Saturday, June 26, 2010

Johor's Sultan Ibrahim Wants The Bridge

...and the PM says he'll look into it.

I'm not going into a debate on whether or not the bridge project should be revived. I've already said my piece on the subject.

Let's see where this will take us following the new development on Tanjung Pagar.

I stand corrected, but I've been told that the people of Johor are with the Sultan on this.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Hero From Sungai Siput...

I know Shamsul Akmar, one of the six Malaysians on board the Gaza-bound MV Rachel Corrie that was seized by the Israelis last week, must have been reluctant to accept the invitation to his homecoming -- with a hero's welcome to boot.

I reckon he must have finally relented, seeing that it was his hometown of Sungai Siput, and among kin and kith, family and friends.

Shamsul Akmar Musa Kamal, 47, has been passionate about Palestine and the plight of the Palestinians. Anyone who's been with him, around him --- and not necessarily long enough -- knows that.

A journalist for more than two decades, Shamsul Akmar began his journalistic career with the NST. He later joined the Star and, much later, returned to the NST where he was made the deputy political editor and columnist.
In 2004, he left the newspaper but freelanced as a writer. He later became special officer to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

Shamsul Akmar is a graduate of Universiti Teknologi Mara and holds a Masters Degree in War Studies from King's College, University of London.

He is not new to being in dangerous situations in conflict areas. He was on (NST) assignment in Iraq at the height of the US invasion and occupation in 2003, and, before that, in Acheh.

Shamsul was also with the Viva Palestina humanitarian convoy from London to Gaza via Egypt in December last year.

Welcoming their "wira" at the town centre were some 200 people, including Lintang assemblyman Ahamad Pakeh Adam who organised the event with the support of local non-governmental organisations.
Shamsul's wife Hasinah Mohd Ali, 42, and daughters Anis Syuhada, 19, and Anis Juhanna, 15 were with him but his parents Musa Kamal Jabanullah, 73, and Ramlah Mohd Dawi, 71, were unable to be there.

*Shamsul has written three instalments of his journey on the Rachel Corrie for the NST. Read them HERE, HERE and HERE.

(Caption: Top pix- Shamsul gets a hero's welcome. Bottom pix: Baca doa. Pix, courtesy NST)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

NURIN Alert On NISHA, 2 Years Old

Name: Nisha Chandramohan
Age: 2 years old
Mssing since June 4, 2010
Last seen in Mentakab, Pahang.

Please contact: 999 or Nisha's father, Govindasamy @ 016-9353400

The search for little Nisha continues.
G. Chandramohan, 24, and his wife, Wong Lai Lan, 21, are praying that their daughter will be found.

The toddler went missing after being taken out for a walk by a relative who was not able to recollect what happened to the child.

The RHB Bank, Mentakab branch, has helped in distributing 1,000 missing person's posters bearing Nisha's face and contact details in Mentakab and Temerloh.

The sad thing is the family has been receiving crank calls.

We pray for her safety and well-being, and hope she will be found soon.

Click HERE for the story.

*About NURIN Alert: The suggestion to have a system similar to AMBER Alert was made in 2007 following the brutal murder of 8 year-old Nurin Jazlin Jazimin whose crumpled body was found stuffed in a sports bag on September 17, 28 days after she had gone missing.
There was public outrage and outcry following the discovery of her body.

It looked good to be incorporated into a government machinery when Shahrizat Jalil was Women, Family and Community Development Minister.

When Ng Yen Yen took over, she had other plans. However, she did say that a similar mechanism was being put in place, under the minsitry's child protection plan.

But it is not called NURIN Alert.

I can tell you that there was no such mechanism ever discussed by the ministry before the suggestion was made by the concerned group of bloggers.

No matter. I'm going to call it NURIN Alert.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dr Chua Jui Meng - former MCA vice-president and health minister doesn't know why the Johor Palace has stripped him of his 2 state datukships.
Dr Chua, who is now Parti Keadilan Rakyat supreme council member, is convinced Johor Umno is behind it.

But Johor Umno has denied this.

Rocky decided to find out what's going on.

This afternoon, the palace held a Press conference on the matter. Dr Chua is one of the four people who have been stripped of their datukships. The other three are not politicians.

Check out the latest on this in the news.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The 10MP

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today (Thursday) outlined five key strategic thrusts under the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP) to enable Malaysia become a high-income and developed nation by 2020.

The prime minister said that to move in that direction, Malaysia had to draw up a new approach which emphasised quality human capital, innovation and creativity, and the government had to operate as a competitive corporation.

When tabling the 10MP in the Dewan Rakyat, Najib said Malaysia could no longer depend on a low-cost structure to remain competitive internationally because globalisation, liberalisation and the emergence of countries, such as China, India, Brazil, Russia, the Middle East and countries in the region, had intensified the competition for trade and investment.

Read the rest of the report here.

Here's the latest from the Malay Mail.

Check out for updates in the news.

And what is Greater Kuala Lumpur?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

High And Higher

Well. This didn't come from me. I didn't say it. They all did.

But aah. As always. There will be sour grapes, party poopers et al.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Six Malaysians On MV Rachel Corrie Arriving Home Today


Shamsul Akmar Musa Kamal and Matthias Chang of Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO) and four others -- Parit Member of Parliament Mohd Nizar Zakaria, Ahmad Faizal Azumu, and Halim Mohamed and Mohd Jufri Judin of TV3 -- arrived at KLIA at 7.12pm, from Amman, Jordan.

They were together with five Irish nationals on board the MV Rachel Corrie carrying humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza.

My earlier posting:

The MV Rachel Corrie carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza went as far as it could -- but not far enough, said Shamsul Akmar Musa Kamal, one of the 11 passengers on board the ship.

"We tried our best, but our best was not good enough," he said on arrival in Amman, Jordan.

The MV Rachel Corrie failed in its attempt to break the Israeli siege on Gaza because Israeli forces intercepted it and escorted it to Israel's Ashdod Port.

The passengers were detained in Israel and later sent to Amman, Jordan.

Today, Shamsul Akmar and the five other Malaysians are on their way home and are scheduled to land at KLIA at 7.30pm.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

MV Rachel Corrie Attempts To break the Blockade

... but crew and passengers will offer no resistance if Israeli forces attack.

We are hopeful that they are unharmed and safe, whatever course they have to take. Our prayers are with them.


Ashdod, (Israel): Israeli naval commandos seized an Irish-owned aid ship headed for Gaza Saturday morning, officials said.

The Israel military said it boarded the ship by sea with the compliance of the crew 35 kilometers (22 miles) off the Gaza coast.

The ship was being towed to Ashdod, Israel, where its cargo will be offloaded and screened, the military said. No helicopters were used, the military said.

Free Gaza movement spokeswoman Mary Hughes said the passengers of the MV Rachel Corrie were unharmed.

"This is unacceptable to be happening in international waters," she said.

Click HERE for the rest of the story.

my earlier posting:

We've had no contact yet with either Shamsul or Matthias. So, the latest Reuters report from Jerusalem will have to do:

The Israeli navy prepared to board another aid ship bound for Gaza on Saturday, as Washington condemned as "unsustainable" a blockade which Israel enforced earlier in the week by killing 9 people aboard a Turkish vessel.

Irish and other activists on the Rachel Corrie ignored orders to divert to Israel's Ashdod port. Should it continue to approach the Palestinian enclave, the navy would board the vessel, an Israeli military spokeswoman said.

The stand-off in the Mediterranean came as Washington, Israel's key ally, said its blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip was "unsustainable and must be changed" -- the clearest sign yet of a shake-up in the embargo that has blighted the lives of 1.5 million Palestinians for the past four years.

Turkey, once Israel's main Muslim ally, has kept up its fury over the deaths of 9 Turkish nationals in the raid on Monday. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan harangued Israel on Friday about ignoring the Biblical commandment "Thou shalt not kill."

Autopsy results, as reported by a British newspaper, found 30 bullets in the activists who died. Among the victims was a Turk with U.S. citizenship.

A spokeswoman for the Free Gaza campaign group, whose contact with the crew was patchy, said warships had been sighted by the freighter around dawn, before 6 a.m. (0300 GMT).

Israeli spokeswoman Lieutenant-Colonel Avital Liebovich said the ship, named after an American activist killed in the Gaza Strip, had ignored radio calls to divert. "If they won't leave us any choice, we'll have to board the ship," she said.


Pro-Palestinian protester Rachel Corrie was killed by an Israeli army bulldozer in 2003.

Israel says its blockade of the Gaza Strip, tightened after Islamist Hamas seized the enclave from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction in 2007, aims to keep out arms.

Washington urged the Gaza aid vessel to divert to an Israeli port to reduce the risk of violence, but also stated its belief that the controversial blockade could not last in its current form.

"We are working urgently with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and other international partners to develop new procedures for delivering more goods and assistance to Gaza," a spokesman for the White House National Security Council said.

"The current arrangements are unsustainable and must be changed. For now, we call on all parties to join us in encouraging responsible decisions by all sides to avoid any unnecessary confrontations," he added in a statement.

Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said: "Those on board the Rachel Corrie have indicated that they are ready to accept inspection of their cargo at sea, prior to docking in Gaza."


Autopsy results on the nine dead Turkish activists from Monday's raid showed they had been shot a total of 30 times, many at close range, Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on Saturday. Five were killed by gunshots to the head, it said.

Turkish-American activist Fulkan Dogan was shot five times from less than 45 cm (18 inches) away, in the face, the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back, the paper said. In addition to those killed, 48 others received gunshot wounds and six activists were still missing.

In his angriest rhetoric yet, Erdogan accused the Jewish state on Friday of violating its own Bible:

"I am speaking to them in their own language. The sixth commandment says 'thou shalt not kill'. Did you not understand?" Erdogan said in a televised speech to party supporters.

"I'll say again. I say in English 'you shall not kill'. Did you still not understand?. So I'll say to you in your own language. I say in Hebrew 'Lo Tirtzakh'."

Ties between Turkey and Israel have soured badly and Ankara is threatening to rethink its entire relationship with the Jewish state. Protesters sang Turkey's praises at rallies in Egypt and Lebanon on Friday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a forum of senior ministers on Friday to discuss the arrival of the Rachel Corrie and actions to be taken following the international criticism Israel faced after Monday's events.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Time Off For teachers...

PASIR PUTEH (June 4, 2010) - Principals and headmasters of primary and secondary school must allow teachers in their respective schools to go on leave for at least two Saturdays in a month to reduce their stress.

Education Ministry Director-general Tan Sri Alimuddin Mohd Dom said they (principals and headmasters) cannot force teachers to be involved in co-curriculum or academic activities every Saturday.

"A circular has been issued to all schools regarding the matter," he told reporters at Sekolah Menengah Sains Pasir Puteh here last night when commenting on grouses and complaints from teachers that headmasters and principals were forcing them to conduct extra classes every Saturday.

Alimuddin said schools can have extra curricular activities on alternate Saturdays, based on a roster, to give time for teachers to spend some time with their families.

He added that if a public holiday happens to fall on a Saturday, schools cannot force teachers to be on duty.

Meanwhile, speaking of reports that four students in Terengganu had given birth while another 16 were pregnant, Alimuddin said he had already directed the state Education Department to carry out a detailed investigation as it was a very serious issue.

Reports have said that Form Three and Form Six students had given birth at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital last year while the latest was a Form Three student who gave birth to a baby boy last Sunday.

Alimuddin said schools should not be blamed for such social ills because it involved parents and the community. - BERNAMA

They're No Soldiers.

...these people aboard the Freedom Flotilla -- the humanitarian convoy that were intercepted by the Israeli forces as it sailed towards Gaza.

But, in my book, they are brave and courageous men and women.

I can only talk about the suffering of the people of Gaza. The best I can do is to attend fund-raising events for them.
But, I haven't volunteered to join any mission to Gaza. I'm not sure I will. Just not brave enough, perhaps.

The last boat of this convoy is the MV Rachel Corrie.

Journalist Shamsul Akmar Musa Kamal of Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO) is aboard the Rachel Corrie together with 10 others -- 5 Malaysians and 5 Irish nationals.

Sometime today, all contact was lost with the Rachel Corrie, due to, we suspect, Israel's jamming of all connection.

We pray for their safe passage and the safety of the passengers.
God speed!


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Malaysian Volunteers Seized By Israeli Forces Are Safe

...and sound. In good spirits too, according to Malaysian ambassador to Jordan Abdul Malek Abdul Aziz .

He had accompanied them to Jordan after their release.

The 12 Malaysian volunteers were on board the Mavi Marmara that was attacked by Israel while sailing to Gaza on Monday.

They were then detained by Israeli authorities.

Read THIS too.

Meanwhile, the Rachel Corrie is now the sole ship on the international freedom flotilla moving towards Gaza.

On board are 6 Malaysians -- lawyer Matthias Chang, Parit MP Nizar Zakaria, activist Faizal Azumu, TV3 journalist Halim Mohamed, TV3 crew member Jufri Junid and Shamsul Akmar Musa Kamal -- and 5 Irish nationals including former UN assistant secretary-general Denis Halliday who is also an advisory panel member of Perdana Global peace Organisation and Nobel Prize laureate Mairead Maguire.

They are reported to be safe, so far.

Here is a statement from them:

"The Malaysian and Irish peace and humanitarian activists aboard share their deepest grief and sense of loss with the loved ones of those killed and injured in the illegal action undertaken by Israel on Monday 31st May 2010 in the international waters of the Mediterranean.

In the names of our friends, we are more determined than ever to continue into Gaza with our humanitarian cargo and our support for the blockaded and suffering people of Gaza.

We expect Israel to respond to the international condemnation of its violence by not impeding by any means the safe passage of the Rachel Corrie.

We appeal to the international community and United Nations to continue to demand Israel our safe passage into Gaza."

Click HERE to get the link.