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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Johor sultan in limelight again over heritage issue

After the controversial bidding for the WWW 1 car number, the Johor sultan is back in the limelight with 30 individuals lodging a police report yesterday against a blogger for his articles on how the ruler dealt with the heritage of the late Johor sultan.

According to a Bernama report, the report was lodged at the Sentral police station in Johor Bahru yesterday against blogger Syed Abdullah Hussein Al-Attas, who is a paranormal practitioner.

NONEThe 30 claimed that the articles posted by Syed Abdullah in his blog, Uncleseekers contain provocation, sedition and insulting content against the Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar (right), the crown prince, leaders and government servants of the  state government.

Khairil Azlishah Jalil, 32, a businessperson who represented the complainants, demanded that the blog be closed as it has published confidential documents.

"As Johor people, we are loyal to the Sultan Ibrahim as constitutional monarch. We are not happy with the allegations and sedition which can split the Johor people and (jeopardise) the harmony of the state.

"We do not represent any party or NGO. We found that the content in the blog is increasingly rampant, therefore we want the police to investigate," Bernama quotes Khairil as saying.

The blogger has to date published 60 articles in Malay on the topic of "Sultan Johor Atau Kerabatnya?" (Johor Sultan or his relatives?) including some documents that are said to expose the controversy surrounding the heritage of the late Sultan Iskandar ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail.

Sultan Iskandar died in 2010 and was succeeded by his son, Sultan Ibrahim.

The articles also referred to a lawyer who had claimed that a member of the Johor palace has issued death threats against him.

The lawyer, Kamal Hisham Jaafar, who is alleged to have embezzled RM660,000 from a Johor-based company, has fled the country.

He has said that he could not return to answer the allegation for fear of his life, after having received five death threats since last year.

Bersih 3.0: Anwar, Azmin slapped with new charge

Indonesia Regent Orders Closure Of Churches


Devoted Christians in Indonesia have been targeted by Islamists, Christians and rights activists say.

JAKARTA, INDONESIA (BosNewsLife)-- Christians in Indonesia's semi-autonomous province of Aceh faced a tense Sunday, July 1, after local authorities ordered the demolition of 20 churches.

Razali Abdul Rahman, the acting regent of Aceh Singkil Regency in Aceh, signed the letter already on April 30, but details recently emerged.

He ordered the closure of 17 Protestant churches, two Catholic churches and one place of worship belonging to followers of a local nondenominational faith, The Jakarta Post newspaper said.

Rights activists said the announcement came after 16 smaller Christian places of worship were recently closed in the same district.

Rahman ordered members of the targeted congregations "to tear down" the churches themselves.

CHRISTIANS WORSHIP ANYWAY

Despite the threats, Christians in most of the 20 churches to be demolished were expected to gather again Sunday, July 1, inside their sealed off buildings.

Indonesia's Home Minister Gamawan Fauzi has reportedly said that he is not aware of the closure plans and would contact Razali to ask for clarification.

He stressed that citizens "had a right to worship as long as they complied with regulation."

Yet, Christians say local authorities backed by Islamic hardliners often interpret rules differently.

INCREASED RELIGIOUS TENSIONS

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, has seen an increase in religious tensions and growing pressure on devoted minority Christians, according to church groups and rights activists.

Among those targeted are Christians in the city of Bekasi on West Java province where members of the Filadelfia Batak Protestant Churches (HKBP) continue to be regularly assaulted and harassed by Muslims when they try to conduct Sunday services, The Jakarta Post reported.

The Bekasi regency sealed off the church site in 2010 after local residents objected to the construction of the church.

The regency has refused to open the site even after the Bandung State Administrative Court ruled in favor of HKBP Filadelfia.

Corruption blocking Malaysia’s leap into higher-income status, says Nazir Razak

KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Malaysia must overcome corruption and carry out more market-oriented reforms if it is to move up from being a middle-income economy, CIMB Group chief Datuk Seri Nazir Razak and younger brother to the prime minister has told Financial Times (FT).

The youngest son of the country's second prime minister, Tun Razak Hussein, also told the FT that his eldest brother had “a hell of a task” because “worldwide, no one has really been able to reform from incumbency”.

Nazir's elder brother and the country's sixth PM, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has been sprearheading a slew of governmental, economic and social reforms to transform the country, but Malaysia's top banker seemed to suggest that it was not enough in an interview published in the international business paper today.

“(Corruption) remains a problem and it is something that needs to be combated,” he told FT.

Nazir (picture) told the paper that Malaysia could consider granting an amnesty for those involved in minor corruption, as has been done in Hong Kong and other countries, an idea that the Najib administration has resisted.

“You could argue that when you do that, you will get a lot less resistance from the vested interests, which is always the problem; then say, the past is the past and we all start from scratch. I still believe that’s what is needed,” Nazir was quoted as saying.

He highlighted that there was “still a need to strengthen market forces in general and that is about rolling back government in business, both in terms of bureaucracies but also in terms of its direct involvement.”

Nazir told the paper Putrajaya must push reforms that give more free rein to market forces and roll back government ownership of business through privatisations, such as the public listing of Malaysian palm oil giant Felda Global Ventures Holdings last week, which would also draw in major world business players like Axiata.

The ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government, which Najib heads, has repeatedly come under fire for its less-than-transparent and lavish spending on government procurement projects in areas ranging from agriculture to defence, resulting in scandals such as the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre that failed to cut the country's beef imports and the multibillion ringgit spent on buying submarines and naval patrol boats.

Malaysia’s score in Transparency International’s corruption perception index has slipping for the fourth year running; on a 10-point scale, where 10 represents no corruption, Malaysia dropped from 5.1 in 2008 to 4.5 in 2009, 4.4 in 2010 and 4.3 in 2011.

The country’s ranking also fell to 60 out of 183 countries — between Saudi Arabia and Cuba — from 56 out of 178 last year.

Malaysia remained the third-least corrupt nation in Asean after Singapore (9.2) and Brunei (5.2), with Thailand (3.4) and Indonesia (3.0) following in fourth and fifth places respectively.

Anti-Chinese Perkasa circular?

It warns Chinese traders not to raise prices of goods and to ensure Malay candidates win at the polls.

PETALING JAYA: A circular, purportedly by right-wing Malay group Perkasa, warning Chinese traders not to raise the prices of goods has been making its rounds on Facebook.

Supposedly printed by Perkasa’s Johor branch, the circular also demanded Chinese voters to ensure the victory of Malay candidates in next general election.

“Warning!” the unsigned circular read, before continuing: “To all Chinese traders. Do not raise the price of necessary goods as you like.”

“To all the Chinese voters, make sure that Malay candidates win,” it read.

The circular ended with an excerpt of a voting slip, showing a cross next to the BN logo, indicating support for the ruling government in the upcoming general election.

On many occasions, Perkasa has shown its support for Barisan Nasional, while vehemently attacking the federal opposition, Pakatan Rakyat.

Some critics have also painted Perkasa as a racist organisation, a claim the group has repeatedly rubbished.
Speaking to FMT, Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali denied that the group ever came out with such a warning.

“I don’t know about this. I don’t believe this. We have never put out a statement like this,” he said.
He hinted that the circular may have been printed by Pakatan-friendly individuals, citing reverse psychology as a factor.

This is why Hindraf filed the suit

The case against the UK government is for real. Win or lose, the Malaysian people will win with this case just for coming to the fore.
COMMENT

N Ganesan

On July 2, 2012, Hindraf filed a civil action on behalf of the marginalised Indian community in Malaysia against the UK Government in the High Court of Wales and England calling into account the British government for its role in the antecedents leading up to the severe marginalisation of the Indian poor in Malaysia today.

The key questions that Hindraf seeks answers for in this civil action are:

1) If the British are solely responsible for the presence of most of the Indian poor in Malaysia today, do they also not share responsibility for what is happening to the Indian poor in Malaysia today? After all, the Indians were brought into the country by them under their watch for over 150 years. It is now just over 50 years since they left.

2) Knowing the British deftness and skills in running their Empire can we accept that they did not recognise this possible turn of events to an enfeebled community upon their departure? Or was it also a part of their post-colonial imperial design to leave these people in this enfeebled and exploited state to maintain ongoing divisions in the colony?

3) Is what happened in 1957 so remote from what is happening in 2012 to render Hindraf’s case academic? Namibia is calling into account the genocide of several hundred thousands of their people by the German colonialists today, what happened in the early 1900s. Armenia is still calling into account the Turks for the Turkish genocide of more than a million of their people again in the early 1900s. The Jews are still calling into account all those responsible for the Holocaust of the 1930s and 1940s. In this case, the aggrieved Malaysian Indians are calling into account the devastating effects on several generations of Indians that has left them without systemic protection as an enfeebled minority.

4) The UK was instrumental in establishing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1949 at the United Nations. Are we to take it that such a declaration which is not even a legally binding one on nations can be more circumspect in their statement of human rights than one which defines a whole new nation. What they left Malaya with was an entrenched two-tiered citizenship in perpetuity, defying relevance to the most fundamental of these human rights principles. In the process they created a politico-legal basis that has led to the development of an institutionalised racist regime here in our country.

These are only the key issues and questions that will be raised. There are other issues and questions that Hindraf seeks answer for as well – and those will come out in the course of the case. Armed with documentary evidence collated from archives around the world, it is now making a claim in the British courts for declarations by the British courts about the reneged role and responsibility of the colonial British government to the Indian marginalised poor in the country that they and only they, were responsible for creating in Malaysia.

Treacherous manipulations

When history came calling and the British had to pack up and leave Malaya in 1957, how did they leave, after reaping huge profits on the backs of the people of this country. Did they recognise their full historical obligations to all the peoples of the country? A significant portion of the Malayan population – their creation had been uprooted from India and brought here to an alien land.

Did they recognise any obligations to these people? Did they not anticipate or think about what would happen to this enfeebled community after they left? As long as they were around, the Indian coolie was still an asset to the Empire. The dynamics would certainly shift after they left – were they not savvy enough to recognise this?

Yet even as the British colonialists left in 1957, they only cared about their strategic and security interests in the region, so that their wealth in Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei would be protected. They had just lost India, Burma and Sri Lanka. To achieve this narrow end, they did what they always knew best – to collude with the local elite of the day.

They left a politico-legal system that took only the convergence of interests of the departing British and the new elite to whom they would hand over power into consideration. They saw no reason to see any more. They justified everything they did to achieve this with their typical imperial manipulations.

But the processes of history cannot be substituted by these treacherous manipulations. Surely we see the outcome today of that manipulation, a steadily deteriorated institutionalised racist system – a subtle, pervasive and increasingly aggressive racist system, that today denies equal opportunities to a large section of the Malaysian people and in its worst manifestation basic life opportunities to those at the tail-end of the whip – the marginalised and poor Indians.

Hindraf is calling into question the role of the British colonial government in creating a politico-legal system in Malaya upon their departure, when they knew full well they had all the political and military muscle they needed, to do otherwise. The British obsession of the day was however only narrowly circumscribed around securing their wealth after their departure.

They chose to play the ethnicity variable to this advantage – created two-tiered citizenry in their usual ambiguous imperial style to please an elite and to protect their interests post 1957. If you look at the departure of the British throughout their former dominions, it is striven with the results of this kind of imperial manipulations – large ethnic, sectarian, religious and linguistic divisions persist in this so-called British Commonwealth.

Three important factors

Three major historical processes and factors have to be clearly understood in order that the responsibility of the British/Malaysian Indian problem of today can be fully grasped. This is necessary to understand why Hindraf is pursuing the matter in the British courts – so far away and on a matter that took place a long time ago. Without knowing these truths it will be easy to pass off Hindraf’s initiative as mere political theatrics.

The first factor and the most significant factor was the growth of capitalism in Great and Greater Britain, fuelled by the industrial revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries. Significant accumulation of capital and expansion of demand and consumption occurred during this period even after the loss of their American British colonies in the late 18th century.

The industrial revolution produced many significant innovations that accelerated these developments. Great Britain produced the largest ships of the time, produced the most lethal of guns, created increasingly powerful machinery for industry, connected the British Empire with telegraphic connectivity and produced a finance industry that both grew on and fed these innovations while creating new enabling opportunities for these developments. These together created the conditions necessary for the acquisition of a large empire by a geographically small nation.

The demand for the raw produces of far eastern colonies of tin, coffee, sugar, tea, pepper, spices and rubber increased substantially with profits skyrocketing in this trade. The trade in these commodities was originally carried out by the East India Company – a monopoly joint stock company established in the 1600s which effectively governed slices of the globe on behalf of the British Crown.

Only after the Indian Sepoy Mutiny in 1857 was the power formally transferred to the Crown directly – to Queen Victoria and her representative Governor-General as the head of the British’s possessions in India. With the demise of the monopoly of the East India Company, trade began to accelerate between the colonies and Great Britain. India then became the centrepiece for the growth of the British Empire post Americana. This is the second of the factors that must be understood.

India served as the bulwark for the Empire in providing a multifaceted second base for the control and growth of the Empire. India was the second administrative centre, a second military base; a second base for labour after Africa was lost on the abolishment of slavery, a second huge market for the expanding production at home. India besides providing a steady feed of revenues to Great Britain effectively paid for all these services to the burgeoning Empire all by herself – what a deal!

The imperial need for profits found synergistic opportunities in factors prevailing in the colonies – land, climate, labour and political control. The British government created new policies in the colonies facilitating British investments – one of the key ones was the labour policy.

Shortage of labour

The abolition of slavery created a shortage of labour in the colonies. The local labour force in most of the colonies resisted moving out from their traditional vocations in large enough numbers to serve the growing British appetite. Britain decided to emigrate a very large amount of labourers from their second base in India initially to the sugar producing colonies – Mauritius, Fiji Island, Caribbean islands of Jamaica, British Guiana, and Trinidad, Grenada, St. Lucia, Natal in South Africa, Ceylon, Burma and Malaya– most of these colonies having neither strong local political and administrative organisations nor an economic base beyond their rivers, coasts and fields and herds.

And very conveniently, British India successfully satisfied the needs of the voracious British appetite for labour in the plantation enterprises and for the infrastructure works needed to facilitate the exploitation of the colonial opportunities.

The Indian “coolies” (indentured labourers) sent into Mauritius from 1834 came to be regarded as the most important early immigrants of this type. In 1844, emigration was increased to include Jamaica, British Guiana, and Trinidad. Emigration was legalised to Grenada in 1856 and St. Lucia in 1858. In Natal, one of the early South African republics, the system of indentured labour began in 1860.

Indentured labour migration to Malaya actually began in the 1830s but only accelerated after 1874, when the British expanded their control to the Federated Malay States of Perak, Selangor and Negri Sembilan. It was after the effective takeover do we see an exponential rise in investments from the UK and the migration of Indian coolies into Malaya. This is the third factor to be understood – the creeping colonial control of Malaya.

By 1913, British capital investments in Malaya amounted to 40 million Straits Dollars, by 1923 it had risen to more than a 100 million. The area under rubber cultivation grew rapidly from 20, 200 hectares in 1900 to 219,000 in 1919 and 1,320,000 hectares in 1938.

Correspondingly the population of Indian coolies brought in by the British Colonial Administration and settled in Malaysia rose from 268,269 in 1911 and 470,180 in 1921 and 612,487 in 1931. By 1918, exports of rubber from Malaya amounted to about 50% of the world’s total rubber consumption.

What better explains the presence of a large impoverished population of Indians in the country than this correlation between the needs of the plantation enterprises in Malaya and the growth of the Indian coolie workforce?

Two streams of migrants

However, it must be said that there were two streams of migrants that came in from India. One was the indentured stream or assisted migration which brought the workers in as coolies which accounted for the largest portion. The other was the unassisted stream that came in, both driven by the opportunities afforded by the presence of a large pool of Indian labourers already in the country and by the need the British had in the other sectors and services in the country. India again provided the base for such labour to run the colonies. The British used to boast that they ran their colonies with only a few thousand of their own kind.

Therefore what happened in Malaya was the Malayan play of the imperative of the British Empire for profits. All entirely and only for the profit of British enterprises. All other explanations proffered are just to obscure this one fundamental historical fact to absolve the empire of any ongoing responsibility. This was without any doubt a British design.

In summary, Hindraf is really alluding to the basis of our nation through this case. These are large issues of international significance, of international law, of historical threads, of moral and historical obligations and it surely takes a sweeping breadth of the mind to even conceptualise this, let alone to take it to the courts. Only a weak mind will pass this off as trivial. Hindraf is really doing a great service to the nation.

Do we want a nation based on racist principles or do we all want a nation that is truly free and truly democratic and just to all its citizens regardless of skin colour or the customs at home. It is our opinion that there is not enough political will across the political spectrum today to address this question. Change cannot therefore be expected to happen from within any time soon. The issue has to come to a fore; Malaysia has to be seen to be what it is becoming, in the international fora, as a racist state, if only for the interest of Malaysia and Malaysians.

This change is sorely needed today, because institutionalised racism is a socially sanctioned value in Malaysia. Unless there is a change in this social value across the entire Malaysian polity where racism will be seen as a scourge rather than as a protective mechanism against the other, will there emerge a truly modern Malaysia.

The alternative scenario is a continuation of the status quo. We are doomed to see a further deterioration of our performance as a nation if status quo prevails for much longer. But the subjective conditions have to align with this objective need. The social values have to first change.

The articulation of the issues during the case will bring these developing tendencies out in full view and we are hoping that this will provide the impetus we all require to reopen the discourse for a more robust basis for our nation on a bolder, more futuristic and a substantially inclusive platform.

We hope these openings that Hindraf provides will catalyse this change.

This is Hindraf’s case in its essence – if you care to understand it in its depth and with an open mind. We are human rights defenders of a different order and we use the little resources we have the best we can, for the interest of all Malaysians – myopia which is so abundant just does not help this understanding.

This case against the UK government is for real. Win or lose in the courts, the Malaysian people will win with this case just for coming to the fore.

N Ganesan is Hindraf’s national advisor

Fate of cows and goats in KTM hands

Their owners are too poor to move out of the company’s land.

SENAWANG: The fate of 71 cows and 60 goats belonging to two farmers at Perhentian Tinggi Estate near Sungai Gadut are now in the hands of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB).

The animal sheds lie on KTMB reserve land and the company has told the two to move out, but they are too poor to do so.

Senawang State Assemblymen P Gunasekaran of DAP highlighted their predicament to the press yesterday.

“KTMB told them to vacate the land to make way for the Seremban-Gemas Electrified Double Track Project,” he said.

R Arumugam, 50, said his shed was located 250 metres away from the proposed track and should not be pose a problem to the project.

“My father started to rear cows in 1966,” he said. “However, in 1994, we were asked to vacate the land on the order of KTMB. I sold off all my cattle and decided to work as a lorry driver

“I’m getting older and not strong enough to work as a lorry driver; so I decided to start again the cattle business in August last year since the original land was vacant.

“I’m poor and I appeal to the KTMB, please don’t ask me to vacate this land as this is my only source of income. I invested a large sum of money to build the new cow barn.”

He said he sent a letter to KTMB last May 25, asking it to reconsider the evacuation order, and the company replied saying it would not do so.

“I don’t know where else to shift my cattle barn. I’ve already received a third notice from KTMB to vacate the land, but I don’t how to solve this problem.

“I don’t mind it if KTMB wants to charge me rental and erect fences for safety.”

The other farmer, 30-year-old TM Vadivarasan, said he would shift his livestock to another location if he had enough money to buy land and build a new shed.

“How to shift when the cost of buying a piece of land and building a barn is so very expensive?” he said.

“I hope KTMB and the government will sympathise with us. Without cows and goats, we will lose our livelihood.”

Gunasekaran told FMT he had written to KTMB, the Transport Ministry, the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar and the Prime Minister, asking them to find ways to help the farmers.

“I hope the respective parties will come down and see for themselves how they are managing their cows and goats,” he said.

“Definitely a win-win solution can be reached.”

Anwar, Azmin, Badrul face additional charge

The trio are accused of abetting in the breaching of the barricades at the Bersih 3.0 rally near Dataran Merdeka on April 28.
UPDATED

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR de-facto leader Anwar Ibrahim, party deputy president Azmin Ali and PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisyam Shaharin have been charged with abetting in the breaking of the barricades at the Bersih 3.0 rally, near Dataran Merdeka on April 28, this year.

This would be the third charge levelled against the trio, who had already been charged with participating in an illegal rally and violating a court order.

The three were one of the first few to be charged under the recently-passed Peaceful Assembly Act.

On May 22, the three were charged under section 4(2)(c) of the new law for participating in the rally and violating a court order between 2.30pm and 3pm on April 28.

The court order, issued by magistrate Zaki Asyraf Zubir on April 26, prohibited the Bersih gathering at Dataran Merdeka and surrounding roads leading to the historic site.

If found guilty, they are liable to a maximum fine of RM10,000, which could result in Anwar and Azmin losing their Member of Parliament status if the fine exceeds RM2,000.

The trio have also been charged under section 188 of the Penal Code for breaching the magistrate’s court order.

They are also said to have conspired with Rasah PKR division deputy head R Tangam, lawyer G Rajesh Kumar and van driver Farhan Ibrahim @ Alias by inciting them to breach the barricade surrounding Dataran Merdeka, which “could have caused a riot or clashes”.

If convicted, they are liable to a maximum jail term of one month or fine of RM2,000, or both.

The three pleaded not guilty to the three charges.

The court has set Sept 3 for mention.

In an immediate reaction, Anwar said this was yet another instance of political persecution.

He also claimed that this is an unending political suppression toward him, and this is “crazy” (gila).

The trio were charged with having a mutual intention in abetting other PKR members – Tangam Raju, Rajesh Kumar Gejinder and Farhan Ibrahim – and more than five Bersih 3.0 protesters to violate the court order and causing the latter to act violently in the rally.

Joint trial for trio

If found guilty, they are liable to a maximum jail term of two years and a fine, or both.

The mention date for the case involving Rajesh, Tangam and Farhan, was today but the prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutor Abdul Wahab Mohamad, applied for a joint trial for Anwar and five others.

Karpal Singh, who is Anwar’s counsel, told the court he needed time to file the affidavit-in-reply as the prosecution had filed 30 affidavits in response to Anwar’s application to strike out two other charges brought against him on May 22.

Karpal also informed the court that he needed two weeks to amend the application to include striking out the new charge.

The judge also fixed Sept 3 to hear the application to strike the new charge out as well as the preliminary objection filed against Anwar’s strike-out applications.

Azmin’s counsel CV Prabhakaran also informed the court his client may wish to file the same application if the striking-out hearing favours Anwar.

He said if the court allows Anwar’s application, then Azmin should be acquitted as well.

Meanwhile, Farhan through his lawyer Shamsul Iskandar Akin, applied for “marriage leave”, to be exempted from attending the next mention hearing as he is going to marry on Sept 2.

The court also allowed Rajesh to be absent from court on that day as he needs to attend another case.

‘We’ll defend her at any cost’

Two NGOs and a business organisation are livid over the death threat received by Bersih chairperson S Ambiga.

KUALA LUMPUR: Two NGOs and a business organisation have expressed anger over the death threat received by Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga.

WargaAman secretary-general S Barathidasan told FMT that the NGO’s members would defend her at any cost.

Whereas Persatuan Kebajikan dan Sosial Gemilang Puchong president V Rameshwaran dared the people responsible to face him instead of being “cowards who threatened a woman”.

Barathidasan said Ambiga was an international figure who was more popular than Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

“It seems like those who disagree with Ambiga’s vision for free and fair elections are now resorting to psychological warfare against her,” he added.

WargaAMAN also urged the police to act immediately to find out who was responsible for the threat.

“Certain segments on the Malaysian community has no fear for the law because the police have failed to do their job… or rather do their job very well when the complainant or victim is from Barisan Nasional,” he said.

“The public has lost confidence and trust in the police force,” he added.

He also said that WargaAMAN planned to stage a protest outside the Bukit Aman federal police headquarters between 12.30pm and 1pm on Wednesday.

“We invite the public to join us to show their dissatisfaction towards the police,” he added.

‘She is a valuable treasure’

Meanwhile, Rameswaran said Gemilang was prepared to mobilise its members to provide round-the clock security for Ambiga.

“This woman is a valuable treasure to both Malaysia and Malaysians, and we will not stand by and watch her get hurt for fighting for our rights.

“If anything happens to her, then all hell will break loose,” he warned.

In a related development, the Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba) also expressed concern over the latest development.

“Where is Malaysia heading? Ambiga stuck her neck out for all Malaysians and this is how we treat her with threats and humiliation?” said its president P Sivakumar.

He said the government must understand that the more threats Ambiga received, the more votes the ruling coalition might stand to lose in the next polls.

Yesterday, Ambiga lodged a police report at the Travers police station over an email which warned her about a threat against her life.

300 natives rally for their land

Angry land-grab victims of the Rungus, Kimaragang, Sonsogon and Sungei tribes in northern Sabah have pledged to defend their NCR lands to the death.

PITAS: More than 300 angry natives in the northern parts of Sabah staged a peaceful but powerful rally protesting against the prevalent land grabs in Kudat, Pitas, Kota Marudu and parts of Beluran.

They claimed the land grabs, some of which they alleged were backed by politicians from the ruling party, had resulted in bitter experiences for thousands of them.

Many of these natives are displaced and squatting in nearby villages as well as awaiting court orders obtained by big companies with political links.

Hosting the rally last Saturday at Torong Soko overlooking the Marudu Bay here was the surging State Reform Party (STAR), which successfully applied for and obtained a police permit under the recently passed Peaceful Rally Act.

The Dusunic tribes of Rungus, Kimaragang, Sonsogon and Sungei who are victims of the land grabs pledged to defend their NCR lands to the death.

They also pledged to thwart the ruling Umno-led Barisan Nasional’s bid to retain its parliamentary and state seats in the north at the coming general election.

Local media, meanwhile, blacked out news of the rally which was also attended by STAR Sabah chairman, Jeffrey Kitingan.

The protesters last weekend put up many placards which, among others, carried slogans calling for the BN government to respect various conventions including the United Nations’s convention on right of the natives on land.

Three representatives of the land-grab victims spoke for about 10 minutes each at the rally, warning the people of worse things to come if the current BN leaders continued to helm the state as they are already beholden not only to outside power but to businessmen from big companies.

The three were Jaipin Mohigal, a former policeman and former ketua kampung (village headman) from Tandek, pastor Marunsai Dawai from Matunggung and Midon Madoi, a village headman of Kampung Bongkol, Pitas.

More land rallies soon

Looking straight at the OCPD standing across him, Jaipin said: “I have been chased out of my NCR land, they (Sabah Forestry Department) burned my house, but I won’t budge as this is my land. I will die here, and I am not afraid to die for my rights, you can arrest me…”

Midon said he decided to take the lead even though he is a government-appointed village headman because he believed he was doing the right thing to help defend the NCR rights of the natives.

Marunsai also called on the people to think carefully about the future as what happened to them might also happen to their next generation if the government continue to allow land grabs via dubious tricks.

Allegations are rife that land grabs were carried out using government agencies, to force the evacuation of the natives to make way for big companies to take over their lands for palm oil plantation.

Jeffrey in his speech said the current government was totally lost in its purpose and is no longer protecting the natives.

“Never in history have Sabahans been treated worst like under this current government where they prefer to give lands to outsiders and companies than the natives who have been living in the areas for generations.

“If we don’t decide to repel this government, who else will help us? It is now the time, and it us who must determine our own future in our own land. Vote for change this time,” he said to loud applause of “Ini Kali Lah”.

Earlier, organising chairman, Maklin Masiau, in his speech, said the rally in Pitas is the launching pad for more peaceful rallies on land issues and that the effort to regain respect for NCR would reverberate across Sabah.

“There would be more bigger rallies…” he said, adding that it is the people who wanted to protest the government’s biased treatment against them.

Maklin, a teacher who recently resigned from his post, is said to be among the earliest that had been “confirmed” as STAR candidate. He is earmarked to stand in Pitas state constituency, currently held by Umno’s Bolkiah Ismail.

The OCPD of Kota Marudu, Mohd Isa Othman, with dozens of policemen both in uniform and plainclothes were present throughout the rally which started just before noon and ended peacefully at 5pm.

Where’s your shadow, BN?

A PKR leader says BN leaders cannot be dictating the terms on this since they have no shadow Cabinets in the Pakatan-run states.

KUALA LUMPUR: Dismissing the arguments of a Barisan Nasional MP as “stupid and foolish”, a PKR leader pointed out the absence of shadow Cabinets in the four Pakatan Rakyat-controlled states.

Subang MP R Sivarasa was responding to BN Kota Belud MP Abdul Rahman Dahlan who criticised the opposition for not revealing its federal shadow Cabinet list.

“We [BN] backbenchers are defending the government on various issues but at the same time, I would also want to question their [Pakatan] shadow Cabinet ministers but the problem is that I don’t know who they are. I also want to ask them tough questions,” Abdul Rahman told FMT.

“Tell us, in Sabah, what’s your economic plan. All this is because [Opposition Leader] Anwar Ibrahim knows he can’t get the right men for the job or he is ‘waiting’ for the right person,” he said.

However, Sivarasa said since the opposition was not governing the nation, the onus was not on Pakatan but rather BN to respond to issues.

“This is Politics 101 and these guys are confused and we should send them back to university. It seems like they know that they are going to lose, then you wait for our ministers to be appointed.

“But [what Abdul Rahman is saying] is quite a stupid response, it is quite foolish. They have a deluded sense of reality that we are in England or Australia,” he added.

He said in the Westminster parliament and Australia, shadow Cabinets were “institutionalised”.

“Meaning that they have the full resources of a ministry. For example, the Australian shadow Cabinet has 140 government staff to back it, paid by the public purse.

“You must have that to function as a shadow Cabinet. Else you have a shadow Cabinet which does not have an impact, can’t do research, plan or present their viewpoints,” he added.

Asked if Pakatan would institutionalise shadow Cabinets if it came into power, Sivarasa said: “If Pakatan becomes government I think we should do it. It is a good thing.”

Shadow committees were sufficient

At present, he said, the opposition had shadow committees with a representative from each of the three Pakatan parties for each ministry and this was sufficient.

“Elections are won or lost on the basis of what the opposition has to offer in new approaches in policies of governance and so on, not based on personalities,” he added.

Sivarasa also dismissed BN leaders’ calls for a Pakatan shadow Cabinet, saying the former was not qualified to dictate terms.

“We don’t have to [show them our Cabinet], because they don’t even have that in the four states they lost. They are the last people who should talk about a shadow Cabinet,” he said.

He pointed out that even in Selangor’s Public Accounts Committee, Pakatan decided that an opposition leader from BN should chair it but the latter declined to do so.

The shadow Cabinet issue re-surfaced following a FMT article which revealed the purported list based on the input of a Pakatan MP and the writer’s own observations.

However, Sivarasa said Pakatan leaders did not take this seriously, adding that he was once even named as a potential deputy prime minister.

Meanwhile, Abdul Rahman said unless an official announcement was made by Pakatan, the existence of this shadow Cabinet was merely based on “speculation” and as such would not change the current political dynamics.

“As it is right know, they (Pakatan) do not believe in the two-party system, although they claim to. You can’t even decide if you have two, three or five deputy prime ministers, which is what they were talking about previously as they promised Sabah and Sarawak too.

“You can’t even get that right and you like to hide behind this phrase ‘agree to disagree’,” he said.

He added that the opposition was demanding for a “first class government” but were hardly “first class” themselves.

Abdul Rahman said he was all for a “strong” two party system but was disappointed that the opposition was “not up for it”.

‘They are working on the list’

Weighing in on the matter, Segambut MP (DAP) Lim Lip Eng believed that Pakatan would announce the list once parliament was dissolved.

“I think they are drawing up the list but they don’t want to announce it as yet,” he added.

Lim was also “very confident” that Pakatan would form the next federal government based on the current sentiments of the voters.

Even if the opposition seized control of Putrajaya, the DAP politician said he would prefer to be a backbencher as opposed to holding ministerial portfolios.

As a backbencher, Lim said, he would be able to monitor and check the new government.

“Even if my comrade is made a minister and deputy minister and he or she messes up, I will be the first one to criticise them in and outside parliament,” he added.

Pakatan Rakyat is inclusive compared to BN's Divide and Rule

Senator S. Ramakrishnan, 2/7/2012

Mr. Velayutham Krishnan responded to my last write up by posing 3 questions to answer on the 27th June 2012. I thank him for the questions. Now that the questions are public, many others too may want to know my responses to them. With regards to the appointment of Kelantan menteri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz as the deputy prime minister if and when PR comes to power, I have never heard or seen anywhere Pakatan Rakyat (PR) or Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim mentioning it. Mr Velayutham should provide proof of his claim. Here are my responses to the questions raised:

1. Pakatan Rakyat is guided by a common policy framework being agreed by PAS, PKR and DAP. There is no mention of Islamic state in this policy framework of PR. Therefore there is no question of Islamic state when PR comes to power. Besides PAS national leaders and MPs talk about welfare state which is for all and not race based. There could be one or two middle level leaders calling for Islamic state. That does not mean that PAS is harping on Islamic state.

2. With regard to the Hudud Law there is no mention about it in the common policy framework or the Buku Jingga. It is the BN leaders in particular MCA leaders who keep frightening the voters that PAS will implement Hudud Law should they win. If there is no Islamic state, then Hudud Law cannot be implemented! We have to move away from race based and racist parties like UMNO. PAS comes from Malay heartland which you and I cannot stop. That is the reality. Let’s work towards multi racialism and multiculturalism. PAS is much more progress than UMNO. We have been looking at PAS through UMNO media.

3. Next the question of special privileges for Malays. I would like to ask Mr Velayutham whether he is not happy with the Malays getting special privileges or the others deserving not getting special privileges. I would not deny Malays from getting privileges but my concern is Malaysians who deserve should be entitled to privileges too. PR policy is need based and not race based like BN. Therefore all Malaysians get better deal under PR. In BN it is the UMNO cronies who are given all the privatization and lucrative government projects without any open tender at exorbitant prices.

BN government has made all Malaysians lifelong debtors. Cars, houses, higher education are very expensive compared to other countries. Malaysians take loan for these goods and services and pay for their rest of their lives. I just returned from Jakarta on Sunday (1/7/2012) after attending sub regional conference of the Asian European people’s forum. Car prices in Indonesia are half of Malaysian cars. Indonesia does not have any national car. Yet their cars are sold at half the price of Malaysia.

The billions of ringgit spent on Malays did not uplift them. Malays are still 60% of the poor. Indians are about 21%. What happened to the billions of ringgit spent to uplift the Malays? These billions went to UMNOPUTRAS and their cronies. The divide between poor Malays and rich Malays have widened further. With Malay economic share still not achieved, do you think Indians have any chance under the BN rule? Let’s come out of our dream and get real.

Educated and young Malays have realized that BN is for UMNOPUTRAs. People like Velayutham who are in comfort zone should go out and meet Indian families in low cost flats and see how Indian children drop out of schools and easily get hooked to bad companies. Individuals or NGO cannot redeem them. It is a governmental level effort through NGOs that can uplift. BN government just offers lip service and they couldn’t be bothered what happened to Indians. I am calling to get rid of racist and corrupted BN. Any government will be a better government then BN. The choice for now is PR.

The perils of being Muslim in Malaysia

MUSLIMS constitute the majority of the Malaysian population and the country’s top leadership. Still, just how safe is it to be a Muslim in Malaysia? And can Muslims trust that their rights will be protected and upheld by a public administration that increasingly says it wants to uphold Islamic values and teachings?
The evidence is, it really doesn’t pay to be Muslim in Malaysia, not if the actions by state administrations are anything to go by. Worse, it’s not just state administrations – whether led by Umno or PAS –  that make life unduly difficult for Muslims. Other Muslims, who take their cue from what the state allows them to get away with, also make being a Muslim in Malaysia a challenge.

No thinking

How do we know this? Well, if you’re Muslim, you’re apparently not allowed to read widely, think and form your own opinions about how to live your faith. You’re not allowed, for example, to read Irshad Manji’s book, which was banned after it was translated into Malay.

And if you happen to be the publisher of the translated version and you’re Muslim, then you can expect religious authorities to raid your office and arrest you, even though there’s doubt about the constitutionality of these actions. And even if you’re not an employee of the publisher, and just so happen to be a Muslim sharing the same office space, the religious authorities can still call you in for questioning.

This is exactly what happened to the Muslims who co-rented ZI Publications’s office even though they had nothing to do with Manji’s translated book and informed the authorities so. Not only that, these Muslims were also compelled to go for Islamic counselling. Why? Because the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) decided it was empowered to treat all Muslims at the ZI Publications office as wayward Muslims who needed to be reformed or punished.

And in a disconcerting case of the religious authority’s abuse of power, if you’re Muslim like Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz, the Federal Territories’s Islamic Department (Jawi) can arrest and prosecute you for selling a book, that had not yet been banned, at your place of employment. Nik Raina has said this is the “most challenging time” of her life. That’s understandable. She had not broken any laws and was merely performing work she was hired for. Yet, because she’s Muslim, the authorities can arrest her, treat her roughly, deny her legal representation, and then have her charged in the syariah court.

Indeed, Nik Raina’s employer, the book chain Borders, has stated that if this is the way Muslims are going to be treated, companies may start reconsidering the hiring of Muslims. So, as a Muslim in Malaysia, your chances of private sector employment may also be threatened by state religious authorities’ actions.
Thinking among Muslims is especially frowned upon if it’s about Muslim women’s rights. That can be the only explanation why Sisters In Islam’s book, Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism, was banned four years ago. And even when the High Court rules the Home Ministry’s ban as unlawful, the Umno-led Barisan Nasional administration has no qualms appealing the decision. That speaks volumes, doesn’t it, about how the state thinks Muslims should be treated?

For certain, these two books are not the only ones that have been banned. There have been others, such as Kassim Ahmad’s book on the hadith, which Jakim has now been told to review. And John Esposito and Karen Armstrong’s books about Islam.  And there will likely be many more banned books for Muslims, and by extension non-Muslims, in Malaysia.

No dissent

If you’re Muslim in Malaysia, you will also not be allowed to show dissent against those in power, at least according to the National Fatwa Council. The council issued a fatwa that declared it haram to participate in gatherings that were unproductive, illegal or could cause chaos, citing Bersih 3.0. This is despite the fact that the right to peaceful expression and assembly is a guaranteed civil liberty under both the United Nations and our federal constitution.

It’s tough being a Muslim in Malaysia because the fact is, going against a gazetted fatwa is a criminal offence even though a fatwa is merely an opinion in Islamic tradition. What that means for Muslims in Malaysia is, if you exercised your democratic right to assemble and protest peacefully, the religious authorities can come after you.

And lest we think it’s just an Umno-led government that is responsible for denying Muslims the right to dissent, PAS is not very different. The PAS-led Kedah government, for example, passed an enactment that said no fatwa in the state could be challenged, despite such a move being unconstitutional and ultra vires of its powers.

No compassion

Most troubling of all, if you’re Muslim in Malaysia, don’t expect any compassion. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself has purportedly announced that his administration will protect the sanctity of Islam. How? By singling out lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) as threatening faith and morality in Malaysia.

As if the prosecution of this minority group isn’t already violent enough, Muslim LGBTs can now expect continued or further persecution and victimisation for merely being who and what they are. Imagine if women were still being victimised and villified by the state merely for being different from men, or blacks for being different from whites. And yet the principle involved in the victimisation of LGBTs is the same. And it’s being done in the name of Islam. So, if you’re Muslim and a member of the LGBT community, watch out.

The administration is also not averse to disadvantaging innocent Muslim children. Muslims who are born less than six months after their parents’ marriage are not allowed to carry their father’s name, making them illegitimate and denying them their rights. All this because of a 1971 fatwa. Better it would seem to be born a non-Muslim in Malaysia.

No personal liberties

And if you’re Muslim in Malaysia, you can forget about your personal liberties of enjoying a concert, doing yoga or poco-poco as exercise, or shaving your head. And if you drink alcohol, even if your drinking harms only your own liver, you can be whipped. If you’re dating, your room can be raided and you can be arrested and charged for khalwat even if you’re a consenting adult. And oh, unlike other Malaysians, you will not be allowed to choose your faith because in Malaysia being a Muslim is like being in Hotel California. And of course, there’s ever the threat of hudud.

For certain, it’s not Islam that is the problem. A look at the life of Sophia Loren will demonstrate what a Catholic state is equally capable of. Indeed, any religion, when practised conservatively and when allowed to inform and direct public policy and governance, is problematic. Theocracies are essentially undemocratic because divine law and/or God cannot be challenged. In Malaysia, even if we are constitutionally a secular state, great strides are being made to make us into an Islamic state.

If you don’t believe me, just ask the Muslims who are being unjustly persecuted and punished by the state just because in this country, the state can.

Editor’s note: ZI Publications is the publisher of The Nut Graph’s books, Found in Malaysia and Found in Malaysia Volume 2. ZI Publications also published The Nut Graph’s Understanding the Dewan Rakyat.

At one point in her life, Jacqueline Ann Surin considered embracing Islam and was exhorted by her Malaysian Muslim friends not to. She is alarmed at the targeted persecution of Muslims in Malaysia by the state and its agencies in the name of Islam.

Dosa Cina dan India kepada Malaysia


Actually, it is the Chinese and Indians who are to be blamed. They are the real traitors. Malaysia could have been saved a long time ago if not because of the Chinese and Indians. And now, cakap banyak! What a load of bullshit these Chinese and Indians. They know they are to be blamed but they pretend as if they are innocent victims of Umno’s injustice.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

I am not sure whether I want to write my ‘normal’ (meaning cheong hei) article today. Maybe I should write a short article and allow you time to read the special report by the United States regarding racism in Malaysia (READ HERE: http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/special-reports/50328-institutional-racism-and-religious-freedom-in-malaysia). Anyway, let me start writing and see where I end up.

There are many reports, today and yesterday, which all have a tint of racism in them, including that item on Lim Guan Eng being harassed by those Perkasa chaps in Penang. We are very quick to jump at the Umno chaps, or the ‘Umno-sponsored’ chaps like those Perkasa thugs, but we fail to see that we too (meaning the opposition supporters) are no lesser racist in our actions and words. I mean; can we get by even just one day without you who post comments in Malaysia Today not using words like Mamak or refrain from Malay bashing?

I know Umno is Malay. Umno makes no bones about the fact that it is Malay. Does not the ‘M’ in the Umno name stand for ‘Malay’? Umno declares that it is a Malay party. It does not hide the fact that it fights for the Malays. Umno openly propagates Malay nationalism or Ketuanan Melayu. But when we whack Mamaks or vilify the Malays then we are also hitting out at the non-Umno Malays who, just like you, may not support Umno or may even, just like you, hate everything that Umno stands for.

It is the same when you whack the royalty. I know for a fact that more than half the members of the royal family support the opposition cause. I repeat, they support ‘the opposition cause’, which may not necessarily mean they are happy with the opposition state governments. Some may not be happy with the way the opposition state governments of Pakatan Rakyat do things. They may detect some ‘Umno culture’ within the opposition as well (such as cronyism, nepotism, favouritism, etc.). And they may even be critical of the opposition because of this. But this does not mean that they are critical of the opposition because they support the government. It just means they hate the Umno culture and do not like it when they see this same culture being perpetuated in the opposition.

So be careful with what you say and do. When you whack those you perceive as your enemy you may actually be unwittingly whacking your friends as well. When you whack all royalty you are hitting at more than 50% of the members of the royal family who support the opposition cause. And when you whack the Malays because you are angry with Umno, you are also hitting at the 49% Malay voters who voted for the opposition in the last general election.

I admit that I am one of those Malays (who is also a member of the royal family) who has become tawar hati with the opposition. I still support the opposition cause. If not I would not have published that special report I mentioned above. But while I am still gung ho about the opposition cause, I am no longer gung ho about the opposition like I used to be for 30 years from 1978 to 2008. Since the 2008 general election, I have begun to see the dark side of the opposition supporters. And I no longer feel the same way about the opposition like I did for 30 years from 1978 to 2008.

As I said in an earlier article a few days ago, yes, I have turned. I have turned from being a die-hard opposition supporter to becoming a critical opposition supporter. As this point of time I am still an opposition supporter. But I am a different type of opposition supporter now. Now, I am an opposition supporter who has become slighted by the actions and words of the other opposition supporters and I now feel alienated.

So, yes, I used to be on the left. In fact, I could even be said to be more socialist than royalist. If not, would I have spoken out in support of Nizar Jamaluddin and told him to defy the Sultan of Perak at the cost of antagonising my own family? But I am not so leftist at the moment. This does not mean I have swung to the extreme right though. It just means that I am now more middle ground and lesser leftist because the left appears to be too extreme and a mere reverse side of the coin called Umno.

Are the Malays, Muslims and royals really to be blamed for all the ills facing Malaysia? Why are the Malays, Muslims and royals being vilified for the country going to the dogs? Is it really their fault? Is Umno solely to blame for everything that is wrong with the country?

You may think that Umno is to be blamed. I would not say that Umno must take the blame. But I would admit that Umno must share the blame, though not take the sole blame. Hence, if Umno is to share the blame, then who are the other parties that must also share the blame?

Out of the 222 seats in Parliament, how many are Umno seats? Based on the number of Umno seats in Parliament, can Umno form the government? Umno is merely a partner in the federal government, albeit the lead partner. And when things go wrong we must look at the other partners as well. The Chinese, Indians, and the other non-Malay/non-Muslim minorities from East Malaysia are as much to blame as Umno is about the state of affairs in the country.

The opposition supporters, in particular the Chinese supporters, are talking as if the Malays, Muslims, royalty, Umno members, etc., are solely responsible for what ails Malaysia. And they speak with much venom in their words. They have forgotten that 22 years ago, back in 1990, the Malays were already voting opposition while the Chinese, Indians and minorities of East Malaysia were still voting Barisan Nasional. It is only of late, four years ago in 2008, that the Chinese and Indians (not yet the minorities of East Malaysia) started voting opposition. But they talk as if the fight for change was a purely Chinese and Indian effort since the beginning of time.

The Chinese and Indians are Johnny-come-lately. Terengganu and Kelantan have been under opposition governments since around the time of Merdeka. Since Merdeka, the Malays have been divided into Umno and PAS. Even Gerakan, which won Penang as an opposition party in 1969, joined the ruling coalition. And were the Chinese angry? Did the Chinese kick Gerakan out in the following election? For almost 40 years the Chinese continued to vote for Gerakan in spite of the fact that it sold out the voters and joined the ruling government. It took almost 40 years for the Chinese to eventually wake up and kick Gerakan out. And now, after 40 years of sleeping, the Chinese wake up and talk so much, as if the opposition cause is entirely a Chinese effort.

Baru satu pilehanraya and talk so much. Talk so much as if the whole country is being saved by the Chinese. The truth is, the country is in a mess because of the Chinese. It is the Chinese who are to be blamed for what is happening. If it were up to the Malays, Umno would have been kicked out a long time ago. But because of the Chinese and Indians, the Malays were not able to kick Umno out.

Actually, it is the Chinese and Indians who are to be blamed. They are the real traitors. Malaysia could have been saved a long time ago if not because of the Chinese and Indians. And now, cakap banyak! What a load of bullshit these Chinese and Indians. They know they are to be blamed but they pretend as if they are innocent victims of Umno’s injustice. I don’t mind if Umno wins the next election just so that the Chinese and Indians can face a few more years of punishment for the sins they have committed in keeping Umno in power for so long.

Muslims are 500 years too late


The Chinese and Indians believe in these Muslim shrines as well. But they visit these shrines to request ‘empat nombor ekor’, as do some Malays too. Surprisingly, whether coincidence or what, some of these numbers do strike, and this strengthens the belief in these shrines when so-and-so is reported to have won a large sum of money from a number they got from the ‘keramat’ or ‘datok’.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Mali Islamists destroy more holy Timbuktu sites

(Reuters) - BAMAKO: Al Qaeda-linked Mali Islamists armed with guns and pick-axes continued to destroy ancient mausoleums in the famed city of Timbuktu yesterday, the second day of attacks on the UNESCO heritage sites, witnesses said.

The Salafist Ansar Dine group backs strict sharia, Islamic law, and considers the shrines of the local Sufi version of Islam to be idolatrous. Sufi shrines have also been attacked by hard-line Salafists in Egypt and Libya in the past year.

Residents say the group has threatened to destroy all of the 16 main mausoleum sites in Timbuktu despite the international outcry against the attacks. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has called for an immediate halt to the attacks.

“We are subject to religion and not to international opinion. Building on graves is contrary to Islam. We are destroying the mausoleums because it is ordained by our religion,” Oumar Ould Hamaha, a spokesman for Ansar Dine, told Reuters by telephone from the northern city on Sunday.

Armed with Kalashnikovs and pick-axes, about 30 militants on Sunday destroyed three centuries-old mausoleums of saints, local journalist Yaya Tandina told Reuters.

“They had armed men guarding the door. Just like yesterday, the population did not react. They (population) said we need to let them (the Islamists) do what they want, hoping that someday we will rebuild the tombs,” Tandina said.

Timbuktu resident Hamed Mohamed said the Islamists destroyed the tombs of Sidi Elmety, Mahamane Elmety and Cheick Sidi Amar, all in the west of the city.

Ansar Dine is made up of Islamist fighters of various nationalities including Malians, Algerians and Nigerians.

“What shocks me the most is the presence of foreigners among them who do it with mockery while shouting Allah Akbar,” Mohamed said. “For me it is a declaration of war and a crime against our cultural heritage. It is time that the international community helped us.”

Tandina and other witnesses said Ansar Dine had on Saturday destroyed the mausoleums of three local saints – Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi El Mokhtar and Alfa Moya – and at least seven tombs.

The attack came days after UNESCO placed Timbuktu on its list of heritage sites in danger and will recall the 2001 dynamiting by the Taliban of two 6th-century statues of Buddha carved into a cliff in Bamiyan in central Afghanistan.

*****************************************

The key word in the news item above is Salafi. The Muslims who embarked on this ‘cleansing’ exercise are Salafis.

The Salafis have a different interpretation of the Shariah compared to, say, the Sunnis or Shiahs. In Saudi Arabia, which is Salafi, when you die, even for Kings, your body is just dumped in the desert with no tombstones to mark your grave. Within just months, because of the shifting desert sands, no one will know where you were buried. Hence you will soon be forgotten, as there is no grave to visit and no shrine to prove you ever existed.

Many Sunnis and Shiahs, however, believe in shrines and saints. And they visit these shrines of renowned religious people (or saints) to pray and request favours. There are many such shrines in South East Asia, Singapore included. And Muslims visit these shrines on a sort of pilgrimage and believe that you can request things from these dead people and your request would be granted.

The Chinese and Indians believe in these Muslim shrines as well. But they visit these shrines to request ‘empat nombor ekor’, as do some Malays too. Surprisingly, whether coincidence or what, some of these numbers do strike, and this strengthens the belief in these shrines when so-and-so is reported to have won a large sum of money from a number they got from the ‘keramat’ or ‘datok’.

England used to have this same problem hundreds of years ago. But around the early 1500s, King Henry VIII ordered all these shrines to be demolished and the churches that housed these shrines to be burned down. They also passed a law to make praying at shrines illegal and punishable by torture or even death. Priests who persisted in the ‘old ways’ were also hanged or burned alive at the stake. So now England is free of the problem, which only now the Muslims appear to be addressing.

Anyway, while on the subject of England, do you know that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were not the first to persecute the Jews? Actually, it was the Muslims and the English who started this trend. Hitler only copied what had already been done much earlier.

In 534, the Justinian Code of Christendom degraded Jews to second-class citizens. In 807, Harun al-Rashid, the most ‘liberal’ Caliph who is touted as the man responsible for the ‘Golden Age of Islam’, ordered all Jews to wear yellow badges.

Persecution of England's Jews increased with massacres at London and York during the time of the 11th century Crusades. In 1215, the Fourth Lateran Council, presided over by Pope Innocent III, made its infamous decree. Canon 68 declared: Jews and Saracens [Muslims] of both sexes in every Christian province and at all times shall be marked off in the eyes of the public from other peoples through the character of their dress. In 1217, King Henry III of England ordered Jews to wear on the front of their upper garment the two tables of the Ten Commandments made of white linen or parchment.

In 1269, King Louis IX of France decreed that Jewish men and women were to wear yellow badges on their outer garment, both front and back. In 1290, during the reign of King Edward I of England, all Jews were expelled from England and any Jew still found on English soil was put to death.

Have we really changed much these last 2,000 years? Same shit different days, that’s all.

ISA: Isteri sedih suami diseksa di Kemta


KUALA LUMPUR, 2 Julai: Isteri kepada tahanan Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA), Razali Kassan sedih dan kecewa apabila suaminya diseksa di Kem Tahanan Kamunting (Kemta) walaupun ahli keluarga mengikut arahan pihak berkuasa sebelum ini.

Nunurheni Onim berkata, sebelum ini beliau dan ahli keluarga yang lain tidak bercerita mengenai penahanan suaminya kepada mana-mana pihak kerana berpegang kepada janji pihak polis.

Pihak polis Bukit Aman katanya melarang beliau menghebahkan penahanan suaminya di bawah ISA kepada media, peguam atau badan bukan kerajaan (NGO) jika mahu Razali dibebaskan segera.

"Sebelum ini saya diarahkan oleh pihak polis untuk tidak bercerita kepada peguam atau mana-mana pihak.

"Mereka kata kalau saya tak hebahkan penahanan suami saya kepada sesiapa, suami saya tidak akan diapa-apakan. Saya pegang janji mereka tapi sekarang suami saya belum dibebaskan malah dipukul dengan teruk," adu beliau di hadapan Pesuruhjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (Suhakam), Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah.

Nunurheni hadir bersama-sama Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) ke Suhakam hari ini bagi menyerahkan memorandum mengenai seksaan pihak Kemta terhadap tahanan yang melakukan mogok lapar, menuntut pembebasan segera.

Dalam aduan kepada Suhakam tadi, Sekretariat GMI, Syukri Razab berkata, seorang lagi tahanan, Mustawan Ahbab menceritakan bahawa Razali ditumbuk, diterajang dan diludah di muka oleh pegawai Kemta kerana melancarkan mogok lapar dan menyusahkan warden Kemta.

Menurutnya, Razali tetap dikasari oleh pegawai Kemta meskipun beliau seorang tahanan yang baik dan tidak melawan.

Memorandum itu selepas GMI mengiringi lawatan tiga keluarga tahanan ISA di Kemta semalam.

Selain isteri Razali, isteri kepada Mustawan Ahbab, Khairunizah Mohd Akhir dan juga bapa kepada Fadzullah, Abdul Razak Mohd serta isteri tahanan warga Sri Lanka, Anthony turut menyertai lawatan tersebut.

Razali kelihatan lemah dan mengakui dipukul dalam pertemuan tersebut.

Sementara itu, Khairunizah dalam aduannya pula memberitahu, tempoh pertemuan beliau dan Mustawan dipendekkan daripada satu jam kepada 25 minit sebagai denda kerana Mustawan membocorkan maklumat tahanan kepada beliau melalui telefon.

"Dalam kad kuning Kemta, saya boleh bertemu selama 45 minit dan kalau memaklumkan awal kepada pihak Kemta, boleh berjumpa sejam. Tapi bermula semalam, saya hanya dibenarkan bertemu selama 25 minit sahaja sebagai denda kepada Mustawan. Tak berbaloi saya datang dari jauh untuk pertemuan sesingkat itu," katanya.

Tempoh pertemuan keluarga dan tahanan yang mogok lapar juga turut dipendekkan dari satu jam kepada setengah jam.

Suhakam atur lawatan ke Kemta

Sha'ani dalam responsnya berkata, pihak Suhakam akan mengatur lawatan segera ke Kemta dan membawa doktor bagi memeriksa keadaan tahanan khususnya peserta mogok lapar yang masuk hari ke-12.

"Suhakam memandang berat kes pihak berkuasa mengenakan tindakan di luar batasan kepada tahanan. Mogok lapar dilakukan oleh pihak yang ditindas, yang tidak diberi peluang membela diri di mahkamah.

"Warden kata tindakan mogok lapar menyuahkan mereka, kalau susah jangan jadi warden. Itu tanggungjawab warden, bukan guna kuasa untuk tekan orang di bawah. Mereka harus menghormati hak asasi tahanan sebagai manusia," katanya.

Tegasnya juga, kerajaan seharusnya menghormati semua pihak termasuk peguam yang menjalankan tugas mereka.

"Kerajaan seharusnya menghormati pihak lain termasuk peguam. Pegawai Kemta pula harus bersikap berkecuali, hormati hak tahanan bertemu keluarga dan peguam," katanya.

Under Najib, Malaysia is not only more corrupt than under the two previous Prime Ministers but is heading towards the dubious honour of being the only Asian-Pacific country to slip in both TI CPI ranking and score since 1995

The CIMB Group chief, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak and younger brother to the Prime Minister hit the nail on the head when he told Financial Times that Malaysia must overcome corruption if it is to move up from being a middle-income economy.

In fact, Nazir could be faulted for erring on the side of caution and holding his punches for Malaysia, under Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s premiership for 39 months, is not only more corrupt than under the two previous Prime Ministers Tun Dr. Mahathir and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, but is heading towards the dubious honour of being the only Asian-Pacific country to slip in both Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index(CPI) ranking and score since the introduction of the annual assessment 17 years ago in 1995.

In the first TI CPI in 1995, Malaysia was ranked No. 23 out of 41 countries or the 6th highest-ranked nation in the Asia-Pacific after New Zealand -1, Singapore – 3, Australia – 7, Hong Kong – 17 and Japan – 20, with a CPI score of 5.28. (10 stands for “highly clean” and 0 for “highly corrupt”)

Seventeen years later, after numerous anti-corruption campaigns, two major anti-corruption legislation, the “elevation” of the former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) into Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the National Integrity Plan, the 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme with massive infusion of public funds and increase of staffing, Malaysia has now fallen to the lowest TI CPI ranking in 17 years in 2011, viz: No. 60 with the lowest CPI score of 4.3.

Malaysia has also fallen to No. 11 for country placing in the Asia-Pacific. The top TI CPI 2011 Asia-Pacific ranking are:

1. New Zealand (1) 9.5
2. Singapore (5) 9.2
3. Australia (8) 8.8
4. Hong Kong (12) 8.4
5. Japan (14) 7.8
6. Taiwan (32) 6.1
7. Bhutan (38) 5.7
8. South Korea (42) 5.4
9. Brunei (44) 5.2
10. Macau (46) 5.1
11. Malaysia (60) 4.3

Even more serious, other countries which had been down on the list of the TI CPI ranking are fast catching up while Malaysia is fast falling down!
China, Thailand, India and Indonesia are such examples in Asia.

China was ranked No. 40 with a CPI score of 2.16 in 1995. In 2011, China is ranked No. 75 with a CPI score of 3.6.

At the annual average rate of China’s improvement and Malaysia’s regression of their CPI score in the last 17 years, China will not only catch up but will leave Malaysia behind in the TI CPI, both in ranking and in score in a matter of four years – come 2015!

Other Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia and India are making major strides in the battle against corruption. Thailand, which was ranked No. 34 with CPI score of 2.79 in 1995 (out of 41 countries) is now ranked No. 80 (out of 183 countries) with an improved score of 3.4. India was ranked No. 35 with CPI score of 2.78 in 1995 is now ranked No. 95 with an improved score of 3.1.

Even Indonesia is making significant strides in the anti-corruption front. Ranked at the very bottom of No. 41 in 1995, with CPI score of 1.94, Indonesia is now ranked No. 100 with an improved CPI score of 3.0 in 2011.

Is there any other Asia-Pacific country to keep Malaysia company of being hit with a double whammy of a lower TI CPI ranking and score in the past 17 years?

Yes, there is another country – the Philippines whose TI CP ranking was No. 36 with a score of 2.77 in 1997 and both indices fell 17 years later in the 2011 TI CPI being ranked No. 129 with a score of 2.6.

But the Philippines is optimistically looking forward to great improvements in its CPI score if not CPI ranking next year with the catching of several “big fishes” in the anti-corruption campaign of President Aquino, most notably the sacking of Chief Justice Renato Corona by the Philippines Senate impeachment court and the indictment of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, former Transportation Secretary Leandro Mendoza, former Commission on Elections Chair Benjamin Abalos and Local Water Utilities Chair Prospero Pichay.

If Philippines join the queue of other Asian-Pacific countries with the political will to fight corruption, particularly “big fish” or “grand corruption” , with improvement in its TI CPI score, what is Najib doing to ensure that Malaysia is not stuck with the dubious honour of being the only Asia-Pacific country to slip both in TI CPI ranking and score since 1995?

Otherwise, Malaysia will literally be the “sick man” in Asia-Pacific in the war against corruption – with other countries making progress while Malaysia going backwards in the war against corruption.

Rais: Review of Net rules in final stage

The New Straits Times

BUKIT MERTAJAM: An ongoing review of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 which addresses such issues as Internet censorship is in its final stage.

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said many people appeared to have the misconception that legal action for an Internet posting constituted censorship.

"It is not censorship when it is actually a legal process.

"If someone is alleged to have committed sedition, and the person's computer is seized, it is not censorship, but rather we are carrying out our duties," he said, adding that the same rule applied to cheating cases and Penal Code offences.

Rais also said that the amendments to the act were to streamline it with the newly-passed Evidence Act.
He added that the review was in the final stages.

Rais was speaking to reporters at a press conference after opening the Klik Bijak campaign at a school here yesterday.

The nationwide campaign aims to educate young users to use the Internet responsibly.

Rais said the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission would be coming up with a syllabus soon.

In his opening speech, Rais warned of an impending war which did not involve weapons or submarines, but intelligence through cyberspace.

"Whoever is smart, they will lead. They will become powerful and soon they will surpass us," said Rais, who stressed on the importance of gaining the highest form of programming knowledge.

MIC To Focus On Delivering Indian Votes To BN From Non-MIC Members - Palanivel

SHAH ALAM, July 1 (Bernama) -- The MIC will intensify efforts to deliver the 140,000 Indian votes outside the party in Selangor to Barisan Nasional (BN) in the coming 13th general election.

Its president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel said the party would concentrate more on securing Indian votes from non-MIC members and believed that the 60,000 party members who had registered as voters in Selangor would remain loyal to BN.

"The important thing is that the party should bring back the 140,000 Indian voters outside MIC in Selangor to support BN and we have already identified 50,000 of them to date.

"MIC leaders and members should maintain a good relationship with these Indian voters," he said in his speech at the launching of the Selangor MIC Youth election machinery, here, Sunday.

Palanivel, who is also Selangor MIC chairman, said the party had identified 14 state seats in Selangor which could be won by BN with the combination of Malay and Indian votes.

He said the party would concentrate more on getting back the Indian votes from constituencies, namely the Kota Raja parliamentary seat and Seri Andalas state seat as there were significant numbers of Indian voters in the two constituencies.

"We have more than 10 per cent Indian voters in these 14 state seats and the largest Indian vote-bank is Kota Raja and Seri Andalas in Klang, comprising 28,000 and 14,000 votes respectively.

On another note, Palanivel said the problem involving 1.6 hectares of land at the Batu Ampat Tamil school in Kampung Jawa, Klang had been settled and an announcement on the matter would be made soon.

The minister in the Prime Minister's Department also said that the Sime Darby Group had indicated to him that it would build decent homes for the Indian community on a 16ha piece of land identified on Carey Island, Kuala Langat.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in his speech when launching the national 'Ku Sihat Pemulihan Dalam Komuniti' programme in Kampung Sungai Bumbun, Kuala Langat recently, said that he would discuss the request for a piece of residential land from the Indian community on Carey Island with the Sime Darby Group.

Anwar takes his message to Malacca

Cut out corruption and leakages and the country will have enough financial resources to provide free education right up to university level, said Anwar. 



He said RM5bn per year was all it needed to provide free education to Malaysians, and with the country’s oil revenue, that should not be a problem.

Anwar stressed that Pakatan parties should tell their supporters to have zero tolerance for corruption and racism. He added that the Chinese language is assuming greater importance as an international language of business and we shouldn’t begrudge those who want their children to pick up the language in addition to Malay.

The Pakatan leader was addressing a dinner crowd at the Pay Fong Secondary School hall last night and told diners it was time to give Umno a chance to improve itself as an effective opposition party.