Tuesday, December 30, 2008

'Hindraf will never walk with MIC' - MalaysiaKini

Hindraf chairperson P Waythamoorthy today denied that the movement was involved in brokering a pact with MIC which would see its five ISA-detained leaders being released.

He also stressed that the movement's legal advisor and his elder brother P Uthayakumar has not had any contact with any MIC leaders over such a pact.

The five Hindraf leaders were detained under the Internal Security Act on Dec 13 last year for allegedly provoking the Indian community to rise against the government.

Yesterday Malaysiakini reported that plans were afoot to absorb Hindraf leaders into the Indian-based party in order to regain the trust and support of the Indian community.

According to sources, the plan was purportedly hatched by a top MIC leader without the sanction of party president S Samy Vellu.

Under the plan, apart from Uthayakumar, PKR's Kapar parliamentarian S Manikavasagam was also being enticed to join MIC.

"If it goes according to the plan, Samy Vellu will be removed as party president, Hindraf 5 will be released, Waythamoorthy will return to Malaysia and Manikavasagam absorbed into MIC along with Uthayakumar," the sources had said.

‘MIC is under Umno's thumb'

Responding to this today, the London-based Waythamoorthy said that Hindraf would never enter into a pact with MIC, or any other Barisan Nasional component party.

However, he did not rule out the possibility of the other four Hindraf leaders of meeting with representatives of BN parties.

"Uthayakumar has never met any MIC or PPP leaders... But the same could not be said of the other four detainees," he told Malaysiakini.

Apart from Uthayakumar (left), the other Hindraf detainees are M Manoharan, V Ganabatirau, R Kenghadharan and T Vasantha Kumar.

Uthayakumar is the face behind Hindraf while Waythamoorthy left the country and is now living in exile in the United Kingdom following the crackdown on Hindraf leaders.

"Uthayakumar believes in his struggle. He will not rest until the plight of the Indian community is properly addressed," said Waythamoorthy.

He also said that Uthayakumar would never be in talks with MIC as the party "can never represent the Indians as long as Umno continues to bully (the minorities)".

He added that the leaked news about the pact was a "creation of MIC for cheap political mileage". -- MalaysiaKini

1,500 rally to defend Malay rights, ISA - MalaysiaKini

Protesters in Penang today called on Malay rulers to revoke the citizenship of Malaysians who dispute Malay special rights and demanded safeguards to their special position as enshrined in the constitution.

The call by the Malaysian Coalition of Malay NGOs was made at a gathering in conjunction with Maal Hijrah celebrations in Georgetown.

Some 1,500 people - including 400 children - from a group of 20 Malay organisations joined the two-hour gathering which kicked off at 9am in Polo Ground, outside Sri Mutiara, the official residence of the Penang governor.

About 50 police personnel, both in uniform and plainclothes, kept a close watch on the gathering.

At the end of the rally, the coalition’s leaders led by its president, Md Radzi Daud, submitted a memorandum to Penang governor Abdul Rahman Abbas.

The memorandum was received by a senior official from Sri Mutiara, Sahul Hamid.

The document also called on Malaysians to defend Islam as the nation’s official religion, the granting of immunity to the Malay royalty and the upholding of the draconian Internal Security Act to protect national security.

Jail them under ISA

At the press conference later, Md Radzi - who estimated the crowd at 4,000 - said that gathering was to warn the people not to dispute the country's constitution by raising issues that “could disrupt communal harmony”.

He said the coalition felt it was timely and imperative to hold such a gathering to remind Malaysians about their responsibility to safeguard the constitution, the royalty, social contract, and the nation’s peace and harmony.

Of late, he pointed out that many Malaysians have stirred Malay sentiments over a slew of issues.

"By disputing the aspirations of the constitution, some are inciting racial tension and communal disharmony," said Md Radzi, who is also Yayasan Aminul Ummah Malaysia president.

He wants those who whip up racial sentiments to be detained without trial under ISA.

Md Radzi also called on Malaysians to respect the laws and to recognise the rights of various communities in the country to live in peace and harmony.

"Anyone who challenged this should be detained under ISA and the person's citizenship should be revoked," he said.

Although the gathering supports the continued existence of ISA, Md Radzi nonetheless cautioned the government against abusing the tough security law and called on the authorities to use their wisdom when invoking the law.

"ISA shall be applied only when there is a real threat to the country's security," he said.

Silence not a sign of weakness

The four-point memorandum also warned that the patience exercised by the Malays thus far shall not be construed as a sign of weakness or fear.

"Malays have kept quiet so far to maintain peace and harmony, but don't disturb the bees hive or you can be destroyed," stated the memorandum.

Many teenagers at the gathering carried banners with slogans written in both Malay and Jawi such as 'Kesabaran Melayu Ada Batas' (Malays' Patience Has Limits), 'Jangan Hina Nabi Muhammad SAW' (Don't Insult Nabi Muhammad), 'Jangan Pertikaikan ISA' (Don't Dispute ISA). 'Kekebalan Raja Raja Dipertahankan' (Defend the Royal Immunity), and 'Jangan Pertikaikan Hak Orang Melayu' (Don't Dispute Malay Rights).

Other banners included 'Melayu dan Mamak Bersatu' (United Malays and Indian Muslims) and 'Jangan Ulang 13 Mei' (Don't Repeat May 13).

Most of the participants were wearing red-coloured head-bands depicting the 'Allahu Akbar' slogan and pro-ISA black T-shirts.

Among those seen at the gathering were Umno Bukit Mertajam division leader Musa Sheikh Fadzir and Tanjung Umno deputy leader Raja Munir Shah Raja Mustapha.

The organisers had originally planned to march from the state mosque to Polo Ground, but this was rejected by the police.

Although some teenagers wanted to march after the gathering, they dispersed after they were warned against it by the police.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

PM to face even bloodier battle. Malaysiakini

Even before the dust has settled for the two ‘reform' bills tabled in Parliament this week, outgoing Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is bracing himself to face an even bloodier battle with the Special Complaints Commission Bill.

The controversial bill, which critics have lambasted as a watered-down version of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) mooted by the Royal Police Commission three years ago, will not be tabled in this parliamentary session but is expected to be tabled in February when sitting resumes.

Last week, Abdullah tabled the much-awaited Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption (MCAC) and the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) bills - two of his key reform plans.

The two bills were lambasted by the opposition for its perceived lack of independence and have come under close scrutiny when they were being debated in the House this week.

However, Abdullah's biggest fight will be the Special Complaints Commission. And like the two bills, he is not likely to make everyone happy.

The SCC was the government's answer to the IPCMC, which was bitterly opposed by the police force.

The Royal Police Commission, which was set up by Abdullah soon after coming to power in 2003, had recommended the formation of an independent agency to oversee public complaints against the police, arguably the most powerful watchdog ever proposed in Malaysia.

Bid to pacify police force

The police top brass have mounted a strenuous campaign against the IPCMC, including going to the extent of issuing a veiled threat two years ago that they would go as far as voting for the opposition.

In a bid to pacify the police force, who claimed that they were unfairly singled out in the proposed IPCMC bill, the SCC includes public complaints against other enforcement agencies such as immigration and custom.

But the SCC was immediately rejected for its apparent lack of power and independence, with some ex-royal commissioners and opposition politicians describing it as a completely ‘different animal'.
It was subsequently withdrawn late last year in the wake of intense criticism.

It is learnt that the drafters have initiated another round of consultations and rewrite certain clauses in the attempt to give it more teeth.

But given that the bill is going to be the result of compromises made by groups directly affected by the proposed commission, it is not likely to meet the expectations of those who want to see a powerful body that can root out graft in the country's enforcement agencies.-- Malaysiakini

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monsoon Cup, Oil Royalty, KT Campaign, Malaysiakini

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — Fresh from his recent pilgrimage to Mecca, Pas president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang will kick off his party's campaign for next month's crucial Kuala Terengganu by-election this weekend in which he is expected to attack Barisan Nasional over the oil royalty issue and the staging of the annual Monsoon Cup sailing event, which has been called a waste of public funds.

He will rally the party faithful at three separate gatherings on Friday to outline the main plank of his party's campaign. But he will not announce who the candidate will be. That announcement is being slated for Jan 1.

Besides the oil royalty and Monsoon Cup, Hadi will also focus on attacking the BN state government's recent budget in the by-election which has been called following the death of BN's Datuk Razali Ismail.

The by-election has become crucial, considering it is the first big test for Datuk Seri Najib Razak since a deal was hammered out to ensure he takes over the Umno presidency in March. The Pakatan Rakyat parties are also keen to show they are not a spent force.

Hadi's aide Zaihan Mohd Daud told The Malaysian Insider that the Marang MP will visit all the state constituencies in Kuala Terengganu on Friday and Sunday.

"If there are no changes, the candidate will be announced on Jan 1," said Zaihan.

The Islamist party's machinery is also preparing to house thousands of party workers and volunteers who will come to Kuala Terengganu during the campaign period.

"Most of the hotels and chalets here are fully booked, so some of them will have to stay in the mosque," said Rusila mosque chairman Omar Mohd.

The mosque, situated some 15km from Kuala Terengganu, is one of Pas's major service centres in the state where Hadi delivers religious talks every week.

Meanwhile Pas's Bukit Payong assemblyman Mohd Noor Hamzah said the party's campaign will focus on the oil royalty and the Monsoon Cup.

"Now they are calling it royalty; when Pas was running the state they said it was 'wang ehsan' and refused to channel the money to the state government," Mohd Noor told The Malaysian Insider.

Last weekend Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak handed over RM408.6 million in oil royalty to Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said, a move seen by many observers as motivated by the January by-election.

"In a way the handing over of the royalty is a victory for us, but the way they have been spending the money will also shape our campaign strategy. The Monsoon Cup is one of things we are going to focus on," said Mohd Noor, referring to the annual sporting event which costs the state government RM300 million every year.

Wakaf Mempelam assemblyman Abdul Wahid Endut also expressed similar views.

"They have always been tabling a balanced budget; whatever they get they will spend, and the spending doesn't benefit the people," said Abdul Wahid.

The state government yesterday tabled a balanced budget of RM1.799 billion for the year 2009, claiming the huge budget was to ensure the government can implement high-impact projects and programmes for the people.

"Every year thousands of people are affected by floods, so they should be looking at monsoon drains not the Monsoon Cup,".

MalaysiaKini |Family members of the corrupt cannot escape

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 - Family members abetting relatives involved in graft will receive the same punishment as the guilty party as the term family members has been better defined under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said under the Bill, the term family members has been broadened to include spouses, children, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces and in-laws.

"Under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 (ACA'97), in-laws, nephews and nieces, cousins, uncles and aunts are not included which makes prosecuting them difficult," he said when tabling the Bill for second reading in the Dewan Rakyat today.

He explained that the new provisions were included in Clauses 23 and 36 of the Bill and offenders could be jailed not more than 20 years or fined not less than five times the monetary value of the bribe or a minimum of RM10,000, whichever is higher.

The penalty also applies to any foreign public official who abuses his position to accept bribes.

Mohamed Nazri said this came under Clause 22 of the Bill and was something new and in line with Article 16 of the United Nation's Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which was ratified by Malaysia last September.

Besides this, Mohamed Nazri said the Bill also called for the abolishment of the minimum jail sentence contained in ACA '97, set at 14 days.

However, the maximum at 20 years and minimum fine of RM10,000 remains unchanged.

On the same matter, Mohamed Nazri said the Public Service Department had approved the staff strength of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) from the 500 at present to 900 personnel next year.

The ACA personnel would be gradually increased to 5,000 in five years, he said, adding this would help the agency increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Latest From Malaysiakini

Do more for Indians, MIC tells gov't

MIC wants the government to do more for the Indian community, not just to woo them back to the Barisan Nasional but also to put them on equal footing economically with the other races, said party president S Samy Vellu.

He said although the government had undertaken various initiatives to uplift their social and economic status, there was still an impression within the Indian community that more needed to be done.

"The government must be more open and transparent in helping the Indians in this country," he told reporters after opening the MIC Rebranding workshop for Selangor branch chairmen yesterday.

He said MIC would continue to hold discussions with the government to chart new initiatives for the Indian community.

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Samy Vellu said he did not want the Indians to harbour any ill-feelings towards the federal government by continuously saying that they have been marginalised.

'Nothing comes easy'

Earlier in his speech, he said MIC had to always fight for the rights of the Indian community.

"Nothing comes easy. It is always MIC which makes the requests to the government and not the other way around," he said, adding that "this must change".

However, despite some shortcomings, he said MIC was happy with the various steps taken by the government to address the problems faced by the Indian community.

He said since the last general election on March 8, the government formed a cabinet committee for Indians; allocated RM50 million for the rebuilding of Tamil schools, agreed to transform the nearly 350 partially-aided Tamil schools into fully-aided schools; set up a fund under the PNB to assist Indian to buy shares and many more.

"But there are still many things such as our request to have the percentage of Indians in the public sector workforce be increased," he said, adding that there should be al least a seven percent increase in every intake.

He said MIC has proposed various new measures to assist the Indians to be submitted to the cabinet for approval through the party’s only Indian representative, Dr S.Subramaniam who is the human resources minister and MIC secretary-general.

Asked what would be the party's proposals at the Barisan Nasional Convention next year, he said MIC was working out several proposals and would submit them to the BN soon.

However, he declined to reveal the proposals, saying it should be announced later.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

They Learn Nothing. That's what in Malaysiakini

I refer to the Malaysiakini report "99 hillslope projects approved by Khir Toyo, says S'gor MB".

The former chief minister of Selangor, whose terms of office were plagued by several controversies, is in the news again. I was not at all surprised to read that 99 hillslope projects were approved during his tenure.

Least one forgets , approving tracks of land for housing projects, whether hillslope areas or green areas, is a sure way of making money for the developers and the powers that be. The status of forest reserves or agricultural land can be changed by the stroke of a pen by those in power.

More report on Corrupted Barisan Nasional HERE.

Big housing developers can earn a lot of money if they know how to grease the palms of top officials to approve their housing projects in hilly areas or forest reserves. Needless to say, this will cause huge ecological losses in the long run.

It is a win-win situation for housing developers and their influential political friends to approve housing projects in hilly areas as the affluent buyers of such prestigious projects rarely think about the long-term effects of such developments. Most only think about the ‘view’.

Selangor is bereft of land for development but our local authorities, after being influenced by their political masters, have no choice but to approve requests by developers with the right connections. Hilly land and even mountains have been flattened by greedy developers.

When you mess around with Mother Nature, landslides, floods and heat waves are to be expected. Such disasters not only endanger lives but leave a trail of destruction and death in their wake.

During the previous chief minister of Selangor’s time in office, flooding in Shah Alam was the norm and the forest reserve of Bukit Charaka was converted into several housing projects. Vegetation , trees and greenery were chopped down in the name of development and many once green areas were turned into concrete jungles.

One would expect local authorities to be strict in approving housing developments after the Highland Towers disaster nearly 15 years ago, where 48 people perished. However, people tend to forget easily.

The latest disaster in a nearby area where four people were killed and fourteen bungalows buried under tonnes of earth, was an accident just waiting to happen, especially in the current rainy season.

The Federal Court in a landmark judgment has given immunity to local councils against any court action if mishaps occur on hosing projects approved by the local authorities. This decision emboldened those in power to close one eye in approving housing projects in hilly areas as they would not be held responsible for any disasters.

As usual when calamities occur, fingers will be pointed at different people and house buyers in the affected areas will be hard pressed to go on with their lives as nobody will take responsibility for approving such dangerous projects in the first place. Looks like life is cheap in this country.

Khir Toyo who is running for office as Umno Youth chief needs to explain why he approved hillslope developments during his time in office without thinking about the dangers of landslides.

Presently there are several housing projects in hilly areas in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, where residents have staged demonstrations demanding that such projects are stopped immediately. However, as usual, protests fall on deaf ears.

Our country has adequate laws to deal with law breakers but enforcement is lacking, especially against the rich and influential.

Mark my words, after a few months when the latest incident in Ampang become history, people will once again forget about such disasters and hillslope developments will go on as usual, without regard for the safety of residents staying in nearby areas .

I don't believe our leaders when they say hillslope development projects will be stopped. As long as money can be made in the construction of affluent houses in hilly areas, expect more natural disasters to occur in the future.

The powerful individuals who approve such projects have blood on their hands but don't expect them to be brought to justice as loopholes in our system have allowed many to get away with even murder.

Makes you want to weep for those who not only lost their homes, but loved ones in the latest tragedy. When will we ever learn not to mess up with nature?

--By Hamdan Ibrahim

Saturday, December 13, 2008

JAC and Maca. A reality or dream.

A man who has been starving for days would have welcome a small morsel of food flung contemptuously his way I suppose.

In a country where many thoughtful citizens have been dreaming of an independent judiciary and a powerful body to curb endemic corruption, the tabling of the Judicial Appointments Council Bill (JAC) and the Malaysian Commission for Anti-Corruption Bill (Maca) by the prime minister himself a few days ago would tend to arouse elation that eventually something good is going to be done.

Source of write-up : Malaysiakini
By right, such important bills should have been published long before they are tabled in Parliament, to invite public discussion from all stakeholders, which in this case, is the entire population of Malaysia. But our patriarchal arrogant BN government would never dream of consulting the rakyat, so that is that.

I do not have a copy of the bills, so I can rely only on the information and views given by experts. One such expert is Param Cumaraswamy, prominent lawyer and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers.

He calls the JAC Bill disappointing, especially when there was no effort to amend Article 121 of the Constitution. The original Article 121(1) of the Constitution conferred the judicial powers of the Federation on the courts, thereby ensuring the independence of the judiciary from any possible intervention from the other two branches of government, the executive and the legislature.

In a bill tabled to amend the constitution in 1988, following the infamous judicial crisis that saw many excellent and respected judges sacked from office, this article was replaced by “judicial power vested” in the courts “as may be provided by federal law”. That amendment subjugates our judiciary to the legislature, and hence the prime minister’s office which controls both House of Parliament.

The Doctrine works well

I remember this particular amendment well. I voted against it, in a house flooded with Barisan MPs, while a number of my parliamentary colleagues were enjoying a coerced vacation in Kamunting following that much hated Operation Lalang.

If Zaid Ibrahim were still the de facto law minister, he would probably amend Article 121(1) and restore full independence to our judiciary, but by now we should know that a competent and conscientious man would not last long in a BN cabinet.

The Doctrine of Separation of Powers is now ascribed to the Enlightenment political philosopher Baron De Montesque. Simply stated, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches of government must be independent from one another, so that they can check and balance one another to prevent and remedy any abuse of power by any branch.

This idea evolved out of Europe a few hundred years ago, following a historical revolt in many countries against the tyranny of the dictatorship by an absolute monarch. Since then, the Doctrine has been zealously guarded and entrenched in Western liberal democracies.

That this principle has worked so well does verify Lord Acton’s famous and often misquoted words: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.” It does confirm a truth about human nature: no fallible and feeble human individual should be entrusted with too much power, and hence, the need for checks and balances. With the Doctrine, it is possible to replace the Rule of Man with the Rule of law.

When Malaysia achieved independence, we had chosen the Westminster style of parliamentary democracy, and so the Doctrine of Separation of Powers was incorporated into the supreme law of the land, the Federal Constitution. The original Article 121(1) was included precisely to ensure the independence of the judiciary, which was corroded, reduced, and subverted by the events of 1988.

That is itself indicative of the dire state to which Malaysian democracy has sunk.

In an article entitled Is the Malaysian Constitution a Piece of Garbage as We Continue to ‘cari makan’? and published in Malaysia Today on November 20 2008, my friend Raja Petra Kamarudin had this to report:

“The Constitution is a document that sets out the rules of how a country must be run by setting out the systems of the government, protecting its citizens and the principles that protect the laws of nature and the laws of the land.

The United States has amended their Constitution 27 times since it was ratified in 1788.

According to Constitutional Scholar Shad Saleem Faruqi, the Malaysian Constitution has been amended 42 times over the 48 years since independence as of 2005.

However, as several amendments were made each time, he estimates the true number of individual amendments is around 650. He has stated that "there is no doubt" that "the spirit of the original document has been diluted".

The persistent trend in our 50 years of constitutional dismemberment has been a shift of power from the courts and the legislature to the executive branches, threatening to reduce our judiciary and our two Houses of Parliament to mere subordinates under the jurisdiction of the prime Minister’s Department. We may not have a dictatorship of an absolute monarch, but we have been moving towards a dictatorship of the prime minister.

So, an amendment to Article 121(1) of the constitution would be fundamental towards judicial reform, and ought to have been done hand in hand with the JAC Bill. But here, we have a problem; the BN government lacks the two-third majority to pass such an amendment bill.

Missed opportunity for greatness

This problem is also an opportunity, for the prime minister to rise above partisanship and reach for support across the floor from the opposition parties in his final days in office. He would then indeed have left a lasting legacy of unprecedented statesmanship in Malaysia, and establish a historical precedent in our country for the entire parliament voting for the same critical bill in the interest of the future of democracy of the country. In a mature democracy, such bipartisan co-operation is not rare in the business of working for the common good of the rakyat.

Instead, Pak lah has missed his opportunity for greatness. His hold on power is probably too weak within the political class to do something as radical as that.

By now, we should be familiar with the criticism hurled by Param and other critics against the JAC and the Maca Bills. In essence, the two proposed Commissions are still very much under the thumb of the prime minister. The tendency towards the dictatorship of the PM continues unabated, and so these bills can hardly qualify as ‘reformist”.

Param Cumaraswamy has this to say with respect to the JAC: “The prime minister has the power to appoint and remove any or all the non-judicial members (eminent persons) of the commission at any time without giving any reasons.”

“In essence, this means that the independence of the judiciary would be dependent on the personality of the premier in power - in effect the executive arm of the government.”

While granting that Pak Lah may not abuse the power given under these bills, Param opined aloud that there is no guarantee future prime ministers will not be guilty of such abuses.

Why should the independence of the judiciary be dependent on the personal character of the prime minister? That it is so reflects that Malaysia may have the veneer of a parliamentary democracy boasting of Rule of Law, our country is still mired in the feudalistic Rule of Man.

It all goes to show that those who wield power that they do not deserve will not surrender their awesome power willingly. Power has to be pried from their finders through democratic force. We still need a change of government at the federal level.

Perhaps I will refuse the tiny morsels of food, even if I have starved for days. As RPK will tell you, there are more important things in life than just ‘cari makan’. -- Malaysiakini

You are right, they are beggars.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz launched a verbal tirade against PPP, decribing the Barisan Nasional component party, among others, as 'beggars'.

You're right Mr. Corrupt, they are real beggars. Most parias are baggers in a way. Its sound harsh, but it true.

t murugiahThe harsh attack appeared to be a bitter pill to swallow for PPP Youth chief T Murugiah.

He said it was not appropriate for Nazri, who is also a Umno and BN supreme council member, to label PPP using such a degoratory term.

"We admit that BN has done a lot for the people and the PPP as well. But I think it is wrong for Nazri to describe us as beggars," he told Malaysiakini when contacted this afternoon.

The Basket Linggam case

Malaysiakini reports -

The Kuala Lumpur High Court’s Special Powers and Appellate division has ruled that the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam clip cannot be challenged.


vk lingam tape judge fixing fiasco 210907Justice Abdul Kadir Musa consequently threw out the leave application by prominent lawyer VK Lingam (left) and four others with costs.

On July 16, senior federal counsel Azizah Nawawi had objected to the leave application by Lingam, tycoon Vincent Tan, Barisan Nasional and Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and former chief justices Eusoff Chin and Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim for the judicial review.
She had argued that the commission had not made any binding or conclusive decisions and that its findings and recommendations could not be reviewed.

The five applicants had sought to quash parts of the report which have implicated them. They claimed that the commission had prejudged the issues before it and lost its focus by going beyond its terms of reference when writing up its findings.

Abdul Kadir, in his 22-page judgment delivered this morning, noted that the royal commission had conducted the inquiry via a public hearing between Jan 14, 2008 and Feb 15, 2008, and submitted the findings to the Agong.

lingam tape 160508 reportHe said the report was then transmitted to the government which decided to make the report public on May 20.

"It is noted that, until May 19, there was nothing known about the aforesaid ‘findings’ of the Royal Commission. None of the said five commissioners ever made known their ‘findings’ either to any or all five applicants or to the public.

“From the above analysis, I am crystal clear there is no ‘decision’ ever made by the Royal Commission as contemplated in the Rules of the High Court 1980. The commissioners made their ‘findings’ based on their inquiry, based on facts made available to them.”

He said whatever happened after the period, especially from May 9, was entirely beyond the control of the commissioners.

"Thus, in Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas vs Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Omar and others 1988, it was held that neither writ or certiorari or prohibition lie in the case of Commission of Inquiry, and the Royal Commission is in that position."

The judge said the applicants had relied on a New Zealand case to urge the court to accept their proposition that the ‘findings’ of the Royal Commission are reviewable by the court.

"However, parallel provision of a review is not available in our High Court rules to deal with such situations. Even though the principles of the said case were referred to in the Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas case, it was not followed by our Supreme Court," said Abdul Kadir.

"Our court should not import common law from other countries where the provisions of our laws are different...the distinction between Malaysian and common law was also recognised by our then Supreme Court."

Abdul Kadir said he could not agree with the proposition that the ‘findings’ of the Royal Commission are reviewable based on common law of other countries.

Decision to be appealed

The judge also pointed out the ‘findings’ of the Royal Commission should not be construed as ‘decisions’ as contended by the counsel within the ambit of the Rules of the High Court.

"I have no hesitation to conclude that a ‘decision’ may or may not include or based on any of the aforesaid ‘findings’ of the Royal Commission but any such ‘finding’ is certainly not a ‘decision’ in its natural meaning or within the ambit of the Rules of the High Court.

“In the present case, it cannot be disputed that it was not the decision of the Royal Commission to make the report public. Thus the ‘findings’ can never be mutated to be decisions by importing the New Zealand's Judicature Amendment Act 1977 into our aforesaid Rules of High Court."

He said that, if at all it should be interpreted, there must first be metamorphosis and mutation of Malaysian Act.

In allowing Azizah's preliminary objection, Abdul Kadir ruled he would allow the objection as to the distinctions between ‘decisions’ and ‘findings’ of the Royal Commission.

"I firmly hold they cannot be construed to be within the contemplation Rules of the High Court. Even though it cannot be denied that all five applicants are adversely affected in the natural sense by those ‘findings’ of the Royal Commission, they are nevertheless not so ‘adversely affected’ within the context of the Rules of the High Court.

"That being so I hereby refuse leave to all the five applicants and dismiss their applications with costs.”

eusoff chin yusoof chinahmad fairuz sheikh abdul halimEusoff (left) and Ahmad Fairuz (right) will appeal against the decision, while the other three are expected to follow suit.

None of the applicants were in court today. Lingam, who is representing himself, was said to be abroad. Counsel Mahinder Singh Dulku represented Ahmad Fairuz, while Eusoff was represented by Shahrul Nizam Azwir.

Bastian Vendargon and S Satharuban represented Tengku Adnan, while Tan was represented by LH Chua.

More in Malaysiakini

Kok sues Utusan, Chamil for RM30mil

Selangor executive councillor and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok has filed a RM30 million defamation suit against Umno-owned

Utusan Malaysia and prominent writer Chamil Wariya.

teresa kok sues chamil waraya utusan malaysia court 121208 03She is suing Chamil, currently Malaysian Press Institute chief executive officer, and Utusan over the publication of a short story ‘Politik baru YB J’ which appeared on Oct 12 in Mingguan Malaysia.

The story describes a female member of Parliament named Josephine who was deemed anti-Malay and anti-Islam, and who was eventually murdered.

Earlier Kok had sent both parties a letter of demand in which she said the story by Chamil was designed to deliberately encourage and fan racial and religious hatred towards her.

source of this article - Malaysiakita - “(The article) is deliberately designed to justify and or encourage the causing of grave physical harm to our client including assassination,” read the letter.

Kok had told Utusan to retract the article and publish an apology.

Both letters were issued on Oct 17. The two recipients were given seven days to reply, failing which legal proceedings would be initiated.

The law suit was filed today after Kok failed to receive a response from Chamil. Utusan has already responded.

Kok is seeking RM30 million in compensatory damages, aggravated and exemplary damages and also an injunction restraining the defendants from uttering, speaking or publishing the offending article or words again.

The suit was filed at the High Court registry at 8.35am today by the law firm SN Nair and Partners.

Disturbing similarities

In her statement of claim, Kok said the article portrayed her as a racist and religious bigot. It also portrayed her as an untrustworthy politician who was intolerant, chauvinistic, anti-Islam and anti-Malay, a danger to society and who must be assassinated.

politik baru yb j newscut 241008Kok also alleged that the article, among others, insinuated that she had committed an offence and should be jailed and that her political philosophy was destructive to Malaysia. The article had also allegedly hinted that it was lawful to kill someone if you disagreed with their political views.

The Seputeh MP added that the article's portrayal of her was unfounded, baseless and in gross negligence, and was out to tarnish her reputation as an MP, a state assemblyperson and a Selangor executive councillor.

She alleged that the actions of the defendants were malicious and had stoked hatred towards her which led to a molotov cocktail attack on her home.

Kok also pointed out that there were similarities between her and the character, in that they were both in the thick of a religious and racial controversy; had Malay drivers and were members of opposition parties.

The religious controversy Kok was referring to was the one involving former Selangor Menteri Besat Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo and website pembelamelayu who had accused Kok of attempting to seek public support for a petition to tone down the volume of azan in the Kinrara, Puchong and Kota Damansara mosques.

Nair, who was present at the filing said this will be a first of three suits to be filed by the politician

"We will file another lawsuit against Khir next week for what the former MB had said about my client," he said, adding that the third suit would be against pembelamelayu.

Law suits: Tit for tat

Kok had earlier filed a RM30 million defamation suit against Utusan and the paper’s columnist Zaini Hassan over another article which allegedly defamed her.

teresa kok sues chamil waraya utusan malaysia court 121208 02The suit was filed on Oct 9 following her release from seven days of detention under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Her arrest was linked to her alleged involvement in petitioning a mosque to lower the volume of azan over the loudspeakers.

The allegations surfaced in Zaini’s article but were denied by Kok as well as the mosque committee.

Utusan has also filed a suit against Kok for allegedly defaming the company when she allegedly accused the Malay daily of distorting her statements about the food she was served while under ISA detention. -- Malaysiakini

MACC - principles of indepencence and parliamentary accountability too watered down

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill is so watered down that the principles of its independence from the Prime Minister’s control and accountability/responsibility to Parliament can be quite tenuous and even fictitious.

The original intention to amend the Constitution to give the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission a constitutional status has been abandoned while there is no clear-cut provision to establish its responsibility and accountability to Parliament.

Five bodies will be set up under the MACC Bill to hold a close watch over the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to ensure its independence, transparency and integrity, viz: Anti-Corruption Advisory Board; Special Committee on Corruption; Operations Review Panel; Corruption Prevention and Consultative Council; and a Complaints Committee.

However, all these five scrutinizing bodies, including the Special Committee on Corruption which is to comprise of Parliamentarians, are all beholden to the Prime Minister or the Executive, making nonsense of the principle of parliamentary responsibility of the MACC.

As proposed, the Special Committee on Corruption consists of seven members of Parliament from both Dewan Rakyat and Senate to be appointed by the Yang di Pertuan Agong, which means on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Furthermore, the bill provides that the seven MPs shall be nominated by the Leader of the House of Representatives, who again is the Prime Minister , rendering the whole arrangement quite ludicrous – the Leader of the House (who is the Prime Minister) advising the Prime Minister to advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong on the appointments.

As the Special Committee on Corruption is to comprise MPs, why is the Prime Minister shy in calling it the Parliamentary Committee on Corruption?

Is this just to give the impression of some form of “parliamentary” scrutiny without actually permitting robust and proper parliamentary stewardship?

If such a Parliamentary Committee on Corruption is to be meaningful, its composition must reflect the parliamentary representation of the different political parties in the House and its membership decided by MPs themselves and not by the Executive. Furthermore, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Corruption should be an Opposition MP.

I will propose amendments to the MACC Bill to strengthen the principle of the MACC’s independence from Executive control and reinforce accountability/responsibility to Parliament during the committee stage of the debate on the MACC Bill.

(I have been informed that Parliament is posting up the two bills - MACC Bill and JAC Bill - on its website. Kudos to Parliament,which has been responsive to my request for the uploading of these two bills to enable all interested the opportunity to study and comment on them before Parliament starts debate on the MACC Bill on Monday. Of course, all bills presented to Parliament for first reading should be posted up at the Parliament website as a matter of course. - Kit)

source YB Lim Kit Siang

Empire Built on Blood!

Source : MOB1900

We can’t talk about your legacy as you have none

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the two ‘reform’ Bills tabled for first reading in Parliament this morning should not be seen as a legacy of his tenure.

The Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption and the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) Bills were drafted to curb graft and improve confidence in the judiciary, he said.

“I do not want to talk about legacy… I’ve never associated myself with any intention to create a legacy. What I want to do is what should be done…,” Abdullah said.

“People said something has to be done about this and I decided to do it. I should have done it over the last four years but there were a lot of things I needed to do.

“People may ask ‘why are you doing this now?’ I have decided to do it and I shall be working until the last second as a prime minster.”

Abdullah will step down from his government and party posts next March, after handing over to anointed successor and current deputy Najib Abdul Razak.

Speaking to reporters after chairing the economic council meeting, Abdullah said he is “happy in a way” because he had intended to table the Bills as early as possible.

“The Bills are very important because issues related to both these bodies have raised various perceptions. And these perceptions are not very agreeable,” he said.

He identified corruption as a major issue that has hogged headlines and which has been raised by politicians. There has been a need to increase public confidence since “many have expressed dissatisfaction and feel the government is not capable of getting rid of corruption”.


Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission: Old Coke in a new can?

by Din Merican

As usual the outgoing Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi is upbeat with new announcements and this time it is the tabling of the Anti-Corruption Commission Bill and the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill in Dewan Rakyat on December 10, 2008. He is hopeful that when these bills become law, the integrity and credibility of the successor Anti-Corruption Agency which is modelled after the Hongkong ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) and the judiciary would be restored. The Prime Minister was reported to have said that the passing of these two legislations “will result in a higher level of confidence in the two institutions, which we hope will dispel the negative perception” (The New Straits Times, December 11, 2008 page 20).

Most Malaysians including The President, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, Datuk Mustafa Mansur (see The Star, December 11) may be prepared to give the Prime Minister his last chance to show what he can do, but I have become very skeptical over the last half a decade because I have heard a lot of talk and spin from the Badawi Administration about fighting corruption and the independence of the judiciary.

Frankly speaking, what can he really do after March, 2009 when the new UMNO-led Barisan Nasional administration under Najib takes over? Just bite his fingers and regret loss of opportunity to make significant change to our political and socio-eonomic landscape. We all know that laws matter little, if there is no enforcement. We can legislate until the cows come home, but if there is political will to enforce laws enacted by Parliament, execution will remain half hearted at best. We have seen that before. Will Najib see this through, given the commissions he has been getting through his proxies and proxy companies?

So it will, for example, be in the case of the Anti-Corruption Agency in its reincarnation. Instead of being under the Prime Minister, the MCAC will be scrutinised by 5 independent bodies, namely the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board, Special Committee on Corruption, Complaints Committee, Operations Review Panel and Corruption Prevention and Consultative Panel. This is a bureaucracy. We know about the new structure for MACC, but we are not told whether there will any drastic changes to the agency’s modus operandi. Otherwise, old coke in a new can is old coke. Nothing changes. The Prime Minister is still in charge.

And the Prime Minister still has a big say on how the MCAC will operate, only this time via individuals appointed by the Agong on his recommendations. It is well known that the Agency as presently constituted has been an instrument of the UMNO-BN government to intimidate members of the opposition, political rivals and critics, and others who are perceived to be anti-govermment.

Ministers and politicians connected to UMNO and its coalition partners have not been spared the trauma of an ACA investigation. Even the recent investigations by the ACA of the Attorney-General and the Inspector-General of Police for fabricating evidence against Anwar Ibrahim in connection with the latter’s infamous 1998 was shrouded in secrecy. These personalities were not even suspended from their duties, a privilege denied to lesser individuals. That speaks volumes of the independence and integrity of the ACA. It is just a political poodle.

I have been informed by friends and associates of instances where ministers have interfered with the ACA’s work. The agency has been intimidating witnesses, drafting and altering statements, and advising those in power on how charges should framed so that they are not in any way implicated.

One Minister, for example, even consulted the Attorney General’s Office so that parties allied to her are protected; instead a senior civil servant in her ministry suffered the indignity of suspension from his duties and will be charged in our courts for corruption. In recent years, we have witnessed the case of the former Secretary-General, Ministry of Rural Development was charged, sentenced and acquitted by the court while the Minister in charge was not even called as a witness for his trial. No government minister except Kasitah Gaddam has been dragged to the courts for corruption.

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