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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Penang Hindu Endowment Board needs revamp

Devotee from Penang

It's time the Chief Minister YAB Lim Guan Eng makes a decision on how the Penang Hindu Endowment Board (PHEB) should be managed.

Many issues raised in the past that have been ignored by PHEB over the mismanagement of the Penang Waterfalls Arulmigu Balathandayuthapani Temple.

Ineed many were raised by devotees even before the Thaipusam festival 2012.

The PHEB chairperson should have removed the entire committee after the Maha Kumbabishegam or Consecration Ceremony, which was held on June 29.

The same old committee managing means conflict of interest.

Temple president Kuvenaraju did mention in the meeting with panthal operators that he will resign after the 2012 Thaipusam, but he is still there with a good salary which comes from public funds.

It's time the chief minister as the head of the state government, appoint better deserving and more capable leaders to manage the PHEB board.

This is in view of the latest incident at the temple. It is known that there are illegal private taxis manning the route up to the hill temple.

Devotees are charged a fee for the ride by these private taxis up to the temple under the eyes of the temple committee members and the temple chairperson.

The taxi drivers load seven to eight devotees each time and it's a dangerous drive up the steep hill road leading to the temple.

Last Saturday, a group of seven or eight devotees hired a private taxi and during the ride up the hill, the overloaded taxi which was unable to move uphill causing the brakes to malfunction.

The taxi slid back and the devotees were thrown out of the taxi into the steep ravine.

A few of them were injured and some were given outpatient treatment at a nearby medical institution.

One of the devotees, an elderly lady who had head injuries, died yesterday. Incidentally, the vehicle's road tax had expired and that meant its insurance had also expired.

The PHEB chairperson, the temple chairman and his committee must take full responsibility over this incident and rightfully resign immediately from all posts in the board and the temple.

The matter has also been kept hush-hush within the PHEB board and the temple committee.

It has also been informed that the temple chairperson is in London to watch the Olympic Games.

He did not report the matter or make the effort to see the injured parties. Here we have devotees whose lives are in danger but he has time to go to the Olympic Games.

The matter has been reported in The Star daily today.

The chief minister must take immediate steps to get rid of the rot in the Penang Hindu Endowment Board and the entire Waterfall Temple committee.

He must improve the boards under the governance of the state to keep the trust of the people who voted for him.

'Najib, rakyat memerhatikanmu'

In the name of Religion and Muslim appeasement Delhi is being brought Islamic Supremacy. Steeping up Islam to Capture Delhi in connivance with Congress.



Don’t worry. It’s all in the name of religion.

Author: Balbir K Punj | Daily Pioneer. (Published:30th July, 2012).

The recent construction of an illegal mosque in Delhi is symptomatic of the crass politics of minorityism played by the Congress which is desperate to win Muslim votes.

The nonchalance with which the MLA of Delhi’s Matia Mahal constituency, Mr Shoaib Iqbal, went about raising a mosque at Subhash Park on the pretext that that was the exact spot where an ancient mosque existed is both shocking and not-so-shocking at the same time.

The incident is shocking because the construction of the mosque on land that belonged to North Delhi Municipality and had been leased to Delhi Metro, went on for days but the administration did nothing. It was only after the other locals objected did the Delhi Government intervene and finally a court order was issued to halt the construction. However, by then a massive wall for the proposed mosque had already been built.

On the other hand, the incident is not so shocking because this is what is to be expected from our Government under Congress rule. The entire system bends backwards to please one community to the exclusion of all others in what is drummed up as secularism in India. And hence, some clerics of the community ask the Government to prevent author Salman Rushdie from visiting India, and the Government works to keep him out. Similarly, Muslim leaders in Hyderabad manhandle another famous author Tasleema Nasreen for her writings and the Government gets her to leave the country as well but does not punish the perpetrators.

Worse still, in Muslim majority Jammu & Kashmir, residents of the State have been thrown out lock, stock and barrel because they are Hindus. But the Congress-led Union Government that is supposed to protect the basic rights of every citizen does not even talk about this exodus. On the other hand, the 2002 violence in Gujarat remains a talking point for the Centre even when its alleged victims want to get on with their lives and forget the past.

Don’t worry. It’s all in the name of religion.

Author: Balbir K Punj | Daily Pioneer. (Published:30th July, 2012).

The recent construction of an illegal mosque in Delhi is symptomatic of the crass politics of minorityism played by the Congress which is desperate to win Muslim votes.

The nonchalance with which the MLA of Delhi’s Matia Mahal constituency, Mr Shoaib Iqbal, went about raising a mosque at Subhash Park on the pretext that that was the exact spot where an ancient mosque existed is both shocking and not-so-shocking at the same time.

The incident is shocking because the construction of the mosque on land that belonged to North Delhi Municipality and had been leased to Delhi Metro, went on for days but the administration did nothing. It was only after the other locals objected did the Delhi Government intervene and finally a court order was issued to halt the construction. However, by then a massive wall for the proposed mosque had already been built.

On the other hand, the incident is not so shocking because this is what is to be expected from our Government under Congress rule. The entire system bends backwards to please one community to the exclusion of all others in what is drummed up as secularism in India. And hence, some clerics of the community ask the Government to prevent author Salman Rushdie from visiting India, and the Government works to keep him out. Similarly, Muslim leaders in Hyderabad manhandle another famous author Tasleema Nasreen for her writings and the Government gets her to leave the country as well but does not punish the perpetrators.

Worse still, in Muslim majority Jammu & Kashmir, residents of the State have been thrown out lock, stock and barrel because they are Hindus. But the Congress-led Union Government that is supposed to protect the basic rights of every citizen does not even talk about this exodus. On the other hand, the 2002 violence in Gujarat remains a talking point for the Centre even when its alleged victims want to get on with their lives and forget the past.

Man whipped for drinking water in Iran

Our Persian contact sent this to us this evening. (Thanks Shab) This man was whipped for drinking water during the day during the Muslim month of Ramadan where Muslims are instructed to skip lunch and stuff their faces every morning before sunrise and then again every night after sunset. But they are not allowed to eat or drink during the day and only men over 50 are allowed to have sex during the day. Although I don’t think with each other, I am not 100% clear on how that is supposed to work.
My tribute to the holy month of skipping lunch and killing people is below the photo…

Waythamoorthy back in Malaysia

There was a red alert at the Johor Baru immigration checkpoint, but he was allowed in after half an hour.

JOHOR BARU: Hindraf Makkal Sakti supremo P Waythamoorthy finally returned home to Malaysia at 12.20pm today after living in self-imposed exile in England for 56 months.

He stopped at the Johor Baru immigration checkpoint at noon in a grey Toyota Estima, and there was a slight scare that he might be arrested when his passport was held for about 30 minutes.

He had crossed the causeway after checking out from the Singapore border checkpoint at 11.45am.

There was a red alert on the computer screen of the Malaysian immigration counter when he submitted his passport for clearance. The officer at the counter told him the alert meant that he had to see her superior.

Another official then collected his passport and those belonging to the members of the entourage escorting him, who numbered about 20 and included his wife, K Nageswari, and 10-year-old daughter, Vwaishhnavi.

The fear of arrest dissipated when immigration officials returned the passports.

A relieved Waythamoorthy was driven straight away by Hindraf activists to a local resort.

He is expected to perform prayers at 5pm at a Hindu temple in Ulu Tiram.

During the hiccup at the immigration checkpoint, Waytha said he and the rest of the Hindraf leadership were prepared to handle any situation, including arrest.

Hindraf advisor N Ganesan said Waythamoorthy’s return had opened a new chapter in the movement’s struggle to uphold the civil rights of Malaysian Indians.

“Previously, we fought to establish that there are problems,” Ganesan said. “Now our struggle will be focused on finding effective and decisive solutions to resolve the issues of marginalisation of Indians.”

He said it was time for those in power at both state and federal levels to stop their “political games” and address those issues.

Waythamoorthy left Malaysia three days after the historic Hindraf rally of Nov 25, 2007, which resulted in the detention of several activists under the Internal Security Act. The arrests took place on Dec 13 of that year.

In the following October, the government decided to ban Hindraf.

Earlier, in March 2008, the Malaysian government had revoked Waythamoorthy’s passport. Following this, he applied for and was granted political asylum by the British government.

About a month ago, he filed a class action suit against the British government for alleged wrongs committed against Malaysian Indians during the colonial era.

It was after filing the suit at the London High Court that he announced his intention to return with or without a passport. However, the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore issued him a passport last Monday.

Read more: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/08/01/waythamoorthy-back-in-malaysia/#ixzz22JlJmmoY

Pakatan kemaruk hendak perintah negara

Perkasa bidas tema kemerdekaan Pakatan Rakyat - "Sebangsa, Senegara, Sejiwa"

PETALING JAYA: Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) menyifatkan tindakan Pakatan Rakyat mengumumkan tema kemerdekaan alternatif sebagai tanda Pakatan semakin “kemaruk untuk memerintah negara”.

“Mereka ini kemaruk nak memerintah negara. Tunggulah masa kamu,” kata Setiausaha Agung Perkasa, Syed Hassan Syed Ali.

Beliau berkata begitu ketika diminta mengulas pengumuman tema kemerdekaan alternatif oleh Pakatan.

Sasterawan Negara Datuk A Samad Said mengumumkan “Sebangsa, Senegara, Sejiwa” sebagai tema alternatif Pakatan dalam satu sidang akhbar di ibu pejabat PKR hari ini kerana ia lebih mencerminkan semangat kemerdekaan.

Ini bertentangan dengan tema BN “Janji Ditepati”.

Syed Hassan turut mengecam pengumuman tersebut sebagai “tindakan menyibuk” Pakatan.

“Dia orang ni sibuk apa pula? Kerajaan buat bajet, dia pun buat. Kerajaan buat tema kemerdekaan, dia pun buat. Mengarutlah,” kata Syed Hassan.

Read more: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/08/01/pakatan-kemaruk-hendak-perintah-negara/#ixzz22Jl2Gmdu

Isu Latheefa balik kepada PKR

Kerajaan negeri tidak terlibat dalam membuat sebarang keputusan membabitkan perkara ini

SHAH ALAM: Menteri Besar Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim hari ini berkata keputusan perletakan jawatan ahli Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ), Latheefa Koya itu perlu dibuat oleh biro politik Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

“Kerajaan negeri tidak terlibat dalam membuat sebarang keputusan membabitkan perkara ini,” katanya dalam satu sidang media selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat mingguan exco di sini hari ini.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika ditanya pemberita sama ada kerajaan negeri sudah mempunyai keputusan muktamad mengenai perletakan jawatan Latheefa.

Pada 26 Julai lalu, Majlis Pimpinan PKR Negeri (MPN) menyerahkan isu perletakan jawatan Latheefa kepada kerajaan negeri untuk sebarang tindakan lanjut.

Timbalan Pengerusi PKR Selangor dan juga Ahli Parlimen Ampang Zuraida Kamaruddin berkata ini kerana surat perletakan jawatan itu hanya diserahkan kepada kerajaan negeri dan MBPJ.

Maka menurut Zuraida, MPN tidak boleh bertindak namun hanya menyatakan pendirian agar Latheefa mempertimbangkan semula perletakan jawatan sebagai ahli majlis.

Read more: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/08/01/isu-latheefa-balik-kepada-pkr/#ixzz22JkYYvRi

Experts: Why politicise Merdeka?

One of the analysts calls for a political ceasefire.

PETALING JAYA: Cast aside your political differences and come together as Malaysians this Merdeka Day.

This was the call that a prominent political analyst made as he spoke to FMT about his distress that partisan lines were being drawn over the Aug 31 celebrations.

“Politicians need to rise above petty political fights,” said Denison Jayasooria, secretary-general of the human rights organisation Proham and a research fellow at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

“The celebration of Merdeka Day must be seen as a national one. Merdeka Day happens for one day. It’s a political ceasefire. Don’t put yourself first, put the nation first.”

He noted that the federal government had not made it a practice to invite opposition MPs to official national celebrations and the latter had usually held their own functions to commemorate Malaysia’s independence from British rule.

There has been no indication that the practice will change this year. Indeed, chances are the divide will be even more apparent, especially with the heavy BN-centric Janji Ditepati (“promises fulfilled”) theme of the celebration.

BN’s refusal to review the theme has prompted Pakatan Rakyat to come up with its own alternative, along with an organising committee led by national laureate A Samad Said.

Jayasooria finds these developments unsettling. He said Merdeka Day was supposed to unite Malaysians of all political persuasions.

He pointed out that opposition leaders in other countries such as Britain and India were routinely invited as VIPs to their national celebrations.

“MPs are chosen by the people. You have to respect the people’s choice. They cannot be isolated from such a national celebration,” he said.

“If you don’t respect an MP or a chief minister, you are disrespecting the people who elected them.”

Jayasooria also had words of advice for Pakatan Rakyat.

“If they’re not invited, they should still go,” he said. “If the leaders don’t put them on the stage, then they should stand with the crowd. If they give in this way, I think people will respect them more.”

Maturity and statesmanship


He said that Malaysia’s lawmakers needed to rise above their differences and behave as mature political leaders and statesmen.

He had one word to describe Pakatan’s plan for a separate celebration: “Not advisable”. And he had a message for Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak: mobilise all leaders at federal and state levels to work together for a “joint programme of celebration”.

Universiti Malaya’s Azmi Sharom, although agreeing with Jayasooria, had strong words about the Janji Ditepati theme, which he said was being used to further BN’s chances in the coming election.

“They have hijacked the Merdeka Day celebration and turned it into a campaign for Umno and BN,” he said.

He acknowledged that national celebrations in Malaysia had always been “a very ruling party thing”, but lamented that this year this exclusive control had reached the point of vulgarity.

He also took a swipe at this year’s theme song, the lyrics for which were written by Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim.

“Rais should hang onto his day job,” he said. “The lyrics are shameful.”

The song, which focuses heavily on Najib’s recent 1Malaysia government programmes, including the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia RM500 cash aid, has been soundly attacked by local netizens.

Sharom said that the celebration should be about Malaysians, and not about its elected leaders.

“It should not be a BN do or a government do. If you look at the US’s Fourth of July celebrations, they’re not about government involvement. They’re about the people’s involvement.”

However, another analyst from Universiti Malaya, KS Balakrishnan, does not think the theme choice was too serious a matter.

According to him, large events such the Merdeka Day celebrations were always used by governments of the day as an advantage to promote themselves.

The feeling that Merdeka may have been politicised, he said, might have been brought by the public’s awareness that the general election was near.

“The tendency to promote the government as good and right is always there,” he said. “It’s always an advantage to use events to serve the intentions of the government.”

Read more: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2012/08/01/experts-why-politicise-merdeka/#ixzz22JjlVwgs

Desperate MCA doing desperate acts

Senator S.Ramakrishnan,

MCA Chua Soi Lek and his son Chua Tee Yong started the attack on Selangor Talam debt restructuring plan and blaming syabas water rationing on Selangor State government.

Looks like both father and son have targeted Selangor to redeem MCA’s sagging political fortunes.

Selangor Water privatized and Talam debts are both inherited from the previous BN government.

Talam Corp’s easy excess to Selangor land shows the extent of corruption and nepotism of previous BN government.

Many of Talam’s housing projects were abandoned with buyers having to serve housing loans. Many poor people were saddled with bank loan without the house.

Housing and local government minister comes from MCA. Did Chua Soi Lek propose a white paper for this failure of MCA ministers?

PR Selangor has to revive these projects so that the house buyers will get their houses completed. But unfortunately the MCA father and son team choose not see this side of the story.

The Scopene submarine purchase scandal of Mindef involving the highest authority in UMNO/BN which is treason, corruption and murder but MCA never uttered a word on this issue.

MCA choose to ignore PKFZ 12 billion losses, MAS many bailout, Ampang LRT deal and the countless more BN scandals. Talam may have walked away with all the state lands without anyone knowing had BN continued to rule the state government.

One UMNO crony is acquiring all national strategic assets. Tan sri Syed Moktar al-bukhary has proposed a joint venture with Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB) to manage all the water business in Malaysia.

He already operates water concession in Johor. Water in Johor is the most expensive. Imagine what a mess the BN government is taking the country into. But MCA father and son team cannot notice these dubious deals.

Did MCA prepare any white paper on the KOMUDA, the deposit taking cooperative which loss an estimated RM3.6 billion belonging to ordinary Chinese members in 1980s? MCA should prepare white paper on the shortage of teachers and low budget allocation to Chinese schools.

MCA past presidents Tan Koon Swan, Kee Yong Wee, Wang Choon Wing, Ling Liong Sik and Chan Kong Choy are either charged or undergoing trial for corruption cases. Chua Soi Lek himself is tainted with sex scandal.

Tan Sri Chan Ah Chye of Talam Corp sweet talked former MBs Muhammad Taib, Abu Hasan Haji Omar and Khir Toyo to alienate large pieces of land for free.

MCA state executives during these periods must be aware and yet did not protest. It’s a mystery how the BN government never endeavored to collect any payment for these lands. But when the PR Selangor Menteri Besar restructured the outstanding debts, MCA finds it corruption and abuse of power.

BN government went ahead and offered the RM7.1 billion west coast expressway to the same Tan Sri Chan Ah Chye’s company Europlus. This deal is sweetened with 60 years toll collection and a government support loan of RM2.2.4 billion.

I don’t think any country will bend backward like this to placate and please their cronies like Malaysia. It’s high time Malaysians of all race and religion get together and retire the 55 years old BN government.

Why Sabah must take itself back… without PKR


Anwar Ibrahim making Azmin Ali Sabah PKR leader was pretty much the biggest clue that PKR does not understand the local populace. It is fairly apparent that PKR practises the Malay-centric mentality that Umno preaches. It is simple; for all its bluster, PKR is just Umno in opposition colours. And Umno and its Malay-dominance ethos is the last thing Sabah needs.

Erna Mahyuni, The Malaysian Insider

Somewhere in Putrajaya, the damage control machinery is going into overdrive.

It would explain why Barisan Nasional (BN) was desperate enough to have one of the least-qualified politicians comment on the two Sabah MPs leaving BN, namely MCA’s president.

Last I heard, MCA is hardly a force to reckon with in the state. Dr Chua Soi Lek? Really, BN?

Before the PKR fanboys start celebrating a “wave of change”, I foresee one thing not changing: PKR’s foothold in the state.

It is far more likely that Sabah politicians will decide to stay within locally-formed parties such as SAPP and UPKO rather than join PKR, DAP or, least likely, PAS.

That is the smartest thing to do because let’s be frank: Neither BN nor Pakatan have Sabahans’ best interests at heart. All Sabah is to them is a pocket of votes, a ticket to claiming Putrajaya.

PKR in its dealings with Sabah and Sarawak have made it clear that they do not understand the local populace and, like Umno, have the same rigid mentality towards race and religion.

Anwar Ibrahim making Azmin Ali Sabah PKR leader was pretty much the biggest clue that PKR does not understand the local populace. It is fairly apparent that PKR practises the Malay-centric mentality that Umno preaches.

If it wasn’t so, then DAP wouldn’t have a reason to exist now, would it? If PKR is truly the inclusive party it claims to be, why should Chinese opposition politicians choose DAP over PKR?

It is simple; for all its bluster, PKR is just Umno in opposition colours. And Umno and its Malay-dominance ethos is the last thing Sabah needs.

Should more Sabah politicians decide to eschew BN, they would be better off forming their own coalitions and “work with” Pakatan.

The problem here is that Anwar and the rest of PKR are still delusional about their chances in the state, unwilling to give ground.

Anwar probably dreams of installing a PKR member as chief minister, where things will probably still remain status quo. Anwar’s government will continue to beggar Sabah’s resources, live off its oil royalties and parcel out contracts as “rewards” to his faithful. Just like Umno.

Allow Sabah more autonomy or self-governance? If Anwar couldn’t give that to Sabah PKR, he wouldn’t give it to Sabah under Pakatan rule.

Sabah PKR is now mostly made up of politicians with very little influence, adept only at being Anwar’s yes-men. Because Anwar is, like most Umno-ilk politicians, more keen on hearing what he wants to hear than what he needs to hear.

Umno will probably still keep the state as the vote will most likely be so split among opposition politicians that BN candidates would win by sheer luck. Or with the help of “new” citizens.

The smartest thing for Sabah BN politicians tired of BN’s empty promises would be just to repeat the 1994 elections and defect right after winning their respective seats.

After all, Sabah created the “frog” phenomenon of jumping whenever they feel like it and at the worst (read: most crucial) moments.

Perhaps for once, Sabah’s politicians will be “frogs” for the right reasons and make a real leap towards taking the state back for its people.

But seeing as Sabah politicians have shown themselves to be mostly self-serving individuals who have no problems signing away our oil rights and Labuan... I’m not very optimistic.

But I would dearly love to be proven wrong.

Malaysia: Cartoonist Case Tests Freedoms

ImageThis post is reproduced from here.


Civil Court Ruling Affects Free Expression

JULY 31, 2012

(Bangkok) – A Malaysian civil court ruling in the case of a prominent political cartoonist has set back the right to freedom of expression in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. The verdict finding the initial arrest and detention of Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, better known as Zunar, was lawful under the Sedition Act and Printing Presses and Public Act was a disturbing rejection of the right to freedom of expression in all its forms, including cartoons.

However, in a positive development, the court ruled that the authorities’ continued holding of books and artwork seized from Zunar was unlawful after the prosecutor decided to not formally file charges against the cartoonist. The court ruled that the books and artwork immediately be returned to Zunar, and ordered the registrar of the court to assess what damages should be awarded to Zunar. 

Zunar has used political cartoons to highlight the responsibility of government officials for human rights abuses and other problems facing Malaysia. These include corruption, abuse of power, mismanagement of government revenues, racism, and failure to protect religious freedom. Repeated government attempts to stop his cartooning led Zunar on June 15, 2011, to file a civil suit against the government and police seeking damages for unlawful arrest and detention, and for confiscation of books and an original cartoon.

“The court’s verdict against Zunar is no laughing matter, but of real consequence for Malaysia” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The conclusion to be drawn is that politicians and officials who feel stung by Zunar’s pen apparently count for more than free expression.” 

Zunar’s lawsuit stems from police actions on September 24, 2010, several hours before the expected launch of his book Cartoon-O-Phobia. Police raided Zunar’s office in Kuala Lumpur, confiscated all copies of the book they could find, and arrested Zunar for sedition and publishing without a license. After handcuffing him, police ferried Zunar to seven different police stations during the course of an evening before detaining him overnight in a police station one hour’s drive from Kuala Lumpur. Home Minister Hishammudduin Hussein maintained at the time that Zunar was arrested for poking fun at the judiciary and at religion. However, a judge ordered Zunar released on September 25 without charge when arresting officers could not identify what content in Cartoon-O-Phobia they considered to be seditious.  

In subsequent civil court proceedings, the first defendant, arresting officer Arikrishna Apparau, asserted he had examined Cartoon-O-Phobia, and believed the cartoons capable of confusing Malaysians and inciting hatred of the government and individual leaders. Zunar responded that the police never explained what content in his book they considered seditious, thus violating his right to be promptly informed of the grounds for his arrest.

In his civil suit, Zunar sought the return of all confiscated books plus damages. He alleged that his livelihood had been seriously affected by the continued ban on Cartoon-O-Phobia and two previous books, 1 Funny Malaysia and Perak Darul Kartun (Perak, Land of Cartoon). Government officials have threatened legal action against printing presses and publishers associated with Zunar’s work, and against bookstores who stocked his books. In 2011, Zunar received the prestigious Hellman-Hammett award, given to writers and authors facing political persecution and violations of their rights to free expression.

The government also has announced deepening censorship on cartoons by barring all cartoons for a period of two weeks before the general election, expected to be called later this year. Zunar and a group of political cartoonists announced their opposition to this violation of their rights and said they will defy the ban. 

“The government’s decision to ban cartoons before the elections shows a remarkable lack of confidence in Malaysian voters - not to mention, no sense of humor,” Robertson said. “Politicians from the prime minister down should recognize voters can laugh at them, and the government will not collapse.”

Malaysia's Future Secure Under BN Rule, Says Veteran Politician Sakaran

By Newmond Tibin

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 1 (Bernama) -- A Sabah veteran politician foresees a more secure future for Malaysia under the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, and paid tribute to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for initiating transformation to make the country a developed nation by 2020.

Tun Sakaran Dandai, 82, a former Sabah chief minister, said Malaysians should be grateful that the country had been blessed with leaders who not only helped the country gain independence but also took care of their well-being.

He said he had faced various challenges to the development process in his 50 over years in politics and seen how the country had undergone changes for the better.

Sakaran said the transformation of the country was more pronounced under Najib, whom he described as the architect of the 1Malaysia concept.

"I find that Najib has exceptional qualities. He wants to see the country enter the era of excellence rapidly. In just four years as the prime minister, the people have been overwhelmed by what he is doing and wants done.

"He fulfills his promises to the people. Under the 1Malaysia concept, which gives preference to people regardless of race and religion, we now have the 1Malaysia clinics, 1Malaysia shops, 1Malaysia computers, 1Malaysia unit trust, higher salary for civil servants, subsidy for fishermen and large allocations for rural development.

"All these reflect the honesty of the prime minister in wanting to help the people regardless of race and religion," he said.

Sakaran said he was convinced that the people would be able to enjoy more facilities both in the urban and rural areas under Najib, and expressed the hope that they would give him a fresh mandate to administer the country.

The veteran leader said the transformation programmes required time to be implemented and it was necessary to retain the BN government in the next general election.

Sakaran recalled how the people had to put up with the lack of amenities during the colonial era, unlike now when they had good roads, schools, hospitals, electricity and clean water.

The people of Sabah were "living in the dark" then because not only did they not have electricity supply, the state was also backward in all aspects, including communication.

"For example, taking an unwell person from my village in Semporna to Tawau, where there was a clinic, would require us to travel almost a day by boat. Going to Kota Kinabalu would entail travel by boat over several days because there were no roads.

"The situation has changed now. Almost all major cities and towns and rural villages have tarred roads. If previously, before joining Malaysia in 1963, Sabah was lacking in many areas, now, after 49 years, it has emerged as one of the more developed states in the country," he said.

Sakaran said drastic changes were also seen in the education and health sectors.

"Previously, our children had to go to the peninsula or to other countries to further their studies. Now, we have Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), a branch campus of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), polytechnics and private colleges, as well as primary and secondary schools in every nook and corner of Sabah," he said.

Medical and health facilities were easily available in all the districts of the state, he said, adding that the "flying doctor" service attended to the people in the remote areas.

Sakaran said the BN government had played a vital role in placing the people and country on the right track of development and progress, not only physically but also spiritually, and in terms of solidarity, mutual respect and human capital values.

"The people of Sabah were under opposition rule at one time, and we faced great difficulty then due to a lack of cordial relations between the state and federal governments.

"If there is no cooperation between the state and federal governments, implementation of development programmes will be relatively slow. We do not want a repeat of this. We have seen how rapid development has been in Sabah under the BN," he said.

Sakaran said the Sabah BN government under Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman had raised the state to a stronger economic position.

Hopefully, the people would continue to support the government, and Sabah would remain a stronghold of the BN in the next general election and repeat the excellent performance of the 2008 elections, he said.

Whistleblower Rafizi’s arrest: Aliran responds

Aliran has responded strongly to the arrest of whistleblower Rafizi Ramli under the charge of violating section 97(1) of the Banks and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia), which carries a maximum jail sentence of three years and a fine of up to RM3m.
This is bad news not so much for Rafizi but for the Najib administration – especially with the timing of the announcement yesterday that contract for the Ampang LRT extension had been awarded to a consortium led by George Kent (Malaysia) Bhd.
Read the Aliran statement.