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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ex-cop: I was made the scapegoat for Kugan's death

(Malaysiakini) A former constable accused of causing hurt to police detainee A Kugan has told the Kuala Lumpur High Court that he was made a scapegoat by the former Subang Jaya OCPD.

V Navindran, 32, the first defence witness to testify in the RM100 million death-in-custody suit by Kugan’s mother, also told the court that lock-up rules were not followed with regard to Kugan’s detention.

NONENavindran (right), who was found guilty by the sessions court in Petaling Jaya last June and jailed three years, said he was not on duty when Kugan was said to be suffering from breathing difficulties about 11.40am on Jan 20, 2009.

“I was supposed to begin work from noon until 4pm that day. At the time, Kugan had been placed in the care of Detective Korporal Silvem and Lans Koperal Sani (full names not cited). So, I do not know what happened to Kugan.

“I arrived early for work that day and saw that Silvem and Sani were guarding and interrogating Kugan.
“Suddenly Silvem, who looked panicky, asked me to find ASP Rodney to seek medical help as Kugan was complaining of difficulty in breathing,” Navindran said in reply to questions from Ramesh Sivakumar, who is his lawyer along with Md Nor Derus.

After seeking Rodney’s permission, he said, he went to a nearby clinic to call a doctor, who then verified that Kugan was dead.
Kugan’s mother, N Indra had named former Selangor police chief and present deputy inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar, Navindran, and Subang Jaya OCPD (the late) ACP Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar.

Prior to being charged in court in October 2009, Navindran said Zainal Rashid had called in all police personnel involved in the custody and control of Kugan.

“This was to determine who among us would be the scapegoat in this case. Finally, I was chosen to be the scapegoat although I was not a willing participant in this,” he said, explaining that no less than 10 people had access to suspects at the Taipan USJ police station.
Five-hour meeting with OCPD

In the afternoon session, Navindran, replying during the cross-examination from lawyer Sivarasa Rasiah, who was appearing for Indra along with Latheefa Koya and L Bani Prakash, said the meeting with Zainal Rashid was held several days after Kugan’s death.
The meeting, he said, began at 2pm and finished at 7pm where Zainal Rashid said the matter could not be covered-up and he wanted to find out who should take the blame for it.

“There was also an officer with the rank of ASP from D5 (the police legal department) in attendance. Zainal Rashid said it would be a big loss for the force if all of us were to be charged for Kugan’s death and he wanted volunteers to be made a scapegoat.

“If there were any volunteers who were willing to take the blame, the police would handle their welfare, and ACP Zainal Rashid said he was willing to pay the lawyers’ expenses,” said Navindran.

However, the witness said as there were no volunteers, the police acted to narrow down the suspects towards causing Kugan’s death.

Navindran said somehow Silvem informed the superior officer that he was the last person to be with Kugan, whereas as mentioned it was not during his watch.
The witness further produced evidence that earlier in the day, he was not at the police station as he had gone out to settle his bills and was only supposed to report for duty at noon on Jan 20, 2009, but he had came in earlier.

Kugan died at about 11.45am on Jan 20, 2009.

Navindran said 13 people who were implicated in Kugan’s death were transferred to do desk duties at the Selangor police contingent headquarters.

However, he said he suspected that he would be made the scapegoat as the others soon left and returned to their tasks, while he remained at headquarters doing desk duty until he was charged.
‘No lock-up in Taipan police station’
Navindran also said Kugan had been subjected to continuous interrogation, with officers taking turns doing so, following his arrest on Jan 15 for suspected car theft.
He said any member of the D9 (serious crimes unit) could go in and out of the Taipan police station and would be exposed to Kugan, as there was no lock-up there.

Navindran said the supply of food and drinks to suspects was done at the discretion and sympathy of police personnel in charge, as they sometimes had to fork out their own money for this.

“Any police station that does not have a lock-up will not have food or drinks prepared. Our superiors were informed but they did not do anything to solve the problem.”
Navindran further said that under lock-up rules, the suspects are to be placed in the lock-up, especially at the Puchong police station, after 6pm and that they can only be brought out with the consent of the investigating officer.

However, he acknowledged that this was not done with regards to Kugan, as he remained at the Taipan police station for the duration of his arrest and until his death.

Senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad appeared for the other defendants.

Hearing continues before Justice VT Singham on Nov 29.

Kugan's death - I was told to plead guilty, says ex-cop

Former constable V Navindran, who has been convicted of causing hurt to A Kugan, told the High Court in Kuala Lumpur today that his superior officer appointed a lawyer for him and this lawyer told him to plead guilty to the charge.

Navindran, who named the lawyer as ‘Datuk Salehuddin', said the lawyer told him that he (Salehuddin) had been appointed by his boss that he should plead guilty to the charge in the sessions court in Petaling Jaya that day three years ago.

The lawyer would then try to negotiate on the punishment.

NONEThe 32-year-old former constable, who now works as a salesman, said he and his family had not appointed any lawyer for the case when he was charged on Oct 1, 2009, and was surprised to see Salehuddin lead a team of lawyers to represent him.

The sessions court in Petaling Jaya on June 11 this year found Navindran guilty on two charges of causing hurt, resulting in the death of Kugan, a car theft suspect, at the Taipan police station in USJ-Subang Jaya on Jan 16, 2009.

He was jailed for three years on each charge, with the sentences to run concurrently. However, Navindran was allowed a stay of sentence pending appeal.

Replying during cross-examination by Sivarasa Rasiah, who is appearing for Kugan's mother N Indra, Navindran said what he had testified earlier in the day about him being made a scapegoat and details about the lawyer appointed for him were new and not raised during his criminal trial.

"(Subang Jaya) OCPD Asst Comm Zainal Rashid Abu Bakar, wanted me to be the scapegoat and he promised that he will pay the fees for the lawyers.

"Then, after some time, on Oct 1, I was told to appear in court and that was the time I met Salehuddin. I did not agree to plead guilty, and after that I appointed another lawyer to represent me," Navindran told the court.

Although Navindran did not give the full name of the lawyer at the hearing today, a search revealed that one Salehuddin Saidin appeared for the constable on the day he was charged.
‘Not an afterthought’

Kugan’s mother, N Indra, had named former Selangor police chief and present deputy inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar, Navindran, Zainal Rashid, the IGP, and the government as defendants.
Navindran, when cross-examined further by one of the government’s lawyers, senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad, denied that what he said in court today over being made a scapegoat and what Salehuddin had said was an afterthought.

He agreed that these matters were not brought up during his criminal trial at the defence stage, but he maintained that this was the truth.

Asked whether he had informed the lawyers representing him later in the criminal trial, Navindran said yes, but the matter was not brought up in the criminal trial.

“The claim that my testimony today is an afterthought is not true as this was how it happened with regard to my criminal case,” he said.

Navindran however, agreed with Azizan that he should have brought those matters up with Zainal Rashid and the Sessions Court, if he did not agree to being charged or contesting the charge.
How Kugan’s interrogation was conducted

Navindran also testified that Kugan had been subject to long hours of interrogation, sometimes lasting for eight hours, with little break.

He explained that he played a minor role in the interrogation where his superior Detective Corporal Awtar Singh would normally ask the questions to the car theft suspect.

Navindran admitted that the police treatment of Kugan’s interrogation seemed rather odd as there was no one particular team interrogating the suspect as according to the standard operating procedure.

“There were four or five teams interrogating Kugan between Jan 15 and the day of his death on Jan 20, 2009. At times the suspect would be given a short break to rest and at times food and water would be purchased to be given to the suspect,” he said.

Asked by Sivarasa further, when Kugan was handed under the care and control of other officers, it was written that the suspect was received well.

Quizzed further on the 45 wounds suffered by Kugan as highlighted in the second post-mortem performed on the body, Navindran said he could not explain how the wounds came about.
Lost belongings

Earlier in the day, Kugan’s mother Indra testified that there were cash and gold missing from his son, after his car was returned to the family by the police.

NONEIndra (left) stated that RM4,000 cash was missing from the car, along with Kugan’s personal bag and another RM500 in coins.

“There was also a gold chain worn around his neck which cost RM3,000 and two gold rings which went missing. None of these gold items were found when the body was surrendered to the family at the Serdang hospital mortuary,” she said.

Indra said she was certain those belongings were either in the car or on Kugan as she had last seen them in the car a day before Kugan was arrested.

Hearing before Justice VT Singham continues on Nov 29.

Kalau parti putus tanding di Sabah saya ok

Nurul Izzah wants Jais to haul up Utusan, too


Egyptian woman brutally assaulted in downtown Cairo

 
Egypt women protesting in Cairo, but now facing sexual 
violence daily in country. -image courtesy WNN
CAIRO: It lasted only a few minutes, but by the end Wafa’a, a 33-year-old maid working in downtown Cairo, was left in shambles. By the time Bikyamasr.com arrived, she was in tears and her clothes nearly torn off, revealing her bra. She attempted to cover herself with a shawl she had in her bag.

According to the cleaning woman, after leaving the flat where she cleans on a daily basis, just off Qasr el-Aini street, she headed toward the main street, but was surrounded by three young men who began taunting her.

“They just came to me and started yelling. They called me nigger and other horrible things,” she began, trying to calm her shaking hands. “They they started grabbing me. My breasts and my crouch. One said he would rape me.”

She said that those on the street nearby did nothing and didn’t intervene as she was attacked. Finally, a young man shoved the others away and protected her.

“Without him, I don’t know what would have happened,” she said, still in obvious shock.

Sexual violence in Egypt is nothing new and has been on the rise dramatically since the January 2011 uprising that ousted the former government.

The Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) is hoping that a draft law they sent to President Mohamed Morsi late in August will be the forerunner for a draft law that will criminalize sexual harassment on Egypt’s streets.

The same draft had been sent to government officials in recent years, but the ECWR said that they have received no response from any official on the matter.

In September, the head of the National Council of Women (NCW) Mervat Tallawy said that Egyptian women are harassed, on average, “7 times every 200 meters.”

Her comments came as the issue of Egypt’s sexual harassment epidemic continued to make international headlines.

June this year saw some of the worst attacks against women, with both foreigners and Egyptians reporting that they had been sexually assaulted in the square take place following the disbanding of Parliament.

“I was walking in the square and was hoping to be part of the calls for the SCAF to leave power when a man behind me grabbed by butt and started saying disgusting things to me,” one woman told Bikyamasr.com.

“He asked if I was a slut and then swore at me when I yelled at him,” she added.

Others also reported being harassed on social media networks, highlighting the growing concern facing women in the country.

Earlier in the month, an anti-sexual harassment demonstration organized by over 20 Egyptian women’s groups in protest against the recent escalation of assaults in Cairo’s Tahrir Square was attacked about an hour and half after it began by unknown troublemakers.

The participants reported being attacked by a mob of “thugs” who attempted to throw rocks and glass at them, but the clash was over quickly as volunteers securing the protest intervened to stop it.

This was not the first time a women’s rights march was attacked in Tahrir Square.

Last March, and on International Women’s Day, a march of tens of women was attacked by a cynical mob of men who did not like women protesting for more rights.

Several female protesters were injured and one woman had to have 8 stitches in her head. Almost all of them were groped and sexually assaulted in the attack.

A 2008 study by the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights (ECWR) found that well over two-thirds of Egyptian women are sexually harassed daily in the country.

The participants held signs that read “It is my right to protest safely,” “Groping your sister is shameful for the square” and “Be a man and protect her instead of harassing her.”

“We are fed up,” protester Mai Abdel Hafez, 24, told Bikyamasr.com.

“We came to deliver a message that it is our right to protest and we will not avoid the square in fear of harassment,” she said right before the attack took place.

But with the Eid holiday just passed, women find it difficult to forget the beginning of holidays in Egypt, or “fear season,” when dozens of young men and boys grobed and mobbed women outside a downtown Cairo theater.

That event, in 2006, highlighted the issue of sexual harassment and sexual violence against women in the country, spurring campaigns and online debate. However, much of that debate and anger over the treatment of women seems to be silenced after a day or two, with many returning to what they call “more important issues.”

The issue of sexual harassment and violence has left many Egyptian women remaining at home during the holiday season this year.

And on the first morning of Eid el-Fitr, groups of young men were seen by Bikyamasr.com antagonizing women on downtown Cairo’s Qasr el-Aini street, where they were getting in the face of female passersby.

“They just yelled horrible things at us and asked us for sex,” said one of the women. “This is what Egypt has become for us, especially during holidays.”

Bersih not looking for an Arab Spring, Ambiga tells CNN’s Amanpour

Ambiga stressed that Malaysians don’t take to the street so easily unless it is for a very good reason. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — The Bersih 2.0 movement does not want to cause an Arab Spring in Malaysia, Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan told CNN in a rare interview on international television aired here this morning.

She stressed that the election watchdog group she heads only wants a clean polls process to ensure a democratically-elected government.

Ambiga told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour during the New York interview that Bersih 2.0 is not opposed to the possibility of the present government returning to power after the next polls, provided that its leaders are elected fairly.

“Well, let me tell you where we’re coming from. We don’t want an Arab Spring,” the activist said to the renowned CNN chief international correspondent.

Ambiga was being interviewed alongside another pro-reform fighter, Ukraine’s Eugenia Tymoshenko, the daughter of the jailed former prime minister Julia Tymoshenko, on “Amanpour”, the nightly foreign affairs programme on CNN International which Amanpour anchors for.

Both were described by Amanpour as “brave women” and “brave voices for democracy”.

“We want to choose our leaders through clean and fair elections. We want to do it through the ballot box, which is why the government really, if they want peaceful transition of any sort — it can be the same government,” Ambiga said, according to a transcript of the interview available on CNN.com.

Amanpour had asked Ambiga if she felt that Malaysia would witness the same uprising seen over the past two years in the Middle East, pointing to the string of pro-democracy protests that the prominent lawyer has led since 2007.

The process is important because what it needs to reflect is the will of the people. It’s about legitimacy. It’s about honouring the right of the voter to vote,” she said.

The Arab Spring or the Arab revolution has seen rulers forced from power in several countries across the Arab world including Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen, in a wave of anti-government street demonstrations.

“It can be the same people coming in,” insisted Ambiga, stressing again that Bersih 2.0 does not want a Malaysian version of the Arab Spring.

“They have to allow it to happen through clean and fair elections. That’s what we’re asking for. We want to bring change through the ballot box, if there is to be change at all,” she said.

Ambiga has so far led three Bersih demonstrations in the capital city, amassing a crowd of thousands in a march for free and fair elections.

The first rally in 2007 was partly credited for the colossal losses suffered by the ruling Barisan Nasional government during Elections 2008, where it failed to recapture its coveted two-thirds parliamentary majority and even ceded four states and Kelantan to the opposition.

But every Bersih protest had resulted in scenes of chaos as the government deployed riot police to stop protestors from marching on the streets of the capital through the use of tear gas and chemical-laced water.

Since the protests, Ambiga and her fellow Bersih 2.0 steering committee members have been the target of attacks by pro-BN hardliners, some of whom have even held mini protests outside the leader’s home and hurled threats and racial slurs at her.

But asked if she was afraid, Ambiga told Amanpour that she had little choice in the matter.

“I mean, the choices are this: you either give into the intimidation, which means you undermine the whole movement, or you stand up to it.”

She pointed out that such “oppressive conduct” by those in power was a clear indication that the government saw the Bersih movement and the crowd of thousands it had amassed for the rally as “a threat”.

Ambiga also made it a point to correct Amanpour on the size of the crowd at the last Bersih rally in Kuala Lumpur on April 28, saying some 200,000 had attended, instead of the 20,000 that the correspondent had earlier suggested.

“Malaysians don’t take to the street easily. So if they have, there is a good reason for it.”

Tapah not a sure bet for BN

Former Umno state rep Mohd Ariff Sabri says that BN will win only seven parliamentary seats in Perak.

PETALING JAYA: A former Barisan Nasional state assemblyman and popular blogger Mohd Ariff Sabri today claimed that the Tapah parliamentary constituency was not a sure bet for BN and that the constituency could fall to Pakatan Rakyat if the opposition pact wins over 20% Indian support in the tussle for the seat.

Ariff, the former state representative of Pulau Manis, in Pekan, Pahang said the Tapah parliamentary seat considered to be safe by the BN could fall if only 20% of Indian voters there reject the ruling coalition and opt for Pakatan.

In his latest posting titled “GE 13: Targeting Perak”, Ariff , who runs the “Sakmongkol AK47″ blog, also said that BN will win only seven parliamentary seats in the state.

Perak has in total 24 parliamentary seats. At the 2008 general election, BN had won 13 seats.

However, Ariff felt that out of the 13 parliamentary seats, the ruling coalition stood a good chance of winning only seven seats.

At the 2008 general election, MIC, the largest Indian-based political party in the country, managed to secure Tapah through its vice-president and rising star M Saravanan.

The party was allocated two parliamentary and four state seats in Perak. The 2008 general election also witnessed the fall of then MIC supremo S Samy Vellu in Sungai Siput.

Saravanan won the seat defeating PKR’s Tan Seng Toh with a 3,020-vote majority. He was then appointed Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Deputy Minister.

Despite political pundits’ belief that Tapah was a safe BN seat, a Tapah DAP leader agreed with Ariff.

“There is a good chance that Pakatan might win in Tapah at the next polls. Nothing is impossible in the coming election,” he said, declining to be named.

He said the Pakatan candidate needs to “attack ” the Malay ground to ensure a sound victory in Tapah.

Pakatan needs Malay support

Tapah is relatively a small constituency in terms of number of registered voters. It has about 38,000 voters with Malays constituting about 47%, Chinese 32%, Indians and Orang Asli 20% and 1% respectively.

“With the current political situation, Saravanan can forget Chinese votes. But, he has good relations with the Malays and Indians. So, Pakatan needs the Malays to capture the seat. Saravanan has the local Indian support. That is his strong point,” the DAP man added.

He said the opposition would not play up local issues in the run-up to the polls as Saravanan has done a lot of ground work to strengthen his position in the constituency.

“His downfall could be due to national politics of the BN. The current national political scenario does not favour the BN… this could work against Saravanan,” he added.

He said Pakatan had been conducting roadshows and ceramahs on a weekly basis in Tapah, but all issues raised touched on national politics.

“The crowd is attracted to issues like the National Feedlot Centre [NFC] fiasco and the RM40 million political fund to Sabah Umno,” he added.

While Saravanan is almost certain to be the BN candidate for Tapah, Pakatan is mulling over its candidate for the seat.

Speculation is rife that Tapah PKR deputy chairman Dr Yap Thong would be fielded to take on Saravanan at the next general election.

‘Do the Dappan’ not in Deepavali spirit

The Deepavali advertisement by Petronas for this year drew ire from YouTube viewers, who said the dance routine in the clip does not reflect the spirit of the festival of light.
VIDEO INSIDE

PETALING JAYA: The Deepavali advertisement by Petronas for this year has drawn flak from viewers, merely two days after being posted on YouTube.

Titled “Do the Dappan”, the clip that runs for over three minutes shows a youth named Raj doing the Dappan Kuthu dance and getting unlikely people joining in the fun due to the catchy tune.

Petronas defines the Dappan Kuthu dance as an energetic dance routine which is prominent in Tamil cinema.

“Deepavali is a celebration of the inner light within us — the positive energy that brings happiness to the world. So this year, Petronas reassures us that no gesture is too small to bring a little happiness to the lives of others,” posted Petronas on the clip.

The video had since drew 237 comments but most viewers did not feel the “light” from the clip.

Commentator Ravin Daran posted yesterday saying,” Stupid concept!! It’s like disgracing the Indian community. They shouldn’t advertise it. There is no creative and innovative thinking. There is nothing showing Indian norms and culture. This video is piece of *&^%.”

His comment received 20 likes on the web portal.

Another commentator named Navanivashini Nadarajah said that Deepavali is a day to celebrate an occasion when evil was vanquished by the forces of good.

“Dressing up like that and dancing is never our culture. Dappan dance is performed among certain community in India but it is never our culture. Yasmin’s ideas captured the essence of our culture. Not only our Indian culture but also the Asian culture,” she said.

Commentator Gopi Kupuchity said that although he enjoyed watching the peppy music, he felt that the advertisement failed to depict the true meaning of Deepavali.

“It is totally based on the mentality of idolising Indian movie songs until failing to deliver the message of celebrating Deepavali,” said Gopi.

The advertisement is scheduled to be released on television this weekend.

FMT failed to get comments from Petronas on the matter despite numerous attempts.

Anwar challenges Najib to contest in Marang

He says the PM should contest in Marang as PAS president Abdul Hadi had offered to stand in Pekan, held by Najib.

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today issued a challenge to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to contest in the Terengganu parliamentary constituency of Marang held by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in the next general election.

He said the prime minister should contest in Marang as Abdul Hadi had offered to stand in the Pahang parliamentary constituency of Pekan held by Najib.

Asked whether Abdul Hadi would definitely contest in Pekan, Anwar, when approached at the lobby of Parliament House, said: “We have yet to discuss the matter. He (Abdul Hadi) had said that he would abide by the decision of PAS. Let’s wait for the party decision.”

Abdul Hadi had reportedly said that he would contest wherever the party wanted him to, including in Pekan.

Najib had said yesterday he did not think that Abdul Hadi would contest in Pekan.

- Bernama

Hadi reiterates Pekan wish

The PAS president says that he will even contest in Sabah or Sarawak in the general election if the party sends him there.

KUALA LUMPUR: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang today reiterated that he was ready to challenge Najib Tun Razak in the Pekan parliamentary seat in the next general election if his party gives him the green light.

“If my party’s central working committee tells me to contest in Pekan, I’ll do it.

“Even if they send me to Sabah or Sarawak, I will abide by their decision,” Hadi said at a press conference held at the party headquarters.

Also present were PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, vice-presidents Mahfuz Omar and Husam Musa and secretary-general Mustafa Ali.

Hadi was recently reported as saying that he was ready to contest in Pekan. He is currently the Marang MP.

Former Kita president Zaid Ibrahim had also expressed interest to wrest the seat from Najib if Hadi decides not to contest there.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that the duo would not be able to defeat Najib at his stronghold.

“Let them [Hadi and Zaid] come. The more the merrier,” Muhyiddin was reported as saying.

Other Umno leaders had called Hadi’s offer to contest in Pekan as a mere political ploy.

Earlier today, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said Najib should instead contest in Marang against Hadi.

No comment on Nurul’s statement

On another matter, Hadi refused to comment on PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar’s recent statement on religious freedom, saying he did not have much information on the matter.

“I can’t comment based on media reports alone as some of them are inaccurate.

“In Islam, even if there is one percent doubt on any matter, we must get more details first,” he said.

On Saturday, Nurul was reported as saying that freedom of religion should be accorded to all in a forum titled “Islamic state? Which vision? Whose responsibility.”

However, she clarified her statement yesterday, saying that a Muslim is bound by the Syariah principles.

When asked if PAS would meet Nurul on the matter, Hadi said,”We have more pressing matters at hand, like preparing for the general election.”

PAS muktamar

Hadi also spoke about the PAS annual general meeting (muktamar) which will be held from Nov 16 to 18, at Dewan PUTIK, Pengkalan Chepa, Kelantan.

He said that among the issues that will be discussed in the muktamar would be the preparation for the 13th general election.

“All the motions brought in by PAS leaders are being scrutinised by a committee, led by party information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man,” said Hadi.

Pakatan to probe Batu Caves temple boss’ wealth

DAP says Nadarajah’s riches will be given to poor Indians if found to be ill gotten.

SEREMBAN: Batu Caves temple chairman R Nadarajah will be among the first targets of investigation into public figures suspected of accumulating ill gotten wealth if Pakatan Rakyat takes over Putrajaya after the general election, according to DAP.

If Nadarajah’s guilt were proven, the wealth he had wrongfully acquired would be confiscated and returned to poor Indians, especially those who have disabled children, said Senawang state assemblyman P Gunasekaran, who sits in DAP’s Central Working Committee.

“Nadarajah has been the Batu Caves temple chairman for the past 37 years and we believe he has extraordinary assets in Malaysia and overseas, like in Tamil Nadu and Australia,” he said.

The Pakatan programme to investigate the assets of public figures holding extraordinary wealth was announced last weekend in Seremban Jaya, during the Pakatan rally billed as Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat.

Gunasekaran spoke at that rally, promising his large rain-soaked audience a “real Deepavali” with the toppling of Barisan Nasional from the seat of power.

His speech was enthusiastically received by the mixed-race crowd, estimated to number about 30,000.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang also delivered a well-received speech.

Lim promised that Pakatan would abolish the Automatic Enforcement System (AES) to catch traffic offenders and replace it with “our own AES system to catch individuals with extraordinary wealth”.

“We will automatically charge them in court,” he said.

“Are you ready for the change?” he asked, and the biggest ever crowd for any Pakatan ceramah in Negeri Sembilan responded with a resounding “Yes.”

Lim used the occasion to mock Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, saying he held two records—for being the longest-serving Malaysian premier without a popular mandate, and for taking the longest time to dissolve Parliament.

He predicted that Najib would set his third record once the results of the 13th general election were in. “He will be the last prime minister from Umno.”

Tamil schools being shortchanged by contractors

A DAP senator claims that government appointed contractors are building Tamil schools below the value of the contract.

GEORGE TOWN: Education Ministry-nominated contractors are building Tamil schools below the value of the contract.

DAP Senator S Ramakrishnan alleged that more often the development projects failed to cater to the actual needs of Tamil schools.

He suggested that the solution would be to dedicate and liaise with respective Tamil schools’ board of governors to carry out the projects.

He called on the federal government to stop engaging MIC and NGOs because school boards were definitely in a better position to contribute to develop and maintain school infrastructure and facilities.

He said the boards of governors comprised ex-school boys, representatives from the schools’ parents and teachers associations’ members (PIBG), contributors and trustees.

“They are dedicated and honestly want to contribute to Tamil school development,’ he said in a statement here today.

Under the present system, the Education Ministry which manages the funds, will award Suria Cooperative nominated contractors to built, renovate and repair work in Tamil schools.

But due to the Ali Baba pyramid system, he said Tamil schools ended up short-changed as the contractors’ finished work worth was often found far below the original contract value.

For instance, he said the federal government may allot RM50,000 for a particular Tamil school project and the ministry’s main contractor may engage a sub-contractor to carry out the project for RM20,000.

He said the sub-contractor in turn would dish out a RM15,000 valued job and pocket RM5,000 as profit.

“An unworthy RM15,000 job was finally done for a RM50,000 contract.

“But BN federal ministers would propagate that RM50,000 had been spent for a Tamil school when the Indian community was actually shortchanged,” said Ramakrishnan.

He said there were cases in which government contractors charged more than private ones for similar Tamil school project.

He cited the case of SJK (T) Ladang Semenyih, which wanted a three-storey building with 12 classrooms, one each resource , multimedia, meeting and operation, counseling, prefect, cooperative, treatment and recovery room, one each living skills and art classrooms, and several toilets.

He said private contractors were willing to carry out the project for RM1.7 million.

But, he said the ministry had engaged a contractor to build a two-storey building with six classrooms for RM1.5 million instead.

“Yet again it the government has failed to address a Tamil school’s needs.

Nurul Izzah mahu saman

http://www.sinarharian.com.my/polopoly_fs/1.43871.1335611924!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_400/image.jpg(Sinar Harian) - Naib Presiden PKR, Nurul Izzah Anwar mahu mengambil tindakan perundangan ekoran laporan media beliau mengeluarkan kenyataan rakyat tidak harus dipaksa mengamalkan ajaran tertentu termasuk kepada orang Melayu.
"Peguam akan mengambil langkah seterusnya," ujar Nurul Izzah menerusi laman mikro Twitter milik beliau.

Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais) semalam memaklumkan mungkin akan memanggil Ahli Parlimen Lembah pantai itu untuk membantu siasatan.

Pengarah Jais, Datuk Marzuki Hussin berkata, tindakan itu hanya boleh diambil sekiranya pihaknya menerima maklumat berhubung perkara tersebut.

“(Kenyataan itu) serupa juga dengan kenyataan semua agama adalah sama. Ia salah, mana boleh semua agama sama. Islam lain, Tuhan sudah kata Islam adalah sebaik-baik agama.

“Kalau ada rakaman itu minta dipanjangkan kepada kita. Tak semestinya ada laporan, maklumat (sudah) cukup, kita boleh bertindak. (Setakat ini), kita tak dengar maklumat itu lagi,” katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika diminta mengulas mengenai kenyataan Nurul Izzah yang didakwa membuat kenyataan itu sebagai menjawab soalan peserta sama ada orang Melayu perlu diberikan kebebasan beragama sama seperti orang bukan Melayu dalam satu forum di Subang Jaya, Sabtu lalu.

Terdahulu media melaporkan, Nurul Izzah dipetik sebagai berkata: “Apabila anda bertanya saya, tiada paksaan dalam beragama… mengapa sesetengah pihak rasa bersalah, perkara ini (kebebasan agama) hanya terpakai kepada orang bukan Melayu, sepatutnya diguna pakai secara sama rata."

Bagaimanapun, beliau dilaporkan tidak menyatakan orang Melayu sepatutnya diberikan hak dari segi undang-undang berkaitan kebebasan beragama.

Nurul Izzah menerusi blog beliau, www.nurulizzah.com berkata, beliau mengucapkan ribuan terima kasih atas pertanyaan lanjut yang diterima beliau ekoran kenyataannya di dalam forum “Islamic State: Which version? Whose responsibility?” sebagai seorang panelis.

"Sewaktu sesi soal jawab, salah satu soalan ditanya kepada saya berkait isu paksaan dalam agama melibatkan masyarakat Melayu.

"Jawapan saya menegaskan ungkapan – “Tidak ada paksaan dalam agama (Islam)….” – daripada ayat suci Al Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 256. Ungkapan ini merangkumi seluruh umat manusia.

"Namun ditambah, saya berpegang pada pendirian umum sedia ada, iaitu setelah memeluk Islam, seorang Muslim tertakluk dengan Syariat Islam; sebagaimana seorang warganegara tertakluk dengan Perlembagaan Persekutuan,"katanya.

Menurut pemimpin PKR itu lagi, beliau kesal terhadap percubaan memutarbelitkan kenyataannya yang kelihatan seolag-olah meremehkan soal aqidah "atau mudah menerima orang Islam yang memilih untuk murtad."

"Saya cenderung mendukung program pendidikan dan dakwah untuk memperkukuh aqidah dan meningkat kefahaman terhadap Islam.

"Saya berdoa agar Allah SWT memberi petunjuk dan hidayah kepada semua, demi kesejahteraan bersama," tulis beliau lagi.

Ekoran kenyataannya Nurul Izzah turut dikecam oleh Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) Pahang yang menganggap beliau sebagai menggadai agama.

Ketua Penerangannya, Muhammad Faiz Hashim berkata, kenyataan itu tidak wajar dikeluarkan seorang Islam seperti Nurul Izzah, sebaliknya beliau perlu mempertahankannya.

Man alleged to have insulted Johor ruler re-arrested under different charge


(The Star) - Police have re-arrested a 27-year-old man alleged to have posted insulting remarks on his Facebook page against the Johor Sultan.

State police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said the suspect was detained again after police failed to get an extension on the first remand order from the court.

He added that police have opened two investigation papers against the suspect.

"We are investigating the case under Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act as well as under the Sedition Act.

"The first remand was under the Communication and Multimedia Act but the suspect is now re-arrested under the Sedition Act," he said.

[VIDEO] Morsi During Campaign: Conversion of Religion Is Allowed If Not Done in Public


What would Tunku do today? — Ooi Kok Hin


NOV 6 — When students look at portraits of Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj (1903-1990), the first Prime Minister of Malaysia is perceived as a distant figure from an era gone-by. He’s the Father of Independence, the legend, and the unknown. We are told how great he was; yet we know so little of him. He is a myth. This shouldn’t be happening, because Tunku was a prolific writer. After his retirement, Tunku actively wrote two columns for The Star newspaper: Looking Back and As I See It. Several articles from the first column were compiled into a book with the identical title. From that book, I draw several of Tunku’s views which are applicable in our country today.

1. Abolish AUKU

Tunku had a long and dreadful conflict with Communists. But when the government conjured a Communist conspiracy theory behind the student unrests of the early 1970s, Tunku was quick to reject that theory. “Student [ego] movement is widespread in the world. They like to be known, they like to be seen and they like to be heard like grown-ups,” Tunku wrote in 1974. He refused to blame the students and understood that suppression of the young minds will not help Malaysia to be vibrant and dynamic country. In order to be ahead of our regional peers, we need to develop intellect and critical thinking. Tunku expressed desire to include students in our country’s politics and decision-making process. He suggested, “Perhaps one or two seats be given to Universities so that their members can participate in Parliament and play their parts in the country’s politics”.

“My own view is that personal attention must be given to students when they enter the University though they are men and not boys anymore,” Tunku wrote. “Men means they are on terms of equality with the professors and others who run the Universities and Colleges. The only difference is that they are undergraduates, having joined the University to find for themselves useful careers in life.” Such is Tunku’s faith in our potential and capability. It is clear that not only Tunku would abolish AUKU, but also he would work to encourage student participation in politics.

2. Revamp or resign from The Star

The Star was a small English-language daily in Penang in 1974 when Tunku was approached by its owner, Datuk Loh Boon Siew, to become its chairman. Tunku accepted the offer. With the help of his popular column every Monday, The Star quickly became a national newspaper. Today, The Star is the largest in terms of circulation in Malaysia. However, Tunku would be very disappointed if he sees what had happened to his paper. While The Star still provides news and services, it became a political mouthpiece of the government since Ops Lalang.

The current chief editor, Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, wrote at the preface of Tunku’s republished book, “[Tunku’s] refreshing take on the country’s political scene, a stark contrast to the propaganda in other papers then reeled readers in and his columns helped The Star at the forefront of the print media scene.” Sadly, the paper became the opposite of what it once was. Like other independence fighters who condemned the old newspapers being the mouthpieces of the colonial masters, Tunku would surely not tolerate his paper being mouthpiece of their master. He would demand The Star to show more autonomy, or resign from the news outlet.

3. Less bitter politics

How would Tunku deal with the opposition? And, to a certain extent, activist groups like BERSIH? “I adopted as policy whatever I thought was good for the people and the country,” Tunku wrote. “It was my duty to care for the people as best as I could, and to do everything within my capacity or powers to ensure that people had peace, contentment and happiness, in other words enough food, enough money and a place to live in.” Such words may be simply dismissed as sugarcoating and mere rhetoric in today’s politics. But Tunku’s deeds matched his words. He was willing to risk his political career by engaging with the enemy; an act which was perceived as soft and compromising by his critics. He preferred to negotiate than to relentlessly attack the other side. Thus he met and negotiated with British officials, Chin Peng, Lee Kuan Yew, and opposition leaders.

What would that tells us in today’s context? If Tunku was willing to meet and talk around the table with Chin Peng, wouldn’t he be willing to do the same with Ambiga and A. Samad Said? If he were able to discuss properly and write formally to inform Harry Lee that Singapore must leave due to his antics, would he resort to personal attacks which are so prevalent in today’s politics? Tunku was convinced that direct approach to meet face to face and put it all out on the table would allow all sides to see where they stand. Tunku even won admiration from opposition leaders. “For me, it is still Tunku Abdul Rahman who was above it all,” said Karpal Singh. “He was the one man who was determined to be leader for all Malaysians, regardless of race.”

4. More focus on ‘being Malaysian’ to tackle brain drain

What about our unmentionable racial issues? In an article published in 1975, Tunku expressed support for policies assigned to push the bumiputras ahead. However, he claimed that “many bumiputras put all their money into businesses in which they have no experience, and lose all their money…or they sold their rights to others for paltry sums.” He said there is too much exhortation going on and told a story when he was the PM. “I remember that once when Encik Aziz Ishak was Minister of Agriculture he confiscated all the licenses of Chinese rice dealers in Northern Perak and Province Wellesley with which to win over the Malays. But this way of doing things are wrong; it was the adage, “robbing Petter to pay Paul.” Tunku offered a remedy. “Immediately I ordered these licenses to be returned, but any licenses that were required for bumiputras should be given without limits. Nobody complained, as no one suffered.”

He also explained that when his government opened up large tracks of land, built roads, supplied water and electricity and lent out money to small traders and fishermen to improve their lot, never a word was said about bumiputras. “This phrase was introduced to play up the differences between people, those who were indigenous and those who are immigrant…it tends to split our people, and to turn back the status of Malaysians to the position we were in before under our imperialist masters. [divide-and-rule separation]’ Tunku still supported the policy providing aids to poor bumiputras, but he feared that “the policy of winning the hearts and minds of the people will suffer a severe setback unless care is employed in the use of the word “Bumiputras”. Tunku has always wanted to make people feel belonged in this country, and that there is no other home except here. “I tried to make everyone feel that Malaya [Malaysia] was his home, and that I expected every man to do his duty to this country, irrespective of racial origin.”

Tunku was a far-sighted man. He envisioned a happy nation where Malaysians are among the happiest people in the world. Though he is no longer our “happiest prime minister in the world”, (as he used to call himself) he still has valuable wisdom and advice to be shared with us. All accessible through his words. “We have the past to guide us through any present or future peril — but we must be resolute, and never let up, if we want our Malaysia to remain the peaceful, good country we love.”

* Ooi Kok Hin studies at The Ohio State University.

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

Shahrizat Seeks Anwar's Clarification On Religious Freedom Issue

DENGKIL (Selangor), Nov 6 (Bernama) -- Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil on Tuesday sought an explanation from Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on reports that Malays would be given the option of selecting their religion if the opposition wins the next general election.

She also said that the movement had learned that the religion of newborn babies might not have to be stated on the birth certificate and that the child could select his or her religion upon turning 18.

"I want to ask Anwar whether this is true? This the ideology of liberalism. I do not know whether this is true or otherwise, but we have received information that this is the plan of the opposition buttressed by the DAP," she told reporters after visiting flood evacuees at the Dengkil community hall, here.

She said Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah, who is a vice-president of the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), had reportedly stated that the people should not be forced to practise any specific religion and that this should also be applied to the Malays.

Shahrizat said she was not surprised by the statement because she had prior knowledge of the plan through information derived from some people in the opposition.

Government debt soars – and that excludes contingent liabilities

Update: So with this in mind, the Malaysian government wants to send a second ankasawan on a junket to space (which would cost hundreds of millions of ringgit) – if funds permit. Well, do you think the state of our funds will ‘permit’ this?
Malaysian government debt has been steadily rising in recent years and is expected to touch RM502bn this year or 53.7 percent of GDP on the back of a rapid rise in issues of quasi-government bonds and securities. (The legal threshhold is 55 percent.) But this does not include sizeable contingent liabilities or off-balance sheet items.
Click to enlarge the following general government gross debt data from the International Monetary Fund:

At the onset of East Asian economic crisis, general government gross debt compared to GDP had sunk to a a low of 32.3 percent, according to IMF figures. By 2000, it had risen to 35.3 percent and by 2008, it had touched 41.2 percent. And now it is has soared to over 53 percent. (The increase in government borrowings is largely due to the rise in government investment issues and government securities, which reached RM412bn by end-June 2012, up 71 percent from five years ago.)
IMF staff expect general government gross debt to surge past RM700bn to top 55 percent in 2016-2017 based on present policies.
Which means whoever is elected to government in the coming general election has a real job to do to keep a lid on, if not reduce, the debt.
But even this government debt figure of RM502bn in 2012 tells only three quarters of the story. It does not include off-balance sheet debt or contingent liabilities (i.e. debts that COULD be incurred if something goes wrong or in the worst-case scenario as in the PKFZ scandal). Off-balance sheet debts include state government borrowings raised by bond issues.
Such off-balance sheet debt and contingent liabilites have doubled over the last four years from RM53bn to RM100bn now. Apart from matters related to Khazanah and Cagamas, contingent liabilities could include stuff related to 1MDB, Prasarana and Johor Corp, The Edge (22 October) quotes bond analysts as saying. 1MDB, for instance, has been issuing bonds to raise money to buy electricity power producer assets.
Also, as the KL MRT is not part of the government’s development budget, bonds issued by Prasarana to raise billions of ringgit for the MRT project will be regarded as off-balance sheet items – and not included as central government debt.
I moderated a forum yesterday on the coming general election. One of the participants from the floor wondered aloud if Malaysians would be fearful of voting for change in the coming general election given the uncertainty over whether there would be a smooth handover of power if the ruling coalition loses after 55 years in power.
But then another participant said people now are even more fearful of the country’s growing level of indebtedness and the massive corruption and this fear alone would trump all other considerations when they go out to vote. We saw an early indication of this overriding concern in the phenomenal turnout at the Bersih 3.0 rally, when people put aside their fears despite knowing there could be heavy-handed police action.