Saturday, June 30, 2007

Najib Will Not Issue Statement On Altantuya Murder Case

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will not issue any statement on the claim by a witness linking the picture of the deputy prime minister in the on-going murder trial of a Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaariibuu, at the Shah Alam High Court as it could be subjudice to the case.

His press secretary Datuk Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad, however, said Najib was maintaining his statements made several times before that he had never met or known Altantuya, 28, and was not involved in the case.

"I wish to make it clear that the deputy prime minister had on several occasions when interviewed by the media previously and during the Ijok by-election had said that he had never met and known Altantuya and was not involved in the case.

"As such, the issue over the picture does not arise.

"This brief clarification is made because media reports on yesterday's proceedings of the court case have given rise to various views and statements by certain parties that could affect public opinion on the deputy prime minister," Tengku Sarifuddin said in a statement to Bernama today.

In the high-profile murder trial yesterday, Altantuya's cousin, Burmaa Oyunchimeg, 26, told the court that she had seen a picture of Altantuya having a meal in the same table with political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 46, and a Malaysian government official who is known by the name of "Najib Razak" and several others.

Burmaa, also known as Amy, said Altantuya showed her the picture when they were in Hong Kong after the Mongolian beauty returned from France.

Replying to lawyer Karpal Singh, who is holding a watching brief for Altantuya's family, Burmaa, the sixth prosecution witness, said Altantuya mentioned that the Malaysian government official's name was Najib Razak and she could remember the name because it was similar to Abdul Razak's.

However, the picture in question was not shown in court.

When campaigning in the Ijok state by-election in April, Najib had repeatedly denied his involvement in the Mongolian model's case and had also chided the opposition for resorting to character assassination strategy by making wild accusations including linking him to the Altantuya's case.

Najib said all parties including Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi knew the actual situation.

Following is the full statement by Tengku Sarifuddin to Bernama:

1. I wish to refer to today's media reports on a witness' testimony on a picture (not shown in court) of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in the murder trial of Mongolian model Altantuya.

2. Since the trial is in progress and any statement might be subjudice to the case, it is not appropriate for the deputy prime minister to comment on the matter.

3. Nevertheless, In wish to clarify that the deputy prime minister had on several occasions when interviewed by the media before and during the Ijok by-election had stated that he had never met or known the victim and was not involved in the case. As such, the issue over the picture does not arise.

4. The brief clarification is made because media reports on yesterday's court proceedings have given rise to various views and statements by certain parties that could affect public opinion on the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib.

Datuk Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad

Press Secretary to Deputy Prime Minister

***** Frankly after such a clarification I really don't know what to think! Was he or was he not involved? I'm referring to Najib of course. What is your opinion?

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Respect Malacca CM's Objection To Virus Name And Change It To 'Rustam Parasite'

The 'Rustam Parasite'

The things these idiots will object to! Read TheStar report first.

The state government is strongly against the name "Melaka Virus" being given to a new bat virus which causes respiratory illness in humans, as it is an insult to the state, said Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam.

Mohd Ali said the state government would send an official letter of objection to the Health Ministry on this matter immediately.

"If it is already the official name for the virus, then we want the ministry to change that name and if it is already used overseas, we will also send a letter of objection to the usage of that name," said Mohd Ali added.

Mohd Ali urged the ministry to retract the use of the name immediately, adding it was "not a good name" and that the virus should just be named after the doctor or scientist who discovered it.

"Malacca is a good state, beautiful and peaceful, not the birthplace of diseases," said Mohd Ali after launching the Tok Moyang Lajis Badariah descendents memorial at Serkam here on Saturday.

***** Just who does this man think he is? Medical nomenclature cannot be changed time and again at the likes and dislikes of political viruses like him. What is so insulting about naming the virus after the state from which it was discovered? As it is Malacca has failed to find a place (and indirectly fame) in Unesco's world heritage list and he should be glad that at least now probably more people would come to know about the state.

Has the dreaded name Japanese Encephalitis ever prevented Rustam or his political brothers in Umno Melaka from 'geishaing' over to Japan now and then? So let us not entertain the petty tantrums of this sandiwara expert. If he still goes on making noise, then if possible, change the name to Rustam Parasite and be done with it. It's got a nice ring to it.

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Latest 'Rustam Parasite' activity: Flattering the PM
Update: Melaka Virus to be renamed
Renaming virus: Howsy's take on the subject.


Pak Lah Disappointed Bumis Yet To Achieve 30 Pct Share Of Economy. Is This A Prelude To More Discrimination?

Prominent in today's Bernama news is the lament by our Prime Minister that Bumis are not performing as the government had expected. This report follows.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today expressed his disappointment that Bumiputeras had yet to achieve 30 percent equity in the local economy due to their weak business management.

He said it had been the government's objective and "obsession" since the implementation of the New Economic Policy, to see to the achievement of 30 percent equity by the Bumiputera community. But this had not been achieved, he lamented.

"I don't have to go into length about this (the failure) as the Bumiputera business community is even more aware of it," he said in his speech at the Malaysia Malay Chamber of Commerce (DPMM) Entrepreneur Awards presentation, here.

Abdullah said the building of human capital emphasised the development of a group of professionals and capable Bumiputera managers. "We need those who have the capability to create value and enhance the Bumiputera equity. These are the people we want," he said.

Abdullah said he wanted Bumiputera companies to follow successful companies like Petronas, which had good management and was recognised overseas as among the Seven Sisters or the seven major oil and gas companies in the world.

The prime minister also described Khazanah Nasional Bhd and Maxis Communications Bhd with having good management and as the Malaysian companies to emulate.

Abdullah also called on the smaller Bumiputera companies to merge and form larger entities or consortiums to bid for projects both overseas and locally. He said smaller companies would not be able to move on their own if they wanted to go for big projects.
***** Whenever government bigwigs talk about the Never Ending Policy, especially in disappointed tones which is supposed to reflect their 'sadness' on how poorly the intended recipients are faring, it sends shivers throughout the non-Malay communities in the country. As it is the unprivileged ones are having a tough enough time trying to survive in a government-created hostile business atmosphere, where one has to not only bribe but also take in Malay sleeping partners to qualify for contracts. Therefore any talk of unsuccessful bumi businesses or imagined 'inability' to reach a mirage-like 30% equity can only mean that the sandiwara has or is about to start for the justification of a further extension of the notoriously discriminative NEP.

How can Pak Lah expect sleeping 'businessmen' to overcome their 'weak business management' when everything is given to them on a silver platter? The NEP in its current implementation mode can only succeed in encouraging indolence and
causing narcolepsy among the undeserving recipients, nothing more. Moreover Umnoputras have already helped themselves to huge slices of the economic cake which are probably squirreled away in some very safe and distant place.

The policy at its inception may have had the noble intention of enriching Malays across the board. However, within a few years of its implementation the NEP was hijacked by the leadership at that time and since then the largesse has been spread around among the Umno family as well as some smart non-Bumi hangers-on. The end result is the current situation, where we have some obscenely rich Malays who did not have to work too hard
to get there and a reasonably well balanced middle class, while the rest of the 'historically deprived' Malays are still squatting in square one waiting for the day that providence and pemimpin will smile upon them.

As long as the Never Ending Policy benefits the Umnoputras there is no way it will be modified, watered down or God forbid, removed totally from further implementation. The NEP will continue indefinitely to have pride of place in the history of bad deeds and the dictionary of evil words.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

PAS Maintains Anti-Rushdie Momentum With Protests Outside British, US Embassies.

From the International Herald Tribune.

About 300 Islamic opposition party activists staged peaceful protests outside the British and U.S. embassies in Malaysia on Friday, denouncing London's decision to grant a knighthood to author Salman Rushdie and Washington's policies in the Middle East.

Dozens of riot police backed by a water cannon-equipped truck guarded Kuala Lumpur's diplomatic enclave, as members of the fundamentalist Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS, the country's main opposition group, marched to the British High Commission following afternoon prayers at a nearby mosque.

Protesters spent 15 minutes outside the building, chanting slogans such as "Crush Salman Rushdie" and waving posters that read "Unite for Islam," "Death penalty for Salman" and "Salman Rushdie Get Lost From This World." One poster bore a caricature of Rushdie with horns on his head.

Rushdie's knighthood was announced earlier this month on Queen Elizabeth II's Birthday Honors list, decided on by independent committees that vet nominations from the public and the government.

Rushdie went into hiding after Iran's late spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a 1989 fatwa, or religious edict, ordering Muslims to kill the author because his novel "The Satanic Verses" allegedly insulted Islam.

***** Will anything positive come out of these continuing protests by PAS or will the name of our country be further tarnished in the outside world? Or perhaps Malaysia may even be lauded by the international community for practising and maintaining the highest standards of democracy in allowing demonstrations by the opposition! One can only guess.

A very good read: Much Ado About Rushdie.
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Do You Think We Harbour Islamic Separatists/Terrorists/Freedom Fighters?

National oil corporation Petronas today denied a news report that it has employed a wanted southern Thai separatist, Sapaeing Basoe, reports Bernama.

"That is not true. We don't employ consultants or any people of that sort. We don't even know him," its president Tan Sri Hassan Marican told reporters here.

The Thai Post newspaper report, among others, claimed that Sapaeing was living comfortably in Malaysia working as Petronas advisor with a salary of about RM10,000 a month.

Thai authorities have accused Sapaeing of being the leader of the National Revolution Front, a separatist group launched more than three decades ago by religious leaders who were told by then Thai strongman Field Marshal Sarit Thanarath to close their pondok or Islamic schools.

***** The regularity with which the name of Malaysia comes up in connection with either supporting or harbouring Muslim separatists and terrorists in the region is somewhat disturbing. Perhaps since we are perceived to be an Islamic nation, the eye of suspicion is on us. If that be so how come Indonesian authorities are spared the ignominy of now and then denying that they are involved in the internal affairs of Muslims citizens of other South-East Asian countries? In the past, our government had been compelled to deny several times of our involvement in the affairs of Thailand and the Philippines and a few months ago DPM Najib had to reassure our neighbours that
Malaysia Will Not Compromise With Militant Groups.

As recently as late March this year our Prime Minister had to come out with a denial and rejection of any inference of involvement in the Muslim unrest in Thailand when suspected insurgents detained in a raid in the southern province of Narathiwat were found to be carrying Malaysian currency.

There is no doubt that Singapore too views us as big trouble, as far as Islam and anything related with it is concerned. With Indonesia, Thailand or Philippines they are more worried about clandestine groups from these countries working in cahoots with Singapore Muslims. The equation changes when dealing with security issues involving Malaysia, where covert official involvement from across the causeway can never be ruled out.

Now getting back to the question, what is your opinion? Do you think we harbour Islamic separatists/terrorists/freedom fighters?
I personally don't think we do.
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Thursday, June 28, 2007

EU Bans All Indonesian Airlines From Its Airspace

All Indonesian airlines including national carrier Garuda will be banned from flying to the European Union within a week, the European Commission said on Thursday, updating a "blacklist" of carriers deemed unsafe.

Indonesian carriers do not currently fly to Europe so the ban is also a warning to the 27-nation EU's consumers and travel agencies not to use the country's airlines, an EU official said.

"European citizens should avoid flying with these carriers," the official said. "They are really unsafe."

Angola's TAAG Angolan Airlines and Volare Aviation Enterprise of Ukraine would also be banned, the EU executive said. Ten Russian airlines, six from EU member Bulgaria and eight from Moldova will cease operations within the bloc.

***** Given Indonesia's dismal aviation record, I don't think that even the Indons would be surprised by this EU move. A ban like this has far reaching consequences beyond the borders of the European Union. I don't envisage many South-East Asians, including Malaysians and Singaporeans flying even Garuda anymore if they can help it.

This is the price they have to pay for poor staffing, recruitment of incompetents, atrocious maintenance and irresponsible lack of accountability. It would take a miracle for any Indonesian airline to regain the confidence of the average international traveler. Somewhere in this episode lies a very pertinent lesson for Malaysia.

Read the entire report HERE.
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200 Problematic Teachers Identified. Tip Of The Iceberg?

The Education Ministry had identified 200 problematic teachers up to May this year for action to be taken, the Dewan Rakyat was told Thursday.

Its Deputy Minister Datuk Noh Omar said that from the figure, 37 per cent were for being absent from work, 17 per cent for outraging modesty or sexual harassment, 15 per cent for corruption, and 10.5 per cent for misconduct 10.5, dishonesty and failure to adhere to directives.

Another 9.5 per cent were found to be involved in drugs, six per cent in theft, seven per cent in Syariah 'offences' and one per cent in serious indebtedness.

"Out of the figure (200 cases), we have managed to solve 81 cases," he said in reply to Datuk Mat Yasir Ikhsan (BN-Sabak Bernam) who had asked on efforts to improve the image of the teaching profession, the number of problematic teachers and action taken.

Noh said the action taken by the ministry included dismissal (22 cases), pay cut (17), withdrawal of emolument (17), warning (10), administrative measures (8), downgrading (2) and holding back of salary (1).

He said to tackle the issue, the ministry's Human Resources Division's Counselling and Empowering Unit had taken various measures including a programme of prevention and rehabilitation.

Noh said that up to April this year, 88 officers and staff under the ministry were referred to the unit for counselling to reorientate them. (Bernama)

***** The above is a semuanya ok claim and is meant for PR purposes. But alas, 200 is a totally misleading number. A conservative estimate should put the true figure in at least the thousands. The deputy minister has not given any statistics regarding mentally ill teachers. That would substantially and dramatically boost the tally given above.
Or perhaps the ministry does not consider these teachers problematic!

What about those who have been stressed and disappointed by the lopsided promotion policies currently being practised by the education department? Would not the deserving ones who have been regularly bypassed in promotion exercises be unnecessarily stressed and justifiably dissatisfied and will this not make for poor performance? Shouldn't this group too strictly come under the ambit of 'problematic' teachers? These are my feelings on the deputy minister's claims. Of course I could be mistaken. Those in the know I'm sure, could enlighten us.

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Kelantan Stiffens Penalties To Stifle Muslim Conversions

From the International Herald Tribune comes this report.

People who try to convert Muslims to other religions could face a whipping, a fine and longer prison terms in a state ruled by a conservative Islamic party in northeast Malaysia, an official said Wednesday.

The Kelantan state legislature approved changes to the law Tuesday providing for a maximum punishment of six lashes with a rattan cane, five years in prison and a fine of 10,000 ringgit for non-Muslims who preach to Muslims, said Hassan Mohamood, who heads the state's Islamic affairs government committee.

Previously, the maximum penalty was two years in prison and a fine of 5,000 ringgit, but state officials feel stiffer laws are useful "as a form of deterrence," Hassan told The Associated Press.

Proselytizing of Muslims is forbidden in Malaysia, where nearly 60 percent of the country's 26 million people are ethnic Malay Muslims. Such cases are rare, and people found guilty face prison terms in most states. However, the amended penalties in Kelantan — which has been ruled since 1990 by the opposition Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party — are believed to be the heaviest nationwide.

Malay Muslims who try to convert to other religions are often sent by Malaysian authorities for counseling and rehabilitation, and some have also been imprisoned for apostasy. In a recent high-profile case that raised concerns about religious rights, a woman who was born to Muslim parents failed to get the country's highest civil court to recognize her conversion to Christianity.

Freedom of worship is guaranteed in the constitution for other religions. Malaysia has large ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities that mostly practice Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism.

***** While this move would be a sure vote winner in Kelantan and puts the pressure now on Umno to respond similarly in other states, the timing may be a bit off. General elections can't be too far away and non-Muslims are bound to remember this law as more proof of PAS' intolerance and 'extremism'. Perhaps PAS has reevaluated its national ambitions, made a down-to-earth assessment of its future electoral fortunes and even given up on making substantial gains in the non-Muslim areas.

After the spate of civil court decisions reflecting spineless verdicts and judicial abdication of sworn duties, no Kelantanese in his right mind would want to convert out of Islam for the next few decades at least. As far as
proselytizing of Muslims is concerned the reality is that even Umno's brand of Islam cannot make any headway in Serambi Makkah. Therefore what are the chances of a kafir/kaffir/kuffar/quffar attempting it, let alone succeeding?

Realistically though, this so-called change in the law is more of a smart, strategic political move rather than a substantive faith-motivated one.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Parliament's Resident Morons See Red Over 'Sexy' Models!

There they go again, our absolutely good-for-nothing 'lawmakers', blowing issues out of proportion, creating controversies where they don't exist and generally making asses of themselves in order to justify the huge am0unt of taxpayer's money being spent on them. This time around a few horny ones among these honourable layabouts, (probably after having ogled a couple of young models, and having experienced a racing pulse, tachycardia and possibly a semi-stiff 'reaction'), self-righteously condemned the Youth and Sports Ministry over what they said were the presence of 'scantily' clad sexy models in the Super GT Grand Prix held in Malaysia.

According to Bernama, one of them, a pontianak from Pontian, Hasni Mohamad (BN-Pontian), who had submitted a question on the matter in the Dewan Rakyat, asked how the ministry could have overlooked such a thing. "How can such a thing be overlooked by the ministry because these girls were paraded not only in Kuala Lumpur but also nationwide?" he said when raising a supplementary question.

The other backbencher, Mohamad Aziz (BN-Sri Gading), asked why no action was taken in the matter when the country had pertinent legislation. "We have the legislation and we say there will be enforcement but when someone violates the law (?) we do not act, more so when the offender is a foreigner," he said. (So models parading in Grand Prix events are violating the law!)

Parliamentary Secretary to the Youth and Sports Ministry S. Vigneswaran, when replying to the questions, said the models did not wear swim suits but were attired in hot pants.

***** Don't these MPs have anything better to do or discuss in the hallowed House? Day in and day out when Parliament is in session, these simians prove over and over again that all they have is nuisance value, nothing else. Boot these bums out in the next elections.

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Witness Claims Altantuya Married Razak Baginda In Hong Kong

Interesting update on the Altantuya murder trial from Bernama.

Private investigator Ang Beng Chong told the High Court here Wednesday that Altantuya Shaariibuu married Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda in Hong Kong two years before her death.

Ang, 56, said this was told to him by the part-time Mongolian model but she never showed any evidence or document on the marriage. He was testifying as the prosecution's fifth witness in the high-profile murder trial which entered its eighth day Wednesday.

When asked by Abdul Razak's counsel K.K. Wong during cross-examination whether he knew that under Malaysia's Islamic law that Muslims could only marry Muslims, Ang said he knew. However, when asked what was Altantuya's religion, he said he did not know.

Ang said he was hired by Altantuya in September 2006 to inform her whether Abdul Razak was home in Malaysia or abroad. He admitted that the police report made by Altantuya's cousin, Namiraa Gerelmaa was taken from information he gathered while working for Altantuya.

Abdul Razak, 46, is charged with abetting Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 31, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar 36, both from the police Special Action Squad in murdering Altantuya, 28, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20, 2006 at Lot 12843 and Lot 16735, Mukim Bukit Raja, Shah Alam.

The political analyst is accused of committing the offence in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur between 9.54am on Oct 18 and 9.45pm on Oct 19, 2006.
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Don't Politicise Everything, Says Zahid. Great Idea! Now Tell That To The Umno Supreme Council

Bernama reports this wonderful piece of advice from an Umno leader who in the past as a Pemuda was not averse to indulging in devious politicking. The headline gave me the impression that he had by a miracle seen the light and had mended his ways. However his 'noble' advice is confined to and directed at only the opposition parties. Very unfortunate actually. Read the report first.
The people, especially members of opposition parties, should take part in various programmes organised by the Information Ministry rather than dismissing them as mere political gimmicks.

Deputy Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said programmes organised by the Information Department, including the Smart Community project, were aimed at promoting unity among the people through various activities.

"People shouldn't be suspicious about the activities for they are meant to unite the people of various races and religions irrespective of their political leanings," he told reporters after launching the Pahang Smart Community and Rakan Cop programme in Lanchang here today.

"The initiatives shouldn't be politicised and we hope everybody will take part in the programmes as they are aimed at improving their well-being," he said.

Ahmad Zahid said they would foster closer relations among the people through community activities, educational talks, interactions, and small and medium scale enterprise (SME) projects.
***** In essence I agree with Zahid for the need to scale down on politicking. But he should understand that it works both ways. You simply can't point fingers at the pembangkang while pretending to be oblivious of the fact that your own party is responsible for the worst form of dirty politics in the modern history of our nation.

Under Umno's watch much of the common man's everyday life has irretrievably changed for the worse due to the constant, incessant politicking. In education, sports, business and public service employment, the besmirched imprimatur of that party is ubiquitous and for all to see; some with disappointment and dejection, while others with delight and relish. The age-old British strategy of "divide and rule" is very much evident and lives on here in this fair land of ours, hale and healthy.

Do you for a minute think that this will change? Not if Umno can help it. The Thierry Rommels may come and go, but the fascists in power will stay on and on and on.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Abdul Razak Gave Diamond-studded Gold Ring To Altantuya

Not THAT Diamond-studded Gold Ring

Interesting revelation in today's trial as reported by Bernama.
Uuriintuya Gal-Ochir, a friend of murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, said political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda presented Altantuya a diamond-studded gold ring as a gift.

Uuriintuya, 30, said she believed the ring was given by Abdul Razak because Altantuya herself told her that it was a gift from her boyfriend.
Besides the ring, she also identified a pair of earrings, which was bought in Mongolia, and a Larmes-brand watch bought in Hong Kong as Altantuya's.

Uuriintuya was giving evidence when questioned by lawyer Karpal Singh, who is holding a watching brief for Altantuya's family and the Mongolian government, in the Altantuya murder trial at the Shah Alam High Court here.

The high-profile murder trial entered the seventh day today.
In the dock is Abdul Razak, 46, who is charged with abetting Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 31, and Sirul Azhar, 35, both from the police special action squad, of murdering Altantuya, 28, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 last year at Lots 12843 and 16735 in Mukim Bukit Raja, Shah Alam. The political analyst is accused of abetting them in the murder.

Uuriintuya denied that she demanded money from Abdul Razak.
"I also don't know whether Altantuya and her private investigator Ang Chong Beng demanded money from the political analyst," she said.

Cross-examined by Wong Kian Kheong, she disagreed to a suggestion by the Abdul Razak's counsel that she had run out of money after a week in Malaysia.
Uuriintuya, who accompanied Altantuya to Malaysia on Oct 8 last year, admitted that despite being harassed and threatened by Abdul Razak's two private investigators and having lodged a police report on their disturbances, she, Altantuya and Altantuya's cousin, Namiraa Gerelmaa, still went to Abdul Razak's house on Oct 19.

She also said that she had never met Abdul Razak before Altantuya went missing after going to the political analyst's house on the night of Oct 19.
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Also in today's trial: Record Of Altantuya And Friends' Entry To M'sia Deleted - Uuriintuya.

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Primary School Students In Kuantan Weak In English Grammar. Should We Be Surprised?

From TheStar update today.

Pupils in primary schools here were mainly found to be weak in English grammar and vocabulary and teachers were reminded to take the initiatives to overcome the problem.

According to Kuantan district education officer Yahya Zainal Abidin, one of the reasons was because the pupils read less English books. On this, Yahya said he was working on a project that would involve Year Five pupils, who were good in English, to be a mentor or model for their friends.

"It is better to start them from Year Five rather than Year Six, a year earlier may do good for them. I am now working on the matter on how to generate the interest and encourage those who are poor in English to emulate their friends who are better in the language,'' he said.

***** The shortsighted policies instituted decades ago for purely political reasons have now come back to haunt us. Year after year we churn out students who are pathetically hopeless in English. Those who have some competency are from either bigger towns or from families who had realized the importance of having a good command of the language.

The most affected by these policies which remarkably lack in foresight, are the poor kampung dwellers and other rural folk, who never really stood a chance from the very beginning. To add to this mess, the government from time to time changes its direction, blowing hot and cold towards serious implementation of plans to improve English competency. Once in a while the education authorities seem to come to their senses and unveil workable schemes. However chauvinistic forces inevitably get into the picture, raising a hue and cry about the national language being downgraded and ignored. The next second, on the orders of senior politicians with an eye to popularity and votes, the plans are reversed and linguistic standards continue to slide.

For such is the sad tale of a country ruled by people who either pretend or genuinely don't know what the people really need.
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Former Perwaja MD, Eric Chia Acquitted

The Sessions Court in Kuala Kumpur today acquitted the former managing director of Perwaja Rolling Mill and Development, Tan Sri Eric Chia Eng Hock of a charge of committing criminal breach of trust and that he had dishonestly misappropriated the funds of Perwaja Rolling Mill and Development. The offence was said to have taken place thirteen years ago and involved a sum of RM76.4 million.

He was alleged to have dishonestly authorised a payment for the sum to the account of Frilsham Enterprise Incorporated with the American Express Bank Limited, Hong Kong, for technical assistance provided by NKK Corporation Japan for the “Beam and Section Mill Plant project” in Gurun, Kedah, when in fact no such payment was due to NKK Corporation.

The Session's Court judge Akhtar Tahir in his verdict said that the prosecution's documents 'worked against' them. He also pointed out the failure of the prosecution to call some witnesses to strengthen their case against Eric Chia.

He was charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code which carries a jail term of between two and 20 years and whipping, and the liability of a fine upon conviction.

The prosecution, led by Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Yusof Zainal Abiden, closed its case on May 4 after calling 29 witnesses.

The defendant was represented by lead counsel Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

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You can read the full report HERE.


Monday, June 25, 2007

"No One Is Above The Law," Says Najib. Is This Completely True?

When I read the Bernama headline, for a second I thought that perhaps Najib was referring to some western country where the rule of law is more or less equally applicable to all its citizens. As I read on, it became clear that he was indeed talking about our beloved country where criminals are criminals and no one, and absolutely no one, can escape punishment. Or so he says.

Off-hand I can think of a few dignitaries who have circumvented the system and are still walking around scot free, apparently untouched or even uncaring of the consequences of their actions. The former ACA DG figures prominently in my mind, as does that palace building Umno pemimpin from Klang, Zakaria Mat Deros. And who can forget the infamous 'close one eye' MP from Jasin? The list can be expanded ad infinitum, but I'll leave you to compile your own catalog of crooks who've successfully gotten away. First let's take a look at Najib's claim.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said no one in the country can hide from the long arm of the law if they commit crime.

"Punishment awaits anybody who dares to violate the laws of the country," the deputy prime minister said.

He was commenting on a Bernama report that a deputy minister and a senior politician, who is also a tycoon, in Sarawak were under police probe for alleged involvement in gangsterism, illegal logging and attempted bribery of senior police officers.

Najib, however, declined to comment further when met by reporters. The deputy prime minister said the media should get further information on the case from the police.

Bernama yesterday reported that the tycoon, who is also a politician, was suspected of having attempted to bribe policemen to secure the release of an underworld "don" who is under police custody in Sarawak.

Federal CID director Datuk Christopher Wan Soo Kee was quoted as saying that a special team was conducting thorough investigations into the case.
***** So there you have it. Najib has emphatically and very clearly stated that no one is above the law. Therefore we'll just have to wait and see as the days go by if the personalities mentioned above, as well as those on your list of privileged criminals are brought to justice or will the Attorney-General continue having episodes of prolonged siesta. Somehow I have grave doubts about Najib's optimism. What about you?
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Thierry Rommel Should Be Given A British Knighthood

For too long has our government been getting away practically unnoticed, unremarked and unchastised for relentlessly pursuing a course of ruthless apartheid, in the form of the Never Ending Policy (NEP). By right, Malaysia should have long ago been classified as a pariah nation joining the ranks of other evildoers of the 20th century.

But our government was lucky. Small inconsequential countries like ours usually escape the oversight of powerful nations. As long as we kept our peace, regularly took part in international conferences and our leaders paid friendly visits to western capitals, no one was really too concerned or cared about what was going on in this developing 'Muslim' country.

Then suddenly out of the blue appeared this one-man Panzer-Division packing the wallop of an Arsenal striker, who momentarily sent our pemimpin2 into a state of dazed disbelief. Thierry Rommel had arrived. And hopefully here to stay. The white Messiah, with balls as big as Mercedes hubcaps, grabbed the racist bull by the horns, stripped it of its layers of legal protection (sedition) and laid it bare for the whole world to see and cringe in horror. For right there in the backyard of democratic nations, was this tiny anomaly called Malaysia where abominable racist practices and abuses of human rights, were even now taking place with glee, pride and a measure of gay abandon.

I say honour this man's courage. Our kerajaan definitely won't. In fact our foreign minister has threatened to summon him over his 'irresponsible' remarks on the NEP. Of course that is just another government sandiwara for local consumption, as they fully well know that there is precious little they can do to him or make him retract his perfectly accurate findings.

Not to be left behind was the notorious keris-waving Umno youth chief, Hishamuddin who accused Rommel of arrogance and attempted to justify the continuation of the Never Ending Policy with the same old lame, tame, untenable excuse -
"our historical and development background."

The British should give this chap an honorary knighthood or two. Her Majesty can rest assured that no other country or people will protest the award. No Arab or other Islamic nation will come out against the honour, for they too, like the rest of the civilized world, have a great aversion for mistreating and discriminating fellow human beings.
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An interesting read: Najib Reminds Malays Of The Glokal Concept.

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Hooray! Malaysia Sets Another Record!

Jubilant news indeed from Bernama. Should make each and everyone of us delirious with pride and great satisfaction. The glorious achievement by these record-setting heroines (and a few heroes) gives real meaning to our national slogan of patriotism - "Malaysia Boleh!"

A total of 8,571 people, mostly women, took part in the Muhibbah Dance Fiesta at Dataran Merdeka here Sunday, breaking the old record of 7,325 people set in 2003. The event was launched by the deputy prime minister's wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, to show the solidarity spirit of Malaysians and to add cheer to the country's 50th anniversary of independence celebrations.

It was organised by the Malaysian People Dance Association and non-governmental women organisations with the support of the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry.

The fiesta made it to the Malaysia Book of Records (MBoR) for having the most people dancing at the same time for over an hour.

The certificate of recognition was presented by MBoF official Faridah Hanem Ab Rashid to Women, Family and Community Development Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen who chairs the organising committee, said the dancers were trained by coaches from the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry since January.

***** To all those who participated and earned Malaysia pride of place in the MBoR, I say SYABAS! So what if we can't be world beaters in gymnastics or swimming? We have shown that we can dance our way to fame, if not fortune. In the complicated field of mass dancing or even mass hysteria, we truly have no peers!

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Najib Should Now Warn NST Not To Meddle In Our Affairs

How DARE they! How dare the New Straits Times even hint that we are depriving good non-Bumi students from getting into local universities! A bloody stupid EU diplomat who makes uncalled for remarks on the justifiably equitable Never Ending Policy, marked by due consideration for natural justice, can be forgiven for being ignorant of the true situation here in this absolutely fair land of ours. But the NST doing the same and highlighting lies about our unprejudiced and impartial system? Unforgivable! Read of the untruths by this newspaper.
Even with her 3.57 CGPA and a gold certificate commending on her academic performances, Mala (not her real name) was not a happy student. For, despite her excellent results, the polytechnic student did not get any place at the public universities to study hotel management.

Yesterday, the hotel management diploma student was seen going around with her certificates and asking advice on how to appeal to enter local universities. She was among the 200 unhappy students across the nation who gathered at a counselling session organised by the MIC education bureau at the National Land Finance Co-operative Society in Jalan Sultan Sulaiman.

She said even her lecturers were surprised that she did not obtain a place to study in university. Sharing her woe is another polytechnic student Thilaga (not her real name) who finished her diploma in accountancy with 3.57 CGPA and a gold certificate.

"Those who could not get a place in university after SPM can look forward to it after STPM, if not after diploma. But, what about people like me? What else can I look forward to if not university?" asked Thilaga.

Unhappy parents who also attended the session raised questions on how the university entry system works. Many also complained that students with lower marks managed to obtain a place in public universities.

MIC education bureau head Professor Datuk T. Marimuthu said Mala and Thilaga are bright students with good CGPA. He promised to take up their matters and appeal based on their results. He said students who failed to get a place in university and those who got courses other than their eight choices can appeal.

Besides Marimuthu, Professor Dr. NS Rajendran and Sri Murugan Centre co-director Prakash Rao were also present to give direction and advice to the students.
***** Najib should now discuss with the Attorney-General as well as the Home Ministry and take due action on those in the NST who have dared to spread such slanderous, fabricated and completely untrue stories. Such filthy lies told about the government's policies simply cannot be tolerated.

In fact Najib must go one step further and openly rubbish this story by describing how lucky the Indians in Malaysia are and how the caring BN has looked after their welfare over the past five decades. He must especially emphasize that practically everyone in their community is either a lawyer or a doctor. Every single one of them owes his/her good fortune to the benevolent Barisan government who gave them so many places in all faculties in all the universities.

I'm sure that Najib must be already pissed off with the NST for earlier unfounded allegations that Indians form a disproportionate number of thugs, gangsters, murderers and convicts in prisons. "Bohong! Semuanya fitnah!" must be his war cry. He must also disclose that all this is the work of anti-nationalists, DAP, PAS, communists, and others who are envious of our country's super progress.

He should make an example of the belligerent editors and ensure that never again will these newspapers ever spread such slander openly. Thank God we have the I.S.A. to teach them a lesson that they won't forget.

In the meanwhile fellow loyal citizens, to all of you on behalf of our beloved DPM, I wish to say, "Semuanya OK! Malaysia Boleh!"

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Earlier related post: "No Discrimination In Education System," Says Najib. Do You Agree?

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Malacca State Government's Worthless Junket

Our state governments must be the most inexperienced in the world. They are led by very slow learners who have to make several trips a year to faraway, exotic locations in order to study 'close up' the different models of managing the state machinery. But despite their lack of intelligence and slow grasping power, one must appreciate their undiminished enthusiasm. You see, despite not having made any significant and meaningful change thus far to the way the kerajaan is run, they keep going again and again to more and more foreign destinations, determined to study and learn as much as they can. Such unwavering resoluteness must be applauded by all loyal citizens. So what if it costs a fortune? It is after all a sacrifice by our pemimpin for good, efficient government.

Bernama mentions one such 'working visit' by the Malacca state government bigwigs, including both the aging Governor and the wily Chief Minister whose only claim to fame thus far has been the awarding of nearly ninety datukships at one go. It is indeed a hectic trip. Ten days in Latin America followed by an arduous trans-Atlantic journey for another two more gruelling days of learning in Paris. And we had always thought that running a state government was easy. Nothing can be further from the truth. Our Malacca pemimpin for example must have spent many late hours poring over details, facts and raw data on what it takes to manage a state. OK, so some low level staff may have taken advantage and gone sightseeing, shopping, a little tequila on the side or even a spot of khalwat with a pretty señorita. Hey, after all it's kuffar country mate! (Perhaps this could be one reason why state Muftis are excluded from these 'study' trips and are sent on separate delegations to Saudi Arabia.)

You can read about the Malacca junket HERE.
Image - Moulin Rouge
Image - Tequila

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

SMART's Floodwater Tunnel Starts Operations

For all you doubting Thomases, here is a bit of good news from Bernama.
The SMART floodwater tunnel is fully operational starting from today, one week ahead of schedule.

Announcing this, Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) Director-General Datuk Paduka Keizrul Abdullah said the tunnel was expected to be able to reduce the level of floodwater in the city by 45 per cent.

However, it would depend on the rainfall on the Sungai Klang side, he told reporters after a forum on flood management in the Klang Valley/Kuala Lumpur at Universiti Malaya here.

He said SMART (the Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel) would divert 90 per cent of Sungai Klang flood discharges into the Kampung Berembang holding basin and then to the storage pond in Taman Desa.

"Basically, we are controlling the quantity of flood discharges from Sungai Klang especially near Masjid Jamek," he said.

One should bear in mind that 55 per cent of the floodwater in the city was due to the overflowing of Sungai Gombak and Sungai Batu that cut across the Klang Valley, Keizrul said.

He said SMART was part of the Flood Mitigation Project in Kuala Lumpur approved by the government in 2002 which also included the construction of holding ponds in Batu and Jinjang.

The two ponds were expected to be completed by year end and they would reduce flood discharges from Sungai Batu and Sungai Gombak in the city, he said.

Other measures currently being taken were the widening of Sungai Kerayong and Sungai Damansara and the construction of the Sri Johor holding pond.

Keizrul said floods in the city caused by the overflowing of rivers would be overcome completely when all the components in the Flood Mitigation Project were completed in early 2008.
***** So there you have it. Total freedom from the flood menace from early 2008. Anyone out there who is not convinced? For our own sake I hope the Smart Tunnel remains smart.
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Angry Najib Warns EU Envoy Not To Meddle In Our Affairs, 'Regrets' Comments On Never Ending Policy

In plain language, our revered Deputy Prime Minister reacted with predictable vehemence on the allegations of discrimination regarding the NEP, Bernama reports. The vein of Najib's comments left no doubt that the Never Ending Policy will stay for another hundred years at least. (The year 2120 sounds like a reasonable proposition.) While he was unable to justify or defend the Never Ending Policy, he cleverly hid behind the principle of non-interference by foreign envoys; a point which he invoked repeatedly. The full report follows.
Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak expressed regret over the statement by the Ambassador and Head of the European Commission Delegation to Malaysia with regard to the New Economic Policy (NEP), saying that the envoy should not interfere in Malaysia's domestic affairs or policy.

Refuting the facts
submitted by the envoy, the Deputy Prime Minister said that as an ambassador accredited to this country, Thierry Rommel should play a role to forge closer relations between the two countries.
"Normally, an ambassador or envoy does not comment on the affairs of the country to which they are accredited. This has been the practice because when we comment on the policies adopted by the country concerned, it means that we are interfering in the affairs of the host country," he told reporters.

Najib said this when asked to comment on Rommel's statement yesterday which was carried by a foreign wire agency, The Associated Press.
The foreign news agency quoted Rommel as saying that the NEP gave a host of privileges in jobs, education, business and other areas to the ethnic Malays.

He also urged the Malaysian government to roll back its affirmative action policy for the Malays, saying it was discriminatory and amounted to protectionism against foreign companies. "As part of the NEP, all public-listed companies are required to allocate 30 percent of their shares to the Malays. Companies without Malay directors or employees are excluded from lucrative government contracts," he said in a speech to local and foreign businessmen on Thursday.

On Malaysia's action or official protest against the statement, Najib said: "Wait first, I will seek the opinion of Wisma Putra (the Foreign Ministry)."

"The role of the ambassador is to forge closer relations between the country he represents and the host country. In terms of diplomatic principles and practice, his action contradicts the practice that we adopt. "What was raised can certainly be disputed in terms of the fact," the Deputy Prime Minister said.
***** Semua Nya OK?
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Don't Encourage Cowards

I read this interesting bit in today's TheStar.
Nanyang Siang Pau reported that a student pursuing a computer engineering course at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in Johor fears for his safety and wants to change his course and go to another university elsewhere.

Hou Kang Neng, 20, reportedly said he was worried about the state of crime in Johor.
***** With this attitude and remarkable display of shameless cowardice, the 'prognosis' for this fellow is gloomy. For heaven's sake man, if you're going to run at every scent of trouble, then something is seriously wrong with you. Either get yourself an extra backbone or go for a psychological assessment.

Simple reasoning dictates that one should take precautions in the midst of adversity and danger. 'Don't go out alone or at odd hours,' should not be too difficult for a varsity student
pursuing a computer engineering course to understand. If this is not enough to soothe your overactive fears, then stay indoors all the time. After all you're there to study and not play snooker at 3 AM.

I hope the authorities won't give in to irrational excuses like the above and agree to transfer such spineless cowards. This young man is probably the product of an over-protective family who has been sheltered from the realities of the outside world for so long.

Nanyang Siang Pau could do better to highlight the state of crime in Johor than encourage young men to turn tail when confronted by hardship or misfortune.

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Czech Republic To Fund Mobile Healthcare Clinic For Refugees In Malaysia. Our Government Should Be Ashamed

The United Nations' refugee agency formed a partnership Friday with the Czech Republic and Malaysian volunteer physicians to set up mobile clinics to boost health care for refugee communities.

Doctors and nurses in vans will regularly visit 1,000 refugees, mostly people who fled military-ruled Myanmar, starting July 1 in Klang district near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's main city, said Volker Turk, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees' representative in Malaysia.

Refugees in Malaysia — who are not legally allowed to find employment — sometimes have trouble obtaining medical treatment because of financial costs, language barriers and problems in physically reaching hospitals and clinics, Turk told a news conference.

"It's a marginalized and vulnerable group that is not living in the most healthy environment," Turk said.

The Czech Embassy in Kuala Lumpur is providing US$20,000 to pay for medicine, while Mercy Malaysia, a nongovernment group, will supply the medical staff for the nine-month project.

***** Our government splurges like there is no tomorrow on by-elections and on populist, vote-winning, worthless and meaningless projects, but is incapable of looking after the health of a mere 1,000 refugees! It is disgraceful that the UN should take the initiative to provide this relief through the good offices and generosity of the Czech Republic and volunteer doctors in Malaysia. This clearly shows a callous
indifference to the suffering and welfare of these poor people and is an unmindful abandonment of official responsibility.

What is the point of back-thumping and screaming "Malaysia Boleh!" when even the dire needs of fellow Asians cannot be soothed and relieved by us and it takes a European country to set things right here? We should be ashamed as a nation. So much for our much vaunted 'Asian values'! Third World we are and Third World we shall always be.

You can read the full report HERE.

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