Friday, August 31, 2012


31 AUGUST 2012

Once again Merdeka Day is upon us and there are calls from many politicians to fly the flag as a show of patriotism and to instill patriotism amongst the younger generation. Other politicians are eager to advise the people to value our independence and one lamented that many people are confused between anger against certain political leaders and anger against the country, and that some national leaders make allegations and statements against the nation, which ‘our enemies from overseas would take advantage of’.

Firstly, I wish to point out a simple fact – the people cannot be faulted for confusing their anger against political leaders and anger against the country because for many years, the country has been run by the BN government, which has treated every government department and body as its own BN tool. Examples are too numerous to count. Only BN MPs and YBs are given allocations for their constituencies while those from the opposition are given nothing, putting their constituents at a disadvantage, perhaps as punishment for rejecting the BN. Witness the handing out of timber concessions and alienation of NCR lands to politician families and cronies by the state authorities, the swarming of the rural areas by government bodies such as JASA and KEMAS during the last state elections, the utilization of government transportation by the incumbent politicians during the campaign period, the behaviour of the Elections Commissions personnel during the voting and counting process, the distribution of government handouts by BN YBs, and most recently the fiasco of the Merdeka Day logo and theme song, chosen and written by the BN politicians. How can one blame the people for being confused if the BN politicians themselves cannot maintain the separation of the executive and the legislative, and insist on portraying the BN and the government as one and the same?

Secondly, using the overseas bogeyman scare story is really treating the citizenry like children. Who are our enemies from overseas? To my mind, our enemies are those from within this country who betray the trust given to them to govern the country. Our enemies are the people who enrich themselves at the expense of the ordinary people and then refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoings when caught out. Our enemies are the leaders who betray the country by giving identity cards and citizenship to illegal immigrants in exchange for votes. Our enemies are those people within the circle who are aware of the abuse of authority, profligate rampant corruption and cover ups but choose to remain silent for lack of moral fortitude or perhaps of their ‘tidak apa’ attitude that prevails.

Thirdly, on patriotism, why is it that the rakyat have to be reminded, urged, prodded and cajoled to fly the Jalur Gemilang by politicians? Perhaps it is because they have no reason to rejoice. When the immediate concerns are their own survival, the flying of the flag may not be of any priority. When the state and country have failed to protect their interests and to provide their basic amenities such as clean water and electricity, healthcare, education and housing, I cannot blame them for their lack of interest in flag flying. When the state is party to land grabs from the people and the country does not speak up against the abuse of power, how can we ask them to show patriotism and love of the country by flying the flag? If the government had performed honourably and not let the people down, if the rakyat were well taken care of and able to fend for themselves and prosper under a good and caring government, they would come out in droves to fly the flag without being asked to. Making the people fly the flag for the sake of a good show is just that – a show for appearance’s sake. Perhaps some of you will say that reasoning is misconceived, that it is equating the government to the country, and that should not be the case. For an answer to that, please see paragraph two above.

This year Merdeka Day falls within the Hari Raya season. The people are told by the Chief Minister that the purest Islamic teachings ‘preach justice and harmonious coexistence with followers of other religions’, and calls upon the faithful to respect both Muslim and non-Muslim brethren. (Borneo Post 25 Aug 2012 Pg 14).

I wish to say that I am in agreement with the Chief Minister’s statement that Islamic teachings preach justice and harmonious coexistence and mutual respect. Indeed, all religions require these tenets to be followed so that the community may thrive and prosper in harmony. If only these teachings were observed and adhered to by all those in whose hands we placed our trust to govern our fair land, we would not have to bear the stigma of being one of the poorest ‘states’ of Malaysia, our people would not be displaced from their lands and beaten and jailed for defending their rights, we would not have to bear the shame that after so many years, 40% of the rural population is without clean treated water and 33% without electricity, our native people would be highly educated and prosperous instead of struggling to make ends meet, and our landscape would not be scarred by indiscriminate massive logging and irresponsible dam projects.  Our country would not have to bear the ignominy of being the 4th most corrupted nation in the world, losing RM980bil in illegal capital outflow from 2000 to 2008; our children would not have to be saddled with a dangerously high national debt caused by profligate and megalomaniacal spending and corrupt practices of the ruling elite; we would not have shockingly high numbers of deaths in custody; civil society would not have to constantly fight against unjust laws which suppress basic human rights and civil liberties; and society would not be threatened by religious and racial persecution and bigotry.

This Merdeka Day, let us reflect on the state of this country now compared to the early days, in terms of the hopes and aspirations of the people, and what has been achieved. I dare say many people are now realizing that while there has been development and advancement, far more could have been achieved had we chosen a government led by people of integrity and moral courage, and that what the country needs is a new beginning, a fresh start with a new team of leaders who are committed to building a country that we will truly be proud to call our own. Let us give ourselves a chance of that new beginning when casting our votes in the coming GE13. Vote for justice, fairness and equality for all people, regardless of race or religion.

I send felicitations to my fellow Malaysians in Peninsula Malaysia on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of Malaya’s independence from British rule. We look forward to celebrating Malaysia Day with them on 16 September when we will commemorate the formation of Malaysia. We are ever hopeful that the day will come when we will be recognized as equal partners as was the objective and intent of our founding fathers.

Baru Bian
State Assemblyman
N70 Ba’ Kelalan/
PKR Sarawak

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Najib cannot LEARN: Like Bersih rallies, Janji Demokrasi declared illegal at 11th hour

Thursday, 30 August 2012 16:28Written by  Maria Begum, Malaysia Chronicle
Najib cannot LEARN: Like Bersih rallies, Janji Demokrasi declared illegal at 11th hour
Given the past experiences with the Bersih 2.0 and 3.0 rallies, few Malaysians were really surprised when news broke that the police had decided to declare the Janji Demokrasi gathering planned for tonight illegal.
"We did not expect this but we can't really say we are surprised either. We are just shocked at how silly the police and Prime Minister Najib Razak are making themselves over this issue of public demonstrations. It goes totally against Najib's own promise of greater freedom to peaceful assembly and confirms yet again what a sham the government of the day has become in Malaysia," PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng told Malaysia Chronicle.
Janji Demokrasi organiser Maria Chin Abdullah has confirmed receiving a letter from Dang Wangi district police chief Zainuddin Ahmad this afternoon that the gathering was against regulations and should be cancelled.
Too late, crowd will still come
However, it may be too late to stop the crowd from showing up in Dataran Merdeka at 10pm tonight where they plan to wear yellow in a show of solidarity and to pressure the BN government for greater democratic space.
"We support their right to take such action [in organising the gathering] and we support their demand to improvise our democractic system," Bersih had said in a statement to clarify that it was not involved in organising the event.
The Umno-controlled media had tried to tarnish the gathering by linking it to Bersih as Maria is also a committee member in the Bersih coalition of NGOs for free and fair elections.
On Monday, Maria and the Preservation of Jalan Sultan Committee (PJSC) had held a two-hour meeting with Dang Wangi police chief Assistant Commissioner Zainuddin Ahmad over Thursday's event, planned specially to take advantage of the long weekend break that gives the people time to get together and show their support for key causes.
Malaysia is due to celebrate its 55th Medreka or Independence Day anniversary on August 31.
PJSC chairman Yong Yew Wei has pledged that their event called ‘Merdeka March for Jalan Sultan’ would be "harmonious, peaceful and joyous". The Merdeka March, which is to garner support for the preservation of heritage buildings in the country, is due to start from the Gospel Hall in Jalan Hang Jebat at 8.30pm.
According to Yong, his group will not carry placards, banners or leaflets in strict compliance with the police advice. As for Janji Demokrasi, Maria has already announced there would be no speeches during their event, except for a poem pto be resented by national laureate A Samad Said. She too has agreed that there will be no placards, banners or slogans during the countdown.
Don't politicize?
Oddly, the Inspector General of Police himself had a day ago promised that the gathering could take place. “There will be no issue as long as they follow the rules to gather peacefully,” IGP Sri Ismail Omar told the press.
However, Ismail was ridiculed for his comments that Malaysians should celebrate the day without politicising it. “We should celebrate the day in peace. There should be no room for indifferences and political agendas,” Ismail had said.
His comments were derided because Najib himself had chosen for this year's Merdeka celebration the theme of Janji diTepati or Promises Fulfilled in a bid to ramp up public sentiment for his government ahead of general elections which are widely expected to be called soon.
~ Malaysia Chronicle

Police declare tonight's Janji Demokrasi rally illegal

3:34PM Aug 30, 2012 
The police have announced that the Janji Demokrasi gathering tonight is against the regulations.

Organising committee member Maria Chin Abdullah when contacted confirmed that Dang Wangi district police chief Zainuddin Ahmad sent her an official letter about an hour ago.

~ Malaysiakini

Umno, State Your Stand On Hudud

P Ramakrishnan
Thursday, 30 August 2012 15:16
When Kelantan Umno chief Mustapa Mohamad demanded "why they (Pas) are unable to implement hudud laws in Kelantan", Malaysians would like to know what exactly Umno’s stand on the hudud issue is.
Is Umno for the implementation of the hudud laws in Malaysia? We know that Prime Minister Najib Razak had stated that hudud is not suitable for a multi-ethnic society like Malaysia. But that is not enough. He must publicly, honestly and frankly declare: "Umno will not implement hudud laws in Malaysia."
Only then would it be very clear what Umno’s stand is. Otherwise, it would only be dithering without being specific.
If Umno has no intention of implementing hudud laws in Malaysia, why is it then goading Pas to implement hudud. Why is it provoking Pas on this issue?
Mustapa stated that "although the laws had been passed by the Kelantan state assembly in 1993, they were still in the ‘implantation’ stages and were not enforced".
Surely he must know some facts and a little bit of Malaysian history. The Kelantan assembly passed the hudud laws in response to Dr Mahathir’s challenge to the Pas government to implement the hudud laws. He even promised to amend the Federal Constitution to enable the Pas government to implement the hudud laws.
But when the Pas government went ahead and passed these laws, Mahathir did not honourably keep his word. He went back on his promise: he backtracked; he did not have the courage or the integrity to be faithful to his pledge.
But that was history. But what is the reality today?
Pas, to its credit, had moved away from the Islamic state and the hudud laws by adopting an inclusive philosophy which reaches out to every Malaysian. They have adopted, as a matter of policy, what is termed as a ‘benevolent state’, which addresses the needs of the poor, the marginalised, the voiceless and the helpless. For simplicity – but erroneously – it is commonly termed as a ‘welfare state’.
This shift is commendable. Instead of lauding this development in Pas, Umno is attempting to push Pas into the hudud territory. What is your game, Umno? Shame on you that you cannot, unlike Pas, change for the better!
In the meantime, the MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek and his cohorts should stop baying like a pack of wolves on the hudud issue when they are unable to persuade Umno to state positively that hudud will not be implemented in Malaysia. Do that first, then you can take everybody else to task on the hudud issue.
He realistically claims that if "Pas were to amend the Federal Constitution to suit its religious teachings, then all Muslim members of parliament would have to support it.
"He said the situation would be similar to when Pas amended the state Constitution in Terengganu – all Umno assemblymen there had to support it."
His memory of history is much better than that of Mustapa’s! The simple question actually is whether Umno will support or oppose the implementation of hudud laws.
As long as Umno remains ambivalent on the hudud issue, MCA should not be aiming its guns at others who have stated their position very clearly.
Can Soi Lek give us an honest answer as to why the Terengganu state government under the Barisan Nasional has not repealed the Islamic Criminal Enactment, passed by Pas in 2002, when it ruled Terengganu state! Umno has had eight years (since it recaptured Terengganu in 2004) to prove its sincerity but has done nothing!
This is a test case for Soi Lek. Get the BN to repeal this enactment in Terengganu. If he can display the moral courage so sorely needed and demand without any hesitation that Umno should immediately repeal this enactment, only then has he the right to talk about the dangers of hudud laws.
Ralph Waldo Emerson would say, "Go put your creed into your deed."
P RAMAKRISHNAN is the immediate past president of Aliran and now serves on the Aliran executive committee 

Umno leader backs PKR’s NOW

Syed Jaymal Zahiid

August 30, 2012
Saifuddin Abdullah says the organisation, with regard to whistleblowers, spearheaded by PKR's Rafizi Ramli, is essential for good governance
SUNGAI BESI: As the government copes with accusations of political persecution on whistleblowers, Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah today gave his endorsement to an opposition initiative to encourage informants to expose power abuse.
The Temerloh MP, one of the few progressive leaders in right-wing Umno, said the formation of the National Oversight and Whistleblowers (NOW) was timely amid widespread calls for a joint public-government effort to fight corruption.
The non-profit organisation is spearheaded by PKR’s prodigal “exposé man” Rafizi Ramli, whose series of exposé on scandals implicating the Najib administration have caused much damage to the ruling coalition’s self-styled reform image just ahead of the national polls.
“We need to raise public awareness on the important role of whistleblowers. That they are not mischievous people with bad intentions, but, rather agents of change,” Saifuddin said in a statement faxed to Rafizi amidst NOW’s launching here today.
And it is exactly for the same reason the PKR man – who is also facing legal action under the country’s banking laws for his exposé on the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre scandal – had decided to set up NOW.

Confidence crisis
The timing of the project is also key. Rafizi told participants at the launching that his outfit wants to encourage whistleblowers to come forward at a time when public confidence in government agencies have dipped to an all-time low.
The PKR strategy director said NOW aims to provide an alternative to the anti-graft battle in light of the “confidence crisis” in key government institutions like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and police.
Low conviction rate over graft cases involving the “big fishes” and repeated cases of custodial deaths have forced voters to perceive the agencies with pessimism despite Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s vow to make the fight against corruption an important aspect of his government.
This included the introduction of the Whistleblower Protection Act. But with the charges against Rafizi and another public informant in relation to the “cow-gate” scandal, the law’s effectiveness is seen as questionable.
“I think the public generally distrusts them and this is when NOW steps in – to help whistleblowers come forward,” said Rafizi.
Advice on legal risks
The centre will prepare a step-by-step process for whistleblowing, which will include offering advice to informants on the legal risks they may face with their disclosures should they agree to proceed.
This will be followed by a thorough vetting process of the credibility of the information and evidences provided before they are revealed to the public through the media.
However, the law only offers protection to whistleblowers if they make a disclosure of improper conduct to an authorised enforcement agency, which means it does not accord protection to whistleblowers who go to the media.
This means Rafizi’s NOW will likely force the outfit to deal with lawsuits and prosecutions.
But any legal action against the outfit could be good for the opposition. Any prosecution will likely be seen as a move to silence the ruling coalition’s political rivals which can jeopardise Najib’s reform credentials.
~ Free Malaysia Today

Ministry seeks law review to ensure child rapists duly punished

August 30, 2012
The ministry will meet Nazri to discuss the laws governing statutory rape. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 ― The government will re-evaluate existing laws on statutory rape to ensure victims are adequately protected and perpetrators receive sentences that match the crime, the Ministry of Women, Family And Community Development said today.
A public uproar over how two men were recently let off by the courts with suspended sentences after they were found guilty of raping two minors prompted the ministry’s statement today.
The ministry said it will hold discussions with de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz on the matter.
“The ministry respects the decision of the courts in sentencing the two adult men who were found guilty of statutory rape recently. But at the same time we view seriously the views of the public who consider the sentences light and not commensurate with the crime,” it said in its statement.
There has been public outrage and concern at what appears to be a legal trend of letting convicted child rapists avoid jail sentences, following two recent cases where two young men were each released on a RM25,000 good behaviour bond.
Former national bowler Noor Afizal Azizan and electrician Chuah Guan Jiu, were 19 and 21 respectively when they committed the offence of statutory rape on girls who were then aged 13 and 12.
In the two cases, judges had agreed to release the two young men who were found guilty of raping prepubescent girls instead of sentencing them to the mandatory five years’ imprisonment, a fine, and whipping under section 376(2) of the Penal Code.
The relatively young age of the two rapists was cited in both cases as one of the reasons for keeping them out of jail.
In both cases, the courts also considered the sex acts consensual even though issue of consent is irrelevant in statutory rape cases.
Malaysian law prescribes the age of sexual consent for girls to be 16 years and above.
Both national bowler Noor Afizal and Chuah may also be classified as paedophiles, according to international medical standards and psychiatrists here, suggesting the courts may have freed sexual predators who might repeat their crime.
The World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) categorises paedophilia as “a sexual preference for children, boys or girls or both, usually of pre-pubertal or early pubertal age.”
And according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) used by mental health professionals globally, paedophilia is the sexual attraction to pubescent or pre-pubescents aged 13 or younger, and the subject must be 16 or older with the child at least five years younger.
Noor Afizal was 19 when he committed the offence while the girl he raped was 13, or six years his junior.
In the case of Chuah, he was 21 at the time of the offence, while his victim was 12 ― a nine-year gap between the two.
The age difference between perpetrator and victim in both cases falls within both the ICD and DSM criteria for paedophilia.
Today, the ministry also pointed out that Malaysia was a party to both the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
As Malaysia had ratified the two conventions, it was the government’s responsibility to protect women and children from any exploitation, violence or abuse, the ministry said.
~ The Malaysian Insider