Sodomy 2: Prosecution’s Objection rejected

June 30, 2009

Court of Appeal rejects prosecution’s objection

Hafiz Yatimby Hafiz Yatim@

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal against the transfer of his case from the Sessions Court to the High Court kicked off at the Court of Appeal with a preliminary objection raised by the prosecution. The appellate court, however, dismissed the objection and fixed for the appeal to be heard tomorrow.

The appeal started before a three-member panel – Court of Appeal justices Abdull Hamid Embong, Abu Samah Nordin and Jeffery Tan Kok Wha – at 2.30pm with an objection raised by Solicitor-General II Yusof Zainal Abiden. Yusof argued that the transfer of the case was not appealable as the trial proper has not started at the High Court stage.

“If there is judgment, sentence or order by the court then it is appealable.In this case the decision to transfer from the Sessions Court to High Court was just procedural as the trial has yet to start,” said Yusof.

After hearing submissions from both Yusof and Anwar’s lawyers led by Sulaiman Abdullah, justice Abdull Hamid dismissed the objection raised by the prosecution and set for the merits of Anwar’s appeal to be heard tomorrow.

Anwar is appealing against the High Court decision on March 5 which reversed the Sessions Court’s decision to retain his sodomy trial at the Sessions Court.

Anwar, 62, is charged with sodomising his former aide, 23-year-old Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, at Unit 11-5-1, Desa Damansara Condominium, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26 last year. The case is fixed for trial on July 8 before Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah. Anwar has also filed an application to strike out the case and that application will be heard on July 8 as well.

Anwar is cautiously optimistic

The politician’s appeal is based on his challenge on the validity of the transfer certificate signed by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail. Anwar had claimed that Abdul Gani could not sign the document because he was still under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in connection with Anwar’s police report on the “black eye” incident.

The Court of Appeal today also allowed an application by Sulaiman for a stay of proceedings at the High Court tomorrow pending the disposal of this appeal.

The High Court is slated to hear tomorrow Anwar’s application to get further documents from the prosecution in the sodomy trial.

Commenting on the outcome today, Anwar said he was “cautiously optimistic” with his appeal application. He also noted that the judges hearing the appeal have a clean and unblemished record.

Prosecution would be crying foul

Justice Abdull Hamid, in making the order after a 45-minute break, said he and his colleagues had a hearty discussion on the issue. Abdull Hamid then painted a scenario for the prosecution if it were unsuccessful at both stages – where the Sessions Court decided that the matter be heard in the High Court, and then the High Court upheld its decision that the trial be maintained at the lower court (Sessions Court).

“The prosecution would arrive at the Court of Appeal to appeal the decision and Haji Sulaiman would raise the same argument by virtue of Section 3 of the CJA that the matter is not appealeable.

“That would close the door on the public prosecutor (to appeal) if the situation were reversed. You would be crying foul at Anwar’s forum as you (prosecution) would all feel the attorney general’s certificate of transfer was valid.”

Hence, Justice Abdull Hamid said it certainly would not be right for it to be interpreted within the realm of “decision” as claimed by the prosecution. “The prosecution’s preliminary objection is thus over ruled and this court would hear the merits of the case tomorrow,” he said.

Justice Abdull Hamid also told the court the decision was unanimous and allowed Sulaiman’s application for a stay.

Limit submissions tomorrow

Justice Abdull Hamid then reminded all parties to limit their scope of submissions as the judges were well aware of the background of the case. He instructed the parties to focus their submissions on three key issues:-

* Legitmate expectation i.e. – the assurance made by Abdullah over the minimal involvement of Abdul Gani;

* Doctrine of necessity – whether it was necessary to transfer the case from the Sessions Court to the High Court;

* Question of bias – perception of bias in Abdul Gani signing the certificate of transfer.

Dr. Denison on Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) Bill

June 30, 2009


By Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria*

dato denisonThe Federal Government is finally tabling a bill in parliament in response to the recommendation of the Royal Commission to enhance the operation and management of the Royal Malaysian Police (RC) to establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

This has been a long journey as the RC completed its report and presented it to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on April 29, 2005.  While the government tabled a bill in 2008 to replace the  the IPCMC called the Special Complaints Commission (SCC), it did not secure the support of a majority of Malaysians and fell extremely short of the standards set in the IPCMC. Then the government withdrew the SCC and on March 11th, 2009 introduced the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission bill (EAIC) for the first reading and on June 25, 2009 it was tabled for second reading.

The EAIC bill is comprehensive and has incorporated many of the major points of the IPCMC. It is a much stronger bill in contrast to SCC. The new bill has also taken into consideration many of the criticism leveled at the SCC It can even be regarded as a much stronger bill in contrast to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act (SUHAKAM) especially in terms of the investigative powers.

In this article I  will attempt a comparative study of the EAIC in the backdrop of the IPCMC proposal, noting some of the major points incorporated or excluded in EAIC. There are five major aspects that are important for our reflection and analysis.

Not just the Police but twenty one enforcement agencies

The first is that the IPCMC was proposed to specifically target the Police force and not other agencies. In one sense the RC could not recommend other enforcement agencies as its terms of reference were confined only to the Police.

The proposed EAIC is an external oversight body for twenty-one Federal enforcement agencies. The criticism is whether the scope for the EAIC is too wide. Public concern is largely on the misconduct of the Police force in terms of corrupt practices, excessive use of force or inaction as indicated through the findings of the RC as well as documented in the SUHAKAM Annual reports and inquiry findings.

However there have also been many complaints of the misconduct of RELA officials and therefore the enlargement might be better to set a more conducive culture for good governance, ethical and professional conduct of all the federal enforcement agencies.

The federal government must make available adequate funds and personnel necessary for EAIC to effectively carry out its task as an external oversight body which plays a complementary role alongside internal disciplinary authorities such as the Police Service Commission and the Public Service Commission.

EAIC composition of Commissioners similar to IPMC

The second aspect of review is the composition of the EAIC commission members described in Section 5 of the proposed bill. Here there are some similarities but there are also differences from the IPMC and SCC composition.

As recommended by RC, EAIC will have seven commissioners including a Chairman and Deputy Chairman. They will all be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister for a three year term and a maximum of two terms consecutively.

In addition, EAIC indicates that no person who is or was an enforcement officer will be appointed as members of the Commission, although they could be employed as a staff of the commission. This is in contrast to the earlier SCC bill tabled which proposed that among the members would be the Inspector General of Police. The neutrality and impartiality of the commissioners is integral to the integrity of EAIC.

However the EAIC does not provide any indication of who should be appointed. In the case of the IPCMC it was indicated that the Chairman and Deputy Chairman should have at least ten years of service as advocate and solicitor of the courts or in the judicial and legal service of the Federation or the State. In addition the RC indicated that three (Chair and two deputy chair) of the seven commissioners should be full time. In the EAIC the provision for full time or part-time commissioners is not indicated.

It is of utmost importance that the selection process and appointment is done in an open and transparent manner. The RC did not make any recommendations for any consultative process in the appointment of commissioners. However this has now become a critical aspect in restoring public confidence in the light of the establishment of the Judicial Appointments Commission, as well as the criticisms raised on the appointment of SUHAKAM commissioners.

It might be necessary to add in the Schedule Section of the EAIC some indicators and guidelines on the selection of EAIC commissioners and some process of consultation among major stakeholders including civil society before the Prime Minister make his recommendations to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. This is a very important dimension of ensuring that the EAIC commissioners will fulfill their duties without fear or favor. The credibility of EAIC is largely dependent on who is appointed as commissioners.

There is a need for some serious thinking on the background and expertise of Commissioners especially with EAIC having a very strong investigative role. Therefore as the IPCMC had indicated that at least three of the seven commissioners should have at least ten years of legal expertise. This should be provided as one of the guidelines in the Schedules. Furthermore EAIC commissioners should be full-time similar to that of the members of the Election Commission and members of the Public Service Commission. Holding office in a part-time arrangement would not be suitable for such a heavy task.

In the case of SUHAKAM which has a provision for the appointment of twenty commissioners however only sixteen have been currently appointed. All of whom serve in a part-time capacity. Critics of SUHAKAM have indicated that in a number of cases involvement of certain commissioners in their other capacities might be regarded as a conflict of interest.

On this score the EAIC has a provision in Section 11 of the proposed bill for its commissioners to disclose interest and not take part in any discussion, proceedings or hearings or in any decision making pertaining to that case.

IPMC & EAIC are very similar in the description of functions of the Commission

The third aspect of comparison is in the functions of the commission (Section 4). The description in the EAIC is almost identical to that of the IPMC. This is commendable and therefore the recommendations of the RC are intact on this matter.

While the emphasis is upon receiving complaints on misconduct and to investigate them, there are seven other functions. In this context dealing with complaints (Part IV) seems to be the major task of EAIC. Section 21 explains the scope of misconduct. The major difference here is that IPCMC had a very strong emphasis on corruption which is not the focus of EAIC as it comes under the purview of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The scope of oversight to twenty one agencies and functions stretching from direct in-depth investigations to a whole range of role must be a real tall order for one commission. They might be over stretched and become ineffective in the numerous functions. However, the seven functions could also been seen as inter-related functions and therefore not in conflict with one another.

Furthermore, the EAIC would establish two committees, namely the Complaints Committee (Section 16) and Task Force (Section 17). The EAIC is empowered to appoint consultants including retired or former members of enforcement agencies (Section 15). If the right people are recruited with the technical competencies and commitment, the EAIC will definitely make an impact in uplifting professional standards and reduced misconduct among enforcement agencies.

However what is of utmost importance is whether parliament will make available adequate funds for EAIC to employ highly experienced and qualified consultants and staff.

EAIC Powers of investigation similar to that of IPCMC

The fourth aspect for reflection is the investigation powers of EAIC as described in Part V of the proposed bill and the legal obligations to give information and cooperate with EAIC. EAIC has powers to conduct a hearing, receive evidence, summon any person and issue a warrant of arrest. It also has powers to search with warrant (Section 40) and without warrant (Section 41).

In addition the EAIC Task Force members shall have all the powers of investigation as contained in the Criminal Procedure Code ( Part V, Chapter 13, section 107 till 120) which provides wide powers. These will enhance the investigative role of  EAIC. However one area which IPCMC proposed namely the power to intercept communications whether postal, other communication tools or to intercept conversations is not provided for in EAIC.

In addition if someone does not give information to the EAIC, the person is said to have contravened the law and could be fined up to RM10, 000 or jailed for two years (Section 33). Another strong power is the protection of witnesses from threats as described in Section 44, where the offender could be fined up to RM100, 000 and imprisoned not exceeding two years.

These are strong compelling powers and therefore EAIC has much bite and could not be labeled as a toothless tiger. There is one other matter with regards to scope and cases for investigation, the demarcation between the EAIC and MACC on corruption related matters are clear. However the EAIC complaints and investigation will overlap with that of SUHAKAM which are related to human rights violations. A large number of SUHAKAM cases and public inquiries were matters pertaining to human rights violations by the Police and Rela. These will be now handled by EAIC. In addition EAIC is also expected to visit police stations and lockups which is also one of SUHAKAM’s function as stated by the SUHAKAM Act.

There is a need for SUHAKAM to review its roles and functions. Government should also review the SUHAKAM Act to address the current criticism of appointment of commissioners, and their term of office in order to ensure that it complies with the Paris Principles on independence which was one major subject for consideration at the UN Universal Periodical Review process and SUHAKAM’s accreditation to the International coordination Committee. In addition the Act could be strengthened to incorporate many of the provisions for enhancing the investigative role of SUHAKAM in addressing the human rights violation. In addition there could be new provisions which will ensure that all relevant agencies respond to the findings and recommendations of SUHAKAM within a reasonable time frame.

EAIC has no powers to act independently, the major difference to IPCMC

The fifth aspect of comparison between the proposed EAIC and the IPCMC is the power to act independently and implement the findings in terms of directly taking action on the guilty officer and by-passing the disciplinary authority or the public prosecutor. This was the recommendation of the RC in the case of the IPCMC.

There were many objections to this provision in the IPCMC proposals by the Police. The argument used was no single institution should be empowered to undertake investigation, prosecution and finally making a judgment without an appeal process with the IPCMC. In addition another objection was that this action will usurp the role of the Police Service Commission which is a Constitutional provision. There is a need to also amend the Federal Constitution on transferring the disciplinary provisions to EAIC.

Civil society criticism and skepticism on this matter is based on the current provisions in the SUHAKAM Act that after conducting an inquiry on human rights violations, SUHAKAM then makes the recommendations to the relevant agencies to take appropriate action. However in a majority of cases the relevant agencies ignore the findings and SUHAKAM is deemed as powerless. Furthermore SUHAKAM’s Annual report has never been discussed in Parliament and therefore accountability to Parliament is non-existent.

Another criticism leveled by civil society on the current practice by enforcement agencies and relevant institutions is selective prosecution especially in cases pertaining to corruption or in the exercise of fundamental liberties. Based on this track record and ineffective action by the State, IPCMC was proposed to act independently.

The current concern over EAIC is, would its fate be similar to that of SUHAKAM which has the powers to undertake an inquiry and make recommendations but ineffective to ensure that the human rights violators are brought to the books.

While the EAIC in this context falls short of the IPCMC, however there is one redeeming grace in the EAIC. The proposed bill in Section 30 indicates that when a misconduct constitutes a disciplinary offence, then EAIC will refer their recommendations to the appropriate Disciplinary Authority. In the case of a criminal offence then it is referred to the Public prosecutor.

The redeeming case factor is that the relevant institutions must within 14 days provide information to EAIC of their action and reasons for it. This the EAIC will make public. Therefore it would revert back to public opinion and public pressure on this matter. However in practical terms can any agency make a decision within 14 days, is this too short a period? Would they just say in writing that they have received the report and are in the process of reviewing the findings?

Would the Disciplinary Authority on receiving the EAIC findings and recommendations reconvene another internal investigative process or would they accept the recommendations of the EAIC. The proposed bill is silent on this. Furthermore what happens if one of the twenty one agencies ignores the recommendations of EAIC, the proposed bill does not make any provisions for compelling a agency to take the recommended action or some specific action.

To further strengthen public accountability on this matter it is proposed that a Parliamentary Select Committee be established to review all the information and data on the investigations, its findings and the appropriate action undertaken by the relevant bodies.  This could be in the form of the Public Accounts Committee comprising both government backbenchers and opposition members of parliament.

Strengthening the parliamentary mechanism is essential for democracy to flourish in Malaysia. These avenues will enable members of parliament to play a more constructive role in public policy and delivery matters as demanded by the citizenry of Malaysia. This parliamentary accountability process will compel the Ministers responsible for the twenty one agencies to be answerable to parliament on how they recommended to the EAIC findings and recommendations.

It is also important to recognize that both internal disciplinary mechanisms such as the Disciplinary Authorities and external oversight mechanisms such as SUHAKAM, MACC and the proposed EAIC are necessary.

The external mechanisms must operate in an independent, transparent, accountable, just and fair manner. All agencies must be held accountable to respond in a credible and professional manner. Senior ranking public officials must be accountable to how they respond to the independent findings of inquiry and investigations undertaken by external oversight mechanisms.

In order to strengthen the internal mechanisms, capacity building within each of the enforcement agencies is important through effective training, supervision and monitoring mechanisms. Each of the enforcement agencies must establish a high standard of professional conduct for its officers. There must be zero tolerance for indiscipline and misconduct. This must become an agency culture. Internal cover-up and in house protections must be eliminated. The role of the senior officers and civil servants are imperative to foster professional and ethical conduct.

We all now recognize the need for external oversight mechanisms. EAIC is one avenue to restore public confidence and check on misconduct among enforcement agencies.

*Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria is currently Principal Fellow at the Institute of Ethnic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and member of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM). He was a member of the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysian Police.  The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views of these institutions.

Opposition Leader calls for urgent debate in Dewan Rakyat on Penang Second Bridge

June 30, 2009

Kenyataan Media Untuk Edaran Segara


Pada hari ini saya telah mengusulkan supaya mesyuarat Dewan Rakyat ditangguhkan untuk membincangkan perkara tertentu, berkepentingan ramai dan perlu disegarakan.

Saya mencadangkan:

Bahawa Dewan Rakyat membincangkan cadangan projeck pembinaan Jabatan Kedua Pulau Pinang memandangkan kos projek tersebut adalah terlalu tinggi berbanding cadangan laluan alternatif yang mampu menjimatkan RM4 billion dana awam“.

Pada Ogos 2006 Kerajaan Persekutuan mengumumkan projek pembinaan Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang di bawah Rancangan Malaysia Ke9 dan upacara perasmiain tanah telah disempurnakan pada 12hb November, 2006 oleh Perdana Menteri ketika itu, YAB Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Ia dibina oleh usahasama Cina Harbour Engineering Co Ltd dan UEM. Pembinaannya menggunakan laluan selatan dengan jarak 24 km dengan kos seleruhannya melibatkan RM12 billion dan dijangka siap pada pertengahan 2012.

Menurut sumber industri, saya difahamkan bahawa projek yang sedia ada ini tidak wajar diteruskan, kerana ianya melibat kos pembinaan yang terlalu tinggi. Saya difahamkan juga bahawa adalah lebih wajar untuk membina projek Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang ini dengan menggunakan laluan alternatif melalui laluan utara. Laluan tesebut ternyata lebih dekat dengan hanya berjarak 10km serta melibatkan anggaran kos keseluruhan yang lebih rendah berjumlah RM7 hingga RM8 billion.

Berbanding dengan projek yang sedia ada, amat jelas bahawa cadangan projek laluan alternatif bagi membina Jabatan Kedua Pulau Pinang berupaya menjimatkan RM4 billion dana awam. Berikutan itu, saya mencadangkan supaya Dewan Rakyat membincang hal ini bagi membolehkan rakyat mendapat gambaran mengenai permasalahan dan alasan-alasan kukuh mengapa cadangan laluan alternatif bagi pembinaan Jambatan Kedua Pulau Pinang tidak boleh dipertimbangankan meskipu iany berurpaya menyelamatkan RM4 billion wang rakyat.

Atas perkara yang tertentu ini yang melibatkan kepentingan rakyat umum yang perlu disegerakan, saya telah memohon secara rasmi kepada Yang di-Pertua Dewan Rakyat supaya usul ini dibincangkan pada hari ini.


Mimpi Najib di siang hari: Satu Malaysia

The Malaysian Insider
June 29, 2009

1 Malaysia: Diantara realiti dan fantasi

oleh Amin Iskandar

Nujum Pak Belalang

Nujum Pak Belalang

Sebaik sahaja diangkat menjadi Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang ke-enam, Datuk Seri Najib Razak melancarkan gagasan “Satu Malaysia” atau dalam Bahasa Inggeris di panggil “1 Malaysia”. Selain daripada itu, Najib turut melancarkan slogan “rakyat didahulukan, pencapaian diutamakan”, mengingatkan kita slogan-slogan di zaman Perdana Menteri terdahulu seperti “Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah” dan “Cemerlang, Gemilang dan Terbilang”.

Diantara komponen terpenting dalam gagasan 1 Malaysia yang dibawakan Perdana Menteri ialah rakyat Malaysia tidak kira Melayu, Cina, India, Iban, Kadazan, Murut, Melanau dan lain-lain bersatu sebagai bangsa Malaysia. Najib mengakui bahawa konsep 1 Malaysia ini bukanlah satu konsep baru. Ia adalah kesinambungan daripada kepimpinan negara yang terdahulu dan bercita-cita untuk menyatupadukan rakyat Malaysia dari pelbagai latarbelakang kaum dan agama.

Dalam Wawasan 2020 yang dicadangkan semasa era pemerintahan Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, turut mensasarkan pada tahun 2020, rakyat Malaysia yang berbilang kaum dan agama akan hidup sebagai bangsa Malaysia. Malaysia hanya tinggal 11 tahun sebelum tahun 2020. Jika dilihat keadaan semasa dan politik hari ini, bangsa Malaysia sukar diwujudkan menjelang tahun 2020 nanti.

Setelah lebih 50 tahun Malaysia merdeka, negara masih lagi membicarakan tentang rancangan untuk menyatupadukan rakyat sebagai satu bangsa walaupun itulah perkara yang harus ditekankan dan dilaksanakan diawal penubuhan Malaya dan Malaysia dahulu.

Satu Malaysia ala UMNO

Satu Malaysia ala UMNO

Negara jiran kita Indonesia yang merdeka 12 tahun sebelum kita telahpun menyelesaikan permasalahan yang ingin diselesaikan oleh Malaysia pada ketika ini di era Presiden pertama mereka, Sukarno. Di Indonesia, semua rakyat yang terdiri daripada pelbagai latarbelakang etnik dan agama bersatu sebagai bangsa Indonesia. Mereka bercakap dalam satu bahasa yakni bahasa Indonesia. Mereka sudah selesai dengan isu pokok tersebut dikala jirannya Malaysia masih lagi terkial-kial mencari hala tuju untuk mewujudkan “bangsa Malaysia”.

Penulis bersekolah disebuah sekolah yang terletak ditengah-tengah bandar Kuala Lumpur. Najib dikatakan pernah bersekolah disekolah ini sebelum beliau melanjutkan pelajarannya ke luar negara. Semenjak berada di bangku sekolah rendah lagi, kami telah diajar untuk menghormati kawan-kawan dari pelbagai kaum dan agama.

Pihak sekolah akan mengadakan sambutan perayaan-perayaan seperti Hari Raya, Tahun Baru Cina dan Deepavali untuk mendidik anak-anak agar mengenali dan menghormati sesama sendiri. Saya percaya, jika di sekolah tersebut mempunyai pelajar-pelajar Iban dan Kadazan, Hari Gawai dan Tadau Kaamatan pasti akan turut disambut oleh pihak sekolah!

Pada ketika itu, tidak pernah terlintas di hati penulis untuk melihat kawan-kawan lain sebagai orang Cina atau orang India sehinggalah kami mula mendapat kad pengenalan. Ini adalah kerana dalam kad pengenalan, kami mula dibeza-bezakan mengikut agama.

Semasa dalam Tingkatan Dua, penulis berpindah ke sekolah lain yang terletak di kawasan pinggir bandar di kawasan bekas perlombongan bijih timah. Masih lagi bersekolah di sekolah kebangsaan yang terdiri daripada pelbagai bangsa dan agama.

Apabila di sekolah menengah, jurang diantara kaum sudah mula melebar sedikit demi sedikit. Tambahan lagi dalam usia-usia sebegitu “sifat memberontak” dan melawan begitu tinggi di dalam sanubari pelajar-pelajar. “Sifat memberontak” ini amat mudah diterjemahkan untuk mencari “pasal” dengan kawan-kawan daripada bangsa-bangsa lain. Telah kelihatan polarisasi mula berlaku dimana pelajar-pelajar Melayu bercampur gaul dengan sesama mereka. Begitu juga dengan pelajar-pelajar Cina dan India.

Interaksi diantara kaum yang berbeza hanyalah dalam program-program yang formal dan hanya apabila disuruh oleh guru. Setelah selesai program atau aktiviti yang melibatkan percampuran antara pelajar pelbagai kaum, pelajar-pelajar akan mula mencari kaum masing-masing untuk berbual dan melakukan aktiviti-aktiviti.

Selepas mendapat keputusan SPM, perpisahan antara kaum mula berlaku lagi. Pelajar-pelajar Melayu yang mendapat keputusan cemerlang dapat masuk terus ke IPTA sedangkan teman-teman daripada bangsa lain terpaksa menghabiskan masa dua tahun dalam Tingkatan Enam sebelum diterima masuk ke IPTA awam. Bagi pelajar-pelajar Cina dan India yang datang dari keluarga berada, meraka dapat terus memasuki kolej-kolej swasta atau keluar negara.

Di universiti, polarisasi diantara kaum semakin parah. Jelas kelihatan mahasiswa-mahasiswa terpecah-pecah mengikut kaum dan agama mereka. Di kolej-kolej kediaman juga, mahasiswa-mahasiswa dipisah-pisahkan mengikut kaum dan agama. Pernah ada cadangan daripada sebuah kelompok mahasiswa agar mahasiswa dari pelbagai bangsa dan agama dicampur adukkan didalam setiap bilik di kolej-kolej kediaman.

Cadangan ini mendapat bantahan hebat daripada Majlis Perwakilan Mahasiswa Universiti dengan alasan sukar bagi mahasiswa untuk bersembahyang jika mahasiswa dari pelbagai bangsa dan agama tinggal sebilik. Sedangkan di kolej kediaman tersebut telah mempunyai surau dan daripada apa yang saya perhatikan di kolej kediaman tersebut, hanya lebih kurang 5 peratus sahaja mahasiswa di kolej tersebut yang terdiri daripada golongan beribadat.

Jika pensyarah tidak mewajibkan sesebuah “kumpulan tugasan” agar bersifat Malaysia, kemungkinan besar, penulis sendiri juga tidak mungkin mempunyai kawan-kawan bangsa lain. Persatuan-persatuan mahasiswa dalam universiti pada ketika itu juga didominasi oleh persatuan-persatuan yang berasaskan kaum dan agama. Agak kurang sekali persatuan-persatuan yang mempunyai ahli yang berbilang bangsa dan agama.

Ertinya, sejak mula mengenali politik, mahasiswa telah diajar dengan persatuan-persatuan yang berasaskan kaum dan agama. Tidak kelihatan usaha yang serius daripada pihak pentadbir universiti untuk mencegah perkara ini daripada terus membarah. Lebih tenat lagi apabila persatuan-persatuan mahasiswa yang berasaskan negeri-negeri turut popular dikalangan mahasiswa. Sudahlah dipisahkan mengikut kaum dan agama, mahasiswa kini turut dipisahkan berdasarkan negeri asal mereka!

Begitulah parahnya polarisasi antara kaum yang berlaku di universiti ketika penulis dibangku universiti pada akhir 90an sehinggalah diawal-awal abad millenium. Penulis kadangkala terfikir apakah masa depan Malaysia pada masa akan datang?

Jika mahasiswa-mahasiswa universiti yang bakal menjadi pemimpin negara pada masa akan datang hidup dengan keadaan polarisasi antara kaum yang serius, apa lagi rakyat diluar sana yang tidak berpeluang untuk mendapat pendidikan tinggi? Menurut Yunus Ali, salah seorang aktivis mahasiswa tahun 70an, di zaman beliau menuntut di universiti, majoriti mahasiswa universiti yang berbilang kaum dan agama pada ketika itu hidup dalam keadaan harmoni.

Persatuan Mahasiswa Universiti Malaya (PMUM) pada ketika itu terdiri daripada pimpinan yang pelbagai bangsa dan agama. Diantara dasar PMUM pada ketika itu adalah mewajibkan setiap mahasiswa yang tinggal dikolej-kolej kediaman agar tinggal bersama bangsa yang berbeza.

Dasar ini telah terbukti merapatkan jurang diantara mahasiswa-mahasiswa pelbagai kaum dan agama. Jika Perdana Menteri serius dengan usahanya untuk mewujudkan bangsa Malaysia, mengapa tidak dilaksanakan kembali dasar ini sekurang-kurangnya di IPTA-IPTA seluruh negara?

Selagi rakyat tidak dilatih untuk hidup bersama-sama tanpa mengira bangsa dan agama, tidak mungkin 1 Malaysia, bangsa Malaysia atau Malaysian Malaysia akan berjaya. Retorik tersebut akan terus dikitar sepanjang zaman sehinggalah bumi ini berakhir.

CitizenNades: Don’t Shoot the Messenger
June 29, 2009

Don’t shoot the messenger

by CitizenNades

p18nov3-speakup.indd“A JOURNALIST will always protect his kind,” is the common remark we usually get when we attempt to defend our professions from friends and foes who disagree with what we write or do. “You guys will never let each other down, however wrong you are,” is another often-repeated claim. I take pride in stating that if I have made a mistake, I will apologise and have done so before.

Terence Fernandez was abducted and held at gunpoint in Baghdad at the height of the US invasion in 2003. He was released unharmed – though not before two people in his convoy were shot and killed. Despite wanting to stay on, Terence was ordered home in my capacity as his editor, after consultation with the senior management of this newspaper.

I justified this decision in an open letter to the readers by saying that no story is worth your life. Many, including those in the government which had sponsored the Joint Malaysian Media Team to the war zone to give an “independent view” of the American onslaught were not happy with the decision but it stood. We were accused of being cowards but I would rather have a living coward than a dead hero.

To those who had offered support and sympathy for the 24 hours that we had lost contact with Terence, I penned these words: “It had been a harrowing day for me at the office, but nothing is more satisfying to note that our boy is still there, making me proud of being a journalist, his colleague, friend and confidante.”

Over the years, both of us had brushes with the law – not of our doing – but over-zealous law enforcers who think they can cow us into revealing our sources. We have always protected our sources and still seek legal counsel when the need arises. If we break that code, no one would ever want to deal with us. And wherever we go, we tell our audience to not treat us as enemies but as friends who can help further a common cause. Not that we would take sides, but sitting over a cuppa beats a confrontational interview, hands down, every time.

Long before Terence’s harrowing experience, there has always been a tinge of support in my heart for my brethren journalists if they had done no wrong. It was on that premise that I walked into the Brickfields police station many moons ago to demand why my late colleague Raymond Nathan was handcuffed behind his back. His “offence” was to have harshly demanded why an accident victim was not attended to immediately. Having said that, I stayed away from the cause of another journalist who was detained for drug-related offences.

Therefore, after reading the plight of Nevash Nair of The Malay Mail (where I started and honed my investigative journalism trade), who was questioned for six hours by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), I can relate my feelings. I too, not long ago, underwent a similar exercise (though I was not detained) when police officers came to record my statement on the Balkis affair. Nair’s alleged offence (gathered from news reports) was reporting what a member of Parliament experienced at the MACC office. His laptop and handphone were seized – a new experience for those in the fraternity.

What offence did he commit? Did he take a bribe from the MP or any other party to write the report? If that is the case, I would rest my case and declare that the law must take its course. However, this was not the case. While it would be wrong to “interfere” with investigations, no one has told us what Nair is being investigated for. The National Union of Journalists has come out strongly against the treatment of the journalist, but the silence on the part of two senior newsmen in the MACC’s Consultation and Anti-Corruption Panel is deafening indeed. No one expects them to defend any wrongdoer – journalist or not – but they owe a special duty to find out and explain the nature of the so-called offence and if the methodology used by the MACC in the course of its investigation is commensurate with the provisions of the Act. We are likely to be told that “MACC has wide powers” but the speed with which it embarked on Nair’s report and its almost immediate statement – the files were never missing – gives us, lesser mortals hope that the commission can work on cases and produce results in a jiffy if it wants to.

I am not against the MACC and I will be the first to admit that there are bad apples among us and there a handful who are involved in dubious deals, for whom there should be no sympathy. The MACC has a job to do and it should show no favour to anyone – journalists included. In this case, no money changed hands and apparently, they wanted to get to the bottom of the issue where the MACC officials had been quoted saying that “the files are missing”.

If I had been the investigation officer, I would have had a chat with him and asked him how and why he came to the conclusion that the files were missing. Surprisingly, to add to MACC’s perception problem, it singled out Nair while other journalists who filed similar stories were spared the detention and interrogation.

The Fourth Estate has a duty to play in nation-building and the creation of a better society. It has a duty to work with both the public and private sectors in disseminating news which the public wants. If there is something wrong, it has a job of pointing it out and if there’s something positive, it has to be reported as well. This is the credo in every journalist’s mind and most of us are aware of this when we put pen to paper. We are aware of the laws of defamation and the other punitive laws which could land us in jail. But when we are faulted for reporting what was said, is it not a case of shooting the messenger?

R. Nadeswaran does not want special dispensation of the law for journalists but asks that they be treated fairly. He is editor (special and investigative reporting at theSun. He can be reached at:

LAND: It is not only legal, but also very political


On Saturday June  27, I joined Nurul Izzah Anwar’s team to witness the launch of the Member of Parliament for Lembah Pantai’s free medical clinic to cater for  senior citizens and children of Kampong Kerinchi. This project was well received. While I was there, I was taken on a quick tour of Kampong Kerinchi and met with  housewives and village leaders.

During my informal “get to know you” meeting on behalf of PKR Head Office and Anwar Ibrahim’s Office, the Kerinchi folks told me that they were threatened by certain parties purportedly representing developers closely allied to UMNO-BN to vacate their homes and little garden plots to make way for development. No one is against progress and development, but the people in Kampong Kerinchi want justice.

I have been reliably informed that Dato Seri Shahrizat Jalil is a major landowner in the Kerinchi Area and that she and the present Minister of Federal Territory, Raja Nong Chik and the UMNO cabals there are active to regain Lembah Pantai constituency for coming the next elections.

One way to win is to change the demographics of Kampong Kerinchi and its surrounds. That would involve, inter alia, relocating and dispersing pro-PKR and PR supporters and voters who have been living in the area for more than 40 years. While not making promises of quick solution, I assured them that I would raise their plight with PKR Party Headquarters and the Office of the Menteri Besar.

Land is thus not only a legal matter, but also very political. But there must always be justice.—Din Merican

Land: What’s legal not always just

by Terence Netto@

What is sometimes apparently legal may not be necessary just. This was particularly true on issues involving land, and the many recent disputes over who had the right of ownership and residence, said PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim.

anwar3Commenting to Malaysiakini on a raft of land issues ranging from Kampong Buah Pala in Penang, Pandamaran in Selangor to Layang Layang in Johor, he said the law may be on the side of the government or private sector in instances of disputed ownership between occupiers and developers, but that there was a question of justice which cannot be ignored.

“The question of justice is inevitably bound up with the question of ownership,” he said. “To pretend otherwise is to bury your head in the sand,” he remarked.

“The legal aspects of these cases may favour the developers but questions of justice and equity may be on the side of the long-standing occupants,” he observed.

He said the tug of conflicting imperatives of legality and of justice thrown up by some of these disputes was hard to resolve.“Frank admission of this difficulty is not a counsel of despair; it is a confession that on certain issues, the law and the imperatives of justice are in conflict,” opined Anwar.

He said the role of government in such cases ought to tilt in favour of the people in distress who could not help themselves. “For that reason, PKR has formed a special task force with deputy president Syed Husin Ali in charge to study these issues so that their resolution does not adversely affect the people involved,” said Anwar.

Legacy issues involving land

PKR is a member of the ruling Pakatan Rakyat coalition in both Penang and Selangor where the state governments are grabbling with legacy land issues from previous BN administrations.

On Thursday, some 65 families from 24 homes are to be evicted from Kampung Buah Pala – the last remaining Indian traditional urban village in Penang – to pave way for a condominium project. The 100-year-old village is known among locals as ‘Tamil High Chaparral’ because of its population of cowherds, cattles, goats and Tamil traditional cultural features.

The embattled residents lost their final court battle last week when the Federal Court ruled in favour of the developer. The DAP-led Penang government has been slammed for failing to do more to stop the eviction.

Drips and Drabs Policies wont’ do

June 28, 2009

Anwar: Najib Teeny Weeny Approach Won’t Do

by Terence Netto@

DSAIPKR adviser Anwar Ibrahim today called on the government not to hoodwink the people by hijacking aspects of his party’s new economic agenda and mocked what he said were half-cocked revisions of repressive statues like the Internal Security Act.

“Either the government goes the full distance by implementing policies that alleviate the plight of the marginalised such as what the opposition has been calling for or it is business as usual,” said Anwar in remarks made to Malaysiakini after a meeting of his party’s central leadership council at its headquarters in Kelana Jaya.

The meeting was held partly to prepare the top tier of PKR leadership for the worst-case scenario should his trial for sodomy beginning in a few days eventuate in its adviser’s incarceration. After the meeting, the PKR supremo addressed a host of national issues in a rapid-fire manner at the end of a week that began with his brokering an agreement within PAS on desisting in its plans for unity talks with UMNO and renewing commitment among Pakatan Rakyat’s partners – PAS, PKR and DAP – on a declaration to replace the BN at the next general election.

Anwar said that there was no point in BN’s “picking one plank of our agenda and then another just to see if their popularity ratings go up”.

Improve Teaching of English first

The PKR supremo also castigated the government’s decision to require students to pass English in order to obtain a Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM). “This is like putting the cart before the horse,” cracked Anwar about the recent announcement by the education minister that a pass in English would be made compulsory at SPM level from next year. “

In the first place, the policy of teaching science and mathematics in English is found to be an abject failure, particularly in rural schools and in the deep interior. Now the government compounds their betrayal of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language with a requirement that would further burden disadvantaged pupils,” he said.

“There is a definite need to improve the standard of the teaching of English and its fluency among students in secondary and tertiary institutions. But before the resources to achieve that are in place, a move to make a pass in English compulsory at SPM level would aggravate the present failure of the policy to teach science and mathematics in English,” Anwar asserted.

“Science and maths must be taught in Bahasa Malaysia in national schools and in Mandarin and Tamil in vernacular schools,” he demanded.

Is Najib a Chinese agent now?

Commenting on Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s announcement that a new category of merit-based scholarships would be created next year for deserving students, irrespective of race, Anwar said: “The PKR policy has been in favour of aid to the deserving and the underprivileged irrespective of race. Now the BN wants to hijack our agenda. When we announced our agenda, I was derided as a Chinese agent, even a Jewish conspirator, among other things.”

“I wonder what they are going to call Najib now that he appears to be taking a leaf of our book,” said Anwar. He said the government’s announcement that legislation like the ISA would be amended was eyewash.

“They say they are going to change or modify this and that but in the crunch, it will be seen that there are no major changes. Reality does not match the rhetoric,” commented Anwar.

Najib’s Politics will unnerve UMNO since it is against Ketuanan Melayu.

The Malaysian Insider
June 28, 2009

Najib’s crooning our tune now, says Anwar

by Adib Zalkapli

anwaribrahim3Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today questioned the sincerity of the prime minister in announcing a new merit-based scholarship programme obviously aimed at winning back Chinese voter support from Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

“Last time, when I said it, I was called a Chinese agent. Now that Najib has said it what are you going to call him? Is he now a Chinese agent and traitor to the Malays?” said Anwar sarcastically when asked today about the new scholarships to be based purely on merit.

The Opposition Leader has been frequently labelled a “traitor” and “Chinese agent” by UMNO leaders since he launched PR’s reform agenda. Anwar’s PR has successfully used its Ketuanan Rakyat, or supremacy of the people, slogan to differentiate itself from UMNO’s Ketuanan Melayu, or supremacy of the Malays, rallying cry which has caused concern even among non-Malay Barisan Nasional (BN) parties.

But Najib, in a speech to Chinese political and community leaders last night, pledged to set up a new “National Scholarship” based entirely on merit, and also indicated his administration’s willingness to eventually drop the racial quotas in more sectors of the economy. The prime minister’s remarks suggest a concerted effort is finally being made to hijack PR’s more multi-racial platform.

Najib’s pledges on reform seem to also suggest that he believes he can control the potential backlash from Malays while wanting to convince the non-Malays that, even if they have misgivings about UMNO and BN, they should have faith in him. Anwar appeared to acknowledge the threat from Najib today, and claimed the prime minister had only partially adopted the opposition’s agenda but failed to emphasise on protection for the poor.

“When we proposed something, it has to help people regardless of race but at the same time we will protect the poor, that is our approach,” he added.

Define an Intellectual, or Does it matter?
June 27, 2009

“What does it take to define an intellectual?” , asks JOHAN JAAFFAR

Fethullah Gulen--Turkish Scholar

Fethullah Gulen--Turkish Scholar

FETHULLAH Gulen. Very few among us would have come across this name. He is supposed to be the world’s top public intellectual. A poll conducted by a magazine in 2008 placed the Turkish scholar above hundreds of others. Now, if you think only politicians, millionaires and film-makers are being determined by their ranking, think again. Even intellectuals are now subjected to Internet balloting. What next, an SMS vote?

According to the magazine, of the 500,000 people who voted online, Gulen was chosen the top intellectual. Hey, contemporary intellectuals ought to join a reality show considering the popularity test they have to go through. World Intellectuals instead of American Idols, anyone?

Well, the word “intellectual” in itself is contentious. Who are they? Someone refers to himself as a “Kuala Lumpur intellectual” in a seminar not too long ago, raising eyebrows, of course. Nobody seems to agree on who qualifies as an intellectual, yet he or she is mindful of being labelled one. Someone says an intellectual is one educated beyond the bounds of common sense. Another cynically defines an intellectual as one who believes that ideas are of more importance than values, that is, to say their own ideas and other people’s values.

So who are they? Paul Johnson, dubbed “a conservative historian” by some, wrote Intellectuals some 19 years ago. He gave a thrilling portrayal of “great minds” that have shaped the modern world. He unveiled, warts and all, philosophers, thinkers and writers as disparate as Karl Marx, Henrik Ibsen, Leo Tolstoy, Bertrand Russell, Edmund Wilson, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway and Norman Miller. These intellectuals are brilliant, yet vaingloriously flawed. His verdict: “Not only should they be kept away from the levers of power, they should also be objects of particular suspicion when they seek to offer collective advice.” Hear, hear!

Little wonder intellectuals were eyed with suspicion and scorn through the ages. Many were even burned on the stake for being perceived as clever. In the oral tradition of old Singapore, a boy, Hang Nadim, was killed by the king after jealous court officials realised he was too brainy.

In the history of mankind, many intelligent people endured torture and humiliation. The discourse among intellectuals is viewed as a snobbish attempt to understand the ordinary. France is a nation that values intellectuals and artisans as much as they hate them. Andre Malraux famously said: “In France intellectuals are usually incapable of opening an umbrella.”

Back in 2005 in this column, I wrote about a local wise man who argued that to qualify to be a “learned one” (intellectual?) he or she must do two things: read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica and all the journals published by the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (MBRAS). We are talking about 33,000 pages of text for the Britannica and materials dating from 1877 for MBRAS. Any takers?

So, who are actually the “public intellectuals”? Could there be “private intellectuals”? Or those geniuses who read more and more about less and less and devour every conceivable knowledge there is in the world yet out of the intellectual radar? Could there be intellectuals who are by nature “un-intellectual”? Do you need to go to the finest universities in the world or land a plum job in academia to be one? Are they truly the thinkers for the masses or merely talkers par excellence? Remember, one of Shakespeare’s characters said, “talkers are no good doers”. Or should one be labelled intellectual by a body of “professional intellectuals” — just like that governing doctors, engineers, lawyers or surveyors?

Not too long ago, a menteri besar in his quest for intellectual immortality designated a housing estate for the ilmuan, loosely translated as “ones with knowledge”. Imagine an enclave where only the learned roam. I wonder what the subject of their encounters will be. I am sure it won’t be gossip about politicians and starlets. They must talk about some extremely serious stuff beyond the comprehension of lesser mortals like us. However, the idea did not materialise. Those who were given the keys to the housing estate quickly returned them upon hearing chuckles and sneers behind their backs. Intellectualism entails snobbishness and a sense of elitism. It is, sadly, intellectually incorrect to claim to be one.

Why was Gulen picked as the top public intellectual in 2008? The magazine hailed him as “an inspirational leader who encourages a life guided by moderate Islamic principles”. He is said to be “a Turkish cleric who represents the modern face of the Sufi Ottoman tradition” and “who influences Turkish politics through links with the AK party”.

The fact that the top 10 public intellectuals came from Muslim countries raised interesting questions. Linguist and political activist Noam

MIT's Noam Chomsky

MIT's Noam Chomsky

Chomsky was at number 11 and the former vice-president of the United States, Al Gore, was at number 12. Fareed Zakaria, the respected editor of Newsweek International was at number 17. Only three from Southeast Asia and Oceania made it to the list, one of them Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore. Social scientists, economists, philosophers, scientists and journalists made up the bulk of the list. Now, we can argue who should be included or who should not. Some of the names omitted were not acceptable, some included raised troubling doubts.

On March 6, 2005, this newspaper highlighted a study by Dr Deborah Johnson, then a fellow at the Institute of Civilisation and the Malay World (ATMA) of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. She was looking at intellectualism in the Malay world and Malaya/Malaysia. The title of her work is Malaysian Intellectuals: A Genealogy of the 20th Century Discourse. She identified at least 10 groups of individuals where intellectualism was in evidence. Among them were the nationalists, students, women and those in the arts and academia.

A towering intellectual among film-makers, the little known Michelangelo Antonioni, once said that he would rather be the hero of the few enlightened ones than a prophet of the clueless masses. Oops! That is snobbery. In his case, he would never play to the gallery. The quality of his work is inversely proportional to the number of its audience. He wouldn’t mind that at all. Are those the true colours of an intellectual?

UMNO Government’s Politics of Sodomy: Our Freedom is at stake, not just Anwar Ibrahim’s

posted by din merican-June 27, 2009

June 26, 2009

The Politics of Sodomy: Will Justice be Mangled Again?

Anwar and The Rogues of 1998

Anwar and The Rogues of 1998

To convict an innocent man of false charges, there must be four parties acting in concert, three of them in the criminal justice system. They are the Police to fabricate evidence, the Attorney-General to frame the charge and the Judiciary to convict the accused irrespective of whether he can put up a creditable defense.

By Kenny Gan, Suara Keadilan

As the pain and anger of Anwar’s 1998 sodomy trial fade in intensity after 11 intervening years, slowly replaced by fresh, hopeful anticipation of change, we are yet again confronted by an almost comical repeat of the stale sodomy charges that threaten to open deep scars of shame and regret in our national psyche.

Future generations of Malaysians will look back aghast at how we could have allowed it to happen, how we could have permitted one despot to subvert and manipulate all our cherished instruments of democracy to serve his personal agenda of demolishing a political enemy.

As we look back in anguish and plead that we were helpless to resist the iron-fisted dictator who controlled all the levers of power in a climate of fear, we now face another chance to resist the naked assault on decency and justice and we wonder if we are just as helpless as we were before.

How have things changed in more than a decade and what are we up against? To convict an innocent man of false charges, there must be four parties acting in concert, three of them in the criminal justice system. They are the Police to fabricate evidence, the Attorney-General to frame the charge and the Judiciary to convict the accused irrespective of whether he can put up a creditable defense.

However in a democracy, even these three powerful institutions acting in concert are not enough. To this must be added a fourth institution – the press, also aptly referred to as the ‘Fourth Estate’. These four institutions which protect our freedom and democratic rights are also called the pillars of democracy.

Unfortunately, all of them have been severely damaged by Mahathir during his iron-fisted rule. If even one of them had been healthy and functioning properly in 1998, the unjust conviction of Anwar back then would not have been possible.

From 1998 to 2009

How do these institutions fare now compared to eleven years ago? Is it possible for a repeat of the shameful sodomy caper of 1998? There is certainly no improvement in the institution of the Attorney-General and the Police. They are now helmed by men who actively participated in the prosecution of Anwar in 1998. The current A-G, Gani Patail was the head of the prosecution team and the current IGP, Musa Hassan was the head of the police investigation team in Anwar’s previous sodomy case.

The judiciary sometimes shows a rare spark of independence but only rarely and planned judicial reforms appear to have gone nowhere. As the Perak crisis has shown, there is certainly no lack of judges willing to serve the government instead of serving justice.

The mainstream media is less slavish than it was under Mahathir but is still a well controlled boneless wonder. However there is one significant difference – the alternative media is now fully developed.

In 1998 the Internet was at its infancy. The government controlled the flow of information through the mainstream media to mould public opinion and anything could be buried by the powers-that-be. But this is no longer possible as online penetration is at least twelve times what it was in 1998 and the online media has reach mainstream status.

An example is the Lingam video scandal which was ignored by the mainstream media and the government initially but knowledge of it became so widespread via the online world that the Bar Council and the government were forced to act.

So the first three institutions are still compromised – enough to do the the hatchet job again; in fact, some would say they have become worse. Only the press has improved somewhat although it must be said that the improvement in information access was an unintended side effect of the proliferation of the Internet and not from any positive action by the BN government. Can the freer flow of information save Anwar now as he battles for his political future?

A Question to Ponder

It is sad that 11 years after the infamous sodomy trial we still have to ponder this question instead of declaring confidently that thing have changed so much that sending an innocent man to jail under fabricated charges is no longer possible. What the new information environment means is that nothing can be hidden, obscured, obfuscated or distorted. Every proceeding of the court and every evidence tendered or argument advanced will be dissected and scrutinized in detail by a local and international audience.

The mainstream press cannot be too one-sided now. It must at least show some decorum of balanced reporting in the face of widespread public knowledge to avoid insulting its readers. The prosecution must show some real substance to obtain a conviction instead of depending solely on a compliant judge or the wave of public disgust and derision may make Malaysia ungovernable.

Let’s not forget that two hospitals have ruled out that his accuser had been sodomized which is sufficient to blow the top off the case in any civilized country.

A blatantly unjust conviction will draw strident condemnation from politicians, social activists, rights groups and NGO’s  and the transparent political persecution of an opposition leader will invite outside condemnation and make Malaysia an international pariah.So does this mean that Anwar is safe? The answer is “not necessarily” because despite extreme negative publicity, UMNO is arrogant enough to ride roughshod over public opinion when it suits them.

What could give the conspirators pause is only the fear that public anger and disgust could cause it to lose enough political support to jeopardize its hold on power. How UMNO perceives that fear will be the deciding factor in Anwar’s court battle.

The Politics of Sodomy

The stakes are certainly higher now – the political reward as well as the political risk. A conviction could put Anwar out of active politics for good by making him miss two elections and throw the PR coalition into disarray.

On the other hand, it could strengthen PR by giving them a rallying point while public support bleeds away from the BN over the perceived injustice. With a two-party system BN faces a real possibility of losing power while a decade ago the penalty was only about losing some seats. Anwar’s incarceration and banishment from active politics could only last as long as BN continues to hold power.

The more blatant the courtroom injustice, the longer, deeper and wider reaching the negative aftershock so UMNO is not entirely free to ram through a ridiculous conviction in a shameless kangaroo court presided by a puppet judge. But the general election is more than 3 years away and UMNO has an infantile attitude in that present, direct benefits eclipse future indirect benefits in importance. No clearer is this demonstrated than in UMNO’s insistence on holding on to Perak at any cost.

As the charade is played out in the court, it is not the weight of evidence but the complex interplay of political forces against the backdrop of civil society’s demand for basic human decency that will determine Anwar’s fate.

On July 8 we will know if the charges are to be dismissed on the basis of the hospital reports or if the trial is to proceed. If it does proceed, a Rubicon will be crossed and chances of getting justice slimmer. The courtroom battle will certainly be fierce. In 1998 Anwar’s defence team was cowed and threatened with contempt by the judge whenever they tried to put up a creditable defence but they are prepared now and if nothing else will give the establishment a severe black eye.

It would be easy to leave the question dangling and say the chance is 50-50 but after weighing all the factors my personal opinion is that Anwar will escape conviction.

A Nation Fights for its Future

Anwar’s fight to clear his name in his coming court battle will be a defining moment for Malaysia. This is not about one man’s fight for justice but an indicator of the path the nation is taking. As long as our democratic institutions are damaged, no Malaysian is safe from unjust prosecution and well-connected guilty ones can escape justice. It also means that there is no check and balance to prevent or remedy all manner of abuses and wrongdoings such as endemic corruption and plundering of resources.

The nation waits with bated breath as we stand at a crucial fork in the road to nationhood, wondering if we will take the path to a maturing democracy or slide down the slippery slope to a failed state like Zimbabwe and Myanmar.

Whether we agree or disagree with the politics of the man himself, let us all hope that this trumped-up case is dismissed as it should. This battle for justice is not just for Anwar but for everybody, not just for Anwar but for all Malaysians.

Anwar Ibrahim’s Speech via live telecast (tvAntara)

posted by din merican–June 27, 2009

Speech by Anwar Ibrahim at “Business Opportunities in the Muslim World” Conference in Washington DC, June 26 2009.

anwar ibrahimLadies and Gentleman, respected guests, friends and colleagues from the United States and throughout the Muslim world.

I must apologize to the organizers, US Chamber of Commerce, CIPE, US Muslim World Engagement Project and to the guests attending today that I cannot be with you in person.

I have fond memories of the time I spent in Washington DC. This visit would have offered a much anticipated opportunity to visit friends and colleagues. However, as you may know, I have a rather difficult time dealing with the Malaysian Courts. No matter how we demonstrate their inadequacies in trying to prosecute against me they remain relentless in their resolve to inconvenience me. Consequently, I must make a series of previously unscheduled appearances in Court this week.

The stakes are high, so high indeed that we are once again witnessing the emasculation of the judiciary at the hands of the Executive. It is clear that the strategy is to have me incarcerated in order to stem the tide for greater freedom and democracy but I can say for sure that they are mistaken.

May I begin by saying that commerce and enterprise have been one of the primary mechanisms through which the Muslim world has engaged its neighbors to the East and West. Muslim traders and businessmen were among the primary agents of what we can accurately describe as globalization in the early centuries of the advent of Islam. While these early Muslims were possessed of a certain zeal to spread their newfound faith, one cannot deny the skill with which new trade routes were established to connect the rapidly growing empire.

Ibn Saghir observed that as early as the middle of the 8th century faraway outposts on the edge of the Sahara were trading regularly with merchants from Basra, Kufa and Khorasan – at that time this distance was nothing short of epic. I would mention further that Ibn Saghir also noticed the regular interactions between Muslim and Jewish traders at the time.

Southeast Asia is a telling example of a faraway land populated with diverse religions that was transformed into a major hub of Islamic civilization, not by military confrontation but rather through trade, commerce and the peaceful proselytizing of sufi saints.

The great European trading cities like Venice were frequent ports of call for traders from the Muslim world and great cities like Cairo and Istanbul were places of frequent mixing and intermingling. The focal point of the Muslim world and its spiritual center, Mecca, was as much a place of spiritual repose and retreat as it was the meeting point for caravans from East and West. Once a year this gathering would become the locus of exchange of goods and ideas and news and information from all points in the Muslim world and beyond. Amidst the commercial activity were profound exchanges of philosophy and metaphysics and debates that cross and intersected religious divides.

President Obama, in his historic Cairo speech earlier this month, alluded to the intellectual indebtedness of Europe to the Muslim world. There is no doubt that Renaissance Europe owes much of its antecedents to the transmission of knowledge in Muslim Spain and North Africa in the cities of Toledo, Granada and Fes – which themselves represented a thriving economy as well as a pre-Columbian conduit for exploration to the New World.

This historical legacy underscores the need for a forum such as this in which views can be expressed with forthrightness and sincerity. Our goal is in clear sight. Our objective today is to consider the historical moment in which we live – a global recession of epic proportions; a Muslim world in transition and flux, and an American administration truly committed to engagement and understanding.

Credit is due to President Obama for his efforts to begin a rapprochement with the Muslim world. His initial pronouncements to close Guantanamo Bay, end the war in Iraq and assert his administration’s efforts towards a resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict were received with cautious optimism.

The address in Cairo along with his visit to Turkey in April asserted his belief that America and the Muslim world can be partners not only in ensuring greater security but also in pursuing a common agenda. We are not talking about merely tolerating the differences in culture and religion or merely respecting the divergent views and perspectives but this is a common agenda defined by common and shared values of freedom, human rights and the pursuit of a meaningful and purposeful livelihood.

In this agenda, there should be no color bars, no geographical boundaries and no linguistic and religious divide. Nevertheless, reality does bite hard – and the administration has faced obstacles in each of these major endeavors. Skeptics will be quick to point out that thus far everything has been mere rhetoric. They say this administration won’t be much different from the previous. However, we say that it is premature to draw conclusions on eventual outcomes.

As a matter of fact, I remain optimistic that if America can find credible partners in the Muslim world with which to pursue this agenda the possibilities for charting a new course are immense.

The recession which has spread around the world has highlighted the fundamental weaknesses inherent in our traditional financial systems. The ripple effect of the collapse on Wall Street last fall with economies around the world has also laid waste to the notion of firewalls protecting certain areas.

It is true that the decoupling school of thought was fast becoming the new mantra of progress particularly for the emerging markets until of course the financial meltdown jolted everyone back to their senses. But we should not look at this financial crisis only in a negative light. On the contrary, it is abundantly clear that the ties that bind people around the world are strong and can be harnessed even during these contractionary times.

Promoting stronger commercial relationships between these two worlds must be punctuated with an unrelenting commitment to good governance and transparency. It is not simply the realm of government to achieve these objectives. In fact, no matter how much governments impose legislation on ethical practices, these rules only have a transformative impact on the way business is done if there is a competitive advantage to be gained.

Rather it is increasingly part of the competitive forces driving investment and strengthening shareholder value to engage in responsible business practices. Saudi Arabia and Jordan have taken a lead in this respect, commissioning intensive research into responsible competitiveness within their own kingdoms. Other Muslim countries ought to consider similar strategies in their efforts to attract investment from abroad that is increasingly concerned with issues such as climate change, sustainability and fair labour practices.

Underlying these responsible practices are credible institutions which adhere to the rule of law and nurture the development of healthy and vibrant civil societies. For businesses to operate efficiently courts must only be impartial and fair but must also be seen to be so in their adjudication of disputes. For corruption and the abuse of power, be it corporate or government, the media must be free to report and analyse the actions of those who wield power. Free and fair elections are only the starting point for democracy; as fundamental as they are, they are just one piece in a larger puzzle. This means that governments in the end must reflect the hopes and aspirations of their people.

Thank you.

Fitnah Jahat Yang Membingungkan

26hb. Jun, 2009

Dari JohorDaily

Setelah perbicaraan kes liwat Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim ditunda kepada 8 Julai 2009, kini pelbagai pihak mempertikaikan kesahihan kes tersebut. Kini pelbagai dakwaan berlakunya konpirasi untuk menjatuhkan imej Ketua Pembangkang itu.

Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen Malaysia

Ketua Pembangkang Parlimen Malaysia

Mohd Saiful Bukhari mendakwa didalam blognya bahawa apa yang disumpahnya adalah benar. Manakala Majlis Pegum telah mengeluarkan kenyataannya mendakwa kes tersebut perlu digugurkan kerana tiada bukti jelas berlaku liwat pada laporan perubatan Mohd. Saiful.

Blog Gerakan Anti-PKR
pula mendakwa tujuan Anwar pergi ke Amerika Syarikat pada minggu hadapan bertujuan melarikan diri dari kes tersebut dan meminta simpati kepada presiden Berek Obama. Blog itu meminta pihak berkuasa menahan pasport Anwar.

Angkatan Muda Keadilan pula pada hari ini jam 11.00 pagi akan menyampaikan memorendum agar kes tersebut digugurkan kepada kepada Timbalan Pendakwaraya, Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abidin di Putrajaya. Ketuanya Shamsul Iskandal Mohd Akin mendakwa kes tersebut adah fitnah politik sahaja dan tidak perlu melibatkan Mahkamah.

Terdahulu peguam Anwar Ibrahim telah menfailkan dokumen agar kes itu digugurkan kerana tiada kerjasama dari pihak kerajaan dan tiada bukti berlaku liwat.

Pahang Daily pula mendakwa didalam blognya terdapat kemuskilan pada kes pendakwaan tersebut kerana sebelum dan selepas lapuran Polis Mohd Saiful terdapat beberapa panggilan talifon yang mencurigakan termasuk panggilan terhadap Ezam Mohd Noor dan ke kementerian Pertahanan.

Semantara itu Johor Daily dimaklumkan Barisan Nasional enggan berkempen di Manek Urai melibatkan kes liwat ini kerana bimbang menerima tamparan kekalahan teruk seperti di pilihanraya Kecil di Permatang Pauh. Johor Daily percaya UMNO enggan bertanding di DUN Penanti kerana bimbang dimalukan lagi.

Johor Daily dimaklumkan Anwar Ibrahim akan berada di Australia pada 11 Julai 2009 sebagai salah seorang ahli penal undangan khas bagi membicarakan isu semasa dunia dan kekemelutan Islam. Banyak pihak mendakwa termasuk penyokong Umno kes liwat ini adalah strategi khas Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yang ‘membunuh diri sendiri dan UMNO’.

The Civil Service: Remove Unpleasant Scraps
June 26, 2009

No Stomach for Bureaucratic Evils

By John Teo

I have had some unpleasant scraps with various branches of our bureaucracy lately. Much of the unpleasantness revolved around computer glitches, setting off endless possibilities of human reactions from those purveying public services and those of us at the receiving end of such services.

Readers will be spared the details, but it should suffice to say machines now seem to have a near-exclusive stranglehold on the workings of our bureaucrats, not the other way round. There is, to be sure, plenty not to like about our bureaucracy and all its shortcomings and inefficiencies. Ours is clearly not a first-rate, “first-world” bureaucracy.

Perhaps that is tarring our vast bureaucracy with an unfairly broad brush. Bright spots do exist. Renewing our passports is now a cinch. Making a withdrawal from the Employees Provident Fund is now about as professional and business-like an experience as any encounter with a commercial bank officer.

I am moved to write this week’s piece after reading in the electronic media that some Malaysians are forsaking their country, and a large part of their reason for doing so has to do with the quality of our public service. As what I have written so far shows, I do have a beef with our bureaucracy — as most other Malaysians do, I am sure — but never has it crossed my mind to abandon the country simply on account of such a beef.

Perhaps it has to do with the partiality of each and every Malaysian. Some of us tend to see the glass as half-full, others as half-empty. I count myself in the former category. I do not take for granted that much of our public service, by and large, works. It may not be up to scratch sometimes and in certain categories, but at the end of the day, you do get what you are after.

Some sectors of the public service seem to be deteriorating by the day. Others are continuously seeking to improve. It is a thoroughly mixed bag. Yet, one thing is for sure. The government is paying a price for the more egregiously non-performing parts of the bureaucracy. The more egregious these bureaucratic enclaves are, the more alarmist are the voices raised in disapproval.

So alarmist, in fact, that some have started painting the government as “evil” for tolerating our bureaucratic vices or, more accurately, for being the very genesis of those vices. Some of the shrillest voices raised are politically partisan, so we know where they are coming from.

The sad bit is when such voices find resonance among the public at large. It is never really healthy for the entire body politic if ordinary Malaysians, like George W. Bush did, start labelling fellow Malaysians with opposing political views and preferences as supporting or defending “evil”.

Malaysians claiming to be fighting against “evil” see corruption and its corrosive effects on the body politic as the “root” of all the perceived evil. Now, corruption, per se, is of course evil. It is also an evil that has permeated human civilisation since Adam ate the forbidden fruit in the Biblical account of Creation. Fighting it is an unending struggle. We may fault the government for not putting up a stout enough fight, but let’s not lose perspective amid all the righteous indignation about corruption.

The perspective is that our international corruption perception index ranking has always been at the middling level, far from some of the truly shameful bottom-leaguers among those countries in our region that claim to be more democratic than us, while in the more august company of the most progressive nations in Asia.

The perspective, also, that corruption has not actually seriously impaired the economic progress of those same progressive Asian nations. Truth be told, in their headlong push for progress at seemingly any cost, these nations are doing something far more meaningful against corruption: a well-fed and well-off citizenry will increasingly have less stomach for tolerating corruption.

That oft-quoted exemplar of anti-corruption in our region, Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, certainly holds a sophisticated perspective. He defends the massive corruption of the Suharto era in Indonesia by proclaiming Suharto as a force for good, on balance. Both Lee and Suharto may be on the verge of vindication.

The advent of democracy has made not a dent on Indonesia’s bottom-scraping corruption index. If anything, it has only made the country’s corruption more invisible and diffuse and, therefore, even more widespread, with even less noticeable beneficial trickle-down to the general population.

There will always be those among us taking the high and well-trodden path of public ethics and integrity, and winning widespread and easy acclaim. But they are just as likely to lead us on the path to perdition as to paradise. It is a path shrouded in shades of grey, so that what really ranks as evil, and who ranks as reactionaries, are truly muddled.

My Tribute to Michael Jackson for this weekend

Friends around the World,

Michael Jackson, the Peter Pan of the Modern Era, is dead. Although I am not a diehard fan of this unique entertainer, I do appreciate his talent and enjoy listening to a few of his songs.  I have pleasure in sharing my favorite Michael Jackson’s hits with you for this weekend.

Michael Jackson was destroyed by the unfriendly American media which vilified him. But he lives on for he brought so much joy to the young and the not so young.  I pay tribute to this 51 year old African American balladeer of songs. He can no longer be touched by man and may he find eternal peace with his God. Farewell, dear Michael and thank you so much for trying to make this world a better place for us.—Din Merican

Michael Jackson –Ben

Will You Be There

Black or White

Make it a Better World, yes We can

Earth Song

The Jackson 5

IGP Musa Hassan and AG Gani Patail must be thoroughly investigated

June 25, 2009

Anwar’s report against AG, IGP: Files with MACC

by S Pathmawathy

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim will be writing to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission by tomorrow to inquire on the status of his complaint against those who had fabricated evidence against him in 1998.

PKR's R. Sivarasa

PKR's R. Sivarasa

Anwar’s lawyer and PKR vice-president R Sivarasa today told reporters that they have been informed that Anwar’s police report on the matter was sitting with the MACC now. This information was made known to Sivarasa and Anwar by Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein in a written answer in Parliament on June 22.

“Your claim that no actions has been taken by the police is false. The authorities have forwarded the report to the MACC on Feb 21 for further action,” Hishammuddin had said in his reply. Sivarasa was prompted to raise the question in Parliament after being unable to gain any answers from the police on the status of the case.

Anwar had lodged the police report on February 20 and so far has yet to hear anything from the police on the status of the case.

The nature of the police report was that Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan were allegedly involved in a conspiracy to fabricate an arrest warrant which led to Anwar’s arrest in 1998.

In his report, Anwar had claimed that he was arrested under Section 377B of the Penal Code for alleged unnatural sex but subsequently the police report on his arrest stated that he was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA). He claimed that both Abdul Gani, who led the prosecution team in Anwar’s cases and Musa, who was the main investigating officer, had conspired to fabricate his arrest warrant.

First report on ‘black eye’

Talking to reporters in Parliament today, Sivarasa said Anwar has not been called by the police to provide his statement on the report.

Sivarasa added they had waited for the police to respond for two months and had written to police on April 23 to inquire on the extent of their investigation.

“Under Section 107(a)(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code we can write to the investigating officer to know the status of the report… but they did not reply,” he said.

“So I took the opportunity to ask the question the Home Minister and he now tells us that it has been referred to the MACC,” he said.

Sivarasa said that they were now going to write to the MACC by tomorrow to inquiry about the extent of their investigation.

Anwar had previously lodged another report against Abdul Gani and Musa in July 2008, claiming that they had fabricated evidence against him after he was assaulted by the then IGP Tan Sri Rahim Noor in a police lock-up. MACC’s predecessor ACA had investigated and cleared both Abdul Gani and Musa of that accusation.

Anwar had followed up with the second report after nothing was done with the first report.

After being arrested, Anwar was subsequently charged and found guilty of corrupt practices and sodomy. He spent six years in jail and was released in 2004.

NST Editorial on Wisma Putra

June 25, 2009

Editorial: Diplomatic Extension

A SCATHING recent commentary in this newspaper by former diplomat Datuk Deva Mohd Ridzam seems to have been borne out in the urgency with which both Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin addressed the 7th Heads of Mission Conference in Putrajaya this week.

Deva had broached the deterioration of this country’s diplomatic service, quoting former Thai foreign minister Dr Tej Bunnag in lamenting that what was once “a wonderful bunch of highly qualified, intellectually gifted, internationally minded, multiracial, dedicated and wise patriots” had declined into a service that was now “dull, distant and inconsequential”.

While the top two government executives spared their audience such blunt criticism, there was no diminution of their exhortations to Malaysia’s ambassadors, high commissioners and honorary consuls to get with the programme of changing times, geopolitics and globalised economics. In the first couple of decades of our nationhood, this country’s diplomatic  service acted as a vital driver of a new nation’s emerging identity in an international world.

After that first, proactive, defining generation, the foreign service seemed to succumb into a complacent civil-service mentality of the worst kind: shying away from active involvement with their host nations and content to take their cues from the top political leadership back home. Ambassadorial roles were defined largely by the individuals occupying them, and while a stalwart few have done the country proud, others have been all but invisible for the duration of their sinecures.

Najib and Muhyiddin have both attempted to turn this around by reminding our gathered diplomats of just how important they are in ensuring Malaysia’s profile and image abroad — and in feeding back the insight and understanding required to shape foreign policy.

Admittedly, Wisma Putra does not bear this responsibility alone. Government agencies from MATRADE to the Tourism Promotion Board all have dynamic roles to play at the interface between Malaysia and the rest of the world, and indeed are aware of the synergy and cooperation involved in their various operations.

A clearer understanding of what’s required in our diplomatic and international relations is the first step towards developing the human capital to meet those needs. Hopefully, recognising the deterioration of standards will lead to the recognition and nurture of those who can be part of the solution, not the problem.