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Saturday, 22 December 2012

Toxic Waste In Kuantan

RARE EARTH 17 Dec 2012
The Toxic Waste That's Not In Our Back Yard
By Wendy Bacon


Australian-owned company Lynas is quietly shipping rare earth to a processing plant in Malaysia - without a firm plan in place to dispose of dangerous radioactive waste.

If a manufacturing plant involving radioactive materials moved into your community, one of the first things you would ask is, "what’s going to happen to the waste?"

This is exactly how residents of Kuantan on Malaysia’s east coast reacted when the Australian company Lynas announced plans to build LAMP, the world’s biggest rare earth processing plant in their area.

Several years later, they have no clear answer. Indeed last week, while the plant that will use concentrate imported from Lynas’s rare earth mine at Mount Weld in Western Australia was finally ramping up for production, the Malaysian Government and the company were in direct conflict about what would happen to the waste.


On 8 November, after two years of delays caused by court challenges and inquiries, a halt on a temporary licence granted to protesting citizens in September was lifted. Five days later, Lynas secretly moved 100 containers of rare earth concentrate from a depot at Bilbra Lake and quietly shipped them through Fremantle Port. The containers were unloaded and delivered under police escort to the $800 million plant on 22 November.

Read the rest here: The Toxic Waste That's Not In Our Back Yard

Oh, and by the way, the three Kuantan residents have failed their bid to obtain a stay of the government’s decision to issue the temporary operating licence (TOL) to Lynas Malaysia.

The judges at the Court of Appeal upheld the Kuantan High Court decision as “correct in fact and in law" and have now ordered costs of RM20,000 to be paid by the residents.

Half was awarded to jointly to Lynas Malaysia and Lynas Corporation (the Australian side), and the rest to science, technology and innovation minister and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board.

That is Malaysian justice for you.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Dubious Honour Roll

Despite Malaysia's high-profile anticorruption crusade, half of the corporate executives surveyed by a global corruption watchdog believe that competitors have obtained business through bribery, underscoring the hard task ahead for Prime Minister Najib Razak's government in weeding out graft.

Transparency International said Malaysia scored worst in the 2012 Bribe Payers Survey. It asked about 3,000 executives from 30 countries whether they had lost a contract in the past year because competitors paid a bribe—and in Malaysia, 50% said yes. Second on the dubious honor roll was Mexico, at 48%.

Japan ranked as the world's least-corrupt place to do business, with just 2% of respondents saying they had lost out due to bribery; Malaysia's neighbor Singapore was second-cleanest, at 9%. Even Indonesia, with a long-standing reputation for corruption, fared better than more-developed Malaysia: Southeast Asia's largest economy came in at 47%. By comparison, 27% of respondents in China said they thought bribes had cost them business.

"It shows the attitude of private companies in Malaysia, indicating that bribery in the public sector could be systemic and in a sense institutionalized," said Paul Low, president of the Malaysian chapter of Transparency International.

Since taking office in 2009, Mr. Najib has pledged to eradicate corruption and regain public confidence. Hundreds of cases have been investigated. The government has established special courts to hear corruption cases and is working to introduce harsher punishment, said Ravindran Devagunam, director of corruption prevention at government think-tank Pemandu. The body reports to the prime minister's department.

Read the rest: http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2012/12/11/malaysia-tops-bribery-table/

With Lynas and other issues that clearly violate the nation's best interests, is it any wonder?

Sunday, 9 December 2012

These Are Signs

It looks like Barisan Nasional know that this is going to be a tough fight.

They're going to go down fighting at least, by bringing in the big guns like the ex Premier.

The question is, does Old Nyanyuk still have clout?

Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's longest- serving leader, will hit the campaign trail to help Prime Minister Najib Razak's ruling coalition win a 13th straight general election after sitting out during the 2008 vote.

"I have promised that I will campaign," Mahathir, 87, said in a Dec. 5 interview in Putrajaya, Malaysia's administrative center near Kuala Lumpur. "I don't know whether I have enough influence or not, but I think people still remember me."

I remember you, mate. But not for reasons you will like.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Banal Talk

From Washington Post:

GLASS HALF EMPTY: Malaysia’s leader warned voters that their country risks economic collapse if the opposition wins national elections that must be held by mid-2013.

PARTY’S ON: Prime Minister Najib Razak opened his ruling party’s annual congress with a forceful speech urging supporters to brace for what is expected to be one of Malaysia’s most intensely fought elections since independence from Britain in 1957. Najib’s United Malays National Organization is determined to reverse setbacks from 2008 polls that triggered the multiethnic government coalition’s worst performance in more than five decades of uninterrupted rule.

THE WAY HE SEES IT: Najib accused the opposition in a nationally televised speech of banking on false promises to sway voters. He predicted the national debt would soar and Malaysia would lose its economic sovereignty

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
*

Monday, 26 November 2012

10,000 Or 20,000 -- Does It Matter?

Malaysians from all walks of life came out again, in support of Himpunan Hijau's protest against Lynas, the rare earth mining company from Australia.

The crowd was spectacular, and I don't think the organisers themselves expected such support.

TheSun reported a crowd of 10,000 but I have since learned to read into MSM reporting.

I hope the government is listening. We don't want Lynas.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Green Walk Participants Swell to 2,000 in KL


Participants swell to 2,000 as long march reaches KL
 

DAY 12 - GOMBAK The heavy downpour early this morning failed to dampen the spirit of the Himpunan Hijau marchers, who resumed their journey from the outskirt of Kuala Lumpur today as their numbers swelled to about 2,000 people.

himpunan hijau green walk day 12 241112 2It rained since 5am at Taman Rimba, Gombak, where the marchers set up camp the previous night. Nevertheless, the participants pressed on, armed with umbrellas, straw hats and rain coats.

The marchers kicked off their journey at 8.30am with about 500 people in tow, and the number soon multiplied with more joining in when the rain stopped three hours later.

According to Himpunan Hijau Facebook page, the marchers formed a 2km-long line as they walked towards the capital city.

Some vehicles which passed the marchers repeatedly blew their horn as a show of support.

The team reached the Karak Highway's Gombak toll plaza at around 11.30am after walking 10km, where they took a short break, occupying a small lane next to the toll.

himpunan hijau green walk day 12 241112 4They then continued their journey to their next stop - the former PAS headquarters at Taman Melewar, Gombak.

Fifteen kilometres and three and a half hours later, the crowd got there by late afternoon.

They were welcomed with food and drinks prepared by PAS members.

The marchers will stay overnight in the main hall of the building before making their final leg of their long march tomorrow.

Final 300 metres 'too much'

Speaking to the press at the toll plaza, Himpunan Hijau chairperson Wong Tack said the organisers decided to kick off today's journey half an hour earlier as the rain would slow down the marchers.

NONEIn respond to Kuala Lumpur City Hall's requirement for Himpunan Hijau to apply for permission to camp at Dataran Merdeka - the final destination - Wong (left) insisted that the marchers have the right to gather there.

"They should allow citizens to express their view. After all, that's the real meaning of 'merdeka'," he said, adding that the people are not afraid of potential harassment from the police when they finally get there.

The marchers are scheduled to arrive at the iconic Dataran at 4pm tomorrow, where they hope to hold a meeting with members of parliament the next day.

azlanWong has requested the parliamentarians to walk to Dataran from Parliament House to meet the marchers at 9am on Monday.

According to him, the final 300 metres would be "too much" for those who have already walked 300km over the past two weeks to get to Kuala Lumpur.

"In fact, 9am is considered late... they can see us at 9pm in the evening (on Sunday). That's a better time as the people can then rest and have a nice evening," he said.

 





Thursday, 22 November 2012

Join The Green Walk!

Get up from the wheelchair of fear and Walk! Join The Green Walk Now! Dates and Venues :

Saturday 24/11, 7.00am pagi Taman Rimba: Last leg before the Green Walk enters the concrete jungle of KL: the Green Walk will start off from Saturday 7.00pm Taman Rimba along the old federal road from Bentong to Gombak. You can drive your car to follow the buses departing from Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall at 6.30 am to Taman Rimba. All buses are full. no more buses will be booked since it is not possible to do it at this late stage.

Saturday 24/11, 2.00pm Gombak/UIA (near Gombak toll) The Green Walk enters Kuala Lumpur here. Big welcoming party and Press conference to be held. Bring your voices and music! Selangor NGOs will come. Political parties and MPs will come. You can lead the Green Walkeers into the city here!

Saturday 24/11, 9.00pm malamTaman Melewar, Markas Tarbiah PAS: Ceramah by Anwar Ibrahim and Mat Sabu.

*****

Sunday 25/11, 8.00am pagi Taman Melewar, Markas Tarbiah PAS: Green Walkers start off to Kampong Railway in Sentul.

Sunday 25/11, lunch hours: Stop at Kuil Kampong Railway, Sentul

Sunday 25/11, 4.00pm petang Dataran Merdeka: We Are Here! Bring your music and cheers! Green Walkers will camp here. Come in numbers. Dato Bandar Kuala Lumpur is waiting for you!

*****

Monday 26/11, 9.00am pagi Dataran Merdeka: PM Najib and all MPs invited to join the Green Walk to receive The Green Demands. The wakil rakyat come to the rakyat this time! The Rakyat will crawl to Parliament no more!

Come to walk proud! Come to walk brave! Get up from the wheelchair of fear and Walk!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Register To Vote

Just a friendly reminder about exercising your right to vote.

As of 4th June 2012, there were 3.65 million unregistered voters -- and Selangor has the highest number of eligible voters who have not registered with the Election Commission (EC), with the figure reaching 600,000.

Shame on you, Selangor! And you consider yourself an urban state.

Are you amongst those eligible but as yet unregistered to vote? Do you know of someone who can but hasn't yet registered?

Seriously, it doesn't take herculean effort to get to the post office and register yourself. I know, because it only took me 10 minutes.

Don't let civil servants talk you out of registering. Or the politically apathetic. If you don't vote, you frankly don't matter to the powers that be.

If you don't vote because you're disappointed with your choices, disgusted by tactics like lying and spin, or merely turned off by the process, you've opted out of the marketplace.

The goal of political marketers isn't to get you to vote. Their goal is to get more votes than the other guy. So they obsess about pleasing those that vote. Everyone else is invisible.

Read the rest HERE because it really is a good piece.

And then go register now and get every unregistered voter you know to do the same, if we are to have a chance for change in the 13th General Election.

And when you're done with that, perhaps a month or two later, you should probably look up this website to check if you've been properly registered.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Green Walk -- Kuantan To KL

I've always had tremendous respect for people who stand up for what they believe in.

Wong Tack is one such man.

He has sworn to blockade the port to prevent rare earth coming in from Australia (gaining the attention of even New York Times), and now he has taken up a walk from his hometown in Kuantan to the parliament in KL.


It is no small feat. We are talking about 300KM, and given the Malaysian dependence on cars and the climate that we have, it is quite an extraordinary effort.

He has since been joined by about 80 others.

They are doing well so far.

“It is tiring, but spirits are high and everybody is sharing this energy. We are starting to recover from our initial injuries and our muscles are building up, we can continue stronger,” Wong told FMT.

At this point in time, I don't think it is merely the physical exertion that would be playing on their minds.

It's the mental, emotional and spiritual capacity to go on fighting against an enemy that is far stronger than they are.

An enemy that is very keen on making economical profits of epic proportions and holds strong political sway.

The question playing in their minds right now, would probably be, "Is it worth it?"

I beseech any Malaysian reading this right now, if there is any way you could contribute or give support to this effort, please do.

And share this page with your friends.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Seeing The Light


I've always fancied myself as being somewhat quick on the uptake.

But even the smartest of us, miss things that in hindsight are blatantly obvious. Sometimes, it is because we are unwilling to accept reality. We deliberately blind ourselves to the truth.

Seeing the light can be a relief, though at times, it can even be painful.

I have seen the light. It has been rough, but I have seen it. Perhaps overdue, but I have finally been enlightened.

Others, on various issues of their own, are still struggling.

Do not let those who seek to deceive you succeed. Do not give them the opportunity to ensnare your mind any further.

Be open to the truth.

Forget about the physical achievements and think about that which is spiritual.

Why would you glorify first rate infrastructure when you are bogged down by third world mentality?

We are capable of so much more.

There is a brave new world waiting for Malaysians but it is not in hanging on to the past and the present political leaders whose performance despite the fresh slogans, are banal at best, and who have yet to learn that slogans, spin and lies do not make a nation, least of all a great one.

- Steve Oh -

Amen to that, Steve.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

End State-Sponsored Violence!

Malaysia paints an image of being a wealthy, developed and advanced nation to the rest of the world.

But behind that facade lies a sick, convoluted sense of authority. One that has no sense of right and wrong. A self-imposed authority to treat its citizens brutally, to the extent of killing them.

The good people of this nation have finally decided that this must stop.

Thirty NGOs have now formed a coalition called the Gerakan Hentikan Keganasan Kerajaan or also known as the End State Violence coalition and they are going to organise a huge rally in December to make their point.

The launch of this rally will be held as follows:

Time: 8pm
Date: Nov 6, 2012 (Tuesday)
Place: Auditorium Bar Council KL

Go HERE for more details.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Negligence

If you've forgotten who Kugan Ananthan was, this should refresh your memory.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — The mother of A. Kugan, the detainee who died in police custody, will take the stand at the High Court here on Friday in her RM100 million suit against Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and four others for alleged negligence and breach of statutory duty.

Justice Datuk V. T. Singham was informed today that other than N. Indra, 44, lawyer N. Surendran would also be called as a key witness during the trial.

Plaintiff's counsel, L. Bani Prakash also informed the court that the plaintiff faced difficulty in serving a subpoena on forensic pathologist Dr Prashad Samberkar of University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) who carried out the second autopsy on Kugan's body.

He said Dr Prashad's contract had expired and he had returned to his country of origin, India, in early October.

However, the subpoena had been served on UMMC's head of forensic department, Assoc Prof Dr Nazarina Abdul Rahman, he added.

Justice Singham told Bani Prakash that he should have been more proactive in recording Dr Prashad's statement while he was in the country or sought the court's assistance on the matter, since the pathologist's testimony was crucial to the plaintiff's case.


Will this be justice served?

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Murder of Altantuya

Written by John Berthelsen
THURSDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2012

Six years on, troubling questions remain about the Mongolian beauty's death, and who ordered it

It will be six years tomorrow since bodyguards for now-Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak dragged the Mongolian translator and party girl Altantuya Shaariibuu out of a car in a patch of jungle near the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Shah Alam.

As she begged for her life and apparently that of her unborn child, they knocked her unconscious, then shot her twice in the head.

That was Oct. 19, 2006. According to court testimony, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, members of the elite Unit Tindakan Khas, both assigned to Najib’s office, then wrapped Altantuya’s body in C4 plastic explosives and blew her up, possibly to mangle her remains so badly that the fetus would be destroyed.

Sirul Azhar was interrogated by police shortly after the murder was discovered. He was informed that anything he said could be held against him, in accordance with the law. In his cautioned statement, as his confession was called in Malaysia, he told authorities he and Azilah had been offered RM100,000 to kill the woman and her two companions, who were causing highly public embarrassment for Abdul Razak Baginda, Najib’s best friend. The 28-year-old Mongolian woman, in a letter found after her death, wrote that she was sorry she had been blackmailing Razak Baginda.

If French police records are to be believed, Razak Baginda was allegedly central to a massive bribery case in which a total of nearly €150 million in payments were steered to two Razak Baginda companies, Perimekar Sdn Bhd and Terasasi Hong Kong Ltd.

As Asia Sentinel reported earlier this year, records seized by the French police show that former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe were aware of the transactions. Memos obtained by Asia Sentinel show the French expected at least part of the money to be steered to the United Malays National Organization, Malaysia’s biggest ethnic political party.

Read the rest here:The Murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Should The International Community Care?

By Ambiga Sreenevasan

Those in the international community may be forgiven for saying, “Is there a problem with the democratic process in Malaysia?”

In the international arena, our leaders portray Malaysia as a moderate Islamic nation that is built on the democratic principles that are enshrined in our Federal Constitution. The fundamental rights of freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, the right to life and a fair electoral process, are indeed guaranteed under our Federal Constitution.

The reality is, however, far less idyllic. There are serious questions whether these rights are respected and upheld by those in power.

Since before the 1990’s, Malaysians have been pushing for a reform of the system of governance. There has been growing discontent over issues like rampant corruption, abuse of power, deaths in custody and selective prosecution (or persecution), to name but a few of the grouses.

We are increasingly alarmed by the use of race and religion by politicians to divide the people for political gain, with no regard whatsoever for the possible long term consequences of this conduct.

We note with disgust our mainstream media descending to the lowest depths of junk journalism. We are appalled at the growing instances of political violence.

Read the rest here: Malaysia’s elections: Should the international community care? — Ambiga Sreenevasan

Sunday, 14 October 2012

The After-Effects Of Project Mahathir

By Niluksi Koswanage
Reuters
4:48 p.m. CDT, October 7, 2012


KOTA KINABALU, Malaysia (Reuters) - Housewife Fawziah Abdul wants to thank former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad for making her a citizen 10 years after she illegally slipped into Borneo from the southern Philippines in search of a better life.

The 50-year-old lives on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysia's Sabah state, where her tin-roofed shack jostles for space with more than 1,000 others in a slum where children play beside heaps of rubbish.

She is hopeful that her three children will get a new home and identity cards if she votes for the government again.

Read the rest here: Migrants, church may end Malaysia government's Borneo vote bank

Friday, 28 September 2012

Fix US


American readers of CRANKSHAFT may find this intriguing:

http://www.fixus.us/

In the own words of these citizen journalists, "Fix*us is a campaign about giving you the platform to weigh in on some of the biggest issues."

No country is perfect, be it Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, UK or the USA. The problem with democracy, in spite of it being possibly the best political system there is, is that the politicians are always trying to run it their way.

The responsibility is on us as citizens to remind them that they serve us and not themselves.

This is something Malaysians can take on as well. Actually, it has been done -- we have our very own UndiMsia!

But do take a look at this concept by LiveCitizen.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Scorpene Never Dies

It sounds like a Bond movie.


Aside, Tomorrow Never Dies starred Michelle Yeoh, and Pierce Brosnan as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond.

But the truth is, no Bond movie could potentially be as scandalous and licentious as the Scorpene story of Malaysia.

The Scorpene story involves plenty of sex, sharing of women between at least two high profile men, corruption of a monumental scale, the sale of highly confidential naval information to the French, the dramatically explosive (no pun intended) murder of a Mongolian woman.

Like I said, no Bond movie could come close to that sort of filth, and Bond movies are generally not known for child-friendly scenes.

Along came SUARAM, who hired French lawyer Joseph Breham to unearth the facts. He came up with a lot of worms. Read a summary of it HERE.

Now the Malaysian officials involved, namely the BN government, are livid with rage as this will no doubt affect the way people vote when they hit the polling booths soon.

The best way to get rid of this mess is to silence SUARAM. And what better way than to harass, intimidate and bully SUARAM with bogus probes.

There was a time when Malaysians could easily be intimidated. A time when the rule was not to rock the boat as long as the economy was going fine.

Times have changed. The “Scorpene Never Dies” Action Team is determined to help SUARAM keep the Scorpene issue afloat and to get the Najib administration to stop its obviously politically-motivated investigation against SUARAM.

A candlelight vigil is on:

Date: 25 Sept 2012 (Tuesday)
Time: 8:00PM
Venue: Dataran Merdeka

As usual, the authorities will deem it illegal.

As if anyone cares. Malaysians who care about their country will be there.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Cycling In Big Cities

About four years ago, I went to visit a good friend in Australia. While we were cruising along on a freeway, I noticed some signs on the side.

They were warnings to car drivers, to watch out for cyclists. And indeed, there was a lane on the freeway, dedicated to bicycles.

I thought that was brilliant.

But Australia is not alone in recognising the importance of various types of transportation.

I recently discovered that London has introduced the concept of renting a bicycle to get you to your destination.


These bikes are rented out using an Oyster card (the main form of transaction for London transportation -- trains, buses etc) from any available stand and dropped off at the stand of your destination.


Apart from the fact that these bicycles reduce the number of cars on the road, which means there is less congestion, there is no fuel needed to power them apart from leg power (fuelled by fish & chips, maybe?).

And if you've had too much fish & chips, this is going to break down the build-up of cholesterol in your arteries.

Now, the weather can get a bit overwhelming in Kuala Lumpur especially at mid day, but this isn't a bad idea for getting around.

After all, we don't have a water shortage. It is always possible to have a shower at the end of the day.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Najib's Shambolic Government And The Topic Of Journalism

I don't know where to begin. There is so much to refute in Najib's speech at the National Press Club awards.


Journalism in Malaysia is open in practice? Accountable?

What is he smoking?

Does he remember all the street protests and demonstrations that went unreported in the news? That were either completely ignored or unobtrusively mentioned in a 2 by 2 inch column?


Does he remember how the media reported the police claiming that they had used minimum force when photos around the web proved otherwise?

Is that open or accountable journalism?

Related: Najib’s annual insult to the press — carry out fearless, open journalism - Uppercaise

Friday, 14 September 2012

There Are Good Australians

From Malaysiakini:

Australians join Malaysians in opposing Lynas TOL
1:10PM Sep 13, 2012

Two members of the Western Australian Green Legislative Council have joined together with the large number of Malaysians who oppose the imminent shipment of radioactive ore from Mount Weld in Australia, to be processed at the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) in Gebeng, Kuantan.

NONELynn MacLaren from the South Metropolitan Region and Robin Chapple for the Mining and Pastoral region, in their joint statement, said the history of the Lamp plant has been fraught with difficulty and opposition from Malaysians.

“They are unwilling to be recipient of Australia's contaminated wastes and have consistently protested the plant in various gatherings of up to 15,000 people. Despite the widespread concerns on the plant and its disposal of its radioactive wastes, a two-year temporary licence has been issued,” they said.

Chapple further added this approval seems like the sanctioning of an Australian mining company making use of lax environmental controls and governance arrangements in a developing country.

“To my mind it has not gone through a rigorous environmental process and should not have been issued. This is a poor representation of Australian notions of ‘fair play’ and good corporate citizenship and one that it seems our state government is paying little mind to,” he said.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Jailing The Whistleblowers

When the going gets tough, UMNO jails the whistleblowers

Suaram, the human rights NGO that hired French lawyers to investigate bribes and kickbacks surrounding Malaysia’s controversial purchase of French submarines, will be charged for violations of the country’s Companies Act sometime during the next two weeks, Domestic Trade and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Saturday, according to the state-owned Bernama news service.

Some 66 Malaysia-based NGOs are expected to give a press conference tomorrow at 11 am expressing their support for Suaram, an acronym for Suara Rakyat Malaysia, or Voice of the Malaysian People.

Suaram in 2009 asked a French investigative law firm headed by William Bourdon in 2009 to look into what appeared to be huge bribes and kickbacks paid to Malaysian politicians by the French state-owned defense company DCN and its subsidiaries for the 2002 purchase of two submarines and the lease of a third.

The probe resulted in a raid on DCN’s headquarters and other company offices that exposed nearly 150 million euros in questionable funds paid to a close friend of then-defense minister Najib Tun Razak, now Malaysia’s prime minister. The documents indicated that the bribes had been paid with the full knowledge of Alain Juppe, the French foreign minister, Mahathir Mohamad, then the prime minister of Malaysia, and Najib, who had negotiated the purchase. The evidence detailed a host of other sleazy dealings.

Some 133 documents listing the alleged criminal dealings were obtained independently by Asia Sentinel and posted here on June 25 on the Internet. Two Asia Sentinel stories detailed the allegations against French and Malaysian officials.

Suaram, accused of being “Anwar’s NGO” because of the presence of opposition members of its board of directors, has come under unprecedented attack by pro-government bloggers, party-owned newspaper and UMNO lawmakers who questioned its status as an NGO rather than a company and accused it of receiving foreign funds.

“Yes, they are going to try to charge us,” Suaram Director Cynthia Gabriel said in a telephone interview Sunday. We have no details yet, the first charge will probably be in a couple of days, we will see what happens.”

Gabriel said the first charge apparently involves allegations of money-laundering, although she said the NGO had voluntarily opened its books to investigators and that she felt there had been no wrongdoing.

Malaysia’s government-owned newspapers have blared headlines that Suaram received funds from the German government, and indicated that that the German ambassador would be called in and asked for an explanation.

The Chinese probably hold the record for jailing those who point out corruption, violation of environmental laws and other shortcomings. But Malaysia could be catching up. The Barisan Nasional has a considerable history of going after whistle-blowers who expose wrongdoing by government officials, and particularly of leaders of the United Malays National Organization.

Read the rest HERE

Sunday, 9 September 2012

God Bless Germany!

SUARAM got funding from the Germans for a workshop on migration.

And so the Malaysian government is angry :-)

From the Washington Post:

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian authorities have summoned the German ambassador to explain why his country provided funds for a project linked to a Kuala Lumpur-based human rights group.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman says the funding could be “seen as interference in the domestic affairs of a sovereign state” because the Malaysian government considers rights group Suaram to be politically biased.

Suaram often criticizes government policies on issues such as detention without trial.

A German Embassy official said the ambassador was meeting with Malaysian foreign ministry representatives Friday.

The official said German authorities approved a “small amount” of money two years ago to support a workshop on migration that involved participants including Suaram.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

The Malaysian government considers anything that doesn't brown-nose up to them as being politically biased.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Rock On, Activists!


From New York Times:

KUALA LUMPUR — Activists who have waged a lengthy campaign against a rare earth refinery in Malaysia refused to back down Thursday after the authorities gave the Australian company behind the project the green light to proceed.

One group, Himpunan Hijau, has vowed to blockade the port in the Malaysian town of Kuantan, near the plant, if the company, Lynas, tries to import the raw earth materials from Australia.

"We are prepared to paralyze the whole port until the raw materials leave our port," said Wong Tack, chairman of the group. "The world will witness one of the biggest civil disobedience events in this nation."

The Lynas plant has had several regulatory and construction delays as opponents and local residents have held protests and taken legal action because of their concerns that the plant could produce harmful radiation. Lynas has denied that there will be any radiation hazards.

The Atomic Energy Licensing Board of Malaysia said Wednesday that it had decided to issue Lynas a two-year, temporary operating license because the company met all technical and regulatory requirements.

Read the rest: Opponents of Malaysia Rare Earth Plant Promise to Protest

P.S. Do you still remember why this project is being pushed ahead in spite of all the public discontent? Now you know why.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Block Kuantan Port, Dammit!

Finally, someone with testicular fortitude is willing to teach the greedy UMNO politicians who have sold out the nation a lesson.

-----------------------------------

Environmental action group Himpunan Hijau has vowed to blockade Kuantan Port if Australian rare earths miner Lynas starts to ship ores into the country for processing at the controversial Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp).

"I will guarantee that their ore shipments will not slip past our blockade. We will mount the biggest civil disobedience event ever seen in the country and get all the groups together.

"The port of Kuantan will not be operational as long as the ore is there," vowed Himpunan Hijau chairperson Wong Tack.

-----------------------------------

Good on you, mate. You have my support.

The nerve of the politicians to bypass the courts and issue licenses!!

Shameless, greedy, profligate, avaricious bastards!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Jangan Ketawa -- Moon And Pee

Apparently UMNO has taken great offence at the demonstrators' acts of stepping on the Prime Minister's face and mooning him and his wife.

Great offence to the extent of publishing the photos on Facebook!

KUALA LUMPUR: Police through Facebook has highlighted 11 photographs which were recorded at the "Janji Bersih" gathering at Dataran Merdeka on Aug 30.

City CID chief Datuk Ku Chin Wah said members of the public who recognised any individual in the photographs were asked to come forward to provide the information.

He said they could do so to any police officer, police station or the Royal Malaysian Police hotline at 03-20319999 or KL Police's Hotline at 03-21159999.

"They can also directly contact ASP Azmi Abd Azizi at 019-2602344," he said.

Several participants of the gathering were seen trampling on pictures of national leaders, bringing a new flag to replace the Malaysian flag and showing their buttocks in public.

There is even a police hotline for it!!!!!!

Can you believe it, ladies and gentlemen, when Malaysian children were kidnapped and murdered, there were no hotlines. But for those who show disdain for a nefarious government, a dedicated hotline!!

What a brilliant government.

The same government that has the loyal support of this bunch below:


Yes, just in case you have any doubt whatsoever, they are peeing on the image of the opposition leaders.

But hey, since those leaders belong to the wrong party, no action shall be taken against them, no hotline dedicated for people to snitch on them and get them arrested.

Ah well. Malaysia boleh.

I am posting this picture in my blog because when I was young, my parents always told me that Malaysia is a morally upright country, far more than the evil west.

I just want to tell them that they don't have to go abroad to see people of low morals.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Strange Happenings In "Post-Independence Malaya"

Firstly, the national laureate A. Samad Said is being investigated for reading poetry at a public place.

Never would one have thought that poetry recital would be a criminal offence, but hey -- Malaysia Boleh.

Secondly, a Barking Magpie claims that the "Kaum Chauvinis Pendatang Cina Makin Berani Hingga Memijak Gambar Perdana Menteri kita....Bangun!"

Guess who is trying to incite violence.

That might be a bit of a task though, as the number of Malaysians needing emotional crutches and wheelchairs and other UMNO handouts have decreased. The average Malay is beginning to think for himself.

Speaking of which, I saw the videoclip showing the demonstrators stepping on the picture of the Prime Minister. Some of them were clearly Malay.

Not that it matters whether they were "chauvinistic Chinese immigrants" or anything else for that matter. They are all angry Malaysians.

We did not elect the Prime Minister nor his government, for that matter. UMNO forced themselves upon us by illegal means: cheating and deception.

And you wonder why we have so little regard for them.

Friday, 31 August 2012

UMNO Punya Janji


Capati!

Janji Demokrasi Attracts 10,000 People!


Najib and co just refuse to learn. Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein is discovering, much to his dismay, that he has no remarkable prowess for predicting the future, as contrary to his claims, there was a big turnout.

An aptly sarcastic quote from Hishamuddin Rais, one of the organisers of Janji Demokrasi:
“I really appreciate the Home Affairs Minister (Hishammuddin Hussein), who has the ability to become a bomoh and Pak Nujum (witchdoctor and fortune teller), like a seer who can see the future.

“That is good. That is really good. For us, it not a question of how big or how small the crowd will be. It is people coming that night wearing yellow,” Hishamuddin Rais said.

The number is somewhat smaller at 10,000 (though some witnesses have placed it at 50,000) this time, but it's probably expected with the long weekend (and the rain).

Malaysians are speaking up -- loud and clear!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Monday, 27 August 2012

Most Meaningful Merdeka Day To Date

In the past, it was deemed unpatriotic for me to say that Merdeka meant nothing to me.

For the uninitiated, 'Merdeka' means 'Independence' and refers to the day when the British handed over rule of Malaya to UMNO, or more specifically Tunku Abdul Rahman.

I have nothing against Tunku Abdul Rahman, and I personally believe that his western ways were instrumental in influencing the British to give up control of Malaya.

Hence, every Merdeka Day, we are shown video clips of him declaring 'Merdeka' a number of times at the grand stadium.

It is a poignant moment -- don't get me wrong.

And for those who were alive (I certainly wasn't), it meant the end of British plunder and pillage of our rubber, tin and other natural resources.

That is probably meant to be significant, but the unfortunate truth is that it only meant the end of British rule and the beginning of UMNO plunder and pillage.

And for the past 55 years, we have been bled of what rightfully belongs to us.

By this, I don't just mean our natural resources like Oil & Gas, timber etc, but our right to harmony and equality.

Every race feels slighted and taken advantage of. The Malays believe the Chinese and Indians have cheated them of their land and economic standing.

The Chinese and Indians believe the Malays are unfair in the way they are given racial privileges.

The Indians, especially the rural and urban poor prefer to live under their own shell and shy away from official requirements like registering births and applying for Identification Cards (IC).

Without these, they have been denied proper education and jobs, leaving them on an unequal footing with the rest of the Malaysians.

And as for the Sabahans and Sarawakians -- they have been denied an equal status with the rest of us. They are collectively the two richest states in terms of natural resources and yet, in terms of living conditions, they are the poorest.


One issue that comes to light is the Native Customary Rights.

The Penan have been systematically sidelined -- having their land taken away from them for economical pursuits such as logging and mining.

As they are a minority and have no defenders (apart from the Bruno Manser Fund) to protect their rights, the BN-UMNO government (or to be more specific, their own Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud) bull-dozes into their lives and tears them apart.

As for the other tribes, they haven't had a better deal -- from either the UMNO government or even Pakatan Rakyat, unfortunately.

Baru Bian who contested in Ba'kelalan during the last state elections and Nicholas Bawin in Batang Ai are strong leaders in their own right. They are credible Dayak leaders from earlier parties like SNAP and PBDS.

However, instead of accepting them as allies, PKR only gave them the platform to contest after SNAP and PBDS were “deregistered” by the BN-controlled Registrar of Societies.

When it comes to Sarawak (or East Malaysia for that matter), who would know the people, issues and political climate better than the East Malaysians themselves?

But in the last state elections, these credible East Malaysian leaders were sidelined by shoddy West Malaysian candidates, with PKR expecting the voters to accept these foreign candidates with open arms just because they are the Opposition!

Have they gone down to ground level (and I'm talking about long before the state elections) to gauge what the real issues of the voters are? Do they understand the mind of the East Malaysian?

To begin with, do we accept them as equals, given that we are "celebrating 55 years of independence" when we have had only 49 years of being 'Malaysia'?

This Merdeka eve will be marked by street demonstrations, calling for free and fair elections. It is about Janji Demokrasi -- the promise of democracy that has been sidelined by the UMNO government.

If you ask me, this is what will make Merdeka day significant and meaningful, because it is all about calling for true freedom and independence from the evil warlords of UMNO.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

What Is Liverpool Famous For?

A walk down Mathew Street.


The good ole Beatles.

They were certainly not from my era, but I was given a glimpse into their success from the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, in which he mentions the number 10,000 -- go read the book!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Out Of Touch With Reality

Date: August 16, 2012
Reporting From: Carthage, Tunisia

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has made an admirable habit of enraging western governments over the last few years, particularly the United States.

Most notably, his release of classified diplomatic documents in 2010 proved ruthlessly embarrassing, shining a spotlight on the absurd, petty little world of international relations.

Ever since, the US government has done everything it can to stop him. Short of assassination. They shut down his website, but mirror sites instantly popped up. They sought legal action, but their efforts have been impeded by the bureaucratic deftness of his attorneys. They froze his bank accounts... but donations have poured in from all over the world.

Along the way, Uncle Sam co-opted a number of allied nations to set aside their principles for the sake of US interests-- Switzerland rolled over immediately and shuttered Assange's bank accounts.

Australia (his home country) has remained conspicuously silent on the matter, raising not a single word of protest in his defense. One high ranking Aussie politician even publicly suggested that Assange should be killed.

Sweden has happily played along, trumping up dubious allegations about Assange and issuing an international arrest warrant.

And now there's the UK, where Assange has been based. The British government located and arrested him, yet after his legal team was able to secure bail and delay extradition, Assange sought refuge at the Ecuadoran embassy in London. He's been living there for two months in violation of his bail.

Assange knows that, if extradited to Sweden, he'll be shipped off to face the death penalty in the US... so the stakes are clearly high. He even petitioned Ecuador's president Rafael Correa for political asylum, and just hours ago, Correa agreed.

Swarms of British police have now descended on the Ecuadoran embassy in London. This, on the heels of the British Foreign Ministry issuing a warning letter to Ecuador's government threatening to "take actions in order to arrest Mr. Assange in the current premises of the [Ecuadoran] embassy."

Such a move would be appalling, to say the least.

Embassies are hallowed sovereign ground, not to be trespassed. Ever. This is the most sacrosanct, fundamental, inviolable principle of international relations, explicitly codified in both the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961) and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963).

Article 27 of the latter, for example, states that "the receiving State [the UK in this case] shall, even in case of armed conflict, respect and protect the consular premises, together with the property of the consular post and the consular archives."

International law seems pretty obvious here. Yet British police stand ready to storm the embassy, arrest Assange, and tear down decades of diplomatic precedent.

In a way this is almost poetic. Assange is the man who exposed western diplomacy for the fraud that it is. That he would be sent to his death by an egregious violation of its most fundamental principle seems strangely appropriate.

Regardless, the whole affair is perhaps the foulest example that western governments will ignore their own laws, or selectively apply them, whenever they see fit.

Legal precedent means nothing. Rule of law means nothing. Free speech means nothing. Their own treaties mean nothing. It's unbelievable. Anyone in the west who honestly thinks he's still living in a free society is either a fool or completely out of touch.

If that seems too radical an idea, consider that ECUADOR is now the only nation which stands to defend freedom and human rights against an assault from the United States, the United Kingdom, and their spineless allies.

The west has just become a giant banana republic. Have you hit your breaking point yet? If not now... when?

Until tomorrow,

Simon Black
Senior Editor,
Sovereign Man

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Chester's Grand Cathedral

It didn't always start off as a Cathedral though. According to some sources, it is almost two thousand years old and started off as a Druid temple before it went on to become a Roman (surprise, surprise?) temple.

At this point, my mate, Tim, is probably having a smug look on his face, since he loves to point out the idolatry associated with this magnitude of organised religion.

Anyway, it became a monastery when one of the Earls decided he needed one in his administrative centre. So it was probably more about administration than spirituality.


It's a lovely though foreboding structure, I must say.


But if you look past the actual building to the grounds, the bright flowers make the whole concept of God and spirituality more real.


Outside the Cathedral, the rows at St Werburghs Street display their goods as usual, a marked contrast from the famous ancient structure of Chester.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Good Job On The Internet Blackout

The American SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) was marketed by the American politicians to sound like it was doing the public a favour -- stopping pirates (think one-eye-patched robbers of the seven seas) from their online activities.

After all, it was Hollywood and some of the big music labels who were affected by the user-to-user sharing. Such a travesty of human rights. Not.

It wasn't the end of free distribution of copyright material that most people objected to.

It was the way the government was trying to nail potential wrong-doers down. Anyone could have been a suspect based on various degrees of involvement.

Very much like Section 114A which we protested yesterday.

The SOPA was shelved, in spite of the subtle way it was portrayed. Americans, God bless their souls, could spot the potentially nefarious invasion of privacy.

But I think we made our opinions public yesterday, given that CNET and Global Voices Online have picked it up.

I don't particularly want to know much about what the PM Najib thinks or says, but there was this nauseatingly "concerned" message saying that he had "asked the Cabinet to discuss Section 114A of the Evidence Act 1950 ...."

Well.

I'm trying to look past the posturing but it's hard to say what will transpire. But at least we have made our stand, and for that, I am proud to be Malaysian.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Internet Blackout Day

When is it?

14th August 2012.

What the hell is it about?

Creating awareness of Section 114A.

Section 114A, otherwise known as Evidence (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2012, was passed by Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara in April this year and was gazetted on 31st July by de facto law Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

The amendment has raised concerns from many parties such as lawyers, activists and Internet-based businesses.

Under Section 114A, an Internet user is deemed the publisher of any online content unless proven otherwise.

It also makes individuals and those who administer, operate or provide spaces for online community forums, blogging and hosting services, liable for content published through its services.

This presumption of guilt goes against a fundamental principle of justice – innocent until proven guilty -- and disproportionately burdens the average person who may not have the resources to defend himself in court.

For more information about the Internet Blackout Day and to take part in the campaign, please visit:

1. The official blog at stop114a.wordpress.com

2. The Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/evidenceamendmentact.

3. Stop 114A's Twibbon page for Twitter: http://twibbon.com/join/Stop-114A

4. Stop 114A's Twibbon page for Facebook: http://twibbon.com/cause/Stop-114A/facebook

Friday, 3 August 2012

Something To Be Proud Of


From Travel Daily News Asia:

The Toastmasters International 82nd Annual International Convention will take place from 20-23 August 2014 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the country’s premier convention facility.

Following an extensive selection process, Kuala Lumpur has been selected by Toastmasters International for the first International Convention to be held outside of North America in the organisation’s 88-year history.

The Toastmasters International 82nd Annual International Convention will take place from 20-23 August 2014 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, the country’s premier convention facility. The four-day meeting is expected to gather more than 2,000 delegates from across the globe at the milestone event that will feature keynote presentations, skills-building seminars, election of the International Board of Directors, gala dinners and a host of networking opportunities.

Mr Daniel Rex, Executive Director, Toastmasters International in a statement released on 25 June 2012 said, the selection of Kuala Lumpur reflects the global nature of the organisation as well as its evolving membership. “More than 30% of all Toastmasters now live outside North America, with the greatest area of membership growth in Southeast Asia.”

Comparing Kuala Lumpur with the organisation, Mr Rex said that like Toastmasters International, Kuala Lumpur celebrates diversity and is a melting pot of races and religions. “The city is safe and clean and her people, notably friendly. Millions from around the world visit every year as evidenced by the nearly 80 international meetings held there last year (2011).”

Datuk Peter Brokenshire, General Manager, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, said Toastmasters International’s decision to hold its 82th Annual International Convention in 2014 in Malaysia is an honour for the country, Kuala Lumpur city and the Centre. “We are pleased that our investment in the US market via participation in relevant trade shows is starting to pay dividend. Slowly but surely, our message about what Malaysia has to offer the US meetings industry is getting heard.”

Datuk Brokenshire assured that, as with every event; big or small, international or local, held at the Centre, “we are committed to delivering a world-class experience for both organiser and participants and we look forward to working with Toastmasters International to make their first international convention outside of the US a success. Undoubtedly, their success is our success.”

For 2012 and 2013, among the notable US-based association-organised events to be held at the Centre are the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE) 2012 and Women Deliver Conference 2013.

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organisation boasts over 300,000 members in more than 13,000 clubs in 116 countries. Since its inception in 1924, it has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

BAFIA or MAFIA?


Rafizi (right) has spearheaded PKR’s offensive against dubious financial dealings linked to BN. — File pic

SHAH ALAM, Aug 1 ― PKR strategy chief Rafizi Ramli was charged today with violating the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) in exposing confidential banking details related of National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp).

I will concede that no one likes having their private matters being made public.

Certainly not people who have made a lot of money.

And more so, people who have made that money from dubious and/or corrupt practices.

NFCorp, and by extension, UMNO is livid that its reputation has been tarnished yet again.

I don't know why UMNO should be upset really. They don't have much of a reputation for being anything other than corrupt and greedy thieves.

Finding a legitimate issue to smear their name is no challenging feat at all.

Unlike the case of Teoh Beng Hock, who I personally believe had not committed any dubious practice at all and had to be fatally threatened in wild attempts to get him to confess to something he had not remotely done.

They dropped the poor fellow and wondered how to explain away a dead body at Plaza Masalam, that of a man who was due to be married that very day.

Incidentally, no one has been charged for his murder, which is far more grave an issue than exposing confidential banking details of corrupt companies.

How about Altantuya? Who has been held responsible for her death? Surely not a couple of commandos who did not know her from Adam (or Eve)?

Why were we told by the Foreign Minister that the Scorpene scandal was not a serious issue?

That is the worst case scenario when it comes to exposing confidential details, because it gives away sensitive defence information, which could amount to treason!!

Read what other Malaysians have to say to this, by the way.

And yet Rafizi Ramli is being put on the stand for something so minor.

The UMNO government acts more recklessly than even the Mafia!!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Talk Regarding May 13

The question now appears to be: Najib or Mahathir?

If you're an average, somewhat-intelligent life form, of Malaysian nationality, you might regard this as being between the devil and the deep blue sea. I don't blame you.

But this is what is being debated between Haris Ibrahim of The People's Parliament and Raja Petra Kamarudin.

There are a couple of things that I whole-heartedly agree with RPK:

1. UMNO political strategy is indeed being guided by Mahathir. From who was to succeed him as Prime Minister to the formation of a right wing organisation called Perkasa and a paramilitary organisation called RELA (whom everyone seems to forget about).

2. There are very likely plans to cause trouble post-GE13. It has been mentioned a number of times and the arms and weapons training that RELA have recently undergone points in that direction.

And for the sake of it:

3. Pakatan Rakyat do deserve some of the whacking that they receive.

But I digress. Back to the debate over keeping to Plan A or adopting Plan B.

Every somewhat-intelligent Malaysian life-form (and far more so the intelligent ones) would agree with Plan A: Vote for Pakatan Rakyat.

That is what I'm planning to do myself -- no secret there of what my vote will be.

The issue at hand is Plan B: Accept defeat should PR lose due to BN's unscrupulous cheating.

I find that hard to stomach, for many reasons:

1. The Malaysian public have issued an ultimatum to the BN government to implement the election reforms or face our wrath. Personally, I don't like going back on my word.

2. I don't believe in cowering to threats of violence and unrest. The bloodshed of May 13, 1969 happened a decent number of years before I was born and the matter is still being brought up every now and then. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GIVE IT A REST!!! At the end of the day, it will only be brought up if people still fear it.

3. It is entirely possible that Mahathir and his minions are expecting the Malaysian public to be frightened by these threats and back down. Why should we prove them right each time?

4. When May 13 happened, no one conceived that such a thing could happen. Today, we are aware and thus forewarned. People are prepared.

5. Perkasa and RELA would have to be extremely motivated to risk their lives for political ambition. Yes, they are aware that they have a lot to lose. But they have been complacent and comfortable for years, and it is hard to see them willing to be killed.

6. Malaysians have a lot to lose if the BN government stays in power. The people have been bled of natural resources, financial coffers, good governance and just plain justice. I expect to see a fair amount of indignance from being cheated of their democratic right to vote and elect the government of their choice. I know of people willing to die for their beliefs.

I am glad to see that the social and political activists have gone down to Ground Zero to reach those who need to be reached.

Too much effort has been put in for anyone to back down now.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

BERSIH Not Unlawful After All

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has quashed the home minister's declaration on July 1 last year that the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) is an "unlawful" organisation.

However, the court did not grant the two prayers sought by Bersih for the coalition to be registered.

Justice Rohana Yusof in her decision this morning said Bersih has successfully proven its case in challenging the declaration.

She also ruled that Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein’s declaration was "tainted with irrationality".

"Hence, we are allowing the applicant's application (for judicial review of the government's declaration), with no order as to costs," she said.

In her 30-page judgment, the judge narrated the history of the application that challenged Hishammuddin's decision to declare the coalition of NGOs to be an unlawful organisation.

Despite the declaration, she noted, the authorities had continued to meet with Bersih officials.

“There was negotiation between the applicant and the respondent (government) as to the location of the July 9 rally,” she said.

“There was an audience with (the Agong for) the first applicant (Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan) and there was no censure of Bersih (in conducting) its activities (the July 9, 2011 rally) as scheduled.”

The court had further taken judicial notice that Hishammuddin had made a public statement to allow the Bersih 3.0 rally to proceed on April 28 this year.

“Even if it can be said that Bersih was endangering security before the order was made, it cannot be the case that - after one week - such reason was no longer valid or applicable.

“In short, Bersih cannot be a society used for purposes detrimental to security on July 1, 2011 - and then, no longer so a week later. Even if that is so, then the declaration should have been lifted accordingly.”

Monday, 23 July 2012

Legality Status Decision For BERSIH 2.0

A reminder for the judicial review tomorrow.

Date: 24 July 2012
Time: 9AM
Venue: Court RKKK2, 3rd Floor, Mahkamah Jalan Duta

Do come and lend your support.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Detecting Communists And Terrorists Among The Opposition Party

My friend Helen Ang tends to give the Pakatan Rakyat coalition a very hard time.

She has ridiculed them for being what she terms the Malaysian Firsters, which refers to those who declare themselves as being Malaysian first, rather than race, religion, gender or any other label.

I would personally regard myself as a Malaysian first. But that is my own inclination and since I don't run for public office, I don't get the stick on my back.

It also helps that I don't need to go all out to woo segments of the population for votes.

Pakatan Rakyat has at times appeared to be insincere, but for the most part, if I was completely honest, I would say they have done a splendid job in the administration of the states that they won over during the last elections.

Bear in mind, that they have managed without adequate funds and support from the federal government.

This federal government is comprised of the same bunch of minions who claim that Pakatan Rakyat has been infiltrated by Islamic terrorists and Chinese communists.

Now that ranks high up there as one of the most ludicrous claims that the UMNO government has mustered. As always, they accomplish new levels of gutter low.

I personally find it quite amusing that terrorists these days (according to the esteemed Malaysian Special Branch) have purportedly seen the error of their ways, put down their weapons, resisted violence and embraced democracy by resorting to elections!!!!

There is some gravity in this, however. What is dangerous is this scenario:

With the resurrection of the Islamist terrorist and communist bogeys infiltrating the Pakatan Rakyat parties, is the stage being set for a special operation against the Pakatan Rakyat parties to remove the democratic and legitimate threat posed by Pakatan Rakyat to continued Umno/BN hold on federal power in the 13th general election?

Is the UMNO government trying to win international approval in putting away their competition?

After all, they have discovered that putting away Anwar Ibrahim for the 23rd time (I've lost count) over sexual allegations has not been sufficiently effective.

Nor is trying to cause riots at initially peaceful and orderly street demonstrations attended by 250,000 disgruntled Malaysian citizens.

The UMNO government obviously need something more potent.

So what gives? Is the Malaysian public suitably gullible enough to swallow this hook, line and sinker?

Or will this end up backfiring against the UMNO government in a divine sense of retribution?

Friday, 13 July 2012

Investigate Attack Against Dr. Ong Kian Ming

Press Statement: 11. July 2012

BERSIH 2.0: Investigate Attack Against Dr. Ong Kian Ming

BERSIH 2.0 condemns the attack by thugs on political analyst Dr. Ong Kian Ming that occurred yesterday at his place of residence. We are relieved that he was not harmed during the incident.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming is the Director of the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (Merap), a research effort to identify and understand problems with the existing electoral roll. His research has exposed crucial problems underpinning the electoral system. In addition, Dr. Ong has been a vocal critic against injustice and poorly planned or implemented government policies. The possibility of the attack on Dr. Ong being connected with his criticisms of the government policies and practices cannot be discounted.

BERSIH 2.0 views this attack as part of the increasing trend of harassment of human rights defenders by non-state actors. Examples of recent attacks on human rights defenders include the gangster attack on student activists at Dataran Merdeka during the Abolish PTPTN protest camp on 19 April 2012 and the harassment and intimidation against BERSIH 2.0 Co-Chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan by various groups and individuals after the BERSIH 3.0 rally.

BERSIH 2.0 calls on the authorities to investigate into the attack against Dr. Ong and to bring those responsible to justice. Attacks against human rights defenders must not be taken lightly. The Government must condemn and take swift action against such attacks or else its silence will be seen as condoning such attacks.

Keluar Mengundi, Lawan Penipuan!

Salam BERSIH 2.0!

BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee

Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)



The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:

Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Khoo, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Awang Abdillah (Kuching), Dominic Hii (Sibu), Dr Farouk Musa, Hishamuddin Rias, Liau Kok Fah, Mark Bujang (Miri), Maria Chin Abdullah, Niloh Ason (Kuching), Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Candlelight Walk

709: We Have Not Forgotten - Candlelight walk

In remembrance of Bersih 2.0 on July 9, 2011, we are organizing a candlelight walk, which will start from Merdeka Square to Stadium Merdeka, as a reminder to all Malaysians that the historic day where tens of thousands of Malaysians took to the street for a clean and fair election, has not been forgotten. Join us, this coming Monday, on the night of July 9, as we continue our struggle for a clean and fair election for a true democratic Malaysia.

Date: July 9, 2012 (Monday)
Meet-up time: 7.30 pm
Gathering point: Merdeka Square (Occupy Dataran site and previous camp site for the students)

What to bring: Long white candles, lighter (or matches) and cardboard or plastic/paper cups to prevent wax from dropping to the ground
Dress Code: Yellow shirts
Event flow (tentative, plans may change according to circumstances):

7.35 pm: Gather at Merdeka Square
7.45 pm: Start walking to Stadium Merdeka (the original planned venue for Bersih 2.0)
8.30 pm: Speech by Dr Wong Chin Huat, steering committee of Bersih 2.0 (to be confirmed)
9.00 pm: Dismissal and end of event (Please refer to Facebook event page for updated details)

This will be a peaceful walk to reaffirm our support for BERSIH's 8 demands where the only tools we will use are white candles and our will. We do not encourage confrontations with the police force and would like to urge all those attending this candlelight walk to remain peaceful and orderly. We are strictly non-disruptive - no banners, no placards, no shouting, no harassment. Yellow balloons, yellow flowers and Malaysian flags are always welcome.

This is in accordance with KillTheBill.org movement's mission to create a culture of informed, passionate, and empowered Malaysians who will stand up for social, political, and economical injustices and causes and to support the right to assemble and the right to express freely restricted by the Peaceful Assemblies Act through actions in creative ways.

We see this as a chance to once again reinforce Malaysians support for the 8 demands of BERSIH 2.0, namely:

1. Clean the electoral roll
2. Reform postal ballot
3. Use of indelible ink
4. Minimum 21 days campaign period
5. Free and fair access to media
6. Strengthen public institutions
7. Stop corruption
8. Stop dirty politics


For those who are not able to come to Kuala Lumpur to join the candlelight walk, we encourage you to wear yellow and celebrate the anniversary of BERSIH 2.0 in your own way. It doesn't matter if you are going out for lunch, dinner, or a movie. Wear YELLOW and encourage your friends to do the same. Wear YELLOW to work. Wear YELLOW to the gym. Wear YELLOW to pasar malam.

Use your creativity and make 709 a BERSIH YELLOW day.


More information can be found on the Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/411141245594702/

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Syed Abdullah Hussein Al-Attas

KUALA LUMPUR: Reporters Without Borders is very disturbed to learn that the blogger Syed Abdullah Hussein Al-Attas has been held since yesterday under the Official Secrets Act as a result of a complaint by a group of 30 people over controversial posts about the Sultan of Johor. A young woman who was with him at the time of his arrest is also being held.

“Syed Abdullah’s arrest is unacceptable,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Why was the complaint filed by 30 people and not the person targeted in the posts? Why did the authorities think it was necessary to detain two people because of what appears in reality to be nothing more than an ordinary defamation suit?

“The authorities have carried out arrests and are now conducting an investigation on the basis of this group complaint, but they show no desire to investigate the documented information posted by Syed Abdullah. We insist that they explain the reasons for their actions, which are at the very least disturbing and suggest that his arrest was politically-motivated.

“Freedom of information must take precedence over any law covering state secrets, which should be invoked only in clear cases of espionage and in other very clearly defined and limited circumstances. Government officials should not, under any circumstances, be able to use state secrets as a pretext for putting themselves above the law and flouting the fundamental right to information.”

Arrested at around 9:45 p.m. at the Senawang toll plaza in Seremban, southeast of Kuala Lumpur, Syed Abdullah is now being held at Air Molek police station in Johor Baru, the capital of the state of Johor. Johor criminal investigation department deputy director Muhammad Akhir Ishak confirmed today that he is being held under paragraph 8 (1) (d) of the 1972 Official Secrets Act.

Judge Isa Mohamed gave the police permission to hold him for four days in order to investigate the possibly defamatory nature of his blog posts. The woman who was arrested with him and who is also being held was named as Siti Nadhirah Mohd Zain, 26.

According to the Malaysia Chronicle website, most of the 30 people who filed the complaint against Syed Abdullah at the central police station in Johor Baru were linked to the United Malays National Organisation, the prime minister’s party.

The complaint described Syed Abdullah’s posts about Sultan Ibrahim, the crown prince and other Johor officials as provocative, insulting and seditious. It also claimed that he had posted confidential documents.

Better known by the blog name of “Uncle Seekers” and a believer in the paranormal, Syed Abdullah is the son of a leading political writer, Syed Hussein Al-Attas. He has dedicated more than 60 posts in Malay to the theme of “Sultan Johor Atau Kerabatnya” (The Sultan of Johor or his relatives). They have included documents supporting his claims that part of the fortune left by the late Sultan Iskandar, who died in 2010, was embezzled.

When asked by his followers on Twitter to comment yesterday, Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim posted: “Let the dog bark as much as he wants. I know the truth, Johoreans know the truth. Why should I react to bullshit?”

Read the rest: Malaysia blogger held under draconian official secrets act

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Electoral Roll

This is not entirely new, but good as a reminder.

By Dr. Ong Kian Ming, Project Director, Malaysia Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP), UCSI University

At least 3.4m cases or about 27% of the electoral roll need to be further investigated
The Election Commission (SPR) Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, was reported to have said, during an interview with Sin Chew Daily, that Malaysia’s electoral roll is the “cleanest in the world”. Only 42,000 voters out of a total of 12.6million, or 0.3% of the total electoral roll were considered unverifiable.

Obviously the EC chairman has not bothered to look into the preliminary findings of the Malaysian Electoral Roll Analysis Project (MERAP) which were reported and published in Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider and Selangor Times. In this preliminary analysis, it was found that the 10 initial problems identified in the electoral roll involved approximately 100,000 voters and that this number could easily rise to 400,000 upon further analysis.

Today, I want to announce that upon further investigation and analysis, another 3.3million cases of doubtful voters which needs further investigation have been uncovered.

Among this 3.3 million voters are:
(1) 3.1 million voters whose IC addresses shows a different voting constituency from the constituency in which the voter is actually voting in.
(2) 65455 “foreigners” who are on the electoral roll
(3) 106,743 cases of deletions and 6762 cases of additions without public display to the electoral roll from Q4 2010 to Q3 2011.

The presence of the 3.1 million voters whose IC addresses do not correspond to their voting constituencies is particularly troubling because this information was given to SPR by the National Registration Department / Jabatan Pendaftaran Negara (JPN) in 2002, before the implementation of the new registration system where all voters had to be registered according to the constituency indicated by their IC address.

It seems that SPR failed to act on this information that was given by JPN and to use this information to clean up the electoral roll even though the presence of these non-resident voters contravened Article 119 1(b) of the Federal Constitution which says that a voter must be a resident in the constituency which he or she is voting in.

In addition, it is also troubling to note that even though SPR keeps detailed records of the “Bangsa” of individual voters, it seems not to be concerned with the presence of more than 65 thousand “foreigners” in the electoral roll who are “Bruneian, Cocos, Filipino, Indonesian, Pakistani” and so on. Of these 65 thousand “foreign” voters, almost 90% or 59 thousand of them have IC numbers which indicate that they were born in Malaysia. Also troubling is the fact that 49 thousand or 75% of these “foreign” voters can be found in the state of Sabah, where problems with foreigners being given fake ICs have been a long documented problem.

Finally, through a detailed analysis of the Q4 2010, Q1 to Q3 quarterly updates and the Q3 2011 electoral roll, it was found that there were over 106 thousand voters who were removed without public display and almost 7 thousand who were added without public display.

It was also noticed that in the Q4 quarterly update released by SPR to the political parties, many of the details and information that were given in the Q1 to Q3 updates were missing including important information on the reasons for voters being removed from the electoral roll such as death, joining the army / police, losing their citizenship status and so on.

The failure of SPR to take any action on these problematic cases, which total 3.4 million thus far, is an indication that they are not serious about tackling the deep rooted problems of the electoral roll, whether these were problems which were created in the past or those problems which are still arising because of abuses of the system in the present time.

The preliminary findings of MERAP shows that there are grave concerns about potential irregularities in the electoral roll and that Malaysia is very far from having the cleanest electoral roll in the world.

Give Election Observers A Chance


Asli: Give election observers a chance
  • S Pathmawathy
  • 2:36PM Jul 4, 2012
 
The appointment of five non-governmental movements as election observers is not a ‘public relations' move by the Election Commission (EC), protests Asian Strategy and Leadership institute (Asli) senior vice-president Ng Yeen Seen.

Besides Asli, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), independent pollster Merdeka Centre, Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) and the Association for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) have been offered to observe the looming election.

NONE"We have had only preliminary discussions on guidelines. This is the first time we are embarking on such a project and we are willing to give it a chance," said Ng (left) at a press conference today in Kuala Lumpur.

She reiterated that "negotiations are ongoing", when pressed on whether they agreed to the proposed restriction by the EC to impose a gag on the observers from highlighting discrepancies to the media during the general election which must be called by mid-next year.

She refrained from commenting further, only saying that: "We support the move by the EC to set up a domestic observation group."
The EC's choice of NGOs as election observers drew flak from seasoned election monitoring groups who were snubbed on grounds that they have been seen as "pro-opposition".

Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel) chairperson Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh had complained that these NGOs were chosen over others which specialised in the task, to create an image of "fake transparency".

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) lashed out at the decision as a "public relations" exercise and pointed out that there were too many rules that constrained the observers from functioning optimally.

Among the constraints are that the appointed election observers cannot engage with the media, their findings must go through the EC before being published and they cannot able take photographs of fraud without the presiding officer's permission.

Read the rest on the web.