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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Girl, 22, hangs herself to death in Ghor

"The marriage was being arranged against the victim’s will"
By Muhammad Hassan Hakimi
A 22-year-old girl hanged herself to death after her family engaged her to a person in an exchange marriage in the Lal Sarjangal district of western Ghor province on Wednesday, an official said.
The girl identified as Ruqia killed herself at home at around 10am, a month before her marriage was fixed, the district crime branch police chief, Ma. Nazir Hussain, told Pajhwok Afghan News.
A police party had been sent to the area for investigating the incident, he said, adding Ruqia was the third girl committing suicide over the past one month.
“The girl was going to be married to a person whose sister had wed her brother. The marriage was being arranged against the victim’s will,” he said.
Provincial council member Sadiq Yousafi said several such incidents occurred in the province over the past one month. “Most of girls commit suicide when their families force them into marrying men of parents’ choice," he said, adding of the seven girls killed over the past one year, four of them were killed by their families.
Provincial human rights director, Jawad Rezayi, expressed concerns over increasing suicide cases among young girls, saying the incidents could continue to increase if the government did not address the issue.

Man jailed a year, fined RM50,000 for insulting Perak Sultan

Chan’s posting was found to have insulted the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah (right).—File pic

BUTTERWORTH, June 1 — An engineer was momentarily dumbstruck today when he was given the maximum sentence by the Sessions Court here for posting comments deemed insulting to the Sultan of Perak, in his website three years ago.

Judge Ikmal Hishan Mohd Tajuddin sentenced Chan Hon Keong, 29, to a year’s jail and RM50,000 fine, in lieu of five month’s jail, after finding him guilty of the offence.

It is the maximum sentence provided under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

Chan’s family members, including his wife, Khoo Hui Suang, 28, were also stunned upon hearing the sentence and broke into tears.

However, Ikmal Hishan allowed a stay of the sentence pending an appeal at the High Court and increased Chan’s bail to RM14,000.

Last April 15, Chan pleaded not guilty to committing the offence with his wife at their house in Permatang Pauh, near here at about 12.05am on February 13, 2009.

They were charged with improper use of network facilities or service by knowingly posting comments that insulted the sultan on the website.

However, Khoo was released after she was found not guilty at the end of the prosecution’s case, while Chan was ordered to enter his defence.

Earlier, deputy public prosecutor Lailawati Ali, who prosecuted, said that Chan, as an educated person, should not have abused the communication technology to insult another person, what more a person who was a ruler and a symbol of the people’s unity.

She requested the court to impose a heavy sentence as a deterrent to others.

In mitigation, lawyer Md Yusuf Idris, who represented Chan, said his client was recently employed and had to support his large family. — Bernama

PM’s approval rating dips after Bersih 3.0

Merdeka Centre carried out its poll three weeks after the April 28 rally and subsequent rallies organised by pro-BN groups.

PETALING JAYA: An independent survey conducted in Peninsular Malaysia shows that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s approval rating dropped to 65% in May from 69% in February this year.

Pollster Merdeka Centre said today that the results were taken three weeks after the Bersih 3.0 rally and subsequent rallies organised by pro-establishment organisations.

The survey respondents consisted of 1,019 registered voters, 59% of them Malay, 32% Chinese and 9% Indians. They were selected at random and interviewed by telephone.

During the massive April 28 Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur, police allegedly assaulted scores of protesters and journalists. The government has since set up a commission to investigate the violence but many quarters, including the Bar Council, have cast doubt over the panel’s independence, headed by former IGP Haniff Omar.

Merdeka Centre said in a press statement that although Najib’s approval rating had dwindled, he still enjoyed a 70% approval rating from respondents aged above 50 years old.

“But the premier’s approval rating stands at only 61% among those aged below 30 years old.”

The poll also showed that Najib’s approval rating among those earning less than RM1,500 a month soared from the 78% to 82%.

However, Najib’s support from middle income earners dived from 68% to 50%.

Merdeka Centre also analysed the survey results according to the respondents’ racial backgrounds.

Najib’s approval rating among Malays improved from 78% to 82%. However, he has become less popular among the Chinese, with the percentage dropping from 56 to 37. Support from the Indians, too, has dropped—from 80% to 72%.

The pollster also measured the public’s satisfaction with the government itself. It’s popularity level remains the same at 48%.

UMMC morgue ban: Hindraf complains to PM

Uthayakumar says the hospital’s excuse is absurd and insulting

PETALING JAYA: Hindraf today lashed out at the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) for barring the bodies of deceased non-Muslims from its morgue.

In a letter to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai, copies of which were sent to the press, Hindraf described the hospital’s defence of the ban as “absurd” and “insulting”.

It also demanded the restoration of non-Muslim funeral halls at all government hospitals and free ambulance services for the dead.

This would be in line with Article 8 of the Federal Constitution and the 1Malaysia slogan, said the letter, signed by the movement’s de facto leader, P Uthayakumar.

Article 8 guarantees equality before the law for all persons regardless of race or creed.

“We regret to note that the University Malaya Hospital has unlawfully closed down it’s funeral hall for non-Muslims … for the absurd reason that it is because of the inconveniences caused by the undertakers,” Uthayakumar said.

“This is insulting as this very same teaching hospital ‘experiments’ on the poor and their dead bodies.

“We also recall handling the 2003 highly decomposed body of death-in-police-custody victim Francis Udayapan, which was kept at UMMC hospital mortuary for almost 1½ years.”

Yesterday, UMMC Deputy Director Dr Mustafa Mohd Ali, responding to a FMT report on Wednesday, said undertakers were partly to blame for the ban. He said they would harass grieving families at the hospital as they competed to sell their services.

Dr Mustafa admitted that the ban did not apply to Muslims, but said this was a temporary arrangement that would cease with the completion of University Malaya’s Islamic Centre, which is under construction.

Complaining about the discontinuation of free ambulance services for poor non-Muslims, Uthayakumar said: “But for the Malay Muslims a special hearse service is rightly provided free of charge by the fully government funded Islamic authorities right up to the cemetery.

“Why does there have to be so much racism and supremacy even in death?”

He said the “real reason” behind the trend was an increase in Islamisation.

Sorry, no MyKad, no school

PKR veep N Surendran has highlighted the case of three children who can’t go to school because they don't have MyKads.

PETALING JAYA: Three children who were born in Malaysia are unable to go to school because the National Registration Department (NRD) is refusing to issue them their MyKad.

Their case is being taken up by PKR. Its vice-president N Surendran said it is time Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein stepped in to help the children.

He said the children should be given financial aid and attend special classes so that they can catch up.

Failing which, Surendran said, they will organise a mass demonstration in front of the NRD office in Alor Setar on June 10 and in front of NRD headquarters in Putrajaya on June 15.

At a press conference held at PKR headquarters here, Surendran said the first case involved Suriakala, 15, who completed her UPSR in primary school but her problems began after she completed her Remove Class in SMK Ungku Hussein, Semenyih.

Surendran said Suriakala’s mother is a citizen but there is no information about her father.

“She is a citizen but the NRD refused her a MyKad. It is illegal for them to do so under article 14 of the Federal Constitution,” said Surendran.

Article 14 renders Suriakala a Malaysian by birth.

Suriakala’s mother S Komathi said: “I received my identification card at the age of 40. It is difficult for me to give my daughter a proper education.

“We still keep her books and pencils. She even asks her brothers to teach her,” said Komathi.

Komathi’s two sons – Subramaniam, 21, and Darvin Raj, 18, also do not have proper documentation.

Useless birth certificates

On the second case, Surendran highlighted the case of two orphan brothers Hari, 14, and Haran, 12, who were given “useless” birth certificates.

The birth certificates were obtained through MIC’s My Daftar campaign. Surendran said the documents were useless as they were not recognised to allow the boys to attend school.

Hari told FMT he is currently receiving informal education from volunteers in the Agathian Centre for Orphans in Section 8.

Both Hari and Haran were found along the Subang highway six years ago.

On this case, Surendran said NRD was taking a ridiculous position on the grounds that they are no information about the parents.

In a related development, Surendran also criticised NRD director-general Jariah Said who gave an exclusive interview to the Tamil press, published today.

Jariah is reported to have denied that the stateless Indians in Malaysia were 300,000 and challenged the opposition to bring forward the 300,000 people.

“The government is afraid of the impact of Indian votes in the election,” said Surendran.

He also claimed that the interview was made to counter Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s statement that the problem of stateless Indians would be resolved once Pakatan Rakyat took over the federal government.

“She denied that there are 300,000 stateless Indians but did not back up with a study on the real number of stateless people,” said Surendran.

New judge to hear Manjeet’s RM2.5mil suit against Gobalakrishnan


(The Star) - A RM2.5mil civil suit filed by a senior lawyer Manjeet Singh Dhillon against Padang Serai MP N. Gobalakrishnan and three others for allegedly defaming him last year, will be heard before a new High Court judge next month.

High Court Judge Dr Prasad Abraham informed counsels who represented plaintiff Manjeet Singh, Gobalakrishnan, Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd and Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Bhd (TV3) when the case was brought before him on Friday.

Counsel Amarick Singh acted for Manjeet, Hasnal Rezua Merican for Gobalakrishnan, Datuk Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah and Sarah Abishegam for Utusan Melayu and Lim Qi Si for TV3.

On Friday, the case was fixed for justice Dr Prasad to hear the matter. However, the judge informed the counsels that he would leave it to the new judge when he met them in chambers.

The judge would be transferred to Shah Alam Civil Division effective July 15.

The court, later, set July 3 for mention before the new High Court Judge justice Nor Bee Ariffin.
Manjeet had on Sept 26, last year, filed the suit against Gobalakrishnan, publisher Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd, its journalist Raja Syahrir Abu Bakar and TV3 over alleged defamatory remarks on his character.

He said the remarks implied that his conduct in the ongoing murder trial of cosmetics millionaire Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya, where he is lead counsel for accused N. Pathmanabhan, was designed to show weakness in national institutions.

He claimed the allegations made were designed to impute impropriety on his part by falsely and maliciously accusing him, including for implying that he represented Anwar in the sodomy trial.

Manjeet said Gobalakrishnan gave an interview to the media on Aug 16, in which he falsely made derogatory remarks against him.

He said Raja Syahrir had prepared a report of the interview and published by Utusan in its newspaper dated Aug 17, last year under the title, "Manjeet selalu burukkan kerajaan (Manjeet always smears the Government)", with reckless disregard to the truth of the contents.

He said a substantial part of the entire interview was broadcast on TV3 on Aug 16.

I’ll shut up if they speak up

By Hari Ibrahim,

I inherited two things from my late father, who passed away in 2004.
One, from his estate, the other from witnessing, at age 15, his stern and uncompromising handling of a traffic cop who tried to  solicit a RM3 bribe.
My first mentioned inheritance was a pair of Baden Powell cuff links.
Boy scouts may be familiar with this.
The second is one of zero tolerance for any form of corruption.
At age 19, then in my 6th Form, I lodged my first report with the then Biro Pencegah Rasuah against 2 police officers who sought a bribe for an alleged traffic offence close to the Rex cinema whilst driving my sister’s VW Golf.
In my first year of legal practise, I stopped my car and asked a bank officer I was giving a lift to get out after he sought gratification for debt recovery work he proposed to have referred to our firm from his branch.
More BPR reports against a court bailiff, a legal officer in an insurance company and a recovery manager in a share broking firm, all of whom sought corrupt gratification.
I suspect it is a genetic thing, as all my siblings are similarly afflicted.
3 days ago, I sent the following sms to Anwar Ibrahim and Azmin Ali.
“Pls see RPK’s latest post. U must respond. silence is not an option”.
You must know which post of RPK’s I was referring to. For the avoidance of doubt, it was his “MACC deepthroat out of the closet” post.
No, I was not expecting a return sms from either Anwar or Azmin and I can confirm now that I did not  receive any.
What I expected was a clear and unequivocal response from both to the very serious allegations that is borne by that post, for the benefit of  every citizen to whom they proffer themselves as the leaders that we can look to to rehabilitate this nation after 50 years of corrupt UMNO / BN rule.
As against Azmin, the documents disclosed in that post an accumulation of wealth that could not be explained against his then income.
As for Anwar, the sting is in the suggestion that he may have interfered with due process in using his position then as deputy prime minister to procure the closure of this corruption investigation on his then private secretary.
The authenticity of those documents disclosed by RPK appear to have been confirmed by, first, the police report lodged by the MACC in respect of the disclosure of these documents and the more recent decision to re-open the investigation into this matter.
To date, as far as I know, Anwar has remained silent.
Too silent for my comfort given the revelation by the DG of BPR at the material time, Shafee Yahya, that he had then recommended to Anwar that disciplinary action be taken against Azmin.
That no such action was ever taken is borne out by Azmin’s response to this latest debacle.
“My focus is the election. I have (been) cleared, my conscience is cleared. They are not interested in the truth.” , he is reported by Malaysiakini to have said.
RPK’s follow up posting to Azmin’s claim to have been cleared suggests otherwise.
Azmin asserts that “his constituents need no explanation from him as they know him “too well”.
I am not one of his constituents.
I belong to that category that he and Anwar often refer to as the “BOSS”.
Yes, the people.
The rakyat.
We, the rakyat, are interested in the truth, Azmin.
The whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Azmin says he does not  have that amount of money.
I’d like to know if there was, then, some RM10 million sitting in his and / or his wife’s bank accounts and, if so, how they came by that money?
I’d like to know if  he and / or his wife then held shares in listed companies to the value of almost RM1 million and if so, how they came by the same?
If indeed both Azmin and his wife were worth that much then and this was not wealth amassed through corrupt practices, then maybe Azmin is indeed what this nation needs post UMNO and BN.
Yes, I’m down south in JB tomorrow to take a strong message to the people there.
Anything But UMNO.
But I agree with RPK on this.
It must also be Anything But Corruption.
As we work to get rid of  the rubbish presently occupying our Putrajaya, we are not prepared to blindly replace them with the same, bloody rubbish.
To Anwar and Azmin I say again : U must respond. silence is not an option.

Scorpenes: Too much for Najib to remain silent & too obvious for MACC to ignore

A bombshell was dropped at the Suaram's press conference in Bangkok on the Scorpene case which is on trial in Paris, France.

French lawyer Joseph Breham, who is acting on behalf of human rights NGO Suaram, revealed that the company paid 36 million euro (RM142 million) to Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd, ostensibly for "commercial engineering" works. However, the company was paid for selling top secret military intelligence on the Scorpene submarines to the French company.

Breham, who based his expose on the French prosecution papers, said the act of "selling" top secret papers to a foreign country such as this is considered treason.

In France, he stressed, it would be absolutely illegal to sell such reports as it could either be considered a breach of defence secrets or high treason.

"It's treason because you are selling to a competitor or a foreign country what you think about a specific weapon, and your plan on how to use this specific weapon," replied Breham, when asked by a journalist if it was legal for an individual to sell such reports.

"In France, if you release them (secret documents), you can be punished with up to 10 years in jail," said Breham

Hong Kong-based Terasasi had been accused of funneling money through its accounts to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak as "commissions" for the sale of the submarines.

Two Terasasi directors are Najib's close ally Abdul Razak Baginda and his father Abdul Malim Baginda.

Reform credentials

If the report is true, it is going to shatter Najib's reforms credentials which have been weakened by several questionable decisions and lack of action to curb abuse of power, corrupt practices, growing politics related violence and poor governance.

These allegations, that Najib and his party had profited from the corrupt proceeds, pose serious challenge to his leadership and personal credibility.

Silence is not a good choice for the embattled premier. He must stand up and speak up to clear the doubts.

His ex-advisor, Abdul Razak Baginda, must be summoned back to answer to these allegations. Otherwise, it would appear to be very difficult for Najib to continue to claim the moral high ground with his 1Malaysia: People First, Performance Now agenda.

It is unprecedented that a serving Malaysian premier is caught in such quagmire and controversy rising from an abuse of direct public procurement. The government has ignored repeated calls for more transparency in its procurement system and to stop using direct negotiations.

Price inflated by 'middleman'

Now, the premier must answer why we should pay more than RM500 million on commission to a middleman?

Where does the money ended up?

Why aren't our MACC springing into action and investigate those personalities mentioned in the Paris trial?

Why is the so-called independent anti-corruption commission choose to ignore such huge controversy and allegations against some of the biggest personalities in Malaysia?

Malaysia's image is surely going to take a harsh beating if the ones connected to the investigation do not cooperate and come clean on the allegations.

Hishammuddin should give personal attention to escalating cases of political thuggery and violence like the vicious attacks on Ganapathirao and Papparaidu instead of propaganda concerns like official video compilation on Bersih 3.0

As Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussin should give personal attention to escalating cases of political thuggery and violence in the country like the vicious attacks on DAP Selangor State Committee member V. Ganapathirao and his brother Papparaidu in Klang on Wednesday night instead of propaganda concerns like the official video compilation on Bersih 3.0.

Yesterday, Hishammuddin said that a video compilation, containing footage of what transpired during the Bersih 3.0 rally last April 28, would be ready within two days and would be uploaded on the ministry’s website once it was ready.

He said it would contain “the good, bad and ugly” visuals received from many parties throughout the rally.

Would the official video compilation on the Home Ministry website contain all the available “ugly” videos of all the cases of brutality and violence which happened on Bersih 3.0, regardless of whether the victims were police personnel, media representatives or peaceful protestors or would it only be a very selective compilation as the latest in the official campaign of vilification and demonization of Bersih 3.0?

Malaysians are very wary of this official campaign of demonization of Bersih 3.0, both over government television channels and the Internet in the past month, completely ignoring the fact that Bersih 3.0 was a great historic awakening of a quarter of a million Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, class, region, age or gender, gathering peacefully for a common national cause but which was marred by incidents of brutality and violence involving a small number of police personnel and peaceful protestors.

Why is Hishammuddin giving top priority to this video compilation of what transpired during Bersih 3.0, when these videos should be furnished to the Suhakam inquiry into Bersih 3.0 to establish what actually happened on April 28?

Or could it be that Hishammuddin does not have absolute confidence in the Hanif “independent advisory panel” that he has decided unilaterally to upload on the Home Ministry website his video compilation of what transpired on Bersih 3.0 instead of submitting them to the Hanif panel?

Be that as it may, I call on Hishammuddin to act responsibly as Home Minister in two regards:

Firstly, to accede to legitimate public demands for the dissolution of the Hanif inquiry panel and government and police giving fully support to the Suhakam inquiry; and the submission of the video compilation to the Suhakam inquiry; and

Secondly, to give personal attention to escalating cases of political thuggery and violence in the country like the vicious attacks on Ganapathirao and Papparaidu in Klang on Wednesday night.

It is clear that the attack on the two was politically motivated, related to their successful organization and holding of the Indraf 2.0 rally in Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

Ganapathirao suffered nasal bone fracture, swollen jaw and several bruises while Pappparaidu had more serious injuries, with broken right arm and shoulder dislocated.

The escalation of the political culture of aggression, thuggery and violence in recent weeks, with Pakatan Rakyat figures and functions as the targets, must be deplored and condemned in the strongest possible terms – not only by the Pakatan Rakyat but also by the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and all Barisan Nasional leaders.

I had suggested that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should convene an all-party conference to end the escalating political culture of aggression, thuggery and violence to uphold the peaceful, democratic and constitutional political process in the country.

DAP and Pakatan Rakyat are prepared to play our role to end this political culture of aggression, thuggery and violence.

What is the response of the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, UMNO and Barisan Nasional leaders to this overture?

Or do they want to see the further escalation of the political culture of aggression, thuggery and violence in Malaysia?

Unladylike, undiplomatic attack on press

Local reporters were assaulted for wanting to interview a British lady politician when she came here for a visit.
COMMENT

Another senior woman Muslim politician in Kuala Lumpur was implicated in serious allegations of fraud last Sunday. A reporter and his cameramen attempted to interview her, but they were verbally abused, threatened with ejection from the premises, had their camera seized and attempts were made to destroy the footage of the scuffle.

The reporting crew only wanted to obtain her side of the story about the charges levelled against her.

Anyone who aspires to be a journalist should not accept threats or assaults when doing his job; but in Malaysia many reporters face harassment almost on a daily basis.

A journalist who is attacked communicates something to us; whatever he says is potentially damaging to someone. Someone has dirt to hide.

If you thought that the fracas described above involved a Malaysian politician, then you are wrong.

The politician was Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the most senior Muslim politician in Britain who has a ministerial portfolio in British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Cabinet. She is also the co-chairman of the UK’s Conservative Party. She was in Malaysia on a two-day official visit when news broke in London that she had been charged over an expenses scandal.

If you believed that the fracas involved Malaysian people only, then you are wrong, again. The shoddy treatment and verbal abuse was initiated by a lady from the NGO Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI). The assault and battery was continued by three men from the British High Commission.

One of the diplomatic staff grabbed the reporter’s camera and attempted to erase footage of the threats being directed at the reporters, moments earlier. His actions were recorded on an iPhone.

If this is how members of the diplomatic corps conduct themselves on foreign soil, then clearly they need re-training in diplomacy. It is clear that the three newsmen deserve an apology from the British High Commission, for their shabby treatment.

In Malaysia, acts of corruption happen on a daily basis that we have become immune to them. We shrug our shoulders when a new case crops up and seem resigned to a feeling of helplessness. In most cases, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) files are marked “No further Action”.

Sham investigation

Our leaders make a mockery of decent, hardworking and honest people by rewarding corrupt ones with more money and power.

It is interesting to note how the two countries – Britain and Malaysia – treat allegations of corruption and fraud.

Over here, the MACC’s investigations into the National Feedlot Corporation scandal has prompted a collective national outburst with “I told you so”, when former Women, Community and Family Development Minister, Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, was cleared of corruption.

One political observer said, “How much did the MACC spend on proving her innocence? The MACC investigation should not have been entertained because the taxpayer pays twice. Once for her family’s abuse of taxpayer’s money. Second was for this sham investigation.”

Baroness Warsi will not be treated with kid gloves like Shahrizat and can expect a major investigation into allegations that she claimed up to 2,000 pound (around RM10,000) in expenses while staying rent-free with a friend in early 2008. There are calls for her to resign.

The amount in Lady Warsi’s case is nothing compared to Shahrizat’s family’s abuse of RM250 million of taxpayers’ money. Some British politicians value integrity and public perception highly. The rule of law does appear to exist and investigations are usually conducted independently and with impartiality, in Britain.

The attack on the three newsmen who sought to interview Lady Warsi on Monday, is interesting.

The ASLI official appeared poorly trained in dealing with the press.

Why were the three newsmen assaulted? Why were ASLI and the British diplomats on the defensive? What had they to hide? Were they afraid of sensitive questions being asked?

Great public interest

The reporters wanted to cover a story about a lady politician from Britain who was allegedly involved in defrauding the British public. This is a story which is of great interest to the public. She had come to Malaysia to meet Islamic finance experts and to explore methods to enhance links between London and Kuala Lumpur on Islamic finance.

How ironic that Lady Warsi was implicated in this embarrassing allegation at a meeting in Kuala Lumpur to discuss finance. How ironic, too, that another lady Muslim Malaysian politician, Shahrizat, happened to be in the limelight simultaneously.

The ASLI event may have been a private one, but the reporters could have been asked to wait or to return later, rather than be assaulted.

Anyone who viewed a short video clip of Lady Warsi’s trip to Kuala Lumpur would have heard her say, “I’m delighted that Britain is back in Malaysia.”

Her comments reveal that the lack of exports to Malaysia must irk the British Cabinet. The European Union is in serious trouble and the British are desperate to expand trade ties.

Baroness Warsi’s trip was weeks after the official visit by Cameron. She met with senior Malaysian ministers and government officials, including Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

Britain is Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner in Europe, with total trade in goods of RM15 billion in 2011; but the UK only accounts for one percent of Malaysia’s total imports.

Baroness Warsi and Najib’s talk would have included trade and Islamic finance. So, what other topics would they have discussed?

Jittery NGOs

In the 1980s, Mahathir was livid about disputes over aircraft landing rights and the increase in university fees for students. He brought Britain to her knees and Britain’s “Iron Lady”, former premier Margaret Thatcher, was forced to strike a deal with Mahathir to end the “Buy British Last” campaign. There was also the scandal of the Pergau dam deal between the two.

Now that Britain’s economy is suffering, will Cameron be doing similar deals with Najib via Lady Warsi?

Could the meeting up north in Bangkok between a French lawyer and his Malaysian client, the NGO Suaram, have any bearing on Najib and Baroness Warsi’s discussions?

Will Najib apply pressure on Cameron to use his persuasive powers on his French counterpart to do something about Najib’s subpoena? These deals have an effect on Malaysian bilateral trade with Europe. It worked with Mahathir, it may work with Najib.

The threats against the journalists on Monday have exposed how jittery Malaysian NGOs have become, especially those which are closely associated with the government, like ASLI.

Did ASLI want to intimidate other reporters or did they create fear to pre-empt any questioning along the Najib-Cameron lines? Should we expect aid, trade, subpoena and Scorpene to be intertwined? Is there going to be another version of the Pergau dam scandal which involved Thatcher and Mahathir?

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.

Live – 80000 Pas supporters pack Alor Star stadium

Some 80000 people have packed Stadium Darulaman and its vicinity in a show of strength for Pas.
A large crowd filling up Stadium Darulaman earlier this evening
Although the stadium can seat only 32000, thousands more are seated on the field and the athletics tracks around it, shoulder to shoulder. Another 10000 are outside the stadium viewing the proceedings projected on large screens.
As of 8.50pm people are still entering the stadium and the attendance is expected to swell when Nik Aziz speaks.
Earlier in the day, Pas listed out its achievements in Kedah.
I take issue with the rise in revenue from logging being regarded as an ‘achievement’. Revenue from logging rose from RM35m in 2008 to RM80m in 2011. How do you measure the environmental loss? How sustainable is the state’s forestry management?
This also raises the question as to whether federal funding for the state is adequate, especially when you consider the strategic importance of Kedah as the ‘rice bowl of Malaysia’. I mean, the state feeds the rest of the country and so federal funding has to reflect that importance.

MyDaftar a failure, issues 'useless' papers to stateless