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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Have Malaysians Lives Changed Much Since the “Tsunami”?


It is easy to play the blame game and accuse the Malays of being unwilling to give up their competitive advantage for the good of the country while subscribing wholeheartedly to the selfish capitalist ideology of the “hidden hand”. This is naïve and takes the Malays for being fools or at the very least altruistic “Tuans”. Worse, it is pathetic political tactics.

By batsman

So why the big fuss over politics?

For most of us life has changed little. It is still the daily grind. The majority has gone back to working for a living. Decide for yourself how much your own life has really changed. Yet for some people, it IS a real tsunami. Arguably, AAB’s life has changed, some may say for the better while Ms Hee’s life has probably also changed – some may say for the worse.

It does seem that the further up the ladder, the greater the impact of the “tsunami”. So the “tsunami” actually applies only to VIPs and their honchos. For most of us, we are just spectators in a drama. So why the big fuss over politics?

It would seem that the bigger your ambition, the bigger the fuss you are likely to make. I mean “ambition” in the broadest sense, not necessarily climbing up the political ladder but also ambition to change or “improve” society – making your contribution to “progress”, standing up for justice or helping the disadvantaged. I guess it also applies to those who have great ambition and wish for their lives to change but become disappointed when they are not able to attract sufficient attention from the VIPs and powerful persons as well as those who wish for their lives to change by joining UMNO.

Obviously, there are complications to this model or interpretation. For example, for some, the ability does not match the ambition, so the action speaks less loudly than the words – much like a small puppy noisily barking for attention, or to impress its owners.

Yet it is undeniable that politics does affect ones life. In the long term, corruption destroys the community and breeds brutal selfish violence. Ordinary people are forced by circumstance to become criminals and people become victims through no fault of their own. This has a real effect on individual lives however much one tries to avoid it.

It is like global warming. People talk about it, people worry about it, but few take any really effective action. Politics affects each and everyone of us through the social and economic environment, while those who are politically involved in a direct way are affected more the more they are involved in the political process. Those who become targeted when political circumstances collide (when they are dined and feted for winning elections, or just because they are political assistants to politicians whom evil people wish to bring down) face the brunt of plots and machination. Their lives are therefore greatly affected.

Don’t blame such people if they become personal about it especially when the majority of us don’t really bother very much anyway what happens to them. Some become personal by accepting tempting and corrupting offers while others become personal by increasing their hatred and bile for those who are not bothered about politics and don’t even bother to vote.

So when does it become personal? This is difficult to say. In the example on global warming, things become very personal when one lives by the sea side and the waves are eroding one’s house and property away or when one lives somewhere near slopes which are apt to collapse in devastating landslides.

We have individual and community lives. These must be properly balanced for things to make sense. If the majority look after only their individual lives and ignore the needs of the community, then when politics affect the community and subsequently affect ones individual life then things may get a bit confusing and some may start to ask the question “Why me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?”

In Malaysia, the community needs a lot of attention. People are too focused on their individual lives. There are lots of individual actions to improve individual lives, but there is very little joint action or community action to improve the social and economic environment.

One may blame capitalism and the concept of the “hidden hand” for this. Apparently if the individual acts selfishly, the sum total of all individual selfish acts will benefit society. There is something perverse about this type of thinking.

According to this reasoning, the Chinese in Malaysia may justifiably act selfishly and use their competitive advantage in business and technology as well as financial clout to get ahead and this will benefit Malaysian society as a whole. By the same token, the Malays may use their competitive advantage of greater political power and support UMNO to protect Malay dominance and this will benefit Malaysian society as a whole. The Indians are then justified to use the selfish examples of the other 2 communities and demand Indian rights alone and this will benefit Malaysian society as a whole.

Such thinking will never contribute to the creation of a common Malaysian identity and loyalty despite slogans such as “1 Malaysia” or “Malaysia for the Malaysians”.

Let me try and provide the argument why. We are like 3 princes vying for the throne in a fairy tale, each using his competitive advantage to the full and obsessed with the power and threat from the others, while blissfully unaware that the real power is being stolen by the manipulative and evil prime minister. In a sense we quarrel over goodies, each using their competitive advantage against each other while forgetting that competition for the overall economic pie also includes powerful foreign forces.

We have this predicament of Bahasa Malaysia versus English in schools. This is not all. There is also the predicament of Tamil schools and Chinese schools as well as madrasahs. In a sense we need to get the balance right in spite of all these complications and overly sensitive feelings.

For the Indians, it is arguable that those who have good command of English are also those who are better off economically. These Indians have also gone one step further and accepted western values and practices to a certain extent. They have made sacrifices in order to get ahead economically and have tried to balance traditions versus modernity without losing too much of their identity.

It is the same with the Chinese although to a lesser degree since the Chinese are much more powerful economically (both nationally and now increasingly internationally as well) and a great many Chinese can get along very well without having to learn any English. Well, good for them, but it is a bit worrying that if they can comfortably ignore the global environment and isolate themselves within the Chinese economic community, would it not be even easier to ignore the national environment?

It is easy to play the blame game and accuse the Malays of being unwilling to give up their competitive advantage for the good of the country while subscribing wholeheartedly to the selfish capitalist ideology of the “hidden hand”. This is naïve and takes the Malays for being fools or at the very least altruistic “Tuans”. Worse, it is pathetic political tactics.

After all it is the reformists who are pushing for political reforms and it is they who must take the initiative.

So while there is still a stalemate in the political situation in Malaysia with each side jockeying for advantage, wouldn’t it be a good thing to review political agendas and platforms and make a more decent appeal to the Malaysian masses such that they can seriously consider abandoning the old paradigms and venture to try new ones in the hope that their lives can change for the better?

Better still, can we frame political agendas and platforms such that the social and economic environment in the country has a hope of changing for the better and a truly Malaysian identity can be forged without depending on cheap slogans? We need changes to the environment to effectively reflect greater fairness and justice, professionalism and integrity, the talented being given more opportunity and responsibility while the untalented are guaranteed dignity as long as they strive to the best of their ability. Gosh – have I indulged in some cheap sloganeering? I too have a cat that needs a name. heeheehee

Mugilan Lodges Police Report Against Samy Vellu

The founder of Anti Samy Vellu Movement (GAS), V. Mugilan in a press conference today announced that he had lodged a police report at Petaling Jaya Police Headquarters against the negligence and misappropriation of funds by Dato’ Seri S Samy Vellu.

Mugilan shows police report to the reporters during press conference.Mugilan shows police report to the reporters during press conference.

This report was made based mostly on the evidence that was revealed by former MIC Youth Chief, S. Vigneswaran through a summon in High Court whereby the Judge, Mah Weng Kwai gave an order to allow Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) to take action against its Chairman or Board Directors, in particular, Samy Vellu.

Mugilan said the existing evidence in hand in addition to those from Vigneswaran were more than sufficient for the police to start conducting their investigation.

In the report, Mugilan alleged the misappropriation of MIED funds was committed by Samy Vellu when the latter awarded a RM27 million landscaping contract to Nova Blooms which is owned by Komathy Ganesan. Mugilan claims that Komathy is a proxy of a Samy Vellu’s close friend named Roseline. Mugilan’s report also alleged that MIED was later paid RM31,222,407 to Nova Blooms.

Additionally, the report said Samy Vellu also gave Maika Intellectual Resources (MIR), which belongs to his son, a contract issued for “Information and Communication Technology Services and Infrastructure” totaling RM40 million on 30 December 2002.

Mugilan also questioned the holding of MIED’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) which only took place ten years after its last AGM when the company is considered to be a big company that is able to generate billions in profit.

“I would also like to express my dissatisfaction with MIED’s Board of Trustees which had fixed 6 percent interest on the study loans given to the poor though there were no interest charged in the loan repayments from certain parties especially the RM9 million loan given to a company represented by Tan Sri Harinarayanan and RM7 million to Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Manaf,” Mugilan said.

He added that if the police are unable to take action against Samy Vellu within a month, he will go directly to Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to make a report.


When asked by a reporter why he had decided to file the report to the police instead of Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) to file his report, Mugilan said that “MACC is extremely biased towards ’certain’ people.”

Stick together....(fom left to right) Rajasekaran (Mugilan' s lawyer), V. Mugilan and G. Kumar AamaanStick together....(fom left to right) Rajasekaran (Mugilan' s lawyer), V. Mugilan and G. Kumar Aamaan


Later on, Mugilan was also asked to comment on MIC Youth Chief T. Mohan’s claim that GAS members were splitting apart as the ‘GAS’ acronym has been dropped from the title of the second rally which will be held in this Sunday in Dewan Hamzah, Klang.

In response to T. Mohan’s claim, Mugilan said that the key members of GAS (him, KP Samy, G. Kumar Aaman and Barath Maniam) are equivalent leaders in GAS. He also explained that he was the coordinator for GAS’ first rally whereas KP Samy is the one who is organizing for the second. G. Kumar Aaaman is likely the next coordinator for the third rally.


courtesy of Malaysian Digest

MACC no-show, as most Malaysians had expected


The press conference on 7th July will still go on. It will be at 11.00am at the Holiday Villa in London. Bala and his lawyers will no doubt not be telling the world what MACC asked him and what he replied. Instead, they will be telling the world what Bala would have told MACC had the session not been aborted.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Actually, this was already anticipated. MACC had initially wanted to record private investigator P. Balasubramaniam’s statement in the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore. That would have been as good as asking Bala to go to Bukit Aman for his statement to be recorded.

Of course, Bala’s lawyers disagreed and insisted that the meeting be held in London, the Holiday Villa to be exact. After a certain period of silence, MACC finally came back and agreed to the Holiday Villa London but insisted that they book the meeting room.

That was no problem. After all, they would be paying for it and as long as it is in the Holiday Villa who cares which room it is.

The reason why MACC wanted to make the room arrangements is because they wanted the entire session to be confidential and covered by Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act. This means Bala would not be allowed to reveal what transpired during his meeting with MACC. And they were also worried that if Bala’s lawyers arranged for the meeting room they may plant bugs to record his session with MACC.

What MACC failed to realise is that you no longer need to plant bugs in the meeting room. You can record whatever transpires from another building across the road or from a parked van outside the building. And you can zero in and pick up exactly what you want without too much interference from other goings-on.

Anyway, up to yesterday, MACC did not contact Holiday Villa about the booking of the meeting room. Bala’s lawyer then wrote to MACC telling them that since they have not made any booking then the booking will be done on their behalf. The lawyer also wrote to Holiday Villa to inform them that the meeting room is being booked on behalf of MACC and that MACC would be paying for it.

That was when MACC decided to announce that the session has been aborted.

MACC wanted to impose Malaysian laws under the Official Secrets Act and Anti-Corruption Act on Bala. But these laws can’t be enforced in the UK and in the UK you just can’t deny a person legal representation or stifle information, as there is a Freedom of Information Act.

What MACC wanted to do was to have a secret or confidential meeting with Bala without the presence of his lawyers and then go back to Malaysia and announce that they have taken Bala’s statement and have found nothing to incriminate Najib or his family in any criminal act. This would work only if no one else knows what Bala told MACC. But if the interview were to be made public or Bala’s lawyers were also in the meeting then this would not work.

MACC wanted three days with Bala -- 5th, 6th and 7th July. But Bala’s lawyers were going to give MACC only two days because on the third day, 7th July, they were going to hold a press conference to inform the world what MACC asked Bala and what Bala replied over those two days.

MACC wanted the interview embargoed and the last thing they need is for Bala and his three lawyers to hold a press conference on the third day and pass documents, evidence and tape recordings to the media.

MACC realised that a trap had been laid and they were walking right into it. They tried to determine the ‘rules of engagement’ but discovered that these rules will only apply in Malaysia and not in the UK.

The safest thing, therefore, would be to call off the session with Bala.

But the press conference on 7th July will still go on. It will be at 11.00am at the Holiday Villa in London. Bala and his lawyers will no doubt not be telling the world what MACC asked him and what he replied. Instead, they will be telling the world what Bala would have told MACC had the session not been aborted.

This is heads I win, tails you lose. Either way Bala and his lawyers are going to have the last word. And there is nothing MACC or the Malaysian government can do about it.

MACC walked into a trap and by withdrawing they walked into an even bigger trap.

In the meantime, just to recap, watch the videos below. These have previously been published and this, plus more, is what Bala will be confirming in the press conference of 7th July 2010.

Watch these videos:

Video 1:

Video 2:

Video 3:

courtesy of malaysia-today.net

Taib has everything, Penans have nothing

TO the Malaysian government, particularly the Sarawak administration, the gentle and softly spoken Penan are a domestic problem. To the chief minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Penan are a thorny issue as they hamper his efforts for maximum commercial exploitation of Sarawak. But to the Penan, the jungle is both their home and store-room. That is why they are resisting attempts to move them from their own domain.

The Penan have lived in the interior of Borneo for centuries. They have a strong communal bond and a meticulous process of sharing. They are semi-nomadic and move in small groups searching for sago palm, wild fruits and game.

taib-property-1Every month or so the Penan leave their old selap (huts) and establish a new camp elsewhere in the forest, in search of sago palm – which forms part of their staple diet. Possessions are few and everyone, including children carries these, in strong rattan backpacks.

In stark contrast is Taib's well-guarded palatial home in a select river-side location along the Sarawak River in Kuching. He has expensive tastes and his house is packed with gilt-edged European style furniture. Among his possessions is the late Liberace's piano which reputedly cost him US$2 million.

The Penan elders dress in chawats (loin cloths). They have bands on their legs and wrists and large holes in their earlobes. Taib is reputed to be a dapper dresser with a preference for double-breasted suits and sports a ring with a walnut-sized red gem surrounded by small diamonds.

Wealth from Sarawak jungles

Unlike the Penan who used to go barefoot but now wear cheap, plastic football boots, Taib has a choice of luxury cars, is frequently seen in his Rolls Royce and visits longhouses by helicopter.

taib-property-4City-slickers like us may disagree, but the Penan are rich in culture and are wealthy from the bounty that the jungle yields. They have a deep respect, love and reverence for the jungle and have a strong belief in conservation.

The irony is that Taib Mahmud's global empire, covering Canada, UK and Australia, is built from the plundered wealth derived from the Sarawak jungles. It is alleged that the Canadian properties alone are worth RM230 million. Taib, and his inner-circle are rich at the Penan's expense.

Taib's family owns Sakto Development Corporation (formed in the 1980s) which is managed by Taib's son-in-law, Sean Murray, a Canadian who is married to his daughter, Jamilah. They own Ottawa's second most expensive home, at RM28 million.

This high-profile couple belongs to Ottawa's privileged society regularly making generous donations to political parties, cultural and educational establishments. Back home, the Penan live in poverty, without education, amenities or basic health care.

Taib's argument is that the logging companies bring wealth and opportunities to the Penan. He is mistaken. The logging tracks have destroyed a lot of sago palm. Badly planned trails cause landslides, erosion and silting watercourses. When the giant trees are removed, the resulting open ground rapid forms bushy secondary forest. Game is harder to spot and track, medicinal plants are less plentiful and vital sago palms become less abundant. The destruction of large fruiting trees removes a vital food source for the Penan and the game. The roads provide access to hunters from outside, who also remove the Penan's food sources but also threatens their security.

taib-mahmud-penanInadvertently, these logging trails provide another danger. Logging trucks have ostensibly provided lifts to Penan girls to their schools, who were then abused and raped by loggers during the journey. Despite evidence of sexual assaults, theMalaysian police have dragged their feet in investigations.

Whilst the police have been slow to act to protect the girls, they have been quick to dismantle Penan blockades and peaceful protest groups, against logging and plantation companies.

When Dr James Masing, Sarawak's Minister for Land Development was asked about the rapes, he said, "I think this is where we get confused I think... the Penan are a most interesting group of people and they operate on different social etiquette as us... a lot this sex by consensual sex".

When told that a Penan girl had been beaten unconscious and raped, he replied: "They change their stories, and when they feel like it. That's why I say Penan are very good story tellers."

Taib remained unscathed

Despite the scandals involving the payment of kickbacks by nine Japanese shipping companies for transporting timber from Sarawak to Japan, or the obscene wealth amassed by Taib, he has remained unscathed. Even, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission kept silent about a report that was recently made against Taib.

An earlier report highlighted how deforestation sparked drought and food shortages. When alerted by church groups, food was airlifted to 3,000 Penan in the Bakun area, in the upper Rejang River. A former state environment minister James Wong dismissed the idea that deforestation could lead to global warming. The climate change, he said, would be ideal for playing golf.

Wide-scale, systematic destruction of Sarawak's primary jungle began in the 1970s - the main threat was logging. When the jungles dwindled in the 1990s, Taib's family company, Cahya Mata Sarawak moved into cement, steel, timber, construction, financial services and banking. For the Penan, the creation of palm oil and acacia plantations created another threat. Coupled with Taib's mega-dam project, the Penan and other indigenous peoples faced forced relocation to areas which were unproductive and un-economic.

The Penan are deeply and emotionally attached to the jungle. They are acutely aware of the changes in their own environment - the wildlife they hunt, the fruit they pick, the fish in the rivers, their medicinal plants and clear clean drinking water, have almost gone.

The ancestral homelands of the Penan and other indigenous people of Sarawak are depleted. Only 10% of Sarawak's primary forests remain. Their petitions and peaceful protests fall on deaf ears. Their blockades have been dismantled and violent intervention by the Malaysia army, police and logging company enforcers have resulted in injury and deaths.

Empty promises do not help the Penan. They have been marginalised and their culture and way of life destroyed. They are one of the few remaining semi-nomadic people on earth. They want progress, but on their own terms and at their own pace. They want Taib's government to recognise their Native Customary Rights (NCR) over their ancestral lands.

It is for us to respect their demands. We must not fail them but help champion their right to live as they want to.

courtesy of MM

Khalwat: Offenders are only human

WHEN an off-duty policeman died during a raid on a Kelantan hotel, his colleagues must have felt a tinge of regret and shame. State police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi confirmed that one of his men had died in the incident. The policemen had not died in the line of duty; he died whilst trying to flee from his colleagues who were conducting the khalwat raid.

Enough has been said about these raids but little has been done to review them.

Now that the police have made one of their own a victim, will they finally engage with those who wish to regulate these raids? Enough lives have been lost. For those who remain, the loss of possibly the sole breadwinner causes more hardship.

Will these religious officials also realise that policemen are human, too? No one condones immorality, but not everyone can live the life of a saint.

Ackhalwat-raidcording to a senior police official, "The 33-year-old lance-corporal climbed out of his hotel room window when religious affairs department officials raided his room in the early hours of Saturday". They believe he may have jumped off or fallen from the third-storey window.

Extra-marital sex is frowned upon by most religions, but if it is consensual, then what this man and his lover did is their business. It is their sin, and a crime between them and their God.

Khalwat raids are an oppressive way of forcing people to conform to Islamic ideals of behaviour. The 'holier than thou' attitude of the officials causes more harm than good.

It casts a shadow on Islam and invites criticism to the motives and methods of the officials who may, have good intentions at heart. However, the public sees them as voyeurs and thugs who enjoy recording people's actions by snooping, hiding behind pillars, creeping around bushes and pouncing on innocent couples.

More often than not, these officials are extremely arrogant. They are rude and unsympathetic and often humiliate people after they barge and force their way into homes or bedrooms. They see no wrong in invading the privacy of others, lowering their dignity and shaming them in public.

By right, this moral policing contravenes the Koranic injunction laid out in various verses such as Surah Al-Hujurat 49:12: "do not pry into others' secrets" or Surah An-Nur 24:27, 28: 'Do not enter other houses except yours without first asking permission and saluting the inmates. If you are asked to go away, turn back. That is proper for you'.

According to religious academics, khalwat raids were never carried out during the Prophet's lifetime and even the second Caliph Sayidina Umar was rebuked for barging into a suspect's residence.

Many Muslim countries do not conduct khalwat raids, but they seem to be the norm here. Already there are allegations of abuses of power where the officials behaved inappropriately towards their detainees.

If the authorities are serious about doing good, then how about focusing their resources on tracing errant husbands or fathers? These men abandon their wives and do not pay maintenance to their wives, or their ex-wives, and their children.

Anti-khalwat,

Kota Baru

courtesy of MM

Karpal to Nazri: Why 'corrupt' CJ not arrested?

Bukit Gelugor parliamentarian Karpal Singh today asked de-facto law minister Nazri Aziz to explain why no action has been taken against chief justice Zaki Azmi, despite what he claimed was clearevidence of the latter's wrongdoings.

zaki azmi chief justice installation event 291008 03“He said it himself in Kuching... This was told to me by a court registrar,” alleged Karpal, quoting a statement attributed to the chief justice.

In November 2008, the New Straits Times quoted Zaki (left) as saying, “It took me six months to be nice, to bribe each and every individual to get back into their good books before our files were attended to. That was my personal experience, and I am telling this to all the clerks and all the registries to stop this nonsense”.

Karpal contends that this statement is proof that Zaki was involved in bribery.

The chief justice was alleged to have made the statement at a convention on 'Integrity, the Catalyst for Sustainable Development' in Kuching. However, Zaki has since denied uttering the statement.

karpal zaki azmi dang wangi police report 121108“I have lodged a police report (right) about him. Why is there no action? Can I ask the minister to explain?,” asked Karpal during the winding-up by the minister in the prime minister's department.

Nazri, however, replied that he will have to refer to the chief justice on the matter.

“I have already answered twice on this matter, I will meet the chief justice again about this. I cannot answer on his behalf,” said the minister.

Nazri: 'not my purview'

Bagan Serai parliamentarian M Gobalakrishnan then stood up to press him on the matter.

“What is the minister's opinion on this?” he asked.

“My opinion is not important. I will answer after I have met him,” repeated an agitated Nazri.

gobind singh deo jalan duta court 230409 07Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo (right) then questioned why Nazri would inform Zaki of the allegations.

“Try to listen to what I am proposing. What if you go to a suspect and then tell him that there is a charge against him. What do you think he would do?”

Nazri however rubbished Gobind's question.

“Don't confuse the issue, I want to see the CJ because he is not here to answer the allegations in the Dewan.”

Karpal then interjected, saying that instead of wasting time talking to Zaki, Nazri should send a police inspector to arrest the chief justice.

Zaki already “confessed”

“He is not a suspect, he already confessed to bribery. He should be arrested, sent to court and imprisoned... is the government going to take action?” the DAP veteran asked.

sapp chua soon bui nazri abdul aziz  parliament 070708 03Nazri (right) corrected Karpal, saying that it was not him but Gobind who had called Zaki a suspect, and told the Bukit Gelugor MP to ask the police and the attorney-general why no action had been taken against Zaki thus far, as it is not under his purview.

“I know I am not an inspector, but I'm bigger than that. Inspectors are not called YB, only ministers are called YB,” quipped Nazri.

In response, Gobind then brought up the matter of Nasir Safar, whose case has been marked 'no further action' by the attorney-general's chambers.

He questioned why, if Nazri has no purview over the attorney-general's chambers and the police, was it he who announced the decision in Nasir yesterday.

Nazri clarified that he only announced the matter because the attorney-general briefed him about it. But he maintained he has nothing to do with the decision itself, and does not have control over the police, which is under the Home Ministry.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

Lawyers: MACC's reasons full of contradictions

The MAAC announced today it will not meet private investigator P Balasubramaniam in London and his lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu's response is that the MACC's reasons to cancel the interview do not qualify as reasons and are full of contradictions.

americk siva pc 040708 02Americk (left) reiterated that Balasubramaniam was also willing to testify in any court of law and it was wrong for the MACC to assume he would not turn up in court.

He also took a swipe at the prosecution's handling of the on-going Anwar Ibrahim sodomy II trial, saying if this were the case, such a statement recorded from star witness Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan would have been willingly tendered by the prosecution as part of their case instead of being hidden from view.

"There is no real excuse of not wanting to record a statement from Bala," Americk said.

"Whatever advice the MACC has received from the attorney-general's chambers is highly suspect and devoid of any legal basis.

"Instead it smacks of a hastily-assembled concoction of very weak excuses designed to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation for those who are obviously in control and who are able to hijack the machinations of the state and to manipulate the system to suit their own illegitimate agendas," he added.

In a related development, Malaysia Today blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin reiterates in his blog that the scheduled press conference on July 5 will go on.

Americk's statement in full.

Response to press by MACC regarding Bala interview in London

I refer to the press release by the MACC this afternoon to the effect that they will not be sending their officers to London to interview my client P.Balasubramaniam (Bala), as promised.

The excuses (they do not qualify as reasons), given are as follows:

1. That the MACC will instead submit questions to which my client will give his answers in affidavit form.

2. That the A.G's chambers had provided advice along these lines to the MACC.

3. That precedence has been established in the Eric Chia case to the effect that a witnesses statement recorded overseas is inadmissible in a Malaysian Court.

4. That even if an affidavit was sworn by Bala it would not hold much weight in court if he was not available to testify.

These statements appear to be full of contradictions, misguided assumptions and ill-devised excuses used to decline the invitation to interview Bala which has been so vehemently pursued by the MACC in the past.

The recording of a witnesses statement can take place anywhere in the world as this statement forms part of the investigations conducted by the MACC for the purposes of a potential prosecution and is not intended to be used as evidence in a Court of Law.

f this were the case, then the statement recorded from Saiful in the ongoing Sodomy II trial of Anwar Ibrahim would have been willingly tendered by the prosecution as part of their case instead of being guarded jealously and hidden from view.

So this is really no excuse for not recording a statement from Bala.

It would never be tendered in court unless it is used to discredit the oral evidence of a witness if that evidence contradicts a previously recorded statement. This process is called impeachment. That is why a statement is first recorded.

The MACC have assumed that Bala will not turn up in court to testify.

Why have they assumed this?

Bala is ever prepared to testify against those personalities who have caused him and his family untold misery for the past two years. Was it not Bala who surfaced to tell his story as soon as he was able?

Has he ever shirked from his duty as a law abiding citizen to assist the authorities in whatever way he could without compromising his own safety?

All Bala asks is that the authorities concerned ensure that his well being is preserved if he is required to testify. Nothing more nothing less.

Bala could quite easily have gone into forced exile with RM5 million in his pocket and his life would have been a lot easier.

Instead he has come forward to expose the misdeeds perpetrated upon him by a host of unsavoury characters who stretch all the way to the personalities holding the highest positions in government and their immediate family members.

If the MACC requires signed depositions from Bala to wrap up their investigations, may I suggest they consult the documents available all over cyberspace in the form of Bala's 1st SD released in July 2008 and the three parts of his Q&A released in November 2009.

These documents exhaustively detail all issues involved in this conspiracy and have been available for a long time now.

If this is all the MACC required, why suggest that their investigations could not proceed without the cooperation of Bala? Why did Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nazri Abdul Aziz inform Parliament that the MACC were emasculated in continuing with their investigations because Bala could not be found?

Bala was available at all times and the MACC knew this. We have documents to prove we had informed them of our willingness to cooperate as far back as December last year.

Why is everyone becoming so coy at the eleventh hour?

It is nothing less than astounding to now realise that an authority such as the MACC, who would have been expected to have done everything in their power to investigate the very serious allegations made against the prime minister, his wife and his brother, to now forfeit that opportunity on tenuous and exasperatingly flimsy grounds knowing full well that much preparation has gone into organizing this interview and to then pull out at the very last moment contrary to the false perceptions created by them up till now.

This turn of events has certainly destroyed what little credibility the MACC had left and has confirmed the suspicions held by most right-thinking members of society that they are a body existing solely to protect the interests of the powers that be and to ensure that any opposition to the government is dealt with by harsh, brash, unnecessary and lopsided vehemence with the sole purpose of destroying any legitimate questioning of the excesses of the ruling regime so that power is perpetuated in the hands of their masters.

As far as I am concerned, and I know I speak for the team of lawyers representing Bala in this matter, that we will all be in London at the Holiday Villas, Bayswater at 10 am on the 5th July awaiting the arrival of the three MACC officers who are supposed to interview Bala as arranged and as promised.

Let me add that whatever advice the MACC may have received from the attorney-general's chambers is highly suspect and devoid of any legal basis, but instead smacks of a hastily assembled concoction of very weak excuses designed to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation for those who are obviously in control and who are able to hijack the machinations of the state and to manipulate the system to suit their own illegitimate agendas.

And if there are still any reservations as to whether the MACC were indeed genuinely planning on interviewing Bala in London then that misconception has now been destroyed by the fact that they had, up till now, not bothered to book the conference room at the Holiday Villas, Bayswater even though they had assured us they would handle the booking.

They had never intended to interview Bala and have spent the past few weeks scrambling around for an excuse not to. The only problem is the excuse is ludicrous and everyone knows that.

Americk Sidhu

MACC cancels London interview with PI Bala


The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will not record the statement of private investigator P Balasubramaniam in London after all.

NONEInstead, it will submit questions to his lawyers and request that the witness responds in the form of an affidavit, MACC deputy commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull told a press conference today.

"We will write to the witness' lawyers tomorrow to inform them of the decision, and to submit the questions," he said.

He said that the decision was made upon advice from the attorney-general's chambers, after considering the Eric Chia case where a witness statement recorded overseas was not allowed to be tendered as evidence in the corruption trial.

According to MACC Legal and Prosecution Director Abdul Razak Musa, the decision not to record Balasubramaniam's statement was also influenced by decisions on Thai pathologist Pornthip Rojanasunand's testimony in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest.

"In the Eric Chia case, we even had the statement recorded in the magistrate's chambers overseas, but it was inadmissible. We don't want to be wasting our efforts," he explained.

'Bala not our enemy'

p balasubramaniam private investigator altantuya murder caseWhen asked, he admitted that even the affidavit may not lend much weight to the case if Balasubramaniam (right) does not testify in court.

"According to Section 30(1)(c) of the MACC Act 2009, an affidavit is admissible in court, but the weight of the evidence is questionable if it cannot be cross-examined," he said.

Shukri said this is why the commission has been pushing for Balasubramaniam to give his statement in Malaysia and to testify in court.

The MACC has recorded the statements of "most of the witnesses" and the private eye's statement is crucial to the case, he said.

"MACC needs him for our investigations. He is not our enemy and neither are we his. We expect that we will have to record statements from more witnesses based on his affidavit."

Asked why it has taken so long for the commission to decide on how to deal with Balasubramaniam's interview, Shukri said, "It is better that we do things slowly, if it means the efforts of all parties will not be wasted."

The MACC had originally agreed to record the statement at the Holiday Villa in London from July 5-7.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

'Probe Taib over RM3bil family fortune'


Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has been accused of 'corruption and abuse of power' in a complaint lodged with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in Putrajaya this morning.

azlanIn lodging the report, Sarawakians John Brian Anthony, Ting Cek Ming and Kung Chin Chin appear to have piled pressure on the chief minister (left)and his family to explain how they have accumulated wealth.

The crux of the complaint is based on posts in the blog-spot sarawakreport.org, that the family commands an international business empire worth "in excess of RM3 billion".

MACC senior officer Ranjit Singh received the report, which follows a similar complaint to the commission's Kuching office yesterday by one Ahmad Nazib Johari.

The complainants have been advised that they may be called in later to provide statements for what the commission reportedly termed "a big case".

NONE"We were assured that they will investigate the case and advised us to write to the director of investigations to get updates," Ting said.

He also said the process went smoothly, unlike last week when he had attempted to file the complaint with Ahmad and one James Wong.

"This time we came with typewritten copies of our report and had the MACC officer acknowledge receipt on our copy to make sure that no changes will be made to the complaint," he said.

Ting, Wong and Ahmad Nazib had to retract their complaint last week when Selangor MACC officers refused to provide them with a copy of the report, which was handwritten in the commission's report book.

'Abuse of power'

According to sarawakreport.org, Taib and his family have built an international business empire through 'dubious means'.

cahya mata sarawakTheir acquisitions are said to include a luxury hotel in Australia and prime commercial property in Canada.

The blog-spot, operated by "concerned citizens", has also questioned the family's involvement in Sarawak's largest conglomerate Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS) Bhd.

It has claimed that 85 percent of the CMS shares belong to Taib's family and close friends, who allegedly acquired the stake when the government-linked company was privatised. This has led to allegations of abuse of power.

courtesy of Malaysiakini