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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Coming soon: Najib's sofa goes to court.....??

Well, we all know that Saiful (the complainant) went to see Najib Razak (our DPM) after the alleged incident before the making of the police report against Anwar Ibrahim (our former DPM), and so surely, the police should have picked up Najib's sofa (or whatever chair that Saiful sat on) to see if there was any DNA samples...of the perpetrator which may have rubbed off on that sofa...
So, maybe when the next sodomy trial of Anwar begins, we will, this time, be seeing the sofa being brought to court....

After all, in the last sodomy trial, we all remember that the mattress came to court... and this story made it to many newspapers all across the world...




PI hired to find still missing double SD PI Balasubramaniam

While attention has been focussed on Anwar-Sodomy-Saiful-Pusrawi, many have not been aware that the 2 Statutory Declaration P. Balasubramaniam, which alleges Najib's involvement in the Altantuya affair.

Just read, a Star online report today , and it quotes a Sinar Harian report which tells us that Balasubramaniam is still missing - and now nephew has hired a Private Investigator to find the uncle..

In fact, all this Anwar-Sodomy-Saiful-Pusrawi distracting us from the UMNO leadership struggle as well..

The said report:-

> In an ironic twist of events, a desperate R. Kumaresan has hired a private investigator to locate his missing uncle P. Balasubramaniam – the controversial private eye linked to the Altantuya murder case.

Sinar Harian reported that Kumaresan had lost faith in the police who did not appear to be actively trying to locate his uncle who is believed to be overseas.

“The police do not seem serious about the safety of my uncle. They keep saying he's safe and does not want to be bothered.

“I'm forced to do this (hire a private eye) because I've lost touch with him for the past two weeks. I'm worried,” he said.

Kumaresan also rubbished rumours that his uncle had returned to Malaysia, adding he had checked with the Immigration Department. - Star Online, 31/7/2008 - Child sex clip shocker for parents [see 2nd part of this report -http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/7/31/nation/21961571&sec=nation]

Just like BN, PR is scared to have local council elections..

Why do they not have Local Council Elections? Somebody told me that it was because of the 'money' - it seems that the amount of money collected by Local Councils can even be more that the State income. (Anyone got any figures on this?)

Another person told me that Pakatan Rakyat is scared of what the people will do if they had local council elections. Traditionally, people balanced thing up --- i.e. if the State government was BN, then when it came to Local Council elections, the same people will vote in candidates from the Opposition parties. Hence, Pakatan Rakyat is afraid that the same thing could happen, and 'not their people' will get into and control the Local Councils...

Oh yes, this unwillingness to have Local Council elections is not new for the Opposition - there was no such Local Council elections also in Kelantan or Trengganu (when opposition ruled).

Such fears and concerns are NO EXCUSE for not bringing back Local Council Elections now. In fact, people want changes - they want greater democracy - they want to chose their reps at all levels - and no longer are they happyn with just choosing MPs and ADUNs..

A friend draw my attention to a piece written by Citizen Nades in Sun about this, and I felt it is good to share this article. (see below).

Here again, he talks about how there is NOTHING really preventing state governments from having Local Council Elections now...

I wonder when the Pakatan Rakyat becomes Federal government, will we be having elections of who will sit as Senators in the Dewan Negara. Even now, Pakatan Rakyat state government can give the people of its state a say in choosing who will be the Senators from their States -- but alas, I believe the PKR,DAP and PAS are just worried about their own party quotas...


Local elections still a dream

OVER
the weekend, a group of like-thinking individuals sat at the Royal Lake Club to talk about reforming local councils and the election of councillors in particular. Media reports quoted one of the speakers, journalism lecturer Wong Chin Huat, as saying that the Pakatan Rakyat-governed states must be pushed to revive local elections.

Having campaigned and pushed for election of councillors for a long, long time, such views may be wishful thinking, but it’s not going to happen. No government – PR or BN – is going to opt for elected representation in local councils.

Ask Petaling Jaya councillor Derek Fernandez who wrote about how the state could call for local government elections without amending the federal constitution. His opinion must be gathering dust in a steel cabinet in the state secretariat building in Shah Alam.

"Why not?" would be the obvious question. From what we have seen in Penang, Perak and Selangor, there’s no room for people’s representation. The composition of councils in these states shows that there’s room for only supporters and cronies. Having promised local elections in their campaigns, what was delivered was short of expectations. But do they care about public sentiments and expectations? Do they care about residents’ groups, civil society and community leaders in the decision-making process? Do they care about the mandate given by the people?

No dear readers, a big NO because they have to look after and satisfy those who helped put them there. They have to appease only a handful of hard core supporters and party workers, not the majority of the people who voted them in. For a good three weeks, leaders of the three parties in power were busy horse trading – who gets what. In the process, we the people became the victims of the inter and intra-party squabbles and people’s representation had to be compromised to make way for the interests of politicians and their parties.

And when pointed out to them that they have to include this group of people, they have the audacity to say: "We never promised to appoint them?"

"Oh Yes, we have included members of the public!" they would retort, but the next question would be: "How many – what percentage?" Having a handful for the sake of dressing up the representation is like having nothing at all. When councils are packed with politicians, the old malaise of "you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours" will come to the fore. With a council packed with politicians, the people’s voices will be drowned by the power of the majority. Will there be voices of reason or voices of interested parties and the businesses and the millions?

Never mind the fact that the Local Government Act says that those appointed must have expertise in a specific area or are well-versed in local government affairs. Look at the list and the facts stare at your face.

Wong, the other speakers and the motley crowd which attended the talk on local elections, were there with good intentions. They represented the larger interests of society but sorry to say, their voices are going to be lost in the wilderness of politicking and the art of diplomacy.

Another speaker, DAP parliamentarian Liew Chin Tong was quoted as saying: "Parties are important to make consolidated decisions." Whatever that means, it is a telling statement indeed.

Three months ago, when I criticised the composition of the councils in Penang at a forum organised by Ipoh City Watch, party supporters took umbrage and confronted me, saying: "You cannot say such things. It’s only two months. Give us time." Time to do what? Horse trading and manoeuvring so that the cronies benefit?

Would those who were members of the "Shadow MPPJ" who are now sitting in their air-conditioned offices care to give their views? Or are they waiting to be challenged to a debate?

It took the PR government four months to appoint councillors in Selangor, after several postponements. Were councils in the list of priorities? No, they were at the bottom of the ladder while those in power were busy trying to appease their supporters. As I said in a previous column, nothing has changed except for the abbreviations – BN has become PR; MIC, MCA and Umno have become DAP, PAS and PKR. Remember the demonstration by PKR members over the lack of "proper party representation in local councils" outside the MB’s office after the list was announced? That in a nutshell, says everything – We want 100% of the spoils. -The Sun Online

R. Nadeswaran is passionate about the way local councils are managed and run and has written extensively on the need for elected representation. He can be reached at: citizen-nades@thesundaily.com .




Again, it

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Would "Malaysian King of Procrastination" do anything about SUHAKAM?

Well, here we have it - SUHAKAM also wants reforms - it wants to be given 'teeth' - and do not want to remain a 'toothless tiger'

But wait, who said this? Sadly, it is not the 'not-so-vocal' Chairperson, a former Attorney General of Malaysia, who served the government well during the 1987 Operation Lallang period, the Judicial Crisis of 1988 ....Abu Talib Othman but just one of the many HR Commissioners, Siva Subramaniam.

Faced with the threat of being downgraded by an international body, Malaysia's Human Rights Commission (suhakam) today asked the government for "teeth" so that the "toothless tiger" can bite.

Its commissioner Datuk Siva Subramaniam said they are not surprised that the threat has been made by the world body as even cabinet ministers have called them a "toothless tiger".

"Provide the teeth, then Suhakam can ensure that human rights are protected," he said, when approached by reporters at the 13th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Forum of the National Human Rights Institutions today. - Sun2Surf, 29/7/2008 - "Suhakam: Give the toothless tiger teeth to bite"


After some international review body says it, SUHAKAM seems to be just now responding and telling the government that the Act needs to be amended - and that our Human Rights Commission needs more "teeth" and reforms to be able to more effectively perform the role of a HR Commission.

And, what does this SUHAKAM's rep (or is it just Siva Subramaniam talking) say:-

TENURE needs to be increased to at least 5 years.

He said the Human Rights Commission Act 1999, under which Suhakam was formed, has limitations and needs to be amended. One of the limitations is that the commissioner's tenure of service is just two years while in many other countries it is five years.
GOVERNMENT should encourage HR Commissioners to speak out - but not penalize them for speaking out by not re-appointing them.

He said many people feel that if the commissioner "speaks his mind out, there he goes".
SUHAKAM definitely needs more ENFORCEMENT powers -- or just more powers. Suhakam's reccomendation must not be ignored but immediately acted upon.

"But Suhakam does not have enforcement powers. We make many discoveries during our visits (Suhakam's monitoring activities) but our suggestions are mostly recommendations and sometimes these recommendations are treated as nothing," he said.

He said in some countries, the Human Rights Commission has its own court and implements its powers and can give its own directives.

"It will be useless if we just make recommendations and they are not implemented," he said.


And what else....it is shocking to hear that SUHAKAM has raised all this matters to the government but the government has not given any positive response. (Does this mean the only response the government has given is negative responses?) Better some response than no response at all.

"Of course, some of these arguments are valid. The ball is at the government's feet. Suhakam had provided the advice (on providing the enforcement power) to the government," he said.

Suhakam had proposed this to the government in several meetings but there has not been any positive response.

Well, I really do not expect anything for so long as Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is Prime Minister - he is the "Malaysian King of Procrastination" - see what happen to that Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) -- whereby the deadline for implementation set by the the Royal Commission to Enhance the Operation and Management of the Royal Malaysia Police in 2005 was 31st May 2006. And let us not forget, this was something our PM said he would get implemented.

Well, it really would be good to hear what the Pakatan Rakyat would be doing about SUHAKAM reforms if it were to come into power come September 16 (or maybe after the next General Elections).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We do not need pro-government HR Commissioners

What do you want SUHAKAM to become a more effective Human Rights Commission and institution?

Reasonably, the Chairperson of SUHAKAM and SUHAKAM commissioners should be pushing for more and more reforms so that SUHAKAM will become a more effective Human Rights Commission - but alas this is not the case.

The very 'not-vocal' Chairperson, a former Attorney General of Malaysia, who served the government well during the 1987 Operation Lallang period, the Judicial Crisis of 1988 .... the person who really lakes the requisite credentials to even be appointed as Human Rights Commissioner, finally speaks.....

When met at the Asia Pacific Forum, Suhakam chairperson Abu Talib Othman said the government must study the concerns raised "very seriously" because amending the Act was outside the scope of Suhakam. - Malaysiakini, 29/7/2008 "Najib: Review of Suhakam Act will have repercussions"
And he sounds so much like a GOVERNMENT spokesperson - certainly not like a Human Rights Commissioners.

SUHAKAM, get to it and start working out what should be amended and how should it be amended. Then, tell it to the government....in fact, go ahead and draft the Bill as well. Do not wait for the government to do it...

What do we need to improve SUHAKAM?

1) Definitely a longer term for Human Rights Commissioner - at least 5-6 years, and maybe a maximum of 2 terms only.

2) Definitely full-time Human Rights Commissioners - not part-timers. Take Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer, he is is certainly too bousy in court and with his work - I do not see how he will have time to even attend to his work a an effective HR Commissioner.

3) So many complaints have been made - yet how many have been investigated and a public inquiry held... (If we had an effective HR Commission, we need not be setting up new Royal Commissions for this and that....)

4) Today, many do not see the SUHAKAM as a venue where they can get justice...so what can be done. SUHAKAM is quick to avoid any inquiry citing that there is a court case pending. What about the allegation that surfaced in PI Balasubramaniam's 1st Statutory Declaration - that the police consciously left from his statement matters refering to Najib...or that the prosecutors also did not ask any questions that would bring out the name of Najib (hence keeping the full truth away from the courts..).Should not an INDEPENDENT Human Rights Commission on its own motion start an inquiry into this...for surely it is wrong to say we cannot because there is a pending case. There is NO pending case concerning these allegations - which are very very serious matters of Human Rights.

5) We only hear of SUHAKAM when some groups send some memorandum or other - and then nothing. We should be having several public inquiries being done at the same time given the number of HR Commissioners we have - so why do we not have that happening. Well, because we need to get a certain number of HR Commissioners voting in favour of a public inquiry before we can have one....and guess what busy 'pro-governmnent' HR Commissioners would not vote for public inquiries...we definitely need more transparency. Maybe open to the public SUHAKAM meetings....mmm.

6) What about prosecution powers for SUHAKAM...

7) What about the powers of making orders with regard to damages and compensations to victims.

so many many things could be done to make our SUHAKAM a better Human Rights commission .... but first, we need real Human Rights persons appointed as Human Rights Commissioners. (Or better still, maybe they should be elected in....)

We do not need pro-government persons sitting as HR Commissioners - we need independent persons who have a passion for Human Rights sitting as Human Rights Commissioners..

Foreign spouses should get PR status on registration of marriage

Foreign spouses of Malaysian citizens should be accorded permanent residency status on the date of the registration of the marriage.

It is absurd now, that even for a PR status, many have to wait for at least 5 years or more..

Now, in our Asian culture, marriage is not just between the 2 spouses - but is a union of 2 families. With marriage also comes obligations to the parents and dependants of your spouse.

Now, what happens if the Malaysian spouse suddenly dies - the present system would mean that the foreign spouse, without the PR, will have no choice but to leave the family matrimonial home, abandon the parents and dependents of the other spouse....and leave.

And if there are children of the marriage, who will be Malaysian, ...now the foreign spouse will have to either leave the children behind....or take the Malaysian children with him/her separating them from grandparents and other family members. Remember most persons are not that rich to be able to have regular trips back to Malaysia to keep the ties going...Consider really the effect on the children - the change of living atmosphere, language & culture, friends, etc..

As such, there really must be an immediate review of current policy and practice - the foreign spouse, on the registration of the marriage in Malaysia, should immediately be accorded with Permanent Residency status. [Note that this PR status can be revoked if there is discovered that there was fraud, or some other reason to do that later on ...]

While so many foreign spouses and their partners, families and children have been been going through this trauma of 'what will happen to us if the Malaysian spouse dies suddenly?", I was rather shocked at how the government had been handing out citizenships as a bribe (or shall I say 'incentive') to get Malaysian doctors to come back and serve in Malaysia, and maybe even other persons which we may not know of - this is so DISCRIMINATORY. Citizenships - not just PR status.
MMA president Datuk Dr Khoo Kah Lin said ...."There are already incentives for doctors who want to return from overseas and work in Malaysia. They include tax exemption on personal items, exemption of import and excise duties for two cars, and citizenship for spouses and children within six months of their return." - New Straits Times, 29/7/2008 - Doctors against ministry's proposal

Monday, July 28, 2008

UMNO members in branches do not have a say in who will be UMNO President...

According to the UMNO Secretary General, the infamous Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor:-
UMNO grassroot members at the Branches have no role in the choosing the leadership of UMNO at the national level
- they should just pick the candidates for the Division-level leadership, and their divisional reps to the the National level General Meeting of UMNO.
- Branch level UMNO members, in short the ordinary UMNO members should not waste time discussing as to who should be President or Deputy President at branch-level meetings...
- they should 'unquestioningly' just accept the announced transition of power plans

Setiausaha Agung Umno, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor menasihatkan cawangan Umno tidak membuang masa mengemukakan calon untuk mengisi jawatan Presiden, Timbalan Presiden dan Naib Presiden dalam persidangan tahunan masing-masing.

Katanya, mengikut Perlembagaan Umno, cawangan hanya perlu menentukan calon bertanding pada peringkat bahagian, seterusnya mewakili bahagian ke Perhimpunan Agung Umno pada Disember ini.

....Tengku Adnan berkata, tindakan beberapa cawangan mengemukakan calon bagi jawatan Presiden dan Timbalan Presiden dikhuatiri boleh mengkucar-kacirkan keadaan dan menjejaskan kestabilan dalam Umno. Katanya, Presiden Umno, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi sudah mengumumkan pelan peralihan kuasa kepada Timbalan Presiden, Datuk Seri Najib Razak dan berikutan itu jadi tidak timbul soal pencalonan ini kerana bimbang akan mengkucar-kacirkan keadaan.- Berita Harian Online, 28/7/2008 - 'Jangan buang masa kemuka calon tertinggi'

And in the same paper, we find this report about how 13 Divisions will be nominating Abdullah for President and Najib for Deputy -- and mind you the Branches are just meeting - and the Divisions have yet to meet...

Kecuali Umno Gua Musang, 13 lagi bahagian di Kelantan dijangka mencalonkan Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi dan Datuk Seri Najib Razak mengekalkan jawatan Presiden dan Timbalan Presiden parti pada pemilihan Umno, Disember ini.

Ketua Penerangan Umno Kelantan, Datuk Mohd Alwi Che Ahmad, berkata ia selaras dengan pendirian Badan Perhubungan Umno Kelantan yang mahukan Abdullah dan Najib terus menerajui parti sehingga peralihan kuasa yang dipersetujui antara mereka disempurnakan. - Berita Harian Online, 28/7/2008 - 13 lagi bahagian mahu Pak Lah, Najib

Did the 13 Divisions consult the membership in all its branches - and is that what the membership said they wanted --- ooops but then UMNO Secretary said Branched should not be wasting their time talking about who should be the next President and Deputy President of UMNO...

And there would be elections of Division leaders as well this time around - and so all these current (but maybe soon to be unseated) Division leaders are just talking without any real support from the ordinary grassroot UMNO membership... (If I am a UMNO member, I would definitely sanction these Division leaders for shooting off their mouth before getting the mandate of their members at the branches, etc...)

Interestingly, this trend within UMNO is also at the State levels as well....

State Umno liaison committee chairman Datuk Ahmad Said has cautioned party members against undermining his efforts to unify the party in the state after most branches showed signs of contest for the top division position.

Ahmad seemed disappointed that members were ignoring his earlier advice that there be no contests.

The Mentri Besar, who spoke to state Umno leaders, including those in the wings, here on Saturday night renewed his call to members to refrain from taking any action that could split the party and affect its chances in the next general election.- Star Online, 28/7/2008 - 'Umno members urged not to contest for top division posts'


UMNO leaders are trying to suppress the fundamental right of the members at the base...branch levels in choosing their leaders at all levels ....especially the National President and his Deputy.

The message is listen to your leaders....OBEY...OBEY....do not cause trouble...do not rock the boat....What is happening in UMNO now sounds so familiar because it was just the same kind of thing that was happening to all Malaysians as well.

Well, Malaysians have awoken from their slumber and have 'disobeyed the leader' and voted in the opposition into 5 state governments, and deprived the BN of the 2/3rd majority.

Now, we focus on UMNO members to see what they will do....will they still OBEY OBEY and follow the expressed wishes of their supreme leaders .... Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, najib Razak...now Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and even Ahmad Said.

Why bother with UMNO - because it is our duty to spread democracy and positive values/principles at all level - and they are also Malaysians. Democracy and democratic practices is not just for General Elections - but should be there at every levels even the UMNO, its branch levels, its Division levels and the national levels.

If UMNO members realize the meaning of "people power", "kuasa rakyat" and "makkal sakti" - it will be great.

If only they can realize that it is the people who has the power, who decides..who chooses the leaders..... not the leader that choses all the other leaders now and for ever...

ACA is not the tool of UMNO (or BN) to be used as it pleases..

When it came to the GE2008, the BN said that its candidates allegedly would and have been vetted and found to be "not corrupt" - was that it?

Now, when it comes to UMNO elections again they again going to use the ACA to eradicate money politics...

Umno has asked the country's anti-corruption watchdog to help it battle vote-buying in the heated contest for top posts.

MCPX

Party secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said complaints would be referred to the Anti-Corruption Agency.

"The party's disciplinary board cannot check such complaints as it does not have the means to do so. If there is proof, we will refer them to the ACA," he was quoted as saying by the New Sunday Times.

"There have been complaints of money changing hands at party meetings, but we do not have proof."

Tengku Adnan said party members had nothing to fear. "We are serious about eradicating money politics." - Malaysiakini, 27/7/2008 - "Party polls: Umno to call in ACA"

What happened to those persons that were found involved in money politics previously? Were they charged in court? NO....they were not -- some internal discipline apparently. If that is the way, that UMNO does things - it is very wrong to use the ACA....and it is wrong for ACA to allow itself to be used in this way..

So, with regard the last GE2008 - can we say that ACA has given a pronouncement that all BN candidates are not guilty of corruption....surely the ACA would not have enough time to do any investiogation and pronounce any person not guilty of corrupt practices, etc...

OR did the ACA say that there were no investiogations pending against the said BN candidates? ...will the ACA do that? I do not think so...

In any event, the ACA does not belong to UMNO or the BN -- and it should not be used in such ways by UMNO or the BN?

The ACA is not there for your political games...

If UMNO is serious about erradicating money politics - then NOW today go and file reports with the ACA with regard to those whom you find guilty of money politics before, who you did vet out internal punishments to. Go file a report. Hand over the results of your investigations. Let the law take its course. Let them who are guilty be charged in court, tried and sentenced if found guilty... If you do this, then people will know that you are serious about combatting corruption - if not, just stop making all these statements about ACA and erradicating money politics....

We are fed-up... with all talk and no action.

By the way, is the PM, DPM, them Ministers and their Deputies, Menteri Besars and State Excos using government money to move around here and there to campaign for the UMNO positions in the Supreme Council?? ACA should be looking at this ....because this is the peoples' money and resources.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

No Mercedes-Benz, No Proton Perdana, No BMW ...

Should State Exco members be given new cars to travel about? That is the question that we have to answer.

In Trengganu, the issue is whether Mercedes-Benz E200 Kompressor or Proton Perdana V6, and that is definitely not the correct question at all.

State Exco members, and State Assemblymen chosen by the Menteri Besar, appointed by the Sultan, to govern the state. They are the executive arm of the the state. They are at the end of the peoples' representatives...yes the representative of the ordinary fisherman, farmer, civil servant, retail shop owner, policeman, .... and he has been elected to serve the people.

Hence, why waste money getting them new cars - do they not have their own cars?

What should be done is that the state government should be paying them mileage, maintenance and other transport allowance/s maybe for the depreciation of the value of their cars. There is no necessity of getting them new cars...

Wakil rakyat...or peoples' representatives should not be pushed into some 'upper-class status' making them so different from the people they represent... and this will slowly slowly make them isolated from the rakyat they represent.

In fact, even that "Yang Berhormat" (Honourable) or "Yang Amat Berhormat" (Most Honourable) must be dropped because it only serves to distant the elected reps from the lives and the people that they represent. In fact, the better term may be "Yang Berkhidmat" (The one who serves) may be a better way of calling them. That is why I would call all most of the time by the names their parents gave them, the names that they are called by friends - rather than the YB, YAB, Datuk this and Datuk Seri that...

back to them cars - nobody, be it the Menteri Besar (or the PM, or the DPM) or the State Exco (or Cabinet Members) should ever be given NEW (and/or expensive cars) to travel in. They can and should always be using their own cars - with the appropiate allowances given.

And with regard to cars for the usage of foreign dignitaries - of course, we must use our own Malaysian cars - and not some BMWs and/or Mercedes-Benz. Is our Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi embarassed about the cars that Malaysia produces, for him to suggest that these Benz be used for foreign dignitaries only..
On Friday, Abdullah had announced that all the Mercedes-Benzes bought by the state for its executive council members could only be used for foreign dignitaries. - Star Online, 27/7/2008 -Exco men use Merc despite Cabinet order
In any event, is this not a State matter - and why is Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Prime Minister, an elected MP from Penang (not Trengganu) butting in a matter that should be a Trengganu state matter. I am sure that the cars that the MB, State Exco members use or the State Government buys is not in the Federal List in our Federal Constitution, and comes within the jurisdiction of the Federal Government.

Soon, our Prime Minister will be telling what colour blazer the MBs and State Exco members should be wearing.

At the end of the day, I say that there must be no cars - be it Benzs or Protons given to the Menteri Besar and/or State Exco members to travel around with...They should just use their own cars, and given the normal travelling allowances.

Civil servants, state or Federal, are expected to use their own cars and only get travelling claims - so why should there be any different with MBs and State Excos - and when a car is one's own, more care will also be taken with regard to maintenance, etc.

In fact, there may be no need for the State to even have a few cars for them visiting foreign dignitaries - it may be cheaper to just hire limos/cars as and when needed. This would surely save a lot of money.

For too long, the State governments have been wasting money, when money could have been better spent to erase poverty and improve the quality of life of its people - I thought our Ahmad Said, the new MB of Trengganu would be different, when I saw him questioning the unnecessary projects/spending of the previous government - the Crystal Mosque, etc...

Hope that in the Pakatan Rakyat states, things are different and monies are not wasted on expensive cars, uniforms/clothes, functions... but on the correct things for the betterment of its people...

Saudara MB and EXCO members, why do you want to drive around in big expensive cars? To show-off??

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Najib's cockiness is pathetic

Najib's cockiness is really pathetic - he is talking about the support that he expects when he is Prime Minister and President of UMNO in 2 years time..

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he needed the cooperation of all quarters to strengthen the Barisan Nasional and Umno after taking over as Prime Minister and party president in 2011. - Star Online, 26/7/2008 -Najib hopes for support of all when he takes over as premier
Hell0 - the UMNO members have yet to have their say - as to whether they even want you as the next President of UMNO.

You, Najib, and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi may have reached some agreement - and the current Supreme Council may agree with you (or some may just respect that it was the majority decision but may not agree). Either way, before the year ends, we will all be seeing a new UMNO Supreme Council....and would that new Supreme Council still want you as the next President or PM?

Hello, maybe even the BN may not be the government any more - and there will be no Prime Ministership for Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to hand over to you. Only, he will be able to hand over the Presidency of UMNO.

Remember, that Mahathir also did not want you as his Deputy despite the fact that you were then the Vice President with the highest votes - he chose Abdullah Ahmad Badawi over you as the Deputy Prime Minister...

And then, when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi became Prime Minister - the delay in naming and appointing you the Deputy Prime Minister tells a lot. It would be indicative that he too would have preferred some one else... In fact, it seems that Najib is aware of how Abdullah Ahmad Badawi feels about him, when he is quoted in Star saying:-

“I hope Pak Lah (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) will continue to support me in the future although he may not hold office then,” he said in his speech when opening of the Fifth Ex-Assemblymen Council’s (Mubarak) general assembly at a hotel here last night.- Star Online, 26/7/2008 -Najib hopes for support of all when he takes over as premier


Now with all these allegations floating around linking you (and your wife) to that Altantuya affair/murder, etc..., do you still believe that the members of UMNO and the people of Malaysia would still want you as the next President of UMNO, or the next Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Well, some in UMNO seem to prefer some other people to be the next President. The Desa Jaya branchof the Johor Bahru Umno division unanimously passed a motion recommending Muhyiddin as the party president on July 19

The time is ripe that a leader from Johor - Umno’s birthplace - be nominated as party president, said Desa Jaya Umno branch head Abdul Muhamad Talib Ngah....“The time has come for someone from Johor to be party president. Muhyiddin Yassin is the person fit for the post...“He has shown that he has the capabilities to perform his duties entrusted upon him thus far,” Muhamad Talib told Malaysiakini. - Malaysiakini, 26/7/2008 - 'Johorean's turn to lead Umno'


So, Najib it may be really pre-mature for you to start behaving as though you will be next President of UMNO --- or the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

I really believe that it will be really better if the people of Malaysia can chose the Prime Minister of Malaysia - just like the people of US chooses their President.

SUHAKAM, a 'below standard' Human Rights Commission...

SUHAKAM does not meet the mark as a Human Rights Commission (Human Rights Institutions) - and it is so true.

When the 1st batch of Human Rights Commissioners (2000-2002) were appointed - we had several real human rights persons, and a strong vocal Chairperson in the person of Musa Hitam, former DPM.

When the first 2-year term expired, some of the human rights persons and good Commissioners like Prof. Mehrun Siraj and Tan Sri Annuar Zainal Abidin were never appointed for a 2nd term. These 2 were involved in the SUHAKAM Inquiry into the Kesas Highway incident – which finally did directly criticize the police for their use of excessive force that turned a peaceful protest into a chaotic incident, and the coming out of the document on Rights of Remand Prisoners Report (2001) – which recommended various reforms including the right to a phone call, etc.

Of course, if you were the PM - you would want to weed out these more independent and critical HR Commissioners. Musa Hitam also was not re-appointed Chairman.

Over the years, more and more human rights persons with guts to act have been weeded out of SUHAKAM - and the last to go maybe Prof Mohd Hamdan Adnan.

Look at who is the Chairperson of SUHAKAM now - is it not that former Attorney General, who was in office during 1987 (operasi lallang)...1988 (Judicial Crisis) --- that appointment of him as Chairperson would have lost SUHAKAM's credibility as a Human Rights Institution.

Now, with regard to SUHAKAM - even the Malaysian government does not respect it. After all, has any SUHAKAM's Reports/Recommendation been discussed or debated in the Malaysian Parliament to date...

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) may lose its ‘A' status from a key regulator, thus potentially barring it from attending sessions of the UN Human Rights Council.
MCPX

This is following an accreditation review exercise by the International Coordination Committee (ICC) of the National Human Rights Institution. Suhakam was told by the ICC to provide, in writing, within one year of such notice, evidence to establish its continued conformity with the Paris Principles. - Malaysiakini, 25/7/2008 "Suhakam might lose 'A' status"

What is wrong with SUHAKAM, besides the kind of persons who are now appointed HR Commissioners... a lot.

To omprove, there must be at least a 5 year term of office (not this ridiculous 2-year term).

There must be full-time HR Commissioners - not part-timers as it is now. (It is not a Datukship that we are talking about here - we are talking about Human Rights Commissioners.)

The ICC stated that among the reasons for the possible re-categorisation of Suhakam's status is the need for the "independence of the commission to be strengthened by the provision of a clear and transparent appointment and dismissal process" in the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999.

The ICC also noted the short term of office (two years) by which members of the commission are currently appointed.

There is also a lack of provisions in the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 to ensure genuine "pluralism" in the make up of Suhakam's commissioners, said the ICC.

-- it will be good if we know what else is wrong with our SUHAKAM... (where is that full report, by the way?)

It was fashionable for countries to have Human Rights Commissions - so Malaysian government created SUHAKAM - that's all. They wanted to have a Human Rights Commission but never really wanted it to fully function as a real and effective Human Rights Commission -- and they have succeeded.

Now, the accreditation body has found the Malaysian Human Rights Commission wanting...to the extend that it may be degraded to "B" status - which is very embarrassing.

What will Abdullah Ahmad Badawi do about this? Possibly nothing much - for after all he has already got an UMNO man ready to take over as the head of the Malaysian judiciary soon.


NOTES:

And, what is that Paris Principles (taken from the Malaysia and Human Rights website -http://www.geocities.com/easytocall/parisprincipleshri.html)

Principles relating to the status and functioning of national institutions for
protection and promotion of human rights

Note: In October, 1991, the Center for Human Rights convened an international workshop to review and update information on existing national human rights institutions. Participants included representatives of national institutions, States, the United Nations, its specialized agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.

In addition to exchanging views on existing arrangements, the workshop participants drew up a comprehensive series of recommendations on the role, composition, status and functions of national human rights instruments. These recommendations, which were endorsed by the Commission on
Human Rights in March 1992 (resolution 1992/54) and by the General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/48/134 of 20 December 1993, are summarized below.

A. Competence and responsibilities

I . A national institution shall be vested with competence to protect and promote human rights.

2. A national institution shall be given as broad a mandate as possible, which shall be clearly set forth in a constitutional or legislative text, specifying its composition and its sphere of competence.

3. A national institution shall, inter alia, have the following responsibilities:

(a) To submit to the government, parliament and any other competent body, on an advisory basis either at the request of the authorities concerned or through the exercise of its power to hear a matter without higher referral, opinions, recommendations, proposals and reports on any matters concerning the protection and promotion of human rights. The national institution may decide to publicize them. These opinions, recommendations, proposals and reports, as well as any prerogative of the national institution, shall relate to the following areas:

(i) Any legislative or administrative provisions, as well as provisions relating to judicial organization, intended to preserve and extend the protection of human rights. In that connection, the national institution shall examine the legislation and administrative provisions in force, as well as bills and proposals, and shall make such recommendations as it deems appropriate in order to ensure that these provisions conform to the fundamental principles of human rights. It shall, if necessary, recommend the adoption of new legislation, the amendment of legislation in force and the adoption or amendment of administrative measures;

(ii) Any situation of violation of human rights which it decides to take up;

(iii) The preparation of reports on the national situation with regard to human rights in general, and on more specific matters;

(iv) Drawing the attention of the government to situations in any part of the country where human rights are violated and making proposals to it for initiatives to put an end to such situations and, where necessary, expressing an opinion on the positions and reactions of the government;

b) To promote and ensure the harmonization of national legislation, regulations and practices with the international human rights instruments to which the State is a party, and their effective implementation;

c) To encourage ratification of the above-mentioned instruments or accession to those instruments, and to ensure their implementation;

d) To contribute to the reports which States are required to submit to United Nations bodies and committees, and to regional institutions, pursuant to their treaty obligations, and, where necessary, to express an opinion on the subject, with due respect for their independence;

e) To cooperate with the United Nations and any other agency in the United Nations system, the regional institutions and the national institutions of other countries which are competent in the areas of the protection and promotion of human rights;

f) To assist in the formulation of programmes for the teaching of, and research into, human rights and to take part in their execution in schools, universities and professional circles;

g) To publicize human rights and efforts to combat all forms of discrimination, in particular racial discrimination, by increasing public awareness, especially through information and education and by making use of all press organs.

B. Composition and guarantees of independence and pluralism

1. The composition of the national institution and the appointment of its members, whether by means of an election or otherwise, shall be established in accordance with a procedure which affords all necessary guarantees to ensure the pluralist representation of the social forces (of civilian society) involved in the protection and promotion of human rights, particularly by powers which will enable effective cooperation to be established with, or through the presence of, representatives of:

Non-governmental organizations responsible for human rights and efforts to combat racial discrimination, trade unions, concerned social and professional organizations, for example, associations of lawyers, doctors, journalists and eminent scientists;

Trends in philosophical or religious thought;

Universities and qualified experts;

Parliament;

Government departments (if they are included, these representatives should participate in the deliberations only in an advisory capacity).

2. The national institution shall have an infrastructure which is suited to the smooth conduct of its activities, in particular adequate funding. The purpose of this funding should be to enable it to have its own staff and premises, in order to be independent of the government and not be subject to financial control which might affect this independence.

3. In order to ensure a stable mandate for the members of the institution, without which there can be no real independence, their appointment shall be effected by an official act which shall establish the specific duration of the mandate. This mandate may be renewable, provided that the pluralism of the institution's membership is ensured.

C. Methods of operation

Within the framework of its operation, the national institution shall:

1. Freely consider any questions falling within its competence, whether they are submitted by the government or taken up by it without referral to a higher authority, on the proposal of its members or of any petitioner,

2. Hear any person and obtain any information and any documents necessary for assessing situations falling within its competence;

3. Address public opinion directly or through any press organ, particularly in order to publicize its opinions and recommendations;

4. Meet on a regular basis and whenever necessary in the presence of all its members after they have been duly consulted;

5. Establish working groups from among its members as necessary, and set up local or regional sections to assist it in discharging its functions;

6. Maintain consultation with the other bodies, whether jurisdictional or otherwise, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights (in particular, ombudsmen, mediators and similar institutions);

7. In view of the fundamental role played by the non-governmental organizations in expanding the work of the national institutions, develop relations with the non-governmental organizations devoted to protecting and promoting human rights, to economic and social development, to combating racism, to protecting particularly vulnerable groups (especially children, migrant workers, refugees, physically and mentally disabled persons) or to specialized areas.

D. Additional principles concerning the status of commissions with quasi-jurisdictional competence

A national institution may be authorized to hear and consider complaints and petitions concerning individual situations. Cases may be brought before it by individuals, their representatives, third parties, non-governmental organizations, associations of trade unions or any other representative organizations. In such circumstances, and without prejudice to the principles stated above concerning the other powers of the commissions, the functions entrusted to them may be based on the following principles:

1. Seeking an amicable settlement through conciliation or, within the limits prescribed by the law, through binding decisions or, where necessary, on the basis of confidentiality;

2. Informing the party who filed the petition of his rights, in particular the remedies available to him, and promoting his access to them;

3. Hearing any complaints or petitions or transmitting them to any other competent authority within the limits prescribed by the law;

4. Making recommendations to the competent authorities, especially by proposing amendments or reforms of the laws, regulations or administrative practices, especially if they have created the difficulties encountered by the persons filing the petitions in order to assert their rights.

Note:

1. A/36/440 (1981), A/38/416 (1983), E/CN.4/1987/37 (1987), E/CN.4/1989/47 and Add. 1(1989), E/CN.4/1991/23 and Add. 1(1991). [back to the text]

Printed at United Nations, Geneva
April 1993




Friday, July 25, 2008

Who will investigate Najib/Rosmah's involvement in the Altantuya affair/murder?

Who will investigate Najib's or Rosmah's involvement in the whole Altantuya affair - including the murder?

Who will investigate the allegations about the police, and the prosecutors that they did take steps not to get the name or person of Najib involved in the Altantuya murder case investigations..?

The court, in the person of the High Court Judge, rejected Karpal Singh's application to get Najib to testify --- but then Karpal was only the lawyer of the family of the victim, and this was a criminal trial - and the only issue is whether the 3 being charged are guilty or not of murder, etc.. (not whether Najib was an accomplice? not whether Najib ordered the killing? or things like that...)

For the Defence, calling Najib to prove that he ordered the killing --- is not going to get the accused off from the charge that they are facing now. In fact, calling Najib may not really be beneficial for those being accussed of murder, etc in that Altantuya case...

It was the police who should have done a thorough investigation with regard to everyone involved including also the person who ordered it done, etc....and then, the prosecution had the duty to charge all who were involved....but this is Malaysia -- and oddly even at one time, the Prosecutor came out and said that no one else is involved ...

So, at the end of the day, it looks that nobody is going to investigate and convince Malaysians whether Najib (or his wife) was or was not involved in that whole Altantuya affair... unless a Royal Commission of Inquiry is set up to clear up all these allegations that is definitely affecting the reputation of Malaysia...

What happened to Raja Petra is so sad. Note Najib(and/or his wife) did not sue Raja Petra for defamation --- but the state charged his for criminal defamation...

Let us also push for that case against Raja Petra to start - and maybe that will be the avenue that the truth will finally come out --- (provided we do not get some judge that will prevent the calling of Najib, Rosmah and/or other relevant witnesses...)

Maybe...let's go for the Royal Commission...

What every State Government must do to improve.. - Proposals for Reform

For too long the BN ruled the Federation, and the States in Semenanjung Malaysia. Many have forgotten that we are a Federation - and the State also have powers and rights, and is capable of doing so much more for the rakyat of the various States.

Pre-GE 2008, too little emphasis was placed on State Government - but things have changed today, and we need to seriously look at the States again... and when we do this, we find that there are so many things that are lacking...and so, I would like to start the ball rolling by making proposals for improvement, and I start with State Government websites....

On its websites, each and every States must at the very least have the following:-

a) The State Constitution (This must be in Bahasa Malaysia, English, and good if it is also in other languages used by its peoples..). Good also if all other State laws are up in the individual websites.
& all the relevant laws. [We really cannot find the State Constitutions and other State made laws in publications easily in the bookshops..]

b) The HANSARD - being the minits of the proceedings in the State Legislative Assembly. We have a Malaysian Parliament website, with the Hansards, copies of the Bills being tabled, etc -- likewise now that Pakatan Rakyat is governing 5 States - it will be good if the minutes of the State Legislative Assembly be on the web. Also must be there is the record of attendance of the ADUNs. We must also have the various written questions and the answers (this even the Parliament website sadly lacks...). State Legislative Assembly procedure, rules, standing orders, etc...must also be online.

c) DECISIONS and POLICY of State Governments - there must be a clear statement of such policies and decisions. In Thailand, there is something called 'Cabinet Resolutions' and it will clearly state the decisions and policies - it is a document that people can later use to claim their rights, and governments criticized for failing to adhere to its policies and decisions.
- In Malaysia, nobody really knows what exactly is the policy and decisions. What is reported in the media - is just that, and it cannot be relied on. There is no government document or minutes that one can rely on to clarify matters.
- So, now Pakatan Rakyat State governments can take the lead - and come out with State Government Resolutions, Decisions and Policies - and best it be numberred as well for easy reference (and this must be also on the State Government websites...

d) There must also be developed an online avenue for people to be able to ask questions - and get answers... This also can be there in the State Government websites..

Towards greater transparency and accountability. Improve the means of communication between the Rakyat and the government...

The present websites, most likely developed during the BN era, lacks a lot of things -- and the one thing we find is the the TENDERS, etc... but really there is so much more that should be in State Government websites..

Education of the rakoyat should also be done through these websites...

Hopefully, all you who read this posting will also forward to as many,. and let us all campaign for greater transparency and accountability -- and, of course real democracy (where the gap between rakyat and government is reduced and minimal..)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Power corrupts PR ? -... now closing factories..seizing land....

2 "illegal" factories closed down immediately. Land to be taken back because breach of the land usage conditions. -- I would have expected it from some BN-run state government, but not from Pakatan Rakyat Selangor Government - worse still, the Sinar Harian report tells us that this was the announcement by one Elizabeth Wong ( a former human rights activist and advocate..).

How sad it is that people seem to change so fast? What's that saying about power and corruption?? [ I am basing it just on a newspaper report, which we all know may sometimes not be accurate)

Let me state the concerns I have about that report.

1) The order is for closing down of that factories IMMEDIATELY lacks compassion - what about the workers? What about the family and the dependent's of these workers - who may now not even get their July wages - or be able to find work very soon. How manly workers will be affected? Did the state government consider this matter at all? (warnings may have been given - summons may have been issued - but really, is there no other options that could be resorted to...note only 4 months since PR started to govern)

2) From the report, it seems that the 2 were registered companies - so maybe their factory was build on land that was not for factories (maybe because it was land that they owned and maybe 'economics' made it not feasible to pay additional money and rent a factory lot in some industrial estate some kilometers away ...). Maybe, it was a small 'factory' when it started doing some small little business ....and it expanded.

3) The report says that it was causing environmental pollution - was time given at all for them to overcome their 'environmental' problems -- or maybe they were just 2 small factories owned by not very influential persons....mmm

4) The shocking thing about the announcement reported in Sinar Harian was the "immediate" closure... surely time could have been given for the factory to re-locate, if it is so required. Surely, time should have been given for the factory workers to find new employment... Immediate closure -- it sounds so BN, so inhumane..

5) Then, the announcement that the land will be taken back because of the breach of the usage conditions -- is it not too draconian. Many people build their homes on "agriculture land" - So, is Pakatan Rakyat going to be concerned with the LAW and go HARD against all them who break the law? Come on... be human ...be different ...be compassionate ... Talk about warnings, penalties - but definitely not taking away the land from the smaller owners.

6) So, what is the message that Pakatan Rakyat is giving us -- obey the law?

I say, they are changing and a few of us must vigilantly serve as a "check and balance" to ensure that they do not transform into what they sought to replace in government...

Animal Farm by George Orwell comes to mind ...... and soon I believe, we will be seeing Pakatan Rakyat demolishing 'squatters' (urban settlers, being the better word) and refugee settlements because they were not build according to law. All their houses and contents may also be confiscated as well....And maybe, those land owners who allowed them to build their homes on their land will find Pakatan Rakyat Selangor taking back the land because there was a breach of land usage conditions....Beware too all of you who made extensions without approvals/permits...

If you do want to take back land - then you must take back the land that State government once gave to them Plantation Companies like Guthrie for a few dollars - which now these plantation companies are selling at about RM300,000 per acre - pure profit...but alas the workers are just pushed out homeless...Government given land to plantations should be taken back when they want to cease operations and/or convert and sell it...


Operasi dua kilang haram akan ditutup serta-merta: Elizabeth


SHAH ALAM - Dua kilang yang beroperasi secara haram di negeri ini akan ditutup serta-merta, kata Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Tetap, Pelancongan, Hal Ehwal Pengguna dan Alam Sekitar, Elizabeth Wong.

Beliau berkata berkata, selain beroperasi secara haram, kilang berkenaan juga dilaporkan menjadi punca pencemaran di kawasan berkenaan.

“Keputusan ini dibuat berdasarkan laporan Jabatan Alam Sekitar (JAS) Selangor mengenai pencemaran yang dibuat oleh kilang terbabit,” katanya kepada sidang media selepas menghadiri Mesyuarat Mingguan Exco, di sini, semalam.

Menurut beliau, dua kilang tersebut iaitu Warisan Naning Distribution Sdn Bhd di Kuala Langat dan Rigid Metal Tech Sdn Bhd di Rantau Panjang, Klang didapati menjalankan operasi tanpa lesen.

“Kedua-duanya beroperasi secara haram serta mencemarkan alam sekitar serta menjejaskan kehidupan masyarakat sekeliling,” ujarnya.

Katanya, penutupan tersebut dibuat kerana pemiliknya ingkar dengan arahan serta prosedur yang telah ditetapkan oleh JAS.

“Kita telah banyak kali memberi amaran serta kompaun kepada mereka tetapi mereka masih berdegil serta melakukan pencemaran dan melanggar garis panduan yang kita tetapkan.

“Jadi, kita terpaksa membuat keputusan ini demi menjaga kebajikan serta kehidupan masyarakat sekeliling,” ujarnya.

Tambahnya, pihaknya akan mengeluarkan notis untuk merampas tanah berkenaan.

“Kita bukan sahaja akan menutup kilang tersebut tetapi juga akan merampas tanah berkenaan kerana telah melanggar syarat milik tanah yang termaktub dalam Kanun Tanah Negara,” katanya.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pakatan Rakyat should intervene in non-exclusivity of "Allah" usage case

It would be good if Pakatan Rakyat, or the PKR, DAP and PAS should also intervene in the Catholic Herald case....

WHY? Because all Malaysians would really like to know what Pakatan Rakyat's position is on the matter, and as such they should intervene in this case as well...

Speaking at this ceramah taking this position or that is not enough (for after all, we know politicians - and how many cater to the crowd, changing positions depending on their audience..)

What is that case all about?

The applicant Roman Catholic Archbishop of KL Murphy Pakiam, had on March 19, filed for a judicial review against the internal security minister and the government over an order that banned the Herald from using the word "Allah" in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

The government believes the word is exclusive to Muslims and threatened to close down the newspaper if it defied the prohibition.

The archbishop, on behalf of the weekly, is seeking several declarations from the court.

Among them, the Herald wants the court to declare that the decision to prohibit it from using the word "Allah" in its publication is null and void and that the Herald is entitled to use the word in the publication and that the word "Allah" is not exclusive to the religion of Islam. - The Malaysian Insider, 9/7/2008 - "Catholic Herald suit attracts more parties"

7 State Islamic Religious Council from the Federal Territories, Perak, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor, Kedah, Johor.

Malaysian Gurdwaras Council have applied to intervene...

We are still waiting for maybe the rest of the Christian Churches in Malaysia to intervene...

Before the 2008 General Elections, during campaigning period..

The PAS candidate in my area was very clear that the word "Allah" was not for exclusive Muslim usage only - hence the other religions can also use it.

Sadly, the PKR candidate was NOT THAT CLEAR - he said that he was not well-versed in theology BUT in his personal view, he saw no problem for Christians and others to use the word "Allah"

Anwar Ibrahim -- ye, the de facto leader of the Pakatan Rakyat - what is the position of the Pakatan Rakyat on this matter? Is it the same as the position of the Barisan Nasional??

Pakatan Rakyat - do not HIDE and avoid making a STAND now on this very important issue..

Pakatan Rakyat - Parti Keadilan Rakyat, PAS and DAP should also intervene...

Same too with regard to those BN political parties who some say may hold a very different view from the BN government - if you do not, then clearly MIC, MCA, GERAKAN, .....all do take the BN government's position...

Taking a stand and a position on a matter like this is not easy ---- but it must be done.

Or, is the position of the State Religious Councils of Perak, Penang, Selangor and Kedah - the position of the Pakatan Rakyat?

This is a REAL issue - so make a stand.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Local Council 'Elections' - where people choose can be done now if PR really wants democracy...

The reason why the Pakatan Rakyat states cannot have Local Council elections is because the law does not allow it, and until that Federal Law is amended in Parliament, which is now controlled by the Barisan Nasional, there can be no Local Council elections..

A really lame excuse....the real reason is that the Pakatan Rakyat are very afraid that an open elections may not provide the results that it would like to have - i.e. its' own people in control of the Local Councils...

There are two views on the issue of Local Council elections:-

a) No problem, the State government can proceed and have Local Council Elections now...
The Federal law governing Local Councils, Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171) in section 1(4) is the way out... and the answer to immediate Local Council elections..
Then, when Act 171 was enacted, it was expressly provided in Section 15(1) that "notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in any written law, all provisions relating to local government elections shall cease to have force or effect". This means that the provisions in the Local Government Elections Act 1960 relating to elections have also ceased to apply.

However, some have argued that this is still legally possible as Section 1(4) allows the state authority to exempt any area within any local authority from any provision of Act 171, including Sections 10 and 15(1). The state legislature can then enact state laws to govern local government elections as it is empowered to do so under Paragraph 4(a) of the State List.

Article 113(4) of the Constitution also provides that state law may authorise the Election Commission to conduct elections other than parliamentary and state legislative elections.

In other words, a state authority may suspend the application of Sections 10 and 15 of Act 171 and then cause the state legislature to enact laws governing elections for those local authority areas. - NST Online, 13/3/2008 -Polls show democracy is very much alive; [the full article is in this blog,
http://charleshector.blogspot.com/search/label/Local%20Council]

b) That we cannot have Local Council elections now - because it MAY by challenged as being inconsistent with Federal Law...

However, to enact state laws governing local government elections might still technically conflict with Sections 10 and 15(1) of Act 171 and the 1965 Emergency Regulations (presumably still in force).

As Act 171 is a federal law made under Article 76(4) and not under Article 76(3) of the Federal Constitution, which deems laws passed by Federal Parliament as state laws, it follows that Article 75 of the Constitution provides that if any state law is inconsistent with a federal law (Act 171 and the emergency laws), the federal law shall prevail and the state law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.

Of course, it can also be argued that with the exemption, the conflict does not arise. But that is a risky approach as the local government elections held pursuant to state laws can be challenged in court. If this is successful, the elections and decisions made by the councillors risk being declared null and void.

THUS, the conclusion this author reached is that it was RISKY - therefore better if we amend the Act first...

Therefore, holding local government elections is possible if Section 15(1) is repealed and Section 10 amended. This can only be done if the Barisan Nasional government, which has a simple majority in parliament, also wants it.
And hence, of late one Pakatan Rakyat asked the question whether the government had any intention of making the necessary amendment -- and of course, the answer was "No".

But, I say there was 2 view points - and taking into consideration also the fact that "it is the state authority (which is essentially the state executive council) and not the federal ministry of housing and local government which has control over the local authorities", I say let us proceed and have Local Council Elections....

OK...OK...if Pakatan Rakyat is so SCARED and do not want to have Local Council Elections until that Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171) is amended, then there are OTHER ways of getting the rakyat to choose their Local Council members...

After the Local Government Act 1976 (Act 171) is amended -- then, I believe, that the Pakatan Rakyat will come up with other excuses - one after another -- like maybe that it cannot be held until the Yang Di-Pertuan Agung withdraws the Emergency Proclamation....blah...blah because...

The last local government elections were held in 1963 under the Local Government Elections Act 1960. However, they were suspended after the Confrontation with Indonesia pursuant to the Emergency (Suspension of Local Government Elections) Regulations 1965 and Emergency (Suspension of Local Government Elections) (Amendment) Regulations 1965 made under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1964.

Since then, councillors have been appointed by state authorities. The 1965 regulations were extended after the May 13, 1969 incident pursuant to Section 6 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1979, which provides that regulations made under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Act 1964 shall remain in force as if they had been made under the 1979 Act.

BUT, I say again these are all EXCUSES because, in reality, the Pakatan Rakyat do not have any intention of having Local Council Elections just like the BN. They prefer to appoint their own party members into majority of the Local Council positions, hence having total control of Local Councils.

Like the BN, the Pakatan Rakyat also seem to be now not interested in giving the people more power in choosing their leaders/reps at all levels - not just the Local Councils - but also the Kampung, Taman, etc levels --- the Penghulu, etc..

If there is that POLITICAL WILL to be more democratic, then even if they want to play safe and not get in councillors through Local Council Elections - they could very well still have had a 'REFERENDUM', or even a "SELECTION" (a kind of Elections) and after the results are announced of who the people would prefer or like to be in the Local Council -- then the State Government could proceed to appoint the said persons... and this would be in accordance of the law.

Yes - still appointment by the State - but after getting the people involved totally in identifying their choice...

For a real Local Council elections -- of course, you can still wait for the amendments of Federal Laws, revocation of Proclamations of Emergencies or whatever other reasons...

So, if there is REAL Political Will in Pakatan Rakyat - the local councillors will be truly the choice of the people within that Local Council...

So, do not come now and say that it is IMPOSSIBLE until Pakatan Rakyat becomes Federal Government and the said laws are amended and/or repealed..

Migrant workers should be responsibility of Human Resources Ministry

Which ministry should be in-charge of foreign workers? I believe that rightly, it should be the Human Resources Ministry.They should be responsible for all matters concerning workers - demand and supply.
All matters pertaining to the recruitment of foreign workers should come under the purview of the Human Resources Ministry, including the outsourcing agencies and the special approval for foreign workers, said its minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam. - Star Online, 21/7/2008 -Subra: Let my ministry handle all foreign worker matters

In fact, the time is here for us to even review the policy and practice of employing migrant workers in Malaysia.

When employers refused to increases wages - when long oppressed Malaysian workers started demanding for higher wages as cost of living and a desire for a better quality of life increased , the solution was to look elsewhere for easily "manageable" and cheap labour - hence the bringing in of migrant workers.

Other factors was that Malaysian workers were getting more choosy with regard the their workplace and the kind of work that they would like doing.

Now, there is a system of Recruting Agents in the Sending Country, and then the Agents in the Receiving Country -- and then to the Employer - which means workers (and their future employers) end up paying a lot of fees, levy, etc... and by reason of the current system, the potential for abuse of power and corruption is very high. I do not need to elaborate further as we all know that even the Malaysian DG of Immigration (and his Deputy) are now being subjected to investigations by the Anti-Corruption Agency. They were arrested, remanded and now released... but it must be serious because the government just appointed a NEW DG and Deputy for the Immigration Department.

Who should be in-charge of foreign workers? It was a fight between the Home Ministry (i.e. the Immigration Department) and the Human Resources Ministry -- and given the happenings of late, it should settle matters and rightly, the full responsibility should be handed over to the Human Resources Ministry.

In fact, we should also think about getting rid of them 'agents' and this will cut cost (and prevent unnecessary beneficiaries of what really is an employer-employee affair).

For local workers, the employer is duty bound to register their workers - and inform the necessary bodies like the KWSP, Perkeso (Social Security Organisation) and also the Income Tax Department. Maybe, likewise this obligations should also apply to migrant workers - maybe the reporting obligation may even include a few more bodies like the Immigration Department, Police, Human Resource Ministry.

With regards to entry into the country, everyone is provided the normal social visit pass -- and for someone who wants to find employment in the country, he should try within that month to get employed. If he finds employment, then the employer should register him and with that an application for a temporary work permit for 1 year at a time (maximum 5 years possibly..)

Of course for an employer, before he can employ migrant workers, he would need to satisfy the conditions imposed by the Human Resource Ministry ...

Dr Subramaniam said his ministry had created a Job Clearing System for the use of employers who required foreign workers.

“The system will ensure that employers give preference to local workers first before employing foreigners,” he said.

Now, if a migrant worker loses his job for whatever reasons, or resigns because of breach of contract or some other reasons, his visa to remain in the country shall lapse 1-month thereafter. The migrant worker shall be given 1-month for him to secure another employment and if he fails to do so, he will have to leave the country. This kind of system is used in Thailand, for example...and it seems to work.

Obligation shifts to the employer and the migrant workers -- no more on the agents, etc..

Undocumented workers can survive because some employers are employing them... and as such rather than going after migrants, the time has come that we have to go after these employers...

Every year, or so, after the government deports hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants, we hear a plea from the plantation, construction sector that they are facing a shortage of workers --- Adding two and two together, one can figure out that the culprit who has been employing undocumented workers are persons from these sectors - for if not, deportation of undocumented workers should not affect them at all..

Corruption...yes, corruption is very high -- and the word in the media is that it goes higher than the DG of Immigration....mmm how high...all the way to the Home Minister Syed Hamid...or higher to the DPM...maybe the PM...or even higher to that 'son-in-law' (allegedly occupying a higher floor than the office of the PM)...

We have over 2.2 million documented migrant workers (and possibly as high as 5 million undocumented workers), and the current persons responsible being the Home Ministry and the Immigration Department has not done a good job -- so rightfully, transfer full responsibility to the Human Resources Ministry..


BN failure: Both need to work to survive - a lower quality of life

We have been talking about the rising cost of getting and maintaining domestic workers, but the question that we must be asking is why do we have to even resort to domestic workers.

The answer simply is that the Malaysian government has FAILED in improving the standards and quality of life. It has kept wages low, and not done much to keep the cost of living down - hence today it has become near impossible to exist as a sole-bread-winner family. Both husband and wife, (or both parents) have to work and earn to make ends meet.

And when this happens, then the question is who will be looking after the children at home.

Answer: Domestic Worker. And after some time, the domestic worker in the home is no more a luxury - but a NEED. Today, there are more than 320,000 foreign Domestic Workers [we really do not have figures for local domestic workers - part-time or full-time]

For me, an increased quality of life would be families where only one parent need to go out and work. The need for BOTH to work is not development - certainly not an improvement of the quality of life. The absence of the parent/s most of the day, earning for the survival of the family has and will also impact on the quality of family life, and also the children...

There are ways and means of reducing dependencies on the Domestic Worker - and in this time where the price of fuel is increasing, the cost of food going-up and the overall cost of living going-up, the government should step in with solutions. Cheaper domestic workers are not the solution definitely.

In the interim, there maybe should be creche and child-care facilities in the work-place.

There must also be available good affordable day-care facilities.

Maybe, even school hours should be re-evaluated so that both working parent and school children will leave for school/work at the same time and return at the same time.

The government of the day must admit its failure in improving the quality of life of its people - and the most important aspect in measuring quality of life - is the quality of family life.

Even, with the question of domestic workers, if we were to properly analyze, it is the government here (and the sending countries) that have allow all this agency fees and other payments to increase to so high a sum - making it even more difficult for the worker and the employer (the Malaysian family).

BN, you kept wages down -- forcing now both spouses to work just to SURVIVE (not to enjoy or enjoy a better quality of life)... and now you are allowing cost of getting a domestic worker also to sky-rocket. This is very mean...and it is TORTURE to the people...

At the end of the day, whilst certain persons and companies prosper - families have seen the quality of family life and life going down...and down.


Ng: Hiring maids from China and Myanmar not the answer

Monday July 21, 2008 (Star Online)

PETALING JAYA: Hiring maids from Myanmar and China will not solve the problem of rising costs of taking in foreign help, says Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen.

“The answer is not looking outwards; the answer is looking inwards. It’s how to develop more home-based care.

“My stand is that we are not ready to have maids from China until we see a drastic decline in social issues which arise because of foreign women coming in,” she told the press after the official opening of the National Council of Senior Citizens Organisations Malaysia (Nacscom) Old Folks Home in Kota Damansara here on Saturday.

She said her ministry was working with the Human Resources Ministry to develop home-based domestic and childcare management programmes.

“There are many single mothers here who can do part-time homecare,” she said.

Last month, the Association of Foreign Housemaids Recruitment Agencies urged the Government to consider allowing maids from China and Myanmar as recruitment agencies in Indonesia had pushed the fees so high that they may reach RM8,000 soon.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

PM no power to keep out IGP and DG - get advice before talking please...

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi must really get legal advice before opening his mouth and disgracing our country, Malaysia.

Who is he to oust the person and/or the involvement of the IGP (Inspector General of Police) and/or the Attorney General (AG) from this Investigation or from that investigation. Where is the law that says that the Prime Minister has such power? I am at a loss..
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail will play no part in the investigation of an allegation of sodomy against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said both Musa and Abdul Gani would have no role whatsoever in the case.

He added that police officers involved in the case would also not refer to their boss or the A-G in the course of their investigation.

Asked if Musa and Abdul Gani should be suspended pending the completion of the investigation, Abdullah said: "They will not be involved at all in the case and the investigating officers will also not refer to them. Therefore, I do not see any reason why they should be suspended." - New Straits Times online, 20/7/2008 -PM: No role for Musa, Abdul Gani in sodomy probe

When it comes to the Attorney General (who is also the Public Prosecutor), certainly his position and role is provided for in the Federal Constitution, and also the other laws of the land - and nobody can prevent him exercising his duties and responsibilities. Not even the say-so of the Prime Minister. It would also be wrong for some underling to exercise the power of the AG when he is around..and fully functional.

Our Prime Minister really must get legal advice before opening his mouth....oh, and the person the Prime Minister should be getting legal advice from is the AG.

While Abdul Gani Patail is AG, and Musa Hassan remains the IGP, you cannot ask them to relinquish their responsibilities, duties and powers in law... To ask them would be wrong... and for them to do so would also be wrong. (Did you, Mr PM, also ask them to leave out the DPM in the Altantuya investigation and prosecution?)

One solution...and one solution only, I see, and that is to remove the Attorney General and appoint a new Attorney General.

Likewise, remove the IGP and appoint a new IGP..

After all, that is what you just did with the DG and the Deputy DG of Immigration. They too are still being investigated - and they have not been charged in court yet. A new DG and Deputy DG have been appointed.
Datuk Mahmood Adam has been appointed Immigration Department director-general, replacing Datuk Abdul Wahid Md Don who has been transferred pending investigations into alleged corruption.
Mahmood was deputy Defence Ministry secretary-general (management). His appointment takes effect tomorrow.

The appointment was announced by Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan yesterday.

Mohd Sidek also announced that the department's director of the Foreign Workers' Division, Abdul Rahman Othman, would be Mahmood's deputy, replacing Yusof Abu Bakar, who is also being probed by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).- New Straits Times, 20/7/2008 - 'New D-G for Immigration.'
Mr Prime Minister, would it not be DISCRIMINATORY to accord a different kind of treatment to the AG and the IGP, who are also now being investigated...

Again - I say that the PM must stay out of this police investigation and not interfere any more....

The powers being demonstrated by Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in this case -- and his personal involvement in the conduct of the police investigation --- only makes one wonder about the real independence of the police and the AG's chambers.

It also makes us seriously wonder whether it was this kind of PM's (or DPM's) exertion of power over the police and the AG that has led to the name of the DPM being left out from the Balasubramaniam's statement (as alleged in his 1st SD) and maybe the whole Altantuya case, and the fact that no charge was levied against the DPM (or his spouse).

We really have to wonder now...do we not since this time, the exertion of the PM's power is done so openly in this Anwar case...