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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Raya dog video: Chetz held in Segamat

Maznah Mohd Yusof, better known as Chetz, is to be remanded there following public outcry over her controversial video deemed to be “insulting Islam”.
KUALA LUMPUR: Dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof  is now in Segamat and will be  remanded till tomorrow afternoon after having spent a night in police lockup here.
Her counsel Latheefa Koya, in a text message this morning, said: “She has been brought to Segamat…just spoke to (Investigating Officer) Inspector Othman.
“He confirms she (is) currently being taken to the magistrate in Segamat to be remanded. I am trying to get a lawyer to represent her. (Being further remanded) is a normal procedure.
“But it is an abuse of power as there is no need to bring her all the way to Johor just (because) a police report was apparently lodged there.”
Latheefa, who is also with Lawers for Liberty, tweeted last night: “Even if the report was made in Segamat, it’s no reason to take her there. PDRMsia has taken her statement. She (should) be released”.
In a following tweet, she wrote: “@PDRMsia ni betul tak masuk akal, saja nak salahguna kuasa. Jadi kalu ada 100 repot suluruh negara, Chetz akan dibawa merata2? Kerja bodo”.
(The police are not making any sense, they are just abusing their power. So if 100 police reports were made across the whole country, Chetz will be brought all over the nation? This is foolish.)
Police arrested Maznah also known as Chetz under Section 298A of the Penal Code as well as the Sedition Act yesterday evening after a three-year-old video of her bathing her dogs and wishing viewers Selamat Hari Raya resurfaced online the day before.
She was brought to the Bukit Perdana Commercial Crimes Department at around 5pm, where she had her statement recorded by the police as well as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).
‘No forgiveness for such a video’
The controversial video was uploaded by user “acaiseven fiska” two days ago, who titled it “Video menghina Islam. 1 hari di hari raya” (video insulting Islam. 1 day in Hari Raya).
But Maznah has clarified to the media that her intention was to remind Muslims to celebrate Hari Raya with animals and humans.
“I have no intention to demean Islam. I made the video for fun but later decided to ‘educate’ outsiders on dogs and cleanliness,” the 38-year-old was quoted as saying by news site Mynewshub.com.
But many, including the Director-General of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), see her video as insulting Islam.
“To us, those involved in making the video had intended on angering Muslims by likening them to dogs while the ‘takbir’ (calls of Allahu Akbar) is playing in the background,” Othman Mustapha said in a statement yesterday, adding that there could be no forgiveness for such a video.
A clip of Maznah washing a dog’s feet before washing her own while the Takbir Raya plays in the background has been interpreted by some quarters as mocking the ablution – a cleansing ritual Muslims perform before praying.
But Maznah told news portal Malaysiakini: “My religion has taught me about the importance of cleanliness… hence this is why in the video, I am cleaning myself and my dogs.”
While Maznah could not be contacted for comment, Latheefa tweeted last night: “Maznah or Chetz would like to thank everybody for all the support. (She’s) calm and looks strong.”
The 1:44-second video shows Maznah strolling along a street with her three dogs as the ‘takbir raya’ plays in the background. The video also shows her sharing Raya cookies with the dogs.
It broadcasts the words ‘Raikanlah Aidilfitri bersama-sama, tanpa mengira spesis, warna, asal- usul’ (Celebrate Aidilfitri together irrespective of species, colour and origin) while featuring a shot of her three dogs.

The secrets of the most improved school in Malaysia



On a sunny day in June, the headmaster waited for me in full motocross gear: helmet, goggles, leather gloves, boots. He stood next to a Kawasaki KLX 150 scrambler. Right away, I felt nervous.
The headmaster’s name is Omardani Mohd. Noor, 47, a stocky man with a perpetual smile. He’s in charge of Sekolah Kebangsaan Lemoi, the most improved school in the country. The school, located in the deep jungles of Pahang, could possibly be the most rural school in Peninsular Malaysia.
Encik Omardani addressing the assembly
Encik Omardani addressing the assembly
Four years ago, when Omardani became headmaster of SK Lemoi, not one student passed the benchmark UPSR Year Six exam. This school for Orang Asli kids languished near the bottom of the country’s nearly 7,700 primary schools. But in three consecutive years, the pass rate soared: 8 percent (2010), 28 percent (2011) and 60 percent (2012). In less than three years, SK Lemoi became one of the best Orang Asli schools in the country.
What are the secrets for accelerating improvement in rural schools? And if we can unlock these secrets, can we use it to dramatically improve more schools in the country? These were the questions that drove me – along with my driver, and a video crew – to the town of Ringlet in Cameron Highlands. From here the journey would take another three hours in a four-wheel drive vehicle.
So I felt anxious when the headmaster stared at our vehicle: a black Toyota Fortuner 4WD with city tires. “I’ve never seen a car like yours make it to the school. But I promise you that I can get you at least halfway there,” Omardani said. On that reassuring note, he gunned his dirt bike. Away we went.
Within minutes, the tar road, which wound past vegetable farms, degraded into a rugged cement road. An hour later, the cement road vanished, leaving behind a narrow mud track with large rocks on the side and menacing holes in the middle.
When it rains, the road turns into a river of mud. The primary school teachers who go in and out every week on bikes have faced landslides, falling trees and swollen rivers. Once, a former principal fell off his bike, slid into a gorge and had to be rescued by villagers. It took us two hours to travel the final four kilometers.
So we weren’t expecting much when we arrived. Maybe a school on stilts, with chickens running around.
But what we saw was an actual primary school with well-kept grounds located on a hill slope encircled by primary rainforest. Potted plants and flowering shrubs lined the walkways that led to six classrooms (one for each yeaer), a hall, a small library, a computer room, an office for teachers and a hostel housing fifty children.
SK Lemoi with the Cameron Highlands in the background
SK Lemoi with the Cameron Highlands in the background
Then there’s the high-tech stuff in the middle of the jungle: a hybrid solar-cell generator that provides electricity day and night; an Astro dish for the kids to watch documentaries and cartoons; and a VSAT broadband Internet service, slow and spotty, but nonetheless a lifeline for the twelve Gen Y teachers to connect to the world.
On his first day at school, Omardani told me that all the roads were much worse. There was no high-tech stuff or electricity at night. The primary school offered only three years of education.
“Back then, I gave myself a fifty-fifty chance of success,” said Omardani, who has served under the Ministry of Education for 23 years. “But I saw that the teachers were young and spirited. There were four women. If they could do it, so could I,” he said with a laugh.
Teachers morning briefing
Teachers morning briefing
In several extended interviews with Omardani, I concluded that a major factor to the school’s accelerated success was not due to Omardani himself. It’s thanks largely to a combination of hardware and human resources that converged at the school between 2009 and 2010. Omardani and the first women teachers arrived at that time. A hostel was being built by the Ministry of Education. The solar generator came in a year later. And piped water.
These were life-changers: children who had to walk one or two hours to go to school from the two closest villages could now stay at the hostel during the school semester. The kids ate well and drank milk daily. They were taught physical hygiene. And they could do homework at night. Simple things like that improve grades.
The best school systems in the world, such as Finland’s, are funded based on need, so that the most struggling schools get the most resources. Such a policy would make a big difference for Malaysian schools as well – given that Malaysia’s student performance across all subjects now ranks among the bottom third of 74 countries. Amid the bleak outlook, SK Lemoi has proven that the right resources at the right time will improve student outcomes.
The education director at PEMANDU, Tengku Nurul Azian Shahriman, said that SK Lemoi is a case study of how a strategic plan such as the “School Improvement Programme” (SIP) made a difference. “All schools in the country were ranked for the first time in 2010, and that year, SK Lemoi was ranked as a low-performing Band 7 school,” Azian said.
The SIP was then targeted to improve four key levers: principals, teachers, students and infrastructure. The Ministry of Education focused its support on the lowest ranking schools (Bands 5-7). As a result, SK Lemoi improved its performance every year. In 2012, it catapulted into a Band 4 school. “This is a remarkable achievement, and more so considering that 60% of orang Asli schools are still in Bands 5-7,” Azian said.
The school complex
The school complex
Besides government support, Omardani has proactively raised money from private foundations, politicians and the public. In 2011, Omardani dreamed of building a school hall. He mobilized the teachers and the community to bring in sixty bags of cements by bike, and haul in sacks of sand and rocks from the river. The hall was built by hand. A local politician donated funds for the sound system. Now the school hall is used for PIBG meetings and community events.
But there’s one more thing that’s game-changing. All the resources above are meaningless if you don’t have this secret ingredient: love. It’s not enough to know your students as students; you’ve got to know your students personally, and love them as your children.
Cik Anidah checking one of her students work
Cik Anidah checking one of her students work
I saw love in action when I sat in an extra evening English class taught by Noor Afidah Ahmad, 29, who used the additional time to prep six students for the upcoming UPSR exam. It was obvious she had a personal – not just a professional  – relationship with her students. “If any of you pass in English, I’ll bring you back with me to my hometown in Penang,” Afidah told her students.
A few years ago, Afidah, and her colleague, Hanisah, the first two (and only) women teachers at the school, were instructed to help the Orang Asli girls adjust to life at the newly built hostel. The girls insisted that the hostel was haunted. So Afidah and Hanisah moved in with the girls. The ghosts disappeared.
“Everyday, we had to teach the Year One kids how to bathe,” said Afidah. Last year, Afidah and Hanisah walked that extra mile, literally, when they accompanied two seven-year-old students on a two-hour trek back to Cenan Cerah, an Orang Asli village across the mountains. “It was my first time seeing such deep forest. We were exhausted, but the girls were used to it,” Afidah said. She spent time eating and talking with the villagers who comprised ten families in ten houses. Afidah has also brought a handful of her UPSR back to her hometown in Penang. These were just a few of the numerous examples of how the teachers forged a bond of love with their young charges.
One teacher – motivated by love – can make a huge difference. Since Afidah’s arrival, the student pass rate in English has improved from zero percent to 92 percent. In just three years.
How do you identify such teachers?
Paradoxically, some hardship can be a good thing. The remoteness of the school’s location, the ruggedness of the road, and the scarcity of resources forced everyone to band together. Journeying through the narrow road – so to speak – weeds out teachers who don’t have the resilience to go that extra mile.
One of the students who stays in the hostel gets ready for school
One of the students who stays in the hostel gets ready for school
“What can other schools learn from SK Lemoi?” I asked Omardani. Each time I posed that question, Omardani suggested there was nothing unique he did. However, he later on he said: “I still think other schools can do what I’ve done. What’s most important is this: the teachers here teach with wholehearted love. The teachers see the students are their own children. What’s important is that we care for our teachers, students and community. When there’s love, we can overcome everything else.”

Putrajaya must cut waste, deficit to avoid “financial quicksand”, says Tony Pua


Putrajaya must cut wasteful expenditure, reduce the deficit and reform practising "off-balance sheet financing" to avoid Malaysia going into a "financial quicksand", DAP's Tony Pua said today.
The party publicity chief said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak must already announce immediate measures to boost confidence that Putrajaya was serious about slashing extravagance and deficit.
"In addition, he must signal to the markets that in the 2014 Federal Government budget expected to be announced in October 2013, he will cut down on unnecessary expenditures such as in “Supplies and Services” which have increased drastically from RM23.8 billion in 2010 to RM33.7 billion in 2013," Pua said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur.
The Petaling Jaya Utara MP made the call when commenting on global agency Fitch Ratings downgrading Malaysia’s credit rating outlook from "stable" to "negative" due to the country’s poor handling of its public finances.
"We call upon the Government to follow the reform of its outdated accounting practice of 'off-balance sheet financing' and recognise fully these hidden debts as the Federal Government debt commitments.
"Without proper accountability, the apparent abuse by the current government in circumventing the legislated 55 percent limit of Federal Government debt by recklessly issuing debt guarantees to wholly-owned government agencies or GLCs, will only lead to Malaysia finding itself trapped in financial quicksand sooner or later," Pua said.
The DAP leader also said Najib, who is also the finance minister, must announce concrete plans to ensure that all privatisation projects are tendered competitively amd that all government procurement are open and transparent.
On Tuesday, Fitch Ratings cautioned that Malaysia’s credit ratings would not improve unless the government takes remedial measures and carry out reforms.
Pua pointed out that Fitch had already “stated the obvious” last December when it said that the country’s heavy dependence on off-balance sheet funding questions the "meaningfulness of the 55 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) federal debt ceiling".
Analysts from CIMB Equities Research had previously said that the Big 3 rating agencies – Fitch, S&P and Moody’s – would downgrade Malaysia’s credit rating outlook if the government made no indication after the election that it would conduct fiscal reforms on subsidies, taxes and spending.
While the official government statistics show that the country’s debt is only at 53.7 percent of its GDP, Pua argues that the true figure is much higher than that.
“The number does not include the sky-rocketing quasi-government debt or our contingent liabilities,” he said.
“In reality, if both official government debt and guaranteed debt are put together, our debt to GDP ratio will be a much higher and worrying 68.9%.”
Malaysia’s official debt figure has gone up 13% since 2009 and Pua noted that it did not include hidden debts from projects that have loans backed by the government such as the RM50 billion MRT project that is not listed in the country’s budget.
“By channeling development expenditure to off-budget measures, it enables the Najib administration to paint a false perception of financial prudence,” he said.

School principal’s apology insincere, makes Malaysia look intolerant, says MCA Youth


The MCA Youth has dismissed the apology of a Shah Alam school principal who allegedly admonished noisy students by telling them to "balik India dan China", pointing out that it builds a seemingly intolerant and zealot image of Malaysia.
MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said although the apology came quickly from the Sekolah Menengah Alam Megah principal, it was "insincere" and reeked of a cover-up and said disciplinary action should be taken against the principal.
"The incident alone reflected our country poorly, but her apology even more so builds a seemingly intolerant and zealot image of Malaysia," he said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur today.
He pointed out that the principal justified her remarks by saying that she had not only aimed the remark at Indian and Chinese pupils but also Malays, whom she said had told to "balik Indonesia" as well,
"However, the students and parents contradict this version of events, claiming the "balik Indonesia" announcement was never made," said the former deputy education minister.
Even if it had happened, Wee pointed out that the principal's logic, in an attempt to defuse the situation by uttering "balik Indonesia", was "absolutely asinine".
"Why do these sorts of comments even come to her at all? How would she feel if someone ordered her to go back to Indonesia?
"The students are allegedly being disrespectful during the national anthem, so the principal paradoxically tells them all to return to countries she assumes they originated from, including the students of her own race – the dichotomy over citizenship is satirical," the Ayer Itam MP said.
It was reported that the school principal was frustrated by the lack of focus and silence from her students when singing the national anthem on Monday.
She then reportedly scolded all the students by telling them to “balik India dan China”.
The Malaysiakini news portal said she had apologised for her remarks and had promised to meet the students at an assembly tomorrow to apologise to them.
"Being disruptive during the national anthem does indeed warrant reprimanding; yet the series of incidents is not a reasonable consequence. If the allegations are found true, her behaviour calls for severe action and nothing less," Wee added.
"Besides Malaysian citizens, any person who resides in Malaysia legally, whether he or she may be an investor, diplomat, expatriate or even the humble migrant worker does not deserve to be subjected to such bigoted remarks.
"Statements such as hers must cease immediately as they can taint Malaysia as racist, thereby putting off would-be investors and international relations," he said.

Ex-CM Ali Rustam blames opposition for shootings


Former Malacca chief minister Ali Rustam reportedly said that the opposition must take the blame for the recent spate of shooting cases because the latter had championed the abolishment of preventive detention laws.

“Shooting cases are on the rise because the Emergency Ordinance (EO) and Internal Security Act (ISA) have both been abolished, which was demanded by the opposition,” he was quoted as saying by Malay daily Berita Harian today.

“The opposition must take responsibility for what has happened,” the Umno supreme council member was further quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the paper also reported Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as claiming that “90 percent” of the recent shooting cases had been done by ex-EO detainees.

Zahid, who had urged that a new law be formulated to bring back the spirit of the EO, reportedly said that this was based on preliminary police investigations, which revealed that ex-EO detainees are active in crime again and are also taking “revenge” against witnesses that had caused their arrests previously.

NONESinar Harian also reported former inspector-general of police (IGP) Abdul Rahim Noor (left) as blaming the recent shooting cases on the lack of the EO.

He said that the criminals are “no longer afraid” due to the absence of the preventive detention law.

Rahim said that he “regretted” human rights NGOs’ stand against the EO, claiming that they “do not understand” the situation".

The past week had seen several fatal shooting cases take place across the country.

The high-profile cases include the fatal shooting of AmBank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi in broad daylight in Kuala Lumpur, and also the shooting of MyWatch chairperson R Sri Sanjeevan in Jempol on Saturday.

Sanjeevan survived the attack, but remains in the Serdang Hospital and had undergone critical surgery.

CM shocked at declining perception of Penang gov't


A study by the Penang Integrity Institute for 2012 found that the perception of corruption, misappropriation and abuse of power in the civil service and state administration has declined 0.14 points last year.

The composite index for the perception last year was 7.18 in 2011 compared to 7.04 last year.

NONEThe revelation was made by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng today in his speech to several hundred civil servants in Komtar.

"This is shocking, as we practise C.A.T. (competency, accountability and transparency).

Lim said when he asked further about the survey, he found that state agencies under the federal government were also included in the rankings and were assessed together, and hence affected the overall results.

"This shows that the problem of corruption, misappropriation and abuse of power in state government departments and agencies is still at a worrying level, and although they are federal-related, it does undermine us as well," he said disappointedly, adding it was rather unsatisfactory that this should happen.
NONE

"From the index analysis, we can see clearly that acts of corruption, misappropriation and abuse of power still exist in our civil service," he added.

"This has in a way influenced and undermined the general perception of the respondents interviewed on the image of the public service and the performance of civil servants in the state as a whole.".

Unsmiling civil service

The analysis by the Penang Integrity Institute for 2012 covers five sub-indices: core values, quality of service, perception on corruption, misappropriation and abuse of power, organisational perception and perception on work ethics.

mppp enforcement officers penang 290307Lim also found it "shocking" that his public officers had according to the survey, failed to smile more, look cheerful or speak kindly to the public.

"Perhaps we have to conduct training for this," he said.

This is the most basic service, Lim said, and failing to do it "handicaps the entire state government and undermines the state's reputation".

He urged the front-liners to improve in this area as they are at the forefront to promote the state government's image.

Lim said he wants such studies to be extended to the local councils as well, "not to find fault with anyone but to improve our services".

Despite the bleak outlook on the corruption and power abuse front, Lim said he was "proud" of the state's financial performance.

In 2011, four state departments/agencies obtained four stars (very good) compared to three stars in 2010.

CM happy with financial ratings


For the last year, seven departments and agencies have achieved four stars.

These include four departments - the state secretariat, state financial department, Penang Development Corporation and the state Islamic Council - that are evaluated annually for their accountability index.

The three other departments that are evaluated on a biannual basis are the Land and Mines Department, Southwest District Office and the State Public Library.

Lim said to show its appreciation to these agencies and to motivate the staff, the state is awarding them RM15,000 cash.

"To show our appreciation for all civil servants, the state government has decided to increase the Raya bonus/contribution from RM500 to RM600 or a half-month's pay," he announced to audience applause.

"This involves 3,841 staff and an expenditure if RM3,738,908.81," he added.

Sodomy II appeal to be heard on Sept 17-18


The prosecution's appeal against the acquittal of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim in the Sodomy II charge will be heard on Sept 17 and 18.

DPP Noorin Badaruddin told Malaysiakini that Anwar's application to recuse lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah from leading the prosecution team will also be heard on the two days.

The matter came up for case management at the Court of Appeal today before Court of Appeal deputy registrar Darmafikri Abu Adam..

NONEWhen contacted, lawyer Ramkarpal Singh (left) confirmed the setting of the dates, as the matter was attended by his sister Sangeet Kaur.

“We will file the application to recuse Shafee soon,” he said.

Anwar was acquitted by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Jan 12 last year of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at the Desa Damansara condominium on June 26, 2008.
Justice Zabidin Mohd Diah, in acquitting Anwar, ruled that it was not safe to convict Anwar due to evidence on the possibility of the samples retrieved from Mohd Saiful Bukhari could have been tampered after Superintendent Jude Blacious Pereira had opened and relabelled them.

NONEShafee’s (right) appointment to lead the prosecution, which was signed by attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail through a fiat (power of attorney) dated July 2, has caught everyone by surprise.

The opposition leader had cited Shafee’s credentials in representing many cases for Umno and BN, and the allegations on his alleged role in the sodomy charge, as some of the reasons to object against the senior lawyer’s appointment when the matter came up on July 22.

Shafee, however, contended that he is not a member of any political party, including Umno.

Yesterday, it was reported that Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin was ordered to pay RM300,000 to Shafee for defamation.

This follows a series of three articles posted on the website in 2008 allegedly on the role played by the lawyer in Sodomy II.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that the article was defamatory and there was no evidence for Raja Petra to support the claim.

NGO: Probe 'barking up wrong tree' DPM for sedition


The police must investigate Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin under the Sedition Act for barking up the wrong tree over the dog-trainer video that was deemed offensive to Muslims, said a coalition of NGOs.

Malaysian Indian Progressive Association (Mipas) secretary-general S Barathidasan said that he would file a police report on this matter soon.

NONE"Muhyiddin had jumped the gun and suggested that a non-Muslim was behind the video. Such an action was both unbecoming and irresponsible.

"As the deputy prime minister, he should have checked the facts first before shooting off his mouth," he toldMalaysiakini.

Barathidasan said that Muhyiddin's callous remarks had the potential to ignite racial and religious tension.

As the deputy prime minister, he added that Muhyiddin should be working towards fostering ties between the various religious communities as opposed to straining them.

"Muhyiddin must remember that he is the deputy prime minister for all Malaysians and not just the Malays and Muslims.

"Mipas is curious why our deputy prime minister was silent when Perkasa leaders like Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Noordin as well as academic Ridhuan Tee Abdullah insulted other religions?" he asked.
'Muhyiddin broke the law'
Prior to the identity of the person in the video being established as a Muslim, Muhyiddin had lamented that "the callousness of some towards Islam and Muslim sensitivities" could spark disharmony among Malaysians.

NONE"Is this a manifestation of the assumption of some quarters that we (Muslims) are weak and that they could walk all over us? Or that we are afraid to react when others insult the sanctity of Islam?" the deputy prime minister had said during a breaking fast event in Putrajaya.
                
"No Muslim has made fun of other faiths," he had added.

However, the person in the video was later identified as Maznah Mohd Yusof, a 38-year-old Muslim dog trainer.
            
Maznah, who was arrested yesterday, is being investigated under Section 298A of the Penal Code which deals with causing disharmony in relation to religion and Section 4 of the Sedition Act.

However, Barathidasan pointed out that Muhyiddin's incendiary remarks were also in breach of the above laws.

"I am not sure if Maznah has breached the law  but I am certain that Muhyiddin did and therefore action must be taken against him," said the NGO leader.

ROS, election judges in a duet of emulation


The Registrar of Societies took a leaf out of the current judicial handbook on summary judgments by delivering a technical knockout to the DAP earlier this week: the party would have to re-elect its central working committee; the one it elected in December last year is not recognised by the ROS.

These days election petitions filed by opposition parties and the BN following the May 5 general election are being knocked out on technical grounds - felled, one after another like nine pins - by judges who have apparently prejudged these petitions as not just sans merit but vexatious to boot, hence deserving of punitive costs.

Apparently, one autocratic action encourages another.

On Tuesday, the ROS decided to emulate the election judges in the latter's newfangled attitude of terse and dismissive judgment by informing the DAP that they have to do an encore on their party polls.

lim guan eng dap election pollingIn a one-paragraph notice, the ROS has informed the 13th Parliament's second-largest party, with a hitherto unmatched 38 MPs just sworn in on the back of the opposition's unprecedented 51 percent take of the popular vote, that they have to hold fresh elections to its Central Working Committee (CWC).

Apparently, to our election judges and the ROS, vox populi is not exactly vox dei.

The DAP's CWC elections at the party's elective congress last December has been invalidated by ROS fiat in the same arbitrary way as a dozen or so election petitions by defeated candidates in the last May's 13th general election been dismissed in last fortnight.

Like the prisoner in the dock, the DAP and the dismissed election petitioners are pleading: "As God is my judge, my plea for justice has merit." To which the judge tersely replied: "He isn't; I am; you have no merit."

Well-thought out judgments, not terse and summary verdicts, are the woof and warp of constitutional judgment.

Thus far, the dismissive judges who have sat on the election petitions and the ROS have comported themselves like as if citizens ought to submit to arbitrary fiat, not rationalised judgment.

This is astonishing to all except those who have been hibernating all these years when the integrity of the electoral rolls has been the subject of reasonable doubt - caviling that is buttressed by the revelations that have come out of the ongoing royal commission's inquiry into the rolls in Sabah.

Also, you have had to be an ostrich with your head buried in the sand not to know that in recent decades actions of members of the executive branch of government, such as the ROS, have been characterised more by arrogance of power rather than by nobility of service.

A spanner in the works 


A month after the mid-December polls, the DAP revealed that the results were skewed by a technical glitch that saw the votes obtained by one CWC losing contestant transposed to another who had thereby won.

It seemed like an improbable yarn, one spun to enable the party to show that it is has a less racially exclusivist veneer that is being put out about it, especially by its adversaries.

But in these days of pervasive computerisation, a gremlin can skew the results of a system such that what the DAP claimed had happened to the vote-count in the tally for election to its CWC did happen.

This version was attested by the findings of a firm of internationally recognised auditors the party commissioned to review the process.

To hold another election to the party's CWC, as decreed by the ROS, is going to be endlessly complicated.

This is because the DAP, at the end of last month, had just completed elections in something like 1,000 branches of the party nationwide.

New office-bearers have been elected, different to the ones who were in harness when delegates to the CWC elections of last December were chosen.

This raises the issue of which delegates' list to use to elect anew a CWC - the one which was used last December or the one that must be composed on the basis of the list of office-bearers chosen at the just-completed exercise.

The party has seen a precipitous increase in membership, rising by more than three times the number (60,000) of members on their rolls before the 2008 general election.

NONEMortified by the shenanigans of Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim (right), the anglophile new recruit the party was proud to parade after doing well at the 2008 general election where it won 28 parliamentary seats and the state government of Penang, the DAP has been careful to vet new entrants wanting to sign up, to avoid a repeat of the embarrassment Tunku Aziz had, and continues, to inflict on the party.

Sources say the current figure of 200,000-odd members would have been higher had the DAP been as cavalier as it once was in respect of Tunku Aziz's entrance - a case of once bitten twice shy.

Now, after the ROS's decision invalidating last December's CWC election, it's a case of there's hell to pay for being honest.


TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for four decades. He likes the occupation because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them.