Jumaat, 7 Jun 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Mum wants Islamic Centre to reverse conversion of her kids

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 12:13 PM PDT


M. Indira Gandhi went through it in 2010. And now another ... 

(The Star) - A 29-year-old woman whose estranged husband allegedly had their two children converted to Islam without her knowledge wants the Islamic Centre here to reverse the decision.

She claimed that staff from the Islamic Centre had converted her children, aged five and eight, following allegations by her 30-year-old husband that she was a woman of loose morals.

"I didn't even know that he had converted to Islam until early this year," she said at the office of Hindraf national legal adviser S. Karthigesan.

The couple got married in 2004. They were estranged from February last year.

About two months ago, the woman went to check on her son at his preschool class in Titi.

"When I got there, a staff member told me that my husband had taken him away. Since my husband had converted to Islam, I decided to go to the Islamic Centre in Seremban to report that my kids and I would not be embracing Islam," she said.

However, she was shocked when she saw her lorry driver husband and their two children at the centre.

"He even picked up my daughter from school and took both of them to the centre where they were converted. I argued with an ustaz and my husband there that this was unconstitutional but I was told by the ustazto come back another day to reverse the decision."

She said that when she returned the following day, the ustaz told her that the matter was beyond them and that she would have to go to the Syariah Court to seek redress.

Karthigesan said he would file an application in the civil court to reverse the decision.

"This is clearly ultra vires the Federal Constitution. We need to put a stop to such acts," he said.

State Hindraf chief S. Sivakumar expressed regret that such incidents were still occurring despite assurances by the authorities that the fundamental rights of all Malaysians would be safeguarded.

Singapore's Websites Call for Saturday Protest

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 12:08 PM PDT


Communications Minister Yaacob communicates 

Blogs "go dark," protest launched against Internet restrictions

Asia Sentinel 

More than 160 Singaporean websites are calling for concerned citizens to assemble Saturday in Hong Lim Park, the site of the city's Speaker's Corner, to protest stringent new licensing requirements imposed by the Media Development Authority (MDA) on bloggers and other websites last week. 

More than 160 bloggers closed down their sites Thursday for 24 hours to protest implementation of the new laws.

The bloggers have launched a campaign using the Twitter hashtag #FreeMyInternet to spread the word about the campaign. Online commentators have expressed concern over the breadth of the definition of "online news sites," warning that it could sweep in blogs that discuss a wide range of issues, and websites that enable users to discuss online content. 

The new regulations, promulgated at the behest of Communications and Information Minister Yaacob Ibrahim, have been condemned internationally by the Committee to Protect Journalists and Reporters Without Borders. Today the New York-based Human Rights Watch joined in condemning the regulations, saying that "The Singaporean government should withdraw an onerous new licensing requirement for online news sites. The new rules will further discourage independent commentary and reporting on the Internet."

The Singapore government usually doesn't back away from its implementation of regulations, no matter how stiff the protest. 

"Singapore's new licensing requirement casts a chill over the city-state's robust and free-wheeling online communities, and will clearly limit Singaporeans' access to independent media," said Cynthia Wong, senior Internet researcher at Human Rights Watch. "Websites will be forced into the role of private censors on behalf of the government." 

Read more at: http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5485&Itemid=181 

Speed Kills? Or Does It

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 11:55 AM PDT


For more than two decades the New Zealand public has been sold the claim that "speed kills" - now new international road crash data is showing higher speed limits may actually save lives 

Ian Wishart at Investigate Magazine

When New Zealand drivers turn on their tel-
evision sets each evening, chances are 
they'll see at least one advertisment featur-
ing a car slamming into a car/pole/wall/child. The inherent message? The same as it's been since 1974 - "Speed Kills". Sure, the pictures may have become more graphic, but the underlying tone has always been that speed of any kind kills.

So haunting are the images that there is probably not a mother in the country who doesn't think about it. But what if it was all a crock? What if the researchers behind the road safety campaigns had jumped to the wrong conclusions about road fatalities two decades ago, and created a very slick, very persuasive advertising message that was utterly wrong? As New Zealanders who remember the erroneous "one father in four is a child rapist" Telethon campaign of 1988 already know, neither Governments nor advertising agencies are infallible, and the old computer adage "put junk in, get junk out" applies.

So let's get to the crunch: cold hard facts on the effect of speed on the road toll.

In the early 1970s, as a result of the 1973 oil shock, both New Zealand and the United States imposed new, lower speed limits in an effort to save fuel. In New Zealand's case the limit dropped from 60 mph (100ks) to 50mph (80ks), while in the US it dropped to 55 mph - the so-called "double nickel".

In the ten years leading up to the drop in the New Zealand speed limit, an average of 608 New Zealanders had died on the roads each year.

In the ten years that followed the drop from 100 kph down to 80 kph, an average of 707 New Zealanders died on the roads each year: in other words, the new, lower New Zealand speed limit coincided with a 17% increase in road deaths. Starting to get the picture?

Then, in 1985, the New Zealand Government decided to raise the speed limit again, from 80kph back up to 100kph. The result?

Well, admittedly there was a big jump in road deaths that year as people got used to driving their cars faster, but it also coincided with boom times in the economy and a big increase in drink-driving offences.

However, over the next ten years, the average number of New Zealanders killed on the roads each year was 699, a slight drop when compared with the ten years under a lower speed limit.

Could it actually be that allowing cars to drive faster decreases the road toll overall? Sure, the chances of surviving a crash at a higher speed were much slimmer for those involved, but perhaps the higher speeds contributed to smoother traffic flows and less road rage.

One of the reasons that road toll statistics supplied by the old Ministry of Transport, and latterly the LTSA, have been misleading is because the LTSA does not measure "deaths per vehicle kilometre travelled", which is the only true measure of whether the road toll is really going up or down.

For example, if 1000 people die on the roads each year, during which time the nation's cars have travelled a million kilometres, the ratio is one death per thousand kilometres. You can then compare that figure to a subsequent year when, perhaps, 1100 people were killed but (because of cheaper petrol maybe) the nation's cars travelled 1.3 million kilometres.

The LTSA would simplistically tell the public "the road toll has increased", without realising that the "death per kilometre ratio" has dropped to 1 per 1181 kilometres. The truth in such a situation is that the road toll has dropped in real terms, by about 20 percent.

The closest New Zealand gets to any worthwhile statistics at all are the figures that measure the ratio of deaths to the number of cars on the road.

Read more at: http://www.investigatemagazine.com/july00speed.htm 

And more at the National Motorists Association in the US: http://www.motorists.org/ma/kill.html 

And at: http://www.motorists.org/press/montana-no-speed-limit-safety-paradox 

The 4 Types of People on Welfare Nobody Talks About

Posted: 07 Jun 2013 11:43 AM PDT


Getting off of welfare is considered a loss. If you've had a source of income, no matter how small, for your entire life, and suddenly someone took that income away, it's a financial disaster. So when you start to earn more money through your actual job, there's this weird tipping point

John Cheese, Cracked.com

What do you imagine when you hear the word "welfare"? Most of us think of a minority living in a filthy house with five kids running around while an alcoholic dad sleeps it off face down on the couch ... if there's even a dad at all. I talked in another article about the things politicians will never understand about poor people, but it's not just Washington elites who treat the poor like an alien species. Hell, I find myself thinking in "welfare queen" stereotypes, and I grew up among them.

The problem is that everyone -- from the news media to well-meaning activists -- refer to "the poor" as one group having the same problem, when in reality no two people are in the category for the same reason, and almost none fall neatly into the stereotype. Right now there are millions of people out there who are using government assistance because they are ...

#4. People in a Temporary Emergency 


Want to know kind of a cool fact that politicians tend to leave out of the rants when they're tossing around numbers like a monkey throwing its shit? Nineteen percent of people on AFDC (one of the most common forms of government aid) are on it for less than seven months.

That's pretty damn important in my book, because it's a huge demographic that never, ever, ever gets covered by the news. And why would it? That statistic doesn't help support any political points because it ... well, it's kind of boring. It shows that this part of the system is working exactly as it should. People get into some trouble and need some help, the government supplies that help, the people get back on their feet, and everyone walks away happy. Problem solved. Eat a butt-fart, poverty.

I've decided to start saying "butt-fart." I'm sorry.

Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
Yep, that one's on me, gentlemen. Enjoy the new world behind the door I've opened.

I've known many people who have been in situations where they've lost their jobs (hey, nowhere in the company handbook does it say we can't do "ninja flips" off of the forklift), and unemployment simply wasn't enough to live off of -- or was denied altogether. Or maybe the company flat-out closed. Maybe there was an injury or an illness, and the job doesn't pay sick time. Put yourself in those shoes: In the ensuing clusterfuck, you realize that you were making just enough money to survive, even while working a 40 (or more) hour job. There is no savings. At least not one that can support you and a family for any extended period.

So you swallow your pride, head down to the public aid office, and get set up with your "just got wallet-fucked by a company dildo" check, and then you bust your ass looking for a new job. Shit happens. Learning to deal with it is what makes you an adult. Don't let the government bullshit you into thinking that welfare is a system they handed you out of the goodness of their own hearts, using their own money that they pulled out of thin air. The checks you've received from all of the (legal) jobs you've ever worked have paid into this system. It's yours to benefit from when you need it.

David Woolley/Lifesize/Getty Images
"Thank God, I didn't know how I was going to fill the tank this week!"

And like almost everyone who has ever had to be on this assistance, they hate every second of it. They can't wait to get off of it because every time you use a Link card to buy food or a medical card to pay for the removal of the LEGOs you glued to your neck (or whatever it is that people go to the doctor for), you feel like a failure. The sooner you can stop depending on that shit, the better. Regardless of what the extremists say, getting government assistance is not like finding buried treasure -- it's like digging coins out of the bottom of a sewer.

"Well if so many people get off of welfare so quickly and easily, why do we still have such a massive problem with it? Are the politicians and media just lying?" Well, no, not really. See, a frighteningly large number of welfare recipients are ...

#3. People Trapped in (and by) the System


In my last article on poverty and welfare, I cited a staggering statistic, and it bears repeating here ... and in every article I ever get a chance to bring it up: 91 percent of welfare benefits go to the elderly, the disabled, and working households. And that number I quoted earlier in this article? The 19 percent who get off of AFDC in less than seven months? Well, it turns out that pretty much the same amount stay on it for more than five years. There's a reason, and it's a pretty common one.

Free hookers.

Well, no, not really. Getting out of poverty requires massive sacrifices. This is the part that seems to be the hardest for others to understand, because the easy answer is "Well, no shit, I sacrifice hobbies, sleep, and even time with my family for my career. If I can do it, you can do it, too, Poor Person!" But urging someone to sacrifice is making a huge, unspoken assumption: that they have something to sacrifice in the first place. If they're unemployed, they're in a Catch-22 where they need a car and a working phone to get a job, but they need a job to afford a car and a working phone (and yes, if you are lacking both of those things, your application is almost certainly going in the trash -- they won't hire somebody they can't call in for work on short notice).

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"I've got 50 people waiting to take your job, mister. Now go on, that garbage isn't going to eat itself."

And if they are employed, it's actually worse. This is why that stat about how most of the poor have jobs is so important -- it's one thing to ask somebody to sacrifice sleep and bong time in order to get a job, but it's another to ask them to sacrifice their paying job in favor of college classes or an internship that won't pay anything. At that level, the current employer doesn't give two shits what else you're trying to fit into your schedule. Throw kids into the mix, and it gets more complicated still. You can't get ahead because all of your time, money, and energy are being poured into just maintaining the life you're currently living.

That's how they get stuck in perpetual welfare. They're using 100 percent of their time, money, and efforts to maintain this level of basic life -- including the government assistance. Without some kind of outside intervention, they just never break free. This isn't theory -- I've seen it happen. I grew up with it. And it's terrifying to see that machine in action. After continually fighting it for so long, people just give up and resign themselves to that life.

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Pretty sure this is how that crazy dump Muppet from Labyrinth was born.

And this is where it gets really crazy, because once you introduce children to this cycle, you get ...

#2. People Who Have Been Trained to See It as Normal

Read more at: http://www.cracked.com/blog/the-4-types-people-welfare-nobody-talks-about_p2/#ixzz2VaaEsUbz

DAP’s Tony Pua claims Dr M and Umno are the ‘real racists’

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 06:50 PM PDT

Ida Lim, TMI

The DAP's Tony Pua has accused Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Umno of being the "real racists", slamming the former prime minister for "gibberish" statements in his alleged attempt to paint the DAP as a racist party.

Pua also claimed that Dr Mahathir is leading Umno's "Demolish and Destroy DAP (DDD) brigade", a secret plot which the DAP's Lim Kit Siang had this week claimed was hatched to destroy the opposition party.

Pua questioned Dr Mahathir's logic at pointing to the Chinese community's high turnout in rallies and their high level of support for the DAP at the polls as proof of racism.

"When Malays vote overwhelmingly for Umno in the past, it is never 'racism'. When a 100 per cent Malay crowd hold weekly protests against the Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang, it is not 'racism'. When Chinese voted for MCA in the past, that can't be racism. When Chinese also voted strongly for PAS and PKR in the current elections, PAS and PKR are not accused of racism," the DAP publicity secretary said in a statement today.

"When Malays increased their support for the DAP candidates in the same election, Dr Mahathir accused DAP of spreading 'propaganda' that influenced educated Malays into perceiving the Barisan Nasional (BN) government as corrupt.

"However, when the Chinese also voted strongly for DAP, that is proof of DAP 'racism'. When many Chinese turn up at Pakatan Rakyat events, that is beyond shadow of a doubt Chinese 'racism'. What type of senile perverted logic is that?" he asked.

Pua (picture) claimed that the dictionary definition of the word "racism" showed that Dr Mahathir, Umno and the alleged DDD brigade are the real racists of the country.

He quoted Dictionary.com which said racism is "a belief... usually involving the idea that one's own race is superior and has the right to rule others" or "a policy, system of government, etc, based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination."

"By the above definition alone, it is proof that the real racists of this country are Umno, Dr Mahathir and his DDD brigade. In fact, the multi-million ringgit DDD brigade has via influential blogs and the Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia completely rewritten the definition of 'racism' to fit their own political objectives," the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said.

He pointed out that Umno fights for "Ketuanan Melayu" (Malay supremacy) while saying that the DAP fights for equal opportunities and justice for all races.

Pua claimed that Umno has been targeting the DAP because of its objection to Malay supremacy, alleging that a lot of funds were used in the anti-DAP plot to destroy the opposition party.



Speed cameras reduce fatal and serious road collisions by a quarter

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 06:36 PM PDT

(The Huffington Post) - Speed cameras reduce the number of fatal and serious collisions in the areas they are installed by more than a quarter, a study found.

The RAC Foundation studied 551 fixed cameras in nine areas of England and found that such incidents dropped by 27% after speed cameras were put in place.

But the research found that at 21 camera sites the number of collisions appeared to have increased. The foundation has written to 11 local authorities to find out why and to suggest they examine whether the cameras should be moved.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said that a report it published in 2010 found that without speed cameras there would be about 800 more people killed or seriously injured each year.

He told the BBC: "Safety cameras are contentious, people dispute whether they work.

"But in fact the general public as a whole like them because they want these roads to be made safer.

"If cameras were turned off overnight there would be something like 80 people killed extra a year and 800 people killed or seriously injured.

"So the evidence is very good that on average they do work, they are effective."

The study looked at data from speed cameras in Cambridge and Peterborough, Leicesterhire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Sussex, Warwickshire and the Thames Valley.


Himpunan 15 Jun diteruskan, kata Rafizi

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 06:33 PM PDT

(Harakah) - Perhimpunan Aman Black505 pada 15 Jun ini akan diteruskan seperti yang dirancang walaupun berdepan sikap double standard pihak berkuasa yang disifatkan cuba untuk melengah-lengahkannya.

Pengarah Strategi PKR Rafizi Ramli mendakwa, polis dan Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) cuba melengah-lengahkan himpunan tersebut apabila mula berdolak-dalik berhubung kebenaran penggunaan Padang Merbok.

Beliau berkata, tindakan polis dan DBKL itu bercanggah dengan Akta Perhimpunan Aman.

"Kita berpendapat kita memenuhi keperluan memberi notis 10 hari kepada polis dan mengemukakan permohonan penggunaan padang kepada DBKL.

"Sebelum ini polis juga mengambil pendirian serupa, kena dapatkan kebenaran pemilik tempat dahulu, tetapi pada masa sama bila kita cuba dapatkan kebenaran daripada pemilik tempat.

"Pemilik tempat pula memberi alasan perlu mendapatkan kebenaran polis dahulu dan ini jadi permainan oleh badan-badan kerajaan ini yang menjaga harta awam untuk melengah-lengahkan dan menyukarkan perhimpunan," kata Rafizi kepada TV Selangor.

Sebelum ini, Ketua Polis Daerah Dang Wangi, ACP Zainuddin Ahmad ketika mengesahkan penerimaan notis tersebut memberitahu TV Selangor, penganjur Perhimpunan Aman Black505 gagal mematuhi syarat di bawah Seksyen 10C Akta Perhimpunan Aman kerana tidak mendapat kebenaran DBKL bagi menggunakan Padang Merbok.

Justeru, perhimpunan tersebut dianggap sebagai perhimpunan haram sekiranya diteruskan.


Pakatan urged to demand share in power

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 06:22 PM PDT

BERSIH's Wong Chin Huat urged Pakatan to disclose its current "game plan" so that its supporters could see what it intended to do beyond organising the protest rallies.

Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT

A Bersih leader has urged Pakatan Rakyat to seek power sharing with Barisan Nasional instead of continuing with mass rallies against alleged vote rigging in the recently concluded general election.

That would be the most viable way forward, said political scientist Wong Chin Huat, who sits in the Bersih steering committee.

Apart from that option, he added, the opposition alliance had only two other choices: continue to protest "in a constructive way" or "just forget about the struggle".

"I don't think either will work," he said.

He urged Pakatan leader Anwar Ibrahim to "take an offensive move" to demand power sharing.

Noting that Barisan Nasional received only 47% of the popular vote in the May 5 polls, Wong commented that Najib Tun Razak was "a prime minister elected by the Election Commission" and Anwar a "PM elected by voters".

"So I suggest for Anwar to lay it down clearly and say that he holds the majority. He should demand that Najib sit down and negotiate power-sharing via Parliament."

While acknowledging that it was unlikely for Najib and Anwar to come to an agreement, he said he hoped Malaysians would realise that his proposal was viable and would allow Pakatan to contribute significantly in Parliament.

He envisaged a new arrangement in which Pakatan's parliamentary voice would be more significant through membership in select committees and through changes in the parliamentary power structure, such as having one of its MPs sit as speaker or deputy speaker.

"Anwar would be working closely with Najib and every policy implemented by the government would have general consensus. There will be balance in governance."



There is only one crime: robbery

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 05:20 PM PDT

Can you see that everything in the end boils down to just one thing -- robbery. Anything taken from the people or denied the people is an act of robbery. You rob the people of this, that or the other. So our struggle must be to oppose these robbers. Anyone who short-changes the people is robbing the people. And I can see robbers on both sides of the political divide. Even in Pakatan Rakyat, just like in Barisan Nasional, there are robbers.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Yesterday I wrote about lust, the foundation of humankind (READ HERE). It was a good experiment in presenting half a glass of water and then watch whether people would say that the glass is half-full or half-empty.

People with a positive mind would say that the glass is half-full whereas those with a negative mind would say it is half-empty. Most readers who posted comments saw the glass as half-empty, which means these people have negative minds.

I am not sure whether these 70 or so readers who posted comments in that article reflect the sentiments of the 800,000 readers of Malaysia Today but we certainly cannot say this is the majority view.

The funny thing is one reader even interpreted my article as a Chinese-bashing article. I suppose this reader sees everything as Chinese-bashing. I bet if I were to say that Hari Raya Puasa should be a one-week holiday just like how some Chinese businesses close for one week during Chinese New Year they would also interpret it as a Chinese-bashing comment.

Malays have this very idiotic tendency to sometimes see everything as positive. When my Tok Guru's infant son died he praised Allah (Alhamdulillah). I could not fathom the logic in praising Allah for the death of your infant son but then Tok Guru explained that infants have no sin so that means he would be guaranteed heaven. And all parents want their children to go to heaven.

I suppose this is giving a new meaning to the concept of half a glass of water being half-full rather than half-empty.

When they crash their car they say Alhamdulillah the car is not a total write-off and can still be repaired.

If it is a total write-off they will say Alhamdulillah only the car was damaged but no one was injured.

When someone is injured they say Alhamdulillah no one died.

When someone dies they say Alhamdulillah it was a fast death and he/she did not linger in pain for months in a hospital before dying.

If that person lingers in pain for months in a hospital before dying they will say Alhamdulillah that Allah has sent us a message that death can visit us at any time without warning to remind us how close we are to death and for us to repent before something like this happens to us and it is too late to repent.

How do you deal with people who always see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty and every calamity is seen as a blessing from Allah?

That is the 'old' Malay, of course. The 'new' Malay would probably blame the Chinese for the calamity. "Ini semua Cina punya pasal. Dia orang buat jalan tak betul sebab nak untung besar dan cepat kaya."

Anyway, today I want to write about there being only one crime: robbery (just like there is only one sin: lust -- the gist of yesterday's article). And that is why the crime of robbery or theft in Islam attracts a very heavy penalty -- amputation.

Yes, believe it or not, there is only one crime, the crime of robbery. Everything else is a sub-crime of robbery.

When you do not run the country properly you are robbing the people of a good government.

When you do not manage the elections properly you are robbing the people of a clean and fair election.

When you mismanage the economy you are robbing the people of quality of life

When you do not have an independent and professional judiciary and legal system you are robbing the people of justice.

When you force religion and religious edicts/rules/laws on people you are robbing them of freedom of thought and freedom of choice.

When you silence the people and deny them freedom of dissent and the right to oppose you are robbing them of their own opinion.

When you vilify and disparage critics you are robbing them of their right to disagree.

When you do not provide a good healthcare system you are robbing people of a healthy life.

When you do not provide a good education system you are robbing people of freedom from ignorance.

When the police fail in its duty it is robbing the people of safety and peace of mind.

When you distort the news you are robbing people of accurate information.

When you lie to the people you are robbing them of the truth.

Can you see that everything in the end boils down to just one thing -- robbery. Anything taken from the people or denied the people is an act of robbery. You rob the people of this, that or the other. So our struggle must be to oppose these robbers. Anyone who short-changes the people is robbing the people. And I can see robbers on both sides of the political divide. Even in Pakatan Rakyat, just like in Barisan Nasional, there are robbers.

Let me give you one example.

The religionist robbers rob gays of their right to a lifestyle of their choice because, according to them, God does not allow this. How do they know that God does not allow this? They reply that this is what the holy books say. Who wrote the holy books? They say unknown humans wrote the holy books based on quotations from the Prophets of God. How do you know they are Prophets of God? They say this is what the holy books say.

So, unknown humans wrote the holy books based on what they say are sayings of the Prophets and they are Prophets because the holy books say so. Hmm…is this not 'I am a Prophet because the book that I wrote says so'?

Hence, based on 'I say so', I rob you of your right to freedom of choice. And since you do not have freedom of choice you cannot choose your own religion if you are born a Muslim (that used to be the same in Christendom until they burned all the priests alive at the stake, Alhamdulillah). You also cannot drink beer. You will also be arrested if you eat at daytime during the fasting month. You also cannot watch Elton John or Beyonce concerts (because Elton John is gay while Beyonce is too sexy). And so on and so forth.

Robbery is a foul crime. And any act is an act of robbery. And robbers should be shunned and despised. And the worst robbery of all is the act of robbing us of our rights while hiding behind various laws and using democracy as the excuse to rob us of our rights.


6/6: Mohd Noor Mansoor still at a loss over tragedy

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 03:50 PM PDT

Yong gestures to highlight something to Mohd Noor and other SAPP leaders, after paying their respect to the fallen heroes at the annual Double Six Memorial service.

Prisce Bell, Borneo Insider

Former Berjaya strongman, Datuk Haji Mohd Noor Mansoor still shudders in cold sweat each time he recalls the Double Six tragedy in 1976 which propelled him to a full ministership.

"I was shocked when I heard the news," he said when met Thursday at the Double Six memorial. "I was just released from 'house arrest' under the Internal Security Act at the time.

"But there are question marks as to what really happened. We can only speculate and as for me, I am still curious as to what happened to my Berjaya colleagues who lost their lives just like that."

Mohd Noor who was named Finance Minister after the crash, taking over from Datuk Salleh Sulong who was among those who perished that fateful Sunday afternoon.

Mohd Noor said those who died were men of strong character and political leaders with a vision hence their involvement with Berjaya that came to power barely a few weeks earlier.

He said he lost good friends and colleagues; men of integrity who were willing to fight for the rights of the people. "They gave up their lives for the people of Sabah," he said poignantly.
Apart from then Chief Minister, Tun Mohammed Fuad Stephens, three other state Cabinet ministers who perished along with him were Datuk Salleh Sulong (Minister of Finance), Datuk Peter Mojuntin (Minister of Local Government and Housing), and Datuk Chong Thien Vun (Minister of Works and Communications).

Also killed was Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datuk Darius Binion, as well as top civil servants, Datuk Wahid Peter Andu (Permanent Secretary of the Finance Ministry) and Dr Syed Hussien Wafa (Economic Planning Unit Director).

Sabah's political scenario changed drastically following their demise. Harris Salleh, who was instrumental in setting up Berjaya, became the new Chief Minister.

He recalled with a tinge of sadness the Federal Government promising to present a White Paper on the crash in Parliament.

"Unfortunately they never did," he said.

"I know they were in Labuan to discuss on the petroleum agreement with (Tengku) Razaleigh (Hamzah who was then Petronas chairman)

Mohd Noor, who was to become Berjaya secretary-general added: "until today, no one seems to know what were the terms negotiated (on the petroleum agreement) and also why the negotiation did not work out."

However, days after the tragedy, Harris who was by then the Chief Minister, signed the agreement, thereby giving Petronas a giant's share of the petroleum wealth, with Sabah getting a meagre five per cent in royalty.

Mohd Noor, who helmed Berjaya after the 1985 defeat to Parti Bersatu Sabah and made a brief comeback after a by-election that same year, later quit the party. He now serves as an Advisor of the opposition Sabah Progressive Party.

His last remark was at that time very few people questioned the tragic incident, and accepted whatever was told to them.



6/6: Donald Mojuntin, then 11, recalls plane calamity

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 03:46 PM PDT

Daddy's boy: "If he had been around, I would have had the benefit of his guidance".

Samantha Rae, Borneo Insider

An 11-year old Donald was playing badminton with his younger brother Charles to kill time while waiting for their Minister dad, Peter Mojuntin to return from Labuan.

Dad never returned home that day. The next time Donald and family saw Peter, he was lying in a Sabah flag-draped casket.

Instead, the Mojuntin siblings saw an ashen-faced and anxious maternal grandfather, Datuk Lidwin Mobijohn who drove to the house compound and got his daughter Nancy (wife of Peter) to come into the house.

The 'Golden Son of the Kadazan' had died.

Peter was among 11 people which included then Chief Minister Tun Fuad Stephens and two other Cabinet colleagues who perished in the Double Six tragedy in 1976.

Despite that incident taking place 37 years ago, Donald who went on to emulate his father by winning the Penampang Parliament seat (2004) and the Moyog State seat (2008) vividly recalls that tragic day.

"Dad had an engagement later that evening as he was to officiate at the finals of the Datuk Peter Mojuntin Shield (football) in Penampang. As you know, he never made it.

"We were waiting for him to come back from Labuan where we only knew he was on official state business. The next thing we knew, granddad and mum got back into the car and drove off. Mum was in tears," said Donald when met at the Double Six memorialWednesday.

"We were not told anything then but later found out that mum was taken to the hospital to wait for the bodies of dad and his colleagues which were being extricated from the crashed plane.

"Soon people started streaming to the house, all grim-faced and rather quiet. They were all sad and we knew something (bad) had happened.

"It was all a blur after that. The body was brought home from the hospital. Dad looked like he was asleep as he was the only one who had the least injury from the impact.



July 19 court mention of Tian Chua's sedition trial

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 03:38 PM PDT

(NST) - The Sessions Court fixed July 19 for mention of PKR vice-president Tian Chua's sedition case over his statements in relation to the intrusion in Lahad Datu.

Judge Norsharidah Awang set the date yesterday after deputy public prosecutor Mohd Farizul Hassan Al-Bakri informed the court that Tian Chua's application to strike out the charge would be heard on July 4 at the High Court.

Tian Chua was represented by counsel Michelle Yesudas.

Tian Chua, 50, had on March 14 pleaded not guilty to accusing Umno of being behind the Lahad Datu intrusion. He was charged with making statements that:

THE shooting in Lahad Datu was believed to be a conspiracy by the Umno government to divert attention and intimidate the people;

THE incident had raised many questions and doubts as a drama staged by the Umno government;

THE intrusion in Lahad Datu was a drama by the government to intimidate the people and make it seem like Sabah was not peaceful; and,

THERE was a conspiracy by the Umno government to divert the attention of Sabahans, particularly over the issuance of identity cards to foreigners.

Tian Chua allegedly committed the offence at No. 62-2-A, Fraser Business Park, off Jalan Metro Pudu, Jalan Loke Yew, here at 11am on March 1. The offence carries a maximum fine of RM5,000 or jail of not more than three years or both.

Accepting criticism with an open mind

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 02:56 PM PDT

Why should a populist coalition be immune to populist considerations in the first place? In essence, some Pakatan supporters may be subscribing to heuristics in order to make simplified judgments — BN is always wrong, and Pakatan, standing on the other side of the divide, is always right.

Douglas Teoh, Aliran

I have little difficulty in confessing that I am a Pakatan Rakyat supporter.

After weighing the pros and cons of either coalition, the answer that emerges seems rather intuitive in nature. The current Barisan Nasional (BN) is corrupt, greedy and tyrannical — the worst kind of democratic government possible. Compare that to Pakatan — freedom fighters, typical wage-earning leaders, who also happen to be the electoral underdog.

In this battle, Pakatan occupies the moral high-ground, strengthening their discourse with populism and calls for social justice. Consequentially, any attack on Pakatan's "character" by BN supporters seems ludicrous and invalid.

So what's the issue here? Some might say that this is after all a classic good-versus-evil political narrative. Our sentiments (as with any good story) often lie with the struggling underdog who champions a good cause.

But there's a catch. The trouble with this kind of dichotomous division of political parties is that we over-sympathise with and to some extent even victimise our party of choice.

Indeed, the sacrifices of some Pakatan leaders are awe-inspiring. To say that Tian Chua is less than a hero for lying in front of the FRU is "obviously" ethically wrong. I respect Pakatan leaders and what they have done for the country.

But their contributions do not absolve them of responsibility and legitimate criticism. This is based on my observations of comments in various news portals with regards to criticism of Pakatan. A good example would be the proposition by the Penang Malay Congress to delay the salary increment of state representatives. This is an instance where perfectly sound criticism is met with unreasonable responses by some pro-Pakatan supporters, who view it as an attack to gain "infamy points".

Why should a populist coalition be immune to populist considerations in the first place? In essence, some Pakatan supporters may be subscribing to heuristics in order to make simplified judgments — BN is always wrong, and Pakatan, standing on the other side of the divide, is always right.

It results in the downplaying of criticism of the coalition we support. This is a negative outcome; after all, we would no longer be able to judge actions and policies in a constructive manner.

My suggestion is simple. The people have to be open about dialogue directed towards their chosen representatives. We should give credit where it is well deserved, and criticism where necessary. It is only with such a mindset that people can truly begin to regain ownership of their country and help to chart its future instead of relying on "heroes" (who are not immune to mistakes), in order to oppose the villains (who may not always be completely wrong).

Malaysia needs heroes for a revolution — but its development has to be driven by a synergy comprising a good leader and a sound public.


Halim Saad sues government over sour Renong deal

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 02:48 PM PDT

"Businessmen familiar with the situation say that Dr Mahathir told Halim that he had been informed by Nor Mohamed that the assets taken over by Khazanah belonged to Umno." 

Clara Chooi, TMI

Tycoon Tan Sri Halim Saad has mounted a massive legal challenge against the government to demand full settlement of an over RM2 billion deal that forced him to relinquish his controlling stake in Renong Bhd more than a decade ago.

According to digital business magazine The Edge Review, Halim, once the sole corporate nominee of the ruling Umno, was offered RM1.3 billion in cash and property as well as control of a private waste management company, roughly valued at RM2 billion, in exchange for his disposal of Renong in the 2001 agreement.

But citing people familiar with Halim's suit, the magazine reported that the business magnate had since only received RM165 million despite giving up his business empire and will be demanding the remainder.

Halim attempted to pressure the government into full settlement, the magazine wrote, but in 2010, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told him the agreement would not be honoured.

"Halim held numerous meetings with Dr Mahathir — even after the latter quit as premier in November 2003 — and Nor Mohamed to push for a full settlement but he was repeatedly fobbed off," the article said.

"Some time in April 2010, Halim met with Dr Mahathir to try to seek a resolution to the matter but was told that the government would not be honouring the agreement.

"Businessmen familiar with the situation say that Dr Mahathir told Halim that he had been informed by Nor Mohamed that the assets taken over by Khazanah belonged to Umno," it added.

The Edge Review said Halim then met with Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, then a minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of the Economic Planning Unit, who confirmed Dr Mahathir's words.

According to the magazine and StarBiz today, Nor Mohamed, the Malaysian government and state-owned strategic investment fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd have been named as defendants in multibillion ringgit suit that was filed in April this year.

In the statement of claim sighted by StarBiz, Halim is alleging that the parties had signed the 2001 and/or another 2003 agreement with him with "an intent to deceive him or induce him to enter into both agreements".

The Edge Review said the suit, set to be one if the biggest corporate battle in the country, will expose for the first time the "behind-the-scenes dealings in several multibillion dollar transactions and contract awards that shaped corporate Malaysia between the mid-1980s and the early part of this decade".

"Among other things, the executives say that Halim's suit will provide insights into how Umno created a political money-making machine around Renong and its associated concern, United Engineers Malaysia Bhd (UEM).

"It will offer Halim's account of how he ceased to be a business nominee of Umno and also provide a personal confession of the gruelling years the businessman went through as he battled to keep debt-laden Renong afloat," the magazine wrote.

Halim, who was in 1984 taken in by former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin to become Umno's sole corporate nominee, had built Renong and UEM into Malaysia's largest conglomerate, with ventures in the banking, construction, telecommunications, real-estate development and tolled-roads industries.

The Asian financial crisis of 1997 led to the fall in Renong's share prices and according to The Edge Review, exposed the conglomerate's poor cash flow and large debt burdens.

According to StarBiz, a business manoeuvre that year in UEM's purchase of a 32.5 per cent block of shares in Renong did not go down well with the investing public.



Pakatan unlikely to boycott parliament

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 02:34 PM PDT


Pakatan leaders refused to give a straight answer when asked whether they would boycott the Parliament swearing-in on June 26.

Anisah Shukry, FMT

Despite mounting a nationwide protest against the "fraudulent" general election results, Pakatan Rakyat MPs today expressed hesitance in boycotting the Parliament's swearing-in ceremony on June 26.

This was following pressure from a coalition of NGOs yesterday demanding elected representatives from Pakatan strengthen their months-long protest by snubbing the Parliament sitting.

"We have no plans at the moment (to boycott parliament)," said Gelang Patah MP and DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang when contacted.

When asked whether DAP would discuss the issue among themselves or with party allies PKR and PAS, Lim repeated they had no plans, and declined to elaborate on the matter.

The usually vocal PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar was equally curt – when FMT posed the question, he quickly interrupted to say that he was in no position to comment.

"I cannot say. You must ask the Pakatan secretariat. Assalamualaikum," the Pokok Sena MP said, hastily ending the conversation.

But when FMT asked who in PAS could speak on this matter, he said to refer to party present Abdul Hadi Awang.

Abdul Hadi could not be contacted for a response.

Meanwhile, PKR vice-president Tian Chua said the party "would consider [the idea] seriously" as it was a request from civil society.

"We have to meet to discuss with other Pakatan members. This is something we have to think carefully, give serious thoughts because there are serious implications," said the Batu MP.

But he said it wasn't an urgent issue because they had until June 24 to decide.

"Our decision also depends on what happens in between. Our demand is very clear – to have the Election Commission resign. So if they do before June 24, then the issue of us boycotting parliament may not occur," said Tian Chua.



Don’t breach ‘zero censorship’ pledge, govt told

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 02:26 PM PDT

The proposal to regulate the Internet, says Lim Guan Eng, is not progress but regression.

Athi Shankar, FMT

Any regulation on online portals violates the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) Bill of Guarantees that there will not be any internet censorship, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

He said DAP regretted that Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek was breaking the federal government's earlier promise of not censoring the internet in wanting to regulate online portals.

"Such proposed regulation is not progress but regression. Where is BN's Janji ditepati?" asked Lim in his blog statement, calling on Putrajaya not to emulate Singapore in regulating online portals.

As Ahmad Shabery now considered online portals to be the mainstream media, Lim said the minister wanted to control cyber media in the same way BN controls the mainstream media.

Lim said the minister's suggestion to regulate the internet showed that he was worse than his predecessor Rais Yatim in failing to take a national or international perspective, and pandering to Umno in preparation for the party election this year.

The DAP secretary-general said this appeared to be the main agenda after online news portals were blamed for causing BN to lose the popular vote for the first time in history in the 2013 general election.

"BN appears to blame everyone except itself, from the Chinese community to the online news portals," he added.
Lim wanted Ahmad Shabery to grant press freedom instead of trying to further choke any limited space of press freedom found on the internet.

"Why should Malaysia follow Singapore in regulating online portals when Singapore performed worse than Malaysia in press freedom?" asked Lim.



Two steps back: Regulating Singapore's internet

Posted: 06 Jun 2013 02:14 PM PDT

The Economist

SINGAPOREANS live in one of the most wired countries in the world, and as such they are used to receiving gobbets of news on their smartphones and tablets as a daily if not hourly affair. So it was to the dismay of many that the Media Development Authority (MDA) put a draconian new licensing requirement into effect on June 1st. The authority's purpose would seem to be to tighten its grip on what is already a claustrophobic media environment.

The new regulations demand that all websites concerned with the news be licensed, and also that each puts down a "performance-bond" of 50,000 Singapore dollars ($39,550). Any content deemed to be in breach of standards would have to be removed within 24 hours of being notified. This is all in addition to a host of prior regulations, including another licence scheme wherein both internet-service and content providers must follow an official code of practice and meet other conditions.

The new licensing framework is to affect everything that could be called a "Singapore news programme", as defined by two criteria. The first is that the programme (or online newspaper, blog, etc) reports an average of one article or more about Singapore's news and current affairs, per week, over a period of two months. The second that the content have "significant reach" by the standard set by the MDA, ie that it is read (or viewed, etc) by at least 50,000 unique IP addresses from within Singapore. That is a meagre threshold in a country with a population of just over 5m that enjoys a "wireless broadband population penetration rate" of 166%.

The traditional media are primarily represented by just two companies, one of them owned by Temasek, one of the state's sovereign-wealth funds, and the other tending to have a pro-government stance. So the rise of alternative news websites, over the last six years or so, has been especially significant here. Singaporeans have taken to the internet with alacrity—especially for news about the country they call home.

Perhaps the first worrisome thing to note about the MDA's new policy was the complete lack of public consultation beforehand. The authority announced the new rules just a couple of days before their implementation—along with a starter course of ten websites that will need to be licensed (nine are owned by those two largest of Singapore's media companies, which are often associated with the state). Critics argue this may be a strategy to ease the implementation of the controversial change.

The second reason for anxiety is a bit subtler. While the ministry of communications and information has assured bloggers that they will not be affected by the new rules, the legislation doesn't guarantee the same. The definition of "Singapore news programmes" is broad enough to include "any programme containing any news, intelligence, report of occurrence, or any matter of public interest, about any social, economic, political, cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific or any other aspect of Singapore," though of course it "does not include any programme produced by or on behalf of the government."

Yacoob Ibrahim, the communications minister, told reporters that the move provided "some form of parity between online news sites and traditional mainstream media newspapers and TV broadcasters." On the face of it, that might make sense. Why shouldn't online media be subject to the same regulations as those that pertain to other media platforms? Well, apart from the fact that those existing regulations have resulted in Singapore's abysmal ranking in the world's league tables for press freedom—it comes 149th out of 179 countries on Reporters Without Borders' list; 153rd out of 197 countries in Freedom House's. Licensing aside, content online is already subject to laws concerning libel and slander; incitement to public disorder; sedition; and more.

"What the authorities call "light-touch" regulation has been replaced with the mailed fist. The only certainty is the continuity of this approach online," says Choo Zheng Xi, Co-founder of The Online Citizen, a popular self-styled "social news site" which receives visits from some 150,000 to 200,000 unique IP addresses monthly, most of them from within Singapore. The new regulations, many online users believe, is just a preview of things to come.

Mr Yaacob told The Business Times that at present the new regulations need apply only to Singapore-based news websites. But there are plans afoot to to bring foreign websites under the licensing framework next year.

"If [foreign media] are transmitting news to Singaporeans and Singapore is their target market, then we will have to do something about it," said Mr Yaacob

Several of the potentially affected sites and bloggers plan to protest the new licensing scheme on June 8th at HongLimPark in central Singapore—assembling offline, as well as online. As part of the same protest they are encouraging other Singaporeans to freeze their blogs and websites for 24 hours on June 6th.

Singapore's press has been always been tightly regulated, both before and since the state won its independence. A new generation of "netizens" is hoping to find that the keyboard is nimbler—if not quite mightier—than the pen.

Trending topics

Netizens of at least three neighbouring countries have faced official crackdowns in the past few years. In each case the state makes itself look almost desperately keen to protect itself. Earlier this year Thailand used its Computer Crime Act to set a precedent for intermediary liability with its conviction of Chiranuch Premchaiporn. Her crime was not responding quite quick enough to remove comments from her website, comments that were opposed to the monarchy.

In September 2012 Vietnam's courts handed out long jail sentences to three prominent bloggers whom they accused of subverting the state. The bloggers had apparently "distorted the truth about State and Party, created anxiety among citizens and supported schemes to overthrow the government." Another 13 journalists were jailed earlier this year, for content published online.

And bloggers in neighbouring Malaysia have not been spared either. Raja Petra Kamarudin was jailed in May for alleging that Najib Razak, the deputy prime minister, and his wife were involved in the murder of a Mongolian model in 2006. Bloggers there can be charged under an Officials Secrets Act, an Internal Security Act and a Sedition Act, as well as for posting on "sensitive topics"—which tend to include corruption among officials.


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