Archive for May, 2012

31
May
12

Sabah illegals RCI must be given powers to act, says panel

KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — A bipartisan roundtable has urged that the proposed Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants being given citizenship in Sabah be given power to identify and take action against those responsible.

Yesterday’s panel discussion, which included United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation secretary general Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau and former senator Dr Chong Eng Leong from PKR, also demanded an “official explanation and justification.”

The roundtable was hosted by Proham, a group of former human rights commissioners, and included leading members of civil society and the public service in Sabah including the National Registration Department (NRD).

“It was proposed that the RCI must have the powers to investigate the unusual rise of the Sabah population… (and) specific cases by which foreigners have even secured the status of Sabah born identification cards.

“Among the terms of reference (TOR) must be a provision to identify who was responsible for this situation and appropriate action be taken on them,” Proham said in a statement today on the problem which has been blamed for the rise in social and economic problems in the state.

Dr Chong, a former senator who quit Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), has repeatedly accused former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of giving out at least 600,000 citizenships in a campaign that began prior to the 1994 state polls in order to ensure Umno’s political takeover of Sabah.

Participants were also “perplexed in the slow response of federal leaders” in addressing the Sabah citizenship problem, saying this may cause a “loss of confidence” that they would act “in the best interest of Sabah”.

Sabah BN has been pushing for an RCI for months, with Upko president Tan Sri Bernard Dompok saying in February that the Cabinet had agreed to form one.

However, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s silence on the issue during a February visit to Sabah had “angered and embarrassed” Sabah BN leaders, who have been trumpeting their success in pushing for an RCI.

This sparked rumours and Internet news reports of the possibility the prime minister had backpedalled on the Cabinet’s decision, with some even claiming a “secret meeting” of Umno warlords had warned the BN chief it would lose a sizeable chunk of votes if the RCI were to lead to a crackdown on Sabah’s large population of illegal immigrants.

The opposition has alleged that illegal immigrants have been allowed into Sabah and given MyKads and voting rights to help the ruling coalition retain control.

…more
Sabah illegals RCI must be given powers to act, says panel
May 20, 2012 – TMI

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31
May
12

International News and Malaysia’s Censors

Five-minute time lag allows extra bits to be snipped out to preserve “sensibilities”

In Malaysia, the international television news you watch may not be the same television news watched across the rest of the world. It appears that the major broadcast networks beamed into the country including BBC, CNBC, Australian Broadcasting, Al Jazeera and other international news feeds are put on a five-minute tape delay while electronic devices scan the broadcasts for objectionable keywords, including the name of the opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim.

The censoring of news came to public notice during the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally to protest what the NGO claims are Malaysia’s unfair election laws. When violence broke out, Al Jazeera reporter Harry Fawcett attempted to film police beating protesters into the ground. However, Fawcett was roughed up and his own camera was pushed to the ground. When the episode was shown on the Al Jazeera broadcast that night, an Al Jazeera spokesman said the police violence had been excised in Malaysia. It appears that similar BBC film was also edited to remove police beatings, other sources say.

All of the major news feeds are routed through Astro, the Malaysian direct broadcast satellite pay television service, which is owned and operated by Measat Broadcast Network Systems, which in turn is wholly owned by a subsidiary of Astro Holdings Sdn Bhd, controlled by Malaysia’s richest man, the reclusive businessman Tatparanandam Ananda Krishnan, a longtime friend and close associate of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as well as a long string of UMNO cronies.

According to a former Astro employee, the television news feeds are routed through a small room in the Astro headquarters, where electronic devices search the broadcasts for keywords that may be objectionable to government officials. The censorship section is headed by a “news controller” named Vincent de Paul, Asia Sentinel was told. Repeated calls to the Astro office in Kuala Lumpur, including attempts to speak with de Paul, were unsuccessful.

Malaysia’s mainstream media are all controlled by the country’s major political parties and all are closely monitored to present the most favorable possible view of the political situation to readers and viewers of local television stations. It had been assumed, however, that the international news from satellite channels had remained uncensored.

The violence that Fawcett filmed apparently led to censorship of the Al Jazeera broadcast, an irony in a Muslim country since the Qatar-based television network has long been accused of pro-Muslim bias by Americans and is not allowed to be broadcast in the United States. In actuality, Al Jazeera’s broadcasts are some of the most professional in the world on television today. The network’s China office was closed by Beijing last week for Melissa Chan’s reporting on human rights abuses by the Chinese government. Chan has been denied a visa, the first reporter to suffer that fate since 1998.

“We will be asking Astro for an explanation as to why Harry Fawcett’s report of the rally in Malaysia was apparently censored,” said Osama Saeed, head of international and media relations for Al Jazeera in Doha, in a prepared release. “If Astro are indeed saying that it breached ‘local content regulations,’ they would need to outline exactly what these alleged breaches were and how they arrived at their decision.

“If Astro are censoring output, then they should make clear to viewers and to broadcasters as and when it happens. We have had no communication on this incident from Astro. Our news report was a factual account of events that day, and intrusion in our editorial process is unwarranted. We have not been censored in this way by another distribution platform anywhere in the world.”

The Fawcett report was later broadcasted on Youtube at http://youtu.be/y8fzCE_gjAI. Some 250,000 people have viewed it, Saeed said.

“They always censored stuff in that room downstairs and they were very proud of it,” said the former employee. “Vincent de Paul basically watches it. The worry was CNBC. He was carving out word for word what they were saying because they often mentioned Anwar.”

…more
International News and Malaysia’s Censors
Written by John Berthelsen
17 May 2012 – Asia Sentinel

30
May
12

A deranged doctor in the house

Mahathir Mohamad may have been a dutiful and well-respected medical doctor back in the 1940s. But his decision to enter the political fray has – it’s safe to say – turned out to be a sheer nightmare for the country as a whole.

Mahathir could have maintained his good reputation as a doctor, but his name is now ruined, forever associated with the Twin Towers of corruption and cronyism, his only solace being perhaps the personal wealth that he and his sons managed to accumulate when he was at the zenith of his tyrannical rule.

And the most pathetic thing about this old man is that he had a choice to become either a statesman or a rascal, but he has clearly opted to be remembered as a deranged veteran who refuses to believe the world around him has changed.

By any standards, Mahathir was an intelligent man among his contemporaries. Even Lee Kuan Yew found him a tough nut to crack.

Lee is an elite member of the old anglophile school who could easily quote a famous British judge to justify his own autocratic governance, but was confronted with tremendous difficulties in articulating his thoughts with the masses in Singapore’s early days as an independent state. But Mahathir, himself from the top drawer of his time, was often able to return to the grassroots and arouse populist sentiment for his own cause when the going got tough.

Which makes it all the more tragic that the doctor has now become deranged in his own house. With Barisan Nasional appearing to lose power sooner or later, he is living in great fear of his own misdeeds and transgressions being laid bare under the Malaysian sun. Had Mahathir been a righteous and just-minded leader, he would not have to shudder constantly at the scenario of an alternative government, for his rectitude would remain intact, come what may.

But integrity is precisely what the doctor is short of. To pre-empt potential change of government, he is now working profusely to smear both the Bersih movement and the opposition by joining the government’s chorus of vilification.

In fact, he is almost a lead singer!

Admittedly, Mahathir, who is single-handedly responsible for the erosion of the Malaysian judiciary does not see eye to eye with the Bar Council. The bad blood, however, came only from the doctor himself as he tried to ‘fix’ the judges as he did his own patients in Alor Star. His caustic remarks that the Bar Council has become a political party therefore only reveal his ineptitude in understanding the role of the legal fraternity.

…more
A deranged doctor in the house
Josh Hong
May 18, 2012 – Malaysiakini

30
May
12

Bersih 3.0 true test of people’s power

People are ready to gather again under Bersih should Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak decide to dissolve Parliament.

COMMENT

The Bersih 3.0 rallies held simultaneously nationwide on April 28 have proven that people’s power is within reach.

The magnitude of the Bersih 3.0 rallies on that historic day with its epicentre at Kuala Lumpur is proof that the people’s movement has the ability to stand on equal footing with the ruling regime.

A fully fledged people’s power that has an equal standing with the government of the day would mean only one thing – it has the strength and force to reclaim the ultimate political power in the country from the once powerful Umno-controlled government.

With ultimate political power now within the reach of the masses, an unmistakable signal has been sent to the other side.

Its signal is clear. Bersih can harness the force of a fully fledged people’s power before the general election to compel the government of the day to listen to a united demand for electoral reforms.

What is the significance of a public rally?

A rally can be staged by associations, unions or groups of people having common interests to bring their demands in the open in order to pressure the relevant parties such as their employer, the management or the relevant authorities to act. Sometimes it is also to rally for sympathy from the public, the media, a particular authority or even the government.

A public gathering of people for a common cause is mainly concerned with the recognition of their rights related to jobs, salaries, facilities, policy, or dissatisfaction over specific issues.

Hence, the normal modus operandi in the conduct of such a public rally is to make calls or demands in a peaceful atmosphere and to seek amicable solutions to both parties.

But when a democratic political system of a country has been turned into an undemocratic and authoritarian one by the government of the day, the need to mobilise the people to reclaim the ultimate political power is justified by the universal principles of democracy and the need to restore the nation’s political system based on good governance.

…more
Bersih 3.0 true test of people’s power
Awang Abdillah
May 18, 2012 – FMT

29
May
12

Why the prime minister should scuttle the coming FGVH IPO

Commentary

Prime minister Najib Razak last week announced a ‘windfall’ of RM15,000 to each Felda settler family.

The planned payout is to come from the Felda initial public offering on the Felda Global Ventures Holding (FGVH) listing. As part of the IPO of FGVH, Felda will be disposing 1.21 billion of its current FGVH shares at RM4.65 each, and from which Felda stands to make RM5.62 billion if it is fully taken up.

Among the targeted anchor investors are Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) and other national and bumiputera funds.

Ahead of the share sale to be held by June, Felda settlers have been given an assurance by Najib that the listing would yield profits. He had also lashed out at those opposed to the scheme, saying that they are merely trying “to confuse” the people.

At this stage it is not clear yet who is trying to confuse the settlers or other Malaysians since the planned IPO is a highly complicated transaction whose full details have not been thoroughly unravelled and evaluated by professional market analysts. This is because many analysts are fearful that they may antagonize the government and end up on the wrong side of the authorities.

Some background data

Felda accounts for around 18% of the country’s total palm oil output. The idea behind FGVH is to turn this newly created corporate entity into a ‘global conglomerate’.

The blogger Pirates of Putrajaya, who is one of the few to have studied the considerable documentation pertaining to the IPO, explains that what FGVH is offering to the public is its 49% interest in Felda Holdings, of which 51% is owned by Koperasi Permodalan Felda Malaysia Bhd (KPF) and its one golden share held by the Ministry of Finance.

More illuminating examination of the convoluted deal is to be found in the Pirates of Putrajaya blog.

With such a huge amount of newly minted money in the works, it is only natural that the FGVH listing should be subject to scrutiny with regard to its political and socio-economic implications.

One is that the Felda folks are a vital constituency numbering 112,635 settlers who will be receiving payment as a ‘hadiah’ timed coincidentally just before imminent elections.

Two, more important than the voter headcount, the so-called ‘windfall’ for the settler electorate is to reinforce the political message that Umno has always taken care of the Malay rural constituencies.

Three, it is impossible to downplay suspicions that the purpose of the exercise is to fill the Umno war chest on the eve of an imminent election.

To read more on the financial repercussions on the Felda settlers in the long term, please go to http://pirates-of-putrajaya.blogspot.com/

Even if readers are not convinced by the political analysis of blogger ‘Pirates’, it is clear that settlers are not getting the best deal out of this FGVH listing.

…more
Why the prime minister should scuttle the coming FGVH IPO
Written by Dr Lim Teck Ghee
18 May 2012 – CPI

29
May
12

Do not underestimate Malaysians, says Ambiga

The Bersih 3.0 rally may be three weeks old, but for the organisers co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan it is still not too late to pay tribute to Malaysians for coming out in strength to show support.

Asked by Malaysiakini what had she learnt from the rally, Ambiga’s quick response was do not underestimate Malaysians.

She said Bersih is not about herself, in reality it is a ground-up movement.

“It is not mine, it’s not Pak Samad Said’s. We did not pay for them to come, and in fact they paid on their own for the T-shirts and transport. Some designed them on their own. The people have taken ownership of Bersih.

“It just captured the imagination of the people. What I have learnt from Bersih 3.0 is that do not underestimate Malaysians. It was a far bigger crowd than we had anticipated and we have to learn to be better prepared.

“I have also learnt that the authorities can actually go berserk. I am still reeling from the extent of the violence and this is a government which is looking liberal and yet they do this.

“My fear is to what extent they are prepared to go to curb dissent. I’m a bit disquieted about that,” she said.

Ambiga said the incident had deepened her faith in Malaysians, standing together in solidarity purely in support of each other is a wonderful thing.

In not taking credit for what had happened, the former Bar Council chairperson said Bersih had awakened and sparked off something positive in the people.

“We are not looking for differences but looking at unity for a common purpose (clean and fair elections). This is hard to fight back.

“They cannot fight this, and they should not fight as this is powerful stuff,” she warned, though elections may be boring stuff for some.

Mind you, Ambiga said, the rally did not taken place only in Malaysia but in 80 other places worldwide, too, including people putting up the Bersih flag at the base camp of Mt Everest, and at Mount Kinabalu.

…more
Do not underestimate Malaysians, says Ambiga
May 19, 2012 – Malaysiakini

28
May
12

GE13: Can we make history?

We must now make a historic choice of a lifetime as we are standing on the threshold of a new beginning.
COMMENT

It looks quite certain that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will be calling for the 13th general election (GE13) without the voter rolls being cleaned up.

And what can we as the citizens do about it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nil. Zero. Except to come out in full force and vote and make a big hue and cry if our name is not on the voter rolls on polling day.

Even the Election Commission (EC) is now openly siding with Barisan Nasional when the top two officials ought to resign with immediate effect. The EC has lost its credibility and integrity because it is no longer seen to be neutral and impartial.

In the meantime, why is there still no word from the EC in regard to the cleaning up of the dirty voter rolls? Why is the EC still silent on this matter? And, more importantly, why is Najib also keeping quiet on this issue?

Instead, the focus on Bersih 3.0’s demands had been shifted to the so-called rioting caused by its participants on April 28.

The prime minister no doubt now has only one thing on his mind and that is the date of the forthcoming national polls. He is mulling over when to call for the polls and he is pre-occupied with this day and night.

…more
GE13: Can we make history?
Selena Tay
May 16, 2012 – FMT




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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