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Friday, March 23, 2012

UN adopts resolution on Sri Lanka war crimes probe

(BBC) The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution urging Sri Lanka to investigate alleged abuses during the final phase of war with Tamil rebels.

The US-backed motion called on Colombo to address alleged abuses of international humanitarian law.

It passed with 24 votes in favour, 15 against, eight abstentions. Sri Lanka denounced the process as "arbitrary".

Correspondents say that the US has become increasingly frustrated by Sri Lanka's approach to the rights issue.

In 2010 the European Union withheld trade preferences to Sri Lanka over its perceived failure to address human rights concerns.

In a statement, Sri Lanka's mission to the UN said the vote was a "selective and arbitrary process".

"The obvious reality is that voting at the Human Rights Council is now determined not by the merits of a particular issue but by strategic alliances and domestic political issues in other countries which have nothing to do with the subject matter of a Resolution," the statement said.

Sri Lanka's army defeated the separatist Tamil Tigers in May 2009, putting an end to 26 years of brutal civil war - but the final phase of that war has been a source of considerable controversy, with both sides accused of war crimes.

The resolution tabled by the US:

asks the government to explain how it will address alleged violations of international humanitarian law
asks how Sri Lanka will implement the recommendations of an internal inquiry into the war
encourages the UN human rights office to offer Sri Lanka advice and assistance and the government to accept such advice

But there have been unconfirmed reports the text was revised during the proceedings. Among the countries voting in favour of the resolution were Belgium, the US and India. China and Russia were among nations which supported Sri Lanka and opposed the resolution.

India's support for the motion is likely to cause diplomatic tensions, analysts say.

Thousands of people in Sri Lanka, including some religious clerics and former military officers, have taken part in marches to protest against the resolution in recent weeks.
Campaign against 'traitors'

The vote comes amid a government campaign against what it calls "traitors", which has targeted journalists and human rights workers.

State television is using long slots in its Sinhala-language bulletins to denounce Sri Lankan journalists, some now in exile but some still in the country, who it says are helping the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels or "betraying the motherland".

Those based in Sri Lanka are not named but the TV repeatedly zooms in on thinly disguised photographs of them, promising to give their names soon and "expose more traitors".

State media have been similarly deprecating human rights workers who are in Geneva for the Human Rights Council session, the BBC's Charles Haviland in Colombo says.

A local organisation, the Free Media Movement, has condemned the broadcasts as "highly unethical". Such state broadcasts have in the past resulted in violent attacks on some accused people.

The Sri Lankan government commissioned its own investigation into the war last year.

Its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) cleared the military of allegations that it deliberately attacked civilians. It said that there had been some violations by troops, although only at an individual level.

But another report commissioned by the UN secretary general reached a different conclusion, saying that allegations of serious rights violations were "credible" on both sides.

Rights groups Amnesty International described it as "a vital step forward for the country and for international justice".

Human rights groups estimate that up to 40,000 civilians were killed in the final months of the war. The government recently released its own estimate, concluding that about 9,000 people perished during that period.

NGO fail in bid to deliver human rights memo to Ban

Campaign to curb homosexuality

Trained volunteers are now in the frontline of the government's war against homosexuality, especially among Muslims.

KUALA LUMPUR: As part of its anti-homosexual campaign, the government is training volunteers to “help” people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mashitah Ibrahim, told the Dewan Rakyat that the government was working with several NGOs to curb the “spread” of the LGBT “social problem”, especially amongst Muslims.

In order to prevent this, Mashitah listed several government measures, including:

the drafting of a LGBT-Mak Nyah module.
a trained volunteer programme to approach the LGBT community.
instructing NGOs to carry out anti-homosexual campaigns.
having a three-time programme last year where 74 mak nyahs (transgenders) were “fulfilled” from a spiritual and physical viewpoint, as well as work opportunities.

“This is because the LGBT lifestyle has exposed them to social problems such as prostitution, drugs, the risk of HIV/AIDS, as well as psychological and mental disorders,” she said.

From a legal standpoint, the deputy minister added that the Federal Territory Syariah Criminial Offences Act 1997 can only be used against homosexual Muslims.

This law included taking action against those involved in prostitution, pimping, sodomy, lesbianism, cross-dressing and improper conduct in public places.

Mashitah was responding to a query by Parit MP (Umno) Mohd Nizar Zakaria, who asked what the government was doing to stop homosexuality from spreading within the country’s Muslim community.

‘Three out of 10 men in Malaysia gay’

In a supplementary question, Mohd Nizar asked where homosexuality had orginated from.

To this, Mashitah said that there were various “sources”, adding that a person did not become gay “in the blink of an eye”.

“(There are those with) mental problems, such as those born with a man’s body but are trapped with a woman’s spirit, or those who have a woman’s body but are trapped with a man’s spirit, or those who have a body and spirit of a man but lean towards homosexuality, and vice versa,” she said.

Mashitah added that a “generalisation” of clothing, decorations, hair fashions – the unisex concept – amongst children could lead to a disorder.

Homosexuality was also discussed in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday. According to a Bernama report, Sekijang MP (Umno) Baharum Mohamad claimed that three out of every 10 men in Malaysia were gay. It was not clear if Baharum offered any evidence for his claims.

He then suggested that the government set up a homosexual rehab centre to curb same-sex relationships from spreading in the country.

Param: M’sia will back Sri Lanka in UN vote

The former UN special rapporteur believes it is a situation of scratching each other’s back.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will support Sri Lanka and vote against the United Nations resolution seeking investigations into human rights abuses in the last phase of that country’s 29-year civil war, according to former UN special rapporteur Param Cumaraswamy.

He told FMT that he reached his conclusion after discussing the matter with senior officials of the Foreign Ministry.

“It’s quite common among developing countries to try to support each other without understanding the issues correctly,” he said.

“I’m personally disappointed with the Malaysian government on this matter. Senior officials of the Foreign Ministry recently indicated in conversations with me that the Malaysian delegate will vote against the resolution.”

However, he also said that the resolution, even if passed this Friday at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, would not lead to any significant development in attempts to bring closure to the conflict that pitted Tamil rebels against the Sri Lankan army.

“Nothing will come of it,” he said. “It’s weak resolution. And knowing how Sri Lanka has been conducting itself on human rights issues in the past, it will ignore it.”

He said some diplomats and delegates attending the Geneva session had told him that the government in Colombo had sent a strong team of lobbyists to persuade delegates from “friendly nations” such as Malaysia to vote against the resolution.

Malaysia is one of the 47 members of the Council. The resolution, moved by the United States, calls on Colombo to probe atrocities allegedly committed by both government troops and Tamil guerrillas.

Explaining why Malaysia would support Colombo, Param said Putrajaya was possibly seeking Sri Lanka’s support in other UN resolutions.

“It’s a situation where I scratch your back and you scratch mine,” he said.

According to him, the only option for those intending to drag Sri Lankan before an international tribunal on human rights was to go through the UN Security Council.

Horse trading

He described the Human Right Council’s resolution as a “weak first step”, adding that China and Russia might veto it even if it ended up going to the Security Council.

“I saw the draft copy of the resolution late last night. It’s a weak one and it might be diluted further before the resolution is put for voting at the end of this week.

“A lot of horse trading is going on there and Sri Lanka will likely succeed.”

Param urged Malaysian-based Indian NGOs and other parties supporting the cause of the Sri Lankan Tamils to look into reconciliation efforts.

“They should look into this option seriously,” he said. “They must find ways in which the international community can help the Sri Lankans rebuild their lives and their country.”

He also called for more studies to determine the views of the Sri Lankan people on what needs to be done to deal with the aftermath of the war.

“A lot has been said by groups that sympathise with the Tamils,” he said, “but there hasn’t been much of a concerted effort to listen to and understand the people directly affected by the conflict.

“We must be fair to all parties and not just accuse Sri Lankan security forces of violating human rights. There are evidences of violations committed by LTTE, especially toward end of the conflict.”

The LTTE, short for Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, was the main guerrilla force championing the the Tamil cause during the war.

As many as 40,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the last months of the conflict, which ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers.

Back UN resolution on Sri Lanka, govt told

A coalition of 58 NGOs wants the government to extend the same consideration and support given to Palestinians and the Bosnians, to Sri Lankan Tamils.

PETALING JAYA: A coalition of NGOs urged the government to support a UN resolution to investigate human rights violation in Sri Lanka towards the end of its civil war in 2009.

Fifty-eight NGOs, led by Suaram, said Malaysia must assist in the reconciliation process of Sri Lanka and show the same commitment it had exhibited in the conflicts in Bosnia and Palestine.

“The current reconciliation process in the post-war Sri Lanka falls short of a full accountability and is shrouded with impunity,” said Suaram chairman K Arumugam.

Among the 58 NGOs are the All Women’s Action Society (Awam), Association for Promotion of Human Rights in Malaysia (Proham), Community Development Centre (CDC) and the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly (KLSCA)

In the final months of the bloody war in 2009, the UN estimated that 40,000 people had died in the battle between the Singhalese government and the Tamil separatists.

The Sri Lankan government was alleged to have killed thousands of civilians in a move to weed out the rebels.

Motion shot down in Parliament

Arumugam said although the Sri Lankan government had conducted its own investigations, the probe had failed to provide proper explanation on the allegations of extra judicial killings.

“It maintained that its army had acted appropriately. It failed to make credible recommendations on post-war governance and the need for a long term political solution,” said Arumugam.

Even Amnesty International in a report in September 2011, Arumugam added, had alleged that the Sri Lankan army had targeted hospitals and used civilians as human shields during the war.

“It used its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), which conducted the probe, as its trump card to lobby against an international investigation,” he said.

Malaysia is one of 47 members countries in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

It has kept mum on the matter although Pakatan Rakyat leaders had called on the nation’s leadership to back the resolution to investigate the atrocities committed by Sri Lankan forces.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia, on Monday, shot down a motion by Teluk Intan MP Manogaran to debate the UN resolution, saying it would affect “the good relationship” Malaysia has with Sri Lanka.

The UN Human Rights Council will vote on the resolution in Geneva tomorrow.

Doing right by the people of Sabah & Sarawak

Many in KL, Penang, JB and maybe even in Melaka now live in what is commonly called gated communities.
They contribute toward the cost of having security guards man gates to their housing estates, all fenced in.
It’s a security thing.
Participating in this security measure with ones neighbours, though, in no way amounts to surrender of the privacy and one’s sovereignty over one’s home and all that’s in it.
That’s the same with Sabah and Sarawak’s agreement with Malaya and Singapore to form the federation of Malaysia.
Almost 49 years ago, 0n 9th July, 1963, the United Kingdom, the Federation of Malaya, North Borneo ( now called Sabah ), Sarawak and Singapore entered into an agreement that gave rise to the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.
Collateral to the agreement of 1963 and related to the issue of what precisely was agreed between the parties thereto are two documents : a 20-point agreement relating to Sabah and an 18-point agreement relating to Sarawak.
I learnt from forums in Sabah and Sarawak in 2010 that the terms of that agreement had not been faithfully given effect to, denying Sabahans and Sarawakians the fullest benefit of independence from the U.K.
I have since come to understand that the formation of the federation of Malaysia never intended or envisaged that Singapore and the independent nation states of North Borneo ( now Sabah ) and Sarawak were to be subsumed and stand as the 12th, 13th and 14th states of the new federation, thus adding to the 11 states in the federation of Malaya.
Rather, the then federation of Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak had agreed to come together and, without any loss or reduction in their respective status as independent sovereign nations, form the federation of Malaysia as equal nation-state partners within that new federation.
Clause 3 of the 20-point agreement, which relates to Sabah, states : Whilst accepting that the present Constitution of the Federation of Malaya should form the basis of the Constitution of Malaysia, the Constitution of Malaysia should be a completely new document drafted and agreed in the light of a free association of states and should not be a series of amendments to a Constitution drafted and agreed by different states in totally different circumstances.
The full text of the 20-point agreement can be viewed HERE.
As we all know, this clause has never been adhered to.
The Constitution of 1957 was intended for application in the federation of Malaya, and details the sharing and distribution of powers of governance, being that of the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, between the 11 states and the federal authority.
The 1957 constitution represented the social contract, if you will, of the 11 states that had, with a view to obtaining independence from the British, agreed to come together to form one nation, the federation of Malaya and, in so doing, had agreed to surrender much of their respective powers to the federal authority.
Such a constitution clearly would not be appropriate for the entity that was sought to be created in 1963 where, the member states were intended to retain their sovereign and independent nation-state status.
Somewhat like our gated communities here.
What has instead happened, in my view, is the surreptitious subsuming of Sabah and Sarawak into the Federation of Malaya as the 12th and 13th states.
As long as Sabah and Sarawak continue to be made subject to the constitution of 1957, the reality will be that the federation of Malaysia will be no more than a renaming of the federation of Malaya, save that 2 more states will have been added to the original 11.
In my view, it serves the interests of the people of Sabah and Sarawak that both Sabah and Sarawak be now recognised as the 2nd and 3rd nation-states, sovereign and independent, with full and untrammelled rights to all the God-given natural resources within their respective jurisdiction for their respective people, within the federation of Malaysia, and to press for the honouring of the promise of the new constitution.
Such a move would enable a more realistic federal-nation state divide of powers to be put in place, that would return greater autonomy to the people of Sabah and Sarawak.
Pakatan Rakyat’s provisions in their Buku Jingga fall well short of this. See for yourself.
Am I right in my understanding of what was intended in the formation of Malaysia in 1963?
Clause 18 of the 20-point agreement in relation to Sabah postulates that the head of state was to be called ‘Yang DiPertua Negara‘.
Not ‘Negeri’.
Telling, don’t you think?
I think we in Malaya owe it to the people of Sabah and Sarawak to get to the truth of what was agreed in 1963 and to insist that that which was agreed be honoured by a new non-BN federal government post the 13th GE.
To this end, I propose that such a new federal government, upon taking office, immediately establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry, to be made of of man and women who command the confidence of the people of Sabah and Sarawak, with the following terms of reference :
  • to look into the Malaysia Agreement, 1963, the 18 / 20 point agreements and all relevant circumstances surrounding the formation of Malaysia to discover its true spirit and intent, particularly in regard to the status and position of Sabah and Sarawak, and to report the same to the rakyat and His Majesty;
  • to investigate and identify those responsible for subverting the true and spirit and intent of the formation of Malaysia, and to report the same to the rakyat and His Majesty; and
  • to advise the rakyat and His Majesty as to the course of action to take to give full and immediate effect to the spirit and intent of the formation of Malaysia, particularly in regard to the status and position of Sabah and Sarawak.
I call on the leaders of Pakatan and all other non-BN parties in Malaya to pledge that if, with the support of the rakyat and, by God’s Grace, they form the new federal government in Putrajaya post the next GE, they will cause to have established such an RCI as described above.

'Cowardly' Najib uses RPK crutch to catch Anwar in 3-cornered debate

'Cowardly' Najib uses RPK crutch to catch Anwar in 3-cornered debateOpposition Leaderi Anwar Ibrahim he has accepted an offer from Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to debate Prime Minister Najib Razak and fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin in a three-cornered debate.
“Assange said he wants to organize the debate. It could be a three-cornered debate. I told him I agreed,” Anwar  told a press conference on Thursday.
Any more crude replies from Umno or Najib?
The 64-year-old Anwar has tried many times to get Najib into public debates over the economy and state of the nation but to no avail.
Perhaps in the belief that Najib lacked the skills to match Anwar, a gifted orator, the Malaysian PM himself and various other Umno leaders including former premier Mahathir Mohamad have always countered the invitation by insisting Anwar had no right to such a debate.
Last month, after Najib gave a speech lauding a key debate between DAP's Lim Guan Eng and MCA president Chua Soi Lek, Anwar's PKR party sent a formal invitation to Najib.
It was met with a crude reply from Umno sec-gen Tengku Adnan, who told Anwar to debate Saiful Bukhari Azlan instead. Saiful is the complainant in the Sodomy II trial from which Anwar has been acquitted. The opposition leader has accused Najib and wife Rosmah of framing him to derail his political comeback.
Height of cowardice
It looks like the conniving at Umno has not stopped despite Najib's grand speeches and promises of greater democracy. According to PKR leaders, this was evident in the way Najib used Raja Petra Kamaruddin - a PKR turncoat and now pro-Umno blogger - to try and get Najib off the debate hook.
A recent survey found that 54 per cent of voters in Peninsular Malaysia want to see regular debates between Najib and Anwar, with over three-quarters of young Malays backing a debate between the Umno-led Barisan Nasional and Anwar's Pakatan Rakyat.
"Obviously it is unfair for Anwar. We all know where RPK stands but the boss has said he is not worried. Anwar has said he is not afraid. If Anwar has the courage to face the two of them at one go, it only shows how cowardly Najib is. There is no way Najib can escape now. It would be a total disgrace if Najib declines even with RPK holding his nappy for him," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.
According to WikiLeaks website, it has extended an invitation to Najib to debate with Anwar and RPK jointly or in isolation.
“We have formally invited Prime Minister Najib Razak to discuss the future of Malaysia together with Mr Ibrahim, moderated by Mr Assange. If accepted, the filmed discussion will be seen by up to 600 million people and will be available online,” it said.
Najib and wife Rosmah are known for their love of publicity, but the sheer size of the potential TV audience might be a bit daunting. Najib is also known to be a slow thinker, who relies on speechwriters. Hence, the need for a crutch in the form of RPK, who has been attacking Anwar ever since he fled to London to avoid imprisonment over defamation charges.
Malaysia Chronicle

Home Biodata Publication « Get real Mr Prime Minister! “I was born in Malaysia and I shall die in Malaysia” – I am proud I have stood by my statement of commitment and patriotism to Malaysia when I was 28 years old under my first ISA detention 43 years ago in 1969

Recently, there has been a coarsening and vulgarisation of politics in Malaysia, even in this august House of Parliament, where lies and falsehoods are disseminated without conscience or compunction whatsoever.

During the present and past meetings of Parliament, the most irresponsible and despicable falsehoods had been made against me, accusing me of having instigated the deplorable May 13 riots 43 years ago in 1969.

For four decades, the police, the security forces and the government could not pinpoint who caused the May 13 riots in 1969, but suddenly, somebody knew who caused the May 13 riots – and I have been accused in this House of having caused May 13, through making the most racist slogans in the streets of Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13, 1969.

As a result, these lies and falsehoods that I had incited and sparked the May 13 riots, particularly in the streets of Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13, 1969 had been blazoned on the blogs of UMNO cybertroopers.

In fact, I was never in Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13, 1969. I contested in Bandar Melaka, was in the counting centre in Malacca until the early hours of May 11 , 1969 for the results, returning to my family in Petaling Jaya later on May 11 (Sunday). On Monday, May 12, 1969, I returned to Bandar Melaka constituency for a thank-the-voters procession in the evening and a thank-the-voters public rally on Monday night, both of which were peacefully conducted.

I must have the signal honour of being the only elected representative in 1969 to have both a thank-you procession and public rally as I was booked to fly to Sabah on the morning on Tuesday, May 13, 1969 to help campaign for the Independent candidates as the Sabah and Sarawak polling days were to be held a week after the Peninsular election results.

I was speaking at a public rally in Kota Kinabalu on the night of May 13 when I first learnt of May 13 troubles in Kuala Lumpur.

To accuse me of inciting the May 13 riots with racist outbursts and abuses in the streets of Kuala Lumpur on May 11, 12 and 13 are the most irresponsible and despicable of lies.

In my first speech in Parliament on Feb. 23, 1971 after my release from my first Internal Security Act detention and the restoration of Parliament, on the Constitution Amendment Bill 1971, I called for the establishment of a Parliamentary Commission, which should include non-MP Malaysians eminent in their respective fields, to among other things, “find out the cause of the May 13 racial riots” and “to make recommendations as to how to prevent a recurrence of May 13 racial riots and arrest the racial polarisation in Malaysia”.

This was what I said in July 1969 in response to my detention under the Internal Security Act, record of which I am sure are still in the Home Ministry archives:

“My every public statement and stand was motivated by my sense of Malaysian nationalism and patriotism. I was born in Malaysia and I shall die in Malaysia. I have no other land as my home. I have children who are growing up in Malaysia and who are going to live in Malaysia. I feel it is my duty to do my part to build a multi-racial and harmonious Malaysia for, without such a society, all Malaysians will suffer.

“I believe that the policy followed by the Alliance is not producing or generating a sense of Malaysian consciousness and identity transcending all racial language and cultural differences. I believe that the only formula to build a Malaysian nation is to give every Malaysian regardless of his race, language or culture, a stake in the political economic social and cultural development of the country, where no group feels that it is being discriminated against on racial, cultural, language or religious grounds. It is this philosophy which guided all my public actions and utterances.”

This was my statement of love, loyalty, commitment, nationalism and patriotism when I was 28 years old. I am proud to say that I have stood by this statement.

My children are all in Malaysia, making their contribution towards the building of a modern, progressive, competitive, democratic and just Malaysia.

The next general elections will be a great test for Malaysia whether we can become a normal democratic country, where Malaysians have the right and power to peacefully effect a change of power and government through the ballot box.

I invite the Prime Minister and all Barisan Nasional leaders to join Pakatan Rakyat to prove that we are all Malaysian nationalists and patriots who could work together by establishing a Joint Commission to ensure that the 13th General Elections is the most clean, free and fair in the nation’s history in the process to prove to the world and ourselves that we have graduated to become a normal democratic ountry.

In his campaign rounds, Najib recently extended an apology for past Barisan Nasional (BN) mistakes resulting in its loss of several states and electoral seats in the last general elections.

Some three weeks have passed but nobody knows what mistakes Najib was apologizing for.

There are many past UMNO/BN mistakes he needs to tender an apology, but there are also many of his own mistakes made during his 35-month premiership which he needs to apologise for.

Time does not permit me to enumerate these mistakes made by Najib. I will just mention one – his failure to restore public confidence in the efficiency, independence and professionalism of key national institutions, whether the judiciary, police, the Attorney-Generals Chambers, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Elections Commission.

The refusal of the Prime Minister to set up a judicial tribunal into grave allegations of abuses of power, subversion of the rule of law and the perversion of the course of justice, made against the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail and the former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan, made by former top police officers, including former CCID Director Datuk Ramli Yusof and the former KL CID Director Datuk Mat Zain, going back to the fabrication of evidence in the Anwar Ibrahim “black eye” incident, the Anwar trials in 1998, the Tajudin Ramli MAS bailouts, and the new information on the “ “bizarre five-year-old case allegedly involving the country’s most powerful police officer, the attorney-general and an underworld figure”, implicating even the Deputy Home Minister at the time, Datuk Johari Baharum, raises grave questions about the Prime Minister’s commitment to the rule of law.

Is the Prime Minister going to avoid taking a stand when it is seriously alleged that only very recently, the country’s topmost legal and police officers in the land, the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police, were criminals – and the same AG is still in office?

(Lim Kit Siang Speech in the debate on the royal address in Parliament on Thursday, March 22, 2012)

Five convicted for taking part in anti-ISA protest

The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Five people were today convicted for taking part in a protest against the Internal Security Act (ISA) three years ago and sentenced to one day’s jail and a RM2,000 fine each, Bernama Online reported.

The five — Mohamad Sukri Mohamad Sirat, 27, Syaza Muaz Shaharudin, 22, Norazam Sakib, 47, Zul Sifli Kamma Kutty, 26, and Hayati Abd Samad, 62 — were earlier charged with being involved in an illegal assembly at the National Mosque here on August 1, 2009.

The charge proffered under Section 27 (5) (a) of the Police Act 1967 meant the five could have been jailed up to a year and fined a maximum of RM10,000 each.

According to the report, trial judge Ainul Shahrin Mohamad today ruled that the five had failed to challenge the prosecution’s case against them.

Ainul allowed a stay of execution on the custodial sentence pending an appeal, although all five paid the fines.

On February 22, another group of 11 people were also given identical sentences for their participation at the same protest.

Minimum wage details out on Labour Day

The Star 

PUTRAJAYA: Details of the highly-anti-cipated minimum wage will be announced on May 1 - Labour Day.

Until then, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he would not make any comment on the issue.

“If I tell you now, I would be letting the cat out of the bag,” the Prime Minister said after launching the country's first lightweight composite Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinder here yesterday.

Separately, Najib lambasted DAP for opting out of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the Lynas rare earth plant, saying the issue had to be handled by all quarters as it needed a solution above partisan politics.

“It is not a question of politics; it is a question of the interest of the people and the country. I don't understand why they are boycotting it,” he said.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had said it was to avoid Barisan Nasional from using the Opposition's presence in the committee to “legitimise the Lynas plant”.

Najib also declined to comment on former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin's predictions on Barisan's performance in the general election.

Daim, a long-time Umno treasurer, told Nanyang Siang Pau that Barisan was expected to win easily only in Johor, Malacca and Pahang.

In Shah Alam, Najib called on students to consider all information they receive with maturity and wisdom.

“Freedom with responsibility. That will be our philosophy when amending the University and University Colleges Act.

“We don't want to close your minds. Go and listen to all sides, and then make a consideration with maturity and wisdom.

“They (Opposition) can promise the sun, the moon and the galaxy. They can promise, but we can deliver,” he said when launching the Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa (Student Volunteer Foundation) at Universiti Teknologi Mara here yesterday.

In KUALA LUMPUR a day earlier, Najib, who went for a routine check-up at the National Heart Institute (IJN), said he has been given a clean bill of health.

He advised fellow Malaysians to go for regular check-ups.

“I did my regular check-up at IJN yesterday (Tuesday). Doctors gave me a clean bill of health, Alhamdullilah. I suggest more people do regular check-ups,” Najib tweeted yesterday morning.

The Prime Minister also wished the best for parents waiting for their children's SPM results, which was announced later in the day.

Carjackers Escape With Car With Child Inside

MELAKA, March 22 (Bernama) -- Carjackers stole a Proton Gen 2 car without realising a five-year-old boy was sleeping inside.

In the 2.15pm incident Thursday, Nor Abdullah Afiq Abdullah's grandfather Abu Samah Othman, 62, had left him in the car at a parking lot in Jalan Melaka Raya 8 here to pay his insurance instalments at an office just 20 metres away but hardly five minutes later found the car and the boy missing.

"Hardly six minutes after I lodged a police report on the matter at a nearby police station, I was informed that my grandson and the car had been found in Jalan Parameswara, less than two kilometres from where I had parked my car," he told reporters.

French Agosta sub now a Malacca musuem piece

A French-made SMD Ouessant Agosta 70 class submarine, acquired for training purposes when two Scorpene submarines were bought from France, is now lying as an open-air museum piece in Malacca. 

Thanks to blog reader tuakee for the video link. The Agosta was built in 1978-1979 and is believed to have been decommissioned by the French Navy in 2001. It was also believed to have been rehabilitated by DCN in 2004 for the training of Malaysian crews from 2005 to 2009 at the NAVFCO Submarine school at the Centre d’Instruction Naval (CIN) Brest, France.
The Asia Sentinel reported that the Scorpene submarines contract was divided into four components:
According to financial statements, the cost of the program was divided into
four contracts:
- The contrat Scorpene, about ?670 million, for two Scorpene submarines, built in France and Spain, and delivered in July 2009 and July 2010 ;
- The contrat Formation, signed in 2003, to train 156 submariners over four years.
- The contrat Ouessant for the rehabilitation of an Agosta-type submarine which has never seen service and is now a museum in Malaysia. The two together amount to 313 million euros/
- The contrat Malsout, provided logistics for the installation of Malaysian navy personnel, over 200 people located in Brest and Cherbourg, from December 2002.
The agreement for the transfer of ownership from France to Malaysia was signed in May 2011.
From the website of the Malaysian Embassy in France:
A signing ceremony for the transfer of ownership of the Agosta 70 type submarine formerly known as FNS Ouessant submarine, from the Government of the French Republic to the Government of Malaysia was held at the Embassy of Malaysia in Paris on Friday, 23 September 2011. The Agreement of the transfer was already signed earlier in Kuala Lumpur on 16 May 2011.
2. At the signing ceremony, H.E. Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Zainal, Ambassador of Malaysia to France represented the Government of Malaysia while Mr. Yves Blanc, Director of International Development, French Ministry of Defence represented the French government. The Embassy’s Defence Attaché, Captain Ismail Abdullah together with Malaysian Embassy officials and French senior navy officials were also present at the ceremony.
3. The Agosta submarine was used for the training of the first Malaysian submarines crews from 2005 to 2009. The training was done following the contract signed by Malaysia for the acquisition of two French Scorpene submarines in 2002.
4. The Agosta submarine will be transported on a floating dock back to Malaysia on the first week of October organized by Felda Transport. It will be handed over to the Malacca State Government which later will be converted into a museum at Klebang.
Embassy of Malaysia
24 September 2011
The open-air museum in Malacca reportedly cost RM12.5m and has reportedly drawn over 50000 visitors since 1 January 2012 – perhaps curious to find out where our tax ringgit has gone.