Share |

Friday, September 7, 2012

PKR to meet Hindraf chairman P Waythamoorthy

tian.jpgI refer to the recent invitation by Hindraf Chairman P.Waythamoorthy to Keadilan leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to discuss the socio-economic problems faced by the Indian community.

Keadilan welcomes the efforts of NGOs and other types of organizations which work to improve the well-being of communities which face serious problems and have been left behind in consequence of neglect and indifference by the BN government.

Tian assigned for prelim discussion

In this context, we are supportive of Hindraf's efforts to improve the situation of marginalised sections of the Indian community.

As laid out in Buku Jingga and our Common Policy Framework, Keadilan and Pakatan Rakyat is committed to addressing the needs of all communities irrespective of their race. This commitment has been made a reality in states held by Pakatan Rakyat after March 2008.

In this regard, we have nominated a Vice President of Keadilan and MP, Sdr Tian Chua to meet with Mr.Waythamoorthy to engage in the discussion requested by Hindraf.

SAIFUDDIN NASUTION ISMAIL is the Secretary General of Parti Keadilan Rakyat

Police chief: Handcuffed girl got it 'very mild' - Malaysiakini

Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohmad Salleh has defended his men for handcuffing a 19-year-old girl who surrendered herself yesterday.

Speaking to reporters today, Mohmad said the the matter was considered "light" and that proper procedures were followed.

"Handcuffing someone is an arrest procedure... I think (in her case) it was very mild. If we follow (the procedures strictly), she would be cuffed behind her back.

NONE"So during an arrest, the handcuff is not an issue. In any arrest, the suspect must be handcuffed.

"This is prescribed by law. It is not wrong for us to use handcuffs when apprehending a (suspect)," he said.

Mohmad was responding to questions from reporters at a function in Kuala Lumpur, at which he was shown a news clipping depicting the girl in handcuffs.

The girl, Ong Sing Yee, 19, is accused of violating the Sedition Act 1948 at Dataran Merdeka on the eve of Merdeka Day by stepping on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's photograph.
Asked about the use of the law, which is soon to be abolished and replaced with the Harmony Act, Mohmad said the law has yet to be repealed.
"This means that the Act is still in force. Thus we have the right (to use it)," he said.
Mahmod said his men are still pursuing eight out of 11 people wanted over several incidents in connection with the incident.
He added that 238 police reports were lodged over the incident.

Maria Chin: Soalan polis 'tidak relevan'

Burma: Buddhist Monks Demand Expulsion of Muslims From Country!

How bad do you have to be to provoke rage in a Buddhist monk? Pretty bad! I don't usually cover events outside of Europe on this blog but I thought this item was worth highlighting given its relevance to our situation. It shows, to anyone who still doubts it, that Islam really is uniquely problematical. Antipathy to Islam is not the expression of some generalised "xenophobia". Islam is genuinely different. It also shows that more and more people are coming to realise that there really is no solution to the problems Muslims present except confining them to territories of their own and quarantining them from the rest of the human race. In practice, that means expelling Muslims from the non-Muslim territories they're already in. Whoever has moral inhibitions about this - and that includes quite a few people in the Counterjihad movement - needs to overcome them.

After leading some of the largest demonstrations against Burma’s former military junta in 2007, hundreds of Buddhist monks have once again taken to the streets in protest. Yet instead of marching to demand greater freedoms, they are demonstrating in support of President Thein Sein’s recent proposal to either deport members of the country’s minority Rohingya Muslim community, or send them to camps.

The demonstration follows months of unrest in the country’s western Rakhine state between the region’s ethnic Buddhist communities and the Rohingya. Violence first broke out in June, after a Buddhist woman was raped and then killed, allegedly by Muslims. Outraged by the crime, a local mob attacked a bus, beating 10 Muslims to death in the process. Since then, Rakhine state has been plagued by periodic clashes between the two groups, which have left at least 90 people dead, according to an official estimate. Human rights group fear, however, that the death toll could be much higher.

In response to the mounting violence in Rakhine state, Burma’s government launched an investigation into the violence in the region. While Thein Sein in part blamed Buddhist monks and other ethnic Rakhine figures for inciting hatred against the Rohingya in a parliamentary report last month, he also echoed past comments, in which he said that the minority group was not welcome within Burma’s borders, and that the only “solution” was to either deport or send them to camps.

Sign reads: "Protect mother Myanmar by supporting the president".

Rallying behind the president’s plan, hundreds of Buddhists and other demonstrators gathered in Mandalay on September 2, holding up signs that read “Protect mother Myanmar by supporting the president”.

According to the UN, there are an estimated 800,000 Rohingya Muslims currently living in Burma. Many in the country refer to them as “Bengalis”, because they speak a regional dialect of Bengali. The Rohingya, however, are stateless. Claiming centuries of lineage in Rakhine state, Rohinhya activists have long petitioned for Burmese citizenship, to no avail. This means they have little access to education or health care and face travel restrictions.
U Wirathu

“It’s a question of justice”

U Wirathu led the anti-Rohingya protests in Mandalay on Sunday, September 2.

We decided to hold the protest for three reasons. First off, we wanted the world to know that the Rohingya are not among the 135 different ethnic groups that are recognised in Burma. We also wanted to make sure everyone knew that we, as Burmese people, do not condone their acts of violence. Lastly, we wanted to highlight the importance of border security, by pointing out the fact that there have been some on the western border [which runs along Bangladesh] in the past who were not concerned with Rakhine’s security and did their job carelessly.

We have lived peacefully among different religions and ethnicities for years. But we now have these illegal Bengali immigrants demanding to be recognised as a native ethnic group and asking to be granted citizenship. We want people to know the truth, that the Rohingya are not Burmese and that they are not a peaceful group. If they lived quietly, we would allow them to stay regardless of the fact they entered the country illegally.

It’s not that we want all immigrants, illegal or not, to leave Burma. There are a lot of illegal Chinese immigrants here too, but the difference is that they just go about their own business. They’re not trying to swallow native tribes and colonise the country, or destroy our religion.
[Burma’s entire Muslim population makes up 4 percent of the population.]

Hindu gang rape survivor warns of suicide

The married woman was allegedly gang-raped by influential men of the Allah Rakhio Mahar village.DESIGN: JAHANZAIB HAQUE

KHAIRPUR: Fed up with the injustice, a Hindu rape survivor has warned she will commit suicide by setting herself on fire outside the Supreme Court building.

The married woman was allegedly gang-raped by influential men of the Allah Rakhio Mahar village. The family went to the police, who refused to register the case against the suspects.

When they filed a complaint in a Khaipur court, the Bheels were beaten and forced to flee their homes.

Talking to the press outside the sessions court building on Monday, the woman said that police were not taking action against the culprits as they supported the criminals. “I lost my honour and shelter as well, but the law isn’t coming to help me,” she complained. “I fear they will kill my husband and other family members.” The woman said that the elders were trying to pressure the family into talks with her rapists. “I’ll even go to the Supreme Court for justice and will commit self-immolation if the culprits are not arrested,” she warned.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2012.

Dr M predicts a sterner Najib after BN polls win

Najib’s resolve will come with a strong mandate, said Dr Mahathir. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad moved today to defend Datuk Seri Najib Razak against critics of the latter’s perceived weak leadership, pointing out that the premier could not take a hardline stance yet as he had inherited a very fractured Barisan Nastional (BN) from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Dr Mahathir explained that Najib’s main duty today was to strengthen BN to ensure he leads the ruling coalition to a thumping victory in the coming polls.

This, he said, was likely the reason why the present government often appeared to pander to the wishes of civil society groups and activists, even appearing weak at times when harsher decisions are required.

“When the government is strong, only then he (Najib) can be firmer. Firmer in his actions.

“Now, he is not as firm because he inherited a weak government,” Dr Mahathir told a tea-time session with the Lembah Pantai Retirees Club here this evening.

He was earlier asked to explain the government and its agencies’ apparent failure to act more harshly against those who insulted the country’s sovereignty or threatened national security.

It was pointed out several times during a question-and-answer session at the event that it was only in recent years that defiant Malaysians dared to commit acts like trampling on the pictures of the country’s prime minister and raising a different flag instead of the Jalur Gemilang during Merdeka day.

Both incidents occurred last week.

The country’s longest-serving prime minister, who ruled from 1981 to 2003, blamed himself for the “weak leadership” that Najib had inherited when the latter was appointed prime minister in 2009.

Dr Mahathir pointed out that it was his fault that Abdullah had taken on the role of prime minister after he stepped down in 2003.

“Actually this is my fault. I am not good at choosing my own replacement. And because I made a mistake, I tried to topple the person I chose. When I failed, I left Umno.

“But thank goodness, when the leadership changed, I returned to Umno and now I am in support of Najib to restore unity in Umno, restore BN so that we can form a stronger government,” he said.

Dr Mahathir pointed out that during his 22-year tenure, no individual had dared to trample on his picture as prime minister.

This, he said, was because BN and the government had been stronger then than it is today.

“But I hope that after the 13th general election, we will form a very strong government and this will not happen again,” he said.

Dr Mahathir agreed to a question from the floor that the recently-repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) should be restored, but added that he supported Najib’s reasons to remove the controversial law from the country’s statute books.

Janji Bersih: Pak Samad tampil sebagai saksi

Sasterawan Negara itu dan Pengerusi bersama Bersih Datuk S Ambiga hadir kira-kira 2.30 petang tadi dan disoal selama hampir dua jam.

KUALA LUMPUR: Sasterawan Negara Datuk A Samad Said hadir di Ibu Pejabat Polis Daerah (IPD) Dang Wangi di sini hari ini selepas diarah memberi keterangan tentang perhimpunan Janji Bersih di Dataran Merdeka pada malam 30 Ogos lalu.

Samad, lebih mesra dipanggil Pak Samad dan Pengerusi bersama Bersih Datuk S Ambiga hadir kira-kira 2.30 petang tadi dan disoal selama hampir dua jam.

Turut hadir untuk memberi keterangan ialah Ahli Jawatankuasa Pemandu Bersih Maria Chin Abdullah.

Pak Samad diwakili peguam Datuk S Ambiga dan Shahrizan Johan manakala Maria Chin diwakili Latheefa Koya.

Pak Samad ketika ditemui pemberita berkata, sepanjang soal siasat isu mengenai bacaan puisi ‘Janji Demokrasi’ pada malam tersebut langsung tidak dibangkitkan polis selain daripada soalan rutin.

“Saya memilih untuk tidak menjawab semua soalan kecuali informasi tentang diri saya saja…tidak ditanyakan langsung tentang puisi,” katanya diluar balai selepas selesai memberi keterangan.

Kesilapan polis

Sementara itu, Maria Chin berkata notis arahan hadir memberi keterangan diletakkan dibawah Seksyen 9(5) Akta Perhimpunan Aman 2012 tetapi berlaku kesilapan kerana Pak Samad bukan penganjur.

“Polis kemudiannya tarik balik dan keterangan diberikan di bawah Seksyen 112 Kanun Keseksaan sebagai saksi,” katanya.

Seperti Pak Samad, Maria Chin berkata dirinya juga memilih untuk berdiam diri dan tidak menjawab kesemua 24 soalan yang dikemukakan.

Peguam Latheefa pula berkata kesemua mereka dipanggil berdasarkan aduan daripada Ketua Polis Daerah (OCPD) Dang Wangi sendiri yang membuat laporan mengatakan tidak menerima sebarang notis berkenaan perhimpunan tersebut.

Katanya, laporan itu dibuat berdasarkan sidang media yang diadakan beberapa NGO ‘Janji Bersih’ di Dewan Perhimpunan Cina Kuala Lumpur-Selangor (KLSCAH) pada 24 Ogos lalu.

“Kita tak dapat melihat apa wajarnya untuk panggil Maria dan Pak Samad semata-mata sedangkan mereka sendiri ada jawapannya kerana ia sudah disiarkan dalam berita dan video.

Selain Pak Samad dan Maria Chin, aktivis Bersih Hishamuddin Rais dan Stanley Yong turut diarah memberi keterangan bagi membantu siasatan.

Pemimpin Pakatan

Manakala pemimpin Pakatan iaitu Timbalan Presiden PAS Mohamad Sabu @ Mat Sabu dan Naib Presiden PKR Tian Chua turut diarahkan hadir dan kesemua mereka akan memberikan keterangan dalam masa terdekat.

Mat Sabu berkata beliau akan hadir di IPD Dang Wangi Ahad depan selepas solat Zuhur untuk memberi keterangan.

Polis setakat ini berjaya menahan tiga daripada 11 individu yang dikesan terlibat dalam insiden perhimpunan tersebut selepas gambar mereka disiarkan oleh media sejak tiga hari lalu.

Seorang daripadanya ialah bekas pelajar kolej berusia 19 tahun yang menunjukkan punggungnya kepada gambar Perdana Menteri.

Manakala seorang pelajar kolej dan seorang model sambilan, masing-masing berusia 19 tahun, berasal dari Melaka dan Johor atas perbuatan memijak gambar pemimpin.

Polis sebelum ini mengumumkan pembentukan tiga pasukan khas untuk menyiasat tindakan peserta perhimpunan itu yang membawa bendera ‘baharu’ Malaysia, memijak gambar pemimpin dan menunjuk punggung di khalayak ramai berdasarkan Akta Hasutan, Akta

Perhimpunan Aman dan Seksyen 290, 504 dan 509 Kanun Keseksaan.

Don’t be a mere postman, Finance Ministry told

Bestino investors say Ahmad Husni lacks the political will to help them get their money back.

KUALA LUMPUR: Disgruntled investors in a scandal-ridden scheme run by the Bestino Group today asked the Finance Ministry to summon the political will to take concrete steps to help them get their money back.

They accused Finance Minister II Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah of doing nothing more than act as a messenger for Bestino’s managing director, Chong Yuk Ming.

“He should use his political will and ministerial power to resolve our problems,” said K Kunasekaran, who coordinates the activities of the Bestino Investors Action Committee.

He told a press conference that Ahmad Husni’s office had simply forwarded to the action committee a letter that Chong wrote to the ministry on Aug 28, saying he was unable to meet his own Aug 31 deadline to provide proof that funds were available for Bestino to return the investors’ money.

He sought an extension of the deadline to the end of September “or a later date”.

“Don’t be a postman,” Kunasekaran said. “Resolve the problem instead of being a messenger for the Bestino Group director.”

Kunasekaran’s committee submitted a memorandum on the matter to the ministry this morning.

Bestino started a gold investment scheme in 2006 and collected funds amounting to RM411 million from 6,764 investors.

In 2009, Bank Negara and the Securities Commission raided the company’s offices on suspicion that it was engaged in illegal deposit-taking operations.

Bank Negara confiscated funds amounting to RM24.2 million for use as evidence.

According to Kunasekaran, Chong has told the ministry that Bestino had managed to gather 80% of the proof of funds.

The investors are unhappy with the ministry for not forcing the company to reveal such proof, especially since Chong had also admitted that he was in possession of gold bars.

“Why is the government still silent on this matter? They can sell the gold bars and return the money to investors,” said Kunasekaran.

Investors’ rally

He also took Bank Negara to task for keeping the confiscated RM24.2 million instead of returning the money to investors.

Four Bestino directors were charged in February last year over 322 financial offences. They were released on bail and the case is yet to be heard in court.

The Bestino Investors Action Committee is organising a gathering for all the investors this Sunday at the Buntong multipurpose hall to decide on their next course of action.

Kunasekaran said he would ensure that the plight of the investors would be used as an issue against Barisan Nasional during the 13th general election campaign if the problem were to remain unresolved.

Presiden MIUP buat laporan polis kes pijak gambar Najib

Datuk S Nallakaruppan berkata, Perdana Menteri boleh bertukar ganti, kerajaan boleh bertukar tetapi bendera dan negara tidak boleh ditukar.

KUALA LUMPUR: Presiden Parti Bersatu India Malaysia (MIUP) Datuk S Nallakaruppan membuat laporan polis di Ibu Pejabat Polis (IPD) Dang Wangi di sini terhadap kejadian memijak bendera Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak pada malam sambutan ambang Merdeka, Khamis lalu.

Beliau membuat laporan tersebut kira-kira jam 12 tengah hari tadi diiringi Nazmi Rosli dari NGO Tolak Insan Bernama Anwar Ibrahim (Tibai) serta Perkasa dan Pertubuhan Kebajian dan Aman India Baru Malaysia.

Bercakap kepada wartawan, Nalla berkata, perbuatan memijak gambar Perdana Menteri tidak boleh diterima.

“Perdana Menteri boleh bertukar ganti, kerajaan boleh bertukar tetapi bendera dan negara tidak boleh ditukar.

“Ini negara majoriti Melayu, orang Cina dan India ada sikit saja. Kalau orang Melayu nak tukar, orang Cina dan India tak boleh buat apa.

“Tetapi ini negara Malaysia, kita kena pertahankan. Kita telah merdeka 55 tahun tidak ada perancangan hendak tukar bendera,” katanya.

Polis telah menahan beberapa individu termasuk seorang pelajar kolej swasta bagi membantu siasatan insiden memijak gambar pemimpin negara pada malam sambutan ambang Merdeka.

Hindraf awaiting Najib’s, Anwar’s response

By Dr Paraman VS 

CPI foreward Hindraf analyst Dr V.S. Paraman writes CPI an update on the activities of the rights movement and the fresh strategies put in play since the return of their exiled chairman P. Waytha Moorthy.

The return home of Hindraf chairman P. Waytha Moorthy from exile has taken many by surprise. To clear the air against allegation that Waytha’s exile had been self-imposed, his accusers should be made aware of a statement by Malaysian High Commissioner in Singapore, Mohd Hussin Nayan, on July 31, 2012 that Waytha’s passport had indeed been revoked by the Malaysian government in 2008.

It is fortunate that the British government accorded political asylum to Waytha, lending further credence to the Hindraf plight.

The Hindraf chairman had used his time abroad to further the Hindraf cause and through his untiring efforts, Hindraf received international recognition.

Hindraf was given space to make presentations to the British Parliament, American Congress, European Parliament and United Nations as well as to U.S. State Department, U.S. Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Human Rights Caucus, and noted international NGOs Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

In recognition of his efforts in raising serious human rights violations by the Malaysian government on her citizens, the ‘Human Rights Conference of India Diaspora in Different Parts of the World’ awarded him the ‘Global Human Rights Defender of India Diaspora’ award this year.

Waytha’s project in London

During his exile in London, Waytha sifted through more than 500,000 declassified documents from the British archives on the Reid Commission as well as documents pertaining to independence to Malaya.

He then handpicked almost 40,000 precious documents that will serve Hindraf well in the class action suit fikled by Hindraf against the British government. For this, Hindraf engaged the services of solicitor Imran Khan who has a reputation for unflinching commitment to fighting injustice and acclaimed for his in the human rights arena.

Waytha Moorthy successfully filed the British civil suit on the July 2, 2012 and thereafter returned home to Malaysia.

Don’t mistake Hindraf for spent force

Since his return, Hindraf has held dozens of roadshows and public forums across west Malaysia. From Johor, Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Selangor, Perak, Penang and Kedah, these gatherings have attracted large crowds, packing indoor halls with enthusiastic Malaysian Indians.

Their Shah Alam forum attracted 1,500 people and a recent Seremban meet brought together almost 1,400 Malaysian Indians.

Hindraf has no choice but to go to the ground as they are well aware that their message is not going to be carried by the mainstream media which is biased towards Barisan Nasional. And neither is it going to get any favours from the online media that is heavily tilted towards Pakatan Rakyat.

Within the space of a week of Waytha’s return, the nationwide roadshows managed to register the contact details, such as email addresses and handphone numbers, of Indian supporters on the Hindraf roll.

Currently more than 20,000 have registered and Hindraf has now raised the bar to collect 100,000 registrations so that these supporters can spread by word of mouth the Hindraf message further. Looking at the large turnouts, the general public should realise that like it or not, Hindraf is very much alive within the heart of every Malaysian Indian in this country.

Hindraf to be change agent

Throughout these nationwide tours, the Malaysian Indians have been giving a resounding ‘Yes’ for Hindraf to be given the mandate to speak on their behalf to voice their critical issues to the Malaysian authorities.

The message is loud and clear. Malaysian Indians want comprehensive changes and not just cosmetic changes to their critical issues. Armed with this mandate, Hindraf have the moral right to speak on behalf of the marginalized Malaysian Indians.

It is for this reason that Hindraf has chosen the path to be apolitical and to engage with all state governments as well as the federal government to provide comprehensive solutions on the Indian problems of marginalization.

In fact, Hindraf’s vision is to be a primary comprehensive change agent in leading Malaysia towards the creation of a society based on equality, justice and freedom. Hindraf’s mission is to create an empowered civil society movement that strives to bring all the marginalized segments of Malaysian society into the mainstream of national development, with particular focus on Indians.

Hindraf intends to contribute positively to changing the social values in Malaysian society so that institutionalized racism and religious supremacist policies are dismantled and may be completely eliminated.

Hindraf believes the British civil suit will be the foundation stone to bring about comprehensive changes in Malaysia the way how Apartheid in South Africa was dismantled.

Respecting the Indian voter

Recently the Hindraf chairman had issued a letter to call upon both Najib Razak the Prime Minister of Malaysia as well as Anwar Ibrahim, the Prime Minister-in-waiting, to meet up separately, so as to discuss approaches on permanently addressing the socio-economic problems of the marginalized Indian community.

Hindraf believes that all past and current approaches fall well below the power curve needed to resolve the problem permanently. A proper definition of the problem is something which has eluded the policymakers and problem solvers to date.

First and foremost a prerequisite political will need to be demonstrated, followed by working out the details and modalities for the solution after the problems are defined.

Considering that it has become very clear that Hindraf enjoys the support of the vast majority of the Indians in Malaysia, how much respect Najib and Anwar have towards the Indians remains to be seen in how these leaders are going to respond to this Hindraf initiative.

Their response, or lack thereof, will allow the Indian community to see how genuine the two leaders of the coalitions are.

If it needs be reminded, the Indians are the third largest voting bloc by race in Malaysia and have collectively around a one million ballots to cast.

From the 2010 population census, Indians who are 21 years and above (voting age) comprise 8.59% of Johor’s population, 10.89% of Kedah’s, 15.55% of Negri Sembilan’s, 12.69% of Perak’s, 10.45% of Penang’s, 13.92% of Selangor’s and 10.55% in the Federal Territories. These states hold a total of 126 Parliamentary seats and 311 state assembly seats. The predatory elites as always will attempt to shade this pertinent fact.

Acid test for Najib and Anwar

For Najib, he must realize that BN’s support is dwindling by the day. Even the Malays are slowly ditching their traditional support towards Umno.

For Anwar, he must realize that PR remains the underdog. Moreover PR, as they themselves allege, will be facing unfair tactics like postal voters, tainted electoral rolls, phamtom voters, abuse of government machinery, money politics and a biased EC itself, to say the least.

It can even be imagined that some of PR’s selected candidates may not turn up on nomination day.

Therefore for both parties, every vote counts and every race has to be accorded equal respect.

Malaysia's UMNO Goes After A Critic

Gabrial and Bourdon: Under fire
Gabrial and Bourdon: Under fire
(Asia Sentinel) Never mind 150 million euros in bribes, a dead woman and a global scandal, go for the whistle-blower's throat
In November of 2009, Suaram, the Kuala Lumpur-based human rights NGO, asked a French investigative law firm to look into what appeared to be huge bribes and kickbacks paid to Malaysian politicians by the French state-owned defense company DCN and its subsidiaries for the 2002 purchase of two submarines and the lease of a third.

The story was complicated by the sensational 2006 death of a Mongolian translator and party girl, Altantuya Shaariibuu, who was shot by two of then-Defense Minister Najib Tun Razak’s bodyguards and her body was blown up with military explosives. While the bodyguards were convicted of her for-hire killing, the court appeared to have actively suppressed any mention of who allegedly paid the two to kill her, raising Suaram’s concerns that there would be no justice delivered.

In the intervening three years, Suaram’s request to the law firm, headed by the Paris-based William Bourdon, resulted in a probe that exposed nearly 150 million euros in questionable funds paid to a close friend of then-defense minister Najib Tun Razak, now Malaysia’s prime minister.

Eventually, when a Paris-based investigating magistrate began to examine the evidence, the court turned up voluminous memos, emails and other documents from a raid on DCN’s offices indicating that massive bribes had been paid with the full knowledge of Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, Mahathir Mohamad, then the prime minister of Malaysia, and Najib, who had negotiated the purchase. The evidence detailed a host of other sleazy dealings.

Some 133 documents listing the alleged criminal dealings were obtained independently by Asia Sentinel and posted here on June 25 on the Internet. Although the documents are in French, those who do not speak the language can get them onto their computer screens and click on Google Translate. While the grammar is somewhat primitive, their meaning is very clear. Those who do not want to bother may read two stories that Asia Sentinel published on the subject on 25 June. They can be found here and here.

The publication of the documents kicked off a storm in France and Malaysia. But what the publication of the French documents or the investigation did not do was spur any probe of the purported criminal activities in Malaysia.

What it did do, however, was to precipitate an unprecedented attack by a wide range of pro-government bloggers, ruling coalition politicians and others on the reputation and integrity of Suaram, and by extension against Asia Sentinel for printing the documents.

Suaram, an acronym for Suara Rakyat Malaysia, or Voice of the Malaysian People, was born in the wake of the infamous 1987 Operation Lalang ordered by Mahathir to use the Internal Security Act to jail 108 opposition members, union officials, activists and others. Suaram was created to work for the abolishment of the ISA and to protect the rights of those who had been jailed and others like them. Suaram insists that it is a nonpartisan organization although its leaders do include many opposition members including Kua Kia Soong, a former Democratic Action Party member of parliament who was detained for more than a year under the ISA, Syed Husin Ali, currently deputy president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Anwar’s party, and many others.

Cynthia Gabriel, the Suaram director, has particularly borne the brunt of the attacks. “If you ask me, they are spinning, just spinning, blackening our name, attempting to cause disrepute so that the public will lose trust in us,” Gabriel said in an interview.

In particular, she said, her organization has been falsely accused of money laundering and terrorism by a lawyer for the ruling United Malays National Organization.

In addition, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the domestic trade, cooperatives and consumerism minister and a prominent member of the United Malays National Organization, also called the reform organization’s accounts were “highly suspicious” and demanded an investigation. Accordingly, Suaram has become a target for Malaysia’s Companies Commission, the Social Security Administration, UMNO, the Inland Revenue, the controversial Malay supremacy organization Perkasa, and the UMNO-owned newspapers Utusan Malaysia and the New Straits Times, Gabriel said.

In July the companies commission attempted to raid Suaram’s offices – without a valid warrant -- despite the fact that the NGO had already agreed to produce all the documents required for the commission’s investigation.

Suaram reaffirmed its intent to cooperate with the authorities for documents although the companies commission has neither asked for the documents or notified the organization it was under investigation.

That was followed by the Social Security Administration’s demand on Aug. 3 to produce a list of documents by Aug. 30 although the officer in charge was “clueless to our presence even after being shown the letter sent to us which was signed off by none other than himself,” Suaram said in a press release signed by Nalini Elumalai, the organization’s executive director.

One blog, “the Unspinners,” accused Suaram of being an agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency, presumably to overthrow the country, and of “foreign subversion” despite the fact that Malaysia is one of the US’s staunchest allies in the region and US soldiers train on its soil.

The popular blog Rocky’s Bru, written by Ahirudin bin Attan, a former editor of a variety of UMNO-owned publications, spent days on the question of why Suaram and Asia Sentinel were publishing the documents. A flock of other blogs have asked the some questions. The Unspinners demanded that “Don't bullshit about the submarine case. Suaram have no proof and their facts are all wrong! They are slanderous.”

Unfortunately what none of the bloggers, officials government bureaucrats or newspapers have been able to refute is the 133 documents themselves that were presented by French police to the French investigating magistrate. They were not created by Suaram’s lawyers or Suaram or Asia Sentinel. The bulk of them came from DCN’s files and they dealt with Malaysian contacts. They were presented to the court on April 7,2010 by investigators from the anti-organized crime unit of the French Directorate of Judicial Police, not Suaram, not Suaram’s lawyers and not by Asia Sentinel.

Taken together, they reveal allegations of attempted blackmail, bribery, influence peddling, misuse of corporate assets and concealment, among other allegations, both in France and Malaysia. They tie Altantuya Shaariibuu to the case despite numerous protestations by the critics that she had never visited France or had anything to do with it.

The documents indicate that DCN and its subsidiaries steered the money to two companies controlled by Prime Minister Najib’s best friend, Abdul Razak Baginda, in contravention of the OECD convention of bribery by routing the money through companies controlled by Jean-Marie Boivin, the former DCN finance director, who stepped out of the defense contractor to in effect become the thin wall of insulation between DCN and the Malaysian officials who got the money.

As much as UMNO and the UMNO cronies would like to discredit Suaram, the one thing they can’t discredit is those documents. But they can certainly be expected to keep trying.

(John Berthelsen is the editor of the Asia Sentinel)

Kejadian Serangan Oleh Perkasa Di Masjid (Termasuk Kejadian Didalam Masjid)

A different Merdeka this year - Malaysiakini

COMMENT Malaysians celebrated 55 years of independence on Aug 31. Most did so the usual Malaysian way - with family and friends, along with good food and great friendship.

Despite high levels of political anxiety, angst and uncertainty, there is much to celebrate. Malaysia is a great country, with a proud history and warm wonderful people.

I celebrated the event in Ipoh, where Perakians showed me the fine hospitality of good cheer and company. It is clearly evident that Malaysia's finest assets are its people.

Najib and Muhyiddin at a rally to celebrate country's 55th Independence Day in Bukit Jalil StadiumThis year's Merdeka was markedly different, however. The event became highly politicised, as both sides of the political divide used the occasion to woo supporters. The use of government resources for logos, songs and political slogans and politicking during the official celebration with Umno-like political speeches does not reflect well on the governing coalition.

The sagas around the preparation for Merdeka raised serious questions of credibility. Rather than embrace all Malaysians, the mode was one of "by invitation only" which at its core violated the spirit of marking independence.

There was a deficit of statesmanship. This highlights one of the most serious issues Umno is facing nationally - that it is seen to serve only the chosen few rather than the broader community.

At the same time, the yellow-shirt civil society's ‘Janji Demokrasi' (Promise of Democracy) gathering mirrored the polarising politics now present in the country, with a show of continued resilience among the Bersih movement in its campaign for a cleaner electoral system.

While the intention to bring together Malaysians was more evident - and the festival spirit of the event telling - the tactics adopted by a few to denigrate others by stomping on pictures and flying alternative flags - even if from questionable sources - allowed the government to undermine the event's overall impact.

Prouder to be Malaysians

The temptation to use this event in the increasingly high-stakes politics was just too attractive to resist. The reason is simple - Malaysians are deeply proud of their country - and politicians wanted to exploit this.

Despite all the political noise, the angry comments on websites, the negative attacks and underlying concerns, the love of Malaysia has been growing.
Survey results from two different periods (2006 and 2011) as part of the region-wide cross-national Asia Barometer Survey show that Malaysians are overwhelming committed to their country; they are proud to be citizens and believe in being always loyal, as shown in the table.
Recent data shows that 97 percent of Malaysians are proud to be Malaysians - this says something. It is among the highest in the region. The trend among all ethnic groups is towards stronger national identity, with markedly more people identifying themselves as "Malaysians".

While there are ethnic differences - understandably tied to feelings of exclusion and concerns about equality - these pale in comparison to the overall trend towards a stronger Malaysian nationalism.

The data also shows that fewer Malaysians are willing to live abroad, with a sizeable drop over the last five years. The temptation for better economic opportunities remains present, however, highlighting concerns about opportunities and quality livelihoods.

That said, more Malaysians across races are simultaneously identifying themselves as "Malaysian". In the Malay community, the "Muslim" and "Malay" markers persist, but the shifts among the other communities is marked and telling.

Noteworthy, a majority of Malays prioritise the Malaysian identity. This places a challenge on any leader who does not see himself as Malaysian first, even among the Malay community. Malaysian nationalism is alive and well, and growing stronger.

Stronger embrace of democracy

The interesting question is why? Some would point to PM Najib Razak's 1Malaysia concept. Despite its constant misuse for partisan campaigning and market branding, the idea in a nutshell involves a sense of place for everyone in Malaysia.

This dream - like Malaysia's push for a common Vision 2020 for all - gives people a sense of belonging and hope. But few in the survey pointed to 1Malaysia directly as a success.

Another more substantiated part of the story comes from the greater gains made for non-Malays in Parliament and a greater sense of inclusion in the governing process of many opposition governments, whether in Selangor, Penang, (briefly in) Perak or Kedah, to name a few.

NONEThe overall findings of the data show a stronger embrace of democracy and high support for more inclusive representation. This sense of all communities having a place at the table - from Sabah and Sarawak to the different ethnic groups - is a true test of the leaders' ability to represent them nationally.

The struggle BN faces to be seen as multi-ethnic are real with Umno's overwhelming dominance and weakening non-Malay representation, as are the challenges Pakatan Rakyat faces in assuring that all the voices are represented and accommodated.

The dynamic is not about representing one group, however, but the country - even at the expense of politics and especially at the expense of personal interest.

The coalition and leaders that are seen to be doing this best - to be inclusive of all Malaysians with the promise of hope and belonging and seen to put the country as a whole first - have the advantage electorally.

Part of this is putting aside politics and genuinely celebrating each other. For at their core, Malaysians are Malaysians - and proud to be so.

DR BRIDGET WELSH is associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University and she can be reached at

Abdul Gani: Rape offenders must be severely punished to reflect gravity of crime

The Star

PETALING JAYA: Rape cases require deterrent sentencing to reflect the abhorrence and revulsion of the public towards such crimes.

In a statement by the Attorney-General's Chambers, its chief Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said rape offenders must be severely punished to prevent others from committing such crimes against women and children.

There had been uproar from the public after former national youth squad bowler Noor Afizal Azizan and electrician Chuah Guan Jiu were bound over by the courts for five years and three years respectively, on a RM25,000 good behaviour bond, after being found guilty of statutory rape.

“This aberration of justice for those who most need the protection of the law must be rectified,” said Abdul Gani in the statement.

Both Noor Afizal and Chuah were 19 and 21 respectively when they committed the offences on girls who were then aged 13 and 12.

In the two cases, the judges took into consideration the future of both youths and noted that the sex acts were consensual.

Abdul Gani said in determining the appropriate punishment, especially for statutory rape cases, among the major factors to be considered by all parties involved were public interest and the seriousness of the offence committed.

Section 294 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows courts the discretion to bind the offender on a good behaviour bond if he is a first-time offender and the offence had been committed under extenuating circumstances.

Extenuating circumstances are acts surrounding the commission of a crime that work to mitigate or lessen it.

In relation to this, the A-G's Chambers said offences under Section 376 of the Penal Code, especially those which involve child victims, which increase the seriousness of the offence, were not considered “extenuating circumstances”.

“In principle, an adult, or a person above the age of 18, especially a person known and trusted by the child victim, should not take advantage of a child as the child has not reached maturity.

“Even if it is said (alleged) that there was consent from the child victim for a sexual act, this consent must be questioned, due to the age and immaturity of the party which is said to have given its consent,” said the statement.

The A-G's Chambers added it had on Aug 29 filed an appeal against the decision made by the Penang Sessions Court for Chuah's case.

As for the Appeal Court's decision on Noor Afizal, Abdul Gani said it may propose the use of the court's inherent power to review its decision.

In the statement, he said the number of rape cases involving victims below the ages of 18 and 12 had decreased over the years, and attributed this to the heavy penalties introduced by Parliament in 2007.

Based on the statistics from the Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department, there were 281 rape cases involving children below 13 years and 1,767 cases involving victims aged between 13 and 15 in 2009.

The number dropped to 202 cases involving children under 12 years and 1,450 cases involving victims aged between 13 and 15 in 2011.

“As of July this year, 859 cases of statutory rape have been reported. Of the cases, 109 involved children under 12 and 750 cases involved victims aged between 13 and 15,” said Abdul Gani.

Police: Full Report On janji Demokrasi Rally To Atterney-General Tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 (Bernama) -- Police will send the full investigation report on the actions of the "Janji Demokrasi" gathering participants on the eve of Merdeka Day last Thursday to the Attorney-General's Chambers tomorrow.

Kuala Lumpur CID (Legal) deputy chief, ACP Aziz Zakaria said the full report would cover the actions of the rally participants who brought the "Sang Saka Malaya" flag, and trampled and mooned the pictures of the prime minister and his wife.

"The full report will be sent for further action by the Attorney-General's Chambers," he told reporters, here, Thursday.

Meanwhile, Aziz said three more organisers of the rally would be summoned shortly after two main organisers gave their statements today.

He said the three organisers were PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, Parti Keadilan Rakyat vice-president Tian Chua and Hishamuddin Md Rais to assist in completing the investigation.

Old Penang: Madras Lane

Tunglang recalls what life was like in Madras Lane in the 1960s and 70s:

Madras Lane was once a quaint part of inner city George Town. Famed for its copra mill (that’s how it is called Yew Kar Lor, Hokkien for Copra Mill Lane), you would find a row of prewar houses, two sundry shops, a swiftlet rendezvous, a dentist’s residence, Chin Kang Hoay Kuan (a Chinese association), the Hu Yew Seah Chinese Primary School, a Methodist church, the Telekom office, civil servants’ quarters and a short-cut to a Jewish cemetery (at Jalan Zainal Abidin).

Hu Yew Seah was once a BM tuition centre (at the new wing on the right) popular among the students of the 1970s. Come Saturdays, one could see streams of students turning up for tuition classes from morning till late afternoon. Add to that the sounds of the St John’s marching bands almost without fail, Madras Lane seemed a lively place on Saturdays.

It was also the lane famous for its 1960s Hokkien Mee where Tunglang had a hand in the secret recipe of an ori-maestro. My childhood home of No. 96 Madras Lane is no longer there, replaced by an office building. But I could still sense its spirit of open-door neighbourliness whenever I walked by to reminiscence about the good old days.

If you have stayed in innercity George Town, you won’t want to skip the street hawker food topic.

Here in Madras Lane, one would always be pampered with street food from morning till night. During the 1960s and 70s, unless you were Ah Peks (with free time), blue collar workers or Gua Lang (visitors), you seldom ate at the kopitiam. So hawkers had to do the bicycle rounds and make calls or deliver food to the homes.

On the street, you could hear “Meee Yop” (for Hokkien Mee), Tok,Tok,Tok (bamboo sound for Wan Tan Mee), “Teeee-Nya Kuiiiih” (for Yellow Rice Cakes with Palm Sugar Syrup), “Kooo-ehh, Kooo-ehh” (for Nyonya Kuih and Asam Laksa), “Meee-Oh, Meee-Oh” (Mee Goreng) and “Kuih Ko-dorrrk” (for Deep Fried Banana Balls).

Sometimes when we felt like fooling around, we would ‘echo’ these hawkers’ call while hiding behind windows much to our delight!

Some of these heavenly cuisines were eagerly consumed on the five-foot ways. My brother-in-law’s heavenly Hokkien Mee was served to customers in the front hall. The Tham Chiak Kuis of Madras Lane needed not be persuaded with flyers (non-existent); the timely hawkers’ calls (to satiate nature’s hunger?) and word of mouth were more than enough.

The home delivery service was better than today’s Pizza Hut – usually five to ten minutes’ wait. I had the experience of balancing five bowls of Hokkien Mee topped up with hot ‘hae’ soup on a 12-inch-by-12-inch plywood board while cycling with one hand to deliver them. And mind you, my bicycle handles were quite oily from handling bowls spilt with red chili oil. “Meeee Yop”.

Despite its unassuming demeanour, Madras Lane was also known for back-street gangsters known for their occasional fights with others from neighbouring streets. Those were the days when Chow Yun-Fat was no where near The Bund yet, when Bruce Lee was already kopitiam talk in inner city George Town.

To this day, Madras Lane, notwithstanding its transformation to more commercialised use, retains much of its quaint ambience compared to neighboring dizzy Lorong Selamat, Lorong Abu Siti, Lorong Kinta and Lorong Macalister.