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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mahathir: I don't fear Pakatan taking Putrajaya

(Malaysiakini) Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he is not afraid of Pakatan Rakyat taking power in the country - except that he may be jailed on false charges.

Mahathir was responding in his blog today to reports that DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang had said Mahathir was working hard to ensure that the opposition would not take power out of fear that his alleged misdeeds would be exposed.

mahathir ebook launching 091211 02"He is right. I am afraid.

"I am afraid of the kind of abuse of power that has already been shown by one of Pakatan's great leaders who got a senior police officer to frighten Dr Ristina Majid and Ummi Hafilda Ali into withdrawing Ummi's letter to me," he writes in his blog.

On May 31, Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia quoted Mahathir as saying that then deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim had ordered the police to intimidate the two witnesses testifying against him in his Sodomy I and abuse of power trials in the late 1990s.
"Other than this I am not afraid. I had always been careful not to abuse the power I had as prime minister because I was mindful of having to step down and lose power at some stage.
'All gifts for me turned over to government'

"If I had abused power my detractors would gleefully expose me and strive to put me behind bars," Mahathir says.
He said that he did not take anything that was not rightfully his and all the gifts meant for him had been turned over to the government, except some fruits that he ate “to prevent them from going bad”.

In addition, he said, he had barred his children from doing business with the government or stand as election candidates until he had stepped down in 2003.

Mahathir explained that his current wealth was his savings from his 29 years in civil service, which he said was small, but the government paid for many of his expenses such as houses, utilities and travel.

“I am ready to go when my time comes. I am conscious that all that I have will not accompany me to the grave.

“But for as long as I can I will work hard to prevent evil people and crooks from destroying this country that I love,” he says.

BN takut garam, botol mineral

Muslim sues NYPD for refusing to hire him after he said homosexuals should be locked up

Remember: wherever Islamic law and practice and American law and practice conflict, it is American law and practice that has to give way. The NYPD probably wouldn't hire anyone who said that he thought that homosexuals should be imprisoned; after all, there are a lot of gays in New York City, and a policeman who isn't going to treat all people fairly is not much of a policeman. But no such considerations matter when it comes to Islam.
"Anti-gay Muslim cries bias," by Helen Freund and Laura Italiano in the New York Post, June 12 (thanks to Ron):
The NYPD wouldn’t hire him — because he is anti-gay, a Police Academy reject complains in a startling new discrimination lawsuit. The would-be cop from Brooklyn — identified only as “Farhan Doe” — is a Muslim-American who believes homosexuality is a sin as a matter of religious principal [sic], according to the suit.
Doe deserves to be in the NYPD, despite checking the “yes” box next to the question, “Do you believe that homosexuals should be locked up,” in 2009, when he applied, said his lawyer, Jerold Levine.
When Doe — who works as an auxiliary cop in Brooklyn — applied to the Police Academy the next year, he’d softened his views, still believing homosexuality is a sin, but no longer believing gays should be arrested, Levine said.
“They pro forma denied him again — saying he couldn’t possibly be a police officer,” the lawyer said. “The First Amendment is very clear, saying that you can’t discriminate against someone because they have a view you do not like,” he said....
Indeed, but doesn't that principle apply also to "Farhan Doe," if he were hired as a policeman and had to deal with gays?

Bersih calls BN ‘paranoid’, rubbishes coup claims

The government was only undermining itself by making such claims about the April 28 rally, said Wong. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — Bersih leaders today laughed off a federal minister’s claim that “salt and bottles” used by protesters during the April 28 rally indicated a coup bid, calling the connection “ridiculous” and “highly imaginative.”

Bersih steering committee member Dr Wong Chin Huat said the electoral reforms group has never questioned the legitimacy of the present Barisan Nasional administration despite accusing it of electoral fraud.

“What we want is to ensure the legitimacy of the next government (federal and state) is beyond question by ensuring that the legitimacy of the next elections is beyond question.

“I am amazed with the level of paranoia in some of our ministers. They are fearing their own shadows thinking that Bersih 2.0 and 3.0 were all plots to stage (a local replica of the) Arab Spring,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz told Parliament today the “salt and bottles” used by Bersih protesters was evidence that the opposition had tried to use the April 28 rally to topple the government in the style of the Arab Spring protests.

The remarks by minister in the Prime Minister’s Department drew immediate criticisms from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) MPs who demanded an apology from the government for not providing concrete proof for the assertion that the Bersih rally was an attempted coup.

“Don’t underrate salt and bottles. If supported by the public, it can topple governments. The opposition wanted more than 100,000 to attend Bersih to topple the government but they didn’t get that number,” Nazri said today.

Wong said the government was only undermining itself by making what he described as specious claims.

“The more they (BN) fear, the crazier they act, the faster they lose their legitimacy. They do well not to turn their fear into a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said.

The only way for BN to ensure its legitimacy, Wong added, was to implement all of Bersih’s eight electoral reform demands instead of “ordering another 967 tear gas canisters.”

“The ministers should look into mirror every morning and tell themselves, ‘berani kerana benar, takut kerana salah (emboldened by truth, frightened by wrongs),’ to get rid of their fear of bottles and salts. Reform the electoral process and you don’t have to fear demonstrations or elections.

“That is the best guarantee that the next government will never get overthrown with bottles, salts, towels, soap, shampoos, brooms or vacuum cleaners,” he said.

Wong’s Bersih colleague, Maria Chin Abdullah, said that the present government should engage more with Malaysian voters and address the allegations of electoral fraud and phantom voters instead of being “unnecessarily” paranoid.

“It’s ridiculous. They are making themselves the laughing stock of the country... highly imaginative, they are.

“But what they are doing is avoiding the issue of electoral reform demands. Since April 28, what have they implemented?” she told The Malaysian Insider.

Maria said Nazri’s remarks could backfire on the government and make voters doubt the professionalism of BN’s ministers and leaders in running run the country.

Earlier today, Nazri had also cited Bersih’s refusal to accept an alternative to Dataran Merdeka and, later, the violence and provocation attributed to its supporters, to back up the government’s assertion that the April 28 Bersih rally was an attempted coup

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had claimed last month Bersih was an attempted coup, while Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said there were elements in the rally that wanted death and bloodshed.

The Home Ministry said during question time in Parliament yesterday it had deployed 9,274 policemen on the day “based on information we gathered that we would face threats from demonstrators.”

The planned sit-in at the historic square had ended in chaos as police and protestors clashed for over four hours. The government and rally organisers subsequently blamed each other for the violence.

Police have made public video recordings showing Anwar, PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and the party’s Rembau chief, Badrul Hisham Shaharin, exchanging signals to each other just minutes before the barricade was breached by another PKR grassroots leader.

But Anwar and Azmin have denied ordering protestors to enter Dataran Merdeka, insisting they were only discussing negotiations with police to allow protestors to enter the historic square.

The trio have since been charged with participating and organising an illegal street protest under the Peaceful Assembly Act after being accused by BN and even some Bersih supporters of endangering lives of rally-goers.

The government has set up a panel to investigate the April 28 violence, but the choice of former police chief Tun Hanif Omar as chairman has been widely criticised after he compared the movement to communism and accused the organisers of an attempted coup.

The April 28 rally had started peacefully but descended into chaos when some protestors breached a barricade at Dataran Merdeka, prompting police to fire tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.

Bersih: What fair access to media?

Allowing the broadcast of manifestos during the campaign period is not enough, says Ambiga

KUALA LUMPUR: Bersih today belittled the government’s decision to allow all political parties to broadcast manifestos on TV, saying it is a far cry from giving them free media access.

The decision, which Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim announced recently, did not meet the public demand for free and fair access to the media for all election contenders, said Bersih leader S Ambiga.

“Publishing manifestos is hardly the free access that we are talking about,” she said. “We are talking about all parties having free access to the media.”

Rais said last week that the Cabinet arrived at the decision after studying requests by political parties for equal airtime during the election campaign period to promote their manifestos.

The Election Commission announced recently that 13th general election would have a minimum 10-day campaigning period.

Ambiga questioned the government’s sincerity, saying fair media access should not be limited to the campaigning period.

“If they are committed to free and fair elections, then do it now,” she said.

Nevertheless, she added, the Cabinet decision itself was an acknowledgment that there has been no free and fair access to the media.

Helping the Penans: A RM100m question

In 2008, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu said that RM100 million had been allocated to develop Penan community and that projects would be completed by 2010.
KUCHING: Several Penan community leaders are demanding to know what happened to the RM100 million that Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu had announced in September 2008.
According to them, the RM100 million was a federal government allocation meant to aid development in the Penan community.
But it has been four years since and the community has not seen the money or any development.
Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian, who was in Baram last week, said several Penan leaders had met him and urged him to raise the RM100-million question.
“A Penan leader pulled out from his file and showed me a paper cutting which quoted Jabu as saying that the federal government had approved an allocation of RM100 million for the development of Penan community.
“The paper cutting was dated Sept 25, 2008,” said Bian, who is also the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman.
Bian said that the Penans are asking where the money is now and how it was spent.
“They told me that they have not seen the money, not even a sen,” Bian said.

‘BN delivers’

On Sept 25, 2008, Jabu, who is the chairman of the Penan steering committee, said that the federal government had approved an allocation of RM100 million for the development of the Penan community.
He said the allocation would be used to develop the community to bring them into the mainstream of development, adding that the money would be used for various sectors to improve the living standard of the community.
“The allocation will be spent until 2010, and we thank the federal government for responding to help the Penan community,” Jabu said.
He said the Penans, like other communities, needed to be developed and that the government would always fulfil its promises to the people.
“Unlike the opposition who make empty promises, the BN always delivers what it promised,” he added.

Of race politics and the numbers game

If you were to take this RM500 and divide it by 55 (the number of years under Barisan Nasional rule), you will get RM9 per year while the amount per day will be too miniscule to tabulate.
COMMENT

For the first time in the history of Barisan Nasional’s governance since independence on Aug 31, 1957, cash aid was provided en masse to the citizens in the form of Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) this year.

This RM500 cash aid for households earning below RM3,000 was distributed between mid-January and mid-March this year and is still ongoing for late applicants and for those who were successful in their appeal after their application was rejected the first time.

By the way, if you were to take this RM500 and divide it by 55 (the number of years under Barisan Nasional rule), you will get RM9 per year while the amount per day will be too miniscule to tabulate.

Even if RM500 were to be divided by 365 days, it will only amount to RM1.35 per day. What a cruel joke!

This cash aid which was given this year and the RM200 and RM100 cash book vouchers given out last year were a clear and strong indication that the 13th general election will be held soon when these gifts are still fresh in the people’s mind.

But suddenly Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak somehow lacked the courage or the gung-ho attitude to disslove Parliament in February in order for the polls to be called in March.

This despite all the groundwork to woo the rakyat being carried out. No one knows why he lacked the confidence and conviction.

Together with the assistance that can be obtained from phantoms and aliens in the dirty voter rolls, there is no way he can lose. In fact, he will win by a big majority, logically. So what is he holding back for?

“Regardless of whether he wins by a large majority or a slim one, the greatest sin that occurred during his tenure is the giving out of more than 3 million fast-tracked citizenship to every Tom, Dick and Harry,” said PAS Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad, popularly known as Dr Dzul.

This greatest misdeed has indeed altered the demography of the nation tremendously.

Another PAS MP, Mahfuz Omar of Pokok Sena in Kedah, opined that some of these new citizens could be of shady or dubious characters back in their home countries and this is going to be an unhealthy situation for our own citizens.

The Pakatan Rakyat MPs especially those from PAS have vociferously voiced out against this MyKad scandal many times but the government has turned stone-deaf in regard to this issue.

Yet with this alien force rendering him aid, the prime minister is still hesitant to call for the 13th general election.

Hari Raya goodies

Besides this, the 3Ms – money, media and machinery – are being used or rather misused in the daily ongoing campaign to tarnish the reputation of the hard-pressed opposition and those non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which are fighting for the cause of justice, good governance and transparency.

A small-time business entrepreneur who is a friend of this columnist remarked that this electoral uncertainty creates an unhealthy climate for foreign investors.

Nevertheless, after the March date went by, everyone expected the polls to be held in June during the two-week school holidays. Again, nothing happened. It is now extremely baffling why the prime minister cannot seem to call for the polls. Has he got polls-phobia?

Some neutral political pundits claimed that he has put off the June date due to the great Bersih 3.0 crowd on April 28.

If he was truly afraid of the crowd, then he should order the Election Commission (EC) to clean up the voter rolls and all of Bersih’s eight demands to be met and yet that is not happening!

This means that it is very obvious that although he is afraid of Bersih, he is much more afraid of doing badly at the ballot box.

“He is living in constant fear and is afraid of his own shadow,” commented Dr Dzul.

The only thing for him to do now is to call for the election in September. This is after he is sufficiently sure that the majority of the Malays are going to vote for BN.

To achieve this mission, great goodies galore will be given to the Malays during the fasting month of Ramadan (which begins in the third week of July) and the Aidil Fitri month of Syawal (commencing on the third week of August) to capture the Malay hearts and minds.

If he thinks that the Malays are not fully with him, then BN will next have a go at the Indians in order to secure their votes.

As it is now, the Indians are being featured prominently in the 8pm prime time news slot as being a very much up-and-coming community. Deepavali is on Nov 13 and the Indians will be praised and hailed as great contributors to the cause of nation-building and also feted with gifts.

Offers of schools to be built, scholarships and business opportunities will be made to the Indians before and during this festive occasion in order for the polls to be held around the end of November or early December.

Actually these schools, scholarships and business opportunities are nothing exceptional as it is the normal responsibility and duty of the government in power.

Overall, the mission of Najib is to obtain Malay and Indian votes to offset the loss of Chinese support. The BN strategists will tabulate the percentage of votes needed from each community in order for them to win the elections.

This is BN-style race or communal politics and numbers game.

Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.

Deputy Speaker: M’sian Parliament a mess

Thanks to its MPs, Malaysia's Parliament is comparable to that of third world countries, says Wan Junaidi.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Parliament is a mess as far as Deputy Speaker Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar is concerned.

Rather than being the centre of debate over the country’s policies and issues, its hallowed halls seem to be plagued with unbecoming behaviour.

Open yelling, playing politics and ganging up on each other were some of the actions which the deputy speaker said were part of a culture that Malaysian MPs were developing.

It is a culture that Wan Junaidi said, affected both sides of the political divide.

“Unfortunately, we play politics in the Dewan Rakyat… The moment you talk about politics [here], you are bringing the Dewan into a political arena,” he told FMT in an interview at his office.

“If we play politics, then you lose the quality, because when you talk about quality, you are talking about the quality substantive to the issues before you, not about politics.”

Playing political games led Wan Junaidi to compare Malaysia’s Parliament to “third world countries” such as Bangladesh and Taiwan.

MPs, he said, should focus on laws and policies as well as criticising the government in order to improve the country.

However, this did not seem to be the case. Instead, name-calling, rambling and walk-outs were the order of the day.

In a speech today, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Kohilan Pillay referred to PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Tantawi as “PAS Youth chief in Mecca [Saudi Arabia].”

Shah Alam MP (PAS) Khalid Samad then attacked Kohilan for his error, which led to bickering over the next two minutes.

Once, Ipoh Barat MP (DAP) M Kulasegaran raised the topic of the coming general election to Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong when the latter was talking about upgrading Tamil schools.

In 2008, Kinabatangan MP (Umno) Bung Mokhtar Radin called Bukit Gelugor MP (DAP) Karpal Singh a “big monkey” after the latter called him a “bigfoot”.

Everybody starts shouting

Many MPs were also known for rambling at length before eventually asking their questions.

One such example was Sri Gading MP (Umno) Mohamad Aziz, who was well-known for injecting background into an issue before coming up with a final query.

On this, Wan Junaidi said these MPs were more interested in showing off than asking queries.

“…It’s about showing off how good they are, telling people how well they know [what they're talking about].

“Questions like that are making the assumption that the minister they’re asking don’t know their background, because you have to spell it out to them.”

“Instead of asking straightaway, he [a MP] starts [talking about] the background to show how good he is. It is not! A well-informed MP is one who asks direct, single and complete questions,” he said.

He also criticised the answers given by some of the ministers and wondered why some of them had to read out “the whole policy of the government” in their replies.

But more often than not, the deputy speaker found it difficult to control MPs.

“[I'm] very sorry to say, [that if] you look at people like Shah Alam (MP Khalid Samad), like Kinabatangan (MP Bung Mokhtar Radin), Sri Gading (MP Mohamad Aziz), can you tell them off?”

Wan Junaidi said that a Speaker (or deputy) risked losing his dignity if he argued with noisy MPs.

“So the result of that development [will make the] others think, ‘If the three of them can do it, I can do it also.

“…now you have people ganging up. [When] one person starts shouting, everybody starts shouting, [even though they] don’t know what they’re shouting about.”

“People like Lenggong (MP Shamsul Anuar Nasarah) for instance. He’s a fine, young man, but he behaves… starts shouting and yelling into the microphone while sitting down,” he said.

The West has respect

He said that Western democracies, unlike Malaysia, seemed to have a modicum of respect for their respective Speakers.

“I have attended Parliaments in Athens, Macedonia, Australia, New Zealand… the House of Commons in England…seen [the US] Congress in session.”

“The moment the Speaker stands up, everybody will sit down. It doesn’t matter who, the Prime Minister (of Britain) sits down the moment (his) Speaker stands up.”

“…So we are the people who don’t know [how to behave]…We cannot understand or appreciate freedom,” he said.

MIC’s Matriculation Seats Debacle

After the issue of Effingham Tamil Scholl land hijack by the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) has subsided, at least for now, the 1000 additional matriculation seats promised by Najib for Indians has surfaced. Apparently the promise was not kept, just like the promises given to the Indian community for the last 55 years.
matriculation
Compounding to that, MIC leaders were giving misleading and confusing statements on the number of actual seats offered to Indians, this year.
MIC President Palanivel earlier last week seems to have announced that 1500 Indian students were offered places for the matriculation studies out of 3000 applicants.  But, two days ago, he changed the number of seats offered to 750.
Meanwhile MIC secretary general says 800 seats were offered.
When an Indian NGO verified the matriculation intake with the Prime Minister Department, the officials gave a figure of 1250. The vice chairman of the NGO, Arivanandan, is sceptical.
According to Malaysia Nanban Tamil daily, NIAT Chairman Dato' Haji Thasleem wants the relevant authorities to clear the picture and posed 10 questions, giving one week time.
The Ten Questions:
  1. How many Indians applied for matriculation program?
  2. How many students were offered in the initial batch?
  3. How many students did not take the offer?
  4. How many students appealed (when their application rejected)?
  5. On June 7th., how many students got their offer?
  6. 750 seats are filled out of 1559. Is this true?
  7. If true, will the remaining 809 seats be filled before the end of this month as per MIC?
  8. What will be the selection criteria for the remaining 809 seats?
  9. 809 seats assured?
  10. If so, when the students can start their studies?
Three weeks ago, Kalpana Devi posted the following article tossing more pertinent questions. Last Sunday, Malaysia Nanban devoted one whole page on this issue. Yet, there is no proper response from MIC, not surprising though.
Why MIC let down Indian Student in Matriculation Issue?
Sat May 19, http://kualalumpurpost.net, Kalpana Devi
This is Not a Kolaveri…but a genuine effort by a group of concerned Malaysian Indians to protect the interest of highly deserving students.
The recent outcry by a group of Indian graduates  requesting relevant organizations to clarify the execution plan for the recent 1000 extra matriculation seats offered by the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak, has invited quite a mixed reaction from various groups.Many are unaware of the entire matriculation program and its importance. Some are surprised as to why this graduates are continuously harping for clarification on how the students are to be selected and where the matriculation program will be conducted for these Indian top scorers?
So why this sudden fuss about having a transparent selection and execution plan for the matriculation programme?
Matriculation is a program which was set-up more than 30 years ago to increase the enrolment of the bumiputera students in public universities. It was initially conducted by public universities and later taken over by the Ministry of Education to ensure uniformity of the program. However, a certain minimum number of seats were offered to the non-bumiputera students in the matriculation program.
The non-bumiputera students who are not offered matriculation program most often only have STPM as the pathway to pursue their studies further. Of course, we have students from financially able families who pursue foundation programs such as A levels, South Australian Matriculation and so on in private colleges upon completing the SPM examination. However, a big chunk of non-bumiputera students still hope to pursue their undergraduate degree in the public universities due to the more affordable tuition fee structure and PTPTN loan facility. To seek enrolment in the public universities, students who sat for STPM will need to compete with the students who completed the matriculation and asasi programs. We can generally conclude that a student who goes through the matriculation pathway has a better chance of securing a place in the public university compared to one who comes from the STPM pathway due to the high level of difficulty of the STPM examination.
 Since the meritocracy system was introduced several years ago, the enrolment of Indian students into public universities dwindled tremendously. Under the previous quota system, Indian students were allocated nearly 10% seats in the public universities. However, under the merit system, hardly 2-3% seats were offered to the Indian students (based on data obtained from Dewan Negara). Also, it is worth noting that Indian students’ enrolment into high demand faculties such as the medical, dentistry, pharmacy and engineering faculties has lessened incredibly.
As a result, many Indian top scorers are not able to pursue their education in fields which will reap high income in the future years such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, engineering and etc. Obviously, being top scorers, they will be accepted by top universities worldwide; but then the issue of funding creeps in.
It is of my opinion that for a top student who is equipped with strong financial strength, the matriculation program may not be the best option for them; due to the low recognition and poor international ranking that most of our public universities currently possess.
 However, for a top student from low income group, matriculation will be their best bet to secure places in public universities. Why can’t these students go abroad too? Due to their weak finances, most parents are unable to fund the high tuition fees in overseas universities. As a student who studies abroad cannot apply for PTPTN loan in their first year of academic studies, parents will have to find funding for the first academic year’s tuition fee and living cost, which could easily cost them RM40,000 – RM80,000, depending on where the child chooses to study.
Many parents take high interest bank loans or mortgage their property to meet the financial needs of the students. This factor causes the students to be liable to a huge amount of debt, even prior to starting their career! Most parents however do not have any collateral to be used to acquire bank loans. Thus, enrolling in public universities which has a more reasonable tuition fee structure will be a wise choice. With this said, following the matriculation track will be a wise choice for these students to increase the possibility of securing enrolment in public universities.
This is the sole reason numerous  NGOs has for many years  been requesting the government to look into increasing matriculation seats for  the Indian community.
Thus, our PM’s announcement during the Ponggal Festival in Kapar in February, to offer the Indian community an additional 1000 matriculation seats on top of the 500 seats previously available was highly applauded and brought hope to the Indian students. Sadly, the happiness was short-lived when various findings plagued the offer.
Firstly, a very mediocre private university college was found to have been openly claiming and promoting that the college has been awarded the project to conduct matriculation program for the top scorers.  This caused an uproar as a group of  graduates  questioned the credibility of the private college to successfully deliver the matriculation program for the 1000 top scorers, Also, the private college clearly stated that the students will be placed in public and private universities upon completing their matriculation program, a hint that places in public universities was not guaranteed for these students. Even more mind boggling was the private college’s act to remove all information regarding the matriculation program from their website within 24 hours from the time the questions were raised in a social networking site and the director denied that the college was  awarded the project by the government.
However, the public found video clips of Memorandum of Understanding being signed by the said private college and the press statement made by the Vice President of MIC, Y.B  Dato’ S.K Devamany stating that a private college has been awarded the project to conduct matriculation program for 1000 indian students. What was more alarming was the fact that the MOU and press release was made in September 2011 itself, approximately 6 months before our PM made the official announcement. When the question was thrown to MIC, some of the you-tube video clips linking MIC to the issue went missing from the internet!!! Thanks to some ‘responsible individuals’ the videos are now back in circulation. The M.I.C leaders must realize that this outcry is not an attempt to challenge the party or the leaders. Instead the graduate group is raising relevant questions and looking at the issue at various angles; perspectives which M.I.C could have missed when the matriculation issue was mooted and discussed.
 With the good intention to seek clarification from the relevant party, the graduate group approached four leading tamil newspapers to bring the matter to the attention of the public and MIC. The news was published on the 11th of May 2012.  Sadly, to-date there has not been any acknowledgement or clarification from the political party.
Based on the survey made by a group of graduates, there seems to be many top scorers who have not been offered a place to pursue matriculation in the recent 2012/2013 intake. Some of the students rejected were 10 A and 9A students!
Hence, the public is still awaiting clarification on the following issues from the government/relevant body:
  • Is the 1000 additional matriculation seats offered to the Indian students a permanent offer which will be implement yearly from now on or is it only valid for this year (the election year)?
  • How many Indian students have been offered the matriculation seat in the recent 2012  / 2013 intake (results were released in April 2012) ?
  • How many science, accounting and technical studies seats are allocated for the 1500 matriculation seats exclusive to the Indian students? We need to know the distribution of students among the three matriculation disciplines to ensure a balanced intake to the public university is assured.
  • Where will the Indian students be placed to pursue the matriculation program? The Indian community requests the government to place the additional 1000 students in public institutes to pursue their matriculation. If space is a constraint, we request the government to award the project to top private higher learning institution such as AIMST.
  •  If the students are to be placed in top private higher learning institutes to pursue their matriculation program, will they be guaranteed a place in the public universities if they meet the required CGPA. ( The entire concept of enrolling in matriculation program is to secure opportunities in public universities and not the private ones)
  • What are the criterions used for the selection of students for the  matriculation program? We have evidence of numerous 10 A/ 9A students not being offered matriculation seats in the past and also in the current intake. We need transparency in the selection process. We have evidence whereby some 10A and 9A students were not awarded matriculation but the 5A and 4A students were offered. What is the justification for this? Is this to reduce the non-bumiputera students’ competitiveness level in the matriculation program?
  • Many Indian students failed to apply for matriculation when they are in Form Five due to the fact that they have been made to believe that matriculation is a programme exclusive for the bumiputeras. How can a top scorer of SPM 2011 who did not apply for the matriculation program in July 2011 appeal now to be considered for the matriculation program? When will the deadline for the appeal be?
  • As for the selection of the students to IPTA upon completing their matriculation program, will the additional 1000 university seats offered to these 1000 additional matriculation students affect the enrolment of Indian students who apply through the STPM pathway?
  • The current rate of Indian student enrolment in the public universities has dwindled tremendously. Previously, under the quota system, we had an average of 10% allocation of seats for the Indian students in the Public Universities. Currently, under the merit system, we barely have 3% of Indian students enrolling in public universities. What is the government’s strategy to increase participation of the Indian students in local public universities?
The prime reason this group of graduates are relentlessly pursuing this matter is to ensure that the deserving students are not denied an opportunity to grow and excel in life. We have to play an active role to assure the Indian community does not lose out in the transformation of the nation to be a knowledge-based economy. We must not be left out in the nation’s transformation to be a high income nation. It is time we took responsibility for the development of our community at large. It is now or never. Time has come!

MATRICULATION PROGRAMME: MIC WANTS EDUCATION MINISTRY TO FILL-UP INDIAN QUOTA
24 May 2012, BY Abdul Ghoni Ahmad
 

Some 700 SPM Indian school leavers have been accepted to join the 2011-2012 matriculation programme, only half the quota allocated for them.
As such, MIC President Datuk G.Palanivel is hoping to meet with Education Ministry officials to resolve the matter.
Datuk Palanivel said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has agreed to increase the intake for Indian students in the matriculation programme to 1,559 in February.
And yet, many deserving Indian students have not been successful in joining the matriculation program.

"So far I think intake is just about 700. We want to incrased to 1500, it you promise, you keep to the promise. Even some score 11 A rejected, I don't know why this is happening" said Datuk G. Palanivel, MIC President.
Meanwhile, a Johor based NGO, Malaysian Indian Education Transformation Association or MEITA claimed they have received data of 250 Indian students who scored 7As in last year's SPM, but were not offered  to join the matriculation programme.
The association urged the Education Ministry to consider these students to fill-up the quota.

"So far we have received 250 data just on students application from matriculation were rejected, this are students with 7a and active in schools. They are all walks of life including estate workers untill goververment satff's children," said M. A Arivu, MEITA Deputy Chairman.
Registration for the first intake of the matriculation programme begins end of this month.
However, applicants have until June 7th, to appeal for places.

The Man Who Keeps the Secrets

Jean-Marie Boivin (Photo credit: Paris Match)
Jean-Marie Boivin (Photo credit: Paris Match)
(Asia Sentinel )Mysterious French operative at center of massive arms scandal
Last week, a Maltese politician dropped a bombshell into the investigation of allegations of kickbacks in the sale of French submarines to Malaysia, saying French prosecutors were on the trail of a soft-spoken Frenchman named Jean-Marie Boivin and his Malta-based company, Gifen.

Boivin, according to a plethora of news stories in France and Luxembourg, is at the heart of a scandal that stretches across half the earth to Pakistan, Taiwan, Malaysia, India and untold numbers of other countries whose defense ministries bought armaments from the French defense giant DCNS around the turn of the century. At least three of those sales have been dogged with stories of bribery and the murder or unexplained deaths of 19 people. According to other revelations, the sale of submarines to India is also suspected of “non-compliance” with the OECD Convention on Bribery.

Paris Match reported on Nov. 24, 2010, in a story titled Boivin, Celui Qui Fait Trembler le Republique (Boivin, the Man Who Shakes the Republic), that Boivin was “at the head of a myriad companies in tax havens.” Other news media reported that “outlandish commissions” travelled through what were described as a galaxy of companies, including gifts to the former security chief of onetime Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet for the sale of two submarines to Chile.

According to the news stories, Boivin, described as “a quiet man, even mysterious, multilingual, with a quite surprising international network of relationships,” operates in the very top European circles. He accompanied the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg on a state visit to Brazil two years ago. Other reports say he was a friend of Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker and former Minister of the Interior Michel Wolter, inviting them on a South African safari at DCN expense.

The French government signed the OECD Convention on Bribery on July 31, 2000, which calls for fines of €150,000 and, according to the convention, “shall be punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties….comparable to that applicable to the bribery of the (signatory country’s) own public officials and shall, in the case of natural persons, include deprivation of liberty sufficient to enable effective mutual legal assistance and extradition.”

Did DCNS decide that the way around the bribery convention was to put space between France and the countries to which it was selling weapons? If so, that space appears to have been occupied by Boivin, who left DCNS after heading the defense company’s international financial operations from 1994 to 2004 to establish a tangle of companies in the Isle of Man, Malta, Ireland, Switzerland, Mauritius, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, the Caymans and other principalities that have never signed the convention.

When his Luxembourg-based company Eurolux – which allegedly was established through DCN and is also under investigation by French prosecutors – was on the edge of bankruptcy, according news reports, Boivin wrote letters to Nicolas Sarkozy, Michele Alliot-Marie, then the defense minister, and President Jacques Chirac, saying he had explosive letters in a safe in Zurich, Switzerland. The letter, described as “friendly but determined,” was on the theme “Retain me, or I do something.” Apparently it worked. Boivin, according to several other publications including Le Nouvelle Observateur, was paid €8 million by DCN.

“To believe documents seized by the courts,” according to Paris Match, “the galaxy of shell companies…served, among other things, to settle contract commissions for Agosta submarines sold to Pakistan, part of which, according to statements by former Defense Minister Charles Millon and former Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, could be returned to France in the form of kickbacks.”

Despite Sarkoxy’s denials, documents in the DCN files show that the former French President, as Minister of the Budget in 1994, had agreed to the creation of at least one of Boivin’s companies, the Luxembourg-based Heine, which was central to the Pakistan case.

In what has become known as L’Affaire Karachi, in which Pakistan bought the three Agosta-class submarines from a DCN subsidiary, 14 people including 11 DCN engineers were killed when the van in which they were riding was hit by a bomb that at first was said by Pakistani officials to have been set off by Al Qaeda operatives.

It later transpired that, according to investigations by the anti-terrorist judge Marc Trevidic in Paris, the bomb was the work of Pakistani officials who were outraged when Chirac, after he defeated Edouard Balladur for the French presidency in 1995, blocked kickbacks, some of which reportedly went into Balladur’s campaign. Sarkozy at the time was Balladur’s campaign manager. The former French president, who was defeated in national elections last month by Socialist Francoise Hollande, has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the kickbacks.

Boivin is also said to have been involved in the sale of six Lafayette-class frigates to Taiwan, a deal so lucrative that some US$600 million paid in commissions on the US$2.8 billion contract disappeared into various Swiss accounts established by Andrew Wang Chuan-pu, the Taiwan agent for the French company Thomson CSF, now Thales, a unit of DCN. Wang abruptly left Taiwan when the matter began to leak into the public and has never been seen or heard of since.

Two years after the contract was signed, the body of a Taiwanese naval captain, Yin Ching-feng, was found floating off the coast, a victim of foul play. Although Taiwanese authorities said he had died by drowning, an autopsy ordered by the family found he had been battered to death. Among those who have also died since 1993 were Thierry Imbot, a French intelligence agent who was assigned to watch the frigate deal for the French secret service and who fell to his death from his Paris apartment. A year later, a former Taiwan-based Thomson executive named Jacques Morrison, who told associates he feared for his life because he was a witness to the talks, also fell or was pushed to his death. Yin’s nephew also died under unexplained circumstances.

The French government blocked all inquiries into the affair by judicial officials who were unable to obtain relevant documents. In October 2008 the judge finally ruled that no one could be prosecuted because of lack of evidence. Thus the case was finally closed on huge payoffs to high ranking French politicians – and on suggestions that Communist party officials in Beijing had been induced to mute criticism of the sale of arms to Taiwan in return for hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes. Roland Dumas, who was foreign minister at the time and changed French policy to allow the frigate sales at the urging of a mistress who was being paid by another French company, has implied that he knows where the money went.

Ultimately, the Paris-based International Court of Arbitration, an offshoot of the International Chamber of Commerce, ruled in 2010 Thomson-CSF, which has since changed its name to Thales SA had spent over more than $500 million on bribes to secure the deal. Taiwan is suing for another US98 million.

The final case is that of Malaysian Prime Minister and former Defense Minister Najib Tun Razak and the purchase for US$1 billion of two Scorpene submarines from the DCN subsidiary Thales by Malaysia, with a €114 million commission paid to a shell company wholly owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, at the time Najib’s best friend. Razak Baginda’s onetime mistress, the Mongolian translator and party girl Altantuya Shaariibuu, accompanied Baginda on at least one trip to France dealing with the training of the submarine crews. DCN also paid a Hong Kong company owned by Razak Baginda and his father €39 million for a document allegedly describing the Malaysian military’s specifications for the submarine purchase.

Altantuya was murdered by two of Najib’s bodyguards at the direction of unknown persons after she had flown to Kuala Lumpur to demand US$500,000, which she termed “blackmail” in a letter found after her death in September of 2006. The French law firm headed by William Bourdon and representing the Malaysian NGO Suaram, said that Gifen had intervened in negotiations over the submarines “so as to facilitate the money transfers in this case,” and particularly to finance the trips of Baginda and Altantuya.”

As for Boivin, he has since taken out citizenship in Luxembourg. He was summoned by French magistrates in June of 2010 but he did not show. He was eventually indicted. However, he remains free although he has said he would cooperate with authorities. When his lawyer, Philippe Lauzeral, was asked if the €8million requested in his letters to Sarkozy and others was paid for his silence, Lauzeral answered: "False. There have been discussions, but no financial agreement has been formally signed. My client is very upset by what he reads. It is not the deus ex machina that is presented. He merely carried out orders from his superiors in the DCN, which is a state enterprise. It is the feeling of having served his country."
John Berthelsen is the editor of the Asia Sentinel.

MY FEARS

1) Lim Kit Siang is reported to have said that I am working hard to ensure the Opposition will not win because I am afraid when the Opposition Government is in place, it will act against all my “misdeeds” when I was Prime Minister.

2) No doubt he is inspired by what happened to Gadaffi and Mubarak. He would love to see me dragged to the courts and sentenced to death or to at least a life sentence. Maybe like Gadaffi I would be murdered.

3) He is right. I am afraid. I am afraid of the kind of abuse of power that has already been shown by one of Pakatan’s great leader who got a senior police officer to frighten Dr Ristina and Ummi Hafilda into withdrawing Ummi’s letter to me.

4) I am afraid of the fabrication of charges so as to put me behind bars. That I am innocent would be irrelevant. What is important is Kit Siang’s satisfaction at seeing me behind bars and more.

5) Other than this I am not afraid. I had always been careful not to abuse the power I had as PM because I was mindful of having to step down and lose power at some stage. If I had abused power my detractors would gleefully expose me and strive to put me behind bars.

6) In fact this has been tried.

7) Since retiring I have been questioned by the police and the AG’s office several times. I was also made to appear before a tribunal to be questioned by all and sundry, including representatives of the Bar Council.

8) So far nothing could be pinned on me.

9) The anti-corruption people can even now investigate whether I have ever received illegal gratifications, whether I have detained or thrown people into jail for personal reasons, whether I benefitted personally from any of the projects carried out during my time.

10) I have not taken anything that is not mine. In fact all gifts given to me, many very valuable, have been given to the Government including a score of expensive cars. They can be seen in Langkawi or at the old PM’s house in KL. I must admit that I ate some of the fruits given me to prevent them from going bad.

11) I had not allowed my children to do business with the Government or to be candidates in elections though they have been offered several times when I was PM and President of Umno. Only after I stepped down did I allow Mukhriz to contest.

12) Whatever money I now have is from savings during 29 years in the Government. My salaries were not big. But the Government took care of my housing, water and electricity, my travels. I don’t even spend much on food as I get invitations to functions like weddings etc.

13) I was therefore able to save my pay and allowances.

14) Except for Mirzan, my children did not get any scholarships. I believe Mirzan paid back what he owed MARA. He had the scholarship before I became a Minister, in fact when I was expelled from UMNO.

15) I have bought or been given no shares except for 200 Malayan Tobacco shares I bought long before I joined the Government. Other shares are the Unit Trusts issued by PNB and State Governments which I was obliged to buy. I own shares in MICO pharmacy in Alor Star which I set up when I was a private practitioner.

16) I am not interested in getting rich or living a life of luxury. What I have now is far more than I had hoped for when I was dreaming as a student. I am grateful to Allah for what I have and for sparing me to live this long.

17) I am ready to go when my time comes. I am conscious that all that I have will not accompany me to the grave.

18) But for as long as I can I will work hard to prevent evil people and crooks from destroying this country that I love.

Scorpene-Altantuya: Who is Razak Baginda to Najib and Umno

Would it be preposterous to say that Razak Baginda was the mastermind behind Malaysia's RM7.3 billion acquisition of two French Scorpene submarines? It was certainly a most inappropriate purchase given the country's shallow coastline, and worse still, the ensuing illicit commissions scandal led to the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibu, casting a shadow over Malaysia and Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Really, even Baginda's worst enemies can’t imagine him having the nerve or capability to convince Najib, who was then the Defence Minister and being groomed to take over the premiership, into taking part in what was basically a huge money-making scam.

Not unless, Najib himself wanted to be persuaded or perhaps even suggested such a scheme for Baginda to research and execute!

What about Altantuya then? Could Baginda have persuaded Najib into 'lending' him two former bodyguards to kill off the beautiful but pesky self-confessed blackmailer, and then bombing her body with military-grade C4 explosives to prevent identification? Hard to say and only Altantuya's killers will know. The problem is they are not speaking. Or perhaps they are not ready to blow the whistle just yet.

'Soft' men

One thing for sure. Both Najib and Baginda are 'soft' men - used to fine living and chasing after their own

pleasures with a selfish determination. Can 'soft' men show ruthless streaks when their lifestyles are threatened? Again, hard to say.

After all, in the 1970s, when Najib took over as the Pekan MP after his father's untimely demise, did any Malaysian ever think the gangly and shy young man would ever be capable of ordering the police to brutalize civilian protesters taking part in the recent Bersih rally for clean polls? Or did anyone ever think he would be capable of making a speech, vowing to bathe his 'keris' (sword) with Chinese blood just before Mahathir Mohamad's infamous Ops Lalang swoop on dissidents and opposition leaders?

But who is Razak Baginda to Najib, how strong was his influence? Actually, Baginda was not really influential and did not have any established connections to either Najib or the top UMNO leaders at all. He was neither a big time businessman nor an underworld kingpin. The two men were not related nor were they college or school buddies.

In fact, Baginda and Najib had never crossed paths until Najib became the Defence Minister in 1991 and Baginda joined the Malaysian Armed Forces Defense College as a lecturer, where he eventually rose to become the head of strategic studies. When Najib left the Defense Ministry in 1995 for the Education Ministry, their relationship grew closer. Baginda became Najib’s confidant, while his wife Mazalinda and Najib's Rosmah too were on very cordial terms.

But make no mistake. Baginda could live without Najib, although he enjoyed being close friends with such a prominent political figure. It was Najib, who perhaps needed his friendship more. For sure, Najib would want to tap Baginda's brains. Baginda was not only a defense strategist, he later also ran a think-tank - the Malaysian Strategic Research Institute, which was widely known to be funded by Najib and designed to further the latter's political career.

UMNO leaders must have a lot of money to stay in power


After losing out the deputy prime minister's post to Anwar Ibrahim, the political horizon suddenly opened up for Najib in the late 90s when former premier Mahathir Mohamad decided to oust the fast-rising Anwar from UMNO.

To repay Najib for his support during the tumultuous period when Anwar, now the Opposition Leader, was sacked and jailed, Mahathir began grooming Najib for the premiership. But it was not a one-way ticket, Najib too had to play his part in preparing for the PM's chair. To secure the top post and ensure he could fight off challengers, Najib knew he needed money.

That is the name of the game in UMNO politics. Lots of money to buy support from the top down to the branches and all the way to the divisions, states, Youth and Women's wings. Now - where and how to get it?

People following the Scorpenes scandal say Najib could have thought of a scheme when he was the Defence Minister and discussed it with Baginda, who given his knowledge of things military could have in turn told Najib about the shady world of international arms procurement where enormous bribes were the order of the day.

For example, it was well known that in Taiwan, French company Thales, formerly Thompson-CSF, had sold 6 DCN-built La Fayette-class 'stealth' frigates for an exorbitant US$2.8 billion in 1992, raising eyebrows around the world, while the Pakistan military had purchased 3 Agosta 90 B submarines in 1994 just as controversially.

Why Baginda?


Malaysia's own purchase of the Scorpenes from DCNS was brokered by Razak Baginda. Why him, and not some high-flyer corporate baron?

Some pundits say Najib was more than aware that previous UMNO prime ministers had used cronies and proxies to front their money-making schemes. But 'stars' and corporate captains could sometimes be risky and having a trusted confidant like Baginda manage the money-flows might have seemed a more ideal way to Najib. If the allegations against Najib are true, surely he would want to control the funds and ensure these were always within his reach.

The Scorpenes deal is believed to have been on the table since former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin's time but was frozen after Daim fell out with Mahathir. When Najib returned to the Defense ministry, it is believed Mahathir agreed to let him revive the transaction. And so like two schoolboys, Najib and Baginda allegedly plotted and schemed over how to benefit from such a large procurement. Even the razor-sharp Rosmah did not know of it at the beginning, or so the speculation goes.

As for Altantuya, she basically had no special skills and was not really a good translator even. She was never part of the scheme - just a very pretty face and a sexual diversion for both men. Due to her travels with Baginda, she came to know enough of the Scorpenes transaction to later try and blackmail him for a cut of the illicit commission paid by DCNS. For the record, Baginda has admitted being lovers while Najib has said he never knew her at all.

Meanwhile, perhaps to ensure maximum secrecy, Baginda got his family members involved. Several business entities were created such as Perimekar which was wholly owned by another company, KS Ombak Laut Sdn Bhd, which in turn was also controlled by Baginda and his wife. And to make the money trail a bit longer Baginda created another company Terasasi (Hong Kong) Sdn Bhd with his father Malim as a director.

Possibly, the group's thinking then was that with the Defence Minister and the future Prime Minister involved, how could things go wrong? Even if they were caught, they would be let off the hook! It was their own 'perfect' scheme but sad to say, unknown to the two wives, both Najib and Baginda were having affairs with Altantuya and unknown to all of them, Altantuya wasn't about to let herself be 'screwed' for free.

Caught with their pants down

When the 28-year-old beauty found out that the Scorpene deal was successful and Perimekar had received

the agreed commission, Altantuya could smell the money even from Mongolia, so to speak.

She decided to get something for herself and came to Malaysia. Whether or not she had really been promised a share of the loot is hard to say. Why didn't they just pay her off? Was it really because Rosmah got jealous? But would someone so shrewd and money-conscious become so emotional? What was the trigger?

Again, Malaysians and the world will have to wait before the dots can be connected and the picture drawn out. Whatever the truth, Altantuya blackmailed Baginda, threatening to expose the sexual affairs with him and Najib. After all, as her father Setev Shaariibuu has said, she did have photos of the three of them together as 'proof'.

Now, Altantuya meant trouble to Baginda and Najib. Big trouble which had to be dealt with immediately or Najib's hopes of becoming the next prime minister would fizzle up in smoke if he was indeed involved. But what to do? How to react? This part of the scheme had never been thought out before and the alleged duo were practically caught with their pants down, hence the panic and spontaneous reactions.

When Altantuya arrived in Kuala Lumpur with her cousin Burmaa Oyuchimeg, she engaged a private investigator to help her check out Baginda. Altantuya had witnesses and other records to confirm her presence in Malaysia despite Immigration computers that showed she had never entered the country. She really did make life complicated for Baginda. Her kidnapping was carried out by agents from the Malaysian Special Branch in broad daylight in front of Baginda’s house - even with witnesses present. That was how desperate Baginda was. Malaysian media have not published the full details, but foreign press have.

It was the cab-driver who messed up their 'perfect' plan


As is usually true in such covert operations, it’s the small details that matter. The entire operation came undone due to the non-payment of Altantuya’s cab fare. The taxi driver hired by Altantuya for the day did not appreciate that his passenger had been kidnapped from right under his eyes without payment for the fare. He took note of the registration plate of the kidnapper’s car – and filed a complaint at the local police station. This established that the kidnappers’ car was a government vehicle, and fingered its owners.

Najib was allegedly too stunned to think clearly. Baginda decided to hire third parties to help out and private-eye P Balasubramaniam was brought in to do some fact finding because they did not have the luxury of time. The whole Scorpene deal could just explode. It was too big to handle and too risky at that political juncture in Malaysia for both UMNO and Najib. The money trail was long but straight forward such that both Najib and Baginda could be easily traced.

Najib is believed to have entrusted the matter to his private secretary Musa Safri to do whatever was necessary. It has been reported that Rosmah, being nosy, smelt something was amiss and correctly guessed that her husband was in deep trouble. Perhaps she nagged him but whatever it was, the PM-to-be is said to have spilled the beans to his wife.

Now - and this has been confirmed by the elderly folk in her own village - Rosmah is not someone you play with. She is ruthless - no question marks there at all. But did she as it was reported carry out her own hunt for Altantuya? Did she command Najib's two personal bodyguards, Sirul Azhar and Azilah Hadri, as well as her own trusted military aides Norhayati and Aziz Buyong to help her deal with Altantuya?

Only they would know and they are not telling. Not yet, anyway. If Altantuya was still alive, she could be a witness in any court case pertaining to the scandal. Her involvement would have made things even more complex and stinky for the Malaysian government because the matter would then carry an international dimension. Such publicity would obviously be bad for the Malaysian leaders.

As it turned out, Altantuya was murdered and her remains were destroyed with C-4 on October 18, 2006 in a deserted area in Shah Alam at outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

But why must Altantuya be killed?


The scandal was in fact a ticking time bomb for Najib and it had landed in UMNO’s lap. Any implication sticking to Najib who assumed office as prime minister in April 2009 would be devastating. Najib had also been the Deputy Prime Minister and UMNO deputy president since 2004 and was being groomed to take over from the then premier Abdullah Badawi.

Badawi was at that time struggling to stay in power. He could not decide what to do. Musa Hassan who was the Inspector General of Police when the scandal unfolded declared recently that he had told Badawi that Najib was not involved in the murder.

Mahathir who has been abnormally quiet over the Scorpenes-Altantuya scandal has never commented much on the matter. But according to UMNO insiders, he was actually on top of things. He knew what was going on as he still had spies in the Special Branch. Sensing Badawi would be of no help in such a critical situation and that Najib lacked shrewdness, Mahathir decided to intervene. He convinced the IGP that no matter what, UMNO must be saved.

Najib would then be told to let the police handle the murder investigation and he was in turn to tell Rosmah to go along with whatever the police did. UMNO - which the latest documents seized by French police showed also had a stake in the Scorpenes commission - too wanted the whole scandal to be suppressed. So how else but the usual political arm-twisting. Make use of the judiciary and rig the trial! Sounds familiar?

But no matter how many Qurans or holy books Najib swears on, it is impossible for anyone who goes through the case to not think he was directly involved in some way or other. Same goes for UMNO, Baginda and Rosmah. Whether anyone of these parties actually ordered Altantuya's killing is premature to guess for now. It is still possible to know the truth as the two bodyguards who shot and bombed her are still alive on death row, appealing their hanging sentences.

And one day, the two killers might just decide to come clean. Even if they 'disappeared' as many Malaysians fear they might, the truth can still be uncovered because there are so many intertwined documents and witness accounts. All it takes is an honest-to-goodness police investigation and a fair and un-rigged court trial or public inquiry! Then even if the Scorpenes money takes years to recover, at least the ghost of Altantuya can finally be laid to rest. And the Malaysian flag fly high in the sky without the shadow of murder blotting its glory.

Malaysia Chronicle