30 July, 2010

Kiasuland VS Bolehland


Please Read the wisdom of a renowned statesman:


Mr. Chairman, friends,

I want to say how delighted I am this morning to be able to join you in presenting these scholarships to 10 students, $100/- each, and not only to Indian students. The money probably came all from Indians because they are members of your Mission but the scholarships are also being given to Malays and to Chinese too.

It is these little gestures which make for harmony and understanding. I remember reading not so long ago about some special scholarships they were going to name after one of their leaders in Malaya, and they were going to get everybody to contribute, but the scholarships were only for one group. It makes life a rather difficult and trying business. But that is now no longer our business: we cannot interfere. We mind our own affairs.

But I say, neverthless, as Dr. Ismail has said in Canberra - and he is an honest man who said that one day these two territories will come back again, but under very different circumstances and different conditions. And he was an honest man to say that if Singapore remained in Malaysia, there would be language and race riots in 1967. He said that - I did not say that. He said that and it was reported in Canberra. I got the newspapers sent back to me. Because Singapore was setting the example in tolerance, multi-lingualism, multi-racialism; a multi-regligious, multi-cultural society. And there are some people whose grasp of history is somewhat limited and they are the people who shout these slogans:

"One race, one language, one religion"

It worries me. I think they ought to see the optician and put on their glasses. Then they will know there are many races, racial groups, but one nationality. I think they ought to see the ear specialist because obviously, their ears are not hearing properly. Or, they will know that we speak many languages. And they will know that today Sunday, Christians go to church: Friday, Malays go to their mosques: Indians have Thaipusam, Deepavali and their ceremonial occasions; so with Buddhists, so with Seventh Day Adventists, on a Saturday. And what is wrong about that?

We will set the example. This country belongs to all of us. We made this country from nothing, from mud-flats. It is man, human skill, human effort which made this possible. You came, you worked - for yourselves, yes. But in the process, your forefathers and my forefathers who came here: we built this civilization.

It is one of the few cities in Asia where you can get anything you want. You pick up the telephone: it works; and it not only works internally. You can pick up the telephone and speak to Delhi, London Tokyo, Canberra - anywhere you want. Do you think you can do that just by shouting slogans? You can get the best in any of the hotels in a meal. European food? You can get the best in any one of the hotels in town. Chinese food? What kind do you like? There is Cantonese, Hokkien and Teochew. Indian food? There are South Indian, North Indian: anything you like. Malay food? You like Sumatran food, nasi padang? Where else in the world can you get this?

And I say, we will progress. I was sad not because Singapore was going to suffer: No. I was sad because by this separation, we could not help millions of our own people, our own countrymen in Malaya, in Sabah and Sarawak to progress with us. That was why I was sad. We could not help them any more.

They have now got to help themselves. They have got to throw out their own leaders and they have got to take a stand. We cannot interfere. Here in Singapore, in ten years, Geyland Serai will be another and better Queenstown, all the shacks will be demolished. I say that for Singapore because I do not think Singapore is boasting when it says it can do it. It will do it. But do you think in ten years, the kampongs in Malaya will have Queenstowns? I do not think so.

If you want that, then you must have the thrust, the ideas, the dynamism, the push, the tolerance of each other. That is why I was sad for them who are our people. Not just Chinese and Chinese, Indians and Indians. They are many Malays here.

Half of our police force comes from Malaya. Their familes are left behind there. They will be quartered; they will live in modern civilised conditions. Their families will come down here and they will want to stay with them, and we will have to say "No" because there is a limit to what we can absorb. We have only got 214 square miles. It is a cruel thing to do this. But it has to be done, some people wanted it this way. We could have helped them emerge, but it was not be to be.

But I say to you: Here we make the model multi-racial society. This is not a country that belongs to any single community: it belongs to all of us. You helped built it; your fathers, your grandfathers helped build this, There was no naval base here, and it is not the British who built it. It was your labour, your father's labour which built that.... My (great) grandfather come here and built. Yes, he came here looking for his fortune, but he stayed - my grandfather was born here.

Over 100 years ago, this was a mud-flat, swamp. Today, this a modern city. Ten years from now, this will be a metropolis. Never fear.

Some people think that just because we are a small place, they can put the screws on us. It is not so easy. We are a small place in size, and geography. But in the quality of the men, the administration, the organisation, the mettle in a people, the fibre therefore, don't try. That is why we got booted out. If they could have just squeezed us like an orange and squeezed the juice out, I think the juice would have been squeezed out of us, and all the goodness would have been sucked away. But it was a bit harder, wasn't it?

It was more like the durian. You try and squeeze it, your hand gets hurt. And so they say, "Right, throw out the durain." But inside the durian is a very useful ingredient, high protein. And we will progress.

More than 40% of the purchasing power of the whole of Malaysia is in Singapore. We may be 20% of the population of Malaysia, but purchasing power, the capacity to buy goods like microphone, clocks, drinks, fans, lights, television, transistors: the money is here because here they work. And if people do not want that 40% - 44% market - well, that is their business. We want to open the market with them, buy if they do not want it we will make our own soap.... We are buying soap from Petaling Jaya: Lux. You know, it is always advertised on TV: Lever Brothers. It is no harm, we buy the soap: It is good for them; it is good for us. We can make motor-cars together for the whole of Malaysia.... And never forget, if it came to the point then Lever brothers may have to set up a soap factory here, because after all, nearly half the sales are in Singapore.

You ask the Straits Times: what percentage of their newspaper is sold in Singapore? True, we are only two-million. But we have the highest literacy rate in the whole of Asia. Nearly half of Straits Times, if not more, is sold here. Here, everybody buys a copy. There, may be one kampong buys one copy and everybody looks at it. It is true. We are talking now in terms of hard cash; the hard facts of life. And if people wants to be hard to us, then we have got to survive. And we can keep this market to ourselves. But this is all shortsighted. Let us throw our eyes over the horizon into the future. What does our Dr. Ismail say: This will come back again. But under very different circumstances and different conditions.

You know and I know that anybody who says, "Go back to Malaysia on the same circumstances". Will be called a lunatic; isn't it? We were patient; we were tolerant. We put with it hoping that they would see the light. But we had to be firm. We could not give in. So, as a result we are out.

History is a long process of attrition. It will go on. And one day, it will come back together. You see, this is not like a map and you can take a pair of scissors and cut off Singapore and then take it and paste it in the South Pacific and forget about it. It is not possible. This is part of the mainland of the continent of Asia. And that Causeway.... You know, the Japanese blew it up; it was still rebuilt. It is part of history; and you are part of history. You are part of this place as much as I am; as much as Inche Othman Wok, my colleague, is; and I say that is the way it will be in the end.

Finally, may I congratulate you for having made progress since I last visited your mission in 1963, and especially commend you for having made a symbolic gesture in giving scholarships not just to Indians. But Indians who contributed to the Narayana Mission took this money and gave it to Malay and Chinese students as well. In that way, we must and we will prosper.

And I guarantee you this: there will be a Constitution which we will get re-drawn in which minority rights.... You know, it is very easy in Singapore for people to stand up and if you talk, "One race, one language, one religion," there will be a lot trouble, you know. We do not want that sort of thing. That is stupidity. So we are going to get the Chief Justice of India, Australia, New Zealand and a few others together with our own Chief Justice and a few of our eminent lawyers to draft "entrenched" clauses.... You know, "entrenched": no government can just cancel the clauses. Entrenched, and enforcible.

If anybody thinks he is being discriminated against either for a flat or a scholarship or a job or for social welfare relief because of race, or language or religion, he can go to the court, take out a writ; and if he proves that it was because of discrimination on the ground of race, language, religion, culture, then the court will have to enforce the Constitution and ensure minority rights .

We are an equal society. You are equal to me; I am equal to you. Nobody is more equal than others. In some places, they say, "we are all equal." But what they mean is they are more equal, you see - which makes life very difficult. But here, when we say "equal", we really mean it. We do not have to do it in Singapore. But we are thinking in terms of 100, 200 years, 1,000 years. You must help them emerge. And there is only one way: education and economist thrust .

And with those words, I wish you all peace, prosperity in Singapore .

Thank you .


29 July, 2010

Former transport minister Ling Liong Sik charged over his involvement in the PKFZ scandal.

Former transport minister and MCA president Ling Liong Sik, is by far the most prominent politician to be nabbed in recent years.

He is charged under Section 418 of the Penal Code with misleading the cabinet between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002, into agreeing to purchase 999.5 acres of land on Pulau Indah for a project, now known as PKFZ, at a price of RM25psf on a deferred payment basis for a 15-year period, at a 7.5 percent interest rate.

The cumulative interest paid would total RM720 million at the end of the repayment period.

He was also offered an alternative charge, under Section 417 of the Penal Code, for the same offence.

According to the charge sheet, the Finance Ministry had already valued the land at RM25psf - inclusive of compounded interest - and this fact was withheld from the cabinet by the accused.

Ling pleaded not guilty to both charges and Sessions Court judge Suzana Hussin set bail at RM1 million. Mention has been fixed for Sept 3.

According to a source, Ling managed to post bail today.

He was represented by counsel RR Sethu.

On leaving the courtroom, he told journalists that it was his first time in Putrajaya's Palace of Justice, located next to the Kajang Sessions Court complex.

Asked whether he was confident about fighting off the case, he said, “In the Palace of Justice, you must feel very confident of justice.”

Ling appeared in court at 4.45pm, accompanied by his wife Ena and two sons. He then proceeded to sit in the dock. Ling, who wore a light-blue striped shirt and a pair of sandals, was expressionless.

He is the second MCA president to be placed in the dock after Tan Koon Swan.


Labels: ,

28 July, 2010

DPP Farah Azlina Latif removed over alleged romantic link with Saiful

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Farah Azlina Latif who was alleged to have a romantic relationship with key witness Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan has been dropped from the prosecution team in the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy trial.

Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail confirmed that the junior prosecutor had been removed. He said it was not because she was found guilty, but to avoid any negative public perception on the prosecution team.

He said Farah Azlina was also dropped from the Prosecution Division of the Attorney-General's Chambers for the same reason.

"This move is also to ensure that the smooth running of the case is not affected," he said.

"The Attorney-General's Chambers cannot compromise on any issue that can tarnish the image or credibility of the department and we are looking at such matters very seriously.

"This can be very difficult for us but any personal matter, if it can have any implication in whatever form on the department, will be handled very seriously," he told reporters at a press conference at his office.

Abdul Gani added that Farah Azlina had very limited involvement in the case, which was to assist in recording all notes on the proceedings.

"She had no access at all to the investigation papers or any confidential information that the prosecution has," he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan said the allegations against Deputy Public Prosecutor Farah Azlina Latif are serious enough to warrant disciplinary action and should be investigated.

Actions such as being romantically linked to a key witness in a prosecution are "ethical matters".

"It is definitely is an ethical matter, as prosecutions are done in the interest of justice. You are there to put your case before the court in the interest of justice. As there is no client here, there should be no relationship between prosecutor and complainant," he said.

"Even in a private solicitor-client relationship, it is unethical as the issue of objectivity would be questioned. Will the solicitor be fair to the client. It is even more onerous in the case of a prosecutor," added Ragunath.

He said he supported her removal from the team and an investigation to determine whether the prosecution has been compromised and whether she had access to any information that would compromise the prosecution of the accused.

He added that a lawyer could be disbarred for such a relationship, but cautioned that certain factors have to be considered.

"Many factors have to be considered such as the extent of the relationship and the time it occurred- was it before, during or after the time the lawyer was handling the case.

The test when it comes to punishment is whether it affected his or her objectivity in handling the case," said Ragunath.

Anwar's counsel Sankara Nair accused Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail of skirting the issue when he announced that Farah had been dropped from the prosecution team and the division.

"He didn't confirm...I think the AG is skirting the issue as he has yet to reply to me formally. By taking this action, he is only fueling suspicions with regards to this matter," he said.

He had sent a letter to Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden on Monday to seek a confirmation of the information which first appeared on the Malaysia Today blog.

When asked if Anwar's defence team would move for a mistrial, Sankara declined to comment, but said it was an option.

"Under the law, Saiful cannot be given any advantage, and he should be treated like any other witness, because it is the public prosecutor who is prosecuting Anwar. He cannot access any information he is not allowed to have," he said. -- theSun

Labels: ,

22 July, 2010

Malaysian Clerics Urge Muslims not to wear Manchester United shirts, as the club's nickname and iconography depicts the Devil.

Islamic clerics in Malaysia have warned their followers not to wear Manchester United shirts, as the club's nickname and iconography depicts the Devil.

United's traditional nickname of the Red Devils and the use of the symbol of a devil on the club badge has prompted clerics in the Asian country to issue the warning.

"This is very dangerous. As a Muslim, we should not worship the symbols of other religions or the devils," said Nooh Gadot, a cleric from Johor state, according to The Daily Mail.

"Even if it is a gift, we should decline it. It is even more sinful when people realise this is wrong and still buy these jerseys to wear."

Believers in Malaysia are also understood to have been urged to shun the national shirts of Brazil, Serbia, Portugal and Norway, as well as Barcelona's jersey, because their use of the cross is also considered un-Islamic.
- goal.com

Society is not judged by what it wear

Mariam Mokhtar

In 2008, Malaysians recoiled in horror when religious clerics announced a ban on tomboys and yoga because the former embraced lesbianism whilst the latter had its origins in Hinduism. Today, Malaysian Muslims were told not to wear the Manchester United football shirts because the image of the famed red devil is forbidden in Islam.

Although a fatwa was not announced, the suggestion of the clerics is causing consternation amongst Malaysians, not just football fans.

If banning the jerseys is what these clerics strongly believe in, they might as well ban football.

Football, in Malaysia, has almost a religious following with whole families taking a lively interest in the sport. Toothless toddlers to ‘toks’ (grandpa) in one family are often seen proudly sporting the jerseys of their favourite club.

Besides the Red Devils, football shirts of Brazil, Barcelona, Portugal, Norway and Serbia are unacceptable because they have images of the cross or alcohol brands.

Nooh Gadot, a top Islamic cleric from Johor said, “This is very dangerous. As a Muslim, we should not worship the symbols of other religions or the devils. It will erode our belief in Islam. There is no reason why we as Muslims should wear such jerseys, either for sports or fashion reasons.”

Ironically, Malaysians are top supporters of the English Premier League and sale of football shirts is big business. Last March, the Red Devils signed a sponsorship deal with Telekom Malaysia to increase their profile as one of the top sports teams in the country. In 2006, the tourist body signed a £2million sponsorship deal with the club.

These announcements are highly embarrassing to the Malaysian government. Even the aircraft of Air Asia’s fleet proudly displays the Manchester United image.

Joining in the fray is Harussani Zakaria, a Perak mufti who agreed that devils should be shunned: “Yes, of course in Islam we don’t allow people to wear this sort of thing. Devils are our enemies. Why would you put their picture on you and wear it? You are only promoting the devil.”

Malaysian supporters of ‘Manchester United’, have already expressed their anger, at this latest directive, on the fan websites.

David Gill, the Manchester United chief executive said, “Anyone who went on our tour of the Far East last summer knows the strength of feeling that Malaysians have for the club.”

Many of us (even those who are not active in any sport) find the association with devil worship alarming. To ban these jerseys would be both idiotic and unnecessary.

Sports devotees are well aware of the uniting power of football, that even politics, is unable to do.

Would anyone sit in front of the television for hours on end, or lose sleep over a game beamed from halfway across the world? Could a religious sermon by the highest authority of any religion command millions for several hours a week and as in the recently ended World Cup, for a whole month? In the First World War, the German and British armies took a break one Christmas and played a game of friendly football before resuming atrocities.

The jersey is the only way a football fan gains recognition. It is also his way of expressing pride for belonging to a team of men who are able to inspire them in more ways than one : Teamwork. Discipline. Loyalty. Camaraderie. Allegiance. Devotion. Creativity. Strength. Pride. Health.

Wearing the jersey has nothing to with worshipping another religion (the cross), promoting the devil (Man U’s red devil) or about encouraging drinking (alcohol brands).

Banning the football shirt will only add to the belief that there is growing oppression and religious intolerance in Malaysia. It appears that the Johore and Perak mufti might have scored an own-goal with this latest suggestion/ban.

- from Malaysian Mirror


20 July, 2010

Death for Malaysian for murdering his Indonesian maid

A Malaysian court sentenced a man to death for murdering his Indonesian maid in a landmark verdict hailed by Indonesian diplomats Tuesday as a warning that the abuse of foreign domestic workers must stop.

Ties between Malaysia and neighboring Indonesia have been occasionally strained over incidents in which Indonesian maids working in Malaysia were assaulted or complained of other mistreatment.

In one of the worst cases of abuse, 40-year-old Muntik Bani died last October after police found her beaten, starved and locked in a bathroom following a tip-off by a visitor to her employer's home.

High Court convicted A. Murugan, a 36-year-old sugar cane juice seller, of Bani's murder, said government prosecutor Mohamad Dusuki Mokhtar. It was the first time a Malaysian has been sentenced to death for the killing of an Indonesian maid, Mohamad Dusuki said.

The trial judge ruled that Murugan's denial that he played any part in his maid's death was unconvincing and contradicted other evidence, Mohamad Dusuki said.

Prosecutors did not explain specifically why Murugan might have abused his maid, but he acknowledged in court that he would get angry because she was slow in her work. However, he denied ever beating her.

Widyarka Ryananta, an official at the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, said his government hopes there will be more such convictions following its disappointment last month when a Malaysian was acquitted over the 2007 death of her maid, whose body was found at her home.

"We are happy with this decision. This is a lesson learned for all Malaysians to treat their maids properly," he said.

Read more here.

Labels: ,

19 July, 2010

16-year-old school dropout shot by police, 'on oxygen and semi-conscious'

A 16-year-old school dropout, who was shot by police, has taken a turn for the worst as he was in semi-consciousness and on oxygen on Monday, according to his auntie, Christina Buong.

Christina, who works at the Sibu General Hospital as a cleaner, said she had gone to see her nephew to ask him what had happened. “This noon, I saw him on oxygen and semi-conscious,” she said crying.

She said the doctor had told her that he could not reveal much about his conditions as the case was under the police.

She added that when she asked her nephew earlier in the morning what had happened, he replied that he did not know why he was shot as he was not the one with the chopper. He said he was drunk as his friends made him drink.

The aunty said her nephew is not the drinking type so he got drunk fast on a bit of alcohol.

Christina said she is in a dilemma now as she was unable to contact the boy’s father who is in Limbang.

“After my sister died, he was with us since young,” she said. The suspect is a Muslim and his mother is a Dayak.

The suspect was shot after he was alleged to make an attempt to attack two policemen who were there to arrest him Saturday night at 11.40 pm.

DPC Hamza Taib, in a press conference yesterday evening, said two policemen who were drinking coffee at a restaurant saw three suspects running away and gave chase.

Hamza said the policemen, one a corporal and another a lance corporal, saw a suspect threw the chopper at them. The suspect was alleged to have picked up the chopper again and try to attack them despite a warning shot. The police fired in self defence, said Hamza.

Meanwhile, State CID head SAC Huzir Mohd said a forensic team had gone to Sibu to investigate the case. He said an officer here was handling the case and that the police had yet to identify who the other two suspects were.

- Malaysian Mirror

Labels: ,

18 July, 2010

Malaysia's 'forgotten' & 'invisible' Semai people face poverty, hunger !

Just a few hours from the glittering Malaysian capital is a pitiful scene of hungry children and desperate parents, in an indigenous village home to the "forgotten Malaysians".

Naked youngsters with the tell-tale signs of malnourishment -- bulging stomachs and brown tinged hair -- sit listlessly in a hut, while others cling to their mothers as they suckle milk.

Welcome to Bertang Lama village, home of some of Malaysia's Semai people, an indigenous tribe mired in poverty and struggling to adapt as the multicultural nation races towards modernity.

The village, which houses about 300 people, is located close to Cheroh, a small town in central Pahang that sits along the Titiwangsa mountains which form the backbone of Peninsula Malaysia.

The Semai, once nomadic but now largely settled, are seeking recognition of their traditional land rights as well as basic needs -- piped water, electricity, medicine, education and tarred roads.

There is little food in the village where families live a subsistence life, hunting and gathering to trade in jungle products like rattan and agarwood.

Neither is there much money, as the forest they depend on is fast being depleted of its resources thanks to deforestation caused by logging, and the rapid expansion of rubber and palm oil plantations.

There are an estimated 45,000 Semai in Peninsula Malaysia, among some 150,000 indigenous people divided among 19 linguistic groups who live on the country's mainland.

Colin Nicholas, coordinator of the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns, said the people of Bertang Lama and others like them have become "the forgotten and invisible Malaysians".

Nicholas said the Semai played a valuable role in the British offensive against communist insurgents in the 1950s due to their stealth and tracking skills, but are now seen as irrelevant.

"Come elections, ruling party politicians make promises in exchange for votes but after that they renege on their words. Because of their small population, they are easily ignored by the government," he told AFP.

"The indigenous people have been pushed to the brink. Their situation will only get worse. After nearly 53 years of independence, the government is in a state of denial."

Not all Semai or Orang Asli people are impoverished, and some communities, particularly those located closer to urban infrastructure, have done much better in terms of education, employment and health.

But the plight of Bertang Lama village was highlighted when Lim Ka Ea, an executive officer with the Malaysian Bar Council visited recently and recounted her shock at the scene there in a newspaper article.

"The Orang Asli have been regarded as invisible by many people," she told AFP.

"What we do see in them is their 'primitive' form of lifestyle and the entrenched stereotype that they serve no purpose to the advancement of our nation except to make our tourism advertisements look exotic and attractive."

In the village, 11-year-old Jolisa returns home from the forest, armed with a machete and a bamboo basket on her back as she skips along with three other barefoot friends.

"We went looking for wild vegetables," she says.

"Yes I would like to go to school if there was one in our village," she replies with a smile to a visitor's question....more here.

Labels: ,

17 July, 2010

Muamalah Council, plans to implement the dinar system in Kelantan ?

The official launch of Dinar and Dirham in the state of Kelantan will be held in its capital, Kota Bharu, on 12 August 2010. The upcoming event in Kelantan is history in making as it marks the beginning of both, the rise of Islam and demise of Capitalism for the two can’t co-exist: when the light comes darkness disappears.

- Muamalah council

Muamalah Council, plans to implement the dinar system in Malaysia's northern state of Kelantan. If information on its website is to be believed, the council has the blessing of the state's Islamist government, Parti Islam Se Malaysia (Pas), to kick start the dinar in three moves.

First, the state will pay a quarter of its public servants' salaries using the dinar. Second, all state companies will accept dinar payments. Lastly, some 600 commercial enterprises will also embrace this currency.

Inspired by selective religious sources and backed by historical precedents within the annals of Islamic history, the gold dinar system is touted by certain fiercely proud Muslims as the Islamic answer to thwart capitalism's woes.

The idea was first mooted by Malaysia's former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. He argued that the coins would never hang their possessor out to dry in the same way that paper money had. As precious metals with intrinsic value, gold and silver are more resistant to market fluctuations and devaluation compared to the US dollar – an argument he took to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference as a tool to battle western hegemony.

Today, Islamic gold dinar advocates would cite the recent credit crunch as proof. Indeed, the rocketing price of gold – possibly transcending a record high of $2,000 an ounce – can only strengthen their pitch.

While Mahathir's grand plan for Malaysia to implement the dinar system by 2003 may have been unceremoniously scrapped by his successor, Abdullah Badawi, the idea has since gained currency beyond Malaysia's shores.....more

Labels: ,

16 July, 2010

"Upward price adjustment" , "subsidy rationalisation", what price hike ?

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak yesterday attempted to preempt a public backlash over the '5-in-1 price hike' by discouraging the press from using specific words in their reports.

During a special briefing at the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya afternoon yesterday, editors were told not to use the words "price hike" or its Malay equivalent "harga barang naik".

Instead, they were told to use the words "upward price adjustment" or "subsidy rationalization".

The briefing was conducted by Najib's (left) media advisors and several participants told Malaysiakini that it was a friendly atmosphere.

"They politely appealed for our cooperation, but the subtle spin was too obvious to ignore," said one participant.

The media advisors encouraged the press to explain the "rationality" of the subsidy cuts in their news reports and also prominently highlight the fact that Malaysia's fuel and sugar prices were still the lowest in the region.

Furthermore, the press were advised not to conduct street polls and some participants claim that there was obvious hints opinions should only be sought from pro-government NGOs and consumer groups.

Sources said that the media advisors also requested that the press not use the word "government savings" in their reports.

"The officials said that this will prompt the public to ask where the savings had gone into. The emphasis is to highlight reduction of expenditure rather than savings," said a source.

Yesterday, Najib's 12-point announcement stressed that the price hikes were necessary to curb a burgeoning government deficit, root out smuggling and, creatively, stating that the move would help reduce sugar consumption to help keep Malaysians healthy.

He said that the money saved from government subsidies would be spent on ensuring better healthcare and education, which are still heavily subsidised.

Read more here.


13 July, 2010

CNN on Anwar interview: No payment made, report fabricated.

CNN says news stories about the TV network having accepted payment from people on behalf of opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim to appear on the "Connect the World" programme were clearly fabricated.

A CNN spokesperson said today it was disturbing that no effort was made to contact the network and "independently verify these groundless allegations before they were subsequently reported as fact".

Over the past few days, a number of people had commented about Anwar's appearance on the CNN programme.

They had based their comments on an article by Joshua Trevino in The Ledger, a US online publication, which was also quoted by one or two local newspapers here.

Trevino had only alluded to the fact that those who had been hired by Anwar to run his public relations campaign in the United States had solid media contacts.

Malay-language daily Utusan Malaysia had last Friday kicked off the controversy with its July 9 report headlined 'Anwar alleged to have paid CNN'.

The report referred to Trevino Strategies and Media Inc president Joshua Trevino, who wrote in a US-based news portal The New Ledger alleging that Anwar hired people with strong media contacts, particularly in CNN, to convince Jewish lobbyists that he is not anti-Israel.

Trevino had lamented that the CNN's 'Connector of the Day' interview on July 2 was “tame” in questioning Anwar's anti-Zionist rhetoric.

Following the Utusan report, a number of Umno leaders attacked Anwar over the alleged “paid” interview.

In an immediate reaction, Anwar said the denial by CNN was proof that Umno leaders were peddling lies to tarnish his image.

“The denial not only exposes the lies by right-wing extremists media organisation the New Ledger, but also exposes the plot by Utusan Malaysia, which is Umno's mouthpiece, to slandar me,” said Anwar.

He said that the denial showed that there was no effort by Utusan Malaysia to verify their report with CNN, adding that such instances was not surprising.

Anwar also slammed Utusan Malaysia for basing their report on solely an article by blogger Elaine Supkis, whom he mockingly said was “apparently a famous blogger”, and another by Joshua Trevino without verifying the facts.

Labels: ,

12 July, 2010

Radical American-Yemeni Islamic cleric Imam Anwar al-Awlaki puts cartoonist Molly Norris on execution hit list for caricaturing Prophet Muhammed.

Radical American-Yemeni Islamic cleric Imam Anwar al-Awlaki has singled out 'Everybody Draw Mohammed' cartoonist Molly Norris as a 'prime target', by putting him on the execution hit list.

According to the New York Daily News, in "Inspire," an English language Al Qaeda terrorist magazine, Awlaki damns Norris and eight others for "blasphemous caricatures" of Prophet Muhammed.

Awlaki, who also had been cited as inspiring the Fort Hood, Tex., massacre and the plot by two New Jersey men to kill U.S. soldiers, singled out Norris as a "prime target," saying her "proper abode is Hellfire."

The other cartoonists, authors and journalists in Awlaki''s crosshairs are Swedish, Dutch and British citizens.

"The medicine prescribed by the Messenger of Allah is the execution of those involved," Awlaki wrote in the magazine.

"A soul that is so debased, as to enjoy the ridicule of the Messenger of Allah, the mercy to mankind; a soul that is so ungrateful towards its lord that it defames the Prophet of the religion Allah has chosen for his creation does not deserve life, does not deserve to breathe the air created by Allah and enjoy a life provided for by Allah. Their proper abode is Hellfire," he added.

FBI officials have notified Norris and warned her they consider it a "very serious threat."

Norris initially grabbed headlines in April when she published a satirical cartoon on her Web site that declared May 20th "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" as a way to mock Viacom and Comedy Central''s decision to censor an episode of "South Park" that showed the Prophet Mohammed dressed in a bear suit.

Soon after, the topic exploded on the Web with the start of a Facebook support group for Norris.

In response, Pakistan blocked access to the social networking site as a fiery pro-and-con debate raged worldwide.

Norris eventually backed away from her cartoon and cause.

"I regret that I made my cartoon the way I made it," she said then.


Labels: ,

09 July, 2010

Malaysian accused of insulting the Commonwealth with his faked pictures of knighthood from the Queen.

The fake photograph featuring Jeffrey Wong Su En and the Queen
(Image taken from The Telegraph UK)

Jeffrey Wong Su En has been accused of insulting the Commonwealth with his false claims.

"Sir" Wong issued a press release detailing his award and became an overnight celebrity in Malaysia, where society has become obsessed by people with titles.

In the doctored picture issued by Mr Wong, he stands proud as Her Majesty pins the Knight Grand Cross to his breast.

However, his name does not appear in the Queen's birthday honours list.

"We can confirm that we have no record of any honour having been conferred at any time by the British Government on Jeffery Wong Su En," said a spokesperson from the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur.

An analysis of Mr Wong's photograph of him holding a certificate shows a crest at the top of the certificate claiming to be from Buckingham Palace, with a red seal.

In fact, warrants for such honours are administered by the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, which is based at St James's Palace. Mr Wong's certificate bears no resemblance to the Royal warrants used for such honours.

The collar worn by Mr Wong is not the pure gold collar of the British Empire worn at knighthood investitures. Finally, the knighthood investiture ceremonies for the 2010 birthday honours list have not yet taken place.

Mr Wong, who is the deputy publicity chief for the Democratic Action Party, a Malaysian opposition party in Sabah, northern Borneo, claims the honour was in recognition of his contribution to aid organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières.

Rival politicians in the state immediately demanded an explanation.

Mr Wong, a self-proclaimed traditional Chinese medicine practitioner who also insists on the title "Dr", attempted to clarify the matter, defiantly claiming his "knighthood" was conferred by Papua New Guinea in conjunction with the Queen's 84th birthday celebrations.

"This is a personal matter. It has nothing to do with the public, and it is becoming politicised," he said, stating he is in the process of getting the relevant documents from the Papua New Guinea government.

Mr Wong has been questioned by police but was later released. However, he is facing expulsion from his party.

Chin Teck Ming, supreme councillor of a rival party stated that if the claim is indeed false, Mr Wong had insulted a foreign monarch and members of the Commonwealth countries and tarnished the image of Malaysia.

(Telegraph UK)


06 July, 2010

Systematic sexual abuse by loggers continues in Sarawak ?

Systematic sexual abuse by loggers continues in Sarawak despite denials by the state government with seven additional Penan victims coming forward to seek justice.

The Penan Support Group (PSG), a coalition of 36 NGOs, released an intricately researched report in Parliament today, describing the distressing ordeals of the Penan women and their communities.

The hard-hitting report said the sexual crimes are “allowed to flourish” because of widespread poverty, deprivation of land rights, citizenship and basic services, as well as lack of respect for rural communities, their autonomy and their calls for justice.

The PSG also highlighted the failure of authorities to respond to the shocking findings of a national ministerial task force.

The task force report, initially kept under wraps by the cabinet, was finally made public last September by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, after coming under pressure from PKR Women's chief Zuraida Kamaruddin.

The ministry's task force had confirmed eight instances of loggers sexually abusing Penan girls and women, including a 10-year-old schoolgirl.

The PSG's own fact-finding mission ensued after the police reneged on a promise to investigate the sexual attacks by loggers, claiming a lack of funds.

The PSG visited Long Lamam, Long Ajeng and Long Mobui, over a week last November, and heard testimonies from members of 13 Penan communities gathered there, from Middle and Upper Baram.

The seven sexual abuse survivors interviewed by the PSG had never been documented previously. The youngest said she was only 14 when she was attacked. These seven women are further additions to the eight girls and women reported by the ministry's national task force.

The rapes of the Penan have drawn international condemnation, but have been brushed off by state ministers.

Chief Minister Taib Mahmud warned angrily, “check your information or you will be suspected by the decent people of Sarawak of trying to sabotage us”.

Land Development Minister James Masing told the BBC that “the Penan are very good story-tellers” and suggested that the Penan are promiscuous at a young age.

Daud Abdul Rahman, a deputy minister in charge of Islamic affairs, was more concise: “To me, the reports of the sexual abuse of Penans are not true”.

(Read more here)

Labels: ,

02 July, 2010

Government closes opposition newspaper "Suara Keadilan"

Malaysia has shut down publication of a newspaper run by the political party of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

The Home Ministry says it won't renew the permit for "Suara Keadilan", after a report in the paper which claimed a government agency had gone bankrupt.

Keadilan MP Tian Chua says it's an unacceptable assault on press freedom.

"The ban just reflects the intolerance and the repressive nature of the ruling regime. It is something that has been going on quite a while, where relations - press freedoms is one of the worst in Asia, and the fact that they are banning the major opposition's newspaper is again proving that the government has no respect for press freedom."

The Home Ministry, which oversees Malaysia's newspapers, said it will not renew Suara Keadilan's permit -- which expired on Wednesday -- as it was not satisfied with the paper's explanation for the allegedly inaccurate report.

"A letter will be issued to inform the printer that it is not allowed to print until a decision is made on the renewal of its permit," the ministry said in a statement posted on its website late Thursday. The opposition vowed to defy the ban.

Malaysia's mainstream media is largely government-linked, and the opposition relies on its own press, as well as Internet news sites and blogs, to communicate with the public.

Reporters Without Borders ranks Malaysia 131 out of 175 on its worldwide press freedom index last year, and says the mainstream media is "often compelled to ignore or to play down the many events organised by the opposition".

Labels: ,

01 July, 2010

There was no necessity to refer the purchase of submarines to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said there was no necessity to refer the purchase of submarines to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The purchase of the Scorpene-class submarines were in accordance with procedures, he told reporters.

He said that the one billion euro spent to buy the French-made submarines in 2002 was approved by the cabinet.

"All the procedures for the purchase of the submarines have been adhered to," he said when asked to comment on claims that 114 million euro in commission was paid to four Malaysian companies.

Yesterday, Parliament speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia said MACC is investigating claims that RM575 million was paid as commission to Abdul Razak Baginda as part of the procurement of the submarines.

The government has paid a whopping RM6.7 billion for the French-made submarines.

Out of the total, RM574.8 million went to Perimekar Sdn Bhd, which is owned by Abdul Razak, a known associate of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Najib was defence minister when the deal went through.

The government has denied any commission was paid over the procurement of the submarines, saying the amount - which represents 10 percent of the submarines' total price of RM4.85 billion - was for "coordination and support services provided to the Royal Malaysian Navy".

The payment is currently being investigated by the French authorities as such “commissions” are illegal under French laws.