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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

It is Zahid who should resign not Waytha

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:52 PM PDT 
The manner these youths were killed has brought many to suspect that the police had summarily executed them. 
Jakun Malaysia 
The recent killings of 5 Indian youths at 4:30 am on August 19 in Sungai Nibong by the police has brought a split in public opinion. At one end of the scale, due to the recent alarming rise in crime as well as murders particularly using firearms in Malaysia, has brought a sigh of relief that the police appear to be finally doing their job. 

On the other hand, the manner these youths were killed has brought many to suspect that the police had summarily executed them. 

There are a few issues that has raised this suspicion that the police have not been able to give a proper explanation.

1) If these 5 Indian youths were already in a condo unit, they were already trapped and could not have escaped hence there was no reason for them to be killed.

2) None of these suspects were on the Emergency Ordinance list. Some family members even claim that 2 of those who were killed had no criminal record. Moreover only 3 firearms were retrieved meaning 2 of them were unarmed when the police had gunned them down.

3) Why were the CCTV recordings of the condo unit demanded by the police to be shut down prior to the shootings? Why did not the police record the incident as it was a covert operation that was planned in advance?

4) How was it possible that the police were able to trace the ballistic records of the retrieved firearms and point it to 10 previous murders and 2 attempted murder cases within less than 12 hours? Could the police educate the public on this 'advanced' forensic studies that could put Interpol and CSI to shame? If it indeed is true then well and good, but if it isn't then the murderers of those crimes will continue to remain at large much to the anguish of the general public.

5) Were the suspects, who had an average age of 25, the real masterminds behind the spate of murders taking place throughout Malaysia? If not what good is it to the police for having them killed and be unable to retrieve any information from them at all? Did they have links to bigger gang triads and were they just mere fall guys  of the real masterminds behind these crimes? Did they have any unholy Anastasia links with any police chiefs or dirty politicians and as such killing them off will remove all evidences of these murders that could trace it back to them?

6) One that was murdered was a mistaken identity as well. 

The criminal justice system should be based on the principle that one is innocent until proven guilty. This system has a paramount duty to act fairly for all. Not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.

It was therefore very refreshing to see that at least one member of the cabinet of the ruling BN government Mr Waytha Moorthy, had come out openly and requested that the Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail conduct an inquest into this shooting incident to dispel the mistrust the Indian community has on the police investigating their own alleged misconduct. 

This act of goodwill was instantly drowned into oblivion by the Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who requested Waytha to toe the government line and not issue statements that contradicted government policy. 

He went on to add that Waytha should not continue to regard himself as an NGO and should not interfere in police work.

Perhaps the Home Minister has misunderstood Waytha's call for an inquest. It does not 'interfere' with police work but only enhances the image of the police to project transparency in its duties. 
The police are supposed to be independent of the government of the day and as such Zahid's call for 'toeing the government line' would give room for suspicion that he is 'hand in glove' with the police, which by right he should not be as the police are supposed to be conducting their duties independently of the government. 

In the Home Ministry's official portal, it clearly states the thrusts of his ministry is based on integrity, quality, innovation and professionalism and as such conducting an inquest into the recent shootings goes in line with these values. One of the stated objectives of the Home Ministry is to establish strategic co-operation and smart partnerships with other government agencies and 'NGOs' as well as international bodies to ensure peace and public order. 

As such Zahid's call to distance himself from an NGO is indeed quite baffling particularly as HINDRAF has requested for integrity and professionalism be conducted and displayed in the form of an inquest. 

The Home Minister should allay suspicions of his critics that he has one eye focused on the coming UMNO elections and as such going on a 'HINDRAF' bashing mode will earn him some popular sentiments among the UMNO ultras.

If at all Zahid's word is as good as what his Ministry's official portal describes then he should welcome Waytha's call for an inquest into the recent shootings in Sungai Nibong and bring about the very much needed transparency and accountability to the police force in Malaysia. If this isn't 'government policy' then God have mercy on all Malaysians.

BN mind-set has to change

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:50 PM PDT 

It is now 111 days since the new BN government came to power on the back of a transformation and "promises made will be fulfilled" platform. 111 days is time enough to get some foretaste of what is to come and to make some preliminary comments.

N. Ganesan, Hindraf National Adviser

The MOU/Agreement signed between Hindraf and BN prior to the GE lays out a clear and detailed plan towards the socio-economic advancement of the Indian community. The plan has as its basis a clear transformation agenda. It is also a signed promise on the part of BN to Hindraf and to the Indian community at large that BN will carry out such a plan if it comes back into power in the 13th GE.

Hindraf, decided to back the BN coalition only because of this binding promise in spite of the severe criticism it came in for at the time of the elections. Hindraf chose this path because of the significant opportunity that the plan embodied to change the destiny of the Indian poor and marginalized.

The appointment of Waytha Moorthy into the BN government with the charter of implementing the BN Hindraf Agreement was and is an experiment at how grafting an entity that has a very different world view and which been extremely critical and vocal to say the least, of the government may work to address the grievances at the base.  We call it an experiment because nothing of the sort has ever been tried before – involving a radical NGO in government in a ministerial role without going through the processes of election, a dedicated and empowered government unit to address the socio-economic woes in a focussed and targeted manner of one segment of Malaysian society.

In any agreement time is of the essence. In any implementation plan resources are primary. In socio-economic development plans the development concepts and methods are critical. Recognition of these factors demonstrate the commitment to the spirit of the plan.

The Agreement is fairly explicit. Yet, to materialize the Agreement there are specifics to be considered and negotiated. The specifics are about the development approach, about the infrastructure needed and about the budgets needed. There are many items within each of these and time is running. What we are however experiencing is unseemly delays in deciding on even the most basic specifics of the Agreement. Maybe these delays are unavoidable or maybe these delays are a cover for a loss of political will, post elections, we do not yet clearly know  – it is still early days but the fact of these delays is noteworthy, in spite of various and several attempts by us to move matters forward.

If it is not intended delay, but it is just the way that the wheels of the government grind, it is time for the BN government to anyway know that the entire Indian community is waiting with abated breaths on the outcomes of this Agreement. The more time that passes without any tangible movement on the Agreement, the more the naysayers of the Agreement will take over the narrative. Delayed action will not be able to recoup a position too far gone. The expectation of the Indian community is very high after the high pitched election campaign to the Indian electorate based on the promises in the Agreement.

If however, there is a scheme to subtly delay and to eventually frustrate the attempt at realising the objectives of the Agreement the backlash from the Indian community will be so complete that the Indian vote will be entirely lost to BN in not just in the next elections but I think for many many more elections to come and Hindraf will not be just a bystander in this scenario. The awareness and sensitivity of the community has been raised since the Hindraf rally of 2007. Just talk to any Indian man or woman in the street.

 One of the clear factors that quelled a complete loss of the Indian vote in the last GE was the hopes raised by this Agreement. Any failure to realize this Agreement now, will be the last straw that will break the camel's back. The Indian votes will permanently and completely swing away from BN and nothing will be able to stop it. The opposition will have a field day with such an outcome.

However here right in front of BN's nose is a significant opportunity for transformation in one of its key and problematic segments while also working to serve their future electoral interests. What Najib has to do now is to get on with giving what Waytha Moorthy needs so he can get cracking. Any uncertainty about grafting Hindraf into government and about integrating the Agreement into the workings of the government have to be resolved with no more delays and Waytha Moorthy should be allowed to proceed with full executive authority, infrastructure and resources to carry out the his tasks without any further delays.

Depending on old ways of bribing the people at election time or depending on dead horses like the MIC for the Indian vote is no answer anymore. The political awareness of the people and the contours of the political landscape are far more advanced. BN has to recognize this truth and appropriately adjust its mind-set now, if it really wants to continue in power at the next GE and beyond.


Airy-fairy Slogan May Suit Najib Well

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:45 PM PDT 

As a slogan per se, it's lame. It's not action-oriented. Compared to it, '1Malaysia' has at least a semblance of concreteness. It symbolises an ideal state – of national unity and racial harmony, even equality.

Kee Thuan Chye

I've said before that Najib Razak is a prime minister who does things by halves. Now there's talk that he's going to junk his '1Malaysia' slogan for a new one. Online news website The Malaysian Insiderreported this on August 21, based on information from sources. If it turns out to be true, I'll be able to say that Najib is also a prime minister who doesn't see things through.

A brand needs time to be developed. Najib's '1Malaysia' has been around for only four years, and that's not long enough to win it acceptance and pulling power. Work has to be done to imbue it with more substance – work that includes making Malaysia a truly inclusive nation, which wholeheartedly embraces all its races, religions, cultures, languages without placing any above the rest – so that in the longer run, it can come to be trusted. If Najib discards it for a new slogan, it would show that he's not willing to put in the work; he has no staying power.

And what might that new slogan be? How more potent will it appear? How more meaningful? If you haven't heard it yet, hold on to your seats. Just in case you fall off laughing. Or faint. It's called "Endless Possibilities"!

Many Malaysians will be wondering what it means. "Possibilities" is a big word. It's also an abstract word. You can't picture anything when you come across it. It also has five syllables, which is not appropriate for any slogan. Combine that with "endless" and the meaning is even more abstract. Not only that, it sounds pompous.

And of course it's vague. But then vagueness seems to cohere with what Najib prefers. Last year, he reportedly said of '1Malaysia', "I didn't define the concept very clearly, but that was by design." He said he wanted to give it an "element of strategic ambiguity" so that it could take in other views, including those from the public.

Perhaps his advisers told him to say that, but it doesn't sound like good advice. One would think a slogan that has something concrete to impart works better. 'Bersih, cekap dan amanah' (Clean, efficient and trustworthy) which Mahathir Mohamad touted during his early years as prime minister may not be the best of examples, but at least it was something that people could relate to. His successor Abdullah Badawi's 'Work with me, not for me' also made some earthy sense, even though it was also broad.

But 'Endless Possibilities' … what endless possibilities?

Read more at: 

Dr Mahathir replies to Pak Lah's "spendthrift PM" claim

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:42 PM PDT 

(The Star) - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has finally cleared the air over claims in a book by his successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that Malaysia would have gone bankrupt if his advice was followed.

Taking to his blog on Thursday, the fourth Prime Minister for 22 years, however, noted that he was happy that Abdullah had explained in his book, The Awakening, that it was not him, but an interviewer, who wrote about how the nation would be bankrupt if he had followed the advice.

"I hope he does not mind my clearing my name over what the interviewer wrote," he wrote.

Dr Mahathir said: "Yes, I agree that I was a spendthrift Prime Minister who finished all the government money building the North South Expressway, Penang Bridge, West Port, KLIA, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and an assortment of others."

He said had Abdullah succeeded him earlier, "all these would be stopped to save Malaysia from bankruptcy."

As it is, he said, Abdullah managed to stop the crooked bridge and the railway double-tracking and electrification project.

He said the bridge would have cost just under RM1bil. The cancellation cost the Government RM200mil in compensation and unfinished work.

Dr Mahathir said the railway project from Johor Baru to Padang Besar was going to cost RM14bil – slightly more than RM2bil per year for six years. RM14bil was saved but then it was found necessary to build the electrified double track from Ipoh to Padang Besar, he added, at a cost of RM12bil.

"A contract was given to a foreign company to build the track from Seremban to Gemas. I don't know what it cost. Looks like the RM14bil saved was spent on very much shorter tracks, about one-third in length. Still there must have been a lot of money saved," he said.

Dr Mahathir said the small jet he used was good only for the Deputy Prime Minister while a big jet was bought not through the usual channels but by some private individual. 

"There was denial by the Government that the A320 was bought for the use by the Prime Minister. But the aircraft is even today used by the Prime Minister. Wonder why the deal was struck. Who really owns the aircraft? How much money has been saved by the Government from this deal?," he said.

Touching on the economic super-corridors initiated by Abdullah, Dr Mahathir said each corridor would cost RM70bil. 

"Then it is learnt that the allocation include private sector investments. Before, the Government budget is about how the Government will spend Government money. Under Tun Abdullah the Government budgets for the private sector to spend. But that's allright because the figures look good," he added.

However, since none of the corridors took off, billions were saved, he said.

"It must have been a very rich Government which went for the 12th General Election. Sadly the people did not appreciate the billions that were saved. They rejected the Government party, giving 5 states and one federal territory to the opposition, and just a small majority to the thrifty party.

"Just imagine how many billions more would be saved if I had stepped down earlier before building the North-South Highway, Penang Bridge, KLIA, West Port, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, the twin towers of Petronas and a host of other mega projects. We would be sitting on a mountain of Ringgits," he said.


Altantuya murder: Court of Appeal frees cops

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:36 PM PDT 

(MM) - The three-person panel which included Justices Linton Albert and Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ruled that the cumulative effect of the misdirections by the trial judge had rendered the judgement unsafe.

The Court of Appeal has overturned the conviction of two officers accused of the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The panel chaired by Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali allowed the appeal of the two for­mer Spe­cial Ac­tion Unit person­nel members, sparing them from the gallows.

The three-person panel which included Justices Linton Albert and Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ruled that the cumulative effect of the misdirections by the trial judge had rendered the judgement unsafe.

"Thus with this, we acquit and discharge the two appellants," said Justice Tengku Maimun.

The family and supporters of the accused were seen sighing in relief, and uttering thanks when they heard the judgement, while the appellants remained stoic in the dock.

However, the government can still appeal Friday's decision at the Federal Court. 

In 2009, Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar and C/Insp Azi­lah Hadri were convicted and sentenced to death by the Shah Alam High Court for killing the Mongolian woman at Mukim Bukit Raja, Klang, be­tween 10pm on Oct 19, 2006, and 1am on Oct 20, 2006.

For­mer po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Ab­dul Razak Baginda Baginda, who was jointly charged with them, was ac­quit­ted of by the High Court on Oct 31, 2008, after the pros­e­cu­tion failed to es­tab­lish a prima fa­cie case against him.

Deputy Solicitor General II Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah lead the prosecution, while Kpl Sirul and C/Insp Azilah were represented by Kamarul Hisham and Datuk Hazman Ahmad, respectively. 

With plenty to chew on, PM’s silence confounds Malaysians

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:33 PM PDT 

(MM) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's silence as the country grapples with a trifecta of crime, religious strife and a stuttering economy three months after Election 2013 has Malaysians asking who is at the nation's helm, Singapore's The Straits Times reported today.

The Singapore daily contrasted this with Najib's gung-ho approach after taking over from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009, when he had set the foundation for his reformist image by freeing Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees and lifted the ban on two opposition party newsletters.

One analyst said Barisan Nasional (BN) was still reeling from the May 5 general election — its new low since the previous nadir of 2008.  

"Najib's Cabinet will need more than 100 days to settle in because of the aftershocks still being felt," Dr Syed Arabi Idid, dean of the communications department at the International Islamic University Malaysia, was quoted as saying by the ST.

Today is the Najib Cabinet's 100th day in power, following their swearing in on May 16. Najib was sworn in as prime minister one day after the election, on May 6.

Others believe the reticence this time around may be due to the impending Umno election later this year, where a challenge may arise for Najib's presidency and, by extension, prime minister's post.

"Najib has been too preoccupied with defending his position in the Umno party elections, to the extent that there has been no clear direction in economic, political or nation-building policies," Seremban MP Anthony Loke, national organising secretary of the DAP, told the ST.

But whatever the reason for his silence, the country's issues continue to pile up.

Yesterday saw the renewal of the Christian-Muslim tussle over the Arabic word "Allah", when Putrajaya won leave to appeal a 2009 High Court ruling upholding the Catholic Church's right to use the word outside of a Muslim context.

Before that, other religious issues have built up the antagonism between Muslims and non-Muslims: a mock Ramadan message by a pair of sex bloggers, who have since been charged; a three-year old Aidilfitri video of a Muslim dog trainer and three pet-hounds that was recently reposted online; and a surau in Johor that was used a group of Buddhists.

Muslims have seen insult in each of the three cases.

The country is also transfixed with shootings and gun violence, with near-daily incidents reported in the media. The police have finally launched a nationwide crackdown on the gangs they allege are behind the incidents, arresting hundreds in the process.

But most worrying for the country is Malaysia's recent credit outlook downgrade by Fitch Ratings. Although some analysts have described the move as unsurprising, it had brought the country's finances directly into public's attention.

The country is now into its 16th straight year of budget deficits, with the national debt level pushing on the legal ceiling of 55 per cent of gross domestic product.

The situation is compounded by a capital flight from emerging markets, with foreign investors withdrawing their funds and repatriating these to their home nations in the West.

It is also feared that Malaysia is set to record a trade deficit — the first since the Asian financial crisis — after its current account surplus dropped in April to its lowest since the 1997 crash. 

A new threat – Knights of the Right Keepers

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:28 PM PDT 

Andrin Raj, 

THE kidnappings in Sabah, where two Malaysians were abducted last November, is primarily a criminal act orchestrated by the Darul Islam Sabah and the Abu Sayaaf Group (ASG). The ASG has been known for its kidnap-for–ransom attempts since in existence.
However, a group called the Knights of the Right Keepers, which is an organisation set up by indigenous Filipinos residing in Sabah for the welfare of their people living there, could also be culpable.
The organisation may be involved in the kidnappings of the two Malaysians. It may be a front organisation for terrorist groups operating in Sabah.
The origin of this organisation is the Western Mindanao University in Zamboanga City, the Philippines. It was founded in 1970 by university students as a "fraternity" and "sorority" group. Why and how this organisation came into force in Sabah is still unclear.  
The organisation supposedly remains as a "support" structure for Pinoys living in Sabah. It is literally unknown and operates very secretively within the Pinoy community in Sabah.
Darul Islam Sabah (DIS) is a Malaysian terrorist group operating in Sabah and originating from Indonesia. This group is linked to Jemaah Islamiyah and Al Qaeda operating in the Southeast Asia region. 
The Darul Islam Sabah may have close links to the Knights of the Right Keepers as well as confirmed relations with regional terrorist groups. DIS most probably has worked with the ASG in the kidnappings.
The cause of the kidnappings was based on a business-cum-labour issue and a ransom that was demanded by the group which however was not paid. 
Sources provided earlier stated that the abductors may have worked with the Southern Philippines insurgent groups such as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and  Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) to safeguard their hostage.

Read more at: 

Ringgit Declines to Lowest Since 2010, Bonds Drop on Fed Outlook

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:25 PM PDT 

(Bloomberg) - Malaysia's ringgit fell to the weakest level since June 2010 and bonds declined after Federal Reserve minutes showed policy makers back Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's plan to cut stimulus, boosting demand for the dollar.

Ringgit forwards dropped the most in two months and the benchmark stock index slipped to the lowest since May, tracking a selloff across Asian markets. Fed members are "broadly comfortable" with the plan to reduce bond-buying later this year should the economy improve, according to the record of the July 30-31 meeting. Malaysia's current-account surplus fell to the least since at least 1999, data showed yesterday, while the central bank pared its 2013 growth forecast.

"The dollar was strong after the minutes," said Nizam Idris, the head of fixed income and currency strategy at Macquarie Bank Ltd. in Singapore. "The market is still worried and probably pricing in the potential for Malaysia's current account to fall into deficit."

The ringgit retreated 0.7 percent, the biggest drop since June 20, to 3.3180 per dollar as of 10:45 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 3.3220, the weakest since June 10, 2010. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, rose 67 basis points to 10.41 percent.

One-month non-deliverable forwards dropped 1 percent to 3.3265 against the greenback, the lowest since June 2010 and 0.3 percent weaker than the spot rate. The Bloomberg U.S. Dollar Index climbed 0.3 percent to 1029.50, a two-week high.

Read more at: 

What is Najib’s response to arrest impending ringgit, equity and bond meltdown?

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:21 PM PDT 

The next to be "contagiously infected" would be those that have a combination of these factors: "high fiscal deficits, high subsidies bill, slowing economies and high foreign ownership of government bonds". Malaysia and Thailand fit into these profiles. 

Granted, the Asian currencies which have been weakening since May 2013 have been duly noted. The Malaysian ringgit's recent fall, in that sense, is in tandem with the regional currencies.

Many took comfort in observing that the depreciation is not a reflection of economic weaknesses but more as a result of strengthening of the US dollar, i.e. as a result of US bond purchase or tapering of the quantitative easing (QE).

Some economists went further as treating it as a blessing in disguise as to find our "natural economic equilibrium". While that may be arguably so, it is not entirely true or at best, only half-truth? We couldn't resist noting that it is too much of an apologia.

Already the Fitch Rating has mooted and alluded to the possibility of credit rating downgrading both the Indian rupee and the Indonesian rupiah if their governments fail to halt the slump in investors' confidence and maintain financial stability.

The far-reaching implication on the cost of funding and the impact quality of life, i.e. inflation and burden on debt repayment must be fully appreciated. This is especially so if income and wealth divides have been widening, hence affecting the lower income group more severely and creating social tension of sort.

While not forcing a similarity with the earlier crisis, wouldn't it better for the emerging economies to be more on the alert so as to avoid the recurrence of a catastrophic currency crisis and, subsequently, a full-blown Asian financial melt-down as seen in the late 1990s?

Read more at: 

Malaysia's Najib Weakens

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 11:07 AM PDT 

Publication of Najib's vain attempt to reach across the aisle to the opposition is considered to have weakened the prime minister further, partly because of Mahathir's implacable enmity against Anwar. And while the 88-year-old Mahathir has remained silent, Mahathir-aligned blogs, including "outsyed the box" and one maintained by former information Minister Zainuddin Maidin have stepped up their attacks on Najib in recent days. 

If the sale of the airline is announced over the next few weeks or months, it will be a demonstration of Mahathir's power against Najib's. 

Asia Sentinel

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak appears to be under increasing pressure from inside his own party and under blistering attack by bloggers allied with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad -- one of whom compared him to a flattened bug on a windshield.

Najib saw his ruling coalition lose the popular vote in May national elections, garnering only 47.38 percent of the vote against 50.87 for the three-party opposition Pakatan Rakyat led by Anwar Ibrahim. The Barisan, however, managed to maintain its 56-year hold on parliament by a 133-89 seat margin because of gerrymandering. 

Since the election, Najib has faced a drumfire of criticism from within the United Malays National Organization over his strategy to attempt to reach out against the country's minority Chinese and Indian races. Because UMNO raised the number of seats it won while its component Indian and Chinese parties went down the tubes, the party more and more appears to be in the hands of Mahathir and his allies, particularly former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, who advocated a strident Malay nationalism strategy to lure ethnic Malays, who make up 60.1 percent of the population, to the polls. 

A quiet approach to Anwar to seek to set up a unity government after the election was batted back by the opposition leader, ostensibly because Najib wouldn't rein in the strident racists in his party, but probably actually because Anwar wasn't really interested in playing no. 2 to Naib in any political scenario. 

Publication of Najib's vain attempt to reach across the aisle to the opposition is considered to have weakened the prime minister further, partly because of Mahathir's implacable enmity against Anwar. And while the 88-year-old Mahathir has remained silent, Mahathir-aligned blogs, including "outsyed the box" and one maintained by former information Minister Zainuddin Maidin have stepped up their attacks on Najib in recent days. 


DAP to hold fresh polls on Sept 29

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 10:56 AM PDT 

(FMT) - "The CEC held its meeting today and we have decided that our Special National Congress will be held on Sept 29. "We also decided that candidates of re-elections will be from the same list used in the 2012 National Congress, minus candidates who have withdrawn from the contest," said Lim, at a press conference held at the party headquarters today.

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP has fixed Sept 29  to hold their Central Executive Committee (CEC) re-election, which came about after a directive from the Registrar of Society (ROS).

In making the announcement today, DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng also said  that their National Special Congress for the re-election will be held in the Klang Valley –' preferably in Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Jaya area".

"The CEC held its meeting today and we have decided that our Special National Congress will be held on Sept 29.

"We also decided that candidates of re-elections will be from the same list used in the 2012 National Congress, minus candidates who have withdrawn from the contest," said Lim, at a press conference held at the party headquarters today.

The Bagan MP said that the party made the decision as there was no controversy over the list of nominated candidates, and that the ROS had only called for a re-election of the CEC.

"Also, the 17 delegates who were suspended or expelled by the party after the 2012 National Congress are now qualified to take part as well, if they choose to do so," said Lim.

He also announced that the election organising committee will be headed by Seremban MP Anthony Loke, while the appointed returning officer for the re-election is Serdang MP Ong Kian Meng.

Lim added the schedule for the party's parliamentary liaison committee and state ordinary conventions will be decided by the new CEC.

"The original schedule… to be held between August to December 2013 shall be postponed until a new date is fixed, when the new CEC is constituted."

Last week, DAP chairman Karpal Singh announced that the party would comply with the ROS directive under protest to avoid deregistration.

ROS had instructed DAP to hold fresh polls on July 31, saying that it was dissatisfied with the party's explanation on the counting error during the party polls in December.

The decision drew strong criticism from the opposition party, which cried foul over the lack of legal justifications behind the directive and likened it to political victimisation.

DAP's Concept Of Equality Drew Support From Non-Malay Voters In GE13

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 10:38 AM PDT 

(BERNAMA) - Shahrir also pictured that PAS could be leaving the opposition pact in the GE14 as support for the Islamist party was declining including from its own members.

JOHOR BAHARU, Aug 22 (Bernama) -- The principle of equality championed by the DAP is seen as a factor that drew much support from non-Malay voters for the opposition party in the 13th General Election (GE13) on May 5.

Barisan Nasional (BN) Backbenchers Club chairman, Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad said DAP emphasised on equality as they wanted to achieve the aim of making Malaysia a secular state.

"This had much influenced the non-Malay voters, especially the Chinese, in the DAP's efforts to create a tsunami to destroy Umno."

Shahrir said this in his speech on the theme, "The 14th General Election: Continuity of Barisan Nasional Power" at the first convention of the Malaysian Council of Former Elected Representatives (Mubarak), here, Thursday.

He said the opposition's campaign of "Anything But Umno" (ABU) had also raised the confidence of non-Malay voters that the opposition pact would be replacing BN as the ruling government after GE14.

Shahrir also pictured that PAS could be leaving the opposition pact in the GE14 as support for the Islamist party was declining including from its own members.

However, he said, this did not mean that it would benefit Umno and BN but would pose an even bigger challenge which Umno and BN must tackle wisely.

Shahrir, who is also Johor Baharu MP, suggested that in order to restore support for Umno and BN, the government show better governance before facing the GE14.

The pro-chancellor of Kolej Universiti Insaniah (KUIN), Kedah, Datuk Dr Affifudin Omar said Umno and BN became their own victim of bringing material development.

He said there were those among the younger generation who supported Umno merely to get projects for their own business and not to champion the party's real struggles.

Johor Islamic Religious Council adviser, Datuk Noh Gadut, meanwhile, said Umno and BN leaders must have a high level of integrity to rectify the situation they were in.

He reminded that the posts held by political leaders were not a privilege but a responsibility and trust that they must shoulder well.

Allah issue: Matter over use of word Allah still alive, says Appeals Court

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 08:29 PM PDT

(The Star) - The issue of whether the word Allah can be used in the Catholic Weekly Herald is "still alive" and the controversy has yet to be resolved, says Court of Appeal judge Justice Abu Samah Nordin.

He said the appellate court was of the view that the subject was not rendered academic as the usage of the word of "Allah" has yet to be decided.

"It is a drastic action to strike out an appeal that has been properly filed before this court and to deny the appellants' right to appeal," said Justice Abu Samah in his ruling which denied the application by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur to strike out the government's appeal against a High Court ruling to allow Herald  to use the word "Allah."

He said the subject of the appeal was still a live issue and that the controversy has yet to be resolved.

Justice Abu Samah led a panel consisting of Justices Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim and Rohana Yusuf.

Hearing for the appeal has been fixed for Sept 10.

Earlier, counsel for the Church, Porries Royan, submitted that in the 10-point solution signed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak on April 11, 2011, the Government had allowed the importation and publication of bibles in all languages including Malay with the word Allah without restriction.

He argued that by extension, the Herald which quotes the Bible, too should be allowed to use the word.

Senior Federal Counsel Suzanna Atan, for the Government, replied that the application was frivolous as there were many live and comprehensive issues to be trial.

Lawyer for Terengganu Islamic Religious Council, Mubashir Mansor, submitted that it was premature to strike out the appeal, as the Cabinet's decision to allow the Bible to be distributed in Malay had nothing to do with the government's appeal.

His stand was also adopted by the religious councils from Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Wilayah Persekutuan and Malacca, which were made interveners.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop filed the application to strike out the government's appeal On July 9.

The Home Ministry and the government had appealed against the Dec 31, 2009 High Court decision in allowing the church's judicial review to lift the Ministry's ban on the use of the word Allah in the Herald to refer to the Christian god.

The church, led by Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, filed the judicial review on Feb 16, 2009, naming the Home Ministry and the government as respondents.

They sought, among others, a declaration that the decision by the Home Ministry on Jan 7, 2009, prohibiting the use of the word 'Allah' in the Herald was illegal and that the word 'Allah' is not exclusive to the religion of Islam.

The weekly, published in four languages, has been using the word 'Allah' as a translation for 'God' in its Malay-language section, but the government argued that 'Allah' should be used exclusively only by Muslims.


Allah issue: Disappointed Herald editor says will await appeal

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 08:23 PM PDT

(The Star) - Rev Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of Catholic Weekly Herald, has expressed his disappointment over the Court of Appeals decision over the usage of the word Allah.

He said he felt that the lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church of Kuala Lumpur, which filed an application to strike out the government's appeal against a High Court ruling to allow Herald to use Allah, had argued their case very well.

"We just have to wait for the appeal to be heard and see how it goes," he told The Star Online.

He was commenting on the ruling by a three-member panel on Thursday to allow the Government to proceed with the appeal.

The three-member panel of the Court of Appeal on Thursday denied the application by the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur to strike out the government's appeal.

The panel comprised Justices Abu Samah Nordin, Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim and Rohana Yusuf.

The Chairman and the Executive Committee of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, Rev. Dr Eu Hong Seng, hoped the matter would not be politicised but that the Court of Appeal be allowed to fairly adjudicate over the matter. 

"It is our solemn hope that our factual perspective on the issue will prevail in the courts of our land," he said.

Malay rights group, Perkasa, said it is grateful that the Government can not proceed with the appeal, reiterating that the word Allah "is only for Muslims."

It's secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali said that the decision was an important one for Muslims in Malaysia.

"Allah is only for Muslims. It is our right. We will support the issue all the way and we urge all Muslims to follow the issue closely," he said.


Apex court to decide tomorrow on Lingam’s bid

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 08:05 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Tomorrow, lawyer V.K. Lingam (pic) and 24 others will know whether they will face contempt proceedings for alleging plagiarism in a Federal Court written judgment, or succeed in their application to set aside the leave obtained to cite them for contempt.

A five-man Federal Court panel led by Justice Suriyadi Halim Omar set the date to deliver the court's decision after hearing submissions from counsel and senior federal counsel representing the parties in the matter.

The other judges presiding on the panel were Federal Court judges Ahmad Maarop, Hasan Lah, Zaleha Zahari and Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.

The panel heard submissions on the application brought by Lingam and 24 others to set aside the leave obtained by liquidators of Kian Joo Holdings Sdn Bhd, Ooi Woon Chee and Ng Kim Tuck, to cite them for contempt.

The court proceedings saw retired Federal Court judge Gopal Sri Ram in action at the Federal Court, but on the other side of the bench, representing and submitting on behalf of his client, Lingam.


Crowd outside Putrajaya court awaits ruling on "Allah" issue

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 03:50 PM PDT

(The Star) - The mood outside the Palace of Justice court complex remained tense as practitioners of the Muslim and Christian faiths awaited the outcome of the "Allah" issue expected to be revealed at about 3pm.

The Court of Appeal Thursday was hearing the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur's application to strike out the government's appeal against a High Court ruling that allowed a Catholic weekly newspaper Herald to use the word "Allah".

To maintain order in proceedings, the court officials handed out entry passes which ran out by 8am.

Spectators, which included media, lawyers, priests and Muslim religious bodies, waited outside in anticipation of the decision. Court officials occasionally had to shush the crowd when it got too rowdy.

Dozens more stayed outside the court complex, and were occasionally heard chanting religious slogans.

The three-person panel lead by Justice Abu Samah Nordin, and including Justices Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim and Rohana Yusuf, were hearing submissions by the Church, Government and the Islamic religious councils from the states of Terengganu, Selangor, Kedah, Johor, Wilayah Persekutuan and Malacca, which were made interveners in the suit.

The Home Ministry and the government are appealing against the Dec 31, 2009 High Court decision that allowed the church's judicial review to lift the Ministry's ban on the use of the word "Allah" in the "Herald" to refer to the Christian god.

The church, led by Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, filed the judicial review on Feb 16, 2009, naming the Home Ministry and the government as respondents.

They sought, among others, a declaration that the decision by the Home Ministry on Jan 7, 2009, prohibiting the use of the word 'Allah' in the Herald was illegal and that the word 'Allah' is not exclusive to the religion of Islam.

The weekly, published in four languages, has been using the word 'Allah' as a translation for 'God' in its Malay-language section, but the government argued that 'Allah' should be used exclusively only by Muslims.


Self-serving politicians and our future

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 03:40 PM PDT

Without doubt my underlying concern in giving Anwar Ibrahim/Pakatan Rakyat political power is what he and his peers will do with it.


I cringe when I read about the self serving decisions made by leaders within Barisan Nasional.

Even after 31 years as president of MIC, S Samy Velu arrogantly insists to holding the post of the chairman of MIC's education arm MIED, a post traditionally held by the party president. This is to ensure that he still has relevance in MIC.

MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek decided that MCA would not accept any government positions as they have not done better than the 2008 election results.

To what end has he decided on this? Initially it was to try and garner electoral support in the run up to the 13th general election. Now that that ploy has failed because the Chinese choose to vote for DAP, not only is the MCA president left with egg on his face, but he is left without meaningful representation on behalf of the Chinese in Najib Tun Razak's cabinet, Sabah and Sarawak know that the federal BN government is dependent on their support to form government.

Instead of using this to negotiate a better deal for their people economically, their political leaders use this as their bargaining chip to stay in office and continue with the plundering of Sabah and Sarawak's wealth.

In spite of our differences, can we agree that corruption must stop! Can we agree that once a government is elected, they should be left to serve out the term of their office – be it at federal or state level?

Can we agree that we all want good governance? Can we agree that we must treat others in the same manner that we want to be treated, and can we agree that we must all work towards our common good without losing sight of the need to respect the individual?

We need to overcome this schism that has already resulted in the most divisive general election ever in our history – an elected BN government that does not have the moral authority to govern because the opposition secured the majority vote but not the government.

We have seen BN declining at an extraordinary pace in these last two general elections.



Kurup says ‘zero tolerance’ for bigots, but hands are tied

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 03:29 PM PDT

(MM) - Tan Sri Joseph Kurup has said there must be "zero tolerance" for racial and religious bigotry, but the minister in charge of national unity also admitted that he has no authority beyond educating wrongdoers.

Against a backdrop of rising intolerance, Kurup said his ministry's focus was constrained to simply helping the public understand what issues may be considered as offensive to others.

"For us, we don't have any power to take action but what we emphasise is to make them aware that certain things hurt other people and also to educate them.

"That's all you can do," he told The Malay Mail Online and Sin Chew Daily in a recent interview.

Insisting that "action will have to be taken" against bigots and stressing that the government must take an unforgiving approach with such individuals, Kurup pointed out that the power to punish offenders instead lies with other government bodies such as the police.

"But you must remember that taking action against them is not under my jurisdiction.

"If what they said already becomes an offence, then the appropriate authorities like the police and so on must take (action)," said Kurup, who holds the national unity and integrity portfolio as a minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Kurup also said the government would need co-operation from the bigots themselves.

"We need co-operation from them. As I said, the key to this is co-operation, understanding and (a) certain degree of tolerance."

If what they said already becomes an offence, then the appropriate authorities like the police and so on must take (action). — Tan Sri Joseph Kurup

He said one of the challenges he faces was in changing mindsets and creating "mutual respect" among the different communities in the country.

The politician from Sabah cited his experience in the east Malaysian state where he said those of different races and religions mingle freely.

"That means there is a feeling of mutual respect. They know who you are but they respect you," Kurup said, when relating how Muslims and non-Muslims there were comfortable sitting in the same Chinese coffeeshop, with both groups eating what was permitted in their respective religions.

The minister listed down a few ongoing initiatives, including Tabika Perpaduan (unity kindergartens) which number 1,781 in urban and suburban areas, as well as the revamping of neighbourhood watch group Rukun Tetangga which currently exists in 6,000 places.

"So when they interact with each other, that interaction itself will create mutual respect," he said.

"We have to start from the school, we have to start from small, that is why we have to go back to the five principles of Rukun Negara," said the 69-year-old president of Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah (PBRS) who took over the ministerial portfolio from Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon in May.

Leaders from the federal opposition Pakatan Rakyat pact previously questioned Putrajaya over what they viewed as swift action against incidents allegedly offensive to Muslims while other groups said to have stirred up religious angst escaped official sanctions.

Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee had in July posted a photo on Facebook featuring a Ramadan greeting and a pork dish, although the meat is considered haram or forbidden to Muslims. The duo have since been slapped with charges under the Sedition Act and the Penal Code over the controversial greeting.

On July 17, PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar had in an interview with The Malay Mail Online pointed out that "nothing happens to Perkasa" when saying that the government should not be selective in taking action.

PAS vice-president Datuk Mahfuz Omar had on the same day accused the authorities of practising double standards by leaving the Malay supremacist group untouched over its previous threat to burn Malay-language bibles, given the rapid response against Lee and Tan.

In January, Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali had called on Muslims to burn copies of the Bible that contained the word "Allah".

His vice-president, Datuk Zulkifli Noordin, was also shown questioning the purity of the Ganges River in India, considered sacred by Hindus, in a video that resurfaced last March.

Today, leaders of the same controversial Malay right-wing group gathered outside the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya, protesting against the Catholic Church's fight for its right to use the word "Allah".

Opposition lawmakers and the church have criticised the protest, even expressing fear that it may invoke religious tension ahead of the court's decision.


Islam and modernity

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 03:08 PM PDT

Just as it is not reliable to measure the depth of the sea at low tide, it is not fair to evaluate civilisations and cultures at a low point in their history.

Shad Saleem Faruqi, The Star

A FORTHCOMING seminar in Germany is examining the question whether the Arab world (and by association Islam) is compatible with democracy, rule of law and modernity? It can be conceded that such a question is given credence by the involvement of some Muslims in acts of terrorism and the inability of many Muslim nations to achieve good governance and economic development.

Sleight of hand: Nevertheless, it needs to be pointed out that it is not reliable to measure the depth of the sea at low tide. It is not fair to evaluate civilisations and cultures at a low point in their history. Further, it must be observed that there is much sleight of hand in Western treatment of Islam.

First, in dealing with Muslims there is a willing confusion between the faith and the faithful. The wrongs of Muslims are attributed to their religion. But the same is not done, and rightly so, when Americans and Europeans commit horrendous crimes around the world.

Second, Islam is not a homogenous or monolithic religion. On any issue – whether terrorism, polygamy or dialogue with the West – the Muslim response is rich in diversity. But only the fanatical views are given media coverage in the West.

Third, the West evaluates Islam exclusively by reference to nations in the Middle East and Northern Africa. But there is more to Islam than its Arab adherents. The most populous Muslim societies are in Asia and have a right to be regarded as important torch bearers.

Fourth, the countries chosen as Islam's paradigm are often those where Western-installed or Western-backed repressive regimes are in control as in Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In fact a groundswell of democratic sentiment is sweeping most Muslim societies. Muslim masses desire and deserve freedom and good governance as any people anywhere.

Fifth, the pernicious role of the West in obstructing the growth of representative institutions in Muslim societies like Egypt, Algeria, Turkey, Iran and Palestine is blotted out. If electoral results produce a government not subservient to Washington, the West ensures that the government is overthrown.

Evidently, democracy is desirable but only to the extent it produces governments beholden to the West!

Sixth, Islam is judged by reference to its worst-run and unstable societies. For the Christian civilisation, the affluent, liberal democracies of post-World War II are regarded as standard bearers.

Seventh, in comparing civilisations, it is not fair to match the lofty ideals of one civilisation with the ground realities of another. If theory is compared with theory and practice with practice, it will be seen that the cultural distance between Islam and the West is narrower than is assumed.

From a large number of issues let me highlight just a few.

Principles of government: Denial of state sovereignty is a cardinal principle in Islam long before the writings of Locke and Rousseau. The government is a trustee of the people. Its duty is to rule by consultation (3:159).

Islam and knowledge: There is collective amnesia in Europe and America about the West's debt to the Islamic scientific and cultural heritage.

Economic development: There is a common perception that Islam is the cause of underdevelopment. A UN report indicates that out of 47 low income countries, 25 are Muslim-majority countries. It is submitted, however, that contrasting data is available. For example, on World Food Day, the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation issued a list of 37 countries that require "exceptional external assistance" because they are unable to feed themselves. Twenty-six of the 37 countries were non-Muslim countries.

Violence: Muslim societies do generate a great deal of political violence but Western culture produces more street violence. As to terrorism, Muslims have no monopoly over it especially if we view this abomination in all its manifestations, including wars, threats to use nuclear arms, targetted killings, drone attacks and economic strangulation.

Women: Muslim treatment of women has brought Islam much bad publicity. Actually, Islamic rules on modesty for both genders were meant to de-emphasise sexuality and exploitation. Issues of polygamy, unequal shares in inheritance and admissibility of evidence have been tackled in some Muslim societies with democratic imagination.

World view: There is no denying that the world view of the West and of Islam has much in contrast. One is based on secular materialism and value relativism; the other on faith. One separates temporal and spiritual authority; the other unites them.

One protects the values of all with equal indifference; the other provides positive guides for behaviour and rejects the view that everything can be relativised. One calls for individual liberation; the other extols submission of the individual to the eternal values of God.

Whether Muslim societies must be condemned for such "backwardness" or praised for resisting the onslaught of a sex-laced media culture is a matter of opinion. 

> Shad Saleem Faruqi is Professor of Law at UiTM.


Former UMNO spin doctor turns against Najib's community of advisors

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 03:00 PM PDT

(Harakah) - The former editor of UMNO daily New Straits Times Kadir Jasin has trained his gun at prime minister Najib Razak's advisors, accusing them of incompetence and of bleeding public funds by receiving ministerial-level salaries.

Kadir (pic), a staunch loyalist of former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad, compared Najib with his predecessors, saying Najib has more advisors than any of them.

"The many million ringgit question is, who are paying these men and women their minister-level salaries and do they really contribute?" he asked.

With such a big pool of advisors, Kadir said it was not surprising to see "national budget deficits growing bigger" while at the same time the country attracts negative international ratings.

Kadir, a defender of draconian laws, also scolded the advisers saying they had managed to convince Najib to abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA) utilised by the second PM, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Najib's late father.

"I wonder what role the Prime Minister's advisory committee plays these days since preventive detention laws have all been done away with and as Malaysia becomes increasingly unsafe and unhealthy," lamented Kadir, attempting to link abolition of draconian laws with the mysterious spike in violent crime.

Kadir also asked if Najib's advisors were concerned of the looming economic crisis and whether there was a contingency plan prepared.

"Are we not worried? Are we prepared? Do we have a contingency plan?"


Police challenge gangs to bring it on!

Posted: 21 Aug 2013 01:58 PM PDT

(The Star) - Khalid said: "Crime is a living thing and we must adjust to an ever changing situation. The police will recommend whatever is necessary to ensure the safety and security of Malaysians."

The police have sent a clear message to gangsters challenging them – bring it on!

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said they would not tolerate any criminal group or gang trying to intimidate them.

"No criminal will win against the authorities.

"We will not allow any criminal group to intimidate or acah-acah (taunt), us," he told a press conference after presenting certificates of appreciation to 50 good drivers in conjunction with Ops Selamat.

Commenting on acts of vandalism at the Kuala Langat police headquarters, where the words "RIP Gang 04" were sprayed on the outer wall, Khalid said police had identified the culprits.

"We have identified those responsible for the graffiti and we will take action.

"They tried to intimidate us but it will not work," he said.

Khalid said the nationwide Ops Cantas Khas would be stepped up.

More than 5,000 people had been checked, with 783 of them arrested, since the operation started on Saturday night.

Khalid said that serious crimes had since dropped by 8% while the crime index decreased some 3.7%.

"We will improve this operation further by targeting drug traffickers.

"We will use all relevant laws to bring criminals to justice although I wish the Emergency Ordinance and the Internal Security Act were still around. But we are not law makers."

On Tuesday's shootout in Penang, in which five Gang 04 members were gunned down, Khalid said the police had never practised a shoot-to-kill policy.

He added that the families of the dead could take any action they wished, and the police were open to an inquest into the shootout.

Khalid said: "Crime is a living thing and we must adjust to an ever changing situation. The police will recommend whatever is necessary to ensure the safety and security of Malaysians."

Meanwhile, Selangor acting police chief Deputy Comm Datuk A. Thaiveegan said that police would not be intimidated by such acts of vandalism which he described as kurang ajar (insolent).

"I don't think that (the graffiti) was meant to be a threat. It's just done by sampah masyarakat (social discards) with no respect for the law.

"If that was a challenge, that's not the way to do it. Come meet the OCPD, say 'I'm from 04'. If they are brave, marilah (come)," a visibly angry Thaiveegan told a press conference yesterday.

Besides the Kuala Langat police headquarters, the 04 number, religious Swastika symbol and the letters R.I.P. (rest in peace) were found sprayed at 11 locations in Banting, including a police post and a bank.



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