Isnin, 29 Julai 2013

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Scorpene scandal, is Jasbir Singh Chahl credible?

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 12:09 PM PDT

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The New Straits Times has never been the beacon of investigative journalism in Malaysia. Resurrecting Jasbir Singh Chahl to try to whitewash the Scorpene scandal is hardly a scoop – Jasbir's churlish account fails to answer the many questions raised by the scandal and the murder of Altantuya.

Kua Kia Soong 

SUARAM has all along stuck to the facts and this can be checked in our publication: "Questioning Arms Spending in Malaysia: From Altantuya to Zikorsky" by Kua Kia Soong, 2010. By no means does Jasbir disprove the chronology of events noted in the book nor shed any light on the revelations by the French enquiry thus far. But first, let us examine the credentials of this man touted as the "architect" of the Scorpene submarine deal, the most expensive arms purchase by our country to date, costing well over RM7 billion.

Who is Jasbir Singh Chahl?

When the submarine deal was signed in 2002, the Far Eastern Economic Review commented that it "…provides a rare peek into the normally opaque process of Malaysian arms purchases…Finally, it underscores the importance of political connections in winning a defence contract in Malaysia." (FEER, 15.8.2002)

According to this FEER story, in 2000 then private French company Thomson-CSF (now called Thales) had been working with a middleman by the name of Jasbir Chahl in an attempt to sell a Crotale missile system to the Malaysian government. A middleman like Jasbir must be beaming with pride at being hailed as the "architect" of the Scorpene deal when in fact middlemen in international arms deals normally try to keep a low profile as Jasbir has done for so many years. This is how The Independent describes the work of a middleman in arms deals: "1) He brings together buyers and sellers of weapons and military equipment, rather as estate agents bring together buyers and sellers of property; 2) He arranges the supply of specialised services, for example training and maintenance for complex Western combat jets that are bought by nations without the expertise to keep these planes flying themselves; 3) He obtains weapons for nations, guerrilla groups, mercenaries or others not legally permitted to buy them from Western governments or defence manufacturers; 4) He acts as a financial 'cut- out' in the extraordinarily complex flow of funds generated by multi-billion-pound arms deals. That is to say he helps to conceal the payment of bribes." (Peter Koenig, The Independent, 16 October 1994)

According to the 2002 FEER article, Thales introduced Chahl to French government-owned DCN and the submarine deal was set in motion. Chahl then brought in Ibrahim Mohamed Noor, a businessman close to Daim Zainuddin, then Finance Minister. Ibrahim's private company, Perimekar, was to become the linchpin between the Malaysian and French governments. Ibrahim then brought in Abdul Razak Baginda, a military analyst who headed the Malaysian Strategic Resources Centre and also adviser to Defence Minister Najib Razak. In August 2001, Ibrahim sold Perimekar to Generasi Mulia, which served to hold the shares temporarily, paving the way for new, well-connected investors to step in. By January 2002, everything had fallen into place. Generasi Mulia sold its 100% stake in Perimekar to Ombak Laut, a private company owned by associates of Abdul Razak Baginda. Ombak Laut then sold 40% to the Armed Forces Superannuation Fund, or LTAT and a sister company.

In that 2002 story, the FEER speculated on the payoff for Malaysian businessmen in the submarine deal: "Defence analysts estimate that for all the effort, and for its continued involvement in the contract, Perimekar will receive, over the next six years, 8% of the total contract value: about RM288 million, and possibly more, as the euro, on which the contract is based, has appreciated 13% against the ringgit since the signing." (FEER, 15.8.2002)

Perimekar Never More than a Travel Agency

Jasbir tries to justify the exaggerated payments to Perimekar. He tells us nothing new to what the defence ministry has told us. What the documents from the French judicial inquiry show is this view of Perimekar by the French state company DCN: "The amount to be paid to Perimekar is over-evaluated. It is not worth it…They are never more than a travel agency…The price is inflated and their support function is very vague…Yes, that company created unfounded wealth for its shareholders."

From the French investigations so far, the former finance director of DCN, Gerarde Philippe Maneyas had made a claim for 32 million euros (RM124 million) allegedly used to bribe Malaysian officials for purchase of the Scorpenes. The budget minister had questioned such a large bribe although he did eventually authorize the tax break.

From the French documents, it emerges that the commissions and dividends for the Scorpene deal were funneled through two companies, Terasasi and Perimekar, both owned by Abdul Razak Baginda. His wife, Mazlinda is a director in Perimekar while his father is also a director in Terasasi. Malaysians have been told about Perimekar and its "coordinating service" in the submarines deal. But so far there has been no mention of Terasasi. Neither has Jasbir mentioned Terasasi.

With the new French law and OECD Convention against corruption in place after 2002, the French arms merchants had to find an alternative way to pay commissions to their foreign clients. The method used was to create "service providers" that could "increase invoices" in order to take the place of commissions. Thus, when the French state company DCN terminated its contracts, Thales took over as a private company, not involving the state. Thales International was appointed to coordinate the political connections.

A commercial engineering contract was then signed between DCNI and Thales, referred to as "C5". It covered 30 million euros in commercial costs abroad. The companies used in the Malaysian case were" Gifen in Malta, Eurolux in Luxemburg and Technomar in Belgium. The travel expences of Baginda and Altantuya were covered by these.

Another "consulting agreement" was signed in 2000 between Thint Asia and Terasasi for 2.5 million euros. From the Paris Papers, we know that at least 32 million euros (RM144 million) were paid by Thales International (Thint) Asia to Terasasi. There is an invoice by Terasasi dated 1.10.2000 for 100,000 euros. There is also an invoice from Terasasi to Thint Asia, dated 28.8.2004 for 359,450 euros (RM1.44 million) with a hand-written note saying: "Razak wants it in a hurry."

Altantuya's links to the Scorpene deal

Altantuya was a translator. According to Baginda's bail affidavit, she met Baginda in 2004 and became his lover, two years after the submarine deal was signed. I don't think the French officials who negotiated the deal needed a translator in the first place. What has transpired is that Altantuya knew about the deal from her liaison with Baginda and she had come to Kuala Lumpur expecting a cut in the commission.

During the Altantuya murder trial, when Baginda's counsel read out the events following Altantuya's fateful night, he skipped the part about Baginda going to the Deputy Prime Minister, Najib's office, which made Justice Segara interject: "Why did you skip that? There is nothing to worry. He just went there. It is in the affidavit. He should have known better and go straight to the police or IGP and not embarrass the DPM…Facts must surface. You cannot hide. The truth will always prevail." (The Star Online, 20.1.2007)

Baginda, accused of abetting the murder, was acquitted in November 2008. He was acquitted without his defence being called while the two policemen charged, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Omar, were sentenced to the gallows for killing her. After the verdict was made known, the government announced it would not be appealing against the Razak Baginda acquittal.

Murder accused Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar said he had been made a scapegoat by certain parties in the murder of Altantuya to protect their "evil plan". The trial was deemed questionable by many observers. Apart from painstaking attempts to keep then Deputy Prime Minister Najib's name from being mentioned in the trial and probing the motive for the murder, other irregularities included: the sudden removal of the presiding judge just before the trial started without a plausible explanation to the lawyers; the changing of the head of the prosecution team at the last moment; the changing of the defence lawyers for the accused, one alleging interference by "third parties" in his work.

A witness testimony by Altantuya's cousin alleging that the victim had shown her a photograph of herself, Baginda, Najib and "others" having lunch in a Paris restaurant was stopped by defence lawyers and prosecutors from testifying further. Nor did the court ask the witness to produce the photograph. In the course of the trial, evidence was given that Altantuya's entry into Malaysia had been erased from the records of the Malaysian Immigration. This could only have been directed by a higher authority.

As we can see, this middleman in the Scorpene deal has hardly illuminated us on all these questions surrounding the murder of Altantuya. What is surprising is the naivete of the high-brow propagandists in the NST in not pursuing the answers to these questions. Any truth seeker would at least be interested to know the motive for the murder of the Mongolian lass.

This recalls Voltaire's reminder that "…those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

Mainstream Media in Malaysia

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 11:56 AM PDT

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I wouldn't mind if the mainstream media is pro-government because this is a POLITICAL system where everyone wants to be in power and REMAIN in power and there is no guarantee that the opposition wouldn't do the same should they become the government. Look at their media now and think for yourself. 

Hafizuddin Amir Bin Hasim

The media plays an influential role in shaping Malaysian minds. In the political sphere, the media - be it mainstream and social - have done a great deal to influence voters especially the young and urban ones. The social media claims to be free and more open compared to the mainstream media and have "won the race" in GE12 and GE13.

Opposition leaders usually rely on the social media to convey their thoughts and have successfully instilled in the voters' minds that the mainstream media such as Utusan Malaysia and TV3 are biased to the government and used for BN's political mileage, which is actually true. This leads to another perception that whatever news delivered by Utusan and TV3 are all slander and lies because they are paid to protect the corrupt. With these, voters and fence sitters are confused, eventually agree and then blindly take whatever being said and shown in the social media as the gospel truth and everything on TV is a lie. This is actually more dangerous as we are exposed to greater slander and lies since everyone is free to post, edit and spread anything.

I wouldn't mind if the mainstream media is pro-government because this is a POLITICAL system where everyone wants to be in power and REMAIN in power and there is no guarantee that the opposition wouldn't do the same should they become the government. Look at their media now and think for yourself.

However, this advantage is abused by BN government. Let's narrow the scope to only Utusan and TV3, which are surprisingly worse than RTM.

First of all, they know that the perception is bad towards them and this is proven by looking at GE13 results. This bad perception led to even if they tell the truth, it is perceived as a lie because it is by Utusan and TV3. Don't they learn from it and change? Their tactic of bringing anyone who can talk against the opposition particularly Dato' Seri Anwar had failed. Although it is true or half-true, overplaying it makes people sick. Plus, their everyday replay of Selangor's state government's flaws had also failed, in fact PR won bigger there in GE13.

Buletin Utama's "obligation" to show Datin Seri Rosmah's programmes everyday had also failed to change one bit of a bad perception towards her. As for Utusan, it would mostly publish an unknown NGO and ex-Anwar's aides' statements against him instead of brilliant ideas for a better government and better life for Malaysians. If there is it would only be 10% of the whole news. Their tactics backfired that it almost cost BN the elections.

Their modus operandi have failed and I am surprised they have not changed it after witnessing BN's terrible loss in Selangor and a weaker federal government. I would not want to comment on the opposition's invalid argument that Utusan had lost many times in court therefore they really are at fault as this is contradictory to their stand on the judiciary and judges are also humans and have political opinions that influence their findings.

Here I appreciate RTM for not going overboard and being appropriate although it is a government channel. Appropriate means only showing Ministers' speeches and comments, government agencies and institutions' measures to curb problems and what not. They do not or rarely show for example an unknown ex-PKR branch chief bad-mouthing and questioning the opposition every single day. In addition, RTM's initative to broadcast parliamentary debate on TV and on their website has gathered positive feedback from the people. This is an example of mature politics and democracy.

All in all, Utusan Malaysia and TV3 and in fact the mainstream media as a whole need a major and serious rebranding and restructuring if they are to enhance and echo the government's claim of being responsive. It is so serious that it may need a transformation programme too! Maybe this should be included as key in the national reconciliation effort.

More importantly is that the public's perception and trust in the mainstream media must be made positive again. Yes, perception is half-truth but that is what it has been all about so it stands to be corrected for the sake of bringing major support back to the government, like it used to have. This problem also leads to questions of credibility of Dato' Seri Najib's "behind the scene" advisors. The current state is seriously not helping the government.

 

Malaysians' political awareness have actually just risen. Thus this contributes to serious conflicting opinions about every issue ignited by politicans and it is up to the media to correct it.


A necessary riposte to Dr M - the Chinese know their place

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 11:54 AM PDT

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If the Chinese really were after political power, they would have have done so along the lines of your paternal ancestors - became Muslims and married locals and morphed into Malays. They would then control UMNO - instead of the Indians. And Ridhuan Tee would not have the platform he now struts on. 

Ice Cream Seller 

Dr M's latest tirade about the Chinese wanting political power assumes we are mostly naive and ill educated to see otherwise.

What a load of codswallop from someone who seems to be in a time warp of his own. There is an Afghan proverb that says that what you see in yourself is what you see in the world

 

1) Chinese do not appreciate their gains upon independence?

What gains is he talking about? A white master was replaced by a brown one. In the process, we lost an excellent education system, a well respected judiciary, our moral fibre, were given an economic system so convoluted that only the bacteria of corruption thrives. 
To say that DAP argued these issues on behalf of the Chinese gives the DAP unnecessary credit.

2) Under the British, the Chinese were not allowed to go beyond becoming petty traders and shopkeepers?

Lets not forget that we are talking about the 50s and earlier. What shopping malls were there then? Then, many Chinese were still poor. Still, the people had reliable water supply, electricity that was cheap - even without petroleum income; there was no need to go to private schools and universities to get a better education than what the government provided, no need for private hospitals - we had excellent doctors, nurses and administrators and the police force was multi-racial. Being a shopkeeper gave one a dignified existence and they served all races - even giving credit to customers. 

They were in no position to take on the British firms then but have demonstrated that today DESPITE the handcuffs of the NEP, they can take the world stage.

3) Government procurement had to go through crown agents

What's the beef? The crown agents existed then and today it is no different except that we have our own crown (Umnoputra, Bumiputra or whatever putra) agents. In fact it is our own putra agents that have benefited by leaps & bounds to scales never imagined in the exercise of rent seeking. If the British crown agents were indeed still around, our submarines would be able to function properly, there will be less Mongolians dead, our indelible inks would not be edible instead, our public transport would be better and there would be no PROTON.

4) British Banks with government accounts, Chinese banks (OCBC, Ban Hin Lee) not doing much business with the government

Just replace the British banks with Maybank, CIMB, Affin Bank, RHB Bank and a host of others. See the same picture (maybe in different colours now?) On top of it, Ban Hin Lee Bank doesn't exist today - no thanks to post independence policies. And the British banks were PLCs - not GLCs where bailouts are an easy option.

5) Replacement of British firms by Chinese firms

This line of argument is part of the problem. Don't you see it as MALAYSIAN firms as opposed to (Malaysian) Chinese firms? In any case, its not like that the Chinese got government loans or grants to buy over the British ones. Some took loans to buy over the businesses - others pooled their resources. In any case, I am sure the British firms would only exit if they knew that, amongst other considerations, the new owners would be able to sustain or grow the firms.

6) Independence has clearly benefited the Chinese much

Looking at the Chinese in Indonesia who had their backs to the wall (until unfettered by the half blind Gus Dur but with better than 2020 vision), the Chinese in Thailand where there was no independence from any colonial master to speak of, this argument holds as much water as a Malabari fishing net. How does one explain the success of the Chinese diaspora in Canada, Australia, the US, the Philippines, Burma and even in Mauritius? Because of Malaysian independence?!!

Dr M for one, was probably the greatest benefactor of our independence by having 22 years to steer the ship. On either side of the 22 years, he was and is pulling the strings to some extent or other as an adroit puppeteer. But alas, on his watch, the ship was steered on a journey beyond our shores and Kerala only to benefit a select group. 

7) Chinese success under the BN 'kongsi' government

Yes the Chinese became billionaires and started getting involved in businesses globally. I would argue that it was DESPITE the shackles and hurdles were imposed on them. Look at the Singapore companies operating globally - is it because of an UMNO style 'kongsi' in Singapore? I dare say that had it not been for the 'malimplementation' of the NEP, our MALAYSIAN companies (Chinese owned or not) would be streets ahead of Singapore. Instead, our brains just walked and left to help make Singapore what it is.

8) Chinese not well represented in government administration because they do not like salaried jobs / distinct dislike for uniformed services

Who then runs the government in China and Taiwan - Africans? As a boy, when I went to a government department, Chinese were well represented. In schools, they probably made up half the number of teachers (and they didn't do tuition on a private basis big time either). The army and police had visibly a good number of them. So many nurses in the government hospitals were Chinese - and pretty good looking too!!

Today, the Chinese are simply absent because of the lack of promotion prospects, the impression given that they are not trusted/welcome, and also the kind of work culture that permeates such establishments.

9) Chinese colleges and universities

Restore the quality of education we had up to the 60's and you will see the demand for Chinese schools diminish. They send their children to Chinese schools simply because the ordinary schools have become sterile, ineffective, with poor quality teachers, fear of Islam forced upon their children in subtle and not so subtle ways and a host of other reasons you are actually familiar with. Besides, in Chinese schools, the canteens never close - so no need to eat in the shower rooms.

10) DAP/MCA

It is not correct to say that the Chinese aspire for political power via DAP. The MCA simply lost support because the Chinese were fed up of a corrupt government that the MCA helped stay in power. If the Chinese really were after political power, they would have have done so along the lines of your paternal ancestors - became Muslims and married locals and morphed into Malays. They would then control UMNO - instead of the Indians. And Ridhuan Tee would not have the platform he now struts on.

My arguments above are not motivated because I am of Chinese ancestry. I am not. My extended family and close friends include Chinese, Malay, and others. In fact, the biggest group of my extended family have roots as deep in the same district as your paternal ancestors. Fortunately, that is where the similarity ends.

ICE CREAM SELLER

Rampant Gun Crimes Raises Question On Crime Statistics And Public Safety

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 11:25 AM PDT

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(Malaysian Digest) - BARELY 48 hours after MyWatch chairman R. Sri Sanjeevan was shot, the nation was caught off guard by another shooting incident, this time the victim is Hussain Ahmad Najadi, a renowned banker and founder of the Arab Malaysian Banking Group.

This makes it at least 14 cases since April this year and the victims varied from teachers, to criminals, to Customs Department's deputy director-general.


As this article was being written, it was reported that a man was shot in his right thigh while driving with a friend in Bukit Mertajam at 8.30pm. Police said the victim, who had a number of criminal records, was rushed to the Kulim Hospital for treatment while his friend was unhurt.

Sanjeevan's fate, in the meantime, hangs by a thread with his father R. Ramakrishnan saying that his condition has worsened due to internal bleeding. Doctors said the shooting had affected his heart and lungs.

The frequency and brutality of these crimes makes us wonder whether the declining crime statictics in the country are accurate and authentic or merely sugar-coated numbers meant to silence inquiring public and critics.

It was reported that from 2009 to 2012, the national crime rate dropped by 27 per cent while street crime fell by 39.7 per cent.

They added that the crime rate also fell six per cent for the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.

With rampant cases of shooting around the country for the past few months, the authority should realised that the issue is no longer about perception but a genuine concern among Malaysians.

Crime analyst Kamal Afendi Hashim said criminals these days are becoming more brazen and brutal. The long arm of the law meant nothing to them.

He said shooting cases like these are not only shocking but also spreads fear among the public.

"People are hearing a lot of these cases of late. Usually the victims are fellow criminals but recently victims have become more varied and involved people of influence such as businessman, politicians and government official. 

"The motive are also differs and may be revenge-related or rivalry between two parties," he said. 

On the latest shooting cases, Kamal said there are many factors that can make a person becoming a target of assassination including the victim's background, association with bad hats or the wrong crowd, jealousy, business rivalry, miscommunication and others.

"For example, if the victim who have ties with the underworld and wants out, surely the organisation will not be happy. Fearing possible exposure of their secrets, the organisation retaliated by paying hired guns to take carre of the 'loose ends'.

"In Sanjeevan's case, it could be related to his tweet prior to the shooting," he said.

However, Kamal said if such allegations were found to be untrue, the accuser should also be prepared to face the music and take responsibility for his or her action.

He urged police to conduct a thorough investigations into these shooting cases and covered all the angles. 

Kamal said another factor was the easily obtainable firearms.

"With experience and connections, there criminals can, one way or another, find their way to a pistol. Due to its small size and weight, smuggling firearms into the country should not be too hard,

"With the current technological know-how and the magic of Internet, criminals can also make their own firearms. 

"If the fireams is home-made, police will surely have a hard time identifying it." he said.

In Sanjeevan's case, Kamal believed the shooter could be an amateur because he failed to kill his target.  

At the same time, the government should engaged international or reputable local accounting company to produce an independent report on the crime statistics to tackle this poor perception among the public and regain their confidence.


Notable cases this year

July 28
A man was shot dead and his two friends seriously injured when two gunmen opened fire from inside a car in front of a restaurant in Kampung Simee, Ipoh. In the 10.15pm incident, Jasrafveenderjeet Singh, 25, died while undergoing treatment at Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital.

July 18
A secondary school teacher K. Shanmugan of Taman Biadara, Kulim, was shot nine times at point blank range by unidentified gunmen on motorcycle when he stopped his car at a red light near Simpang Empat Keladi while on his way to school.

July 12
A four-year-old boy was injured in the forehead and left leg when a gunman opened fire at him and his car repossessor father in front of their home in Bkt Jambul, Penang.

July 8
Student affairs senior assistant Hashim Mat Zain, 43, was gunned down in a gangland style killing outside the school at a junction in Tawang, near Bachok, Kelantan at 1.45pm.

July 5
Teacher Mat Zaki Hashim, 35, sustained serious injuries after being shot in the neck in Kg Kubang Panjang, Pasir Mas. His car was believed to have stalled on the road before he was shot by unknown assailants.

June 15
Royal Malaysian Customs Dept deputy director-general Datuk Shaharuddin Ibrahim, 58, was shot dead by two men on a motorcycle at a traffic light junction in Putrajaya.

May 29
A businessman survives despite being shot at seven times by two men on a motorcycle in Bandar Rahman Putra, Sungai Buloh.

May 25
A fish wholesaler, Zahari A. Razak, was shot dead while driving his car out from a mosque in Cherang Ruku, Pasir Puteh after performing the Isyak prayer.

May 13
Two people were killed and two others injured when a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire with an automatic pistol as they were leaving a wedding reception in Butterworth, Penang.

May 12
An assistant at a second-hand shop is shot dead at a traffic light junction near Kulim, Kedah.

April 30
A pillion rider fired at a man in the compound of his home in Simpang, Taiping but missed. The men had rode up to the house of the 26-year-old victim and called out his name before firing the shot.

April 25

N. Ragunathan, 39, was shot dead in his car after he had conducted a transaction at the Road Transport Department office along Jalan Seremban-Taiping. He was alone in his Proton Perdana when two men rode up alongside his car outside the RTD office. 

MACC: Sanjeevan yet to furnish proof on claims

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 11:24 AM PDT

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(The Star) - Deputy Chief Commissioner Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull said the body could launch an investigation into Sanjeevan's claims of cops colluding with drug syndicates if he provided evidence that would corroborate his claims.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has not received any evidence from MyWatch chairman R. Sri Sanjeevan despite his continuous allegations against the police.

Its Deputy Chief Commissioner Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull said the body could launch an investigation into Sanjeevan's claims of cops colluding with drug syndicates if he provided evidence that would corroborate his claims.

"We have not received any evidence or report from him (Sanjee­van). We welcome people to come forward with evidence instead of just making allegations," he said.

"We are always ready to act in curbing corruption but the cooperation of the people is a must," he said.

Urging the public to come forward with credible evidence, Mohd Shukri said the commission was aware of allegations of police officers allegedly under the payroll of the underworld and syndicates but a report must be lodged before action could be taken.

"Allegations of police corruption is a serious matter but we need the cooperation of the people," he said when contacted yesterday.

Former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan was reported to have said that Saturday's shooting of Sanjeevan could have been due to his revelations alleging police involvement in the activities of syndicated crimes and illegal activities.

Sanjeevan and a friend were driving a silver BMW to have a drink in Bahau when two men riding a red motorcycle approached them.

The pillion rider reportedly fired a shot which hit Sanjeevan on the right side of his ribs.

According to doctors treating Sanjeevan at the Tuanku Ja'afar Hospital, his condition has worsened due to internal bleeding.

Exhuming Maika’s can of worms

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 11:17 AM PDT

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(The Malay Mail) - The MIC's failed investment arm Maika Holdings has emerged once again as a hot-button issue in the lead up to the party elections.

The Malay Mail's editor Frankie D'Cruz asked S. Vell Paari, the chief executive officer of Maika from 1999 till mid 2010, to explain intense matters that party treasurer Datuk Jaspal Singh raised last week in the Dewan Negara.

FD: How fatal has Maika's failure been to the MIC?

VP: I have always admitted that Maika's failure was a contributing factor that weakened the support of the Indian community for the MIC and Barisan Nasional. This was despite Maika paying out RM41 million in dividends.

And even though we returned the original RM100 million investments by shareholders, it was nothing to be proud of because the inflationary effects since the early 1980s — when Maika was set up — caused them losses on their outlay.

FD: Were you part of the G Team Resources management team that took control of Maika?

VP: No, I was not. After I resigned in mid-2010, G Team took control of Maika and I was never involved.

I suspect Datuk Jaspal keeps saying "G Team and Maika management" to implicate me as being responsible in effecting the sale of insurance company Oriental Capital to the Tune Group. I feel there's a hidden political agenda.

FD: Explain the sale of Oriental Capital, Maika's prized asset?

VP: Being an insurance company, Oriental Capital Berhad is governed by the Banking and Financial Institutions Act. Only on obtaining Bank Negara's approval can the potential buyer open negotiation with a financial institution.

Bank Negara has a say on the price. If you recall the case of People's Insurance where although the board had agreed to sell at a certain price, Bank Negara intervened to say the purchase price was too high and told them to reduce it.

Hence, Bank Negara would and should have played the role to ensure the Oriental Capital transaction was above board.

FD: What was the make-up of shareholders during the negotiations?

VP: I think G Team via Maika could have controlled about 70 to 75 per cent of Oriental Capital while the rest comprised small shareholders, including the Indian government through its state-owned insurance company.

You wouldn't expect shareholders of such status to keep quiet and be short-changed. Also entities behind G Team are astute in business and it is not conceivable they would have sold an asset worth RM1.2 billion for RM153 million.

FD: Explain how Oriental Capital's value as Jaspal said in the Upper House got "halved after 25 years and increased 18 times its value within two years"?

VP: In the central working committee meeting this month, in the presence of Jaspal, I briefed members on the confusion over how in less than a year since Tune Group bought Oriental Capital (renamed Tune Insurance) for RM153 million, it was listed on Bursa Malaysia for a market capitalisation of about RM1.2 billion.

Oriental Capital's profit ranged between RM10 million to RM25 million over four years. Based on the earnings, I feel it was valued at RM153 million and sold to Tune Group.

Tune Group then injected all it's in-house insurance business that had been outsourced to its fully-owned subsidiary Tune Insurance.

Hence, the profit increased to above RM80 million. So when it was listed, the valuation must have been done on the increased profit of above RM80 million. That explains a market capitalisation of about RM1.2 billion.

FD: Wasn't there a pledge by G Team to channel any profit from sale of its assets back to the Indian community through donations?

VP: Yes, I think there was a press statement by G Team to that effect.

FD: Has any profit been channelled to the Indian community from the sale of assets?

VP: I don't know, you have to ask G Team.

FD: Jaspal described the fate of Maika as a prime example of greed and mismanagement and has asked the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the sale of Oriental Capital. Fair?

VP: That is defamatory and his statement is motivated by the collateral agenda in relation to the presidential elections.

FD: Would you regard the Maika issue being raised now as a sign of desperation by your opponents in the fight for MIC leadership?

VP: Clearly, it looks like an issue that has been raised with the party's presidential elections looming. I want to stay away from character assassinations and focus on the polls. I will address defamation via the legal framework and let these accusers provide evidence of any wrongdoings in court.

FD: Do you think there was real concern by Jaspal over Maika's failure to increase the wealth of the Indian community?

VP: Jaspal was never concerned about Maika's failure because he had never raised the issue until now. His sudden interest appears to be related to the presidential elections.

 

End of road for Muslim Miss Malaysia hopefuls

Posted: 29 Jul 2013 10:45 AM PDT

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Sara (behind, photo not blurred) looking disappointed with Jawi's decision when met on July 29, 2013. 

(The Malay Mail) - The four Muslim participants of the Miss Malaysia World 2013 pageant will not be allowed to take part in the contest.

Pageant organiser Datuk Anna Lim said the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi) informed her of its decision yesterday.

"Jawi director Datuk Che Mat Che Ali called me to confirm that the women cannot take part in the pageant," Lim said.

"While the other finalists are geared for the contest, the Muslim women are left with shattered dreams. I took one look at Sara (Amelia Bernard) when she walked in today and I knew the poor girl was stressed by the controversy.

"I hope this decision will not dampen their spirits as the four are beautiful and strong individuals who have so much more to offer," she added.

Sara, one of the contestants who was met by The Malay Mail yesterday, said she was upset with the entire fiasco.

After attending the pageant week programme at Corus Hotel, she was visibly disappointed by the outcome.

"I am sad I cannot join the others as I have always dreamt of being a beauty queen, but I have to accept the decision."

The 20-year-old, who was the only contestant present as a guest during the training session which started yesterday, said she has yet to decide on her next course of action.

Asked if watching the other finalists prepare for the contest only added insult to injury, she brushed it off.

"I am sad I cannot join the others, but I am here to support my friends all the way," said Sara, whose mother is half British and half Malay and father is half German and half Iban.

Sara, who hails from Ipoh, also said she had been lambasted on Facebook since the brouhaha erupted, forcing her to deactivate her account.

"Complete strangers called me all sorts of mean names and left nasty comments on my photos. Some hurled ridiculous accusations at me," she said.

Sara claimed that she and fellow disqualified contestant Wafa Johanna De Korte, 19, received the most criticism as they were more outspoken over the issue.

"It really opened your eyes to the number of extremists out there."

Another contestant, Miera Sheikh, was not surprised by Jawi's decision.

"From the moment we were disqualified, I knew the chances of us being reinstated were very slim," the 19-year-old said.

"I have chosen not to dwell upon it and instead put the incident behind me. Maybe there are other brighter opportunities for me in the future."

Sara, Wafa, Meira and Kathrina Ridzuan were dropped from the competition due to a fatwa banning Muslim women from participating in beauty pageants.

The four were accused of insulting Islam after they expressed their dissatisfaction in the media, prompting Jawi to launch an investigation against them. 

BTN and the canteen controversy

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 04:30 PM PDT

The strict controls on Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia, has nothing to do with faith; but has everything to do with control.

Mariam Mokhtar, FMT

The recent controversy about students eating in a make-shift canteen in a shower room, adjacent to the toilets at the SK Seri Pristina in Sungai Buloh is not a new scandal.

You may remember that three years ago, in Kedah, another school principal accused several Chinese pupils of showing disrespect to Muslims by eating in the school canteen during the fasting month. The Umno-Baru government was damaged by that outrage. The Speaker Pandikar Amin rejected a motion to debate in parliament, the racial slurs allegedly made by the two school heads.

In modern day Malaysia, Muslims are perceived to be an insensitive and intolerable lot, who are easily confused and who will force others, from other faiths to bend to their will.

Umno-Baru claims that using the word "Allah" will confuse Muslims, that promoting "halal bak kut teh" will also confuse the Muslims.

The recent fatwa against Muslims and claims that competing in beauty contests is sinful, as too much flesh will be on show.

Are Muslims so weak willed and easily led astray? What does that say about the faith and Muslims in general?

If the truth be known, the strict controls on Muslims and non-Muslims in Malaysia, has nothing to do with faith; but has everything to do with control. Umno-Baru will use religion and a few well chosen muftis to impose its will and its Umno-Baru style of Islam.

It knows that Muslims would not dare contradict the word of these muftis. No one wants to be seen to go against the word of God. Does the Umno-Baru government suspect that large numbers of Muslims wish to reject the religion?

Few Muslims would dare question these muftis, despite their incorrect interpretations, because the hassle they receive is not worth it. Anyone who speaks out is deemed seditious. They are arrested, charged and jailed. With this culture of fear, the rakyat is easily cowed into submission.

In the canteen scandal, the Acting Selangor police chief A Thaiveegan has apparently said that anyone spreading photos of children eating in the shower room would be charged with sedition. When this statement made him look foolish, he then claimed that he was misquoted.

This is how our authorities, the Education Ministry and all our government agencies operate. They work in fits and starts. They react. They backtrack. They cover-up their inadequacies.

Breeding places of racism

Although there are many Muslims who realise that Muslim bullies predominate among them, very few will dare to publicly condemn the actions of the thugs. The image of Islam in Malaysia is tarnished. Islam does not need any form of defence, but the country's image does.

When did the rot set in? Is this scandal a manifestation of the dreaded BTN made popular by former PM Mahathir Mohamad? He alone cannot be held responsible because we allowed him to do as he pleased, so he became emboldened. Some people challenged his authority, but this was not enough.

If our schools are breeding places of racism and religious bigotry, what hope is there for a multi-cultural, multi-faith Malaysia, which we once enjoyed?

If the headmaster of SK Seri Pristina has no respect for children of other faiths, what sort of example is he teaching the Malay and Muslim children? Why is he trying to lower the dignity of the non-Muslims and why is he ignoring the health and safety regulations?

The headmaster, Mohamad Nasir Mohd Noor may have apologised for his action, but a nasty precedent has been set. School children have enough academic challenges to face, but now non-Muslim school children find that religious freedom, a right which is accorded them in the Constitution, is being denied.

The other damaging aspect of this debacle is that Nasir is eroding the true meaning of fasting, one of the pillars of being a Muslim. By hiding the non-Muslim children in the shower-room as they eat their lunch, Nasir will not produce better Muslims.

READ MORE HERE

 

PAS questions timing of anti-Shia crackdown

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 03:48 PM PDT

(Harakah) - PAS has questioned the government's latest crackdown on Shia teachings, saying the move seemed to carry a sinister goal of bringing disunity within the Islamic party which will hold internal elections in November.

PAS information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (pic) was reacting to several statements by UMNO leaders linking PAS to the spread of Shiism - the school of thought followed by about one-fifth of the Muslim world - among local Muslims.

For several weeks now, Islamic bureacrats have been harping on the so-called Shia threat, with no less than UMNO secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor urging Shia followers "to return to the true teachings of Islam", while claiming several quarters in PAS were practising Shia Islam.

This development comes amid a rise of sectarian tension in the Middle East driven by a battle of proxies involving Gulf regimes in the Syria conflict.

Tuan Ibrahim, while saying PAS remained followers of the predominant Sunni Islam, said the party would welcome evidences to prove claims of Shia members within its ranks.

He however explained that having ties with Iran, a predominantly Shia Muslim nation, or the Lebanese political party Hizbullah, did not mean that one was a Shi'ite Muslim.

"The ties that some party leaders have with the Iranian leadership or Middle East Islamic movements such as Hizbullah do not mean they are Shi'ites.

"If that is the case, what about those including the government who have ties with the Zionists?" asked Tuan Ibrahim, referring to revelations of secret communications and trade ties between BN and Israeli leaders.

Tuan Ibrahim also reminded the government of its continued inaction on Qadiyani teaching, a sect long considered deviant by both Sunni and Shia scholars.

He also warned that the accusations against PAS were being hurled in time for party polls this November, where some analysts said sectarianism was being exploited by irresponsible delegates in campaigning for top posts.

He added that PAS's enemies had already created many labels to encourage disunity, including attempts to divide leaders into ulama, professionals, liberals, 'Erdoganists' and Shi'ites.

"Remember, everyone under the PAS umbrella is part of the big united family of PAS," he stressed.

 

BN must listen to middle class’s voice, says Musa Hitam

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 03:42 PM PDT

(TMT)n- Former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam said when Malaysians are critical, it should not be dismissed as them being destructive or negative.

In an interview with The Straits Times recently, Musa Hitam said that the Barisan Nasional (BN) must seriously address its concerns such as corruption and misuse of power as the Malaysian middle class is "no pushover".

He also told the Singapore daily that the middle class today thinks very differently, and the challenge for the leadership is that it should be one step ahead but it has not even kept up.

Musa Hitam said, "That is the problem. The government has provided education to them, but yet, we've become less educated and haven't changed our mindset."

The Singapore daily also stated that Malaysians have become considerably more vocal about their social, economic and political views and their demands of the government.

It said their disenchantment, particularly in the cities, can be gleaned from the outcome of the general election in May, BN was able to remain in power, but a significant chunk of the urban middle-class votes went to the opposition.

The 79-year-old Musa campaigned for BN at the recent polls in his home state of Johor, as did other party veterans but the ruling coalition only managed to get 133 federal seats in Election 2013, down seven from the 140 in the 2008 polls.

On the Umno polls, Musa said the top Umno posts should be open for contest as that was in keeping with the basic principles of democracy.

 "The argument that if you contest, it will divide the party, is nonsense," he said frankly.

When asked whether the top posts in Umno ought to be challenged during the much-anticipated party polls,  Musa said,  "That is merely a political argument that serves the incumbents or those who worry about their positions."

Musa was the country's deputy prime minister and Umno's deputy president between 1981 and 1986, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister.

The articulate and generally well-liked former politician stepped down from his DPM post after a fallout with Dr Mahathir.

 

When winner takes all

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 03:24 PM PDT

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MANY opposition supporters believe that we will have two-party system once BN is ousted, and if the PR lets us down, we can always vote in BN or its successor. Will it really be so?

by Wong Chin Huat, The Edge

MANY opposition supporters believe that we will have two-party system once BN is ousted, and if the PR lets us down, we can always vote in BN or its successor. Will it really be so?
 
Theoretically, a party system is largely determined by political institutions' incentives, the most important of which is electoral system. While voters decide how many and which parties would survive, their behaviour is often influenced by the political system, especially the electoral system.
 
Double-edged sword
 
In the framework proposed by American political scientist Gary Cox, when the chief executive (president or prime minister) dominates the political system, vis-à-vis his/her colleagues in cabinet or legislature, the contestants for power face two extreme outcomes: all or nothing – winner takes all, losers get nothing.
 
This "winner-takes-all" characteristic of political contestation then forces political groups to consolidate into two blocs, hence, the two-party system.
 
However, this "winner-takes-all" characteristic can be a double-edged sword. If the leading party is so strong that the opposition parties see no chance of winning, it will not pay for them to converge or merge into a single bloc. Why compromise your own ideological position when it does not get you extra power?
 
This was why the Pan-Malaysia Islamic Party (PAS) and Democratic Action Party (DAP) would not move towards the centre until Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's Semangat 46 Party (S46) and Anwar Ibrahim's Keadilan brought the dream of regime change.
 
And once the dream shattered in the 1990 and 1999 elections, PAS quickly moved to pursue its Islamisation agenda and DAP lost no time in severing the ties with other opposition parties.

READ MORE HERE

 

The Jasbir Singh Chahl saga

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 03:18 PM PDT

Yesterday, in 'An interesting question', we talked about the confusion surrounding the identity of Jasbir Singh Chahl. Maybe these news reports from last year can shed some light into this confusion. It was reported a few days ago that the French police were in contact with Jasbir since 2011 but in 2012 Suaram said it did not know who this Jasbir is while Jasbir himself denied he is the man in question.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

French court wants Jasbir Singh Chahl the Terasasi director, not restaurateur

Cynthia Gabriel said she did not know if Jasbir the restaurateur was the same person as the Terasasi director of the same name.

Debra Chong, TMI, 19th June 2012

A French court investigating the multimillion ringgit Scorpene submarine scandal issued its first subpoena to Jasbir Singh Chahl, a director in a Hong Kong firm owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, and not a restaurateur, human rights group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) said today.

Abdul Razak, a former think-tank head who was at the centre of a 2006 investigation into the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, is listed as a director of Terasasi with his father, Abdul Malim Baginda.

The company was previously incorporated on June 28, 2002 as Kinabalu Advisory and Support Services Ltd, according to the Hong Kong Companies Registry.

"He's actually a director of Terasasi, not Perimekar," Cynthia Gabriel, who is on Suaram's board of directors, told The Malaysian Insider late this evening.

The activist had earlier identified Jasbir as a director in Perimekar Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian naval support services company owned by Abdul Razak, a former political analyst and associate to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"We have just [reconfirmed] with our lawyers that the subpoena has been issued. We don't have further information on when it will be served," Gabriel said.

She added that she did not know if a restaurateur named Jasbir Singh Chahl was the same person as the Terasasi director, saying she was unaware of any other details surrounding his life.

"We are not in contact with the witness," she said.

Gabriel added that Suaram had been informed about the subpoena last week from their French lawyers, Joseph Breham and William Bourdon, and would not have dared make such public statements without being able to substantiate them.

"We were surprised the subpoena had been sent out to the first witness," she said, noting that the court process tended to be time-consuming affairs.

The prominent activist had come under fire earlier today from one Jasbir Singh Chahl who runs an Indian restaurant, Gills, in the upscale Damansara Heights neighbourhood where Abdul Razak used to live.

The former head of local think-tank Malaysian Strategic Research owned Perimekar, which was reported to have received RM574 million for providing co-ordination and support services to the government in the submarine procurement deal that is now being investigated by a Paris-base court for corruption alongside French defence giant, DCNS.

Malaysia paid RM6.7 billion in 2009 for the two submarines.

Suaram had filed a complaint against DCNS in a French Court in April this year.

Abdul Razak, now believed to be based in Britain, is reportedly being sought as a witness in the French inquiry.

Jasbir the restaurateur had admitted to knowing Abdul Razak but denied he was the man subpoenaed to testify in the French case.

He also demanded Gabriel and Suaram retract their "false and distressing" allegations against him, which he added was a deliberate attempt to undermine his reputation and credibility.

"There aren't many sharing my name. In fact, I think I am the only one," Jasbir the restaurateur told The Malaysian Insider when contacted this evening.

"I was never a director of Perimekar," he stressed.

But he declined to disclose how he knew Abdul Razak when asked, saying he had been advised by his lawyers against furnishing details of their relationship.

Gabriel said she was surprised by the restaurateur's statement.

"It's news to me that he's got a restaurant," the activist told The Malaysian Insider.

News portal Free Malaysia Today had reported Gabriel calling Jasbir Singh Chahl a "central figure in the negotiation and procurement process" before a 1,000-strong dinner crowd at its fundraiser at the Petaling Jaya Civic Centre on June 15.

The non-government organisation (NGO) had successfully filed a formal complaint with a Paris tribunal in April this year against Malaysia's failure to address the serious allegations of kickbacks involving government officials, suggesting a deliberate suppression of information to keep the issue under wraps.

Gabriel also claimed that Jasbir had confirmed he would co-operate with the French panel and reveal information on what had transpired in the Scorpene deal from 2002.

Suaram had submitted a long list of potential witnesses when it filed its complaint at the Tribunal Grande instance de Paris on April 19.

Apart from Jasbir Singh Chahl of Terasasi, Suaram had proposed Abdul Razak; PM Najib; Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi; private investigator P. Balasubramaniam; the father of murdered Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, Dr Setev Shaariibuu; and chief executive of Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin Lodin, who is also Boustead Holdings Berhad group managing director and deputy chairman.

Abdul Razak had been the late Altantuya's lover. During her murder trial, he was acquitted of a charge of abetting two Special Action Squad members — Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar — to commit the murder in 2006.

Last April, Setev told a press conference in Petaling Jaya that he had offered himself as a witness in the Scorpene submarine probe, claiming that his testimony would be able to "connect the dots" between her death and the case.

*************************************

Scorpene deal: 'I did not receive any subpoena'

Central figure to the deal, Jasbir Singh Chahl, has denied reports of a French court subpoena in relation to the Scorpene investigation.

G. Vinod, FMT, 19th July 2012

The original negotiator of the Scorpene submarine deal, Jasbir Singh Chahl, has dismissed reports that he was subpoenaed by the French court in regard to the submarine purchase in 2002.

In a two-paragraph statement today, Jasbir said that the report was false and claimed it was an attempt to discredit his reputation and credibility.

"These are false and distressing allegations made by someone whom I don't know and have never met," he said.

On Friday, Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel said that Jasbir is the first Malaysian to be subpoenaed as witness for the Scorpene purchase case going on at Tribunal De Grande Instance in Paris.

Claiming Jasbir to be the central figure in the submarine deal, Gabriel said the former would be compelled to reveal details on the procurement which was done via French submarine maker, DCNS.

Reacting to Jasbir's claim today, Gabriel said she had information from Suaram lawyers that a subpoena was issued.

"We don't have any further information on how long it will take to be served," she said.

France is currently investigating the case following Suaram's complaint in 2009, claiming there were elements of corruption in the purchase.

It is said that Razak's company, Perimekar Sdn Bhd, received kickbacks worth 550 million euros in the deal and is closely linked to the death of Mongolian translator, Altantuya Shaaribu.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was serving as the Defence Minister at the time of during the transactions.

The French-Malaysian Submarine Scandal: the Documents Collection

 

Stop giving Sabah ‘patchwork’ solutions

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 03:15 PM PDT

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The diesel crisis in Sabah has exposed the ineffectiveness of Sabah's security blanket along the state's eastern corridor, claims a local assemblyman.

(FMT) - "If diesel can escape detection, one fears for the safety of Sabahans when it comes to illegals coming and going into Sabah," said state assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan.

The smuggling of diesel that has led to a shortage in Sabah has exposed the ineffectiveness and shortcomings of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) and the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (ESSZONE).

"Theoretically, there should be no smuggling (of diesel) if the ESSZONE patrolling is effective.

"If diesel can escape detection, one fears for the safety of Sabahans when it comes to illegals coming and going into Sabah," said state assemblyman Jeffrey Kitingan.

Kitingan contended that if the diesel shortage is due to rising demand, then this should have been projected and adequate supplies provided for.

"This shortage is not new. It's a frequent occurrence and should have been projected and provided for," he said.

He equated the ongoing acute diesel shortage in Sabah and strategy to overcome it as a perfect example of the "piece-meal, patch-work policies" in existence in the country which are put in place by those "who don't understand" the problem.

"While the just announced request for an additional eight million litres diesel quota may help clear the queues at petrol stations, it does not resolve the long term problem," he said.

READ MORE HERE

 

'End lies about Scorpene'

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 02:51 PM PDT

TRUTH IS OUT: Leaders take to task those responsible for misleading public

Tian Chua said yesterday he welcomed the testimony made by Jasbir and that PKR would wait for more revelations from the central figure in the submarine purchase. "We urge Jasbir to reveal the real role of Altantuya if, as he said, she was not involved in the Scorpene negotiations."

(NST) - Political leaders have slammed the parties responsible for spreading lies about the government's Scorpene submarine purchase, following the New Straits Times'  revelation of  the truth behind the allegations.

Supporting the testimony of the architect of the purchasing deal, Jasbir Singh Chahl, which has demolished allegations of corruption and the involvement of murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, they called for an end to the lies being spread on the matter.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said the fact people had been led to believe such allegations for so long was reflective of the changing political landscape.

The events of the past several years had also proved how the new media was being used to create a negative perception of the ruling coalition, he added.

"Although the government has repealed the so-called draconian laws, there are those who take advantage of this new-found freedom to spread lies. Facebook, Twitter and blogs are being used to slander people and insult religion because there is no internal control."

Wan Junaidi said perception was created by certain parties with a target in mind, and that this target was often the government.

"It is politics that is to blame for the proliferation of lies and slander in the media. I blame the players out to create this false perception, which in turn leads to public disobedience in the form of protests and rallies."

Wan Junaidi said in the case of Scorpene, a credible non-governmental organisation like Suaram had resorted to spreading lies.

"They did not bother to verify their sources and facts."

He said the police would investigate and take action against Suaram.

Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar, on his Twitter account yesterday, criticised the opposition for the fitnah (slander) that they had spread on the issue.

He said Jasbir's testimony made it clear that none of their claims were true.

Barisan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor hoped the expose would put an end to allegations against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"Those were merely perceptions by the opposition. Once you repeat a lie, it becomes like the truth."

He said the opposition had been making baseless allegations about Altantuya's death. He said even though it was clear that Altantuya had not been involved, the damage had been done.

The Kedah Anti-Fraud Task Force has urged the Attorney-General's Chambers to take action against Suaram for making malicious claims with regard to the Scorpene submarine purchase.

Its chairman, Khairul Anuar Ramli, lambasted Suaram, calling the NGO a "big liar".

"The A-G's Chambers must take action against Suaram for alleging that there was a court case in France related to the Scorpene purchase, a claim that turned out to be false.

"PKR's (vice-president) Tian Chua admitted in Parliament in November last year that there was no trial in the French courts on alleged irregularities in Malaysia's purchase of the submarine."

Tian Chua said yesterday he welcomed the testimony made by Jasbir and that PKR would wait for more revelations from the central figure in the submarine purchase.

"We urge Jasbir to reveal the real role of Altantuya if, as he said, she was not involved in the Scorpene negotiations."

 

DAP calls Utusan, Umno Youth hypocrites, directs them to pursue Khairy over “communist ties”

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 02:39 PM PDT

(TMI) - Umno Youth and Malay daily Utusan Malaysia were slammed as hypocrites and practicing double standards for failing to condemn Khairy Jamaludin for forging ties with communist parties said the DAP.

Secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said Khairy should have been hauled up after forging an alliance between Barisan Nasional Youth and the Communist Youth League of China (CYL).

"These organisations are stoking the fires of racism by questioning the approval of a Chinese-language film "The New Village" which they allege glorifies communism."

"On the other hand, the same organisations kept quiet when Malaysia established close diplomatic relationships with China, Cuba and Vietnam, all of whom practice the communist system.

"Both Umno Youth and Utusan Malaysia criticised 'The New Village' as twisting historical facts and encourages the public to glorify the Malayan Communist Party," Lim said in a statement today. Khairy is also the Umno Youth chief.

Lim said he did not want to comment on the film as he had not seen it but questioned why Utusan and Umno Youth remained silent when Youth and Sports Minister Khairy announced the setting up of a permanent secretariat in October 2009 to strengthen ties between Barisan Nasional Youth and the Communist Youth League of China.

"It is very clear that both Umno Youth and Utusan Malaysia are hypocrites who practice double standards.

"If both organisations are so worried about communists hiding under our beds, then they don't need to look far. Khairy should be directly in their sights," he said.

Lim said if both organisations felt strongly about communism, then "why did they not criticise former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor for signing a peace agreement with the MCP?"

In December 1989, Rahim represented Malaysia to sign a pact with the Malayan Communist Party, which ended its armed struggle in the country.

The Home Ministry suspended the vernacular movie which was to premier on August 22 after Utusan, in a critical article by Awang Selamat, yesterday claimed it glorified communism.

READ MORE HERE

 

Dr M’s lies and falsehoods

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 02:28 PM PDT

Many Malaysians have written to say to ignore the ramblings of an old political hack and I agree generally with this strategy.

By Koon Yew Yin, FMT

As most people are aware, the intention of Dr Mahathir Mohamad in writing the piece,'Chinese better off after Merdeka' for the New Straits Times is not to foster greater political consciousness amongst the Chinese; neither is it to improve inter-racial cooperation among Chinese and Malays.

It is also not meant to provide new ideas on how to transform the country and take it forward so that it can compete with nations such as Singapore which is one of the op-piece's main targets.

Mahathir's aim is really to spread alarm and suspicion among the Malays and to stampede them into panic on the political transformation which is taking place among Malaysian Chinese and among all Malaysians.

Part of the recent political transformation among Malaysians is a questioning of what have been the real achievements of the Mahathir era and what sort of legacy he has left the country. This is where Mahathir is evasive or silent, and for good reason.

Numerous studies have shown how despite our progress during the Mahathir years, the country's economy actually lost ground when compared with Singapore and other countries chiefly because he permitted – many critics say, tacitly encouraged – a culture of high level corruption and wastage on mega projects.

These, together with bad governance, have continued till today and have contributed little to national productivity.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of billions of ringgit was invested in his pet projects which have benefited the selected few and Umno.

Sure, some of the massive wealth derived from the hard earned incomes of citizens and the oil and gas bonanza went to the middle class and professionals. But the greater proportion was siphoned by the coterie of Chinese, Malay and other Malaysian businessmen, politicians and other associates of the BN.

This has led to a situation where Malaysia's income inequality and illicit financial outflows ranks among the highest in the world, a development which Mahathir refuses to write or talk about, despite the fact that he is happy to provide his two cents worth on practically every subject on Malaysia.

At the same time as Mahathir frittered away our national wealth and failed to lead the nation to compete with our neighbours in the region, he has presided over the lowering of educational standards, the abuse of executive power, and the racialization of the civil service.

Most damaging of all, he has been responsible for breaking up our racial unity and social cohesion carefully built up since independence by the earlier prime ministers through implanting and arousing new racial and political demons in our people.

One demon is that of the alleged Chinese control of the economy. As . Mahathir knows, it is the GLCs and Malays that control the commanding heights of the economy. There is no longer any Chinese control for the simple reason that much of Chinese capital and enterprise have been driven out of the country by the NEP.

READ MORE HERE

 

Umno, China Communists to swap youth leaders

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 02:22 PM PDT

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(Bernama) -  Umno and the Communist Party of China (CPC) yesterday agreed to have youth leadership exchanges so that the youth leaders of both countries can have a better understanding of the economic and social development taking place in Malaysia and China.

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on behalf of Umno on co-operation between Umno and the CPC in Beijing yesterday, said this was all the more timely as China was now a major economic power.

Wang Jiarui, Head of the International Liaison Department of the CPC Central Committee, represented the CPC.

"On their part, they are amazed with our achievements and racial harmony and would like to learn from us how we were able to attain this harmony without any bloodshed," Tengku Adnan said in a statement to Bernama.

He said as a follow-up to the MOU, both countries agreed to set up a permanent mechanism to enable the exchanges to take place beginning this year. 

Negara Malaysia ni negara demokrasi kan?

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 01:54 PM PDT

Beyond the TITAS debate : What are universities for?

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 01:04 PM PDT

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If we want to continue to debate on the TITAS issue specifically, it will divide our nation yet again into Muslims versus non-Muslims camps. It is better to expand the debate to a wider scope so that we can agree on something first then proceed further from the general agreed framework. 

Kuo Yong Kooi
 
"Education is to develop a complete man of character and learning, not a means to pass our prejudices and hang ups to the young generation. It is too serious an undertaking to be left entirely in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats. Other stakeholders need to be consulted." --Din Merican, Dr Lim Teck Ghee: Public Intellectual and well regarded Researcher
 
The TITAS issue had opened up the Pandora's box on the state's sanction curriculum or subjects on our tertiary level students. We should dwell further than TITAS so that we can reflect on the clearer picture on where our nation is heading in terms of tertiary education. 

Someone complained that they have to study Islam Hadhari values at UiTM at the time when Pak Lah was in power. Before Pak Lah, the fancy was look East. Which direction are we looking at now?

DAP's MP for Kampar Ko Chung Seng who in Parliament had questioned the introduction of the Islamic and Asian Civilisation (TITAS) studies in private higher learning institutions. YB Ko argued that most leading universities in the world did not make such similar type of subject compulsory. "How would this improve one's studies to be a doctor, lawyer, or an engineer? Why would this be necessary here in Malaysia?," he said in a press statement released few weeks ago.

I agree that we need to make positive efforts to mend the deteriorating race relation problem in our country. The responsibility and task of that should first and foremost come from our current leaders.

It is important to note that all tertiary education curriculum need some kind of humanities or to some extent religious education as compulsory or elective subjects. 
 
The world is getting more complex and educating tertiary level students to only core study subjects is disastrous to the community and the environment as a whole. Modern graduates need to have multidisciplinary skills to understand and tackle the complex problems that modern science have and will continue to create. Our new twenty first century issues like, euthanasia, mental health, global warming, climate change, genetically modified foods, over-use of medical drugs, loss of biodiversity in the forests and the oceans and so on and so forth.

The last generation graduates from the universities are the movers and shakers of the society today. The present and the last generation's education formula applied all around the world were reductionist (confined to their "speciality areas") in their approach.  

I remember back in the eighties in my university days when I was studying civil engineering at a University in Australia, I did my thesis on environmentally friendly designed houses and their environmental impact assessment. The lecturer who marked my thesis was a traditional hard core structural engineer and he failed me for not having enough of an engineering theme in the thesis.

I still maintain that if there was a compulsory Environmental/Ecology subject in the engineering and architectural courses a decade or two ago, the students that graduated from the universities would have came out with better environmental-friendly housing estates or buildings in our country today.  

If we want to continue to debate on the TITAS issue specifically, it will divide our nation yet again into Muslims versus non-Muslims camps. It is better to expand the debate to a wider scope so that we can agree on something first then proceed further from the general agreed framework.

Failing to do so will yet again be bogged down with the same divisive arguments like before. These divisive arguments are cumulative in nature, it's not healthy and it can only lead us down the path of self destruction if we do not start to sit down and discuss over matters that are less divisive.

Since education policies are long term matters, the present administration can diffuse the tension by inviting all stakeholders to be involved in framing a general agreed framework. This was what Dr Lim Teck Ghee and Din Merican argued in their article on "Reforming TITAS for fair and balanced teaching of civilisation studies"; http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/search/results/b4b00f407a53427a4e486795f067ea40/
 
Tertiary education is one such area where we can discuss without going down the same path of Muslims versus non-Muslims, government versus opposition and Chinese versus Malay. Do we prefer to sit down now to talk over this or wait and let the next generation pick up the issue of national unity after they have studied TITAS?
 
That of course is in the hands of the Najib administration if he is keen to open up and consult all stakeholders to contribute to the TITAS debates.
 
We also need to expand the debate beyond TITAS for the sake of national unity for a change. The question asked will be, "Are we going to use our universities only for the sole purpose of producing graduates for the job market and industrialisation or for the purpose of national unity or creating better human beings that can come out with "holistic" solutions to humanity's problem or all of the above?"
 
We need some foresight to create an education curriculum that is tailored to the needs of the next generation. 

The deteriorating environment/ecology today is the by-product of the old way of teaching where undergraduates were told to specialise more into their professional studies for our country to propel further into industrialisation or for the job market and the economic growth (common term used "the rat race").

So the question we should ask is, what are the most pertinent issues that the next generation will have to face? Eminent ecological disasters, rapid development of the information technologies, rapid development in biotechnology, race relations as in the case for Malaysia and "well being"/mental health issues just to name a few major ones.

If we all agree on those topics as the more urgent issues of our time, TITAS then is not an issue at all, the implementation of the subject just needs further consultation with other relevant stakeholders so as to dispel their suspicions.

It seems like the authorities are not concerned at all with the education standards of our local universities in comparison to global counterparts. If they behave this way, we might as well create a whole heap of new and necessary compulsory subjects like the environment/ecology and mental health into all our tertiary level education. In that way, there are justifications as to why we are lagging behind in comparison with global academic standards. We do not want to follow the global trend of creating straight intelligent (IQ) graduates to serve the global capitalist economy; that is a very valid argument.

What is the use of graduating someone with an honours degree when they do not have the basic skills of dealing with their depression and anxiety? There are plenty of those graduates nowadays in the developed nations and they are drug (medication) dependent for a long period of time in their lives. If we do not address the "mental health" issues in our young now we will soon catch up with the mental ill-health statistics of the developed world.

Most industrialised countries that we are emulating have high rates of depression. A quote from an Australian non-profit organisation; "In Australia, 1 in 8 men will have depression and 1 in 5 men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives. While women are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, men are less likely to talk about it. Depression is a high risk factor for suicide and, in Australia, there are approximately 2,200 suicides each year. 80 per cent are by men – with an average of 5 men taking their lives every single day. Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under the age of 44, significantly exceeding the national road toll".

Dr Lim Teck Ghee also mentioned the issue of Academic freedom in our local universities, that is a hard ask as we are still unable to deal with issues of freedom and independence of the judiciary, police force and the election commissions.
 
Academic freedom is actually an old ideal that has fallen off the radar in the industrialised world. Governments all over the industrialised world find it easy to cut their education budgets annually. The multinationals are creeping into the void from the budget cuts and are now influencing the "researches and developments" in universities. This unfortunately is a global trend, universities are now serving the cooperate interests.
 
The industrialised world is also using education as a cash cow, charging exorbitant fees from rich overseas students studying in their countries. The popular courses that are taken up by international students flourish while the less popular ones get axed. Courses in universities have become a market-driven based need instead of the traditional intellectual pursue ideals.
 
The fact that we are caught in this TITAS debate shows that our country is really falling behind in understanding where we are at in terms of tertiary education in comparison with the rest of the world. If we want to follow the global trend on industrial and information technological development, by all means go full steam ahead in making our universities more competitive hence creating graduates for the sole need of economy growth and the capitalist market. Just ignore the global eminent ecological crisis and mental health issues.
 
If we can justify TITAS, we might as well add in all other subjects that are crucial in providing a "holistic" solution to the problem that we have created for the next generation to face. Adding in subjects like stress management (mental health), ecology/environment and TITAS to create graduates for human developmental needs instead of solely for the need of economic growth.
 
In that case Malaysians are the frontiers in finding the "sustainable development" solution for the world to follow. See related article on solutions suggested to our environmental crisis of "the haze" and the examples of sustainable development; http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/letterssurat/57659-a-hazy-solution-to-a-hazy-situation
 


Zero Support For ABIS Kucing

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 12:53 PM PDT

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The people at the Bahagian and Cawangan levels are getting totally fed up with the PM and his entire team.  Dont say I did not warn you. 

OutSyed the Box

Boy the Buka Puasa rounds are getting really hot this time around.  

Yesterday one topic of discussion  was "The support level for the Prime Minister is effectively zero". And this is coming from Gomen people. Not Opposition people.

I am merely reporting what I heard ok. Ini bukan saya cakap. Ini orang lain cakap. Saya dengar saja. Dan orang yang cakap ni semua bukan calang-calang punya orang. 

And here is a joke that has gone around  - it has been suggested to a Gomen think tank to have a seminar on "How Long Do You Think The PM Will Last?"  Ha ha ha. isnt that funny? Ha ha ha.

Earlier yesterday I received a phone call from a pro-PM Blogger and then also met with a pro-UMNO Blogger. 

The pro-PM Blogger asked, 'Syed is it true the (pro-UMNO) Bloggers are planning to overthrow Najib?' 

My answer was, 'Obviously you have been reading the pro-UMNO Blogs'. Because without a doubt many of the more relevant pro-UMNO Blogs are now up in arms against the presiden.  Kalau tak caya go and read them yourself. I dont have to say anything.

Then the pro-UMNO Blogger I met spoke about ABIS Kucing. What is ABIS Kucing? Do read on. 

It appears that the only guys supporting the party presiden now are the close cronies, the con-sultans who are also con-men,  some of the Pemuda guys, the morons who run the GLCs and the Billionaires Club aka the Cabinet.  

(By the way there is another scandal involving the GLCs on the front pages today. Nanti I tulis sikit. Tak habis-habis depa punya scandal.)  

All these people who support the PM form the 'Angkatan Sida'. They are the PM's 'cojones carriers'. The late MGG Pillai's (of Sangkancil) sidekick Bala had an interesting phrase for these folks : "the cojones hangers".  (I think if the PM goes, the 'cojones carriers' and 'cojones hangers' will switch camps overnite).  

Other than the Angkatan Sida the support for Najib Tun Razak as party president and Prime Minister is effectively zero.

Red more at: http://syedsoutsidethebox.blogspot.sg/2013/07/zero-support-for-abis-kucing.html  

Mainstream media takes the low road

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 12:40 PM PDT

http://www.sgpolitics.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/009.jpg 

To win this tussle, netizens must firstly recognize that with free speech comes responsibility 

Ng E-Jay, sgpolitics.net

Last week, the Straits Times published a profile of 7 prominent bloggers, together with remarks on the websites they operate and recent clashes with the establishment or authorities. Suffice it to say that not all of it was flattering. In addition, the Straits Times also published a check-list to supposedly assist the reader sort out fact and fiction online.

The latest salvo at the blogging community comes in the wake of mounting attacks on the character and behaviour of some bloggers. In battling for the hearts and minds of the average Singaporean, the mainstream media has taken the low road. This should not be the case.

01

04

The recent tussle between mainstream and alternative media hides important historical facts. The mainstream media has conveniently forgotten that there was a time in the not-too-distant past when people like Ms Catherine Lim who spoke up on political issues were asked to join a political party before they could express their views. Such was the climate of fear that even conversations in neighbourhood coffeeshops took on hush tones when the subject turned to political issues.

Websites and organizations like Think Centre were gazetted as political organizations and had their activities curtailed and monitored. It was only after the first full-fledged socio-political blogs like Yawning Bread came into being that political discourse gradually seeped into Singapore's online community.

The mainstream media has conveniently forgotten how long it took for the government to reluctantly begin opening up — and even then, recent actions by those in political office suggest that old-school authoritarianism must be slowly making a come-back.

Till today, films like One Nation Under Lee and certain films produced by high-profile film-maker Martyn See remain banned by the Media Development Authority (MDA). Even a simple speech given by the late Dr Lim Hock Siew after two decades of silence was swiftly banned, as if the government so deeply fears the words spoke by an old gentleman.

This is the asymmetry of power that exists between the establishment-cum-mainstream press, and alternative voices online. In taking the low road against bloggers, the Straits Times has forgotten about this deep asymmetry and how it deeply affects the relationship between the online community and the establishment/political elite.

Read more at: http://www.sgpolitics.net/?p=8478 

Of 'no further action' ... and still awaiting action

Posted: 28 Jul 2013 11:33 AM PDT

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Part of the July 1, 2011 mob that blocked the Penang Bridge in which a reporter was allegedly hit when covering the incident. According to the Home Ministry, investigation into the alleged assault has been completed and investigation papers submitted to the deputy public prosecutor's office for "advice and decision."

(fz.com) - One can't help but wonder why it takes so long to decide on action to be taken on something so blatant and which had been heavily publicised in such a manner.  

TWO years ago, on July 1, 2011, a somewhat rowdy street demonstration, reportedly by members of Perkasa and Umno, held in George Town, Penang to show disapproval towards the Bersih 2.0 rally, took an unexpected turn when some of the protesters decided to take their feelings to the Penang Bridge.  
 
Not contented to just drive towards there, in a mob-like frenzy, the protesters decided to stand in the middle span of the bridge that connects the island to the mainland, blocking traffic and resulting in a jam that extended for miles.
 
At least one reporter was allegedly hit by the mob. Photographs of the incident were splashed in the media for days after that, including the faces of those who participated. 
 
Two years on, action has yet to be taken against the alleged perpetrators. 
 
We are now told that the investigation following a police report lodged on the alleged assault has been completed, and has been passed on to the public prosecutor's office for "advice and decision".
 
This was recently revealed in a written parliamentary reply by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to a query on the progress of the case by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is also MP of Bagan.
 
One can't help but wonder why it takes so long to decide on action to be taken on something so blatant and which had been heavily publicised in such a manner.  
 
But the case was just one of six involving Perkasa members that were outlined by Zahid in his reply and which are either still awaiting action, or have simply been given the NFA (no further action) stamp.
 
Questions inevitably arise on why there are no actions yet on these cases. This is because there is a perception that cases of protests that involve Pakatan Rakyat members or civil liberties activists are acted upon relatively quickly.
 
Lim was more forthright in commenting on Zahid's revelation. Why is there a need to wait two years, he asked, without any prosecution made on the violence against journalists and also the threats made on the safety of the Penang chief minister?
 
"This selective attitude and double standard of the public prosecutor's office and the federal government is clear, where in certain cases which are against opposition leaders prosecution can be made in two months," he said.
 
But in cases where the offence sees violence and force used by BN supporters, it is not only delayed but may be closed as well with the 'NFA' (no further action) stamp, Lim added. For the record, here are the six police reports outlined by Zahid on the cases that are said to involve Perkasa members. 


Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/no-further-action-and-still-awaiting-action#ixzz2aOkBnSow

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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