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Monday, April 2, 2012

Suu Kyi claims victory in Myanmar elections

Opposition party led by her says it is on course to win 44 of the 45 contested seats in Sunday's parliamentary by-polls.

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi has been elected to the country's parliament in landmark by-elections, according to her National League for Democracy (NLD).

The country's opposition party claimed a historic victory on Sunday for Suu Kyi in her bid for a seat in parliament, with NLD announcing that the Nobel laureate had won a parliamentary seat for the first time.

If confirmed, this would mark a stunning turnaround for Suu Kyi, who was a political prisoner, jailed by the military-led government for most of the past 22 years.

Some people wept with joy at the news outside the party's headquarters in Yangon.

"We have been waiting for this day for a long time. I'm so happy," said NLD supporter Kalyar, who goes by one name.

Suu Kyi took an estimated 82 per cent of the vote in Kawhmu constituency, according to NLD senior member Tin Oo, based on the party's own unofficial tally of the by-election. Official results were expected within a week.

The AFP news agency reports that the NLD also claims it is on track to win 44 of the 45 seats available in the parliament, although official results are not expected for days.

Suu Kyi's win is "hugely symbolic," said Al Jazeera's Wayne Hay, reporting from Yangon.

"And while she will have little power, the mere fact that she is there means there will be a lot more international attention on parliament itself and the decisions that it makes."

Our correspondet said that the success of these elections might mean bigger gains for the opposition in the upcoming 2015 general elections.

"Still, there is this nagging problem that a quarter of all seats in parliament must go to the military - that is written into the constitution," said Hay, adding the Suu Kyi has been very open about wanting to change that provision.

Sunday's vote is seen as a key test of the government's commitment to recent democratic reforms.

More than six million people were eligible to vote on Sunday, with a total of 160 candidates from 17 parties, including six new to the political stage, contesting for 45 parliamentary seats.

The number of seats at stake is not enough to threaten the military-backed ruling party's overwhelming majority, secured in full elections in 2010.

Suu Kyi's apparent victory had been widely expected, despite complaints by the NLD over alleged voting irregularities and campaign intimidation.

She said she did not regret standing for parliament because the polls had boosted people's interest in politics after decades of outright military rule ended last year.

The government for the first time invited teams of foreign observers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, European Union and the US, and journalists to witness the elections.

Political reforms

Since taking office a year ago, President Thein Sein has carried out reforms including releasing hundreds of political prisoners, easing media restrictions and welcoming the opposition back into mainstream politics.

Our correspondent, reporting earlier from Kawhmu, said: "There are international monitors on the ground, but they are not allowed inside the polling booths. They are certainly not allowed to oversee the counting when that starts later on Sunday."

"So, they are here to observe overall process, talk to voters about any irregularities that they might have seen," he said.

"What we are hearing is that some voters have complained that voting sheets have been tampered with. Some voters have complained that inside the polling stations some of the officials have been coercing voters into voting for a certain party.

"So, not the best of starts, but certainly something the National League for Democracy and Suu Kyi were expecting."

Nyan Win, a spokesman for the party, told the AFP news agency on Sunday that his party had submitted a letter of complaint to the country's election commission regarding alleged irregularities involving ballot papers that could potentially be invalidated without due cause.

The NLD won a landslide election victory in 1990 but the ruling military never allowed it to take office. The party also boycotted the 2010 polls that swept the army's political proxies to power and were marred by complaints of cheating and intimidation.

Suu Kyi described the vote as "a step towards step one in democracy", despite complaining on Friday that the polls were not "genuinely free and fair".

"What has been happening in this country is really beyond what is acceptable for a democratic election. Still, we are determined to go forward because we think that is what our people want," the Nobel peace laureate said.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

Murtad: Kemuka bukti, jangan tuduh sahaja

Umno veteran: Shahrizat should quit Wanita post

Wife helped husband rape their daughter for 7 long years

By Staff/AFP

Girl became pregnant with her father's child twice; Mother helped her abort foetus

EGYPT: A young Egyptian girl sought the help of police to save her from her parents.

She alleged that her father had been raping her since she was 13 years of age and that her mother forces her to please her dad.

According to 'Al Youm Al Sabea’a' newspaper, the 20-year-old girl of Kafr Sinjab village in Dakahlia Governorate of Egypt, was made pregnant twice and her mother helped her abort the foetus, she told the police officials.

The victim, Rania, said the first foetus was abnadoned near a mosque while the second time her mom took her to a clinic.

The father has been arrested and the case transferred to public prosecution.

In Friday sermon, JAWI tells Muslims Jews are No. 1 enemy

File photo of people burning an Israel flag at an anti-Israel protest in Kuala Lumpur in 2010.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The Federal Territories’ official sermon today told Muslims Jews are their main enemy as proven by their ego and murderous acts.

The Friday sermon, delivered at lunchtime in mosques across the capital city, said Muslims must “free your brethren in Palestine from the grasp of Zionist rule and economic siege by donating money, food, medicine and whatever is suitable.”

“Firstly, Muslims must understand Jews are the main enemy to Muslims as proven by their egotistical behaviour and murders performed by them,” said the sermon prepared by the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (JAWI).

It called on “community leaders and NGOs to intensify activities that increase awareness and understanding to the public about the importance of al-Quds (Jerusalem),” referring to the city that is sacred to Jews, Muslims and also Christians.

“The honour of al-Quds and the al-Aqsa mosque must be defended by all Muslims as it is holy land that is blessed,” the sermon added.

Malaysia’s relations with Israel hit the headlines after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was quoted by the Wall Street Journal in January as saying that he supported “all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel.”

His statement drew immediate fire from Umno and its media, forcing the opposition leader to clarify that he was referring to a “two-state solution”, and that his support was also contingent on Israel respecting the aspirations of Palestinians.

Following the report, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad accused the PKR de facto leader of being a Jewish sympathiser and a leader who disregarded the plight of the Palestinians.

The former prime minister also alleged that the US and Israel were conspiring to cause a regime change in Malaysia through a “puppet government” to be led by his former deputy.

But Anwar shot back, saying that unlike Dr Mahathir he had never met any Israeli leaders.

Muslim-majority Malaysia is a staunch supporter of Palestine and has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

Muslim politicians have long vied for support from Malays by denouncing what they say are inhumane acts of aggression by Israel towards its neighbour.

Anwar has previously been attacked as a supporter of the Zionist movement due to his interaction with prominent Jewish figures in the West.

But the Permatang Pauh MP turned the tables on Umno and Barisan Nasional in 2010 when he claimed public relations firm APCO Worldwide, then contracted by Putrajaya, was responsible for both the 1 Malaysia and 1 Israel campaigns.

Perak to build two Hindu crematoriums

The BN-led state government has set aside RM2 million to build the two crematoriums in Buntong and Taiping.

IPOH: The lay Hindu public uproar on the Perak Barisan Nasional government to build crematoriums for the community has worked.

Two modern crematoriums are in the pipeline to be built in Buntong and Taiping Hindu cemeteries.

Menteri Besar Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir’s special advisor on Indian affairs, S Veerasingam said that the state government has set aside RM2 million to build the two crematoriums.

He said some RM1.5 million would be channelled to build a modern crematorium in Ipoh’s largest Hindu burial ground in Buntong.

The remaining RM500,000 will be used to build similar Hindu cremation structure in Taiping cemetery.

The fund has been set aside under the state Budget 2012 which was tabled and passed at the state assembly late last year.

“Early this year the state executive council has approved the project to be implemented by this year,” Veerasingam told FMT.

The Hindu Devastana Paripalana Sabha – the temple management committee of Sri Maha Mariamman Devastanam is the administrator of the 2.8ha cemetery site in Buntong, an Ipoh hamlet dominated by Tamil Hindus.

The Sabha became the caretaker of the cemetery in 1919 by virtue of a gazette issued by the then colonial government.

The graveyard caters the burial needs of some 200,000 Hindus living in the state capital.

‘Build before GE’

Previously the state government has set aside RM14.7 million to build a non-Muslim modern crematorium in Buntong graveyard, which the temple management committee initially agreed.

The state government told the temple committee then to surrender 0.2ha of the graveyard to build the crematorium.

However, due to strong objections by local Tamil community and technical discrepancies in the land title, the state government shelved the plan.

“Since the graveyard has been gazzeted as Tamil cemetery in the land title, the state government could not build a non-Muslim crematorium anyway,” explained Veerasingam.

Hindraf national secretary P Ramesh (photo) said the movement would up its pressure on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Zambry to ensure that the crematoriums be constructed before the next general election.

He said the state government, Ipoh City Council and Taiping Municipal Council have respective statutory duties to “preserve, maintain and develop” Hindu cemeteries under the National Land Code and Section 94 of the Local Government Act.

“The state authorities must build the modern crematoriums in Buntong and Taiping to cater Hindus burial rights and needs,” he told FMT.

Britain planning new Internet snooping laws: report

The plans are expected to be unveiled next month.

LONDON: The British government wants to expand its powers to monitor email exchanges and website visits, The Sunday Times newspaper reported.

Internet companies would be instructed to install hardware to allow the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) — Britain’s electronic “listening” agency” — to go through “on demand” every text message and email sent, websites accessed and phone calls made “in real time, the broadsheet said.

The plans are expected to be unveiled next month.

The Home Office interior ministry said ministers were preparing to legislate “as soon as parliamentary time allows” but said the data to be monitored would not include content.

“It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public,” a spokesman said.

“We need to take action to maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes.

“Communications data includes time, duration and dialling numbers of a phone call, or an email address.

“It does not include the content of any phone call or email and it is not the intention of government to make changes to the existing legal basis for the interception of communications.”

An attempt to bring in similar measures was abandoned by the former Labour government in 2006 amid strong opposition.

However, ministers in the current Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government believe it is essential that the police and security services have access to such communications data in order to tackle terrorism and protect the public.

The plans would not allow GCHQ to access the content of communications without a warrant.

However, they would enable the agency to trace whom a group or individual had contacted, how often and for how long, the report said.


Anwar: PKR perketat syarat kelayakan calon

Ketua Umum PKR berkata, antara kriteria utama calon yang dinilai adalah amanah, berintegriti, tidak rasuah, dan setia pada parti.

SUBANG JAYA: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) kini memperketatkan syarat kelayakan calonnya bagi menghadapi Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13 (PRU13).

Ketua Umum PKR Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim berkata, antara kriteria utama calon yang dinilai adalah amanah, berintegriti, tidak rasuah, dan setia pada parti.

PKR sebelum ini menghadapi kesukaran apabila empat daripada ahli parlimennya serta beberapa Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) keluar PKR dan menjadi wakil bebas, lalu mengambil pendekatan menyerang Ketua Pembangkang itu dengan isu-isu peribadi.

Anwar turut menyelar budaya Umno yang mementingkan kroni dan membenarkan ramai golongan profesional berada di syarikat besar mengambil kesempatan mengaut keuntungan.

“Budaya sebegini memang sudah lama,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas Dialog Profesional Muda bersama Penasihat Ekonomi Selangor di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata sedemikian dalam responnya terhadap kenyataan mantan Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad bahawa Umno ketandusan golongan profesional cerdik pandai untuk dijadikan ‘winnable candidate’ PRU13.

Mansuh PTPTN

Sementara itu, Anwar berkata Pakatan Rakyat akan melaksanakan proses npemansuhan Pinjaman Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN) secara berperingkat.

Katanya, keuntungan pendapatan Petronas melebihi RM90 bilion setahun kemungkinan boleh dijadikan salah satu penyumbang untuk menampung kos pemansuhan RM44 bilion PTPTN.

“Kakitangan PTPTN pula akan diserap masuk ke Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi (KPT),” katanya.

Anwar bersedia disapina, kata peguam

Saman mahkamah tidak boleh dikemukakan kepada mana-mana Ahli Parlimen di dalam premis Parlimen.

PETALING JAYA: Ketua Umum PKR Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim bersedia disapina berhubung kes Hong Leong vs Low Thiam Hoe.

Pengarah Biro Guamannya, Latheefa Koya berkata sapina itu untuk mengarah Anwar menjadi saksi bagi membantu mahkamah dalam kes tuntutan terhadap Hong Leong Finance Berhad, yang difailkan pada 1998.

Sekaligus beliau menafikan dakwaan peguambela D Paralingam yang menyatakan Anwar enggan menerima sapina itu yang diserahkan kepadanya (Anwar) pada 28 Mac lalu.

Latheefa menegaskan, “kami terperanjat dengan kejahilan peguam berkenaan tentang peraturan dan hak istimewa seorang ahli parlimen bahawa saman mahkamah tidak boleh dikemukakan kepada mana-mana Ahli Parlimen di dalam premis Parlimen.

“Malahan tindakan peguam itu untuk menyerahkan sapina di premis Parlimen adalah salah dan melanggar sidang Parlimen,” terang beliau.

Menurutnya, Anwar tidak mempunyai halangan untuk menerima sapina itu dan sentiasa bersedia untuk hadir di mahkamah, jika ianya relevan, perlu dan bukan dengan niat untuk menyalah guna proses mahkamah.

“Kami ingin menasihati Paralingam bahawa terdapat beberapa etika yang perlu dipatuhi sebelum sapina dikeluarkan ke atas Ahli Parlimen, apatah lagi beliau ialah seorang Ketua Pembangkang.

“Paralingam boleh menghubungi Tetuan Daim & Gamany untuk menetapkan satu temujanji bagi menyerahkan sapina itu jika beliau benar-benar berminat untuk memanggil Anwar sebagai saksi.

Please, lah, Min, get real and cut the bullshit!

PKR is not the weakest link in Pakatan Rakyat, in fact they are the strongest, said the Deputy President, Azmin Ali at a dinner, attended by over 150 PKR members in Kota Kinabalu last night…

…Sabah PKR has improved by leaps and bounds from where it was in the past few years into a formidable force and applauded the Sabah version of Buku Jingga, which lists 19 points of Sabah centric issues…

…the PKR deputy president said that seat negotiations have reached the next phase with the Pakatan leadership taking over to decide on the final list of candidates.

He also confirmed that the  battle in Sabah this time around will be  straight fights between Pakatan and Barisan Nasional candidates and not likely to see a repeat of the 3 -cornered and 4- cornered ones of the 2008 12 general election – Malaysiakini reporting yesterday.

You can read the report by clicking on the image of ‘Azmin’ with his head in the sand and his ass in the air!

-Haris Ibrahim

Ezam, Nalla dan Umi Hafilda Sedang Membesarkan Kubur Untuk Najib


Semakin hampir tiba detik pilihanraya, serangan peribadi kepada Anwar semakin memuncak. Bekas pemimpin-pemimpin PKR sperti Ezam Mohd Nor, Anuar Shaari, Nallakaruppan, Zulkifli Nordin dan lain-lain nampaknya begitu rancak menyerang peribadi Anwar berkaitan isu seks dan moral. Umi Hafilda yang merupakan adik kepada Azmin Ali turut tumpang semangkuk menghangatkan lagi suasana dengan dakwaan yang jika dihalusi lebih bersifat masalah kekeluargaan semata-mata.

Mereka berjanji untuk berkempen ke seluruh negara bersama isu seks, liwat dan biseksual yang dikaitkan dengan Anwar itu. Di dada media dan kaca tv, mereka sudah muncul hampir setiap hari dengan isu yang sama seolah-olah itulah isu pokok dalam politik negara dan penentuan rakyat terhadap parti yang ingin diberikan kuasa.

Modal mereka hanyalah isu seks dan liwat yang dikaitkan dengan Anwar dan sudah pun menjadi pengetahuan umum sebenarnya sejak Anwar dipecat pada 1998 lagi. Mereka hanya mengulang-ulang cerita lama seolah-olah mereka mengetahui segala-galanya walaupun dalam dalam kes liwat pertama, Anwar sudah dibebaskan oleh mahkamah dan dalam kes liwat kedua, juga sudah dibebaskan di peringkat Mahkamah Tinggi. Ia kini sedang menunggu proses rayuan di Mahkamah Rayuan.

Cerita seks dan liwat ini sudah diulang banyak kali walaupun hakikatnya rakyat menolak permainan menyerang peribadi secara keterlaluan itu. Lihatlah keputusan beberapa pilihanraya kecil sebelum ini dan arus sokongan rakyat di merata-rata tempat sekarang, jelas dapat dilihat bahawa isu ini tidak menjadi kudis kepada rakyat. Bahkan lagi disebut dan diulang cerita seks dan liwat itu, makin mencanak sokongan rakyat kepada Anwar.

Sesetengah rakyat tidak mempercayai isu seks dan liwat itu dan menganggapnya cubaan untuk membunuh karier politik Anwar yang direka sejak zaman Mahathir lagi. Sesetengah yang lain pula menganggapnya sebagai mainan politik longkang yang cuba dilakukan oleh BN untuk memenangi pilihanraya. BN dilihat seolah-olah sudah kering idea dan tiada modal lain untuk mendapatkan sokongan rakyat dan berhadapan dengan Anwar serta Pakatan Rakyat.

Jika diperhatikan gerak laku dan perangai bekas pemimpin PKR yang mengaitkan Anwar dengan pelbagai dakwaan berkaitan seks dan liwat itu, amat nyata bahawa bahawa mereka ingin menjadi hero dalam pilihanraya akan datang ini. Mereka ingin membunuh karektor Anwar dan mahu rakyat terus memilih BN semata-mata atas alasan Anwar seorang pemimpin yang tidak baik moralnya dan dikatakan gila seks.

Keghairahan mereka menonjolkan diri dalam media dan di sisi Najib telah menenggelamkan kewujudan pemimpin dalam UMNO sendiri. Peranan Ketua Bahagian dan Ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO seolah-olah tidak wujud dalam mempertahankan UMNO dan Najib. Sepanjang masa suara Najib lebih banyak disahut oleh mereka ini berbanding pemimpin dalam UMNO sendiri. Benarkan kata Tun Daim, Najib dalam persiapan menghadapi pilihanraya ini umpama jeneral tanpa askar.

Dalam masa yang sama, dengan menonjolkan isu seks dan liwat, penilaian rakyat cuba ditutup terhadap isu kenaikan harga barang, beban hidup yang meningkat, rasuah makin berleluasa, skandal lembu NFC, pelupusan hutang Tajudin Ramli sebanyak RM589 juta, hutang negara mencecah hampir 55 peratus KDNK negara, ekonomi yang tidak berkembang, urus tadbir negara yang lemah dan pelbagai isu lainnya yang menghenyak kehidupan rakyat seharian.

Apakah mungkin isu seks dan liwat itu mampu menjadikan rakyat buta hati dan melupakan isu lain seperti yang disebutkan diatas tadi?

Sudah bertahun-tahun terbukti bahawa isu seks, liwat dan biseksual yang dikaitkan dengan Anwar tidak memberi kesan apa-apa kepada kepada rakyat dan tindakan Ezam, Nalla, Umi Hafilda, Anuar Shaari serta rakan-rakan mereka yang lain terus membangkitkan isu itu tidak lain hanya umpama menambahbesarkan lagi kubur politik untuk Najib saja.

Anwar tidak akan ke mana-mana dek serangan itu tetapi sebaliknya Najib yang makin ditolak rakyat.

Najib yang kini bagaikan tercungap-cungap untuk mempertahankan kuasa, akan lebih ditolak rakyat dengan isu seks, liwat dan biseksual yang berterusan dibangkitkan ini kerana dalam masa yang sama beliau gagal menyelesaikan pelbagai isu dalam negara dan memberi jaminan tentang kehidupan yang lebih baik untuk rakyat.

Berbeza dengan Anwar dan Pakatan Rakyat, selain menjanjikan pengurusan ekonomi dan negara yang lebih baik, mereka juga menjanjikan penurunan harga minyak dalam tempoh 24 selepas menawan Putrajaya, kajian semula tarif letrik dan terbaru penghapusan hutang PTPTN pelajar serta jaminan memberi pendidikan percuma untuk rakyat.

Tawaran-tawaran itu tentunya lebih menawan hati rakyat berbanding hidangan cerita seks, liwat, biseksual dan dakwaan Umi Hafilfa terhadap Anwar dan Azmin yang lebih merupakan masalah keluarga. Masalah keluarga sepatutnya diselesaikan dengan kaedah kekeluargaan dan tindakan Umi Hafilda menyeret masalah keluarganya ke dalam UMNO dan BN hanya akan menambahkan lagi beban Najib dalam pilihanraya ini.

Jika benar bekas-bekas pemimpin PKR ini ingin membantu Najib dan mahu melihat UMNO dan BN terus berkuasa, mereka sepatutnya bukan menjaja cerita seks dan liwat terhadap Anwar yang dikitar semula tetapi mendedahkan bagaimanakah strategi dan rahsia PKR menghadapi beberapa piliharaya sebelum ini sehingga mampu memenangi beberapa kawasan pilihanraya. Mereka juga boleh menceritakan bagaimana untuk mendekati generasi muda kerana luka yang ditinggalkan Ezam kepada Pemuda UMNO khususnya ketika zaman kebangkitan reformasi masih segar dalam ingatan sebahagian besar ahli UMNO sendiri.

Atau setidak-tidaknya memberi idea bagaimana untuk melawan janji penurunan harga minyak, letrik dan penghapusan hutang PTPTN yang dibawa oleh Anwar dan Pakatan Rakyat yang dilihat begitu berjaya menawan hati rakyat.

Menjaja cerita seks dan mengulang skrip lama terhadap Anwar hanya mendedahkan tembelang ingin muncul hero di sisi Najib tetapi tiada idea segar yang boleh diterima rakyat. Di dalam UMNO sendiri kaedah yang digunakan oleh bekas pemimpin PKR ini tidak begitu disenangi kerana didapati gagal menarik sokongan rakyat. Ceramah yang mereka buat juga selama ini hanya dihadiri oleh AJK UMNO Bahagian, AJK UMNO cawangan-cawangan serta kelompok yang dekat dengan pimpinan UMNO saja. Tidak ada rakyat biasa yang mahu hadir dan mendengar ceramah Ezam dan rakan-rakannya dan ahli UMNO juga tidak bertambah hanya kerana ceramah mereka. Lebih dari itu, tidak ada ahli PKR atau Pas yang keluar parti dan menyertai UMNO disebabkan oleh Ezam, Nalla, Anuar Shaari dan Umi Hafilda.

Mereka mungkin berjaya menjadi senator dan mengaut sedikit habuan ekonomi tetapi sumbangan terbesar ialah kejayaan membesarkan lagi kubur politik untuk Najib dalam PRU 13 ini.

Support for NEP coming from ‘captive minds’, says Ku Li

By Shannon Teoh - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah resumed his attack on the New Economic Policy (NEP) today, stating that “captive minds” continue to support it despite Malaysia moving further from its objective of redistributing wealth through pro-Bumiputera policies.

The Umno veteran said there has been “no intellectual inquiry” into why “despite many years of implementing the NEP, inequitable distribution of income continues to plague the people” as “we have become incapable of devising an analytical method independent of current stereotypes about Malays, Chinese, Indians and others.”

Ku Li today said, “…The NEP…has produced results that are diametrically opposed to the original intention of bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots.” — file pic
“If the doctor keeps on prescribing the same medicine which produces opposite results, then something must be wrong with the doctor, and something more serious must be wrong with the patient who keeps on trusting the same doctor.

“Our thinking is based completely on a racial world view when it comes to matters of politics, education, economics, planning, and so forth. Needless to say, we promote a racial world view that thrives on the policy of divide and rule,” the Kelantan prince said at a book launch in Ipoh this morning.

Tengku Razaleigh, popularly known as Ku Li, had in February said “as a former finance minister, let me emphasise that it was never the intention of the NEP to create an incubated class of Malay capitalists.”

His statement further fuelled scrutiny of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s policies after the Najib administration decided to settle out of court the RM589 million debt owed by former Malaysia Airline System Bhd (MAS) chief Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli.

The settlement sum was undisclosed, prompting intense public criticism and attacks from the opposition over the right of taxpayers to know the amount of public funds recovered.

Tajudin, 65, had served as the airline’s executive chairman from 1994 to 2001 and was a poster boy of former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin’s now-discredited policy of nurturing a class of Malay corporate captains on government largesse during the Mahathir administration.

Ku Li, one of the greatest critics of the NEP and Dr Mahathir’s handling of the policy, had challenged the long-serving prime minister for leadership of Umno in 1987, which he subsequently lost by a narrow margin.

He said in his speech today that the country’s education system does “not encourage the moral and intellectual reform of the mind” resulting in a lack of debate on major issues such as good governance, corruption and rule of law.

“To this very day, the electorate has not understood the implications of the NEP which has produced results that are diametrically opposed to the original intention of bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots. The longer we try the policy, the further we are from the original goal.

“The discrepancy between vision and reality has taken an alarming turn. It has gone far beyond economics into the realm of ethics and morality. In numerous instances it has taken the form of corruption and decadence which has pushed the economy further down the drain,” he said.

He said “wanton corruption and wasteful spending” had resulted in spiralling national debt that now amounts to RM456 billion or 53 per cent of the GDP, which “if we are not careful, it won’t take us long before we become another Greece.”

Father and son on trial

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: A father-and-son lawyer team claimed trial at a Sessions Court here to 12 charges of criminal breach of trust involving an orang asli fund amounting to about RM12mil.

S. Kanawagi, 67, is alleged to have approved the withdrawal of RM7mil from the Lingui Valley Orang Asli (Jakuns) Trust fund to buy 27 units of condominiums in Lanai Gurney, here, for his own benefit and that of Virgin Properties.

His son Dinesh Kavaji, 34, was charged with abetting his father in approving the withdrawal of RM7mil to buy properties to benefit himself and Virgin Properties, on whose board of directors he sat.

The alleged offences occurred at offices of Tetuan Khana & Co. on Jalan Abdullah, off Jalan Bangsar, between July 14, 2008 and July 13, 2009.

Kanawagi was charged with another 10 counts of CBT involving the same fund, which is alleged to have occurred at the same office between 2000 and 2009.

DPP C. Vignesh Kumar requested that no bail be offered, saying that Kanawagi had allegedly committed the crimes while on bail pending an appeal.

On May 31, 2011, Kanawagi was sentenced by a Sessions Court here to six years’ jail and fined RM80,000 for using two forged power of attorney documents and giving a false statement in court proceedings.

“He has abused the privileges given by the court by committing further offences being granted bail,” said DPP Vignesh.

Counsel Manjeet Singh Dhillon countered that the other case could not be taken into account as it was pending appeal, making his client an innocent man until proven guilty.

“It was convenient of my learned friend to have left out that my client’s perjury charge was stayed, pending appeal over his forgery charge,” said Manjeet.

Pleading for lower bail, Manjeet said his clients had complied with the authorities during the course of their previous investigation and had never attempted to flee.

The prosecution clarified that only the punishment for the forgery conviction was stayed, and the accused today still counted as guilty in the previous case.

Sessions Court Judge Mahmud Abdullah set bail at RM700,000 with two sureties for Kanawagi and RM200,000 with one surety for Dinesh and fixed May 15 for case management.

The duo were also required to surrender their passports to the court.

Najib To Lead Malaysian Delegation To 20th Asean Summit In Cambodia

KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 (Bernama) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will lead the Malaysian delegation to the 20th Asean Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for two days starting Tuesday.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement today, the Prime Minister will be accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, several Cabinet ministers and senior government officials.

The summit themed "Asean: One Community, One Goal" will be preceded by the Asean Foreign Ministers Meeting, 7th Asean Economic Community Council Meeting, Asean Socio-Cultural Community Council Meeting and Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon Free Zone Commission Meeting.

Other meetings lined-up include the 7th Asean Political-Security Community Council Meeting, 10th Asean Coordinating Council Meeting and the Permanent Representatives Committee Meeting.

The statement said the summit will also discuss topics on the Declaration of Phnom Penh "Asean: One Community, One Goal" that include efforts to realise a Drug Free Asean 2015 and the Global Moderation Movement.

Several key documents on the declaration will also be produced.

Leaders of all 10 Asean member countries wil also hold separate meetings with Asean Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA) representatives, Civil Society Organisations (CSO) representatives and youths representatives.

No attempt at ‘Christianisation’ in SXI

Former students of St Xavier’s Institution (SXI) should be able to tell us if there has been any attempt at ‘Christianisation’ in the oldest mission school in the region, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

La Salle Brothers from the East Asian region singing Salve Regina and the De La Salle anthem

“I am confident that former students like (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Deparment) Nor Mohamed Yakcop can testify that there has been no attempt at ‘Christianisation’ in SXI over the years,” said Guan Eng, the guest of honour at the 160th anniversary celebration of the arrival of the La Salle Brothers in Penang in 1852. According to Wikipedia, Nor Mohamed was a prefect in SXI.

Among the former SXI students present at the celebration in the school hall were MP Karpal Singh and academics Dr Johan Saravanamuttu, Dr Francis Loh and Dr Cecilia Ng.

Guan Eng himself studied in the La Salle Primary English School in Petaling Jaya for three years. He recalled that he was detained under the ISA in Kamunting along with Brother Anthony Rogers during Operasi Lalang in 1987. Rogers is now the Superior of the La Salle Brothers in Malaysia.

During the dinner performances, the a band leader who was crooning Elvis’ hits surprised those present when he announced that he was expelled from school in 1972 and was now back in his school after 40 years!

A diner at a table in front hollered, “Why were you expelled?”

“I will tell you later,” replied the band leader.

Back in 1852, when the La Salle Brothers arrived in these shores, they took over the management of an existing mission school known as the St Francis Xavier’s Free School run by French Catholic priests. The school had begun operations in the Church Street/Bishop Street area in 1787, a year after Francis Light took possession of Penang Island for the East India Company.

The SXI celebrations tonight were also to mark the launch of the La Salle East Asian District (Lead), a new governance structure of the De La Salle Brothers in Hong Kong/China, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Representatives of the La Salle Brothers from these countries graced the dinner. Among the Brothers from Malaysia who were present included former SXI directors Bro Charles Levin and Bro Paul Ho; and from Perak, Bro Vincent Corkery, Bro John de Cruz and Bro Mathew; and Bro Augustine Julian.

It was no coincidence that Penang was chosen as the venue for the launch of Lead. SXI is the oldest school run by the La Salle Brothers in the Far East. The Brothers commenced their management of SXI 12 days before their counterparts in Singapore started St Joseph’s Institution, it was revealed.

Guan Eng left early to attend a Penang Free School anniversary celebration at the E & O Hotel nearby. Although the PFS bicentennial is only in 2016, celebrations have already begun.

Diners enjoying the occasion

The Brothers in their speeches stressed that the mission schools, far from promoting ‘Christianisation’, aimed to reach out in inclusiveness to “the least, the lost and the last” and to provide pupils with holistic education for the all-round human development of the individual. They said their schools try to inculcate values such as integrity, social justice and compassion, apart from promoting academic excellence.