KL uncertainty: Wait for Oct?


And on Oct 13, when Parliament reconvenes, Mr Anwar (pictured) will come under pressure to produce his defectors.

Situation may settle after Umno nominations, reopening of Parliament

KUALA LUMPUR: The story of Malaysia mired in political uncertainty is old news, but the line-up of political events this month has raised expectations that some stability could return to the country.
October marks the start of election season for Umno, the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Gerakan - three of the major components of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

And it is also in this month that Parliament will reconvene, providing a make-or-break opportunity for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to seize power through defections.

By the end of the month, Malaysians could have a clearer idea of the country's direction, after nearly seven months of leadership tussles since the March general election threw the power balance off-kilter.

It will come as a relief as political fatigue has set in, and fears over the economy have heightened. More than 50 per cent of respondents in a recent survey cited economic issues as their biggest worry.

'The government has been unable to respond to the economic crisis with even a basic plan of action,' said Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in a recent statement.

The most-watched event this month will begin on Oct 9 with Umno's 191 divisions starting their annual meetings to make nominations for top posts in the party. Party elections will be held in March.

All eyes are on PM Abdullah, as Umno party nominations draw near
Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, who has indicated early retirement, has pledged to announce by then if he will contest the Umno presidency. By convention, the Umno president is also Malaysia's prime minister.

If he does not, it will mean a handover of power to his current deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, by March. But if he does contest, it could mean more turbulence for Malaysia. The general consensus is that he will not stand but until he makes this clear, the tussling will continue.

The Umno party nominations beginning on Oct 9 could see a handover of power to Mr Najib
Even now, there is talk that Datuk Seri Abdullah's supporters want the premiership divorced from the Umno presidency. This means that Mr Abdullah may remain prime minister, but such a move is highly unlikely to be acceptable.

The prolonged uncertainty has prompted three divisions to declare that they will nominate Mr Najib for the top post, a signal to Mr Abdullah that he may not make the 58 nominations needed to contest.

Oct 9 is closely watched as Mr Abdullah's decision will have a bearing on the battle on another front - the war being waged by Datuk Seri Anwar.

The opposition leader, who has repeatedly threatened to seize power through defections, will himself face a deadline of sorts when Parliament reconvenes on Oct 13 after a six-week recess.

He had challenged Mr Abdullah to hold an emergency parliamentary session to face a vote of confidence. The PM has refused. But when Parliament reconvenes, Mr Anwar will come under pressure to produce his defectors. His repeated failure to do so has already prompted some Malaysians to question his credibility.

'Anwar's credibility has already been hit, but he's a cat with nine lives,' said political analyst Ong Kian Ming.

If Parliament reopens with the prospect of Mr Najib becoming premier by March, it will make it more difficult for Mr Anwar to achieve his ambition. A greater clarity about BN's future leadership will convince some of his claimed defectors to wait and see.

Gerakan, which has two MPs, may also pipe down on its threat to leave the coalition. It is not clear if president Koh Tsu Koon was serious when he said the Chinese-based party was not ruling out the possibility of switching alliances, but clearly his strong words were also geared towards his party's Oct 11 election.

Speculation is rife that he may face a challenge from a younger leader who will take a stronger line against Umno's increasingly sharp Malay rhetoric, as it seeks to regain voter support. The tone of its delegates' conference will provide clues to Gerakan's future direction, especially over the level of pressure from the grassroots for a pullout from the BN.

There is no similar threat from the BN's biggest Chinese party, MCA, which will hold its own election on Oct 18, but expect tough rhetoric from the delegates.

The presidency is being contested between the outspoken Transport Minister Ong Tee Keat and former Health Minister Chua Jui Meng.

October has all the hallmarks of a politically eventful month for Malaysia. By the time it ends though, things could be much more settled than they have been for some time.

Carolyn Hong
The Straits Times
Singapore
01/10/09

Racial Quotas In Malaysia: Grim Warning For America

Over the course of several trips to the South East Asian country of Malaysia I have been struck by how similar Malaysia’s race relations are to America’s—despite the obvious enormous differences. The official Malaysian policy of dispensing privileges by race may even be a warning of what the future may hold if our current policies and demographic trends continue.

Malaysia is about 60 percent Malay, 25 percent Chinese, and 8 percent Indian. In the 19th century, the British colonial government found that the native Malays did not want to work in tin mines or on rubber plantations, so they imported people who did: Tamils from India. The British also worried that smart Chinese immigrants would dominate the country.

They therefore deliberately steered business to Malays and recruited them for government jobs. They feared—rightly as it turned out—that Malays would turn ugly if they thought Chinese were getting too far ahead. The British wanted Malays to keep getting a leg up even after independence in 1957, so when they drafted a constitution for the new country, they included Article 153 specifically to "safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives" through relatively mild preferences in education, the civil service and business licenses.

The races rubbed along without too much friction until 1969. That year, Chinese political parties nearly upset the ruling Malay coalition and held a victory parade through Malay neighborhoods in the capital city, Kuala Lumpur. The Malays didn’t like Chinese flaunting their power, and rioted, killing hundreds of Chinese. [Race War In Malaysia, Time Magazine, May. 23, 1969]

Violence works. The government responded with a new, stronger pro-Malay preferences program called the New Economic Policy (NEP), designed to increase the Malay share of national wealth. It is also known as the Bumiputra Program, from a Malay word that means "son of the soil" or "native."

All Malaysians are officially divided into bumiputras, who get preferences, and non-bumiputras, who don’t. "Bumis" must be Muslim Malay stock, though they need not be from Malaysia. This means an immigrant from Indonesia gets preferences over Indians or Chinese who have been in Malaysia for generations. Some of the specifics of the NEP are that Malays get a 60 percent quota at universities, discounts on real estate, and a guaranteed 30 percent of all new issues on the Malaysian stock market. The civil service became a bumi reserve, companies owned by non-bumis were barred from government contracts, and it became even harder for Indians and Chinese to get business licenses. The NEP set aside millions of dollars to pay for overseas training for Malay students and executives.

The Bumiputra Program does not take class into consideration, so the children of Malay millionaires get the inside track on boardroom posts, overseas scholarships, business licenses and plum government jobs. Minorities don’t like the system, but there is little they can do in a country that is majority Malay.

The Chinese are thriving despite the quotas. They keep quiet about their wealth but work harder than ever. Are they shut out of universities? They send their children to school in Australia or the United States. Can’t join the civil service? They get better-paying jobs as lawyers, accountants, and doctors in private hospitals. Have to sell 30 percent of the company to bumiputras? They still keep control, and use their legendary commercial skills to dominate the wholesale and import/export trades.

The Indians get the scraps. Many had lost their old jobs as rubber tappers or oil-palm farmers, as plantations were converted to housing estates and golf courses for rich Malays and Chinese. A few Hindu temples have been torn down to make way for highways, which makes Indians furious. But their biggest complaint is the quota system that keeps them out of universities.

The general sense among Malays is that this is their country and this is the way they will run it; Indians and Chinese are lucky just to be citizens. As the governing Malay party’s Youth Information Chief, Azimi Daim, famously pointed out in 2003:

"In Malaysia, everybody knows that Malays are the masters of this land. We rule this country as provided for in the federal constitution. Anyone who touches upon Malay affairs or criticizes Malays is [offending] our sensitivities." [Abdullah stirs a hornets' nest, By Ioannis Gatsiounis, Asia Times, October 2, 2004]]

Most of the time, Indians and Chinese don’t make a fuss. But all whom I spoke to privately said the system was unfair, and they look down on Malays as lazy and spoiled. They have no kind words for Malays who glide into top schools, cushy government jobs, discount housing, and cut-rate car loans just because they are bumis. Beneath the surface, the country is divided by race, and Chinese and Indians do not feel emotionally Malaysian.

What does this suggest about the future of the United States? Most Americans can hardly imagine preferences for the majority and—if they even think about it—assume that racial preferences will fade away as the U.S. becomes more diverse and they become a minority.

They shouldn’t count on it. As Malaysia proves, groups don’t have to be minorities to develop a taste for preferences.

The crucial factor no one talks about—either in Malaysia or in the United States—is IQ. The average IQ for the Malays and Indians is about 87 while that of the Chinese is around 103. That is why the Chinese thrive despite the Bumiputra Program but the Indians don’t.

Preferences for bumis were supposed to be temporary—just as in the United States—to give them just enough of a boost so they could compete with the Chinese. The trouble with preferences is that they don’t raise a group’s average IQ, and temporary programs become permanent.

In America, blacks and Hispanics will not lose interest in preferences just because they become the majority. On the contrary, once they have enough political power, I suspect they will not hesitate to legislate in favor of themselves. Racial preferences may seem to be on the wane now, but when the balance of power shifts they will be back.

Jared Taylor is the editor of American Renaissance.

Jared Taylor
Why VDARE.com

Selamat Hari Raya - Speak Truth To Power

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all Muslims in Malaysia.

As all Malaysians, Muslim and non-Muslim, celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri, it is appropriate that thought should also be given to recent major developments in the country, including:

• Blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin spending the Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Kamunting Detention Centre as an Internal Security Act detainee, not because RPK has committed any crime but because of his great act of patriotism to speak truth to power. Together with RPK in Kamunting Detention Centre are the Hindraf Five and some 60 other ISA detainees – all of whom should be released immediately and unconditionally.

• The last Hari Raya Aidilfitri for Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Prime Minister as a very clear message has been made in the “926” Umno Supreme Council emergency meeting that the “knives will be out” if he does not heed the ultimatum to announce before October 9 that he will relinquish the post of Prime Minister by March next year and that he would not seek re-election as Umno President. In case the message is not clear enough, four UMNO divisions have publicly stated their intention to nominate Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as candidates for Umno President and Deputy President respectively. Will there be a stampede of Umno divisions declaring their intention to nominate Najib and Muhyideen for the two top Umno posts in the next seven days should Abdullah continue to be ambivalent whether to re-contest as Umno President or not?

• Whether the Prime Minister presiding over the Hari Raya Aidilfitri next year will be Najib or Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim heading a new Pakatan Rakyat federal government; and

• the unprecedented multiple crisis of confidence which had widened and deepened in the past seven months since the March 8 “political tsunami:”, whether political, economic, educational, good governance, nation-building, battle against corruption, eradication of poverty, international competitiveness, resulting in drift and total lack of national leadership and direction, driving away FDIs and rendering the nation ill-prepared to face the financial meltdown looming in the international financial horizon.

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Lim Kit Siang

PRESS STATEMENT – HINDRAF – VISIT TO PM OPEN HOUSE

HINDRAF
135-3-A Jalan Toman 7
Kemayan Square 70200
Seremban.

PRESS STATEMENT – HINDRAF – VISIT TO PM OPEN HOUSE

HINDRAF would like to inform the public that the Prime Minister’s department had acknowledged receipt of our request to lead a delegation of 10,000 HINDRAF supporters and that the Prime Minister had been advised accordingly.

HINDRAF call upon all HINDRAF supporters and all Malaysians to visit the Prime Minister on the 1st day open house at PWTC to make it a memorable day whereby each one of us as a citizen of this democratic Malaysia can actually see him eye to eye and wish him a Selamat Hari Raya and demand that the ISA to be abolished and release our leaders along with the others in the spirit of humanity and mankind.

This is an occasion on an auspicious day for all HINDRAF supporters and all Malaysians to come forward and voice your feeling without any red tape bureaucracy directly to the premier so that the moral and spiritual truth in each one of us as a rakyat can be heard by him directly in the spirit that is coherent with the creation of the original constitution by our forefathers.

HINDRAF urges all its supporters to come it their orange t-shirts and assembly at the main entrance of PWTC on the 1st day of Hari Raya at 11.00am.

Your presence will show that HINDRAF is about everyone for the goodness of Malaysia to live a fair, equal and just life in this multicultural society.

P.Waytha Moorthy
HINDRAF – Chairman

Zaid Ibrahim writes open letter to PM (malaysiakini)


In our proclamation of independence, our first prime minister gave voice to the lofty aspirations and dreams of the people of Malaya: that Malaya was founded on the principles of liberty and justice, and the promise that collectively we would always strive to improve the welfare and happiness of its people.

Many years have passed since that momentous occasion and those aspirations and dreams remain true and are as relevant to us today as they were then. This was made possible by a strong grasp of fundamentals in the early period of this nation.The federal constitution and the laws made pursuant to it were well founded; they embodied the key elements of a democracy built on the rule of law. The Malaysian judiciary once commanded great respect from Malaysians and was hailed as a beacon for other nations.

Our earlier prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn were truly leaders of integrity, patriots in their own right and most importantly, men of humility. They believed in and built this nation on the principles and values enunciated in our constitution. Even when they had to enact the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960, they were very cautious and apologetic about it. Tunku stated clearly that the Act was passed to deal with the communist threat.“My cabinet colleagues and I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silent lawful dissent”, was what the Tunku said.

Our third prime minister, Tun Hussein Onn, reinforced this position by saying that the ISA was not intended to repress lawful political opposition and democratic activity on the part of the citizenry.

Gov’t has failed the people
The events of the last three weeks have compelled me to review the way in which the ISA has been used. This exercise has sadly led me to the conclusion that the government has time and time again failed the people of this country in repeatedly reneging on that solemn promise made by Tunku Abdul Rahman.

This has been made possible because the government and the law have mistakenly allowed the minister of home affairs to detain anyone for whatever reason he thinks fit. This subjective discretion has been abused to further certain political interests. History is the great teacher and speaks volumes in this regard. Even a cursory examination of the manner in which the ISA has been used almost from its inception would reveal the extent to which its intended purpose has been subjugated to the politics of the day.

Regrettably, Tunku Abdul Rahman himself reneged on his promise. In 1965, his administration detained Burhanuddin Helmi, the truly towering Malay intellectual, a nationalist who happened to be a PAS leader. He was kept in detention until his death in 1969. Helmi was a political opponent and could by no stretch of the imagination be considered to have been involved in the armed rebellion or communism that the ISA was designed to deal with.This detention was an aberration, a regrettable moment where politics had been permitted to trump the rule of law. It unfortunately appears to have set a precedent and many detentions of persons viewed as having been threatening to the incumbent administration followed through the years.

Even our literary giant, ‘sasterawan negara’ the late Tan Sri A Samad Ismail was subjected to the ISA in 1976. How could he have been a threat to national security? I need not remind you of the terrible impact of the 1987 Operasi Lalang. Its spectre haunts the government as much as it does the peace-loving people of this nation, casting a gloom over all of us.

There were and still are many unanswered questions about those dark hours when more than a hundred persons were detained for purportedly being threats to national security. Why they were detained has never been made clear to Malaysians.Similarly, no explanation has been forthcoming as to why they were never charged in court. Those detainees included amongst their numbers senior opposition members of parliament who are still active in Parliament today.

The only thing that is certain about that period was that Umno was facing a leadership crisis. Isn’t it coincidental that the recent spate of ISA arrests has occurred when Umno is again having a leadership crisis?

‘Militant’ Ezam back in Umno
In 2001, Keadilan ‘reformasi’ activists were detained in an exercise that the Federal Court declared was in bad faith and unlawful. The continued detention of those that were not released earlier in the Kamunting detention facility was made possible only by the fact that the ISA had been questionably amended in 1988 to preclude judicial review of the minister’s order to detain.

Malaysians were told that these detainees had been attempting to overthrow the government via militant means and violent demonstrations. Seven years have gone and yet no evidence in support of this assertion has been presented. Compounding the confusion even further, one of these so-called militants, Ezam Mohamad Noor, recently rejoined Umno to great fanfare, as a prized catch it would seem.

At around the same time, members of PAS were also detained for purportedly being militant and allegedly having links to international terrorist networks. Those detained included Nik Adli, the son of Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the menteri besar of Kelantan. Malaysians were made a promise by the government that evidence of the alleged terrorist activities and links of these detainees would be disclosed. To date no such evidence has been produced.

The same formula was used in late 2007 when the Hindraf 5 were detained. Malaysians were told once again that these individuals were involved in efforts to overthrow the government and had links with the militant Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka.


To date no concrete evidence have been presented to support this assertion.It would seem therefore that the five were detained for their involvement in efforts that led to a mobilisation of Indian Malaysians to express, through peaceful means; their frustration against the way in which their community had been allowed to be marginalised. This cause has since been recognised as a legitimate one.

The Hindraf demonstration is nothing extraordinary as such assemblies are universally recognised as being a legitimate means of expression. In the same vein, the grounds advanced in support of the most recent detentions of Tan Hoon Cheng, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra Kamarudin leave much to be desired. The explanation that Tan Hoon Cheng was detained for her own safety was farcical. The suggestion that Teresa Kok had been inciting religious sentiments was unfounded as was evinced by her subsequent release. As for Raja Petra Kamarudin, the prominent critic of the government, a perusal of his writings would show that he might have been insulting of the government and certain individuals within it.

However, being critical and insulting could not in any way amount to a threat to national security. If his writings are viewed as being insulting of Islam, Muslims or the Holy Prophet (pbuh), he should instead be charged under the Penal Code and not under the ISA.In any event, he had already been charged for sedition and criminal defamation in respect of some of his statements. He had claimed trial, indicating as such his readiness and ability to defend himself. Justice would best be served by allowing him his day in court more so where, in the minds of the public, the government is in a position of conflict for having been the target of his strident criticism.

Law used against dissidents
The instances cited above strongly suggest that the government is undemocratic. It is this perspective that has over the last 25 plus years led to the government seemingly arbitrarily detaining political opponents, civil society and consumer advocates, writers, businessmen, students, journalists whose crime, if it could be called that, was to have been critical of the government.How it is these individuals can be perceived as being threats to national security is beyond my comprehension.

The self-evident reality is that legitimate dissent was and is quashed through the heavy-handed use of the ISA. There are those who support and advocate this carte-blanche reading of the ISA. They will seek to persuade you that the interests of the country demand that such power be retained, that Malaysians owe their peace and stability to laws such as the ISA. This overlooks the simple truth that Malaysians of all races cherish peace. We lived together harmoniously for the last 400 years, not because of these laws but in spite of them.

I believe the people of this country are mature and intelligent enough to distinguish actions that constitute a ‘real’ threat to the country from those that threaten political interests. Malaysians have come know that the ISA is used against political opponents and, it would seem, when the leadership is under challenge either from within the ruling party or from external elements. Malaysians today want to see a government that is committed to the court process to determine guilt or innocence even for alleged acts of incitement of racial or religious sentiment. They are less willing to believe, as they once did, that a single individual, namely the minister of home affairs; knows best about matters of national security.

They value freedom and the protection of civil liberties and this is true of people of other nations too.

I attempted to push for reform
Mr Prime Minister, the results of the last general election are clear indication that the people of Malaysia are demanding a reinstatement of the rule of law. I was appointed as your, albeit short-lived, minister in charge of legal affairs and judicial reform.
In that capacity, I came to understand more keenly how many of us want reform, not for the sake of it, but for the extent to which our institutions have been undermined by events and the impact this has had on society. With your blessing, I attempted to push for reform. High on my list of priorities was a reinstatement of the inherent right of judicial review that could be enabled through a reversion of the key constitutional provision to its form prior to the controversial amendment in 1988.

I need not remind you that that constitutional amendment was prompted by the same series of events that led not only to Operasi Lalang but the sacking of the then Lord President and two supreme court justices.Chief amongst my concerns was the way in which the jurisdiction and the power of the courts to grant remedy against unconstitutional and arbitrary action of the executive had been removed by Parliament and the extent to which this had permitted an erosion of the civil liberties of Malaysians.

It was this constitutional amendment that paved the way for the ouster provision in the ISA that virtually immunises the minister from judicial review, a provision which exemplifies the injustice the constitutional amendment of 1988 has lent itself. I also sought to introduce means by which steps could be taken to assist the judiciary to regain the reputation for independence and competence it once had. Unfortunately, this was viewed as undesirable by some since an independent judiciary would mean that the executive would be less ‘influential’. I attempted to do these things and more because of the realisation that Malaysia’s democratic traditions and the rule of law are under siege. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with giving everyone an independent judiciary and the opportunity to a fair trial.

This is consistent with the universal norms of human rights as it is with the tenets of Islam, the religion of the federation. Unchecked power to detain at the whim of one man is oppressiveness at its highest. Even in Israel, a nation that is perpetually at war the power to detain is not vested in one man and detention orders require endorsement from a judge. If there are national security considerations, then these can be approached without jettisoning the safeguards intended to protect individual citizens from being penalised wrongfully. In other jurisdictions involved in armed conflicts, trials are held in camera to allow for judicial scrutiny of evidence considered too sensitive for public disclosure so as to satisfy the ends of justice.

If this can be done in these jurisdictions, why not here where the last armed struggle we saw, the very one that precipitated the need for the ISA, came to an end in the 1980s?

ISA was never intended to be permanent
Any doubts as to the continued relevance of the ISA in its present form should have been put to rest by the recommendation by the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) that the ISA be repealed and an anti-terror legislation suited to the times enacted in its place. Containing as it did a sunset clause in its original times, the ISA was never intended to be a permanent feature on the Malaysian legal landscape. Through its continued use in the manner described above and in the face of public sentiment, it is only natural that the ISA has become in the mind of the people an instrument of oppression and the government is one that lends itself to oppressiveness.

Its continued use does not bode well for a society that is struggling to find its place in the global arena. It does not bode well for the democracy that is so vital for us to develop sustainably. Mr Prime Minister, I remember very clearly what you once said; that if one has the opportunity to do what is good and right for the country, then he must take on the task. I respect you deeply for that and if I were confident that I would have been able to do some good for Malaysia, I would have remained on your team.

Sir, you are still the prime minister and you still have the opportunity to leave your footprint in Malaysian history. I urge you to do so by repealing the ISA once and for all. Let us attempt to fulfil that solemn promise made by our beloved first prime minister to the people of this country.
Yours sincerely
Zaid Ibrahim
malaysiakini

Letter to PM ( Pregant Rajeswary detained without proper trail)


Y.A.B. DATO’ SERI ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI
Prime Minister of Malaysia
Block Utama,
Bangunan Perdana Putra,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
62502 Putrajaya
Tel: 03 8888 8000
Fax: 03 8888 3444

30/09/2008

Y.A.B,

Re: Six months pregnant Malaysian born Rajeswary (22) “detained without trial” and delivered her baby at Lenggang detain centre and to be deported to Sri Lanka.

We refer to the above matter which was reported in the New Straits Time on 19/09/08 at page 3 and the front page of the Tamil Nesan dated 08/09/08 and to the very serious race and religious extremist policies and the implementation thereof in the UMNO controlled administration of the various government machinery concerning Rajeswary but which is the tip of iceberg with regards to the pain and sufferings of the Indians in Malaysia on a day to day basis as follows:

1) Police Force.
Six months pregnant Rajeswary was arrested on suspicious being a Sri Lankan in Brickfields for having lost her identity card and not being able to remember her identity card number and her less than satisfactory command of the Malay language. Had the arresting police personal asked her the relevant questions about her whereabouts, where she studied and at least two references that could vouch for her, there would have been no necessity to arrest her. But things have come to a stage in Malaysia generally that when the police see an Indian they see a suspect worthy of being harassed or detained without proper investigation or evidence. An immediate finger point check would have revealed that Rajeswary was Malaysian born.

2) Junior Magistrates dispensing Justice.
Rajeswary was given a trial by a “qualified and independent” Magistrate to two months jail, we presume under Malaysia’s “Summary Justice” lasting a few minutes. This learned Magistrate did not bother sending Rajeswary for finger print test or asking the police to verify her references before sentencing her to two months imprisonment. Sending someone to jail has not been done with extreme caution. Magistrates are also known to be “friendly” with the police. Magistrates must have at least seven year standing before being allowed to dispense justice especially sending people to jail.

3) No State funded legal aid.
Assuming there was fully state funded effective legal aid for all criminal cases to be fair as one single individual has to face the weight and might of the whole state machinery, this and hundreds of similar or worse injustices would not be happening to especially the Indians. The RM 207.93 Billion budget made zero provisions for the provision of legal aid. Even in Thailand the legal aid lawyer is given a room within the police station itself to see to the administration of justice being meted out fairly.

4) No qualified Public Prosecutor
Even after 51 years of independence, legally qualified junior Police Officers still conduct criminal prosecutions at Magistrates Courts. A legally qualified Public Prosecutor would have made the difference by at least having a thumb print check and a check of her family’s permanent address. Yet again there had been zero allocation for legally qualified Public Prosecutors at all levels of the Malaysian Judiciary including the Magistrates Courts. The Police end up being the arresting officer, investigating officer, the prosecuting officer and the jailor all in one without proper check and balance.

5) Prison and Welfare Authorities.
Had the prison welfare officers taken even the basic and minimum standards of care and basic humanitarian concern, Rajeswary would not have served her two months sentence and a further nine months detention at the Lenggang Detention Centre. Rajeswary was lucky not to have been “successfully” deported to Sri Lanka. The Prison and Welfare Officers failed justice.

6) Indian NGO
Rajeswary was lucky to have bumped into an Indian NGO member by chance when taken to a clinic to treat her daughter. The Malaysian Indian Youth Council had succeeded in tracing her birth certificate from her Tamil school, procured a confirmation letter from the National Registration Department in Putrajaya and eventually secured her release together with her now eight month old baby who probably has not been issued with a certificate only for her to be arrested and imprisoned like her mother in twenty years time. And the cycle goes on especially for the Indian community.

7) Multi Racial Civil Society
Had Rajeswary been at least a foreigner some NGOs’ would have reached her like the Nepali Bahadur case some two years ago. So much for multi racialism by the opposition parties, NGOs, civil society and print and electronic media and mainstream media except NST in this case.

8) No mercy for 8 months pregnant lady.
The Malaysian authorities obviously had no mercy for even this eight months pregnant Indian lady. What more the rest of the Indian community.

9) Failure of Education System.
Rajeswary has obviously not been given the basic education to even to be able to properly converse in Malay. What more to excel like the Malay Muslims.

10) Conclusion
This case is not an isolated. Every hundreds of especially the most vulnerable Indians suffer in almost all other aspects of day to day life at the hands of the Malaysian Authorities under UMNO’s racist and religious extremist regime’s policies and the implementation thereto. Suhakam Commissioner Datuk Khalid Ibrahim is in Inquiries confirm that there are many more children between the age 12 to 17 in detention camps. We dread thinking of the 40,000 Indian children in the State of Selangor alone without birth certificates. Why does this happen only to the Indians? It doesn’t happen to the Malays, Chinese, Orang Asli, Kadazan and Iban. Why? Because only the Indians are excluded from the Mainstream development in Malaysia.
In Rajeswary’s case an apology and a RM 500,000.00 compensation is in order.


Thank you,

Yours faithfully,



………………………
P. Waytha Moorthy
[Chairman- Currently in London]

Repeal the ISA, Zaid Ibrahim's open letter to PM

29 September 2008

YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi
Prime Minister of Malaysia
5th Floor, East Wing
Perdana Putra Building
Putrajaya
Malaysia

Dear Mr Prime Minister

In our proclamation of independence, our first Prime Minister gave voice to the lofty aspirations and dreams of the people of Malaya: that Malaya was founded on the principles of liberty and justice, and the promise that collectively we would always strive to improve the welfare and happiness of its people.

Many years have passed since that momentous occasion and those aspirations and dreams remain true and are as relevant to us today as they were then. This was made possible by a strong grasp of fundamentals in the early period of this nation. The Federal Constitution and the laws made pursuant to it were well founded; they embodied the key elements of a democracy built on the Rule of Law. The Malaysian Judiciary once commanded great respect from Malaysians and was hailed as a beacon for other nations. Our earlier Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn were truly leaders of integrity, patriots in their own right and most importantly, men of humility. They believed in and built this nation on the principles and values enunciated in our Constitution.

Even when they had to enact the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960, they were very cautious and apologetic about it. Tunku stated clearly that the Act was passed to deal with the communist threat. “My cabinet colleagues and I gave a solemn promise to Parliament and the nation that the immense powers given to the Government under the ISA would never be used to stifle legitimate opposition and silent lawful dissent”, was what the Tunku said. Our third Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn reinforced this position by saying that the ISA was not intended to repress lawful political opposition and democratic activity on the part of the citizenry.

The events of the last three weeks have compelled me to review the way in which the ISA has been used. This exercise has sadly led me to the conclusion that the Government has time and time again failed the people of this country in repeatedly reneging on that solemn promise made by Tunku Abdul Rahman. This has been made possible because the Government and the law have mistakenly allowed the Minister of Home Affairs to detain anyone for whatever reason he thinks fit. This subjective discretion has been abused to further certain political interests.

History is the great teacher and speaks volumes in this regard. Even a cursory examination of the manner in which the ISA has been used almost from its inception would reveal the extent to which its intended purpose has been subjugated to the politics of the day.

Regrettably, Tunku Abdul Rahman himself reneged on his promise. In 1965, his administration detained Burhanuddin Helmi, the truly towering Malay intellectual, a nationalist who happened to be a PAS leader. He was kept in detention until his death in 1969. Helmi was a political opponent and could by no stretch of the imagination be considered to have been involved in the armed rebellion or communism that the ISA was designed to deal with. This detention was an aberration, a regrettable moment where politics had been permitted to trump the rule of law. It unfortunately appears to have set a precedent and many detentions of persons viewed as having been threatening to the incumbent administration followed through the years. Even our literary giant, ‘sasterawan negara’ the late Tan Sri A Samad Ismail was subjected to the ISA in 1976. How could he have been a threat to national security?

I need not remind you of the terrible impact of the 1987 Operasi Lalang. Its spectre haunts the Government as much as it does the peace loving people of this nation, casting a gloom over all of us. There were and still are many unanswered questions about those dark hours when more than a hundred persons were detained for purportedly being threats to national security. Why they were detained has never been made clear to Malaysians. Similarly, no explanation has been forthcoming as to why they were never charged in court. Those detainees included amongst their numbers senior opposition Members of Parliament who are still active in Parliament today. The only thing that is certain about that period was that UMNO was facing a leadership crisis. Isn’t it coincidental that the recent spate of ISA arrests has occurred when UMNO is again having a leadership crisis?

In 2001, Keadilan ‘reformasi’ activists were detained in an exercise that the Federal Court declared was in bad faith and unlawful. The continued detention of those that were not released earlier in the Kamunting detention facility was made possible only by the fact that the ISA had been questionably amended in 1988 to preclude judicial review of the Minister’s order to detain. Malaysians were told that these detainees had been attempting to overthrow the Government via militant means and violent demonstrations. Seven years have gone and yet no evidence in support of this assertion has been presented. Compounding the confusion even further, one of these so-called militants, Ezam Mohamad Noor, recently rejoined UMNO to great fanfare, as a prized catch it would seem.

At around the same time, members of PAS were also detained for purportedly being militant and allegedly having links to international terrorist networks. Those detained included Nik Adli, the son of Tuan Guru Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat the Menteri Besar of Kelantan. Malaysians were made a promise by the Government that evidence of the alleged terrorist activities and links of these detainees would be disclosed. To date no such evidence has been produced.

The same formula was used in late 2007 when the HINDRAF 5 were detained. Malaysians were told once again that these individuals were involved in efforts to overthrow the Government and had links with the militant Liberation Tiger of Tamil Eelam of Sri Lanka. To date no concrete evidence have been presented to support this assertion. It would seem therefore that the five were detained for their involvement in efforts that led to a mobilisation of Malaysian Indians to express, through peaceful means, their frustration against the way in which their community had been allowed to be marginalised. This cause has since been recognised as a legitimate one. The HINDRAF demonstration is nothing extraordinary as such assemblies are universally recognised as being a legitimate means of expression.

In the same vein, the grounds advanced in support of the most recent detentions of Tan Hoon Cheng, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra Kamarudin leave much to be desired. The explanation that Tan Hoon Cheng was detained for her own safety was farcical. The suggestion that Teresa Kok had been inciting religious sentiments was unfounded as was evinced by her subsequent release.

As for Raja Petra Kamarudin, the prominent critic of the Government, a perusal of his writings would show that he might have been insulting of the Government and certain individuals within it. However, being critical and insulting could not in any way amount to a threat to national security. If his writings are viewed as being insulting of Islam, Muslims or the Holy Prophet (pbuh), he should instead be charged under the Penal Code and not under the ISA. In any event, he had already been charged for sedition and criminal defamation in respect of some of his statements. He had claimed trial, indicating as such his readiness and ability to defend himself. Justice would best be served by allowing him his day in court more so where, in the minds of the public, the Government is in a position of conflict for having been the target of his strident criticism.

The instances cited above strongly suggest that the Government is undemocratic. It is this perspective that has over the last 25 plus years led to the Government seemingly arbitrarily detaining political opponents, civil society and consumer advocates, writers, businessmen, students, journalists whose crime, if it could be called that, was to have been critical of the Government. How it is these individuals can be perceived as being threats to national security is beyond my comprehension. The self-evident reality is that legitimate dissent was and is quashed through the heavy-handed use of the ISA.

There are those who support and advocate this carte-blanche reading of the ISA. They will seek to persuade you that the interests of the country demand that such power be retained, that Malaysians owe their peace and stability to laws such as the ISA. This overlooks the simple truth that Malaysians of all races cherish peace. We lived together harmoniously for the last 400 years, not because of these laws but in spite of them.

I believe the people of this country are mature and intelligent enough to distinguish actions that constitute a ‘real’ threat to the country from those that threaten political interests. Malaysians have come know that the ISA is used against political opponents and, it would seem, when the leadership is under challenge either from within the ruling party or from external elements.

Malaysians today want to see a Government that is committed to the court process to determine guilt or innocence even for alleged acts of incitement of racial or religious sentiment. They are less willing to believe, as they once did, that a single individual, namely the Minister of Home Affairs, knows best about matters of national security. They value freedom and the protection of civil liberties and this is true of people of other nations too.

Mr Prime Minister, the results of the last General Election are clear indication that the people of Malaysia are demanding a reinstatement of the Rule of Law. I was appointed as your, albeit short-lived, Minister in charge of legal affairs and judicial reform. In that capacity, I came to understand more keenly how many of us want reform, not for the sake of it, but for the extent to which our institutions have been undermined by events and the impact this has had on society.

With your blessing, I attempted to push for reform. High on my list of priorities was a reinstatement of the inherent right of judicial review that could be enabled through a reversion of the key constitutional provision to its form prior to the controversial amendment in 1988. I need not remind you that that constitutional amendment was prompted by the same series of events that led not only to Operasi Lalang but the sacking of the then Lord President and two supreme court justices. Chief amongst my concerns was the way in which the jurisdiction and the power of the Courts to grant remedy against unconstitutional and arbitrary action of the Executive had been removed by Parliament and the extent to which this had permitted an erosion of the civil liberties of Malaysians. It was this constitutional amendment that paved the way for the ouster provision in the ISA that virtually immunises the Minister from judicial review, a provision which exemplifies the injustice the constitutional amendment of 1988 has lent itself.

I also sought to introduce means by which steps could be taken to assist the Judiciary to regain the reputation for independence and competence it once had. Unfortunately, this was viewed as undesirable by some since an independent Judiciary would mean that the Executive would be less ‘influential’.

I attempted to do these things and more because of the realisation that Malaysia’s democratic traditions and the Rule of Law are under siege. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with giving everyone an independent Judiciary and the opportunity to a fair trial. This is consistent with the universal norms of human rights as it is with the tenets of Islam, the religion of the Federation. Unchecked power to detain at the whim of one man is oppressiveness at its highest. Even in Israel, a nation that is perpetually at war, the power to detain is not vested in one man and detention orders require endorsement from a judge.

If there are national security considerations, then these can be approached without jettisoning the safeguards intended to protect individual citizens from being penalised wrongfully. In other jurisdictions involved in armed conflicts, trials are held in camera to allow for judicial scrutiny of evidence considered too sensitive for public disclosure so as to satisfy the ends of justice. If this can be done in these jurisdictions, why not here where the last armed struggle we saw, the very one that precipitated the need for the ISA, came to an end in the 1980s? Any doubts as to the continued relevance of the ISA in its present form should have been put to rest by the recommendation by the National Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) that the ISA be repealed and an anti-terror legislation suited to the times enacted in its place. Containing as it did a sunset clause in its original times, the ISA was never intended to be a permanent feature on the Malaysian legal landscape.

Through its continued use in the manner described above and in the face of public sentiment, it is only natural that the ISA has become in the mind of the people an instrument of oppression and the Government is one that lends itself to oppressiveness. Its continued use does not bode well for a society that is struggling to find its place in the global arena. It does not bode well for the democracy that is so vital for us to develop sustainably.

Mr Prime Minister, I remember very clearly what you once said; that if one has the opportunity to do what is good and right for the country, then he must take on the task. I respect you deeply for that and if I were confident that I would have been able to do some good for Malaysia, I would have remained on your team. Sir, you are still the Prime Minister and you still have the opportunity to leave your footprint in Malaysian history. I urge you to do so by repealing the ISA once and for all.

Let us attempt to fulfil that solemn promise made by our beloved first Prime Minister to the people of this country.

Yours sincerely

ZAID IBRAHIM
Kuala Lumpur

Let racial harmony prevail even without Race Relations Act

THIS letter published in an online portal caught my attention this week. Let me share the writer’s views with you all as I find it interesting and worth a discussion here.

“It puzzles me to see the government’s efforts to improve race relations through the enactment of new legislation. While the goals of the proposed law are noble, we must not forget that creating a harmonious multi-ethnic multi-religious society begins with equality.

“Recognising that all Malaysians are created equal, that all our forefathers had toiled and bled for our nation and therefore enjoying equitable rights in Malaysia is fundamental to achieving the stated goal.

“Secondly, value-based education as espoused by former president of India, APJ Abdul Kalam who visited Malaysia recently, beginning at homes and continued in schools, reinforcing that all of us are Malaysians with different cultural backgrounds but equitable rights in this country, is essential.

“We also need political will to ensure that race-based politics, ethno-discriminative laws and practices are abolished. For example, I have primary-school going cousins who are made to feel the differences between Muslims and non-Muslims from a young age.

“Even the school time table is adjusted for Muslims and non-Muslims and I have difficulty answering to their numerous ‘Why is that so?’ questions. I particularly remember a Standard 6 cousin of mine who was ecstatic when she found out that she and her best friend, a Malay girl, had both signed up for a school camping trip.

“However, upon arriving at the pick-up point, the teacher announced that non-Muslims were not allowed to participate in the trip. How can we promote race relations when children are denied the opportunity to mix, even at such a tender age?

“For the record, there is no such thing as non-Muslims. There are however Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Taoists and others. We need to educate our young children, not insulate them from learning about other religions, cultural beliefs and practices. Remember, ignorance breeds danger.

“Until all Malaysians feel they have equal rights in this country and are taught to respect one another, to learn about each others cultural background and religion, enacting legislation to promote race relations would be futile.

“Politicians making grand announcements such as ‘Malaysians respect each other’ or ‘We are all equal’ will merely be spouting rhetoric, until all of us Malaysians actually feel that way. Sadly, that is not the case today.”

Isn’t it ironic that after 51 years of independence (45 years for Sarawak and Sabah) we now find it necessary to legislate laws in order to inculcate racial harmony among Malaysians?

Sad as it may be — it is true that race relations in our country is something that we can no longer be proud of, at least in Semenanjung Malaysia.

Call me a biased Sarawakian if you will, but isn’t it true that racial issues (or even religious issues) have never been a major problem in Sarawak. The last time I heard of murmurs of the racial kind was the drinking of ‘Ribena’ — depicted as the blood of a certain community. But understandably, that was during the heat of an election campaign many many years ago and after that, it was no longer heard nor made an issue.

Those who disagree with me, please relate a recent incident in Sarawak where a racial issue had gotten so ugly that warranted government intervention. Honestly, I can’t think of any.

I can agree totally with the two points brought up by the letter writer — one, that creating a harmonious multi-ethnic multi-religious society begins with equality and two, value-based education beginning at homes and continued in schools, reinforcing that all of us are Malaysians with different cultural backgrounds but equitable rights in this country, is essential.

Let us look at years gone by. During my school days in Kuching, there was no such thing as racial segregation of any kind. The writer’s narration that his primary-school going cousins are being made to feel the differences between Muslims and non-Muslims at such a young age is something unheard of during my time.

Indeed, having the Race Relations Act may not solve the fundamental issues at hand. It all boils down to our education system. A good education system must nurture in its students a desire to live in peace with people of different races and religion, and to contribute to national unity.

Back then, we were allowed to ‘roam’ freely, so to speak. There was freedom to choose between taking Mandarin or Malay (then known as Bahasa Kebangsaan) classes. And as ours was a Catholic school, even Malay students were given the option to choose Scriptures as a subject for a public examination. No one complained because it was clear that other than for academic purposes, there was no motive to convert anyone into any religion.

Above all, I think everything was okay because no rowdy, racist politicians of the kind you find today existed during that time. Yes, I blame racial tension in the country today solely on politicians — the kind who have no right to be in politics in the first place.

And I am truly concerned that some of these people are now involved as legislators in the process to enact the Race Relations Act. These politicians are the last people on earth who should be involved in the drafting of the proposed Act, as they should take 100 per cent blame for the current poor race relations in Malaysia. I believe readers are aware of the kind I’m referring to here. Honestly, I shudder at the thought of their involvement in the proposed legislation.

My solution to the strengthening of racial ties among Malaysians is actually very simple, yet a monumental task too.

It is incumbent upon all of us, young or old, to play our part in maintaining and improving racial harmony in our neighbourhoods, schools, universities, work places and in the public sphere. Seriously, there is no way we can depend on the Race Relations Act or any legislation to ensure racial ties among Malaysians are strengthened.

Yes, it is really up to us to let racial harmony prevail. No law can force us to do that.

Borneo Post
29/09/08

Anwar leads Malaysia poll,economy dominates concerns


KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim scored better than the government's pick to become the next prime minister in an opinion poll which showed that worries over the economy dominated voter concerns.
Anwar is threatening to unseat the government that has ruled Malaysia for 51 years and the rise of the opposition since their success in elections in March has paralysed policy-making as top politicians from the government jostle for power.

The poll by the Merdeka Center published on Monday showed that for half of people questioned, the main concern in this country of 27 million people was the economy at a time when fuel prices have risen and inflation has surged to 27-year highs.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who has offered to quit early to avoid a leadership challenge topped the poll, although his approval ratings continue to fall.

Asked who would make the better prime minister, 40 percent said Anwar and 34 percent said Najib Razak. Najib has been named as successor to Abdullah who scored 43 percent.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister who was imprisoned on what he says were trumped up sodomy and corruption charges in the late 1990s was characterised as "a strong and visionary leader" and "a competent manager of the economy" by 51 percent of respondents in the poll of 1,003 voters.

He is facing new charges of sodomy which he denies.

Anwar has said that he has won over enough government MPs to oust Abdullah in a confidence vote in parliament and the prime minister on Friday said he would hand power to Najib, most likely in March.

Abdullah had earlier planned to hand over power in 2010.

Since becoming prime minister in 2004, Abdullah has failed to implement key pledges such as ending corruption and boosting the independence of the judiciary. The policy drift, along with rising racial tensions, has unsettled both party activists and investors.

NERVOUS MARKETS
A year ago just 25 percent of those questioned in a similar poll by Merdeka, an independent pollster, were worried about the economy in the poll a year ago compared with 50 percent now.

Markets are nervous over a prolonged transition.

"Political noise remains elevated, which we consider bearish for risky assets, including the ringgit, and bullish for government bonds," ING said in its morning Asia research report.

ING forecasts that the ringgit will end this year at 3.55 to the dollar compared with 3.4410, a depreciation of over 3 percent. It has already fallen 3.7 percent this year.

The plan to hand power to Najib has also unsettled some in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the party that dominates the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

On Saturday, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a former finance minister said the plan was "extra constitutional" and said he would stand in the party polls.

Home Minister Syed Hamid said on Sunday said that the intense contest for party posts was causing splits in UMNO.

"We see that the heat is becoming more intense, as though there are instigators pitting one group against another," he said, according to state news agency Bernama.

Traditionally the leader of UMNO is also the prime minister of Malaysia and under party rules, any contenders for UMNO president must garner 30 percent of total nominations to be eligible to run.

Reuters
29/09/08

Temple demolition: MP threatens to quit, MIC stages protest

KLANG: Kapar Member of Parliament S. Manickavasagam has threatened to quit as the Selangor PKR liaison committee deputy chairman if no action is taken against the council officers involved in the demolition of a Hindu temple in Ampang, while about 100 MIC members demonstrated over the issue.

Manickavasagam, who is also a PKR supreme council member, said he might quit the party altogether if he was not satisfied with the action taken by the state government to punish those responsible for the destruction of the Sri Mahakaliaman temple.

He said action should be taken against the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (MPAJ) president, its enforcement chief and the other officers involved, as the matter was never brought to the state government’s attention.

“I feel action must be taken especially against those directly involved in the demolition as this is a serious violation,” he said when contacted on Monday.

Rumours had been rife that Manickavasagam had already resigned as deputy chairman and PKR member following a report in a Tamil daily.

Selangor local government, study and research committee chairman Ronnie Liu was reported last week as saying that the MPAJ officers had acted against a state government directive not destroy places of worship.

He had said after Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance took over the state an order was issued to all local councils to cease all such actions against places of worship.

Manickavasagam meanwhile asked MIC and its president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu not to make a big issue out of the temple demolition as neither the Barisan Nasional component party nor its leaders acted when about 80 temples were demolished during Barisan’s administration of the state.

In SHAH ALAM, more than 100 representatives from MIC and Indian non-governmental organisations gathered at the main gate of the Selangor secretariat building on Monday morning to protest the demolition.

Organiser T. Mohan, who is MIC Youth chief, handed a memorandum to Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s political secretary, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

According to the state government, the 19-year-old temple near Kampung Tasek Tambahan was built on a forest reserve. It is learnt that the temple was destroyed and rebuilt at the same location a few times between 2002 and 2007.

When asked why MIC did not address the issue then, Mohan said the party had taken action and that was why the temple was rebuilt.

“There are so many temples without permit, that is a fact, we know it, but you (the state government) have promised not tear down any temples.

“I can tell you 50% to 60% of temples in the country don’t have proper permits and the (temple) committees may have not have been registered too, but that doesn’t mean you can tear down their temples,” he said.

Mohan also claimed that MIC had always fought against the demolition of temples, citing as an example the party’s protest to former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo when seven or eight temples in Puchong were demolished, including a controversial one in Padang Jawa, just before the March 8 general election.

Samy Vellu and Dr Khir became embroiled in a war of words, with the Umno man claiming that the demolition of the temple had been the MIC chief’s idea.

DHARMENDER SINGH and CHRISTINA TAN
Star Online
29/09/08

Multiracialism in Malaysia against injustice ?


Teresa Kok released from ISA, Hindraf lawyers still languishing in jail under ISA, (NTV news at 4.30pm 19/09/08). This afternoon Teresa Kok the M.P. for Seputeh and State Executive Councillor for Selangor was released. Hindraf is happy with this release and join millions of Malaysians in welcoming Teresa Kok back to civilian life as a free person again. We applaud proactive Malaysians who fearlessly campaigned and spoke out against her detention.

Minister in the Prime Ministers Department and de facto law Minister unprecedently tendered his resignation as a powerful UMNO Minister as a matter of principle as ISA which was originally meant against the communist and terrorist seeking to overthrow the government through violent means and using arms was used against Teresa Kok, Raja Petra and Sin Chiew’s Tan.

DAP’s supremo Lim Kit Siang formed a Parliamentary caucus for the release of Teresa. DAP pro-actively organised nationwide peaceful assemblies and marches for Teresa’s release. The PAS, PKR and DAP top leaders condemned Teresa’s arrest by way of media statements and press conferences. PAS Kota Raja Member of Parliament lodged a police report for abuse of powers in ISA for Teresa. Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced that foreign lawyers, (Queen’s Counsel) would be brought in to defend Teresa and we would seek an audience with the Sultan of Selangor to complain on Teresa’s arrest.. DAP’s Selangor leader Ronnie Liu, Selangor State Executive Councillor announced that the Selangor State Assembly would be specially convened to pass a motion condemning Teresa’s arrest.

Bar Council called for an urgent EGM the very next Saturday. Bulbir Singh, Lt ( R ) P. Nathan, Chelvam Rengasamy, Mohd Ghazali Osman of Ipoh and Teoh Boon Siew of P.J. wrote letters to the editor in the NST, M.Manoharan the MP for Teluk Intan organised a candle light vigil and peaceful assembly in Teluk Intan, Param Cumaraswamy the former U.N.Rappoter with Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyer Sankara Nair and other lawyers called for Teresa’s release. All this and scores of other public campaigns in the internet and elsewhere within six days and Teresa was released.

But for poor DAP Assemblyman for Kota Alam Shah and Hindraf legal adviser the same was not done. Even the Bar Council did not call for an EGM when four lawyers were detained under the ISA and an ISA warrant out against the fifth lawyer. So much for multiracialism in Malaysia because these five lawyers merely fought for the tiny minority ethnic Indians where the Malaysian Opposition parties, NGO’s and civil society do not get to score much political points by taking and making the same pro active actions as done for Teresa. Welcome to the real world.

In all Justice and Fairness let us treat the Indian issues as a Malaysian issue, let us fearlessly campaign and speak out, let us pro actively organise nationwide peaceful assemblies and marches, let us condemn the ISA arrest by way of media statements and press conferences, let us write letters to the editors, let us call for urgent EGM’s and even seek an audience with the Sultan of Selangor for the release of the Hindraf lawyers and all others detained under the ISA.

Let us do this vigorously and pro actively until they are released.

Voice of Hindraf

Over 60% of grassroots in Gerakan, MCA, MIC and over 80% of members of Sabah/Sarawak parties want to quit BN

The front-page headline in the evening edition of tomorrow’s Chinese newspapers is the speech by the Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon that at least 60 per cent of the grassroots in Gerakan want the party to leave Barisan Nasional (BN) to be “relieved of the heavy emotional burden of BN”.

Speaking at the opening of the Federal Territory (FT) Gerakan Wanita and Youth delegates conference this morning, Koh said the Gerakan Central Committee would undertake a more objective and rational analysis of the “quit BN” sentiments in the party.

I dare say without much fear of contradiction that if given the opportunity to voice out, it is not just over 60 per cent of the grassroots in Gerakan but also over 60 per cent of the membership in MCA and MIC would want their parties to leave Barisan Nasional – and the percentage will be even higher for many Barisan Nasional component parties in Sabah and Sarawak, easily exceeding 80%.

This is because the UMNOputra leadership, despite the major blow suffered by UMNO political hegemony in the March 8 general election by a multi-racial and multi-religious Pakatan Rakyat, has proved to be utterly insensitive, blind and deaf to the legitimate aspirations of all Malaysians, including ordinary Malays.

Although the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had immediately declared after the March 8 “political tsunami” that he had finally heard the message from the voters and would deliver the many reform pledges which he had failed to implement, things have gone from bad to worse with the widening and deepening of the multiple crisis of confidence in the country in the past seven months.

Recent events have highlighted the worsening multiple crisis of confidence on the political, economic, institutional and nation-building fronts like:

• The 2008 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development World Investment Report that Malaysia’s foreign direct investment outflows surpassed inflows last year - outflows surged by 82 per cent from 2006 to RM38 billion compared to inflows of RM29 billion, up 39 per cent. According to HLeBroking Research, foreign investors are exiting the country “at a worrying rate”, totaling RM125 billion for the first half of 2008.

• The plunge in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index from an all-time high of 1,524 points in January to 1,157 shortly after the March general election, to a two-year low of 963 on September 18.

• The 10-placing plunge in Malaysia’s ranking in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index during the five-year premiership of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from No. 37 in 2003 to No. 47 in 2008;

• The recent gross abuse of the Internal Security Act in the arbitrary arrests of Sin Chew reporter, Tan Hoon Cheng, DAP MP and Senior Exco Teresa Kok (both since released) and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin and the continued detention of the Hindraf Five and other ISA detainees.

• Malay chauvinism and communalism rearing their ugly heads – evidenced by the emphasis on ketuanan Melayu in direct conflict with the Vision 2020 objective of Bangsa Malaysia, which should focus on ketuanan rakyat Malaysia and the furore over Ahmad Ismail’s “penumpang” speech at the Permatang Pauh by-election.

With at least 60 per cent of the grassroots in Gerakan wanting to quit BN, is Koh and the Gerakan party leadership going to respect and accept these grassroots sentiments or are they going to ride roughshod over these majority sentiments of the Gerakan grassroots by dismissing them as irrational and emotional?

This is of course a decision which would have to be decided by the Gerakan internally, but Malaysians at large are waiting and watching the outcome of the Gerakan “soul-searching”.

Lim Kit Siang

Summary of Hindraf Candle Vigil on 27 Sept at Dataran Merdeka

The Hindraf Makkal Sakthi Candle Vigil on27 Sept 2008 at Dataran Merdeka was a good success with more than 10,000 people have gathered to support Anti ISA.

Earlier the police gave verbal warning to a small crowd of supporters gathered near the Bar Council near Dataran Merdeka at 6.45pm and again final warning to dispease at 7.15pm when we started the candle vigil. A negotiation took place and finally we moved the crowd to take a detour via the shortcut to Jln TunPerak.

Along the way more supporters from various group largely from Hindraf joins in and all lead to Dataran Merdeka entry thru Jalan Tun Perak. YB Mano, Lawyer Suren, RS Thanethiran and some key coordinators had negotiated and got approval to do vigil there till 8.00 pm.

By 8.00 pm the crowd grew to thousands. The whole crowd then moved to nearby temple, Sri Kotaimalai Pillayar temple near Puduraya. One side of JTP (Jln Tun Perak) were closed and police help to divert the traffic to other roads to exit KL. The crowd slowly march peacefully to the temple as the police allow the peace march.

The anti ISA mantra of "Mansuhkan ISA", "Kuburkan ISA", Bebaskan Tahanan ISA", "Bebaskan RPK" and of course "Hindraf Vaalge", "Makkal Sakti Vaalge", "Waythamoorthy Vaalge" and "Uthayakumar Vaalge" were chant loadly by supporters along the walk to the temple.

They also carried various sizes and type of banners refecting message the demands to Abolish ISA ,Release All ISA Detainees, Long Live Hindraf Leaders as they march. It was a fantastic moment in Malaysian history as all races joins in a walk of justice. Some of the muslim friends whom joined told me that they just finished the fast breaking and said that they completed the fasting as a devoted Muslim and dont want to miss this vigil as loving Malaysian standing for justice.

Never small was the strong support for RPK (Raja Petra), many of them were wearing TShirt with RPK picture demanding release of RPK. Many passby people whom were caught in surprise were with happy smiling faces and cheering us with support. Some even asked for candles to walk along. Most of them treasured this special moments in their handphone by taking pictures.

The crowd finally reached Puduraya at 9.00pm and they placed the candles outside the temple.

There 500 ghee lamp were ordered by the organising team earlier and many prayed the Lord Ganesha for His blessing and light up the ghee lamp.

Some of political leaders have also joined in the march. Among them were YB Manogaran, MP Teluk Intan whom also Legal Advisor of Hindraf, YB Tian Chua of PKR and YB Zuraida of Ampang.

The crowd were packed along the Jln Mahkamah and all continue to chant Abolish ISA and Vaalge Hindraf till 9.30pm. Various media from local and overseas covered the event and some interviewed the supporters as well. I was told by other reporters that there were 2 blind supporters whom took part in the vigil against ISA. I was touched for the high spirit held by these supporters whom able to "see" the unjustice in Malaysian law whereas the authority and leaders are still being "mute" and "dumb" on this draconian law.

Later at 9.30 pm, Mr RS Thanethiran, Hindraf National Lead Coordinator then gave a thanking speech to all. In his enegryful speech, he stressed that today had marked another history in Malaysia were all races walk in peace for justice. He also said that the people were the judges and they have said in a peacful manner today that Malaysian of all races are against draconian ISA. Home Minister Syed Albar should listen to the voice of the nation and should stop making his own decision.

Later he stressed that today the Malaysians and Hindraf proved to the government that we are peace loving people as the police obeyed the law as per Article 10 to allow the expression of view and gather in peace which transform to a peaceful gathering and march by all Malaysians without any unwanted incidents. He thanked the police for the support and hope this liberal approach would continue.

On the upcoming events, he said Hindraf invites all democratic peace loving Malaysian to join Hindraf to the PM open house for Hari Raya in PWTC on the 1st day of raya at 11am. Let us shake hand with him and seek for immediate release of all ISA detainees and bring the nation to a full democratic nation of just to all.

The crowd later disprease in peace at 9.45pm.

Thanks to all HINDRAF Makkal Sakthi supporters and other NGO as well opposition leaders for the support shown.

Special thanks to the PDRM for allowing us to practice the law and help in control the traffics.

Vaalge (Long Live) Hindraf "Makkal Sakthi" (People's Power).





Hindraf

Christina slams NRD over PR status for native

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Keadilan deputy chairperson Christina Liew has questioned the National Registration Department’s (NRD) decision to accord permanent resident (PR) status instead of citizenship to Yong Lee Hua@Piang Lin, a 78-year-old native Sino-Kadazan from here.

“We consider the NRD’s action as undermining the rights of native Sabahans,” she said In a statement issued here yesterday, she also called for the replacement of the NRD director with a Sabahan immediately so as to better protect the rights of Sabahans.

Christina said Sabahans especially Bumiputeras and natives to be united.

“We ask the BN component parties to leave the coalition if this matter is not resolved within a month. Sabahans must be united to defend their rights,” she urged.

Yong’s case was recently highlighted by Assistant Resource Development and Information Technology Minister, Donald Peter Mojuntin who is also United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation’s (UPKO) bureau chief for citizenship and security.

According to news reports, Yong’s life had been turned upside down as a result of the NRD’s oversight and incompetence. Her nightmare began when she lost her IC at a supermarket at Penampang Baru on Feb 12 and on the same day she lodged a police report and subsequently on Feb 26, applied for a replacement IC at the NRD office in Donggongon.

Several months later, she went to collect her replacement IC but was given a red IC. When asked why she was given a red IC, the lady officer said for senior citizens who lost their IC, the department normally replaced them with red ICs. Yong didn’t find anything amiss with the officer’s explanation until she reached home when her children told her a red IC was issued to people with PR status.

With the help of her children, they brought the matter up with the NRD together with supporting documents such as her native certificate issued by the Native Court on Sept 24, 1963, bank books and passport.

The NRD officer admitted there could have been an error but instead of rectifying it, Yong was asked to “apply for Malaysian citizenship” which she duly complied with by submitting an application form to the office on July 2, last year..

Her problem did not end there because soon after, her bank accounts at Amanah Saham Nasional and Alliance Bank were frozen making her unable to withdraw money for her daily expenses.

Fluent in Kadazan and Chinese, the mother of seven sons and one daughter could no longer travel outside the country as she could not renew her expired passport.

Strangely, she was allowed to cast her vote at Peak Nam Thong Kindergarten during the recent March 8 general election using her driving licence as identification document since her record in the polling list was still intact. But her identification records at the Immigration Department, however, had mysteriously “disappeared”.

Now, everywhere she goes, she has to use her driving licence as proof of her identity because she is too embarrassed with her predicament.

She now feared that her “new status” would have serious implication on her sons and daughter.

Upko’s deputy president Datuk Seri Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing had described the case as simply outrageous and said it warranted the party to review its position in the BN if this was found to be not just an isolated case.

Wilfred also said that if the NRD had committed a genuine mistake, it should have accord Yong the Malaysian citizenship right away.

He added that if the NRD was unable to handle Yong’s case, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar must intervene.

New Sabah Times
29/09/08

Ku Li calls on members to reject transition plan and move to postpone elections

KUALA LUMPUR: Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah reiterated his call for Umno members to reject the transition plan of the top leadership, labelling it as 'extra-constitutional'.

He also asked the members to press for the party's annual general assembly and elections be held in December as initially planned.

"I reject this transition plan because it is extra-constitutional. The constitution of Umno clearly states succession will be done through party election," said Ku Li in a press conference at his home.
While he does not refute the fact that there would be a party election, he said: "Here they are making arrangement that 'you take what I have'. That is not determined by members of the party."

On whether the party members have a legal recourse to the matter, he said according to the party constitution its members were prohibited from taking actions in court. "The minute we do that, we lose our membership," he added.

He also questioned the motive of moving the party annual general meeting and elections of key office bearers of Umno to March next year.

"Why must it be shifted to March? Why can't it be kept to December as decided? Is there going to be a war or a huge strike in December?," he asked.

On Friday, the Umno Supreme Council decided to push the annual general assembly to March next year.

Consequently the elections for key office bearers including the president and deputy president would also be held in March. Party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is under pressure to hand over his post to his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has not decided if he would defend his post. The postponement is a move to facilitate the early transition of power from Abdullah to Najib.

Razaleigh who has offered himself for the post of president said the contests for party posts should be open. He said irrespective of whether party president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi sought re-election or otherwise, he would continue to offer himself for the top post.

"I already offer myself and I don't make flip-flop decisions. I make decisions after I have thought them through. I feel there is a vacuum in the country's leadership. If I am accepted by the members and the people, I would be an effective leader.

"I would offer a change in Umno and offer an economic plan that would take us out from the problems that we are facing now," he said, adding that he would advocate a plan that would increase the earning per capita of the population from US$4,000 (RM13,720) to US$10,000 within five years.

He said the economy is in a mess. "There is capital flight, there is no new investment and there is massive unemployment. We have a large number not employed and if we don't look into these we are going to face bigger problems next year and the year after," he said.

On his chance in securing enough nominations to contest for the top posts, the Umno stalwart said he is confident.

"I am praying very hard to get 140 nominations. Then there will be no opposition," said Ku Li.

Asked if Abdullah was trying to buy more time to stay in power by delaying his announcement on whether to contest, Ku Li said: "Probably."

Ku Li said if Abdullah decides to contest and wins the presidency, then it is unlikely that he would step down.

"If he wants to step down, he can step down today. If he doesn't contest, he can't continue can he? If he continues and he wins, then it is another term of three years. I am sure he wants to continue as the prime minister as well. What is the point of contesting if (he) don't want to be president or PM of the country?," he told a packed press conference.

On whether he would name Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as his running mate, Ku Li said he has decided to leave the matter to the party members. "In the code of ethics of the party, we are not supposed to have teams," he added.

The Edge
28/09/08

FT Gerakan members defect to PKR

PETALING JAYA: More than 20 Federal Territory Gerakan members have defected to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) with “more expected in the coming weeks.”

Former Federal Territory Gerakan information bureau chief Gan Kok Keng said there would be at least 300 members from four divisions joining the opposition party soon.

The divisions involved are the Setiawangsa, Wangsa Maju, Bukit Bintang and Kepong divisions.

Gan, who had been with Gerakan for 24 years, said their desire to leave Gerakan stemmed from the inability of the party to play a meaningful role in Barisan Nasional.

“We have no decision-making powers and have been ignored and insulted many times,” he said.

Gan said what bothered him the most was the belief that the comments of former Bukit Bendera Umno chief Ahmad Ismail was not his own personal opinion but those of the party.

“Gerakan should not be appealing for action to be taken in any scenario but should be asking firmly instead,” he said at a press conference at the PKR headquarters here Sunday.

Also leaving Gerakan for PKR is their former Federal Territories Youth chief Tan Kang Ho, Federal Territories Economic Bureau chief Julian Leong, and Wangsa Maju secretary Azali Omar.

PKR vice-president and Subang Member of Parliament R. Sivarasa said the move by the Gerakan members to join PKR was something that was not easy to do.

“It is brave of them. There was also no offer of money and no discussion about positions in the party,” he said.

Earlier this month, former Segambut MP and Federal Territories Gerakan chief Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong also joined PKR.

ROYCE CHEAH
Star Online
28/09/08

Will UPKO Do As “SAPP”?

KOTA KINABALU: When Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Datuk Yong Teck Lee announced the party’s decision to leave the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition on Sept 17, it did not surprise many people as it was something to be expected.

This was because three months beforehand, SAPP had displayed such a tendency.

But when United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (UPKO) yesterday threatened to review its position in BN, it came as a shock and was seemingly reminiscent to SAPP’s political move.

UPKO thus became the second BN component party in Sabah to make a “strong statement” against BN after SAPP.

While SAPP unveiled Sabah-related issues as its political “weapon”, UPKO appeared to be unhappy with the way the National Registration Department (NRD) handled the plight of 78-year old Yong Lee Hua, a Sino-Kadazan, who was issued with a red identity card (IC) with a status of a permanent resident when she went to replace her blue IC that she lost in a supermarket in Penampang last year.

Surprised by the downgrading, UPKO deputy president Datuk Wilfred Bumburing was quoted as saying yesterday that taking away the citizenship of a locally-born Bumiputera and forcing the person to take permanent resident status was a shocking display of incompetence from a department rigged with controversies, including dubious ICs issued to illegal immigrants via false Statutory Declarations.

“This action by the NRD infringes the basic rights of Malaysians in Sabah and if it is not rectified, UPKO must seriously review its position in Barisan,” said Bumburing, who is member of Parliament for Tuaran.

So will UPKO follow SAPP because of its dissatisfaction with the BN?

A local political analyst, Iskandar Martin Gayo, believed that UPKO may have no plans to pull out of BN for now although the Sabah-based party had been quite vocal of late in airing the grouses and grievances of the people in Sabah.

“I think what UPKO wants is for the government to rectify the ‘mistake’ of a federal government department and it’s not an ultimatum. There is nothing wrong with it. After all what UPKO is fighting for is for the good of the local people in Sabah.

“It’s already an open secret that Sabah is inundated with illegal immigrants and some of them even managed to acquire MyKad through dubious means, which ultimately qualify them to get citizenship.

“How come these people can easily get citizenship when our own people are struggling to get it?” he asked.

He urged the federal government to let Sabahans lead the NRD and Immigration Department in Sabah as they would be more familiar with problems affecting the local population.

Iskandar said the state government under Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman had been working hard, together with the federal government, to tackle the problem of illegal immigrants.

The issue of illegal immigrants, he said, should not arise anymore as the state and federal governments were serious about solving it once and for all by launching a massive operation to flush out illegals in Sabah recently.

“Recent operations had resulted in thousands of illegal immigrants being sent back to their country of origin. The local people should give the government a chance to complete this gigantic task and all this will not be accomplished overnight,” he said.

Iskandar hoped the case involving Yong Lee Hua highlighted by UPKO was an isolated one and without necessitating it having to think about its status in BN.

He said even UPKO president and Penampang MP Tan Sri Bernard Dompok had previously denied that the party would leave BN.

Instead, UPKO leaders would remain loyal to BN chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, he said.

UPKO has four MPs — Dompok, Bumburing, Datuk Dr Marcus Majigoh (Putatan) and Datuk Siringan Gubat (Ranau).

Newmond Tibin
Bernama
28/09/08

Terima Kasih kepada semua anak bangsa Malaysia


27hb Sept 2008 sudah pasti akan menjadi kebangaan bagi setiap individu yang telah berani keluar berarak bersama ribuan yang lain dengan satu tujuan dan satu matlamat dengan membuktikan pada mata dunia bahawa anak bangsa Malaysia yang terdiri daripada pelbagai kaum, kepercayaan agama, peringkat usia dan kefahaman politik yang berbeza dapat berkumpul dan menuntut keadilan terhadap akta kezaliman ISA.

Saya sebagai salah seorang anak bangsa Malaysia yang berdiri teguh di samping perjuangan Hindraf Makkal Sakthi ingin merakamkan ribuan terima kasih dann pujian kepada semua yang telah turut sama menjayakan perarakan aman "Hindraf Anti-ISA CandleLight Vigil".

Sesuatu yang luar biasa terjadi pada perarakan hari ini di mana pihak polis bertindak secara adil dengan menjaga kelancaran trafik dan keselamatan peserta. Tiada sekatan jalan raya, tiada paksaan bersurai, tiada water canon, tiada bom pemedih mata, tiada keganasan mahupun kelakuan keterlaluan dan tiada tangkapan mahupun insiden yang tidak diingini dilaporkan berlaku sepanjang 2 jam tersebut.

Terima kasih kami ucapkan kepada pihak polis yang berlalu adil dan aman dengan menjaga keselamatan dan kelancaran perarakan kami sepanjang tempoh tersebut. Terima kasih yang teramat tinggi juga kepada semua pihak media massa terutamanya yang beroparasi secara online iaitu MalaysiaKini dan TheMalaysianInsider kerana sentiasa memberi ruang kepada kami untuk meluahkan isi hati dan seterusnya mementaskan ianya kepada mata dunia secara adil dan seadanya.Terima kasih juga atas tenaga dan suara laungan anak bangsa Malaysia yang tidak lemah semangat.

Sejauh lebih kurang 1km, daripada Dataran Merdeka sehingga ke Hentian Pudu Raya, laungan bertenaga "Hindraf Vaalga", "Bebaskan RPK", "Mansuhkan ISA" lantang kedengaran daripada para peserta dari berbilang kaum dan peringkat usia. Mungkin bagi mata pelancong asing ianya umpama perayaan yang tidak tertulis dalam kelender tahunan namun yang pasti mereka akan faham segalanya apabila membaca akhbar di pagi nanti.

Semoga masej, usaha dan perjuangan kita pada malam tadi akan menyedarkan mereka-mereka yang sengaja tidak mahu sedar selama ini. Jom bersama-sama kita berdoa agar kesedaran hadir di dalam hati mereka untuk tidak terus menzalimi anak kelahiran MANUSIA dengan ISA.

Gerakan mulls quitting Barisan, may join Pakatan

KUALA LUMPUR: Gerakan is considering the option of leaving Barisan Nasional and joining the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance.

Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said this was among three options for the party - the other two being to either stay with the ruling coalition, or leave and become independent.

“We are not ruling out any possibility at this moment. We have to assess the situation, but we are not closing any doors.

“Neither are we saying we will definitely leave. It’s something we need to assess but we cannot do it based on sentiments alone,” he told reporters after launching the KL-Federal Territory (FT) state delegates conference here on Sunday.

Dr Koh said the party was examining how the political scenario in the country would continue to change, and had been getting feedback from the grassroots.

“If you go on sentiments alone, I would say more than 60% (want us to leave), but we are taking a lot of factors into consideration, and a decision cannot be based just on sentiments.

“It’s a very trying time, and there is need for a lot of rational, objective analysis. It cannot be a straightforward simplistic decision,” he said.

In his opening speech, Dr Koh also announced that he would be contesting for the president’s post in the October party elections.

“I am offering myself for the post, but I also set a timeframe for myself, and it is unlikely that I will go beyond two terms. I would like to have younger and newer leaders to continue the process of political commitment,” he said.

Asked if he would name his deputy, he replied: “We will let the delegates decide.”

He was also asked to comment on some 20 FT Gerakan members who had defected to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), including former FT Gerakan information bureau chief Gan Kok Keng and former Setiawangsa Gerakan chief Li Tiam Chai.

“I feel surprised because it was only last week when Li Tiam Chai was with me in a meeting and there were no signs that he was not happy.

“We were talking about how to strengthen the party. So I am surprised but I will continue with the veterans, and new members are committed,” he said.

Dr Koh also commented on the Umno leadership transition, which he hoped would be “smooth and peaceful.”

“Even though the change in Umno leadership is an internal party matter, but we are also concerned because the Umno leader also becomes the leader of Barisan and the Federal Government,” he said.

Earlier this month, Gerakan became embroiled in the controversy over former Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail’s alleged racist remarks in which he purportedly described Malaysian Chinese as “squatters.”

Gerakan leaders had demanded an apology and for action to be taken against the Umno man, who in turn blamed Gerakan for Barisan’s poor showing in the March 8 general election, which saw the state of Penang fall to to the opposition.

The war of words even saw Ahmad’s supporters tearing down a picture of Dr Koh after a press conference.

The Umno Supreme Council subsequently suspended Ahmad from his party posts for three years, although he remains a member. No further action was taken against him.

LISA GOH
Star Online
28/09/08
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Malaysian Indian Ethnic Cleansing by UMNO led government

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