If Razak didn’t order the killing, who did?

If Abdul Razak Baginda didn’t order two elite cops to kill a Mongolian translator, who did?

After one of the lengthiest trials in Malaysian history, a politically well-connected insider was acquitted Friday of ordering the murder of his jilted lover, a woman whose death had the potential to reach into the highest levels of the ruling party.

With the acquittal of political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, the question was left hanging of who ordered the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu on October 19, 2006, allegedly by Police Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar. After ordering Abdul Razak freed, High Court Judge Mohd Zaki Md Yasin ordered the two put on a defense.

Altantuya, aged 28 at the time of her death, was executed by two shots to the head in a jungle clearing near the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Shah Alam on October 19, 2006 and her body was blown up with C4 explosives available only to the military. She reportedly had come to Malaysia to confront Abdul Razak over his decision to end their affair.

The two belonged to an elite bodyguard unit under the control of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who appears likely to become the country’s next prime minister, and who was one of Abdul Razak’s best friends.

During the 151-day trial, in which 84 prosecution witnesses testified, none of them was Najib although two statutory declarations and other evidence linked him to the dead woman. According to a detailed sworn statement by P. Balasrubramaniam, a private investigator that Abdul Razak hired to keep Altantuya away from him after he had broken off their affair, the political analyst told him he had inherited the Mongolian woman as a lover from Najib because Najib didn’t want to be harassed as deputy prime minister.

However, almost immediately after Balasubramaniam made the statement public, he was hustled to the Brickfields police station in Kuala Lumpur where he said he had been coerced into making the statement and recanted it entirely. He and his entire family have since disappeared. Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the influential blogger who printed the statement in his Internet publication Malaysia Today, was arrested under the country’s Internal Security Act and is serving two years in prison. He is also being sued for criminal defamation over some of his reports that tied Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, to the murder. He has also been charged with sedition for publishing other articles on the murder.

Rosmah has denied Raja Petra’s allegations but said she would not sue. Asked why not, she told local media on July 1: “If you are innocent, what is there for you to address? I am not a politician and I am not running for any post. I’m just the wife of a politician.”

If Najib or his wife had filed the charges, under the law they would be subject to motions for discovery and cross-examination, which presumably would not happen if the state instead filed the charges. More than once the filing of defamation charges has bounced back on the plaintiff because of that reason.

According to evidence introduced at the trial and other sources, Abdul Razak contacted Najib’s chief of staff, Musa Safri, to ask Najib’s bodyguards, Azilah and Sirul, to “do something” about Altantuya. Musa was not required to appear as a witness. Deputy Commander Mastor Mohd Ariff, an associate of the two bodyguards, said members of the unit were required to follow all orders of their superiors without question, describing the unit’s members as “like robots” who would only take orders from their superiors. Abdul Razak, a civilian and friend of Najib’s, was not a superior officer. According to an affidavit filed by Abdul Razak, Azilah contacted Abdul Razak after Altantuya’s disappearance to say that “tonight encik (sir), you can sleep well.”

Testimony by the murdered woman’s cousin indicated that immigration records of Altantuya and the two Mongolian companions who had come to Malaysia with her to confront Abdul Razak disappeared from the government’s immigration files. She also responded to a question that she had seen a picture of Altantuya having dinner with Najib before she was hurriedly hushed up by both prosecution and defense lawyers.

Nonetheless, Judge Mohd Zaki dismissed a bid in July to call Najib as a witness in the trial. Zaki also refused to call Balasubramaniam despite his written declaration, which implicated Najib in the events leading up to the murder. In addition to other lurid details, Balasubramaniam described text messages between Najib and Abdul Razak in which the latter was asking for help to avoid arrest.

Later, a series of text messages was made public indicating that Najib had been involved in finding a lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, to represent Abdul Razak. One message from Shafee to Najib said: “We provided (the police) everything, including old PDAs and notebooks and a couple of bills. Nothing incriminating.” Malaysia Today said the exchange raises questions if anything “incriminating” was kept from the police.

Besides allegations that Altantuya was the lover of both men, the case has raised additional concerns of corruption at the top of the United Malays National Organisation, the leading political party in the national ruling coalition. The Mongolian woman appears to have been the translator on a controversial transaction in which Malaysia, with Najib as defense minister, paid €1 billion for French submarines, netting a company tied to Abdul Razak US$111 million in “commissions.”

A letter written by Altantuya shortly before she disappeared indicated that she was attempting to blackmail Abdul Razak for US$500,000, raising suspicions that she had inside knowledge of the transaction. The woman’s father, Shaariibuu Setev, a psychology professor in Ulan Bataar, said she had been killed because she “knew too much,” although he never elaborated on what she knew.

The trial has been rife with other irregularities. At the start, the original judge was replaced by Mohd Zaki. The prosecution was hurriedly changed so quickly that the trial had to be postponed. There were numerous attempts to limit the introduction of physical evidence. Sirul’s confession was ruled invalid because it was not cautioned.

The prosecution also sought to impeach two of its own important witnesses. One, Lance Corporal Rohaniza Roslan, was the girlfriend of the senior of the two bodyguards and said she saw Altantuya being taken away in a car by her boyfriend. Later she said her testimony had been coerced. Another was Yusri Hasan Basri, a member of the bodyguard team and a colleague of Sirul, who said he had important information on physical evidence in the home of another of the bodyguards.

source: susan loones

Zaid: Ketuanan Melayu has failed

The 'Ketuanan Melayu' model has failed, declared former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim in an incisive speech at the LawAsia 2008 conference in Kuala Lumpur this morning.

"It has resulted in waste of crucial resources, energy and time and has distracted from the real issues confronting the country," said Zaid, who criticised the race-based policy despite being a member of the ruling Umno party which was set up to safeguard Malay interests.

Zaid also noted that 'deputy premier in waiting' Muhyiddin Yassin had suggested the need for a closed-door forum for leaders of the Barisan Nasional (BN) to develop a common stand, a renewed national consensus grounded on the social contract.

"This is positive step but it should include all political leaders and be premised on the
social contract that was the foundation of independence," said the lawyer by training who was made senator and subsequently minister entrusted with the task of reforming the judiciary by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi following the March 8 general election.

He quit last month in protest against the arrest of three individuals under the Internal Security Act (ISA) which provides for detention without trial.

Zaid said March 8 was a clear indicator that the ruling BN coalition no longer exclusively speaks for the people.

He also underscored the importance of promoting discourse and dialogue so that Malaysians learn to talk and to listen to one another again.

"Communication and trust amongst the people must be re-established," he said.

The former minister called on the BN government to abandon its 'reworked' concept of the social contract and embrace a fresh perspective borne out of discussions and agreements made in good faith with all the communities.

"It is time for us all to practise a more transparent and egalitarian form of democracy and to recognise and respect the rights and dignity of all the citizens of this country."

Mukhriz singled out for criticism
Singling out Mukhriz Mahathir for criticism, Zaid said the Umno Youth chief aspirant typifies what is perceived as the kind of Umno leader who appeals to the right-wing of Malay polity.

Zaid also referred to the recent remarks made by the son of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad that there was no need for law and judicial reforms as it would not benefit the Malays,
"That he may be right is sad as it leads to the ossification of values that will only work against the interests of the party and the nation," Zaid lamented in his 16-page speech.

"This type of thinking may pave the way to a suggestion in the future that we may as well do away with general elections altogether as they may not be good for the Malays for, if the justice that a revitalised rule of law would allow for is not to the benefit of the Malays, what is? More inefficiency, more corruption and a more authoritarian style of government perhaps.

"We are a deeply divided nation, adrift for our having abandoned democratic traditions and the rule of law in favour of a political ideology that serves no one save those who rule."

According to Zaid, the obsession with the Ketuanan Melayu doctrine has destroyed something precious in Malaysians.

"It makes us lose our sense of balance and fairness. When a certain Chinese lady was appointed head of a state development corporation, having served in that corporation for 33 years, there were protests from Malay groups because she is Chinese," he said referring to the controversy involving the appointment of Low Siew Moi as acting head of the Selangor Development Cooperation (PKNS).

"A new economic vision is necessary, one that is more forward looking in outlook and guided by positive values that would serve to enhance cooperation amongst the races. This will encourage change for the better, to develop new forms of behaviour and shifts of attitudes, to believe that only economic growth will serve social equity, to aspire to a higher standard of living for all regardless of race.

"We need to meaningfully acknowledge that wealth is based on insight, sophisticated human capital and attitude change. A new dynamics focused on cooperation and competition will spur innovation and creativity.

"Some might say that this is a fantasy. I disagree. How do we go about transforming the culture and values of the bumiputeras so that their ability to create new economic wealth can be sustained?

"By changing our political and legal landscapes with freedom and democracy."

On that note, Zaid said Mahathir was right to have asked the Malays to embrace modernity but the 82-year-old statesman fell short by only focusing on the physical aspects of modernity.

"He was mistaken to think all that was needed to change the Malay mindset was science and technology. He should have also promoted the values of freedom, human rights and the respect of the law.

"If affirmative action is truly benchmarked on the equitable sharing of wealth that is sustainable, then we must confront the truth and change our political paradigm, 40 years of discrimination and subsidy have not brought us closer. There is a huge economic dimension to the rule of law and democracy that this government must learn to appreciate."

Conflicts of jurisdiction require resolution
Zaid conceded that relationship between Islam, the state, law and politics in Malaysia is complex.
"How do we manage legal pluralism in Malaysia? Can a cohesive united Bangsa Malaysia be built on a bifurcated foundation of Syariah and secular principles? Will non-Muslims have a say on the operation of Islamic law when it affects the general character and experience of the nation? This is a difficult challenge and the solution has to be found."

He quoted leading Muslim legal scholar Abdullah Ahmad an-Na'im who believed that a distinction should be made between state and politics.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, he noted, believes that Islam can be the mediating instrument between state and politics through the principles and institutions of constitutionalism and the protection of equal human rights of all citizens.

"Whatever the formula, we can only devise a system that rejects absolutism and tyranny and allows for freedom and plurality if we are able to first agree that discourse and dialogue is vital. Democracy and respect for the rights and dignity of all Malaysians is the prerequisite to this approach."

Zaid stressed that the conflicts of jurisdiction in Malaysia require resolution.

The civil courts, he said, are "denuded of jurisdiction" to deal with matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the Syariah court.

"No court has been given the jurisdiction and power to resolve issues that may arise in both the Syariah courts and the civil courts. The present separation of jurisdictions presupposes that
matters will fall nicely into one jurisdiction or the other.

However, human affairs are never that neat. What happens to the children of a marriage where one party converts to Islam and the other party seeks recourse in the civil court? Or when the Syariah Court pronounces that a deceased person was a Muslim despite his family contesting the conversion?

"Or where the receiver of a company is restrained from dealing with a property by a Syariah Court order arising out of a family dispute?

Where do the aggrieved parties go? I had suggested the establishment of the constitutional court, but that plea has fallen on deaf ears."

Malays not under seige
The former minister had also touched on the use of draconian measures, which according to him have seen a marked increase in dealing with political and social tensions.

"Some people say that groups such as Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) advocate violence and therefore this justifies the use of such measures. They may have overlooked the fact that
violence begets violence.

"Was not the detention of Hindraf leaders under the ISA itself an act of aggression, especially to people who consider themselves marginalised and without recourse?

"It is time that the people running this country realise that we will not be able to resolve conflicts and differences peacefully if we ourselves do not value peaceful means in dealing with problems."
Zaid argued that the situation had been aggravated by the absence of an even-handed approach in dealing with organisations such as Hindraf.

"While I applaud the prime minister for calling upon the Indian community to reject extremism, should not a similar call be made on the Malay community and (Malay daily) Utusan Malaysia?

I call on the prime minister, both the outgoing and the incoming, to deal with such issues fairly. Start by releasing the Hindraf leaders detained under the ISA. The release would create a window for constructive dialogue on underlying causes of resentment.

"I also appeal for the release of (Malaysia Today editor) Raja Petra (Kamarudin) from ISA detention. He is a champion of free speech. His writings, no matter how offensive they may be to some, cannot by any stretch of the imagination be seen as a threat to the national security of this country."

The Malays, Zaid said, are now a clear majority in numbers and the fear of their being outnumbered is baseless.

"They are not under seige. The institutions of government are such that the Malays are effectively represented, and there is no way the interest of the Malays can be taken away other than through their own weakness and folly."

source: malaysiakini

KUALA LUMPUR - A high-profile political analyst was Friday acquitted of involvement in the murder of a Mongolian woman, in the latest twist in a sensa

SHAH ALAM: It looks like the Altantuya murder trial may well generate more heat on Nov 10. (Click here to take a poll: Should the police allow and help C/I Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azha Umar in the Altantuya Murder Trial cover their faces when other accuseds are not given such privilege?)

Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar's lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin said they plan to summon two witnesses -- Abdul Razak Baginda's private investigator P. Balasubramaniam (who had gone missing) and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, who is currently under Internal Security Act detention.

Kamarul said he will write to the Home Minister to allow Raja Petra to be called up as a witness. As for the P.I., he did not say how he would reach him.

“I will be looking into the two statutory declarations made by Balasubramaniam and one by Raja Petra and check on their authenticity,” he added.

The first declaration by the P.I. had made sensational accusations, including that deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak had a relationship with the late Altantuya Shaariibuu. This was revealed at a press conference with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

However, just as sensationally, he made another declaration to retract that particular accusation. After that, he and his family disappeared from their Rawang home, and have not been seen since.

Azilah’s lawyer Datuk Hazman Ahmad said they plan to call four witnesses to take the stand, including DSP Musa Safri, Azilah’s fiancée Norazila Baharuddin, one Sjn Idris, one Sjn Shamlin and Sub Inspector Megat.

He said his client was disappointed with the decision but rated Azilah’s chances as 50/50. Azilah’s fiancée Norazila Baharuddin was teary eyed and sombre.

She declined to take questions from reporters. Also present was Azilah’s girlfriend Rohaniza Roslan who was also a witness in the trial and other family members.

Abdul Razak’s lawyer Wong Kian Keong applied to hold watching brief during the defence hearing.

After the decision was delivered, Abdul Razak was flanked by daughter Rowena, wife Mazlinda Makhzan and his brother who shielded him from aggressive press photographers who trailed the family all the way to their car waiting at the entrance of the court.

Altantuya’s father Shaariibuu Setev said while he respected the court’s decision, he was not convinced of Abdul Razak’s innocence.

Translating for Shaariibuu, Mongolian Consulate in Malaysia Datuk Syed Abdul Rahman Al-Habshi said: “As far as he is concerned, his daughter knows only one man in Malaysia and that is Razak Baginda. However, he has been set free while the two policemen whom she does not know have to put in their defence.”

Shaariibuu said he would consult the Mongolian Justice Department before deciding on his next course of action.

The Sun
01/10/08

Malaysian analyst acquitted over sensational murder

KUALA LUMPUR - A high-profile political analyst was Friday acquitted of involvement in the murder of a Mongolian woman, in the latest twist in a sensational case that has gripped Malaysia.

Abdul Razak Baginda, a close associate of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, had been accused of abetting the 2006 murder of his former lover Altantuya Shaariibuu, whose body was blown up with explosives in a jungle clearing.

In one of the longest hearings in Malaysia's history, a court spent 151 days considering whether Abdul Razak and two police officers accused of carrying out the murder should face trial.

"I find there is no prima facie case for him to answer his charge. He is therefore acquitted and discharged," said Judge Mohamad Zaki Mohamad Yasin. He had faced the death penalty by hanging if found guilty.

Abdul Razak, 48, hugged his wife and daughter from the dock while his elderly parents sat crying in the court.

"I just want to go home," he said as he was escorted out through a huge media scrum.

However, the court ordered the two policemen -- from an elite unit which guards the prime minister and deputy prime minister -- to stand trial. The case will be heard from November 10.

Altantuya's father Setev Shaariibuu, who has repeatedly criticised the handling of the case, was distraught over the decision.

"I am not satisfied. My daughter knows only one Malaysian and it is Razak Baginda. Now my daughter is dead and Baginda is freed... the country has lost credibility in the world," he told reporters.

Karpal Singh, a lawyer representing Altantuya's family, said that based on the evidence Abdul Razak should have been called to defend the accusations.

"They should not have acquitted him at this stage of the trial," he said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Tun Majid Tun Hamzah said the decision could be contested.

"We will consider appealing the decision. The battle is not over yet," he said.

Najib, who is expected to be appointed premier next March when Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stands down, has vehemently denied any involvement in the case.

Malaysia's top blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin has repeatedly linked Najib and his wife to the murder on his popular website Malaysia Today. He was jailed in September under tough security laws for insulting Islam.

Abdullah last month defended his deputy over new allegations that Najib interfered in the case, after Malaysia Today published an SMS text message exchange purportedly between the deputy premier and Abdul Razak's lawyer.

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim also condemned the handling of the case, which has been the subject of intense speculation among Malaysians.

"There is a general and growing perception that the investigation was not done professionally and that there is a clear motive to cover up," he told reporters.

"The prosecution here has failed to conduct the case professionally."

Anwar himself faces trial over sodomy allegations, which he says have been concocted by leading figures in the government because they fear he could use information on the Altantuya case to bring about their downfall.

- AFP/ir
Channel NewsAsia
01/10/08

FHROI DEMANDS REVOCATION OF THE BAN IMPOSED ON 'HINDRAF'.

FEDERATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATIONS OF INDIA
8, Todarmal Lane, Bengali Market, New Delhi- 110 001
Phone: 65288241, 23718929 Fax-01123718929

26.10.2008

1) Duli Yang Maha Mulia
Al-Wathiqu Billah Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin
Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Mahmud
Al-Muktafi Billah Shah
Istana Negara
Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia

2) Y.A.B. DATO’
SERI ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI
Prime Minister of Malaysia

Subject:- IMPOSITION OF BAN ON “HINDRAF”

Your Highness,

The citizens and Human Rights organisations of India have taken a serious note of the ban imposed on Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDFAF) by the Government of Malaysia. We are equally concerned about the detention of five members of HINDRAF. We feel that the sole reason for the imposition of ban on HINDRAF and the detention of five members of HINDRAF, was for expressing concerns about the marginalization of ethnic South Asians within Malaysian society and specifically for organizing rallies.

It is disheartening to know that all the detainees are being treated like criminals, but they have never been charged much less convicted of a crime. We have been informed that at least 65 people are being held at Kamunting Detention Centre under the administrative detention provisions of the ISA. The Internal Security Act allows the police to arrest individuals they believe have acted, or are "about to" or "likely to" act in a way that would threaten Malaysian security, "essential services" or "economic life" (Article 73 (1)(b) and the detainees can be held for up to 60 days for investigation by the police, after which time the Home Minister can issue a two year detention order under the ISA. The two year detention can be enewed indefinitely without the detainee ever being charged with a crime or tried in
a court of law.

As such the ISA is contrary to fundamental principles of international law, including the right to liberty of the person, to freedom from arbitrary arrest, the presumption of innocence, and the right to fair and open trial in a court of law.

We demand that the Government of Malaysia should start the process to abolish this draconian legislation. We also demand that the ban imposed on HINDRAF should be revoked immediately and the five members of HINDRAF should be released without any precondition.

Rajesh Gogna
Convener
(FHROI)

Malaysian court acquitted a key aide of Deputy Prime Minister

Malaysian court acquitted a key aide of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of abetting the murder of a Mongolian woman in 2006.

The verdict could ease political pressure on Mr. Najib as he prepares to assume Malaysia’s premiership next year. But it is also likely to reignite public criticism over the independence and competence of Malaysia’s police, prosecutors and judiciary.

High Court Justice Mohamed Zaki Mohamed Yasin ruled Friday that government prosecutors had failed to establish a prima facie case against 48 year-old Abdul Razak Baginda, a prominent political analyst and close friend and adviser to Mr. Najib.

Mr. Abdul Razak, who is married, had been charged with abetting the killing of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a 28 year-old Mongolian translator and part-time model with whom he admitted he had an eight-month affair. Mr. Abdul Razak would have faced a possible death sentence had he been convicted.

Together with Mr. Abdul Razak, two Malaysian police officers – members of an elite force assigned to Mr. Najib’s personal security detail — were also on trial for allegedly killing Ms. Shaariibuu and then blowing up her body with military-grade plastic explosives.

The court ordered their trial, which began almost two years ago, to proceed and requested the two police officers to submit their defense against the murder charge.

During the 151 day-long trial, the prosecution had argued that Mr. Abdul Razak had ordered the Mongolian woman’s murder when she allegedly hounded him for money after he broke off their affair in 2005. His acquittal appears to leave the prosecution without an alternative motive for the murder allegedly carried out by the police officers.

Mr. Najib’s political opponents have persistently tried to implicate him in the murder investigation, even as he prepared to take over leadership of Malaysia’s ruling National Front government. Mr. Najib is expected to replace Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as premier in March 2009.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim – himself facing trial on charges of sodomy, a crime in Malaysia – earlier this year presented a private investigator, who offered a sworn statement saying that Mr. Abdul Razak had informed him that Mr. Najib had also had an affair with Ms. Shaariibuu. The investigator, P. Balasubramaniam, later retracted his statement and went into hiding.

Prominent antigovernment blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, who is currently imprisoned, has also repeatedly attempted to link Mr. Najib to the murder case in his popular website Malaysia Today. Mr. Petra was arrested without charges under Malaysia’s Internal Security Act in September, allegedly for insulting the Islamic religion.

Mr. Najib has denied ever having met Ms. Shaariibuu or having anything to do with her murder.

Mr. Abdul Razak’s acquittal appears set to fuel a new round of allegations of political interference in police investigations and the judicial system, which for years has faced accusations that it protects the country’s powerful politicians.

“There is growing perception that the investigation was not done professionally. There is a clear motive to cover up — a lot of evidence was not adduced,” opposition leader Mr. Anwar told local reporters Friday. “The prosecution has failed to conduct the case professionally from the beginning.”

Mr. Anwar has contended that allegations of sodomy against him – which he denies – were fabricated to destroy his political career. He was convicted and jailed on similar charges a decade ago before his conviction was later overturned on appeal.

The Mongolian murder trial has also been controversial and studded with false starts and miscues. Early on, the original judge assigned to the trail was replaced and the prosecution team changed. Testimony from some of the more than 80 witnesses called by the prosecution was vague and sometimes contradictory and some evidence was barred from submission or ruled invalid.

Ms. Shaariibuu’s father, who was present at the verdict, told reporters he wasn’t satisfied. “My daughter is dead and [Mr. Abdul Razak] is free,” Shaariibuu Setev told reporters at the court. “The country has lost credibility in the world.”

Mr. Abdul Razak declined to speak to reporters after his acquittal.

By JAMES HOOKWAY
From The Wall Street Journal
01/10/08

The real issue revolves around the court procedure and the investigations

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wished Abdul Razak Baginda well, but questioned the manner in which the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case was handled by the police and the prosecution.

“Of course on a personal level, I wish Razak well, but the issue here revolves around the court procedure and the investigations,” he told reporters when met at the Jalan Duta court complex.

The Shah Alam High Court earlier today acquitted Razak, who was charged with abetting in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya, but ordered Corporal Sirul Azha Umar and Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, both charged with murder, to enter their defence.

“There is a general and growing perception that the investigation was not done professionally, that there is clear motive to cover up. A lot of evidence was not adduced,” said Anwar.

Anwar also questioned the move to change the prosecution team and the presiding judge. The case was originally heard before Justice K.N. Segara before it was transferred to Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yassin. The prosecution team led by Salehuddin Saidin was replaced with another team led by Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah.

“The prosecution here has failed to conduct the case professionally. That we have seen from the beginning. The changes made and the judge, so this is the initial concern,” said Anwar.

He also commented on the alleged involvement of the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“In the light of more revelations involving the Deputy Prime Minister and SMSes and evidence we have raised in Parliament, and the public has raised this a number of times, so while I am not physically on the Abdul Razak Baginda case, the case is clearly bigger than what it is,” he added.

Early this month, Malaysia Today carried a report detailing what it alleged was an exchange of text messages between Najib and Datuk Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer who represented Razak, a close associate of Najib.

In one SMS, Najib allegedly tells the lawyer that Razak — his advisor — “will face a tentative charge but all is not lost”.

Najib later said the SMS exchange was private and insisted that there was no abuse of power.

By Adib Zalkapli
From The Malaysian Insider

Race And Islam

It is odd, to say the least, that after more than fourteen centuries there remain some people who claim to be Muslims but who still have not internalised the universal values of Islam. Odder still that there remain those who on the one hand can embrace Islam’s universal claim of brotherhood (and sisterhood), but still cannot get around to understanding the simple idea that Islam and racism do not mix.

Evidence of such discrepancies can be found pretty much everywhere these days: It has, sadly, become the normative cultural norm in so many Muslim societies today that those who are fair are better off and given the privileges that they feel is the natural right of all light-skinned people. It is also interesting to note that Muslims tend to rejoice whenever a white American or European converts to Islam, but seem less enthusiastic in their recognition of the fact that thousands of Africans and Asians are converting to Islam every year.

Furthermore when it comes to governance and politics, it remains painfully clear that some Muslims still place blood and race above competency and merit till today; and that despite their profession of faith they remain embedded in the stagnant mode of racialised thinking that operates on the basis that some races are better than others.

One such case has popped up recently in multi-culti Malaysia, where a row was sparked off by the nomination of a Chinese woman – Low Siew Moi – as the head of a state institution linked to the economic management and development of the state of Selangor, the PKNS. Despite the fact that Low Siew Moi was selected by the Chief Minister of the state, Tan Sri Khalid, on the basis of merit; some quarters chose to publicly disagree with her appointment on the grounds that the Malay-Muslims of the state would object to the appointment. But objection on what grounds? On the basis that she is a Chinese woman?

Here the already convoluted waters of Malaysia’s racialised politics turns a shade murkier; for among those who objected to the appointment of Low Siew Moi were some members of the Malaysian Islamic party PAS.

Malaysia’s politics has been defined by racial concerns and the communitarian demands of the various religious and ethnic groups of the country since its independence in 1957. Over the past three decades, however, the tone and tenor of the country’s conservative, right-wing ethno-nationalist politics was further coloured by the Islamisation race in the country with the Malaysian government attempting to further inculcate Islamic values into the norms of governance in Malaysia as well.

Ironically however, Malaysia’s Islamisation programme seems to be more concerned with book-banning, fatwas on social behaviour (including the recent revelation that there may be a fatwa on Yoga soon, wait for it), and moral policing instead. Where, the Islamic scholar may ask, were the universal values of Islam in the midst of all this social engineering? Did the leaders of Malaysia not realise, or forget, the simple idea that Islam is an egalitarian faith that is colour-blind; and that the concept of ‘race’ is an alien idea in Islam?

The dilemma that Malaysia is facing now is the same dilemma faced by many other Muslim societies where the defence and promotion of Islam often goes hand-in-hand with the defence and promotion of the communitarian interests of Muslims. In Malaysia’s case, where Muslims are overwhelmingly Malay, then this also translates as the defence of Malay interests – to the extent of propagating the ethno-nationalist idea of Malay cultural dominance as well. Now what on earth is Islamic about this?

Here is where orthodox Muslim scholarship has to come in and make its timely intervention: For it has to be remembered that the success of Islam and the success of Muslims are two entirely different things, that may also clash and negate each other at times. The victory of Islam, so to speak, has to be understood as the victory of universal values such as egalitarianism and equality before God. The victory of Muslims, on the other hand, may at times be understood as political victories that may or may not conform to the standards of Islamic ethics. The defeat of the Kuwaitis at the hands of Saddam Hussein, for instance, was a case of one Muslim state defeating another: but was this a victory for Islam? Likewise, when Muslims openly and abrasively demand special rights and privileges for themselves at the cost of equality and meritocracy, is this really a victory for Islam?

Those who have criticised and opposed the appointment of Low Siew Moi as the head of PKNS on the grounds that the job should have been given to a Malay-Muslim instead should therefore look closely at themselves and ask: What is it that you are fighting for? Malay-Muslim dominance or a better form of governance that is based on merit and equality? The Islamic scholar will remind you that the latter is Islamic, while the former is not.

In any case, for Muslims to even think in racialised communitarian terms is a misnomer of sorts as such modes of communitarian, sectarian thinking has no real place in Islamic orthodoxy and ethics. To quote Tuan Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat, spiritual leader of the Malaysian Islamic Party PAS: ‘tell me, what race was Adam?’. ‘Nuff said I think.

By Farish A. Noor

Anwar wishes Razak well, but alleges cover-up

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 31 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim wished Abdul Razak Baginda well, but questioned the manner in which the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case was handled by the police and the prosecution.

“Of course on a personal level, I wish Razak well, but the issue here revolves around the court procedure and the investigations,” he told reporters when met at the Jalan Duta court complex.

The Shah Alam High Court earlier today acquitted Razak, who was charged with abetting in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya, but ordered Corporal Sirul Azha Umar and Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, both charged with murder, to enter their defence.

“There is a general and growing perception that the investigation was not done professionally, that there is clear motive to cover up. A lot of evidence was not adduced,” said Anwar.

Anwar also questioned the move to change the prosecution team and the presiding judge. The case was originally heard before Justice K.N. Segara before it was transferred to Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yassin. The prosecution team led by Salehuddin Saidin was replaced with another team led by Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah.

“The prosecution here has failed to conduct the case professionally. That we have seen from the beginning. The changes made and the judge, so this is the initial concern,” said Anwar.

He also commented on the alleged involvement of the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“In the light of more revelations involving the Deputy Prime Minister and SMSes and evidence we have raised in Parliament, and the public has raised this a number of times, so while I am not physically on the Abdul Razak Baginda case, the case is clearly bigger than what it is,” he added.

Early this month, Malaysia Today carried a report detailing what it alleged was an exchange of text messages between Najib and Datuk Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer who represented Razak, a close associate of Najib.

In one SMS, Najib allegedly tells the lawyer that Razak — his advisor — “will face a tentative charge but all is not lost”.

Najib later said the SMS exchange was private and insisted that there was no abuse of power.

themalaysianinsider

Syed Hamid Albar vs. Hindraf on Indian marginalization

So Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar – in a decision, as he puts it, of self-sacrifice for the sake of protecting society – has banned Hindraf.

Similar home ministerial valour must have been present when he chose to detain Raja Petra, Teresa Kok, Tan Hoon Cheng and hundreds of others under the ISA.

Many Malaysians have expressed their outrage at the latest cruel and callous act of repression against a civil group which has highlighted the continuing plight of marginalised Malaysian Indians.

I would like to examine an aspect: the assertion that Malaysian Indians are not marginalised and are actually doing better than Bumiputera Malaysians, and thus, they have no grounds to feel
aggrieved, let alone angry. This is a cynical and specious claim.

We should first take note of the often ignored fact that the Malaysian Indian community is diverse, stratified and complex. Like any other.

Some are rich, some are part of the middle class, some are poor; some are posited in the mainstream, some are at the margins – and some are beyond the margins, trapped in urban squalor. The imperative question is whether the concerns of the Indian poor are being addressed by our
government’s attitudes and policies.

But the ruling regime would rather treat groups as monolithic blobs, then go about brandishing statistics to preempt debate - and stamp the lowly back into their place.

And so, in dismissing Hindraf’s cause, Syed Hamid invoked the reality of high proportions of Indians among registered legal professionals (21.4 percent) and among doctors (18.4 percent), and the ratio of Indian to Bumiputera household incomes, of… 1.20. That’s right, according to 2007 household income survey data, Indian households on average have 20 percent more income than Bumiputera households.

Is there something wrong with these figures? Why has the message of Hindraf resonated when official data paint opposing images of social mobility and nice averages?

There is no need to question the numbers, but every need to handle them responsibly, within context and in recognition of their limited scope. These bits of information provide no basis to conclude that all of the community is doing well and should therefore shut up and get on with their happy lives.

In fact, we do have evidence that Malaysians Indians are struggling as much as others to earn a decent living.

Averaging numbers

Of course there are many Indian lawyers and doctors – who’s not cognisant of that? But there are far more Indian labourers, factory workers, and others at the low reaches of the labour market.

It is highly probable that the household income of the Indian community is propped up by the high earnings of professionals and managers.

Meagre family incomes of displaced agricultural workers and urban elementary workers get shrouded in the process of averaging the incomes of all Indian families.

Consider some changes that have taken place in the past decade or so.

In 1995, 17.7 percent of employed Indians worked as agricultural labor, while 8.7 percent were in professional and technical occupations.

By 2005, only 4.9 percent of employed Indians were agricultural workers, but 20.1 percent worked as professionals and technicians.

Albeit rather cursorily, we gain some impression here of developments at two ends of the socio-economic hierarchy: the continuous urbanisation of a low-skilled former plantation workforce; a steadily growing presence in highly qualified jobs providing middle class living standards.

In what sort of jobs are most Indians working? Within communities, Indians registered the highest proportion of persons classified as production workers.

In 2005, 45.8 percent of employed Indians fell in this category, compared to 33.8 percent Chinese and 34.1 percent Bumiputera.

Due to the unfree state of information in this land, the most we can do with officially disclosed statistics is make deductions and inferences such as these.

We are still left with a knowledge gap.

However, a study by Branko Milanovic, a World Bank researcher and renowned scholar of global inequality, helps fill the void¹.

He analysed Malaysia’s household income data of 1997. This is from the national survey that the Statistics Department conducts twice in five years, from which all the inequality measurements we know are calculated.

One difference with the official accounts is that Milanovic focussed on individual earnings (wages, salaries and bonuses) instead of household income (the sum of household members’ earnings, property income and remittances). His findings are therefore more reflective of the earnings capacity of Malaysians in the labour market.

The housewife factor

The study analyses inequality more generally, but in the process finds something very striking: in 1997, the ratio of Indian to Bumiputera individual earnings was 0.98.

The official figure for Indian: Bumiputera household income was 1.41. In other words, the average earnings of individual Indians was basically the same as the average earnings of individual Bumiputera, even though average household incomes were quite unequal.

How might this be possible?

In terms of the gap between individual earnings inequality and household income inequality, we could postulate that combined earnings of Indians, especially in households with both spouses in professional jobs, raised their income to levels significantly higher than Bumiputera households.

This is a guess, and that’s as far as we can go with available data.

What’s not a guess is this objective report that average individual earnings of Indians and Bumiputeras were equal in 1997.

In 2007, with an Indian-to-Bumiputera household income ratio of 1.20, what might the inter-group earnings ratio look like? We don’t know, but it is more than likely that the ratio is less than 1.20.

It is possible that earnings are on average close to equal, or that Indian earnings are less than Bumiputera earnings.

Consider recent data on the distribution of employed persons by occupation.

In 2005, with 45.8 percent of the total employed Indians engaged as production workers and 4.9 percent as agricultural workers, it is plausible that average individual earnings are on par with the average among employed Bumiputera, of whom 34.1 percent are production workers and 15.2 percent are agricultural workers.

These two low-paying occupational groups account for about 50 percent of employed persons of both race groups.

Again, we won’t have a clear picture unless we have access to data and can engage in constructive discussion.

Hindraf has grounds

We have a clear enough picture, however, to affirm the plight of marginalised Indian households, whose tough circumstances in labour markets and poor living conditions are a shameful reality that cannot be garbed in middle-class statistics.

Hindraf has grounds for grievance – yes, even in the official data, if only we would take a more balanced and critical look.

And we could better understand this whole inequality thing, and devise fairer and more effective policies, if the ruling regime would release more information to our - um - knowledge society.

Resistance towards extending the same policies to members of the Indian community as currently provided to Bumiputera is partly predicated on official household income statistics.

But they give us an oversimplified and selective glimpse to a complex of problems.

It is high time to reevaluate the way we assess income and earnings and to aim assistance at the people who need or merit it most.

by H Lee

Malaysia’s Anwar demands investigation into Eurocopter deal


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s opposition, led by Anwar Ibrahim, is demanding an investigation into the defence ministry’s plans to buy several helicopters. He is asking for a royal commission to be set up.

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi announced on Tuesday that the purchase of 12 helicopters from Eurocopter would be deferred to 2011. His government is reprioritising its spending amid the global financial crisis.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday, the opposition said there were irregularities in the defence procurement.

They also pressed for an emergency motion to discuss the US$470 million purchase, which they claimed was way above the market average.

Lim Kit Siang, Opposition, Democratic Action Party (DAP), said: “It must be a shotgun deal because the letter of intent must have been issued early this month after the announcement by Pak Lah of approval and maybe in less than two weeks, you have this cancellation. Something seems to be very extraordinary.”

The opposition is holding Deputy Prime Minster Najib Razak responsible.

The letter of intent to purchase the 12 cougar helicopters was issued to Eurocopter two days before he switched defence portfolio with the prime minister last month.

But the public accounts committee, which began its investigation into alleged impropriety, said everything had been done in an orderly fashion.

Azmi Khalid, chairman, Public Accounts Committee, said: “Up to now, the technicalities from what we saw were not professionally done, but I’m not going to comment.”

Mr Najib who is now the Finance Minister maintains that the purchase was necessary to replace the ageing fleet of Nuri helicopters.

He has proposed extending the repayment period with Eurocopter instead of deferring the purchase.

Meanwhile the supplier Eurocopter, which is a wholly-owned division of European Aeronautic Defence and Space, is optimistic about the deal.

It maintained that negotiation is still ongoing, despite the latest controversy plaguing the sale.

channelnewsasia
30/10/08

Statistik ekuiti & bumiputra tiada makna.(malay language)

Pembohongan ada pelbagai bentuk. Ada orang yang membuat janji tetapi tidak ditunaikan. Ada parti politik yang membuat manifesto pilihanraya tetapi sesudah menang dan berkuasa manifesto ini dilupakan. Ada menteri yang berjanji akan telus tetapi apabila berkuasa menjadi kukubesi. Ada menteri yang berjanji menentang nepotisma tetapi apabila berkuasa yang diutamakan ialah kaum keluarga. Semua ini pembohongan yang kita semua tahu, sedar dan faham.

Ada lagi satu pembohongan yang namanya – Statistik. Malah statistik adalah pembohong yang paling tersusun lagi licik lengok jalannya. Saya tidak pernah percaya kepada statistik. Saya menolak statistik sebagai patukan untuk dijadikan rujukan. Ini kerana selama ini saya melihat bahawa statistik ini boleh dimanipulasi dan ditunggang terbalikan. Statistik juga dijadikan senjata untuk mengolah pandangan orang ramai.

Mari kita lihat kes statistik tentang pencapaian ekonomi Bumiputera yang terus dihebohkan. Kes statistik ini menjadi heboh dan sengaja diheboh-hebohkan untuk tujuan mendapat sokongan politik. Mula-mula keluar satu angka statistik mengatakan bahawa Dasar Ekonomi Baru telah berjaya mencapai matlamat. Bumiputera sudah memiliki 45% ekuiti ekonomi negara ini.

Kemudian, satu lagi statistik yang mengatakan Dasar Ekonomi Baru belum berjaya. Bumiputera hanya memiliki hampir 19% sahaja. Kemudian satu lagi angka statistik keluar – bukan yang ini dan bukan yang itu – tetapi dipaparkan satu angka baru. Tiga angka statistik dimunculkan kepada umum. Membingongkan ? Tidak. Lupakan sahaja kerana ketiga-tiga angka ini tidak memiliki apa-apa untuk kita semua.

Saya tidak peduli sama ada Bumiputera memiliki 50%, 60% atau 100% ekuiti ekonomi negara ini. Angka-angka ini tidak memberi apa-apa makna kepada saya. Hujah saya menolak angka statistik ini cukup senang. Statistik ini hanyalah satu ‘omong kosong’. Statistik adalah angka-angka yang dikumpul tetapi dalam kehidupan harian kita ianya tidak bermakna.

Kalaupun Bumiputera memiliki 70% atau 90% ekuiti ekonomi negara ini, untuk rakyat seperti kita, ianya tidak akan mendatangkan apa-apa perubahan yang hakiki. Kalau kita Bumiputera naik bas tambangnya sama dengan yang Bukan Bumiputera, beli sayur harganya sama, bil lektrik, bil air dan harga top-up pun sama. Setiap bulan sewa bilik harganya sama. Di hujung tahun kos kehidupan bertambah – Bumiputera atau Bukan Bumiputera. Pemilikan ekonomi Bumiputera ini tidak ada sangkut paut dengan kehidupan harian kita, walaupun kita Bumiputera.

Katakanlah Bumiputera dalam negara ini telah memiliki 50% dari jumlah ekuiti ekonomi negara. Saya cukup yakin 50% ekonomi ini tidak akan dimiliki oleh semua Bumiputera. Jumlah 50% ekonomi negara ini mungkin dimiliki oleh 10 orang, 20 orang, 200 atau 200,000 orang Bumiputera. Apa yang terjadi kepada 16 juta Bumiputera yang lain? Mereka juga Bumiputera dan apabila statistik ini dirangka kewujudaan mereka juga dihitung sama. Jelas disini statistik ini tidak memiliki apa-apa makna.

Dalam ekonomi kapitalis, setiap individu dan warga diberi kebebasan untuk memiliki sebanyak mana kekayaan. Dalam ekonomi kapitalis disediakan ruang dan galakan untuk warga mencari dan mengumpul kekayaan. Jika kita faham ini maka bermakna kita semua sebagai warga akan mendapat peluang yang sama. Salah. Kita TIDAK akan memiliki peluang yang sama dalam ekonomi kapitalis. Peluang ini tidak wujud untuk kita yang tidak memiliki modal. Hanya mereka yang memiliki modal sahaja yang akan dapat mempergunakan peluang itu.

Bagitu juga dalam hal Dasar Ekonomi Baru ini. DEB ini telah menobatkan bahawa setiap Bumiputera di Malaysia berhak untuk memiliki 30% ekuiti ekonomi negara. Ini dongeng. Ini juga statistik. Mak Jah dari Felda Taib Andak yang memohon untuk mendapat projek membuat Istana Negara yang berharga 400 juta ringgit itu tidak akan mendapat melawan Maya Maju Sdn.Bhd. Mak Jah dan syarikat Maya Maju ini sama , mereka berstatus Bumiputera. Tetapi hakikatnya adalah berlainan. Ada hukum-hukum dan syarat-syarat lain yang TIDAK bertulis. Bumiputera ini hanya satu dongeng sama seperti statistik. Ianya tidak memiliki apa-apa makna yang hakiki.

Heboh-heboh statistik baru-baru ini bertujuan untuk mengolah persetujuan rakyat terutama Bumiputera untuk terus menyokong DEB. Dan terus menyokong gerombolan United Malays National Organisation. Amat jelas dari heboh-heboh ini ada dua pembohongan. Bohong pertama statistik. Bohong kedua ialah Bumiputera. Dua pembohongan ikat berikat.

Saya sedar ramai yang terpengaruh dengan pembohongan ini. Di sini saya ingin menerangkan terutama yang menganggap diri mereka Bumiputera. Saya harap mereka sedar bahawa konsep Bumiputera itu tidak ada apa-apa makna. Konsep ini juga sama dengan peratus statistik pencapaian ekuiti ekonomi Bumiputera - kedua-dua hanyalah ‘dondang sayang’ yang kedengaran tetapi tidak dapat dimasukkan ke dalam saku.

Selama 30 tahun ini bunyi perkataan Bumiputera telah dijadikan kempen oleh gerombolan United Malays National Organisation untuk mengumpul sokongan terutama dari orang Melayu. Rasa saya, manusia Bumiputera ini telah lama berdongeng bukan kerana ganja tetapi kerana mendengar bunyi dan statistik Bumiputera. Masanya telah sampai untuk kita bangun dari terus berdongeng dan berkhayal. Sila lihat disekeliling dan perhatikan apa yang sedang berlaku.

Ini bukan labun atau kempen politik kosong agar saya mendapat menjadi YB. Kalau tidak percaya apa yang saya tulis ini, sila pergi lawat Kampung Chubadak dekat Sentul di mana tanah yang di teroka oleh Bumiputera berpuluh-puluh tahun dahulu akan dirampas oleh pemaju… opps saya tidak jelas pemaju jenis mana – mungkin Bumiputera atau mungkin dari Nigeria atau mungkin dari gerombolan United Malays National Organisation yang buat ‘joint venture’ dengan gerombolan Malaysian Chinese Association.

Atau sila pergi ke Kampung Berembang di belakang Jalan Ampang – tidak jauh dari KLCC opps…maaf kerana nama ini nama Mat Saleh. Lihat di mana rumah-rumah Bumiputera telah dibumikan. Atau ke Plentong di Johor Bahru. Lihat bumiputera anak beranak ini sedang tidur di atas bumi. Ini bukan statistik. Ini adalah manusia hidup yang boleh kita pegang dan lawan bercakap. Mereka inilah yang tidak termasuk dalam kajian dari pakar-pakar statistik yang asli mahupun dari pakar-pakar statistik ‘cap ayam’.(tt)

Tukar tiub
30/10/08

Long time Muslim yoga instructor expresses shock over UKM lecturer's statement

GEORGE TOWN, PENANG: A long-time yoga instructor has expressed shock and dismay over statement by a Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) lecturer who said that practising yoga could cause Muslims to deviate from the teachings of Islam.

Datin Suleiha Merican, 56, who has been practising yoga for 40 years, said the meditation technique is a science of health and had nothing to do with religion.

"When we are strong in our faith, why would we want to deviate? The professor's statement is totally uncalled for," she said.

Suleiha was commenting on Prof Zakaria Stapa's statement that yoga could be traced back to Hinduism and that practising it could cause Muslims to deviate from the teachings of Islam.

Zakaria, who is from the Faculty of Islamic Studies, also urged Muslims who are practising yoga to stop it and return to the teachings of Islam.

Suleiha said she still diligently performed prayers every day despite practising yoga.

"There is no conflict at all as yoga is not religion-based. There is no problem. I would definitely encourage Muslims to practise yoga," she said.

Suleiha said yoga was the answer to health problems, such as headaches and back pain. She noted that hospitals in the United Kingdom and United States offerred yoga as an alternative therapy.

"Every part of the world I have gone to there are Muslims who practice yoga practitioners, for instance in Iran," she said.

Suleiha, who runs the Maya Yoga Studio in Damansara Perdana, said yoga ran in the family as her father and her grandfather were also yoga instructors.

It was reported that the national fatwa council is also expected to announce its stand on Muslims practising yoga soon.

The Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) deputy director-general of operations, Othman Mustapha, was quoted as saying that an announcement on the decision would be made by the council soon.

Melissa Darlyne Chow
NST Online
30/10/08

High Court Justice Chin has resigned

KUALA LUMPUR: High Court Justice Ian Chin, who once said that he had been among judges sent to a boot camp back in 1997 that sought to encourage judges to rule in the Government’s favour, has tendered his resignation and will leave office on Dec 1.

Justice Chin wrote a letter to the king on July 16 to resign and went on leave from August 21 till November 30.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department T. Murugiah said this in reply to Tian Chua (PKR - Batu) who asked if the government had taken steps to investigate Justice Chin’s allegations against former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Murugiah said there was need to investigate the matter as Justice Chin had resigned.

Earlier, Murugiah told Mukhriz Mahathir (BN - Jerlun) that the Government did not intend to make a representation to the king to cite Justice Ian before a tribunal.

In June, Justice Chin caused a stir when he claimed that Dr Mahathir had made a thinly veiled threat against the judges at the Judges Conference on April 24, 1997, that they could be sacked if they failed to deliver judgements in the Government’s favour.

Justice Chin also said that Dr Mahathir was dissatisfied over his unwillingness to award astronomical sums in damages in two libel suits in 1997 and that "errant" judges were sent to a boot camp in an "attempt to indoctrinate them to hold the view that the Government's interest was more important than all else."

Dr Mahathir, in his blog, has denied the claims, saying the judges had never been sent to a boot camp.

Star Online
30/10/08

Munawar’s sodomy conviction stays

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 30 — The Federal Court here today dismissed Dr Munawar Anees's application for an appeal against his 10-year-old sodomy conviction.

"We have decided that the application should be dismissed. We will give our grounds later," said Chief Justice Tan Sri Zaki Azmi, who led the three-member panel of judges.

Pakistan-born Munawar is a former speechwriter to opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when the latter was Deputy Prime Minister over a decade ago.

In mid September 1998, Munawar was arrested under the Internal Security Act and later charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court with sodomy alongside Anwar and Anwar's Indonesian adopted brother Sukma Darmawan.

Munawar pleaded guilty, as did Sukma. He was sentenced to six months’ jail, which he served.

Subsequently, he filed an appeal against his conviction on the grounds that his plea of guilty then was obtained through force while detained under the ISA.

His application was thrown out by the KL High Court in September 2003. Meanwhile, Anwar and Sukma were both cleared of the sodomy convictions.

Munawar took up the matter to the Court of Appeal. The matter was dismissed there as well in October last year though no grounds were given then.

The Federal Court was the last legal avenue available for Munawar's application.

The US-based project management consultant, now 60, had been waiting in court since 8.30am for the decision. He appeared dumbfounded by the decision. He rose up and left the courtroom swiftly.

Speaking to reporters on the grand staircase leading to the lobby of the Palace of Justice, he said: "This is a total disappointment. A total denial of justice. The system is playing with the lives of people.

"Where is the justice for me and my family?"

His voice continued to rise as his frustration became more apparent.

"I will not stop. The system has tried to fail me but it will not fail me. If I don't get justice in this country, my children and my grandchildren will stand up for the justice denied to me," Munawar pledged.

Lawyer Mabel Sebastian, who was standing in for Munawar's counsel Manjeet Singh Dhillon to receive the judgment today, said the next step was up to the latter.

Manjeet is away on business abroad and will only return next week.

Debra Chong
The Malaysian Insider
30/10/08

Nazrin: Do not discriminate against any segment of society

KUALA LUMPUR: Governments can no longer afford to formulate policies, laws and regulations on a discriminatory basis and in an ethical vacuum, said Perak Raja Muda Raja Nazrin Shah said.

“No segment of society must be disrespected, discredited and disenfranchised. No group should feel that their efforts and contributions go unrecognised and unwanted.

“We must abandon the ‘silo’ mentality where we only look up at what is happening and not beside us at what others are experiencing,” Raja Nazrin said at the 21st LawAsia Conference.

Bringing this about is one of the greatest challenges of governance today. For this reason, he said that there was case for empowering through the principle of inclusiveness.

“Only inclusive development through empowerment can societies become strong and we can achieve lasting outcomes,” he told lawyers, judges and students of law in his keynote address.

He said that not empowering citizens could lead to “a deep sense of alienantion and hostility” that could cause “ rash acts of violence that fracture societies.”

"This is bad and insensitive politics."

“We cannot morally turn our backs on the fundamental responsibility of ensuring that all stakeholders in our society, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, have a place under the sun.”

“But closing two eyes to the problem does not help build the unity and integration required to face the economic and social turmoil that is likely to result. “Empowerment is a precondition for an integrated and progressive Asia. Interestingly enough, the forces that can connect Asia also have the potential to empower its people.”

He cited five areas that could empower Asia.

“The first prerequisite of empowerment must be to strengthen the rule of law. The law has the capacity to unite and enfranchise the people of Asia like no other.

“The second source of empowerment is greater political participation. One of the essential tasks of Asia’s leaders is to convert residents into citizens and citizens into stakeholders.

“It is only when citizens are also stakeholders will there be the widest sense of ownership of problems and challenges. In order for Asian countries to weather this storm, governance systems must be broadly based and consultative to minimise non-cooperative behaviour.”

A third prerequisite for empowerment is that values and beliefs need to be changed and this is never a straightforward task.

A fourth source of empowerment is technology, particularly information and communication technology.

A fifth source of empowerment is education that breaks the chains of oppressive traditions and extremism.

“Education has paved the way for many to find their way out of poverty and for countries to sharpen their competitive edge,” Raja Nazrin added.

Unfortunately, he said that good quality education was still a dream for many.

By M.KRISHNAMOORTHY
Star Online
30/10/08

Umno must play fair to woo non-Muslims: Masidi

Kota Kinabalu: Umno has to be fair to all irrespective of race and religion to attract non-Muslim Bumiputeras to the party.

Ranau Umno chief Datuk Masidi Manjun said this would make the people, particularly non-members, more prepared in supporting Umno.

"I agree with what Datuk John Ambrose had said. Hopefully it will open up the minds of non-Muslim Bumiputeras to see Umno as a party representing all the races.

"What matters is that people perceive you to be fair to all races. When this happens, they will give support despite being non-members," he said when commenting on a statement by the Penampang Umno chief that a Kadazandusun special task force be created in the division.

Ambrose said the special task force would be charged with attracting the Kadazandusun and Murut (KDM) ethnic group, including the Christians, to Umno aimed at strengthening the party.

Masidi, who is also Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, said to achieve this, the Umno leadership must be transparent and sincere.

"The people demand the highest degree of accountability from us. We need to comply with the demand that politicians lead by example," he said when opening a political seminar organised by Sabah UiTM here, Tuesday.

Masidi, a Dusun, said about one-third of the Umno members in Ranau were Dusun Christians, a reflection of political maturity among Sabahans.

He added the thinking that the general election result showed that racial politics in peninsula had reduced because some Chinese and Indians had opted to vote for Pakatan Rakyat was inaccurate.

"They claim that their respective race are better off now. Is this not racial?

"Let's not pretend that racial politics is not here. It is still strong only that it is less evident. We are still a long way off."

Masidi said only Sabah and Sarawak had managed to minimise race and religion in politics.

Bernama
29/10/08

Malaysian Gov't not listening to will of the nation

In regards to the matter report, I condemn the arrest of the 11 people including a six-year-old girl who had gathered at Purtajaya to submit a Deepavalli appeal to the prime minister for the release of all the ISA detainees.

This act again is a barbaric and unlawful action taken by the police under the instruction of the Umno-led government in Malaysia. This little girl was there as a sign of love for the prime minister, seeking the release of her uncle P Uthayakumar and all the detainees of the cruel and unjust Internal Security Act.

She even extended an invitation to the PM for him to come to her house on Deepavalli. All the other 11 people, including the wife of Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy were there in a very peaceful manner.

The arrest was not only an insult to the Indians but to all Malaysians whom belief in human rights and respects for the federal constitution. The arrest is against the world’s human rights standards and Article 10 of the federal constitution which guarantees freedom of assembly for all.

It is such a shame for Malaysia to be on the United Nation’s Human Rights Council when the ruling Umno government can oppress the nation with its absolute ruling power.

A six-year old child was detained for being at a so-called illegal assembly. Kuala Lumpur police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman said that she was not arrested but under her mother’s care. How can a six-year-old girl be under her mother`s care in the lock-up?

Would not the detention affect the child's mind? How would she feel being surrounded by bars and police personnel? She was only there to submit an appeal and an invitation to the PM but was instead detained for no reason.

Is the Umno government trying to shut the mouth of the nation and blind us to our rights? The ban on Hindraf itself is an illegal action taken by the home ministry. Article 10 of the federal constitution provides a right to form an association. The action taken by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar is an violation of the federal constitution and is an illegal move.

Who should be arrested now? Shouldn’t Syed Hamid Albar be charged in court for violating the constitution? Should the police be charged in court for disrupting a peaceful assembly? Where is the law in this country? The Umno government, the police and the ministers are theselves breaking the law. But they put up a drama in the eyes of the world.

The home minister said that he believes that he has the support of the Indian community on the banning of Hindraf. Is the home minister deaf to all the criticisms on that issue by elected representative in parliament? Hindraf represents the Hindu and Indian community in Malaysia. They had fought against the demolitions of the holy temples and for the rights of Indians in Malaysia.

What wrong has Hindraf done that it deserve to be banned? Is Umno shaken by the Hindraf movement which reveals the cruelty and evilness of the ruling government? What more will the ruling government do to the oppressed of the nation to hide all its wrongdoings? Use the ISA more? Use the police more?

Enough is enough! The cruelty has to stop. Justice needs to prevail. All the culprits need to be brought to court and evil needs to be defeated. This is my beloved country and I want to see change upon this country. The younger generation does not tolerate racial outbursts and wrongdoings by the government.

The Internal Security Act must be abolished. The heroes of this country must be freed. How much more does this nation need to go through? Has Umno not learned from the previous general elections? Is Malaysia a police state?

I also appeal for the cruel Internal Security Act to be abolished. This is the cry and will of this nation. Hundreds of rallies and vigils have been organised by various parties to send a message to the government for this act to be abolished but the government seems not to be listening.

The government seems to be doing what they want and not what the nation wants. Please listen to this nation and bring peace and justice upon this country. I call upon Syed Hamid Albar to resign as home minister as he has failed in his duties and has rejected the will of this nation.

He is no longer fit to be a home minister as he is a shame for Malaysia. If the government still does not listen to the will of this nation and does not abolish the ISA, then Malaysia is no longer fit to be on the United Nations Human Rights Council because it`s such a shame for us to talk about human rights when we do not practice it.

K Sudhagaran Stanley

SAPP attracts new members

Sandakan (Oct 29, 2008): At two gatherings, one held at the party’s Elopura office on October 27 and another held in Sekong on October 28, SAPP received 526 new membership applications. This group of new members have applied to join SAPP in Elopura, Tanjong Papat, Karamunting, Sekong and Sungei Sibuga constituencies. The applications forms were received by SAPP president Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee.

The Party HQ shall now proceed to other constituencies to form new branches and to strengthen the Party. From November to December, training programmes and new membership induction courses have been arranged in 15 districts consisting of 45 state constituencies. The Party targets to increase the membership from the current 40,000 to 60,000 by year 2010, spread over the 60 State constituencies in Sabah and one parliamentary seat of Labuan FT.

For one month, SAPP has been working on the rebuilding and strengthening of the Party in Sandakan due to the departure of leaders in the municipality after SAPP was no longer in BN coalition government.

SAPP is greatly encouraged by the people in Sandakan who fervently urged SAPP to strive on and to rebuild SAPP. SAPP promises that the Party shall not let down the people of Sandakan.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Council held its 114th Supreme Council meeting at the SAPP office at CLC Elopura Conference Room.

The party however, did not make any decision whether to take part in the Pensiangan by-election but decided to form branches in the N.38 Nabawan constituency and to expand the number of branches in the N 37 Sook constituency, which together form the Pensiangan parliamentary constituency

Sandakan, Tuesday 1. SAPP held its 114th Supreme Council meeting at the SAPP office at CLC Elopura Conference Room today. This is the third time that SAPP has held its Supreme Council meeting in Sandakan, the other times being on Jan 19, 1995 at Elopura office, and on June 25, 2006 at Sabah Hotel.

For one month, SAPP has been working on the rebuilding and strengthening of the Party in Sandakan due to the departure of leaders in the municipality after SAPP was no longer in BN coalition government. SAPP is greatly encouraged by the people in Sandakan who fervently urged SAPP to strive on and to rebuild SAPP. SAPP promises that the Party shall not let down the people of Sandakan.

SAPP is also extremely grateful to local leaders and members who have remained loyal to the Party. In spite of attempts by the departing leaders, especially in Tanjong Papat, to block Sandakan members from meeting SAPP leaders, SAPP is proud that many members have voluntarily contacted the Party HQ, Supreme Councilors and local leaders such as Poon Kee Yang and Tenny Chang Yee Chung to report that they will not leave the Party. Some members even traveled all the way to the Party HQ in Kota Kinabalu to enquire about their membership status after reading news reports of their “mass resignations” from the Party in Sandakan.

This proves that the September news rumours of “2000 members resigning from SAPP” and another “15,000 resignations” engineered by the departing leaders is a lie meant to deceive the people and the BN leadership.

SAPP

NPLs, bankruptcy expected to rise

KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s banking institutions are expected to see more cases of loan defaults next year that would likely bring about increasing number of bankruptcy orders, industry sources said.

A source familiar with the management of bad loans in the local banking industry told The Edge Financial Daily that bankruptcy cases had been “on the rise” since September, involving both individuals and companies.

“There is an increase in terms of both the number of cases and the amount owed. Most of the loan defaults involve the retail segment. There are also more and more defaults in hire-purchase loans. The number of delinquent accounts is rising.

“These rising numbers cannot be avoided. Markets are so bad. People just can’t pay. I foresee it (the number of bankruptcy) will be worse next year,” the source said.

In general, a loan in Malaysia is classified as non-performing loan (NPL) when the principal or interest is due and unpaid for three months or more from the first day of default. As such, the source said the rising number of unpaid loans in the second half of the year would only be classified as NPLs and be reflected going into 2009.

Latest data on the actual number of bankruptcy in the country could not be immediately available from the Department of Insolvency.

While some major banks have generally reported reasonable NPL figures in the first half of the year, a source said the picture of the country’s NPLs could be bleak next year.

“It takes time for the spillover effect from the failure of several US banks and global economy slowdown to take place here. It is October now, which means the year is ending. I think things will surface and get worse next year,” he noted.

A source believed that locally incorporated foreign banks might not see as much NPLs as would the local banks, with the exception of “one or two” newcomers that had aggressively extended loans to individuals who were previously shunned by major banks.

“One or two banks were quite aggressive in lending to individuals for them to buy shares in the stock market, but that was before the market crashed. Now the market crashed, so I think these banks may not look good in terms of NPL,” he said.

Gan Yen Kuan
The Edge
29/10/08

Fatwa on yoga out soon

PENANG, 29 Oct 2008: The National Fatwa Council will come out with a ruling related to yoga exercise soon.

The announcement would be made by the council's chairperson, Prof Datuk Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, said Department of Islamic Development Malaysia deputy director-general (operations), Othman Mustapha.

He told reporters this after opening the two-day seminar on Islamic Jurisprudence and Eternal Islamic Thinking at Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Yesterday, lecturer Prof Zakaria Stapa of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's Islamic Studies Centre advised Muslims who have taken up yoga to stop practising it for fear that it could deviate their beliefs.

Bernama
29/10/08
mi1: Fanatic Lunatics

Do we still need to talk about racial issues in Malaysia today?

KUALA LUMPUR: MCA vice president Datuk Liow Tiong Lai slammed Utusan Malaysia for distorting his viewpoints on the country's economic development in a bid to ethnicise the issue and stir up controversies.

On the national economic development, he said he stressed company and national competitiveness, and had advocated genuine cooperation among different races in this country instead of overly emphasising the issue of racially divided equity.

"Opening up the economy and enhancing competitiveness instead of talking only about quota restrictions has been the megatrend for future developments. If all races in this country can work together sincerely, then there will not be any need of talking about the equity issue."

During an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily, Liow said the misguiding front page story on Utusan Malaysia was obviously trying to cook up the issue along racial lines when compared to articles on other Malay and English dailies.

"Do we still need to talk about racial issues in Malaysia today? How deplorable it is to see the old mindset of 1970s and 80s still very much alive in our new generation of today! If we still engross ourselves in making racist remarks and arguments, then the country's future will be doomed!"

Liow emphasised that the viewpoint he had offered when asked to respond to the economic development issues raised by deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak earlier, was that Malaysians could not afford to confine themselves within the antiquated mind frame of racial quotas, but should instead enhance their own competitiveness and efficiency.

"What I suggested was the megatrend. The quota in equity should be opened up, but I didn't say it should be abolished right away."

Liow slammed Utusan for the irresponsible, unwise and distortional style of reporting, which has reflected on the newspaper's outdated mentality and lack of progressiveness.

He also believed that other newspapers had carried the story in a more objective and factual approach without attempting to play up the issue.

"Look like all they want to see is chaos."

Utusan Malaysia recently quoted Liow Tiong Lai as having said that MCA suggested that the government abolish the 30% bumiputra equity restrictions on public-listed companies, in its cover story headlined Mansuh Ekuiti Bumiputra (Abolish Bumiputra Equity).

"It is detrimental to the national economy for anyone to continue playing up racial issues. Utusan Malaysia must stop issuing news reports that could trigger racial disharmony."

(By KOK SU CHIN/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)
MySinchew
2008.10.29

5 Billion Ringgit Duit KWSP Untuk Siapa? (malay language)

Hari ini telah dipastikan bahawa sistem ekonomi kapitalis neo liberal telah berakhir. Krisis ekonomi yang melanda sistem kapitalis neo liberal ini sedang nazak. Secara bengong hanya Najib Razak sahaja yang cuba menafikannya dan berkata bahawa Malaysia ‘terselamat’.

Dasar Ekonomi Bengong Najib Razak ini akan membawa mudarat yang amat sangat kepada orang ramai. Justeru, mari kita memahami dasar ekonomi bengong Najib Razak.

Langkah akhir Najib – dua hari sebelum meninggalkan Kementerian Pertahanan, Najib Razak telah menanda tangani perjanjian untuk membeli Eurokopter. Helikopter ini berharga 2 bilion ringgit. Negara Brazil telah membeli helikopter yang sama dengan harga 1 bilion ringgit. Apakah Malaysia di tipu 1 bilion ringgit ?

Jawabnya - tidak. Harga helikopter ini sama. Tidak berubah-ubah. Tukang buat dan tukang jual ini tidak menipu. Kita rakyat Malaysia yang kena tipu oleh Najib Razak. Harga ini telah ‘dinaikkan’. Yang membayar nanti ialah kita semua kerana yang membeli helikopter ini ialah keajaan. Kerajaan itu orang ramai. Orang ramai itu ialah kita semua.

Cara ‘menipu’ ini samalah seperti cara Najib Razak membeli jet pejuang Sukhoi dan kapal selam dari Peranchis. Yang berbeza kali ini hanyalah tidak ada perterjemah cun dari Mongolia. Juga kali ini bukan syarikat perunding Razak Baginda yang menjalankan urus jual/beli. Ini kerana Razak Baginda penasihat politik Najib Razak sedang ditahan dalam penjara kerana dituduh terlibat membunuh Altantuya.

Berita masih belum jelas syarikat kroni mana pula yang mendapat komisen 1 bilion ringgit membeli Eurokopter ini.

Dari mana agaknya duit-duit ini akan datang ? Apakah duit ini juga datang dari punca yang sama? Dalam suasana gawat ini banyak persoalan timbul kenapa beli helikopter?

Pertanyaan ini terjawab pantas. Belum pun satu bulan menjadi Menteri Keewangan Najib Razak telah ‘mengsongklap 5 billion ringgit’ duit KWSP. Duit ini ialah duit simpanan kaum buruh dan kaum pekerja. Duit KWSP adalah duit simpanan yang wajib disimpan oleh semua pekerja. Majikan juga diwajibkan menyumbang sama dalam dana KWSP. Duit KWSP ini bertujuan untuk akan digunakan di hari tua – sebagai pencen atau untuk diambil membuat rumah, pergi naik haji dan sebagainya.

Menurut dasar ekonomi bengong Najib Razak duit 5 bilion ringgit ini akan disalurkan kepada syarikat ValueCap Sdn.Berhad. Tujuan penyaluran duit KWSP ini ialah untuk menaikkan harga nilai saham-saham syarikat-syarikat yang dianggap ‘nilai jatuh’.

Persolaan timbul - nilai saham ini rendah ialah kerana orang ramai tidak yakin terhadap syarikat-syarikat ini. Memasukan duit ke dalam syarikat ini tidak akan membawa apa-apa keuntungan. Untuk sementara waktu kemungkinan nilai saham syarikat ini akan naik tetapi akhirnya akan jatuh terlungkup juga.

Apabila saham ini mendapat suntikan 5 bilion ringgit maka nilai saham ini akan naik. Bila nilai saham ini naik maka makin ramai tuan empunya saham akan menjualkan saham mereka kerana ekonomi sedang gawat. Bila saham banyak terjual maka nilai saham ini akan jatuh kembali.

Hanya orang bengong sahaja yang tidak faham bagaimana spekulasi bergerak pantas di Bursa Saham Kuala Lumpur. 5 bilion ringgit ini akan di cekup oleh pemodal besar terutama dari luar negara. Dalam masa yang singkat 5 bilion ringgit ini pasti akan hangus. 5 bilion ringgit ini adalah duit kita semua di judikan di Bursa Saham oleh Najib Razak.

Lihat pula ekonomi kita. Harga bahan bakar petrolium telah jatuh. Ketika menulis ini harga satu tong minyak mentah ialah 62 dolar. Untuk mengeluarkan minyak dari perut laut Petronas memerlukan 60 dolar. Ertinya dalam satu tong kita hanya untung 2 dolar. Jika harga minyak jatuh lagi maka akan tidak berbaloi untuk Petrons mengeluarkan minyak.

Lihat pula harga kelapa sawit. Harganya juga telah jatuh. Pada ketika ini harga satu tan minyak kelapa sawit kurang lebih 1,500 ringgit. Perbelanjaan untuk mendapat satu tan minyak sawit dianggarkan antara 1,200 ke 1,700 ringgit. Dalam masa yang tidak lama kos pengeluaran – baja, buruh, pengangkutan - lebih mahal dari pendapatan.

Justeru, kerana menyedari semua ini Pakatan Rakyat telah meminta agar Balanjawan 2009 di ulang kaji kembali. Belanjawan 2009 yang dibentangkan di Parlimen sekarang berdasarkan harga minyak yang melebihi 100 dolar satu tong dan harga kelapa sawit hampir 3000 ringgit satu tan.

Pendapatan negara yang dijadikan asas Belanjawan 2009 bergantung kepada hasil bahan bakar minyak petrolium dan minyak sawit. Jika harga dua bahan ekspot kita ini jatuh ertinya pendapatan negara jatuh. Justeru Belanjawan 2009 wajib di ulang kaji.

Najib Razak yang menjalankan dasar Ekonomi Bengong telah menolak permintaan Pakatan Rakyat di Parlimen. Apa yang dilakukan oleh Najib Razak ialah ‘mengsongklap duit KWSP.’

Selama lebih dari 30 tahun sistem eknonomi kapitalis neo liberal telah diperkenalkan oleh Amerika Syarikat. Kapitalis neo liberal bermakna – apa yang boleh jual di jual – apa yang boleh beli dibeli. Sistem kapitalis ini telah mengenepikan peranan daulah. Kerajaan TIDAK dibenarkan memiliki hospital, sekolah dan universiti, leterik, sistem pengangkutan, air atau menyediakan subsidi untuk orang ramai. Menurut falsafah neo liberal jika kerajaan campur tangan maka sistem kapitalis akan cacat.

Justeru gerombolan United Malays National Organistion telah turut sama mengamalkan sistem kapitalis neo liberal. Hasilnya – lembaga api leterik dijual pada kroni, lembaga agihan air di jual pada kroni, membuat jalan raya di jual pada kroni, hospital dijual pada kroni. Siapa kroni ini ? Mereka adalah anak beranak dan kaum keluarga gerombolan United Malays National Organisation.

Untuk menipu rakyat maka gerombolan United Malays National Organisation telah mengatakan bahawa ini adalah Dasar Ekonomi Baru untuk menolong orang Melayu. Bila ada kritikan muncul maka gerombolan ini akan berselindung di bawah Perlembagaan dan Hak Keistemewaan Orang Melayu. Jika kritikan datang dari yang Bukan Melayu maka mereka akan mengatakan bahawa orang Bukan Melayu tidak ada hak untuk membincangkan hak keisntemewaan Melayu. Gerombolan ini akan mengancam dengan tindakan undang-undang.

Tingkah laku dan perangai gerombolan United Malays National Organisation ini samalah seperti satu gerombolan perompak selepas melakukan rompakan akan berselindung di Masjid atau di Kuil atau di Gereja. Ini taktik yang telah dilakukan oleh gerombolan United Malays National Organisation berulang-ulang kali.

Dasar Ekonomi Bengong Najib Razak ini akan membawa mudarat yang maha besar kepada kita semua – Melayu dan Bukan Melayu. Ekonomi kapitalis tidak pernah kenal kamu beragama apa, kamu berbangsa apa atau kamu bersembayang dimana. Apabila ekonomi kuncup yang terpukul henat ialah kelas bawahan – kaum pekerja, kaum buruh, kaum tani dan nelayan dipukul hebat. Ramai warga akan hilang pekerjaan dan mata pencarian.

Kita wajib menerima hakikat bahawa Malaysia turut sama mengamalkan sistem ekonomi kapitalis neo liberal. Sistem ini berpusat di Amerika Syarikat. Apabila ekonomi Amerika Syarikat menguncup maka semua ekonomi kapitalis neo liberal dalam dunia ini juga akan menguncup sama.

Justeru Pakatan Rakyat tidak ada pilihan melainkan wajib mengambil alih kerajaan secepat mungkin untuk menyelamatkan negara dari bencana kemelesatan ekonomi. Dasar Ekonomi Bengong Najib Razak wajib diganti secepat mungkin. Malah Najib Razak sendirikan wajib di humbankan ke dalam tong sampah sejarah

Langkah awal ialah konsep KEMBALI KE BUMI. Petanian wajib di jadikan tulang belakang ekonomi Malaysia. Pertanian ini bukan hanya menanam sawit atau getah sahaja tetapi rakyat wajib dibantu untuk menanam tanaman untuk dimakan. Jika ekonomi meleset orang ramai masih ada makanan. Makanan untuk diekspot bukan tujuan utama kerana pasaran makanan dunia juga sedang menguncup. Jika kita dapat mengekspot makanan maka anggaplah ini adalah sebagai bonus.

Kembali Ke Bumi ini bertujuan untuk membeli masa agar kita dapat menyusun kembali struktur ekonomi kita yang selama 30 tahun ini telah di porak perandakan oleh dasar kapitalis neo liberal.

Tidak dapat tidak penstrukturan baru ekonomi yang akan dibawa oleh Pakatan Rakyat tidak akan berpandukan keuntungan maksima atau dasar – apa boleh jual jual – apa boleh beli beli. Struktur ekonomi baru wajib memperlihatkan peranan daulah yang lebih kuat. Wajib diwujudkan garis pemisah untuk memisahkan pengaruh kaum pemodal dari politik negara.

Kuasa kaum pemodal menentukan dasar ekonomi negara adalah dasar neo liberal. Dasar ini sedang terbogel dan terbukti meleset dan gagal. Dasar kapitalis neo liberal ini wajib ditinggalkan. Rakyat dunia memerlukan satu struktur baru yang berasakan kekuatan kaum pekerja, buruh dan tani.

tukartiub
29/10/08

Karpal: No porn actors in the cabinet, please

GEORGE TOWN: Former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik's controversial statement that it was not a problem for men to release their "extra energy as long as they don't talk about it or get caught" came under fire again.

National DAP chairman Karpal Singh said Dr Ling's statement belied his stature as a Tun and a former minister.

"It is shocking that he said it. He should mind his language.... His views could adversely affect society and lead to the break-up of the marriage institution," said Karpal in a statement.

He called on Dr Ling to retract his statement and apologise to all Malaysians. He said there was more than sufficient spotlight on the public admission by Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, who had acknowledged that he was the male "actor" in a pornographic video tape.

Karpal was also shocked that the former health minister had made a political comeback and was now occupying the second spot in the MCA leadership.

"I hope that he will not, in the interest of the public, be included in the cabinet again in view of the imminent cabinet reshuffle."

Karpal said Dr Chua should have emulated Britain's former junior defence minister, the late John Profumo, who resigned voluntarily in the early 1960s at the height of the Cold War and involved himself in social work without returning to politics after he admitted to misleading parliament over an extra-marital affair with a woman associated with an alleged Russian spy.

"The image of Malaysia should not be soiled with having a pornographic actor in its cabinet."

NST online
29/10/08

Tunku Aziz: PKNS staff shouldn’t interfere

Staff at the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) should respect the menteri besar’s prerogative in appointing a non-Malay to head the state agency, said DAP vice-chairperson Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim.

“I hope the menteri besar’s decision is respected by all and the PKNS staff will focus on doing their work professionally instead of questioning the prerogative of the state government to appoint the most suitable person for the post,” he said in a statement today.

Tunku Abdul Aziz was commenting on protests by six staff bodies against the appointment of the corporation’s deputy corporate affairs and accounting manager Low Siew Moi as acting general manager.

The decision by Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim to appoint Low was met with objection from the corporation’s own staff who submitted a protest memorandum to him.

At the same time Selangor PAS wanted to suggest its own candidate besides helping the state government find a suitable candidate.

Tunku Abdul Aziz expressed “great concerns” over the opposition shown by the staff bodies and opposition coalition partner PAS against Low’s appointment on the grounds that the post should be filled up by a bumiputera.

Tunku Abdul Aziz said that the opposition based on someone’s ethnic background augured badly for ethnic relations and national unity.

“The interference by the senior staff of PKNS runs counter to established management practices and may well be the result of the race-based policies and indoctrination that the nation had been subjected to for the better part of 50 years or so,” he said.

‘Blind prejudice’
Tunku Abdul Aziz urged Malaysians to put aside “blind prejudices” and recognise that progress required the recognition for efforts and contributions of all citizens regardles of ethnicity or gender.

On the contrary, he said that a culture had developed where merit was overlooked while “less than relevant considerations” such as ethnicity and religion were prioritised.

“It is indeed sad that while we have progressed in economic and material terms, our nation is still bound to old ways of thinking and acting that have no place in a modern democratic society,” he said.

The Selangor government, in particular Khalid, has come under fire from various groups and media over Low’s appointment.

Filling the gap
In a statement yesterday, Khalid defended Low’s appointment, adding that she was the most suitable candidate to fill the post for the time being.

Khalid said Low’s appointment should not be an issue because it was only temporary as she was needed to stand in to replace the void left by the current PKNS general manager Harun Salim would be retiring at the end of the month.

Low, who is due to retire this year, was given an extention to undertake the new post.

Khalid had explained that if both Low and Harun retired at about the same time, it could affect to smooth running of PKNS.

Thus the state had asked Low to defer her retirement by a year until a suitable bumiputera successor was found, he had said.

Low was also quoted in the media as saying that a bumiputera candidate should be appointed to continue steering the government agency.


source: malaysiakini
29/10/08

Malaysia Parliament: Emergency motion over 3 mega projects

KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim filed an emergency motion in Parliament on Wednesday to call for a Royal Commission to be established to investigate the doubts and controversies over the Federal Government’s decision to spend on three controversial mega projects.

The three mega projects are the RM11.31bil High Speed Broadband Project, the RM4.26bil purchase of the Bank Internasional Indonesia by Maybank and the RM1.7bil procurement of 12 units of the Eurocopter Cougar EC 725 helicopters.

Anwar said this in the motion addressed to the Dewan Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

Anwar claimed that on Sept 16, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also the Finance Minister, had approved the High Speed Broadband hastily at a price deemed too high and without any open tender process.

On Sept 30, Najib had also approved the purchase of 56% of the shares in the Bank International Indonesia through Maybank and it was a waste of the nation’s funds because the shares were bought at a price five times higher than the book value, he said.

Two days before he moved from the Defence Ministry to the Finance Ministry, a letter of intent was issued for the purchase of 12 helicopters, a deal made in a dubious manner, said Anwar.

“Although the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi had on Oct 28 announced that the Government had decided to postpone the purchase, it had not removed people’s doubt over the earlier decision to purchase the Eurocopter helicopters,” he said in the motion.

The Dewan Rakyat will decide Thursday whether the emergency motion will be accepted.

LOH FOON FONG
Star Online
29/10/08

Mahathir's Faded Vision

What would a Malaysia without Mahathir be?

Did Asiaweek deliberately select a photograph that portrayed an ‘old’ Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad looking a bit of an ‘idiot’?

Was the ‘Malay Action Front’, which was hastily assembled to attack his foes, so confused as to turn upon his leadership instead?


Now that is hegemony.
It was often all the more powerful for being so intensely personal because of Mahathir’s political longevity, domineering conduct, and the relative obscurity of his allies and subordinates.

Mahathir Era Ends
If one digs deeply enough, however, the assumed solidity of Mahathir’s domination of the political system is somewhat illusory. The superficial evidence of the cracks in the domination is already visible.

Outside UMNO, critical segments of the Malay community – civil servants, students and academicians – don’t rally to his ‘Malay unity’ cause. The marginal Gabungan Pelajar-pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (whose patron he is) is pro-Mahathir, while ‘pro-opposition’ students have swept the campus elections.

The truth is, the ‘Mahathir era’ is over, bar the weeping, cheering and jeering that will undoubtedly be heard the minute the man goes.

The era ended somewhere between the financial crisis of July 1997 and the political crisis of Anwar’s sacking in September 1998. Only a tentative economic recovery and BN’s flawed victory in the 1999 general election maintained the fiction of its prolongation.

This Thing Called Mahathirism
What was this so-called ‘Mahathir era’ about anyway?

Looking back, it was a time of restless ambition exemplified by Mahathir’s programme of heavy industrialisation. The ambition was driven by Malay nationalism and Malaysian capitalism which coupled to conceive Malaysia Incorporated and privatisation.

The beginnings of the era were charged with the energy of the ‘2Ms’ and sounded noble enough: Reform the bureaucracy! Modernise the economy! Change the Malays!

Its spiritual core was to be built around a liberal ‘assimilation of Islamic values’. At any rate they were values which celebrated learning, promoted thrift and dignified labour – the elements of an ‘Eastern work ethic’ which Mahathir wanted to impose upon Malaysian society.

Its most exalted target was the creation of a unified nation, Bangsa Malaysia, which would be led by the Melayu Baru – a corps of ‘new Malay’ capitalists and professionals – to undertake a conquest of foreign markets.

What Have We Today?
Today no one wants to talk of the bersih, cekap dan amanah (‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’) initiatives of the early Mahathir administration or the austerity measures of Daim Zainuddin’s first ministry. Instead the talk is all about bailouts, cronyism, and re-nationalisation: witness the public reactions to the recent episodes involving IWK, MAS, PUTRA, STAR, Bakun HEP, and Time dot Com.

The ‘assimilation of Islamic values’ was once posed quite attractively in a liberal and universalistic code. Now it would appear quite hollow against the strident idiom of the strongest Islamic opposition ever.

There was a time when Mahathir wanted to move a nation with a synergistic blend of a purposeful leadership and popular mobilisation. Presently any reference to his old slogan, kepimpinan melalui teladan (‘leadership by example’), can only invite public scorn while the most sustained popular mobilisation is anti-regime.

Mahathir no longer offers anything more rousing than a shrill call to defend Malay ‘special rights’, the constitutional position of the Malay rulers, and Islam.

Ever since UMNO suffered its unprecedented losses in the November 1999 election, he’s behaved as if he’s reliving his personal defeat in the 1969 election. His own unifying refrain of Bangsa Malaysia has been drowned out by the divisive strains of ‘Malay unity’.

Can there be a surer sign that the famed Mahathirist vision is exhausted?

No Room for Complacency
This summary depiction of a fervent opening phase of the Mahathir era and its flaccid end isn’t intended to delight those who seek to reform Malaysian political life and its public institutions. If it does, it can only mean that they misunderstand or underestimate the impact of the changes Malaysian society underwent during a critical middle phase.

The changes were not uniformly good or fair. Great benefits for some were purchased at the expense of others.

NEP’s two-pronged objectives of ‘poverty eradication irrespective of race’ and ‘restructuring society to abolish the identification of race with occupation’ were all too frequently reduced to one prong – restructuring.

And restructuring progressively became ‘less than one’ prong. It was increasingly used to justify a concentration of wealth among select groups of Malay businesses. This happened under Malaysia Inc., privatisation and the politicisation of business especially via UMNO’s massive penetration of the corporate world.

Despite this, there were several years of high growth and ‘trickle down’ which raised the general level of prosperity and visibly democratized consumption. At its peak, in the early 1990s, the Mahathir era provided economic and reasonably popular solutions to many previously intractable problems of education, language and culture.

Arguably, only the most marginalised citizens and a new underclass of migrant labour didn’t experience a gain in prosperity, a sense of a more unified society, and pride in Malaysia’s place in the world.

Political memories being short, it’s easy just six years after BN’s sweep of the 1995 election, to forget that many Malaysians came to possess a stake in the realization of Mahathir’s Vision 2020..

Turning Inwards
Without more than the support of cronies, Mahathir’s regime would have been blown away by the crises of July 1997 and September 1998 – the way the Indonesian Reformasi swept Suharto into oblivion.

At its clearest, from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, Mahathir’s vision took in the problems of Malaysian society, factored in global changes, and opted for outward-gazing solutions.

But the East Asian debacle led Mahathir, his political allies, and his corporate dependents to turn sharply inwards – economically by using capital controls, currency peg, and pump priming, and politically by resorting to repression and reverting to racial gamesmanship, beginning with the Anwar affair.

The political turn has been well resisted by a broad segment of the population rallying around BA and its NGO allies to offer the only credible bulwark against further erosion of constitutional government and escalation of interethnic politics.

However, no comparably significant alternative direction has been set for the economy which must occupy a central role in any future reshaping of Malaysian society – just as it did during the NEP years.

Dominant Vision
It’s true that Mahathir’s crisis management in 1998 helped to avert an Indonesian-styled collapse in Malaysia and bought time for economic reorganisation. His resistance to the market fundamentalism of mobile capital and global fund managers also had a crucial point.

But the point pales beside Mahathir’s waste of pre-July 1997 chances to extend and deepen social justice when he had the means to do so. After that, his foremost priorities were to rescue sinking conglomerates at great public cost and without penalty to their helmsmen. These measures showed Mahathir to be captive to the corporate creatures he’d helped to create.

That sums up the end of a dominant vision.

Dangers Ahead
If I’ve painted a bleak picture, it’s not just to capture a public mood that isn’t upbeat. It’s also to caution that Mahathir’s departure alone will not remove all that’s objectionable about Malaysian politics, particularly of these past three years.

Mahathirism’s end doesn’t necessarily promise a better Malaysia when in fact domestic and global conditions aren’t getting rosier.

At home, our new multiethnic elites – those who rule the corporate roost – are both arrogant and insecure.

They arrogantly consider it their birthright to profit from national resources when times are good, and, when times turn bad, to convert their private losses into public liabilities. They are insecure vis-à-vis the international market since, unable to sustain any serious level of global competitiveness, they depend upon their ‘cables’ of state protection.

Abroad, the new American presidency is avowedly warlike. It’s warmongers – a.k.a. the policy-makers of the military-industrial complex – are preparing strategic ‘Star Wars’ scenarios in which Asia is recast as the USA’s future cockpit. The USA unilaterally dumps the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

The major economies in the East and West are headed for recession. The imperialism of the global market has grown more extensive. The power of supranational institutions and multilateral agreements shrinks the space for small economies.

A New Pathway to Development
More than ever before, Malaysian society requires a new pathway to development.

The new pathway must avoid the pitfalls of an economic nationalism that is populist in rhetoric and elitist in practice. That kind of narrow-minded economic nationalism has long favoured deals with ‘foreign investment, technology and partners’ so long as the wheeling-dealing profits domestic elites.

Likewise there can’t be a naïve embrace of the global market. Those who shun the abuses of state intervention won’t find solace in the religion of the market: hardly anything from Malaysia’s post-colonial record of achievement can be credited to a ‘free market’.

An unfettered global market, which has ‘no heart, soul, conscience, homeland’, will merely subordinate the lives, liberties and happiness of communities to the pursuit of profit.

If there is to be an alternative pathway, it won’t arise from the thoughts of one or another leader of supposed genius; as it were, a ‘God’s gift to Malaysia’, as a flatterer once described Mahathir. Nor will the alternative be a ready-made blueprint inspired by any historical example or existing model.

The alternative can only be the product of broad democratic struggles for social justice that genuinely advance the long-term welfare of the vast majority of Malaysia’s citizens and those who labour within its borders.

Only such a social and political innovation can lead us out of the present impasse of being trapped between the end of a dominant vision and the absence of an alternative.

As long as the impasse remains, the dangers of political retrogression abound. And they’re ironically bound up with the issue of Mahathir’s exit!

Back to His Past
Mahathir is a complex man, vain enough to have had contempt for his opponents. He has repeatedly proven the strength of his convictions against staunch opposition.

In 1986 he ‘held the NEP in abeyance’. In 1998 he imposed capital controls. On another occasion, he was the only Muslim politician to object publicly to proposed legislation that would punish apostasy in Islam.

It is that kind of courage, including a readiness to change ‘the rules of the game’ when one’s back is up against the wall, that has helped Mahathir to stay in power for so long.

Today Mahathir’s back is truly up against the wall and time’s running out since his call for ‘Malay unity’ has been counter-productive.

Those who think about reshaping the future of Malaysia should be ready to go beyond Mahathir.
Dr Khoo Boo Teik
Aliran
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