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Thursday, April 26, 2012

[Kompilasi] Demi sebuah pilihanraya adil & bersih

Gov't classifying stateless Indians as 'foreigners'

Chegu Bard in Selayang

Fears of Rough Justice in Sampang Blasphemy Trial

 Shiite leader Tajul Muluk, center, is facing blasphemy charges after reportedly telling students of his Shiite Muslim boarding school that the koran — as they knew it — was not the original text. Legal experts are trying to get his case moved to Jakarta over fears that the trial will spur sectarian violence on East Java  
Shiite leader Tajul Muluk, center, is facing blasphemy charges after reportedly telling students of his Shiite Muslim boarding school that the koran — as they knew it — was not the original text. Legal experts are trying to get his case moved to Jakarta over fears that the trial will spur sectarian violence on East Java's Madura Island, an area prone to Sunni/ Shiite violence. (Antara Photo)
The Supreme Court must move the blasphemy trial of a Shiite religious scholar off East Java’s Madura Island to prevent fueling further violence there, a rights group said on Tuesday.

The Alliance for Solidarity Over the Sampang Case, a gathering a legal organizations, said the trial should be moved to a more neutral location.

“We are proposing to the Supreme Court to move the trial to Jakarta. If moved to Jakarta there would be more advocacy groups, media and nongovernmental organizations that could monitor the case,” said Hertasning Ichlas, the coordinator of the alliance.

He said the minority Shiite community in Madura Island’s Sampang district had long felt vulnerable to attack from the large Sunni population there.

More than 300 members of the Shiite community were displaced when a mob of 500 people attacked and burned Shia houses, a boarding school and a place of worship there in December.

On Jan. 1, the Sampang branch of the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) issued an edict describing the teaching of Tajul Muluk, the head of the Shiite Muslim boarding school there, as “deviant.” Two days later one of his relatives, Rois Al Hukuma, reported him to the police for blasphemy.

On March 16, the East Java Police charged Tajul with blasphemy and committing an “offensive action.”

Hertasning said that holding the trial outside Madura would minimize intervention by outsiders, including the Sampang district chief.

“We found that the Sampang district chief used hatred against the Shiite as a campaign tool and this is worrying,” he said.

The alliance also wants the Judicial Commission to monitor Tajul’s trial, he said. The trial opened at the Sampang District Court on Tuesday with the reading of the indictment.

In their indictment, the prosecutors accuse Tajul of blasphemy and insulting Islam, including by telling his students that the sacred Koran was not the original one. He face more than five years in jail if found guilty. The trial resumes next week.

“From the detention to the opening hearing, we felt that there were many irregularities. We also saw a lot of intervention and pressure,” Hertasning said after meeting Judicial Commission members in Jakarta.

He cited among the irregularities the intimidation of judges, witnesses refusing to testify in court and the defense counsel’s work being hindered.

Hertasning said the commission had agreed to sent a team to monitor the trial.

Indonesia: 'Two politicians' sex tape circulated online

Jakarta, 24 April (AKI/Jakarta Post) - A sex tape purportedly featuring two lawmakers from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle is being widely circulated online.

The sex tape was initially published on Tuesday on, which was suspended shortly after the rumor widely spread.

The male politician reportedly comes from the Central Java electoral district, identified as A.B., while the female politician is from West Kalimantan.

The House of Representatives’ ethics council chairman M. Prakosa, also from the PDI-P, said that he had heard the rumors but has not seen the video.

“It is only rumor. I have only heard it from journalists. It is not clear yet who they are,” he told reporters at the House.

However, the council will further investigate the video to confirm the identity of the couple on the video, he said

“We have to be very careful because this issue is related to someone’s good name,” he added

'Zahid, M'sians will pay your way to Paris'

The defence minister should not cite expenses to dodge testifying at the Scorpene submarine inquiry in Paris, says human rights watchdog Suaram, which filed the case in 2010
NONESecretariat member Cynthia Gabriel (right) said Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s priority should be accountability and transparency, as Malaysian taxpayers are deprived of this when it comes to military spending.
"Commitment to the truth should be the minister's first and foremost reason to testify in this case, not money," Gabriel told Malaysiakini.
"Besides, he has reneged on his words. Earlier, he said he was willing to testify, but he has changed his mind now. We would like to know what happened to make him sing a different tune.”
The travel expenses would at most be about RM10,000 per night, she said, made up of:
  • RM5,500 for the return flight, but not on Malaysia Airlines;
  • RM600 per night for accommodation; and
  • RM200 for food in a restaurant
Asked if Suaram would pay the expenses, Gabriel said "we are encouraged to learn that Malaysians are willing to raise funds for this case".
French submarine builder DCNS is alleged to have paid illegal commissions to Malaysian officials in the RM7.3 billion purchase of two Scorpene class submarines.
lim guan eng submarine ride 091211 ahmad zahidYesterday, Ahmad Zahid (left) had said that no official or representative of the Defence Ministry will fly to Paris to attend the inquiry.
Bernama had quoted Ahmad Zahid as saying: “Who will pay for ... air tickets, food and hotel accommodation in France?”
However, he said the Malaysian ambassador and military attache in Paris will closely monitor the case.
He added that both he and premier Najib Abdul Razak - who was defence minister at the time of the purchase - are not obliged to comply with orders of the French court, unless a subpoena comes from a Malaysian court.
Najib had snubbed questions when asked if he would testify, saying "I don't need to comment...I don't want to comment, thank you".
‘Something to hide?’
Gabriel said Suaram is "very disappointed" that Najib did not respond properly to the question, while in Penang on Sunday.
azlan"To say he does not need or want to comment shows that he has something to hide," she claimed.
"We reiterate the hope that the Malaysian government will give us its fullest cooperation in this case.
"To know the truth about whether there had been corruption and to seek justice for the death of a Mongolian national on our soil is the right of every Malaysian taxpayer.”
Last Thursday,  the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance accepted Suaram’s witness list, which names Najib, his close ally Abdul Razak Baginda and Ahmad Zahid.
Najib has previously denied being involved in the case which is allegedly mired in corruption and the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu by members of his security detail then.

DBKL: Bersih to blame for any ‘chaos’ at Dataran Merdeka

The mayor said DBKL would deal with Bersih attendees as it has the Occupy Dataran activists. — Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) threatened today to forcefully bar demonstrators from using Dataran Merdeka for this Saturday’s Bersih 3.0 sit-in protest for electoral reforms, with Mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail dismissing the activists as unreasonable.

Both sides stuck to their guns today in an hour-long meeting at City Hall, with Bersih leaders insisting that it was too late to change the venue of the protest from the historic square to Stadium Merdeka.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Bersih representatives, Ahmad Fuad also pointed out that he would hold Bersih responsible if chaos ensued this Saturday.

“Action was taken against those students at Dataran Merdeka. The same action will be taken against (Bersih) if you do the same.

“If there is chaos, blame Bersih,” he said.

Yesterday, City Hall enforcers detained four Occupy Dataran activists, hours after evicting the movement from Dataran Merdeka.

DBKL officers had earlier seized tents and camping equipment belonging to the activists, and put up steel barricades to stop them from camping there.

Occupy Dataran’s stated aim is to reclaim public spaces for the purpose of promoting participatory democracy.

Earlier, Bersih co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the movement was still hopeful that City Hall would changed its stand.

“We have a grave problem here with time; we cannot change the location because it is already Wednesday. Even if we make an announcement by tomorrow, that leaves two days,” Ambiga told a press conference today.

“We believe that if we change the place now, it’s going to cause a bigger confusion. People will gather here (Dataran Merdeka) as well as Stadium Merdeka,” she added.

Ambiga stressed there would be less likelihood of chaos if the rally were to go ahead at Dataran Merdeka as planned.

“If there is any change now, there will be more chaos. There is just too little time to inform people.”

However, Ahmad Fuad dismissed Ambiga’s justification as “unreasonable”.

“If their problem is not having enough time to inform their supporters, we can hold a press conference together to make sure the public knows about our mutual understanding,” he said.

Reiterating the offer of Stadium Merdeka as an alternative venue, Ahmad Fuad said the site has more “historical value” as well as “bigger space, more parking, and seats for them to sit on”.

“Stadium Merdeka is a win-win situation for all.”

Bersih said yesterday it would consider calling off Saturday’s rally if Datuk Seri Najib Razak can guarantee the electoral reform movement’s demands are met before the next federal polls.

The movement said early this month a third rally was necessary to warn Malaysians that the country is about to face its “dirtiest” polls to date.

The coalition said it was disappointed by the recently concluded Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reforms, saying that despite Putrajaya’s repeated assurances and promises, the panel had failed to introduce meaningful reforms to the election system.

The bipartisan panel was formed following the July 9, 2011 rally for free and fair elections that saw tens of thousands flood into the streets of the capital.

The Najib administration was widely condemned for a clampdown on the demonstration in which police fired water cannons and tear gas into crowds during chaotic scenes that resulted in over 1,500 arrested, scores injured and the death of an ex-soldier.

Bersih’s eight demands are: a clean electoral roll, reform to postal voting, the use of indelible ink, a minimum campaign period of 21 days, fair access to the media, the strengthening public institutions, a stop to corruption, and an end to dirty politics.

Dendam kepada Anwar tidak pernah padam

Tibai akan mengulangi siri kegagalan yang dilakukan oleh individu dan NGO yang mahu melenyapkan tokoh pembangkang itu.

PETALING JAYA: Dendam bekas rakan-rakan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim kepada tokoh pembangkang itu tidak pernah padam.

Pelancaran sebuah NGO yang dikenali sebagai Tolak Insan Bernama Anwar Ibrahim (Tibai), Ahad lalu tidak lain tidak bukan untuk menyerang Anwar sebagaimana sebelum ini.

Program yang dirasmikan Presiden Perkasa Datuk Ibrahim Ali dihadiri bekas orang kuat Anwar seperti Ezam Mohd Noor, Zahid Mat Arip, Datuk Zulkifli Nordin, Ng Lum Yong, Abdul Ghani Haron, S Gobalakrishnan serta Datuk S Nallakarupan.

Mereka merupakan bekas penggerak utama PKR sejak ditubuhkan pada 1998. Ezam adalah ketua Pemuda pertama; Zahid (naib ketua); Ng (pengasas). Begitu juga dengan Nallakarupan dan merupakan Zulkifli yang pernah menjadi peguam dalam kes liwat 1.

Sebaik Anwar dipecat serta dipenjarakan, mereka menjelajah ke seluruh negara memberitahu rakyat bahawa bekas timbalan perdana menteri itu tidak bersalah dan konpirasi jahat Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, mantan perdana menteri waktu itu.

Mereka melawan Dr Mahathir melakukan apa sahaja untuk menumbangkan Dr Mahathir dan BN. Ezam dan Abdul Ghani pernah dipenjarakan melalui Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri atau ISA pada 2001.

Bagaimanapun, seorang demi seorang meninggalkan Anwar. Ezam, Zahid, Abdul Ghani menyertai Umno manakala Nalla menjadi senator BN.

Ringkasnya, mereka menjadi penentang Anwar dan menggunakan pelbagai platform untuk menjatuhkan bekas pemimpin pujaan mereka sebelum ini. Kawan sudah menjadi lawan.

Ezam sudah lama mengadakan siri jelajah melawan Anwar. Dalam setiap pilihan raya kecil, bekas setiausaha politik itu tampil membantu calon BN melawan Pakatan Rakyat.

Kawan jadi lawan

Dalam pilihan raya kecil Parlimen Kuala Terengganu, Ezam mendedahkan surat Anwar kepada Dr Mahathir sejurus selepas dipecat dari kabinet pada 2 September 1998.

Persoalan yang timbul sekarang ialah adakah Tibai akan menyebabkan Anwar lenyap dalam radar politik negara selepas pilihan raya umum 13 yang kini menghitung hari?

Jika dilihat dari usaha untuk melenyapkan politik Anwar sebelum ini yang tidak pernah berjaya, penubuhan Tibai hanya sia-sia.

Tibai akan mengulangi siri kegagalan yang dilakukan oleh individu dan NGO yang mahu melenyapkan Anwar.

Apa sahaja keburukan Anwar telah didedahkan sejak 12 tahun lalu. Anwar pernah dituduh agen Amerika dan yang terbaru menjadi tali barut Yahudi.

Waktu ini rakyat sekalipun bukan semuanya tidak lagi percaya tuduhan terhadap Anwar. Mereka melihat Anwar lebih baik dari sesetengab pemimpin kerajaan yang terbabit dengan salahguna kuasa dan rasuah.

Rakyat membandingkan Anwar dengan Ketua Wanita Umno Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. Syarikat NFC milik suami beliau disiasat atas dakwaan salah guna wang kerajaan RM250 juta.

Beberapa idea Anwar jelas lebih baik dari BN. Pemansuhan PTPTN dan penurunan harga minyak umpamanya sangat disokong rakyat.

Slogan menawan Putrajaya dalam pilihan raya umum 13 akan menenggelamkan Tibai yang akan mengalami nasib NGO-NGO lain.

Poser over RM4.7m Tamil school

A former member of the Midlands Estate Action Committee wants the Selangor government to reveal how much it sold the 'gazetted' Midlands Tamil school land for.

SHAH ALAM: While Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is going around promising to upgrade Tamil schools, the Selangor government has built one – complete with a 1,000 capacity convention centre, 24 classrooms, laboratories and a library. The cost: an “overpriced” RM4.7 million.

According to Klang Consumer Association president A Devadass, the Midlands Tamil school was not constructed in the interest of poor students and was just another project to enrich Pakatan Rakyat cronies.

“In 1995, the previous Barisan Nasional state government agreed to allocate four acres of land in Section 7, Shah Alam, where the I-City is now located.

“But nothing happened although the land was gazetted to the school,” said Devadass, who was at that time a member of Midlands Action Committee which was set up in 1991 to represent the Midland Estate plantation workers.

Then in 2008 after Pakatan took over the Selangor government, I-City developers who had already secured the surrounding areas in Midlands Estate offered to buy the gazetted land from the government.

The school administration accepted the state government offer of an alternative four-acre site and a RM3 million grant to build a new school. The site offered was the spot where they were already occupying with temporary classrooms.

According to the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) chairman M Kumaravel, the Selangor government gave them a grant for RM3 million and the school raised the balance RM1.7 million needed to complete construction.

“But the issue now is why did the Pakatan government only award the school RM3 million when it is rumoured that the land at I-City was worth over RM20 million?

“So where is the balance money? Also, we know it was not the state government that gave the school RM3 million… the money came from I-City. So who’s pocketed the rest of the cash?” Devadass asked.

(According to real estate agents here, the current price per sq foot in I-City is RM150 per sq ft.)

He also urged the state government to be transparent and reveal the details of the sales and purchase agreement with I-City so “everyone will know who really benefited from the project”.

Crony contractor

Meanwhile, MIC Youth chief T Mohan has challenged Selangor state executive councillor, Dr Xavier Jeyakumar, to explain the high cost of construction of the school and why the convention centre was leased to a private company.

According to him, the total construction should not have exceeded RM3.5 million.

“There is something not right here. Also, why was the convention centre built and privatised to a company?

“I am told that the deal with the company is that they will take 70% of the profits from private functions for 10 years.

“This is something unusual. Not even the Chinese schools practise this. Most of the Chinese school halls are funded by private companies,” he added.

Mohan also urged Jeyakumar to explain why the state did not call for an open tender for the school project and had instead awarded the deal to an individual allegedly close to Jeyakumar.

He said that the individual operates a “sole proprietorship” and undertook all contract projects involving Tamil schools in Selangor.

“We want Xavier (Jeyakumar) to clarify why such a privilege is given to this individual,” said Mohan.

Asked if he thought Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim was involved, Mohan said “no”.

“I don’t think the menteri besar knows of this internal agreement between Xavier (Jeyakumar) and the individual,” he said.

FMT’s request for comment from Jeyakumar has gone unanswered for more that two days now.

The exco’s aide said that Jeyakumar would respond after seeking advice from Tamil educationist groups which are advising the state government on Tamil schools.

Stateless Indians: PKR shows proof

A census taken in 1991 revealed that 200,000 of them went 'missing', says Subang MP R Sivarasa, and the figure could be much higher now

PETALING JAYA: PKR today provided a document to substantiate its allegation that there were about 300,000 stateless Malaysian Indians in the country.

Speaking at a press conference at the party headquarters today, Subang MP R Sivarasa provided a census report made in the 1970 by then chief statistician of Malaysia, R Chander.

“Chander is a renowned statistician not only in Malaysia but also in the region,” Sivarasa said.

Also present were PKR vice-presidents Nurul Izzah Anwar, N Surendran, supreme council member Khalid Jaafar and Kapar MP S Manickavasagam.

Also at their side were several Indian families who were denied citizenship by the National Registration Department (NRD).

Sivarasa explained that Chander’s projection for the population increase for 1990 for the Malay and Chinese communities was accurate.

“Chander projected that the Malay population would increase from 8 million to 8.9 million in 1990. In 1991, the census showed the Malay population was about 8.5 million.”

Sivarasa added that the Chinese population was about 4.6 million in 1991, which was in the range of Chander’s projection of between 4.5 million and 5.4 million.

“Chander projected that Indians would be between 1.4 million and 1.6 million in 1990 but the census showed that there were only about 1.3 million Indians. What happened to the rest?”

He attributed the lower figures to the mechanism used when the census was done in 1991, saying that the government only counted those with blue identification card.

“It’s already 2012 and I believe Surendran’s 300,000 estimate is a conservative figure. It could be much more now,” Sivarasa said.

He said the government should look into the matter as a Malaysian problem, adding that the right to citizenship is guaranteed under the Article 14 and 16 of the Federal Constitution.

MIC hoodwinking Indian community

Meanwhile, Surendran said that the stateless Malaysian Indians were victims of a systematic effort by the authorities to deprive the latter of their basic rights.

“And there are two groups here. One is those carrying red MyKads and the rest who have no birth documents whatsoever,” Surendran said.

Criticising the MyDaftar programme, he said the programme was an attempt by the MIC to hoodwink the Indian community.

He produced a letter from the NRD addressed to MIC secretary-general S Murugesan where the former rejected an application of citizenship from one G Vasantha Lakshimi, under Article 19 of the Federal Constitution.

“Why did the MIC apply citizenship for Vasantha under Article 19? That legislation is for foreigners. Vasantha was born in Kuala Lumpur. So, has the government been treating her as a foreigner all this while? asked Surendran.

In a related matter, Nurul said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein must explain the matter with immediate urgency.

“And MIC must stop making this into a racial issue. This is a Malaysian problem and the bureaucracy is a hindrance to resolve this issue,” she said.

Last Thursday, Surendran led a protest at the Parliament gates urging the government to solve the stateless Indians issue urgently.

In a related development, Murugesan said that he will send his officer tomorrow to PKR headquarters to collect information from Surendran over the matter.

“This is not about partisan politics. Let’s work together to help the Indian community,” he said.

Court orders Hisham to clarify Bersih ban

The Home Minister now has to clarify why his stance on Bersih, which was declared illegal last year, seems to have changed.

PETALING JAYA: The Kuala Lumpur High Court today ordered Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to provide further clarification on the outlawing of the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) last year.

High Court (Appellate and Special Powers Division) judge Rohana Yusof asked for an explanation as the minister’s recent statements about the Bersih 3.0 rally did not seem to be in line with his original decision to declare Bersih 2.0 an illegal movement before the July 9 rally last year.

Recently, Hishammuddin said that the government did not regard Bersih 3.0 as a “security threat”.

He said that a rally would be allowed if it did not break any laws and he even pledged to assist the electoral reforms group to procure a suitable venue for its rally this Saturday.

Lawyer Aston Paiva, who is representing Bersih in challenging the government ban, told FMT that Rohana today ordered senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad and federal counsel Najwa

Bistamam – representing the government – to have Hishammuddin file an affidavit by May 10.

The judge made the order when meeting both parties in chambers today, he said.

“Basically what she said was that she is taking notice of the fact that there are Bersih activities taking place this week and that the minister’s response seem not to be in line with the original order that it is an unlawful society. She wanted him to clarify his position on Bersih,” said Aston, with lawyer Honey Tan.

Aston said that the judge has also fixed May 15 for her to decide on an application to cross-examine Hishammuddin and Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar.

She would also decide on a request by the Bersih lawyers to obtain additional documents, mainly the 1,706 police reports lodged against the Bersih 2.0 rally.

Said Aston: “It is not actually something odd; she [Rohana] did the same thing for the Lynas matter recently, ordering the Atomic Energy Licensing Board to file an affidavit to explain themselves. It’s just to assist her. I’m sure she wants to reach the right decision.”

Ulterior purposes

Bersih’s other lawyers, K Shanmuga and lead counsel Tommy Thomas, were not present today.

In the main case, Bersih 2.0 is seeking to quash the order declaring it an unlawful society in the judicial review it filed on July 8 last year.

The applicants are 14 members of the movement’s steering committee, including S Ambiga. The respondents are the Home Minister, Inspector-General of Police and the government.

On Sept 28, the High Court granted leave for a judicial review.

Bersih 2.0 is seeking an order of certiorari to quash the Home Minister’s order dated July 1, last year declaring Bersih 2.0 an unlawful society and a declaration that the order is null and void and of no effect.

Bersih 2.0 had argued that it is a coalition of 62 NGOs and civil societies and had no political parties in the coalition.

As such, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) could not deem Bersih 2.0 illegal as it was a “movement” and not a society by virtue of the fact that it was a coalition with no fixed membership, Bersih 2.0 said.

In the application, Ambiga and the others stressed that Bersih 2.0 aims to achieve electoral reforms peacefully and therefore could not be considered a threat to national security.

The application accuses Hishammuddin of using his powers for ulterior purposes rather than out of a genuine desire to preserve public order.

‘I will ink a contract with the voters’

Should he be nominated as a candidate, MIC's S Vell Paari is offering a corporate twist to politics, calling it a self-imposed KPI.

KUALA LUMPUR: His father ruled MIC with an iron fist for three decades. Despite the numerous controversies during his tenure, he was still considered a master politician by both allies and adversaries alike. The former works minister appeared invincible.

But four years ago, on his birthday, S Samy Vellu became one of the casualties in the political tsunami that swept across the peninsula.

Now, his only son, Vell Paari, is being touted as a possible candidate to wrest back his father’s former fortress, the Sungai Siput parliamentary seat in Perak.

Like his father, the 50-year-old businessman and MIC central working committee member has had his fair share of bad press. Among others, he was accused of mismanaging the party’s investment arm Maika Holdings.

But the most damning allegation, which Vell Paari himself admitted continues to haunt him, was being implicated in the death of his former staff, K Sujatha.

However, an inquest later absolved him of any wrongdoing but did little to salve the damage inflicted on his reputation.

Speaking to FMT on the possibility of being named as a candidate, Vell Paari said politics in Malaysia had evolved and politicians must discard their antiquated mindset and learn to adapt.

“Malaysians have become more aggressive and I don’t mean that in the violent sense. There is greater political aggression now in terms of a more knowledgeable and sophisticated electorate who are aware of their rights.

“A poignant example would be the YouTube video which went viral depicting a lorry driver lashing out at a policeman for hurling obscenities at him.

“This would not have happened in the past, but now even a lorry driver knows his rights as a citizen and that the policeman had crossed the line,” he added.

Corporate twist to politics

In view of this, Vell Paari is offering voters, what he termed, a corporate twist to politics.

“If I am nominated as the candidate, I would sign a legally binding contract with the voters of Sungai Siput. Consider this a self-imposed KPI (Key Performance Index),” he revealed.

Explaining, Vell Paari said the contract would stipulate that if he failed to achieve 50% of his election pledges within two and a half years of being elected, the voters could demand his resignation.

“The crux of it is that a referendum would be held to appraise my performance and if my employer vis-a-vis the voters feel that my work has not been up to par, I would resign. There would be no loopholes or words in fine print and that is my undertaking,” he added.

On the same note, Vell Paari stressed that he was not losing sleep over the candidacy issue, pointing out that the final decision was with MIC president G Palanivel.

“I did not ask for this. After my father stepped down (as MIC president), I decided to concentrate on my business in Australia. But I was told to come back home and become more involved in party matters by the new leadership.

“Many promises were made but being someone who was born in a political household and with politics running in my veins, I took these promises with a pinch of salt.

“But let me make one thing clear. I am not going to beg or bend over backwards for a seat. I am more interested in serving the people and I could do this with or without a position,” he added.

‘Who doesn’t have baggage?’

As for the talk that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had reservations about naming him as the candidate because of his political baggage, Vell Paari conceded that he too had heard this from the grapevine.

“Who doesn’t have political baggage? Even the prime minister has been accused of numerous things… and what about the opposition leader (Anwar Ibrahim), he too has been accused of this and that.

“But what is most important is that an inquest cleared me (in Sujatha’s case) and as for Maika Holdings, I have explained the issue numerous times,” he said.

Vell Paari was also confident that Sungai Siput, which fell to Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leader Dr Michael Jeyakumar, was a winnable seat for Barisan Nasional.

According to him, the people were frustrated with Jeyakumar, who lacked the resources to address their woes.

“With all due respect to the good doctor, he is more suited for an urban seat and not a constituency like Sungai Siput, where the people rely heavily on their MP for numerous aids,” he said.

Vell Paari also believes that Najib’s leadership had won the hearts and minds of the people, especially the Indian community.

The prime minister, he said, was unafraid of acknowledging the shortcomings in the system and was genuinely attempting to usher in positive changes.

“We now have a prime minister who is willing to admit and apologise for mistakes made in the past. If the people could forgive Anwar for his past mistakes during his stint with Umno, why not extend the same kind of sentiment to Najib?” he added.

Asked if it would mark the end of his political aspirations should he not be named as the candidate for Sungai Siput,Vell Paari laughed: “I would cross that bridge when I get there… But who knows, I might even have a Plan B.”

Quizzed on this Plan B, the MIC leader smiled and brushed it aside with a shrug. “Let’s keep that for another day,” he said.

Deadlock over Dataran

Bersih 3.0 and Kuala Lumpur Mayor are unable to reach an amicable settlement on the venue for the Saturday rally.

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih 3.0 organisers and Kuala Lumpur Mayor Ahmad Fuad Ismail emerged from an hour-long dicussion this morning still in a deadlock over the use of Dataran Merdeka for the sit-in rally this Saturday.

Bersih 3.0 – represented by S Ambiga, Maria Chin Abdullah and Hishamuddin Rais – told the media at the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) headquarters here that although Ahmad had offered them the use of Stadium Merdeka it was too late to change the rally’s venue.

“We told the mayor that switching venues just two days before the rally would only cause a bigger confusion,” Ambiga said. “So although the mayor has made himself clear, we appeal to him to reconsider his decision.”

“We have already assured him that if he changes his mind we are ready to work together with DBKL and the police on safety issues. As we have said before, we want a peaceful rally.”

Ahmad, who called for an immediate press conference, however, told the media that Bersih’s excuse of a short timeframe did not hold water.

“I even offered to hold a joint press conference with them to annouce that the venue would be changed to Stadium Merdeka,” he said.

“And if all you media present today put that announcement on the front page, even those abroad would know of the change in venue.”

Ahmad also shot down Bersih’s complaint that DBKL had dragged its feet in responding to Bersih’s application for Dataran Merdeka. He produced the application letter dated April 16 which he said Bersih had claimed to have faxed but which DBKL never received.

A copy of that letter was later delivered by hand on April 19 and Ahmad said DBKL had responded to it that same day.

“So we were not slow at all,” he pointed out. “Then Bersih said it had announced the rally on April 4 but that was just a statement in the media so how can we accept that as notification? It’s not official, just a statement of intention.”

Unsuitable elements

Ahmad then produced a second letter by Maria Chin, dated April 24, requesting a meeting with him to discuss his rejection of the use of Dataran Merdeka.

“I was given short notice but I still cancelled my meetings today to see them because I felt it was important,” he stated. “And despite us offering them an alternative venue they still want to use Dataran Merdeka.”

According to Ahmad, three other groups – Perkasa, Puncak Silat and the Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual and Transsexual (LGBT) – had applied for the use of Dataran Merdeka on separate dates even before Bersih had done so and all three had been rejected due to “unsuitable elements”.

He said that if it was freedom of expression that Bersih wanted, then Stadium Merdeka would better fit the bill since the Declaration of Independence had taken place there.

He added that not only was the stadium walking distance from Dataran Merdeka, it was also a convenient drop-off point for taxis and offered ample parking space for buses.

“It is a win-win situation,” Ahmad said. “I have told Bersih that if they agree to Stadium Merdeka, I will speak to the police about protecting the supporters from any untoward incidents.”

“I have already warned Bersih of possible confrontations in Dataran Merdeka but they want to use the venue. And even if they are just sitting quietly, they are inciting feelings of disgruntlement so how can this rally be peaceful?” he asked.

Asked if DBKL would cordon off Dataran Merdeka, Ahmad replied that as its caretaker it would not allow anyone to misuse the place.

He, however, declined to indicate what action would be taken this Saturday against those who attempted to enter the area.

“When the time comes we will know what to do,” he said. “This isn’t our first time. We are ready for them so leave it up to us to do our jobs.”

Have these folk been taken for a ride?

The poor families of Batu Kawan say they were promised free houses by BN in 1999 and by Pakatan in 2008.

BATU KAWAN: Forty poor families in Batu Kawan have accused both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat of falsely promising to provide them with free double-storey homes.

The families, whose ancestors had been plantation workers since colonial days, live on land formerly called Ladang Batu Kawan. The Penang Development Corporation (PDC) bought it from Taiko Plantation in 1998.

They claim that the promise of free homes came from BN during the campaign for the 1999 general election and from Batu Kawan MP P Ramasamy and Bukit Tambun assemblyman Law Choo Kiang in the run-up to the 2008 election. Ramasamy is now one of Penang’s deputy chief ministers and Law is a state executive councillor.

Last April 2, the Ladang Batu Kawan Residents’ Rights Committee reminded Pakatan of its promise in a memorandum addressed to Ramasamy and Law, with copies to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, DAP chairman Karpal Singh, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Deputy Chief Minister I Mansor Othman and Penang DAP chief Chow Kon Yeow.

The committee, headed by M Mahendran, 34, is still waiting for a response.

Law has told FMT that the issue was under the purview of a special committee headed by Ramasamy. Ramasamy has not responded to text messages or phone calls.

Batu Kawan lies in the southern part of Seberang Perai, surrounded on three sides by the sea and separated from the mainland on the east by Sungai Jawi. Bukit Tambun is adjacent to it.

Some 6,000 acres of land, including the estate land, have been earmarked for a new township.

According to the memorandum, PDC’s takeover of the estate land in 1998 spelled the beginning of trouble for the Tamil-speaking residents. PDC promised to provide each of about 60 affected estate families a house worth RM25,000, with a RM10,000 discount as monetary compensation.

But during the 1999 election campaign, the memorandum said, BN leaders told them they would get double-storey homes, instead of low-cost homes, and they would not even have to pay anything for them.

They waited for the promise to be fulfilled until, in 2003, developer Abadi Naluri Sdn Bhd offered to build the houses and sell them to the residents for RM25,000 each with a RM10,000 discount. The developer also promised that the houses would be ready within 24 months. (The project was in fact completed only this year.)

After the 2004 election, Abadi Naluri raised the price to RM52,000 with no discount.

“Due to all these empty promises by the BN administration, we voted for a change in 2008,” Mahendran said. He said the residents were especially encouraged by the promise of free houses from Ramasamy and Law.

Businesses and jobs

According to the memorandum, Ramasamy’s promise had a caveat: he would try to get the houses for free, but if he could not, he could definitely get a RM15,000 discount for each house as well as loans from PDC for the purchase. The repayment would be RM150 a month.

The memorandum also claimed that Ramasamy promised to provide the residents with business and employment opportunities.

The residents alleged that a month after being elected to office, Ramasamy, accompanied by several unknown faces, visited Batu Kawan and vowed to fulfil all his promises.

Late last year, some residents entered into a sales and purchase agreement with Abadi Naluri for houses costing RM52,000 each.

Mahendran said those who signed the agreement were compelled by fear of never getting the houses they were promised.

But the rest—about 30 families—were either too poor to qualify for the bank loans or felt they could not afford to service the loans. They still reside in their old estate houses.

“Even those who secured loans can’t service them,” Mahendran said. “We hope the state government would look into our plight.”

Some residents who had not serviced their loans regularly have received notices of forfeiture.

One resident, D Veeeramuthu, 34, claimed that Abadi Naluri officials forged his and his wife’s signatures to secure loans for them last November. “Now I’m in debt to a bank without my knowledge and consent,” he said. He has lodged a police report.

Bersih 3.0 and overcoming the fear factor

By Haris Ibrahim,

“We need to break this stranglehold of fear over our society, we need to set ourselves and our people free.
…I feel afraid but I know I cannot afford to be. So I push and push through the layers of fear which are like strong cobwebs trying to hold me back. Others are looking to us. The good people who want to do the right thing are looking to us. We cannot but overcome our fears and step forward on April 28 and do the right thing for this nation”.- Thomas Fann
Read the rest of his thoughts HERE.

PTPTN mesti mansuh dulu

APA pun PTPTN mestilah dimansuhkan dulu serentak dengan pengumuman pelajaran percuma hingga ke universiti.
Beban pertama yang perlu ditangani ialah membebaskan para pelajar dari hutang  sejak hari pertama melangkah ke universiti atau kolej.

Dalam sistem sekarang baik kaya dan apa lagilah miskin sebaik melangkah ke menara gading disediakan dengan hutang yang berbunga. Sebaik bekerja dan sejak gaji bulan pertama terpaksa membayar hutang.

Ia mesti dibebaskan dulu.

Tidak berbangkit tiada yang sanggup ke universiti apabila PTPTN mansuh, kerana universiti disediakan secara percuma.

Apabila ia dikatakan percuma tentu semua perkara besar yang melibatkan kewangan akan dikendalikan oleh kerajaan yang mendapat RM80 bilion setahun dari hasil minyak dan gas.

Anwar  Ibrahim yang pernah menjadi menteri pelajaran termasuk bertanggungjawab terhadap pelajaran tinggi pada masanya tahu keperluan setiap universiti  dan kolej.

Belajar dari pengalaman PAS memerintah Kelantan sejak tahun 1959, tiada lulusan STP boleh masuk universiti tanpa penaja sekali pun sijilnya cemerlang. Seluruh pelajar dari Kelantan termasuk yang dapat sijil tidak penuh ditaja oleh kerajaan Kelantan.

Antara mereka masuk kampus tak berduit. Berhempas pulaslah Prof. Diraja Ungku Aziz mengikhtiarkan keperluan mereka. Selama 19  tahun PAS memerintah hanya setahun  saja pelajar Kelantan tidak jadi pelajar yang teramai dibandingkan dengan setiap negeri.

17 buah sekolah yang terbaik masa itu terhadap di tiga buah kota iaitu Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh dan Pulau Pinang. Tidak termasuk sekolah di Kelantan, tetapi siswa yang teramai bukan dari Selangor,  Perak dan Pulau Pinang bahkan dari Kelantan.

Perdana Menteri kata, jika PTPTN dimansuhkan kerajaan terpaksa tanggung RM43 bilion. Anwar yang pernah jadi menteri kewangan kata, RM43 bilion itu bukan peruntukan setahun. Yang disediakan oleh kerajaan sekarang tiga bilion saja setahun. Tetapi PR sedia belanjakan lima bilion setahun dari 80 bilion setahun dari hasil minyak untuk tampung keperluan ganti PTPTN itu.

Bukan Najib saja pernah jadi menteri kewangan dan menteri pelajaran. Anwar pun pernah jadi menteri pendidikan  dan menteri kewangan.

Kata Khaled Nordin, menteri pengajian tinggi, tanpa PTPTN tutup  semua universiti swasta (IPTS). Khaled Nordin tidak pernah jadi menteri kewangan dan tiada pengalaman jaga kementerian pelajaran. Anwar lebih banyak pengalaman dan dia adalah pengerusi jawatankuasa anti penyelewangan. Dia tahu ke mana  tumpah kuah.

Tidaklah 100 bajet universiti swasta datang dari dana kerajaan, tetapi kekurangan peruntukan disebabkan oleh ketiadaan PTPTN tentulah dapat ditampung oleh kerajaan yang menyediakan peruntukan lima bilion tadi.

Pelajaran bagi Pakatan Rakyat adalah termasuk dalam negara berkebajikan. Ia bukan produk yang diswastakan seperti di bawah BN. Konsep swasta adalah mencari sebanyak-banyak untung. Banyak siswa, maka banyaklah pulangannya. Mutu pengajian jadi perkara kedua.

Tetapi di bawah pelajaran percuma, mutu pengajian diutamakan dan ia mesti memenuhi kehendak kebajikan. Sebagaimana graduan Kelantan dengan standard pengajiannya yang bermutu balik membangunkan Kelantan, maka nilai pelajar yang keluar dari semua universiti, tentulah dapat membangunkan negara, bangsa dan agama atau bermoral tinggi.

Kita jangan berbalah dulu tentang ganti PTPTN dan macam nak tangani kampus tanpa PTPTN. Mansuh  dulu PTPTN dan laksanakan pelajaran percuma. Setelah itu kita fikirkan bagaimana  anak orang kaya dan anak orang miskin.

Persoalan pertamanya jangan jadikan PTPTN sebagai ah long kepada pelajar.

Menuntut ilmu adalah ibadat. Bebaskan pelajar dari gejala  riba membatalkan ibadat bahkan jadi maksiat pula. Bebaskan pelajar dari berhutang kerana hutang itu menyebabkan ibadat tidak sampai ke langit dan  doa tidak makbul. Kejayaan dalam pelajaran bukan sekadar cerdik dan rajin studi, tetapi dibantu oleh doa. Kalau siswa berhutang doa untuk lulus cemerlang dan dapat kehidupan baik tidak tercapai kerana halangan hutang.

Jika universiti dan kolej jadi tempat ibadat dan doa dimakbulkan, maka melimpah ruahlah bantuan dari Allah. Ramailah orang kaya memberi zakat kepada kampus sebagai ganti kepada PTPTN. Apabila  universiti makmur, maka bukan orang miskin saja dapat kebajikan dari pengajian percuma, anak orang kaya juga boleh dapat pelajaran percuma. Belanja dari orang kaya untuk pengajiannya adalah sedekah.

Islam agama diterima di sisi Allah. Malulah kepada Sweden,  Norway dan Finland bukan Islam dapat memberi kebajikan kepada pengajiannya, negara Islam mencari keuntungan dari bidang pelajaran.

“428” Bersih 3.0 acid test of Najib’s “political transformation” to make Malaysia “best democracy in the world” – start with immediate revocation of government ban on Bersih

The April 28 Bersih 3.0 peaceful “Duduk Bantah” rally at Dataran Merdeka for clean, free and fair elections is an acid test of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “political transformation” to make Malaysia, in his own words, “the best democracy in the world”.

In the past seven months, the Najib government had been trying to undo the damage caused by the disastrous government mishandling of the 709 Bersih 2.0 peaceful rally for free and fair elections, which saw an arrogant, ham-fisted, high-handed and mindless repression and clampdown such as the government ban on Bersih, unjustified PSM arrests under Emergency Ordinance, arbitrary arrests for wearing Bersih 2.0 T-shirts or just wearing yellow.

In his Malaysia Day message on Sept. 16 last year, Najib promised a “political transformation” with a slew of reform of undemocratic and draconian laws like the repeal of the Internal Security Act and the revocation of the four Emergency Proclamations.

At that time, I had specifically asked: “Will the replacements for the repeal or removal of repressive laws and measures result in the reincarnation of these very same draconian features in a new format, e.g. repeal of ISA but enactment of new law which could be described as ISA2?”

This is what have come to pass in the past seven months. Although there have been reform or repeal of draconian laws, they have been basically “one step forward, two steps backward” exercises, whether enactment of the Peaceful Assembly Act; repeal of the Internal Security Act and replacement by Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill as well as amendments to the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act; and amendments to the Printing Presses and Publications Act and the Universities and University Colleges Act.

This is why Pakatan Rakyat MPs could not support the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill although we unanimously welcome the repeal of the Internal Security Act to end its pernicious detention-without-trial powers.

If the Prime Minister is sincere in wanting to make Malaysia the “best democracy in the world”, let him make a start by ending all government obstacles and objections to the holding of a peaceful gathering of Malaysians at Dataran Merdeka this Saturday in a “sit-in” protest to demand free, fair and clean elections in Malaysia.

“709” has gone down in Malaysian history as the day of empowerment of the real 1Malaysia – where all races and religions came together to demand a “Clean Malaysia”, not just for clean elections but also in the political system and all aspects of national governance.

Let “428” go down in Malaysian history, not only as demonstration of greater empowerment of decent and patriotic Malaysians for a “Clean Malaysia”, but as a testament that the Prime Minister is sincere in wanting to make Malaysia “the best democracy in the world”.

I say, lets start with the immediat revocation of the unjustified, unreasonable and undemocratic government ban on Bersih – especially as the Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Justice Rohana Yusof is asking the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to clarify the government declaration of Bersih as an illegal organisation after the Home Minister’s recent change of stand in conceding that the Bersih 3.0 rally is not a security threat.

I will be at the Bersih 3.0 “Duduk Bantah” rally at Dataran Merdeka on Saturday. Let all decent and patriotic Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, gender or age, come forward whether at Dataran Merdeka, other parts of Malaysia or throughout the world, to send out one common message in peace and harmony: Malaysians want a “Clean” elections as a prerequsite to a “Clean Malaysia”!

Bersih 3.0 around the world

How are you observing Bersih 3.0 this Saturday? It is hard to keep track of the number of cities around the world where Bersih solidarity gatherings are being held.  

It is encouraging to see young people speaking out and taking a stand. That gives us hope for the future lies in their hands.
The Global Bersih website has a map depicting numerous solidarity events being held in Malaysia and abroad.
Share with us what’s happening near you.
Towards clean and fair elections!