Monday, March 31, 2008

Follow PERAK - elections at all levels of local government NOW..

Pemilihan penghulu Perak April ini
30/3/2008 (Malaysiakini)

Tanpa menunggu sehingga semua ketua kampung meletakkan jawatan beramai-ramai 1 Mei ini, kerajaan baru Perak menggesa pemilihan jawatan-jawatan itu diadakan segera bulan depan.

perak cm mb mohamad nizar jamaluddinMenteri besar Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin berkata tatacara dan kaedah pemilihan itu akan disampaikan kepada semua ketua kampung dan pegawai daerah tidak lama lagi.

Semua jawatan ini akan tamat pada 31 Disember tetapi Pertubuhan Ketua Kampung Negeri Perak (PKKNP) menggesa semua mereka, yang dilantik sewaktu pentadbiran BN, meletakkan jawatan pada awal Mei.

Seramai 876 ketua kampung di seluruh Perak dilaporkan bersedia berbuat demikian atas alasan mereka tidak sehaluan dengan kerajaan campuran pimpinan DAP, PAS dan PKR.

Seramai 13,140 ahli Jawatankuasa Keselamatan dan Kemajuan Kampung (JKKK) akan menurut langkah yang sama, kata presiden PKKNP Zukiman Jalil pada Rabu lepas.

Mohammad Nizar berkata pelantikan semua ketua kampung akan dibuat sebelum Mei, lapor laman web The Star Online hari ini.

Menurut laporan itu, wakil rakyat PAS itu berkata ahli-ahli Jawatankuasa Keselamatan dan Kemajuan Kampung (JKKK) bagaimanapun dikekalkan.

Pemilihan ketua kampung itu seumpama pemilihan dalam mesyuarat agung tahuan Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru (PIBG) di sekolah-sekolah, kata Mohammad Nizar.

Sementara wang dalam bank akaun dan kelengkapan di peringkat kampung, termasuk yang diselia JKKK, tidak wajar dipindahkan atau dikeluarkan sehingga pelantikan ketua kampung baru, katanya lagi.

Selasa lepas, dalam acara sulungnya sejak dilantik menteri besar, Mohamad Nizar mengumumkan sistem pengundian akan diperkenalkan kembali untuk melantik ketua kampung dan pengerusi di JKKK di Perak.

Sistem pemilihan seumpama itu pernah diperkenalkan di negeri itu, katanya selepas perjumpaan dengan 300 ketua kampung dan pengerusi JKKK.

Mohamad Nizar dilaporkan berkata, sistem pelantikan seperti yang diamalkan kini telah menimbulkan krisis di peringkat akar umbi masyarakat apabila "calon-calon yang dikehendaki penduduk tidak lagi terpilih atau nama itu dihilangkan."

Kerajaan negeri dilaporkan merancang memperkenalkan sistem pengundian secara rasmi selepas tempoh jawatan ketua-ketua kampung sedia ada tamat hujung tahun ini.

Beliau menambah, semua 31 wakil rakyat DAP, PKR dan PAS bersetuju mengembalikan hak penduduk memilih ketua mereka sendiri.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

“Zero Squatters”, a flawed policy - Malaysian Bar

Press Statement: “Zero Squatters”, a flawed policy

Contributed by Ambiga Sreenevasan
Friday, 28 March 2008 07:35pm

Ambiga SreenevasanThe Bar Council is deeply concerned that the new Menteri Besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid has announced that he will continue on the path embarked upon by his predecessor to eradicate all squatter settlements in the State.

The “zero squatter” policy of the previous State Administration was in our view flawed and an unmitigated disaster from the high handed manner in which the forced evictions were carried out to the manner in which the State Government all too quickly defended the actions of the developer against the urban settlers. The inhumane treatment and the failure to address the basic housing needs of the poor and marginalised is of great concern. Rather than support such a policy, the State Government should abandon it and make an open declaration that they will desist from using the draconian Essential (Clearance of Squatters) Regulations promulgated under the Emergency Ordinance.

Any enlightened policy on urban resettlement should have at its core, negotiations and the willingness to give these settlers affordable and decent alternative housing. Human Rights norms decry forced evictions. They demand instead that no one should be left homeless or vulnerable to human rights violations. It is the responsibility of the state to ensure proper resettlement in such circumstances.

Foreign workers

We are also disturbed about Tan Sri Khalid’s comments on foreign workers and the possibility of imposing an additional levy supposedly to be paid by their employers. Such a levy would almost certainly be transferred to the worker by his employer.

There appears to be a long held, and wrongly held, view that decreased dependence on foreign labour will result in less crime and less social problems! Statistics show that foreigners only account for 2% of the crimes committed in the country, and while no one will discount that we have our share of social problems, it is unfair to lay the blame for them solely on foreign workers. Xenophobic responses such as these must be avoided. Our language, vocabulary and mindset must change. Rather than blame foreign workers for crime and social problems, the new State Government should focus on what it can do to ensure that all workers in this country receive fair treatment and equal access to justice. We must not forget that reliance on foreign labour is Government policy.

It is hoped that the focus will shift from coming down hard on migrant workers, urban settlers and other disadvantaged people to uplifting them and improving their lot. Nothing less is acceptable from any government.

Ambiga Sreenevasan
Malaysian Bar


MB Selangor do not advocate UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHTS....????

"On the protest voiced by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) on the Selangor-levy plan, he said local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Suaram must place priority on national interests and not champion universal human rights and attack the state government for looking after its residents in their own homeland."

“I was among the people involved in the corporatisation of the system for foreign workers and I can show ways to keep tabs on even the illegal workers,” he said.
He calls them "illegal" - no human being can be illegal or irregular. The right term to use mr. MB is "undocumented" - and do you know what happens to these undocumented...RELA arrest them...detained...charged in court...WHIPPED...deported. (But somehow not much is done to the employers that have hired and used them - and one labour court also said that since they were "illegal", they are not entitled to their wages from this employer --- and interestingly no news about any action taken against this EMPLOYER too....

Khalid meanwhile said the RM4,000 in levy and agency charges migrant workers paid was too large a sum, and the state planned to call on the Federal Government to reduce the amount.
Why should the workers be made to pay these agency charges and levy - it should be the EMPLOYER. The employer, who wants to go and get migrant workers, MUST be required in law to pay all the said "agency charges", "levy", etc... NOT the workers... Any further contribution that the State requires for the usage of facilities in this country should come from these EMPLOYERS...

One thing that Khalid can do is stop the discrimination faced by migrants when it comes to access to medical care in Malaysia. Health and health care are fundamental needs to a human being --- and we should treat everyone equally here in Malaysia.

Selangor Has Administrative Power Over Migrant Worker Levy, Says MB

March 28, 2008 (Bernama)

KUALA LANGAT, March 28 (Bernama) -- Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said today the state government has the "administrative authority" to impose on employers a monthly levy of RM9 for each migrant worker they employ.

He said this in response to Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam's statement yesterday that the Parti Keadilan Rakyat-DAP-PAS coalition government had no authority to amend legislation to impose the levy.

Abdul Khalid said the RM3,000 to RM4,000 charged by migrant worker agencies was high and that for the Selangor government this was not reasonable.

He said this after officiating at the closing ceremony for the basic training course for Selangor enforcement officers series 1/2008 at the Enforcement Training Centre in Jugra near here.

Abdul Khalid said the state government bore the brunt of the influx of foreign workers into Selangor as they had an impact on infrastructure facilities like health, education and roads.

"We want to show the federal government how to keep records on illegal workers by having the state levy. I will set up a centralised information system to keep correct records on those who come and work in the state," he said.

Abdul Khalid said he had experience in doing so as he was among those responsible for the computerisation of the Immigration Department at one time and that the state's efforts could help the federal government resolve problems it faced.

He said the federal government perhaps had difficulty accepting ideas from political parties other than those of the Barisan Nasional (BN) but (the federal government) must listen to the people's wishes channelled through other parties.

"If they can come up with a better idea, they should do so," Abdul Khalid said.

He said millions of ringgit were paid by foreign workers to recruiting agencies that brought them to the country and the Malaysian government collected a levy but eventually the agents concerned did not know where the workers were and this "flood of foreign workers" created problems for society.

Although migrant workers, especially the illegal ones, were eventually repatriated by the government, the problem did not seem to end as they returned to the country and the ones who benefited were the travel agents and migrant workers recruitment agencies, Abdul Khalid said.

On the protest voiced by Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) on the Selangor-levy plan, he said local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like Suaram must place priority on national interests and not champion universal human rights and attack the state government for looking after its residents in their own homeland.


Think of national interests, Suaram told

BANTING: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) should take a more national approach to foreign worker issues and not attack the state government, says Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Khalid said the state government’s proposal to collect RM9 monthly from all migrant workers in the state was aimed at setting up a fund to help provide re-training for local unemployed youths so they could land better jobs.

He said foreign workers living and working in Selangor enjoyed all the state's infrastructure, like good schools, health facilities and roads and the state was just calling for them contribute something in return.

Well done: Khalid presenting a certificate to top participant Mohd Shaari Md Lazit during the closing ceremony of the training course at Pulapes in Jugra Friday. —Bernama

“Suaram feels that bringing in foreign workers is one of the solutions to human rights problems but they should understand we have to help our own people, too.

“This is a democracy, so we can open up and discuss the matter,” he told reporters after officiating at the closing ceremony of the training for local authorities' enforcement officers at the Selangor Enforcement Training Centre (Pulapes) in Jugra here yesterday.

On Monday, Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng hit out at the state government's proposal, calling it unjust as foreign workers received low wages and were often exploited by employers or recruitment agencies with non-payment, unjust deduction of salary, long working hours and unfair dismissals.

He added that migrant workers were barely surviving and probably in debt after paying exorbitant fees to come to work in Malaysia.

Khalid meanwhile said the RM4,000 in levy and agency charges migrant workers paid was too large a sum, and the state planned to call on the Federal Government to reduce the amount.

He also proposed that a centralised information system be set up to keep an accurate record of foreign workers in the state.

“I was among the people involved in the corporatisation of the system for foreign workers and I can show ways to keep tabs on even the illegal workers,” he said.

Khalid also said the Federal Government should not cast aside suggestions just because they came from opposition parties and should accept the good ones.

Local Government Elections at all levels by end 2008 (definitely NOT by 2010..)

2010 -- why not now? As soon as possible and latest by end of 2008 (not 2010). Let us consider term of office, and reasonably it should be at least 3 years...So delaying mattters is not at all an option...

And why are we talking about stopping at local council or town council elections (the Majlis Perbandaraan or Majlis Bandaraya)... we should look at elections at all levels of local government including the Penghulu, Ketua Kampung, the JKKK, the JKKT ....and there is nothing stoping us doing this...and we should follow the guidance of the new Perak MB -- whose only reason for suggesting elections at the end of the year was because that was when the current term expires...and if sooner, the better...

There are many levels of local government --- and we MUST introduce elections at all level and away with this practice of "appointments" once and for all.

proportional representation in the local councils based on the votes received by both opposition and ruling parties during the general election" ... is non-sense. There must be a different direct elections of persons to local councils and be aware that this can be persons who may belong to a political party or not...

I believe that at the level of kampungs, tamans, and even towns short at the level of local government voting shall be for individuals not political parties, hence there shall no usage of political party symbols (but nothing stops political parties endorsing this and that candidate...)

There may be a certain allocated seats for minority groups...but we shall see..

The election of SENATORS by the Rakyat must also be given serious consideration - if not at least a POLL or a REFERENDUM of sorts to get the people's choice into Senate...

There should be no procrastination with regard to local council, JKKK, JKKT, Penghulu, .... elections. People must start to experience and implement this new found DEMOCRACY as soon as possible and for as long as possible before the next General Elections....


Bring local council elections back by 2010
Azreen Madzlan | Mar 28, 08 4:48pm

Civil society groups today called on all the 12 newly formed state governments to prioritise local council elections in their agenda.

Suaram executive director Yap Swee Seng told a press conference today that a memorandum endorsed by 33 civil society organisations will be sent to all 12 state governments requesting local council elections to be carried out on or before 2010.

suaram local election pc 280308 yap swee sengHe said expectation was now high to push for local elections since the opposition has pledged to restore them through their manifestos before the general election.

"Ever since the BN had the two-third majority, there was no response to the demand. With the recent election results, we are making similar demands to the opposition parties." said Yap.

Presents at the press conference today were Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas) president Tan Jo Hann, Empower representatives Pook Li Yoon and Andrew Khoo, a lawyer.

According to Yap, since many local councillors including village heads have resigned after the elections, the new state governments should consider proportional representation in the local councils based on the votes received by both opposition and ruling parties during the general election.

Although ideally, all the NGOs agreed that there should not be political representatives in local councils, they’re also asking the state governments to adopt aspects of good governance proposed in the memorandum.

The mood is right

Among others, the memorandum proposes that any political representative appointed must be competent and capable of representing the interest of the community.

Yap added the composition of political appointees should also reflect the diversity of interests in the communities.

Meanwhile, Andrew Khoo stressed that society at large must get used to the concept of power sharing power among political parties even at local council level for a healthier political system.

Acknowledging that amendment to the laws or enactments of new laws may be necessary, Khoo said the matter must be studied thoroughly and that state governments be given some time to bring back local elections.

"It’s time to bring this back. People are much more mature, and able to make rationale decision. The mood is right," he pointed out.

suaram local election pc 280308 groupIt has been over 40 years since the government outlawed local council elections through the Local Government Act 1976. Local polls were suspended following the declaration of emergency on Sept 3, 1964, which remains in force.

The call to have local council elections reinstated have grown louder in recent years due to an increasing reports and complaints on alleged poor administration and weak financial management.

Powers of local councils

Commenting on the recent resignation of the BN-appointed 814 village heads in Perak, Tan Jo Hahn said they welcomed the decision although it was wrong of them to claim that they were serving the ruling party.

"We welcome the resignation. We should not have these people. They have shown their true colours. Let others take over," he said.

Jo Hann claimed the resignation proved that the village heads are worried about being checked by the new state administration for possible ‘misdeeds’.

It was reported that Perak MB Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin had promised that they could remain in their posts until the end of this year and no one would be forced to resign.

Jo Hann, whose organisation works with squatters, said people affected by policies made by the governments should have a say on who they want to be in the local council.

He added that many people are unaware of the powers of the local councils other than ‘sweeping the floor’.

"Do you know that DBKL has spent RM 94 million to train their officers in social ethics? What is that? For this simple reason alone, the rakyat should know where their money goes." said Jo Hann.

Opposition parties have pledges to support the reinstatement of local council elections in their election manifestos during the general election. To date, only DAP has begun initiatives to fulfil the party’s promises.


Memorandum by Civil Society on Political Appointments by

State Governments

28 March 2008

We, the undersigned, call upon all the 12 newly formed state governments to practice good governance so as to ensure sustainable human development. This includes having State Governments that are clean, efficient, uphold the Rule of Law, and are inclusive of the diverse views and interests of the Rakyat.

We are concerned that previous State Governments had processes and procedures which were unclear and arbitrary. This enabled many abuses of public funds to take place, and left the needs of the Rakyat unfulfilled.

While the long term goal is to reinstate elections at the local government level, in the short term, we state the following.

Being transparent when making political appointments

State Governments have the wide authority and discretion to make political appointments. Besides appointing councillors in local authorities, they may also appoint directors to state corporations and enterprises, members of planning committees, down to village committees in the smallest kampung.

We propose these aspects of good governance to be adopted by the State Governments when making political appointments:

General Principles

1. Political appointees should have these criteria:

1.. Competence - have professional qualifications, be widely experienced in state affairs or are capable of representing the interest of the community

2.. Merit - be widely recognised as having achieved distinction in any particular profession, commerce, public service or other fields of activity.

3.. Integrity - be persons of good repute, honest and ethical.

4.. Equality and Non-Discrimination - uphold human rights principles of non-discrimination and equality.

2. Political appointments should follow these procedures:

1.. Transparency - clear criteria for political appointments should be set out;

2.. Consultation - mechanisms should be put in place to facilitate public participation in the nomination and selection processes of candidates for public office.

3.. Accountability - timely annual reports must be prepared and made available to the public. Regular open-door "meet-the-people" sessions and forums should be held to enable discussions between the appointees and the Rakyat.

3. When viewed in totality, the composition of political appointees should reflect the diversity in the communities.

Appointments of Councillors in Local Authorities

Understanding that amendments to the laws or enactments of new laws to bring back local government elections may be necessary and will take some time, we urge the following:

1. Agenda - all State Governments, especially those of Penang, Selangor, Perak, Kedah and Kelantan, which have committed to local government elections through their manifestos or the People's Declaration, should declare their road maps for local elections with clear timelines and milestones. Holding local government elections should be prioritised, and carried out by or before 2010.

2. Membership - selecting members of the local authorities should be a participatory process. Membership of local authorities should as far as possible reflect the diversity of interests in society. There shall be representatives from civil society groups without political party affiliations such as professionals, commerce, labour, residential associations, culture and the arts, people with disabilities, environment, women, youth etc. If there are to representatives from political parties in local councils, a proportionate representation for both ruling and opposition parties should be adopted. In addition, no State Assembly representatives and/or their immediate family members shall be appointed as councillors due to conflict of interest. There should be an overall balance of gender and ethnicity in the local authorities.

3. Criteria - members of the local authorities should be local residents. All appointees should have the measures of competence, merit and integrity as outlined above.

4. Appointment procedures - in adhering to the principles of transparency, accountability and open consultation stated above, the following should be noted:

(a) open nomination: each State Government should list and publish its criteria for membership of local authorities. The local residents should be invited to nominate suitable candidates; and

(b) display list of nominees: The names of all nominees should be made public and complete with their curriculum vitae. The public should be able to give views on the nominees to the State Government before public interviews are held.

(c) public interviews: Short-listed candidates should speak at forums open to the public so as to enable interactions with local residents. Public opinions should be taken into consideration by the State Government in making the final decision of appointment.

5. Accountability - councillors should prepare timely annual reports related to their portfolios. These reports should be published and made available to the public in forums to enable discussions. Citizens may petition to the state government for termination of their services of any councillor if found unsatisfactory.

It is our hope that this next round of appointments of local councillors for local authorities will be the last. No modern local governments should function without elected representatives.

This memorandum is endorsed by:

1.. All Women's Action Society (AWAM)
2.. Center for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
3.. Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
4.. Center for Policy Initiative
5.. Child Development Initiative
6.. Citizen Think Tank
7.. Civil Rights Committee of the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
8.. Civil Society Initiative - Parliament
9.. Community Development Center (CDC)
10.. Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM)
11.. Empower
12.. Federasi Kaum Tamil Sedunia Malaysia
13.. Group of Concerned Citizens
14.. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
15.. Kelab Bell Belia Tamil
16.. Labor Resource Center
17.. Malaysian Indian Development and Unity Association
18.. Malaysia Youth and Student Democratic Movement (DEMA)
19.. People's Parliament
20.. Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM Selangor
21.. Persatuan Kebajikan Masyarakat dan Sosial India
22.. Persatuan Kemajuan Pendidikan Malaysia
23.. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
24.. Persatuan Pembaca Tamil Klang
25.. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
26.. Pusat Komunikasi Masysarakat (KOMAS)
27.. Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA)
28.. Semparuthi Iyakkam
29.. Sisters in Islam
30.. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
31.. Women's Aid Organization (WAO)
32.. Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
33.. Youth for Change (Y4C)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Is the Selangor MB from Barisan Nasional?

Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim is displaying "UMNO" or "BN" characteristics ....He said he want to follow what Khir Toyo was doing..

He is showing a definite "pro-developer" or "pro-pemaju" kind of behaviour, which is "anti-Rakyat" (anti-people).

All they wanted was power -- and to do that did they deceive the people saying that they are different...but are they really?

He speaks of urban pioneers (peneroka bandar) as squatters - that is the word and language of the BN government.

He talks about "zero squatter policy" as though the urban pioneers are scum or some kind of 'disease' that needs to be erradicated - he must apologize now to those urban pioneers....the rakyat.

They cleared the land built their homes and settled down , and have lived there for so many years. Some have been deceived into believing that they are the owners of their land as they did buy the land and house...and when towns expanded, suddenly the State Government (oh is a State Matter) branded them "squatters" - a term so very negative --- so very demeaning that the progressive do not use the term anymore. If that land belonged to some other then maybe the solution would have been to give them land/house...

Was this now Menteri Besar also working for the Plantation Companies in management that closed down plantations and dumped their former workers and their families out with no home and land ---- and many of these also ended up as "squatters".

PERMAS is kind - I say immediately apologize to the people -the poor - the urban pioneers, and I say that the Barisan Alternative may have to look for a NEW Menteri Besar... this man is embarrassing and is looking more and more pro-company pro-big-business pro-Rich kind of person day after day...

PERMAS' open letter to the New Selangor Mentri Besar's statement on the zero-squatter policy*

Firstly, on behalf of PERMAS I would like to congratulate you and the
newly appointed Selangor State Ex-Co for being installed as the new
Selangor State Government. We are truly jubilant for the recent victory
of the Barisan Rakyat's electoral victory especially in the states of
Selangor, Perak, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan.

However we are suddenly thrown aback when we read in today's
Malaysiakini report that you as the newly appointed Mentri Besar of
Selangor stated that you will continue the policy of your predecessor,
Mohd Khir Toyo to eradicate all 'squatter' settlements in the state.

We are also very disappointed that you have made such as serious
pronouncement as the Selangor MB without sufficient consultation and
discussions with the wider community of resident groups, civil society
organizations, and especially the urban poor settlements themselves
about their housing and land issues.

According to the report by the Malaysiakini report you said, "You can't allow people to become squatters in a state. There's the balance that we
have to abide by." and "We want to accommodate the wishes of the
squatters as much as we have to take into account the costs (incurred
by) the developer,". This statement has a chilling effect and reminds us
of the "pro-pemaju" kind of sentiments often expressed by the former
Selangor State government under the leadership of Mohd Khir Toyo.

The issue of squatters or urban pioneers is a very serious and
complicated one and has been the subject of electoral campaigns and
international concerns for the past few decades. In Malaysia especially,
the issue of housing for the poor has always been rife with corruption,
arbitrary inhumane evictions and demolition practices by the law
enforcers especially in connivance with profit hungry housing developers.

The question of ownership of land is not always straight forward. It is
not enough just to ascertain the ownership of a piece of land by
checking the legal status and then labeling the occupants on this land
as "squatters."

Take for instance if that particular community which has been residing
on that particular piece of land for the past 30-40 years even before any private interest had laid claim on it. Then suddenly, the local council or district office, or state government agency decides to do something with that piece of land, sometimes from their own initiative or perhaps at the recommendations of certain business interests.

They immediately label the people who have pioneered to that land as squatters and begin the process of their eviction. This is often done without due consultation with the people and as a result the compensations and relocation to alternative homes often do not reflect the interests of the people. Housing developers aided by local municipal and district offices arbitrarily push their decisions onto the people and their verbal promises are usually not fulfilled resulting in
unpleasant confrontations and even violent clashes.

PERMAS has been dealing with land and housing cases for the past 20
years and we have many actual examples and cases to show the
complexities of this issue. For instance we are currently struggling
with a case of 229 longhouse families in Rawang whose promised land has
been arbitrarily taken by the Gombak District Office and the PKNS has
built already built houses on it to sell it back to the people! We have taken a court case against the Gombak District Office and also the PKNS but the case has been postponed for the past 6 years!

There are actually many different cases of housing and land where the
developers have acted very irresponsibly and even criminally abusing state facilities, and ignoring basic human decency and rights of the
people in their endeavor to pursue profits. One cannot just look at the
business side of this issue and blindly "...take into account the costs
incurred by the developers..."

We are very disappointed that as the newly appointed Mentri Besar of a
progressive party such as the PKR, you have made such general sweeping
statements about "squatters". We recall very vividly that PKR and also
its candidates have espoused very clear ideals and goals to support the
"Rakyat's" human rights and needs regardless of race!

The "Rakyat" put their energies, heart and soul and especially their votes in the last elections to deny the Barisan Nasional government a two-third majority in Parliament. Because of the "Rakyat's" votes, the Selangor government is now under the leadership of the PKR-DAP-PAS

We understand very well that this is a new undertaking and it is really
a very huge responsibility to be caring a state and making sure that all
sectors are represented and care for without discrimination, whether
they are rich or poor.

We also understand that the issue of adequate and permanent housing is a
very urgent issue. The process of achieving this status has to be done
in close collaboration with the people, not only rhetorically but in
actual practice. If the general aim to provide a house to everyone in
the state would entail striving for a "zero-squatters" status in the
state, then it may be acceptable. However if "zero-policy" status is
pursuit because you believe that "You can't allow people to become
squatters in a state" or that "we have to take into account the costs
incurred by the developer,", then this is an anti-people policy!

We would also like to urge you as the Selangor MB and the rest of the
Ex-Co members to actively practice consulting with groups such as PERMAS who have been actively engaged in the struggle for adequate and permanent housing and land for the past 15-20 years.

To this regard we would greatly appreciate it if you would immediately
hold a dialogue with PERMAS as well as other civil society organizations
regarding housing for the poor in Selangor and to explore possible
approaches to address all issues in this regard.

I sincerely hope that you and also the members of the Selangor State
Ex-Co will not make sweeping generalisations and hasty judgments on matters especially involving the marginalized and the poorer sectors in
our society. PKR-DAP-PAS were elected by the "Rakyat" to become the
Selangor State government because of your very people-centered agenda,
your pledges to defend the poor and fight for the rights of all
Malaysians. Now is the time to show us that your government is indeed
different from the previous one!


Tan Jo Hann
President, PERMAS

26th . March 2008

Permas: New MB's statements 'chilling'
Soon Li Tsin | Mar 27, 08 1:46pm (Malaysiakini)

The community residents' association of Selangor and Federal Territory (Permas) is disappointed with Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim’s decision to continue with the ‘zero squatters’ policy.

In a statement yesterday, Permas president Tan Jo Hann said Khalid’s "general sweeping statements" about squatters were uncalled for.

khalid ibrahim selangor mb pc 260308 03"We are very disappointed that he has made such a serious pronouncement as the Selangor MB without sufficient consultation and discussions with the wider community of residents’ groups, civil society organisations and especially the urban poor settlements themselves about their housing and land issues," he said.

In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini two days ago, Khalid said the new state government will not scrap the policy initiated by the previous government.

"You can't allow people to become squatters in a state. There's the balance that we have to abide by. We want to accommodate the wishes of the squatters as much as we have to take into account the costs (incurred by) the developer," said the menteri besar.

Tan said the statements have a ‘chilling effect’ and are similar to the 'pro-developer' sentiments often expressed by former menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo.

"There are actually many different cases of housing and land where the developers have acted very irresponsibly and even criminally abusing state facilities, and ignoring basic human decency and rights of the people in their endeavour to pursue profits," he said.

Tan revealed that he has communicated with Khalid’s political secretary Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.

"We have spoken and Permas plans to mobilise 1,000 residents to gather outside the MB’s office next week to submit a memorandum.

"Nik Nazmi also said that he will look into organising a meeting between Permas and Khalid. We are quite optimistic about collaborating with the new state government," he said.

Proper methods will be used

Contacted latter, Nik Nazmi said he had explained to Tan that certain statements made by Khalid could have triggered the concern of some quarters but stressed that the interview must be read in its entirety.

"People became overexcited over several statements made but the interview must be seen in its totality and you can see that Khalid’s anti-squatter policy will be executed properly.

"He (Khalid) has said he will reduce squatters through a proper method and he would not resort to the form of implementation done by the previous government," he added.

Nik Nazmi also said that a date will be decided soon for a meeting between Permas and the menteri besar.

On the planned gathering, he said: "Even if it is a protest, they are still free to gather outside the office but I am sure we will find room to discuss this matter."

In the previous state administration, several squatter settlements were controversially demolished with the residents forcefully evicted in Kampung Berembang in Ampang and Taman Rimba Jaya in Shah Alam.

"I did so because that is what the PM wanted" is not an EXCUSE... or is it?

Well, interesting things about Zaid Ibrahim...and that is why MEMORY is sometimes important as well - true that people can change but we have to bit more cautious about some of these 'de facto law ministers..." (A relevant NST Report dated 6/11/1991 is attached below..)

Was it not Rais Yatim, when out of cabinet, was an active advocate for the repeal of the ISA who when made a Minister did an about turn on his previously public-declared position.

Can ZEBRAs ever lose their stripes? But then there was another famous son of Ibrahim who apparently have repented his ways and have 'lost his stripes', and as such nothing is impossible...Malaysia Boleh.

Anyway what does this Zaid Ibrahim say about the way UMNO elections for the President, etc is conducted? The necessity to get nominations from Divisions is already bad - when nominations should be from members. To that, then you have the need for so many Divisions to nominate you before you can be a candidate and contest for the post. (Wonder whether there is still that rule that translate each nominations automatically to so many votes..?) FEAR of repercussion will ensure that generally Divisions will nominate this fair? Make your stand on this -- Minister Zaid Ibrahim?

Dr Mahathir has an argument, yes.... after all there was those Tribunals (and do not come now and said that you sat as 'judges' and decided so because that is what the then PM wanted...). The head of SUHAKAM now, the AG that time who advised and went along must also apologize...

Back to Zaid Ibrahim -- when exactly was he appointed as Senator....and WHY was he appointed Senator for the Federal Constitution clearly stipulates the reasons why persons can be appointed as a Senator --- and "because the PM wants to include me in his Cabinet" is definitely not a reason why the YDP Agung can make someone a Senator.

Dr M: Ask the tribunal to apologise
Mar 28, 08 1:36pm
“Ask the tribunal to apologise.”

This was the direct retort of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad to calls for him to apologise for the ‘wrongs’ surrounding the 1988 judicial crisis.

lingam tape inquiry day 4 170108 mahathirIn remarks written by him which was published today by English daily The Sun, Mahathir said the dismissal of former Lord President Mohd Salleh Abbas and Supreme Court judges Wan Sulaiman Pawanteh and George Seah were not his doing.

He, therefore, feels no obligation to apologise.

If any party were to apologise, it should be the members of the tribunal led by Hamid Omar which sacked Salleh, said Mahathir.

Mahathir also said he was open to the authorities investigating his person for any “misdeeds” during his 22 years as Prime Minister.

“Unless there is a frame-up, I think there should be nothing to pin on me,” he said.

Moving on to the suggestion by DAP national chairperson Karpal Singh that he apologise for the 1988 debacle - which many regard as ‘the darkest moment’ for the judiciary - Mahathir said on this point his conscience was clear.

“Even other accusations against me, including the dismissal of judges, were not my doing and I do not feel obliged to apologise. Ask the tribunal to apologise,” he said.

Being more correct than correct

Taking a potshot at Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Zaid Ibrahim - who had asked for the government to apologise for the sacking and suspension of the five judges - Mahathir said the lawyer had “forgotten” that he had supported the then-government for its actions.

judiciary forum lingam tape 171107 salleh abbas palace of justic“The person asking that the government should apologise for what happened to Tun Salleh Abbas may have forgotten that as President of the Muslim Lawyers Association, he fully supported the action that was taken,” said Mahathir.

“He castigated the Bar Council for condemning Tun Hamid Omar over the dismissal of judges. Now he wants to be more correct than correct. I wonder why,” he added.

In 1988, Mahathir had convened the special tribunal to try Salleh on charges of misconduct and for questioning constitutional amendments that seriously eroded the powers of the judiciary.

Supreme Court judges George Seah and Wan Sulaiman - who had ruled that the tribunal was convened unconstitutionally - were also sacked after being found guilty of misconduct by another tribunal.

Three other judges - Azmi Kamaruddin, Eusoffe Abdoolcader and Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh were suspended.

Probe misconduct in Terengganu

In his article, Mahathir also suggested investigations - preferably by “credible foreign agencies” - should be conducted to look into allegations that abuse of power and misconduct had led the Teregganu royal palace to reject Barisan Nasional’s (BN) initial choice for menteri besar (MB).

According to him, rumour has it that various “unnecessary and wasteful” state projects worth billions of ringgit had been contracted to outsiders behind whom are members of ‘the first family’.

abdullah ahmad badawi and idris jusoh and ahmad said and terengganuIt was also alleged that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had “influenced” former MB Idris Jusoh who was responsible for such a state of affairs and from which he had “benefitted financially”, said Mahathir.

“These are all rumours. It will be quite impossible to prove anything as the perpetrators are skilled in hiding themselves,”he said.

He also said that the public was “leery” of investigations by government agencies and departments.

“The people believe, not true of course, that the government has been interfering with the work of the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), the Police and the Attorney General (A-G)'s Chambers. The say this is borne out by the results of investigations by these agencies,” he said.

As such, the job should be left to foreign experts to look into the matter, he added.

“The public cannot be blamed for not having faith in government agencies doing investigations. The public cannot be blamed for suspecting cover-ups by the government or worse still the government may be using these enforcement agencies to threaten people,” he said.

“To clear its good name, the government should get credible foreign agencies to do the investigation. Of course, they must be given full access to the documents etc,” he added.


Bar Council told to end feud with Tun Hamid

Wednesday, 06 November 1991 09:11am

©New Straits Times
by Azmi M. Anshar

KUALA LUMPUR, Tues. - The Muslim Lawyers Association has urged the Bar Council to end its "feud" with Lord President Tun Hamid Omar in the interest of the nation and the legal profession.

Its president, Zaid Ibrahim, said the Bar Council should dissolve itself or have its members quit en masse if it could not accept and respect Tun Hamid as Lord President.

Referring to the still valid vote of no-confidence adopted by the council on July 9, 1988, against Tun Hamid, he said the association should end its "obsession" with detecting perceived "flaws" within the judiciary.

He said the council in paying too much attention to the rift with Tun Hamid had neglected Section 42 (1L) of the Legal Profession Act which states that the council must promote good relations and social intercourse with its members and other persons in the administration of law and justice in the country.

Encik Zaid said the Government would have to seriously consider setting up an alternative legal body that could work with the judiciary if the rift was not settled.

"Lawyers get their practising certificates signed by Tun Hamid and yet they cannot respect him. The situation has reached ridiculous proportions," he said in an interview with the New Straits Times.

"It is time for a review of the three-year motion against Tun Hamid with the aim of having it annulled accordingly. The Bar Council must get its perspective right or risk jeopardising its existence.

"The Bar Council initiated the vote of no-confidence motion against Tun Hamid after the suspension of five Supreme Court judges for their role inactions pursued after the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President in 1988. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in referring to the sacking and the suspensions, had stated he had proof that the Bar Council had been spreading lies abroad on the matter.

To prevent further public acrimony between the judiciary and the Bar Council, Encik Zaid proposed the formation of a Malaysian Law Academy that will promote and maintain high standards of conduct and learning in the legal profession.

The academy should be administered by a senate chaired by the Lord President and its members comprise Supreme Court judges, the Attorney-General, president of the Bar Council and other relevant legal bodies, Deans of law faculties at local universities and others deemed fit to be part of the body.

Meanwhile, Bar Council president Manjeet Singh said Justice Minister Syed Hamid Albar was entitled to his opinion in asking the Bar Council to apologise to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad for allegedly making allegations against the country's judiciary abroad.

'holier - than - thou' RELA does it again to migrants..

Basic human rights takes a beating

Nurli Yahjib
Kuala Lumpur
Dear Editor,

I WOULD like to share an incident that took place yesterday in Bangsar involving a raid by Rela, in which the manner it was conducted I disapprove of entirely.

I was having dinner at a restaurant near my office at 1am when a team of Rela personnel stormed in to nab illegals working there.

The raiding team members were aggressive and hostile, and I was shocked to see way they handled the illegals.

They went as far as handcuffing them, even though the latter were compliant with the raiding team.

The team used truncheons and bolt cutters, which I felt was unnecessary as there were a lot diners and their families there.

In my opinion, the raiding team had blatantly violated the dignity of the illegals through their offensive and violent conduct.

As the restaurant's regular customers, my officemates and I can testify that the illegal workers were diligent and friendly and they deserved to be treated with respect, regardless of their offences.

Rela personnel, however, did nothing to restrain themselves from asserting their hollow power. In fact, they adopted a 'holier - than - thou' attitude in front of customers.

This, I believe, is unacceptable in a multi-racial and democratic society as the basic rights of all people, whether they are citizens or otherwise, should be upheld.

Rela personnel do not have the right to be offensive to any race.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Do we finally have freedom of assembly, freedom of expression Malaysia?

It was good that the police in the Opposition governed states of Selangor and Penang did not come down on protestors with their tear-gas, water-cannons and arrests. From what I have read, the protesters were allowed to assemble and protest peacefully - VERY GOOD --- is this the dawn for freedom of assembly, expression in Malaysia after 50 over years of patient waiting??

Now, that the Opposition RULES, there must be a marked difference in the way RIGHTS and FREEDOM is manifested, recognized and respected.

Some say this was UMNO protests and that is why the police were so kind - they should have done what they did to those who protested price-hikes, the BERSIH protests and the HINDRAF protests... in fact maybe just like what they did to HINDRAF 5, these leaders of the protest should also be arrested under ISA.... CAREFUL we are different and our actions must be different for if not we become no different from those who before curtailed freedoms and deprived rights....(Go read Animal Farm by George Orwell...)

Are all protesters equal before the law?

Tuesday, 25 March 2008 10:03am

Terence Fernandez©The Sun
Down2Earth by Terence Fernandez

HAVE you ever been on the wrong end of a water cannon? What about being in the vicinity of active teargas canisters?

From covering street protests a decade ago, I can tell you it is not a pleasant experience.

Apart from the obvious clamminess of being drenched, there is also the danger of being flung backwards a few metres by the sheer force of the jet streams coming at you at 300 gallons a minute.

A good dose of Clorox will be needed to remove the yellow, red or blue stains – a product of the dye that is sometimes added to the water, to mark the protesters, so that the ground force will be able to pick them out.

HindrafA concoction of a peppe-rlike substance and even soap may be added for extra “oomph!” to sting the eyes and irritate the skin and throat.

Where teargas is concerned, your eyes will begin to smart and then tear, your nose becomes runny, your throat gets parched, you begin coughing, nausea overwhelms you and in extreme cases, you start vomiting. If you’re asthmatic, there is the immediate danger of suffering an attack.

You may also experience a burning sensation on your skin, while dizziness and disorientation is also a known side-effect.

Well, there are others who of late have had similar experiences like me. They include the 2,000 people who gathered at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) last March to protest against the high price of fuel and essentials; and the 140,000 Malaysians (although the official figures vary from 4,000 to 40,000) who marched in the Golden Triangle in early November seeking free and fair elections in the Bersih-initiated march.

Then of course there were the 10,000 ethnic Indians who swarmed the streets of Jalan Ampang and the 1,000 holed up in the Batu Caves temple compound late November to highlight the plight of their community through the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) demonstrations.

Most recently 300-odd Hindraf protestors in Jalan Raja Laut got wet in last month’s “rose march”. The authorities and the leadership decided that these street demonstrations which are “not our culture” had to be quelled as they were detrimental to the economy and were scaring tourists away.

Teargas and water cannons had to be employed immediately to prevent the situation from getting any worse.

It is undeniable then when emotions are high and when a large group of people congregate in a highly-charged atmosphere, there are chances of people getting hurt. There is also the possibility of certain characters taking advantage of the situation for their own agenda. So perhaps, the authorities were justified in putting a swift and one may argue, callous, end to this mass expression of disapproval.

Now, I was half expecting the 1,000 people who gathered outside Komtar in Penang and the 500 outside the Selangor State Secretariat in Shah Alam last week to protest against the decision of the new governments of both states to review the New Economic Policy (NEP), to join their KLCC, Bersih and Hindraf brethren in exchanging tales of being sprayed and tear-gassed.

Unfortunately, they were robbed of this opportunity to trade anecdotes over a glass of teh tarik or kopi jantan, thanks to the unexpected restraint showed by the law enforcement authorities.

UMNOIn the case of Komtar, water cannons were deployed but never used, while in Shah Alam, all that happened was the seizure of loud-hailers from the protesters’ leaders. Just like the earlier protests, these two demonstrations too, did not have a police permit.

While five Hindraf leaders are being held under the Internal Security Act (ISA), those arrested in Penang were released the same day.

Now, the different treatment of the Hindraf, Komtar and Shah Alam protests is telling since the motives of the protestors were similar – each group demanding what’s due to them and highlighting the problems of their respective communities.

It must be said that the dissimilar enforcement on the different groups of protestors gets one to thinking that the authorities are playing favourites since the protests in Penang and Shah Alam were against an “Opposition” government. This suspicion is further compounded by the fact that the latest protests were organised by a political party.

Outside Komtar last week, just like in Kuala Lumpur last year, traffic was obstructed, businesses suffered for a while and the mass assemblies were witnessed by tourists. But this time, all we heard from the powers-that-be was that “they are merely demanding for their rights to be protected”.

There was no such “this is bad for the economy” rhetoric.

Now, I am sure many Malaysians like me are stumped. Just when does a demonstration become an acceptable icon of the democratic process, and when does it become a threat to national security?

There are those better equipped than this journalist to answer this question. But while I continue scratching my head, it would be good to ponder on the fact that for a leader, meting out justice and fairness is not a personal choice but a compulsory requirement to indicate that all are equal under the law.

A very confused Terence is deputy news editor (special reports & investigations) and is reachable at

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BIG MISTAKE - deprivation of FREEDOM and RIGHTS , lack of DEMOCRACY....

The reporting by the main-stream newspapers radio and television was so-biased in favour of the UMNO-led Barisan Nasional......and in fact, I believe, what Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi now really means is that they(the BN) made a big mistake in not controlling and/or shutting down the alternative media and sources of communications like Malaysiakini, other internet newspapers, web-sites, Blogs, etc...

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, most Malaysians are SMART today and do not anymore uncritically believe what is being reported in the controlled and biased mainstream media.

Before, if something appears in the newspaper, radio and/or television, the ordinary Malaysians will unquestioningly take it to be the whole truth and nothing but the truth --- but NO more.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the BN should now really consider relinquishing the long-existing controls/restrictions that it has on MEDIA - it should relax all restrictions and make it easy for persons to be able to publish newspapers/ magazines that can sold and circulated to any person, easy for persons to start up radio and television stations, remove the restrictions placed on the Opposition newspapers/ magazines that state that it can only be circulated/sold to members of the party.

Of course, I do not think that our "independent" Election Commission will be going to do anything about how mainstream media was used unfairly by the BN and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in GE 2008, and still now.

Election Commission will also not do anything about how the BN used "ground-breaking" ceremonies, handing out land events, and other such events during the election campaign period ..

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the BIG MISTAKE was the lack of freedom and rights in Malaysia, and the fact that the BN had forgotten that it is the people who they are supposed to listen to and serve whilst in government....

The BIG MISTAKE was the shutting out the voice of people .... and believing that THREATS like 'May-13" and the 'we will stop development if you vote Opposition' will still work...

The BIG MISTAKE list is long and definitely the "biggest mistake" was certainly not ignoring the 'cyber-campaigning on the Internet'.....The damage to the credibility and support for the PM and BN had been withered away long before elections was called..

BN still managed to win 140 seats because of the still existing fear, and/or ignorance perpetuated by the controlled media... but its hold on the people of Malaysia is slowly withering away ...and today we find that this "FEAR" is also withering away within the BN and UMNO, whereby members are getting courage to stand-up against the PM and the 'so-called leaders' - this was seen in PERLIS...and now in TRENGGANU...

If there was FREE elections within UMNO and by secret ballot, where division nominations are not taken as votes, where challengers to the top posts are permitted, where every member of UMNO is allowed to vote, I believe that both Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Najib and the other top leaders will today be defeated -- and so the solution would be that the leaders of UMNO will try to cowardly delay UMNO elections...until maybe the time when they feel they can win...

Abdullah: Big mistake to ignore cyber-campaign
Mar 25, 08 2:45pm

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today said his "biggest mistake" in disastrous elections was to ignore cyber-campaigning on the Internet which was seized by the opposition.

The powerful Barisan Nasional coalition suffered its worst-ever results in March 8 polls that left five states and a third of parliamentary seats in opposition hands.

The opposition, which was largely ignored by government-linked mainstream media, instead waged an enormously successful online campaign using blogs, news websites and SMS text messages.

abdullah ahamd badawi investment malaysia 250308 02"We certainly lost the Internet war, the cyber-war," Abdullah said in in a speech to an investment conference.

"It was a serious misjudgement. We made the biggest mistake in thinking that it was not important," he said.

"We thought that the newspapers, the print media, the television was supposed to be important, but the young people were looking at SMS and blogs."

The comments are a major about-face for the government, which had vilified bloggers, calling them liars and threatening them with detention without trial under draconian internal security laws.

In line with promises to reform after the humiliating election results, Abdullah said the government would "respond effectively" and move to empower young Malaysians.

"It was painful ... but it came at the right time, not too late," he said.

Malaysia's mainstream media are mostly part-owned by parties in the ruling coalition, and what was seen as biased coverage in the run-up to last month's vote alienated voters and boosted demand for alternative news sources.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranks Malaysia 124 out of 169 on its worldwide press freedom index. It says mainstream media are "often compelled to ignore or to play down" opposition events.


Monday, March 24, 2008

DEWAN NEGARA - some statistics

Our Senators are all members of Political Parties - save 2 (under Minority)

44 Senators literally chosen by the PM - and 26 from the States - surely a bit unfair. Even if number of Senators from the States are increased to 3 each, it will come to 39

The Federal Constitution states that "The members to be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall be persons who in his opinion have rendered distinguished public service or have achieved distinction in the professions, commerce, industry, agriculture, cultural activities or social service or are representative of racial minorities or are capable of representing the interests of aborigines." We really have to be told WHY the Yang di-Pertuan Agong appointed some of these SENATORS... this info should be available to the public..

It must be stated that no where is it stated that persons could be appointed SENATORS just because the PM wants them in his cabinet..

Dewan Negara

UMNO 1 1
1 1 1 1 2 1 1
1 2 1
1 20


MCA 1 1
1 1 1 1


5 13

5 5


1 3


1 2



1 1

1 1







2 2
JUMLAH 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 - 1 36 65
J. BESAR 26 3 36 65

Jumlah Kerusi Dewan Negara

Singkatan Maksud

Lantikan Agong 44


Pilihan Negeri 26


Jumlah Kerusi 70







Lantikan Agong 5


Pilihan Negeri



Jumlah Kerusi 5




Jumlah Sekarang



Lantikan Agong 39


Pilihan Negeri 26


Jumlah kerusi 65