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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Silence won't make Deepak's allegations go away


VOXPOP 'Najib preaches a clean and transparent gov't but there are so many allegations against him and his wife that remain unchallenged and unanswered.'

Najib should vet himself, call probe into Deepak's claims

vox populi small thumbnail1Vote: Yes, the PM must speak up on businessman Deepak Jaikishan's allegations to justify his call for BN candidates to be clean, both morally and financially.

Tailek: Najib is nothing but a hypocrite. He preaches a clean and transparent government but there are so many allegations against him and his wife that remain unchallenged and unanswered by him. So please do not think the voters are kids who don't know better

Anonymous #43051382: All this talk by BN about the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) vetting their 'angelic' status is just pure bull. How on earth is MACC going to probe without real factual documents?

Don't tell me a thief would reveal the loot he had stolen.

Disbeliever: Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, your call to the PM is timely but there is no way he would agree to a probe because that would be like opening a can of worms or digging his own grave.

The only way we Malaysians will (hopefully) get a better life with justice and fairness for all is to vote for change.

Bystander: As to Deepak's allegations against Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, for their involvement in private eye P Balasubramaniam's second SD (statutory declaration), silence will not be acceptable and sustainable, but on the contrary it amounts to an admission of guilt in the eyes of the public.

Zar: This is the PM who "cakap tak serupa bikin" (says one thing and does another). He should first answer to Deepak's claims before telling others they should be vetted.

It's like the Malay proverb, a crab which sought to teach its children to walk straight.

Louis: Gobind, yes, keep this issue hanging over Najib's head like the sword of Damocles. The PM is cunning.

He will let this issue just die away hoping all will be forgotten. How idiotic. Only BN leaders are hiding their heads in the sand as if there is no issue over the allegations.
Ex-EC chief supports RCI on electoral reform

Ferdtan: Former Election Commission (EC) chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, your call for a RCI (royal commission of inquiry) on electoral reforms is a bit too late at this juncture as GE13 will be held in the next few months.

Why didn't you, a former EC chief who had a moral ‘locus standi' to make such comment, come out earlier when the whole country was calling for reforms?

Under pressure by the public to do something, the BN government chose the time-wasting ineffective parliamentary select committee (PSC) instead.

So don't waste our time. If you are sincere, give suggestions about the cleaning up of the electoral rolls and the postal votes. That is more pertinent in the immediate term.

Comment more on the illegal immigrants being granted instant citizenships to make them eligible voters. Please tell us whether there are phantom voters in the electoral rolls; you should know, you were there once.

DontPlayGod: This former EC head had worked hand in glove with Umno to swindle the public, but now he's talking. Weren't you involved in all the grossly unfair delineation of the constituency boundaries?

In which a constituency of a few thousands electorates in rural areas are allowed to vote for one MP/Adun, whereas in urban area (for example Petaling Jaya), a constituency can have an electorate of more than 120,000.

This can only happen in Malaysia, and I don't even see the present EC head doing anything about it. In fact, we are getting more of the same from him. So vamoose and get lost!

Love Malaysia63: "But I am not against it. I also wanted to do it (in 2008) but the government did not agree then. I don't know why they did not agree. During my tenure, the government did not agree but they agree now. Maybe because the pressure is higher."

As a citizen, I am puzzled. Isn't the EC supposed to be above politics? How can it be independent when it has to listen to the government? It should be answerable to the Agong and not the PM.

Lim Chong Leong: When he was EC chief, he could have implemented indelible ink but caved in to Umno. The government has no say in the implementation of election rules it turns out later.

He was also colluding with the government when the EC and the government decided not to use the ink because of some made-up sabotage attempt, alleging that certain parties would forcibly ink some others to deprive them of voting.

No investigation ever followed up on these allegedly seditious attempts to derail the election process.

Orang Jauh: Abdul Rashid, I suggest you just wait your turn "to be judged", which, going by your age, will not be too long coming.

Meanwhile, pray. And pray very hard that millions of Malaysians "go easy" on you, when the time comes. You're Muslim, aren't you?

Singapore-bound, borne by a billion prayers

Students participate in a candle light vigil to pray for the quick recovery of the gang rape victim, in New Delhi, on Wednesday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
Students participate in a candle light vigil to pray for the quick recovery of the gang rape victim, in New Delhi, on Wednesday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

In a sudden move, the 23-year-old gang-rape victim was shifted from the capital’s Safdarjung Hospital at around 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday and flown out of the country in a special air-ambulance to Singapore.

She was accompanied by her family members and a team of doctors.

The victim will be admitted to Mt. Elizabeth Hospital in the city state, which has a super-speciality multi-organ transplant facility.

The relatively short journey time to Singapore helped in making the decision, sources said.

The government has made arrangements for the family’s stay in Singapore as the treatment is expected to take a while.

Addressing the media late at night, Safdarjung Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr. B. D. Athani said: “The victim is strong but her condition continues to be critical. She had extensive abdominal and intestinal injuries and despite three life-saving operations and best treatment by a team of doctors from Safdarjung, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and G.B. Pant Hospital, her condition continued to be critical. After evaluation, the team decided that it was best to shift the patient abroad for treatment.”

The patient was shifted out of Safdarjung Hospital amid tight security around 10.30 p.m. Three fully-equipped ambulances were lined up on the hospital premises and one of them moved the patient out. The move came after the patient endured a tough night on Tuesday, with a senior official in the Health Ministry stating that the girl’s condition had deteriorated with her pulse rate dropping considerably, forcing her doctors at Safdarjung Hospital to seek assistance from cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Naresh Trehan and physicians at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to revive and stabilise the patient.

The official added: “Her pulse rate had suddenly reduced to below 50-per-minute but she was revived.”

Earlier in the day, doctors at Safdarjung Hospital remained tight-lipped about her condition and even skipped the daily routine of issuing a health bulletin. Refusing to give any details about the patient, Dr. Athani, when asked about the girl’s condition in the evening, said: “I don’t know.”

Also, the patient’s family members who were previously talking to the press refused to interact.

The hospital authorities also did not confirm any news about the deterioration in the patient’s condition.

There was much speculation on the patient’s condition on Wednesday after the Safdarjung Hospital Medical Superintendent postponed the routine daily press conference at 4.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. There was no briefing at 6.30 p.m. either. Moreover, police presence in and outside the hospital was beefed up.

Saudi labor minister faces ‘deadly prayers’ from angry clerics

About 200 religious figures meeting at the labor ministry on Tuesday asked Minister Adel Fakeih to ban women from working in lingerie shops. (Photo courtesy of aleqt.com)
About 200 religious figures meeting at the labor ministry on Tuesday asked Minister Adel Fakeih to ban women from working in lingerie shops. (Photo courtesy of aleqt.com)

By Al Arabiya

A group of religious figures in Saudi Arabia have threatened to strike the labor minister who seeks to create jobs for women with “deadly prayers.” They threatened to pray that he gets cancer like his predecessor Ghazi al-Gosaibi, who died of the disease in 2010.

During a meeting at the labor ministry on Tuesday, about 200 religious figures accused Minister Adel Fakeih of executing a “Westernization” plan and asked him to ban women from working in lingerie shops within a month or he will face their dangerous prayers.

The ministry began in 2011 enforcing a decision to replace salesmen with Saudi women at lingerie shops in a bid to create jobs for women and meet the demands of female customers embarrassed to buy lingerie from salesman.

During the meeting, various religious figures successively attacked the minister and gave him little time to explain his decision and its benefit for the Saudi economy and for Saudi women.

One religious man told the minister, “I supplicated against a senior official at the ministry and he received the (cancer) disease and he died; this was because he began implementing the feminization decision,” according to al-Eqtisadiah newspaper. The man reportedly referred to previous Labor Minister Gosaibi.

Another religious figure told the minister that the government’s job is to employ women and not to decide where they should be employed.
Addressing the minister, another man said, “I am warning you, do not ignite sedition; we only came here to provide advice; your ministry has thrown our daughters in places that don’t suit their values.”

After a wave of attacks the minister finally snatched an opportunity to respond to the bearded men in front of him. He defended the decision to employ women, saying that women occupied jobs during the era of the Prophet Muhammad, adding that it made more sense if women rather than men are in charge of selling women’s lingerie.

The minister further told the congregation that they should take their case to court if they saw that his ministry is violating the law.

Policewoman who killed US aide in Kabul 'is Iranian'

Nargis
The attacker, identified only as Nargis, is believed to have mental health problems
(BBC) A policewoman who shot dead a US civilian aide at the police headquarters in Kabul is an Iranian national, 
Afghan authorities say.

The woman, believed to have mental health problems, joined the security forces using an illegally obtained Afghan identity card.

Investigators are not ruling out the possibility that she may have been in touch with "terrorist networks".

The incident is a major blow to the government's security screening policy.

Insider attacks against Afghan police and Nato troops have risen sharply in 2012. It is thought to be the first time such an insider attack was carried out by a woman.
'Psychological instability'

The 33-year-old assailant, identified only as Nargis, arrived at the HQ on Monday looking for the police chief, the governor of Kabul or the head of the criminal investigation department.

When she was unable to locate them, she went to the canteen and fired one bullet at the Nato aide. She then shot at officers who tried to arrest her.

The attack has caused huge embarrassment to the Afghan government, which claims that it has put in place a stringent mechanism for verification and background checks of all those seeking to join the police or the Afghan army, the BBC's Bilal Sarwary reports from Kabul.

A spokesman for the interior ministry said an Iranian passport and Iranian national card had been recovered from the attacker's house.

"Our investigation shows that Nargis is an Iranian national. After her marriage to with an Afghan, she managed to obtain an Afghan ID illegally and joined the police," the spokesman told reporters in Kabul.

The woman, whose husband worked in the criminal investigation department, graduated from the national police academy six years ago with the rank of sergeant.

The mother of three suffered "from a psychological instability", the government spokesman said.

She remains in custody while the investigation continues.

In a separate incident, at least five local policemen were killed by another officer in northern Afghanistan on Monday.
Training suspended

More than 50 members of the Nato-led force in Afghanistan have been killed by Afghans wearing army or police uniforms in 2012, in a major crisis of trust between supposed allies in the war against militants.

Some of the attacks were carried out by Taliban infiltrators, others by Afghans angry at the actions of their foreign colleagues. Often the precise motive is unclear.

Afghan local police forces are recruited from villages, and frequently include former insurgents.

In September, the US suspended training for local police recruits because of such insider attacks.

Training Afghan security forces is an essential part of Nato's strategy before foreign combat troops pull out in 2014.

DAP, PAS send mixed messages on ‘Allah’ issue

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — In a fresh debate over the word “Allah”, PAS says that Christians should not use it to describe their god in the Bible, while its political ally DAP insists that Christians in East Malaysia should be allowed to use the Arabic word.

PAS information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said today the use of the word “Allah” in the Alkitab, the Malay-language translation of the Bible, would not reflect the original text’s meaning.

“PAS’ stand is that the Bahasa Melayu Bible should replace the ‘God’ term with ‘Tuhan’ and not ‘Allah’ to mirror the actual meaning of the original text,” he said in a press statement.

Tuan Ibrahim said both Christians and Muslims could be confused when the word “Allah” is used in the Alkitab.

“Since the Bahasa Melayu Bible is a translation from the original English text, the term ‘God’ does not mean ‘Allah’, because the accurate translation is ‘Tuhan’. It should be translated according to original meaning. Translating ‘God’ to ‘Allah’ will confuse Christians and create unease among the Muslims and can confuse Muslims,” he said.

He said “Allah” was a sacred name for the Muslims and should be used appropriately.

“In relation to that, (the) request to use Allah’s name in the Bahasa Melayu translation of the Bible is not wajar (suitable), even the society in the West, they don’t use Allah’s name to refer to God whether in speech, writing of films. The word that is often used is ‘Lord’,” said Tuan Ibrahim, who is also Pahang PAS commissioner.

On Monday, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had raised the controversial “Allah” issue in his Christmas message.

“For this reason, DAP urges the BN Federal government to allow the use of the word ‘Allah’ on the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible as has been allowed in Sabah and Sarawak for the last 50 years and practised in the Middle East for more than a thousand years,” Lim wrote in a statement on December 24 in English and Mandarin.

Zairil Khir Johari, DAP’s assistant publicity secretary, said today that Lim’s words have been “twisted”, saying that the Penang chief minister had only asked Putrajaya not to deny the rights of Christians in East Malaysia to use the word “Allah”.

According to Zairil, several news reports had falsely accused Lim of urging the federal government to allow Christians in Peninsula Malaysia to use the word “Allah” in the Alkitab.

“He (Lim) only asked that it be allowed in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible that is used by Christians in Sabah and Sarawak.”

“Furthermore, the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Bible can only be found in Sabah and Sarawak and not in Peninsula Malaysia.

“Therefore, the issue of usage of the word “Allah” in Peninsula Malaysia does not arise at all,” Zairil said.

Zairil pointed out that the word “Allah” was commonly used by Christians in neighbouring Indonesia and has been used for decades by the Bumiputera Christians in East Malaysia that converse in the Malay language.

Christians form 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million-strong population, with many of them in east Malaysia using the Malay language and the word “Allah” to refer to their God.

In recent years, the Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the word “Allah”, with the latter group arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim god.

A legal tussle over the use of the word “Allah” remains unresolved, with the Catholic Church still barred from publishing the word in its weekly newspaper, despite winning a High Court decision on December 31, 2009.

This is due to the Home Ministry filing an appeal in 2010 against the High Court’s decision, which have since stagnated in the courts as no date has been set for its hearing.

Last year, shipments of the Alkitab, the Malay-language Bible catering to the Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Bumiputera Christians, were blocked or confiscated at ports, before the government finally bowed to pressure and released them.

Cops: 6P fiasco probe ‘almost’ done

Investigations into a company accused of exploiting and assaulting dozens of Bangladeshi workers nearing completion, says district police chief.

PETALING JAYA: Police are wrapping up investigations against a government-appointed firm in the 6P amnesty programme accused of human trafficking related and cheating offences.

Cheras district police chief ACP Mohan Singh Tara Singh said that statements from all relevant parties have been recorded but refused to divulge details on the investigations.

“We won’t reveal more. We will be referring the case to the DPP [deputy public prosecutor]‘s office soon, probably within this week, and seek further instructions,” he said.

He added that this would be the second time the investigation papers will be handed to the DPP as the first time around, more investigations were required to ‘tighten up’ the case.

Asked if police recorded statements from all the directors of the company, which previous reports showed links to Umno, an ex-home minister and a current MP, Mohan replied: “No comments.”

However, he said that police would investigate all aspects, including utilising Section 12 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons (ATIP) Act 2007 as well as Section 420 of the Penal Code.

The first covers a wide range of offences, including the use of force, threat, abduction and deception, and the latter is for cheating offences.

Three foreigners were arrested in connection with the investigations and released later, with police saying they were hunting down another suspect, apparently more vital to the case.

But Mohan today declined to say how many arrests or statements in total have been recorded, and only said, “investigations are almost complete.”

Workers cheated

On Nov 5, FMT published a report based on two CCTV videos showing Bangladeshi workers being assaulted, allegedly by employees of SNT Universal Corporation, a company officially appointed by the government to assist in the 6P exercise.

The videos were exposed by the Selangor Council Against Human Trafficking (Mapmas) with the help of whistleblowers.

The assault victims in the video are said to come from a group of about 200 who were supposed to have been registered by the company under the 6P programme.

When they realised that they had been cheated when they did not receive their work permits, the group then lodged a police report over the matter.

Under the 6P programme, illegal foreign workers will either be legalised or deported without punishment. The six Ps represent Malay words for registration, legalisation, amnesty, monitoring enforcement and deportation.

The government has appointed more than 300 companies to carry out the registration.

Following the video expose, Mapmas task force member Abdul Aziz Ismail revealed that SNT might have committed fraud by setting up more than a dozen other companies to act as “bogus employers”.

It was alleged that these companies had no business infrastructure and were formed for the sole purpose of obtaining fraudulent work permits for foreign workers under the 6P programme.

FMT also reported that former home minister Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad is a director in the same company, and according to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), Radzi became a director of SNT on May 17, 2011.

However, Radzi had denied being involved in any way to the activities of the company, claiming that his name was being misused.

He subsequently lodged a report on the FMT article which allegedly implicated him, and this reporter was questioned by police under Section 233 of the Communication and Multimedia Act 1998.

MIC sec-gen defends the boss

Defending Palanivel, Murugesan says the MIC president is doing his best for Indians in the country.

PETALING JAYA: MIC secretary-general S Murugesan today rubbished accusations that G Palanivel is the weakest MIC president since the inception of the largest Indian-based political party in the country in 1946.

“Our president (Palanivel) has not only fought for our benefit these past years but also does his best to improve our future. MIC is doing its best to improve its involvement with grassroots members, we believe this will help us become stronger,” he told FMT.

Murugesan was asked to comment on former MIC vice-president M Muthu Palaniappan’s statement recently that Palanivel, who took helm of the party in 2009, was the weakest president in the party’s history.

“He (Palanivel) can’t gather any support. He has no grassroots support. Palanivel has a strange political style. He has chosen a few people to be with him in a small circle. He doesn’t know that these people are actually there only for material benefit, not out of loyalty to MIC and BN,” said Muthu Palaniappan in an interview with FMT recently.

The veteran leader, who is now with PKR, was one of the few Negeri Sembilan MIC leaders who rose to national prominence in the 80s and 90s. He was MIC Youth chief from 1979 to 1984 and vice-president of the party from 1997 to 2000.

“He is a disgruntled leader, that’s all. Coming from a defector, it is obvious. He has been in MIC for many years and even tried to contest for president but failed. All this has probably led him to say things like that,” said Murugesan today.

The MIC secretary-general said the party, with 630,000 members, has moved forward and brought the Indian community along with it.

“We are implementing new policies and programmes to help the Indians grow. We have RM180 million allocated by the government to help finance our young Indian entrepreneurs. Of course, all this cash is parked in several components such as Tekun and our community is sure to benefit from this.

“Also, RM100 million each in 2012 and 2013 for the revamp of Tamil schools nationwide. On top of that, RM50 million has been allocated to aid Indians in skills training for the year 2013,” he added.

He said while it may be true that some Tamil schools have yet to get funding, there were various reasons for it.

He said since the RM100 million was divided among a large number of schools, they ended-up receiving small amounts to refurbish their schools.

“Therefore, we have actually planned to reduce the number of schools to get funds each year so we can do the necessary for the schools once and for all. If a certain school had requested for funds and had not received it this year, that school will definitely receive it the following year and in good time we can resolve this matter altogether.

“I have nothing against anyone, no grudges whatsoever. Anybody can say what they want, only time can tell. But all I can say is, the 2013 elections will definitely be better than that in 2008 for MIC,” he added.

Submit paperwork, contractors told

Murugesan said the party was transparent in aiding and assisting Tamil schools.

“Everything is transparent, we have nothing to hide. Our president has even managed to get the budget approved for next year. This means another RM100 million in 2013. So, schools which missed out on the funds this year will definitely receive it next year,” he added.

Asked on speculation that a huge chunk of the RM100 was being unutilised and returned to the Education Ministry, he said: “All this was done transparently, we have nothing to hide. We were given funds to help the Indians and that’s exactly what we did, that is our purpose.”

On claims that Indian contractors who repaired Tamil schools had yet to be paid, he said these contractors must submit proper “paperwork” for them to receive the money.

“This is the first time our Indian contractors have been given the main contracts, we have created an opportunity for them. It is up to them to honour it by having the right paperwork and not give it out as a sub-contract to a third party. However, I don’t have sufficient information on this issue and therefore cannot say anything further,” he added.

Asked if MIC would meet the National Indian Rights Team (NIAT) to explain where the funds went and to how many schools benefited from it, Murugesan said everything on the matter had been declared.

“Everything has been declared and done openly, we have made it public and we have nothing to hide. Besides, NIAT was supposed to be abolished after the Interlok issue, why are they still around?

“They being around is not an issue, but why misjudge and misinform the public. I do not want to antagonise anyone, I don’t have the reason to,” said Murugesan.

NIAT recently asked MIC to meet them on Jan 5 to explain the issue.

Reveal the figures, MIC told

Miba wants MIC to disclose the figures and documents pertaining to the funds allocated for Indian entrepreneurs.

PETALING JAYA: An Indian business group leader has urged MIC to reveal the proper figures with regard to the funds allocated by the government for Indian entrepreneurs.

Speaking to FMT, Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba) president P Sivakumar said this was the only way for confidence in MIC to grow.

“Out of the RM180 million that was allocated, only RM30 million is justifiable through Tekun. Perhaps another RM20 million can be justified through the Small and Medium Enterprise Corporation Malaysia (SME). But what about the other RM130 million?” he asked.

Furthermore, he said the RM130 million was dispersed to financial institutions to be given out as business related loans via the Islamic concept.

“It is not easy for Indians to apply for loans via this concept, the document requirements are not flexible. So how is the Indian community going to benefit from this?

“This shows how little the system has opened up for equality and fairplay,” he added.

Sivakumar commended the MIC secretary-general S Murugesan on his comments pertaining to the same issue but stressed that it should be supported with proper documentation.

“Every Malaysian deserves to know the truth. We need more people from MIC to clear the haze by giving statements, this time around with figures and proper supporting documents to get the message across clearly to the people,” he said.

Sivakumar said he welcomed the idea of new policies and programmes being implemented by MIC but felt that the government must participate in this together.

“Stand up and be accounted for, MIC,” he said.

The business leader urged MIC to engage more with NGOs and to live up to the expectations of the people, as this involvement would give them a clearer picture of what was going on and what needed to be done to get an issue resolved.

“A good government should be able to give the people what they need even before they ask for it, not marginalising any community for that matter. How long will it be before a citizen will be able to walk with his head held high, with dignity, under the Malaysian sun?

“MIC will be another 55-year-old Tamil mega-serial unless it steps up to improve in 2013 at least. Let there be some light at the end of the tunnel for Indians,” he said.

Indian workers are well looked after in M’sia

The government is determined in safeguarding the interests and welfare of Indian workers, says Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian government has always ensured that the welfare and interests of Indian workers in the country are looked after, said Human Resource Minister Dr S Subramaniam.

He said other measures taken included the registration of illegal workers under the 6P programme, only allowing the employers to hold their workers’ passport with the consent of the employees, and requiring employers to pay their employees’ salaries through bank accounts.

“We agreed to have further discussions on some other areas like the social security scheme which the Indian government is trying to implement for their workers overseas.

“I agreed to give the government’s further cooperation to support any such ventures as long as it is within the framework of our law. It was a useful meeting which will further strengthen the mechanism which we have for the recruitment, management and safeguard of the Indian workers in Malaysia,” he said.

He was speaking at a press conference after a meeting with Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi at his office, today.

He said currently there were about 74,000 legal Indian workers in this country.

Meanwhile, Vayalar Ravi said the Indian government was satisfied with the Malaysian government’s concern and determination in safeguarding the interests and welfare of Indian workers.

“I’m glad to learn that the Malaysian government is giving the work permit for five years, it was good decision taken by the government. In some other countries, they only give for two or three years.

“We are also looking for the G-G (government-to-government) approach to strengthen relations between both governments. I believe all this will mutually help both countries to strengthen the bilateral relationship which was built over the years,” he added.

He also invited Subramaniam to attend the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD), a forum that connects the overseas Indians which will be held from Jan 7 to 9, 2013 in Cochin, a major port city in the west coast of India.

- Bernama

Be PM for Orang Asli too, Najib told

Puchong MP laments the lack of action against a teacher who allegedly slapped his Orang Asli pupils.

PETALING JAYA: Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo today demanded that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak explain why there has been no action from police reports about alleged ill treatment of Orang Asli children in a school in Kelantan.

Referring to reports lodged by a group of parents last October, Gobind asked Najib to support his claim of being a “prime minister for all Malaysians” by standing up for the children, whom a teacher allegedly slapped for their inability to recite an Islamic prayer.

The incident allegedly happened at a school in Bihai, Kelantan. News reports said four non-Muslim girls, aged 12 to 14, went home to Kampung Tenrik after school on Oct 23 with swollen cheeks, causing outrage among villagers.

They allegedly told their parents that a male teacher had slapped them because they did not know how to recite the doa after lunch.

Yesterday, during a Christmas high tea at the Luther Centre in Petaling Jaya, Najib delivered a speech in which he said: “I do not want to be a prime minister for only a section of the community, but for all Malaysians. And I have said this repeatedly.”

In his statement to the media today, Gobind said: “As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. So the prime minister should begin by telling us what action has been taken in the case in which Orang Asli students were alleged to have been slapped by a teacher.

“It is alleged that the students were slapped for refusing to recite the doa despite none of them being Muslim.

“This is a very serious allegation. It goes to the very root of our multicultural society. Parents, students—and all Malaysians, for that matter—have a right to be assured that no religion will be forced upon them.”

Gobind said the lack of action in such cases had caused large sections of the public to doubt Najib’s sincerity in his repeated claim of being a prime minister for all Malaysians.

“I call upon the prime minister to tell us what action has been taken in this case and why there has been a delay.

“The prime minister should also seek an explanation from the Attorney General as to why no action has been taken against the teacher concerned despite this being a relatively straightforward case which would have ordinarily warranted criminal prosecution.”

He said the case was an opportunity for the prime minister to show Malaysians that he was not just a prime minister for all Malaysians but one prepared to stand up for them.

‘God’ dalam Bible BM perlu diganti dengan Tuhan

PAS melihat isu penggunaan nama Allah di dalam terjemahan Bible dalam BM tidak mencerminkan maksud sebenar dari teks asal.

PETALING JAYA: PAS berpendapat menggunakan nama Allah dalam terjemahan Bible Bahasa Melayu tidak wajar dan parti itu berpendirian istilah ‘God’ digantikan dengan Tuhan dan bukannya Allah untuk mencerminkan maksud sebenar daripada teks asal.

Dalam satu kenyataan media hari ini, Ketua Penerangan PAS, Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man berkata, memandangkan Bible Bahasa Melayu adalah terjemahan dari teks asal bahasa Inggeris, maka sewajarnya istilah God tidak bermaksud Allah, kerana terjemahan tepat ialah Tuhan.

Bahkan di kalangan masyarakat Barat pun mereka tidak menggunakan nama Allah bagi merujuk kepada God sama ada dalam pertuturan, penulisan atau filem. Perkataan yang sering digunakan ialah ‘Lord’.

PAS juga melihat isu penggunaan nama Allah di dalam terjemahan Bible dalam Bahasa Malaysia tidak mencerminkan maksud sebenar dari teks asal serta mengelirukan pelbagai pihak.

Menurut Tuan Ibrahim lagi, cadangan tersebut juga telah mengundang pelbagai reaksi di kalangan orang Islam dan penganut Kristian.

Katanya, menterjemahkan God dengan Allah akan mengelirukan penganut Kristian dan menimbulkan rasa kurang senang di kalangan umat Islam serta boleh mengelirukan orang Islam.

“Walaupun penggunaannya tidak bertentangan dengan tradisi ilmu dan budaya di kalangan ahli kitab (Yahudi dan Nasara), tetapi keluar dari khilaf atau mengelak berlakunya kekeliruan dan polemik adalah jalan terbaik,” katanya lagi.

Tuan Ibrahim berkata, bagi umat Islam, nama Allah merupakan nama yang khusus yang mesti dipelihara kesuciannya.

Katanya, a tidak boleh dibuang merata tempat atau digunakan nama tersebut pada tempat yang tidak layak baginya seperti menyamakan dengan makhluk, bersifat dengan sifat makhluk, seperti menganggap ia ada anak, isteri, makan, tidur dan berjalan sebagaimana makhluk.

Beliau berkata, ada perkataan yang sensitif bagi sesetengah agama, seperti kalimah Dua Shahadah dan Allah, tidak boleh disebut secara sewenang-wenangnya dalam konteks yang tidak tepat kerana ia boleh menimbulkan kemarahan dan ketidaksenangan yang tidak perlu dalam masyarakat majmuk di negara kita dan situasi negara masa kini.

Nallakaruppan and Utusan retain most of their defence in Anwar’s defamation suit


(The Star) - Malaysian United Indian Party president Senator Datuk S. Nallakaruppan and two others were allowed to retain most of their statements of defence in a RM100mil suit filed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim against them.

Nallakaruppan, Utusan Melayu (Malaysia) Bhd and its Editor-in-Chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak had pleaded the defence of justification, qualified privilege and fair comment which were part of the opinion in the majority judgment of Anwar's 1998 sodomy case in the Federal Court.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera Wednesday granted only a part of Anwar's application to strike out a portion of the defence statements by Nallakarupan, Utusan Melayu and Abdul Aziz.

The only part, which was allowed to be struck out by the Judicial Commissioner, was the plea of justification.

However, Vazeer allowed the defences of qualified privilege, fair comment and mitigation of damages to be retained.

On March 26, the Opposition leader had filed the suit alleging Nallakaruppan had uttered defamatory words against him which were then published on the front page of the Utusan Malaysia daily on March 20.

In his statement of claim, Anwar said the defamatory words included in the article were false, baseless, was published with ill intention and had tarnished his good name.

Anwar is seeking RM100mil in general, aggravated and exemplary damages, cost and other relief deemed fit by the court.

The High Court has set January 18, 2013 for case management.

Malaysia Called Most Corrupt Country for Business

Malaysia Called Most Corrupt Country for Business
In the 2012 Bribe Payers Survey, Malaysian companies were found most likely to take a bribe. The WSJ’s Sam Holmes explains why the government’s high-profile anticorruption campaign isn’t working.
To view video, please go to this link:
http://live.wsj.com/video/malaysia-called-most-corrupt-country-for-business/84ACA11B-5DE6-4677-828A-CD2D45B60AC6.html#!84ACA11B-5DE6-4677-828A-CD2D45B60AC6

BN confident of wresting 20 Opposition seats

MALACCA, Dec 24 – Barisan Nasional (BN) is capable of wresting back 20 opposition-held seats to help secure two-thirds majority in the coming 13th general election, says Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

He is confident that BN can retain the 140 parliamentary seats it won and capture five of 23 seats held by PAS, five of 29 held by DAP and 10 of the 31 Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) seats.

He said the confidence was based on various factors including the problems faced by the opposition in several seats that it had won.

“It’s logical because, for example, seven of the PKR seats are already problematic for the opposition as six as the incumbents left the party to become independents while it lost the Hulu Selangor seat.”

He said this after attending the opening of a professionalism-enhancing retreat of the Information Welfare and Recreation Club by Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, here, today.

Ahmad, who is also Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was also an important factor in ensuring victory for BN.

“The people have benefited from the various incentives and privileges introduced by the prime minister such as the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) and 1Malaysia Book Voucher, as well as the transformation programmes.”

Besides that, he said, the winnable candidates to be fielded by BN would also contribute to the ruling coalition recapturing some of the opposition-held seats.

However, Ahmad reminded that victory could be achieved if BN members did not resort to “cah keting” or sabotage against the party or the chosen candidates. – Bernama

Disabled community accuses airline of discrimination

The Sun
by Elly Fazaniza and Trinity Chua


PETALING JAYA (Dec 25, 2012): An audio recording between a ticketing officer from budget airline Firefly Sdn Bhd and an individual posing as a wheelchair-bound passenger that went viral has resulted in an outcry from the disabled community over the airline's neglect of their needs.

Malaysian Association for the Blind committee member Mohd Faisal Che Yusoff said the recording is just the tip of the iceberg.

"The bigger picture is that all public transportation and services are inadequately equipped to accommodate persons with disabilities," he told theSun when contacted yesterday.

The six-minute phone conversation between activist Aruna Sena and the Firefly staff was first posted on a blog on Dec 17 and went viral on Facebook and other social networking sites.

When Aruna informed the airline staff he was wheelchair-bound, he was told assistance would be provided to him to reaching the aircraft but he would have to embark and leave the aircraft on his own.

Aruna said he recorded the conversation to raise the issue of lack of compliance of public transportation with legal requirements such as the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006.

Firefly Sdn Bhd corporate communications spokesman D. Kalpana, when contacted, said although the airline does accommodate wheelchair-bound passengers, they must inform the airline 48 hours before departure for arrangements to be made.

Kalpana said the airline has policies to assist passengers "right up to/from their aircraft seat".

Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee said Section 27 of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2008 provides that such persons shall have the right to access to, and use of, public transport, and should apply to air transportation as well.

Malaysia-Australia FTA To Be Implemented Next Month

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 (Bernama) -- The Malaysia- Australia Free Trade Agreement (MAFTA) will come into effect on Jan 1, 2013.

The agreement was signed on May 22, 2012, after 11 round of negotiations, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) said in a statement here today.

The scope of commitments under MAFTA provided a more liberal and predictable operating environment for the business community of both countries, it said.

Under MAFTA, Malaysia will progressively reduce or eliminate tariffs on an agreed list of industrial and agricultural products.

Most of the tariff reduction or elimination will be undertaken on Jan 1, 2013, and subsequently on Jan 1 every year until 2019.

MAFTA will benefit Malaysian exporters as Australia will eliminate 100 per cent of its import duties next month.

"This is the first FTA under which Malaysia will be obtaining immediate tariff elimination on all products from an FTA partner," said MITI.

"In addition to complementing the Asean-Australia-New Zealand FTA, MAFTA will open up new market opportunities for both countries and enhance trade and economic relations between the two countries," it added.

Under MAFTA, Australia will allow Malaysians to wholly-own operations in professional sectors such as legal, accounting, architecture, taxation, dental, veterinary, engineering, urban planning, landscape architecture and management consulting services.

In turn, Malaysia is offering commitments for increased Australian participation in education, telecommunication and financial services, MITI said.

MAFTA is Malaysia's sixth bilateral FTA, following the conclusion of similar agreements with Japan in 2005, Pakistan (2007), New Zealand (2009), India (2011) and Chile (2010).

MAFTA also seeks to promote increased economic cooperation in the form of technical programmes mainly in the areas of automotive, tourism, agriculture, e-commerce and clean coal technology.

Trade between Malaysia and Australia grew by 11.1 per cent to RM38.49 billion in 2011 from RM34.2 billion in 2010.

Exports to Australia in 2011 totalled RM25.68 billion and imports amounted to RM12.81 billion.