30 July, 2008

The Case Against Anwar

PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim is at the Federal Territories Islamic Affairs Department this morning to give a statement in regards to his complaint over the sodomy allegation against him by his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan

It's been a month since an aide to Anwar Ibrahim accused the Malaysian opposition leader of sodomy, yet no formal charge has been filed nor has Anwar been allowed to see the police report filed against him. Now, the case against Anwar looks shakier still.

MalaysiaToday's editor, Raja Petra Kamarudin, posted a two-page medical report it said was written by a doctor who examined Saiful Bukhari Azlan on June 28, the day the aide went to the police with his complaint. The alleged report is written in shorthand and signed by Dr. Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid. It says that a rectal examination showed no active bleeding, tears or injury.

If it's true that Anwar's aide didn't present any physical signs of injury at the hospital, then on what basis was the police report filed? If the aide went to a government hospital to get a second opinion -- as required under the law in sodomy cases, and as the first doctor suggested -- what did that second doctor see? And why is the accuser, Mr. Saiful, still formally under police protection?

This has hallmarks of a case being built after, not before, the purported "crime." In 1998 -- the last time Anwar was accused of sodomy -- the prosecution's case centered around an alleged semen-stained mattress and DNA taken under false pretenses from Anwar. The police's handling of the evidence was so flawed that in 2004, Malaysia's highest court overturned the conviction. Now, the police have requested that Anwar provide DNA samples again. To what end?


And, the Police Say Blog Article On Sodomy Medical Report Speculative, Based On Hearsay ?

What a bunch of clowns !


1. ACA, or Anti-Corruption Agency is now willing to investigate possible corruption based on newspaper reports.

2. It is now doing just that with regard to the huge bill for maintenance of Proton Perdana official cars used by the Terengganu Government.

3. This has prompted the Terengganu Menteri Besar to question why the very costly Monsoon Cup and the Islamic Theme Park have not been investigated.

4. Promptly the Trengganu ACA has decided to do just that.

5. I must congratulate the ACA for its seemingly independent response to complaints of corruption.

6. But I am a little bit disappointed when very quickly the Terengganu ACA stated that preliminary investigations have shown no element of bribery involved.

7. I do not think the ACA should be looking for evidence of bribery. As with the servicing charges for Proton Perdana, ACA should be looking for the cost of the projects, whether reasonable or not. It should also look into how the contracts were awarded and to whom.

8. I know a lot of Terengganu people have complained about the projects. Seems that almost all the contractors and sub-contractors were from outside Terengganu. Could it be that there are no capable contractors in Terengganu.

9. I was on the verge of asking the ACA to investigate Proton's sale of M.V. Agusta, which it bought for 72 million Euro but sold for just 1 Euro. We all know that the unknown buyer who paid 1 Euro then sold M.V. Agusta for a total of 160 million Euro.

10. Proton then claimed that by selling M.V. Agusta at 1 Euro it made 107 million Euro (M.V. Agusta's debts).

11. As one of the commentators on my blog says, he smells fish, a dead one.

12. But I hesitate to ask the ACA to investigate in case preliminary investigation shows no wrong doing.

(From: Chedet)


29 July, 2008

Anwar says medical report makes lie of sodomy charges

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim demanded that the police drop the sodomy investigation against him, producing a medical report he said showed no assault had taken place.

Anwar reiterated that the allegations by a young male aide, a repeat of charges that saw him jailed a decade ago, have been fabricated to disrupt his plans to seize power from the coalition that has ruled here for half a century.

"The hospital report leaked yesterday confirms our contention that the allegations levelled against me are baseless and politically motivated," he told a press conference.

"The complainant is an outright liar working hand in glove with those in power to assassinate my character and attempt to derail the people's aspirations for transformational change in Malaysia."

Meanwhile,police said they have completed their investigations into sodomy allegations against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and are going to charge the opposition icon soon for sodomising his accuser Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, reported Malaysian Insider.

Sources told The Malaysian Insider that investigators are "crossing the t's and dotting the i's" and will be relying on Anwar's DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) samples from 1998 when he faced similar charges which cost him the chance to be prime minister.

"Nobody wants a repeat of 1998 when the prosecution had to amend the charges. Anwar has alleged that he had an alibi for the 24 hours on the day the offence took place. So the authorities have to check everything out," said an official who is familiar with the investigations.
"We understand that there is an attempt to quash credibility of the case even before the matter goes to court. The police cannot say too much because then they will be accused of trial by media and ministers cannot say much because they will be accused to interference.

"This case is built on strong scientific evidence," the official added.

"How else can we fathom why the police during the last four weeks of their 'thorough and professional investigations' have overlooked such a critical piece of evidence?

"I condemn in the strongest terms their negligence, dishonesty and recklessness in humiliating the nation by dragging us all through this vile and filthy charade," Anwar said.


The hospital report leaked yesterday confirms our contention that the allegations leveled against me are baseless and politically motivated and that the complainant is an outright liar working hand in glove with those in power to assassinate my character and attempt to derail the people’s aspirations for transformational change in Malaysia.

This report makes a mockery of the so-called “impartial police investigations” and clearly shows the dubious but persistent attempts to incriminate me by whatever means employable.

How else can we fathom why the police during the last four weeks of their “thorough and professional investigations” have overlooked such a critical piece of evidence? I condemn in the strongest terms their negligence, dishonesty and recklessness in humiliating the nation by dragging us all through this vile and filthy charade.

Our refusal to submit a DNA sample has been vindicated. The failure of the police to disclose this medical report all but confrims their intention to frame me. Although quite apparent even before yesterday (July 28, 2008), their desperate attempt to collect a new DNA sample is now even clearly a last ditch effort to build a casee where none exists.

The statement by Bar President Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan in response to this latest development bears repeating.

“The credibility of the Malaysian justice system as a whole is therefore at stake. The integrity of professionals, be they doctors or lawyers, must never be interfered with. The public must be left in no doubt that the criminal justice system in this country will not be misused or abused.”

Several weeks ago I filed a police report implicating Musa Hassan and Gani Patail in the conspiracy to fabricate evidence in my 1998 case. The ACA subsequently opened an inquiry into the matter. Given their current involvement as heads of the police and Attorney General’s chambers, and their earlier attempts ot discredit and defame me, I have consistently asserted that a fair investigation into this matter would be impossible, notwithstanding the dubious character of the complainant and his association with the Deputy Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister’s wife and her staff, as well as key figures in the police department.

I reiterate earlier calls to ensure the safety and security of the doctor who authored this medical report. Reports that he and his family may be in danger must not be taken lightly given earlier instances when key witnesses in high profile cases in Malaysia have been threatened, coerced or gone missing.

My family and I have endured a great deal during the last month. Our fears of a repeat of the trauma and abuse inflicted upon us in 1998 were bearable only with the tremendous outpouring of support from our friends in Malaysia and throughout the world. We breathed a deep sigh of relief upon hearing of the report and after seeing it with our own eyes felt a great burden lifted from our shoulders. We remain eternally grateful to them for their belief in us and their commitment to the cause of freedom and justice in Malaysia.

I have willingly cooperated in the police investigations; careless and vindictive though it has turned out to be. But I have decided that the nation is in a grave situation economically and socially and I can no longer be distracted by such nuisances. I am now determined to move ahead with the reform agenda, which the Malaysian people endorsed in the last elections, and I do not intend to address these scurrilous accusations anymore.

At a time when the world economy is spiraling into recession and Malaysia has struggled to remain competitive with its neighbours, this scandal was raised at the worst possible moment. The problems of inflation, unemployment, and investor confidence grow more serious by the day. The authorities, aided by senior Ministers in the government, appear to be wilfully dragging the nation’s stature down in their last ditcj efforts to retain power. The international community has expressed its disdain for what is happening and that will translate to less foreign investment, less tourism and an even weaker economy.

I call upon the government to rise above petty vindictiveness and maneuvering for power, and to be sincere, honest and hence effective in its actions. The national good that, for the moment now resposes in their hands, demands nothing less.



Press Statement by Seven MCA PJ Utara Branches




TUESDAY 29 JULY 2008, 11AM

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press.

1. We meet here today because we, being members of 7 branches of MCA PJ Utara representing more than 1000 members of MCA, wish to do our civic duty to the Rakyat.

1. We note that MCA cannot remain silent anymore, lest we be accused (if not already accused) of being accomplices to diabolical conspiracies.

1. In particular, we refer to the medical report widely publicized on the internet by Malaysia Today, malaysiakini and countless other blogs. We had also taken the liberty to check on the comments contained in the medical report dated 28 June 2008 conducted on Mohd Saiful Bukhari Bin Azlan by Dr Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid, the Medical Officer at Hospital Pusrawi Sdn Bhd. Three doctors we have checked with have stated that the comments meant that the results for the alleged sodomy is ‘negative’. They also confirmed that a Doctor can never change a medical report.

1. Assuming that the said medical report is true – and we call on Hospital Pusrawi to confirm or deny this – then:

1. We call on the Police, the Attorney-General, the MCA top leadership and the UMNO top leadership to immediately reveal in full all the evidence against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and stop withholding vital evidence and decide to charge, or not to charge, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. The Deputy IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar should also refrain from making statements that the internet reports on the said medical report were aimed at confusing the people when, in the same breath, he declines to comment on the medical report. Such statements by the Deputy IGP only serve to further the perception that the police is pulling out all stops to withhold evidence crucial to the innocence of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, a fellow citizen of our country, while at the same time fabricates, or attempts to fabricate, evidence against a fellow citizen of our country.

1. This “bogus charge” fiasco is also causing untold damage and hurt to our economy, our integrity as a nation. Daily, we are being compared to countries like Zimbabwe and other countries where despotic rulers reign. We cannot in all conscience be a party to the machinations by executive arms of the government to withhold/fabricate evidence against a citizen of our country.

1. Therefore, we urge the Police, the Attorney-General and the government to treat all our citizens fairly, with transparency, without withholding of crucial evidence and with the proper application of the rule of law.

MCA PJ Utara Branches:

1. MCA SS2 Town Centre
2. MCA SS2
3. MCA SS4
4. MCA Taman People’s Park
5. MCA Gardenia Centre
6. MCA Taman Mayang
7. MCA Damansara Baru

Contact Persons:

* Mr LEE CHONG BENG [Chairman, MCA SS2 Town Centre] at 012-3987851
* Mr PETER CHEN [Legal Advisor] at 012-6824902


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28 July, 2008

Doctor: No evidence of sodomy - Malaysiakini

(Image taken from Susan Loone)

By Beh Lih Yi and P. Tarani

There is no evidence that Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan was sodomised, according to the doctor who examined him four hours before he lodged a police report alleging he was sexually assaulted by PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim.

It is believed that Anwar’s former aide Saiful (left) went to two different hospitals on June 28 - the day he lodged the police report claiming that he was sodomised by his ex-boss.

He first went to Hospital Pusrawi (Pusat Rawatan Islam) in Jalan Tun Razak - a government-linked Islamic medical institution - at about 2pm.

According to a copy of the two-page medical report obtained by malaysiakini yesterday, Saiful went to the hospital complaining of ‘tenesmus’ - a medical term for difficulty and pain in passing motion.

He was examined by Dr Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid, the medical officer on duty.
The doctor said that the patient had alleged he was assaulted by the intrusion of a piece of “plastic” in the anus.

Mohamed Osman, according to his medical report which was recorded at 2.14pm, found “zero active bleeding”, “zero ulcer or pus”, “zero tear and scar” in Saiful’s anus.

He also stated that Saiful appeared “alert”, “comfortable”, “not pale” and did not show any fever symptoms.

A senior Pusrawi official told malaysiakini this morning that the hospital had launched an internal investigation on how Saiful’s medical report was leaked, which is widely considered as a major infringement of patient privacy.

When malaysiakini showed him a copy of the report, he refused to return it saying, “It’s our document.”

A check at the emergency unit where Mohamed Osman is attached revealed that he has taken leave since last week.

Meanwhile, Pusrawi general manager Wan Mahmood Wan Yaacob refused to comment on the matter.

Conflicting medical reports

Mohamed Osman, in his report’s concluding remarks, advised Saiful to go to a government hospital so as “to rule out” assault and sodomy.

At 6pm on that day, Saiful went to Hospital Kuala Lumpur for his second medical examination. He subsequently lodged a report against Anwar at the police beat at the hospital.

According to an expert who has dealt with rape and sodomy cases, the victim must provide a second medical examination in a government hospital.

She said the court will only accept evidence from a government hospital but the first medical examination must collaborate with the second report, otherwise this could be challenged during the trial.

“From the report, the doctor had failed to find any evidence to support the patient’s complaint. That was why he asked the patient to go to a government hospital to conclusively rule out assault or sodomy,” said the expert who requested anonymity.

It is learnt that the police have recorded statements from Mohamed Osman after Saiful lodged the report against Anwar.

The doctor was said to be under tremendous stress as a result of the police interrogation and was advised by the hospital to take leave.

Mohamed Osman, a Burmese Muslim, has 20 years of experience as a doctor. He previously worked in government hospitals before joining Pusrawi about a year ago.

Efforts by malaysiakini to contact Saiful has not been successful.

- Malaysiakini

Malaysia Today: Doctor on the run: police want him to fabricate evidence against Anwar

The doctor’s report says it very clearly. Saiful was never sodomised, either by Anwar or anyone else. Why is the government still pursuing the case against Anwar? And why are they looking for the doctor who has now gone underground with his whole family?


Raja Petra Kamarudin

On 21 July 2008, I published an article in this same column called HOW, YET AGAIN, THEY ARE TRYING TO FABRICATE EVIDENCE AGAINST ANWAR. (Read the article here ).

In that article I mentioned as follows:

You see, they asked a certain doctor from a certain hospital to conduct an examination on Saiful. The doctor did so and he came out with a report that said there is no evidence Anwar had ever penetrated or sodomised the young man. The police then picked up the doctor and detained him for three days. As much as they tried to force him to change his report to implicate Anwar he refused to do so.

Until today, the doctor stands by his report that there is no evidence Anwar had sodomised Saiful. He knows he is going to be made to pay for this but he doesn’t care. He is not going to change his report and say that Anwar sodomised Saiful whatever they do to him. Exasperated, the police had to release Anwar on personal bond or police bail. The doctor refuses to doctor his report and neither does Anwar want to volunteer his new specimen...more.

LKS:"Police cannot be silent a single second - latest shocking revelation on 2nd Anwar sodomy charge"

The Police cannot keep silent a single second on the latest shocking revelation in the second Anwar Ibrahim sodomy charge – that the first medical report on Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan found no evidence of sodomy four hours before he lodged the police report of sodomy against Anwar on June 28.

The revelation, which first appeared in Raja Petra Kamaruddin’s Malaysia Today news portal, and is reported in Malaysiakini, is based on a two-page medical report by Dr. Mohamed Osman Abdul Hamid, the medical officer in Hospital Pusrawi (Pusat Rawatan Islam) in Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur after examining Saiful at about 2 p.m on June 28 – some four hours before Saiful lodged the police report against Anwar.....more

Malaysian Insider:"Leaked medical report vindicates Anwar, says PKR"

PKR secretary-general Salehuddin Hashim said the leaked medical report confirms the party's stand that the allegations against their de facto party chief are "without merit and politically motivated". He added that it further erodes public onfidence in the police investigations into this case.

"Why has this medical report has surfaced only today, over one month after the allegations were made, after Anwar spent a night in jail, and after the police have spent so much time and money on this case?" Salehuddin asked in a press statement issued this evening.

"There should be a complete disclosure of the "facts" of this case to the public. Anything less will further diminish the public's trust in the institutions of governance and in particular the integrity of the office of the Inspector-General of the Police," he added.

He also noted the reports that Dr Mohamed Osman had been interrogated by the police for three days and that as a result, the doctor and his family have since gone into hiding. "Every assurance must be given for his safety and protection," Salehuddin said....more

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27 July, 2008

Malay-Muslim Call Shakes Opposition Unity

Backdoor” deals between PAS and Umno would further ruin Barisan Nasional, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

“It is not nice to leave out others (in the coalition),”

“What will MCA, Gerakan and MIC say?”

He warned that Barisan Nasional was already in ruins, with members of component parties “running away”.

“MCA leaders are leaving the party, Gerakan is being left behind, and the MIC will be left with only Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu at the rate members are leaving the party,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said Barisan could only be saved if Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi steps down.

The Pan Malaysian Islamic Party or PAS, a senior partner in the three-party coalition, is increasingly unhappy with Ibrahim’s multi-racial and openly secular platform. It feels the coalition is not giving pre-eminence to Islam and priority to Malays, who form 60 percent of the population of 27 million.

Until recently PAS was a dominant opposition party that existed as a defender of Islam -- a role which was eclipsed by Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party or PKR under its Malay acronym.

"We have had three rounds of talk with PAS on Malay unity and Islam," Badawi told local media on Tuesday in a political bombshell announcement that has rattled the opposition coalition.

The talks centre on ways to work together to "save" the Malay-Muslim race from domination by non-Muslims and to safeguard and promote Islam in the wake of the changes brought by the March election.

"The talks between the two bitter political rivals have far-reaching implications that could alter the country’s political landscape if it succeeds," said a senior National University of Malaysia academic who is consulted by the government.

"The three parties in the opposition alliance are so dissimilar in their orientation that it is only a matter of time before they disagree and the cracks show up," he told IPS in an interview.

He said it is natural for the ruling UMNO, an ethno-Malay nationalist organisation and PAS, a wholly Islamic party, to get together. "There are common grounds because both are one way or other looking after Malay Muslim rights,’’

The Malay intelligentsia, in numerous articles in the national Malay dailies and Malay literary periodicals, along with mushrooming grassroots organisations, has been piling pressure on UMNO and PAS to sink their differences and work together.

Early May, about 200 Malay NGOs led by the Federation of National Writers Association or ‘Gapena’ met for three days to discuss the "crisis" in Malay society as a result of the election. Later, these and other Malay organistions came together to form the Malaysian Malay Solidarity Council whose leading lights include Gapena chairman Ismail Hussin and other influential academics, writers and poets.

"We are merely bowing to grassroots pressure to come together for unity talks," said a senior PAS leader who asked not to be identified. "We are keeping our options open and are prepared to listen to anybody. Speculation that we are leaving the opposition People’s Alliance coalition is wholly unfounded."

"It was UMNO that lost, not the Malays,"

Other PKR leaders say there are now more Malay lawmakers in parliament then before, only that they are spread out in several political parties and that they have not lost their political clout.

They also point out that the position of Malays, Islam and the Malay rulers is enshrined in the Constitution and guaranteed and not subject to the political fortunes of UMNO.

Nevertheless the Malay grassroots see PKR as overly dominated by non-Malays and Ibrahim as "too secular and ambiguous" on Islam and Malay rights to ever effectively champion their cause.

"These are the reasons why the Malay intelligentsia is looking for leadership in a possible rapprochement between the nationalist UMNO and the Islamist PAS," said the National University Malaysia academic.

"If the arch rivals unite under a common Malay-Islam agenda there is every likelihood that Malaysia’s political landscape will change radically to the detriment of the growing secular multi-ethnic democracy," he said.


26 July, 2008

Malaysian Ruling Party Vows to Pursue Legal Action Against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim

By Ron Corben
25 July 2008

Malaysia's governing United Malaya National Organization, UMNO, is pressing on with legal action against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who faces allegations of sexual abuse. Anwar has vowed to move ahead with plans to lead the Malaysian government by September despite the charges. Ron Corben has more in this report from Bangkok.

Malaysia's Home Minister, Hamid Syed Albar, told a gathering of 90 diplomats at a briefing this week in Kuala Lumpur that he would be providing foreign missions with what he termed "the real story" about allegations of sodomy against opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar has rejected the allegations raised in June by a 23-year old aide, Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, saying it is a conspiracy to prevent him from challenging the current coalition government led by the United Malays National Organization, UMNO, in power since 1957.

The allegations came exactly two months after Anwar returned to Parliament following a ten year absence.

In 1998, Anwar had been deputy prime minister under Malaysia's longest serving prime minister, Mahathir Mohammad, and considered the anointed successor when he challenged Mr. Mahathir to step aside.

Instead, Anwar was fired as deputy prime minister and faced charges of corruption and sexual abuse. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison but eventually served just six years in jail for corruption charges.

In 2004, Malaysia's Federal Court overturned a sodomy conviction pointing to weaknesses in the prosecution's case.

But in June, new charges of sodomy resurfaced.

In early July, Anwar maintained he would press on with the bid to seize power from what he had termed, "a corrupt government". He added he would fight the allegations "day and night" saying the young man accusing him was "being manipulated by powerful forces".

On July 16, Anwar was arrested at his home, an hour before a deadline for him to appear at the police headquarters. He was held in jail overnight.

Professor Carl Thayer, a regional security analyst at the Australian National University, says the allegations appear to be part of a struggle by the ruling party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) to fend off the threat from Anwar and his supporters. "The core elite that gathered in the UMNO - the United Malays National Organization - have been absolutely ruthless under various prime ministers, particularly (Dr) Mahathir (Mohammad) in making sure that their supremacy is maintained. And although (Prime Minister) Badawi was seen as less harsh, what this is demonstrating is that some of his colleagues are playing a vicious game," he said.

But Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar has denied charges of a political conspiracy adding the government was not expecting a political backlash.

Zawbry Abdul Kadir, a senior UMNO Party member, says despite Anwar's allegations of conspiracy he had to accept the rule of law.

"What we're suggesting is the rule of law must take place. The problem now is that Anwar is going around trying to question the legitimacy of these institutions, including the police institutions, our judicial system and as a result it creates more confusion among the Malaysian and it makes it into more political in nature," he said.

Soon after the latest allegations surfaced, opinion polls showed strong support for Anwar. But the UMNO Party's Kadir says the people have been reacting emotionally. "We really have to look at this objectively that is why I care that Malaysians are more rational now to look at this case whether it is real or a concocted one or 'an old script being played out again' or not. I think slowly, I'm sure slowly the Malaysians will come to rational ground," he said.

In elections earlier this year Anwar and the opposition won an unprecedented 82 seats in parliament, as well as control of five of Malaysia's 13 states. The poor showing by UMNO increased pressure on Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to announce he would step down by 2010.

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak is the likely successor. But Najib's position has been clouded by reports of links with a Mongolian woman who was murdered in 2006. Najib denies he knew the woman.

Thayer said the sodomy allegations against Anwar may enable UMNO further time to regroup and fend off the opposition leader's challenge for power. "The sodomy charges have derailed movement in that direction for the moment and put it off. Until those charges are resolved it buys time for Badawi and Najib and others to react. For example, which could be, the Prime Minister (Badawi) falls on his sword and resigns and takes off some of the local heat so the elite in UMNO can maintain their positions of power?"

Anwar is viewed as "bridging the divide" in Malaysia between the differing communities while his success at toppling the current coalition is dependent on defections from the ruling UMNO.

But Kadir believes the latest case against Anwar would undermine his plan, along with possibly weakening relations between the opposition parties.

"The way we look at it now he's having his own personal problems, let it solve by going into the proper judicial process rather than making it into a full blown political in nature. It will surely affect him somehow on this plan to become the prime minister in waiting in September. Probably it will affect the political pact between these few parties among themselves," he said.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week urged Malaysia to be transparent and follow the rule of law in dealing with the sodomy accusation against Anwar. Hours later, Malaysian Foreign Minister Rais Yatim accused Washington of meddling in his country's domestic affairs and told U.S. officials to stop commenting on the Anwar case. The two officials made their comments at separate news conferences in Singapore where they were attending a regional security meeting.


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25 July, 2008

Bosnia: 13 Year Anniversary of the Slaughter at Srebrenica - Worst European atrocity since WWII

By CNN's Graham Jones

This article by the late Graham Jones first appeared on CNN.com in 2006

(CNN) -- It is now remembered as the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

In a five-day orgy of slaughter at Srebrenica in July 1995, up to 8,000 Muslims were systematically exterminated in what was described at the U.N. war crimes tribunal as "the triumph of evil."

Radovan Karadzic, then the Bosnian Serb political leader, who was arrested on a Belgrade bus Friday after more than 10 years on the run, is accused of ordering the violence at Srebrenica and the deadly siege of Sarajevo.

In 1995 Srebrenica's was designated a U.N. "safe area."

A judge at The Hague tribunal was later to describe what happened there as "truly scenes from hell written on the darkest pages of human history."

Thousands of Bosnian Muslims had sought refuge in the spa town of Srebrenicia in 1995 as the Bosnian Serb army marched towards them.

They were protected by just 100 lightly equipped Dutch peacekeepers -- who proved no match for the advancing, heavily-armed Serb army.

Denied reinforcements, the Dutch were forced to stand aside while Serb troops intent on "ethnic cleansing" did their worst -- the peacekeepers even witnessing the summary execution of civilians.

In the days before the onslaught, 30,000 Muslims fleeing the advancing Serb army were crammed into the town. Within days there was not one Muslim left.

A great number fled -- only for many of them to be wiped out in Serb ambushes -- but the men who stayed fared the worst.

Thousands of men and boys as young as 10 were rounded up and murdered. Those who tried to hide in their homes were, according to evidence at the trial of Serb General Radislav Krstic at The Hague in March 2000, "hunted down like dogs and slaughtered."

Serbian TV footage shows woman and children being separated from the men and put on buses.

In a sickening show of "reassurance" Bosnian Serb commander-in-chief General Ratko Mladic -- now on the war crimes tribunal's most wanted list -- told the women everyone would be taken out by bus out and safely reunited.

When the cameras were turned off the real face of the Serb army emerged as the slaughter began.

More than 60 truckloads of refugees were taken from Srebrenica to execution sites where they were bound, blindfolded, and shot with automatic rifles.

Some of the executions were carried out at night under arc lights. Industrial bulldozers then pushed the bodies into mass graves.

Some were buried alive, a French policeman who collected evidence from Bosnian Muslims, Jean-Rene Ruez, told The Hague tribunal in 1996.

He gave evidence that Bosnian Serb forces had killed and tortured refugees at will. Streets were littered with corpses, he said, and rivers were red with blood. Many people committed suicide to avoid having their noses, lips and ears chopped off, he said.

Among other lurid accounts of mass murder, Ruez cited cases of adults being forced to kill their children or watching as soldiers ended the young lives.

"One soldier approached a woman in the middle of a crowd," he said. "Her child was crying. The soldier asked why the child was crying and she explained that he was hungry. The soldier made a comment like, 'He won't be hungry anymore.' He slit the child's throat in front of everybody."

Later it was revealed that Mladic had been able to press on unhindered by issuing ultimatums to the U.N. protection force.

It was suggested the U.N. high command had promised to stop air strikes against the Serb army in return for the release of 370 U.N. soldiers held prisoner -- and Mladic took this as the green light to attack Srebrenica.

The Commander of the Dutch U.N. troops, Col. Thomas Karremans, told The Hague tribunal in 1996 that he had first requested NATO air strikes when Mladic's troops began their assault on July 6, but that the request was not granted until July 11 when Srebrenica fell. By then, Karremans said, it "was too late and too little."

Karremans said a long Serb blockade before the attack had left the lightly armed Dutch battalion desperately short of food and fuel, but requests for fresh supplies went unheeded.

In 1999 the U.N. admitted its error in expecting 100 Dutch troops to deter the Bosnian Serb army.


View Slide Show: Bosnian Muslim atrocities in Srebrenica here.
(Warning: Pictures in the slide show are of a gruesome nature and may not be suited for a young audience.)

View video of the beheading of a Serb soldier Rade Rogic here.
(Warning: Video segments are of a gruesome nature and may not be suited for a young audience.)

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24 July, 2008

In Malaysian Politics, Fighting Dirty Is the Norm

In the center of a political farce unfolding in Malaysia, steeped in conflicts over race and patronage, is a battle between two ambitious politicians slugging it out to become the resource-rich country's prime minister.

In one corner is 60-year-old Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, a one-time Muslim firebrand who was ousted from Malaysia's ruling party a decade ago and imprisoned on sex charges before his conviction was overturned.

Now one of the Islamic world's best-known personalities — with friends ranging from former US deputy defence chief Paul Wolfowitz and ex-World Bank president James Wolfensohn to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan — Anwar leads an opposition alliance that has badly shaken the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Among his goals: tearing down a system of race-based affirmative-action programmes that have helped the ethnic Malay-dominated BN to rule this multiracial country for 50 years.

Anwar's rival is Datuk Seri Najib Razak, 54, deputy prime minister and designated successor to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who has said he will hand over power in mid-2010. Soft-spoken, cautious and a defender of Malay privileges, British-educated Najib epitomises the country's political establishment. His father was Malaysia's second premier and created the country's pro-Malay affirmative-action policy in 1971.

The leadership battle has turned into a bruising personal confrontation, full of lurid allegations involving sodomy, infidelity and even murder.

The struggle also shows how this economically successful nation of 27 million — often touted as a democratic model for the Islamic world — has failed to develop independent governing institutions to safeguard its long-term prosperity and stability. Instead, Malaysia's political fate is still tied largely to powerful individuals and their feuds.

After succeeding Malaysia's authoritarian premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2003, Abdullah has made a stab at reforming the police and judiciary and has relaxed the government's grip on the media. But many Malaysians, conditioned by effective one-party rule under the BN since independence in 1957, are deeply suspicious of government authority and assume the justice system, bureaucracy and the press are still subservient to political pressure.

So with Abdullah, 68, now widely seen as a weak, lame-duck premier, the political spotlight has turned to the Najib-Anwar battle.

"Malaysian politics is all about individuals rather than parties — and as a result character assassination is an effective tool here," said political analyst Shamsul Amin Baruddin at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

As political face-offs go, this one is a humdinger.

Last week, Malaysia arrested Anwar on suspicion of sodomy — a crime in Malaysia — shortly after he announced his intention to run for Parliament and take up formal leadership of Malaysia's opposition alliance. The allegation — which Anwar denies — closely mirrors those levelled at him in 1998, when he was sacked from the government and spent six years in jail until a sodomy conviction was overturned in 2004.

Anwar blames Najib's camp for derailing the political momentum he had been building for the opposition until a former junior aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, complained to police on June 29 that Anwar had sodomised him.

Najib has repeatedly denied having anything to do with the matter and says the allegations against Anwar aren't politically motivated. Many Malaysians, however, believe Anwar is being smeared; local opinion polls show a majority of people questioned say they think the allegations against the charismatic politician are fabricated.

Anwar faces pressure on another front, too: The BN is pushing hard to woo the Malay-based PAS away from the opposition alliance, portraying Anwar as too willing to give up ethnic-Malay privileges in his quest for power. Najib's allies, in particular, have attacked Anwar — who was in the BN government himself for 16 years in the 1980s and 1990s and backed many of the policies he now criticises — casting him as a smooth-talking opportunist, who readily shifts political positions to curry favour with would-be supporters.

Anwar has been slinging some mud of his own. After the most recent sodomy accusation against him, Anwar presented to the local media a private investigator, who alleged that Najib was linked to a Mongolian model who was killed in Malaysia in 2006 — for which Najib's key political adviser and two policemen, including his former security chief, are now on trial.

The investigator — who later retracted his allegations and is now in hiding — initially said in a sworn deposition that he had been informed that Najib had been involved in a sexual relationship with the Mongolian woman. The remains of the model, who had been shot and then blown up with C4 plastic explosives, were found in a jungle.

Najib has denied any involvement in the death of the Mongolian woman, whom he says he never met.

The political combatants' next moves are unclear. Anwar is free on bail and is touring the country, drumming up support for his cause while he still can. He says he fears re-arrest at any time and has refused to provide a DNA sample to investigators, on the grounds they might try to frame him with his genetic material.

Some Malaysians may be beginning to tire of the mud-slinging and accusations and would prefer to have more substantive debates over the direction of their country. In recent years, the growth of Internet forums and cellphone text messages has provided people here with an alternative to the government-controlled mainstream media and a place they can discuss political and economic reforms.

"Malaysians now have a lot more confidence in exercising their electoral rights and are looking at the big issues regardless of the government of the day," said Khoo Kay Peng, an independent political analyst and author.

As the war of words between Anwar and Najib grinds on, meanwhile, their feud could yet derail the ambitions of both men for supremacy in a political system which, where possible, still prizes consensus over confrontation. The danger for both is that their alleged personal flaws could ultimately tarnish their public images and undermine their aspirations.

"Some other candidate could emerge to take over," UKM’s Prof Shamsul said.

- The Wall Street Journal Asia, via Malaysia Today


23 July, 2008

Anwar vows to take over government

Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday insisted that sodomy allegations against him have not changed his plans to take over the country's government on September 16.

Anwar's rising political star appeared to have hit a glitch last month when a former male aide accused him of sodomy.

Anwar rejected the accusations as a plot to end his political career, and claimed that talks and plans by the three-party opposition alliance to replace the government were still underway.

'We're still on track, but it's not an issue of toppling the government. It's ensuring that the people are the ones who win,' Anwar said at a press conference.

The charismatic leader said Wednesday that he would 'put up a major fight' against the latest allegations against him.

'I have very real reasons to believe there will be tampering of evidence, just like in 1998,' he said. 'We will put up a major fight against it this time.'

After leading the opposition to major gains in the March 8 elections, Anwar announced it was ready to take over the government after several sitting legislators indicated their willingness to change their affiliation to his party.

The Malaysian DNA Conundrum

Virtually the whole of Malaysia is now talking about DNA. DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) has become a buzz word, featuring in conversations at coffee shops; offices and even our august parliament.

We must thank Crick and Watson who discovered the double stranded helical structure of the DNA molecule in 1954 which has since unleashed a plethora of advances in biotechnology. Forensic DNA is one of the many breakthroughs in this research in an impassioned endeavor towards advancing justice through DNA technology.

Justice and fairness should instead be the buzz word of the rakyat, the parliament , political leadership and the impartial media. This unfortunately is a far cry considering the various statements issued and the nuances of the mainstream media. Overnight, a handful of parliamentarians have turned pseudo-geneticists, shouting for surrender of DNA material ! Some have even sentenced the alleged assailant an unequivocal guilty verdict!

Beginning with the end, it is important to emphasize upfront that with all of the available DNA techniques, conviction cannot be based on DNA evidence ALONE if there are a host of other conflicting and non-corroborative evidence. For example, if a victim claimed rape in a condominium in KL whilst the accused was addressing a seminar in Singapore at the material time, no amount of DNA recovered at the crime scene is going to make any difference.

We hope this would moderate the DNA mania which is incessantly hyped, the latest by the father of the alleged victim.

Notwithstanding, what is worrying from the hypothetical case scenario is, how DNA of the alleged assailant got into the condominium. In the language of forensic medicine, there is an outright breach of the chain of custody in this hypothetical case.

Surrendering blood for DNA testing is NOT the central issue in the current stalemate. Maintaining the chain of custody is the CRITICAL factor for any DNA evidence. It demands a strict record of individuals who have had physical possession of the evidence and the process used to maintain and document the chronological history of the evidence. The chain of custody of the specimens must be strictly guarded to ensure the collection, delivery, testing, storage and rigorous documentation of the results are preserved and protected from any unauthorized and illegal access.

The historic trial of 1998 laid bare the extreme flaws of the country’s DNA squad, by design or otherwise. The grave concern from all quarters, national and international on the conduct of the current investigation is understandable and reasonable given the experience we were subjected to the last time this play was enacted. The accused and family who endured those humiliating moments of the last sham trial must be gutted by this sequelae.

We offer below a short brief on DNA as an idiots guide to the correct medical procedures to be followed in cases of alleged sodomy. It is grounded on back to basics forensic medicine, founded on evidence and not emotions.

1) If the alleged victim claimed “the latest violation” on 26th June 08, had “counsel on 27th June 08 and reported to police on 28th June 08, it is highly likely that nature’s most efficient plumbing system would have flushed out whatever foreign fluids and tissue deposited within that most currently spoken of orifice. Almost all humans need to answer the big call at least once a day!

2) Notwithstanding the above, if indeed the alleged accused’s specimen was obtained from the “hole”, it would be imperative to verify the authenticity of the collection to ensure no foul play was involved in collecting the specimen.

3) DNA from the sample obtained in (2) can then be readily compared with the DNA fingerprint of the accused, assuming his DNA profile from the last trial had been safely archived. That is the role of the National DNA Database. It is hence nonsensical for the incessant calls for the accused to give his fresh blood to perform a match with the sample from (2). Unless of course in typical Malaysia Bolehland fashion, the accused’s DNA fingerprint records have gone missing! This then does not speak well of the professionalism of the investigating team. But then again it is but a recurring theme in so many other investigations of late.

4) The prime minister and the deputy IGP, amongst others have insinuated that old DNA from 10 years ago is of little or no use in the current saga. Let it be known by all and sundry that there is no expiry of DNA. For purposes of DNA fingerprinting alone, even the Jurassic dinosaurs DNA can be analyzed, unless of course there is a sinister intention for use of the accused’s fresh DNA that is almost unthinkable.

We offer the following solution to the current impasse for the authorities kind consideration :

If at all it is legally required for the DNA of the accused to be analyzed from a fresh blood sample, the following is the recommended procedure.

There must be three specimens
a. Blood from the accused
b. Blood from the alleged victim
c. Specimen from the “hole”

There must be two aliquots (portions) of each specimen and these must be presented concurrently to prevent any tampering by either or both parties. The chain of custody of the specimens must be strictly adhered.

DNA analysis of the three specimens can then be conducted independently by a laboratory of their choice (both parties getting 1 aliquot of each specimen). A holding watch of each process can be agreed upon.

DNA matching from the above can then be used as corroborative evidence to either acquit or convict. DNA does not lie provided humans handling them don’t.

As all Malaysian citizens would have realized by now, politics and medicine is a very volatile mix. The political sodomy of medicine in the trial of 1998 should make all of us even more wary of the innuendos which the current saga brings to fore.. This, despite the exclusion of the IGP and AG from the investigating and prosecuting teams and all the assurances from the powers that be.

The Malaysian public in particular and interested parties around the world awaits the truth of the matter in this episode of “Sodomy Malaysian Style”. We pray that this time around truth will not be sacrificed at the altar of political gamesmanship!

In ALLAH we trust and HE knows best.

Dr. Sheik Johari Bux
Dr. Farouq Musa
Dato’ Dr. Musa Mohd. Nordin

(Source:"The Malaysian DNA Conundrum"-Anwar Ibrahim Blog)

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22 July, 2008

The Wife's Side Of The Story

The wife of Malaysia's opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, said she fears for his life after he was arrested for sodomy, an allegation the couple dismiss as a crude conspiracy.

By Thomas Bell in Kuala Lumpur.

Mr Anwar recently led an opposition coalition to sweeping gains in national elections and is challenging the ruling party for power for the first time in Malaysia's 50 year history.

He has boasted he can persuade enough government MPs to change sides to topple the regime by September.

"We've had warnings from many quarters who say he is so important to making a change for the future, he is at risk," said Dr Wan Azizah Wan, Mr Anwar's wife, who is also a politician.

"Now it is this political assassination. It doesn't mean they will stop there," she added.

For Mr Anwar, the sodomy case is all too familiar. In 1998 he was deputy prime minister when he fell out with Malaysia's then ruler, Mahathir Mohamad, and was charged with sodomy and corruption. He was arrested, savagely beaten by the chief of police and jailed for six years, before being acquitted in 2004.

History repeated itself last month when a young Anwar aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, made fresh sodomy allegations. He briefly fled to the Turkish embassy, saying he feared an attempt on his life.

Mr Anwar was arrested by balaclava-clad police commandos on Wednesday, an hour before he was due to report to a police station, and released on Thursday morning. He refused to give a DNA sample.

"What is he afraid of? He can even have his own doctor present when the tests are carried out," taunted the home minister, Syed Hamid Albar.

Mr Anwar complains that the police have refused to reveal the evidence against him, but he says he has an alibi for "every minute of the day" when the alleged assault took place. He also claims that DNA evidence was falsified during his trial 10 years ago.

In Malaysia, sodomy is punishable by up to 20 years in jail.

Dr Wan Azizah has a photograph showing her husband's accuser posing in the office of the powerful deputy prime minister, Najib Razak.

Mr Najib initially denied having ever met the young man, then changed his story. He later claimed that the university drop-out came to discuss scholarships with him. He categorically denies being involved in the sodomy allegations.

In the grand political drama playing out in Malaysia, Mr Najib and Mr Anwar are rivals to become the country's next prime minister. A product of English public school and Nottingham University, Mr Najib has politics in his blood – both his father and uncle were prime ministers. The current premier, Abdullah Badawi, has promised to hand power to him in 2010.

But Mr Najib is also facing potentially embarrassing problems of his own.

Two of his police bodyguards and one of his closest associates are on trial for murdering a young woman who was allegedly demanding her cut on a corrupt arms deal.

Altantuya Shaariibuu was murdered in 2006 and her body disposed of with military explosives. Mr Najib, who is the defence minister, denies ever meeting her or any knowledge of the killing but he continues to face fresh claims.

This week a prominent online journalist and minor royal, Prince Petra Kamarudin, was committed for trial on charges of criminal defamation for alleging Mr Najib may have been more closely linked than had been claimed. This has been denied, but Mr Anwar has done whatever he can to stoke the scandal.

"Everything is moving too fast and Anwar is gaining too much ground," claimed Dr Wan Azizah, who is leading the opposition in parliament until her husband is able to contest a by-election.

The Daily Telegraph asked Mr Najib's office and that of the home minister for an interview but neither was available.


21 July, 2008

Summer of discontent

It's becoming the highest-rating program in Asia: Malaysia's crime scene investigations.

Just like its wildly popular American counterparts, this crime drama -- call it ``CSI Malaysia'' -- features sex, murder, DNA samples, cover-ups and a colorful cast of characters wondering who's guilty of this or that.

- William Pesek, Bloomberg.

At the center of Malaysia's CSI franchise is Anwar Ibrahim, a former deputy prime minister who did time on corruption and sodomy charges. Last week, Anwar was arrested on new sodomy claims. He accuses Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak -- who denies sexual-misconduct allegations related to a 28-year-old Mongolian woman killed two years ago -- of manufacturing the charges to discredit him.

The storyline is captivating this nation of 26 million people, most of whom are Muslim. It's sparking steamy and decidedly awkward debates about how one defines sodomy and whether it should be a crime. (It is under Malaysian law.)

Surreal subplots abound. Mahathir Mohamad, the man in power when Anwar was jailed a decade ago, has been fighting a very public war of words against his successor, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, over corruption allegations.

Events in Kuala Lumpur would be far more entertaining if they were confined to a television screen -- and not denting the image of one of Asia's most promising economies.

Shifting in Seats

Many Malaysians aren't quite sure what to think. Are the charges against Anwar trumped up to keep him from toppling the government? Is the male aide who claims to have had sex with Anwar telling the truth? If Anwar is innocent -- he claims he has never engaged in sodomy -- why not submit a DNA sample and clear himself? If you were Anwar, would you trust authorities not to taint the DNA test?

It was impossible to avoid this issue at a Bloomberg panel discussion on July 17, the day after Anwar was arrested (and the day on which he was released). On the panel were bigwigs from the likes of Malaysia Airline System Bhd., Maxis Communications Bhd. and CIMB Investment Bank. You could see them shifting nervously in their seats as the issue of sodomy came up.

If Malaysians don't know what to make of Anwar's plight, you can imagine what foreign investors think. ``Summer of Discontent,'' is how Deutsche Bank AG analyst Teoh Su-Yin titled a recent report on Malaysian stocks.

Last week, it was hard to find an analyst predicting a quick resolution to Malaysia's fragile political backdrop. Nor could I find anyone in Kuala Lumpur who felt markets had fully priced in the negative impact of higher inflation on the economy and corporate earnings.

Changing World

What's so frustrating about Malaysia is the obvious potential. Its natural-resource-rich economy has achieved great things in the 50 years since independence from Britain. Twenty- five years ago, this was a tropical backwater. Today, Malaysia's modern, skyscraper-filled capital is home to the world's tallest twin buildings: the Petronas Towers.

Yet the world is moving ahead at a rapid pace, hastened by the rise of China and India. It won't wait for Malaysia, and the current scandals preoccupying the government are coming at the worst possible time. Malaysia should be acting boldly to increase its global competitiveness.

Nations as diverse as China, India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are working to raise their global influence. Five years from now, any of these economies might harness specific advantages, from low costs to human capital to technology, to challenge Malaysia's growth prospects.

Leadership Vacuum

Malaysia should start by fixing a key weakness: a four- decade-old affirmative-action program favoring the predominant Malay community. It limits investment, stifles competition and keeps the economy from becoming a meritocracy. It's a third-rail issue and isn't discussed seriously.

The leadership vacuum in Kuala Lumpur means Malaysia is squandering time its economy doesn't have. Its $151 billion economy is becoming a smaller blip on investors' radar screens, and politics deserve much of the blame.

Abdullah is under pressure to quit after his coalition's worst-ever election result in March. Earlier this month, he announced plans to stay in power for two more years as his chosen successor, Najib, faces sexual-misconduct allegations. What has the makings of a trashy novel has become reality, and it's not clear Malaysia's leaders see that.

Unstable Situation

Malaysia, it seems, is being run for the sole benefit of those in charge. The nation has become more about Abdullah's party, the United Malays National Organization, than the welfare of its people. That's not being lost on overseas observers.

``Investors are already considering the situation as unstable,'' says Tricia Yeoh, director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies in Kuala Lumpur. ``They are already reconsidering their options in the country. The new investors are possibly not looking at Malaysia as a viable option and previous investors would be thinking of extracting their funds to be put in more stable and viable locations.''

Financiers may be perfectly happy to watch CSI at home. They are far less keen on exposing their money to a whodunit playing out on Malaysia's national stage.

(William Pesek is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

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20 July, 2008

Good Information-on Signs of a Stroke

My friend sent this to me and encouraged me to post it and spread the word. I agree. If everyone can remember something this simple, we could save some folks. Seriously.. Please read:

This is Good Information!
STROKE: Remember The 1st Three Letters...


During a BB Q, a friend stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) and just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food - while she appeared a bit shaken up, Ingrid went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Ingrid's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00pm, Ingrid passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Ingrid would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.

It only takes a minute to read this...

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough.


Thank God for the sense to remember the "3" steps, STR . Read and Learn!

Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.

Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

S *Ask the individual to SMILE.

T *Ask the person to TALK .. to SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE
(Coherently) (i.e. . . It is sunny out today)

R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.

{NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out their tongue... if the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke}

If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call 9-9-9 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved.


19 July, 2008

Eye on Malaysia - a black eye !

Anwar Arrest A Black Eye For Malaysia

The dramatic arrest of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on Wednesday was a real black eye for Malaysia. It showed how paranoid the current leaders are about the former deputy prime minister's political potential in the weeks and months to come. That paranoia was heightened recently when Anwar appeared on a televised debate on the current oil prices. He did well and declared that he would stand for election and that he intended to form a new government by mid-September. This kind of confidence does not augur well with the current political uncertainties after the March 8 political tsunami, especially for the ruling National Front or Barisan Nasional.

The arrest has also once again raised questions of the credibility of the Malaysian police force. The police arrested Anwar before he was due to report on the same afternoon. When he was incarcerated back in 1998, he was beaten and had his eyes blackened by a police chief. The photo of him with his eyes bruised was seen around the world. The injustice has haunted Malaysia's dynamic image ever since.

The timing of the sodomy allegation was apparently aimed at disrupting the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, and its ascension to power. Anwar said that he would become Malaysia's next prime minister by mid-September through a by-election, which has yet to be determined, coupled with a massive influx of National Front politicians. Obviously, government bigwigs are betting on the weakening of coalition partners made up of People's Justice Party, the Democratic Action Party and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). Reports of dialogue and consultation between the United Malay National Organisation and the PAS have stirred up such speculation.

Malaysian politics is full of intrigue, especially among leading Malay politicians. Several critics have already said out loud that Anwar's chances of realising his dream of becoming prime minister are slipping away quickly. The ruling parties are not giving up their fight. Pro-government newspapers have ridiculed Anwar and his actions throughout. When Anwar took refuge in the Turkish embassy, citing safety reason, the state-controlled media said it was a plan to deflect attention from Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's alleged links to the murder of a Mongolian translator.

Now that Najib is the prime minister-in-waiting in 2010, he still has a lot to prove because he has lots of baggage. Prime Minister Abdullah, who was recently under siege, has now regained his composure and moved on. More debates focusing on Anwar's case and Najib's suitability would allow Abdullah extra time to run the government and manage the growing economic crisis at home. The decisive factor will continue to be Malaysian voters, who still dictate the future political direction of the country. The National Front is trying harder these days to woo them back. But with myriad issues vying for public attention, Malaysian politics will never be the same. (The Nation/ ANN)


Anwar Ibrahim was released on bail on Thursday after being held for 21 hours. He refused to give a DNA sample, saying it could be manipulated to frame him.

Anwar says he is the victim of a personal vendetta, and has called the allegation "complete fabrication".

"You must establish a case. A case that is considered to be at least with some grounds in order to proceed. But here the case is not established," Mr Anwar said.

"We are clear, absolutely clear on the alibi, every single minute of the day."

Mr Anwar says the allegation is a set-up - a repeat of similar claims 10 years ago for which he was sacked from his post as deputy prime minister, tried and jailed.

Malaysia's Supreme Court eventually overturned the sodomy conviction against Mr Anwar and he was released in 2004 after he had served six years.

He had always strongly denied the claims, calling them a smear campaign.

The police arrested Anwar before he was due to report on the same afternoon.

When he was incarcerated back in 1998, he was beaten and had his eyes blackened by a police chief. The photo of him with his eyes bruised was seen around the world. The injustice has haunted Malaysia's dynamic image ever since.

Then, Rahim Noor ordered Anwar to be handcuffed and blindfolded before beating him up on 20 September 1998, less than one hour after his arrested.

The assault left him with a black eye and injuries which doctors said could have been fatal.

Rahim Noor, Malaysia's highest ranking police chief at the time, confessed nearly five months later and has now resigned.

Rahim Noor, who was fined 2,000 ringgit, is the first police chief to face jail.

Judge Akhtar Tahir told him the punishment should serve as ''a lesson to the police''.

The offence admitted by Rahim Noor attracts a maximum one-year sentence. But the judge said he had taken into account his 30 years of service in fixing the penalty.

The former police chief played a key role in ending the communist insurgency in 1989, before becoming inspector general in 1994.

Commentators were swift to compare the sentence to Anwar's six-year term and the fact Rahim Noor was granted bail while his victim was not.

Twists and Turns (1971 - 2004)

1971 While a university student, Anwar launches the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia to promote Islam and fight poverty

1974 Anwar is arrested during anti-government protests and spends 22 months in jail

1982 Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad persuades Anwar to join the ruling party, heading its youth wing

1986-1997 Anwar rises to be Education Minister, Finance Minister and finally Deputy Prime Minister, making him Mahathir's heir apparent. But their once close relationship sours, as they disagree over government policy, especially how to tackle the Asian financial crisis

September 2, 1998 Mahathir sacks Anwar and later says he's "morally unfit" to be a leader. Anwar starts to tour the country, galvanizing ever larger numbers of supporters with his call for reform

September 20, 1998 Police armed with submachine guns storm Anwar's house; he is arrested and charged with abusing power and committing sodomy

September 29, 1998 Anwar, who insists the charges against him are politically motivated, appears in court with a black eye. National police chief Abdul Rahim Noor later admits to striking him

April 14, 1999 Anwar is convicted of corruption and sentenced to six years in prison

August 8, 2000 Anwar is convicted of sodomy and sentenced to an additional nine years' jail

July 10, 2002 The three-man Federal Court, the nation's highest judicial body, unanimously dismisses Anwar's final appeal of his corruption conviction

October 31, 2003 Abdullah Ahmad Badawi succeeds Mahathir as Prime Minister

September 2, 2004 The Federal Court quashes Anwar's sodomy conviction 2-1, setting him free


18 July, 2008

New media challenges Malaysia's traditional press

Malaysian bloggers Ahirudin bin Attan and Ooi Chuan Aun (Jeff Ooi) speak at a conference in Indonesia. Ooi was recently elected to the Malaysian Parliament for Jelutong, Penang.


Several months back, Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi admitted that his biggest mistake in losing a third of parliamentary seats to the opposition in the March 8 poll was to ignore the power of the Internet to mount an effective election campaign.

"We certainly lost the Internet war, the cyber-war," Abdullah said after the administration Barisan Nasional coalition suffered its worst-ever results that left five states and a third of parliamentary seats in opposition hands.

"It was a serious misjudgement. We made the biggest mistake in thinking that it was not important. We thought that the newspapers, the print media, the television was supposed to be important, but the young people were looking at SMS and blogs," he said.

Was the opposition's win in the March poll an acknowledgement that the new media is reshaping politics in Malaysia?

According to Arun Mahizhnan, deputy director of the Singapore Institute of Policy Studies, a confluence of factors led to the BN's unprecedented loss in the March polls, which was helped along by the intense cyber-campaigning of the opposition.

"It was more because of corruption, disaffection among the population in general particularly because of the way politics is played in Malaysia," Mahizhnan said during a media conference in Manila.

"Now without the Internet, would the majority coalition have lost so badly in the elections? The answer is no because although they would have lost some of the seats in parliament and some of the states, it would not have been as bad if the people were not so well-informed."

Mahizhnan said the main opposition party, the Democratic Action Party (DAP), used Web sites and blogs to give a different account of political goings-on in the runup to the March 8 polls, particularly during the 13-day campaign period.

He said these reports were then passed on through word of mouth and text messages to the middle and low-income groups in the rural Malay heartland who are used to getting their news from major dailies controlled by the ruling coalition.

He said the "Internet readiness" of the Malay, English and Mandarin languages also allowed the opposition to reach out to their audience and get more votes.

He said that while Singapore has several laws on proper Internet use, Malaysia does not have a similar law. "Of course, anything that is done in the Internet is not above the existing laws such as the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Official Secrets Act and Sedition Act," he said.

He said what is interesting in Malaysia is that mainstream media are almost entirely controlled by the majority while the alternative and new media are being used widely by the opposition.

continue reading here.

From Malaysiakini :

Good reasons to fear planting of DNA evidence

R Sivarasa | Jul 18, 08

The following is the full statement given at a press conference called by embattled opposition leader’s lawyer R Sivarasa.

Statements being made by senior government officials raise concerns as to the credible dispensation of the law, and suggest that a political conspiracy is very much at play in smearing the credibility and reputation of our client. They are making statements imputing that Anwar Ibrahim is not cooperating with the police.

We are referring, as an example, to the comments made by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar reported on the front page of the New Straits Times, page three of the Star and covered in other printed and electronic media. Syed Hamid should know better than to attempt to exert his influence on this matter.

As a cabinet member, Syed Hamid’s comments are tantamount to interfering in an ongoing investigation. He is quoted as saying, “What is he afraid of? He can have his own doctor present when giving the sample.”

Besides being an inappropriate interference in the investigation, these comments show a fundamental misunderstanding of the concerns we are raising regarding the introduction of DNA evidence.

In 1998-1999 trials, Anwar experienced the phenomenon of fabrication of DNA evidence. We had SAC Rodwan illegally removing DNA samples from forensic custody. In cross-examination of the prosecution’s witnesses it was exposed that DNA taken from blood samples was planted on the infamous mattress.

When confronted with this fact the prosecution amended its charge and persuaded the judge, Augustine Paul (now Federal Court judge), to expunge the entire DNA evidence from the record, preventing Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyers from responding.

The persons who were implicated in the fabrication of evidence during Anwar’s 1998-1999 trials, namely (attorney-general) Gani Patail, (police chief) Musa Hassan, and Rodwan (Mohd Yusof) are the same players who are involved in the current case. Today they are in much more powerful positions within the law enforcement apparatus.

Anwar has even more reason to believe of the probability that DNA evidence will be fabricated once again. This is reasonable because the complainant remains in police custody since June 28, 2008 and the police are also in possession of Anwar’s DNA from the earlier case. Our client’s concerns are therefore not resolved, as Syed Hamid believes, by his handing over a DNA sample through his own doctor or through an international forensic expert.

It would have to be independently verified first that all medical examinations and sample taking relating to the complainant were done professionally and without any interference from the police before Anwar will consider participating in any DNA analysis.

We also reiterate that there has yet to be any credible justification for resorting to DNA analyses when the police report made by the complainant remains shrouded in secrecy and no evidence substantiating the allegations are made available.

It is also false to imply that Anwar was not cooperating with the police. He agreed to meet with police at a prearranged date and time. He then gave a lengthy, five-hour statement, consented and voluntarily submitted to a strip search and measurements of his private parts, contrary to the unnamed sources cited in the New Straits Times today on page six.

We would also reiterate that he made that lengthy statement even though he could have exercised his rights within the law to have remained completely silent as the contents of the complainant’s police report were not made known to him.

Sivarasa Rasiah
Counsel to Anwar Ibrahim

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