Archive for July, 2009

Police and your basic rights

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 30, 2009 by ckchew

1.       POLICE STOP YOU

1.1     Not in uniform, ask for identification

Say: “Please, show me your Police authority card”.

1.2     Police authority card

Red colour: Suspended Police Officer. He has no authority to do anything to you. Walk away.

Other colours:

•        Blue colour:   Rank of inspector and above

•        Yellow colour:  Below the rank of inspector

•        White colour:  Police reserve

Note his name and ID number

1.3     In uniform

Note his name and ID number on his uniform

1.4     Police vehicle

Note the number plate of the patrol car or motorcycle.

2.       POLICE QUESTION YOU WHEN STOPPED

2.1     Your identificationPDRM_Bikes

Only give your name, ID card number and address.

2.2     The Police ask other questions

Politely ask “Am I under arrest?”

2.3     When are you under arrest

You are arrested if the Police: tell you “yes”;

•        do not allow you to leave/want to take you to the Police station; or

•        handcuff you.

If you are not under arrest, you may walk away/refuse to follow him back to the Police station or anywhere else, if asked.

2.4     When you cannot be arrested

The Police cannot arrest you just because you are a potential witness and want to take a statement from you

(112/Witness Statement).

3.       QUESTIONING BY POLICE WITHOUT ARREST

3.1     112/Witness Statement

When the Police are investigating a case and think you have information/knowledge about the case, the Police may examine

you and take down your answers (112/Witness Statement).

3.2     Informal/ Formal Request

Most 4times, the Police make an informal request that you give a 112/Witness Statement. If the place and time is convenient to you, cooperate. If not, tell the Police you will do so at a convenient  place and time.

If you completely refuse to cooperate, the Police can issue a formal order in writing signed by an investigating officer (Police Order) to ask you to cooperate.

If you disobey a Police Order, you cannot be arrested. However, it is an offence and the Police may request the Magistrate to issue a warrant against you to compel you to cooperate.

3.3     Giving a 112/ Witness Statement

You have the right to ask a lawyer to accompany you. This is  advisable. In giving a 112/ Witness Statement, you may refuse to answer any question / remain silent if the answer is likely to expose you to a criminal offence.

•        Bring along a notebook or writing paper with you (Personal Notes).

•        Write down every question asked in your Personal Notes.

•        Make sure you understand every question asked.

•        Take your time and think carefully before writing answers in your Personal Notes.

•        Read your answers to the Police Officer questioning you.

•        Keep your Personal Notes for future reference.

3.4     Signing your 112/Witness Statement

Before signing your statement, read the questions and your answers written by the Police Officer carefully.

•        Compare the statement you are asked to sign with your Personal Notes.

•        You have the right to make any corrections/changes to the statement before signing.

•        Sign your signature immediately below the last sentence of your statement.

4        POLICE ARREST YOU

4.1     Ask: “Why am I under arrest?”

An arrest is unlawful if you are not informed of the reason.

4.2     Do not resist an arrest

The Police have the right to use reasonable force to arrest you if you resist.

4.3     Ask: “Which Police station are you taking me to?”

The arresting Police Officer must immediately take you to the nearest Police station and no other place.

4.4     What to do when arrested

You have the right to make a telephone call.

Call your family or friend or lawyer or the Legal Aid Centre (LAC).

Inform:

•        you have been arrested;

•        the time, place and reason of the arrest;

•        the identity of the Police Officer; and

•        the Police station you will be taken to.

4.5      What happens after arrest

You may be detained up to 24 hours:

•        at the Police station, or

•        in a lock-up to “assist” Police investigation.

5          YOUR RIGHTS AFTER ARREST & DURING DETENTIONPolice1

5.1      Right to contact lawyer

You have the right and should insist to contact/see your lawyer.

5.2      Clothing

You are allowed to have one set of clothing on you in the lock-up.

5.3      Personal belongings

The Police must record and put all your personal belongings in safe custody.

Your personal belongings must be returned to you upon your release.

5.4      Welfare

You are allowed to take bath two times a day.

If you are sick, you have the right to receive immediate medical attention.

You are to be given proper and adequate food and water during detention.

5.5      How long can the Police detain you

The Police can only detain you up to 24 hours for investigation.

The duty of the Police is to complete investigation within 24 hours and to release you as soon as possible.

If the Police cannot complete investigation within 24 hours, the Police must bring you before a

Magistrate for a remand order to extend your detention beyond 24 hours (“Remand Order”).

6        REMAND ORDER BY MAGISTRATE AFTER ARREST

6.1     Who is a Magistrate

A Magistrate is a judicial officer. He/She has power to make a Remand Order to detain you for more than 24 hours.

6.2     Purpose of a Remand Order

It is to give more time to the Police to complete their investigation and decide whether there is evidence to charge you for an offence.

The Police cannot ask for a Remand Order only for the purpose of taking a statement from you.

6.3     How long is a Remand Order

When the Police bring you before a Magistrate for a Remand Order, the Police must give reasons to the Magistrate why it is necessary to detain you beyond 24 hours. The Magistrate’s duty is to consider carefully the reasons given by the Police.

The Police will usually ask for a further detention of 14 days or less.

The Magistrate, after careful consideration of the reasons given by the Police, has discretion:

•        not to make a Remand Order; or

•        make a Remand Order for a period shorter than that asked by the Police.

The Police can make more than one application for a Remand Order. Altogether, you cannot be detained longer than 15 days.

6.4     What to say when you are brought before a Magistrate for remand

Tell the Magistrate:

•        you want legal representation and to contact the LAC and your family;

•        you want medical treatment because you are sick or have been beaten;

•        if the Police had threatened or beaten you during your detention;

•        if you had been denied proper food/water/clothing, toilet or necessary medical attention during your detention;

•        whether the Police had carried out any investigation during your detention.

6.5     Ask for a shorter Remand Order from the Magistrate

Before the Magistrate makes the Remand Order, ask for a shorter remand period asked by the Police. Give reasons (Example: “I will co-operate with the Police in their investigation”, “I will be available” etc).

7        BODY SEARCH WITHOUT ARREST

7.1     When can this be done

If you are at a place (example: karaoke/clubs/entertainment outlets) where the Police are conducting a raid or looking for something (example: drugs), the Police may search your body/bags without arresting you.

This must be done in the presence of a Police Officer who is an inspector or of a higher rank.

7.2     What to do

•        Do not allow the Police Officer to put his hands into your pockets or bags.

•        Volunteer to empty your pockets/bags in his presence so you can see all your belongings.

•        Take out your belongings one by one. Each time, say “Purse”, “keys”, “ID card”, etc.

•        When your pockets/bags are empty, turn your pockets/bags inside out.

7.3     Your rights

•        A female can only be body searched by a female Police Officer.

•        All body searches must be carried out with decency (Example: cannot touch your private parts).

•        There is no law requiring you to strip naked.

8        BODY SEARCH UPON ARREST

8.1     When Police can do so

•        The Police have power to search your body for any object relating to the suspected offence.

•        The body search must be conducted in a confined place. It is your right to be bodily searched in private.

8.2     Strip search

Even when arrested, there is no law allowing the Police to force you to strip naked.

If you are forced to strip naked/ threatened if you do not strip naked:

•        Protest.

•        Remember the Police Officer’s name.

•        Lodge a report after the incident.

9        QUESTIONING BY POLICE AFTER ARREST

9.1     Identity of the Police Officer questioning you

Note the name/rank of the Police Officer questioning you.

9.2     Right to remain silent

The Police Officer will first make friendly conversation/talk (example: ask you about your family and friends etc). Be polite. Do not be afraid to remain silent. This is your right.

9.3     Police want a written statement (113 Statement) from you

The Police Officer will ask you questions and then write down your answers. You are only obliged to give your full name, age, address and occupation (Personal Particulars).

Other than giving your Personal Particulars, you have the right to remain silent.

If you choose the right to remain silent, say: “I will answer in Court”.

9.4     Police cannot force you to make a 113 Statement

After giving your Personal Particulars, and the Police Officer wants you to say more things by threatening or forcing you into making a written statement:

•        stay calm and remain silent;

•        the Police Officer has no right to threaten, beat or force you into making a written statement.

If you have been threatened, beaten or forced, lodge a police report against the Police Officer at first opportunity. This is your right.

9.5     If you wish to give a 113 Statement

Follow the steps in paragraphs 3.3 and 3.4 above.

If you do not have a notebook/writing paper, request from the Police Officer.

Your 113 Statement can/will be used as evidence against you in Court to prove:

•        you have admitted / confessed to the criminal offence as charged; or

•        you have admitted / confessed certain facts that tend to show you are guilty of the offence as charged.

High Chaparral: ‘Solution meet’ on Saturday

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 30, 2009 by ckchew

The state government will meet residents of Kampung Buah Pala on Saturday to find a solution to the land problem.

The meeting at Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (Komtar) at 2.30pm will be attended by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and state exco members, said Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy.

“We will find a solution to the problem and hope to discuss it with residents,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

The state government would also present a proposal by Kampung Buah Pala project developer Nusmetro Ventures (P) Sdn Bhd.

“We hope to receive the draft proposal today or tomorrow so that we can study it,” he said.

Ramasamy however said that the meeting on Saturday will not involve the project developer.

Controversy erupted when the state government sold the 2.6 hectare land to Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd which later appointed Nusmetro Ventures as project developer.

Nusmetro Ventures then obtained a court order demanding Kampung Buah Pala residents to vacate the land by Aug 3.

Ramasamy said if the proposal was not acceptable to residents, the state government would withdraw its approval for a housing project.

Why did MIC keep quiet in 2007?

On the statement by MIC president S Samy Vellu that the party was willing to pay RM3.2 million to settle the issue, he said it has to be discussed with the developer and koperasi as the land did not belong to the state government.

“If MIC wants to settle the issue by buying the Kampung Buah Pala land, they can talk to the developer and koperasi but RM3.2mil will not be enough as the price has since increased to about RM150mil,” he said.

Meanwhile, DAP questioned MIC’s ‘political game’ by attempting to portray themselves as the champions in this issue.

“If MIC was really interested in safeguarding the land, then it should have done so in 2007 when MIC exco member P Subbayah sat on the Penang BN panel which approved to sell the land to Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan Pulau Pinang (KPKPP),” said the party’s labour chief A Sivanesan.

“If MIC had truly wanted to champion the rights of the residents then it should have done so in 2007 when the sale of the land went through. Now MIC is catching the tail-end of the problem and trying to solve it by putting the blame on the state government,” he said./ Mkini

ACA never used force, says former director

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

EXCLUSIVE Teoh Beng Hock’s death has raised the question as to whether the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) uses force to extract information from witnesses.A former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) senior officer has claimed that the corruption watchdog used to be a “civil and gentleman’s organisation” that has never been accused of abusing or assaulting witnesses or suspects.”We don’t work like the police. We don’t resort to using force to extract a confession. But I don’t know (what it is like) now,” said Mohamad Ramli Manan in an email interview with Malaysiakini on issues raised by Teoh’s death.

“If you are a good investigator, you don’t need a confession at all. You prove your case from other evidence.”

The ACA was upgraded to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in January.

Ramli had stunned the nation in early 2007 when he alleged that then ACA director-general Zulkipli Mat Noor was involved in corruption and a sex offence.

Ramli had served as ACA deputy chief in three states – Kedah, Perak, Negeri Sembilan – before being appointed to head the agency in Kelantan, Malacca, Johor and Sabah.

Zulkipli was cleared by Attorney-General Chambers but his contract was not extended when it expired in March 2007.

Ramli said the ACA, created in 1967, had never resorted to handcuffing suspects or arrested persons. Unlike the police who deal with hardcore criminals, the anti-graft agency deals with white collar crimes where there is minimal risk of suspects escaping.

However, there was a departure from this practice early this year when two Perak Pakatan Rakyat state executive councillors were arrested.

“We were shocked to see that the exco members who had voluntarily surrendered to the MACC and other suspects were handcuffed for their remand proceedings.

“I would venture to say that the Perak exco suspects were handcuffed just to embarrass them. That speaks of the mentality of MACC officers compared to ACA officers.”

Ramli, who retired in 2006, agreed that the ACA had always practised selective investigation.

“They are so afraid to investigate Umno ministers, excos and menteris besar unless they get the green light from the top. Officers who try to do so might find themselves facing trouble.

“MACC would not dare to do what they have done in Selangor and Perak in any of the BN states. They would not dare to handcuff an Umno exco member. That is a fact which nobody can deny.”

‘Cloak and dagger operation’

Although it has yet to be proven that the MACC used force when interrogating Teoh, Ramli noticed the investigation methods carried out on Selangor Pakatan assemblypersons were not in accordance with investigation procedures.

He revealed that the ACA investigations were divided into two stages and that this procedure is still in effect at the MACC.

An inquiry paper is opened upon receipt of any information. The investigations are conducted in a “cloak and dagger” manner at this stage.

“Nobody knows (this is in progress); not even the targeted suspects know that we are investigating the case since the purpose is to determine the truth or falsity of the information,” said Ramli.

Only when the agency is convinced that the information is true, will a full scale investigation begin to secure all evidence to prove the alleged crime, he explained.

“In a full scale investigation, we are pretty sure that a corrupt offence had been committed. There is no such thing as a ‘fishing expedition’.

“We know how many witnesses have to be called up and what evidence is available and obtainable from them; where and what documentary evidence we have to take and we also know where these documents are being kept.”

Teoh’s case handled against norm

According to Ramli, the Director of Operation may issue an ‘Operation Order’ detailing, mapping out and strategising the investigation if the case involves high-profile figures.

While he was heading the Sabah ACA, Ramli was Director of Operations in a case allegedly involving former Land and Cooperative Development Minister Kasitah Gaddam.

Ramli said such operations start in the morning and end about 7pm to 8pm. At this time, the officers will decide which suspects are to be further detained or whether the questioning should end.

“By 9pm the Director of Operations will call for a meeting to evaluate all the evidence that we have obtained and to give instructions for the next day’s operations. This enables officers to get rest and prepare for the next day.”

In Teoh’s case, Ramli surmised from MACC director of investigation Mohd Shukri Abdul’s statements that the Pakatan representatives were being investigated based on general information – or the first stage that requires discreet inquiry.

“What they did is against established practice and procedures of investigation methodology […] I don’t know the actual facts of the case,” Ramli added.

“But if Shukri says they investigated based on general information received from anonymous sources or their informers, then an investigation through discreet inquiry is the proper investigative method.”

Kuek Ser Kuang Keng/ Mkini

1 OGOS 2009 !TURUN UNTUK KUBURKAN ISA – 2 MORE DAYS TO GO, SEE YOU THERE!!!

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 29, 2009 by ckchew
PARTI SOSIALIS MALAYSIA (PSM)

KENYATAAN AKHBAR : 29 JULAI 2009

49 tahun yang lalu, pada 1hb. Ogos 1960, Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) telah digubal di Parlimen Malaya oleh Parti Perikatan yang dianggotai oleh UMNO, MCA dan MIC.

Akta zalim ini telah digunakan oleh semua Perdana Menteri Malaysia, dari Tengku Abdul Rahman sehingga Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Ia telah digunakan terhadap semua kaum dan agama di negara ini. Ia berjaya membenteras gerakan mahasiswa, gerakan pekerja dan gerakan reformasi. Ia berjaya memenjarakan pemimpin politik pelbagai aliran dan idelogi politik.

Ia adalah senjata yang paling berbisa dimiliki oleh Parti Perikatan dulu dan Barisan Nasional sekarang untuk menentang hak demokrasi dan kebebasan rakyat.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) menyeru segala ahli parti dan barisan fron parti untuk turun beramai-ramai untuk menuntut akta zalim ISA dibubarkan, Kem kamunting ditutup dan tahanan dibebaskan. Jadikan 1 Ogas, sebagai tarikh memprotes akta yang maha zalim ini.

Hak berhimpun secara aman adalah hak demokrasi rakyat Malaysia dan PSM menyeru pihak polis untuk menghormati hak ini dan tidak membuat sebarang tindakan untuk mencabul hak ini.

Cukup sudah kesengsaraan ISA ! Marilah kita sama-sama menguburkan akta zalim ini.

Dikeluarkan Oleh,

S.Arutchelvan

Another death in police lockup: It’s the police that smear their image.

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

A woman has disputed the official account of her brother’s death, who died in police custody at the Sentul police station on July 16.

According to the police, R Gunasegaran, 31, had died from a drug abuse.

His sister, R Ganga Gowri, 32, disagreed with this version in her police report today in which she alleged that he may have died after being assaulted.

This was claimed by three witnesses who were said to be detained in the same lockup with Gunasegaran, she stated in her police report.

In view of this, Ganga Gowri is urging the authorities to perform a thorough and transparent investigation into the allegations.

She is also demanding that hospital authorities release the autopsy report if there is one, and for the police to initiate an inquest.

She was speaking at a press conference, organised by lawyer Harris Ibrahim and attended by six other lawyers.

“These (witnesses) are very afraid. They do not wish the authorities breathing down on them and shall remain anonymous.

“Should there be a transparent inquest, I have been given assurances that these people will surface,” said Ganga Gowri’s counsel M Visvanathan.

Visvanathan, said the witnesses alleged that Gunasegaran died within two to three hours of his arrest at about 7.30pm.

He added that the witnesses said that Gunasegaran was kicked in the chest, hit with a hose and a piece of wood.

However, Ganga Gowri had not examined the body for wounds, which is still at the Kuala Lumpur General Hospital mortuary.

Body still not claimed

She will not claim the body until a post-mortem and toxicology report is released.

Visvanathan said that although the standard practice by the authorities is to release the reports after two months, this had to be changed.

“It is insane to have the family claim the body and perform funeral rites and then wait for the post-mortem report, say for instance if the body had evidence of an assault whilst in detention,” added Harris.

Harris said the police should be fair and kind to the family of the deceased and allow them access to the reports in order for them to request for a second independent autopsy if necessary.

Bar Council Human Rights Committee chairperson Edmund Bon said there appears to be inconsistencies in the way the government deals with custodial deaths.

He said it was only with sufficient public pressure, where full blown investigations will be carried out, such as in the case of DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock, who incidentally was found dead on the same day as Gunasegaran.

He urged the government to heed repeated request by NGOs and civil societies for the establishment of a Coroners Court as magistrates conducting inquest, were not sufficiently trained in this area.

Police chief promises action

Meanwhile, KL police chief Muhammad Sabtu Osman said that the police will investigate the matter thoroughly to find the truth.

“We cannot let this matter just like that. We will investigate thoroughly,” he told reporters.

He added the police will have a look at the report lodged by the family.

“We will take action against any person found to have been involved in the detainee’s death, even if it involves my personnel,” he added.

Andrew Ong/Mkini

Pakatan talks roundly criticises police, IGP

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

A roundtable discussion organised by Pakatan Rakyat decided unanimously today that the current Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan must step down and be replaced.

Among those present were members of parliament from DAP (15), PKR (10), PAS (2), one senator, non-governmental organisations and concerned citizens.

DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang  chaired the session in parliament while PR leader Anwar Ibrahim moderated the discussion.

The four resolutions proposed by PR are:

1. Current IGP Musa Hassan should not seek a further 2-year renewel of his tenure of service

2. Appointment of a new IGP

3. Prime Minister to include in his KPI for crime prevention all categories of crime proposed by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission in its May 2005 report

4. Setting up of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)

Lim, in his opening speech, called on the new IGP to break away from colonial past by introducing democratic policing to protect the people and not the regime in power.

“I moved the motion against Musa for being more of a lobbyist for police mega deals instead of being the police leader and for the ‘great lie’ that the real crime in Malaysia was not the worsening crime situation but a problem of misperception,” he said.

He also said that the re-appointment of Musa for another term would cast an adverse aspersion on all the senior police officers.

“As if there is not a single one out of the eight top police officers occupying key police positions below the post of IGP qualified or competent enough to become the new chief to provide leadership and culture and roll back the tide of crime in the past five years,” he explained.

People don’t feel safe

Citing a Home Ministry website poll where 97 percent of the respondents say they do not feel safe, he said that “the IGP should have resigned in ignominy” because of this.

Meanwhile, Anwar said that the government agencies, such as the PDRM, should not play up racial issues when they are hit with criticisms from all quarters.

“They should not construe it as an attack on another Malay leader. This is a nationwide problem and we need a stronger leader,” he said.

PAS treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli questioned the suitability of the police force current crop of leaders to replace to IGP, saying that they might probably have to “outsource” candidates.

Senator Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim said that setting up the IPCMC is the most critical to “protect the police against themselves”.

“There is no police force in the world known to have been able to police itself,” he said.

Former de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim added that changing the IGP might not necessarily solve the problem as the whole police force requires a major overhaul.

He said that lack of information and evidence also prevented criminals and corrupt politicians from being brought to book.

Yip Ai Tsin/Mkini

Pakatan speaker’s hearing on Sept 4

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

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has maintained Sept 4 for hearing ousted Perak speaker V Sivakumar’s judicial review application to declare vacant the state seats held by three independents who quit Pakatan Rakyat.

This comes after Sivakumar’s counsel Razlan Hadri Zulkifli informed Justice Lau Bee Lan in chambers today that lawyer Ranjit Singh, who is also acting for the former speaker, submitted an affidavit in court yesterday to support the application and to state that this case was still relevant.

“Copies of the affidavit were submitted to court and also the Attorney-General’s Chambers, which is representing the Election Commission who was also made a party to the legal action,” he said.

This was despite the Federal Court’s five-member bench ruling on April 9 that the three will remain state representatives as the EC was the rightful body to declare a seat vacant.

Razlan Hadri said in the affidavit, the lawyer maintained that it was the speaker who had the powers to determine whether a casual vacancy occurred.

“This is still a live issue despite what representatives from the AG’s Chambers could be contending. The apex court’s decision does not affect this application. We may expect the chambers to give a reply in the coming days.

“However, Justice Lau agreed to maintain Sept 4 for hearing despite an indication there will be preliminary objections,” he said.

Representing the EC from the AG’s chambers were Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan and Andi Razali Jaya.

On May 28, Sivakumar’s lead counsel Sulaiman Abdullah told the court that the matter was still a live issue as it does not mean that one cannot question EC’s decision not to declare a vacancy of the three seats, as he felt the final arbiter to decide such a discrepancy should be the court.

Suit against BN-friendly independents

Sivakumar had filed a judicial review application on March 10 in his personal capacity, and named the three Barisan Nasional-friendly independents namely Mohd Osman Jailu (Changkat Jering), Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi (Behrang) and Hee Yit Foong (Jelapang).

On the same day, three ousted Pakatan Rakyat excos A Sivanesan (Sungkai), Tai Sing Ng (Kuala Sepetang) and Chen Fook Chye (Keranji) along with three voters, one each from the constituency of Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang filed a similar application.

The three voters are Ahmad Sabri Wahab, Ahmad Latip Ariffin and Foo Hong Wai representing the three constituencies.

All six named Radzi, Osman, Hee and EC as respondents.

Sivakumar, in his application, wants to compel the EC to declare the three seats of Behrang, Changkat Jering and Jelapang vacant and call for by-elections to be held.

He also asked the three assemblypersons to present authorities to show that they are still elected representatives for their constituencies.

Hafiz Yatim/Mkini

Chua Jui Meng: jibby Altantuya ‘an iron fist in velvet gloves’

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 28, 2009 by ckchew

Former health minister Chua Jui Meng, the most senior BN politician to have defected to Pakatan Rakyat, has described Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak as a leader who conceals his iron fist in a velvet glove.

“Najib is a decent man, I rather like him, he is a great PM, but he cannot be blameless because the PM calls the shots,” said Jui Meng.

“The PM in this country is too powerful – (he has) too much power over the institutions and parliament. I think it is time, and I hope that if Anwar (Ibrahim) ever becomes the PM, he will trim down these powers and give them back to the people,”, said Chua.

A former MCA vice-president and two-time unsuccessful candidate for party president, Jui Meng defected to Anwar’s PKR two weeks ago.

Jui Meng, who has the distinction of being the longest serving health minister – nine years in all – talked to Malaysiakini last week at his home in Bukit Damansara.

He said that despite having left MCA, he was still a friend of party president Ong Tee Keat.

“I think he is a man that does what he says, and says what he does, a straightforward man, I like that kind of person,” said Chua, a four-term parliamentarian for Bakri in Johor.

But the same cannot be said about Chua Soi Lek, the deputy president who is said to be making clandestine moves to oust Ong.

Jui Meng strongly hinted that Ong is being backed by Umno.

“I said very clear during an address in my division assembly that today there are two MCAs – one elected by the delegates of central committee, and the other by the external forces.

“I see that Soi Lek is using his position to garner support for a future fight, so there are two MCAs, you cannot get away with it. You ask the people on the street, they will tell you that there are two MCAs, not of Tee Keat’s making, but one made by an external force.”

The following is the first of a two-part interview.

Malaysiakini: On the timing of your crossover to PKR, why did you pick now?

Chua: Very simple. The opposition coalition is under threat, both from conflicts within, but most importantly, threats from outside.

Were you thinking about this (the defection) for long, or was it a sudden decision?

It was a very quick decision.

How quick? Was it within weeks?

It was very fast. It was almost as though I was meant to do that. You know how it works in life – you may think about it, and then you put it at the back of your mind. But I have been thinking – whether I should do this or not – for quite some time.

I love this country, and I have been in politics since May 13, 1969. In my heart, Malaysia is a beautiful country, with rich resources… then I see what is happening here. Why is it that there are still large segments of the Indian community poor, and the poorest states in Malaysia are the Malay states, why are the natives of Sabah and Sarawak suffering from poverty?

Hasn’t God created this country with so much wealth so that the people can flourish and prosper together and live as one nation? These are the thoughts that have been going on in my head.

How long have you been thinking about this disparity?

I have been thinking about this even when I was a MCA member from 2005 to 2008, when I was bidding for the MCA presidential election, I had time to think about it.

A combination of events is shifting in this nation. This country is so wealthy. Dr Mahathir aked about the huge revenue to the government from petroleum, where is the money? Why is there so much poverty in Sabah, Sarawak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Perlis, Kedah? It doesn’t make sense. Something doesn’t gel there.

What was the catalyst?

I don’t think you can say that there was any catalyst. A combination of events is shifting this nation.
When did (de facto PKR leader) Anwar Ibrahim talk to you?

Only recently. Approaches have been made to me, not by Anwar, but by others. I was offered a parliamentary seat even before the general election in 2008 and after the 2004 GE. I said to them, ‘Sorry, I had an agenda within the BN’.

I was hoping to reform in MCA … and hopefully there will be some respect for MCA under a new leader of Umno, and MCA can have its own stand on policy matters.

When was your first meeting with Anwar?

[No answer].

Why didn’t you join PKR after the 2008 GE, after the MCA lost many seats?

Well, the thing is this, I lost at the national level, but I won at the divisional level after a hard fight. I can’t just leave my people and abandon them, and go over to one of the opposition parties, whichever it may be. I can’t just abandon them. I’d like to have a good start and a good ending.

Some people interpret that after the recent war of words between you and (MCA deputy president) Chua Soi Lek, you seem to have found a new alliance with (MCA president) Ong Tee Keat.

No, I did not seek a war with Chua Soi Lek. After he got himself in a big mess with the scandal of the (sex) video. I was the only MCA leader that said something to comfort and bless him, expressing my sympathy to his wife, children and family. And I had no reason to do that.

He allied himself against me for several years now. Various things developed, I could see him coming to Bakri, my constituency, when he was the state-level chairman of Johor. I knew he would marginalise me, but there are certain things which you just keep to yourself.

Did Soi Lek see you as a threat?

Perhaps. I wouldn’t know why he would do that. In politics, certain things are more obvious than other things. Then he came out with statements, undermining me, in Sin Chew Daily. It was quite a big article in the newspaper, national edition, not Johor edition, saying that I literally sabotaged the Barisan Nasional during the general election.

You cannot impale my honour and get away with it for your own political motives, which is why I have to come up and defend myself. I didn’t seek a war, he did, and I just have to clear my name.

You have been a good friend of Tee Keat. But now that you have crossed over to PKR when he is facing internal problems, it does not look very good for him.

Before I leave, I made sure that I made my message very clear. On both occasions, when I was campaigning for the MCA presidential election, I came out – with no governmental and party position, except for my divisional chairmanship – with 36 percent (support) and the last one, 40 percent.

I have some standings in the party, and people recognised that. My reform was a statutory reform – it was not “play, play” reform, but real reform.

So you don’t think Tee Keat will be able to bring about reforms?

When I saw Tee Keat being threatened, I told myself ‘that is my friend, this is the guy who stood by me’, so I must do something to support him. When we fought in the presidential election, we fought on principles – no matter who wins, we remain as friends after the election.

Ong Tee Keat is still my friend, therefore I will stand by him. I think he is a man that does what he says, and says what he does, a straightforward man. I like that kind of person. So I said I will give him support, the central delegates will give him support. I did it not once, but twice.

At the last divisional AGM (annual general meeting), I told the people that this would be the last AGM that I would be addressing after 23 years. I sent very clear signals, my divisional people knew for some time that my heart is not in this local petty politics.

Some MCA sources claim that you are past your prime but you are still ambitious.

That was a fallacy first created by (former MCA president) Ong Ka Ting, (by) linking age to performance. This theory is nonsense, (it) forced all the young people to leave the party. You can be young and feel old, you can be old and feel young.

For me, if you have a passion for something, you are still young. I remember David Yeoh, a former senator, who said that, ‘I am 72 today, but I am prepared for a fight, I am prepared for the struggle. And when I joined PKR, I feel 27.’ This is because he have passions.
Well, so have I.

Do you think there will be a huge number of MCA members who will follow your footsteps by joining PKR?

I have not asked anybody to do so. I came out, and came out myself, with my principles (intact). I had stated my principles clearly, they know that I had spoke about clear reforms in the MCA during the two presidential elections. They understand my heart. Those who are prepared to identify with my stand, about how I feel that this country should evolve, if they want to come, please come.

When people crossover, they usually evaluate the level of influence a leader has by looking at the number of members following his footsteps.

To me, that is not the most important thing. Just be true to yourself. When you are true to yourself, you are a one-man army.

Are there any indications that members in your former division will follow you?

I don’t know about that. But I had signed an agreement with my deputy, who actually fought against me at the divisional election, saying that I will pass it on to him, with the condition that my divisional members can choose to go or stay. He will appoint my secretary as his secretary, treasurer, so on and so forth, which he did. So it was a happy separation from the division. My people are taken care of.

People are saying that you are unable to bring your own people across.

Does it matter? Only time will tell who will follow me. I do have calls. I would not pressure them to do it tomorrow, it is still early. A big group of several hundreds of MCA people from Sungai Besar are coming to support Anwar in a function. You see what is happening in this country, more and more people are saying the two-party system is under threat.

Does that mean you have given up hope on Tee Keat in bringing reforms in MCA?

I am hoping that he would. Although when he fought for the party election … I can see that he’s trying, especially in the PKFZ (Port Klang Free Zone) issue. But in BN, there is only one dominant party, and they call all the shots.

In fact, I told Tee Keat, your presidency is going to be tough, the expectation of the people is very high… the options are very limited. For example, where is the PKFZ report, which he said he was going to distribute it to the members of parliament? MCA didn’t call the shots. As the minister of transport, Tee Keat didn’t call the shots.

Unless the big boss says you can release, you can’t release. I understand that Tee Keat is facing external forces, I told him to expect that.

I said very clear during an address in my division assembly that today there are two MCAs – one elected by the delegates of the central committee, and the other by the external forces. There are two MCAs, very clearly.

I see that Soi Lek is using his position to garner support for a future fight, so there are two MCAs, you cannot get away with it. You ask the people on the street, they will tell you that there are two MCAs, not of Tee Keat’s making, but one made by an external force.

That external force seems to be Umno. In your speech the other day, when you were announcing that you are joining PKR, you had made it very clear that Umno was undermining the two-party system.

Obviously.

How do they do that?

Very obvious. MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) goes into Perak, suddenly very hardworking, extremely competent, and arrested two of the Keadilan YBs – and the two are very critical – and charged them for corruption. This shows how they are systematically using the institutions of this country. Perak has been a big blow for democracy. I was one of he MCA leaders who said back in the early days that we should call for an election in Perak.

Then we have so many other issues one by one, all the government agencies created by the constitution … the police and MACC are meant to protect the interest of the people … but they have been used.

I mean, it was so obvious, when you want to do something, do it cleverly, but they did not even try to hide it, they do not care anymore. People are upset, that is the most stupid thing any government can do. The people will say, enough is enough, time is up for you, we are the ones deciding what will happen to this country in future, not the government.

In many ways, Najib has been told to change, if not the people will change the government. The March 2008 general election is a demonstration of change wanted by the people. For the first time in a long time, people from all races want change together.

The MACC was expected to be a better version of the ACA (Anti-Corruption Agency). Former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi sought to create MACC as an independent agency.

I am sure Abdullah meant well when he created this organisation – to make sure that the interests of the people are protected, but the operators of the organisation had let themselves and the people down.

So is Najib worse than Abdullah in using government machineries?

Unlike Abdullah, we now have an iron fist behind the velvet glove. Najib is a decent man, I rather like him, he is a great PM, but he cannot be blameless because the PM calls the shots. To say that he does not have a substantial influence, I would not be telling the truth.

The PM in this country is too powerful – (he has) too much power over the institutions and parliament. I think it is time, and I hope that if Anwar ever becomes the PM, he will trim down these powers and give them back to the people.

Do you think Anwar will be able to do that?

I hope he can do it. I had address this to him when I join PKR. ‘There were some people who don’t think highly of you in the past. You must really implement the Malaysia agenda and manifesto’, he replied: “Chua, I went through six humiliating years in prison. I think one must go through the … experience in order for you to have a character change.”

So what kind of role will you play in PKR?

I have a great sense of freedom, all the shackles of the past – the MCA monoracial culture – have been broken off me. It was an amazing sense of freedom. MCA – Chinese, Chinese, Chinese, we must have more Chinese people like in China, Chinese language must be our first and formal language, that kind of thing.

And now I have come to a multiracial party, I said: “Look! I love the Malays of this nation, I took good care of the Malays when I was the minister of health, I would like to do something for the Malaysians, I do not want to see poor Indians, Malays, and Chinese.

So you felt shackled by MCA because of their approach and their racial politics?

I am only using the word “shackle” to express how free I feel, but it doesn’t mean that I was shackled during the 23 years in MCA, but I felt restrained.

I love the multiracial approach, I see in PKR a unique opportunity to change this nation and the way the government has been working.

Former ACA official: Teoh held unlawfully

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 28, 2009 by ckchew

EXCLUSIVE Standard procedures “were not followed” on July 15 by the Selangor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), when it questioned DAP political aide Teoh Beng Hock at its office in Shah Alam.

Pointing this out when asked by Malaysiakini, a senior officer who retired from the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) in 2006, further alluded to malice on the part of the MACCin having exceeded its powers.

Mohamad Ramli Manan , in an email interview, said Teoh’s interrogation was carried out beyond office hours and that this could be considered as “unlawful detention”.

The MACC had called in Teoh as part of its investigations into the alleged misuse of constituency development funds by several Selangor Pakatan Rakyat assemblypersons, including his boss and exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah

“It is against established law and practice to interrogate them (suspects) in the night. The lock-up rules demand that they be sent to a lock-up by at least 8pm,” Ramli said.

“Witnesses are sent back to their offices or homes and asked to be present at another appointed date. I don’t know why they had to call Teoh at 5pm. This may be due to poor planning or some evil intention or evil purpose on their part.”

Teoh was reportedly released by the MACC at 3.45am on July 16, but his body was found on the fifth floor balcony of Plaza Masalam about 1.30pm. The MACC occupies the 14th floor of the tower block overlooking the plaza.

During his service with the ACA, Ramli was deputy head in Kedah, Perak and Negri Sembilan, before being appointed to head the agency in Kelantan, Malacca, Johor and Sabah.

He shocked the nation in early 2007 when he alleged that then ACA director-general Zulkipli Mat Noor was involved in corruption and a sex offence.

Zulkipli was later cleared by the attorney-general’s chambers, but his contract was not extended when it expired in March 2007.

Witness’ consent required

Although the MACC was upgraded from the ACA early this year, Ramli said the investigation and interrogation procedures remain the same.

Under the ACA, interrogation used to begin as early as 8am and end between 7pm and 8pm.

“The rights of a witness are protected more than that of a suspect, who is under detention…the person can demand that the interview be adjourned to the next morning.

“The examining officer has to oblige, failing which this becomes an (unlawful) detention or arrest.”

He said the examining officer must also get the witness’ consent to continue the interrogation beyond 8pm.

“Normally witnesses would consent to staying a bit longer until 9-10pm to have their statement recorded. But if they don’t consent, there is nothing that the examining officer can do but to request that the interview be continued the next day. This is the law.”

Ramli cited media reports that Ean Yong had turned up at the Selangor MACC, asking that Teoh be released. However, MACC officials claimed that they had 24 hours to question him.

“This shows that Teoh was definitely in the custody of the MACC. Under Section 15 of the Criminal Procedure Code, an arrest occurs when you confine the person (physically). Thus there was unlawful detention or arrest of Teoh.

“If there had been no detention, they should have allowed Teoh to go home at around 9pm or 10pm and requested him to come back the next day. He was definitely held against his will.”

After Teoh’s death, the MACC said Teoh was merely a witness in the investigation, but did not state that he had been arrested or detained. It also claimed that Teoh wanted to rest for a while at the office after he had been allowed to go.

Preliminary police investigations have, however, found out that Teoh’s mobile phone was still with the MACC at the time of his death.

Ramli said MACC should have issued an acknowledgment to Teoh upon his release, listing all the items they had taken from him.

“If no (such) list had been given to Teoh, it is difficult to say that he had been allowed to leave the office,” noted Ramli.

MACC has not confirmed if an acknowledgment list was given to Teoh.

An inquest to probe the circumstances surrounding Teoh’s death is due to start tomorrow, and will continue to Aug 12.

Kuek Ser Kuang Keng/ Mkini

Kenyataan Akhbar Sec Gen keADILan: HIMPUNAN MANSUHKAN ISA 1 OGOS 2009

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 28, 2009 by ckchew

Pada 1 Ogos 2009 Sekretariat Himpunan MANSUH ISA menganjur satu himpunan besar-besaran. Perhimpunan ini adalah untuk menyatakan sikap rakyat Malaysia terhadap Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA). Protes rakyat menentang akta ganas dan zalim sudah sekian lama dan sentiasa berterusan.

Penggunaan ISA adalah sesuatu pencemaran keadilan undang-undang dan keluruhan perlembagaan Malaysia. Akta ISA ini adalah tiket jahat untuk kerajaan Umno/BN memastikan mereka terus berkuasa. Kerajaan Umno/BN boleh menangkap sesiapa sahaja secara sesuka hati, kerajaan Umno/BN boleh menahan seseorang tanpa waran, tanpa bicara dan tanpa hak peguam. ISA juga membenarkan kuasa yang luas, arbitrari dan tidak boleh dicabar mahkamah menyebabkan berlakunya pelbagai penyeksaan dan deraan fizikal juga mental.

Parti Keadilan Rakyat sangat menghormati prinsip keadilan sebagai hak asasi manusia. Parti Keadilan Rakyat menjunjung tinggi nilai kemanusiaan sejagat. Oleh itu,Parti Keadilan Rakyat menyokong penuh perhimpunan rakyat yang akan dianjurkan untuk menyatakan penentangan terhadap ISA yang jelas zalim dan sering kali disalahgunakan oleh kerajaan Umno / BN.

Pada 1 Ogos 2009 Parti Keadilan Rakyat akan bersama-sama rakyat menyertai Himpunan MANSUH ISA. Semua pimpinan tertinggi, anggota Parti akan hadir bersama Ketua Umum Parti, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim menyertai perhimpunan aman menyatakan sokongan kepada pihak penganjur dan menyatakan pendirian Parti yang menentang undang-undang zalim.

DATO’ SALEHUDDIN HASHIM
Setiausaha Agung
Parti Keadilan Rakyat

Penting! Panduan dan Peta Laluan bagi peserta Himpunan Mansuhkan ISA 1 Ogos

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 28, 2009 by ckchew

(Buletin Online) – Seluruh rakyat Malaysia diseru turun-turun beramai-ramai menyertai Himpunan Mansuhkan ISA yang akan berlangsung dalam masa empat hari sahaja lagi, bagi menunjukkan solidariti menentang akta zalim yang masih diamalkan oleh kerajaan Malaysia.

https://i2.wp.com/www.buletinonline.net/images/stories/berita8/petademo.jpg

Menurut laman rasmi himpunan tersebut, Himpunan Mansuhkan ISA pada 1 Ogos 2009 di Kuala Lumpur bakal mencipta sejarahnya yang tersendiri selepas Himpunan Bersih dan PPSMI. Uniknya pada hari yang sama akan ada satu lagi himpunan lain yang Menyokong ISA.

Kami menjangkakan pelbagai kaum akan muncul, pelbagai ideologi akan hadir, pelbagai agama dan kepercayaan akan berhimpun untuk menyatakan pandangan mereka khususnya dalam mendesak Kerajaan Memansuhkan Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA)

Oleh itu bagi melancarkan perhimpunan ini, pihak kami mengeluarkan satu garis panduan yang diharapkan dapat membantu anda dan kami diperingkat penganjur dalam memastikan perhimpunan ini dapat berjalan dengan lancar dan aman.

Perkara yang perlu anda bawa/sediakan

1. Kad pengenalan, lesen memandu, satu kad ATM sahaja.

2. Duit-maksimum RM 100 sahaja.

3. Memakai pakaian yang sopan-Baju berwarna Hitam/Merah-Sebaiknya ada logo Mansuhkan ISA

4. Setiap peserta diwajibkan memakai kasut.

5. Aksesori kempen-Button, riben, topi, kopiah arm band, bendera kecil, banner dan placard yang ada Logo atau Slogan Mansuhkan ISA boleh digunakan.

How losing might help the bn

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 28, 2009 by ckchew

By Shanon Shah, Nut Graph

BARELY 48 hours after the Barisan Nasional (BN) was nearly brought to its knees in the March 2008 elections, Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the coalition would “learn its lesson” and “improve”.

Nearly 16 months after that fateful general election, Malaysians can be forgiven for being confused. Political temperatures have been rising, not cooling. Even a quick listing of the major political events in this period would leave any citizen breathless: the second round of sodomy charges against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim; the BN’s controversial Perak takeover; the targeting of Selangor exco Elizabeth Wong’s private life to discredit her; the unity government talks between Umno and PAS; and the dizzying succession of seven by-elections.

Although BN leaders have brushed off accusations that the coalition has not learnt the lesson of March 2008, many voters think otherwise. And these voters might ask: does the BN need to be taught a bigger lesson during the next general election? Will the BN lose the federal government after the 13th general election, which has to take place before March 2013? More importantly, if this happens, will the BN be forced to truly reform for the better, and will it be able to make a comeback in the general election after?

Good news for Pakatan Rakyat

Monash University Sunway Campus’s Prof Dr James Chin tells The Nut Graph that at this time, it is difficult to predict whether the BN can remain in power after the next elections.

“It depends on whether Najib can improve the economy, and this in turn will depend on whether the world economy will recover by the first quarter of 2010,” he says in a telephone interview.

Chin cautions that there are many variables to look out for. The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) could be easily defeated if parliamentary Opposition Leader Anwar loses control of his coalition. It also depends on which coalition manages to woo the support of the millions of young, yet-to-be-registered voters.

“Generally speaking, however, the BN is set to lose the next general election,” Chin says.

His analysis tallies with the experiences of other electoral democracies that were for a long time dominated by a single party or coalition. For example, Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) didn’t lose a presidential election for 71 years until its presidential candidate Francisco Labastida was defeated in 2000.

As with the Umno-led BN government in Malaysia, the PRI-ruled Mexico saw little distinction between “government” and “ruling party” for several decades. The PRI was also famous for suppressing opposition parties and engaging in several dubious measures to win votes, including vote-buying. From the 1960s onwards, however, an increasingly literate electorate began demanding for democratic reforms. The regime tried to pacify voters by introducing a series of electoral improvements.

Mexico’s democratisation was cut short when an opposition candidate’s near-certain victory was nullified by the mysterious “crashing” of electoral computers in the 1988 presidential elections. But the clamour for reforms continued until the National Action Party (PAN)’s Vicente Fox was elected president in 2000.

Chin paints a grim picture of a post-BN Malaysia. “If the BN loses the next general elections, the coalition’s components will be reduced to the pre-1974 Alliance. The other components are most likely to leave the BN. The MCA and MIC will [continue to exist and remain in the BN] only because they will have nowhere to go; the PR will not take them in.”

Hence, he says a PR-ruled Malaysia could have a very weak opposition — a worrying sign for a growing democracy.

Good news for the BN

From his analysis of trends among Malaysian voters, Merdeka Center for Opinion Research programme director Ibrahim Suffian thinks otherwise.

“If the BN is defeated (in 2013), they can definitely make a comeback, especially the older parties in the coalition like Umno, the MCA and MIC, and perhaps Gerakan,” he tells The Nut Graph.

“This is because they already have strong structures and resources to win the people back to their side.”

Ibrahim points towards Taiwan’s Kuomintang party. Like Mexico’s PRI, the Kuomintang all but dominated Taiwan’s political scene for several decades. But the formation of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the 1980s began posing the island’s ruling party a serious threat. The DPP’s presidential candidate, Chen Shui-bian, eventually ended the Kuomintang’s one-party dominance in 2000, and was even re-elected for a second term in 2004.

Like the Umno-led BN in Malaysia, the Kuomintang seemed unbeatable. It was and still is corrupt, and had money to throw, state institutions to manipulate, and years of experience in government.

The good news for Malaysia’s PR, however, is that the DPP was also embroiled in internal bickering, and many of its leaders were also accused of corruption, including Chen himself. Yet, this did not seem to deter voters; in fact, it was the Kuomintang that could not get its act together and had its leaders jumping ship regularly.

But behold the 2008 presidential and legislative elections — the Kuomintang came back with a vengeance. According to Ibrahim, the Kuomintang was smart: it used the island’s local government elections to build itself back up and slowly gauge support levels for its candidates.

“Local government elections actually increase competition among political parties, [which] makes them sharper,” he says. In other words, if the BN were smart, it would introduce local government elections as an effective strategy to stay in power.

Political scientist Dr Mavis Puthucheary tells The Nut Graph that there are also other regimes in which former dominant parties have returned more resiliently after the countries were democratised.

“There are many examples of post-communist countries that have managed to reform for the better and come back to form effective governments after suffering electoral defeats. I would suggest we examine countries such as the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland,” she says in an e-mail interview.

But she differs from Ibrahim in that she thinks the BN will not have such an easy time returning to power if it is defeated. “In my opinion, the only way BN can survive is for the coalition to reform itself now, rather than wait until it is defeated in the next elections,” she says.

The regime’s trump card

Chin says these analyses are valid only if we are assuming a smooth transfer of power should the BN lose.

“We still have to take into account the role that the unelected institutions will play if the BN is ever defeated at the federal level,” he says.

He says the civil service, for instance, is populated with BN loyalists who have benefited from the coalition’s policies. As part of the state apparatus, they could make it very difficult for the PR to govern effectively.

“Many in the civil service are also conservative Muslim-Malay [Malaysians] — if they were to even support the PR, they would limit themselves to PAS.

“Besides, we have seen in Perak how the state civil service and the police were openly biased [in favour of] the BN,” Chin says.

The monarchy is another institution that will determine whether or not there is a smooth transition of power if the BN is defeated. Already, many have speculated that the Perak palace played a part in facilitating the reversal of power not even one year after the PR formed government there.

Therefore, according to Chin, the analyses of Malaysian politics must not only project the outcome of the next general elections. It must also predict its aftermath.

Pengarah P.Raya Permatang Pauh dilokap kerana penceramah tidak berada dalam senarai polis ketika PRK Penanti dulu. Apa punya demokrasi tuuuu……..

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 28, 2009 by ckchew

Che Amat bin Hashim atau lebih mesra dengan panggilan manjanya Pak Tam dilokap di balai polis Bukit Mertajam di Perda. Beliau adalah Pengarah Pilihanraya Permatang Pauh dan juga seorang Ahli Majlis MPSP. Seorang ispektor polis Bukit Mertajam telah menghubungi beliau untuk hadir ke balai polis Bukit Mertajam, Perda dengan segera.

Beliau terkejut kerana polis mendakwa beliau atas 7 pertuduhan. Beliau juga terkejut kerana 20 wartawan telah penuh berhimpun di balai polis tersebut. Wartawan memberitahu bahawa mereka telah menerima sms dari polis mengatakan 5 orang PKR akan didakwa.

Pak Tam didakwa kerana kononnya menganjurkan ceramah pada 24 Mei 2009 ketika pilihanraya kecil Penanti telah mengundang penceramah yang tidak ada dalam senarai permit.

Penceramah tersebut adalah Dr Mansor Othman (calon Penanti), Yb Saifuddin Nasution, YB Zuraidah, Ustaz Hassan Razak, YB Abdullah sani, YB Manikumar dan YB Gobalakrisnan. Pak Tam didakwa di tempat yang berbeza antaranya Mengkuang Semarak, Mengkuang Titi, depan Masjid Kubang Semang dan Guar Perahu.

Beliau didakwa dibawah akta Polis 1967. Jika disabit kesalahan beliau boleh dikenakan denda RM2,000.00 hingga RM10,000.00 atau penjara setahun untuk setiap kesalahan. Beliau tidak mengaku salah atas semua pertuduhan.

Beliau telah dilokap hampir 5 jam di balai polis Bukit Mertajam. Beliau akhirnya dijamin dengan setiap pertuduhan RM2,000.00. Bermakna beliau telah diikat jamin sebanyak RM14,000.00.

Sebutan kes pada 27 Ogos 2009 di Mahkamah Bukit Mertajam di Jalan Betik. Saudara Mazlan Ketua UKP dan Amer Ghazali Ketua AMK Permatang Pauh berkata mereka akan mobilisasi seramai mungkin penyokong PKR dan Pakatan Rakyat untuk menyatakan sokongan kepada Pak Tam pada hari perbicaraan tersebut.

Sementara itu saudara Jalil dan Johari penggerak utama PKR di Permatang Kg Rawa, Permatang Pauh berkata ini adalah kes yang pertama kita dengar dan ini berlaku dalam 100 hari dibawah Najib. Ternyata Najib dalam keadaan tertekan kerana dakwaan ini datang dari laporan polis di Putrajaya.

Pak Tam berkata beliau tidak gentar sama sekali menghadapi 7 tuduhan ini. Anwar Ibrahim telah mengarahkan peguam Praba sebagai peguam bela kes ini. Pak Tam dengan tegas berkata… “lagi ditangkap lagi lawan…Lawan Tetap Lawan”.

Sementara itu Pengasas Unit Ehsan P.Pinang saudara Zulkarnain berkata Unit Ehsan akan melancarkan kutipan dana untuk membantu kes ini.

Ayuh!…hadir beramai-ramai untuk menyatakan sokongan pada 27 Ogos 2009 di Mahkamah Bukit Mertajam Jalan Betik jam 8.30 pagi dalam bulan Ramadhan.

ehsan:

Amizudin Ahmat, http://sharpshooterblogger.blogspot.com/

Perak Pakatan panel declares May 7 meet null and void

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 27, 2009 by ckchew

IPOH, July 27 – After their verbal skirmish with the Barisan Nasional (BN) government authorities in the morning, Perak Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders finally convened its Rights and Privileges Committee meeting at the Syuen Hotel here this afternoon.

During the meeting, chaired by ousted Speaker V. Sivakumar, explanations from three witnesses were heard – Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham, constitutional expert Tommy Thomas and Pokok Assam assemblyman Yee Seu Kai.

The meeting was held to investigate Yee’s complaint on the events of the May 7 assembly sitting which saw the forced removal of Sivakumar as Speaker, the appointment of BN’s Datuk R. Ganesan to replace him and the latter’s act of summoning the police into the House.

In a press conference after the hearing, Sivakumar said that it was clear from evidence that the entire sitting had been illegal and should be considered “null and void”.

He said that according to the expert opinion of Thomas, no chairman of any association or body could be removed from his post by his members if the meeting was not officially opened yet.

“Similarly, the May 7 sitting had not yet begun but already the BN introduced the motion to remove me.

“And how could Ganesan be brought into the House as the new Speaker when all that time, I was still in the Speaker’s chair,” he said.

Sivakumar added that since PR deemed the May 7 sitting illegal, he had to proceed on with their duties as the legal Speaker.

“This also means that this committee is the legal Rights and Privileges Committee and we are merely carrying out our duties,” he said.

On why he did not want to choose to wait for the decision of his pending High Court case against Ganesan, due for hearing on August 6, Sivakumar said:

“Like Ganesan, I am just carrying out my rightful duties.

“Until a court decision is reached, I am the Perak Speaker,” he said.

Sivakumar also said that the committee would only reach a decision on Thursday, after it holds a second meeting, arranged to be held again, at the State Secretariat building.

This announcement caused mirth among the pressmen for it was clear that yet another standoff outside the state’s administrative building could be expected on Thursday.

Sivakumar also said that Ganesan would be summoned for a second time to attend Thursday’s hearing.

“If he does not attend, we will decide on what to do. However, whether or not he comes, the committee will still make its decision,” he said.

On how the committee planned to enforce its decision however, Sivakumar smiled and said that PR would decide on what to do when the time arrived.

Shortly after the conference, PKR’s Chan Ming Kai, who is also a member of the committee, left for the State Secretariat building to serve summons notices on Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and former PR comrade Hee Yit Foong, who is also the assembly’s deputy speaker.

The notices called for the two to be present at another investigation by the committee, this time to be held at 10am this Friday, also at the State Secretariat building.

Chan said that this investigation was on another complaint made by Yee, also on the May 7 sitting, but this time on the conduct of Zambry and Hee.

“Zambry was the one who introduced the motion to remove Sivakumar from the Speaker’s chair although the meeting was yet to be convened.

“Hee, on the other hand, was the one who took over the proceedings of the House from Sivakumar although he was still the legal Speaker,” he said.

The summons notice to Zambry was successfully served while the one to Hee will only be served tomorrow. MI

‘Plot to topple Pakatan in S’gor’

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 27, 2009 by ckchew

‘Speaker’ Sivakumar denied entry by police

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 27, 2009 by ckchew

There was a 70 minute stand-off when Pakatan Perak Assembly Speaker V Sivakumar and his Rights and Privileges Committee members were denied entry into the State Secretariat.

The six-member committee was to hold an inquiry into the conduct of BN-appointed state Speaker R Ganesan, who called police into the House to remove Sivakumar during the riotous May 7 assembly sitting.

The committee also wanted to interview three witnesses – Pokok Assam’s Yee Seu Kai who lodged the complaint against Ganesan, DAP state chairman Ngeh Koo Ham and constitutional law expert Tommy Thomas.

Sivakumar said he informed state secretary Abdul Rahman Hashim on Sunday via a phone call that he needed the Speaker’s room, or any other room, to conduct the inquiry.

“He told me to put it in writing. I did, and faxed him the letter. This morning, I rang him up to confirm booking of the room but he did not respond to my call. I then sent a SMS asking him to prepare a room but he did not respond to it either.”

Wall of police personnel

Sivakumar and his six-member committee then arrived at State Secretariat at 9.55am to face a wall of police personnel blocking their path into the state government building.

Ipoh CID chief Glenn Anthony told Sivakumar that he had instructions from the state secretary not to allow him and his committee into the building.

Ngeh, who was also present, demanded an official notification from the state secretary.

Rahman’s representative, principal assistant secretary Shamshuzaman Sulaiman, quickly retreated into the building and emerged with a hastily typed letter which said that Sivakumar was denied entry into the State Secretariat as no advance notice was given.

Sivakumar and Ngeh hotly disputed this and said a written notice was faxed, and followed up with a personal phone to Rahman.

Shamshuzaman again retreated, and appeared 10 minutes later with another letter that he had signed, stating that Siva and company were prohibited from holding the meeting in the building as Rahman was not notified of the inquiry.

This again raised loud protests from Sivakumar and company and Shamshuzaman was forced to strike out the sentence that ‘no notice was given’.

Inquiry now at 10am Thursday

Then at 11.10am Sivakumar announced to the media present that they were going to hold the inquiry at nearby hotel at 11.30am.

At a press conference later, Sivakumar said the committee interviewed the three witnesses and decided postponed the hearing of Ganesan’s inquiry to 10am on Thursday at the State Secretariat.

When asked what they would do if Ganesan did not turn up for the inquiry and if they were again denied entry into the State Secretariat, Sivakumar said: “We will decide when the time comes.”

Sivakumar had filed an affidavit at the Ipoh High Court seeking a declaration as to who is the rightful speaker of the state.

The hearing is scheduled for Aug 6.

When asked whether the inquiry is a contempt of court, Thomas replied: “There is a separation of powers between Parliament, Judiciary and the Executive. There is no question of contempt of court as each of the three powers is equal in rank.”

Sivakumar added: “Since Ganesan is holding the post of speaker before the court’s decision on my declaration, likewise I can as legal state speaker use my powers to hold inquiries.”

Humayun Kabir/ Mkini

Altantuya case: Dad inches towards judicial review

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 27, 2009 by ckchew

A leave application by Setev Shaariibuu, the father of murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, has been fixed for mention on Sept 2 to give his lawyer Karpal Singh time to submit a reply.

It seeks to compel the prosecution’s decision to not appeal against the acquittal of political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who had been accused of abetment in the murder.

Setev also wants the court to direct the attorney-general (AG) to use his discretionary powers under Article 145(3) of the federal constitution to apply for leave to file an appeal.

He had filed for the judicial review on Dec 24 last year to compel the AG to appeal against Abdul Razak’s acquittal.

Setev’s application had come to a standstill last month when the Judicial Commissioner Noraini Abdul Rahman of the Shah Alam High Court ruled that the case can only proceed after written submissions are made.

On Oct 31 last year, High Court judge Mohd Zaki Md Yasin had acquitted Abdul Razak, 49, without calling for his defence.

The judge had ruled that the prosecution had not proven a prima facie case, as a sworn affidavit by Abdul Razak was not rebutted.

However, two special action force members – Azilah Hadri, 33, and Sirul Azhar Umar, 37 – were later found guilty of the murder and sentenced to death. They have filed separate appeals.

S Pathmawathy/Mkini

Ku Li says Petronas must pay Kelantan oil royalties

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 26, 2009 by ckchew
By Lee Wei Lian

KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 – Former Petronas chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has rubbished reasons given by the federal government over its dismissal of the Kelantan state government’s claim on oil royalties and says that the national oil company is obligated by law to pay up.

The Kelantan state government has claimed that is is owed RM1 billion in royalties from oil that has been extracted in an offshore area bordering Thailand.

In response, Information Communication and Culture Minister, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim had said that the Kelantan demand for oil royalty had no legal basis and was made to earn political mileage.

According to Tengku Razaleigh however, the vesting deed agreement, which he signed on behalf of Petronas as founding chairman and CEO, entitles the state to five per cent of any revenue derived from hydrocarbon deposits found on or offshore of the state.

“If I am chairman still of Petronas, I will pay without all the fuss,” he told The Malaysian Insider in an interview earlier this week. “And I feel all the more it should be paid because I signed the agreement! There is no two ways about it. It must be paid.”

The former finance minister declined to comment on whether political considerations played a part in the decision not to pay Kelantan oil royalties but noted that Terengganu oil royalty payments were suspended when it was under the opposition but was reinstated when it returned to Barisan Nasional rule last year.

“I don’t know what kind of politics they are playing,” he said.

He also agreed with the view that the government is currently overdependent on Petronas oil revenue and that it needs to scale down expenditure.

The following is the conversation between The Malaysian Insider (TMI) and Tengku Razaleigh, who is also known as Ku Li:
TMI: The Kelantan state government has requested that the Federal government pay them RM1 billion worth of oil royalties due to them since 2004. Do you agree with this request?

Ku Li: I think it is a very straightforward issue. It shouldn’t be an issue because we signed the vesting deed agreement with all the state governments, including Sabah and Sarawak. And it’s very straightforward and very simple piece of legislation. Anybody who reads it will understand it without having to consult a lawyer.

Simply put, we agreed to pay any state in the federation if oil is found onshore or offshore. In this instance, oil is found offshore, which is a joint development area with Thailand. And it became like that because we did not file with the Law of the Sea Convention in Geneva to reiterate that that was our offshore area. So the Thais decided to move ahead and as a result, through negotiation, we adopted the same area as a joint development area. Now that is just off the state of Kelantan.

Under the vesting deed agreement, if oil is found there and Petronas make profit from the joint development and of course it is 50:50 share (with Thailand), Petronas will earn 50 per cent of profit. If they earn that much money, then 5 per cent must be paid to the state in cash.
TMI: So the question of the fact that it is a disputed area does not arise at all?

Ku Li: No, no. Because Petronas is operating in what is an offshore area of Kelantan. It is very straightforward. Otherwise Petronas cannot have a joint venture with Thailand.
TMI: Is there any legal redress available to the state?

Ku Li: I don’t think there is a legal redress, I think it is obligatory on the part of Petronas to pay. You see, the whole thing behind this issue was, I went to Tun Razak, who was prime minister then. I said: let’s do this vesting deed agreement because Selangor and Perak were difficult with us at that time, to sign the vesting deed agreement. So I told Tun Razak that on the east coast, there is potential for oil and gas. And why not we also do the same to bring in uniformity and we pay 5 per cent even if oil is found offshore in the area that is under the federal jurisdiction. So it was agreed and since we signed with the mentri besar of Kelantan, or I signed with the mentri besar of Kelantan the vesting deed agreement, if oil is found in the offshore area, although it is under the federal jurisdiction, even though it is in joint venture with the Thais today, 5 per cent must be paid to the state. As simple as all that.
TMI: So with that agreement, the state can take Petronas to court?

Ku Li: I don’t think there is a need to take Petronas to court. Petronas has to pay, that’s all. If I am chairman still of Petronas, I will pay without all the fuss. Because, look, we have this money and we want to help states like Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah because those states are poor states, undeveloped states, like Sabah, Sarawak, they are also undeveloped states. Why grudge the pay? Those people are tax payers all the same. They may have supported PAS in the last election. But it does not mean they are not citizens of this country. They have same rights as the others.
TMI: Do you feel that’s the reason why they are not getting paid?

Ku Li: I am not making any guess. But I think they should be paid because the law says so. And I feel all the more it should be paid because I signed the agreement! There is no two ways about it. It must be paid. Previously they suspended payment to the state of Terengganu, when it was previously receiving this cash payment from Petronas. I don’t know why they did that. Maybe for political reasons. Now it has been restored because under the law, you have to pay the state. You cannot pay to the federal government departments here. Because they’re not entitled to it. It’s the state concerned that it entitled to the payment. Similarly with Kelantan. There is no escape. I don’t know what kind of politics they are playing.
TMI: Do you think the federal government is overdependent on Petronas for revenue? As of last year, 45 per cent of their revenue came from Petronas. According to the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, the government operating expenditure is going to exceed revenue.

Ku Li: It would, because of the pension bill and all the extraneous expenses incurred. Naturally, it will. And the interest, the cost of money, that the government bears is large. Unless they scale this down. I am sure the expenditure is going to be more than revenue and because of that, I think they are quite dependent on Petronas revenue now. But the Petronas revenue is falling, because of the fall in the price of crude oil. The world price has fallen.
TMI: I get a sense from the people I speak to at Petronas that they are not happy about the pressure being applied on them.

Ku Li: Well, the government has no money (chuckles). Basic. I’m told that some of the contracts awarded prior to this, are being delayed because payment has not been made, because the government has to reschedule the repayment of the contract work. MI

AG’s justifications for inquest laughable

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 25, 2009 by ckchew

Both Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail have flopped miserably to justify the unjustifiable – the irrational and untenable decision to have both a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) and an inquest to deal with the boiling controversy of Teoh Beng Huat’s tragic death while under custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

In an immediate response to nationwide protests against the government’s decision to allow the RCI to deal with only procedural matters while leaving the all-important issue of cause of death to an inquest in a magistrate’s court, Najib said:

“We must adhere to the laws of the country. Please don’t take (political) advantage of the case. Our intention is to find out the truth”.

Sensing his statement sounded somewhat hollow, he quickly added that the attorney-general – the government’s chief legal officer – will issue a statement to explain the details.

But the AG’s statement sounded even more hollow. His statement is a blatant attempt to mislead by deliberate omission of the relevant section of the law.

Citing section 2 of the Commissions of Enquiry Act 1950, Gani said it made clear reference to the inquiry into the conduct and management of the government officers and departments for the “public welfare”.

He said the public welfare matters relate to the well-being of society and “cannot be overstretched to cover an inquiry into the death of this nature.”

In this statement, Gani made two assertions. First, the Act covers only government departments and officers. Second, his definition of “public welfare” excludes an inquisition of death.

On Gani’s first point. Under the same section quoted by Gani – section 2 of the Act – it is expressly stated under item (d) that the commission is empowered to inquire into “any other matter in which an inquiry would, in the opinion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, be for the public welfare…”.

So, Gani’s assertion is directly contradicted by item (d). He is therefore guilty of a deliberate attempt to mislead the nation as he cannot possibly be ignorant of this elementary and fundamental provision of the Act, being the highest legal adviser to the government.

Probing a death not ‘public welfare’?

On the second point. Gani’s narrow interpretation of the phrase “for the public welfare” is laughable.

When the nation has been so incensed by the heinous injustice of this tragedy that it is almost at the point of revolt, appointing an RCI to probe into this death is not only legally and politically appropriate but the very minimum the government must do if it still wants to retain a remote semblance of rule of law in this country.

And yet, our AG is telling us that making such a move is incompatible with “public welfare.” Then what will constitute “public welfare”? Waiting for violence to erupt in the streets – knowing fully well that public confidence in the existing law enforcement bodies, including the courts, is already non-existent?

Even when an RCI is commissioned to probe into the death, there is no assurance of justice done, judging from the government’s habit of ignoring recommendations of RCIs in recent times; but at least it will calm the highly-strung nerves of the nation by showing that the government is finally taking steps in the right direction.

And I can’t imagine any decent person will dispute by saying that taking such a course does not fulfil national interests as implied by Gani’s narrow interpretation.

Much has been written and expressed by respectable legal minds, political parties and civil society leaders that the present set up of an RCI-cum-inquest to divide the task of resolving the present crisis is legally and technically untenable and morally unacceptable, and I will not elaborate further in this direction.

Suffice to say that Najib must decide, and decide now, which course he wants to take.

To salvage the image of the nation and redeem himself from a scandal-ridden past by appointing an honourably-constituted RCI with proper terms of reference to take on the crisis, or relegate the task to a magistrate hamstrung by prosecutors and police, all of whom are deeply mistrusted by the public.

Kim Quek/Mkini

A lame-duck royal commission?

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 25, 2009 by ckchew

Finally the cabinet has announced a royal commission of enquiry (RCI) to probe the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigation procedure employed on the late Teoh Beng Hock. The cause of Teoh’s death, however, was left to an inquest in a magistrate’s court.

The move has drawn strong protests from the opposition. Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim was visibly disturbed by the limited terms of reference of the proposed RCI, calling it a mockery of the people’s wish to find out the truth on Teoh’s death. Indeed, a magistrate’s court does not have the moral authority, the expertise, and the wide powers of the RCI.

Naturally, there are those cynical souls who scoff at the very idea of a royal commission in Malaysia. They doubt whether the RCI can yield any tangible result, and even if the RCI eventually comes up with a set of recommendations, the government will probably ignore them anyway.

Their cynicism may not be unfounded. But we have to understand the function of a royal commission in the first place.

A royal commission is an independent investigative body recommended by the government and made up of notable citizens appointed by the sovereign (the king) to look into matters of grave national importance. It is a strange creature rooted in the parliamentary conventions of the British Commonwealth.

In the 18th century, the more popular method of independent investigation in the United Kingdom was the parliamentary select committee. But it was proven to be sluggish because it was made up of partisan MPs, who had neither the time nor the patience to shift through the large body of evidence required for a thorough investigation.

From 1800 onward, with increasing concern for many social ills, royal commissions became popular – 11 in the first decade, 46 in the fourth, and 75 in the sixth.

By now, the defects of royal commissions are well known. They are expensive. They take a long time, and they may not yield the results that the people want. More than a few cynics have said that the royal commission is but an instrument for the government of the day to douse the rising heat of a resentful public over a scandalous issue.

Nevertheless, a royal commission is still one of the checks and balances that should play its useful part in any evolving democracy. It is one way for the government of the day to avoid accusation of a conflict of interest between its internal investigative agencies in any official investigation into a highly sensational issue.

Cops not trusted to probe MACC

In Teoh’s case, the proper authority to probe into MACC over his demise ought to be the police. But the MACC was set up partly to curb corruption in the police force. Asking the police to do the job would invite accusation of mutual back-scratching between the police and the MACC. An independent royal commission is indeed the right measure.

A royal commission also has wide coercive powers to summon witnesses and documents, seize documents and evidences, hold public hearings, research into cases, consult with experts from both within and outside the government, hold hearings in cameras, offering indemnities, summon classified information even, and coerce all public officials to aid in the execution of the commission.

The one strength of a royal commission is that once it has started, the government cannot stop its investigation. That is why governments are generally reluctant to set up a royal commission.

In Australia, The Wood Royal Commission in New South Wales and the Kennedy Royal Commission in Western Australia had been particularly effective in probing into the links between corrupt public officials and organised crime, which would otherwise hide behind the protective shield of a defective administration.

The Moseley Royal Commission, on the other hand, did good work with exposing the high number of deaths of Aboriginal people in police custody and in prisons.

Because of the quasi-judicial nature of the royal commission, it is often headed by a retired judge, but there are exceptions. In 1967, the Canadian Royal Commission on the Status of Women was presided over by a journalist, Florence Bird.

Tabled in 1970, the commission’s report contained 167 recommendations. The recommendations, many based on the public hearings held and 468 briefs received, dealt with issues such as day care, the Indian Act and equal pay for work of equal value.

Today, Canadian women enjoy far better treatment than their counterparts in many other countries. If I am not mistaken, in job recruitment ads in the newspapers, it is unlawful to specify the gender or the race of the applicants! When would that happen in Malaysia?

Generally, a royal commission is given a fixed time-frame of a few years to finish its work. But there are exceptions. Pak Bui in his blog the ‘Hornbill Unleashed’ has the following titbits to offer:

“The average duration from establishment to report is between two and four years. But certain royal commissions can have a semi-permanent existence. For example, the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts in the UK was first set up in 1869 with the task of advising and assisting in the preservation of historical manuscripts and to publish them. It is still in existence today.

“The famous Royal Commission on the Health of the Army was established in 1856, following Florence Nightingale’s reports on the suffering of British soldiers in the Crimean War. It continues to influence British policymakers to this day.”

Limited scope, but there’s still hope

In the case of Teoh’s death, the royal commission which is set up merely to probe into the MACC investigative procedure will definitely not satisfy a grieving public’s hunger for the truth behind his death.

But to say that the proposed royal commission will be totally useless is perhaps unfair. Torture and death has always been a hidden phenomenon in our country since independence.

Now the unprecedented attention on the issue resulting from Teoh’s nation-shaking death has compelled the BN government to set up a royal commission to investigate into this issue. If the findings and the recommendations will start a process of laying down rules for the treatment and investigation of future detainees and witnesses, then the royal commission would not have been a total waste of time.

The publicity surrounding the public hearing of the proposed RCI and the findings and recommendations will also have a positive dimension. Irrespective of whether the BN government will eventually accept those findings and recommendations, the whole process would have shaped public opinions of the national electorate.

In the case of the Lingam Tape Royal Commission, nobody was indeed charged for misdeeds in the miscarriage of justice in our judicial system. But together with many other incidents then, the drama played out in public about the under belly of our courts must have driven many voters towards the opposition in the March 8 general election last year.

I surmise that the prime minister and his cabinet full of skeletons have misread the mood of the national electorate when they decided that the royal commission would not investigate into the cause of Teoh’s death. My fellow columnist Kim Quek has already dubbed this a ‘Royal commission of deception’. This is probably a true reflection of the public perception about the whole issue.

Like many readers out there, I am very skeptical about whether the true cause of Teoh Beng Hock’s death will ever see the light of day. If that turns out to be true, then the BN ruling coalition is sure to pay a heavy price for it in next the general election.

Eventually, a royal commission in any country is as good as the government that appoints it, and the people always deserve the kind of government they get. Here in Malaysia, unless there is a change of government at the federal level, and a two-coalition system is firmly in place, future royal commissions will always be lame ducks.

SIM KWANG YANG can be reached at kenyalang578@hotmail.com./Mkini

Anti-ISA rally: Opposing groups on collision course? See You There !!!

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 24, 2009 by ckchew

Two groups – one for the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the other against it – are set for a collision course, as both will be holding mass processions towards the Palace next Saturday.

Initially, the Aug 1 rally was organised by the Abolish the ISA Movement, better known by its Malay acronym GMI, which aims to gather 100,000 supporters to push for their demands.

GMI, a coalition of NGOs and opposition parties, plans to rally in Kuala Lumpur before marching to the palace to hand over a memorandum to the King.

The memorandum will call on the King to push for the abolishment of the controversial law and release of all ISA detainees.

Gathering at National mosque

But a counter-rally is being planned by Majlis Permuafakatan Ummah (Pewaris), a Malay interest advocate, who will be leading a march of their own involving a coalition of 10 similar groups.

This groups includes Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa), Coalition of Young Malay Graduates (GGMM) and traditional Malay martial arts, or silat, groups.

Pewaris deputy president Rahimuddin Mohd Harun told Malaysiakini that his group and Perkasa will be gathering at the National Mosque at 11am before a rendezvous with other groups in Dataran Merdeka at about 1pm.

GGMM is expected to lead its supporters from Padang Merbok, besides Bank Negara, in a march towards Dataran Merdeka at about the same time.

‘It’s not a show of force’

Malaysian Silat Lincah Practitioners Association leader, Mahaguru Omar Din, confirmed that they would be taking part in the Pewaris-led march.

Omar said the ISA was the “key” to maintaining peace in the country and silat practitioners were not engaging in an show of force.

“We just want to show our support for the ISA. We will avoid any contact (with GMI). We are all Malays,” said Omar.

Meanwhile, GMI is expected to begin their rally at 2pm. Thus far, three rally points have been identified – Masjid Jamek, KL Sentral and Sogo shopping centre.

GMI announced on Thursday that PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim will be taking part in the rally.

Jimadie Othman/ Mkini

Suaram report gives voice to the dead and detained

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 24, 2009 by ckchew

As part of their ongoing efforts to highlight cases of abuse inflicted by the authorities, Suaram invited two guest speakers at the launch of their 2008 Human Right’s report.

Norlaila Othman, wife of Internal Security Act (ISA) detainee Mat Sah Mohd Satray and Tamil Selwee a/p Muniandy, whose son died in police custody, spoke of their ordeals and personal stories yesterday.

Speaking to the audience, Norlaila said that her husband was arrested in April 2002 and remains in the Kamunting detention camp until today.

She said that her husband is being detained as a suspected member of terror network Jemaah Islamiah (JI).

“Until today, there has been no charge, trial or review of the case. They should bring my husband to court instead of just detaining him. He is innocent until proven guilty.” she said.

She also told of an incident where she was not allowed to see her husband at the detention camp as she arrived late.

“I was told that visiting hours were over at 12.30pm, but I arrived at the camp at 12.45pm.

“They (authorities) would not let me see my husband, not even after telling them that I had to take a five hour bus ride from Kuala Lumpur to see him,” said Norlaila.

Letters of appeal no deal

As part of her efforts to get justice for her husband and other ISA detainees, Norlaila said that she had sent out letters appealing for the release of the detainees to Putrajaya and the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights in Geneva last year.

“Last year, I received a response from Geneva. A representative from the organisation wrote to our Home Minister requesting for a visit to the detention centre. But up to now there has been no reply from Putrajaya.” she said.

Norlaila said that she thinks her husband is still being held because of her strong anti-ISA stance.

“My husband was actually told by the Special Branch ‘Tell your wife to stop blogging about the ISA and you will be released’.

She said that the ISA is a crime against human rights and urged the public to attend an anti-ISA rally scheduled for August 1.

Norlaila also asked journalists to give the anti ISA rally coverage.

She continued “My son was nine when his father was arrested. My son is now 16. Please release my husband, my son needs a father.”

Six years of silence

The other speaker, Tamil Selwee , related the events which ended with her 19 year old son’s death while in police custody.

Ulaganathan Muniandy was arrested on 12 May 2003 and pronounced dead on 21 July 2003.

There were no reasons given for the arrest and his death was classified as “undetermined”.

“I was told that he would be all right and he would be released soon.”
But instead, she received a phone call two months later informing her of her son’s death at the Kajang police station.

“When I visited him in May 2003, he had bruises all over his body, especially around the eyes and swellings on his legs.” Tamil Selwee told the crowd.

The last time when she saw him alive on July 11 2003, Ulaganathan’s eyes were still swollen and he was unable to sit as his knees were badly hurt.

“He was apparently beaten to death for no reason. He was the sole breadwinner of the family and now he is gone,” she wept.

According to Suaram’s 2008 Human Rights report, the human rights watchdog was told that in March 2006, an inquest was to be held on Ulaganathan’s death.

The inquest was then postponed several times, and as of 31 December 2008, the inquest still remains incomplete.

“My family have also been the victims. I want nothing less than justice.” Tamil Selwee said.

Emily Chow/ Mkini

The royal commission of deception

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 24, 2009 by ckchew

COMMENT Prime Minister Najib Razak has finally announced the setting up of a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to assuage the nation’s anger over the tragic death of Teoh Beng Hock at the hands of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). But what a let down, and what a deception!

Instead of probing his death, the Commission is asked to look into the interrogation methods of the MACC. The absurdity of this move is akin to a school boy caned to death in a school, and the public inquiry is over the disciplinary procedure of the school, not over how and why the boy met his death.

The injustice that befell Teoh Beng Hock – a clear victim of political persecution – has infuriated the nation to boiling point, and yet Najib thinks that an RCI looking into MACC’s methodology would be sufficient to douse the anger and restore confidence in his leadership. What does he take Malaysians for? A bunch of dimwits?

Oh ya, I know what they will say, concurrent with this RCI is an inquest where a magistrate would look into the cause of death. But any one familiar with legal practice can tell you that comparing an inquest to a RCI is like a child vs an adult.

An RCI is commissioned by the King, and it is usually made up of senior members of society with distinguished records of competence and integrity, and having wide power to summon for witnesses and evidence, and reporting to the King; whereas an inquest is manned by a junior legal officer whose source of evidence is limited to feedings from the authorities (mainly police) with no power to call for witnesses and other evidence, and forwarding the findings to the attorney general.

Since an RCI is going to be set up in response to public demand to uncover the truth pertaining to Teoh’s death, why create another junior body to take away the principal task – finding out how and why Teoh died – leaving RCI as a side show?

Besides, without allowing RCI to probe into the death, how could it fathom what has gone wrong with the operations of MACC’s? In fact these two tasks are integral and inseparable.

Police: unprofessional conduct charge

Only when the full circumstances surrounding the death are ascertained, can the defects of the system be defined and recommendations made.

This is plain common sense, and I can’t imagine a man of Najib’s intelligence being unable to comprehend this. That leaves us with no alternative but to conclude that the UMNO leadership is playing a game of hide and seek with the public as far this tragedy is concerned.

Najib said “the government will do whatever that is necessary to find the truth” and Inspector General Musa Hassan has repeatedly warned the public not to speculate and hurl accusations but to trust the police to carry out a “transparent and professional” investigation, but what has transpired is contrary to these assertions.

The police investigations in particular have been shockingly questionable and unprofessional.

It should be plain from day one of the discovery of the body (July 16 ) that Teoh died while under custody and he fell from the window of the MACC’s 14 floor office.

That he was never released was verified by his personal articles including his hand phone which were still the MACC ‘s keeping when the body was found and the fact that he could not have walked off the office on his own as implied by MACC as he did not have the electronic card to open the door.

That he fell through the office window was evidenced from the 14th floor window latch which was found next to Teoh’s body.

Shoddy evidence gathering

Then why didn’t the police seal the office, seize all relevant documents including notes of interrogation, dust for finger prints particularly those at the window on the very first day (July 16), as death by foul means clearly could not be excluded.

Despite evidence of Teoh’s fall from the building while under custody, why did Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar say that he did not suspect foul play and classified the case as “sudden death” – even before autopsy was performed? Didn’t this presumption betray patronization of a fellow law-enforcing agency?

Why did the police forensics personnel visit the crime scene only on Day four (July 19) to take evidence, removing articles such as documents, CCTV records, window latch etc, knowing that vital clues could have been erased, tampered with or removed in the intervening threee days? Didn’t this reflect a lack of seriousness?

Why did the police deny repeatedly to assemblyman Ronnie Liu until day four that it possessed Teoh’s hand phone, when in fact it had been in their hands since day one? For what reason or reasons were the police secretly keeping the phone for so many days?

The body was discovered at 1:30pm and Teoh’s boss assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah arrived at the MACC office at 5pm asking to see Teoh, but the personnel therein including Selangor police chief Khalid Abu Bakar did not entertain him for more than an hour.

Why keep the news from Ean Yong for so long? Why wasn’t Teoh’s family informed in the first instance ? Was this long duration of silence a needed interval to complete certain preparatory work before the bad news was announced to the world? Shouldn’t such improper conduct give rise to suspicious imputations?

The autopsy was completed on day two(July 17), why were the police still keeping the findings under the lid?

Anti-graft body criminally liable

As for the MACC, there are questions galore that suggest criminal liability over Teoh’s death to the backdrop of a political conspiracy aimed at sabotaging the Selangor Pakatan state government with corruption prosecutions. Examples of these are:

  1. Why did director of investigations Shukri Abdul lie that Teoh was released at 3:4am and that he had no idea how Teoh’s body landed on the fifth floor balcony, when in fact Teoh was never released and fell off a window in the office? Was there a necessity to lie if there was no criminal liability on the part of MACC?
  2. Why was Teoh tortured in a marathon interrogation that stretched into the early hours of morning when he was not a criminal suspect but only a witness assisting in an investigation over a hearsay allegation of misappropriation of a paltry RM 2,400 by his boss Ean Yong?
  3. Ean Yong was among a group of seven Pakatan assemblymen selected for investigation for unspecified suspicion of miss-using their annual allocations of half a million ringgit each.
  4. In contrast, Pakatan complaints against BN assemblymen for having dubiously spent their entire annual allocations within the short period of two months shortly before the last election in March 8, 08 have been met with silence for more than a year.
  5. Why have Pakatan leaders been systematically hounded over dubious petty allegations whilethe MACC routinely plays deaf and dumb over multi-million and even multi-billion scandals of corruption and abuse of power by Barisan Nasional leaders? Why the silence over the RM 12.5 billion PKFZ scandal despite having received numerous complaints from Pakatan since 2004? Why no notice was taken over the recently exposed mansion of former Selangor Menteri Besar Khir Toyo reputedly worth RM24 million which was well beyond his accumulated official income?
  6. Why no action against Khir for the numerous reports of corruption and abuse of power uncovered by the Pakatan state government since the last election?

It is as clear as day light that theMACC exists not to wipe out corruption, but to wipe out Pakatan Rakyat – not only in Selangor but all over the country.

It is in the realization of this despicable role played by the MACC, that the tragic death of an upright and dedicated young man – who was due to get married on the day his life was so cruelly snuffed out – has caused the nation’s tolerance to reach breaking point.

Let us resolve that the fascist powers be not tolerated henceforth. Let us all stand up for justice for Teoh Beng Hock.
Kim Quek/Mkini

Sodomy documents stay with prosecution

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim with tags on July 24, 2009 by ckchew

The Kuala Lumpur High Court allowed the prosecution to hold on to their documents pertaining to Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial pending their appeal against a previous court ruling ordering them to hand over these documents to the defence team.

Justice Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah ruled in favour of the prosecution this morning to grant them the stay order.

The prosecution had sought the stay order on the grounds of:

  • The court ruling to hand over documents to the accused would have implications and an impact not only on the sodomy case, but on other criminal cases nationwide.
  • It would prevent the prosecution appeal at the Court of Appeal from becoming academic, as it involves certain questions of law.
  • The matter of giving a copy of the witness statements to Anwar involves points of law which the appellate court must decide first, before the High Court proceeds with the trial.

At the outset of the decision, the prosecution lead by Solicitor-General II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden said that the court should grant the stay pending the prosecution’s appeal at the Court of Appeal to reverse the High Court’s decision to grant the materials for Anwar’s defence.

He said that if the stay was not granted and if the Court of Appeal favoured that prosecution, the appeal would then become nugatory (of no effect or invalid) and academic.

Furthermore Yusof said that the materials that were ordered by the court to the defence could cause “irreparable damage” to the prosecution’s case when the trial takes place.

Are they in fear?

Defence lawyer Amer Hamzah Arshad in his submission asked how could the documents and materials which would eventually surface during the trial be prejudicial to the prosecution’s case.

“How can it interrupt or disrupt the ongoing trial… (or) is it the fear that (Anwar) will discover more evidence?” he quizzed.

“They are merely giving us what has been completed… just to prepare for our defence… unless of course they fear that we may harass the witnesses, but that is not they are saying,” he stressed.

Moreover, he reiterated that the prosecution should state reasons for the stay on “each and every item” that was granted to the defence instead of “chanting the mantra that it is nugatory”.

He said that if it was necessary for the judge to grant a stay, it should only cover certain types of document, such as the witness statements.

After hearing arguments from both sides, justice Mohd Zabidin overruled the objections raised by the defence and agreed with the prosecution that “the appeal would then become meaningless” if the stay was not granted.

No appeal date yet

On July 16, Mohd Zabidin had given the prosecution seven days to hand over exhibits including video footage and a medical report to Anwar’s team following an application by them for these documents.

The prosecution was also ordered to allow Anwar’s lawyers to inspect CCTV recordings of the alleged crime scene, if the copy provided is unclear.

The prosecution appealed against handing over of these documents and sought a stay order pending the appeal. No date has been set for the appeal at Court of Appeal.

Anwar, 62, is charged with sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 24, at a condominium in Bukit Damansara on June 26, last year.

Anwar has applied to strike out the suit. The court today fixed Sept 2 to mention both this application and the trial proper.

S Pathmawathy/Mkini

Teoh’s death continues to rankle

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 24, 2009 by ckchew

Although it’s been seven days since the tragic death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock, public outrage has not abated as demonstrated at a gathering in Kuala Lumpur last night.

About 3,000 people, mostly clad in black, thronged the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, in a show of solidarity for Teoh, who died mysteriously at the Malaysian Anti-Comission Corruption (MACC) building in Shah Alam last week.

DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, DAP secretary-general and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, PKR vice-president Sivarasa Rasiah and PAS parliamentarian Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, were among those who part in the gathering which lasted three hours.

Stalks of white chrysanthemums lined the stage, placed there by those attended the event in remembrance of Teoh. His pregnant fiancee, Shoh Sher Wei was given a rousing and spontaneous standing ovation as she walked into the hall which was bedecked with Teoh’s photos.

Banners reading ‘Don’t let Beng Hock die in vain’ that bore the crowd’s signatures, were also put up on the walls.

Teoh, who was Seri Kembangan assemblyperson Ean Yong Hian Wah’s political secretary, was found dead in the corridor on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam, last Thursday.

The 30-year-old was believed to have fallen from the MACC office located on the 14th floor.

He was being interrogated as a witness into allegations of misappropriation of Selangor state funds.

Teoh was buried last Monday in Semenyih. Police said that almost 60 percent of the probe into his sudden death was completed.

Speakers take a swipe at royal commission

All the speakers who took to the stage lashed out against the royal commission set up by the government, saying that it missed the point by not investigating Teoh’s cause of death.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said that only an inquest will determine his cause of death, but the royal commission confined to get to the bottom of MACC interrogation procedures to determine if Teoh’s human rights were violated.

“They (government) said Teoh’s human rights might have been violated. But he has died! This is ridiculous. When a person dies, we want to know what were the causes!” said a furious Guan Eng.

“We want to know who the culprits were, who were the witnesses? In any murder case, police investigations will focus catching the person responsible for the death.

“But up until today, has any MACC officer who interrogated him (Teoh) been arrested? No!,” said Guan Eng, to thunderous cheers from the crowd.

Robert Phang , who is on MACC advisory panel, expressed shock and anger towards the commission for failing to come up with a clear explanation.

“I’m a 70-year-old man and I never expected this to happen. What the hell is happening? We have 42 advisory panels in MACC board, and you MACC owe us an explanation,” he said.

Being on advisory panel himself, Phang was unable to shed light on the matter although the board had met for four days and four nights trying to find out what went wrong.

“And what is the truth? I too, have no idea…but no worries Shor Wer, you have the people’s support,” he said, looking at Teoh’s fiancee who was sitting in front of the stage.

MACC violated lock up rules

According to PAS central committee member Dr Dzulkefly, MACC violated lock-up rules when they interrogated Teoh until the wee hours of the morning.

“Lock-up rules say that authorities should stop investigating witnesses or suspects at 6.30pm and must only resume their interrogation the next day at 6.30am. It is obvious the MACC does not know the rules!” said Dzulkefly.

Kit Siang slammed Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nazri Abdul Aziz for having accused Lim of turning Teoh’s death into a racial issue as reported in the NST

“They said I regarded MACC as a Malay-controlled institution. But they did not know that when I criticised them, I referred to it as a Malaysian institution. Shame on you NST!

“If Nazri says I’m racist, why did the demonstration that took place in Ampang several days ago only involved Umno people?

“Why weren’t they not joined by MCA, MIC or Gerakan to show how ‘1Malaysia’ they are?” he asked.

The highly-charged atmosphere of the night was diffused when Teoh fiancee took to the stage with a simple message that brought back to mind that the loss is a still personal one.

“There is nothing else I can do for him. Thank you all, I promise I would take care of our child,” she said holding back her tears.

The gathering also collected donations amounting to RM22,000, which is to be put into ‘Teoh’s trust fund’ set up by the DAP.

Rahmah Ghazali and Tarani Palani/Mkini

KENYATAAN AKHBAR HIMPUNAN MANSUH ISA AKAN DIADAKAN PADA 1 OGOS 2009

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 24, 2009 by ckchew

1.      Sekretariat Himpunan MANSUH sebagai penganjur Himpunan MANSUH ditubuhkan khas bagi menggerakkan rakyat menyatakan sikap terhadap akta zalim, Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) melalui perhimpunan secara aman.

2.      Sekretariat diwakili oleh wakil-wakil daripada anggota Gabungan Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) terdiri daripada badan bukan kerajaan (NGO), parti-parti politik dan mahasiswa. Jawatankuasa Pepandu Himpunan MANSUH diwakili oleh pimpinan parti-parti politik dan NGO.

3.      Hari ini Sekretariat Himpunan MANSUH ingin memaklumkan secara rasminya tarikh Himpunan Besar-besaran Mansuhkan ISA iaitu pada hari Sabtu, 1 Ogos 2009.

4.      Tarikh 1 Ogos 2009 dipilih sempena 49 tahun ISA yang digubal pada 1 Ogos 1960. Selama 49 tahun negara dinaungi kezaliman ISA. Masa yang terlalu lama untuk negara dibiarkan diselubungi dengan akta yang empunya kuasa amat luas menahan tanpa bicara, menghukum tanpa bukti dan memenjarakan tanpa tempoh menentu. Sudah tiba masanya akta usang itu bukan sahaja dikajisemula tetapi dimansuhkan sama sekali.

5.      Himpunan MANSUH dianjurkan dengan hasrat untuk rakyat menzahirkan sikapnya secara jelas dan lantang dengan membuat tiga tuntutan:
a.       Bebaskan semua tahanan ISA
b.      Mansuhkan ISA
c.       Tutup Kem Kamunting – Kem ’Guantanamo’ Malaysia

6.      Pada 3 April 2009, sebaik menjadi Perdana Menteri ke-6, Dato’ Seri Najib telah membebaskan 13 orang tahanan ISA (termasuk dua orang tahanan Hindraf) dan mengumumkan untuk mengkajisemula ISA. Satu tindakan yang dikatakan bukan populis.  Empat hari kemudian pada 7 April, Pilihanraya Kecil 2 Bukit 1 Batang berlangsung.

7.      Pada 8 Mei 2009, 13 orang lagi tahanan dibebaskan termasuk tiga orang lagi tahanan Hindraf. Sekali lagi ini dikatakan bukan tindakan populis sedangkan sehari sebelumnya berlaku titik hitam di Perak.

8.      Dalam pada pembebasan diumumkan, secara senyap-senyap empat orang tahanan baru ditahan sekitar bulan April termasuk Mas Selamat Kastari yang dilaporkan lari daripada ISA Singapura. Bahkan sebenarnya di Kem Kamunting masih terdapat seramai 14 orang tahanan ISA seperti yang dilaporkan GMI. Tiga orang daripadanya telah ditahan lebih daripada 7 tahun.

9.      Cadangan untuk kajisemula ISA pula dibuat sejak 3 April 2009, lebih dari 2 bulan yang lalu. Tetapi sehingga kini, tiada sesiapa tahu bila sebenarnya kajian tersebut akan siap. Suhakam sudah mengesyorkan ISA dimansuhkan sejak 2003 lagi. Pada masa yang sama, sudah ada peruntukan undang-undang sediada yang mencukupi untuk menangani keganasan.

10.  ISA memusnahkan konsep asas undang-undang berperlembagaan. Ia mencemar asas pengasingan kuasa. Ia membenarkan kuasa eksekutif melangkaui kehakiman dengan menahan seseorang tanpa waran, tanpa bicara dan tanpa hak peguam. ISA telah menghapuskan apa juga semakan undang-undang yang disyorkan perlembagaan. ISA juga membenarkan kuasa yang luas, arbitrari dan tidak boleh dicabar mahkamah yang menyebabkan berlakunya penyeksaan fizikal dan mental.

11.  Kemuncak asas-asas ISA ialah elemen mengancam, mengugut dan mewujudkan rasa takut dan gerun…”climate of fear”…”under siege mentality”… sehingga merencatkan daya fikir dan teguran berani serta fitrah manusia yang bebas.

12.  Atas sebab keadaan ini, atas sebab kezaliman berterusan dengan penahanan tanpa bicara, arbitrari, tanpa pembelaan dan tanpa diketahui bilakah dibebaskan, penganiayaan ke atas isteri, anak dan keluarga dan atas tuntut keadilan, maka rakyat perlu zahirkan kebenciannya terhadap ISA dan mendesak Kerajaan bertindak segera mansuhkan ISA. Tindakan populis dan berlengah-lengah oleh Kerajaan mesti dihentikan. Rakyat tidak harus terpedaya dan membenarkan amalan begini berterusan.

13.  Himpunan MANSUH dianjurkan sebagai kesinambungan pelbagai usaha Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) selama ini dalam membawa kesedaran tentang kezaliman ISA, membela nasib tahanan dan keluarga, membongkar kezaliman ISA dan mendesak Kerajaan untuk membebaskan tahanan, memansuhkan ISA dan menutup Kem Kamunting sehinggalah membawa kepada pembebasan ramai tahanan ISA dan janji kerajaan untuk mengkajisemula ISA.

14.  Beberapa program akan dianjurkan menjelang Himpunan tersebut. Antaranya jelajah ceramah seluruh negara, pengedaran risalah, pertunjukan seni, forum, pengumpulan tandatangan, petisyen on-line dan sebagainya.

15.  Himpunan MANSUH menganjurkan Himpunan besar-besaran bagi menyeru dan menggembleng seluruh warganegara Malaysia daripada pelbagai lapisan masyarakat, budaya, bangsa dan agama yang cintakan keadilan, kebenaran dan keamanan rakyat untuk turut serta berhimpun pada 1 Ogos 2009 bagi menyatakan sikap tegas kita terhadap ISA. Bersama memansuhkan ISA dan membebaskan bumi Malaysia daripada kezaliman!

Mansuhkan ISA!
Bebaskan Tahanan!
Tutup Kemta – Kem Guantanamo Malaysia!

Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh
Pengerusi Sekretariat Himpunan MANSUH
Pengerusi Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)

Memo to the king to abolish the ISA, See You There on 1 Aug 09.

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 24, 2009 by ckchew

Mkini

Memo to the king to abolish the ISA, 100000 gathering on 1 August

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 23, 2009 by ckchew

Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) has submitted a memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Istana Negara today to call for the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

GMI chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh handed over the memorandum to Istana Negara public relations officer Mohd Khairi Abdul Rahman.

Syed Ibrahim told reporters that the GMI had also requested for an audience with King Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin on Aug 1 to hand over a “people’s declaration” condemning the ISA.

“On Aug 1, we expect about 100,000 people, comprising also representatives of non-governmental organisations and political parties, to walk in a procession to the Istana Negara from the Sogo shopping complex and Masjid Jamek to deliver the declaration,” he said.

He also said that GMI would apply for a police permit for the gathering and procession. Mkini

Defiant anti-ISA group to march without police permit

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 23, 2009 by ckchew

Police permit or no police permit, the anti-ISA movement Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI or abolish the ISA movement) is determined to hold open protests against that law on August 1 at various locations in Kuala Lumpur.

GMI president Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said that GMI will not back down even if the police refused to issue a permit.

“This is not done on the spur of the moment. We have notified the police way in advance.

“Application for a permit is merely to notify the police and get them to co-operate with us. Despite numerous rejections, we have never been downhearted and neither will we give up for we are protected under the Federal Constitution.

“We will adhere by the rules and regulations. It will be a peaceful gathering, unless there are provocations,” he said.

He spoke to reporters after notifying the palace today that a public declaration to abolish ISA will be conveyed to the King on the day of the protest at 3pm.

Accompanying him were Federal Territory PAS Youth chief Kamaruzaman Mohamed and four other members.

The ultimate desperate call

When asked if the presence of the pro-ISA group at the same place and time might create a disturbance, Syed Ibrahim merely brushed it aside saying that although the group’s motive is “questionable”, GMI would outnumber them.

He also submitted a memorandum to abolish ISA to palace official, Mohd Khairi Abdul Rahman, at 11.50pm.

The memorandum is described as the “ultimate desperate call” to repeal the repressive piece of legislation after submitting recommendations and reports countless times to the government in the past without avail .

The declaration seeks to repeal the ISA, release those held under the ISA and close down Kamunting.

He said that more than 83 non-governmental organisation, political parties, student bodies, women’s organisation and human rights movement will attend the gathering.

He also confirmed that Pakatan Rakyat and PAS leaders including Anwar Ibrahim, Hadi Awang, Nik Aziz Nik Mat and Lim Kit Siang will be present on August 1, along with members of non-governmental organisations, teachers and university students.

Syed Ibrahim said that both current and former detainees have repeatedly claimed being subjected to physical violence and abuse under the ISA.

The demonstrations are expected to take place in the vicinity of Sogo Shopping complex, the Masjid Jamek LRT station and the National Mosque.

Yip Ai Tsin/Mkini

zambry, MB haram torched over candle remark

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 23, 2009 by ckchew

Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir has been urged to brush up on his knowledge of Islam before making comments pertaining to religious matters.

“Holding a candle is part of the Malaysian culture and not religious in nature as assumed by Zambry,” said PAS Gunung Semanggol assemblyperson Ramli Tusin.

Ramli – who works in the Bagan Serai district Religious Department – accused Zambry of not knowing the principles of Islam.

“And yet he is criticising our Perak PAS deputy commissioner Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin for holding a candle,” he told Malaysiakini today.

“Holding a candle has no religious significance and is just a culture among Malaysians to show support for democracy or to pay respect to those who have died,” he added.

Last Friday, Nizar together with other Pakatan leaders had participated in a candlelight vigil in memory of political aide Teoh Beng Hock.

Zambry took a dig at Nizar’s candlelight vigil and called on the PAS ulama (religious scholars) to issue a fatwa (edict) on this issue.Nizar is a religious scholar

Commenting further, Ramli said Nizar is a religious scholar who was under the tutelage of PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

“Zambry is not religiously inclined but is only trying to politicise the issue for political mileage and is covering up his own political shortcomings by highlighting trivial issues to divert attention,” he added.

Citing an example, Ramli said Nik Aziz had once visited a non-Muslim religious function and some people had stated that it was ‘haram‘ (forbidden) for a Muslim to do so.

Nik Aziz had replied that visiting other religious functions is a form of Malaysian culture and has nothing to do with religion.

Meanwhile, DAP state secretary Nga Kor Ming also took a swipe at Zambry for playing racial politics and making unwarranted comments.

“A 30 year-old man (Teoh) died under mysterious circumstances and Zambry without even showing a bit of remorse is playing politics,” he said.

“We want Zambry to apologise to Teoh’s family and to the public for his outburst,” he added.

Teoh was said to have fallen to his death last Thursday from the 14th floor of Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam, Selangor, which houses the state Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) office.

Prior to his death, Teoh – who was a political aide to a Pakatan Selangor exco – was quizzed by the MACC in relation to corruption charges against his boss.

Humayun Kabir, Mkini

Suaram report card: Failed in all subjects

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 23, 2009 by ckchew

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) launched their 2008 Human Right’s Report today, saying that Malaysia’s human rights situation last year reflected the failure of the government to implement promised reforms.

Suaram representatives, who presented the body’s annual report this morning, included chairperson K. Arumugam, secretariat member Lee Khai Loon and John Liu, the documentation and monitoring coordinator.

Liu summarised the report, highlighting Suaram’s three main concerns:

(a) The increasing lack of accountability of law enforcement agencies, which has resulted in serious human rights violations

(b) The heightened politicisation of race and religion which further hampered the state of humans rights in the country

(c) The government’s failure to heed strong calls and demands for reformation

Arumugam said that Malaysia’s human rights situation was deteriorating and that the government had yet to take any measures to rectify the situation.

“We will never be happy as long as these violations are still continuing,” he said.
Abuse of power

Liu also brought up several cases which he claimed was proof of police abuse of power.

He cited the example of A Kugan who died in police custody early this year and a 2003 case of Ulaganathan Muniandy who also died in custody.

According to Suaram statistics, there were 13 deaths in police custody last year and 255 deaths recorded in prisons.

Suaram also reported that 44 people died in what he termed as “unnecessary police shootings” in 2008, with possibly more cases unreported by the media.

Arumugam also said “This year, we have already recorded at least five deaths in police custody. Just last week, the death of Teoh Beng Hock while in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) premises leaves little doubt that there is an urgent need to ensure greater accountability of our law enforcement agencies.”

The Internal Security Act (ISA) was also crticised during the launch of the report.
According to the report, in 2008, there were 10 ISA arrests, 34 releases and 20 renewed detention orders.

Number 132 in world press

Liu also mentioned that Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) ranked Malaysia 132 on a list of 195 countries on their press freedom index.

He also brought up Malaysia’s recent black listing for human trafficking of by a United States committee, which was later refuted by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

“What we are seeing now under Najib’s new premiership is that he has announced several measures which are populist in nature, they look good and at a superficial level seems promising. But it is still early to assess if any real or meaningful improvements have been made (by Najib),” said Liu.

Speaking to reporters later, he said “Despite the growing calls for reform, not only has the government failed to reform, but they have repeated violations that were committed 10 years ago.”

On Teoh’s royal commission

When asked on the cabinet’s decision to set up an inquest for Teoh’s death, Arumugam said this was just a political decision to appease the Chinese community, as he further questioned why there wasn’t an inquest for Kugan’s death.

“Suaram will continue to press the government to let a royal commission investigate Teoh’s death, and not just MACC’s methods” said Arumugam.

Suaram also urged the government to set up a Coroner’s Court to look into all deaths in custody instead of just inquests.

This is because the inquests set up may not be independent enough, and a Coroner’s Act would ensure that the inquests would be held within a month of each death in custody.

Emily Chow, Mkini

Pakatan wants more from royal commission

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 23, 2009 by ckchew

Pakatan Rakyat today said that there were many questions that needed urgent answers in the circumstances surrounding the death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock while being questioned by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission last week.

As such, the opposition coalition said, the government was wrong in limiting the terms of reference of the royal commission of inquiry to look only into the MACC’s investigative procedures.

The royal commission, as announced by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razzak yesterday, will also be tasked to determine if there were any human right violations when Teoh was being interrogated.

Pakatan Rakyat leader however believed that the royal commission must also look into the cause of Teoh’s death.

Najib announced yesterday that the cause of the death will be determined by an inquest.

“This makes a mockery of the public outcry for justice, truth and accountability,” said Pakatan leader in a joint statement today.

The statement was signed by PKR vice-president R Sivarasa, PAS council member Dzulkefly Ahmad and Selangor DAP secretary Lau Weng San.

They said that some of the questions that needed to be answered were:

  • why was Teoh’s case allegedly involving an amount less than RM2,500 is pursued with such aggression and urgency?
  • why was Teoh and another so-called “witness” kept overnight and interrogated with such oppression?
  • why was Teoh’s hand phone in the custody of the MACC when the MACC insisted that he was only a witness; why did the MACC initially deny they took his handphone?
  • why would Teoh spend the night at the MACC’s office if he was free to go especially since he was scheduled to be married the next morning;
  • why would Teoh commit suicide (as alleged by MACC and others) in these circumstances, when he is about to get married, with his fiancé expecting their child, and with no sign or history of depression or mental illness.

“Hence, whilst it is appropriate that the royal commission investigate the procedures of investigation of the MACC, the key question of how Teoh died must also be investigated and answered by them.

“That question cannot be separated from the more general issue of how the MACC conducts investigations,” said the Pakatan leaders in their statement.

Ridiculous questions from police

Sivarasa also said that having an inquest, which is presided by a magistrate would not achieve the true objective of finding Teoh’s cause of death.

“In an inquest, police will give the evidence that it has gathered and the DPP assisting the coroner in the inquest would direct questions. There are limited roles played by other parties and this results in numerous inquests ending up without determining the cause of death,” Sivarasa said.

“Furthermore, the public has questioned the integrity of the police, judiciary and the prosecution in the past. Hence, we strongly feel that an inquest is insufficient. Expanding the terms of reference of the royal commission to determine the cause of death would be seen to be independent,” he said.

Sivarasa also questioned the relevance of the police line of interrogation to determine the cause of Teoh’s death when they met an aide to Selangor executive councillor Elizabeth Wong.

“They asked questions as to whether Teoh was a smoker, or has he got political enemies, does he owe a lot of money. Such questions posed by the authorities when recording statements would not help determine the cause of death.

“They should be looking at whether there were other finger prints on the windows, or whether there were a third party’s hair or other subtances on from Teoh’s shirt which could be sent for DNA analysis. If this was the line of questioning, I do not think the inquest would achieve its desired objective”

Selective prosecution adopted

Selangor DAP organising secretary Lau Weng San also questioned the selective prosecution adopted by MACC in supposedly taking action on Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives.

“I lodged a report to the MACC a couple of months ago regarding a BN elected representative finishing his allocation of RM500,000 within two months. But no action has been taken on it,” Lau, who is Kampung Tunku assemblyperson said.

A big poser, he said, is how could a witness, not an accused person, die while in MACC’s custody.

These, Lau said are the questions which MACC should answer as it happened on their premises.

“Hence, DAP along with Pakatan partners truly feel that we need a water-tight royal commission to not only answer questions on MACC’s investigative procedures but also determine the cause of death.”

“Having a junior magistrate presiding in an inquest is insufficient as it would not be able to determine the circcumstances surrounding Teoh’s death.”

People of integrity to be in commission

Dzulkefly, who also supports the expansion in the role of the commission, asked that people of high-integrity be appointed in the royal commission.

“The royal commission must include people who have a high standing and be non-partisan.

“This is to ensure that there is transparency in the commission to seek the truth ,” said Dzulkefly, who is also Kuala Selangor MP said.

He also questioned the setting-up of the inquest and asked what would happen if there are two separate findings, one from the inquest and one from the royal commission.

He wanted to know how would the discrepancy be addressed if there was one.

“Surely, by having one royal commission not only to assess the investigative procedures but also the circumstances surrounding Teoh’s death would resolve this dilemma,” said Dzulkefly.

Hafiz Yatim, Mkini

Anwar: RC must include Teoh’s cause of death

Posted in Anwar Ibrahim with tags , on July 23, 2009 by ckchew

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, has asked that the terms of reference of the royal commission should also cover the cause of Teoh Beng Hock’s death.

Commenting on the matter on his blog, Anwar said that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had bowed to pressure by the people in wanting justice for the DAP aide.

“Looking at the terms of reference of the royal commission as outlined by the Cabinet, it is to only study the interrogation tactics employed by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) and not Teoh’s cause of death.”

“The formation of the royal commission would not stop the erosion of public confidence in various enforcement and justice institutions or answer the riddles surrounding Teoh’s death. I am of the view that the commission should focus on the cause of Teoh’s death,” said Anwar.

Generally, he said people, including the Bar Council, have questioned the MACC’s investigative procedures as the guidelines which seem to have been ignored.

International conventions on interrogation

Anwar also said that Rule 20, Lock-Up Regulations 1953 and Section 28A(4) of the Criminal Procedure Code and also the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment should be adhered to al times.

He said the government should adopt the benchmark and guidelines of these provisions within the parameters of Malaysian law which had already been agreed upon and practiced in many countries.

“It is not proper for the cause of death to be determined through an inquest by appointing a magistrate while the investigations are being conducted by the Home Ministry and the police.

“The government should realise that the public want a Royal Commission was because they no longer believe in the integrity and the independence of the police and the Home Ministry.

“I am certain the public do not want to see this royal commission to end like the VK Lingam saga or the former IGP’s attack on me where no proper follow-up action was been taken.

Anwar said all the recommendations of the investigations presented by the previous royal commission ended at a dead-end and protected certain people./ Mkini

‘Police tried to absolve MACC officers from liability’

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 23, 2009 by ckchew

The police wanted to “absolve MACC officers from liability” in the death of Teoh Beng Hock, said a lawyer, after the political aide’s family was interrogated by the police at Kajang police station today.

Their lawyer and Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng said statements were taken from Teoh’s father, his older brother, the younger sister and also his two-month pregnant fiancee Soh Sher Wei.

Another lawyer, Eric Tan Pok Shyong said most of the police questions focused on the possibility that Teoh’s death could not have been caused by the MACC officers.

“For example, they asked about Teoh’s characters, if he had complained about work before he died, and tried to make a connection with his work and the possibility that he may taken his own life as a result,” he said.

Teoh a non-smoker

“They also asked if Teoh was a smoker. I’m guessing the only reason they asked that was make an attempt establish that he may fallen accidently out of the window while smoking,” he said.

However, Tan said the family members answered all their questions and denied any possibility of suicide.

“Also, Teoh was not a smoker,” he said.

Teoh, who was Seri Kembangan assemblyperson Ean Yong Hian Wah’s political secretary, was found dead in the corridor on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam, last Thursday.

The 30-year-old was believed to have fallen from the MACC office located on the 14th floor.

He was being interrogated as a witness into allegations of misappropriation of Selangor state funds.

Teoh was buried last Monday in Semenyih. Police said that almost 60 percent of the probe into his sudden death was completed.

According to Lim, the family members were mindful of the questions posed by the police who wanted to know if Teoh was depressed, suicidal or had financial problems.

“But the family have denied all this. Teoh was joyful and had no problems at work. Teoh had no financial issues, got along well with everyone and was preparing for his wedding,” said Lim.

Tan said that the police conducted the interrogation in a friendly and cooperative manner.

Family welcomes royal commission

“The whole procedure went smoothly and took about 90 minutes,” he said. The police also asked family members when Teoh had contacted them last.

“He contacted no one immediately before the incident…because the fiancee, being the closest person to Teoh, said that she received no phone calls from him,” he said.

Lim also said that the police had asked Teoh’s fiancee one ‘interesting question’, whether he changed his shoes everyday.

This is in relation to the investigating officer’s revelation that Teoh’s shoes looked in shreds when his body was found.

“They asked if Teoh owned many shoes and what size he wore…the fiancee said that Teoh had several pairs and seldom changed them unless they were damaged, but on that fateful day, he wore a new pair,” said Lim.

The family, said Lim, welcomed the government’s setting up of a royal commission of inquiry today to get to the bottom of Teoh’s death.

“Family members are happy and they hope the inquiry will start soon,” he said.

Rahmah Ghazali, Mkini

PKR leader, the real Hantu trying to divert the issue – hit out at ‘coup leaders’

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 22, 2009 by ckchew

Penang PKR leaders today hit out at certain division leaders for allegedly attempting to stage a leadership coup and create a rift among party members in the state.

State PKR secretary Mustafa Kamal blasted the ‘rebels’ of wrongly using their resources to cause an internal ruckus.

Instead, he suggested that the rebels should mobilise and focus their energy, mind and time to counter the resurgence of opposition Barisan Nasional in Penang.

“I am disappointed that these few rebel leaders were interested in creating internal politicking rather than strengthening the party grassroots support.

“I hardly see these rebels countering the opposition BN attacks on Pakatan Rakyat, be it through the media, by carrying effective field work or even while debating in legislature sittings.

“But they seem more actively involved in disrupting internal party operations,” he told Malaysiakini.

Senator Mustafa warned that such negative elements could prove costly for the party and the Pakatan Rakyat coalition in the next general election.

He reminded the rebels that the people have chosen Pakatan at the last general election because they wanted to move away from BN-type communal policies, intense bickering and, unjust and unfair governance.

He cautioned that people would not hesitate to vote against PKR and Pakatan if they were to become fed up with the internal bickering.

‘Public expectation is high because the voters wanted a change in the political landscape and style.

“They will vote us out in the same manner they did to BN if they felt we were to be no different,” said Mustafa.

He was referring to recent attempt by certain division leaders and elected lawmakers to oust Bayan Baru parliamentarian Zahrain Hashim as the state party chairperson.

During an informal meeting last Sunday, according to a mobile text message sent to Malaysiakini, division leaders had demanded Zahrain to step down ‘gracefully’.

Call to remove state secretary

The rebels are said to have demanded Zahrain to remove Mustafa as the state secretary, and his two assistant secretaries Lim Boo Chang and M Nyanasegaran.

Lim has also been appointed councillor in the Penang Island Municipal Council.

The text message claimed that Zahrain had conceded to the demands.

Zahrain however, denied the claim and said that he had instead issued a ‘stern fatherly lecture’ to abort the revolt against his leadership

“They must be joking,” he said, saying that he was appointed by the national leadership, not the rebels, to lead Penang PKR.

“I have told them to raise their grouses in the next liaison committee meeting,” he told Malaysiakini.

State executive councilor and Batu Kawan division chief Law Choo Kiang, Jelutong chief and Nibong Tebal parliamentarian Tan Tee Beng, Bukit Bendera chairperson and Kebun Bunga assemblyperson Jason Ong Khan Lee, Bukit Gelugor chief, Batu Uban state representative VS Raveentharan and Bukit Mertajam division chief and Machang Bubok legislator Tan Hock Leong were among those who attended the three-hour Sunday meeting

Attempts to contact the sender of the message met with no response.

Sources said these detractors were against Lim and Nyanasegaran since the duo defected from BN to join PKR after last year’s general election.

Lim was formerly a Gerakan and later MCA assemblyperson, while Nyanasegaran was a former MIC Bayan Baru division leader.

The rebels have accused Zahrain and Mustafa of favouring ‘BN rejects’ at their expense.

They claimed to be ‘hardcore PKR loyalists.’

Zahrain defended the state liaison committee decision to appoint Lim and Nyanasegaran as principal office-bearers early this year.

He explained that the duo have the administrative capabilities and experience to carry out the party work effectively.

“Moreover, they have not caused any rift or problems in the party,” he said.

Be consistent in protest

He said although PKR had emerged as a political force after a strong electoral performance in the last general election, the party cannot afford to be lulled by complacency.

He said these rebels should also be consistent in their objection against the party decision to recruit former BN members.

He suggested to the rebels to protest against the national leadership for alluring so-called BN rejects such as former Minister Zaid Ibrahim and ex-deputy minister Fauzi Rahman from Umno, and the latest being former Minister Chua Jui Meng from the MCA.

Pointing out that all three have been appointed instantly into the party central leadership council, Zahrain challenged the rebels to protest against party supremo Anwar Ibrahim for approving their appointments.

“Why they are practicing double standards in their objection?” Zahrain asked.

When contacted, Tee Beng declined to reveal the details of the Sunday’s informal meeting with Zahrain.

He said he would prefer to resolve internal issues within proper party channels.

Athi Shankar, Mkini

Yahoooooo! The 11 gifts from jibby Altantuya’s 100 days in office can & will never replace this present, it will surely make your day: Electricity rates expected to rise 4.9pc

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 22, 2009 by ckchew

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — The government is today considering proposals to hike natural gas prices for power producers by 24.6 per cent from Aug 1, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Under a twice-yearly review, to be discussed by the Cabinet today, that would result in electricity tariffs for customers of power utility Tenaga Nasional rising by 4.9 per cent, which will see a return inflation spike move back into positive territory by the end of the year.

The June consumer price inflation data, due later today, is expected to show the first bout of deflation since August 1986.

According to the median estimate in a Reuters poll of 14 economists, the consumer price index for June fell by 1.35 per cent from a year ago.

Malaysia has already announced price hikes for transport, that will push inflation higher and the new price rises would add to that.

“The housing, water, electricity and fuels component makes up 21.4 per cent of the CPI. With this 4.9 per cent hike in electricity tariffs, it will lead to an increase in this component by 0.82 per cent … or add 0.1 per cent (point) to the overall index,” said Patricia Oh, economist at TA Securities.

TA is forecasting annual inflation for 2009 of one per cent.

The price hikes could also hit demand at a time when Malaysia’s, Asia’s third-most export dependent economy, is expected to see its economy contract by up to 5 per cent this year, according to government forecasts.

“The housing, water, electricity and fuels component has been stable … but it will eat into consumer spending and that’s not good given the problems we already have with external demand with regards to the manufacturing sector,” said Philip McNicholas, economist at IDEAglobal.com.

News of the price hike for Tenaga sent its stock 2.38 per cent higher to RM8.60, outperforming the broader market.

Under the proposals, to be announced after a rise in benchmark oil prices, industrial gas prices will rise by 4.5 per cent, the source said.

Even so, Malaysian gas will remain much cheaper than the international price and state oil and gas company Petronas will subsidise prices to the tune of around RM6.4 billion over the next six months, the source said.

Petronas accounts for 44.9 per cent of government revenue and natural gas subsidies cost it RM19.5 billion in the company’s fiscal year just ended. — Reuters/ MI

The Court of Appeal’s “Outline of Reasons” in Anwar Ibrahim v PP – A Critique

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on July 22, 2009 by ckchew

I must apologize for the delay in giving this critique. The Court of Appeal gave its decision on July 2. I received the “Outline of Reasons” from Ngan Siong Hing only last Friday, July 17. Without him supplying me with a copy of the judgment of the Court of Appeal I would not be able to write this critique. Also as I do not have access to a law library I depend a lot on his generosity to get the legal material that I need to write my essays for ordinary people to understand what the judges are talking about. This is to enable the common people of this country to judge the judges for themselves.

The whole case can be understood just by reading sections 418A(1) and (2), and 376(1) and (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Power corrupts

David Pannick in his book Judges, OUP (1987), wrote at p. 76:

In all societies throughout history, judges have occasionally been adversely affected by their power. An early example occurs in the biblical story of Daniel and Susanna. Two elders of the community were appointed to serve as judges. They saw Susanna walking in her husband’s garden “and they were obsessed with lust for her”. When she resisted their advances they falsely accused her of infidelity to her husband. “As they were elders of the people and judges, the assembly believed them and condemned her to death”. A young man named Daniel protested that an enquiry should be made into the judges’ allegations. He accused them of giving “unjust decisions, condemning the innocent and acquitting the guilty”. Under his careful cross-examination, the judges were proved to be liars: Daniel and Susanna in The Apocrypha.

The English Bench has had its fair share of bad judges. … In the seventeenth century, the Bench “was cursed by a succession of ruffians in ermine [most notably Jeffreys and Scroggs (Sir William)], who, for the sake of court [royal] favour, violated the principles of law, the precepts of religion, and the dictates of humanity”: John Lord Campbell, Lives of the Lord Chancellors (5th edn, 1868), vol. 4, p. 416.

The misuse of power from whatever quarter it may come

In The Family Story, Butterworths (1981), Lord Denning said at p. 179:

The law itself should provide adequate and efficient remedies for the abuse or misuse of power from whatever quarter it may come. No matter who it is – who is guilty of the abuse or misuse. Be it government, national or local. Be it trade unions. Be it the press. Be it management. Be it labour. Whoever it be, no matter how powerful, the law should provide a remedy for the abuse or misuse of power. Else the oppressed will get to the point when they will stand it no longer. They will find their own remedy. There will be anarchy. To my mind it is fundamental in our society that a judge should do his utmost to see that powers are not abused or misused. If they come into conflict with the freedom of the individual – or with any other of our fundamental freedoms – then it is the province of the judge to hold the balance between the competing interests. In holding that balance the judges must put freedom first.

And at p. 180, this was what Lord Denning said in 1949 at the Hamlyn lectures:

Reviewing the position generally, the chief point which emerges is that we have not yet settled the principles upon which to control the new powers of the executive. No one will suppose that the executive will never be guilty of the sins that are common to all of us. You may be sure that they will sometimes do things which they ought not to do: and will not do things that they ought to do. But if and when wrongs are thereby suffered by any of us, what is the remedy? Our procedure for securing our personal freedom is efficient, but our procedure for preventing the abuse is not. Just as the pick and shovel is no longer suitable for the winning of coal, so also the procedure of mandamus, certiorari, and actions on the case are not suitable for the winning of freedom in the new age. They must be replaced by new and up-to-date machinery, by declarations, injunctions, and actions for negligence: and, in judicial matters, by compulsory powers to order a case stated. This is not a task for Parliament. Our representatives there cannot control the day-to-day activities of the many who administer the manifold activities of the State: nor can they award damages to those who are injured by any abuses. The courts must do this. Of all the great tasks that lie ahead, this is the greatest. Properly exercised the new powers of the executive lead to the welfare State: but abused they lead to the totalitarian State. None such must ever be allowed in this country. We have in our time to deal with changes which are of constitutional significance to those which took place 300 years ago. Let us prove ourselves equal to the challenge.

“That lecture was given in 1949. Now, 30 years or so later [The Family Story was published in 1981], I think we can say that we have achieved what I then hoped for.” wrote Lord Denning.

“We have now new and up-to-date machinery for the winning of freedom.” he wrote. “We have declarations, injunctions, actions for negligence, and judicial review. All that is needed now is for the judges – and the Bar – to get to know how to use it.”

I write about this in order to show how the common law was developed by great judges and Malaysia is a common law country. So that most of us will know how and why we have inherited a great deal from the English common law which is the cradle of it all. The common law is mostly the experience and the combined wisdom of great judges throughout history. It took the British judges 700 or so years to have their common law it is today. The USA has a common law history of about 250 years. In Malaysia we have about 50 years since independence. Let us be humble and learn from the mistakes of others.

But for the moment it seems that our present crop of judges have stopped in their tracks as far as the development of the common law is concerned. Some of whom, especially those in the higher echelons, are sorely lacking in competency.

All that is needed now is for the judges to know how to use it

The Bar certainly knew how to use the new machinery to fight the abuse or misuse of power by the powers that be. But not so the judges of the Court of Appeal in Anwar Ibrahim v PP. But first, let me show you the relevant provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code that applies to this case. I start with section 418A(1) and (2), thus:

418A. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 417 and subject to section 418B, the Public Prosecutor may in any particular case triable by a criminal Court subordinate to the High Court issue a certificate specifying the High Court in which the proceedings are to be instituted or transferred and requiring that the accused person be caused to appear or be produced before such High Court.

(2) The power of the Public Prosecutor under subsection (1) shall be exercised by him personally.

This draconian piece of legislation gives the Public Prosecutor the power to transfer any criminal case triable by a subordinate court to a High Court of the Public Prosecutor’s choice. But who is the Public Prosecutor? For this we have to refer to section 376 of the Criminal Procedure Code. It reads:

376. (1) The Attorney-General shall be the Public Prosecutor and shall have the control and direction of all criminal proceedings under this Code.

(2) The Solicitor-General shall have all powers of a Deputy Public Prosecutor and shall act as Public Prosecutor in case of the absence or inability to act of the Attorney-General.

Subsection (2) allows the Solicitor-General to act as Public Prosecutor in case of the inability of the Attorney-General to act as such. This means that if the Attorney-General is disqualified to act on account of bias, as in this case, then in such a situation he is prevented from acting as the Public Prosecutor in a 418A application. In which case the Solicitor-General shall act as Public Prosecutor unless the Solicitor-General is himself tainted with bias – in this case for supporting the Attorney-General for what he had done that amounts to bias. But justice is still served as the defendant can still be tried before a subordinate criminal court. We are entitled to question the motive of the Attorney-General. Why should he, in the mantle of Public Prosecutor, be so insistent and selective in the choice of a court to hear the Anwar Ibrahim sodomy case? To everyone in this country the charge of sodomy against Anwar Ibrahim is no different from any sodomy charge against any other wrongdoer, unless, the Attorney-General as Public Prosecutor wants to have a particular High Court to hear the case against Anwar Ibrahim. But why so? What is so special about Anwar Ibrahim? Is he the Attorney-General’s or someone’s nemesis? Such an act creates an impression to the general public that the prosecution wants to ensure a conviction by choosing the correct court to hear the case. To all of us right-thinking Malaysians this is unfair and unjust treatment of anyone who is accused of a crime. If my reader has the patience to read this article to the end you will be shocked to learn of the real motive of the Attorney-General’s insistence on a High Court of his choice.

The judgment of the Court of Appeal in Anwar Ibrahim v PP

The judges of this Court of Appeal are Abdull Hamid Embong, Abu Samah Nordin and Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha JJCA. Remember their names for posterity so that the bad judges of this country will be etched indelibly in our memory. The judgment of the court was delivered by Hamid Embong JCA. It was a unanimous decision so that the travesty of justice caused by the decision implicates all of them. He said in his judgment which is in numbered paragraphs:

52. In signing this certificate, the PP cannot be said to be exercising a quasi-judicial function, but merely an administrative one, and one that only he can exercise. (see PP v Oh Keng Seng (1976) 2 MLJ)

53. In this case, we are of the considered opinion that the rule that a person under a suspicion of bias should not act as an adjudicator is not applicable to the act of the PP in signing this certificate. We would apply the exception that natural justice may be overridden by a statutory provision as enunciated in Franklin & Ors v Minister of Town and Country Planning (1948) AC 87, an exception which is applicable in both administrative and legislative processes.

54. We rule that, in this instance, despite the allegations of bias and conflict of interest against him, the PP being the specific and only officer authorised by law to sign the s. 418A certificate, may do so. His act cannot be impugned by reason of the imputed bias or conflict of interest. (see Mohd Zainal Abidin bin Abdul Mutalib v Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed, Minister of Home Affairs & Anor (1989) 3 MLJ 170).

Let me now expose the fallacy of the reasoning of the judgment of this Court of Appeal

In paragraph 52 (see above) the judge, Hamid Embong JCA, said that the Public Prosecutor was not exercising a quasi-judicial but an administrative function which only he as Public Prosecutor can exercise. This is not the law. The misuse of power may come from any quarter; it need not be from a person sitting in a judicial or quasi-judicial capacity. As Lord Denning has put it: “No one will suppose that the executive will never be guilty of the sins that are common to all of us. You may be sure that they will sometimes do things which they ought not to do: and will not do things that they ought to do. But if and when wrongs are thereby suffered by any of us, what is the remedy?” Nowadays there is always a remedy against the wrongdoings of public officials. The Attorney-General in this case is no more than a salaried civil servant – he is subject to the remedy against the wrongdoings of a public official. His employer is the Government of Malaysia and the CEO is the Prime Minister. On the other hand an English Attorney-General is a Minister in his own right and an elected representative of the House of Commons.

In The Queen v Gaming Board for Great Britain, exparte Benaim and Khaida [1970] 2 QB 417, 430 Lord Denning MR said:

It is not possible to lay down rigid rules as to when the principles of natural justice are to apply: nor as to their scope and extent. Everything depends on the subject-matter: see what Tucker LJ said in Russell v Norfolk (Duke of) [1949] 1 All ER 109, 118 and Lord Upjohn in Durayappah v Fernando [1967] 2 AC 337, 349. At one time it was said that the principles only apply to judicial proceedings and not to administrative proceedings. That heresy was scotched in Ridge v Baldwin [1964] AC 40, 77-79 per Lord Reid, 133 per Lord Hodson.

Ridge v Baldwin was a decision of the House of Lords. It was followed and applied by the Federal Court in Ketua Pengarah Kastam v Ho Kwan Seng [1977] 2 MLJ 152. This makes the common law decision of Ridge v Baldwin a part of the common law of this country.

So now we know it is utter rubbish to say that the principles of natural justice applies only to a judicial or quasi-judicial function. Ridge v Baldwin and Ketua Pengarah Kastam v Ho Kwan Seng have changed all that. And it is also rubbish to assume that only the Attorney-General can be the Public Prosecutor. See my explanation of section 376(1) and (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code which I have discussed earlier in this article.

Next is paragraph 53. In substance what this Court of Appeal is saying is that the Public Prosecutor is not an adjudicator so that the question of bias does not apply to him. As pointed out above that heresy has been scotched in the House of Lords’ decision of Ridge v Baldwin. He was merely doing his duty as Public Prosecutor, says the Court of Appeal, to put his signature which according to him is a mechanical act required of him by section 41 8A of the Criminal Procedure Code. But the question is, what if the Public Prosecutor acts in bad faith to transfer the case to the High Court of his choice? Surely, in such a situation the decision to transfer the case to a High Court of the Public Prosecutor’s choice cannot be allowed to stand on account of bias.

The Court of Appeal relied on Franklin & Ors v Minister of Town & Country Planning [1948] AC 87 where the headnote reads that the House of Lords has held that the Minister of Town and Country Planning has no judicial or quasi-judicial duty imposed on him, so that considerations of bias in the execution of such a duty are irrelevant, the sole question being whether or not he genuinely considered the report and the objections under the New Towns Act 1946. We know now that after Ridge v Baldwin in 1964, Franklin is no longer authority for any such proposition.

It is quite unbelievable that these judges of the Court of Appeal could ever dream of misleading the general public of this country by citing as authority a 1948 decision when they knew, as I am sure Haji Sulaiman or any competent counsel would have informed them, that Franklin is no longer good law. Not only that, Ridge v Baldwin in 1964 has been approved and applied by our Federal Court in Ketua Pengarah Kastam v Ho Kwan Seng, thus importing into the common law of Malaysia the English common law decision of Ridge v Baldwin.

Furthermore, they, the judges of this Court of Appeal, even try to mislead us by saying in paragraph 53: “We would apply the exception that natural justice may be overridden by a statutory provision as enunciated in Franklin & Ors v Minister of Town and Country Planning (1948) AC 87, an exception which is applicable in both administrative and legislative processes”. I have read through the judgment of Lord Thankerton, all 12 pages of it, many times over but I am unable to find the proposition of law that Hamid Embong JCA states in paragraph 53 of his “Outline of Reasons” was the ratio decidendi of Franklin. The Court of Appeal has put in words to the House of Lords’ decision in Franklin which was not found in the judgment of Lord Thankerton.

And now to paragraph 54. For the reasons given above, what the Court of Appeal says in paragraph 54 is not the law. Ridge v Baldwin in the House of Lords and our Federal Court in Ketua Pengarah Kastam v Ho Kwan Seng have scotched the heresy. If it can be shown that the Attorney-General had misused his power in the victimization of Anwar Ibrahim that is enough to disqualify him from acting as the Public Prosecutor to sign the certificate under section 418A of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The most shocking condemnation of all

Finally, I will leave this to your own judgement. The following is taken from the judgment of Steve Shim who was then the Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak in the case of Zainur bin Zakaria v Public Prosecutor [2001] 3 MLJ 604, 613-614:

To my absolute horror and disappointment Dato’ Abdul Gani Patail used the meeting and the death sentence under s 57 of the ISA as a bargaining tool to gather evidence against Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim. He had with him the letter I had written to you and copied to him. He was waving the letter about and kept on saying, repeatedly, “I am not impressed” and suggesting that he would not be impressed with my plea to a charge under the Arms Act but instead he wanted more. This “more”, and it came across very loud and clear because Dato’ Abdul Gani Patail laid it out in very clear and definite terms, was:

1 That Nallakaruppan was now facing the death sentence.

2 That there were other charges also under the ISA that he could prefer against Nallakaruppan but that if they (AG’s chambers?) hanged him once under the present charge what need would there be to charge him for anything else.

3 That in exchange for a reduction of the present charge to one under the Arms Act, he wanted Nallakaruppan to cooperate with them and to give information against Anwar Ibrahim, specifically on matters concerning, several married women. Dato’ Abdul Gani kept changing the number of women and finally settled on five, three married and two unmarried.

4 That he would expect Nallakaruppan to testify against Anwar in respect of these women.

I was shocked that Dato’ Abdul Gani even had the gall to make such a suggestion to me. He obviously does not know me. I do not approve of such extraction of evidence against ANYONE, not even or should I say least of all, a beggar picked up off the streets. A man’s life, or for the matter, even his freedom, is not a tool for prosecution agencies to use as a bargaining chip. No jurisprudential system will condone such an act. It is blackmail and extortion of the highest culpability and my greatest disappointment is that a once independent agency that I worked with some 25 years ago and of which I have such satisfying memories has descended to such levels in the creation and collection of evidence. To use the death threat as a means to the extortion of evidence that is otherwise not there (why else make such a demand?) is unforgivable and surely must in itself be a crime, leave alone a sin, of the greatest magnitude. Whether his means justify, the end that he seeks are matters that Dato’ Abdul Gani will have to wrestle with within his own conscience.

You can read the rest of it from the law reports. I cannot stomach this anymore. Possibly you can approach a website to show the entire judgment of Shim CJ on their portal with the permission of MLJ or any other law report.

All I can say is that, if Gani Patail is a member of an Inns of Court he would be disbarred as a barrister.

I am sickened by the perversity of the office of the Public Prosecutor.

NH CHAN is a former Court of Appeal judge /Loyar Burok

Ku Li slams MACC, says witnesses shouldn’t end up in coffins

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on July 22, 2009 by ckchew

By Lee Wei Lian

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Expressing concern that the recent death of Teoh Beng Hock is a sign that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has gone “rogue”, senior Umno leader Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said that nothing should be spared in the effort to find out the reason behind the death of the DAP political aide.

Tengku Razaleigh also hit out at the MACC for investigating minor cases while ignoring major examples of graft.

He said that Malaysians no longer feel safe or secure if mere witnesses called in to give evidence to a graft busting agency could be found dead the next day. “I feel it is very bad for a country like this. We have been independent for 50 years. Must people called up for queries end up in a coffin?” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Teoh was the political aide to DAP state assemblyman Ean Yong Hian Wah.

Teoh was called in last Wednesday to assist the MACC in its investigations into alleged misuse of funds by his boss. He was found dead the next day, sprawled on the roof of the adjacent building to the MACC headquarters in Shah Alam.

Police are now probing his death and the Cabinet is expected to discuss widespread calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the tragedy.

Tengku Razaleigh said calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh’s suspicious death would be of no use if the government does not follow through on its suggestions, pointing out that the government had ignored the recommendations of previous royal commissions such as the one that investigated the V.K. Lingam case of alleged judge fixing and on improving the police force.

He even likened the sidelining of previous royal commissions to “insulting the King.”

The former finance minister also spoke out against the performance of the MACC, pointing out that it has not been as effective as its counterpart in Hong Kong at wiping out the corruption scourge.

He hit out at the commission for allegedly going after potentially minor offences but ignoring the major ones, saying that the current MACC model needs to be reviewed.

“This is a question of death you know. People want to know. I want to know. How could it happen? To a witness, who is going to give evidence and he is not even a suspect over the spending of RM2,400. Some people with millions of dollars, they get away with it and are not called for investigation.”

The following is a transcript of TMI’s conversation with Ku Li.

TMI: I understand you have some concerns about the recent death of Teoh Beng Hock who was found dead outside the MACC headquarters.

Ku Li: Yes. Why should anybody who is called for assistance into investigations or is held in the custody of the MACC die? There is no reason. I am not saying they are responsible for the death. That is subject to investigation. Can’t they look after these people to ensure nothing happens to them? Must it happen like this all the time?

TMI: Do you agree with the calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry?

Ku Li: That seems to be thinking of a lot of people. That may not necessarily be the best thing to do under the circumstance. You look at the previous royal commissions — on the police, on the Lingam tape. It leads us nowhere and the government doesn’t implement all the recommendations even though it was formed in the name of the King. I think it’s like insulting the King, not to implement those decisions. People took the trouble to give their views during the hearings. These are people of credible standing who spent their time and energy to get to the bottom of problems. But the government just ignores the recommendations. I hope if they set up a Royal Commission on Mr Teoh’s death, they should dig up everything and leave no stone unturned so we can resolve this problem and make people really happy and satisfied but the government must implement what the Royal Commission puts up. It depends on the composition of the commission — who they pick and select. It must be people of unblemished character so that people do not doubt their integrity. This incident has brought about a lot of unhappiness in the country. People don’t feel secure, people don’t feel safe. People feel they are not protected if a man who is not a suspect, is called to give evidence to the MACC is found dead the next day, I feel it is very bad for a country like this. We have been independent for 50 years. Must people called up for queries end up in a coffin? I don’t think that is what the government wants or what the people want. It’s not very good for the country.

TMI: What changes do you recommend for the MACC? There have been allegations that MACC is being used as a tool to put down political rivals.

Ku Li: That is always the accusation of the opposition. But let me put it to you this way. It depends on how you read the MACC and how it is implemented. Also there are people running the MACC. Some may employ rough tactics so that they take over control of what they are supposed to do. I thought when the former prime minister wanted to amend the previous law on anti-corruption, he was going to base it purely on the Hong Kong model and I am very attracted to the Hong Kong model if not even to the Australian model.

TMI: Which aspects of the Hong Kong model are you attracted to?

Ku Li: Well, it is more or less the same except that you make it very independent and they were successful in fighting corruption in Hong Kong which was really rife in those days and after the inception of the anti-corruption law in Hong Kong and setting up the machinery to implement those laws, you see that there is minimal or even talk about corruption in Hong Kong. So it has borne fruit. I thought that our government would take that model in toto to implement here and plus whatever other new mechanisms that could be put in place to really stop the rot that is damaging our society. But obviously it is not. And now you see with this death of Mr Teoh, obviously the rogue has taken over the role of controlling all these things which I think is not right.

TMI: Do you think the MACC should be made answerable to Parliament rather than the prime minister’s office?

Ku Li: Well it is very difficult for me to say. It must be independent, whether it is Parliament or whatever, I don’t know. But we have to relook at the whole model.

TMI: Are you satisfied with the way the investigations have gone so far? So far, only the police have conducted investigations.

Ku Li: I think it is the right thing to do. Now, you are demanding for a Royal Commission and if it is ever set up then they should be neutral, independent and like I said, they should dig up everything and leave no stone unturned. The scope of the investigation is very important. Set up Royal Commission, a lot of hoo-ha and after some time, it dies down, nobody cares and I don’t think it should be the case. This is a question of death you know. People want to know. I want to know. How could it happen? To a witness, who is going to give evidence and he is not even a suspect over the spending of RM2,400. Some people with millions of dollars, they get away with it and are not called for investigation.

TMI: Do you share the sense of unhappiness that certain Barisan Nasional personalities are not investigated by MACC but they are investigating these Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen?

Ku Li: That’s why I mentioned just now, some people get away with it. Even people accused of amassing funds or fortunes to the tune of billions of dollars. These people are not investigated although accused. But in this instance, it is over RM2,400 for the purchase of flags or buntings. MI