How corrupted can a nation get?

A new palace is being constructed at a place called Jalan Duta,KL. Original price tag before construction about over RM400 million. New price tag ballooned to over RM800 million.

Tender was through direct negotiations ( claiming for security reasons ). There are many foreign illegals working at this site who claim not to have been paid salaries for many months by their employers, the main contractor says it pays the sub-contractor and its not their responsibility.

When this happens the work will slow down and cause the price tag to increase further for construction.Can you imagine illegals working on a palace construction site right under the authorities nose in the capital of Malaysia, how is this possible?

Well in Malaysia we have a saying, Malaysia Boleh ! meaning anything is possible here. Mind you, Malaysia has been given a seat in the UN as a human rights member country. Yes ironic as it may seem, our politicians have a way of making " the clock tok" ( that's what the German Military say when interrogating British prisoners of war ).

The only country Malaysia has a problem dealing with is Singapore. Any guess why? I am not insulting my country but instead frustrated with the ways of the BN government and its cronies.

If change does not come, there will be no Vision 2020 or 1Malaysia.

01/07/10

Corrupted politicians

Systematic looting of national wealth within a democracy is much more scary than dictatorship as majority of us just got to tolerate since everything were done within the legal framework where rules were followed except that such rules were meant to justified the end.

You still see development albeit with apparent flaws and at much higher costs, both financial and social. As long as the self interested group is taken care of , the govt actually garnered more support. In our scenario, the institutions were automatically attracted to become govt supporters as the system recognise them as part of the self interested group who entitle to share the cakes of corruptions.

Corruption leads to inefficiency, this is the mantra of the modern economists. So, could we hope Malaysia to prosper economically when corruption index continue going south ?

A buddhist monk once said ” When a person losses his sense of shame, he cannot be rehabilitated any more” Perhaps this is the best description to our corrupted politicians who openly condone corruption as a norm in our daily life.

There are simply too many decision to be made, and the worst is when u need to choose the better between two devils. Ultimately u decide for your own future. Not so bad, at least u still have a choice.

01/07/10

Malaysian Universities with poor quality academicians

Perhaps our universities should start adopting “The Undercover Economist” by Tim Hartford as their main teaching materials to ensure those undergrads understand how does corruption hinder economic progress. However, i just worry that when they start to understand more economic rationales they will also master the art of corruption and at the same time prolong our undemocratic rules just to enrich themselves. At the end, the system not only maintained but inflated with more supporters with self interest.

I am still quite optimistic that we will be able to stop the rot sometime in the near future but we need some kind Big Bang explosion of worsening economy. Only then our nation will wake up from their dream and start seeking ways to address this issue. Of course the most effective and direct approach is change of govt though it may not guarantee instant result. Everyone need some kind of shock to stimulate our thinking process.

As we have achieve certain level of economic success, it will form the foundation for us to build a shield of defense against declining economy where everyone still looking for further economic progress or at least maintain the current state of living standard. Just like people who use to travel by own car would not willingly change to public transport. Hopefully, this logic will work itself into seeking changes and ensure our economy will not slide further.

01/07/10

Corrupted leaders creates corrupted nation

Countries with the right conditions stand a better chance of moving ahead through innovation than those countries that still hold to traditional and obsolete methods of governance.

The ‘right conditions’ is the key. Innovation can only happen in places where there is encouragement for new ideas.

Without the right conditions the most talented and most creative brains will migrate to places where they are able to do their best work. About 30,000 Malaysians with tertiary education are currently working in Europe.

Tens of thousands of other Malaysians are contributing their skills and knowledge in countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia.

Between 2000 and 2007, expatriate skilled labour attracted to Malaysia fell from 85,000 to 35,000, a decrease of almost 60 percent while the number of foreign unskilled workers rose by nearly 300 percent from 800,000 to 2.1 million.

Foreign students, who are usually among the brightest young people from their countries, are required to leave after their graduation from Malaysian tertiary institutions. So Malaysia is losing talents at the top end while continuing to bring in lowly educated manual workers at the bottom of the labour chain.

Malaysia has a long distance to go in creating the culture and platform to drive innovation. They do not see the potential in creating wealth out of IP. Innovation, however ground-breaking, does not always result in commercial success. The present level of intellectual property being commercialised in Malaysia is at a very low rate of 3.4 percent.

Creative thinking and marketing savvy are necessary. Without these drivers, innovation that happens will not be systematic, sustainable and financially profitable. In other words, innovation should be industry-led. The private sector is full of people very driven to succeed. They work at it every day. They have developed the skills and the capacity to compete and win. They know what the market wants; know how to respond to market needs and how to open up new opportunities.

To be certain, the process of innovation must also involve the people who run the government’s approval system. Government agencies must support and facilitate the private sector to enable it to be at its competitive best. They must understand the competitive nature of business. They must know the speed at which the private sector must move in order to remain in competition.

They must play a facilitating role. The government must lend active support to build Malaysian companies to enable them to succeed, to empower them to compete globally. It is important for the government to understand that if the private sector loses a battle overseas, it is the country that loses.

It should be Team Malaysia winning for Malaysia. This has not happened yet.

The journey to innovation starts at the very top. The chief executive of a company must commit its resources to the building of innovation.

We must educate the public, especially the parents, that creativity is more than painting and drawing cartoons.

We must focus on creating a more vibrant and productive innovation ecosystem that will pull together all our resources, our talent pool, our cultural diversity and creativity.

We must make the development of creativity and innovation a national agenda. Time is not really on our side. " Unquote.

Yes, the Jaguh Kampung Powers that be in Bolehland have Abused, Corrupted & Destroyed this once great nation to now compete with the Global Pariah Failed nations like Zimbabwe!

01/07/10

Taib has everything, Penans have nothing in Sarawak

TO the Malaysian government, particularly the Sarawak administration, the gentle and softly spoken Penan are a domestic problem. To the chief minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Penan are a thorny issue as they hamper his efforts for maximum commercial exploitation of Sarawak. But to the Penan, the jungle is both their home and store-room. That is why they are resisting attempts to move them from their own domain.

The Penan have lived in the interior of Borneo for centuries. They have a strong communal bond and a meticulous process of sharing. They are semi-nomadic and move in small groups searching for sago palm, wild fruits and game.

taib-property-1Every month or so the Penan leave their old selap (huts) and establish a new camp elsewhere in the forest, in search of sago palm – which forms part of their staple diet. Possessions are few and everyone, including children carries these, in strong rattan backpacks.

In stark contrast is Taib's well-guarded palatial home in a select river-side location along the Sarawak River in Kuching. He has expensive tastes and his house is packed with gilt-edged European style furniture. Among his possessions is the late Liberace's piano which reputedly cost him US$2 million.

The Penan elders dress in chawats (loin cloths). They have bands on their legs and wrists and large holes in their earlobes. Taib is reputed to be a dapper dresser with a preference for double-breasted suits and sports a ring with a walnut-sized red gem surrounded by small diamonds.

Wealth from Sarawak jungles

Unlike the Penan who used to go barefoot but now wear cheap, plastic football boots, Taib has a choice of luxury cars, is frequently seen in his Rolls Royce and visits longhouses by helicopter.

taib-property-4City-slickers like us may disagree, but the Penan are rich in culture and are wealthy from the bounty that the jungle yields. They have a deep respect, love and reverence for the jungle and have a strong belief in conservation.

The irony is that Taib Mahmud's global empire, covering Canada, UK and Australia, is built from the plundered wealth derived from the Sarawak jungles. It is alleged that the Canadian properties alone are worth RM230 million. Taib, and his inner-circle are rich at the Penan's expense.

Taib's family owns Sakto Development Corporation (formed in the 1980s) which is managed by Taib's son-in-law, Sean Murray, a Canadian who is married to his daughter, Jamilah. They own Ottawa's second most expensive home, at RM28 million.

This high-profile couple belongs to Ottawa's privileged society regularly making generous donations to political parties, cultural and educational establishments. Back home, the Penan live in poverty, without education, amenities or basic health care.

Taib's argument is that the logging companies bring wealth and opportunities to the Penan. He is mistaken. The logging tracks have destroyed a lot of sago palm. Badly planned trails cause landslides, erosion and silting watercourses. When the giant trees are removed, the resulting open ground rapid forms bushy secondary forest. Game is harder to spot and track, medicinal plants are less plentiful and vital sago palms become less abundant. The destruction of large fruiting trees removes a vital food source for the Penan and the game. The roads provide access to hunters from outside, who also remove the Penan's food sources but also threatens their security.

taib-mahmud-penanInadvertently, these logging trails provide another danger. Logging trucks have ostensibly provided lifts to Penan girls to their schools, who were then abused and raped by loggers during the journey. Despite evidence of sexual assaults, the Malaysian police have dragged their feet in investigations.

Whilst the police have been slow to act to protect the girls, they have been quick to dismantle Penan blockades and peaceful protest groups, against logging and plantation companies.

When Dr James Masing, Sarawak's Minister for Land Development was asked about the rapes, he said, "I think this is where we get confused I think... the Penan are a most interesting group of people and they operate on different social etiquette as us... a lot this sex by consensual sex".

When told that a Penan girl had been beaten unconscious and raped, he replied: "They change their stories, and when they feel like it. That's why I say Penan are very good story tellers."

Taib remained unscathed

Despite the scandals involving the payment of kickbacks by nine Japanese shipping companies for transporting timber from Sarawak to Japan, or the obscene wealth amassed by Taib, he has remained unscathed. Even, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission kept silent about a report that was recently made against Taib.

An earlier report highlighted how deforestation sparked drought and food shortages. When alerted by church groups, food was airlifted to 3,000 Penan in the Bakun area, in the upper Rejang River. A former state environment minister James Wong dismissed the idea that deforestation could lead to global warming. The climate change, he said, would be ideal for playing golf.

Wide-scale, systematic destruction of Sarawak's primary jungle began in the 1970s - the main threat was logging. When the jungles dwindled in the 1990s, Taib's family company, Cahya Mata Sarawak moved into cement, steel, timber, construction, financial services and banking. For the Penan, the creation of palm oil and acacia plantations created another threat. Coupled with Taib's mega-dam project, the Penan and other indigenous peoples faced forced relocation to areas which were unproductive and un-economic.

The Penan are deeply and emotionally attached to the jungle. They are acutely aware of the changes in their own environment - the wildlife they hunt, the fruit they pick, the fish in the rivers, their medicinal plants and clear clean drinking water, have almost gone.

The ancestral homelands of the Penan and other indigenous people of Sarawak are depleted. Only 10% of Sarawak's primary forests remain. Their petitions and peaceful protests fall on deaf ears. Their blockades have been dismantled and violent intervention by the Malaysia army, police and logging company enforcers have resulted in injury and deaths.

Empty promises do not help the Penan. They have been marginalised and their culture and way of life destroyed. They are one of the few remaining semi-nomadic people on earth. They want progress, but on their own terms and at their own pace. They want Taib's government to recognise their Native Customary Rights (NCR) over their ancestral lands.

It is for us to respect their demands. We must not fail them but help champion their right to live as they want to.

Malaysian Mirror
01/07/10

HRP lodges third police report against gov’t

The northern branch of the Human Rights Party (HRP) has lodged a police report in Penang against the country’s top leaders for violating the constitutional right of young Indian Malaysians to education.

muhyiddin yassinkhaled nordinLodged at the Patani Road police headquarters yesterday, the report named Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (left) and Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin (right) as key violators.

This was the HRP’s third report against BN-led federal government policies, following those lodged recently in Kuala Lumpur and Kulim.

According to the party, more police reports will follow as part of its campaign to lobby for the students’ right to education.

The party cited Article 8(1) of the federal constitution, which provides that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law; as well as Article 8(2), that there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the grounds only of religion, race, descent, and place of birth.

In its report, the party also pointed to Article 12(1): “Without prejudice to the generality of Article 8, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the grounds only of religion, race, descent of place of birth” in the admission to any higher education institution that is government-funded.”

N Ganesan, HRP advisor June 4When contacted, central committee member N Ganesan said the report was against Umno’s “racist policies against bright Indian students who have scored excellent results in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia but were unable to obtain Public Service Department scholarships to further their studies in matriculation colleges and universities”.

“We want to put on record the dissatisfaction of the Indian community over these blatantly discriminatory racist policies of Umno,” he said.

“These policies have long-term implications for the intellectual development of the Indian community specifically and for the country at large. This level of racial discrimination does not exist in any other part of the world except here in Najib’s 1Malaysia.”

‘Access denied’

Ganesan claimed that about 2,237 Indian Malaysian students have scored up to 13As but were denied access to the 10,500 local and 1,500 overseas scholarships offered by the government, as well as to 40,000 matriculation and 847,485 public university seats.

NONEThey were also denied places in critical courses such as medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, engineering, aeronautical engineering, accountancy, law, and bio-technology, he said.

The community’s other grouses include the demolition of a temple in Setapak by Kuala Lumpur City Hall on June 24.

“Acts done with impunity are nothing short of a scheme to stunt the growth of the Indian community (to) ‘always keep these fellows grovelling for the basics, give them peanuts or give them nothing – they will go away’,” added Ganesan.

“But they will not go away, they will push continuously harder to eliminate the root cause of their problems.

01/07/10

Practise of racism in Malaysia is driven by the greed of the UMNOPutras. And it erodes the dignity of all Malaysians.

The Malaysian government since 1957 has institutionalised racism as a fine art against all human values. The practice of racism overtly and covertly in its daily administration in the governance of the nation of multicultural population is repugnant, vile, reflecting of evil at its worst form, and goes against the norms of any civilised nation.

The practice of racism also goes against the teaching of Islam, in a country where the private affairs of religion and state governance are not separated, as it should be. In this context the UMNO dominated Malaysian government cannot and should not be accorded a place among the civilised nations. It should be discarded to the bins of barbaric race of yesteryears. Racism is promoted daily and is well entrenched in every aspect of the Malay- race dominated civil service, judiciary, police, army and every aspects the civil institutions.

The practice of racism, considered a vile and degrading behaviour elsewhere in the world, is promoted and encouraged by the UMNO regime with pride but mocked by the rest of the world. The practise of racism in Malaysia is born out of greed and inequitable allocation of the national wealth to the Malays. This greed based practice erodes the dignity of the Malays in the international arena, while the poverty amongst the lower stratum of the Indians and the other non-Malay communities glare in the face of opulent Malay race.

One reads daily the denial of life opportunities and basic needs to the poorer section of the other races with a great deal of pain and distress. The same pain is not felt by the so called leaders of the non-Malay communities appointed and anointed by connivance. These so called leaders have lost their mantle to advocate for the basic rights of these disadvantaged people. These so called leaders are consummated by greed and self interest. They have no ethics or moral values in them. They too have lost sight of humanity in preference over the wealth given to them by corruption. These characters carry the title of Datoks and Tuns and Sris, titles cloaked under deception and falsity, in a society where social standing is based on vertical hierarchy instead of lateral social values.

How long and how far can this dysfunctional arrangement can go on before Malaysia collapses into a state of entropy. The current UMNO leaders are blinded by greed, with total disrespect to the consequences of the short cuts they take to promote acute racism for self gratification. The cry of pain of a hungry child will pierce the karma of those greedy bodies who move around without a soul and conscience in them.

01/07/10

RM 1.4 Million Human Rights victory for death in police custody victim Anuar Bin Sarip

suzana urlThis morning the Kuala Lumpur High Court delivered an unprecedented decision of RM 1.4 Million in the case of death in police custody of Anwar Bin Sarip in police custody in 1999. P. Uthayakumar submitted in court that this case involved the first of the series of public interest cases of death in police custody by HRP which at it’s height was at the rate of one person killed in police custody in every two weeks. (An estimated 90% of the Malaysian victims are ethnic minority image Malaysian Indians who disproportionately are only 8% of the total Malaysian population.

P. Uthayakumar submitted the brief facts that in this case the deceased Anuar bin Sarip was sleeping with his wife and children in his family home.

The police suddenly stormed into his house, kicked open the deceased room door, abruptly awoke arrested and procured a remand order for 14 days in a row. On the tenth day a policeman left a note on the door of the deceased home that the deceased had died and the family was welcome to collect his dead body.

P. Uthayakumar submitted that the learned High Court Judge Dato Kang Hwee Gee had on 20/10/2009 decided liability against the Inspector General of Police and the Government of Malaysia and fixed damages to be assessed by the Senior Assistant Registrar Puan Faerah Nurul Ainni binti Izany. I also accept the evidence of Dr. Michael Devaraj Jeyakumar that pleural effusion secondary to bronchopneumonia is not a terminal disease and had the police acted responsibly and had sent the deceased to hospital earlier he could have been treated and saved. (See soalan 2 and soalan 3 of his Witness Statement).

The evidence shows that the defendants were in breach of that duty. Having taken the deceased into their custody it was incumbent upon the police to ensure that the health and well – being of the deceased were taken care of. Whether or not he was being brought at all to the Pusat Kesihatan Rawang to be attended to by the hospital assistant was doubtful as the person who brought him there D/ Kopral 98010 Sulaiman bin Abu Bakar (DW7) could not remember which hospital assistant attended the deceased. In any case even if he had in fact brought to see a hospital assistant this would not have been enough to discharge that duty considering the seriousness of the deceased’s condition. It was reasonably foreseeable that a failure to properly and adequately attend to the deceased’s serious condition would result in serious injury to his health. His later complaint of stomach ache and loss of appetite after the first episode underscores the failure on the part of the police to discharge that duty of care.

The fact that the deceased had been suffering from tuberculosis before he was taken into custody would not exonerate the defendants from liability as they would have to “take their victim as they him under the egg – shell skull principle”. (See Azizi Amran v Hizzam Che Hassan [2006] 2 CKL 821 paragraphs 8 and 9).

suzana 1 I am therefore convinced that the police was negligent in having failed to take reasonable care of the deceased while in its custody and should therefore be liable in negligence for the death of the deceased. Accordingly I allow the plantiff’s claim against the 3rd and 4th defendants with costs

As agreed loss and damages are to be assessed by the Registrar.

On 26/04/2010 the senior Assistant Registrar Puan Faerah Nurul Ainni binti Izany decided a sum of RM 137, 200. 00 as the damages.

The Federal Council’s appeal to the High Court Judge on this award was dismissed and the Kuala Lumpur High Court Judicial Commissioner Yang Arif Lee Swee Seng allowed the Plaintiff’s appeal as follows:-

1) Dependency for Anwar bin Sarip’s two children aged 16 and 9 @ RM200, 000.00 totaling RM 400, 000.00

2) Aggravated Damages RM 500, 000.00

3) Exemplary Damages RM 500, 000.00

Total RM 1, 400, 000.00

4) Interest at the rate of 8% per annum from the date of cause of action (death) to date of realization.

The learned Kuala Lumpur High Court Judicial Commissioner further held that death in police custody is disturbing. Drug addicts should if at all be treated with greater care.

The court message to the police is that any more deaths in police custody is unacceptable as it has been one too many. Steps must be taken that basic human rights be respected by the police.

P. Uthayakumar represented the Plaintiff and the Defendants the Inspector General of Police and the government of Malaysia was represented by Federal Counsel Wan Roslan Wan Ismail.

S. Jayathas

Information Chief

Court victory a feather in cap for P. Uthayakumar

The High Court award of RM1.4 million in negligence compensation to the widow of Mohd Anuar Sharip who died in police custody 11 years ago is a signal feather in the cap of the lawyer, P Uthayakumar, who first took up Anuar’s cause.

Uthayakumar has been the leading advocate of those who have died in police custody in recent years.

Because the vast majority of the dead were Indian Malaysians, Uthayakumar’s taking up cudgels on their behalf had a parochial tint.

His passionate advocacy of the Hindraf cause did not help to reduce that veneer.

But with his espousal of Anuar Sharip’s cause and with its culmination in a court awarded quantum of compensation that’s reasonable, the parochial veneer to Uthayakumar’s advocacy no longer applies.

Yesterday judicial commissioner Lee Swee Seng, on appeal by Anuar’s widow, delivered a judgment that raised the quantum of compensation from a dismal RM137,220 to a gratifying RM1.4 million.

A sentence from justice Lee’s judgment rang with magisterial pith and moment:
“Let the message go forth from this place that any more deaths in police custody is too many. Everyone, whether a drug addict or a decent person, should be treated with dignity and respect.”

These terms, if referenced to a cause that was fought by lawyers allied to Pakatan Rakyat, would have been a major boost to the prestige of the coalition’s struggle for reform of the Malaysian polity.
Yesterday’s court award brightens the legal prospects for a measure of gratification for families of the custodial dead whose numbers have reached distressingly high levels in recent years.

This victory can now be reasonably credited to Uthayakumar’s espousal of the suspiciously dead while in police custody.

Need to collaborate with Hindraf

The lightly known fact that Anuar Sharip was a PKR supporter lends added sheen to the bona fides of Uthayakumar, no fan of PKR’s or for that matter, Pakatan Rakyat.

That and the outcome of Anuar’s case make it more imperative than ever that Pakatan moves to collaborate with Hindraf in the run-up to the next general election, expected in the first half of next year.

Admittedly, the path towards that is fraught with immense difficulty, not least because of Uthayakumar who can be intractable.

Pakatan must prevent him from becoming the ‘Ralph Nader of Malaysian politics’.

Nader is the consumer advocate and sometime presidential candidate whose blend of ego and self-righteousness made him a liability to progressive causes in US politics.

If Pakatan finds negotiations with Hindraf formidably difficult, then just leave the Uthayakumar-targeted Batu Kawan parliamentary constituency to him to contest and give DAP, the current holder of the ward, a seat that’s nominally PKR’s.

This isn’t craven appeasement. It’s political realism, more so after yesterday’s court award to the family of Anuar Sharip.

Malaysiakini
01/07/10

Welfare home on the brink of destruction


By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Nine years ago, 17-year-old B Praveendran stumbled upon an orphan boy scrounging for food at a dumpsite in Banting. He took him home and his parents agreed to care for him.

Today, the boy is 22 and pursuing a medical degree in Russia.

Recounting how he "adopted" his first orphan and subsequently founded the Sinthamani welfare home, Praveendran said he now takes care of 45 orphans and unfortunate children from broken or poor homes at Rumah Panjang Jinjang Utara in Kepong.

However, the one-acre welfare home with three separate structures, including a small temple, is slated to be demolished.

On June 3, the City Hall served a notice for Praveendran to vacate the premise by June 29 or face enforcement action today (June 30).

This morning, some 40 children dressed in their school uniforms skipped school in preparation to protest against the demolition.

Praveendran, together with his staff and activists, were ready with protest signs but City Hall officers were nowhere to be seen.

"We are seeking help so that the authorities do not destroy this place because the kids are living comfortably here. Please help us," said Praveendran.

City Hall playing hide and seek

Human Rights Party (HRP) coordinator W Sambulingam urged the authorities to allow the orphanage to continue operating at the site.

"Without this house, where would these children go? They go back to the streets. If not for the noble work of Praveendran, many of these children would have become addicts, drug pushers or criminals," he said, asking the government to provide RM200,000 per annum in aid for the home.

"This home existed without a single sen from the government. So Mr Prime Minister, if one cannot help, the least one could do is not do damage. Yes it is erected on government land, so what?

“Will demolishing this place solve the problems for these children? No. They (the authorities) don't bother about what happens to these children," he said.Sambulingam also revealed that 10 of the children do not even have birth certificates.

The HRP coordinator alleged that City Hall was playing "hide and seek" by not coming today but may suddenly show up with their bulldozers when there are no protesters.

Praveendran, a dog breeder, works with 20 volunteers and funds the welfare home solely from his own pocket and from contributions.

Contacted later, a City Hall officer said the demolition exercise has been put on hold but did not give any reasons for this.

MACC no-show

The press conference on 7th July will still go on. It will be at 11.00am at the Holiday Villa in London. Bala and his lawyers will no doubt not be telling the world what MACC asked him and what he replied. Instead, they will be telling the world what Bala would have told MACC had the session not been aborted.

Actually, this was already anticipated. MACC had initially wanted to record private investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s statement in the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore. That would have been as good as asking Bala to go to Bukit Aman for his statement to be recorded.

Of course, Bala’s lawyers disagreed and insisted that the meeting be held in London, the Holiday Villa to be exact. After a certain period of silence, MACC finally came back and agreed to the Holiday Villa London but insisted that they book the meeting room.

That was no problem. After all, they would be paying for it and as long as it is in the Holiday Villa who cares which room it is.

The reason why MACC wanted to make the room arrangements is because they wanted the entire session to be confidential and covered by Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act. This means Bala would not be allowed to reveal what transpired during his meeting with MACC. And they were also worried that if Bala’s lawyers arranged for the meeting room they may plant bugs to record his session with MACC.

What MACC failed to realise is that you no longer need to plant bugs in the meeting room. You can record whatever transpires from another building across the road or from a parked van outside the building. And you can zero in and pick up exactly what you want without too much interference from other goings-on.
Anyway, up to yesterday, MACC did not contact Holiday Villa about the booking of the meeting room. Bala’s lawyer then wrote to MACC telling them that since they have not made any booking then the booking will be done on their behalf. The lawyer also wrote to Holiday Villa to inform them that the meeting room is being booked on behalf of MACC and that MACC would be paying for it.

That was when MACC decided to announce that the session has been aborted.

MACC wanted to impose Malaysian laws under the Official Secrets Act and Anti-Corruption Act on Bala. But these laws can’t be enforced in the UK and in the UK you just can’t deny a person legal representation or stifle information, as there is a Freedom of Information Act.

What MACC wanted to do was to have a secret or confidential meeting with Bala without the presence of his lawyers and then go back to Malaysia and announce that they have taken Bala’s statement and have found nothing to incriminate Najib or his family in any criminal act. This would work only if no one else knows what Bala told MACC. But if the interview were to be made public or Bala’s lawyers were also in the meeting then this would not work.

MACC wanted three days with Bala -- 5th, 6th and 7th July. But Bala’s lawyers were going to give MACC only two days because on the third day, 7th July, they were going to hold a press conference to inform the world what MACC asked Bala and what Bala replied over those two days.

MACC wanted the interview embargoed and the last thing they need is for Bala and his three lawyers to hold a press conference on the third day and pass documents, evidence and tape recordings to the media.

MACC realised that a trap had been laid and they were walking right into it. They tried to determine the ‘rules of engagement’ but discovered that these rules will only apply in Malaysia and not in the UK.

The safest thing, therefore, would be to call off the session with Bala.
But the press conference on 7th July will still go on. It will be at 11.00am at the Holiday Villa in London. Bala and his lawyers will no doubt not be telling the world what MACC asked him and what he replied. Instead, they will be telling the world what Bala would have told MACC had the session not been aborted.

This is heads I win, tails you lose. Either way Bala and his lawyers are going to have the last word. And there is nothing MACC or the Malaysian government can do about it.

MACC walked into a trap and by withdrawing they walked into an even bigger trap.

In the meantime, just to recap, watch the videos below. These have previously been published and this, plus more, is what Bala will be confirming in the press conference of 7th July 2010.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Mongolian Translator's Murder Case Still Alive

Mongolian government says it will fund a civil suit against Malaysia and Altantuya's onetime lover

The Mongolian government has agreed to put up RM60,000 (US$18,525) to fund a civil suit in Kuala Lumpur on behalf of the family of translator Altantuya Shaariibuu against the Malaysian government and the murdered woman's onetime lover, Abdul Razak Baginda, a former close friend of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Two of Najib's former bodyguards were convicted of the gruesome 2006 murder.

Although details are sketchy, remittance order issues were submitted to the Mongolian Cabinet during June meetings, a source in Ulan Bataar told Asia Sentinel. Some of the remittance orders were classified as secret, the source said. The case has strained relations between Malaysia and Mongolia, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs saying earlier that the government was carefully observing the trial of the two convicted murderers and had sent four letters through official channels asking that the case be prosecuted free of political influence.

Altantuya's death is at the center of a much larger scandal stemming from the billion-dollar purchase by the Malaysian government of two French submarines and the lease of a third in a deal engineered by Najib when he was defense minister. The purchase was routed through a company owned by Abdul Razak Baginda in a transaction that netted the company €114 million in “commission.”

French lawyers are investigating the case over allegations that large sums were kicked back to top French politicians. For two years, Parisian prosecutors have been investigating other allegations involving senior French political figures up to former French President Francois Mitterrand and the sales of submarines and other weaponry to governments all over the world. French news reports have said the prosecutors have backed away from some of the most serious charges out of concern for the political fallout.

As Asia Sentinel reported on April 16, the allegations relate to one of France's biggest defense conglomerates, the state-owned shipbuilder DCN, which merged with the French electronics company Thales in 2005 to become a dominant force in the European defense industry. DCN's subsidiary Armaris is the manufacturer of Scorpene-class diesel submarines sold to India, Pakistan and Malaysia among other countries. All of the contracts, according to lawyers acting for Suaram, a Malaysian human rights NGO, are said to be suspect. In April, Joseph Breham, one of the lawyers, flew to Kuala Lumpur to interview witnesses in the case. Altantuya told witnesses at her trial that she had been involved as a translator in the submarine matter and that she had been promised US$500,000 for her role.

After a marathon trial involving 75 witnesses, a court in the Malaysian suburb of Shah Alam exonerated Razak Baginda of involvement in her murder without his having to put on a defense. He almost immediately left the country for England. The two convicted bodyguards, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, were members of an elite Malaysian police unit that normally exists to protect diplomats. Although one of the two told investigators they had been offered RM100,000 to kill the woman, the court did not attempt to find out who had offered them the money. Najib has repeatedly denied knowing her although a complex web of circumstantial evidence ties the two together. He has threatened to sue anyone who attempts to link him or his wife, Rosmah Mansour, to the case.

P Balasubramaniam, a private investigator and retired policeman hired by Abdul Razak to keep the jilted Altantuya away from him, filed a statutory declaration in a Kuala Lumpur court in 2007 alleging that Najib not only knew the murdered woman but was formerly her lover and introduced her to Abdul Razak to get rid of her because it would be unseemly to have a mistress when, as expected, he took over as prime minister. Balasubramaniam was intimidated into recanting his statement and promptly disappeared. He resurfaced to reiterate the charges and is scheduled to give a press conference on July 7 at 11 am in the Holiday Villa in London to give further details. Altantuya's father, Setev Shaariibuu, a university professor, has made it a longtime crusade to attempt to find out what really happened to his daughter. At one point he attempted to meet Najib at Malaysia's parliament building but was rebuffed. He is seeking RM100 million from the Malaysian government and Razak Baginda in the civil suit. However, he later told reporters he didn't have the money for the security bond, saying his efforts to get help from the Mongolian government had failed.

Karpal Singh, a Democratic Action Party leader and lawyer representing the Shaariibuu family, told the news portal Malaysian Insider that the RM60,000 had been transferred to his firm's account on Monday and that it would be deposited with the Shah Alam High Court, where the trial of the two bodyguards had taken place, on June 30. He had earlier said he would help Shaariibuu get the money from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition if necessary.

According to Malaysian Insider, the government and Abdul Razak said Shaariibuu should bear the cost of the civil suit. The court initially fixed the security bond at RM1.25 million, but lowered it to RM30,00 per party in March after Shaariibuu protested. Shaariibuu, the story said, is also required to pay Abdul Razak and the federal government a further sum of RM5,000 each for the cost of the court application.

Asia Sentinel
01/07/10

Mongolia to fund Altantuya family’s compensation suit

KUALA LUMPUR: The Mongolian government has remitted RM60,000 as security costs to fund a civil lawsuit against the Malaysian government over the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The family of Altantuya, who was killed by two special action squad officers and had her body blown up with explosives in a jungle near here four years ago, is seeking RM100 million in compensation from Putrajaya and her ex-lover, Abdul Razak Baginda, a former political analyst said to be a close friend of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
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But Altantuya's father, Shaariibuu Setev, was reported to be struggling to put up the security bond. He claimed his efforts to get financial help from his country's government had failed, despite an earlier pledge.

Lawyer Karpal Singh, who is representing Altantuya's family, confirmed with The Malaysian Insider the amount was transferred into his firm's bank account last Monday.

“I will send someone to deposit the money at the Shah Alam High Court registry today, otherwise the case will be dismissed,” said Karpal, also a veteran lawmaker.

The Bukit Gelugor MP said the case must go on in the interest of justice and had vowed to help Shaariibuu get the money from Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers.

The Mongolian model was only 28 when she died, leaving behind two young sons, one who is disabled. Her father claimed the single mother was the sole breadwinner in the family.

Abdul Razak was charged with abetting in the murder but was acquitted two years ago.

Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, who had been part of Najib's security detail when he was deputy prime minister, were found guilty and sentenced to the gallows. They are appealing the death sentence.

Shaariibuu has alleged Abdul Razak and the federal government were involved, a claim they deny.

Both Abdul Razak and Putrajaya said Shaariibuu should bear the cost of the civil suit if he insists on pursuing the charge.

The High Court agreed and initially fixed the security bond at RM1.25 million, but lowered it to RM30,00 per party in March after Shaariibuu protested.

Shaariibuu is also required to pay Abdul Razak and the federal government a further sum of RM5,000 each for the cost of the court application, but Karpal explained there was no time limit on that payment.

01/07/10

What’s behind Malaysia’s New Economic Model

Malaysia’s New Economic Model (NEM) is a framework that promises to bring the country out of its middle-income status, and push it into the realm of a high-income economy. The NEM proposes to do this through eight Strategic Research Initiatives (SRIs). These SRIs include re-energising the private sector, developing a quality workforce, and creating a competitive domestic environment. Growth is also considered, both in terms of enhancing the sources of growth and ensuring the sustainability of growth. Other initiatives target the public sector, affirmative action and building Malaysia’s knowledge-base and infrastructure.

Given the multiplicity of the SRIs, if one were asked to select the key factors, what would they be? These key factors must be foundational in driving the economy to higher growth, and have a sufficiently far-reaching effect to influence other factors contributing to the rapid shift of the economy.

The three most important issues for the NEM, I would suggest, are: education, entrepreneurial skills and institutional reform.

Education is a pervasive factor that lies at the source of many problems that plague the Malaysian economy. This is also an issue that stifles the growth of investment.

For its success, the NEM depends on technology upgrading, the creation of a knowledge-economy and the development of a highly skilled workforce. It also hopes to move up the value-chain by emphasising technology-intensive methods of production and by relying on innovation and research and development (R&D). All of this depends on a sound system of education.

When it comes to the question of reforming education in Malaysia, tertiary education receives the bulk of the focus. Indeed, innovation and R&D require good universities. Moreover, if the private sector is to be energised, benefiting from high quality human capital, and drawing upon R&D, universities must be the root source.

But, universities only have about three years to work on students who have been formed by their primary and secondary education over a period of 13 years. If intellectual curiosity and creativity have not been instilled during this period, the chances of acquiring them in university are bleak.

There are more basic problems that need to be sorted out. Students need to learn to effectively read and write in English. Teachers, it has been commented, need to be taught to teach English correctly and with confidence. Presently, the focus is on safeguarding ethnic interests and the government is preoccupied with the difficult task of balancing the demands of different ethnicities, leaving little time to worry about fundamental issues.

The second crucial issue pertains to entrepreneurial skills. This is the concern of SRI1, which at its core has the re-energisation of the private sector as its goal. The growth of small and medium enterprises will not flourish in the absence of entrepreneurship.

A more sensitive and important issue relates to the presence of entrepreneurship among bumiputera (indigenous Malay). Their lack of ownership of equity is a nagging concern that threatens ethnic stability. The New Economic Policy was put in place to address the lack of bumiputera representation in national wealth. Indeed, the NEM will not be safe unless this issue is adequately addressed. This implies the creation of a corpus of skilled bumiputera entrepreneurs, who can flourish, but without resorting to dependence on government handouts. This, truly, would be a challenge.

The third and most important problem centres on re-orienting the institutional framework in Malaysia; the way people interact, their expectations, and the norms and conventions that govern these interactions must change. The norms, habits and conventions in society must support efficiency and competitiveness, and not give way to lassitude and indifference. This ambitious goal, because it involves the fabric of society, could well take more than a decade to achieve.

Institutional reform of a more limited, but no less significant order, should also be initiated. There is some evidence that civil liberties and a more liberal political and social fabric helps promote economic development. Institutional reform of this nature involves guaranteeing: freedom of speech; freedom of assembly and demonstration: equal opportunity; freedom from excessive governmental intervention; respect for minorities; and a fair, independent judiciary.

The NEM is silent on state capture. State capture is a form of corruption that may be defined as the undue and illicit influence of the elite in a country formulating or influencing the laws, policies and regulations of the government. The zero-tolerance for corruption that the NEM propagates is only one of a longer list of concepts that good governance subsumes. It may be argued that state capture is not present. Nonetheless, a broader notion of corruption and governance is required.

Education, entrepreneurship and market-friendly institutions demand reform. These are core but extremely slippery issues that have to be caught by their horns. The NEM is right in correctly identifying them, but they have to be adequately addressed if the NEM is to be meaningfully implemented.

Shankaran Nambiar is a Senior Research Fellow and the Head of Policy Studies Division at the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research.

Can Malaysia escape a trap of its own making?

Malaysia’s recently presented New Economic Model is, on paper, a hugely ambitious strategy for changing the country’s economic and social direction and, hopefully, its economic and political fortunes.

The government of Prime Minister Najib seems inclined to embrace its principles and try to forge a new direction in Malaysian economic and social policy. In the 1980s Malaysia was among the brightest stars in the Southeast Asian economy, with growth around 8 per cent a year and a huge transformation away from its comfortable plantation and minerals past towards a new industrial future, driven by foreign investment and rapidly growing exports of consumer electronics to regional and global markets. Mahathir reigned supreme, dispensing patronage and securing UMNO’s political base under the camouflage of the long-established New Economic Policy, put in place after the racial disturbances of the late 1960s to lift up the bumiputera Malay population and in the process embedding race-based politics into the fabric of political culture.

After the Asian Financial Crisis Malaysia has faced a far less certain future, not only because of the political dark-side that it exposed under Mahathir, but also because of the way that cosy politics had come to sap the vibrancy out of the economy and good economic policy. Economic performance has gradually stagnated, Global Financial Crisis aside. A race-base political culture has become less and less tenable: it’s not only Anwar Ibrahim that challenges with an alternative political model; the government itself is grappling within itself and against the ghosts of its past for a new way, ditching the old New Economic Policy. Malaysia is on the cusp of a profound turning point in its national development.

As Shankaran Nambiar explains in this week’s lead the New Economic Model, were it implemented, would seek to sweep aside many of the shackles that have held Malaysia back, economically and politically. It would tackle the failure of economic policy to provide a foundation for lifting Malaysia out of its lower middle-income malaise. It would also, necessarily, tackle the related problem of Malaysia’s suppression of civil and political freedoms. The most important problem, he argues, centres on ‘the institutional framework in Malaysia. The way people interact, their expectations, and the norms and conventions that govern these interactions must change. The norms, habits and conventions in society must support efficiency and competitiveness, and not give way to lassitude and indifference…There is evidence that civil liberties and a more liberal political and social fabric helps promote economic development. Institutional reform of this nature involves guaranteeing: freedom of speech; freedom of assembly and demonstration: equal opportunity; freedom from excessive governmental intervention; respect for minorities; and a fair, independent judiciary.’

It’s a brave call but if heeded there is promise of realising the Malaysian dreams of once again being the strong country of Southeast Asia and a future among the industrial democracies of the OECD.

KTMB land deal: Did S'pore threaten Najib with Altantuya?

Was Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak “coerced” by Singapore’s secret service into agreeing to the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) land swap deal?

This was the question posed by PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shahrin today.

He believes that Singapore’s secret service may have used photographs of murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu with Najib to threaten the premier into sealing a lopsided deal over the KTMB Tanjung Pagar issue.

Badrul Hisham said his suspicions were based on private investigator P Balasubramaniam’s statutory declaration on July 1, 2008.

Balasubramaniam stated in the declaration that Najib was introduced to Altantuya, who was also known as “Aminah”, by his political adviser Abdul Razak Baginda at a diamond exhibition in Singapore.

“It means Najib was in Singapore with Altantuya,” said Badrul Hisham in his blog.

During a three-day visit to Singapore last month, Najib and his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong agreed on key issues involving several areas of dispute which had plagued the two nations.

Topping the list of agreements was the mutual decision to relocate the 78-year-old KTMB’s Tanjung Pagar railway station to Woodlands, and to jointly develop the KTMB land in Singapore to maximise its full potential.

Malaysia will also site its customs, immigrations and railway quarantine services at the Woodlands complex.

Both leaders had agreed to form a Malaysia-Singapore joint company, known as M-S Pte Ltd, before Dec 31 this year to develop the land vacated by KTMB.

The developed KTMB land would in turn be swapped, on the basis of equivalent value of pieces of land in Marina South and Ophir Rochor in Singapore.

A lopsided agreement

A company is to be set up by Malaysia's Khazanah Nasional Bhd and the Singapore government's investment arm, Temasek Holdings Ltd, with each holding 60% and 40% equity respectively for the joint development.

"It's almost certain that KTMB’s cost of operations will rise and rents at the Woodland complex, which incidentally is owned by Singapore, will eventually be heavy on KTMB.

“In the end, KTMB will be recording losses just like Pos Malaysia Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd, which are also Khazanah Nasional’s investments," said Badrul Hisham.

"What is happening is that we are getting into an lopsided agreement like that of the water deal we struck with Singapore and where we squandered away our sovereignty,” he added.

Badrul Hisham also took a swipe at Lee’s recent visit to Malaysia, saying that it was almost like a “reminder” to Najib who is being slammed for his land swap deal with Singapore.

“It does not make sense… knowing the depth of trouble and objections Najib is facing in Malaysia over his decision, Lee still came to visit him as if to remind him of something and to ensure Najib sticks by his decision.

FMT
30/06/10

'Helpless public pays for govt follies... yet again'

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP MP Tony Pua has expressed disappointment over another case of the public having to pay for the government's follies.

He was responding to Deputy Minister of Transport Abdul Rahim Bakri's comments in the Dewan Rakyat today pertaining to Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB).

After the winding up speech on the 10th Malaysia Plan, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang said the Port Klang Authority (PKA) should not pay anything on behalf of KDSB.

“Given that there’s a dispute between PKA and KDSB, and now, the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) is also claiming money (from PKA), should PKA pay anything on behalf of KDSB?” he asked.

Abdul Rahim, however, said that PKA is “ultimately committed to the bondholders” and refused to comment further on the matter.

Speaking to reporters later, Pua said: “KDSB bondholders are notably upset with the development as there is a likelihood that they may not be paid for the loans extended to KDSB.”

“But based on the deputy minister’s statement today and previous action taken by the Finance Ministry, I am certain they will again insist that PKA make full payments to fulfill the ‘guarantee’ of the bonds provided by virtue of letters signed by then minister of transport Chan Kong Choy,” he added.

PKA which was due to pay the next installment amounting to RM772 million in 2010 to various bondholders on behalf of KDSB was forced to make a U-turn on the decision when it was discovered that KDSB has outstanding taxes due amounting to RM 328.4 million.

PKA is obliged to pay the taxes owed by KDSB to the IRB under the income tax laws.

Under such conditions, PKA accordingly informed the various KDSB bondholders of its intention to withhold two payments amounting to RM350 million for the purposes of settling the outstanding tax.

Last year, PKA was instructed by the Finance Ministry to make an installment payment of RM660 million to KDSB despite the former suing KDSB for fraudulent and excess claims worth up to RM1.6 billion.

In the first place, Pua said, PKA should not have paid KDSB on the basis that they are disputing the claims of work being done on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

“The issue here is PKA was forced by the ministry to pay despite suing KDSB. As such, they had to fork out the money due to KDSB’s controversial ‘white-elephant project’ PKFZ which may cost the government up to RM12.5 billion,” he added.

Ministry must decide wisely

Pua urged the ministry to “decide wisely” on its next course of action.

“Are they going to let the perpetrators of PKFZ get away scot free with taxpayers money? My only question is why are they trying to defend the perpertrators when they have clearly failed to deliver as required?” he asked.

As an alternative, Pua suggested that the government stop all payments to the bondholders until matters are resolved between the parties involved.

“Why should we guarantee them if work is not done? In a case like this where something happens, the bondholders have to bear certain amount of responsibility.

“The bondholders should take the action of suing KDSB as PKA themselves have already taken that route. PKA only paid the necessary funds last year because it was forced by the ministry,” he added.

30/06/10

A Malaysian Palace fit for a King

Well-placed sources in Kuala Lumpur told Asia Sentinel that the RM811 million figure is only preliminary. The total cost is actually nearing RM1.2 billion and is expected to go higher, the sources said, with both the Raja of Perlis, who retired as Agong in 2006, and the Sultan of Terengganu, who took his place, becoming hidden partners with Malaysia's seventh richest individual, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhairy.

On June 23, speaking to the Regional Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime in Kuala Lumpur,

the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, outlined broad efforts to improve transparency and confront corruption, saying all reported cases will be fully investigated regardless of the position or status of those involved and that punishment will be swift and harsh.

But before the policy can be fully implemented, there is the matter of the cost of building a new national palace for the country's sultans, which has doubled from RM400 million (US$124.2 million) to RM811 million since the contract was let – without bid -- in 2006 under the premiership of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and may well triple, according to government insiders.

Under Malaysia's system of rotating kingships between the country's nine sultans, each assumes the title of Yang Di-Pertuan Agong and lives in the Istana Negara, or national palace, for five years before moving on – or uses it as a ceremonial residence during his reign. Each has his own palace in his respective sultanate. The grounds of the new one, to be built on a hill, will cover a massive 96.52 hectares, according to the government.

Well-placed sources in Kuala Lumpur told Asia Sentinel that the RM811 million figure is only preliminary. The total cost is actually nearing RM1.2 billion and is expected to go higher, the sources said, with both the Raja of Perlis, who retired as Agong in 2006, and the Sultan of Terengganu, who took his place, becoming hidden partners with Malaysia's seventh richest individual, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhairy.

"Syed Mokhtar got the original contract at RM400 million. Then the Raja of Perlis was given a gratuity and his brother, Syed Anwar Jamallulail, became Syed Mokhtar's 30 percent partner and costs escalated," said a source. "When the current king came in – the Sultan of Terengganu -- he asked for a piece of the action and costs went up again. It was brought up in cabinet in December by an MCA minister. [Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, minister in the prime minister's department for parliamentary affairs] replied: "So what? It's the house of a Malay King, not a Chinese contractor." Needless to say, no one has brought it up since."

The favoritism allegedly shown on the Istana contract presents a challenge for Najib, who has publicly vowed to clean out rent-seeking and preferential treatment in government-linked contracts in his campaign to clean up Umno's tattered reputation.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim alleged on the floor of parliament last week, for instance, that the land under the 115-year-old Pudu Jail, which is being torn down, is being handed over to Vincent Tan, another longtime Mahathir crony and head of Berjaya Corp. Anwar accused the government of handing out contracts worth billions of ringgit to favored individuals.

The next big test will probably be the construction of a new building to house the Dewan Rakyat, or Parliament, whose current building is an exemplar of the tacky architecture that the third world thought was modern when it was built in 1962 and when Malaysia was a third-world country. The project has been shelved for the time being because of lack of money but it will probably resurface as the economy improves.

Although the construction consortium building the Istana Negara includes the Bumiputra firm Ahmad Zaki Resources Sdn Bhd with partners Kejuruteraan Kenari Sdn Bhd. and Maya Maju (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, there are widespread reports in Kuala Lumpur that although his name appears nowhere, the construction operation is actually headed by Syed Mokhtar.

A onetime roti canai seller who was born into a poor Kedah family of Arab descent, Syed Mokhtar amassed more than US$2 billion in assets and made the Forbes Magazine list of richest individuals partly due to government contracts, primarily as a result of his close relationship with former Premier Mahathir. Today, his business empire encompasses plantations, property development, construction, engineering, power generation, infrastructure and ports.

Deputy Minister Yong Khoon Seng told reporters the construction of the main complex was awarded to Maya Maju Malaysia Sdn Bhd at a sum of RM650 million, while a contract for the flyover from Jalan Duta to the palace was given to Ahmad Zaki Bhd.

The palace is far behind schedule and is scheduled to be completed by 2011. The contract for the upgrading of a flyover to the new palace will cost an additional RM150 million. Malaysia has been abuzz for days since the cost overruns were announced over the identity of Kejuruteraan Kenari and Maya Maju. Both are listed in Malaysia's corporate registry with a flock of officers that nobody seems to know.

The Malaysian blogosphere has been preoccupied with speculation on their connections. Maya Maju lists two shareholders and five directors. The directors are Man Bin Mat, Md Nizam B. Md Sharif, Rasidah Bt. Salleh, and secretaries Lim Hooi Mooi and Tan Enk Purn. The shareholders are Maryna Keh Abdullah @ Miss Keh Kim Lan and Man Bin Mat.

Then there is the question of why, with Malaysian politicians making public pronouncements that the country will go bankrupt unless subsidies for the poor are withdrawn, a new Istana is needed at all. The current one, built in 1928 as the onetime home of a Chinese tycoon, stands on 11 hectares of grounds in the middle of Kuala Lumpur. It has undergone a long series of renovations going back to World War II when it was used as a Japanese Army mess hall. It was refurbished in 1986 at a cost of RM70 million.

It is difficult to say just what the RM811 million actually includes. Some critics say the costs for equipping the new building do not include furniture, lighting, air conditioning and a wide variety of other charges that can be expected to drive the total price tag far higher.

"For Umno," wrote one critic to The Malaysian Insider online news portal, "all projects MUST undergo an increase of minimum 40 percent of total budget in order for it to be completed in triple the estimated time. If not, then that person isn't a loyal Umno member."

30/06/10

No cover-up, no secret deal, abolish the OSA!

The recent sport-gambling fiasco is a good example of how public feedbacks on a government decision can avert a big blunder that may destroy the fragile moral fibre of our society, especially among the younger generation, and cause untold sufferings to many families affected by the evil of gambling.

The High Court sitting in Kuala Lumpur has declared that the public has the right to know about the water deals between the federal government, the Selangor state government and Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), and has ordered the federal government to make public the relevant documents,

Judicial Commissioner Hadhariah Syed Ismail said the disclosure of the documents would not affect national security and public interest, and told the federal government to make public the audit report and water concession agreement it signed with the Selangor administration and Syabas.

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) and 13 others had filed for a judicial review after the then Energy, Water and Communications Minister Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik had rejected their request for the documents to be made public, on the ground that the documents had been classified as official secret and confidential.

Hadhariah, in her ruling, said that the public disclosure of the documents would not be detrimental to the nation, but could instead serve the public interest by allowing the people to be informed of the way the government operates.

She then ordered the ministry concerned to provide copies of the requested documents to the MTUC and the 13 petitioners.

Judicial Commissioner Hadhariah should be highly commended for such a very wise, just, fair and reasonable ruling.

Most of the time, the general public is kept in the dark about decisions made on their behalf by the authorities, and they are told simply to accept whatever is decided and implemented for them.

There is no transparency and accountability in whatever major or minor policies, decisions or actions taken in the name of public interests.

The Najib administration has declared that one of its major tasks is to eliminate corruption from society, especially within the civil service, and what better way to fight this scourge of society than to adopt an open, transparent and accountable practice of disclosure of all deals and contracts for public study, scrutiny and suggestions.

To prevent is better than cure, as the saying goes, and what more effective way is there to prevent the possibility of corrupt practices than to have all facts and figures of any deal laid out for the examination and investigation of the people, among whom are experts who can discern and detect any irregularities or impropriety.

The recent sport-gambling fiasco is a good example of how public feedbacks on a government decision can avert a big blunder that may destroy the fragile moral fibre of our society, especially among the younger generation, and cause untold sufferings to many families affected by the evil of gambling.

The federal government has often asked people not to listen to rumours or believe in speculations on various matters. What better way is there to curb the spread of rumours than to tell the truth? If the federal government is open and transparent with whatever it decides and implements, and let the public know the facts and figures, then the rumours will die a natural death.

Take the case of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) controversy, which arose after the cost to develop the massive 400-hectare integrated cargo distribution hub spiraled from RM1.9 billion to RM4.6 billion.

Such a scandal would have been avoided if the federal government had been more open and transparent initially when embarking on the project.

It should have allowed the public to analytically scrutinize the plan, critically assess the financial situation and capability of the Port Klang Authority and the PKFZ, propose and formulate viable business models for them, and recommend strategic plans and actions to attract local and foreign investors.

Judicial Commissioner Hadhariah’s ruling implies that the public disclosure of the official documents involving deals made by the authorities should be the norm as it would serve the interests of the government and people if the people are well-informed.

If Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wants the support of the people to realize his dream of making Malaysia a great nation, then he must be open, transparent and honest with people. No cover-up. No secret deal. Abolish the Official Secrets Acts. Enact a Freedom of Information Act.

Will a hit squad be sent to greet Bala in London next week?

With less than a week to go before a highly-anticipated meeting in London between Malaysian anti-graft officers and a private investigator who holds in the palm of his hand potentially lethal information about Prime Minister Najib Razak, speculation is red-hot that a "death squad" may be sent to assassinate him.

“My sixth sense told me that these MACC officers are not sent to London to interview Bala but could be on a mission to silence Bala and his lawyers in London. These are the so-called "Death Squad". They are prepared for any eventuality, even to the extent of spending time in the London jail. The stakes are much too high for Najib to ignore!”

That was just one in a whole barrage of speculative comments appearing on the Internet where stories about Najib, private eye P Balasubramaniam and their alleged roles in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder and Scorpene submarines scandal have been featured nearly non-stop every day since news of the unexpected meeting broke.

Will the MACC really go through with it?

Malaysians have just about given up on their authorities pursuing the case. Most people still believe the meeting will be aborted at the last minute because the information that Bala holds may be so momentous it could topple the ruling BN government, and even put Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor behind bars.

According to top blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, the venue for the July 5th and 6th meeting (Monday and Tuesday) will take place at the Holiday Villa in London. Government-controlled newspapers have reported that three officers from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission will finally meet Bala to record his statement.

The Malaysian authorities have been slow to accept Bala’s offer to help in investigations. Initially, the MACC gave excuses including insisting on meeting in nearby Singapore, where the government is perceived as being pro-Najib and concerns have been expressed it may send its officers to intercept Bala.

The MACC also refused to allow Bala’s three lawyers to be present at their proposed meeting.

“Maybe this is what they want. They don’t really want to take Bala’s statement because they are worried about what he is going to say. Bala is also going to bring all sorts of documents, which include evidence of the money he was paid to change his Statutory Declaration and come out with the SD2 to reverse what he said in SD1,” Raja Petra said in his Monday posting entitled MACC Officers may face arrest in London.

Suspicious minds

However, according to the latest news reports, the MACC has now relented and will allow Bala to have a lawyer present. Its sudden acquiescence sparked instant suspicion, hence the swirl of rumors of a hit squad being rustled up to greet Bala.

In a letter to MACC investigator Supt Abdul Rahman Bachok made available to the press, Bala’s lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu said:

“You have said in your June 21 letter that MACC protocol does not allow a lawyer to be present when MACC officials take statements from witnesses. We want to inform you that we don’t agree with your view as our client has a right under the Constitution to have a lawyer of his choice when giving testimony and this overrides any protocol practiced by your office. So we will await your presence in London on July 5.”

In 2008, Bala shocked the nation with a statutory declaration (see below) that implicated Najib, Rosmah and their friend Razak Baginda in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu. In his statutory declaration, Bala said Altantuya had been Najib's mistress before he passed her onto Baginda.

Bala was hired by Baginda to keep Altantuya from harassing him for money. The private eye also revealed that Altantuya was in Malaysia to collect her US$500,000 share of commission from a submarines deal Najib had entered into in 2002 with French firm DCNS.

But in less than 24 hours, Bala issued another statutory declaration retracting the first. He then disappeared, resurfacing only in late 2009, with an offer to help the MACC provided that they met in a ‘safe’ country.

Bala gave interviews and was recorded on video telling how and why he had to flee Malaysia for the safety of his family. He claimed he was offered RM5 million by Najib’s brother, Nazim Razak, and a business associate of Rosmah’s, Deepak Jaikishan, to keep silent and not to return to Malaysia.

Najib and Rosmah have repeatedly denied they ever knew Altantuya.

(Below is the statutory declaration Bala lodged in 2008)

STATUTORY DECLARATION

I, Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal a Malaysian Citizen of full age and residing at [deleted] do solemly and sincerely declare as follows :-

1. I have been a police officer with the Royal Malaysian Police Force having jointed as a constable in 1981 attached to the Police Field Force. I was then promoted to the rank of lance Corporal and finally resigned from the Police Force in 1998 when I was with the Special Branch.

2. I have been working as a free lance Private Investigator since I left the Police Force.

3. Sometime in June or July 2006, I was employed by Abdul Razak Baginda for a period of 10 days to look after him at his office at the Bangunan Getah Asli, Jalan Ampang between the hours of 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m each working day as apparently he was experiencing disturbances from a third party.

4. I resigned from this job after 2 ½ days as I was not receiving any proper instructions.

5. I was however re-employed by Abdul Razak Baginda on the 05-10-2006 as he had apparently received a harassing phone call from a Chinese man calling himself ASP Tan who had threatened him to pay his debts. I later found out this gentleman was in fact a private investigator called Ang who was employed by a Mongolian woman called Altantuya Shaaribuu.

6. Abdul Razak Baginda was concerned that a person by the name of Altantuya Shaaribuu, a Mongolian woman, was behind this threat and that she would be arriving in Malaysia very soon to try and contact him.

7. Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that he was concerned by this as he had been advised that Altantuya Shaaribuu had been given some powers by a Mongolian ‘bomoh’ and that he could never look her in the face because of this.

8. When I enquired as to who this Mongolian woman was, Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that she was a friend of his who had been introduced to him by a VIP and who asked him to look after her financially.

9. I advised him to lodge a police report concerning the threatening phone call he had received from the Chinese man known as ASP Tan but he refused to do so as he informed me there were some high profile people involved.

10. Abdul Razak Baginda further told me that Altantuya Shaaribuu was a great liar and good in convincing people. She was supposed to have been very demanding financially and that he had even financed a property for her in Mongolia.

11. Abdul Razak Baginda then let me listen to some voice messages on his handphone asking him to pay what was due otherwise he would be harmed and his daughter harassed.

12. I was therefore supposed to protect his daughter Rowena as well.

13. On the 09.10.2006 I received a phone call from Abdul Razak Baginda at about 9.30 a.m. informing me that Altantuya was in his office and he wanted me there immediately. As I was in the midst of a surveillance, I sent my assistant Suras to Abdul Razak Baginda’s office and I followed a little later. Suras managed to control the situation and had persuaded Altantuya and her two friends to leave the premises. However Altantuya left a note written on some Hotel Malaya note paper, in English, asking Abdul Razak Baginda to call her on her handphone (number given) and wrote down her room number as well.

14. Altantuya had introduced herself to Suras as ‘Aminah’ and had informed Suras she was there to see her boyfriend Abdul Razak Baginda.

15. These 3 Mongolian girls however returned to Abdul Razak Baginda’s office at the Bangunan Getah Asli, Jalan Ampang again, the next day at about 12.00 noon. They did not enter the building but again informed Suras that they wanted to meet Aminah’s boyfriend, Abdul Razak Baginda.

16. On the 11.10.2006, Aminah returned to Abdul Razak Baginda’s office on her own and gave me a note to pass to him, which I did. Abdul Razak Baginda showed me the note which basically asked him to call her urgently.

17. I suggested to Abdul Razak Baginda that perhaps it may be wise to arrange for Aminah to be arrested if she harassed him further, but he declined as he felt she would have to return to Mongolia as soon as her cash ran out.

18. In the meantime I had arranged for Suras to perform surveillance on Hotel Malaya to monitor the movements of these 3 Mongolian girls, but they recognized him. Apparently they become friends with Suras after that and he ended up spending a few nights in their hotel room.

19. When Abdul Razak Baginda discovered Suras was becoming close to Aminah he asked me to pull him out from Hotel Malaya.

20. On the 14.10.2006, Aminah turned up at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house in Damansara Heights when I was not there. Abdul Razak Baginda called me on my handphone to inform me of this so I rushed back to his house. As I arrived, I noticed Aminah outside the front gates shouting “Razak, bastard, come out from the house”. I tried to calm her down but couldn’t so I called the police who arrived in 2 patrol cars. I explained the situation to the police, who took her away to the Brickfields police station.

21. I followed the patrol cars to Brickfields police station in a taxi. I called Abdul Razak Baginda and his lawyer Dirren to lodge a police report but they refused.

22. When I was at the Brickfields police station, Aminah’s own Private Investigator, one Mr. Ang arrived and we had a discussion. I was told to deliver a demand to Abdul Razak Baginda for USD$500,000.00 and 3 tickets to Mongolia, apparently as commission owed to Aminah from a deal in Paris.

23. As Aminah had calmed down at this stage, a policewoman at the Brickfields police station advised me to leave and settle the matter amicably.

24. I duly informed Abdul Razak Baginda of the demands Aminah had made and told him I was disappointed that no one wanted to back me up in lodging a police report. We had a long discussion about the situation when I expressed a desire to pull out of this assignment.

25. During this discussion and in an attempt to persuade me to continue my employment with him, Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that :-

25.1 He had been introduced to Aminah by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a diamond exhibition in Singapore.

25.2 Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak informed Abdul Razak Baginda that he had a sexual relationship with Aminah and that [deleted by nat out of respect to the family of the deceased].

25.3 Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wanted Abdul Razak Baginda to look after Aminah as he did not want her to harass him since he was now the Deputy Prime Minister.

25.4 Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Abdul Razak Baginda and Aminah had all been together at a dinner in Paris.

25.5 Aminah wanted money from him as she felt she was entitled to a USD$500,000.00 commission on a submarine deal she assisted with in Paris.

26. On the 19.10.2006, I arrived at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house in Damansara Heights to begin my night duty. I had parked my car outside as usual. I saw a yellow proton perdana taxi pass by with 3 ladies inside, one of whom was Aminah. The taxi did a U-turn and stopped in front of the house where these ladies rolled down the window and wished me ‘Happy Deepavali’. The taxi then left.

27. About 20 minutes later the taxi returned with only Aminah in it. She got out of the taxi and walked towards me and started talking to me. I sent an SMS to Abdul Razak Baginda informing him “Aminah was here”. I received an SMS from Razak instructing me “To delay her until my man comes”.

28. Whist I was talking to Aminah, she informed me of the following :-

28.1 That she met Abdul Razak Baginda in Singapore with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

28.2 That she had also met Abdul Razak Baginda and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a dinner in Paris.

28.3 That she was promised a sum of USD$500,000.00 as commission for assisting in a Submarine deal in Paris.

28.4 That Abdul Razak Baginda had bought her a house in Mongolia but her brother had refinanced it and she needed money to redeem it.

28.5 That her mother was ill and she needed money to pay for her treatment.

6. That Abdul Razak Baginda had married her in Korea as her mother is Korean whilst her father was a Mongolian/Chinese mix.

28.7 That if I wouldn’t allow her to see Abdul Razak Baginda, would I be able to arrange for her to see Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

29. After talking to Aminah for about 15 minutes, a red proton aeroback arrived with a woman and two men. I now know the woman to be Lance Corporal Rohaniza and the men, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azahar. They were all in plain clothes. Azilah walked towards me while the other two stayed in the car.

30. Azilah asked me whether the woman was Aminah and I said ‘Yes’. He then walked off and made a few calls on his handphone. After 10 minutes another vehicle, a blue proton saga, driven by a Malay man, passed by slowly. The driver’s window had been wound down and the driver was looking at us.

31. Azilah then informed me they would be taking Aminah away. I informed Aminah they were arresting her. The other two persons then got out of the red proton and exchanged seats so that Lance Corporal Rohaniza and Aminah were in the back while the two men were in the front. They drove off and that is the last I ever saw of Aminah.

32. Abdul Razak Baginda was not at home when all this occurred.

33. After the 19.10.2006, I continued to work for Abdul Razak Baginda at his house in Damansara Heights from 7.00 p.m. to 8.00 a.m. the next morning, as he had been receiving threatening text messages from a woman called ‘Amy’ who was apparently ‘Aminah’s’ cousin in Mongolia.

34. On the night of the 20.10.2006, both of Aminah’s girl friends turned up at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house enquiring where Aminah was. I informed them she had been arrested the night before.

35. A couple of nights later, these two Mongolian girls, Mr. Ang and another Mongolian girl called ‘Amy’ turned up at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house looking for Aminah as they appeared to be convinced she was being held in the house.

36. A commotion began so I called the police who arrived shortly thereafter in a patrol car. Another patrol car arrived a short while later in which was the investigating officer from the Dang Wangi Police Station who was in charge of the missing persons report lodged by one of the Mongolians girls, I believe was Amy.

37. I called Abdul Razak Baginda who was at home to inform him of the events taking place at his front gate. He then called DSP Musa Safri and called me back informing me that Musa Safri would be calling handphone and I was to pass the phone to the Inspector from Dang Wangi Police Station.

38. I then received a call on my handphone from Musa Safri and duly handed the phone to the Dang Wangi Inspector. The conversation lasted 3 – 4 minutes after which he told the girls to disperse and to go to see him the next day.

39. On or about the 24.10.2006, Abdul Razak Baginda instructed me to accompany him to the Brickfields police station as he had been advised to lodge a police report about the harassment he was receiving from these Mongolian girls.

40. Before this, Amy had sent me an SMS informing me she was going to Thailand to lodge a report with the Mongolian consulate there regarding Aminah’s disappearance. Apparently she had sent the same SMS to Abdul Razak Baginda. This is why he told me he had been advised to lodge a police report.

41. Abdul Razak Baginda informed me that DPS Musa Safri had introduced him to one DSP Idris, the head of the Criminal division, Brickfields police station, and that Idris had referred him to ASP Tonny.

42. When Abdul Razak Baginda had lodged his police report at Brickfields police station, in front of ASP Tonny, he was asked to make a statement but he refused as he said he was leaving for overseas. He did however promise to prepare a statement and hand ASP Tonny a thumb drive. I know that this was not done as ASP Tonny told me.

43. However ASP Tonny asked me the next day to provide my statement instead and so I did.

44. I stopped working for Abdul Razak Baginda on the 26.10.2006 as this was the day he left for Hong Kong on his own.

45. In mid November 2006, I received a phone call from ASP Tonny from the IPK Jalan Hang Tuah asking me to see him regarding Aminah’s case. When I arrived there I was immediately arrested under S.506 of the Penal Code for Criminal intimidation.

46. I was then placed in the lock up and remanded for 5 days. On the third day I was released on police bail.

47. At the end of November 2006, the D9 department of the IPK sent a detective to my house to escort me to the IPK Jalan Hang Tuah. When I arrived, I was told I was being arrested under S.302 of the Penal Code for murder. I was put in the lock up and remanded for 7 days.

48. I was transported to Bukit Aman where I was interrogated and questioned about an SMS I had received from Abdul Razak Baginda on the 19.10.2006 which read “delay her until my man arrives”. They had apparently retrieved this message from Abdul Razak Baginda’s handphone.

49. They then proceeded to record my statement from 8.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. everyday for 7 consecutive days. I told them all I knew including everything Abdul Razak Baginda and Aminah had told me about their relationships with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak but when I came to sign my statement, these details had been left out.

50. I have given evidence in the trial of Azilah, Sirul and Abdul Razak Baginda at the Shah Alam High Court. The prosecutor did not ask me any questions in respect of Aminah’s relationship with Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak or of the phone call I received from DSP Musa Safri, whom I believe was the ADC for Datuk Seri Najib Razak and/or his wife.

51. On the day Abdul Razak Baginda was arrested, I was with him at his lawyers office at 6.30 a.m. Abdul Razak Baginda informed us that he had sent Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak an SMS the evening before as he refused to believe he was to be arrested, but had not received a response.

52. Shortly thereafter, at about 7.30 a.m., Abdul Razak Baginda received an SMS from Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and showed, this message to both myself and his lawyer. This message read as follows :- “ I am seeing IGP at 11.00 a.m. today …… matter will be solved … be cool”.

53. I have been made to understand that Abdul Razak Baginda was arrested the same morning at his office in the Bangunan Getah Asli, Jalan Ampang.

54. The purpose of this Statutory declaration is to :-

54.1 State my disappointment at the standard of investigations conducted by the authorities into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu.

54.2 Bring to the notice of the relevant authorities the strong possibility that there are individuals other than the 3 accused who must have played a role in the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu.

54.3 Persuade the relevant authorities to reopen their investigations into this case immediately so that any fresh evidence may be presented to the Court prior to submissions at the end of the prosecutions case.

54.4 Emphasize the fact that having been a member of the Royal Malaysian Police Force for 17 years I am absolutely certain no police officer would shoot someone in the head and blow up their body without receiving specific instructions from their superiors first.

54.5. Express my concern that should the defence not be called in the said murder trial, the accused, Azilah and Sirul will not have to swear on oath and testify as to the instructions they received and from whom they were given.

55. And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same be true and by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declaration Act 1960.

SUBCRIBED and solemnly )

declared by the abovenamed )

Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal ]

this day of 2008 )

Before me,

………………………………….

Commissioner for Oath
Kuala Lumpur

BN is a Super Racist Indoctrination Agency, thanks to Mahathir

If Mahathir thinks that he has brought physical development to Malaysia, he is right. But at what expense to the nation which is so devoid of self respect and dignity, whose relevant institutions of justice, security and parliamentary practices are laughed at or jeered by the world! ”

TDM had contributed significantly, meaning TDM’s 23 years as PM had brought much development . In hindsight , Malaysia would have done much better today if Malaysia had adhere to the rule of justice , intergrity, transparency, independence of judiciary and equality, in our courts, police and institutions of learning. Soros was right ” TDM is a MENANCE in his own country.

” Calling TDM a racist is putting rather mildly. There is so much ” evilness ” in the man. God willing, may the LORD pass judgement on him soon.

It will probably take Malaysia another 23 to correct or reverse what ‘sirusa” put it above.

TDM is a man of contradictions. those of us who have dealt with directly or indirectly will know this. Malaysian are aware of the man who, in his old age wants to remanin relevant. He is not. His legacies are dust that just float away and cannot be seen. He is history that is best relegated to the deepest part of the vaults of Malaysian history.

The greatness of a good leader is not reflected in the physical or material legacies that he has left behind. If TDM thinks that he has brought physical development to Malaysia, he is right. But at what expense to the nation which is so devoid of self respect and dignity, whose relevant institutions of justice, security and parliamentary practices are laughed at or jeered by the world!

29/06/10

Hey, Mahathir…listen up! Dont bore us with your bullshits, shame on you mamak and of course Mamak can never be a Malay

Why Are Non-Malays Citizens?

In all this hubbub about the social contract, and the subject of non-Malays being granted citizenship at independence, we seem to have forgotten that yes, non-Malays actually are citizens.

The question is, why? It's always good to reflect a little, not only on our past, but on how our present would differ if the past had turned out differently.

What would Malaysia be like today if non-Malays had not been granted citizenship at independence? Would this have created a real, united nation-state?

Unity amongst the Malay citizens of the Malay state, maybe. But with almost half the population denied citizenship, denied representation, how could this state call itself a civilised, humane state?

The fact is, there was no way that citizenship could have been denied to half the population. To argue that we should not have granted the non-Malays citizenship is basically tantamount to arguing that we should have deported the non-Malays altogether.

This, of course, would place us in quite good company. After all, Uganda and Zimbabwe did a pretty good job of deporting their ethnic minorities to their ostensible homelands.

In all seriousness, unless we like looking as if we are total imbeciles, there was no real way we could have denied the non-Malays citizenship in the country where they intended and still intend to reside in permanently.

And yet, why is it that every time the non-Malays bring up a political issue, Malay leaders are so quick, so eager, to treat their citizenship as if it is worthless?

After all, Badruddin Amiruldin, the Permanent Chairman of UMNO, had no qualms about telling Lim Kit Siang when he raised the subject of an Islamic state in Parliament some years back to leave the country if he didn't like things.

Is this any way to treat a citizen of our country? Would Badruddin have done this to a liberal Malay who said exactly the same things Lim did? Why are we so respectful of the basic rights of a citizen when that citizen is Malay, and yet so disdainful of those same rights when that citizen is not a Malay?

Likewise, we see our leaders all too eager to tell Chinese and Indian Malaysians things like "balik tongsan" or "go to Singapore" if they have any complaints about their country. As far back as the 1980s, our wakil rakyat went on the record in Parliament to denounce almost half of all Malaysian citizens as "kaum pendatang" and "pendatang asing", as if that somehow degrades their citizenship to the point it means nothing.

When you are the citizen of a country, it means something. It means that country is your homeland, the place you belong. You always have a place in the country you are a citizen of.

You may be maligned, you may be mistreated, but ultimately, you can't be deported. You can't be exiled. You need to be stripped of your citizenship first. Even the apartheid state of South Africa recognised this; even the pre-civil rights era United States only sent back its second-class black citizens to Africa on a voluntary basis.

We like to pride ourselves on not being anything like apartheid South Africa. One of Tunku Abdul Rahman's proudest accomplishments was getting the Commonwealth to sanction South Africa for its horrid discriminatory policies.

And yet, why is it that we so easily slip into the role of being far worse than South Africa? Why is it that our elected representatives — from mainstream parties in the ruling regime, mind you — so eagerly consider Malaysian citizens migrants who can be casually told to hit the road back to their supposed homeland — a homeland they have abandoned generations ago for this country?

You may argue that there are certain "sensitive issues" (a handy catchphrase for quelling all dissent, justified or otherwise) which the non-Malays should never deign to question or discuss, lest they risk their citizenship being stripped.

But let us look at the Federal Constitution. What does it say? At the time of independence in 1957, it made no mention of some binding "contract" explicitly granting citizenship to non-Malays in return for something else. All provisions of the Constitution were treated as equally binding and at the same time equally malleable through the usual process of constitutional amendments.

After the May 13 incident, then yes, certain provisions we may think of as the "social contract" were singled out to be entrenched in the Constitution.

But the special amendment process singled out for these amendments does not say "if you renegotiate this provision, then all other provisions must likewise be renegotiated". If we remove non-Malays' right to citizenship, we do not have to remove special rights for the bumiputra or renounce Islam as the country's official religion. Likewise, if we remove special rights for the bumiputra as a permanent fixture, we need not remove the other portions of the supposed social contract. It is not by any means a "take it or leave it" deal.

Also bear in mind that the Constitution does not protect the New Economic Policy, or any affirmative action policies beyond those explicitly spelled out in the Constitution itself, most of which are relatively benign, such as special quotas and preferences for the bumiputra in education and the civil service.

Neither is Malay supremacy enshrined by the Federal Constitution. The Constitution states that the bumiputra are in a "special position", but fails to elaborate on what that position is. At no point does it indicate that this means that the Malays have the right to unilaterally deprive non-Malays of their fundamental rights as citizens.

In other words, a lot of criticism taken as offensive to the point of demanding the stripping of citizenship and/or deportation, such as criticism of the New Economic Policy or of the ketuanan Melayu ideology, is perfectly fair and permitted under the Federal Constitution.

The leaders in the ruling regime have made no secret of their distaste for criticism of the New Economic Policy or of Malay political hegemony. They brandish their weapons; they wonder when they can use them. On live television in 2006, one UMNO leader proclaimed: "If [the non-Malays] question our rights, then we should question theirs. So far we have not heard the Malays questioning their right to citizenship when they came in droves from other countries."

If the Malays require assistance to prepare themselves to compete, to gird themselves for the brutal battles of the modern economy, as a fellow Malaysian, I would be the first to offer my aid. My belief is that the spirit of the NEP was and is perfectly justified — we must have equality of opportunity for all Malaysians. As long as who your parents are determines what your future will look like, we cannot say we are an equitable, just or fair society — nor can we say we are efficient, in light of the human potential being wasted.

No Malaysian could possibly begrudge a fellow Malaysian the help they need. But what pains almost half of all Malaysians, what alienates them, is the fact that they are told they are not Malaysian. If they are Malaysian at all, that is a status which can be revoked at any time. Even if they want to make this country their home, they are told they are "kaum pendatang" which cannot be welcomed.

Why did we give the non-Malays citizenship? Was it just for show so we could pretend we are a decent country, when beneath the surface, we seek nothing more than the ability to lord it over a supposed immigrant populace which has long since made this country their one and only home? Let's be honest with ourselves. Are the non-Malays citizens, or are they just permanent residents who can be deported at the government's behest? Who does this country belong to — all the citizens of Malaysia, or just citizens of one race?

29/06/10
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Malaysian Indian Ethnic Cleansing by UMNO led government

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