Archive for February, 2010

Anwar Ibrahim: Kita komit untuk selamatkan Malaysia

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 28, 2010 by ckchew

Anwar: ‘Worst has yet to come’/EKONOMI MALAYSIA – RETAK MENANTI BELAH

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 27, 2010 by ckchew

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has questioned the government over claims that that Malaysia is on the road to economic recovery after registering a 4.5 percent gross domestic product growth (GDP) in the last quarter of 2009.

According to Anwar, a former finance minister, such pronouncements were “not only premature but irresponsible” pointing out that the increased growth was due to heavy government expenditure rather than a rise in private spending.

NONE“It is clear that the supposedly stronger growth was due to the massive pump priming by the government over the last year. Propping up the sagging economy is at best a stop-gap measure.

“Pump priming by definition cannot be permanent. I am deeply concerned that the continuous reliance on massive spending will take us down the road to economic serfdom. And that may not be too distant in the future,” said Anwar in a statement today.

The opposition leader was referring to the government’s RM60 billion stimulus package last year.

Anwar said the pump-priming measures, such as in the many leakages-plagued mega-projects, were the Barisan Nasional government’s sole economic policy since 1998, the year he was sacked as deputy prime minister and finance minister.

He said this move was done to address the dramatic decrease in private investments, which grew at the compound annual growth rate of 16.2 percent between 1991 and 1997, but fell to 1 percent between 1998 and 2008.

5% growth unlikely

“The data on private investment trend since 1991 should serve as a reminder of the path to economic damnation that BN has dragged us into,” said Anwar.

“Translating this into private investments in real terms, between 2005 and 2008, private investments into our economy stagnated at RM20.3 billion each year. This is even lower than the private investments figure in 1991, nearly 20 years ago”.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak declared that the “worst was over” for the economy and that “we can safely say we have recovered from the crisis”.

Though GDP growth dipped to -1.9 percent for 2009, Najib said the government expects 5 percent growth for 2010.

Despite Najib’s optimism, Anwar described the 2010 growth predictions were “disingenuous at best”.

“What the prime minister does not say to the people is that even if our economy grows by 5 percent, Malaysia will continue to fall behind Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines and even Vietnam in 2010”.

IMF says otherwise

Anwar’s predictions were based on the International Monetary Fund Oct 2009 forecast which said Malaysia is expected to perform worst among these countries, though the rest of the world will show signs of recovery.

Vietnam, for example, is expected to double Malaysia’s growth rate while the other countries will outpace Malaysia by an average of 50 percent.

“That is why Pakatan Rakyat will not jump too quickly to declare that the economy has recovered because there are still structural problems with the economy that have to be addressed urgently if we do not want to continue to fall behind.

“The Barisan Nasional government must own up to the fact that our economy is the way it is because of the years of mismanagement and corruption perpetrated by the powers-that-be,” he said.

Anwar said Malaysia’s economic future can only be guaranteed by a government that is accountable, transparent and practices good governances.

“That is why Pakatan Rakyat will remain relentless in the pursuit to offer the people an efficiently managed economy that will sustain the livelihood of future generations,” he added. Mkini

EKONOMI MALAYSIA: RETAK MENANTI BELAH

Pengumuman terbaru oleh Perdana Menteri bahawa “senario ekonomi terburuk” negara telah berakhir kerana KDNK berkembang pada kadar 4.5% dalam suku terakhir 2009 bukan sahaja dikira terlalu awal tetapi juga tidak bertanggungjawab.

Apa yang jelas, pertumbuhan itu sebenarnya dipacu oleh perbelanjaan besar-besaran oleh kerajaan sejak setahun lepas. Suntikan pakej rangsangan, seperti yang diketahui oleh mana-mana ahli ekonomi, sebaiknya adalah langkah sementara dan tidak boleh dilakukan secara berterusan. Oleh sebab itulah, saya amat khuatir kerana kaedah pergantungan yang berterusan kepada perbelanjaan kerajaan secara besar-besaran seperti yang diamalkan Barisan Nasional, akan membawa kita ke kancah permasalahan ekonomi yang sangat serius. Saat apabila ekonomi negara yang kini retak akan terbelah dan berkecai sebenarnya sudah hampir tiba.

Sejak 1998, kerajaan Barisan Nasional hanya tahu satu dasar ekonomi sahaja, iaitu menaikkan perbelanjaan kerajaan (melalui projek-projek besar yang tidak diperlukan dan membazir kerana melibatkan kepentingan kroni) untuk menutup kegagalannya menarik pelaburan individu dan swasta yang telah jatuh merudum.

Data pelaburan individu dan swasta sejak 1991 menjadi peringatan bagaimana Barisan Nasional telah mengheret negara ke lembah kehancuran ekonomi. Kalau sebelumnya di antara tahun 1991 hingga 1997 pelaburan individu dan swasta meningkat setiap tahun pada kadar 16.2%, selepas 1998 hinggalah kini kadar ini hanya menokok 1% secara purata sejak 11 tahun lepas.

Mengambil kira kesan inflasi, maknanya di antara tahun 2005 sehingga 2008, pelaburan individu dan swasta kekal tidak berkembang pada tahap RM20.3 billion setiap tahun. Jumlah ini adalah lebih rendah dari jumlah pelaburan individu dan swasta semasa saya mula-mula menjadi Menteri Kewangan dalam tahun 1991, iaitu hampir 20 tahun lalu.

Pada ketika Barisan Nasional terus hilang punca untuk menghidupkan kembali ekonomi bagi jangka masa panjang, kadar pelaburan individu dan swasta menjunam berbanding dengan tahapnya sebelum tahun 1997. Pada ketika itu, pelaburan individu dan swasta menyumbang 40% kepada KDNK. Malangnya sejak sedekad yang lalu, sumbangan pelaburan individu dan swasta terus merosot secara puratanya kepada kadar 28% sahaja daripada KDNK.

Oleh sebab itu, Pakatan Rakyat tidak akan membuat pengisytiharan yang cuai seperti Perdana Menteri bahawa ekonomi kita sudah pulih, kerana masih terlalu banyak masalah pokok yang perlu diselesaikan dengan segera sekiranya kita tidak mahu Malaysia terus tertinggal di belakang.

Tindakan Perdana Menteri merwar-warkan anggaran pertumbuhan 5% bagi 2010 sebagai sangat baik sebenarnya kurang berhemah. Apa yang tidak diwar-warkan oleh Perdana Menteri disebalik anggaran pertumbuhan 5% itu adalah hakikat bahawa pada kadar tersebut, Malaysia ditinggalkan jauh oleh negara-negara seperti Korea Selatan, Singapura, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Filipina malahan juga Vietnam dalam tahun 2010 kelak. Malaysia pada suatu ketika adalah setanding dengan Korea Selatan dan Singapura dan jauh lebih maju dari negara-negara yang lain.

Anggaran terbaru yang dikeluarkan oleh IMF pada Oktober 2009 menunjukkan bagi tahun 2010, Malaysia dijangkakan akan tumbuh pada kadar yang paling lembap berbanding kumpulan negara-negara tadi, walaupun ekonomi dunia dijangka akan mula pulih. Vietnam dijangka akan tumbuh pada kadar 2 kali ganda lebih baik dari Malaysia dan negara-negara lain akan berkembang pada kadar yang secara puratanya 50% lebih pesat dari Malaysia.

Kerajaan Barisan Nasional perlulah bertanggungjawab dan menerima hakikat bahawa ekonomi kita tersangkut di dalam perangkap seperti yang diumumkan Menteri Kewangan Kedua suatu masa dahulu; adalah disebabkan oleh salahguna kuasa dan rasuah oleh mereka yang berkuasa sejak sekian lama.

Kemakmuran negara pada masa hadapan hanya boleh dijamin oleh sebuah kerajaan yang memikul amanah yang diberikan oleh rakyat dengan rasa tanggungjawab yang tinggi. Maka, persoalan ketelusan dan amalan pentadbiran yang baik adalah prasyarat untuk memulihkan ekonomi negara.

Oleh sebab itu, Pakatan Rakyat akan terus bekerja keras untuk menawarkan kepada rakyat pentadbiran ekonomi yang telus, tulus dan berkembang secara sihat bagi jangkamasa yang panjang demi generasi akan datang.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Ketua Pembangkang

26 Februari 2010

Raja Azman’s lawyers cry foul

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 26, 2010 by ckchew

Lawyers for Raja Azman Petra charged that the investigation conducted on the plight of their client by Suhakam had been neither fair nor thorough.

Yesterday the national human rights council Suhakam had conducted an investigation at the Sungai Buloh prison of allegations that the son of prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin had been tortured.

Siva Subramaniam, heading the investigation had cleared prison authorities of any wrongdoings and claimed that Raja Azman’s wounds were self inflicted.

However, both lawyers J Chandra and Amarjit Singh Sidhu are unhappy over the way the investigation was carried out.

“Why are we not called for the investigation?” Amarjit asked.

Chandra expressed shock that the probe took place in the absence of Raja Azman’s lawyers.

He explained that it was important for counsel to be present to ensure that the interview is conducted in the right manner.

“Inmates might be pressured to give answers just to appease the authorities,” Chandra said.

They explained that the intimidating nature of the prison environment for the inmates makes it difficult to get at the truth.

“The prison is not the right place for an interview because the inmates are afraid,” Chandra said.

Amarjit concurred, saying that the interview should have been done in a place where the inmates are not afraid to voice out their grievances.

“But here, they are put under a microscope and everyone is watching and listening to what they have to say,” Amarjit explained.

The interview should have been, Amarjit said conducted in a neutral place, perhaps at Suhakam’s office.

He added that Raja Azman appeared cheerful probably due to fear of repercussions from the authorities once Suhakam members left.

Smuggled blade mystery

Most importantly,Chandra said is the origin of the razor blade.

“How did Raja Azman obtain the razor blade?” he asked.

Amarjit shot down the explanations given by Suhakam’s commissioner that razor blades smuggled into prisons is normal occurrence.

“If blades can be smuggled, then the prison security must be useless,” he said.

Chandra further questioned Suhakam’s findings that the blade that Raja Azman had swallowed was old and blunt.

“How do they know that the blade was old and blunt?” he asked since it was found after exiting the inmate’s system.

Amarjit claimed that the injuries on Raja Azman were not merely scratches.

“I saw him when he was just hospitalised and I could see that there were real cuts. Suhakam only visited him after almost three weeks, of course they look like scratches to them,” he said.

Amarjit added that Raja Azman  had told him of the abuse when he was in the hospital and the prison wardens were not within earshot.

“He told me that he had asked for hot water from the guard, but was refused. When he questioned the guard, he was pulled out and slapped,” he said.

Thereafter, he said he was then put into a cell with five other inmates. But the room was meant for only three people.

“He spend three days in the room and was mentally stressed before the self-inflicted injuries,” said Amarjit.

Raja Azman’s theft charges hearing is scheduled for March 2 and 3.

Christine Chan?Mkini

Suhakam arse: Raja Azman injuries self-inflicted!!!

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 25, 2010 by ckchew

The country’s human rights body has absolved prison authorities of having abused Raja Azman Petra, son of fugtive blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

National human rights council, Suhakam, today told reporters that the victim himself had admitted that the injuries were self-inflicted during a fit of temper and there was also no evidence of abuse or wrongdoings committed in the Sungai Buloh prison against him.

“We have conducted a thorough investigation and upon interviewing a few inmates and wardens, it was proven that there are no human rights violations,” Suhakam commissioner N Siva Subramaniam said.

A four-member team from the commission had today spend two and half hours at the prison to investigate the complaints pertaining to injuries sustained by Raja Azman early this month.

Speaking at a press conference later, Siva Subramaniam said that the injuries to the wrists did not require stitches and were not as serious as alleged.

“He only scratched his wrists,” he said.

Razors smuggled for shaving

According to Siva Subramaniam, Raja Azman had hurt himself using an “old and blunt razor”. No explanation was given as to the origins of the razor.

As to the razor blade which was swallowed, Raja Azman’s doctors said that it had exited through natural means.

When asked about the razor blade’s origin, Siva Subramaniam explained that it is common for old razors to be smuggled into prisons for shaving purposes.

He said the incident stemmed from Raja Azman’s animosity against a warden for putting him into seclusion for breaching a prison rule.

“Raja Azman  told us that he was dissatisfied and angry because he was put in isolation for scolding a warden,” Siva explained.

According to Siva, Raja Azman appeared “happy-go-lucky” and he had admitted that the injuries were self-inflicted because he was very upset then.

Siva explained that all procedures have been adhered to by the prison authorities in handling this incident.

“Raja Azman immediately rushed to the hospital, upon discovering that he was injured,” Siva said.

He added that doctors have confirmed that the inmate is healthy and has not sustained any internal injury nor was he suffering a mental breakdown.

Under observation

Also present at the press conference was prison director Narander Singh, who told reporters that all inmates are treated equally regardless of their status.

“However, Raja Azman will be observed more closely due to his past history of inflicting self-injuries,” Narander said.

He is now in the prison’s hospital ward for observation.

Raja Azman, who was held under remand in the prison since May 19 last year after failing to post bail, is facing four housebreaking and theft charges.

He swallowed a razor blade on Feb 8, 2010 and was admitted at the Sungai Buloh Hospital the same day. He was discharged two days ago.

Christine Chan/Mkini

Kelantan strikes back over KL’s oil ads

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 25, 2010 by ckchew
By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Fed-up with the federal government’s attempts to dodge out of paying oil royalties, the Kelantan state government is fighting fire with fire.

Earlier this week, Kelantan sent out copies of its eight-point stand of its claims for payments for oil produced off its coast to several Malay-language newspapers to counter the federal government’s eight arguments.

According to lawyer Tommy Thomas, a member of a team of lawyers engaged to act for the state government, the papers have yet to publish the state’s version.

The federal government had over the weekend taken out pages in Berita Minggu, Mingguan Malaysia and Sinar Harian listing eight reasons to deny Kelantan its claim.

“We disagree with the answers given in the recent advertisement made on behalf of the federal government,” Thomas said, and provided a copy of the state’s basis for its oil claims for contrast.

He noted that the Petroleum Development Act (PDA), which is the document referred to by both state and federal governments in the oil dispute, had come into force on Oct 1, 1974, and had set up Petronas, giving it rights to oil sourced from land or in waters in the country.

“Under the PDA, each of the 13 states signed identical agreements and vesting grants at different dates between 1975 and 1976 with Petronas, vesting their respective ownership of oil in Petronas,” the lawyer said, giving a brief background of the case.

The national oil company was to pay each state where oil was produced “a yearly sum equivalent to five per cent of the value of petroleum produced onshore and offshore of the state concerned”, Thomas added.

He also pointed out that Kelantan’s neighbour on the east, Terengganu, had received yearly payments for oil from the federal government from the start while the state was in the hands of the national coalition, Barisan Nasional (BN), but the payments stopped almost immediately after the state fell to PAS in 1999.

Kelantan’s response to the eight questions raised is reproduced below alongside the federal government’s answers to the same questions, for comparison.

1. According to the Petroleum Development Act 1974, what is the term used for payment made for oil and gas production?

State: The PDA, the 13 Agreements and the 13 Vesting Grants all use the term “cash payments”. The popular word used by all concerned is “royalty”. However, nothing turns on the description of the payment.

Federal: The term used is “cash payment” of 5 per cent. The word “royalty” is not being used anywhere in the Act.

2. According to the agreements between Petronas and the state government in 1975/1976, what are the requirements to entitle the state governments to the 5 per cent cash payments?

State: The terms used in the PDA, the 13 Agreements and the 13 Vesting Grants are “on-shore” and “off-shore” to denote petroleum produced from land (on-shore) and from water (off-shore). Neither the PDA, the 13 Agreements nor the 13 Vesting Grants contain any limitations on the right of any state to receive cash payments for petroleum produced off its coast based on the length from the coast. Hence, neither the PDA, the 13 Agreements nor the 13 Vesting Grants restrict the payment of cash payments for petroleum produced 3 miles, 12 miles, 200 miles or any other distance from the coast of the 13 states because distance is not specified in the PDA, the Agreements and the 13 Vesting Grants. Instead, the generic word “off-shore” is used.

The Emergency (Special Powers) Ordinance No. 1969 does not govern the ownership of petroleum, whether on-shore or off-shore. The Ordinance also does not deal with the legal obligations of Petronas to pay cash payments to a state where petroleum is produced on-shore or off-shore. Only the PDA does. Thus, the Ordinance is not the relevant law on the matter.

Federal: The oil or gas wells must be within the state boundaries, that is, the state land and its territory waters which is 3 nautical miles measured from the ebb level (Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No.7 1969).

3. Does the Kelantan state government or any other state governments in Peninsular Malaysia have the right to claim from Petronas the said cash payment?

State: Yes, provided petroleum is produced on-shore or off-shore the state concerned. Thus, in March 1978, Petronas informed Terengganu that petroleum had been produced in the Pulai oil field, which is located about 150 miles from the coast of Terengganu. In June 1978, Petronas made the first ever cash payment to Terengganu for petroleum produced off-shore Terengganu (in Pulai). For 22 successive years, that is, from 1978 to March 2000, Petronas made cash payments to Terengganu twice a year under the PDA, the Agreement and the Vesting Grant, although petroleum was produced hundreds of miles off-shore Terengganu. Only when PAS formed the state government of Terengganu after the general election of November 1999 did Petronas cease making cash payments to Terengganu, although Petronas is still producing petroleum off-shore Terengganu without paying Terengganu for it.

Federal: They have no right to do so as at this moment, all productive oil and gas wells in the peninsula are situated beyond the 3 nautical mile zone. Therefore, any production from the wells situated beyond state waters, which is beyond the 3 nautical mile zone, belongs to the federal government.

4. What is the position of Sabah and Sarawak on the issue of royalty payment?

State: Until the PDA came into force in October 1974, the legal basis of royalty payments to Sabah and Sarawak were laws passed by the British colonial power. After the PDA’s enactment and the establishment of Petronas, Sabah and Sarawak are treated in an identical manner as the peninsula states. Thus, the sole legal basis of payment of cash payments to Sabah and Sarawak since October 1974 is the PDA, their two Agreements and their two Vesting Grants. They are in the identical position with Kelantan, Terengganu and the other nine states of Peninsular Malaysia. All are treated equally under the PDA to avoid discrimination among the 13 states of Malaysia.

Federal: Before 1974, the state governments of Sabah and Sarawak already had their own positions on the royalty rights through enforcement of agreements as well as the enforcement of the Continental Shelf Act 1966. It is historic and special privileges acknowledged when they joined Malaysia in 1963.

5. What is meant with the payment of “Wang Ehsan”?

State: This is the political label invented by the Mahathir administration in 2000 when it directed Petronas to cease making cash payments to Terengganu after PAS formed the state government. The term “wang ehsan” has no legal basis. It is not found in the PDA, the 13 Agreements and the 13 Vesting Grants.

Federal: Wang Ehsan is a contribution or aid channelled to the states including Kelantan based on the discretion of the federal government. This contribution is beyond the scope/ jurisdiction of the Petroleum Development Act 1974 and the agreement signed between Petronas and the state government in 1975/1976. This aid is given solely based on the federal government’s awareness and responsibility for the welfare of the state and its people.

6. Why is the federal government offering Wang Ehsan to Kelantan in the amount of RM20 million only?

State: We cannot answer this question as it is a sum arbitrarily picked out by the federal government and without any legal basis.

Federal: The federal government is giving this allocation based on courtesy with regard to gas produced in federal waters. The Kelantan state government has no right in the area as it is outside the 3 nautical mile zone.

7. What is the position of the statement made by former Petronas chairman Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah that royalty should be paid to Kelantan based on the petroleum production obtained from outside the state waters as well as questioning the giving of the Wang Ehsan?

State: We support the recent public statement by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Much weight must be given to Tengku Razaleigh as he was the first chairman of Petronas, and signed the 13 Agreements on behalf of Petronas with each of the state governments. He is very conversant with these matters. He also enjoyed the trust and confidence of the late Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia’s 2nd Prime Minister, and the architect of our petroleum policy.

Federal: The statement by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Gua Musang MP, needs to be seen as a mere personal opinion from him. Any decision taken with regard to the right to royalty payment needs to be made in accordance with the relevant laws as well as agreements signed between Petronas and the state governments.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah needs to explain that the PAS Terengganu government cannot question the position of Wang Ehsan as the money that has been channelled all this while, although in the name of oil royalty, does not belong to the state.

He also stated that when Petronas was formed, there was no state in Peninsular Malaysia that had the right to the oil production found in the area outside the state’s “territory” (Bernama, Nov 1, 2000).

Although today Tengku Razaleigh had changed his position, the position of the law has still not changed. The people and the country are obliged to respect the laws of the country.

8. Is the opposition leader informed of the position of the rights of the state government in this issue?

State: Again, we cannot answer this question because Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the opposition, does not officially represent Kelantan in the petroleum royalty issue.

Federal: Based on the position of the existing provisions of law, the opposition leader is aware that the state government has no right to any cash payment or royalty in relation to the petroleum production which are being explored beyond state waters. That is why the opposition leader had once tried to make a resolution to amend the Petroleum Development Act 1974 in December 2009.

Therefore, the opposition leader himself is aware that the Kelantan state government has no right on any oil or gas wells within federal territory. MI

Anwar: Ini negeri rakyat punya!

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 23, 2010 by ckchew

Jawatankuasa Displin PR ditubuhkan

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 23, 2010 by ckchew

Ku Li: Oil royalty ad completely off target/Ku Li: “Iklan isu royalti kelirukan, satu penghinaan kepada kebijaksanaan seseorang”

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 22, 2010 by ckchew

Former finance minister and Petronas founder Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has questioned the federal government’s wisdom in engaging in a costly information blitz to explain the Kelantan oil royalty issue through leaflets and advertisements in newspapers.

Describing the advertisement – paid out of taxpayers’ money – as implying either “culpable stupidity or gross deceitfulness” by the federal government, he said it fails to point out that almost all the oil found in Malaysia is located more than 3 nautical miles offshore, but that Petronas has nonetheless been making oil payments to various states.

“By the argument deployed in the advertisement, Terengganu, Sabah and Sarawak too are not entitled to the ‘cash payments’ of 5 percent of profit oil (commonly and a little inaccurately referred to as ‘oil royalties’). Everything is at the arbitrary behest of the federal
government,” Tengku Razaleigh wrote in his blog.

“Yet last year, according to its annual report, Petronas paid out RM6.2 billion in petroleum cash payments, with RM3 billion to Terengganu, RM2.3 billion to Sarawak and RM0.9 billion to Sabah. One wonders (on) what basis this payment was made, since none of this was for petroleum found within 3 nautical miles offshore of these states.”

An immediate implication of the argument laid out in yesterday’s advertisement, he said was that Terengganu was also ineligible for the oil payments.

This means, he said after cutting off oil payments when Terengganu fell into opposition hands and replacing it with “compassionate payment”, there is absolutely no basis for the government’s promise to return Terengganu to cash payments again.

“All of Terengganu’s oil is found very far offshore. In this matter whatever holds for Kelantan holds for Terengganu and vice versa.”

Ku Li, as he is popularly known, said the argument for depriving Kelantan of 5 percent cash payments on the basis of its petroleum resources being found beyond 3 nautical miles is “an insult to the intelligence”.

Yesterday, the federal government had placed a one-page advertisement in major Malay dailies explaining why Kelantan was only entitled to RM20 million ‘goodwill’ payment.

The federal government’s main argument was that the oil and gas were pumped out beyond the 3 nautical mile limit of the state borders, prescribed as territorial waters under Malaysia’s Emergency Ordinance (Essential Powers) No. 7 1969.

The Information, Communication and Culture Ministry was behind the publicity campaign.

Agreement ‘guarantees returns’

Tengku Razaleigh, the Gua Musang MP, said he had helped draft the Petroleum Development Act, to which Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor are signatories.

“They would benefit from the 5 percent cash payments. The Act was drafted because we knew these states did not have oil onshore or within their territorial waters.

“The device we used was a ‘Vesting Deed’ by which the states vested, in perpetuity, all their petroleum resources to Petronas, onshore or offshore. In return for this Petronas guaranteed the cash payment of five per cent from oil found anywhere, offshore or onshore, of the state.

“This rendered any consideration of federal or state boundaries whether at 3 or 12 nautical miles or whatever irrelevant for the purpose of reckoning the payment. States are entitled to 5 percent of profits for any oil found offshore or onshore.”

Ku Li said he had traversed the country to sign the agreement with the menteri besar of each state government.

The second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, he said, was driven by the nation-building concern that these poorer east coast states, which are Malay predominated, should benefit directly from offshore oil.

“I drafted the Petroleum Development Act to reflect this concern.”

Saying Umno Kelantan is making a mockery of Abdul Razak’s legacy, the Kelantan prince said it is a mark of how Umno has strayed off course.

“It is this benefit to the people which Umno Kelantan opposes 34 years after Abdul Razak’s death. Umno Kelantan is doing its utmost to deprive the people of Kelantan of sovereign rights secured by an Umno-led government of another day.

“No one in their right mind could mistake this as behaviour that is beneficial to Umno’s long-term standing in Kelantan, let alone elsewhere as people observe this behaviour.”

Ku Li said he had spoken and written at length on the issue and have been reluctant to say more.

Moreover, as a member of the ruling coalition, he was embarrassed to have to belabour such elementary points against the government.

’10 years of misquotation’

He said the government’s advertisement was also trying to exhume “10 year-old misquotations” in a government newspaper to allege that he once denied Terengganu had any right to the 5 percent cash payment.

Denying that he had made any such remark, Ku Li questioned if the government media is to be believed and why the government relies on misquotation.

Tengku Razaleigh said that, as a a BN backbencher at the time, he had opposed the federal government’s intervention to prevent Petronas from making oil payments to Terengganu and the move to channel those funds instead into wang ihsan (compassionate fund).

He and former Lord President and Terengganu executive councillor Salleh Abas had offered themselves as witnesses to the Terengganu government in the suit it filed against the federal government to recover those oil payments.

He said between 2000 and 2009, a total of RM15.8 billion was paid out through the legal black hole of wang ihsan, but not to the rightful party as specified under the Petroleum Development Act, which is the state government’s consolidated fund.

“The outcome of that spending is the Monsoon Cup, a crystalmMosque in which it is impossible to pray, a leaking swimming pool, a collapsed bridge and a collapsed stadium. The people of Terengganu remain poor while billions of ringgit have been paid out in their name.”

He denied of putting the interests of the state before those of Umno.

The issue goes far beyond Kelantan, he said, as the arguments in the newspaper advertisement seek to undercut the rights of all the states in respect of a natural resource, which is within the state’s sovereign right.

“It violates a contract between Petronas and the states, denies the Petroleum Development Act, denies the raison d’etre of Petronas (which was formed to ensure the integrity of the federation by way of an equitable sharing of this valuable resource).

“It also sets the federal government in contravention of an Act of Parliament.”

He concluded by saying this is not a question of politics or personality, or about what he said or anyone else said or about Umno or PAS.

Tengku Razaleigh stressed that it is about the government complying with written agreements governed by an Act of Parliament and respecting parliamentary democracy.

“The rights of the people are not to be fulfilled or withheld depending on who they have voted for. In treating Terengganu and Kelantan in this manner we are depriving them of money that is rightfully theirs, undermining sovereign state rights, and eroding parliamentary democracy.”

“We should do the right thing by the people at whose pleasure we serve.”

‘Whims and fancies’

Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim said that in the past, Terengganu had indeed obtain oil royalty payments but when PAS took over the state, this was immediately withdrawn.

He said the country’s laws were being manipulated by irresponsible leaders who interpreted the laws according to their whims and fancies.

“This cannot be accepted. Why is there a need to place such an advertisement when they once relied on RTM and Utusan Malaysia to explain things.

“These means that their arguments have not been successful as they failed to go to the ground and explain them to the people of Kelantan,” he said.

Mkini

Ku Li: Iklan isu royalti kelirukan, cetus implikasi baru- “satu penghinaan kepada kebijaksanaan” seseorang

Oleh G. Manimaran

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — Iklan penjelasan tuntutan wang royalti yang disiarkan kerajaan pusat menerusi akhbar-akhbar Bahasa Malaysia semalam menimbulkan lebih banyak implikasi dan kekeliruan berbanding penjelasan, kata Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah  hari ini.

Justeru tegas beliau, iklan satu halaman itu sekali gus menunjukkan tiada negeri yang mempunyai hak untuk mendapatkan bayaran tunai ataupun royalti termasuk Sabah dan Sarawak.

Kata beliau, iklan muka penuh yang diambil oleh Kementerian Penerangan, Komunikasi dan Kebudayaan berhujah Kelantan juga tiada hak kepada bayaran minyak di bawah Akta Kemajuan Petroleum kerana sumber minyak yang menjadi persoalan terletak di kawasan tiga batu nautika, yang menafikan hak kesemua negeri.

“Iklan itu gagal untuk menyatakan bahawa kesemua minyak yang diperoleh di Malaysia ditemui di kawasan pesisir lebih dari tiga batu nautika, dan bagaimanapun Petronas (terus) membuat pembayaran kepada negeri-negeri ini.

“Dengan hujah yang diturunkan dalam iklan (semalam), Terengganu, Sabah dan Sarawak juga tidak layak menerima bayaran tunai lima peratus (biasanya dan dengan kurang tepat dirujuk sebagai royalti minyak).

“Kesemua terletak pada budi bicara kerajaan persekutuan,” kata beliau dalam pandangannya dikeluarkan hari ini.

Pada 28 Jan lalu beliau menegaskan pada satu ceramah perdana bahawa Kelantan layak menerima wang royalti lima peratus.

Pun begitu kata beliau, pada tahun lalu Petronas telah membayar RM6.2 bilion dalam bentuk bayaran tunai dengan RM3 bilion kepada Terengganu, RM2.3 bilion kepada Sarawak dan RM0.9 bilion kepada Sabah.

Ahli Parlimen dan Ketua Umno Bahagian Gua Musang ini menambah, oleh itu ada pihak tertanya-tanya atas dasar apa bayaran itu dibuat memandangkan petroleum hanya ditemui di kawasan luar pesisir tiga batu nautika.

Oleh itu tegas beliau, hujah untuk menafikan hak Kelantan daripada memperoleh bayaran tunai lima peratus atas dasar minyak berada di kawasan tiga batu nautika sebenarnya “satu penghinaan kepada kebijaksanaan” seseorang.

Semalam kerajaan pusat mengiklankan penjelasan isu tersebut dalam akhbar-akhbar Bahasa Malaysia dengan menyasarkan pendirian Tengku Razaleigh dan juga Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Dalam iklan satu halaman yang disiarkan di Berita Minggu, Mingguan Malaysia dan Sinar Harian kerajaan pusat mendakwa kenyataan Tengku Razaleigh berhubung isu bayaran royalti kepada Kelantan hanya perlu dilihat sebagai pendapat peribadi beliau semata-mata.

Oleh itu, kerajaan pusat berkata sebarang keputusan yang diambil berkenaan hak pembayaran royalti perlu dibuat berasaskan peruntukan undang-undang yang berkaitan serta perjanjian-perjanjian yang ditandatangani di antara Petronas dengan kerajaan-kerajaan negeri.

Tengku Razaleigh, bekas pengerusi dan pengasas Petronas, menambah bahawa pembayaran wang tunai lima peratus adalah manfaat dinikmati rakyat tetapi telah dinafikan oleh Umno Kelantan selepas 34 tahun bekas perdana menteri Tun Abdul Razak Hussein meninggal dunia.

Katanya, tiada pihak dengan fikiran waras akan melakukan ini sebagai satu tindakan, yang kononnya akan memanfaatkan kedudukan jangka panjang Umno di Kelantan, malah di mana-mana sahaja orang memerhatikan perbuatan seperti ini.

“Saya dituduh meletakkan kepentingan negeri berbanding kepentingan parti. Bagaimanapun isu ini melangkaui (kepentingan) Kelantan.

“Hujah yang diletakkan dalam iklan semalan mengetepikan hak semua negeri dalam soal sumber alam semula jadi, yang merupakan hak kedaulatan mereka,” katanya.

Ia juga menafikan perjanjian antara Petronas dan negeri-negeri terbabit dan mengetepikan tujuan asal penubuhan syarikat tersebut, kata beliau.

“Salah satu implikasi segera diturunkan dalam iklan penjelasan rasmi oleh Kementerian Penerangan semalam ialah Terengganu juga tidak layak untuk mendapatkan bayaran minyak (tunai).

“Ini bermakna selepas memotong kesemua bayaran apabila Terengganu jatuh ke tangan pembangkang (pada 1999) dan digantikan dengan wang ihsan, tiada asas sama sekali bagi janji kerajaan untuk kembali kepada bayaran tunai.

“Kesemua minyak Terengganu ditemui jauh di kawasan pesisir pantai,” katanya.

Disebabkan itu menurut beliau, apa yang terpakai kepada Kelantan juga diguna pakai ke atas Terengganu.

“Pada akhirnya, ia bukan persoalan politik ataupun personaliti.

“Ia bukannya pasal saya atau sesiapa berkata, ataupun di mana PAS dan Umno berdiri,” kata Tengku Razaleigh sambil menambah, ia sebenarnya berkaitan dengan pematuhan kerajaan dengan perjanjian bertulis yang diluluskan oleh Parlimen dan sama ada menghormati prinsip demokrasi berparlimen.

Tegas beliau, sama ada hak orang ramai dipenuhi ataupun tidak ia bergantung kepada siapa mereka mengundi.

“Melayan Terengganu dan Kelantan dengan cara ini, kita menafikan hak mereka kepada wang yang mereka berhak untuk memiliki, menafikan hak kedaulatan negeri mereka dan mengikis demokrasi berparlimen,” katanya.

Anwar to bn: Pakatan will prevail – with or without me

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 21, 2010 by ckchew

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim fired a stern warning to his detractors that the people would vote BN out of Putrajaya in the next polls, whether he is in jail or not.

He said the people were so fed up that they were all geared up to kick out the Umno-dominated federal government and replace it with Pakatan Rakyat.

Speaking today to a large crowd at a Chinese New Year open house in Machang Bubok, Penang, Anwar said BN, Umno, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and even his wife Rosmah Mansor “should not live under false illusions.”

“They should not have this wrong perception that the voters would back the ruling coalition if I were to be jailed,” said Anwar in reference to the ongoing Sodomy II trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

“Let me tell you all, that the people of Malaysia will rise to the occasion against Umno and BN in the next general election – whether I am in jail or not.

‘Everywhere we’ve went, the people (we see) are ready to kick out Umno and BN,” he said.

He said the people have long lost their trust on Umno and BN due to corruption that infected the Putrajaya administration to its core.

Due to massive corruption, Anwar said Malaysia had now fallen on the wayside economically even within the Asean region.

“We are now lagging far behind Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and even Vietnam in both economic growth and competitive edge. We are only better than Burma and Zimbabwe,” said the Permatang Pauh MP.

‘What has Umno done for Penang Malays?’

The open house was hosted by PKR’s Machang Bubok state assemblyperson and Penang state assembly deputy speaker Tan Hock Leong.

Other PKR notables also present were Deputy Chief Minister I Mansor Othman, executive councillor Law Choo Kiang, assemblypersons Maktar Shapee (Sungai Bakap), Sim Tze Tzin (Pantai Jerejak).

The sole PAS state representative Mohd Salleh Man (Permatang Pasir) was also one of the guests at the openhouse.

Anwar also cast doubts on Umno’s moral standing in questioning the current Penang government led by chief minister Lim Guan Eng “for not doing enough for the Penang Malay community.”

“What Umno has done for Penang Malays since independence until it lost the last general election?” he asked.

“All the good things done by Umno in Penang were carried out when I was an Umno minister. I am ready to face anyone on this,” he challenged.

He said the current Umno leaders in Penang were only interested pocketing riches for themselves at the expense of public interest.

He said PKR would back the state government so long as chief minister Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, continues to deliver the goods for the people.

“Lim is doing a good job here. We are here today to show full support to his government,” he said, calling on the crowd to back Pakatan to retain the DAP-led Penang government in the next round.

“Penang is important for Pakatan and for me . . . we must win it again in the next election,” said the Penang-born Anwar./Athi Shankar/Mkini

20,000 turn up at S’gor gov’t CNY open house

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 21, 2010 by ckchew

About 20,000 people turned up at the Chinese New Year open house hosted by the Selangor Government at the FGS Dong Zen temple in Jenjarom tonight.

The event which began at 6pm, was attended by Selangor state excos, state assemblymen, members of parliament. Also present were heads of government departments and those from the private sector.

Apart from various cultural shows, lion and dragon dances were also held at the event.

In his speech, Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said the open house event strengthened the bond of the various communities in the state.

Meanwhile, about 20km away Prime Minister Najib Razak and his entourage visited the Pandamaran New Village where a crowd of 40,000 greeted the prime minister despite a heavy downpour, which surprisingly did not affect the Selangor event.

Both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat have been wooing the Chinese minority in Klang during the new year festival.

Bernama

‘Give us a chance’, PM asks Chinese


By Neville Spykerman

KLANG, Feb 20 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak tonight celebrated the Lunar New Year by asking the Chinese community to give the government a chance to prove itself.

“Give us chance and we will prove that we are a government that can do the best for the people,” the prime minister said at the national Chinese New Year celebrations at the Pandamaran New Village here.

Najib urged the 5,000-strong crowd not to be disheartened by the recent attacks on houses of worship, linked to the “Allah” issue, but to take these as a challenge and a lesson.

“It’s a challenge that we should unite as one people, nation and 1 Malaysia,” he told the crowd.

Najib said the incidents were the work of extremists and not an indication that his 1 Malaysia policy had failed but instead showed that it was needed.

Heavy rain earlier marred and delayed tonight’s celebrations but Najib was unperturbed when he arrived at about 9pm.

During his speech, he joked that rain was “ong (Hokkien for ‘lucky’)” or an indication of good luck.

He said many had predicted the event would not be successful and lamented that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government had torn down banners of him because proper forms were not filled.

Najib also lashed out at the Selangor state government for holding their Chinese New Year celebrations at the same time, purportedly so that many would not make it to Pandamaran.

But the prime minister expressed his gratitude to the crowd that welcomed him despite the rain and clashing state celebrations.

Other BN dignitaries present at tonight’s affair included MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim./ Malaysia Insider

Oz MPs pull their punches: Much as I welcomed the formal protest by 50 Australian members of parliament against the Umno/BN government’s latest trial of Anwar Ibrahim, I wish they had been a lot more outspoken

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 20, 2010 by ckchew

Much as I welcomed the formal protest by 50 Australian members of parliament against the Umno/BN government’s latest trial of Anwar Ibrahim, I wish they had been a lot more outspoken.

Not that they really could be, of course, as diplomatic conventions have to be observed, even with governments as disgraceful as Malaysia’s.

“Many friendly observers of Malaysia find it difficult to believe that a leading opposition voice could be charged with sodomy a second time, and so soon after his party made major gains in national elections,” the protest letter stated, or rather understated.

“It should be made known to the Malaysian government that, in our opinion, global esteem for Malaysia will be affected by these charges against Mr Anwar,” the letter continued, before venturing the hope that “Malaysia’s authorities will not pursue these charges”.

As mild if not meek as this message was, at least I was delighted to see that it offended the Umno/BN regime, always as sensitive to criticism as its utterly insensitive to calls to clean-up its act.

Mohd Shafie Apdal, an Umno/BN cabinet minister and chairperson of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association was quoted in Malaysiakini as declaring that he was “very disappointed that Australia should interfere in Malaysia’s constitution”.

“Maybe, in some countries, a certain act by a person is legal. But in Malaysia it is against the law and that person must be brought to justice,” he said.

Shafie’s statement was full of all the usual Umno/BN lies and spin, of course. As he no doubt well knows, “a certain act”, by which he presumably meant sodomy, is indeed legal in Australia, but only between adults and with the consent of both parties.

If sodomy is against the law in Malaysia and an offender must be brought to justice, what about all the other activities that are against the law and for which offenders are seldom if ever brought to justice, like corruption, fraud, embezzlement, theft and even homicide by public officials and government agencies?

At least Shafie was somewhat more temperate in his response to the protest by Australian MPs than Dr Mahathir Mohamad  would have been back when he was prime minister. Way back, when then Australian premier Paul Keating, called him “recalcitrant”, Mahathir went totally off the deep end.

And whenever those bugbears Mahathir never tired of criticising, like the US, the Zionists and the West, ever rebutted or returned his ire, he claimed they were only jealous because Malaysia was the “envy of the world”?

Real source of disgrace

Back in those days, it seemed to me, a great many Malaysians appeared to buy this ludicrous story. But of late I’ve noticed that more and more Malaysians have stopped believing the myth that a man like Mahathir or Najib Abdul Razak or a coalition like Umno/BN is somehow synonymous with Malaysia.

In fact more and more Malaysians have woken up to the fact that it’s not Malaysia or Malaysians that the world, or in this case a group of Australian MPs is criticising, but the Umno/BN regime that’s such a disgrace to the nation and citizens it claims to represent.

Take a look at the dozens of comments on Malaysiakini stories about the Australian protest, of which the following are a tiny but entirely representative sample:

Sulaiman Hikmat: We the people (of Malaysia) are being shamed internationally by our government. We the people (of Malaysia) do not deserve this, we the people feel ridiculed, we the people feel oppressed, we the people feel we are as much victims of these scandalous and ridiculous charges against Anwar Ibrahim…

Doc: As expected, international pressure is mounting on Umno with regard to (these) fraudulent charges placed against Anwar just because he is leading a strong opposition. Australia is the first country to voice out their concern for Malaysian democracy currently being plundered by the ruling Umno government….Internationally, Umno is seen as a dying regime desperately trying to hold onto powerto ensure its continued monetary gains at the expense of its citizens’ well being, liberties and their right to the country’s resources and wealth.

Malayamuda:
Malaysia should first respect her laws and constitution before asking others to respect it. After the Perak debacle, it’s quite obvious that our constitution is just being taken for toilet paper by Umno.

Avatar: Mr Shafie – can you clarify which law the Aussies should respect – the one for the royals; or the one specifically for the ruling party namely Umno or the law for the common people? I guess the Australians are confused which law you refer to and you are confusing yourself by not stating the exact law to be respected. I am sure you are not referring to the law for common people, right?

Singa Pura Pura: Minister Shafie, your premise is wholly misconceived. The Australian MPs do respect the laws of Malaysia. What they do not respect and cannot condone, as is the case with most Malaysians, is the selective prosecution of Malaysia’s opposition leader…. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of acts of sodomy, both consensual and otherwise, take place in Malaysia each day. Why does the government of Malaysia, through the chambers of the Attorney-General and the office of the Public Prosecutor, single out the opposition leader of Malaysia for prosecution….? Why are high profile cases of murder, pecuniary corruption and abuse of power and process, where there is evidence to commence proceedings, selectively disregarded?”

And so on and on, in similarly enlightened and enraged vein. But the prize for the most comprehensive exposition of the conflict between Malaysia and Umno/BN must go to Neil Khor’s deliciously tongue-in-cheek Feb 13 article, ‘There’s nothing wrong with Malaysia’.

In this hilarious parody of Mahathir’s trademark sarcastic style, Khor powerfully makes the point that the 50 Australian MPs were too properly polite and restrained to conclude: that there’s nothing whatever the matter with Malaysia that can’t be fixed by getting rid of the Umno/BN government.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he mentors creative writing groups. Soon to be published in Kuala Lumpur is a third book of his columns for Malaysiakini, following earlier collections ‘Mad about Malaysia’ and ‘Even Madder about Malaysia’./Mkini

Malaysian government persecution of Anwar Ibrahim

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 19, 2010 by ckchew

MichaelDanby

Storm clouds over jibby Altantuya: Is jibby On His Way Out

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 19, 2010 by ckchew

Two recent developments have conspired to further jeopardise Najib Razak’s position as Prime Minister of Malaysia.

First, there is the precedent set by the Federal Court’s decision in the Perak constitutional crisis – whereby the Sultan now has the power to remove a democratically elected leader.

Some argue that this has ramifications that reach the Prime Minister and the Federal Government.

Any individual (whether from the opposition or within the ruling party) can now seek the consent of the Sultan or the Agung to remove a chief minister or the prime minister by convincing them that the person does not command the confidence of the legislature/parliament.

Second, the latest Political and Economic Risk Consultancy (PERC) report on Malaysia confirms serious doubts among international investors concerning the political stability of Malaysia.

It also raises serious doubts about Prime Minister Najib’s  ability to lead the country through this turbulent times, especially reigning in vested interests within his party, Umno.

This report seriously undermines Najib’s position because without economic growth, the Umno/BN patronage machine cannot function, leading to further discontent among the electorate.

In an immediate response, Muhyiddin Yassin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and also Deputy President of Umno, rubbished the report, stating that it was nonsense. Najib, however, has yet to respond.

The PERC report highlights several key problems plaguing Najib’s leadership. His strategy of “…trying to be all things to all people…” is ineffective. The PERC report also emphasised that “… a group of elite minorities…” was dominating the national agenda and this has affected Malaysia’s attractiveness to investors.

Both these events will only strengthen attempts to topple Najib. There are several reasons why it is possible and likely that Najib will be unhorsed by Umno insiders:

Nation loses international shine

1. The faltering economy: This will squeeze opportunities for dispensing economic largesse thus angering some groups, particularly the elites within Umno that are lead by Najib and Muhyiddin. This will lead to a fight to control access to patronage.

2. Najib’s liberalisation measures: Due to Malaysia’s declining economic fortunes and burdening deficits, Najib must institute liberalisation measures to boost national competitiveness and which will be used against him by fundamentalists such as Perkasa.

3. Najib’s administrative reforms: the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and National Key Results Areas (NKRA) while only having limited impact on government linked corporations (which control almost 40 – 50% of the Malaysian bourse), still allow for greater scrutiny of government decisions – further affecting opportunities for patronage.

The past grows fangs

4. Najib’s strategy of reaching out to other races is perceived as a sign of weakness among Umno and Malay fundamentalists such as Perkasa.

5. Progress in opposition controlled states: Reform measures in opposition controlled states (especially Penang) allow the public to see how effective governments can provide better welfare outcomes.

6. Rising fundamentalism: Policies of Islamisation and racist indoctrination during the Mahathir regime have created a segment in society that believes that Malay Muslims are the rightful heirs of the country.

Two other key points also suggest that Najib will not last long. The first point – history: It may seem unlikely on the surface that Muhyiddin would challenge Najib but, then again, in Umno politics nothing is impossible when the stakes are so high.

Umno history is littered with betrayal: Mahathir’s treatment of his ‘heir apparent’, Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 and since; how Anwar Ibrahim himself unceremoniously unseated party veteran Ghafar Baba in 1993 through highly dubious methods for the deputy president’s post (when both Najib and Muhyiddin were in Anwar’s Wawasan team); how two arch enemies, Tengku Razaleigh and Musa Hitam joined forces to challenge Mahathir in 1987…the list goes on.

The second point – there is no loyalty in Umno: While Umno is often described as a feudal party where loyalty is measured on deference to leaders, it is – at the end of the day – a party driven by greed. Just ask Anwar.

Fair weather friends fade

Once heir apparent, his “loyal friends” in Umno treat him today in ways that no politician in Malaysia has ever been treated.

This, however, is a common trend in Umno. Onn Jaafar and Tunku Abdul Rahman – founding fathers of Umno and Malaysia respectively – were totally discredited by Umno once they disagreed with the directions the party was taking.

The key message, once outside Umno, one has no means to dispense patronage and therefore deserve no respect from Umno members.

Umno has grown into a powerful patronage dispensing machine. Members of this elite group are not about to give-up their power.

Umno is so rotten that even one of its most senior members, Tengku Razaleigh, has criticised the party and what it is doing to the country.

In the 2004 election, Umno – as a party – had a simple majority in Parliament – as BN decimated the opposition.

In the process, non-Malay BN component parties were marginalised – unleashing unprecedented racial and religious bigotry against non-Malay/Muslims.

In the 2008 election, the reverse happened; BN lost its two-thirds majority.

However, Umno’s percentage of the vote remained nearly intact (reduced by about 5%) but its non- Malay component parties on the peninsular were nearly wiped out with non-Malay votes swinging by about 35% among Chinese and by about 50% among Indians away from BN.

Herein lies Najib’s immediate problem.

The non-Malay/Muslim BN component parties have blamed Umno for its disappointing performance while Umno has blamed its partners for not delivering their part of the bargain.

Najib has decided to go at it alone in reaching out to the various communities directly as his BN partners are all in disarray (every single one of them have leadership crises).

It is within this context that the tussle between Najib and the other side should be examined. Najib wants to extend a hand to the other communities (e.g. ‘1Malaysia’) which would require some economic, social and political reforms and concessions, while the other side wants to go the other way, become increasingly extreme in response to the perception that the Malay votes will be sufficient to tide Umno through on the peninsular and gain an overall majority with support from East Malaysia.

With non-Malays deserting BN at the 12th General Elections and further alienated through recent events, Najib is left vulnerable to the threats from fundamentalists.

Najib will definitely not last a term unless he tames the greedy warlords within his party, Malay fundamentalists and address issues raised in the PERC report.

GREG LOPEZ is a PhD scholar at the Crawford School of Economics and Government, Australian National University. This article first appeared in The New Mandala./Mkini

Is muhyiddin sharpening his knife?

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 18, 2010 by ckchew

In recent months several events point to familiar Umno intrigue. This occurs whenever there is a tussle for power at the highest level.

Is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s deputy Muhyiddin Yassin (who just launched his blog – Muhyiddin Yassin for Malaysia) attempting to overthrow his boss?

Najib, who only came into power in April of 2009, is in real danger of not completing a term as prime minister.

Muhyiddin has taken some tangential positions to his ‘boss’. Muhyiddin’s stance on hot button issues such as the ‘Allah’ court ruling – that Christians drop the usage of the word ‘Allah’ and backtracking on the formation of an inter-faith council to resolve the ‘Allah’ issue through dialogue – were ominous.

In fact, Muhyiddin demonstrated his fundamentalist credentials as soon as he became deputy prime minister in April 2009 but strengthened them further in October 2009, when it was clear that fundamentalists were gaining the upper hand in Umno.

The context to this is simple – Umno has two different views on how to remain in power – to become a Malay/Muslim extremist party to capture the Malay votes or to return to the middle ground – which had served it well for the past 52 years.

Unfortunately, due to Najib’s indecisiveness, he is considered the new ‘Pak Lah’ (the former prime minister) while Muhyiddin is seen as the new ‘Mahathir’. Despite Najib’s policy prescription of ‘Malay leadership’, it appears that Umno is still about ‘Malay supremacy’.

Najib’s ‘1Malaysia’ slogan and policy agenda have been systematically rubbished by Umno hardliners with the support of key government ministries, Malay/Muslim civil servants and non-governmental organisations bent on ensuring continued ‘Malay supremacy’.

Shattering of a projected image

Then there were the fire-bombings of places of worship (mostly Christian) after the ‘Allah’ court ruling which shattered Malaysia’s facade as a peaceful nation where people of different faiths and races live harmoniously.

Furthermore, a recent forum organised by Jakim (the Islamic Development Department) blamed Christians for tensions in the country and a forum panelist threatened Christians with a repeat of May 13 (race riots allegedly organised by certain Umno leaders after the ruling coalition lost their two-thirds parliamentary majority in the Peninsula Malaysia in 1969).

Several startling events point to insiders sabotaging Najib. The story of two missing jet engines which occurred during Najib’s tenure as defence minister surfaced after being ‘solved’.

It was surprising that the scandal resurfaced under the eyes of Najib’s once trusted ally, the current Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Since the scandal broke, two individuals, believed to be scapegoats, have been charged.

The biggest setback came recently when the prime minister’s special aide, Nasir Safar, allegedly called ancestors of Malaysians of Indian heritage ‘beggars’ and ‘thieves’ and women ancestors of Chinese Malaysian ‘prostitutes’.

This happened at, of all places, a ‘1Malaysia’ forum attended by the Umno’s partners from the Barisan Nasional.

Nasir also threatened to revoke the citizenship of non-Malays who challenged the limit of 12 subjects that a student can take at the SPM (Malaysia’s equivalent to the O-levels) examinations (Muhyiddin is the current education minister who came up with this ruling which reduces the value of subjects such as Tamil, Mandarin and Bible Knowledge).

Contrary forces digging in

Several commentators have already suggested that Najib is facing unprecedented resistance to his reform agenda and is being sabotaged in the process as his middle of the road approach goes against the very being of Umno.

Najib’s position is weak – both in Umno and nationally. His ruling coalition is unstable with all key component parties facing leadership crises. The economy continues to falter and Malaysia’s weakening reserves suggests capital flight.

Anwar’s sodomy trial and the ‘Allah’ issue may drive moderates further away as fundamentalists push Umno further to the right.

Judging by previous Umno intrigue (for example, May 13, 1969; Operasi Lalang, October 1987; Reformasi, September 1998), it is likely that Najib will have to resort to underhand tactics to save his position in Umno – and as always it is innocent Malaysians – mostly likely opposition leaders and democracy – that will pay the price.

GREG LOPEZ is a PhD scholar at the Crawford School of Economics and Government, Australian National University. This article first appeared in The New Mandala./Mkini

Kes ANWAR iBRAHIM: Keputusan hakim tarik diri 25 Mac

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 18, 2010 by ckchew

On Video: Appeals court refuses to strike out sodomy charge/ Rayuan batalkan tuduhan liwat ditolak & Gambar DSAI di Forum Dunia Islam yg tidak akan disiarkan oleh mana-mana MSM

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 17, 2010 by ckchew

Anwar’s mea culpa: “Likewise our aim today is to be determined to bring change to this country, not just for our sake but for the future of our children,”

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 17, 2010 by ckchew

‘Never explain, never apologise’ goes a refrain that purports to be wisdom for those wanting to make it big in any arena where the rules of the game are hazy.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim yesterday flew in the face of this amoral advice when he explained and apologised for some of the selections he made in the March 2008 general election.

He told some 1,000 PKR and DAP supporters who attended the party’s Lunar New Year open house at Rifle Range in Air Itam that he apologised for mistakes in the selection of candidates at the last GE and shed insight into how it happened and why he was soldiering on.

“It was here in the final days before the election that I had an experience that stays with me,” he began, expertly shifting the crowd from its expectant mood, fierily stoked by earlier speaker, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, to one of contemplation.

“I had spoken to the crowd and had to wind up my speech to go to Bayan Baru for another ceramah. As I hurried with Zahrain (Mohd Hashim, the dissident former PKR MP and now independent) in tow to his car, a lady, probably in her 40s, stopped me in my tracks to clasp my hands firmly in hers.

“She said with concern written on her face, ‘Datuk Seri, take good care of yourself. Take care of our children,’” narrated Anwar.

Anwar explained to the crowd the reason why the lady’s gravity of manner and pronouncement are indelible in his memory.

“What that lady was saying to me was that this is all about the future, our children’s future. She could see that that was the point of it all – the future, our children’s future.”

Anwar elaborated: “This is not about Pakatan Rakyat gaining Putrajaya, not about Anwar Ibrahim becoming prime minister. This is about how this nation is governed, how its business is run, how its resources are used and how its people are treated.”

By now Anwar had the crowd eating from the palm of his hand: “If you buy fighter aircraft and can’t fly them because their engines are stolen, if you buy a submarine on which RM400 million was paid in commissions, and find that it cannot be submerged in the waters because of some malfunction, what kind of future can your children hope to have in such a country?”

‘We were short on everything’

After setting the crowd to contemplation of the bleakness of the nation’s prospects under BN rule, Anwar spoke of the difficulties PKR faced in the immediate prelude to the last general election.

“We were short on everything – money, suitable candidates, time and conditions in which to campaign. So I had to go with what we had and today some of the choices look pretty bad.

“I apologise for this and I promise that in the next round, our candidates will be clean, strong and interested in not what contracts they can gain but in what they can offer to the people in terms of what is within their rights to expect of their leaders and of this nation.”

By now even the sultry midday heat could not stop the crowd, mainly assembled under a tent, with others sheltering under shady trees on the fringes, from craning to have a closer look at the makeshift stage where Anwar stood to speak.

In a final flourish, in exhorting the crowd to be resolute for the changes that a Pakatan government would bring, Anwar cited the unflagging determination of the 7th century Tang dynasty Chinese monk, Xuan Zhuang, who travelled from China to India in search of wisdom.

“The journey was long and full of hazards but this monk was single-minded in his aim. He wanted to learn and he focused on that goal. He made that journey to and fro and came back to tell his people of the wealth of knowledge he had gained.

“Likewise our aim today is to be determined to bring change to this country, not just for our sake but for the future of our children,” Anwar concluded to rousing applause.

Terence Netto/Mkini

Padang Tembak (Rifle Range): 5000 Tetamu Hadir Ke Rumah Terbuka Untuk Bersama Anwar Ibrahim Sungguh Dalam Cuaca Panas Terik

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 16, 2010 by ckchew

RPK Speaks His Mind – Anwar’s Sodomy II Trial

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 16, 2010 by ckchew

Dr mamakutty’s son, jibby Altantuya ‘s brother among richest M’sians

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 16, 2010 by ckchew

Mokhzani Mahathir, second son of former premier Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Nazir Razak, the younger brother of current Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak are among the 40 richest people in the country, according to the latest survey by the Malaysian Business magazine.

The full list of the 40 tycoons and details of their wealth were published in the magazine’s Feb 16 issue. As in the previous year, the wealth of the Top 40 was assessed based on the value of their stakes in listed companies as at Jan 15 this year.

Nazir Razak,41  of the CIMB Group makes his first appearance on the list of Top 40 Richest Malaysians at number 40 with a total wealth of RM345 million. Mokhzani, 47 , places at number 20 with a net value estimated at slightly over a billion ringgit through his vehicle Kenchana Petroleum.

Eleena Azlan Shah, 48, of Gamuda and daughter to the sultan of Perak was at the 35th spot with an estimated wealth of RM515 million.

Malaysia’s 40 richest people recorded an increase in their fortunes as they were collectively worth RM156.7 billion as at Jan 15, or 63 per cent more than the RM96.3 billion a year ago, on the back of a recovery in the stock market.

However, according to the fortnightly magazine’s survey results released in a statement today, their combined wealth was still less than the RM171.9 billion recorded in 2008.

The benchmark FBM KLCI has risen 44.3 percent since its last survey as the world strives to get back on its feet following the global financial crisis.

The survey also revealed that close to half on this year’s list recorded jumps of 50 percent or more. There are also more billionaires this year – 22, eight more than last year.

Five newcomers

Robert Kuok, 84, the Kuok Group patriarch who relinquished his ‘Sugar King’ crown last year, still tops the list with a wealth of RM42.76 billion, up RM16.1 billion from RM26.6 billion a year ago.

Media-shy and telecommunications tycoon Ananda Krishnan,70  ranked second, clocked in at RM27 billion.

IOI Corporation Bhd’s Lee Shin Chen, 69, was third with a wealth of RM11.92 billion, followed by prominent banker Teh Hong Piow,78, at RM10.86 billion.

Genting Group’s Lim Kok Thay, 56, valued at RM10.38 billion, leapt a full 10 spots to number five. This was because he assumed a large chunk of the wealth of his late father, Lim Goh Tong.

Hong Leong Group’s Quek Leng Chan, 67, took the sixth spot at RM7.09 billion while Syed Mokhtar Albukhary of the Albukhary Foundation, valued at RM6.01 billion, settled at seventh.

Others in the Top 10 ranking were Lim Goh Tong’s widow Lee Kim Hua, 79, Tiong Hiew King,78, of the Rimbunan Hijau Group and Vincent Tan, 56, of the Berjaya Group.

There were five newcomers to the list apart form Nazir Razak, namely Lee Swee Eng of KNM Group, brothers Shahril Shamsuddin and Shahriman Shamsuddin of Sapura and OSK Holdings’ Ong Leong Huat, who makes a comeback to the list after a one-year absence.

Nik Aziz: Zahrain should quit as MP & Cabang Bayan Baru minta Zahrain letak jawatan sebagai MP; Kita akan lawan kamu jika kamu lawan parti

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 15, 2010 by ckchew

Zahrain Mohamed Hashim should quit as MP for the Bayan Baru parliamentary constituency and pave the way for a by-election, said PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

Zahrain – who left the Pakatan Rakyat coalition and declared himself an independent MP on Friday – had betrayed the trust of voters in Bayan Baru who had elected him as their MP, Nik Aziz was quoted as saying by Bernama.

The Kelantan Menteri Besar told this to reporters today when attending the Chinese New Year open house of business tycoon Tan Liang Chong in Panji, Kelantan.

Zahrain had cited dissatisfaction with the leadership of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in exiting the Pakatan coalition.

Meanwhile, PAS Bayan Baru’s youth division said its members would demonstrate against Zahrain unless the latter step down within 48 hours.

Its youth chief Dzul Fahmi Abu Bakar also said the wing’s members would collect signatures from local residents to petition Zahrain into stepping down if he failed to do so voluntarily.

“Zahrain’s victory in the Bayan Baru parliamentary seat in the 2008 general election with a majority of 11,209 is the result of the efforts and energy of the Pakatan machinery, particularly, the members of PAS Bayan Baru,” said Dzul Fahmi in a faxed statement.

“His irresponsible action (in quitting PKR) is indirectly an act that belittles all the sacrifices of PAS members here, and an insult to the voters of this constituency,” he added.

Dzul Fahmi said if Zahrain is convinced of his actions and stands by his statements about the leadership of Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng, he should prove it by taking the issue to the voters of Bayan Baru and stand as an independent candidate in a by-election. Mkini

Rakaman Video Anwar Ibrahim: Ceramah Selamatkan Malaysia di Batu Caves

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 12, 2010 by ckchew

Selamat Tahun Baru Cina: Rumah Terbuka TKM 1 Bersama Tetamu Terhormat DS Anwar Ibrahim di Kebun Bunga & Penanti

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 12, 2010 by ckchew

Rumah Terbuka TKM 1 bersama tetamu terhormat DS Anwar Ibrahim:

Kebun Bunga

Tempat: Kawasan Letak Kereta Flat Padang Tembak

Tarikh: 16hb Feb 2010

Masa: 12t/hari – 3.00 petang

Penanti

Tempat: Dewan Tan Kongsi Tanah Liat (depan Petronas)

Tarikh: 21hb Feb 2010

Masa: 2.00petang – 5.00petang

Selamat Tahun Baru Cina

Semua dijemput hadir

Rakaman Video Tok Guru Nik Aziz: Mahkamah seperti akui rampasan kuasa di Perak

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 10, 2010 by ckchew

Rakaman Video Anwar Ibrahim: Sidang media di Mahkamah

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 10, 2010 by ckchew

Bala confirms it: nasir safar, jibby’s special assistant among last to see Altantuya alive

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 10, 2010 by ckchew

SHAH ALAM: Private investigator P. Balasubramaniam has confirmed that Nasir Safar (picture) was at the scene when policemen abducted Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu, according to his lawyer, Americk Sidhu.

Sidhu, in an email to the Pakatan Rakyat weekly Suara Keadilan, said the private eye — known throughout Malaysia by his nickname Bala — made the connection recently when he saw a photograph of the former special aide to the Prime Minister posted on a blog.

Nasir was thrust into notoriety last week after delivering a talk that many have described as full of racial slurs. He has had to resign over the incident, which embarrassed premier Najib Abdul Razak’s 1Malaysia project.

Both Bala and Sidhu live outside Malaysia for fear of persecution by the Najib regime, to which the police force, the attorney-general and the judiciary are widely suspected to be fiercely loyal.

In the now famous statutory declaration that he made in July 2008, Bala said he was at the scene when police took Altantuya away in a car from outside the home of her Malaysian lover, Abdul Razak Baginda, then an aide of Najib.

A few minutes before Altantuya was taken into the car, he said, “a blue Proton Saga, driven by a Malay man, passed by slowly. The driver’s window had been wound down and the driver was looking at us.”

Bala did not know then who the Malay man was, but was able to describe his facial features to police when he was interrogated. According to Sidhu, the interrogators told his client the man was just one of Abdul Razak’s neighbours.

However, Bala instantly recognised Nasir as the man in the blue car when he saw his picture on the Internet, Sidhu said. Free Malaysia Today

Apex court ignores ‘stare decisis: It’s the kind of reasoning that makes you think that the law is an ASS

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 10, 2010 by ckchew

Stare Decisis is a hallowed principle in the jurisprudential canon. It simply means that you respect the legal precedent established in analogous cases in the past.

The decision handed down today by the Federal Court in the case of whether Pakatan Rakyat’s Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin or Barisan Nasional’s Zambry Abd Kadir is the rightful menteri besar of Perak ignored the established precedents.

The precedents were set in the Stephen Kalong Ningkan case in Sarawak in 1966 and the Pairin Kitingan case in Sabah in 1985.

In both cases, the incumbent chief minister, Sarawak’s Ningkan in the first instance and Sabah’s Pairin in the latter, were either removed by ruler’s fiat or the appointment was challenged by a rival candidate for the post.

The Ningkan case established as a legal principle that once appointed, a chief minister could only be removed by a vote of no-confidence in the legislative assembly. The judge’s decision in the Pairin case upheld that principle.

In the Nizar vs Zambry case, High Court judge Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim ruled last May in favour of Nizar as the rightful MB but first the Court of Appeal and now the Federal Court countermanded him.

Justice Abdul Aziz was respectful of the established precedent in the case.

Doctrinal consistency is highly valued in jurisprudential theory.

No unique facts

In jurisprudential theory, established precedents can be overthrown only if unique facts enter the vortex of discursive imperatives in which a case is decided.

There were no unique facts in the Nizar vs Zambry case.

Three state assemblypersons belonging to Nizar’s Pakatan Rakyat faction abruptly became independents, leaning towards support for the BN. Two of them were under indictment for corruption.

In the circumstances, the motives of the duo for becoming BN leaning independents could not be said to be above cavil.

The obvious resort, in conditions where there is an impasse in the legislative assembly brought on by legislators’ changed allegiance, influenced by unusual factors, would have been to that final arbiter of a polity’s distempers: the ballot box.

But no, the Court of Appeal, last May, and now the Federal Court have decided to ignore the principle of stare decisis and make the notion of judicial precedent a piece of chaff, drifting on every wind of circumstance.

It’s the kind of reasoning that makes you think that the law is an ass.

Terence Netto.Mkini

Krisis Perak: Keputusan Mahkamah Kangaroo tidak mengejutkan

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 9, 2010 by ckchew

On the independence of judges – DS Nizar lost by 0-5 votes

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 9, 2010 by ckchew

What does the term ‘the independence of the judges’ mean? I pose this question because it appears that there are many of our judges today who do not seem to know the true meaning of separation of powers in constitutional law.

This is most apparent especially among those judges in the higher echelon of the judicial hierarchy. The bad judges seem to think that independence means that they can do what they like – because the dictionary says the word means ‘free from the control or influence of others’.

The recalcitrant judges think that words can mean whatever they want them to mean. They think like Humpty Dumpty who says that it depends on who has the power – “the question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master”. These Humpty Dumpty judges also think that they are independent of the legislature.

They think they could ignore the federal and the Perak constitutions, even the statutes enacted by Parliament so long as they side with the government in power. By so doing, these judges have exposed themselves to the rest of us because they have refused to perform their duty which is to do justice according to law. It is their duty to do the right thing. The right thing to do is to deal out impartial justice and to apply the law of the land as it stands.

The notion of separation of powers or the independence of the judges seems to be beyond the comprehension of these judges. But we are here today to explain to the ordinary people of this country what it means to have an independent judiciary. Once the ordinary people have a grasp of the concept of separation between executive and judicial powers they will be able to judge the judges.

When it comes to explaining the law so that it could be easily understood, I believe the late Lord Denning  had no equal. In ‘The Family Story’, at pages 191,192, he explains the concept: The independence of the judges.

The keystone of the rule of law in England (and elsewhere) has been the independence of the judges. It is the only respect in which we make any real separation of powers. There is here no rigid separation between the legislative and the executive powers, because the ministers, who exercise the executive power, also direct a great deal of the legislative power of Parliament. But the judicial power is truly separate. The judges [in England] for nearly 300 years have been absolutely independent. And when I speak of judges, I include not only the High Court Judges, but also all the magistrates and others who exercise judicial functions.

No member of the government, no member of Parliament, and no official of any government department, has any right whatever to direct or to influence or to interfere with the decisions of any of the judges. It is the sure knowledge of this that gives the people their confidence in the judges, and I would add also the chairmen of tribunals when they are independent of the executive, for they too are judges. It does not depend on the name judge or chairman but on the substance. The critical test which they must pass if they are to receive the confidence of the people is that they must be independent of the executive.’

The judges must be independent of the executive, how did this happen? For the answer to this question I have to return to Lord Denning who had, in his lifetime, explained the law in a way that ordinary people can understand. He said in The ‘Family Story’, page 190:

… for nigh on 700 years, the judges of England laid down the common law which precisely defined the rights of the individual and made the life and liberty of every law-abiding citizen secure from injury on the part of others or of the State. …The principles laid down by them have sunk deep into the mind of the nation and have been more powerful than anything else in creating the spirit of the British Constitution. (Here, ‘spirit’ means ‘typical character, quality or mood.)

What does the spirit of the constitution mean? Lord Denning explains it at page 191:

It lies, I believe, first, in the instinct for justice which leads us to believe that right, and not might, is the true basis of society; and secondly, in the instinct for liberty, which leads us to believe that free-will, and not force, is the true basis of government. These instincts for justice and liberty are abstract ideas which are common to all freedom-loving countries: but the peculiar genius of the British Constitution lies in a third instinct, which is a practical instinct leading us to balance rights with duties, and powers with safeguards, so that neither rights nor powers shall be exceeded or abused. But who are the guardians of this spirit? Who are they who interpret it on our behalf?

They are twofold. On the one hand – Parliament. On the other hand – the Judges. Our (the British) Constitution is unwritten. But it is founded on two strong pillars. One is the sovereignty of Parliament. The other is the independence of the Judges.

The only difference between the British constitution and ours is that ours is a written one. With a written constitution everything is contained in the entrenched clauses of the constitution (which is a statute).

In an unwritten one like the British constitution they have no entrenched clauses. They have no fundamental constitution by which other laws can be tested. They will have to rely on the common law as laid down by the judges of England. In this respect the common law of England is wove into the fabric of the history of England.

Rigid separation of powers

But we are here today to look at the independence of the judges. This will take us back to the opening paragraphs of this address where I read from Lord Denning.

Shortly stated, the independence of the judges means that there is a rigid separation of powers between executive power and judicial power. The critical test which every judge must pass is that he must be independent of the executive. If a judge does not appear to be independent of the executive then he will lose the confidence of the people.

Once the people has no confidence in a judge that is the end of his reputation and integrity as a judge. Haven’t you heard the often repeated remark, ‘I don’t respect our judges any more’ among the people of this country, ever since the Perak debacle exploded onto the local scene?

Why do the people feel so strongly about this? It is because the keystone of the rule of law has been the independence of the judges. For the English people, Lord Denning has expressed it in this way, ibid, on page 192:

Why do the English people feel so strongly about this? It is because it is born in them. We know in our bones that it will not do for us to allow the executive to have any control over the judges: and we know it because our forefathers learnt it in their struggles with the kings of England – the kings who in the old days exercised the supreme executive power in the land.

We, Malaysians, also feel very strongly about this. But it is not born in us. It is not in our bones that it will not do for us to allow the executive to have any control over the judges because our forefathers did not experience any bitter struggle with our rulers – our sultans and governors. Ours is a new nation; it is only 52 years old. But we have inherited the Common Law of England – see the Civil Law Act 1956 – and from the common law we have learnt how the separation between executive power and judicial power came to light.

It is this awareness of the true meaning of justice that the common man can judge the judges. Anyone can be a judge. All that you need to be one is to be fair-minded yourself and to show by your conduct and behaviour in a court of law that you deal out impartial justice – for justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done. The other attribute of a judge is to administer justice according to law.

Shortly stated, justice means that the judge’s duty is to do the right thing. The right thing to do is to deal out impartial justice. The right thing to do is also to apply the law as it stands. The so-called Perak crisis has brought out a host of cases that showed that the judges gave the impression that they were one-sided. The perception of the people is that they sided with the BN government.

A classic example is the shocking case of Zambry v Sivakumar in the Federal Court. We all remember the infamous five (judges) who were Alauddin Mohd Sheriff , Arifin Zakaria, Nik Hashim Ab Rahman, Augustine Paul and Ahmad Makinnuddin.

They decided in favour of the BN-appointed Mentri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir. They held that the speaker of the Perak legislative assembly V Sivakumar has no power to suspend Zambry and six executive council members from attending the assembly.

I posted this criticism of the decision on the Internet. I wrote:

‘This is a perverse decision of the Federal Court. It is perverse because it is a decision that was made in blatant defiance of Article 72(1) of the federal constitution that says ‘The validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any State shall not be questioned in any court’. The judges of the Federal Court have failed the people and the government of this country when they chose to ignore the law of the constitution of Malaysia. In other words the judges have refused to do justice according to law.

The words in Article 72(1) are specific. The words mean exactly what they say. Even a child can understand them. Yet the infamous five chose to ignore the plain meaning of the words. They gave their own meaning to them. They said, under the pretext of interpretation, that the constitutional provision did not allow the speaker to suspend the seven applicants. But who are they to say that the speaker was not allowed to suspend the MB and the turncoats when the supreme law of the land says ‘the validity of any proceedings in the legislative assembly of any state shall not be questioned in any court’?’

Law of the land

Even in the unwritten British Constitution there is an almost similar provision as ours, but it is called the privileges of Parliament. This is how Lord Denning put it in ‘The Family Story’, page 192:

‘The Houses of Parliament enjoy certain privileges. One of them is freedom of speech. Erskine May says: ‘What is said or done within the walls of Parliament cannot be enquired into in a court of law’.

‘The Bill of Rights 1688, art. 9, s 1, says that the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament, ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament.’

Not even the great Lord Denning could assail this. The case is reported in the ‘Law Reports – re the Parliamentary Privilege Act 1770 [1958] AC 331’. He tells it on page 193 of ‘The Family Story’:

On Feb 8, 1957 Mr Strauss MP wrote a letter – on House of Commons paper – to Mr Maudling, the Paymaster-General. He complained of the behaviour of the London Electricity Board. He said that they were disposing of scrap cables at too low a price. He said their conduct was a scandal. Mr Maudling … passed the complaints on to the London Electricity Board.

On March 4,1957 the Board’s solicitor wrote to Mr Strauss threatening a writ.

That simple solicitor’s letter raised the great constitutional issue. Who was supreme? Parliament or the courts of law? Mr Strauss said the letter (threatening a writ) was a breach of the privileges of Parliament, and that the Board and its solicitor were punishable by the House itself. The London Electricity Board said that they were entitled to have recourse to the courts of law and that the House of Commons could not stop them.

The issue was referred to the Privy Council. Seven Law Lords sat to hear it. I was one of them. I found myself in a minority of one. Six of them…held that the House of Commons could treat the issue of a writ against a Member of Parliament – in respect of a speech or proceeding in Parliament – as a breach of its privileges.’

Lord Denning’s dissent was that every Englishman had a right to seek redress in the courts of law and then Mr Strauss in his defence could plead the defence of Parliamentary privilege as being a ‘proceeding in Parliament’ within the Bill of Rights.

You will not find his dissent in the opinion of the Privy Council – in those days dissenting opinions were not allowed. In a sense Lord Denning was right; no one could be prevented from seeking redress in a court of law. But in the case in question the issue was referred to the Privy Council for its opinion. This had preempted the writ action. Had the issue to be decided by a court of law, parliamentary privilege is still a complete defence.

Now that you have been apprised of the law, you will know that there is a rigid separation of powers between the executive government and the judiciary. You will also know the true meaning of the independence of the judges. You are also sure that the separation between executive power and judicial power is real. It is not a myth. It is the law of this country.

It is only those judges who had made all those decisions on the Perak crisis who have created the confusion by refusing to apply the law of the land as it stands. But to the good judges and the dedicated lawyers and to all right thinking people of this country, I urge all of you not to give up the struggle.

Keep on commenting on their conduct in court. Keep on writing articles about their decisions that do not apply the law of the land as it stands. Educate the people of their rights and the law that is applicable to the decision, and should the judges divert it or depart from it – and do so knowingly – they themselves would be guilty of a misuse of power: see Lord Denning’s ‘What Next in the Law’, page 319.

On my part, I shall try to ensure that the names of the bad guys will remain in infamy for generations to come unless they recant the wrongs that they have done to the country and to the people. I shall write their obituary when they die. If they outlive me I am sure there will be others who will take my place.

NH CHAN was admitted to the Bar in 1961 and was a lawyer for almost two decades before becoming a High Court judge. He was then elevated to the Court of Appeal before retiring in 2000. He is the author of two books, ‘Judging the Judges’ (2007) and ‘How to Judge the Judges’. Mkini

Fitnah 2: Cap jari jibby Altantuya di merata tempat & Dr Osman mengesahkan saifool tidak diliwat

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 9, 2010 by ckchew

Ku Li: We’re still stuck in 1997

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on February 8, 2010 by ckchew

Recent events have shown that the state of Malaysian democracy has not progressed since 1997, said veteran Umno lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah in scathing remarks today.

“If any one of us was tempted to imagine that Malaysia had outgrown the sordid events of 1997, the government’s newspapers bring to our breakfast tables each day – Sodomy II,” he said.

Tengku Razaleigh cited several issues in the news that, he said, prove Malaysia is only a “democracy in name”.

These include Anwar Ibrahim’s ongoing sodomy trial, the row over the use of the term ‘Allah’, the Perak constitutional crisis and the government’s failure to act on two royal commissions of inquiry findings.

“We are still in a whitewash of bad taste, authoritarianism and arbitrary power that destroyed our practice of parliamentary democracy, compromised our judiciary and police, and disenfranchised our people,” said the Gua Musang MP.

Razaleigh made his remarks in a speech when launching the Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial, Kuala Lumpur today.

Ideas was founded in 2006 as Malaysia Think Tank London and is a cross-partisan think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges.

It was founded by Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Tunku Zain ‘Al-Abidin Muhriz and Wan Moh Fuaad. The organisation, which is inspired by the vision of Tunku Abdul Rahman, runs workshops and research on policies for the public, focusing on students and politicians.

Razaleigh, the former finance minister, warned his audience not to expect reform from the political old guard who are entrenched in the prevailing order.

“We have left it to the deranged for too long…To expect change from the incumbents is to expect, in the Malay saying, ‘the mice to repair the gourd’,” he said.

Razaleigh, who has courted much attention for his severe attacks on the current government, said that it is time for the young to reclaim their place in the corridors of power.

“The average age of our first cabinet was below 30. Tun Razak was 28. Tun Dr Ismail was barely 30 years old,” he said.

“Men of their calibre would not have made it up the ladder of (Umno Baru). They would have been too untainted, too young to do so.”

‘Infantile ethnic politics’

He also lamented the state of the country, which deviated from the vision of its founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman.

A good friend of the Tunku, Razaleigh shared that Malaysia was founded on the basis of “love of freedom”, “mutual consent” and the “spirit of co-operation and concord”.

“That basis has been replaced by something alien to it, his memory has been suppressed and our history revised,” he said, adding that this memory has been replaced by slogans.

The current system, he noted, is one of “infantile ethnic politics”, when it should be a “call to service”.

Asked if he was deliberately trying to provoke the Umno top brass with his speech, Razaleigh enigmatically said, “siapa yang makan cili, dia yang terasa pedasnya” (you’d feel it if you are guilty).

He also denied suggestions that he ‘sounds like the opposition’, saying he is only voicing the views of many.

“Nobody is questioning the value of the ringgit as people are still confident in the ringgit. But people are questioning our institutions,” he said.

Razaleigh’s vocal criticism, especially on the topic of oil royalties, has upset some quarters in Umno, who have urged that he be brought before the party’s supreme council.

When asked about this, he nonchalantly said, “They have the right to do so. If they want me to leave (Umno) then I will leave. If not I will stay,” he said.

Aidila Razak/Mkini

Anwar cabar Najib berdebat: Siapa menghianati Melayu?

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 7, 2010 by ckchew

Kes Anwar Ibrahim: Satu konspirasi berniat jahat – peguam Sivarasa

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , on February 7, 2010 by ckchew

Sodomy Trial II : Demonstrasi di Masjid Wilayah 05/02/2010

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 6, 2010 by ckchew

Put it in writing, Syed Husin challenges detractors: Who are they especially those froggy cum opportunists to criticize Syed Husin?

Posted in Malaysia news with tags , , on February 6, 2010 by ckchew

Syed Husin Ali has challenged his detractors to write in officially to the party if they thought his position as member and deputy president of PKR was untenable.

To go even further, Syed Husin suggested that they could draft a resolution to be deliberated in the upcoming PKR congress calling for his suspension.

Otherwise, said the veteran politician, the attacks against him would be mere “wild allegations”.

Earlier this week, fellow party member and Nibong Tebal MP Tan Tee Beng said Syed Husin’s post as PKR deputy president is open to dispute as PRM was is still in existence.

“If there was a merger, how can it (PRM) still exist?” he asked on Wednesday. “The party and disciplinary board should investigate, and review the (Syed Husin’s) post.”

Syed Husin was the former president of PRM, which later merged with Keadilan to form PKR in 2003.

In a statement today, Syed Husin said the merger was passed by an “overwhelming majority” during the annual general meetings of both parties in 2002.

PRM delegates also decided to wind up their party, following which a transitional PKR leadership council was formed with representatives from both parties, he said.

Decision should have been abided by all

While the courts subsequently recognised PKR as a political party, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) was reluctant to accord recognition to the decision taken during PRM’s meeting to wind up.

This, he noted, allowed a “small splinter group” to continue as PRM.

“That was why 10 former leaders of the original PRM, including me, challenged the action of the ROS in court. We did not recognise the new PRM because it contravened the PRM congress’ decision.

“The court decided against us. The splinter group decided to continue. As a small splinter group it was never able to hold an annual congress with more than 50 persons attending. Recently its president left and returned to PKR,” he added.

Syed Husin said the decision by PRM delegates to merge with Keadilan was clear and “should have been abided by every member”.

He added that it was also clear that he was chosen by the Keadilan transitional leadership as deputy president.

This was confirmed by the two subsequent PKR polls since 2003 that returned him as the party’s deputy president, he said.

Tan’s outburst against Syed Husin was triggered by the latter’s directive for him to desist from publicly criticising Pakatan Rakyat leaders.

Syed Husin remarked further that Tan was free to go if his threats to resign were in earnest. Mkini

Malaysia on trial along with Anwar

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 6, 2010 by ckchew

The last time Malaysia’s former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim was charged with sodomy, the country’s judicial system was on trial. This time around, the stakes are even higher.

If Anwar is convicted, in a case that opened in Kuala Lumpur’s High Court on Tuesday, Malaysians can wave goodbye to the best chance of developing a two-party political system in more than half a century.

It will also end any real prospect of Malaysia extricating itself from corrosive race-based politics, and signal the former British territory’s continued descent into self-destructive extremism.

Over the past two years, the charismatic Anwar, 62, has achieved what many analysts thought was impossible. He has tacked together three disparate political parties and formed a credible – if still fragile – opposition, representing hope for a multiracial future.

Nobody else has the organisational ability, political skills and personal trust to hold them together and provide the People’s Front, as it calls itself, with dynamic leadership.

Anwar’s legal problems should be seen in this light.

In 1998, then-prime minister Mahathir Mohamad sacked Anwar as deputy premier and finance minister because he suspected Anwar was using the turmoil of the Asian economic crisis to challenge him.

Beaten viciously in custody, Anwar spent years in jail after being found guilty of corruption and sodomy in trials regarded as fatally flawed by international legal authorities. He was cleared of sodomy on appeal, but banned from seeking public office for five years.

On his return, he galvanised the fragmented opposition into a stunning psychological victory in 2008, capturing five of Malaysia’s 13 states and denying the ruling National Front coalition its customary two-thirds majority in parliament.

The opposition was able to make such gains by tapping into the “politics of disgust”, winning the support of Malaysians alienated by rampant corruption and cronyism. Significant numbers of them crossed ethnic lines to vote for candidates promising reform.

Anwar targeted the affirmative action program called the New Economic Policy, which is supposed to channel economic benefits to native peoples, predominantly Malays. The policy has been widely abused to enrich better-off Malays, notably members of the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the dominant party in the 13-member National Front.

In a bold move, Anwar formulated an alternative new economic agenda to assist all poor Malaysians, based on need rather than ethnicity. Not only did droves of disaffected Chinese and Indians desert the government, but a significant percentage of Malays also switched allegiance.

UMNO, in power since Malaysia gained independence in 1957, has reacted badly to its setback. Faced with the possibility of defeat at the next elections, due in 2013, the party has concentrated on sabotaging the resurgent opposition rather than reforming itself.

Like the rerun of a bad movie, Anwar was promptly arrested and charged again with sodomy, this time on the complaint of a university drop-out who had worked briefly for Anwar. Consensual sex between males is illegal in Malaysia, punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment and caning, though the law is rarely enforced.

The public perception in Malaysia is that “sodomy 2”, as the local media dub it, is entirely political, a view shared by the international community. An Amnesty International spokesman has characterised the trial as “the same old dirty tricks” to remove Anwar from politics.

UMNO has also resorted to scaremongering, using race and religion to reinforce the fear among Malays, the majority community, that they are besieged and under threat.

UMNO was blamed for fanning racial tension when arsonists last month attacked 10 churches across the country, after a court ruled that Christians could use the Arabic word “Allah” as a translation for ”God” in the Malay language. The government insists “Allah” should be reserved solely for Muslims, despite widespread use of the word by Christians and other minorities in Arabic-speaking countries and places such as Indonesia.

Prime Minister Najib Razak, elected president of UMNO last year to replace the discredited Abdullah Badawi and stem UMNO’s decline, has talked reform and even made minor adjustments to affirmative action. But while he promotes an inclusive vision for the country under the slogan of “One Malaysia”, an UMNO-owned newspaper often carries racist commentaries.

Anwar and his allies in the People’s Front have found the going rough in the past two years. Through a mixture of inexperience and incompetence, they have underperformed in the states they control.

Still, if Anwar is jailed for sodomy, it will not only end his political career but also terminate an attempt to open up the economic and political systems of one of the Muslim world’s most important countries.

Barry Wain, writer-in-residence at the Institute of South-East Asian Studies in Singapore and author of the recently released Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, speaks to an Asialink public event on February 16, 6pm, Level 1, Sidney Myer Asia Centre at the University of Melbourne.

Ku Li perjelas hak royalti Kelantan: hak orang kelantan dirampas oleh umno flip-flop

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 5, 2010 by ckchew

Laporan fitnah: PKR membuat laporan polis ke atas utusan

Posted in Malaysia news with tags on February 4, 2010 by ckchew