Friday, November 30, 2007

India To Take Up Tamil Issue With Malaysia Via 'Diplomatic Channels'

With ethnic Tamils under attack in Malaysia, the Indian Federal government on Friday told the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) that New Delhi was taking up the issue with Kuala Lumpur.

"The matter is being taken up through diplomatic channels," Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Suresh Pachouri told the House during Zero Hour.

He was responding to the concerns of members who took strong exception to a senior Malaysian minister asking Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to 'lay off' from the happenings in that country.

Terming as condemnable the ill-treatment being meted out to ethnic Tamils, Pachouri said that after the matter was taken up with the Malaysian authorities, the External Affairs Minister would make a statement in the House.

Raising the issue, R Shanmugasundaram of the DMK drew the attention of the government to the statement of the Malaysian minister about Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister. "This is highly condemnable as the Malaysian minister has no business to talk like this. The government of India should take appropriate action," he said.

Bharatiya Janata Party member S S Ahluwalia demanded that the Malaysian envoy to India should be summoned to explain.

Congress leader B S Gnanadesikan expressed serious anguish over the manner in which the chief minister was snubbed by the Malaysian minister. He was joined by his party colleague V Narayanaswamy. (Rediff News)

Interesting report:
Malaysia's biggest liability is racial discord.
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More Bullshit From Samy Vellu

From today's NST:
The prime minister is sympathetic and open to proposals forwarded to him by the MIC leadership concerning socio-economic ills affecting the Indian community. MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was very receptive to the proposals which were contained in a 12-page report entitled "Mechanism for Effective Delivery for the Indian Community".


He said the report was handed over to the prime minister in May.

"The prime minister even suggested including additional input among the proposals, so that all areas are covered."

Samy Vellu, who headed the committee that prepared the proposals, said they included investment opportunities, skilled training, micro-credit facilities, education, employment health and issues pertaining to temples.

He said Abdullah had directed his deputy, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, to study the proposals and work with the MIC leadership to conduct periodic reviews to address the plight of the Indian community.

"The periodic review is to ensure that the proposals agreed to are carried out effectively," he said after chairing the party's central working committee meeting at the MIC headquarters.

Samy Vellu added that the proposals included budget allocations under the Ninth Malaysia Plan to ensure that the Indian community would not be marginalised when the country achieved its "Vision 2020" aspirations.

***** This is the same ruse that Samy Vellu had employed successfully on many occasions when Dr Mahathir was the Prime Minister. By using the name of the top gun and putting words in the PM's mouth while directly implying that he (Samy) was instrumental in getting the PM to 'agree' to a whole load of goodies for his community, he has thus far managed to stave off accusations and challenges to his dominant position.

On not even one instance in the past and I'm sure this time too, will the Prime Minister himself confirm what Samy Vellu recklessly goes around claiming. His idea is to stifle discussion and smother any repercussions
arising from the Hindraf rally, to himself and the other power brokers in the MIC, by concocting stories about the benevolent leadership of the BN of which he is a leading member. This is how he has deviously tricked and lulled the Indian community thus far.

By shooting off his mouth in the past he has been a hurdle and a detriment to the progress of his community. I remember one instance of his indiscretion and boastful nature which occurred in the mid-eighties. When Rajiv Gandhi had come to power in India following the assassination of his mother Indira Gandhi, our man Samy Vellu using his position as leader of the Indian community in Malaysia managed to meet the Indian Prime Minister in New Delhi. Apparently among other things, he had briefed Mr Gandhi on the hardship faced by Malaysian Indians especially in the opportunities available for tertiary education. The new Indian PM had in all generosity and benevolence given firm assurance of immediate provision of places in their universities for Malaysian Indian students.

This braggart on reaching Kuala Lumpur immediately called for a press conference and arrogantly announced that he had obtained from the Indian PM special allocation of seats at Indian varsities for local Indian students. The allocation also included an additional fifty places at Indian medical colleges. The moment this idiot made that statement, the vultures and ultras in Umno, led by Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir created hell of an uproar demanding that the medical seats be handed over to the government to be distributed to Malaysians of all races (read Malay). At the end nothing came out of the New Delhi offer probably because the government of India got fed up of Samy Vellu as well as the heat his announcement had generated in KL.

So in the present situation too there is no way that Umno is going to give even an ounce of sympathy, help or privileges to the Indians. Rabid racism and fanaticism within Umno will see to it that all of Samy Vellu's claims turn out to be merely lies specifically meant to prop up the dwindling fortunes and prospects of this relic from the past who has long overstayed his innings in Malaysian politics.
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Also read: Semi Value's bullshit continues.

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Viagra For Votes In Thai Elections. But Our Rakyat Have More Exacting Demands

Vote-buying is an old practice in Thai politics, but one candidate for December's Thai election has reportedly come up with a new tactic - handing out Viagra instead of cash.

The allegation, made Thursday by a campaign worker against a rival party, comes as rules about handing out favors to voters have become stricter than ever, barring even the distribution of free T-shirts and soft drinks.


Sayan Nopcha, a campaigner for the People's Power Party in Pathum Thai province just north of Bangkok, said the drug used to treat sexual dysfunction in men was being distributed to elderly male voters at social functions.
Viagra is supposed to be used only on a doctor's advice, but is generally available over the counter in Thailand. "The politician is giving out Viagra to gain popularity and votes," said Sayan, a local government official whose older brother is the PPP candidate. "I think this is a very bad way of vote-buying."

He would not identify the candidate who allegedly handed out the pills. Under a tough new law, both the supplier and recipient of vote-buying can face criminal charges. Candidates can be disqualified and their party disbanded, as was the case with the old law, while voters who accept money or gifts can now face from one to 10 years in prison.

More than 4,200 candidates from 41 parties are competing for 480 seats in the lower house of parliament in the Dec. 23 polls - the first to be held after a bloodless military coup ousted elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in September last year. (CNN)

***** Perhaps the Thai voter can be bought over with a few strips of Viagra. But in our Tongkat Ali land, the discerning voter has stiffer requirements. For party elections, especially Umno's, the standard 'incentive' is cash, huge piles of it. Apart from that there are the inevitable lawatan sambil belajar to Haadyai, Medan etc where only God knows the education matlamat which our voters are so keen and eager to fulfil.

For state and general elections, more so for by-elections, the booty gets extremely huge with pristinely clean tarred roads, street lights, generous donations for new suraus and Chinese school renovations, promises of more universities with silly acronyms, unrealistic proposals to build 'international' airports in kampung areas and not forgetting suitcases filled with legal tender for 'development programmes'.

And in the near future, fitted into the campaign strategy will be that mega carrot called shares and commissions from the various economic 'corridors'.

But I must commend the Thai election authorities for strictly implementing the provision that
both the supplier and recipient of vote-buying will face criminal charges. If our Election Commission were to be equally strict, we probably would have to spend a large portion of our national budget constructing thousands of prisons to accommodate millions of Umno members from the top leadership to the ahli cawangan. But that is not about to happen in our 'democratic' country, is it?

As those in the know keep saying, "Malaysia still and always Boleh"!
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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Angry Indonesians Protest Outside Our Embassy In Jakarta, Call Us 'Thieves'

It looks like some Indonesians are not in a particularly friendly mood vis a vis Malaysia these days. About a thousand of them held a protest today in front of our Embassy in Jakarta accusing us of promoting an Indonesian dance form as our own. So apart from the bad press we've been getting all over the world for being a fake democracy practicing a tempatan type of apartheid, now we've been condemned as cultural plagiarists as well.

The point of contention apparently was a Javanese mask dance, known as Reog Ponorogo which our Culture and Arts and Heritage Ministry has been claiming in tourism advertisements and brochures is a traditional Malay dance called Barongan. The similarities were obviously too great for the Indonesians to ignore, especially the dancers - men wearing enormous tiger heads and peacock feather masks, accompanied by acrobats.

Our ambassador in Jakarta, Zainal Abidin Zain told the protesters that we have never claimed that Barongan originated from Malaysia. But the demonstrators were in no mood to listen to explanations and instead have launched an anti-Malaysia campaign, carrying posters describing us as 'thieves' and sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the word Malingsia (Thief of Asia) in a parody of Malaysia's tourism campaign logo, "Malaysia Truly Asia."

This latest hoo haa comes in the wake of an earlier Indonesian outburst that the song 'Rasa Sayang' which we have been singing for as long as I can remember has also been pinched from them.

There is no denying that over the years there has been deep resentment there regarding Malaysia, and the Indonesians have been pissed-off time and again by adverse reports of maltreatment and abuse of their nationals here. The incident recently where the wife of an Indonesian diplomat was arrested on suspicion of being a pendatang tanpa izin has not helped matters either.

Interesting link: Malaysian Tourism Board's cock-up earlier this year.
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ISA Threat: Human Rights Groups Criticise Malaysia, While Umno & Its Bootlickers Support The Idea

The hype amounting to a hoax which Umno is trying to pull on the citizens is another example of the intolerance and feudal mentality of umnoputeras. Apparently many of these greedmongers want the Internal Security Act (ISA) to be used on those participating in rallies. In this way they hope to put a lid on discussion and protests over the racist practices of the government as well as the looting and corruption which Umno leaders have been actively engaged in all these years.

According to these crooks and their shoe polishing cronies, 'various quarters' have voiced support for the announcement by the PM on using the ISA, and these buggers want to immediately implement the move so as to 'preserve unity' and political and economic stability in the country! The irony is that these political charlatans are the ones who have contributed the most to inter-ethnic disunity by playing off one group against another and practising overt racial discrimination.

Directly opposed to this Umno inspired false claims are the lawyers and human rights groups here who criticised the government's threat to use the Internal Security Act (ISA) to suppress street demonstrations like the one held by Hindraf last Sunday.
The threat to use the ISA came from the PM, after a confrontation between the police and over 10,000 protesters.

The ISA has been criticised by both international and domestic human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, the Malaysian Bar Council, and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission on grounds that it violates fundamental international standards.

The Bar Council, which represents about 12,000 lawyers, said that invoking the law would be retrogressive, counterproductive, and high handed. "Gone are the days when force could be used to solve our problems. We are entering a new era of openness and democracy. A vital part of that process is to hear the voice of the people and to heed their call," the council said in a statement.

The rally by long suffering and impoverished mainly lower income Malaysian Indians was in support of a $4 trillion lawsuit filed in London by Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf). The group with plenty of justification also claimed they were being marginalized.

Many non-Malays have repeatedly complained that they are discriminated against in terms of education, religion and opportunities in the country, but their voices have largely been ignored by the Malay leadership who while playing to the gallery and providing symbolic sops to the genuinely poor among the Malays, have in reality been aggressively enriching themselves, their families, cronies and a handful of their henchmen and supporters. Their strategy is that if a group questions their intentions and the way they are ruining the country, our artfully manipulating pemimpin2 will confuse the issue, give every accusation and argument a racial twist, make bangsa, agama dan negara speeches to arouse the fears and prejudices of the average Malay while cleverly and deviously portraying themselves as the protector of Malay rights and simultaneously pummeling the accusers into a state of paralysis and total silence. With the connivance of the sheepish mainstream media they have succeeded remarkably in the past. But in this era of the internet and blogs which the umnoputera hates with passion, alas, their pillaging has and will be publicized the world over. And this, the feudal warlords of Umno cannot stomach.

Read of the tempatan hype on protest rallies here and laugh your guts out: Various Quarters Support Use Of ISA To Deal With Street Demonstrations.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Viagra Seized From Bangladeshi Haj Pilgrims

Customs officials at the Zia International Airport here have seized large quantities of Viagra, other banned drugs, pornographic material and precious stones that Haj pilgrims were trying to smuggle out of the country.

Reports of seizures and arrests have come even as authorities are struggling to send the pilgrims on the journey to Saudi Arabia amidst chaos caused by disruption of flight schedules of the ailing national carrier Bangladesh Biman International.

Long delays have led to angry demonstrations by the pilgrims, media reports said.

A joint task force of customs and the Bangladesh Air Force seized over 5,000 Viagra and Munish pills, prescription drugs used for treating male impotence, from the luggage of a Haj pilgrim on Nov 22. More than 6,000 precious stones were seized Tuesday from the luggage of another pilgrim, the Daily Star reported Wednesday.

In two separate drives Tuesday, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) seized illegal drugs worth about $320,000 and 50,000 CDs with pornographic movies.

Humayun Kabir, additional commissioner of customs at the international airport, said during luggage scanning the joint task force discovered large quantities of banned pharmaceutical drugs and 47 cans of zarda (chewing tobacco) inside the luggage of a man called Shahdur Rahman at a camp where pilgrims are housed before making the journey.

Rahman, however, managed to leave for Jeddah. The customs commissioner said he had asked the immigration officials here to arrest him on his return.

Humayun said they found the precious gems while scanning the luggage of another pilgrim, Ali Azam. The luggage had 696 rings studded with precious stones and 5,968 other gems hidden inside.

During interrogation, Azam confessed to smuggling out gems while in the guise of a pilgrim for the last four years. (DNA)
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Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf Resigns As Army Chief

Pakistan's new army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, right, watches General Pervez Musharraf finish his speech during today's change of command ceremony.

President Pervez Musharraf resigned his military post as Chief of Army Staff Wednesday, handing over the command stick to his successor in a ceremony at army headquarters and ending his eight years of military rule. He remains president and will be sworn in to a new five-year term in the capital on Thursday, but as a civilian president his power will be diminished.

General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, 55, the vice chief of army staff, becomes the Chief of Army Staff, replacing Musharraf. Kayani — the former head of the Inter Services Intelligence and a graduate of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas — has played a prominent role in cooperating with the United States in the fight against terrorism in Pakistan and is expected to continue that policy.

Musharraf had come under growing pressure internationally and from his own disenchanted public to relinquish his military post, and his grip on political power will be significantly loosened without the uniform. While the military remains loyal to him, Kayani is understood to want to remove the army from the forefront of politics and concentrate on military concerns.

Musharraf, who imposed emergency rule on the country on Nov. 3, imprisoning political opponents, lawyers and judges and closing down television stations, will continue to chair the national security council as a civilian president and has given himself added powers under recent amendments.

After 46 years in the army, Musharraf admitted it was wrenching to give up his military role. "I am sad to leave the army which has been like a family to me," he said in an emotional speech before Pakistani government and military officials and their wives gathered on a parade ground in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, south of the capital. "Although I am taking off the uniform the army will always be in heart."

You can read the entire report HERE.

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Latest: President Musharraf is expected to lift emergency in Pakistan in next the 48 hours, the Dawn news channel reported today. Further details awaited.

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UN Names Best And Worst Places To Live


Iceland has overtaken Norway as the world's most desirable country to live in, according to an annual United Nations table published on Tuesday that again puts Aids-afflicted sub-Saharan African states at the bottom.

Rich free-market countries dominate the top places, with Iceland, Norway, Australia, Canada and Ireland the first five but the United States slipping to 12th place from eighth last year in the UN Human Development Index.

But the index, blending 2005 figures for life expectancy, educational levels and real per capita income, finds that all 22 countries falling into its "low human development" category are in sub-Saharan Africa, with Sierra Leone last.

In 10 of these countries, two children in five will not reach the age of 40, said the compilers at the UN Development Programme. Last year's report said HIV and Aids had had a "catastrophic effect" on life expectancy in the region.

The index ranks 175 UN member countries plus Hong Kong and the Palestinian territories. It does not include 17 countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, because of inadequate data.

Norway had held top spot for six years but was edged into second place by Iceland this year because of new life expectancy estimates and updated figures for gross domestic product, or GDP, the report said.

UN officials played down the significance of minor short-term shifts in the rankings including the slide in the US position. They said if subsequent data for the year in question been available for last year's report, the United States would have been in 10th, not eighth place.

The United States scores high on real per capita GDP, which at $41 890 is second only to that of Luxembourg ($60 228), but less well on life expectancy - joint last in the top 26 countries, along with Denmark and South Korea, at 77.9 years.

Japanese have the longest life expectancy - 82.3 years - and Zambians the lowest, at 40.5.

The report said most countries had seen their human development index rise over the last 30 years, but in 16 it was lower than in 1990, and in three - the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Zimbabwe - lower than in 1975.

Per capita GDP is 45 times higher in Iceland than in Sierra Leone.

The United Nations has published its human development index every year since 1990. (Independent Online)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pak Lah May Use ISA To Curb Street Rallies

Malaysia's prime minister warned Tuesday he may invoke a security law allowing indefinite detention without trial to curb street demonstrations after two violent protests stunned the normally peaceful country.

"When it is appropriate to use it, it will be used," Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was quoted as saying by national Bernama news agency.

On Sunday, some 10,000 ethnic Indians clashed with police at a rally in downtown Kuala Lumpur to demand economic equality, two weeks after thousands of people marched in Kuala Lumpur to seek electoral reforms.

Bernama quoted Abdullah as saying that the decades-old Internal Security Act, which allows for detention without trial, "is a preventive measure to spare the nation from untoward incidents that can harm the prevailing peace and harmony and create all sorts of adverse things."

"I don't know (when to invoke the ISA), but ISA will be there," he was quoted as saying. An aide to Abdullah confirmed his comments but couldn't give further details.

Sunday's rally raised ethnic and racial tensions after police used tear gas and chemical-laced water to disperse the protesters, largely working-class ethnic Indians.

Government officials denounced the demonstration as an attempt to create racial animosity and smear the government's image. But activists and opposition parties slammed the police for being heavy-handed.

The rally — rooted in complaints that the ethnic Malay Muslim-dominated government discriminates against minorities — was the largest protest in at least a decade involving ethnic Indians, the country's second-largest minority after ethnic Chinese.

Street rallies are rare in Malaysia, which prides itself on communal and political peace.

However, Indians say discrimination persists because of an affirmative action policy favoring Malays, who form about 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people. They also complain of religious discrimination, citing several Hindu temples that have been demolished by state authorities in recent years.

More than two-thirds of ethnic Indians, who are mostly Hindus and constitute about 8 percent of the population, live in poverty. (International Herald Tribune)

*****
It looks like Pak Lah is trying to say, "no more Mr Nice Guy". Perhaps he's coming round to accepting the views of the more intolerant among his cabinet colleagues such as Zainuddin Maidin and Nazri, who would have instantly wielded the big stick and battered everyone into submission and silence.

But by nature the PM is very different from the above specimens. In fact his personality and approach to issues differ dramatically from that of his predecessor, Tun Dr Mahathir who would have months ago opted for the ISA to quell even the slightest hint of rebellion.

However with so many questionable characters with dubious records and doubtful mental status having furtively slid into his inner circle of confidants, one cannot begin to guess what Pak Lah will do next or when, or indeed if it is he who takes the decisions or if even that is made by someone else on his behalf.

Having said that, I feel that any use of the ISA in stymieing or frustrating future protests will only cause more public dissatisfaction and could be counter-productive. While it is the PM's prerogative, it would be wise if he exercises great caution before taking the plunge.
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Survey Shows Malaysians Happy With Present Govt Administration - PM. Is This Claim True?

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has expressed happiness over the findings of a survey by a coalition of organisations that multi-racial Malaysians are happy with the administration of the present government.

"If that is what the survey shows, then I am happy. We will continue to administer the country like we are doing now. If someone wants to criticise, then it is fine as long as it is constructive criticism and we will try to do whatever possible to overcome the problems we face.

"The important thing is that we will do everything possible to ensure success of the national vision to uplift all Malaysians. To those who supported the current government, I wish to say thank you.

"To those who criticise, I would also say thank you but please ensure the criticisms are fair and not overboard, do not make your own conclusions without knowing the truth," he told Malaysian journalists at the end of his two-day visit to Egypt.

Abdullah, who turns 68 today, when asked what was his birthday wish, he said: "I just want to stay healthy and be happy".

To a question on the Opposition's ploy to feed false information to Malaysian students in local and foreign universities, the Prime Minister said the Opposition would do that to whoever listens to them. "The important thing is that we should be ever vigilant and disseminate the correct information. Our students at universities can think and can evaluate what is good for them now and in the future.

"We care for our students...we want them to be successful, get good grades, get good jobs and help in nation-building. We don't get involved in provoking them, feeding them with wrong information. We are always positive," he added. (Bernama)

***** Sometimes I do wonder if the PM is fully informed about what is actually happening in the country. At a time when our national unity is at its worst in five decades, he seems to be happy! By the way who are the people behind this 'coalition of organisations' which gave our government the semuanya ok findings? What axes have they to grind? Many, I'm sure.

While I applaud him for his determination to ensure
the success of the so-called 'national vision to uplift all Malaysians', unfortunately what we have seen thus far is plain empty talk and the poor are becoming poorer and the marginalised are being pushed further back and relegated more to the periphery. The Hindraf rally was but just one example of the deep dissatisfaction among Malaysian citizens.

Right now the disillusionment of the average Joe with the present government is patent. While Pak Lah has allowed more freedom of expression when compared to his predecessor, it does not compensate for the misdeeds being committed on a daily basis by his colleagues in government, especially those from Umno.

Much had been expected by the public from Pak Lah's administration, especially by the long suffering victims of the Never Ending Policy. Unfortunately things have gone from bad to worse under his watch. The increasing 'arabisation' of the country is also another point of contention and indeed very worrying for many. These are but a few instances from the litany of complaints against this government. When will the PM wake up from his reverie?
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Helium-3 Diffusion MRI Shows Secondhand Smoke Damages Lungs

Using a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), U.S. researchers have identified structural damage to the lungs caused by secondhand smoke. This is the first study to produce evidence of such a link, they added.

"It's long been hypothesized that prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke may cause physical damage to the lungs, but previous methods of analyzing lung changes were not sensitive enough to detect it," Chengbo Wang, magnetic resonance physicist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said in a prepared statement.

Wang's team used long-time-scale, global helium-3 diffusion MRI to study the lungs of seven current and former smokers and 36 people who'd never smoked. Of those 36 people, 18 had a high level of secondhand smoke exposure.

The results showed that 57 percent of smokers and 33 percent of the nonsmokers with high exposure to secondhand smoke appeared to have early signs of lung damage. In addition, 14 percent of smokers and 67 percent of nonsmokers with high exposure to secondhand smoke showed evidence of developing respiratory problems such as asthma or chronic bronchitis.

"These findings suggest that breathing secondhand smoke can injure your lungs," Wang said. "Since legislation to limit public exposure to secondhand smoke is still being considered in many states, we hope that our work can be used to add momentum to the drive to pass such legislation."

The study was slated to be presented Monday at the Radiological Society of North America annual meeting, in Chicago. (Health Central.com)
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Monday, November 26, 2007

"Hindraf Rally Politically Motivated." - How True Is This Najib Statement?

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today the illegal rally staged by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday was evidently 'politically motivated'.

Whatever the motive, he added, the government would not be afraid of facing it.

"We will meet the challenge. We will not back down from a political challenge," he told reporters when asked whether the gathering posed a challenge to the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

Najib, who is also BN deputy chairman, said that if the BN government had been discriminatory in its policies against the Indian community as claimed by Hindraf, the Indian community would not have supported the BN and the coalition would not have achieved its massive electoral victories.

"Now, all of a sudden, they (Hindraf) want to raise the issue (of alleged marginalisation). Their (Hindraf's) intention is politically motivated," he said after taking delivery of three Dauphin AS365 N3 helicopters from Eurocopter Malaysia for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) in Subang near here.

Thousands of Hindraf sympathisers gathered in the heart of Kuala Lumpur yesterday to support the handing over of a petition to the British High Commission asking Queen Elizabeth II to appoint a Queen's counsel to represent the Indian community in a class action suit against the British Government for bringing Indians as indentured labourers to then Malaya and exploiting them.

Hindraf has filed a US$4-trillion (RM13.5 trillion) suit in London claiming that the British were to blame for the marginalization of Indians in Malaysia.

Police dispersed the Hindraf supporters with the use of tear gas and water cannons at the junction of Jalan Tun Razak and Jalan Ampang, preventing them from getting to the British High Commission in Jalan Ampang.

Some of the supporters turned violent and damaged public property and hurled stones and other objects at the police, injuring several policemen. Over 130 people were arrested.

Asked about the complaints by traders that their business was disrupted by the gathering, Najib said such gatherings would definitely have an adverse impact on the economy and disrupt the daily life of the people.

"The people will have to put up with roadblocks and such, which had resulted in bad traffic congestion over the last three days," he said. (Bernama)

***** I've already said my piece in the previous posts in this blog. But what do you think? Is Najib right when he alludes to a political motive behind the Hindraf rally? Or is it a protest by discriminated, marginalised and impoverished Malaysian citizens whose dilemma the rest of the world fully knows and acknowledges, with the exception of Umno leaders and their cronies?

But one thing I'm sure of is that not even one of these conscienceless political Umno pirates infesting our nation will accept responsibility for the state of utter disrepair our perpaduan is in. They will continue with their empty sloganeering and lofty speeches. For in their convoluted greedy mind they can do no wrong. It is a trait they share with dictators and mad men through the ages.
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Walking 3Kms Daily 'May Prevent Impotence'

You may be willing to walk the ends of the Earth to find true love. But when it comes to maintaining good sex, the trek is much shorter. A new study shows it takes just over three kilometers a day.

According to the study carried out by international researchers, walking daily for three kilometers reduces the risk of erectile dysfunction in men or even reverse current impotence, particularly in those who are obese, the 'WebMD' has reported.

"Sedentary men may be able to reduce their risk of erectile dysfunction by adopting regular physical activity at a level of at least 200 calories a day, which corresponds to walking briskly for two miles," lead researcher Katherine Esposito of the Second University of Naples said.

The researchers came to the conclusion after analyzing the effects of walking on 100 middle-aged obese men suffering from erectile dysfunction but without heart disease, diabetes, hypertension or other conditions known to cause impotence.

Along with exercising two hours a week, half of the 110 men studied were placed on a calorie-restriction diet in which their average caloric intake dropped from 2,340 to 1,950 calories daily. Their diet boosted their fibre intake and they substituted saturated fats with mono-unsaturated fats.

The other half were given general information about healthy food choices and exercise, but not placed on any specific regimen.

After two years, the men advised to lose weight saw little improvement in either weight loss or sexual function. But the men who ate less and exercised more lost about 15 per cent of their weight. What's more, one in three were found to regain sexual function.

"In our study, about one-third of obese men with erectile dysfunction regained their sexual function after two years of adopting healthy behaviours, mainly regular exercise and reducing weight," Esposito said.

***** So those of you gentlemen with this increasingly prevalent problem, remember to exercise regularly and maintain a reasonably strict diet. The end result will be worth your effort. In the event there is no 'significant improvement' at least you can have the consolation of knowing that your health would have been better than when you first started exercising.
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Muhyiddin The Troll, Condemns Street Protests While Exposing His Own Bias And Ignorance

Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin warned yesterday that the country could collapse if the people carry their grievances to the streets.

“To me, the group just wanted to create instability and cause problems, especially to the people in Kuala Lumpur,” he said, when commenting on the Hindraf protest yesterday.

Muhyiddin, who is Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, said there were poor people among the Malays and Chinese as well and poverty was not just among the Indians.

He said if Malaysia had treated the Indian community unfairly, as claimed by the organisers of the Hindraf demonstration, the group leader would not have obtained a good education and become a lawyer. (The Star)

*****
Muhyiddin is a good example of the successful umnoputera. A shrewd, calculating politician, he has used the racist system so prevalent in Malaysia, manipulated and thrived within it while in the process amassing enormous wealth and power and is now within smelling distance of the Prime Minister's office. Do you think that such a man would be even the least concerned about the miseries of a million-plus impoverished Indians?

"Poverty was not just among the Indians," he arrogantly says. Does this self-professed pejuang for bangsa, agama dan negara really know the meaning of poverty or the feeling of utter hopelessness which inevitably shrouds the abjectly poor? Having lived a comfortable life for so long, this 60-year-old man doesn't have the heart to show even a little compassion for the downtrodden of a different race. Instead he seeks to justify the inequitable policies which have devastated the lives of half the population of this country.

This greed monger further shows his innate disdain for and deep-seated prejudice against Indians when he says "
if Malaysia had treated the Indian community unfairly, the group leader (of Hindraf) would not have obtained a good education and become a lawyer." It's not as if Muhyiddin doesn't know that this Hindraf leader like most Indian lawyers and other professionals were forced to study overseas at their own expense, more often than not mortgaging whatever little landed property their families had, to finance their education. It was NOT because of but in spite of the government and its skewed parochial agenda that they managed to get a decent education abroad. The primary reason for this was the racist policies feverishly practiced by Umno which excluded these Indians and other non-Malays from local varsities and denied them study loans or scholarships. While the small Indian middle-class could at least come up with the funds to educate their children despite the great hardship and sacrifices, the lower-level and less educated bore the brunt of the government's ethnocentric practices.

Yesterday's Hindraf rally was merely a desperate expression of the turmoil and suffering that these poor Indians have been subjected to for decades and if the likes of merciless Muhyiddin had his way, this poverty stricken lot would still be living under deplorable conditions a century from now, "because they are not the only poor people in Malaysia." Imagine what would happen if Muhyiddin becomes Prime Minister?
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Interesting trivia - The Star praises Ong Ka Ting's 'bravery' during Hindraf rally!

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Combine Healthy Diet, Exercise & Socialising To Keep Old Age At Bay

Small changes in lifestyle including healthy diet, moderate exercise and socialising could keep you young and healthy, according to a new book that outlines how we can improve the quality of life as we age.

The book "The Science of Staying Young" by John Morley, director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University in the US, outlines a 10-step programme to improve the quality of life as people age.

The book advises people to eat a nutritious and balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, enough proteins and lots of fibre to keep organs running smoothly, reported the online edition Medical News Today.

"Thriving at any age and feeling younger and more energetic is as much about diet as it is about adequate medical interventions and adequate exercise," Morley said.

He said people must find ways to add physical activity into their lives. In addition to moving around more by vacuuming, raking the leaves or walking the dog, the book advises people to exercise for half an hour every day.

Morley recommends taking vitamin D because it helps the body absorb calcium, which strengthens bones. He added that moderate, weight bearing exercises such as regular walking help in bone strengthening.

He recommends exercising the brain to keep it sharp by tackling a Sudoku puzzle, playing video games and working on mental mathematics problems.

"The goal of brain fitness is to prevent certain mental abilities from slowing down or reverse such changes if they have already taken place," Morley said.

He also advises against smoking after the age of 60. (DNA - Health Line)
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Umno, MIC Biggest Losers In Hindraf Rally Crackdown


'Tear gas has been fired at a crowd of about 2,000 demonstrators at Jalan Semarak to disperse Hindraf rally of about 20,000. Scores arrested'. Thus reads a news alert via sms from The Sun.

Am I surprised? No. Did I expect anything less from our intolerant pemimpin2? No. These geezers wax eloquent on the virtues of democracy but have no inkling about what it really means and have no genuine desire to put it into actual practice. They have told lie after lie after bloody lie in order to realise their only aim, to remain in office. The bottom-line for them is to maintain the status quo and cling on to power for as long as they possibly can. This they can only achieve by playing the favouritism game, splitting the citizens into many factions, deliberately disallowing true concord from taking root between the disparate groups, brutally smothering even the slightest voice of dissent from growing stronger and if necessary to create government inspired and sponsored riots and conflagrations in order to maintain the tight rein which has slowly and steadily been choking the rights and lives of millions of citizens over the past several decades.

I personally feel that after the Bersih rally, Malaysians have finally crossed an invisible line which they would not have even dared to contemplate a few years ago. People of all ethnic origins have for a long time known of the hoodwinking ability of this government, of its propensity to preach different sermons at different venues and of its culpability in many of the wrongdoings, abuses and iniquities in the name of bangsa, agama dan negara. Even if the government orders the police to smash the Hindraf rally participants to smithereens, it will make no difference to the way law-abiding citizens will in future show their true feelings and resentment towards the authorities.

Public rallies are here to stay and the police permit requirement will in time become an evil part of our history. The cops will perforce have to be educated that in the event of a public rally their only duty is to clear the roads and enable easy access for the participants to reach their destination. That is their true job in a real democracy and not behaving like uniformed thugs in some impoverished banana republic. Sometimes I wonder what percentage of the police force, in their heart of hearts, actually have faith in the way our government handles these situations?

Whatever may have occurred or is still happening this morning at the Hindraf rally, the government has lost its credibility as a promoter and practitioner of democracy. The race-based political parties, Umno and MIC will come out of this mess with their already soiled reputation further ruined. Umno has only further confirmed that it is a racist party which will not bend to the sufferings of others and will not listen to the voice of reason. The MIC has not only overseen from the sidelines the marginalisation of Indians, it has also been castigated nationally for being a willing participant in the formulating and practice of apartheid-like policies while all along ravenously feeding on the morsels thrown by the big vulture, Umno. Moreover their 'legitimate' political role to 'serve' the Indian community as a whole has been wrested by others such as those from Hindraf who over the next few years can only grow stronger. As for the other eunuchs in government such as the MCA, Gerakan et al., the less said the better.

The government can trot out the Sedition Act and the ISA for the time being. But time, dear pemimpin is fast running out and if in the meanwhile elections are 'bersih-ed' up, it will not be too far-fetched to predict your early exit from Putrajaya.
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A comprehensive report from Reuters HERE.

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Indian Diplomat Kamalesh Sharma New Commonwealth Secretary-General

The 53-nation Commonwealth of mainly former British colonies on Saturday appointed an Indian diplomat, Kamalesh Sharma, as its next secretary-general.

The term of office of the current secretary-general, Don McKinnon of New Zealand, ends on March 31, 2008. McKinnon, has held the job for two terms, or eight years.

"It is a tough job I have taken over but I do so with confidence and enthusiasm ... the Commonwealth is a great global good," Sharma said when his appointment was announced by McKinnon during a summit of the group in Uganda. He is currently the Indian High Commissioner in London.

The Commonwealth's members represent 1.8 billion people, or more than a quarter of the world's population.

Sharma beat the other main contender for the job, Maltese Foreign Minister Michael Frendo.

Having immense experience in dealing with global issues, Sharma has served with distinction at various key positions including as India's Permanent Representative to the UN and spokesperson for developing countries in the UNCTAD during the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations.

Sharma has also played a key role in both South-South and North-South relations.

Sharma is currently a member of the Board of Governors of Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation where he has taken keen interest in the activities and guided India's close engagement with the Commonwealth since 2004.

He has served as India's Permanent Representative in New York during which he chaired the Working Group on Financing for Development and the successful consensus building that he has achieved led to the conference yielding the 'Monterrey Consensus' in the conference in Mexico.

He was closely engaged in the process which led to the formulation and adoption of the Millennium Development Goals.

Sharma also had the distinction of being the first Special Representative of UN Secretary General to independent East Timor where he was directly engaged in all aspects of nation building and safeguarding its security.

Among the early contenders who later withdrew was our very own
Rais Yatim.
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Australia Election - Early Exit Polls Predict Huge Defeat For Howard

Image - Good Riddance
The first exit poll in Australia’s elections predicted a landslide win for opposition Labour, with voters ousting the 11-year-old conservative government and possibly dumping Prime Minister John Howard from his own seat.

Polling booths will not start closing until 6 p.m. (7:00 a.m. British time), but the Sky television exit poll of 31 marginal government seats forecast a 30-seat gain for Labour leader Kevin Rudd, more than enough for him to form a government.

The exit poll of 2,787 voters by Auspoll gave Labour 53 percent of the vote and the ruling Liberal party 47 percent.

"Its very likely that Labour has won this election. Something in the order of 30-odd seats," said Auspoll’s John Armitage.

Howard, 68, has trailed in opinion polls all year with some forecasting a landslide victory for Labour, but surveys in the final days of the campaign said the contest was neck-and-neck.

Auspoll said a sample of 950 voters in Howard’s marginal Sydney electorate showed the veteran politician, who has held Bennelong since entering parliament in 1974, was likely to lose his own seat.

If Howard has lost Bennelong he will be the first prime minister to suffer the indignity in an election for 78 years.

Howard is a staunch U.S. ally and if re-elected has committed to keeping Australian troops in Iraq. He has offered voters A$34 billion (14.4 billion pounds) in tax cuts, but few new policies.

Rudd has pledged to withdraw combat troops from Iraq and sign the Kyoto Protocol, further isolating Washington on both. The Mandarin-speaking former diplomat would also be expected to forge closer ties with China and other Asian nations.

Howard meanwhile has been quoted as saying that he was likely to lose his electoral seat of 33 years after he conceded defeat in the country's general election. "It is very likely to be the case that I will no longer be the member for Bennelong."

UPDATE:

1) Australia's Labor claims election victory.
2) Australia's Labour sweeps to power in elections.

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Government Uses Sedition Act To Cover-up Racist Practices! It's Like Using C4 Explosives On An Ant

Malaysian authorities charged three ethnic Indian activists with sedition Friday in an apparent attempt to stop a rally in support of a lawsuit that holds the British responsible for the Indians' economic woes.

The US$4 trillion (€2.7 trillion) lawsuit, filed in London in August, demands that Britain compensate Malaysia's ethnic Indians — who comprise some 8 percent of the country's 27 million people — for bringing their ancestors to then Malaya as "indentured laborers" and exploiting them under colonial rule.

The Hindu Rights Action Force, a non-government group, hopes to gather 10,000 people to demonstrate outside the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

Authorities have warned that the rally would be illegal and have thrown a security cordon around Kuala Lumpur, citing concerns of potential violence ahead of the protest.

Police arrested the Indian group's chairman, Waytha Moorthy Ponnusamy, his brother and a senior associate Friday. The three men were later charged in court with making seditious comments, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison.

Two were freed on bail, but Waytha Moorthy remained in custody because he refused to post bail in a gesture of defiance. The court was scheduled to hear the case Monday.

Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Zulhasnan Najib Baharudin said police refused to issue a permit for the rally for security reasons and warned that protesters could face arrest. Malaysian law prohibits public gatherings of five or more people without a police permit.

"If there is any assembly, it's unlawful," Zulhasnan said.

Police have mounted security road blocks throughout Kuala Lumpur since Thursday, sparking massive traffic snarls.

Ethnic Indians, mainly Hindus, form one of Malaysia's largest minority groups. Activists say more than two-thirds of them live in poverty, partly because they are deprived of opportunities by affirmative action policies that favor the ethnic Malay Muslim majority.

Government authorities have rejected claims of discrimination.

Police had earlier served Waytha Moorthy a court order forbidding the rally's key planners from being present outside the British High Commission.

"We've told our people to continue" with the rally, Waytha Moorthy said.

A Malaysian human rights group, Suaram, called the arrests an "attempt by the police to intimidate and to prevent (activists) from exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of expression."

The group plans to submit a petition Sunday urging Queen Elizabeth II to appoint lawyers to represent the Indians in the suit, which is meant to show that British neglect allegedly caused Malaysian Indians to remain economically disadvantaged after independence in 1957.

The planned rally would be the second street protest in Kuala Lumpur in less than a month. Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse activists Nov. 10 at an opposition-backed rally that drew thousands of people demanding electoral reforms. (International Herald Tribune)

***** While this episode of arrest and charging in court was going on yesterday, that PM wannabe of keris-kissing fame, Hishammuddin started the typical bangsa, agama dan negara shit-stirring which Umno is notorious for. He said that "the 'silent majority' should make itself heard and stand up to people with their own agenda." Trying to give it a May 13 style ethnic twist he added that racial and religious sentiments made for a dangerous cocktail which could spell disaster. He also surreptitiously brought the thugs and goons of Umno into the picture by 'cautioning' Umno Youth members to remain calm. Do you think Hishammuddin or any of the other leeches in Umno will tell the truth that this is in reality a protest by a certain section of the citizens of this country against the practices of the GOVERNMENT and NOT against anyone else? Why should he? He has a lot more to gain personally by stirring shit and raising the political temperature.

In a way, this protest has come at a good time for the racists leading the government. They will use this opportunity to try and martial all the Malays or at least those naive, illiterate and some of the downright chauvinistic 'nationalists' with the clarion call of Melayu in danger or something equally silly.

They have no respect for human rights or sense of fair play. All that the greedsters in government are concerned about is fulfilling their dire need to stay in office. If one day in the future they have to stab the Malay in the back to preserve their power, they won't have any qualms in doing that as well.
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Friday, November 23, 2007

Government Using Police To Create Traffic Jams in KL To Provoke Public Anger Towards Protesters

As you may be aware the cops have set up road blocks all over KL and Selangor since yesterday resulting in traffic jams in an ostensible bid to prevent people from entering the capital to attend the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) rally scheduled to take place on Sunday at the British High Commission.

Another 'reason' given by the police is they have 'received information' that there will be criminal activities taking place right up to Sunday’s gathering. From the wonderfully efficient police intelligence gathering, the cops have found that riots and fights had been planned and are therefore taking 'precautionary' measures.

For those of you who had been caught in these jams did you notice any thugs being arrested or at least being held for questioning? Were cars carrying several Indian adults stopped and their occupants thoroughly checked and interrogated?

The situation today is very much the same as yesterday and reportedly there are massive traffic jams again in various parts of the Klang Valley.

More than merely trying to keep the influx of protesters into KL to a bare minimum or fulfilling a sudden honourable desire by our men in blue to 'prevent crime', the apparent police strategy is to cause as much inconvenience to the public in general so that they would reflexly condemn and abhor protests of whatever nature. It is probably their hope that in artificially creating such jams, thereby raising temperatures and blood pressures, the organisers of this and future protests against government corruption and abuse would be considered as troublemakers by the public.

It is an age-old dirty trick employed by unpopular and shrewd dictators - if the people do not act in a manner which pleases the ruler, then the ruler will make things so stranglingly difficult and unbearable, without the obvious use of brute force, that the average citizen is coerced into behaving as the dictator deems fit. Our kerajaan is no different. This is their tactic, to wear down the peoples' patience and put a full stop to public expression of the citizens' anger and disappointment.

Sometimes such a sneaky strategy will succeed admirably, especially when the average citizen would rather fight a ghost than protest against official abuse and corruption. In our context, hopefully the public would not be deterred by this nuisance the cops are creating in the form of unnecessary traffic jams.

The police, under orders from 'above' are at the same time desperate to make an example of those responsible for this Hindraf protest. In fact a few minutes ago the cops announced that they have a court order to restrain anyone organising or participating in Sunday's gathering. The police have also arrested lawyer P. Uthayakumar, Hindraf legal advisor under the Sedition Act and he will be charged in court this afternoon. What is the point though? The nation's reputation has already been torn to shreds by the earlier protests and by the increasingly forthright and accurate reports from here and abroad about government sponsored racism and discrimination.

Of course the danger always remains in Malaysia that in the event such dirty tricks don't produce the desired results, government leaders or those holding extra-constitutional authority like a certain son-in-law, would unleash the thugs from Umno youth along with illiterate kampung boys who would do their bidding for a small monetary incentive. Manufacturing a crisis is the easiest and most effective way to temporarily or permanently shut the avenues available to those who can think and express clearly on what is terribly wrong with this country.
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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Malaysian Villagers Dig For Gold In The Sand!

The term "golden sands" has taken on a whole new literal meaning at the Kampung Seri Pantai beach, Malaysian southern Johor state, local media reported on Thursday.

Hundreds of people have been flocking to the beach since last week after news spread that there was gold in the sand, the New Straits Times said.

The gold hunt continues well into the night with many, including housewives and children, combing the beach with torchlights and candles to look for "sparkly beads" buried in the sand.

It is not only the prospectors who have flocked to the beach, gold buyers are also on standby, ready to buy the precious metal off anyone who finds it.

Policemen have also been patrolling the area to prevent any untoward incident.

A villager, Zulhadnan Salehuddin, 39, said gold prospecting became frantic from last week after some villagers were said to have found between 1,000 ringgit and 2,000 ringgit worth of gold by panning the sand on the beach.

"It is amazing that we can find all these gold on the beach, without digging or mining. We use a steel or wooden dulang (wok-like pan) and swirl the sand with the seawater. The gold will appear," he said excitedly.

A gold buyer, identified only as Mat, said he had bought about 4,000 ringgit worth of gold from the villagers since last week. "The gold found here is of high quality and I buy them at 68 ringgit to 70 ringgit per gram, it was certainly no fool's gold," he said.

District police chief Harun Idris warned that people were exaggerating the size and value of gold discoveries. Those who were lucky might find gold worth 80 ringgit. "It's gold dust actually," the officer said. "It's not economically worthwhile."

The Kampung Seri Pantai beach is located about eight kilometers from Mersing town center, Johor state.

***** It looks like collective foolishness and avarice has taken root and is hyperactive in this part of Johor. Alas, greed has no religious and ethnic boundaries or peculiarities. It is the most universal of human characteristics.
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Britain Sued Over Malaysian Indians' Woes

An ethnic Indian in Malaysia is using an audacious strategy to highlight the plight of his mostly impoverished community by suing Britain, the country's former colonial ruler, for $4 trillion.

The Malaysian government dismisses the case as baseless, but lawyer Waytha Moorthy is determined to pursue it, even vowing to appeal to Britain's Queen Elizabeth to appoint lawyers for the Indian community, which he says is too poor to find its own.

Moorthy wants Britain to pay damages of 1 million sterling [$2.06 million] to each of Malaysia's two million ethnic Indians for rights abuses he traces to colonial-era labour schemes that brought their ancestors to Malaysia as indentured workers.

Compensation
"We are seeking compensation because we were permanently colonised during British rule, and now, under the government of the ethnic Malays," Moorthy said.

"We have lost touch with our roots and have been suppressed so far," said Moorthy, who accuses British officials of failing to honour their responsibility to protect ethnic Indians when they granted independence to Malaysia in 1957.

In colonial times, many impoverished Indians and Chinese flocked to work and settle in Malaysia, drawn by government schemes meant to attract cheap labour for the country's then lucrative rubber estates and tin mines, he added. But the episode highlights a very real dilemma: after 50 years of independence, ethnic Indians, most of whom are Hindu, own just 1.5 per cent of the country's national wealth. (Gulf News)

***** Our pemimpin2 in Umno must be pretty cheesed off by this gutsy (and perhaps a little reckless) lawyer
Waytha Moorthy. That Umno pimp at Utusan Malaysia, Awang Selamat, apart from bisik bisiking, has also been spitting his racist venom at the likes of Waytha Moorthy for highlighting internationally the issue of race discrimination in Malaysia. I wonder where Awang Selamat and like-minded ethnoracists trace their roots to, Indonesia or Yunnan Province? Or perhaps he would prefer to be associated with some tiny village near the Arabian Sea? It might add a little credibility to the rubbish he spews out on a daily basis.
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