Saturday, March 31, 2012

Christian threat’ seminar with new name will cause suspicion, says interfaith group

Christian threat’ seminar with new name will cause suspicion, says interfaith group

March 31, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) insists today’s seminar for religious schoolteachers will create suspicion despite removing the “threat of Christianisation” from its theme.

Rev Dr Thomas Philips, vice president of the interfaith group, said today “these kind of seminars will cause disharmony and create more suspicion and misunderstanding among the people.”

“What kind of atmosphere are they (the teachers) creating for the minds of young children?” he told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the 300 teachers reported to be attending the seminar.

On Thursday, Johor state executive councillor Datuk Maulizan Bujang said that the seminar’s title has been amended and will now omit specific mention of the “Christian threat”.

However, the Johor Mufti Department said that the title-amended seminar will go on with no change to its contents.

“It is sad to note that they are going ahead with it,” said MCCBCHST honorary deputy treasurer-general Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri, when asked about the organisers’ cosmetic change to the “Christian threat” seminar.

The seminar was initially themed “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralism Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?” (Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?).

News of the seminar’s theme earlier this week drew swift condemnation from non-Muslims, who expressed shock and dismay over the characterisation of Christians in the title.

Chrisanne Chin, Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) Youth Moderator, had asked “why is there a perceived threat? Do they have to create this sense of fear?”

The Cabinet’s interfaith panel head Datuk Azman Amin Hassan said the “provocatively-titled” seminar flies in the face of the government’s school-level interfaith harmony week launched last month by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He added that while “it is fine to improve your faith”, such seminars “will cause the [non-Muslim] community to feel uncomfortable.”

The MCCBCHST had demanded the government to explain why official sanction was given to the “highly inflammatory” seminar.

Muslim groups, however, have insisted the seminar is necessary to beat back the alleged threat of proselytism, which they repeatedly profess to be real despite the absence of firm evidence.

The Muslim Organisations in Defence of Islam (PEMBELA) yesterday insisted the seminar and its theme were part of Muslim rights that were “enshrined in the Federal Constitution”.

Malay rights group Perkasa previously said it would consider the seminar’s organisers “cowardly Muslims” if they gave in to pressure to cancel the event.

Christians form 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million-strong population.

In recent years, the Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the word “Allah”, with the latter group arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim god.

Christians, however, have argued that “Allah” is an Arabic word that has been used by those of other religious beliefs, including the Jews, in reference to God in many other parts of the world, notably in Arab nations and Indonesia.

Conservative Muslim groups have also accused Christians of attempting to convert Malays, resulting in heightened tension between followers of the two religions.

Walk the talk, PM, says interfaith group

Walk the talk, PM, says interfaith group

March 31, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has called on Datuk Seri Najib Razak to practice what he preaches after Johor education and religious authorities decided to carry on with today’s seminar for religious schoolteachers on “the threat of Christianisation.”

The interfaith group said in a statement that the prime minister’s 1

Malaysia concept for unity and moderation is in “disarray” following news that the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration in Johor will only drop the reference to Christianity in the seminar’s theme but not change its content.

“We implore you to walk your talk. Be the leader of a responsible government that practises what it preaches. Your concept of 1 Malaysia and your call for moderation is all in disarray,” the council said.

News of the seminar’s theme earlier this week drew swift condemnation from non-Muslims, who expressed shock and dismay over the characterisation of Christians in the title.

But Muslim NGOs insisted that the government was duty-bound to address the “threat of Christianisation,” which they repeatedly profess to be real despite the absence of firm evidence.

In response, Johor dropped specific mention of the “Christian threat” from the seminar originally themed “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralism Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?” (Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?).

“The seminar aims to strengthen the faith of Muslims and it does not need to be politicised by any party that claims it (seminar) is a threat to other religions,” Datuk Maulizan Bujang, the state executive councillor for education, was quoted by Bernama Online.

But Johor Mufti Department officials have said that while the title of the seminar, which requires attendance of about 300 teachers, will be changed, the contents and structure will remain unaltered.

“The seminar is part of the right of Muslims to defend the faith of its practitioners from any action which may lead to apostasy. It is our responsibility,” Bernama Online cited an unnamed official as saying.

MCCBCHST added that the seminar has put efforts to increase unity “meaningless.”

“We are shocked that the only voice of the government heard on this matter is that of the minister responsible for Islamic affairs, who is condoning the seminar.

“The irony of the matter is that the same minister serves as one of the advisers to the cabinet committee on the promotion of understanding and harmony among the religions.

Christians form 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million-strong population.

In recent years, the Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the word “Allah”, with the latter group arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim god.

Christians, however, have argued that “Allah” is an Arabic word that has been used by those of other religious beliefs, including the Jews, in reference to God in many other parts of the world, notably in Arab nations and Indonesia.

Conservative Muslim groups have also accused Christians of attempting to convert Malays, resulting in heightened tension between followers of the two religions.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Perak rare earth worker’s son dies, piles pressure on Lynas

Perak rare earth worker’s son dies, piles pressure on Lynas

UPDATED @ 02:07:21 PM 30-03-2012
March 30, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Cheah Kok Leong, the son of a worker at the Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant in Bukit Merah, Ipoh, died last night, 30 years after being born with congenital defects his mother blamed on radioactive exposure.

His mother, Lai Kwan, had claimed she was pregnant with Cheah when working at the plant which was shuttered in 1992 due to public pressure over claims of radiation poisoning.

File photo of people in Kuantan signing a banner protesting against the building of the Lynas rare earths plant in Gebeng.
Dr Jayabalan A. Thambyappa, a toxicologist who worked with Bukit Merah residents after they blamed the refinery for birth defects and eight leukaemia cases within five years, confirmed the death when contacted by The Malaysian Insider this morning.

Seven of the leukaemia victims in the community of 11,000 have also died.

But radiation regulator Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) has said it is unlikely that Lai’s child was born mentally retarded because of her exposure to radiation as nerve tissue is the most resistant to radiation.

Although there is no concrete proof that the plant, which is still undergoing a RM300 million cleanup exercise, contributed to Cheah’s condition, his death will likely add fuel to protests against another rare earths plant being built in Kuantan.

Lynas Corp has insisted its RM2.3 billion plant is safe with only low-level radiation waste being produced that the Australian miner says it will recycle into commercial products.

The project was on course for approval until the New York Times highlighted it a year ago, using the ARE plant as a cautionary tale.

The newspaper’s March 9, 2011 edition zeroed in on Lai’s story of how she decided to take up a better-paying job in the refinery.

Lai, now 70, told the NYT that while pregnant she was told to take unpaid days off when factory bosses said particularly dangerous consignments of ore were arriving.

“She has spent the last 29 years washing, dressing, feeding and otherwise taking care of her son from that pregnancy... she and other local residents blame the refinery for the problems, although birth defects can have many causes,” the daily reported.

The report galvanised local opposition to the Lynas plant, leading Putrajaya to call for a review by an international panel of experts in June the same year.

However, the AELB has since approved a temporary operating licence subject to a few conditions yet to be fulfilled that include finding a suitable waste disposal site.

But continued protests, backed by the federal opposition, have forced the government to form a Parliamentary Select Committee to study the project.

However, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has refused to participate in the panel, calling it an attempt to “whitewash” the alleged danger of radiation pollution from the refinery.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Interfaith group wants heads to roll over ‘inflammatory’ seminar

Interfaith group wants heads to roll over ‘inflammatory’ seminar

March 29, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 — The government must explain why it is allowing a “highly inflammatory” seminar on the “threat of Christianisation” to be held this weekend, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has said.

Religious teachers from national schools in Johor will attend an officially-sanctioned seminar this Saturday focusing on the “threat of Christianisation”. The seminar has sparked outrage among Christians.

The seminar, organised by the Johor Education Department and the Johor Mufti Department, is themed “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralism Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?” (Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?).

Two religious teachers from each of the 55 national schools across Johor are required to attend.

“How can the government agree to something which will affect different sensitivities?

“Is this the policy of the Education Ministry? Who has sanctioned this? Highly inflammatory, uncalled for, someone must be held responsible,” MCCBCHST honorary deputy treasurer-general Reverend Dr Hermen Shastri (picture) told The Malaysian Insider.

He said the council will hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss the matter, and will come up with a more thorough response then.

“On behalf of the Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) as well, we are extremely disappointed with the government for allowing this to happen,” said Shastri, who is also CCM secretary-general.

“What if we said Islam was a threat towards Malaysians, we can also ask... what happens then?” said the reverend.

A copy of a letter about the seminar from the Johor Education Department to national schools appears on its website.

Hasimah Abdul Hamid, supervisor for the Islamic Education Unit of the Johor Baru Education Office, declined to comment on the programme’s stance towards the apparent threat of Christianity against Muslims.

“The purpose of this programme is of course to strengthen the faith of Muslims,” she told The Malaysian Insider.

“But I can’t say anything about the title, because it was provided by the organisers.”

But the Malaysian Ulama Association (PUM) said yesterday the Johor government should not be apologetic for organising a seminar on the “threat of Christianisation” as it is an “Islamic” administration and has a duty to do so.

“We need to have these kind of seminars,” PUM president Datuk Sheikh Abdul Halim Abdul Kadir told The Malaysian Insider.

“I do not accept the excuse that Christians will be upset or hurt because of this seminar... the problem of Christianisation has been around for a long while, it is real.

“Therefore, any authority or government which is Islamic has a right to do this. You need to educate teachers, especially the young ones who are unaware of this problem.”

Christians form 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million population.

In recent years, the Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug of war over the word “Allah”, with Muslims arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim God.

Christians have argued that “Allah” is an Arabic word that has been used by those of other religious beliefs, including the Jews, in reference to God in many other parts of the world, notably in Arab nations and Indonesia.

A number of conservative Muslim groups have also accused Christians of attempting to convert Malays, resulting in heightened tension between followers of the two religions.



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Phantom voters, fraud fears for Malaysia polls

Phantom voters, fraud fears for Malaysia polls

March 28, 2012

A rash of irregularities could tip the balance in what may be a tight contest between the BN and an upstart opposition.

By Julia Zappei

SEREMBAN: Ng Yuen Chan has occupied the same Malaysian home for 20 years, so the ethnic Chinese retiree was surprised to learn recently that he had two ethnic Indian women as roommates.

They were phantom voters registered at his home in Seremban, capital of Negri Sembilan, a key political battleground state and one of many such cases fuelling fear of possible fraud in coming elections in the multi-racial country.

“The government should take action. These people don’t exist here,” Ng said angrily.

Opposition election workers and independent vote-reform advocates say a rash of irregularities could tip the balance in what may be a tight contest between the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition and an upstart opposition.

Campaigners warn that if the government does not address the issue, they could take to the streets again as they did in a protest by tens of thousands last year that was crushed by police.

“I certainly think the playing field is still very skewed. It could cost the opposition the win,” said S Ambiga, co-chair of electoral reform group Bersih 2.0.

“If they (the government) don’t commit to reform before the… election, there will be a Bersih 3.0 rally.”

Bersih 2.0 and other critics allege the coalition, despite promising reform, is illegally registering non-resident supporters in shaky constituencies or those held by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s three-party alliance.

Fraud campaign

In one case near Ng’s house, more than 60 people were registered living in two apartment blocks that do not even exist, say opposition activists who have been scouring quarterly voter rolls compiled by the Election Commission (EC).

The government denies a fraud campaign, and the commission says it is cleaning voter rolls.

Late last year it purged more than 40,000 names that could not be accounted for, but the revelation only added to fears of widespread irregularities.

The commission also recently fired hundreds of staff after it was found they were responsible for registering voters twice, adding non-citizens, and other “negligence,” government-controlled media reported.

Anthony Loke, an opposition parliamentarian representing Ng’s district, said a report by a government-appointed organisation found some 80,000 people were registered in just over 300 addresses, among other discrepancies.

“The most fundamental issue is the electoral roll. It must be cleaned up,” he said. “If they don’t clean up the roll, other changes are not as significant.”

Bersih 2.0 and opposition parties led a rally in Kuala Lumpur last July to demand clean elections – “Bersih” means clean – and were met by tear gas and water cannon. Some 1,600 people were arrested.

The rally gave voice to widespread suspicions documented in many cases over the years that the ruling coalition has routinely used fraud, vote-buying and a stranglehold on traditional media to stay in power.

Rally crackdown

Stung by condemnation over the rally crackdown, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak set up a bi-partisan parliamentary panel in October to study possible reforms. A final report is due in April.

An interim report suggested measures including introducing indelible ink to prevent multiple voting, which the EC has pledged to do.

“The main (recommendations) are all accepted and done already. Now we are busy doing the preparations,” EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar told AFP.

But critics accuse the government of dragging its feet on far-reaching reform and ignoring calls to halt abuses like alleged vote-buying and preventing fair access to media.

Concern has sharpened recently amid heavy speculation that the polls – due by next April – could be called within months.

“You can’t expect BN to implement (all the) reforms for a system that has benefited them for years,” said Loke, also a member of the parliamentary reform panel.

In 2008, Anwar’s three-party opposition alliance snatched away the BN’s long-held two-thirds parliamentary majority and now holds four of Malaysia’s 13 states, its highest ever number.

Bersih 2.0 has calculated the BN coalition won a parliamentary majority by only 27,000 votes.

Leading polling firm Merdeka Centre, along with another institute that monitors the electoral process, will launch a new report on such irregularities on Friday.

Ibrahim Suffian, head of the centre, said its research has found an “abnormal increase of voters” in closely contested constituencies.

“So it would affect the outcome of the election” in some areas, he said.

- AFP

‘Christian threat’ seminar in Johor sparks religious row

‘Christian threat’ seminar in Johor sparks religious row

March 28, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 – Religious teachers from national schools in Johor will attend an officially-sanctioned seminar this Saturday focussing on the “threat of Christianisation”, and this has sparked outrage among Christians.

Organised by the Johor Education Department and the Johor Mufti Department, the seminar with the theme “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralism Serta Ancaman Kristianisasi Terhadap Umat Islam. Apa Peranan Guru?” (Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianity towards Muslims. What is the Role of Teachers?) requires the attendance of two religious teachers from 55 national schools across Johor.

“I was shocked and in disbelief when I found out about it. Why is there a perceived threat? Do they have to create this sense of fear?” Chrisanne Chin, Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM) Youth Moderator told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

“The fact that it’s officially on the website suggests that the state department is lending support to this thinking that there is a threat against Islam,” she added.

A copy of a letter about the seminar from the Johor Education Department to national schools appears on its website.

Chin, who is also an executive council member of CCM, stressed that while she was not against religious teacher training programmes, one such as this would put pressure on the teachers to spread religious tension and fear aming unsuspecting pupils.

“This seminar will sow suspicion and hatred within the community, and be counterproductive to the 1 Malaysia concept touted by the ruling government.

“We need unity. No more rhetoric. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is,” Chin said.

When contacted, Hasimah Abdul Hamid, the supervisor for the Islamic Education Unit of the Johor Bahru Education Office, declined to comment on the programme’s stance towards the apparent threat of Christianity against Muslims.

“The purpose of this programme is of course to strengthen the faith of Muslims,” she told The Malaysian Insider.

“But I can’t say anything about the title, because it was provided by the organisers.”

Christians form 9.2 per cent of Malaysia’s 28.3 million-strong population.

In recent years, the Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the word “Allah”, with the latter group arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim God.

Christians, however, have argued that “Allah” is an Arabic word that has been used by those of other religious beliefs, including the Jews, in reference to God in many other parts of the world, notably in Arab nations and Indonesia.

A number of conservative Muslim groups have also accused Christians of attempting to convert Malays, resulting in heightened tension between followers of the two religions.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Say sorry over ‘assault’ claim, Wee told

Say sorry over ‘assault’ claim, Wee told

G Vinod | March 27, 2012-FMT

DAP says the police had told a Chinese daily that there was no witness to the claim that Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong was nearly assaulted during a rally.

UPDATED

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP has called on Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong to publically apologise for claiming that he was almost assaulted in a rally on Sunday.

Referring to a report in China Press today, Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai said Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah had said that his 30-strong men at the scene could not confirm if there was an attempt to assault Wee.

“Hisan reportedly said that there was no witness that can substantiate Wee’s claims that someone had tried to assault him,” he added.

However, the report did not mention whether the investigation over the matter was complete.

Also present at the press conference were DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, vice chairman M Kulasegaran and Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng.

On Sunday, Wee was heckled by thousands of United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong) supporters near the New Era College in Kajang, claiming the government had failed to resolve the shortage of trained teachers in Chinese schools.

It was alleged that one participant tried to punch Wee.

Wee, on the other hand, said yesterday that he would not lodge a police report on the matter as he had forgiven those who tried to harm him.

Tan later accused Wee of trying to use the incident to gain public sympathy and divert people’s attention from the issue at hand, which was the shortage of teachers in vernacular schools.

“And Wee should also apologise to Dong Zong for insinuating that the organisers failed to provide adequate protection for him on the day,” he said.

Speaking to reporters later, Wee rubbished DAP’s call, saying he was the victim in the incident.

“There are photos showing people throwing newspapers which hit the back of my head. One picture even shows a bottle being hurled at me which narrowly missed my head. You call that a peaceful assembly?” he asked.

Commenting on the police chief’s remark, the MCA Youth chief said just because nobody saw the attempted assault that does not mean it did not take place.

“How can you come up with such a conclusion without a probe? Just because your officers say so?” he added.

Apologise for assault claim, Pakatan tells MCA’s Wee

Apologise for assault claim, Pakatan tells MCA’s Wee

March 27, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 27 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders demanded today Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong apologise for trying to divert attention from Sunday’s rally on the shortage of Chinese school teachers to an alleged assault on him which the police said did not happen.

Speaking at a press conference in Parliament today, Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai cited a news report quoting Selangor police chief Tun Hisan Tun Hamzah as saying that his men could not confirm the assault on Wee.

File photo of Wee (white shirt) being escorted out from the rally on March 25, 2012. — Picture by Choo Choy May
“The statement by the CPO is simple. No attempted assault, nothing happened.

“Nobody suspected by anyone had hit or punched Wee.

“But as you are fully aware, Wee made the allegation twice — that the assailant tried to punch his left cheek,” he said.

Tan said Wee, according to various media reports on the Sunday incident, had also alleged that his assailant was a PR supporter or member.

Despite this, the DAP leader said Wee had refused yesterday to lodge a report into the incident, saying he had forgiven his alleged attacker.

“I think Wee needs to do something to clarify his innocence and conscience by making an allegation that he was almost assaulted.

“He must apologise to five parties — Malaysians because he misled them into believing he was almost assaulted; the Chinese community because they are furious the main issue of the rally had been deviated; to the 10,000-strong crowd at the rally; to the United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong); and to PR, because he has never stopped indicating that his assailant was a PR member or supporter,” he said.

Wee was chased out of the rally organised by Dong Zong on Sunday to protest a lack of Chinese school teachers.

After the rally ended, an angry swarm of people chanted for him to resign and it was alleged someone attempted to land a punch on him but it was prevented by a large security detail.

“I can’t say I felt threatened but it was a rude shock to me,” Wee told a press at a nearby hotel later.

“Suddenly people come and point at you and want to punch you. I am saddened. We are not hooligans. We are a civilised society.”

The deputy minister from the MCA later also suggested that the crowd was instigated by unidentified parties.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tribunal will show A-G’s hand in Altantuya trial, says Mat Zain

Tribunal will show A-G’s hand in Altantuya trial, says Mat Zain

March 26, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim today continued to pressure the prime minister to investigate the Attorney-General for alleged abuse of power, arguing that a tribunal will prove Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail’s “manipulation” in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial.

PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak had on Friday said there was no need to probe claims against the A-G made by Mat Zain and former Bukit Aman commercial criminal investigations chief Datuk Ramli Yusoff, saying they were mere allegations.

But Mat Zain claimed today a tribunal would “expose the wrongdoings of Abdul Gani in manipulating, hiding material evidence” in the Altantuya trial.

The A-G’s manipulation, said the ex-cop, was evident with the change in prosecutors in the trial, where deputy public prosecutor Datuk Sallehuddin Saidin was replaced by Datuk Tun Majid Hamzah.

Mat Zain said the reason given by Abdul Gani (picture) back then was that Sallehuddin had an “intimate relationship” with the presiding judge as they were “badminton partners”, and that that might affect the trial process.

“If the close ties betwen judge Mohd Zaki and Sallehuddin are being questioned, why did Gani Patail hide his personal relationship with Mohd Zaki and as well as Tun Majid’s ties with the judge?

“Mohd Zaki was a judicial commissioner (JC) under Abdul Gani in 2005. Tun Majid, like Sallehuddin had close ties with Mohd Zaki as they were working together in Perak in 1987, and then the A-G’s chambers,” Mat Zain said today in an open letter addressed to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar.

He said that if Abdul Gani had really wanted to be fair and impartial, he would have ensured that another judge presided over the Altantuya murder trial.

“By withholding material evidence, it is an offence under Section 415 of the Penal Code, and Gani cannot do this,” added the ex-cop.

Mat Zain also claimed that former trial suspect Abdul Razak Baginda had signed an affidavit relating to the case in 2007, but the contents of the affidavit were never challenged by the A-G.

“Mohd Zaki released him without calling for his defence, as though his affidavit was not challenged.

“When Razak Baginda was freed, Gani Patail did not want to file an appeal even though there were a lot of calls to do so.”

Mat Zain also alleged that a tribunal would shed some light into instances of power abuse and manipulation of facts in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial and 1998 “black eye” incident involving the A-G and former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan.

He accused the two of stealing Anwar’s blood samples for DNA tests in the Sodomy II trial and using it against him.

Mat Zain stressed that these were merely parts of a “no holds barred” testimony that he is prepared to give in front of the tribunal, should it be formed.

“The issue of a tribunal will not go away as long as both Abdul Gani and Musa Hassan are not brought to justice. Their transgression...is too serious to be forgiven.”

Pakatan will probe A-G, Musa if elected to power, says Kit Siang

Pakatan will probe A-G, Musa if elected to power, says Kit Siang

March 26, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA SELANGOR, March 26 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will investigate Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan for alleged criminal involvement if elected to federal power, Lim Kit Siang pledged last night.

“Pakatan Rakyat will form a judicial tribunal to find out whether the criminal allegations against the former IGP, Attorney-General are real,” he told 5,000 people at a PR ceramah here.

Lim (picture), the DAP parliamentary leader, stressed that a tribunal was “necessary” as claims have been made against the two by senior police officers — former Bukit Aman commercial criminal investigation chief Datuk Ramli Yusoff and ex-Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim.

Both have urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to probe Abdul Gani and Musa for claims of abuse of power.

But Najib had said on Friday the claims did not merit a tribunal as they were mere allegations.

This comes after Mat Zain’s repeated accusations over the past three years that Abdul Gani and the former Inspector-General of Police fabricated evidence in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s 1998 “black eye” case which he investigated.

He also said Najib admitted to knowledge of Abdul Gani’s alleged wrongdoings when they had met privately in 2008, and challenged the PM to axe the A-G over the latter’s failure to act in high-profile cases such as the death of DAP aide Teoh Beng Hock while in the care of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Putrajaya has repeatedly said, most recently in November, it will not reopen investigations into the case as an independent panel set up in 2009 had cleared Abdul Gani of any wrongdoing.

But Mat Zain said the panel was unconstitutional as only a tribunal, formed by the the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the PM, can investigate the conduct of the A-G.

“There has to be change... we have to propel it and bring back proper democracy,” Lim said.

MPs receive lewd MMSes of ‘Anwar-like figure’

MPs receive lewd MMSes of ‘Anwar-like figure’

March 26, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching received three multimedia messages (MMSes) last week depicting a figure resembling Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim performing sex acts with a woman.

Teo alleged that the MMSes, which came from the same number, were titled “Anwar Tak Bermoral” (Anwar is immoral) and “Anwar Pembohong” (Anwar is a liar), saying that she believed the contents were taken from a video screened by the Datuk T trio on March 20 last year.

“The first two [MMSes] are pictures, while the third is a video about two to three seconds... You can see that there is a figure [that] looks like Anwar and also a lady,” Teo (picture) told reporters at the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) office today.

She suspected that the MMSes were being spread to the public as Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh had received a similar MMS on March 20.

Teo expressed concern that it might be sent to children and those who may not know “the true story”, saying that she believed the act was politically motivated.

“Otherwise, why would you want to tarnish the good name of Anwar? How can you publicly say the man in the MMS is Anwar when the authorities have not confirmed it?”

She added that although she did not want to point fingers, she had “sufficient reasons” to believe it was done by “the opposite” side, while Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, who was also present, suspected it was done by someone who was “well-connected”.

Teo lodged a report with the MCMC office today over the MMSes, but was allegedly informed that the authorities would “confiscate” her handphone for an undisclosed period if they felt there was need for further investigation.

She believed that such a procedure would deter people who had received similar MMSes from coming forward.

“One of the reasons why we’re reluctant to lodge a complaint to the powers-that-be is because of the punitive measures taken against the complainer,” said Nurul Izzah.

“You can’t expect everyone to come here at the risk of giving up their handphones,” she added.

“This is a clear attempt to vilify, to insult and smear Anwar, and if (MCMC) doesn’t take any action, then I hold the minister responsible and demand his resignation because he is supporting a clear crime and the distribution of porn clips everywhere.”

Anwar has repeatedly stood by his denial that he was the man seen having sex with a prostitute in a 21-minute video which was first aired to the media in cloak-and-dagger fashion by a mysterious “Datuk T” at a prestigious hotel in Kuala Lumpur April last year.

It was later revealed that Datuk T referred to three notable figures — former Malacca Chief Minister Tan Sri Rahim Thamby Chik, businessman Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and former Perkasa treasurer-general Datuk Shuib Lazim.

Yesterday, Umno’s Utusan Malaysia questioned Anwar’s sexuality despite being threatened with a RM100 million suit by the opposition leader.

Its Sunday edition, Mingguan Malaysia, frontpaged Datuk K.S. Nallakaruppan’s challenge to his former close friend to speed up legal action so he can expose Anwar’s alleged wrongdoings.

The editorial also accused Anwar of using legal action as a way to silence critics from exposing his “moral wrongdoings.”

Utusan Malaysia had highlighted a week ago the accusation by Nallakaruppan, once said to be Anwar’s “tennis partner,” that the former deputy prime minister was a bisexual.

The opposition leader, who aims to take over Putrajaya after an election that must be called by May next year, then said he would sue both the senator and newspaper for RM100 million if they did not retract the allegation.

Anwar was acquitted in January of a second sodomy charge which he has said was politically motivated.

However, the public prosecutor has chosen to appeal against the High Court’s decision.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

'325 protest rally' may set off new waves against BN

'325 protest rally' may set off new waves against BN

Despite Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's promise yesterday that his administration is committed to solving the decades-old issues raised by Chinese educationists, they will go ahead with their mega rally planned for Sunday.

Observers say that the rally, organised by United Chinese School Committees Association or its acronym Dong Zong and dubbed '325 protest assembly', could well create a larger political wave against the BN in the coming general election.

NONE To be held at 11am at the New Era College in Kajang, Selangor, the rally is expected to attract more than 3,000 participants from all over the country, including 250 Chinese guilds and associations and a number of education groups from people of other races and opposition parties.

The event at the private college owned by Dong Zong also aims to unite the Chinese community in demanding that the government transfers out hundreds of teachers who do not have Chinese language qualification out of Chinese primary schools.

It also aims to highlight the enduring discrimination the educationists says Chinese schools face, particularly the shortage of teachers, which has been haunting the schools for more than three decades.

According to Chinese newspaper Sin Chew Daily, the organisers have set up huge tents at the college field and prepared a mega 100-metre banner as well.

Non-Chinese groups to take part as well

Dong Zong president Yap Sin Tian called on all participants to arrive before 8am to avoid traffic congestion, as Najib is scheduled to attend a Police Day celebration at Kajang at 10am, which is likely to be attended by many police personnel.

djz postcard to pm 271107 yap sin tianYap (left) said representatives from non-Chinese groups, such as Tamil Education, Research and Development Foundation and People's Religious Schools Council will also join the rally to show their solidarity with Chinese education.

Last week, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng pledged to mobilise his party to back the rally, while PKR vice-president Tian Chua said today he, together with another vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, would lead PKR leaders to the rally.

The rally was called after the Education Ministry failed to address various problems Chinese primary schools have been complaining about after they reopened early this year, especially on the huge number of teachers without Chinese language qualification.

Chinese educationists have always seen such a policy as a move to weaken the development of Chinese primary schools.

A déjà vu for veteran educationists

The rally is a déjà vu for many veteran educationists because Chinese primary schools were hit with the same problem in 1987.

A similar rally was then called at the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur, which partly led to the infamous Operasi Lalang in which 108 activists were detained under the draconian Internal Security Act.

After the announcement of the '325 protest rally' on Feb 26, the Education Ministry was seen scrambling to defuse the anger of the Chinese educationists.

NONEOn Wednesday, Deputy Education Minister Wee Ka Siong (left) announced eight long- and short-term measures to address the problem, including immediately transferring out the non-qualified teachers, giving power to Chinese primary school headmasters to hire temporary teachers and training more teachers with Chinese qualification.

Yesterday, Najib, during a live interview with the MCA-owned radio station 988, also reiterated that these measures have been accepted in principle by the cabinet, and that his government was serious about solve the matter once and for all.

However, Dong Jong responded yesterday that the eight measures announced were merely "hasty and expedient attempts" to offset the rally, and that they did not address the root causes of the problems from a structural perspective.

The coalition added that it remained cautious, since the Education Ministry officials had failed to honour many promises made in the past to solve the long-standing issue of insufficient teaching manpower the Chinese schools faced.

Wee, who is also MCA Youth chief, denied that the measures were announced to offset the rally because they were from a special committee set up to solve the teacher shortage problem, which had been formed on Feb 22, four days before the announcement of '325 protest rally'.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Western Australia says no to Lynas waste

Western Australia says no to Lynas waste

March 23, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — The Western Australian government, where Lynas Corp’s rare earths mine is located, has said it will not accept waste from the firm’s controversial refinery in Kuantan even if it is not radioactive.

Putrajaya said early this month Lynas, which plans to transport ore from Mount Weld in the Australian state, to its RM2.3 billion plant in Gebeng, had promised to send its residue abroad if it could not find a suitable waste disposal site in Malaysia.

File photo of a signboard at the site of the Lynas plant in Gebeng.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had also said late last month the Sydney-based firm must find a way to ship the waste back to Australia, failing which no temporary operating licence (TOL) will be issued.

But Western Australia Minister for Mines and Petroleum Norman Moore told the state’s legislative council that it would not allow the residue, which Lynas says it can treat to reduce its radioactivity, to be returned to its source.

“Yes, as Commonwealth legislation prohibits the importation by Australia of any waste product produced from offshore processing of any mineral resources purchased here,” he said in a written response to Mining and Pastoral Region member Robin Chapple obtained by The Malaysian Insider

Chapple, who is Greens spokesman for mines and petroleum, nuclear issues and waste management, had asked on Tuesday if waste from the Gebeng plant would be accepted if it was not radioactive after being treated.

Local nuclear regulators had said on March 1 Australia’s refusal to accept radioactive waste should not affect Lynas’ efforts to return residue from its rare earths plant to the source.

Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB) director-general Raja Abdul Aziz Raja Adnan said this was because the waste from the Gebeng refinery would not be radioactive once it was treated by Lynas.

The Australian miner has assured Malaysia that it will be able to reduce the concentration of radioactivity in the waste products so that the residue could be transformed into commercially viable aggregates, he noted.

AELB approved Lynas’ TOL in January, subject to several conditions, despite continued protests from local residents, environmentalists and the federal opposition.

The Australian firm is planning to ship rare earths ore from its mine in Mount Weld to its Kuantan plant, where it will be processed into highly sought after rare earths metals.

Thousands of anti-Lynas protestors attended an opposition-backed rally by Himpunan Hijau last month in the largest protest yet against the rare earths plant that is expected to fire up later this year.

Critics of the refinery want Putrajaya to direct the nation’s nuclear regulator to reverse its decision to approve Lynas’ TOL, which will let the Australian miner embark on a two-year trial run.

They allege that Lynas has not given enough assurances on how it will handle the low-level radioactive waste that will be produced at the refinery.

The government has been under pressure from groups to shut down the rare earths project over safety fears, but Putrajaya has stood its ground on the project that was first earmarked for Terengganu.

Parliament earlier this week approved the formation of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the controversial rare earths refinery.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) subsequently announced a boycott of the panel, saying it has no power to decide the fate of the RM2.3 billion project.

Chinese educationists to go ahead with rally on teacher shortage

Chinese educationists to go ahead with rally on teacher shortage

March 23, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 — The United Chinese School Committees Association (Dong Zong) will go ahead with a mass rally planned this Sunday to voice its concern over the shortage of teachers in Chinese primary schools.

Dong Zong said this was despite Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong’s (picture) announcement on Wednesday about the Education Ministry’s eight long- and short-term plans to resolve the issue.

“The deputy minister announced the eight plans five days after (the second roundtable discussion on March 16), on March 21,” Dong Zong was quoted as saying today by Sin Chew Daily.

“This hasty announcement is an attempt to offset the 325 rally. Its motives are obvious.”

Dong Zong said it remained cautious as Education Ministry officials had made various commitments to resolve the long-standing issue in the past, but had not kept their promises.

However, Dong Zong president Dr Yap Sin Tian said the association remains open to roundtable discussions to highlight the grievances of Chinese schools and will still attend a meeting with the ministry scheduled for March 30.

“Dong Zong hopes that with the rally, better results could be achieved in subsequent dialogues with the ministry,” Yap was quoted as saying yesterday by The Sun.

“In order not to blur the focus of the rally, no representatives from political parties have been invited to give speeches,” he said.

In supporting the rally, United Chinese School Teachers’ Association of Malaysia (Jiao Zong) president Ong Kow Yee said Chinese schools also faced the problem of non-Mandarin-speaking teachers being posted to these schools.

He said Jiao Zong had written numerous times to the Education Ministry for discussion but the matter remains unresolved.

“As such, we are gathering concerned Chinese groups to express the community’s unhappiness on the issue,” he said.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had announced that more Mandarin-speaking teachers will be trained to solve the shortage.

He said the government was committed to resolving the problem and had appointed Wee to speak to Chinese educationist groups to come up with a solution.

It was also reported that the Education Ministry had placed 1,482 temporary teachers in Chinese schools nationwide since January to address the shortage.

Wee had said there were only 392 vacancies left and headmasters needed to appoint temporary teachers according to their requirements.

Thousands of representatives of Chinese educational groups and non-governmental organisations are expected to attend Sunday’s rally in Kajang.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pakatan only needs 100 MPs to take power, says Guan Eng

Pakatan only needs 100 MPs to take power, says Guan Eng

March 22, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 — Lim Guan Eng believes that his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact needs to win just 100 federal seats in a general election that must be called by May next year to take over Putrajaya as “Umno will implode.”

The DAP secretary-general said PR “might not be able to make” up the 112 lawmakers for a majority in Parliament in its first federal polls as a formal coalition but the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) will collapse if the national opposition holds the majority in the peninsula.

“This election is harder. We might not be able to make it; we don’t need 112 seats to win power. Just 100.

“If we are the majority party in Peninsular Malaysia, do you think there will be any permanent loyalties from Barisan Nasional parties in Sabah and Sarawak?” the Penang chief minister asked in an interview with The Malaysian Insider this week.

He also predicted if “we get 90 seats in peninsula and 10 in Sabah and Sarawak,” then Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will try to topple Umno president and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Lim (picture) pointed to how Najib himself took over both posts from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi just a year after the latter led the ruling coalition to its worst electoral performance ever in March 2008.

“You think Muhyiddin won’t challenge Najib? It is a given. Then Umno will implode. It’s an entirely different ballgame,” the Bagan MP said.

Lim’s DAP had entered into an informal electoral pact with PKR and PAS in Election 2008 which saw them win a record 82 federal seats and deny BN its customary two-thirds majority in Parliament and five state governments.

The three opposition parties gained slightly more than half the popular vote in the peninsula, winning 80 out of 166 seats available.

The three parties soon formed Pakatan Rakyat with PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim insisting 30 MPs would defect to PR by September 16, 2008 and end the ruling parties’ 50-year rule since the country achieved independence.

The opposition leader was believed to have targeted mainly Sabah and Sarawak lawmakers especially after the Sabah Progressive Party, which has two MPs, pulled out of BN.

However, the former deputy prime minister’s promise was never fulfilled and Najib’s ascension also saw a revitalised BN reverse a string of by-election defeats.

But Najib replaced Abdullah ostensibly to improve on the 140 seats won four years ago and observers believe only a return to two-thirds majority can guarantee he remains in power.

In a boost to his confidence, a survey last month by independent pollsters Merdeka Center showed his approval rating has surged by 10 percentage points to 69 per cent on the back of an improving economy and the cash handout of RM500 to low-income earners under the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia.

Lim has also previously said the opposition must improve its tally in Sabah and Sarawak from two to at least one-third of the 56 federal seats on offer to give it any chance of taking power.

But he said in the interview “we have to be realistic — this will be tough but not impossible.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tamil school aid: Whither the millions? | Free Malaysia Today

Tamil school aid: Whither the millions?

B Nantha Kumar | March 21, 2012--FMT
The government has promised millions to upgrade Tamil schools, but one pertinent question remains.
KUALA LUMPUR: The government has promised millions of ringgit to upgrade Tamil schools in the country but one question still remains.

Would the millions really be spent on the reconstruction of these schools or would it go to crony contractors; or be channeled back to the government?

The lack of transparency in releasing the funds had raised heckles from non-governmental organisations, who wanted a system to streamline funds to ensure it reached the “target” group fast.

Commenting on this, Malaysian Consumer Advisory Association (MCAA) president G Varatharajoo said apart from the Public Works Department (JKR), the Education Ministry and MIC were also to be blamed for the “improper” administration of the RM100 million set aside as special allocation for Tamil schools under the 2012 Budget announced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who is also finance minister, last year.

He said the Finance Ministry had yet to release the money to the affected Tamil schools because the Education Ministry was in the final stages of approving over 230 Tamil schools identified to receive the aid.

FMT learnt that all qualified Tamil schools were divided into three categories — relocation, additional building and upgrading of existing infrastructures.

According to documents furnished to FMT, about RM40 million had been allocated to 16 schools under the relocation plan, 20 schools stood to get RM38.3 million for additional buildings while another 173 schools would receive RM18 million for infrastructure upgrade.

Varatharajoo said although the Malaysian Indian community welcomed the government’s assistance with open arms, it was concerned over the delay in disbursing these funds and the estimated cost quoted by the JKR.

“The estimated cost set by the JKR is really absurd… for example JKR has fixed RM1.5 million for an additional building with six classrooms. This means each classroom costs around RM250,000 which is really too much,” he said.

“When we checked with a few private contractors, we found that a classroom will only cost between RM70,000 and RM75,000. So it is clear that the JKR quoted prices that have been ‘jacked-up’ three fold than the actual cost,” he added.

He said going by these estimates, in actual fact the government would only complete work amounting to RM33 million out of the RM100 million set aside under the 2012 Budget.

“This is because the relevant authorities especially JKR has quoted three-fold prices. While work will be done for RM35 million, the remainder of the allocation will either go back to the government or into the pockets of contractors or cronies given the contracts,” he added.

Set up board of governors

Negeri Sembilan Tamil School Board of Governors (LPS) coordinator R Sathiaseelan felt that the government should channel funds to a particular school’s board of governors instead of allowing JKR to deal directly with appointed contractors.
“LPS is the best way to channel the money. The board consists of representatives from the Education Ministry, the schools’ parent-teachers association, former students, the public and the headmaster or headmistress. They will know how to spend the money wisely,” he added.

He said efforts were underway to form a board of governors in all Tamil schools as they could act as the conduit between the government and the school.

“As the Negeri Sembilan coordinator, I visited all the Tamil schools in the state and received good response from parents and the public on this suggestion,” he added.

He also lashed out at MIC, touted to be the largest Indian based political party in the country, as it did not favour the setting-up of the board of governors in Tamil schools nationwide.

“With the LPS set-up, MIC feels it would lose its grip on Tamil schools as the government would be dealing directly with the LPS and not through MIC,” he added.

He said the Education Act stated that a school’s LPS would be the authority when it came to matters relating to the infrastructure of a school.

There was also a need Najib to clarify his claim recently that RM440million had been spent on Tamil schools from 2008 to 2012.

The prime minister must reveal details of how the money was spent and which school benefited from the huge allocation.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Excessive radiation in Bukit Merah even after 18 years

Excessive radiation in Bukit Merah even after 18 years

Radiation around the Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant in Bukit Merah and its permanent waste dump site at Bukit Kledang, both in Perak, is still at a hazardous level - despite the factory having closed 18 years ago.

This disturbing finding was recorded by anti-Lynas group Save Malaysia Stop Lynas (SMSL) during a fact-finding visit to Perak over the weekend.

NONEAccording to SMSL chairperson Tan Bun Teet (right), SMSL members armed with radiation reading devices were not allowed to enter the plant and dump site, but the radiation readings around both locations showed worrying results.

The reading near the plant was around 0.19 microsievert per hour while the reading near the dump site stood at about 0.2 microsievert per hour.

Both readings, if extrapolated to annual basis, are beyond the safe level of 1 milisievert per year as advised by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB), Tan said.

The average background reading of Malaysia is 0.05 microsievert per hour.

NONE“It is regrettable that within the 1.7km buffer zone of the dump site, we still found fish breeding, as well as animal and vegetable farming activities (left),” Tan said.

AELB had earlier claimed that the plant site has been decontaminated, with radiation levels dropping from 0.65 microsievert per hour to 0.17 microsievert per hour, which is safe for human activities.

The board also claimed that it had requested the authorities to move illegal farms and squatters living within the buffer zone around the waste dump site.

NONEThe ARE plant run by Japanese company Mitsubishi Chemicals from the 1980s to the early 1990s, is blamed for spreading radiation poisoning inas a result of poor management of radioactive waste generated from processing tin tailings to extract rare earth.

The aftermath of the factory’s operations has been one of the largest radioactive waste clean-ups in Asia, with a permanent dumping site set up at the foot of nearby Bukit Kledang.

The anti-Lynas movement has been using the ARE plant as an example to protest against the Lynas rare earths plant in Gebeng, Kuantan.

Members of SMSL also met with a former contractor who was hired by ARE to dump the radioactive waste.

NONEAccording to Tan, the contractor, whose three employees carrying out the job have died at a young age.

The contractor said they just discarded the waste into empty plots of land within Menglembu and Lahat as ARE had not specified a dump site.

In other words, the polluted areas are larger than what the authorities had expected, and they are difficult to trace, Tan elaborated.

Tan is also disappointed with the Ipoh Hospital which, he said, did not trace the backgrounds of cancer patients over the years to determine whether they were from the affected areas.

This matter was conveyed to Tan by Dr Chan Chee Khoon, an epidemiologist from Universiti Malaya, who has been following the issue and has had discussions with the medical personnel of Ipoh Hospital.

“This shows that the government did not follow up on the health conditions of residents in that area,” added Tan.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Scorpene and the French hunt for justice | Free Malaysia Today

Scorpene and the French hunt for justice

Céline Boileau | March 19, 2012-FMT
Philippe Montigny, the president of ETHIC Intelligence, talks to FMT about how the French courts pursue issues of transnational corruption.
INTERVIEW

PARIS: Allegations of corruption, abuse of power and the brutal murder of a former model make up the plot behind the Scorpene submarine purchase, which has continued to haunt Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
Now the French judiciary has officially opened investigations into the sale of the two submarines which were sold to Malaysia in 2002.
It was reported that French prosecutors had prima facie evidence to probe the alleged improprieties against French naval shipbuilder DCNS.
Malaysian NGO Suaram had first filed the complaint with the French judiciary in February 2010, enquiring about the formation of Perimekar after DCNS signed the deal with the Malaysian Defence Ministry, then headed by Najib.
In an interview with FMT, the president of a Paris-based anti-corruption certification agency ETHIC Intelligence, Philippe Montigny, talks about bringing the culprits of corruption to book in the French courts.
In case of bribing foreign public officials, who can be hauled up according to the French law?
Montigny: Since the Act of Nov 13, 2007, the briber (individual or company who paid or offered the bribe), and the corrupted public official (who accepted or asked for the bribe) can be prosecuted, regardless of the country where the crime was committed. The first one will be sued for active bribery, and the second for passive bribery.
Moreover, if the offence was committed indirectly through a third party (individual or company) used to carry the kickbacks, this middleman may be prosecuted as an actor or as an accomplice in the crime of corruption.
What are the penalties?
The briber, the person bribed and the middlemen, incur the same penalties: up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of €150,000 (about RM675,000). Additional sanctions are also possible, such as the suspension of civil rights, civic etc. Companies involved face a fine of €750,000 but also the reimbursement of undue profits, or even a ban on participation in public tenders or use of public savings.
What is the statute of limitation?
For most financial offences, the limitation period is fixed at three years. But it only begins when the discovery becomes possible, that is to say, for instance the last day of the receipt of what was promised or the last payment of kickbacks. It is sometimes far beyond the initial pact.
What if, by this time, the company that helped to convey the bribe disappears?
If the company is gone, people have not disappeared! Justice will still pursue all those responsible for the offence, whether as simple implementers or decision makers. Only the prosecution against the company will end.
In transnational (public) corruption cases, what is the role of intermediaries?
Most companies active in international markets rely on sales agents. These agents allow them to have additional commercial and technical assistance in countries where they are not present and/or for large projects requiring specific expertise. Commercial agents are paid for real and legitimate activities they conduct on behalf of the company.
When the law of June 2000 – which transposes in France the OECD Convention on the fight against bribery abroad – was passed (thereby prohibiting French companies to pay bribes to foreign public officials), some companies have asked their agents to pay bribes for them. The bill of the agent just had to include the bribe to be paid. As he is usually based in a third country, the odds of discovery are low and prosecution can be difficult. Since then, many intermediaries and companies were convicted in the signatory countries of the OECD convention though, and nowadays, most companies use sales agents for legitimate services, make sure that remuneration is appropriate for services rendered and have developed specific policies to monitor the sales agents’ integrity.
Why are there so little bribery cases sued in France?
Several investigations involving French companies are ongoing. Few trials began, but so far no judgment has yet been delivered.The main reason I think is procedural. The US, Britain or Germany, have features that encourage companies to make voluntary disclosure and to cooperate closely with the law if they are the subject of an investigation, including by pleading guilty. These procedures, which generally lead to less than a year, usually result in an exemption from criminal sanctions on the company, very high financial penalities and custom sanctions on those responsible for the bribe.
In France, a company has no incentive to reveal specific issues on an act of corruption it would have discovered, or to cooperate with the authorities. It follows lengthy procedures, where the judiciary loses a lot of time to establish evidence of a crime committed abroad, in other languages, other legal environments and often resulting from complex financial mechanisms.
Céline Boileau is a Paris-based freelance writer.

Postal voting: Polls reform group wants safeguards

Postal voting: Polls reform group wants safeguards

March 19, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19 — A polls reform group wants the Election Commission (EC) to set up safeguards as postal voting's “synonymous with fraud and unfair balloting”.

“For too long, postal voting in Malaysia has not operated as the law intended,” said Andrew Yong, international coordinator for MyOverseasVote, in a statement today.

“Instead of being sent directly to servicemen and women, armed forces postal ballot papers have been sent via the military chain of command, allowing them to be intercepted and fraudulently misused.

“Armed forces postal voters have had to mark their ballot papers in front of their military superiors, thereby putting them in fear that votes would not be secret.”

Last December, MyOverseasVote proposed to the Parliamentary Select Committe (PSC) that each political candidate be allowed to appoint overseas election agents to monitor the postal voting process.

They further suggested that all postal ballot papers be sent by diplomatic pouch to the embassy/consulate and then forwarded to postal voters in the presence of election agents.

The voters should return the ballots to the same embassy/consulate by post, courier or in person, where the ballots will be placed in one out of 27 sealed ballot boxes signed by the election agents.

MyOverseasVote further said that the ballots must be counted in the presence of the election agents before the deadline for the return of the overseas postal ballots, which should be two days before polling day in Malaysia.

As postal ballot papers are sealed in envelopes, the postal ballot papers can be sorted by individual constituency after each box is opened.

The results for each box can then be tabulated in spreadsheet form and returned to the EC in Malaysia by fax.

Last week, The Malaysian Insider reported that there are currently an estimated 2,000 registered Malaysian voters living overseas.

On March 14, PSC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili told reporters after a closed-door meeting with the EC that it might not be possible for the EC to implement any form of overseas voting if national polls were held in the near future.

Another PSC member, Anthony Loke, told reporters that the committee has yet to decide whether to accept the EC’s proposal on overseas voting.

“There have been reservations from some of the committee members, but nothing has been decided yet.

“We will meet next Tuesday to finalise,” the DAP Rasah MP told reporters.

The PSC’s final report is expected to be tabled in Parliament on April 2. Malaysians living abroad will only be able vote in the next general election if they use the postal voting system, the Election Commission (EC) said.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guan Eng rallies DAP members, says survival at stake in GE-13

Guan Eng rallies DAP members, says survival at stake in GE-13

March 18, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 — Lim Guan Eng today called for extra vigilance from DAP members to counter Barisan Nasional’s (BN) vote offensive, reminding them that the party’s political survival would be at stake in the coming polls.

Predicting that the 13th general election would be the country’s “dirtiest” in history, the DAP secretary-general said it was crucial for party members to stay resilient in the face of attacks from the ruling BN pact.

“DAP urges all leaders and members to redouble efforts to ensure that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) wins the next general elections so that DAP can remain a party in power in state governments and hopefully in the Federal government too.

“The danger signals are evident that the 13th general election will be the dirtiest in Malaysian history,” Lim said in a statement here in conjunction with DAP’s 46th anniversary today.

The Penang Chief Minister took a swipe at BN leaders for allegedly using money politics and misusing government machinery to shore up political support, saying it was a classic replay of past tactics.

Even worse, said Lim (picture), BN leaders have now resorted to using “menacing tactics” to cow the opposition.

As examples, he noted that PR leaders like Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu and himself have experienced threats of personal harm and violence during public events.

“Even PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar was threatened harm by a BN man in Pahang.

“It is not Malay culture but also not Malaysian culture for a man to threaten a woman with physical bodily harm,” he complained.

Lim also railed against the recent incident involving his 15-year-old son who was accused of sexually molesting a female classmate.

“Even though the so-called lady victim had publicly stated that this is false as she had never met my son or me, no action has been taken by the police against Umno Online and Umno bloggers who publicised these lies,” he pointed out.

“For this reason DAP leaders and members must remain vigilant against such BN’s shameless 4M (money, media, machinery, menacing PR leaders) and 4R (race, religion, royalty and rigging the Election Commission) tactics.”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Serving police officers offer to appear at tribunal

Serving police officers offer to appear at tribunal

Several serving police personnel have approached Malaysiakini volunteering to appear before a tribunal against attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail and former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan over their alleged misconduct.

Their testimony, they stressed, will go beyond the duo's alleged collusion with an underworld figure.

Malaysiakini has run a series of reports over the past one week, painting a picture of the police force as allegedly being in cahoots with underworld figures.

This has apparently encouraged the police officers, who are still serving in the force, to come forward.

The police officers, who declined to reveal their names unless a tribunal is set up, said that while the force had improved under present IGP Ismail Omar, AG Abdul Gani's influence still casts a shadow of fear over many.

This, they said, is bound to continue unless an independent tribunal is set up.

perkasa visit kdn on isa 290911 hishamuddinHome Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (left) has on Monday called for evidence of such alleged wrongdoing.

His response was prompted by Malaysiakini highlighting former Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Ramli Yusuff's birthday's speech in which he had alleged that Gani, along with Musa and the then Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), had fixed him and his men up.

The accusation originated from their investigations into Goh Cheng Poh or Tengku Goh, an underworld kingpin from Johor who allegedly had Musa's backing.

Tengku Goh was arrested by Ramli's men on Aug 1, 2007, but he was released four months later.

As allegations mount, Musa was subsequently investigated and cleared by Abdul Gani and the ACA, and his contract as police chief was renewed until his retirement in 2010.

However, as Malaysiakini had reported, questions over the duo's innocence linger.

Ramli, Mat Zain willing to step forward

ramli yusuff asset declare case 120310 04Ramli (right) had earlier this week expressed his readiness to testify against Gani and Musa at a tribunal hearing.

When Hishammuddin was told the evidence that he was seeking for, in what has been dubbed the Copgate affair, is within his ministry as Ramli's lawyer had despatched a letter to then Internal Security Deputy Minister Johari Baharum, the minister had dismissed it, saying since he was aware of the matter, there was no need for a new probe.

Yesterday former Kuala Lumpur CID chief Mat Zain Ibrahim had in an open letter to Ismail and PM Najib Razak said he too was willing to set the record straight on the matter before a tribunal on the allegations of fabricating evidence in Anwar Ibrahim's black-eye incident.

Whether Ramli and Mat Zain's offer to appear before a tribunal, and who are now joined by several serving police officers, would exert enough pressure on Hishammudin and Najib to initiate a probe into the matter remains to be seen.

Into the lion’s den — Sakmongkol AK47

Into the lion’s den — Sakmongkol AK47

March 17, 2012
Malaysian Insider

MARCH 17 — I went back into the lion’s den last Wednesday, March 14. I took part in my first ceramah as a DAP member in Pekan Pahang in a kampung called Kampung Sungai Miang. The ceramah was organised by the local PAS chapter at a house belonging to a PAS supporter. The house has a big compound and was able to accommodate a large crowd. The two other speakers at the ceramah were my fellow DAP colleague Aspan Alias. The other was PAS firebrand, deputy president Mat Sabu.

I spoke with a Pekan slang. This is the seat of our PM. He is the MP for Pekan with its four ADUNs. He is the man with the 69 per cent approval rating. He is the man who coined so many acronymed initiatives. A smorgasbord consisting of strange morsels termed as NKRA, ETP, PDP, NEM, and so many others. We have lost count. He is the one speaking about 1 Malaysia and who taught adults and children alike to show up one obscene finger.

I have proven one point. While Najb’s personal rating goes up 60 per cent, Umno’s rating has gone down. And that night on March 14, the response shown by Pekan Umno did not do justice to the man who gets a 69.

While we were holding the ceramah where more than 600 attended, Umno was given permission to do a ceramah barely 100 yards away. The attendance? Not more than 60 people. Of course, if you count the drinks and refreshments, the empty chairs, the lamp posts, the chickens, more than 100 attended the Umno ceramah.

Is this the best Pekan Umno Pekan can do? It just proves my point. Pekan Umno is just Najib personified, no Najib, no Pekan Umno. That’s how he wanted it. Pekan Umno Pekan survives and revolves around him. Below him, Pekan Umno is just an empty shell — a paper tiger pretending to roar and prowl. That night they only managed to purr like a kitten.

We had to carry on with our ceramah in spite of the speakers blaring in our direction. Speaker after speaker from JASA (the professional whores owned by Umno) shouted obscenities and repeated the standard issue of Umno propaganda crafted by the cerebrally challenged deskbound eunuchs at the JASA office. Hello JASA, you are meant to serve the people not Umno.

Now allow me to answer an article from a fellow blogger who I thought can muster a little bit more analytical substance. Alas, he has shown himself to be just another party apparatchik.

My critical assessment of Najib and Umno was taken as criticisms of:

1) Najib the PM

2) Najib the Umno president

3) Najib — one of the four chieftains at the Pahang royal court.

My criticism was also taken to be an attack on the Pahang royalty. As I had received my Datukship from the Sultan of Pahang, accordingly because I assailed one of His Royal Highness’ four chieftains, my action is taken as an attack on the Sultan himself (?).

Are we living in ancient times?

This is the problem with Umno apparatchiks. I am as loyal a subject to HRH the Sultan of Pahang as any other Umno dumbasses. Even DAP members are loyal subjects to the King. The King is King to all Malaysians and not King only to Umno people.

If my initial ceramah can cause this kind of consternation so as to invite the bizarre response of escalating the fight with Umno and its president as a fight against the three items listed above, then it only shows Umno is in deeper shit that we thought. The office of the PM is only a TOL — not a permanent title. The PM serves as long as his party receives support from voters. If in the next elections more Malays reject Umno like in 2008, then my wish that Najib must be given a victory in Pekan so that he goes to Parliament as opposition leader will come true.

I have no wish to expend my thinking on items 2 and 3. — sakmongkol.blogspot.com

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

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ex-cop says tribunal probe will implicate A-G, Musa in ‘black eye’ case

Ex-cop says tribunal probe will implicate A-G, Musa in ‘black eye’ case

UPDATED @ 01:08:45 PM 16-03-2012
March 16, 2012
Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — A former senior policeman wants Datuk Seri Najib Razak to set up a tribunal to investigate Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and Tan Sri Musa Hassan, saying that this would find the duo guilty of fabricating evidence in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s “black eye” incident.

Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim, who was the investigating officer in the “black eye” case, claimed today that both men were never investigated for “evidence fabrication” and had only been cleared of “abuse of power” allegations.

He claimed this could be a “new lead” that would warrant the formation of the tribunal.

The former KL CID chief said only a tribunal endorsed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong could conduct a probe on Abdul Gani (picture) as the latter is currently the Attorney-General. Musa is a former Inspector-General of Police.

But Mat Zain predicted Najib’s refusal to heed his request, pointing out that Abdul Gani and Musa’s conviction would prove that Anwar had been victimised during the 13-year-old case.

“I believe that once it is proven that Gani and Musa fabricated evidence used during trial until it led to Anwar’s jail sentence, then this would in turn prove that Anwar has indeed been victimised all this time.

“When this happens, not only would Gani and Musa face the possibility of imprisonment of up to 21 years, the government’s credibility would also be destroyed,” Mat Zain said in an open letter addressed to Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar and copied to Najib today.

Despite this, Mat Zain said Najib and his government could not continue protecting Abdul Gani and Musa, claiming that proof of the duo’s guilt was too strong to be challenged and “even more conclusive than DNA”.

He even alleged that Najib was fully aware of this but was likely too afraid of the consequences to ensure both men are brought justice.

Explaining his claim that Abdul Gani and Musa have not been investigated for fabricating evidence, Mat Zain alleged that the first investigation by graftbusters into Anwar’s July 1, 2008 report that evidence was fabricated in his “black eye” case was a “decoy”.

This, he explained, was because the report was classified under section 15 of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 for “abuse of power for gratifications” and not for “giving or falsifying evidence” under section 192 of the Penal Code.

“As far as I know, the ingredients to prove fault under section 15 of the ACA Act is vastly different from the offence of falsifying evidence under the Penal Code... Section 15, in my experience, is totally irrelevant to the investigation on false evidence,” he said.

Mat Zain added that if Abdul Gani and Musa had nothing to hide at the time, they should have been the ones to advice the then Anti-Corruption Agency that its investigation scope was flawed.

“In short, Gani and Musa, Dr Abdul Rahman and I (the four suspects named in the ACA probe) were never, I repeat, were never, investigated for allegations of evidence fabrication according to section 192 of the Penal Code,” he said.

Mat Zain, who has been leading a one-man campaign against Abdul Gani and Musa, also declared full responsibility for his statements today, saying he was aware of the risks and consequences of his actions.

He said he was ready to testify in a “no-holds-barred” fashion before the tribunal for the sake of resolving the more-than-a-decade-old matter “once and for all”.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

There should not be any delay in making Malaysia a member of the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Part 6: Speech by M.Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Parliament while debating the Royal Speech on Wednesday, 14thMarch, 2012


There should not be any delay in making Malaysia a member of the Rome Statute of the ICC.

Last year an international conference on ICC was hosted by our Parliament in Malaysia on 16th March 2011.

After this Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Consultation meeting where many legislators had attended, the Government announced that Malaysia will become a member of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court ( ICC ).

Unfortunately it is well over a year yet Malaysia has yet to formally file the accession papers with the United Nations. Why the delay?

When I posed the question last year, the Foreign Ministry said that necessary laws need to be amended locally before we can become a member of the ICC. Over 150 nations have become members of the ICC.

There should be no further delay on this issue.