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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Perkasa: Najib went to Batu Caves with 'unity torch'

Islamic Group Tells Muslims: ‘Don’t Attend Rituals of Other Religions’

Kuala Lumpur. The Ulama Association of Malaysia has urged Muslims to avoid participating in non-Muslim religious festivities, in a call seen by some as aimed at Prime Minister Najib Razak’s recent attendance at a Thaipusam celebration.

The association’s secretary-general Mohd Roslan Mohd Nor said Muslims should be more careful about this matter because it had a bearing on their faith. A guideline set in 2005 and approved by the National Fatwa Council, he said, was clear about Muslims attending the religious celebrations of non-Muslims.

“Among the criteria set is that the event must not include rituals that are against the Islamic faith,” he said in a statement, adding that Muslims should not participate in such rituals as it may jeopardise their faith.

The association is a non-government group that promotes Islamic values.

The statement did not name any specific incident of infringement, but it came soon after Datuk Seri Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor made a much-publicized visit to the Batu Caves Hindu temple during the Thaipusam festival on Feb 7.

Last week, the conservative Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria told a news Web site that the visit showed Najib had “sacrificed” his faith. He said he had repeatedly advised the Prime Minister not to take part in such events. “It’s an idolatrous act. I don’t know why this happened... when we don’t join in the celebrations of other races in their houses of worship.”

The Perak Mufti added that Muslims may attend festive open houses but not enter houses of worship where religious ceremonies are carried out.

Najib has not responded to the criticism. This is the first time his visit to the Batu Caves has stirred criticism, although he had previously gone there four times in three years, as part of efforts to consolidate crucial Indian support.

When he visited Batu Caves during Thaipusam for the first time in 2010, he was the first prime minister to do so in more than 30 years. Najib had also sought to meet the Christian community the same year, but his first such meeting was marred by overzealous aides who instructed church officials to remove crucifixes and to avoid singing hymns.

Yesterday, the Ulama Association of Malaysia urged all the religious authorities to give the right advice to the country’s leaders.

“At the same time, all leaders who are Muslims are advised to comply with the views of the religious leaders,” said Mohd Roslan.

He said non-Muslims should also understand and respect the Islamic values of their Muslim friends.

The Islamic authorities had also banned Muslims from doing yoga, saying it may involve elements of the Hindu religion.

Observers have warned that such conservative views, if repeated by the clerics and played up by the media, could deepen religious divides in Malaysia and also damage Najib’s efforts to reach out to minority communities.

“It will ignite a certain kind of sentiment on both sides,” said the director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies, Ng Yeen Seen.

Reprinted courtesy of Straits Times Indonesia. To subscribe to Straits Times Indonesia and/or the Jakarta Globe call 021 2553 5055.

Peserta mogok lapar masuk hospital

Gan Ee Seng bertindak demikian untuk terus mendesak kerajaan negeri Pahang membayar wang sebanyak RM70 juta kepada syarikat pelaburannya.

KOTA DAMANSARA: Peserta mogok lapar yang turut mengancam membakar dirinya hari ini dimasukkan ke hospital Sungai Buloh setelah mengalami dehidrasi ekoran tidak makan dan minum selama 24 jam.

Gan Ee Seng, 55 tahun bertindak demikian untuk terus mendesak kerajaan negeri Pahang yang masih gagal membayar wang sebanyak RM70 juta kepada syarikat pembalakan di mana beliau turut melabur.

Bapa kepada tiga orang anak ini melabur di dalam syarikat Seruan Gemilang Makmur Sdn Bhd dan semalam memulakan mogok lapar beliau di Padang Kota Damansara.

Berbekalkan sebuah khemah dan tidur hanya beralaskan sekeping kotak, tindakan Gan ini menarik perhatian beberapa ahli parlimen dari Pakatan Rakyat yang turut meninjau keadaan beliau. Gan yang kelihatan lemah dan tidak bermaya hanya terbaring tanpa mengeluarkan sebarang kata-kata walaupun kehadiran ramai pemberita dan orang awam di kawasan berkenaan.

Beliau difahamkan turut mengalami masalah kesihatan lain seperti tekanan darah tinggi, kencing manis dan hanya diberi minuman sebelum van ambulans tiba.

Antara yang hadir termasuklah ahli parlimen Segambut Lim Lip Eng, R Sivarasa (Subang) dan Tan Kok Wai (Cheras).

Tan menyifatkan perkara seumpama ini tidak sepatutnya berlaku kerana
ia akan memberi kesan kepada pelaburan di negeri berkenaan.

“Kerajaan negeri Pahang gagal untuk membayar sejumlah wang seperti yang diperintahkan mahkamah. Perkara ini tidak patut berlaku dan usaha Gan adalah supaya kerajaan negeri mengambil perhatian mengenai hal ini,” katanya kepada media yang hadir.

Kerajaan negeri harus bertanggungjawab

Sementara itu Lim pula berkata perkara tersebut pernah dibawa ke parlimen dan mahu kerajaan negeri Pahang serta Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob bertanggungjawab di atas perkara tersebut.

Malah beliau turut mengarahkan ahli Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) dan polis untuk terus memantau Gan yang mengancam untuk membakar dirinya.

“Saya akan mencuba yang terbaik untuk menghentikan hal seperti ini.

Kami membantu apa yang mampu. Dan saya telah arahkan ahli

MBPJ dan polis untuk berada di sini kerana beliau (Gan) mahu membakar dirinya,” kata Lim.

Baik Lim mahupun Sivarasa, mereka tidak bersetuju dengan tindakan Gan membakar diri. Namun menyifatkan ia sebagai satu usaha berterusan untuk kerajaan negeri mengambil perhatian terhadap isu ini.

Pada September 2008, kerajaan Pahang diperintahkan membayar RM60 juta kepada sebuah syarikat pembalakan selepas gagal dalam usaha terakhirnya di Mahkamah Persekutuan bagi mendapatkan kebenaran untuk merayu.

Kerajaan negeri Pahang dan Pengarah Perhutanan Negeri telah memohon kebenaran untuk merayu terhadap keputusan Mahkamah Rayuan yang menolak rayuan mereka untuk melanjutkan masa bagi memfailkan notis rayuan.

Notis rayuan itu adalah terhadap keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi Kuantan pada 25 Mei 2007 yang memerintahkan mereka membayar RM37,127,471.60 kepada Seruan Gemilang dengan faedah pada kadar lapan peratus setahun mulai 31 Disember 2000 sehingga selesai pembayaran.

Mahkamah Tinggi memerintahkan mereka membayar jumlah itu kepada Seruan Gemilang setelah berpuas hati bahawa Pengarah Perhutanan Negeri telah bertindak secara cuai apabila enggan mengguna pakai pelan terkini yang dikemukakan oleh Seruan Gemilang yang telah diluluskan oleh Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri pada 5 April 2000, sebaliknya mengarahkan pelan asal yang diluluskan oleh exco pada 7 Januari 1998, diguna pakai.

Pada 9 Disember 2002, Seruan Gemilang memfailkan saman terhadap Kerajaan Negeri Pahang dan Pengarah Perhutanan Negeri bagi memohon ganti rugi RM31 juta kerana didakwa melanggar perjanjian kontrak konsesi pembalakan berhubung pengeluaran kayu balak di atas tanah milik Umno di Mukim Bebar, Daerah Pekan seluas 4,000 hektar.

Rebel MIC man refuses to back down

VT Rajen says he will push ahead with the Gerakan Anti-Palanivel if the president does not steer clear of existing parliament seats.

KUALA LUMPUR: Combative MIC branch chairman VT Rajen has insisted that he will form the Gerakan Anti-Palanivel (GAP) movement despite receiving a recent show-cause letter from the party leadership.

In a press statement, the Taman Mujur branch chairman said the GAP movement will be mooted if party president G Palanivel refused to steer clear of contesting in MIC’s four Parliament seats.

“I received the show-cause letter on Sunday and I will reply to the letter,” he said.

“My concern is very simple, do not disturb the incumbents. Let’s give them another chance to defend their constituencies,” he added.

MIC’s four MPs are deputy president and Human Resource Minister Dr S Subramaniam (Segamat) vice-presidents and deputy ministers SK Devamany (Cameron Highlands) and M Saravanan (Tapah); and P Kamalanathan (Hulu Selangor).

According to Rajen, the four MPs are the real “winnable candidates”.

“They won the seats despite the political tsunami and we should appreciate them and should preserve them in their respective constituencies,” he said.

‘This is a democratic party’

Rajen also rubbished a statement by certain party members that the president has the right to choose the seat which he wished to contest.

“MIC is a democratic party where the president cannot act like a dictator. As president, he should strengthen the party first instead of seeking positions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Gadong Kecil branch chairman M Karunanidhi refused to apologise for calling on Palanivel to resign.

“There is no reason to apologise to the party,” he told FMT.

Karunanidhi, who received a show-cause letter on Feb 8, said that he would not respond to it.

“Palanivel has been MIC’s Selangor state chief for more than 10 years and MIC lost all its seats in the state in the last election.

“While his own state (Selangor) is in tatters, he is now planning to rejuvenate MIC’s strength in Perak,” he added.

Karunanidhi said he attempted to call the president, who has taken over the Perak MIC chief post last week, several times but the latter could not be reached, forcing him to turn to the media.

What we have lost over 40 years



Malaysia’s future lies not only in good governance, transparency, an end to corruption, and whatnot. These are of course important. More importantly, Malaysians must learn to respect the individual’s right to his/her beliefs and choices. This is what we have lost and what we had back in the 1950s and 1960s.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Five couples nabbed in early Valentine's Day raids
(The Star) - Five couples were nabbed during the early hours of Valentine's Day for alleged khalwat (close proximity), in raids conducted by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ).
In the raids that began at 12.30am Tuesday, enforcement officers swooped in on the couples, who were found in budget hotels around Kota Damansara and Bandar Sri Damansara here.
The men and women were aged between 20 and 30.
Some covered their faces with towels as they were escorted from hotel rooms into the Jais vans.
The operation, known as the Petaling District Level 6th Anti-Vice Campaign, was conducted by a total of 85 enforcement officers from Jais, MBPJ, the Immigration Department, district land office and police.
The couples were released on bail and will be charged in the Syariah court as soon as possible.
The raid ended at about 4am.
Under the Selangor Syariah Criminal Enactment 1995, khalwat is an offence which is punishable with a jail term of up to two years or fine up to RM3,000 or both, upon conviction.
************************************************
The last time something like this happened in Selangor we blamed PAS. We blamed Hasan Ali, the PAS man in charge of religion who we called an Umno mole, a Trojan horse, an ex-BTN operative, and whatnot.
Well, Hasan Ali is gone. He is history. Religion now comes directly under the Menteri Besar, a PKR and not a PAS man. But it is still business as usual.
Now, this is not merely a Pakatan Rakyat problem. This also happens in other states, which are not Pakatan Rakyat ruled. In fact, it happens all over Malaysia. The woman who was arrested and caned for drinking beer happened in Pahang, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s home state.
No, today I am not talking about corruption. I am not even talking about religion. I am talking about civil liberties. 
I know that as a Muslim I should not be talking about this, especially in opposition to it. If I do want to talk about it I should be in support of any move to eradicate sin and vice. Nevertheless, I did say in my interview some time ago (which you can see on Youtube) that if I want to talk about civil liberties, then I would have to remove my Muslim cap and put on my civil liberties cap. I can’t be wearing both caps at the same time just like when I want to talk about the third estate (the rakyat) I need to remove my Pakatan Rakyat cap (which many of you hate when I do that).
Now, this will probably give you an impression that Islam is not compatible with civil liberties. Actually, it is not only Islam. All the Abrahamic faiths are not compatible with civil liberties -- although nowadays heresy and apostasy are no longer punishable by death in England, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, etc., like, say, 400 or 500 years ago.
Note though, it was not that long ago that witches were still burned alive at the stake in America. So we really don’t have to go that far back in history to see what we would today call barbaric practices.
MCLM, when first mooted almost eight years ago, was not supposed to be involved in politics or the elections. It was supposed to be a purely civil liberties movement to uphold the right of Malaysians to decide how they want to live their lives and what they would like to believe or not believe. This, of course, would include the right to even not believe in God, if that is what you wish to believe.
I may not believe that Jesus died on the cross and came back to life three days later. But if that is what you believe then you have a right to believe that -- and whatever else you may want to believe and practice.
Anyway, somehow, MCLM ended up becoming a political movement and people started perceiving MCLM as a political party that aspires to contest the elections. Maybe that is our fault for talking about quality candidates and about helping Pakatan Rakyat look for such candidates and offer these candidates to them for the next election. That overshadowed everything else that MCLM was trying to do.
We have since abandoned all talk about elections and candidates. MCLM will soon be holding its first annual meeting and elections. Anyone who is a member is eligible to contest (we have slightly over 1,000 members). And I hope MCLM will soon see a new committee that can chart its course and focus on issues involving civil liberties.
The talk about forbidding Santa Claus hats, barring gay singers from performing in Malaysia, banning Valentine’s Day, and much more, are issues involving civil liberties. No doubt Malaysia practices Shariah laws and under these laws Muslims are forbidden from doing many things and are obligated to do many others.
But what if you are not a Muslim? Must you also be subjected to the same taboos? And, more importantly, what if you are a Muslim? Does the state have a right to interfere in your lifestyle, beliefs, sexual preferences and whatnot?
This is a debate that will never see a consensus. You can’t debate when you apply two different value systems. One debater will be talking from religion’s point of view and the other from the civil liberties point of view.
Do you know that the First Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, used to go to the horse races every weekend? He also gambled with his Chinese friends (played cheekee) and would drink like a fish (not sure if fishes do drink). That was one of the issues Dr Mahathir Mohamad used against him when he wanted to oust the Tunku (read Dr Mahathir’s letter to the Tunku: you can Google it).
But then, in spite of what many, today, would view as a most ‘immoral’ Prime Minister, Malaysia was a peaceful place. There was no racism and religious intolerance. In fact, the Tunku used to say that he was the happiest Prime Minister in the world.
Then the Tunku became heartbroken and was no longer happy. Until the day he died he still cried whenever he talked about the matter (read ‘The Tunku Tapes’ by K Das). And the issue that brought him to tears was the blackest day in Malaysia’s history, May 13.
The Tunku asked, why did God allow him to live to see the day when Malaysians would kill fellow Malaysians? He would rather have died than see that day. The Tunku was devastated and not long after that he resigned as Prime Minister. He seldom smiled again after that, not even when we threw him an 80th birthday party and launched the University Malaya Tunku Abdul Rahman Chair of International Law with a launching grant of RM1 million as his birthday present on 8th February 1983.
(Incidentally, how many of you lawyers out there are beneficiaries of this foundation?)
The Tunku was probably Malaysia’s first civil libertarian. And he believed that you decide what you want to believe and how you would like to live your life. And not only was the Tunku the happiest Prime Minister but we Malaysians of the 1950s and 1960s were the happiest people in the world.
Then the politicians decided they would end all that. Led by Tun Razak, Dr Mahathir, Datuk Harun Idris, and those of their ilk, they triggered May 13 and attacked the Tunku. The Tunku was blamed for May 13. It is because he was too ‘soft’ to the Chinese, they alleged.
And, since then, Malaysia has never been the same again.
Can we reverse all this? I really don’t know. But that is what MCLM will have to explore. It may be possible or it may not. Only time can tell. But MCLM must be absolutely apolitical and non-partisan. It must also be brave enough to speak out against any religious ruling that is opposed to civil liberties even if the religionists accuse them of being heretics and apostates.
Malaysia’s future lies not only in good governance, transparency, an end to corruption, and whatnot. These are of course important. More importantly, Malaysians must learn to respect the individual’s right to his/her beliefs and choices. This is what we have lost and what we had back in the 1950s and 1960s.

India and the Politics of Aid


Image
The winner: Rafale
Loss of a major combat fighter jet contract stirs anger in Westminster
Soon after the Indian Air Force rejected the UK’s Eurofighter Typhoon jets in favor of the French Dassault Rafale for its US$20-billion medium multi-role combat aircraft project, considerable rancor surfaced in Britain over sending aid to an increasingly prosperous India.

The decision has kicked off a major discussion in both India and the UK about the nature of aid. Andrew Mitchell, the UK’s Secretary of State for International Development, acknowledged that the focus of the £250 million annual payments included seeking to sell the Typhoon, which is in violation of the stated rationale of British overseas aid “to fight poverty and promote health and education.”

The real reason behind the irritation, analysts say, is not so much the millions of pounds sterling in aid to Delhi but the fact India signed the deal with France for the Rafale fighter jets despite the fact that British aid to New Delhi is nearly 15 times more than Paris’s. Prime Minister David Cameron is vowing to persuade Delhi to reconsider.

The aid debate is fraught with other questions about the very nature of aid. Conservative groups in rich countries have always opposed aid as they see it as an extension of the welfare state. Developing country elites, on the other hand, are inimical to this outreach initiative because as a columnist put it, it smacks of “dependency, neo-colonialism and reminds them of domestic policy failure.”

In other words, the episode has necessitated a reexamination of foreign aid at a time when emerging economies like India, China and Brazil are growing in economic and geopolitical heft, while the developed countries are experiencing economic woes.

“That pockets of wealth should co-exist with swathes of poverty is increasingly common in the developing world. The provision of aid is politically trickier because it must walk a tightrope between elite narratives and continuing deprivation,” said an editorial in the Hindustan Times.

Does it make any sense, the anti-aid lobby in Britain is arguing, to lavish that kind of annual aid on a burgeoning superpower that is snapping up expensive warplanes, has a defense budget that tops US$30 billion, a figure that has more than tripled since the 1998 nuclear blasts, and is seeking to put the first Indian astronauts into space by 2016?

Besides, the anti-aid crusaders point, India has 153,000 US dollar millionaires — 20 percent up in a year, compared with Britain’s own meager increase of less than one percent. Plus, such is the economic power of India that it now gives out more foreign aid than it receives, and has handed over £ 3.5 billion to cement relations with Africa. So why does it need aid?

There was outrage in India too. The blogosphere erupted with toxic comments over British expectations. “It is a clear case of misplaced expectations. India is not a British colony; it decides its own policy,” commented one blogger. “Its time the British came out of their colonial mindset and stopped behaving like a feudal master.”

France, meanwhile, has been gloating over the sale of the Rafale -- called “the white elephant of French arms manufacturing” -- with embattled President Nicolas Sarkozy, who faces a bitterly contested election later this year, trumpeting it as a “major boost” to the French economy.

To buttress its argument in support of canceling all aid to India, the anti-aid groups in Britain raked up finance minister Pranab Mukherjee’s last August statement in the Rajya Sabha (upper house) where he had mentioned that India did not need British aid as it was “peanuts.” “We do not require the aid. We will voluntarily surrender it (if the UK decides to cut down the aid)… It is peanuts in our total development exercises (expenditure),” Mukherjee had said.

The Sunday Mail quoted a leaked memo which reportedly said the then foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, proposed not to take any further assistance from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) with effect from April 1, 2011, because of the negative publicity generated by the agency regarding Indian poverty. The paper added, quoting official transcripts, that the British government then “begged” India to take the money.

According to India’s aid policy, the nation is not in favor of Overseas Development Assistance or bilateral aid that creates repayment obligations. In 2003, it said it was not keen on tied aid, though bilateral aid is considered kosher from G-8 countries and EU. For non-EU European countries, “aid is acceptable only if it is above US$25 million annually”.

However, with the two-way arguments threatening to snowball into a diplomatic crisis, New Delhi has been trying to downplay it, saying that its decision to buy Rafale jets over Typhoons was made purely on “technical grounds”. For instance, it is being pointed out the "life cycle cost" of operating the Typhoon over a 40-year period, with 6,000 hours of flying, was found to be "higher" than Rafale after extensive calculations of flight costs, spares, maintenance and the like.

However, a section of defense analysts said the choice of the Rafale’ over Typhoon is a “strategic blunder”. “There is a clear disconnect between the MEA and MoD (ministry of defense) on the matter,” said one expert. “Costs appear to have outweighed their final choice and not strategic considerations.”

More than anything else, the arguments and counter arguments over the jet deal underscore the macro debate over the politics of foreign aid, not to mention the unarticulated expectation that the donor’s “favor” will be reciprocated by the receiver in the form of some economic tradeoff.

“The Typhoon episode is strongly reminiscent of the concept of 'tied' aid, or a quid pro quo expected by the donor party,” said NGO activist Sudhakar Bokade formerly with the Indian army. “It is ridiculous of Britain to expect that India would award it an expensive defense contract purely out of obligation. This expectation totally kills the spirit of charity. It is far better to strike the aid off from one’s foreign policy agenda than give in to such sentiments.”

Bokade added that aid should be about poor people and the social transformational potential they embody rather than “blatant commercial tradeoffs”.

There is another pertinent aspect to the aid conundrum as pointed out by The Guardian in a recent article. “Underlying the debate raging over British aid to India,” said the newspaper, “is the myth that the subcontinent's strong, market-driven growth of the past two decades has pulled hundreds of millions out of poverty…In reality, since 1991, during which time India has experienced the highest growth in recent history, there has been no significant reduction in poverty or hunger. Two in every five children remain malnourished.”

The paper argues further that “the neo-liberal policies unleashed by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, when he was finance minister in the early 90s, have widened class disparities obscenely”.

In other words, Bokhade said, it would be morally wrong of the UK to terminate aid to India as it hosts the largest number of the world's poor.

“London should fulfill its obligations to set right the gross structural imbalances that continue to plague the world despite tectonic shifts in power between the so-called rich and poor nations,” the activist concluded.

Target: Lim Guan Eng

The Malaysian Insider
Feb 14, 2012

FEB 14 — This is some friendly advice to Lim Guan Eng. Watch your back. Team Najib have identified you as a main target, a real problem for them in the coming general elections.

In the power circles in Putrajaya, Lim Guan Eng is a problem, not only in Penang but in urban areas and even in East Malaysia where the feedback is that the Penang CM is popular.

So the strategists in Umno have decided that Lim must be kept busy fending off attacks. He must be kept off balance and so worried that he will not leave Penang to campaign for Pakatan Rakyat.

Aiding and abetting Umno in this task are some turncoats in DAP and PKR and Chinese businessmen. They have been promised a big payoff.

Guan Eng, you can expect your name to be dragged in the mud just like Anwar Ibrahim’s.

The only difference is that the administration will not use the mainstream media because they know that you will sue. They are going to employ the Umno bloggers to destroy you.

If you have skeletons in the closet, you are in trouble. If you don’t have, they will make it up.

This so-called expose on the Bayan Mutiara land deal should be see in this light. I don’t expect Rahman Dahlan to take up your dare and challenge you that the land was sold through open tender. The last thing he wants is for you to show him up to be what he is.

He and other Umno politicians just want to distract you and tar your image.

Bomb Suspect Arrested At Airport

By Jamaluddin Muhammad

BANGKOK, Feb 15 (Bernama) -- An Iranian was arrested at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport here Tuesday night, in connection with a series of three bombing incidents in the capital earlier.

Bangkok Metropolitan police chief Pol Lt Gen Winai Thongsaeng said the man was picked up as he was about to take a 6pm flight out of the country.

Three bomb explosions rocked Bangkok today, including an incident where an Iranian man lost his legs when a bomb he hurled at a police patrol car, ricochetted and struck him at Sukhumvit 71 Road here.

The suspect detained at the airport was believed to be one of the two housemates of the bomber. The other is still at large.

Earlier, National Police Deputy Chief Pol Gen Pansiri Praphawat said, apart from the bomber, four locals were injured in the bombing incidents.

He said the first bomb exploded at a house rented by the Iranian at Soi (lane) Preedeepanomyong 31, off Sukhumvit 71 Road about 2pm. Later, the police found several home-made bombs inside the house.

Pansiri said, as the Iranian man tried to run away after the explosion, he flagged down a taxi at the roadside of the Soi but threw another bomb at the taxi when the taxi driver refused to stop after being alerted by the public that he carried bombs.

He said a police patrol car managed to intercept the bomber in front of a school at Sukhumvit 71 Road and the bomber threw the third bomb at the patrol car but it ricochetted and exploded, causing him to lose his legs.

It could not be ascertained whether today's bombing incidents are linked to the terrorism alerts in this capital issued by some countries last month.

On Jan 13, the United States Embassy here warned that foreign terrorists might conduct attacks against tourist areas in this capital in the near future.

A terrorist suspect, a 48-year-old Lebanese, was detained in this city on Jan 12, and more than four tonnes of explosive materials discovered later.

ABU sentimen yang mampu jatuhkan Bn : Md Sabu

Saya akui, perubahan pemerintahan itu bukan matlamat akhir perjuangan rakyat. Dia mesti menegakkan justice dan keadilan. Sebab itu saya cukup suka apabila melihat munculnya kumpulan ABU ini," kata Timbalan Presiden PAS, Mohamad Sabu, sebelum menambah, bahawa beliau melihat ABU "...boleh menjatuhkan kerajaan Barisan Nasional, mereka juga mampu menjatuhkan kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat kalau menyeleweng nanti."

Demikianlah penilaian Mohamad Sabu terhadap ABU, singkatan kepada "Asal Bukan UMNO" - satu kempen untuk menolak UMNO-Barisan Nasional dalam Pilihan Raya Umum akan datang. Seperti biasa, pemidato terkenal ini tidak lupa mencuit rakan seperjuangannya dalam Pakatan Rakyat, mendakwa bahawa orang yang berkuasa menunjukkan kecenderungan yang hampir sama, lantas memerlukan pengawasan yang rapi.

"Amar makruf nahi mungkar, sebut senang nak laksana payah!" sindirnya dengan nada berjenaka, mencungkil gelak ketawa kira-kira 150 orang hadirin di bawah pentas, dalam "Forum Kiri: Kebangkitan Dunia Arab: Apa telah terjadi selepas satu tahun?", anjuran Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) di Dewan Perhimpunan Cina KL-Selangor, semalam.

Beliau yang lebih dikenali dengan Mat Sabu, sempat berkongsi pengamatannya terhadap pergolakan politik yang berlaku di Timur Tengah, selepas genap satu tahun beberapa regim digulingkan. Malah, Mat Sabu sempat mengaitkan beberapa fenomena yang berlaku di Timur Tengah, dengan apa yang berlaku di tanahair kita sekarang.

Sebelum ini, Penyelaras Antarabangsa PSM Choo Chon Kai (gambar kiri) selaku panelis, menekankan bahawa perjuangan tidak seharusnya dibubuh noktah apabila satu regim digulingkan dan digantikan dengan kerajaan yang baru, kerana perubahan struktur yang menyeluruh tidak semestinya berlaku.

Choo Chon Kai antara tahanan EO (di bawah Ordinan Darurat) ketika kerajaan Barisan Nasional cuba mematahkan perhimpunan BERSIH 2.0. Menurut Choo, revolusi yang berlaku di Timur Tengah setahun yang lalu masih belum selesai, memandangkan sistem yang lama masih wujud, dan isu-isu seperti kemiskinan, pengangguran, kenaikan harga dan sebagainya, masih belum diselesaikan.

Kalau tak dapat semua, jangan tinggal semua

Seorang lagi panelis, Hishamuddin Rais mengambil sikap yang lebih sinikal terhadap kebangkitan rakyat yang disifatkan "Arab Spring" oleh media Barat. Beliau cuba mengetengahkan kontradiksi utama di sebalik manifestasi di mana demonstrasi raksasa berlaku, mengaitkan kepentingan Amerika Syarikat dalam pergolakan ini. Malah, untuk beliau, pertukaran kerajaan hanya pertukaran sekumpulan pelawak yang baru untuk berkuasa, tanpa perubahan dari segi struktur.

Mat Sabu (gambar kanan) bersetuju dengan sebahagian pengamatan itu, bahawa ada kalanya kebangkitan rakyat itu di-hijack oleh sesetengah pihak. Malah beliau sempat bergurau dengan merujuk apa yang berlaku di Malaysia, di mana secara tiba-tiba bekas menteri datang dan mengakui dirinya pun ABU, malah mengutuk UMNO lebih kuat daripada pembangkang.

Bagaimanapun, beliau cuba melihat ciri-ciri positif daripada apa yang berlaku di Timur Tengah setahun yang lalu, satu perjuangan untuk mendaulatkan keadilan, dan sekurang-kurangnya rakyat negara berkenaan telah keluar dari alam diktator yang teruk selama 50 tahun sebelum ini.

"Memanglah kita ada satu idealistik yang kita perlu capai, tetapi dalam konteks perjuangan, kalau kita tidak dapat semua, jangan kita tinggal semua," kata Mat Sabu.

Projek Alaf Baru untuk Amerika Syarikat

Berucap sebelum Mat Sabu, Hishamuddin Rais menyeru agar hadirin tidak terpengaruh dengan manifestasi tanpa meneliti kontradiksi sebenar yang berlaku di Timur Tengah. Sambil mendakwa bahawa demonstrasi raksasa di Dataran Tahrir itu hanyalah manifestasi yang dicetuskan kontradiksi yang lebih utama, Hishamuddin Rais memperkenalkan "Projek Alaf Baru untuk Amerika Syarikat" (Project For The New American Century) kepada hadirin. Menurutnya, projek ini difikirkan otak-otak yang cerdik-pandai, graduan dari Universiti Havard dan Universiti Yale tetapi berhaluan kanan.

Beliau mengimbas sejarah, perjanjian pada tahun 1923 antara Amerika Syarikat dengan Arab Saudi, di mana Amerika berjanji mempertahankan Arab Saudi dengan syarat minyak akan dijual-beli dengan menggunakan dollar Amerika. Lantas Amerika Syarikat terselamat dengan hanya mencetak wang dollar Amerika. Ia menjelaskan juga mengapa media seperti Washington Journal, New York Times berdiam diri, apabila pencabulan hak asasi berlaku secara berleluasa di Arab Saudi?

"Tidakkah anda rasa itu sesuatu yang pelik?" tanya Hishamuddin Rais, merujuk kepada bagaimana kuasa Barat yang sering lantang dalam isu pencabulan hak asasi apabila berlaku di Dunia Ketiga. Malah, Hishamuddin Rais menyatakan bahawa pernah wujud gerakan sayap kiri yang progresif di negara-negara Timur Tengah ini, namun digagalkan oleh Amerika Syarikat. Beliau menambah, bukan lagi rahsia di mana wujudnya hubungan yang intim antara badan perisikan Amerika Syarikat, CIA dengan Ikhwan Muslimin, badan yang memperjuangkan gerakan Islam.

Untuk Hishamuddin Rais (gambar kanan), apa yang berlaku setahun yang lalu di Libya, Mesir, Tunisia dan sebagainya, adalah "pembocoran" yang terpaksa dilakukan, ketika kuasa Amerika berdepan dengan ombak kuasa rakyat, untuk menangguhkan revolusi agar perubahan struktur secara total dapat dielakkan. Dalam perhitungan Amerika Syarikat, musuhnya bukan Syria, Libya, Tunisia dan sebagainya, tetapi China. Kewujudan projek Alaf Baru untuk AS itu adalah untuk memastikan kuasa Amerika tidak dicabar mana-mana bala tentera di dunia ini.

Hishamuddin Rais berkata, perjuangan ini belum berakhir dan masih berjalan, kerana kontradiksi utama masih kekal. Sebagai penyelesaiannya, satu sistem ekonomi di mana manusia tidak dijadikan hamba, lebih demokrasi dan terbuka, di mana manusia saling menghormati sesama manusia perlu diwujudkan, katanya. - petikan merdeka riview(BM)

Report: Prescription pills found around Whitney’s bath-tub

Some have suggested that “drug abuse” (usually taken to mean illegal or hardcore drugs) played a part in Whitney’s downfall, but reports have emerged that prescription pills were found around her hotel bath-tub.
The Daily Mail reported:
The body of the singer, 48, was found in a bathtub at her suite on Saturday, surrounded by different bottles of prescription pills including ibuprofen – a painkiller, Xanax – an anti-anxiety drug, Midol – for menstrual cramps, amoxicillin – for bacterial infections and several others.
Her doctors are said to be facing questions.
Read the full report, which is quite revealing.
Not what Big Pharma would like to hear.