Archive for September, 2015

30
Sep
15

Nothing wrong with obtaining evidence on corruption

OPINION: There is nothing wrong with obtaining evidence on corruption, and instead of investigating those who are supposedly doing so, the police should thank them for helping to do the job that cops are sworn to do; unearthing and stopping crimes in all forms.

Indeed it would serve the police more to perhaps take their 112 statements as witnesses, rather than to interrogate them for alleged offenses under Section 124B for activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy, or Section 120 for allegedly wanting to topple the government.

If unearthing corruption and graft is an activity that is detrimental to parliamentary democracy, then the police might as well arrest the entire Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, their own Commercial Crimes Division and all journalists.

For digging up evidence or allegations of corruption, graft and abuses of power are the very bread and butter of MACC investigators, commercial crime division cops and investigating reporters.

Indeed it is this very thing that law enforcement and regulatory authorities are supposed to be doing themselves, instead of harassing, arresting and threatening those who are allegedly doing so.

Furthermore, there is a clear separation between the system of governance, the ruling party and the chief executive. The party is not the government, just as the chief executive is not the party.

Government by consensus is not and cannot be dominated by one man, else it would be more akin to an authoritarian regime, or to put simply a dictatorship.

Within the ruling party, taking down the chief executive is the norm in mature democracies, even outside of elections as intra-party leadership challenges are common, as what has been shown to us by the numerous times Australia changes PMs.

And within the Parliament, it is also the norm in mature democracies for elected lawmakers to hold extra-electoral change of alliances that may bring down a sitting government, and replace it with a new one as support bases can change.

And if wanting to remove a corrupt or unpopular leader is a crime, then the police might as well arrest all politicians and all registered voters, break up all the political parties, seal up the Election Commission and suspend elections and Parliament for good.

For democratic elections, internal politicking within political parties and the Parliament itself contain devices by which leader who are unpopular and who no longer hold the confidence of the majority of the lawmakers, can be displaced via elections or other means.

Indeed these very activities are the lifeblood of the democratic process, that ensures it truly is a government of the people by the people.

Truly it is those who want to suppress such democratic mechanisms to stay in power, who are committing acts that are against parliamentary democracy and indeed public interest.

What more, most guilty are those who interfere with the staffing, transfers and dismissals of attorney generals, MACC investigators, Special Branch chiefs and key public officials.

For they are not only acting against parliamentary democracy but are interfering with and insulting the very bedrock of our nation and its governance, the institutions, including the police, which should be the bulwark to safeguard public interest .

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Nothing wrong with obtaining evidence on corruption
18/9/15 – theantdaily.com

29
Sep
15

Is Khairuddin’s action a criminal offence?

Lawyers raise eyebrows at 1MDB critic’s arrest under anti-terror law

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — Despite previous assurances, Putrajaya’s use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA) on 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) critic Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan has revived old fears of power abuse against dissenters.

Several civil rights lawyers contacted by Malay Mail Online pointed out that Khairuddin’s action of filing reports abroad against the state-owned strategic development firm hardly constituted a criminal offence or one risking parliamentary democracy, let alone an activity that could inspire terror against the government.

“The question that should be answered by the authorities is this- how is this a crime?

“Lodging reports against individuals or a company is not detrimental to Parliamentary democracy, contrary to the initial investigations conducted on Khairuddin and which resulted in his initial remand for six days,” Syahredzan Johan said in a text message to Malay Mail Online.

He was referring to Khairuddin’s first arrest last Friday after he was denied boarding a flight to New York to lodge a complaint with US officials on 1MDB, on suspicion of acting to “topple the government” under Section 124C of the Penal Code.

The court subsequently ordered the police to release the former Penang Umno leader, but he was arrested again moments after he walked out of the court late yesterday afternoon, this time under the controversial SOSMA, which replaced the equally controversial Internal Security Act (ISA) as a law to combat the growing threat of terrorism in the country and which also provides for detention-without-trial for up to 29 days.

Syahredzan noted that the government through its own actions, has opened itself up to public condemnation by wrongful application of the law, deepened after the second arrest.

He pointed out that the authorities’ claim that Khairuddin had breached Sections 124 K and L of the Penal Code — which deals with crimes of sabotage against the country — does not hold water against an investment company, even if state-owned.

“It would be incredible to argue or claim that what Khairuddin did falls under any of those limbs.124B, 124C, 124K and 124L are all offences against the State. Not offences against 1MDB or individuals in the Government.

“How is lodging reports against 1MDB ‘intending to cause harm for the interests of foreign powers’?” Syahredzan asked, quoting from the Penal Code.

New Sin Yew who specialises in criminal law shared the same view and condemned the two arrests as power abuse.

“Lodging complaints on 1MDB with foreign law enforcement authorities are lawful. So it’s clearly an abuse of SOSMA,” he said in a text message to Malay Mail Online.

Founder of legal protection group Lawyers for Liberty, Eric Paulsen, believes the authorities are punishing Khairuddin for going against the ruling party and turning on 1MDB.

“So now we’ve seen that it has clearly been abused against Khairuddin whose offense was basically to change masters and go against the prime minister and Umno,” he said in a phone interview with the Malay Mail Online.

“By using SOSMA against someone like Khairuddin who has merely lodged police reports overseas surely must be a grave abuse of this very draconian act,” he added in a later text message.

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Lawyers raise eyebrows at 1MDB critic’s arrest under anti-terror law
September 24, 2015 – MMO

28
Sep
15

Documentary: A Fractured Nation – Malaysia At The Crossroads

Video link
(INSIGHT: Malaysia At The Crossroads)

Race card won’t work in crumbling economy, analysts say in ‘fractured Malaysia’ show

Umno may use the race card to shore up support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, but this will not work in the long run if the ruling party fails to address real issues of poor governance, alleged corruption and the economy, political observers said in a television documentary by Singapore’s Channel News Asia (CNA) last night.

Speaking on the “Insight” in a documentary titled “A fractured nation”, three observers said the race card was being used because it offered Najib assurance that he still had support, even as the embattled prime minister and Umno president continued to face scrutiny over his governance and alleged scandals.

But Dr Maszlee Malik of the International Islamic University of Malaysia said the race card would not last long because people would have to start thinking about their survival when the economy started “crumbling”.

“(It’s) the people around (Najib) who play the racial card in order to continue their survival. But it won’t last long. At the end of the day, when the economy is crumbling, they will start to think about survival,” the assistant professor said in the 30-minute documentary.

Singaporean analyst Dr Ooi Kee Beng took the view that the race card was a “standard” feature in Malaysian politics, and that it was “always on the table” for politicians to use.

“The race card is the main card. That card is always on the table.

“But we’re at the point in history where the Malays are the majority and where economics is concerned, they control the government-linked companies (GLCs), control the government and Parliament… so the argument that they are under threat doesn’t hold water.”

Ooi, who is deputy director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) Yusof Ishak Institute, said more people want Putrajaya to focus on good governance instead of harping on racial rights.

CNA in its commentary said “ultranationalist” Malays who participated in the “red shirt” rally on September 16 “would like to think” that Malaysia’s problems were about race, but noted that a “great number of urban people form the middle class, as well as non-Malays, know (the) current discourse has more to do with poor governance, corruption and increasing authoritarianism”.

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Race card won’t work in crumbling economy, analysts say in ‘fractured Malaysia’ show
25 September 2015 – TMI

27
Sep
15

Umno’s red terror gambit

COMMENT When illiberal regimes lose their legitimacy, when they run out of excuses, when they feel their power slipping away, they almost always resort to scaremongering and scapegoating.

Suddenly, imaginary threats are everywhere. Everyone who does not toe the line becomes an enemy, an agent of dark unseen forces, part of some sinister conspiracy. All criticism, all dissent becomes seditious, unpatriotic, anti-national, a threat to national unity.

The ensuing tensions then provide the context and justification for further repression and for increased curtailment of fundamental liberties. What’s left of democratic space slowly vanishes.

Is the same thing now happening in Malaysia?

Najib’s red guards

Trapped in an increasingly untenable position over the massive 1MDB corruption scandal, Prime Minister Najib Razak and a close coterie of advisers appear to have adopted a strategy of trying to divert attention away from their own failures by playing up racial and religious issues, stoking fear and division and releasing their own version of the “red guards” to intimidate and terrorise.

With the connivance of the official media, old racist canards about the Chinese – that they are selfish, self-centred, ungrateful, money-grabbing, disloyal, unpatriotic, racist, disrespectful of Malays and Islam, that they control the economy, that they are blocking the progress of the Malays, etc. – are being highlighted once again.

What the red shirts, and by extension Umno, appear to be selling is the preposterous notion that despite decades of endemic corruption, abuse of power, mismanagement of the economy, fiscal irresponsibility and the degrading of our national institutions under Umno rule, it’s the Chinese who are really to blame for all the nation’s problems.

And the DAP, despite its multiracial character (it is in fact far more multiracial than any BN party) is somehow the chief villain, spearheading a sinister Chinese plot to overthrow the government, seize power and marginalise the Malay community.

Anyone who knows anything about Malaysia and the overwhelming control that Umno exercises over almost every single national institution, over every single lever of state power, will know how utterly asinine such a view is.

It is so absurd that surely not a single Umno leader really believes it but it is useful to confuse, distract and shift the blame.

The danger, of course, is that the red shirt mob will soon start believing the web of lies and deception they weave and take it to even more inane heights.

One senior Umno politician who was prominent during the red shirt rally, for example, went so far as to defend his racism by claiming that it is an Islamic obligation.

Has it come to this now when racism is worn as a badge of religious fealty instead of the disgrace that it is? Is nothing sacred to them anymore that they would turn a religion of peace and tolerance into an instrument of discrimination and hate?

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Umno’s red terror gambit
21/9/15 – malaysiakini

26
Sep
15

Let’s reclaim Malaysia from racists

“I will never forget these moments. Throughout the rally, I heard them calling me keling (a derogatory term for Indian), bangsat, bodoh and a pendatang. They stood tall as they said this. Their friends laughed and then jeered as well.”

These are the words of a reporter who covered the recent Himpunan Rakyat Bersatu or “red shirt” rally on Malaysia Day in Kuala Lumpur. She was not alone. Others were called “Cina gila babi” (Crazy Chinese pig) and “Cina bangsat” (Chinese bastard).

On the day when we were supposed to celebrate 52 years of nationhood when Malaya, Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore came together on September 16, 1963 to form a new nation called Malaysia, we have a racist hate fest in our capital city.

It is beyond irony that on Malaysia Day, this rally took place. The whole theme of the rally was “Don’t challenge the Malays, this land belongs to the Malays, this is Tanah Melayu (Malay Land) and all the rest are penumpang (squatters)”.

This is nothing short of the rejection of Malaysia, a coming together of not just four geographical regions but of multiple ethnic and religious communities.

Racism is alive and well and it is tearing up our country. The flames of hatred towards other ethnic groups are being fanned by politicians with the help of certain mainstream media and fuelled by social media.

It is turning our communities into time-bombs or minefields waiting to explode at any time or at the slightest provocation, where a common theft of a handphone or a vehicle accident can turn into a racial riot.

We have a problem but we have a choice as well. We can either choose to be part of the solution or to be part of the problem. The problem does not lie with the politicians alone and neither is the solution.

Racist leaders thrive on the fears, insecurities and suspicions in each community. Such environments are like oxygen to a fire. Deprive them of the oxygen and they will be snuffed out in due course.

First thing we can do is to stop hero worshipping leaders who only champion for their own communities. I am not talking about the Malay supremacists alone because for every Datuk Ibrahim Ali, Ali Tinju or the new kid on the block, Datuk Jamal Md Yunos, we can find their equivalent in every ethnic community.

These leaders want to be “super heroes” to their own kind by exploiting on the vulnerabilities of the people. Often times, they hide behind the language of their community, inciting anger, fear and hate towards others.

They articulate those primal feelings and amplify them. Their egos are inflated at the expense of our collective harmony.

Such leaders are the problem, not the solution to ending racism. We must expose them for the charlatans that they are and stop listening to them.

Second, we can all be and must be good neighbours. We would be tempted to get inflamed by racist remarks and we want to do “an eye for an eye” thing. But since we can’t get hold of these racist leaders, we do the next best thing. We take it out on our neighbours who happen to share the same ethnicity as the racist and thus the ripples of hate expand.

But it’s our choice. We can either choose to douse the flames of racism with love, kindness and respect, or add fuel by inconsiderate acts, rudeness and racial slurs.

Lastly, spread goodwill, not fear and hate. The tools of social media are powerful. Wrongly used they can wreak havoc. Used wisely, they can halt the cancer of racism.

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Let’s reclaim Malaysia from racists
Thomas Fann
21 September 2015 – TMI

25
Sep
15

The Economist: Malaysia ‘playing with fire’ with red-shirt rallies

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 – Malaysia risks facing more serious clashes with an upcoming red-shirt rally amid pro-Malay sentiments that will distract Putrajaya from implementing difficult but necessary reforms, The Economist said.

The London-based publication said in an analysis that Malay communalism grew quickly last July after US paper the Wall Street Journal reported that almost US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) was deposited in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s private accounts shortly before Election 2013, leading to a sudden Cabinet reshuffle where critics from within Umno were dropped and “pro-Malay hardliners” elevated.

“Most ordinary Malaysians reject racial rhetoric. But with more red-shirt gatherings in the offing, the risk of more serious altercations is rising,” said The Economist in the article titled “Playing with fire” published today.

“The spats are distracting the government from tricky and badly needed social and economic reforms. They are also worrying ethnically pluralist neighbours, such as Singapore, which frets about infection.

“As this year’s chair of ASEAN, a group of Southeast Asian states eyeing closer integration, Malaysia had pledged to promote a more modern and prosperous region. It is sinking deeper into its past,” The Economist added.

Sungai Besar Umno chief Datuk Jamal Md Yunos, who was one of the key personalities in the September 16 #Merah169 rally that saw racist insults hurled at ethnic the Chinese, said Wednesday that “red-shirt” protesters may return to Petaling Street this weekend and “riot” if the authorities do not crackdown on alleged sales of counterfeit products in Chinatown.

The police were forced to use water cannons to prevent protesters from entering Petaling Street during the pro-government September 16 rally that was attended by tens of thousands of Malays garbed in red shirts.

Traders in Chinatown are reportedly considering closing tomorrow for fear of the possible riot, despite police assurances of security.

The Economist noted that Malaysian politics have long been race-based and pointed out that Malay incomes have increased rapidly following pro-Bumiputera policies implemented after the 1969 race riots that saw killings and Chinese shops burned.

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The Economist: Malaysia ‘playing with fire’ with red-shirt rallies
September 25, 2015 – MMO

24
Sep
15

Sardine thief 10 years, Khir Toyo only one year?

Waytha: Sardine thief 10 years, Khir Toyo a year

KUALA LUMPUR; A human rights advocate and senior lawyer in private practice hopes that justice will be served, keeping public interest and public concerns in mind, when former Selangor Menteri Besar Mohd Khir Toyo is sentenced by the Federal Court soon on corruption charges involving two plots of land and a bungalow that cost millions.

“The High Court, and upheld by the Court of Appeal, sentenced Khir Toyo to only one year in jail besides ordering that the lands and bungalow be forfeited by the Selangor Government.”

In contrast, said P. Waythamoorthy who is also Hindraf Makkal Sakthi Chairman, an unemployed 22-year-old youth who stole some rice and sardines from a grocery shop was sentenced to 10 years in jail. “He ended up dead in prison within a year and all indications are that he was probably murdered there.”

“Shashikumar a/l Selvam’s body lies in the mortuary 120 days later, uncollected because there has been no post-mortem report so far as ordered by the Magistrate’s Court in Johor Baru and no death certificate. The Magistrate’s Court needs both documents to convene a Coroner’s Court and conduct an Inquest as per Practice Directions of the Federal Court.”

Waytha, who was until last year a Senator and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, contrasts the tragic fate of Shashikumar with the “rap on the wrists” kid glove treatment that Khir Toyo received from the Court and recalled the line from Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist: “The law is an ass.”

“The value here is Khir Toyo’s RM2 million in corruption money as opposed to Shashikumar’s RM70 worth of rice and sardines i.e. a few tins and a 10kg bag.”

“The poor petty thief gets 10 years and the rich and powerful gets 12 months?” asked Waytha. The Judiciary plays the “game of public interest” when sentencing the poor apparently to send the right signals to the criminals, he pointed out. “Would the Judiciary do the same in sentencing Khir Toyo and send the right signals to those in power that corruption would not be condoned?”

“I guess the socio-political forces in the country still prefer someone like Khir Toyo for his betrayal of public interest rather than Shashikumar, a common thief, for survival.”

Waytha said that Khir Toyo, to escape jail, has offered to provide free dental service to the community instead. “His lawyer had the audacity to say this in open court. Khir claims to be a heart patient and that his family has endured enough embarrassment for the past five years and hence he thinks he should not go to jail.”

A sardine and rice thief was sentenced to 10 years in prison at such a tender age and after one year, this youth was believed to have been murdered in prison, reminded Waytha. “Khir Toyo held the highest office in the state of Selangor and there was an immense element of trust placed upon him by the public.”

“He betrayed the trust and abused his power for self enrichment at the expense of the public.”

What should be the punishment for that in comparison with a poor youth from the underclass segment of the community who stole out of a necessity as compared to the greed of a Menteri Besar? asked the senior lawyer. “Shouldn’t the court impose a heavier sentence on him instead of giving him a slap on the wrist with 12 months or less?”

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Waytha: Sardine thief 10 years, Khir Toyo a year
September 24, 2015 – FMT




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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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