Agencies ||Mumbai, August 01, 2012 || Four coordinated low-intensity explosions struck the busy arterial JM road in the heart of Pune today on a day new home minister Sushilkumar Shinde was scheduled visit the city. Shinde confirmed that four low intensity blasts hit Pune injuring one person. He also said that he was scheduled to attend a function at Tilak theatre at 6pm but cancelled his trip.
He parried questions in Delhi on whether it was a terror attack, saying they were minor explosions and a probe was on into the blast that occurred between 7.27pm and 8.15pm.
“At this moment I cannot say anything, matter is under investigation,” Shinde told reporters.
He said that a NIA team from Delhi has boarded a flight to Pune.
The new home minister said that the person who was slightly injured in the blast has been admitted to Sasoon hospital and that his statement will be recorded.
The blasts came as Shinde officially took up his duties after being given the key portfolio the previous day.
Ironically, his last two days in the power ministry was marked by a major power outage due to collapse of three grids.
Pune police commissioner Gulab Rao Pol described the explosions as an act of mischief but Union home secretary RK Singh said terror angle cannot be ruled out since it seems to be a planned attack.
A man allegedly carrying one of the bombs was injured in the explosions and has been taken into custody and is being interrogated, Singh said. He has been admitted to Sasoon hospital.
Pol said the explosives carried by the injured man was kept in a cake box with sticky material, two detonators and a pencil cell.
One detonator went off in the explosion while the second was defused by a bomb disposal squad team.
The explosions occurred at JM road at spots near Balgandharva Theatre, Dena Bank branch, a McDonald food outlet and Garware bridge. The first explosion went off at Balgandharva Theatre where the suspected bomber was injured.
The explosion outside McDonald went off in a dustbin while the blasts near Garware bridge and Dena bank were reported from a cycle which had a bucket with explosives strapped on, police said.
The entire JM Road area has been cordoned off.
Pol said explosives at one of the sites was kept in a polythene bag.
Maharashtra ATS and Bomb Detection and Disposal Squads were at the spot, police said.
Asked if it was a terror attack, Maharashtra DGP Sanjeev Dayal told PTI, “It is not appropriate to comment at this moment. Police teams have reached the spot and are looking into the matter.”
Maharashtra additional DG (Law and Order) Satyapal Singh said, “the first explosion near Balgandharva Theatre occurred at 19.27 hours and the rest followed afterwards though the exact timings are not yet clear, while one cyclist was injured”.
Singh said he had no information about any fifth explosive device being found and defused.
Pol said, “All are minor explosions. The public need not panic. Police are alert and they are doing their job.”
Pune was rocked by a bomb blast at German Bakery in February 2010 in which 15 people were killed.
The Indonesian Commission for Child Protection is urging the police to punish organizations that involve children and minors in their violent actions.
“These children are being used and therefore those who manipulate them should be severely punished,” Maria Ulfa Ansor, chairwoman of the commission known as KPAI, said on Tuesday.
She referred to the involvement of children in violent raids against private businesses, saying that involving the children in those activities was criminal.
“These sweeps are crimes, and I am convinced that the children themselves have no understanding of what they were doing, but those who mobilized them should be punished,” Maria said.
Police recently arrested 62 members of a hard-line Islamic organization, the Council of the Defenders of the Prophet, after they held a violent raid on Saturday on a cafe that had remained open during the Muslim fasting month. Those arrested included 41 children and minors. Only 21 were adults.
The teenagers were released without charge except for two minors who were directly involved in ransacking the bar and found carrying sharp weapons. These two could face up to six years in prison under the 1951 Emergency Law for carrying weapons and two and a half years for destroying private property.
The mob demanded that the business close for the entire fasting month. Some of them came with blades and blunt weapons, and they vandalized the venue and also set bottles of alcoholic beverages on fire.
“We have to provide guidance for these children so that they do not again join organizations that engage in violence,” Maria said
think-tank noted that little progress has been made towards achieving
the prime minister’s aims of meritocracy. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 ― Malaysia’s continuing economic growth has kept it moderately safe from being ranked a “failed state” in the latest global survey of 177 countries by the Fund for Peace (FFP) but the US public policy think-tank also noted an increasing loss of talent due to citizens seeking better livelihoods abroad.
FFP is an independent think-tank founded in 1957 and based in Washington D.C. that is working “to prevent violent conflict and promote sustainable security” worldwide by focusing on conflict assessment and early warning on transnational threats, peacekeeping, and security and human rights issues.
Malaysia placed 110th and earned an above average mark of 68.5 points out of a maximum 120 points on the Failed States Index Score this year, an annual ranking of 177 nations based on their levels of stability and capacity, it said in the latest survey released last month.
The FPP’s Failed States Index was first published in 2005.
It noted that Malaysia’s economy grew 5.1 per cent last year, but it noted that although the “growth has remained strong, uneven development remains an on-going challenge”.
The country scored 6.4 out of 10 points, with 10 being the worst on uneven development marker, which pointed to a weak position and earned it 105th spot out of 177 nations.
“The Uneven Development score improved slightly but remains high as the central government has not completely phased out preferential treatment for ethnic Malays,” the index said.
The survey also said Malaysia’s 4.4 points on the Human Flight score, which it noted was moderate but put the country at 124th place, which signalled outflow of talent was worsening in a five-year trend outlook.
“A slight worsening of the Human Flight indicator suggests that more Malaysians are seeking better livelihoods abroad,” it reported.
“The Human Flight score increased substantially as social and economic reforms have not produced many changes. While the current prime minster has publicly stated his support for eliminating preferential treatment for ethnic Malays, little progress has been made,” it said.
Malaysia scored 6.5 points for legitimacy of the state, which FPP marked as weak and was worsening in a five-year trend outlook.
“A number of promised legal enactments remain frozen in the political process and restrictions on the freedom of expression continue to be imposed on the Malaysian populace, worsening the Human Rights and Rule of Law indicator score by a 0.5 margin,” it said.
“The Legitimacy of the State score has remained consistent at an elevated level since 2006 as a consequence of continued resentment on the part of the minority Indian and Chinese populations toward policies that are preferential toward the ethnic Malay population,” it added.
The index also noted Malaysia’s high score of 6.4 points for group grievances, which looks at the tension and violence between groups and the state’s ability to provide security.
“The Group Grievance score remains high as political actors attempted to stir ethnic tension and resentment in advance of the special elections,” it said.
While the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition led by Umno has managed to stay in power since independence in 1957, FPP said the results of the 2008 general elections prompted the ruling government to “react aggressively when faced with mass demonstrations in favour of election reform in July 2011”.
If MIC president G Palanivel contests in Cameron Highlands in the 13th general election, it will only confirm rumours that Umno is 'controlling' MIC.
CAMERON HIGHLANDS: MIC president G Palanivel’s purported decision to contest in Cameron Highlands – one of only three seats which MIC managed to win in the 2008 general election – is not going down well with party members.
Palanivel, who has been “seatless” since his loss in 2008, has been scouring the country looking for a safe place to contest and has now allegedly settled for Cameron Highlands where Umno is “supportive” of him.
Several irate local MIC and Umno members told FMT that the deeply religious party president had played an extensive role in attempts to axe incumbent SK Devamany from his Cameron Highlands’ seat.
Devamany is currently the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
Palanivel was a four-term MP for Hulu Selangor until he was defeated in the 2008 general election by an opposition PKR member. He lost by a mere 198 votes.
In May 2010, Umno decided not to field Palanivel in the Hulu Selangor by-election and appeased him with a senatorship.
He was later appointed as MIC president replacing S Samy Vellu in December 2010 and made a minister a year later.
Since then, Palanivel has made frequent visits to parliamentary constituencies in Sungai Siput (Perak), Padang Serai (Kedah), Teluk Kemang (Negeri Sembilan), Kuala Langat (Selangor) and Cameron Highlands (Pahang) to assess his chances.
It appears he has now decided to try his luck in Cameron Highlands, where the surrounding hills are supposedly good “feng shui” for him.
But the decision has riled local MIC grassroots leaders who alleged that Devamany was a “hardworking” man and that it was “unfair” of the party chairman to usurp him.
Not fair to Devamany
Said a MIC source in Tanah Rata who declined to be named: “As a party president, Palanivel has every right to contest in the general election.
“But, it is unfair of him to encroach into Devamany’s constituency. It is not right.
“As a party chairman, Palanivel shouldn’t undercut Devamany and enjoy the benefits from his hardwork,” said the source.
He said that if Palanivel remained adamant about contesting in Cameron Highlands, then it simply showed that the MIC chief is an opportunist who “wants an easy win seat”.
“It also shows he will do anything to win the election,” he said.
More importantly, he said fielding Palanivel would be a “political suicide for BN” and the ruling coalition will lose the seat.
But Palanivel, it appears, is less concerned about the views of his own party members, preferring to believe that he can ride on Umno’s clout in Cameron Highlands.
Said a Umno leader recently: “I met Palanivel in Jelai last Saturday. This is third time I’ve met him in Cameron Highlands in one month.
“It is obvious he is keen to contest in Cameron Highlands.”
Umno stoking rift
The leader, who requested anonymity, said Palanivel often visited Jelai – which is a state seat within the Cameron Highlands parliamentary constituency – and held meetings with Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.
Wan Rosdy is Cameron Highlands Umno division chief and Jelai assemblyman.
“Wan Rosdy wants Devamany out from Cameron Highlands. They [Wan Rosdy and Palanivel] have been conspiring to get rid of Devamany for a long time now,” claimed the leader.
According to him, even the Village Development and Security committees (JKKK) in Jelai know that Wan Rosdy is the alleged cause of the rift between Palanivel and Devamany.
“Instead of Palanivel protecting his vice-president Devamany, the former plots with the Wan Rosdy to finish off Devamany.
“It is morally wrong and politically incorrect to treat election as an avenue to settle personal feuds.
“It is outrageous and an insult to the political intelligence of the voters in those constituencies,” said the Umno leader, who also claimed himself to be a political observer.
Meanwhile, a prominent leader from the Klang Valley has also slammed Palanivel’s alleged decision to contest in Cameron Highlands.
“When he was recently asked where he would contest, Palanivel said he had identified three places to contest, but had yet to decide which seat.
“The irony is that Palanivel says one thing and does another,” said the leader, who declined to be named.
Umno is ‘controlling’ MIC
He was of the view that Palanivel as the MIC president and Selangor state chief should be contesting in tougher MIC seats like Kota Raja, Kapar or Subang.
“Palanivel now frequently visits Cameron Highlands and throws money to buy votes.
“I don’t see any strong points over his move to Cameron Highlands. Of course, Devamany is not an excellent leader but he is definitely better than Palanivel,” he said.
He also said that if Palanivel declared his candidacy in Cameron Highlands, then it would be “crystal clear” that Umno is “controlling” MIC.
He pointed out that this was “established” during the Hulu Selangor by-election when Palanivel was dropped, at the last minute, in favour of an Umno-favoured MIC candidate.
“Remember, PKR has more Indian MPs than MIC. And if Palanivel goes on to backstab his own man, in the next round, MIC will probably be decimated,” he warned.
Resorting to making a big impact via Aug 31 is not going to determine BN's fate at the polls.
The notoriety with which the Barisan Nasional government has manipulated the country’s 55th independence day celebration to suit its political agenda has left a bittter taste in the mouth of the rakyat.
To say that the people are shocked and disappointed with BN for turning Aug 31 into a political platform will be an understatement.
The rakyat are livid that the government dare misuse the independence day celebration to regain the people’s trust in the BN leadership and help it win big, come the 13th general election.
The subtlety used by BN in reminding the rakyat of all that it has done for them has not worked, never mind how Information, Communications and Culture Minister Rais Yatim tries hard to word it, verbally and in writing.
Rais had recently stressed that this year’s independence day celebration would have the theme “55 Tahun Merdeka Janji Ditepati” (55 Years Independence Promises Kept) and would bear the 1Malaysia logo as it did last year.
With no official logo and a significant theme to commemorate the nation’s most historical day, this year’s Merdeka day celebrations will smack of the desperation of the federal government in wanting to wipe out its political rival, Pakatan Rakyat, led by Anwar Ibrahim.
As it is, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has placed it high on his list to remind the rakyat to be grateful to the government for keeping to its promises.
But then what are those promises that the BN has been striving to meet? If it is about using money to buy over the Felda settlers or the poor and needy through Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), then that it is far from upholding any promise.
It is the duty of the government of the day to look after the well-being of its people, without holding them to ransom when the situation becomes dire. In Malaysia, however, the contrary is being done to cajole the people into voting for BN.
Let the rakyat decide
Resorting to making a big impact via Aug 31 is not going to determine BN’s fate at the polls, not in a positive sense, that is.
The truth remains that the rakyat’s faith in the BN leadership has eroded drastically post-2008 when BN suffered a massive setback at the polls.
To recoup its losses and that too by fooling the people will only make matters worse for BN, if it has not already.
Instead of now meddling with Aug 31 and Malaysia Day, which is celebrated on Sept 16, it is best that the government let the rakyat be the judge in deciding who best lead the nation.
Slogans like “People First, Performance Now” and “Janji Ditepati” were merely created to narrow BN’s loss at the coming polls.
Why does BN find it so difficult to listen to the rakyat’s grievances? Is the government really listening or is it giving the people the false impression that it is there for them?
Had it been attentively listening, BN would have realised that using crude methods of winning the people’s confidence is a no go. Even the theme song for this year’s Merdeka Day reveals what BN is all about – a nefarious entity plotting and scheming for its own survival.
Bad enough that the theme is sleazy but the corresponding song for Aug 31 could not be any worse than this, for, among others, it contains lyrics penned by none other than Rais and which go “Janji sudah ditepati, Kini masa balas budi” (Promises have been kept, now it is time to repay).
There are also these lines: “Ini janji kita BR1M 1Malaysia”, “Kata kita dikota”, dan “Kedai 1Malaysia” (This is our promise BR1M 1Malaysia), (Our words are kept) and (1Malaysia Store).
No surprise then that this theme song has recorded 20,502 dislikes over YouTube compared with 297 “likes” from its 171,257 viewers as of July 31.
Remembered for wrong reasons
This year’s independence day will just show how desperate BN is in canvassing for votes, having no qualms of turning the event into a political charade.
On so meaningful a day, the BN government wants to milk as much as it can from all the financial assistance it has been rendering to the people.
By the way, had the promises been kept, there would have been no Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0 demanding a clean-up of the electoral system. Had BN stayed true to its words, corruption, cronyism and nepotism would have long died and had the government been faithful to the rakyat, it would not have treated them as commodities, “buying” them over when times were hard.
In short, claims by BN that it has kept to its promises is one big lie. If Umno Youth chief and Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin thinks that BN has delivered, he is either delusional or simply trying hard to fool the rakyat.
“Well, I mean it’s up to the voters to decide. We have a track record, we’ve delivered on our promises… It’s our strong point. We have fulfilled our promises [and] it’s going to be an election on who is more likely to fulfil their promises,” he had said.
What track record is Khairy alluding to? As far as the rakyat can remember, BN is all about corruption and cronyism. It is not promises that have been delivered but rather a modus operandi favouring BN has been devised to secure victory in the next general election.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz was also talking nonsense when he claimed that Malaysians in general were comfortable with the government’s promises and their supposed fulfilment.
“If people are not complaining, why are they [Pakatan Rakyat] complaining? They don’t have to complain, and they don’t represent all the people. If they feel threatened and are unhappy, then don’t bother the rakyat.
“We don’t sense that the rakyat are threatened…They (Pakatan) are just the pot calling the kettle black,” Nazri had said.
If people were not complaining, why then did the Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0 take place?
And how has Nazri concluded that the people are “comfortable” with the BN government’s promises?
As far as BN goes, the agenda is all about money. What more will BN do to force the rakyat to support it in lieu of the aid given? Should the people choose not to, what are the repercussions in store for them?
Jeswan Kaur is freelance writer and a FMT columnist.
Workers of the industry will not be affected by the move to slash hefty excise duties, says the opposition leader.
PETALING JAYA: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, in unveiling Pakatan Rakyat’s auto industry revamp plan, said today the pact will implement gradual tax reductions to protect car prices and the used-vehicle market.
The PKR de facto leader also gave his assurance that the workers of the industry will not be affected by the move to slash hefty excise duties unlike what was alleged by the proposal critics.
Detractors claimed local car-makers will likely be hurt by the move as consumers will opt for cheaper imported cars. This will in turn result in the mass retrenchment of workers as business drops.
“The abolition of excise duties and the reduction of car prices will be conducted gradually so the prices of used vehicles and existing car will depreciate slowly,” he told a press conference at the party headquarters here.
“This will be announced annually in the federal budget after taking into consideration the views of financial institutions and stakeholders.
“This is so that the depreciation value and loan assets held by financial institutions are in line with new car prices,” he added.
Pakatan’s political rivals have blasted the proposal as an election winning ploy, saying the opposition bloc will likely draft a new tax scheme to compensate the loss in government revenue generated from car taxes that is estimated to be around RM8 billion annually.
Anwar dismissed the idea, saying Pakatan will introduce incentives to push for the exports of used cars to “new markets” aimed at generating a new revenue stream and at the same time slash hefty expenditures of the Prime Minster’s Department (PMD).
PKR claimed in the past that PMD’s expenses had risen sharply, with last year’s alone amounting to RM11 billion.
But no detailed study was presented to show if the new market for used cars could generate enough income to compensate for the loss in car tax collections, with Anwar merely saying that the plan “is expected” to provide new revenue flows for the government.
There is also the promise to revamp the distribution of APs (approved permits) for imported cars that he said would generate RM2 billion to RM3 billion annually until the system is abolished in 2015.
Anwar, the former deputy prime minister and finance minister, also said Pakatan will reverse the shipping policy on Sabah and Sarawak by abolishing cabotage that requires goods to be shipped domestically with only local vessels.
Sabahans and Sarawakians currently have to pay higher prices for cars compared to their peninsular counterparts.
Anwar believes the new policy will drive the local automotive industry forward “and not just for certain quarters” and, at the same time, force local carmakers to compete with international car firms.
Incentives will be given to improve the quality of local cars besides giving “space” to local players to implement strategies with government cooperation.
Anwar said this move will create more jobs in the industry, while preserving its current workforce in a more open business environment.
He said the new auto policy will also go hand-in-hand with improving public transport to tackle traffic congestions. Incentives will also be given to players producing green cars to keep the environment clean.
Pakatan’s auto-policy has generated much interest and will likely be a crucial campaign fodder as it gears up for national polls which must be held by the middle of next year.
Anwar said that a revamped National Auto Policy (NAP) should already be in place to ensure fair competition in an industry rife with corruption and abuses.
(Malaysian Digest) - Former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory panel member Tan Sri Robert Phang (pic) has challenged the Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to disprove allegations made against the latter in a new book on the country’s top legal mind.
The book, titled ‘Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail Pemalsu, Penipu, Penjenayah’ (Fraud, Liar and Criminal), authored by Zainal Abidin Ahmad, was made available to Phang, who claimed it detailed abuses, corruption and criminal acts allegedly committed by the AG.
“I challenge the AG to investigate, arrest and charge the author if the contents aren’t true, and also sue him for defamation. Otherwise, I challenge the MACC and police to investigate these allegations against the AG,” he told reporters at a Press conference in a hotel here today.
This is not the first time that Phang had launched an attack on Abdul Gani. In October 2011, Phang was probed by MACC over allegations of having accepted bribes. Phang later raised allegations that Gani had gone for a haj trip, which was sponsored by certain individuals.
In my ‘Strategising ABU’post, I said : “We’ve done our homework, and
identified the vulnerable BN seats that can be taken and the vulnerable
opposition seats that need to be defended. In Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak. For obvious reasons, I’m not going to detail those seats I’ve just mentioned. Suffice to say that, if we can prise
those vulnerable seats away from BN, and successfully defend the
existing opposition seats, we should take Putrajaya with a total of 141
seats. Now, I want to clarify here that by ‘we’, I do not mean Pakatan Rakyat. I mean the 3 Pakatan parties, working cohesively with the many other non-BN parties in Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak. And us, the rakyat”.
And in my “Plan B a no brainer” post, I shared with you the latest intelligence information that we have. “In Malaya ( what most of you call Semenanjung ), the support for BN and the opposition is split almost right down the middle. 50-50. What’s very clear is the Chinese vote is solidly behind the move for change. In Sarawak, BN still has a slight advantage. Sabah, though, is increasingly
becoming the key to who will take Putrajaya post the 13th GE, with
Jeffery’s STAR gaining ground daily with its Borneo Agenda, which is
resonating with the people of Sabah. More on what’s going on in Sabah in one of my forthcoming posts. Recent reports, though, indicate
that the Malay sentiment, both in the rural and urban areas, may be
swinging back to UMNO, owing to the daily dose of lies and race/religion
spin they get through Utusan and TV3 about the possible loss of Malay
political dominance, about the danger of the ascendancy of DAP, and
thereby the Chinese, if Pakatan comes to power, and this whole business
of the hudud.
In my “ABUing Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak”
post, I shared with all of you that the ABU secretariat was working on
several efforts and initiatives that will require the involvement of
all of you.
Finally, in three short sentences in my “Will RPK make sense of these for us?” post, I alluded to the work all of us will have to throw ourselves into in ABU phase 2. “We are now in phase 2. A media war is underway to outreach to the Malay heartlands, to the police and the armed forces. And to deliver a chilling warning to the new Mykad holders”.
For the last two weeks, a motley crew of taxi drivers, who I fondly and proudly refer to as the ABU Taxi Brigade,
have been taking a short message to foreigners who travel in their cabs
: show up at polling stations on polling day during PRU13 and be
prepared for dire consequences. The rakyat are no longer prepared to be
cheated at the polls.
This is the same message we delivered to the kampung folk in our ABU ceramah in January and February. If you see foreigners queuing up to get into the polling stations, get them out, by whatever means.
During this same 2 week period, we soft launched our ABU publicity blitz.
Actress Abby Abadi has gotten into the ABU act. You can, too
Fuel consumers being awakened to the ABU initiaitve
Is Koh Tsu Khoon getting into the ABU act too?
And over the last weekend, I traveled through the north through to
the central region, to lay the ground work for our publicity blitz. This
week, we will reach out to the east and the south.
What then follows is the launch of our BALIK KAMPUNG BAWA BERITA BENAR campaign.
First issue we are taking out to the kampung folk : MENGAPA HARGA BARANG NAIK?
This issue is affecting 80% of the nation.
ABU pamphlets to explain this are going out.
A special message to the military and police is also going out, to urge them to side with the rakyat.
Here is how you can involve yourself in these efforts.
The ABU website is up. Please don’t expect something fanciful. You can access it HERE. Its work in progress.
We want you fully involved in the ongoing publicity blitz.
Click on the ABU stickers thumbnail on the left and a 6 on one pager, in PDF, opens.
Print a 100 copies.
More if you are really inspired.
Don’t bother cutting them into six separate stickers.
Get a can or a tin of glue, head out with a team of friends, and ABUkan public walls.
Please don’t get caught, though.
And when you’re done with this blitz, get ready to help with the MENGAPA HARGA BARANG NAIK? campaign.
Remember the pamphlets that are going out to the kampung?
Click on the cartoon and a PDF version of the pamphlet will open.
Print a 100 copies. Colour, or black and white, it does not matter.
Yes, more if you are determined to help get the truth to the rakyat.
How to fold it into neat pamphlets?
Go HERE for help.
You are going to BALIK KAMPUNG for the Raya holidays? BAWA BERITA BENAR.
Take these pamphlets and distribute them to friends and relatives.
This is probably the best Raya gift you can ever give them.
All these material are already up on the ABU website. Do go to the site and see for yourself.
I’ll alert you once the material for the military and police
personnel are up on the website. Please do the same as I hope you will
now do with the MENGAPA HARGA BARANG NAIK? pamphlet.
People, this war against UMNO / BN cannot be won without you.
Please, the time for talking, for commenting here and on other sites, is over.
We have a war to win.
And a nation to take back.
For the anak Bangsa Malaysia long marginalised and left to rot.
Do it for them.
Is that a court room? Damn!
Civil servants and court staff eat here everyday. How to wake them up to the existence of this ABU initiative?
The stairs leading up to the Pusat Penjaja Selera Duta
LUMPUR, Aug 1 ― Today’s prosecution of PKR’s Rafizi Ramli over his
exposé on the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal will
frighten away future whistleblowers, DAP MP Tony Pua has said, adding
that it showed Barisan Nasional’s (BN) reform agenda was “pure hogwash”.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP said Rafizi’s court charge, which comes just
over a year after the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 was enacted,
would deal a serious blow to public perception of the government’s
seriousness in weeding out corruption.
pointed to what he described as a complete lack of urgency in bringing
criminal charges against former minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul
Jalil over the NFC, saying this was proof that Najib was bent on
protecting the powerful in the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition he leads.
persecution will mark the death knell for the Act as no whistleblower
will have any trust in the system to protect their interest.
blatant abuse of power will only confirm in the eyes of the world that
Najib’s reform agenda is pure hogwash,” Pua said in a statement here.
who is PKR’s strategy director and the man spearheading the NFC
exposés, was charged today with violating the Banking and Financial
Institutions Act (BAFIA) in exposing confidential banking details
related of National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp).
firm, owned by Shahrizat’s family members, runs the federal
government’s cattle farming project that has been at the centre of a
RM250 million scandal.
charge proffered under Section 97(1) of the BAFIA stated that Rafizi
had disclosed four customer account profiles detailing the balance
summary for the NFCorp, the National Meat and Livestock Sdn Bhd,
Agroscience and Industries Sdn Bhd and NFCorp chairman Datuk Seri
Mohamad Salleh Ismail, to two individuals identified as Yusuf Abdul Alim
and Erle Martin Carvalho.
Section 103(1)(a) of the same law, he could be fined a maximum of RM3
million and jailed up to three years if found guilty, which could
seriously hobble Rafizi’s chance of standing as a candidate in the 13th
general election that must be held by April next year when the ruling
Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition’s mandate expires.
NFCorp and the cattle farming scandal hit the headlines last year when
the Auditor-General reported that it had missed its production targets.
who was a minister when the project was awarded to her family in 2006,
relinquished her Cabinet post in early April over the allegations
against her family.
March 12, her husband, Mohamad Salleh, pleaded not guilty in the
Sessions Court to two counts of criminal breach of trust involving
RM49.7 million with regards to the purchase of two condominium units.
He also pleaded not guilty to two other charges under the Companies Act.
Pua also questioned why only Mohamad Salleh has been charged in court,
and even then, only for two key charges ― misappropriating RM40 million
of NFC’s money, and acquiring two units of luxury condominium in One
Menerung, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur for RM13.5 million.
said this was despite the fact the NFC’s last audited accounts had
shown that more than RM110 million was allegedly misappropriated by the
NFCorp’s directors to set up a global chain of companies under their
further pointed out that Rafizi had also alleged that Shahrizat’s
family acquired three luxury condominiums in Singapore worth some RM45
million, as well as a villa in Kazakhstan.
none of these assets have been frozen by the Malaysian authorities and
none of the other directors have been charged despite holding various
key positions in NFC, including the son, Izran Salleh who is the chief
executive officer of NFCorp,” he said.
of pursuing the culprits who have abused the RM250 million government
soft loan extended to NFC, the government has chosen to exact revenge on
the whistleblower Rafizi who play the integral role in uncovering the
lid on the litany of gross abuses by Shahrizat’s family,” he added.
said despite Rafizi’s charges today, DAP and its leaders will continue
to expose all alleged misdeeds and wrongdoings committed by BN leaders.
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 (Bernama) -- There is no assurance that a political party which uses the name, Islam will implement or is capable of implementing Islamic teachings, said religious preacher Datuk Mohd Nakhaie Ahmad.
What more with the uncertainties surrounding its collaboration with non-Muslim political allies, making it even more impossible for a party with an Islamic label to ensure that everything it does is based on the teachings of Islam.
"As Muslims, we should choose a leader who not only vows to uphold the Islamic struggle, but also able to realise the Islamic requirements with wisdom to benefit the people and nation.
"We have to ensure that they are really implemented and not remain as mere rhetoric," he told Bernama when asked whether the use of the name, Islam by a political party would guarantee that it would implement what was required in Islam.
The former president of the Islamic Dakwah Foundation Malaysia (Yadim) said there was no assurance that a political party which used the name, Islam would do everything based on Islamic teachings.
"Moderation in everything is more important that to harp loudly about Islam, when actually nothing is done.
"The excuse that it (PAS) does not have the power to do so cannot be accepted, when it already has power in certain states," he added.
The chairman of the Global Dakwah Friendship Organisation also said that the federal government had carried out various programmes to meet the Islamic agenda, but these efforts were not branded Islamic.
"For example, building of universities, schools, providing water, electricity, houses, mosques and roads for the people. All these are not labelled Islamic although they are demanded in Islam for the people's well-being," he added.
While many Muslims did not fully understand what was demanded by fardhu kifayah (communal obligations), the opposition had the tendency to label everything Islam, and even went to the extent of claiming that insulting and making enemies with fellow Muslims were allowed in Islam, he pointed out.
Mohd Nakhaie, who used to be a PAS vice-president before leaving the party, said it was not necessary to choose a person who looked or seemed pious if he had no knowledge or skills to administer the country, develop its economy and maintain its security, as a leader.
Many Islamic religious scholars, local and foreign, have recognised Malaysia as a model Islamic country due to the various efforts carried out by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government that are in line with Islamic teachings and requirements.
These included the setting up of higher learning institutions such as the International Islamic University, Malaysia in 1983, which has since produced tens of thousands of graduates in various fields, including civil and syariah law, economy, humanities and engineering.
The establishment of Tabung Haji in 1963 was also a manifestation of the BN government's commitment in looking after the interests and welfare of Muslims in the country.
Through efforts like hosting the international Quran recital assembly, which has entered its 54th year and attracting participation from 76 countries this time, Malaysia has become well known and respected in the Muslim world.
The person responsible for starting this event on March 6, 1961, was the first prime minister, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, who was also known as the "Father of Independence" and "Father of Malaysia".
These are several examples and proof that Islam is held highly by the country's administration.
Muslims should ask themselves whether all these have been achieved by coincidence, with no careful planning and earnest implementation by the Umno-led BN government.
Chairman of the Umno Youth Ulama Secretariat (ILMU), Fathul Bhari Mat Jahaya said Umno provided ample space and opportunities for him to pursue his Islamic missionary work.
"We want to deliver the message of Islam to everyone for common good. Between the Umno and PAS constitutions, Umno's is more encompassing when it comes to meeting the requirements in Islam," he said.
He believes that many young ulama today have got a clearer picture of Umno's real struggle in upholding Islam.