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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Egyptian caught harassing US woman with ‘indecent’ exposure

KUWAIT CITY, March 25: Police arrested an Egyptian man for harassing an American woman by showing his private parts to her, reports Al-Rai daily.
Police rushed to a building in Salmiya on receiving the American’s call and referred the Egyptian to police station. The woman later dropped the case after the Egyptian apologized to her, but police kept him in detention for not carrying identification documents. The man claimed that he worked in a sensitive public department, but could not provide proof.

Prostitutes deported: As many as 40 Arab and Asian prostitutes were deported recently, reports Al-Anba daily.
An informed source said Director of Search and Investigation Department in Hawally Colonel Abdullah Al-Suhail completed all the procedures for the deportation of prostitutes in the custody of the department.

Drunk girls insult police: Police have arrested three girls for consuming alcohol and insulting policemen on duty, reports Al-Anba daily.
The girls were traveling in a car when they were stopped at a police checkpoint in Salmiya. Officers noticed that all three of them were high on alcohol and referred them to Rumaithiya Police Station. The girls allegedly started insulting the officers on the way to the police station and sources say many people called and tried to get the girls released, but did not succeed due to orders from the high command.

Missing girl found: Police have caught a 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl who was reported missing by her parents a few days ago, reports Alam Alyawm daily.
A police patrol chased a youngster, 19, who was driving a sports car at a very high speed on the Third Ring Road and caught him when he got stuck in a traffic jam. The girl was with the youth and on checking records, police found out that she was reported missing. Officers also noticed that she had a bag containing her clothes with her.
The youth and the girl have been referred to the investigations department.

Amnesty: Executions in Middle East up 50 percent in 2011


Death penalty continues to rise in Middle East.

London (dpa) – There has been an “alarming” rise in executions in countries that still have the death penalty, with Middle Eastern states seeing a 50 percent increase in recorded executions in 2011, according to Amnesty International.

The sharp increase in the Middle East was due to four countries. There were at least 360 executions in Iran, 82 in Saudi Arabia, 68 in Iraq and 41 in Yemen, Amnesty said Tuesday in its annual review of death sentences and executions.

The four countries accounted for 99 percent of all recorded executions in the Middle East and North Africa. The rise in Iran and Saudi Arabia alone accounted for the increase in recorded executions across the world by 149, compared to the total in 2010.

However, the overall number of countries using capital punishment decreased by more than a third compared to a decade ago, Amnesty said.

Just 10 percent of all countries – 20 of 198 – carried out executions in 2011. “The vast majority of countries have moved away from using the death penalty,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty’s secretary general.

“Even among the small group of countries that executed in 2011, we can see gradual progress,” said Shetty. “It is not going to happen overnight but we are determined that we will see the day when the death penalty is consigned to history.”

“Our message to the leaders of the isolated minority of countries that continue to execute is clear: You are out of step with the rest of the world on this issue and it is time you took steps to end this most cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”

The report said people were executed or sentenced to death for a range of offenses including adultery and sodomy in Iran, blasphemy in Pakistan, sorcery in Saudi Arabia, the trafficking of human bones in the Republic of Congo, and drug offenses in more than 10 countries.

Methods of execution in 2011 included beheading, hanging, lethal injection and shooting. Some 18,750 people remained under sentence of death at the end of 2011, and at least 676 people were executed worldwide.

However, these figures did not include the “thousands of executions” that Amnesty believes were carried out in China, where the numbers are suppressed.

Amnesty said it believed that more people were executed in China in 2011 than “the rest of the world put together.” However, it had stopped publishing figures from public sources in China as these were likely to grossly underestimate the true number.

Amnesty said it had been impossible to ascertain the “probable extent” of the use of the death penalty in Iran, from where it had “credible reports of substantial numbers of executions not officially acknowledged.”

While the uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East had changed the political landscape dramatically, initial hopes that this would lead to positive changes with regard to the death penalty had yet to be realized, said the group.

The continuing violence in countries such as Libya, Syria and Yemen had made it particularly difficult to gather adequate information on the use of the death penalty in the region in 2011.

No information was available about judicial executions in Libya in 2011, and no death sentences were known to have been imposed. Extrajudicial executions, torture and arbitrary detention were frequently reported instead, said the report.

The United States was the only leading Western country to have carried out the death penalty in 2011, executing 43 prisoners.

Europe and former Soviet Union countries were “capital punishment-free,” said Amnesty. Belarus, where two people were executed, proved the exception.

BM

Dad says teacher used shoe to hit Year One boy

Indian students are too often the target of such ill-treatment, says Hindraf.

KUALA LUMPUR: A parent has demanded that the Education Ministry take action against a teacher he has accused of using her shoe to injure his son, a Year One pupil at SK Damansara Damai 1.

A Murugan told a press conference today that his son was now down with a fever and suffering from swellings on his face.

Speaking at the Hindraf office in Bangsar, he said the assault happened yesterday at about 4pm when the teacher, Nur Adha Mat Ali, caught his son, Sritharan, talking with a friend in class. He said the boys were talking about school work.

According to him, Nur Adha threw her shoe at Sritharan and hit his face.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “How could anyone use a shoe on a Standard One pupil, who stepped into school for the first time a mere three months ago?

“My son now is afraid to go back to school and has caught a fever.”

He said he had lodged a police report.

Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar described the incident as the latest in a series of cases in which teachers have targeted Indian students for punishment.

He said he had written to Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar, asking them to treat the matter seriously.

He urged Muhyiddin to suspend Nur Adha from teaching duties and the police to charge her in court with a criminal offence.

Mind your own business, Kayveas

Peninsula-based PPP which is hoping to contest four parliamentary seats in Sarawak is unlikely to get any support from the local BN partners.

KUCHING: Peninsula-based People’s Progressive s Party (PPP), which is in a political wilderness, must “stop poking its nose in other people’s house”, or face the wrath of an increasingly exasperated Sarawak Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership.

Peter Minos, who a senior member of Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), said PPP had “nothing to offer” to Sarawakians and the party should stop “dreaming”.

“PPP will do better helping itself at its home base. As people say, look after your own house well before you think of poking your nose in other people’s house,” he said.

PPP president M Kayveas had during his visit to Sarawak last weekend said he was disappointed at the attitude of certain BN component party leaders in Sarawak who stubbornly refused to accept PPP’s offer to assist them.

He warned that if the state BN leaders continued to turn down offers of assistance, they would face a similar trauma as experienced by the peninsula-based BN in the 2008 general election.

Kayveas also said that the state PPP had registered 54,000 members and insinuated that these voters “may” hold back their votes for BN if the state leaders do not budge.

PPP, he added, was eyeing four parliamentary and 12 state seats in Sarawak.

Minos described PPP’s claim to having 54,000 members as “preposterous”.

“With such a preposterous claim, why not set up a party in Sarawak and see how it fares instead of popping up in Kuching now and then and making all kinds of claims and boasts?

“PPP lost all the seats [in the 2008 polls], so what makes the party think it can do better in Sarawak?

“Just stop dreaming [Kayveas] or beating the empty drum,” he said.

PRS against PPP contesting

Sarawak BN component partner, Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president James Masing, was a little more diplomatic.

While accepting PPP’s offer to assist, he was against the party contesting in the polls in Sarawak.

“We need help from all good Samaritans during the 13th general election and we should not reject offers of help from fellow BN partners.

“But it will be impractical for PPP to contest here,”said Masing, who is a senior minister in Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s administration.

Sarawak has 31 parliamentary seats. PBB holds the biggest share of seats at 14. Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) has seven, while PRS and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) are allocated six and four seats respectively.

There are 71 seats in the State Legislative Assembly. PBB was allocated 35, SUPP (19), PRS (nine) and SPDP (eight).

In the last state polls, SUPP lost in 13 seats, SPDP (two) and PRS (one).

Strategi Umno tawan Selangor terbongkar

Blogger Tulang Besi mendedahkan empat kaedah Umno/BN untuk menawan Selangor

PETALING JAYA: Blogger Abdul Rahman Talib yang lebih terkenal sebagai Tulang Besi telah membongkar kaedah Umno untuk menawan Selangor yang ditadbir Pakatan Rakyat.

Beliau mendakwa, empat kaedah digunakan oleh Umno dengan bantuan Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) dan Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN).

“Dengan bantuan SPR dan JPN, Umno telah berjaya menukar puluhan ribu pengundi-pengundi Pakatan Rakyat dari Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) masing-masing dan mendaftar pendatang asing sebagai pengundi yang sah.

“Selain itu mereka turut menukar alamat pengundi-pengundi Umno dari Johor, Melaka dan Pahang untuk mengundi di DUN PKR dan PAS dan mendaftar banyak pengundi-pengundi hantu yang tidak dikenali dan tidak wujud di Selangor,” kata Abdul Rahman dalam satu kenyataan.

Pada ketika ini BN mempunyai 20 kerusi DUN – 18 dari Umno dan dua MCA (dua). Pakatan Rakyat pula mempunyai 36 kerusi DUN dari jumlah keseluruhan 56 kerusi.

PAS tidak mampu

Menurut Abdul Rahman pada ketika ini Umno/BN yakin boleh memenangi 35 kerusi DUN berbanding 21 kerusi Pakatan dan menjelang pilihanraya yang dijangka diadakan dalam bulan Jun bilangan kerusi yang bakal dimenangi BN adalah 43 berbanding Pakatan, 13.

Beliau menambah bahawa usaha Pakatan untuk menentang penipuan ini adalah minima.

Ini kerana SPR menetapkan kos membantah nama dalam daftar pemilih yang diragui pada RM10 untuk satu nama.

“PAS Selangor tidak mampu membantah dengan banyak walaupun mereka kuat bekerja dan terpaksa berjimat menggunakan wang sendiri untuk menjalankan proses bantahan kerana tiada bantuan kewangan dari mana-mana sumber rasmi,” katanya.

Oleh itu, beliau menggesa para pengundi Selangor menyemak nama mereka di dalam senarai daftar pemilih di laman web SPR.

“Pastikan nama-nama saudara saudari tidak dipindah ke negeri atau kawasan lain kerana berpuluh ribu pengundi telah dibuang dan baling keluar dari kawasan asal mereka,” kata Abdul Rahman.

Are we a hotspot for organ trafficking?

While skeptics are doubtful that illegal organ trafficking exist in Malaysia, reports tell otherwise.

KUALA LUMPUR: That Malaysia is one of the hotspots for the harvesting of human organs may be difficult to digest for some but the fact remains that we are a country on the radar of Bangladeshi police.

In September 2010, a news report said Malaysia was among ‘several countries’ involved in a syndicate linked to illegal kidney trade.

The report, while shocking some, however came as no surprise to Aegile Fernandez, programme director with Tenaganita, simply because she remembers with clarity the first time she heard about human organ trafficking in Malaysia.

“It was in 2009, when word reached me that organs were being trafficked in Johor and linked to Indonesia and Singapore – the triangle of one of the hotspots where this activity was taking place.

“Tenaganita brought this to the attention of the police and government but both parties denied such an occurrence,” she said.

The following year Bernama reported that Malaysia was among “several countries on the radar” of the Bangladesh police who were on a trail of an international syndicate linked to illegal kidney trade across Southeast Asia.

Bernama quoted Bangladeshi police as saying donors from remote villages in Bangladesh had been flown to various destinations to have their kidneys harvested. Eight were arrested in connection with the case.

According to the report “investigators have identified a reputed international hospital with branches in key regions and capitals, including a hospital in Selangor, said to have been involved in the illegal business.”

‘You can’t hide this’

But National Transplant Resource Centre (under the Ministry of Health) chief national clinical manager Dr Lela Yasmin Mansor said they had however not heard of anything like it (organ trafficking in Malaysia).

Dr Lela who is also the vice-chairman at the National Transplant Registry said: “The thing is, if it happened in a hospital, definitely those from the medical fraternity would be talking about it, but there’s none. Its not something you can hide.”

Her skepticim, she said was based on the fact that organ removal is very difficult to do without the equipment in a hospital.

“It’s very hard to believe…we know of people going overseas, to China, India, Philipines and do it illegally, though those numbers have been decreasing and we’re trying to put a stop to that. But to have someone flown here. I’m really not sure about it,” she said.

Investigation needed

A Reuters report also named Malaysia as one of the countries where buyers purchased kidneys from Bangladesh.

It reported that “brokers often posed as friends of relatives to lure the victims, often impoverished, into hospitals here, Singapore and India.”

Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (CASSA) president Jacob George is of the opinion that organ trafficking should be investigated should it be happening.

“If something like that has happened on our watch, it would be very embarrassing. Malaysia should not be a transit point for illegal organ transplant. We cannot be seen on the same league as China, India, in the forefront of organ trafficking,” he said.

Underworld links: Calls grow for action against duo


CENTRAL FIGURES ... Gani Patail and Musa Hasan
(Harakah Daily) - The allegation that former police chief Musa Hasan and attorney general Abdul Gani Patail were colluding with criminals in what has come to be known as the 'Copgate' scandal is a threat to national security, according to PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar.
The Pokok Sena member of parliament joined calls for action to be taken against Gani and Musa to clear the name of the police force.

Mahfuz said if highly placed police officers had links with the notorious underground figures, the country was open to threat.

At the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Mahfuz together with DAP's Gobind Singh Deo and PKR's Sivarasa Rasiah pressed for a response from the government. Home minister Hishamuddin Hussein however suggested that the allegation, raised by former Commercial Crimes Investigation Department head Ramli Yusuf, be channelled instead to the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission.

Today, the debate went up a notch after Hishamuddin informed the House that the MACC had declared 'no case' against the duo.

“That’s the old investigation. Now there are new evidences, new witnesses who have declared their willingness to step forward to testify, but there has not been a single action,” said Gobind.


Ramli (above) had claimed that Gani had in 2007 'fixed' him for taking action against an underworld leader, Goh Cheng Poh, or nicknamed 'Tengku Goh'. This followed an earlier exposure by blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin who published several statutory declarations from police whistleblowers who pointed to the involvement of Musa with underground criminals.

Ramli said the CCID's action based on the complaints was interrupted by Gani who used the then Anti-Corruption Agency to take over the case. Armed with ACA's documents, whistleblowers in the police force whose information led to Goh's arrest were hunted down.

One such whistleblower recently related to Malaysiakini how ACA officers visited his home and told him that it was "a pity for Tengku Goh to be thrown in a Malay kampung, and this was discriminatory (aniaya) to Tengku".

"The officer also asked whether I knew Tengku was betrayed because he is a friend of IGP Musa. I did not know whether this was a serious or funny question. This got me worried," he said.

Last week, a proposed tribunal which Ramli had agreed to testify in had been shot down by prime minister Najib Razak, and many speculated that Gani himself had advised the former to arrive at such a decision.

L-R: Mahfuz and Gobind Singh
Backing Gobind in parliament, Mahfuz said Ramli would not make an allegation without proofs.

“As a former senior cop, he would not come forward empty-handed. He appeared with documents. He came with courage. He knew the risks,” stressed Mahfuz, joined by Gobind who said the reluctance to act on  the part of the government suggested that Ramli’s claim was true.

Meanwhile, Ramli today lashed out at Hishamuddin’s decision to pass the buck to MACC, describing the move absurd as he had accused MACC, then the ACA, of framing him.

“The MACC was also the agency that cleared Musa and Gani of many other allegations, including the AG’s refusal to prosecute [former MAS boss] Tajudin Ramli or his (Gani’s) controversial Hajj trip with a proxy of Tajudin.

“How could the Home minister make such a proposition, as if mocking the criminal justice system?" he asked, as quoted by Malaysiakini.

When movements override causes


It took only 24 years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad for Muslims to engage in three civil wars over a period of another 24 years. And this is because the cause played second fiddle to everything else. Hence I am worried when people forget the cause and argue about movements and leaders. And when corruption was allowed to flourish, the period which came to be known as the Golden Age of Islam came to an end.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin

If I were asked what were the significant events in Islamic history (we are talking history here, not religion), I would probably reply the three major civil wars fought amongst Muslims from 656 to 680 (read more below). I am of the opinion that those 24 years changed the course of Islamic history forever. And the result of that is Muslims are now divided and more Muslims have died at the hands of fellow Muslims than at the hands of the Jews, the traditional enemy of the Muslims.
Today, the Sunnis label the Shias as deviants, heretics, apostates, etc., and vice versa. This is no different from Christendom, say, of 500 years ago, where Protestants and Catholics would slaughter each other for that same reason. Today, the Christians no longer slaughter each other but this does not mean that they agree with each others’ teachings. It is just that they no longer kill each other over these differences in dogma.
And why did this happen? Why do people who share the same God and the same Prophet slaughter each other? The fact that when the Saud-Wahhabi army swept across the Arabian Peninsular and parts of the Ottoman Empire -- in the 1740s, in the early 1800s, and again after the First World War -- and they butchered Muslims but spared the Jews and Christians gives an impression that fellow Muslims are the Muslims’ greatest enemy.
Is it not ironical that the Muslim army slaughtered fellow Muslims but spared the Jews and Christians? I suppose it would not be when you consider that the Muslims and Christians got along well with each other in Spain for nearly 800 years from the 700s to 1492 but Muslims slaughtered Muslims and Christians slaughtered Christians during that same era.
The reason for this is simple enough to analyse. Most people put their loyalty to the organisation or to their leader as paramount and above the cause. When movements or leaders override the cause then that is what happens. Muslims forget that they are brothers-of-the-faith and unite under the banner of a movement or a leader. Hence Islam saw three major civil wars that divided the Muslims forever.
It took only 24 years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad for Muslims to engage in three civil wars over a period of another 24 years. And this is because the cause played second fiddle to everything else. Hence I am worried when people forget the cause and argue about movements and leaders. And when corruption was allowed to flourish, the period which came to be known as the Golden Age of Islam came to an end.
Have we learned nothing from history? Why do we keep repeating the mistakes of history? And for that very reason I am not prepared to compromise the cause for the sake of any movement or leader or allow corruption to go unchallenged. I have learned from almost 1,500 years of Islamic history.
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The First Islamic Civil War
The First Islamic Civil War (656–661), also called the First Fitna (Arabic: فتنة مقتل عثمان; Transliteration: Fitnat Maqtal Uthmān "The Fitna of the killing of Uthman"), was the first major civil war within the Islamic Caliphate. It arose as a result of the death of the previous Caliph Uthman.
The Fitna began as a series of revolts fought against first Imam of Shia'a and fourth and final of the Sunni Rightly Guided Caliphs Ali ibn Abi Talib, caused by the controversial assassination of his predecessor, Uthman Ibn Affan. It lasted for the entirety of Ali's reign, and its end is marked by Muawiyah's assumption of the caliphate (founding the Umayyad dynasty), and the subsequent recorded peace treaty between him and Hassan ibn Ali.
Uthman was besieged in his house by rebels and rioters, culminating in his assassination in July 656. Main reason for their dissatisfaction with Uthman was, his appointing family members as governors in key Islamic provinces. Ali ibn Abi Talib was then chosen by public as fourth Caliph.
Ali was first opposed by a faction led by Talhah, Al-Zubayr and Muhammad's wife, Aisha bint Abu Bakr. First they gathered in Mecca then moved to Basra with the expectation of finding the necessary forces and resources to mobilize people in what is now Iraq. The opposers encamped close to Basra, and the subsequent heated exchange & protests during the parley turned from words to blows, leading to loss of life on both sides. When Ali asked them for obedience and a pledge of allegiance, they refused. Ali tried to negotiate with Aisha considering her the venerated wife of Muhammad (S.A.W), but she refused. At last,the two parties met at the Battle of Bassorah (Battle of the Camel) in 656, where Ali emerged victorious. (READ MORE HEREhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Fitna)
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Battle of the Camel
Aisha had long hated Ali, and wished that, when the aged Uthman died, her own kinsman, Zubayr, should become caliph. When Uthman was assassinated, she was not in Medina, having gone to Mecca a few weeks previously to perform the pilgrimage. The news of Uthman's murder reached her when she was on the way back. She returned immediately to Mecca and incited the citizens against Ali. The fiery address set a match to the smouldering fire of discontent. The first to respond to Aisha's call was Abdullah bin Amur, the Uthmanid governor of Mecca. Those Umayyads who had fled from Medina after the ghastly murder of Uthman now also joined Aisha, and when Talha and Zubayr came over to Aisha, many more of the Qoraish clamoured to join in the rebellion. Aisha advocated march on Basra. Throwing off the veil ordained, Aisha now took command of the army. The money to equip it came from Yamen treasury, brought to Mecca by the governor whom Ali had deposed. It is however clear from the sources that in the battle between Ali and Aisha, the triumvirate was fighting for personal reason rather than for the blood of Uthman, which was a timely and convenient pretext for them. (READ MORE HERE: http://www.ismaili.net/histoire/history03/history339.html)
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Battle of Karbalāʾ
The Battle of Karbalāʾ,(Oct. 10, 680 -10th of Muharram, ah 61]), was a brief military engagement in which a small party led by al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī, grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and son of ʿAlī, the fourth caliph, was defeated and massacred by an army sent by the Umayyad caliph Yazīd I. The battle helped secure the position of the Umayyad dynasty, but among Shīʿite Muslims (followers of al-Ḥusayn) the 10th of Muharram (or ʿĀshūrāʾ) became an annual holy day of public mourning. (READ MORE HERE: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/312214/Battle-of-Karbala)

Cowed no more


by Kapil Sethi - The Malaysian Insider


MARCH 27 — Till maybe a decade ago, the average Malaysian adult, when confronted with a political topic in a public place would shuffle uneasily, take a quick peek over his shoulder and either change the topic or restrict his response to a quick whispered sentence or two. Very Orwellian, but understandable in the context of realities such as the ISA, Ops Lalang, Special Branch and the Anwar black eye incident.

In the context of all the deeply intellectual prognoses by hordes of political analysts on the outcome of the next general election, it seems strange that there has been no acknowledgement of the profound impact of this loss of fear among the electorate.

From rumours of serial numbers on ballot numbers being used to identify and harass those who voted a particular way, to civil servants’ jobs and promotions being in jeopardy if they didn’t toe the line, to the full might of the law being used to finish careers of those who openly supported the other side, it seems everyone in Malaysia had a instructive story to tell of those who chose oppositional politics.

The advent of the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration and his commitment to keep the Internet free of censorship set the stage for a large number of people to see the actual realities of Malaysia without the rose tinted lens of the Barisan-controlled mainstream media. The 2008 tsunami further helped the process along and fast forward to today, of the Arab Spring and closer home, Bersih 2.0.

This shift is much more than a passing fad and it may have changed the way Malaysians view their political system in a fundamental way. The idea that their participation in the political process has a real impact on outcomes that affect their individual lives is here to stay.

The proposed roll back of the ISA and UUCA, the formation of a Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reform and the Lynas rare earths project, the scrapping of the civil servants’ new pay scheme (SBPA), the rethink on the AirAsia-MAS share swap or even the resignation of Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil are direct reminders of the newfound power of the people to effect political change in matters that concern them.

Election predictions to date generally take the view that there is an even split between BN and PR for roughly 70 per cent of the electorate. It is the undecided 30 per cent that will decide the outcome. That 30 per cent is the youth vote, the Malay vote or the non-Malay vote, depending on who you ask.

In my view, that 30 per cent is best defined as the post-fear voter. The voter who is not necessarily ideologically committed or even overtly political, who will not campaign for a political party or even participate in activism, but who knows the power of her vote. This person does not indulge in a lot of political debate, but is aware of the fact that he can, if he so chooses. This person may not have voted in the past or even registered to vote, but will do so this time, because for the first time he sees the point of it.

This voter may represent the true awakening of Malaysian democracy that makes participation attractive to almost every adult, even if only once in five years. In my view what matters to this voter is growth in economic terms, protection of traditional values in cultural terms, a level playing field and an end to corruption in opportunity terms and an opportunity to hold her head high as a Malaysian in global terms. Paraphrasing Rabindranath Tagore: “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; where knowledge is free; into that heaven of freedom, my father, let my country awake”.

So who is this person most likely to vote for? Sticking my neck out, my prediction is that in the current scenario, expect the DAP to win big with this segment as it champions a post-racial middle-Malaysia position built around the perceived success of Lim Guan Eng in Penang. Most notably his tom-tomming of the Freedom of Information Act, a level playing field in economic terms with open tenders that did not disadvantage Malay contractors and the CAT (Competence, Accountability and Transparency) mantra.

Let the games begin.

860 on death row await appeal

The New Straits Times 
by ILI LIYANA MOKHTAR, LING POH LEAN AND NUR ADILLA NOORAZAM

AS of Feb 28, 2012, 860 offenders have been meted the death penalty, based on statistics from the Prisons Department.

However, none have been executed because they were appealing.

In a written statement by the Home Ministry, 616 were appealing to the Court of Appeal, 94 to the Federal Court and 150 to the Pardons board.

The Home Ministry was replying to a question by Liew Chin Tong (DAP-Bukit Bendera) on the number of prisoners awaiting the death sentence and the number of offenders caned between 2005 and this year.

According to Prisons Department statistics, 79,487 offenders had been caned between 2005 and last year.

Of that number, 46,338 or 58.3 per cent were Malaysians while the remaining 33,149 or 41.7 per cent were foreigners.

BN Can Win Election If Everyone Gives Priority To Party - Rafidah

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 (Bernama) -- The Barisan Nasional (BN) can win the 13th general election if all its machinery were united and worked harder, said former Wanita Umno head Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

Rafidah, who is also the Member of Parliament for Kuala Kangsar, said the BN government had implemented various development projects for the benefit of the rakyat and it was capable of becoming a responsible government that could take the nation to greater heights.

Describing the BN as a net that had protected the people for so long, she urged them to evaluate the importance of the 'net' for them.

"Do not burn the net just because of a bug. If there are holes in the net, we must help to repair them. The bug can be discarded, but never burn the net," she said at a programme, 'Teh Tarik Bersama YB', here Tuesday night.

Rafidah said that if not for the BN government, Malaysia would not be able to achieve what it had today.

The veteran Umno leader also repeated her intention to give up the Kuala Kangsar Parliamentary seat to make way for new faces.