Thursday, June 30, 2011

July 9 Bersih 2.0 Rally: Backing down not an option

Terence Netto
Jun 29, 11
10:37am


COMMENT
By now, the tactics of self-declared opponents of the Bersih 2.0 march are clear: Perkasa and Umno Youth want to ratchet up the pre-march tensions such that the atmosphere becomes taut enough to crack.

If it does, it would not be difficult to guess who would be blamed for the ensuing clashes.

Seldom in recent history has a looming public event such as the Bersih march on July 9 polarised opinion so sharply: one would be hard put to encounter a public issues-aware citizen who does not have an opinion - either for or against - on the march.

Thanks to provocative statements by Perkasa's Ibrahim Ali and the reported threats by some Umno Youth firebrands to burn the PKR headquarters down, the stage is set for a confrontation.

Of course, things need not be that way. All parties should be free to demonstrate, to engage in what can be called 'symbolic speech' - the espousal of opinion in civilly demonstrated forms.

However, for that to take place peacefully in the context of the marches scheduled for July 9, you need the police to be present to see that demonstrators don't get carried away.

But the police have pre-judged the issue by coming out early with a stand against allowing the Bersih march. They followed up by calling up for questioning several players from the side that favours the march for electoral reform.

azlanThat was not all. By arresting some 30 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists, who are actually fringe players in the Bersih drama on grounds that the detained may have committed offences under Section 122 of the Penal Code which entails rebellion against the king, the police are opting to be partisans in the fray rather than umpires above it.

A late attempt at balanced action against the contending parties - their calling up Ibrahim Ali for questioning and their investigation of inflammatory statements by Umno Youth hotheads - won't wash as demonstrations of police neutrality.

The police can rescue things by freeing the PSM detainees and allowing the Bersih and other marches to go on with them opting for a policing of good behaviour role.

What chance is there of that happening?

Beckoning police's better instincts

Well, the good point about political behaviour in a democratic arena is that it allows for redemption by the hitherto erring.

This was what PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim was hoping for in remarks he made when he emerged to speak to the press after being called for questioning by the police yesterday.

He beckoned the police to the courage of their better instincts, alluding to unseen hands as working to deviate the force from their fiduciary duty. He said he felt that absent the manipulation, the police were wont to do the right thing.

NONEThat is an opinion that national literary laureate A Samad Said may be loath to agree with after his experience of police questioning a day earlier.

Literati love the ineffable and Samad proved no exemption. He gave vent to his instincts by penning 'Unggun Bersih', a lilting ode to democracy.

The police asked if he was paid to write the poem. Writers like Samad rarely respond to commissions; they write as the instinct takes them.

The chagrin Samad felt at the question must have singed his flowing whiskers, for he emerged from the ordeal to declare that he would be at the Bersih march.

For someone who is pushing 80 and reportedly in not too healthy a condition, the police questioning must have recharged his batteries, for there was steel in his determination to be among the marchers.

Which is precisely what the inflammatory statements from Ibrahim Ali and his ilk have contributed to the situation in the prelude to the July 9 event.

Ibrahim's Orwellian doublespeak

Ibrahim's latest provocation, couched in Orwellian doublespeak, sees him urging Perkasa types not to bring weapons to their march on the same day.

NONEThat would be like Mullah Omar suggesting that as an earnest of the Taliban's desire to parley with the Americans, his side would renounce suicide bombing.

The rhetoric, from one side at least, has been of the 'offer no hostages to fortune' type. Backing down from these prideful positions would be unthinkable.

The only way out would be if the police allow all to march and content themselves with policing the behaviour of the marchers.

Or if the Election Commission, without imposing pre-conditions, commences talks with Bersih on their eight demands, with prior acquiescence to a couple of the demands.

That would be the lever to break the looming jam.


TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for close on four decades. He likes the occupation because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them. It is the ideal occupation for a temperament that finds power fascinating and its exercise abhorrent.

Private broadcasters told to ignore Bersih, warn people against protests

June 30, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — The Najib administration has warned private broadcasters against mentioning the planned Bersih rally or the protest date but wants them to warn people against taking to the streets to ask for free and fair elections, media executives say.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) called in media executives in the past week to inform them of the new regulations apart from Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein declaring Bersih T-shirts as illegal.

“We can’t mention Bersih, the July 9 date for the rally in our broadcasts but we must warn people against demonstrating. How to do that?” a senior media executive asked The Malaysian Insider.

Putrajaya runs Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) that offers television and radio broadcasts but also licenses private broadcasters like Astro or the Astro All Asia Network which is a cross-media group, The Star Publication which operates radio stations, Media Prima Berhad which runs TV and radio stations, and the Bfm radio station.

“We have to submit our radio scripts too for checking. It’s a bit ridiculous,” another executive told The Malaysian Insider.

It is understood the orders came from the Information Ministry in tandem with a crackdown on the Bersih movement which is calling for a protest on July 9 to press for free and fair elections.

Hishammuddin said yesterday that Bersih T-shirts are illegal just hours before police raided the Bersih secretariat in Petaling Jaya on suspicion of carrying out illegal activities. Seven activists held in the raid were later freed on police bail.

Police also seized T-shirts and banners during the raid carried out by a phalanx of policemen, including one carrying an assault rifle.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar also said the police will not only arrest those sporting Bersih T-shirts but may also take action against anyone using any medium to promote the illegal rally.

“Not just T-shirts but shoes, cars, buses. If these are the tools used to encourage people to gather (illegally), this amounts to sedition,” he told reporters at Bukit Aman police headquarters here yesterday.

“Based on PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police) intelligence ... if this rally is held, tension, chaos, the destruction of property, injury and even loss of life may occur,” he said.

“PDRM will not allow any individual or certain parties to do anything that could trigger chaos and anarchy.”

He said the police have received information that foreign elements were poised to exploit the chaos that would “very likely” result from the rally but declined to reveal their identity or if they were working with opposition parties.

Police have arrested 30 people, including Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, for campaigning for Bersih.

Activists under Bersih and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component parties are gearing up for the rally this July 9, the second such gathering calling for electoral reform.

The first rally, also organised by Bersih, was held in 2007 and saw some 50,000 people take to the capital’s streets. The gathering eventually descended into chaos when the police deployed tear gas and water cannons on demonstrators.

The event has been partly credited for PR’s record gains in Election 2008, when the opposition pact swept to power in five states and won 82 parliamentary seats.

Kids of mixed parentage in S'wak can be 'natives'


Ang Ngan Toh
Jun 29, 11

There is an opening for children of Chinese fathers and native mothers to declare themselves as natives of Sarawak, according to state Minister with Special Functions Adenan Satem.

"These children should go to the Native Court and let the court declare them as natives, provided that they meet certain requirements," he said yesterday.

NONEAdenan (right) was replying to points raised during the debate on the address by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri in the state legislative assembly.

"The effective word is 'identify' with a native community," he said, meaning that those concerned should speak the native language and practise their culture and traditions.

"They must convince the Native Court that they have indeed identified themselves with the community."

Adenan said the state government is aware of some problems faced by children of mixed parentage.

"In respect of children of native and non-native parents, the federal government had with effect from November 2009, administratively agreed to recognise such children in Sabah and Sarawak as bumiputeras.

"All federal agencies have been instructed to abide and implement this decision. The Sarawak government agrees with this stand (of) the federal government."

However, Adenan clarified that the administrative decision is for the purpose of education and scholarship only.

"The offspring of Chinese fathers and native mothers are not automatically natives in Sarawak," he said.

He said Sarawak would not follow Sabah to automatically declare these children as natives.

"In Sabah, the offspring of mixed parentage are deemed to be natives, as long as one of the parents is native.

"But we are not going to follow them because their circumstances are different. As far as Sarawak is concerned, we do not want to see a dilution of this status because we know the natives of Sarawak attach great value to their status, and that they are very jealous and they don't want their position to be easily diluted."

Native identity

When negotiations on the formation of Malaysia were in progress, Adenan said, the native leaders of Sarawak had submitted a memorandum to the Cobbold Commission on the issue of native status.

"The memorandum showed that they were very jealous of this position as they wanted both parents to be natives for their children to be natives. But if one of the parents are not, then we can take some administrative measures."

The natives of Sarawak are the communities listed in the state's Interpretation Ordinance. The term is defined by Article 44 of the state constitution and Article 161A of the federal constitution.

"The general practice, not of law, is that if the father is a native and a mother is not, the children are deemed to be natives. This is because we take a paternalistic approach, administratively, that their offspring are accepted as natives," he said.

On the issue of the Berawan and Saban tribes not being listed as natives of Sarawak, he said they come under the generic term of 'Orang Ulu' which covers the Kelabit, Kenyah, Kayan, Lun Bawang and Penan, among others.

"Therefore, although the Berawan and Saban are not included in the Interpretation Ordinance as natives, they are in fact natives of Sarawak," he said.

"But if they want the state and federal constitutions to be amended to include them as natives, then they must prove that they are distinct communities. We are not averse to amending the constitutions."

Adenan said the Adat Istiadat of Sarawak and Adat Kelabit are also applicable to the Saban as their culture and traditions are closely associated with those of the Kelabit.

Ba'Kelalan assemblyperson Baru Bian (left), who is a Lun Bawang, said there are "a few thousand" Berawans and Sabans in northern Sarawak.

"In the case of Saban, you cannot find them anywhere else in Borneo," he told reporters at the state legislative assembly media centre.

He said anthropological evidence shows that the Berawan were the first tribe to have set foot in northern Sarawak.

As vise tightens, Anwar says rally the only option

UPDATED @ 03:21:45 PM 29-06-2011
June 29, 2011
Police have moved to suppress Bersih-related activities ahead of the July 9 rally. — Reuters pic

KLANG, June 29 — Despite the ongoing round of arrests and the threat that violence may hamper Bersih’s rally next week, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim insisted today that the street protest was the only avenue available to push for electoral reforms.

Anwar, leader of the federal opposition and its prime minister-designate, said this was because the opposition had previously exhausted all other available options to no avail.

“That is the whole interest (of Bersih 2.0), to express in this manner because all other avenues have failed. We have sent memos, (held) series of discussions, protest... Everything has been done, submissions with facts and evidence,” he told reporters after speaking at a forum on public service integrity here this morning.

Election watchdog Bersih along with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component parties are gearing up for a rally this July 9, the second such gathering calling for electoral reforms.

The first rally, also organised by Bersih, was held in 2007 and saw some 50,000 people take to the capital’s streets. The gathering eventually dispersed, however, and resulted in chaos when the police deployed tear gas and water cannons on demonstrators.

The historic event has been partly credited for PR’s record gains in Election 2008, when the opposition pact was swept to power in five states and won 82 parliamentary seats.

When it was pointed out that Bersih’s 2007 rally had not resulted in any change to the country’s election process and that the July 9 gathering was likely to turn out the same, Anwar nodded his acknowledgement.

“But at least there is greater awareness among the public that the process is fraudulent. Which means they have to work harder... they have to monitor the election at all levels,” he said.

Anwar also acknowledged that violence could mar Bersih’s rally next week, but noted that the coalition’s leaders had already given their assurance they would not instigate any harm on others.

“From the statements by (Bersih chairman Datuk) Ambiga (Sreenevasan) and the team, they will accord and accept all possible rules, procedures, conditions to ensure there is a peaceful rally,” he said.

Anwar also reiterated his claim that the authorities were trying to concoct reasons to arrest Bersih protestors ahead of the rally, citing the example of last weekend’s detention of over 30 Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) activists for allegedly attempting to “revive communism”.

“There is a clear effort, they are trying to create reasons to capture us. They say [there are] foreigners involved, foreign funding involved, Christians involved, communists involved. Is this a new story?” he said.

Anwar added that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has failed to live up to his own portrayal of himself as a liberal and moderate leader.

“Someone gets arrested at 2am for selling a Bersih yellow T-shirt... What is this? It is clearly authoritarian. Najib will portray himself as a liberal but yet a person can be arrested for selling a T-shirt. This is ridiculous,” he said.

When asked if he planned on braving the possible clash between Bersih and counter protestors by personally attending the rally, Anwar smiled and repeated the question to the reporter.

“Are you coming?” he asked.

When the reporter said “Yes”, Anwar nodded and said, “Okay, I will follow you.”

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No need to establish native land commission, enough provisions in Sarawak Land Code, says Adenan

KUCHING: There is no need for a native land commission to be established in the state, Minister with Special Functions in the Chief Minister’s Office Tan Sri Datuk Amar Adenan Satem said yesterday.

He said this when delivering his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) in response to the proposal by Baru Bian (PKR-Ba Kelalan) for the commission to be set up to solve native customary rights (NCR) land issues as apparently the government and the courts have different opinions on NCR.

Baru, a lawyer by profession dubbed by many as a land expert, in his debate had said it was now more crucial to establish an independent land commission as seemingly the stand of the government was that only areas farmed before Jan 1, 1958 or ‘Temuda’ were considered as NCR whereas the court had ruled that NCR also included the ‘Pemakai Menua’ and ‘Pulau’ which often led to land disputes.

He believed that with the commission issues like encroachment and trespassing by companies issued with timber or plantation licences could be avoided.

However, in response to that, Adenan said such commission was not necessary because the government had long recognised and respected native’s rights to their customary land provided they were created in accordance with the law.

“The Sarawak Land Code has adequate provisions to better achieve the same objectives of investigating, recognising rights and issuing titles to NCR land,” he said, adding that Section 2 of the Sarawak Land Code offered clear definition of NCR, Section 5 (2) outlined the methods by which NCR may be created while Part V of the same law detailed out the process by which land titles may be issued to the natives under Section 18 of the Sarawak Land Code.

“The above law is administered by the Land and Survey Department which has established procedures to deal with all aspects of the NCR issues. In implementing these procedures the department has always adopted a fair and professional approach.

“For instance, in the often quoted matter of NCR being wrongly alienated to others, the government through the Land and Survey Department had taken action to either return the land to the rightful owners or compensate them,” he noted.

On the settlement of land disputes, be they among the natives, between natives and plantation owners, or between natives and the government, he stressed that the elected representatives of the respective areas were duty bound to give correct explanation to their electorates on government policies as well as to assist them in settling disputes amicably at the local levels without resorting to the courts.

He also advised NCR land owners, should they have issues with regards to their NCR such as encroachment by other parties, to report the matter to the appropriate agency, which is the Land and Survey Department.

“Reporting to other parties such as the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will only result in your plight being politicised rather than resolved,” he noted. Therefore, he said, the government was not of the opinion that a native land commission would be able to resolve issues pertaining to NCR.

“In short, there are no benefits to be gained by all parties especially by the claimants with the setting up of the commission,” said Adenan.


PLEASE NOTE: Section 2 of the Sarawak Land Code's definition of NCR, which only recognises temuda as NCR, has been deemed unlawful by the Federal Court through the case of Nor anak Nyawai in 2001. The nation's highest court has redefined NCR as temuda, pemakai menoa and pulau galau. However, the Sarawak Government has refused to acknowledge the Federal Court's ruling to this day, and continues to issue timber licences and provisional licences for pemakai menoa and pulau galau lands which it deems as State lands IN DIRECT AND BLATANT CONTRADICTION of the Federal Court's ruling.

Further reading: NCR policies and the law.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Anwar warns nation to brace for pre-emptive arrests as Najib fights for power

Written by Stan Lee, Malaysia Chronicle

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim warned the nation to brace for pre-emptive arrests ahead of the July 9 Bersih rally, saying that the BN federal government would resort to all ways and means to cling to power.

"Corrupt and wicked leaders will use whatever excuse to maintain their grip on power," Anwar, who is also the PKR de-facto head, told reporters after lodging his statement at the Dangi Wangi police station this afternoon.

Indeed, this has been the concern rising amongst the country's civil society leaders who fear Prime Minister Najib Razak might take a wrong step and plunge the country into a new economic crisis by reverting to hardline and emergency rule.

Pundits also point out that if it was not the Bersih rally, Najib would still make his move at another event of his own orchestration. The crux of the matter, they said, was that Najib wanted to stay in power whatever the ways and means.

So if not Bersih, it will be something else, they added. They also expect the PM to effect his move once he gets wind that the sentiment is no longer with BN, so to cancel Bersih was actually pointless. It is much better for it to go on and it is actually the job of the police to make sure that it is orderly, they added.

Meanwhile, Anwar said the police should not be blamed for following the orders of the ruling elite in UMNO. He slammed the UMNO bigwigs for pressing down on the police force.

“If the police are allowed to act professionally, no problem will arise. The problem comes when the police receive political orders,” Anwar said.

Manage the situation, not just crack down

Like many other PKR leaders, Anwar has been hauled for questioning over the Bersih rally. Last night, about 600 motor-bikers from UMNO Youth circled the PKR headquarters in Tropicana, threatening torch the office, harm Anwar and Bersih chairman Ambiga if they did not stop Bersih.

However, Anwar said Bersih should proceed and it was better if the police and the Bersih organizers sat together to discuss safety procedures and measures.

“There are those who oppose, and those who don't. There are also those who oppose Umno, so do you want to make Umno illegal? We follow the process, and the way is to manage the situation, so that the roads are under control and that protesters use the approved streams, as done by many countries," Anwar said.

He was questioned for nearly an hour by the cops over a ceramah or political lecture he gave in Brickfields on June 12. Even though it was not a Bersih event, Anwar had urged the people to attend the rally and stand up for their voting rights.

Anwar is being investigated under Section 4 of the Sedition Act and Section 27(5) of the Police Act.

- Malaysia Chronicle

Independent land commission now a must

FMT Staff | June 28, 2011

The fact that the state government and the courts are at odds over the interpretation of native rights over land is enough reason to set up an independent land commission, says lawyer Baru Bian


KUCHING: In Sarawak, the state government and the judiciary don’t seem to see eye-to-eye on matters pertaining to native customary rights (NCR) over land.

While recent court rulings have favoured native rights over NCR land, the state government agencies however continue to turn their backs on the decisions, issuing licenses for the extraction of timber or plantations.

Lawyer Baru Bian, who is also Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, said that it is now ‘crucial’ that an independent native land commission is set up.

“It’s obvious now that the court and state government have different ideas on native customary rights (NCR) land.

“The government’s stand is that NCR covers only areas farmed before Jan 1, 1958 or ‘Temuda’ were considered as NCR whereas the court had ruled that NCR also included the ‘Pemakai Menua’ and ‘Pulau’.

“This is the big problem. The crucial aspect is that we now have a basis for setting up a native land commission to address the encroachment and trespassing of NCR land by companies either for the extraction of timber or plantations.

“This is because the commission which comprises both private and public sectors will have to determine the status of any particular land before licences are issued,” he told newmen outside the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) here yesterday.

He cited the recent ruling by Sibu High Court judge Yew Jen Kie in favour of native landowners who complained that a company licensed to log had trespassed on their NCR land.

Yew had ruled that the natives had rights over the land and that the timber company and its agents had indeed trespassed on the property.

Fundamental issue

The timber company, its employees, servants or agents have been ordered to restrain from entering, clearing, using or occupying the NCR land.

According to Bian this is not the first such case.

“This is not the first case which natives have won. We have had several similar cases in the past.

“For this reason alone we feel that there is a crucial need to have an independent native land commission,” said Bian who is also Sarawak PKR chief.

Land matter is a fundamental issue in Sarawak and was championed extensively by opposition during the April 16 state elections.

Pakatan Rakyat coalition, had during its election campaign, flogged land-grab issues, the allegedly corrupt state government and Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s inexplainable wealth which was said to have been derived from raping the state’s vast rainforest.

In an unprecedented turn the Pakatan won 15 seats. PKR took three seats while DAP took 12.

An independent George Lagong, won the Pelagus seat which was once held by Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).

In his debut at the DUN, he however declared himself to be Barisan Nasional friendly.

Umno/BN fears the people

Charles Santiago

MP SPEAKS
It has been a rather disturbing week. It has also been a circus choreographed by the Umno/BN government and acted out by the police.

Sifting through rambling comments by Umno leaders, reports about activists and opposition politicians being summoned to give statements at police stations, as well as the arrests ahead of the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally, I can confidently say that the ruling politicians are shivering in their pants.

As I write this, the total number of people arrested in order to thwart the rally has exceeded 80. My colleague Senator Ramakrishnan Suppiah was detained for asking people to join the rally, when he spoke at a DAP dinner on Monday.

NONEBersih 2.0 chief Ambiga Sreenevasan (left) and national laureate A Samad Said have been questioned. The renowned poet was interrogated for a poem on the rally, which the police claimed to be seditious.

More people are expected to be arrested over the next two weeks. The harassment is nothing but a pure bully-boy tactic to prevent tens of thousands of Malaysians from gathering to call for electoral reforms.

Many of those arrested are being investigated for 'waging war' against the Agong. Such a charge is baseless and a mere witch-hunt to stop the rally at all costs.

Bersih 2.0 is not about the organisers. It is also not about opposition leaders or prominent civil society representatives. It is a movement by the people to re-claim their right to a clean electoral process.

The government simply does not get this.

azlanWhen I meet people and find myself discussing about the arrests and warnings issued to stop the rally, their sentiments echo the fact that the government is rattled about people power or the political awakening of a society which has largely been in the BN's grip for more than five decades.

I also sense their anger against a government which would do anything to stay in power. And clearly at the expense of the rakyat.

Bersih 2.0 is a coalition of 62 NGOs which zeroes in on meaningful electoral reforms. It has lobbied the Election Commission (EC) to reform postal voting, clean up the electoral rolls, use indelible ink, allow all parties access to the media and introduce a minimum 21-day campaign period.

The EC has not just shown strong resistance for any reforms but has closed the doors to Bersih 2.0 permanently, according to media reports.

Get up, stand up for your rights

The planned rally is a peaceful gathering by Malaysians to show their dissatisfaction with the electoral system and to demand the elimination of such abuses such as vote-rigging, vote-buying, phantom-voting and gerrymandering, which have been common features all these years.

A memorandum is to be submitted to the Agong, petitioning for intervention in making these reforms possible.

At the circus that I have watched over the past week, some politicians have proved to be clowns.

rais yatim pc 070809 01Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim (right) shot off his mouth saying that PSM is among "desperate parties" who are using an "evil and illegal" ideology to gain support for the rally.

He said "spreading communism is against the law". The learned minister cannot seem to differentiate socialism from communism.

Perkasa head Ibrahim Ali keeps insisting that Bersih 2.0 is a covert effort to instigate the Malays to clash against each other. Again this is a baseless allegation used to create confusion and fear among the public.

Freedom of assembly, expression and speech are key indices of democracy. They form the backbone of democratic nations. In Malaysia, we see the exact opposite.

Arrests to stop the rally, cloaked warnings and veiled threats are blatant examples of restrictive democracy. Fashioning the rally as an attempt to topple the government is the mark of a dictatorship.

I call on the police to immediately release all the 81 people who have been arrested and to making further arrests.

And let's not be cowed into submission by dictators. Let's take to the streets on July 9 to demand for our right to free and fair elections. As I say this, I am reminded of the German theologian Martin Niemoller who once wrote:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Malaysians need to stand up and be united to fight an electoral system which is riddled with abuses to serve the interests of the ruling elite. We cannot allow the high-handedness of the government or police to silence us.

Otherwise, when they come for you, there will be no one left to speak out.


CHARLES SANTIAGO is DAP's member of parliament for Klang.

Umno Youth 'threatened' to torch PKR HQ

Regina Lee

A group of Umno Youth members gathered in front of their arch nemesis PKR's headquarters in Petaling Jaya late last night in a noisy demonstration, threatening to burn down the building.

ANONEbout 300 people, according to PKR estimates, had converged on motorcycles and demanded that PKR withdraws its support from the Bersih 2.0 march on July 9.

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, who rushed to the HQ after being alerted by party members, said he arrived at about 11pm and observed the demonstration from a distance.

"How do I know they are Umno members? First of all, they were carrying Umno flags and they were wearing their red 'Patriot' T-shirts,” he told Malaysiakini.

“I could also see (Umno Youth exco Lokman Adam) and (former Perkasa Youth chief Arman Azha Abu Hanifah) leading the group."

Incendiary speeches on tape

anwar pc 290607 saifuddin nasutionSaifuddin (right) also said that when he got there with several party members, they recorded the fiery speeches made by Lokman to the Umno Youth crowd.

"He said that he wants to burn down the PKR HQ. He can deny it all he wants, but we have the recording," he said.

PKR Youth deputy information chief Rozan Azen Mat Rasip, who was also there, confirmed that Lokman had explicitly threatened to burn down the headquarters if the party participates in the July 9 rally.

NONE"He also threatened (PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim) and (Bersih 2.0 steering committee chairperson) S Ambiga for supporting the rally," he said, adding that about 50 PKR Youth members were there to monitor the demonstration.

According to Rozan (left), the Umno Youth group gathered in two locations - at a petrol station in Shah Alam and at the Batu Tiga toll plaza on the Federal Highway - before making their way to the PKR HQ in Tropicana. This was based on information in pro-Umno blogs.

He lodged a police report at the Tropicana police station, just a few doors down the road from the HQ, at about 11.40pm, almost immediately after the crowd had dispersed.

No arrests made

Rozan said he saw about 20 heavily-armed police officers on standby at the protest although no arrest were made.

azlan"That's why we're puzzled," he said, urging the police to investigate the case under criminal intimidation.

Lokman and Arman could not be reached for comment.

Though Bersih 2.0 - which stands for the Coalition of Free and Fair Elections - claims to be a politically non-partisan group, PKR is expected to mobilise tens of thousands of its members from around the country for the massive rally.

In calling for electoral reforms, Bersih 2.0 intends to hand over a petition to Istana Negara detailing their eight demands before the next general election.

However, Umno Youth has said that it will also organise a counter-rally on the same day, calling it the 'Patriot' rally, in support of the current electoral system.

Movement chief Khairy Jamaluddin had previously said that their objective is to defy Bersih 2.0, as well as to support engagement with the Election Commission.

Malay rights NGO Perkasa has vowed to hold a counter-rally in a bid to stop the Bersih rally.

PKR: Threats a sign of what's to come on July 9

Hazlan Zakaria

PKR vice-presidents Tian Chua and Nurul Izzah Anwar have expressed disconcertion with the belligerence of Umno Youth members who had gathered in front of their party headquarters last night and made threats of violence over the Bersih 2.0 rally on July 9.

Speaking to reporters in the lobby of Parliament today, they slammed the police for their double standards with Umno Youth as compared with the treatment meted out to Pakatan Rakyat leaders associated with the demonstration for free and fair elections.

NONE“We don't reject their right to protest in front of our HQ. If you don't agree with our policy, you can demo, send memo and protest there. We have no problem with that.

“But we don't appreciate the introduction of violence and threats in demonstrations,” Batu MP Chua (above) said.

“We had hoped for a peaceful rally with Patriot on July 9, but as you can see here, it is not a good start,” he added, referring to the counter-rally planned by Umno Youth on the same day as the Bersih 2.0 coalition.

Nurul Izzah (left of Chua) blasted the police for the “wide gap” between the police' action against Opposition leaders and supporters and their lack of inaction against the Umno Youth members last night despite the alleged threats of violence made over the Bersih rally.

NONEUmno Youth exco Lokman Adam was cited by several PKR leaders then present as wanted to “burn down the PKR HQ”.

“Police must be fair and consistent,” she stressed.

Asked about what she thinks will happen on July 9 when both Bersih supporters and their pro-BN rivals Umno Youth and Perkasa go out into the streets to demonstrate, Nurul Izzah expressed concern that saboteurs may be let loose to bring about chaos.

“I worry that they will plant agent provacateurs, create havoc and blame Bersih and use that as a reason to arrest the opposition leadership,” said the Lembah Pantai member of parliament.

According to PKR, about 300 people had converged on motorcycles in front of PKR's main office in Tropicana, Petaling Jaya and demanded that PKR withdraws its support from the Bersih 2.0 march.

Also allegedly threatened were PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and Bersih 2.0 steering committee chairperson S Ambiga for supporting the march.

About 20 heavily-armed police officers were reportedly on the scene, but no arrests were made.

A police report was lodged last night almost immediately after the crowd dispersed.

Will there be Ops Lalang 2: PKR leaders to be grilled Tues

Written by Stan Lee, Malaysia Chronicle

Amid a guessing game as to whether Prime Minister Najib Razak would seal his political fate with a harsh crackdown, the police have begun targeting PKR leaders for coming out strongly in support of the July 9 Bersih rally.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah, vice president N Surendran and Lawyers for Liberty Fadiah Nadwa have been called to report to the police headquarters in Dang Wangi on Tuesday at 2.30pm for questioning.

"The police are simply targeting people, even lawyers. They have gone mad," PKR legal affairs director Latheefa Koya told Malaysia Chronicle.

On Wednesday, women rights activist Irene Fernandez and former student leader Hishamuddin Rais are due for their turn with the cops.

Perak crisis and black t-shirts

But despite the chaotic feel, partly engineered by BN to scare off citizens from attending, this is not the first time the police have gone on a grilling-binge.

In the aftermath of the 2009 Perak power grab, hundreds of protests were staged throughout the country and all who wore black t-shrts in solidarity for the deposed Pakatan Rakyat state government of PAS' Nizar Jamaluddin were detained.

Several months ago, the police targeted the Human Rights Party, arresting more than 100 protesters who were taking part in a rally to protest the Interlok novel, which contained the phrase 'pariah' to describe the ethnic Indians.

Political death warrant

Speculation is rife that Prime Minister Najib Razak will order a crackdown similar to the 1987 Ops Lalang, where more than a hundred political foes and activists were arrested for challenging the Mahathir administration over several issues, including the construction of a tolled highway project.

However, many pundits believe Najib is unlikely to go through with it as the outcome would have far too devastating effects.

"It is more likely he will U-turn at the very end when he sees the people won't budge. If he were to order an Ops Lalang 2, investors confidence would be the first to fly out the window. This is something he cannot afford. He would be signing his own political death warrant," PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.

- Malaysia Chronicle

A campaign of courage

Stanley Koh | June 28, 2011

Our writer argues that all conscientious Malaysians, including BN component parties, should support the Bersih rally because they deserve a capable government.

COMMENT


Why is the rally for electoral reforms such a political hot potato? Why this gush of threats and calls for the punishment of the Bersih rally organisers? Why is the Barisan Nasioanl hegemony so fearful of electoral reforms? Why shouldn’t it support free, fair and clean elections?

Bertrand Russell once propounded the theory that bad leadership in a democracy is a logical impossibility. “The electorate always get the leaders they deserve. No matter how incompetent or venal the leaders are, the electorate must have been even worse to have elected them.”

But this cynical view cannot apply to Malaysia. The Malaysian experience has shown that it is possible for good citizens to get bad leaders.

Malaysians deserve a capable government. Not only must the best men and women among the candidates across the political divide win elections; they must also be elected under democratic principles supervised by a truly independent body.

Ministers and Members of Parliament should not be chosen because they are somebody’s cronies or through political horse trading or by back-door means, as in the appointment of senators among election losers.

The electorate must have all fair and just opportunities to elect the best governing team for the country.

That is why Malaysians must strive for changes in the electoral landscape.

In 2005, the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS), with support from the Friedrich Naumann Foundation, published a study of the existing electoral system in Malaysia. With contributions from more than a dozen distinguished academicians, it gives us one of the best analyses of Malaysia’s electoral history.

“The general conclusion reached in this assessment of the current state of Malaysia’s electoral system is that Malaysian elections cannot be considered reasonably free and fair because they do not fulfil the functions required of them in formal democratic theory,” the authors wrote.

The rather silly official rebuttal against claims of unfairness and unjust elections is that the large voter turnout is a clear indication of public confidence in the electoral process.

And then there is the even more perverted argument that the opposition’s gains in the last general election proved that Malaysian elections are free and fair and the Election Commission is indeed independent.

That Malaysian elections are not conducted fairly is not just an allegation from opposition parties; it is also the observation of non-partisan citizens. No intelligent Malaysian can deny that the Barisan Nasional (BN) uses public institutions and public agencies to help it win elections and no thinking observer can fail to notice that it often resorts to threats, intimidation and bribery.

MCA hypocrisy

Those who know something of the history of Malaysian elections cannot fail to note that the system is diseased. Except for the 1969 and 2008 elections, BN has consistently been re-positioned with two thirds of the majority in Parliament although this is not reflected in its share of the popular vote.

Since the advent of the Internet, there has been an increase in documented evidence of BN’s ghetto politicking and various forms of blatant unethical campaign practices.

What is morally wrong cannot be politically correct, despite the perverted thinking among the leadership of the BN component parties, especially the MCA.

Indeed, the hypocrisy of the current MCA leadership is in stark contrast to the thinking of the party’s founding fathers. Hence, it should surprise no one to hear MCA recently threatening action against members planning to participate in the July 9 Bersih rally.

MCA’s current leaders, if they were true to the party’s founding ideals, should instead revisit the efforts of their predecessors to ensure a just political system.

In 1986, the MCA leadership voiced out, albeit discreetly, its disquiet over a range of unfair practices it attributed to the Umno leadership. Some of these had to do with the Chinese being under-represented in the BN government. MCA leaders had a pessimistic view of the future. They felt that the Umno hegemony would continue to cause an erosion of Chinese political power.

The leadership frankly admitted in a report: “The BN system in itself poses an inherent disadvantage for the Chinese community.

“This system gives the ruling elite in Umno the built-in opportunity to exploit intra-party divisions within Barisan to their advantage.”

The report also criticised the political bias in the delineation of electoral constituencies, citing the repeated amendment of the Federal Constitution to give heavier weight to rural constituencies, which it said went against the one-man-one-vote principle.

Past MCA leaders through the years have also lamented Umno’s domination of the both the executive and judicial arms of government and questioned the independence of the Election Commission (EC).

In great contrast to their predecessors, the current MCA leaders tend to behave like wimps. Their raging rhetoric against the Bersih rally is clearly symptomatic of political impotence, leaving us with the impression that MCA is a failed party devoid of ethical leadership.

Party president Dr Chua Soi Lek’s argument that Bersih has allowed itself to be used by the opposition in organising the rally has been reinforced by his deputy Liow Tiong Lai’s intimidating remark that the party will discuss whether to sack members who participate in the rally.

This posturing is likely to drive another nail into MCA’s coffin. In recent years, the party has repeatedly confirmed its irrelevance. Its raving and ranting over the Bersih rally could well be the tipping point of its political demise.

While we write off MCA, the pertinent question to ask is: Should conscientious Malaysians unite and rally to Bersih’s support against the sleazy electoral landscape?

Constitutional experts, political scientists and conscientious academicians seem to think so.

Electoral systems shape the nature and structure of political parties and of the wider party system in the countries in which they operate. The independence of the EC would promote greater accountability of MPs to their constituents.

Experts and opinion makers also contend that electoral reforms would contribute to greater political stability for all players in power.

(File Picture from internet)

Stanley Koh is a former head of research in MCA, He is an FMT columnist.

RM400 million asset division stalls divorce for Taib's son

Hafiz Yatim

There was a brief, tense moment in the Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court today during the divorce settlement proceedings of the Sarawak chief minister's son Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib after the distribution of assets was brought into question.

Lawyers representing his former wife Shahnaz A Majid, the sister of jazz queen Sheila Majid, asserted they had served the necessary discovery documents on Shahnaz's claim of RM400 million from the son of the Sarawak strongman.

One of the documents Shahnaz's lawyer Dr Mohd Rafie Shafie claimed to have handed to Bekir is an ex-parte order obtained from the court, dated May 9, calling for a discovery of Bekir's assets in Malaysia and abroad.

NONEHe said a discovery of the assets, which his law firm and co-counsel Akbardin Abdul Kader had made, was also handed to Bekir (left).

Rafie claimed that Bekir did not want to receive their letter and documents when a representative went to his house in Desa Nusantara, Sri Hartamas, on June 22, forcing his maid take it instead.

“Our representative went to Bekir's house at Duta Nusantara, Sri Hartamas, on June 22. However, Bekir did not want to receive our letter and documents and instead his maid received it on his behalf,” Rafie said.

However, Bekir's lawyers - Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar and Saadiah Man - denied that their client had received such a claim.

"Our client was at home the whole day and did not receive any documents. Under the law, the documents should have been handed directly to my client," Zainul Rijal said.

No details furnished, say Bekir's lawyers

Co-counsel Saadiah also said it was improper for Shahnaz to submit the ex-parte application as the order dated May 9 had elapsed.

NONEBekir, on the other hand, claimed his former wife had failed to give details of their joint matrimonial assets - for which she is staking a claim - preventing him from filing a defence.

This followed an interlocutory application filed by Bekir's lawyers on June 23, asking Shahnaz to provide the details of the hundreds of acres of land in Sarawak that Shahnaz (right) is seeking.

"She is also claiming a stake in houses all over the country and outside Malaysia, but did not furnish details," Zainul Rijal said.

"According to the law, those making such claims must provide the details of the assets the person is seeking, so that we can verify them. Not doing so will result in us not being able to reply."

In light of these discrepancies, chief syariah judge Mohamad Abdullah ordered Shahnaz's lawyers to hand over all the required documents to the lawyer instead of handing them directly to Bekir.

Rafie said it would take some time as he had made four copies that were handed over and now these had to be handed over again.

Mohamad fixed Aug 9 for mention, before which Rafie and his co-counsel are required to give the necessary documents to Saadiah. These would in turn be given to Bekir to verify and to prepare his reply.

Under the syariah law system, the claimants are required to furnish the details of the assets in a claim and the defendant or respondent will then verify whether this is legitimate.

Consolidatory gift claim re-filed

This is especially so if the assets could be in the name of others as well and not solely in the respondent's.

In a related development, Shahnaz had re-filed the mutaah (consolidatory gift) claim on June 9, following the divorce pronouncement made by Bekir on May 9.

It was reported that Shahnaz is seeking RM300 million in matrimonial assets and another RM100 million in mutaah following the divorce. Bekir also submitted a separate divorce application.

The couple has a 17-year-old son.

Shahnaz, 48, claims that she and Bekir own residential properties in many places, thousands of hectares of land in Sarawak, and land in Bukit Tunku in Kuala Lumpur. They also have seven luxury cars that include the Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bentley and Maserati marques.

Their joint assets include shares in 15 companies, including Cahaya Mata Sarawak and Sarawak Cable Bhd.

The couple also possess assets in the form of savings, money in the Employees Provident Fund and Amanah Saham Bumiputera units. The detailed information on the assets will be presented during the hearing.

Shahnaz is claiming RM300 million in the joint assets accrued during marriage, which she is entitled to. She also wants Bekir to submit the original land titles to the court or to her legal representatives.

'Gov't misled public over RM74bil subsidy burden'

Aidila Razak

The federal government had "misled" the public when the Performance, Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) stated it had footed a subsidy bill of RM74 billion in 2010, an economist said today.

NONESpeaking at the Selangor 2012 budget talks in Subang Jaya today, Nottingham University visiting associate professor Subramaniam Pillay said 54 percent of that bill was for education and healthcare, which is in fact government responsibility.

"All governments in the world subsidise different items for different people. But education and health are what economists call 'public goods' and are the responsibility of the government,” said Subramaniam who retired as Nottingham University Business School head last year.

"All developed countries around the world subsidise healthcare heavily, except the US, but (President Barack) Obama recently tabled a Healthcare Bill."

Take the two big-ticket items away and the bill was only RM31.1 billion, of which only food subsidies (RM3 billion or about 2 percent of the federal budget) went directly to the rakyat.

He said much of the RM23.7 billion fuel and energy subsidies paid in 2010 had gone to gas subsidies to independent power producers.

"For infrastructure, all the subsidies go to (highway concessionaires) not because they need it but because they signed an agreement (with the government), which was stupid. It's not a subsidy for the rakyat," he said.

The Pemandu figure of RM74 billion has been cited by the government to justify its subsidy cuts on petrol, natural gas, diesel and food items.

Bishop calls for an end to Christian bashing

Terence Netto

Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing today denounced the latest instance of what he called "Christian bashing" following reports in Utusan Malaysia alleging funding for the Bersih 2.0 march by foreign Christian organisations.

The Bishop of the Melaka-Johor diocese who is concurrently president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia, said the Malay daily "appears to have a licence to publish unsubstantiated and wild allegations aimed at fomenting discord between Christians and Muslims in Malaysia."

In an article in yesterday's edition of the paper, the Utusan had claimed that millions of ringgit were being funneled from some 11 foreign Christian organisations to fund the Bersih march planned for July 9 to push for electoral reform.

"I'm appalled that nothing is being done to stop this paper from spouting arrant nonsense," said the Jesuit-trained prelate.

bishop paul tan chee ing"It appears the authorities are more interested in checking and monitoring people engaged in legitimate expression of their rights than in stopping people who spread all sorts of calumnies against individuals and groups in this country," he said in remarks made to Malaysiakini today.

Several weeks ago, accusations that Christian groups were engaged in a conspiracy to dethrone Islam as the official religion of the country surfaced in blogs allied to Umno.

Utusan gave prominence to these claims which emanated from a gathering of Christian clergymen and activists in Penang in May.

Police investigations dragged on inconclusively, shedding no light on the substance or its lack in the accusations.

"How is it the authorities are seemingly lax in their investigative and preventive ardour when irresponsible and wild allegations are made against law-abiding individuals and groups but appear to move with alacrity against people engaged in the exercise of their rights," asked Bishop Paul Tan.

"Why this disparity in the discharge of solemn duty?" he inquired.

Allegations reek of malicious intent

Bishop Paul Tan noted "with relief but no surprise" that the Bersih organisers have denied any links to Christian funding.

Bersih organising chair, Ambiga Seenivasan, has scoffed at Utusan's allegations, saying instead that funds for the march came from local sources.

"With that denial would the authorities now compel Utusan to show where they obtained knowledge of foreign Christian funding for the march and in the absence of proof thereof apologise for misleading the public," queried Bishop Paul.

"These are not innocuous allegations; they reek of malicious intent and must, if unsubstantiated, be called to account," he asserted.

"Otherwise, Malaysians - Christians in particular - might have to conclude that the initially compelling '1Malaysia slogan - People First, Performance Now' has now come to mean 'Woebegone Malaysia - Vested Interests First, The Rest Afterwards'," chided Bishop Paul Tan.

"I know this does sounds facetious but that is what things have come to," he sighed.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mr and Mrs Najib’s travels cost RM17 mil

Syed Jaymal Zahiid | June 27, 2011

From 2008 to June this year, Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor travels have cost RM17 million.


KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor spent slightly more than RM17million of taxpayers’ money on travels from 2008 to June this year.

The figures were released by the Prime Minister’s Department in Parliament today in reply to a question from PKR Batu MP Tian Chua.

Najib and Rosmah’s travels in 2008 amounted to RM1.7 million, RM4.81 million the next year, RM5.41 million in 2010 and RM5.42 million up to June this year.

The opposition have in the past accused the ruling coalition of siphoning public money to finance hefty private travels of the two, an allegation the government has denied.

Compared to her predecessors, Rosmah is seen as being more involved in government affairs, giving rise to the perception that she wields strong influence in her husband’s administration.

Rosmah, however, has denied the allegation.

In its reply, the PM’s Department said there were no specific allocation for the expenses of a prime minister’s wife.

“The PM’s Department only finances expenses involving the PM’s office,” it stated.

Meanwhile, the travel expenses of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his wife was a 100% lower than that of Najib and Rosmah’s.

From 2008 to June this year, RM8 million was spent on their travels.

RM2.7 million was spent in 2008, RM609,185 the next year, RM1.38 million in 2010 and RM3.27 million up until June this year.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Anwar: Najib, I know what you did

Susan Loone
Jun 26, 11

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has poured scorn over the prime minister's remark that 'finding the truth" was most important in determining whether the man in a sex video was indeed him.

NONESince foreign experts had reportedly said the video - showing a couple on a sexual romp in a room - resembled Anwar 99.99 percent, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had said that the people could judge for themselves as to the authenticity of the tape.

Anwar said Najib and his spouse Rosmah Mansor are not fit to speak about morals, although he did not explain in detail why he made such a snide remark.

"I have been challenged to reveal what I know about Port Dickson," said Anwar at a ceramah in Pokok Sena last night in reference to a scandal that purportedly occurred in the mid-1980s.

"But it is not my style to insult (cerca) or fitnah (slander) others just because I want to win," added the Permatang Pauh parliamentarian.

"I want to win with good morals intact," he quipped in front of the 700-strong crowd.

Anwar then lamented that the government under Najib has not responded properly to all the issues raised by the Opposition.

These grievances include issues of badNONE governance like blatant corruption within the civil service, frequent price hikes of essential goods, subsidies to independent power producers (IPPs) and the mysterious disappearance of bumiputera shares amounting to RM52 billion.

Rather than clarifying on these issues, he said, but BN resorts to throwing slander against the Opposition.

"I am not defending myself. I am resigned (pasrah) to the fact that there is one after another slander thrown at me. They will not stop as long as I have not died," he said.

"I have been stripped naked, beaten and imprisoned... bastards!," he decried, asking, what more were his detractors planning against him.

He also condemned the outcome of the recent court case whereby the 'Datuk T' trio who exposed the video were charged and pleaded guilty for distributing porn.

NONEBusinessman Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and former Perkasa treasurer Shuib Lazim were jointly charged with possession and distribution of pornography under Section 292(a) of the Penal Code, and fined RM3,000 and RM1,500 or three months jail respectively.

Meanwhile, former Malacca chief minister Rahim Thamby Chik was charged with abetment under Section 109 of the Penal Code and fine RM1,000 or one month's jail.

During the court session, counsel for Rahim, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said that US video experts consulted by the Malaysian police had compared images of the man in the video with a photo of Anwar and confirmed that both were identical as much as 99.99 percent.

The figure was not stated in the statement of facts, which was read out in open court. A copy of the statement of facts obtained by Malaysiakini also showed that the figure had been blanked out.

"In court the other day, the defense lawyer became the prosecutor. He was not defending the trio but instead he whacked me," said Anwar.

"To plant doubt in the minds of people about me. So how do we deal with them? Do you think that since they have stripped me naked, I would do the same to them? No!" he exclaimed.

NONE"We would seek for change, and if we do take over Putrajaya, we would change the name of the government of Malaysia to 'Government of the Malaysian People'," he promised.

Anwar also expressed hopelessness in the mainstream media for their slant against the Opposition.

Acording to him, a TV editor recently approached his wife, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (right), and himself at a mosque in Shah Alam, where the former tendered an apology.

The editor, who Anwar declined to identify, had purportedly said to the duo "I know it is slander and sinful but I did it (put the news about Anwar on Tv). I have no choice, I have to survive".

Anwar said he told the man to "Ask forgiveness from Allah, not from me".

"But I am comforted by the fact that there are still people in the mainstream media who have a little conscience," he added.

"Only a leader without morals will use a sex video to win over his opponents," he said.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

BN receptive to constructive criticism — Masing

HI, WHATS UP?: See Chee How (PKR-Batu Lintang) on the left and Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing (BN-Baleh) having some friendly discussion after the DUN sitting.

The BN is not unreasonable. After all that is what the Opposition are there for, to tell us the best way to work for the people of Sarawak.

Tan Sri Dr James Masing, Land Development MinisterTHE Barisan Nasional (BN) will take criticism from the opposition into account, if they are constructive and reasonable.

“The BN is not unreasonable. After all that is what the Opposition are there for, to tell us the best way to work for the people of Sarawak,” said Land Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing when asked by reporters on his opinion on the approaches of the Opposition members in the august House.

He said DAP always get interrupted by the BN backbenchers because they did not say things right and they get their facts wrong.

“PKR, on the other hand, has a different approach. Baru Bian’s approach is critical of the government but he does it constructively. See Chee How has a pleasant tone when he speaks. Obviously PKR is a sane and reasonable group.

“Shouting does not go anywhere,” he said.

Meanwhile, state DAP chairman Wong Ho Leng said they will maintain their own approach.

“We are aware that there is decorum in the house and standing orders do apply.

“However, we will do what we have to do according to what our conscience guide us. Our focus is the plight of the people, which we will bring up to the Dewan with no fear. We speak without fear,” said the Bukit Assek assemblyman.

‘DUN no place for racist sentiments’

SEE Chee How (PKR-Batu Lintang) strongly believes that racist sentiments should not be brought up in the august House.

He was referring to the incident on Thursday morning where Wong King Wei (DAP-Padungan) was delivering his maiden speech when he was interrupted with racist remarks, telling him to “go back to China”.

“The BN Backbenchers members loudly shouted at King Wei telling him to go back to China just because he praised the Beijing-Shanghai high speed railway project.

“That is very unethical and unreasonable,” he told reporters yesterday.

See said anyone could praise or raise example of any country to back their speech.

“Why specifically in this case, they have to tell people to go back to China? The Chinese people have been here for so many years and generations. It is clearly racist and it is unacceptable to bring up racist sentiments here,” he said.

According to See, there are ways to find out who uttered the racist remarks but he doubted that it will be done.

“It was for sure not recorded in the Hansard,” he said.