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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

'Navy secrets sale': Lodge report, Suaram told

If human rights group Suaram has proof that Malaysian navy secrets have been sold to a foreign company, then it should lodge a police report to enable investigations.

NONEIbrahim Ali (centre in photo), who heads Malay rights pressure group Perkasa, said Suaram should also produce a copy of the document involved.

Suaram had on May 31 revealed that a French inquiry into Paris-based shipbuilder DCNS found that it had paid Euro 36 million (RM142 million) to Terasasi (Hong Kong) Sdn Bhd as part of the purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines by Malaysia.

Part of the payment, the NGO has claimed, was for the sale of a classified document of the Malaysian navy's evaluation of the purchase order.

Ibrahim said that, while the government cannot compromise if there are indeed elements of corruption, the public should be wary of allegations made by foreigners.

"This information coming out of France and the west, we need to be cautious, sometimes they like to spin things," he told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today.

On June 2, PKR had lodged a report against premier Najib Abdul Razak, challenging the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the claim.

'Political gimmick'

On a separate matter, Ibrahim, who is Pasir Mas MP, urged the people of Kelantan not to heed the call by Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat for donations to build the Kota Bharu-Kuala Krai highway.

"The highway will cost RM1.8 billion. You can keep donating and even in 50 years the highway will not be completed,” said Ibrahim.

"It is under the jurisdiction of the federal government but they would face delays problems in acquiring land for the highway, especially if the state government is creating trouble.”

azlanHe also said the donation-funded highway dubbed the 'People's Highway' is in fact an election gimmick by the PAS-led state government to sow discontent against the federal government.

"After 23 years of rule, several issues are cropping up such as slow economic growth, unemployment, locals leaving the state, inability to provide clean water supply ...

“PAS is trying to cover up (all these weaknesses) by trying to create sympathy among the people, hoping that the locals will vote (for) them in the next general election.”

It would be best if the money is donated to mosques or orphanages, he added.

Sizeable Indian presence at Pakatan ceramah in Johor

Despite the fact that the size of the attendance at their ceramah has become an object of derision by their BN adversaries, Pakatan Rakyat are enthused by the reception they received on Sunday from a crowd in Ulu Tiram in Johor.

The ceramah was organised by Johor PKR and featured speakers from coalition partners DAP and PAS.

NONEAn overflow crowd of about 2,000 people, overwhelmingly Indian Malaysians, turned up to hear Pakatan heavies, Salahuddin Ayub of PAS and M Kulasegaran (right) of DAP.

They sat in a tented area located near a row of shophouses in a residential suburb of Ulu Tiram, a township in the parliamentary constituency of Tebrau, northeast of Johor Bahru.
The local complement of Pakatan was represented by Johor DAP chief Dr Boo Cheng Hau and Dr Mahfodz Mohamed, the PAS state chief.

PKR vice-president N Surendran was the highest ranking official of his party to speak at the ceramah, which dwelt in no small measure on the theme of stateless Indians in the country.

The biggest cheers from the crowd were reserved for Mahfodz when he expressed astonishment that some residents born in Malaysia cannot seem to get citizenship documents whereas workers born in foreign soil have obtained such documents and registered as voters.

NONEThe crowd also expressed their solidarity for the predicament of Bersih co-chair Ambiga Sreenevasan, the target of attacks by Perkasa and other right-wing groups resentful of her role in the organisation of the polls advocacy pressure group’s mass protest of April 28.

Every mention of her name by the evening’s speakers drew a round of sympathetic applause from the crowd, some of whom were seen carrying banners emblazoned with her picture.

BN’s wooing of the Indians

Indians have been a mainstay of support for the BN until the 2008 general election when they deserted the ruling coalition in droves over a host of grievances ranging from the endemic poverty of uprooted plantation workers forced by estate fragmentation to seek their living in towns to the demolition of Hindu temples.

Prime Minister Najib Razak has attempted to win back lost Indian support with direct cash aid to the poor and other inducements like an additional ministry for the MIC in the federal cabinet.

These measures are trumpeted by the MIC as having had the effect of enticing Indians back to the BN fold but the turnout of Indians at opposition events such as that in Ulu Tiram tends to gainsay those projections.

NONESurendran (far left) said: “The facts on the ground are more ambiguous than the claims made by opinion surveys and the BN generally that Indians have returned to backing the federal coalition.”

He added that the attacks of Perkasa and other Malay right-wing groups on Ambiga have drawn the sympathy of Indians to her, which could translate into a choice to stay with the opposition rather than reconcile with the BN.

Ruins of Hindu Temples in Sri Lanka. Stop this Hindu-Bouddha Clash and State sponsored Terrorism in Sri Lanka.

Hindu Temple destroyed in Sri Lanka in 1983 and onwards.

Input by Kumarathasan Rasingam.

During the state sponsored ethnic cleansing /riots against the Hindu Tamils in Sri Lanka, hundreds of Hindu Temples were attacked/destroyed/damaged. A short list of Hindu Temples attacked or destroyed in 1983 by state sponsored terrorism incited by Sinhala Government.

It is hard to believe that cabinet ministers in Sri Lanka do not know what goes on in the country they govern. They get information from briefings, internal memos and all sorts of other inside sources. In addition they also have access to the numerous, public and private, reports by outsiders. For example, at the March 1998 UNCHR hearing in Geneva, Joaquin Mbomio of North-South XXI, while condemning the attack on the Dalada Maligawa, stated, “some 1,800 Hindu temples have been destroyed by Sri Lanka’s military.”

The ministers might not know the exact number of temples destroyed by their army, but surely must be aware that the number runs in the hundreds…. (Ref : Taliban and the Sinhala Buddhists).

Destroyed by Sinhala Govt. Military Force
1. Viswanatha Sivan Temple in Trincomalee
2. Krishnan Temple in Trincomalee
3. Saneeswaran Temple in Trincomalee
4. Natesar Temple in Sivayogapuram, Trincomalee
5. Sri Tillaiambala Pillaiyar Temple in Anbuvalipuram, Trincomalee
6. Chithivinayakar Temple in Sinnatoduvai, Trincomalee
7. Vilankulam Pillaiyar Temple on Kandy Road, Trincomalee
8. Vyrutru Pillaiyar Temple on Kandy Road, Trincomalee
9. Pillaiyar Temple in China Bay, Trincomalee
10. Upparu Pillaiyar Temple in Trincomalee
11. Kitulootra Pallaiyar Temple in Kanniyai, Trincomalee
12. Kitulootra Murugan Temple in Trincomalee
13. Barathipuram Pillaiyar Temple in Pankulam, Trincomalee
14. Pillaiyar Temple in Pankulam, Trincomalee
15. Mudalikulam Pillaiyar Temple in Pankulam, Trincomalee
16. Ellai Kali Kovil in Pankulam, Trincomalee
17. Pillaiyar Temple in Panmadawachchi, Trincomalee
18. Papanasa Teertapillaiyar Temple in Trincomalee
19. Sri Pathini Amman Temple in Neelapalai, Kilivetti
20. Sri Kamakshi Ambal Temple in Jaffna
21. Saiva Maha Sabha in Kurunegala
22. Udupi Sri Muthuvinayakar Temple in Matale
23. Sri Muthumari Amman Temple in Matale
24. Muthuvinayakar Temple in Matale
25. Sri Chithivinayakar Temple in Matale
26. Sri Kadiresan Temple in Matale
27. Sri Poobalakrishnar Ashram in Matale
28. Sri Ganga Vinayakar Temple in Madulkelle
29. Kurinji Kumaran Temple, Peradeniya
30. Sri Muthumariamman Temple in Nawalapitya
31. Atmajothy Nilayam in Nawalapitiya
32. Athivinayakar Temple in Haldumulla, Haputale
33. Sri Sivasubramanya Temple in Bandarawela
34. Sri Kadiresan Temple in Badulla
35. Hindu Temple in Malangama, Badulla
36. Hindu Temple in Narangala, Badulla
37. Kali Temple in Rockhill, Badulla
38. Sri Poobalavinayakar Temple in Peliyagoda
39. Sri Balaselvavinayakar Temple in Maradana, Colombo
40. Sri Devi Karumari Amman Temple in Maligawatte, Colombo
42. Srimath Arunachaleswara Devasthanam in Colombo
43. Ramakrishna Mission, Colombo
44. Kandasamy Temple in Panadura
45. Sri Subramanya Temple in Matara
46. Hindu Pilgrims’ Rest in Matara
**List of Damage caused to Hindu Kovils (Temples) in the North-East of the Island of Sri Lanka
Source: Face Book Posting.

Imams' indoctrinating French Muslims w/ culture of racism

France: Three Jews Beaten With Hammers, Iron Bars by Islamic Youths
JUNE 3, 2012 6:03 PM
Author: Algemeiner Staff

Three yarmulke wearing Jewish youths were brutally assaulted on Saturday night by a mob of over a dozen who beat them with hammers and Iron bars. The incident took place in Villeurbanne, near Lyon in southeast France. French blogs reported that the crime was carried out by Islamic youths.

The victims were hospitalized suffering various wounds and were subsequently released according to French newspaper L’Express. Police forces have begun a manhunt in search of the suspects.

On Sunday the Interior Ministry said that they believe the assault to be motivated by antisemitism.

Minister Manuel Valls, denounced the attack in a statement calling the act “extremely serious” and “a deliberate attack against our republican model that should enable everyone, without distinction, to live freely and safely expressing his religious affiliation “.

The assault comes just months following the brutal massacre of four by an Islamic terrorist at a Jewish school in Toulouse.

In reaction to the incident, French Jewish artist Ron Agam told the Algemeiner that, “It is about time now for the French authorities to radically search for these Imams and put a stop to the brainwashing on tens of thousands of Muslim kids in France.”

“It is unacceptable that this culture of racism and antisemitism is being tolerated by a significant number of the Muslim community,
this culture must stop,” he concluded.

Breivik judge caught playing solitaire in court of the five judges in the case of Anders Behring Breivik, the mass killer on trial in Norway, has been caught on camera playing solitaire in court.

In a picture published in Norwegian media, one of the three lay judges, Ernst Henning Eielsen, can be seen playing the card game on his computer.

Also on Monday, Breivik has told the court he was slighted by Muslims on several occasions during his childhood.

He carried out two deadly attacks in Norway last summer, killing 77 people.

Mr Eielsen has not denied playing a game of cards, a court spokeswoman told the AFP news agency.

“The judges are attentively following what is being said and what is being presented to the court,” Irene Ramm told AFP.

“There are different ways of staying focused,” she added.

On Monday, Breivik also recalled that when he was seven, his friend’s Turkish father wrecked his bicycle, and at the age of 15 he was slapped by a Pakistani underground driver for riding on the outside of a underground car, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Breivik admits the attacks in Oslo and on the island of Utoeya, in which 77 people died and 242 were wounded.

The trial is seeking to establish whether the 33-year-old is sane, in which case he will be sent to prison.

If not, he will be held in a psychiatric institution.

Breivik denies criminal responsibility, arguing his attacks were necessary to combat multiculturalism and prevent a “Muslim invasion” of Norway and Europe.

(BBC News)

Ambiga: No way Bersih will meet Hanif

Both Bersih and Bar Council will not even make suggestions to replace the two members who have left the government's advisory panel.

PETALING JAYA: Bersih is adamant that it will not meet with the government’s independent advisory panel until its head, former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Hanif Omar, steps down from the panel.

The coalition for free and fair elections was responding to Hanif’s call yesterday where he said that he would like to meet the organisers to get their point of view of what transpired during the rally.

Bersih co-chairperson, S Ambiga, said that it will not meet with Hanif as they were opposed to the panel based on principle.

“We are against the panel based on principle. There is nothing personal against Hanif but he has made remarks to reflect his bias.

“Therefore to us, the panel is a non-starter,” she told FMT today.

She said that Bersih was so strongly against the panel that it will not even make suggestions to replace the two members who have stepped down.

Hanif announced yesterday that two members have quit the panel. The two were former chief justice of Borneo Steve Shim Lip Kiong who pulled out for health reasons and Petronas corporate affairs senior general manager Medan Abdullah due to work commitments.

He added that it was up to the panel’s secretariat to announce their replacements soon.

Ambiga said today that one of the basic principles of law was that justice need to be seen to be implemented.

The panel, however, falls short of the principle following Hanif’s statements against Bersih during the rally’s aftermath, she added.

Flawed panel

Hanif was appointed by the Home Ministry to lead the panel on May 9. Before his appointment, Hanif was quoted in a Bernama report linking communist elements to the gathering which demanded free and fair elections.

He reportedly said: “The tactics of using provocateurs to cause the demonstrators to clash with police and to bring children along in the hope they would get injured were tactics learnt from past pro-communist demonstrations.”

He added that based on images and photographs taken during the rally, he recognised pro-communist individuals who were involved in the 1970s demonstrations.

These comments drew brickbats from both rally organisers, Bersih and the Bar.

Ambiga, however, said that Bersih was ready to give its full cooperation to the Suhakam inquiry.

“Let them not think that Bersih is unprepared. We are prepared to speak to anyone who are not biased. Therefore we will fully participate in the Suhakam inquiry,” she added.

Suhakam, the national human rights commission, set up its own panel on May 21 to investigate abuses of human rights during the rally which turned ugly after a few protesters breached the barricade which cordoned off Dataran Merdeka.

Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee, however, reiterated that they were willing to meet with Hanif to explain its final report to him.

He, however, said the they, too, like Bersih will not be making any recommendations to replace the two panel members as they too found the panel to be flawed.

“We take the view that this panel is flawed with the membership of Hanif whose two statements disqualify him from sitting, and the lack of legal framework represents a great handicap, in comparison to the Suhakam inquiry,” he said.

Doubts loom over political leaders

Over the decades, the quality and ability of leaders in the Malaysian political arena have come under a cloud.

The greatness of a nation hinges entirely on the quality and ability of its leaders. A nation is only as good as its leaders.

While the Atlantic powers, the United States and Western Europe have long produced leaders and statesmen of world stature to move their nations forward, Malaysia too has a great leader in Tunku Abdul Rahman who spearheaded the movement to obtain independence from the ruling British colonialists.

But somehow, after wresting independence from the British, and with the premature exit of the Tunku, subsequent Malaysian prime ministers have produced mixed fortunes for the country.

The leadership qualities which the Tunku possessed could possibly be attributed to him having been greatly influenced by British traits. It is no secret that many of the Tunku’s values, convictions and principles were strong depictions of the values of the British.

But after the Tunku stepped down as prime minister, the subsequent changes and styles of leadership have brought about haphazard changes to Malaysia.

If Malaysians are now in a quandary over their future, it is a situation not without basis. In the coming 13th general election, the nation is set to witness a fierce “battle royale” between Barisan Nasional (BN) and Pakatan Rakyat.

The stage has been set for this decisive encounter but many diehard political pundits are unsure as to what the final outcome will be like.

However, what is of greater concern to Malaysians is the nature, behaviour, quality and capability of political aspirants to lead the rakyat.

Motivated by self-interest

Of late, Malaysians, no matter which side of the political divide they support, have noticed that quite a number of Malaysian politicians lack integrity and ability.

Many Malaysians now tend to agree that there is a lack of capable leaders to steer the country forward. Those politicians who are eager to lead are invariably motivated by self-interest and self-seeking ambition.

This is precisely why there are non-political figures who have emerged on the scene to help “put things right”. In past general elections, Malaysians have always endorsed politicians, but now they are beginning to lend support to the voices of leaders outside the political arena.

The Malaysian Bar, Bersih, Suaram and other NGOs and organisations are beginning to overshadow elected representatives. This is because more and more Malaysians have come to believe that corruption has destroyed the trust people placed in those holding political office.

If they do not openly state it, it is understandable. But Malaysians, irrespective of race or religion, education or social status, are now becoming more convinced that the political candidates on offer do not meet the expectations and hopes of the rakyat.

Perhaps what Malaysians want, after having been under BN rule for so many decades, are capable leaders who will do what is expected of them to move the nation forward.

The nation today finds itself in a dire predicament because it has to put up with leaders who want to do things their way. They want to place self-interests above those of the people.

Without fear or favour

Malaysians are not the only ones who have cast doubts over the political direction of the country; the international community too has openly voiced concern over the policies implemented in the country.

While Malaysian leaders might like to contend that the country is a sovereign state and will not tolerate any meddling in its domestic affairs, it pays to listen carefully to what these “meddlers” are saying.

By doing so, the leaders can put to rest any allegations levelled against them.

It is imperative that changes be made in the selection of candidates for the coming general election; otherwise, the country will become a failed state.

Malaysians should choose their leaders without fear or favour and support those who can deliver the goods. Candidates with tainted background should be removed. Only those willing to sacrifice and serve the people should command the respect and recognition of Malaysians to safeguard and strengthen the future of the nation.

Christopher Fernandez has been teaching and writing throughout Asia since 1984.

Bersih 3.0: Pemimpin PKR didakwa merusuh

Timbalan Ketua PKR Cabang Rasah R Tangam mengaku tidak bersalah terhadap dakwaan tambahan iaitu merusuh.

KUALA LUMPUR: Timbalan Ketua Parti Keadilan Rakyat Cabang Rasah R. Tangam, yang didakwa sebelum ini berhubung perhimpunan Bersih 3.0, hari ini mengaku tidak bersalah di Mahkamah Sesyen terhadap pertuduhan tambahan iaitu merusuh pada perhimpunan itu, di Jalan Raja, 28 April lepas.

Peguam kanan Rajesh Kumar Gejinder Nath, 45, dan Exco Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK) Farhan Ibrahim@Alias, 29, yang juga telah didakwa sebelum ini, turut mengaku tidak bersalah atas pertuduhan sama.

Mereka didakwa bersama penyokong ‘Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih 3.0)’ yang melebihi lima orang yang masih bebas menentang perintah Majistret Zaki Asyraf Zubir dengan menggunakan kekerasan dan keganasan, semasa perhimpunan itu.

Pada 26 April lalu, Zaki Asyraf mengeluarkan perintah melarang orang awam mengadakan perhimpunan di kawasan Dataran Merdeka pada 28 April hingga 1 Mei lepas.

Tangam, 50, Rajesh Kumar dan Farhan didakwa melakukan kesalahan itu di Jalan Raja, 3 petang, 28 April lalu dan didakwa mengikut Seksyen 147 Kanun Keseksaan yang membawa hukuman penjara sehingga dua tahun atau denda atau kedua-duanya sekali jika disabitkan kesalahan.

Bulan lepas, ketiga-tiga mereka didakwa di mahkamah yang sama terhadap pertuduhan melanggar perintah Mahkamah Majistret itu.

Sementara itu, seorang lelaki hari ini turut didakwa terhadap pertuduhan tambahan iaitu menyebabkan kecederaan terhadap wartawan stesen TV Al-Hijrah, Mohd Azri Mohd Salleh, 28, di Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, pada 3.50 petang, 28 April lalu.

Tertuduh, Mohd Safuan Mamat@Nordin, 25, didakwa mengikut Seksyen 323 Kanun Keseksaan yang membawa hukuman penjara sehingga setahun atau denda sebanyak RM2,000 atau kedua-duanya jika sabit kesalahan.

Dia yang diwakili peguam Mohd Tajuddin Abd Razak sebelum ini didakwa terhadap dua pertuduhan iaitu merosakkan kenderaan milik Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) dengan menggunakan sebuah kon dan mendatangkan kecederaan kepada Konstabel Mohamad Kamil Paiman.

Timbalan Pendakwa Raya Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria memohon kepada mahkamah agar kes Tangam, Rajesh Kumar dan Farhan dibicarakan bersama.

Hakim Mahmud Abdullah menetapkan 2 Julai ini untuk sebutan semula kes Tangam, Rajesh Kumar dan Farhan dan menetapkan 4 hingga 7 Sept tarikh bicara bagi kes Mohd Safuan.

Barisan pembelaan diwakili peguam Afiq M. Noor mewakili Tangam manakala Rajpal Singh mewakili Rajesh Kumar dan Farhan diwakili Shamsul Iskandar.

– Bernama

Anwar covered up Bank Negara losses, says RPK

The influential blogger said the former deputy prime minister had absolved Bank Negara of any wrong-doing in 1994, which prompted Lim Kit Siang to accuse Anwar Ibrahim of lying.

PETALING JAYA: Former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was involved in covering up the multi-billion ringgit losses by Bank Negara some 20 years ago, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin claimed.

In his blog posting yesterday, the blogger said that even DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang had called Anwar a liar in 1994 when the latter was alleged to have denied it.

“Lim raised the matter in Parliament back in the mid-1990 and Anwar denied it. Lim was so upset that he accused Anwar of lying to the august House,” alleged Raja Petra.

Raja Petra was responding to former Bank Negara deputy governor Rosli Yaakop’s allegation two days ago, when the latter reportedly told a forum that there were four people involved in the losses amounting to RM30 billion suffered by Bank Negara in mid-90s.

Rosli named former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, former Bank Negara governor, the late Jaafar Hussein, and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nor Mohamed Yakcop of being involved in the scandal.

He accused them of gambling recklessly on the foreign exchange (forex) speculation activities at the expense of Bank Negara’s assets.

It was said that Jaafar and Nor were trying to beat billionaire financial speculator George Soros in the forex speculation market.

When the matter was raised in Parliament in April 1994 by Lim, Anwar had denied it, saying he was “fully satisfied with the reasons” given by Jaffar for the Bank Negara’s forex losses.

Raja Petra said that Anwar’s attempt to cover up the losses itself is tantamount to him being involved in the scandal.

The blogger also queried Rosli, who is also a PAS member, on why he did not expose the matter in 1999, when he resigned from Bank Negara.

“Why after more than 10 years did he decide to speak up even though he has not offered any evidence to support his allegation?” asked Raja Petra.

Why still no action over MyKad brawl?

Aastivaram Foundation vice president R Sri Sanjeevan says the police must act on the matter as the brawl happened right outside the Prime Minister's Office.

PETALING JAYA: A non-governmental organisation queried on why the police have not charged anyone over the brawl between MIC and PKR members outside the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) last month.

Aastivaram Foundation vice president R Sri Sanjeevan said the brawl happened in early May but the police were hesitating to act as there were photographic evidence of the fight.

“And the pictures clearly showed that MIC members started the fight. Are Barisan Nasional (BN) members immune from the law?” asked Sanjeevan.

On May 2, a PKR delegation to the PMO, led by party vice president N Surendran, got embroiled in a fist-fight with several MIC youth members after a heated exchange.

The brawl resulted in Puchong PKR division chief S Murali suffering severe eye injury and was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Targetting Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Sanjeevan reminded the minister of his promises that he would act without fear and favour on any criminal activity.

“If Hishammuddin fears losing Indian support by acting on the matter, the minister’s inaction will erode support for the BN at an even greater scale,” he said.

Skandal Wang Asing BNM 1992-93: Ziarah Semula

Skandal Wang Asing BNM 1992-93: Ziarah SemulaPada hari Rabu, 30 Mei 2012, awal pagi, saya menerima satu pesanan ringkas yang berbunyi: “Salam Dr. Rosli. Kaifahal? Saya Syed Mikael dari Penang Institute. Berhajat besar utk menjemput tuan hadir memberi pdgn dlm satu forum khas bertajuk “Bank Negara Forex Scandal: When Government Becomes Speculator.” Forum ini bakal diadakan pada 2.30 ptg, Sabtu ini 2 Jun 2012 di Dewan Sri Pinang, Padang Kota Lama, Pulau Pinang. Selain tuan, CM Lim Guan Eng dan DS Anwar Ibrahim turut jd panelis. Ini adalah permintaan pribadi DSAI kpd tuan. Harap dapat hadir.”

Apabila membaca mesej itu saya menjadi kelam kabut (tetapi saya tahu ayat terakhir itu adalah tambahan dengan maksud tidak sopan kalau saya menolak). Pertama, saya memang sudah ada program tetap di hujung minggu. Setiap minggu, kecuali ada hal yang lebih utama, mulai petang hari Khamis sehinggalah ke petang hari Ahad, saya mesti berada di Rembau – turun padang. Kedua, pada hari Jumaat, 1 Jun, saya mesti hadir bersama-sama rombongan dari Rembau ke program “Himpunan Hijau ke Putra Jaya” di Alor Star, Kedah. Ketiga, pada hari Ahad, 3 Jun, saya mesti kembali ke Rembau kerana majlis perkahwinan anak buah (anak adik) saya. Saya tahu ibu saya akan sedih jika saya tidak bersama di majlis itu.

Keempat, masa yang ada memang suntuk dan amat sukar bagi saya untuk membuat persediaan, tambahan lagi, ini bukan subjek yang mudah.

Kelima, maudhu’ yang akan dibicarakan sudah lama saya tinggalkan. Kali terakhir saya berbicara mengenainya ialah pada April 2006 bila pemberita akhbar Malaysiakini menemubual saya mengenainya. Betul, saya ada menulis mengenainya tetapi saya kena mentelaah kembali tulisan-tulisan itu kerana banyak perinciannya yang saya telah lupa.

Keputusan saya: saya kena tolak undangan. Namun, hati saya terus berbolakbalik di antara hendak kata ia atau tidak.

Saya akhirnya menalipon Syed Mikael menyatakan, dengan hati yang berat dan rasa terbeban, “setuju.” Perkiraan saya ialah saya memang akan ke utara dan program mingguan di Rembau pun telah dibatalkan kerana ramai ahli yang akan ke Kedah menyertai perhimpuan hijau dan setelah berjanji kepada ibu, saya akan berada di Rembau pada pagi Ahad itu, Insya Allah.

Saya dan isteri ke Pulau Pinang pada hari Khamis 31 Mei bertolak dari Subang Jaya pada pukul 5 pagi dan sampai di Pulau Pinang pada pukul 8.30 pagi. Kami menginap di Hotel Equitorial. Berbekalkan sedikit maklumat yang saya telah kumpulkan sebelum bertolak, saya memerapkan diri di bilik hotel, mentelalah bahan yang saya bawa dan melayari internet untuk bahan tambahan dalam menyediakan satu power point presentation untuk dibentangkan di dalam forum.

Isteri saya merungut kerana saya tidak membawa beliau bersiar-siar di Pulau Pinang. Hendak menziarahi saudara mara pun terpaksa dilupakan. Dia reda sedikit bila pada sebelah senjanya, kami keluar makan malam di restoran Pak Su di Sungai Dua dan makan durian dari dusun Pak Su sendiri yang turut dijaja di situ. Kembali ke hotel saya terus menyambung kerja hingga lewat malam.

Sesudah subuh, hari Jumaat, 1 Jun, dalam hujan yang lebat, kami memandu kereta ke Alor Setar. Program di Alor Setar memang menyemarakkan semangat perjuang tetapi meletihkan. Bila kembali dari Alor Setar pada dinihari, Sabtu 2 Jun, saya menginap di Hotel Penaga, di Hutton Lane. Se awal selepas sembahyang subuh, saya menyambung kerja menyiapkan ppp. Ianya siap pada pukul 12.30 petang dan terus saya emelkan kepada Syed Mikael kerana saya telah berjanji akan emel kepada beliau pada sebelah pagi. Saya terlewat.

Saya tiba di Dewan Sri Pinang pada pukul 2.00 petang. Forum bermula pada kira-kira pukul 3.30 petang kerana DSAI yang berkereta dari Kuala Lumpur terperangkap di dalam kesesakan lalu lintas di Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan. Perjalanan mengambil masa lima setengah jam berbanding 3-4 jam jika tiada kesesakan.

Kepada kira-kira 400 hadirin dan hadirat di majlis forum itu saya memberitahu ada sekurang-kurang lapan isu utama yang mengundang jawapan berkaitan dengan tajuk forum itu (forum diadakan dalam Bahasa Inggeris). Saya kongsi isu-isu dan jawapan yang saya kemukakan di forum itu dengan pembaca Harakah.

Pertama, wajarkah Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) berspekulasi di pasaran pertukaran wang asing?

Tidak. BNM tidak boleh sama sekali terlibat di dalam kegiatan spekulasi di dalam pasaran wang kerana risiko kerugian daripada kegiatan ini amat tinggi. Fungsi sebenar BNM adalah sebaliknya, iaitu, memerangi kegiatan spekulasi. Di dalam pasaran pertukaran wang asing khususnya, fungsi teras BNM ialah menjaga dan melindungi nilai Ringgit Malaysia (MYR) berbanding nilai matawang asing khususnya matawang rakan dagang utama negara seperti Dolar Amerika (USD), Ringgit Singapura, Paun British (GBP), Deutch Mark (DM), Yen, Swiss Franc, French Franc dan sebagainya. BNM mesti melindungi MYR dari serangan spekulatif dan menjaga nilai pertukaran MRY supaya sentiasa stabil dan pasaran wang setiasa cukup kecairan.

Kedua, bilakah BNM mula terlibat di dalam kegiatan spekulasi di dalam pasaran pertukaran wang asing?

BNM mula melibatkan diri di dalam kegiatan spekulasi di pasaran pertukaran wang apabila Tan Sri Jaffar Hussien (arwah) dilantik Gabenor pada tahun 1985. Gabenor-Gabenor sebelum beliau – Tun Ismail Ali (arwah) dan Tan Sri Aziz Taha (meletak jawatan) – semuanya menentang kegiatan spekulasi matawang. Malah, mereka sentiasa mempertahankan BNM sebagai badan yang harus bebas dari campur tangan pemerintahan. Kerana tidak rela dijadikan “budak suruhan” kepada Menteri Kewangan yang mengarahkan Tan Sri Aziz berbuat sesuatu yang bertentangan dengan prinsip dan etika bank pusat, beliau memilih meletakkan jawatan. Mungkin, antaranya, beliau enggan berspekulasi di pasaran wang asing.

Isyarat bahawa BNM akan bersepekulasi di pasaran pertukaran wang asing disebut di dalam satu syarahan yang disampaikan oleh TSJH di Delhi dalam tahun 1989. Beliau menyebut bahawa beliau telah menambahkan dimensi ketiga dan keempat kepada pengurusan rizab BNM, iaitu, mengoptimamkan keuntungan dan membangunkan kemahiran berurusniaga di dalam pasaran wang asing. Sebelum ini, teras utama pengurusan rizab adalah menjaga dan melindunigi nilai MYR dan mengekalkan kecairan di dalam pasaran. Sejak dari itu bermulalah penglibatan BNM dalam kegiatan spekulasi di pasaran wang asing dalam skala besar dengan tujuan menjana keuntangan maksimam sehingga mengkesampingkan teras utama pengurusan rizab.

BNM bukan lagi berspekulasi di dalam pasaran untuk menjaga nilai ringgit tetapi berjudi dengan harapan mendapat untung besar dan segera. Bila ada pihak yang bertanya kenapa BNM berspekulasi secara besar-besaran sedangkan tidak ada mana-mana bank pusat yang berbuat demikian, maka TSJH sering memberi alasan “untuk mempertahankan nilai ringgit dan mengawal inflasi.” Ini terbukti falsu kemudiannya apabila kerugian besar akibat berjudi terdedah dan nilai pertukaran asing MYR merudum dalam tahun 1997-98 diserang spekulator.

Ketiga, Berapa besar dana digunakan BNM untuk berjudi di dalam pasaran pertukaran asing?

Kerana ketiadaan penyiasatan, jumlah dana terlibat sukar diperinci. Tetapi, pakar-pakar pasaran memang mengetahui bahawa pada satu ketika BNM (sebelum skandal terdedah) adalah pemain terbesar di dalam pasaran pertukaran wang asing di dunia. Lawannya hanyalah George Soros, “penyangak matawang.” Akhbar Reuter pernah melaporkan bahawa BNM adalah “sebuah kuasa yang dominan di dalam pasaran pertukaran wang sejak beberapa tahun kebelakangan ini. Bahawa, BNM telah menjana keuntungan yang agak lumayan dari kegiatan itu sejak sebelum tahun 1992-93, telah mendorong BNM untuk bermain di dalam pasaran pertukran asing dalam skala yang semakin besar.”

Pedagang-pedagang matawang asing biasanya berjual beli dalam lot USD1 juta, USD5 juta dan paling tinggi USD 10 juta. Tetapi BNM berniaga dalam lot USD 50 juta dan kadang-kadang dalam lot USD1 bilion (dalam istilah pasaran, ini dipanggil satu ela) dalam sehari. Amat jarang sekali peniaga matawang asing berjual beli dalam lot yang besar. Penanding yang paling hampir kepada BNM dalam kegiatan jual beli di dalam pasaran pertukaran asing ini ialah pengurus-pengurus dana Jepun. Itu pun mereka berani bermain paling tinggi dalam lot USD50 juta dan setakat sekali atau dua kali setahun. BNM bermain dalam lot-lot besar ini setiap hari. Ertinya, BNM memang berjudi di dalam pasaran, satu aktiviti yang tidak ada kena-mengena langsung dengan fungsi “mempertahankan nilai ringgit dan mengawal inflasi.”

Strategi BNM ialah membeli dahulu sesuatu matang wang dalam jumlah beberapa bilion USD dan setelah urusan pertama ini selesai (selang beberapa minit sahaja), ia akan membeli beberapa billion USD lagi. Ini menjana kejutan di dalam pasaran dan pedgang-pedagang lain menjadi panik dan akan tergesa-gesa membeli matawang berkenanan. Akibatnya, harga akan naik dan ketika itulah BNM menjual pegangannya dan menjana keuntungan lumayan. Akhirnya, pedagang-pedagang lain akan tahu helah ini dan bila mereka tahu, mereka akan bertindak balas. Maka bertemulah buku dengan ruas.

Dalam tahun 1992, BNM berjudi di dalam Paun British (GBP). Ia membeli dengan jangkaan GPB akan naik nilai. Pada masa yang sama, George Soros membuat “short selling” ke atas GBP (jual dulu dan beli kemudian) kerana dia menjangka nilai GBP akan jatuh di masa hadapan. Jangkaan soros tepat. Nilai GBP jatuh. BNM rugi USD5.5 bilion dan Soros untung USD1.7 bilion. TSJH berbohong dengan mengumumkan bahawa BNM hanya rugi di atas kertas sebanyak RM9.3 bilion. Hanya kemudian (dalam tahun 1993) beliau mengakui BNM rugi RM10.1 bilion.

Pakar-pakar membuat anggaran bahawa kerugian sebesar itu hanya boleh terjadi kalau BNM berspekulasi dalam pasaran sebanyak US27-33 bilion. Jumlah ini 5 kali ganda jumlah rizab BNM pada masa itu dan lebih besar dari nilai asset BNM, iaitu, USD20.7 bilion ketika itu, bermakna BNM sudah bankrap. Ini bukan hendak menjaga nilai ringgit dan mengawal inflasi, ini berjudi sakan.

Perjudian BNM di dalam pasaran pertukaran wang asing ini telah dikesan oleh bank pusat Amerika (Federal Reserve Bank) dan Gabenornya pada masa itu, Alan Greenspan telah menggesa BNM menghentikan segera perbuatan itu. Tetapi, BNM buat pekak badak. Ia terus bermain judi dan akhirnya rugi besar lagi dalam tahun 1993.

Akhbar “Malaysia Business” melaporkan bahawa pada kemuncaknya, BNM pernah berspekulasi di dalam pasaran pertukaran wang asing sehingga RM270 bilion (USD90-100 bilion). Pedagang-pedagang matawang asing BNM amat agresif dan digelar “pembuli pasaran” (market bully). Mereka seolah-oleh diberi oleh bos mereka cek kosong, berbelanja ikut suka. Yang sebenarnya, yang berjudi itu seorang sahaja, iaitu Nor Mohamed Yakcop. Khabarnya (berita yang hangat di kalangan kakitangan BNM), apa yang beliau buat ialah beliau berjual beli menggunakan komputer orang lain - pegawai-pegawai di bawah beliau. Beliau akan bergerak dari satu komputer ke satu komputer sehingga pasaran melihat BNM mempunyai ramai pedagang matawang asing yang agresif walhal yang agresif hanya seoarng sahaja. Beliau selalu datang mesyuarat lambat dan ketika mesyuarat sedang berjalan, keluar pergi ke kamar dagangan (dealing room). Beliau membuat laporan palsu kepada Gabenor tetapi kerana dia licik, maka Gebenor percaya semua laporan sehinggalah “nasi telah menjadi bubur” barulah Gabenor sedar orang yang dipercayainya selama ini telah bermain kayu tiga dengan beliau, buat cerita dongeng.

Keempat, berapa besarkah kerugian yang ditanggung BNM akibat dari perjudian itu?

Memang sukar diketahui dengan tepat tanpa penyiasatan. YB Lim Kit Siang pernah menyebut di parlimen bahawa jumlah kesemua kerugian ialah RM30 bilion, satu jumlah yang amat menggerunkan. Inilah jumlah kerugian yang paling kerap disebut di kalangan pemain pasaran.

BNM mengakui kerugian sebanyak RM10.1 bilion dalam tahun 1992 dan RM5.7 bilion dalam tahun 1993. Jumlahnya RM15.8 bilion, kira-kira setengah dari anggaran pakar. Jumlah yang diakui oleh BNM itu memang secara muslihat direndahkan. Sebahagian kerugian itu disorokkan melalui menilai semula pegangan emas BNM pada harga pasaran yang telah menjadi lebih tinggi berbanding harga mula-mula ia dibeli dan menilai pelaburan BNM dalam saham tersenarai dan beberapa lagi harta yang lain. BNM juga menggunakan “creative accounting” bagi menyorok kerugian. Kerugian telah ditukarkan menjadi “harta” dengan mencipta istilah baru perakaunan, iaitu, “deferred expenditure” atau “perbelanjaan tertunda” – wang telah dibelanjakan dahulu tetapi akan dibayar secara ansuran kemudian. Ini adalah penipuan. TSJH, seorang akauntan bertauliah, telah menderhakai profesyen beliau sendiri.

Kelima, siapakah yang bertangungjawab di atas kerugian?

BNM berjudi sakan di pasaran pertukaran matawang asing semasa Tun Daim Zainuddin (TDZ) menjadi Menteri Kewangan. Semua orang maklum, TDZ ini seorang spekulator besar dalam pasaran saham. Beliau menjana kekayaan melalui spekulasi di pasaran saham. Dengan nada angkuh beliau pernah dilaporkan berkata: “Apa yang saya jana di pasaran saham itu hanyalah duit poket saya.”

Diyakini bahawa arahan “pergi buat duit di pasaran pertukaran asing” kepada BNM datangnya dari TDZ dan tentunya direstui oleh Perdana Menteri Tun Mahathir Mohamad (TMM). Umum mengetahui kedua-dua mereka rapat, bagaikan isu dengan kuku. Arahan itu dilaksanakan kerana BNM memiliki seorang Gabenor yang berwatak “Yes Man” bukan macam Tun Ismail Ali dan Tan Sri Aziz Taha. Harus diingat TDZ – kerana gagal menundukkan Tan Sri Aziz Taha dengan arahan tidak munasabah - telah berjaya menekan Tan Sri Aziz sehingga beliau meletak jawatan. Gabenor TSJH pula mempunyai “Yes Man” lapisan kedua, iaitu, Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

Pada peringkat BNM, kerugian gergasi ini adalah tanggungjawab TSJH dan Nor Mohamed Yakcop sepenuhnya. Mereka, walaubagaimana pun mengambil arahan daripada dan membuat laporan terus kepada TDZ dan TMM mengenai permainan mereka di pasaran matawang ini. Pegawai tinggi BNM yang lain tidak tahu apa-apa. Timbalan Gabenor pada masa itu, Tan Sri Dr. Lin See Yan diketepikan. Sesungguhnya, mereka berdua telah terpesong jauh dari batasan (went overboard) dalam memperjudikan harta BNM di pasaran pertukaran asing. Mereka bukan berspekulasi tetapi berjudi secara cuai dan tidak bertanggung jawab dengan tidak mengendahkan langsung tentang keselamatan harta BNM dan harta negara. Mungkin mereka bernafsu besar untuk mengalahkan Goerge Soros yang dikenali sebagai “raja perompak” (robber baron) itu bertujuan memenangi hati bos mereka bahawa mereka mempunyai kepakaran tanpa tolok banding di dalam urusniaga matawang asing.

Jadi, empat orang adalah orang yang harus dipertanggungjawabkan sepenuhnya di atas kerugian gergasi yang ditanggung BNM akibat perjudian di pasaran pertukaran asing – Perdana Menteri, Tun Mahathir Mohamad, Menteri Kewangan, Tun Dain Zainuddin, Gabenor, Tan Sri Jaffar Hussein dan Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

Bila Dato Sri Anwar Ibrahim mengambil alih sebagai Menteri Kewangan dalam tahiun 1991, BNM memang sudah terperangkap di dalam perjudian di pasaran. Beliau dinafikan maklumat mengenai keterdedahan BNM dalam pasaran pertukaran asing – berapa besar pelaburan, untung atau rugi, semuanya disembunyikan dari beliau. Beliau mendapat maklumat serpihan dari pihak ketiga.

Beliau, seperti yang diakui. pernah meminta maklumat terperinci dari Gabenor TSJH tetapi beliau disuruh pergi memintanya daripada Perdana Menteri. Bila DSAI dilantik Menteri Kewangan, kerugian telah menggunung - “nasi telah menjadi bubur.” Apa yang boleh beliau buat hanyalah memberhentikan pendarahan dan itu beliau telah berjaya buat.

Beliau “membuang” Gabenor dan Nor Mohamed Yakcop dari BNM pada pertengahan tahun 1994 selepas pembentangan laporan Tahunan BNM 1993 yang mendedahkan kerugian dari spekulasi wang asing itu. Beliau juga melarang sama sekali BNM dari bersepekulasi di pasaran matawang asing. Larangan ini berkuatkusa hingga kini.

Penganalisis merasakan beliau akhirnya membayar kos yang tinggi atas tindakan beliau itu – difitnah, dibuang kerja dan dipenjara 6 tahun.

Orang yang memberi arahan supaya BNM berspekulasi di pasaran wang asing adalah TMM dan TDZ dan “kerja kotor” diserahkan kepada TSJH dan NMY untuk melaksanakannya. Jadi, TSJH dan NMY mempunyai pelindung. Sebab itu mereka bebas, tidak didakwa langsung.

Keenam, Kenapakah orang yang bertanggungjawab dibiarkan lepas-bebas?

Nor Mohamed Yakcop dipaksa meletak jawatan pada Julai 1994, satu hukuman yang amat ringan berbanding jenayah yang telah beliau lakukan terhadap negara. Malah, beliau kemudiannya diberi habuan lebih besar – kembali ke BNM dan menjadi menteri kabinet.

TSJH juga dipersilakan meletakkan jawatan tetapi dengan segera beliau dilantik menjadi Timbalan Pengerusi PNB sebagai habuan. Sejak dari itu, beliau hidup murung – jarang mendapat liputan media - dan dua tahun kemudian beliau menginggal dunia akibat penyakit barah.

Perdana Menteri dan TDZ pula tida siapa yang berani sentuh. Buat penyiasatan mereka tidak mahu. Mereka tidak lut undang-undang.

Ketujuh, kenapakah skandal kerugian pertukaran asing BNM tidak disiasat?

Ini adalah kerana, pertama, pemimpin tertinggi negara nampaknya terlibat dan bersekongkol dalam perjudian ini. Kedua, penyiasataan mungkin mendedahkan banyak kepincangan dan perkara buruk yang boleh membawa kacau bilau politik kepada golongan berkuasa. Ketiga, perincian-perincian skandal ini mungkin terlalu mengerikan (too gruesome) kepada umum dan boleh menyebabkan malu besar kepada golongan berkuasa, sekiranya didedahkan. Keempat, wujud unsur-unsur jenayah di dalam skandal berkenaan yang boleh menyebabkan orang bertanggungjawab masuk penjara bukan masuk kabinet seperti yang berlaku sekarang.

YB Lim Kit Siang telah mencadangan di Parlimen supaya Suruhanjaya PenyiasatanDiraja ditubuhkan untuk menyiasat skandal kerugian pertukaran asing ini tetapi cadangan tidak langsung diendahkan.

Kelapan, patutkah PR (jika memerintah) menyiasat kembali skandal ini?

Di Mongolia, dua orang bekas Gabenor dan tiga orang kakitangan bank pusat negara itu telah didakwa dimahkamah atas tuduhan kecuaian dan melebihi kuasa sehingga menyebabkan kerugian USD90 juta di pasaran pertukaran asing. TSJH dan NMY telah melakukan kesalahan yang lebih besar dan menyebabkan kerugian gergasi, maka sudah sewajarnya mereka di bawa ke muka pengadilan. Mereka mestilah disiasat. Jenayah yang terlibat termasuklah kecuaian, menyalahgunakan kuasa, memalsukan akaun, memesongkan maklumat, pecah amanah, konspirasi dan rasuah.

Aktiviti spekulasi yang dibuat sebenarnya berlawan dengan prinsip-prinsip utama bank pusat. Bank pusat sepatutnya membanteras spekulasi. Manakan boleh BNM melibatkan diri di dalam kegiatan spekulasi di pasaran matawang asing secara besar-besaran?

Kerugian wang rakyat terlalu besar untuk dilupakan begitu sahaja. Maka wajiblah kerajaan PR menubuhkan Suruhanjaya Diraja untuk menyiasat skandal ini walaupun ia telah terlewat 20 tahun.

Penulis mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Penang Institute kerana memberi ruang kepada penulis untuk berkongsi maklumat dengan orang ramai.

-Dr. Rosli Yaakop

It’s time to repeal the Sedition Act

Jeyaseelan Anthony - The Malaysian Insider

JUNE 5 — The Sedition Act has reared its ugly head again. This time it is against Irene Fernandez and former Perak Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Nizar Mohamed.

We have seen how the Sedition Act was used against Karpal Singh, a prominent lawyer and politician, when he was charged for insulting the Sultan of Perak for saying that His Majesty should not interfere with matters concerning the state and that he can be sued for doing so. Some may wonder what sedition is all about as the word sounds very serious and terrifying.

No doubt it is a serious and terrifying offence as one may be imprisoned for merely voicing out different views and opinions. Worst still one may even be branded as a criminal, not for committing crimes like theft and murder but by only having different views or opinions that may be interpreted as being anti-establishment by the powers that be.

The prime minister had announced recently that the Sedition Act will be reviewed. This article posits that the Sedition Act 1948 should not be reviewed but repealed. The question is why?

I say this because, any piece of legislation which imprisons people for holding different views and opinions is to say the least, draconian. Such a law should not be a part of any legal system.

To understand why this is so, one needs to inquire into history to look at the origins of the offence of sedition. The offence itself is made in England. It is part of the common law of England. It was created to protect the British monarch and the British Empire from being criticised or vilified. The law on sedition came about during a period when kings and queens were believed to have divine powers and they were believed to be god-sent and as such, the laws dispensed by them were unquestionable and criticism of rulers were seen as sinful and unlawful. Today, this believe is no longer true and is seen as foolish.

Therefore, a law, which was created with such a purpose in mind, may not be suitable or relevant in present times.

The common law provides that one is only deemed to have uttered or published words which are seditious if those words incite people to violence. Therefore words which do not incite others violence does not amount to sedition. Although this was the case in Britain, its colonies were visited with legislation against sedition which was more draconian. In India, for example, the British colonial courts through several cases decided that the common law on sedition as applied in England will not be applied in India. That means words which merely criticised the British colonial government in India over its unfair policies and practices amounted to sedition.

That explains why prominent Indian freedom fighters and nationalist like Mahatma Gandhi, V.O. Chidambaram Pillai and Balgandhar Tilak were arrested charged for sedition for speaking against the British in India. Mahatma Gandhi, for example, was imprisoned several times after being convicted for sedition. The intention of the British was clearly to suppress and punish per se any individual who attempts to create feelings of disaffection, hatred or contempt to its rule, irrespective of the whether or not disorder follows or is likely to follow.

Clearly, this was the most convenient way to successfully prosecute freedom fighters and nationalists. The crime of sedition was the most effective weapon used by the British to suppress dissent and to fulfill its colonial agenda in India. A further qualification of incitement to violence and public disorder to prove the offence of sedition would have definitely been a hindrance.

The law on sedition that was applied in India is the same as ours in Malaysia. The Sedition Act 1948 was enacted by the British to suppress communist elements within the Communist Party of Malaya and its propaganda which was active in Malaya during the emergency period. The communist officially surrendered to the Malaysian government in 1989.

Although communism is no longer a threat, nevertheless the Sedition Act has been used against members of the opposition, Members of Parliament, journalists and other NGO leaders pursuing campaigns that imply some criticism of the government policies and its institutions. Some of these individuals have been fined and one occasion even imprisoned under the Sedition Act. The current Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng, for example, was charged and convicted for sedition and was imprisoned.

The British left Malaya in 1957; however, the Sedition Act never left with them. It was actually adopted into the Malaysian legal system by a constitutional amendment. It is unfortunate that we are still being dictated by colonial laws like the Sedition Act, which is considered obsolete in many Commonwealth countries due to its history of being an instrument of oppression.

The Sedition Act is a piece of legislation that can be easily abused and manipulated by the powers that be because of the uncertainty contained in its provisions. The provisions of the Act are couched with archaic and vague language in particular Section 3(1) (a)-(f) which lays down the situations where words can come within the meaning of ‘seditious tendencies’. They are as follows:

(a) Bring hatred or contempt to the government or to excite disaffection against any ruler or against any government;

(b) To excite its subjects to procure the alteration of the government by unlawful means;

(c) To bring into hatred or contempt or excite disaffection against the administration of justice;

(d) To raise discontent or disaffection amongst the people;

(e) To promote feeling of ill-will and hostility between the different races;

(f) To question any matter, right, status, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative protected by the Federal Constitution.

The uncertainty of its provisions is implicit in words like “bringing into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any ruler or against any government” in Section 3. The language used here is broad and vague enough to catch anything and everything particularly the tendency to question or criticise any government about their policies or actions. There seems no line drawn between legitimate criticisms and criticisms that lead to incitement to violence and disorder. It seems that any criticism aimed at any government or its institutions are capable of having seditious tendencies under the Act.

Of grave concern is the fact that the Act can be used quiet easily to stifle legitimate criticisms against the government and its institutions. Cases have shown that this is possible.

For example, Dr. Ooi Kee Saik a opposition politician, was charged and sentenced to pay a fine under the Sedition Act for having lamented during his speech about the domination of one particular race (the Malays) in the army, police, educational institutions and business and that these policies do not augur well with the government’s policy on racial integration and he accused the government of gross partiality in favour of one race. The court found that the issues raised by Dr. Ooi amounted to bringing the government into hatred or contempt, or exciting feelings of disaffection against the government.

It is clear that Dr. Ooi was only calling for greater racial integration between the various races in Malaysia in order to prevent racial imbalance in the institutions of government and that he was only pointing out to the government that they should do away with policies that do not promote racial integration which is a recognised objective of the government. He did not incite any members of his party or the general public to violence. In fact many government ministers today have time and again called on the government to maintain better racial balance in the various institutions of the government. It is difficult to understand how Dr. Ooi’s statements could be considered as seditious.

The wanton use of the Sedition Act can also be seen in the prosecution of Param Cumaraswamy, a prominent lawyer and a human rights activist, who was charged for having uttered seditious words at a press conference ,where he made statements calling upon the Pardons Board to recommend to the King that the death sentence of a man charged for possession of a firearm be commuted to life imprisonment as it had done in another more serious case, where the accused a influential politician and a serving minister was guilty discharging a firearm and committing murder. The accused also urged the Pardons Board to exercise their powers fairly and uniformly so that people would not be made to feel that the Board was discriminating between the rich and the poor in terms of severity of sentence. The prosecution alleged that the utterance of these words above by the accused have a tendency to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the subjects of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any ruler of any state and to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against any ruler or against any Government.

Param Cumaraswamy, was acquitted and discharged after being called to enter his defence on the grounds that the alleged seditious statements did not have the tendency to incite or to raise disaffection among the people and it did no refer to the King but only to the Pardons Board.

In hindsight, Param Cumaraswamy should not have been prosecuted in the first place since it is obvious that he was only seeking reprieve for his client by calling on the Pardons Board to act according to good conscience so that it would not be seen to be discriminatory. His plea was for a good cause and as such there was nothing seditious in his plea.

Even more worrying is the fact that the truth or falsity of the words uttered or written, are immaterial and will not provide a defence. Even if the words are uttered by the speaker with the most, noblest intention again this will not provide him with a defence. It is therefore an absolute liability offence where intention is irrelevant. In Public Prosecutor v Mark Koding, Justice Azmi Kamaruddin in the course of his judgment said: “… It is immaterial whether the accused intention or motive was honourable or evil when making the speech”.

All the judge has to do is to see whether the words are likely to create disaffection against the government, the ruler or the people. If in his honest judgment he finds it is likely to do that then the statement is seditious. The Malaysian courts have adopted the meaning of “disaffection” in the Australian case of Burns v Ransley, which means disloyalty, enmity and hostility. In other common law jurisdictions like Canada, Australia and India it has been established sedition could not be established without proof of acts that have implicit in them the idea of subverting the government by violent means and inciting others to violence and disorder.

Unfortunately the trend in Malaysia gleaned from the cases decided, does not require any proof of incitement to violence or unlawful behaviour. In essence the Malaysian courts have rejected the common law requirement.

It is quite clear that prosecutions under the Sedition Act are carried out to suppress dissent and its reach even extends to what is said by Members of Parliament in Parliament. This is rather shocking as the electorate expects the people whom they have voted into Parliament to speak on their behalf without fear or favour. The question is, how are the representatives of the people expected to perform their parliamentary duties if their mouths are gagged by the Sedition Act? This is definitely an affront to the principle of parliamentary democracy. No other parliament in the world is subjected to such a restriction.

The recent incidences involving Irene Fernandez, Datuk Seri Nizar and Karpal Singh and has indeed attracted much public attention and we have seen how the machinery of the government particularly the police have swiftly swung into action to investigate the case. However in hindsight, the alleged seditious statements uttered by Irene Fernandez, Datuk Seri Nizar and Karpal Singh seems to be rather trivial, when compared to the statements made by certain Umno delegates at the Umno general assembly in 2007.

Although there were speeches made that were racially inflammatory which would clearly come within the ambit of the Sedition Act, no action taken by the police and surprisingly no one was charged for sedition. Their inaction seems to be rather mind boggling when compared with the swiftness of the investigations done in the Irene Fernandez case’s, Datuk Seri Nizar case’s and Karpal Singh’s case. Again in the Permatang Pauh by elections in 2008 certain racially inflammatory statements were made against the Chinese community in Malaysia by an Umno politician but lo and behold although the police investigated him, he was never charged for sedition.

Conversely, two bloggers who were perceived to be anti-establishment and one of the founders of Hindraf who only tried to raise the legitimate concerns of the Indian community were speedily charged for sedition. The point here is that laws like the Sedition Act can be used to create a culture of fear among the people that they may prosecuted if they spoke their mind on certain issues and of course these type of laws can used at the whims and fancies of the powers that be to only prosecute those whom they feel is a threat to their existence and as shown from the examples above, the Act can be used as a tool for selective prosecution.

I do not understand why is there such a hue and cry made about the Irene Fernandez and Datuk Seri Nizar’s statements made to the press about the ill-treatment of foreign workers and about the Sultan of Johor purchasing a car number plate. The authorities should instead investigate Irene Fernandez’s claim rather than threatening her with sedition. His Majesty the Sultan of Johor has already clarified that he had purchased the number plate with his own money after being questioned by Datuk Seri Nizar, who for all intents and purpose has a right to express his opinion that His Majesty may have made a mistake.

In many countries, sedition laws have either become obsolete or have been repealed. There has not been a prosecution for sedition in Canada since the 1950s.This may be due to the fact that the Law Reform commission of Canada in 1986 had described that the offence of sedition as “an outdated and unprincipled law” and that there no longer seems to be a need for separate offence of sedition since the conduct that would be proscribed by can be dealt with as incitement, conspiracy, contempt of court or hate propaganda.

In Australia, the post 9/11 era led to the passing of the Anti-Terrorism Act (No 2) 2005 which made substantial amendments to existing sedition laws by repealing several sections of the Crimes Act 1914 concerning sedition. In India, most charges of sedition are dismissed since the Indian Supreme Court has adopted the British common law where the incitement to violence and disorder must be proven in order to constitute the offence of sedition. In England, the last conviction for sedition occurred in 1909 and thereafter prosecutions have become very rare. Kenya has repealed their Sedition Act.

The Sedition Act actually spells the death knell for the opposition in any Parliamentary democracy and therefore this is another justification for the repeal of the Sedition Act. Even if it is argued that that the Sedition Act is necessary to maintain public tranquillity and racial harmony, there are enough provisions in the Penal Code to deal with racial strife and anarchy. People who cross the line by inciting others to overthrow the government or the monarchy through violence or to commit crimes against another community can be dealt with under the Penal Code.

The Sedition Act 1948 is a relic of its time. The relevance of the Sedition Act today must be looked at along the lines of maintaining public order by punishing and deterring those who incite violence and public disorder and curbing the threat of subversion and terrorism. However, the main theme of the Sedition Act currently in force today clearly, does not address these concerns but it seeks only to criminalise speech or expression that is merely critical of the government and its institutions.

The opposition as the elected representatives of the people and civil society groups should be allowed to criticise the administration of government and its policies since it is the legitimate expectation of the people that the government and the institutions of government are administered in accordance with the principles of transparency and accountability.

As such the repeal of the Act is necessary and timely since the Malaysian Penal Code is equipped with provisions against racial incitement, subversion and curbing terrorist activities which includes inciting people to engage in terrorism against the state and other terrorist activities.

Bersih 3.0 is not Arab Spring

ImageMalay Mail
by Saifuddin Abdullah

ONE month has passed since Bersih 3.0 was held on April 28.

But the discussions on it are going on like it happened only yesterday.

I do not support Bersih 3.0. But, I do not take it for granted.

My objection is because it was announced as soon as the Dewan Rakyat had just passed a bi-partisan Parliament Select Committee Report on Electoral Reforms (PSC Report).

Opposition MPs did not vote for the report because it approved only 18 out of the 22 proposals discussed and that it did not include the opposition members’ Minority Report. 

The report is not perfect. I have my concerns, too.

But that does not make the report unworthy of implementation. Bersih 3.0’s organisers would do well if only they waited for a while.

After the rally was over, in order to understand things better, I gathered information from various videos, writings, participants and post-mortems, including those not aligned to my party and the government.

Bersih 3.0 attracted more participants than Bersih 2.0. They are more multi-racial with notable numbers of Chinese.

More youths and university students attended. Most striking is the presence of the middle-class.

In this context, a survey by University of Malaya’s Centre for Democracy and Election (UMCEDEL) on prospective voting pattern in the 13th general election shows that 49 per cent of the electorates are voting for BN, 21 per cent for Pakatan Rakyat, and 30 per cent not yet decided (on the fence).

On the fence voters are mainly made up of youths, students and the middle class.

Through my engagements, I know that a majority of them are not sympathetic to Barisan Nasional. 

But they are not necessarily inclined to PR either. 

They vote with their conscience.

That is why we have to bring our political discourse to a higher level, i.e: to meet the conscience. 

This includes not treating Bersih 3.0 in a manner that insults their intelligence.

One of the popular construct of, or assault against, Bersih 3.0 (depending where one is coming from) is that they wanted to occupy Dataran Merdeka, turn it into a Tahrir Square and eventually bring down the government through a local version of the Arab Spring.

Among many analysis of the Arab Spring, I find Tariq Ramadan’s book, The Arab Awakening, passionate and insightful. 

His thesis is that across the Arab world, millions of women and men have taken to the streets, showing that dictators can be overthrown without weapons, by sheer force of numbers, by a non-violent, positive outlook. 

But what happens now?

From December 2010 until today, the mass movements had spread like wildfire across the Middle East and North Africa. T

hey shared common characteristics, — protest against social and economic conditions, reject dictatorship and fight against corruption. 

But each one has its own specific features, which in turn require individual scrutiny.

What actually has taken place? Were they revolutions, rebellions or popular protests? 

Ramadan called it uprisings: half-way between revolution and revolt. 

If carried out to its fullest extent and overthrows the existing system (not just the political regime), it can become a revolution. 

But, if it is incomplete, manipulated or fail, it will have expressed the peoples’ aspirations but not concretised their hopes.

To date, it is too early to assess if the Arab Spring is truly a success. But we do appreciate its importance and impact. In fact, we are in solidarity with the peoples’ struggle to carry out fundamental reforms with the full participation of all citizens.

While more evaluation of the political, social and economic data is needed, it is quite clear that the characteristics influencing the Arab Spring are not here in this country. 

Therefore, Bersih 3.0 is not Arab Spring. 

I am not denying that we have issues. 

But, the intensity of the issues is better addressed, if political, through an improved election, and if non-political, through its relevant solution, rather than an uprising.

Before GE13 is called, we need to enhance engagement among all stakeholders. 

Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan’s statement that there is no plan for Bersih 4.0 and Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee’s sending the Bar’s Bersih 3.0 resolution to the cabinet are important signals.

Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam’s announcement that the commission is conducting a public inquiry into allegations on incidents related to Bersih 3.0 is a pertinent step towards healing the wounds of our divisions.

But the core of the whole thing is the full implementation of the PSC Report. 

The actors must spring into action with the kind of political will that resonates the will of the people.

Saifuddin Abdullah is an advocate of New Politics. He is deputy minister of higher education and can be followed on Twitter at @saifuddinabd. Comments:

Najib An Impressive Reformer - McCain

KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 (Bernama) -- United States Senator John McCain said he had a 'terrific' meeting with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when he visited Malaysia last week and regarded the latter as "an impressive reformer".

"I had a terrific meeting with Prime Minister Najib in Malaysia - an impressive reformer who is improving US-Malaysia relations," McCain wrote in his tweeter message.

Senator McCain and Senator Joseph Lieberman visited Malaysia on May 30 at the invitation of the Kuala Lumpur Business Club to attend the Invest Malaysia 2012 Conference, which was launched by Najib.

While here, they called on Najib and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman besides meeting with business and civil society leaders as well as opposition party representatives to discuss various issues.

Both senators had said they were impressed with the country's development, especially in areas of entrepreneurship and practice of free enterprise.

"We are very impressed with the entrepreneurship, the freer price system here and the economic process that we have observed, and are very proud to have the opportunity to be here," McCain told a media conference with Lieberman.

Tale of the three newest Indian champions

R Thuraisingam, via e-mail

From the mighty Hindraf gathering of about 100,000 people in 2007 to an odd assortment of old folk and bussed in students making up the 1,000 people at the recent Indraf gathering in 2012, it seems that ‘H’ does make a difference. This aside, much has changed since 2007. However, the fundamental motivation of both these events clearly shows that fighting in 2007 for the right of Hindus to worship and fighting for Anwar to be PM in 2012 drastically affects the number of Indians supporting each event.

The so-called non-political Indian leaders showcasing themselves at the small self-indulgent Indraf gathering on May 27, 2012 were Haji Thasleem, R Kengadharan and V Ganabatirau. Thasleem has only ever played a role in getting the government to ban a book, Interlok, from schools which he felt teachers would not be able to teach without Indian students being emotionally affected.

After manually amending the book, freshly reprinting the book after many many changes were made, the Cabinet decided to withdraw the book from schools long after Thasleem had abandoned the issue to pursue grander aims. Even when the book was withdrawn, he had to compete with that other champion, ‘Talappa’ Rajaretinam over who really deserved credit for getting a book banned.

The two had fought over NIAT or the National Interlok Action Team ending with Rajaretinam accusing Thasleem of refusing to dissolve NIAT to further his selfish personal agenda and gain cheap political mileage. He claimed this was also evident when Thasleem announced that he is joining DAP using the NIAT platform.

What Thasleem did before getting books banned was somewhat different. His company TMI Nusantara, which Thasleem obtained full control of in 2000, was a top project management consultant (PMC) that were given huge BN Government contracts to manage. This list of BN projects included the Bukit Jalil sports complex, Perak SEDC and the International Islamic University.

Proving that he is nothing but sly, Thasleem was happy to be a pure Bumiputera at that point as it helped him obtain consultancy incomes that he would never have dreamed of before. Needless to say that at that point just a few years ago, he had not yet discovered his ‘Indianness’. Nowadays, as clearly seen at the Indraf gathering on May 27, Thasleem seems to have fully discovered his Indianness and abandoned his Muslim robes in favour of a more Indian Kurta.

This aside, the most interesting project was the construction of the AIMST University, the brainchild of former MIC president, S Samy Vellu. The construction of this project was estimated and recorded in black and white to be RM230 million. This staggering sum was what it would cost for Samy Vellu to build his legacy of erecting a physical monument to his focus on educating Indians.

Under Thasleem’s leadership as overall Project Manager, the cost of building AIMST University ballooned by more than 200% to RM495 million. As the lead consultant, Thasleem personally oversaw and approved this increase in the ‘cost’ of the project by RM265 million. Samy Vellu then had to solve the problem of raising RM265 million as Thasleem had convinced him that the millions more were critically needed.

Because of this, there were many police reports lodged by Indians alleging financial mismanagement and misappropriation as well as on irregularities relating to the awarding of contracts. These allegations relating to the major cost increases led Bukit Aman Commercial Crime division director Koh Hong Sun to investigate.

As we all know, Samy Vellu then turned to the Indian community to raise this RM265 million. Each MIC branch, led by usually working class branch chairman, were instructed to raise RM11,000 each otherwise their branch renewals would be rejected. Samy also went direct to the community to raise money, collecting as little as RM1 from the man on the street to hundreds of thousands from corporate figures. Even the BN government stepped in to contribute RM300 million of the total cost of RM495 million.

Thasleem’s fees alone for the project, as overall Project Manager, estimated at a conservative 1% of development cost, also skyrocketed from RM2.3 million to RM5 million. Given his experience, Thasleem would have also made millions from unscrupulous contractors bidding for sub-contracts. Thasleem is purported to have pocketed between RM21 million to RM28.5 million from this project alone.

Please remember that the money he was paid and that he pocketed was collected by Samy Vellu from poor Indians throughout the country. When Thasleem had obtained all he could from AIMST, and when he could no longer compete for projects, he was angry and this is exactly when he decided to go against the BN.

Without shame, he tells tall tales about how he gives thousands to Tamil schools in Perak but he conveniently chose to forget the millions that he squeezed out of the Indian community from the building of the AIMST University alone. This millions that the Indians gave, be it MIC or non-MIC members are not plucked from trees but hard earned money of those people.

If he is true to his religion, as he proudly claims to be, then the first thing he needs to ask himself is whether he is sincere and is free of any baggage before blatantly accusing others in his desperate attempt to become a champion of the Indians.

The other two Indraf opportunists are cut from a different cloth, or so most Indians believed before the Indraf gathering. They were arrested under the ISA and went to jail with three other compatriots. They were educated middle-class professionals who took a stand against the then Abdullah administration and they were lionised by the Indian community.

That was five long years ago. At the recent Indraf gathering, they allowed themselves to be manipulated by Anwar’s divide and rule, and publicly denounced their comrade-in-arms, P Uthayakumar, calling him crazy and deluded in the process. From being two men fighting for temples, they selfishly became two men fighting for their personal place in the limelight.

Anwar correctly calculated that these two were intoxicated by their 2007 popularity and knew they could not live without the publicity, without being on stage and in the limelight. Anwar, as ever, was always ready to just provide the setting.

These two former heroes were happy for Anwar to completely ignore their 10-point demands. It should be noted that Kenga and Gana had already agreed to Anwar’s demands to water down Hindraf’s original 18-point demands so that Anwar would be more comfortable sharing the stage with them.

This is the same way Anwar had repeatedly ignored Uthayakumar’s two recent invitations to come and speak to the Indian community in Klang and explain in detail what specific plans he has for Indians. Anwar did not come because he does not have any plans to address the Indian community’s challenges.

Kenga and Gana even completely ignored their other Hindraf compratriot, M Manogaran, who was conspicuously missing from the event. R Kengadharan and V Ganabatirau danced with Anwar on stage, so we all know the writing is on the wall, they will continue to dance to Anwar’s tune until Anwar can no longer offer them a high-profile stage. At this point, they will probably go groveling to BN as they have in the past.

From knowing the true hearts and minds of the these three latest champions; Thasleem, Kengadharan and Ganabatirau, my question is where will the Indian community be heading towards without Indian leaders who have courage and conviction and who have only the interests of the Indian community truly and firmly lodged in their hearts…?

Another death in custody! Now who’s responsible?

Suaram expresses regret and disappointment at the latest death in custody involving Isparan Subramaniam, 37, on May 29, 2012. Isparan was pronounced dead at about 10.30am at Sungai Siput Utara Police Station’s lock-up.

The post mortem result from Ipoh Hospital indicates that Isparan died of “Perforated Peptic Ulcer with Peritonitis”. Isparan was a suspected drug addict and was arrested and detained at Sungai Siput lock-up before his premature demise.

He is survived by his wife and three children. Isparan’s family members are in grief and are being haunted by many unanswered questions.

The deceased had never had any gastreous problems and/or anything relating to gastreous problems prior to the arrest. How could he have gotten “Perforated Peptic Ulcer with Peritonitis” while under custody?

If the cause of death according to the post mortem is true, which the family members vehemently deny, why was not Isparan referred to the hospital immediately?

Suaram questions and will continue to question the gross negligence by the Officer-in-Charge’s acts and/or omissions in failing in his duty to ensure detainees are always safe and in good health.

We demand that the Officer-in-Charge produce his daily Journal immediately for scrutiny, failing which, the allegation of tampering with evidence by the Officer-in-Charge is inevitable.

It is in the best interest of the public that the Perak Chief Police answers these questions. Otherwise, the public will hold the Officer-in-Charge and/or police liable for negligence and as result caused Isparan’s death.

Suaram urges the government to establish a Royal Commission of Inquiry to determine why instead of how Isparan died in police custody.

Suaram will continue to push for the formation of Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to prevent future deaths in police custody.

The writer is Right to Justice Coordinator of Suaram