Isnin, 10 Jun 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

City Hall rejects Pakatan's application to hold rally at Padang Merbok

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 05:20 AM PDT

(NST) - City Hall has rejected Pakatan Rakyat's application to hold its Blackout 505 rally at Padang Merbok on June 22, but allowed it to proceed on the same date at a more conducive venue.

  KL Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib cited several reasons why Padang Merbok was not a suitable venue, namely because its location within the heart of KL would cause massive traffic congestion.

  "The opposition wants to hold their rally between 11am and 6pm, and there is heavy traffic during those hours.

  "Many hawkers and traders have also applied to open stalls on that day, so we must ensure they are given a conducive area to operate. An open space like Padang Merbok will not suit them," he told reporters at his office today.

  Phesal said the open field had also been rented out to the Olympic Council of Malaysia on June 23.

  "They would need the field one day before to make logistical preparations for their event. And they have applied for the venue since the end of last year."

  Despite rejecting their choice of venue, Phesal said he was prepared to sit down with representatives from the opposition and the police to discuss a suitable alternative.

  "We will send them an official invite to have a sit down with us on June 14 to discuss a mutual agreement so that the rally can go ahead.

  "Both City Hall and the police have given the green light for the rally, it is only the venue which we disagree with.

  "They should consider a closed venue, such as Stadium Titiwangsa or Stadium Merdeka, as previous rallies have successfully been held there," he added.


‘We were unaware of Pakatan’s rejection’

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 07:02 PM PDT

PSM secretary-general Arutchelvan says his party was not informed that an application to join Pakatan was rejected.

Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT

Parti Sosialis Malaysia's (PSM) S Arutchelvan revealed today his party was not aware that their application to join Pakatan Rakyat was rejected until it was reported by The Star Online.

The PSM secretary-general said it was "puzzling" as to why his party was not informed of the rejection before the report, which was published last Friday.

It quoted PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution as saying the decision to allow PSM to be a part of Pakatan was negative. He added that "he supposed" the small party had been informed of the decision by someone from the Pakatan secretariat.

"No members of Pakatan had communicated with us by phone or any other medium. It was puzzling as it was decided before the election, but we were not informed," said Arutchelvan today.

"If it was decided in their meeting, then they should have informed us, and not let us find out from the Star report," he added.

In a Facebook status update on Friday, Arutchelvan describe Pakatan as "very funny people".

"First they question PSM's loyalty for not joining PR & urged us to join them. Then when we agree to join, they drag their feet," it read.

"Now after GE, they claim our request was rejected B4 GE…. Still nothing official. Lesson in good governance is to be transparent and why not just put it in a letter."

Arutchelvan reiterated his call for Pakatan to convey the rejection in a "formal letter".

"I think they should put everything down officially. We want everything in black and white," he said.



Jamil Khir wants action to be taken against two people who insulted Prophet Muhammad in Facebook

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 06:48 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom today called for "appropriate action" to be taken against the two individuals who had allegedly insulted Prophet Muhammad on their Facebook accounts.

He said their alleged action was rude and unless such action was checked, it could spark anger in Muslims and lead to inter-religious disharmony.

"These (social media) writers should assume responsibility for their actions," he told reporters after launching the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP) sports carnival 2013 at the Wangsa Bowl, here. Also present was MAIWP chief executive officer Zainal Abidin Jaffar.

Jamil Khir was asked to comment on a report that the Communication and Multimedia Ministry had identified two individuals who had allegedly insulted Prophet Muhammad on their Facebook accounts last Friday.

He said social media publishers were liable to action if they were found to have insulted the religions practised in this country.

"Action can be taken through the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). If the alleged offenders are Muslims, they are also liable to action under the state enactments which provide for such penalty," he said.


Parents, students protest outside PM’s office

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 06:16 PM PDT

The protesters called on the prime minister to intervene in the allocation of matriculation places for Indian students.

B Nantha Kumar, FMT

A group of vexed parents and students gathered outside the Prime Minister's Office urging Najib Tun Razak to intervene in the allocation of matriculation seats for Indian students.

They also sent a memorandum to highlight their unhappiness with the Matriculation Department's decision regarding this matter.

The memorandum demanded that the government be transparent with regard to education opportunities.

"We are here to urge Najib to fulfill his promise to Indians in relation to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Hindraf and BN on matriculation places for Indian students," said A Thiruvengadam, president of the Malaysian Indian Education Awareness and Welfare Foundation (PKP-KIM).

He added that the parents want this issue to be sorted out in a week since the second intake would begin this Wednesday.

"But sadly, only 500 students have been awarded for this year despite 6,500 Indian students having applied for the 2,100 seats.

"Indian students are crying for their right to fair education opportunities in Malaysia," he said, adding that last year, the promised places of 1,500 by Najib did not work out.

He also challenged the Matriculation Department to unveil the total number of Indian students who received matriculation seats for the year 2012 and 2013.

Thiruvengadam also said that the parents are disappointed with the Matriculation Department, which is clearly discriminating the non-Malays in seat allocation.

According to him, the department insists on a merit point of 93.8 for Indians and 97 for Chinese students.

"This is something new to us which has never been highlighted before by MIC or even the PM himself. The victims are the innocent, powerless students.

"It seems like all the department heads are actually ruling the government instead of the PM or his cabinet ministers," he said.



True or False, Red Bean Army Speaks to Worrying Trends

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 03:42 PM PDT

(The Choice) - As GE13 approached, former Pakatan officials leaked the existence of the so-called 'Red Bean Army', a group of paid DAP cybertroopers numbering up to 3,000 based out of Penang and KL, who flooded social media and blogs with outright lies, disinformation and co-ordinated attacks on candidates and parties.

As reported by The Choice, ex-PKR Youth information bureau secretary Nordin Ahmad confirmed the existence of the group and claimed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had used it to further his baseless allegations of electoral fraud.

Now Chinese language daily, China Press, claims that a certain Li Shuang had admitted to the existence of a Red Bean Army Facebook fanpage, Zheng Yi Zhi Sheng.

Yet the allegations carry weight because so many have experience with Pakatan cybertroopers using racially derogatory terms to crude insults in social media, from flooding a site with indecent comments to launching attacks designed to bring down a site. Opposition-friendly portals that report negatively on Pakatan leaders have also experienced these attacks.

The DAP categorically denies the existence of the group. Speak to the Star daily, Jeff Ooi, Malaysia's first blogger elected into Parliament, claimed that the seeming limitless swarm of Pakatan Rakyat cybertroopers are merely everyday people echoing the abusive chat room culture of the 1990s.

Yet even taking the DAP at its collective word, Pakatan Rakyat are not absolved from responsibility. Whether there is or isn't a Red Bean Army, Pakatan sets the tone, using irresponsible rhetoric that cybertroopers then magnify into harassment and true criminal acts such as sedition and inciting racial violence.

Anwar's entire history of political speech since the polls concluded in May has been fuel for the cybertroopers' fire; but his irresponsible actions hardly began on May 5, 2013. Before the election had even occurred, Anwar with his political allies in Bersih and barely-disguised Pakatan NGOs had already accused the Government of stealing the election.

Pakatan's cybertroopers, whether organised or not, took their cues and promoted these ideas on every site imaginable. In one notorious example, comment threads on articles about Samsung's new mobile phones were overrun with allegations that the Government would shut down mobiles in Pakatan-controlled states during the election.

This sort of thing poisons online discourse, which in turn fuels paranoia and mistrust offline. It undermines national unity when it is needed most, and divides the rakyat even more. The goal of national reconciliation – a goal nominally shared by Pakatan Rakyat – suffers with each wave of cyberattacks.

"Please observe some kind of decorum and never accuse people of being guilty unless you have proof," Ooi advises. This is good advice, but it is something that should start first with his own coalition.


It was just a suggestion, says Tian Chua

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 03:19 PM PDT

(The Star) - PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's call to boycott the opening of the 13th Parliament is only a suggestion, said party vice-president Tian Chua.

He said no official decision had been made on the matter.

"The boycott plan, along with plans for more rallies, will depend on the Election Commission members taking responsibility for the alleged fraud during the general election.

"We still have two weeks before the swearing-in on June 24 and we hope that the EC members will resign before that," he said in an interview here yesterday.

Tian Chua said should the EC members resign, then "things would proceed as normal".

"Otherwise we will consider other means of action," he said.

MPs from the party, he said, were only planning to boycott the Parliament swearing-in as a protest, adding that this had yet to be confirmed.

Tian Chua, who is also Batu MP, was responding to a report in The Star that both DAP and PAS had snubbed PKR's suggestion to boycott the opening of the Parliament.

DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke had been quoted as saying that the party had no plans to boycott Parliament while PAS deputy ulama chief Datuk Dr Mahfodz Mohamed indicated that such a move would be like snubbing the rakyat who had elected the MPs.

Asked to elaborate on PKR's "other means of action", Tian Chua declined, merely saying that it would not be participating in the EC's newest delineation exercise.

"Neither will we take part in proposals for special parliamentary committees to be set up to oversee the EC and the MACC," he said.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders had held several "Black 505" rallies to protest the elections results.


No blackout reports on May 5

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 03:16 PM PDT

(The Star) - There were no reports of blackouts on May 5 and the illegal rallies discrediting the Election Commission over the polls results on that day are a mockery of the country's democratic electoral process, said EC deputy chairman Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.

He added the EC is seeking legal advice to act against those discrediting the commission "for cheap political mileage."

He slammed Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang as "anti-democratic zealots" and those supporting their cause as "anti-establishment activists and youngsters ignorant of the law."

Wan Ahmad said Anwar and Lim won with comfortable majorities in the Permatang Pauh and Gelang Patah parliamentary constituencies respectively.

"This begs the question: Why are they instigating the rakyat with lies and slander without a shred of evidence?"

Wan Ahmad was referring to the so-called 'Blackout 505' rallies that were being held in breach of the Peaceful Assembly Act, to gather support over Opposition claims of a fraudulent general election on May 5.

Wan Ahmad warned them to stop their illegal rallies as there were no such incidents on polling day, adding even election agents appointed by them had denied the claims.

"We have so many witnesses at the polling centres, including NGOs who were there as observers.

"None of them reported any incidents of blackout," he said, accusing Anwar of spewing lies to disrepute the results of GE13.

Calling on all quarters to respect the decision made by the voters, in keeping with democratic principles, Wan Ahmad said those disputing the election results should file petitions in court instead of screaming their lungs out in mass rallies.

"As lawmakers, they should know the rules of the law.

"When filing a petition, they must also provide evidence to back their claims.

"They can get the best lawyers in town to argue their case," said Wan Ahmad, adding the 85% voter turnout at the just concluded GE13 was an electoral record and reflected the people's confidence in the legal democratic process.

He said the opposition leaders cannot arbitrarily reject decisions made by the voters through the ballot boxes in a free and fair election.

The Barisan Nasional won 133 of the 222 parliamentary seats, to form the federal government. The other seats were distributed among the DAP (38), PKR (30) and PAS (21).


Altantuya case: Court allows ex-cop to appeal conviction

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 03:06 PM PDT

Ida Lim, TMI

The Court of Appeal today allowed an application by former policeman Sirul Azhar Umar to appeal his conviction for the 2006 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu on the grounds that there has been a mistrial.

Sirul's lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin said they are now seeking a declaration of the 2009 decision as a mistrial based on two new and related grounds, namely the adverse publicity and the "real and possible" danger that the High Court judge's impartiality was affected by the said publicity.

"We have brought in an application this morning. That application is to include two new grounds in the petition of appeal.

"The court has allowed the application," he told reporters when met outside the courtroom.

Kamarul said he will be filing the application by tomorrow.

He also clarified that the other appellant, former Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, was not part of this application and had not made a similar application to introduce these grounds.

The three-day appeal hearing, initially set to begin from today, has been postponed to June 24.

Kamarul told reporters that the case was postponed because the Court of Appeal wanted to view Karpal Singh's 2008 application to call Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and a few others and recall former private investigator P. Balasubramaniam as witnesses in relation to the latter's two conflicting statutory declarations.

Kamarul told the court today that the Shah Alam High Court had heard and dismissed Karpal's application on July 23, 2008.

Karpal was then holding a watching brief for Altantuya's family and the Mongolian government.



Pakatan's Black 505 rally postponed to June 22

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 03:01 PM PDT

Syed Jaymal Zahiid, TMI

The planned mammoth rally to protest alleged polls fraudulence slated for this Saturday will be postponed to June 22 after Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) claimed the venue has been booked for another function, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) revealed today.

PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli said the decision was made after taking into consideration the appeals made by the event's organisers.

The move comes just after DBKL refused to grant permission to use Padang Merbok for the rally with Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor insisting that the open field was unsuitable for the venue.

"I am taking into consideration the appeals made by parties who had already planned programmes at Padang Merbok on June 15.

"After discussing with the Dang Wangi police headquarters the organisers have decided to change the date of the Black 505 peaceful rally to the next weekend, that is on June 22, and it will start at noon," Rafizi told a press conference at PKR's headquarters here.

The Pandan MP revealed that a notice for the rally had already been submitted to DBKL last Friday, which is two days after the notice for the June 15 rally was submitted.

Rafizi said City Hall had confirmed with the rally organisers that no other event will take place there on June 22.

"So there is no excuse for DBKL and the federal territories minister to play politics and delay our application.

"I would like to remind the minister that a big majority of Federal Territories residents are with Pakatan Rakyat and he must respect the wishes of the residents to hold a peaceful rally at Padang Merbok which belongs to the people," he said.

Rafizi stressed that the decision to hold the protest next week is "final".

On Saturday, Tengku Adnan said that City Hall would not permit PR to use Padang Merbok for its June 15 rally.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary-general denied, however, that this was intended to stop the federal opposition pact from proceeding with the event, saying instead that the venue was not suitable as it was an open space.

He advised PR to move its rally to an indoor venue, such as a stadium or other locations deemed more appropriate.



Pakatan files petitions to challenge results in 24 federal seats

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 02:55 PM PDT

Syed Jaymal Zahiid, TMI

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will start filing election petitions to challenge the results in 24 federal seats beginning today in an attempt to overturn what it claimed was a rigged Election 2013 outcome.

PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli said the process of the filing will go on until Wednesday while the federal opposition bloc will also launch three civil suits against the Election Commission (EC) for its failure to conduct the May 5 polls fairly within three weeks.

PR will also begin filing election petitions for 10 state seats nationwide with PKR leading the charge with nine seats while PAS will take one.

Each of the petitions will be filed in courts in their respective states.



Anwar: Election petitions coming

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 02:50 PM PDT

Pakatan Rakyat has evidence of alleged irregularities especially on the registration of non-Malaysian citizens as voters in the electoral roll for five areas in Sabah.

Quville To, FMT

The opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat will be filing for a judicial review on the electoral roll involving five parliamentary constituencies in Sabah.

The five constituencies are Putatan, Sepanggar, Libaran, Kudat and Tawau.

Speaking to reporters here Pakatan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said the coalition had gathered evidences of alleged irregularities especially on the registration of non-Malaysian citizens as voters in the electoral roll for these five areas.

Besides this, coalition member PKR Sabah will also be filing election petitions to challenge the 13th general election results for the Kota Marudu and Pensiangan parliamentary constituencies.

Explaining why Pakatan was still questioning the results of the last general election he said:  "It is because we have strong evidence that a fraud has been committed.

"I do not need to repeat myself but some people have asked why we cannot accept the result.

"We cannot accept it because not only did we win the majority vote, there was that huge scam… so in Sabah other than the election petitions for Kota Marudu and Pensiangan, we will bring the case of non-citizens casting their votes on polling day in Libaran, Tawau, Sepanggar, Putatan and Kudat," he stressed.

He said the opposition coalition has all the facts and figures to back up the allegation that non-citizens are registered as voters in the Malaysian electoral roll.

Anwar also said the various testimonies presented in the ongoing Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on the presence of illegal immigrants in Sabah, could further strengthen the facts gathered by PR.



Islamists said to execute 15-year-old Syrian boy for heresy

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 12:58 PM PDT

A fighter from the Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra 

(NST) - Members of an al Qaeda-linked Islamist group in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo executed a 15-year-old boy in front of his parents on Sunday as punishment for what the group regarded as a heretical comment, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Mohammad Qataa was shot in the face and neck a day after being seized, said the pro-opposition monitoring group, which is based in Britain and uses a network of observers across Syria.    

"The Observatory cannot ignore these crimes, which only serve the enemies of the revolution and the enemies of humanity," said the group's leader Rami Abdulrahman.    

A photo released by the Observatory showed Qataa's face with his mouth and jaw bloodied and destroyed, as well as a bullet wound in his neck.    

The Observatory, which based its report on witness accounts of the killing, said Qataa, who was a street vendor selling coffee in the working-class Shaar neighbourhood, had been arguing with someone when he was overheard saying: "Even if the Prophet Mohammad comes down (from heaven), I will not become a believer."     

The gunmen, who belong to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a militant group that started off known as the Nusra Front, took Qatta on Saturday and brought him back alive in the early hours of Sunday to his wooden stand, with whiplash marks visible on his body.    

"People gathered around him and a member of the fighting brigade said: 'Generous citizens of Aleppo, disbelieving in God is polytheism and cursing the prophet is a polytheism. Whoever curses even once will be punished like this."    

"He then fired two bullets from an automatic rifle in view of the crowd and in front of the boy's mother and father, and got into a car and left," the report said.    

Abdulrahman said the boy's mother had pleaded with the killers, whose Arabic suggested they might not be Syrian, not to shoot her son. Qataa's parents said the youth had taken part in pro-democracy demonstrations in Aleppo.     

Since last year, large parts of the city have fallen under the control of Islamist brigades, including the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, as well as other rebel units.


Just 16.7% to win simple majority in Parliament

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 12:53 PM PDT 

(The Sun Daily) - Astonishing as it may seem, it is technically possible for a political party to win a simple majority in Parliament and form the government by garnering a mere 2.21 million votes (or 16.7%) of the total electorate.

Because of the imbalance of registered voters in the 222 parliamentary constituencies, there are currently only 4,408,975 voters or 33.22% of the total electorate of 13,268,110 in the 112 seats with smaller numbers of registered voters.

The 112 constituencies have a very much smaller number of registered voters, ranging from 15,791 (Putrajaya) to 56,280 (Kuantan), in contrast with the remaining 110 constituencies with more voters, some in excess of 100,000, with the highest being Kapar with 144,159 registered voters.

As such, a political party needs to just win by one vote in these 112 seats – a third of which are in Sabah and Sarawak – to obtain a simple majority and form the federal government.

Calculations by theSun show that if a party were to win 50.1% in each of these 112 seats, it would only need to get about 2,209,000 votes (or about 16.65% of the total electorate).

The actual calculation based on half the total voters plus 1 in each of the constituencies, puts the actual number at 2,208,353, which is a mere 16.64 % of the total number of voters in the electoral roll during the recently concluded 13th general election.

And if one were to consider voter turnout on polling day to be around 80%, it would mean the actual number of votes needed to win the 112 seats would be even less, at around 1,767,117 or a mere 13.4% of the total electorate.

Hence, the numbers are very compelling reasons for the Election Commission (EC) to ensure that each vote should, as much as possible, be accorded equal value or weight in all parliamentary constituencies.

On Saturday, the EC denied claims of inequality among constituencies, claiming that critics had not considered the increase in voter population over the last decade.

EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar claimed the voter population had increased and there had been much urban migration since.

"The inequality among the constituencies was not that large when it was drawn up in 2002," said Wan Ahmad, adding it is unfair to compare the number of voters like Kapar (144,159) to Putrajaya (15,791).

"When people talk about 'malapportionment', they refer to the 2002 numbers. It is not fair to compare the present figures to the 2002 numbers," he said at a public forum themed "Constituency Delineation – Knowing where to draw the lines", organised by the Bar Council.

Wan Ahmad said the EC would consider the 15% voter variance rule for seats in the same category namely urban, semi-urban and rural seats when conducting the next review.

If this rule is applied, the difference in the number of voters between two urban constituencies or two rural constituencies would be less than 15%.

Wan Ahmad said there have been many complaints over the high variance percentage of voters between constituencies, adding that he agreed that there were areas like Baling which were "hard to justify".

Baling, which is considered a rural seat, has 93,376 voters compared to Alor Star, an urban seat in the same state with 69,189 voters.

The EC had last month announced it will study all proposals thoroughly when it conducts the redelineation process.

Opposition leaders have also called for the "one man, one vote, one value" ideal to be practised in light of the recent election, where Pakatan Rakyat won 51% of popular vote, but only secured 89 of the 222 parliamentary seats.

Under Article 113(2)(ii) of the Federal Constitution, a redelineation exercise should be conducted between eight and 10 years from the last one. The last time the EC conducted the redelineation exercise was in 2003.

Death of Japanese in lock-up puts police station under scrutiny

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 12:50 PM PDT 

(The Malay Mail) - THE standard operating procedure for police investigations and detention of suspects has become more pressing with the fourth death in custody in three weeks.

The death of a 33-year-old Japanese man in a lock-up at the Subang USJ8 police station on Saturday has also increased calls for an independent oversight body to investigate police misconduct.

In the latest case, Nobuhiro Matsusthita, was found hanging from an iron bar of the lock-up with his shirt.

Police had described him as troublesome and he was the only detainee in the cell.

The events leading to his death prompted former inspector-general of police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, to suggest that the standard operating procedure was neglected.

Speaking to The Malay Mail, he raised pertinent questions:

• Did the policemen take turns to monitor the CCTV in the cell 24 hours?

• Why wasn't Nobuhiro referred to a psychiatrist when he showed abnormal signs?

• Why was he placed alone in a cell when it was clear he needed medical help?

Crime watchers said it was evident that police officers at the USJ8 station were not adept with the standard operating procedure as it was the third death in custody there.

Observers say action should be taken against any officers for negligence after failing to adhere to standard operating procedures set under the lock-up rules.

The first involved A. Kugan, whose case in 2009 shocked the nation followed by Chang Chin Te, who died early this year.

They said police were quick to declare "no foul play" after death in custody instead of acknowledging that a lock-up is meant to secure suspects.

Subang Jaya police chief ACP Yahaya Ramli said Nobuhiro was detained for trespassing into a university here on June 2. He pulled out a four-inch knife when confronted by an auxillary policeman, but surrendered after he was cornered by two more cops.

He was initially placed in a lock-up with several other detainees, but had to be moved out as he was showing abnormal signs and disturbing other detainees.

Yahaya said his men had patrolled the lock-up at 3am and saw Nobuhiro sleeping. An hour later, they found him hanging from the iron bar.

He said Nobuhiro's family had told the Japanese Embassy that he was suffering from mental illness.

The Japanese Embassy was informed about the arrest and a translator was sent to speak to Nobuhiro on the same day.

However police said they needed a second translator as the first one couldn't understand him.

Nobuhiro's death brings this year's custodial death toll to seven under six months.

Meanwhile, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, said Nobuhiro's death has raised the profile of calls for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) into an international one.

Town lost to outsiders

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 12:48 PM PDT 

(The Malay Mail) - ETHNIC cleansing in Myanmar that has spilled onto the streets of Selayang – the centre point of communal fighting in Malaysia – has raised pressing questions over how Malaysia allowed the situation to escalate to boiling point.
Undesirable elements, illegal activities and murders of Myanmar in Selayang have been on the police radar and the Immigration Department for a long time, yet they have not brought sanity to the township, locals contend.

They are aghast how the authorities allowed Myanmar to seize control of the streets of Selayang and two major wholesale markets there over the years.

They claimed the authorities were caught off-guard over the rising sectarian violence in Myanmar that bled into Selayang and other parts of the Klang Valley.

They claimed police reacted late on the existence of an alleged radical Buddhist movement known as "969" that was purportedly formed to wipe out Rohingya Muslims here.

They want the affected areas rid of unwanted foreigners and initiate operations in other areas in the Klang Valley that have been invaded by nationals from various countries.

Fighting between Muslims and Buddhists in Selayang and other areas with a large number of Myanmar nationals has claimed two lives.

Two are still in critical condition as of yesterday while four more were recovering from slash wounds.

Malaysia has stepped up law enforcement to prevent such ethnic clashes within the Myanmar community from spreading.

City police have rounded up more than 1,000 Myanmar in a joint effort with the Immigration Department between May 30 and June 4 to quell clashes that threatened to turn into major riots. The operations are ongoing.

Up till yesterday, 274 Myanmar men and nine women were being held at the Jalan Duta and Bukit Jalil immigration detention centres for further investigation.

Kuala Lumpur Immigration enforcement chief James Musa Singa said 67 people were found holding fake United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Malaysia cards while 207 Myanmar did not have documents.

The hotspots in Selayang, home to two big wholesale markets and wet market – located within a kilometre of each other – contain a divided workforce comprising more Muslims than Buddhists.

The squabbling has created trouble for local traders at the market and residents in the township who fear rising tensions will badly affect the social and work environment there.

A reconnaissance by The Malay Mail at the two markets and neighbourhoods in Selayang over the weekend saw a grim picture of a troubled township.

Interviews saw different takes on the issue, but they all agreed that Myanmar have taken over the streets of Selayang.

Fruit-seller Siti Rohaizah, 52, said: "The intimidating large presence of Myanmar has become worse with recent attacks."

She said there was a drop in customers at the two markets and that traders were worried the situation would not ease despite the recent arrests.

The trader said Myanmar were killing the business of locals by selling goods cheaper right outside or at the parking area close to the markets.

"We don't dare question them and the reason is simple, we are outnumbered!"

Vegetable seller Samad Salleh, 55, who has been operating there for the last six years said: "We have complained about this to the authorities numerous times but nothing has changed.

"We believe many of them do not have valid papers, but when the Immigration detain them, they miraculously reappear after a few days."

He said the recent strife was not a new indication of Myanmar involvement in violence.

"There have been many fights and even killings involving rival factions. They become a nuisance after drinking, while some of them take drugs and supply drugs outside the market.

"We give them room to make a living here, but they end up making this place a crime haven."

Many of the Myanmar are workers while some run their own businesses.

Another trader, who wanted to be known as Lim, said it was puzzling how some of them managed to get licences from City Hall to operate their lots in the market.

He said locals were, however, happy to work with Myanmar, who were hardworking and wanted to make a decent living here.

"This small group is also living in fear and do not turn up for work, giving a headache to employers."

Lim said the situation had reached a stage where local traders at the markets depended on Myanmar to run their business. "We need foreign workers to ensure our business is not affected, but we can't be held to ransom."

A Myanmar national, Ho Maung, 27, said he feared for his safety and that of his brother, even more now following the recent attacks.

"It's scary and we fear walking around where our fellow countrymen are.

"They randomly ask about our religion, and few a days ago, I was hurled with abusive words for being a Buddhist.

"We have stopped going out and stay in our hostel after work."


Susan Sarandon On Religion And The Catholic Teachings She Never Understood (VIDEO)

Posted: 09 Jun 2013 12:44 PM PDT 

(Huffington Post) - Susan Sarandon, the oldest of nine children, was raised Catholic and attended Catholic grammar school as a child. Though she grew up with faith, Sarandon says that even as a child, she had many questions about religion -- questions that got her into trouble and ultimately made her rethink her relationship with religion as an adult.

In this video from "Oprah's Master Class," Sarandon explains exactly which Catholic teachings she never understood and shares what happened when she asked innocent questions to better understand her religion.

"I was a very quiet kid, a very wanting-to-please kid," Sarandon says. "But certain things didn't make sense to me and when I questioned [them], there was a problem."

One of the first religious teachings Sarandon questioned was the rule that marriage must take place in the Catholic Church. "I asked how Joseph and Mary were married, since Jesus didn't make it up until later," Sarandon recalls. "[As punishment], I had to go stand in the hallway. That's when the trouble began, when I was in third grade."

Sarandon's questions may have been misconstrued as mischievous, but she insists that all she was looking for were answers that made sense to her. "I was not trying to be a wise-ass," Sarandon says. "I just didn't understand why they would put babies in limbo just because they weren't baptized… Or why they would say every other religion was bad."

Sarandon says that she believes religions each have something valuable to offer. "I think that all religions at their core have some really magnificent teachings, and most of them are very similar," she explains. "It's the institutionalization of these religious principles that don't serve me well."

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