Share |

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bekas peneroka ladang tuntut janji perumahan



Attempt to create communal riots during Ganesh Chathurthi ; FIR's against Zakir Naik 
Mumbai: A complaint has been lodged by office bearers of Shiv Sena, BJP, Ganesha Festival Mandals and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) with various Police Stations all over the State demanding that ‘when Ganesha Festival is being celebrated in peaceful atmosphere, Dr. Zakir Naik is trying to disturb Hindu-Muslim harmony by giving such challenge; therefore, case should be immediately filed against him’.

Mean while, following widespread protest by Hindus , especially through social networks - Zakir Naik removed the controversial post from his facebook page.

Moderate Muslims Of Calgary: "How to Make Your Wife Happy?" BEAT HER!

Reader WallyJ sent this in direct from The Muslims Of Calgary website, in a section entitled "How To Make Your Wife Happy?" moderate Muslims are encouraged to beat their wives...but only moderately.

Patience and Mildness

- Problems are expected in every marriage so this is normal. What is wrong is excessive responses and magnifying problems until a marital breakdown.
- Anger should be shown when she exceeds the boundaries of Allah SWT, by delaying prayers, backbiting, watching prohibited scenes on TV, etc..
- Forgive the mistakes she does to you.

Correcting her Mistakes

- First, implicit and explicit advice several times.
- Then by turning your back to her in bed (displaying your feelings). Note that this does not include leaving the bedroom to another room, leaving the house to another place, or not talking with her.
- The last solution is lightly hitting (when allowable) her. In this case, the husband should consider the following:
a) He should know that sunnah is to avoid beating as the Prophet PBUH never beat a woman or a servant.
b) He should do it only in extreme cases of disobedience, e.g. refusing intercourse without cause frequently, constantly not praying on time, leaving the house for long periods of time without permission nor refusing to tell him where she had been, etc..
c) It should not be done except after having turned from her bed and discussing the matter with her as mentioned in Qur`an .
d) He should not hit her hard injuring her, or hit her on her face or on sensitive parts of her body.
e) He should avoid shaming her such as by hitting her with a shoe, etc.

Violence stalks women workers in Afghanistan

Muzhgan Masoomi walks in her house in Kabul
Muzhgan Masoomi, 22, walks in her house in Kabul on August 28, 2012. (Photo: Omar Sobhani/Reuters)

But she said not a single person from her ministry came to help her, or gave encouragement after the attack

By Amie Ferris-Rotman

Muzhgan Masoomi’s attacker stabbed her 14 times with a thick blade used to slaughter animals, tearing wide gashes in her flesh before leaving the government worker for dead on the outskirts of the Afghan capital.

With a severe limp and no control over her bladder – caused by the blade scraping her spinal cord - the 22-year-old can no longer work at the Ministry of Public Works, where she was a financial assistant before the assault.

Women who pursue careers in ultra-conservative Afghanistan often face opposition in a society where often they are ostracised - or worse, brutalised - for mixing with men other than husbands or relatives.

Despite commitments to better the rights of women 11 years into the Nato-led war, some say the authorities need to do more to prevent violence against women who work, particularly in government roles.

There are now fears that as the 2014 deadline looms for most foreign troops to leave, opportunities for women in the public sphere could shrink as confidence weakens in the face of continuing violence.

“I have no enemies, no links to gangs, and look what has happened to me. The situation for women in this country is getting worse day by day,” Masoomi told Reuters in her brightly lit home, a few minutes’ walk from where she was stabbed.

Shaking her long black ponytail, Masoomi said of her assailant: “He didn’t like women working out of the house”. He threatened her with menacing phone calls and text messages in the months leading up to the attack. Her parents said the attacker, a relative who worked as a policeman, was now behind bars over the stabbing.

The security concerns of male government workers are taken more seriously than those of women, said Colonel Sayed Omar Saboor, deputy director for gender and human rights at the interior ministry.

“Women who work are much bigger targets than men and the government needs to acknowledge this,” Saboor said.

How well female government workers are protected was called into question in July when a suicide bomber targeted and killed Hanifa Safi, regional head of women’s affairs in eastern Laghman province.

Authorities ignored repeated requests for protection, her family said afterwards. Laghman officials declined to comment. “She was so worried about her future. The only time someone in the police even addressed the issue of her security was once the Taliban had killed her,” said her son, Mohammad Tabriz Safi, 30.

Officially the government must provide security – usually two bodyguards - for ministers, members of parliament and tribal elders, said Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi.

But women not in those senior roles, such as Safi or Masoomi, are in dire need of protection simply because of their gender, Saboor said. But Sediqqi said it would be “very difficult” for the police to provide security and guards for everyone who works in government. There area about 74,000 women out of 363,000 state employees.

Muzhgan has only recently gathered enough strength to talk about her ordeal, which happened in late March. With a degree in accounting and some English, Masoomi was a valuable asset to her ministry, where she worked on a UN-funded Afghanistan Peace and Reintegration Programme, bringing former Taliban fighters from the battlefield back into jobs.

But she said not a single person from her ministry came to help her, or gave encouragement after the attack. “They didn’t even come to see me. Financially, morally, I got nothing,” she said, adding that members of Nato’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) took her to the hospital.

If she does not soon go abroad for surgery, she may never be able to work again. The ministry’s deputy, Ahmad Farhad Waheed, said it had asked ISAF to look after her treatment, but the force said it was not down to them.

Afghan women have won back basic rights in education, voting and employment since the Taliban were ousted from power in 2001,but there is concern such freedoms will not be protected and may even be traded away as Kabul seeks a peace deal with the group.

“If a political solution between the Taliban and the government is reached, there is no doubt that women will need to be better protected,” said Maria Bashir, the chief prosecutor for Herat province bordering Iran.

The only female prosecutor general in the country, Bashir has been threatened repeatedly and come under attack twice, when her house was set alight and another one firebombed.

Eight bodyguards escort Bashir to work each day, and six live in her house. All are paid for by the international community, she said.

Malaysia slips in Internet freedom; same ranking as Libya

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — Malaysia’s Internet freedom has worsened this year as seen in the latest global survey of 47 countries, putting it on the same level as Libya after Putrajaya introduced new laws seen to curb electronic media use.

Internet freedom for Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy was judged to be only “partly free”, after it scored 43 out of 100 points — the same as Libya — dropping two notches in the Freedom on the Net 2012: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media report released last week by Freedom House, a US research organisation advocating democracy, political freedom and human rights.

The annual study evaluates each country based on barriers to access, limits on content, and violations of user rights, and traces trends from January 2011 to May 2012. The lower the numerical score, the better the ranking.

Each country is marked on a score from 0 (the most free) to 100 (the least free), which serves as the basis for an Internet freedom status designation of Free (0-30 points), Partly Free (31-60 points), or Not Free (61-100 points).

Malaysia took the 23rd spot, trailing behind the Philippines, South Korea, India and Indonesia among the Asian countries surveyed.

But Malaysia came out ahead of Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Pakistan, Vietnam, Myanmar and China. Singapore was not included in Freedom House’s global study.

The top five spots in descending order were occupied by Estonia, the United States, Germany, Australia and Hungary, which scored fewer than 20 points out of 100.

The report cited the recent amendments to the Evidence Act 1950, namely Section 114A of the law, which holds the computer or equipment owner liable for seditious content as a very troubling development.

It noted that bloggers and Internet users who were critical of the federal government and royalty have also been subject to arrests, legal harassment, fines and detention — even as it noted such cases had dropped compared to last year.

It also noted the increase in the use of “cybertroopers” deployed by both government and opposition parties to produce either favourable content for themselves or harmful content towards opponents.

It also highlighted the new laws, listing the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act allowing for the interception of communications without a court order in security-related offences, and a broadly worded amendment to the Penal Code criminalising any activity “detrimental to parliamentary democracy” which can be used to criminalise politically sensitive speech.

But Freedom House noted the rise of disproportionate awards for defamation suits filed against bloggers, such as the RM400,000 in damages awarded to the Information, Communications, and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim.

In other areas, Malaysia’s lack of high-quality infrastructure and the severe digital divide among urban/rural population were cited as major hurdles to access.

But the report acknowledged that the Internet in Malaysia still remains “a relatively unconstrained space for free expression” despite creeping infringements due to an active blogosphere and increasing numbers of active netizens.

Freedom House identified Malaysia as among seven countries, including Russia, that were at risk of suffering greater setbacks to their Internet freedom next year.

“No politically sensitive websites are blocked, and a notorious security law was repealed in early 2012, but other infringements on Internet freedom have emerged in the last year,” Freedom House said in its summary findings.

It noted that news portals and opposition-related websites have been attacked online at “politically critical moments.”

“In the watershed general elections of March 2008, the ruling coalition lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time since 1969, and the use of the Internet for political mobilisation was widely perceived as contributing to the opposition’s electoral gains.

“As Malaysia prepares for another set of highly contentious elections scheduled to take place by April 2013, greater efforts by the government and ruling party to increase their influence over the Internet are anticipated,” it said.

Larger site for Tamil school, if…

MIC says the Negeri Sembilan Education Department is submitting a proposal to Putrajaya

SEREMBAN: The Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil (SJKT) in Kuala Pilah will move to a larger site if Putrajaya accepts a proposal from the Negeri Sembilan Education Department.

State MIC chief T Rajagopalu told FMT yesterday that the department announced the proposal last Thursday at a meeting with a delegation from the party.

The proposed site is adjacent to the Kuala Pilah Education Office and is five acres large.

“The Education Department will send the proposal to Education Ministry to acquire the land for the purpose of constructing the much awaited new school building,” he said.

He said proposal, if approved by the Federal Government, would be the “final solution” to problems plaguing the school, which now sits on a site of one and a quarter acres.

Last Friday, about 200 parents staged a protest at the school, complaining that the size of the classes and the placement of the canteen, toilets and other facilities were not conducive to learning.

During the Thursday meeting, Rajagopalu said, the Education Department rejected a proposal to demolish the current school building and replace it with another because the remaining space would be too small to accommodate a sports field.

“The proposal to acquire the five acres for a new building is definitely the best offer and solution, and the parents should be happy about it,” he added

He said he was confident that the proposal would be approved because the school is fully funded by the government.

He also said he had spoken about the matter to a special officer of the prime minister, Ravin Ponniah.

Tempers flare at MIC CWC meeting

Party vice-president SK Devamany is said to have lost his cool when accused of being behind a campaign to oust party president G Palanivel.

KUALA LUMPUR: The MIC Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting yesterday turned into an heated affair when party vice-president SK Devamany blew his top.

It was also learnt that party president G Palanivel fumbled for answers when several CWC members questioned him over the status of the RM100 million special allocation given for Tamil schools in the 2012 budget.

Speaking to FMT, a CWC member who wished to remain anonymous, said that the ruckus started when Klang-based KP Samy complained about a statement made by ex-MIC leader VT Rajen.

The latter had said that he would launch a movement in Cameron Highlands to oust Palanivel if the president stood for the parliament seat where Devamany was the incumbent.

Samy also urged Devamany to stop Rajen from launching the Gerakan Anti-Palanivel (GAP).

Devamany replied that he had already made a statement that he would abide by the party leadership’s decision pertaining to seats.

“Despite this, KP Samy kept insisting that Devamany was behind the movement and this irked the latter, who started shouting,” said the party insider.

He added that the situation became worse when former senator S Ravichandran and S Vell Paari joined the fray.

“While Ravichandran supported KP Samy, Vell Paari slammed the former, claiming that he was talking rubbish.

“Everyone was shocked when Vell Paari shouted at Ravichandran saying, ‘Ravi don’t talk rubbish; please shut up and sit down’,” he added.

He said this forced Palanivel to call for calm.

Rajen, a former branch chairman of MIC Taman Mujur, Klang, was expelled from MIC after he threatened to form GAP if Palanivel chose to contest in any of the four parliament seats held by MIC.

The party touted as the largest Indian-based political party in the country won only three of the nine parliamentary seats it contested under the BN banner in the 2008 general election. It won back another seat in a 2010 by-election.

The four seats are Segamat, held by deputy president and Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam; Cameron Highlands and Tapah held by vice-presidents and deputy ministers Devamany and M Saravanan respectively; and Hulu Selangor (P Kamalanathan).

Caught by surprise

Meanwhile, the party insider claimed that Palanivel appeared to be caught by surprise when veteran leaders S Veerasingam and Johor-based MM Samy questioned the status of the RM100 million special allocation awarded to Tamil schools in the 2012 budget.

“The moment MM Samy raised the question, several other CWC members also murmured ‘Yes, we want to know the status of the allocation’,” he said.

“Palanivel went silent for few seconds and later said that he had the list of the schools which received the allocation,” he added.

The president also promised to show the list in the near future when the CWC members requested him to expose the list.

Recently, Malacca PKR vice chairman G Rajendran alleged that Palanivel had misused the fund by allocating it to fully-aided new Tamil schools when it was meant for partially- aided Tamil schools.

Women angry with Najib

Women's Aid Organisation says it is not up to Najib to decide if there is a need for women's rights movement.

PETALING JAYA: Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) took strong exception to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s dismissal of women’s rights movements in Malaysia.

Najib today dismissed the need for women’s rights groups in Malaysia, saying equality has been given “from the start”.

The prime minister claimed Malaysia is even more advanced than developed nations in this aspect.

Najib, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister was speaking at the Women’s Day celebration this morning.

Said Najib: “In some developed countries, the men were allowed to vote before women but, in Malaysia women had the right to vote from the start.”

Countered WAO executive director Ivy Josiah: “With all due respect, it is not up to the prime minister to proclaim that there is no need for women’s movement. It is up us – half of Malaysia – to decide what we want to do to claim our human rights.

“Our work is not over, there is still more work to be done by the women’s movement.”

In his speech, Najib said: “Don’t think that everything is better [in the developed nations] as we are way ahead, especially in terms of women’s rights.”

Still facing discrimination

He also claimed that the government and private sector are providing more job opportunities for women and this is also reflected in Budget 2013.

“We provide incentives like grants, double tax reductions and allowances to private early education centres so more can be built, and women can go to work.

The WAO is also astonished with Najib’s statement since women are still facing discrimination.

“We are flabbergasted at this pronouncement as every day women experience discrimination – whether it is domestic violence, rape, divorce, getting child and wife maintenance, street crimes and harassment,” said Josiah.

She also asked who are Najib’s gender advisers because discrimination against women continues.

“Statistics and data that WAO and other NGOs have compiled have shown discrimination against women in child maintenance, divorce, rape and domestic violence.”

“There is also an increase in female-headed households,” she said.

In addition, the Global Gender Gap Report 2011 placed Malaysia at 115th position out of 135 countries for equality in political empowerment.

Five awarded RM4.06mil over unlawful detention under ISA

The 'Reformasi 6' who spent two years in Kamunting

(The Star) - Five people, including Batu MP Tian Chua, have been awarded more than RM4.06mil in damages over their unlawful detention under the Internal Security Act in 2001.

High Court judge Lau Bee Lan ruled on Tuesday that the detention of Tian Chua, Selangor PAS information chief Saari Sungib, activists Hishammudin Rais and Badaruddin Ismail and PKR supreme council member Badrulamin Bahron under Section 73 of the Internal Security Act 1960 was unlawful.

The five had sued former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Norian Mai and two others for unlawful detention under the ISA and for defamation.

(The award covers RM15,000 a day for the total number of days that they had been detained).

Justice Lau also awarded Tian Chua, Hishammudin, Saari and Badrulamin RM60,000 in general damages and RM40,000 in aggravated damages in total based on grounds that the words uttered by Norian during a press conference in April, 2001 in relation to the detention was defamatory.

She ruled that the detention was not based on the safety of the country but more towards political considerations.

Malaysia's Online Portal Malaysiakini's Court Victory

All the news that's fit to printJustice says the home ministry isn't allowed to block permit to publish print edition

A high court justice in Kuala Lumpur yesterday in effect gave Malaysiakini, the independent news website, permission to publish a daily print edition over the objections of the Home Ministry.

Justice Abang Iskandar Abang Hashim’s ruling stands out at a time when the 13-year-old Malaysiakini website, which is consistently critical of the government, has come under unprecedented attack from the mainstream press, all of which are owned by political parties aligned with the Barisan Nasional, or national ruling coalition. At a time when national elections loom, and political analysts predict a closer race than ever, the decision assumes additional importance.

In particular, the government-controlled television station TV3, the Malay language daily Utusan Malaysia and the English-language dailies New Straits Times and The Star – have attacked the website for receiving grants from international foundations. One of those foreign investors allegedly was linked to George Soros, a mortal enemy of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has repeatedly charged that the billionaire financier was behind a plot to ruin the country’s economy.

Justice Abang Iskandar’s decision thus becomes a test of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s rhetoric in revising some of the colonial-era laws that harshly circumscribed civil freedoms, particularly the Internal Security Act which allows in effect for detention without trial. Najib also pushed legislation through Parliament modifying the Printing and Presses Act, under which all publications previously had to renew their printing licenses every year. However, since Malaysiakini has not yet been granted a license, it now has to reapply. If the government were to allow Malaysiakini’s permit to print in the fact of the current efforts to discredit the publication, that would be a significant

The government has the right to appeal the decision to a higher court and may well do so, Premesh Chandran, the website’s chief executive officer, told Asia Sentinel. In the past, the courts have reversed other politically significant decisions, including one in February 2010 by Kuala Lumpur High Court Judge Abdul Aziz Rahim that would have kept the Perak state government in opposition hands.

In another in March of 2011, High Court Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohamad Diah reversed himself to allow the prosecution to admit into evidence items containing DNA taken from Anwar Ibrahim in the opposition leader's sodomy trial after first ruling that the evidence was inadmissible.

Founded in 1999 by editor Steven Gan and Chandran, Malaysiakini has grown into the country’s leading independent news portal, with 400 daily unique readers, at a time when the Internet has come to play a growing role in the political discourse. The publication has spawned a series of other operations in training citizen journalists and prints in three languages.

It and a flock of other publications owe their existence to a decision by then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, at the time he was touting his multi-media super corridor, to promise that online content wouldn’t be censored. Accordingly online blogs were considered to have played a major role in opposition gains in the 2008 national elections that cost the national ruling coalition its two-thirds majority in parliament for the first time since Malaysia became an independent nation.

In quashing the ministry’s ruling to refuse Malaysiakini a publishing permit, Abang Iskandar used unusually stiff language, ruling that the ministry’s decision was “improper and irrational” and that the ministry’s decision exceeded the limits of its jurisdiction. He also ruled that the Home Ministry must pay RM5,000 (US$1,640) in costs for bringing the case to court.

“The decision affects the right of the plaintiff to the right to freedom of expression which also includes the right to a permit, and it is a fundamental liberty enshrined in the constitution,” Abang Iskandar ruled.

The justice noted that freedom of expression is enshrined in the federal constitution, saying the news portal has won numerous local and international awards. He also ordered the Home Ministry to pay RM5,000 in costs.

“The decision by the secretary-general to reject giving a permit is also a restriction of freedom of the press, which has long been recognized by the common law as a breach of the protection of free speech,” Malaysiakini’s lawyer, K Shanmuga told the court.

“It also violates the freedom of expression of journalists working inMalaysiakini as they have collectively won numerous awards. A judgment in India said the newspaper industry enjoys two of the fundamental rights - namely freedom of speech and expression".

Asked whether the decision will open the floodgates to anyone wanting to publish, Shanmuga said anybody can publish a residents’ newsletter, a village paper or association newsletter as they should be free to do so.

“It may lead to more publications and freedom of expression in Malaysia,” he said. However, that will likely have to wait until after the government decides whether to appeal Abang Iskandar’s ruling.

(Asia Sentinel maintains a copy-sharing agreement with Malaysiakini.)

Reminder of Perak constitutional crisis — Koon Yew Yin

OCT 2 — As the next general election is fast approaching, almost every day the newspapers publish stories of Datuk Seri Najib Razak and other Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders giving away goodies to win votes. Unfortunately Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders cannot afford to give away any goodies. Since the general election is near, we must not forget how PR lost control of Perak to BN.

You will remember that when the High Court on May 11, 2009 recognised Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin as the rightful mentri besar of Perak, the Court of Appeal lost no time in granting Zambry Abdul Kadir a stay of execution on the High Court decision. It did so within a few hours, in fact.

On May 22, the appellate court overturned the High Court judgment favouring Nizar, and instead ruled that Zambry was the legitimate mentri besar.

Malaysian courts have created a record with their supersonic speed in disposing of cases.

The BN is so unfair and unjust to depend on three defectors to govern the state, especially when two of the three defectors were under investigation for corruption.

During the Perak constitutional crisis, I wrote a few articles. As a reminder, I think it is worthwhile to reproduce this excerpt.

“There are many contentious points in the Federal Court’s ruling which have already been debated by other observers better versed in Malaysian constitutional law than me. However, to me, perhaps the most contentious argument was that the Sultan of Perak does not need to act on the advice of the executive council in the matter of dissolving the state legislative assembly and it was at his absolute discretion. This argument, which smacks of a system of absolute monarchy, will take Perak and the country backwards rather than forward.

“But let’s assume that the Federal Court ruling on this is correct. Is this the end of the matter? In my humble opinion, no — and I would like reiterate that the only way out of the present legal quagmire is to return the vote to the people.

“To safeguard the interest of the country and the institution of the monarchy, the voice and will of the rakyat must be respected. It has to be called on to be heard — in one way or another — because though the wheels of justice grind slowly, they grind exactingly.

“To the letter of the law a government must be answerable, and the one standing above politics must be accountable as well. In my humble opinion, Perak will regain its shine and the people’s trust when the Sultan accedes to the dissolution of the state assembly.”

As you all know Sultan Azlan Shah did not dissolve the state assembly.

My view is not an isolated one. A poll of registered voters in Perak conducted by the Merdeka Center for Public Opinion on February 8, 2009 shows that:

● 76 per cent of respondents felt that “the people through elections” should decide who forms the government in Perak. The breakdown by race was 60 per cent Malays, 88 per cent Chinese and 98 per cent Indians.

● 74 per cent of the respondents felt that the state assembly should have been dissolved after the defection of the three Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers. The breakdown by race was 59 per cent Malays, 85 per cent Chinese and 88 per cent Indians.

● 68 per cent of respondents said that the preferred option of settling the political crisis is either to hold three by-elections or state wide polls. The breakdown by race was 46 per cent Malays, 88 per cent Chinese and 80 per cent Indians.

● 66 per cent of the respondents did not accept state governments formed through defections of state assemblymen. The breakdown by race was 46 per cent Malays, 87 per cent Chinese and 73 per cent Indians.

● 62 per cent of the respondents felt that the “role of the palace in this decision” means that it does not recognise the will of the people.

● 59 per cent of the respondents felt that the political crisis in Perak would decrease support for Barisan Nasional.

Taken together, the poll by the Merdeka Center suggests that Zambry and BN may occupy the seat of government but a significant number of the citizens of the state do not accept their legitimacy to hold power.

Clearly, from the survey findings we can infer that while our politicians may have difficulties clinging onto principles and the democratic system, the rakyat know right from wrong.

They cannot stomach politicians who get voted into office on one party’s ticket and then decide to jump ship, causing that party’s popular state government to topple. They do not believe that the status of a government should be decided behind closed doors. And they want the Sultan to use his “absolute discretion” to invoke the will of the people.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

Suhakam: Keep your word, Jakoa

The Sun 
by Azizul Rahman Ismail

PETALING JAYA (Oct 1, 2012): The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) has criticised the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) for not keeping to its word and proceeding with the Orang Asli Land Ownership and Development Policy.

In March, Suhakam held an inquiry to address dissatisfaction with the policy which was deemed unfair to the indigenous people.

Suhakam Commissioner Mohammad Shaani Abdullah said Jakoa and the relevant authorities had pledged during the inquiry to make no amendments to the Orang Asli Land Ownership and Development Policy nor execute it until the Suhakam report on the matter was completed.

However, Suhakam received reports last week that the policy was being followed through in orang asli settlements in Pahang and Perak, he said, adding that the land involved was being measured and the orang asli concerned were being approached to sign an agreement.

Mohammad Shaani said: "The authorities should keep their word and halt their actions. They should be straightforward and frank with the orang asli, and deal with everyone first hand instead of dealing with the tribe leader alone."

"They should also include neutral parties in their meetings with the orang asli to ensure that the orang asli's interests are preserved,"he said.

Centre for Orang Asli Concerns coordinator Dr Colin Nicholas said the issue began when the Orang Asli Land Ownership and Development Policy was introduced in December 2009.

The policy was meant to benefit orang asli by awarding them ownership of their land, so that the undistributed land (in customary land areas) may be used for development and agriculture.

"Many orang asli people were not in favour of this as it had reduced the size of their land. This led to a protest in Putrajaya in March 2010," he said.

Colin said there are three types of lands that are linked to the orang asli: gazetted reserve (8,094ha), land that has been approved but has yet to be gazetted (10,522ha), and land that has been requested but has yet to be approved (31,970ha).

"The policy concerns the 79,000 acres (31,971 ha) which consist of land where the orang asli reside as well as where their graves and the forest are situated.

According to the new policy, up to six acres of land for an orchard and approximately one-quarter acre would be given to each orang asli family to reside," said Colin.

"However, Felda settlers – who originally do not own the land, are given eight to 10 acres of land," he said.

Colin said the authority should gazette the 26,000 acres (10,522 ha) of land that had been approved over 20 and 35 years ago.

On Friday, a group from the Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli Village Network gathered at the Jakoa headquarters to hand over a memorandum and express their dissatisfaction regarding the execution of the policy. Jakoa, when contacted, would not give any comments citing pending orders from the Secretary-General.

Malaysia Does Not Need Select Committee On ICPD-PoA - Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 (Bernama) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Malaysia does not need a select committee on the achievement of the International Conference and Population Development Programme of Action (ICPD-PoA).

This is because Malaysia has achieved almost all targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 and committed to achieving MDG-Plus which also covers matters outlined in ICPD-PoA.

"Created by ICPD and adopted by 179 countries, ICPD-PoA did not set any goals. Its a guideline for countries in implementing programmes and activities on population and development," he said in a written reply to Fong Po Kuan (DAP-Batu Gajah) in parliament here Tuesday.

Fong wanted to know whether ICPD and MDG should be established comprising members of parliament to ensure that the targets are met.

Najib said Malaysia has met targets of MDG in 2000 and implemented population and development programmes based on guidelines in ICPD PoA action plan. "Malaysia has succeeded in reducing poverty from 16.5 percent in 1990 to 3.8 percent in 2009 as a result of government development policies and strategies.

"We also do not practice gender discrimination in education and achieved an enrollment of over 97 percent in primary schools for both genders."

He said Malaysia has achieved almost all the MDG targets except one which is to stop the spread and eliminate HIV/AIDS by 2015.

The government is concerned about the effects and impact of HIV/AIDS to to the people and had created the National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS 2011-2015.

Malaysia is also committed to the United Nations declaration in addressing HIV/AIDS in achieving zero HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related death.

Should the Pope’s butler be put on trial?

A whistle-blowing butler to the Pope is being put on trial in the Vatican for aggravated theft after he leaked confidential papers and letters in the pontiff’s possession in a bid to expose alleged corruption.

Among the most important letters were those that Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the then deputy governor of the Vatican City, wrote to the Pope. The archbishop complained that he had discovered corruption, cronyism, nepotism and inflated pricing in the award of contracts to firms when he took office in 2009. (Sounds familiar, eh?)

Vigano was subsequently moved out and sent to Washington as Vatican ambassador. More details in the Irish Times.

The trial of the butler, Paolo Gabriele, raises an ethical dilemma. Sure, he may have been trusted to keep official matters confidential, but what if the secrets involved wrongdoing and corruption? Should he be put on trial then? He will probably be pardoned in the end, but should he be put on trial in the first place if he was acting according to his conscience?

In many ways, the butler’s dilemma is the same as that encountered by whsitleblowers everywhere. When confronted with serious wrongdoings and corruption, they have a real dilemma especially if they have taken an oath of confidentiality. But can we expect people with a conscience to remain silent if accountability, public interest and the common good are at stake?

To me, the answer is clear. Instead of putting the butler on trial, what is needed is a commission of inquiry to find out if the allegations in the letters had any basis. In this respect, it is puzzling (or maybe not) why the report of a separate investigation by cardinals into the matter has not been allowed by the trial judge.