28 February, 2009

'Allah' issue erupts again. (sigh)


High Court told Christian publications can now use the word "Allah"

The High Court was told that the Home Minister had gazetted an order under the Internal Security Act declaring that the use of the word "Allah" in Christian publications is no longer prohibited.

Senior Federal Counsel Nizam Zakaria, who represents the minister and the goverment, informed Judge Lau Bee Lan, when the judicial review application filed by Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam was mentioned in court that the Internal Security (Prohibition On Use of Specific Words on Document and Publication) Order 2009 has taken effect after it was gazetted earlier this month.

"I was informed that the first respondent - the minister - had actually gazetted an order to the effect that the use of the word "Allah" in the publications relating to Christianity is no longer prohibited," said Nizam, adding that the judicial review application would now be academic.

- The Sun

Now Showing:

'Allah' issue erupts again.

While the Roman Catholic Archbishop's suit against the home minister and the government seemed to be at its end following the gazetting of an order under the Internal Security Act in allowing the use of the word "Allah" in Christian texts with restrictions, it has met with opposition from the Syariah Lawyers Association.

- Malaysiakini

The Malaysian Islamic Da'wah Foundation (Yadim) today called on the government to withdraw the permission for the conditional use of the word "Allah" in Christian publications.

Its chairman Datuk Mohd Nakhaie Ahmad said the government had not acted wisely in allowing the use of the word in Christian publications, which he said could anger Muslims not only in the country but also throughout the world.

He said the government should have left the matter for the court to decide.

"To me, it's a mistake," he told reporters after opening a halal carnival here Saturday.

A government gazette dated Feb 16 has stated that documents and publications relating to Christianity containing the world "Allah" are prohibited unless the words "FOR CHRISTIANITY" are written on their front covers.

The condition was contained under the Internal Security (Prohibition on Use of Specific Words on Document and Publication) Order 2009.

Paragraph 2(1) of the order reads: The printing, publication, sale, issue, circulation and possession of any document and publication relating to Christianity containing the words "Allah", "Kaabah, "Baitullah" and "solat" are prohibited unless on the front cover of the document and publication are written with the words "FOR CHRISTIANITY".

- Bernama

'Flip Flop' Home Ministry rescinds gazette on word “Allah”

KOTA KINABALU: The Home Ministry has rescinded a government gazette that allowed conditional use of the word "Allah" in Christian publications with immediate effect.

Admitting that there was a mistake in enacting the gazette that had resulted in confusion over the word in question, Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the government's decision to ban the use of the word 'Allah' in Herald - The Catholic Weekly remained in force until the court decided otherwise.

The government had recently ordered a ban on the Herald's Malay edition until the court makes its decision, as part of conditions for it to be allowed to continue publishing in English, Chinese and Tamil.

"There is a judicial review on the matter and we leave it to the court to decide. I think there was a mistake in enacting the gazette. When we make a mistake, I must admit that there is a need look at it thoroughly.

"As there was a mistake...so it is better we make a correction," he told reporters, here on Saturday. Syed Hamid was commenting on the call by the Malaysian Islamic Da'wah Foundation (Yadim) earlier Saturday, urging the government to withdraw permission for the conditional use of the word "Allah" in Christian publications.

Its chairman Datuk Mohd Nakhaie Ahmad said the government had not acted wisely in allowing the use of the word in Christian publications which he said could anger Muslims not only in the country but also throughout the world.

A government gazette dated Feb 16 has stated that documents and publications relating to Christianity containing the world "Allah" are prohibited unless the words "FOR CHRISTIANITY" was written on their front covers.

The condition was contained in an order entitled 'Internal Security (Prohibition on Use of Specific Words on Document and Publication) Order 2009'.

Paragraph 2(1) of the order reads: The printing, publication, sale, issue, circulation and possession of any document and publication relating to Christianity containing the words Allah, Kaabah, Baitullah and solat are prohibited unless on the front cover of the document and publication are written with the words "FOR CHRISTIANITY".


27 February, 2009

Cry, the beloved country !

While Umno Youth has every right to be angry with Karpal Singh's claim that two live bullets were sent to him by the movement.

Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin in a press conference challenged Karpal, whom he described as an "arrogant MP who thinks he knows everything", to repeat his accusation outside of the Parliament building.

"It is a wild and insane allegation... Khairy told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

"DAP always talks of a world class parliament but their chairman behaves in a very uncivilised and rude manner," added the Rembau MP.

Khairy said more than a hundred police reports were filed against Karpal when he threatened to sue Perak ruler, Sultan Azlan Shah, over the political turmoil in the state.

The Umno Youth leader urged the Attorney-General's Chambers to look into the reports and take action.

"We want to remind him that Umno Youth is not playing games and Karpal is the one who is playing with the sentiments of the rakyat, he is playing with fire.

Has warned that there is “real, explosive anger” among members against Karpal Singh.

"If he does not repent, then it would only serve to aggravate our anger and the anger of the people," he warned.

Umno Youth member Mukhriz Mahathir said Karpal should be charged with sedition for the bullets comment, and that he should show more respect to the constitutional monarchy.

- from Malaysiakini.

Keris-waving Umno Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein Onn at a pro-monarchy gathering said:

“those who are willing to destroy or damage the royalty and betray the country will pay the price”.

“Who says Umno Youth has no spirit and is not brave? We will show them,” he said to cheers from a 5,000-strong crowd of predominantly Umno Youth members.

“What do we do to these traitors? We drive them out,” he added.

He warned that tonight was only a wave which will end up as a “tsunami” against those who are “willing to risk the honour of the nation and the institution of the monarchy”.

As LKS said:

At a time when Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, should unite to face the worst global economic crisis in 80 years, it is a matter of grave concern that Najib’s pre-100 Days as the next Prime Minister is being marked by the dirtiest, most unethical and divisive politics in the nation’s history.

I fully sympathise with the sentiments of a businessman who has taken a full-page advertisement in a major daily newspaper asking warring political parties to call a truce and focus on the shaky economy and jobs.

But where is the basis for such a political moratorium when the greatest priority and pride of the Prime Minister-in-waiting is not how to unite Malaysians to shepherd the country through the worst global economic crisis in 80 years, but to orchestrate the “Greatest Political Robbery” in Malaysian politics with the illegal, immoral, unethical, undemocratic and unconstitutional power grab in Perak creating the scandal of two Perak Mentris Besar with far-reaching consequences to integrity, democracy, national unity or competitiveness whether in the state or country.

The illegal, unethical, immoral, undemocratic and unconstitutional power grab in Perak, orchestrated personally by Najib, has also seen Malaysian politics plunging to a new low with independent institutions dragooned to play Umno and Barisan Nasional politics instead of upholding the rule of law, illustrated by the violation of the privileges and immunities of the Perak State Assemby Speaker, V. Sivakumar by both the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which abused their powers by subjecting the Speaker to hours of interrogation.

Even the MACC Chief Commissioner, Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan and the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan have openly “played politics”, when the former announced that there was strong evidence that the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was guilty of abuse of power and therefore corruption in the “car and cows” allegation and the latter said that the police had completed investigations into the 97 police reports lodged against Karpal and have recommended that Karpal be charged under the Sedition Act 1948 – when the final decision has to be made by the Attorney-General!

Yesterday, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and Perak UMNO Deputy Chairman Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi threw discretion and propriety to the winds when he upped the ante in Karpal’s case, stating that the credibility of the Attorney-General would begin to be questioned by the public if Karpal is not prosecuted for sedition.

Zahid is acting most irresponsibly as a Cabinet Minister in applying public pressure to force the Attorney-General to prosecute Karpal, when the law is very clear that Karpal had committed no crime.


26 February, 2009

'Singh is King' mobbed - I may be disabled but I will not stand for intimidation

A day after proclaiming that 'Singh is King', DAP veteran Karpal Singh finds himself mobbed by a group of angry Umno Youth members at the Parliament lobby.

DAP chairperson Karpal Singh was today mobbed by a crowd of angry Umno Youth members at the Parliament lobby, wanting him to apologise for his remarks and accusation made against the movement yesterday, reports MALAYSIAKINI.

In the incident which happened at about 2.30pm, the angry Umno Youth members stopped Karpal from entering the House.

About 20 to 30 Umno Youth members were involved. They were believed to be from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

Karpal then made a telephone call to his party colleague Fong Pu Kuan who was in the House. She then arrived with other DAP MPs to ‘save’ the DAP chairperson from the crowd.

The DAP MPs also complained that the Parliament security personnel had not done anything to protect Karpal until they (the DAP MPs) made some noise.

DAP MP Lim Lip Eng also claimed that he was assaulted by the Umno Youth crowd.

- Malaysiakini

From The New Straits Times

Karpal’s theatrics would have the usual repercussion - indignant protests, demands for his head to roll and so forth - but never physical violence. It changed today after the DAP chairman was confronted by a mob Selangor Umno Youth members at the Parliament tower block then degenerated into a shouting match and culminated in a scuffle with the MP for Segambut Lim Lip Eng having his shirt tugged.

As soon as Karpal arrived for the afternoon session, the Umno Youth mob started heckling him over his “damn” reference to the wing. Karpal's aide immediately summoned help and several DAP members turn up and the potential for a really ugly incident was forthcoming.

Parliament security officers quickly summoned police help and Karpal was safely wheeled under heavy escort to the lobby. BN Backbenchers chief Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing quickly condemned the marauders and complained of the slack security. "This is not the way. In politics there are bound to be people who provoke. We have to accept that this part and parcel of politics," he said in Karpal’s defence.

But the attack gave Karpal even more fodder to play with: inside the House later, Karpal and several DAP members questioned how the pre-meditated way the mob confronted Karpal, beseeching Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia to act agai8nst the perpetrators. "I am disabled but not intimidated by this,” Karpal declared in his usual bravado but he being him, Karpal still made a meal out of the torrid incident. “The police were there and they just watched,” he charged.

Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin, while regretting the incident and promising to investigate, challenged Karpal to back his allegation with proof in 24 hours or be considered a liar. Mukhriz Mahathir, Khairy’s rival for the Umno Youth chief’s post in next month’s party elections, proposed that Karpal be charged with sedition for questioning the sultan besides chiding him for stating that “Singh is King”. "He does not respect our rulers," Mukhriz charged in a statement.

"Youth must condem violence " says DPM

"One thing we all know and agree is that no religion or culture advocates violence to another. Let me also make it clear that no cause or political antecedent can justify acts of terrorism.

"Terrorism and violence cannot be justified under any circumstances,"

What say you now ?


25 February, 2009

That's correct... it looks like me, it sounds like me

Three out of four persons being investigated in relation to the infamous V. K. Lingam video clip case, have been cleared of graft charges, the prime minister told Parliament today.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi told Wee Choo Keong (PKR-Wangsa Maju) in a written reply that the three cases had been marked
“NFA” — which means no further action will be taken.

The file on one of the four persons originally investigated remain open. The PM did not name any of the four persons.

Abdullah said there was insufficient evidence to charge the three persons under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997.

The Lingam video clip was widely circulated on the Internet in 2007.

In the grainy clip, Lingam is recorded having a telephone conversation apparently with a minister and appears to be brokering judicial appointments.

The video clip which was recorded by Loh Gwo Burne, who is now the PKR MP for Kelana Jaya, sparked a major public outcry.

A Royal Commission was set up to investigate the videp clip but the findings were inconclusive regarding Lingam’s role in any alleged brokering of judicial appointment.

During the hearing, Lingam famously said “it looks like me, it sounds like me,” when questioned if he was indeed the man in the clip.

The V. K. Lingam video clip scandal was a significant contributing factor towards the Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s poor performance in last year’s general elections.

Four investigation files were opened by anti-corruption officers, the prime minister said in Parliament today.

Three of the cases were “deferred” to the Attorney-General’s Chambers, while one was marked “NFA” by the director of the legal and prosecution department in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Of the three cases “deferred” to the Attorney-General’s Chambers, two were marked “NFA” while the remaining case remains open.

Wee told reporters later that the director of the legal and prosecution department did not have the power to decide on a case but to only investigate.

“This is unheard of and first time as a lawyer. Why are they taking so long? The last time they said that the paper has already been sent but now they say it is for further investigation,” he said.


24 February, 2009

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) - fair and professional !

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has urged everyone to accept the decision of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to close 45 cases of political corruption against Umno leaders due to the lack of concrete evidence.

The Prime Minister and Umno president said the MACC was more capable and its investigations were more thorough compared to the investigations carried out by Umno Disciplinary Board.

"If the MACC has closed the cases why should the (Umno) Disciplinary Board continue (with the investigation). But the matter must be decided by the Disciplinary Board.

"But in my opinion, if the matter has been referred to the MACC, and the ACA (Anti-Corruption Agency) has decided that there is no case, we should accept the decision,"

A newspaper report today quoted sources from the MACC as saying that 45 of the 90 cases of political corruption involving Umno leaders received by the Commission had been closed due to lack of concrete evidence.

The sources also said that the MACC could not file a complete and strong case because the complainants only submitted a general complaints without evidence to support their case.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said MACC has to be fair and professional, and seen to be so, in all its dealings.

As such he hoped that each and every officer of the MACC regardless of position or rank, would carry out their duties to the highest standard of professionalism.

In this context, Abdullah stressed that dedication, impartiality and fairness must be part and parcel of their job as anti-corruption officers.

"In that sense, your conduct, while on duty or even off duty, must always be beyond reproach and in conformity with the laws of the land. If not, all our efforts thus far to implement institutional reforms may come to naught," he said.

Stressing the importance of the MACC in carrying out its duties without fear or favour, Abdullah said that indeed much of the success or failure of the commission depended on the conduct of its officers in carrying out their duties.

"Without significant changes to the structure and improvement in its effectiveness, there are bound to be perceptions about the MACC being impartial, a toothless tiger, selective in its enforcement, slow in taking actions and unprofessional in its investigations.

"These perceptions will, in some ways, mar the image of the MACC," he said.

The prime minister said that as experiences of other countries had shown, building a nation that embraced integrity and rejected the culture of corruption was a long and arduous process.

"Neverthless, my government is aware that Malaysians are fully behind the integrity and anti-corruption agenda. We have heeded the people's call, and over the past year in particular, a number of concrete steps have been taken to strengthen the integrity and anti-corruption agenda," he said.

Abdullah said every effort had been made to ensure that the MACC was fully equipped to be an effective anti-corruption agency.

Meanwhile, The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) defended the public disclosure that there was “strong evidence” of abuse of power against the Selangor Menteri Besar.

MACC deputy commissioner Datuk Abu Kassim said his boss was acting within the law when he made the statement to the media.

Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim is accused of abusing his powers to purchase cattle, which was distributed to mosques to his constituency, and to maintain his personal car.

The disclosure, which has been labeled as selective prosecution by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was made by MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan four days ago.

Abu Kassim said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2008 provided the powers to Ahmad Said to make the disclosure.

Section 29 (4) states that a report shall be kept secret and shall not be disclosed by any person to any person other than officers of the commission and the public prosecutor until an accused person has been charged in court for an offence under this Act or any other written law in consequence of such report, unless the disclosure is made with the consent of the public prosecutor or an officer of the commission of the rank of Commissioner and above.

“My interpretation of Section 29(4) is that the disclosure was made according to the law.”

When asked by The Malaysian Insider if the law allowed for the MACC chief to express his personal opinion to the press, Abu Hassan said he was not aware that Ahmad Said Hamdan statement was a personal opinion.

However two days ago, Minister in the Prime Minster Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz reportedly said (in The Star) that Ahmad Said Hamdan was only giving his point of view when he told the press they had sufficient evidence against Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and added that the Attorney-General’s Chambers will decide whether to press charges.


23 February, 2009

Many in Malaysia Say Najib Would Be Good PM ? LOL

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Many Malaysians, although not a majority, think Najib Razak will be a good head of government, according to a poll by Merdeka Center for Opinion Research. 41 per cent of respondents say the prime minister-in-waiting will do a good job, while 36 per cent disagree.

The ruling United Malays National Organization (UMNO)—the biggest party in a coalition of 12 political factions known as the National Front (BN)—has formed the government after every election since the Asian country attained its independence from Britain in 1957.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as prime minister in October 2003, after the retirement of Mahathir Mohamad, who served for more than 22 years. In the March 2004 election, the National Front secured 198 of the 219 seats in the House of Representatives. Abdullah was sworn in as head of government with the biggest majority in three decades.

In the March 2008 ballot, the National Front won 140 seats in the legislature. The coalition’s share of the vote dropped drastically, from 64.4 per cent in 2004, to 50.27 per cent in 2008. According to Human Rights Watch, the most recent election was "grossly unfair" and marred by irregularities.

Last September, Abdullah announced he would step down in March 2009. Najib—who currently serves as deputy prime minister and finance minister—is set to take over as head of government.

On Feb. 18, Najib assured Malaysians that a global financial crisis will not hit the country too hard, saying, "With the implementation of the first and second stimulus packages, the government with the full support of all concerned, including the private sector and the people, is confident of avoiding the economic downturn."

Polling Data

Do you agree or disagree that Najib Razak would make a good prime minister?





Not sure


Source: Merdeka Center for Opinion Research
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,018 Malaysian adults, conducted from Dec. 26, 2008, to Jan. 2, 2009. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

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22 February, 2009

Now, Umno seeks QC help to break Perak deadlock

An Umno lawyer is understood to have been instructed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) party to seek advice from a Queen’s Counsel in London in an effort to break the constitutional impasse in Perak.

The lawyer is said to have left for London yesterday to meet with an unnamed QC even as the question over the legitimacy of the current MB Datuk Zambry Abdul Kadir is already before the courts here.

British lawyers are occasionally instructed in courts here but only when the expertise is not available locally.

It is not clear if Umno will want to have a QC represent them in court in the lawsuit filed by Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin, who maintains he remains the Perak mentri besar.

Earlier this month, Sultan Azlan Shah denied a request from Nizar, who was still recognised as the Pakatan Rakyat MB then, to dissolve the Perak state legislature after a series of defections from PR parties to the BN.

While constitutionally the ruler is given the discretion to reject such a request, it is widely accepted convention that such requests to dissolve governments are rarely, if ever, rejected because Malaysia has a constitutional monarchy.

The Perak state constitution, which is subject to provisions in the federal constitution, does not give the ruler any power to dismiss an MB.

While some lawyers here have argued that the Interpretation Act, which states that the power to appoint implies a power to dismiss, gives the ruler the power to dismiss Nizar, it has also been noted that that provision does not apply to constitutional matters.

Furthermore, it has been noted that while the Sultan is given a discretion in the appointment of an MB by the state constitution, the MB does not hold office at the pleasure of the ruler. Only state executive councillors hold office at the pleasure of the ruler.

The fact that the MB does not hold office at the pleasure of the ruler is provided for in the state constitution, and will likely be cited as a legal point by Nizar’s lawyers, who will also contend that the only way for him to be dismissed is through a vote of no-confidence in the state legislature.

An MB, under the constitution, can only be removed from his position if he resigns or if a vote of no confidence is carried in the state legislature.

Nizar’s refusal to resign, despite being asked to do so by the Sultan, is at the heart of the constitutional conundrum.



20 February, 2009

Dr M :"It's gutter politics"

Former PM. Dr Mahathir Mohamad believes that the circulation of Bukit Lanjan assemblyman Elizabeth Wong's semi-nude photographs was politically motivated.

'In Malaysia now, we're seeing a lot of dirty politics,' he said in response to claims that she was a victim of a political smear campaign.

He added that a lot of things were happening in Malaysia which was related to politics.

'This is bad because it's so easy to take pictures and get people into trouble' .

Dr Mahathir added that whether Ms Wong would eventually resign depended on her party although she had offered to do so.

The female politician caught in a scandal following the circulation of photos of her in the nude has left Malaysia, saying that she needed to escape the intense media scrutiny.

Since media reports broke the news of the photos on Monday, Ms Elizabeth Wong has been contending with the backlash and had made a tearful offer to resign from all her political posts.

A poison pen letter is also said to be floating around, detailing a list of her former boyfriends.

Yesterday, faced with the threat of 'more lewd, graphical, sensational stories', the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) assemblywoman decided that enough was enough.

'Despite having tendered my resignation from all posts, the media and websites continue to intrude...I have also been told there will be a fresh assault, with more photographs and videos released and circulated in order to completely degrade and bury me,' she said in a statement.

'This is the darkest episode in my life. I have never felt so alone, vulnerable and humiliated.

'I need to rest and to search for peace of mind to get away from the stormy events surrounding me.'

In the statement, the 37-year-old also declared her determination to quit all her political posts, although her party leaders had advised her to go on extended leave instead.

This makes another by-election - which the opposition coalition wants to avoid - inevitable. With by-elections scheduled for April 7 in Perak and Kedah, a third will strain Pakatan Rakyat's resources.

With Ms Wong's departure, the key players in the scandal are both out of the country. Police here are still looking for Mr Hilmi Malek, widely reported to be her ex-lover, to help with investigations.

Mr Hilmi is rumoured to be in Indonesia, and a maid at his Ampang Jaya home told reporters that he has not been home for two weeks.

Described as suave and good-looking, he is in his early 30s and worked as a personal assistant to PKR lawmaker Hee Loy Sian for nine months after the general elections last March.

Mr Hee told China Press that he fired Mr Hilmi because he had a 'poor work attitude'. The Chinese daily reported yesterday that Mr Hilmi and Ms Wong had had a relationship for three years and that it soured towards the end of last year.

It added that Mr Hilmi has no known links to the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

She has so far not spoken about him and may never do so, as she stressed in her statement yesterday that she will not answer any questions pertaining to her private life.

But if she confesses to a relationship with him, her Muslim ex-lover could be charged in a syariah court with zina (unlawful intercourse) or khalwat (close proximity), because the two are unmarried.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is in charge of Islamic affairs, told The Star daily that Ms Wong's testimony was valid even though she was a non-Muslim.

As a non-Muslim, she will not be charged by the Syariah Court, he said.

It is unclear how long Ms Wong intends to stay away, and where she has gone, but the political uncertainty left by her void is unlikely to disappear.

BN has been repeatedly accused of engineering this scandal, though there has been no evidence to suggest so. Pakatan must now decide if it is prepared to lose a popular assemblyman, while shouldering the unwanted load of another by-election.


19 February, 2009

Anwar reveals 'evidence' on bribe attempts

He also said that the ACA agent who was monitoring the secret negotiation meetings was later replaced with someone else.

There are evidence linked to Barisan Nasional’s attempts to 'bribe and threaten Pakatan assemblypersons' to topple the Pakatan-led state government in Kedah, claimed Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

- Malaysiakini

From The Malaysian Insider:

A photograph of three bullets, “kidnappings” and CCTV videotapes. These were among the evidence presented or alluded to by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in parliament today to support his claims that the BN government is using bribery and other unethical tactics to entice defections.

Anwar also alleged that despite police reports, top government officials were deliberately taking no action.

He claimed that the bribery scheme could be traced to the deputy prime minister and while he did not present the CCTV recordings in parliament, when pressed by reporters afterwards if he had the tapes, he said: “you will know at the right time.”

“I am giving the truth and facts, the attempts that were conducted by the Umno leadership, including the Deputy Prime Minister and leaders who threatened, kidnapped, and giving bribery this only continues the record and tradition of bribery which are practiced by the said leaders,” Anwar said in parliament.

He told parliament how Lim Soo Nee, PKR’s state representative for Kulim agreed to be “bait” and worked together with the Anti-Corruption Agency (now called the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission) to secure evidence of alleged bribery attempts made by agents of Datuk Seri Mahadzir Khalid to entice a defection.

Mahadzir is the former menteri besar of Kedah.

Mahadzir’s agents were alleged to have offered up to RM5 million for a defection, Anwar claimed.

A CCTV recording was purportedly made of a meeting between Lim and Mahadzir at a hotel in Seberang Jaya at the end of last year.

Anwar also showed a photograph of three bullets sent to PKR Bakar Arang state representative Tan Wei Shu.

It was alleged to have been sent when Tan declined an offer to defect. Tan made a police report but claims no police action was taken.

Anwar also spoke of three police reports lodged by former Bukit Selambau assemblyman V Arumugam.

The reports were lodged over various harassments including an alleged threat that he could end up like former Lunas state representative Joe Fernandez if he persisted in his political activities. Fernandez died after being shot three times in 2000.

“If a police report was made, go investigate. There was no investigation, not once was he called. This is a member of the state executive council and maybe he is Indian. And there is some perception that Indians are a lower class in Malaysia,” Anwar added.

Anwar claimed that the police and the MACC are not acting on the various police reports and the CCTV due to pressure from top leadership in government.

His BN counterparts however, declined to accept Anwar’s evidence at face value.

Dr. Mohd Puad Zarkashi, member of parliament for Batu Pahat, told Anwar not to blame BN for defections and said that the CCTV recording proves nothing as he also meets members from PKR.

Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, member of parliament for Pasir Salak, told Anwar not to accuse the police of wrong doing as they were not in parliament to defend themselves.

In the press conference afterwards, Anwar said that “the Attorney General will use all its powers” to frustrate investigations.

He added that Selangor state representatives had lodged police reports over attempts to bribe them but “that is an academic exercise” as it was unlikely any police investigation would arise out of the reports.

The Sun reported that:

“On April 11, 2008, I received a report that BN agents representing Mahazir had offered Lim RM4 million to defect to BN, and this sum was later raised to RM5 million,” he said.

“Arrangement to introduce Lim to Mahazir and the Deputy Prime Minister were also promised,” he added.

Anwar said Lim who was harassed with this offers and persuasions throughout April, May, June and July 2008 lodged a report with the MACC and collaborated with the commission which made a CCTV recording of a meeting between Lim and Mahazir arranged at a hotel in Seberang Jaya at the end of 2008.

“However till today there has been no follow up and I understand that the officer in charge of the investigations had been transferred out of Kedah,” he said.

Anwar when met outside the Dewan was however non-committal when asked if he had a copy of the CCTV recording saying: “You will know at the right time.”

“Lim told us the ACA did it professionally- the voices and visuals are clear,” he said adding that the party lawyer was also present at the time the recording of the negotiations was being taken.
Anwar claimed there was ample evidence, enough to prefer charge.

“This is a test for the MACC and its independence after all the support and belief that we have shown for the new council,” he said during the debate.

He said he had proof and statements to show that there have been attempts by BN agents to entice PR assemblymen in Kedah to leave the coalition and thus cause the downfall of the PR leadership in Kedah led by Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak.

Among these were Tan Wei Shu who received threats to his life in the form of bullets, while his colleague and Kedah executive council member V.Arumugam had received threats that he will face the same fate as the late Lunas assemblyman Joe Fernandez who was shot to death, harassed by two men and had the rear windscreen of his official car smashed with a brick. Anwar questioned the delays and lapses in police and MACC investigations into reports of these threats and harassment.

Anwar also gave a lengthy history lesson on the immunity enjoyed by Malay Rulers quoting history books and his experience in drafting the amendments which led to the Rulers using this immunity when he was a minister in the government. “I know the history behind this and the
discussions that went on in Cabinet pertaining this,” he said.

Anwar also questioned Umno over their failure to address the disrespect to the rulers when their party members protested in front of the palaces of Perlis and Kuala Terengganu when they disliked the rulers choice for Mentri Besars.

Now you are talking so much about supporting the rulers following the protests in front of the palace in Kuala Kangsar following the Sultan's decision to appoint BN as the new state government following the resignation of three PR state assemblymen from their respective parties to become independents aligned to the BN.


18 February, 2009

Perak MB, all excos suspended - Malaysiakini

A constitutional crisis looms - the Perak state assembly's special privileges committee today suspended seven of BN representatives - Malaysiakini

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and six state executive councillors from the Barisan Nasional have been suspended by the State Rights and Privileges Committee for contempt of the State Assembly.

Zambry (Pangkor assemblyman) was suspended for 18 months while the six exco members -- Dr Mah Hang Soon (Chenderiang), Hamidah Osman (Sungai Rapat), Zainol Fadzi Paharudin (Sungai Manik), Mohammad Zahir Abdul Khalid (Kamunting), Datuk Saarani Mohamad (Kota Tampan) and Datuk Ramly Zahari (Manong) -- were suspended for 12 months.

The decision was announced by State Assembly Speaker V Sivakumar after a two-hearing which began yesterday.

The latest episode is expected to further worsen Perak's constitutional and political crisis which sparked off after the capture of the state government, following the cross-over of some Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen to the BN earlier this month.

The seven BN assemblymen had been referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee for contempt of the State Assembly when they took up the posts in the state executive council.

Zambry had yesterday appeared before the committee chaired by Sivakumar and made up of six other assemblymen,-- Datuk Hasbullah Osman (Temenggor) of Barisan Nasional and five from the opposition - Husin Din (Selingsing), Chan Ming Kai (Simpang Pulai), Ong Boon Piow (Tebing Tinggi), Loke Chee Yan (Kepayang) and Sum Chok Leng (Bercham).

Sivakumar had yesterday said the committee called them to give statements for the purpose of gathering information and to investigate a statement of Zambry's that appeared in newspapers on Tuesday. He said the probe was done under Article 72(3) of the Perak Standing Orders.

In the report, Zambry had described as "strange" the summons on him and six state executive councillors to appear before the committee as usually such action is only taken on those who have committed an offence while the state assembly was in session.

Zambry later told reporters his presence before the committee was out of respect for the Speaker and the committee which called him to provide information.

"I came because I respect the Speaker...we follow laws and regulations," he had said.


17 February, 2009

Eli quits over nude photos.

17 Feb 2009

The events of the past two days have shown an insidious and underhanded attempt by certain quarters to smear my reputation. My personal life and privacy have been violated.

These people have conspired to undermine my credibility both as a Selangor State Exco Member as well as a Keadilan leader. Although the smear campaign directed towards me has caused me a lot of anguish, I am aware that the real objective is to discredit Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

I have done nothing wrong.

I wish to state that I am not ashamed of my sexuality as a woman and as a single person. I have broken no law. I stand by the fundamental principle in a democracy that everyone has a right to privacy.

Parti KeADILan Rakyat stands for ‘new’ politics that holds justice and human rights as core values which transcend gender, ethnicity and class. ‘New’ politics also means we rise above gutter politics.

It is precisely this that I believe that these attacks will continue with greater intensity, and I have no doubt that Umno and Barisan Nasional will continue to manipulate the situation. Accordingly, I have decided to make a stand, in the interest of the party and its struggle for the people.

I have received overwhelming support from my family, my constituents, Pakatan Rakyat colleagues, friends and the general public. However, in the interest of my party, I have decided to offer my resignation as a Selangor State Exco Member as well as the State Assemblywoman for Bukit Lanjan.

I will discuss with the Menteri Besar to arrange for the proper handover of my responsibilities. I will continue to serve the people and fight for justice in Malaysia.

Last but not least, I am very grateful to the people who have placed their trust in me and my party, and I thank them for the opportunity that they have given me to serve. Words cannot possibly express my eternal gratitude to outstanding staff members and fellow ADUNs, and most of all, my Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim who has given me his unwavering support and the opportunity to work with him.

If I have let anyone down or offended anyone, I offer my sincere apologies.

EXCO for Tourism, Consumer Affairs and the Environment

Elizabeth Wong, a prominent Malaysian opposition legislator resigned Tuesday after photographs of her sleeping naked were circulated to the public by cell phone, an embarrassing disclosure that she slammed as a plot to discredit her party.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, however, told 37-year-old Elizabeth Wong to go on extended leave, and said it will decide later whether to accept her resignation from the central Selangor state assembly.

“Elizabeth Wong has spoken at length to Azizah and me. We have discussed the issues and we understand her reasons and the decision she has taken,” said Anwar, referring to his wife Datin Seri Wan Azizah Ismail.

“We have asked Eli to go on leave, we will meet her again to discuss,” Anwar told reporters at a press conference here.

He described Wong as a very important figure in the Selangor government with an excellent track record.

“Eli is a very responsible leader, has been with the party since its inception and I appreciate the widespread support for her to stay. We will invite her again and see what is best,” said Anwar.

Anwar said that he had discussed the matter with Pakatan Rakyat leaders including Pas’s Datuk Seri Hadi Awang who had asked for the issue to be resolved by PKR.

The Permatang Pauh MP described the circulation of Wong’s private photographs as part of a bigger conspiracy to destroy PKR.

“I can only use the strongest possible terms to condemn the smear tactics used against her. One can only wonder to what depths the people behind this will stoop to achieve their aims,” he added.

“The last few days must have been trying and stressful for her and her family. We hope the mass media will give her the breathing space she deserves.”

He also took the opportunity to slam Barisan Nasional leaders saying that they have no right to talk about morality.

“Let us hear from Najib first on morality,” said Anwar, referring to the deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"We asked her to rethink her options. I am angry. I am personally disgusted with this kind of gutter politics by the National Front", party chief Anwar told reporters.

Yesterday Selangor Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo asked Wong to resign immediately saying that she was morally unfit to continue as executive councillor or assemblyman.

Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, the former health minister today expressed his sympathy to Wong after the circulation of her naked photographs led to her offer to quit as a state legislator and from the state government.

“I can understand what Wong has been going through in the last 48 hours,” he said in a statement.

Comment on Elizabeth Wong’s matter

I can understand how Elizabeth Wong is going through in the last 48 hours.

I can only say that she has my sympathy and support. I feel that she has done the right thing by offering to resign as EXCO and state representative and I fully agree that everyone has the right to privacy.

Elizabeth Wong must stay strong and be brave to face the storm. This is not the end of the world.

Finally, it’s your determination, honesty and hard work that will earn you understanding, support and recognition.

Just over a year ago, Dr Chua was forced to resign from all political posts after he admitted to being the man in a sex DVD that was being circulated to his constituents in Johor.

Statement by women’s groups condemning the politically motivated attack on Elizabeth Wong’s pesonality and privacy:

The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (*JAG*) is appalled that private, sexually intimate photos of Elizabeth Wong, Assemblyperson for Bukit Lanjan, Selangor, was taken and circulated without her consent.

JAG is very concerned to note that politics is being practised in an
increasingly violent, sensationalised and sexualised manner. We note that in recent months, we have seen the sex tape scandal of Chua Soi Lek, Molotov cocktails being thrown at the house of Teresa Kok and now these photos of Elizabeth Wong being circulated.

These photos are being released at a time when the tussle for power between Barisan National (*BN*) and Pakatan Rakyat (*PR*) is
increasingly intense. Under no circumstance should anyone sink to this low level of politicking.

JAG cannot help but note that Ms Wong is also victimised as a single woman, as highlighted in the media. Such tactics meant to deliberately cast moral aspersions and indirectly question her ability to carry out her duties as a politician and as a leader deserve no less than our utmost condemnation.

JAG demands that the police forthwith investigates the matter, and bring the culprit or culprits to court. We also hope to hear strong statements from both the BN and PR condemning the circulation of sexually intimate photos and videos as a means of practising politics.

This underhanded tactic must not be part of the political culture of this nation.

Maria Chin Abdullah
Executive Director

Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)

Via Susan Loone

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16 February, 2009

Elizabeth Wong Photos Scandal!

Elizabeth Wong, a respected state assemblywoman and Executive Councilor in Malaysia’s most developed Selangor State, has been implicated in a naked pictures scandal and she lodged a police report, Malaysiakini.com is reporting:

Pakatan Rakyat’s Elizabeth Wong whose nude photographs are being circulated in public has made a report urging the police to investigate the matter.

Facing the most embarrassing episode of her life with pictures of her in partial nudity and intimate positions being circulated, Selangor state executive councillor and Bukit Lanjan Assemblywoman Elizabeth Wong said today she will help police in their probe and refused to speculate on who is responsible for this "gross invasion of my privacy".

From The Sun:

"The distribution and publication of these photos or video is a malicious attack on my personality," said Wong, who is also state Tourism, Environment and Consumer Affairs committee chairman.

She said she had received a lot of support from her supporters, friends and colleagues and members of her constituency and thanked them for their concern, support and encouragement.

She appealed to the media to give her and her family members some "breathing space" to allow her go through this trying time.

Elizabeth Wong, 37, is unmarried. It was said the scandolous photos showing her laying on the sofa with untidy clothing were photographed after 2008’s 308 General Elections by the former boyfriend without her consent when she was sleeping. Elizabeth, the promising young female politician in Malaysia’s opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat, is thought to be a victim smeared in the current turbulous Malaysia political crisis.

From Malay Mail:

Malay Mail was alerted to the photographs and their veracity was confirmed by Wong as the pictures were taken in her bedroom.

It is understood that a video clip could have also been produced. The identity of the photographer remains a mystery.

When shown the photographs, Wong expressed shock and said it was an invasion of her privacy. She said she was unaware that the photos were being taken and “I was probably asleep”.

Press Release: 16 Feb 2009

I was informed on Friday 13 February, 2009 by journalists from the Malay Mail that they have in their possession intimate photos of myself and that the newspaper will be publishing a story about these photographs.

I was told that some people are trying to distribute photos/videos showing me asleep in partial nudity and also in intimate positions.

The distribution and publication of these photos/video is a malicious attack on my personality. This constitutes a gross outrage on my modesty, a gross invasion of my privacy, and in particular the sanctity of my personal life. It is being done by unscrupuluous persons to embarrass and discredit me。

I am a victim in this incident.

I have yesterday lodged a police report in relation to this matter and I will fully cooperate with the police in their investigation. I will therefore not speculate publicly about those responsible for this gross invasion of my privacy.

I have received a lot of support from my supporters, friends, colleagues and members of my constituency. I wish to thank them for their concern, support and encouragement.

My family members are standing behind me. I would like to appeal to the media to give me and my family members some breathing space in this trying time so that I can weather this huge challenge.

I will in the meantime continue to carry out my task of serving the people of Selangor faithfully.
(Source: elizabeth wong)

Despite being widely seen as the victim in the nude pictures scandal, Selangor Executive Councillor Elizabeth Wong may be forced to relinquish all posts and resign as the Bukit Lanjan assemblyman.

Party sources told The Malaysian Insider that this may be the worst case scenario for Wong if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners, particularly Pas, do not stand by the 37-year-old former environmentalist.

PKR leaders fear that if Pas takes the moral high ground in the matter, the first-term assemblyman will be made to pay the price and resign.

Elizabeth Wong

From wordpress.com

ELIZABETH WONG (黄洁冰) has been involved in human rights since her student days in Sydney and subsequently during her work in Nepal. She was the secretary-general of the National Human Rights Society (Hakam) (全国人权协会)from 2000-2006 (now sitting as a member of the Ex-Com), a member of the Suaram (大马人民之声) secretariat and was a human rights fellow of Carnegie Council for Ethics and International Affairs (2002-03). She is also a political consultant and has been involved in the setup of the Asean Inter-Parliamentary Myanmar Caucus for Democracy and Solidarity Campaign for Human Rights in Aceh.

Wong enjoys looking at the paradoxes and intricacies of democracy and politics. In her spare time, she researches and writes on the War on Terror and security in the region.

Her interests are in political imagery and symbolism, history, South Asian politics, resistance and Islamism in Southeast Asia, technology and the politics of change.

Wong entered the electoral arena as a candidate under the People’s Justice Party (or Parti KeADILan Rakyat - PKR) during the 13th General Elections and on March 8th, 2008, Wong was elected as the new Selangor State Assemblyman for Bukit Lanjan with a majority of over 5000, the second largest majority won by PKR state assembly candidates in Selangor.

This was the first time the seat fell to the Opposition Alliance. History was further made when the Opposition Alliance took over Selangor - the most prosperous and developed state in Malaysia, together with the states of Perak, Penang and Kedah.

Wong was later appointed as a member of the Selangor state executive council, in charge of Tourism, Consumer affairs and the Environment.

She is also the Information Chief of the Women’s wing of PKR and of her division Petaling Jaya Utara.

This blog is primarily an archival site of writings and photographs, with the occasional notes-to-self on national politics to clear out some thoughts.


15 February, 2009

There are “two governments in Perak and no opposition”.

The Perak coup was a boost for the Barisan Nasional but it now has to do well in the coming by-elections to keep the momentum.

It has been an emotional and drama-filled couple of weeks in Perak politics.

The controversial change of government dominated news headlines and events are still unfolding at a pace that is giving politicians and the media sleepless nights.

Politics will continue to rank high on the agenda of Perak folk with the Bukit Gantang by-election set for April 7.

The air is thick with speculation of more cross-overs to come. The new administration has yet to fill several state exco positions and many see the vacancies as “dangling carrots” to tempt more assemblymen from the Pakatan side.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s I-have-the-numbers-game has backfired and it looks like his nemesis Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is the one holding the numbers.

And most interesting of all, neither side can claim the moral high ground because they are all players in the same game.

But the Perak coup has been a boost for the Barisan Nasional after months of being taunted with threats of MPs crossing the floor in Parliament.

“This is politics, it’s not illegal. Whoever commands the majority forms the government,” said Bukit Chandan assemblyman Datuk Wan Khairul Anwar.

Some Umno politicians even see the Perak development as a turning point for the party.

“It’s like the crack in the dam. Hopefully, it will lead to a flood,” said Wan Khairul.

But first there is the by-election in Bukit Gantang to deal with.

The Barisan’s edge is that it is going in as the ruling party. Toppling Pakatan has re-energised its rank and file and it will definitely not be taking the contest with a loser’s mentality.

Moreover, Najib who is the new Perak Umno chief will be Umno president by the time the contest starts and that will be an added shot in the arm for the Umno campaign.

On the other hand, the conventional wisdom is that Pakatan will be riding into the campaign on a wave of sympathy even though it was their own people – two from PKR and one from the DAP – who ended their spell in power.

State PAS deputy commissioner Asmuni Awi has described the by-election resulting from the sudden death of incumbent Roslan Shaharum as “God’s way for us to retest our strength.”

The three defectors who paved the way for the Barisan to return to power will definitely not be campaigning.

They are not exactly prime campaign material. Two of them are defending corruption charges in court whereas Jelapang assemblywoman Hee Yit Foong has become the most vilified woman in Perak.

Hee has been in hiding since her defection although a Chinese vernacular newspaper reported that she recently returned briefly to her mother’s house in the early hours of the morning.

The former DAP politician has been bombarded with insults and even threats. Hee, who is lame in the right leg as a result of childhood polio, reportedly received SMS threats from people vowing to lame her other leg.

She has had to bear the brunt of the people’s fury because she was the straw that broke the back of the Pakatan government. Some have said DAP leaders had encouraged the outpouring of condemnation so as to deter other would-be defectors.

“Defections from DAP are not new but she caused the Government to collapse. For that, no one can forgive her,” said DAP national Youth chief Anthony Loke.

In fact, it is difficult to imagine how the three can continue as wakil rakyat given the degree of public opinion against them.

Malay opinion is split down the middle on whether to have fresh polls or accept the palace role in the issue. A total of 51% of Malays were willing to accept the new Barisan government while 50% approved of the palace role.

In that sense, Pakatan did the right thing in distancing itself from Karpal Singh’s move to take the Sultan of Perak to court. No Malay politician in his right mind would want to be labelled as “penderhaka” or traitor.

Thus, even though the other half of the Malays are quite critical of the palace role, the Pakatan is unlikely to dwell on the palace factor in the by-election campaign.

However, a staunch defence of the royal house will be a key campaign prong for Umno in the by-election.

The death of the incumbent MP shocked many people but its timing, smack in the middle of the most explosive politics that Perak has seen in a long while, has many in PAS reading it as a divine sign.

The more rational in Pakatan prefer to see it as a perfect storm in the making.

“The way things have fallen into place, how else but to see it as a potential perfect storm,” remarked one DAP politician.

Neverthelss, the Perak imbroglio has thrown up many issues and many players on national stage from royalty to politicians, some hungry for their 15 seconds of fame and eyeing a bigger role in the future.

Datuk Seri Khir Toyo (who tried to march to Karpal Singh’s house), Khairy Jamaluddin (who called for banishment), Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein (who has been calling for action against treason) and Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib (who has been calling for action against bloggers who have commented on the Perak sultan).

Of the four, Khir and Khairy are running for the Umno Youth chief post, Hishammuddin is eyeing a vice-presidential slot and Muhammad is hoping to win as deputy president.

But they all seem to be oblivious to one fact: they are not only auditioning for support in Umno polls but, by virtue of being leaders in Umno, they are also Malaysian leaders.

Therefore, their constituents are also those outside the party, not just the Umno delegates who will likely vote them in for higher positions with the Malay nationalist party that been dominant in Malaysian politics since before Merdeka.

However, the sabre-rattling and political posturing may fly in Umno but not with those outside the party.

Does the country need such emotional, reactionary and irrational leaders as such, who fly at a moment’s anger or upset with political rivals to consider a march, a banishment, rallies and harsh action against those who differ with them in philosophy and opinion?

Does the country need leaders willing to risk public safety and order to prove a point and score points for their party politics?

These are leaders who must rise above party politics and lead the country towards enlightenment and progress, not the dark ages of marches and torches and threats of harm to mind, spirit and body.

In the campaign for Umno votes, and the heaven-sent opportunity of Perak providing a national stage, these leaders must consider that their every word and move is also being considered and evaluated by the public at large.

There is no use of being the king in a small pond but nothing in the big lake that is Malaysia.

These are the days for the wisdom of statesmen not the wild rhetoric of demagogues. These are the days for calm and not chaos. These are the days when you wished these Umno leaders will rise above petty party politics and play a leadership role in the country, just like the ones before them who led the way to Merdeka and, later, Malaysia.

Fortunately, we have options now even if Umno doesn’t realise it yet.


14 February, 2009

Perak MB And Six Excos To Face Privileges Committee

Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and six state executive councillors who took their oaths last Tuesday will be referred to the state legislative assembly's committee of privileges this Wednesday, said Perak Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar.

Sivakumar, who chairs the committee, said notices to attend had been sent to Zambry, Hamidah Osman, Datuk Ramly Zahari, Dr Mah Hang Soon, Datuk Saarani Mohamad, Mohd Zahir Abdul Khalid and Zainol Fadzi Paharudin through the assembly secretary, Abdullah Antong.

Sivakumar said the decision follows a complaint letter sent to him by Canning assemblyman Wong Kah Woh on Thursday that the seven Barisan Nasional assemblymen (BN) be referred to the committee for contempt of the state assembly.

"After meeting, the committee found there was basis or prima facie for the complaint. So the committee made a unanimous decision," Sivakumar told reporters at his office here today.

He said the committee meeting on Feb 12 was attended by himself, Husin Din (Selingsing assemblyman), Chan Ming Kai (Simpang Pulai), Ong Boon Piow (Tebing Tinggi), Loke Chee Yan (Kepayang) and Sum Chok Leng (Bercham) while the sole member from the BN, Temengor state assemblyman Datuk Hasbullah Osman, could not attend as he had a programme in Gerik.

Hamidah is the chairman of the committee for industry, investments, entrepreneur development, ICT, tourism and women affairs; Ramly (infrastructure, public amenities, energy and water); Mah (health, local government, consumer affairs, environment, public transport and non-Muslim affairs); Saarani (information, rural development, poverty eradication, plantations, and welfare); Mohd Zahir (education, higher education, science and technology); and Zainol Fadzi (arts, culture, youth and sports).

Asked about the punishment that can be meted out to the menteri besar and the excos, Sivakumar said the committee would only carry out investigation and table a report and proposal at the next assembly sitting.

"A decision will be made in the assembly," he said.

Sivakumar declined to reveal the contents of Wong's complaint but newspapers today reported that Wong in his letter alleged that the appointment process of Zamby as menteri besar and his exco lineup had violated the Perak state constititution.

Meanwhile, at a news conference at Wisma DAP here, state DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham said Sivakumar had the power to issue a warrant of arrest for the menteri besar and the six excos if they did not appear before the privileges committee.

He said suspending the seven BN assemblymen was among punishment that could be suggested by the committee.



13 February, 2009

The Election Commission has provided another example of its craven subservience to serve Umno interests .

The Election Commission today announced that the by-elections for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and the Bukit Selambau state seat in Kedah will be held simultaneously on April 7.( Malaysiakini )

- Breaking news ? yes, Heart Breaking News

Integrity of Election Commission under spotlight once again.

" Tomorrow, if they decide to hold the by-elections too long a time for now (say perhaps after the March Umno General Assembly), contrary to the pattern shown in Kuala Terengganu and Permatang Pauh, they should catch hell once again for being puppets and biased protectors of a crumbling ruling party."

The Election Commission has provided another example of its craven subservience to serve Umno interests in fixing the simultaneous nomination and polling dates for the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat in Perak and the Bukit Selambau state assembly seat in Kedah on March 29 and April 7 respectively.

Clearly, the fractious and internecine Umno party elections until March 28 had been the primary consideration of the Election Commission when deciding on the two by-election dates, so that the by-election campaign for the two constituencies will be held after the Umno party elections and Datuk Seri Najib Razak has officially taken over UMNO and become the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Nevertheless, Malaysia's incoming prime minister will face his first referendum in two simultaneous by-elections just days after taking office in early April - April Fool day.

Good timing. Coincidentally, the Election Commission set the two by-elections on 7 April. The EC really know how to help Najib out.

"Whether intended or not, the timing of the two polls means it will be seen as referendum on Najib as Prime Minister," said Ibrahim Suffian, director of respected opinion pollster the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research.

According to the tradition in Europe, on the Festival April 1, the masses would cheer and run amok in the streets to celebrate a newly crowned the King of the Fools.

Good Luck, C4, the King of the Fool!

The polls, to be held a month after the government's rollout of a second stimulus package, will also gauge public acceptance of Najib Razak's management of a country whose exports are tumbling and whose economy looks set to slide into its first likely recession in eight years.

The polls are a just week after Najib takes office as Malaysia's sixth Prime Minister with poll ratings that stand at 41 percent versus 46 percent for incumbent Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.


12 February, 2009

Khairy rides high on current issues

The next few weeks leading up to the Umno polls are going to be extra crucial for candidates eyeing positions in the party.

The Umno Youth wing is no exception, with delegates closely monitoring the movements of the three aspirants — the movement’s deputy president Khairy Jamaluddin, Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

Khairy, who had come under severe criticism after the March political tsunami, is on the upswing, with members generally seeing him in a good light, having performed well by riding on current issues.

A Youth delegate said Khairy was again in the thick of action in dealing with DAP chairman Karpal Singh’s debacle.

“Khairy is very aggressive, demanding Karpal to apologise for his threats to sue the Perak Sultan. He has led the Umno Youth movement’s stand to demonstrate outside the lawyer’s office everyday until he apologises to Sultan Azlan Shah.”

The delegate said Khairy was seen as a “brave, young leader” with the courage to lead the movement from the front in line with calls for the movement to revert to being a pressure group for its main body.

Several other delegates said Khairy’s performance during the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary by-election and the current Perak political situation has endeared him to a number of Youth members who feel that they need a leader who can lead them without fear or favour.

They said Khairy seemed to have stolen the thunder from Mukhriz’s slogan of “courage to change”.

“He comes out with guns blazing in confronting issues that affect the Malays and Umno, something the movement has not seen for a long time,” a delegate said.

However, they said delegates were also looking for substance, and not just actions.

“I am still scrutinising the performances of the three aspirants although I have promised one of them my vote. I may change accordingly depending on the scenario and how the three react to issues,” said another delegate.

Several youth delegates said they would be in the up coming by-election venues to see how the three aspirants perform although these might not be the yardstick to gauge them.

One delegate said the reality is many or more than half of the 700-odd delegates had already made up their minds.

“What is left now is we may just change our minds if any of them does something stupid,” he said, without elaborating.

- From Malay Mail


11 February, 2009

Malaysia: UN Review Should Challenge Rights Record

Tonight, the Human Rights Council will be scrutinising the government’s human rights record. Amongst the issues it will examine is the use of the Internal Security Act, the harsh crackdowns on citizens assembling in protest of government policies, and the arrest, detention, and deportation of migrants and refugees.

The government is being examined under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a state-led process in which governments examine the extent to which members of the United Nations meet their obligations and commitments to promote and protect human rights.

- The Malaysian Insider

United Nations member states should raise concerns about arbitrary and preventive detention and abuses against migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers at the upcoming review of Malaysia's human rights record, Human Rights Watch said today.

"A long, hard look at Malaysia's performance on fundamental human rights, including its detention practices, is in order," said Elaine Pearson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "Countries should call Malaysia to account for failing to address abuses against migrants and refugees, and for its continuing use of preventative detention."

Under Malaysia's draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), anyone deemed to be a threat to national security can be detained indefinitely without charge or trial, violating international due process standards. In its submission for the human rights review, Malaysia characterizes the ISA as "essential to peace, stability, and security" and describes the procedures under which a detained person can challenge the detention.

But Malaysia's reliance on the ISA violates a number of international human rights standards, including the right to be free from arbitrary detention, the rights to due process and to a fair trial, and the rights to freedom of speech and expression. While an advisory board reviews all ISA detentions, its recommendations are not binding. The detainees have no avenues of redress as the courts are not permitted to review a case on its merits. Permitted appeals on procedural grounds routinely fail.

On September 12, 2008, the Malaysian government arrested two journalists and an opposition politician under the ISA. All have since been released. But one of the journalists, Raja Petra Lamarudin, founder and editor of Malaysia Today, Malaysia's most popular website, is now on trial for sedition. In December 2007, five leaders of the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) were charged under ISA after the organization staged a demonstration to draw attention to education and economic policies that discriminate against Malaysia's Indian population. These five remain in detention.

"Malaysia uses the pretext of national security to invoke the ISA and lock up critics and political opponents indefinitely," Pearson said. "UN member states should challenge Malaysia to repeal the ISA, and either to charge or to free all those currently detained under its provisions."

In its report to the Human Rights Council, Malaysia fails to address the problems faced by migrant workers, but suggests that a Malaysia-Indonesia Memorandum of Understanding provides necessary protection. Human Rights Watch has long documented abuses suffered by domestic workers - physical abuse, unpaid wages, excessively long working hours, and lack of rest days. The memorandum with Indonesia still fails to establish minimum labor protections or to guarantee the rights of domestic workers to hold their own passports, which sometimes are confiscated by employers to maintain control over an employee.

Human Rights Watch said that UN member states should especially raise concerns about Malaysia's failure to address abuses by the People's Voluntary Corps (Ikatan Relawan Rakyat or RELA), the government-backed force that apprehends irregular migrants and provides security for Malaysia's immigration detention centers. In 2008, Human Rights Watch documented a pattern of abuse by members of RELA, including physical assault, intimidation, threats, humiliating treatment, forced entry into living quarters, extortion, and theft perpetrated against migrants, asylum seekers and refugees (http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/02/04/universal-periodic-review-malaysia).

One detained migrant told Human Rights Watch how RELA members treated them "like animals" and would punch and kick detainees for no apparent reason. Another migrant described a beating by RELA officers that left him so sore that he could not walk for days. The government consistently denies that abuses by RELA are widespread, and instead of disbanding RELA, wants to upgrade it into a fully-fledged enforcement agency.

Regarding human trafficking, Malaysia's submission to the Human Rights Council points to the state's new anti-trafficking law, shelters for trafficking victims, and awareness campaigns to prevent trafficking. But Malaysia has failed to investigate allegations of collusion between Malaysian immigration officers and trafficking gangs on the Malay-Thai border, dismissing such reports as "wild accusations." In 2008, Burmese migrants told Human Rights Watch of being sold to criminal gangs, who charged those with money to smuggle them back into Malaysia and trafficked those who could not pay.

"RELA officers have beaten, tortured, and extorted money from migrants, but instead of punishing them, the government wants to reward their bad behavior by giving them more powers," said Pearson. "In reviewing Malaysia's record, states should be asking why Malaysia won't conduct impartial investigations into the involvement of RELA and immigration officers in abuses against migrants."

Malaysia has not signed major international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its optional protocol, and the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The Malaysian government has repeatedly stated that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will only be given effect where it is compatible with Malaysia's constitution.

( Source )

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10 February, 2009

Khairy Jamaluddin said:"As deputy chief, I give permission for members to do whatever is necessary to protect the sovereignty of the Sultan,”

Umno Youth members will do “whatever is necessary” to prevent former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin from reporting to work today at the State Secretariat.

“If things cannot be controlled, I have no guarantee how Umno Youth members will react as they are already at their limits.

“As deputy chief, I give permission for members to do whatever is necessary to protect the sovereignty of the Sultan,” he said at a rally of youth and movement leaders here yesterday as a show of loyalty for Sultan Azlan Shah.

Thanks for the timely reminder, Khairy

No doubt that what he uttered at a rally in Ipoh in support of the constitutional monarch yesterday was provocative, unhelpful and unproductive – a rant by an Umno politician with one eye on party elections next month and another eye on reminding his storm troopers that, despite his Oxford education, he has what it takes to lead them in the trenches.

But it was also a timely reminder to Malaysians that when Umno/Barisan Nasional has the upper hand, they tend to trade in humility, grace and wisdom for arrogance.

The most important takeaway from Khairy’s performance was this: despite public pronouncements and best intentions, change and reform does not come easy, if at all, for Umno politicians. They eventually get sucked back into playing the role expected of them by their party; they eventually have to adopt the shrill tone and tenor expected of them by the party; they eventually have to play ball if they want to climb up the political ladder.

He emerged from Election 2008 bruised and battered. Yes, he was a winner in Rembau but he also found himself saddled with much of the blame for Barisan Nasional’s poor performance.

His stark rhetoric coupled with his defence of the practice of raising the keris at the Umno general assembly marked him out among Chinese and Indians as a Malay chauvinist.

Yes, if there is one message from Khairy’s performance yesterday, it is that when push comes to shove, the party comes before ideals. Nothing personal, you understand, it’s just the way it is.

Nothing said at the rally yesterday would have helped broker a resolution of the political crisis. It was a show of power and language which was:

• Provocative: Since when did Umno/Barisan Nasional politicians decide who should be banished from a state? Who gave Umno Youth politicians auxiliary police powers to provide a ring of security around the state government’s building?

• Unhelpful: The Sultan of Perak is caught right smack in the eye of the storm. Some people feel that he should have acted with more wisdom while others believe he should have allowed the state assembly to decide if the Pakatan Rakyat government had the confidence of the majority of the House.

The last thing the royal household needs is public and raucous endorsement from the “winners’’. This is akin to a plaintiff standing on the pedestal and singing the praises of a judge after a controversial verdict.

• Unproductive: Even the most myopic Barisan Nasional supporter would have to agree that the ruling coalition’s manner of taking control of Perak has not gone down well with many Perakians.

But instead of showing humility and some circumspection at having come to power through the defection of three Pakatan Rakyat lawmakers, Umno/BN politicians seem content to strut around the state, tossing threats and thumping chests.

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09 February, 2009

Finally, Those clamouring for a by-election in Perak have got their wish !

One is to be held within 60 days following the death of Bukit Gantang MP Roslan Shaharum,51, from a heart attack.

This caps a tumultuous week which saw the Barisan Nasional (BN) seize power from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) triggered last Wednesday by the defection of four assemblymen and followed swiftly by the sultan's refusal to dissolve the state assembly, the sacking of the former mentri besar and state executive council and culminating in the swearing-in of a new MB last Thursday.

Meanwhile in Kedah, V. Arumugam has resigned as the state assemblyman for Bukit Selambau, Kedah Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak announced on Monday night.

V. Arumugam, who resigned as the state executive council member earlier, has now gone missing.

No one seems to know the whereabouts of the former Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Siamese Community Affairs, Unity, Estate Workers and Indian Community Affairs committee chairman.

Arumugam, 55, a retired Royal Malaysia Airforce mechanic, contested in the 12th general election last year as an Independent candidate.

He won the Bukit Selambau seat, defeating Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate S. Krishnan with a majority of 7,695 votes.

He emerged at the last minute as the Independent candidate when the Returning Officer rejected the nomination papers of Saiful Izham Ramli of PKR on technical grounds.

Arumugam later joined the PKR and was appointed a state executive council member.

Recently, a group of people claiming to be representing 500 residents of Taman Ria in Sungai Petani submitted a petition to the Sultan of Kedah claiming that a state executive councillor was involved in an affair with a woman.

PKR vice-president Tian Chua said that Arumugam had been harassed by several people -- face-to-face and over the phone. "They have been threatening to use some personal issues against him and have even gotten his family embroiled in this," he said.

Arumugam, who lodged a police report on Feb 2, claimed that there was an attempt to kidnap him in November and that he had been receiving threatening phone calls. In addition, he had even been given lucrative offers.

He also said a threatening note was left for him after the windscreen of his official car was smashed, and claimed that several individuals had approached him to coax him to leave PKR.

Arumugam said he came forward as he was concerned for his family's safety and asked the police to investigate all reports he had lodged since March last year.

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