25 February, 2011

Blogger Syed Akbar Ali appointed to Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission

Blogger Syed Akbar Ali is one of five new members of a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) panel who received their letters of appointment for the next two years from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Friday, Feb 25.

He sits on the Consultation and Prevention of Corruption Panel (PPPR) which had seven of its 11 members retained and five more added on to bring the new membership to 12.

All the seven members of the Operations Evaluation Panel (PPO) were retained and two new members were added on to raise the membership to nine....more

Appointed To The MACC

By Syed Akbar Ali

I was at the Prime Minister's office this morning, along with a number of other folks, to receive my 'watikah' or letter of appointment to the MACC's Consultancy Panel on Corruption Prevention and Education.

The official term is Ahli Panel Perundingan Dan Pencegahan Rasuah, Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM). Its a two year appointment that runs from 25/2/2011 till 24/2/2013. The appointment is by the Prime Minister.

The MACC first called me about two weeks ago, quite early in the morning as I was having breakfast at home. There were 12 people, including myself, who were appointed to the Consultancy Panel this morning. We also met the other serving members.

The other folks who received their appointments today were Prof Dr. Eng. Chin Yew Sin, Datuk Marimuthu Nadason, Tan Sri Lim Kok Wing, Haji Anis Yusal Yusoff, Dato Seri Azman Ujang, Dato Prof. Ishak Tambi Kechik, Dato Wong Chun Wai, Datuk David Chua, Dr Zainal Abidin Abdul Majid, Prof Dato Dr Abdul Rahman Hj Embong and Datuk Johan Jaafar.

It was a fairly well spread out distribution representing consumers associations, NGOs, universities, media and others. I am simply listed as 'Blogger, OutSyed The Box' which I take as recognition of the Bloggers and their contribution to the public discourse.

I wish to thank the Prime Minister and the MACC for this opportunity to serve the public. The highest form of service is indeed public service. I hope we can do good through this appointment...more

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21 February, 2011

“Ulcer” - the cause of deaths of detainees in lock-ups ?

It is becoming a trend for the police to cite “ulcer” as the cause of deaths of detainees in lock-ups, Kapar MP S Manikavasagam said.

“Previously, it was heart attacks. Now the trend is to cite ulcer as the cause of deaths of detainees,” he said.

Manikavasagam feared that there maybe more deaths in detention this year if nothing is done to address the serious problem. There were 160 deaths in detention from 2002 to 2010.

He said this after handing over a memorandum to the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar at Bukit Aman here this afternoon.

The memo calls for the police to investigate the cause of death of 26-year-old Khairul Amri Alias at the Sungai Buloh prison on Feb 17.

“The police said the cause of death was ulcer but his mother Zaleha Bahari said that she saw bruises on the back of her son’s body,” said Manikavasagam.

She denied her son was suffering from any sort of ailment, he said.

“We want the police to reveal the reason for arresting Khairul Amri,” said Manikavasagam. “They initially said it was for theft but they changed the charge to a drug-related offence.”

Khairul Amri, a fisherman from Jeram, Kuala Selangor, was detained on Feb 11. His mother visited him on Feb 15. Khairul was found dead in the wee hours of Feb 17.

Since 2000, at least 147 people have died in police custody (unless otherwise stated, statistics are from PDRM – released during P.Uthayakumar’s ongoing sedition trial) but yet there is little accountability, transparency or any real investigations by the authorities responsible, namely the courts, the police, the Attorney General’s Chambers and the hospitals which provide medical assistance or conduct post-mortems.

Despite the obvious seriousness of any death in custody, these important state institutions in most, if not all of these cases, chose to gloss, downplay, cover up, ignore or even make outrageous claims over these deaths – causing these institutions to lose credibility and public confidence.

And despite the long list of custodial deaths, very few policemen are criminally charged much less found guilty of any offence. Statistics between 2000 and February 2010 showed that 64 Malays died while in police custody, with 30 deaths among Chinese detainees, 28 Indians, 8 other races, and 14 foreigners. At least one thing you cannot accuse the police is that they practice discrimination – as all types of people die in their custody! (But probably not the rich, powerful and well connected).

Some of the reasons given for the cause of the deaths: 63 from “other diseases” such as ulcers, yellow fever (jaundice) and intestine, lung and throat infections, 23 were listed as “suicide” in the cells, and 12 deaths from brain hemorrhage, and 66 were termed as “no further action”. What century are we living in? Since when do people die from ulcers, jaundice and intestine, lung and throat infections? Do people for no apparent reason suddenly get brain hemorrhage and die?

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18 February, 2011

alaysia's economy slowed to 4.8 per cent growth in the fourth quarter

Malaysia's economy slowed to 4.8 per cent growth in the fourth quarter, hit by falling exports, but for the whole year it saw better-than-expected 7.2 per cent expansion, the central bank said.

Bank Negara said the slower growth globally had led to a weaker performance in Malaysia's export-dependent economy in the three months to December. Gross domestic product rose 5.3 per cent in the third quarter.

Exports fell to 3.7 per cent in the December quarter compared with 10.4 per cent in the previous three months.

"The slower growth in exports was due mainly to the lower exports of manufactured products, reflecting the softening global demand for electronics," Bank Negara said in a statement.

Electrical and electronic items account for about 40 per cent of Malaysia's total exports.

The full-year figure beat the government's target of 7.0 per cent and followed a contraction of 1.7 per cent in 2009 as it was hit by the global economic crisis.

The central bank says Malaysia is on track for 6.0 per cent growth this year.

"Going forward, the global economic recovery is expected to remain uneven across the different regions.

"The pace of growth of the Malaysian economy will be affected by the environment of moderating external demand. Growth will, nevertheless, be supported by continued firm expansion in domestic demand," the bank said.

Bank Negara also said a series of investments announced by the government "are likely to provide significant support to the growth momentum in private investment".

Prime Minister Najib Razak has unveiled a series of economic reforms since taking power in 2009 aimed at creating 3.3 million jobs and pushing the country towards developed-nation status by 2020.

He has promised major infrastructure projects and financial market liberalisation, and vowed to stimulate the private sector to attract much-needed foreign investment.

11 February, 2011

Several Malaysian states are planning Valentine’s Day crackdown

Valentine's Day - HARAM dalam Islam

Several Malaysian states are planning a crackdown on “immoral acts” during Valentine’s Day as part of a campaign to encourage a sin-free lifestyle, an Islamic party leader Wednesday.

Authorities in the northern states of Kedah, Penang and Kelantan as well as central Selangor state will carry out “immorality checks” on February 14, said Nasrudin Hasan Tantawi, head of the Islamic party PAS’s youth wing.

PAS is part of the opposition alliance that won control of the four states in 2008 elections. Its conservative stance has caused friction with its two partners including the liberal Chinese-based Democratic Action Party.

“We have identified spots in these states which are used by lovers and we are deploying local religious department officials as well as party members to stop such sinful acts like casual sex which violates Islam,” Nasrudin told AFP.

He said authorities will take action against those caught in the dragnet, under Islamic laws that run in parallel with the civil justice system in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

“There have been campaigns promoting ‘no panties’ on Valentines Day and even free hotel room offers for unmarried couples. We must stop such practices here as these are sinful activities,” he added.

Nasrudin said PAS youth was also launching a campaign to promote a sin-free lifestyle during the period.

“We are not trying to stop love, but want to ensure that whatever Muslims in Malaysia do is moral and in keeping with our faith.”

PAS is known for its hardline stance on morality and in Kelantan, which the party rules in its own right, it has banned gambling, restricted the sale of alcohol and requires men and women to queue in separate lines at shops.

Source: AFP

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08 February, 2011

John R.Malott: The Price of Malaysia's Racism

Former United States ambassador to Malaysia John Malott has lambasted Prime Minister Najib Razak's hypocrisy over his 1Malaysia slogan in a scathing article published today in the Asian Wall Street Journal.

Malott, a frequent critic of the government since ending his three-year tenure as US ambassador in 1998, told Najib to take “a long look in the mirror” if he was serious about achieving his 1Malaysia goal.

“Despite the government's new catchphrase, racial and religious tensions are higher today than when Najib took office in 2009.

“Indeed, they are worse than at any time since 1969, when at least 200 people died in racial clashes between the majority Malay and minority Chinese communities,” said Malott in his AWSJ commentary.

He blamed the recent escalation of tensions on the government for “tolerating, and in some cases provoking, ethnic factionalism through words and actions”.


Malaysia's national tourism agency promotes the country as "a bubbling, bustling melting pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony." Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak echoed this view when he announced his government's theme, One Malaysia. "What makes Malaysia unique," Mr. Najib said, "is the diversity of our peoples. One Malaysia's goal is to preserve and enhance this unity in diversity, which has always been our strength and remains our best hope for the future."

If Mr. Najib is serious about achieving that goal, a long look in the mirror might be in order first. Despite the government's new catchphrase, racial and religious tensions are higher today than when Mr. Najib took office in 2009. Indeed, they are worse than at any time since 1969, when at least 200 people died in racial clashes between the majority Malay and minority Chinese communities. The recent deterioration is due to the troubling fact that the country's leadership is tolerating, and in some cases provoking, ethnic factionalism through words and actions.

For instance, when the Catholic archbishop of Kuala Lumpur invited the prime minister for a Christmas Day open house last December, Hardev Kaur, an aide to Mr. Najib, said Christian crosses would have to be removed. There could be no carols or prayers, so as not to offend the prime minister, who is Muslim. Ms. Kaur later insisted that she "had made it clear that it was a request and not an instruction," as if any Malaysian could say no to a request from the prime minister's office.

Similar examples of insensitivity abound. In September 2009, Minister of Home Affairs Hishammuddin Onn met with protesters who had carried the decapitated head of a cow, a sacred animal in the Hindu religion, to an Indian temple. Mr. Hishammuddin then held a press conference defending their actions. Two months later, Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told Parliament that one reason Malaysia's armed forces are overwhelmingly Malay is that other ethnic groups have a "low spirit of patriotism." Under public pressure, he later apologized.

The leading Malay language newspaper, Utusan Melayu, prints what opposition leader Lim Kit Siang calls a daily staple of falsehoods that stoke racial hatred. Utusan, which is owned by Mr. Najib's political party, has claimed that the opposition would make Malaysia a colony of China and abolish the Malay monarchy. It regularly attacks Chinese Malaysian politicians, and even suggested that one of them, parliamentarian Teresa Kok, should be killed.

This steady erosion of tolerance is more than a political challenge. It's an economic problem as well.

Once one of the developing world's stars, Malaysia's economy has underperformed for the past decade. To meet its much-vaunted goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020, Malaysia needs to grow by 8% per year during this decade. That level of growth will require major private investment from both domestic and foreign sources, upgraded human skills, and significant economic reform. Worsening racial and religious tensions stand in the way.

Almost 500,000 Malaysians left the country between 2007 and 2009, more than doubling the number of Malaysian professionals who live overseas. It appears that most were skilled ethnic Chinese and Indian Malaysians, tired of being treated as second-class citizens in their own country and denied the opportunity to compete on a level playing field, whether in education, business, or government. Many of these emigrants, as well as the many Malaysian students who study overseas and never return (again, most of whom are ethnic Chinese and Indian), have the business, engineering, and scientific skills that Malaysia needs for its future. They also have the cultural and linguistic savvy to enhance Malaysia's economic ties with Asia's two biggest growing markets, China and India.

(Read more here)

07 February, 2011

Dr M VS LKY, again ?

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dismissed in a recent book Lee Kuan Yew’s achievements as the founding father of Singapore, and accused the island republic’s minister mentor of once wanting to be prime minister of Malaysia.

“The fact remains that he is the mayor of Singapore,” the former Malaysian prime minister was quoted as saying in “Doctor M: Operation Malaysia — Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad”, written by US journalist Tom Plate based on interviews with Dr Mahathir over the last two years.

“This is something he doesn’t like. He wants to be big, you see and he feels that we took away his opportunity to lead a real country.”

Dr Mahathir also described Lee as “a big frog in a small pond” whose ambitions of being prime minister of Malaysia resulted in Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia’s first prime minister, “realising he had to move Kuan Yew out.”

Singapore had joined Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak to form the Federation of Malaysia in 1963 when Tunku was still prime minister.

Parliament voted to expel Singapore in 1965 following conflict over pro-Bumiputera policies favoured by Umno but rejected by Lee’s People’s Action Party (PAP).

Although their terms as prime minister only overlapped for nine years, Dr Mahathir and Lee have been at loggerheads for as long as Malaysia and Singapore have existed.

The two statesmen have clashed ever since both were in the Malaysian Parliament in the 1960s and the feud has continued up to now, with two books published recently that contain attacks on each other’s legacies.

“People look at him as an intellectual, as something more than just an ordinary politician, so he is always invited to give his views on things, and to that extent he is something bigger than Singapore,” Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister from 1981 to 2003, added in the latest book....more

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02 February, 2011

THE YEAR OF THE RABBIT, 2011. Gong Xi Fa Cai !!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2011 is the Year of the Golden Rabbit, which begins on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012. The Rabbit is the fourth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, which consists of 12 animals signs. The Rabbit is a lucky sign. Rabbits are private individuals and a bit introverted. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are reasonably friendly individuals who enjoy the company of a group of good friends. They are good teachers, counselors and communicators, but also need their own space.

According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is a time for negotiation. Don't try to force issues, because if you do you will ultimately fail. To gain the greatest benefits from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children. Make it a goal to create a safe, peaceful lifestyle, so you will be able to calmly deal with any problem that may arise.

Not many people know that the Rabbit is the symbol of the Moon, while the Peacock is the symbol of the Sun, and that together, these two animal signs signify the start of day and night, represent the Yin and Yang of life. It is said that anyone making supplications for wishes to be fulfilled are certain to get what they want... and in the Year of the Rabbit, the wish-granting aspect of the Sun and the Moon combined is multiplied. The Moon is YIN and this is the Yin of Heaven, signifying magic. Thus on each of the Full Moon nights of this year, go out into your garden to gaze into the Full Moon and visualize plenty of Moon dust and Moon glow flowing into you, filling your whole body with bright white light and granting you fearlessness, love and courage. This will not only strengthen your inner "Chi" energy, it will also bring wisdom into your life.  (Source)