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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Malay group flays Najib over MRT tender awards

The Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia (DPMM) has slammed Prime Minister Najib Razak on the issuing of MRT tenders, saying its  members were sidelined and unqualified contractors were awarded jobs.
“Of the (tenders for the) RM36 billion MRT project, we have got absolutely nothing.

NONE“Those who have (received contracts) are instead outsiders.
"They have failed to deliver trains, but are given the MRT project,” chamber president Syed Ali Alattas (left) told a press conference after a roundtable forum in Kuala Lumpur today.

However, Syed Ali did not refer to any specific MRT tender and called on Najib to not repeat such behaviour in future.

“So, with all this, we ask the PM not to always indulge in all this funny business,” he said.

“Otherwise the future generations may get angry with the government,” Syed Ali added.
'Maintain equity in strategic GLCs'
However, Syed Ali's statements differed from the that of the Unit Peneraju Agenda Bumiputera (Teraju), which said 47 percent of the MRT project was offered to bumiputera contractors and that this was way above the initial target of 43 percent.

The DPMM president also called on Najib to ensure that the government would maintain its majority equity in government-linked firms involved in strategic industries such as public utilities.

Syed Ali  also wants the government to reclaim control of privatised GLCs that exhibit management problems.

"UDA (Urban Development Authority) is now under Khazanh as a corporate entity. It should have been made a government-controlled agency again," he said.

Syed Ali also pressed the government to offer GLCs in which direct public interest was not involved, such as Syarikat Penerbitan Negara (National Printing Company), to be taken over by DPMM entrepreneurs.

An open letter to my non-Malay friends

By Iqbal Abdullah, 
This piece is meant to be read alongside "An open letter to my Malay friends" published on Malaysiakini on August 31st, 2012.

Malaysia is a powerful idea, which is still believed by Malaysians far and wide, no matter how long they have been away from her. This idea will only remain a dream if all of us, as Malaysians, do not work together to make this idea into a reality. This is the reason I am writing this open letter to my Non-Malay friends.

First of all I would like to congratulate all my fellow Malaysians on Tanah Melayu's 55th year of Independence from the British, which finally led to Malaysia's Independence as a whole.

Like most of you, I too believe Malaysia is already at a crossroad. What turn we take next, will depend on you, my dear Non-Malay friends.

You, my dear non-Malay friends, hold a very important key to deciding Malaysia's future, which without, will only condemn our Malaysian idea to only an unfulfilled dream.

No matter what other fellow Malaysians who have left think about non-existent opportunities in Malaysia, Forbes on the other hand tells us that at least in 2006, within the top 40 wealthiest people in Malaysia, only 10 of them are Malay, or bumiputera.
With or without the "Bumiputera special privileges" they talk so much about, the top eight of the wealthiest people in Malaysia are in-fact non-Malays, while the wealthiest of them all is a Chinese.

Our state of Penang chief minister is a non-Malay. Try and go to any of these economically successful persons and ask them if they had any lack of opportunities to succeed. I am pretty sure they will tell you otherwise.

Economically, my non-Malay friends have always been ahead. In 1970, the bumiputera only had 2% of the economy, while the chinese had 33% and the rest were held by foreigners.
After 34 years in 2004, even though the bumiputera makes 60% of the population, economic ownership has only increased to 19%.

Though we see the advances made by our Malay friends, my non-Malay friends have gone further ahead: They successfully increased their ownership of national wealth beyond the 40% mark.

This hold on the economy by my non-Malay friends have directly or indirectly limited opportunities available to our Malay friends.

It is perhaps due to the nature of our non-Malay friends to limit their sphere of influence to their own race. It is the norm to have "Chinese only" or "Mandarin required" open position adverts regardless if the job is only as an IT technician or even a lorry driver.

The fact that the Mandarin or "becoming Chinese" subjects were not compulsory requirements in our education doesn't seem lost. Thus economically, our non-Malay friends have a bigger say to promote changes in Malaysia.

Due to the bigger economic clout my non-Malay friends have, they are able to afford a higher level of education not easily accessible to my Malay friends. It makes sense when we see that 80% of the overseas Malaysians are non-Malays.

For the Malays, having an opportunity for an overseas education will most of the time equal to having some sort of scholarship somewhat, most of the time from the government.

After 55 years of independence, this is somewhat still true. The income disparity between Malays and non-Malays is still apparent.
Chinese households earn an average of twice more than the Malay household in Malaysia.

It is then only natural that we need the collective intellectual input of these high learning non-Malay friends to build our country to further Malaysia's greatness.

Unfortunately at the same time, Cuepecs tells us that due to the lack of interest of our non-Malay friends to help out in the government, in 2012 out of the 1.2 million applications to work for the government, only 2.1% are from our Chinese friends (These are only applications, not the number of accepted applications!).

Their reasons of not joining are because of low pay, and because they want high ranking positions if they enter the civil service.

Nurul Izzah, the current MP for Lembah Pantai said "one Malaysian regardless of race, who has left the country...is a loss to us. They should be here celebrating, to improve the economy. I detest many people trying to singularly find out whether they are Malays, Chinese or Indians."

My sentiments too exactly. Race is a non-issue. Unfortunately, this is not shared by my non-Malay friends. In a 2006 opinion poll by the Asia Foundation found out that a majority of the Chinese correspondents put ethnic first before nationality, while the majority of Malay correspondents put their religion first before nationality.

On the other hand, my ethnically Indian friends, overwhelmingly identify themselves as Malaysian first before their ethnicity.

This might explain why we have all sort of things happening where the identity and pride of the race is more important than the aspirations of the nation itself, such as Dong Zong demands for the SRJK(C) school to have only 100 percent teachers trained in Mandarin for its schools.

There was also a non-Malay friend of mine who questioned why was he unable to register his name officially at the Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara in Chinese characters.

He specifically pointed out the fact that he could do it in Japan (where he worked) but not in his home country, and this equals to discrimination and double standards practised in the country.

Another non-Malay friend of mine, who happened to be a staunch supporter of "Bersih", cursed an ethnic Chinese policeman who was doing his job protecting our prime minister from demonstrators, saying that the policeman is a disgrace to his race and demanding that the policeman ask forgiveness from his ancestors.

All and any issue that we have in Malaysia is not caused by one race alone.
One portion of our people are too scared that they will be coolies in their own country due to their lack and inability for more economic control, while another portion of our people are building walls around themselves due to their fear that their deemed as superior identity and so-called 'rights' will be overruned.

Unfortunately, the former has very little room to help out in the economic front because their involvement is too limited, while the latter has little say on how the country is being run because they are uninterested to take part in the system, more so when they deem that doing so is a degrading thing to do.

What saddens me most is that everyone complains and screams of injustice but when you look at it a little bit closer, no one is really making an effort of taking part and working together with their fellow countrymen to build the country.

We then take to the streets calling the fight the "good fight for justice" and making comparisons to Myanmar or even the Arab Spring.

And the brain drain? I am not really worried about this. The world is too small now. AirAsia has made it possible for you to get to the other side of the world without much effort.

You can always contribute back to your motherland wherever you are at, just like how the Leong San Tong Khoo Kongsi in Penang used to send money back to Fujian in China.

Monetarily, you can always send money back to your family in Malaysia, or even start a small business in Malaysia to support your overseas business, and pay corporate tax. More importantly, you can train Malaysians with the knowledge and skills you have gained abroad.

If it means that you would have to forgo your connections and opportunities outside of Malaysia to come back and contribute, it would actually be best that you stay wherever you are, and contribute remotely to your motherland.

When there's a will, there will always be a way.

When the time comes though, we should all be back to put our votes in the ballots, or do that at your nearest Malaysian mission (they plan to pass a law so you can do this).

Our democracy unfortunately does not recognise "voting by feet", no matter how strong you root for Malaysia. Doing that doesn't really change things much. We need to put papers into ballot boxes, in order to make a difference in this democracy.

So my dear non-Malay friends, every Malaysian, regardless of our skin colour, are responsible to make the Malaysian Idea a reality. The time all of us should have realized this has passed. It is not a zero-sum game.
It has never been, and it will never be a "we against them" issue. No matter how hard you try to build walls around yourself, none of us will be going away any time soon. There is only "us" in this land.

Anwar mohon mahkamah ketepi pertuduhan bawah PAA


Strong demonstrations were staged by HJS at Town Hall, Bangalore against the ban on HJS website

Bangalore (Karnataka) : Strong demonstrations were staged by HJS at Town Hall, Bangalore against the ban on HJS website ‘www.Hindujagruti.org’ imposed by the Central Government without giving any prior notice. Samiti’s Bangalore City Co-ordinator Sri. Chandra Moger addressing the Society said, "The Home Minister said that in the name of Assam violence Bangladeshi infiltrators in Assam are sending threatening messages in Mumbai, Lucknow and Kashmir provoking the violence and creating a critical situation in society and mind behind this is Pakistan and its proofs will be shortly given to Pakistan."



Further, Mr. Chandra Moger said "Due to the threatening and warning messages and SMS people from Assam started running back to their native. Government did not do anything to protect them nor did they took any action against the websites (i.e websites like RAZA Academy, Jamat–e-Islami, Popular Front of Inida, etc) which were spreading the rumors and sending violent information thus making the situation critical. Also Government did not take any action on Moulas who were preaching violence to Muslims. Instead the Central Government without giving any prior notice banned the www.Hindujagruti.org which is dedicated to awaken the devotion and respect towards Nation. This shows the Central Government's hatred towards Hindus.

On www.Hindujagruti.org we explored the truth behind the violence created in Mumbai, Lucknow and Kashmir due to showing fake photos created by Infiltrators. By this we helped the Government and Police Department. However Central Government instead of stopping the Bangladeshi infiltrators in Assam and punishing the Muslims who created violence and damaged National property in Mumbai banned the www.hinjugaruti.org website as Government is trying to do some thing on this Situation."
Mr. Chandra Moger on behalf of HJS demanded the central Government should immediately withdraw the ban on Hindu Janajaguti Samiti’s website. Around 80 activists participated in the protest.


Arab men rush in: Syrian beauties left homeless make prize brides


Movie still: The Syrian Bride
Movie still: The Syrian Bride
It began with rumors of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Jordan and has spread across the Arab world. Syrian refugees, particularly those of the young and female variety, are becoming a commodity for Arab men, with many offering to marry those in need.

But don’t be fooled: this is not a purely altruistic gesture. Syrian women are known as the beauties of the region and having run away from the massacres of their own country they are left vulnerable and needy. Men who would otherwise have no chance with these highly sought after ladies have been opportunistically taking their chances.

Now the backlash has begun and Syrian activists have launched a campaign on social media networks calling for the marriage proposals to come to a halt. The campaign, established by Syrian activist Miznah Duraid, under the name ‘Refugee Captives’, aims to educate Syrian parents to stop them marrying off their daughters for the sake of a stable home.

Left in terrible financial circumstances, these refugees are also more likely to agree to a disagreeable marriage in exchange for a ‘bride price’ paid by the groom to the family. Duraid says he is not only blaming the Syrians for the situation and is also trying to educate Arab men about "the pitfalls of marrying a Syrian woman".

The activist said that although these men think they are being ‘helpful’ by marrying a refugee, these shotgun weddings don’t make the basis for a happy family life.

“It is also not guaranteed that the husband won't repeat his "helpfulness" by seeking marriage from another female refugee,” he added.

Others have pointed out that no other refugee crisis in the Arab world has had this effect on the Middle East’s men. Moayad Eskeef is another Syrian campaigner keen to highlight the issue. Tongue-in-cheek he pointed out - if these men are so keen to marry a refugee why aren’t there a deluge of Sudanese-Arab marriages?

Intolerance growing in South Punjab: Report

Report by the Minority Rights Commission states minorities in the region have been living in fear of persecution. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: South Punjab, perhaps the most impoverished region of the province, has little to offer to its religious minorities.

With growing discrimination and a flawed registration system, members of minority communities in the region have been living in fear of persecution, according to a report by the Minority Rights Commission.

Over 0.25 million non-Muslims live in five districts of south Punjab – Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Layyah and Khanewal.

As a result of increasing persecution and discrimination, members of the Hindu community in the region are being forced to convert to Islam. Non-Muslim women are also being forced to change their religion and marry Muslim men.

According to the report, this new trend of forced conversions and forced marriages is on the rise in South Punjab, particularly in Rahim Yar Khan and adjacent areas.

School admissions refused

The report further revealed that growing intolerance and flaws in registration processes is shutting the doors to education for minorities in the region.

In Rahim Yar Khan, members of minority communities, particularly Hindus, are unable to register their children in government schools, which have refused admissions due to the absence of birth certificates.

Furthermore, without Computerised National Identity Cards, over 150,000 non-Muslims have been unable to register their children for secondary school examinations since 2001.

Hindus are also unable to get their marriages registered in the absence of formal laws in the country.

Land grabbers

Furthermore, the report claims that in Muzaffargarh district, land grabbers have snatched hundreds of acres of cultivated land from Christian families, who have been tilling the land for the last 35 years. Over 20,000 non-Muslims reside in the district.

Balmiki Hindus, a sect of the religion, are facing their own share of alleged highhandedness by Muslims in Multan, where the community has lost their ancestral graveyard to the land-grab mafia.

Multan has allegedly attracted the binary attention of jihadis and religious fanatics due its significance as the new hub of political power and economic activity.

The Auqaf Department in Multan receives millions of rupees as rent from the commercial properties of Hindus, but the money is spent on Muslim, instead of Hindu, festivals, the report claimed.

The minority community has staged demonstrations against this injustice but authorities concerned have failed to take any action so far.

False accusations

Layyah district, where over 20,000 non Muslims reside, is also witnessing a peculiar trend of false accusations of desecration of the holy Quran and blasphemy against minorities.

A majority of non Muslims in Shantinagar, Khanewal district, have been living in fear since decades. In 1997, 900 houses burnt out in a village in the area after it was alleged that pages of the Holy Quran were burned by local non Muslims.

The quota for non Muslim women in government jobs in the district has also been restricted.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2012.

Wira Perkasa akui halang Anwar berceramah

Kejadian itu tidak akan berlaku jika Ketua Pembangkang itu tidak menggunakan masjid sebagai medan untuk memecahbelahkan perpaduan orang Islam dan Melayu.

PETALING JAYA: Wira Perkasa (Persatuan Peribumi Perkasa Malaysia) mengakui mereka bertanggungjawab dalam menghalang Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim daripada menyampaikan tazkirah Maghrib di sebuah masjid di Seberang Pumpong, Alor Star, Kedah semalam.

Di dalam kejadian tersebut, beberapa ahli Perkasa berhimpun dan memulakan provokasi ketika Anwar hendak menyampaikan tazkirah di mimbar masjid.

Ahli Perkasa itu bertindak samseng dengan memadamkan lampu masjid dan alat pembesar suara berulangkali, memaksa Anwar menggunakan ‘loud hailer’ untuk meneruskan kuliahnya.

Kumpulan terbabit juga turut melontar kasut ke dalam masjid ketika tazkirah disampaikan.

Naib Presiden PAS, Datuk Mahfuz Omar yang berada di masjid itu berkata, beliau turut menjadi sasaran apabila kasut yang dibaling hampir-hampir mengenai beliau.

Ketika dihubungi FMT, Ketua Wira Perkasa Pusat, Irwan Fahmi berkata, kejadian itu tidak akan berlaku jika Anwar tidak menggunakan masjid sebagai medan untuk memecahbelahkan perpaduan orang Islam dan Melayu.

“Kenapa Anwar menggunakan masjid untuk berpolitik? Masjid bukan tempat untuk berceramah politik. Masjid adalah tempat untuk membuat amal ibadat.

Dakyah politik

“Bukankah Kedah diperintah oleh Pakatan Rakyat? Mereka boleh menggunakan stadium atau dewan tanpa sebarang halangan. Tiada sebab untuk mereka menyebarkan dakyah politik di masjid itu.

“Perbuatan Anwar itu lebih dajal daripada dajal. Anwar memaksa kami untuk bertindak. Halangan itu dilakukan oleh Wira Kedah sendiri.

“Ini menunjukkan kesatuan anak negeri itu untuk menghalang Anwar daripada terus memecahbelahkan perpaduan orang Islam dan Melayu. Tiada penglibatan daripada Wira Perkasa Pusat”, katanya.

Apabila ditanya mengenai kejadian baling kasut pada malam itu, Irwan berkata beliau masih tidak pasti dan agak kesal dengan kejadian tersebut serta masih menunggu laporan penuh daripada Ketua Wira Kedah.

Menurutnya lagi, Perkasa telah membuat laporan polis di IPD Dang Wangi semalam, berkenaan dengan isu cubaan untuk menukar bendera Malaysia, Jalur Gemilang dengan Sang Saka Malaya yang direka oleh Timbalan Ketua Penerangan Angkatan Muda Keadilan, Najwan Halimi.

“Perbuatannya sangat melampau. Perkasa menggesa agar kerajaan menarik balik kerakyatannya. Dalam mesyuarat semalam juga kami telah sepakat untuk menggesa pihak yang berwajib agar melucutkan kerakyatannya dan laporan polis telah dibuat semalam”, katanya.

Berkenaan dengan kejadian memijak gambar Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Irwan menjelaskan, mereka mengutuk dan menentang tindakan itu, bukan disebabkan Najib, tetapi kerana Najib adalah Perdana Menteri Malaysia.

Don’t jump the gun, DAP man tells detractors

V Ganabatirao dismisses objections against the possibility of him being fielded in Kota Alam Shah.

PETALING JAYA: Selangor DAP official V Ganabatirao today admonished those calling on the party not to field him for the Kota Alam Shah state seat, saying they were jumping the gun.

Reacting to statements by eight DAP branch leaders in Selangor, he said the objection was premature because the party had yet to announce the names of candidates for the coming election.

“I myself do not know whether I will be fielded to contest in Kota Alam Shah,” he told FMT. “Candidacy is decided by the central executive committee. It is too premature to speculate.”

Yesterday, the leaders of DAP branches in Taman Gembira, Klang, Teluk Pulai, Bayu Tinggi, Taman Chi Liung Indah, Southern Klang, Persiaran Raja Muda Musa and Ehsan said they were against Ganabatirao’s candidacy in Kota Alam Shah because he was not a local man familiar with the grassroots.

They warned the party that it would lose the seat if it were to field him there.

Ganabatirao is Selangor DAP’s legal bureau chief. He is also a director in the state-owned Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd and an aide to Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim.

The Kota Alam Shah seat is currently held by M Manoharan, also from DAP. Both Ganabatirao and Manoharan rose to prominence as among the early leaders of Hindraf and were imprisoned under the Internal Security Act for their part in the massive 2007 demonstration in the streets of Kuala Lumpur against the marginalisation of Indians.

Ganabatirao currently holds the post of advisor to Malaysian Indian Voice, an NGO linked to Pakatan Rakyat.

He rejected his detractors’ claim that members of the eight Selangor branches were against his candidacy in Kota Alam Shah, saying the branch leaders were had their own agenda and were expressing their personal opinions.

“The objections are individual opinions of people with their own agenda,” he said. “The objections are not resolutions from the branches.”

Another DAP official confirmed that the party had not finalised its candidates’ list for Selangor.

Delay polls and risk punishment

The Bersih leader takes the prime minister to task for delaying the general election with no good reason, describing this as disconcerting and irresponsible.

KUALA LUMPUR: In 2009, Najib Tun Razak took over the leadership reins after his predecessor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi relinquished the post following Barisan Nasional’s biggest electoral setback to date.

Najib and his retinue of advisers had the unenviable task of reversing the political fortunes of the ruling coalition, which seemed to suffer from an incurable perception malaise.

But during his initial period in office, the prime minister appeared to be pressing the right buttons, his popularity soared and speculations of a snap polls were rife.

However, Malaysians still remained in the dark about the 13th general election, with the latest talk being that the polls would be held in November, on the 11th, which happened to be Najib’s lucky number.

Those close to Najib argue that the premier was being cautious while the grapevine had it that intelligence reports painted a bleak picture for BN.

Describing this as both “disconcerting and irresponsible”, Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga warned Najib that the continued delay could prove to be perilous for him and BN.

She said that it would not come as a surprise if the voters, including the fence-sitters, punished him for this feet-dragging in the next polls.

“I understand it is the Westminster system and it is the prerogative of the prime minister. But a good government should be prepared to take on the election and not be afraid to set a date,” she told FMT.

“We have been in election mode since he [Najib] took over and everyone has been pumped up. He drops hints [about the polls] and that is irresponsible. You don’t toy with people’s feelings.

“People are fed up! They can’t plan things like going on holidays and so forth. Furthermore, it affects investor confidence.

“That’s why I say it is irresponsible. If this is how a government is going to play with the election date, then it would be best to have a fixed date for polling,” she added.

Ambiga said as political leaders in other parts of the world discussed the economic crisis and recession, their Malaysian counterparts were still engrossed in politicking.

“So who is running the country? This is unacceptable,” she stressed.

Is the government afraid?

Ambiga said that Bersih had also called for the election to be postponed in the past with regard to the implementation of electoral reforms.

She added that if the government claimed that the election was being delayed in order to push through the reforms, then it would be justifiable.

“But everyone has forgotten about electoral reforms. So the election is being dragged for no reason.

“It seems the government is concerned about the results [of the election]. Otherwise, they would have called for it,” she added.

Elaborating on electoral reforms, Ambiga said that Election Commission chairman Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof cannot lead the commission as he was a former Umno member.

“He cannot claim that he would discharge his duties without bias. There are enough grounds to believe or to suspect that he would be biased and this makes him unfit for the post,” she added.

Ambiga also dismissed claims that Najib was concerned that if the polls were held before the term expired in April 2013, Pakatan Rakyat-controlled states would not dissolve their respective
assemblies.

“I don’t buy that excuse. He [Najib] kept the nation on election mode. Even the recent Merdeka celebration was an election campaign,” she said.

Commenting on the Merdeka celebrations, Ambiga expressed disappointment that both political blocs could not set aside their differences for one day.

The Bersih leader also pointed out that the government’s Merdeka campaign appeared to be centred around the prime minister.

“It’s a case of adoration for the PM… Where is his team? And I am also saying this with regard to Section 114A of the Evidence Act,” she said.

On Aug 14, Najib had twitted that he was instructing the Cabinet to review the controversial amendment of Section 114A following protests on the social media network.

However, Najib’s announcement was met by contradictory statements by the Cabinet defending the provision.

The new law imposed a presumption of guilt on Internet users and service providers for Internet abuses such as slander, hate speech and seditious comments posted through their network.

Vote out the incompetent

Meanwhile, Ambiga also called on voters to be selective about the candidates fielded by both BN and Pakatan.

She said that candidates who were known to be racist, incompetent and sexist must be rejected.

“A large percentage of parliamentarians don’t deserve to be there, they say inane things and are only there to heckle. These candidates should be voted out,” she added.

Ambiga also warned that BN and Pakatan were underestimating the power of women in terms of voters and candidates in the next polls.

“This comes from a historical patriarchal thought process and this must change. How dare you treat women as if they don’t matter,” she said.

She argued that when political parties comprised of Youth and Women’s wings, it gave the impression that these two were subservient or inferior and therefore this framework must be reviewed.

Weighing in on the attack against a bus used by Pakatan for its nationwide campaign, Ambiga said that political violence had reared its ugly head once again.

“If our leaders do not condemn it, then they are condoning these acts. It is hard to trust a government which does not contain political violence and in fact is seen as encouraging it.

“The credibility of the police force is also questionable as clearly, they are not acting to protect the public,” she added.

Pakatan ready for polls… but will it be fair?’

Pakatan is confident of taking over Putrajaya if polls are held in November, but expresses doubt that the short notice is enough to clean up the 'dirty election roll'.

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat is ready for a possible November general election, opposition leaders said today, but added that they were not prepared to face a “dirty election roll” which could hamper their win.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had emphasised heavily on his favourite number 11 in a speech in Sandakan – an indication that he may call for a general election as early as November, The Star reported.

“Six times 11 equals 66, five times 11 equals 55 and 2 times 11 equals 22. The 11 factor appears in all, it is unique and good,” Najib was quoted as saying, in reference to Umno’s age, Malaysia’s 55th National Day and Sabah Umno’s age.

PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar said that Pakatan had been long prepared to take on Barisan Nasional in the general election, but it was unlikely that the Election Commission (EC) would be able to clean the electoral roll by November.

“We have been prepared since the beginning. The only thing we are not prepared for is the dirty electoral roll. We are not ready for that,” he told FMT when asked to comment on the November polls speculation.

“We just want clean and fair management of the elections. Is the EC ready? There are many issues they must handle such as phantom voters, immigrants given citizenship, etc, ” he said.

He was referring to the influx of immigrants in Sabah who are said to be given blue identity MyKad in return for a vote for the ruling government.

Although the government had recently announced it would set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into the issue, it has yet to officially appoint the commissioners.

“Is the EC capable of solving all this by November?” Mahfuz said, his voice tinged with scepticism.

FMT has attempted to contact the EC for comments, but was unable to obtain a response.

Multiple hints

Meanwhile, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar also confirmed that Pakatan was prepared to take on BN at whatever time, including November, as they were forced to rely on the prime minister to decide on the dates.

“As the opposition in Malaysia, subservient to PM [with regard to] general election dates, we have little choice except to be very ready,” the Lembah Pantai MP said in an e-mail to FMT.

Najib has consistently delayed calls for an election that must be held before BN’s mandate expires in April next year. The November polls “hint” is merely one among many that have been spotted by political analysts and various sources throughout this year.

“We’ve been taking the multiple hints seriously to date. Looking to the escalation of violence and the prime minister’s penchant for using malicious allegations this Merdeka, it seems that a November election might be a real possibility,” Nurul said.

She was referring to Najib’s accusation that Pakatan was masterminding a plan to change the national flag after several individuals were spotted waving flags with altered designs during last Thursday’s Independence Day countdown in Dataran Merdeka.

But despite Najib’s finger-pointing, Nurul said she was very confident in the wisdom of the rakyat “predicated upon free and fair elections, devoid of political violence and scare-mongering tactics”.

Pakatan’s shadow cabinet


When asked whether Pakatan would be revealing its shadow cabinet soon in response to the speculation of looming polls, Nurul was coy.

“We will make sure the work of our shadow committees is presented to the public,” she said.

“Lest we forget, Pakatan’s commitment is towards a lean cabinet – and our prime minister will not simultaneously hold other portfolios – such as finance and women’s ministry – which have hit a snag in recent times,” she said, in an apparent jab towards Najib.

Najib, aside from being the prime minister as well as the finance minister, had taken over the position of Women, Family and Community Minister in April this year after its former minister Shahrizat Jalil had stepped down following the National Feedlot Corporation scandal.

Nurul also said that the public can be prepared for a host of other policy pronouncements from Pakatan prior to the election, adding that Pakatan was currently working towards a joint manifesto.

‘Why is Najib afraid?’

Meanwhile, Mahfuz poured scorn on Najib’s evasiveness in announcing a set date for the polls, pointing out that Pakatan had been prepared “since dawn” to take on BN.

“Najib should be brave enough to announce when the election will be held. If he doesn’t want to announce the exact date, then at least disclose the month and year so that society can prepare for it.

“Why must he be afraid? Why must he play the speculation game? Is he trying to test the market?” Mahfuz asked sarcastically.

“If he has no bravery, then he must learn.”

He said that the opposition pact had grown weary of the waiting game which Najb was apparently keen to play, and that PAS no longer wished to rely on mere speculation.

“We just want Najib to announce when Parliament will be dissolved. There have been so many speculations, yet none of them have amounted to anything,” said Mahfuz.

Prime minister must explain why DBKL refused cultural decorations to mark a sacred and pious event?

Senator S.Ramakrishnan ,

Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) organized a conference to launch temple worship guidelines on 1/9/2012 at the institute latihan DBKL Hall, Cheras. The conference was attended by about 800 delegates from all over the country with PM’s representative honouring the event.

The hall was rented for RM4600 and an additional RM300 paid for DBKL staff manning the hall for the event. One day before the conference the organizers were told that they cannot put up any cultural decorations at the venue. The grand conference was held in DBKL hall without any pomp and fare. All appeals were not entertained by DBKL officials.

It is a grand event to be celebrated to mark the launch of temple worship guidelines and the gathering of guest and speakers. MHS wanted to decorate the hall with kolam which are decorative designs done on the floor with colourful rice flour. Besides they wanted to tie banana trees and decorative coconut leafs.

They also wanted to put up a banner at the entrance to inform the delegates of the venue. But DBKL refused to allow these simple cultural decorations. It’s an insult and disrespectful act of DBKL to refuse such simple decorations to mark a grand event officiated by PM’s representative.

This refusal of DBKL one day before the event has made a mockery of PM’s 1Malaysia concept.

Why is DBKL afraid to allow such simple cultural decorations? DBKL is a public body that serves all Malaysians therefore why did DBKL abstinent the Malaysia Hindu Sangam from putting up this biodegradable and easily disposal cultural decorations.

If it is a rule not to allow any decorations by any user of the hall then that should have been made known at the time of hall booking and not one day before the event?

This act of DBKL shows how they look down on cultural practices of Indian Malaysians. This event was sanctioned by PM who has agreed to send a ministerial representative Datuk Seri Dr S.Subramaniam to represent him.

Yet DBKL has reservations and prejudiced and refused to allow any cultural elements attached to the event. DBKL must explain why they refused to allow cultural decorations. They have short changed the organizers by not being truthful from the beginning.


PM Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak must investigate why an event officiated by his representative was marred by DBKL’s stupid act which hurts the feeling of delegates. In his speech, Datuk Seri S.Subramaniam agreed to financially support the launch of temple worship guidelines program.

If DBKL can’t even allow simple cultural decorations to mark a grand event, what fore is this financial pledge?

Is it to buy votes? The delegates who were mostly temple committee members from all over the country were hurt and upset by this refusal act of DBKL. Constitutional freedom to worship and practice the cultures were violated by DBKL.

PM Datuk Seri Najib owe explain to all concerned citizens as to why DBKL acted insensitively and with total disregard to the feelings of one group of Malaysians?

Replacing national flag: chasing after fantasy demons?


Two apparently well-meaning youths displayed a flag that looked similar but different from the national flag as a token to commemorate unsung heroes of independence at an independence eve rally, and lo and behold, the entire top leadership of Umno jumped instantly into a frenzy of wild accusations against the opposition without any proof.

By Kim Quek

As tension continues to mount ahead of the imminent general election, almost the entire top heirarchy of the incumbent Barisan Nasional government appears to have gone bonkers.

Two apparently well-meaning youths displayed a flag that looked similar but different from the national flag as a token to commemorate unsung heroes of independence at an independence eve rally, and lo and behold, the entire top leadership of Umno jumped instantly into a frenzy of wild accusations against the opposition without any proof.

Prime Minister Najib Razak accused the opposition of wanting to replace the national flag, and warned of many more undesirable changes including the institution of royalty, should the opposition alliance come to power.

Minister of International Trade and Industry Mustapa Mohamed warned of a plot to amend the constitution and to turn the current constitutional monarchy into a republic.

Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Noh Omar said that in wanting to replace the national flag, the opposition has lost direction, and shown signs of power crazy even before they are in power.

Minister of Home Affairs Hishamuddin Hussein said he would act decisively against the “perpetrators of the provocative act”, adding that the police have started investigation, and the attorney general will prosecute upon obtaining sufficient evidence.

Many other Umno ministers also launched similar attacks against the opposition simultaneously, including Rural and Regional Development Minister Shafie Apdal and Youth and Sports Minister Shabery Cheek.

Meanwhile, the police announced in its face book page that it was launching a man-hunt on the offenders who “tried to change the national flag”, saying that such act “violates the federal constitution and the democratic process”, which is a breach of the Sedition Act.

ACCUSATION DEBUNKED

Amidst this furor, two youths promptly appeared on the scene to debunk the story of changing flag.

Blogger Serigala Selatan, a student, claimed in his blog posting that he and a friend Zairi Shafai were the duo who showed the flag in question, known as Sang Saka Malaya. It was a flag used by pre-independence nationalists during their struggle to gain independence for then Malaya. As the story of their struggles has been erased from the official history, they wanted to remind the country of the existence of these forgotten heroes by displaying the Sang Saka Malaya on this commemorative occasion.

Serigala said they have not the slightest intention to replace the national flag (known as Jalur Gemilang) with Sang Saka Malaya, from which the Jalur Gemilang has evolved.

Meanwhile, top leaders of Pakatan Rakyat instantly and flatly denied that they ever conceived the idea of changing the national flag.

HILARIOUS BUT SERIOUS MISCONDUCT

Judging from the ferocity and intensity with which so many Umno ministers jumpted to the attacks, one would have imagined that the opposition must have been caught red handed in the act of committing the highest treason against the country, but alas, the truth turns out to be simply that these senior Umno leaders have been acting like a bunch of hyper-imaginative kids chasing after some fantasy demons, as there is neither a shred of evidence nor any credibility whatsoever to their accusations.

As DAP leader Lim Kit Siang succinctly put it, “the change of national flag is never a Pakatan Rakyat agenda and has never been discussed or raised in any Pakatan meeting”.

In fact, the entire episode is so bizarre and funny that it would have made a hilarious Hollywood comedy, if not for the serious implications it carries for the nation.

Here we are not talking about some naughty politicians politicking, but the entire top hierarchy of the Malaysian government making unfounded accusations that are grave and obviously far-fetched.

Such weird conduct by the ruling clique suggests that they are either dim-witted or dangerously deceitful, or perhaps both.

Whatever case it is, it means our country is in terribly bad hands.

Needless to say, this is another serious setback for BN along its bumbling road to defend a political power that looks more precarious by the day.