Archive for January, 2009

30
Jan
09

Calls for Syed Hamid’s resignation grow louder

(ref. Malaysiakini’s report, “Something wrong with Syed Hamid” )

In the light of the Home Minister’s outrageous remarks and his incompetent handling of the Kugan’s case, the calls for his resignation are growing louder. As the Minister responsible for the police force, not only has Syed Hamid Albar not taken responsibility for the death of a person under police custody, but he has instead publicly insinuated that Kugan is a criminal. This is outrageous and unforgiveable.

Referring to the Home Minister’s statement, the Ipoh Timor MP, Lim Kit Siang said (ref. Malaysiakini report, “Something wrong with Syed Hamid” ) “… when a minister responsible for the police makes a shocking statement of this nature, it reflects that something has gone very wrong both with the police force and the home minister with regard to the most basic of government duties – to keep the people safe and to uphold law and order”.

The DAP leader added that the Home Minister who is a lawyer himself, “cannot presume that Kugan is a criminal as it must be left to the courts to decide if the 22-year-old youth was guilty of the crimes alleged against him. Even if Kugan was guilty of the crimes alleged, the police cannot take the law into its own hands”.

A lawyer acting for Kugan’s family, N. Surendran expressed his shock over the Home Minister’s statement suggesting Kugan is a criminal. He said, “Kugan was not brought to court, was not charged in court. In this country, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty”. He added that if Kugan were alive he would be able to sue Syed Hamid for defamation. However, a dead person cannot sue for defamation and the Home Minister is hiding behind this fact to say horrible things about the deceased.

A senior lawyer currently based in Australia has called for the immediate resignation of the Home Minister “…because of the enormity of the crime perpetrated against Kugan, the ultimate sanction against a life without lawful authority.” He pointed out that Kugan’s death was not an isolated case and claimed that there are many other cases of death in custody ‘with no plausible excuse or reason available’. He also raised the question whether ministers are “competent, capable or civilised enough to hold office when they demonstrably lack any quality for human values, respect or dignity by their deafening silence in the face of murder.”
(ref. Malaysiakini report, “Convention demands minister’s head” )

The following are more remarks made online by people who are seething with anger and outraged by the Home Minister’s statement and handling of the Kugan’s case.

“…we cannot help but ask where we went wrong in electing such leaders.

Syed Hamid, as a lawyer you should know that someone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Wasn’t this very basic and fundamental principle taught to you in law school? Who are you to call someone a criminal?” – Chan

“Dear Mr Home Minister, Syed Hamid Albar, no one has demonised the police force in their handling of criminals.

But it is not the first time that people in police custody have died or been found dead.

No one is to be termed a criminal unless he is first charged of a criminal offense and then found guilty of that charge. In all cases of these so called criminals found dead in police custody, there were not charged and they died whilst in detention.

No one is making the police look bad, it is they and the likes of you who are doing it. Come out and tell us what happened, maybe even set up a Royal Commission, use the members of the opposition to sit on the commission and if they find everything is clean, which I honestly hope they will, then we can all feel safe. If they have nothing to hide, this will be the best option.” – Xroy

“It is amazing that a Home Minister who is supposed to know the law inside and out can say such idiotic and callous things. How can it be that we have returned a person like this to office? Let’s not make the mistake again in the next election!” – Netizen

“Whether Kugan was a criminal or not, what gave the Malaysian police the right to assault, degrade and torture him to the extent he died while in custody?

Was he not a human being who deserved the right to a fair trial in a court of law to judge him?…

The Home Minister must resign immediately!” – John Johnson

“The young man has died and yet they have to tarnish his memory by unfounded allegations that only can be refuted by the person whose life they took.” – Ganesh

“Taking the words from Syed Hamid Albar, anyone can be taken into custody, die mysteriously in police custody and be considered a criminal. ” – Milton Yap

“Something needs to be done about Syed Hamid, who seems to do nothing but make a fool of himself and the government. The latest ‘heroes and demons’ remark is one of many that seems to reaffirm the fact that he surely belongs at home and not in a minister’s office.” – G-Man

“I agree with Lim Kit Siang and Gobind Singh that something is extremely wrong with our police force and Home Minister. We have a Home Minister who fancies himself a Magistrate.

Judging by his words and actions, I can’t help but wonder if he really is a lawyer by training
as it is surprising and disgusting to note that his ‘demons and heroes’ statement is not the first time he has put his foot in his mouth.” – Prema

“The poilce can use all kinds of interrogative methods but to inflict physical harm on a human being is not forgivable and no matter what excuses are offered, they can never be accepted. Yet our Home Minister is trying his level best to justify such actions. What nerve!” – Appum

25
Jan
09

AI: Govt must investigate police torture claims

Malaysia: Government must investigate police torture claims
January, 22 2009
Amnesty International

The Malaysian authorities must initiate an independent, impartial, prompt and effective investigation into the death of 22-year-old Kugan Ananthan, Amnesty International said today, amid reports that he may have been tortured in police custody.

The young man died on 20 January after being held for five days in the Taipan Police station in Subang Jaya in west Malaysia on suspicion of stealing cars. State Police Chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar has said that Kugan was being questioned by an investigating officer when he asked for a glass of water and suddenly collapsed. Police initially claimed that Kugan had died of “breathing difficulties”, and a post-mortem report said he had died due to fluid in his lungs.

His family strongly contest the police claim of how he died. On the night of the incident, an estimated group of 50 people, including members of Kugan’s family, stormed the Serdang Hospital mortuary where Kugan's body was taken for a post-mortem. Some of them took photographs of his body, showing signs of injury, which were later published on the blog of a Member of Parliament.

“Only through a prompt and impartial investigation will people really know what happened to Kugan,” said Hazel Galang, Amnesty International's Malaysia Researcher. “The government needs to show it is taking a strong stand against torture, especially with the country's human rights record set to be scrutinised by the United Nations Human Rights Council in February.”

Several people, including Kugan's family and political party representatives, have lodged reports with the police, urging a thorough investigation.

This death in custody follows the case of B Prabakar, a 27 year old car park attendant, who alleges that he was tortured by at least ten police officers at the Brickfields police district headquarters in Selangor State in December 2008. Seven police officers have pleaded not guilty, after being charged at Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on 15 January with committing an act of “criminal intimidation” and “voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession”.

Mr Prabakar says the police beat him with a rubber hose, splashed boiling water on his body, and asked him to stand on a chair, with a cloth around his neck, and threatened to hang him. He was arrested on 23 December in connection with a robbery, and released five days later.

Following his release, police took him to a private clinic for medial treatment during which, he says, the doctor spoke only to officers and not to him. He stated further that he was offered the equivalent of US$140 in return for not lodging a complaint against the police. Prabakar's 18 year old cousin, C Soloman Raj, who was arrested at the same time as Prabakar, also claims that he was tortured.

Amnesty International has previously reported on cases of torture in Malaysia, including Sanjeev Kumar, who was detained under the Internal Security Act for a year and released in 2008; and M. Ulaganathan, who died in police custody in 2003. Sources close to Sanjeev gave an account of his torture and ill-treatment during his first eight weeks of detention at the Federal Police Headquarters in July 2007 in Kuala Lumpur. In July 2008, in a rare case, the High Court awarded damages to the mother of Ulaganathan who died while in police custody in 2003.

“These cases are violations of international human rights standards governing law enforcement officers,” said Hazel Galang. “Police are failing to respect the rights of detainees in custody. The government must act on this, and prosecute police officers who have violated the human rights of these detainees.”

Background
Malaysia is scheduled to be reviewed by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations on 11 February 2009. Under this procedure the human rights situations in all UN member states are reviewed on a periodic basis.

In a 2005 report, the government-created Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police made recommendations regarding the conduct for the police when investigating cases. The Commission proposed an independent external police oversight body to oversee complaints on police misconduct and a code of practice relating to the arrest and detention of persons, which would provide for an independent custody officer responsible for the welfare and custody of every detainee. The Commission also proposed procedures for the conduct of police interviews, including the use of tape recordings, video surveillance and access to lawyers for all suspects during interrogation.

None of these recommendations for police reform have been implemented. The non-implementation of such recommendations from the government-constituted body demonstrates a lack of commitment on the part of the Malaysian government to bring about reform and to establish compliance with human rights standards as a norm in policing work in Malaysia.

Amnesty International calls on the Malaysian government to implement these recommendations.

…source

15
Jan
09

KT buy-election

The KT buy-election!
Sim Kwang Yang
Jan 15, 2009 – Malaysiakini

A vote for RM400

I read an account on the Internet by a Chinese youth in KT who is too young to vote. He has an uncle who is a longstanding member of the local MCA. Having been saturated with political education by DAP ceramah speakers, the uncle went to BN meetings and asked questions raised in the campaign. He was hushed down immediately.

So now the uncle has decided to vote for PAS, though he was offered RM400 by the BN for his vote. The wise nephew advised him to take the money and vote for PAS. The older man told him that he must photograph his vote inside the polling booth on his mobile phone, and send the picture of his actual vote to the paymaster, or else he would not be paid. If he does not have an expensive mobile phone, one would be provided for him. If he is found to have voted for PAS, all kinds of punishment will descend upon him after the by-election.

Having been at the receiving end of many campaigns of money politics, I find this story believable. This device of using the mobile phone to monitor voter’s actual vote violates the secrecy of the vote, and is obviously against the election laws. But in a small town where everybody knows everybody, the uncle is unlikely to lodge a police report over it.

The obvious thing for the Election Commission to do is to ban all voters from bringing their mobile phones into the polling centre. The opposition election agents must also object vehemently to the use of the mobile phone inside the voting booth.

This and other tricks of bribery and intimidation from the BN tend to surface in the last days of any by-election anywhere in Malaysia. Sometimes, they work, and sometimes they fail.

One thing I am sure of is that PAS will get more votes from the Chinese community in KT than in 2008. If the Malay votes are still split, then there is a strong possibility of a PAS win on Saturday.

As for me, win or lose for the Pakatan coalition, the KT buy-election is just another battle in a long war for justice and democracy in Malaysia. The next critical battle field will be my home state of Sarawak. I wonder when RPK and his pack of bloggers will go there in the near future, and whether they will be declared persona non grata.

…more

15
Jan
09

Blatant Money Politics in KT

Did Somebody Say ‘Money Politics?’
Kim Quek
13 Jan 2009 – AsiaSentinel

Malaysia’s ruling coalition sets out to buy a by-election

In a daring bid to bribe the electorate of Malaysia’s Kuala Terengganu constituency, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak dished out 583 government contracts on January 10 in a “lucky draw” to every small Malay contractor present at the town’s state secretariat building.

The government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is in a no-holds-barred fight to hold the seat against a resurgent opposition in a January 17 by-election. It became vacant when Razali Ismail, who represented the United Malays National Organisation, died suddenly in November. It is the second by-election since disastrous national elections last March that cost the government its two-thirds majority for the first time since Malaysia became a nation. The first, in Penang, was won resoundingly by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim. Badawi himself is expected to quit as prime minister after internal UMNO elections in March, having been forced out by critics within the party. Although loss of the constituency to the opposition would not affect the balance of power in the Dewan Rakyat, or parliament, loss of another seat would be regarded by party stalwarts as a severe blow.

Although support for the governing Barisan Nasional and the fundamentalist Parti Islam se-Malaysia is said to be split about evenly, UMNO insiders are extremely concerned that Wan Ahmad Farin Wan Salleh, a former deputy home minister, a close Badawi ally, is a weak candidate.

The contracts described by Najib, valued at RM30,000 to RM 200,000 US$8,400-US$56,000) each, claimed to be for infrastructure works in the local township, were distributed at random by having the contractor to come to the stage to click on a computer. Upon pressing the button, a contract would be awarded, details of which would instantly appear in a big screen in the hall. Thus the contractor would walk home with his “prize” (a contract with a pre-determined price), with no questions asked on his track record or suitability for the works assigned.

Najib, who launched these innovative awards, claimed this “a world record”, saying that “In this lucky draw, everyone wins. Every one gets a contract.” He further added that if the Barisan wins in the coming Kuala Terengganu by-election, there would be more and bigger such contracts, so that the Class F contractors (confined to Malays, for small contracts) would “continue to make money and the country’s economy would continue to grow.

A Kuala Lumpur-based political activist close to UMNO disputed the account, saying the award of contracts was nothing new. The contracts, he said, are for local businessmen to build roads, schools and other infrastructure during a time of worsening economic conditions. The procedure, he said, was done for transparency. But, he added, “it’s definitely for the elections as well.”

But while Najib may be entitled to claim he has scored “the world’s first” for having satisfied every one of the hundreds of contractors present, few can share his pride over such a bizarre method of disposing government infrastructure projects. For a start, infrastructure works contracts are usually awarded gradually over a period of time, as and when the needs for such works arises, as determined and initiated by the engineers and the local authorities. These contracts are never awarded in a torrent of hundreds within a single day anywhere in the world. Granted that this may be part of the stimulus package announced earlier to counter current economic hardship, there is no possible justification to cram such a staggering number projects in one go, especially when these are confined in a small township like Kuala Terengganu. Needless to say, massive waste and redundancies will be the inevitable consequences.

Then, what about the track records and skill compatibility of the contractors with respect to the projects at hand? Without proper interview and scrutiny of the awardees, how can the government be certain that the projects are awarded to the right contractors?

Next, there is the question of price. Without tenders or negotiation, how can the government ensure fair pricing? In fact, over-generous pricing is expected, or else Najib would not have said: “I see everyone present here is jubilant and clapping his hands, every one has got a government contract, how can they be not grateful to the government and not strongly support Barisan Nasional?” (Sin Chew, Jan 11)

For this move, the Barisan was promptly condemned by the National Institute of Electoral Integrity as abusing government machinery to dish out financial benefits during an election campaign. But it is but one of an endless series of similar monetary inducements amounting to tens of millions of ringgit in the form of cash payments and allocations handed out by the Barisan in the Kuala Terengganu constituency since the runup to polling.

On the same day (Jan 10) as Najib handed out the “lucky draw”, he also handed out RM8 million to 20 religious schools, which are mainly located in Terengganu state. Recognizing the minority 8,787 Chinese votes — 11 percent of the total — as pivotal in this election, the Chinese community has been bombarded almost daily with allocations and cash payments totaling no less than RM12 million, such as:

RM3.3 million for construction of a new community hall.

RM2.8 million for furbishing a completed hall in a Chinese school.

RM3 million for 10 Chinese schools

RM2.7 million cash distribution to 9,000 Chinese for the coming Chinese New year (this annual payment was brought forward to reap the goodwill of Chinese electorate for the coming poll).

Miscellaneous payments to temples, guilds and other communal bodies.

All these financial bonanzas, handed out within the few days since nominations on January 5, are clearly intended to induce voters to vote in favour of the BN candidate, and therefore could be construed to constitute “bribery” as defined in paragraph 10 of the Election Offences Act 1954, for which the culprits are punishable as prescribed in paragraph 11 of the same act.

The election commission under the new chairman Abdul Aziz Yusof, who vowed to ensure a clean and fair election, has remained silent, as has the newly formed Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which prides itself as a replica of the famed Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of Hong Kong,.

Such a monetary assault on the electorate, combined with the daily brainwashing by the Barisan’s propaganda machines, also known as the mainstream media (local newspapers and TV channels), has once again made a complete mockery of our election as cornerstone of a democratic system of government.

With all the institutions tasked to uphold the rule of law either unwilling or incapable of fulfilling their constitutional roles, it is now left to the 80,000 voters of Kuala Terengganu to play as guardians to uphold justice and democracy by disciplining the wayward ruling party with a negative vote.

In this connection, it is heartening to take note of how neighboring Kelantan has valiantly fought off similar assaults by UMNO/BN for the past two decades. Under the corruption-free administration of PAS, the people of Kelantan, who are almost completely Malay Muslims, have successfully overcome persistent coercion and temptation presented by the UMNO/BN federal government through abuse of federal authority and improper monetary inducement. No doubt, their devotion to Islam, which abhors corruption as a grave sin, must have been an important factor that contributes to their moral courage.

Will the Terengganu Muslim constituents, who form 88 percent of the Kuala Terengganu electorate, prove to have the same moral strength as their Kelantan brothers? And will the minority Chinese constituents gaze beyond the immediate monetary gains to vote for change – a change that would mean the rejection of a defunct political power and one step closer to turning a new leaf for the nation?

Coming at a time of power transition following the political tsunami of the 2008 elections, the outcome of this by-election will have a significant impact on the country’s political development. It is therefore earnestly hoped that the people of the constituency will rise to the occasion to make the right choice for the nation.

…source

15
Jan
09

Malaysians want action on Lingam tape

Lingam tape: Get going on action against six
Blueonblue63
Jan 14, 2009 – Malaysiakini Letter

I refer to the Malaysiakini report Inquiry findings ‘cannot be challenged’.

Now that the Kuala Lumpur High Court has ruled that the Lingam tape royal commission of inquiry’s findings implicating six high-profile persons cannot be challenged, the authorities should not waste any more time in bringing them to book as clearly this is the wish of many people.

The ACA, or the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, should not also let the likes of Eusoffe Chin and the other guilty parties get away in investigating them for impropriety as in the case of the former’s much touted New Zealand holiday with lawyer VK Lingam.

Not only must justice be done, but it must be seen to be done as well for the victims of those who suffered unjustly the machinations and manipulations of these unscrupulous people. The authorities must look into ways of compensating them for the injustices they have suffered because of these culprits.

As the controversy has shown, for far too long the Umno government, and especially the former prime minister, have made a mockery of the judiciary. This is part of its whole grand approach of insulting the intelligence of the people, and the blame should be placed squarely on the shoulders of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Unlike the other recalcitrant five, the ex-PM is at least man enough to concede that he had been wrong in not challenging the royal commission’s findings even though he is most reluctant and continues to be cynical.

One can’t help but feel that when the Lingam video clip was first released by Anwar, Umno already knew that these six recalcitrants and perhaps even more, were guilty to the bone, but decide to protect them in ways which can only be regarded as yet further attempts to insult the people’s intelligence.

Even a child can tell that the video clip put on YouTube was authentic, yet Najib Abdul Razak continued to cast doubts on its authenticity in absurd moves which can only make all right- thinking individuals conclude that hos efforts were a waste of time and resources.

That came after the government felt that it was futile to continue denying that the six people were involved. And to top it all, even with the camera showing that he was indeed the person making all those atrocious remarks, Lingam had the cheek to continue lying.

One is reminded of the situation where even after the thief is caught with stolen goods in his hands, he still insists on the authorities proving his guilt!

Umno’s vain efforts to protect the six culprits in this controversy at all costs is but a small part of how it continues to take the people for granted, feel that they can be deceived, and even after it is proven wrong, refuses to admit it faults and apologise to all those whom it has wronged.

In insulting the intelligence of the people, Umno’s modus operandi goes along certain predictable lines. First, a strong denial to the contrary, even in the face of irrefutable evidence pointing to imminent guilt as in the case of the Lingam video clip.

They then have their spindoctors in the mainstream media spin their lies incessantly to force the people to regard a lie to be the truth if it is repeated 1,000 times. But if the people continue to be skeptical and turn the pressure on them – with the help of the opposition as in the Lingam video clip case – they will try to divert the people’s attention by creating another issue.

And if still the people don’t buy their line, it is then that they slowly and painfully drag their feet to prolong as far as possible any action against the culprits with the hope that the people will get tired and drop the whole matter.

But thank god, as in the case of the Lingam video clip controversy, the people were determined to get to the truth of the matter, and in the end when they are cornered, Umno was forced to give in most reluctantly. But wait. That is not the end of the whole story yet. Mark my words, they will try to claim credit by saying they did the right thing in accordance to the people’s wishes!

I hope the people, in their satisfaction at seeing the culprits get the punishment they deserve, do not fall into the trap of heaping praises on this Umno-led government which had, if one were to look at the situation carefully, done its level best to protect the culprits through its lies.

It is only when they are cornered that they finally admit their guilt. Don’t rule out the possibility that Umno is a sore loser and scheming of ways and means to hit back at all those who oppose its moves.

Never forget that it is Umno which has turned this once beautiful country into a nightmare going the way of Zimbabwe when it could have gone the way of South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore in the past 40 years.

Remember that it is only through persistent and more persistent pressure, that we can make them accountable for all the wrongs they have done to the people.

…source




Nuclear lessons for Malaysia (Part 1) (Part 2)
BN govt is directing attention to distant past and distant future, in order to distract people from present misdeeds and poor governance
Felda - A picture is worth a thousand words
How the 1MDB Scandal Spread Across the World (WSJ)
We cannot afford ridiculously expensive RM55 Billion ECRL!
All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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