Saturday, July 31, 2010

Yesterday, I accidentally came upon several interesting articles by Datuk George Seah through Melvin Mah. Took me about 1 hour to read all the articles and comprehend their contents. Please bear with me as I try to dissect one of biggest judiciary issue of all time. This article may be long and tenuous for some so just sit back, adjust your eyesight and just bear with me on this one.

I think people have been grossly misdirected in blaming solely Tun Dr Mahathir for the judiciary crisis in 1988. This is partly because of the strong accusation from the opposition and the silence of Dr Mahathir in clearing the air.

So what is the judicial and constitutional crisis of 1988? Does it affect everyone? Does it affect our day to day lives? Why are we so angry? Are we assuming that the normal laymen will not get justice in the courts because of what happened in 1988? Honestly, if you were suspected to murder someone, and were dragged to the high court, would you scream on top of your lungs saying that the courts will not be independent or clean because 20 years ago, a Lord President was unjustly dismissed? Is our judicial system unfair in dispensing justice to every Malaysian Tom, Dick and Harry?

A couple of months ago when a rapist was sentenced to a 15 years jail term, was that an unfair judgement by the judge? After 1988, several thousands of cases were dispensed justice by the judges. How come nobody cried foul on all the verdicts? What exactly are we saying when we shout ‘the Malaysian judiciary is in shambles because of the 1988 judiciary crisis’?

Again, did the 1988 crisis affected you directly? If people are still relying on the court to settle disputes then surely the court’s credibility is still intact. Logic dictates, you can’t be accusing one thing for being unjust and unclean but at the same time still believing it to be the sole dispenser of justice. Even the opposition uses the courts to sue the government. If they have no confidence in it, then why use the courts at all? When even the opposition gives this sort of stamp of approval, won’t the public use it in earnest as well? It is highly immoral of some quarters to shout about the so called injustice being done 20 years ago and berating about the downfall of the judiciary system when they themselves benefited from it at one time or the other (e.g., Karpal Singh won several cases in which he was the defence counsel. Did he ever complain about the courts when the verdict went his way?)

Okay, enough digressing. Let’s move on to my next point – What really happened?

I read with keen interest on what Datuk George Seah had to say regarding the matter. What a long read it was. But highly interesting and revealing. In short, in my opinion, it wasn’t entirely the fault of Tun Dr Mahathir. The sacking of Tun Salleh Abas can allegedly be seen as a form of coup d e’tat by the ones who benefit most from the sacking – Tun Hamid Omar, the acting Lord President at that time and several other judges. Compounded by the fact that the Agong at the time was unsupportive and possibly hold a grudge against Tun Salleh. Now, I am not accusing. I am just analysing it based on the turn of events described by Datuk George Seah and also via the admittance by Tun Salleh Abas pertaining his meeting with the then Prime Minister at the latter’s office on that fateful day on May 27th, 1988. We shall explore and dissect the turn of events which had led to my conclusion one by one. Hopefully, the people out there would stop all these blaming game and move forward. No point of trying to gain political mileage if the basis of your accusation is wrong from the start.

Through Datuk George Seah’s articles;

It all started on the 24th April 1987. The then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad just won a bitterly fought battle for the Umno presidency by a majority of 43 votes. Even though in the run up to the elections, Tengku Razaleigh only received 20 over nominations from Umno divisions as compared to 100 over by Dr Mahathir, the thin majority he received during elections were a surprise to many pundits. Subsequently, the losers (Team B) unable to accept the defeat, began to find faults within the election system. Note that several current ministers in the cabinet now were part of this Team B such as the Prime Minister himself (Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi), Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, Datuk Shahbery Cheek, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, Datuk Shahrir Samad etc.

A civil suit propagated by a meeting at Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s house were filed by a band of 11 Umno members in the high court. Among the plaintiffs’ lawyers were Datuk Seri Sheikh Radzi and Marina Yusuf. They sought to annul the elections based on unregistered Umno branches and therefore hoping the courts would declare that the elections were null and void and have no effect. However in the end, on 4th February 1988, the presiding judge, Dato Harun Hashim declared that Umno itself is an unlawful society (due to some branches were not registered), and since Umno is an unlawful society, the Umno 11 have no legal standing to seek reliefs from the courts. His exact words were:

“as members of UMNO, cannot acquire any right which is founded upon that which is unlawful. The Court will therefore not lend its aid to the reliefs sought by the Plaintiffs (UMNO 11). Having said that, I do not think it is necessary to deal with the other issues and I accordingly dismissed the Plaintiffs’ claim”.

In other words, Umno was declared illegal and unlawful through the undoing of Umno 11 who tried to find small technical errors in order to overturn the recent Umno elections to their favour. Basically, the oldest Malay institution were rendered powerless by a bunch of extreme sore losers (Team B). It is so irresponsible for certain quarters to accuse Dr Mahathir as the main villain in deregistering Umno in 1988.

For several months leading to the sacking, the government had lost several landmark cases against them. Even an ISA detainee Karpal Singh, whom had incited racial tension and hatred in October 1987 was released by the Supreme Court only on the basis of a mere technicality. This made the government nervous since having a strong power of the legislation is very important in order to run the country efficiently. Dr Mahathir made scathing attacks towards the judiciary by declaring them to be too fiercely independent up to a point of willing to jeopardize the security of the nation. He famously told Time Magazine about what he thinks of the judiciary:

“The judiciary says (to us), ‘Although you passed a law with a certain thing in mind, we think that your mind is wrong, and we want to give our interpretation.’ If we disagree, the Courts will say, ‘We will interpret your disagreement.’ If we [the government and Parliament] go along, we are going to lose our power of legislation. We know exactly what we want to do, but once we do it, it is interpreted in a different way, and we have no means to reinterpret it our way. If we find out that a court always throws us out on its own interpretation, if it interprets contrary to why we made the law, then we will have to find a way of producing a law that will have to be interpreted according to our wish.”

With that in mind, several judges began to feel uneasy by the attacks from the legislative branch of the government especially the ones made by the then Education Minister, Encik (now Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim in Penang whereby he accused the judges as wanting to be above criticisms. Hence, a complaint letter was drafted and signed by 20 judges to be sent to the then Agong on 25th March 1988.

Cross referencing with what Tun Salleh Abas mentioned in his book, May day For Justice, (let me point out here that in its foreword, Tunku Abdul Rahman, our first Prime Minister, claimed that any Lord President is beyond reproach. Lord Presidents must never be questioned or removed as the thought of removing a Lord President is very repugnant. I find it a bit odd as we as a person will not escape making mistakes or immune to temptations. We are not ‘maksum’ like the Prophets of God) he said that Tun Hamid Omar were showing odd behavior prior to his suspension by ways of cutting short his own intended holiday as well as seemingly working against him behind his back. Along with another 3 judges, Tan Sri Hashim Yeop Sani, Dato Harun Hashim and Datuk Ajaib Singh, we can see that a major conspiracy had taken place behind Tun Salleh’s back which was spearheaded by Tun Hamid Omar.

To cut the story short, Tun Salleh was suspended on the 26th May 1988 and was eventually charged on 4 counts of improper conduct and misbehavior unbecoming of a Lord President. Among others, were the distribution of letters to all rulers dated 25th March 1988 which the Agong took exception. This date would be the point of reference for all the subsequent events that will flow through. In other words, the conspirators used this letter to tarnish the Lord President’s good name. As he was on holiday leave in Los Angeles and London and then umrah in Mecca for nearly 8 weeks, there were ample time and space for the conspirators to make their move. Upon returning on the first day of Raya on 17th May 1988, Tun Salleh’s fate had in fact already been sealed.

Please take note that the Prime Minister at that time had no powers to remove the Lord President as evident in the Article 125(3) of the Constitution:

“If the Prime Minister, or the Lord President after consulting the Prime Minister, represents to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong that a Judge of the Supreme Court ought to be removed on the grounds of misbehaviour or of inability, from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause, to properly discharge the functions of his office, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint a tribunal in accordance with Clause 4 and refer the representation to it; and may on the recommendation of the tribunal remove the Judge from office.”

And the infamous Tribunal was duly set up. Headed by Tun Hamid Omar himself as the Acting Lord President. Two days before the commencement of the tribunal, the other rulers met Tun Salleh Abas and they were willing to forgive him for the breach of protocol in the said letter. But to his utter dismay, the Agong was adamant in his decision to suspend him.

In another incident, Datuk George Seah expressed his disbelief in knowing that it was Tun Hamid Omar who had complained to the Prime Minister which led to the setting up of another tribunal, chaired again by Tun Hamid Omar to suspend all five Supreme Court judges. The five judges were deemed guilty by the 2nd tribunal for issuing an Interim Order to challenge the legality of the first Tribunal.

It was interesting to know that before the Interim Order was sealed by the 5 judges, the most senior judge after the Lord President, Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman had invited Tan Sri Hashim Yeop Sani to be part of the 5 judges but was vehemently declined by the latter saying that if he did, then they ”would be staging a revolution” which he did not agree with. Around this time, Dato Harun Hashim, the famous high court judge whom had declared Umno illegal a couple of months earlier was promoted by Tun Hamid Omar to be one of the Supreme Court judge. Incidentally, Dato Harun Hashim and Tun Hamid Omar are related to each other as in-laws. Tun Salleh even stated explicitly in his article that he was most suspicious of the conduct of several of his so called friends whom are Tun Hamid Omar, Tan Sri Hashim Yeop Sani, Dato Harun Hashim and Datuk Ajaib Singh during the preceding weeks leading up to his sacking.

In the end, together with Tun Salleh Abas, Datuk George Seah and Tan Sri Wan Sulaiman were removed from office. This sad episode actually illustrates the huge chasm of the interpretation of the law between 2 branches of the government. Dr Mahathir strongly believes in the reason and the spirit of the law while Tun Salleh Abas upholds the sanctity and purity of judges and the law. One believes in the power of the legislation while the other advocates the total and absolute independence of the judiciary. Both are correct. Both are wrong. The coin has two sides.

More interesting also is the revelation by Tun Salleh Abas that - “although the Prime Minister at that time was deemed responsible for bringing down the judiciary, the judiciary itself could not have been brought down without the help of its own self. But there were also desperate judges then who had no qualms about stabbing a friend in his back in order for their own dreams to be fulfilled”.

There were indeed victims of the whole drama. The people involved and the system. Obviously during the fight for supremacy only 1 side will prevail. However it did not justify the use of guile by some of the judges. Tun Salleh Abas stressed that Tun Hamid Omar tried to undermine his appointment as Lord President in 1984 and repeatedly made unilateral decisions during his tenure as Acting Lord President in 1988.

The years of 1987 and 1988 can be deemed as the most trying years for the then Prime Minsiter. Apart from the devastating Umno elections in 1987, which proves to be the watershed for several amendmends in the Umno Constitution and the suspension of the Lord President in 1988, we witnessed the rise of racial tension and an unprecedented power struggle between the Malays and the Chinese. The events were best captured in these articles below:

By Graham K Brown - Balancing the Risks of Corrective Surgery: The political economy of horizontal inequalities and the end of the New Economic Policy in Malaysia

The first indication that sections within the MCA was willing to push a harder line for the resolution of Chinese grievances came in November 1986, when the Selangor branch of the MCA, which was headed by the national deputy president and Labour Minister Lee Kim Sai, passed a resolution calling for the abolition of bumiputera status for the Malays and the East Malaysian natives. The resolution provoked an immediate backlash from UMNO members, who interpreted it as a demand for the end of the cherished Malay ‘special rights’. Forty-six UMNO MPs wrote to Mahathir, asking him to sack Lee from the cabinet, who himself offered to resign. Whilst the rift was quickly patched over in public – the Selangor MCA withdrew the resolution and the Sultan of Selangor publicly reprimanded Lee and warned him not to question Malay special rights – many within UMNO remained unappeased, and it contributed to deteriorating relations between the parties, most notably in the virtual demonisation of Lee that was to arise later in 1987 (Asiaweek, 23/11/1986).

Tensions between the MCA and UMNO soon spilled over into broader ethnic tension with Malaysian society. Language and education issues – a political flashpoint since the days of the Malayan Union plan in the 1940s and, as we have seen in relation to the Merdeka University controversy, accentuated by the social programme of the NEP – proved to be the spark point for the escalation of tensions.

The first round of protests came in August, when Universiti Malaya instituted a ruling limiting the use of Mandarin, Tamil and English in the teaching of elective subjects. The decision provoked demonstrations from non-Malay students, who interpreted the ruling as an attempt by the administration to boost the academic performance of the Malays compared to the other ethnic groups (NST, 02/08/1987).

The ever-belligerent UMNO Youth soon waded into the controversy, criticising the demonstrators but doing nothing to prevent counter-demonstrations by students supportive of the university’s move (NST, 04/08/1987).

As the protests continued, police were forced to keep the contending groups of demonstrators apart (NST, 18/08/1987).

By October, the DAP had become involved in the protests and the police were making numerous arrests (NST, 10/10/1987).

The Universiti Malaya uproar was soon overshadowed, however, by a national level dispute, also concerning language and education, when the Education Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced the promotion of around ninety teachers who were not educated in Chinese-language schools to senior positions in government-supported Chinese-language primary schools. The promotions caused a storm of protest from the Chinese community, which saw the move as an attempt to ‘change the character of the Chinese schools’, and perhaps ultimately pave the way for their disestablishment (Tan 2000: 244).

Although Anwar quickly backed down over the appointments, Chinese opposition parties and educationalist groups continued to protest, demanding the instant withdrawal of the appointees. Again, the Chinese parties in the BN were clearly pressurised by the protests into adopting a more chauvinistic position, for fear of losing ground to the DAP. In a sensational turn, the MCA and members from other Chinese parties in the BN, again led by Lee Kam Sai, thus joined a protest rally with the DAP and other Chinese-based opposition parties, calling for a boycott of the schools involved (NST, 12/10/1987).

The boycott saw over thirty thousand children kept away from school by their parents (NST, 16/10/1987).

The cycle of protest was intensified by a series of counter-demonstrations organised by various groups with UMNO. On the same day as the MCA-DAP joint rally, some five hundred UMNO members also held a demonstration, but the primary target of their anger was their coalition partner the MCA, rather than the DAP; demonstrators burnt MCA flags and posters (NST, 12/10/1987).

Subsequently, on October 17, UMNO Youth held a rally at a disused stadium in Kampung Baru, a large Malay district in Kuala Lumpur. The rally, attended by some six thousand people, was highly chauvinistic, and the target of the protesters wrath was against the government MCA rather than the opposition DAP. Banners called for the resignation and of Lee Kim Sai, and urged the MCA to ‘go to Hell’ (pergi Jahanam). Other banners expressed broader and often violent anti-Chinese sentiments: ‘May 13 has begun’, a reference to the ethnic riots of 1969, and ‘Soak [the kris] in Chinese blood’ (Malaysia 1988: 17).

The UMNO Youth president, Najib Tun Razak, addressed the crowd, calling for Lee’s resignation and demanding that the MCA acquiesce to government policy, or else leave the BN (Asiaweek, 20/10/1987).

By the end of October 1987, then, ethnic tensions in the country were reaching critical levels. As news spread of freak shooting incident when an army sergeant (Prebet Adam) ran amok killing one Chinese and wounding another Chinese and a Malay in the Chow Kit area of Kuala Lumpur, the centre of the 1969 riots, many people rushed to stockpile food, fearing the outbreak of rioting. Increasing public attention was focussed on a mass rally planned for 1 November to celebrate UMNO’s fortieth year, postponed since 1986 (the actual anniversary) and relocated from Johor (UMNO’s birthplace) to Kuala Lumpur. Up to a half million Malays were expected to join the rally, in what was seen by many as a show of strength by Mahathir against the UMNO dissidents (Asiaweek, 06/11/1987).

With ethnic tensions running high, however, it was feared that the rally would prove to be the spark point for fresh riots. In such a context, there was little doubt that the government needed to take action to calm sentiments and prevent an escalation of conflict.”

Now if you’re the PM, what would you do at this point?

By Khoo Boo Teik – Paradoxes of Mahathirism : An Intellectual Biography of Mahathir Mohamad

On Tuesday, 27 October 1987, the police launched Operasi Lalang [Operation “Weed Out”] within the first day, Operasi Lalang made fifty-five arrests, all under the ISA [Internal Security Act which provides detention without trial] of DAP (Democratic Action Party) MPs, a DAP state assemblyman, second echelon MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) leaders, Chinese educationists, prominent NGO figures, and university lecturers.

Three newspapers, The Star, Watan, and Sin Chew Jit Poh, were suspended indefinitely.
Over the next few days, more people were arrested, including politicians from Pemuda UMNO (UMNO Youth) … Gerakan, PAS (Malaysian Islamic Party,) and the PSRM (Malaysian Socialist Party,) local Muslim teachers, members of some Christian groups, and other NGO activists.

The arrests spread geographically from Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak where local environmentalists and anti-timber logging natives were also detained. The waves of arrests, though lessening after October, continued until the number of detainees reached a peak figure of 119 in December.

On a side note, after Umno was declared unlawful and cease to exist on 4th February 1988, Malaysia effectively had no Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and many other ministers from Umno. The next leader in line was non other than Datuk Seri (now Tun) Ling Liong Sik as MCA holds the most seats in the Dewan Rakyat. He chaired the subsequent cabinet meeting without the presence of all Umno ministers including Dr Mahathir. Malaysia was effectively ruled by an MCA President at that time even if it was for a short while. MCA could have staged a coup d e’tat of the country on their own but they did not. For that, Umno was forever grateful to the MCA.

In conclusion, it is easy to criticise in retrospect on what had happened in the past. Being a leader is never easy. Only the brave, the decisive, the intelligent and the wise will succeed. Doing what is right may not necessarily be as vital as doing what is best for the nation and its people. Even when the decision proves to be very unpopular. Only time will tell and history be the judge. Wallahu’alam.

Please note that my observation and analysis is solely based on my opinion on the articles by the affected parties which are available online. Any facts which may have escaped me or some events that happened which were not disclosed to the public may certainly strengthen or weaken my findings above. Therefore I beg anyone whom has the knowledge and evidence to substantiate their own findings to share with us here. However, it is hoped that the evidence and knowledge shared were obtained from the main parties affected and not through hearsay or third party referrals. Thank you.

'Is there no honour among thieving friends?'

By Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz

COMMENT Former Transport Minister Ling Liong Sik was charged in court yesterday. It sent shocks through the MCA. MCA must now feel betrayed.

After all Ling was one of us - us being one of more important leaders of the Barisan Nsional in those halcyon days.

Indeed, Ling was PM of Malaysia for a few hours when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was partyless for the “few hours” when old Umno was deregistered and a new Umno was being formed.

What if Ling had at the time said “go and fly kite. Saya PM sekarang. You orang keluar BN”?

So, personally for Ling – this must feel like a betrayal. He must be feeling most betrayed.

There was one piece of news however that attracted my attention. It was s statement in his charge sheet.

According to the charge sheet, the Finance Ministry had already valued the land at RM25psf - inclusive of compounded interest - and this fact was withheld from the Cabinet by the accused.

(NB: Ling was charged under Section 418 of the Penal Code with misleading the Cabinet between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002, into agreeing to purchase 999.5 acres of land on Pulau Indah for a project, now known as PKFZ, at a price of RM25psf on a deferred payment basis for a 15-year period, at a 7.5 percent interest rate. The cumulative interest paid would total RM720 million at the end of the repayment period. He was also offered an alternative charge, under Section 417 of the Penal Code, for the same offence.)

Expect to be stabbed

I am not sure how a Cabinet meeting is conducted. Usually in an exco meeting for example, all papers would be prepared by the secretary to that meeting.

For a Dewan Undangan Negeri (state assembly), the papers are prepared by the MMK secretary, who is the secretary to the exco, usually a state administrative officer.

I am thinking, the principle must be the same- files and papers prepared by the Cabinet secretary.

That being the case, a copy of the file note containing the valuation price of the land must be in all the files.

Unless, the file for the PKFZ topic for that day was prepared by Ling alone and that the only information for decision that fateful day, came from Ling alone. That would be highly unusual.

Unusual because at all material time, the Finance Minister at that time, had in his possession all information about the land to be bought by PKFZ.

He would make this information available to all Cabinet members at that meeting. Or in preceding meetings.

The Finance Minister would have spotted the blatant discrepancy unless he went along with Ling. Other alert members would have spotted it too.

All Cabinet members liable too?

All Cabinet members present at that meeting at that time would now have to discover that particular document provided by whoever it was at that time, from his/her own personal files, and produce them in court. So all you SUSK (private secretaries) prepare to look for the file of that meeting for your minister.

This means everyone at that meeting on the day Ling presented his notes would have to appear before court to testify. Now everyone will stab Ling.

If the only paper informing the value of the land came from Ling, then everyone was deceived.

Or did everyone agree in unison with the facts presented by Ling. It would be interesting also to know, whether the Finance Minister then, who had the real information, went along with Ling. Or did he object?

If the entire Cabinet agreed with Ling despite having the real facts, then the entire Cabinet is vicariously liable. Ling is now feeling, most betrayed. Is there is no honour among thieving friends?

(Note: Ling is the second MCA president to be charged. The first was Tan Koon Swan)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Liong Sik- PKFZ: A huge gamble for Najib,all trails lead to Dr M

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

There is no getting away from it. However you look at the Port Klang Free Zone debacle, all trails go back to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who was also the finance minister.

Did Ling cheat the Cabinet or did the Cabinet cheat Malaysians?

Raja Petra Kamarudin, Malaysia Today

Former Transport Minister and MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik has denied that he conned the Cabinet about what transpired in the PKFZ matter. The crux of the whole matter is was the Cabinet in the know and did the Cabinet endorse whatever was going on or was Liong Sik acting alone without the Cabinet’s knowledge? Let the Cabinet Papers tell the story.

Dr Ling denies cheating Govt over PKFZ scandal

Former Transport Minister and MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik has become the highest-ranking person yet to be charged with cheating the Government over the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal and he pleaded not guilty.
The party stalwart — the fifth person to be charged over the PKFZ saga — is out on a RM1mil bail after appearing at the Sessions Court here yesterday.
Accompanied by his wife Toh Puan Ena Ling and sons Hee Leong and Hee Keat, Dr Ling later told reporters that he had faith in the country’s judicial system.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said he was shocked by the charge, but expressed confidence that Dr Ling would get a fair trial. -- The Star

THE CHARGE: That you, between Sept 25 and Nov 6, 2002, at Level 4 of the Prime Minister’s Office in Bangunan Perdana Putra, cheated the Govern­ment by deceiving the Cabinet into approving a land purchase in Pulau Indah....


Touching 'untouchable' Tun reveals MCA's irrelevance

By Stephanie Sta Maria

KUALA LUMPUR: In the not too distant past, Tuns and MCA presidents were considered untouchable by the long arms of the law.

But this changed yesterday, and with it, said former MCA vice-president Chua Jui Ming, the death knell has been sounded for the second-largest party in Barisan Nasional.

Chua, who is now with PKR, was commenting on the decision to charge former MCA president Dr Ling Liong Sik, who bears the highest honofiric title in the country.

He was charged in the Sessions Court under Sections 417 and 418 of the Penal Code in connection with the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, and could land in jail if convicted.

The incident sent shockwaves down many a powerful spine, and Chua said it was “blindingly clear” that the Chinese party had outlived its purpose for Umno.

read more here

While I have my opinion about this issue having its inpact about MCA , the message is very clear though I might not agree fully with what Jimmy has to say , the message is your karma eventually catches up with your doing . You cannot escape from this fact that those who live by the sword dies by the sword .
Not everyone in MCA is an angel neither are they devils , so are the DAP and the PKR . Everyone will pay their debts , but it seems lately they will now have to pay their debts within these few years rather than carried forward to their next generation or to the next life .

On the other hand , big wigs like the Mamakutty guy have escaped this current dragnet . They will still have to answer to the almighty when the time comes . His image is already going down the drain the more he opens his big mouth . I used to admire him , but No more , in fact I have grown to strongly dislike his racist chants .

The 2002 Cabinet cannot be faulted as what the RCI idiot is suggesting and echoed by his son , Dennis the menace. He should know that as being an opposition MP for so long that UMNO stood for Under Mahathir No Opposition , that includes decision taken by him and implemented by the various Ministers which he has full knowledge of . In other words No Cabinet minister has the guts to say no to the MahaFiraun . Ask Jimmy as he was a Minister at that time .

Eventually since all the Political Parties in Malaysia are infected by diseased politicians , the best course of thinking for the Rakyat in the coming GE would be to vote for the BEST candidate , whoever he may be or whichever Party they may be from including independents. Vote for the guy rather than for the Party . Get rid of all the diseased politicians from the BN and from the PR . Get rid of all the clowns , all the corrupted , all the warlords with self vested interests from all the parties .

We can have a mixed Govt , at least we know they are the best , or clean and work for the Rakyat . This is my hope .

Jui Meng: Umno controls the minds of the Malays

Jimmy Chua , you are needed here in Penang . We are fed up with that ' small boy ' Guan Eng who only knows how to play with his marbles . Please come here and contest a state seat . You have the finest qualities of a Statesman unlike that Dennis the Menace . This blog will give you 101 percent support .

By Fazy Sahir

FMT EXCLUSIVE PETALING JAYA: Umno, being the largest political party in the country which has ruled over the last 50 years, has poisoned the minds of the Malays, feeding them lies that their position is under threat from the non-Malays, former health minister and MCA vice-president Chua Jui Meng said.

"All these years Umno has brought about this propaganda that the Malays were under threat. They try to control the hearts and minds of the Malays, telling them that the advancement of other races would make them poor. This propaganda to poison the minds of the Malays has resulted in the Malays not being able to see the true picture.

"The problem is not the other races but Umno itself. This message is important for all Malays in Malaysia. They must be aware of the truth. We have to break their mindset,” he said in an exclusive interview with FMT recently.

He was quick to add that the Malays in urban areas were realising the truth of Umno's political game plan. However, he said, the Malays in the outskirts, such as in his home state of Johor, still had the orthodox mentality that Umno was Malay and Malay is Umno.

“This kind of propaganda poisons the minds of the Malays," said the 67-year-old lawyer-turned- politician.

He added that access to the new media as well as a paradign shift in the mindset of the urban Malays would enable them to break away from the Umno mentality.

He stressed that Pakatan Rakyat should aspire to bring about the change in the mindset of rural Malays in order to see a change in the country.

"I have told (Opposition leader) Anwar (Ibrahim) that I am a Chinese leader in Pakatan wanting to help poor Malays. My heart goes out to them... we need to help these Malays.

“In Johor, there is a huge information gap. We have to narrow this gap. After 50 years in power, Umno is still spreading lies to the people through the mainstream media which is under Umno control,” he said.

Chua, however, said that Pakatan should not be only concentrating on uplifting the Malay community's economic status.

"We tend to forget other races. Like the Indians, they too have problems. Even when they are citizens of this country, their rights are denied. This is the way of Umno," said Chua, who was in MCA for 35 years before deciding to join PKR late last year.

Plans for Johor

Asked on his plans for Johor as the new state PKR chief, he said he was not a novice in politics and knows the ways of the BN from a political perspective, which uses the mainstream media to win votes.

He said since joining the opposition front, he had become more open to the alternative media.

He said on the part of the Chinese, the community had repented and now had an open mindset knowing that they could live in this country without being dependent on Umno.

"The Chinese community works hard and are smart. Their priority is education... although they only receive minimal assistance from Umno, they don't give up. When they are educated, they can be critical and analytical in the way they think," said the veteran politician.

He also revealed that there was no racial issue in Malaysia, although Umno insists on racialising each and every issue that crops up.

"The Malays are blinded by Umno. Look at the education system. It does not allow our students to be independent and become critical of things. We still have laws to control university students... all these are meant to control the mindset of the Malays.

He also slammed Umno for using Islam to further their political agenda despite indulging in immoral activities like corruption.

"Umno talks about religion. Do they really know what they are talking about? If they know what they are talking about, then why are they still doing wrong? If they hold on to the Quran, then they should also know that corruption takes them to hell... but they still go ahead and do it.

“This message should be sent to the Malays in rural areas: the rich in the country are not the Chinese but those in Umno and their cronies.”

Mazu project: Chong states his case

Shane Fuentes
Thursday, 29 July 2010 23:24
chong_mazuKOTA KINABALU - Former Sabah Chief Minister Chong Kah Kiat, the initiator of the stalled Mazu project in Kudat, has a simple formula for moving ahead on the politically hot issue: the Sabah Chief Minister (Musa Aman) “should be a man and face the Judge” to seek a legal resolution.

“He should convince the court that his two main reasons for masterminding the stoppage, cancellation and withdrawal of the approval for the project were based on sound legal principles and within the right of the state authorities,” said Chong, in an exclusive interview with Malaysian Mirror at his house in Likas, Kota Kinabalu.

He was responding to remarks attributed to Musa in the local media in the wake of the Federal Court decision on Monday not to decide on the state government’s stoppage of the Mazu (Goddess of the Sea) project.

“This has far-reaching implications for similar projects in future and constitutional guarantees on freedom of worship,” said Chong.

“We have to look beyond the Mazu statue project in Kudat. . .We cannot accept the state government as having absolute powers on anything in a democracy.”

Chong referred to the two reasons as the proposed project site being “too near a mosque” – 700 metres plus - and “objections from the local community over the site of the project”. The reasons were as stated in a letter dated June 6, 2006 from the state authorities.

Chong added that if Musa could do what he suggests and win the day in court, “then only can he convince the whole world in his claim that he has been magnanimous and generous by offering an alternative site for the relocation of the Mazu statue project”.

Chong was making an open public plea on his Mazu project after Musa renewed his “standing offer” to his predecessor in response to queries from the local media.

Musa’s standing offer: the Sabah State Government under his Administration is still prepared to offer an alternative site for the relocation of the aborted Mazu statue project in Kudat.

Earlier, Musa was asked by local newsmen about Chong’s failure to apply for leave from the Federal Court to file a notice of appeal against a recent Court of Appeal ruling against him.

The Court of Appeal had ruled that Chong had no locus standi in filing a civil suit against four defendants in the state government and an originating motion against the Kudat Town Board over the stalled Mazu project. Musa is the first of the defendants.

“It was Chong’s right to go to the Federal Court,” said Musa. “As far as I am concerned, the offer (alternative site) still remains. My best advice to him is to put his house (the Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation) in order first.”

“The Court of Appeal has said all what is needed to be said. I don’t have to say (anything further) anymore.”

Chong reiterated that “Musa isn’t convincing anybody on anything these days, least of all on the Mazu project”.

He would have been more convincing had he defended himself in court, continued Chong.

“Instead of doing that (defending himself in court), he has been very busy trying to deny me having my day in court by whatever means he can muster,” said Chong.

“As an afterthought, they brought up the issue of my Foundation being unregistered and obtained a declaration from the Court of Appeal that I had no locus standi to proceed with the suit and motion against the authorities.”

“The Court of Appeal didn’t allow us even five minutes to have a say. They also advised my counsel that they will issue a written judgment only if there is an appeal.”

Chong pointed out that the state government had also previously claimed that he was in breach of Section 15 of the Town and Country Planning Ordinance.

“The fact that the Kudat Town Board, obviously exercising their discretion, chose not to refer the application for the project to the Central Planning Board is not my problem,” explained Chong.

“I have a letter of approval dated Feb 8, 2006 from the Kudat Town Board for the Mazu statue project.”

Chong is convinced that the issue of his locus standi could have been dealt with successfully “if the Federal Court had been with me” despite the uncertain legal status of the Foundation he heads.

Similarly, he had looked forward to disposing the two main reasons initially cited by the state authorities for the stoppage, cancellation and withdrawal of approval for the project.

“Musa won’t be able to convince the court that the two reasons are based on sound, legal and valid reasoning. They are not even morally justified,” said Chong. “No one in his right mind will say that the 700+ metres away Mazu statue is too near a mosque.”

“No one has also objected to the Mazu statue project. The chairman of the mosque board testified in court, under oath, that he and his committee members have never objected to the location of the Mazu statue project and have no intention to do so. If the mosque concerned has no objections, what else is there to say?”

Chong, raising a hypothetical situation, was confident that any objections from the mosque or residents would not have stood up in court “since you can’t logically, legally and morally object to something that is far away from you”.

The former Sabah Chief Minister charged that the entire sorry Mazu episode in Kudat has been a series of unlawful afterthoughts on the part of the state government authorities “and they went to the Court of Appeal to conceal this fact”.

“Another of their afterthoughts was to get a fatwa from the State Mufti on July 7, 2006 against the construction of the Mazu statue,” pointed out Chong. “Since when did a fatwa become binding on non-Muslims? It infringes Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.”

“Just for argument’s sake, if the fatwa is against the construction of the Mazu statue project on its proposed site, it would also be against the construction on the new site purportedly being offered by the state government.”

Chong ended his open public plea to the state government by confirming, “just for the record”, that he has so far “never been offered an alternative site” for his statue project although he had earlier read similar claims being made in the media.

“There’s nothing in black and white,” said Chong. “The offer was never raised by the state government. Similarly, oft-reported claims of compensation in the media including by Federal Minister Nazri were never raised nor offered.”

29 Jul 2003 2:47am

Amid the tribute paid to Dr. Ling Liong Sik by MCA following his involuntary abdication of the party presidency, little did the public know that the former party president was to be blamed for opening the floodgate to allow the infiltration of triads into the party.

Prior to Ling’s tenure, triad elements did exist in the party but flexed no political muscle as to influence the party’s destiny. In other words, they merely existed as individuals and were not being brought into the party systematically on large scale as it is today.

Now that the party is embroiled in the scandal of triad infiltration with the new president Ong Ka Ting implicated. The focus of public attention seems to have centred on the notorious triad king-pin Ong King Ee, nicknamed Jackie Chan only as he is now on the nationwide police alert for arrest. But there are those who had made their way into the rank and file of the party at the behest of certain party leaders with the intention of wresting control of the party delegate-ship at various levels which would ultimately determine the future leadership of MCA.

Following the influx of triads into the party in recent years, intimidation among party members has been on the rise alarmingly. The youth fracas in the Youth Annual Assembly on 3-8-01 has drawn much publicity glare as it was deemed unprecedented in the party history. By and large, people might have realized that the fracas was premeditated but not by the youth chief Ong Tee Keat and the Assembly speaker (ie: the presiding officer of the Assembly) as were alleged by the veteran committee commissioned by Dr. Ling. But little were they aware that the premeditation of the fracas had in fact been reported to him as the then president by Hang Chin Peng, the present vice chairman of MCA National Youth and Loh Seng Kok, the political secretary to Dr.Ling.( now Chua Soi Lek's machai ) The latter was said to have given tacit approval by keeping silent over the fracas premeditation.

On the induction of Ong King Ee (nicknamed “ Jackie Chan” ) into the party, the leadership though may argue that it is near impossible for them to have knowledge of all members’ background, the fact remains that both Ling and his successor Ong Ka Ting had prior knowledge of his involvement and connection in the underworld even after the triad kingpin was released from the Simpang Renggam detention camp.

Not only was King Ee inducted into MCA with their full blessing, the former was also allowed to form a new branch under his own stewardship with full liberty to recruit triad members into the branch. Of all those branches purportedly infiltrated by triads at the behest of Ling and his cronies, notably Ka Ting, Wan Thor Boey and Gurney Drive MCA branches deserve a full scrutiny of their members.The guy responsible for introducing Jacky and his group of followers into the Party was a guy named Loo Guan Leong who ran a coffee shop called Cafe 35 located along Fettes Rd . Several meetings were held in that cafe . Loo an ex - teacher was formerly a Gerakan member who was despised by them as he was a trouble maker in the party . Today he is the Secretary of the Bukit Bendera Division and still boasts he has underworld followings in the division .

Behind the semblance of innocence put up by Ling and his cronies, they were quick to justify to the top BN leadership their induction of triads into MCA by saying that the existence of triad elements in ethnic Chinese partisan politics has long been unavoidable. To them, by wooing the triads into the fold of MCA is to deprive the opposition parties, notably DAP, of the triads’ support. They could easily cite Penang as a classic example in the 1999 general election in which the swing of support of the triads was said to have contributed enormously to the success of MCA and BN in certain DAP stronghold..

This would explain why the triad kingpin was seen to have been milling around Ling and Ka Ting in the by-election campaign of Indera Kayangan in early 2002. MCA, having been represented in the Home Ministry by a deputy minister, has had no moral ground to disclaim responsibility on the matter. On the other hand, BN is likely to accept MCA’s justification out of political expediency.

Nevertheless, BN should not forget it is now playing with a double edged sword. Hardly three years ago (Aug 2000), the same group of triads, namely Sio Sam Ong (Three Little Emperors) were also deployed by the partisan bosses in the Lunas by-election (state seat in Kedah), but with an entirely differing agenda. Instead of ensuring victory for BN through delivery of ethnic Chinese votes, the gang headed by King Ee (or better known as “Jackie Chan) was deployed to intimidate the ethnic Chinese voters to vote against BN, with the sole aim of embarrassing Chua Jui Meng who was then heading the Kedah MCA. The kingpin’s henchmen never attempted to hide the truth that the said move was directed by Dr. Ling through Ka Ting with the knowledge of Chor Chee Heung, the former Deputy Home Minister from Alor Setar, Kedah . ( ex- PKA Chairman and now Minister of Housing ).

While Dr.Ling was honored as the “Father Of Development Of TAR College”, perhaps it would be more relevant to accord to him another unprecedented yet unrivalled title: Father Of Triadism In MCA which serves to commemorate his inaugural massive induction of triad members into the party.

Ong cries double standards in PKFZ bond payment

July 30, 2010
Ong said the government’s insistence in paying KDSB was “foolhardy”. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 — Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat questioned today the government’s decision to pay bondholders of the turn-key contractor in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) despite an ongoing legal dispute, when it had defaulted on the bonds of another government-backed port project.

The former transport minister was commenting on the decision of the transport ministry to direct the Port Klang Authority (PKA) to meet its payment obligations towards four special purpose vehicles (SPVs) established by PKFZ turn-key contractor, Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB), to raise funds from the bond market.

The PKA had been under pressure to pay the KDSB bondholders partly over fears that a default would negatively affect the country’s fiscal ratings.

Ong pointed out, however, that the reported default on the RM240 million bond issued by Malaysian International Tuna Port Sdn Bhd (MITP) did not create a ripple in the market.

MITP, 40 per cent owned by the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia, defaulted on payments to bondholders last November. The bonds of both PKFZ and MITP were backed by government support letters.

“The fear of negative repercussions to our sovereign rating is unfounded,” he said.

Ong also said that the government did not take into account other considerations when deciding to pay KDSB bondholders.

“The justification behind the decision to ‘pay according to what has been decided much earlier, according to the schedule that was set a long time ago’ is a sweeping one and indeed foolhardy,” said Ong, referring to what Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said on Wednesday.

Kong insisted the payment schedule must be adhered to.
He added that the government did not guarantee the payments as there were no letters of guarantees given but only letters of support issued by former transport minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy, who had in turn asserted that these did not amount to guarantees.

“In other words, the government is under no direct legal obligation to pay the bondholders,” said Ong.

He added that as the SPVs’ right to payment were subject to what was lawfully due to KDSB under the principal agreements. “It makes absolute sense to withhold payments to the SPVs pending determination of what is lawfully due to KDSB by the courts.”

Ong also said that “new facts” have been discovered — letters apparently revealing that KDSB had given undertakings or guarantees that it will cover any shortfall in repayments towards the bondholders.

Such letters should relieve pressure from the government to pay the bondholders till after the legal suit was settled as KDSB would make up the shortfall, explained Ong.

PKA has sued KDSB for about RM1.6 billion over alleged wrongful and excessive claims for works done. It, however, is scheduled to pay RM372 million to two KDSB SPVs by the end of this month.

On September 25 last year, PKA filed a lawsuit against KDSB seeking to either rescind previous development agreements and a declaration that KDSB is only entitled to reasonable compensation, or a declaration that all invoices and billing notices issued by KDSB to be null and void.

Of the RM372 million, RM222 million is owed to Free Zone Capital Bhd (FZCB) and RM150 million to Special Port Vehicle Bhd (SPVB).

PKA had last month paid RM350 million to another two KDSB SPVs — Transhipment Megahub Bhd and Valid Ventures Bhd.

PKA was forced to take a RM4.6 billion soft loan from the Ministry of Finance after costs ballooned from the initial estimate of less than RM2 billion. The loan tenure is 20 years and the first repayment is expected in November.

MCA in shock over Dr Ling’s PKFZ charge

July 29, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, July 29 – Today’s prosecution of Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik over his role in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal, has sent shockwaves through the MCA, leaving party leaders stuttering in response.

MCA’s usually calm and collected president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek himself appeared shaken by the news and admitted that it was unexpected.

“MCA leaders are shocked by this,” he told reporters who surrounded him for a response after he opened the Perak MCA Youth convention at the state liaison body’s headquarters in Ipoh.

He added, however, that he was confident that Dr Ling, 66, who had served as the party’s president from 1986 to 2003, would be given a fair trial.

When contacted later in the evening, MCA secretary-general and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha fell silent for several moments when informed of the news.

When asked if he was surprised, Kong said: “Of course I am. Why do you only call me when there is bad news?”

He added that he was “concerned” about Dr Ling’s prosecution, especially since the latter was a prominent figure in the MCA.

Dr Ling was slapped with charges under Section 418 and alternatively, under Section 417 of the Penal Code, for an offence concerning land valuation.

Section 418 concerns “cheating with knowledge that wrongful loss may be thereby caused to a person whose interest the offender is bound to protect” and Section 417 concerns the punishment for cheating.

If convicted under Section 418, Dr Ling faces a maximum jail term of seven years, or a fine, or both, and if convicted under Section 417, he faces a lesser sentence of five years jail, or fine or both.

He claimed trial to the charges and the case has been fixed for mention on September 3.

Dr Ling, believed to be the first Tun in the country to face such prosecution, is the most influential personality to date to be brought to book over the controversial PKFZ scandal.

When contacted, many MCA leaders chose to keep mum over the issue, pleading for more time to study the charges before issuing any comment.

MCA vice-president Datuk Donald Lim told The Malaysian Insider that the matter should only be addressed by the president.

“I would rather not comment. I just heard about it too,” he said.

A fellow vice-president Gan Ping Sieu also declined comment but chose instead to seek information from The Malaysian Insider over the details of the charges against Dr Ling.

“What did they involve? What were the specific charges,” he asked, before saying that he would need more time before speaking on it.

Another vice-president Datuk Chor Chee Heung told The Malaysian Insider that careless comments on such a shocking piece of news should not be made.

“I barely just heard about it myself. I do not know the details, so it would be unfair to make any comment for now. It is a big issue,” he pointed out.

Other MCA leaders could not be reached via the telephone.

On micro-blogging site Twitter, MCA Youth chief Datuk Wee Ka Siong, who is usually active, was uncharacteristically quiet. His last post was at about 4pm, on an unrelated matter.

MCA presidential council member Chua Tee Yong tweeted that the PKFZ case needed transparency if the government wanted to revive the people’s trust in them.

“Give a chance 2 clear d air instd of guessg and hypthosg,” he said in his tweet.

The PKFZ project, Malaysia’s biggest port investment, was initially kickstarted in the early 2000 with a budget of RM1.8 billion.

The amount ballooned, however, allegedly due to mismanagement and corruption, and is estimated to likely cost a whopping RM12.5 billion now, including interest charges.

Selangor gov't asks DAP councillor to go on leave


Klang Municipal Councillor Tee Boon Hock will take temporary leave until the state finishes its investigation over an allegation that he had abused the state's letterhead in getting contracts.

Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, in a statement today, said he had directed the state's Audit Department to conduct a probe into the issue.

"Its director Ungku Arfah Ungku Tahir will be given a month to conduct an investigation to scrutinise the letters and also interview the parties and individuals related to the matter.

"Until then, I have suggested that Tee take leave from his post until a decision had been made, and he has agreed."

The menteri besar emphasised that the Selangor government will not punish anyone until he has been proven guilty.

"The state adopts a responsible and transparent administration, and will not compromise on any abuse of power," Khalid said.

Tee is involved in a possible abuse of Selangor exco member Ronnie Liu's letterhead and seal to obtain contracts worth a total of RM1 million for 20 companies, including one to a family member.

I thought he mentioned he wanted to sue the Star for disclosing the issue and for insinuating that he was the one thru the description of the one involved although NO NAMES was published . Yeah in DAP that's called Freedom of Speech , when you exposed someone , they want to sue the exposer , but when they exposed someone , they called it their duty to expose corruption and abuse of power .

He must be reported to the MACC for further actions to be taken. No two ways about it. Let us see whether the DAP walks its talk!
Or just talk COCK .

Surprisingly the Secretary General of the Talk Cock Party is very quiet , as usual when it involves his chicken , but when others do , he will be firing his loose canon everywhere , including his internet based self firing loose canon .

Thursday, July 29, 2010

PKFZ scandal: Ex-transport minister Ling charged

The shark finally caught !

Former transport minister Ling Liong Sik is today charged at the Kajang Sessions Court over his involvement in the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

ling liong sikLing, 67, who is also former MCA president, is by far the most prominent politician to be nabbed in recent years.

Two charges under Section 417 and 418 of the Penal Code for cheating were read out to Ling, who pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Sessions Court judge Suzana Hussin set bail at RM1 million and mention has been fixed for Sept 3.

Ling appeared in court at 4.45pm accompanied by his wife Ena and two sons. He proceeded to sit in the dock. Ling, wore a purple-stripe shirt and a pair of sandals, looked expressionless.

azlanHe is the second MCA president to take the dock after Tan Koon Suan.

Earlier today, rumours of a very important personality (VIP) to be charged have sent dozens of journalists, included those from foreign wire services, camping at the court complex early this morning.

Most of them gathered at the lobby and main entrance of the courthouse. while a couple have stationed themselves in and outside the courtroom.

At 4pm, attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail and three DPPs, including head of prosecution Tun Abdul Majid Hamzah, arrived in court without speaking to the journalists. The other two were Manoj Kurup and Dzulkifli Ahmad.

More to come?

Last November, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had recommended in its report on the PKFZ controversy that former transport minister Chan Kong Choy and former Port Klang Authority (PKA) general manager OC Phang be probed for CBT (criminal breach of trust).

NONEThis was over the wrongful issuance of three letters of support by Chan and three letters of undertaking by Phang without Finance Ministry approval.

PAC said that it was informed by the attorney-general that the letters were implicitly a form of guarantee from the government to ensure that there would be allocations for PKA to enable it to meet its obligations under the development agreement.

PKFZ, a commercial and industrial project south of the capital, was conceived as a RM1.82 billion venture constructed over 1,000 acres.

However costs are now expected to balloon to RM12.5 billion, making the affair one of the country's biggest financial scandals and a major embarrassment for the government.

port klang free zone 070607 signboardProbes into the project's financial records since then have revealed instances of corruption, cases of conflict of interest as well as breach of trust.

Ling is one of the very rare top politicians in Malaysia to be charged with corruption.

In 2004, former land and cooperative development minister Kasitah Gaddam was charged in the Sessions Court with corrupt practice and cheating, the first cabinet member to be charged with such crimes. He was freed by the court without his defence being called last year.

Before Kasitah, former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who is now opposition leader, was the other prominent politician charged with corruption. He was sentenced to six-year jail in 1999.

Another top politician who was charged for corruption was the late Harun Idris, the Selangor menteri besar from 1964 to 1976.

He was slapped with a six-year jail sentence but served three years behind bar before being pardoned by the king in 1981 on the advice of then new prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Star , Owned by the MCA , run by MIC campaigning for the DAP .

Octavier Nasir , CNN's Senior Middle East correspondent was ask to leave for an opinion Not in line with CNN's .

This Tiger’s still roaring


He’s reached an age when most people would have happily retired and gone to pasture. But not Karpal Singh, aka the Tiger of Jelutong. StarMag catches up with one of the country’s most colourful, controversial – and much admired – politicians.

ALMOST unnoticed, a Malaysian institution turned 70 recently. It wasn’t a building or an organisation, but an individual.

For better or worse, Democratic Action Party (DAP) national chairman Karpal Singh has been a part of public consciousness for nearly four decades now. Despite being seriously injured in a car accident in 2005 that left him with nerve damage and wheelchair-bound, he has continued with his life-long struggle for justice and equality in Malaysia. Now, in his twilight years, he shows no signs of slowing down.

When we met at his law office off Jalan Pudu in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, Karpal had just been discharged from hospital after suffering from pneumonia. He is weak and a little frail but manages to answer questions and dispense anecdotes with great gusto.

It’s typical of the irrepressible Karpal Singh that he keeps in his KL office a framed record of the infamous day in 1981 when he faced off against then Penang Police Chief Datuk Zaman Khan. – BRIAN MOH / The Star

The family lawman

We first discuss family and his children’s decision to follow him into law and politics. In the March 8, 2008, general election, his sons Jagdeep and Gobind were elected state assemblyman for Datuk Keramat in Penang and MP for Puchong, Selangor, respectively.

Another son, Ramkarpal, and daughter Sangeet Kaur work with him in his law firm.

Karpal insists that they followed his path out of their own volition.

“I left it to them. Probably because they saw my exploits and wanted to follow.”

Of the five children, the first four are lawyers, with two of them going into politics as well.

“Only my youngest boy, Man Karpal, has declined to enter the profession, studying actuarial science instead.”

Man Karpal was originally named after his father but fate stepped in.

“He was born on June 28, 1987, which was actually my 47th birthday! Since it was my birthday, I named him Karpal Singh, Jr. A few months later, I got arrested during Operasi Lalang (a round of detentions under the Internal Security Act carried out in October, 1987).

A leader even then: The president of the University of Singapore’s Dunearn hostel delivering a speech in 1963. – Photo courtesy of Karpal Singh and family

“There was a lot of gossiping at the Sikh temple. People were saying you cannot have two tigers because one will eat the other. When I came out, I found out that his name had been changed to Man Karpal!”

Karpal’s wife, Gurmit Kaur, is eight years his junior and the couple is celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this month.

Karpal, who was born in Penang, recalls his first encounter with the woman who has supported him through thick and thin.

“I met her when she was very young. My father was a watchman and to supplement his income, we had a few cows. The first time I saw her, I was a teenager tending the herd and she was a small girl. Her family was actually from Narathiwat in Thailand but she had been sent here (Penang) for schooling. Much later, after I finished my studies, I met her at the temple and at the library, and the little girl was all grown up!

“Back then, there was a bit of opposition. Her family was okay, but my family was stubborn. Of course, once the first son came along, order was quickly restored!” he says.

(Editor’s note: Gurmit’s wonderful account of her love story and marriage to Karpal, His pillar of strength, together with an interview with Karpal on becoming disabled, A slow road to recovery, were published in StarMag on Sept 10, 2006.)

Despite his reputation as one of Malaysia’s foremost legal minds, Karpal admits that he wasn’t always the most diligent of students.

“I studied law for quite some time in Singapore, where, in fact, I took seven years to complete my course. The more you beat the steel the stronger it becomes ... that’s my excuse for taking so long! Actually I was playful, didn’t attend lectures and so on.

“During my final year, I was the only one to fail and the dean, Tommy Koh, who later became Singapore’s ambassador to the United Nations, took me aside and said ‘From now on, you’re going to sit at the front of the class with me!’ So I couldn’t play the fool any more and I passed my exams accordingly!”

Hairy tale

Karpal is a Sikh and the maintenance of one’s hair is one of the tenets of Sikhism. Karpal’s decision to trim his locks was therefore not taken lightly.

The official photo of the new contender for the Alor Setar Parliament and State seats in 1974.

“Right up until 1970 I kept my turban. In fact, in 1969 in Penang, I was all ready to cut my hair and I was actually sitting in the barber’s chair waiting my turn when I looked out the window and saw my father cycling by! I bolted.

Read more here

Bumi discount on luxury property is Pua's personal suggestion

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

Pakatan Rakyat leaders said thorough analysis of the suggestion by DAP’s Tony Pua to cut the Bumiputera discount for luxury homes and commercial property would have to be carried out before any decision is made.

Justice4otk says the Bumiputera discount for luxury homes should be done away with , not cut the Bumi discount as suggested by Tony Pua , and what analysis is there to be made before any decision is made ? PR should table this in Parliament .

Firstly do developers need to subsidise these rich Bumiputeras who can afford to buy luxury homes with a discount ? Discounts should be given only for certain types of homes for the poor and for the lower middle class .

Discounts and costs of discounts will eventually be passed to the other buyers who will have to bear for the drop in revenue due to these discounts .

Take for example the Kedah PAS government requiring that all developers in the state must set aside 50% of their project as Bumiputera units , meaning reserved for Bumis only and cannot be sold to others . There's no way these developers are going to make money with these sort requirements .

"At this point in time, it is his personal view and not formally suggested by DAP," PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar told Malaysia Chronicle.

"If later on, DAP recommends it, then according to Pakatan procedure we will discuss and see what other ways there are to prevent abuse of the discount system. It does not necessarily have to be abolished outright."

To prevent abuse

Tony had unwittingly thrown a cat amongst the pigeons when he suggested that Selangor reviewed its policy of giving out cheap land to subsidiaries controlled by the state.

He also called for the abolition of discounts, currently extended at 7 percent to Malay and Bumiputera purchasers, for commercial property above RM2 million. His rationale was that for many of these heavyweight units, there were middlemen who re-sold the property for a profit of 2 percent.

However, Tony stressed that for homes costing below RM500,000, the full discount of 7 percent should be maintained.

Needy still require a hand

Nevertheless, there are some initial misgiving even among Pakatan partners. Selangor PAS information chief Roslan Shahir is among those who have expressed concern that Tony’s suggestion might be too rushed.

"These are decisions with implications on the economy and our society. We want to cut out abuse but we also have to be sure that those who need help should still be able to get it. This is in line with the Pakatan stance and should not be politicized by the BN press," Mahfuz said.

The battle of wits between the Penang CM and the SDO

Mustapha Ong, MasAgungKL d' Scribe

The recent media outburst between Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Nik Ali, the State Development Officer has been in focus the past few weeks.

Unfortunately, the issue is getting juicy and certainly needs to be resolved properly in the public interest. I hope both parties involved, the Federal and State authority, should discuss the issues professionally without fear or favour.

As I see it after having analysed the issues raised by Guan Eng and his sparring partner Nik Ali, the matter has been politicized by some Penang political warlords from both sides of the political divide. I wonder who actually is telling the truth on the issues, DAP or UMNO?

The Sun has reported that KSN Sidek Hassan has cleared the air and ironically it is about "the chair issue" that had resulted in the recent flare-up. But Lim Guan Eng said that was a non-issue concocted by certain individuals to discredit him in order to divert public attention on the scandalous issues that had involved certain state projects funded by the Federal government through the office of the SDO.

As reported by Guan Eng, he would not have stooped so low in his capacity as a Chief Minister to fuss over a protocol issue, when he was late for an official function in last October, and having his chair removed in the first row of VVIP seats before his arrival.

I believe Guan Eng is the least protocol conscious politician around and it is likely that he did not make a big deal about it and did not mind being seated somewhere at the back.

KSN probably was in a dilemma as Guan Eng had no opportunity to brief him one the real issues that flared up between himself and Nik Ali. I believe the administrative issues should have been handled professionally between the Chief Minister and the SDO, even before the intervention of the prime minister himself as well as the KSN.

In conclusion, the following issues raised by the Chief Minister are of public interest, namely the sand theft in Balik Papan, the botanical gardens arches that have been declared unsafe and resulted in the losses of RM150,000. They should not be ignored.

Under any circumstances, the Chief Minister has the right be involved in the administrative process of the State government and the local authorities within the approved laws and regulations.

It is no longer seen as a minor spat between two powerful individuals in a battle of wits in order to justify their respective authority, but without the political will to resolve the more important issues.

Senior civil servants should not be over zealous or challenge the state authority under the administration of the chief Minister, as that may affect the political scenario of Penang in the coming PRU13.

I believe the DAP will try everything possible to retain its supreme political base in Penang and BN will continue to destabilize the administration of Penang in order to recapture the state in the next elections.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pua tells Nazir to study report on FDI

PETALING JAYA, July 27: DAP economist Tony Pua has responded to CIMB chief Nazir Razak's claim that the plunge in foreign investment was not necessarily negative, saying Nazir should look into details provided by the UN's Foreign Investment Report (WIR) 2010 before giving his judgement on the country’s performance.

“Nazir should study this chart; (it) tells you that net negative investment flow is not 1-time-off but a clear-cut trend,” said Pua in a message on Twitter.

He was responding to media report quoting the top banker as saying it was not necessarily a bad thing to have lower net investment flow for the country, and urged that the 2009 plunge in Malaysia’s foreign direct investment be studied carefully before jumping to conclusions.

Nazir’s optimism was not shared by Pua, who said the data clearly showed that the trend of both local and foreign investors existing Malaysia for overseas was unmistakable as the country had been suffering from a steady outflow of FDI over the past decade based on the chart.

Pua, however, said Nazir was probably only responding to a question.

“To be fair, Nazir probably didn't see the full data. Bernama just asks him off the cuff,” wrote Pua, who is also the Petaling Jaya Utara member of parliament.

Referring to the chart, Pua pointed out that not only foreign investors had been unwilling to invest in Malaysia, both local investors and foreign investors have a total lack of confidence in the ability of the country's economy to generate an attractive return for their investments.

Well , blame it on the continuous politicking across the divide , with the Opposition continually raising all sorts of ridiculous issues in Parliament and turning the institution into a Circus . With the Perak Royal Circus and the dramatic monkey shows !

Every single issue has been politicised and neglecting in the real issues affecting the government . They have been elected to govern , instead they are following the Taiwan parliament with no holds barred . And with the Penang Cheap Minister deemed as arrogant and still thinking he is Mr Opposition , first with his PKR colleagues and now with his SDO .

Then we have the Mamakutty and the Perkasa Idiot on the racist chants every now and then . When people in power trying to reverse , go stan on every policy made by the PM , like the 30% Malay equities holding in all new companies . And with the issue about Singaporeans investing in Iskandar , Johore by the Mamakutty fella .

Which investor , foreign or local would want to invest when they can make more Returns of Investment in other emerging markets like Cambodia and Vietnam where there are less communal , racial discrimination .

And in particular China the largest market in the world , today .

This contributed to a decline in FDI from US$2.56 billion in 2004 and US$1.09 billion (2005), to a net negative US$0.02 billion (2006), negative US$2.7 billion (2007) and negative US$7.67 billion in 2008.

“The figures show clearly that there is money to be invested, they are just not investing in Malaysia. The investors now see improved and better opportunities in the region and abroad even during the times of crisis,” he said.

Pua also warned that if there were no necessary and critical changes to the Government's economic policies, the economy would continue to drift and shunned by local and foreign investors, while neighbouring countries would steadily improve their economies beyond the nation’s reach.