26 June, 2010

Securities Commission gets injunction against Datuk Ishak Ismail

The Securities Commission (SC) obtained an ex parte injunction to refrain Datuk Ishak Ismail from dealing with the RM10.2mil worth of proceeds he got from the sale of his shares in troubled furniture maker, Kenmark Industrial Co (M) Bhd.

This is the first such case where the SC acted to prevent dealings in the cash proceeds from a share sale, but in the past the commission had obtained injunctions to prevent disposal of assets in the Swisscash case and stop usage of funds from land sale in the The Ayer Molek Rubber Co Bhd case.

The SC obtained the injunction yesterday following its investigations into suspected breaches of securities laws by Ishak.

The commission is not about to stop where Kenmark is concerned. In fact it is actively investigating possible breaches of securities laws at the company, especially with respect to its previous board, management and key shareholders.

The SC said in a statement yesterday that the Kuala Lumpur High Court had also ordered Ishak to furnish within four days full and complete details of his assets, whether in Malaysia or elsewhere.

The SC said the RM10.2mil proceeds were from the sale of 58.7 million shares.

It is learnt that Ishak bought the Kenmark shares at between 5.8 and six sen each and subsequently sold them between June 9 and 11 at prices between 14 and 16 sen.

His entry and exit from Kenmark within 10 days from early June had raised eyebrows in the investing community. Ishak had said he was getting into Kenmark to help a friend (James Hwang, the managing director of Kenmark) and to offer re-employment to the company’s workers.

Ishak sold his entire direct and indirect 32% stake in the company after he failed to convince Hwang to come back to the company.

The Kenmark saga began when Hwang, a Taiwanese, disappeared mysteriously and that led to the closure of the company’s plants in Port Klang and Vietnam. Nearly a week after his disappearance, Hwang said his absence was due to an illness.

Soon after, Ishak made his brief entry.

Like the SC, Bursa Malaysia is also busy scrutinising documents for possible breaches while the Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group (MSWG) chief executive officer Rita Benoy Bushon wants those responsible for Kenmark’s troubles brought to book.

Kenmark shares continued to fall yesterday, shedding one sen, or 9%, to 10 sen on volume of 18 million shares.

Separately, Kenmark said in reply to a Bursa query that it did not know the identity of the new controlling shareholders following Ishak’s exit as a substantial shareholder.

On its Port Klang operations, it said workers had reported back for work on June 7. Its wood division resumed operations and the management is working towards fulfilling outstanding orders.

As for the printing division, the management was still assessing the condition of equipment and machinery to get them back into working order to meet deliveries, it said.

The equipment and machinery were substantially intact at its Vietnam plant and negotiations were ongoing with suppliers and financiers to resume operations there as soon as practicable, the company said.

Kenmark also said Ho Soo Woon, an executive director, was in charge of the day-to-day management and operations of the company.

The reply to Bursa was made on the collective approval by the four new directors, Datuk Abd Gani Yusof, Ho, Ahmad Azhar Abdullah and Woon Wai En.

“The Taiwanese directors, Hwang, Chen Wen-Ling and Chang Chin-Chuan, have not responded with any comments on the query (from Bursa),’’ Kenmark said.



24 June, 2010

1Funny Malaysia

The government has banned three publications containing political cartoons for criticizing its 'policies' of running the country.

The books, titled 'Perak', 'Land of Cartoons in Malay' and '1 Funny Malaysia', were published late last year.

"All three publications have been banned for their contents that can influence the people to revolt against the leaders and government policies,", Malaysian Home Ministry said in a statement.

"The contents are not suitable and detrimental to public order," it added.

The works are mainly collections of comics by Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, known as Zunar, and other local cartoonists, questioning current events, such as the trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Zunar said that he was waiting for an official letter from the ministry, but vowed that he would not stop drawing.

"In Malaysia the government is like this. They won't allow alternative views. You can do cartoons, you can do whatever art work you want, but it must be in line with the government (view)," Zunar said.

"Drawing cartoons it's my social obligation ... I will highlight the issues that Malaysian cartoonist have failed to highlight so far. They can ban my books, they can ban my publications, but they can't ban my mind," he added.

Zunar has well over RM50,000 worth of reasons for demanding that the Home Ministry provide him with solid reasons for banning three of his books.

That sum, still rising, is what the government's move is costing Zunar from loss of sales.

"I want a proper explanation for the reasons given by the ministry, that the book could influence people to revolt against the leaders and government policies," he said.

"These are serious allegations that should be supported with strong evidence," he added.

However, Zunar remains unfazed by the government's action, saying that the Home Ministry's continued threats will not put a stop to his struggles.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini plans to mount a court challenge against the Home Ministry's decision yesterday to ban 1Funny Malaysia, a cartoon book published by the independent news portal.

Malaysiakini chief executive officer Premesh Chandran described the action by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein to ban the book as “peculiar”.

"The cartoons in 1Funny Malaysia have already been published on the Malaysiakini website (in the Cartoonkini section). As far as we know, there has been no revolt against the government since they were uploaded," said Premesh.

He said Malaysiakini will therefore immediately file for a judicial review of the Home Ministry's decision.

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23 June, 2010

Perkasa boss:"let's play fire with fire" !

Perkasa boss Ibrahim Ali continued his verbal tirade against Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong over the overseas scholarship issue.

He also stood firm on his allegation that the MCA Youth chief had questioned Malay rights, although the deputy minister denied this.

To stress his point, the Perkasa boss quoted a June 16 news report where Wee was reported as asking if the government would reduce the number of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) scholarships following plans to scrap Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships.

Wee was also quoted as saying that scrapping PSD scholarships would not be in line with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's 1Malaysia concept.

Mara scholarships are specifically allocated to Bumiputera students while PSD scholarships are for the other races.

Clearly vexed by Wee's comments at a press conference earlier accusing Ibrahim of “talking rubbish and seeking cheap publicity”, the Perkasa boss said the news report proved his claim.

“So what did he (Wee) mean by this statement? Why did he drag Mara into this? What is his motive? 1Malaysia is only a concept and does not mean (equal privileges for all).

“I would like to throw this paper at his face!” he thundered.

Ibrahim also claimed that Wee is attempting to turn the tables on him after landing in a spot with his comments.

“He was caught saying this and now he wants to deny; he blames me and says that I am looking for cheap publicity. As far as I am concerned, I always talk with facts,” he said.

The Perkasa boss also warned that Wee, the Ayer Hitam MP, would be vanquished in the next general election if he continues to question Malay rights.

“The Malays will never support him. If the Chinese, Indians and Malays stop supporting MCA, then his election result would add up to zero,” he said.

Ibrahim also plans to expose Wee's “true colours” to the Ayer Hitam constituents in Johor when Perkasa sets up a branch there.

“I would tell the Malay voters there (about him), let’s play fire with fire,” he said....more

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21 June, 2010

Tian Chua can opt to undergo two months' imprisonment to stay as MP ?

Deputy Parliament Speaker Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said today that Batu MP Tian Chua can opt to undergo two months' imprisonment if he does not want to risk losing his parliamentary seat.

"Since the PKR leader was sentenced to two months' jail or RM2,000 fine, choosing the former could avoid the vexatious question of whether the fine means Chua's disqualification as MP.

“If Tian Chua were to choose the (two) months' prison term, this issue would not arise,” said Junaidi.

He also said the office of speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia is waiting for the official sealed judgment from Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Justice Ghazali Cha.

Earlier today, justice Ghazali (left) reiterated his decision to impose the reduced fine of RM2,000 on Chua, saying he would not review the decision.

Following a meeting with Ghazali in his chambers, Chua's lawyer Ranjit Singh said the judge had maintained his intention was clear - that he does not want a by-election to be called for the Batu parliamentary seat in Kuala Lumpur.

Meanwhile, Karpal Singh said Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar's interpretation of the controversy surrounding the RM2,000 penalty imposed on PKR national strategy director Tian Chua was incorrect.

“The Speaker said that if Batu undergoes a two-month imprisonment (term), then he (Chua) will not lose his qualification to be an MP. This is an incorrect interpretation,” Karpal said while debating on the 10th Malaysia Plan in the House.

According to Article 48 of the Federal Constitution, if an MP is imprisoned less than a year or fined not less than RM2,000, he loses his seat. Karpal added that Chua had indeed been imposed a penalty of RM2,000.

Karpal explained that the two months' imprisonment is in lieu of the RM2,000 fine.

“If he (Chua) does not pay, then he will be imprisoned for two months. It does not mean if he was imprisoned for two months, he won't lose his qualification as an MP,” Karpal continued.

The DAP national chairman also claimed that it was a wrong interpretation by Wan Junaidi when he said that the qualification issue falls within the power of the House.

“The Speaker has said on (a) Internet (news report), on the issue regarding Batu's qualification being in the hands of this House. This is a wrong interpretation,” Karpal added.

The veteran lawyer then queried whether Wan Junaidi had indeed made the statements mentioned.

“Did you voice this out earlier? I am not cross-examining you, but just want to confirm if you said it,” he asked, to which Wan Junaidi did not respond.

“Why do you (Wan Junaidi) keep quiet? Can you confirm this?,” he probed further, prompting laughter from other MPs.


18 June, 2010

Anwar failed in his bid for key evidence .

The High Court today rejected Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's bid to obtain medical notes and samples from three Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) doctors involved in his sodomy case.

Justice Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah ruled that there was no provision or legal basis for such documents to be supplied to the defence.

"Therefore, I hereby dismiss the application," he said after hearing arguments from both parties this morning.

Anwar, a former deputy premier who was sacked and jailed on separate sex and corruption counts a decade ago, has insisted the charges were trumped up in a conspiracy to end his political career.

His lawyer said the High Court's decision to deny Anwar's application for medical reports, clinical notes and "sexual assault kits" on his accuser would hamper the defence's cross-examination.

"It is akin to tying our hands behind our back and asking us to go into a boxing ring," counsel Sankara Nair said.

"We are most disappointed with the decision of the court. The result of today's decision is that it will lead to an unfair trial," he added.

The defence needed various documents and materials for the scrutiny of Australian forensic expert Assoc Prof David Lawrence Noel Wells, who has been engaged as an observer by Anwar's team, before cross-examining KLH general surgeon Dr Mohd Razali Ibrahim, the second witness.

Anwar had asked for all medical clinical notes and reports, materials, specimens, emails, hand-written notes, correspondence, jottings and observations by the three doctors who examined Mohd Saiful, on June 28, 2008, two days after the latter alleged that he was sodomised by Anwar.

Mohd Razali had examined Mohd Saiful together with emergency care specialist Dr Khairul Nizam Hassan and forensic pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Feng.

Anwar also wanted the complete history of the medical examination of Mohd Saiful conducted at the KLH, standard sexual assault proforma and sexual assault kits used by the hospital and the qualifications and experiences of the three doctors.

The court had set July 14 to continue the trial.

An Australian forensic expert hired by the defence, Dr David Wells, had earlier complained that he would not be able to do his job unless such documents were at hand.

The Victoria Institute of Forensic Medicine professor said his capacity to advise the defence team would be “severely compromised” by the absence of the documents.

The standard procedure in criminal cases is for the prosecution to provide all documentary evidence to the defence before the start of a trial.

However, the Federal Court had ruled that it was not necessary to do so in this case as the defence can make an application for the evidence to be handed over during the trial.

This restrictive ruling means that if Anwar's defence wants to obtain the necessary documents or any other evidence, it would have to submit an application, hence this notice of motion.

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16 June, 2010

DAP to sue the frogs ?

The DAP will send a letter of demand to recently turned independent Malim Nawar state assemblyman Keshvinder Singh and Datuk Hee Yit Foong (DAP-Jelapang), demanding RM5 million compensation from each of them for breach of agreement with the party.

Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Khoo Ham said all party elected representatives in the state had signed the agreement after the March 2008 general election.

"The agreed that if they leave the party and declare themselves independents, they have to pay RM5 million to the party," Ngeh told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

"These people must not benefit from betraying the people. Legal action will be taken against them over this agreement and we assure the people that whatever sum we get from them will be put to use for the people," he added.

The existence of such a agreement was not revealed earlier, said Ngeh, because the party did not want people to think that DAP was making money from its representatives.

"We would like to concentrate on abhorrence over betrayal of the people," he said.

"These people must not benefit from betraying the people and legal action will be taken against them over this contract. We assure the people that whatever sum we get from them will be dedicated for the people," he said.

Keshvinder tendered his resignation to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng yesterday, claiming that there was not enough development funds for his constituency.

He had also alleged 'too much politicking' as his reason for quitting and his belief that only BN can help develop the area, which is largely rural.

“I would like to disclose what might have triggered him to jump - firstly, his financial problem; and secondly, which I won't disclose in detail, is his personal problems,” said Ngeh.

“When he came back from the Sibu by-election, he said his car had been repossessed after he failed to settle his installments for a few months.”

Ngeh said that Titi Serong state assemblyperson and Backbencher Council chairperson Khalil Idham Lim had extended a RM3,500 loan to Keshvinder for him to settle the outstanding amount.

Keshvinder's financial crisis did not end there, Ngeh said. Keshvinder was hit with more problems last month when his clerk embezzled RM45,000 from his law firm.

“He informed us that his clerk had committed criminal breach of trust (CBT) in his office and some RM45,000 of clients' money had vanished and he asked for our help.

“We advised him to lodge a police report. As lawyers we know if our staff take our money, we are covered by professional insurance. He said he would make a complaint but I don't know whether he has done so.

“Thirdly, I received complaints from the Ipoh Royal Club that he has yet to pay his subscription and his name has been posted as a defaulting member of the club.

“He told me that we should help him as it would tarnish his image as a DAP elected representative. In fact I did, I personally spoke to him two weeks ago about his financial problem and he refused to explain in detail and said he was okay.”

Ngeh added that DAP was willing to bail him out of his problems and many people have occasionally loaned him hundreds of ringgit to ease his burden.

“The issue of us not caring is unjust. He must blame himself for the predicament he is in when he accepted the offer from Umno to jump,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kepayang assemblyperson Loke Chee Yan and Buntong representative A Sivasubramaniam denied suggestions that they were also ditching DAP.

S Kesavan (PKR-Hutan Melintang), also rumoured to defect because he was allegedly incommunicado, is reportedly unwell and has also denied the speculations.

Loke, when contacted by Malaysiakini, quashed rumours that he would be next, saying his presence with the state DAP leadership in parliament today was proof of his loyalty.

“I know my name has been bandied around along with the Hutan Melintang representative.

“That is untrue! I am committed to the DAP cause. Whatever was said ... by some media today, that I may be next, is totally untrue,” he said.

He also maintained that he could still be reached at the same handphone number. 'I have not switched numbers,” he said, to rumours that the assemblypersons' refusal to answer calls was a sign that they were ready to jump.

DAP vice-chairperson M Kulasegaran also denied Sivasubramaniam was defecting.

“I talked to him last night and there is no truth to the rumour that he would be leaving the party. This is the work of the BN, who could be trying to split the party up,” said Kulasegaran (left), who is also the Ipoh Barat MP and Perak DAP deputy chief.

Perak PKR chairperson Mustaffa Kamil Ayub also rubbished rumours about Kesavan.

“I just talked to him this morning. He denied to me that he would be leaving the party. Kesavan maintains that this was the work of rumour-mongers who are out to destroy the Pakatan spirit in the wake of Keshvinder's departure,” he said.

The Perak PKR supremo also explained that Kesavan did not entertain any calls yesterday because he was suffering from mouth ulcers.

“But he answered my call when he recognised my number. I feel there is no truth to such rumours.”


15 June, 2010

Perak: Another frog , a "clean" frog from DAP joins "Hee" the independent frog !!

Malim Nawar state assembly person Keshvinder Singh has quit DAP and declared himself independent.

His decision to quit DAP and support BN is ironical since he had complained to the authorities last year that he was offered RM20 million to defect, declare himself Independent and express support for BN.

He had claimed that the offers were made by various agents claiming to represent then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

In March 2008, Keshvinder won the seat with a majority of 1,362 against MCA's Dr Chai Song Poh.

Keshvinder told reporters that he tendered his resignation to DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng this morning, citing too much politicking in Pakatan as his reason for quitting.

He said that his decision was in the best interests of his constituents because he believes that only BN can help develop the area, which is largely rural.

"The state and national DAP did not assist me in helping the people. I couldn't do anything for my constituents as an opposition state assembly person," he said, adding that he had been using his own funds thus far.

He also denied suggestions that he was paid to leave DAP and challenged detractors to inspect his bank accounts.

He remained adamant that he has not been approached by any BN members.

“I am clean,” he said.

Nizar, the ex-MB, has just told reporters at the Parliament this morning that several BN reps had come to see him.

These reps had told him they were unhappy with MB Zambry and would support Nizar if a vote of no confidence is proposed against the MB.



14 June, 2010

May 13 a "class war" ?

Gerakan Tindakan Rakyat (Gertak's) much-talked-about Melayu Bangkit rally kicked off to a lukewarm response despite the fervour of its organisers and the ruckus it created in the media.

According to Malaysiakini,only 1,000 people gathered at the indoor stadium in Kuala Terengganu this morning, far short of the promised 10,000, for the controversial rally intended to unite Malays into a force to be reckoned with, and to defend kedaulatan Melayu.

Most in the crowd remained silent throughout the speeches and failed to respond to the cries of “Allah Hu Akbar” from the organisers who tried to get them to join in.

In an hour-long keynote address, former premier Mahathir Mohamad claimed that the May 13 racial riots which took place in 1969 was a “class war” between the rich and the poor.

“Those uprisings are caused by the development of socialist ideas and the communist thought which led to the disenfranchised poor rising to attack the rich. A class war caused by the huge gap between the rich and the poor which killed millions... And these people are from the same race,” he said.

He explained that the problem is compounded in Malaysia as the divide between the haves and have-nots is made worse by the fact that both sides often come from different races.

This disparity of wealth, he said, is something the nation needs to address and correct lest events like May 13 is repeated.

However, Mahathir stressed that the non-Malays who have been graciously granted citizenship must understand that the Malays rose (in 1969) because they were losing out economically.

The Malays, he said, do not want to take what belongs to non-Malays but just want their fair share.

Mahathir also admitted that he believes that Malays will not perform in a pure meritocracy system, thus must be protected by the system to ensure that they - as “historical masters of the land” - are not left behind.

“I am not racist, I have also done a lot to help other races,” he claimed, decrying those who label him as such.

He added that he is highlighting the issue because it needs to be addressed for the good of the nation and not because of any racist undertones.

Mahathir then warned that the Malays are now in a stage of “crisis” and they would follow the same fate like their kind in Singapore, a minority group which is not protected by the government, if they don't act now.

“If we don't act rationally, one day we will be like the Malays in Singapore. A people that are truly powerless. So they have to bow down to another race,” said the former premier.

He further lamented the fate of the Malays, saying their political support has been fragmented between Umno and Malay-based opposition parties.

He said this was a dangerous precedent which weakened the Malays further, putting them at risk of losing their place in their own land.

Mahathir also said that cancellation of the May 13 rally was due to the short-sightedness of some parties who feared that the gathering of Malays on the date of racial riots in 1969 may provoke insurrection.

He explained that the date was chosen by coincidence and without ulterior motives.

Mahathir added that people need to be reminded of events in history “if we are to learn from it”.

“Learn from history or we are doomed to repeat it,” said Mahathir, quoting the popular adage.


13 June, 2010

Three Umno assemblypersons in Perak are ready to jump ship ?

It looks like a tit-for-tat political scenario of cross-overs in Perak as the state PKR now claims three Umno assembly persons are ready to jump ship to its party allegedly over unhappiness with Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir.

PKR state information chief Zulkifly Ibrahim told a media conference at state party headquarters in Ipoh that negotiations are going on between the three Umno assembly persons and PKR's top leadership.

He declined to name the alleged three Umno defectors, but said the party leadership will be making an official statement on this matter soon and release the names of the three.

According to Zulkifly, state Umno members are unhappy with Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's move to legalise football gambling by giving a sports betting licence to tycoon Vincent Tan's Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd.

Furthermore, he claimed, there is disillusion among state Umno members it is alleged that more priority are given to state PKR members who cross over rather than Umno members themselves.

No details were given as to the terms and conditions of the purported cross-over plans.

Meanwhile, Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir, dismissed as a lie on opposition claim that three Perak Umno state assemblypersons would join Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) soon.

Zambry, who is chairman of the Perak Umno Liaison Committee, said the allegation was designed to cause disunity in the state Umno which was gaining strength.

"They (the opposition) are trying to create issues at a time when their leaders are leaving the party one by one," he said .

Zambry "advised" Zulkifli to focus on harnessing humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza instead of trying to disunite the people in Perak.

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11 June, 2010

Chua Jui Meng losing two datukship awards from the Johor palace nothing to do with politic ?

The Johor Royal Council has confirmed that it has stripped PKR supreme council member Chua Jui Meng of his two 'datuk' titles, but denied that it was due to political pressure.

Its secretary Abdul Rahim Ramli said that the Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar's jurisdiction to grant or revoke such titles "goes beyond politics".

"There was no political pressure to award or take back any titles. The Sultan of Johor has nothing to do with politics. Politicians do not have a say in this," he said at a press conference at the royal palace today.

Johor Umno has also denied any involvement in Chua Jui Meng losing two datukship awards from the Johor palace.

"The palace's decision is not connected to the party," said state information chief Samsol Bahari Jamali.

"Such allegations are baseless, as it is not Johor Umno's way in meddling with palace matters," he said here today, when contacted for comment on rumours that Umno had a hand in the matter.

Samsol reminded Chua not to politicise palace matters, especially as he is also an anak Johor.

Apart from Chua, three more people have confirmed lost their titles conferred by the Johor Sultan.

They are the current Sultan's brother-in-law Kommander Shaftdean Lufty Rusland, lawyer Hassan Yunos and North Pole explorer Sharifah Mazlina Syed Abdul Kadir.

The palace said in the past a few other people had been "quietly" stripped of their titles.

But it decided to announce the latest names because of insinuations that Chua Jui Meng lost his because of political interference.

"However, we have to issue a statement now as Chua has made allegations and issued statements.

"We don't want the public to question the matter or even speculate as we want to tell the truth," he said, stressing that no political pressure had led to the stripping of Chua’s titles.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will seek an audience with Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar over the two 'datuk' titles that were stripped from former health minister Chua Jui Meng.

He was surprised at the revocation of the titles, but said Chua had taken the news calmly and was resilient.


10 June, 2010

Dr Mahathir :" Human Rights Probe should be internal first "

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, widely acknowledged as the architect of Malaysia’s modernization, who was in Sri Lana to deliver the keynote address at the International Business Forum, granted the Daily Mirror an exclusive print media interview.

Q: I understand your first visit to Sri Lankan was in 1962, do you have a count of the number of visits you have had to Sri Lanka? And what did you find as most significant in Sri Lanka, in terms of progress each time you visited?

I think I have visited Sri Lanka four times. Well, since independence you have made progress but I see that the progress has been slow because you were having problems. Now that the problems have been resolved, I can see it is peaceful and stable. I am quite sure I am going to see a big difference, the next time I come here.

Q: Sri Lanka has just overcome a three decade war, although the people in the country are relieved about this, we have had to put up with a lot of Western criticism of how Sri Lanka handled the war, particularly the last phase. What would be your advice in this situation?

Well when you are fighting a war there are certain things which happen which are really unavoidable. War means killing people that is why we are very much against war but sometimes of course people consider that you have used, much more force than is necessary. But over time I think it is the way you treat the defeated people which is going to be important. If they are integrated with the society, and if they also benefit from the kind of development you are going to carry out, I am quite sure that world opinion will change

Q:Currently there are allegations against Sri Lanka on Human Rights violations, this has also been cited as a reason for the withdrawal of the GSP plus, also the UN has requested for a probe on alleged war crimes by Sri Lanka- Your comments Sir?

I think the probe should be done internally first, using judges and other highly respected people. But if there is anything amiss in that, then it requires international involvement, maybe you should allow then to do a probe. But I think this is an internal problem of Sri Lanka.

Q:You had once condemned the UDHR, calling it an ‘oppressive instrument by which the US and other countries try to impose their values on Asians’. Could you elaborate more on your stand on human rights?

We should be open and explain why you have done certain things. Instead of hiding. Not being able to defend your position versus accusations against you. Yes-we do arrest people, we do not torture people. In Malaysia we do detain people without trial but we do under the laws of the country. We have the ISE, it is a law that permits us, that allows us to detain people. We do not torture people as it has happened in Britain and America. They torture the people arrested by them. We don’t do that kind of thing. We are open. Anyone can say we are wrong. We have our own people’s well being in mind all the time.

Q: Although having been a critic of the USA, your relationship with the USA was strong- How was that possible?

When we have been critical of the USA, it is because something is wrong. Relationships should be based on what is right. Just because someone is your friend you can’t do what you want. Americans themselves are critical of their governments when they do something wrong. We were able to attract the business people in making investments. They are not interested in the politics of the country. We were being nasty, but were very cooperative in getting what we want.

Well, I think one of the most important things that we did in Malaysia was to choose models and to learn from the models how to carry out development. Now is the time for you to determine who your models should be. It is not necessary to be just one model, maybe a whole range of models and I think you can learn a lot about developments from these models.

Q:There are some who call our President, an extremist, a Sinhala extremist. What is your impression of this?

I was also called an extremist, a dictator, if you work for your people eventually you will be exonerated.


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09 June, 2010

Iran: one year on

This weekend one year will have gone by since the Iranian people took to the streets in droves to protest at the fraudulent elections that returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the presidency. These peaceful demonstrations were met with extreme violence carried out by the Iranian regime. Since that day, the people have not backed down and continue to fight peacefully for basic human rights. Meanwhile, the government continues its crackdown on any opposition or dissent with ever increasing brutality.

Just a few weeks ago, on 9 May, the lengths to which the regime will go to crush its opponents came to light. Five political prisoners were executed in secret. Not even their families or their lawyers were notified.

Shirin Alam Holi, a 28-year-old Kurdish woman, was executed along with four men. In letters from Evin prison, Shirin wrote of being tortured to confess to charges of terrorism. She refused to confess, sealing her fate. At least 25 other men and women await the same fate on death row.

However, as we see time and time again, the harsher the repression, the stronger the movement grows. And as the story of Shirin Alam Holi demonstrates, women are at the forefront of the struggle for human rights in Iran.

But it is interesting to observe that this powerful feminist movement was not born out of the elections. It has been gaining strength and momentum since the Islamic revolution of 1979 – when the regime began imposing laws that were discriminatory against women – and even predates the revolution. Women in Iran have enjoyed the right to vote for nearly 50 years, since 1963. Today, under an even more repressive regime, they are flooding the ranks of doctors, professors and chief executives. Women now constitute more than 63% of university students. Is it any wonder that they refuse to stand idly by and accept that their lives are not worth as much as that of a man? (read more here)


08 June, 2010

No legal counsel for Anwar

The parliamentary rights and privileges committee has convened its meeting to consider the propriety of specific remarks made in the House by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

However, he was asked to leave the room while the committee decided on his formal requests for an open hearing and legal representation.

MPs Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai), Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong), Azmin Ali (PKR-Gombak) and Loh Gwo-Burne (PKR-Kelana Jaya) had initially entered the meeting room as observers, but were sent out immediately.

"It's clear cut. The rules clearly state that MPs are allowed, so when we objected, they are deciding again," said Gobind.

The committee then decided that Anwar's lawyer and former Bar Council head S Ambiga could be present as an observer.

Anwar, who is accused of misleading the house over the Apco Worldwide issue, attended the first part of the meeting but was asked to leave shortly afterwards.

Committee members Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor) and R. Sivarasa (PKR-Subang) said it was disappointing the majority of the members voted against Anwar having legal representation during the hearing.

Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia chaired today's meeting. The committee members present, besides Karpal and Sivarasa, were deputy speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee, Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn (BN-Alor Gajah), Datuk Razali Ibrahim (BN-Muar) and Nancy Shukri (BN-Batang Sadong).

"Anwar has been denied the privilege to appear with counsel, the position which was taken by four members (excluding the speaker) but Sivarasa and I were against it," Karpal, the DAP national chairman, said.

He said Standing Order 83 rule 7(A) states the committee has the right to allow counsel for anyone who appears before it.

Karpal said the proceeding has been adjourned to tomorrow but Anwar will not be present.

Sivarasa said Anwar's absence is against the laws of natural justice "because you can’t take evidence in the absence of the accused".

"We take a serious view of what has happened. We thought Anwar should not just be given the right of counsel but the right to be represented by a counsel," he said.

He also said the committee has called representatives from Apco Worldwide for tomorrow 's hearing.

The firm, employed by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's administration, was allegedly linked to the Zionist regime, according to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's speech in the Dewan Rakyat on March 17.

Anwar alleged that Apco Worldwide was behind both Najib's 1Malaysia concept and the 'One Israel' initiative.

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07 June, 2010

Proton says Volkswagen tie-up talks off !

Malaysian national car-maker Proton said Volkswagen AG will not collaborate with it because the German automaker "has other priorities," the second time talks between the two have failed, sending Proton's shares down more than 5 percent.

Proton said in a statement that Volkswagen "would be an interesting collaboration partner," but Volkswagen has declined during preliminary talks to partner up with Proton.

"Volkswagen confirmed that it currently has other priorities," the statement said. It did not elaborate, and a spokeswoman could not immediately give further details.

Proton said it would continue to work with other partners such as Mitsubishi and would aim to expand domestically and regionally.

Meanwhile,Proton Holdings Bhd., Malaysia’s state-controlled automaker, is heading for its biggest daily decline in 13 months in Kuala Lumpur trading after Volkswagen AG, Europe’s largest carmaker, ended partnership talks.

Proton shares slid as much as 5.9 percent after the company said a potential collaboration with Volkswagen was scrapped because the German carmaker had “other priorities.” The Southeast Asian company “acknowledges” Volkswagen’s decision and will forge ahead with its current strategy, including a product collaboration with Japan’s Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

Proton is seeking foreign partners to help bolster exports and develop new models to compete with Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. in its home market. The stock was down 5.9 percent to 4.45 ringgit as of 3:13 p.m. local time, outpacing the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index, which fell 0.6 percent. Proton closed down 8.5 percent on April 27, 2009.

Proton’s need for a strategic partner “is crucial at this juncture before Proton gets left further behind,” with plans to enter the export market, OSK Research Sdn. analyst Ahmad Maghfur Usman said in a report today. “Innovativeness in the automobile industry is moving rapidly,” he said.

OSK cut its share price forecast to 5.67 ringgit from 6.94 ringgit, describing the Volkswagen pullout as a “negative development” that might impact earnings. It maintained its “buy” rating on the company, the report said.

“Talks that might have been taking place recently have not proceeded anymore and there will not be further talks,” said Peik Von Bestenbostel, a spokesman for Wolfsburg, Germany-based Volkswagen, in a telephone interview today. He declined to comment further.

This is the second time the companies have abandoned talks. In November 2007, Proton ended more than 12 months of negotiations with Volkswagen to give itself more time to reverse five quarters of losses.

Proton, formed in 1983 by then-premier Mahathir Mohamad as an emblem of industrialization, made a profit of 22.8 million ringgit ($6.8 million) in the three months ended March 31 compared with a loss of 323 million ringgit a year earlier. Sales climbed to 2.26 billion ringgit from 1.4 billion ringgit.

“Proton needs to secure a strategic alliance in order to optimize their plants’ utilization and ensure long-term survival,” RHB Research Institute said in a report today.

Proton will focus on penetrating other Asian markets in the “near future” and remains “committed” to expand in China with Youngman Automobile Group in China, it said in the statement.

It is also discussing possible technical alliances with Renault SA and the former General Motors Corp. to help it make new models, Proton said in April 2009.

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05 June, 2010

Foreign Affairs Dato' Sri Anifah Aman demanding Israel ensure the safety of the Malaysian citizens onboard the MV Rachel Corrie,

Malaysian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dato' Sri Anifah Aman released a statement demanding Israel ensure the safety of the Malaysian citizens onboard the MV Rachel Corrie.

Malaysia strongly demands Israel to ensure the safety of all the humanitarian activists onboard the cargo vessel MV Rachel Corrie that was seized by the Israeli Defence Force early morning of 5 June 2010.

Malaysia also demands for Israel not to take any drastic and violent military action on the unarmed passengers of the Rachel Corrie. All the humanitarian activists on board the Rachel Corrie should be given the necessary assistance to ensure their safety. Malaysia also calls on Israel to ensure a safe passage for the vessel to Gaza to deliver the humanitarian cargo. In this regard, Malaysia urges the International Community to persuade Israel to allow the humanitarian vessel to reach Gaza safely.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is closely monitoring the developments as there are six Malaysians on board the Rachel Corrie.

Dato' Sri Anifah Aman

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia


04 June, 2010

Malaysia urged Israel not to take any action that could harm people aboard the Malaysian-funded Irish aid ship

The MV Rachel Corrie,now heading to Gaza,is carrying 11 activists, including Mairead Corrigan, a Nobel Peace laureate, and eight crew members, just days after another aid vessel was boarded by Israeli soldiers who killed nine activists.

Anifah Aman, Malaysia's foreign affairs minister, said in a statement issued late on Thursday that the Israeli authorities should ensure a safe passage for the vessel to Gaza to deliver the humanitarian cargo.

The Rachel Corrie is funded by Perdana Global Peace Organisation, a Malaysian non-governmental organisation headed by former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The vessel hoped to arrive in Gaza on Saturday with a cargo of humanitarian aid.

Volunteers on the MV Rachel Corrie are not trained soldiers, and they are fearful of being attacked by the Israeli army – but they are determined to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“Of course there is worry, but this is an amanah (trust bestowed upon us) to deliver the aid to Gaza,” said Perdana Global Peace Organisation representative Shamsul Akmar in an interview.

He is on board the sole ship making its way to Gaza.

Rachel Corrie was supposed to be part of the flotilla but she got left behind due to delays and some “suspicious stringent checks” by port authorities at several places, said Shamsul.

If all goes well, the 1,200 tonne Rachel Corrie, carrying medical aid, construction material, toys, educational and writing material is expected to reach Gaza on Saturday.

There are 19 people on board and they have been travelling for 20 days.

Other than Shamsul, who is the head of the delegation, there are five other Malaysians – Matthias Chang, Parit MP Nizar Zakaria, activist Ahmad Faizal Azumu and TV3 crew members Halim Mohamed and Jufri Junid.

Also on board is a strong Irish delegation with Nobel Peace Laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire.

There are six crew members, a captain and a chief engineer.

Shamsul said there are a number of possible scenarios:

> Israel may let Rachel Corrie through

> Israel may become aggressive and board the ship; and

> those on board the ship may be shot by Israeli forces

Shamsul said that if Israel stopped the ship in international waters, but the ship was forced away, “we collectively feel we should stay there for a few days to try and deliver the aid.”

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03 June, 2010

Sodomy case : "there was enough evidence of penetration even though there were no injuries."

The sodomy trial of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim continues today, with a doctor who examined key witness Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan telling the High Court here that the presence of semen in the complainant's anal region was evidence of penile penetration.

However, said Dr Mohd Razali Ibrahim, a general surgeon at the Kuala lumpur Hospital (KLH), he coud not find injuries or trauma in the complainant's rectal area.

The doctor, who was on duty at 7pm on June 28, 2008 , said he received Saiful at the emergency unit.

Based on a chemist report produced in court, the doctor agreed with the prosecution that there was enough evidence of penetration even though there were no injuries.

The report also stated that swabs taken from Saiful's rectal area contained semen.

Razali said he examined Saiful, 25, on June 28 and took four swabs from him that day.

Questioned by lead prosecutor Solicitor-General II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, Razali said the four swabs had revealed the presence of semen.

The four swabs, he said, were two high rectal swabs, one low rectal swab and one perianal swab.

"I would say there was penile penetration," added Razali, who has handled more than 100 cases involving anal region.

The second prosecution witness testified that it was also consistent with the allegation by Saiful that lubricant was used when he was sodomised by Anwar on June 26, 2008.

"Everything is consistent," the doctor said, causing those seated at the public gallery to whisper among each other.

Razali said he had examined the external area of Saiful's anus, which showed there was no injury, trauma or fissure.

"I found that the anal opening (perianal area) was moist. I found a small hemorrhoid (piles)," he told the court.

Razali said he had inserted a proctoscope (a medical device) into the complainant's rectum, with the aid of a gel, during the medical examination.

"After I put the proctoscope, we decided to take the samples by using the swabs provided," he said.

Questioned by Mohd Yusof, he confirmed that he took three swabs from the inside of the rectum area and one from outside.

"There is no tear or contact bleeding," he said.

At that time, said Razali, emergency care specialist Dr Khairul Nizam Hassan and forensic pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Feng were present.

"I passed each swab to Dr Siew as he is in charge of those things. He put it into a container and wrapped it," added Razali.

He said the swabs were sealed by Siew, from the Forensic Medicine department, who handed over the specimens to investigating officer DSP Judy Blacious Pereira on June 29, 2008, for laboratory analysis.

Asked on the content of a medical report prepared by him and two others, Razali said they stated that there was no conclusive clinical findings suggestive of penetration to the anus and no significant defensive wound on the complainant's body.

However, he added, the medical report did not mean that there was no evidence of penetration.

"It is a complete report without knowing the location (of the samples taken)."

Razali said he was made known of the location of the samples taken from the complainant and laboratory reports for the first time Thursday. This enabled him to make a definitive conclusion over the evidence of penetration.

"With all (these) reports I have now, there is evidence of penetration even without the clinical injuries (found on the complainant)," he said.

To a question, he agreed that the presence of semen also showed that there was anal penetration.

Anwar Ibrahim, facing his second sodomy trial in twelve years, pointed out that today's testimony by a Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) doctor that a semen sample was found in his accuser's anus could be challenged.

He also painted a picture that the DNA specimen recovered or whatever semen sample found could have been planted.

Anwar revealed that Australian forensic specialist Dr David Wells had described the procedures employed by HKL to be irregular.

"The doctor did say on assumption of the discovery of semen [...] all this is based on assumption on this and that. He only said 'this is our conclusive finding' but on the assumption of the presence of the semen sample," said Anwar

Asked whether he was shocked with the doctor's testimony that a semen sample was found, Anwar said the witness did not establish that the sample was his.

"You will be surprised if you get the report. They say semen and DNA samples were found of two people. This is indeed a Bollywood drama," he said.

"This is all a political battle against Anwar. It is clear. You will be surprised to know whose semen it is," he said, adding the sample could have been planted.

Anwar also charged that the prosecution was not telling the truth when they said they could not allow the defence access to the semen sample taken because 'there was only one'.

He pointed out that Razali Ibrahim did say that the hospital had kept two sets of the samples for control.

"This is something new (what the doctor said). He said he had some specimens. However, the police and the prosecution said there were no specimens left."

"But now after one and a half years, there is this specimen left. All this is very irregular."

"I will leave it to the lawyers. I am not worried at all. After 12 years of media propaganda, it has no effect on me."


01 June, 2010

Israel Holds Hundreds Seized During Raid on Flotilla

A day after Israeli commandoes raided an aid flotilla seeking to breach the blockade of Gaza, Israel held hundreds of activists seized aboard the convoy on Tuesday as news reports said activists may be planning a fresh attempt to ferry supplies to the Hamas-run enclave.

The United Nations Security Council condemned “acts” leading to the loss of life in Israel’s operation in international waters on Monday that claimed the lives of nine civilians, many of them Turks. After hours of late-night negotiations, the Security Council urged an impartial inquiry — a call echoed in a separate forum by Russia and the European Union on Tuesday at a meeting of senior officials in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.

For its part, Turkey, once seen as Israel’s most important friend in the Muslim world, recalled its ambassador and canceled planned military exercises with Israel as the countries’ already tense relations soured even further. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel was flying home after canceling a Tuesday meeting with President Obama.

Mr. Netanyahu defended the Israeli military’s actions, saying the commandos, enforcing what Israel says is a legal blockade, were set upon by passengers on the Turkish ship they boarded and fired only in self-defense. The military released a video of the early moments of the raid to support that claim.

Israel said the violence was instigated by pro-Palestinian activists who presented themselves as humanitarians but had come ready for a fight. Organizers of the flotilla accused the Israeli forces of opening fire as soon as they landed on the deck, and released videos to support their case. Israel released video taken from one of its vessels to supports its own account of events.

On Tuesday, activists promised more confrontation. Greta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement that organized the flotilla said that another cargo boat was heading to Gaza from the coast of Italy while a second boat carrying some 35 passengers was expected to join it.

While the Israeli public seemed largely to support the navy, policy experts questioned preparations for the military operation, whether there had been an intelligence failure and whether the Israeli insistence on stopping the flotilla had been counterproductive. Some commentators were calling for the resignation of Ehud Barak, the defense minister.

The graphic footage of elite naval commandos being beaten and thrown overboard by demonstrators armed with sticks and knives has shocked a country that once prided itself on daring and secretive attack and rescue missions.

"Endless questions are being asked. What happened to Israel's vaunted creativity? Why was the worst of all possible options chosen? Where was the army chief of staff? Where were the intelligence services?" Ari Shavit wrote in the centre-left Haaretz newspaper.

"Why didn't we see that instead of tightening the siege on Gaza, we were about to tighten the siege on ourselves?"

The morning papers were filled with criticism over the mission, with many wondering how the defence establishment could have so misjudged the situation that they failed to even use tear-gas or smoke grenades to clear the deck of the Mavi Marmara before rappelling down without guns in hand.

"The Turkish flotilla is as much a 'peace flotilla' as (Iranian President) Mahmud Ahmadinejad is Mother Theresa," Ben Caspit wrote in Israel's Maariv daily.

"The naval operation ... was complete stupidity. A mixture of failures that led to a disgraceful fiasco," Caspit added.

"But above the (military) there is a political echelon. It is the one that has to make the decision. To be cautious. To take into account unexpected entanglements and scenarios. This echelon failed abysmally yesterday."

Israel's mass-selling Yediot Aharonot also faulted the political leadership, with columnist Sever Plotsker calling on Defence Minister Ehud Barak to resign over the affair, saying he had "failed miserably."

"There isn't a broom broad enough to sweep this failure under the rug," he wrote.

Big questions were unanswered: notably, how far Israel could continue to blockade 1.5 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip after condemnation from allies; and how Israeli commanders miscalculated the situation and dropped marines onto a Turkish ship where they felt they had to open fire to save their lives.

Some 700 activists, many Turks but including Israelis and Palestinians as well as Americans and many Europeans -- among them politicians, a Jewish Holocaust survivor and Swedish author -- were held in and around Israel's port of Ashdod, where the six ships of the blockade-running convoy had been escorted.

They were detained incommunicado, ensuring no contradiction of Israel's version of Monday's events. The military said the nine activist were killed when commandos, who stormed aboard a Turkish cruise ship from dinghies and helicopters, opened fire in what Netanyahu said was self-defence.

Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said most detainees would be free to go once they had undergone a process of checks and interrogation lasting about half an hour:

"They will have a medical examination, an investigation, questioning, and afterwards, whoever wants to leave Israel can go to (Tel Aviv) airport," he told local television.

Exceptions would be those suspected of involvement in violence. They would face prosecution, the minister said.