Archive for August, 2011


MRT rail, property model is land grab

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has accused Putrajaya of using the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) as an excuse to acquire prime land after it was revealed that the government will rely on property development to foot project costs.

DAP international secretary Liew Chin Tong said the modified rail-and-property model was just “land grab by another name” and accused the Land Public Transport Authority (SPAD) of putting revenue considerations before the needs of the public.

He told The Malaysian Insider that the regulator’s focus on how to maximise returns through property redevelopment rather than public transport requirements was akin to putting the cart before the horse, and called an example of “worst planning practices”.

“You should look at transport needs and how to cater for that before anything else,” Liew said, adding that this called into question whether the alignment of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line had been determined by property development propositions rather than demand.

“The most important thing is to think how to get people to work (riding the MRT)… The number one priority is to ensure this is the easiest way to work so you don’t have a peak hour (congestion) problem.”

PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli said the viability of the entire MRT project was now suspect given the risky nature of property developments, especially since the government will incur “huge public debt” financing them.

He pointed out that returns from such developments were not guaranteed as the outlook for the high-end property market was “quite gloomy” and there was already a property glut in the Klang Valley.

“This is the danger of the MRT project if it’s not managed properly,” he said.

Rafizi also questioned the timeline for property development on the acquired land and whether it would take place before or after the MRT is scheduled to begin service in 2016.

Pakatan: MRT rail, property model is land grab
August 27, 2011 – Malaysian Insider


Come clean on MRT project

PETALING JAYA: DAP has accused the government of sending mixed signals over the Jalan Sultan MRT (My Rapid Transit) project.

Party supremo Lim Kit Siang demanded that the government come clean over the uncertain fate of Kuala Lumpur’s MRT-afflicted Chinatown lots.

“The affected Jalan Sultan traders and the Malaysian public are entitled to ask, who is telling the truth about the MRT Jalan Sultan land acquisition: (Dr) Chua Soi Lek, Hamid Albar or Idris Jala?” Lim asked in a press statement.

Calling it the latest in Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s “flip-flop list”, the Ipoh Timur MP said that the government was sending mixed signals over the matter.

“Only three days ago, Chua (the MCA president) announced that the government had backtracked from its decision to acquire the land and 31 buildings around Jalan Sultan… to make way for the MRT.”

At the time, lot owners in Chinatown and nearby Bukit Bintang sighed in relief at the news, with some calling it a “slight ray of hope”.

However, Lim added that Land Public Transport Commission chairman Syed Hamid Albar rubbished Chua’s statement, saying that the 31 Jalan Sultan MRT-affected lots required compulsory acquisition.

“Hamid delivered a greater shocker when he declared that there was no guarantee that the acquired Jalan Sultan properties would eventually be returned to the owners,” Lim said.

This was compounded further by a letter from Pemandu chief Idris Jala to the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (ACCCIM) president William Chen.

Lim said that Idris had tried to justify the government’s pursuit in a “rail-and-property” model through land acquisitions and subsequent developments on them.

Jala, a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said that the government would not be able to cover the cost of the MRT’s first line – Sungai Buloh-Kajang – through costs alone.

Lim also hit out at the government for holding on to “grandiose promises” through its various transformation programmes.

“It (the government) bears the responsbility to satisfy the Jalan Sultan traders and owners as well as the public that the MRT’s project owners, Prasarana, is not attempting to hijack heritage lots (in Chinatown),” he said.

Earlier this month, Chinatown traders got the shock of their lives when they attended a public briefing on the acquisition of their lots.

Many of them were told that they needed to vacate their land at the last minute in order to make way for the upcoming MRT – Malaysia’s largest infrastructure project to date.

Come clean on MRT project, urges Kit Siang
August 26, 2011 – FMT


Parliamentary Select Committee: A tactic to delay, deny and confuse?

When the Prime Minister announced the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee on 15 August 2011, a friend rang up to ask me what I thought of it. My immediate response was, “It is a tactic to delay, deny and confuse Malaysians!”

What has transpired since then only seems to confirm this observation.

The onus is with the government now to dispel this notion. And the only way to do it is to give a public pledge to the nation that parliament will not be dissolved any time before the PSC completes its work and presents its findings to parliament to put in place the reformation that is urgently required to ensure free and fair elections.

This undertaking is absolutely necessary to convince Malaysians that there was sincerity and commitment on the part of the PM in setting up this PSC. We need to be assured that the Barisan Nasional government will go all the way to implement the reforms that are demanded by the people.

But what was confusing to Malaysians was the statement made by the PM nine days later that the next general election can be held anytime and will not be bound by the findings of the PSC on electoral reforms. This is perplexing!

In order to call for elections, parliament has to be dissolved and when that is done the PSC lapses. He would have effectively scuttled the PSC and sent it into oblivion. The truth of the matter is that the life of the PSC doesn’t go beyond the life span of the current parliament. When that is the case, then what is the purpose in setting up the PSC to look at the necessary electoral reforms?

By dissolving parliament before the PSC completes its duties entrusted to it, the PM will immediately deny all Malaysians the electoral reforms that were promised by setting up the PSC. Not only that, he will inevitably delay the promised reforms indefinitely.

Parliamentary Select Committee: A tactic to delay, deny and confuse?
26 August 2011 – Aliran


Disaster looming over Bakun

KUCHING: An impending disaster is looming over Bakun Dam following the state government’s failure to implement the recommendations detailed in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, according to environmentalist Dr Ellie Luhat.

Luhat, who is the chairman of Bakun Community Safety Committee (BCSC), warned that disaster would strike the area in the next three to five years.

“There was a study of the EIA reports where recommendations were made. But somehow when the implementation was done, these recommendations were forgotten.

“One of the recommendations was that we get rid of as much as possible the biomass – the trees, branches, twigs, scrubs, and plants – before the dam is to be impounded.

“But they failed to get rid of all these.

“Over the years, these trees, branches and twigs will get rotten and become very toxic to the water and fish.

“According to the EIA reports, if they are not removed, such toxic can cause environmental disaster in three to five years’ time,” he told FMT.

The RM7.2billion Bakun Dam has come under severe criticism over its shoddy construction, safety, displacement of the indigenous communities, health hazards and its impact on the environment

Deaths and isolation

Earlier this week, it was reported that some 30,000 residents in the Kapit, Belaga and Nanga Merit upriver areas were cut off from the rest of the world because the voluminous Rajang River had depleted following the impoundment of the Bakun Dam.

The current dry spell and the channelling of the Rajang water to the Bakun Dam were blamed for the situation.

State Land Development Minister James Masing in an immediate reaction said he anticipated the situation to worsen.

His pessimism was further confirmed when the management of Bakun hydro-electric dam reportedly said that the water is expected to be released through the spillways in October.

Disaster looming over Bakun
August 25, 2011 – FMT


MCA founder’s granddaughter lauds Guan Eng’s policies

Lim Guan Eng received praise from an unexpected source today when the granddaughter of the MCA’s first president and daughter of the country’s longest-serving finance minister said the Penang chief minister should be given his due for the state’s prudent management of public funds.

Tan Siok Choo, the daughter of Tun Tan Siew Sin and granddaughter of Tun Sir Tan Cheng Lock — both of whom were former MCA presidents — told BFM radio this morning that it was good that Lim had shown what could be done by eliminating waste and implementing open tenders.

“For my father… he was always very particular that government funds should be looked after like your own funds. I think it is in a way, currently, very good that Lim Guan Eng (picture), Chief Minister of Penang, has shown what can be done if you eliminate waste and if you have an open tender.

“The fact that he has been able to run Penang without much contribution from the federal government and yet turn in, yet attract one of the highest rates of investment, I think speaks for itself.

“And this is barring the fact that when my father was in politics, Kit Siang never had a good word to say about my father. So there is history between our two fathers but I think one must give Guan Eng his due,” she told the radio station’s Morning Grille programme.

Siok Choo’s father Siew Sin was finance minister from 1959 until 1974. Guan Eng’s father Kit Siang became an MP for the first time in 1969 and eventually became parliamentary opposition leader.

Her remarks today come as the DAP is increasingly being seen as the party of choice for the country’s Chinese community while the MCA, the party founded by Siok Choo’s grandfather Cheng Lock, appears to be floundering.

Recently, international news magazine The Economist also praised Guan Eng’s open tender policies and credited his administration with helping Penang regain its lustre as a “global city” by lifting the state’s economy to beyond that of a sweat shop industry.

The international weekly dubbed Penang “the first custom-made city of globalisation” and credited Guan Eng for boosting the port city’s revival by axing a racial special treatment economic policy in the state to create a more level-playing field that appeals to foreign investors.

MCA founder’s granddaughter lauds Guan Eng’s policies in Penang
August 25, 2011 – Malaysian Insider


MyOverseasVote group welcomes EC’s postal vote option

A group representing Malaysians living abroad have welcomed the Election Commission’s (EC) announcement that there’s a possibility of them voting using postal ballots in the next general election.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof made the announcement today, adding the commission was also looking at using a controversial biometric system with indelible ink, as proposed by the Bersih 2.0 group seeking free and fair elections.

“For the past year, MyOverseasVote have been lobbying the EC to extend the right to vote by post to all citizens residing overseas, and not just civil servants, servicemen and students

‘While we are gratified that our position has, with the help of public pressure and the influence of the global Bersih 2.0 campaign, now been accepted in principle,” said the MyOverseasVote group in a statement issued in Australia.

MyOverseasVote said it will continue to monitor the details put forward and seek to work with the EC “to ensure that the right to vote for Malaysian citizens overseas is realised expeditiously and in good time for the next general election, while also ensuring that the electoral system is not thereby opened up to any potential abuse”.

Malaysian voting group welcomes EC’s postal vote option
August 25, 2011 – Malaysian Insider


Anwar slams “show trial”

As expected, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim decided to give his statement from the dock on the sodomy charges pressed against him by Prime Minister Najib Razak’s government so as to avoid being lynched by a prosecution that has been tainted by allegation of political bias towards Najib, who considers Anwar his main rival for the country’s top job.

“Given that the 13th general election is nearby, there is little doubt that UMNO may use the prosecutors to do their character assassination against Anwar. Why should he be so stupid as to invite that?” PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

“It’s the PM and gang who are scared. Why didn’t they come forward as witnesses. Anwar does not have a fair trial. The prosecution is politically motivated. Why should he indulge in this charade?” PKR legal director Latheefa Koya told Malaysia Chronicle.”

Anwar had taken the witness stand in the 1998 sodomy trial from which he was fully aquitted, but only after spending 6 years in jail due to trumped-up charges he blamed on ex-premier Mahathir Mohamad of fixing.

Under Malaysia’s Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), Anwar can choose to testify from the witness box, from the dock, or keep silent. If he takes the witness stand, he can be questioned, whereas from the dock, he can present his statement without cross-questioning.

Anwar was immediately warned by controversial trial judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah that the court may mark his choice against him as it left no avenue for the prosecution to challenge him.

Does not expect a fair, lambasts Najib and Rosmah for hatching the conspiracy with Saiful

Anwar was accused of sodomising a former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan in June 2008 soon after announcing his decision to return to active politics and making a comeback to Parliament. He has denied the charges and accused Najib and wife Rosmah Mansor of hatching the plot together with Saiful, ex-Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan and Malacca Police Mohd Rodhwan Ismail to kill his political career.

In his statement, Anwar said he had no expectation he would be given a fair by the Mohd Zabidin, whom he pointed out had blatantly ‘closed an eye’ during every significant stage in the trial whenever it became clear the evidence had been allegedly concocted, or was suspect and false.

He again lambasted Najib, Rosmah, Musa and Rodhwan for the roles in the conspiracy against him. Not surprisingly, all four had declined to take the witness stand and even refused to be interviewed prior to Monday’s trial, unless they were subpoenaed.

Anwar slams “show trial”: By destroying me, Najib thinks he can destroy Pakatan
22 August 2011 – Malaysia Chronicle


Why Anwar chose the Mandela way

On 22nd August 2011, Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim made an unsworn statement from the dock during his second sodomy trial in just over a decade. He chose to do so knowing that less weight would be given to his testimony as compared to sworn testimony from the witness box.

This decision not to testify from the witness box is at once a searing protest against an unjust legal and political system, an eloquent indictment of that system and a powerful call for reform and change.

By refusing to testify and daring them to do their worst, Anwar Ibrahim has put the legal and political establishment itself on trial. Through this single, public act of principled defiance he has demonstrated the shocking extent to which our justice system has been reduced to being a tool of those who are in power now.

Mandela too knew what he would be getting

His act echoes that of Nelson Mandela, who in a bygone era also chose to give an unsworn statement from the dock during his political trial. Mandela used his now famous statement in the Rivonia sham trial to expose the evils of the apartheid regime to the scrutiny of the world.The stirring conclusion to Mandela’s speech is quoted by Anwar Ibrahim in his own statement from the dock.

Like Anwar after him, Mandela realised that the only possible verdict was ‘guilty’ and preferred to make a full and coherent statement of his struggle rather than let his argument emerge in ‘bits and pieces’ during cross-examination.

The unsworn statement as it is today is the fruit of several hundred years of development of the common law. In England accused persons were not allowed counsel in felonies until 1836 and the practice thus grew up of allowing the accused person to make an unsworn statement from the dock.

Foregone conclusion

When the Criminal Evidence Act 1898 finally allowed sworn evidence to be accepted by the court, the right to make an unsworn statement from the dock was expressly preserved so as not to compel an accused person to go into the witness box. This hallowed and time-marked right is invaluable to the victim of a political trial, fighting against the entire might of the State.

What Nelson Mandela did in 1963, Anwar Ibrahim did yesterday. Used in a righteous cause, the unsworn statement from the dock is a powerful tool against an unjust legal and political establishment.

Anwar Ibrahim has rightly said that the outcome of his sodomy trial is a foregone conclusion. Now he has taken this judicial persecution and turned it into a weapon for the betterment of the nation.

– N Surendran is a prominent human rights lawyer and a vice president of PKR

Why Anwar chose the Mandela way and made a statement from the dock
23 August 2011 – Malaysia Chronicle


Don’t just ‘cari makan’, take a stand

Pak Samad, as he is populary called, was a former editor of the Berita Harian in the 1960s and 70s.

In May 1976, he was hailed as the Pejuang Sastera (Literary Exponent) by the Malay literature communities and linguists. In 1979, he was awarded the Southeast Asia Write Award and in 1986 he was bestowed the title of ‘Sasterawan Negara’ or national laureate, in appreciation of his contributons to the nation’s literary heritage.

So when Samad made news in connection with the election watchdog Bersih 2.0, it took many by surprise.

In spite of the heavy police control on July 9, Samad, a poet and novelist, managed to walk, that too barefoot after his footwear went missing in a scuffle when the police fired tear gas towards the protesters at the Kuala Lumpur Sentral, to Istana Negara. He was only 200 metres away from the national palace gates when apprehended by the police.

Prior to the rally, the Barisan Nasional government filed sedition charges against Samad and other leaders of the Bersih 2.0 coalition of NGOs.

Stop the ‘carma’, take a stand

However, arrest was the least of Samad’s worry. Instead, he urged intellectuals to stop being ‘carma’ (cari makan) and dare take a stand against cruelty and injustice. He did not mince his words when he castigated the mainstream media which demonised the rally.

“Writers seldom take a stand. Most of them are ‘carma’ and are always prepared to not take a stand. This has caused all the evil to grow and spread tremendously.”

“For the mainstream media, Bersih is dirty. I’m also surprised, why these experienced pressmen who have won awards here and there, can smear Bersih. I know they are from the ‘carma’ group.

“Fortunately there is still a small number of writers who dare to take a stand, who know that Bersih is pure,” Samad told the 250-strong audience who filled the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall auditorium under the close watch of several plainclothes policemen on July 3, days before the rally took off.

Have Samad’s words awakened the consciousness of the mainstream media writers or have they dismissed his call for them to fight injustice as a spur of the moment remark?

Indeed, there is truth in every word uttered by Samad. To stand up against injustices or to perpetuate them, is for every writer to ponder.

The 76-year-old unassuming Malacca-born poet then went a step further saying he would boycott all government events, his way of protesting the government’s crackdown on the rally protesters.

Don’t just ‘cari makan’, take a stand
Jeswan Kaur
August 21, 2011


Polls panel insincere public relations move

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — Some activists and Malaysians who joined the Bersih rally have dubbed the parliamentary select committee (PSC) on electoral reform as an insincere public relations exercise by Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Their remarks came after the prime minister said last Friday that the timing of general elections would not depend on the panel’s proceedings.

“It appears that the PSC is not sincere and appears to be just an attempt to appease the people without seriously wanting to hear what the committee does,” human rights lawyer Edmund Bon (picture) told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

Bon, who is also the Malaysian Centre for Constitutionalism & Human Rights (MCCHR) campaigner, added that Najib’s statement on federal polls has confused voters.

Women’s rights activist Ivy Josiah said Najib’s remarks showed that the PSC was merely a “wasteful” public relations move.

“It’s insulting the intelligence of Malaysians,” Ivy told The Malaysian Insider.

“It’s very disrespectful to all of Bersih’s efforts…Citizens turned up (at the Bersih rally on July 9) because we want a fair and even playing ground,” added the executive director of the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

Ivy also challenged the PM to specify the reforms that he had promised to implement immediately.

Najib formed the panel some five weeks after electoral reform movement Bersih 2.0 took to the streets of the capital city on July 9 to call for free and fair elections.

Nearly 50,000 people braved tear gas and water cannons at the rally despite a police lock down on the city.

Kindergarten principal Christine Lai, who marched at the rally, said it appeared that Najib was trying to please everyone.

“It (the PSC) is just to keep you quiet,” said Lai, 51.

She stressed that electoral reforms should not be carried out partially before the general elections.

“If you want to clean up, you clean up the whole process. Elections have to be fair 100 per cent,” she said.

Student Michael Loo, who also took part in the Bersih march, said the PSC was pointless if federal polls were to be called before the panel’s recommendations were enforced.

“He (Najib) is belittling those people who took part in Bersih and any right-thinking person who hopes the best from the PSC…He’s stepping on these people’s hopes,” said Loo, 24.

Polls panel insincere public relations move, say activists, Malaysians
By Boo Su-Lyn
August 21, 2011

The dawn of A Better Malaysia!
Rafidah Aziz, Hannah Yeoh, Ambiga at TTDI ceramah


Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah


What happened to 1MDB’s money? – CNBC Video
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?