Thursday, August 28, 2014

Kula says Najib forgets his 'manly' challenge

8:39AM Aug 28, 2014 - Malaysiakini

By Terence Netto

Kula says Najib forgets his 'manly' challenge

DAP national chairperson M Kulasegaran reminded Prime Minister Najib Razak of his 2012 call to the opposition to disdain street rallies for a fight at the ballot box, which was the manly thing to do.

"Why the preference now by the PM for the less manly weapon of the Sedition Act to fight the opposition?" queried the MP for Ipoh Barat.

Kulasegaran was referring to the spate of charges against opposition legislators filed in the courts the past few days which the federal legislator said indicated that the PM was "caving in to pressure to flex his muscles in order to show he is not a weak leader."

"In 2012 when faced with a huge gathering of opposition supporters at a street rally, the PM challenged demonstrators to fight him the manly way - at the ballot box," recalled Kulasegaran.

"We can excuse the PM his pledge in September 2011 to make Malaysia the best democracy but we can't allow him to forget his challenge to our manliness," he remarked.

"A challenge based on manliness goes to the heart of one's sense of self and with the PM now backing away from it in preference for repression of the opposition through use of a colonial era law, he is saying he has no identity," commented the DAP leader.

"The fact that the opposition has bested the government at the ballot box in the 2013 general election has not acted as a restraint on the PM in his choice of options to fight his critics.

"Najib's sense of manliness has not embarrassed him into a proper humility at his government's loss to the opposition in the popular vote at the 2013 polls.

"Instead, more than a year after that rebuke, it seems to have driven him to the desperate option of repression through use of the Sedition Act which is an unmanly thing to do," argued Kulasegaran.

He said the country could no longer tolerate the PM's crisis of self-identity - whether to identify himself as a liberal and a moderate or be a poseur and a masquerade.

"You are either one or the other but PM thinks he can be both and that the people would tolerate his dissembling," said Kulasegaran.
 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Challenge the Prime Minister to stop the political persecution of opposition lawmakers and fight the opposition fair and square at the next general election



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on August 27, 2014
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Challenge the Prime Minister to stop the political persecution of opposition lawmakers and fight the opposition fair and square at the next general election

This morning, DAP Seri Delima assemblyman R.S.N Rayer was slapped with two separate sedition charges over his controversial "celaka Umno” remark which he had made on May 20 this year at  the Penang legislative assembly sitting.

He has become the latest addition to the list of opposition lawmakers hauled to court charged with sedition or criminal defamation.

The list has included the late Karpal Singh, Mohd Sabu, Tian Chua, Teresa Kok, Khalid Samad, N Surendren, and Nizar Jamaluddin.

DAP Parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang is also being investigated under the draconian 1948 Sedition Act for allegedly seditious remark on the unexplained death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock.  Will he be hauled to court soon? 

Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin who was recently charged in Ipoh with defaming Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak two years ago has informed me that there was a police raid at his house on August 6 to get more information with regard to his tweet on WWW1 car registration. The investigation is related to sedition.

The draconian Internal Security Act, until its repeal, was used as a weapon to stifle political dissent and silence government critics. It is now clear Sedition Act has now become the new weapon.

The hauling of opposition lawmakers to court has proven that the Prime Minister Datuk Najib’s talks about political reforms and being a moderate are plain hollow talk.

Although Najib did bring about some legislative changes, it is plain that those changes   were made for the purpose of saving BN in the 2013 general election.

Let me tell Najib that with the political persecution of oppositionists, he will definitely go down in history as only a pseudo reformist.

Najib must not think that  the public have forgotten his pledge to repeal the Sedition Act . He should know that the people have not forgotten his pledge and can also see how many extremists who made seditious remarks aimed at inciting religious or racial tension have not been dealt with by the laws.

In 2012, when commenting on the Bersih 3.0 sit in protest which attracted 200, 000 participants, Najib had said:-

“To these people, I challenge them to fight' at the ballot box. If you are anak jantan (man), let us fight there."

So I wish to challenge the Prime Minister to stop the political persecution of opposition lawmakers and fight the opposition fair and square at the next general election.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I urge the Cabinet to immediately look into both the issues of top scorers being denied their preferred courses as well as the unfairness of sudden and drastic decrease in university intake



Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP for Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on August 20, 2014

I urge the Cabinet to immediately look into both the issues of top scorers being denied their preferred courses as well as the unfairness of sudden and drastic decrease in university intake

After a few top scorers publicly complained of their failures to obtain medicine programmes,  Deputy Education Minister P.Kamalanathan has two days ago explained that the government has offered places to only 418 brilliant students to take up medical studies (first degree) at public institutions of higher learning for this year's intake.

He said the limited number of offers was meant to control the number of new medical graduates and avoid a flood of new doctors in the employment market.

"A total of 1,163 students with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.00 applied to do medicine, but offers were only made to only 418 of them and the selection was also based on interview results. We made this decision following discussions with the Health Ministry and the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC)," he told reporters.

Such an explanation will not be satisfactory as he has not addressed two basic issues, the transparency of the selection criteria and the unfairness of sudden, reduced intake. 

The question of top scorers not getting their preferred courses is not a new issue and there have been past allegations of lack of level playing fields for non bumiputra students. 

The government must therefore be totally transparent with intake details to convince the students that they have lost out to those who are better qualified.

While it is necessary for the government to prevent an oversupply of doctors, any sudden or drastic reduction in intake is cruel and unfair to the students who have excelled in their examinations. 

Why has   Kamalanathan kept silent on the overall drastic slash in this year’s university intake? 

According to Sin Chew report dated August 15, a total of 68,702 students had applied for public university spots in the 2013-2014 academic year, 60.5 % of applicants were accepted. 

For the 2014-2015 period, there were 74,071 applications, an increase of 30 % but only 50.5 % were accepted. 

This big decrease in intake has caused many qualified students to be denied places. Is this fair and is it the right policy for Malaysia which aspires to be a developed nation by 2020? 

I urge the Cabinet to immediately look into both the issues of top scorers being denied their preferred courses as well as the unfairness of sudden and drastic decrease in university intake. 

Further, Kamalanathan said that the others who were not offered medical studies were offered other courses, but related to the field.

Some top students have openly claimed that they were offered nursing. Let me ask Kamalanathan to find out from the Cabinet Ministers—firstly, will they be heartbroken if their children were the top scorers who had applied for medicine but were given nursing course and secondly, will they advise their children to accept the nursing programmes offered? 

I have received feedback that a science stream student from Selama with results of  3.5 CGPA was offered an art course to study HR Management. Apparently this form of mismatch is numerous. A science student being given a arts course. Many offered have declined this form of courses..





Sunday, August 17, 2014

DAP flays Liow for top scorers' university plight

3:22PM Aug 17, 2014

Malaysiakini

DAP flays Liow for top scorers' university plight

MCA has been slammed for not directly solving the issue of STPM top scorers who have failed to get their choice of courses in public universities.

Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, who yesterday complained that top scorers were being denied their desired courses in public universities, cited news reports in the Chinese mainstream media today that highlighted the plight of three state athletes.

Kok (right) noted how Bentong MP and MCA chief Liow Tong Lai held a press conference to highlight the case of one applicant from his constituency.

"When MCA rejoined the cabinet recently, Liow said that MCA did so for the Chinese community.

"I don’t wish to touch on the question of the need for a cabinet minister to highlight a constituent’s plight via a press conference, though I think Liow should just bring the matter up directly with the education minister," Kok said in a statement issued today.

She said it was now "obvious" that the problem of top scorers failing to obtain their favoured university courses was not isolated, but a "perennial problem".

"MCA ministers must raise the matter in the cabinet to bring about a fair and transparent university intake system and policy that will not waste and reject the nation’s talents," she said.

According to the DAP leader, two of the athletes are straight A students from Ipoh, who opted for dentistry and medicine in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, but were offered nursing in Sarawak and veterinary studies in Kelantan respectively.

Another top student in Liow's constituency was reported being offered nursing in Sarawak as well, despite applying for the medicine course at eight public universities.

'Reveal criteria now, Muhyiddin'

Kok also called on Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to come clean on the selection criteria that has resulted in the failure of these top scorers to get their placements.

"As public universities will begin their new semester on Sept 1, Education Minister Muhyiddin must immediately investigate the complaints aired by these top students.

"I wish to remind Muhyiddin that a simple explanation, such as 'there are limited places as the number of qualified applicants outnumbers the number of places' will not suffice to dispel public suspicion that unfair selection does exist," Kok added.

She complained yesterday that top scorers were being denied their desired courses in public universities, and today cited news reports in the Chinese mainstream media today that highlighted the plight of these students.

Kok demanded Muhyiddin, who is also deputy prime minister, "ensure transparency and reveal in detail the selection criteria".

"If indeed these top students have been unsuccessful because of limited places and that others who have succeeded are better qualified than them, there should be no hesitation for the universities to be totally transparent," she added.

'Meeting IGP's men worse than in repressive nations'


 Malaysiakini

'Meeting IGP's men worse than in repressive nations'

A top human right activist has described what was supposed to be scheduled encounter with IGP Khalid Abu Bakar to discuss human rights violations as the "worst meeting with any government official" he had experienced.

Human Rights Watch Asia division deputy director Phil Robertson said he was to meet with Khalid (right) in April over his NGO's report entitled ‘No Answers, No Apology - Police Abuses and Accountability in Malaysia’.

"Arriving at the appointed time at his office in Bukit Aman for the meeting, I was instead met with a phalanx of six of his senior aides who proceeded to attack the report as 'biased' and Human Rights Watch as 'unprofessional'.

"My efforts to discuss the findings and recommendations, or at least discern from them what parts of the report they considered to be factually wrong, went for naught," he related at a Kuala Lumpur forum on police accountability yesterday.

Robertson said it was "by far and away the worst meeting with any government official" in his five years working for Human Rights Watch.

"And that includes meetings with representatives of governments of Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam and other rights-repressive states," he said.

He said the senior cops were not prepared to listen to suggestions on reform in the police force.

"They have the power in their tower over in Bukit Aman and anyone who disagrees with them had better stand aside," he said.

IPCMC may never come to pass

Robertson described this experience as among the reasons why the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) could never come to pass.

He said it represented an abject lack of political will and leadership from the top level of the police for reform.

Likewise, Robertson said this is also reflected in the government, highlighting a tape recording which caught Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi declaring to supporters that police should "shoot first" when dealing with criminals.

"A man who advocates for such a position is not suitable to be Malaysia's top law enforcement official," he said.

Bar Council president Christopher Leong (left) who delivered a speech at the forum said the Putrajaya needed to acknowledge that the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) has been a failure in addressing police misconduct.

Leong said it was now apparent that the EAIC, a watered-down version of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), was designed to fail.

"The Malaysian Bar urges the government to acknowledge the EAIC's failure to address the challenges faced by the police and the very serious concerns of the public, and to revive the initiative for the establishment of the IPCMC.

"There should be no more dithering, delays or excuses. The IPCMC remains as relevant today as it was when the Royal Commission's (to enhance the operation and management of the royal Malaysian police) report was released in 2005," he said.

'One death every three weeks'

Leong pointed out that government figures showed there were 231 deaths in custody between 2000 to May 2013, which was an average of one death every three weeks.

"This is a damning indictment of the police. It harms the very soul of Malaysian society that lives have been lost under the supervision of the very officers who have the duty to protect and serve the public," he said.

Noting that the initial implementation of IPCMC had failed due to fierce police opposition, Leong said the police force should not fear the oversight body if it is aspiring to be a world-class professional and disciplined force.

"There is no reason for the police to be resistant to the proposed IPCMC. It must be courageous enough to submit itself to an independent external oversight commission that is dedicated to the police force," he said.

Unlike the IPCMC, the EAIC is an oversight body which is not specific to the police as it covers 19 different enforcement agencies and can only recommend disciplinary action, which does not necessarily have to be accepted.                      
 

Kula: RM540mil allocation a 'red herring'

Kula: RM540mil allocation a 'red herring'

Terence Netto : Malaysiakini  Aug 17, 2014
DAP national vice-chair M Kulasegaran termed a “red herring” the controversy about over what happened to the RM540 million government allocation for Indian Malaysians which he said was a distraction from a core concern: the ineffectualness of the Special Implementation Task Force (SITF).

The MP for Ipoh Barat said the SITF was formed in 2011 with MIC’s S Subramanian as chief coordinator entrusted with the task of channeling specific government aid for community development for Indian Malaysians.

“Of a sudden now there is this controversy over the allocation, not only about its quantum but also about the uses to which it has been put to, if indeed it was allocated and disbursed,” said the federal legislator, who has striven to subsume a proclivity for Indian Malaysian socioeconomic development under the rubric of concern for the lot of Malaysian have-nots.

“This figure of a half billion ringgit for the socioeconomic development of Indian Malaysians is being bandied about is a red herring to divert attention from the ineffectualness of the SITF,” argued Kulasegaran.

He said in announcing the formation of the SITF, the Najib Razak administration was signaling that Indian Malaysian concerns would from 2011 receive specific doses of material aid which would impact the impoverished condition of the community for the better.

“Not only in education, but also in terms of increased intake of the community in the civil service, more credit facilities for the community’s entrepreneurs, and an expansion of equity participation for them would constitute the areas where this infusion of aid would impact the community,” enumerated Kulasegaran.

Sudden burst of publicity

He said the sudden burst of publicity over the bandied about figure of RM540 million could be a “red herring” to distract attention from the specific forms of aid that have not been allocated and disbursed, requiring an attempt to tantalise the community by conjuring up a fictitious allocation to hide the truth.

“Things appear to be an elaborate charade to camouflage the truth that there has been no substantive allocation, and therefore no uses for the existence of the SITF, resulting in no cause for Indian Malaysians to think that a new era of specific concern and concrete assistance supposedly inaugurated by the Najib administration, was ever in the works,” asserted the DAP leader.

“In other words, there has to be much ado about very little or nothing at all so that the chattering classes are kept occupied while the larger community is blindsided.

“In short, it’s been another edition of the same old story for the community which is that the powers-that-be are more interested in beguiling them into thinking that aid has been allocated but something funny has happened to it en route to the targeted recipients,” chided Kulasegaran.

He said while the community’s capacity for patience is laudable its credulity is limited.

“They can no longer be taken for dupes which is why they should write off the powers-that-be and back the government-in-waiting which is the opposition Pakatan Rakyat,” argued Kulasegaran.
 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Putrajaya must set up independent commission to look into custody deaths, says Bar



Putrajaya must set up independent commission to look into custody deaths, says Bar

BY JENNIFER GOMEZ
Published: 16 August 2014
The Malaysian Insider

The track record of one death in custody every three weeks is a damning indictment of the Malaysian police force, Bar president Christopher Leong says, making it imperative that Putrajaya implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) mooted nine years ago to address this.

He said the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC), which was set up in 2009 as an alternative to the IPCMC, had failed to address the concerns raised by the public as detainees continued to die under questionable circumstances while in police custody.

"There should be no more dithering, delays or excuses, the IPCMC remains as relevant today as when the Royal Commission's report was released in 2005," he said at the Bar's revived campaign for the establishment of the independent commission.

Leong was referring to the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police which published a report in 2005.

The report addressed widespread concerns about the high incidents of crime, perception of corruption in the police, and dissatisfaction with the conduct and performance of police personnel.

Leong also said the three-year term of the six EAIC commissioners, who were appointed in April 2011, expired on March 31 and no new commissioners had been appointed to date.

Former Bar president Datuk Yeo Yang Poh said that the main obstacle to the IPCMC was police resistance.

He said this was evident when police had, in 2006, posted on its official website 10 reasons the IPCMC was not needed, including a warning to the government of the day that it would eventually lose power and control over the police.

Yeo said the statement, which was posted following strong calls for the setting up of the IPCMC, remained on the website for about three weeks before being removed.

According to Yeo, who had downloaded the statement before it was taken down, one of the reasons stated was:  “If facilities are in place and the government is ready (when the police are required to be neutral and people-centric), only then the IPCMC could be considered with suitable amendments to the bill in fairness to the police".

Yeo said this clearly showed that the police were admitting that they were neither neutral nor people-centric.

He said politicians viewed the police force as an institution that helped them to remain in power for more than 50 years.

"That is why we have not seen any breakthrough in the IPCMC," he said,  calling on everyone to get on board to push for the establishment of the commission.

But, Yeo did not think it was realistic for the IPCMC to be set up unless there was a change in government.
He said in the custodial death case involving A.Kugan, the pathologist who did the first post-mortem was found guilty of misconduct for failing to conduct a proper examination and prepare a report, but got away with only a reprimand from the Malaysian Medical Council.

In 2011, MMC had found government pathologist Dr Abdul Karim Tajudin guilty of negligence for failing to prepare an honest report into the death of Kugan.

The second post-mortem done on Kugan by Dr Prashant N. Samberkar from University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) revealed that his death was caused by acute renal failure due to blunt trauma to skeletal muscles.

"How can a professor and a doctor make such obvious errors and give the most convenient and superficial reasons for his death?

"Of course he died because his heart stopped beating, but what caused it," Yeo said, adding that it was a clear indication of a custodial death and should have sounded alarm bells.

Leong also raised the Kugan case in his speech, saying that the Court of Appeal had recently called for “zero tolerance “of custional deaths and recommended independent public inquiries be held for such cases.

Leong said judge Datuk David Wong Dak Wah was concerned over the admission of then Selangor police chief Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar (now IGP) that he had negotiated with the Attorney-General that investigations into the death be confined to Section 330 of the Penal Code, which is for voluntarily causing hurt to extort a confession or to compel the restoration of property.

"The judge described Khalid's actions as an affront to fair play and transparency and had added that in a complaint of this nature, the police should not be permitted to investigate themselves, where they would be acting as both judge and jury," Leong said.

Kugan's mother N. Indra, filed a RM100 million suit against Khalid, former constable V. Navindran and the government over her son's death.

Kugan, was 22 when he was arrested in Puchong on Jan 14, 2009, and held overnight at the Puchong Jaya police lock-up before police obtained a remand order.

He was taken to the Taipan USJ police station in Subang Jaya two days later for questioning and was found dead on January 20.

A week ago, the appellate court upheld a High Court ruling that Khalid and his police officers were responsible for Kugan death.

Leong said that given the blatant misunderstanding of good governance, fair play and transparency by the highest ranking police officer, the need for the IPCMC could not be clearer.

Another speaker at the forum, Human Rights Watch (Asia) deputy director Phil Robertson, said that resisting the setting up of an independent oversight commission was a clear indication that the police wanted to be a power unto themselves.

"It’s that simple and to date, Malaysia's leaders have allowed them to be so," he said.

He added that he also found a culture of “reliable impunity”, where the police officers responsible for abuses know that they don't have to fear being held responsible for abuses.

"This is because if a complaint is filed, it will be their police peers investigating them, sometimes even police from the same station.

"Our assessment is that the government and the IGP have abdicated their responsibility by not making the necessary changes to ensure effective oversight and accountability in cases of alleged wrongful deaths," Robertson said.

He added that at the recent Universal Periodic Review session on Malaysia at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the government rejected recommendations by other governments that it establish the IPCMC. – August 8, 2014.