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Friday, March 9, 2012

KgMedan Riot Inquiry Hindraf

Lawyers urge review of jail term for shoe-throwing imam

Hoslan praying at the court building in Putrajaya before being sentenced to jail for contempt March 8 2012. — Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, March — Lawyers stunned by the Federal Court’s one-year jail sentence for contempt of court against an imam who threw his shoes at three senior judges have called for a review of the “excessive” punishment.
The court decided this morning that Hoslan Hussin’s “act of contempt was very serious” and “if no action is taken, can threaten the powers of the court” before meting out the jail tern that several lawyers told The Malaysian Insider was unprecedented for a case of contempt.
“No, I have never seen such a heavy punishment. Even considering the need for a deterrent, I had expected a custodial sentence but no more than six weeks. Does the punishment really serve justice?” said senior lawyer Karpal Singh, who had pleaded in mitigation for Hoslan.
Human rights lawyer N. Surendran also said “the sentence is excessive and inappropriate”.
“The circumstances of this case required that justice should be tempered with mercy. This the Federal Court failed to do,” the PKR vice president said.
The Bar would urge the Federal Court to review this sentence and show the same compassion which it did on the first occasion when the act of contempt happened by leaving the matter be — Bar Council President Lim Chee Wee
Several observers have also pointed out that the 12-month jail term was the same meted out on former Selangor Mentri Besar Dr Mohamed Khir Toyo for abuse of power.
Hoslan (left) speaks to his lawyer Karpal in Putrajaya, March 8 2012. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Hoslan had flung his shoes at the Federal Court Bench on February 22 after it struck out his bid to challenge an eviction order from a city mosque here in 1999 on a technicality. He stunned the judges, lawyers and members of the public that packed a courtroom at the Federal Court when he stood up, took off both his shoes and lobbed the pair right at the Bench.
The same three-man Bench, led by Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, decided today after “analysing your explanation” it was inadequate and found Hoslan in contempt.
“The court must bring a sentence that is appropriate and a deterrent,” Zulkefli said during sentencing.
Bar Council representative Arthur Wang, who held a watching brief during this morning’s hearing, had also called for a stiff punishment as a deterrent was needed.
But its president Lim Chee Wee told The Malaysian Insider this evening that the one-year prison sentence “is harsh even where a deterrent is justified.”
He said it is convention for courts to allow unrepresented laymen “more leeway in procedural requirements” so “it would appear that the contempnor may have been denied his day in court.”
“The Bar would urge the Federal Court to review this sentence and show the same compassion which it did on the first occasion when the act of contempt happened by leaving the matter be,” Lim said.
Karpal had also said in mitigation that the court must consider the “emotional element” as the 13 years since Hoslan was evicted caused “attrition in the mind” of the father of seven.
The Bukit Gelugor MP said Hoslan only works as an environmental officer with the Environmental Department and has to care for the children aged between six and 16.
But the Attorney-General’s Chambers argued that a jail sentence was needed as a deterrent.
“It has brought ridicule to this honourable court. A custodial sentence is warranted as a deterrent... for the proper administration of justice,” senior federal counsel Suzana Atan said.
But Surendran noted that the judiciary should guard its own dignity “by the strength of their moral authority, and not by imprisoning people.”
“Public perception is that the judiciary is not independent and that they have failed to safeguard the basic rights of Malaysians. This lack of confidence and respect can lead to a recurrence of incidents like the shoe-throwing case,” he said.

Probe Kg Medan riot, Suhakam told

Hindraf submits another memorandum calling on the human rights commission to hold an open inquiry into the 2001 racial clash.

KUALA LUMPUR: Hindraf has submitted a memorandum to Suhakam, urging the human rights commission to hold a public inquiry into the 2001 racial clash in Kampung Medan.

Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar said 11 years has passed but the authorities continue to ignore the matter.

“Moreover, the Federal Court dismissed the Kampung Medan suit on March 5, 2012. Five Indians were murdered and more than 100 suffered grevious bodily injuries.

“We want justice for the Kampung Medan victims. So Suhakam must call for a public inquiry,” he added after submitting the memorandum.

Uthayakumar said that since 2001, he has submitted five memorandums and nine letters to Suhakam to hold a public inquiry but the commission continued to churn out “lame excuses”.

He added that on June 6, 2002, Hindraf lawyers filed a civil suit, including a Mandamus Order to compel Suhakam to hold an inquiry but the High Court struck out the suit without Suhakam having to even file defence.

The decision was upheld by both the Court of Appeal and Federal Court.

Apology fund

The Federal Court also dismissed a suit filed by seven Kampung Medan victims who, among others, sought monetary compensation.

“We want justice for the victims and their families who have been suffering all these years,” said Uthayakumar. “Thus, it is time for Suhakam to call for a public inquiry to be able to establish the truth behind the riot.”

The Hindraf leader also urged the federal government to provide compensation of RM500 million, with families who lost a loved one due to the incident be given at least RM1 million.

The RM500 million, he said, should come under the “Kg Medan apology fund” and the money could be used for education, welfare and business opportunities for those affected and other poor Indians.

Skim 1Care abai rakyat miskin

Senator Ramakrishnan berkata kerajaan seolah-olah lebih prihatin untuk menjaga atau melindungi kontrak lumayan kroni dan pemimpin Umno.

PETALING JAYA: Cadangan skim penjagaan kesihatan (1Care for 1Malaysia) adalah satu lagi rancangan besar untuk merompak rakyat yang sakit dan susah untuk memperkaya kroni-kroni Umno.

“Semasa menyediakan cadangan skim ini kerajaan tidak berunding dan berdialog dengan pihak berkepentingan. Ini mengesahkan fakta bahawa kerajaan tidak mengambil kira masalah rakyat biasa,” kata Senator Ramakrishnan.

Beliau berkata kerajaan seolah-olah lebih prihatin untuk menjaga atau melindungi kontrak lumayan kroni dan pemimpin Umno.

Dalam satu kenyataan kepada FMT, beliau menegaskan, “setiap hari rakyat Malaysia melihat satu skandal demi satu skandal yang lain.

“Skandal RM250 juta Perbadanan Fidlot Nasional (NFC), Lebuhraya Pantai Barat dengan 60 tahun konsesi yang membebankan pengguna dan pembalakan haram bernilai RM900 juta setahun adalah senarai terbaru skandal yang seolah-olah tidak merisaukan kerajaan.

“Sekarang kerajaan mahu merompak rakyat yang sakit dan miskin dengan skim 1Care for 1Malaysia,” katanya.

Dalam Bajet 2012, Menteri Kewangan memperuntukkan RM17 bilion daripada RM233 bilion kepada Kementerian Kesihatan untuk menyediakan penjagaan kesihatan.

“Peruntukan ini termasuk RM8 bilion untuk pembayaran emolumen dan RM6.61 billion bagi pembelian bekalan dan perkhidmatan seperti ubat-ubatan, barang-barang kegunaan, penyelenggaraan dan utiliti serta bakinya untuk pembangunan penjagaan kesihatan seperti membina hospital-hospital baru,” ulas Ramakrishnan.

Ramakrishnan yang juga merupakan Ahli Jawatankuasa DAP Selangor menjelaskan, projek-projek hospital seperti pembinaan hospital di Shah Alam bernilai RM482 juta yang terbengkalai masih terus diberikan kepada kroni Umno melalui rundingan terus.

Kerajaan tidak ada dana

“Namun begitu, kerajaan tidak mempunyai dana untuk menyediakan penjagaan kesihatan yang sempurna kepada rakyat Malaysia,” terang beliau.

Menurut beliau, pada tahun lepas Ketua Audit Negara mendedahkan bahawa sebanyak RM5.51 bilion dibelanjakan ke atas pembayaran yang tiada dalam senarai (unbudgeted) disebabkan pembelian barangan dan perkhidmatan yang berkualiti rendah dan pembelian balik, penalti yang dibayar kerana kecuaian dan cukai kerajaan yang tidak dikutip pada tahun 2010.

Di Malaysia katanya, setiap kali sesuatu projek diswastakan ia bukan membawa kehidupan yang lebih baik kepada rakyat Malaysia.

“Sebaliknya kita yang perlu membayar lebih seperti bil elektrik, setem pos, bil telefon, jalan bertol dan bil penyelenggaraan air kumbahan

Indah Water adalah merupakan beberapa contoh yang amat nyata membebankan rakyat.

Menurutnya, Malaysia berada pada kedudukan 151 daripada 193 negara dalam perbelanjaan penjagaan kesihatan mengikut peratusan daripada KDNK di antara tahun 2000-2005.

“Perbelanjaan penjagaan kesihatan kita adalah sekitar 4-5% daripada KDNK setiap tahun. Ini menunjukkan Malaysia adalah salah satu daripada negara-negara yang kurang melabur (under invest) untuk kesihatan rakyat. Malaysia berada di kedudukan ke-90 dalam jangka hayat yang sihat,” tambahnya.

Secara amnya, Malaysia kurang berprestasi (underperformed) dalam menyediakan perkhidmatan penjagaan kesihatan kepada rakyat.

“Pencapaian sistem kesihatan dan prestasi Malaysia adalah pada kedudukan 89 daripada 191 negara. Oleh itu, kita mesti melabur dan meningkatkan produktiviti dan kecekapan dalam sistem perkhidmatan kesihatan,” katanya.

Kerajaan lepas tanggungjawab

Dengan meningkatkan perbelanjaan penjagaan kesihatan, kerajaan melepaskan tanggungjawab membayarnya kepada rakyat yang sudah dibebani dengan kenaikan kos sara hidup dan gaji yang tidak dinaikkan.

Malaysia sebagai sebuah negara yang kaya dengan sumber asli dan sumber manusia mampu menyediakan perkhidmatan penjagaan kesihatan yang lebih baik tanpa terus membebankan rakyat.

“Sekiranya kerajaan melaksanakan skim 1Care, apa yang akan berlaku kepada orang-orang yang menganggur, miskin dan orang-orang tua? Di mana mereka akan pergi untuk mendapatkan penjagaan kesihatan?

“Di bawah skim 1Care, kerajaan mahu menetapkan pesakit hanya berjumpa seorang doktor dan pesakit tidak akan dapat berjumpa dengan doktor yang lain.

“Selain itu, pesakit hanya akan dapat berjumpa doktor enam kali setahun dan kerajaan mahu kita membayar 10 peratus daripada pendapatan kita setiap bulan untuk insurans ini,” tambahnya.

Beliau menegaskan, “sudahlah pendapatan pekerja-pekerja miskin telah ditekan oleh kehadiran berjuta-juta pekerja asing. Malah 40% tenaga kerja Malaysia adalah pekerja asing dan 34% pekerja Malaysia hidup dalam kemiskinan tegar.

“Bagaimana mereka akan membayar untuk penjagaan kesihatan?,” soal beliau.

Menurut Ramakrishnan, Malaysia mempunyai salah satu sistem penjagaan kesihatan yang terbaik di dunia sebelum tahun 1980-an.

“Tetapi apabila ghairah dengan dasar penswastaan yang bermula semasa di bawah pemerintahan bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir

Mohamad maka semuanya gagal dan merugikan. Kemudian tumpuan beralih kepada memperkayakan kroni Umno yang tamak.

“Kerajaan telah mengabaikan tanggungjawab sosialnya demi untuk melahirkan jutawan-jutawan Bumiputra. Tetapi pada hakikatnya orang

Melayu yang miskin terus dibebani untuk mengkayakan beberapa jutawan Umnoputra. Semua program transformasi Perdana Menteri hanyalah cakap besar tanpa ada hasil.

“Defisit bajet yang kita alami selama 15 tahun berturut-turut menunjukkan bahawa kerajaan menyalahgunakan hasil tanpa apa-apa manfaat kepada rakyat.

“Sebaliknya, Perdana Menteri Datuk Najib Tun Abdul Razak sibuk membelanjakan RM500 untuk setiap orang miskin tetapi ramai kaum India yang miskin masih dipinggirkan.

“Umno dan sekutu-sekutunya tiada kesungguhan politik (political will) untuk mengubah penjagaan kesihatan. Mereka hanya memikirkan untuk memperkaya diri mereka sendiri,” jelas Ramakrishnan.

Practising the state of being impartial

Impartiality is a simple word and many of our problems can be solved by just appreciating and practising this term.
That is a spurious argument. The wrongdoers are those who disrupt the freedom of expression, not those who are simply practising their right. Any trouble will only be made worse if the police are not seen as impartial in their dealing with the situation.
Azmi Sharom, The Star
IMPARTIALITY is defined as being not biased for or against any party; free from favouritism or self interest.
It is a fairly simple concept, one which I think most people would be able to understand.
Of course, there are times when one is incapable of being impartial.
If you support a particular team, you will consider your team as the greatest, despite all evidence to the contrary.
Once I saw a banner at some dinky little football game with the words “Brighton Hove Albion: The Best Football Team in the World”. Really? Better than Barcelona? And where is Brighton Hove Albion anyway?
It sounds like a brand of bread. “A loaf of Brighton Hove Albion please”.
Having said that, I understand the impartiality of BHA fans, in fact I am equally guilty of being totally biased and prejudiced when it comes to supporting my football team.
But at the end of the day, this sort of blinkered attitude does no harm apart from the derisive laughter and taunting we get from far more successful clubs.
The same can’t be said about other situations however.
Impartiality, and perhaps even more important, the perception of impartiality is vital in some circumstances. Sometimes it just makes for a better end product.
A political debate for example must have an impartial moderator and preferable questions to the debaters ought to come from that moderator. Even questions from the floor should be directed through the moderator who can then choose the best ones.
That is why he is called the moderator. He moderates.
In academia, we are expected to be impartial. This is in order for a better quality of research to be produced and following from this better teaching.
Often I have been asked why I am critical of the Government especially since I work in a so-called government university.
Well, I think I work in a public university paid for by tax payers’ money and one of my responsibilities is to be critical of laws which I think are unjust; with academic reasoning, naturally.
If I don’t do that, then I will be perpetuating a wrong and I won’t be doing my job properly.
Those who work in the civil service however, have different responsibilities because they are directly answerable to the elected government and their job is to implement the policies.
In that sense, they have less freedom in their jobs compared to academics.
However, they still have to be impartial because their duties are to basically carry out the decisions of those who are currently their bosses. They are expected to be impartial regardless of their own political leanings.
If they think the policies are poor, they should have the right to voice their concerns but ultimately they have to do what is required of them. Besides, if their bosses are rubbish, they can be voted out, civil servants can’t.
In my last example, impartiality is absolutely imperative for without it, there can be no law and order. I am speaking of course of the police.
In the past few weeks there have been uncomfortable stories of thugs attacking people because they are saying things which they disagree with.
For some this is grist for the mill in their argument that public displays of political expressions must be controlled.
That is a spurious argument. The wrongdoers are those who disrupt the freedom of expression, not those who are simply practising their right. Any trouble will only be made worse if the police are not seen as impartial in their dealing with the situation.
Their job is to enforce the law equally, and not only for those who are deemed a threat to the current political masters.
This applies whoever the political masters may be. It is only where bias or prejudice is perceived, does real trouble erupt.
Impartiality is a simple concept. Perhaps our problems in this nation are not so intractable. Many can be solved by just appreciating and practising this simple little term.
It is only when we have lost faith that such a basic idea can be ignored, then we know that things are truly bad.