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"Go ahead and boycott Dewan Rakyat"

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 10:32 PM PDT

GOOD IDEA: Parliament sessions without Anwar will probably be less troublesome for the government

Azmi Anshar, NST

IF Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his band of crony members of parliament are adamant that boycotting the opening day of the new Dewan Rakyat meeting reinforces his scandalous cause that the 13th General Election was rigged, the only thing left to say is: go ahead.

Already, Anwar's fib that GE13 was rigged has been denounced by Dr Chandra Muzaffar, among others. Rightly, Anwar's boycott proposal has been lambasted by government leaders but if the PKR de facto leader and probable house opposition leader insists on going ahead, then it is only right that he be buttressed with all the encouragement for his unprecedented, self-imposed proscription.

As a matter of fact, the government might just be comfortable with the idea of an absentee Anwar, plus a handful loyalist MPs who follow him around like he was the Pied Piper. Why not? Fewer troublesome sessions by virtue of less theatrics and stunts that Anwar is capable of remonstrating.

Here's what Anwar will be burdened with if he doesn't take his oath as MP: he obviously cannot sit inside the house let alone debate, submit questions, raise supplementary questions, lob big ticket issues, attack/counter-attack ministers or backbenchers or defend himself from all kinds of charges.

He may be allowed to loiter in the expanse of the Parliament lobby, giving one ludicrous press conference after another day after day on why he needs to debate his cause outside the house instead of inside it.

A boycott forces people's attention on Anwar's ponderous whining about not taking over Putrajaya and seeing his fantasy of becoming prime minister vanish. (Oops, it already has, but Anwar still doesn't get it.)

It might even earn him brownie points with his backers and put a disconcerting spotlight on Anwar's fantastical claim that 40,000 foreigners were flown into Malaysia - if it was at all logistically possible - to cast illegal votes.

Everyone now knows why Anwar has entered into this political black hole: there is no turning back for him because that would mean being sucked into oblivion, and that won't do for his political nihilism because he must be the centre of attention that all crises must start and end with.

It's true that Malaysian realpolitik has been on steroids since Anwar's 1998 sacking as deputy prime minister and that politicking went into unchartered territories, but at the expense of political stability and economic prosperity, the kind of positive environment countries like Spain and Greece will kill for.

Anwar turns to his real talent -- hyping his worth as a "leader" in times of bedlam and uncertainty, never mind his moral character that gets turned on by the bully pulpit in rallying or intoxicating people into executing the absurd.

His years as deputy prime minister were skewed towards building a nest of cronies and controlling mainstream media.

So, on the greater scheme of things, Anwar's big ticket rallies nationwide, including one in Padang Merbok in Kuala Lumpur on June 22, is designed to parade him on a moveable mosh pit that will be participated by those double-faced leaders from DAP and Pas, who have moved on and accepted the results but still unable to resist the spectacle of adoring crowds.

Anwar is playing a bluff in lathering a cause embarrassing to his ragtag opposition axis who have accepted that election fraud complaints must be addressed in the election courts, not grandstanding through mass rallies or a boycott.

However, Anwar knows all this, so he plays the bluff by not taking the oath on Dewan Rakyat's first day but will do so within six months, otherwise he forfeits his seat to force a by-election.

On the other hand, he might just love that by-election while taking advantage of its obvious loophole that gives an edge to the manipulator.

On the balance of advantages, Anwar will lose but damn if he cares for the implication or if his constituents suffer at being "unrepresented".

Bakri MP gets DAP show cause letter

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 07:04 PM PDT

Clara Chooi, TMI

The DAP has issued a show cause letter on Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa for violating a party directive to boycott this morning's parliamentary briefing.

DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke told The Malaysian Insider that Er, a second-term federal lawmaker, would have seven days to respond to the letter before he is referred to the party's disciplinary committee.

"He has to explain. We are giving him a chance to explain," he said when contacted here.

Er was the only MP of the DAP's 38 federal lawmakers and Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) collective 89 representatives who turned up for the briefing at the Parliament House this morning.

The PR leadership council had decide to boycott the sitting in its last meeting to signify its protest against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government for its alleged refusal to adhere to demands for electoral reform.

When approached by reporters this morning, Er said he felt the briefing was important and the decision to attend it was his own.

"Briefing day is important, we want to see if there are new rules and so on," said Er, an MP well-known among Parliament circles for his halting Bahasa Malaysia and persistence in the Dewan Rakyat.

Asked if Er may have not been informed of the boycott directive, Loke said this was not likely as all representatives were given ample notice.

"We have an internal email group so all MPs were informed something like 10 days ago," the Seremban MP said.

"It is the basic responsibility of all our representatives to check their emails. And furthermore, the whole thing was reported in the press.

"There is no reason for him not to know our position on the matter," he added.

When confirming the boycott last week, Loke had told The Malaysian Insider that the move comes on the back of the string of rallies held nationwide to protest against BN's alleged use of fraud to win the just-concluded Election 2013.

He pointed out that the pact was also planning another mammoth protest in Padang Merbok and attending the briefing would appear to contradict the purpose of the rally.



Confusion over PSM's bid to join Pakatan

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 06:37 PM PDT

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said PSM's application to join the Opposition coalition was rejected before the general election

(The Star) - Parti Sosialis Malaysia's (PSM) bid to join Pakatan Rakyat appears to be mired in confusion, with conflicting statements being made on the matter.

In the latest turn of events, PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said PSM's application to join the Opposition coalition was rejected before the general election, concurring with PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution's statement on the matter last week.

Mustafa said the rejection was over the party's clenched fist logo, with which some were uncomfortable.

"It was decided in a meeting before GE13 that we'd remain friendly, but PSM was rejected as a full member of Pakatan," he told The Star Online, adding that he supposed the party had been "informed verbally" about its rejection

However, Pakatan executive secretary Ahmad Shabrimi Sidek insisted that the coalition "had yet to decide" on PSM's application to join.

"Maybe they will discuss it at the presidential meeting next month, but Datuk Saifuddin Nasution was mistaken. Maybe he misunderstood, there were many meetings before elections," Ahmad Shabrimi added.

Saifuddin told The Star Online last Friday that PSM's application to join Pakatan had been rejected before GE13.

However, he declined to provide a reason why. The PKR leader could not be reached for further comment.

DAP chairman Karpal Singh had later expressed surprise that PSM's application was rejected, saying he felt it should be considered favourably.

However, a source confirmed that Karpal had not been at the meeting when the decision was made.

DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang has refused to comment on the matter.

Meanwhile, PSM secretary-general S. Arutchelvan said he hoped Pakatan would issue an official letter clearly stating its position.

During GE13, PSM and Pakatan had a number of clashes over seat allocations, resulting in multi-corner fights in three state seats.

Arutchelvan told the press last month that the party would be re-evaluating its ties with Pakatan after losing the supposedly "safe" seat of Kota Damansara, and not winning Semenyih or Jelapang.

PSM's only electoral victory was in Sungai Siput, with Dr Michael Jeyakumar retaining his position as MP.

In Kota Damansara, PSM president Nasir Hashim had to face off not only an Umno candidate and three independents, but also PAS' Ridzuan Ismail, despite Nasir running on a PKR ticket.

In Semenyih, Arutchelvan used PSM's clenched fist logo and ran against Umno's Johan Abdul Aziz and PKR's Hamidi Hassan.

In Jepalang, PSM's M. Sarasvathy faced down an MIC candidate and an opponent from DAP.


BN to file 21 election petitions, says Tengku Adnan

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 06:33 PM PDT

(Bernama) - The Barisan Nasional has decided to file 21 election petitions on the results of the 13th general election, said its secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

He said the Barisan had initially planned to file 50 petitions, but reduced the number to 21 save the court's time and avoid unreasonable costs.

"After considering the advice from the special legal task force, Barisan decided to file 21 election petitions," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

Tengku Adnan said Barisan did not want to raise petty issues in court and was convinced that the petitions filed had concrete reasons for consideration.

PKR, PAS and DAP filed 25 petitions from Monday until Wednesday for the parliamentary seats and 10 petitions for the state constituency seats in the general election.


Bakri MP apologises for violating Pakatan boycott order

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 06:27 PM PDT

Clara Chooi, TMI

DAP's Bakri MP Er Teck Hwa has apologised to his party for mistakenly attending today's parliamentary briefing despite an order to boycott the meet as a symbolic gesture in Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) reforms protest.

The second-term parliamentarian said he had missed the email instruction sent to all 38 DAP lawmakers last week as he had not gone through all correspondence in his email inbox.

"This is my mistake for not thoroughly going through all the messages and email for this specific order to boycott today's briefing and stirring up more controversy on [the] current political scenario," he said in a statement here.

"I would like to express my most sincere apologies for my inappropriate actions and humbly accept any disciplinary action that might be taken against me."

Er raised eyebrows in Parliament today when he was the sole MP from the 89-member opposition bloc to attend a scheduled briefing.

When approached by reporters, Er said he felt the briefing was important and the decision to attend it was of his own initiative.

"Briefing day is important, we want to see if there are new rules and so on," said Er, an MP well-known among Parliament circles for his halting Bahasa Malaysia and persistence in the Dewan Rakyat.

Hours later in his press statement, however, Er admitted that despite not seeing the official email from his party, he had been well informed about the boycott as it was reported in the media.

But he pointed out that it was standard procedure for the party leadership to convey orders via text messages or emails.



Civil rights group not ruling out public protests to push for IPCMC

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 06:20 PM PDT

Ida Lim, TMI

A civil rights movement is not ruling out street gatherings to push for the setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) following a string of deaths in custody.

The Stop State Violence Movement (SSVM), an umbrella body of 30 rights groups including Tenaganita, pointed out that nine cases of custodial deaths had occurred in the first half of this year compared to 2012's nine deaths.

Tenaganita director Irene Fernandez (picture) said the movement will get MPs to sign a pledge to support the passing of the IPCMC Bill in Parliament.

Fernandez said the movement will step up the pressure on the government from the people for an independent oversight body for the police force.

"If need be, yes, if that's the way the voice is heard, then so be it," Fernandez said at a press conference here when asked if the movement would be taking to the streets.

"We are going through different processes right now but if the government of the day does not want to listen, then what else is left?

"And you create a situation and the rakyat has to express through freedom of assembly," she added.

She later said the people will decide if they will be doing it in the form of a protest or a gathering.

The SSVM also slammed the idea of revamping the existing Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) — which oversees the police and 18 other agencies — as an alternative to establishing the IPCMC.

The movement highlighted various differences between the two commissions, saying that the EAIC has no powers to prosecute and could not initiate probes without complaints being made.

Suaram co-ordinator Thevarajan R., who was also present at the press conference, commented on former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan's comment that the proposed IPCMC should include an avenue for police officers to exercise their right to appeal.

Musa had last week said the IPCMC proposed by a 2005 Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) had not included such a clause to permit convicted officers to appeal decisions in court.



Pakatan MPs boycott parliament briefing

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 05:35 PM PDT

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia,however, was unperturbed saying it was their right to boycott the session.

G Vinod, FMT

Eighty eight out of the 89 Pakatan Rakyat MPs boycotted the briefing session at the Parliament today.

The only parliamentarian from the opposition  present today was Bakri MP, Er Teck Hwa.

However, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia was unfazed by the boycott.

"As far as I'm concerned, they have their reasons. We practice democracy.

"Those who come, come and those who don't come, don't come," said Pandikar at a press conference.

However, the Speaker cautioned Pakatan MPs from boycotting the swearing in ceremony.

Pandikar said that those who boycott the swearing in session scheduled on June 24 would render themselves unable to perform their duties as MPs.

"And your appointment will lapse if you don't swear in within six months time," he said.

Recently, Pakatan leaders announced that it would boycott the parliamentary briefing session to protest against the electoral irregularities in the recent polls.

Lawyer-activist Haris Ibrahim even suggested Pakatan MPs to boycott the swearing in ceremony but PAS and DAP had rejected the notion.

While Pandikar was lenient in his comment against Pakatan for its boycott, several Umno MPs were more vocal on the matter.

Kubang Pasu MP Johari Baharum said that Pakatan leaders were nothing short of disrespecting voters by their boycott.

"People have made their choice. They should respect the rakyat's mandate," he said.



Er: It’s my personal decision

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 05:31 PM PDT

Despite Pakatan's boycott, DAP MP Er Teck Hwa says he attended the briefing session in parliament to familiarise himself with the new rules

G. Vinod, FMT

DAP MP Er Teck Hwa said that it was his personal decision to attend the briefing session at Parliament today despite a boycott announced by Pakatan Rakyat.

"It's my personal decision. As an MP, I just feel that I should know the guidelines for the new parliamentary session," said Er.

Recently, Pakatan leaders have announced that they would boycott the parliamentary briefing session in protest against electoral irregularities the recent general election.

Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia activist Haris Ibrahim even urged Pakatan MPs to boycott the swearing in ceremony scheduled for June 24 but PAS and DAP have shot down the idea.

Although Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia said that it was their right to boycott the briefing session, he cautioned Pakatan against boycotting the swearing in ceremony.

Er, who is a second term backbencher, said he was aware of the boycott announced but chose to attend today's session anyway.

Asked if he would attend the swearing in ceremony, Er said that he would attend it pending instructions from the DAP leadership.


Husam loses RM10mil suit

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 05:26 PM PDT

PAS vice president fails in his suit against NSTP group

(Bernama) -  PAS vice-president  Husam Musa today lost his RM10-million defamation suit against the New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) and four others over an article in relation to his posts in the party and government.

Husam's counsel Zulqarnain Lukman told reporters that High Court Judicial Commissioner Lee Heng Cheong ruled in chambers that the article was not defamatory.

Zulqarnain said Lee also held that if the article was defamatory, the court found that the defendants' defence of qualified privilege and responsible journalism was applicable in the case.

He said the court also found that Husam had failed to establish his case against the defendants and ordered him to pay RM20,000 in costs to the defendants.

The court made the decision after hearing the testimony of three witnesses for Husam and two for the defendants.

In 2010, Husam filed the suit against NSTP, its two reporters Shuhada Elis and Nik Imran Abdullah, former NST group editor Datuk Syed Nadzri Syed Harun and the then NSTP group managing editor Zainul Arifin Mohammed Isa.

In his statement of claim, Husam said the defendants had written and published with malice an article on Nov 23, 2009, over his posts to injure his reputation.

He had sought RM10 million in damages, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.

The defendants, in their statement of defence, denied that the words published were defamatory and that the article was published on an occasion of qualified privilege.

Counsel Lim Qi Si and Wee Jason represented the defendants.


Police force facing crisis after crisis

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 05:15 PM PDT

Since IGP Khalid Abu Bakar took over, Malaysians have not seen any new or real initiatives, breakthrough or success "in the most important challenge" of the police which is to make safety and security the top police priority, says DAP. 

K Pragalath, FMT

The police force is up against three crisses – rising crime rate, political bootlicking and custodial deaths – claims DAP's national publicity secretary Tony Pua.

The public, he said, no longer had confidence in the police force which it saw as being more concerned about hunting down opposition supporters than criminals and the lackof political will to establish the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Detailing the triple crisis, Pua cited as an example the recent robbery in a steamboat restaurant involving 70 patrons who lost more than RM20,000 on Saturday to 10 men armed with machetes and iron rods.

"The rise in crime and its aggressiveness has proven the police's failure in their most important task, that is to ensure that the man-on-the-street do not live in fear for their lives and property.

"The second crisis of confidence faced by the police is because the police force appear to be more interested in politics than combating crime by using the laws on political dissidents instead of focusing on public safety.

"To quote the Gelang Patah Member of Parliament Lim Kit Siang, we now have the "most political IGP" in the nation's history (through IGP Khalid Abu Bakar)."

Pua said since Khalid's appointment, Malaysians had not seen any new or real initiatives, breakthrough or success"  in the most important challenge of the police to make safety and security the top police priority.

"Instead, we see the police under the IGP coming down hard on Pakatan Rakyat leaders and social activists, although public peace and order had not been undermined in any manner.

"The IGP has instructed the police force to use and abuse the Peaceful Assembly Act and the Sedition Act to intimidate and clamp down on all political dissent," he said.



DAP: Er breached party discipline

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 04:34 PM PDT

The Bakri MP will be asked to explain on why he attended the briefing session at the Parliament despite a boycott, said DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke.

G Vinod, FMT

DAP MP Er Teck Hwa had breached party discipline by attending today's briefing session at the Parliament, said party national organising secretary Anthony Loke.

"We have informed all our MPs (on the boycott). This is the decision.

"In Er's case, he had breached party discipline by not following our directive," said Loke.

Pakatan Rakyat decided to boycott the briefing session at the Parliament to protest against irregularities in the general election.

However, Er was seen present at the briefing session today despite the boycott.

Asked on the matter, Er said that it was his personal decision to attend the briefing as he wanted to know the guidelines for the new parliamentary session.

Loke, who is also DAP whip chief, said that the party would ask Er to explain the matter in writing soon.

"If his answer is not satisfactory, Er will be referred to the disciplinary committee," said the Rasah MP.


Where are the show cause letters, MIC

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 04:27 PM PDT

MIC leaders who were supposedly slapped with show cause letters claim that they have not received any despite announcements from the disciplinary board

K Pragalath, FMT

Six MIC grassroot leaders who were supposedly issued show cause letters by the party disciplinary board have yet to receive the letters although it has been reported in the media.

"The party disciplinary board chairman (KS Nijhar) said show cause letters have been issued to the six leaders but they claim they have no clue about the letters.

"They only know of the offences they supposedly committed through the newspapers. Is this how the MIC leadership runs the party…they should not make any media statement until after the letters had been sent out. Nijhar goes to the media without even checking if the leaders had received the letters," a party leader told FMT.

The six are RS Maniam (Kota Rajah division), G Jeyakumar (Gombak division) and M Veloo (Teluk Kemang division), and TH Subra (deputy chairman of Sungai Petani), S Kalimuthu (Tasek Permai Baru branch chairman) and S Ramesh Kumar (an ordinary member from Mersing Kiri branch).

Declining to be named, he also said the latest to be "issued" a show cause letter was Johor state secretary M Asojan, who was hauled up for wanting the party to hold its internal elections immediately not wait until end of the year.

Asojan, when contacted, declined comment on the matter.

However, sources in the party headquarters say no letter had been issued to Asojan although media reports claim that he has been issued a letter asking him why he made the statement on the party elections.

"It is the same with Asojan…he did not know about the letter until he read about it in the newspapers. He has not received any letters.

"This is worse then (former president) Samy Vellu's era. He sacked people and that's it. Here we have a leadership which wants to flex its muscles by sending show cause and explanation letters to leaders so that others would shut-up," said another national leader who did not want to be named.

Although the party leadership, headed by G Palanivel, is going after grassroot leaders, it is still unclear what it would do against former secretary generals and veterans G Vadiveloo and DP Vijandran, who had both asked the party to conduct its internal elections soon or risk deregistration by the Registrar of Societies.

Party sources claim, Palanivel was now training his guns on Vadiveloo.



Pakatan MPs face disqualification if they fail to swear in, says Speaker Pandikar Amin

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 01:06 PM PDT 

(The Star) -  Pakatan members of parliament (MP) have been warned that they face the threat of disqualification if they deliberately boycott the swearing in ceremony of parliamentarians this coming June 24 said Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

He said that the swearing in of MPs would be the constitutional order of the day and a failure to take the oath, within six months of the start of proceedings, without reasonable excuse would lead to automatic disqualification.

"MPs will have six months to take their oath and until such time, those who fail to do so would be barred from participating in parliamentary proceedings," he told reporters after officiating a briefing for parliamentarians at Parliament House on Tuesday pending the start of 13th sitting of Parliament this coming June 24.

Though MPs would be allowed to take their oath at a later date before the six-month deadline, he said a deliberate boycott of the swearing in ceremony was tantamount to a mockery of the nation's democratic institution that could lead to censure by parliament.

He was asked to comment on the possibility of Pakatan MPs boycotting the start of parliament this June 24 and the consequences that could follow. 

Toyad back in Sarawak CM race?

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 12:55 PM PDT 

(FMT) - The GE13 outcome, Najib Tun Razak's fragile cabinet and a fragmented federal government has given Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud the upper hand.

The outcome of the 13th GE though, in reality, unfavourable to Umno and  the other West Malaysian Barisan Nasional component parties – MCA,  MIC, Gerakan and PPP – was however a plus for Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB).

The results gave PBB top man and Chief Minister Taib Mahmud,  the leeway to push for his agenda at federal and state levels.

The second tsunami has changed Umno's game plan in his favour. It has given Taib an opportunity to pass on the reins of political power to a family member from within his own small Melanau community .

Taib has been under pressure from Prime Minister Najib Tun-Razak and federal Umno to step down and name a Umno-friendly successor.

But the May 5 general election, turned the tables on Najib who had expected to sweep through in Peninsular Malaysia. In the end, Najib had to depend on Sarawak and Sabah's 47 parliamentary seats to form the federal government.

Hence whilst Umno-BN is realigning its game plan to protect its own interests, Taib is doing likewise.

Najib's fragile cabinet and fragmented federal government has offered a big break for Taib to demand for more cabinet posts for PBB , thereby blocking opportunities for the Dayak parties from Sarawak to have more political say at the federal level.

Alongside this, Umno is also struggling against the pressure mounted by Pakatan and the  people in respect to the validity of the GE results.

Taking advantage of the new political development, Taib has set in motion his own political agenda.

Read more at: 

Malaysia gears up for corruption fight

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 12:16 PM PDT 

(Al Jazeera) - Hope and scepticism abound after government vows to tackle endemic graft that continues to anger ordinary Malaysians.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - When a Malaysian court rejected a former chief minister's appeal against a corruption sentence recently, it stirred vigorous debate in the Southeast Asian nation.

Was this finally a signal that the government is serious about tackling rampant graft in Malaysia's corridors of power?

Former Selangor state chief minister, Mohamed Khir Toyo, was one of the most senior government officials to be convicted for corruption in recent years.

Khir Toyo protested his innocence and accused Prime Minister Najib Razak of trying to make an example out of him to show the Malaysian public he is serious about ending high-level graft, a promise made ahead of recent general elections.

Corruption was a major issue during campaigning for the vote, which saw the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) return to power with a substantially reduced majority - the worst-ever showing in its 56-year rule.

Despite promises of reining in corruption, many Malaysians remain sceptical.

"What we find in corruption cases involving BN members and affiliations is that the court process is purposely lengthened and delayed," said 25-year-old Lee Ee May, a management consultant.

One official, however, told Al Jazeera the government is serious about cleaning up its act.

"I can tell you there is political will to let [the corruption commission] to investigate as much as possible - without fear or favour - and for the Attorney General to prosecute should there be sufficient evidence," said Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Scandalous record

Numerous financial scandals involving individuals linked to the ruling coalition has bred a doubting public in recent years.

Even well-respected anti-graft campaigner Paul Low, former chairman of the NGO Transparency International Malaysia, was not spared.

Low, 67, was appointed to the cabinet last month in a surprise move greeted with both praise and cynicism. Low will take charge of matters related to corruption and government integrity.

"We hope that the Najib administration isn't just trying to have Datuk Paul Low's impeccable credentials rub off on the former, without real and tangible reforms enforced," said opposition Member of Parliament Tony Pua from the Democratic Action Party at the time.

Low's anti-graft colleagues called his appointment a "brave move" by Najib as the newly-minted Minister in the Prime Minister's Department could turn on the government by investigating allegations of corruption within the ruling coalition.

"I hope Najib will give him [Low]  the freedom to make all the reforms, and not interfere in any corruption investigations in political leaders from the BN component parties," said Transparency International Secretary General Josie Fernandez.

When contacted by Al Jazeera last month, Low said: "I am only three days into my job so I need to wait. As you can see that whatever I say, I am being politicised."

"The investigations have been going on for a long time. We want to know what are MACC's findings, what are the impediments to the findings being made public?"

- Josie Fernandez, Transparency International


'Mother of all corruption'

Political financing, Fernandez told Al Jazeera, was the "mother of all corruption" and needed to be addressed.

"The way political financing disperses is through money used to buy votes in internal party elections, as well as the national election," said Fernandez.

Malaysia ranked as 54th least corrupt country in the world in 2012, according to Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, tying with Latvia and Turkey out of 176 nations surveyed. That was an improvement over 2011 when Malaysia was ranked 60th.

Regionally, Malaysia did better than Thailand (88th), the Philippines (105th) and Indonesia (118th).

In other surveys, Malaysia fared badly. It topped the list in a Transparency International survey of 30 countries in 2012, in which company officials said business deals had been lost because they did not pay bribes.

In the Bribe Payers Survey, a staggering 50 percent said "yes" when asked whether they had lost deals because they did not grease palms with cash.

Malaysia was also ranked number three in terms of global illicit outflows by the Washington-based group Global Financial Integrity in December 2012. Between 2001 and 2010, $285.2bn in illegal capital flight occurred, an average of $28.5bn annually, according to the report.

Independence needed

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) needs to be made truly independent to investigate corruption allegations against powerful individuals, said Fernandez.

An example that has clouded the commission's reputation is that of Abdul Taib Mahmud, 75, chief minister of the resource-rich eastern state of Sarawak for the last 32 years.

Mahmud has been under investigation for alleged corruption by the MACC since 2011.

"The investigations have been going on for a long time. We want to know what are MACC's findings, what are the impediments to the findings being made public?" Fernandez asked.

Mustafar Ali, MACC's director of investigations, told Al Jazeera the "case is still proceeding," and declined to comment further.

Read more at: 

Kirams accuse Aquino gov’t of plotting to turn them over to Malaysia

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 12:15 PM PDT

(Global Nation) - Citing a "reliable source," the camp of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III said MalacaƱang has been secretly plotting to surrender the sultan and his followers to the Malaysian authorities, taking the extradition of Moro leader Nur Misuari from Malaysia to the Philippines as a precedent.

The possible government move to favor the Malaysian government would likely have "violent results in Mindanao," the sultanate's spokesperson Abraham Idjirani said.


"It would mean deception on the part of the government, which signed peace deal with our Muslim brothers just recently," Idjirani said.


The Kirams called for a news conference at their house on Monday before noon to reveal a supposed government's plan to extradite the Kiram and his followers.


"(All) has been quiet on the Sabah issue for some time until an official from within informed us that the government plans to turn us over to the Malaysian government," Princess Jacel Kiram, daughter of the sultan, told reporters.


Asked how likely the plan was going to happen, Jacel said: "Very close."


Despite the absence of an extradition treaty between the Philippines and Malaysia, the government may use, as precedent, the case of Moro National Liberation Front Chairman Nur Misuari who was turned over by Malaysia to the Philippines in 2001, when Misuari and his armed followers rose up in protest of what they believed to be the refusal of the Philippine government to comply with the terms of their 1996 peace agreement.

Read more at 


Don: National reconciliation goes beyond ethnicity

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 11:58 AM PDT 

( - Shamsul Amri believes that the media and public need to take a broader view of the terms 'Chinese tsunami' and 'national reconciliation'.

As midnight crossed over into early morning on May 6, two clear outcomes emerged from the freshly-delivered GE13 results.
The first was that Barisan Nasional would not be vacating Putrajaya. And the second was that a startlingly high number of Chinese Malaysian voters had appeared to shun BN.
In a kneejerk response, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak branded the latter outcome a "Chinese tsunami" and pledged to embark on a national reconciliation process to heal the perceived racial and political divisions.
His statements elicited mixed reactions that ranged from agreement to indignation and even derision. Pakatan Rakyat strategists and political analysts would later debunk the "Chinese tsunami" claim with statistical evidence of strong Malay support towards the Opposition.
As for the national reconciliation plan, many called it a sequel to the 1Malaysia concept and prematurely deemed it rhetorical and a likely failure.
But according to the National Council of Professors (MPN) deputy chairman, Datuk  Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, the meaning of "national reconciliation" in the post-election context may have been misconstrued.
He believed that part of this misinterpretation rested with BN repeating the same oversight that initially plagued the 1Malaysia concept.
Shamsul recalled that Najib only defined and explained the 1Malaysia concept almost a year after it was introduced. In that span of time, Malaysians interpreted the concept based on individual perspectives.
"The term 'national reconciliation' was verbalised with clarity by Najib that night but was never explained or defined clearly," he reminded in a recent interview.
"Pundits and reporters immediately and conveniently linked 'national reconciliation' and 'Chinese tsunami' to mean that in spite of BN winning by a comfortable majority there was now, from Najib's viewpoint, a major rift between the Chinese and the BN government."

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Rafizi: PKR needs to raise RM1mil to file petitions to challenge the outcome of the general election

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 11:27 AM PDT 

(The Star) - PKR needs to raise RM1mil to challenge the outcome of last month's general election in 18 parliamentary and one state seat; the bulk of 34 election petitions that would be filed by parties in the Opposition front.

PAS will be challenging the results in four parliamentary and nine state seats while the DAP will petition against two parliamentary seats.

All parties have until tomorrow to file their petitions, which is the end of the 21-day deadline upon the gazetting of the May 5 polls result.

PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli said the petitions would involve an initial cost of about RM500,000 for the party.

"We need to raise an additional RM1mil, as the total cost will be about RM1.5mil," he told a press conference here yesterday.

"We would have to hold at least three fund-raising events within the next three weeks to come up with the extra RM1mil," he said, adding that the DAP and PAS would finance their own petitions.

The petitions would be filed at the High Court closest to the disputed seats.

Rafizi said each petition, done on a pro bono basis, entailed a deposit of RM10,000 and about RM5,000 in disbursements and filing fees.

Among the seats in dispute are those lost to Barisan candidates by slim majorities and those where the PKR allegedly found evidence of electoral fraud.

Rafizi also said that PKR was filing a separate petition under the Election Offences Act against Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who allegedly exceeded the permitted RM200,000 election budget.

"Ahmad Zahid was caught on camera admitting to giving out RM100 and packets of rice to 24,000 voters in Bagan Datoh," claimed Rafizi, adding that he would release a video to prove his claim at a later date. 

Unhappy BN MPs meet over spoils of GE13 victory

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 11:17 AM PDT 

(TMI) - The Malaysian Insider understands that about the dozen or so MPs from Sabah and Sarawak are not keen to cross the aisle to join Pakatan Rakyat (PR) but are also not happy with Putrajaya over the spoils of victory.

Several disgruntled Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs from east Malaysia met veteran lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah last night to discuss their positions after not getting anything for their wins in the closely-fought Election 2013.

The Malaysian Insider understands that about the dozen or so MPs from Sabah and Sarawak are not keen to cross the aisle to join Pakatan Rakyat (PR) but are also not happy with Putrajaya over the spoils of victory.

"The east Malaysian MPs met Ku Li in his house to discuss their next moves as they are not happy with Putrajaya," a source told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the politician prince by his moniker.

The MPs, who were elected in the May 5 general election, are here for two days of familiarisation with ethics and parliamentary procedures.

BN took 47 of the 56 federal seats in Sabah and Sarawak, contributing one-third of the 133 federal seats it won in the elections despite both states only having a quarter of the 222 seats in Parliament.

However, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak only doled out 20 ministerial and deputy ministerial posts to east Malaysian MPs, leaving parties like Sarawak's SPDP without any representatives despite winning four federal seats.

In contrast, the MIC in the Malay peninsula saw all four MPs getting ministerial and deputy ministerial posts in the Najib administration — which has 32 full ministers including eight in the Prime Minister's Department.

"The east Malaysians don't want to leave BN but they also want something back for their wins.

"They are seeing Ku Li to see what they can do to express their disappointment," the source added.

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Crime the number one worry for Malaysians, survey finds

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 10:47 AM PDT 

(The Star) - A survey by the International Islamic University Malaysia's (IIUM) Communication department has shown that crime is the number one concern among Malaysians.

IIUM lecturer Prof Datuk Seri Dr Syed Arabi Idid said the results of the nationwide study, conducted between April 6 and 14, showed that crime had surpassed economic woes as the main worry.

One out of every three adult respondents said crime had become a national problem.

"While the results of a survey in March 2008 found that the state of the economy was the major anxiety among Malaysians, this has slowly given way to concern over crime," he said.

Dr Syed Arabi said in March and April 2013, Malaysians also identified security as the second major problem after the incursion in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

However, in April, there was a drop in perception to 15% from 25% recorded in March.

Dr Syed Arabi commended Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razakfor his recent declaration of war against crime.

He said the Government's call to the people to empower themselves to fight crime and its pledge to do whatever it took to battle crime was timely.

Dr Syed Arabi said the rise in crime and reduction in public confidence in the police could be due to slow enforcement and increased publicity on crime cases.

He said more involvement between the public and police in combating crime could be the solution.

"The setting up of the Crime Prevention Department by the police is a step in the right direction.

"Better enforcement and quicker response will also help reduce crimes and deter would be criminals," he added. 

Nazir: Azran's frank views 'hallmark of a great leader'

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 10:44 AM PDT 

( - CIMB Group managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Seri Nazir Razak described the frank views by AirAsia X Bhd head honcho Azran Osman-Rani against Utusan Malaysia and Perkasa as the hallmark of a great leader.
Speaking at the prospectus launch of AirAsia X, Nazir said that in his (Nazir's) view, Azran speaking his mind made him a great leader.
"Azran – some people think he is a little bit outspoken – but what would you expect if you have someone who is guided by a chairman like Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz," Nazri said in his speech.
"It is this trait, speaking his mind (that) makes him a great leader from my perspective – and has done a great job running this company," said Nazir, who is the brother of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Also present at the launch were AirAsia X co-founders and directors Datuk Kamarudin Meranun and Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. 
After the May 5 general election, Azran has tweeted that Utusan Malaysia's articles such as "Apa lagi Cina mahu" (What more do the Chinese want) as racist and suggested that the long-haul low-cost carrier would not place advertisements with the paper.
He also took a swipe at the right wing Malay group, Perkasa.
As his remarks went viral, Azran came under fire from Utusan and Perkasa. There are even calls by some within Utusan for the Umno-controlled publication to not accept advertisements from AirAsia X until Azran apologised.
Apart from Azran, AirAsia X chairman Rafidah also came under fire.

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Najib: Muslims should show good example to non-muslims

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 10:42 AM PDT 

(Bernama) - PRIME MINISTER Datuk Seri Najib Razak suggested that Muslims in this country find a common ground and similarities although having differences of opinion and ideology so as to show good example to the non-Muslim community.

He said thinking which leaned towards disunity and animosity should be replaced with values like equity and fairness.

"We must have a positive attitude and not embellish stories that we hear of and we need to think of good and bad consequences (of our actions)," he said in his speech at the opening of the 56th National-Level Tilawah Al-Quran or Quran Reciters Assembly at the main hall of the Darul Naim Islamic Complex in Lundang, here, yesterday.

Also present were Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakub and his wife Datin Siti Zabidah Abdul Hamid, the prime minister's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

Najib said Islam frowned upon instigators who always tried to create animosity among Muslims.

He also called on Muslims to together protect the sanctity of Islam and to foster solidarity in upholding Islam as the official religion of this country.

Najib said disunity would place Muslims on the losing end and provide an opportunity for others to take advantage of their weakness.

"Preparing ourselves to be strong in our religious faith is necessary in facing whatever challenges that come, while empowering ourselves is also very important to gauge our strengths and weaknesses in enhancing the glory of Islam in this country.

"Let us together ensure that what we and our nation are showered with will continue to endow us. We shall continue to build unity and at the same time, reject whatever actions and attempts by those who ridicule the monarchy in their politics of extremism."

The prime minister said it was incumbent on Muslims to defend their supreme caliph, Prophet Muhammmad, besides the Federal Constitution and the monarchy which had been the foundation for the formation of a civilised and sovereign Malaysia.

Najib said Malaysia was blessed with systematic infrastructure to manage Islam and had vast potential to continue developing further its civilisation based on Islam.

Touching on this year's theme, "Wasatiyah Tonggak Kesatuan Ummah" (Moderation the Pillar of Unity of the Muslim Community), the prime minister said it called on Muslims to follow a balanced wasatiyah approach propagated by Prophet Muhammad.

He said through the concept, Malaysia had become a developed Muslim country with its people's unity also translated into good relations with other Muslim countries.

He called on Muslims to champion the Quran by not merely memorising or reading it to gain divine reward but also by understanding and practising its teachings for the benefit of the whole ummah.

The tilawah, held from today until June 14, involves 29 participants from all over the country including Kelantan, which is for the first time in 23 years, sending a woman contestant.  

Egyptian girl dies undergoing circumcision

Posted: 10 Jun 2013 10:39 AM PDT

(Al Arabiya) - Suhair al-Bata'a, 13, died while she was being circumcised in a village northeast of Cairo. (Photo courtesy of Egypt Independent) 

"I want nothing but to hold the doctor accountable and to have justice for my daughter" 

Suhair al-Bata'a, a 13-year-old Egyptian girl, has died undergoing circumcision at a village in the Daqahliya governorate northeast of Cairo, Egyptian media reported on Sunday.

"We left our daughter with the doctor and the nurse. 15 minutes later, the nurse took my daughter out of the operation room to a nearby room, along with three other girls whom the doctor was circumcising," Mohammed Ibrahim, a farmer, told Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm.

"I waited half an hour, hoping that my daughter would wake up, but, unfortunately, unlike the rest of the girls, she did not," he said.

The doctor who circumcised Suhair had previously circumcised her elder sister two years ago.

"I want nothing but to hold the doctor accountable and to have justice for my daughter," Suhair's mother, Hasanat Naeem Fawzy, told the newspaper.

The police ordered an autopsy and summoned the doctor to find the cause of the young girl's death.

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