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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Indian voters: PKR shoos, Najib woos

Pakatan is losing Indian support, mainly because of PKR, says a former party leader. He also notes that Najib is pressing all the right buttons.

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat is losing support among the Indian community and this is because of PKR, said the party’s former deputy secretary-general PS Jenapala.

“There is no need for an analysis (on this matter), it’s clear that Pakatan is losing Indian support because of PKR,” he told FMT.

Jenapala, who now heads the Indian Justice Party, pointed out that in by-elections held in Hulu Selangor (Selangor), Bagan Pinang (Negeri Sembilan), Tenang (Johor) and Merlimau (Malacca), Indian votes played a big role in securing victory for Barisan Nasional.

According to him, the main reason why PKR had lost Indian support was because the party refused to take care of the plight of the community.

“People are fed-up with PKR. Internal problems, grassroots leaders being neglected, not recognising the Human Rights Party and party leaders jumping ship. The people have grown tired of PKR,” he said.

“The party has Indian leaders who are not fluent in Tamil, but have huge egos. These leaders don’t address the issues affecting their community because they are afraid. In Pakatan, there is not a single Indian leader on par with Anwar Ibrahim and Lim Guan Eng,” he added.

Jenapala also noted that the alleged shortcomings in Selangor with regard to the Pakatan state government handling the woes of Indians were also a major factor.

“The way Selangor is governmed shows that PKR is a party which has the soul of Umno. For example, only three Indian students were given education loans, while 1,500 loans were given to Malay students,” he claimed.

The IJP leader added that the state government had also refused to allocate land for Tamil schools, while less than 1% of the state’s budget had been earmarked for Indians.

Najib pressing the right buttons

On the other hand, Jenapala said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was pressing all the right buttons to woo Indian voters.

While MIC had failed to win their hearts and minds, he said, the BN chairman was certainly doing it.

“Look at the 1Malaysia concept. Although it does not live up to its slogan of ‘people first, performance now, it has however reached every corner of the country, everyone knows it.

“That’s the success of BN, backed by powerful state machineries. They have learnt from their mistake in the 2008 general election.

“Pakatan did well in the last election because the people were angry with BN, not because they liked the opposition,” he added.

However, Jenapala warned that throwing blind support behind BN could also prove detrimental for the Indian community.

No Samy, no ammo

Meanhwile, MIC veteran KP Samy also agreed that Pakatan was losing Indian support.

In 2008, he said, the Indians voted against BN primarily because they were angry with MIC and its former president S Samy Vellu.

“But with Samy Vellu gone, the new MIC leadership under G Palanivel is making things better. Furthermore, without Samy Vellu, the opposition has nobody to attack now.

“I feel that DAP’s Indian leaders are more popular than those in PKR, so the young Indians are looking at the possibility of joining DAP,” he said.

A PKR insider told FMT that the “Indian section”, the internal term used for Indian leaders in the party, were not weak but rather staging a “silent protest” against the leadership.

“The problem started with the appointment of lawyer N Surendran as the new vice-president. We know he is ‘clean’ but the fact is, he is not a politician and was parachuted into a top post,” he said, adding that Surendran did not possess grassroots support. - FMT

Bittersweet win for 15 Felda settlers

Sendayan settlers triumph over Negeri Sembilan government over land matter but feel shortchanged over quantum of compensation.

SEREMBAN: Fifteen Felda Sendayan settlers won a bittersweet victory against the Negeri Sembilan state government over a land matter at the Seremban High Court yesterday.

Even though they won their case, it has left them feeling shortchanged as the amount of compensation awarded by the court was far less than the current market price.

“We asked for RM5.87 per square feet but the court only awarded between RM2.05 to RM2.25 per square feet,” said their lawyer Faiz Fadzil.

“Even though the decision was in favour of my clients, the compensation doesn’t reflect the value of the current land price,” said Faiz.

The 15 settlers had filed applications for a revaluation on the compensation paid out to them by the Negeri Sembilan state government after it acquired their land in 1996.

Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Negeri Sembilan (PKNNS) had offered to buy 10 acres of land from each of the 15 settlers at RM3 per square feet.

In 1997, due to the economic downturn, the deal was cancelled but in 2009, the state government’s investment arm Menteri Besar Incoporated (MBI) bought the land.

The state government and land office acquired the land under the Land Possession Act 1960.

“The settlers were each offered cash of up to RM512,000, a bungalow worth RM240,000 and two acres of agricultural land valued at RM348,000 – an average of RM1.1 million.

“But the settlers were unhappy with deal as the price offered by the state government was not concurrent with the market price in 2009,” said Faiz.

Struggling for better deal

Negeri Sembilan PAS Commisioner, Zulkefly Mohamed Omar, meanwhile expressed shock over the compensation awarded to the 15 settlers.

“I urge the Negeri Sembilan Menteri Besar, Mohd Hasan to look into this issue seriously as Felda Sendayan falls under his state constituency of Rantau.

“Don’t wait till general election to look into their plight,” said Zulkefly.

Mustafar Latif the spokesperson for the settlers, said they will keep up their struggle for a better deal.

“The state government took possession of our land valued at RM3 per square feet and when they sold back two acres of land to us, they charged RM4 per square feet.

“Then they valued the land 10,000 square feet bungalow at RM12 per square feet. The size and the physical appearance of the bungalow does not reflect its worth of RM240,000.

“All this prompted us to get a better deal from the court. Unfortunately even though we won, the compensation is much more less than what we had expected,” said Mustafar.

“This is not end of the road for us. We will go to file another case very soon. We will announce the details soon,” said Mustafar, to hearty round of applause from the settlers.

Judge Ahmad Nasfy Yasin presided over the case yesterday while the state government was represented by its legal advisor, Ishak Shaari. - FMT

Sabah lawyers want action on state’s ‘lost right’

The Government must act to reinstate powers of appointment to Governers of Sabah and Sarawak in light of the landmark High Court ruling, says Sabah Law Association.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Law Association (SLA) said the onus is on the state government to follow up on the landmark March 17 Kota Kinabalu High Court ruling that Article 122AB of the Federal Constitution, which strips the Governors of Sabah and Sarawak of the power to appoint Judicial Commissioners, was null and void.

“The state government should take the necessary executive or legislative action to remedy the situation,” said John Sikayun, the president of the SLA which functions like the Bar Council of Malaya.

The state government’s power with reference to Judicial Commissioners, according to Sikayun, is provided for under Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.

The starting point, Sikayun said, of the ruling by Justice David Wong Dak Wah, was the report of the Inter-Governmental Committee, 1962 (IGC) and the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.

The IGC contains the terms and conditions under which Sabah and Sarawak agreed to form Malaysia and this is reflected in Article VIII of the Malaysia Agreement.

The Article 122AB amendment, therefore, had contravened the IGC Report which “for all intent and purposes set out the rights of Sabah and Sarawak in the formation of Malaysia”.

Sikayun noted four pertinent points in the ruling – the consent of the respective Governors of Sabah and Sarawak, the Judicial Appointments Commission Act 2008 (JACA), public interest litigation
and the power of the prime minister to amend any provisions of the JACA 2008.

The SLA, said Sikayun, was in agreement with Wong that the 1994 amendment to remove the power of the Sabah and Sarawak Governors to appoint Judicial Commissioners was invalid as it was done without their consent and that of the two states.

“There was no evidence before the court that the concurrence of the Sabah and Sarawak Governors was obtained,” said Sikayun. “Such consent is a necessary pre-condition under Article 161E(2)(b) of the Federal Constitution.”

Prerogative powers

The appointment of Judicial Commissioners, said Sikayun, is a matter that concerns the composition of the High Court. Any change to the make-up or structure of the High Court, the concurrence of the respective Sabah and Sarawak Governors was necessary. The aberration on concurrence aside, JACA 2008 was not unconstitutional, Sikayun conceded.

“The Act does not take away the prime minister’s prerogative powers in making judicial appointments,” said Sikayun. “However, in making his recommendations to the King on the appointment of judges to the superior courts under Article 122B, the prime minister shall consider
the names of the persons selected by the Judicial Appointments Commission.”

Likewise, in the SLA’s view, the JACA 2008 does not affect the appointments of the Chief Judge or the Judges of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.

“The prime minister, before tendering his advice to the King on the appointment of the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, has to consult with certain personalities,” Sikayun said.

“These include the Chief Judge of each of the High Court, the Chief Minister of the states concerned, that is, Sabah and Sarawak.

“Further, in respect of the appointment of judges to the High Court, he shall consult the Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak,” he added..

One loophole is that there is no provision in the JACA 2008 as to when the process of selecting suitable candidates is to occur, that is, before or after the prime minister consults with the relevant judges.

(Malaysia has two High Court systems, that is, one for Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) and the other for Sabah and Sarawak (formerly Borneo). Both High Court systems are equal but separate)

Healthy democratic society

Sikayun said one noteworthy feature of the March 17 ruling was Section 37 of the JACA 2008 being null and void. The JACA empowers the prime minister to amend any provisions of the Act by way of a gazette.

The doctrine of separation of powers embodied in the Federal Constitution, the High Court upheld, dictates that only Parliament can make or amend laws.

Sikayun said the ruling highlighted the importance of public interest litigation as “a very useful tool in the administration of justice”.

This concept was particularly important when it comes to the human rights of those who are adversely affected by any law or decisions of the authorities but are illiterate or lack the financial resources, or do not have access to justice.

“As public interest litigation leads to a healthy democratic society, it should be encouraged and not silenced,” Sikayun said.

The ruling followed a suit brought by retired policeman Robert Linggi on March 13, 2009, against the federal government.

Before amendments to Article 122A (3) and (4) of the Federal Constitution on June 24, 1994, the appointment of Judicial Commissioners to the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak were by the
respective Governors acting upon the advice of the Chief Judge of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.

After June 24, 1994, the power of the respective heads of state to appoint Judicial Commissioners was taken away by the Constitution (Amendment) Act 1994 which incorporated a new Article 122AB of the same constitution.

However, Article 166E(2) prohibits amendments to the Federal Constitution without the consent of the respective heads of state “if the amendment is such as to affect the operation of the Federal
Constitution as regards the constitution and jurisdiction of the High Court of Sabah and Sarawak.” - FMT

The Daim interview (Part 2)



April 01, 2011

APRIL 1 — When I read the transcript of the Daim-Mingguan Malaysia Interview (dated March 23, 2011), I said. Wow, this is a good endorsement for the Najib administration.

We all know what Daim Zainuddin says can move Malaysia in a certain direction. Certainly the many complementary things that Daim says in the Interview will help boost Najib Razak’s ratings.

I mean look at the answers given by Daim on Questions 2 to 4. Daim certainly was impressed by Najib’s industriousness and sincerity in wanting to better the lives of Malaysians. In that process Daim made cogent criticisms on the administration of Kedah, Penang and Selangor.

Kedah

It’s not enough being nice and a very personable fellow like Kedah’s Azizan Abdul Razak. I recalled a story told to me by the Oracle originating from Daim about Azizan. Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a Kedahan, wanted to see Azizan and duly made an appointment. Azizan said “No, Dr Mahathir CANNOT see me, I will see Dr Mahathir”. So Azizan made an appointment to see Dr Mahathir.

You will distinguish quickly how Umno treats its former leader. The late Ghafar Baba waited two months to see Tajol Rosli when the latter was MB of Perak. When the late Ghafar arrived in Ipoh, he was told that Tajol Rosli wasn’t available because Tajol had to attend an MKT meeting.

This was a former DPM of Malaysia, the man Umno turned to when it was in trouble. Umno treats its former leaders like dirt.

So Azizan went to see Dr Mahathir. And Azizan isn’t shy to seek advice from Mahathir and Daim on how to manage Kedah better. When Najib announced that a certain individual was to head Umno Kedah, Azizan was greatly relieved and remarked, now I can sleep a much better. That should be educational to Umno Kedah, I hope.

One day, Azizan met a few Umno division heads. He turned around and said- hang tak dapat Dato lagi ka- takpa, kalau Umno lupa, aku tak lupa. And so he gave some Datukships to several Umno division heads. If it were Umno, even on their own members, they will cancel the names. That’s Azizan for you.

At the end of the day, even though Daim says being nice is not necessarily a winnable feature, I think the people of Kedah like elsewhere in Malaysia has had enough with arrogance and haughtiness. Kedah will likely remain under PAS.

Hey, I mean, even though I have accessibility to the thoughts of Daim through The Oracle, I may not necessarily agree to his prognoses. Plus, I am able to read in between the lines his thoughts.

Penang

As for Penang, there really is nothing anyone can do to save it being retained by Lim Guang Eng. Other than to raise the plight of Penang Malays. I think Umno people should be more cerebral in reading The Interview.

When Daim mentions the ONLY issue with Penang is the plight of Penang Malays, Umno should be more sensitive. I mean, if the quality of Umno’s response is to hire some pasar malam thugs to shout profanities at Lim Guan Eng, they had better forget about getting back Tanjung.

Selangor

Selangor looks the easier target to regain. Daim asks how much investment has Anwar brought into Selangor. He asks the rhetorical question, that despite almost all the PKR and PR heavyweights being domiciled in Selangor, have they been able to create any outstanding results?

That would be self-patting for some Umno leaders but it’s also a challenge to Umno people if they want to wrest Selangor.

Khalid Ibrahim may look like a political bunging fool, but can Umno reject the Auditor-General’s findings that Selangor ranks second in term of good governance and volume of total investments?

More important, why didn’t Selangor achieved these honours when it was under BN the last time? — sakmongkol.blogspot.com

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

Selangor passes Freedom of Information Enactment


April 01, 2011

Wong
SHAH ALAM, April 1 — The Selangor Freedom of Information Enactment 2010 (FOI) was passed at the state assembly this morning, with the Pakatan Rakyat government promising future improvements on the new law.

“Today we pass it, but if in six to seven months we find ways to improve it, then we will accept the proposals and amend it,” state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong, who tabled the bill for the third reading, said in the assembly.

She said that it was a landmark for not just Selangor but also Malaysia, as it was the first state to “have dared to implement the Freedom of Information Enactment. This is a product of the people’s power.”

She said the enactment would be a dynamic law, with Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers ready to make changes to improve it.

The Bukit Lanjan assemblyman also pointed out that there were Barisan Nasional (BN) assemblymen who were members of the select committee to draft the enactment, but they skipped all the meetings.

“They had a chance to create history with the people of Selangor, but they gave it a pass, and this is regrettable,” she said.

Wong also said that amendments introduced after it was first tabled in July last year, was accepted by the state government.

BN had questioned the legality of the law when it was first tabled, claiming it ran contrary to the federal government’s Official Secrets Act (OSA), which would take precedence.

However, law experts said that Selangor could implement the law if it sidestepped matters directly pertaining to the OSA, such as matters solely pertaining to the state like state executive council meeting minutes.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had said that the enactment, if passed, would promote transparency in the state’s administration and promote press freedom. - Malaysian Insider

IGP says sex video not doctored


UPDATED @ 01:17:31 PM 01-04-2011
April 01, 2011

Ismail said the tape was checked by local experts. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar said today that the sex video that allegedly features a prominent opposition leader was not doctored.

However, he declined to reveal the identity of the man in the video that was claimed to be of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim having sex with a Chinese prostitute.

The IGP said local experts confirmed the video was not doctored.

Ismail said the special team investigating the case was in the closing stages of the probe and the investigation papers would soon be handed over to the Attorney-General for further action.

Police set up a team to investigate the case after Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who denied that he was the man in the video clip, had lodged a police report last Tuesday.

The video recording emerged last Monday when a mysterious man who only identified himself as “Datuk T” screened the recording for selected members of the media.

Former Malacca Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Thamby Chik, businessman Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and Perkasa treasurer-general Datuk Shuib Lazim later admitted to being collectively known as “Datuk T.”

Opposition Leader Anwar has denied that he is the man in the video after it was alleged that the recording was of him having sex with a Chinese prostitute.

The PKR de facto leader also claimed that it was a political ploy by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to tarnish his credibility.

At least one PKR lawmaker has also claimed that the “Datuk T” trio had showed him the sex video and tried to entice him to defect.

However, Umno leaders have repeatedly denied any involvement and insist that its former Youth chief Abdul Rahim was acting on his own.

Umno president Najib said that the public should focus on who the man in the video was and not speculate on whether his party was involved.

Hishammuddin, who yesterday said that arrests have yet to be made in relation to the video, is also reported to be preparing to sue Anwar for his claims.

“Datuk T” said that the 21-minute black-and-white video was taken from closed-circuit television camera recordings found in a hotel room in Kuala Lumpur on February 21.

The footage shows a man resembling Anwar receiving oral sex from a woman with East Asian features before he has sex with her in several positions.

The scandal is the latest in a string of sexual allegations against the embattled Permatang Pauh MP, who was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad before being charged and convicted of sodomy.

Dr Mahathir, who was then prime minister, has also alleged in his recently released autobiography that Anwar propositioned at least four girls for sex while still in the government during the 1990s.

Anwar is now facing a second sodomy trial after being accused of sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhair Azlan, a former male aide. The trial is ongoing. - Malaysian Insider

Now every crook can fight corruption


by Tunku Aziz

Corruption is not just about money changing hands. That is common bribery. Corruption is about abusing entrusted power for private gain.

The latest to join the serried ranks of the country’s star-studded corruption fighters’ gallery is Daim Zainuddin, who, in my humble view, is the last person to lecture us about probity and rectitude.

In late 2006 as I was completing my term of office as a Special Advisor to the Secretary-General of the United Nations in New York, I received an unexpected invitation to deliver a speech at an anti-corruption conference in Jerusalem, Israel. It was an important gathering of academics, senior government officials and NGO luminaries.

The president of Israel, Moshe Katsav, the guest of honour, made a stirring speech about the evils of corruption, enjoining us all to fight it in our society.

Even as he was extolling the virtues of integrity in personal and public life, the police were crawling all over the presidential mansion rummaging through documents as part of an investigation into multiple allegations of rape and sexual harassment by several members of his female staff, over an extended period of time going back to when he was the tourism minister. He was finally sentenced to seven years in prison last week by a Tel Aviv District Court.

I mention all this for two reasons. The first is that I have never known any president, prime minister, chief minister or even a garden variety politician, however corrupt he is known to be, opposing measures to fight corruption. Many are so sincere and convincing that you think a new corruption-free dawn is about to break.

In our case, we have political leaders swearing blind that corruption is evil. They, by any standard, even if you want to be charitable, cannot in all honesty be described as morally upright where corruption is concerned.

The same applies to corrupt civil servants: They would dearly love you to believe that they are all valiant corruption fighters.

So, it seems logical to ask why do we rate so poorly in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, year in and year out?

Corruption is not just about money changing hands. That is common bribery. Corruption is about abusing entrusted power for private gain.

The latest to join the serried ranks of the country’s star-studded corruption fighters’ gallery is Daim Zainuddin, who, in my humble view, is the last person to lecture us about probity and rectitude.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, with his oversized baggage of religious credentials and other feel-good paraphernalia, had me fooled completely and the experience was all the more unpalatably galling because I genuinely like him as a person.

Whether he likes me or not, I dare not say. His intentions were I am sure very good, but then as we all know, the road to hell and moral damnation is paved with good intentions.

One lesson we should never ever forget is that politicians as a breed are pathological liars. There are naturally one or two who are reliable and decent.

But seriously, you would probably be better off trusting a cat with a plate of fried fish. Opposition politicians are no exception to this universal truth. So keep an eagle eye on them too, including me, just to be on the safe side.

They cannot abuse power because for now they have no power to abuse. Many will find the temptation irresistible. Name me one honest politician; I will name you 10 wayward Yang Berhormat, together with a clutch of even more crooked Yang Amat Berhormat.

Now, as for the second reason: My highlighting of the sentencing of Moshe Katsav of Israel is to draw comparison between the justice system of Israel and our own Mahathir-defaced system.

I cannot, figuratively speaking, for the life of me ever hope to see, not in a million years, a similar demonstration of the application one law for all enacted in our Palace of Justice. While we are not yet a failed state, our judiciary has, by general acclaim, failed to justify its existence.

What a stark contrast between a working democracy that is Israel and a thoroughly corrupt country that is Malaysia today.

Najib Razak’s tantalising array of transformation plans are doomed to failure if he continues to show arrogance and disdain for public opinion by putting disreputable, unsavoury and corruption-tainted Umno politicians to head Felda, Felcra and other institutional milch cows.

Let me remind Najib, the self-proclaimed listening ear of the people’s needs, that in the ultimate analysis, actions speak louder than words.

Malaysia cannot achieve wholesome, ethical developed nation status by 2020 or 2099 if Barisan Nasional politics remains stuck in the same groove of careless indifference to basic values and value systems that Malaysia desperate lacks and needs.

Knuckle down to basics and the rest will fall in place. At present the transformation plans sound like so much noise and nothing more because it is inconceivable that they will ever be carried out in a prudent and accountable and sustainable way for the benefit of the long-suffering people of Malaysia.

Discerning Malaysians are not blind to the fact that all the public money being so generously doled out on a daily basis in Sarawak and Selangor is nothing less than advance vote buying.

Money cannot buy the nation’s burning desire for change and change there will be. Try another tack, and save the country from bankruptcy.