23 July, 2006

Dr M back from Europe vacation

Former PM Tun Dr Mahathir returned home from a two weeks vacation in Europe yesterday. More than three hundred supports welcome him back at the air port.

Dr Mahathir, who retired in 2003, had recently launched strong attacks on his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Dr Mahathir’s main grouses against the present government include its decision to cancel the Johor bridge project and its handling of the national car company, Proton.

Abdullah, who recently also returned from an overseas vacation, has since broken his silence to defend his administration's actions, including declassifying certain official documents on the bridge.

Speaking to reporters, Dr Mahathir said the Government should declassify the documents on its offer to sell sand and the use of Malaysian airspace by Singapore in its negotiations on the bridge project.

He added that the declassified letters which were released last week by the Government had already been made public during his time.

Dr Mahathir also expressed his disappointment that Umno was now denying him the avenue to voice his views.

He said that only three years ago, he was praised sky high when he stepped down but now “I am not even allowed to meet and speak with our Malaysian students in London.”

Meanwhile, Overseas Umno clubs chairman Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal said they had never received any request from Dr Mahathir to meet Malaysian students in London.

He said any meeting with Malaysian students overseas must be arranged in advance.

“This is to ensure that they will be free and not be disturbed when they have examinations,” he said.

To a question, Shafie said Umno had no problem if Malaysian students overseas want to meet Dr Mahathir.

“Dr Mahathir is our father. He is a respected former prime minister who has done a lot for the country’s development.” -The Star.

A report from New Straits Time stated that Umno did not stop Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad from meeting Malaysian students in London recently.
Overseas Umno Club chairman, Datuk Shafie Apdal, said the party had not prohibited such a meeting between the former prime minister and the students.

"We don’t know with whom he dealt with on the issue of the meeting. But as far we are concerned, there was no arrangement made for a meeting by the secretariat here," said Shafie, who is also the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister.

He was commenting on an allegation that Umno had, at the last minute, cancelled the meeting.

Shafie said the secretariat would usually be informed of any meeting scheduled with the students.

He was not sure if the meeting had been arranged only after Dr Mahathir arrived in London.

"Our leaders are welcome to meet our students abroad as long as the timing is right. For example, it should be when they are not busy with their exams," he said after a briefing on "Issues Related to Human Capital and Excellent Malays" to Umno members here yesterday.

Also present were Umno information chief Tan Sri Mu- hammad Muhammad Taib and Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim.

Meanwhile, Muhammad said the party would not prohibit members from meeting Dr Mahathir as it practised an open approach.

On Dr Mahathir’s criticism of Abdullah and his administration, he said the party would continue supporting the Prime Minister.

"We respect Dr Mahathir as our former prime minister. But we will give our full support to Abdullah in ensuring continuity in development, safety and achievement of the Vision 2020 concept."

Lim Kiat Siang Writes in his blog :

Former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s return from his 22-day overseas trip marked the second round of the Mahathir-Abdullah political tussle, with him opening up on his arrival at the Subang military airport on three fronts:

•That he was barred from speaking to UMNO Clubs in England and that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was not as open to criticism as when he (Mahathir) was Prime Minister – citing the case of Bapa Malaysia and first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, who “wrote to the Star, he wrote books, he wrote all sort of things, he supported those who wanted to dethrone me, but I didn’t do anything to him”.

•That the government had not satisfactorily replied to his allegations over the cancellation of the RM1.1 billion crooked half-bridge, particularly over the sale of sand to Singapore as none of the declassified documents, which contained four correspondences between him and top Singapore officials, released last week divulged new details. As Mahathir said, “they bring out old letters that Singapore had long published”.

•That he had “picked a foreign minister (Datuk Syed Hamid Albar) who does not know how to read letters”.

Mahathir has selective memory, as he did not mention the dark years of oppression under his premiership, in particular the 1987 Operation Lalang clampdown of mass arrests of Opposition MPs and leaders, civil society activists as well as closure of newspapers, resulting in the “silencing” of Tunku Abdul Rahman in the mainstream media.

On July 23, Lim wrote in his blog about UPM gangsterism :

Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamed announced yesterday that Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has been directed to set up a committee “to look into the fracas between two groups of undergraduates” at UPM.

Mustapha said he watched the videoclip of the incident on Thursday. He said it was a breach of discipline that should not have occurred and that he had contacted UPM’s management twice for clarification.

I have a question for Mustapha – if he had watched the videoclip of the disgraceful UPM incident on Thursday, why he only announced a committee of inquiry only on Saturday after I had emailed him the videoclip urging him to stop condoning the indefensible with his continued silence and failure to condemn student indiscipline and mob rule?

Furthermore, why had he been a party to very different responses on Friday – which was the farce orchestrated by the UPM Vice Chancellor of the “shake-hand and make-up” among UPM student representatives who were not victims of the UPM student gangsterism on Monday?

It was clear that on Friday, the UPM Vice Chancellor and Deputy Vice Chancellors had no idea whatsoever that there would be a committee of inquiry, but their present knowledge that there would be a committee of inquiry has been backdated to Friday – after I had emailed the videoclip of the disgraceful UPM incident to the Higher Education Minister yesterday.

If truth and facts are so elastic and slippery, whether in the hands of the Higher Education Minister or the UPM authorities, this does not bode well either for integrity or excellence in our institutions of higher learning.

Malaysia Today quote an article from the Sun :

Friday, July 21, 2006
Mob heckles seven undergrads in UPM

Pauline Puah and Charles Ramendran
The Sun

Gangsterism reared its ugly head in Univerisiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) when about 50 "pro-establishment" students took the law into their own hands and manhandled seven students who are members of an organisation perceived to be "anti-establishment" last Monday (July 17, 2006).

A video clip obtained by theSun showed the large group surrounding and pushing about six members of the UPM Student Progressive Front (SPF) in the campus canteen.

Giving an account of the incident to the Sun today, third-year Chinese Studies student Lim Sok Swan said she and six other friends were manning a help counter for new students when the incident started.

Lim said a group of about 50 students led by a student council leader suddenly surrounded and scolded them for setting up the help counter when the SPF is not a registered body.

"They demanded we leave within 10 minutes, saying we are not allowed to be there to disturb students.

"We replied that we were just helping students' welfare and denied disturbing anyone as it was in a canteen that is open to everyone," she said.

"We had done nothing wrong ,so we declined to leave. They then pushed us away and removed our tables, chairs and flyers," she added.

She alleged that campus security officers who were present did not offer any help and merely watched.

"I was very scared," Lim said, adding she called the police as she felt the tension was escalating.

"They only stopped harrassing us when police officers arrived," she added.

Another student said she was pushed and fell on the floor when trying to take some photographs of what was happening.

The student who said her camera broke when it fell lodged a police report at the Seri Serdang police station.

"A similar incident took place on July 11(2006) where a group of 'pro-establishment' students tore up our materials at the help desk," she added.

Meanwhile, Suaram coordinator Chang Lih Kang urged the Higher Education Ministry, the police and UPM's authorities to investigate and take action against the culprits.

"It's a crime to intimidate someone," he said, adding that at least 15 police reports have been lodged over the incident.

Meanwhile, Subang Jaya police chief ACP Mohd Fuad Talib said police have received five reports from the students.

He said investigations revealed that the incident arose as a result of a misunderstanding over an event organised by the students.

He said apart from some pushing and jostling among the students at the time of incident, no one was reported to have been assaulted.

Mohd Fuad said police have spoken to UPM officials and have left the matter to be resolved internally.

"But our officers will continue monitoring the situation to avoid any untoward incident in future," he said.

UPM vice-chancellor Prof Dr Nik Mustapha R. Abdullah and deputy vice-chancellor (student affairs and alumni) Assoc Prof Dr Azali Mohamed could not be reached for comment today (July 20, 2006).

Today 23 July in the Star :

UPM panel to probe fracas

PETALING JAYA: Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) has been directed to set up a committee to look into the fracas between two groups of undergraduates at the university.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, who watched the video clip of the incident on Thursday, said it was a breach of discipline that should not have occurred and that he had contacted UPM's management twice for clarification.

“I instructed the vice-chancellor (Prof Dr Nik Mustapha R. Abdullah) on Thursday to set up a committee of inquiry immediately to investigate the incident and prepare a comprehensive report.

“The committee will also be asked to recommend steps or action to be taken against any party found to have gone against the university's rules on discipline,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Mustapa urged all parties to act professionally when dealing with the matter.

It was reported that some 50 students surrounded and pushed seven members of the UPM Student Progressive Front at a campus cafeteria on Monday. A three-minute video clip of the incident has been circulated on the Internet.

Prof Nik Mustapha said the committee would be made up of independent members.

“The university views this incident very seriously, and stern action will be taken against any student involved in disturbing the harmony of the university or breaking its rules,” he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, MCA Youth has commended Mustapa for his strong stand on the incident.

Its secretary-general Dr Wee Ka Siong said it was important to know that the minister took the time to view the video clip.

MCA Youth chief Datuk Liow Tiong Lai called on students from all sides to lend their full cooperation to the committee.

They are supposed to be cream of the crops, instead behave like monkeys in the zoo.
The path of evolution of Malay undergrads towards becoming UMNO Youth and PAS members. A case where mob justice is allowed and victims are the guilty party. Only in the land of boleh-sia. Malaysia Boleh !!


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