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Friday, November 2, 2012

Kohilan cannot exonerate himself, says MPS councillor

(Malaysiakini) An incumbent councillor with the Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) has refuted Deputy Foreign Minister A Kohilan Pillay's claim that he had played no role in approving the controversial 29-storey condominium near the iconic Batu Caves temple.

protest at batu cave temple 261012 former selayang counsellor a kohilan pillayAccording to Kohilan (right), when he was serving as a local councillor in Selayang, he was not part of MPS' One Stop Centre (OSC) which gave the green light to the project.

However, MPS councillor Lee Khai Loon said that all approvals from the OSC must be endorsed by the council before the projects can be executed.

Lee said the role of the OSC in the local council was to facilitate the application process for development projects and cut down on red tape.

"Usually, there are three to four councillors in the OSC. Representatives of other government agencies also sit in it."

However, Lee stressed that all approvals by the OSC must be endorsed by the full board meeting of the MPS, consisting of all the councillors, before the projects can be implemented.

"Applications approved by the OSC are not final without the endorsement of the full board meeting. They will not be valid and cannot be executed," he told Malaysiakini when contacted yesterday.

Kohilan told Malaysiakini on Tuesday that he had nothing to do with the approval of the Dolomite condominium project because he did not sit on the OSC during his tenure as MPS councillor.

mediarakyat talkshow 160312 lee khai loon"I was only a councillor. It was not me who gave the approval. It was the OSC in the council that gave the approval. I was not involved," Kohilan  had said.

Lee (right) pointed out that even if Kohilan did not sit in the OSC, there were other BN councillors in it, representing the ruling coalition at that time.

"Did the other BN councillors in the OSC raise questions then?

"The full board meeting might have overlooked the project and approved it as there could have been too many project approvals to be endorsed. But why didn't they raise the issue after that?

"The shophouses, which are part of the development project, have already been completed, but we did not see them protesting before last week," Lee said.

Kohilan, who is a Gerakan leader, was an MPS councillor for 11 years, serving from 1997 to 2008.

Police reports lodged

The plan for the massive condominium project near the iconic Sri Subramaniar Temple in Batu Caves grabbed the spotlight after the temple committee, backed by MIC top guns including former president S Samy Vellu, led a protest against the Selangor government last Friday.

NONEHowever, Selangor executive councillor Ronnie Liu subsequently revealed documents to show the BN government had in 2007 approved the condominium project - considered by many to be an eyesore to the locality - when it controlled Selangor.

Liu was reported as saying that Kohilan and Hulu Selangor MP P Kamalanathan were among those responsible for approving the condominium project.

However, both Kohilan and Kamalanathan have denied the accusation and lodged police reports on the matter.

ACT 1: "I want to live like this until I die"

Belgian Muslim State? Islamists vow campaign after election win

Berlin: Muslim Cuts Off Girlfriend's Nose and Breasts Because She Wanted to Leave Him

As usual, we get a bowdlerised, politically correct account from The Local.

Berlin police are hunting the boyfriend of a woman who was found tied to a chair in the family home with serious mutilations to her face and chest.

A man walking down the street in the Schöneberg district of the city on Tuesday afternoon heard cries for help, Berlin’s state prosecutor told The Local.

“She had managed to drag herself to the window and was calling for help despite being tied to a chair, gagged and having suffered terrible mutilating injuries,” said Martin Steltner, the prosecutor’s spokesman.

Her ten-year-old daughter had also been tied to a chair and gagged but was physically unharmed.

“It would seem we are dealing with a crime of jealousy. It’s horrific.”

Steltner said the 36-year-old woman was a refugee from Iran. “It’s a terrible situation, terrible,” he said. Her boyfriend had Dutch citizenship but was originally from Iraq, he said.

“He is on the run,” he added, confirming the 45-year-old was the main suspect in the case. The woman's husband, who does not live in Berlin, is not a suspect.

She was taken to hospital, and is said to be out of danger. Her daughter suffered severe shock and was placed in the care of city authorities.

One neighbour is said to have heard a woman screaming.

“I saw how medics carried a woman covered in blood into an ambulance,” she told the Tagesspiegel. The woman and her daughter were said to have only recently moved into the building.
Source: The Local

We have to turn to the Berlin Kurier to find out that the perp was called Omid M. and that he tortured the woman, his girlfriend, because she wanted to leave him.

For hours her lover, in an ice cold manner, is said to have abused her with a knife. Her face and hands were slashed, nose and breasts cut off, her abdomen brutally mutilated.

Vernacular schools cannot just rely on the government, Najib says

Najib says the government has to work closely with stakeholders in guaranteeing a bright future for all streams of schools. — File pic
AMPANG, Nov 1 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today said vernacular schools cannot depend too much on allocations from the government, saying that the time has come for Putrajaya to approach the private sector to contribute to the development of these schools.

“Although the government has allocated a lot of money for vernacular schools, but it is still not enough.

“The era where government knows best is over, this means the government has to work closely with stakeholders in guaranteeing a bright future for all streams of schools in Malaysia,” Najib said during a ceremony to present funds to the SJK (C) On Pong school here.

The prime minister also claimed that Putrajaya has never neglected vernacular schools as accused by the federal opposition, citing the large sum of funds allocated for education during the recent tabling of the Budget 2013 as proof.

“The government is always sincere in helping vernacular schools, especially in terms of giving allocations and facilities.

“Even the education allocation for vernacular schools this year is the biggest in history, with a RM100 million each to Chinese national-type schools, Tamil and mission (schools),” Najib said.

At the same ceremony, RM38.3 million in donations was distributed by “The Community Chest” body to 196 schools all over the country.

The country’s former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Tun Mohamed Hanif Omar, was also present at the ceremony.

“Today’s donation-giving is the implementation of the third phase with RM38.3 million contributed to 196 Chinese and Tamil schools.

“Through joint contribution (sumbangan usaha sama) with The Community Chest, this clearly fulfills the government’s promise to contribute RM100.2 million in this one-year period,” Najib said.

Najib said that the funds distributed to vernacular schools would be used to ensure that they enjoy facilities and development equal to that of national schools.

In last year’s Budget 2012, the government gave a special supplementary allocation of RM100 million for the maintainence of SJK (C) and the building of new SJK (C) schools.

Despite Putrajaya’s various moves and initiatives, some Malaysians remain dissatisfied with the government’s role in helping vernacular schools.

Those who are unhappy include the United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong), which had last September presented an eight-point memorandum to the government, demanding that it solve problems faced by SJK (C) schools.

Dong Zong has also raised the issue of teachers’ shortage in Chinese primary schools, criticising the Education Ministry for sending teachers with no Chinese language qualifications to teach in SJK (C).

The Chinese education movement had also claimed that the country’s education policy is unfair.

‘My son was no criminal’

A distraught VP Rajah says despite two Indonesians being sent to the gallows for murdering his son, R Karthic, the authorities are portraying him as a burglar.

PETALING JAYA: Upset with media reports and authorities labelling his murdered son as a burglar, VP Rajah, has come forward to defend his son, R Karthic’s honour.

“I’m licensed money changer, own a plantation business and run a mini market. My son helps me in my trade and I pay him about RM10,000 in monthly salary and commissions.

“I’m also a former treasurer of the Negeri Sembilan PPP and Karthic was a youth member of the party. Tell me, is there any reason for my son to become a burglar?” asked Rajah, 51.

On Dec 3,2010, Karthic was found murdered at a shophouse in Taman Sri Sunga Pelek, Sepang. Eyewitnesses claimed he tried to enter a shoplot unit through an opening in the ceiling.

However, two Indonesian brothers guarding the shop were said to have spotted Karthic and killed him before fleeing the scene.

Frans Hiu and Dharry Frully Hiu were sentenced to death on Oct 19 by Shah Alam High Court judge, Nurchaya Arshad.

Relating his ordeal, Rajah said that Karthic went to the shop at about 9am on that day to collect RM5,000 he loaned to his friend, Leong Wai Yiaw, who was working at the shop.

“He was supposed to leave for India on that day but decided to get his money first,” said Rajah.

He added that Karthic and his girlfriend Juliet Rani Nadarajah were waiting downstairs of the shoplot before being dragged upstairs by four men.

“The day market was operating then and many can vouch for this. Even my brother in law, R Murugan, was there shopping and saw Karthic being taken upstairs,” he said.

Rajah claimed that he received a frantic call from his wife at about 11am saying that Murugan had heard a commotion at the shoplot.

Rajah said that when he arrived at the scene, he was stopped by a police officer from entering the crime scene.

“The officer, named Corporal Asrul even refused to tell us what happened. Only after three hours, did he break the news to us.

“He even accused my son of breaking into the shop while the investigations were going on. He just dismissed me,” said Rajah.

Two still at large

Rajah accused investigating officer, ASP Zaiharul, and the deputy public prosecutor Yusof Rahman of working in cahoots with the shop operator to pin the blame on his son.

“But it was God’s grace that Justice Nurchaya sensed something was amiss and decided to visit to the crime scene,” said Rajah.

“She realised that my son could not have came down from the ceiling as the opening was too small. She also spotted many errors in the statements made by the police and the accused.”

Rajah added that Hindraf secretary-general P Uthayakumar also assisted him by holding a watching brief during the trial.

Raja’s brother in law, Murugan, said that two more people responsible for Karthic’s death are still at large.

“I saw my nephew being taken up by four men. I panicked when I heard Karthic screaming from upstairs and I rushed back to inform my sister,” said Murugan.

He also said that Juliet Rani had fled the scene by then, and later lodged a police report.

Murugan added that he was never called to give a statement by the police despite being a witness to the incident.

“I even went to Bukit Aman to inform them that I could help in their investigations but they ignored me,” said Murugan.

Rajah urged the public to read the case facts first before making a conclusion about Karthic. He also said that his son was good man and is even a registered organ donor.

“My son’s heart was harvested and is to be given to a man with heart ailment on Nov 18,” he said.

Assaulted by guard, man lives in fear

No action has been taken against a security guard who allegedly beat an apartment owner, leaving the latter with a fractured hand and nose.

PETALING JAYA: After being hit by his own security guard, traumatised apartment owner G Sumendran is now wondering why his assailant still walks free around his housing area.

Last Monday, a security guard allegedly assaulted Sumendran with an iron rod as he was entering the apartment premise, leaving the latter with a fractured hand and nose.

“On Oct 22, at around 3pm, I was with my father about to go into my [apartment premise], but the security guard refused to let us enter,” he related the incident at Hindraf’s headquarters here.

“And my father gave the security guard his IC, [but] he refused to take my father’s IC, and he asked for his licence instead,” he said, adding that the security guard did this often to irritate his family.

“I went out of the car to talk to him. He thought I was going to threaten him or something; he took the iron rod and hit me,” he claimed.

Sumendran has been given a medical leave for an entire month following the painful beating, and still wears a cast around his left hand.

According to the medical certificate issued by Hospital Putrajaya, he suffered a “closed fracture of left ulna styloid.”

To make matters worse, Sumendran claimed that the police have not taken action following the report he lodged on that same day over the assault.

As a result, on top of the injuries he suffers, he still encounters his assailant on a daily basis – who, aside from still guarding the area, is also a resident of the apartment.

“My whole family is very traumatised by the experience, we are not able to concentrate on our work,” said Sumendran.

“My son asked me, what if the same incident happened to him, or even my wife?” he said, adding that his assailant recognised his family members.

“My wife calls me every day to ask me where I am, what I am doing, how the children are doing. We are all frightened and traumatised.”

Asked why the security guard targeted his family, Sumendran said he believed it was because his family had refused to pay the “dubious” security company its monthly fees since April this year due to their unsatisfactory services.

He also said the security company, which had been hired by the residents’ association, could not be terminated as its employers mostly comprised apartment residents who would otherwise be unemployed.

And because the security company was not hired by the apartment management, the latter was unwilling to take responsibility over the issue.

“This case doesn’t just involve me; it involves the safety of my family as well as the other residents,” he stressed. “How long can we live in fear?”

Police must take action

Meanwhile, Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar slammed the police for their alleged inaction since the report was lodged over a week ago.

“There has been no action, no prosecution, no arrest. Why? They can’t go around hitting people like this and just get away with it,” he said.

Uthayakumar said he had been receiving many complaints recently over high-handed security guards, and urged the government to take action over it.

“The Home Ministry and the police force should provide compulsory one-week training for security guards outlining what they can and cannot do.

“Houseowners pay a substantial amount to have security guards, yet these guards are usually not even formally trained,” he pointed out.

PSM minta Ketua Polis NS ambil alih kes

Memorandum tersebut diterima oleh Pegawai Hal Ehwal India, ASP Alagaesan pada jam 12.30 tengahari tadi bagi pihak Ketua Polis Negeri Sembilan.

SEREMBAN: Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) menyerahkan memorandum kepada Ketua Polis Negeri Sembilan, Datuk Osman Salleh meminta beliau dan Ibu Pejabat Kontinjen (IPK) Polis Negeri Sembilan mengambil alih satu kes yang dikendalikan Ibu Pejabat Daerah (IPD) Rembau.

Bagaimanapun memorandum tersebut diterima oleh Pegawai Hal Ehwal India, ASP Alagaesan, pada jam 12.30 tengahari tadi bagi pihak Ketua Polis Negeri Sembilan.

Menurut Setiausaha Agung PSM, S Arutchelvan, tindakan segera oleh Osman amat diperlukan kerana beberapa perkara atau insiden yang berlaku di IPD Rembau baru-baru ini.

Perkara tesebut berlaku rentetan daripada satu insiden pergaduhan di antara 12 lelaki daripada keluarga yang sama dengan empat orang lelaki yang tidak dikenali di hadapan rumah keluarga tersebut pada 20 Oktober lalu.

“Kami mendapati bahawa segelintir anggota polis Rembau telah menjalankan tugasnya dengan sikap yang tidak profesional dan beretika serta menjalankan tugasnya dengan menanam sikap dengki dan membalas dendam terhadap Setiausaha PSM Cawangan Seremban, S Tinagaran.

“Berdasarkan kenyataan-kenyataan yang diberikan oleh beberapa anggota keluarga yang ditahan dan beberapa anggota polis, bahawa memang ada unsur untuk menfitnah dan memangsakan Tinagaran.

“Kami juga mendapati siasatan yang dijalankan adalah hasil dari perasaan yang kurang memuaskan dan dengki serta membuat kesimpulan bahawa semua tahanan (12 ahli keluarga) ada kaitan dengan kumpulan gangster.

“Kami mahu Ketua Polis menyiasat kerana kesemua 12 ahli keluarga yang ditahan tidak ada rekod jenayah atau didakwa di mana-mana mahkamah.

“Kami menyeru kepada Ketua Polis supaya membentuk satu pasukan baru di bawah beliau kerana kami telah hilang keyakinan kepada IPD Rembau. Mereka (12 ahli keluarga) ini merupakan mangsa kepada provokasi tujuh lelaki yang tidak dikenali itu,” kata Arutchelvan.

Arutchelvan berkata Tinagaran merupakan salah seorang yang mempunyai kaitan kekeluargaan dengan 12 lelaki yang ditahan dan beliau pergi ke IPD Rembau untuk mengetahui status tahanan mereka.

Arutchelvan turut mengutarakan insiden salah guna kuasa polis dan penyiasatan yang tidak profesional apabila membuat penahanan semula (tukar gari) ke atas M Sharvin Raj dan K Jakan, di mana polis Tampin juga mengatakan bahawa mereka berdua tidak ada kes.

Layanan buruk terhadap tahanan

“Penahanan itu sengaja dibuat dan ini mencabul Hak Perlembagaan Perkara 5. Malah ada tahanan tidak diberi rawatan perubatan apabila tahanan mengadu sakit dan ada tahanan dipukul apabila batuk.

“Menampar dan menendang seorang tahanan bawah umur S Mathuraiweeran, 17 tahun dan menggari bersama tahanan lain hanya untuk memaksanya mengaku terlibat dengan kumpulan gangster.

“Ada juga ahli keluarga yang sekadar pergi ke balai polis untuk mengetahui perkembangan kes turut ditahan”, katanya.

Sebelum itu seramai tujuh ahli keluarga daripada 12 ahli keluarga tersebut membuat laporan polis dan kandungan laporan polis itu menjelaskan kronologi insiden pergaduhan yang berlaku pada 20 Oktober di Taman Koperasi, Pedas, Rembau.

“Pada hari Sabtu 20 Oktober lalu, keluarga kami membuat kenduri untuk bayi yang baru lahir mengikut tradisi dan adat agama Hindu.

“Lebih kurang jam 12.30 pagi, dua remaja lelaki menaiki sebuah motorsikal membunyikan enjin motorsikal dengan kuat. Abang saya menegur mereka kerana ada empat bayi sedang tidur di dalam rumah.

“Tidak lama selepas itu dua lelaki itu datang dengan beberapa lelaki lain dan berlaku pergaduhan di antara mereka dan ahli keluarga kami.

“Tidak beberapa lama kemudian polis tiba dan menahan empat lelaki yang menjadi punca pergaduhan. Kami (12 ahli keluarga) turut mengikuti polis ke IPD Rembau tetapi kami juga ditahan.

Justeru itu Arutchelvam berharap Ketua Polis Negeri Sembilan membuat penilaian semula kes terhadap 12 ahli keluarga yang ditahan selama tiga hari atas satu kesalahan yang tidak masuk akal dan tanpa bukti yang kukuh dan munasabah.

Police seek duo over computer thefts

Wanted: Police are looking for Kiranan (left) and Siva.Wanted: Police are looking for Kiranan (left) and Siva.

KUALA LUMPUR: Police are on the lookout for two young men suspected of being involved in a string of computer thefts amounting to more than RM1.2mil here and in Petaling Jaya.

The men, both aged 20, are believed to only target graphic design companies that use high performance desktop computers and laptops.

City CID deputy chief (Investigation and Legislation) Asst Comm Ab Aziz Zakaria said a graphic design company had lodged a police report over the theft of laptops and desktop computers worth RM200,000 at Wangsa Maju on June 18.

“We later found that two other graphic design companies in Puchong and Kelana Jaya were similarly robbed on Aug 6 and Sept 22,” he told a press conference at the City police headquarters yesterday.

He said both companies reported thefts of MacBook Pro and MacDesk Pro high-performance computers worth around RM1mil.

ACP Ab Aziz said police had retrieved and analysed CCTV footage from the three companies.
“We believe two men are behind the string of burglaries,” he said, adding that police are looking for Kiranan Surendran and Siva Kalaiselvan to facilitate investigations.

He said their last known addresses were 1-1-4, Jalan 10/42A, Taman Sejahtra, Segambut, and B-5-8, PPR Raya Permai, Jalan Landai Permai, Sungai Besi, respectively.

He urged those with information on the whereabouts of the two men to contact the police hotline at 03-2052 9999 or visit the nearest police station.

Is Malaysia a secular or Islamic state? It depends

An Islamic state can be defined as a type of government in which the primary basis for government is the Syariah, or Islamic law. Here, the Islamic law reigns supreme, as it is derived from the Quran, the Muslim holy scripture, and the Hadith, a record of the Prophet's deeds and words. At the centre of the Islamic state concept is the implementation of the hudud.

Salim Othman, The Straits Times (Singapore)

One fundamental question gripping Malaysians today is whether Malaysia is a secular or Islamic state.

The issue came to the fore when de facto Law Minister Nazri Aziz remarked in Parliament last month that "Malaysia has never been determined or declared as a secular state", and that the word "secular" was not even present in the Federal Constitution.

The minister stopped short of saying Malaysia is an Islamic state, in his reply to a question by a Member of Parliament from the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP).

His remarks were made in the context of ongoing polemic between the DAP and its rival, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), on the question of hudud - the Islamic penal code - and the goal of the DAP's coalition partner, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), to establish an Islamic state.

This has emerged because the Chinese party is warning voters that a vote for the DAP equals a vote for the PAS, which means a vote for an Islamic state and hudud. This is to scare non-Muslims away from voting for the DAP, because of the implication that the PAS would turn Malaysia into an Islamic state and introduce hudud if the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition - which includes the PAS and the DAP - forms the government after the general election due by April next year.

The MCA is capitalising on the fear of hudud's harsh punishments. It is also reminding voters of the danger that non-Muslims, who form 40 per cent of the population of 28 million, would be relegated to being second-class citizens if Malaysia becomes an Islamic state.

But the reality is quite different. There is only a remote chance that hudud will ever be implemented by the PAS if the PR were to take over the government, as the Islamic penal code and the concept of the Islamic state are not in the agenda of the coalition.

It is also unlikely to happen in a country where only 60 per cent of the population are Muslim. This is because hudud law can take place only if a constitutional amendment is made to provide for the strict Islamic penal code. That would need an endorsement by a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

While this secular-Islamic state debate may be purely a smokescreen in the tussle for votes between the opposition and the ruling party, the issue has rekindled interest in the identity of the country some half a century after its independence.

Did Malaysia's founding fathers envisage the country to be what it is today?

There is no consensus as to what kind of state Malaysia has become since its independence in August 1957 - whether secular or Islamic.

One definition of a secular state is that it upholds the concept of secularism whereby a state or country is neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. It treats all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and avoids preferential treatment for a citizen from a particular religion over another. More importantly, a secular state does not have a state religion or equivalent.

An Islamic state can be defined as a type of government in which the primary basis for government is the Syariah, or Islamic law. Here, the Islamic law reigns supreme, as it is derived from the Quran, the Muslim holy scripture, and the Hadith, a record of the Prophet's deeds and words. At the centre of the Islamic state concept is the implementation of the hudud.

Both Malaysia's first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman and third prime minister Tun Hussein Onn had said Malaysia is a secular state, contradicting Datuk Seri Nazri's remarks in Parliament that the country had no secularist roots.

Tunku Abdul Rahman had referred to Malaysia as a secular state, and not an Islamic one, on a number of occasions, including one when he told the Parliament on May 1, 1958: "I would like to make it clear that this country is not an Islamic state as it is generally understood; we merely provided that Islam shall be the official religion of the State."

But after 55 years of independence, Malaysia does not quite fit the standard definition of a secular state because Islam is declared the religion of the federation.

At the same time, the Constitution guarantees non-Muslims the freedom to practise the religions of their choice - but they cannot preach these to Muslims.

The state is therefore not neutral to religion as it gives preference to Islam. Malaysia's secular Constitution, as the supreme law of the land, allows certain aspects of Islamic laws to be implemented in the country, hence blurring its status as a secular state.

Is Malaysia then an Islamic state as declared by the country's fourth prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in September 2001?

Dr Mahathir, who had previously described Malaysia as an Islamic country, declared Malaysia to be an Islamic state to ward off attacks from the PAS, which had accused Umno (which has a Muslim membership base) of not fulfilling its religious obligation to set up an Islamic state.

Dr Mahathir argued that Malaysia could be an Islamic state even without the implementation of Islamic law. But this goes against most theories of the Islamic state which hold that the Syariah, in which the hudud is a significant component, lies at its heart.

But the former prime minister, who was against hudud as propounded by the PAS, maintained that Malaysia was an Islamic state as shown by its acceptance as a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The grouping includes countries which do not implement the hudud.

Dr Mahathir's concept of an Islamic Malaysia is the result of his Islamisation programme during his two decades of premiership. The expansion of religious bureaucracy is abundantly evident; so are the controls exerted on citizens' rights in the name of Islam, such as a prohibition against the use of the word "Allah" for God by Christians, a restriction on Malay bibles and a ban on proselytisation of Muslims.

Indeed, Malaysia has become so Islamic that even civil courts have ceded their jurisdiction to the Syariah courts in disputes involving Muslims under the country's dual legal system.

The secular-or-Islamic debate will emerge from time to time as the issue will be raised by the ruling party or opposition to score political points with voters.

And this is not a matter only between the Malay parties Umno and PAS. Increasingly, non-Malay parties are also caught up with the issue as their constituents remain wary of the Islamic-state concept and the implications of the country becoming more Islamic.

What Everyone Should Know About Operasi Lalang

By Kee Thuan Chye - Malaysian Digest

Last week, we marked the 25th anniversary of Operasi Lalang, that black day in our history that changed our country for the worst.

Like May 13, 1969, it was a Malaysian tragedy. And after all these years, we have yet to fully recover from it.

The beneficiaries of that notorious official move on Oct 27, 1987, to detain 106 Malaysians under the Internal Security Act (ISA) were – as journalist uppercaise has rightly pointed out in his blog – the then prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, and Umno.

Or, to be precise, Mahathir’s Umno Baru, which came about after the original Umno was declared illegal by the High Court in February 1988.

The year before, Mahathir was under siege as president of the party. The party was split – into Team A and Team B. And in April, he was challenged for the presidency by Tengku Razaleigh.

Members had come to dispute Mahathir’s leadership style. Team B, led by Razaleigh, criticised Mahathir for not consulting other Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders before making decisions.

As prime minister, he put his own people in charge of key operations. His privatisation schemes were given to his cronies. Team B pointed out that the New Economic Policy had failed to benefit poor Malays. Now, in hindsight, it’s even clearer to us why that was so.

Team B made an impact, and Mahathir won the election by polling 761 votes against Razaleigh’s 718, scraping through by a mere 43 votes.

Many people actually expected Razaleigh to win, so the suspicion of election-fixing arose. But Razaleigh accepted defeat and promised to support Mahathir if the latter did not embark on a witchhunt.

Of course, now that we know from hindsight the kind of man Mahathir is, it comes as no surprise that he embarked on a witchhunt anyway. He removed all Team B supporters from his Cabinet, and did the same at state and local government levels.

In June, a group of Umno members who came to be known as “the Umno 11” filed a suit to have the Umno elections declared illegal because they had found invalid voters among the delegates. These delegates were allegedly from Umno branches that had not been approved by the Registrar of Societies.

The court asked both sides to settle the issue themselves, but an amicable solution was not reached. So on Oct 19, the Umno 11 said it would press on with its legal action.

At the time, the tensions within Umno were being compounded by racial tensions outside. Chinese educationists had been upset by the Education Ministry’s appointing of non-Chinese-educated principals and senior assistants for Chinese schools. The custodians of Chinese education, Dong Jiao Zong – abetted by political parties like the MCA, Gerakan and the DAP – staged a protest against the move.

It immediately provoked a counter-rally by Umno Youth at which about 10,000 people turned up. This was the event at which Najib Razak, then the Umno Youth chief, famously unsheathed a keris and reportedly vowed that it would be bathed in Chinese blood.

The authorities seized on this potentially explosive situation – and the somewhat random act of an army private running amok in Chow Kit shooting his M16 at people – as a pretext to swoop down on “troublemakers”.

Operasi Lalang resulted in conveniently shutting away a good number of Opposition politicians and civil society activists who had been critical of the Government.

I use the words “pretext” and “conveniently” because most of those detained were not at all involved in the Dong Jiao Zong protest or the Umno Youth counter-rally.

Among them were members of Christian groups, environmentalists and anti-logging natives of Sarawak, and a Malay Christian convert. Why were they taken in?

Forty of the 106 even had their detentions extended by Mahathir for two years. They included DAP deputy chairman Karpal Singh, Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang and his son Guan Eng, some PAS members and numerous NGO activists.

On the other hand, the leaders of the Umno Youth rally who were brandishing banners that called for Chinese blood and proclaimed “May 13 has begun” were untouched. Why were they not taken in?

The Government also conveniently shut down three newspapers that had been critical of it. The Star, Watan and Sin Chew Jit Poh had their publishing permits suspended.

Purwaiz Alam, who was a journalist at The Star during its suspension, recalls in uppercaise’s blog the months of uncertainty he experienced, surviving on one-third pay and waiting anxiously for the newspaper to be forgiven. At one point, he and his wife had to sell their video cassette recorder just to get some extra cash.

“But on the first day that The Star re-opened,” he writes, “most of us knew things would never be the same any more. The journalism that we had learnt and knew well would wither away soon enough. As the months went by, it became obvious that my job (and those of hundreds of others) had been saved at a price, a very hefty price.”

His grim conclusion: “All of us are still paying for it 25 years later.”

Effectively, Operasi Lalang heralded the culture of fear that strangulated Malaysians for at least two decades.

It also provided the environment for Mahathir to rule in an even more authoritarian manner. He had scared off his opponents and silenced his critics, so now he was free to do what he wished.

He amended the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) to keep newspapers under tighter control.

He amended the Police Act to restrict our right to free assembly, making a police permit mandatory for public gatherings.

According to the book Malaysian Maverick by Barry Wain, Mahathir said his amendments were aimed at those who abused the Government’s “liberal attitude”.

“Being liberal to them is like offering a flower to a monkey,” Mahathir said, disdainfully. “The monkeys would rather tear the flower apart than appreciate its beauty.”

In 1988, as a result of his unhappiness over a few court judgements that favoured natural justice over his administration’s convenience, he amended the Federal Constitution to remove the independence of the judiciary.

There is much more to say about how Mahathir tampered with our sacred institutions in the years after Operasi Lalang, but it would take a book to cover it all.

Some people think another tragedy like Operasi Lalang could happen again – and not too far in the future. Especially when, as journalist Charles Chan who lived through the dark days of The Star’s suspension puts it, “desperate politicians face loss of power that opens the doors to prosecution for their abuses of power, corruption, etc”.

To prepare ourselves for such a contingency, we need to ask ourselves how we would respond if it should happen. Should we be docile like we were in 1987 or should we stand up for our rights?

What’s paramount is that we should find ways of preventing such tragedies in future.

First, we should not allow a despot to rise again. At the first sign of such a creature emerging, we should vote him out instead of supporting him for more than two decades.

Concomitant with that, we should not allow any ruling party the luxury of a two-thirds majority in Parliament so that they can amend the Constitution anyhow they like.

We should also be vigilant in not allowing any of the despot’s proxies to climb to the top.

Second, we must ensure that checks and balances are firmly in place, like a strong civil society – and, certainly, the reinstatement of the separation of powers among the executive, the legislative and the judiciary engraved in our Constitution. This means independence must be returned to the judiciary.

Third, we must repeal all laws that are against the spirit of democracy, like the PPPA, the Official Secrets Act, the Sedition Act (soon to be called the sweet-sounding National Harmony Act) and the Universities and University Colleges Act.

There is no ISA now but in its place is the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012. This has to go. We have enough laws to take care of terrorist threats.

Fourth, we must get rid of our feudal mentality. This perpetuates a culture of blind subservience to the leader and a culture of sycophancy, both of which empower the leader even more. Furthermore, ascent to leadership should be based on merit, not on an individual’s ability to suck up to the boss.

Fifth, Operasi Lalang is a tragedy that needs to be told and re-told so that those who don’t know about its ramifications may understand why Malaysia is in the mess it’s in. Those who have lived through that terrible day and its aftermath need to tell their children and grandchildren the real story about what happened and condemn the abuse of power and dictatorial rule.

Our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, gave us a lead when he said right after Operasi Lalang: “It’s not a question of the Chinese against the Government but of his own party, Umno, who are against him.”

The real story of Operasi Lalang is not about a potential racial war erupting. It is about a despot who wanted to hang on to power, shut out all opposition, and run the country to his own advantage.

That’s what everyone should know.

* Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the bestselling book No More Bullshit, Please, We’re All Malaysians, available in bookstores together with its Malay translation, Jangan Kelentong Lagi, Kita Semua Orang Malaysia.

Nazri’s “Blow Job” in Parliament

by Martin Jalleh

The Prime Minister has often preached about new winds of change and transformation blowing through Umno and into the country. There would be reform to deal corruption a deadly blow.

He has a very dependable Minister in his department who makes up for his frequent absence in Parliament, one who is very adept at blowing in the wind in the august House, i.e., providing answers that are as intangible (in meaning) as the wind – Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Nazri Aziz is also reputed for blowing a fuse and spewing caustic invective when he finds himself in an intellectual and logical void and when all sense and sensibility deserts him in parliament.

He blows his cool when challenged and when his trademark nonsense is made bare. Similarly, when his theatrics, temper tantrums, threats and taunts fail, he blows off steam, accompanied by low blows.

Occasionally, Parliament hears Nazri’s own blown up importance, the latest being his loud declaration and reminder to the Opposition that he is the “number one” minister of law – and of course, he knows everything about the law.

When the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal made it into the pages of the Auditor-General’s 2010 Report for failing to meet production targets, the Government and Umno must have thought that it would soon blow over. The people will forget.

But PKR’s strategic director Rafizi Ramli refused to allow it to blow itself out! He called on the government to act swiftly and sternly but the powers that be together with the enforcement agencies, preferred to blow hot and cold!

Najib’s initial response in Parliament over the scandal was that “production will soon increase”. The Agriculture Minister Noh bin Omar even called the project a “success”! Khairy Jamaluddin and Muhyiddin Yassin came up with justifications for the scandal that blew one’s mind!

Rafizi Ramli realized that the Government chose to blow cold on the scandal. Bolehland would have to wait till the cows come home before any serious action was taken! He released the very details of NFC’s offences and criminal improprieties – bit by bit, blow by blow!

The NFC scandal blew up in the Government’s face. It must have wished if only it could blow to smithereens the glaring and embarrassing evidence, like some people did to a poor lady six years ago!

NCF had blown a great part of the RM250 million of taxpayer’s money by using soft government loans meant to develop the cattle project to buy luxury apartments, expensive overseas trips and a Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class.

It was very evident that Najib and his Government blew it! It had dealt itself a severe blow to its credibility and integrity, But in a move that blew everyone’s mind, instead of acting swiftly and severely against the culprits in NFC, the Government chose to exact revenge on Rafizi Ramli.

In its continued justification of such a shameless act, the self-proclaimed “number one” minister of law was in Parliament recently blowing smoke with a lecture on the difference between “whistleblowers and “trumpet-blowers”.

Whilst blowing his own trumpet, Nazri implied that Rafizi was a “trumpet-blower” and was not accorded protection under the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) 2010. In other words, if you blow the whistle to parties outside of (Government) enforcement agencies you will be not be given protection!

Nazri also warned opposition MPs, whom he said “were fond of exposing sensitive information”, to read the Officials Secrets Act (OSA) and the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) carefully so that they would not take a wrong step and be charged in court for it. Alas, why have a WPA when the Government, its cronies and cohorts, are “protected” by the OSA and the BAFIA?

Little did Nazri realize that he was indirectly highlighting the common and open secret – that the Government has all along been blowing a lot of hot air with its WPA, passed in December 2010 which the Government claimed was meant to encourage more to expose corrupt activities!

Upon closer scrutiny, the WPA is just one of those false (and faulty) progressive laws promoted by the PM (and Nazri). The political persecution of Rafizi Ramli who played a sterling role in blowing the lid on the litany of gross abuses by Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s family marks a serious blow to the purported anti-corruption campaign launched by the PM.

Nazri may smirk all he wants in Parliament but he is helping to “blow” this government away, come the next General Election!

(1 Nov. 2012)

Death penalty not effective deterrent, says EU rep

The Sun
by Michelle Chun and Dorothy Cheng

PETALING JAYA (Oct 31, 2012): The severity of punishment is not as effective a deterrent to crime as the certainty of punishment being carried out, said a political affairs expert from the European Union.

EU delegation to Malaysia political affairs representative Ivo Apostolov said a person would be more likely to commit a crime as long as he believed he would not be caught even if the punishment is death.

"But if one knows he will definitely be caught, he would be less willing to commit a crime even if the punishment is less severe," Apostolov said at the Taylor's University Law Awareness Day 2012 today.

He said crime is still on the rise even with the death penalty, and there is no proof it prevents crime effectively.

"In Malaysia the number of drug traffickers caught at airports keeps rising, which is why the government is considering a review of the death penalty for this offence," he said.

He also said the death penalty is contrary to the values of a nation that upholds every person's right to life.

"Before the concept of justice there was only the vendetta of vengeance, but what we want to show is that we are a humane society that respects and values every life.

"If we expect equal punishment for every crime, the cycle would never end as an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

Malaysia is one of 58 countries which still retains the death penalty for murder, drug trafficking, treason and waging war against the King. More than 900 people are presently on death row.

Many Malaysians reportedly favour the death penalty as an appropriate way of deterring crime and punishing offenders.

Meanwhile, the EU, Malaysian Bar Council and the National Human Rights Commission have organised a pleadings competition among universities to raise awareness on the death sentence as mandatory punishment in Malaysia.

Government Committed To Helping All Schools - Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 1 (Bernama) -- The government is sincere in helping all types of school in the country and channels allocations fairly, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today.

He said the allocation for the education sector provided by the government all these while showed its commitment to turn out an educated society.

He said this was because the education sector was among the most critical catalysts in transforming Malaysia towards a high income nation.

"We are proud that the government always places priority on education especially in the context of funding. And from the allocations the government can set aside every year, education receives the highest amount," he said.

He said this before handing over a replica cheque of RM38.3 million for 80 of 196 selected national-type and missionary schools nationwide, at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) On Pong, here.

The cheque was contributed by the Community Chest, an independent, apolitical and non-ideological charitable organisation.

Najib said since 2009, the government had allocated more than RM1.2 billion for the infrastructural development of Chinese, Tamil and Missionary government- aided schools.

He added that this included an allocation of RM100 million each to the government-aided schools in question, through Budget 2012 and 2013.

The Prime Minister said the government was aware more needed to be done to strengthen the education sector in terms of schools' physical and infrastructural development and boosting the quality of teaching and learning.

Najib said it was hoped that the cooperation between the government and non-governmental organisations in assisting school would be a continuous effort towards developing the education sector.

"I am proud of the dedication demonstrated by Community Chest in working with the government to channel funds to schools nationwide," said Najib.

The Prime Minister said cooperation between the Community Chest and the government clearly fulfilled promises through contributions of RM100.2 million since the welfare fund was launched in September last year.

"This is our principle, whereby promises are made to the people and fulfilled for the people," he said.

Also present were Community Chest Board of Trustees member Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong, Deputy Foreign Minister A.Kohillan Pillay, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek and PPP president Datuk M.Kayveas.