Archive for June, 2009

Kangaroo Court of Appeal rejects prosecution’s objection

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim with tags on June 30, 2009 by ckchew

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal against the transfer of his case from the Sessions Court to the High Court kicked off at the Court of Appeal with a preliminary objection raised by the prosecution.

The appellate court however dismissed the objection and fixed for the appeal to be heard tomorrow.

The appeal started before a three-member panel – Court of Appeal justices Abdull Hamid Embong, Abu Samah Nordin and Jeffery Tan Kok Wha – at 2.30pm with an objection raised by Solicitor-General II Yusof Zainal Abiden.

Yusof argued that the transfer of the case was not appealable as the trial proper has not started at the High Court stage.

“If there is judgment, sentence or order by the court then it is appealable.

“In this case the decision to transfer from the Sessions Court to High Court was just procedural as the trial has yet to start,” said Yusof.

After hearing submissions from both Yusof and Anwar’s lawyers led by Sulaiman Abdullah, justice Abdull Hamid dismissed the objection raised by the prosecution and set for the merits of Anwar’s appeal to be heard tomorrow.

Anwar is appealing against the High Court decision on March 5 which reversed the Sessions Court’s decision to retain his sodomy trial at the Sessions Court.

Anwar, 62, is charged with sodomising his former aide, 23-year-old Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, at Unit 11-5-1, Desa Damansara Condominium, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26 last year.

The case is fixed for trial on July 8 before Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah. Anwar has also filed an application to strike out the case and that application will be heard on July 8 as well.

Anwar is cautiously optimistic

The politician’s appeal is based on his challenge on the validity of the transfer certificate signed by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail.

Anwar had claimed that Abdul Gani could not sign the document because he was still under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in connection with Anwar’s police report on the “black eye” incident.

The Court of Appeal today also allowed an application by Sulaiman for a stay of proceedings at the High Court tomorrow pending the disposal of this appeal.

The High Court is slated to hear tomorrow Anwar’s application to get further documents from the prosecution in the sodomy trial.

Commenting on the outcome today, Anwar said he was “cautiously optimistic” with his appeal application.

He also noted that the judges hearing the appeal have a clean and unblemished record.

Prosecution would be crying foul

Justice Abdull Hamid, in making the order after a 45-minute break, said he and his colleagues had a hearty discussion on the issue.

Abdull Hamid then painted a scenario for the prosecution if it were unsuccessful at both stages – where the Sessions Court decided that the matter be heard in the High Court, and then the High Court upheld its decision that the trial be maintained at the lower court (Sessions Court).

“The prosecution would arrive at the Court of Appeal to appeal the decision and Haji Sulaiman would raise the same argument by virtue of Section 3 of the CJA that the matter is not appealeable.

“That would close the door on the public prosecutor (to appeal) if the situation were reversed. You would be crying foul at Anwar’s forum as you (prosecution) would all feel the attorney general’s certificate of transfer was valid.”

Hence, Justice Abdull Hamid said it certainly would not be right for it to be interpreted within the realm of “decision” as claimed by the prosecution.

“The prosecution’s preliminary objection is thus over ruled and this court would hear the merits of the case tomorrow,” he said.

Justice Abdull Hamid also told the court the decision was unanimous and allowed Sulaiman’s application for a stay.

Limit submissions tomorrow

Justice Abdull Hamid then reminded all parties to limit their scope of submissions as the judges were well aware of the background of the case.

He instructed the parties to focus their submissions on three key issues:-

  • Legitmate expectation i.e. – the assurance made by Abdullah over the minimal involvement of Abdul Gani;
  • Doctrine of necessity – whether it was necessary to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court;
  • Question of bias – perception of bias in Abdul Gani signing the certificate of transfer.

Hafiz Yatim, Mkini

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Apa Masalah umno-bn ‘Bakul Sampahkan’ IPCMC?

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim on June 30, 2009 by ckchew

Seawal jam 9.00 pagi saya tiba di “Istana Keadilan” Putrajaya bagi mendengar rayuan berhubung pemindahan kes dari Mahkamah Sesyen ke Mahkamah Tinggi. Apakan daya kes ditangguh lagi keesokkan harinya. Terpaksalah berulang-alik dari Parlimen ke Putrajaya. Apatah lagi sesi Dewan Rakyat kali ini akan tamat pada 2hb Julai 2009 dan saya merasakan perlu untuk menyertai perbahasan rang undang-undang yang bakal dibentangkan kelak.

Alhamdulillah hari ini saya berkesempatan menyertai perbahasan rang undang-undang Suruhanjaya Integriti Agensi Perlaksanaan(SIAP). Saya ulangi kekecewaan ramai dari ahli parlimen kerana kegagalan kerajaan meneliti serta menuruti saranan IPCMC. Sungguhpun saya mengakui hasrat kerajaan untuk melebarkan peranan suruhanjaya ini kepada sejumlah 27 agensi lainnya. Latar asal dari rang undang-undang SIAP perlu diberi perhatian sewajarnya. Pokok pangkalnya adalah terhakisnya keyakinan rakyat terhadap institusi polis.

Sekiranya asas ini diabaikan, permasalahan sebenar tidak akan selesai. Integriti agensi kerajaan terutamanya pasukan polis tercalar teruk akibat salah guna kuasa segelintir pucuk pimpinannya tatkala mereka di bawah tetap berdedikasi mencurah bakti kepada masyarakat. Ketiadaan fasal berkaitan bidangkuasa siasatan  hanya menyebabkan kewujudan suruhanjaya tersebut seumpama melepaskan batok di tangga.

Yang lebih mengejutkan saranan IPCMC ditolak kononnya adalah untuk melindungi ramai anggota polis yang majoritinya orang Melayu. Membingungkan sekali alasan sebegini, sedangkan yang terlibat melanggar jalur hukum merupakan pucuk pimpinan polis. Berselindung di sebalik alasan kaum merupakan alasan dangkal yang cuba memperbodohkan rakyat.

Oleh kerana itu saya menekankan tiadanya iltizam politik pada pihak pimpinan Umno-BN untuk benar-benar memastikan perubahan terlaksana. Tidak hairanlah usaha kerajaan ini seakan fatamorgana yang cuba mengelirukan mata rakyat. Inshaallah dengan usaha dan doa, pastinya yang hak  akan mengatasi yang batil.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

IPCMC scrapped to please Corrupted police officers’

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim with tags , , on June 29, 2009 by ckchew

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today gave his reasons as to why the government has dismissed the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) – it is to protect “Malay police officers”.

Anwar made the comment during the debate on Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) Bill which will replace the much-stronger IPCMC.

Implementation of the IPCMC came to standstill in 2006 after the police force rejected the proposals and held government to ransom by threatening to let crime to rise and to vote for the opposition.

Anwar, who is the Permatang Pauh MP, also claimed that the government had sidelined the original IPCMC proposals out of fear that it could jeopardise high ranking officials in the force who were tainted.

Anwar also lashed out at the government saying that unlike the IPCMC proposals, the EAIC lacked any credible force and political will to combat corruption within the respective enforcement agencies.

“The EAIC defeats the original intent to ensure that the police force is effective, responsible, honest and effective.

“The EAIC is not independent and it with weak check and balance mechanisms. It does not have any powers to investigate the police personnel, so much so that complaint lodged on the police are investigated by the police,” said Anwar.

However, Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, also the Umno Youth chief, rebuked Anwar for playing the racial card and said that the rejection of the IPCMC proposals was because the implementation could demoralise the police force.

“You are the first to say that the IPCMC was rejected to protect Malay officers… we from the BN have never said that, you are the one playing the race issue here,” said Khairy.

We recognise their importance

At a press conference later, Anwar told reporters that it was absurd to say that he was playing the racial card when he criticised the police.

“I did allude to fact that criticisms against the police seem unfair as it involves Malay police officers… the vast majority of the police personnel are Malays,” he said.

“In the debate there is always this allegation that we condemn the police force and that we have no regard and respect for them… this is a blatant lie.

“We do recognise the importance of police personnel, we defend their rights, we understand their sacrifices and we want them to succeed but they cannot be held ransom over the inefficiency of a few senior police personnel. That is the major question,” said Anwar.

“We want to know why they are being protected. What is at stake? We want a professional police force with impeccable credentials… we appreciate and recognise them but we cannot condone corruption, intimidation and bullying by Malay, Chinese or Indians,” he stressed.

“I think this is really unfortunate if we have to choose to defend them just because they happen to be Malays,” he said.

Members of parliament are presently debating the EAIC bill which is expected to be passed before the end of the current Parliament sitting on Thursday.

S Pathmawathy, Mkini

State wants developer to stop demolition

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on June 29, 2009 by ckchew

Pakatan Rakyat Penang government wants the Oasis lucrative housing developer to suspend its plan to demolish ‘Tamil High Chaparral’ Kampung Buah Pala this Thursday pending an investigation into an alleged land scam pertaining to the development.

The head of the state investigating team Deputy Chief Minister 1 Mansor Othman will meet representatives from Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd tomorrow to demand the developer suspend its imminent demolition operations.

In a clear move to evade any untoward incident on Thursday, Mansor is taking the initiative to talk with Nusmetro, asking them not to execute the court’s writ of possession dated effective July 2.

Hindu Rights Action Force leader P Uthayakumar has already indicated that he and his supporters would join with the embattled villagers to stop the developer from flattening the village.

Mansor’s investigating team was set up on June 8 to probe into the village deals carried out under the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

Kampung Buah Pala villagers and civil societies have long alleged malpractice in land deals pertaining to the controversial development.

Police and MACC come in for flak

They even lodged reports about it early this month with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police.

They alleged the land office alienated their village land originally under the Brown housing trust and transfered ownership to the state, which subsequently sold the land to a cooperative, Koperasi Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang two years ago.

They also wanted the MACC to probe why the previous state government sold the land for a paltry RM3.21 million, or RM11.33 per sq ft, to the cooperative, which they said was far below market value.

Mansor chided MACC and police for being slow in carrying out the investigations.

“As government bodies, both enforcement agencies should have fast-tracked their investigations into the villagers’ report. It’s a pressing issue that needed swift and decisive action.

“It’s inappropriate for two enforcement agencies to be remiss in their respective duties,” said Mansor.

The committee has also finalised the composition of its team which is made up of DCM 2 Dr P Ramasamy, assemblypersons – Seri Delima’s RSN Rayer and Batu Uban’s VS Raveentharan, and senior lawyer and former Bar Council Penang chairperson CV Prabhakaran.

Mansor refuted claims that the state government had washed its hands over the issue, assuring that Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was serious about resolving the matter amicably.

Council breached building by-laws

Originally the village was legally gazetted as the Helen Brown housing trust under the Housing Trust Act 1950.

However, in 2005, the land office alienated the land to the state government without dissolving the trust which is a requirement under law.

Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) had allegedly given planning approval in 2007 to Umno-linked Nusmetro before the land was legally transferred to the cooperative.

This is a breach of the council’s building by-laws.

The land was only transferred on March 27 last year – nine days after Pakatan Rakyat captured Penang in the general election.

The land transfer was done by certain land officers without the knowledge of the current government.

On Hindraf, Mansor refuted the movement’s claims that the state government had failed to do enough to save the village, the only Indian urban village left in Penang.

“We respect Hindraf’s views and opinions. But not all what it claims is true,” he said, stressing that the state government was sincere in helping the villagers.

Hindraf will organise nationwide rallies tomorrow evening outside Komtar, and DAP head offices in Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Seremban, Malacca, Johor Bahru to protest against what it alleged as Penang DAP-dominated government’s incompetence to end the villagers’ predicament.

Athi Veeranggan, Mkini

Anwar: BN will play dirty in Manek Urai

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim with tags , on June 29, 2009 by ckchew

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim is confident that PAS will retain the Manek Urai state seat in the July 14 by-election despite an ‘active smear campaign’ by Barisan Nasional (BN).

Anwar, who is head of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat alliance, said BN has resorted to discrediting Kelantan Menteri Besar and PAS spiritual adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, in order to court voters.

“Such a smear campaign (against Nik Aziz) is not necessary but I expect it to increase during the by-election,” Anwar said today.

“This means that BN feels threatened by Nik Aziz’s leadership and capabilities. This is unhealthy in this by-election. Nik Aziz, is a well respected politician and religious leader but, the BN and its media will continue to resort to smear him.”

Anwar said it would not be wise of BN to continue with the tactic.

Nik Aziz has been menteri besar of the state since 1990, while Manek Urai is deemed a PAS stronghold.

Umno and some sections of the media, especially Utusan Malaysia, have begun attacking Nik Aziz of late. The Kelantan Umno Youth chief had lodged a police report against him last week, accusing him of sedition.

The by-election has been called following the sudden death of Ismail Yaakob, who was a five-term PAS elected representative for the seat in Kelantan.

Yesterday BN named Kuala Krai Umno Youth chief Tuan Aziz Tuan Mat, 39, as its candidate against PAS’ Kuala Krai division treasurer Mohd Fauzi Abdullah.

The contest is seen as yet another critical test for premier Najib Abdul Razak and Umno, in capturing a seat in the Malay heartland. Malay voters make up 99 percent of the electorate in Manek Urai.

Anwar made his remarks to journalists in Putrajaya, where his appeal against the transfer of his sodomy case was to have been heard this morning.

However the matter has been adjourned to tomorrow by Justice Abdull Hamid Embong after Anwar’s counsel Sulaiman Abdullah said written submissions had been tendered today by both the defence and prosecution.

“Anwar (also) has to be in Parliament, (so) it would be wise to postpone (today’s hearing),” said Suleiman.

Solicitor-general II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden concurred, since Anwar is involved in another hearing at the High Court on Wednesday in relation to his application for documents relating to the sodomy charge against him.

Abdull Hamid is sitting with justices Abu Samah Nordin and Jeffery Tan Koh Wha.

Anwar, 61, is appealing against the decision to transfer his sodomy case from the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to the High Court. The matter will be heard at the High Court on July 8.

‘Give more thought to policies’

Anwar, also blasted the BN government and Najib on not thinking through government policies in terms of liberalising the econom, awarding scholarships and teaching Science and Mathematics in English.

He said BN’s move to liberalise the economy is directed at appeasing certain rich investors, while those who are poor will continue to be marginalised.

“We need a comprehensive economic agenda and not one directed to appease certain parties,” he said.

On the government’s move to award scholarships based on merit, Anwar said Pakatan Rakyat and PKR have been fighting for this.

“The government should stop awarding scholarships to those who are not qualified or to children of very rich Malays’. This has to be based on merit […] scholarships should also be given to deserving poor and to qualified students,” he said.

“What the BN government is doing is to appease the Chinese but they are singing a different tune when they go to another group like the Malays. We (Pakatan) have always stressed the need to award scholarships based on meritocracy but we are labelled as lackeys of the Chinese.”

In relation to teaching Science and Maths in English, Pakatan has always maintained the need to uplift Bahasa Melayu in national-type schools, said Anwar.

“What they should do is probably start teaching English at an extensive level from secondary and have intensive English programmes at the tertiary level. What is being done at present is wrong,” he said.

He also attacked the proposal to make it compulsory for students to pass English at Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia level, saying rural students would suffer.

“The present policy (teaching of Science and Maths in English) is a violation of the education policy. We do support the need for students to have a good command of English but not in the way it is being done now.”

Hafiz Yatim, Mkini

‘High Chaparral’: A furious Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) will hold simultaneous rallies in front of all DAP headquarters

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on June 29, 2009 by ckchew

A furious Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) will hold simultaneous rallies in front of all DAP headquarters across the country tomorrow evening.

The rallies are to protest against the Penang government’s ineptness and failure to declare the ‘Tamil High Chaparral’ Kampung Buah Pala in Bukit Gelugor, George Town as living cultural heritage.

The movement will mobilise some 10,000 of Hindraf activists across the country to demonstrate outside Komtar, which houses the Penang state government office, and the party offices in Ipoh, Damansara, Seremban, Johor Bahru and Malacca.

The demonstration, scheduled at 4pm, will underline Hindraf’s seriousness to force the state government to protect the minority communities’ interests, rights and benefits in Penang.

The rally is also expected to highlight the state government’s ineptness in resolving other issues related to Tamil schools, employment, business opportunities and housing allocations.

However, the Kampung Buah Pala quandary, currently a major controversy in the state, will feature prominently in the mammoth rally.

The rallies, the first by Hindraf against a Pakatan Rakyat ally, is a blow to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s government, which had positioned itself as a people’s government based on competency, accountability and transparency.

Confirming this, London-based Hindraf leader P Waytha Moorthy said Hindraf was fed up with Lim’s apathy to the villagers’ predicament.

Enough is enough

“We have tolerated enough with the DAP government’s inaction at resolving outstanding issues,” he said.

Social activists from various groups are expected to join the rally.

Also tomorrow morning, Waytha Moorthy’s seven-year-old daughter, Vwaishhnnavi will hand over an appeal note to the Chief Minister asking for his help to save Kampung Buah Pala.

Tomorrow’s rally is set to pave the stage for a series of Hindraf-led protest against the state government.

On Wednesday, another group of Hindraf supporters are expected hold another rally outside Komtar.

Hindraf’s Penang island coordinator K Kalayselvam recalled that the perceived marginalisation of the Indian community was a dominant issue during the last general election.

However, over the past 15 months, he said the DAP government had yet to produce a blueprint to tackle constructively problems pertaining to the community.

“It’s time to give the DAP a wake up call. It must protect Kampung Buah Pala, the only Tamil urban village left in Penang today,” said Kalayselvam.

Hindraf advisor K Maran said Hindraf campaigned against Barisan Nasional because the Indian community wanted a better caring government to help them.

However, he slammed the DAP government for not showing any difference from the previous one.

“If the DAP government cannot protect a village of 300 people from the rich, then our support for Pakatan is meaningless,” he said.

Kampung Buah Pala is known among locals as ‘Tamil High Chaparral’ because of its population of cowherds, livestock and Tamil traditional cultural features.

The villagers face forced eviction from their village, which they and their ancestors have stayed for nearly 200 years.

Mexican standoff

The city police have informed the villagers that the developer, Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd had obtained a court’s writ of possession to seize the village, demolish homes and flatten the site to construct a lucrative mega housing project -named the Oasis.

Hindraf leader P Uthayakumar and his supporters are expected to join the villagers on Thursday in what can be described as a ‘Mexican standoff’ between the developer’s demolition team and the residents of ‘High Chaparral’.

Hindraf advisor N Naragan criticised Lim for his so-called personal crusade, including having a debate with former Chief Minister Dr Koh Tsu Koon to eliminate corruption and malpractices in the previous administration.

However, he chided Lim for being a hypocrite by being a lame duck on the Kampung Buah Pala issue when it was clear the village land deal were tainted with fraud.

He said Lim must now prove his sincerity by stepping in and prevent the demolition on grounds that there was malpractice in the whole deal.

Whether or not the DAP government intervenes, Hindraf will go ahead with its rallies tomorrow and on Wednesday.

It also plans to organise more rallies against Lim’s government until the controversy is resolved.

“The state government has already incurred our wrath. We will show our rage,” said Maran.

Athi Veeranggan, Mkini

Hindraf turns against DAP, plans to burn Guan Eng’s effigy

MI,

By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, June 29 – The Hindu Rights Action Force’s (Hindraf) is organising a nationwide protest in a final bid to force the DAP-led Penang government to save what they claim is the last Indian cultural heritage village on the island.

On Wednesday, the outlawed organisation, which was credited with delivering the bulk of Indian votes to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in last year’s general elections, will mobilise its members to gather outside Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s office at Komtar.

They plan to burn an effigy of the DAP secretary-general.

Others will also protest the forced eviction and demolition of Kampung Buah Pala at DAP headquarters in Ipoh, Petaling Jaya and Seremban.

National coordinator S. Jayathas told The Malaysian Insider that the drastic action was warranted as the demolition would take place on Thursday and Hindraf needed to show its seriousness in the matter.

“If PR state governments can give land to Chinese and Malays, then why not Indians? If they cannot even solve this, then what is the different between Umno and DAP?” he said.

Hindraf supporters have in recent months expressed dissatisfaction at PR due to what is perceived as broken promises.

The bulk of Indian voters had supported the fledgling alliance in hopes that it would rectify the disenfranchisement felt by the Indian community.

A number of Hindraf members led by former Hindraf leader RS Thanenthiran have also formed the Malaysian Makkal Sakthi Party, a breakaway party that appears friendly towards Barisan Nasional.

Kampung Buah Pala, sits on a 2.6ha piece of prime land in the rapidly developing eastern Georgetown.

The current 300 villagers and their ancestors, mostly of Tamil origins, have been living in the village for nearly 200 years.

A few weeks ago, Hindraf founder P. Uthayakumar had called on Lim to use his powers as chief minister to save Kampung Buah Pala from developers as provided in Section 76 of the National Land Code.

He said that Lim could do so “with a stroke of the pen” and provide a different plot of land to the developers should it be unable to pay compensation.

The residents association have also offered to buy the land from the state government.

Land: What’s legal not always just

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim with tags on June 29, 2009 by ckchew

What is sometimes apparently legal may not be necessarily just. This was particularly true on issues involving land, and the many recent disputes over who had the right of ownership and residence, said PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim.

Commenting to Malaysiakini on a raft of land issues ranging from Kampong Buah Pala in Penang, Pandamaran in Selangor to Layang Layang in Johor, he said the law may be on the side of the government or private sector in instances of disputed ownership between occupiers and developers, but that there was a question of justice which cannot be ignored.

“The question of justice is inevitably bound up with the question of ownership,” he said. “To pretend otherwise is to bury your head in the sand,” he remarked.

“The legal aspects of these cases may favour the developers but questions of justice and equity may be on the side of the long-standing occupants,” he observed.

He said the tug of conflicting imperatives of legality and of justice thrown up by some of these disputes was hard to resolve.

“Frank admission of this difficulty is not a counsel of despair; it is a confession that on certain issues, the law and the imperatives of justice are in conflict,” opined Anwar.

He said the role of government in such cases ought to tilt in favour of the people in distress who could not help themselves.

“For that reason, PKR has formed a special task force with deputy president Syed Husin Ali in charge to study these issues so that their resolution does not adversely affect the people involved,” said Anwar.

Legacy issues involving land

PKR is a member of the ruling Pakatan Rakyat coalition in both Penang and Selangor where the state governments are grabbling with legacy land issues from previous BN administrations.

On Thursday, some 65 families from 24 homes are to be evicted from Kampung Buah Pala – the last remaining Indian traditional urban village in Penang – to pave way for a condominium project.

The 100-year-old village is known among locals as ‘Tamil High Chaparral’ because of its population of cowherds, cattles, goats and Tamil traditional cultural features.

The embattled residents lost their final court battle last week when the Federal Court ruled in favour of the developer.

The DAP-led Penang government has been slammed for failing to do more to stop the eviction.

Terence Netto, Mkini