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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Kurukshetra War Of The 21st Century

Sri Aurobindo, Pakistan, Kargil, Chinese, Vedic India, British, French, Protestants Catholics, Vietnam, Arundhadi Roy, Nehru's refusal

There is nothing wrong about war”, once said Sri Aurobindo. And it is true that throughout the ages, war has been an essential part of man’s life on this planet and there have been very few periods in modern history which have not seen strife. The French fought three bloody wars against the Germans in the last 125 years, India has battled five wars in 55 years, four against Pakistan, if you count Kargil, and one against the Chinese.

Of course the horrors of war, the devastation it creates, have been documented enough so that there is no need to delve upon them. In the olden times, it was accepted as a fact of life and very few people protested. Actually, of all the nations in the world, India is the one who handled best the business of war, as Sri Aurobindo points out: “Vedic India allowed for men's inclination to war, but made sure that it never went beyond a certain stage, for only professional armies fought and the majority of the population remained untouched”. Indeed, at no time in ancient India, were there great fratricidal wars, like those between the British and the French, or even the Protestants and the Catholics within France itself.

But today, as there is a new awareness of the value of life, both human, animal and vegetal, man often recoils from the terrors of conflicts and its consequences on the human being and its environment. Naturally also, humanity aspires to a more harmonious life, where not only will it not be necessary to kill each other to survive, but also where all human beings would love and respect each other, regardless of their colour, religion and nationality. Thus, particularly in the United States during the Vietnam war, there manifested amongst the youth this longing for “no war, but peace”, as symbolized by the famous photo of a young American girl sticking a flower in the barrel of the gun of a national Guard. This antiwar pressure was so great that it took out the wind of the Unites States to fight this bloody conflict in a faraway country. and ultimately it surrendered meekly Vietnam to the Vietcongs. Since then, although there is no more such antiwar movement in the United States, American soldiers seem to have lost their valour and now their wars are fought from the safety of supersonic planes and very rarely on the ground. And as soon as a few American, or French, or English soldiers are killed, the will to fight goes, because of intense media and public pressure on Governments. This is why hijackers and kidnappers have such a field day now: they kill one or two people and whole governments surrender, as seen during the hijack of the Kathmandu-Delhi flight in December 1999. It takes Israelis soldiers to keep on fighting with their own public, press and government behind them, when suicide after suicide bombers kill scores of innocent people every month.

In India too, there has risen a strong, coherent antiwar lobby. Intellectuals such as Arundhadi Roy have brilliantly pleaded for a peaceful and restrained India, powerful but benevolent, who learns not to retaliate, to be merciful and generous towards her smaller neighbours. The spectre of a nuclear war has of course come as a strong argument for the antiwar lobby in India and we have seen in the last two weeks how both foreign correspondents and Indian magazines have used the available data on the horrendous consequences of a nuclear war to put pressure on the Government to back out from a conflict with Pakistan.

At any rate, Indian Governments have not been exceptionally bold militarily. Two factors appear to have inhibited the Indian courage to face adversity when faced with threats: the first is Buddhism, which made out of non-violence a rigid creed; and the second is the Mahatma Gandhi’s equally unbending theorem of non-violence, which may have precipitated India’s partition. And this is why maybe, under the guise of non-violence and peace, so many Indian intellectuals and politicians have shied away from war since independence, witness Nehru’s refusal to heed warnings about China’s hostility, which triggered the humiliation of the Indian army in 1962.

But will there be a nuclear war? Musharraf, whatever his obsession about Kashmir, which is basically a revenge for the loss of Eastern Pakistan, now Bangladesh, thanks to India’s support, is an intelligent man: he knows that if he does manage to drop one nuclear bomb on Delhi or Bombay, there will no more Pakistan worth the name, as all major Pakistani cities will be wiped off the face of the earth. Islam, who has made of the use of violence a near religious practice, understands the language of violence: see how it kept quiet when America showed its muscle after the 11th September attack, or when the Allies invaded Iraq. Thus Musharaff is doing a nuclear blackmail on the world… which is unfortunately working, as so many nations have evacuated their nationals and so much pressure is brought upon (successfully?) on India by the US and the EC.

If there is a war between Pakistan and India, whatever the politicians say, it will be a war between two brothers, for except for their religion, everything unite Indians and Pakistanis: their colour, ethnic origin, food habits, language... In fact, some Indian Muslim soldiers might have to shoot on some Pakistani cousins, or uncles. Will they pull the trigger when their commander says so? Will not their conscience tell them that it is wrong to shoot on one’s brothers? Does not that remind you of something? Did not Arjuna face the same dilemma five thousand years ago in Kurukshetra? Did he not throw his bow on the ground and tell Krishna: “no I will not fight, because war is such a horrible thing and I refuse to kill my bothers”.

But what does Krishna tell him: “not only you are not killing the soul, but merely the material body; but also sometimes, when all other means have failed and it is necessary to protect one’s borders, wives, children and culture, war can become dharma. And that brings in the final question: is a war against Pakistan justified? Would it be dharma? Well you have to decide for yourself: for nearly twenty years Pakistan has waged a proxy war against India in Punjab, in Kashmir and now more and more in the North-East; it has killed thousands of innocent people, raped women dismembered children, mutilated Indian soldiers in the most horrible manner... Several Indian Prime Ministers have made one-sided attempts at peace, without getting reciprocity from Islamabad.

Indeed, a war between Pakistan and India might be the Kurukshestra of the 21st century, the ultimate war which will set right fifteen hundred years of Islamic terror and both redeem the Hindus’ karma of cowardice, as well as the Muslims’ karma of bloodshed. This war, if it ever happens, will also pave the way for the reunification of India and Pakistan, by force or by natural means. For the two brothers can fight for a time, but ultimately they have to embrace each other anew, as they are basically one, beyond time and body, as Krishna once told Arjuna.

Pakistani parliamentarians discover a ‘Pakistan’ – in India

A village named Pakistan on the Bihar-Bengal border surprises visiting lawmakers.

ISLAMABAD:  On a friendly visit to India, parliamentarians from this side of the border discovered another Pakistan.

Tucked away between the border of Bihar and Bengal, Pakistan is a remote village that has survived 65 years of bitter relations that have dominated South Asian history.

It was in the hope that their Muslim friends, who fled during the partition to then-East Pakistan, will return one day that Sikhs and Hindus named their village Pakistan. Finding ‘Pakistan’ in the Indian state of Bihar overwhelmed the parliamentarians.

“If people of a remote village can hope their old friends will return home one day … why can’t we as nations think of peace as the driving force behind our relations?” said Senator Haji Adeel Ahmed, one of the parliamentary delegates from the Awami National Party (ANP).

He added that a people-to-people contact improve ties between India and Pakistan.

“Don’t leave everything on the state and its agency. They have their own self-centred agenda. Let people take the lead and their collective wisdom will guide to the ultimate good,” he said.

Furthermore, the parliamentarians proclaimed that they were ‘pleasantly surprised’ to see how a majority of Indians supported peace between nuclear-armed neighbours.

Even though certain factions on both sides of the border have tried to break down ties between the two nation states, the people of the village still hold on to the hope of seeing their friends.

“This reflects the true feelings of public on both sides. While certain groups have been trying to ignite the flames of hatred here and there, these innocent villagers kept their hopes alive,” said Ahmed.

The villagers say they have sent a message of peace and harmony in naming their village Pakistan.

Even though their migrated friends never returned, the villagers still haven’t given up. Today, their third generation still remembers the occupants of the pre-partition houses which are now in ruins.

Likewise, diplomats remain hopeful. ‘Good things’ are in the pipeline, said one of the top Pakistani diplomats who is aware of the process between the regional giants.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Bengal as Bangladesh. The error is regretted.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2012.

Jihadis Threaten to Burn U.S. Embassy in Cairo

Jihadi groups in Egypt, including Islamic Jihad, the Sunni Group, and Al Gamaa Al Islamiyya have issued a statement threatening to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to the ground. According to El Fagr, they are calling for the immediate release of the Islamic jihadis who are imprisonment and in detention centers in the U.S. including Guantanamo Bay: “The group, which consists of many members from al-Qaeda, called [especially] for the quick release of the jihadi [mujahid] sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman, whom they described as a scholar and jihadi who sacrificed his life for the Egyptian Umma, who was ignored by the Mubarak regime, and Morsi is refusing to intervene on his behalf and release him, despite promising that he would. The Islamic Group has threatened to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo with those in it, and taking hostage those who remain [alive], unless the Blind Sheikh is immediately released.”

DPM’s education policies ‘pushing nation backwards’, PAGE warns

Azimah said Muhyiddin’s refusal to budge on PPSMI appeared to be a matter of pride. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 ― The deputy prime minister’s education policies are causing the nation to regress in terms of knowledge acquisition and fostering unity, said the Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) today on the eve of the unveiling of the new National Education Masterplan.

This comes after Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also education minister, said in an interview published by an English daily yesterday that the government was against bringing back the teaching of mathematics and science in English (PPSMI) as well as English medium schools, as these would appear that it was backtracking and flip-flopping

Today, PAGE chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said that the by abolishing the teaching of mathematics and science in English, Muhyiddin was preventing many Malaysian children from acquiring knowledge in a language they are most comfortable with ― a concept that UNESCO advocates.

“It appears that the DPM is more afraid that his ministry is seen as flip-flopping on the policy than its impact on our children and their future,” said Azimah.

She added that the repercussions of not giving children the option to learn science and mathematics in English ― the lingua franca of the two subjects ― could be severe, including a continued decline in the interest in science.

“The government under the prime minister wants to bring the nation forward through 1 Malaysia, science, technology and innovation, but the policies of the deputy prime minister, specifically the abolition of PPSMI, are pushing the nation backwards in the acquisition of knowledge and in enhancing racial integration which is crucial for our continued success,” said Azimah.

Muhyiddin said in an interview in the New Straits Times yesterday that English medium schools have been dropped for almost 50 years and the country should not backtrack now.

He also said PPSMI had been more about the language rather than technical knowledge and the government was taking steps to beef up the teaching of English.

Language in education is often contested on political rather than academic grounds in Malaysia, with both Malay and Mandarin advocate groups in the past threatening backlashes at the polls if their language demands were not met.

Malaysia currently offers public education in three languages ― Malay, Mandarin and Tamil ― while English language education remains the preserve of those wealthy enough to send their children to private schools.

The tendency for only the rich to be able to afford English language education has many industry observers concerned that it will widen the social divide between the elite and the masses.

Malaysia converted its English language medium schools to Malay medium schools in the 1970’s but reintroduced English as a medium of instruction for mathematics and science in 2003. This was again overturned in 2009 in what many perceived to be an effort to placate both Malay and Mandarin hardline groups.

The education masterplan will be launched by the prime minister tomorrow and will be available for public feedback for a period of three months starting tomorrow.

‘I was blindfolded, handcuffed, beaten’

A security manager claims the nightmare started when he lodged a report with the police about a burglary.

KUALA LUMPUR: When Tesco security manager S Selvaraja lodged a police report last week over a robbery at the store’s Taman Wahyu Selayang branch, little did he know that the act would leave him maimed at the hands of the police.

According to Selvaraja, after he made the report and provided the police with CCTV footage of the robbery, the police promptly remanded him and several others to aid in their investigations – and that was when the nightmare began.

“The police took me to their Kepong station, along with two other of my staff.

“They blindfolded me and handcuffed me from behind, then started beating my legs and feet with a black rubber cable for 40 to 50 minutes,” he told reporters here.

Meanwhile, he said, his colleague P Nuniandy was shoved under a table, while the other, Nanda Kumar, was forced into a corner to prevent the two from witnessing the beatings.

“They beat me, they used vulgar words on me… Now I cannot walk without help,” Selvaraja said, indicating his visibly swollen feet, while his wife sobbed silently behind him.

According to Selvaraja, once the beatings ended, he was brought to the Jinjang police lock-up, where he was refused food and medical treatment for the rest of the day.

But he said the ordeal finally ended the following day, after he was brought before the magistrate’s court to have his remand extended.

“At that point, I was unable to stand anymore. So I spoke straight to the judge and asked, ‘What is happening? Why do they need me? Why are they beating me?’” Selvaraja said.

“The judge said it was because of a separate robbery case in Batu Caves that the police were investigating.

“But I was in custody at the time of the second robbery; the remand was not granted.”

He said he was immediately brought to a hospital for treatment, and he later lodged a police report over the incident.

“The hospital says the tissue is torn, and it will take a very long time to heal,” he said, adding that for the time being, he has been granted medical leave as he is unable to walk unaided.

He is also expected to identify the perpetrators later this evening – an almost impossible task as he was reportedly blindfolded throughout the ordeal.

‘Why so brutal?’

Meanwhile, DAP’s A Sivanesan, who was representing Selvaraja, lashed out at the police for their alleged brutality and disregard for standard operating procedures (SOP).

“We go to the police for protection, but they turn around and attack us. We expect them to investigate, but they make us the culprit,” the Sungkai state assemblyman said.

“They talk about SOP, but do those police involved even know what the SOP is?”

“They should have placed Selvaraja in the lock-up, instead of taking him to their office and bashing him.”

Sivanesan said that they would also be lodging a report with the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) over the incident, and were currently mulling filing a suit against the police.

“The policemen are trained, yet why are they so brutal? This man cannot even walk and stand properly anymore as his soles are badly injured,” he said.

DAP publicity chief Ton Pua, who was also present, said this case was proof that an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) was urgently needed.

“The police force must be monitored by the IPCMC to ensure such police brutality does not go unchecked,” he said.

“Without such an independent institution set-up, the police are a law unto themselves,” he said.

Anonymous letter warns Najib of Indian ‘gang threat’

An 'Umno member' warns the prime minister of the rise of Indian gangs in the country which may cause another Hindraf-like political tsunami if not addressed urgently.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has apparently been warned of an alleged threat of gangsterism among the Indian community which would, if left unchecked, indirectly cause the Barisan Nasional government to lose votes in the next general election.

An anonymous letter purportedly written by a “concerned Umno member” and sent to Najib on April 20, urged the Umno president to treat the matter seriously or risk another “political tsunami” akin to 2008, which the Hindraf movement had contributed to.

In the letter, seen by FMT, the “Umno member from Selayang Baru” implicated the MIC and the police for being complicit in allowing “Gang 36″ to gain more influence and power.

The author claimed that on Dec 3, 2011, MIC organised a Deepavali event at The Mines, Sri Kembangan, where about 7,000 Indian youths who attended were made up of “almost 99%” of Gang 36 members.

Several prominent politicians from BN officiated at the event, with the author naming three of them in the letter. They included two members of parliaments and a minister.

Repeated attempts to contact the three national leaders for comments were unsuccessful.

“Close to 99% of the Indian youths who attended were from Gang 36. The behaviour, character and clothing of these youths were very embarrassing. Their actions not only taint the image of MIC but also BN,” wrote the “Umno member”.

The writer claimed that a number of these youths even wore the “Geng 36″ T-shirts and waved the “Gang 36″ flag openly. They were also displaying the Sanskrit Aum symbol(picture below) which is said to be used as the gang’s logo.

“That event gave a bad impression, especially the Indian community towards BN party. The event also clearly shows an attempt by Gang 36 to fortify its positions through politics.”

The writer also said the event has become the talk of the town among the Indian community, and defeated MIC’s attempt to portray a new image after their alleged “failure” under former MIC president S Samy Vellu.

The writer said that it was his opinion that the leader of the gang, who he claimed is involved in drug trafficking and other crimes, is trying to use politics to clear the gang’s criminal records and reign supreme in the country.

‘Conspiracy brewing’

“The attempt of Gang 36 to enter politics to fortify its position should be stopped so that the opposition does not use this issue to deny [BN] the votes of the Indians.

“Yang Amat Berhormat [prime minister], don’t treat this issue as merely an Indian one. Hindraf, which was considered a small matter, created such a big impact in 2008 and four states fell to the opposition’s hands.

“A conspiracy is brewing to accuse the government, particularly Umno, of ethnic cleansing of the Indian community by taking a lax attitude towards gangsterism in Malaysia. The police all over the country have been bribed in the millions by Gang 36.”

The letter claimed that the police – from police beats all the way to Bukit Aman – have given the gangsters the “green light” to carry out their drug trafficking activities by taking these bribes.

He alleged that the worse district was the Gombak police headquarters. “A lot of proof can be found if the Gombak police chief is investigated,” said the the writer.

No comment was forthcoming from Bukit Aman. However, Gombak district police chief Abdul Rahim Abdullah told FMT that these allegations were “nonsense”.

“I’m not going to comment at length since I’ve personally been implicated here. My CPO [Selangor police chief] or IGP [Inspector-General of Police] perhaps should comment and tell us if they would form a special investigation against my district. I am open to that.”

“I deny these ludicrous allegations. And if you were to ask me if the police gave gangsters the ‘green light’, then perhaps I will show you the cases where we have nabbed these gangsters. If we were to allow gangs such as 08 or 36 to do as they please, then I don’t think we can sleep soundly.

“These gangs are present in other districts, too, and we are monitoring their activities. Whenever we find any involvement, and if we have direct evidence, we will pull them in and try to charge them,” he said.

Tamil national daily suspends its GM

Makkal Osai daily general manager M Periasamy has been suspended from all duties.

PETALING JAYA: Tamil daily Makkal Osai has suspended its general manager M Periasamy with immediate effect and for an indefinite period.

Periasamy is also a general manager of Eden Value Sdn Bhd, the company under which the Tamil daily is registered.

His suspension is allegedly linked to an argument he had with a company director on Sept 2 which was deemed as being against the interest of the company and the Tamil daily.

The suspension letter dated Sept 5 was signed by Eden Value managing director, S Sunther.

The letter also barred Periasamy from entering the premises of the Tamil daily in Batu Complex, Kuala Lumpur.

Periasamy, however, will continue receiving his salary during the period of his suspension.

According to a source aligned to Periasamy, Makkal Osai director A Rajakumaran had a heated argument with Periasamy on Sept 2 after the former dismissed a staff without the knowledge of the latter.

Rajakumaran then lodged a police report alleging Periasamy had assaulted him.

Periasamy countered by lodging a police report against Rajakumaran.

The source said the argument between Perisamy and Rajakumaran was a result of Eden Value directors’ (including Rajakumaran’s) interference into the daily operations of Makkal Osai.

This, the source said, had been visible since the newspaper owner, former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam, became ill last year.

Banks in cahoots with crooks?

A consumer group says 99% of banks are guilty and threatens to file class action suits.

PETALING JAYA: A consumer group today accused local banks of failing to protect their clients’ rights through negligence and unethical practices.

Alleging that 99% of banks were guilty, the Consumer Association of Subang and Shah Alam (CASSA) told FMT that it would be filing class action suits against them, but did not say when.

CASSA president Jacob George said the complaints his organisation had received covered more than 400 cases of various breaches of duty to bank clients. He added that these complaints had become more frequent in recent days.

He alleged that these breaches were the result of an “unfortunate symbiotic relationship” between banks and “predators”. He also attacked Bank Negara for its alleged failure to rein in the culprits.

“Banks are very protected, and Bank Negara has done nothing,” he said.

George’s comments followed a FMT report about mutton seller A Muthukrishnan, 44, who may soon lose his home in Selayang Baru after a group of licensed money lenders allegedly duped him into signing a set of documents.

Muthukrishnan is now disabled. He said he lost his thumb after being set upon by thugs hired by the money lenders. He also blamed Standard Chartered Bank, saying it had neglected to inform him that it was finalising the transfer of his house to the money lenders.

George’s comments today came five days after he held a press conference over the issue. On Sept 5, he highlighted the plight of Paul Murugesu, a 53-year-old businessman who bought a piece of land in Klang for RM11.5 million in 2010, but which his bank auctioned off two years later, allegedly without giving him a chance to settle his loan.

Major flaw

“In the case of Muthukrishnan,” George said, “it seems arrogant for the bank to imply that he was wrong in going to the media.

“This shows the true character of the banks. They just don’t want bad publicity. How then can an ordinary man raise his grouses?”

He said the bank in question owed a duty to its clients to stop third parties from manipulating the system.

“The bank owes Muthukrishnan a fiduciary duty to immediately inform him of a suspect or unusual behaviour of a third party, and not allow the man to lose his house without even giving him proper notice,” he said.

“It is a major flaw and the fault lies with the banks for thinking they have absolute powers over properties.”

“The banks’ first duty is to protect the interest of clients. Why did they communicate with outsiders? Even if there was power of attorney, wouldn’t you check with your client first?

“It’s the same with credit cards. Shouldn’t a bank call up the holder when a suspicious purchase is made?”
In making the threat of class action suits, George claimed to have information that unscrupulous parties were paying huge sums of money for insider information from banks.

“Banks are also working alongside racketeers, smugglers of drugs and tobacco, money lenders and loan sharks,” he said. “Are these people using banks to launder money?”

Police receive video of Anwar’s bodyguard allegedly pointing a gun

(Bernama) - Melaka police today received a video recording believed to be that of a bodyguard of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim threatening a member of the public with a gun.

It was surrendered to the Jasin Police Headquarters here at 6pm.

The four-minute video, belonging to a local cyber media officer, was recorded at a function organised by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in Kampung Baru Rim on Saturday.

The 29-year-old man, who was met at the IPD, said the recording was handed to police to help investigations related to the incident.

“This is because the action of pointing a gun at someone is a threat to the crowd at the scene of the incident,” he said.

Meanwhile, Melaka police chief Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye when contacted confirmed receiving the tape and said police would study the tape.

He said police might call the opposition leader to help in investigation on the case if necessary.

“Anwar was in the bus during the incident and it is not known if he had seen the incident. But it is up to the investigation officer to decide whether to call him or

Pakatan bars leaders from PSM function

(NST) - IPOH: THE Jelapang state constituency in Perak is set to drive a wedge between Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and fellow Pakatan Rakyat (PR) members with PR upping the ante by barring its leaders from attending functions organised by PSM.

Sources told the New Straits Times that Perak PR had, during a meeting on Friday, decided that its leaders would not attend a ceramah tomorrow which is organised by PSM at Taman Pertama. Pas deputy president Mohamad Sabu, better known as Mat Sabu, was to be the main speaker.

"Former Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin had been tasked to talk to Mat Sabu to persuade him not to attend the ceramah," said the source.

This is not the first time Perak DAP had tried to frustrate programmes organised by PSM.

Previously, state DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham had sent a blanket text message to all party representatives, barring them from attending a similar ceramah organised by PSM in Jelapang on July 13.

PSM and DAP are locked in a tussle over the Jelapang seat, which is being held by Barisan Nasional-friendly independent, Datuk Hee Yit Foong. PSM had previously said it would not back down from contesting in the constituency against Barisan Nasional.

PSM secretary-general S. Arutchelvan (photo above) labelled PR as childish for the move.

"I can assure you that the stand made by PR is not shared by its counterpart from other states, as we just jointly organised a Hari Raya open house at Kota Damansara."

Arutchelvan reminded DAP that negotiation for the Jelapang seat was still ongoing and nothing had finalised yet.

"Ngeh should not be jumping to conclusions," he added, warning DAP to stop antagonising PSM.

Perak PKR vice-chairman Chang Lih Kang declined to comment on the meeting, while Nizar and Ngeh could not be reached.

During the 2008 general election, Jelapang saw a three-cornered fight between BN, DAP and PSM.

PSM's national deputy chairman M. Saraswathy received 1,275 votes against BN's Loh Koi Pin (5,512 votes) and Hee, who won by a landslide of 12,219 votes.

Chamber to explain RM180mil aid facility for Indians

(The Star) - The Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) will go on a nationwide campaign to explain the Government's special allocation to the community.

Its president Datuk K.K. Eswaran said the campaign was necessary as some quarters had been trying to discredit the Government's genuine effort by calling it sandiwara (an act).

“I can assure everyone that the Government is committed to assisting Indians and there is no hidden agenda,” he said yesterday.

Eswaran had earlier chaired a meeting of the state chambers as well as representatives of the Indian trade associations.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had earlier announced an allocation of RM180mil for Indian entrepreneurs.

The Special Secretariat for Empowerment of Indian Entrepreneurs has been entrusted to assist the loan applicants to prepare a feasibility study as well as relevant documents to be submitted to the 16 banks selected.

Whistle-blowing NGO in Malaysia to be Charged

(Asia Sentinel) When the going gets tough, UMNO jails the whistleblowers
Suaram, the human rights NGO that hired French lawyers to investigate bribes and kickbacks surrounding Malaysia’s controversial purchase of French submarines, will be charged for violations of the country’s Companies Act sometime during the next two weeks, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Saturday, according to the state-owned Bernama news service.

Some 66 Malaysia-based NGOs are expected to give a press conference tomorrow at 11 am expressing their support for Suaram, an acronym for Suara Rakyat Malaysia, or Voice of the Malaysian People.

Suaram in 2009 asked a French investigative law firm headed by William Bourdon in 2009 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 probe resulted in a raid on DCN’s headquarters and other company offices 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. The documents indicated that the 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. Two Asia Sentinel stories detailed the allegations against French and Malaysian officials.

Suaram, accused of being “Anwar’s NGO” because of the presence of opposition members of its board of directors, has come under unprecedented attack by pro-government bloggers, party-owned newspaper and UMNO lawmakers who questioned its status as an NGO rather than a company and accused it of receiving foreign funds.

“Yes, they are going to try to charge us,” Suaram Director Cynthia Gabriel said in a telephone interview Sunday. We have no details yet, the first charge will probably be in a couple of days, we will see what happens.”

Gabriel said the first charge apparently involves allegations of money-laundering, although she said the NGO had voluntarily opened its books to investigators and that she felt there had been no wrongdoing.

Malaysia’s government-owned newspapers have blared headlines that Suaram received funds from the German government, and indicated that that the German ambassador would be called in and asked for an explanation.

The Chinese probably hold the record for jailing those who point out corruption, violation of environmental laws and other shortcomings. But Malaysia could be catching up. The Barisan Nasional has a considerable history of going after whistle-blowers who expose wrongdoing by government officials, and particularly of leaders of the United Malays National Organization.

The most recent were Rafizi Ramli, the strategy chief for the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat party, and Johan Mohamad, a former Public Bank clerk, for explosive details of an equally embarrassing scandal involving Malaysia’s National Feedlot Corporation, controlled by the husband of Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the head of the women’s wing of UMNO. Te scandal has more recently become known as Cowgate, in which it squandered millions of ringgit on personal trips, fancy cars, condominiums in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and largely failed in its mission to establish an operation to slaughter tens of thousands of cattle annually following Islamic religious practices.

Government officials raided Rafizi’s home in a predawn raid and charged him on Aug. 1 with violating the Banking and Financial Securities Act.

Rafizi also made public Treasury Ministry documents allegedly showing that a consortium headed by a close friend of Najib Tun Razak delivered the winning bid for a RM1 billion light rail expansion project, accusing Najib of interfering in the bid process to swing the contract to the engineering company.

Another whistleblower who had his career ruined because he dared to take on UMNO cronies was Ramli Yusuff, the director of Malaysia's Commercial Crime Investigation Department, who filed a report concerning the looting of MAS, the country’s flag airline.

"Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli was in control of MAS from 1994 to 2001. When he left MAS in 2001, MAS had accumulated losses in excess of RM8 billion (US$2.54 billion). Many projects were made under very suspicious circumstances," Ramli wrote in his report, indicating a wide range of abuses by Tajudin’s family, who were deeply involved in setting up shell companies to siphon off money from MAS ancillary operations.

But instead of preferring charges against Tajudin, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) went after the inspecting officer, Ramli Yusuff for allegedly not declaring his assets, for misusing a police airplane, and abusing his power as a police officer, all of which were convincingly refuted.

Ramli wasn't the only one to be hauled before the courts. His lawyer, Rosli Dahlan, who was also the lawyer for the airline itself, prepared Ramli's defense against the criminal charges only to be arrested on charges of collaborating with Ramli. At one point, on a pretext that Rosli had mishandled a letter from the MACC, police officers invaded Rosli's office, arrested and handcuffed him, then kept him in a cell overnight, refusing him medical treatment for injuries to his wrists from the handcuffs. They also refused his request to file a report against the arresting officers.

Rosli went to a court especially created to handle MACC cases, only to have the case fizzle out when a prosecutor announced that neither Rosli nor Ramli had been charged for corruption, having been summarily acquitted without having to put on a defense.

Probably the most egregious case occurred in 1995 when Lim Guan Eng, then a Melaka politician, was charged with sedition and jailed for 18 months for pointing out on the floor of Parliament that Rahim Tamby Cik*, then the Melaka chief minister, was involved in the statutory rape of a 15-year-old schoolgirl. The girl’s grandmother appealed to Lim for help after the family had no access to her for eight days. When the affair became known, the alleged rape victim was jailed as well. Lim, now the chief minister for the state of Penang, lost his MP status and was barred from standing in the next election.
*Corrected 10 Sept. 2012.  Asia Sentinel misnamed the chief minister of Melaka. We regret the error

Henti sabotaj Pembangkang, Anwar ajak Najib debat

(Oleh Masdar Wahid-Harakah)
KUALA LUMPUR 10 September: Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim sekali lagi mencabar Datuk Seri Najib Razak berdebat bersamanya dan mahu Perdana Menteri (PM) itu menghentikan sabotaj terhadap program Pakatan Rakyat.

“Najib tak payah suruh orang baling batu, kamu sendiri naik atas pentas, debat dengan saya. Kuasa kamu pegang, TV kamu pegang, tiap-tiap hari tengok muka kamu sahaja. Balik-balik Datuk Najib, Rosmah. Rosmah, Datuk Najib.

“Kita orang Islam kalau tidak setuju dengan seseorang, kita bahas dengan baik. Qur’an jelaskan cara dakwah yang betul ialah kalau nak beradu (tenaga), beradu dengan baik dan bukan dengan cara biadab, cerca, maki dan hina orang,” katanya.

Beliau berucap pada ceramah Merdeka Rakyat sempena Rumah Terbuka Aidilfitri KEADILAN Wangsa Maju di Tapak Pasar Malam, Taman Melati, semalam.

Ketua Umum KEADILAN itu turut kesal tindakan Umno dan media kawalannya yang memanipulasi isu pijak gambar.

Tindakan itu katanya tidak adil kerana Najib juga membisu apabila penyokongnya menunjukkan punggung kepada Pengerusi Bersih 2.0, Datuk S Ambiga.

“Tunjuk punggung ini bukan cara agama, bukan cara Melayu…Siapa yang buat, penyokong-penyokong Umno BN. Mengapa dia serang Ambiga, kerana yang tunjuk punggung ini sokong Najib.

“Ada Najib tegur, ada akhbar Umno tegur, ada polis ambil tindakan? Tiada…Adakah rakyat ada dua kelas apabila diperlakukan secara tidak adil,” soalnya.

Justeru, beliau menasihatkan Najib agar tidak sombong dengan kuasa yang ada kerana jawatan Perdana Menteri dan banduan boleh bertukar.

“Jangan guna kuasa cara takabbur. Siapa Tayeb Erdogan, dia kini PM Turki, di mana dia pada 2002 semasa pilihan raya Turki? Dia dalam penjara.

“Tiga tahun lalu, Dr (Mohamed) Morsi dalam penjara, dan Hosni Mubarak ialah Presiden Mesir. Kini, Dr Morsi ditakdirkan jadi Presiden Mesir, manakala Hosni Mubarak dipenjarakan selepas diguling rakyat yang muka dengan dasarnya yang zalim,” tegas Anwar.

Beliau turut memberi jaminan tidak memenjarakan Najib jika menjadi Perdana Menteri selepas Pilihan Raya Umum (PRU) akan datang.

“Saya tiada niat hantar pemimpin Umno dalam penjara dan kalau betul ada niat itu, tiada berkatnya kerana saya hanya berniat melantik Najib sebagai Ketua Pembangkang bagi Parlimen yang baru.

“Kalau dia tak mahu, saya boleh runding untuk lantik dia sebagai Duta Malaysia ke Mongolia,” katanya disambut gelak hadirin.

“Pasal apa gelak pula, rakyat Indonesia ramai tidak kenal Najib tahu. Kalau Pak Mahathir, Pak Anwar ya terkenal di Indonesia. Tapi kalau di Mongolia, semua orang kenal dia (Najib),” kata Anwar sinis.

Allow peaceful assemblies, says UN rep

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Civil servants should be allowed to participate in peaceful assemblies as it is part of their fundamental right to do so, a forum heard.

UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, Maina Kiai, said the international right to assemble was for everyone.

“Civil servants in Malaysia should be allowed to join protests and not get into trouble for it,” he said during the question and answer session at the public forum on the “Right to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association: International Standards and Good Practices” yesterday.

It was jointly organised by the Bar Council's committees on human rights, constitutional law and criminal law.

Corporate bodies, added Maina, also should not punish their employees who joined such assemblies.

Peaceful assemblies, he said, was a good thing for the government as it was one way to get to know the people's feeling and wants.

“If it is not allowed, we risk uncivilised forms of dialogue.”

Governments, he said, should facilitate assemblies instead of controlling them, adding that counter gatherings were encouraged but should not be held on the same day to avoid problems.

Kiai also said that non-governmental organisations should be allowed to receive foreign funding.

Five Die In Car-lorry Collision

SABAK BERNAM, Sept 11 (Bernama) -- Five people, including three from a family, were killed when a car and a lorry collided at Km70 of the Teluk Intan-Klang Road in Sekinchan, here, Monday.

The dead were car driver Yeap Chin Hing, 52, his son, Yeap Soon Keong, 19, his daughter, Yeap Chen Wee, 25, and their friends, Ling Siew Mooi, 26, and Ling Lee Min, 26.

Sabak Bernam police chief Supt Noor Mushar Mohamad said the incident took place at 2.30pm.

"The Honda City car driven by Chin Hing grazed a Honda CRV four-wheel drive before it went out of control and swerved into the opposite lane before colliding head-on with a three-tonne lorry," he said, here, Monday.

He said Chin Hing and three passengers of the Honda City died at the scene while Chen Wee died while receiving treatment at the Tanjong Karang Hospital, near here.

It was learnt that they were heading to the KL International Airport (KLIA), Sepang, to send Soon Keong, who was furthering his studies in Taiwan.

He said anyone who had information about the accident could contact Traffic Investigation Officer Inspector Muhamad Norizan Ramli at 03-32242222 extension 214 to help investigations.