Ahad, 25 Ogos 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Mahathir’s Continuing Burden Upon The Nation

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 12:24 PM PDT


It is pathetic that after having served as the nation's longest serving chief executive, Mahathir could point only to those physical monuments as his legacy. 

M. Bakri Musa 

Mahathir is the only prime minister who devalued the ringgit, the very symbol of the nation's sovereignty. If that were to be his only negative legacy, Malaysia could easily bear it.

Unfortunately the man has burdened (and continues to burden) Malaysia with many more ugly legacies. He has also devalued our culture and institutions. Most of all he has devalued the trust we have in each other, a vital but scarce asset in a plural society.

On a much lesser scale, and to serve more as a concrete example, the upcoming UMNO leadership convention will be another. With its "no contest" rule now the norm, the convention mocks the very meaning of a leadership election, reducing it to the same level as the old Soviet "elections." This coming event will again expose the party's corruptness and how pathetically bereft it is of talent. The same old tired and tainted candidates will be recycled. It is an exercise less of renewal and rejuvenation, more of an old and leaking sewer treatment plant, with nothing to hide the stench.

As for the candidates, they would be like desperate monkeys elbowing and clawing each other for the top braches, their howling effectively drowning out the sound of the tree crashing down.

Legally speaking, this party is of course not the original UMNO, rather "UMNO Baru," Mahathir's own creation after he maneuvered a less-than-honest squeaky victory over his challenger, Tengku Razaleigh, back in 1987. The party was subsequently deregistered. UMNO Baru is but a pretender to that glorious old party, the spirit of 1946, the one that bravely fought against the Malayan Union and ultimately brought the country to independence. No surprise then that this UMNO Baru has all of Mahathir's ugly trademarks.

I am privileged not to have met the man; thus my analysis is strictly based on his policies and performances as a leader. It is not colored by personal feelings or show of gratitude. I am spared the "mudah lupa" (ingrate) epithet.

Again thanks to Mahathir, this mudah lupa is a special burden in our culture where one's personal kindness and familiarity could hide and indeed excuse many a sin. Mahathir himself is not spared this burden; hence his being easily hoodwinked by the put-on piety and humility of his chosen successor, Abdullah Badawi. Even Mahathir's subsequent enthusiasm for Najib to replace Abdullah was based less on Najib's talent, more an expression of Mahathir's gratitude to Najib's late father for having "rehabilitated" Mahathir into UMNO.

Yes, Mahathir was once kicked out of that grand old party back in 1970 in the aftermath of the deadly 1969 race riots. Those early leaders of the original UMNO were wise and prescient.

Rehabilitated he was, and with his subsequent ascent to the top post, the country now bears the burden of his follies. We will continue to do so long after he is gone, such was the damage he inflicted upon the country.

The currency devaluation was painful enough, especially to the poor. We still bear it today. Judging by past performances, this upcoming leadership contest would again assault our sensibilities, especially of Malay culture. Forget about our budi bahasa (gracious) and halus (soft) ways.

Those previously found guilty of "money politics" (that's corruption, to the rest of us) like Isa Samad and Khairy Jamaludin would again be elected to top positions. So too would former Selangor Chief Minister Khir Toyo, except that he is now serving time for corruption. Incidentally Khir Toyo is regarded as "clean" by his fellow UMNO members. As for Isa and Khairy, the former is now put in charge of the multi-billion ringgit FELDA, the latter, a cabinet minister. That too, is part of Mahathir's legacy.

One might quibble about Khairy for he once bragged about being Mahathir's vocal critic. However, Mahathir's legacy is the overall negative culture he fostered in UMNO Baru. In any other culture or jurisdiction, that young man would not even be nominated for dog catcher. That speaks volumes to the degradation of UMNO Baru.

That is Mahathir's legacy, its destructiveness is pervasive and permanent precisely because it is less obvious.

Read more at: http://bakrimusa.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/mahathirs-continuing-burden-on-nation.html 

Tiga Penguat Kuasa JAIS Ditahan SPRM Ambil Suapan PULUHAN RIBU Ringgit Sebulan!

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 12:08 PM PDT


(Antarapos) - Penguatkuasa di Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (JAIS) dipercayai menyalahguna kuasa apabila bertindak menerima suapan daripada pasangan yang melakukan kesalahan khalwat sehingga berjaya mengaut keuntungan puluhan ribu ringgit sebulan.

Memetik laporan Berita Harian hari ini, tiga penguatkuasa berkenaan telah ditahan oleh Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) Ahad minggu lalu dan bakal didakwa pada minggu hadapan.

Ketiga-tiga mereka dipercayai telah lama melakukan kegiatan itu bersama berdasarkan buku simpanan bank masing-masing.

"Mereka dipercayai sudah lama menjalankan kegiatan berkenaan malah dipercayai mampu memperoleh puluhan ribu ringgit sebulan,

"Kerana terdesak dan bimbang akan dikaitkan dengan kesalahan selain menanggung malu, pasangan itu sanggup membayar tuntutan itu," katanya.

Menurut sumber itu, mereka menyasarkan pasangan khalwat yang akan didakwa sebelum meminta suapan kononnya bagi membebaskan mereka daripada dakwaan.

Katanya mereka selalunya meminta RM3000 daripada pasangan berkenaan seminggu atau dua minggu sebelum tarikh mereka didakwa.

Pengarah SPRM Selangor Datuk Jaafar Mahad yang dihubungi mengesahkan penahanan berkenaan disiasat mengikut kesalahan 17 (A) Akta SPRM 2009.

"Dua aduan dibuat berhubung kegiatan sindiket dalam kes khalwat di Genting Highlands tahun lalu dan kes terbaru di Saujana Putra dengan nilai suapan sama iaitu RM3000.

"Dua daripada individu yang ditahan berusia 27 tahun dan 32 tahun terbabit dalam dua kes yang sama dan kaedah suapan secara tunai dan menerusi bank.

"Pasangan itu dikatakan dihubungi pasangan khalwat itu dan meminta jumlah suapan jika mahu dakwaan terhadap mereka digugurkan.

"Bagaimanapun tiga kakitangan JAIS yang ditahan itu tidak mempunyai kuasa untuk mendakwa pasangan berkenaan. Walaupun sudah membayar wang berkenaan, pasangan itu tetap juga kena dakwa," katanya. 

Showing Thursday, but disputes over Tanda Putera aren’t going away

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 12:05 PM PDT


(TMI) - Lim said the government-backed film has spurted lies and accusations and if the Barisan Nasional (BN) government allows the film to be screened, it only proves that BN is intentionally stoking racial tensions in Malaysia.

Ahead of the controversial movie Tanda Putera's opening in local cinemas on Thursday, DAP has urged the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture to re-examine the film due to concerns it could worsen race relations in the country.

The film paints an inaccurate picture of incidents that occurred during the May 13 race riots in 1969, according to secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Lim said the government-backed film has spurted lies and accusations and if the Barisan Nasional (BN) government allows the film to be screened, it only proveS that BN is intentionally stoking racial tensions in Malaysia.

"The ministry should take appropriate action. DAP wants to see what the government would do after this. If nothing is done soon, we would discuss our next steps," he told The Malaysian Insider.

The film, directed by Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba, was supposed to be aired last year but was postponed three times following protests against several scenes in the movie.

The cost of the movie is estimated to be RM4.8 million and the project is a joint effort of Persona Pictures, National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (Finas) and Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC).

Last Thursday, The Malaysian Insider reported that DAP had urged Tanda Putera's producers to declare the film a fictitious work.

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua said then the film would provoke anger and racial tension.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/dap-wants-tanda-putera-to-be-re-examined-to-avoid-racial-tensions 

Indian-based parties told to merge into single entity

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 11:55 AM PDT


(Bernama) - All Indian-based political parties under the Barisan Nasional umbrella should merge into a single entity in the best interest of the Indian community, said Barisan secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

He said it was no use for the numerous parties to compete with each other, when what they should be doing was to work together to formulate the best policy to ensure a better future and to achieve the aspirations of the community more effectively.

"I would like to call on those parties, namely Makkal Sakti, MIC, Malaysian Indian United Party (MIUP), Indian Progressive Front (IPF) and the People's Progressive Party (PPP) to merge so that they will become a stronger entity."

"Why should they go separate ways?

"Why create different parties to fight the same cause?

"Maybe they need to analyse or convene a meeting to find solution to this problem."

Tengku Adnan said MIC, as the most senior party, should be open to suggestions and should analyse why too many Indian-based parties were being established.

"Something must have gone wrong and MIC needs to rectify it.

"Why are there so many rejections, is it because of the party leadership or policies? How do we get all these parties to work together to help the Indian community?" he asked.

Makkal Sakti president Datuk R.S. Thanenthiran lauded Tengku Adnan's call but insisted that all party leaders should agree to compromise and be prepared to step down.

"I hope it will come true. The re-engineered merging parties can use a new name to fight for a better future for the Indians," he said.  

We can then explore single education system, says Saifuddin

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 10:57 AM PDT


(The Star) -  "There is a push-and-pull factor why non-Malay parents don't send their children to national schools. It's mainly about quality," he said, adding that even Malay parents were sending their children to Chinese schools.

KUALA LUMPUR: While a single education system might be an ideal situation, the problem of quality in national schools should be addressed first, said Umno supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

"Unity is important and education is an important platform to foster unity among young people.

"But we should get our priorities right. The quality of schools has to be improved," he said in response to a question from the floor on whether abolishing vernacular schools would be good for unity during the 7th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here yesterday.

Saifuddin, who was formerly Deputy Higher Education Minister, believed that many parents sent their children to Chinese vernacular schools because of their prowess in Maths and Science.

"There is a push-and-pull factor why non-Malay parents don't send their children to national schools. It's mainly about quality," he said, adding that even Malay parents were sending their children to Chinese schools.

An estimated 80,000 non-Chinese students are studying in Chinese schools in the country.

Saifuddin also believed that many national schools were becoming like sekolah agama(religious schools).

"Even I as a Malay Muslim got that feeling. My Year Three daughter was singled out because she was not wearing a baju kurung. There are all kinds of stories that make people believe this," he said.

Saifuddin said that Malaysians should work on their difficulties together rather than harping on their differences.

He declared that he was a Malaysian first and a Malay second.

Saifuddin said many parents were sending their children to private religious schools, which he believed were more open and progressive than national schools.

"The results in these schools are good and they are more active in co-curricular activities," he said.

AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, on his part, gave away several free airline tickets to lucky participants, including one ticket to watch Queens Park Rangers in England.

He also took out his wallet when a student asked for some money to start a business.

Tony, who had RM450 on him, gave the student RM200.

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan said people should be given a choice of the schools they would like their children to attend.

"I strongly believe in the need for choice. In having that choice, we have to make sure that we do not become divided," he said.

Swoop on gangsters

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 10:41 AM PDT


(The Star) -  The operation, code-named "Ops Cantas Khas" is meant to send a clear signal that gangsters and elements of the underworld will not be tolerated.

PETALING JAYA: The full brunt of the police force is being used in a blitz against violent criminals with more than 1,000 people, mostly gangsters, nabbed within a week.

The operation, code-named "Ops Cantas Khas" is meant to send a clear signal that gangsters and elements of the underworld will not be tolerated.

Bukit Aman anti-vice, gambling and secret societies' division head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Jalil Hassan said 1,018 people were detained during raids in Selangor, Penang, Negri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur and Johor since Aug 17.

"Most of those nabbed are members of the notorious Gang 36, Gang 08 and Gang 04," he said, adding that police also seized 13 weapons, including pistols, machetes and knives and recovered 36 stolen vehicles.

SAC Jalil commended the public for providing positive feedback and valuable tip-offs since the start of the operation.

"About half the arrests were due to information given to us. Public cooperation has helped us greatly during the operation," he said, adding that those who tipped off the force chose to remain anonymous for their safety.

"Despite this, we pursued the information but vetted it carefully to prevent wrongful arrests," he said.

Among the common tip-offs received were about suspicious-looking people gathering at a house or at particular public locations.

SAC Jalil said 920 police personnel had been assigned under the ongoing operation to man roadblocks, conduct stop and frisk exercises as well as pursue wanted criminals.

He said the operation, conducted between midnight and 5am daily was aimed at reducing serious crime and preventing other crimes from occurring.

"Last week, we screened 50,246 people and checked 22,956 vehicles, mostly motorcycles. We will not stop the operation until we are satisfied with the results in reducing crime and making the streets safer," he added.

Ops Cantas Khas is being jointly conducted by Bukit Aman, state police contingents and police districts.

"We are using the Crime Prevention Act 1959 to arrest the suspects," he said.

In George Town, police rounded up 77 people, including six women aged between 20 and 40 and a teenager, in several raids over the weekend.

Penang Deputy CID Chief Asst Comm Nasir Salleh said that some of the men were wanted for various crimes.

Police personnel, including several geared in bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets and Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns, stormed two nightspots where loud music was being played in the early hours yesterday.

In the first raid, police recovered two machetes measuring around 70cm long inside the toilet at a pub in Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong.

Six women and 27 men, three of whom were foreigners, were arrested in the pub.

"The three foreign men were working as waiters without permits," said ACP Nasir, adding that the weapons recovered might have been used in fights over the past six months.

In the next raid on a pub in Jalan Penang, police arrested 33 men and the teenager.

"We will take action against the pub owner for allowing a minor into the premises," said ACP Nasir.

ACP Nasir said police also raided 44 homes after being tipped off by the public.

"Sixteen suspects involved in various cases such as rioting, causing grievous hurt to others, robbery, burglary, extortion and cheating were nabbed," he said.

AG, police at odds over preventive laws

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 10:32 AM PDT


(TMI) -  Police want preventive laws reintroduced, laws similar to the repealed EO where a suspect could be detained for 60 days for investigations.Previously under the EO, police would then submit a report to the Home Minister who could then issue a detention order of up to two years.

The Attorney-General's Chambers and police are at loggerheads over the use of the archaic Preventive of Crime Act 1959 (PCA) to check the escalation of violent crimes in the peninsula.

Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said he recently met police top  brass, including the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, to explain why the law was still viable although enacted in 1959.

"This law is more transparent than the repealed Emergency Ordinance (EO) and offers a check and balance," he told The Malaysian Insider.

He said the PCA also protected the legal rights of suspects and prevented any abuse.

Gani said this when asked to elaborate on his statement in a news portal, Malaysia Gazette, which implied that chambers and police were at loggerheads on the use of the PCA.

"They (police) do not want to go through us. They want to do it on their own," he told Malaysia Gazette.

Gani said this worried him and he questioned whether police did not have confidence in the court.

"If they do no not, then they can do it on their own. They don't need the A-G's Chambers," he said.

Police want preventive laws reintroduced, laws similar to the repealed EO where a suspect could be detained for 60 days for investigations.

Previously under the EO, police would then submit a report to the Home Minister who could then issue a detention order of up to two years.

Gani said the AG's Chambers was totally out of the picture under the EO but had to defend the government when detainees mounted a legal challenge once they filed a writ of habeas corpus.

Explaining the workings of the PCA, Gani said it gave police powers to detain suspects for 24 hours without a warrant of arrest.

Gani said suspects must then be produced before a magistrate who could order a 14-day remand.

He said the police and a deputy public prosecutor must issue a written statement to the magistrate to hold the suspect for a further 28 days when there was sufficient evidence to hold an inquiry.

Another 28 days extension could be obtained if there was delay in completing the inquiry, or to place the person under supervision.

Gani pointed out that under the PCA the AG's Chambers was always involved.

He said police had been doing a wonderful job, especially over the past one week, by using the PCA and he could see no reason why a preventive law should be introduced.

Gani, who is also the public prosecutor, said the procedures in the PCA could be executed since there were many DPPs now compared with 30 years ago.

He said the PCA only covered the peninsula but could be amended to include Sabah and Sarawak.

"We can also rely on the PCA to monitor suspects and the penalty is severe if conditions are violated," he said, expressing confidence that serious crimes could be curbed under this legislation.

Gani said there were also many other laws to check violent crimes but the problem was effective enforcement of existing laws. 

Altantuya changed everything

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 10:21 AM PDT


Altantuya changed everything. The truth has surfaced. We have names, amount of money involved, the secret deals and much more today. Nevertheless, there is a lot more to be discovered. 


Watergate resulted in the resignation of an American president and the indictment, trial, conviction and incarceration of a number of Nixon's top administration officials. No sex, no corruption, no cronyism, no murder, no national security issues…just Nixon lying to the American people!

The Profumo Affair forced the resignation of Britain's War Minister and ended 13 years of unbroken Conservative government rule. This was a tale of how the rich, famous and powerful indulged in sex, with suicide, intrigue and espionage thrown in for good measure.

As political scandals go, the Abdul Razak Baginda & Altantuya Shaariibuu affair has it all.

It's a concocted tale of violence and murder, death, betrayal, greed, deceit, cover ups, illicit sex across many continents, corruption, cronyism, abuse of executive power and the peoples' trust, massive abuse of public money, compromising our national security, shenanigans at the Immigration department, gutter politics, miscarriage of justice, covert operations by Unit Tndakan Khas (UTK) on behalf of the rich and powerful, theft of explosives from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), blackmail and the exposure of the lives of the rich, powerful and politically connected and not dismissing the likelihood of further escalation of diplomatic 'tension' involving Mongolia and France….and still counting!

In summary a drama of Shakespearean dimension! As of 2013 – another death – that of P Balasubramaniam, and the acquittal of Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar, can now be added to its data base.

Yes, events can be manipulated, information suppressed and truth hidden but not indefinitely.

The Altantuya murder exposed what we suspected has been happening all along in the murky world of corruption, cronyism and abuse of executive power by Umno's political elites and their cronies.

There has always been corruption in Mindef before but never on this scale and latitude.

There were those who actually managed to "persuade" the Barisan Nasional government to buy Scorpene submarines. The entire process from tendering, evaluation, logistics of equipment supply, training and right up to getting the submarine crew was manipulated just to ensure that the two Scorpenes will "selam".

And it surely involved a tender committee, the Malaysian Cabinet, the Minister of Defence and (of course) Abdul Razak Baginda himself. Truly a cast of thousands and painfully paid for by the ignorant Malaysian public.

Commissions have been paid for questionable "services rendered" to brokers, middlemen and agents before but never so blatantly as to make even the most tolerant of us to ask "What services were rendered to warrant RM500 million payment?"

There have been abuses before by those tasked to purchase our defence equipment but awarding Abdul Razak in millions of our money is totally astounding.

Upon pocketing, Abdul Razak chose to embark on an escapade across continents in a Ferrari with his mistress. It is clearly an irresponsible behaviour on his part.

Did it ever occur to Abdul Razak that apart from cheating his wife and family, he was compromising our nation's security and honor? Was it just to satisfy his personal needs –sex?

A matter of timing

Watergate and Christine Keeler brought down governments but in Malaysia the Abdul Razak and Altantuya affair only brought out the worst of our judiciary and the government.

The manner on how BN government handled the matter speaks for itself:-

1. Two UTK operatives have been found guilty of murdering Altantuya for reasons unknown to-date, and now they have been acquitted on appeal.

2. Abdul Razak is in exile and well cashed up and is free to do what he pleases, where he pleases.

3. The then minister of defence is today Prime Minister of Malaysia!

And the Malaysian public has been told that "justice will prevail" despite the obvious before our eyes.

Before the Altantuya saga, the accusations of mischief, corruption, cronyism and abuse of power hurled towards our ministers were brushed off as half-truths, gossips and innuendos.

Altantuya changed everything. The truth has surfaced. We have names, amount of money involved, the secret deals and much more today. Nevertheless, there is a lot more to be discovered.

Why, you may ask, has this Abdul Razak-Altantuya affair not brought down Najib and caused the downfall of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government?

It is simply a matter of convenience. The merit of a scandal has little or nothing to do in bringing down a government. It is a matter of timing.

When Muhyiddin Yassin or other forces within Umno are ready to move against Najib, then the Abdul Razak-Altantuya affair will be revisited and enough will be revealed to 'persuade' Najib to exit Umno with dignity or money!

There is ample of evidence to support this notion. It happened with Musa Hitam, Anwar Ibrahim, Ku Li and even Pak Lah during the Mahathir era. This phenomena will only stop until we do not demand excellence and meritocracy from those in public office.

Until such time, Altantuya will have to wait for justice.

Hagel Underscores Commitment to Partnership With Malaysia

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 09:57 AM PDT


(American Forces Press Service) - The Malaysian military has made impressive contributions to counterpiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and to United Nations peacekeeping efforts with nearly 1,000 troops deployed worldwide this year, he said, adding that Malaysian armed forces medical personnel are contributing to security in Afghanistan. 

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug. 25, 2013 – Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had productive meetings here today with Malaysian officials and said the United States is committed to building on progress made over the past few years and strengthening the U.S.-Malaysian partnership.

Hagel's first visit to Malaysia as defense secretary is part of an Asia-Pacific trip that will include visits to Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines.

"Malaysia has been a good friend to the United States, and the close security partnership we've forged holds great promise for ensuring our shared security and prosperity in the 21st century," Hagel said this afternoon during a joint news conference with Defense Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

"I know President [Barack] Obama appreciates the close relationship that exists between our two countries," he added, "and I know he looks forward to his visit here in October to [attend] the Global Entrepreneurship Summit."

Hagel and Hishammuddin met, the secretary said, "to discuss a range of security issues of importance to both our countries and to this region."

Praising Malaysia's growing military capabilities, Hagel said Malaysia has made increasingly important contributions to regional and global security.

The Malaysian military has made impressive contributions to counterpiracy operations in the Gulf of Aden and to United Nations peacekeeping efforts with nearly 1,000 troops deployed worldwide this year, he said, adding that Malaysian armed forces medical personnel are contributing to security in Afghanistan. 

The United States welcomes these efforts by the Malaysian military, Hagel said, "and today I made clear that the U.S. is continuing to assist Malaysia's military as it increases its capabilities in areas like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping, maritime security and counterterrorism."

This year the United States will conduct more than 75 activities, exchanges and visits with the Malaysian military, the secretary added, all designed to help it become a more professional and flexible force.

Hagel said he and the defense minister also discussed ways to counter transnational threats, such as trafficking and proliferation, and future areas of cooperation, such as technology collaboration and expanding defense trade and information sharing.

"Minister Hishammuddin and I reaffirmed our shared belief that greater multilateral cooperation and strong regional institutions are essential -- essential," Hagel stressed, "to greater stability in the region."  


Nazri will always be Nazri

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 04:41 PM PDT

"I have a few hats to wear – politician, social worker, lawyer. But I am a lawyer first above everything else, even above my political party. Upholding the law is the most important thing to me and that is why I am vocal, even if it goes against the grain of my party's struggle," he said when asked about the strong opinions about him.

Razak Ahmad, The Star

Those who expect Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz to mellow out will be disappointed.

The Tourism and Culture Minister has been in politics for 35 years and he has a reputation for being vocal. The Umno leader would occasionally air views that go against the grain of conventional thinking, either within his party or the Government.

But despite the recent controversy which erupted after he appointed his son as his special officer, Nazri, in a recent interview, said he would remain as outspoken as ever.

"If I have done something wrong, I will apologise but if I know that my stand is a principled stand, I will hold my ground, no matter what people say about me," Nazri said.

The incident has inflamed some of his critics who, over the years, have accused him of going overboard in voicing controversial opinions.

"I have a few hats to wear – politician, social worker, lawyer. But I am a lawyer first above everything else, even above my political party.

"Upholding the law is the most important thing to me and that is why I am vocal, even if it goes against the grain of my party's struggle," he said when asked about the strong opinions about him.

Views about him among Umno members and supporters are also mixed. Some feel that he is a maverick while his critics say he is kurang ajar (insolent) and have not forgiven him for crossing swords with people whom, they say, he has no right to question, namely Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"It is principles and nothing personal. I debate and argue with a clear mind," said Nazri when asked about the former prime minister.

"When I was the minister in charge of parliamentary affairs, I would argue with the Opposition all the time but I also get along with many of their MPs because they knew it was not personal."

He attributes his outspokenness to his father Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yeop.

Abdul Aziz studied law in Britain and later became one of Malaysia's leading public servants, holding positions including as high commissioner to Britain and secretary-general to the Education Ministry.

"My late father was a lawyer who instilled in me the importance of having a strong conviction and principled stand," he said.

Another trait he credits his father with is a strong faith in multi-culturalism.

"He mixed a lot with people from all races and this also moulded me to become a person some would probably consider unorthodox.

"To me, it's very simple. I am a Malay but if I want to do something for my race, it should not be a zero sum game whereby it is seen as being at the expense of another race. You love your race but, at the same time, it doesn't mean that you must hate the others," he said.

Love him or hate him, the fact is that Nazri is no newbie to politics. Appointed as an Umno Youth exco member in 1978 when he was just a 24-year-old fresh law graduate, Nazri gradually climbed up the party ranks in a political career that has spanned over three decades.

He has been on the Umno supreme council since 1990 and in 1993, became Umno Youth deputy chief.

To many of his supporters, peers and colleagues, he is known simply as "chief", a moniker he considers more than just a nickname but a term of endearment.

"When I was appointed as an Umno Youth exco member in 1978, I was neither a Datuk nor an elected representative, so many did not know what to call me.

"I was from the Malay College Kuala Kangsar and I was a ringleader among a group of friends. My old friend Datuk Naim Mohamad (currently the deputy president of the Malaysian National Cycling Federation) used to call me chief and somehow, the name stuck.

"To me, when someone calls me chief, it makes that person feels closer to me," he said.

In the Cabinet, Nazri has served as Entrepreneur Development Minister from 1999 to 2004 after which he served as Minister in the Prime Minister's Department before being appointed as Tourism and Culture Minister following the last general election.

Nazri said that he was worried about the recent spate of shootings and crime as this could scare tourists away.

He said he was equally vocal in the Cabinet, voicing dissenting opinions which his colleagues sometimes disagreed with.

"My views are independent because I believe that what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong, so I will always tell it as it is," he said.


A crazy kind of love

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 04:34 PM PDT

Despite our country's imperfections – from imitation DVDs to politicians who don't play politics to kopi-O drivers – we all still love Malaysia.

Wong Chun Wai, The Star

I LOVE Malaysia. It is truly a land of wonders and contradictions, and I think even our founding fathers would be, well, amazed if they were still around today.

We must be the only nation in the whole universe who watches pirated movies that start off with a notice from the distributor warning us why we should dump these imitations.

Behold, the quality is bad, the narrator alerts us in Chinese as we are shown two clips of the same car chase in a multi-storey car park, comparing the "imitation" with the "original". And, of course, the super-duper quality movie we get to watch once this promo is over is still an illegal copy.

Then we have leaders, politicians and their family members who expect to be accorded VIP treatment all the time. They demand VIP passes from promoters of concerts so they can show off their status.

Funny, but many of us also demand the same VIP treatment ourselves, lapping up the VIP passes only to learn later that these so-called passes are no longer exclusive as there are hundreds of them.

I love Malaysia. We have thousands and thousands of Datuks, making this beloved land of ours the country with the most titled people in the world.

At the rate we are going, we will also top the list for having the highest number of honorary doctorate holders.

If you can't get into medical school, it's okay. Just buy a Dr title, whether online from a university somewhere in the south Pacific or approach a self-professed sultan from an obscure island off the Philippines. Almost everyone is now a Datuk Dr and nothing less.

For laughs, we know we can always count on our politicians. Malaysia again scores top points for politicians who regularly warn each other not to "play politics".

As a journalist, I am confused by this. If politicians do not play politics, then what do they do? Play doctor? Play football, or simply play jester?

Recently, I came across a politician who accused this newspaper of instigating one politician against another. That's a fresh angle to get attention at the expense of the media.

Since when have debates about our politicians, who are public figures, become private matters that the media should not report? Politicians are quarrelling all the time, anyway, or else they wouldn't be politicians.

I also love our policemen. They deserve better. They are not the best paid in town and yet we expect them to be super heroes who work around the clock.

We expect our cops to be soft with our criminals, hug them, buy them dinner, play Candy Crush with them and give them massages, hoping that the scums would end up confessing their guilt.

Are these Malaysians who advocate such loving, tender touches for criminals really from our Malaysia, truly Asia?

As pressmen, we are also confused by the cops' fondness of using certain terms at their press briefings. They love using terms like "certain quarters" or "pihak tertentu". We must be the only country in the world that uses such a term. Why certain quarters, not half or three quarters?

Our cops also love playing at being diplomats. They will never say the criminals are from Indonesia, Thailand or Singapore. It's always "negara jiran" or neighbouring countries, keeping the reporters guessing.

Are our policemen worried the mere mention of nationalities would spark off a major diplomatic war?

It's even more confusing when the cops simply use the term "Africans". Hello, that continent is really big, stretching from Timbuktu to Capetown.

They also seem to love using the words "we promise to get to the bottom of the case" and "we will not compromise", but I suspect it's the work of unimaginative reporters who use the cut-and-paste approach when filing their stories.

Here's the best part. It's almost a standard line among families of suspected criminals shot dead to declare that their relatives are victims of mistaken identity. They are their loved ones and they are angels, certainly not gangsters.

Really? Then why did everyone at the funerals carry swastikas and set off crackers, and why was the hearse adorned with wreaths shaped in numbers ranging from 04 to 08 to 36?

Malaysians have also become super sensitive these days. I don't know if that's the effect of the full moon but, for sure, it can't be the recent meteor showers as that was a non-event.

We have become more religious, which is good, but our behaviour does not seem to correspond with our spirituality.

We deplore graft but we seem to think it's okay to ask the driving instructor if it's possible to "guarantee" a pass. A "kopi-O" licence is assured when we are prepared to part with some "duit kopi".

And finally, we have now decided to play the national anthem at our cinemas. It's long overdue. In fact, why isn't the anthem played before football matches or any big sporting event?

Worse, there seems to be reluctance and uneasiness among some Malaysians over this move. These are the people who cannot understand that standing up at attention to sing the Negara Ku with gusto is to love Malaysia. It is not about loving the government of the day or a clarion call to join a political party.

So after 56 years of independence, many of us are still confused. Many are still caught up in a time warp, quarrelling over issues that should have been resolved or resolved in the 1950s. But for all its imperfections, we all still love Malaysia!


On their marks for Umno race

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 04:28 PM PDT

The Hari Raya open houses have become venues for Umno politicians vying for posts in the party election to entertain friends and comrades, to feed them well, be charming and win their support to stay in the game.

Leaders who lost in the general election will struggle to survive in the supreme council race but younger faces who won and were given government posts, like Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Rahman Dahlan and Deputy Minister in the PM's Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim, will have a fighting chance.

Joceline Tan, The Star

DATUK Seri Mohd Ali Rustam was about to sit down for a bite at the Hari Raya open house of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he saw a reporter approaching the table.

The former Malacca Chief Minister is no longer the media magnet that he used to be but the last few weeks have found reporters making a beeline for him. Every one of them wants to know whether he is going to contest for one of the three vice-president (VP) posts in the Umno election.

"I will let you know soon," he said with a big smile.

But some reporters can be persistent. As Ali was about to leave, the reporter approached him and said: "Datuk Seri, you need the publicity, I need the story, so it's best we work together."

He gave another big smile but it was clear that he was taking his time to decide.

Ali is in a dilemma of sorts. Going for the VP post would be a step down of sorts for him. He had been a contender for the deputy president post in the 2009 party election but he was disqualified for money politics mid-way through the campaign.

The man who signs off all his Facebook postings simply as "dar" (Datuk Ali Rustam) is still extremely well-liked in the party. But he turned 64 last Friday, he is no longer the Chief Minister, he lost in the general election and all that has sucked some of the air out of his balloon, so to speak.

Disastrous outing

Moreover, he had been a VP prior to his disastrous attempt at the deputy presidency and it may be tough to convince the party to give him another shot at the VP post.

However, his peer, Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad, is in the race. Isa had won one of the three VP posts in 2009 with the highest number of votes but his victory was shortlived because he was suspended, also for money politics.

But unlike Ali, Isa is coming in on a new and powerful platform as Felda chairman. He has become a household name in the rural heartland.

Isa announced his candidature at the Felda headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday after launching a body shampoo product amid much fanfare, with soap bubbles floating in the air and confetti raining down on the guests. Reporters joked that it was only during the Umno election season that a politician could show so much enthusiasm for a bath product.

He was in a good mood and did not get irritated even when reporters asked whether, at 63, he should be giving way to new faces. He said he is a proven party loyalist and was offering the party his experience and commitment.

"Don't underestimate Isa. He has friends all over," said Kok Lanas assemblyman Datuk Alwi Che Ahmad.

Isa also has a not-so-secret weapon – his politically savvy wife Puan Sri Bibi Sharliza, a former Puteri Umno politician, who will play a role in his campaign.

But the bottom line is that Isa enjoys broad popular appeal and is worth keeping an eye on.

The talk is that the three incumbents, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, have formed some sort of "all for one and one for all" cartel.

They put up a big show of unity at Hishammuddin's Defence Ministry Hari Raya open house on Wednesday, their arms wrapped around each other and grinning as if they had already won.

More names may pop up on nomination day on Sept 28 to give the incumbents a run for the money.

"I don't see the adrenaline flowing yet. But this time, you only need one nomination to be a candi­date. Who knows, some people may wake up on Sept 28 and tell themselves, why not?" said former Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Dr Latiff Ahmad.

Or as Isa's eldest son Najib put it: "It's something like American Idol. Even those who cannot sing think they can sing. So they join the audition."

Some in the Umno circuit think the VP level has room for at least one new and young face such as Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir or Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

The pair has potential but they need to prove themselves at what they have been assigned to do before dreaming of the VP post.

New and old: The new Umno election system will allow a new generation of Umno leaders to emerge and play a role in shaping the future of the party. Picture shows Najib arriving at Dr Mahathir's Hari Raya open house. Also present were Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali (far left), Datuk Roslan Othman (second from right) and Mukhriz (far right).

Push from Sabah

There is also speculation that Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman is eyeing the VP post because one division chief after another in his state has been voicing support for him.

But an insider said Musa will stay put in the supreme council and the noise coming from the divisions is to send a message to the top Umno leadership that Musa is "the boss".

"Let me put it another way – they are telling KL that Shafie must know his place in Sabah," said the insider.

In short, it is all part of the deep and long-standing rivalry between Musa and Shafie.

Basically, the Umno culture likes to see competition and a good fight at the VP level, otherwise the incumbents will lose touch with the ground and get big-headed.

Umno elections used to be dominated by those holding government posts as well as those with big war chests. An aspiring candidate had to first lobby for the nominations and after that campaign for votes.

The new election system requires only a single nomination to contest a post and everything after that is in the hands of 146,500 delegates.

Alwi reckons that about half of the 25-seat supreme council may comprise new faces this time and he is hoping to be among them.

This will be the second attempt by the Kelantan politician, who is famous for his witty speeches at Umno general assemblies.

On his first try, when he vied for a supreme council seat, he decided to pull out midway when people started asking him for money.

"I don't have money but I will be giving everyone DVDs of all the speeches I have made at Umno assemblies. Some of the things I spoke about have become policy, some have not. It is up to them to decide whether I deserve their vote," he said.

Leaders who lost in the general election will struggle to survive in the supreme council race but younger faces who won and were given government posts, like Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Rahman Dahlan and Deputy Minister in the PM's Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim, will have a fighting chance.

Others, like Lanchang assemblyman Datuk Sharkar Samsuddin, have elected to stay out. Some of Sharkar's supporters had urged him to try out for the supreme council. He was initially open to the idea but changed his mind when he learnt that his deputy division chief Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah intended to defend his supreme council post.

"It's not nice to have two leaders from one division vying for the supreme council," said Sharkar who is also a state exco member.

Saifuddin's defeat in Temerloh in the general election was one of those supreme ironies. The ex-MP is famous for his fashionably liberal and unconventional views but his constituents rejected him for the ultra conservative PAS Youth leader Nasrudin Hasan who is famous for opposing rock concerts and the celebration of Valentine's Day.

It is a cautionary tale for all Umno leaders – you can play to the gallery but you should not forget where your core support lies.

Tun Dr Mahathir's call for talented Malay professionals to move up in the party is finally resonating among Umno members. He has said this before but after two political tsunamis, it has finally sunk in that they cannot survive a third tsunami unless Umno produces new and credible talent.

They feel this election must show those outside that young and talented leaders have a place in Umno.

Johor Umno met last week and declared that it supports status quo for the posts of president and deputy president.

"We like to think that Johor leads in Umno politics. The Mentri Besar wanted to set the tone on the two top posts," said Dr Latiff who is also deputy Johor Umno chief.

State Umno chairman Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin also indicated that Johor will support Hishammuddin in the VP race.

Some had felt that Khaled should also go for it but he told the meeting: "Surely I cannot be expected to challenge the incumbent VP from Johor (Hishammuddin). Johor must support Johor."

Johor's new Mentri Besar spoke like a gentleman and everyone in the room gave him a round of applause.

Khaled is also conscious of the new political landscape in Johor. He saw how badly the Chinese treated his predecessor Datuk Ghani Othman despite all that Ghani had done for the state. Umno is the mainstay of the state government and he needs to acknowledge that on the ground.

"He needs to take good care of those who helped return the Barisan Nasional to power. That's why he's not going for the supreme council. Johor is his top priority and he cannot spare much time on national politics," said Dr Latiff.

The Umno election is like a fleet of cars making the balik kampung journey. All the drivers want to drive properly and get there safely. But some of them want to arrive first, so they start speeding and that's when the trouble begins.

But the important thing, they say, is that everyone must arrive at the same kampung at the end of the day.


In Jho Low, magazine sees link between 1MDB and Mid East funds

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 04:04 PM PDT

Low is also believed to have been part of the 1 Malaysia Welfare Club that had funded a series of free dinners and events to help BN's ultimately unsuccessful effort to regain Penang from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat in the May 5 general election. 

Zurairi AR, The Malay Mail

What a tangled web he weaves.

It is an intricate network of firms, directorships and partnerships with flamboyant tycoon Jho Low at its centre, but Focus Malaysia believes it has unravelled it to show the connection between local investment fund 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and its Middle East backers.

In a front-page story on the enigmatic Penang-born businessman, the business weekly sought to chart the link between 1MDB and Jynwel Capital Ltd, the flagship of the mogul believed to be behind Korean pop sensation Psy's appearance at the Barisan Nasional (BN) Chinese New Year open house in Penang earlier this year.

Low's part begins with the role he played in setting up the Terengganu Investment Authority (TIA), which was subsequently rebranded by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak as 1MDB in September 2009, to expand its operations to the federal level.

"I was involved in the setting up of TIA from January 2009 to mid-May 2009. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong was kind enough to ask me to assist, given my relationship with the Middle East and the insight I had on how they had set up their sovereign wealth funds," Low was quoted as saying by Focus, referring to Terengganu Ruler Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.

Although Low did not expressly say, it is believed he was referring to his connection with Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development Corp, which has since invested in several 1MDB projects.

Mubadala is the investment arm of Abu Dhabi, fully-owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates, with total assets valued at US$55 billion (RM181 billion), as of last year.

It has invested US$4 billion in the development of an aluminium plant that is part of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) project.

Its subsidiary, Mubadala Oil and Gas, has also signed a development and production sharing agreement with Malaysian government-linked oil and gas giant Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) to operate an offshore block in Sarawak.

Low is linked with Mubadala through its subsidiary hospitality unit Viceroy Group of Hotels, of which he is a director.

Jynwel and Mubadala were also involved in Sony's US$2.2 billion takeover of international record label EMI Music Publishing in 2011.

Low now serves as EMI's non-executive chairman for Asia and a member of its advisory board.

The entrepreneur was also said to have influenced the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company to invest in Malaysia.

Despite his role in setting up TIA, 1MDB and Low have both denied his involvement in the investment arm.

"The role of Jho Low as far as 1MDB is concerned is zero," said 1MDB CEO Datuk Shahrol Halmi, denying that Low has received compensation for his previous role in the firm.

"I've heard talk that he is advising the government on Middle Eastern investors but it's not true. What he does is help promote Malaysia to investors."

The son of MWE Holdings Bhd's Datuk Larry Low previously caught the attention of the public with his lavish partying lifestyle, which included public outings with socialite Paris Hilton and R&B superstar Usher.

Aside from arranging for Psy to perform at the BN open house, Low had also brought in other stars such as US rappers Ludacris, Swizz Beatz, and Busta Rhymes as well as Hong Kong performers Leon Lai, George Lam and Alan Tham to a concert in George Town to promote the ruling coalition's campaign.

Low is also believed to have been part of the 1 Malaysia Welfare Club that had funded a series of free dinners and events to help BN's ultimately unsuccessful effort to regain Penang from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat in the May 5 general election.


Quality in national schools should be addressed first, says Saifuddin Abdullah

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 04:03 PM PDT


Saifuddin Abdullah

(The Star) - An estimated 80,000 non-chinese students are studying in Chinese schools in the country.

While a single education system might be an ideal situation, the problem of quality in national schools should be addressed first said Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.

"Unity is important and education is an important platform is fostering it among young people, but we should get out priorities right. The quality of schools has to be improved," said the Umno supreme council member on Sunday.

He was responding to a question about whether abolishing vernacular schools would be good for unity at the 7th Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit Sunday morning.  

He believed that many parents sent their children to Chinese vernacular schools because of their prowess in Mathematics and Science.

"There is a push and pull factor why non-Malay parents don't send their children to national schools. It's mainly about quality," he said adding that even Malay parents are sending their children to Chinese schools.

An estimated 80,000 non-chinese students are studying in Chinese schools in the country.

He also believed that many national schools are becoming like sekolah agama (religious schools).

"Even I as a Malay Muslim got that feeling. My standard three daughters were singled out because she was not wearing a baju kurung. There are all kinds of stories that make people believe this," he said.

He even said that many parents were sending their children to private religious schools, which he believed were more open and progressive than the national schools.

"The results in these schools are good and they are more active in co-curricular activities," he said.

Ideas CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan said that people should be given a choice of schools they would like to attend.

"I strongly believe in the need for choice. In having that choice, we have to make sure that we do not become divided," he said.

Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong said that people should come out from the mindset that education is the only avenue of fostering unity.


Nurul Izzah: Squabbles, failure to ring voters’ bell cost Pakatan

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 04:01 PM PDT

(MM) - Failure to resonate with voters and a perception of disunity contributed to Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) loss in Election 2013, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar told a forum here last night.

Made up of three parties with different ideologies and membership bases ― PKR, PAS and DAP ― PR did not present a unified front to convince Malay voters that it was capable of caring for their interests, Nurul Izzah suggested.

The pact also did not tailor its message in a manner the Malay voters could appreciate.

"You need effective communication. If we keep on using terms that Malays [do not find] relevant to their interests ... we will fail, we will not win, and we will not be able to secure their votes," Nurul Izzah told a forum organised by the PAS Research Centre here.

Nurul Izzah had earlier contrasted PR's approach towards voters with Barisan Nasional (BN), which she alleged had used racially-tinged language when courting the Malays.

In one example, the Lembah Pantai MP said the pact had championed "means-tested benefits" as an approach towards affirmative action, which entailed grading recipients for eligibility towards federal aid. Although more efficient and effective, she noted this might have been misconstrued by some voters as denying them of their "rights".

To illustrate her point, Nurul Izzah gave the example of the Republican party in the US, which has consistently garnered votes from the general American public despite not making minorities a priority, unlike their Democrat rivals.

Nurul Izzah's remark yesterday comes at a time when PR component parties are in an introspective mood, as they undergo post-mortems to ascertain the reason behind the pact's defeat in the May polls.

Despite PR winning the popular vote at 51.4 per cent over BN's 48.6 per cent, the country's first-past-the-post system and alleged malapportionment of constituencies meant the opposition coalition still failed to wrest control of the federal government from BN.

Last night, Nurul Izzah suggested that there might still be distrust among voters towards PR parties' ability to work with a united front, which had resulted in a split in the Malay vote.

"Actually, more than BN's racial politics, it was the issue of PR's unity," warned Izzah, as she explained that PR may have lost as much as 6 per cent of votes due to the perception.

"The majority of Malaysians support PR ... But they feel that PR is not as intact as BN."

She pointed out that there had been a number of contradicting statements made by PR leaders during the campaign period.

PR parties also failed to compromise fully on the placement of candidates, resulting in at least three-cornered fights against each other in several seats.

According to her, the same problem had also affected BN, which lost votes in Terengganu and Perlis state seats after internal squabbles between its leadership in both states.

Earlier, the Islamist party's Salahuddin Ayub spoke of the efforts PAS must now take to build on Election 2013.

In the 13th general election, BN fared worse than it did in 2008 and won just 133 seats in the 222-member Parliament, down from the 140 five years ago. This was also short of the 148 it had targeted in its bid to regain the two-thirds majority it lost in 2008.

PR took 89 seats, up seven from the 2008 election but still well short of unseating one of the world's longest-serving governments. 


Stay united to stop spread of Syiah teachings, Muslims told

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 03:55 PM PDT

(Bernama) - All concerned parties must work together in combating the spread of Syiah teachings and not politicise the issue, urged the chairman of the Kedah Council of Regency, Tan Sri Tunku Annuar Sultan Badlishah.

He said the state government should also be firm in tackling the issue of Syiah teachings, which had been rejected by the National Fatwa Council and respective state fatwa committees.

"Malaysia is an Islamic country which practises the Sunnah Wal Jamaah teachings and any other teachings which are in conflict with 'hukum syarak" are prohibited," he said when opening the State Legislative Assembly sitting at Wisma Darul Aman, here, today.

Tunku Annuar said the responsibility of all quarters was significant in checking the spread of Syiah teachings and now was not the time to quarrel over the issue anymore.

"This issue must never be politicised and I urge all parties to be united in tackling it," he added.

Tunku Annuar said the government and opposition should know their own role in driving the transformation agenda so that the leadership responsibility was met, besides ensuring that all development programmes could be implemented smoothly.

"The question of history, sanctity of Islam, authority of institutions, sovereignty of the rulers and ethnic rights that are enshrined in the Federal Constitution and respective state constitutions should not be touched upon and debated," he said.

Tunku Annuar also expressed his hope of Kedah being developed into a Knowledge Valley.

He said this could be made possible with the opening of more branch campuses of public and private local and foreign universities.

"Educational development, however, will not be complete without information technology development, hence efforts to widen telecommunications coverage must be intensified.

"I hope that with cooperation between the federal and state governments, more 'digital villages' can also be developed and access to broadband facility increased," he said.

Tunku Annuar also reminded the Kedah government to ensure that physical development in the state be buttressed with the philosophy that material development must be accompanied by good morals, wisdom and strong religious faith of the people as well as the preservation of culture and heritage.  


A-G to look into birth cert woes of illegitimate Muslim children

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 03:53 PM PDT


(The Star) - Currently, there are over 234,000 children who have "no-information" written in the space for their father's name in their birth certificate. Some 85,000 of them are Muslims.

There will be a solution to the issue of illegitimate Muslim children being denied the right to have their father's name recorded on their birth certificates, said Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail.

"I assure you that I will find a solution for this by next week. For me, registration is just registration. Fatwa cannot override the law if there is nothing wrong with the law. What you want ... what we all want is to help the child and, to me, a law is a law, just like how a rose is a rose," he said at the closing of the Forum on the Rights of Women and Children: A National Concern.

The forum, initiated by the Attor-ney-General's Chambers with the help of the Razak School of Govern-ment, was attended mainly by rights activists and scholars in the field.

Presently, the National Registration Department's (NRD) does not record the father's name if the Muslim child is born less than six months after marriage.

Instead, the NRD records tiada maklumat (no information) in the space where the father's name is supposed to be.

This, child activists argue, goes against articles 5 and 8 of the Federal Constitution, which gives a child the right to life, privacy, identity to equal treatment under the law and to non-discrimination.

Abdul Ghani's assurance was met with applause and cheers by the participants, many of whom have been lobbying for the NRD to change its stance on the matter.

He, however, urged the participants of the forum not to "make a big noise about it" as yet.

Currently, there are over 234,000 children who have "no-information" written in the space for their father's name in their birth certificate. Some 85,000 of them are Muslims.

For Muslims, the illegitimate children status is attributed to babies whose parents have not performed the akad nikah or to those born less than six months after the solemnisation.

However, under Civil Family Laws, non-muslim children who are born illegitimate can be made legitimate by the subsequent marriage of the parents.


Quit if you think you are right, Karpal tells Waythamoorthy

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 03:51 PM PDT

(TMI) - DAP chairman Karpal Singh has challenged P. Waythamoorthy to step down from his post as the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

According to The Star, Karpal said Waythamoorthy should resign in view of public interest.

"Since his stand is incongruous with that of police, I challenge him to step down from his ministerial post," said Karpal at a press conference in Air Itam yesterday.

He added that since Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had called for Waythamoorthy to quit, then Waythamoorthy, as a man of principle, should do just that.

Ahmad Zahid was reported to have said yesterday that Waythamoorthy should resign from his Cabinet position "if he wants to act like a representative of a non-governmental organisation".



Nazri: Malay rights not ‘zero sum game’

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 03:48 PM PDT


Nazri credited his father, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yeop, for his strong faith in multi-culturalism. — Picture by Choo Choy May

(The Malay Mail) - Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz slammed Malay rights and supremacy activists today, stressing that their struggle should not deprive other ethnic communities of their rights.

In an interview published by the weekend edition of English daily The Star, the tourism and culture minister credited his father, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yeop, for his strong faith in multi-culturalism.

"To me, it's very simple. I am a Malay, but if I want to do something for my race, it should not be a zero sum game, whereby it is seen as being at the expense of another race," Nazri told The Star.

"You love your race. But, at the same time, it doesn't mean that you must hate the others."

In an unrelated article today, Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia lashed out at the Kuala Lumpur City Hall for a project to transform Jalan Alor here into a world-class "Food Paradise", alleging that the move benefited only the Chinese community.

Instead, the newspaper said any such project must promote the Malay community first, insisting that the majority race be considered pre-eminent.

The Padang Rengas MP also hit back at his detractors, vowing to remain outspoken and vocal even if it goes against the grain of Umno's struggle.

"My views are independent because I believe that what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong, so I will always tell it as it is," said Nazri.

Nazri recently made the news after a blogger accused him of nepotism over his son, Nedim's appointment to his ministry.

The minister defended the appointment, saying that it was merely informal appointment and Nedim was not on the government's payroll.

Nazri said Nedim was given the title as a symbolic move to allow him some authority when helping to organise certain programmes for his father.

Explaining the misunderstanding to The Malay Mail Online last week, the senior Cabinet minister said he had at first appointed his son to aid him in his Padang Rengas constituency in Perak before and during the May 5 general election.

"My son is just a normal Umno member. He is not an active politician. It is not my son these people are really upset with. It's me," Nazri claimed in the interview published today.

He explained that the reason for the upset has been his unorthodox ways, and his fullest respect for freedom of expression.

The minister drew the ire of critics after he spoke out against a proposed law supported by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in July, to reverse the Cabinet's prohibition on unilateral child conversion in 2009.

He also disputed Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Idris Haron's decision in June to open the iconic Jonker Walk to the traffic in a move critics allege was to punish Chinese voters there for failing to support Barisan Nasional in Election 2013.

The move was later aborted.


Waytha, Tunggu Apa Lagi?

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 03:44 PM PDT


Semalam Menteri Dalam Negeri, Zahid Hamidi mengeluarkan kenyataan yang lebih berupa cabaran terhadap pemimpin Hindraf yang dilantik sebagai Timbalan Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Waythamoorthy berikutan pendiriannya yang mempertikaikan tindakan polis menembak mati lima penjenayah di Pulau Pinang.

Kata Zahid, Waytha bukan saja tidak harus mempertikaikan kerja polis, bahkan juga tidak seharusnya mengeluarkan kenyataan yang bertentangan dengan dasar yang ditentukan kerajaan.

"Beliau jangan ingat beliau masih pemimpin NGO, beliau bukan pemimpin Hindraf lagi dan jangan campur kerja polis,"tegas Zahid.

Tambah Zahid, jika ada pemimpin NGO yang kini sudah menyertai kerajaan masih mengeluarkan kenyataan negatif dan bertentangan dengan dasar kerajaan, letak jawatan dan kembali kepada NGO semula.

Serangan Zahid terhadap bekas pemimpin Hindraf itu jelas menunjukkan beliau tidak senang dengan cara Waytha yang masih terkongkong dengan sentimen Hindraf apabila cuba mempertahankan lima penjenayah India yang ditembak mati di Pulau Pinang dengan mengatakan beliau tidak percaya berlaku kejadian tembak-menembak antara polis dengan suspek, sebaliknya mengesyaki penjenayah itu ditembak dari jarak dekat.

Lantaran itu, Zahid segera melontarkan serangan terhadap kenyataan Waytha yang bukan saja bersifat negatif dan bertentangan dengan sifatnya sebagai seorang timbalan menteri, malah lebih dari itu seolah-olah menunjukkan simpati terhadap penjenayah.

Bagi Zahid yang merupakan pemimpin nombor tiga dalam UMNO, pendirian dan kenyataan Waytha itu amat tidak wajar dan menggesanya supaya meletakkan jawatan daripada kerajaan jika terlalu inginkan berpendirian seperti Hindraf semula.

Dalam hal ini, Pengerusi DAP, Karpal Singh juga sependirian dengan Zahid bahawa Waytha seharusnya meletakkan jawatan jika tidak sehaluan dengan dasar kerajaan yang mana beliau merupakan salah seorang pemimpinnya.

Dengan Zahid mengeluarkan gesaan dan cabaran itu, Waytha sebenarnya tidak ada pilihan lain melainkan menunjukkan sifat kejantanannya dengan bersedia menyahut cabaran itu, melainkan jawatan timbalan menteri yang disandangnya itu merupakan anugerah dan idaman hati yang begitu sukar mahu dilepaskan.

Dalam mana-mana kerajaan di dunia, bahkan di Malaysia pun, bukanlah sesuatu yang pelik apabila seseorang menteri atau timbalan menteri meletakkan jawatan kerana tidak setuju dengan sesuatu perkara. Di zaman Mahathir, zaman Pak Lah malah di era Najib juga, sudah ada yang meletak jawatan atau menolak tawaran jawatan yang diberikan.

Waytha tidak boleh lagi berdiam diri selepas Zahid meneriakkan cabaran ke telinga ini. Beliau harus menyatakan pendiriannya sama ada kekal seperti sekarang atau menarik balik kenyataan yang dikeluarkannya sebelum ini. Jika masih mahu kekal berjiwa Hindraf, letaklah jawatan serta kembalilah berjuang melalui Hindraf atau jika mahu bersma kerajaan lagi, tarik balik kenyataan dulu, mohon maaf sambil ciumlah tangan Zahid.

Kalau boleh mohon maaf dan cium tangan jugalah kepada Najib dan Muhyiddin.



Utusan slams Chinese food hub project, says Jalan Alor already like Hong Kong

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 03:42 PM PDT


(TMI) - Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia has demanded to know why there is a need for a Chinese "Food Paradise" in Kuala Lumpur, continuing its attack on the community following the May 5 general election.

The Awang Selamat column in its Sunday edition, Mingguan Malaysia, has taken exception to Kuala Lumpur City Hall's (DBKL) project to turn Jalan Alor into a food hub for the community.

Awang Selamat, the pseudonym for the collective voice of the paper's editors, warned DBKL to be mindful of who would benefit while noting that there is already a strong Chinese image in Bukit Bintang.

"It already resembles Hong Kong," Awang Selamat said.

The paper pointed out that pouring RM12 million into a project which would benefit the Chinese community is an exercise in futility.

"From way before, the voters in the area have never supported the government; even if given the moon and the stars, there will be no appreciation," it said.

Jalan Alor is located in the Bukit Bintang parliamentary constituency and since it was formed it has always been won by the DAP.

The seat is currently held by the party's treasurer, Fong Kui Lun.

The newspaper's latest salvo at the Chinese community is in line with its attacks on it after the May 5 polls.



Another minister tells Waytha to go if he can’t toe the line

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 03:38 PM PDT

Mohd Farhan Darwis, TMI

The Defence Minister has joined a growing chorus calling on Deputy Minister P Waythamoorthy to resign from his Cabinet position if he wants to act like a representative of a non-governmental organisation.

Echoing Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who made the same call yesterday, Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein said Waythamoorthy, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, should think rationally before making statements now that he is in government.

"Being emotional on it is not the right way of a leader. I support Datuk Zahid….101 percent. As Cabinet ministers we have to be responsible.

"We cannot place our personal political interest above the collective interest of the government," he said after meeting US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel in Kuala Lumpur today.

Ahmad Zahid had told the former Hindraf leader to quit his Cabinet position after Waythamoorthy had questioned the police shooting of five alleged gang members.

"In the war against crime, there should be no quarter given to criminals," Ahmad Zahid had said.

Waythamoorthy had said he will not be silent on issues just because he is in the government.

"In fact, it is to the advantage of the government that I voice out the true sentiments of the people on the ground so that I can contribute positively to the objectives and good governance of the government," he had said in a statement after the shooting last Monday.

The five who were killed – J. Gobinath, 31, R. Ramesh, 27, N. Rakan, 25, M. Suresh, 25, and M. Gobinath, 21, - were shot dead by police during a raid as they were believed to be linked to nine out of 19 shooting cases this year.

They were in an apartment in Sungai Nibong when the police party moved in.

The families of the dead have lodged four police reports demanding an inquest into their deaths.

Yesterday, several Malay non-governmental organisations called on the former Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) leader to leave the government if he wanted to speak against it.



‘Election Court handling of Tapah petition absurd’

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 03:35 PM PDT

The Election Court handling of the PKR's candidate for Tapah constituency K Vasantha Kumar petition is absurd and the RM190,000 cost the highest ever, PKR vice-president R Sivarasa 

Leven Woon, FMT

PKR's candidate for Tapah constituency K Vasantha Kumar said he has a good case in his petition with the Election Court, but he could not even speak for himself when his two lawyers were dismissed by the court.

In addition, he was ordered to bear a whopping RM190,000 cost by the judge without his presence in the court.

PKR vice-president R Sivarasa (pic) said the court's handling of the Tapah election petition was "absurd" to say the least.

He said the judge Abdul Rahman Sebili first stripped him off the petitioner's counsel team on Aug 14, on a respondent's complaint who said that the Sivarasa's name was not found on the original petition sheet.

"Election petition must be filed in three weeks after the results were gazetted, so that time there was only K  Hariharan's name on it.

"But for a civil process, lawyer can be appointed and changed anytime during the proceedings," he said.

As Sivarasa duly withdrew, the respondent's lawyers made another complaint the next day that one document submitted by Hariharan contained typo mistake that spells the word "advocate" (peguambela) as "lawyer" (peguam).

"For that the judge said Hariharan could not appear in court.

"But even if it is an error, what is the implication of it to the case? The ruling loses sight on the whole purpose of the petition," Sivarasa said.



Altantuya’s murder: Endless possibilities

Posted: 24 Aug 2013 03:28 PM PDT

The cast of this murder mystery – including the prime minister himself – are not yet off the hook, pending appeals and a civil suit that promises more answers.

Anisah Shukry, FMT

An exotic model murdered by explosives. A prime minister linked by the court of public opinion. A jilted lover living in exile. And a shady, multi-multibillion ringgit deal between two countries.

They sound like tropes Sydney Sheldon would dream up of  – the perfect ingredients for a cheesy mystery-cum-romance novel one could breeze through on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

But there is no ending for this mystery; on the contrary, the saga has taken on a new twist with the acquittal of Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar – two men who were originally convicted of her murder, but who now walk free.

So we move on to the next chapter of this novel that is now seven years in the making: Who killed Altantuya?

With Azilah and Sirul's guilty convictions overturned, and no one to pin the murder on, we are now back to square one, when bits of Altantuya's remains were found near the Subang Dam in Puncak Alam, Shah Alam in 2006.

Oh, but there are many players in this murder case. First up on the list is Abdul Razak Baginda, a political analyst and Atantuya's one time lover, who brokered the controversial deal between Malaysia and France for the two Scorpene submarines with her help.

Altantuya admitted in a letter found after her murder that she had been blackmailing Abdul Razak, who ended their relationship, US$500,000 in return for her silence over the deal.

Flanked by her sister and cousin, she arrived in Malaysia on Oct 9, 2006, and reportedly engaged a private investigator to track him down.

A worried Abdul Razak contacted Deputy Superintendent Musa Safri to seek assistance to prevent Altantuya from disturbing him and his family, according to evidence revealed in court.

DSP Musa helpfully introduced Azilah to Abdul Razak, and the rest is history: Altantuya was murdered between Oct 19 and Oct 20 2006 – her body blown up to conceal all evidence.

Unsubstantiated accusations

Despite this, Abdul Razak, who was charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul, was acquitted by the High Court on Oct 31, 2008, without his defence being called, after the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against him.

Next on the list is Musa himself, who was then defence minister NajibTun Razak's aide de camp. Little is known about him beyond the fact that he was in heavy contact with Abdul Razak and was the middle man for Abdul Razak and Azilah.

Despite the text messages between Abdul Razak and Musa that were revealed in court, he was not called to testify, on the grounds that he was not present at the meeting between Azilah and Abdul Razak.

The prosecution's failure to call him to court was one of the reasons the Court of Appeal overturned Sirul and Azilah's guilty conviction on Friday.

The third and fourth suspects – at least, in the court of public opinion – are Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor.

They have been accused by the likes of carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan and the late private investigator P Balasubramaniam for being involved in her murder.

Both have denied this, and, like Musa, both were not called to testify in court. Political immunity? Or was it simply a case of not enough proof?

Najib's proven links to the murder are precarious at best: that he knew Abdul Razak and Musa Safri.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah told the Court of Appeal in June that Najib's relations with Razak and Musa was not enough to attribute him to the murder.

Accusations that Najib had had an affair with Altantuya, that Rosmah ordered for a statutory declaration linking her husband to the murder to be recanted, that Rosmah herself was at the scene of the murder, remain just that: unsubstantiated accusations.



Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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