Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's Ramadan again...

Kepada seluruh umat Islam, biar di mana jua, selamat menyambut dan menjalankan ibadah puasa sempena bulan Ramadan al-Mubarak yang mulia.

Semoga kita semua diberkati-Nya... Amin!

(Memang ini bulan yang mulia. Hanya Allahlah yang akan memuliakan segala usaha dan bakti kita. Faham2lah. Kalau hendak menderma kepada fakir miskin dan anak yatim pun, kita perlukan liputan TV dan akhbar, lebih baiklah tak payah... Fikir-fikirkanlah!)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Jeyakumar & gang released: They are now 'national heroes'!

BRAVO! The release of 6 PSM (Parti Sosialis Malaysia) leaders and members from detention is already making them heroes. The whole world can equate them to Nelson Mandela or Kim Dae-jung or Lech Walesa.

I think it was decided by IGP Ismail Omar himself, who yesterday said they will only be freed once the investigations were completed.

My friend Zakhir aka Big Dog says 'Its A Mistake' while PM says 'Govt Receives Release of Activist Favourably.'

And so, the Emergency Ordinance is a farce. Even the ISA - which an amendment to it has been postponed since last year - has been doomed as a rickety. Now that everybody can apply pressure on the police and 'blackmailing' the government, our law and order is at a discount.

Sungai Siput MP Dr Jeyakumar along with PSM deputy chairman M. Sarasvathy, 58, national Youth chief R. Sarat Babu, 25, Sungai Siput division secretary A.P Letchumanan, 49, and central committee members, Choo Chon Kai, 33, and M. Sukumaran 50, were arrested two weeks before the July 9 Bersih 2.0 illegal rally.

The detention under Section 3 (1) of the Emergency Ordinance allows a person to be held for up to 60 days without trial.

Ever since the arrest, Najib and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein came under tremendous pressure from NGOs, foreign media, the Opposition and even BN leaders who sought for their immediate release.

Among most vocal was MIC President G Palanivel who told Najib that the detention has smeared Malaysia's good name abroad. There were also suggestion - or warnings - that the Indians might not vote for Barisan Nasional in the next general poll if reasons for the detention could not be substantiated.

While the Opposition leaders were fast to condemn it as an act of racism, foreign media were also shooting at it, calling the 'draconian' ISA and the EO as the government's tool to halt any efforts to challenge its political might.

I am not sure what was the reason for the 'quick' release this evening. Was it about Jeya's hunger strike or there was actually not basis for their detention at all. Or, is the government worried about the possibility of losing the Indian votes?

Their detention had nothing to do with racism. Bukit Aman wouldnt have arrested them without any reason. Detaining and releasing them within a short time is only making the six 'a reformation heroes' and I personally believe PM, Hisham and the IGP got a lot to answer.

By the way, can we haggle on the price of national security?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Are Malaysian fans antisemitic?

update: KALAH LAGI... he he he Malaysia lost again. In sports, we win some and we lose some but when we keep on losing, a post-mortem is always the best excuse. To me, Singapore was not the better team but our defense really cracked. Its time to find taller players, those who got speed and brain and know how to use both legs (tahan bola pun melantun ke pemain lawan!). Review our selection methods again and stop politicizing football. So, forget about going to Brazil or elsewhere...In Kelantan dialect, KUCAH BOJENG!

Chelsea has lodged a formal complaint with the Malaysian Football Association alleging that the club's Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun was the subject of antisemitic abuse during last week's friendly in Kuala Lumpur (here).

Benayoun (right) during a match

Large sections of the 84,980 crowd at the Bukit Jalil national stadium booed and jeered Benayoun's every touch in Chelsea's 1-0 victory over a Malaysian XI. The 30-year-old, one of the first Israelis to play in the country, did not complain at the time and was substituted at the interval along with all the starting XI.

But are the Malaysian fans antisemitic? I don't know but it shouldn't have happened to sports. Of course Malaysia strongly supports the Palestinian people - does not recognise Israel and maintains no diplomatic ties with the state - but no barrier should be imposed on sports.

Chelsea had initially been uncertain whether the abuse was antisemitic, with Benayoun having committed a foul early in the game which might have provoked some level of reaction among the crowd's minority.

In the meantime, Malaysia will clash with Singapore again for the World Cup qualifier. Down 3-5, I hope our Tigers put up their best to overcome the deficit and win.

I wont be able to join them at the stadium as I've got a date with a doctor. Being two goals down is not a big deal. I remember how Nottingham Forest beat Norwich 4-3 after trailing by three goals during one EPL thriller in the late 1980s.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To PAS, everything about Arab is Islam

I visited an old friend in Petaling Jaya yesterday. Born in Machang and brought up in Kuala Lumpur, he is a Pas member. In fact, he is quite popular among the party's youths.

We met in Baghdad in 1982 - he was a final year student at the Baghdad University while I was a journalist reporting the Iran-Iraq Gulf War. Young and slim then, he is now bloated after having his 6th kid.

A lecturer in the Islamic 'usuluddin' at a government's university, he didnt hide his intention to lure as many Malay students into 'embracing' PAS. And some of them did take part in the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally for RM200 each.

His semi-D house is filled up with pictures of PAS leaders - Asri Muda, Nik Aziz, Hadi Awang, Abu Bakar Hamzah and others - hanging onto the walls, neat and eye-catching. His graduation photo in 1983 is in between Hadi and Nik Aziz.

"Nope! I dont want to be a party leader. I just want to recruit as many youngsters to join the party. You know, more and more university students are joining PAS because of its Islamisation. BN is so secular that it cannot treat Islam like we do."

I didnt say much as I didnt want to offend him. I was in his house, anyway.

So, during coffee, we were serenaded by some Arab songs.

"Do you know that all this songs are about Islam, the beauty of the religion and what Muslim brotherhood means? I only listen to Arabic songs because its all about Islam and Muslims. Many PAS leaders and members listen to Arabic songs," he said.

I know that he speaks fluent Arabic. However, I didnt think he was aware that I do speak and understand the language too, in a 'bahasa pasar' way.

Yup, I understood the song. The artiste is a Lebanese beauty Amal Hijazi (picture) and the song was 'Akher Gharam' or 'The Last Love'. There wasnt any Islamic element in the song. It was all about love, frustration and heart-sick.

And again, I didnt protest that it was 'an Islamic' song. I just wondered all the way while driving to Ampang. When I was in Sidon, Lebanon in 1984, I met some Arabs who were not Muslims... they were Christians.

However, in Malaysia, all Malays are Muslims.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Understanding the Media Consultative Council...

Without any reps from the TV stations, the first meeting of the proposed Media Consultative Council (MCC) was attended by only a few media chiefs, a new media spokesperson who represented the bloggers, and 'tier-2' personnel from Prime Minister's Office, the Home Ministry and Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim's officers.

It was chaired by Sec-Gen of Information, Communication and Culture Ministry, Datuk Seri Kamaruddin Siaraf (pic). Uninvited reps from some news portals and 'akhbar nyamuk' were nearby. I was one of them.

It was an interesting idea and I believe it comes from Rais himself. The MCC will be put under a joint-jurisdiction - Rais and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, our Home Minister (a 'abang-adik' control).

I guess I saw a few red faces after the meeting, which was meant to get feedback about the Council prior to its official establishment. But the meeting turned sour as most of the participants, especially from the mainstream media took it as another government tool to control them.

The issue about the direction to be taken by the Council, the kind of benefit it will bring and who will be appointed to the panel, are still unclear. However, all parties should consider it and give inputs as to how its embodiment should be managed to the interest of the booming media industry (new media such as blogs and portals are also part of it).

The only MCC that I came across is the Botswana Media Consultative Council (BACC) which was established in 1998. Malaysia is years ahead of Botswana in terms of economic achievement and development but the idea only cropped up now. I wonder...

The BACC is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-governmental organisation registered in September 1998 as a trust under applicable domestic law. Its primary mission is to promote and preserve the further development of a multimedia industry in Botswana which is free, democratic, pluralistic and productive.

"In our vision, we recognise that Botswana will only realise its full economic as well as democratic potential if both its public and private sectors successfully embrace the political and social, as well as technological challenges of the rapidly evolving global information age. The BMCC was established to help secure this goal by constituting itself as an institutionalised forum for media stakeholders to enter into constructive dialogue both among themselves and with the wider community, including the government and regional organisations, on issues of common concern".

That's part of its Charter (read here).

What differs our MCC and BMCC is, ours is chaired by ministers while theirs fully comprises non-govt figures. The BMCC is chaired by a senior journalist/columnist while no govt officials sit on its panel.

Anyway, I think ours is slightly better as we will have govt and media reps on the same panel.

Good idea... but I hope we can be more specific in its objectives and benefits. I am sure its not all about taking punitive action on any media reports but a channel to discuss problems besetting our media industry.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Asylum seekers and boat people - the Malaysian way

Update: Eric Paulsen. the co-founder of Lawyers for Liberty, a human rights and law reforms organisation based in Malaysia says Malaysia is the worst place for refugees as they are being treated like 'shit' (read here)

Malaysia and Australia are expected to sign the 'asylum deal' tomorrow. Despite being a non-signatory to the United Nations' Refugee Convention, Malaysia has been very consistent with its boat people policy, treating them well and allowing them to work and live here although Australia and some developed nations deplore it bluntly.

Under the original proposal – which may by now have been updated during negotiations between the two governments and UNHCR – 800 asylum seekers who have arrived in Australia by boat would be exchanged with 4,000 of Malaysia's already processed refugees.

It needs to be remembered that the Malaysia deal is one part of a more comprehensive policy response to unauthorised boat arrivals that also includes maintaining development assistance in conflict-affected countries, capacity-building in transit countries, especially in South East Asia, and a raft of anti-smuggling measures.

The deal has been widely criticised but both governments deserves some credit. First, it is clearly taking seriously the increase in unauthorised boat arrivals in Australia over the last two years or so, and Malaysia's good record in protecting the refugees.

There is a separate debate to be had about whether what are still relatively small numbers of boat arrivals really merit such a dramatic response, but clearly their political significance outweighs their numerical significance, and both governments had to respond. They have responded within the law, and with the cover of UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees).

The arrival of a further 4,000 refugees would increase by about 50 per cent Australia's 2010 resettlement quota, taking it past Canada to be the second largest refugee resettlement country in the world.

However, critics - especially from some Western human rights organisations - are showing serious concern about the prospects for the 800 asylum seekers who will be exchanged.

As Malaysia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and thus is not bound to respect principles such as 'non-refoulment' which guards against refugees being returned home against their will. UNHCR had earlier told Malaysia not to deport them to the country from which they fled.

Human rights activists in Australia and Malaysia have expressed concerns about the detention of asylum seekers here, and the legal system for processing their claims. Together with UNHCR, they had insisted on some safeguards, for example regarding the exchange of children, and monitoring of those who do come to Malaysia.

And Down Under, the critics are that, there is no guarantee that this policy will achieve its ultimate objective, which is to stop the boats arriving in Australia.

For that to happen, prospective asylum seekers need to know – and care – about the possibility that they may end up in Malaysia rather than Australia. And probably more importantly, the smugglers who move them, who will certainly know about the policy, also need to care. If the policy has no direct impact on their businesses, they are unlikely to.

It is also important for a country like Australia that trades on its international reputation for decency — the policy risks attracting serious negative international attention. Already some commentators have observed that Australia is swapping 800 mainly Muslims for 4000 mainly non-Muslims.

Malaysia can always question Australia's motive in 'giving away' the Muslims to us but as a nation of good human spirit, we place the swap (and the agreement) above all, above diplomatic discrepancies and above critics.

I think Malaysia needs to do more in convincing the international community that asylum seekers and the refugees have all this while been treated like others - in some cases much better than any ordinary citizen. They were allowed to work, study and do business although such a conditions are not stipulated in the Convention.

And for all the adverse comments from the Western media and human rights organisation, including UNHCR itself, Malaysia has never asked for a single penny to feed the refugees. And I wonder whether UNHCR and those critics have ever thought of aiding Malaysia?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Condolences to Norway

As usual, our Foreign Minister will be among the last few to react on certain international issues. I guess the minister is too busy or doesn't keep abreast with happenings around us. However, let me express sympathy and condolences to victims of the two attacks in Oslo, Norway which left about 80 people dead and many injured.

I have some friends working is Oslo, the city which I last visited in 2000. It was a peaceful place with many immigrants (just like Kuala Lumpur).

Media reports are fast pointing at Islamic extremists over the bomb blast at the Prime Minister's office and a 'massacre' at the ruling party youth camp.

The huge car bomb exploded in Friday mid-afternoon and later, a man wearing a police uniform opened fire at a youth camp on an island outside the capital (read here). The youth wing of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s Labor Party was holding an annual meeting at the camp at Utoeya, and the prime minister had been scheduled to attend on Saturday.

A terror group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (Helpers of the Global Jihad) issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, in response to Norwegian forces’ presence in Afghanistan and to insults against the Prophet Muhammad. The claim could not be verified as it is not uncommon after such incidents for various groups having nothing to do with them to claim responsibility.

There have been previous threats against Norway, but political violence has been almost unknown in a country renowned for sponsoring the Nobel Peace Prize and mediating in conflicts ranging from the Middle East to Sri Lanka.

Oslo, a city of 1.4 million population, is a relatively easy target for terrorists. Being the 'backdoor' to Europe (just like New York in the US), it is the fastest-growing city in Europe, due mostly to an influx of immigrants. About 25 per cent of the population is composed of immigrants.

Speculation about those behind the bombing initially centered on several groups, all with Middle East affiliations. Al-Qaeda is of no exception. One prime source of grievance for such groups is the fact that Norway has about 500 troops taking part in military operations in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has threatened retaliation unless the troops are withdrawn.

Less likely to be the cause of the bombing is Norwegian participation in the NATO bombing campaign in Libya. The government announced in June that it was reducing the number of fighter jets involved from six to four and would withdraw completely by Aug. 1.

A third possibility is that the bombing is retaliation for the 2010 publication in the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet of a cartoon showing the Prophet Muhammad as a pig writing the Qur’an. The publication brought out large-scale protests by Muslims, with 1,000 Muslim taxi drivers using their cars to block streets in central Oslo in February last year.

These are not the same cartoons that a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, published in 2005 and that brought demonstrations against Danish embassies in several Middle East capitals as well as death threats and attempts against the cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard.

Yet another possibility is that the bombing was linked to a controversy over Mullah Krekar, founder of the Kurdish armed Islamist group Ansar al-Islam. Norwegian prosecutors filed a terrorism charge against him on Tuesday after he threatened a former minister, Erna Solberg, with death if he is deported.

Once again, the name and face of Islam are smeared by those involved. Whether it was intended to or not, terrorism always has a big tag on the religion.

While my heart goes out to the people of Norway, I am glad with the fundamentals and moderates of Islam in Malaysia. After being to some war torn countries during my heydays as a journo, I must admit that this is the best part of the world for me and family to stay.

But still, where is our Foreign Minister?

We are a peaceful country, says GPI

We are ranked 19th as the world's most peaceful country, a position much higher than that of the 'most peaceful Singapore' and some developed nations.

According to the Global Peace Index, Malaysia's ranking has improved tremendously from 37th and 38th in 2007 and 2008 respectively. And being the most peaceful in Southeast Asia, we should be telling Ambiga, Anwar, Kit Siang, Mat Sabu and others that whatever they do to tarnish our image, the international community is aware of the government's sincere objectives to bring about peace and sustainable growth for everybody.

This ranking by the GPI 2011 is the first time that Malaysia has been placed that high since 2007, being one of the six non-European nations making the top 20 list (here). The other five were Iceland, New Zealand, Japan, Qatar and Australia.

These indicators were selected by an international panel of academics, business people, philanthropists and members of peace institutions from the period of March 15, 2010 to March 15, 2011.

The research said Malaysia supplanted Singapore as the highest ranked in 2010 for South-East Asian (SEA) nation. Singapore ranked second in SEA and 24th overall, followed by Vietnam (30th overall), Laos (32nd overall), Indonesia (68th overall), Thailand (107th overall), Myanmar (133rd overall) and the Philippines (136th overall).

As for developed countries, United Kingdom was ranked at 26th, South Korea (50th), China (80th) and United States of America (82nd).

"Malaysia's growing peacefulness reflected a rise in political stability and improving relations with neighbouring countries, notably Singapore and China," it said.

The top 10 placement were Iceland as the country most at peace, followed by New Zealand, Japan (third), Denmark (fourth), Czech Republic (fifth), Austria (sixth), Finland (seventh), Canada (eighth), Norway (ninth), Slovenia (tenth).

And Malaysia is currently ranked one of the world’s top 10 friendliest destinations according to a HSBC survey (2011) and ranked the second most peaceful nation in Asia in the Global Peace Index 2011 (read here).

So, shall we tolerate those troublemakers?

Friday, July 22, 2011

TBH case: It's suicide, NOT murder!

The Royal Commission of Inquiry has concluded that Teoh Beng Hock committed suicide, a finding for his family, friends and sympathisers to contest. However, they were the ones who asked the government to set up the RCI after casting doubt over the impartiality of the court.

And what's next? Another RCI or a tribunal ? An international tribunal, perhaps, until their claim that TBH was murdered is substantiated?

Doubts remain as doubts. Minister at PM Office Nazri Aziz said the three MACC officers who were in-charge of interrogating TBH will be fully-investigated. Why? They are now accused of applying 'grilling tactis' on the victim (here).

So, could it be depression prompted TBH to jump off from the building when he just couldn't take it anymore?

“We will not delay to act against the officers but we also cannot `hang' them straightaway. Proper procedure will have to take place and it starts with investigating the incident and collecting evidence.

“Investigation papers must be opened and be submitted to the Attorney-General's Chambers for further action. That is the procedure and procedures need to be followed,” Nazri said.

The RCI in an unanimous decision, had found that Teoh had been driven to commit suicide by “aggressive, relentless, oppressive and unscrupulous” interrogation by three MACC officers. The three named were Selangor MACC deputy director Hishamuddin Hashim, and his officers Mohamad Anuar Ismail and Ashraf Mohd Yunus.

The 30-year-old political secretary to Ean Yong Hian Wah was found dead on July 16, 2009 on the fifth floor corridor of Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam, Selangor, after giving a statement at the Selangor MACC office on the 14th floor of the same building.

Of course the RCI's decision should be respected and accepted but for TBH family, it will never end. To them, TBH was murdered and Nazri's statement was adding some 'points' to them. Was TBH tortured or psycho-ed during investigation? Only TBH and God know the answer.

And what would become of the three officers if they are found guilty of using irrelevant methods in conducting the investigation? Jail? I think even a jail sentence would not suffice to TBH family and friends. Unless its going to be a death sentence!

So, the findings by the RCI will still carry no face value to many, especially the Opposition politicians who have been riding on the issue over the last two years for their extra mileage. What's next?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Msian agreement on refugees: Pot calling the kettle black

So, Malaysia is not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention. Being one of the countries being burdened with the influx of refugees seeking political asylum, why haven't we sign the convention?

Not many developed nations who are signatories of the Convention are not willing to host the UNHCR tag bearers and some of the world's poorest countries are in fact the largest recipients of them.

But are we mistreating them? According to the Convention, UNHCR status does not permit them to work or do business in the host nations. However, Malaysia is a different case. We just 'let' them do what they want.

How many Rohingya people from the Myanmar-Bangladesh border and refugees whom we 'salvaged' from the war-torn Bosnia in the 1980s are still with us, becoming richer by the day in business ventures which they were 'allowed' to do, and how many Malaysians are getting poorer when their 'suppose to be financial assistance' were given out to help those refugees?

Wisma Putra has to come up with explanations, notably to accusations that the Malaysian way of treating the refugees are 'inhuman and improper' (here).

The vacuum in relation to what may or may not be included in a deal and whether the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will be party to it is becoming the source of dangerous and uninformed commentary on what is the best way to treat asylum seekers reaching our shores.

At the root of many a thesis on why the Malaysian agreement is no good, a deal which we know next to nothing about yet, is the question of whether we should be liaising with Malaysia at all because they are not a signatory to the United Nations Refugee Convention. This has given rise to the question of how people who will be potentially transferred from Australia, let alone the thousands of others still waiting in Malaysia, will be treated.

The debate is not that different to an issue which vexes many a scholar and government official; whether or not to enter into negotiations with terrorists.

The Foreign Ministry too should not undermine such a statement as it will leave a big hole to our foreign policy and its image. Whoever is the pot or the kettle does not matter but the manner in which we assert our points in dealing with such a perception, is.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rais against blogger: Its not about money, its about morality

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim finally succeeded in giving a blogger 'the lesson of a lifetime' for defaming him in a blog article. Its not about the RM400,000 being awarded to him but a reminder for bloggers alike to be more careful with their writings.

Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Zabariah Mohd Yusof yesterday ordered Amizudin Ahmat to pay RM300,000 in damages and another RM100,000 in costs to the minister.

In January this year, Rais, 69, sued Amizudin, 42, who is also a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Youth committee member, for defamation over an article posted in the latter's blog,, on or about Dec 28 last year.

In her ruling, Justice Zabariah said the amount awarded to Rais was reasonable considering the facts and nature of the allegation (here). She awarded the amount for compensatory, aggravated and exemplary damages.

In his suit, Rais said the entire words in the Malay language article were malicious and defamatory of him and the words in the article meant and/or were understood to mean that he was guilty of a serious offence of having raped and capable of murdering his Indonesian maid.

A woman who worked as a maid for him for eight years was later reported by an Indonesian news portal as denying that she had ever been mistreated or raped by her employer.

Rais told reporters the ruling 'should provide adequate reflections to all levels of the society, especially those who passed time to write about others, to be careful when writing stories about any individual'.

"It is a great day; it truly reflects our confidence in our judiciary. It also rings a bell for those who constantly write about others in blogs or columns, (to) respect the rights of others," he said.

Well. I believe the blogger would not be able to pay such a big sum, which means he will be made a bankrupt. However, there is a moral to this case - although blogs are personal domains, the owners/writers must be fully responsible with its content.

Let it be a precedent, and I also hope Rais will not vent his anger in this manner anymore...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Muhyiddin should answer this

To DPM and Cabinet Committee for Foreign Workers chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin - please address this.

Home Ministry has appointed 335 agents to help the Immigration Dept to register legal and illegal foreign workers under the amnesty or 'pemutihan' program. Out of this, not all could afford to rent the biometric machines for almost RM15,000 each (and this deposit is not refundable in full).

When the govt decided not to charge anything for legal foreign workers who register with the Immigration Dept, it was okay and everybody like and accepted the idea.

However, when Datuk Hisham announced that about 500,000 Bangladeshis - legal or not - will register for free, it raised some doubts about the level of professionalism in implementing the program.

Last Friday during a Press conference, deputy sec-gen of Home Ministry, Datuk Alwi said that other illegal foreign workers too can register with the Immigration for free. This has caused an uproar among the agents as they are already losing RM35 per head there.

So, which is which now? Is this a benevolent govt? We appointed the agents and then rob them of their small income which is meant to cover the big money spent for the machines and the thumb-prints equipment. So, how will they survive?

What is so special about the illegal Bangladeshis as compared to the Indonesians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Nepalese and others? What is the point of having agents if the Immigration Dept does not impose any charges for registration and other procedures?

It seems that there are so many cooks here for the soup, each with different version of explanations.

I think we better give PR or citizenship to all the foreigners, especially the Banglas and give full refund to agents who have spent between RM50,000 to RM200,000 for the program. They (the agents) will not be rewarded with anything in the end, except losses.

We are more like 'Kera di hutan disusukan, anak di riba mati kelaparan' in dealing with the program. This is not a lucrative business but the agents have shown great interest in helping out the govt. However, we are taking them for granted.

Let's be fair and proper about this...

Tidak ada gunanya kita buka peluang kepada rakyat kita untuk berniaga secara kecil-kecilan jika kita sendiri menekan dan menyamun mereka dengan peraturan yang dikenakan.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Biometric: Confusion all around!

Amnesty, legalisation of illegal immigrants and foreign workers' registration. Different descriptions that carry the same meaning. Its all about money - BIG money with BIG confusion.

I thought the government has already agreed to pay Nexbis Sdn Bhd about RM1 billion for the biometric system contract. And this company, which many know belongs to close relatives of a 'very senior Cabinet minister', is not an agent for the 'pemutihan' but the one who supplies Home Ministry and the Immigration Dept with the device.

This 'pemutihan' was originally set for early June. It was then delayed to mid-June and then to July 1st. Deputy PM and chairman of Cabinet Committee for Foreign Workers Muhyiddin Yassin then announced that it would start on July 11 while Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the date was July 1.

However, registration of legal foreign workers only began on July 12 while August 1st is set for illegal workers' registration. Both procedures are given a duration of three to four weeks each. Legal workers can register at the Immigration Dept for free while appointed agents are allowed to impose a RM35 charge to register an illegal.

However, the time frame given is met with criticism as it would not be suffice to cover about 2 million foreign workers in the Peninsular. As Ramadan is closing in, many (including diplomats of respective countries) believe it should be extended until end of September.

Initially, the government's plan was to complete both procedures in three weeks. The idea was to avoid some people from taking advantage of it, especially in controlling the possible influx of foreigners who saw it as an opportunity to 'swim over' to Malaysia. It is also a must that all foreign workers - illegal or not - to have this biometric card.

At the early stages, some said outsourcing companies are not entitled to apply as agents for this biometric because they are the ones who created a lot of problems by bringing in so many foreign workers but failed to secure them with appropriate jobs at one time. This caused the government with severe headache as the cost to send them home was not cheap.

And then, they decided that any company with a track-record in managing foreign workers were allowed to apply. Finally, more than 800 did that. However, the number chosen as agents rose to more than 300 instead of 150 as originally planned.

Some matters are still in contention, among which are the manner in which the whole process was conducted by KDN officials. Among which are:

* During the first briefing with about 300 shortlisted agents on June 29, it was explained that the rental for each biometric machine was RM14,750 and agents who wish to use it were advised to go straight to Nexbis office in Damansara. And so, there was a 'gate-crash' for the machines the next day.

* However, during a second briefing on July 7, potential agents were given less than 24 hours to prepare bank drafts as deposits for the machines, and whoever could produce it by 11am the next day (Friday) would be given a letter of appointment at 3pm. As most companies (especially Bumis) didnt have enough money and while the time given was so short, some have to sell of their cars, jeweleries and even resorted to borrowing from the loan sharks for the deposits.

* Those who paid deposits on July 7 were told to collect the official receipts, letter of appointment and a CD which contains the formatted forms to be used for registration, at 3pm. When they returned after the Friday prayers, many were left without the CDs and official receipts.

* Confusion flared again when announcements gave two different dates of registration - 18th and 25th of July. And again, it was finally said that registration of illegal workers would start on August 1. However, where is the CDs and the machines when only some agents have already got it? Also, not all agents could afford even a single biometric machine.

* Initially, it was said that Bangladeshis would not be included but the decision was then turned around. KDN also said there wont be any charges for the Bangladeshis, whether they are illegal or not. So, what's this special treatment all about?

* KDN said agents could start registering illegal foreign workers beginning August 1 for RM35 but when will the legalisation (biometric) begin in order for the agents to collect the RM300 commission-per-head? A year later?

* KDN too did not take any action on several reports about various agents and companies already raking in big money by collecting between RM500 and RM2000 from foreign workers who wished to 'buy' the biometric card. Some have done it over the past one year. In fact, there was no standard guideline as to how much the government would charge them by their job sectors.

* The biometric machines are meant to be free as Nexbis Sdn Bhd will get its RM1 billion from the government. KDN should only impose rental charges for it but it seems that the ministry too wants to make money by charging agents with such a high fees.

* As some agents have got their machines already, who will supply the others, and when? Latest news is, KDN is having a shortage of biometric machines. If its true, then we can expect more problems.

And so, this biometric thing is not only giving problems to agents but to foreigners as well. Some have been cheated while the rest are having doubt about KDN's credibility in ensuring that the whole process could be completed within the stipulated period.

Who could come up with a 'one-off' explanation?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Enough is enough, Anwar!

Enough is enough, bro Anwar! Cukuplah tu!

Malaysia is your country too. Badmouthing and belittling the system you once supported and upheld will not help you become a Prime Minister. Instead of subscribing to aggravation which stems from your bad disposition, please find a noble way.

If you are trying to create an upsurge against Najib's government, how could you be so sure that 100 per cent Malaysians would support you (if you become our Prime Minister)? How could you evoke international hatred towards the party you once led just because your dream was shattered over 'a scandal'?

Asking Amnesty International (or should I say Am-Nasty International) to condemn Malaysia for 'mishandling' the July 9 Bersih 2.0 rally (here) didnt reflect you as a leader but more of a political rogue.

And this Donna Guest, your good buddy at Am-Nasty has requested for British premier David Cameron and Pope Benedict not to give a red carpet welcome to Najib. That's okay, I suppose. But who deserves the red carpet treatment? You?

I dont like criticising you. In fact I had never step a foot in matters you are involved with. No matter what others say, there is still a brighter side of you that you should make full use of in helping to develop our nation. If you had contributed to the country before, you can always contribute once more.

Use the virtue you still have in helping the rakyat, especially the Malays to improve their economic footing. What happened to you was a parable for others but dont lose your sanity over the greed for power.

What you are doing is admissible. You may think that you are infallible but there is nothing we did in the past is incorrigible. Just change your inveterate to become a better person and a good leader. You are not getting any younger...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bersih is very, very subversive!

They defied an advice given by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to have a peaceful demonstration. They defied the government and police orders to organise the rally at an indoor stadium. And they defied the law and order.

Now, its no point for PM Najib to hold any kind of negotiation with them as their main intention was not for a 'clean' election system but to bring about instability to the country, chase the investors away and wreck the social harmony.

They just wanted a wide publicity, which the got. It has nothing to do with Anwar Ibrahim either as Ambiga herself has avowed that Bersih was not the voice of Pakatan Rakyat or the PKR.

Then, who did they speak for? The answer - for a few anti-Malaysia, anti-govt, anti-multiracial politics and anti-institutional monarchy leaders who think Malaysians deserve a new system like Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and other Arab-Muslim nations.

They have forgotten the fact that Malaysia differs a lot from this countries. And they were very fortunate that the Malaysian police were very much human in dealing with them.

They are subversive people and are considered dangerous to the national security. I personally believe they will organise similar rallies in the near future as the authority has been very 'soft' on them yesterday.

Ambiga - who caused all the chaos - has won when about 50,000 people joined the rally. The 1,401 nabbed will be released on police bail in the a day or two.

However, the didnt realise the devastating impact poised by the rally. The whole capital city was at a standstill, business closed, tourists detoured, massive traffic jam and the public transportation system was disrupted.

No. Ambiga has forgotten that Bersih did not represent majority of the rakyat who are against them. She and her friends can claim victory now but should they have any plan for a second round of rally, I believe the rakyat who were adversely affected by 9 July rally would stop them!

If they want to know what's peoples' power is really all about, try a second rally!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bersih is RACIST!

Its going to be free for all! Whether Bersih rally will be held at Stadium Merdeka, Stadium Shah Alam or elsewhere, it's not going to be good. Racial sentiments are being strewed again.

I am not so sure whether the widespread-circulated SMS urging DAP members and the Chinese to stay away from the demo did come from Lim Guan Eng or not, it is still not good for racial harmony and undermines our 1Malaysia.

If Guan Eng did it, he must be out of his mind (here). However, the authority must investigate the SMS and take proper action to defuse whatever tension that may arise from it. This is totally unacceptable!

The idea to let the Malays kill each other (as I wrote much earlier here) will run down the whole country and those who propagate such an idea must be held responsible should it mangles our unity. For one thing, they dont deserve to be Malaysians.

This is truly an unduly act!

And on Tin Chua's tweet - 'whatever happens, we will continue our walk for Bersih... gather at Masjid Jamek, Masjid Negara and Pudu Plaza first, then march to Stadium Merdeka'.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and the IGP are having sleepless night to find the best solution to avoid any untoward incidents tomorrow.

However, the idea to let the 'Malays confront the Malays' is much more alarming!

Friday, July 8, 2011

So, who dares to rally?

* Only Hishammuddin Hussein has the right, firm and clear stand - Haram is haram!

* Bukit Aman will not issue any permit to Bersih July 9 rally.

* Ambiga, Ibrahim Ali and KJ among 91 peoples barred from entering KL on July 9.

* Police erects roadblocks all over town.

* IGP says police will nab those who rally on Saturday.

* Rally not allowed at Merdeka Stadium.

Looks like there wont be any rally at all. With lawyer Ambiga of Bersih, Ibrahim Ali of Perkasa and KJ of Umno Youth are not allowed to enter the city on Saturday, who would lead any rally?

Even Anwar and daughter Nurul of PKR, Nik Aziz and Hadi Awang of Pas, Lim Kit Siang and Teresa Kok of DAP, Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali, Independent MP for Kulim-Bandar Baharu Zulkifli Noordin, and Jemaah Islah Malaysia president Zaid Kamaruddin are among 91 persons on the police list to be banned from entering Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

The individuals named in the orders include 66 from Bersih, 14 from Perkasa and 11 from Umno Youth. Those named in the court order were being personally served the restriction notice today.

The restriction order was clear and that all of them are barred from even passing through the city between 8am and 6pm on July 9 — whether on foot or in any vehicle, including the public buses or trains. Those who breached the order would be committing an offence under Section 188 of the Penal Code, which is considered disobeying a public servant who is lawfully empowered to keep the peace and can be jailed up to six months and fined up to RM2,000.

IGP Ismail Omar said yesterday the police will arrest those who rally in KL and other places, irrespective of whether they are from Bersih, Perkasa, Umno Youth or other organisations as now permit has been issued thus far.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has been the most firm in declaring war against Bersih rally, describing it as not only illegal but also a treat to national security. And many has rallied behind him for such a stand - illegal is illegal!

So, with these 'troublemakers' barred from the city center, will there be any rally? Who will lead it and where?

And with police roadblocks being erected at all roads leading to the city since yesterday - checking cars with non-KL plate numbers - who else (apart from the banned 91 names) would dare to challenge the authority by organising a rally?

However, will Ambiga, Ibrahim Ali, KJ and others defy the police restriction? If they do, there will be rallies here and there, and we can be rest assured that there will be some troubles!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why give them a stadium???

When 500,000 Umno members wanted to hold a peaceful rally at the Merdeka Stadium on November 1, 1987, the police denied them the permit. And so, they had to jettison the plan which was meant to show undivided support towards the government.

But Bersih is given the Shah Alam Stadium (here) to hold their rally - to show their displeasure towards the government, in particular the Election Commissin which they accused of being bias.

Why must we allow them to use a stadium? What is so grand about this Bersih? And what prompted the government to offer such a place when no police permit would be issued to the anti-govt movement?

What is the guarantee that - if 300,000 people join the July 9 rally - Bersih supporters would behave in and out of the stadium?

I object!

Another thing - why is the government so open to offer a 'meeting' with Bersih 2.0 leaders? Scared, perhaps! If the Prime Minister accepts them, this will reflect how weak our administration is, and thus gives the indication that Putrajaya is recognising the organisation.

What is this? We are actually bowing out to Bersih's demand. First, they went to see Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, next to meet up with Najib, and last but not least will undermine BN leaders.

So, better dont allow them any stadium. Let them march in the strees and let the police do the necessary should they fail to behave.

After the statements from Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Bersih should call off the rally, and not detouring it!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rais wins suit against blogger

Information, Communications and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim today won his defamation suit against blogger Amizudin Ahmat after the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that the self-employed man was liable for defamation (here).

High Court judge Zabariah Mohd Yusof said assessment of damages would be decided Tuesday.

Rais filed a lawsuit against Amizudin on Jan 31, saying that the blogger, known Din Binjai had published or caused to be published adefamatory article under the heading “Hei Pak Menteri...mana mau lari...” (“Hey, Mr Minister...where do you want to run to) in his blog on Dec 28, last year.

Rais said the article with hisphotograph was prominently displayed at false and malicious words of him.

In his suit, Rais claimed that the words meant that he was guilty of raping his Indonesian maid and capable of murdering her to conceal evidence over the alleged rape. Rais is seeking damages, interests, costs and any further relief deemed fit by the court (also read Dunia Tiger).

I remember that during the 'cyber attacks' by some bloggers against the minister, I defended him quite well as I didnt want to touch on the issue of dignity. In fact, I dont remember writing anything about Anwar's sodomy case, except for asking the court to conclude its proceedings as soon as possible.

Bloggers have to be careful with what they write. Although blogs are of personal domain, we have a set of law for it.

To Rais, congratulations. I have written some punchy things about his approach, the ministry's policies and the MCMC but I never want to tarnish his or other people's image as a person.

PS Datuk, lopeh ni siapo pulak?

Bersih: Let the Malays kill each other!

I heard similar remarks in two coffee shops - one in KL and another in Malacca - about Bersih. Its not about a clean elections or a transparent Election Commission.

What's in store is more shocking. Its about 'Let the Malays kill each other' or 'Kasi Melayu sama Melayu galuh sampai mati'. Its a ploy to run a wedge between Malays of different political ideology, exploiting their weakness and divide to plunge them into a civil war.

Its hard to believe but after hours of chat with some level-headed citizens, including the non-Malays, we conclude that such remarks contain some truth. And with foreign elements trying to interfere in our political system, wanting to help Pakatan Rakyat achieve their objective of ruling the country, another conclusion is drawn - the Malays are ultimately blind and stupid!

For Pakatan to complaint about election discrepancies is really beyond comprehension. They won five states in the last national poll, and they didnt make any noise at all. However, when Anwar Ibrahim failed in his Sept 16 bid, they began to find fresh avenues to substantiate their claim for political supremacy.

After a series of by-elections that saw Barisan Nasional and Pakatan scored an even victory, Anwar and friends still couldnt accept the fact that the electoral system was not bias and free of any political detente. Not even the government or the ruling party has a say in it.

But sour grapes remain sour grapes. Until their objective is met, Pakatan will keep on blaming whatever system installed to champion their 'foreign-controlled' cause.

Parti Keadilan was not aware of it. Its Malay members also failed to distinguish the dirty agenda behind Bersih. And so were the 100 per cent Malay and Muslim members of Pas.

This is not about racism (or could it be?). Realizing its not easy to bring down Umno-led Barisan Nasional, some extremists formed a cahoot to break the Malays apart. Pas was their easy target. And so, they succeeded in persuading the Islamic party not to enter into the proposed 'Malay unity' talks.

Then, they saw Perkasa - a non-political formidable Malay force - as the major obstacle in their effort to rattle BN, notably the Malays in Umno. And so, together with Anwar (whose PKR is only to champion his dream of becoming a prime minister) and Pas, they managed to get this Ambiga who inspired Bersih on the pretext of election fouls.

It works well enough.

With the Malays in Pas and PKR, they will march in Kuala Lumpur on July 9 by using the 'free election' ticket. Perkasa's Ibrahim Ali who has vowed to stop and confront them, will lead thousands of members to 'dilute' them.

Of course, the police will come in full force to put things under control. As most members of the Force are also Malays, they may as well have to be prepared to brace for an 'all-Malay' confrontation, and if this happens, the non-Malays will stay away.

And recognising the fact that the Malays are well-divided, Bersih 2.0 will be a platform to neutralise them politically. A bloodshed among them will be a definite answer to undermine BN in the next general election.

Its a simple theory. Whether it makes any sense or not, its up to the Malays in Pas, PKR and Perkasa to consider. I may sound stupid but in journalism, stupid questions often get good answers!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

You are the man, Mr IGP!

Yang di-Pertuan Agong's statement on Bersih illegal rally here...

NO ROOM FOR ILLEGAL DEMOS, says IGP Tan Sri Ismail Omar in Butterworth today (here)... and dont ever try to challenge the police in carrying out its duty!

For the first time since taking office from Musa Hassan about a year ago, the Inspector-General of Police has finally stood tall with this stinging remarks. He is beginning to be 'the man in-charge', and I think i am going to like him.

That's the way, bro. As the IGP, you are vested with a special power to act using your own jurisdiction in determining the best action to deal with security matters. Of course, while the Home Ministry is there as a political-governing regulatory institution for national security, an IGP should know how and when to act in attending to situations like this.

"Don't challenge the sovereignty of the law which has been enshrined in the federal constitution. Police will take appropriate action using the law provided against anyone violating the law," he said in urging those intending to participate in the illegal assembly on July 9 to abort their plan or face police action.

The police had received more than 2,000 police reports nationwide protesting against the illegal assembly and PDRM had certain strategies which could be used to maintain security.

And in Petaling Jaya, his deputy Datuk Seri Abdul Khalid Abu Bakar said (here) the police have not dismissed the possibility that more people will be arrested under the Emergency Ordinance (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) 1969 for subversive activities.

He also brushed aside claims by some groups that police were out to arrest anyone according to their whims.

Yesterday, police detained Sungai Siput Member of Parliament Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj and five members of the Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) under the Emergency Ordinance. To date, 152 people have been arrested under Section 27(5) of the Police Act.

In 1987, the IGP used the special power vested in him to carry out the arrest of 106 people under Ops Lalang to quell street demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur. It met with heavy criticism from various quarters, including the Opposition, NGOs and foreign media but it proved to be very successful in bringing about stability to the nation.

And with Bersih 2.0 is ready to challenge the law and order on July 9, I believe Ismail and team are ready to brace it. As our IGP, peace-loving Malaysians are looking at him.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

Arrest of 6 is not Bersih-related

The arrest today of six members of the Socialist Party of Malaysia, including Member of Parliament, Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, has nothing to do with the planned Bersih rally on July 9. Those who try to politicise the issue and blow it out of proportion must realize that the police had acted in accordance with their responsibility to quell any subversive elements that can bring chaos to the country.

Their arrest at the Sungai Dua toll plaza in Penang was made under Section 2 (1) of the Emergency Ordinance 1969, which allows the authority to keep them at bay for up to 60 days without trial.

They were arrested with 24 others for allegedly 'attempting to wage war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, according to Deputy Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar. Bukit Aman would also be applying to the court to extend the remand order on the remaining 24 people because some more investigations needed to be done.

As at today, a total of 150 people have been arrested across the country in connection with illegal street demonstrations planned for July 9. However, the arrest of Jeyakumar and his friends cannot be avoided as the were believed to be involved in communism which is condemned in the country.

Their arrest too has nothing to do with what some anti-government news portals described as 'racism' as the Home Ministry and Bukit Aman had rounded up members of the banned al-Maunah when the tried to topple the government and bring down the King in 2000.

We dont allow communism in the country, including any kind of extremism. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had earlier warned that Malaysia will be open to foreign interference if it is in chaos (here).

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Bukit Aman senior officers have vowed not to discount on stiffer and punitive action should the situation deteriorates. And as a Malaysian, I am in full support for the ISA to be used again, if necessary in order to neutralise them.

However, we are saddened by the fact that there are people who are more than willing to sell their dignity for power.

To Hisham and Bukit Aman, you know exactly what to do!

Bersih: Listen to Sanusi Junid

To those who are looking forward to Bersih's July 9 mass rally, please read what Umno veteran Tan Sri Sanusi Junid writes about what 'demonstrations' are all about. Some demos are carried out for good causes but the rest are just to challenge the authorities, to create unnecessary cross-hatred and to champion politics of individuals.

If you are joining them for the sake of fun, there will be no thrill in store. The police will not issue any permit. The propagators of Bersih are doing it for Anwar Ibrahim and for Pakatan Rakyat.

If you love your country and want to retain the social harmony and political stability, do stay out of it. Unless you really want to court trouble. Read what Sanusi writes here...

"... Tetapi di Malaysia kerajaan pusat dan negeri dipilih oleh rakyat di dalam Pilihanraya Umum. Dato' Seri Najib bin Tun Abd. Razak belum pun memimpin sendiri satu Pilihanraya Umum kerana pimpinan beliau sekarang ini adalah hasil Pilihanraya Umum tahun 2008 yang dipimpin oleh Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Tun Dr. Mahathir telah bersara dari jawatan Perdana Menteri tanpa sebarang demonstrasi. Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi telah dipendekkan khidmatnya apabila ternampak penyelewengan dan ketidakmampuan dalam pentadbirannya. Semuanya tanpa demonstrasi.

"Jelas sekali Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya telah difitnah, dan namanya hendak dicemar, sebagai institusi yang diramal akan melakukan penyelewengan dalam Pilihanraya Umum ke 13.

"Penganjur demonstrasi ingin menghukum sebelum mana-mana pihak membuat dosa.

"Sepatutnya Kerajaan Barisan Nasional yang merasa tidak puas hati dengan Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya apabila kalah beberapa negeri, dalam Pilihanraya Umum 2008, kepada Pakatan Rakyat sebagaimana pembangkang selalu menyalahkan sistem pemilihan apabila kalah..."

"Tetapi Barisan Nasional menyedari kekalahan itu harus diterima kerana Suruhanjaya Pilihanraya telah menjalankan tugasnya dengan adil dan profesional..."

So, look before you leap!