Malaysian Jihadists In Lebanon–Update

October 29, 2012

Malaysian Jihadists In Lebanon: Belated Response from Wisma Putra and Home Affairs Ministry

by Malaysian Insider (10-28-12)

Putrajaya is giving priority to investigating Malaysia’s alleged link to global Islamic militants al Qaeda and the Taliban after Lebanon arrested two Malaysians suspected of being suicide bombers who had infiltrated the Middle Eastern country earlier this month.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said his Ministry is on the case as the duo’s ties to the Islamic terrorist groups is very worrying while Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said Wisma Putra is monitoring closely the detention of suspects in Lebanon.

“We’ll investigate the suspected involvement of Malaysians with al Qaeda and Taliban in depth as it’s a matter of grave concern,” Hishammuddin was reported by state news agency Bernama as saying in Kluang today.

He was also reported saying that Malaysia’s involvement with terrorist organisations based in the Middle East was unusual and pointed out that local links have so far been limited to regional groups such as Jemaah Islamiah or Darul Islam.

“Malaysia does not condone terrorism or extremism by any group that may compromise the security of any country and its people, and fully respects the laws of Lebanon,” Anifah said in a statement today to Bernama, backing his Cabinet colleague.

The Foreign Minister said the two Malaysians were picked up by Lebanese authorities on October 18 and have been taken to the country’s Military Court in Beirut and charged last Thursday.

He added that both were scheduled to appear in the Lebanese court again tomorrow, but did not say what the charges were.

He said the Malaysian embassy in Beirut is acting to meet the duo and provide them with consular advice and that the families of the two suspects have also been informed of their arrest.

Lebanese newspaper al-Joumhouria has identified the two suspects as Rafik Mohammed Aaref, 21, and 28-year-old Mohammed Razin Shaaban, citing its country’s military intelligence.

Wisma Putra did not respond when contacted by The Malaysian Insider today for confirmation of the suspects’ identities.

The Arabic newspaper also reported that the duo have been charged with being members of al Qaeda and had been recruited to join the organisation in 2007 by another Malaysian, whom they named as Mustapha Mansour.

Citing Lebanese security sources, the paper reported that the two Malaysians had previously been arrested in 2007 and were sentenced to jail where they met Jamal al-Badawi, who was accused of being behind the 2000 bombing of a US Navy destroyer, the USS Cole, in Yemen.

Al-Joumhouria reported that the Malaysian suspects tried to enter Syria some two months ago, through Turkey on a jihadist mission in order to carry out suicide attacks planned by a man the paper named as Abou Hassan and which it said was responsible for the entry of all jihadists to Syria.

The daily reported that the Malaysians then headed to Lebanon after they failed to enter Syria.

Nick Watney wins CIMB Classic Golf 2012

October 28, 2012

Nick Watney wins CIMB Classic Golf 2012 with a Final Round Score of 61

By Patrick Johnston

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – American Nick Watney fired a brilliant 10-under-par 61  to overhaul compatriot Bo Van Pelt and win the $6.1 million CIMB Classic on Sunday as a brave run by Tiger Woods fell just short.

Watney started the day four back of overnight leaders Bo Van Pelt (66) and Robert Garrigus (66) but, after flirting with golf’s magical number 59, ended one ahead on 22-under 262 to win the Asian and PGA Tour co-sanctioned event in Malaysia.

Van Pelt, who double-bogeyed the last chasing a 59 in his third round on Saturday, failed to force a playoff when he could only par his final hole after hitting his approach into a greenside bunker.

The 31-year-old Watney, who won the PGA Tour’s Barclays Tournament in August, fired 11 birdies on the short and soggy Mines Golf Course, which proved an easy test for the 48-man field after a third consecutive day of preferred lies. Watney needed to birdie the last to shoot the rare 59, but he could only bogey the hole after a poor second to the par-four from the rough.

Woods hauled himself into contention with an eight-under 63 but had to settle for a three-way tie for fourth place, three behind Watney, and will rue a number of missed opportunities on the back nine when he was close enough to challenge the leaders.

(Editing by John O’Brien)

Your Weekend Entertainment

October 27, 2012

Your Weekend Entertainment

Aidil Adha is behind us. Enough of ketupat, lemang, asam laksa, rendang and other dishes that come when Muslims in Malaysia welcome this occasion and with one stroke, we have also been able to reduce the population of cows in our country, while Shahrizat and her family are battling in our court over the National Feedlot scandal. So let us put all that behind us momentarily as we welcome the Sabbath.

Hari Raya Haji 2012

For this purpose, we present Ronan Keating and Boyzone, Air Supply and the Stylistics. We hope you like what we have chosen for you this weekend.–Dr. Kamsiah and Din Merican

Ronan Keating


With Boyzone

Air Supply

The Stylistics

Can Asia Beat Corruption?

October 27, 2012

Can Asia Beat Corruption?

by Tunku Abdul Aziz@

ON October 2, I was invited to participate in a televised debate on corruption, organised by Channel News Asia as part of its Bridging Asia: The Singapore Debates. The motion before the house was “Can Asia Beat Corruption?”

Professor Mark Thompson, director, Southeast Asian Research Centre at the City University, Hong Kong, teamed up with prominent Singapore anti-corruption lawyer Wilson Ang to try and convince a critical studio audience that Asia could lick corruption, citing cases of countries once at the bottom of the Transparency International Perceptions Index and today showing signs of improvement.

They drew comfort from, and put great store by, the fact that nearly all Asian countries had introduced anti-corruption laws. But they forgot to mention that a million anti-corruption laws would amount to nothing without strong, effective enforcement.

In those countries, and to some extent in Malaysia, enforcement continued to be derisory. Laws are of course required for defining public service behaviour: they are essential for creating institutions, but of themselves, “as a deterrent to unethical public behaviour”, are largely ineffective.

Ann Florini, Professor of Public Policy, School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University and I were not persuaded that Asia could confront corruption decisively because, unlike Singapore or Hong Kong, there was no evidence of strong political will emerging any time soon in much of Asia.

Good governance was totally absent in seriously corrupt societies where best practices were more observed in the breach than the observance. In such countries, corruption would continue to run its course with little or no prospect of even reducing it marginally.

I said that in the case of Singapore, which was once a very corrupt colonial backwater, if at the time of independence the city state was run by a bunch of crooks instead of Lee Kuan Yew, the course of its history might have been quite different.

Countries in Asia that managed their affairs well and supported their institutions, the likes of Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia, while still wrestling with corruption at the national level, apparently had a better chance of reducing corruption substantially over a shorter time frame.

Ann Florini and I won the debate against worthy opponents. The verdict was that as long as Asia continued to pay lip service to fighting corruption in their societies, it would invariably be regarded as a profitable, low-risk enterprise. Corruption would be in robust good health.

Electronic voting was employed by those in the studio as well as those watching at home. I must say they do these things extremely well in Singapore, as indeed we have come to expect. I believe it is the institutions in which they worked that made the difference. Strong institutions produce highly motivated and competent people.

I remain unabashed and unrepentant in my complete support of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s national transformation programmes as I see in his initiatives a brave new approach to transparent and accountable governance for Malaysia, and not a day too soon.

Over the years, we have, largely by default, allowed unprincipled governance to take on a life of its own, with predictable consequences. These comprehensive transformation programmes, covering a whole range of critical social, economic, legislative and governance issues, once implemented, will help ensure for Malaysia a place of honour at the top table, among the “clean” nations of the world.

I am confident that as a result of these measures, we would be better armed and equipped to tackle the scourge of corruption head on. I am happy that the Najib administration has shown great moral strength to resist the temptation of turning the national transformation programmes into a political slogan: they are far too important for the long-term future of our nation to be trivialised and used as a political play thing.

They are not about scoring a political point. They are about getting the country out of its slumber, out of the rut and bouncing back with clear and transparent policies that will grow the economy, unite our people and ensure peace and harmony for all Malaysians.

The government should not be distracted by the mountains of lies and innuendoes spun without a break by the opposition “axis of evil”, with apologies to the junior Bush.

Najib must do whatever it takes legally to win big and win well to save the country from the clutches of unprincipled political adventurers, who, lacking experience, would be too risky a gamble to be allowed to govern this country.

Let me remind the Anwars and Guan Engs of this world that it is easier to destroy than to build.

Tiger Woods’ Third Round Charge stalled on Back Nine of Mines Course

October 27, 2012

Tiger Woods’ Third Round Charge stalled on Back Nine of Mines Course

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Tiger Woods found lakes, bunkers and cart paths to stall his third round charge up the CIMB Classic leaderboard on Saturday, as Bo Van Pelt grabbed a share of the lead after flirting with golf’s magical 59.

Defending champion Van Pelt double-bogeyed the last to sign for a nine-under-par 62 and sit at the top of the leaderboard on 16-under 197 alongside overnight front-runner Robert Garrigus (69), with Woods (69) a further five shots back in joint 10th.

Heavy rain in Malaysia led to a second day of preferred lies at the soggy Mines Golf Course, leaving the course exposed to supreme scoring with only five of the 48 players in the field going over par in their third round.

Woods had raced to the turn in 30 after five birdies and four pars but his round unraveled on the back nine as he dropped five shots to offset two more birdies on another stifling day in Kuala Lumpur.

“I made a couple of bad decisions, bad swings on top of that, just all-in-all made too many mistakes and on a golf course that is playing this benign, you can’t afford to do that,” Woods told reporters.

“I’m going to have to shoot a low one tomorrow, something similar like Bo did today, but probably being this far back, I’m going to need some help, a great round tomorrow might not win that’s the only problem.”

Starting the day five behind Garrigus, Woods roared out of the blocks, holing a 12 foot birdie putt from the fringe on the short par-four first as he finally found some form with the short stick after two days of struggles.

Four further birdies came by the eighth as he raced to 14-under and held the lead on his own in the PGA and Asian Tour co-sanctioned event, which will become an official tournament on the American circuit next year.

However, the rest of the field were also taking advantage of the ideal conditions and Woods was joined at the top by four others at one stage, including Van Pelt, who had started the day seven back but turned in 29 to make up the gap.

Van Pelt added further birdies at 10, 11 and 12 to make it five in a row as he moved two ahead of Woods and set up the chance of joining the likes of David Duval, Chip Beck and Stuart Appleby in the 59-club.

While Van Pelt (left) charged, Woods was enduring a difficult start to the back nine as he lost his second shot to the par-five 11th way right, the ball bouncing off the cart path and finishing up with an awkward lie on a bank.

Standing on the path, Woods chipped down to 20 foot but missed his birdie effort and he also failed to get up-and-down from the edge of the green on the next hole, missing a slippery downhill four-footer for par to drop his first shot of the day.

After rolling in a straight 15 foot effort for birdie on the par-four 13th, Woods’ approach to the par-three 14th came up short and rolled down the bank into the lake, leading to a double bogey after a duffed chip.

Woods rattled in a 20 footer for birdie on 15 but he dropped another at the par-three 16th after failing to get up and down from the bunker and then three-putted 17 for bogey after missing a short putt.

Van Pelt had few such worries on 16 as he rolled in his 10th birdie putt of the day on the hole, before narrowly missing a lengthy eagle putt at 17, when his curling effort across the green at the par-five just brushed the edge of the hole.

Needing a birdie at the last for the magical but unofficial 59 due to the preferred lie rule, Van Pelt drove through the fairway to the left of the tee before plonking his approach to the par-four in the bunker right of the green.

A poor, escape and heavy chip shot left a six-foot bogey effort which lipped out to end his sparkling round in disappointing fashion.

“Obviously disappointing to finish with a double, but I look back on the 17-and-a-half holes I played well, and you know, hopefully that will carry over into tomorrow – not the last half,” Van Pelt told reporters.

(Editing by John O’Brien)

1 candidate-1 seat: Reprising the arguments

October 27, 2012

1 candidate-1 seat: Reprising the arguments

by Terence Netto (10-26-12)@

COMMENT It appears the DAP has opted for a stance of prevarication on the issue of ‘one candidate, one seat’ which was the recommendation of its chairperson Karpal Singh some time ago.

Karpal’s suggestion wasn’t exactly aimed at paring down the threat of warlordism by state barons so much as augmenting the chances of election to the legislature of a wider array of the party’s members, the numbers of whom would inevitably rise as a result of the DAP’s success in administering Penang and the performance of its MPs in the federal legislature.

Karpal’s recommendation that the party adopt the one-candidate-one-seat policy for the 13th general election, with a justifiable exemption for secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, had all to do with increased opportunity and effective performance.

This was before the rise of warlordism in some sectors of the party, a phenomenon that, if not checked early, would harm the party down the road.

Judging from what DAP national vice-chairperson and Penang chief Chow Kon Yeow  said in Penang two days ago, the party had already decided, in a lengthy discussion on the matter earlier this year, that it cannot place a blanket ban on dual representation as there may be exceptional circumstances in Sabah and Sarawak where a shortage of candidates may compel the doubling up of the available few for both state and parliamentary seats.

Fair enough. Sabah and Sarawak may present the party with exceptional conditions wherein a candidate may have to double up, but on the peninsula the situation, except for Johor where Dr Boo Cheng Hau is the odds-on favorite to add the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat to his Skudai state incumbency, is clear-cut: dual representation, safe for Lim, would be a cramp on the party rather than a catalyst for its expansion.

From what Chow said, proposals for dual representation would be decided on a case-by-case basis, which is as good as saying that there will be no hard and fast rule to decide who can and who cannot vie for dual representation.

This way of deciding a matter as critically important as dual representation, on the peninsula at least, opens the leadership to charges of favouritism and sundry other criticisms.

Better not to pretend there is a policy discouraging dual representation than to make a hash of its implementation.

Largest bloc of MPs

The virtue in a bar on dual representation, on the peninsula especially, is that it will inhibit the growth of territorial barons, or warlords, in the party.

Such a check is necessary for the racial diversification of the party’s membership that is Chinese-dominated and wanting to get away from that image.

Embryonic warlords in the party are all seen as Chinese chauvinists which is why a bar on dual representation, especially on the peninsula, would, besides enhancing representational effectiveness, enjoy the additional advantage of checking the power of self-aggrandising barons.

It is not improbable that among the opposition Pakatan Rakyat parties, the DAP would emerge as the component with the largest share of parliamentary seats when the results of the 13th general election are in.

This is certain to draw from Malay chauvinists the ‘I told you so’ warning that they have been striving, thus far without apparent success, to get across to the Malays – that division among them would engender Chinese economic power and political assertiveness. Grist for this fear mongering would be supplied by the presence in DAP of warlords.

Thus a bar on dual representation, especially on the peninsula, would be a preemptive move against the emergence of the bogeys that the Malaysian nation must free itself from if it is to emerge into a new era where the Gordian knot of race and religion no longer impose their stultifying constraints on the body politic.

There is an additional reason why the imposition of a bar on dual representation, on the peninsula particularly, would speed more than stymie the DAP.

Orthodox elements in PAS

It’s no longer wise to sustain the pretence that when and if Pakatan takes over Putrajaya, and in the event that the DAP has the largest bloc of MPs, it will just be a matter of time before the orthodox element in PAS would push for the implementation of syariah.

True, the item is not on Pakatan’s Common Policy Framework and cannot be implemented without consensus among the three parties that compose the present opposition front. Still, orthodox elements in PAS would push for it. Not to do so would be akin to wishing that rivers flow uphill.

DAP would not be able to depend on the Muslims of PKR to lead the reasoned effort at dissuading PAS from something that is not advisable for a multi-racial, multi-religious society.

Orthodox PAS would inevitably push; DAP would have to politely but firmly dissuade.  That effort would be less arduous if the DAP does not have within its ranks warlords whose presence would stoke the bogeys in the Malay mind against which syariah implementation would be seen as a bulwark.