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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Opposition forces government to defer women domestic violence bill

   JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said that they would fight "tooth and nail" to stop the bill from being passed.                                                                                                              
ISLAMABAD: The government on Thursday deferred the Domestic Violence Protection (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2009 following strong resistance by opposition parties including the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F).

It was none other than JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman who dared the government to take the Bill through the house, warning his party would oppose it tooth and nail.

The National Assembly had passed the bill in 2009 but it could be passed in Senate within the stipulated 90 days, which is the legal requirement of the Constitution. Now, according to the rules of business this bill can be passed only in the joint sitting of the Parliament. Pakistan Peoples Party MNA Yasmeen Rehman had, earlier, tabled the bill stressing to institutionalise measures required to protect women and children from domestic violence. The House along with some amendments introduced by the MQM MNA, SA Iqbal Qadri, passed the bill.

The government wanted to move the long-pending Domestic Violence Bill, 2009 on Thursday when opposition opposed the fresh move saying, the bill could not get pass from the Parliament till it has been amended further. “We know bitterly about women’s rights than the PPP–Western culture can not be promoted on name of protection in Islamic states,” observed the JUI-F Chief.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz lawmakers MNAs Sardar Mehtab Abbasi and Khwaja Saad Rafiq also expressed their concerns over some clauses in the bill, suggesting the government amend these. Muttahida Qaumi Movement parliamentary leader Haider Abbas Rizvi was of the view that the bill ought to be passed without delay, urging the chair to give its ruling for passage of the bill.

On this point, Fazl ur Rehman again suggested that the matter should be referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). But PPP Senator Raza Rabbani pointed out that the bill could not be referred to the CII under the law.

Lawmakers across party lines under head of PPP senior minister Syed Khurshid Shah will put their heads together and try to build consensus over the issue on Friday.

Man rapes grand daughter for years

Moroccan police arrest grand dad and another man working at his farm

A 68-year-old Moroccan man raped his little grand daughter for many years before he and a worker at his farm were arrested after she was found pregnant, a newspaper in the north African Arab country said on Thursday.

Fatima was only about five years old when her father decided to take her to live with his rich father who owned a large farm in the central town of Khouribga, apparently not aware of his father’s evil intentions.

Shortly after her father went back home, Fatima’s grand father began his advances and a few months later he started to molest her.

After a couple of years, the old man began to sleep with his own grand daughter, threatening to kill her if she tells her father. Fatima was later raped by a worker at her grand father’s farm, prompting the old man to sack that worker.

“He then started to live with her as a wife…he was giving her contraceptives and threatening to slaughter her like an animal if she tries to tell her father or escape,” the Moroccan Arabic language daily Al Sabah said.

“Fatima said she tried many times to flee but did not know where to go as she did not know how to reach her father…her ordeal came to an end when a dispute over a car erupted between her father and her grand father.”

The paper said her father demanded the return of Fatima, who broke the news of her ordeal to him. He reported his father and the worker to the police, who arrested both despite their denial of raping her.

“The grand father then told his son that Fatima is pregnant although he was giving her contraceptives…medical tests confirmed her pregnancy and the loss of her virginity,” the paper added.

Anwar yet to decide on meeting with Hindraf

PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim has yet to decide on Hindraf’s invitation for Pakatan Rakyat to explain its 100-day plan to uplift the Indian poor community if it comes into power in the next general election.

“I will discuss it with the party,” he told journalists after a dialogue with Indonesian and Malaysian students at the Selangor state secretariat building in Shah Alam today.

Hindraf de facto leader P Uthayakumar had on Wednesday extended the invitation to Anwar, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang for the opposition coalition to outline its policies.

This, and Pakatan’s willingness to endorse Hindraf’s 18-point demands, Uthayakumar had said, will decide if the movement endorses Pakatan Rakyat.

He had said that the outcome of the meeting would also decide if Hindraf will back the mooted Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28.

The public meeting is scheduled to be held in Klang on April 22.

Uthayakumar had said that if Pakatan Rakyat refuses to engage Hindraf, the movement will have “no alternative” but to contest in the general election on their own, potentially becoming spoilers in marginal seats.

Ex-minister: Protests are part of democracy

Earlier, Anwar had welcomed former Indonesian minister Adi Sasono with other Indonesian politicians in a dialogue on Asean.

NONESharing about the country’s development after the reformasi movement, Adi (left) noted that Indonesia has seen a rise in protests.

“But protests are part of democracy and the duty of the police is to facilitate, not confront them,” he said.

The political scene has also become more crowded, but these varied opinions ensure there is no monopoly on the media, he added.

However, Indonesia’s Welfare Justice Party (PKS) secretary-general Fahri Hamzah, who was also present, advised Malaysia to conduct its reforms in an orderly fashion.

“We introduced 300 new reform laws in less than two years (after the reformasi movement), the transition was on the right track but after President BJ Habibie the leaders did not have a road map and Indonesia’s reform went in circles,” he said.

Indonesia’s change, he added, had a tendency of going for revolution which led to the changes to come “too soon and too much” without a proper direction.

‘Even Najib shares our heritage’

Commenting on the precarious relationship between Indonesia and Malaysia, Fahri acknowledged that several issues affecting both countries had been blown out of proportion.

“Many Indonesians criticise Malaysia for stealing their culture such as the batik, songs or dances.

NONE“But Malaysians call themselves Malays, in Javanese language Malay means ‘orang pergi’ (travellers), Malaysians have their origin in Indonesia, for example (Prime Minister) Najib Abdul Razak is of Bugis descent,” he said.

This, Fahri (right) added, meant that both Indonesia and Malaysia share a common heritage which neither can claim exclusive right.

He said that to avoid further conflict, both countries must appreciate their common ancestry which would also serve in the larger context of Asean integration.

In recent years, Indonesia has accused Malaysia of stealing its cultural heritage including the Balinese Pendet dance and the Rasa Sayang song, on top of border skirmishes over oil-rich regions bordering the two nations.

No ‘pondans’ allowed on TV, radio

If you look or sound like a gay, transsexual or effeminate, you will not be allowed to go on the air in Malaysia.

PETALING JAYA: Male characters who appear gay, transsexual or effeminate will not be allowed to be heard or seen over Malaysia’s airwaves.

In a Facebook message, the Department of Information (which comes under the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture) said such “characters” went against social and religious norms.

These characters, the message added, contributed to a rising support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) movement.

“Effective immediately, radio and television stations have been asked to stop programmes that broadcast characters (depicting) ‘pondans’ (transsexuals), effeminate men as well as characters that are in conflict with social and religious norms because they can be said to be in support of (and contributing to the increase of the LGBT social problem,” the message read.

The message, which appeared on the department’s Facebook page at approximately 6pm yesterday, also gained a fair amount of support.

Hamli Sanai Razali said: “Good, we’ve been waiting for this for a long time. The most can be found in (the comedy show) Raja Lawak.”

Afzal Mohamad said: “(The government) should have banned programmes like this from before. They don’t bring any benefit at all. They’re shameful and enliven these groups.”

One Facebook user known only as ‘En A No’ said: “I support [this]! This decision was the right thing to do because it will preserve Malaysia’s culture as well as maintain the country’s status as a modern Islamic country.”

Another Facebook user, Julie Ismail, suggested foreign shows such as the American musical drama “Glee” be taken off the air. “If so, then please stop the ‘Glee’ programme, which clearly supports these kinds of groups. So geli (creepy)!” she said.

It is not clear if this statement was commissioned by a department official or from Minister Rais Yatim himself.

However, the government appears to be stepping up its efforts in curbing the “spread” of homosexuality in the country.

On March 22, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mashitah Ibrahim told the Dewan Rakyat that the government was working with several NGOs to prevent the LGBT movement from taking root, especially amongst Muslims here.

She said that several measures, included the training of volunteers to “approach” the LGBT community as well as instructing groups to carry out anti-homosexual campaigns.

This followed a claim by Sekijang MP (Umno) Baharum Mohamad, who said that three out of every 10 men in Malaysia were gay, suggesting that the government set up a homosexual rehabilitation centre, to stop same-sex relationships from spreading in the country.

In a related development, the Information Department said in a Facebook message clarified that the ‘directive’ actually a re-posting of a Bernama Radio24 Facebook discussion topic.

The department however did not say why it chose to re-post the message instead of rewording it to make it seem as though it was indeed a discussion.

Amanah says Bersih 3.0 justifiable

Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir says the government's sincerity to clean up the election process was questionable.

KUALA LUMPUR: Angkatan Amanah Merdeka (Amanah) today backed Bersih’s plan to hold a mass protest on April 28, saying it is justifiable as Putrajaya had failed to ensure poll reforms are in place before the 13th general polls.

Its deputy chief Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir said in a statement that the government’s sincerity to clean up the election process was questionable, citing the hasty approval of the parliamentary select committee (PSC) report last Tuesday.

The report was tabled and approved in Parliament without debate while House Speaker Pandikar Mulia Amin, who has been criticised for bias on numerous times, had rejected the minority report which included the assurance that poll reforms are in place before elections commence.

“Furthermore, there are no timelines mentioned at all in the report as to when the various recommendations will be implemented and completed if at all. Certaintly this raises great concern and worry amongst the people. Hence the justifiable talk on Bersih 3.0,” he said.

Bersih leaders announced on Wednesday that it will proceed to hold a protest after they deemed Putrajaya’s election reform pledges a failure following the committee’s refusal to meet the key demand.

Kadir, a former member of Umno who quit the ruling party after his criticism against Putrajaya exposed him to media attacks, said the PSC had also failed to heed two of Amanah’s most important recommendations submitted to PSC at its meeting in Johor Bahru recently.

The group had repeatedly called for the government to release its grip on the media and the “neutralising” of all government departments, semi-government departments, government-linked companies including the police and the army.

The former federal minister claimed these institutions are often “blatantly” exploited for a lopsided campaign during the “countdown period” leading to the elections.

“Amanah feels that our above proposals together with the other recommendations can be implemented very easily and very fast and this will be all to the credit of the ‘Political Transformation’ that has been announced”.

He said Amanah echoes the views of other groups who call for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak against holding elections until all poll reform pledges are met.

No more talks with EC, says Ambiga

Unless Putrajaya gives a clear promise that reforms will be implemented before the 13th general election, the April 28 Bersih rally will go on.

KUALA LUMPUR: Polls reform group, Bersih’s chief S Ambiga has declared that there will be no more talks with the Election Commission (EC) and that the coalition will proceed with its planned mass “sit in” protest on April 28th.

The former Bar Council president told FMT that “it would be a waste of time” to engage the body after it failed to respond to Bersih’s demand that poll reforms be implemented before the 13th national polls are held.

The group announced on Wednesday that it would hold a nationwide “sit in” after they deemed Putrajaya’s election reform pledges a failure. The Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) had issued its report on the matter on Tuesday.

Bersih detractors claimed the planned protest, dubbed “Bersih 3.0″, showed the group’s insincerity. They said the group was never keen on a diplomatic solution but wanted a street protest aimed at overthrowing the government.

Barisan Nasional lawmakers questioned the hasty decision to hold the protest and said its motive was suspect as it gave no timeline for the EC to study the report which is crucial for the recommendations to take place.

Ambiga said the only positive response tolerable would be a clear promise by Putrajaya that the reforms would be implemented by the 13th general election.

“Yes. Unless they make it clear, it is a waste of time. We will not engage the EC anymore,” she said.

Putrajaya’s move to set up a PSC came after the Najib administration grappled with widespread condemnation for its strong arm tactics against Bersih and its supporters at the July rally, forcing the government to consider the group’s demands in a move to contain a potential voter backlash.

No coup

Over 1,600 people were detained as a result, including Ambiga and scores of opposition lawmakers, but the group later declared the event a success based on the number of participants and the publicity it earned in both local and international media.

The July rally, dubbed Bersih 2.0, was the second mass protest held by the group and prior to yesterday’s announcement, talks were rife that the polls watchdog was planning to hold a third.

BN leaders said the rumours strengthened their suspicion that Bersih, backed by the federal opposition bloc Pakatan Rakyat, was planning to hold a series of street demonstrations resembling Egypt’s “Tahrir Square” uprising in a bid to unseat the ruling coalition.

They said Bersih’s complete disregard of EC’s positive response in adopting some of the Bersih-endorsed recommendations made by the PSC proved the allegation that the April 28 demonstration was made even before the report was produced.

But Ambiga said the key motivation behind Bersih 3.0 was not the overthrow of BN.

“We are not the one rushing it (protest). They are the one rushing to hold elections when the mandate only ends in 2013.

“They have all the time to implement the reforms now but they are not doing it,” she said, reiterating that the April 28 sit in will be held as a protest against Putrajaya’s lack of political will to ensure reforms are in place before the coming polls.

She also denied the group had already planned Bersih 3.0 before the PSC report was finalised although there were talks of “what their next course of action would be”.

“I had made it clear that what we do will be subject to what the PSC say”.

Bersih 3.0 will be held at the historic Dataran Merdeka and will go on from 2pm to 4pm.

No such thing as barring ‘pondans’, says Maglin

Deputy information minister Maglin Dennis D'Cruz meanwhile says the Facebook posting could be the work of a sole individual.

PETALING JAYA: A government directive supposedly barring gay, transsexual or effeminate men from being featured over Malaysia’s airwaves has been clarified as a mistake.

And in another development, speaking to FMT, Information, Communications and Culture Deputy Minister Maglin Dennis D’Cruz said that his ministry had not ordered gays to be taken off the air.

In fact, the deputy minister said he Facebook message might have been posted by a sole individual.

“There is no directive. Only the minister (Rais Yatim) can (issue) a directive. Because if it was a directive, it would have come to us, and all the senior officials (in the ministry) immediately… I think it was (done) by an individual,” he said.

At the same time, Maglin added that the ministry had no intention of stopping gays, transsexuals or effeminate men from appearing on radio or television.

“These people are everywhere, and they’re also human beings. Nobody has the right to stop them or anything, because we also respect them as human beings.

“Don’t humiliate them. Who says they can’t act in movies? Nobody says that they can’t act… If they want to be an engineer, lawyer, actor, whatever they want to do, we (will) help them,” he said.

Later in the day, Maglin’s boss, Rais Yatim was quoted by Bernama as saying that no ban existed on the portrayal of LGBT characters on state-owned television channels.

“There is no ban on any artistic performance by any segment of society, including those acronymed as “soft” (or effeminate) men,” he said in a Twitter posting.

However, he said the his ministry “still reserved the right to select content suitable for the general public given that Malaysia is a multiracial, multi-religious and multi-cultural country”.

Reprint of a Bernama Radio24 posting

Earlier this morning, in a Facebook message, the Department of Information (which comes under the Information, Communications and Culture Ministry) said the order was actually a reprint of a Bernama Radio24 Facebook discussion topic.

However, the government department did not say why it chose to reprint this message, instead of rewording it to make it seem as though it was indeed a discussion.

“Our Facebook post last night (highlighting the) issue of stopping programmes broadcasting pondans, effeminate men as well as characters that come into conflict with social norms was a Radio Bernama24 discussion topic that (we) picked off their Facebook page.

“It is not a directive issued by any party. We apologise if there has been any confusion caused by our Facebook status last night,” the department’s latest Facebook status update (posted after 11am today) read.

The original notice

At around 6pm yesterday, the department wrote that gay, pondan (transsexuals) and effeminate characters went against social and religious norms.

Radio and television stations were to stop featuring people depicting these characteristics “effective immediately.”

A quick check on Bernama Radio24′s Facebook page showed that it had the same message, although it had an extra paragraph that read: “Are such restrictions relevant, or is this action denying the current realities of our daily life? What’s your say (on this ): 03-26927939?”

The department’s original message read: “Effective immediately, radio and television stations have been asked to stop programmes that broadcast characters (depicting) ‘pondans’ (transsexuals), effeminate men as well as characters that are in conflict with social and religious norms because they can be said to be in support of (and) contributing to the increase of the LGBT social problem.”

FMT noticed that the government department’s offending Facebook post did mention Bernama Radio24 as a source in a later comment, although it wasn’t clear on that particular detail.

A flurry of angry Facebook messages criticising the department also caused it to react defensively.

This morning, the department said (in the offending Facebook post): “:) You can say what you want, but condemning the Department of Information is not a smart thing to do. The purpose of this Facebook page is to relay information to Malaysians who are getting more active with Facebook.”

“If you don’t like this status, sorry. The moderator is only relaying news from the source (Bernama). Thank you.”

Report cards for Najib and Co

The prime minister has given himself a sterling appraisal of his own achievements. The writer however begs to differ and comes up with her own report cards for the premier and his men.

If you do not like what people have to say about you, then the only solution is to make your own appraisal. This is precisely what Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak did last Monday, April 2, when he presented a gloating report card detailing his reforms to the nation. His glorified self-assessment was done in style and broadcast live on RTM1, TV3 and Astro Awani.

Only a brash and arrogant person would do that. Then again, this might be Najib’s swansong. If the objectives of Bersih are met, free and clear access to the media will be granted to all, and the opposition will make mincemeat of Najib’s exorbitant claims.

When we were at school, didn’t we dread the moment teacher gave us our report card, to show our parents, who then had to acknowledge receipt with their signatures? Some of us had friends who destroyed their report cards before their parents could read them.

Although many won’t take such drastic action, a few are known to have forged their parents’ signatures, or pretended to have lost the report cards and so could not return them to their teachers.

When reading out his self-prepared report card, Najib was full of praise for the achievements under his Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

He mentioned the seven National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) on the cost of living, crime, corruption, living standards of low-income households, rural basic infrastructure, urban public transport and students.

Where are the clean cops?

Let us take just one of these NKRAs – crime control. Najib said that street crime had been reduced by 39% while overall crime had decreased by 11% since 2009. He claimed that the public was very satisfied with police performance.

A few weeks ago, the IGP claimed that only 1% of his policemen were corrupt. And yet, the public wonder where these “clean” policemen are, because they have the misfortune to meet only the 1%.

A few were livid that they are being charged twice to use some public highways; they pay once at the toll booth, and again down the road, when the policemen flag them down, for an apparent road infraction, like speeding.

Najib mentioned the cooperation between the police and RELA, the paramilitary volunteer defence corps formed to curb crime. There have been many complaints about the three million RELA volunteers who are badly trained and who allegedly extort money from migrant labourers.

Last week, RELA members beat an alleged Nigerian rapist to death. Perhaps, this is the new modus operandi – beat suspects senseless, ask questions later.

Najib said that to reduce the crime rate, CCTVs would be widely installed, yet he failed to explain why CCTVs continue to malfunction in cases involving the opposition, or for deaths in police custody or for those being questioned by the MACC.

There is little point in going over Najib’s so-called achievements. In his report card, he is excellent.

Last week, Najib hinted that he intends to “control” the online media. So before he gags the alternative news portals, let us give him and a few members of his Cabinet, their report cards based on this term.

Report cards

Najib Tun Razak: A career politican. Not suitable for public life because he has made little progress in his work and has no experience of real life. Fails to identify with the rakyat. He has only been on a bus once, and that is why he wants to be given the chance to prove himself a man of the people, by sorting out the nation’s abysmal public transport. Incidentally, his first bus ride was in a luxury coach in Ipoh, last year.

He cannot speak simple English but loves to use acronyms as he sees no point in keeping things clear, and relies on statistics, to blind us with numbers.

He lacks the will to tackle difficult subjects. Has an image problem and depends on public relations firms to find out who he really is and what he stands for. Also has a split personality; says one thing but does another. For example, he says that only moderates will be allowed in Malaysia, but he closes one eye when extremists threaten public order. Not as courageous as he claims.

Muhyiddin Yassin: Talks too much. Will have the makings of a good public speaker who does not know his subject matter. On the bright side, he is an optimist, but I am more inclinded to say that he suffers from delusions of grandeur. He claims the Malaysian education is one of the best in the world and that the Malaysian government is the most transparent globally. Has an identity crisis, and cannot decide if he is Malay or Malaysian first.

Nazri Abdul Aziz: Another one with verbal diarrhoea. Needs parenting classes as he cannot manage his children and admits that he cannot be responsible for their actions. If he cannot restrain one son, how does he expect to exercise control over the rakyat? Main aim in life is to make a hash of everything he oversees.

Rais Yatim: Suitable in jobs with plenty of scope for dramatic flair. Has a tendency to make the wrong career choice. Good at dishing out wrong advice such as when he warned Malaysians, especially Muslims, about the evil, western influences of Facebook and Twitter. This made the Information, Communication and Culture Minister an overnight global sensation on Twitter. Very creative person but tends to fly off the handle. Must learn more tact. Has problems with domestic staff.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi: A real plodder but with time, would make some progress. Has an inferiority complex and cannot see women as equals. Has a problem with wearing white gloves.

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.

Is this the death blow to the right of our children to pursue the best education overseas?

By Haris Ibrahim,

The local universities are the butt of jokes amongst the international academia.

If before, Universiti Malaya was not too far adrift from Singapore University, the gulf between the two now is so wide, it almost seems unlikely that we will ever catch up.

So, for those who had the means or were willing to sacrifice the little comforts in life to send their children off to foreign universities, it was at least comforting that a good result in the STPM exams ( in my days, it was the Higher School Certificate or HSC ), long recognised as equivalent to the Cambridge ‘A’ levels, was accepted by many major foreign universities for entry into their halls of study.

This, though, may soon be a thing of the past.

FreeMalaysiaToday reported Hindraf’s Sambulingam questioning the new format of the STPM format, announced on 6th March, 2012 by the Malaysian Examination Council.

Under the new format, there will no longer be an evaluative examination after a two year ( lower six and upper six) period of preparation.

Instead, the evaluation will now be based on performance in three school-based examinations spread out over the same two-year period.

Sambu is reported as saying that he has written to the Higher Education Ministry for clarification but, to-date, has not received a satisfactory response.

He has also written to the foreign missions of UK, India, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

To-date, he has had a reply from the British High Commission which has left him convinced that the British educational authorities and institutions are in the dark on this latest move by the Malaysian authorities.

Have the Malaysian educational authorities sought confirmation from foreign educational authorities and institutions that this new format will not result in the STPM no longer being recognised as satisfying entry requirements into those foreign enducational institutions?

I cannot agree with Sambu’s view that “the new system will only hurt the poor Indians most”, as it will potentially impact upon every child who aspires to pursues a tertiary education overseas upon completion of his or her sixth form studies.

However, we are indebted to both Hindraf and Sambu for bringing to public attention a matter of public importance that, like that of Lynas and so many others, the government proceeds upon without adequate public consultation.

Like Lynas, this too is another national issue that we must not allow to proceed to implementation until we have been fully consulted and are fully appraised of the ramifications to the future prospects of our children to pursue their tertiary education at foreign centres of learning of their choice.

A-G says Teoh’s death referred back to MACC

The Malaysian Insider- by Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 —Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail refused today to clarify whether his office would prosecute three anti-graft officers who allegedly drove Teoh Beng Hock to suicide.

The Attorney-General only told reporters that "the case has been referred back to the MACC" after meeting Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigations chief Datuk Mustafar Ali this evening.

"I only charge, not investigate. I don't want to argue with you," Gani (picture) said when asked about whether there was criminal wrongdoing by the graftbusters.

De facto law minister Nazri said in a written reply in Parliament to Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching yesterday that police were investigating the case and the Attorney-General's Chambers was now studying investigation papers after a complaint lodged by Teoh's sister Lee Lan on October 28 last year.

But Teo, the DAP deputy publicity chief, told reporters this morning that the latest reply contradicted Nazri's March 29 reply to PKR's Gopeng MP Lee Boon Chye when he said "the AGC has found no criminal wrongdoing... no legal action will be taken against the three MACC officers."

The minister in the prime minister's department had said on October 24, 2011 that the AG was not pursuing legal action against the three MACC officers implicated in the DAP aide's 2009 death as no police report had been lodged and there was a lack of investigative evidence.

The Padang Rengas MP refused to comment on the matter earlier today, only sending a message through his aide for reporters to "clarify with the AG as his officer provided the response."

Teoh, political aide to Seri Kembangan assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on July 16, 2009 on the fifth-floor corridor of Selangor MACC’s office in Shah Alam after overnight questioning.

A coroner's inquest returned an "open verdict" ruling out both suicide and homicide, leading Datuk Seri Najib Razak to order a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) after public uproar.

The royal panel found that the three MACC investigating officers involved in the case used “continuous, aggressive and improper questioning tactics on TBH which had breached its existing standard operating procedures” and recommended that action be taken against them.

A previous RCI in 2007 probing allegations that appointments of judges were fixed also recommended action against senior lawyer Datuk VK Lingam, tycoon Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Umno secretary general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, former Chief Justices Tun Eusoff Chin and Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim as well as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

But Gani. who has been A-G since 2002, has not prosecuted any individual implicated in either RCI.

His failure do so, combined with allegations by former senior police officers that he fabricated evidence in high-profile cases such as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's "black eye" case in 1998, has led to calls that a Tribunal be set up to investigate the claims of misconduct.

EC meets next week over PSC polls reform plan

The New Straits Times

CONSULTATION: Commission has received recommendations, says deputy chairman.

KUALA LUMPUR: THE Election Commission is expected to meet next week to deliberate on a report submitted by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms.

EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said the commission had received the report.

"(The EC) meeting is tentatively next week. It will involve all our panel members.

"We will look into and deliberate each of the recommendations in detail," he told the New Straits Times in a text message yesterday.

Wan Ahmad said the EC wouldissue a statement after its meeting.

On Wednesday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the report would be presented and discussed at the next cabinet meeting.

The cabinet would also look into the committee's suggestion to initiate a permanent PSC to evaluate the implementation of the report.

PSC on Electoral Reforms chairman Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili tabled the final report in the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday after after almost six months of meetings and deliberations.

It contained 22 recommendations, of which 18 were agreed to unanimously between the nine-man committee while four recommendations were voted upon.

It was passed without debate due to a minority report issue brought up by the opposition.

Among the recommendations in the electoral reforms report were:

EC given three months to formulate a mechanism to allow overseas voting;
EC recommended to study a proposal to allow "pre-registration" for those who reach the age of 20 to enable them to become automatic voters at 21;
EC recommended to extend the minimum campaign period from seven to 10 days;
EC recommended to observe Article 115 of the Federal Constitution, which can compel any public authority to help the EC, including the ministry and its related agencies, on matters relating to free and fair media access to all contesting parties;
PSC recommends that the EC studies procedures and regulations of other countries in allowing voters to choose between their birth or registered address or place of employment as their voting address;
PSC recommends that a study be carried out on the distribution of parliamentary seats in Sabah and Sarawak to ensure the states are fairly represented; and
THE setting up of a caretaker government upon the dissolution of Parliament to oversee the security of the country and the election process.

Najib Calls On Islamic Organisations To Help Make Malaysia First Fully-developed Islamic Country

PUTRAJAYA, April 6 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak today called on Islamic organisations in the country to help Malaysia become the first Islamic country to achieve the status of a fully-developed nation.

The prime minister also expressed hope that with the strong spirit showed by these organisations, the dream would become a reality.

"I have one dream. I want Malaysia to remain an Islamic country and let us create history by becoming the first Islamic country to achieve the status of a fully-developed nation," he said at a Federal Territories Qaryah/Religious Group Gathering with the Prime Minister here.

Najib said if Malaysia achieved the status of a fully-developed nation, the religious organisations would also progress and the government would be able to channel more allocations to empower and uplift the status of Islam.

Inadvertently, he said, it would also help the government to rule the country better and lead Malaysia towards more positive development.

"What we make from a good administration, we must give back to the people, including Islamic groups. I promise when our economy grows, the government will take a very good care of the wellbeing of these groups," he said.

During the event attended by about 5,000 members of Islamic organisations, the prime minister also commended them for their commitment and participation in the government's transformation agenda.

He said when the concept of 1Malaysia was introduced, it did not stray from Islamic teachings, as one of the key values promoted in the concept of 1Malaysia was the concept of moderation or 'Wasatiyyah'.

"Moderation neither means doing more or less nor doing things with thoughtless attitude... but doing things balanced in terms of spiritual and material," he said.

Najib said the moderation value would not only form a good nation, but would also preserve good relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Detainee escapes from Jalan Duta court lock-up

A male detainee whose gang robbery and police impersonation case was up for mention at the Sessions Court escaped from a lock-up on the second floor basement of the Jalan Duta Court Complex in Kuala Lumpur today.

Mohd Radzuan Abdul Rahman, 33, wearing a yellow T-shirt and a pair of shorts, slipped off at 8.45am when police brought in more than 50 other detainees from the Sungai Buloh Prison to the court complex for case management.

Kuala Lumpur CID deputy chief Asst Comm Khairi Ahrasa said the detainee, who is from Jalan Klang Lama, was seen chatting with others before getting himself loose from the handcuffs and fled by climbing over the court’s perimeter fence.

“The security guard in front of the court could not do anything to stop him. We are taking statements from several policemen who were handling the detainee,” he said when contacted.

He did not rule out that the case could have been due to negligence.

The man has been on remand order since Jan 30. Police are investigating the case under Section 223/224 of the Penal Code for escaping from police custody, he said.

Police are now viewing the closed circuit television recording at the court complex on how the incident took place.

A check by Bernama found a team of policemen had surrounded the complex area while other personnel were combing the courtrooms.

- Bernama