General John Allen, commander of
American and Nato forces, said: "Let's be clear, this wasn't justice,
this was murder, and an atrocity of unspeakable cruelty."Photo: Reuters
Nato troops were prepared to join a manhunt for the Taliban fighters who publicly executed a young woman for adultery in an incident that has drawn worldwide condemnation.
Footage of the execution of 22-year-old Najiba showed men cheering as she was shot several times in the back and head.
The incident in the Shinwari area of Parwan province recalled similar public executions which were commonplace during the Taliban's government of the 1990s.
General John Allen, commander of American and Nato forces, said: "Let's be clear, this wasn't justice, this was murder, and an atrocity of unspeakable cruelty.
"The Taliban's continued brutality toward innocent civilians, particularly women, must be condemned in the strongest terms." He added that his troops were "ready to assist the Afghan security forces in tracking down and holding accountable the perpetrators of this heinous act".
The killing reportedly took place late last month after the woman was accused of being married to one Taliban figure and having an affair with another.
Troops and police had been sent to the area, the governor of Parwan said, but the killers had escaped, perhaps by wearing women's burkas.
His spokesman said the manhunt would be hampered by mountainous terrain in the area. Parwan province has long been considered relatively safe, but security has slid in the past two years.
A spokesman for Nato forces in Kabul said they had not yet been called on by the Afghans for help with the search.
Hamid Karzai ordered his security officials to police to "not to spare any efforts in arresting and punishing the perpetrators".
He added: "The murder of a woman who has had no voice to raise for her self-defence against the weapon and brutality of a number of criminals is a clear symbol of the cowardice and wickedness of her murderers".
In the mobile phone footage, a man is seen reading verses from the Koran condemning adultery, before saying: "We cannot forgive her, God tells us to finish her. Juma Khan, her husband, has the right to kill her."
As the young woman squats, huddled in a burka facing away from the camera, a man walks up behind her to within a few feet and opens fire with his assault rifle.
The first two shots miss her, but on the third she collapses and he continues to fire into her motionless body.
A crowd of around 100, looking on from a hill, cheer her death, shouting "Long live Islam", "Long live Mujahideen (holy warriors)".
(Malaysiakini) INTERVIEW The MIC lost its relevance in
politics and to the Indian community as far back as 1974, said National
Indian Rights Action Team (Niat) chairperson Thasleem Mohd Ibrahim.
"It started becoming irrelevant much earlier, but (former MIC
president) S Samy Vellu had his own way of making the party appear
relevant," Thasleem told Malaysiakini in an interview last week.
His statement contrasts with the popular view that S Samy Vellu, who assumed office in 1979, was the cause of MIC's downfall, culminating in the 2007 Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf)rally, which brought some 30,000 protesters onto the streets of Kuala Lumpur.
a long-time Tamil education activist, claimed that the MIC in 1974
forwarded a memorandum to the Cabinet Committee on Education, but its
proposals got nowhere.
The memorandum, he said, called for the
upgrading of Tamil schools and syllabi, better teacher training and
residential schools to be set up to "enable Indian students to overcome
the debilitating effects of their socio-economic environment."
"If the cabinet committee did not agree to this, why didn't (then MIC
president) V Manickavasagam walk out of the Alliance Party?" he asked,
adding that the time then was ripe because MIC had no competition for
Answering his own question, Thasleem said the
MIC kept silent and stayed on with the Alliance - all for the survival
of its leadership.
"They thought that it was more important that they are okay and their families are okay," he said.
He added that of the many opportunities MIC had to "put its foot down"
for the Malaysian Indian community, this was the greatest. MIC member for three decades
Thasleem is best known for spearheading the opposition against the controversial book Interlok until its withdrawal from the Malay literature syllabus last year.
then, Niat stood for ‘National Interlok Action Team', but was changed
to National Indian Rights Action Team after the government withdrew Interlok, so that the organisation can continue to campaign on other educational issues for the community.
A long-time MIC member - he was in the party from 1974 until 2007 -
Thasleem praised Samy Vellu as a leader who did the best under his
circumstances, but said the former MIC chief had a fatal flaw.
"He did a lot of good things. He started the (MIC education arm) Maju
Institute for Educational Development (MIED), sort of started the Tafe
(Technical) College, and all those things.
"The only problem
with Samy Vellu was he didn't want to keep good people with him. All the
intelligent ones around him - unless you are a yes-man - you can't
survive!" Thasleem said.
He attributed the former works minister's fall from grace in 2010 entirely to his poor selection of advisers.
Asked about the current MIC president's leadership, he said, "G
Palanivel is a good man - there are no two ways about it. But I don't
think he is an effective leader."
Pressed further, Thasleem said no BN leader was truly concerned about the respective community he claimed to represent.
Asked about Hindraf's place in the Indian community, Thasleem appealed to the movement to give Pakatan Rakyat a chance.
Five years after its mammoth rally of November 2007, the movement has
since splintered into groups like the pro-BN Malaysian Makkal Sakhti
Party (MMSP) and the anti-BN Human Rights Party (HRP).
Hindraf de facto leader
P Uthayakumar has decried Pakatan's failure to address the needs of the
Indian poor and intends to contest in a number of its seats, creating
the possibility of three-cornered fights in the coming general election.
Hindraf has since distanced itself from Uthayakumar's statement, saying that it was his 'personal view'. 'I share Hindraf's pain'
Thasleem said: "My appeal to my friends in Hindraf is: I share all the
pain. I share all the trouble and whatever they have gone through.
"Like what Pakatan is saying - if they go to Putrajaya now, the whole scenario would be different.
four or five years is not going to bury the community for good. We have
already gone through this for 55 years. I have lost hope that BN would
ever, ever look at the Indian issues genuinely."
Thasleem also said Hindraf should be given due credit for catalysing for what would become known as the 2008 political tsunami.
"Of course, the Chinese votes did matter. There was a lot of change within the Malay community also.
"But to me, I think Hindraf played a very, very, prominent role because
everybody was going around campaigning using the term ‘makkal sakthi'
"Right from (PKR de facto leader) Anwar Ibrahim
all the way through Pakatan to DAP, PKR and even PAS were saying ‘makkal
sakthi', which was basically Hindraf," he said.
Thasleem is of the opinion that the rally would have been an even bigger
success if it had championed Indian Muslim issues as well.
should you call it as ‘Hindu rights'? Why can't you call it ‘Indian
rights', where people like us... I have said that even Indian Muslims
He added that were Indian Muslims who ‘quietly'
turned up at the Hindraf rally, wearing their songkok so that they could
However, more Muslims would have come if the rally's cause was not confined to Hindu issues, Thasleem said.
An MIC leader has suggested that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, his
wife Betty Chew Gek Cheng and Lim's former employee Ng Phaik Kheng
subject themselves to a lie detector test to end the controversy linked
MIC welfare and social bureau deputy chairperson Ramanan
Ramakrishnan said the test would be the best way for the three of them
to clear their name in the wake of the controversy.
"The three of
them should undergo a lie detector test to prove to the people that no
scandal had occurred (between Lim and Ng)," he said when contacted.
controversy involving Lim, Betty Chew and Ng erupted last week in the
Malacca state assembly sitting after Duyong state assemblyperson Gan
Tian Loo asked Betty Chew (DAP-Kota Laksamana) whether she knew Ng.
At a news conference last Saturday, Betty Chew denied that her husband, Lim, had had an affair with Ng, who had been an employee at the Penang Chief Minister's Office.
Ramanan asked why Ng had opted to remain silent and not comment on the matter.
Malaysia and Burma remain poles apart in most aspects of
life—religion, ethnicity, and politics—but where they seem more akin in
recent times has been in trying to improve relations with the West while
introducing much needed reforms at home.
Those reforms have been welcomed by the people of both countries and
the international community but it remains a difficult process with
Malaysia again raising fears of a revival of media oppression and Burma
living up to its past with the detention of political activists.
Another woman, who was with him, is also being held.
The posts about the Crown Prince of Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim
have been described as provocative, insulting and seditious. There were
also claims that confidential documents were posted by Syed Abdullah,
whose followers say he enjoys paranormal powers.
“Syed Abdullah’s arrest is unacceptable,” RSF said.
“Why was the complaint filed by 30 people and not the person targeted
in the posts? Why did the authorities think it was necessary to detain
two people because of what appears in reality to be nothing more than an
ordinary defamation suit?”
In Burma, the arrests came near the 50th anniversary of the July 7,
1962, military crackdown against students, ordered by Gen Ne Win. The
generals had seized power four months earlier and on July 8, the army
blew up the student union building in Rangoon University.
The final death toll was not known but dozens of students were believed to have perished.
Activists said the detentions over the weekend were proof that the
country’s government remains a repressive regime despite the widely
praised reforms augmented by President Thein Sein.
The students were freed
with authorities saying the arrests followed a “misunderstanding” but
this simply indicated they should never have been detained in the first
Unfair and wrongful arrests remain an issue across the 10-members of
the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their strictly
observed policy of non-interference in a neighbor’s affairs ensures any
international response to this type of detention is limited.
But as ASEAN continues to open its borders and markets in
anticipation of a fully integrated economic community by 2015 numbering
half-a-billion people, such arrests should raise alarm bells across a
region that hopes to be seen as genuine force to be respected and
reckoned with on the international political stage.
(Asia Sentinel) Government prefers to look the other way on Beijing's South China Sea ambitions
The failure of Malaysia to show any solidarity with the Philippines
and Vietnam in the face of China’s aggressive moves in the South China
Sea will come to haunt it. The ruling self-styled defenders of the Malay
race, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) are clearly far
more concerned with short term advantage, political or pecuniary, than
the principles at stake in the sea.
This week the four ASEAN nations facing China’s claims to almost the
whole South China Sea – Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei –
should be teaming up to confront Beijing, and urging fellow ASEAN
members, notably Indonesia, to provide support. But in practice, while
the ASEAN nations signed a collective agreement this week to spell out
rules governing maritime rights and navigation in the South China Sea,
it is likely to be toothless. Malaysia is burying its head in the sand
and staying silent on the region’s most important long term issues. An
UMNO source told Asia Sentinel recently that the government is
determined to quietly tilt towards China, despite the fact that it
carries on largely covert joint military training exercises with US
Nothing of course should surprise observers given the revelations of
massive UMNO-linked corruption in the case of the French submarines that
should be guarding Malaysian waters but in practice are just port-bound
monuments to politicians’ greed. But the South China Sea is a far more
serious case than the submarines because of the implications for vast
areas of Malaysia’s Exclusive Economic Zone in the sea as well as its
actual possession of some islets in the Spratly group.
Malaysia controls roughly one fifth of the South China Sea coastline, or
one sixth if one excludes the southwest portion nearest to Peninsular
Malaysia and Singapore which is not, as of now, subject to Chinese
claims. China’s overall claim is imprecise because it has never been
precisely delineated. It includes all the islets and shoals within the
dotted line that constitutes its general claims area.
This line goes at least as close to the shores of Sabah and Sarawak as
it does to the Philippines. Thus some of Malaysia’s current as well as
future offshore oil and gas production within its EEZ is at least as
vulnerable to China’s recent use of force as the Scarborough shoal,
which lies just 130 miles off the coast of Luzon, or the waters due east
of central Vietnam where China is offering exploration blocks which are
clearly well within Vietnam’s EEZ.
China however is relatively smart. It may have upset some of its
neighbors with its aggressive stance – a stance seemingly the result of
domestic politics in China at a time of leadership transition and when
the PLA is flexing its nationalist muscles. But it is not going to upset
Malaysia just yet. It is easier to knock off the smaller but closer
claimants one by one meanwhile taking full advantage of the greed and
gullibility of Malay politicians.
Malaysia is trying hard to be on all sides at once. It is cosying up to
China in the hope of investment and tourism but also in part reflecting
the Mahathir-era preference for any country opposing western influence
in the region.
Aside from the possibility of China buying influence along the French
submarine lines, Malaysian policy seems influenced by two factors.
Firstly, concerns that standing up to China on the South China Sea would
encourage Beijing to interfere in domestic politics in support of the
ethnic Chinese community. So a defense of narrow UMNO political
interests is taking precedence over Malaysia’s national patrimony, which
should belong to all its races and religions. And secondly, and perhaps
not even consciously, the assumption that the waters off Sabah and
Sarawak are somehow less part of the nation than those off the
peninsula, the centre of political power and of Muslim supremacy. In
turn that may reflect the inability of ethnic Malay Muslims to identify
with the wider ethnic Malay world of predominantly Christian Philippines
and even with predominantly Muslim but proudly multi-religious
The Malaysian Malay assumption that all Malays are Muslims and cannot be
otherwise stands in the way of recognition of Malaysia’s pre-Islamic
past. This was a past which left numerous now-ignored Hindu and Buddhist
monuments as well as cultural symbols. As in neighbors Indonesia and
Thailand, Indian script was applied to the local language. It was also a
past of navigators who sailed the South China Sea and Indian Ocean
before the Chinese.
But do not imagine that Malaysia’s current leaders care a toss about
either the Malay past or the Malay future. They are content to focus on
staying in office, lining their pockets and imposing Islamic intolerance
Last week, Tun Mahathir asked why I hated him so much. Yesterday, he asked why I am so afraid of him.
It is neither. As I had said on Saturday, “like three former Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Hussein and Tun Abdullah and the majority of Malaysians in 2012, I am opposed to Mahathirism and its return to Malaysian politics in the 13th general election”.
Mahathir is in his cynical best.
Tongue-in-cheek, he made the grandiloquent announcement that “Mahathirism” is dead, that it “died” when Tun Abdullah took over from him as Prime Minister in 2003.
In actual fact, “Mahathirism” is not only alive and thriving, the return of Mahathirism is enjoying its most triumphant phase since the unceremonious exit of Abdullah as Prime Minister and his replacement by Datuk Seri Najib Razak 39 months ago.
This is most evident by the almost ceaseless spouting of “Mahathirism” recently, viz:
• Mahathir’s Sunday interview with Mingguan Malaysia where he castigated Malay “kebodohan” (stupidity) resulting in a major ethnic group bowing down to demands of minority groups, which included the government recognition of certificates by Tunku Abdul Rahman College (TARC), and claiming that the community had failed to “exploit its majority since Independence to consolidate power”;
• his speech in Penang last night that if Barisan Nasional is rejected in the 13th General Election, the Opposition will destroy the country;
• his recent stoking of racial fears among the Malays with his warnings and baseless allegations that (i) Malay will lose power if Umno loses next general election; (ii) that Najib is a weak Prime Minister and reforms could spark unrest; (iii) that the 13GE will be about race and that the Chinese voters are the kingmakers for the 13GE and will decide who forms the government.
The question at issue is whether the forces representing the “Return of Mahathirism Triumphant” is at the core of the massive anti-national conspiracy of lies and falsehoods to create racial distrust, suspicion, panic and fear particularly among the Malays in the 13GE, totally in utter disregard of their destructive effects on 54-years of nation building, including the Bangsa Malaysia concept of Vision 2020 as well as Najib’s 1Malaysia concept.
Yesterday provided a classic example of such dangerous, racist, anti-national and treacherous campaign tactics when the UMNO publication, Utusan Malaysia plumbed a new depth of dishonest and unethical journalism and front-paged the lie that DAP would contest 90 of the 222 parliamentary seats in the 13GE to dominate Pakatan Rakyat and appoint the Prime Minister.
Although DAP and Pakatan Rakyat leaders had yesterday itself denied and debunked the Utusan report as “utterly wild and baseless”, and I said in my media statement that although final seat allocations between Pakatan Rakyat parties have still to be fully completed, “DAP is not contemplating contesting more than 60 parliamentary seats or less than 28 per cent of the total 222 parliamentary seats”, Utusan Malaysia completely ignored these denials and today continued to publish reports and articles on the basis that its lies about “DAP to contest 90 seats” are true!
This is one example of “Return of Mahathirism Triumphant” at its worst and most irresponsible!
It will be interesting to find out how many Malaysians believe Mahathir or agree with him that “Mahathirism” died when Abdullah took over as Prime Minister.
Mahathir charged that Abdullah “changed UMNO, the BN and the Government so much that they no longer resemble the institutions I used to know” and he had to resign from UMNO.
Abdullah’s greatest tragedy is his failure to dismantle the Mahathirish architecture of racism, authoritarianism, corruption and cronyism to make the return of Mahathirism (as distinct from the return of Mahathir) an impossible agenda.
This is now among the issues that have to be resolved in the 13GE – for a new start in Malaysia that could put the Mahathirish past of abuses of power, corruption and cronyism completely behind the country, where Malaysians regardless of race, religion, class, region, gender or age could come together in a common national endeavour as on Bersih 3.0 on April 28 to build a united, harmonious, democratic, just, competitive, progressive and clean Malaysian nation.
July 9 — The Internal Security Act (ISA) was repealed because it no
longer provided a political edge to the government of the day, Datuk
Seri Najib Razak said today.
abolished ISA because it doesn’t help us politically. You don’t kill
anyone politically by putting them in ISA,” Najib said today during the
opening of a dialogue with public service personnel here.
“It only enhances them by putting them in ISA,” he added.
Najib stressed, however, that “all the (existing) ISA detainees’ positions still remain”.
premier also said he had decided to remove the Emergency Ordinance
(EO), which had allowed for indefinite detention without trial, as it
has been rendered irrelevant by technology.
“Previously, when someone commits an offence, we would catch them and send them far away,” he said.
there is no use for that because when that person is away, he can use
his cell phone to continue his work. That’s why we got rid of EO,” he
September 15 last year, Najib had announced his plan to repeal the ISA
and the three Emergency Declarations in his Malaysia Day address to the
ISA was originally drafted to address the communist insurgency of its
day, but was later said to have been subverted into a tool for the
government to stifle political dissent.
developed notoriety when it was used during the 1987 political
crackdown known as “Ops Lalang”, when over a hundred people — primarily
opposition leaders and activists — were arrested under the law.
Najib’s announcement, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government
admitted to having used the ISA in the past for “wrongful reasons” but
urged their detractors to look forward instead of dwelling on history.
came to power in April 2009 with the promise of reviewing the ISA but
decided on doing away with the security law that critics say has been
abused by Barisan Nasional (BN) for political purposes.
his administration replaced the ISA with the Security Offences (Special
Measures) Act, which has since come under similar criticism.
Update: The group is expected to be charged tomorrow in court
under the Peaceful Assembly Act for failing to notify the police of the
gathering. (So much for transformasi!) About half a dozen lawyers are
expected to be on the defence team.
Thirty one people from Cameron Highlands were detained
outside the Pahang Mentri Besar’s office, where they had turned up to
insist on an appointment.
They refused to leave when asked to disperse.
The group is now being held at the Kuantan District Police Headquarters. The 31 comprises 13 men, 12 women and six children.
Their problems range from lack of even temporary titles to the land
they have been toiling on, to worries over landslides to issues related
to applications for stalls.
PSM sources claimed the Pahang MB had said he would visit the
villagers in Cameron Highlands to try and resolve their problem. But
after two months, the residents had not succeeded in getting an
appointment with him.
So they decided to go to the MB and insist on an appointment.
Meanwhile Bukit Jalil estate workers are asking 4 acres for 41
families after staying for four generation in the estates. Prime
Minister Najib has agreed to meet three of their representatives today.
At the meeting, the PM said he needed more time to study the issue.
The workers said they hope he had the political will to resolve the
The Indian American astronaut — who will spend six months in space from July 14 — is carrying with her an English translation of one of the most important Hindu scriptures.
AHMEDABAD: When Sunita Williams is thousands of miles above the earth taking a bird's eye view of the universe from her space shuttle window, she will try to understand universal truths of the Upanishads. The Indian American astronaut — who will spend six months in space from July 14 — is carrying with her an English translation of one of the most important Hindu scriptures.
Her father, Deepak Pandya, is hoping that the farther she goes from earth, the closer she will come to understanding her Indian roots. It was his idea that she carry a copy of the Upanishads with her.
"The last time she went into space, I had given her a copy of the Bhagavad Gita," Pandya told TOI. "She was full of questions when she came back. She wanted to know why it became necessary for Krishna to narrate the Gita, what were its eternal teachings, was it not possible to gain similar knowledge from other works, and many such questions. I feel that she will find some of the answers in the Upanishads."
Pandya, himself a Shiv bhakt, says that up in space his daughter will perhaps be able to better chart her spiritual journey with the Upanishads assisting her.
"All the same, we don't discuss space when she calls amid her preparations," Pandya adds. "We have normal father-daughter conversations."
The astronaut is all set to go into quarantine ahead of her second space odyssey after which it will become increasingly difficult for the family to stay in touch with her. Williams last worked aboard the International Space Station for six months in 2006. She will take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with two other astronauts, a Russian and a Japanese.