Monday, April 30, 2007

Najib Says "Ijok Proves Democracy Still Thriving." Is This True?

I don't know what is the DPM's definition of a "thriving democracy" but Bernama has quoted Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as saying that democracy is still thriving in this country as proven during the by-election for the Ijok state constituency in Selangor on Saturday.

He based his conclusion on his assessment of what is a free campaign when he said that "in the by-election, the opposition had the widest opportunity (to campaign)!" But did they?

Moreover allegations have been made by several opposition leaders, including Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, that the by-election was undemocratic as numerous government machinery including the police had been deployed during the by-election.

Najib said that to ensure peace and public order during the campaigning and polling day, 1,200 police personnel had been deployed in Ijok. He said the regulation requiring the opposition as well as the ruling party to obtain permits to hold ceramahs during the campaign also proved that democracy was still very much alive in the country. "This is the law, if we don't respect the law, action will be taken by the police," he added.

I appreciate that the law must be respected and proper procedures followed. I also understand that free and fair elections in a 'thriving democracy' must necessarily allow for equal access to the mainstream media including and especially those controlled by the government and not just hogged by the ruling party alone. There must be reasonable airtime given to the opposition as is the practice in advanced democracies.

Having read about the goings on in Ijok recently, the claims of phantom voters and missing ballot papers as well as the tame, servile stance taken by the Election Commission, I find it very difficult to figure out why the completion of the Ijok by-election should in any way reflect the thriving nature of democracy in Malaysia. There seems to be a disconnect in the logic which arrived at that conclusion. Be that as it may, more importantly do a majority of the people concur with the opinion expressed by the DPM? Do you agree with him?
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Shouldn't Someone Be Punished For This Callous Apathy?

The following report is from TheSun. It relates the lack of concern, heartlessness and unfeeling attitudes prevalent among the denizens of officialdom in Malaysia. Should our pegawai2 be termed and categorized as the 'living dead' for their impassive reactions to the needs of others and for being totally devoid of that essentially human quality, compassion? Read the report and comment.

NS administrators refused leave for trainee whose sick dad died

A housewife today took to task National Service camp administrators at Kem Kisana Beach Resort in Bali, Pasir Puteh for not allowing her daughter to take leave from training when her father was sick and for the funeral when he died two days later.

Semah Mat Ali, 52, claimed that her daughter Norliza Yusuf, 17, who is undergoing training at the camp, was allowed to visit her father, Yusuf Awang, 58, only for several hours last Saturday (April 21) when he was dying from stroke in Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital (HUSM) in Kubang Kerian and breathed his last on Monday (April 23).

This, she said, was despite the family producing a letter from the doctor to verify Yusuf's condition, which they (camp administrators) said to be incomplete.

"When her father died, Norliza was also allowed to leave the camp for only a few hours and told to return after that for several reasons, although the distance between our house and the camp is only about 30 minute's drive," she told Bernama when met in her Kampung Gong Chenggal house, here today.

She said one of the reasons given was their (camp administrators') fear that something untoward might happen to Norliza during the duration of her NS training at the camp.

Semah said Norliza, who is the fifth of six siblings, was very close to her father and was the one to bathe and feed him since she (Semah) had to go out to work in a tobacco farm in Tok Bali for income to support the family.

Norliza's sister, Norihan, 29, also regretted the treatment by the camp administrators. "Imagine how devastated she felt being the only one in the family who was not at our father's bedside when he breathed his last," she said.

She said the NS camp administrators should exercise compassion in such a situation. "What saddened us more was when the camp administrators turned down my appeal for my sister to be given a few days leave even when I submitted our father's death certificate," she added.

***** Such acts of official cruelty should not go unpunished. Who are these faceless 'administrators' who succeeded in devastating a young girl, preventing her from being with her dying father and refusing permission to grieve with her family after his death? Shame on these adults who have no remorse for their actions which has affected one of such a young age. These officials are mean people for whom indifference to the plight of others is an entrenched practice and how their actions traumatize the victim is of absolutely no consequence and not a matter to lose any sleep over. For their sin of omission should these National Service 'administrators' be punished? I would think yes.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

What Factors Led To A BN Victory In Ijok?

'PM's Dignified Presence Swings Votes To BN In Tough By-election' reads a sycophantic headline in Bernama. According to the writer what swung the tide towards BN during the final lap was Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's sudden sweep to Ijok at the last-minute.

That may well be true to a certain extent. Prime Ministers have that intangible advantage when even their mere presence adds immense clout to any side on an issue or dispute they choose to support. More so during elections and that too a PM who is generally considered 'a nice guy'. I can believe that when the simple people of Ijok saw Pak Lah's patrician features and deportment, they would have naturally been very impressed and his soft-spoken exhortations to "vote Barisan" would have been respectfully abided by many. Pak Lah has the added advantage in that his appeal cuts across racial, religious and ideological lines, a gift which neither his deputy nor other senior leaders possess.

But I doubt that this was the clinching factor in the by-election win. There were so many other reasons, some primary and others contributory. Khir Toyo's now notorious RM 36 million bounty tops the list. News of Toyo's great zeal for unbounded munificence reverberated throughout the nation and abroad. He was seen as an unabashed purveyor of bribes, ready to buy out voters in any given area lock, stock and barrel if need be. With that much of taxpayer moolah at his disposal he apparently did a masterly job of 'campaigning' and 'garnering' votes for his side, earning in the process the reputation of being a crackerjack of artful persuasion and graft.

The right earnest manner in which the visual and print media went to town with detailed stories about government projects "of, by and for the rakyat" must have resonated well with the average Ijok inhabitant, while at the same time headline news of rowdyism by opposition supporters must have also had some impact.

There were of course many insinuations regarding 'phantom voters' and bus loads of them being ferried to polling booths, but I have absolutely no way to confirm the veracity of these claims. Over the next few days I'm sure more such irregularities will find their way, if not into the national press at least the internet news portals. In the meanwhile Pak Lah will be delighted at this emphatic victory while Najib should be relieved at the respite from further explanations on the close encounters of the Mongolian kind. Samy Vellu should be ecstatic about being still rated as the undisputed number one Indian thug in the country while Khir Toyo will be ever thankful for the semuanya ok ending that resulted in him saving his job which he probably thought was lost forever a couple of days ago. All in all not a bad outing for BN. Hidup Barisan!

Read the Bernama report mentioned earlier HERE.

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Is PKR's Loss In Ijok A Rejection Of Anwar?

Apparently the Prime Minister thinks so, when he said that the Barisan Nasional victory in the Ijok state by-election today proves that the people reject Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and its adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. "PKR had attempted to use Ijok as a model to show that the people wanted a change and would go for the opposition as the alternative but they were disappointed because the BN remained the people's choice," Pak Lah added.

One cannot easily refute his conclusion and nor can one begrudge him his confidence in the BN. The ruling party has won and the verdict given by the people of Ijok is there for everyone to see. All that remains is for those involved and interested to ask what had happened to the expected Keadilan onslaught. Over the next few days we can expect various 'analyses' on this subject to be plastered all over the media. Strangely, despite being researched and evaluated by 'experts' in the field, as usual there will be diametrically opposed findings.

As for Anwar Ibrahim, I don't think that he should be written-off so quickly. History is replete with examples of sensational comebacks from situations of extreme despondency and hopelessness. And realistically he is nowhere near the precipice yet. The fact that the entire Barisan leadership was shaken to the core by the presence of Anwar in Ijok, not to mention the fear, trepidation and sleepless nights his speeches caused is a reflection of the influence and respect that he still enjoys among large sections of the population.

Anwar as a leader and as a person is too big to be vanquished by a small setback such as the Ijok by-election result. If there is to be good governance in future by the Barisan, we must have a strong counterweight to their power. In the personality based politics of Malaysia, that role at present can only be filled by Anwar. Not even Dr Mahathir at this point in time can effectively play that part. Whatever said and done, despite any misgivings about Anwar's actions while in government, in the eyes of the non-Malays he is still a leader who is respected and largely acceptable. For the Malays he is a rallying point for those unhappy or disappointed with Umno's misdeeds. That itself makes him unique in the Malaysian political scene.

On the upside even after winning in Ijok, the BN will never take for granted that future elections will have an equally happy ending. They will look behind their backs and to the left and right to see if Anwar Ibrahim is watching and wonder what the charismatic leader's next move will be. Our best guarantee of seeing an honest and transparent BN government is their constant fear of being checkmated in this continuing game of political chess.

Read here the Bernama report on Pak Lah's statements: BN Victory In Ijok Proof People Reject Anwar, PKR, Says PM.
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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Malaysia's Reputation And Democratic Credentials Biggest Loser At Violent Ijok By-elections.

This by-election will probably go down in our history as the worst in terms of dirty politicking and the increased incidents of violence. As incredible as it seems, the regrettable happenings actually took place in Malaysia instead of in some other more violence prone third world country. What has become of the gentlemanly hustings of yore when opposing candidates could exchange friendly banter between campaigns and supporters of both sides looked upon each other as temporary yet friendly rivals? How and when did thuggery make its quiet entry into Malaysia's electoral system and practice?

All I can say is that whoever wins this by-election later in the evening (unofficial reports indicate that the BN has won), Malaysia's credibility as a model democracy and its quite reputable conduct of fair, violence-free elections has taken a bad beating. If the mainstream media is to be totally believed, then the opposition Keadilan supporters must comprise mostly thugs, gangsters and other roughnecks out to physically injure those from Barisan. There is no doubt that the Keadilan people did manhandle some supporters from BN and even blocked the Deputy Prime Minister's motorcade. Something unheard of in the past. There were also allegations that two buses ferrying Umno Puteri members were pelted with stones. Fortunately no injuries were reported.

Of course any report of this nature from the mainstream media must be taken with a dollop of salt. Still, even if twenty percent of what happened is true, that in itself is bad enough. I must hasten to add that we have not heard about the huru-hara perpetrated by Barisan supporters. To pretend that they are incapable of or did not engage in equal measures of violence, is to be foolish. Their significant contribution to the shameful conduct in this by-election will be out soon via the internet media. All said, I hope that this is the very last time we shall see such un-Malaysian behaviour during the polls.

Read about the IGP's views on the polls here: No Untoward Incident In Ijok Polls, Says IGP

Update: The Barisan Nasional retained the Ijok state seat with increased majority of 1,850 votes in today's keenly-fought by-election, returning officer Haris Kassim announced at 8.42 tonight.
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Desperate Khir Toyo Threatens Ijok Voters And Warns The Opposition.

In a last ditch effort to ensure a victory for Barisan in the Ijok by-election and thereby preserving his own position, Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo resorted to desperately threatening and browbeating voters into supporting the ruling party. Probably realizing that his own political career would go down the chute if BN fails, this stunted desperado warned that it was 'difficult' to implement development in a constituency where the elected representative was not from the BN.

What arrogance! After openly attempting to bribe the Ijok electorate by plying RM36 million in quick fix 'development projects', and having perhaps seen the writing on the wall, a despondent Toyo tried the only ploy left in his bag of dirty tricks - voter intimidation. In true dictatorial fashion he declared from on high, "if the elected representative is not aligned to us (BN), it is difficult for us to implement development. The matter is similar to that in Kelantan where PAS is in power; the BN elected representatives who are in the opposition there have difficulty obtaining financial allocations.

"In Selangor, the BN is in power. (Therefore) development will be implemented according to our rules," he said. As such, "the Ijok voters had to elect the candidate who could bring development to their area!"

So basically Toyo is saying "either vote for the BN or shrivel and die." And this man, my dear friends is the leader of a 'developed' state in a progressive democracy!! What mockery.

Read about this pitiful creature's rambling HERE.
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Friday, April 27, 2007

Is Najib's Position So Shaky That The PM Has To Give An Open Vote Of Confidence?

I fail to understand why the PM had to give a confidence vote to DPM Najib at this juncture. I had always presumed that top level national leaders were made of sterner stuff and could take as much punishment (i.e. allegations and accusations) as the situation demands. More often than not they either totally ignore the tuduhan or expertly roll with the punches and emerge unscathed.

It is therefore strange that Pak Lah should come out so strongly in support of the DPM when he said that he has confidence in Najib's capability as his deputy, especially in carrying out the tasks entrusted to him. "I've confidence in Najib as the deputy prime minister for I'm satisfied with many of the tasks he has implemented," the PM is reported to have said. "Although I'm the BN chairman (and it's my) responsibility to lead, he has been heading the by-election machinery all this while, proving his capability with successful outcomes," Pak Lah further added.

One of the assumptions we can draw from the above is that the accusations by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has hit home and hurt Najib's credibility badly, thus prompting the PM to enter the arena and shore up support for the embattled DPM. The other is that the Barisan campaign in Ijok is faltering because of the allegations and a strong vote of confidence is necessary to influence traditional BN voters not to jump ship. There is yet a third possibility, however unlikely. When some leaders in certain countries wish to jettison a powerful party and government 'colleague' for whatever reason, they initially express the greatest confidence for the intended victim. Thus they have gone on record as being 'supportive' of the colleague and no suspicion or ulterior motive can be directed towards them in the future. Then slowly over a period of time the marked pemimpin finds himself being unceremoniously eased out. A masterful tactic actually, not unlike one of Dr Mahathir's strategies.

Of course the above are just assumptions that have no real basis and probably do not reflect the true situation on the ground.

Read the full Bernama report here: I've Confidence In Najib, Says Abdullah
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Now Najib Slams Anwar And With Some Justification Too.

When you dish out good, be also prepared to receive in kind. This applies well to the former DPM Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. After taking potshots and throwing political darts at Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, the DPM decided enough is enough and came out in retaliation. And he did it firmly and hit exactly where it hurt the most - Anwar's own dismal record as Education Minister vis a vis Chinese education and interests.

Frankly speaking, if we set aside all the rhetoric and emotions linked to the by-election at Ijok and view things from a clear perspective we have to agree that Anwar and the present Umno crowd are but birds of a feather who have stopped flocking together. He played the same race, language and religious cards as Umno leaders before him did, and which the current pemimpin2 are still doing. The only difference is that he was sacked and jailed. Now he has made a 180 degree turn in his 'worldview'. If instead of being kicked out of Umno had Anwar become the Prime Minister would he have subscribed to his present moderate opinion on things Malaysian? I don't have an answer. Let us first read the details on Najib's accusations in this Bernama report.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak believes Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) will not get the support of the Chinese community as its advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim failed to fulfil its aspirations when the latter was an education minister.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that as such, Chinese voters would not be taken in by empty promises made by Anwar and the PKR that the party would fight for the Chinese interests, describing them as political gimmicks to fish for Chinese votes in the Ijok by-election, polling of which is on Saturday.

Speaking at a gathering with members of the Chinese community at the Sekolah Menengah Teknik hall in Batang Berjuntai here tonight, Najib said that when Anwar was education minister, he (Anwar) refused to abolish Section 21 (1B) of the Education Act 1991, which empowered the minister to shut down Chinese and Tamil schools, despite repeated calls to do so by the Chinese community.

In exposing the matter, Najib said that it was him when appointed the education minister in 1995 who took the courageous decision to have the section withdrawn when he tabled a new education act in 1996.

"But when Anwar was the minister, he did not want to do it because he wanted to be popular among Malay intellectuals. He is only interested in himself," said Najib.

According to him, this assured that national type Chinese and Tamil schools could continue to exist in the country. "This was my contribution to the Chinese and Indian communities when I was the education minister. We want to ask Anwar when he was the minister (education), what he did (to fulfil the aspirations of the Chinese). When you had the power, what did you do?," he said to thunderous claps from the 1,000 odd people present.

Najib also refuted allegations by the opposition that MCA leaders were not brave enough to champion Chinese interests in the Cabinet and were mere "yes men".
"I have been in the Cabinet since 1986 to this day and I can give the assurance that the MCA leaders in it always speak out for the Chinese and the nation's overall interests.

"Maybe they are not like DAP leaders, always going around shouting this and that. But MCA leaders always discuss matters with the other leaders in the Cabinet, the Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno," he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister also assured the people of Ijok that the closure of the landfill in Kubang Badak, Batang Berjuntai was permanent and would not be reopened as alleged by the opposition.

Najib also reminded Chinese voters not to be shortsighted and vote for the PKR as this would only benefit PAS.

"If you support Khalid (the PKR candidate), indirectly you are supporting PAS. That party does not have an inkling of what the Chinese want," he said.

At the function, Najib also handed over a cheque for RM1 million for the building of an extension to the Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (Cina) Yuk Chih in Batang Berjuntai. Also present were MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and the BN candidate, K.Parthiban.

That was indeed a very frank and even brutal assessment of Anwar's performance, where he is painted as an opportunist who plays all sides of the gallery for his own advancement and political future. If we are to make a qualitative difference in the way the government runs things by dividing the Malays and non-Malays and practicing extreme favouritism, the only solution is a total overhaul of the system along with the people involved in it. New leaders, especially Malays must come from some other source and not from up the Umno ladder. A good bet would be the younger modern leaders of PAS, if only they could extricate themselves from the shackles of those of an earlier era as well as freeing themselves from stultifying, rigid religious dogma. Of course these are merely my views and you are most welcome to give yours here.

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Interesting example of damage control: Subs And Fighters Procurement Above Board - Mindef

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Anwar Ibrahim Accuses Local Ethnic Minority Leaders Of Kowtowing To Umno

The following report is from the International Herald Tribune. It gives a no-holds-barred, damning description of the real relationship between the 'siblings' of the much vaunted Barisan 'family' coalition that the ruling party so passionately espouses.

Opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim has accused Malaysia's ethnic Chinese and Indian leaders of being toadies of the ruling Malay party, and urged voters to support his wife's reformist party in a closely-watched by-election.

In a series of speeches late Tuesday, Anwar also railed against government corruption and renewed a call for scrapping the decades-old affirmative action program for the majority Malays.

"The ministers ... they steal from the poor. The ministers and their children are all rich but the villagers remain poor," he told a crowd of 400, mostly Chinese residents, in Ijok town where his wife's People's Justice Party candidate is pitted against the ruling National Front in Saturday's by-election.

The election would provide an indication not only of Anwar's popularity but also the support for National Front and Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi ahead of general elections likely to be held late this year or early 2008.

The National Front coalition is dominated by the United Malays National Organization, which represents the Malays, while the other two major components in the coalition represent Malaysia's Chinese and Indian minorities.

But the minorities have often complained that the Malaysian Chinese Association and the Malaysian Indian Congress do not stand up for their religious and social rights.

Anwar said MCA and MIC leaders cannot fight for minority rights because they kowtow to UMNO.

"Whatever UMNO says, the MCA will do," he said. "I know. I have been in the government before," said the former deputy prime minister, adding that the MIC's leaders were the same. The National Front candidate in the Ijok by-election is from the MIC party.

"We must change the government, change the policies, so that we can have a better country and justice for all," he said to loud cheers from the crowd.

Malaysia's ethnic minorities feel that they are discriminated against by the affirmative action program, known as the New Economic Policy, which gives privileges to Malays in jobs, education and business.

"The Chinese feel they are second-class and Indians are even worse off. We must reject the NEP, change the policy," said Anwar, a Malay and former UMNO member who was seen in the 1990s as the future prime minister under former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's leadership.

But the two fell out in a power struggle, and Anwar was fired in 1998 by Mahathir who accused him of corruption and homosexuality. Anwar said the charges were fabricated. He was tried and sentenced to 15 years in jail for corruption and sodomy. The sodomy conviction was overturned by Malaysia's top court and he was freed in 2004.

After being fired, Anwar's wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, set up the People's Justice Party, and she holds the party's sole Parliamentary seat. Anwar does not hold any official post in it because the corruption conviction bars him from holding any political office until March 2008.

That has not prevented him from campaigning for the Ijok by-election. Although Anwar's charisma has drawn crowds in Ijok, 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Kuala Lumpur, it is far from certain his candidate will win on Saturday.

"It will be tough," said a 60-year-old coffee shop owner who wanted to be known only as Tiew, fearing reprisals by the authorities. "People can be easily swayed because the government has invested a lot of money here for the election. Look, the roads have just been tarred and we got new street lights," she said.

State officials have announced that 36 million ringgit (US$10 million; €7.4 million) will be spent to improve roads and public infrastructure in Ijok, a sleepy district comprising mostly palm oil and rubber plantations.
***** Keep in mind that it is Anwar who is revealing so much of the inner relationships as well as the misdeeds of the Barisan. Having been at the centre of Malaysian politics for so long, if there is one person who knows the goings on in Umno and the BN as much as Dr Mahathir and other top leaders present and past, then it must be the former DPM. Would the present pemimpin2 in the MCA and the MIC dare to refute Anwar's accusations? I wonder!
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Interesting read: Zainuddin Maidin Questions Motives Of Foreign Media

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Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Installed As 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong Today.

The installation ceremony of the Sultan of Terengganu, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, as the 13th Yang di-Pertuan Agong began this morning with the inspection of a guard-of-honour.

Four officers and 107 other ranks from the ceremonial unit of the Royal Malay Regiment from the Sungai Besi Army Camp mounted the guard-of-honour at the Istana Negara grounds.

Tuanku Mizan and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah were accompanied to the Royal Stage by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to take the Royal Salute followed by the playing of the national anthem, "Negaraku".

Simultaneously with the playing of the "Negaraku", His Majesty's personal flag was hoisted, followed by the inspection of the guard-of-honour by Tuanku Mizan, who was accompanied by the guard-of-honour leader Mejar Mohanad Qadri Abu Bakar, to the accompaniment of "Menjunjung Duli" (Hail the King).

After the inspection, the King and Queen adjourned to Bilik Duta at Istana Negara for a short rest before proceeding to the Balairong Seri for the official installation ceremony, the last to be held at Istana Negara.

The Istana Negara is expected to move to a spanking new RM400 million complex at Jalan Duta here covering 96.52 hectares. Its construction is expected to start in June and completed in 2009.

The present Istana Negara, originally owned by a Chinese millionaire, Chan Wing, was built in 1928 and has seen the installations of all the 13 Yang di-Pertuan Agongs will be turned into a Royal Museum.

Today's installation ceremony, steeped in Malay custom and tradition, was televised live by RTM and TV3 and recorded by the National Geographic and the National Film Development Corporation (Finas) for a documentary of the Malay Sultanate.

The documentary, depicting Malaysia's unique royal institution, will be shown throughout the world.

The installation ceremony, held once every five years according to the rotation of the nine Malay Rulers to become the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, is being held at the Balairong Seri of Istana Negara.

According to the installation procedures issued by the Protocol Division and Secretariat for International Conferences at the Prime Minister's Department, the installation ceremony will start with the blowing of the nafiri (trumpet) and striking of the nobat (drum) to the tune of "Raja Berangkat" by the Royal Nobat Group from Terengganu to mark the entrance of the Royal couple to the Balairong Seri.

The colourful ceremony is attended by the Malay Rulers, Yang Dipertuas Negeri, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers, Menteris Besar, Chief Ministers, members of their Majesties royal families, foreign diplomats and special invited guests. (Bernama)
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Read here: Pledge By Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin At His Installation

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"Keadilan's Khalid Wanted To Hog Guthrie Shares And Anwar Supported Him," Says Najib.

I was not really surprised or disappointed about that claim by Najib. The truth is that during the good old days of Dr Mahathir many such tokoh korporat were allowed to make easy money and wealth. Money which they are still flaunting today along with the high awards and titles that were literally handed over to them on a silver platter. Greed has no race or religious limitations. It is all-consuming and powerfully addicting.

There is probably much truth to Najib's allegations and should not be dismissed as mere election talk. There are many like Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim who made more than hay while the Mahathir sun shone. Some, true to the government's philosophy of creating a rich Malay corporate class stayed on to prosper and in the process helped the other less fortunate brethren. Many dwindled and withered away, let down by the lack of business skills and acumen. Some like Khalid minted while the going was good and due to reasons not known perhaps till now, cast their lot with the opposition.

If Najib's allegations are indeed true then one must reassess this man's real intentions and decide if he is a fit person to be elected to the state assembly. Biting the hand that feeds you may be good practice for certain species in the animal kingdom, but humans who do that should be carefully watched and avoided.

Read the Najib allegations HERE.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sarawak Government Greed Responsible For Rise In Borneo Crocodile Attacks.

The following report is from The International Herald Tribune. It clearly shows what unimpeded greed and avariciousness can do to the wildlife in the resources rich state and the domino effect it has on everything and everyone else. What has the state government being doing apart from directly and indirectly contributing to the horrible situation unfolding there? Read and shake your heads in sorrow and disgust at the greedy crooks responsible for this.

Logging and palm oil ventures are coming too close for the comfort of river-dwelling crocodiles on Borneo island, possibly resulting in more attacks on humans, a U.N. environmental expert said Wednesday.

Alexander Sayok, a scientist in charge of the U.N. Development Program's forest management project in Malaysia's Sarawak state in Borneo, said he has noticed increasing reports of crocodile attacks since early 2006, raising fears that the reptiles are becoming more violent.

"The habitat of the crocodiles has been threatened because land development activities for logging and palm oil are being taken right to the river banks," Sayok told The Associated Press. "There are fewer areas left now for the crocodiles to roam, bask or hide from humans." Crocodiles are common in Sarawak's long, winding rivers, and they are protected under Malaysian wildlife laws, which outlaw them being hunted or killed.

In previous years, attacks on humans averaged about one every four months. However, two crocodile attacks have been recorded in separate districts this month alone. A timber worker was reportedly snatched and killed on April 18 while he was bathing near a logging camp, while a villager had his hip bitten while paddling a boat early this month.

Crocodiles generally do not attack people unless they are disturbed or hungry, Sayok said. He noted that development has jeopardized their food sources, with monkeys and deer dwindling because of deforestation and fish being killed by water pollution.

Sayok did not have statistics for crocodile attacks, and Sarawak Forestry Corporation officials said they could not immediately provide figures or comment.

Sayok added that there were many crocodiles in the Loagan Bunut National Park in Sarawak, but no attacks on people have been reported there, probably because curbs on development have ensured the crocodiles have sufficient fish and breeding grounds.

Conservationists say land clearing for logging and palm oil plantations has intensified in Sarawak in recent years, jeopardizing indigenous tribes and various animal and plant species. Government authorities have denied this, saying development activities are under control.

***** So whom do you wish to believe? The conservationists who have directly blamed the land clearing for logging and palm oil plantations or the state authorities who say that "development activities are under control" and therefore semuanya ok?
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Reject Any Ideology That Uses Racism To Promote National Unity. Does That Include The Government?

Three organizations have called for the
rejection of any ideology that uses racism to promote national unity.

The Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS), Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) and the National Young Lawyers Committee of the Bar Council Malaysia also called for sharing of common values in society regardless of race and religion to enhance inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations.

The ideas and suggestions by these optimistic folks should be appreciated and applauded. There should be no room for racists especially the rabid variety claiming to practice it "all for the sake of national unity". And where pray tell are these ardent practitioners of racism for the 'ultimate fostering' of national unity to be found? In the government, or rather the premier political party which forms the government, namely Umno. These are the true anti-muhibbah elements masquerading as leaders for all the people while shamelessly practicing an extreme form of racism.

Those from the three organizations above know fully well who is responsible for the great divide which has split our citizens and led to the polarization of our communities and marginalization of some. But how do we even start to reconcile and attempt to reverse the process of racism if it has been institutionalized and the main culprit is the government? Tall order my friends. Merely talking about it could earn you the wrath of the racists in power. Actually doing something may get you a place in one of the high security abodes where the other 'pengkhianat2' are compelled to live.

Read the full report in TheStar HERE.
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Keadilan "Playing Dirty Politics" Says Samy Vellu. Is This True?

I'm sure that many would be forgiven for thinking that all this while, it was Barisan which actually engaged in ethically questionable electoral practice from time to time and especially so during by-elections. Therefore it came as a surprise when according to Bernama, the MIC supremo and everlasting minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu described the action by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in distributing fliers containing various allegations against the government and Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders as "world class dirty politics".

The one question which rational people would like to pose to uncle Sam is what else can the opposition do if all avenues of informing the people about their manifesto, future plans and even grouses are totally blocked by the government? RTM (and including especially the Information Minister) have admitted openly that they would go all out to support BN while denouncing the opposition and their 'lies'. Given this scenario, which political party is really playing dirty politics is a moot question. The full Bernama report follows.

MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, Tuesday described the action by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) in distributing fliers containing various allegations against the government and Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders as "world class dirty politics".

He said the action would only be self-destructive as it made it clear to the people of how low their leaders were willing to stoop in their campaigning, he told reporters here.

"If we want, we can distribute thousands of pictures of their leaders and adviser but we're not going to do it because what happened in the past, we will not raise it again."

The BN was not interested in emulating the opposition party's immoral action, said Samy Vellu who was among the victims of slander during the Ijok by-election which is seeing a straight contest between K. Parthiban of the BN and PKR candidate Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

He said the PKR leaders should know that if they wanted to be true leaders of the people, they should not do things that were not beneficial including to themselves.

"The dirtier they play, they will lose in the end," said Samy Vellu who earlier visited two houses in Taman Purnama, Batang Berjuntai, that caught fire, Monday.

****** Well, now that you've read about Samy Vellu's opinion on the 'dirty politics' being played by Keadilan, what do you think? Is is really wrong for PKR to have sent out fliers, given the constraints under which they have been forced to campaign?

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Is The MIC Destined To Lose By-elections?

If we were to believe the kedai kopi talk that is going around, it looks as if the Malays of Ijok are all set to plump for an anak Melayu as their next wakil rakyat, and turn their back on the multiracial power sharing philosophy promoted by Barisan and championed by Umno.

The unhappiness towards the government that apparently the Malays are feeling, seems to be one cause. But wait, is that the only reason why the BN is doubtful about the results here? If the Barisan candidate had been instead from Umno Kuala Selangor, will these same Malays who have now an inclination to vote for Keadilan, change their mind?

The dismay felt by the Malays in Ijok is equally shared by the non-Malays too. After years and years of benign neglect by the government of the 'developed' state of Selangor under the leadership of scandal-tainted Mentri Besar Mohd Khir Toyo and his equally notorious predecessors, can you blame the poor sods who live there? These people are not fools. They know very well that the millions upon millions of Ringgit Malaysia Khir Toyo and company are pouring into Ijok now is only because of the by-election and not for altruistic reasons. They resent the fact that these Barisan power-mongers walk in haughtily and straight away distribute bribes with promises of more, while assuming that the grateful residents will cast their votes 'accordingly' on polling day. A sort of electoral quid pro quo.

Add to this general unhappiness, the continued representation of this constituency by the MIC, a party not highly regarded or even liked by the Malays and Chinese and even some Indians. While the Chinese would probably vote for the MIC man rather than contribute to an increase in the already high number of Malays in the State Assembly, the Malay contention is somewhat different. Why should they who are the majority race in Ijok be forced time and again to put up with an Indian rep? Why not allow a Malay, at least this time, to 'properly' represent them? After all they voted for the MIC wakil earlier, and if he died during office then it is not their fault. The Indians have had their turn and at least for the remainder of the term let a Malay be elected to the job. And if Umno still persists in sidelining them in the name of power-sharing, then they will vote for the Malay from Keadilan. In any case precious few of them are willing to be convinced by the assurances of senior Umno leaders that their interests will be looked after by the state government. With Khir Toyo at the helm, as far as they are concerned, that is neither a very convincing argument nor a satisfactory proposition.

In a way, the present predicament of the BN is not unlike the Lunas situation earlier. These pent-up resentments as well as the annoyance at being ignored by the national Umno leaders normally surface at by-elections, especially where a minority party representative stands. They may have nothing against the candidate per se, but racial feelings are sometimes difficult to predict, comprehend or control. If a large number of Malays in mixed constituencies where they have a slight majority start to think on ethnic lines, to the exclusion of all else, then MIC candidates whenever they find themselves in the unenviable position of standing in by-elections, are destined to be defeated every time.

So what can the MIC do to avoid such a dilemma in the future? For a start they have to ensure that their elected representatives are younger and healthier, so that the chances of them meeting their maker before their political term expires becomes very slim. As cynical as it may sound, given the racial composition of the population and the ethnic sentiments prevailing, the only way for the MIC to maintain and keep some power in their hands is not to contribute to the calling of by-elections.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin Dies

Former president Boris Yeltsin, who brought down the Soviet Union and led Russia through the traumatic transition to democracy and capitalism, died Monday aged 76 from a heart attack.

Yeltsin, who had long been unwell, died at 3:45 pm (1145 GMT) in Moscow's Central Clinical Hospital, presidential medical service chief Sergei Mironov said.

The Kremlin said he would be buried in Moscow on Wednesday, a national day of mourning. Western leaders remembered the man who led Russia from 1991 to 1999 through an epic but chaotic struggle to shake off the legacy of totalitarian Soviet rule. But Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet president, paid a mixed tribute to his successor.

"I offer my deepest condolences to the family of a man on whose shoulders rested many great deeds for the good of the country and serious mistakes -- a tragic fate," Gorbachev said. US President George W. Bush hailed a "historic figure who served his country during a time of momentous change." British Prime Minister Tony Blair applauded a "remarkable man who... played a vital role at a crucial time". President Vladimir Putin -- widely accused of reversing democracy in Russia since taking over from Yeltsin -- said that under his predecessor "a newly democratic Russia was born, and a free nation opened to the world."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, expressed sadness at the news. "President Yeltsin will be remembered for the critical role he played in advancing political and economic reforms in Russia, as well as in fostering rapprochement between East and West," he said in a statement.

Few were left unmoved by a career in which he helped deliver the coup de grace to the defunct Soviet empire, gave Russians unprecedented freedoms, yet at the same time oversaw spectacular economic and political decline.

A bear-like figure with a penchant for flamboyant gestures, Yeltsin will be best remembered for bravely clambering onto a tank sent into Moscow in 1991 by communist hardliners attempting a coup in the dying days of the Soviet Union.

His defiance galvanised pro-democracy supporters, ushered in the Soviet collapse in December 1991 and Yeltsin's turbulent eight-year rule. Faced with the near-disintegration of the once-mighty Soviet armed forces and social system, Yeltsin sought to drag Russia into the modern age. He forced the bankrupt communist economy to adopt capitalism, unleashed political pluralism, and allowed a vibrant, freewheeling media. That made Yeltsin a hero to many in the West, but his reputation increasingly suffered from heavy drinking, secret hospitalisations after heart attacks, and the disastrous Chechnya war.

His domestic popularity went into freefall. An overwhelming majority of Russians still blame Yeltsin for Russia's slide from superpower status to economic basket case, playing second fiddle to the United States on the international stage.

Only the rise of Yeltsin's successor, ex-KGB officer Putin, has healed those feelings of humiliation -- along with the rolling-back of many of Yeltsin's liberal reforms.

In a poll by the Levada Analytical Centre in December, 70 percent said the Yeltsin era did more harm than good. Half thought he should be prosecuted. Friends said history would judge Yeltsin more favourably as the father -- however flawed -- of Russian democracy. "I consider that (he) did the absolute impossible. He brought us from no freedom to liberty," said Anatoly Chubais, one of the architects of liberal economic reforms under Yeltsin.

Yeltsin was born in 1931 near the Ural mountains city of Yekaterinburg and became a construction engineer before embarking on a political career in the Communist Party. In 1991, he was elected the Russian Federation's first president and in August of the same year he rallied Russian democrats to defy a junta of generals and other apparatchiks who had ousted Gorbachev in a coup.

On December 8, 1991, Yeltsin dissolved the Soviet Union with a stroke of the pen and ushered in the new Russia. After two embattled terms as president, he went into retirement after a surprise announcement on New Year's Eve 1999.

His declaration that Putin, then prime minister, would take his place was part of a carefully prepared plan to hand power to a powerful group of men with strong KGB links. One of Putin's first acts in office was to grant Yeltsin immunity from prosecution. He then lived a quiet life hunting and playing some tennis in his residence in Barvikha, near Moscow, where he lived with his wife Naina.

In western Europe Yeltsin is remembered as a peacemaker who built bridges in the aftermath of the Cold War -- even many Russians now see this rapprochment as a surrender. Yeltsin was "at the forefront of the effort to overcome the legacy of the Cold War," said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. "This historic effort to set aside the fears and stereotypes of the past in favour of cooperation in facing the challenges of the future." (Bernama)


Monday, April 23, 2007

Is Ijok The Turning Point In Anwar Ibrahim's Political Career?

Reading about Anwar Ibrahim in the international media, one would think that if elections were conducted tomorrow, the former Deputy Prime Minister would win hands down. Alas he won't be eligible to take part in the polls for a 'little while' longer. And if the Barisan plays the game as it is expected to, then general elections would be held before Anwar's ineligibility expires. That is the current view among political circles in Kuala Lumpur.

However one thing is sure. Anwar over the past few days has had better press and more optimistic reviews than in the previous year. The heat emanating from Ijok is partly responsible for this, as is the public exposing of DPM Najib's Achilles' heel, Altantuya. The vulnerable position Najib seems to be in at the moment has sparked interest in the future of the current Umno leadership and questions are being asked if this by-election marks the return to power of the charismatic Anwar?

Najib is the scion of an aristocratic family, whose father was the second Prime Minister of Malaysia. While he's a powerful national figure in his own right, Najib is still considered by many non-Malays as merely a Malay leader. He has somehow not been able to transcend that invisible barrier and be counted as a leader for all Malaysians, the way that the Tunku had or for that matter even Pak Lah. Non-Malays don't trust leaders who portray themselves as only champions of the Malays as Najib has time and again done. Even his father, the late Tun Abdul Razak, was till the end looked upon with suspicion and fear by the non-Malays. Tun Razak playing midwife to the birth of the New Economic Policy only served to entrench their distrust.

Anwar on the hand has been able to cross that hurdle without difficulty and although he has played the Malay card deftly many times, the people, including the non-Malays surprisingly consider him as a leader for all Malaysians. With him there is no lingering suspicion about his motives or game plan. "Everyone would benefit" seems to be the opinion, however misplaced that trust may be.

If we take the current senior Umno leadership, with the possible exception of the Prime Minister, absolutely no one including Najib has gained the trust or confidence of the non-Malay. Apart from Pak Lah almost every Umno pemimpin has openly played up Malay feelings and fears at some point or other for personal political gain. If the non-Malays too had a say in who becomes Prime Minister after Pak Lah, chances are that every Umno leader including Najib and the other pretenders to the PM's chair would be tossed out. That would leave only one former Umno stalwart in contention, Anwar Ibrahim, the wily Malay politician who successfully transcended the invisible race barrier.

Interesting read from Channel Newsasia: Malaysia's Anwar: "Now give us your vote"
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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Anwar Taunts DPM. Says Najib Is Corrupt, Deceiving The Public And Asks Who Ordered Altantuya's Murder.

Malaysia's No. 2 leader is fighting efforts by opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim to tie him to a high-profile murder, as the rivals square off in a bitter electoral campaign.

Anwar, himself a former deputy prime minister, has repeatedly claimed in recent days that Najib Razak is corrupt, and has tried to link Najib to the murder of a Mongolian woman.

Najib denied any wrongdoing in a speech late Saturday, insisting that Altantuya Shaariibuu's murder case "has nothing to do with me" and accusing the opposition of being "bankrupt of ideas," the New Straits Times newspaper reported Sunday.

Anwar told supporters late Friday in the semi-rural constituency of Ijok, 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Kuala Lumpur, that he possessed "knowledge of many things about Najib," and threatened to "reveal more when the general elections arrive." Video footage of Anwar's speech was posted on opposition Web sites.

The conflict comes while both men are leading rival factions in fierce campaigning to win a state legislative seat in Ijok in an April 28 by-election, which has drawn widespread attention amid speculation that the government will call general elections by early 2008.

Anwar accused Najib, who is also defense minister, of "deceiving the public" about government defense contracts, and suggested that Najib might also be connected to the October 2006 murder of Shaariibuu, a 28-year-old Mongolian who had an eight-month-affair with top political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who has close ties to Najib.

"Who ordered the murder?" Anwar said. "We want to ask Najib, did you know about it? Did you know Altantuya?"

Najib has rejected the taunts by Anwar, who held the No. 2 position under former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for five years until Mahathir fired him in 1998 over allegations of graft and homosexuality.

Abdul Razak has been charged with abetting the murder of Shaariibuu, who was believed to have been shot and her body blown up with military-grade explosives. Two policemen are charged with carrying out the murder, and their joint trial is scheduled to begin June 4. If convicted, all three face the death penalty.

In the past week, Najib has said that he too knows of skeletons in Anwar's closet. "If I want to talk, I can," Najib said Wednesday. "However I do not want to embarrass him because we know he has a wife and children."

After Anwar was fired by Mahathir, he was tried and convicted of abuse of power and sodomy, and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was freed in 2004 after Malaysia's top court overturned the sodomy conviction. Anwar has said the charges were fabricated to keep him from challenging Mahathir, who retired in 2003 and handed power to current Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The by-election in Ijok, which pits Abdullah's National Front ruling coalition against Anwar's opposition People's Justice Party, is considered a warm-up for both sides to gauge their preparedness for general elections, as well as a test of Anwar's popularity after nearly a decade in political limbo. (International Herald Tribune)

***** These are indeed very strong accusations which Anwar could be sued for. To generally say that Najib is corrupt is one thing, but to specify
"deceiving the public" about government defense contracts is libelous. So is Anwar's finger-pointing at the DPM's presumed culpability in the Altantuya murder. Either Anwar is becoming reckless in his imputations against Najib or he knows something which is more detailed and precise than what is generally being speculated.

I personally feel that even after the Ijok by-election, there won't be a let up in the aggressive attacks on the DPM. After the Altantuya murder there was hushed talk about Najib's involvement but nothing was mentioned about this in the mainstream media. Either no one dared to stir things up or many felt it was improbable that our DPM could have been involved. But over the past week and especially after Karpal Singh's frank statement in Parliament asking Najib to clear matters, the floodgates of accusations and incriminations have been widely opened. Where will all this end? God knows.

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Ijok By-election: Umno Moves To Reassure Malays.

Welfare Of Malays In Ijok Will Be Well Taken Care Of, Says Ahmad Zahid.

That is the Bernama headline today. As most of you would already know, the average Malay in Ijok is not too enamoured by having an Indian wakil rakyat representing them all these years. They would naturally prefer an anak Melayu. Not for them the intricacies of and the give-and-take involved in coalition politics. Even some educated and well informed Malays who should know better are against a non-Malay candidate. This does not mean that they are racists. In a similar situation the same I'm sure would be true of the other races as well.

The Kuala Selangor Umno had earlier openly demanded that a Malay be named. That wish of course could not be accommodated for the simple reason that it would have opened up an entirely new problem for Barisan in the future. If Umno were to give in to one such demand, it would spell disaster for coalition power-sharing. Therefore cool heads prevailed at the higher echelon of the leadership and the status quo was firmly allowed to be maintained.

But naturally there were worries that some on the Umno side of the Malay political divide might jump ship and cast their lot with the Malay candidate from Keadilan, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim. Stranger things have been known to happen in peninsular Malay politics. Therefore to assuage the feelings of these people and to reassure them that Umno has always had their best interests in mind, Deputy Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that the Malay community in Ijok will be well taken care of although the Barisan Nasional (BN) is fielding a candidate from the MIC.

Alluding to their earlier request/demand he said, "athough the Malay community had wanted a Malay candidate to be fielded in Ijok this time, it needs to realise that the BN practises a power-sharing concept. The Malays need not worry that their welfare will be neglected as the state's leaders would ensure this will not happen."

Call it damage control, worries about repercussions or exercising caution in view of the opposition candidate being a Malay, the assurance is a timely one. The bitter lessons of Lunas hopefully have been learnt. Now all that Umno and the MCA have to do is to ensure that
Samy Vellu stays out of the Malay and Chinese areas to avoid pissing off the non-Indians with his arrogant style of talking and overbearing demeanour.

You can read about Ahmad Zahid's assurances

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Malaysia's Muslim Men Shirk Financial Duties To Divorced Wives, Activists Say.

The following article is from the International Herald Tribune, published here for your information.

Many Malaysian Muslim men who divorce their wives are ignoring their responsibility to provide for their children because the Islamic legal system fails to punish them, a women's rights group said Saturday.

Sisters In Islam said women who were unable to get their ex-husbands to pay child support comprised nearly one-third of the 214 complaints it received in the first three months of 2007, adding that those cases constitute "only a small fraction of what is happening."

"Mothers are forced to beg from their children's fathers so that their children have sufficient food, clothing, shelter and education," the group said in a statement. "There are women who have been waiting two years, five years, even more than eight years, to obtain what they should be rightfully accorded."

Sisters In Islam has previously said Malaysia's Muslim women are suffering a lack of legal protection in a wide range of issues such as polygamy, where men who take multiple wives sometimes neglect the economic and emotional welfare of their families. Islam allows a man up to four wives.

The Islamic Syariah Court is the legal authority in disputes involving families, morality and religion for Muslims, who form nearly 60 percent of the 26 million people in Malaysia, which has Buddhist, Christian and Hindu minorities.

Muslim men who divorce their wives are usually instructed by the Syariah Court to pay child support, but some "are brave enough to show contempt to the court's order by flouting it," causing immense financial hardship for their ex-wives, Sisters in Islam said Saturday.

"This problem persists because the courts rarely take action against such contempt," the group said. "Sisters In Islam considers this a serious problem because it shows contempt to the religion, not merely the Islamic legal system."

Norhayati Kaprawi, a spokeswoman for Sisters In Islam, said Malaysia's Shariah law has provisions to imprison men who refuse to pay child support, but the penalties "are hardly ever enforced." Courts often postpone a case indefinitely whenever fathers fail to show up for a child support hearing, Norhayati said.

Some men even change their address and work to avoid being hassled by their ex-wives, Norhayati said, noting that the Malaysian Syariah Judiciary Department began a survey on the issue of child support in June 2006, but its findings and recommendations have not been finalized.

Sisters In Islam said Malaysia should consider the example of Australia and Britain, which have government agencies dedicated to child support, and Canada, which penalizes errant fathers by suspending their passports, business permits and driving licenses.

***** Much of what the Sisters in Islam have said here is unfortunately true and still happening in our country. Unless there is political will to rectify this unsatisfactory state of affairs, I'm afraid that the woes and travails of Muslim women will continue unabated. I would have thought that Islam Hadhari, the progressive Islam promoted by the present government would have proven to be a panacea for these man-made ills.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

BN Has 'Own Strategy' To Woo Support In Ijok Says Najib. But Hasn't Khir Toyo Revealed All?

The above statement by Najib on 'strategy' is from Bernama.

Surely the election goodies which Khir Toyo, who shockingly and without conscience or concern for the law or political decency, recently announced is good enough a 'strategy'. I mean RM 36 million is more than enough to go around for the hard up voters of Ijok.

According to the short-statured dentist, the Selangor government has allocated the huge amount for "various 'development projects' to be implemented within these two weeks in Ijok." Of course Toyo clarified that the projects were not aimed to fish for votes as they had been 'planned' by the state government for 'quite some time' although no one actually believes him.

Najib meanwhile said that the BN would focus on how to win the people's support and trust. "We must use our wisdom in drawing up an appropriate strategy," the DPM sagaciously added. But he forgot to mention that his diminutive servant Khir Toyo had already announced about RM 36 million worth of 'wisdom' only a few days earlier.

If at all there is need for a rethink of the BN's 'strategy' it has to do with the accusations being hurled at Najib. Now that can hurt and hurt bad. Otherwise the BN will have to stick to its usual prescription of tons and tons of money, information ministry propaganda, subservient election commission and the might of the police force to see it through another successful by-election. Such a strategy based on 'wisdom' has rarely failed the BN in the past and is unlikely to disappoint now.

However the BN leadership should always remind the lower level riff-raff of their various component parties to maintain discipline and that they should at all costs avoid assaulting the opposition candidate.

Read here the PM's opinion on the 'heated' Ijok by-election scene: Provocations In Elections Doesn't Promise Victory - Abdullah.

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Update: Opposition Bankrupt Of Issues In Ijok - Najib

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