if HINDRAF can work with them, what is the problem?

Nothing personal, but just another voice of the true HINDRAF spirit for the betterment of all Malaysians.

Altantuya Killers' Appeal Up Soon

Sirul and Azilah come to court
Case reopens doubts about Malaysian justice system
The politically-charged appeal of two elite Malaysian police bodyguards who were sentenced to death two years and nine months ago for the 2006 murder-for-hire of Mongolian translator and party girl Altantuya Shaaribuu is due on Feb. 10 in Malaysia’s Court of Appeal.

The High Court trial, in which everything appeared to have been done ignore the question of who hired the two killers, stands in vivid contrast to the appeal filed by prosecutors on Jan. 19 in the case of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, in which everything appeared to have been done to bend the evidence to try to put the 64-year-old Anwar behind bars. As Judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah pointed out in his not-guilty verdict, “the court cannot be 100 percent certain that the DNA evidence against Anwar was not contaminated.”

The two bodyguards, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, were to be paid RM50,000 to RM00,000 to kill Altantuya, according to a confession by Sirul which was never produced in court.

Although the three-judge court is expected to hear arguments, it is unsure when the verdict on the appeal by the two will be concluded on that date. Even if it is, according to criminal defense lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon, that is unlikely to be the end of the case. If the two are found guilty once more, they have the right of appeal to the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest tribunal. That could take as long as another 2-1/2 years, Dhillon said in an interview.

Although the Malaysian court system has been working to shorten the length of time appeals take, delays remain. However, the length of time this particular case is taking is extraordinary, Dhillon said. Indeed, however, he said, the appeal in Anwar’s case could take a similar amount of time. As with the Sirul-Azilah case, Anwar’s appeal to the Federal Court could also take another two and a half years after the appellate verdict.

The murder case been linked to the fortunes of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Azilah and Sirul served as bodyguards in an elite police unit supervised by Najib, then the country's deputy prime minister. It has continued to dog him as bloggers and journalists from France and other countries have continued to question his involvement. Also on trial with the two, but acquitted without having to put on a defense, was Altantuya's jilted lover and one of Najib's best friends, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda.

From the start of the year-long trial, during which prosecutors and the judge were hurriedly switched without warning, to the end, when the verdict was delayed since February 2008 until after the United Malays National Organization convention that named Najib party leader and thus prime minister, the case has appeared more about suppressing evidence than determining the guilt or innocence of the accused.

Asked about the failure of investigative agencies to attempt to discover why no attempt had been made to ascertain who had hired the two to kill the woman, Dhillon responded: “Frankly, that is ridiculous. It clearly shows the intention of the investigative agency. If you are a hired killer, someone has hired you, and he is a far greater criminal, whoever it is. If I am the head of the investigative agency, I would want to know who the mastermind is. Everybody wants to sweep this under the carpet.”

The murder was one of the most gruesome in recent Malaysian memory. It is a tale worth repeating. By several accounts, the then-28 year-old woman, who was executed with two bullets to the head in a jungle clearing near the suburban city of Shah Alam and whose body was blown up with military explosives, was at the center of a massive scandal over the purchase by Malaysia of two French submarines and the lease of a third.

The sale of the submarines and other vessels by the French government-linked military contactor DCN to Malaysia, Pakistan, Taiwan. India and other countries have been investigated sporadically by prosecutors who have alleged it involves a string of murders and kickbacks paid to some of France’s top political figures.

Altantuya, then Razak Baginda's lover according to Razak Baginda’s testimony to police, reportedly was a translator in the purchase, which cost Malaysian taxpayers €1 billion (US$329.1 billion in current dollars). The purchase netted a company controlled by Razak Baginda €114 million in "commissions," according to testimony in Malaysia's parliament.

By Razak Baginda's own cautioned statement to the police, he grew tired of Altantuya and broke up with her after a year-long affair in which he gifted her thousands of dollars. However, she flew to Malaysia to demand as much as US$500,000, according a letter found after her death. Other reports alleged the payment was for her part in the purchase of the submarines.

As she stood in front of Razak Baginda's house, demanding that he come out, the two policemen, accompanied by a policewoman, swooped down on her, tossed her into the back of a car, and she was never seen alive again.

In a cautioned statement that was never introduced in court, Sirul testified that in her last moments, Altantuya begged for her life, saying she was pregnant. Sirul said he and Azilah had attached explosives to the woman's legs up to her abdomen and her head, raising questions why they had sought to destroy her abdomen rather, for instance, than her hands, which could identify the body. Presumably the explosives would have destroyed any DNA samples of whose baby was inside her, if any.

P. Balasubramaniam, a private detective hired by Razak Baginda to keep the woman away from him, swore in an intensively detailed statutory declaration that he was told by Razak Baginda that Altantuya had been the lover of Najib as well, that she liked anal sex, and that she had been passed on to the analyst because Najib intended to become prime minister and didn't want a sex scandal hanging over his head.

In the declaration, Balasubramaniam said he had seen text messages from Najib after Altantuya disappeared, telling him to "be cool" and that he would take care of the matter. After delivering his statutory declaration, Balasubramaniam was summoned to a Kuala Lumpur police station, where he was forced into a total recantation of the document. He and his entire family disappeared. There apparently was never an attempt made by the court trying the three men to find him and ask him to testify as to the accuracy of the statement.

Other questions remain. In Sirul's cautioned statement, the police constable said Azhar told him Najib's chief of staff, Musa Safri, had ordered them to pick up the young woman. Azhar first suggested going to the Hotel Malaya, where Altantuya and two friends were staying, to kill them all, but decided not to because of the presence of closed-circuit cameras. Neither of the two was ever asked in court about Musa's involvement in the matter, nor about their relationship to Najib.

Burmaa Oyunchimeg, Altantuya's cousin who accompanied her to Kuala Lumpur and one of the two women whom Sirul and Azhar presumably intended to kill in the hotel, testified in the trial that she had seen a picture of Najib together with Razak Baginda and Altantuya. Najib has sworn on the Quran that he had never met the woman.

Both the prosecution and the defense leapt to their feet and asked that her testimony be stricken and she was never asked about it again. She also testified that when she attempted to leave the country, there was no indication that she had ever arrived there, leading to questions of how her records had disappeared from the immigration department. No questions were ever asked about how that could have happened either.

When Razak Baginda was first brought into court in June of 2007, his wife, Mazlina, angrily shouted, asking why he was being brought to trial when he had no ambition to become prime minister, which could have been construed as a reference to the allegation of Najib's relationship to Altantuya that was described by Balasubramaniam. Mazlina has never been asked to explain her statement.

Nor has Najib, along with Musa Safri, ever been asked to appear in court or been questioned about the case. It appears unlikely that they ever will be.

ABU goes to Seremban on Saturday, 28th January, 2012

Click on the poster to see it in full size.
Hope to see you all there this Saturday.

New date for accused in Kugan case

The New Straits Times

PETALING JAYA: The Sessions Court yesterday fixed Feb 13 to mention the case of constable V. Navindran who was charged with causing hurt to detainee A. Kugan, who died while in custody three years ago.

V. Navindran, 29, was initially charged with two counts of causing grievous hurt and two alternative counts of causing hurt to Kugan.

Navindran was alleged to have committed the offences at the interrogation room of the Taipan police station at 7am and 4pm on Jan 16, 2009.

The accused claimed trial on Oct 1, 2009 and was acquitted without his defence being called.   The prosecution appealed and the Shah Alam High Court allowed the appeal last Thursday when it ordered Navindran to enter his defence on the two alternative charges.

The accused, who was represented by Datuk P.M. Nagarajan, was granted bail of RM10,000.

Judge Hayatul Akmal Abdul Aziz then fixed Feb 13 for mention before Judge Aslam Zainuddin at the Sessions Court in Shah Alam.

Anwar pulls in the crowds

Anwar continues to draw the crowds as he criss-crosses the country. This was the scene at Sabak Bernam last night.
large crowd at sabak bernam
Photograph: Mediarakyat