Selasa, 2 Julai 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

How Can We Have Faith in the IGP?

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 01:26 PM PDT

 "The lies are not in the core print of the statutes book but in the integrity of the police officer, whatever his rank." 

Kee Thuan Chye
In street parlance, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is in deep shit.
Khalid Abu Bakar has been singled out by the judge who gave his verdict on the civil suit brought by A. Kugan's family against him, the police force and the Government as having not told the truth about how Kugan died while in police custody four years ago.
Khalid was then Selangor police chief. In his first statement to the media at the time, he said Kugan collapsed and died after drinking water. In a subsequent statement, he said Kugan died of water in the lungs.
When an independent post-mortem initiated by human rights lawyer N. Surendran found that Kugan had suffered 45 external injuries and a wide range of internal injuries due to severe beatings, leading to his death from acute renal failure, Khalid did not clarify why its findings contradicted glaringly what he had said to the media.
Senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad, in the civil suit hearing, agreed with the judge that Khalid should have held a press conference to clarify the matter. "Only God knows (why this was not done)," Azizan is reported to have also said.
Indeed. There is a world of difference between dying of injuries sustained from being beaten and dying of water in the lungs.
At the hearing, Khalid testified that there was no cover-up in the investigations into Kugan's death, and he denied all the allegations against himself, the police force and the Government over what had happened to Kugan.
However, judge V. T. Singham said in his ruling that there is sufficient evidence against Khalid for misfeasance as a public officer. He said with absolute certainty, "No person in any position or rank, when testifying in court, should take this court for granted and attempt to suppress the truth to escape liability."
He also said, "The lies are not in the core print of the statutes book but in the integrity of the police officer, whatever his rank."
The import of these words is serious. They call into question the credibility and integrity of the country's highest-ranking police officer. How much faith can the Malaysian public now have in Khalid Abu Bakar?
What will the government that appointed him to this high position do now? Should it ignore the judge's comments and continue with business as usual? Let's use an analogy. If, say, the head of a key department of a company were declared by a court of law to have committed a breach of trust, what should the CEO of the company do?
It already reflects badly on the Government for having selected someone who had some baggage to a position that demands the highest integrity of its occupant. The Kugan case is, after all, no small matter. It is a contentious case that has been hogging media attention for a long time.
Furthermore, in the case of Aminulrasyid Amzah, the 14-year-old schoolboy who was killed after having been shot 21 times by police in 2010, a police report was lodged by the boy's parents against Khalid alleging a cover-up. Khalid has denied the allegation and also the claim that he had called the boy a criminal, but the subsequent public perception of him has been negative. It doesn't help any police officer's reputation to be confronted with cover-up allegations twice.
Besides, last April, the boy's family took out a lawsuit against the police and the Government, naming Khalid as one of the subsequent defendants. And to cap it all, under his current watch as IGP, two other men – N. Dharmendran and P. Karuna Nithi – have recently died while being held in police custody.
How now can the public have faith not only in the IGP, but also the police and the Government?
More than ever, the Government needs to set up an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), as proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry of 2005, to bring about police reform and keep watch on the conduct of police officers. Judge Singham himself categorically says there is an urgent need for this. Most Malaysians would agree.
And yet Home Minister Zahid Hamidi is saying that the IPCMC would overlap with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and contradict the Extra Territorial Offences Act 1976 and Section 127a of the Criminal Procedure Code.
This is mere pussyfooting. The IPCMC would be specifically looking at complaints against the police. If it could encroach on the territory of the MACC, which is tasked with probing corruption, it would be in taking on complaints against corrupt police officers. If this be the case, a provision could surely be made to relieve the MACC of tackling police corruption and channelling this to the IPCMC instead. In fact, this might make the handling of police corruption more efficient.
As for the other existing legal provisions, the Government is surely aware that it is capable of working things out to circumvent this problem.
Zahid's insistence that the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) that was set up instead of the IPCMC would be enough to do the job is ridiculous when the CEO of the EAIC, Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar, has recently disclosed that the Commission has only one investigating officer probing complaints against the police, and its recommendations on action to be taken against errant cops so far may not even have been implemented.
The real question we need to ask is, does the Government care enough to want to bring about police reform? Does it care enough to ensure that citizens will be safe in police hands?
The lip service that the Government pays to this issue is supposed to give the impression that it cares. But the problem is, truth coming from the halls of power these last few years has been in such short supply that we can't seem to trust whatever the Government says or does.
At this rate, unless the Government proves it is worthy of trust, we the rakyat may be the ones who'll be heading for deep shit.

* Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the bestselling book No More Bullshit, Please, We're All Malaysians, and the latest volume, Ask for No Bullshit, Get Some More! 

What are BITs, FTAs and the TPPA?

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 12:57 PM PDT 

Malaysia should learn from Peru's experience and be most cautious about signing any BITs or FTAs that a company like Lynas may later use against Malaysia.

Lim Mah Hui, FMT

On June 14, 2012, Malaysiakini reported that Malay Economic Action Council representatives walked out of a meeting with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) because the latter was unwilling to disclose details of their negotiations on the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement).

MITI has been engaging in negotiations on the TPPA for many months and is inclined to sign the agreement. To a lay person, TPPA, BITs and FTAs are dry and arcane abbreviations that do not interest us. Yet they have serious impact on our lives. So what are they and why should we bother about them?

BITs stand for Bilateral Investment Treaties, FTAs stand for Free Trade Agreements, and TPPA stands for a specific FTA called the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that is currently under negotiation among a number of Pacific Rim countries including Malaysia. All these are bilateral or regional agreements signed between countries.

The US has been pushing hard for countries to sign such agreements with it. The current furore over the TPPA arises from a fear that these treaties and agreements may contain provisions on such issues as investment and intellectual property rights that could have adverse consequences on a signatory country's national policy-making capacity. For example, the tighter and more monopolistic intellectual property regimes imposed by such agreements could prevent Malaysia from producing cheaper generic versions of essential medicines patented by the major pharmaceutical corporations.

In this article, however, I shall focus only on the investment aspects of these agreements.

In the heyday of economic and trade liberalization, many countries signed bilateral investment and trade agreements with each other to promote trade and investments. There are over 3,000 BITs in existence.

The purpose of BITs (as well as the investment chapters in FTAs) is to promote and protect the investments that one country has in another country. However, it is now recognized that the first generation BITs are one-sided; they protect the interests of private investors at the expense of public interests. Many governments that have signed such treaties, without understanding the legal implications, are now paying for the mistakes.

Read more at: 

Is Education Act 1996 unconstitutional?

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 12:53 PM PDT 

Can justice Mohd Noor Abdullah tell us if the Education Act 1996 was enacted by Parliament for the purpose of dividing the people?

Jiwi Kathaiah, FMT

The former Appeal Court judge Mohd Noor Abdullah had on May 12, declared at a forum that the vernacular schools (SJKs) have no place in the national education system of this country as the Federal Constitution does not recognize them and should, therefore, be abolished.

He is reported to have raised the following points in support of his call to abolish the SKJs (Chinese and Tamil schools):

1. According to the constitution there should only be one stream of schools in this country.

2. The national-type schools (SJKs) should be abolished because the constitution does not recognize them.

3. The existence of Chinese, Tamil and private schools divides the people.

4. What is a single school? During the British era, there were government English schools, so now there should only be primary government schools and secondary government schools.

5. So the SJKs that exist today, the SJK (C) and (T), we change them to government schools. There will be no "type" schools, only primary and secondary schools.

6. If there are schools that oppose, then the way is to obtain a court order to declare that the existence of Chinese and Tamil schools is not legal and against the constitution.

7. The state funds used for Chinese and Tamil schools are not provided for under the constitution.

8. Article 12 of the constitution states that it shall not prejudice the right of the federal government or the state government to establish or help in establishing Islamic schools and incurs such expenditure as may be necessary.

For religious schools, the constitution says state funds can be used to set up such schools or to assist those who set up religious schools and to use state funds as much as needed. Where does it mention Chinese and Tamil schools?

The counter argument

A simple rebuttal to the points stated above is in order.

Point 1: If the former Appeal Court judge Mohd Noor Abdullah was referring to the Malaysian constitution, then it must be pointed out that nowhere in the constitution it is provided that "there should only be one stream of schools in this country."

Point 2: Nowhere in the constitution it is stated that SKJs are not recognized. 

Read more at: 

Banning DIBS long overdue

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 12:46 PM PDT 

With the rapid increase in property prices in the last five years or so, speculators have been laughing all the way to the bank.

Datuk Dr Goh Ban Lee, The Sun Daily

A popular topic of conver­sation among friends and relatives is the rapid rise of property prices in the last four years or so. Speculation in property prices is inevitable with private ownership of land. However, traditionally, speculators needed to have deep pockets to carry out their activities on a big scale. As such, speculation in properties was not a common pastime.

The scenario changed with a sales gimmick introduced by a developer in Penang in 2007 when there was a global financial crisis. Fearful that its houses might not be sold, the developer introduced the 5/95 payment scheme whereby buyers paid only 5% of the property price and borrowed 95% from banks.

Making the deals even more attractive, the developer paid the interest for the buyers' loans until the project was completed. Though the project was quickly sold out, the prices of the properties were on the high side compared to nearby projects.

Before the introduction of 5/95 or 10/90 schemes, the common practice was the 30/70 scheme whereby the buyers paid 30% and obtained loans for 70% of the price of the properties.

Many developers have adopted the 5/95 or 10/90 schemes. The term "Developer Interest Bearing Scheme" (DIBS) was thus coined. Eventually, even the legal fees were borne by the developers.

Although the scheme was introduced to attract ordinary house buyers, it inadvertently made it cheap and easy for speculators to earn relatively large profits in property speculation because they only had to pay the initial payment, either 5% or 10% of the price of the property and had two to three years to "flip" them. In DIBS, the speculators found their cash cows.

For example, for a RM1 million property, one needs to pay only RM50,000 if the developer adopts a 5/95 scheme or RM100,000 if it is a 10/90 scheme. A speculator with RM200,000 capital is able to book four or two properties. He or she then has two to three years to sell them.

Even if the prices of the properties were to increase by 20% during the construction period, the speculator would make RM200,000 for each. If it was a 5/95 scheme, the speculator would make a 400% profit, minus the legal fees. If the scheme is 10/90, he or she would make a 200% profit.

There are few businesses or investment opportunities that give such large returns in such a short time. It should be noted that by the time the speculators are looking for buyers, the projects are already visible.

Making things worse, there are developers who hold pre-launch viewing for selected clients. As such, before the public is aware of new projects, selected clients are allowed to choose and book units. By the time the project is shown to the public, choice units have been taken. There is no doubt that many prospective buyers have experienced disappointment when told by sales personnel that the units they want have been booked.

With the rapid increase in property prices in the last five years or so, speculators have been laughing all the way to the bank.

It is strongly believed that the spiral increase in the prices of new properties in the last few years is the result of speculative buying. It has also affected the property market as a whole. As a result, young families with a household income of RM7,000 a month are now shut out of the property market, even if they accept the reality that their dreams of living in a "middle-class" neighbourhood, such as Island Glades in Penang and Taman Tun Dr Ismail are gone and they are willing to live in cheaper areas.

As a general rule, the housing market is not efficient and this has led to fluctuations of house prices. However, with the introduction of DIBS about five years ago, the situation has become worse.

DIBS has been in the news lately, especially in business sections. The consensus of the writers is that the scheme is not good for genuine house buyers and the housing industry. It is also not good for the economy as a whole. Singapore banned it in 2009. Bank Negara should do so as soon as possible.

Datuk Dr Goh Ban Lee is interested in urban governance, housing and urban planning. Comments:


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