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Friday, November 16, 2012

Police gang-rape: Licence for sex?

The people want policemen, who are accused of criminal behaviour, to be punished, but more often than not, justice is rarely seen.

The alleged gang-rape of an Indonesian woman by three Malaysian policemen in a police station has shocked the nation and many questions remain unanswered: Why did the other policemen on duty not intervene to prevent the act? If the policemen on duty were only made aware of the rape later, why did they not report it? Is rape commonly used as a form of intimidation by the police? How many other rapes which have been committed by policemen go unreported? Are police recruits not aware that the highest standards of behaviour are expected from them, at all times?

The latest incident of rape has received the attention of Foreign Minister Anifah Aman but only because of widespread protests by Indonesians outside the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta.

There is, however, silence from both Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussien and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister.

These two men should get a firm grip on the situation, justify the salaries they draw and act with the decisiveness that their roles demand of them.

People tend to emulate their leaders and the inaction of ministers over previous crimes, committed by senior politicians, people with the right connections and members of the police, has caused a breakdown in law and order.

It is pointless to call for Hishammuddin or Najib’s resignation because neither has any sense of shame.

Last July, Hishammuddin brushed aside the public’s fear about an increase in crime. He belittled their concerns and claimed that the crime surge was only a “perception”.

Today, his words have returned to haunt him.

Perk of extra-marital sex

Hishammuddin is not the only minister to regret belittling the rakyat; the other person who feels the heat is Najib, the de facto minster for women.

Last October, at an event to celebrate Women’s Day, Najib dismissed the need for women’s rights groups in the country. He proudly proclaimed that Malaysia was “way ahead of developed nations in terms of women’s rights”, but he made no reference to the discrimination against women and the violence they face, on a daily basis.

Lau Chiek Tuan, the Bukit Mertajam Barisan Nasional co-ordinator, whom the 25-year-old migrant worker approached for help, after the alleged rape had taken place, told reporters that the victim was on her way home from work, around 6.30am, when the taxi she was in was trailed by a police car.

The taxi was stopped and the driver asked to show his driver’s licence. The victim was then asked to show her passport but told the policemen that she only carried a photocopy, as the recruitment agency held her original document. The woman was subsequently taken to the Prai police station and arrested.

At the station, she again pleaded to be released but was instead taken into a room with a mattress on the floor, and gang-raped. After they were finished with her, the police dropped her off at her home in Taman Inderawasih and warned not to tell anyone about the rape.

In an interview with another online newspaper, Lau claimed that the victim was aware of similar rapes and her reason for reporting her own experience was to prevent a similar incident from happening to other women.

The wives of all policemen must be wondering if their husbands also enjoy the perk of extra-marital sex while they are on duty.

Malaysians demand a police force with high standards of behaviour. The unacceptable conduct of its policemen should prompt the government to review the selection and training of police recruits.

Rakyat does not trust police

The rakyat also wants policemen, who are accused of criminal behaviour, to be punished; but when it comes to police brutality, justice has rarely been seen by the victims’ families.

The rakyat would also like the government to address other issues, like low morals in the force and see if it needs more funding to make it less corrupt.

Last March, Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar said that 99% of his police force were clean. Can he really claim that that is true when the situation on the ground is the reverse? Perhaps, the rakyat is unlucky and have only met the 1% who is corrupt.

The problem of maid agencies and employers hanging on to the passports of the migrant workers is not new. When will the relevant departments resolve this issue?

The acting Indonesian consul-general Sofiana Mufidah has reassured Indonesian workers and told them to remain calm, while the issue of the gang-rape is being resolved.

“We have faith that the Malaysian police will act fairly and without bias throughout the course of their investigations,” she said.

Although the rakyat does not believe that all policemen are bad, they are aware that many policemen who are allegedly guilty of crimes escape punishment.

One way of restoring the rakyat’s confidence in the police is to have an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), which will investigate crimes committed by policemen. The formation of the IPCMC has been blocked by the government, on many occasions.

The Indonesian government may have expressed confidence with our police, but the Malaysian public does not share that confidence.

The rakyat does not trust the police, nor the government’s will or ability to handle any crime perpetrated by the police.

Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.

Savita’s death triggers Irish backlash against anti-abortion law

People assemble outside Leinster House in Dublin on Wednesday in protest against the death of Savita Halappanavar, following denial of abortion.
AP People assemble outside Leinster House in Dublin on Wednesday in protest against the death of Savita Halappanavar, following denial of abortion. 
Deputy Prime Minister admits that there is need for “legal clarity” on abortion

The Irish government was on Thursday at the centre of an angry backlash as protests were held to demand relaxation of the country’s strict anti-abortion law following the death of Savita Halappanavar, a young dentist of Indian origin, after she was refused abortion at a government hospital even though her life was in danger.

An estimated 2,000 people demonstrated outside Parliament in Dublin in what was described as the “largest” protest there in recent memory, while hundreds joined candlelit vigils in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway, the city where Savita lived and died.

The Irish embassy in London was picketed amid calls for similar protests outside Irish missions in other European Union countries at the weekend to coincide with a mass rally planned in Dublin for Saturday.

C.V.R. Prasad, an orthopaedic surgeon who visited Savita in the hospital before she died, called for a public inquiry into her death. He criticised the conduct of doctors at University Hospital Galway who refused to perform abortion on grounds that “this is a Catholic country.”

“This should never happen to another woman. Religion and medicine should never mix,” he said.

The hospital has already launched an internal investigation, in addition to a separate inquiry ordered by Ireland’s Health Service, but Dr. Prasad said any probe should be public.

The HSE announced that it was appointing an external investigator to join the inquiry.

There were ill-tempered exchanges in Parliament as the government faced criticism for not legislating on a 1992 court ruling that abortion could be permitted if there was a “real and substantive” risk to the life of the mother. Critics accused successive governments of “political cowardice” in not laying down specific guidelines on abortion.

Deputy Prime Minister Eamon Gilmore admitted that there was need for “legal clarity” on abortion. “We need to ensure that in this country we do not have a doubt which arises in a hospital in a set of circumstances which puts a mother’s life at risk.” Last year, the European Court of Human Rights upheld claims of three women that the ban on abortion breached their human rights.

Savita (31) died from septicaemia a week after she was admitted to the hospital with severe back pain. Her husband Praveen Halappanavar said he was certain that his wife would have been alive had the termination been allowed.

Pemuda PAS mahu Harakah 'distruktur semula'

Two men arrested for setting woman, three daughters on fire

Husband and in-laws used to insult her ‘for not bearing a male child’. PHOTO: FILE 

MULTAN: A man and his brother were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly setting the former’s wife and three daughters on fire.

Chaubara police said the men Nadeem and Aslam, their mother, Shafqat Bibi, and the latter’s wife, Rukhsana Bibi, were nominated in the FIR registered by the victim’s brother, Muhammad Irshad. While two of them had been arrested, police said they were looking for the rest of the two suspects.

Station House Officer Sadiq Rind told The Express Tribune that the post-mortem examination reports revealed that the deceased had been killed.

He said that Tasleem Bibi, 35, had been married to Muhammad Nadeem, a resident of Chak 498, and had three daughters, Farwa, Naureen and Tehreem, from the marriage.

Her family told the police that Nadeem and his parents used to insult her for not bearing a male child.

They also said Tasleem Bibi was frequently beaten up by her husband, his brother and their mother.

On Tuesday, Irshad said, he received a call from his sister asking him to come over to her house. He said she was crying and told him that her husband was beating her and threatening to kill her.

He said when he reached their home, he was told that Tasleem Bibi had set herself and her three daughters on fire and had been taken to district headquarters hospital.

Upon reaching the hospital, he said, he learnt that his sister and nieces had died. Medical Superintendent Dr Sadiq Mehmood told The Express Tribune that the younger girls, aged 3 and 5 years, had already died when they were brought to the hospital. He said the woman and the eldest child, 7, were referred to a hospital in Multan, but they died on the way.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 15th, 2012.

Mother accused of murdering seven-year-old son for failing to learn the Koran made video confession days after

  • Sara Ege allegedly beat her son to death before burning his body
  • Punishment was for seven-year-old failing to learn prats of Koran by heart
  • Ege denies a single charge of murder

A woman accused of murdering her son for failing to learn parts of the Koran by heart made a harrowing video confession which was shown to a jury today.

Sara Ege, 32, allegedly beat seven-year-old Yaseen to death with a stick and then burned his body in an attempt to destroy the evidence of her brutality.

Ege made an emotional confession to the police within days of Yaseen’s death at their home in Cardiff in July 2010.

Beaten: Yaseen Ali, seven, was beaten by his mother for falling behind with his Islamic studies, a court heard
Beaten: Yaseen Ali, seven, was allegedly beaten by his mother for failing to learn parts of the Koran by heart
A jury at Cardiff Crown Court listened in silence today as she described how Yaseen collapsed, still murmuring extracts from the Koran.

Asked why she had set his body on fire within minutes of his death, she said: 'I was too nervous.'

Yaseen had been hit with a stick for failing to memorise extracts from the Koran and was still injured at the time of his death, she said. 'He was swollen from a couple of weeks ago,' Ege said in the interview.

A sobbing Ege was allowed to leave the dock while the harrowing hour-long footage was shown to the jury. In it, she described undressing Yaseen when he collapsed and soiled himself, then dragging him to the kitchen to feed him milk.

The boy was left lying naked on the kitchen floor, still reciting extracts from the Koran, as she poured him the drink. He then took several sips before being dragged and pushed along a corridor to his bedroom and told to get dressed by his mother.

When he proved incapable, she dressed him herself and left him on a rug by his bed, claiming she believed he had fallen asleep. Ten minutes later, she returned to witness Yaseen shaking and shivering on the floor and gulping a final breath before dying.
Funeral: Cardiff Crown Court has heard Ege grew increasingly frustrated with her seven-year-old son for failing to learn passages from the Koran
Funeral: Cardiff Crown Court has heard Ege grew increasingly frustrated with her seven-year-old son
Tragedy: Ege allegedly hit her child with a hammer, a rolling pin and a slipper as well as punching him repeatedly
Tragedy: Ege allegedly hit her child with a stick and then burnt his body

'A greenish yellow liquid came from his nose and I saw that he was gone,' she said.

Within moments Ege said she decided to burn his body and ran downstairs to get a lighter and a bottle of barbecue gel. Ege, of Pontcanna, Cardiff, later retracted the confession made to the police over several days in July 2010. She denies a single charge of murder and a charge of perverting the course of justice.

Her husband, Yusef Ali Ege, 38, is on trial with his wife, accused of causing or allowing the death of his son by failing to act. In the recording shown in court, Ege describes trying to pick up Yaseen after he collapsed but ending up 'dragging him along the corridor'.

'When I spoke to him he just recited the Koran and said ‘Yes, Mum, yes, Mum, yes, Mum,” Ege states in the interviews.

When she reached his bedroom she left her naked son on a rug by his bed while she went to get him some clothes.

'He was still reciting what he had been reading and I gave him his clothes and he would not put them on. He was just saying ‘Yes, Mum, yes, Mum’, so I thought I would put them (the clothes) on for him.

'I had to treat him like a baby. Then he slept and I thought ‘OK, I will go now’. He was still murmuring the Koran.

'He was breathing as if he was asleep when I left him. He was still murmuring the same thing over and over again. I thought that he was just tired.'
Scene: Police and firefighters rushed to the family home in Pontcanna, Cardiff, after the blaze broke out in July 2010
Scene: Police and firefighters rushed to the family home in Pontcanna, Cardiff, after the blaze broke out in July 2010

Ege said in interview that Yaseen had collapsed in a similar way about six weeks earlier and had been fine after a night’s sleep. Earlier, the jury was told about the work regime the youngster had to follow, which included Koran classes after school and at weekends.

Ege went on to describe finding her son gulping before he died only minutes after she had left him apparently sleeping soundly.

'I went into his room and I went to Yaseen and he was making a funny gulping-like noise and his mouth was going very funny.

'He was lying on his side on the rug facing the bed with a greenish yellow liquid coming from his nose. I saw him twitching.

'It was like he was gone. I tried to wake him up and I tried to lift him up. But his heart was not beating. I thought ‘Yaseen has gone’.”

She added: 'I was there. I was tapping him, I was lifting him up, I was shouting ‘Yaseen’. I was looking at myself in the mirror and pulling my hair.

'I was getting angry with myself and went downstairs because Yaseen was gone.'

Ege returned to the courtroom for the afternoon session when other DVD interviews were shown to the jury.

Unrecorded sections of interviews with Ege were also read out by a police officer and one of the prosecution team’s barristers, David Elias. Ege also confessed that she was out of control and beat her son for almost no reason.

She said she had made vows to herself not to hit him but had repeatedly broken them within days.

A hush fell over the court as Ege described in interview setting the fire in the knowledge that he still had swollen ribs from his beatings.

'At the time I was not thinking of anything, I was just very scared. It is just the same thing over and over again, that I beat Yaseen when I used to take the stick.

'It was not my intention to do anything. I cannot explain, I loved my son so much. He was so good. He never, ever complained about anything.'

She added: 'I just blame my anger. I lost control. I cannot put all this together. There was no intention in me to harm my son.'

During the interviews she said after beating Yaseen on one occasion he had gone to school in such pain he was unable to sit. He was sent home and Ege managed to switch him to another school where staff were told he had a leg injury which prevented him sitting.

Yaseen’s death was originally believed to have been a tragic accident, the court has heard. It was only discovered later that he was already dead before the blaze had been lit.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.

The prosecution case is expected to concluded either on Friday or early on Monday next week.

MPS chief's transfer illegal, say councillors

Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) said the Public Services Department (PSD) does not have the powers to transfer out a local council president.

Exco member Eric Tan Pok Shyong claimed that department’s move yesterday to transfer MPS chief Zainal Abidin Aala to the Institut of National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) contravenes the Local Government Act 1976.

NONE“The PSD is not established under any act. It is only an agency that assists the government.

“Therefore what powers do they have?” he said during a press conference at Menara MPS today.

In what some have suspected to be linked to the Batu Caves condominium controversy, Zainal was given a 24-hour notice for the transfer.

Former MPS councillor and present senator A Kohilan Pillay had organised a BN-led protest to allege that the Pakatan Selangor government was responsible for plans to build a 29-storey condominium close to the iconic Batu Caves temple.

protest at batu cave temple 261012 02However Selangor exco Ronnie Liu subsequently exposed details showing that MPS councillors under the BN-led government, that included Kohilan himself, had approved of the project in 2007.
Yesterday, Liu speculated that Zainal's sudden transfer could be due to his Oct 30 press conference, in which he cleared Pakatan of approving the controversial condominium project.
Selangor MB Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has since ordered the works to be stopped, and not to be left out, Prime Minister Najib Razak ironically has also promised that the project would be scrapped if BN wins back power in the state.
Transfer 'unprofessional'
Tan meanwhile said the matter also went against Article 132(2) of the federal constitution that places the appointment of a state official under the authority of the state government.

Batu caves condo near temple ronnie liu with map 2“Under the federal constitution, the federal government does not have the right over state officials,” he said.

Another Selayang councillor A Rahim Ahmad Kasdi alleged that the transfer was a form of “punishment” for Zainal to “freeze” his career advancement.

“Intan is known to be a ‘cold storage’, an easy life with little work to do,” he said.

Other councillors voiced concern that the 24-hour transfer was “unprofessional and (the federal government) seen as “always hindering to the administration of the state”.

They called for the federal government to review such procedures.

They added that MPS will hold an emergency meeting to urge the state government to take tough action against the move.

Batu Caves condo opens a Pandora's box of deception

COMMENT The announcement by PM Najib Abdul Razak to scrap the 29-storey condominium has turned the condo issue into an open BN vs Pakatan Rakyat row.

By making the announcement, Najib has flexed his muscles to impress the Indian community into believing that he can better serve them than the Pakatan Selangor government.

But he contradicted himself by the transfer of the president of Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) for disclosing the minutes of 2007 meeting which clearly showed that it was BN councillors who approved the project.

If not for the Pakatan government in Selangor state, the PM would not have bothered to come to Batu Caves and call for the project to be scrapped.

Umno leaders were never bothered about Batu Caves before the 2008 election.

The authority to issue and cancel the development order of the 29 storey condominium, lies with MPS and the state government, not with the prime minister.

Being a premier he must respect the rules and regulations and promote good governance.

Why in the first place did the premier not express his displeasure at those who approved the project and call for action against the guilty parties?

NONELooks like Najib (left) wants to politicise the condo issue to win Indian votes.

Since MIC has become a liability to BN, Najib has to use his authority win the Indian votes.

This project was approved without the environmental impact assessment and no thorough consultation with all the stakeholders.

It is unfortunate that all these deficiencies in the approval process did not bother the PM.

He was only concerned with scrapping the condo project and applying for Unesco heritage listing.

He should have expressed his concern over the approval and need for good governance.

He failed to use the condo project to highlight the larger issue of corruption and disregard for the sanctity of the temple by the relevant government departments, during the approval process.
Investigation must be initiated
If Najib is really concerned about the temple and Batu Caves issue, he must initiate an investigation into the temple management committee and appoint respectable people to it.

The current committee is self-appointed does not reflect the wishes of the community.

The 1930 court order has to be done away with and let the committee come under a new Hindu endowment board.

protest at batu cave temple 261012 05Batu Caves is a heritage and environment issue. It is a site and legacy that must protected.

Therefore the temple committee must be headed by a respectable public figure who is more transparent and accountable.

The Selangor menteri besar has appointed N Sadasivam to review the whole condo project approval along with all other projects approved in the vicinity of Batu Caves.

This is a timely and a professional approach to a lasting solution.

Najib should emulate the Selangor government's way of handling the Batu Caves condo controversy created by the BN government.

He should not look at the Indian community from the vote bank perspective but as minorities who have equal rights.

S RAMAKRISHNAN is a senator in the Upper House of Parliament.

Rape of Indonesian girl prompts Penang to renew call for IPCMC

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at the press conference after meeting with the Acting Indonesian Consul General Sofiana Mufidah (behind left). – Photo by K.E. Ooi
GEORGE TOWN, Nov 15 – The Penang state government has called for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to be set up to prevent cases like the alleged Indonesian rape case involving three cops.

“The IPCMC will not only provide an avenue for Malaysians but also foreigners such as Indonesians working in the country to channel their complaints against the police,” said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said the existence of an IPCMC would ensure the reduction of criminal cases involving police personnel.

“It will be a check-and-balance for the country’s police force,” he said.

Lim, who met with the Acting Indonesian Consul General Sofiana Mufidah today, said the state government will stay in close contact with the Indonesian consulate to provide assistance to the victim if needed.

Lim urged the police to speed up the investigations into the case and bring the culprits to book.

“I will speak with the Penang police chief on this case as the victim wants to go back to her country and hoped that the case would be expedited,” he said in a press conference at the consulate.

Lim also said the case is an isolated case but that the state government stands in solidarity with the victim.

“We will offer whatever support or assistance that the victim may need,” he said.

Currently the 25-year-old victim is under the care of the consulate and is now being given counselling.

Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng has also promised to bring the matter up in Parliament.

Sofiana said she was confident that the police would act with full professionalism in handling the case.

Last week, the 25-year-old restaurant worker alleged that she was raped by three policemen at the Prai police station.

The suspects were arrested and remanded until tomorrow.

They are expected to either be charged in court tomorrow or have their remand extended.

Church, SDMC still in talks

Still no decision on when to transfer the pane on which a Virgin Mary image has allegedly appeared.

PETALING JAYA: Church officials are still in negotiations with the Sime Darby Medical Centre (SDMC) to decide when to move the glass panel on which an image of the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared.

They have agreed that the panel be transferred to the Marian Church of Our Lady of Lourdes in Klang, but have yet to decide when to do it, according to a spokesman for SDMC.

The image was spotted several days ago on a window pane on the seventh floor of the hospital.

Church officials will investigate to ascertain whether the image is a true Marian apparition. They will do so in accordance with rules that the Vatican has published.

The Vatican guideline entitled “Norms Regarding the Manner of Proceeding in the Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or Revelations” has been in use since 1978, but the guideline has only recently been translated into English.

The document aims to aid bishops in the tricky task of distinguishing presumed apparitions and revelations of presumed supernatural origins.

The norms mandate that the local bishop must conduct a “serious investigation” to ascertain, with “at least great probability” whether a Marian apparition has effectively taken place.

The rules require an evaluation of the “personal qualities” of the alleged seer, including his or her “psychological equilibrium, rectitude of moral life” and “docility towards ecclesiastical authority”.

The contents of the “revelation” must be “immune” from theological error, and the apparition must bear “abundant … spiritual fruit,” such as conversions.

The authenticity of the vision should be rejected if, among other factors, the alleged seer shows “psychological disorder” or “evidence of a search for profit.”

Time for Indians to seek change

After 55 years of BN rule, do the Indian community want more of the same?

With December still being touted as a possible month for holding the 13th general election, ground reports are filtering in pertaining to voter support.

The Chinese have made up their mind to vote for Pakatan Rakyat while PAS is gaining ground among the Malays. The urban folks in Sabah and Sarawak will support the opposition and now all that is left is the Indian vote.

Some reports have put the Indian vote as 50:50 while other reports have put it as 54% in favour of Barisan Nasional. Whatever it is, it is still not solid.

It seems that the Indians are still in two minds whether or not to give their vote to Pakatan.

“The Indians must realise that MIC is already irrelevant. Otherwise, why is [Prime Minister] Najib [Tun Razak] instructing Nazri to talk to Hindraf in regard to obtaining Indian support? MIC must preserve its dignity by leaving BN,” said M Manogaran, DAP’s Teluk Intan MP.

Manogaran said that it is surely a great blow to MIC when Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Abdul Aziz has been given the task to negotiate with Hindraf instead of MIC leaders.

“BN must be really desperate enough to woo Hindraf now,” added Manogaran.

It must be said, however, that Indians gained more recognition from Pakatan than from BN. Consider this list of DAP’s Indian MPs and state assemblymen:


1. P Ramasamy (Batu Kawan, Penang)

2. M Kula Segaran (Ipoh Barat, Perak)

3. M Manogaran (Teluk Intan, Perak)

4. Charles Santiago (Klang, Selangor)

5. John Fernandez (Seremban, Negeri Sembilan)

State assemblymen

1. P Ramasamy (Prai, Penang, Deputy Chief Minister II)

2. A Tanasekharan (Bagan Dalam, Penang)

3. RSN Rayer (Sri Delima, Penang)

4. A Sivasubramaniam (Buntong, Perak)

5. V Sivakumar (Tronoh, Perak, former Perak Speaker)

6. A Sivanesan (Sungkai, Perak)

7. M Manoharan (Kota Alam Shah, Selangor)

8. S Veerapan (Rapah, Negeri Sembilan)

9. K Arumugam (Rahang, Negeri Sembilan)

10. P Gunasekaran (Senawang, Negeri Sembilan)

The Teluk Intan MP may also be moved to a Kuala Lumpur seat in light of DAP stalwart Karpal Singh’s “one-man one-seat” proposal.

Time to make a choice

There are also Indian lawmakers from PKR. As for PAS, it has fielded an Indian candidate in Johor in the previous general election but she lost.

It is time that the Indians realised that although MIC had helped them a lot, that was a long time ago. The time has come for the Indians to make a choice for something better and those who are among the hardcore poor should come to the realisation that piecemeal assistance will not lead them out of poverty.

While many Chinese youths who are jobless will resort to going overseas in search of jobs in orchards or supermarkets, we seldom hear of this type of venture among the Indian youths.

The reaction of the Indians is predictable. They will make some noise to air their grouses and when the government says, “We will look into it,” they will quieten down and things will be as before.

Things will never change if it is the same old government with its same old way of administration. The situation can only be improved if there is a change of guard.

Indians must be brave enough to make a choice for change because continuity with the present incumbent government leads nowhere.

As it is, corruption is rife and crime is rampant. Not only the Indians but all Malaysians must be courageous enough to change their mindset. There is no need to fear the unknown.

In fact, Pakatan is not really an alien entity as it is the state government in Kedah, Kelantan, Penang and Selangor and also for about 11 months in Perak.

Still marginalised

Here is a short story this columnist came across some time ago by an anonymous author advising us not to be deceived when making important decisions. Roughly it goes like this:

A man who has died was asked by God if he wanted to go to Heaven or Hell. He said that he was unsure and wanted to take a look at both places first before making a decision. So he was transported to Heaven where he saw an idyllic village life: boys were playing football in the field and people were chatting happily in the al fresco foodstalls by the roadside. Women were drying out their washing and everything was very ordinary.

Next, he was transported to Hell. There was fine dining in an expensive restaurant with lobsters and caviar on the menu while pretty and sexy young ladies with plunging necklines were the waitresses.

Then it was time to make a decision.

“Where do you want to go?” God asked the man.

“Hell,” he replied firmly, thinking that Heaven was too boring a place for him.

“Are you sure?” God asked him.

“Sure, I am absolutely sure,” he answered.

“Really, really sure?” God asked him again.

“Of course, I am 100% sure,” answered the man without any hesitation and a little bit annoyed at being asked the same question again. And so he heard a loud bang and he landed in Hell.

But what he saw was parched, arid land with big cracks and small fires here and there. There was no food or water in sight except some very smelly rubbish. There were also many demons hopping around.

He called the Devil and asked for an explanation, “What is the meaning of this? I was in Hell earlier and there was fine dining and sexy ladies but now it is totally different. Can you explain what is going on?”

The Devil replied, “What you saw earlier was our campaign to you.”

It is time for Indians to see the real facts and figures.

After 55 years, many Indians are still marginalised although there are Indians who have made good in the law and medical professions. Do Indians want to wait another 55 years?

Selena Tay is a FMT columnist.

MCA rejects Hee’s Jelapang talk

The incumbent would most probably lose in the state seat if she decides to contest without the support from the MCA division, says Dr Chua Soi Lek.

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA today said that there has been no agreement made on the status of the Jelapang state seat, derailing any hopes harboured by incumbent state assemblywoman Hee Yit Fong to contest there in the next election.

MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek said that his party had not held any discussion with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak about giving up the Jelapang state seat in Perak.

“The Jelapang MCA division and I had neither deliberated about allowing an outsider to stand in the seat under the MCA ticket,” he said in a statement today.

He was responding to a statement made by Hee yesterday that she would contest to retain the seat for Barisan Nasional.

Hee won the Jepalang seat under the DAP banner in 2008 but in the following year quit the party to become a BN-friendly independent. Her defection, along with three others, caused the collapse of the Pakatan government in Perak.

She told the Chinese media on Tuesday that she would be recontesting in Jelapang under the BN banner, adding that Najib would be making further announcement on it.

Chua however said Hee would not win in Jelapang without the support from the MCA division and especially the grassroots members.

“Winning the general election requires the support from all BN component parties, it is crucial that the candidate receives support not just from the people, but also the component parties.

“I must stress that BN is a collective decision-making coalition, it is never a norm for the coalition to talk about its seat allocation and candidacy openly,” he said.

Perkasa calls Irene Fernandez a traitor after study says Constitution promotes discrimination

Ida Lim, The Malaysian Insider

Perkasa Youth today urged prominent activist Irene Fernandez to return her citizenship, claiming that she is a “traitor” to the country, over her involvement in a study on discrimination that questioned constitutional provisions surrounding the position of Malays.

“If she cannot obey (akur) this country’s laws, please return the citizenship voluntarily, she can go any country that she likes, to any countries where she finds the laws suitable, so please return the citizenship, since she’s also not Malay,” Irwan Fahmi Ideris, the Perkasa youth chief, told reporters at the Dang Wangi police station today.

“So here we ask the authorities to investigate and take the necessary action against the traitor,” he said after lodging a police report against Fernandez over the study that was carried in The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

Irwan also said they feared for Fernandez’s safety, saying that such statements would incur the wrath of ignorant villagers and fellow Malaysians.

“We ask that her safety be guaranteed,” he said, saying that he was “sympathetic” to her.

When asked if Perkasa Youth would seek an apology from Fernandez, he said that he thinks this matter “cannot be forgiven”, again insisting that she returns her citizenship.

“This is already overstepping the limits, when our religion, our kings are disputed. But we practise a system that is the same as Britain’s,” he added, pointing out that UK also has a monarch.

Perkasa is a Malay right-wing group that is known to champion Islam, the rights of Malays and the royal institution.

Yesterday, The Malaysian Insider reported that a UK-based study on discrimination and equality in Malaysia showed that the country should repeal or amend two constitutional provisions protecting the special rights and land of the Malays to avoid discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity.

The study was jointly conducted by international charity organisation Equal Rights Trust (ERT) and Malaysian rights group Tenaganita.

Fernandez is the executive director of Tenaganita.

The four-part study said the existence of Articles 89 and 153 of the Federal Constitution were among the strongest causes behind racial discrimination in Malaysia as both had purportedly failed to meet the original intention for positive action.

Instead, the provisions had “violated international law standards”, it was said in the executive summary of the “Washing the Tigers: Addressing Discrimination and Inequality in Malaysia” study published on the ERT’s website late Monday.

PAS Youth shoots down Bersih 4.0 before GE13

(Malaysiakini) - In a near unanimous decision, delegates at the PAS Youth Muktamar in Kota Bharu today rejected a motion for a Bersih 4.0 protest before the next general election.
Delegates who spoke against the mooted protest when debating the motion, argued that party resources should be channeled towards facing looming polls rather than organising a mega protest.

"Even Umno has started going into the rural villages and handing out goodies... if we go ahead with this, people would say all we are capable of is going to the streets.

"There is not much time (left to prepare for the general election) and we will also be organising our own Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat (People's Uprising Rally) in every state... let's us focus on capturing Putrajaya," said Alor Setar PAS Youth chief Mohd Azam Awang.

The rebuttal came after a passionate plea from Pekan PAS Youth Chief Fadhil Mohd Noor for delegates to back the proposed protest.

"Every time we have a rally, it delays the prime minister's decision to hold the general election.

NONE"But it is not our intent to frighten anyone but to continue our struggle for a clean general election," he said.

However, Pengerang PAS representative Sheikh Umar Ali pointed out in the debates that Pakatan Rakyat will be organising a Himpunan Kebangkitan Rakyat rally in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 13 next year as a climax, thus the Bersih 4.0 protest would be redundant.

The motion was one of four that was debated at the wing's Muktamar today.

‘MCA has insulted Islam'

The other three were on MCA president Chua Soi Lek continuous attacks on hudud law, Automated Enforcement System (AES) and revamping party organ Harakah's editorial team.

On MCA, the delegates backed the motion which said that MCA's and Chua's attacks had insulted Islam and demanded an apology from him.

PAS Youth secretary Khairul Faizi Ahmad Kamil who tabled the motion said among the statements that had hurt the feeling of Muslims, was MCA Wanita vice-chief Heng Seai Kie's accusation that PAS allowed non-Muslim women who did not cover themselves to be raped.

He also voice dissatisfaction with MCA's assertion that 1.2 million jobs would be lose if hudud law was implemented and that eight of 11 countries that implemented hudud law are corrupt.

In the motion, PAS Youth also challenge Chua to a debate on the matter and hit out at BN for using religion for political benefit.
Pas Youth chief declares assets
In another development, PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan surprised delegates by publicly declaring his asset before them during the closing of the Muktamar.
NONEHis income and assets are as follow:
Income: RM2,500 per month allowance from PAS Youth
Rental income: RM300 per month
Housing loan: RM530 per month
Car loan: RM1,400 per month
Spouse's income: RM4,000 per month
Spouse's housing loan: RM1,200 per month
Assets: A house worth RM130,000 (2004); Pajero Sports (2011); and Hyundai Trajet (2007); RM9,000 in savings.
"And those are my assets. I hope the PAS Youth exco can follow suit in declaring their assets," he said.
Nasrudin said all exco members in PAS Youth must fill a form to declare their assets and this would be for party consumption.
However, he added that if any of them were to contest in the next general election, this information would be made public online.

Ceramah Merdeka Rakyat, Pandan Selangor 13/11/2012

Will Najib announce “fighting corruption in UMNO” as as a new NKRA in the GTP “war against corruption​”?

Why is there no public response from the Prime Minister and UMNO President, Datuk Seri Najib Razak when the UMNO Information Chief, Datuk Ahmad Maslan had publicly admitted that corruption is a grave problem in UMNO?

Ahmad Maslan made such an admission when commenting on UMNO Secretary-General Datuk Tengku Adnan Mansor’s statement in an earlier interview that UMNO faces the challenge of being perceived as corrupt, although Ahmad Maslan struck the ridiculous posture that no political party should take an “holier-than-thou” attitude on the issue of corruption.

Ahmad Maslan’s reason? That bribery happens across the board and allegations of corruption should not be made only against Umno.

He said: “Bribery does not differentiate between party, does not differentiate between gender, does not differentiate between races…

“Don’t just accuse bribery only (by) Umno’s people. This bribery transcends all…”

Ahmad Maslan, who is the deputy minister in the prime minister’s department, said the important thing is that the government is serious about tackling corruption.

As proof that the government is serious about eradicating bribery, Ahmad Maslan said fighting corruption is one of the government’s National Key Results Areas (NKRAs).

Ahmad Maslan’s remarks are most revealing, for corruption has become so prevalent in UMNO that he has stopped denying it, but is instead trying to justify it on the ground that corruption happens across the board affecting all political parties, and therefore UMNO should not be singled out for castigation.

Ahmad Maslan had in fact gone beyond admitting that corruption is prevalent in UMNO as he had as good as admitted the prevalence of corruption in the other Barisan Nasional component parties – which is fortified by the lack of any denial or repudiation of his admission by the other BN component parties in the past three days.

Ahmad Maslan can talk on behalf of UMNO and even the other BN component parties, but he has no authority or locus standi whatsoever to talk on behalf of the Pakatan Rakyat parties.

Malaysians know that if there is a whiff of corruption in the Pakatan Rakyat parties, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) would have pounced on it and leave no stone unturned to persecute and prosecute Pakatan Rakyat leaders – as happened in the scandal of the MACC’s “Car and Cows” investigation of Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in early 2009 or the “mysterious” and unresolved death of DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock at MACC Headquarters in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009.

In contrast, the MACC would go out of its way to help “cover up” corruption or any financial malpractices involving UMNO/BN leaders, as exemplified by the MACC’s inaction whether on the scandal of Sabah timber trader Michael Chia’s RM40 million laundered/trafficked currency-turned- “political donation to Sabah UMNO”, the Bruno Manser Foundation’s revelations of extraordinary wealth of the Sarawak Chief Minister or a whole list of high-profile cases involving UMNO/BN leaders.

Ahmad Maslan’s response to Tengku Adnan is a powerful admission of prevalent corruption in UMNO as well as in the other BN component parties.

The question is what is Najib going to do about it if he is serious and sincere about fighting corruption in his GTP and NKRAs.

Would be highlight it in his UMNO Presidential Speech at the end of the month?

Would he announce “fighting corruption in UMNO” as one of his new NKRAs in the war against corruption?

Malaysian Scientific Diaspora Network To Connect Malaysian Scientists Worldwide

From Leslean Arshad

GOLD COAST (Australia), Nov 15 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Scientific Diaspora Network (MSDN) was launched here Thursday, serving as key platform to connect Malaysian scientists worldwide and promote collaborative research in their areas of expertise for the country's benefit.

Launched by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is currently on nine-day working visit to Australia, the MSDN initiative is part of the national agenda to tap local talent abroad to contribute to the country.

Speaking at the launch attended by about 100 of Malaysia's best minds in Australia, Muhyiddin said the global Malaysian scientific community could use the network to discuss general scientific and research issues and represent the voice of the Malaysian scientific community across the world.

They could also use the network to provide valuable collective ideas to improve scientific research and development in Malaysia, promote research collaborations and knowledge sharing, and provide guidance for young researchers, he said.

"We believe that this scientific diaspora network is a valuable source of talents that can be tapped to enhance knowledge and skills transfer, and in turn, strengthen scientific research in Malaysia.

"Indirectly, Malaysian scientists working abroad can contribute to our national progress and development through their collaborative work with Malaysian researchers," he said.

Muhyiddin said, it was indeed, a new approach to get the best minds among Malaysians to reinvigorate scientific research in Malaysia and help transform the country into a high-income developed nation by 2020.

"This innovative way of 'brain gain' will of course, be mutually beneficial for both Malaysian scientists working abroad and those working in Malaysia.

"With the strength of one million diasporas abroad based on the World Bank Report, where about 120,000 of them are in Australia, Malaysia was looking at a new way to tap those talents for the interest of the nation.

"The Malaysians overseas work as professionals in various sectors of the economy including banking, engineering, medicine and some of them work as lecturers or researchers in universities, and many others run their own businesses," he said.

The deputy prime minister said, the MSDN offered strategic benefits which included global exposure to education, technology and business, providing inputs for the formulation of national strategic plans and policies, opportunities for collaboration and partnership, participation in academic and business forum, consultation, seminars and dialogues.

The network would also allow researchers to utilise resources beyond individual organisations and provide strategic direction in the development of human resource capability towards enhancing national competency, he said.

Muhyiddin said, it was envisioned that the newly-launched MSDN would comprise Malaysian researchers working in Australia, non-Malaysian researchers working in Australia who are interested to collaborate with researchers in Malaysia, and Malaysian and non-Malaysian researchers working in Malaysia.

For the Australian chapter, the network aimed to connect with prestigious scientific community in Australia such as the Australian Academy of Sciences, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, he said.

Expressing delight that Malaysia's higher education ministry had taken the initiative to establish the MSDN, Muhyiddin hoped the network would be strategically managed and utilised to allow Malaysian scientists to contribute effectively to knowledge transfer and growth in Malaysia.

"Malaysian diasporas are great assets to our country, an asset that we would like to continuously nurture and develop for the benefit of our nation," he said.