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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ambiga: Forget butt dance, focus on electoral reform


(Malaysiakini) Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan has urged Malaysians not to be distracted by the concerted attacks of the government media and other diversionary stunts but to focus on the issue at hand, which is electoral reform.

NONE"Don't get distracted by funny dances in front of my house. That was a joke, but the flawed electoral process is not a joke and we have to be vigilant," Ambiga told a forum in Petaling Jaya last night.

She was drawing parallels between Bersih and Suaram, which have been accused by the mainstream media of attempting to destabilise the government, with Suaram being investigated by the Companies Commission Malaysia (CCM) and Registrar of Societies (ROS) as well.

"I have no doubt in my mind that this investigation (against Suaram) is about Scorpene. The government left Suaram alone for 24 years, so why is it suddenly coming after Suaram now? Don't take your eyes off corruption," Ambiga said.

Suaram is maintaining that it is being persecuted for initiating an investigation in France into alleged corruption in Malaysia's purchase of two Scorpene submarines from French naval company DCNS.

"We (Bersih) have had the book thrown at us as well, so we know where this (Suaram harassment) is coming from. They want to keep us busy so we can't do the work we are doing," Ambiga said.

She also defended Bersih, which was lumped together with Suaram by the mainstream media, which accused them of receiving foreign funding.

NONE"We have said that we received RM90,000 from Open Society Institute (OSI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) for a delineation project.

"As far as the Bersih rally is concerned, we don't need money, for the people just come. We don't pay people RM50 each to come. In a sense, people are paying to come as they buy Bersih T-shirts," she said.

"Up until now, we are completely funded by Malaysians who have been wonderful. We've also created a RM1 fund for the legal challenges we are facing."

'Persecuted messengers make potent messages'

Ambiga warned that the government's continued attack on messengers such as Bersih and Suaram would ultimately make their messages more powerful.

"I think it is a big mistake. Instead of trying to sink NGOs, the government should concentrate on getting their submarines to sink," she said.

Ambiga added that the harassment of Suaram by CCM and ROS and the Election Commission's lack of commitment to electoral reform were examples of public institutions that were more interested in doing the bidding of their political masters than acting independently.

"We have received reports of foreigners being registered as voters. Don't forget Project IC is taking place. Before people say it is not true, remember that it has happened before in Sabah, and we have a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate it," she said.

NONETherefore, Ambiga said, Malaysians should turn out in force during the coming general election in a bid to mitigate any fraud.

Another speaker, constitutional law practitioner Tommy Thomas, said it was hypocrisy on the part of politicians to attack NGOs on their fundings.

"What is really shocking is for Malaysian politicians, whose principal source of income is using other people money, to make this claim. It is the height of hypocrisy.

"Politicians in all countries are dependent on funding from various sources, such as companies and trade unions, and when they are sufficiently seduced with money, compromises are made," Tommy said.

He said freedom of association as enshrined in the federal constitution should be read together with the other fundamental liberties, such as freedom of speech.

"The relentless state action against Suaram is wholly unconstitutional," Tommy added.

The others who spoke at the forum, which was moderated by lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, were Suaram secretariat member Cynthia Gabriel and Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez.

Anwar invites lawyers for Suaram and DCNS to Dewan


Viewer’s question in a program on ‘Sudarshan’ channel : Why no action against Dr. Zakir Naik ?

Why no action is being taken aginst Zakir when he supports terrorism and is creating rift between two religions ? : Viewer’s question in a program called ‘Bindaas Bol’ telecast on ‘Sudarshan’ channel
Mumbai : Dr. Naik is a propagator of Islam. He has lot of fan following. He gives lectures on many Islamic channels. It is his hobby to criticize other religions. His hobby has grown so mush that during Ganesh Festival only he declared that ‘Ganapati is not God.’ How will such statement be tolerated in Bharat? Religious sentiments of Hindus are thus hurt every now and then leading to rift between the two religions.  His speeches can incite riots; it can shake the cultural history of this country. Zakir does not feel that Osama Bin Laden was a terrorist. He advises all Muslims to spread terrorism like Osama. He orders every Muslim to live like Osama. What will you call such line of thinking? Immediate action should be taken against Zakir Naik for continuously hurting religious sentiments of Hindus. This was the conclusion of the program titled ‘Why no action is taken against Zakir Naik’ telecast on ‘Sudarshan’ channel in its serial ‘Bindaas Bol’.  
The host of the program, Mr. Suresh Chavanke, dignitaries joining the program on the channel and viewers contacting from outside during this program expressed firm opinion that action has to be taken against Zakir Naik. (Congratulations to ‘Sudarshan’ channel for organizing program on the attack on Hindu Dharma by so-called Islamic Thinker Zakir Naik and creating awareness amongst people ! Will other channels learn from this channel ? – Editor SP) In this program, the original video-film made by Zakir Naik against Shri Ganesh was shown in full. Barelavi and Shiya Ulemas have said that listening to Zakir’s speeches is ‘Haram’ . In Lucknow, Ulemas have issued ‘Fatwa’ against him. Why then Government is letting such people free? Why it is not taking action against such people? How can these people spread communalism so openly ?

Today, people are saying that persons like Zakir are provoking religious sentiments.  Rift between two religions is increasing due to such persons and they are after each other’s life. Ganesh-devotees are saying, “Such people should be immediately put behind bar because they are doing such things deliberately, said the host of the program.

Video-films on patriots are sent to Police ; but they are banned. A person like Zakir Naik, however, talks openly and no action is taken against them,; they don’t have to follow any rules or laws, stated Mr. Chavanke. 

Where do the pro-Hindu Organisations go at such times? The day Gandhism would end, Hinduism would start, a viewer expressed his opinion. Mr. Mohammad Afzal of ‘Rashtriya Muslim Manch’ who was an invitee, said “These people get aid from terrorists. Such speeches will create anarchy. Nobody will sit queitly on listening to such insult of Dharma.” The program-host also said, “This is not the insult of only Shri Ganesh but whole Hindu Dharma. It has created rage amongst Ganesh-devotees leading to lodging of complaints against Naik at various places. Many pro-Hindu organizations along with HJS are registering their protest in lawful manner.”

Zakir Naik is ‘Nikamma’, stated Sri Sri Ravishankar

Zakir invites renowned religious leaders and Saints right from Sri Sri Ravishankar to show affinity amongst Hindu –Muslims; then he raises some points related to Dharma and insults the invitee. Inviting people and insulting them is the game played by Zakir. When Sri Sri Ravishankar was asked by his followers about the criticism made by  Naik, he said, “Nobody becomes a scholar only by knowing which chapter  contains what topic. He (Zakir) is a head of all fools and is useless.”

Zakir Naik always  ….. 

1. Compares Hindu – Muslims religion
2. Despises other religions
3. Supports terrorists like Osama Bin Laden
4. Provokes religious sentiments of people
5. Converts Hindus to Islam and makes them fanatics
6. Gives inflammable speeches on channel influencing uneducated people who feel that he is good.

Remedy on the problem of ‘Naik’

1. Person like Zakir Naik should be immediately imprisoned.
2. Muslims should come forward to oppose Zakir Naik for supporting terrorism.
3. The Govt. should not protect such persons for vote-banks.
4. Hindu Scholars should bring forth the truth before people; else the fanatics will become more powerful.

Sri Sri Ravishankar blesses HJS drive against Dr. Zakir Naik !

Mumbai : Complaints are being lodged against so-called Islamic Thinker Dr. Zakir Naik with different police stations and cases are being filed against him for insulting Shri Ganesh. Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) has made a demand to impose ban on ‘Peace TV’, a channel run by Dr. Naik who is creating communal rift and for conducting inquiry into financial aid received by him. Sri Sri Ravishankar and ‘Art of Living’ have extended their support to the HJS drive.

How Shiva did not recognize his own son : Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The stories in the Puranas contain many incredible and hard-to-believe occurences. But they should not be interpreted as a nursery rhyme. Their language is Shakespearean and laden with great depth and meaning. We need to interpret these stories with a very refined state of mind.

The story goes that Parvati created a boy out of dirt from her body and appointed him to guard the doorstep. The first question that comes is how could Parvati, the Goddess Herself, have so much dirt? Parvati symbolizes the triguna - sattva, rajas and tamas. The entire creation is made up of trigunas. The dosha or imperfections that originate out of the triguna is an obstruction for the functioning of Prakriti. That was the boy that Parvati created to stand guard at the door.

Shiva is Shuddha Chaitanya, pure consciousness. Like the sun does not recognize darkness and cuts through it, Shiva does not recognize dosha and slays the impurity. But Prakriti cannot stay without impurity. So Shiva replaces the dosha with the head of an elephant, which symbolizes knowledge. Through knowledge, all the doshas or obstructions of Prakriti can be taken care of. This is the spiritual and metaphysical meaning of Ganpati being slain. So worshipping Ganpati as the remover of obstacles and the giver of gyana, knowledge is the most amazing depiction of the nature of consciousness.

Going a step further, even this difference between Prakriti and Purusha is done away with. That is why, the Ganpati Upanishad says,

ajam nirvikalpam niraakaaram-ekam

niraanandam aanandam advaita poornam

param nirgunam nirvishesham nireeham

para brahma roopam ganesham bhajema

Ganesha is the only One unborn unmanifest Reality. He is nirvikalpa and advaita - the formless, undivided One. This is the play and display of consciousness within itself.

While Ganpati is certainly the nirakara Parabrahman, he is invoked and worshipped in the mud idol for a period of time for the joy of the devotees. Then the Ganpati is asked to merge back into our heart and the idol is immersed in water. This ritual is observed for the sake of devotees, not for the sake of Ganpati. He who is without form is invoked in a form and then his spirit is invoked back into one's heart as the idol is immersed.

Saudi warned of nun-like dress in market

Saudi authorities have been warned that nun-like gowns are being marketed locally in violation of the country’s laws which ban products highlighting religions other than Islam, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Alsaudi Arabic language daily published pictures of what it said were for gowns in the Saudi market with similar designs to those worn by Christian nuns.

It said the warning about those gowns was carried on Facebook and other social networks in the Gulf kingdom.

US film protests bring boom for Pakistan flag makers

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — As Pakistan's mullahs railed against a US-made anti-Islam film, Naveed Haider's print works went into overdrive, running off hundreds of US flags for angry protesters to burn at demonstrations.

Weeks of protests in Pakistan over the crudely made "Innocence of Muslims" have killed more than 20 people and caused serious damage to major cities, but for Haider business is booming.

When the mobilisation against the US film began, "I knew the tills would start ringing", said the manager at Panaflex printers, housed in a dilapidated building in Rawalpindi, the twin city of Islamabad and headquarters of the military.

"Whenever we have these demonstrations, I make 10 times as much money as normal," he told AFP in a tiny room that stank of ink, as two huge rollers spat out Stars and Stripes.

Sold for between 120 and 1,500 rupees ($1.25 to $16) depending on size and quality, the flags have been snapped up for demonstrations against the film in recent weeks, and Haider watched in delight as his products went up in smoke day after day on the TV news.

The boom in the flag market has accompanied a surge in anti-American feeling in Pakistan, which has been battered and bruised by Taliban violence and US drone strikes since joining Washington's "war on terror" in late 2001.

So much so that the United States has replaced traditional rival India as enemy number one in public opinion -- at least according to the flag-sellers.

"It's been a long time since I sold an Indian flag," said shopkeeper Nadeem Mahmood Shah as people piled into his Rawalpindi store to stock up on American flags, as a few tattered old samples fluttered outside.

In Shah's shop 1,500 rupees will get you a three-square-metre Stars and Stripes in cloth, with a guarantee it will catch light with no problems -- a key concern for protesters, particularly with TV cameras around.

For Asim, a waiter in a seafood restaurant, burning the US flag has become a vital part of any protest. He has set four alight in a month.

"It brings me such pleasure," said the rangy 22-year-old. "It's not a crime, but a means of expression like any other."

Protests against the film have led to more than 50 deaths across the Muslim world since the first demonstrations erupted on September 11.

Pakistan experienced the worst of the violence when nationwide rallies mobilised more than 45,000 in September. At least 21 people were killed and 229 wounded, mainly in clashes with police.

Last month, Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour placed a $100,000 bounty on the head of the filmmaker, calling on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to join the hunt and help accomplish the "noble deed".

Most young flag-burners are attached to political or religious groups.

Jamaat-e-Islami, one of the country's largest religious parties, actually provides its members with American and Israeli flags "so they can voice their anger", explained Sajjad Abbas, a party official in Islamabad.

"We have arrangements with printers and we supply them with the cloth," he said.

A well-drilled setup like this enables political groups to make their statement as cheaply as possible and to quickly exploit even the smallest spike in tension with the United States.

Jamaat-ud-Dawa, blacklisted by the United Nations and the United States as a front for terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, says it has a "special team" dedicated to making US and Israeli flags for demonstrations.

"They end up costing us 50-60 rupees each," said Asif Khurshid, one of the group's officials in Islamabad.

The Majlis-e-Wahadatul Muslimeen, a Shiite Muslim party active in recent protests, utilises its student wing to organise the flags with partner printers.

"We turn out 500 an hour," boasted Mazhar Shigri, group spokesman in Lahore, Pakistan's second largest city.

The group's "flag cell" is now preparing a major publicity stunt: a US flag 500 metres long and 60 wide, which will be laid out in October in a busy street, for the ultimate Muslim insult of being trodden under foot.

Shigri revels in the plan: "All the cars and pedestrians can defile it as they pass over."

Tanya Najib: Middle-income group not sidelined in Budget 2013




KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — The government has not sidelined the middle-income group in Budget 2013, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said various incentives were given out to assist this group, including a one percentage point income tax reduction for those in the RM2,500-RM50,000 income bracket.

“We also provide housing programmes for the middle-income group. We give them other facilities too that benefit them like the My First Home scheme.

“The middle-income group is not sidelined. We give them what we can afford to give,” he said in the ‘Ask Najib’ programme broadcast live by Astro Awani (Channel 501) tonight.

This programme enabled Malaysians from all walks of life to pose questions to the prime minister via Twitter, Facebook, Google and video-conferencing on Budget 2013, which was tabled by him on September 28.

To one of the questions, Najib said the huge allocation for administration costs involving the public sector was to motivate public servants to provide more efficient service delivery to the public.

He said the public must understand that the government was not only caring for the lot of 1.4 public servants but the welfare of their families as well.

To a question on the benefits from the Budget for the people of Sabah and Sarawak, Najib said the government provided a rather big allocation to balance the market price of basic goods in the two states.

“Through this special programme, we will at least ensure that the prices in Sabah and Sarawak are not much higher than the prices in the peninsula.

“In the annual budget, we also provide allocations for rural electricity and water supply facilities including to the longhouses,” he said.

Meanwhile, Najib said investors would have more confidence to do business in Malaysia when they saw a politically stable, peaceful and harmonious country.

“When they look at Malaysia, they will compare us with other countries. And when they like what they see about Malaysia...peaceful, harmonious, no violent street demonstrations… confidence in Malaysia certainly will be much higher.

“As a nation, we will benefit from that kind of perspective,” he said in reply to a question on whether the Budget and the country’s economy would be affected by the violent street demonstrations and chaos caused by irresponsible parties.

Commenting on the government’s efforts to fight crime, he hoped the motorcycle patrolling unit would be implemented as soon as possible to enhance security in housing areas and ensure public safety.

Najib said the government would allocate RM20 million to provide 1,000 motorcycles for the patrolling unit.

“I am very excited about this patrolling programme,” he said in the one-hour interactive programme. — Bernama

PKR MP promoting MIC leader?

BN leader accuses incumbent S Manickavasagam of promoting MIC CWC memebr A Sakthivel for the Kapar seat.

PETALING JAYA: PKR’s Kapar MP S Manickavasagam is working in cahoots with MIC central working committte member A Sakthivel, promoting the latter for his parliamentary seat, claimed a Barisan Nasional man.

The senior BN leader, claiming anonymity, said this was proven when incumbent Manickavasagam promoted Sakthivel at a function on Monday at the Hoe Tian Keong Temple.

“Manickavasagam said that he would like to see Sakthivel contesting for the Kapar seat in a speech at the function attended by about 1,600 people, and they all heard it,” claimed the leader.

Disappointed, the BN leader accused Sakthivel of using Manickavasagam to promote his own political agenda.

“Manickavasagam was promoting Sakthivel because both are friends, but the latter must understand that seats allocation for the general election is decided by the BN leadership.

“I don’t know how Pakatan Rakyat works, but in BN we must abide by party decisions. People may get confused by Manickavasagam’s announcement,” said the leader.

I was being sarcastic, says Manicka

Manickavasagam, however, dismissed the BN leader’s accusation, saying he was just being sarcastic with his remark.

He said that many aspirants for the seat came to the function, including Kapar MIC division chief P Ganesan and Pemandu committee member D Ravindran.

“These people just showed up. Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Deputy Minister Chua Tee Yong and Kapar MCA division chairman Song Kee Chai also attended the function.

“All I said was that Ganesan and Sakthivel should pray hard so that their party leadership will choose either one of them to contest in Kapar. I was being sarcastic,” said Manickavasagam.

He also said that most of his speech on the day was about Pakatan’s leadership in the state and its achievements.

Meanwhile, Sakthivel also dismissed the BN leader’s accusation, saying Manickavasagam was not promoting him for Kapar.

“He didn’t mean it that way. He was merely addressing the people there. As for me, I just had my meal and left the function soon after,” he said.

Anwar jemput peguam Scorpene beri taklimat di Parlimen

Taklimat itu bagi membolehkan ahli parlimen BN dan Pakatan Rakyat mendengar penjelasan mengenai dokumen hasil siasatan polis Perancis.

KUALA LUMPUR: Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim menjemput peguam Perancis datang ke Malaysia untuk memberi taklimat kepada Ahli Parlimen berhubung kes pembelian dua kapal selam Scorpene yang sedang berjalan di mahkamah Perancis.

Naib Presiden PKR R Sivarasa berkata, taklimat itu bagi membolehkan ahli parlimen Barisan Nasional (BN) dan Pakatan Rakyat mendengar penjelasan mengenai dokumen hasil siasatan polis Perancis kepada badan kehakiman negara itu.

Surat jemputan yang ditujukan kepada peguam mewakili Suaram yang mengendalikan kes Scorpene di Perancis, William Bourdon dan Joseph Breham, menjemput mereka supaya datang dalam tempoh sehingga Parlimen tamat bersidang pada 22 November depan.

Turut dijemput peguam mewakili syarikat pertahanan Perancis yang terlibat dalam penjualan Scorpene iaitu Direction des Construction
Navales Services (DCNS), Olivier Metzner hadir memberi taklimat.

“Rakyat Malaysia nak dengar tentang skandal bayaran 114 juta Euro kepada Syarikat Perimekar Sdn Bhd yang dimiliki Abdul Razak Baginda bagi tujuan ‘logistical support for training’.

“Tapi semua orang tahu Perimekar tidak layak dan tiada pengalaman langsung tentang kapal selam tapi diberikan kontrak bernilai lebih RM500 juta,” katanya dalam sidang media di Parlimen di sini hari ini.

Ahli Parlimen Subang itu berkata, taklimat itu juga membolehkan ahli parlimen mendengar kes mantan pengarah kewangan syarikat DCNS membuat tuntutan pemotongan cukai sebanyak 32 juta Euro atas alasan duit itu digunakan sebagai bayaran rasuah kepada pegawai.

Anwar kini di Paris

Sementara itu, Ahli Parlimen Batu Tian Chua berkata Anwar yang berlepas sejak malam semalam bagi menerima satu anugerah khas kini
sudah pun berada di Paris dan akan bertemu serta menyerahkan surat jemputan itu kepada dua peguam Perancis terbabit.

“Harap mereka terima dan boleh tetapkan tarikh…jika semuanya berjalan lancar Ahli Parlimen BN dan Pakatan dijemput hadir mendengar taklimat,” katanya.

Tian Chua berkata, taklimat itu perlu dijadikan satu peluang kepada semua mendapat gambaran jelas sekali gus dapat membetulkan persepsi
rakyat mengenai skandal pembelian kapal selam yang turut dikaitkan dengan pemimpin tertinggi negara.

“Kalau ada sasuatu yang tak betul kerajaan Malaysia wajar ambil tindakan susulan,” katanya.

Berbeza dengan sistem perundangan Malaysia yang mengikuti undang-undang British, Sivarasa berkata badan kehakiman Perancis mempunyai agensi penguatkuasa tersendiri untuk menyiasat sesuatu kes tanpa perlu bergantung kepada hasil siasatan daripada pihak polis.

Pakatan to hold demo on poll reforms

Its top leadership said the decision was made following the government's failure to meet growing calls for electoral reforms.
FULL REPORT

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat today announced its plan to hold a mass gathering on Nov 3 following the government’s failure to meet demands for poll reforms, mainly the calls to clean up the electoral roll and media fairness.

PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu told reporters in Parliament building here that Pakatan is expecting a crowd as big as 500,000 while the venue chosen for the event is the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

“The government has yet to meet the eight core demands made by (poll reform group) Bersih, especially on the need to clean up the electoral roll and media fairness.

“Because Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had suggested that if we want to hold any gatherings we should do it at Bukit Jalil, so we have decided to choose that place to hold our gathering,” he said.

Bersih and opposition leaders have repeatedly accused the Election Commission (EC) of deliberate inaction over allegations of discrepancies in the voters’ roll, calling it a conspiracy to help the present government restore its two-thirds mandate in the upcoming polls.

EC officials denied the allegations, saying its move to adopt the recommendations made by the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on polls reforms proved it was sincere in ensuring a clean and fair election.

The PSC was set up by Najib after several protests held by Bersih and backed by the opposition threatened to shake his government, but he maintained that elections in Malaysia had always been fair.

A national threat

Pakatan states like Selangor claimed 500,000 foreigners had been placed in the state and registered as voters and the EC has so far failed to respond to the allegation, prompting the state government to delay holding polls should the general election be held this year.

Just recently a Sabah daily published a report on the admission by a foreigner that he had purchased a Malaysian identity card for only RM1,000 and he was also a registered voter.

Opposition election monitoring group Jingga 13 said today this strengthens allegations of bias against the EC and there is a continuous joint effort between the EC and the BN to ensure the ruling coalition retain power.

“This is a very serious case. It is a national threat and swift action must be taken,” Fariz Musa, the group’s chief coordinator, told the same press conference.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua said the rally was not only to voice opposition demands but the “aspirations” of all Malaysians who want clean and fair elections.

The gathering will be themed “People’s Uprising” and Pakatan said it will adopt yellow as the event’s main colour. Yellow was also the official colour of the Bersih movement.

Suaram: subpoena finally served on Scorpene witness


(Malaysian Digest) - Suaram revealed that a subpoena has finally been served on one of the witnesses proposed by the human rights group to assist in the French judicial probe on alleged corruption in Malaysia's purchase of two Scorpene submarines from French naval defence company DCNS.

"The inquiry is progressing and we've been allowed to tell you that the first subpoena has reached the first witness.

"But I can't tell you who the witness is or when the subpoena was given for now, we have to follow the court proceedings and can only quote the court notes," Suaram secretariat member Cynthia Gabriel told a forum in Petaling Jaya last night.

Suaram had in June said that its French lawyers were in the process of serving a subpoena on Jasbir Singh Chahl, allegedly a point-man in the purchase of the Scorpene submarine.

However, Jasbir had then denied receiving any subpoena.

Asked after the forum if the delivered subpoena this time was served on Jasbir, Cynthia merely smiled but declined to reveal the witness' identity.

However, Cynthia confirmed that the subpoena was served on one of the seven witnesses which it had proposed to the French courts probing the Scorpene deal.

The other six proposed witnesses were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, private investigator P Balasubramaniam, Najib's confidante Abdul Razak Baginda and the latter's spouse and father - Mazlinda Makhzan and Abdul Malim Baginda.

Earlier at the ‘Who is in the spotlight? Suaram or Scorpene' forum, Cynthia said the authorities had tried to paint Suaram as a multi-million dollar organisation that was capable of destabilising the government.

"This is untrue. The budget of Suaram on a yearly basis is only about RM450,000. That is nothing much at all. It is only enough to pay for eight staff and run five to six campaigns a year," she said.

Cynthia added that this amount was only enough to provide the staff of the NGO with a modest salary of about RM2,500 per month as opposed to five times the amount they could earn in the corporate world.

Another speaker at the forum, Tenaganita executive director Irene Fernandez said the Companies Commission Malaysia's (CCM) harassment of Suaram was exactly what happened to Tenaganita - which, like Suaram, is registered as a company - when it exposed deaths of migrant workers in an immigration detention camp in 1996.

"We also exposed the corruption in the whole recruiting and placement of migrant workers but the whole thing was diverted to arresting me for allegedly publishing false information.

"During that period, then Registrar of Companies (now CCM) raided our office three times and charged us for not logging two EPF (Employees Provident Fund) receipts into our cash book. The judge was however fed up with the case and had it thrown out," she related.

This modus operandi in the past, like now, she said, was to portray that Tenaganita was supposedly providing false financial information and having improper accounts.

Fernandez (left) explained that some NGOs have opted to register as a company because unlike a society, the home minister cannot arbitrarily dissolve the organisation.

Furthermore, the government was also very restrictive in the registration of societies, she said.

The other speakers at the forum were Bersih co-chairperson Dato' Ambiga Sreenevasan and constitutional lawyer Tommy Thomas.

Cynthia and Suaram founding member R Sivarasa, who is now Subang parliamentarian, are both expected to give their statement to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) later today after the regulator roped in the police to compel the duo's cooperation under the Criminal Procedure Code.

Suaram advisor Kua Kia Soong is also among those called but will only give his statement at a later date as he is overseas.

When approached after the forum, Suaram's lawyer Lim Cheng Bock said the ROS is looking into Suaram's activites between 1989 to 2001 when it was then registered as a business under the name Suara Komunikasi before it became a company under the name Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd.

"We stressed that Suaram is not and was not doing anything wrong. The transition from a business to a company was only for expansion and better accountability.

"Unlike a business, you need external audit and proper accounts for a company," he said.

Previously, ROS had attempted to "inspect" Suaram's office but was turned away as the NGO insisted it is registered as a company and ROS has no jurisdiction over it.

ROS joined the fray after the CCM on Sept 18 declared it was charging Suaram for "confusing accounts" in two days but the Attorney-General's Chambers sent its investigation papers back to the commission. It said the papers were "incomplete".

Second break-in at Aliran office

P Ramakrishnan - Aliran


Exactly 18 days after the first break-in at the Aliran office, the thieves struck again for the second time!

They removed the same grille, forced open the same window and entered the same room. That was as far as they went.

On the first occasion, they had gained access to the rest of the building from this room but this time we had reinforced security and thus they were unable to move farther inside the building.

We discovered this break-in on the morning of 29 September 2011. They must have struck in the early hours of 29 September because we were in the office until midnight the previous day trying to wrap up Aliran Monthly.

Following the first break in some people commented whether those who committed the break-in were really petty thieves or something else. They had reason to doubt because these so-called thieves were only interested in the computers used by the past president, the current president and the serving treasurer. They were not interested in the two other computers, a printer and some petty cash in the drawer that were also there for the picking!

Now the same people are wondering if the second break in was meant to convey the impression that it must be the work of petty thieves – nothing sinister or ominous about the first theft! All that we can say is, “We don’t know!”

We do not wish to speculate or insinuate. That would not be right.

Most people are of the opinion that making police reports does not curtail crime or reduce their frequency. While we admit that the police cannot solve every crime that is reported, what is more disturbing is that criminals seem to realise this as well, and this only emboldens them.

Is this why they came back a second time in the knowledge that they would have their day and go scot-free?

OKU Are Not Neglected, Says Najib

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 4 (Bernama) --The government cares about the people with disabilities (OKU) by ensuring the 2013 Budget can help reduce their living cost.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said several programmes were outlined in the budget for the OKU, including the 1Malaysia Welfare Programme (KAR1SMA) involving an allocation of RM1.2 billion.

"The government will also allocate a portion of the People's Housing Programme (PPR) for the OKU, as well as build child care centres for OKU," he said in an Online 2013 Budget Dialogue which could be viewed live through YouTube Wednesday night.

Asked to what extend could the government control the price of food and drinks following the reduced sugar subsidy, Najib said continuous monitoring would be carried out to prevent traders from increasing their prices indiscriminately.

"What can be controlled using the law, we will do so. If we cannot use the law, the government will advise the traders not to (increase the price of goods)," he added.

He said the 1Malaysia People's Shops were also introduced so that the people could buy good at cheaper prices.

2013 Budget Takes Into Account Young People's Tastes, Says Najib

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 4 (Bernama) -- The 2013 Budget takes into account the tastes of the young generation through the Youth Communication Package in line with the current digital era, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

He said the rational in giving the one-off RM200 rebate for purchase of 3G Smartphone for youths aged 21 to 30 was to show the government's appreciation for their contribution and to further enhance their capability.

"The Smartphone is also the in thing among the young people today in line with their improved lifestyle," he said in an Online 2013 Budget Dialogue which could be viewed live through YouTube.

He was responding to a question by Asyraf Adlan an entrepreneur from Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam, who wanted to know the government's rationale in giving the RM200 rebate for the Smartphone purchase.

On the book voucher for Form Six and university students, Najib said the government felt it necessary to do so.

"It is useful because most books which the students need are very expensive and they have to share with their friends.

"So, we feel it is better to provide book vouchers so that they can buy the books," he added.

In the 2013 Budget, the 1Malaysia book voucher has been increased to RM250, from RM200 previously. It involves an allocation of RM325 million and will benefit 1.3 million students nationwide.

Responding to a question on a 10 per cent a year discount given to those who make early settlement of their National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loan, which some quarters say is unfair, Najib said the government could not offer everything.

"We introduce that incentive as a permanent measure to get the borrowers to repay their loans so that other students can also borrow to further their studies," he added.