30 September, 2008

Zaid Ibrahim's open letter to PM

29 September 2008

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

Dear Mr Prime Minister

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours sincerely

Kuala Lumpur


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29 September, 2008

Political turmoil in Malaysia stifling economy, investment

Analysts say foreign funds are pulling out and confidence is waning

The political crisis in Malaysia since March elections that humiliated the ruling coalition has stifled the stock market, deterred foreign investment and crimped growth forecasts.

And economic observers said that with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi still clinging to power despite mounting calls for a speedy departure, there is no end in sight to the uncertainty.

Abdullah has said he may not seek re-election as ruling party leader in internal polls next year, but the coalition also faces an unprecedented challenge from the opposition, which says it has the numbers to seize power.

The prospect of a messy change of government - the first in the history of Malaysia, which has been ruled by the Barisan Nasional coalition since independence in 1957 - is making investors very nervous.

The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, which reached an all-time high of 1,524 points in January, dived to 1,157 shortly after the March elections that saw the government lose its two-thirds majority in parliament for the first time.

On September 18, the bourse plunged to a two-year low of 963, and ended last week at 1,020.53, in a malaise worsened by the stream of bad news from Wall Street.

"It has been on a downtrend since the general elections and we expect it to remain so as there are no signs that the political situation is easing," said Stephen Soo, a senior analyst at local brokerage TA Securities.

"Investor sentiment is still weak and foreign funds have been pulling out of the market. The political scenario is definitely a deterrent to foreigners," he added.

Unsustainable policies

Citigroup chief economist for Singapore and Malaysia, Kit Wei Zheng, said the political situation has forced the government to resort to unsustainable policies that could widen the budget deficit.

"When you have an unstable political situation, you are forced to make populist promises needed to secure power," he told Agence France Presse.

Abdullah's 2009 budget offered tax cuts and sweeteners designed to restore support for the beleaguered coalition and spur growth in the face of a global slowdown.

Kit said the premier's flip-flop on petrol prices - with two cuts that partly reversed a deeply unpopular 41 percent price hike in June - "is not a good signal to foreign investors."

"As long as this political situation does not resolve itself, even if there is a global recovery, Malaysia might be passed by in favour of other destinations," he said.

Growth forecast

Despite the gloom, the government's forecasts remain relatively rosy.

Deputy premier Najib Razak, who last week took over the finance portfolio from Abdullah as part of a succession plan, said the government still expected the economy to grow by 5.7 percent this year.

However, the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research - a government think-tank - has cut its 2008 growth projection to 4.6 percent, partly due to the domestic political turmoil.

"The government has been unable to respond to the economic crisis with even a basic plan of action," said Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, a veteran figure in the ruling party and one of Abdullah's most vocal critics.

"Business confidence has plummeted as capital flees the country," he said in a statement.

"Political crises come and go, but the present crisis might well be the beginning of a cascade of failures leading to long-term instability and destruction."

- By Ivy Sam
Agence France-Presse


28 September, 2008

Malaysia urges halt to "meddling" over Anwar case

Malaysia has demanded that foreign governments stop interfering in its affairs by criticising the sodomy charges against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is challenging the ruling coalition.

Anwar says the case is a politically motivated attempt to scuttle his bid for power against the United Malays National Organization, the biggest party in a coalition that has ruled Malaysia for 51 years.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice irked Malaysia earlier this year by saying Washington would speak out in legal cases it considered political in nature, including the Anwar case.

"We could if we choose question the legal basis of the Guantanamo detention without trial but we did not," Foreign Minister Rais Yatim told the U.N. General Assembly in a reference to the U.S.-run prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for terrorism suspects.

"While same-sex fornication and marriage are acceptable in California, it does not mean that sodomy, which is a crime in many countries in Asia, is to be impugned or derided upon," said Rais, who did not directly mention the Anwar case.

Malaysia has voiced concern at the United Nations over the recent attempts by the United States to question its national law and administration of justice.

"We could, if we choose to question the legal basis of Guantanamo Bay detention without trial, but we did not in as much as we do not question societal behaviour in other jurisdictions," Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said.

Rais was speaking at the 63rd general assembly of the world body here Saturday, in place of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak who had earlier cancelled his trip here.

"It needs to be restated -- we have no right to meddle, in any form of manifestation or under any pretext or circumstances, in the conduct of the internal affairs of other countries," said Rais.

Rais said that democracy in Malaysia remained vibrant and progressive, and that the rule of law via Parliament remained central to Malaysia's existence as a sovereign and independent nation.

In his address, Rais also compared the present financial crisis suffered by the United States to the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

"The troubles of Asian companies then was the result of outside forces, while the present troubles of US financial companies are entirely of their own doing.

"It is to be asked, why were the actions taken by the governments of Asia, in particular that of Malaysia, to save our own companies a decade ago deemed so wrong while the present bailout of US financial companies are deemed to be right?" he said.

In Washington, the US Congress and the Bush administration are negotiating a US$700 billion rescue plan for its ailing financial industry, the largest bailout since the Great Depression.

The rescue plan would give Washington the power to purchase bad mortgage-related assets from US financial institutions for the next two years.

To ensure the debacle did not recur, Rais called on the international community to "check the excesses of the so called `financial wizards' whose alchemy has resulted in so much suffering".

He said Malaysia supported the view that corporate captains should not sap their entities by having unbelievably high pay packages.

Meanwhile, please read the latest opinion of Dr. Mahathir Mohamad on USA. Some excerpts:
" It set the forms and standards for everything; systems of Government, human rights, economic transparency etc etc. Now it seems to be breaking or ignoring its own rules, regulations and laws.

It had condemned the Internal Security Act as unjust and a violation of human rights. Following the shock and awe invasion of Iraq, it has detained alleged terrorists without trial and without rights and habeas corpus proceedings. Some detainees have been there for five years.

Because of the extraordinary greed of American financiers and businessmen, they invent all kinds of ways to make huge sums of money. We cannot forget how in 1997-98 American hedge funds destroyed the economies of poor countries by manipulating their national currencies.

When as a result of the so-called trade in currencies the companies in the poor countries faced bankruptcy, the Governments were told not to bail out any company or bank which was in deep trouble. The Americans claimed that these companies or banks were inefficient and they should be allowed to go bankrupt and perish. Better still they should be sold at fire-sale price to American investors.

Yet today we see the US Government readying US700 billion to brazenly bail out banks, mortgage companies and insurance companies.

Where does the money come from? From thin air as no real money in cash or bullion or anything tangible are moved into the bankrupt banks. The money is just in the form of loan papers and entries in the books of the banks or companies.

The US 700 billion has no backing whatsoever. No gold reserves, no foreign currency reserves as required for other countries. Without such backing the US Dollar is actually useless. Only the military power of the US is forcing the world to give value to the US Dollar.

An attempt is being made even in Malaysia to achieve a regime change. Money has been funneled to certain individuals and parties to ensure that a well-known candidate with extensive connection to the US Jewish lobby would somehow become the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

US intervention in the politics of Malaysia is clear. I may not agree with the leadership of the present Government but I resent and object to US manipulations to make a satellite of this nation. "


27 September, 2008

Molotov cocktails thrown into Teresa's parents' house

KUALA LUMPUR: Two Molotov cocktails were thrown into the family home of Seputeh MP Teresa Kok in Taman Rainbow, Jalan Ipoh near here at 2.55am Saturday. No one was hurt in the incident.

A warning letter containing threatening words and vulgarities was also attached to one of the bottle’s which was left outside the house.

Teresa’s parents and her siblings were in the house at the time.

The incident was witnessed by Teresa’s brother, Sow Kuen, 41, who was using the computer in the living room. He said he saw a man on a motorbike throw one of the bottles towards the house.

Teresa’s father, Kim Tong, 74, said that he was woken up by Sow Kuen and immediately alerted the police who arrived about 20 minutes later.

He said he was surprised as the family does not have any enemies.

“We don’t have any enemies. I’m not sure if this could have something to do with Teresa,” he said at a press conference in their house on Saturday afternoon.

He said he was happy with the police investigation and the officers who were very helpful.

Teresa told the media that her family members are shaken and now fear for their lives.

“I view this act as most despicable and criminal designed to instill fear and anxiety in me and to prevent me from performing my duties as an elected representative.

“I also attribute this despicable act to certain media and blogs that have deliberately demonised and portrayed me as chauvinistic, anti-Malay and anti-Islam,” she said.

Teresa urged the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter and bring the culprits to justice as soon as possible.

Also present at the press conference were fellow MPs Lim Kit Siang, Lim Lip Eng, Tian Chua and lawyer Sankara Nair.

Sentul OCPD Asst Comm Zakaria Pagan said Kim Tong officially lodged a report at the Sentul police headquarters at 4.40am.

He said police seized the bottles and nails sprawled around the house compound. “According to Sow Kuen, the suspect was small sized and was wearing a helmet,” he said, adding that the police would increase their patrols in the area to avoid such incidents in future.

- The Star.

Just recently, there was a Report lodged against Teresa Kok for insulting egg !!

The Seputeh Umno Youth division lodged a police report against Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, claiming she had insulted the Royal Malaysian Police and the egg, which is an essential food of the underprivileged.

The division’s deputy head Alawi Dahalin and several other members lodged the report at the Brickfields police station.

Alawi said he had heard Kok complain about the food she was given while detained under the ISA, at a press conference at the DAP headquarters in Petaling Jaya, shown on the night news on TV on Sept 20, a day after she was released from custody.

He said Kok had said the food she was served was "fit only for dogs".

"By saying this, she had insulted the police and the poor. Eggs are an important food for low-income earners and the poor. As an elected representative of the people she should not have said that," he said.

Odd News ? no, that's Malaysia Boleh !

By the way,


We have a BIRTHDAY GIFT for RPK, as he celebrates his 58th birthday today. No doubt he is in solitary confinement in Kamunting, thousands of us are in there with him as well!

The birthday gift goes like this …

A really good soul named Allan has designed a WEBSITE with an online protest for RPK and the other ISA detainees in Kamunting.

This OPEN LETTER was drafted by the Abolish ISA Movement or GMI (Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA), and is a good open letter, where the message to release RPK and abolish ISA is damn clear.

Read: "Susan Loone - Send this as a birthday gift for RPK !"


26 September, 2008

A magnanimous gesture by PM ?

Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who has been very critical of the transition plan has fully supported the party president’s latest move for an early transition calling it a magnanimous gesture.

“I express my high regard and respect for the president. Pak Lah has magnanimously taken everything into consideration.

“We can see that he has given priority to the party and to the members who have voiced various views.

“He looks like a leader who puts the party’s interests before other interests,” he said Friday after the special Umno supreme council meeting.

Umno has decided to postpone its elections amid growing speculations that embattled Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will resign within months.

Abdullah said that the party will hold its elections in March instead of December as scheduled.

But Abdullah declined to say whether he would quit on that date or run in the party poll. The premier had already said he would quit before the next election, which must be held by 2013, saying he would cede power to his deputy Najib Razak in 2010.

"He's buying time, but I don't think he will be able to push for reforms in the meantime," said one diplomat based in Kuala Lumpur who spoke on condition of anonymity. "UMNO won't allow him to do that."

He this was to 'facilitate an early transition,' but declined to elaborate. Abdullah has said he is likely to resign before June 2010 and hand power over to his deputy Najib Razak. Traditionally, the UMNO president becomes the prime minister.

Abdullah has been claiming that he wants to quit only after his efforts at reforms in the economy, judiciary and administration bear fruit. However, critics have said little progress has been seen since he became premier in 2003.

Malaysia's economic growth is slowing, inflation is at a 27-year high and much-needed reforms promised by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have not been done.

Abdullah told reporters that he would announce his decision to contest or not at the party's polls before October 9, when the party's district officials start meeting to nominate candidates for the elections.

"It will be my decision whether to contest or not. You can go on guessing, but the decision will be mine," Abdullah said.

"We have taken cognizance of the views of the party members. I think there is a lot of wisdom in today's decision," Najib told reporters.

By postponing the elections three months, UMNO's top leaders appear to have struck a compromise that would allow the 69-year-old Abdullah to exit gracefully.

Abdullah, however, denied he was facing pressure from UMNO leaders, saying only "two or three" of them felt he should step down sooner.

He also said he has no plans to go on leave until March, saying he has much work to do. Abdullah has been claiming that he wants to quit only after completing his program of reforms in the economy, judiciary and administration -- goals that have made little progress in the five years he has been in office.

The postponement of the party election would "calm the situation which has been heating up. It will protect the party and protect its dignity," said UMNO information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib.

The urgency to boot out Abdullah is also partly due to concerns that he may be incapable of dealing with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who is threatening to engineer enough defections from the ruling party to bring down the government.

The pressure from Anwar has coincided with turbulence in global financial markets caused by the U.S. banking crisis.

Data released on Tuesday showed 24 billion ringgit ($7.04 billion) of portfolio money flowed out of the country in the second quarter of 2008 -- after the March election -- compared with a 21.1 billion ringgit inflow in the first quarter. At the

Abdullah, 68, has failed to implement key pledges such as ending corruption and boosting the independence of the judiciary. The policy drift, along with rising racial tensions, has unsettled both party activists and investors.

The budget deficit is set to balloon to 4.8 percent of gross domestic product this year. Inflation has surged to 27-year highs and his government has flip-flopped on key issues like petrol subsidies, first raising and then cutting prices.

Abdullah is expected to announce that he will not defend his party president's position, possibly just after the Hari Raya holidays.

He will then stay on as party president and prime minister until March 2009. Presumably he will be given some time to complete some of the reforms he promised Malaysians and then be given a grand send off at the party assembly.

A day earlier, Najib told Abdullah that the party assembly and elections would be pushed back to June.

This morning, the two men met privately just before the Supreme Council meeting, and it became March.

Even though no words to the effect were uttered by the council, it is clear that they want Abdullah out sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, Najib, 55, has an impeccable political heritage. He is the son of Malaysia's second prime minister and the nephew of its third. He also holds the powerful finance ministry portfolio.

Recently however he has been dogged by allegations he had a sexual relationship with a murdered Mongolian woman. Najib has firmly denied the allegations.

If and when he does assume power, he may prove as incapable as Abdullah in staunching Barisan's losses, analysts said.

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25 September, 2008

Special Umno Supreme Council meeting trigger speculation over PM's fate

Umno's Supreme Council will hold a special meeting tomorrow amidst speculations that the 2010 power transition plan could be reviewed and that party elections, scheduled December, could be postponed.

The hastily arranged meeting has triggered fresh speculation on the future of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Abdullah was reportedly hit with calls to stand down by four of his Cabinet ministers at a meeting last week of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Supreme Council.

"I believe there will be a special Supreme Council meeting tomorrow," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters Thursday, but declined to give details of what would be discussed.

"Any political questions will only be answered tomorrow," he said.

In a bid to end the damaging speculation over his future, which has suppressed foreign investment and trade on the stock market, Abdullah forged a deal to hand over to Najib in mid-2010.

But the pact has been criticised within UMNO, and Trade Minister Muhyiddin Yassin -- a potential challenger -- said this week that the party faced oblivion if it did not quickly address internal conflicts and the opposition threat.

"I am in the dark just as you. All I know is I received the phone call and was told to attend the meeting tomorrow morning," quoted UMNO information chief Muhammad Muhammad Taib

Malaysiakini cited UMNO sources as saying that Friday's emergency meeting would likely address the power transition plan.

Another party source said the emergency meeting will focus on the transition plan, given that the open discussions and statements on it are causing instability in the party, and by extension, the country.

Embattled Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has already said he will give up power to take responsibility for the ruling coalition's humiliating performance in polls earlier this year.

But Abdullah hasn't specified exactly when he might hand over the reins to his deputy, Najib Razak, even though the government's popularity figures are languishing at a record low.

Despite the transition plan, there appears to be a groundswell of sentiment within UMNO that would prefer Abdullah to leave much sooner than he would prefer.

This sentiment is also coming from some of the reactionary forces within UMNO, which are believed to be inspired by former premier and party leader Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir formally quit the party in May, but he is now said to be contemplating a return.

He was reported to be backing former finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's bid for the UMNO presidency, which will be decided in December.

Mahathir's son, Mukhriz Mahathir, is also reported to be eyeing the leadership of UMNO's powerful youth wing. He will likely run up against Abdullah's ambitious son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, and former Selangor state chief minister Mohamad Khir Toyo for that post.

The political transition could speed up if Abdullah fails to secure enough nominations for the UMNO presidency from the party's various divisions, whose elections are due to run from October to November.

To receive the nomination, he needs to secure the nod from at least 30%, or 58 divisions, of UMNO's 191 party divisions across the country. With his mounting political troubles, not everyone is convinced he can pull it off.

No one doubts that Malaysian politics are about to undergo a sea change.

The only questions are when and how — and those are big questions in a country that is trying to secure its status as a model Muslim-majority democracy.

Will Anwar — a man who once served as deputy prime minister until he had a political falling-out with his mentor and spent six years in jail — be able to bring down a ruling coalition that has governed Malaysia since independence?

Or will Najib — the current deputy premier whose reputation has been tainted by the murder trial of his former advisor — take the helm and sustain the National Front's hold on power?

Already, Anwar's power play has been dismissed as a mere rhetorical flourish by the ruling coalition.

Still, Anwar insists its plan to topple Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's government is still on track, as doubts emerge about the credibility of those claims after it missed two self-set deadlines for ushering in political change.

The political uncertainty is starting to take a toll on the economy and investor confidence. Foreign direct investment flows had already turned negative for 2007 for the first time in the country's 50-year history, according to the 2008 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment Report, released this week. Inflation hit a 27-year high of 8.5% in August, adding fuel to the population's discontent with the United Malays Nasional Organization (UMNO)-led government.

Abdullah has repeatedly accused Anwar of causing instability and undermining the economy. Anwar has countered that the economic problems stem from Abdullah's failure to introduce meaningful economic reforms.

Sources :

Anwar plays a waiting game in Malaysia

Umno to hold emergency meeting

Malaysia's Political Waiting Room

Malaysia's ruling party talks trigger speculation over PM's fate

Special Umno Supreme Council meeting on transition plan


24 September, 2008

IFJ Condemns Detention of Malaysian Blogger

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the decision by Malaysia’s Home Minister to detain blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin for two years under the country’s draconian Internal Security Act (ISA).

The order, signed on September 22 by Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, extends Raja Petra’s detention for two years on the grounds that his writing poses a threat to “national security”.

Raja Petra has not been subject to a trial, and the order was issued despite ongoing habeas corpus proceedings by his lawyers.

Raja Petra is a blogger and editor of the political website Malaysia Today. He has run the popular alternative political website for two years, and has broken a string of controversial stories on the site including a series of accusations against senior government members.

Journalist Tan Hoon Cheng, a reporter with the Chinese language daily Sin Chew Daily, and opposition politician Teresa Kok were both detained last week under the ISA and subsequently released.

“Raja Petra’s detention sends a frightening message to critics of Malaysia’s Government that dissent will not be tolerated,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.

“In a time of political instability, a free media is all the more crucial to ensure proper democratic process. Far from setting an example in the region, Malaysia is hurtling down an anti-democratic and authoritarian path.”

The IFJ demands the Government release Raja Petra immediately and cease using the ISA to clamp down on journalism and free expression in Malaysia.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

The IFJ represents over 600,000 in 122 countries worldwide


My dear brothers and sisters....Vanakam .

It's time now for us to get united again !!

Once again the Government has refused to review and repeal the draconian Internal Security Act(ISA). There are 64 detainees under ISA, some have spent more than 6 years without being charged in court. Each night that every detainee spends under ISA is a night too long.

While you and me spend our evenings cocooned in the safety of our homes with our families, out at Kamunting there are 64 individuals who have been torn apart from there families and denied their basic human rights, we also know now, how poorly fed they are.

The time is now to call to free our Hindraf heroes, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and every other person who has been denied the rights to defend themselves and who are detained without trial under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA).

All efforts to revoke this dreaded ISA, from our de facto law minister’s resignation, to even Cabinet Minister denouncing this law, have fallen on deaf ears. Innumerable and various legal approaches for the release of individuals have failed to free them. Even the judicial system in seems to have failed the ISA detainees.

Therefore my dear brothers and sisters, we plead that you once again stand united beyond all our ideological, political, religious and socio economical differences.

In accordance to our Rukun Negara principles of being the citizens who ‘Believe In God’ and practicing ‘Loyalty To The King And Country’, who always believed in ‘Upholding The Constitution’ and respect the ‘Rule Of Law’ which eventually results in ‘Good Behavior and Morality’.

We urge all Malaysians to gather in peace.

Venue : Dataran Merdeka , Kuala Lumpur

Date : Saturday, 27th September 2008

Time : 7.00pm

Come friends, lets garner support to light up a candle for each night that our ISA detainees have remained in prison. Each of your candles will denote one night too long that our ISA detainees have spent under detention.

Let this candle vigil send out a strong message, THE PEOPLE ARE THE BOSS. Let your voice rise up against this injustice to the ruling Barisan Nasional government to immediately release unconditionally the Hindraf Heroes, Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin and all others who have been unlawfully detained under ISA .

The Bar Council, in their recent EGM unanimously voted for the abolishment of the Internal Security Act. We seek the Bar council of Malaysia, the various political party leaders , elected MPs , ADUNs, NGOs and every concerned Malaysian citizen who sincerely desire to repeal the ISA to come and lend their support.

To the Prime Minister, we welcome the police to protect peaceful Malaysian citizens to practice Article 10 of the federal constitution, which allows the citizens of Malaysia to gather peacefully.

Therefore please mark your calendars to gather peacefully on Saturday, 27th September 2008 at 7pm at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur.

Once again failing this beautiful peaceful candle vigil is “NOT AN OPTION!!!”

Bring along candles, we are gathering in peace and love. Once again we ask everyone to respect the principles of Ahimsa (PEACE AND NON-VIOLENCE) and excuse any of our police brothers in the event they have to carry out their duty.

Our system has denied justice to 64 ISA detainees, are you going to allow them to languish further? Some of these detainees, like our beloved YM Raja Petra Kamarudin, the Hindraf heroes spoke out for you and me, spoke up for a better Malaysia, spoke up for our next generation!! Now is our turn, what can we do for them?

Pick up your candles and join us for the vigil to repeal the draconian ISA.


Suara Rakyat, Makal Shakati!!!

Sambulingam Wisvalingam

National Hindraf Coordination team.

21st September 2008

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23 September, 2008

Raja Petra detained for two years; habeas corpus application became an academic exercise

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 23, 2008) : Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Syed Albar has ordered blogger Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin to be detained under the Internal Security Act for a period of two years, effectively making a habeas corpus application for his release an academic exercise.

- The Sun

Senior Federal Counsel Abdul Wahab Mohamad informed High Court Judge Suraya Othman at the start of the application hearing today that the minister had signed the detention order under Section 8(1) of the ISA on Monday afternoon, and that Raja Petra is now at the Kamunting Detention Centre in Perak.

He said this when raising a preliminary objection to Raja Petra's lawyer, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar's request for the court to proceeding with hearing the habeas corpus application.

Wahab said since Raja Petra is no longer detained by the police as defined under Section 73(1), the issue has become academic and the application should be struck out.

He added the respondent in the case is now no longer the Inspector-General of Police, but is now the minister.

(Under Section 73(1), a person can be detained for up to 60 days and the court has the power to look into the basis of the detention. However, under Section 8 (1), the Home Minister gives the detention order, renewable for up to two years, and the court has the power to look into the procedural grounds of the detention).

Malik Imtiaz, however, argued that the court should proceed with the case as the question of detention under Section 73(1) is relevent to the challenge on the Section 8(1) order.

He said the Minister's detention order flows from the police detention order.

Malik said told reporters he would file a separate "habeas corpus" application for the order under Section 8(1)).

Judge Suraya said the habeas corpus application must be on the current order.

"The detention by the police has ceased and superceeded by the Minister's order. We should not look at what happened before but at the current order," she said.

Malik said his application "definitely has a bearing on Raja Petra and it affects his liberty" under the Federal Constitution and asked the court to proceed with the application.

Suraya asked both parties to put in written submission and fixed Oct 28 to hear the case again.

At the same court, Suraya struck out Member of Parliament for Seputeh Teresa Kok's "habeas corpus" application.

Abdul Wahab said the application had become academic as Kok had been released.

(Both Raja Petra and Kok were detained under the ISA on Sept 12. The latter was released on Sept 19.)

Kok's lawyer Karpal Singh asked the court to make comments on the case but Suraya said the court cannot give any remedy or comments as there were no facts before her. She said she should not make any ruling as it is academic.

"There is nothing for me to decide, at the moment," said Suraya. Then, Karpal withdrew the application and Suraya struck out the matter.

-- theSun

More news here.

Meanwhile, the police recorded a statement from a Malaysian university student in Taiwan who insulted the national anthem "Negaraku" and mocked the government through a video.

Wee Meng Chee, 25, accompanied by his parents, was seen entering the Commercial Crime Investigation Department's cyber and multimedia investigation division at the Bukit Perdana Government Complex here about 10.30am.

The police spent about three hours recording his statement.

"It was just a normal interview... I was asked to sign on a lyric (of the Negaraku song which he renamed 'Negarakuku' and written in Chinese). They asked me to translate (the lyrics into Bahasa Malaysia)," he told reporters after the interview by the police.

When asked by reporters whether he would be charged and under what section of the law, Wee said: "I don't know, I just play music, I don't play law."

Wee, who goes by the nickname, 'Namewee', in a video clip, had sung the "Negaraku" littered with obscenities. The national anthem "Negaraku" was renamed "Negarakuku" in the five-minute, 32-second video clip on a website in July last year.

Meanwhile, the division's assistant director, ACP Mohd Kamarudin Md Din, said the police had just begun their investigation into the case.

"The case is not closed yet, it is still under investigation... once finished, we will refer (the case) to the deputy public prosecutor," he said when contacted, adding that the case was being investigated under the Sedition Act.


22 September, 2008

Why doesn't Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi just quit ?

Below are some excerpts from Chedet:

* Where before all parties avoided raising sensitive issues in public, now in the name of democracy and liberalism sensitive issues are brought up in which the component parties of the BN make known the differences in their view. The result is to widen the divide separating the BN component parties.

Why doesn't Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi just quit?

* When Ahmad Ismail made unpalatable remarks about the Chinese, it was made out that it was the view of UMNO itself. Far from denying it, the UMNO leadership accepted the blame and apologised. This solved nothing as the Chinese parties refused to accept the apology but demanded the culprit himself should apologise.

Why doesn't Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi just quit?

* He refused and UMNO whose president heads the Government suspended Ahmad for three years. This may satisfy some Chinese but almost immediately the Government arrested a Chinese MP under ISA. The effects of Ahmad's suspension have been nullified.

Why doesn't Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi just quit?

* Threats to leave the BN are made by the Chinese parties, not just because of Ahmad's refusal to apologise but also because of the impression that they are subservient to UMNO. They believe that the failure of Chinese voters to vote for them was due to this junior position they hold in BN. To correct this impression they found it necessary to take pot shots at UMNO and defy the BN leadership.

Why doesn't Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi just quit?

* Privately UMNO, MCA Gerakan and MIC express their dislike of Dato Seri Abdullah and his Premiership. But none seem willing to acknowledge that it was dislike for Abdullah which caused the BN to lose the support of the people. Instead they picked on the parties and blame each other.

Why doesn't Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi just quit?

* The stability of this country has been undermined by the weakness and incompetence of the current Government and the harsh bickering between the Government parties. A Government by the Opposition is not going to be any better and probably would be worse.

Why doesn't Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi just quit?

* In the past, the BN Government had managed to keep Malaysia stable and to develop the country as well. If it seems not to be able to do so now it is not because the BN as a party is no longer suitable for this country. It is simply due to very poor and incompetent leadership.

Why doesn't Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi just quit?

* The component parties of the BN should not think that their best hope is to see the demise of the BN. Rather they should all come together to resuscitate it. If it is necessary to dump the leader than they should do so. But destroying the BN will neither be good for the component parties nor for the nation.

Why doesn't Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi just quit?

* I believe that for this multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural country with extreme economic disparities, the BN is still the best political solution provider. It is still the best way for the different races to cooperate to govern this country.

* The BN is still relevant. It is still the ideal coalition for Malaysia's multi-racial population.

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21 September, 2008

International Day Of Peace

21 September 2008, International Day Of Peace, Rojak and Cocktail wish you a day full of peace.

The United Nations' International Day of Peace - marked every year on September 21 - is a global holiday when individuals, communities, nations and governments highlight efforts to end conflict and promote peace.

Established by U.N. resolution in 1982, "Peace Day" has grown to include millions of people around the world who participate in all kinds of events, large and small.

For 2008, this new Web site makes it easy to find and promote Peace Day events anywhere in the world. Just click on "Participate!" to locate an event or post information. And explore the rest of the site to learn more about Peace Day and how to get involved.

May Peace Prevail On Earth!

Walk For Global Peace

In Conjunction With The International Peace Day On Sept 21, Malaysia would be holding its inaugural Walk For Peace.

To commemorate the occasion, ex-servicemen worldwide would take part in an event named 'Walk for Peace'.

This year, some one million former servicemen worldwide are expected to take part in this event, organised by the World Veteran Federation (WVF).

WVF is an international body comprising 175 ex-servicemen organisations from 90 nations. It is a non-governmental organisation that has consultative status with the United Nations.

This federation that represents the interest of more than 25 million former soldiers worldwide has a Malaysian as its president; Lt Kol (Rtd) Datuk Abdul Hamid Ibrahim.

It is the effort of the Malaysian Armed Forces Veterans Council (MAVTM) with the collaboration of Friends To Mankind.

Organising committee chairman, Maj Jen (Rtd) Datuk Khairuddin Abu Bakar told Bernama that about 3,500 participants including former servicemen would be taking part in the event.

Among the Malaysian armed forces veterans organisations that have confirmed participation are the MVATM, Royal Malay Regiment Officers Club, Malaysian Commando Veterans Club, Malaysian Intelligence Corps Veteran Club, Ex-Malaysian Military Police Association, Ex-Services Association of Malaysia and Ex-British Army Club of Malaysia.

Apart from Friends to Mankind, the other NGOs participating in this event are Seniman Malaysia, Salam Foundation, Aman Malaysia, Malaysian Indians Cultural Foundation and Malaysian Muslim Consumers Association as well as several schools.

As this years event will be held during the fasting month of Ramadan, Khairuddin said all activities are to be held at the Dewan Merdeka in PWTC.

Included in the itinerary is the recital of the Message of Peace from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the performance of the song Hari Yang Aman(Day of Peace) specially composed by Khir Rahman and his wife Siti Jasmina Ibrahim.

At exactly twelve noon, a one-minute silence would be observed simultaneously with the other similar events held all across the globe.


Khairuddin said the organiser hoped that the Walk for Peace would create public awareness that peace is priceless to mankind.

"Via this event, we wish to create interactions that would foster unity and peace among Malaysians of various ethnic groups.

"Unity goes hand in hand with peace. We should refrain from creating racial issues as this creates tension among us.

"If all quarters maintain unity and are respectful of each other, the nation would continue to enjoy peace and security," said Khairuddin who had served with the Malaysian Battalion (MalBat) in Somalia in 1995.


During his six months tour of duty in Somalia, Khairuddin had witnessed the massive destruction of properties and sufferings of people in this war-torn country.

Khairuddin could still remember clearly the poignant and heart-wrenching faces child-carrying Somali women, who frequented the camp where he was based, to beg for food.

"Crops were devastated, residences destroyed; there was nothing left. The people suffered, children could not go to school and the economy was shattered," he said.

Khairuddin also recalled seeing children loitering around and sleeping at the railway station, when he was attending a course in India in the early 1980s.

"In a train ride from New Delhi to Srinagar, I threw out a piece of dried capati outside the window to some people who were begging for food and alms. It was heart-wrenching to see them -- from the very young and the very old -- scrambling for that piece of food. I can never forget that experience.

"I hope Malaysians are aware of the high price to achieve peace and prosperity. They should do away with trivial matters," said Khairuddin.


Khairuddin is hoping that the participation of school children in the Walk for Peace would nurture the love for peace and unity among them.

A staunch believer in starting them young, Khairuddin said the youngsters should be taught to live in harmony with everybody, regardless of race.

In conjunction with the Walk for Peace, an exhibition that highlights the sufferings and destruction caused by war would also be staged at the PWTC.

Meanwhile, Friends to Mankind vice-president Yasotha Kishna said the NGO supported MVATMs move to organise the Walk for Peace event as both organisations propagate peace as the objective.

However such efforts should be shouldered by all, and not only confined to groups or associations.

"Every individual has a responsibility towards maintaining peace. It should not be left to groups or associations - all must play a part in this calling.

"One of the principles of Friends to Mankind is to take the well being of others into consideration at all times. When you practice this principle in life, you will always take the feelings of others into consideration in whatever that you do," said Yasotha, who is hoping that more would join the Walk for Peace event.

(Bernama,September 09, 2008)


20 September, 2008

Political Tsunami In Malaysia

Welcome back Kickdefella, who was on holiday in Lokap Balai Polis Kota Bharu and Lokap Dang Wangi.

Blogger Syed Azidi Syed Aziz - better known as Sheih Kickdefella - was released from custody at about 4.30pm on Saturday.

Syed Azidi, 38, an employee of Kelantan Mentri Besar Incorporated, was detained on Wednesday for posting alleged seditious statements on his blogsite.

It is believed that the investigations revolved around his posting calling for people to fly the national flag upside down as a sign that the nation was “in distress.”

Syed Azidi took up the state government’s offer to develop its Internet media production some years ago, having been a film director before.

He is regarded as among the pioneers of the Malaysian blogging scene

Political Tsunami In Malaysia

Ruling party is accused of manipulating racial tensions to maintain its long grip on power.

When the Malaysian government evoked the draconian Internal Security Act last week and arrested three civilians—journalist Tan Hoon Cheng, opposition politician Teresa Kok and Internet news portal editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin—on charges of racial instigation, one immediately sensed that a man-made political tsunami is in the offing.

For a country that has enjoyed economic progress and which positions itself as one of the world’s leading economies, Malaysia cannot afford a manufactured crisis—especially on the issue of race relations.

Apparently, the government is willing to play a dangerous game, banking on public fears of racial riots like those that occurred in 1969.
Indeed, the ruling National Front has used race as a template to instill a culture of fear that, without it running the show, the country will descend into chaos. This has worked for the past five decades. The question is: will it work now?

Racial tensions are not new in a country with various ethnic and religious groups. From time to time, senior government officials spark the tensions with comments that insult the Chinese and Indian minorities by claiming they are not patriotic. They are blamed for any and all ills in Malay society. But Malaysians have shown to the world that they are resilient people and appreciate racial harmony. The trouble is, politicians continue to stoke the fires of nationalism and ‘Malayness’, leaving this quality under scrutiny.

When opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim demanding that the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi subject itself to a confidence vote in parliament by Sep.23, reacting within hours of Anwar’s ultimatum, Abdullah said he will not order parliament to convene because it just went into recess. ‘’Whatever no confidence resolution… they can to it after parliament opens,’’ he said.

Most alarming to civil society leaders is the warning Abdullah issued on Sep. 17 that Anwar’s grab for power is a threat to national security and would endanger the economy by affecting the flow of foreign investment.

‘’I will do what I have to do to protect and economy and save the country,’’ Abdullah told reporters, sparking immediate fears that a major crackdown against opposition lawmakers and human rights advocates would soon be unleashed invoking the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA).


Excerpts from Chedet :

  • The rakyat are right in being fed-up with corruption by UMNO "plutocrats". But that had not always been so. It is the corrupt practises of UMNO leaders of today, especially the topmost leader, which has caused deep anger against the party.
  • Actually the present leader's involvement with graft, his support for his son's business, the power he gives to his son-in-law, his well-known sleeping habits, indecision, lack of ability to handle problems, sudden withdrawal of oil subsidy, cancellation of the bridge to Singapore, wasting money on the unused RM800 million (Johor Baru) Customs, Immigration and Quarantine building, cancellation of the railway double tracking and electrification project, the monsoon cup and lots more are what turned the voters against BN.
  • The kampung folks and the ordinary Chinese by and large are not too concerned about human rights or more liberal Government. Even the ISA did not bother them as shown by their strong backing for the Government party, before.
  • In 2004 they gave wholehearted support for the BN so that the party won 90% of the seats in parliament and recaptured Terengganu. Could it be possible that the voters who were so greatly enchanted with the BN in 2004 but in a space of just four years have changed their collective minds so radically?
  • I know many who admire the West tend to support their values. They would like to interpret the disastrous performance of the BN based on Western thinking. But we are Asians and in Malaysia our basic racial differences are extreme. All we can do to avoid confrontation between the races is to allow them to form race based parties and to have them cooperate with each other. This was the BN policy and practise. And it worked for almost half a century.


19 September, 2008

Teresa Kok's Release Decided Entirely By Police ?

Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the release of the Seputeh Member of Parliament, Teresa Kok, from detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA) was decided entirely by the police without referring to him or requiring his approval.

He said he was in fact informed of the matter after Kok had been released, and believed that the release was made after police investigation revealed that the detention was no longer necessary.

"I don't ask questions (to the police) because when it comes to police exercising their power, I let them do their work without any hassle.

"And if they feel there is no need to make any recommendations (to detain further) and they are satisfied, they will release in accordance with the powers that they have," he told reporters after presenting contributions to the ministry's staff.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said in a statement that police were satisfied with the cooperation rendered by Kok during the investigation and there was no longer any reason to continue her detention.

Commenting further, Syed Hamid said that under Section 73, an individual could be detained for up to 60 days for investigation if the police suspected that he or she was a threat to national security.

He said that his role as the minister was only needed to approve detention that exceeded the 60-day period, where police felt that the extended detention was a necessity.

On the statement by the United States (US) which claimed that the use of the ISA was an infringement of 'democratic rise and value', Syed Hamid said every nation should be given the right to administer the country according to the laws determined by it.

Use of the Internal Security Act in Malaysia

The United States views with grave concern recent use by the Government of Malaysia of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the possibility that it might be used again to detain opposition political figures. The statement by a government figure that a leading member of the opposition had become "a threat to the economy and national security" is extremely troubling.

The United States firmly believes that national security laws, such as the ISA, must not be used to curtail or inhibit the exercise of universal democratic liberties or the peaceful expression of political views. The detention of opposition leaders under the ISA would be viewed by the United States and the international community as a fundamental infringement of democratic rights and values.


(Source: U.S. Department of State)

"Malaysia should be responsible to Malaysia. We have the greatest respect for the US and we've got good bilateral relations, but it doesn't mean that wherever we are going we have to ask them 'can we go?' If we want to go into a room also we ask them 'would you allow us to go into the room?'

"Each country has got its own peculiar position or circumstances and I think we should be happy with what we are doing with our law, in order to protect our citizens," he added.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok’s full statement

My ISA detention is without any legal or moral basis. It is a clear abuse of detention without trial.

I have been released after being detained in solitary confinement in a 6ft by 8ft holding cell for seven days under the Internal Security Act. I was informed by the police that they detained me under Section 73(1) of Internal Security Act 1960, which means I have incited racial and religious tension and conflict.

After being detained for seven days under the guise of so-called investigations, the police failed to produce any evidence or proof of me being involved in the activities of causing racial and religious tension.

They were only able to ask me few questions based entirely on the false and malicious article written by Zaini Hassan under the topic “Azan, jawi, JAIS, Uitm dan ba-alif-ba-ya” that was published in Utusan Malaysia on Sept 10, 2008.

The three main questions that the investigation officers asked me were:

1) Whether I had mobilised a group of residents at Bandar Kinrara to present a petition to oppose to the azan at the Bandar Kinrara mosque;

2) Whether I had made a statement that 30% of the Selangor Islamic Department (JAIS) allocation is to be given to other non-Islam religious bodies; and

3) Whether I had opposed the Jawi wording in road signages in Kuala Lumpur.

I denied the first two accusations as I did not do any such things as accused. I also told them that the issue of opposing Jawi road signages in Kuala Lumpur was done in January/ February 2008 at the request and following the pressure of resident associations. The resident associations, particularly in Taman Seputeh, were most unhappy because many of the road signages were changed arbitrarily by DBKL a few months before and changed again soon after this time with Jawi wordings. They were strongly opposed to this kind of wastage of public funds by DBKL.

I was quite surprised that there were no other questions posed to me besides these few main questions.

The Internal Security Act is meant to detain people who threaten national security. The three issues stated above have nothing to do with national security. If the police wanted to carry out investigations on me, they can always ask me to give statements in any police station and there was absolutely no need to detain me under the ISA for seven days. This is a phenomenal abuse of the power of police under the ISA.

Besides, it is nonsensical for the police to detain me under the ISA merely based on the unsubstantiated article written by an irresponsible columnist in Utusan Malaysia. How can they regard that article as the gospel truth without investigating the writer in the first place? How can Utusan Malaysia publish it without verifying the facts?

I wish to ask the police whether they have called Zaini Hassan and Utusan Malaysia’s editors for questioning before and after my detention.

I know that the imam of Bandar Kinrara mosque has publicly denied that I got involved in the Puchong residents petition against the azan of his mosque on Sept 13. I am also quite surprised to read in the New Straits Times dated Sept 19 that the official of the Bandar Kinrara mosque was called by the Dang Wangi police for statement recording only yesterday afternoon. Why did the police do it so late, one week after I was arrested? Why didn’t they check their facts first before they arrested me and put me behind bars?

I have been made scapegoat in the internal squabbles of Umno.

I see my detention as a ploy by Umno to try to cover up the embarrassment and the outrage of the racist statements made by Ahmad Ismail in Penang. I wonder why did they choose an innocent person like me as I have never made any racist statements or racist speeches in the past?

I lodged a police report on Sept 17 against Utusan Malaysia, Zaini Hassan and Dr Khir Toyo for criminal defamation. I would therefore urge the police to investigate Utusan Malaysia’s editors, those racist bloggers and Dr Khir Toyo under the Penal Code.

As I have mentioned in my previous lawyer’s visit, I will sue Utusan Malaysia, Zaini Hassan and Dr Khir Toyo. I have also instructed my lawyers to sue the Malaysian government for my unlawful arrest and detention.

Raja Petra should be released.

As I am free from ISA detention today, I also call for the release of Raja Petra, the Hindraf Five and all other 60 over detainees under the draconian ISA.

I would also like to thank all politicians in the ruling parties as well as in the Pakatan Rakyat, NGOs, churches and all social organisations who have campaigned and prayed for my release.

(Source: Malaysiakini)

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