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Monday, November 30, 2009

Penang's Foreshore Land Issue : Did the public lose access to a public beach/foreshore?

Did the Penang Pakatan Rakyat government just take away a part of the public beach - and make it private property? Beaches have always been accessible to the public - will it still be here?

By the way, is this declassified minutes available on the Penang State Government website for easy access. Or, is there a need for us to go there and get true 'red-tapes' before we can get access to these declassified minutes? 


Hope that you will also read it, and give me your feedback. My question is whether members of the public have just lost access to the beach... that part of the foreshore?

The declassified minutes on the conversion of PDC Heritage Hotel released on Saturday by Lim Guan Eng administration reveal that the PDC Heritage Hotel site is a foreshore land.

Foreshore is the area that is exposed to the air at low tide and underwater at high tide. For development on coastal zone, a construction setback of 60 m is normally observed. Setback is a guideline to developers on how far to site permanent structures behind the shoreline in order to avoid problems with short-term coastal response and flooding problems during rough weather.

If strictly follow the guidelines from Department of Drainage and Irrigation Circular 1987, no permanent structures should be permitted within this setback zone.Guidelines for the width of the setback zone arise from Department of Drainage and Irrigation Circular 1987, which specifies 60m on the open coast. The 60 m setback create a costal buffer zone that should be remain in public domain. This coastal buffer zone effectively allow public access to the foreshore.

The land of any development site that fail to observe this requirement should be considered as a foreshore land. Or put it in another word, the land of any development site that fall within the 60 m setback from the foreshore line is consider as a foreshore land.

The minutes on the land conversion reveal that the state legal advisers had reminded LGE that the site is a foreshore land that under the National Land Code proviso, it can not be converted from leasehold to freehold status. In converting the land, Lim Guan Eng has referred to section 76(aa)(iii) of the NLC which says land could be converted “where the State Authority is satisfied that there are special circumstances which render it appropriate to do so” . What is the special circumstances that LGE referred to in justifying the land conversion?

The special circumstances that Lim Guan Eng has cited for justifying the conversion is as follows:
1) That the project was neglected and in an “abandoned” state.
2) That the equity held by PDC has been raised from 49% to 50%
3) That the cost of equity conversion is borne by YTL Hotels & Properties Sdn Bhd

Lim Guan Eng failed to address public concern over the sell of our foreshore land to private interests.
On Oct 15,2008, in a press statement, Lim Guan Eng has promised that the state government would not follow the footstep of his predecessor in circumventing the National Land Code proviso that prohibit the conversion of foreshore land from leasehold to freehold status. The sad truth is that the Chief Minister who once fought alleged land scams committed by the previous state government, is now personally involved in a questionable land conversion. This is a treacherous betrayal on the people by Lim Guan Eng.


Lim Guan Eng hoped by releasing the minutes on the land conversion, he can divert the attention of the people on the questionable land conversion. As usual he took the opportunity to blame Koh Tzu Koon for the land conversion. If Guan Eng sincerely believe that what Koh Tzu Koon did is wrong, he should not go ahead with the land conversion. This is probably the most disturbing incident came after Lim Guan Eng openly promised not to cheat Penangites of their foreshore lands. Disturbing because Lim Guan Eng love to continue what Koh Tzu Koon did, but will blame the later when being criticized for whatever decision he made.

It is important for Penangites to understand why he made the decision that he's made, Lim Guan Eng should walk Penangites through the reasoning why that decision was made. The special circumstances that Guan Eng has referred to is hardly special at all.
Interesting exercise of the freedom of assembly and expression - but alas, news reports do not mention clearly in detail what exactly were they trying to say - OR maybe, they just came to chant slogans and burn posters (nothing wrong with this...), and were just unhappy with the State government over its handling of the issues mentioned in the quote below. What is the substance of their exercise of freedom of assembly and expression? Did they want to express their concerns in greater depth to the Chief Minister?

The protesters also carried banners and placards condemning the state government for failing to resolve issues such as Kampung Buah Pala, Mak Mandin Rumah Hijau and the controversial conversion of a foreshore land status.

Did the protestors want to meet Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister? Did they want to hand over a protest note? And did Lim Guan Eng meet up with the protesters and listen to them? Or did he like the BN Ministers, leaders or government department heads just ignore them or maybe 'peeped' from some window? I hope he met with the protesters to listen to their concerns...The Malaysiakini report does not indicate that he met with the protesters - it looks as if he stayed inside, and tried to divert matters like complaining that they were 'aggressive'...and that they tried to destroy some anti-ISA billboard, etc. I sincerely hope that Pakatan Government leaders respond differently and not emulate the bad examples and practices of BN.



Protest staged outside Penang state assembly
Athi Shankar
Nov 30, 09
1:35pm
 
A group of state Barisan Nasional youth leaders and supporters staged a protest outside the Penang legislative assembly this afternoon against the Pakatan Rakyat state government.

NONEThe protesters vented their frustration against what they described as an "inefficient and indecisive" state government which failed to resolve the people's problems and fulfill pre-election promises.

Led by Penang Umno Youth chief Norman Zahalan, the protest started at 12.15pm and ended about 45 minutes later.

It took place while the assembly sitting was going on.

The protesters also carried banners and placards condemning the state government for failing to resolve issues such as Kampung Buah Pala, Mak Mandin Rumah Hijau and the controversial conversion of a foreshore land status.

NONEAn unidentified protester had stomped and torched a poster of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Penang Gerakan Youth chief Oh Tong Keong later clarified that the protester was not a BN Youth member.

"I tried to stop him but the situation became uncontrollable," he told Malaysiakini.

"We condemn the act of torching the poster. If you have any grievances, you should express it in peaceful way," he added.

CM questions police's 'tolerance'

Meanwhile, Lim who witnessed the demonstration when the assembly rested for lunch questioned the police's 'tolerance'.

NONE"I hope the police would exercise the same tolerance towards other demonstrations," he told reporters.

The chief minister said the Pakatan government was not against people exercising their right to express their disapproval against his administration. However, he alleged that the protesters were aggressive.

"I heard that some of them attempted to break down the anti-ISA billboard erected outside the House. It's an act of political gangsterism," he said.

Also present at the protest was Penang MIC Youth chief J Dhinagaran and his PPP counterpart M Manikumar.

NONEAlthough no one was detained, Norman however, had his statement recorded at the nearby Lebuh Pantai police station.

He later told reporters that the protest was held on behalf of Penangites to condemn the incompetency of the state government in resolving many contentious issues in the state in the past 20 months.

"The state government is keen in politicking and slandering the previous BN administration with lies. It's a demonstration of public dissatisfaction against the Pakatan government.

"It (the state government) is inefficient, incompetent and lacks the experience and maturity to run the state," he said.

Dhinagaran said if the state government leaders felt that they lacked experience and political conviction to administer, then they should resign en bloc and pave way for fresh polls.

NONEThe Pakatan state government was also urged to administer the state instead of always blaming the previous administration.

The chief minister's political secretary Ng Wei Aik claimed that he was verbally abused with foul language by the noisy protestors.

"I told them to show some respect to the on-going assembly sitting and refrain from using vulgar words. But I was verbally abused in return," he said.- Malaysiakini, 30/11/2009,
Protest staged outside Penang state assembly
The Malaysiakini reporter also spend too much time on side matters like the burning of LGE's posters, not reporting in depth the reasons for their unhappiness about the Penang State government's handling of the Kampung Buah Pala, Mak Mandin Rumah Hijau and the controversial conversion of a foreshore land status - but not what they wanted now to be done about that. Or was the protesters call only for the resignations and new elections?


Malaysiakini:- Independent? Alternative? 10 years have gone, and they are still here....do not lose your way..

It was indeed a grand celebration at the Sime Convention Centre when we all gathered to celebrate Malaysiakini 10th 'birthday' on 28/11/2009.

There is a saying that when we are young, we are idealistic... but as we get older we become realistic. Has that happened to Malaysiakini? Are they still idealistic...or have they lost  some idealism along the way and are becoming more 'realistic'...

I know Steven Gan and Premesh have got a human rights, pro-justice background but alas most new reporters of Malaysiakini may not have that. Being Malaysians, over the past 50 over years, we have been 'brain-washed' by the government and the pro-government media, by our education system which does not encourage questioning and critical thinking, by the media. Some of these reporters have also even been trained by and been with the main-stream media before they joined Malaysiakini.

Compared to journalist in some countries, Malaysian journalists are no more than 'minute takers' - they go and listen to press conferences and jot down the statements made by the Minister, government officials, police - and then run back and write out their reports. There is almost no questioning of the statement, no challenges made...Why? That is the Malaysian culture. And, if you ask questions, it is not encouraged - but then, most of government personalities and politicians also do not have the capacity to answer these questions - save maybe for ex-PM Mahathir.

To be able to ask good questions, reporters also need to be well-versed on the subject matter, widely read, analytical, etc - but alas in Malaysia that skill may not there in the case  of most reporters. Reporters have to research the subject matter before even rushing off to cover stories and press statements. They must understand the subject matter,

So, as Malaysiakini expands the number of its reporters and editors - there is the risk that idealism and vision of the original founders may be lost.

Over the years, things have been changing in Malaysiakini - the reports seem to be lacking the 'umph' that it used to have. Some have commented that they are becoming very much like the mainstream media.

What is news in the mainstream media is also the news in Malaysiakini? Hence, the differences slowly may fade away unless it is checked...In Malaysiakini, however, there is sometimes things that may not appear in the mainstream papers.

The stories of workers, farmers, urban settlers, migrants, environmental issues and the common people seem to be absent.. The news nowadays is very much on political party in-fightings,  and issues raised by politicians, etc...[Like the mainstream media, Malaysiakini is also there covering the big political events and happenings, that is the 'juicy' stuff] When was the last time Malaysiakini broke a new story.... the last I remember, is was about the unpaid bills of the BN for election paraphenelia]

But the people [the readers] may not be so interested in the smaller stories about workers, farmers, urban settlers, environmental issues, common people.... Yes, they are Malaysians, and as I mentioned earlier, their appetite has also been dictated by the system. That is why, it becomes all the more important for an alternative media to cover these new kinds of news...the news of the common people. These news also give ideas and strength to the 'little' people. Remember that news is not necessarily always about scandals and tragedy - but can also be about success stories, and alternatives.

People in Malaysia love scandals - sex or financial. People in Malaysia love political in-fightings. People in Malaysia love to hear about one political party hitting out at another political party. They love PM and BN bashing...So, should Malaysiakini just cater to these interests. Note, people also are not so bothered about human rights, justice issues, environmental concerns, etc...

An alternative media, besides reporting the news, have also the duty about educating the masses...and that includes presenting alternatives from other countries, other authors, etc...

The lack of follow-ups is also now the problem of the Malaysiakini. A story is reported, and that is that. Let us take the case of the recent 'police shoot to kill' incident that saw 5 Malaysians shot to dead. What does the police do in these cases? Are there police interior investigations when firearms are used and/or when suspects are shot dead?  Were the police from the locality, or were they special police, who were expert marksmen, who were brought in for this special assignment? How many bullets were used by the police? How did the police identify the suspects so fast - so as to make statements like '...The identities of the five have yet to be ascertained. However, police identified one of them as "PCO Boy" who is believed to be the leader of the gang and had 13 criminal records...He is also wanted for nine robbery cases...Mohamad said the five were believed to be part of a bigger gang and police were hunting for the remaining members....Police believe they have solved 10 armed robberies with the death of the five men.-- New Straits Times, 9/11/2009, PCO Boy gang killed in shoot-out' See also - Another 'shoot to kill' incident - 5 dead.

There were so many questions that could have raised, and Malaysiakini could have had a field day raising the various inconsistencies and questions. But alas, like the mainstream media, Malaysiakini followed the herd and got distracted in the suicide attempt of a sister of the victims. Malaysiakini could have gone a different way, and been an alternative media. And they still can do this now.

There is still a long way for Malaysiakini to go, and truly become an alternative independent media, and my hope is that it takes this path, and got get distracted from its initial objectives and goals.

For Malaysiakini's 10th Anniversary dinner, the guest of honour was the Selangor Menteri Besar... the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar. Somehow, I felt that it was not proper for it is important also that Malaysiakini not only be indepent but also be seen to be independent. You are Malaysiakini, not Selangorkini or Reformasikini or Pakaotan Rakyat kini. It would have better if some respected journalist or media personality was invited as the guest of honour... not the Menteri Besar. There is that Talam 'bail-out' issue which still has not been explained by this MB as well.Will Malaysiakini pursue this Talam story which implicates the Selangor MB, or not? I think they must for Malaysiakini is an independent media.

On the entertainment, a better comedian and dancers would have been more suitable for THE Malaysiakini dinner. They would have been OK for some company annual dinner - but for the crowd at the Malaysiakini dinner, I think the content was inappropriate and reflects badly on Malaysiakini. This is my personal opinion, which others may not agree.

Achievement for an alternative media like Malaysiakini should not be measured by merely the number of hits, or the increase of staff, on language versions, ...or the new Malaysiakini TV, etc..or the financial stability (although this is important) or should it?

How much is Malaysiakini changing Malaysia? How much is Malaysiakini changing the way the main-stream media reports, a change driven by a more demanding people who will no longer only accept the role of media as a propaganda tool of the political parties....or as a channel to only give us selected news from a single perspective?

Malaysiakini has certainly got the attention of the UMNO-led BN government - but is this  because Malaysiakini is perceived as a dangerous and more effective alternative political party media or because it is an independent alternative media that functions as such?  As I said before, it is important also for Malaysiakini to not only be independent and also be seen to be independent - beware the perception of being  a pro-Pakatan Rakyat anti-BN media.

That is a different alternative... Malaysiakini must always remain and be seen as an independent media - not aligned to any particular political party/coalition. Critical it must be of all parties and governments (Federal or State). It must also highlight the good things that the political parties do. That is what is best for the people of Malaysia. That is what Malaysiakini should be - an independent media (just like what Steven Gan said in his speech).

Congrats and Happy 10th birthday Malaysiakini - Carry on the struggle to be come what a truly independent media should be.

I hope this Blog posting would also be picked up by the Malaysiakini editorial, and posted as an Opinion piece - for blogs are often missed by the readers that matter.








Thursday, November 26, 2009

Talam 'bail-out' - Where is the explanation and full disclosure by Pakatan's Selangor government?

Buying off debts owed by Talam to Selangor owned companies really makes little sense... [See also earlier post:Anwar, the people were also kept in the dark when RM391 million of their money was used to buy over Talam's debt to 'Selangor'?

The Selangor MB Khalid is in the media with his intention to fully disclose the Bukit Antarabangsa report - but what about that Talam matter.

My friend Anil Netto has had some interesting things posted in his blog, which I reproduce here for your reading pleasure:-

The Selangor government’s decision to approve an additional RM391 million budget allocation to Mentri Besar Inc (MBI) to take over the debts owed by Talam Corp Bhd to three state agencies has stirred controversy.
Basically, under the move, MBI will use the money (via Selangor Industrial Corporation as a channel?) to settle the amount that Talam owes subsidiaries of Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS), Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB), Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) and Yayasan Pendidikan Selangor. The state government (via SIC?) is then supposed to recover the amount due from Talam.
While critics are viewing it as a bailout or window-dressing, Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim says the rationale is to ensure that Talam gives a higher priority to its debt (to the state), incurred over the last decade, ahead of its other creditors. On 10 Nov, Khalid gave Talam three months to settle the debt, incurred in connection with several property development projects. That remains to be seen.

In any case, I hope the Selangor state government will also take action against those responsible in the three state agencies who allowed such a large debt to go uncollected for so long.  What sort of security did they obtain from Talam?
Whatever the reason for the takeover of the debts, let’s take a closer look at Talam.
The Edge reported the following on 10 Aug 2009:
Talam, a township developer, has been classified as an affected company under PN17 since Sept 1, 2006, after its auditors were unable to provide an opinion on its results for its FY2006 ended Jan 31. Talam also defaulted on several of its term loans and bond obligations.
As part of Talam’s regularisation plan, the company issued a number of securities to various creditors, including the now-defunct discount house Abrar Discounts Bhd. Abrar received preference shares, loan stocks and Islamic debt securities worth RM423.35 million as settlement from Talam as part of the latter’s regularisation plan.
Profit/(Loss) before tax(at group level):
  • 2009 – RM60.6 million
  • 2008 – RM5.8 million
  • 2007 – (RM6.9 million)
  • 2006 – (RM772.6 million)
  • 2005 – RM130.8 million
Talam directors (click here)
Directors’ remuneration:
  • 2009 – RM1.9 million (9 directors, three of whom received more than RM300,000 each)
  • 2008 – RM1.8 million
Debt (non-current liabilities) to equity ratio: 0.5 (previous year – 0.6)
Liquidity ratio (Current ratio):
  • Current assets: RM1.5 million
  • Current liabilities: RM2.4 million
  • Current assets:Current liabilities ratio = 0.6:1 (previous year – same)
This means that its current (liquid) assets are much less than its liabilities due within a year.
“Other payables” amount to RM404.3 million.
Extract from Talam Annual Report 2009:
Other payables and accrued expenses
The obligation arising from the acquisition of land is in respect of obligations arising from the Universiti Industri Selangor (“UNISEL”) project, whereby the Selangor State Government had alienated three parcels of land to the Group in consideration for the development of UNISEL.
In 2001, Maxisegar Sdn. Bhd. (“MSSB”), a wholly-owned subsidiary, entered into an agreement with the State Government of Selangor for the financing and construction of the main campus of UNISEL on 572.16 acres of land at Berjuntai Bestari, Selangor Darul Ehsan for a total value of RM750 million. In return, the State Government of Selangor had alienated three parcels of leasehold land to MSSB as follows:
Acres RM’000
Batang Berjuntai 3,000  345,000
Taman Puncak Jalil 801  337,500
Saujana Damansara 110  67,500
Total 3,911  750,000

MSSB was unable to meet its financial obligation to bear the development and maintenance costs due of approximately RM134.0 million (“obligation due”) of UNISEL and as such, in the previous financial year, the long term portion of MSSB’s obligation under the said agreement has been reclassified to current liabilities and it has entered into an agreement with Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Berhad (“KDEB”) and Pendidikan Industri YS Sdn. Bhd. (“PIYS”) (both of which acted as nominees of State Government of Selangor) whereby MSSB agreed to settle the obligation due by transferring 1,715.9 acres of Batang Berjuntai land which the parties have agreed shall be valued for the purpose of settlement at RM80,000 per acre to KDEB and/or PIYS. The settlement agreement is pending fulfillment of certain conditions
precedent.

Substantial shareholders (based on Annual Report 2009):
(Based on Register of Substantial Shareholders as at 10 June 2009)
No. of Ordinary Shares of RM0.20 each
Direct Deemed
Name of substantial shareholders Interest %*4 Interest %*4
1. Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr) Ir Chan Ah Chye 130,769,592 6.78 854,561,543 *1 44.32
@ Chan Chong Yoon (“TSDCAC”)
2. Puan Sri Datin Thong Nyok Choo 7,493,945 0.39 977,837,190 *2 50.71
(“PSDTNC”)
3. Kumpulan Europlus Berhad 791,465,067 41.05 – –
(“KEURO”)
4. IJM Corporation Berhad (“IJM”) – – 791,465,067 *3 41.05
NOTES:
*1 Deemed interested through his spouse, PSDTNC, his daughter, Chan Siu Wei and by virtue of his interest in
Pengurusan Projek Bersistem Sdn Bhd, Prosperous Inn Sdn Bhd, Sze Choon Holdings Sdn Bhd and KEURO
pursuant to Section 6A of the Companies Act, 1965 (“Act”).
*2 Deemed interest through her spouse, TSDCAC, her daughter, Chan Siu Wei and by virtue of her interest in Pengurusan
Projek Bersistem Sdn Bhd, Prosperous Inn Sdn Bhd, Sze Choon Holdings Sdn Bhd and KEURO pursuant to Section
6A of the Act.
*3 Deemed interested by virtue of IJM holding 25% in KEURO.
*4 % shareholding based on voting share capital as at 10 June 2009 of 1,928,102,532.

On 17 July 2009, the Edge reported that Kumpulan Euro had disposed of a 9.10 per cent stake in Talam, a move which was described then as “puzzling”. - anilnetto.com, A closer look at Talam Corp Bhd

A thorough independent audit is needed on the Selangor state agencies that are owed RM391 million by Talam Corp Bhd to find out how the debt arose and who is responsible for allowing it to linger. What wonders it would reveal!
The stage agencies concerned are subsidiaries of Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS), Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd (KDEB), Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) and Yayasan Pendidikan Selangor.
State agencies usually come under the purview of top Selangor government leaders, and if these debts go back a decade as has been reported, then those responsible in the previous administrations have to be held accountable.
State agencies are believed to have entered into joint ventures with Talam to develop huge land banks. It was supposed to be a “win-win situation” – but obviously something went wrong, somewhere. Talam reportedly secured large landbanks in Ampang, Sepang, Puchong, Bukit Jalil and Rawang, all prime areas.

Unaudited results for the six months ended 31 July 2009 showed that Talam posted a profit before tax of RM2.6 million, down from RM38.6 million for the corresponding period in 2008.
The Group recorded lower revenue and pre-tax profit for the second quarter ended July 2009 of RM42.0 million and RM0.3 million respectively, compared to RM61.4 million and RM2.3 million in the first quarter.
On 28 September 2009, Talam’s deputy chairman Tengku Sulaiman Shah Al-Haj Ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Salahuddin Ab Aziz Shah Al-Haj resigned.
On 14 August 2009, Talam’s Company Secretary resigned, to be replaced by a new Secretary.
On 31 July, KEuro, a major shareholder, reportedly moved to reduce its shareholding in Talam Corp Bhd, from 41.5 per cent in February to 31 per cent.
On 23 March 2009, Messrs Deloitte KassimChan tendered their resignation as the auditors of Talam and Kumpulan Europlus Bhd. A month later, an EGM was held to confirm the appointment of new auditors, Messrs Baker Tilly Monteiro Heng. The new auditors would handle Talam’s accounts for the financial year ended 31 January 2009.
According to the Edge:
Both Talam and Kumpulan Europlus had on Monday received notice of nomination from shareholders, Pengurusan Projek Bersistem Sdn Bhd and Sze Choon Holdings Sdn Bhd respectively, to nominate Messrs Baker Tilly Monteiro Heng as the auditor for both companies… According to sources, the departure of Messrs Deloitte KassimChan was based on a mutual basis and rationale behind the resignation was due to the fees structure.
According to Bloomberg data, Pengurusan Project Bersistem currently holds 2.47% stake or 47.71 million shares in Talam. Sze Choon is a company in which Tan Sri Chan Ah Chye and Puan Sri Datin Thong Nyok Choo have substantial interest in, according to Kumpulan Europlus’s FY08 annual report.
Who is Chan Ah Chye? He was a project manager at PKNS in the early part of his career.
He has over 37 years of experience in the property and construction industry since he started his career with Messrs Binnie & Partners (M) Sdn Bhd and later joined Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (”PKNS”) in 1971 as a Project Manager handling project designs, management and property development. Tan Sri was awarded the prestigious “Property Man of the Year 1998” by Federation Internationale Des Professions Immobilieres (“FIABCI”) in recognition of his achievements in property development. Tan Sri was conferred the Honorary Doctorate of Science (Engineering) by the University Malaya on 11 August 2003. He is also currently an Executive Director (President/ Chief Executive) of Kumpulan Europlus Berhad.
Chan is the spouse of Thong, a major shareholder of Talam.
In December 2008, Talam was served with a winding up petition after the Malaysian government obtained judgment for over RM10 million against one of Talam’s subsidiaries for corporate taxes dating back to 1998-1999. Talam announced it would be meeting with the tax department to work out a mutually acceptable settlement scheme. The winding-up petition was withdrawn a month later.
Clearly, it has been a troubled past year. - anilnetto.com, Talam debt: Audit needed on state agencies

What disturbs me is that this had to go through the State Legislative Assembly, and the Pakatan Rakyat ADUNs voted for it.

Did they question it? Were they allowed to question it - remember that the BN's position has been that their representatives should not oppose or question what has been tabled before Parliament - just vote for it?

Is the Pakatan Rakyat reps, i.e. the said ADUNs, also doing the same - just vote do not question anything...

I would like to read the minutes of the Selangor State Assembly (i.e. like the Hansard for the Parliament, which is found in their website) - but I believe that we cannot get the State Legislative Assembly Hansards on the web. Tell me if I am wrong - for we really need to consider the debate before voting to see who questioned it, the answers given and who just 'blindly' voted for it - RM391 million of the people of Selangor's money 'wasted' like that..

Did Selangor acquire shares in Talam by this move? Or just an assurance of ... what? Did the Talam Directors and CEO take pay-cuts?

Was the Talam Debt guaranteed by personal guarantees of the Directors and principal shareholders? ....questions questions questions...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Using MARA as a means to assist all poor, unemployed and marginalized in Malaysia

After 52 years, maybe there is a need to shift the focus of the nation from preferential treatment for certain ethnic/religious groups to the poor in Malaysia, irrespective of race or religion.

MARA - let us look at this body that carries out a lot of good work in providing education, skills and trainings to help the poorer Malaysians survive and move up the socio-economic ladder. But alas, since its formation on 1/3/1966 by an Act of Parliament, its target group is just the Bumiputra. In line with Najib's 1Malaysia, maybe it is time to expand the work of MARA to also include other Malaysians - yes, all Malaysians irrespective of where their forefathers hail from.

MISI KORPORAT
Mandat, Wawasan dan Nilai Bersama adalah bertujuan untuk dihayati dan diamalkan oleh semua anggota MARA ke arah mewujudkan sebuah organisasi korporat yang cemerlang, berdikari, berautonomi dan berwibawa.
Mandat
Dengan kuasa yang diberi, kekal turun temurun, MARA akan melaksana tanggungjawab bagi memajukan, menggalakkan, memudahkan dan menjalankan pembangunan ekonomi dan kemasyarakatan di seluruh Malaysia dalam bidang-bidang berikut:-
a) Perdagangan dan Perindustrian
b) Kemudahan Pembiayaan
c) Usahasama atau sebagai Agen Pengurus
d) Pelaburan Ekuiti
e) Penubuhan dan Pertanggungan Institusi Latihan
f) Apa-apa jua yang difikirkan perlu atau berfaedah oleh Majlis
g) Aktiviti tambahan yang mendapat kelulusan kerajaan, bertujuan untuk memajukan kaum bumiputera.
 
MOTTO
MARA terus mara
Wawasan
Menjadi sebuah organisasi korporat cemerlang, berdikari, berautonomi dan berwibawa:-
a) Pemegang amanah ekuiti
b) Penggerak dan pemangkin yang aktif
c) Pusat jaringan dan rangkaian perusahaan & perdagangan
d) Pusat maklumat, latihan, penyelidikan dan pembangunan
e) Sebagai organisasi pemikir.
Penyataan Amanat
"Menjadi badan amanah yang unggul dan diberkati untuk mengangkat martabat dan maruah bangsa menerusi pelbagai aktiviti ekonomi, pendidikan dan kemasyarakatan."
Anggota Organisasi :"Kami adalah golongan profesional yang amanah, jati diri, berdaya tahan, ukhuwah, penyayang & mesra serta beriltizam  kepada organisasi dan pelanggan."
Proses/Sistem : "Mengamalkan kepimpinan berjemaah, telus dan dinamik."
Organisasi : "Organisasi perintis, berwawasan, berdaya saing, cermat & berhemat serta adil."
Prestasi : "Memastikan pembangunan yang berterusan dan cemerlang."
NILAI BERSAMA
Anggota Organisasi
"Kami adalah golongan profesional yang amanah, jati diri, berdaya tahan, ukhuwah, penyayang & mesra serta beriltizam kepada organisasi dan pelanggan."

Proses/Sistem
"Mengamalkan kepimpinan berjemaah, telus dan dinamik."

Organisasi
"Organisasi perintis, berwawasan, berdaya saing, cermat & berhemat serta adil."

Prestasi
"Memastikan pembangunan yang berterusan dan cemerlang." - MARA Website, Misi Korporat

Its objective clearly states that its concern is only for the Bumiputra - this must be expanded to all Malaysians.

Its objective states that its focus is on rural folks - this too must change to focus on the poor and unemployed both in rural and urban areas.


OBJEKTIF
Menggalak, membimbing, melatih dan membantu Bumiputera, khususnya di luar bandar, supaya menyertai dengan aktif dalam kegiatan perdagangan dan perusahaan ke arah membentuk masyarakat usahawan Bumiputera yang berdaya tahan, profesional dan kukuh.

STRATEGI PERLAKSANAAN

  • Mewujud serta menambah bilangan usahawan di kalangan bumiputera dan meningkatkan taraf mereka dalam kegiatan perdagangan dan perusahaan ke arah pembentukan masyarakat peniaga yang berjaya dan kukuh.

  • Mengambil bahagian yang aktif dalam bidang perdagangan dan perindustrian tertentu melalui pelaburan dan pengurusan dalam syarikat-syarikat sebagai langkah memberi perlindungan untuk meningkatkan penyertaan bumiputera dalam dunia perniagaan.

  • Menambah bilangan gunatenaga bumiputera yang terlatih dalam berbagai bidang di semua peringkat, khususnya untuk keperluan sektor perdagangan dan perindustrian, dan

  • Menggalakkan lain-lain kemudahan dan perkhidmatan yang sesuai serta menjadi pemegang amanah yang boleh membantu secara khusus atau umum bagi meninggikan taraf ekonomi dan sosial bumiputera.- MARA Website, Strategy & Objectives
In my observation, MARA has the required infrastruture and the personnel required all over the country - and all that need be done is a variation of their target group to include all Malaysians, especially the poor and the unemployed.

The indian community still has a lot of poor and unemployed - and I do not believe that there is anything like what MARA has for the bumiputras for the Malaysian Indian community, and the other ethnic minorities.

There may have been efforts by other communities in the area of education...and higher education, but alas there seems to be lack of skills-training, business trainings, financial assistance and advice, etc which would be most relevant to the many of our Malaysians who may not be so academically accomplished. The rise of petty crimes is an indicator that cannot be ignored, and it is linked to poverty.

"Do not question the constitutionally provided special privileges of the Malays, native communities of Sabah and Sarawak..." is the Malaysian mindset. I believe the time has come when there must be definite questioning of these 'special privileges' as 52 years plus  have passed, and the required 'foot-up assistance' to this special group so that they stand at par with the other ethnic communities of Malaysia should have been here long ago, save if the UMNO led BN government have failed.

The special ethnic-based system has also failed as it seems that the richer have become richer, the politically connected have improved their situation - but alas, the really poor has not benefited much. The emphasis must shift to helping the poor and marginalized in Malaysia irrespective of their ethnicity or religion. That will be in line with the struggle for justice..

The changes that I have proposed for MARA may be one of the first steps that could be taken, as they certainly have the mechanisms for reform and change already in existence. Should there be ethnic quotas? No - the stress mush be to help the poor, unemployed and the marginalized groups of persons in Malaysia.



Malaysian ex-domestic worker, after serving sentence, given £4,500 by the Government to leave England.

Well, for one there are Malaysian domestic workers in other countries...

Second, when the domestic worker commits a crime, the law steps in and she is tried, convicted and sentenced...

But after release, should she be deported back to her home country if she was there as an asylum seeker or refugee? That is the question...

In this, this Malaysian woman has served out her sentence for her crime .... she was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, and after 2 1/2 years she has been released. Yes, for good behaviour, etc prison sentences can be cut short - but will it be cut short by 50%... it can.

An immigrant convicted of the horrific killing of a 17-month-old baby has been given £4,500 by the Government as a 'bribe' to leave the country.

Malaysian Agnes Wong, 29, was jailed for five years in 2008 for the brutal manslaughter of a toddler she was supposed to be child-minding.

She was let out of prison in July this year, and two weeks ago was put on a plane at Heathrow and sent to with a 'voucher' worth £4,500 to spend when she got there.
Wong was jailed after a court heard how she had swung the boy, Hugo Wang, by his ankles and smashed his head. He died of brain injuries.

Wong's payment has sparked disbelief and outrage, coming just days after the Prime Minister said he understood the public's mounting concerns over immigration.

Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green said: 'Only last week, said he "gets it" on immigration but this is proof he doesn't get it. For an immigrant who killed a child to get taxpayers' money to help with her future life is nothing short of appalling.'
Mr Green demanded to know why Wong had not been automatically deported without a penny of public money.

'Even while Labour repeatedly boasted about introducing automatic deportation for people like this, it now appears they have been using public money to help people get round that very system,' he said.

The horrific story of Hugo's last hours caused national revulsion when Wong's  sadistic behaviour was exposed in court.



The unregistered childminder, who came to the UK in 2003, was paid £120 a week to look after Hugo in her home in Salford, Greater , while the boy's parents worked 16 to 20 hours a day to make ends meet.

She was accused of waging a 'regime of terror' against him, torturing him with a hairdryer and hitting him so hard with a ruler that it snapped.

Hugo died in January 2007, a day after he was taken, unconscious, to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.

He had been struck with such force that his brain had shifted in his skull and caused internal bleeding. Doctors also found bite and burn marks on his body.

Wong, who denied murder, was found guilty of manslaughter but was sentenced in May 2008 to just five years in prison.

The Mail on Sunday has now learned that Wong served only the minimum jail term of two-and-half years, including her time in custody before and during the trial.
The Chinese restaurant where Hugo Wang's parents worked
Making ends meet: The Chinese restaurant where Hugo Wang's parents worked


Just two weeks ago, she was deported to Malaysia under a controversial 'Facilitated Returns Scheme' under which foreign prisoners are paid up to £5,000 if they agree to leave the UK as early as possible without fighting their deportation using human-rights laws or by claiming asylum.

So far, around 1,000 have left the UK and been given the money.

It is not known for certain whether Wong - who used the anglicised name Agnes, although her Malaysian name is Siew Teng - entered Britain legally or illegally. However, any immigrant who commits a serious crime can forfeit their right to remain in Britain and can be deported.

David Wood, the UK Border Agency's director of criminality and detention, defended the scheme, saying: 'We don't want foreign criminals in the UK. Every day that we can get these individuals out of the country early removes the risk they present to UK citizens and saves our taxpayers more than £100 a night in detention costs as well as administrative and court costs.'
As Wong boarded a plane at Heathrow on November 2 bound for Kuala Lumpur, immigration officials handed her a letter confirming that she was entitled to a 'reintegration fund' payout of up to £4,500.

The letter informed her that the money, provided by UK taxpayers but administered by an international migration organisation, could be 'invested' in training for a new job, housing, education, medical treatment or to help set up a small business.

The letter - seen by The Mail on Sunday - also advised Wong, who was kept in an immigration detention centre between her release from jail in July and her deportation earlier this month, how to claim the money.

Hugo's parents, who were immigrants from , both worked at the China City restaurant in Southport, where football star is a regular.
Letter offering Agnes Wong £4,500, under her Malaysian name
Final insult: The letter offering Agnes Wong £4,500, under her Malaysian name


Friends have now spoken of how Hugo's father, Jian Lin Situ, never got over the death of his son and how he had taken the baby's ashes back to China.

They also voiced their anger that the boy's killer would get thousands of pounds of public money to build a new life. One said: 'It is an absolute disgrace that she has got this money. That sort of money will go a long way in Malaysia.'

The friend recalled how Hugo's father had been distraught to learn that some of his son's body parts were initially retained by the coroner in case Wong appealed against her conviction.

'When Hugo died it was big in all the newspapers in China. We followed the proceedings and were all horrified by what happened to that poor boy,' said the friend.

'Jian and Hugo's mother Zhen split up soon after. I think they both blamed each other for their son's death.

'I think Zhen went back to China. Jian never got over Hugo's death. He was absolutely devastated. He took Hugo's ashes back to China, to the Canton district, the family's ancestral home. After that, Jian moved on to a restaurant in Liverpool. From there he went to another restaurant in Blackburn and we lost touch.'

The friend added that Mr Situ would be 'horrified' to learn that Wong had already been returned home, especially as he protested that she should originally have been given a 15-year jail sentence.
'Jian thought five years was too lenient. This is just an insult to Hugo's memory. What are they playing at, letting her out so early? They should have thrown away the key.'

Sir , chairman of the Migrationwatch think-tank, said: 'It is absolutely wrong in principle that criminals who thoroughly deserve to be deported should be paid for going. This should not happen at all.'

A Home Office official confirmed there were two other voluntary schemes offering illegal immigrants incentives to return: one for individuals in the asylum system paying up to £4,000; and one for immigrants who have no right to be here but have not claimed asylum, paying out a maximum of £1,000. - Mail Online, 15/11/2009, Fury as immigrant baby killer is paid £4,500 'bribe' to quit Britain


In Malaysia, s.300 of the Criminal Procedure Code deals with the question of suspending and remitting sentence

300.  Power to suspend or remit sentence.
(1) When any person has been sentenced to punishment for an offence the Ruler of the State, acting in accordance with Article 42 of the Constitution, in which the offence was committed or in which the conviction was had may at any time, without conditions, or upon any conditions which the person sentenced accepts, suspend the execution of his sentence or remit the whole or any part of the punishment to which he has been sentenced.
(2) Whenever an application is made to a Ruler for the suspension or remission of a sentence the Ruler may require the convicting Judge or Magistrate to state his opinion as to whether the application should be granted or refused and the Judge or Magistrate shall state his opinion accordingly.
(3) If any condition on which a sentence has been suspended or remitted is, in the opinion of the Ruler by whom it was granted, not fulfilled, the Ruler may cancel the suspension or remission; whereupon the person in whose favour the sentence has been suspended or remitted may, if at large, be arrested by any police officer without warrant and remanded by a Magistrate to undergo the unexpired portion of the sentence.
(4) Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to interfere with the right of the Ruler of any State to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment.

Aricle 42 of the Federal Constitution is as follows:-

42.  Power of pardon, etc.
(1) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of all offences which have been tried by court-martial and all offences committed in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya; and the Ruler or Yang di- Pertua Negeri of a State has power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of all other offences committed in his State.
[Am. Act A1095 - prior text read - The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has power to grant pardon, reprieves and respites in respect of all offences which have been tried by court-martial and all offences committed in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan; and the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of a State has power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of all other offences committed in his State.]
(2) Subject to Clause (10), and without prejudice to any provision of federal law relating to remission of sentences for good conduct or special services, any power conferred by federal or State law to remit, suspend or commute sentences for any offence shall be exercisable by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong if the sentence was passed by a court-martial or by a civil court exercising jurisdiction in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya and, in any other case, shall be exercisable by the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of the State in which the offence was committed.
[Am. Act A1095 - prior text read - Subject to Clause (10), and without prejudice to any provision of federal law relating to remission of sentences for good conduct or special services, any power conferred by federal or State law to remit, suspend or commute sentences for any offence shall be exercisable by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong if the sentence was passed by a court-martial or by a civil court exercising juridiction in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan and, in any other case, shall be exercisable by the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of the State in which the offence was committed.]
(3) Where an offence was committed wholly or partly outside the Federation or in more than one State or in circumstances which make it doubtful where it was committed, it shall be treated for the purposes of this Article as having been committed in the State in which it was tried. For the purpose of this Clause the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, the Federal Territory of Labuan and the Federal Territory of Putrajaya, shall each be regarded as a State.
[Am. Act A1095 - prior text read - Where an offence was committed wholly or partly outside the Federation or in more than one State or in circumstances which make it doubtful where it was committed, it shall be treated for the purposes of this Article as having been committed in the State in which it was tried. For the purpose of this Clause the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur or the Federal Territory of Labuan, as the case may be, shall each be regarded as a State.]
(4) The powers mentioned in this Article -
(a) are, so far as they are exercisable by the Yang di- Pertuan Agong, among functions with respect to which federal law may make provision under Clause (3) of Article 40;
(b) shall so far as they are exercisable by the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of a State, be exercised on the advice of a Pardons Board constituted for that State in accordance with Clause (5).
(5) The Pardons Board constituted for each State shall consist of the Attorney General of the Federation, the Chief Minister of the State and not more than three other members, who shall be appointed by the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri; but the Attorney General may from time to time by instrument in writing delegate his functions as a member of the Board to any other person, and the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri may appoint any person to exercise temporarily the functions of any member of the Board appointed by him who is absent or unable to act.
(6) The members of a Pardons Board appointed by the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri shall be appointed for a term of three years and shall be eligible for reappointment, but may at any time resign from the Board.
(7) A member of the Legislative Assembly of a State or of the House of Representatives shall not be appointed by the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri to be a member of a Pardons Board or to exercise temporarily the functions of such a member.
(8) The Pardons Board shall meet in the presence of the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri and he shall preside over it.
(9) Before tendering their advice on any matter a Pardons Board shall consider any written opinion which the Attorney General may have delivered thereon.
(10) Notwithstanding anything in this Article, the power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of, or to remit, suspend or commute sentences imposed by any court established under any law regulating Islamic religious affairs in the State of Malacca, Penang, Sabah or Sarawak or the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya shall be exercisable by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as Head of the religion of Islam in the State.
[Am. Act A1095 - prior text read - Notwithstanding anything in this Article, the power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect of, or to remit, suspend or commute sentences imposed by any court established under any law regulating Islamic religious affairs in the State of Malacca, Penang, Sabah or Sarawak or the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur and Labuan shall be exercisable by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as Head of the religion of Islam in the State.]
(11) For the purpose of this Article, there shall be constituted a single Pardons Board for the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya and the provisions of Clauses (5), (6), (7), (8) and (9) shall apply mutatis mutandis to the Pardons Board under this Clause except that reference to "Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri" shall be construed as reference to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and reference to "Chief Minister of the State" shall be construed as reference to the Minister responsible for the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya.
[Am. Act A1095 - prior text read - For the purpose of this Article, there shall be constituted a single Pardons Board for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and the Federal Territory of Labuan and the provisions of Clauses (5), (6), (7), (8) and (9) shall apply mutatis mutandis to the Pardons Board under this Clause except that reference to "Ruler or Yang di- Pertua Negeri" shall be construed as reference to the Yang di- Pertuan Agong and reference to "Chief Minister of the State" shall be construed as reference to the Minister responsible for the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and the Federal Territory of Labuan.]
(12) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Constitution, where the powers mentioned in this Article -
(a) are exercisable by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of a State and are to be exercised in respect of himself or his wife, son or daughter, such powers shall be exercised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong acting on the advice of the Pardons Board constituted for that State under this Article and which shall be presided over by him;
(b) are to be exercised in respect of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Ruler of a State, or his Consort, as the case may be, such powers shall be exercised by the Conference of Rulers and the following provisions shall apply:
(i) when attending any proceedings under this Clause, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall not be accompanied by the Prime Minister and the other Rulers shall not be accompanied by their Menteri-Menteri Besar;
(ii) before arriving at its decision on any matter under this Clause, the Conference of Rulers shall consider any written opinion which the Attorney General may have delivered thereon;
(c) are to be exercised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Ruler of a State in respect of his son or daughter, as the case may be, such powers shall be exercised by the Ruler of a State nominated by the Conference of Rulers who shall act in accordance with the advice of the relevant Pardons Board constituted under this Article.
(13) For the purpose of paragraphs (b) and (c) of Clause (12), the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Ruler of the State concerned, as the case may be, and the Yang di-Pertua-Yang di-Pertua Negeri shall not be members of the Conference of Rulers.

Your comments would be appreciated on this rather interesting issue of migrants, crime, money for starting a new life provided they accepted to be deported, ...




Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Get the Bar Council's view on the Bukit Antrabangsa matter...

It maybe better for the Selangor Government to seek the opinion of the Bar Council on this matter, as it will be better.

Selected law firms are good ....but alas, we do not want accusations later on that you selected law firms that may be inclined to provide a justification of Selangor government's 'real position', which may be opposed to the publicly stated positions.

Is it not true that Selangor government has also been 'secretive' using the OSA as it when it pleases?

We want total openness - total disclosure...for all matters. Remember recently, the Selangor MB has been accused of keeping them in the dark.

Salehuddin had despatched a strongly-worded e-mail to all PKR Members of Parliament and assemblymen in the state questioning why Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had kept them in the dark about the move.Star, 19/11/2009, Parliament: Anwar defends Talam move, Salehuddin’s rights

Anwar, the people were also kept in the dark when RM391 million of their money was used to buy over Talam's debt to 'Selangor'?

Make public Cabinet/State Exco Minutes and Decisions - The people have a right to information. No more secrets..

Selangor exco Ronnie Liu said the Selangor government has appointed two legal firms to study the options it has in order to proceed with declassifying the Bukit Antarabangsa investigation papers.

NONE"We are quite upset that we are not allowed to declassify the landslide investigation reports," said Liu at a press conference in the Selangor state secretariat.

The Selangor government's attempts to declassify the Bukit Antarabangsa papers hit a snag when the federal government objected to the move and threatened to take it to court if it does so.

"We have appointed not one, but two law firms to study the matter and look into the powers of Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to declassify those documents," said Liu.

He also rubbished the federal government's insistence that the papers should be kept confidential under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

"The papers are not supposed to be confidential. Only matters involving national security should be under the act. It makes no sense to keep the report under the OSA.

"The report is a matter of public interest and everyone, especially the victims, should have a copy. People have a right to know, the report has already been long delayed as it is," he said.

Freedom of information

Liu further added that the state will continue to push for more declassification of documents and that Khalid will use his powers as defined in the OSA to declassify them.

landslide bukit antarabangsa car"The OSA provides discretionary powers to the menteri besar to make public documents that he deems necessary and of public interest," he said.

Liu said the state will continue its commitment towards transparency and accountability by way of a state enactment on Freedom of Information.

He revealed that a draft of the said enactment is in the works and will be tabled at the next sitting of the state assembly.

The landslide on Dec 6 last year occurred at the posh housing area of Taman Bukit Mewah in Bukit Antarabangsa. It claimed five lives and destroyed 14 houses.
- Malaysiakini, 24/11/2009, Declassification: MB seeks advice from 2 law firms

SUARAM: Weak Procedures and Lack of Accountability in Police Shootings: Government Must Act Immediately to End Impunity

Press Statement: 24 November 2009

Weak Procedures and Lack of Accountability in Police Shootings:
Government Must Act Immediately to End Impunity

SUARAM strongly condemns the Royal Malaysian Police on the shooting of the five men in Klang on 8 November 2009 that resulted in their deaths. There are high numbers of death by police shooting and the police should stop maintaining the same reason of self-defence for shooting suspects to death and take measures to avoid such events from recurring.

SUARAM questions how it was possible that all the five suspects were shot dead simultaneously while they were in a moving vehicle as reported in the media. We also question the inconsistencies of the police accounts of the events surrounding the incident. Initial news reports by New Straits Times[1] and Bernama[2] described that police officers stopped the suspects’ vehicle and the suspects tried to run the vehicle into the police officers. The suspects opened fire at the police officers and the police returned fire, causing all five suspects to die on the spot. However, when denying allegations that the police had a “shoot-to-kill” approach, The Star reported that the Federal CID Director Comm Datuk Seri Bakri Zinin stated, “There was a high-speed car chase where the robbers tried to force the pursuing police vehicle off the road while firing shots indiscriminately at them. Police had no choice but to return fire.”[3]

Due to the poor track record of the police and inconsistencies in accounts of incidences such as the one that occurred on 8 November, there is a perception that there is an attempt by the police to cover up actual events. While we recognise the police officer’s right to self-defence, SUARAM is of the view that even if the suspect is first to open fire as alleged to have occurred in the incident that occurred on 8 November, the police must use other procedures to apprehend the suspects that are proportionate to the actions of the suspects and ultimately, lethal use of firearms must be the last resort and not the first.

Death by police shooting is not an uncommon practice in the police force. According to our documentation and monitoring, in 2008, there were 44 cases of death by police shootings with possibly more cases unreported. The perception that the police “shoot-to-kill” has developed because in many of the police shooting cases, circumstances indicated that the police did not try to apprehend suspects but rather, resort to the use of firearms at first instance of attack by suspects. In virtually every case, the police claimed that the suspects were armed and dangerous, and that returning fire was necessary but a closer examination would reveal that in a large number of the shooting cases, the suspects were only armed with weapons such as knives or parangs. These cases are clearly in contravention of the principles of restraint and proportionality in the international standards on the use of firearms by law enforcement officers.

International law clearly stipulates the basic criteria for the use of arms. In the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials it is stated,Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty”.

Whereas Article 9 of the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials states, “In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life…” and Article 10 states “…law enforcement officials shall identify themselves as such and give a clear warning of their intent to use firearms, with sufficient time for the warning to be observed, unless to do so would unduly place the law enforcement officials at risk or would create a risk of death or serious harm to other persons, or would be clearly inappropriate or pointless in the circumstances of the incident”. (All emphases added)

In addition, Section 15(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act 593) states that in the event of an arrest, it is unlawful for police officers to cause the death of a person during an arrest before they have been accused of an offence severe enough to be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

While much attention has been given to the recent deaths of ethnic Indian Malaysians in police shootings, SUARAM’s documentation shows that these cases are not merely confined to a single ethnic group. In 2008, 25 of the 44 deaths by police shootings documented by SUARAM that year were foreigners. It is therefore an issue of the failure of the government to discipline a police force which is today operating with critically weak procedures, lack of accountability and impunity.

 

The low public confidence in the police force today is largely due to its lack of accountability. This has been made worse by the recent police shooting cases and the attempts by the police in defending itself without proper and transparent investigation procedures.

 

In light of the recent police shooting cases, there is an urgent need to end impunity by immediately:-

 

1.      declaring and reviewing of the current procedures of the use of firearms on criminal suspects to ensure that police officers comply with international standards; and

2.      establishing accountability procedures after police shootings occur to ensure that police officers are accountable for their actions.


SUARAM also strongly calls upon the Government to immediately act on the recommendation by the Royal Commission on Police for an inquest to be conducted for every death within a month of the incident. This should include all deaths by police shootings. The recommendation states that the Magistrates and Government Medical Officers must be informed about each death and that the bodies must not be moved prior to that. Upon being informed, a Magistrate and a Government Medical Officer must immediately inspect the body at the site of the incident.

 

In the longer term, the Government must establish a Coroner’s Court as recommended by the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code – to carry out investigation on all deaths by police shootings as well as those in police custody.

 

Released by,

 

Lucas Yap Heng Lung

SUARAM Coordinator

016-4114147

lucasheng19@gmail.com

 




[1] The New Straits Times (2009) ‘PCO Boy gang killed in shoot-out’, 9 November, at http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/articles/21deads/Article/index_html, accessed 23 November 2009 .
[2] Bernama (2009) ‘Five Criminals Shot Dead By Police’, 8 November, at http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsgeneral.php?id=453530, accessed 23 November 2009 .

[3] The Star (2009) ‘We don’t have shoot-to-kill approach, say police’, 11 November, at http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/11/11/nation/5086466&sec=nation, accessed 23 November 2009 .