Saturday, May 31, 2008

Walk For Media Freedom!

I will miss my aerobics class tomorrow at the Taman Kiara Park. But that's ok. I'll be working out around the National Press Club, instead, with fellow practitioners from the old and new media.

It's all for MEDIA FREEDOM !

The walk and talk is tomorrow, Sunday, June 1 2008, from 9.30am to 10.30am at the NPC, Jjalan Tangsi, KL.

The event is is being jointly organised by
media activists, including Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Writers Alliance for Media Indepdence (Wami), National Alliance of Bloggers, and BENAR, a cyber group for "free and fair media".

Giving support to this initiative are the National Press Club (NPC) and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Please read T H I S from Rocky's Bru.

Buckle Up Your Rear Seat Passengers...

....from tomorrow (Sunday) June 1.

This is the new RTD ruling.

Passengers will be given a 3- month "grace period" during which rear seat passengers who don't buckle up will be warned. From Sept 1 2008 onwards, they will be fined. Seatbelts help to reduce injuries by preventing the wearer from hitting hard interior elements of the vehicle or other passengers during collision or emergency break.

Passengers who buckle up will have better chance to survive from accident.

Researches have shown that car drivers and/or front-seat passengers are 5 times more likely to die in a crash if their back-seat passengers are unrestrained.

However, for the time being, this ruling in Malaysia only applies to cars manufactured from January 1 1995.

It is a temporary waiver for a 3-year period for vehicles manufactured before January 1 1995, After that owners of these vehicles will be liable if the breach the ruling.

The grace period is to enable all vehicles to be equipped with rear-passenger seatbelts.

Vehicles manufactured before January1 1995 are not equipped with rear-passenger seat belts and not all vehicles manufactured after this date are, either.

Perodua Kancil and Kenari cars manufactured between 1998 until mid-2004 will also be exempted from the ruling until 2011..

This ruling is expected to impact on the total number of passengers allowed in a vehicle. A 5-seater will be limited to a passenger load of 5 persons including the driver, all fastened up. And a 7-seater is limited to 7 persons.

So far, the RTD has not indicated whether or not the buckling-up ruling covers 3rd row seats.

(Source: The 8th Voyager).

Be Safe and Buckle up!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why Has Ezam Re-joined Umno?

I am so curious because the former Parti Keadilan Rakyat Youth leader has been so critical of Umno, the government and Pak Lah.

In fact, Ezam Mohd Nor founded the Civil Movement Against Corruption (GERAK) in 2005, and as its chair had, (in his own words in February 2007) said:
".... I have been repeatedly lodging police reports against the Umno president [...] how can he accept me as a member? I think the speculation of me joining Umno should not arise at all."

Rumours of him re-joining Umno surfaced last year when there was talk that he had met with Umno Youth deputy chief and the Prime Minister's son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin.

Ezam - Anwar Ibrahim's one-time confidant and right-hand man - swiftly denied these rumours and speculations which came about following his reported fall-out with Anwar's other right-hand man, Azmin Ali.

So, does it mean that he is distancing himself from those GERAK reports about corruption in Umno, the government as well as about the PM et al?
What do those reports now mean?

Yesterday when he re-joined Umno, Ezam quit as GERAK chairman though I am not sure whether he is still with the movement.

GERAK's new chairman Nazri Yunus will be holding a Press conference at its office in Kelana Jaya tomorrow.

So, what is GERAK all about then? Who did it exist for?

Ezam -- politician turned member of a civil movement, and back to being a politician.

I can't blame anyone for being suspicious of his intentions in re-joining the party he has been so utterly critical of.

An Umno leader, when asked about Ezam's re-entry, said: "I think he is up to no good alongside his buddy, KJ".

Heavy stuff that. I'm not sure whether this sentiment is his alone.
But clearly, Pak Lah and other Umno leaders are more forgiving, and welcoming. No?

What they say about Ezam's return to Umno:

"He wants to come back to Umno and he will continue with the struggles of Umno according to the party’s goal and direction, and not Parti Keadilan.
"So I accepted him." - Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"We cannot be choosing who we want in the party. If we do so, we will lose many people. There have been others who also bitterly attacked the party when they left, but after they realised Umno was the best platform to serve, they returned.
"It is up to Ezam to win back the confidence of the other Umno members." -- Umno deputy president Najib Razak.

"What is the benefit for Umno? Is he willing to struggle alongside Umno? What is his role?" - Umno Youth chief Hishammudin Hussein.

The stories here, here and here.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Selangor's Concern For ISA Detainees' Families

The Selangor Government promises to help families of Internal Security Act detainees by providing welfare assistance.

Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim said several steps could be taken to help the wives and children while their husbands or fathers were being detained.

The Star report H E R E.

Well, I'm listening and I'm hoping that this will not remain an empty promise.

For now I say good for you, PKR!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Waiting For Ezam.... re-join Umno.

The signal seems to indicate Ezam Mohd Nor's impending re-entry into the party.

If this is true, then, there's no question that anything can happen in politics. Rather, in Umno.

Why, only last February (in 2007), Ezam denied speculations and rumour that he was re-joining Umno following his decision to step down as Parti Keadilan Rakyat Selangor deputy chairman and Shah Alam division chief. He was also PKR Youth chief.

(Ezam who left Umno after former DPM and Umno deputy president Anwar Ibrahim was sacked from the government and the party, is head of GERAK, the Movement for Democracy and Anti-Corruption he founded in 2005.)

Ezam who was Anwar's confidant and right-hand man quashed rumours of his soured relations with (the other Anwar's right-hand man) PKR vice-president Azmin Ali.

Ezam also dismissed rumours of relations with Umno Youth deputy chief Khairy Jamaluddin.

He was quoted as saying (in 2007):
"People love to speculate [...] and there must be some mischievous people in the party out to discredit me.
“But it (the allegations) is very illogical. If you want to join Umno, you should go for the highest post in the party (PKR). That way you can have more bargaining power before crossing over".

And on rumours of his re-joining Umno (in 2007), he had remarked:

Secondly, over the past few months as Gerak chair, I have been repeatedly lodging police reports against the Umno president [...] how can he accept me as a member? I think the speculation of me joining Umno should not arise at all.”

Okay. This is 2008. We're done with the general election.

Ezam has to move on.
Can't see him doing so in PKR. Wounds are deep.

Back in Umno, to welcoming arms?

Let's wait and see. Stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile, Umno Youth chief Hishamuddin Hussein has something to say H E R E.

What Constitutes Patriotism?

Let's see -- to me patriotism is the opposite of any act of betrayal to the country, which, of course, can mean a host of things.

I'd ask myself some questions although the answers are far from perfect. One question I could never really firmly answer is whether I would I die for my country, because it seems an unfair question.
Does it mean that I'd go to war for my country?
I don't know. I do know that I'd want to defend the sovereignty of my country. Very high-faluting but, oh, you know what I mean.

I know I'd not want terrible things to happen to my country. Can't quite specify what though.

I was thinking about patriotism because I read in Bernama that Youth and Sports Minister Ismail Sabri finds the patriotic spirit among Malaysian youth to be "not up to expectation".

Here's the rest of the story:

Ismail gave the index on patriotism among youths at only 68.2 per cent as many of them still questioned the social contract when the country achieved independence.

"As such, elements on civic consciousness will be included in all youth programmes," he said when opening the National Youth Consultative Council annual conference near here Saturday.

He said the approach on youth programmes should also be changed to suit current needs to instil self-identity, enhance creativity and understanding among youths.

There is also a need to evaluate the impact of youth programmes to avoid wastage, he added.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Narrow, Narrow, Narrow....

and sometimes dangerous too -- to have this kind of view : that the uniform (white baju kurung and turquoise sarong) worn by girls at government schools, encourages rape and pre-marital sex.

Not my view. And I hope it is not yours. But it is that of Munirah Bahari who is vice-president of the National Islamic Students Association of Malaysia.

Goodness, girl! You think everyone in this country is a pervert!

The story is H E R E.

What Will Umno Do To Mukhriz?

So we know that Mukhriz Mahathir is staying on in Umno to fight the good fight. And we also know that he's told Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to immediately step down as PM, Umno president and BN chairman.

You think he is kurang ajar and out of line?

Or you think that he was left with little choice but to be blunt because that's the sentiment on the ground?

What does Umno think? Will the party take disciplinary action against Dr Mahathir's son?

You know what I think?

I think that Mukhriz will set the stage and the pace for what's to come.

And...oh. I can hear the sharpening of knives already.

Balkis' And Their Lavish Spending..

According to the Sun:

Balkis, the Wives of Selangor State Assemblymen and MPs Charity and Welfare Organisation, spent RM158,000 on clothes for its members to wear to a sporting event and RM121,000 on similar apparel for their spouses of members of the state assembly.

This "questionable" spending was in the list of expenditures that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim read out to the Assembly yesterday, in answer to two questions on Balkis from Lau Weng San (DAP-Kampung Tunku) and Dr Shafie Abu Bakar (PAS-Bangi).

These clothes were bought Galeri Balkis Sdn Bhd. Other expenditure pertained to the organising of charity events.

He also told the assembly how much state investment arms and companies like PKNS, Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd and Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) had contributed to Balkis.

Abdul Khalid also said PNSB had contributed a total RM5,186,948 to Balkis.

The accounts of PNSB showed the company forked out RM50,000 for the officiating of Kompleks Wawasan Balkis and a majilis korban, and another RM50,000 for orphans.

H E R E for the full story

Will Someone Please Check The Rising Prices of Food...

Are you feeling the pinch of everyday living?

And, ouch...the price of rice has almost doubled.

So, Najib, I hope you have some good news H E R E.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Let's Not Involve The Agong, Please.....

Undoubtedly, Dr Mahathir Mohamad quitting Umno has drawn mixed responses. His detractors and critics have hit him real hard, saying that he's just seeking attention (the mildest), desperate, irresponsible and out to destroy the party.


His supporters think that that was the best course of action for him to take given that he has had enough of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's incompetent and weak leadership of the party and country.

No matter how you want to look at the issue, Dr M's leaving Umno is an internal problem. Whether it is serious or catastrophic to the party, or whether it is a sandiwara or wayang kulit or whatever..the point is, this is an internal party problem.

What is needed is for Pak Lah to deal with it, the best way he knows how. Perhaps, this is the tricky part.

So, with all due respect to party veteran Aziz Tapa who suggested that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong intervened to bring peace between Dr M and Pak Lah, I'd like to say here that we ought to leave Sultan Mizan out of this.

Really. I'm pretty sure that Umno can deal with it...

By the way, Dr Mahathir who is in Tokyo for the Nikkei International Conference, thinks that Umno shouldn't bother His Majesty with this triviality.

Read it H E R E.

And oh, remember the "duri dalam daging" remark by former DPM Musa Hitam in response to Dr Mahathir's quit decision?

You didn't think that Dr M was going to take it lying down, didja? What are blogs for, huh, Che Det!

Wanna know Dr M's two cents worth? Read it H E R E.

(The English version in the Star H E R E)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Waddya Say, Dr M?

..won't you join PAS? Or Parti Keadilan Rakyat?

I know that that would be the last thing you'd ever want to do. But, who knows... stranger things have happened.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Ismail have asked the good doctor to join their respective party.

Don't know whether it's "ajak-ajak ayam" but they're on record extending the invitation.

Here's the Bernama story:

PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) have asked former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to join them, now that he has decided to quit Umno.

PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and PKR President Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail extended the invitation to Dr Mahathir.

Abdul Hadi said he always welcomed Dr Mahathir or other Umno members to join PAS.

Dr Wan Azizah said PKR's doors were always open for Dr Mahathir if he was interested in joining the party.

Dr Mahathir Monday announced his decision to quit Umno, saying he had lost confidence in Umno President Datuk Seri Abdulla thah Ahmad Badawi and that he would only rejoin the party after Abdullah had stepped down as party president and prime minister. -Bernama

But Older Brother Mokhzani Quits...

...and expresses the hope that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would step down as the party president before more Umno members leave the party in protest.

On Monday, his dad, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad quit the party, calling on other members to follow suit to show their vote of no confidence in Abdullah’s leadership.

Yesterday, younger brother, Mukhriz who is Umno Youth exco member and MP for Jerlun announced that he was staying to be, well, that thorn in the flesh.

Heck....somebody's got to stay and fight. No?

Mokhzani, a member of the Sungai Layar Hujung Umno branch for 22 years, submitted his letter of resignation to the Merbok division yesterday.

Mokhzani said mass resignation has created a ripple in Umno.

Read the Star report H E R E.

Meanwhile, you would all have read and heard the comments from Umno leaders and members about Dr Mahathir's decision to quit and be a pain outside the party.

I'm just waiting to see what happens next...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mukhriz Stays....

...but strongly urges Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down immediately as Prime Minister, Umno president and Barisan Nasional chairman.

Mukhriz, who said that while he understood and agreed that this father's action was because he cares for the party, he believed that he (Mukhriz) should remain in Umno and as Jerlun MP.

"I remain loyal to the party and will be the loud voice in criticising the weaknesses of the leadership," he told the Press conference at the Pan Pacific in Kuala Lumpur this evening.

Read Big Dog H E R E.

Will Mukhriz Be Quitting Umno?

We will know in about an hour whether or not he will be joining his father, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in leaving the party.

Mukhriz will hold a Press conference at the Meranti Room, Pan Pacific Hotel, at 5.30pm.

Check the blogs ...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dr M Quits Umno

By now, everyone is talking about former Umno president and PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's announcement to quit Umno.

He announced his decision in Alor Star today before 1,000 people, mostly Kedah Umno members at a talk.

He said he was quitting because he had no confidence in the current leadership.

Dr Mahathir has explained his decision in his blog, saying that his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah has also quit the party with him.

In his posting, Dr Mahathir said Umno today is not the party that he joined 62 years ago but one that exists only to support Abdullah and his family and policies that are not consistent with the interest of the race, religion and the country.

Read more H E R E.

Dr Mahathir's decision must have taken many by surprise. Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was shocked at this unexpected development.

Abdullah is far from pressured. In fact he is staying put and intends to continue fighting for the party.

Dr Mahathir told other members who feel the same way to also quit the party to pressure Pak lah to make that exit, but said that they should not join any other party.

He said he will rejoin Umno when Pak Lah steps down.

Umno veteran Sanusi Junid also quit the party today.

And I agree with many many people -- Dr Mahathir outside Umno will be a BIGGER pain (for Pak Lah et al) than inside.

Read the Star story H E R E.

Also Rocky's Bru has his take on this Vesak Day bombshell while a blogger friend Apanama wants to know what Umno is made of today!

I was quite shocked when I was told of his decision during lunch today but, then I figured, that is Dr Mahathir. You really would not know what he'd do next.

One thing, though, this was not an impulsive decision, which now makes me wonder what else does Dr M have up his sleeve!

Interesting to see the development(s) following this. Will he bring with him an "exodus"?

And will his "exit" impact on the upcoming Umno branch meetings, and subsequently the party elections?

We'll just have to wait and see.

I, however, would like to see who else will follow suit.

Celebrating Vesak!

To all my Buddhist brothers and sisters -- Have a blessed Vesak day!

And to all Malaysians -- have a good holiday!


Friday, May 16, 2008

Inquiry Report On V.K Lingam Case To Be Made Public

The Cabinet today agreed that the contents of the Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Datuk V.K. Lingam clip be made public and copies made available for sale.

It has also agreed that the Attorney-General's Chambers investigate the allegations in the report against individuals including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The others (against whom allegations were made) are V.K. Lingam, business tycoon Vincent Tan, former Tourism Minister Tengku Adnan Mansor, retired Chief Justice Eusoff Chin and former Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim.

(The Star online quoted Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim.)

But, hey! Read Rocky's Bru H E R E.

Poor, Poor Terengganu....

I tell you, if I were a Terengganu-an, I'd be really, really mad.

And I'm not but I feel so angry that about RM3.3b (in oil royalty) did not reach Terengganu from 2004 to 2007. Or did it? If so, how come it's not accounted for?

Read this and this.

Whatever the picture is, it is not pretty.

Can you imagine how much could have been done for the rakyat in those 3 years, even if a small percentage of that amount had been used to develop the state?

I was with a Terengganu "native" this entire morning and he said he was "very very angry".

"It's daylight robbery", he said, holding back his emotion.

He said any Terengganu Member of Parliament worth his salt should demand for answers in the Dewan Rakyat!

I'd like to know too!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Najib Replies To Allegations..

In the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, in his winding-up speech, denied that commission was paid to a consultant for the procurement of two Scorpene submarines and 18 Sukhoi fighter jets.

Malaysia had direct negotiations with the countries involved. The submarines were from France and Spain while the jets, Russia.

On allegations implicating him and his wife, Rosmah, in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaaribuu, Najib said they were all "fitnah" (slander) and were made to sully his name.

He reiterated that he had neither met nor knew her.

Najib did not wish to make further comments as the case was on-going.

"....please allow the court to serve its role and responsibility in upholding justice in this country without any disturbances from any quarters.

"At the same time, I pray that this case be tried in the best way possible and that the truth will come out for the sake of the supremacy of the laws that we all uphold."

Najib further said:"Thank God, I have until now withstood all kinds of accusations and slander that have been cast against me with the intention of sullying my name."

National Service To Continue...

because it is still a good programme for the rakyat, said Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The number of fatalities which is small does not justify scrapping the programme, he added.

Najib who is also Defence Minister, said this in his winding-up speech at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Read H E R E.

The latest death was of Too Hui Min, 18, from the Geo Kosmo Camp in Kuala Kubu Baharu. She died last Thursday at the Slim River Hospital after complaining of stomachache.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesdays With Bapak

The Twilight Of His Life -- Tuesday May 13, 2008

These days, I slap myself every time I am unable to visit Bapak.
I have pictures in my head -- of being somewhere when I should be with him and then, ominously, getting that dreaded call on my cellphone.

I shiver, I shudder without fail.

Bapak is old. Very old. Very frail. His eyesight is failing him so, most times, he may not be able to see your face clearly. Some names may elude him. Some don't, especially if they belong to very, dear old friends.

There are people he remembers. There are those he is unable to.

We had a birthday gathering for Bapak about two weeks ago. It was a small one with just family and very close friends.

For me, hosting a gathering for Bapak is easy because we "share" the same friends. He knows most of my colleagues and close friends at NST. So, the invitation list would always be easy to draw up.

We decided to hold a simple dinner and made sure the guests really knew Bapak, so they'd understand why Bapak may not be as spontaneous as he used to be.

It was nice that his friends did not insist on seeing him when they arrived for the dinner.

"Oh..Bapak rihat, ya..Tak apa, tak apa," said one of our old-time neighbours on being told that Bapak was in his room and would only be out a little later.

I remember a few years ago when an old friend of Bapak's visited him at Pantai Hospital.
Bapak was in for treatment of his diabetes.

Bapak's friend, (the late) Shahril Lembang, was an editor in the Berita Harian group when Bapak was at NST.

Shahril had not met Bapak for a very long time and on hearing that Bapak was in hospital, did not hesitate to see him.

I was there in Bapak's room when Shahril and his wife came. My step-mum was also there.

I could see that Shahril was so shocked at seeing Bapak.

You see, Shahril remembered the robust and animated Pak Samad. And possibly someone a few pounds bigger.

What greeted him was a very frail and thin man who seemed to have aged so much.

Shahril broke into tears as he "salam" and hugged Bapak.

Dear arwah Shahril. A gentle and soft-spoken man. (Al-Fatihah.)

That was years ago.

Today, Bapak is far less mobile. Just as frail and thin. And older.

A guest at Bapak's birthday dinner thought Bapak was not just "tua", but also "nyanyuk".

He made the remark in the presence of my brothers-in-law, not knowing, of course, that they were Bapak's sons-in-law.

I suppose Bapak did not recognise him. Nor remembered who he was. So, he concluded that Bapak's failing memory must be due to senility.

None of us knew who he was as he was one of the four people (from a certain institution of higher learning) whom my step-mum had invited.

My step-mum had invited them as they had earlier wanted to host a birthday gathering for Bapak.

We told our step-mum that it was not a good idea, given Bapak's frail condition. We told her it was, nevertheless, a nice gesture on their part.

I supposed she did the courteous thing by inviting them to Bapak's birthday dinner instead.
That was fine by us, of course.

We don't hold that person's remark about Bapak against him because Bapak must have seemed senile to him.

I'm glad though that by and large Bapak remembered most of the people who were there.

I met P.C Shivadas at the launching of the new Malay Mail at Nikko Hotel two weeks ago.

He told me he was not able to attend the dinner but he made a point of visiting my dad earlier.

Shiv (as he is known) was NST journalist (and group editor) and has known Bapak for -- ever.

I asked, a little curious: "Did he remember you?"

Shiv: "Of course. Why shouldn't he-lah?"

Me: "No-lah...just wondering. You know. He's old. He may not remember some people."

I'm glad Bapak remembers many of his old and not-so-old friends.

That evening, the Prime Minister called him to wish him well.

I didn't have to prompt him but I still had to ask him whether he remembered Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"Of course, I do," he snapped at me. He was not amused. Yep. I could have slapped myself for asking him that question.

And no... there was no trace of senility when he chatted with the PM.

So, I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln's words:

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Have a wonderful day!

-- ibu...kau-lah ratu hati ku!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

News In This Borderless World...

NUSA DUA (Bali), Sat. -- Some 130 senior journalists from more than 60 countries will leave this paradise island at the end of the Third Global Inter-Media Dialogue with a fresh reminder that sensitivity and tolerance are not only crucial but essential in preventing unwanted consequences when news dissemination now knows no border.

Whatever they write or are responsible for in their publication, should take into consideration the fact that the news, though aimed for the local or national audience, would also reach unintended multi-cultural societies as it would be read or viewed by others the world over who might be offended at the content of the report.

The reminder from Arthauli Tobing, Head of Policy Analysis and Development Agency of the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry, when closing the three-day dialogue on Friday, was concurred by many who said that they frequently forgot that modern technology had carried their reports across and over their national borders.

"Sometimes, when too deep into thinking and considering our national interests, we forgot that others elsewhere too, aided by the internet, are able to read what we wrote eventhough it was meant for our own national consumption," the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) General Manager Datuk Azman Ujang, one of the participants, said.

However, he said, some reports by some parties were clearly meant and intended for all to read, with some ignoble aims that could be considered unjournalistic, especially when it clearly ignored the sensitivities of others, citing the example of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons in early 2006 which had caused Muslims worldwide to react angrily.

Hariri, a journalist from host country Indonesia, said the reminder was timely as many sometimes did forget this fact, coupled with their ignorance of the sensitivities of cultures and religions of others outside their country or their usual work borders.

"I believe that if we, as journalists, take time to also learn about others, especially on religions and cultures foreign to us, we would be better prepared and more understanding when writing about others so as to avoid from offending them," he said, citing examples of unnecessary and uncalled for terms very much liked by western press such as "Muslim terrorist".

Meanwhile, a group of senior journalists in a joint statement said the changing media landscapes that brought up great opportunities to communicate in new and different ways also brought along a major challenge to ensure continued respect for the core values and ethics of journalism built upon respect for the truth, independence and professional social responsibility.

"Our discussions (at the Dialogue) have provided a brilliant kaleidoscope of diverse opinions and ideas from different countries and cultures from all around the world. Again we have been enriched by the experience," they said in concluding that the dialogue, sponsored by the Norwegian and Indonesian governments, had been a success.

Some participants left on Friday while some went on a tour of Yogyakarta before leaving for home on Saturday.-- BERNAMA

PM Hopes For Swift Action On Karpal...

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Friday he hoped that the Attorney-General would be able to act immediately on the issue of DAP chairman Karpal Singh's questioning of the jurisdiction of the Sultan of Perak in the issue of the transfer of Perak Islamic Religious Affairs Department director Datuk Jamry Sury.

He said that if the Attorney-General felt that there was a case, he should bring the matter to court as soon as possible.

"It is my hope that he will act fast," he told reporters after chairing a special meeting of the Umno Supreme Council at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The prime minister said the action has to be immediate because the issue is being followed with great interest by many people.

"Many people are showing interest in the issue. (They want to know) what the penalty is in the matter," he said.

Asked whether the Internal Security Act (ISA) would be used against Karpal Singh, Abdullah said: "If the ISA were used, he would have been detained a long time ago. We have not used it (on him)."

Karpal Singh had said that the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, had no jurisdiction to reinstate Jamry who was transferred out by Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin.

The sultan had instructed Mohammad Nizar to reinstate Jamry as he had been transferred out without the consent of the sultan as the head of the Islamic religion in the state.

The prime minister had yesterday instructed Umno to lodge a police report against Karpal Singh over his remark which was said to border on treason and had incited anger in the Malays.

The police have so far received nine reports against Karpal Singh, the MP for Bukit Gelugor, over his remark. Among these are one by Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor Thursday and Malaysian Youth Council secretary-general Tajudin Ahmad yesterday. -- Bernama

Friday, May 09, 2008

RPK Claims Sirul And Azilah Threatened Him In Prison..

When Raja Petra Kamaruddin was taken to Sungai Buloh on Tuesday after he refused to post the RM5,000 bail, we all jokingly said that he might just bump into Abdul Razak Baginda who is accused of abetting two policemen in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaaribuu. The other two are Chief Insp Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar.

"He'll probably try to get a story out of Razak," a blogger friend said.

Seriously, though. What were the chances of RPK bumping into any of the three? Sungai Buloh Prison is not exactly your neighbourhood shopping mall.

No, RPK did not bump into Razak. But, surprise, surprise, he had an encounter with Azilah and Sirul who shouted threats at him.

Here's RPK's story (Sun online):

Raja Petra said: “They (prison authorities) received reports that when I entered prison, Azilah and Sirul shouted at me and threatened that something is going to happen to me inside there.”

He said the prison authorities were worried and detailed two police Special Action Unit (UTK) officers to "look after me".

Asked if he met Sirul and Azilah, Raja Petra said: “Ya! We were in the same block, the police block, which had about 18 policemen there all awaiting trial.”

“So anyhow, they saw me and they shouted at me and the prison guards were very worried, and they even shouted at the prison guard."

He claimed the prison guards told him: “So please, get out la, kita tak boleh tidur la (we won’t be able to sleep) because we have to watch out for you.”

Raja Petra added: “The prison authorities spoke to me and asked to allow my wife to bail me out because they say they cannot guarantee my safety in prison.”

The full story H E R E

Police Report Against Karpal..

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has asked Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor to lodge a police report against DAP chairman Karpal Singh over his statement on the powers of the Perak Sultan.

Abdullah said this was to enable the matter to be referred to the Attorney-General and then brought to court.

He said Karpal's statement had incurred the ire of the public, including non-Malays.

"It is seditious and seen by the people as ridiculing the Sultan as though the ruler did not know his duty," he told reporters when asked about Karpal's controversial statement.

Earlier, Abdullah had opened the 5th Halal Industry International Exhibition hosted by Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur Thursday.

Abdullah said the Malays and other races felt aggrieved and offended by Karpal's statement, and he was made to understand that more people would be making police reports against the lawyer.

On the case of blogger and 'Malaysia Today' website editor, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Abdullah said anyone who contravened the law would face action.

"When there's a report lodge against them, then action will be taken. If they are guilty, they will face the penalty."

On the statement by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in parliament Thursday that the government would not draw up a law on "whistle blowers", Abdullah said the government had no plans yet on the matter.

"If there is a proposal, we will consider," he said.-- BERNAMA

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Another Night in Jail For RPK Although Bail Has Been Posted

-- because he has to sign documents for his release at the court's bail counter tomorrow.
Sessions Court judge Nurmala Salim today issued an order to produce RPK for his release.

So it looks like RPK will be spending another night at the Sungai Buloh Prison although his wife, Marina, has posted the RM5,000 bail.

She posted bail at about 2.15pm today after meeting him for about 10 minutes earlier at 11am in Sungai Buloh.

RPK claimed trial to a sedition charge in the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court on Tuesday.

According Bernama, Marina said RPK had probably changed his mind about posting bail after reading the note she left for him yesterday with the prison officials after he refused to meet her.

Marina said she had stated in the note that his readers were fully behind him and his family missed him dearly.

The note also said: "I want you home".

Marina said RPK looked fine today despite refusing to eat since his remand. She confirmed that he had something to drink this morning.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Step Back Into A Familiar Dark Realm

...where using antiquated, draconian and repressive laws such as the Sedition Act and the Internal Security Act is a convenient way of shutting up anyone.

Raja Petra Kamaruddin may be writing a lot of hogwash, or he may not. Indeed, he may have made some serious allegations in his article "Let's Send the Altantuya Murderers To hell" in Malaysia Today.
But that is his freedom to express what he believes to be true.
So using the Sedition Act against him is a big mistake because it shows you to be oppressive and repressive.

If you think that he has gone overboard or too far, there are other ways of dealing with his alleged "offences".
Not by using the odious Sedition Act that should have been long abolished and repealed.

This piece of nasty legislation maybe a convenient tool for the authorities, but you may not achieve your desired result, for you can no longer shut people up that easily.

People are now emboldened.

Remember March 8 2008.

Oh...Quo Vadis, Malaysia?

Read Rocky's Bru
and Haris Ibrahim's Solidarity With RPK here.

Civil Society In Solidarity WIth RPK

"We are seated here in solidarity for fellow writers and bloggers to make our stand on similar action that may be taken against other writers and journalists in future.

"This move is politically motivated and aimed at silencing a principled and uncompromising voice speaking against the abuse of power.

"We urge the government to re-consider its actions in pursuing what is being perceived in the country to be blatantly selective and repressive persecution.

"In our view the sedition charge is malicious and without merit."

-- alliance of civil society groups and bloggers who today expressed their solidarity and support to Raja Petra Kamarudin and author/blog commentator Syed Akbar Ali, who were separately charged with sedition yesterday.

They are:

Dr Lim Tech Ghee
Centre for Policy Initiatives

Ahirudin Attan
President, Interim Council
National Alliance of Bloggers

Wong Chin Huat
Writer Alliance for Media Independence

Gayathry V.
Executive Director
Centre of Independent Journalism

Ser Choon Ing
Chairman of Civil Rights Committee
KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall

Yap Sui Seng
Executive Director

Ho Yock Lin
Empower Malaysia


Najib: It's Not Politically Motivated..

and it's not a clampdown on bloggers, said the Deputy Prime Minister.

"He reminded bloggers and Internet users that there were laws pertaining to sedition, defamation and libel.

"Just because you operate in cyberspace does not mean that you are absolved from having to comply with the nation’s laws," he said in Mersing today, when asked to comment on the recent case involving Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin.

Asked about the timing of the arrest, which made the Government look unpopular, he said: "I do not think so. We have to draw the line between what is right and wrong".

Najib said that in any case, it was up to the Attorney-General to see if there was a case.

"This is not politically-motivated," he said Wednesday after accompanying Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah during a one-day working visit to the military's special forces base here."

(Source: The Star)

I'm not sure whether there are more people out there who are angry, or more who think that the government did the right thing by slapping the Sedition Act on Raja Petra Kamaruddin and author Syed Akbar Ali.

But I don't think I'm wrong to say that there are very many angry Malaysians out there.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A Day (Or Two) In Jail For RPK he waits for the RM5,000 bail to be posted.

Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra kamaruddin was charged with sedition in the Petaling Jaya Magistrate Court 1 at noon today.
His trial has been set for Oct 6 2008.

According to Rocky's Bru, RPK is being defended by 7 lawyers.
"There were 4 Members of Parliament at the Court for RPK: Wan Azizah, Karpal Singh, Gobind Deo, and William Leong.
RPK declined to post bail today. Gobind says "we will appeal to the rakyat to contribute to a fund to raise bail for Raja Petra."
RPK will spend time in Sungei Buloh from today until a time when the RM5000 is raised and posted

more HERE

Monday, May 05, 2008

Catholic Weekly Herald Case....

The High Court has agreed to review a government order which disallowed Catholic weekly Herald from using the word 'Allah' in its BM articles.

Justice Lau Bee Lan, from the appellate and special powers division, read her decision to grant leave to the court to review the government order in a packed courtroom today.

In her swiftly-read judgment, she dismissed senior federal counsel Azizah Haji Nawawi’s argument that the declarations sought for by the Herald should be dealt with in a civil suit and not through a judicial review which is only restricted to orders made by the ministry.

“With regret I find the SFC’s (senior federal counsel’s) argument not substantial and I am in agreement with Porres Royan (Herald’s counsel) that it is premature for these issues to be raise at the leave stage.

“The issues concerning the declarations should be determined at the merit stage. The learned SFC’s objections to the declarations sought is without merit and is therefore dismissed,” she said during her 15-minute judgment.

On March 19, applicant Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of KL Murphy Pakiam filed for a judicial review against the internal security minister and the government over the order that banned the Herald from using the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia section of the publication.

(source: Malaysiakini)

Read Haris Ibrahim's posting here.

Longer Maternity Leave For Women In The Workforce

I heard this over the radio as I was driving home from my morning climb up Bukit Kiara.

I think it's good news for women in the workforce in the five Pakatan Rakyat-led states.

This is a start. There a re lot of other "women" issues that should also be looked into. But I suppose they're taking it one step at a time.

In this case, I hope there are no hitches and that no one loses out.

SHAH ALAM, May 4 (Bernama) -- The five Pakatan Rakyat-led state governments have agreed to extend the 60-day paid maternity leave for public sector employees in their states, and are to work out the number of additional days according to the needs and demands in each state.

The new leave will only be implemented after the leaders of the five states -- Selangor, Kelantan, Perak, Penang and Kedah -- sit down together to fine-tune the needs and demands in each state.

Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin asked to be allowed time to fine-tune the matter at state level "and then we will sit down together and decide what's best for the five states".

He spoke at a news conference after a workers assembly here Sunday. Also present were Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim; Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin; PAS Vice-President Datuk Husam Musa who represented the Kelantan menteri besar; Kedah Rural Development, Entrepreneur Development and Public Works Committee chairman Phahrolrazi Zawawi who represented the Kedah menteri besar and Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud.

Women employees in the public sector are now entitled to 60 days of paid maternity leave for a maximum of five times.

Mohammad Fairus said the Penang government was considering extending the leave up to 75 days by taking into account locality and the people's acceptance in the state.

Abdul Khalid said the Selangor government planned to implement a 90-day maternity leave and between seven and 10 days additional leave for men whose wives were on maternity leave.

"The state government, MTUC, public and private sector workers' organisations or Cuepacs have to hold further discussions so that no one will lose out when the facility is implemented," he said.

Husam said the Kelantan government proposed to give 10 days of additional leave prior to delivery to women who found it difficult to work in an advanced state of pregnancy.

Mohammad Nizar said the Perak government was compiling data to determine whether it was possible to extend the maternity leave to 65 or 70 days.

Phahrolrazi said the Kedah government might adopt the measures to be implemented by the Kelantan government in the matter. -- BERNAMA

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Malaysian Women And Solo Travel Abroad.. this the solution to the problem?
Is there a problem in the first place that needs a solution?

If we are so worried about women being used as "drug mules', then we should tackle it differently.

Having said that, I've always been amazed at how "naive" these women are. You'd think that they'd learn from previous reported cases. But, no....they fall prey to these crooks -- wittingly or unwittingly, I really can't tell.

Still, I feel so sorry for them and their families.

Read this:

Local women intending to travel alone abroad may need family consent in a bid to prevent them from being used as 'drug mules' by international syndicates.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said a proposal to this effect would be made soon, following several incidents where the women were used to smuggle drugs overseas.
Out of 119 cases of Malaysian women hauled up before foreign courts, he said his ministry detected 90 per cent as being linked to drugs.
"Last night, my ministry, together with the home ministry, have jointly forwarded a report to the Cabinet on the matter.
"Both ministries agreed that factors like family, religion, immigration laws and preventive measures need to be considered before a Malaysian woman goes abroad alone," Rais told reporters after officiating the Malaysian Silambam Association's Jelebu branch here Saturday.
On the proposed requirement of family consent, he said it would enable the woman's family to monitor her departure and serve as a preventive measure against being duped by international drug syndicates.
Rais said a family should know the purpose of a woman's trip as to whether it was for study, business or other reasons.
"We are not sure the call will be taken up but we think it is an early necessary step to protect our citizens and safeguard the country's image," he added.
Asked what assistance his ministry could provide if local women were caught, Rais said: "We can only give advice and guidance to their families as we cannot interfere in or influence the laws of the country concerned."
Cases of local women caught in foreign countries for drug smuggling after being duped by international drug syndicates have parents worried here.
Recently, local newspapers reported that two Malaysian women, Norfaizura Azura Md Lias, 28, and Dayang Sakienah Mat Lazim, 20, were detained in Malta for allegedly smuggling drugs.--BERNAMA

Selangor ACA To Probe Balkis..

That's good to know.

Here's from NST Online:

SHAH ALAM: The Anti-Corruption Agency will investigate alleged irregularities in the accounts of Balkis following a report by Parti Keadilan Rakyat yesterday.

Selangor ACA director Ja'afar Mahad said the probe would focus on expenditure by the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation.

He said although there were claims of irregularities in the transfer of RM9.9 million in Balkis funds to Bakti (Association of Wives of Ministers and Deputy Ministers), this did not fall under the agency's purview.

He said allegations about the legality of the transfer were more along the lines of criminal breach of trust.


Freeing The Press...

Today is World Press Freedom Day.

Today is a day we raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and to remind our government of its duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom .

Our Press is far from free. Let's continue our fight for Press freedom. Let's fight to remove the shackles that are constricting and restricting our media from doing what it is supposed to be doing -- informing the public truthfully, without prejudices, without fear or favour, without any interference.

Tomorrow, at 2pm at the Annexe, Central Market, Kuala Lumpur, join BENAR, a civil society group that is promoting Truth In Reporting. Click here.

Meanwhile, join us in calling for the repeal of all draconian and outdated laws regulating the Press, including the Printing Presses and Publications Act!

Friday, May 02, 2008

RPK Released After 2-hour Questioning....

Raja Petra Kamaruddin was released after he was questioned for two hours (from 4pm) by police at the Commercial Crime Division at Jalan Dato Onn, Kuala Lumpur.

Wearing a yellow t-shirt and a pair of jeans, a smiling RPK told waiting reporters and bloggers that he was being investigated under Section 4C of the Sedition Act for his article "Let's Send The Altantuya's Murderers To Hell" in Malaysia Today.

"For two hours, they tried to persuade me to make a statement, I refused to answer any question or have my statement taken. They threatened to charge me for refusing to make a statement. I told them to go ahead and arrest me or release me right now. And I told them that if they let me walk out of here, I don't want to see their faces again. Don't disturb me anymore. I gave them two choices, arrest me now or let me go."

However, RPK thinks that "this is not over yet".

He was accompanied his lawyer, William Leong who is MP for Selayang. His wife, Marina, was waiting outside the premises.

MP for Wangsa Maju Wee Choo Keong, who arrived after 5pm, asked to see RPK but was not allowed. (Read Rocky's Bru).

Earlier in the morning. seven policemen visited RPK at his home today and confiscated his laptop and CPU.

He was to go in for an "interview" at 11am tomorrow but the time was rescheduled to 4pm today.

Al-Fatihah: Tan Sri Nasimuddin SM Amin

I received a text message from a good friend, Mufti Jantan (in California, USA) who said that Tan Sri Nasimuddin - the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Naza Group passed away about 2am today (Malaysian time) at the Long Beach Hospital in California.
He was 53.

He had been battling lung cancer.

His body was taken to the Vermont Islamic Centre to be prepared for prayers.

A tahlil will be held tonight at an Islamic centre in Los Angeles.

I understand that his remains will be brought home the soonest possible.

My deepest condolences to his family who is in LA.

May Allah bless his soul and may he rest in peace.


Rosmah: Don't Believe Stories About Me...

We all must have heard those "horror" stories about Rosmah Mansor, wife of our DPM. Some of us believe these tales. Some of us don't.

For the most part, these stories are unverified.

Last night, Rosmah responded to those "internet stories".

"They are slanderous allegations and are not true."

Here's from Malaysiakini:

Those who need clarifications should ask her directly, she said.

“Whatever you read on the Internet, don’t telan bulat-bulat (take it as it is),” the Star quoted her as saying today.

"I guarantee that all the stories on the Internet about me are not true,” she said in her speech at a charity event in Kuala Lumpur last night.

Rosmah was responding to certain allegations about her published recently on the Internet and expressed disappointment that some resorted to deceit.

However, she did not detail the allegations against her.

“When I am patient and quiet, people resort to slander. I kept quiet previously thinking that people can decide for themselves but now even ridiculous stories are being believed.

Fitnah (Slander) is not a small sin that can be easily forgiven especially when it involves trying to bring disrepute to others,” she said.

“Don’t believe those who use deceit to get positions. They are willing to fool the community to get what they want. May Allah forgive them and may they return to the right path,” Rosmah added.

Najib Has Never Met Altantuya

Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak will not hesitate to seek legal redress over unfounded and unfair allegations made against him in the case involving murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.

In a letter sent to Malaysia Today website, the DPM’s press secretary Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad said Najib did not know and had never met Altantuya, and that it was unfair that the allegations had been made against Najib in the case.

Tengku Sariffuddin was referring to an article titled “Let’s Send the Altantuya Murderers to Hell” published in Malaysia Today website on Friday, which was written by Raja Petra Kamarudin.

Tengku Sariffuddin said Najib shared the sentiment with the writer that the matter was not about politics and that this case should seek out the truth and justice should be served.

However, he said it was clear that there were those who were not interested in finding justice for Altantuya, but rather the politics connected to the case.

Tengku Sariffuddin said the article, which alleged that Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor were implicated in Altantuya’s murder, contained “hearsay”.

He said it gave the impression that the police investigations into the case and the legal proceedings were flawed and were designed to hide the real perpetrators.

The case, he added, was a private matter involving Razak and several policemen implicated in the case.

Tengku Sariffuddin also said the allegations that Altantuya’s murder was linked to the country’s purchase of submarines were baseless and unfounded.

“Datuk Seri Najib has been very restrained and guarded in making any public statement on the matter since people known to him have been implicated and have been charged in court.

“It (making statement about the matter) could be misinterpreted or seen to be interfering in the case since the court proceedings is still on-going,” he added.

(source: The Star)

Raja Petra Kamaruddin (of Malaysia Today) replies H E R E.

Raising Balkis In The State Assembly..

A DAP state representative will be seeking to raise questions about the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation (Balkis) when the Selangor state assembly convenes on May 21.

Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San said he would be asking about the action, which would be taken against those who abused their power, especially in transferring the RM9.9mil.

Lau added that other aspects of his questions were on investigations conducted by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) on Balkis being dissolved and its land and financial matters, and seeking a complete list of activities conducted by Balkis from 2004 until 2007.

“I hope that the Balkis office and RoS can furnish all the relevant information to the state government office or it could be a breach of state assembly’s privilege if the relevant offices refuse to furnish such information,” said Lau.

(Source: The Star)

You can be sure the BN reps will be pussyfooting the issue as much as they can.

Che Det, The Blogger

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has finally started his own blog -- H E R E (

Welcome to blogosphere, Sir!

Good for you, Tun. We're glad that you have finally started your own blog.

Rocky and I were probably among the first few who asked him to blog. In fact, we could well have been the first to plant the idea in his head.

At a luncheon gathering at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, held in his honour in 2006, Dr Mahathir was articulating several issues and lamented that "people should know about these things". Seated near him were two former group editors of mainstream media and several former and serving civil servants, and corporate leaders.

Dr Mahathir had asked how could he get these issues across to people.

I remember saying, from across the table: "Blog, Tun. You should blog about about these issues."

He grinned and feigned surprise: "Blog? "

"Yes, you should," chipped in Rocky.

Dr Mahathir said he didn't think he would have the time to blog.

I don't know whether he ever thought about blogging after that. Probably not.

But well, Tun. Looks like you must have thought about it lately, and have found the time to blog now.

Dr Mahathir's first posting is "The Appointment Of Judges". And at my last count, he had 382 comments.

Keep them coming, Tun!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Celebrating Workers!

Today we celebrate the International Workers’ day or May Day.

"This day was chosen more than 100 years ago to commemorate the struggles and gains of workers and the labour movement.

Most notable reasons to celebrate are the 8-hour day, Saturday as part of the weekend, improved working conditions and child labor laws. But these gains were not attained without the solidarity of workers

So, we are not forgetting our brothers and sisters -- in Malaysia and the rest of the world -- who are working under poor conditions and are being exploited, oppressed and suppressed.

Viva solidaridad!