Every year, about 125,000 Indian Muslims (most of them are rich – Ed. HE) are subsidised to go on the Hajj.
BBC input: Supreme Court o India has barred the government from giving subsidies to Muslim pilgrims going on the Hajj.
The court said the policy was “best done away with” and told the authorities to gradually reduce the subsidy and abolish it in 10 years.
The court also said that the government’s “goodwill delegation” to Mecca must not exceed two members. It currently has 30 people.
India provides billions of rupees every year to people going on the Hajj.
Pilgrims apply through the Hajj Committee of India and are offered a concessionary fare on the national airline, Air India.
Every year, about 125,000 pilgrims take the subsidy.
The pilgrims are charged 16,000 rupees ($302; £187) air fare. A regular Delhi-Jeddah flight would cost about double that.
Last month, the government told the Supreme Court that it had decided to restrict the subsidy to one pilgrimage per person.
At the moment, it is available to a Hajj pilgrim once every five years.
The government also said that priority would be given to pilgrims older than 70 and those who had never visited Mecca.
Phase out Haj subsidy in ten years, Supreme Court tells Govt: 10 big facts.
NDTV input: New Delhi | Reported by A Vaidyanathan | Updated: May 08, 2012 : The Supreme Court wants the central government to phase out its policy of giving subsidies to Haj pilgrims.
Here are the 10 big facts of the case:
1. Directing the government to progressively “eliminate” its subsidy within a period of 10 years, a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai said today, “We hold that this (subsidy) policy is best done away with.” This interim order is also applicable to the Haj pilgrimage of 2012.
2. The bench also directed the government to reduce the number of its representatives in the Prime Minister’s goodwill delegation from 30 to two.
3. The court also said that it will look into the functioning of Haj Committee of India and its process for selecting people for the pilgrimage.
4. The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Centre challenging a Bombay High Court judgement which had directed the Ministry of External Affairs to allow certain private operators to handle 800 of the 11,000 pilgrims earmarked under the VIP quota subsidised by the government.
5. The bench had expanded the purview of the plea and decided to look into the legality of the government’s policy on granting subsidies to Haj pilgrims.
6. Muslim members of Parliament have welcomed the decision. “The Haj subsidy of Rs. 600 crore is given to Air India and not pilgrims… Under this garb of subsidy, it (money) is going to Air India which is a sick airline,” Majlis-e- Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi told reporters.
7. A senior member of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, Niyaz Farooqi, said that pilgrims do not get the benefits of the Haj subsidy. The government should shift focus on providing better accommodation and food facility to the pilgrims, he said adding, “Despite the subsidy, pilgrims have to pay extra for the trip.”
8. In an affidavit, the Centre had told the court that it has decided to restrict Haj pilgrimage at government subsidy to Muslims only as a “once in a lifetime” affair as against the existing policy of “once in five years”. It had said the new guidelines have been framed to ensure that priority is given to those applicants who have never performed Haj.
9. The government, however, had refrained from disclosing the amount of subsidy being incurred by it for 2012, saying, “The exact figure in respect of the travel subsidy to the pilgrims going through Haj Committee of India for 2012 will be known after the Hajis completed their Haj journey and return to India.”
10. India has a quota of 1.70 lakh pilgrims every year. Of these, about 1.25 lakh are selected through Haj committees. Rest of the pilgrims go through private operators. The government subsidy is approximately Rs. 40,000 for each pilgrim selected by the Haj Committees. (with PTI inputs)
“Politicising” Haj by permitting official delegations to accompany the pilgrims, for which the government offers huge subsidy, “is a bad religious practice.” – SC.
Phase out Haj subsidy in ten years: SC to govt.
HT input: The Supreme Court today struck down the government’s policy of giving subsidies to Haj pilgrims and directed that it should be progressively “eliminated” within a period of 10 years.
“We hold that this policy is best done away with,” a bench of justices Altamas Kabir and Ranjana Prakash Desai held.
The bench also directed the government to reduce to two the number of its representatives in the Prime Minister’s goodwill delegation.
It said it will look into the functioning of Haj Committee of India and it process for selecting people for Haj pilgrimage.
The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by the Centre challenging a Bombay high court judgement which had directed the ministry of external affairs to allow certain private operators to handle 800 of the 11,000 pilgrims earmarked under the VIP quota subsidised by the government.
The bench while hearing the plea of the Centre had expanded the purview of the plea and decided to look into the legality of the government’s policy on granting subsidies to Haj pilgrims.
During the hearing in the case, the Centre had defended the policy of giving subsidies to the Haj pilgrims and had said it had framed guidelines so that people get subsidies only once in their lifetime. Read details.
HINDU EXISTENCE WELCOME THIS VERDICT OF HON’BLE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA ON HAJ SUBSIDY CUT. WE WILL GO TO SC VERY SOON FOR GIVING IRRATIONAL AND UNJUSTIFIED IMAM AND MUEZZIN HONORARIUM BY GOVT OF WEST BENGAL. WE DEMAND COMMON CIVIL CODE FOR MUSLIMS IN INDIA. INDIA IS NOT A MUSLIM COUNTRY. HINDUS MUST NOT BE-FOOLED.
For safety reasons, authorities suspend a function in program for yesterday. However, the place of worship, highly popular among faithful and pilgrims, will remain open. Attackers claim building does not have proper permit. The Archbishop of Semarang calls for calm: do not respond to provocation.
akarta (AsiaNews) - Tensions remain high in central Java, where a crowd of a thousand Islamic extremists have targeted a shrine to the Virgin Mary: For security reasons, yesterday the authorities suspended the programmed church service, while dozens of policemen and soldiers guarding the place of Christian worship, fearing further - possible - violence. According to the protesters, incited by Muslim extremists, the building has no building permit required by law (the infamous IMB) and, over time, from "simple house of prayer" it has become a real church. The faithful respond that "in more than 40 years" there has never been an incident of sectarian nature.
After the three Christian churches - two Catholic and one Protestant - were forcibly closed in Java in recent days (see AsiaNews 07/05/12 Extremist threats in Aceh: authorities close three churches), the attention of Indonesian Islamic extremists has now shifted to the shrine of Lady Mary in Sengon Kerep, Sampang sub-district in Gedangsari in Gunung Kidul regency in Yogyakarta (Central Java province). Sunday, May 6th a mob of a thousand fanatics tried to seal off the building, but the intervention of soldiers and police foiled the attack.
The full name of the shrine of the Virgin Mary (pictured) is Taman Maria Giri Wning Sengon Kerep and in local language, it means "The garden of the silence of Mary Sengon Kerep". Over the past three years the place of worship has undergone a major restoration work, and has always attracted a huge crowd of believers with one purpose: prayer.
Among other things, the sanctuary belongs to the Wedi parish in the district of Klaten, which is famous for the contribution it has made over the years to the Indonesian church and, more particularly, the Archdiocese of Semarang. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of priests, nuns, men religious from the area, supported with passion and devotion by the faithful. Even two bishops were born in the parish of Wedi. This is why there is special devotion and attention to the Marian shrine and the Catholic community will continue to be vigilant to preserve its integrity. In a message to the faithful Msgr. Johannes Pujasumarta Pr, Archbishop of Semarang, called for calm and for faithful not to give in to provocation: "Do not show or respond with violence - said the prelate - even if the tension continues to grow."
A girl from Israel was locked in a basement by her partner after she refused to have an abortion. (File photo)
By AL ARABIYA
An 18-year-old Bedouin girl from southern Israel was locked in the basement of a home in the city of Shfaram for a week after she rejected her partner’s demand to have an abortion, the Israel-based Ynet news website reported on Monday.
The girl, who was not named in the report, had told her partner she was pregnant a week ago. When he requested that she undergo an abortion, her boyfriend locked her in the basement “with the help of his friends,” then threatened to have her abort the baby by force if she refused to do so willingly, the website stated.
She managed to call a local police department after she had grabbed apartment’s owner’s cell phone in the brief instance he entered the basement to give her food.
“The girl could not tell the dispatcher where the house was located, but she did give police his [partner’s] name,” Ynet reported.
“The three suspects used violence against the girl and conspired to commit a crime. The complainant has been transferred to a women’s shelter,” the local police station chief told the website.
The boyfriend has been detained, although he has claimed that he has not been in touch with the girl.
The boyfriend’s two accomplices were arrested early Monday, the website added.
Anwar Ibrahim can no longer depend on his 'charm and gift of the gab' to hide his personal failings that surfacing every time he's faced with choices.
Morally and ethically, Anwar Ibrahim failed himself many years ago when he chose to put his personal agenda before that of the rakyat.
But his charm and a gift of the gab have taken him to be the deputy prime minister of our country and when that failed, to become leader of the opposition.
In the interim, he rode through many of life’s conflicts that would have felled a lesser man.
He was convicted of corruption, went through two sodomy trials, made an inglorious attempt at bluffing his way into government by riding on the crest of an impossible victory at the 12th general election and generated many other distractions that were short on substance but riddled with political expediency.
All this caused Anwar and his PKR party to be reduced from the largest political entity in the opposition to now being its weakest link.
That charm and gift of the gab served him well, but it can no longer hide the personal failings that keep surfacing every time Anwar finds himself faced with choices.
Choices that could have made him the great man that everyone thinks is lurking just under that charming and confident exterior that he exudes or show him up for the man that he really is – all bluster and show, no substance, no morality and positively no ethics in his own self.
Now even that charm and gift of the gab can no longer excuse his latest folly of trying to hijack Bersih 3.0 to be his vehicle in his desperate attempt to goad (Prime Minister) Najib (Tun Razak) and the Barisan Nasional government into lashing out at the opposition so that he could again resurrect his “reformasi” days and take our country once again into chaos, conflict and harm.
Only this time our people and our nation will not allow Anwar to do as he will with the state of our nation as we have often seen him do to advance his personal agenda many times in the past.
If we look around us now, do we not see a nation polarised into racial and religious divides?
Anwar hijacked Bersih
Do we not see an opposition that is increasingly finding it difficult to accommodate a leader that understands there is no one else to lead Pakatan Rakyat but himself and yet abuses that need to serve himself and not Pakatan?
And more worrying, do we not see the leaders within Pakatan unable or unwilling to do the necessary to bring Anwar to heel because political expediency overrides all other considerations?
And why do I say all this? Because I think matters came to a head at Bersih 3.0.
I am not excusing the brutality inflicted by the police on our people. This is Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for these uniformed personnel.
Give them the opportunity and they will go berserk, whacking our people left and right. The pity of it all is that Anwar gave the police the opportunity to do just that.
Anwar took it upon himself to hijack what is a popular people’s movement, with or without S Ambiga’s consent, and proceeded to make Bersih his own.
I expected more out of someone who is our prime minister-designate.
I expect the leader of Pakatan to not covertly use Bersih for his own purpose of getting political mileage locally and globally by announcing to the world that our government used the police to beat their own people senseless and spray them with nauseating tear gas and harass men, women, children, young and old at every opportunity they had.
We know what the police are capable of doing. But Anwar is partly to be blamed for provoking the former Inspector-General of Police to hit him (and this by no means absolved the IGP of any blame for what he did) but for him to put our people in the line of fire because it served his own political purpose, is simply not right.
We expect better things of Anwar. This was Bersih 3.0′s day, not Anwar’s. The people turned up in numbers to express their solidarity and sense of purpose with Bersih, NOT for Anwar.
Anwar in denial
Anwar will continue to be in denial of what he did to make Bersih 3.0 live in infamy for the things that the police did to their own people.
Anwar will continue to be in denial for his own ethical and moral lapses.
Anwar will continue to be in denial that Pakatan and PKR no longer need him as their leader because who needs a leader who no longer has the respect of his own people because he serves only his own cause, not the people?
You people have better not be in denial anymore about Anwar – not after Bersih 3.0.
He may be the pied-piper leading PKR but just look at where he is leading PKR to.
We know that there are many from PKR who are in Bersih but we must tell them that if they want to be with Bersih, then they must leave PKR out of Bersih.
And that goes for Anwar too – leave his Umno past and his PKR out of Bersih.
We can do without the duplicity and deviousness of using people for his own political agenda, especially when these people have not consented to be put into harm’s way for Anwar’s political agenda.
Things have changed in our times.
If we want answers from Najib for the abuses in the Defence Ministry (Mindef) during his time as its minister, then by the same token, we want Anwar to be upfront with us in the things that he does while being a leader of Pakatan.
Anwar ‘hanging’ himself
Anything less would be an insult to the intelligence of our people who can by now decide for themselves if the hijacking of Bersih 3.0 by Anwar for his own purpose is right or wrong.
Enough of this, Pakatan! If you continue to be in denial at the antics and deviousness of your own leader, then what do you expect the people to think?
Is Najib the lesser of the two evils when compared to Anwar?
Let me tell all you leaders of Pakatan that this is already happening. Give Anwar enough rope and he will hang himself, said Najib.
And Anwar seems to be doing that all by himself.
We now await his political demise in the very near future – if not at his own hands, then by (Lim) Kit Siang, (Abdul) Hadi (Awang), Najib or more certainly, by that of the people.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.
The pizza parlour also regrets that its goodwill gesture in giving 10 free pizza vouchers has been misunderstood by the complaining customer.
PETALING JAYA: Popular pizza delivery company Domino’s Pizza today said it took immediate steps to terminate the services of a trainee staff who had uttered a derogatory racial remark to a customer.
The company has also issued a memo to all its staff to remind them of the company guidelines and the consequences of contravening actions.
It is also monitoring its Customer Service Centre operations more closely, said Shamsul Amree Ab Rahman, the deputy general manager of Dommal Food Services Sdn Bhd, the operators of Domino’s Pizza.
He was referring to a FMT report yesterday in which former IT consultant C Kuna had complained that she was referred to as ‘keling’ by a staff at Domino’s when she had called to order a pizza on March 26. ‘Keling’ is considered a derogatory term by Indians.
Kuna had further said that while the operators apologised for the incident through a letter, she however felt insulted when they offered her 10 free Domino’s vouchers.
“This is ridiculous. Domino’s is an international brand and it is now obvious that they have a low opinion of the Indian community. An apology letter is not enough.
“They’ve insulted me by attaching 10 free pizza vouchers to the letter. They said it was a token of appreciation because I complained, but I’m insulted…they want to settle with 10 vouchers?” she had said yesterday. She also threatened to sue Domino’s Pizza over the incident.
In a statement issued to FMT today, Dommal Food Services once again issued an apology to Kuna over the rude remark made by the trainee staff.
“Domino’s Pizza does not condone the use of any racist remarks by our staff nor do we discriminate based on creed, colour, national origin, or sex.
“To demonstrate how seriously we view this situation, within 24 hours of the said incident taking place, we took strict remedial action and terminated the services of the trainee involved and blacklisted this individual from future employment at Domino’s Pizza Malaysia,” said Shamsul Amree.
He added that its head of customer service K Atchuthan had contacted Kuna to personally apologise and explain all the remedial action that was being taken to ensure that such an incident was not repeated.
He also said that the 10 free pizza vouchers were given as a goodwill gesture, adding that the pizza company regretted any misunderstanding caused by this gesture.
“The gift was given as an indication of our goodwill. It was never our intention to treat the incident lightly or be insensitive to Kuna’s feelings,” he said.
He further clarified that based on the recording of the telephone conversation between Kuna and the trainee staff, Domino’s discovered that the staff had not uttered the word ‘lazy’ as claimed by the customer.
All calls through the company’s call centre are recorded for training and audit purposes.
“We recognize that it is Kuna’s right to proceed with any action she may decide to take.
“However, this incident is deeply and sincerely regretted by all at Domino’s Pizza as we believe that we have taken every step possible to effectively address the situation,” he added.
He was allegedly arrested and interrogated after presenting himself to police to assist in their investigations
PETALING JAYA: Police subjected a student to psychological torture after he presented himself at the Kuala Lumpur Police Headquarters to help them investigate violence during last month’s Bersih rally, PKR has alleged.
Khalid Mohd Ismath, a student at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), was one of several people whose pictures were published by local media with an announcement that police were seeking their help in investigations.
According to PKR leaders, he was arrested when he went to the police headquarters at about 10am on May 5 and was held for more than a day.
Speaking at party headquarters, PKR information chief Latheefa Koya said: “Khalid went to the Kuala Lumpur Police Headquarters together with his parents, family and lawyer.
“As soon as he went there, he was arrested. This was a trap. He was asked to assist in the investigations, but was immediately arrested.”
She added that the police then advised him to sign a form stating that his lawyer did not have to be present at interrogations.
Police accused him of beating a police officer during the April 28 protest and calling for the killing of policemen on his Facebook page.
Khalid, who was at today’s press conference, has denied both charges.
Latheefa said Khalid was taken to several police stations after his arrest. These included the Cheras, Dang Wangi and Jinjang police stations.
She said he was interrogated on matters that were irrelevant to the charges.
According to her, they asked questions such as these: “Why did you join Bersih? Don’t you know that Bersih supports the LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender)? Did you know that Facebook is owned by the Jews? Did you know that your Internet subscription money is a contribution to the Jews? Do you like to masturbate?”
No physical violence
At the Jinjang police station, she said, Khalid was made to await a magistrate’s decision on a possible four-day remand extension and lawyers were kept outside. The magistrate rejected the remand request and Khalid was sent back to the Dang Wangi station, where he was detained from 11am to 3.30pm and where the interrogation continued, she added.
Khalid told reporters the police did not use physical violence on him.
Latheefa said: “How can we allow people to willingly report to the police (to assist in investigations) when this is what they’re going to face?”
PKR vice-president N Surendran attacked investigations aimed at finding violent Bersih protesters as “political propaganda”.
He said Rasah PKR leader R Thanggam was taken from the Dang Wangi police station to the Bukit Aman police headquarters and was questioned by a “special interrogation team” through the night.
Thanggam has since been charged with breaching a court order barring the public from entering Dataran Merdeka on Apr 28.
“It was endless interrogation,” Surendran said. “This is psychological torture. This is the use of terror tactics. Questions that were posed to Khalid were political questions. It was not an investigation into the alleged crime of violence during Bersih 3.0, similar to Thanggam’s case.”
He questioned the rationale of releasing photos of 49 people accused of Bersih-related violence to the media, saying it was an act of defamation.
He also said police this morning picked up two more people whose photos were displayed—Hulu Selangor councillor K Suppiah and PKR Youth member Farhan Ibrahim
“These are just normal people who went for a peaceful gathering.”
He demanded that the 49 photos be withdrawn and advised the police to send notices to the suspects if they already knew of their whereabouts.
Latheefa also revealed that a person named Muzazaruddin Mustapha was arrested on May 2 over a drug-related offence and lawyers had not been able to contact him since.
The former deputy minister seeks to clear the air over a video clip that has gone viral on Facebook.
PETALING JAYA: Former senator and deputy minister T Murugiah has affirmed that he is still a loyal member of MIC and does not intend to withdraw his support for Barisan Nasional.
The question arose because a YouTube video shows him giving a speech that appears to be anti-Barisan Nasional.
The 15.09-minute clip, entitled “MIC people must watch this video”, was posted on YouTube early last week and has since gone viral on Facebook.
The video was shot last year during a prize-giving ceremony at the Lorong Jawa Tamil school in Seremban.
Murugiah was speaking in Tamil about problems in acquiring land for new buildings for the school. He is recorded in the video as saying: “If they felt the votes of 1,000 school children here were important, they would have granted the land and built the school.
“You as parents should decide what you want during the general election. How can I ask you to vote for BN? Tell the government to decide or you decide (whom to vote for).”
Speaking to FMT today, he said he was speaking in the heat of agitation.
“I was agitated. The headmaster was bashing MIC and the government and then someone from the audience said that they would not vote for MIC,” said Murugiah, who was a senator and deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department until 2011.
The local Indian community had been asking for a new school on a new plot of land for the past 30 years. Murugiah said the parents and school staff were unhappy because the state authorities had been ignoring the request.
He told FMT he was blaming government agencies for failing to implement changes outlined by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
“The PM has done a good job. It is the government machineries that are causing these problems.”
He said he suspected that the person responsible for posting the video clip was out to tarnish his image.
The fracas involving MIC Youth members and PKR leaders last week has turned into a proxy war within the BN party.
The recent brawl in Putrajaya between PKR members and MIC Youth members over the MyKad issue has caused injuries not only to some people but also to unity in MIC among its rank and file.
The incident was given wide publicity in the Tamil media, with close-up shots of injured faces of PKR members. As soon as the incident was reported, MIC circles were abuzz with talks as to why should MIC Youth go there and cause trouble to protesting PKR members.
Some even expressed shock that such a brawl could take place in front of the Prime Minister’ Office and that too in the presence of members of the police force.
Comparisons were also made with the speedy action taken by the police over the Bersih 3.0 protesters: none of the people involved in Putrajaya brawl has been arrested so far despite some people having been injured seriously and several police reports lodged.
Even the photos of those involved in the brawl had been widely published in newspapers and Internet.
Some leaders like MIC central working committee (CWC) member Kumar Amman came out with a strong statement that the incident had tarnished the image of MIC. Some other branch leaders also echoed similar sentiments.
Pressured to show that the MIC leadership does not condone the incident and to reduce the continued public outcry over the incident, MIC’s disciplinary committee chairman KS Nijhar quickly announced that a committee would investigate the matter and take appropriate action.
Such a statement was seen as timely to show MIC as a responsible and fair-minded party. However, the inner political forces within MIC, especially those aligned to MIC Youth leader T Mohan, saw the move by Nijhar as an affront to the pride of MIC and a calculated political move to discredit Mohan in the eyes of MIC members and the public.
In defence of Mohan and his boys
Several leaders came out against Nijhar’s statement and in defence of Mohan and his Youth members. Among them were state chairman for Negeri Sembilan T Rajagobalu, Selangor state information chief Siva Subramaniam and former MIC Youth leader SA Vigneswaran.
However, the surprise entry was S Vell Paari, a CWC member and son of former president S Samy Vellu, who said in a statement that Nijhar had gone overboard and that a report should have been requested from Mohan before announcing disciplinary proceedings.
Tamil Nesan, a Tamil daily controlled by Vell Paari, also ran detailed statements issued by MIC leaders against Nijhar.
Such open and bold statements against Nijhar is surprising as Nijhar is known to be working closely with party president G Palanivel and everyone knew that Nijhar would not have issued such an important statement without consulting the leadership of the party.
Such confrontations among MIC leaders through press statements reflect the ongoing political undercurrent in MIC politics, which is being kept under wraps just because the general election is around the corner.
In recent times, the aggressive leadership style of Mohan is seen as conflicting with that of Palanivel, who prefers more subtle and compromising approach.
It can also be seen that Palanivel carefully avoids direct confrontation with opposition leaders and does not wish to engage in press war with the opposition.
“Mohan is seen as one of Samy Vellu’s protégées. He is also close to Vell Paari and is closely aligned to MIC deputy president Dr S Subramaniam. The undercurrent in MIC now is that Dr Subramaniam will mount a challenge for the presidency against Palanivel next year with the help of Samy Vellu,” an MIC source pointed out.
“MIC members and leaders are tight-lipped on this matter because of the coming 13th general election. Once the national polls is over, the political battles are expected to start.
“In the meantime, some see Nijhar’s announcement against Mohan and the Youth wing as the beginning of that battle and hence, the sudden ‘uprising’ to defend Mohan who is expected to play a key role in favour of Dr Subramaniam in the event there is a challenge for presidency,” added the source.
In view of the disunity among leaders of MIC caused by the Putrajaya incident, it will be interesting to see whether the MIC disciplinary committee under Nijhar will continue with its investigations or will drop it to avoid further conflicts and confrontations.
RJ Rajah is a veteran MIC leader who now likes observing the fun from the sidelines.
Marina Mahathir also backs Proham's call for an RCI to investigate the violence between police and protesters.
PETALING JAYA: Social activist Marina Mahathir has said that she hadn’t witnessed any provocation from Bersih 3.0 supporters during the massive rally on April 28.
The rally, which turned ugly an hour after it officially began, saw police shooting tear gas canisters and water cannons into the 80,000-strong crowd after a group of protesters breached the barricades surrounding Dataran Merdeka.
In the aftermath, videos and pictures of violence from police as well as protesters surfaced with both sides insisting that the other take responsibility for the rally’s outcome.
In a recent interview on business radio station BFM, Marina recounted walking up to the barricades at Jalan Lebuh Pasar where the police were gathered.
“No one was being provocative,” she said. “There were high spirits, many young people and the police was being very patient.”
“But having said that they suddenly brought out the trucks, and the guys in helmets and shields. We didn’t really understand why. I thought it was an intimidation factor, to just have them standing there.”
Marina added that while word of Bersih 3.0 co-chairperson, S Ambiga’s, directive for the crowd to disperse had spread, many “rally tourists” still wanted to get closer to the barricades for snapshots.
“I don’t think anyone is really going to know just yet who is responsible,” she mused. “We may need a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to get to them bottom of this.”
“The government should set up such a commission to clear its name, and everyone should support it because everyone has a stake in it.”
Last Wednesday, the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) had also urged Putrajaya to do the same in the light of conflicting reports on the violence between police and protesters during the rally.
No political hijacking
The police have defended their actions, saying that the situation would have worsened if they had simply stood aside. Marina, however, didn’t buy it.
“Horrible things happened (on that day) because they threw tear gas,” she pointedly said. “If they didn’t want people entering Dataran Merdeka then the tear gas should have been lobbed there instead.”
“Why shoot it straight into the crowd? I read one person’s account of being tracked by the water cannon so what’s that all about?”
Another claim that didn’t sit well with Marina was that of the opposition hijacking the rally and being ultimately responsible for the ensuing clashes.
According to her, the supporters were shouting for Ambiga and not for opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. She also observed that isolated political chants were not taken up by the crowd either.
“So I don’t know whether that’s a fair charge to say about the whole rally,” Marina stated when asked for her thoughts on the rally’s link to the Pakatan coalition.
“They are politicians, that is their gain and that is what they do. If they were BN politicians, they would have done exactly the same thing.”
Daily) - Hardly recovered from its libelous claim made against an
Australian senator last week, UMNO-owned English-language daily New Straits Times today blasts a headline which says Kelantan Menteri Besar Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat "is father of kafir".
"Nik Aziz is father of kafir," reads the headline, which
appears in single quotes without mention of its source. A smaller
sub-heading however informs readers that the statement has been made by
former inspector general of police Abdul Rahim Noor.
the Arabic word for 'infidel', is a derogatory term used to describe
those who reject God. A narrative attributed to Prophet Muhammad
explicitly warns Muslims against labeling fellow Muslims as kafir, saying the label would return to the accuser.
is apparently peeved by Nik Aziz's argument defending those who
participated at the mammoth April 28 rally for electoral reforms in
Kuala Lumpur as fulfilling the Islamic obligation to enjoin good and
forbid evil. Nik Aziz was responding to a statement Sunday by the
government-controlled National Fatwa Council declaring anti-government
demonstrations as haram (forbidden).
Rahim said the PAS Murshidul Am was misleading Muslims to believe that it was their religious duty to support Bersih 3.0.
an immediate response, Kelantan PAS's legal bureau head Hisham Fauzi
gave Rahim 24 hours to retract the statement or face legal action.
Last week, NST invited
public anger when it used a fabricated statement to accuse Australian
senator Nick Xenophon of being anti-Islam. The libelous story was also
published on page 6.
who personally observed the events on April 28 and criticised the
police's handling of Bersih 3.0 rally, has vowed to take legal action
against the paper despite its apology.
'Father of dog'
who resigned as the police chief in 1999, is best remembered for the
infamous Black Eye incident involving former deputy prime
minister-turned-parliamentary Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
said he "lost his cool" and delivered karate-like blows on a
blindfolded Anwar who was detained at a cell in the Bukit Aman police
headquarters on the night of September 20, 1998.
comic exchanges with Anwar's counsel Karpal Singh at a Royal Commission
of Inquiry set up amid public outrage over the 'black eye', Rahim
claimed that he was provoked by Anwar who called him "bapa anjing"
(father of dog). Karpal however pointed out that Anwar was blindfolded,
and questioned if Anwar could have possibly made such remarks, unless
he smelt the canine in the room.
a look at the video below. That is a specially edited video, which is
being distributed through the Umno network. Maybe not every Malaysian,
in particular Malays in the rural areas, uses the Internet. But they do
have TV sets and DVD/VCD players. And if DNBN can distribute 200,000
anti-government DVDs to those in the rural areas who do not have
Internet access, do you mean to say that Umno cannot also produce 1
million copies of the video below and do the same thing?
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
There was something very interesting that I experienced back in the 1970s.
wife and I made a trip to Golok with her mother in tow. We had just
moved to Kuala Terengganu then. When we crossed the border, I jumped
onto the back of a motorcycle while my wife and her mother took a
trishaw. My mother-in-law was too big to fit on the back seat of the kap chai.
We agreed to meet in the Mer Lin Hotel.
can see many of you smile. I am sure you too have fond memories of your
stay in that hotel. Well, let’s talk about all that another time, maybe
in more private surroundings.
I, of course,
reached first, and hung around waiting for the rest of my party to
arrive. As I sat there, a pimp approached me and enquired whether I
would like a girl. Well, with my wife probably ten minutes or so behind
me, I certainly had no choice but to decline. I just said, “Are you
crazy? Today is Friday!”
It was Friday, the weekend for the East Coast, and I spoke in Malay, of course.
“No problem,” replied the pimp, “our girls are all Muslims.”
I could not help but chuckle at this retort. He assumed that since I pantang (taboo) on Friday then I must be a Muslim, although I looked Kwailo, and hence I would prefer a Muslim girl, being a ‘holy’ day and all that.
again politely declined and said I do not want a girl, to which the
pimp replied, “We also have boys. The boys are very young and sexy.” Ah,
now he is talking.
He probably saw my eyes
light up and thought he had a sale. Then my wife walked in and that
ended our very interesting negotiation.
suppose people are like that. They always assume and jump to
conclusions. If they offer you a beer before dinner and you refuse, that
means you do not drink. It could be you only drink brandy and you
normally have a glass of brandy with your cigar after dinner, not
before, like a more cultured person would.
the waiter recommends the steak and assures you that it is the
speciality of the restaurant and you decline, he would assume you must
be a Hindu, since you do have a dark complexion. It could be you are
actually a Christian and for health reasons you steer clear of red meat
and only partake in white meat, which is what I also try to do. (As a
rule, we only eat chicken at home and will not eat meat unless we go out
for dinner, which may be once a month).
this is the problem we are currently facing with regards to the Tunku
Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim issue. You assume and jump to the conclusion
that he is opposed to Bersih or he supports Barisan Nasional or he does
not care for clean, free and fair elections or whatever. And that would
be like assuming a person who does not eat beef must be a Hindu.
that Tunku Aziz was born before WWII, and being educated and
intelligent and a person who knows history -- and more importantly,
comprehends history -- he understands the implications of what we do. He
knows that for every action there will be a reaction. And we may not
quite like that reaction, especially if those reacting are more powerful
and have more resources available to them.
Aziz is opposed to violence, vandalism, mob rule, taunts, jeers,
provocation, and whatnot. And being a man of his age, I really do not
blame him. He is not a street fighter. He is not a physical man. He is
not a man who will engage in fisticuffs even if it is a boxing match
using Queensbury rules. Not every human being is prepared to settle a
dispute with his or her fists.
Have a look at
the video below. That is a specially edited video, which is being
distributed through the Umno network. Maybe not every Malaysian, in
particular Malays in the rural areas, uses the Internet. But they do
have TV sets and DVD/VCD players. And if DNBN can distribute 200,000
anti-government DVDs to those in the rural areas who do not have
Internet access, do you mean to say that Umno cannot also produce 1
million copies of the video below and do the same thing?
Now, I may be wrong, but quite a number of those who participated in the Bersih 3.0 rally on 28th April 2012 were quite young. That’s what the videos and pictures show. I suspect that many were born after Merdeka or probably after 1969. That means many would not know what happened in early May 1969.
Read the extract from Wikipedia
below that video. I have checked its accuracy and I would say that
there is not much error in the write-up. In fact, I too have written the
same thing myself many times before and what I said in the past is not
far from what the Wikipedia report said below. More importantly, I was 19 years old at that time and was a witness to the events of early May 1969.
do another thing. Take off your Pakatan Rakyat cap and pretend that you
are a non-partisan Malaysian who holds no party allegiance. Then look
at the video again, this time without any lenses, and tell me what you
see. Can you see 28th April 2012 as a similar situation to 10th May
This is what many of those from the
older generation, people such as Tunku Aziz, fear. Umno is desperate,
just like how desperate they were back in May 1969. And if you were Umno
would you not exploit what happened on 28th April 2012 to your
advantage? If I were Umno I would. I would be a fool not to.
Hence, what have we gained, if we were to gauge ‘success’ by the contents of the video below? There was a lot of dendam in May 1969. I just hope that 28th April 2012 has not also bred dendam. If it has, then, as the Malays would say: menang sorak kampung tergadai.
is a very powerful motivation. My concern is not whether Pakatan Rakyat
can win the next general election. There is certainly a good chance
that it can in spite of the cheating and gerrymandering. (If not Prime
Minister Najib Tun Razak would have called for the elections by now.) My
concern is that Pakatan Rakyat does win the next general election and
those who harbour dendam will want to take revenge on the taunts, jeers, insults, provocation, etc.
love history. But what I hate about history is for the tendency of
history to repeat itself. That has always been the downfall of many --
not learning from the mistakes of history. We always seem to celebrate
the winning of the battles and then mourn the defeat in the war. That is
what menang sorak kampung tergadai means.
causes of the rioting can be analysed to have the same root as the 1964
riots in Singapore, the event rooted from sentiments before the
campaigning was bitterly fought among various political parties prior to
polling day on 10 May 1969, and party leaders stoked racial and
religious sentiments in order to win support.
Pan Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) accused the United Malays National
Organisation (UMNO) of selling the rights of the Malays to the Chinese,
while the Democratic Action Party (DAP) accused the Malaysian Chinese
Association (MCA) of giving in to UMNO. The DAP promoted the concept of a
"Malaysian Malaysia", which would remove the Malays of their special
rights under the Constitution of Malaysia. Both the DAP and Singapore's
People's Action Party (PAP) objected to Malay as the national language
and proposed multi-lingualism instead.
Alliance politicians, including Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman,
accused Singapore-based People's Action Party of involvement in the
campaign, as it had done during the 1964 general election campaign (at
the time when Singapore was part of the Malaysian federation between
1963 and 1965).
The run-up to the election
was also marred by two deaths: that of an UMNO election agent, who was
killed by a group of armed Chinese youths in Penang and that of a member
of the Labour Party of Malaya (LPM), who was killed in Kepong,
There was a contrast in the
handling of these two deaths. The UMNO worker was buried without
publicity, but the LPM casualty was honoured at a parade on 9 May when
some 3,000 LPM members marched from Kuala Lumpur to Kepong, violating
regulations and trying to provoke incidents with the police.
tensions among the Malay and Chinese population, the general election
was held on 10 May 1969. Election day itself passed without any
incidents, and the results showed that the Alliance had gained a
majority in Parliament at the national level, albeit a reduced one, and
in Selangor it had gained the majority by cooperating with the sole
The Opposition had tied
with the Alliance for control of the Selangor state legislature, a
large setback in the polls for the Alliance. On the night of 11 and 12
May, the Opposition celebrated their victory. In particular, a large
Gerakan procession welcomed the left-wing Gerakan leader V. David.
12 May, thousands of Chinese marched through Kuala Lumpur, parading
through predominantly Malay areas, hurling insults, which led to the
incident. The largely Chinese opposition Democratic Action Party and
Gerakan gained in the elections, and secured a police permit for a
victory parade through a fixed route in Kuala Lumpur.
the rowdy procession deviated from its route and headed through the
Malay district of Kampung Baru, jeering at the inhabitants. Some
demonstrators carried brooms, later alleged to symbolise the sweeping
out of the Malays from Kuala Lumpur, while others chanted slogans about
the "sinking" of the Alliance boat – the coalition's logo.
The Gerakan party issued an apology on 13 May for their rally goers' behaviour.
addition, Malay leaders who were angry about the election results used
the press to attack their opponents, contributing to raising public
anger and tension among the Malay and Chinese communities. On 13 May,
members of UMNO Youth gathered in Kuala Lumpur, at the residence of
Selangor Menteri Besar Dato' Harun Haji Idris in Jalan Raja Muda, and
demanded that they too should hold a victory celebration.
UMNO announced a counter-procession, which would start from the Harun
bin Idris's residence, Tunku Abdul Rahman would later call the
retaliatory parade "inevitable”, as otherwise the party members would be
demoralised after the show of strength by the Opposition and the
insults that had been thrown at them.
1. Some who condemned my piece on Bersih 3 say that the ruling party abused the authority of the Government to ensure its success. They ask why rural constituencies have more seats for less voters. Why the gerrymandering.
2. This is because since the days of the British the urban areas tend to dominate politics and to be better served by the Government. To balance this, the poorly serviced rural areas have to be given higher representation in the legislature.
3. This is not new. It is common practice in the United States the state of New Jersey with less than five million people gets the same number of Senate seats (two) as California with more than forty million people. In most democratic countries some leverage is given to constituencies which for a variety of reasons are less developed.
4. As to the use of Government authority in elections; this is never clear-cut. There is no clear line when authority is exceeded.
5. When a party in power uses Government to implement policies, plans or strategies so as to ensure support by the people, can we say it is abuse of Government authority. On the other hand when the opposition loudly proclaims that they would do things which would gain them public support, are they not making use of Government authority for their popularity?
6. The opposition says that it would increase subsidies for fuel and fertilizer, replace PTPTN with free higher education and raise petroleum royalty to 20% to the states instead of 5%, isn’t it also making use of Government authority to win support of the voters?
7. Indeed whereas the incumbent has to be cautious as it knows the financial capacity of the Government, the Opposition has no such constrains. If it wins it can have all kinds of excuses for not keeping promises.
8. Abuse of Government authority is not confined only to the ruling party. The Opposition is also bent on abusing Government authority.
9. There may be areas for improving the conduct of Malaysian elections. But the fact remains that in Malaysia the Opposition can and have indeed defeated the Government party. If the Opposition fails to win at federal level, it is simply because the people chose not to support them with the required majority.
I am boiling mad! I am really angry with the police force, that they
willingly and voluntarily inflicted wanton abuse and injury to so many
One does not need more evidence. Just scan the YouTube uploads and it will become evident to any observer.
is abuse of the law and the special privilege and the concomitant
responsibility of being in a uniform which we are called to, and
demanded to respect.
In fact, the uniform even carries the insignia of the royal emblem of Malaysia.
therefore there must be standard operating procedures related to “under
what conditions are the Public Order and Preservation Ordinations
motions can be called upon” and applied towards violators.
is unsure, please go also on the net and find out for yourself, as an
ex-military officer has already described and qualified for such
“approved procedures of relevant actions”.
If the IGP cannot
explain all the obvious abuse by the police upon innocent civilians who
simply want a peaceful assembly, then I would like the IGP to resign.
recognise that his deputy is a worse off character based on his history
of public statements and moreover the IGP is a much more sincere and
simpler man, but I think the Rupert Murdoch Principle set by the British
Parliament must apply.
IGP must either tell the whole truth or be deemed unfit to hold public
office. That was Rupert Murdoch’s No 1 failure; he pretended that the
problem did not exist, and thus did not tell the whole truth and nothing
but the truth.
Therefore, the public indictment against his
entire reputation, name and image. After all, what does it profit a man
when he gains the whole world but loses his soul? Leadership today
requires both integration and integrity.
Last week I was invited
to attend a closed door review of the history of anti-corruption
initiatives in Malaysia since time immemorial. It was good to know,
understand and appreciate the real issues and concerns of the past and
how they were addressed. It was both revealing and very telling.
though, when the meeting was opened to the floor, objective history
concerns were forgotten and the purpose of our meeting lost, as everyone
gave their two cents worth of views and opinions.
In fact, to me
it was no better than mere coffee-shop talk, as even at our normal
the-tarik session, most are usually cordial, honest and transparent with
views. But a framework for analysis and review was missing.
and because of some personal reasons, I had to leave the meeting early
but I am resolved that my views may still be important for the concerns
for integrity, and any related issues of bribery and corruption.
Theory of integrity
all, we were invited as members of the Oriental Hearts and Mind Study
Institute (OHMSI), a Christian think and act tank which focus on six
issues of national priority for development.
integrity as the presence or absence between one’s espoused theory and
theory-in-use. These can occur at either individual level, through
personal actors or at the corporate or group levels when there are
public agents or actors.
The degree of variance in the overlap or lack thereof can be called the lack or presence of integrity.
allow me to apply this theory of integrity, which I have variously
called many different names, but most popularly as Theory R to my
burdened concern about the Malaysian police force and their lack of
integrity last Saturday; both at personal and public levels.
in uniform, no individual has the privilege of using the excuse “that
is my personal action and has little or nothing to do with the police
force”. Therefore, every action of any man in blue is the action of the
Remember the Rupert Murdoch Principle from the
British Parliament. Therefore, in any large and pyramidal system the
buck of responsibility and accountability finally stops at the highest
All organisations are public in that sense; even so-called private ones as we just found out about the Rupert Murdoch Empire.
and thereby, we always taught at Intan that final and ultimate
responsibility (and therefore accountability) always stops at the chief
executive and the board of directors who jointly are held accountable
for the good governance of the organisation to fulfil the stated and
All this is today documented with the
Securities Commission and their rules and regulations. The failure in
all cases is with execution because of poor and incompetent people being
placed in responsibilities far above their capabilities.
I have some questions for the IGP which I would like the Bar Council
EGM to also review and comment upon, so that we will never again see a
repeat of “gangs of thugs in blue uniform abuse their authority and
power of law, by personal conduct that cannot be defensible in any court
of law”. How were the laws breached?
My questions for the IGP are:
what conditions can we say that there was a breach of the law? Peaceful
assembly was allowed by none other than the minister. As far as I know,
there is only a breach if some physically ran into the Dataran Merdeka,
which never happened.
Why then were there so many men
in blue acting like the vagabond dogs pushing, kicking and physically
hurting civilians, who had not committed any known crime, legally
Why was a traffic police officer pulling out his gun and threatening the public?
were there so many police personnel in blue uniform without name-tags
and regimental numbers? Were they even part and parcel of the Royal
Malaysian Police? Were they gazetted officers and sworn to uphold the
King’s police rules of conduct?
Who made their appointment, and who are they ultimately responsible to in this country if not the Agong?
You see Mr IGP, you are appointed by the King and not the prime minister or the minister of home affairs.
only recommend your name and it is the Agong, and he may consult his
brother Rulers, if he so decides and he may consult anyone else if he so
chooses, before he makes known his judgement through his office of
Once he chooses, then you are appointed by him and
responsible to no one else. I am sure you know that. And by the way,
only the Agong can also tell you to resign; no one else can, not even
the minister of home affairs.
In fact, if anyone gives you wrong
instructions or unclear ones, you can instead complain to the Agong and
he can instruct the PM to require the home affairs minister to resign.
you do not know all these principles about good governance of our
country, then I really believe that you are not fit to remain as the
Inspector General of Police. May God bless Malaysia with truth of this
matter. KJ JOHN was in public service
for 29 years. The views expressed here are his personal views and not
those of any institution he is involved with. Write to him at email@example.com with any feedback or views.
PETALING JAYA: The police have defended their use of tear gas during the Bersih 3.0 rally, saying it was not harmful to humans.
force's Logistics Department (Weaponry) assistant chief director ACP
Syed Mustafa Raja Syed Nordin, in a five-minute-video clip posted on the
Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) Facebook page yesterday, said the gas
used to disperse protesters was “safe” and “complied with international
the video, ACP Syed Mustafa showed four different irritants used during
the April 28 rally tear gas grenades, tear gas canisters, liquid eye
irritants and pepper spray.
“All these are imported from the United States, Canada and Switzerland.
“Each complies with international standards set by the United Nations,” said Syed Mustafa.
“These items contain CS Gas', which the UN has approved as a riot control agent.
“Many countries generally endorse this gas as non-lethal,” he explained.
also said the Federal Reserve Unit was frequently exposed to CG Gas
during training and that so far, none of its personnel had been injured.
“The CS gas is also not banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention 1993.
“Malaysia is one of the countries that has ratified this convention.
would like to stress that if PDRM had used forbidden items, the import
of these items into our country would not have been allowed,” he added.
KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 (Bernama) -- The Senate Tuesday passed the Income
Tax (Amendment) Bill 2012, Financial Reporting (Amendment) Bill 2012 and
Labuan Companies (Amendment) Bill 2012.
The Income Tax (Amendment) Bill 2012 seeks to allow taxpayers to claim for deductions for donations for religious purposes.
The Bill, also allow a taxpayer to claim for deductions for
contributions to the construction, improvement or maintenance of a
public building for religious purposes.
The Financial Reporting (Amendment) Bill 2012, which seeks to enable
the Financial Reporting Foundation to oversee the functions of the
Malaysian Accounting Standards Board, was also passed.
The Bill, which was tabled by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang
Adek Hussin, seeks to make the foundation more inclusive and reflective
of the developments of Malaysia's financial reporting system.
The amendment also seeks to allow the Securities Commission and Bank
Negara to modify accounting standards to ensure financial stability.
Awang Adek said the amendment of the Labuan Companies (Amendment) Bill
2012 would become a catalyst for foreign investment in Labuan.