Friday, October 31, 2008

Today a Malay....tommorow no more. What is 'Malay'?

I was very curious about the word 'Malay' - who is the Malay? Is it a race or ethnic group?

A person could be born a Malay - but could become a non-Malay if he/she converts and become a 'non-Muslim'. So there cannot be a Buddhist Malay, Hindu Malay, Sikh Malay, Christian Malay --- according to the Malaysian Federal Constitution definition of 'Malay'.

Also wondered whether a person can be declared to NOT a Malay - because it is shown that he/she does not "...habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom...". Who will decide on this? So Malays and/or their children who do not habitually speak Malay...are no more Malay. Interesting.

The Federal Constitution defines Malay in Article 160(2) as follows:-

"Malay" means a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom and -

(a) was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or is on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or

(b) is the issue of such a person;

In my quest, I came across a posting in Nuraina A Samad's 3540 Jalan Sudin Blog entitled "Malays are Not a Race", which is also pasted below. Your comments would be appreciated..

Malays Are Not a Race

Bergen is one of my favourite bloggers. He is witty, smart, funny, irreverent, sometimes self-effacing, and a lot more.

He sent me a very long comment from a commentator to his posting on "Freedom to Choose A Religion". The commentator by the name of Micheal Chick, says that there is no such thing as a/the Malay race. Of course, many of us would beg to differ.

I have sought Bergen's permission to reproduce his message (in bold) , followed by Micheal Chick's comment (in italics).

I reproduce here the comments posted by a Micheal Chick in my blog. Maybe it has nothing to do with your father's struggle, or maybe it has. I don't have the brain for this. You don't have to post it in the comments box if you don't want to.

"It's been interesting to read such free-flowing comments on an all "Malaysian" free for all. While we are on the subject, how many of you have read the book entitled "Contesting Malayness"? Written by a Professor of National University of Singapore. Cost S$32 (about). It reflects the Anthropologists views that there is no such race as the "Malays" to begin with. If we follow the original migration of the Southern Chinese of 6,000yrs ago, they moved into Taiwan, (now the Alisan), then into the Phillipines (now the Aeta) and moved into Borneo (4,500yrs ago) (Dayak). They also split into Sulawesi and progressed into Jawa, and Sumatera. The final migration was to the Malayan Peninsular 3,000yrs ago. A sub-group from Borneo also moved to Champa in Vietnam at 4,500yrs ago.

Interestingly, the Champa deviant group moved back to present day Kelantan. There are also traces of the Dong Song and HoaBinh migration from Vietnam and Cambodia. To confuse the issue, there was also the Southern Thai migration, from what we know as Pattani today. (see also "Early Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsular")

Of course, we also have the Minangkabau's which come from the descendants of Alexander the Great and a West Indian Princess. (Sejarah Melayu page 1-3)

So the million Dollar Question... Is there really a race called the "Malays"? All anthropologists DO NOT SEEM TO THINK SO.

Neither do the "Malays" who live on the West Coast of Johor. They'd rather be called Javanese. What about the west coast Kedah inhabitants who prefer to be known as "Achenese"? or the Ibans who simply want to be known as IBANS. Try calling a Kelabit a "Malay" and see what response you get... you’ll be so glad that their Head-Hunting days are over.

In an article in the Star, dated: Dec 3rd 2006

available for on-line viewing at:

An excerp is reproduced here below:

"The Malays – taken as an aggregation of people of different ethnic backgrounds but who speak the same language or family of languages and share common cultural and traditional ties – are essentially a new race, compared to the Chinese, Indians and the Arabs with their long histories of quests and conquests.

The Malay nation, therefore, covers people of various ethnic stock, including Javanese, Bugis, Bawean, Achehnese, Thai, orang asli, the indigenous people of Sabah and Sarawak and descendants of Indian Muslims who had married local women.

Beneath these variations, however, there is a common steely core that is bent on changing the Malay persona from its perceived lethargic character to one that is brave, bold and ready to take on the world. "

The definition of “Malay” is therefore simply a collection of people's who speak a similar type language. With what is meant by a similar type language does not mean that the words are similar. Linguists call this the "Lego-type" language, where words are added on to the root word to make meaning and give tenses and such. Somehow, the Indonesians disagree with this classification and insist on being called "Indonesians" even though the majority of "Malays" have their roots in parts of Indonesia? They refuse to be called "Malay"…. Anyhow you may define it.

The writer failed to identify (probably didn't know), that the "Malay" definition also includes, the Champa, Dong Song, HoabinHian, The Taiwanese Alisan and the Philippino Aetas. He also did not identify that the "Orang Asli" are (for lack of a better term) ex-Africans. If you try to call any one of our East Malaysian brothers an "Orang Asli", they WILL BEAT YOU UP! I had to repeat this because almost all West Malaysians make the same mistake when we cross the South China Sea. Worse, somehow, they feel even more insulted when you call them “Malay”. Somehow, “kurang ajar” is uttered below their breath as if “Malay” was a really bad word for them. I’m still trying to figure this one out.

Watch “Malays in Africa”; a Museum Negara produced DVD. Also, the “Champa Malays” by the same.

With this classification, they MUST also include the Phillipinos, the Papua New Guineans, the Australian Aboroginies, as well as the Polynesian Aboroginies. These are of the Australo Melanesians who migrated out of Africa 60,000yrs ago.

Getting interesting? Read on...

"Malay" should also include the Taiwanese singer "Ah Mei" who is Alisan as her tribe are the anscestors of the "Malays". And finally, you will need to define the Southern Chinese (Southern Province) as Malay also, since they are from the same stock 6,000yrs ago.

Try calling the Bugis a "Malay". Interestingly, the Bugis, who predominantly live on Sulawesi are not even Indonesians. Neither do they fall into the same group as the migrating Southern Chinese of 6,000yrs ago nor the Australo Melanesian group from Africa.

Ready for this?

The Bugis are the cross-breed between the Chinese and the Arabs. (FYI, a runaway Ming Dynasty official whom Cheng Ho was sent to hunt down) Interestingly, the Bugis were career Pirates in the Johor-Riau Island areas. Now the nephew of Daeng Kemboja was appointed the First Sultan of Selangor. That makes the entire Selangor Sultanate part Arab, part Chinese! Try talking to the Bugis Museum curator near Kukup in Johor. Kukup is located near the most south-western tip of Johor. (Due south of Pontian Kechil)

Let's not even get into the Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekiu, and Hang Lekir, who shared the same family last name as the other super famous "Hang" family member... Hang Li Poh. And who was she? the princess of a Ming Dynasty Emperor who was sent to marry the Sultan of Malacca. Won't that make the entire Malacca Sultanate downline "Baba" ? Since the older son of the collapsed Malaccan Sultanate got killed in Johor, (the current Sultanate is the downline of the then, Bendahara) the only other son became the Sultan of Perak. Do we see any Chinese-ness in Raja Azlan? Is he the descendant of Hang Li Poh?

Next question. If the Baba’s are part Malay, why have they been marginalized by NOT BEING BUMIPUTERA? Which part of “Malay” are they not? Whatever the answer, why then are the Portugese of Malacca BUMIPUTERA? Did they not come 100yrs AFTER the arrival of the first Baba’s? Parameswara founded Malacca in 1411. The Portugese came in 1511, and the Dutch in the 1600’s. Strangely, the Baba’s were in fact once classified a Bumiputera, but a decided that they were strangely “declassified” in the 1960’s. WHY?

The Sultan of Kelantan had similar roots to the Pattani Kingdom making him of Thai origin. And what is this "coffee table book" by the Sultan of Perlis claiming to be the direct descendant of the prophet Muhammed? Somehow we see Prof Khoo Khay Khim’s signature name on the book. I’ll pay good money to own a copy of it myself. Anyone has a spare?

So, how many of you have met with orang Asli’s? the more northern you go, the more African they look. Why are they called Negrito’s? It is a Spanish word, from which directly transalates “mini Negros”. The more southern you go, the more “Indonesian” they look. And the ones who live at Cameron Highlands kinda look 50-50. You can see the Batek at Taman Negara, who really look like Eddie Murphy to a certain degree. Or the Negritos who live at the Thai border near Temenggor Lake (north Perak). The Mah Meri in Carrie Island look almost like the Jakuns in Endau Rompin. Half African, half Indonesian.

By definition, (this is super eye-opening) there was a Hindu Malay Empire in Kedah. Yes, I said right… The Malays were Hindu. It was, by the old name Langkasuka. Today known as Lembah Bujang. This Hindu Malay Empire was 2,000yrs old. Pre-dating Borrobudor AND Angkor Watt. Who came about around 500-600yrs later. Lembah Bujang was THE mighty trading empire, and its biggest influence was by the Indians who were here to help start it. By definition, this should make the Indians BUMIPUTERAS too since they were here 2,000yrs ago! Why are they marginalized?

Of the 3 books listed, "Contesting Malayness" (about S$32 for soft cover) is "banned” in Malaysia; you will need to "smuggle" it into Malaysia; for very obvious reasons.... :( or read it in Singapore if you don’t feel like breaking the law.

The other, "Kingdoms of the Indonesian Archipelago, and the Malay Peninsular" (about RM84) are openly sold at all leading bookshops; Kinokuniya, MPH, Borders, Popular, Times, etc. You should be able to find a fair bit of what I’ve been quoting in this book too, but mind you, it is very heavy reading material, and you will struggle through the initial 200+ pages. It is extremely technical in nature. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t banned (yet)…coz our authorities couldn’t make head or tail of it? (FYI, if I wasn’t doing research for my film, I wouldn’t have read it in its entirety)

While the "Sejarah Melayu" (about RM 35) is available at the University Malaya bookshop. I have both the English and Royal Malay version published by MBRAS.

Incidentally, the Professor (Author) was invited to speak on this very subject about 2 yrs ago, in KL, invited by the MBRAS. You can imagine the "chaos" this seminar created...... :(

There were actually many sources for these findings. Any older Philippino Museum Journal also carries these migration stories. This migration is also on display at the Philippines National Museum in Luzon. However, they end with the Aeta, and only briefly mention that the migration continued to Indonesia and Malaysia, but fully acknowledge that all Philippinos came from Taiwan. And before Taiwan, China. There is another book (part of a series) called the "Archipelago Series" endorsed by Tun Mahatir and Marina Mohammad, which states the very same thing right at the introduction on page one. “… that the Malays migrated out of Southern China some 6,000yrs ago…”. I believe it is called the “Pre-History of Malaysia” Hard Cover, about RM99 found in (mostly) MPH. They also carry “Pre-History of Indonesia” by the same authors for the same price.

It is most interesting to note that our Museum officials invented brand new unheard-of terms such as "Proto-Malay" and "Deutero-Malay", to replace the accepted Scientific Term, Australo-Melanesians (African descent) and Austronesians (Chinese Descent, or Mongoloid to be precise) in keeping in line with creating this new “Malay” term.. They also created the new term called the Melayu-Polynesian. (Which Melayu exists in the Polynesian Islands?) Maybe they were just trying to be “Patriotic” and “Nationalistic”… who knows…? After all, we also invented the term, “Malaysian Time”. While the rest of the world calls it “Tardy” and “Late”. It’s quite an embarrassment actually…. Singaporeans crossing the border are asked to set their watches back by about 100yrs, to adjust to “Malaysian Time”…

In a nutshell, the British Colonial Masters, who, for lack of a better description, needed a “blanket” category for ease of classification, used the term “Malay”.

The only other logical explanation, which I have heard, was that “Malaya” came as a derivative of “Himalaya”, where at Langkasuka, or Lembah Bujang today was where the Indians were describing the locals as “Malai” which means “Hill People” in Tamil. This made perfect sense as the focal point at that time was at Gunung Jerai, and the entire Peninsular had a “Mountain Range” “Banjaran Titiwangsa”, as we call it.

The Mandarin and Cantonese accurately maintain the accurate pronunciation of “Malai Ren” and “Malai Yun” respectively till this very day. Where “ren” and “yun” both mean “peoples”.

Interestingly, “Kadar” and “Kidara”, Hindi and Sanskrit words accurately describe “Kedah” of today. They both mean “fertile Land for Rice cultivation. Again, a name given by the Indians 2,000yrs ago during the “Golden Hindu Era” for a duration of 1,500yrs.

It was during the “Golden Hindu Era” that the new term which the Hindu Malay leaders also adopted the titles, “Sultan” and “Raja”. The Malay Royalty were Hindu at that time, as all of Southeast Asia was under strong Indian influence, including Borrobudor, and Angkor Watt. Bali today still practices devout Hindu Beliefs. The snake amulet worn by the Sultans of today, The Royal Dias, and even the “Pelamin” for weddings are tell-tale signs of these strong Indian influences. So, it was NOT Parameswara who was the first Sultan in Malaya. Sultanage existed approximately 1,500years before he set foot on the Peninsular during the "Golden Hindu Era" of Malaysia. And they were all Hindu.

“PreHistory of Malaysia” also talks about the “Lost Kingdom” of the “Chi-Tu” where the local Malay Kingdom were Buddhists. The rest of the “Malays” were Animistic Pagans.

But you may say, "Sejarah Melayu" calls it "Melayu"? Yes, it does. Read it again; is it trying to describe the 200-odd population hamlet near Palembang by the name "Melayu"?(Google Earth will show this village).

By that same definition, then, the Achehnese should be considered a “race”. So should the Bugis and the Bataks, to be fair. Orang Acheh, Orang Bugis, Orang Laut, Orang Melayu now mean the same… descriptions of ethnic tribes, at best. And since the “Malays” of today are not all descendants of the “Melayu” kampung in Jambi (if I remember correctly), the term Melayu has been wrongly termed. From day one. Maybe this is why the Johoreans still call themselves either Bugis, or Javanese until today. So do the Achehnese on the West coast of Kedah & Perlis and the Kelantanese insist that they came from Champa, Vietnam.

Morover, the fact that the first 3 pages claiming that "Melayu" comes from Alexander the Great and the West Indian Princess doesn't help. More importantly, it was written in 1623. By then, the Indians had been calling the locals “Malai” for 1,500 yrs already. So the name stuck….

And with the Sejarah Melayu (The Malay Annals in page 1-3) naming the grandson of Iskandar Zulkarnain, and the West Indian Princess forming the Minangkabau. Whenever a Malay is asked about it, he usually says it is "Karut" (bullshit), but all Malayan based historians insist on using Sejarah Melayu as THE main reference book for which "Malay" history is based upon. The only other books are “Misa Melayu”, "Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa", and “Hikayat Hang Tuah” which is of another long and sometimes “heated” discussion.

I find this strange.

I also find, that it is strange that the "Chitti's" (Indian+Malay) of Malacca are categorized as Bumiputera, while their Baba brothers are not. Why? Both existed during the Parameswara days. Which part of the “Malay” side of the Baba’s is not good enough for Bumiputera classification? Re-instate them. They used to be Bumiputera pre 1960’s anyway.

Instead of "Malay", I believe that "Maphilindo" (circa 1963) would have been the closest in accurately trying to describe the Malays. However, going by that definition, it should most accurately be "MaphilindoThaiChinDiaVietWanGreekCamfrica". And it is because of this; even our University Malaya Anthropology professors cannot look at you in the eye and truthfully say that the word "Malay" technically and accurately defines a race.

This is most unfortunate.

So, in a nutshell, the “Malays” (anthropologists will disagree with this “race” definition) are TRULY ASIA !!! For once the Tourism Ministry got it right….

We should stop calling this country “Tanah Melayu” instead call it, “Tanah Truly Asia”

You must understand now, why I was "tickled pink" when I found out that the Visit Malaysia slogan for 2007 was "Truly Asia". They are so correct... (even though they missed out Greece and Africa)

BTW, the name UMNO should be changed to UTANO the new official acronym for “United Truly Asia National Organization” . After all, they started out as a Bugis club in Johor anyway….

I told you all that I hate race classifications…. This is so depressing. Even more depressing is that the "malays" are not even a race; not since day one."

“Truly Asia Boleh”

When the judiciary is seen to be 'pro-government(executive)"? - the Nipah Virus case

When judges and courts go all out to protect the government(executive) of the day...then justice fails...then the 3rd branch of government, the Judiciary, has failed...

What happened in the Nipah Virus case is just one such such example - the High Court could have just ordered that certain persons be joined as parties in the suit - which I believe, would have been most just and reasonable, but alas the Court struck off the suit...

Briefly, the case was about :-
A group of 184 individuals affected by the deadly Nipah viral outbreak four years ago had filed a legal suit totalling more than RM130 million against the federal government and several state governments at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

The plaintiffs — pig farmers, families of deceased Nipah victims and survivors — named the federal government, and the state governments of Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Selangor as defendants in their statement of claim.

They are seeking various damages, including special damages for the loss of pigs, damage to farm facilities, medical and funeral expenses, which amounted to more than RM130 million.

The plaintiffs are also seeking various declarations against the defendants in the suit which was filed in March, but served on the defendants over the past three days.

Among others, they claim the governments had breached their duties, committed negligence and fraud and unlawfully deprived the plaintiffs of their fundamental rights in their handling of the Nipah outbreak between Sept 1998 and May 1999.


Claiming for negligence, the plaintiffs had among others, argued that the governments which are entrusted to ensure the well-being of its people, had among others, failed to take sufficient steps to determine the cause of the outbreak when it first occurred in Perak.

They claimed that the federal government and Perak state government “came to the conclusion that the outbreak in Tambun area was due to Japanese Encephalitis (JE) without any or sufficient cause”.

The plaintiffs also claimed that the federal government had committed fraud when it had, among others, allegedly proclaimed in 1999 that the transmission rate of the Nipah virus was very low, and was not certain whether the Nipah virus was a pathogen.

The government had also allegedly stated that the outbreak was due to JE and not Nipah virus, but later said that the disease was due to both JE and Nipah virus.

They argued that the government knew that the statements were false but made them to induce Malaysians to believe that the authorities had taken all the necessary steps, and were acting in the interests of the people.


The plaintiffs added that such statements were also made so people would believe that the government had not committed a mistake in declaring that the outbreak was due to JE, and not Nipah virus....

...The Nipah virus outbreak which started in late Sept 1998 occurred in various areas from Perak to Negeri Sembilan.

The outbreak was reported to have killed more than 100 people and crippled the pig-farming industry in Bukit Pelanduk, Negeri Sembilan, which is believed to be the biggest in Southeast Asia.- Malaysiakini, 10/5/2002 - Nipah victims filed RM130 million suit against gov’t

And, in November 2004, the High Court struck off the case ...

The Kuala Lumpur High Court has struck out a suit from a group of 184 Nipah virus victims against the federal and state governments on the ground that the plaintiffs have not identified the government officers who caused their damages.

Judge Azmel Maamor said the court could not determine whether the federal government and the Negeri Sembilan, Perak and Selangor state governments were responsible for the damages, including culling their pigs, as their officers were not identified and were not called to defend themselves in court.

“The vicarious liability should not be imposed against the defendants named in this case. They are statutory bodies, they could not conduct the tort by themselves,” Azmel said.

“The tort could only be done through the government officers who carry out their task, and if that is the case, the related government should bear the vicarious liability,” he added.

He said if the officers were found guilty after being tried, then their respective employer - either the federal or state government - would therefore be required to assume responsibility.

“It is unfair and unreasonable to ascertain a government officer is guilty without giving him an opportunity to defend the allegations brought against him,” Azmel added.

Expected to appeal

He pointed out that the procedure to name the individual officers was necessary as stipulated in the Government Proceedings Act 1956 and noted that his decision was made on the precedents laid down in several previous cases.

Azmel has made the ruling to dismiss the suit on Feb 5 this year but reserved his judgement. His judgement was made available recently.

A copy of the judgement was obtained by malaysiakini and the group is expected to appeal to the Court of Appeal. ... - Malaysiakini, 4/11/04 - Officers not named: Suit from pig farmers struck out

It was good that in April 2005, the Court of Appeal allowed the appeal...

The Court of Appeal has directed the government to enter its defence against a suit brought by 184 victims of the Nipah virus outbreak in 1999.

They had appealed against a Kuala Lumpur High Court decision last February to dismiss their RM130 million suit, on grounds that they had not identified the government officers responsible for the damages.

Today, however, a three-member bench comprising Justice Gopal Sri Ram, Richard Malanjum and Hashim Yusoff decided there was no need for the appellants to name all the officers involved and the co-defendants.

File defence

The court also directed the government to file its defence by June 30 and set the matter for case management in the high court on April 20 - Malaysiakini, 6/4/2005 - Govt ordered to enter defence in Nipah claims case
Now, the Federal Court on 30/10/2005 struck off the case...
A three-member panel, led by Chief Judge of Malaya Arifin Zakaria, unanimously decided this morning to uphold a High Court decision to dismiss the multi-million ringgit suit.

The two other judges were Nik Hashim Nik Abdul Rahman and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.

bukit pelanduk pig farmers case trial 301008 02“The respondents’ (victims’) case was so untenable and doomed to fail both on the facts and the laws,” said Nik Hashim, who read out the 24-page judgment.
...Agreeing with the earlier decision that the government officers had not been identified, justice Nik Hashim said today the action could not proceed as a wrong party had been named.- Malaysiakini, 30/10/2008 - Heartbreak for Nipah virus victims

Was Justice Done? I say it was not done....the Judges got bogged down with technicalities...and were not interested in proceeding on the merits and deciding in the interest of justice... how sad.

So, they did not name the officers of the government, Defendants.., and the court could have so easily cured that by ordering that the said persons be added as parties..

And who may these be -- all the workers/officers at the ground, their supervisors, their head of departments, their District heads, their State level heads...etc..- and sometime it is not difficult for the lay person to know all their names. For many, they were just government officers or police or RELA officers - names are immaterial. Try getting the names and you will see how difficult it is... We got OSA (Official Secrets Act...) and so we cannot even go and check the records to find out the names of the persons concerned...

The law about persons who were not joined as parties when they should have been is clear - and the Court also can join them without any application from any party...

(1) No cause or matter shall be defeated by reason of the misjoinder or nonjoinder of any party; and the Court may in any cause or matter determine the issues or questions in dispute so far as they affect the rights and interests of the persons who are parties to the cause or matter.

(2) At any stage of the proceedings in any cause or matter the Court may on such terms as it thinks just and either of its own motion or on application-

(a) order any person who has been improperly or unnecessarily made a party or who has for any reason ceased to be a proper or necessary party, to cease to be a party;

(b) order any of the following persons to be added as a party, namely-

(i) any person who ought to have been joined as a party or whose presence before the Court is necessary to ensure that all matters in dispute in the cause or matter may be effectually and completely determined and adjudicated upon, or

(ii) any person between whom and any party to the cause or matter there may exist a question or issue arising out of or relating to or connected with any relief or remedy claimed in the cause or matter which in the opinion of the Court it would be just and convenient to determine as between him and that party as well as between the parties to the cause or matter.

but no person shall be added as a plaintiff without his consent signified in writing or in such other manner as may be authorised.

(3) An application by any person for an order under paragraph (2) adding him as a party must, except with the leave of the Court, we supported by an affidavit showing his interest in the matters in dispute in the cause or matter or, as the case may be, the question or issue to be determined as between him and any party to the cause or matter.-Rule 6. Misjoinder and non-joinder of parties. (O. 15 r. 6) - Rules of the High Court 1980

So what happened - why did the Judges not exercise the power that they did have to add in persons that they felt should be parties in the suit?

Well, the Federal Court decision saves the Government -- from having the case heard on the merits, and possibly an order that the Government pays damages at the end of the day...

Well, can't they not just file another suit.... well against Government, generally suits must be filed within 3 years -- so no more chance.

And, I wonder whether the courts also awarded cost ... mmm, that means not just you never get your case heard - but you also end up paying COST to the government...

Where is the JUSTICE?

With the new appointment of Zaki Azmi as the head of Judiciary - noting his past ties with UMNO, persons in government, and some businesses..., I doubt that things will improve...

The judiciary must be independent of the executive and the legislative - They are where the normal people will run through to seek justice for things done (or not done) by the government - but this Federal Court decision will surely 'deter' any person/s from taking cases against the government...

Technical and procedural non-compliances etc.... should take the back seat when it comes to the courts and justice. Our priority is to get down to the merits of the case and to decide justly...

* My opinion is based on the facts obtained from the various reports. I will appreciate that others who may have more facts or differing opinions to post your comments here as well.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is outcome of Munawar's appeal indicative of what we can expect from Zaki Boss of the Malaysian Judiciary

Chief Justice Zaki Azmi beginning to throw his true colours...

Will he be able to be INDEPENDENT of UMNO and his past friends, and be able to be concerned only with justice...

Will he be a progressive judge only concerned with JUSTICE - not fearful of developing the law so that justice be done...or will he just remain a tool of UMNO and his 'old friends'.

Also noted that Zaki Azmi was a businessman with involvement in a string of companies - and if so, he must recuse himself from any case involving those companies and/or related companies or even companies whereby his once fellow member of the Board of Directors or management is involved.

Hence, it is important to be open and transparent about these past liasons and relationship - and as such somewhere (possibly in the Judiciary Website or the Malaysian Bar Website), there must be information about all them different companies and persons he had such relationship, and other detailed background involvements not just of Zaki Azmi...but of all judges.

Was the throwing out of Munawar's appeal an indication of what we can expect of Zaki Azmi -- HOLD ON, let us wait and consider the reasons first before jumping into any conclusions..

The Federal Court today threw out an appeal by Munawar A Anees for his sodomy charge be remitted to the High Court so that he can argue his case.

Chief Justice Zaki Azmi, who sat with Federal Court judges Nik Hashim Nik Abdul Rahman and Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, delivered an oral decision, stating that their written judgment would made known later. - Malaysiakini, 30/10/2008 - Court throws out Munawar's appeal

I was trying find some more information about the companies that Zaki Azmi owned or was involved in, and I came across Kim Quek's article in Asia Sentinel which was published sometime at the end of the 2007. It makes me wonder whether the removal of Zaki Azmi as Chief Justice may have become the most important judicial reform that we may need...

The PM may have wanted his as Chief Justice. The Conference of Rulers may have wanted him as the Chief Justice. But, for the sake of the Malaysian Judiciary, I would have expected any good independent person to have declined the appointment. Zaki Azmi did not and today is the Chief Justice of Malaya. So, do not come and say that he did not have a say in the matter...

As the scandal-ridden Ahmad Fairuz exits as Chief Justice, another dubious candidate is poised to take his place.

Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi’s sudden announcement of the appointment of Zaki Azmi to the second highest post in the judiciary — President of the Court of Appeal — must have jolted and dismayed many who have cherished hopes of judicial reforms following the reluctant retirement of Ahmad Fairuz Abdul Halim.

After all, Zaki Azmi, who had not spent a single day as a judge in the court of appeal or the high court, was parachuted to the nation’s highest court — the Federal Court — only three months ago. He has not even warmed his seat as a judge, and yet he now looks poised to succeed Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad five months from now when Hamid retires in April 2008 upon reaching 66 years of age. Both Zaki’s and Hamid’s appointments were simultaneously announced by the Prime Minister on Dec 5.

In fact, when Zaki was appointed a Federal Court judge in September, he was instantly recognized at home and abroad as the person planted to the highest court to succeed Fairuz, whose request for a six month extension of service beyond his mandatory retirement on Oct 31 was not accepted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Such instant recognition of Zaki’s mission came from his deep involvement with UMNO as a key party player. He was chairman of the party’s election committee, deputy chairman of its disciplinary board of appeal, party legal adviser etc.

As UMNO’s legal man, he was involved with the party’s myriad scandalous financial misadventures that were bailed out by the government in the heydays of former Prime Minister Mahathir’s crony-capitalism during the last Asian financial crisis. One prominent example is the RM 3 billion loan scam in the disastrous acquisition of Philippines’ National Steel Corp. (NS) by UMNO’s financial proxy Halim Saad. When the shares of NS became scrap, four top Malaysian banks were made to stomach the entire RM 3 billion losses. And Zaki was then adirector of the investment vehicle — Hottick Investment Ltd of Hong Kong — which borrowed the RM 3 billion and embarked on the acquisition of NS.

Apart from acting as UMNO’s nominee, Zaki also has held directorship in scores of major companies including some of the most well known names such as Berjaya, Metacorp, Pan Global, SP Setia, Malaysia Airports,Hume, Matsushita Electric, Pharmaniaga etc. Zaki was reported by Bernama on 21 April 2007 to have said that his 58% owned Emrail SdnBhd, a railway specialist company, had only the government as employer, and that he was earnestly soliciting contracts in the northern and southern portions of the double-tracking project to turn the cash-strapped Emrail around.

Such apolitical and business background would already have made him a poor candidate for any judicial appointment, Zaki is battered by yet another serious handicap — the question of his moral integrity arising from his controversial marriage and divorce from his second wife Nor Hayati Yahaya, who was half his age.

Zaki married Nor Hayati in a ceremony conducted by a minister from Thailand in a textile shop in Perlis in March 2005. They separated three months later. In the messy divorce that ensued, it was revealed that Zaki burned the original marriage certificate to hide the marriage from his first wife. Further, the marriage was ruled by the Syarah court as illegal.

Following the revelation of Zaki’s marital trouble, he resigned as deputy chairman of UMNO’s disciplinary board, for which he told the press: “Considering that members of the disciplinary board are of the highest integrity, I have made this decision following reports in the media …”

The question we must ask now is: If Zaki is morally unfit to serve in UMNO’s disciplinary board, how could he be considered morally fit to be a federal court judge, not to mention his lightning elevation to the No.2 position, and anticipated imminent rise to the top job in the judiciary?

Is this country so poor in legal talent and integrity that we have no choice but to appoint some one so glaringly unsuited for such important judicial position arising from his multiple conflicts of interests and questionable integrity? If not, then why did the Prime Minister make such a move? If it is not to advance the Prime Minister’s and UMNO’s interests, then what motivated such an appointment?

We have already seen in the infamous Lingam video clip how the former Chief Justice betrayed his oath of allegiance to the country and the Constitution by crawling to serve the parochial interests of his political and business masters, thus confirming the common knowledge of the depth of degradation our judiciary has sunk. While the Prime Minister and his cabinet is still dilly-dallying over the appointment of a proper royal commission of inquiry to probe into the Lingam tape scandal almost three months after its public display, are we now made to swallow another UMNO atrocity – the instant elevation of an UMNO stalwart in the nation’s highest court?

However,in the midst of despair over UMNO’s latest move, we detect something amiss in the prime minister’s announcement of this dual appointment (Hamid and Zaki). While the PM claimed that upon his advice these appointments were assented to by the king after consultation with the Council of Rulers, no effective date had been decided for Zaki’s appointment, while Hamid’s was fixed on Nov 1 — the day he started duty as Acting Chief Justice. Neither had any date been decided for the handing over of the appointment letters. If these dates had not been decided, why was PM in such a hurry to make an incomplete announcement?

Knowing that the King and the Council of Rulers had previously declined to accept nominees deemed inappropriate fill the vacancies of the President of Court of Appeal and Chief Judge of Malaya respectively, as well as having turned down Fairuz’ request to continue as chief justice, the suddenness of PM’s claim of royal assent — particularly in reference to Zaki’s controversial promotion — came as a surprise to many people. Did the king also assent to Zaki’s appointment? If so, why couldn’t Zaki’s date of appointment be also decided alongside with Hamid’s? Or was there a problem of royal assent?

Whatever the case may be in regards to Zaki’s appointment, it is pertinent to take serious note of the view expressed by the Sultan of Perak, Raja Azlan Shah, on public perception of judicial impartiality in his opening address to the 14th Malaysian Law Conference on October 29.

Raja Azlan Shah, one of the most illustrious Lord Presidents of Malaysia, said that the judiciary loses its value and service to the community if there is no public confidence in its decision-making. And the principal quality in judiciary is “impartiality”, which exists in two senses — the reality of impartiality and the appearance of impartiality. Of these two, the appearance of impartiality is the more important, the sultan said.

Taking cue from this observation, Zaki’s appointment is an unmitigated disaster, as even if he has the superhuman capability to totally severe his umbilical cord to the ruling party and his commercial interests to eliminate conflict of interests, there is still the insurmountable problem of public perception. With Zaki’s questionable background, there is no way he can command complete public confidence, particularly when the interests of UMNO or his businesses are involved.

Coming at a time when Malaysia’s competitiveness is fast losing ground,which has been contributed in no small way by its worsening judiciary image, such a daring raid on the sanctimonious ground of neutrality as the judiciary through planting a party stalwart to take over its control is destined to bring ruinous consequences to this country. Not even in the height of Mahathir’s autocracy would such a reckless adventure be contemplated.

Knowing UMNO’s arrogance and supreme confidence over its political hegemony, we do not think that it is open to advice from the public. We therefore earnestly appeal to the king and the Rulers to exert their benevolent influence empowered by the Constitution to protect our judiciary from further injury, as they have so valiantly done in the recent past.

Kim Quek comments regularly on Malaysian affairs. - Asia Sentinel, 7/12/2007 Malaysia's Judiciary: Here We Go Again

Would the most important Judicial Reform that the country require be the removal of Zaki Azmi as the Head of the Judiciary?

For me, one of the biggest problem is the shortage of judges and courts in Malaysia - and that is one major problem that has to be addressed immediately...Extreme pressure to speed-up matters are now resulting in courts striking off cases for technical reasons, etc - justice is not being done. Numbers and statistics is what most judges and courts have become concerned about --- not Justice..

In my earlier posts, I have discussed the kind of reforms that our Judiciary needs...

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gave the indication that he was for Judicial Reforms - but alas his choice of the new Head of Judiciary makes us question whether his 'reforms' is anything like the kind of reforms that we are talking about.

Federal Court chief registrar Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat (as reported in New Straits Times, 20/9/2006), disclosed that the number of judges in the country was low compared with other Commonwealth nations. He was quoted as saying that the Malaysian ratio is "2.4 judges to a million people - a far cry from the ratio in India (10.5), Australia (57.1), Britain (50.1) and Canada (75)."

This really is the problem for the backlog and the delays in our courts, and the only solution is to increase the number of judges and courts in the country. Our population has increased, and grown in consciousness about legal rights and human rights. The number of lawyers has also increased to more than 12,000 in Peninsular Malaysia, and so too has the number of new law graduates coming out every year. Alas, the number of courts and judges have not increased at the same rate, and that is where the real problem lies.

What we need is to have more courts and more judges.- Charles Hector Blog

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What is 30% Bumiputra Equity?

What is 30% Bumiputra Equity?

All it requires is that in, for example a public listed company, one Abdullah Najib Khairy (a Bumiputra) owns 30% of the shares - the we have 30% Bumiputra Equity requirement.

The same one Abdullah Najib Khairy (a Bumiputra) can own 30% of the shares in all them companies - and we have achieved 30% Bumiputra Equity requirement.

(Note: the same applies if and when there is talk about Chinese or Indian or Non-Bumiputra equity...)

This is the flaw that has been exploited by a small number of Bumiputras (and non-Bumiputras)... today results in that big GAP between the rich and the poor - an indication that the wealth and riches is not being equitably distributed between the people of Malaysia.

Remember - the Constitution talks about 'Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak' - so where do we get this term Bumiputra from?

It is not the right time to adjust the 30% bumiputra equity in public-listed companies because the objectives of the New Eco­no­mic Policy have not been achieved, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.
Perfect host: Dr Mahathir greeting guests to the Perkim Hari Raya open house at Bangunan Perkim yesterday.

“If we adjust the equity to 20% and the economy expands, the share of bumiputras will still be below 30%,” he said at the Muslim Welfare Organisa­tion (Per­kim) Hari Raya open house yesterday.

He said there were still many objectives in the NEP which must be achieved before the 30% equity rule could be dropped.

“If you lower the 30% to 20%, non-bumiputras will have 40% equity. In that case, they should have a lower equity too,” he said.

However, Dr Mahathir said that in protecting the rights of bumiputras, economic policies must also consider the rights of non-bumiputras.

“We have to look at both sides. Be rational about it. At the moment, I don’t agree we should change the (equity rule). It’s not the right time for adjustment because the world economy is in turmoil,” he said.

MCA vice-president Datuk Liow Tiong Lai had suggested on Monday that the mandatory 30% bumiputra equity in local main board companies be abolished to ensure competitiveness in the current world economic meltdown. - Star, 29/10/2008 - Dr M: Not the right time to adjust 30% bumi equity

So, why do the majority of them 'Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak' getting worked up - about this 30% or 40% nonsense - after all they do benefit almost nothing - it is them 'chosen ones' and some leaders who are the biggest beneficiaries. Where did Najib's wealth come from? Where did Abdullah's, his son's, his son-in-law (Khairy J)'s wealth come from? Where did Mat Taib's wealth come from? Where did Anwar Ibrahim get his wealth from? Were they rich all the while coming from already rich family backgrounds?

In 2004, it was said that the top 10% was about 22 times richer than the bottom 10%. In a country of about 27million, the bottom 10% is about 2.7million persons. Go read this posting on unequal wealth distribution in Malaysia - note also how the government now talks about percentages(%) and really actual numbers of persons that control these 'equity' and wealth of the nation.

Remember also the NEP - and its 2 primary goals :-

The launching of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1971 was a watershed in the Malaysian economic policy history. The NEP underscored the importance of achieving socio-economic goals alongside pursuing economic growth objectives as a way of creating harmony and unity in a nation with many ethnic and religious groups. The overriding goal was national unity. To achieve this goal, two major strategies were adopted:
  • To reduce absolute poverty irrespective of race through raising income levels and increasing employment opportunities for all Malaysians; and

Now, I also wonder whether this '30% bumiputra equity in public-listed companies' or this '30 Bumi-40 Non-Bumi - 30 Foreigners quotas' is something that is constitutional. Is it done in reliance of Art. 153 of the Federal Constitution? I think not .....

Next, the "New Economic Policy (NEP)" is merely a Barisan Nasional government policy - and there are many such policies that have come and gone. In fact, I believe that even the BN government have moved on - and there have been new policies that have superceded the NEP of 1971.

Either way, I hope to look at the objects of this NEP Policy and see whether we have achieved the 2 OBJECTIVES of the NEP - Of course the EPU site now calls this as being the 2 'major strategies'. [Well, we may need to look at the original document to see whether the wordings have been changed...]

How many Malaysian Indonesians? Malaysian Thais? Malaysian Javanese? Malaysian Singaporeans? - NONE come?

I wonder how many Malaysian Indonesians are there? Or Malaysian Jawanese? Or Malaysian Bataks?

How many Malaysian Thais?

How many Malaysian Filipinos?

How many Malaysian Pakistanis?

How many Malaysian Singaporeans?

How many Malaysian Sri Lankans ?'

How many Malaysian- Arabs?

We only hear of Malaysian Chinese and Malaysian Indians?

Malaysian has borders with Thailand, Indonesia, Philipines, Singapore and we also know that the Arabs were here for trade and chose to settle before...and as such the question is a relevant question.

Maybe, we should all just be talking about Malaysians...

And if we want to go further then maybe we should be talking in terms of language or ethnic groups..

Malaysian Tamil, Malaysian Malayalees, Malaysian Punjabis, Malaysian Gujuratis, Malaysian Chettys, Malaysian Telugus - instead of the term Malaysian Indians.

Malaysian Hokkien, Malaysian Cantonese, Malaysian Hakka....

Malaysian Jawanese, Malaysian Bugis, Malaysian Acehnese, Malaysian Bataks,...

When it comes to children of mix-marriages...
Malaysian Tamil-Hokkien, Malaysian Malay-Eurasians, Malaysian Pakistani-Malays, Malaysian Thai-Malayalee..

Maybe just Malaysians may be best...

Bangsa:........ (The only bangsa or nationality can be Malaysian or Malaysia)

Keturunan:... or Ras:... or Ethnicity:... --- why do we still need this? For some academic study....

Constitution can be discussed...can be changed - it is not sacred or infallible

The government will continue to defend the special rights of the Malays and those of the other races as outlined in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, the deputy prime minister said.

Reminding the country's leaders not to abuse their powers, he said the guarantees provided for in the Constitution should no longer be questioned.

"These are the basics and we will continue to defend Article 153 as the backbone of the nation.

"We can always sit down and discuss policies" but not the fundamentals of the Constitution, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said at a Hari Raya open house organised by Perak Barisan Nasional on Sunday. - New Straits Times, 28/10/2008 - Najib: Rights will be upheld
Malaysians (and other persons) should have the full right to discuss every aspect of the Federal Constitution - and this is important.

Unlike other laws, the Federal Constitution cannot be amended by simple majority vote - it requires a 2/3 majority for Constitutional amendments >> and that is the safeguard that have been put in.

And this 'sacred' Article 153 that Najib is talking about is as follows:-

153. Reservation of quotas in respect of services, permits, etc., for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak.

(1) It shall be the responsibility of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities in accordance with the provisions of this Article.

(2) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, but subject to the provisions of Article 40 and of this Article, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall exercise his functions under this Constitution and federal law in such manner as may be necessary to safeguard the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak of such proportion as he may deem reasonable of positions in the public service (other than the public service of a State) and of scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or special facilities given or accorded by the Federal Government and, when any permit or licence for the operation of any trade or business is required by federal law, then, subject to the provisions of that law and this Article, of such permits and licences.

(3) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may, in order to ensure in accordance with Clause (2) the reservation to Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak of positions in the public service and of scholarships, exhibitions and other educational or training privileges or special facilities, give such general directions as may be required for that purpose to any Commission to which Part X applies or to any authority charged with responsibility for the grant of such scholarships, exhibitions or other educational or training privileges or special facilities; and the Commission or authority shall duly comply with the directions.

(4) In exercising his functions under this Constitution and federal law in accordance with Clauses (1) to (3) the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall not deprive any person of any public office held by him or of the continuance of any scholarship, exhibition or other educational or training privileges or special facilities enjoyed by him.

(5) This Article does not derogate from the provisions of Article 136.

(6) Where by existing federal law a permit or licence is required for the operation of any trade or business the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may exercise his functions under that law in such manner, or give such general directions to any authority charged under that law with the grant of such permits or licences, as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such permits or licences for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable; and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.

(7) Nothing in this Article shall operate to deprive or authorise the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege, permit or licence accrued to or enjoyed or held by him or to authorise a refusal to renew to any person any such permit or licence or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of a person any permit or licence when the renewal or grant might reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events.

(8) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, where by any federal law any permit or licence is required for the operation of any trade or business, that law may provide for the reservation of a proportion of such permits or licences for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak; but no such law shall for the purpose of ensuring such a reservation -

(a) deprive or authorise the deprivation of any person of any right, privilege, permit or licence accrued to or enjoyed or held by him; or

(b) authorise a refusal to renew to any person any such permit or licence or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of any person any permit or licence when the renewal or grant might in accordance with the other provisions of the law reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events, or prevent any person from transferring together with his business any transferable licence to operate that business; or

(c) where no permit or licence was previously required for the operation of the trade or business, authorise a refusal to grant a permit or licence to any person for the operation of any trade or business which immediately before the coming into force of the law he had been bona fide carrying on, or authorise a refusal subsequently to renew to any such person any permit or licence, or a refusal to grant to the heirs, successors or assigns of any such person any such permit or licence when the renewal or grant might in accordance with the other provisions of that law reasonably be expected in the ordinary course of events.

(8A) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, where in any University, College and other educational institution providing education after Malaysian Certificate of Education or its equivalent, the number of places offered by the authority responsible for the management of the University, College or such educational institution to candidates for any course of study is less than the number of candidates qualified for such places, it shall be lawful for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by virtue of this Article to give such directions to the authority as may be required to ensure the reservation of such proportion of such places for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may deem reasonable; and the authority shall duly comply with the directions.

(9) Nothing in this Article shall empower Parliament to restrict business or trade solely for the purpose of reservations for Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak.

(9A) In this Article the expression "natives" in relation to the State of Sabah or Sarawak shall have the meaning assigned to it in Article 161A.

(10) The Constitution of the State of any Ruler may make provision corresponding (with the necessary modifications) to the provisions of this Article.

Read it very very carefully - and note that there is a lot of improvements that could be proposed with regard to Article 153 ...

* There must be something to say that it should not be the SAME 'Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak' who reap all the benefits.

* There could be a discussion to determine what is the meaning of ' of such proportion as he may deem reasonable' - is it 30% or is it 99%.

* There is a failure in our Federal Constitution to provide for special preferences for the poor and marginalised...

The practice of some banks requiring law firms to have a certain percentage of Bumiputra partners/lawyers in their firm before they will be appointed into Bank panels - is WRONG and unconstitutional. Thankfully, when the Malaysian Bar raised this matter - Bank Negara agreed and this practice has stopped...

Likewise, the practice of cheaper houses for Bumiputras is not something that provided for by Art. 153.... it is wrong and discriminatory.

Also note - the word 'Bumiputra' is not there in the Federal Constitution - it talks only about 'Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak'

I have no issue with the fact that there must be special reservations/rights with regard to 'Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak' but I feel it should also definitely extend to the other natives of Peninsular Malaysia - i.e. the Orang Asli (Temuan, Semai, Mah Meri, ...)

There are other matters that we all should and could discuss...and must have the freedom to discuss..

And discussion must never never be taken to be a challenge of the status and positions of natives of Malaysia...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

PR State Policy - Education for all including children of refugees/statelless persons...

State governments have a lot of power and can bring about significant changes not just at the level of the State Government but also at the level of the Local Governments(be it at the Local Council level but also at the Taman/Kampung/Kampung Baru levels).

The new Pakatan Rakyat State governments have really been procrastinating and not bringing about much changes....focusing us always on the Federal Government - and their quest to seize power.

I say - when quest for control of the Federal Government should not stop -- BUT at the same time, there can and should be substantial reforms in what Pakatan Rakyat already has. Look at Kelantan - and how it managed to survive all these years...without (or with little) help from the Federal Government.

State Government have their own monies - and means of generating monies. Local authorities have a lot of means of generating their own money - so do not tell me that they are 'crippled' and not able to bring about reforms and changes...

What are the matters that these Pakatan Rakyat States can do now?

GREATER DEMOCRACY - meeting that there should be elections at all levels of government - starting with election of leaders at Kampungs, Tamans, Kampung Barus. Start the education process and give the people democracy - people power, makkal sakti, kuasa rakyat. The practice of appointment should stop.

First, in the State Websites - the State Constitution must be available, and also all the State Laws and Rules.
2nd - there must the minutes of the meeting of the State Assembly, including the Written Questions and Answers
3rd - there must be also minutes of all Local Council meetings and decisions
4th - there must be something called State Exco decisions - which the people of the State can rely on to claim and enforce rights. [This will make clear what really is State Police and State level Decisions - also must be provisions for revocations, etc...] These decisions must also be easily available at the State level websites...
5th - A declaration that there will be no State Secrets - and people must be educated in how and where they can access these information. (State Exco and State Committee minutes of meetings should be made publicly available NOW - or after a certain time lapse - say 6 months...)

- State Constitutions could provide for more rights and freedoms for the people of its State (or even in their own State)
- Right to food, shelter and clothing is something that could be included (Remember this right is not there in our Federal Constitution...)
- Right to free education to all persons within the State (maybe pre-primary, primary, secondary and, if possible tertiary..). This could be for every person including children of migrants and refugees...
- Right to free healthcare to all persons
- Right to clean and healthy environment..
- Right to job and employment (meaning that the State will have the obligation to create jobs and to ensure sufficient jobs for the persons in the State...)
- Right to temporary shelter and sanctuary to refugees until the relevant authorities have the required time to process applications for refugee status, etc.. (This could apply to persons from Burma [now called Myanmar], Southern Thailand, ...etc..). Then, maybe we won't hear the horror stories of refugee settlements being burnt down...etc...[Selangor could start this, could it not...]
- Freedom of Expression [State government could create venues for Free Expression, etc...and make clear its stance of these freedoms...]

Almost 9 months since they took over POWER in 4 New States - but what reforms are there...

Too many persons are becoming APOLOGETICS for the delay in Reforms ...

REFORMS have to be done now ....and the people must experience it NOW ... before the end of 4 plus years when we will have the next General Elections...

Changes and reforms have to be SWIFTLY effected - and not delayed.

Maybe good if the 5 Pakatan Rakyat could also put in their websites what the NEW and DIFFERENT things that they have been doing in the State governing since they took power...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Selangor MB behaves like an UMNO-led BN person yet again...

It is so sad when we still hear Selangor's Pakatan Rakyat Menteri Besar still talk about Bumiputra and non-Bumiputra when it comes to appointing persons to the various entities owned and controlled by the Selangor government.

We cannot find a suitable Bumiputra -- so for the time being we will have a non-Bumiputra head PKNS - while we look for a suitable Bumiputra.

I would have expected better from Pakatan Rakyat - like we will look for the best person ...the best Human Being for the job...

Hypocrites they are .... no different really from the UMNO-led BN after all...or are they different?

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the appointment of a non-bumiputra was a short-term measure for one year to ensure the effective continuation of management.

On being told that certain quarters are against the appointment of a non-bumiputra to the post, Khalid smiled and said, that “it is their view and this is mine”.

PKNS general manager Datuk Harun Salim whose annual contract expires this Thursday will not have it extended, as he is 60. Harun retired in mid-2003 and will have to leave the government entity in compliance with the Public Services Department’s age requirement.

Current Finance and Corporate deputy general manager Low Siew Moi, 57, will have her annual contract extended to replace Harun, as acting general manager.

Low, who is in Australia for a holiday, received her letter on Wednesday afternoon.

“We can’t have two top officers retire at the same time as we need an effective continuation of management. One best option is to extend Low’s service on contract basis to replace Harun,” said Khalid after he officially launched the I-City complex here.

He added that Low would work in tandem with the PKNS board of directors to steer the state government’s business arm forward until the state could source for a bumiputra person with high calibre and ethics and someone who is committed to lead the state’s business arm.- Star, 27/10/2008 - S'gor appoints non-bumiputra to temporarily head PKNS

Sunday, October 26, 2008

ACT this Deepavali - for GOOD to truly overcome all EVIL..

It is Deepavali - the festival of light - when good triumps over evil...but alas for Malaysia the evil still is present and the struggle to overcome evil must continue despite the increased risks and challenges...

The evil of the ISA and Detention Without Trial still is around --- and many still languish in Detention including P.Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau, T Vasanthakumar and Raja Petra.

The evil of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi-Mohd Najib Razak led BN government is still around - a regime that curtails freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of legitimate dissent and even freedom of assoiciation. The making of HINDRAF unlawful is so wrong. The arresting of persons who went to deliver a letter to the PM's office is also so wrong and evil.

I wonder why the Star(and some other Media) still refers to them as HINDRAF supporters - knowing that once HINDRAF has been declared unlawful by the Minister - persons claiming to be representing and/or part of such unlawful societies can be charged for commiting an offence. Just one such section that concerns unlawful society, as an example, is as follows:-

48. Acting on behalf of or representing an unlawful society.

(1) Any person who in any manner acts on behalf of, or represents, or assists, whether in a professional capacity or otherwise howsoever, any unlawful society, or any person who was an office bearer thereof as if he continues to be an office-bearer thereof, or any body which was the governing body of the society or of any branch thereof as if it continues to be such governing body, in relation to any matter, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding fifteen thousand ringgit or both. - Societies Act 1966, section 48(1)

So, when the Media reports persons as being HINDRAF supporters...or HINDRAF leaders...or HINDRAF lawyers ....they are doing a great disfavour to these persons. Remember that the persons who went to see the Prime Minister did not go as HINDRAF but as concerned citizens calling for the release of P.Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau, T Vasanthakumar...
The 10 supporters of the banned Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), who were arrested outside the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday, were released on police bail at 1pm Sunday.

They were seen leaving the Putrajaya district police headquarters at 1.30pm, accompanied by their lawyers led by Gobind Singh Deo, Shah Alam MP Khalid Abdul Samad and Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad.

Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Wira Mohammad Sabtu Osman confirmed that the eight men and two women were released on police bail and have to report here on Nov 25.

About 50 supporters and family members had gathered outside the police headquarters early Sunday morning.

Twelve people, including three women and one child, were detained on Thursday after they were said to have tried to hand over to the Prime Minister’s Office a memorandum calling for the release of the Hindraf leaders who are being detained under the Internal Security Act before Deepavali.

One of the three women picked up was K. Shanti, wife of Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy, who is in self-exile in London, and the child is their six-year-old daughter Vwaishhnnavi. - Star, 26/10/2008 - 10 Hindraf supporters out on bail

Good news about the Star report is that the 10 can now be with their family and friends celebrating Deepavali...

But remember that P.Uthayakumar, M. Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau, T Vasanthakumar...and many other Hindus or persons that celebrate Deepavali are still being under the ISA and the other Detention Without Trial laws.

One thing that we could all do is send to all persons that we know are being detained under the ISA and Detention Without Trial Laws a Deepavali Card -- or maybe even just sent them a TELEGRAM...for this Deepavali expressing our solidarity with them and our hope that they be released soonest - and that GOOD shall triumph over EVIL.

The address is

Name of Detainee,
Kamunting Detention Centre
34600 Taiping

The list could be found in my earlier post.

In fact, you could also as part of your ACTION for Justice this Deepavali send an Urgent Appeal.

Illegal for employers to hold Migrant Worker's passports..

Many migrants who are legitimately in the country get arrested because they cannot produce and show their passport to the Police, Immigration Officers...and then RELA jokers.

It is so wrong for employers to deprive a migrant of his/her passport...and it is wrong for any person to be holding the passport of another without lawful authority.

And there really is no reason for an employer to be holding the passport of their workers...

HUMAN Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam has questioned the need for employers to keep the passports of their foreign workers.

Tamil Nesan reported him as saying it was illegal to hold another person’s passport.

However, he noted that most foreign workers in Malaysia agreed to hand over their passports to their employers due to security reasons.

Speaking at the launch of Nirwana Academy Group of Colleges’ School of Information Technology in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Subramaniam said the ministry would draw up guidelines to ensure there was no abuse of the passports.

He advised foreign workers not to hand over their passports to their employers.

He said employers must also ensure that the passports and visas do not expire or the workers would have to bear the consequences.

He said there were about three million foreign workers in the country, of whom 1.1 million were illegals. - Star, 25/10/2008 - Subra: No reason for bosses to hold passports

I came across a case a year back where a migrant worker who had just arrived in the country was arrested and detained by the authorities for about 3 plus months just because he could not show his original passport.

Guess what the passport of that migrant worker was taken by his employer to be submitted to the Immigration Department for the necessary work permit [Pas Lawatan[Kerja Sementara] to be endorsed (or attached) in his passport.

This migrant worker was arrested on 28/1/2007. The police takes the position that they will not release until they have sight of the ORIGINAL Passport - other documents insufficient.

After ORIGINAL passport is obtained back from the Immigration Department, which clearly has a Pas Lawatan(Kerja Sementara) that expires only on 11/1/2008, and is shown to the police on 9/2/2007 and the detaining authority at the Depoh Tahanan Pendatang Tanpa Izin Semenyih Selangor on 13/2/2007 .

The Migrant Worker was finally released on 13/4/2007 - and GUESS what despite demands by the Migrant Worker for his Passport - the Immigration Department hands over the passport of the Migrant Worker to the Employer.

Of course, release happelns after the application for habeas corpus is filed and served -- and just before the hearing date.

So, maybe good old HUMAN Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam must also stress it to the Immigration Department and the Police and the other authorities that the passport should always be returned to the Migrant Worker - and should always be with the Migrant Worker.

A brief chronology about this particular Migrant Workers case is as follows:-

28-1-2007 Migrant Worker(MW) arrested by police

29-1-2007 Employer’s representative goes to the Sunway Police station with all documents to prove that the presence of the MW was legal. They asked them to go to the Bandar Puchong police station. The Bandar Puchong Police said that they could not do anything as this was a Bandar Sunway matter.

30-1-2007 The employer’s representative went back to the Bandar Sunway police station - who now told them that they could not do anything until they had sight of the original passport.

9-2-2007 The employer receives back the original passport from the Immigration Department, which clearly has a Pas Lawatan(Kerja Sementara) that expires only on 11/1/2008 - that makes it clear beyond any doubt that the Applicant was legally in Malaysia for work until January 2008. The police then asks the employer’s representative to go to Depoh Tahanan Pendatang Tanpa Izin Semenyih Selangor.

13-2-2007 The employer’s representative goes to the Depoh Tahanan Pendatang Tanpa Izin Semenyih Selangor, and they say they cannot release until they receive directions from the police or the Public Prosecutor. The Depoh Tahanan Pendatang Tanpa Izin Semenyih Selangor then takes and holds the original passport of the MW.

15-2-2007 The employer’s representative goes back to the Sunway Police Station, and one Sjn. Ariffin says that he needs the original passport.

21-2-2007 The employer’s representative goes back to Depoh Tahanan Pendatang Tanpa Izin Semenyih Selangor and obtains the original passport of the MW with some difficulty.

The employer’s representative returns to Sjn Ariffin (Sunway Police Station), and he now says that the Immigration Department does not have any records about the MW.

22-2-2007 The employer’s representative goes to the Immigration Department in Pusat Bandar Damansara, Kuala Lumpur and gets even additional documents verifying the MW’s existence and valid presence in Malaysia. They also went to the Selangor Immigration Department.

When the employer’s representative returns with all these proof, Sjn Ariffin wrongfully said that he did want to be disturbed about this.

When the Public Prosecutor’s office in Selangor is contacted, they say that they have no records of the arrest and detention of the MW.

26-2-2007 The employer’s representative then went back to the Immigration Department in Pusat Bandar Damansara, and they also said that they do not have any record of the MW’s arrest and detention.

The employer’s representative goes back to the Sunway Police Station, and meet with the Officer in Charge, one C/Insp Supari, who says that he cannot do anything as this case was handled by Sjn Ariffin.

15-3-2007 The MW’s friend, one Alam Zeb, sends a letter to the Public Prosecutor’s office in Selangor enclosing a Statutory Declaration that also enclosed copies of all relevant documents appealing for the release of the MW.
28-3-2007 The MW’s lawyer sends letters to all relevant parties seeking the release of the MW, enclosing also relevant documents clearly showing that the arrest and clearly the prolonged detention was wrong.

3-4-2007 The Public Prosecutor’s office in Selangor sends Alam Zeb a letter stating that his appeal that the MW be released have been allowed.

5-4-2007 The Peguam Negara Malaysia sends a letter to the MW’s lawyers stating very clearly that they have investigated the matter, and have ordered that the MW is to be released from custody. (This letter was also copied to the Public Prosecutor’s office in Selangor)

11-4-2007 After receipt of the letter from Peguam Negara Malaysia, which was sent by normal post, the MW’s lawyers sent letters to all relevant parties enclosing the Peguam Negara’s letter, asking that the MW be immediately released from custody/detention.There was also verbal communication with the relevant parties.

13-4-2007 The Immigration Department in Putrajaya contacts the lawyers of the MW stating that the applicant will be released in Putrajaya, and that the lawyers need to be present with the original passport. It was clearly made known that the lawyers were the MW’s lawyers - not the lawyers of the employer.

The original passport of the MW was taken from the lawyers, and the Immigration Department said that they had to wait for the employer to come before the MW was released.

When the employer’s representative arrived, the original passport was handed to the employer’s representative by the Immigration Department despite protests from the lawyers and the Applicant. - based on the Affidavits affirmed and filed in court, and also the oral and written submissions in court.
On the hearing date, the High Court threw out the application for habeas corpus because the Migrant Worker had been released already.

I am sure that there are many simialr cases of Migrant Workers (or Refugees even) that get arrested and detained unnecessarily because they could not produce their original passport.

HUMAN Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam should not be questioning the need for employers to hold the passport of migrant workers --- nor should he be only advising migrant workers 'not to hand over their passports to their employers'. He must also tell employers not to hold on to these passports. There must be strict enforcement of the law against employers who do so...

The Minister must also ensure that appropriate temporary documents are given to workers when passports are sent to Immigration Department for visa applications and/or renewals - and that all (police, Immigration, Detention Centres Authorities, and others) do recognize these appropriate temporary documents as being valid papers in lieu of the original passport.

If a MW is arrested and detained - then an EMPLOYER shall be made liable to pay the MW compensation and damages.

Migrant Workers .....mmm let's also not forget about that Malaysian pregnant mother who was detained as an undocumented migrant for almost a year because she did not have her NRIC card with her. See my earlier postings on the Rajeshvari Scandal : PM need assure us no other cases like this...

We may not be able to do much about what happens in the whole of Malaysia - but surely something can be done immediately in the 5 Pakatan Rakyat States of Selangor, Perak, Pulau Pinang, Kedah and Kelantan - to prevent unnecessary and/or wrongful arrest and detention of migrants (or even Malaysians).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Jawi is different from Arabic - Improved Communication not politicking please...

With regard to Street signs and other important information boards/publications in Malaysia - it should not just be in Bahasa Melayu - but also English, Chinese(Mandarin), Tamil...Maybe, we should also have some in Jawi writing.

Why? Because those are the languages that people in Semenanjung Malaysia are familiar with.

In the case of Sabah and Sarawak - the local languages should also be used.

The important thing is communication - i.e. to be able to convey necessary information to the people of Malaysia (and maybe even the tourists/migrants in our country.) Talking about migrants - maybe Urdu should also be included in signages, as this will cover migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India. Oh, we also have Vietnamese and Burmese...

Arabic - why? Is it for the Arabic tourists coming to the country. Maybe, what the Penang Municipal council is talking about is Jawi - which was the original written form used for Bahasa Melayu...

By December, tourists visiting Penang’s heritage enclave will be greeted by street names in multiple languages.

The state executive council approved the Penang Municipal Council’s application to put up the road signs in different languages at its meeting here yesterday, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said.

“I want to stress that the original Bahasa Malaysia signs will not be removed. We are just adding new ones in Chinese, Tamil and Arabic, to complement the existing signs. - Star, 25/10/2008 -Road signs in various languages

Embarassing conduct by government in dealing with Malaysian rights activist

Go meet the Prime Minister to raise your grievances during the Hari Raya open house - not right.

Go to meet and hand over letter to Prime Minister at his office - get arrested and detained..

She was among 11 individuals arrested yesterday evening when they accompanied her daughter, Vwashnnavvi, 6, to the Prime Minister’s Office to deliver a handwritten letter.

In it, Vwasshnnavvi invited the prime minister to her family’s ‘open house’ during Deepavali celebrations and appealed for the release of all Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees.

Police obtained a three-day remand order against the remaining 10 detainees, from Kajang magistrate Nurdiana Mohd Nazari this afternoon.- Malaysiakini, 24/10/2008 - Shanti: I stayed in police station in protest

When some ordinary Malaysians go to the Prime Minister's office to hand over a letter, they get arrested and detained - but then when some MPs go hand over a signature petition, nothing untoward happens..
A group of Members of Parliament turned up at the Prime Minister’s Office here on Friday to hand over the first batch of signatures in support for a motion to discuss repealing the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The five Pakatan Rakyat members -- Batu Gajah MP Fong Po Kuan and Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng of the DAP, Selayang MP William Leong and Kelana Jaya MP Loh Gwo Burne of PKR, and Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Maria Mahmud of PAS -- arrived at the office around 11.10am.

The signatures were handed over to the Premier’s senior private secretary, Datuk Ahmad Yaakob. - Star, 24/10/2008 - MPs submit ‘ISA letter’ to PM’s office

Why are the Malaysians being discriminated - Why are these Malaysian Indians being discriminated against?
Police Watch Malaysia coordinator S Jayathas, who was also held, claimed that they had been told that they were part of an illegal assembly for having gathered near the entrance of the building.

“We were trying to obtain permission from the security guards for Vwaishhnnavi to submit her letter. They said that we were from Hindraf, but we insisted that we were 'concerned Indians' who were accompanying Vwaishnnavi,” Jayathas when contacted. - Malaysiakini, 23/10/2008 - Uthaya's niece, 11 others held

Will these kind of disgraceful attempts to suppress dissent and legitimate protest by the government work? Will the "Makkal Sakti" movement be silenced?

The used water cannons and tear gas on them..

The used violence on them...

They arrested and detained them...

They put 5 of their alleged leaders under ISA more than 10 months ago...

They tried to play them as being 'un-islamic' and 'ill-behaved..'

They made HINDRAF into an unlawful society..

They arrested 10-11 for trying to hand a letter to the PM at his office..
However, the magistrate only extended remand to three days till Sunday when hearing resumed in the afternoon following a lunch break. This means that the 10 will be able to celebrate Deepavali with their families on Monday. - Malaysiakini, 24/10/2008 - Child, mother freed, 10 remanded
I just hope that the police do not go and apply for further remand - and this may mean that will have to spend Deepavali in a police lock-up...

How long does it take to take a statement - which I believe they will most likely all say that the only statement they are going to give is 'whatever I want to say, I will say in court...".

What else? Take their fingerprint....take their photo...

Identification parade (kawat cam)... really not necessary...since they were arrested at the scent of the alleged crime...

That is generally what investigation entails - and all this could have been done in a few hours without even requiring an application for further remand..

Further, I am sure that these are all Malaysians with a valid address - hence there really was no need to even keep them in the lock-up. They could have been released on police bail -- requiring them to be present at this time or that time for the purpose of assisting the police investigation.

So, why arrest...why go for remand and detain them further...why all that FRU trucks and ...

Security was tight at the court complex, where six riot police FRU trucks as well as a water-cannon truck have been deployed. About 50 supporters and family members of those arrested have gathered outside the courthouse.

Journalists have also been barred from entering the court complex.

Police showed a document signed by Kajang magistrate Nurdiana Mohd Nazari stating that only the lawyer representing those arrested and their family members are allowed into the court.Malaysiakini, 24/10/2008 - Child, mother freed, 10 remanded

“Any attempt to remand is an attempt to punish them especially with Deepavali being around the corner,” he stressed.

hindraf kajang magistrate 241008 lourdes mary faintedDuring the remand hearing, one of the female detainee, Lourdes Mary, fainted in court while explaining the lock-up condition to the magistrate.

According to Surendran, the detainee is a diabetic and her legs have swollen twice the size as she was unable to obtain insulin since her detention yesterday.

“I have never seen this kind of neglect in court before,” lamented the lawyer.

Meanwhile, another legal team member M Manogaran criticised the police for demanding lawyers to register themselves before entering the court building and for barring journalists from entering the complex.

“This is a tragedy. As an officer of court, I have a statutory duty to go into the court [...] We will take this issue to Bar Council. It’s a breach of statutory duty,” said the lawyer, who is also the Teluk Intan MP.
- Malaysiakini, 24/10/2008 - Child, mother freed, 10 remanded