Isnin, 19 Ogos 2013

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This is the price of handing out citizenship for votes

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 12:39 PM PDT 

(TMI) - While the accusation that illegal settlers were given Malaysian identity cards in return for their political support is well known, what is less known is what has come after this.

The question you may ask yourself after reading a few paragraphs of this story is: What if something like this were to happen in the peninsula too?

Where it's happening is Sabah. What is happening, according to one key witness in a special court now looking into the issue of identity cards given to illegal residents there, is little less than the colonisation of a part of Malaysia.

While the accusation that illegal settlers were given Malaysian identity cards in return for their political support is well known, what is less known is what has come after this.

In return for their political support of the powers that be, those with the new ICs have been making open land grabs as well as soaking up healthcare and education privileges, said former Sandakan district officer Hassnar Ebrahim.

"Take a look at University Malaysia Sabah: 80% of the students studying there are not local Malaysians," he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

Hassnar testified in the Royal Commission of Inquiry Into The Illegal Immigrants In Sabah just last week, where he named former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the brains behind the scheme to offer illegals there Malaysian identity cards in return for their votes for Barisan Nasional.

"There is no country in the world where the government intentionally dilutes the voting power of the native population like in Malaysia," he noted wryly.

"Thousands of acres of native land have slowly been taken over by foreigners who use forged powers of attorney documents and forged sales and purchase agreements," he claimed.

So big was the problem that even Sabah and Sarawak Chief Justice Tan Sri Richard Malanjum had called for a Native Land Tribunal to be set up to handle abuses caused by the issuance of native land certificates, he said.

Read more at: 

Long live the monarchy

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 12:35 PM PDT 

There is no law preventing people from debating the actions or the future of the British monarchy, hence, the respect that they enjoy is truly earned. This non-interference, acceptance of criticisms and openness to demands for transparency and accountability put the British monarch above politics, and allows the whole population to see the Queen as a symbol of true unity. 

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, The Star 

British Royals are loved by not just the majority of Britons, but also by million others from across the world.

When Prince William and Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, visited Malaysia last year, the reception was electric. Almost all the newspapers, TV and radio stations gave them a very positive coverage.

British royalties are more than just the monarchy for Britain.

Senior members of the British royal family are global celebrities.

Almost everywhere they go, they are received with great fanfare and so many people are excited to catch a glimpse of them.

The British royalties were in the limelight again recently when the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to Prince George on July 22.

The whole world watched eagerly when news broke that Catherine went into labour earlier that day. Reporters from everywhere congregated in front of the St Mary's Hospital in central London to catch the story.

Clearly the world was excited by the birth of the third in line to the British throne.

But of course there are many others who do not see what the fuss was about. One example is a group called Republic who initiated a campaign called #bornEqual (the hashtag indicating they have taken the campaign online via Twitter).

The group claims to represent Britain's 10-12 million republicans, including celebrities and parliamentarians whose names are listed on their website.

They openly campaign for the abolishment of the British monarchy because, as they say on their website, "Hereditary public office goes against every democratic principle. And because we can't hold the Queen and her family to account at the ballot box, there's nothing to stop them abusing their privilege, misusing their influence or simply wasting our money."

They went on to say that the British monarchy is "expensive, unaccountable and a drag on our democratic process".

In the #bornEqual campaign that they launched in conjunction with the birth of Prince George, they urge the British public to ask, among others:

> Shouldn't every child be born equal? Equal in political status and political rights?

> How can that be when one child is born above all others, destined for high office not because of merit or popular choice but because of their parents?

> Isn't it time to choose the highest representatives by merit and popular choice, not by birthright and parentage?

Republic's work goes as far back as the early 1980s. They have been campaigning on many issues related to abolishing the British monarchy. They clearly have supporters, including in the mainstream media.

For example, a day after Prince George was born, the Guardian newspaper published an article by its associate editor, Seumas Milne, resonating Republic's campaign. Milne questioned the many powers of the monarchy including its prerogative to appoint the Prime Minister and dissolve parliament. He also suggested that by meeting the Prime Minister weekly, the Queen has "covert influence" on the government.

Yet despite protests and criticisms, the British monarchy remains loved by millions the world over.

The way they have adapted to the demands of today's society is amazing, especially by making more and more information easily accessible to the public.

A quick visit to the official website of the British royal family will make it clear how serious they are. You can find almost everything you want on that website – from the history of the British monarchy to what the senior members do every day.

You can even know how many official cars the Queen has. Apparently she has eight – two Bentleys, three Rolls-Royces and three Daimlers.

And the website tells you that British Royals "are subject to normal speed restrictions", while the rear doors of the two Bentleys "are hinged at the back to allow the Queen to stand up straight before stepping down to the ground".

The Queen also publishes an annual financial report, detailing the income and expenditure of the Royal households. The report is freely available on the

It is presented to parliament, allowing the elected representatives, including republican MPs, to scrutinise how much taxpayers' money the Royals receive annually, and how they spend it.

Perhaps the most significant is the fact that the Queen as the reigning monarch almost never get into political debates.

It is difficult to find her commenting about current affairs. In fact, she does not even respond when groups like Republic or the media openly demand the abolition of the monarchy or criticise the actions of her family members.

There is no law preventing people from debating the actions or the future of the British monarchy, hence, the respect that they enjoy is truly earned.

This non-interference, acceptance of criticisms and openness to demands for transparency and accountability put the British monarch above politics, and allows the whole population to see the Queen as a symbol of true unity.

The republican campaign to abolish the British monarchy may have gained more traction if the British royalties refuse to adapt to the demands of modern days.

But with all the efforts the British Royals are putting into becoming more transparent, accountable and non-interfering, they are loved by not just the majority of Britons, but also by million others from across the world.


Wan Saiful Wan Jan is chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs ( The article is his personal opinion.

Perkasa slams move to link education loan defaulters to CCRIS

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 12:32 PM PDT 

(TMI) - Perkasa argued that the move by Idris would close the opportunities for Malay and Bumiputera youths from venturing into the entrepreneurship sector as they would face difficulties in obtaining loans.

Perkasa has slammed the government's move to link National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan defaulters to the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS), calling it a persecution of Bumiputera youths.

Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said the move was two-pronged, first to help control rising household debt and second to promote the culture of good repayment by PTPTN borrowers.

He said this would ensure that other students would be able to benefit from the education financing facility.

But Malay rights group Perkasa didn't take kindly to Idris's reasoning, arguing that it penalised borrowers, the majority of who were youths.

Perkasa argued that the move by Idris would close the opportunities for Malay and Bumiputera youths from venturing into the entrepreneurship sector as they would face difficulties in obtaining loans.

"This is a form of persecution. I challenge Idris to recover the borrowed monies from Malay and Bumiputera students by going through the court process first. The government must remember that the public has a choice," said Perkasa general secretary Syed Hassan Syed Ali (pic).

He told The Malaysian Insider that the public could choose to either vote for a party which fights for the student loans to be written off or a party which wanted to link the loan defaulters with CCRIS.

Read more at: 

In Borders case, common sense triumphs over bad faith

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 12:26 PM PDT 

(MM) - Even if it is a valid law, what amounts to 'contrary to Islamic Law' as provided by that provision is also questionable as it is too wide. Members of public must be made known what publication is contrary to Islam law or precept of Islam. 

In the face of Malaysia's rising religious conservatism, a civil court judge has boldly ruled on reason and common sense to uphold a Muslim storekeeper's constitutional right to sell a book Islam's gatekeepers here found offensive.

The court case involving the local Borders' sale of Canadian author Irshad Manji's book "Allah, Liberty and Love" has been closely-watched since it hit national headlines last year after Islamic enforcement officials seized the stock and charged the store manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz with violating publication and distribution laws.

Five months after pronouncing the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI), the home minister and the minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Islamic affairs guilty of abusing their powers to illegally prosecute the bookstore's Muslim manager, Datuk Zaleha Yusof of the Kuala Lumpur High Court has finally released her grounds of judgment.

Though couched in the language of the court, the judge's strongly-worded explanation kept to a strict interpretation of the law that has given hope to Malaysians that their civil liberties as laid down in the country's founding document remain as robust as the day they were conceived half a century ago.

"I am satisfied that the applicants have shown existence of illegality, abuse of discretionary powers, irrationality, unreasonable exercise of power, unconstitutionally and that there exists procedural impropriety on the part of the respondents," Zaleha wrote in her grounds of judgment released last week.

"Looking at the whole scenario of the case, it is hard not to agree with the applicants that there are elements of mala fide in the handling and carrying out of the actions of the respondents," she added.

Mala fide, meaning bad faith in Latin, carries a heavy meaning in law, as the judge noted.

"In law, mala fide can be inferred when there was absence of care, caution and a proper sense of responsibility."

She observed that JAWI — named the first respondent in the bookstore's suit — had acted in bad faith "when they exercised their dominant position and enforcement powers for a collateral purpose by: (i) prosecuting the 3rd applicant, who is a Muslim, when they could not do so against the 1st applicant (as the corporate owner of Borders bookstore) or the 2nd applicant (as the person responsible over the display and sale of the Publications, and who as a non-Muslim could not be prosecuted under the Act 559".

Nik Raina was the third applicant, while Borders' assistant general manager in charge of merchandising Stephen Fung Wye Keong was the second applicant. The bookstore, which is licensed under the name Berjaya Books Sdn Bhd, was the first applicant.

The home minister and the Islamic affairs minister were named the second and third respondents respectively in Borders' suit.

The religious enforcers had also acted in bad faith, the judge said, when it raided the bookstore in popular shopping mall Mid Valley Megamall on May 23, 2012 to seize copies of Manji's books despite the Home Ministry only banning them over a week later on May 29.

JAWI's arrest and prosecution of Nik Raina was also carried out in bad faith, the judge said, "for what was a non-offence at the time of the raid".

"It can also be inferred when the 3rd applicant was deprived of her liberty without due care, caution and responsibility, when the 1st respondent arresting and prosecuting her despite knowing that she was neither the owner of the bookstore; nor had control over the selection of publications therein," the judge wrote.

The home minister — then Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein — had acted in bad faith when he made an order in a "casual or cavalier fashion, in rushing the Prohibition Order to prohibit the publications, almost as an afterthought", the judgment read.

Other highlights from the grounds of judgment:

On a state's right to act against a Muslim, under state law:

"However, I must again emphasize, clear reading of item 1 of List II of the Ninth Schedule as I mention just now, shows that the state cannot enact laws in regard to matters included in the Federal List.

"Since matters pertaining to publications, printing and printing presses fall within List I i.e. the Federal List, validity of section 13 of Act 559 is questionable as it seems to be ultra vires the Act 301 and the Federal Constitution.

"Even if it is a valid law, what amounts to 'contrary to Islamic Law' as provided by that provision is also questionable as it is too wide. Members of public must be made known what publication is contrary to Islam law or precept of Islam.

"Otherwise, as the learned counsel for the applicants has submitted, a Muslim employee who works in a bookstore that also sells Christianity bibles, books on Buddhism or Hinduism or any other religion besides other books, we do have many such bookstores now, would be committing an offence."

On the state's discretion to ban books:

"Further there is nothing in the said Act 559 which provides for any state religious bodies to prohibit any publication. It only creates an offence of publication. In order to follow and adopt a harmonious interpretation of the laws, the only logical approach is for section 7 of the Act 301 to support section 13 of the Act 559 i.e. notification to the public first than only the enforcement action.

"We live in a multireligious and multiracial society. Such approach, in my opinion, would be harmonious and avoids any tension, controversy and conflict in our society and law."

On JAWI's action against Nik Raina because she is a Muslim:

"Applying that principle, as it stands now, I am of the opinion that the criminal charge against the 3rd applicant in the Syariah High Court is an infringement of Article 7 which is a provision concerning fundamental liberties, guaranteed by our Federal Constitution."

On the home minister's dereliction of duty by passing his job to JAWI without checking:

"I also must state here that I agree with the learned counsel for the applicant when he submits that the 2nd respondent, by the averments in his affidavit, has abdicated his duties when he stated that the 1st respondent can perform seizures without any prohibition order from the KDN, as section 7 of Act 301 clearly states that the powers of prohibition with respect to publication lies with the Honourable Minister of Home Ministry. Hence, there is a procedural impropriety here which warrants a judicial review."

Next, the Syariah Court hurdle

Yau Su Peng, the chief operating officer for Berjaya, voiced her relief that the civil chapter of the court case involving the store and its employees was nearing an end, but held reservations that the book on the legal saga could finally be closed.

"We are very appreciative of the commonsense approach taken by the Court but personally I question why it has taken so long (the raid by JAWI on our Borders outlet in Gardens occurred in May 2012) for justice to be pronounced," Yau told The Malay Mail Online in a recent email interview.

The syariah charge against Nik Raina has yet to be withdrawn, she observed, even as the Attorney-General's Chambers had last month confirmed it had asked the Federal Territory Syarie chief prosecutor and JAWI to do so.

"We are still waiting though, since the decision was given in March 2013, for JAWI to formally withdraw the charges in the Syariah Court against Nik Raina," Yau said.

She said Borders, through its lawyers, had appealed to JAWI drop its prosecution against Borders' Muslim manager in the Islamic court before the end of Ramadan so that Nik Raina could have a happy celebration with her family without the charge hanging over her.

"Sadly, this was not to be and we have been given the date of 28 August as the date on which the parties are to return to the Syariah Court to have the charges withdrawn formally," Yau said.

Malaysia practises a dual-track justice system where Muslims are bound by both secular and Islamic laws but non-Muslims have legal recourse only in the civil court.


Family, Friends Of 5 Men Killed In Shootout With Cops Cause Ruckus

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 12:22 PM PDT 

(NST) - "I am not accepting the accusation that my relative was linked to the underworld. How can they just shoot a person without bringing him to court? This is unacceptable." 

The relatives and friends of the five men killed in a shootout with police created a commotion at the Penang Hospital mortuary yesterday.

Emotions ran high when the family members claimed they were unaware that those gunned down were involved in secret society activities.

Some of them vented their anger by hurling helmets into the mortuary compound and hurled accusations at the police, including one who said the five had been shot "like animals".

One of them, S. Nadarajah, said he would lodge a report against the police over the raid.

"I am not accepting the accusation that my relative was linked to the underworld.

"How can they just shoot a person without bringing him to court? This is unacceptable." 

Nadarajah and family members of the other killed gang members said they would not claim the bodies and demanded that a second post-mortem be carried out.

Some of the disgruntled relatives of the dead men also took the police to task for allegedly being brutal and for being "trigger happy".

Lawyer and DAP assemblyman for Seri Delima R.S.N. Rayer also joined in and described the shootout as a "brutal slaying".

"The police should not have taken the law into their own hands.

"The five men should have been detained and charged in court over their alleged wrongdoings. 

"I was shocked as some relatives of the deceased claimed the bodies had more than one gunshot wound in the head," Rayer said when met at the mortuary.

He said there had been many incidents where Indian community members were shot dead but their cases were swept under the carpet by the police.

Rayer demanded that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar explain why two of the deceased, who did not have any previous criminal convictions, were also shot dead in the incident.

Meanwhile, many residents staying in the units on the same floor of the apartment rented by the gang members were unaware of the police raid.

One of them, who declined to be named, said she was shocked to find many reporters and photographers at the unit that was raided by an elite team of policemen.

"I am glad, however, that the police carried out their job responsibly without causing any trouble to the other residents on the same floor." 

Checks with the guards manning the entrance to the apartment complex showed they were also unaware of anything before the shootout.

One of them said he only came to know about the police presence after several patrol cars and a Black Maria arrived at the apartment and when some of them left slightly before dawn.

"I do not know when the police arrived.

"I only knew of their presence when the police vehicles arrived and when many of the policemen, in dark uniforms and carrying guns, left the building about 5.30am." 

Tarif Baru Elektrik Tak Beban Pengguna

Posted: 19 Aug 2013 12:20 PM PDT 

(Berita Harian) - Presiden dan Ketua Eksekutifnya, Datuk Seri Ir Azman Mohd berkata, pengguna domestik dengan penggunaan bulanan di bawah 200 kilowatt sejam (kwj) tidak akan terjejas daripada pelarasan tarif itu. 

Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) memberi jaminan bahawa sebarang pelarasan kadar tarif elektrik jika dipersetujui oleh kerajaan, tidak akan membebankan pengguna.

Presiden dan Ketua Eksekutifnya, Datuk Seri Ir Azman Mohd berkata, pengguna domestik dengan penggunaan bulanan di bawah 200 kilowatt sejam (kwj) tidak akan terjejas daripada pelarasan tarif itu. 

"Kira-kira separuh dari lapan juta pengguna (tenaga di dalam negara) adalah daripada kumpulan yang mana penggunaan bulanan mereka di bawah 200 kwj iaitu dengan bil di bawah RM70.

"Jika pelarasan semula tarif dibuat, tarif baharu itu akan dipastikan berpatutan. Rakyat tidak perlu bimbang, pelarasan tidak akan membabitkan dua atau tiga kali ganda. Ada peratusan tertentu tetapi ia tidak setinggi itu," katanya pada media pada Majlis Mesra Aidilfitri TNB di Kuala Lumpur, semalam.

Kali terakhir kerajaan menyemak tarif elektrik ialah pada Jun 2011 apabila ia dinaikkan sebanyak 2.23 sen bagi satu kilowatt sejam (kwj) atau 7.12 peratus kepada paras semasa iaitu 33.54 sen/kwj daripada 31.31 sen/kWj.

Kenaikan itu dibuat setelah tarif elektrik tidak berubah sejak Jun 2006 dan sebagai sebahagian daripada proses rasionalisasi subsidi di tengah-tengah peningkatan harga gas asli cecair bagi sektor tenaga. 
Kerajaan tentukan

Azman berkata, keputusan berhubung semakan semula tarif elektrik akan ditentukan oleh kerajaan bersandarkan kepada maklumat yang diberikan TNB.

"Banyak pertemuan telah dilakukan, termasuk secara rasmi dan tidak rasmi bagi membincangkan perkara itu. Namun, kami pasti kerajaan akan mempertimbangkan sebaik mungkin bagi kebaikan semua pihak termasuk pengguna dan penggunaan industri," katanya.

Azman menjelaskan, sebarang pelarasan kadar tarif elektrik, jika berlaku pada masa hadapan, adalah disebabkan oleh kenaikan harga bahan api, bukannya atas dasar untuk memberikan keuntungan tambahan kepada syarikat utiliti itu.

"Kita tidak rugi apa-apa. Seperti sekarang yang rugi adalah PET-RONAS yang membekalkan gas asli cecair (LNG) sebagai bahan api kerana terpaksa menanggung harga berkali ganda," katanya.

Katanya, ketika ini, PETRONAS menetapkan harga gas iaitu bahan bakar utama untuk menjana elektrik pada kadar RM13.70 bagi sejuta metrik unit thermal British (mmBtU), jauh lebih rendah berbanding harga pasaran iaitu sebanyak RM40 mmBtU.

Bulan lalu, Menteri Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air, Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili, turut dilaporkan berkata, kerajaan akan memastikan sebarang kenaikan tarif elektrik, jika berlaku, akan dibuat berdasarkan kepada kenaikan kos bahan api dan bukannya untuk memberi keuntungan tambahan kepada TNB.

"Sebarang perubahan harga bahan api akan ditampung TNB dan TNB pula dibenarkan melepaskan kos itu kepada pengguna melalui prinsip mekanisme Fuel-Cost Pass Through (FCPT)," katanya.

Melalui FCPT, pengguna elektrik berkapasiti 200Kwh sebulan kekal menikmati 21.8 sen setiap kilowatt, sementara yang menggunakan elektrik kurang 92Kwh sebulan atau kurang RM20 juga akan terus menikmati rebat.

"Ini bermakna kenaikan tarif elektrik bergantung kepada kenaikan kos bahan api dan bukan untuk memberi keuntungan tambahan kepada TNB," katanya.

FCPT adalah mekanisme di bawah Kawalselia Berdasarkan Insentif (IBR) Suruhanjaya Tenaga dalam meningkatkan kecekapan operasi syarikat utiliti, dengan syarikat terbabit akan menerima insentif atau dikenakan penalti jika gagal mencapai prestasi ditetapkan.

Melalui FCPT, pengguna elektrik dengan kapasiti 200Kwh sebulan akan kekal menikmati kadar 21.8 sen bagi setiap kilowatt, sementara mereka yang menggunakan elektrik kurang 92Kwh sebulan atau kurang RM20 sebulan juga akan terus menikmati rebat. 

DAP presents party polls evidence to rebut RoS, says Najib got it wrong

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 04:25 PM PDT

Loke with copies of the documents which he says are proof that Najib is lying. The Malaysian Insider pic by Nazir Sufari, August 19, 2013

(TMI) - The party, according to Loke, has on its own initiative collected over 500 signatures from absent delegates to acknowledge that they were informed of the party polls but could not attend for personal reasons.

The DAP has shown evidence to rebut allegations that it did not inform 753 delegates of its party polls last year and called on the prime minister to retract his statement that it did not follow procedures.

"We have the evidence of members' attendance record, signatures and postal receipts that showed notices were sent out," said national organising secretary Anthony Loke at a press conference at the party's headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak had said the party did not adhere to regulations when it elected its central executive committee (CEC) last year.

"Najib is a liar. If he wants to sue me, go ahead. We want him to retract his comments."

Loke argued that the Registrar of Societies (RoS) failed to interview the 753 members who were allegedly not informed of the polls.

"RoS chose to believe claims by certain members who have their own personal agendas."

Last Thursday, party chairman Karpal Singh issued a statement that the party had decided to hold fresh CEC elections, as demanded by RoS.

On July 30, RoS director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman ordered DAP to do that because he was not satisfied with the party's explanation of a vote counting mix-up.

However, the government agency had only asked the party to submit evidence that notices were sent out and did not request for proof on the electoral glitch.


Scandal-plagued Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat to advise PM

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 03:54 PM PDT

(MM) - Former minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil may have found an avenue back to corridors of power as she is now set to be appointed as special adviser to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The yet-to-be announced appointment will also confer Shahrizat (picture) with full ministerial status and powers, according to a report by The Star on its website.

Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat had been appointed women, family and community development minister via her senatorship, but was effectively dropped from the Cabinet in April when this was not renewed following an expose that her family received a RM250 million federal loan to operate the National Feedlot Centre.

This is the second time Shahrizat will be given a political lifeline after having won a similar reprieve in the aftermath of Election 2008, when she was defeated by newcomer Nurul Izzah Anwar in the contest for the Lembah Pantai federal seat.



Najib’s 100 days as PM a failure, says PAS

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 03:51 PM PDT

The Prime Minister has failed to manage national debt, move towards national reconciliation, curb soaring prices of goods, and reduce crime, says PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar.

Anisah Shukry, FMT

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's 100 days at the government's helm since the May 5 polls has left PAS unimpressed, given the soaring price of goods, recent shooting spree, escalating debt and lack of any national reconciliation.

"He has failed to live up to any of his promises he made before the general election. In terms of national reconciliation, I have seen no clear commitment towards that.

"All I see is commitment towards the Umno elections," said PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar at a press conference at the party headquarters here today.

On the night of BN's victory at the polls, Najib had vowed to embark on a national reconciliation process to heal racial and political lines.

But his pledge was soon marred when Utusan Malaysia set out to "punish" the Chinese for apparently abandoning MCA and BN in the 13th general election, which saw the ruling coalition suffer its worse loss yet.

The call for national reconciliation also flies in the face of a spate of arrests against opposition leaders such as PKR vice-president Tian Chua, pro-opposition activists, and civilians who allegedly "insulted Islam".

The hardline approach taken by Najib and his colleagues, particularly Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, towards the Chinese and the opposition is seen as a strategy to curry favour from Umno members in preparation for the party polls this October.

Mahfuz said that Najib, since the elections, had abandoned his responsibilities to the rakyat, particularly in resolving bread-and-butter issues.

"After the election, the rakyat have been burdened with higher cost of living. I am sure that the price of chicken will not go down any further.

"This reflects the government's failure in managing the issue of people's livelihood," said the Pokok Sena MP.



Johor Umno wants president, deputy president posts to be uncontested

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 03:43 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Johor Umno has decided that the Umno president and deputry president posts should be uncontested in the party elections this October.

State Umno liaison chairman Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the decision was based on the strong support received from the people and the win in the 13th general election (GE13) in May.

"After discussions, we decided that in order strengthen the party, there should not be contest for the president and deputy president posts," he told reporters after chairing the Johore Umno liaison meeting here today.

Mohamed Khaled had already announced that he will not contest in the party elections to focus on strengthening the party at state level.

The decision whould give other Johor leaders and members to contest in the party elections and use it as a platform to nurture the spirit of cooperation among them.

The Johor Menteri Besar said the meeting also urged the federal government and state government to honour the Malays for their support in the last general election.

"Umno's strong position is based on support of the Malays. As such, Johor Umno wants the government to honour the Malays for the support given to the Barisan Nasional (BN) while not marginalising the other communities."


Trouble brewing in Sabah DAP

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 03:30 PM PDT

Rumours that the Luyang assemblyman is about to jump ship to BN is rife in Sabah. Attempts to clarify the matter with Hiew King Cheu just leads to more questions but no actual answer.

Trouble is brewing in Sabah DAP. Hiew is acting in a political tease that the state has not seen since Datuk Lajim Ukin and Datuk Wilfred Bumburing made their long kiss goodbye to Barisan Nasional last year. 

Philip Golingai, The Star

"WILL he jump? He will definitely jump," a Sabah DAP leader told me when I asked if his comrade, Luyang assemblyman Hiew King Cheu would quit the party.

"It is a public camouflage. Hiew said he would ask the people whether he should leave DAP. For us, we know he has already made up his mind," he said.

Trouble is brewing in Sabah DAP. Hiew is acting in a political tease that the state has not seen since Datuk Lajim Ukin and Datuk Wilfred Bumburing made their long kiss goodbye to Barisan Nasional last year.

"Are you going to jump?" I asked Hiew in a phone conversation yesterday.

"Nothing, nothing ... it is reported (in the media) in an angle that I am leaving DAP.

"That is just speculation. I just resigned as state adviser. It has been blown out of proportion that I am leaving DAP. And, it does not help that Barisan (via LDP, a component party) has extended an offer for me to join it," he said.

If he wanted to leave the party, Hiew would seek the people's view on the matter.

"It is not for me to decide," he said.

Some of his voters, the Luyang assemblyman claimed, wanted him to leave DAP.

"In 505 (May 5) they voted for Pakatan Rakyat because they wanted Pakatan to form the Federal Government.

"Now that it has not materialised, they say mati lah (die lah) this time as we are now in the opposition," he said.

"We have to apologise to them for not delivering the Federal Go­vern­ment.

"We promised them ubah (change). But what is ubah? It is just a slogan as Barisan is back in power.

"The people are upset and angry. They regret voting for the opposition. Some even scolded me because DAP could not deliver the Federal Government to them.

But, what can DAP do? We are only 1/3 of Pakatan. We delivered the seats when we won 38 MP seats (but not PAS and PKR)."

"What did you mean when you said the people menyesal (regret) voting for the opposition?" I asked.

"That is the general feedback I got from the ground. It (the sentiment) is true. Pembangkang (opposition). So what? In the end it is about the rakyat (people). We have to look at it in the correct way. As a wakil rakyat I have my responsibilities," he said.

"For five years I was the MP for Kota Kinabalu (2008 to 2013).

"What was the result? After bising bising (making noise) and teriak teriak (shouting), nothing happened.

"Let's be realistic and practical. The ADUN (assemblyman fund for Barisan) is RM1mil a year.

"For five years, that is RM5mil. Can you imagine what we can do for Luyang (a suburb next to Kota Kinabalu)? We can fix the pavements in Luyang."

"If people want to be stubborn, we can throw this (RM5mil).

"But, can we tahan (withstand not having any development) for five years? I can go back to lawan tetap lawan! (we will continue the fight!) But if you continue to lawan (fight), you get nothing."

The Sabah DAP leader, who was sure his comrade would leave the party, said Hiew was not listening to the people.

"What the people want him to do is not to quit DAP. But, if he wants to quit DAP, they want him to quit as Luyang assemblyman too, so that they can decide in a by-election who they want to represent them," he said.

"The talk is you will jump. Even your DAP comrades think you will jump," I asked Hiew, again.

"If I wanted to jump, I would have jumped by now," he said.

"If you do jump, aren't you worried that people will call you a frog?" I asked.

"Yes, people will call me katak (frog) and other names.

"Lajim (who is now Sabah opposition head) is called king of frogs. But his people still love him," Hiew said.

"(In 1994) Lajim even caused the collapse of PBS (when he ditched PBS to join Umno).

"What is the big deal? Frog or not a frog, the people (in his Klias seat) benefited when he became a state minister (in the Umno-led Sabah government).

"And, Lajim has won election after election. People still supported him. Even during this round after he jumped out of Barisan, he still won (the Klias state seat). It is the people who are the backbone and not the party that you stand for."

Hiew said that he did not owe DAP for his political successes.

"DAP should look at what I have done for DAP. From zero – a party that was scolded by Sabahans as 'Rocket parti Semenanjung kacau saja' (DAP, the party from peninsular Malaysia that only wanted to cause a disturbance) – to two YBs (Kota Kinabalu MP and Sri Tanjung assemblyman in 2008) to four assemblymen and two MPs in 2013. I am responsible for this," he said.

"If the people tell me to leave DAP, I will leave DAP.

"However, there are also some people telling me not to leave. At the moment it is 50/50."


Karpal versus Zahid: Next round of that alleged assault case?

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 03:10 PM PDT

(TMI) - A new row is brewing between Karpal Singh (pic) and Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi over the assault suit filed against the latter by a businessman.

The suit, apparently settled in a mediation exercise last month, is expected to be on again after Home Minister Ahmad Zahid made public that the businessman, Amir Bazli Abdullah, had apologised to him.

"He has apologised to me during a meeting with a mediator and I forgave him," Ahmad Zahid told The Malaysian Insider recently.  "As far as I am concerned, the case is over and done with."

Not to Karpal, Amir Bazli's lawyer. Karpal charged that Ahmad Zahid breached the mediation order by making public what had transpired.

"As Amir Bazli's lawyer, even I was not privy to what transpired in the mediation exercise. Even Amir Bazli was sworn to secrecy as that was the condition set by the mediator," the veteran lawyer said.

"How then could Ahmad Zahid say that my client had apologised?"

Karpal said Ahmad Zahid is in serious contempt of court and that he is now considering further action against the home minister, including citing him for contempt.

On July 18, Ahmad Zahid and Amir Bazli met, minus their lawyers, in the presence of mediator Rohani Ismail, who is also a Sessions Court judge.

Datuk Shamsul Ibrahim, a member of Ahmad Zahid's legal team, disclosed later that compensation was to be decided without the intervention of lawyers.

Amir Bazli also confirmed that the matter was settled amicably but was not in a position to comment by order of the mediator.

However, he said later that he felt intimidated by Ahmad Zahid who, he added, turned up with supporters, bodyguards and outriders.



Race-based education policy and polarisation

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 03:01 PM PDT

The fragmented education system has indeed "polarised" the minds of the different communities.

Narinder Singh, FMT

The Malaysian education system is nothing short of melodrama. We clearly suffer from the incompetencies of our leaders in handling the system from day one. We change education ministers but the irony is our education policies have changed far more often within the jurisdiction of the same minister umpteen times.

We never had a policy in place for more than a decade and thus never really assimilated the outcomes of a policy to full breath.

Our education ministers have become lame ducks and keep turning the pages the moment a pressure group nails an issue on its policies.

Education is the key to the foundation in any civil society. The power of cohesiveness in holding any society or community revolves around the components within the education system practised.

Unfortunately, we are definitely off tangent in instilling such ideology in our education system. We segregate and demarcate the different segments of the society under the disguise of championing the race and religious cards.

Racial schooling

Why in a population of only 28 million do we need to have raced-based schools? A fragmented delivery system within the education loop clearly has and will not enhance any form of unity among the different races in Malaysia.

It is baffling that despite vernacular schools insisting that they adhere to national policies in delivering the education system, then why the need for such schools which revolve around a particular mother tongue?

In all honesty, there are definitely other motives and suspicions that will linger on for no matter how they skew and spurt their arguments. It tickles the bone when vernacular school advocates put forth that they merely teach Tamil or Chinese as a subject rather than using their mother tongue in all other subjects.

If that is the case, then why build separate entities and disengage from the mainstream delivery system? Why not just integrate an extra subject for the Chinese and Tamil students? We can have parallel classes running during the same period allocated in schools for Chinese and Tamil language, Islamic studies, and even maybe other languages like French, Arabic or Japanese for those who may want to opt for other choices.

In a globalised environment today, any extra language skill acquired can only be an added asset for the students. But we do not need stand alone entities to do that like vernacular schools.

It is time to abolish vernacular schools. Historically, they came into play as a by-product of settlements during the British Occupation. We stubbornly held on to it and what we have today is an in-direct culmination of racial sentiments in these establishments. Deny as much as we want, but the fact remains that when one is put thorough a homogeneous system, the outcome can only be biased and it is due to conditioning.

Imagine a six-year-old being nourished for the next six to 11 years in a system where only one majority race exist. What do you expect if "racially inclined" thought process does not breed in the mind?

It is proven that the early formative years of education is the most vital and critical in carving the minds for future behaviour. In the same tone, why the issue of racial polarisation being heavily politicised by the opposition and even the government alike?

The fragmented education system has indeed "polarised" the minds of the different communities. This is the root problem in our society today. Every stakeholder shoves the blame on another for the racial discontent that we experience today. Nevertheless, they are nothing short of being hypocrites.

Take the bull by its horns if they indeed dare to look into the truth. The irony is at every change of guard at the education ministry, the game plan takes a twist.

Pacifiers come into play to immediately to calm the disgruntled parties. We may be the only country having such idiotic and diversified entrance requirements to public universities.

This is not at all helping the reconciliation agenda laid by the Prime Minister. With the growing number of naturalised Indonesians, they, too, may soon demand for "Indonesian schools" for their children; after all, it is within their rights, too.

Racially-oriented education will only blossom into race-based polemics in all levels of our society. Almost every issue nauseously has been skewed on the lines of race. Nothing has been left by our politicians.

Reformation or transformation means naught if we do not chew on the hard issues of excavating the rotten roots out from the education foundation. We do not see any political will power from both sides of the divide.

The opposition has a field day in bashing the government the moment a so-called racial issue crops up but we have yet to see any blueprints from them on how they can reform the mindsets of the different races.

Mere policies do not make reforms. It has to be embraced and assimilated into the system. Will they remove vernacular schools if they come into power? Do not count on your luck to reap beautiful and succulent mangoes if you had not manured and water the soil well!

Delivery system

Vernacular, national, religious and private schools all claim that they use the same education policy. If that is so, then why are we in the doldrums of racial segregation? There is a thing called "distortion" in message when different delivery channels are used for the same message; another fact that has either been left out or the authorities play ignorant.

We boast to have some best researchers and academicians in the social front, thus it is time a comprehensive and an in-depth study done as to why our community still has racial sentiments if they had gone through the same policies?

Why the deviation and by how many degrees have we gone off the trajectory? If we do not have this, then its time our politicians, NGOs and other advocates keep their gaps shut on racial issues and live with the realities.

Corrective actions can only be undertaken when we know where the fault line lies and the craters exist. Any attempt otherwise is nothing short of pulling the veil before our own eyes and then blaring the horns to clear the road. Misleading and fooling the masses in short.

Visit any tertiary education or even primary schools; you see groups of students socialising only with their own ethnic group. Having gone through the system, racial polarisation is indeed magnified multiple folds at tertiary level. We have race-based student societies, activities and even formal social gatherings.

Navigating a lost ship in turbulent waters is a nightmare for any captain. With no bearings and a faulty compass, we are steering a nation blindfolded and handicapped. Racial polarisation and sentiments gyrating will only brew into a perfect storm in a matter of time if we keep our current education delivery system.



Sarawakians not ‘naïve, stupid or cowards’

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 02:58 PM PDT

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian slams armchair critics who ridicule and malign Sarawakians over the recent general elections, adding that "change takes time". 

Winston Way, FMT

KUCHING: A senior Sarawak Pakatan Rakyat leader has rebuked armchair critics within the cyber realm who continuously malign Sarawakians over the 2011 state and recent parliamentary elections.

Since the parliamentary polls, there have been countless attacks on Sarawakians and Sabahans through social media and online news portals.

Critics blamed voters in the two states for "reaping what they sow", in relation to them voting in Barisan Nasional despite the coalition's failed promises and pledges.

They also sarcastically 'asked' the Sarawak people to 'thank' the BN government for any 'trouble' or hardships the local population faced.

Sarawakians and Sabahans were in general described as 'naïve', stupid', 'easily bought' and 'cowards' for voting for BN, though the two states had in fact recorded increased support for Pakatan in the recent general and state elections.

During GE13, 36.82 percent, or 304,508 out of 827,203 voted for Pakatan Rakyat candidates in Sarawak, from which the opposition coalition won six out of 31 parliamentary seats on offer in the state.

Excluding the six seats of Bandar Kuching, Stampin, Sarikei, Sibu, Lanang and Miri, Pakatan garnered 16.7 percent of the votes in the areas where BN candidates won.

At state level, Pakatan also had recorded increased support, gaining 21.13 percent of the support during the 2011 Sarawak state elections, swelling their representation in the state legislative council by eight seats along the way.

This is in contrast to a combined percentage of 11.1 percent in 2006, when DAP was actually not a part of the then-Barisan Bersatu Rakyat of PKR, SNAP and PAS.

Speaking to FMT recently state PKR chief Baru Bian said: "Negative comments made by various quarters are unfair. They are not looking at the actual facts."



‘Educate public on monarchy system’

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 02:15 PM PDT

An ex-judge believes this would curb the mocking and belittling of the system.

(Bernama) -  A former Court of Appeal judge opined that certain Malaysians had no qualms about mocking or belittling the king because they were not familiar with Malaysia's constitutional monarchy system.

Mohd Noor Abdullah said in this regard, the system should be expounded to enlighten the general public on what it represented.

He hoped he would not be labeled as a racist for the statement.

"Recently I suggested that the govenment implement a one-school system but it does not mean that I want to eliminate the Chinese and Indian communities.

"Actually I only wanted to unite the people of various races in the country so that our children can study together in the same school and compete, not fight among themselves," he told reporters at his Aidilfitri open house in Taman Pinang Gading, Sikamat here yesterday.

Last May, Mohd Noor was heavily critised by various quarters for his views at a GE13 post mortem discourse in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Jempol MP Mohd Isa Abdul Samad who also attended the open house, said the ex-judge was merely expressing his personal opinions, "which he has the right to do".

On the National Harmony Act being formulated by the government to replace the Sedition Act 1948, Mohd Noor said it should encompass activities and relations among the races in the country.

"In England, they have a law called Race Relations Act for companies.

We in Malaysia can for instance, maintain harmony by not allowing race-based companies or associations to use public facilities," he said, among others.

MAS soars on Mahathir’s privatisation views

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 02:06 PM PDT

(The Edge) -  Malaysian Airline Systems Bhd (MAS) saw its share price soaring in very active trades during the morning session, following a statement made by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Yesterday, Mahathir said privatisation could be the answer to MAS' financial woes.

At 11.58 am today, MAS was the most actively traded counter across the exchange with 453.4 million shares changing hands. Its share price rose 5 sen or 15.15% to 38 sen.

Mahathir reportedly said that privatisation could force the company's management to turn the flagship carrier back to profitability.

"There are people who think that government linked companies are meant to provide employment opportunities and not to make money for the company or the government," he said on Sunday.

"Privatising MAS may change this and the airline can probably make money, instead of losses," he added.

Talk about the sale of MAS resurfaced recently following reports that several had sent in proposals to the government to buy over the loss-making airline.

However in a statement issued by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala, he clarified that the government has no intention of selling the national carrier at the moment.

The role of public interest litigation in the quest for democracy in Malaysia

Posted: 18 Aug 2013 01:45 PM PDT 

No tradition of such litigation has emerged because the long-standing UMNO government has attempted to prevent citizens and judges from developing such a tradition.

Dr. R. Rueban Balasubramaniam, New Mandala 

After the recent general election, Malaysian democrats have again been frustrated. Once more, the United Malay National Organization ("UMNO") emerged victorious, though many believe this was the most fraudulent election in Malaysia's political history. Now, democrats are redoubling their efforts to reveal such fraud and to seek electoral reform at least with an eye to winning the next election.

Democrats take solace in the fact that UMNO is on very vulnerable political terrain; it cannot compete fairly within upon a democratic playing field, but they should not just exert political pressure on UMNO. They can use another strategy: public interest litigation designed to embarrass UMNO's ethnocratic political program, a program rooted in an authoritarian and discriminatory principle of Malay political dominance. Through such litigation, democrats can cast further doubt on UMNO's claim to exercise legitimate political rule.

At present, Malaysia has no tradition of public interest litigation. This, despite the existence of a supreme written Constitution that contains a bill of rights and provisions that protect important group interests within a rubric of legal equality and provisions that express the principles of the separation of powers and federalism, which guard against the excessive concentration of power in any single organ of government. It is plain that the constitutional framework imposes legal discipline upon political power in a way that is hostile to authoritarian rule that is readily amenable to public interest litigation.

Yet, no tradition of such litigation has emerged because the long-standing UMNO government has attempted to prevent citizens and judges from developing such a tradition. In the 1980s, after concerned citizens went to court to ask judges to check state authoritarianism by reference to constitutional norms, the government, led by Dr. Mahathir Mohammad, UMNO's most well-known ethnocrat and the country's longest serving Prime Minister, put an end to this practice. It sacked judges and amended the Constitution to limit judicial review. And, allegedly, the government rigged judicial appointments to produce a compliant judiciary.

Bracketing the question whether or not the courts are now well placed to develop a tradition of public interest litigation, it first bears noting that the conditions are right to revive public interest litigation. UMNO is weak. It no longer has a supermajority in Parliament and cannot amend the Constitution to suit politically expedient goals. Nor can it afford to appear to meddle in judicial affairs. Perhaps most significant is that UMNO lacks competent leadership. This is the result Dr. Mahathir's long reign as UMNO head. Fearing challenge from within UMNO, he did not groom an adequate leadership structure within the party, so when he retired in 2003, he left it without the intellectual wherewithal to survive.

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