(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – On the eve of President Obama’s visit to Malaysia, Amnesty International USA urges him to publicly address the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.
The President must send a clear message to the Malaysian authorities that increasing restrictions on free speech and ongoing human rights violations by the police are unacceptable and incompatible with the country’s human rights obligations.
“President Obama’s visit to Malaysia – the first of a U.S. President in almost 50 years – offers a crucial opportunity to push the authorities on much needed human rights reforms,” said T. Kumar, Director of International Advocacy, Amnesty International USA.
A series of recent developments demonstrate the increasingly restrictive space in which civil society, human rights defenders and opposition politicians can operate in Malaysia.
In March this year, a court in Malaysia overturned the acquittal of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on politically motivated “sodomy” charges. The authorities have consistently harassed him for years, in a blatant attempt to silence one of the opposition’s most important voices.
In another case, human rights defender Lena Hendry is facing politically motivated charges as a result of her legitimate work. She was arrested on July 3, 2013 and subsequently charged under the Film Censorship Act 2002 for screening a documentary about alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.
In January 2014, the government declared illegal the civil society grouping COMANGO – a coalition of Malaysian non-governmental organizations formed to raise human rights concerns at the United Nations.
“Human rights in Malaysia are increasingly coming under attack, and President Obama must speak out on behalf of all those whose voices are being silenced by the Malaysian authorities,” continued Kumar.
President Obama should demand the repeal or else amendment of the range of laws used by the Malaysian authorities to arrest and imprison activists and human rights defenders and to curtail free speech. These include the notorious Sedition Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Printing Press and Publications Act and the Peaceful Assembly Act.
Amnesty International USA also urges President Obama to highlight continuing human rights violations committed by the Malaysian police. There are ongoing reports of torture, other ill-treatment and deaths in police custody, fatal shootings and excessive use of force and firearms. Many such allegations are not adequately investigated and suspected perpetrators are rarely held to account, creating a climate of impunity which perpetuates further violations.
“President Obama should tell Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that enough is enough – Malaysia’s human rights record must improve,” said Kumar.
For 15 years, the people of Malaysia have been immersed in our own Arab Spring. After enduring a corrupt and authoritarian regime for more than five decades, an era has emerged in which we are standing up for our rights.
For the first time in our history, the voices of reform and democracy represent the majority. In last year's general election, the popular vote in favor of the opposition would have swept from power the authoritarian regime of Najib Razak and the party that has ruled Malaysia since its independence in 1957. In its place would have been the Pakatan Rakyat (People's Alliance), poised to push the nation on the path to greater freedom and democracy. Alas, widespread fraud and devious gerrymandering perpetrated by the ruling party, a situation the White House noted, affected the outcome. A study conducted by Harvard ranked Malaysia as having one of the worst records on electoral integrity in the world.
Despite this setback, the Malaysian people have remained steadfast. Despite anger and frustration over our government's continued corruption and abuse of power, we have pursued a peaceful approach to educating and engaging with the masses. Thousands have come to hear our message and embrace our cause.
President Obama's visit to Malaysia this weekend comes at a pivotal time. It would be an opportune moment to live up to the ideals Obama espoused in his campaign and the early days of his administration. Then, there was hope that U.S. engagement with Muslim countries would be based on mutual respect and mutual interest. Yet as the Arab Spring came and went, hope was eclipsed by disappointment. It is baffling that the United States can talk about a democratic transition in Egypt today as hundreds of innocent people are sentenced to death while thousands languish in prison.
In Malaysia, there is an opportunity to take a different path.
Our agenda for Malaysia is straightforward. We envision a nation that enforces the rule of law; a country where judges are independent of executive influence, the media are free and the election commission conducts its affairs unfettered by the dictates of the ruling party. We would fight corruption by guaranteeing the independence of the Anticorruption Commission and removing the laws that make government procurements opaque.
In our Malaysia, all media would be independent and free to shine sunlight on excesses of power, be they in government or the private sector. Most certainly we would repeal draconian laws, such as the Sedition Act, so they cannot be used to muzzle political opponents. In our pursuit of a robust and dynamic economy, social justice principles would prevail over unfettered accumulation of wealth by the rich and powerful. Rent-seeking projects would no longer be allowed to be masqueraded as infrastructure spending, nor would the misappropriation of state funds be permitted under the guise of subsidy cuts while higher and higher taxes are foisted on the middle and lower classes to pay the bills.
In tending to the needs of all races, the Pakatan Rakyat envisions a pluralistic society in which moderate Islam coexists harmoniously with other faiths whose espousal is a fundamental liberty under the federal constitution. It would be a far cry from the diabolical politics of the ruling party, which purveys to the Western world its facade of moderation in religious and race relations while pursuing a policy of race baiting and incitement to religious hatred — abuses widelydocumented by groups including Suaram and Human Rights Watch. With the print and electronic media under the regime's full control, rumors are spread about an imminent government takeover by Christians, threats of violence are hurled against non-Muslims, Bibles are seized and bishops get hauled in by the police for interrogation. My address to a congregation in a Catholic church one Sunday was condemned as an act of apostasy.
No doubt Malaysia's media will shower praises on the regime in the wake of Obama's visit. Malaysia has descended to 145th place on the Reporters Without Borders index of media freedom, so it takes some effort for Malaysians to get the truth. And the truth is that the U.S. pivot to Asia should not merely be about trade and investment or the creation of alliances of the world's great powers, important as these goals may be. The values of freedom and democracy must remain paramount, and even if Wilsonian idealism appears to be on the wane, Jeffersonian ideals still resonate with the people in this part of the world.
Anwar Ibrahim Published in the Opinions section, Washington Post 25 April 2014
It has been widely reported that you won't be meeting Malaysia's Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim during your visit to Malaysia that begins tomorrow.
If this is indeed true, it would be an astonishing betrayal by a country that has often portrayed itself as a world champion of democracy and human rights.
It also sends an unmistakable signal to corrupt and abusive governments everywhere that disrespect human rights. The curtailing of democratic governance will be overlooked in exchange for pro-American policies.
Mr President, you should re-read the US Declaration of Independence and remind yourself of American's guiding principles, particularly the part about being endowed "with certain unalienable Rights… [including] Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The inalienable rights of Malaysians are under threat today, as never before. All democratic nations should therefore be rightly be concerned.
If such rights are only for Americans, America has no right to claim moral leadership in the world, but if they be for all men, as America's founding fathers clearly intended, you, Mr President, have a moral obligation to passionately affirm and defend them, both in word and deed, wherever you go.
It cannot be that you are unaware of what is going on in Malaysia – the corruption and abuse of power, the tainted elections, the harassment and jailing of opposition leaders, the racial and religious incitement, the intolerance of dissent and the narrowing of our democratic space.
No, one has to reach the unhappy conclusion that you have chosen to remain silent, to close your eyes, to shut your ears to what's going on in order to maintain good relations with the Najib Abdul Razak Administration, for political and economic gains and strategic advantages. Moderate Islamic democracy?
To provide yourself with political cover, your administration has taken to referring to Malaysia as a "moderate Islamic democracy". That is nothing more than a chimera built on Malaysian government propaganda.
In the first place, there is no such thing as an "Islamic" democracy or a "Christian" democracy for that matter; a nation is either democratic or it is not. And increasingly, we, Malaysia, are not.
Of course, the majority of our people are Muslim and proud of it. However, that does not make us an Islamic state. If you care to study our constitution, you will find that we are, constitutionally, a secular state.
Listen to what our founding father, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, had to say when he read Malaysia's proclamation of independence in 1957 in our name: "We will be forever a sovereign democratic and independent state founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of its people…"
Foreign leaders who refer to Malaysia as an Islamic state or an Islamic democracy, therefore, do enormous damage to our secular constitutional foundations.
As for moderation, Thomas Paine once remarked that “moderation in principle is always a vice".
We don't need moderation in the pursuit of justice or moderation in the number of people tortured and killed in our prisons ,or moderation in the fight against corruption or moderation in the harassment of racial and religious minorities.
These are not moderation, but vice. They are suffocating our democracy, destroying our freedom, undermining our institutions and looting our national wealth. A government that exploits everything
All this to say, Mr President, is that the so-called moderate Islamic democracy that you speak of is simply non-existent. What we have is a government that cynically and opportunistically exploits both religion and the trappings of our democracy, which remain, to stay in power.
As for Anwar Ibrahim, whether it is convenient for you or not, he is the leader of the opposition. The multiracial and multi-religious coalition he leads (Pakatan Rakyat) won the majority of the popular votes cast in our last general election.
As your own State Department would no doubt have briefed you, only fraud and gerrymandering kept him from taking his rightful place as prime minister of our nation.
Anwar Ibrahim, therefore, has a greater claim to speak for Malaysia than anyone else. If you want to understand our hopes and aspirations, speak to him. Ignore him and you trample upon our long struggle to build a better and more just nation.
Whatever it is, you cannot come to our country and treat the parliamentary opposition leader in such a callous and contemptuous manner. It is like spitting on our democracy! It is like going to Myanmar and refusing to meet Aung Sang Suu Kyi.
Furthermore, given the persecution, harassment and recent sentencing of Anwar Ibrahim on trumped-up charges of sodomy in a trial that has almost universally been condemned, your refusal to meet him will be seen as an endorsement of the Najib Administration's manipulation of the justice system to incarcerate a political opponent and stymie hopes for democratic change.
Remember what you once said, Mr President
You might as well be on hand to turn the key to Anwar's cell and lock him up for what might be the last years of his life.
If you keep silent at this time, if you decline to meet him, you are as guilty of this travesty of justice as Malaysia's government is.
Martin Luther King Jr., one of your own heroes, said, "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
And, Mr President, you yourself once said: “When the United States stands up for human rights, by example at home and by effort abroad, we align ourselves with men and women around the world who struggle for the right to speak their minds, to choose their leaders, and to be treated with dignity and respect.
“We also strengthen our security and well being, because the abuse of human rights can feed many of the global dangers that we confront – from armed conflict and humanitarian crises, to corruption and the spread of ideologies that promote hatred and violence."
During your visit, Mr President Barack Obama, you will have a historic opportunity to align yourself with the struggle for justice and democracy in Malaysia. I hope you will seize this opportunity, and walk your talk.
U.S. President Barack Obama is due to travel to Malaysia on April 27, 2014. This will be a historic visit that should seek to accomplish U.S. goals in the region but also demonstrate the value of democracy and rule of law.
While this trip is seen as an opportunity for the U.S. to make headway on initiatives such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, it is also an opportunity to demonstrate U.S. adherence to democratic values. A meeting between Obama and de-facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim can help America on both ends.
In a nation that is split along ethnic lines of Malay, Chinese and Indian, Ibrahim's opposition coalition of Pakatan Rakyat holds the popular support of a majority of Malaysians. The results of Malaysia's 13th general elections, held on May 5, 2013, marked the first time since 1957 that the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition's support fell to less than 50 percent of the popular vote. Though BN lost the popular vote, it maintained control of national parliament, winning 133 of the 222 contested seats through gerrymandered electoral districts. Ibrahim's popularity and leadership as the opposition leader should not be underestimated; indeed, it should be cultivated.
Recent public opinion research in Malaysia indicates a continued slide of the government and its leader's performance based on unpopular public policies. The public opinion research firm in Malaysia, the Merdeka Center recently released a survey conducted between March 7 and March 20. The survey revealed that only 38 percent of respondents think the country is headed in the right direction. Regarding the government's handling of the economy, the survey results are similar: 39 percent are satisfied while 56 percent are dissatisfied. The Merdeka Center survey also showed that 44 percent are dissatisfied with Prime Minister Najib Razak's leadership. The level of dissatisfaction with Najib is the highest since the Merdeka Centre first tracked his performance in May 2009, a month after he took office.
With Malaysian government approval ratings diminishing and the window of political will closing, the U.S. will need to explore other partnerships that can offer hopes of success for TPP or at least mitigate strong opposition to it. By meeting with Ibrahim, this conversation can begin anew.
According to a press conference Ibrahim held in August 2013, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat bloc opposed the TPP trade agreement and believed it was not in Malaysia's national interest. Among reasons cited for opposition, Ibrahim pointed to the lack of transparency of the process, noting "the extent of secrecy in the TPP is extremely worrying." Much of the information he received about the TPP was "through leaked position papers of TPP countries" and analyzing existing American free trade agreements. Marginalizing Ibrahim and his opposition bloc will only further their concerns and add future challenges to public support for the TPP trade agreement in Malaysia.
Obama will be the first sitting president to visit Malaysia since President Lyndon B. Johnson traveled to Kuala Lumpur in 1966. Johnson was a pivotal figure in the American civil rights movement and is often credited with championing the push for greater equality – and expanded democracy in America. Nearly 50 years later, Obama now has an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to democracy and rule of law in Malaysia by meeting with Ibrahim.
Ibrahim's conviction and subsequent five year prison sentence last month was disturbing. A similar charge filed against him in 1998 was largely seen as politically motivated and ultimately resulted in the Federal Court overturning the conviction. The timing of last month's ruling was of particular concern given Ibrahim's intent to contest the March 23, 2014 Kajang state by-election in Malaysia's richest state, Selangor. Winning this election would have positioned Ibrahim to demonstrate his leadership.
Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore summarized the conviction of Ibrahim well: "It is extremely disturbing that the government of Malaysia — by continuing to press this case beyond the bounds of reason, let alone the bounds of justice — has used the courts to short-circuit the political process."
As Ibrahim looks to appeal this ruling, it is essential that the Federal Court, Malaysia's highest, view this case in a transparent and fair manner that upholds the rule of law and affords Ibrahim full protection of his legal rights. By meeting with the opposition leader, Obama would send a strong signal that America is supportive of the rule of law.
Anwar Ibrahim said recently that a meeting with Obama would have been "consistent with U.S. democratic ideals and its foreign policy of promoting freedom and justice." Indeed, it would be.
Eulogy by Anwar Ibrahim on the occasion of the memorial service for the late Karpal Singh, Tiger of Jelutong, on 24th April, 2014
Just as many of us had gone through in the early hours of 17th April, when the thunderbolt struck from out of the blue, the unintended wake-up call came with the devastating news. Stunned, shocked and stupefied. That is how I would sum up my immediate reaction.
And after getting hold of myself but still shaking I twittered my first expression of condolence, deep sorrow and devastation over the loss of "our indefatigable fighter for justice, the legendary Karpal Singh.
Later in the day, I sent out a press statement declaring there is none more valiant in life than this great mortal whose body may have perished but his spirit shall live on with us.
Indeed, on this occasion where we gather to do honour to the memory of our dearly beloved brother Karpal who, though physically departed, has left us his eternal presence for all the sacrifices he has made, all the labour of love he has given and all the pain and suffering he had endured for us.
"Footfalls echo in the memory Down the passage which we did not take Towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden."
The profound sadness of his departure can never dissipate for when something that is more precious than the worldly treasures of the world is taken from you, there can never be a replacement.
As the nation has lost a most dedicated servant, so too, the people have lost a selfless, courageous and noble defender of their rights and liberties. And even as the legal fraternity has lost one of its sharpest minds, above all and speaking here personally for myself, I indeed have lost a true friend, kind in words, noble in deed.
When in more challenging times he had given me some tongue-lashing in public, I knew there was never an iota of malice or ill-will. Which is why I took it with an open heart, looking at it as an affectionate slap on the wrist from an elder brother to his younger sibling.
I can never thank him enough for all the help he had given me these last fifteen years and I will never forget those regular visits he paid me during my time in the Sungai Buloh prison. I certainly cannot even begin to entertain the possibility of repaying him for the kindness and generosity he had shown me.
He called me at 6.30 on the eve of that fateful morning. He told me he was worried about the Federal Court appeal that was pending. Having been accustomed to the devious machinations of the powers that be, he said he was particularly troubled by the unprecedented speed at which the appeal records were sent to his office. But when I too started sounding agitated and worried, he immediately switched back to his usual cool and confident self, no doubt intending to put me at ease. Such was his magnanimity of spirit that when push comes to shove, Karpal would always be on your side.
So, we ended our long chat with his trademark parting shots: "Anwar, you carry on. Don't worry. I'll do my best!" Seven hours or so later, with those parting words still ringing in my ear, I heard the news. The angels had taken him away.
He was a man of unimpeachable moral integrity – absolutely fearless as far as mortals are concerned, forgiving to a fault and being so full of milk of human kindness, was utterly selfless in helping the oppressed and the victims of injustice.
If justice is about fairness as indeed it is, then Karpal Singh personified it. Hence, he never used underhand tactics or dirty tricks when defending his clients. He always told me: "Anwar, we will fight them tooth and nail but it will be a clean fight. No cheating. No evil schemes." That is why the fact that I was not given a fair trial was so repugnant to him that he vowed to make sure that I would be acquitted and freed no matter how long that might take.
Last Sunday, we witnessed thousands of Malaysians paying their last respects to Karpal and there is no doubt in my mind that in his life time, worldly titles did not matter to him at all. What would really matter is the high esteem the people have of him. And true to that, a sea of people stretching for miles came on the day of the funeral to send him off, showing their love, affection and respect for this great man.
As Horatio says to Hamlet upon his death, I now say to my dearly departed brother Karpal:
Now cracks a noble heart.—Good night, sweet prince,
24 April 2014 We refer to the statement dated 23rd April 2014 by the office of the Chief Registrar of the Federal Court rejecting the extension of time for filing Petition of Appeal, asked for by the late Karpal Singh’s firm; and insisting that a notice of motion (Notis Usul) be filed.
This is an unreasonable and incorrect stand for the Federal Court to take.
They are fully aware that the final date for filing the petition of appeal is 24th April 2014. This means that there was no time for any motion to be filed and heard before the time limit expired on the 24th April. Despite this the Federal Court refused to allow the application for extension of time and asked Anwar's lawyers to file a motion.
The court did not even indicate that they would be prepared to fix an urgent date to allow the motion for extension be heard before the expiry of the time limit. The court had rejected the written application for extension without consideration or sympathy for the special circumstances surrounding Karpal's Singh's sudden and tragic death.
In fact the court had full powers to allow the written application by Karpal's firm for an extension of time. The court could easily have allowed the extension under its inherent powers as stated in Rule 137 of the Federal Court Rules 1995. Rule 137 allows the Federal Court to do whatever "necessary to prevent injustice". Surely this power ought to have been exercised in view of Karpal's sudden death and the urgent deadline; and particularly so as this is a case of great public interest.
The inherent powers in Rule 137 exist precisely to cater for situations like this. It was simply impossible for Anwar's lawyers to put in a motion and get it heard before the expiry of the time limit.
We reiterate that the rejection of the written request was unjustified and constitutes a grave injustice in the circumstances of this case.
Issued by, N Surendran Latheefa Koya PARTI KEADILAN RAKYAT
WSJ.com When U.S. President Barack Obama visits Malaysia this weekend, he will be the first American president to do so since Lyndon Johnson in 1966. Kuala Lumpur will seek to take advantage of the much-anticipated trip to showcase Malaysia as a moderate Muslim-majority democracy, a model of interracial and interreligious diversity heading for developed-nation status by 2020. It will present itself as an ally in combating arms proliferation and transnational crime, and friend of the U.S. in Asia.
President Obama should not accept this fiction or defer to the Malaysian government because of regional security concerns. Instead, he would do well to note the sorry state of its human rights and call for greater respect for civil liberties.
Since the last general election in May 2013, when Prime Minister Najib Razak’s governing coalition was returned to power but lost the popular vote, racial and religious extremism has been on the rise. Pro-government extremist groups have responded to self-perceived slights and insults against the ethnic Malay majority and Islam by declaring that they are prepared to shed blood to defend their honor and sanctity.
These groups have made direct references to May 13, 1969, an infamous date in Malaysian history when race riots between Malays and Chinese led to killings in several cities and towns, and emergency rule. A 1996 fatwa forbidding the practice of Shia Islam has recently received renewed attention, leading to raids on and arrests of Shia adherents. Followers of the Ahmaddiya Islamic sect have also lately been targeted. Their prayer sessions and religious activities have been interrupted by Muslim religious authorities enforcing the state-sanctioned version of Islam.
A Malaysian Court of Appeal held in October 2013 that a Roman Catholic Church newspaper could not use the Arabic word “Allah” to refer to God. According to the court, use of the word was exclusive to Islam and not intrinsic to the practice of Christianity in Malaysia. Language has become a flashpoint in Christian-Islamic tensions. One Muslim group even suggested that using the Malay language to advertise an Easter concert meant that Christians were attempting to convert Muslims, which is an offense. The group openly questioned the very celebration of Easter, calling it un-Islamic.
Freedom of speech is also under threat. In an attempt to improve Malaysia’s human rights, a coalition of civil society groups submitted recommendations to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights back in September 2013. In January 2014, the government called these “haram,” or sinful, and declared the coalition unlawful.
Additionally, the government has renewed its use of the Sedition Act, a colonial-era law that makes it unlawful to “cause disaffection” against the government or the hereditary rulers. It has been used on everyone from politicians to social media commentators.
Clearly the public wants genuine reform. There was tremendous clamor for clean, free and fair elections in 2012, when hundreds of thousands risked tear gas, water cannons and arrest to participate in the BERSIH 3.0 peaceful protest in Kuala Lumpur. Yet the government has hardly been receptive.
Recent changes in legislation introduced by Prime Minister Najib Razak are the opposite of needed reform. They include outlawing street demonstrations, requiring a 10-day prior notification period for public assemblies, and introducing two-year without-trial detention orders, renewable indefinitely, for those alleged by the government to be involved in serious criminal offenses.
Individuals facing trial for unlawful assembly from the 2012 rally and subsequent protest gatherings have been predominantly political opponents of the Malaysian government. The most notable dissident is former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, recently convicted for sodomy, which many saw as a trumped-up charge.
Prime Minister Najib Razak has promoted Malaysia internationally as a leader in a global movement of moderation. But these actions show the government is anything but moderate. Mainstream newspapers, many of which are owned by political parties within the government, brazenly promote such double-speak. Those who dare to criticize put themselves at risk of vituperative attacks from extremist groups, police investigation and politically motivated prosecution.
President Obama needs to deftly use his public appearances and statements to demonstrate concern about what is happening in Malaysia –and to say what many Malaysians fearfully cannot. The usual mantra of moderation can no longer conceal the escalation of extremism and repression.
Mr. Khoo is co-chair of the Malaysian Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee. He writes in his personal capacity.
TOKYO, Japan – The top White House national security aide Susan Rice will meet Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim when President Barack Obama’s regional tour reaches Malaysia, a senior US official told Agence France-Presse (AFP) Thursday, April 24.
Obama is set to arrive in the Malaysian capital on Saturday, April 26, in what will be the first visit to the country by a sitting US president in nearly half a century.
He faces a political balancing act: he will be keen not to alienate his hosts and a key Southeast Asian ally but Washington has made clear its disquiet about the revival of long term charges against Anwar and is concerned at what it sees as a deteriorating political situation.
Anwar, who was convicted of sodomy in March and whose opposition is engaged in a fierce political battle with Malaysia’s longtime government, had been told that Obama would not be able to see him personally.
But the decision to make national security advisor Rice available will send a clear signal, as she is the most senior foreign policy official other than the president on Obama’s four nation Asian tour.
Anwar told AFP earlier this week that he was not upset he would not get time with Obama but added that such an encounter would have been “consistent with US democratic ideals and its foreign policy of promoting freedom and justice”.
Washington has expressed disquiet about what it says are politically motivated charges to keep the veteran opposition leader out of Malaysian politics.
In March, a Malaysian Court of Appeal overturned Anwar’s 2012 acquittal on sodomy charges, finding him guilty of having had sex with a former male aide in 2008 and sentencing him to five years in jail.
Anwar remains free pending an appeal to Malaysia’s highest court. A former deputy premier with the ruling coalition, Anwar has cultivated strong friendships in Washington, where he is lauded for his calls for reform.
The 66-year-old said there was “opposition from the Malaysian government” against him meeting Obama.
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition has ruled Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957.
In elections last year, an Anwar-led opposition won the popular vote for the first time, but Barisan Nasional retained control of parliament due to what critics say is gerrymandering.
An annual report by the US-based academic study Electoral Integrity Project published in February ranked Malaysia’s elections 66th out of 73 for democratic integrity.
Tahniah kerajaan BN dan pengundi BN, kerana mu derita rakyat bertambah. Tahniah TNB. Majulah BN dan TNB untuk negara.
TNB ambil kesempatan tindas pengguna
24 April 2014 - Kenaikan kadar tarif elektrik yang berkuat kuasa Januari lalu sudah cukup membebankan pengguna, malah kini mereka tersepit dengan caj deposit tambahan yang dikenakan Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) atas alasan menyelaraskan penggunaan bulanan dengan kadar cagaran akaun pengguna.
Ketua Aktivis Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM), Datuk Nadzim Johan menyifatkan tindakan itu tidak wajar kerana dilihat mengambil kesempatan terhadap kuasa monopoli organisasi tersebut selain menindas pengguna.
"PPIM ada menerima aduan berhubung caj tambahan yang dikenakan TNB terhadap pengguna terlalu tinggi, misalnya bil semasa adalah RM1,000, kemudian mereka diminta menambah deposit lagi menjadikan jumlah bil yang harus dibayar mencecah RM2,000.
"Saya kira ini tindakan tidak berperikemanusiaan kerana selain bayaran dikenakan agak mendadak, pengguna tidak mempunyai pilihan lain ekoran penyedia bekalan elektrik dimonopoli TNB," katanya ketika dihubungi Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini.
Sufi poetry has been largely misunderstood by modern pop culture.
Sorry to ruin this, but when you read poetry by Jalal al-Din Rumi or any other Sufi figure’s poems, the wine is not literal, and Layla is not actually a woman. It is quite a depressing realisation to witness great Sufis such as Rumi become reduced to drunkards raving about their current love partners or unable to get over losing their past ones. This is precisely what modern pop culture’s misappropriation of Sufi poetry about love has done.
The reason we love poetry so much is because it is a venue where we let our imaginations soar. The best poets are ones that most people can identify with in some way. Poems that speak to universal meanings can be flexible in their applications to different contexts, thus becoming a place of solace for the readers. However, this activity becomes disingenuous when the poet and the context in which he or she wrote are manipulated to suit one’s own projections. For example, Rumi’s poetry can be summarised in one line that was recorded in pre-Islamic poetry: “Verily, everything other than God is a falsehood.” But it seems that today, Rumi quotes are cited in the context of, “Verily, everything other than my girlfriend or boyfriend, including God, is a falsehood.”
The misuse of Sufi poetry is symptomatic of modern culture’s combination of materialism with self-spirituality. The theme that runs through the New Age movement is about experiencing the “Self” because it is the way to experience the “God” or “Goddess” within. As noted by Peter Pels in his 1998 article ”Religion, Consumerism and the Modernity of the New Age”, the New Age emphasis on self-spirituality is rooted in late 19th or early 20th century occultism.
It is a detraditionalised form of faith that internalises religiosity, turning an individual’s reliance to be on “inner voices”, and in turn rejecting any outside authority. The Self reigns supreme in place of anything external to it. It is therefore ironic that religious Sufi symbolism, which was used to express annihilation of the Self in the presence of the Divine, is now being used to express the elation of the Self in the presence of another’s.
By worshipping the Self, the New Age movement gave rise to a form of neo-paganism, which survives through appropriation and consumption of religious symbolism. Given the individual nature of the consumption process, ultimate meanings intended from religious symbols are exchanged for relative experiences of Self-worship, which ironically render the symbols ultimately meaningless.
Moreover, given the tandem development of the New Age movement in popular culture alongside popular religion, it can be expected that popular misuse of religious symbolism will have an impact upon the religious. As religious symbols are presented outside of contexts they were created to serve within, they begin to lose their significance for the religious in an insidious way that desacralises the Sacred and grants sanctity to the secular.
The misappropriation of Sufi poetry can be seen as resulting of unfamiliarity with how Sufis made their indications. For example, the intoxication of wine refers to the loss of one’s sense of rational self in the sea of Divine Love. The tavern is the experience of being overwhelmed from being surrounded by Divine Presence. Layla is an Arabic female name that linguistically refers to the darkest night of the month, and in Sufi poetry refers to the hidden realm that lies behind outward appearances of this world.
A Sufi line of poetry that talks about becoming intoxicated from a single sip of wine served in the tavern before Layla appearing naked, is not talking about getting drunk and losing one’s mind out of love for a woman before proceeding to fulfil lustful desires after her.
The abundant use of metaphors and various rhetorical devices in Sufi poetry has polarised Muslim theologians ever since they began. Some of their statements taken literally are in direct contradiction with basic foundational beliefs and practises in Islam. This polarisation was exacerbated with Sufi symbolism that would invariably lead to misinterpretations if one were not familiar with it.
Wine, tavern, and Layla are among the recurring symbols that in popular culture are understood at the literal level first before they are taken as metaphors. However, as many Sufi poets and saints have warned, their poetry begins at the metaphoric level to indicate literal meanings other than what first comes to mind, all of which revolve around the Divine. It is interesting to note that out of fear of misappropriating their symbols, various Sufi figures have warned against reading their works without the guidance of a teacher.
It is not uncommon to find within the Sufi tradition phrases like: “We are a people of metaphors, not of literalism,” and “Metaphors for us are what literalism is for others.” For this reason Al-Ghazali (c. 1056-1111 AD) said that no one has attempted to explain the essence of what Sufis talk about except that they fall into explicit error. He also said, “Know that the wonders of the heart are outside of sensory experience.”
Hence, if one seeks to gain a closer understanding about what Rumi and other Sufi poets were talking about, they must suspend their own material and worldly projections and put such poetry in its proper metaphysical context.
In a culture of materialism and illusory appearances, Rumi and other Sufi poets’ works are meant to serve as indications that there is something more than what we experience with our senses. Their poetry was not about escapism through intoxication or loss of self-awareness for the sake of another material being. Rather, their message was to serve as reminders about the Formless Being by which all forms come into existence.
When Rumi speaks about the love of lovers, he refers not only to the love they share between each other, but about the love they both share towards the Being that transcends their beings. In this, the lovers become united as they share a common desire to transcend beyond each other’s sense of Self and Self-worship. Unless this is appreciated, the depths of Rumi’s words will not be realised, as they should, and we risk the complete loss of their significance.
The 450th anniversary of the Bard's birthday on Wednesday will see an explosion of tributes and performances – how different to 50 years ago. Jonathan Bate explains how the playwright became a global icon
The 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth was marked by a set of Royal Mail stamps, a gala performance by the recently established Royal Shakespeare Company, a new biography by A L Rowse and a rollicking Anthony Burgess novel about his love life. Fifty years on, this seems like a modest commemoration. It was the Beatles and Disney's Mary Poppins that were making the cultural running in 1964.
This week, by contrast, it is a racing certainty that every major news outlet in the world will have something to say about the Bard of Avon's 450th birthday, which falls on Wednesday. And this is only prologue to the wall-to-wall programme of celebrations, productions, exhibitions and documentaries being planned for 2016, the quatercentenary of his death. Shakespeare has become a global icon, not merely a local heritage product whose presumed birthday conveniently coincides with St George's Day.
At the time of his death, he was a much admired dramatist. But Francis Beaumont, who passed away a few weeks before him, was equally admired, on the basis of far fewer plays. The centenary of Shakespeare's birth fell soon after the theatres reopened with the Restoration of the monarchy, following the period when the Puritans had closed them down for the duration of the Civil War. His plays formed a staple part of the repertoire, but those of Beaumont and John Fletcher were performed more frequently. Shakespeare only pulled ahead of the pack in the Georgian era. It was around his 200th anniversary, under the auspices of the great actor David Garrick, that he took on his status as National Poet and exemplar of artistic genius. He has never fallen out of fashion, but in the past 25 years or so his reputation has become truly stratospheric. In Britain and around the world you can see more Shakespeare than ever before. It may indeed be that his reputation has reached its high-water mark and can only recede.
At the time of the 400th anniversary, which fell in the interim between the closure of the Old Vic and the opening of the new National Theatre, there was only the RSC and regional rep. Now there is the Globe, a plethora of West End productions — Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet and Martin Freeman as Richard III hard on the heels of Jude Law as Henry V and David Tennant as Richard II — and an extraordinary wealth of smaller-scale Shakespeare by Propeller, Cheek by Jowl, The Tobacco Factory, Filter and dozens of other innovative touring companies. In North America, at least two dozen cities have a summer Shakespeare festival. Modern cinema has produced everything from a Samurai Macbeth to several Bollywood Romeo and Juliets.
The success of Kenneth Branagh's Henry V in 1989 heralded a revival of Shakespeare on screen following a period in the doldrums. But an even more important turning point was the triumph of Shakespeare in Love at both the box office and the Oscars. Tom Stoppard's brilliant screenplay drew such strong parallels between the Elizabethan theatre and modern Hollywood that the film contrived to turn Shakespeare into a celebrity. It made him our contemporary at precisely the moment when culture was taken over by a rage for the now, a cult of the new.
Our age of novelty and celebrity, of 24/7 entertainment news and ever-renewing digital information, leaves little time for the measured appreciation of Shakespeare's more demanding contemporaries such as Ben Jonson and John Donne, let alone the epic poetry of other classic authors such as Edmund Spenser and John Milton, who were once as admired as the man from Stratford. It is only Shakespeare whose language and characters have taken on a life of their own, enabling his work constantly to accommodate itself to the new. There is a quotation for every occasion, a character parallel for every figure in public life.
Shakespeare — along with Jane Austen — is becoming the token representative of a cultural past that is otherwise forgotten. The danger is that if we lose the ability to place him in the context of his age, we may cease to understand him. Students struggle with aspects of his language because they no longer share that knowledge of the Bible and classical antiquity which Shakespeare expected of his audiences. When Hamlet says that he is not like Hercules or when Shylock calls Portia "a Daniel come to judgment," most Elizabethans would have understood the allusion. Soon we will all need a footnote.
On the other hand, the passion for Shakespeare has become a way of opening up his world and keeping it alive. Over the past couple of years, I have had the good fortune of being consultant curator for the British Museum's 2012 Cultural Olympiad exhibition "Shakespeare Staging the World", of writing the script for Simon Callow's one-man show Being Shakespeare, and of presenting a global online course exploring the collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. In each case, I've been amazed by the enthusiasm, the inquiring spirit and the knowledge of thousands of people, from teenagers to octogenarians.
How knowledgeable should we expect our schoolchildren to be about Shakespeare?
During the Government's recent overhaul of GCSEs, I was asked to join a consultative group advising on the English Literature syllabus. It quickly became clear that the minister wanted to prescribe two Shakespeare plays for every 16-year-old in the land. I argued, to the contrary, that there should be one Shakespeare play and one play by anybody except Shakespeare. It cannot be in Shakespeare's interest for teenagers to associate him with compulsion, for his plays and his alone to have the dreaded status of set books.
That said, recent years have witnessed great progress in the way in which Shakespeare is taught. Back in 1964, the tendency was to parse the text on the page and pay little attention to the theatrical life of the plays. There was a degree of mutual suspicion between academic critics and theatre professionals.
All this has changed. Much of the best modern scholarship has focused on the practicalities of performance in the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, while the history of Shakespeare on stage and screen has become a thriving sub-discipline in its own right. The education departments of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Globe are getting into schools and persuading teachers to get pupils on their feet, speaking the lines aloud and fitting the word to the action.
The crucial next step will be the adaptation of Shakespeare to the digitised classroom of the future. By the time the 500th anniversary is celebrated in 2064, textbooks will have been replaced by some version of the tablet computer. There are already exciting initiatives in the creation of Shakespeare apps for the iPad, most notably a project led by Sir Ian McKellen and the director Richard Loncraine, in which the plays can be simultaneously read and seen, with all sorts of contextual and explanatory information reachable at a click.
In a verse preface to the First Folio of the complete plays, his friend and rival Ben Jonson predicted that there would come a time when Shakespeare would be held in as high regard as the great writers of antiquity. "Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show," he wrote, "To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe." Shakespeare's Britain stood on the threshold of the modern world. Britain's Shakespeare was a creation of the 18th and 19th centuries, an era when the nation and thus the national poet moved on the world stage. There is, wrote Maurice Morgann, one of his 18th-century admirers, "nothing perishable about him … the Apalachian mountains, the banks of the Ohio, and the plains of Sciota , shall resound with his accents … when even the memory of the language in which he has written shall be no more."
Now it is not just "all scenes of Europe" but almost all countries in the world that pay homage to William Shakespeare. His works are our most enduring cultural export.
Malaysia has yet to decide whether to publicly disclose an initial report submitted to international aviation authorities on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the country's director-general of civil aviation said on Wednesday.
The Southeast Asian country has filed the preliminary report as required by the International Civil Aviation Organization, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told a news conference. He didn't specify when it was filed or offer any details of the contents.
"We have issued the preliminary report and we have sent it to ICAO,'' Mr. Azharuddin said. "We have not make any decision yet whether to release it to the media or public."
Such reports are usually disclosed, in the public interest, although that isn't required. Asked whether Malaysia would eventually disclose details of the investigation into the disappearance, Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at the news conference that "with the public interest globally, I think there's no way that we can avoid making it public."
Reports to the ICAO, a U.N. body based in Montreal, are required from the country conducting an investigation within 30 days of an accident and would include the sequence of events and other technical aspects.
The Boeing 777-200 disappeared March 8 with 239 people aboard during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and the search is focused on a portion of the Indian Ocean based on analysis of satellite data and possible pings from the flight recorders. No confirmed wreckage has been found.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is convinced he will go to jail for his sodomy conviction, probably for even longer than the five years he was given, as he said the judicial process is staked heavily against him.
The de facto PKR leader, who disclosed that foreign leaders like former US Vice-President Al Gore and Irish President Mary Robinson had advised him during his recent trip to London not to return to Malaysia and be jailed, said the refusal of the Federal Court registry yesterday to allow him an extension of time to file his petition of appeal against the conviction was just the latest legal hurdle he had to overcome.
The deadline for filing the petition is today (Thursday).
Decrying the refusal as an abuse of the judicial process, Anwar said it was another "clear testimony" that the courts were being used by Umno leaders to harass him.
"It is definitely harassment and an abuse of process," he said.
"I’m just waiting. I don’t know how much time I have.
"A month, two months before they send me to jail," said Anwar, who was in Kuching to speak at the Reformasi 2.0 rally last night.
Anwar also spoke on the harassment he said he had to deal with when his appeal was heard in the Court of Appeal.
He said the courts advanced the hearing of his appeal by a month to "fit in" the dates of the Kajang by-election.
Anwar was to have been Pakatan Rakyat’s candidate in the March 23 by-election in Selangor that was called after the incumbent, Lee Chin Cheh, unexpectedly resigned on January 27.
However, the Court of Appeal’s "swift" decision in overturning a High Court ruling and finding him guilty meant he was not eligible to contest.
His wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail replaced him as the PR candidate.
PKR legal bureau head Latheefa Koya yesterday said even with the deadline today, the Federal Court registry asked Anwar to file a formal application, which included a notice of motion, to ask for more time to file the grounds of appeal.
Karpal Singh, who was Anwar's lead counsel in the case, was to have filed the appeal.
Karpal was killed in a tragic road accident along with his personal aide last Thursday.
Latheefa described the court's refusal as highly inconsiderate and showing a lack of sympathy and understanding over the tragic death of Karpal.
Anwar, meanwhile, said the refusal meant his new lead counsel Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah did not have enough time "to go through the files and files of notes".
“It appears the Federal Court is bent on rushing the appeal and this can be seen in their failure to grant an extension of time,” Latheefa added.
Anwar’s latest brush with the court prompted him to warn that other key opposition leaders could suffer the same fate as he did.
He said with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak "manipulating the Attorney-General and judicial system", opposition leaders like Batu MP Tian Chua, Pandan MP and PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli, Seremban MP Anthony Loke and PAS deputy secretary-general Dr Syed Azman Ahmad Nawawi were "all on the list of people to be charged and jailed".
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yakin beliau akan dipenjarakan bahkan mungkin lebih lama daripada tempoh lima tahun sebagaimana yang diputuskan ekoran kes liwatnya kerana mendakwa proses mahkamah terlalu bias terhadapnya.
Atas dasar itu, ketua umum PKR itu mendedahkan pemimpin negara luar termasuk bekas naib presiden Amerika, Al Gore dan presiden Irish Mary Robinson menasihatkan beliau semasa kunjungannya ke London baru-baru ini agar tidak pulang ke Malaysia dan masuk penjara.
Beliau juga berkata, keengganan Pendaftar Mahkamah Persekutuan semalam memberikan waktu tambahan untuk memfailkan petisyen rayuan terhadap penghakiman Mahkamah Rayuan adalah cubaan terakhir yang terpaksa beliau hadapi.
Hari terakhir untuk memfailkan petisyen itu adalah hari ini (Khamis).
Menyifatkan penolakan itu sebagai penyalahgunaan proses kehakiman, Anwar berkata ia jelas satu lagi testimoni bahawa mahkamah dipergunakan pemimpin Umno untuk mengganggu beliau.
"Ia sudah pasti satu gangguan dan penyalahgunaan proses (mahkamah)," katanya.
"Saya hanya menunggu masa dan saya tidak tahu berapa lama masa saya ada.
"Sebulan, dua bulan sebelum mereka menghantar saya ke penjara," kata Anwar, yang berada di Kuching bagi berucap dalam himpunan Reformasi 2.0 malam tadi.
Anwar juga menceritakan gangguan yang didakwa terpaksa beliau hadapi ketika rayuan didengar di Mahkamah Rayuan.
Beliau mendakwa, mahkamah mempercepatkan rayuannya sebulan untuk menyesuaikannya dengan tarikh pilihan raya kecil (PRK) Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN) Kajang.
Anwar dipilih sebagai calon Pakatan Rakyat (PR) di PRK DUN Kajang pada 23 Mac lalu selepas ia dibuat berikutan perletakan jawatan mengejut Adun, Lee Chin Cheh pada 27 Januari.
Bagaimanapun, Mahkamah Rayuan membuat keputusan segera apabila menolak keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi yang membebaskan Anwar dengan memutuskan Anwar bersalah dan tidak layak untuk bertanding.
Isteri beliau, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail kemudiannya bertanding menggantikan beliau sebagai calon PR.
Ketua Biro Undang-undang PKR, Latheefa Koya semalam berkata, walaupun tarikh akhir hari ini, pendaftar Mahkamah Persekutuan mengarahkan Anwar memfailkan permohonan rasmi, termasuk notis permohonan, bagi mendapatkan masa yang lebih untuk memfailkan asas rayuannya.
Karpal Singh yang merupakan ketua peguam Anwar sepatutnya memfailkan rayuan ini.
Namun Karpal bersama pembantunya mati dalam satu kemalangan tragik Khamis lepas.
Latheefa menyifatkan penolakan mahkamah itu sebagai satu tindakan tidak bertoleransi dan kurang simpati serta memahami terhadap apa yang berlaku kepada Karpal.
Anwar dalam pada itu berkata, ketua pasukan peguam beliau yang baru, Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah tidak akan mempunyai masa yang cukup untuk "mengkaji semua fail dan nota."
"Ia nampak semacam Mahkamah Persekutuan tergesa-gesa dalam rayuan ini dan ia boleh dilihat dalam kegagalannya memberikan tambahan masa," kata Latheefa.
Apa yang berlaku kepadanya menyebabkan Anwar memberikan amaran kepada semua pemimpin pembangkang bahawa mereka juga akan mengalami nasib yang sama seperti beliau.
Katanya, dengan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Naiib Razak "menyalahgunakan peguam negara dan sistem kehakiman", pemimpin pembangkang seperti Ahli Parlimen Batu, Tian Chua; Ahli Parlimen Pandan yang juga Pengarah Strategi PKR, Rafizi Ramli; Ahli Parlimen Seremban, Anthony Loke dan Adun Batu Buruk, Terengganu, Dr Syed Azman Ahmad Nawawi "tersenarai sebagai mereka yang didakwa dan akan dipenjarakan".
Barack Obama is bound to disappoint on his forthcoming trip to Asia
A STRATEGIC "pivot" or "rebalancing" towards Asia and the Pacific is central to American foreign policy under Barack Obama. So it is more than embarrassing that the president has had to cancel trips to the region at short notice—most recently last October, when the partial shutdown of his administration forced him to pull out of two regional summits. This gives added significance to his tour of Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines from April 22nd. It is the chance to reassert America's military and economic commitment to three treaty allies, one prospective "strategic partner" (Malaysia) and to the region as a whole, as it struggles with the implications of China's rapid rise.
That reassurance is needed all the more after America's failure to intervene in Syria and, especially, its failure to contain Russian expansionism in Ukraine. Both episodes feed into a perception of a declining American appetite for keeping the peace, and of a declining ability to do so. Countries such as Japan and the Philippines, facing an assertive Chinese approach to disputed territory, are naturally concerned. If America will do so little for Ukraine, will it risk lives and treasure for uninhabited rocks in the East or South China Sea? In theory, circumstances are so different that America's Asian allies should have no cause for concern. Unlike the Syrian opposition and Ukraine, the Japanese and Filipinos have mutual security treaties with America.
Indeed, if America did involve itself militarily in another conflict in the Middle East or in eastern Europe, its Asian allies would fret that the "rebalancing" was deemed, as they had feared, a lower American priority than other parts of the world. It is a battle for regional reassurance that America, it seems, simply cannot win.
Other problems complicate things further. One is the poor state of relations between America's two most important allies, Japan and South Korea. Shinzo Abe, Japan's prime minister, seems as unpopular in Seoul as he is in Beijing. His decision last December to visit the Yasukuni shrine in Tokyo, where war criminals are honoured, confirmed South Koreans in their view of him as an unrepentant historical revisionist, in denial about the atrocities Japan inflicted on their country during its colonisation. So, rather than co-operating with Japan in dealing with an immediate threat from North Korea and a potential longer-term one from China, South Korea prefers to make common cause with China to condemn Japan for its failure to confront the past. It took a big effort to persuade Park Geun-hye, South Korea's president, to join a trilateral meeting with Mr Obama and Mr Abe at a nuclear summit in the Netherlands last month. Coaxing them to work together when he is not in the room will be even harder.
Another difficulty lies in distinguishing strategic support for a country from political support for its current rulers. America finds much to admire in Mr Abe: his determination to drag the Japanese economy out of its deflationary morass; in particular, his promise to take on domestic lobbies by joining American-led regional trade talks, the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); his desire to see Japan play a bigger role in its own defence. But it also deplores the often revisionist attitude to Japan's history that, for Mr Abe and his supporters, animates these policies.
Similarly it finds Malaysia a model of moderate Islamic democracy and its prime minister, Najib Razak, the friendliest leader it has had in decades. But Malaysian politics is poisonous. Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the opposition, which won the popular vote at last year's election, is appealing against a sentence handed down last month of five years in jail for sodomy. Many Malaysians believe the prosecution is politically motivated.
Mr Najib has taken Malaysia, too, into the TPP. Another problem facing the "rebalance" is that this, its most important economic dimension, is in trouble. The impetus of Mr Obama's tour itself may generate a breakthrough in the shape of agreement between the TPP's two biggest economies, America and Japan. But ratification of the TPP will face domestic political obstacles in a number of countries, not least America itself. Many in Asia have noticed that Mr Obama seems loth to spend much domestic political capital on this or other aspects of American commitment to the region. Mr Obama may have trouble convincing his friends in Asia that America's rebalance is genuine.
China, for its part, is keen to cast doubt on America's regional staying power. Yet, oddly, its own government seems convinced by it. It sees the rebalance as an attempt to encircle China and counter its rise. Some of this resentment emerged in testy exchanges when Chuck Hagel, America's defence secretary, was in Beijing this month. China blames America for encouraging Japan and the Philippines to confront it over disputed rocks. Its leaders worry that America's decision to deploy two more Aegis-class destroyers to Japan to counter the threat from North Korea is in fact directed against China. It has noticed that America supports the Philippines in its legal challenge to China's claim to most of the South China Sea, and has just signed an agreement with it allowing more of its troops into the country. And Congress is likely to authorise the sale of four pensioned-off frigates to Taiwan.
Be careful what you wish for
China's reaction is perhaps the most fundamental of all the factors making the rebalance so tricky. America insists it is not trying to contain China or thwart its rise. But if that is so, how to convince Asian allies of an unshakable military commitment to the defence of islands, reefs and rocks of no obvious relevance to American security? And if America is in fact trying to stand in the way of China's rise, then its Asian allies would also take fright at a dangerous confrontation between the region's two big maritime powers. The rebalance, meant to reassure them without alarming China, risks the opposite: alienating China and scotching promising areas of co-operation, yet leaving its neighbours, America's friends, more nervous than ever.
Despite 85 pages of rhetoric, the Court of Appeal's written judgment (the "Judgment") convicting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy has failed to establish the only corroborative evidence of the charge – the DNA evidence.
This is a case of one man's word against another, with no eyewitness to the incident.
Without establishing the DNA evidence beyond reasonable doubt, the Court of Appeal has no business to overturn the High Court judgment acquitting Anwar on ground of doubtful integrity of the DNA samples.
The crucial question to ask is: have the samples become vulnerable to tampering after the sealed plastic bag containing individual receptacles holding the samples was cut open by the investigating officer without authority and kept for prolong duration before delivering them to the chemist?
The prosecutor said no, reason being that the individual receptacles were also sealed, hence, the samples were protected.
Sample tampering irrefutable
But the catch is: while the plastic bag which was heat sealed was tamper-proof, the seals to the individual receptacles were not tamper-proof.
Australian forensic pathologist Dr David Wells testified that the seals to the receptacles could be removed and resealed based on the materials used and the manner of sealing, after he had examined them.
Appeal Court judges of Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi, Datuk and Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh, who took the highly unusual step of appending their signatures to one single written document, dismissed Dr Wells' claim by saying "he merely looked at the containers in court and gave his opinion solely from the manner in which these containers were sealed and the type of material used as seals. That was merely his opinion pure and simple". (para 121 of the Judgment)
It was, of course, Dr Wells' opinion. What else could he do other than expressing an opinion? If the seals were not readily removable, why didn't the prosecution refute his claim? As a matter of fact, according to Anwar, who saw the receptacles in coAziah Aliurt, these seals consisted of only "ordinary and easily removable tapes and easily removable KL Hospital paper seals" as stated in his statement in dock.
Is that the reason Dr Wells' testimony was not challenged in court? Would he have been let off the hook if in fact the claim was false, knowing the critical importance of the issue?
And why did Jude Pereira take the reckless step of cutting open the permanently sealed plastic bag? He said he wanted to put the receptacles into individual envelopes and re-label them. But that explanation was obviously phoney as rightly pointed out by High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah for the simple reason that each of the receptacles had already been clearly labelled by the hospital doctors and Pereira's mission was merely to deliver them to the chemist withoMohamad Zabidin Mohd Diahut any input of his own.
Shockingly, despite the opening of the plastic bag had opened the gateway for meddling with the samples in the unsecured receptacles, the judges declared such unauthorised action as not amounting to tampering with the samples, even repeating Pereira's incredible claim that he was merely following standard operation procedure (para 85).
Talking about SOP, is it also SOP to place the samples in Pereira's personal steel cabinet for 42 hours instead of the police freezer, which was a beach of police standard practice, as well as defiance of KL Hospital forensic pathologist Dr Siew Sheue Fong's strict instruction that the samples be kept in freezer?
Why have the judges completely omitted to mention the defence claim that such prolong storage under room temperature would have damaged further the already much degraded samples?
Being a senior police officer familiar with forensic investigation, Pereira must have known that his reckless beach of discipline in his mishandling of the samples could fatally damage the integrity of the chain of custody as well as the quality of the DNA samples, both of which are of vital importance to the prosecution case.
Then why did he still do it? What was it so compelling that he had to take such risks? Why did he keep the samples to himself for 42 hours? If he was not up to something sinister, what was he up to?
Dubious DNA samples
Could that explain the miraculous phenomenon that the these samples were later found to have suffered no degradation at all, despite being retrieved 56 hours after alleged sodomy and stored for another 42 hours under room temperature, something unheard of?
The two Australian experts held the view from their long careers that semen collected 36 hours after ejaculation could hardly be successfully tested for the sperm's DNA due to degradation.
DNA expert Dr Brian McDonald testified from his observation of test reports handed to him that the profiles of DNA tests for various samples taken from the rectum including those showing DNA of Male Y (which prosecution claims to be those of Anwar) showed no evidence of degradation.
This contradicted with the samples' history, inferring that they might not be the same samples that were retrieved from complainant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan's rectum by the hospital doctors 98 hours earlier.
In addition to such contradictions which cast serious doubt over the credibility of the DNA findings, the two Australian experts also pointed out many discrepancies, deficiencies and flaws of the chemist's DNA reports and hospital doctors' examination reports, including the exposure of the puzzling presence of DNA of multiple people extracted from Saiful's rectum, which the chemist have overlooked, compounding the crisis of confidence in these reports.
These are, of course, serious challenges to the prosecution case, which stands or falls on the DNA evidence.
Slamming of experts childish
But instead of taking these Australian experts' opinion head on with equally professional counter argument, the judges seem to have found a short cut by resorting to name-calling to devalue the Australians' testimonies while simultaneously enhancing the status of statements made the government's professionals.
Thus, the Australians have become "armchair experts" who have no practical experience (false, of course) to lend credibility to their argument, while the government chemists have "impeccable credentials" with competence in both the academic and practical fields.
The judges even went to the extent of concurring with lead prosecutor Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah's submission that the Australians' evidence were "speculative and theoretical if not hypothetical, thus lacking in probative value" (para 142).
In contrast, the evidence of the two local chemists was described as factual and based on their own analysis of samples.
Then, using the premise of "lacking in probative value", the judges in one sweeping stroke, rejected the Australians' critical testimonies on all the critical issues, which are sample tampering, doubtful DNA reports and penile penetration (para 150).
Presto! Problem solved! The Australians' unfavourable testimonies are set aside in favour of the affirmative ones submitted by government professionals. The prosecution case is thus saved.
But what is the truth?
Dr Wells, a forensic pathologist, specialises in sexual assault cases. He is head of Clinical Forensic Medicine at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Associate Professor in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Monash Unviersity, Member of the Advisory Panel – National Institute of Forensic Science, Member of the International Editorial Board of the Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine.
He has worked with World Health Organisation in establishing medico-legal services for victims of sexual violence in developing countries. He has written several books and articles on sexual violence and awarded the Order of Australia Medal. He has testified in all levels of courts where his testimonies have been accepted.
Dr Bian McDonald, holding a PhD in pathology, is a consultant molecular geneticist. He is a member of the Australian Forensic Science Society, member of the Australian Biomedical Society and served as committee member of the Human Genetics Society, a director of both DNA Consults and Molecular Genetics for the Sonic Clinical Institute. He was also a head geneticist officer in New South Wales. He has written books, papers and articles on the subject of DNA, a list of which fills up five pages.
Clearly, the above credentials speak for themselves, and show how utterly irresponsible is the act of rejecting those expert opinions en bloc with the cavalier and childish comment on those evidence being "mere opinion, speculative and theoretical", which actually reflects the shallowness of the writer of the Judgment, whoever he is.
On the subject of anal penile penetration, this is another major flaw of the prosecution case. All the four doctors who had examined Saiful had reported no sign of penetration, which contradicted the latter's testimony that the "fast and furious" act had caused him pain.
Though the three government doctors later changed their tune, however, their revised views were based on the subsequent report issued by the chemist, who claimed the presence of semen of "Male Y" in Saiful's rectum.
Such revised view had, of course, zero value, as the doctors' report must be based on their own observations and not on subsequent reports issued by others.
Anwar's statement in the dock
Was Anwar a coward, scared of being cross-examined in the witness stand as insinuated by the judges, when he chose to give an unsworn statement in dock as his defence?
Anyone who has read his 9,000-word statement which took him an hour and 20 minutes to deliver in court, could not have failed to be moved by the endless series of injustice he has suffered and his cries of despair that he would ever receive justice in the court.
The long litany of unjust treatment he had received at every step of his judicial defence as enumerated by him has proved beyond the slightest doubt that this is political persecution, not a criminal trial, where the verdict is a foregone conclusion.
There is no better testimony to that than the shock with which the world greeted the acquittal of Anwar at the High Court three years ago, as the proceedings of the trial had been so manifestly unfair and vindictive that no one expected an acquittal.
That the prosecutor and the judges did not let go the slightest opportunity to build up the perception of guilt against Anwar is seen in its dishonest inference that Anwar didn't call alibi witnesses because they couldn't have substantiated his story of innocence.
This is double injustice to Anwar, because it was the powers that be that had put a spoke to his alibi defence. Anwar said in his statement in dock: "My alibi witnesses made known to the prosecution were in fact included in the prosecution list of witnesses, which was not supplied to my lawyers. They were defence alibi witnesses. I am informed this is the first time this has been done."
Anwar also gave the example of the owner of the condo where the alleged incidence took place, Hasanuddin Abd Hamid, who was harassed by the police for a total of 30 hours where his statements were video recorded. Another alibi witness, Fitria Dipan the maid, ironically offered by the prosecution, couldn't even be traced.
Prosecution + defence v defence
A trial judge is supposed to be an umpire, taking a neutral position to weigh without prejudice the merits and demerits of facts and legal arguments presented by the prosecutor and the defence and deliver his decision at the end of the hearing strictly according to facts and relevant law, without fear or favour.
But this is distinctively not the case in the present trial. Reading through the Judgment, one can't help but get the impression that there is an invisible dividing line separating the prosecutor and judges on one side and the defence on the other. With due respect, it looks like a joint effort to fix the respondent, and let the facts and law be damned.
In fact, the outcome of this trial was already self-evident when Anwar's request to replace specially invited lead prosecutor Shafee was rejected all the way to the highest court. Being an Umno lawyer and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's confidante, Shafee's role as prosecutor was to part of a political agenda.
Now that Anwar has appealed to the Federal Court, the nation will hold its breath at what will happen next.
Will it be another saving grace for the judiciary, or will it be another plunge that will trigger off a new phase of bruising conflict that will cause much suffering, but with the prospect of opening up a new era for the nation?
The last time Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s opposition leader, was sent to prison, he read the complete works of Shakespeare, (five times), wrote essays and treatises, gave interviews and strategised about how best to lead the opposition party to victory against the ruling party, which has governed this south-east Asian nation for nearly 60 years.
Ten years later, he once again faces imprisonment on sodomy charges, which he claims are politically motivated.
His case has gripped Malaysia in its range from the absurd to the bizarre. Charged in 2008 with sodomising a former male aide, Anwar was cleared in 2012 on lack of evidence. But an appeals court overturned the acquittal last month on the eve of a byelection in Malaysia’s richest state, Selangor, where he was tipped to become chief minister.
Not only did the conviction rely on a witness of doubtful testimony, the appeal was led by the government and the lead prosecutor suddenly did an about-face and switched to Anwar’s defence team.
“It’s a sign of desperation on the part of the government,” said Anwar of his conviction, in an interview in London, where he is visiting his friend and former American vice-president Al Gore, after being granted a stay of sentence. “They think because the (next general) elections are four years away they can literally get away with murder.”
Anwar, 66, is Malaysia’s longest-suffering political opponent and greatest threat to the incumbent Umno government, led by the prime minister Najib Razak, whose Barisan Nasional (National Front) alliance has ruled the country since independence.
Anwar is a polarising figure in a conservative nation of 30 million, where his political career has spanned formidable highs and lows: once serving as the deputy prime minister and finance minister, he was courted by international media and graced the cover of Newsweek, then fell out spectacularly with the premier Mahathir Mohamad.
Anwar has long contended that all the charges against him were politically motivated, with the sodomy convictions based on an archaic colonial law rendering sex between men a punishable offence, even if consensual. Very few sodomy cases ever make it to court and Anwar and his supporters believe his charges to be a political ploy to keep him out of politics in a conservative nation built on family values. He first spent six years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, until his release in 2004.
This second sodomy charge followed a stellar performance by Anwar’s three-party opposition coalition in the 2008 general elections, at which the opposition made huge gains against the Barisan Nasional – and was overturned in 2012 by Malaysia’s high court.
Analysts believe there was “no coincidence” regarding the overturning of that acquittal last month, with human rights groups, the US state department and UN all questioning the legality of the court decision.
“This trial was all about knocking Anwar Ibrahim out of politics, pure and simple,” said Phil Robertson, of Human Rights Watch. “The Malaysia judiciary … has shown how hard it is to get a free and fair trial when political issues are at play.”
Yet it is not just Anwar the government seems to be targeting, say civil rights groups, who point to the arrest and conviction of other prominent opposition MPs, such as Karpal Singh, who was convicted of sedition, under another ill-used colonial-era law, as a means to thwart an opposition that has had big gains in the last two general elections, as well as in the byelections last month.
“What’s alarming is the extent to which this government, which is supposed to have won the election, is going to undermine the opposition,” said Ambiga Sreenevasan, a lawyer and former chair of Bersih, the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections. “This is really without a doubt a clear-cut case of selective – I’m going to call it persecution – not prosecution.”
Anwar’s conviction could once again be overturned, pending a federal court hearing expected within the next month. But in a nation where the definition of justice depends on “what the government of the day feels like doing”, said Ambiga, it was unclear just how far Malaysia would go to silence its opposition.
As for Anwar, who could well choose to never return to Malaysia, life in his home country, whether behind bars or atop rally stages, seems the only option for fighting for a democracy that he says will one day prevail.
“There is no benefit to going back to Malaysia,” he said. “(But) I decided a long time ago that I wanted to go back because it is my conviction, it is my firm belief, that Malaysia has to mature as a vibrant democracy that has no corruption, abuse of power or leadership that has been squandering billions of dollars.
“It’s tough when you consider my wife and children suffer, but they know, and I discussed it with them, they support me even though they are not happy for me to endure this again. But we have to weather the storm. I am always optimistic.”
A mass rally backing Anwar is planned for 1 May in Kuala Lumpur, where other rallies in support of Bersih, calling for clean and fair elections, have attracted hundreds of thousands of Malaysians to take to the streets in recent years.
“Tyrants, authoritarian leaders, are not permanent features. They are racing against time. Over the temporary setbacks, the clamour for reform or democracy is irreversible,” Anwar said.
Penghakiman Mahkamah Rayuan terhadap kes Liwat II Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dibuat secara tergopoh gapah, kata Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim.
Bekas ketua pengarah Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah Kuala Lumpur itu menegaskan, selain mahkamah melakukan kesilapan, prosiding rayuan berkenaan turut dicemari campur tangan kerajaan, terutamanya Peguam Negara Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail (gambar).
“Hakim Mahkamah Rayuan membuat keputusan tersebut secara tergopoh-gapah, tanpa memberi pertimbangan yang mendalam dan menyeluruh kepada keterangan-keterangan yang dibentangkan kedua-dua pihak sejak mula prosiding tersebut diadakan.
“Selain Mahkamah Rayuan sendiri ada membuat tafsiran silap menyentuh fakta mustahak, prosiding rayuan tersebut dicemari tindakan pihak kerajaan dan khasnya Peguam Negara,” kata Mat Zain dalam satu kenyataan di Kuala Lumpur hari ini.
Beliau berkata, kerajaan dan peguam negara juga mengemukakan beberapa kenyataan tidak benar, dan/atau membenamkan keterangan mustahak atau yang memihak kepada tertuduh daripada pengetahuan mahkamah.
Dalam penghakiman setebal 85 muka surat yang diedarkan kepada media minggu lalu, mahkamah memutuskan adalah selamat untuk mahkamah mensabitkan Anwar terhadap pertuduhan meliwat bekas pembantunya Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan kerana terdapat cukup keterangan untuk mengesah dan membuktikannya.
Mahkamah berkata, sekiranya diandaikan tiada bukti menyokong keterangan Mohd Saiful tentang fakta berlakunya penetrasi, adalah selamat untuk mensabitkan Anwar.
Panel tiga hakim Mahakmah Rayuan diketuai Hakim Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi dalam penghakiman bertulis bertarikh 11 April berkata, terdapat cukup keterangan lain yang membolehkan elemen pertuduhan dapat disah dan dibuktikan.
Penghakiman mahkamah itu turut memutuskan isu kemungkinan sampel DNA diambil daripada Mohd Saiful diusik oleh pegawai penyiasat kes Superitenden Jude Blacious Pereira dan tercemar juga tidak dapat dibuktikan.
Mat Zain berkata, sekiranya mahkamah rayuan tidak tergopoh-gapah membuat keputusan, sebaliknya meneliti mendalam keterangan yang dibentangkan oleh kedua-dua pihak, semenjak prosiding bermula pada 2008, mereka sendiri akan menemui fakta dan banyak lagi keterangan yang menunjukkan salah laku terancang pihak pendakwaan dan penyiasatan dalam prosiding kes tersebut.
“Pada pendapat saya, perkara yang terpenting dalam hal ini ialah Gani Patail hilang kelayakan dari sudut moral dan undang-undang, untuk terlibat dalam apa kapasiti pun, bersangkutan dengan pertuduhan yang dikenakan terhadap Anwar dalam kes ini.
“Apa-apa keputusan yang beliau ambil atas sifat Peguam Negara berkaitan perkara ini dan termasuk melantik Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah mengepalai pasukan pendakwaan di peringkat rayuan ini, boleh dipertikaikan dan wajar disemak semula,” katanya.
Beliau turut berpendapat, hakim Mahkamah Rayuan bergantung bulat-bulat kepada hujah yang dibentangkan Shafee sahaja, tanpa menghiraukan semua bantahan dan laporan polis yang dibuat berkaitan pemalsuan yang diikrarkan oleh Shafee, dalam afidavitnya.
“Hakim Mahkamah Rayuan sendiri mendedahkan tingkah laku dan tindakan mereka untuk orang ramai menyimpulkan mereka memang berada di bawah tekanan dan pengaruh yang kuat daripada tangan-tangan tersembunyi,untuk mensabitkan kesalahan ke atas Anwar dengan apa cara sekalipun,” katanya.
Fame, acclaim, and a notorious friendship with Fidel Castro: The life of writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez was as fantastical and politically charged as his reality-bending novels.
Few contemporary writers and none from Latin America could match the scope of his influence or the radical inventiveness of his imagination. Affectionately called “Gabo,” Gabriel Garcia Márquez, the Colombian Nobel laureate, journalist and author, was the most celebrated Latin American cultural export of his era. He died, at 87, on April 17, in his home in Mexico City. His glamorous mystique — the houses and apartments strewn across Europe and the Americas, the glossy magazine profiles, the voluptuousness of his words – was offset by the author’s self-deprecating charm and humble back-story. The chasm between his socialist beliefs and the opulent lifestyle to which he ultimately grew accustomed attracted criticism, to be sure, yet his literary reputation never sagged under the weight of that paradox.
It was the 1967publication and 1970 translation into English of his most famous novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, that vaulted the author to stardom. In that novel, the head of the allegorical Buendía family interprets the world according to his own perceptions. In a warped chronology of events, Macondo’s founding family is regenerated ceaselessly, through revolution, natural disaster, and incestuous coupling. Translated into English by the peerless Gregory Rabassa, One Hundred Years of Solitude has sold tens of millions of copies worldwide. It gave exuberant voice to a region of the world that had previously been viewed as lush but inscrutable, best known by many Americans and Europeans for its political instability and violence.
As in most of his fiction, in One Hundred Years of Solitude, the author said he sought to destroy “the lines that separate what seems real from what seems fantastic.” He did so with rapturous virtuosity, emotional insight, and humor.
When the New York Times reviewed the book in 1970, the reviewer, John Leonard, described the work not so much as a piece of literature, but as an experience: “You emerge from this marvelous novel as if from a dream, the mind on fire. A dark, ageless figure at the hearth, part historian, part haruspex … first lulls to sleep your grip on a manageable reality, then locks you into legend and myth.”
While One Hundred Years of Solitude is a sweeping metaphor for Colombian cultural history — ghosts and modernity, colonialism and liberal reform, the introduction of railroads, the hegemony of American corporate interests and military jackboots — the mythical town of Macondo itself was inspired by Aracataca, the Colombian village where Garcia Márquez lived with his maternal grandparents until the age of eight. There, he absorbed his grandmother’s supernatural folklore. His left-leaning grandfather, a retired colonel, bequeathed the author a lifelong fascination with military and political power.
Garcia Márquez was the eldest of 11 children (though his father, a pharmacist, also claimed several illegitimate offspring). In the fictional Macondo, the character Colonel Aureliano Buendía, “had seventeen male children by seventeen different women and they were exterminated one after the other on a single night before the oldest one had reached the age of thirty-five. He survived fourteen attempts on his life, seventy-three ambushes and a firing squad.” Such prose, at once epic and compressed, inspiredan entirely new lit-crit lexicon, including terms like “Macondic.” Along with other Latin American writers, Garcia Márquez helped to popularize the genre known as Magical Realism.
But it’s the realism in his writing that’s often forgotten.
Garcia Márquez was born in 1927, the year before the so called “banana massacre,” in which striking Colombian workers for the United Fruit Company were crushed by the country’s military, who were anxious to forestall a threatened invasion by the U.S. Marines — a scenario he recasts in One Hundred Years of Solitude. He was a gifted student and attended a state-runboarding school. Later, under pressure from his family, he studied law at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá, but soon turned his attention to writing and never completed his degree.
When a Colombian Liberal Party member was assassinated, triggering La Violencia, a decades-long period of civil strife and violence that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths and displaced citizens,Garcia Márquez gave up his legal studies completely and became a journalist. But he also read deeply the literature that would inform his development as a fiction writer. A particular obsession of young Garcia Márquez’s was William Faulkner, whose mythical Yoknapatawpha County in the American South has been called a precursor to Macondo.
As a columnist in Bogotá in the 1950s, Garcia Márquez wrote an expose about a naval shipwreck — the piece was later published in English as “The Story of A Shipwrecked Sailor” — that earned him the ire of the Colombian dictator, Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. To quell the fallout, the author’s newspaper sent him to Europe as a correspondent, but soon the government shut down the paper altogether. Garcia Márquez kept writing fiction while working as a journalist and moving frequently, with spells in Venezuela, Columbia, New York, and Mexico City. In 1958 he married Mercedes Barcha Pardo, who remained the unmovable pillar of his personal life until his death. The couple resided primarily in Mexico City and had two sons.
The left-leaning Garcia Márquez wrote admiringly of Fidel Castro, eventually befriending the dictator. Both trouble and fame attached to him; The Colombian government planned to have him arrested for his political activities, Mexico offered him refuge, and the French awarded him the Legion d’Honneur. In 1982, he won the Nobel Prize for literature. Later, he would say that he put the prize money in a Swiss bank account and forgot about it for years; he eventually used it to buy the weekly magazine Cambio.
While he was lauded for his literary achievement, there were those among even his most ardent admirers who were disheartened by his politics, particularly his cozy relationship with Fidel Castro, who showered his writer friend with gifts that included a house on the outskirts of Havana. He, in turn, described Castro’s “childlike heart … political intelligence, his instincts and his decency, his almost inhuman capacity for work, his deep identification with and absolute confidence in the wisdom of the masses….”
Critics and curious contemporaries reasoned that Garcia Márquez was simply star struck by a man in uniform. Others theorized that that the writer was using the friendship to bend the dictator’s ear, and help Cubans leave the island or avoid harsh treatment.
According to a 1999 New Yorkerprofile by Jon Lee Anderson, García Márquez, ”confirmed that he had helped people leave the island, and he alluded to one ‘operation’ that had resulted in the departure of ‘more than two thousand people’ from Cuba.
‘I know just how far I can go with Fidel. Sometimes he says no. Sometimes later he comes and tells me I was right.’
‘I know just how far I can go with Fidel. Sometimes he says no. Sometimes later he comes and tells me I was right.’” The White House, however, was not philosophical about the author’s political engagement, and for a period of years he was obliged to apply for a special visa to enter the United States. Garcia Márquez seemed able to live with the moral contradictions posed by his friendship with Castro. But, given the complex dilemmas he assigned his most compelling characters, it’s hard to imagine that he was a man who would fail to grapple with that relationship.
Take the journalist-narrator of Garcia Márquez’s slim, 2005 volume,Memories of My Melancholy Whores, who, nearing the end of his life, shares a ruthless self-analysis: “I discovered that I am not disciplined out of virtue but as a reaction to my own negligence, that I appear generous in order to conceal my meanness, that I pass myself off as prudent because I am evil-minded, that I am conciliatory in order not to succumb to my repressed rage….” Such honest writing is what makes Garcia Márquez’s characters so universally accessible, his fiction so humane.
But Garcia Márquez also embraced popular imagery, using melodrama, romanticism, and sentimentality unabashedly in novels like Love in the Time of Cholera, based on his own parents’ romantic history. He was a fan of telenovelas and boleros and even wrote a profile of pop-singer Shakira in 2002. The female characters in his fiction, while diverse, often fall into the category of dusky cat-eyed temptresses — the fiery Latinas of a good bodice-ripper. At the same time, child prostitutes and a scene during which a housemaid is raped while doing laundry, reveal a more pitiless and exploitative form of sexuality in his writing.
Through his fiction he undermined crude American stereotypes of Latin Americans and informed the world about the region’s recent political history. The author himself once noted, “For Europeans, South America is a man with a mustache, a guitar and a gun.” Perhaps not so much anymore, thanks in large part to what Garcia Márquez has left us.
The intense global scrutiny brought upon Malaysia's government over the fate of flight MH370 has tossed a wild card into its controversial efforts to send opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim back to jail.
Just hours before the Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared on March 8, a court overturned Anwar's 2012 acquittal on sodomy charges he says are false and part of a long-running government attempt to wreck his political career.
Sentenced to five years in jail, Anwar, free on appeal, would be expelled from parliament if the conviction holds — a severe blow for a fractious opposition that has enjoyed unprecedented success by uniting around his star power.
But Anwar feels the negative global attention due to MH370 could force the government to think twice.
"(MH370) certainly will have a bearing," said Anwar, 66, when asked by AFP whether concern over international reaction to his jailing could make his political foes pause.
"The entire radar is on Malaysia — that it is opaque, semi-authoritarian, no transparency, no accountability."
Fears of backlash
Unaccustomed to answering for itself at home, Malaysia's government has faced a barrage of international criticism for the unexplained loss of the plane with 239 people aboard, and a stumbling response.
Anwar's opposition says the saga has exposed institutional decay and incompetence in a government dominated since 1957 by the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which is widely accused of rampant cronyism and corruption.
A former deputy premier with UMNO, Anwar has cultivated strong friendships in Washington, where he is lauded for his calls for reform, and the US State Department has questioned the March 7 ruling against him.
However, President Barack Obama does not plan to see Anwar when he is in Kuala Lumpur next week, though US officials have not ruled out a lower-level meeting. It was not clear whether Obama would raise Anwar's case with Malaysia's government.
"Jailing Anwar will be a big mistake, as it will galvanise people around his struggle. The last time they did that we saw the biggest protests ever," said Wan Saiful Wan Jan, head of Malaysian public policy think-tank IDEAS.
Anwar was sensationally ousted from the government in 1998 after losing a power struggle, and his subsequent jailing for six years on sodomy and corruption charges was widely considered politically motivated.
The biggest protests in Malaysia's history resulted, and Anwar emerged as a formidable opposition campaigner after the sodomy conviction was overturned in 2004.
Jailing Anwar would heap further pressure on the government and make it "a laughing stock", Wan Saiful said.
Current Prime Minister Najib Razak, a relative moderate, has consistently sought international favour, but is constrained by UMNO conservatives who deeply fear Anwar and the political threat he poses.
In elections last year, the opposition won a majority of Malaysia's popular vote for the first time, though UMNO's coalition clung to control of parliament.
The March ruling came just two weeks before Anwar was to stand for an assembly seat in Selangor, Malaysia's richest state.
The seat was seen as a springboard to becoming the state's chief minister — a powerful soapbox ahead of the next general election due by 2018 — but the ruling disqualified Anwar.
Influential conservatives may gamble that the long-term gains from jailing Anwar are worth any overseas backlash, said Bridget Welsh, a Malaysia politics researcher at Singapore Management University.
"There clearly are people in that party who want Anwar in jail," she said.
"The focus is the domestic arena and what they feel they can get away with."
UMNO is widely believed to influence the courts in sensitive cases, though Najib's government denies this.
No date for an appeal has yet been set.
Anwar, who brought tens of thousands to the streets after last year's disputed elections, warned of a "major battle" if he is jailed.
"You can take me, beat me up — you can shoot me if you want to — but I'm not going to take this lying down," he said, hinting demonstrations may be called.
Multi-ethnic Malaysia enjoyed rapid economic growth and rising living standards over recent decades while a controversial UMNO formula reserves political supremacy for majority Muslim Malays.
But voters have increasingly rebelled over endemic corruption, slowing growth, and impatience with UMNO's authoritarian tactics and divisive racial politics.
Since last year's elections, Najib's government has shelved reform promises and brought sedition charges or other pressure against opposition figures and reform advocates.
With five days to appeal against his conviction in the Sodomy II trial, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is yet to fill the gap left by the late veteran lawyer and ally, Karpal Singh.
The PKR de facto leader told a crowd of 800 here that he must look for a lawyer to take charge of the appeal against his second sodomy conviction by the end of today, in order to file the petition of appeal on time.
"Not only am I about to go prison but I also have to look for the money to pay legal fees," said Anwar jokingly, at the Reformasi 2.0 ceramah at the Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency.
"But that is for me to worry. What I want from you here is to know the truth and judge accordingly," he said.
Karpal was killed in a fatal accident last Thursday when the vehicle he was travelling in collided with a five-tonne lorry near Gua Tempurung in Gopeng, Perak. The accident also claimed the life of his long-time assistant, Michael Cornelius.
The former DAP chairman and Bukit Gelugor MP had been due to file the petition of appeal at the appellate court on April 24, a day prior to the expiry of the ten-day deadline on Friday.
Karpal had appeared as Anwar's lead counsel since the former deputy prime minister's first sodomy charge against him in 1998.
Karpal had taken up the case on a pro bono basis and fought relentlessly for the past 15 years, said the Anwar today.
Other speakers at the event last night alleged that the Court of Appeal's ruling was politically motivated, accusing the judges of noting events irrelevant to the case.
PKR vice-president N. Surendran pointed to the pains the judges took to defend themselves against the accusation of having hurried the judgement.
"They were defending themselves as if they were politicians," said the Padang Serai MP, after having studied the 85-page judgement.
PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli added that not content with the damage to Anwar's reputation, the government was still appealing for a harsher sentence despite the victory.
"On normal circumstances it is the losing party that appeals but because this is Anwar they are after, the government is appealing," he said.
Anwar was sentenced to a five-year jail term last month after the Court of Appeal overturned his second sodomy acquittal, ruling that the High Court judge erred in rejecting DNA evidence adduced.
On January 9, 2012, Anwar was acquitted of allegedly sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at the Desa Damansara condominium on June 26, 2008.
The appellate court's full judgement, which was delivered to Karpal's law firm last Wednesday, among others, questioned Anwar's decision to give his statement from the dock, which the bench found to be nothing more than a bare denial.
The bench led by Datuk Balia Yusof Wahi and assisted by Datuk Aziah Ali and Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh stated that Anwar's statement of defence should have provided evidence with which to deflect the allegations made against him.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/on-borrowed-time-anwar-struggles-with-karpals-replacement#sthash.gBnW31rj.dpuf
Model dan pelaksanaan hudud yang bakal diguna pakai oleh kerajaan negeri Kelantan perlu difahami terlebih dahulu sebelum Pakatan Rakyat (PR) mengambil keputusan bersama untuk mempersetujuinya, kata Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Ketua pembangkang itu berkata, kerajaan perlu membincangkan beberapa perkara asas dalam Islam terlebih dahulu seperti masalah ajaran sesat dan anti hadis sebelum membawa hudud ke satu peringkat yang lebih serius.
"Kita sebagai orang Islam, kita tidak boleh pertikai undang-undang Al-Quran. Saya bukan Mahathir. Kita kena terima. Hal ini harus difaham. Kalau tunggu fatwa, semua fatwa kena pada kita.
"Curi duit tak nampak, kenyataan Mahathir tak nampak, Mahathir sokong Kassim Ahmad anti hadis tak mengapa. Kita yang kena," katanya ketika berucap di hadapan kira-kira 1,500 hadirin dalam Himpunan Reformasi 2.0 di Kuala Lumpur, malam tadi.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pada Jumaat menyelar tindakan pihak berkuasa agama menangkap dan membicarakan Kassim kerana tindakan tersebut mencalarkan identiti Malaysia sebagai negara Islam sederhana.
Bekas perdana menteri itu berkata, dalam keadaan Kassim yang bertongkat dan tidak sihat, pegawai agama Islam dan dibantu polis tergamak menahan aktivis berusia 80 tahun itu.
"Saya sedih. Saya sedih kerana Kassim umur 80 tahun, bertongkat dan sakit ditangkap dan akan dibicara. Kenapa Kassim? Kenapa tidak orang lain? Yang menghina agama Islam di Malaysia ramai," tulisnya dalam artikel di blognya chedet.cc.
Anwar berkata, hudud hanya dapat dilaksanakan sekiranya pembaharuan dilakukan terhadap jabatan agama Islam dan kaedah penguatkuasaan.
Katanya, hudud perlu dilaksanakan secara telus menepati kehendak ajaran Islam sebenar dan tidak memberi kepentingan politik kepada pihak tertentu.
"Kalau dilaksana digunakan undang-undang, curi RM500 juta dari Tan Sri naik Tun. Kamu curi motor, tangan dipotong. Dalam Islam bukan begitu.
"Semua perubahan baru kita kena bincang undang-undang itu macam mana. Saya saman Saiful, empat tahun Mahkamah Syariah tak sidang pun," katanya merujuk kepada bekas pembantunya Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Anwar yang baru tiba selepas memberi penghormatan terakhir kepada mendiang Karpal Singh di Pulau Pinang berkata, pelaksanaan hudud di Kelantan akan diteliti dan Menteri Besar Kelantan, Datuk Ahmad Yakob akan memberikan penjelasan.
"Itu yang kita jemput menteri besar Kelantan untuk datang dalam mesyuarat kita mencari muafakat supaya (hudud) tidak digunakan untuk menekan sesiapa dan menjamin undang-undang itu difahami," katanya.
Berhubung isu kehilangan pesawat Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370, Anwar mempertikaikan senarai kargo pesawat itu yang masih belum disiarkan kepada umum.
Katanya, ekoran daripada sikap kerajaan yang enggan memberikan lebih maklumat mengenai pesawat itu, Malaysia terus mendapat kecaman serata dunia.
"Mengapa cuba tutup maklumat itu? Apa barang yang dibawa? Saya tanya mana dia senarai kargo? Setiap kali ada penerbangan dikomputerkan. Bila tanya, sampai hari ini tak dapat jawab.
"Sekarang saya tuduh, kamu sengaja menyembunyikan bukti. Ada bukti, kamu padamkan. Dia kata ada manggis 4 tan tetapi tiada musim. Di Thailand pun bukan musim manggis," katanya yang berpakaian serba hitam malam tadi.
Hujung bulan lalu, Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif MAS Ahmad Jauhari Yahya mengesahkan selain empat tan manggis yang dibawa di dalam pesawat itu, ia turut memuatkan bateri lithium-ion.
Katanya, bateri lithium-ion pada asasnya bukan barangan berbahaya tetapi ia diisytiharkan sebagai bahan berbahaya di bawah ICAO.
"Kami bawa beberapa bateri kecil lithium-ion, ia bukan bateri yang besar dan ia pada dasarnya diluluskan di bawah Pertubuhan Penerbangan Awam Antarabangsa (ICAO) di bawah barangan berbahaya," katanya.
KARPAL SINGH, who died in a car accident in the early hours of April 17that the age of 74, was a rarity in the venomous world of Malaysian politics: a man respected by many of his opponents as well as those on his own side.
That side, for all of a long career in politics, was the opposition to Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has held power ever since independence in 1957. Yet on Facebook and on Twitter condolences to his family have poured in from across the political spectrum, including from the prime minister, Najib Razak, who paid tribute to a "formidable opponent". Known as "the Tiger of Jelutong" after the constituency on the island of Penang he long represented, Mr Karpal was indeed formidable.
Anwar Ibrahim, leader of an opposition coalition, of which Mr Karpal's Democratic Action Party (DAP) forms part, mourned the passing of "my brother-in-arms for freedom and democracy, an inspiring symbol for the struggle against oppression and injustice and a man of unimpeachable moral integrity.”
For most of Mr Karpal's political career, opposition politics has been a mug's game, offering virtually no chance of winning power, and endless trouble, from petty harassment to, in Mr Karpal's case, imprisonment.
He was one of 106 critics of the BN government who were locked up in 1987 under Malaysia's Internal Security Act by the government of Mahathir Mohamad, a long-serving prime minister. The act itself was repealed in 2012. Mr Karpal also campaigned long and hard against the death penalty in Malaysia, which still remains on the books.
A few days later Mr Karpal himself was found guilty—of sedition. Mr Karpal escaped with a fine rather than a jail term, but the conviction caused outrage. His crime was a remark he made during a press conference in 2009, when he merely expressed his legal opinion on a political dispute in Perak, one of the states in the Malaysian federation.
The conviction meant Mr Karpal had to give up his chairmanship of the DAP, the ethnic-Chinese-dominated party that led the charge for the opposition in last year's election. Their coalition actually won the popular vote. Gerrymandered constituencies mean it has something far short of a parliamentary majority, but death has taken Mr Karpal at a time when prospects for the Malaysian opposition look better than ever before in his long career.
It will be tested, however, by the loss of Mr Karpal, and perhaps of Mr Anwar, too, if he is again removed from the political fray and put behind bars.
Mr Karpal's popularity was due to more than his tigerish courage and tenacity. His dignity, modesty, humour and courtesy, all played their parts. A BBC radio interview in 2011 demonstrated also the remarkable lack of rancour with which he accepted his life's many travails—including an earlier road accident, in 2005, that left him in a wheelchair.
It was also a reminder that, though his death has been greeted with respect and regret (some nasty political jibes notwithstanding), that is not how Malaysia’s opposition politicians are treated when alive. Mr Karpal had described taunts about his disability and even death threats, in the form of bullets sent in the post. All this he dismissed as “professional hazards”. Many people, he said, wanted him dead. "I tell them ‘You have to join the queue’."
Five weeks into the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, more than $30 million has been spent scouring great swatches of the southern Indian Ocean. Yet searchers have still not found a single piece of physical evidence such as wreckage or human remains. Last week, Australian authorities said they were confident that a series of acoustic pings detected 1,000 miles northwest of Perth had come from the aircraft's black boxes, and that wreckage would soon be found. But repeated searches by a robotic submarine have so far failed to find the source of the pings, which experts say could have come from marine animals or even from the searching ships themselves. Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted that if wreckage wasn't located within a week or two "we stop, we regroup, we reconsider."
There remains only one publically available piece of evidence linking the plane to the southern Indian Ocean: a report issued by the Malaysian government on March 25 that described a new analysis carried out by the U.K.-based satellite operator Inmarsat. The report said that Inmarsat had developed an "innovative technique" to establish that the plane had most likely taken a southerly heading after vanishing. Yet independent experts who have analyzed the report say that it is riddled with inconsistencies and that the data it presents to justify its conclusion appears to have been fudged.
Some background: For the first few days after MH370 disappeared, no one had any idea what might have happened to the plane after it left Malaysian radar coverage around 2:30 a.m., local time, on March 8, 2014. Then, a week later, Inmarsat reported that its engineers had noticed that in the hours after the plane's disappearance, the plane had continued to exchange data-less electronic handshakes, or "pings," with a geostationary satellite over the Indian Ocean. In all, a total of eight pings were exchanged.
Each ping conveyed only a tiny amount of data: the time it was received, the distance the airplane was from the satellite at that instant, and the relative velocity between the airplane and the satellite. Taken together, these tiny pieces of information made it possible to narrow down the range of possible routes that the plane might have taken. If the plane was presumed to have traveled to the south at a steady 450 knots, for instance, then Inmarsat could trace a curving route that wound up deep in the Indian Ocean southwest of Perth, Australia. Accordingly, ships and planes began to scour that part of the ocean, and when satellite imagery revealed a scattering of debris in the area, the Australian prime minister declared in front of parliament that it represented "new and credible information" about the fate of the airplane.
The problem with this kind of analysis is that, taken by themselves, the ping data are ambiguous. Given a presumed starting point, any reconstructed route could have headed off in either direction. A plane following the speed and heading to arrive at the southern search area could have also headed to the north and wound up in Kazakhstan. Why, then, were investigators scouring the south and not the north?
The March 25 report stated that Inmarsat had used a new kind of mathematical analysis to rule out a northern route. Without being very precise in its description, it implied that the analysis might have depended on a small but telling wobble of the Inmarsat satellite's orbit. Accompanying the written report was an appendix, called Annex I, that consisted of three diagrams, the second of which was titled "MH370 measured data against predicted tracks” and appeared to sum up the case against the northern route in one compelling image. One line on the graph showed the predicted Doppler shift for a plane traveling along a northern route; another line showed the predicted Doppler shift for a plane flying along a southern route. A third line, showing the actual data received by Inmarsat, matched the southern route almost perfectly, and looked markedly different from the northern route. Case closed.
The report did not explicitly enumerate the three data points for each ping, but around the world, enthusiasts from a variety of disciplines threw themselves into reverse-engineering that original data out of the charts and diagrams in the report. With this information in hand, they believed, it would be possible to construct any number of possible routes and check the assertion that the plane must have flown to the south.
Unfortunately, it soon became clear that Inmarsat had presented its data in a way that made this goal impossible: "There simply isn’t enough information in the report to reconstruct the original data," says Scott Morgan, the former commander of the US Air Force Rescue Coordination Center. "We don't know what their assumptions are going into this."
Another expert who tried to understand Inmarsat's report was Mike Exner, CEO of the remote sensing company Radiometrics Inc. He mathematically processed the "Burst Frequency Offset" values on Page 2 of Annex 1 and was able to derive figures for relative velocity between the aircraft and the satellite. He found, however, that no matter how he tried, he could not get his values to match those implied by the possible routes shown on Page 3 of the annex. "They look like cartoons to me," says Exner.
Even more significantly, I haven't found anybody who has independently analyzed the Inmarsat report and has been able to figure out what kind of northern route could yield the values shown on Page 2 of the annex. According to the March 25 report, Inmarsat teased out the small differences predicted to exist between the Doppler shift values between the northern and southern routes. This difference, presumably caused by the slight wobble in the satellite's orbit that I mentioned above, should be tiny—according to Exner's analysis, no more than a few percent of the total velocity value. And yet Page 2 of the annex shows a radically different set of values between the northern and southern routes. "Neither the northern or southern predicted routes make any sense," says Exner.
Given the discrepancies and inaccuracies, it has proven impossible for independent observers to validate Inmarsat's assertion that it can rule out a northern route for the airplane. "It's really impossible to reproduce what the Inmarsat folks claim," says Hans Kruse, a professor of telecommunications systems at Ohio University.
This is not to say that Inmarsat's conclusions are necessarily incorrect. (In the past I have made the case that the northern route might be possible, but I'm not trying to beat that drum here.) Its engineers are widely regarded as top-drawer, paragons of meticulousness in an industry that is obsessive about attention to detail. But their work has been presented to the public by authorities whose inconsistency and lack of transparency have time and again undermined public confidence. It's worrying that the report appears to have been composed in such a way as to make it impossible for anyone to independently assess its validity—especially given that its ostensible purpose was to explain to the world Inmarsat's momentous conclusions. What frustrated, grieving family members need from the authorities is clarity and trustworthiness, not a smokescreen.
Inmarsat has not replied to my request for a clarification of their methods. This week, the Wall Street Journalreported that in recent days experts had "recalibrated data" in part by using "arcane new calculations reflecting changes in the operating temperatures of an Inmarsat satellite as well as the communications equipment aboard the Boeing when the two systems exchanged so-called digital handshakes." But again, not enough information has been provided for the public to assess the validity of these methods.
It would be nice if Inmarsat would throw open its spreadsheets and help resolve the issue right now, but that could be too much to expect. Inmarsat may be bound by confidentiality agreements with its customers, not to mention U.S. laws that restrict the release of information about sensitive technologies. The Malaysian authorities, however, can release what they want to—and they seem to be shifting their stance toward openness. After long resisting pressure to release the air traffic control transcript, they eventually relented. Now acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein says that if and when the black boxes are found, their data will be released to the public.
With the search for surface debris winding down, the mystery of MH370 is looking more impenetrable by the moment. If the effort to find the plane using an underwater robot comes up empty, then there should be a long and sustained call for the Malaysian authorities to reveal their data and explain exactly how they came to their conclusions.
PRESS RELEASE: Court of Appeal’s Fitnah 2 written judgement is flawed, defensive and insupportable
I refer to the written judgement dated 11 April of the Court of Appeal in the Fitnah 2 case, which criticises Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s decision to give a statement from the dock, accepts Saiful’s evidence and claims that Anwar’s defence was not credible. The judgement is insupportable in law and fact, and fundamentally flawed from beginning to end.
Unprecedentedly, the judges go out of the ambit of the case before them by saying that ‘ it would be stretching it too far to say that this appeal has been disposed of in haste’. This appears to be a defensive response to widespread public criticism, including a censure motion brought in the Dewan Rakyat against the three judges. It is highly inappropriate for the judges to respond to criticism of their conduct in such a manner. The judgement in a criminal case must deal with the facts and law of the case, and not extraneous matters. Otherwise it raises questions about the Judges’ impartiality and objectivity; justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done.
The judges drew legally untenable conclusions based upon Anwar’s decision to give an unsworn statement from the dock. They ‘ wonder why ‘ Anwar chose to make an unsworn statement, and suggest sinister motives. In fact, under the criminal law it is the hallowed right of the accused person to make an unsworn statement from the dock. Mandela did so when he was on trial for his life in the 1963 Rivonia case. Anwar did so in the Fitnah 2 trial, and thus put on trial the unjust legal and political system which had brought him to the dock. The Court of Appeal judgement has departed from all legal precedents by criticising Anwar for giving a statement from the dock.
The judgement says there is ‘nothing impropable about Saiful’s evidence’. How do these three judges reach such a conclusion when it is undisputed that Saiful met with Anwar’s political enemy, Prime Minister Najib, just 2 days before the alleged incident? Why did he also meet with top police officer SAC Rodwan, who was involved in the first sodomy case? How is that Saiful claims to have been sodomized several times whereas the GH medical report finds no such physical evidence? Why is it Saiful did not get away after the alleged incident although he had plenty of opportunity to do so?
Crucially, although the investigating officer Jude Pereira had cut open the sample bag P27, the judges say this does not ‘ amount to tampering of the exhibits’. This conclusion is against all legal principles governing the chain of evidence, and against all common sense.
In short, this is not a credible judgement; it disregards crucial facts and goes against accepted principles of law. This judgement purports to convict Anwar, but in fact it strengthens the general public conviction that Anwar Ibrahim is a victim of political persecution and a grave miscarriage of justice.
Issued by, N SURENDRAN, VICE PRESIDENT,KEADILAN MP PADANG SERAI
Seorang pelatih polis yang melahirkan anak dalam tandas di HKL telah didapati mencairkan air kencingnya untuk lulus pemeriksaan kesihatan untuk merahsiakan kehamilannya. Apakah remaja kini semakin bijak menyembunyikan kehamilan atau mereka hanya menipu diri mereka sendiri di hadapan ALLAH?
Ruse at Pulapol to hide pregnancy backfires as she gives birth
18 Apr 2014
A POLICE trainee diluted her urine with water to avoid detection of her pregnancy during a health test in January.
But her ruse backfired when she gave birth to a baby girl in a toilet of the Kuala Lumpur Hospital on Tuesday, Berita Harian reported.
PLKN sepatutnya diwajibkan kepada semua tidak kira mereka anak menteri, ahli parlimen atau jutawan. Jika tidak jadikan program PLKN ini sebagai program sukarela dengan diberi insentif yang sama dengan polis sukarela, askar wataniah, RELA dan sebagainya. Kenapa Kementerian Pertahanan tidak adakan "National Blue Ocean Strategy" dengan Kementerian Pelajaran serta Kementerian Kesihatan untuk semak rekod kesihatan pelajar di sekolah agar tidak memilih pelajar yang memang mempunyai masalah kesihatan? Kenapa perlu tangguh, ganti sahaja dengan pelatih yang sihat?
1,000 pelatih PLKN tangguh sebab sakit
18 Apr 2014
Purata 1,000 pelatih Program Latihan Khidmat Negara (PLKN) setiap sesi yang telah mendaftar masuk terpaksa menangguhkan latihan mereka kerana disahkan oleh doktor menghidap pelbagai jenis penyakit.
"Selepas diperiksa oleh doktor barulah mereka tahu ada penyakit. Antara penyakit yang dikesan dalam kalangan pelatih adalah seperti darah tinggi, masalah kulit yang kronik dan masalah psikiatri.
Hafizam Harun yang mempunyai 6 orang anak terkejut apabila cuma menerima RM300 bayaran BR1M yang sepatutnya beliau layak mendapat RM650. Beliau telah pun membuat laporan. Beliau percaya ramai yang mengalami nasib yang serupa dan menggesa supaya mereka yang mempunyai nasib yang sama agar membuat laporan kepada SPRM.
Man claims he only got partial BR1M payment
18 April 2014
A 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) recipient yesterday claimed that he received only RM300 of the full RM650 cash aid.
Hafizam Harun,34, from Taman Seri Bayu, Sungai Petani, said he was shocked to find only RM300 in his bank account. The self-employed father of six, who received his BR1M aid in February, had lodged a complaint with the Inland Revenue Board last month.
An officer told him that nothing could be done as the payment had already been done. Hafizam believed that there were many others who had been "short-changed" but were reluctant to come forward.
Penganalisis meramalkan penyandang jawatan Timbalan Presiden PKR, Mohamed Azmin Ali akan berjaya mempertahankan jawatannya walaupun mendapat tentangan sengit daripada Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim dan Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail kerana perpecahan undi daripada kelompok penentangnya.
Azmin yang juga ahli Parlimen Gombak dan Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Bukit Antarabangsa dikatakan mempunyai kelebihan daripada segi sokongan dan kemahiran berpolitik.
"Azmin merupakan penyandang timbalan presiden, sudah tentu mempunyai kekuatan akar umbi yang kukuh," kata Prof Madya Dr Shaharuddin Badaruddin daripada Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) kepada The Malaysian Insider.
Shaharuddin berkata, beliau menjangkakan, Azmin akan beroleh kelebihan dalam pertandingan empat penjuru itu memandangkan beliau bersama PKR sejak 15 tahun lalu berbanding Khalid yang menyertai parti itu sekitar 2007.
Selain Azmin, Khalid dan Saifuddin, jawatan timbalan presiden PKR turut ditandingi oleh Datuk K Ramachandram dari PKR cabang Hulu Langat.
Shaharuddin yang mengajar di Fakulti Sains Pentadbiran dan Pengajian Polisi UiTM berkata, penyertaan Saifuddin yang juga setiausaha agung PKR, hanyalah untuk meredakan ketegangan antara Azmin dan Khalid yang akan memberikan kesan jangka panjang kepada PKR.
Dr Oh Ei Sun daripada Sekolah Pengajian Antarabangsa S Rajaratnam, Singapura pula meramalkan Azmin akan mengekalkan jawatan yang disandangnya berdasarkan pengalaman dan cara berpolitiknya.
"Khalid kurang dikenali dan tidak mahir berpolitik berbanding Azmin.
"Saifuddin seorang pekerja parti tapi tidak semahir Azmin," kata.
Khalid dan Saifuddin dianggap berada dalam satu pasukan sama dalam kempen "Asal Bukan Azmin" yang digerakkan oleh sesetengah kumpulan dalam PKR.
Sementara itu, Pengerusi Eksekutif Ilham Centre, Mohamad Hisomudin Bakar menyifatkan keputusan Saifuddin secara mengejut masuk bertanding menyebabkan anggota PKR terkeliru sama ada memilih Khalid atau Saifuddin.
"Bagi mereka (yang tidak menyokong Azmin) berkongsi satu matlamat untuk melawan Azmin selaku timbalan presiden tapi apabila Saifuddin masuk, perkiraan umum akan melihat ini akan pecah undi.
"Mana-mana undi Azmin akan kekal, manakala undi yang menolak Azmin akan pecah kepada dua iaitu Khalid dan Saifuddin," katanya.
Hisomudin juga tidak menolak keputusan Saifuddin untuk mencabar Azmin mendapat sokongan pemimpin berpengaruh dalam parti tersebut.
"Ia menimbulkan persoalan, mengapa Saifuddin masuk bertanding juga.
"Sudah tentu anggota parti yang tidak menyokong Azmin akan membaca Saifuddin ini tidak akan mengambil keputusan yang begitu besar tanpa ada arahan ataupun isyarat daripada Anwar," katanya.
Hisomudin berkata, pemilihan PKR kali ini bergantung kepada empat negeri yang mempunyai anggota teramai bermula di Selangor, Sabah, Pulau Pinang dan Perak.
Walaupun Azmin dilihat defensif pada ketika ini, pengaruh akar umbinya di dua kubu PKR iaitu Selangor dan Sabah menyebabkan beliau sukar digugat.
Daripada 500,001 ahli PKR yang layak membuat pilihan kali ini, hampir separuh daripada mereka berada di Selangor dan Sabah.
Selangor mempunyai 144,020 ahli manakala Sabah mempunyai 86,955 ahli PKR. Azmin merupakan pengerusi PKR Selangor dan bekas pengerusi PKR Sabah sebelum ini.
Namun, berdasarkan rekod pemilihan 2010, hanya 14% sahaja keluar membuang undi daripada jumlah ahli yang layak. Dari manakah jumlah 14% itu bergantung kepada kempen yang mereka buat.
PKR akan mengadakan pemilihan secara langsung untuk memilih pemimpin di semua peringkat, termasuk jawatan tertinggi parti. Pemilihan bermula pada 25 April dan berakhir pada 11 Mei.
Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim nampaknya bersedia untuk sebarang kemungkinan berhubung rayuan terhadap hukuman lima tahun kes penjara dalam kes liwat terhadapnya.
Berucap dalam ceramah Reformasi 2.0 di Seberang Jaya malam tadi, anggota Parlimen Permatang Pauh itu berkata:
"Ini mungkin pidato terakhir saya di sini."
Beliau antaranya mengingatkan orang ramai terhadap "ketidakadilan" sekitar kesnya.
Pada 7 Mac, Mahkamah Rayuan di Putrajaya mendapati beliau bersalah dan menjatuhkan hukuman lima tahun terhadapnya selepas rayuan terhadap pembebasannya yang dibuat di Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur sebelum itu.
Ketua Umum PKR itu kini mempunyai sepuluh hari untuk memfailkan rayuan terhadap hukuman itu.
Beliau kini harus menjadi peguam baru ekoran kematian peguam yang mewakilinya Karpal Singh dalam kemalangan tragik semalam.
Beliau juga mengingatkan penonton supaya terus berdoa kepada Allah sementara menunggu hukuman.
Anwar juga berharap penyokongnya akan mempertahankan kerusi anggota Parlimen yang disandangkan di situ jika beliau hilang kelayakan ekoran keputusan mahkamah tidak memihak padanya.
Himpunan Reformasi 2.0 yang berlangsung di Pulau Pinang malam tadi menjadi acara memperingati mendiang Karpal Singh dan mereka yang berucap turut menyampaikan ucapan mengenang pemergian bekas pengerusi DAP itu.
Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, berkata Karpal bimbang hukuman penjara lima tahun dalam rayuan kes liwatnya.
Beliau yang juga merupakan ketua umum PKR berkata, isteri kepada pemimpin veteran DAP itu, Gurmit Kaur memberitahu Karpal sangat marah mengenai kes itu.
"Pemergiannya satu kehilangan peribadi kepada saya, (Datuk Seri Dr Wan) Azizah (Wan Ismail) dan keluarga saya," katanya.
Anwar di depan ratusan yang berhimpun pada acara itu berkata, Karpal cuba menghubunginya pada petang Rabu.
"Beliau cuba menghubungi saya sebanyak empat kali pada 6.30 petang. Saya hubunginya semula dan Karpal memberitahu kita hanya ada 10 hari untuk hantar rayuan kepada Mahkamah Persekutuan.
"Katanya, jangan bimbang. Dia minta kepada saya untuk teruskan.
"Karpal berkata beliau akan membuat permohonan dan melakukan yang terbaik untuk memenangi kes ini," katanya.
Anwar didapati bersalah meliwat bekas pembantunya pada 2008 oleh Mahkamah Rayuan bulan lalu.
Mahkamah Rayuan menolak keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi Kuala Lumpur yang membebaskan Anwar pada Januari 2012.
Anwar membuat rayuan terhadap hukuman penjara. Sekiranya beliau gagal dalam rayuan, hukuman penjara akan berjalan dan pilihan raya kecil kerusi Parlimen Permatang Pauh juga akan diadakan.
Anwar berkata, hukuman penjara yang dikenakan kepadanya tidak akan menghentikan isu seperti kenaikan harga barang.
Katanya, Karpal bukan sahaja sekadar peguam tetapi dianggap sebagai ahli keluarganya sendiri.
Beliau berkata, Karpal tidak mengenakan sebarang bayaran bagi khidmat guaman yang diberikan.
"Ketika saya dalam perbicaraan, wang dikumpul untuk membayar Karpal tetapi beliau tidak mengambilnya. Beliau tidak mengambilnya kerana saya mengorbankan diri saya sendiri.
"Katanya, khidmat guaman bagi mempertahankan saya adalah sebagai sumbangan kecil. Itulah Karpal Singh," katanya.
Karpal terbunuh dalam kemalangan jalan raya di Lebuhraya Utara Selatan berhampiran Kampar, Perak kira-kira 1 pagi semalam.
Beliau dalam perjalanan ke Pulau Pinang dari Kuala Lumpur untuk kes perbicaraan bunuh di Mahkamah Tinggi Pulau Pinang.
Karpal maut di tempat kejadian. Pembantunya, Michael Cornelius Selvam Vellu turut maut sementara anak Karpal, Ramkarpal dan pemandu terselamat.
Pada perhimpunan semalam, mereka yang hadir bertafakur selama seminit bagi menghormati pemergian peguam terhormat itu.
Pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat (PR) yang turut memberi penghormatan ialah Ahli Parlimen Bayan Baru, Sim Tze Tzin; Pesuruhjaya PAS Pulau Pinang, Mohamad Sabu; Pengarah Strategi PKR, Rafizi Ramli; ahli exco kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang, Dr Afif Bahardin dan timbalan speaker Dewan Undangan Negeri Selangor, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad.
Antara yang turut menyampaikan ucapan semalam ialah Setiausaha Agung PKR, Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail yang membangkitkan soal gerakan reformasi, sistem kehakiman, Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) serta beberapa isu lain.
Beliau turut menggesa hadirin menyertai himpunan jalanan pada 1 Mei ini di Kuala Lumpur bagi menentang GST dan kenaikan harga barang.
Sepanjang berada dalam kerjaya undang-undang untuk hampir separuh abad, mendiang Karpal Singh banyak memberi sumbangan kepada pembangunan undang-undang jenayah dan sivil Malaysia dengan hampir 600 petikan dalam Jurnal Undang-undang Malaysia, kata pemikir undang-undang.
Mereka memberitahu The Malaysian Insider, helang undang-undang terkemuka itu, yang maut dalam kemalangan jalan raya semalam, mampu melakukannya kerana beliau merupakan peguam serba boleh yang berani berhujah dan membantah kes di mahkamah.
Mereka berkata, Karpal mempunyai kelebihan untuk menyatakan mengapa undang-undang tertentu tidak boleh diguna pakai dan perlu pindaan kerana beliau turut boleh melobi untuk membolehkan perubahan berlaku di Parlimen.
Karpal juga adalah contoh terbaik kepada pelajar undang-undang kerana memiliki kualiti yang diperlukan untuk menjadi peguam yang berani, kata mereka.
Peguam, Datuk K Kumaraendran yang berpangkalan di Pulau Pinang dan memulakan kerjaya peguam pada masa sama dengan Karpal, berkata peguam dan ahli politik itu sering mengambil kes yang membabitkan bebanan bukti.
"Demi kepentingan keadilan, beliau membangunkan undang-undang itu kerana wujud ketidakpastian mengenai isu tidak bersalah hingga terbukti bersalah," kata Kumaraendan yang sering bersama Karpal mengendalikan kes jenayah pada lewat 1970-an dan awal 1980-an.
Kumaraendan yang memulakan kerjaya undang-undangnya di Alor Star bersama Karpal berkata, mendiang adalah perintis kepada peguam yang membawa kes pengedaran dadah dan habeas corpus.
"Beliau adalah peguam yang bertanggungjawab menyebabkan mahkamah apex di Malaysia lebih jelas mengenai isu anggapan berganda dalam kes pengedaran dadah," katanya dan menambah penghakiman mahkamah selepas itu banyak menyelamatkan tertuduh daripada tali gantung.
(Dalam tanggapan berganda mahkamah perlu membuat keputusan sama ada jenayah dilakukan itu adalah pemilikan atau pengedaran, bukan kedua-duanya.)
Peguam, Datuk V Sithambaram, yang memulakan kerjaya pada 1978 menggambarkan keberanian Karpal sebagai peguam tidak boleh ditandingi dan cintanya amat mendalam terhadap undang-undang.
"Legasinya akan terus kekal dalam arena undang-undang dan politik," katanya.
Sebagai peguam junior dalam banyak kes jenayah, katanya, Karpal mengajarnya untuk berterus terang di mahkamah.
"Ringkas dalam menyampaikan hujah di mahkamah adalah cara Karpal," kata Sithambaram.
Beliau berkata, Karpal sangat bersungguh-sungguh dalam memperjuangkan keadilan dan membawanya ke Parlimen jika melihat ada kelemahan dalam penggunaan sesuatu undang-undang di mahkamah.
Peguam kanan dan bekas hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan, Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram, berkata tanggapan pertamanya terhadap Karpal ialah beliau seorang yang pakar dalam prosedur jenayah dan undang-undang bukti.
"Dalam satu kes jenayah beliau mampu meyakinkan hakim perbicaraan untuk melihat semula pengakuan yang dibuat oleh anak guamnya. Selepas penghujahan, hakim memerintahkan juri untuk membebaskan tertuduh," kata Sri Ram, merujuk kepada kes bunuh pada 1973.
Sri Ram memulakan kerjayanya sebagai peguam pada 1970 dan dilantik menjadi hakim Mahkamah Rayuan pada 1994.
Katanya, sebagai hakim, beliau suka melihat Karpal menyampaikan hujahan kerana hujahnya cepat dan isu yang dibangkitkan mudah difahami.
Beliau berkata, dalam kes terkenal The Cheng Poh, Karpal gagal di Mahkamah Persekutuan tetapi berjaya di Majlis Privi di London.
"Eksekutif terpaksa membentangkan pindaan di Parlimen kesan daripada tindakan mahkamah yang dilakukan oleh Karpal," katanya.
Sri Ram berkata, Karpal yang membangkitkan doktrin pemisahan kuasa di kalangan tiga cabang kerajaan dan Mahkamah Rayuan bersetuju dengan hujahannya.
"Bagaimanapun, Mahkamah Persekutuan tidak bersetuju tetapi kebanyakan peguam berpendapat Karpal betul dalam perkara itu," katanya.
Sri Ram, yang bersara sebagai hakim mahkamah Persekutuan pada 2010 berkata, "setiap kali sejarah common law Malaysia ditulis, nama Karpal akan kelihatan dalam huruf berwarna emas untuk sumbangan hebatnya dalam peruntukan undang-undang berkenaan".
Salim Bashir, yang memulakan kerjaya peguamnya pada 1995 berkata, Karpal adalah mentornya untuk berani dan pada masa sama rendah diri dalam menonjolkan diri di mahkamah demi kes anak guam.
"Beliau ada kemahiran untuk menggunakan semua senjata undang-undang yang ada untuk memperolehi keadilan bagi anak guamnya," kata Salim dan menambah beliau suka melihat Karpal beraksi di mahkamah ketika prosiding.
Salim berkata, pelajar undang-undang juga boleh belajar kemahiran menjadi peguam yang tidak akan diperolehi di dewan kuliah jika pernah melihat Karpal di dalam mahkamah.
Katanya, Karpal mendesak mahkamah untuk membuat keputusan yang baru kerana beliau seorang yang inovatif dan sering menguji undang-undang, terutama Perlembagaan Persekutuan.
Karpal, 73, maut dalam kemalangan jalan raya apabila kenderaan yang dinaikinya berlanggar dengan lori seberat 5 tan berhampiran Gua Tempurung di Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan, awal pagi semalam.
Karpal dalam perjalanan dari Kuala Lumpur ke Pulau Pinang untuk menghadiri perbicaraan mahkamah seorang anak guamnya.
Kesan daripada nahas yang berlaku pada kira-kira jam 1 pagi itu membunuh peguam terkenal itu dan pembantu peribadinya, Michael Cornelious, di tempat kejadian.
Anak lelaki Karpal, Ramkarpal, dan pemandu, C Selvam mengalami kecederaan. Pembantu rumah Karpal, seorang warga Indonesia turut cedera dan berada dalam keadaan kritikal dan masih dirawat di Hospital Ipoh.
GEORGE TOWN: Karpal Singh's funeral this Sunday morning will be accorded the Penang state honours, announced Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng here today.
"This means the state flags would be flown half-mast until the funeral day on Sunday. "The state flag will be accorded to cover Karpal's casket.
"Finally a public ceremony will be held in Dewan Sri Pinang for the lay public to pay their last and final respects to Karpal.
"This is the last respect being accorded to a Penang MP and a statesman by the state government," Lim told a press conference at Karpal's house in Jalan Utama here today.
He said the state executive council decided this afternoon to honour Karpal, a son of Penang, a funeral with state honours.
Also present were Karpal's sons Gobind and Jagdeep Singh Deo, and Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow.
Chow has been appointed as the coordinator to accord the state honours for Karpal's funeral.
Gobind and Jagdeep later thanked the state government for according their father, a senior parliamentarian and DAP's leader, a funeral with state honours.
They also thanked leaders of various political parties, such as Deputy Prime Minister and Umno deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and PAS stalwart Mohamad Sabu, supporters and lay public for visiting and paying their last respects to their father.
Meanwhile Anwar said the loss of Karpal was irreplaceable.
The Parliamentary Opposition Leader revealed that he spoke to Karpal yesterday evening about his sodomy case appeal to the Federal Court.
Anwar said Karpal informed him that he would drop all his other work for next two days to concentrate on the appeal.
"He told me that he had 10 days to file the appeal. He told me not to worry and that he would," Anwar added.
Anwar said Karpal had always stood by the Permatang Pauh MP and his family, and committed to his struggle since 1998.
"He was passionate in his defence and never wavered from his position. He always exercised his full rights. He was an indefatigable fighter of justice," said Anwar.
DAP meanwhile announced that it had postponed all its programmes until after Karpal's funeral. However, programmes arranged by PKR and PAS would go ahead as scheduled.
Tonight's Refomasi 2.0 rally at Seberang Jaya would go ahead but Anwar indicated that it would be different than originally planned.
"We will pay our respect and tribute to Karpal. We will tell the crowd why Karpal must be remembered?" said Anwar.
Ahli parlimen Bukit Gelugor dan peguam kanan Karpal Singh maut dalam kemalangan di Kilometer 306.1 Lebuhraya Utara Selatan laluan utara dekat Kampar awal pagi ini.
Pembantu peribadi beliau, Michael Cornelius Selvam Vellu, 39, turut maut dalam kemalangan itu yang membabitkan kenderaan serbaguna (MPV) yang dinaiki mereka dengan sebuah lori dalam perjalanan menuju utara berhampiran Gua Tempurung.
Anaknya Ram Karpal dan pemandu kereta itu dilaporkan cedera.
Gambar di kawasan kemalangan menunjukkan kenderaan yang dinaiki Karpal rosak teruk.
Anak Karpal - Gobind Singh Deo yang juga MP Puchong - memberitahu The Star bahawa bapanya meninggal dunia di tempat kejadian.
"Adik saya Ram cedera ringan tetapi kita cuba untuk menghubunginya, katanya ketika dihubungi The Star pada jam 3.30 pagi.
Seorang jurucakap polis memberitahu Malaysiakini kemalangan dipercayai berlaku apabila Toyota Alphard tersebut merempuh lori yang menukar laluan tanpa memberi isyarat.
Karpal, 74, menjadi lumpuh dan menggunakan kerusi roda selepas terbabit dalam satu kemalangan pada 2005.
Ahli politik lantang ini mendapat ijazah perundangan dari Universiti Singapura dan berkhidmat sebagai peguam sebelum bertanding kerusi Parlimen pada tahun 1978.
Perkhidmatan lama beliau sebagai MP Jelutong sebelum ini serta ucapan berapi di Dewan Rakyat menyebabkan beliau digelar 'Harimau Jelutong'.
Karpal melepaskan jawatan Pengerusi DAP baru-baru ini selepas didapati bersalah dalam kes hasutan.
Sementara itu Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak mengucapkan takziah melalui laman sosial twitter.
"Saya baru mendarat di Ankara (Turki) apabila mendapat khabar YB Karpal terbunuh dalam kemalangan jalan raya. Takziah kepada keluarga beliau," tulis twit tersebut.
Sementara itu, Bernama memetik Ketua Polis Daerah Kampar Supt Ng Kong Soon berkata Karpal dan Cornelius, 40-an, maut di tempat kejadian.
Selain itu, katanya, pembantu rumah Karpal Singh, seorang wanita warga Indonesia cedera parah dan mengalami pendarahan di bahagian otak sementara anak lelaki Karpal, Ramkarpal Singh, 38, dan pemandu kenderaan MPV, C Selvan, 27, yang merupakan warga India, tidak mengalami kecederaan dalam kemalangan pada pukul 1.10 pagi itu.
Menurutnya, pemandu lori Abu Mansor Mohd, 45, dari Petaling Jaya mengalami cedera ringan manakala dua penumpang kenderaan itu, Nur Azlina Ahmad, 23 dan seorang kanak-kanak perempuan, Nurieman Diana Qhaleesha Abdullah, 4, tidak cedera.
"Siasatan awal polis mendapati kenderaan MPV jenis Toyota Alphard berwarna putih yang membawa lima penumpang termasuk Karpal Singh, dalam perjalanan dari Kuala Lumpur ke Pulau Pinang dipercayai hilang kawalan apabila tiba di kawasan kejadian dan melanggar bahagian kanan lori yang sedang bergerak di sebelah kiri laluan itu," katanya ketika dihubungi Bernama hari ini.
Ketika kejadian itu, katanya, Karpal duduk di bahagian hadapan sebelah pemandu manakala Michael di tempat duduk belakang Karpal.
Beliau berkata lori lima tan yang membawa muatan simen, besi dan mozek itu dipercayai bergerak perlahan di sebelah kiri laluan ke utara itu memandangkan ia membawa muatan berat dan tempat kejadian juga merupakan kawasan laluan berbukit.
Ng berkata akibat rempuhan itu, kenderaan Toyota Alphard berkenaan mengalami rosak teruk di bahagian hadapan sebelah kiri manakala lori rosak di bahagian belakang sebelah kanan.
"Semakan ke atas kenderaan MPV itu mendapati, ia mempunyai 29 rekod kesalahan lalulintas iaitu pandu laju dan 15 saman masih belum dijelaskan," katanya.
Menurut Ng, mayat mangsa dibawa ke Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun di Ipoh untuk bedah siasat manakala pembantu rumah berkenaan menerima rawatan di hospital sama.
Operasi mengeluarkan kesemua mangsa turut dibantu anggota Bomba dan Penyelamat di tempat kejadian, katanya.
Beliau berkata kes berkenaan disiasat di bawah Seksyen 41 (1) Akta Pengangkutan Jalan 1987.
Mayat mendiang Karpal dan Michael tiba di hospital besar Ipoh pada jam 7.20 pagi.
Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng dan timbalannya, Mohd Rashid Hasnon, dan bekas Menteri Besar Perak, Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin turut berada di sana.
Mereka mengucapkan takziah kepada anak Karpal - Gobind dan Jagdeep. Isteri Karpal kelihatan menangis, manakala saudara mara cuba menghalang gambar diambil. Mayat dihantar untuk bedah siasat.
Gobind berkata keluarganya menjangka bedah siasat itu selesai pada jam 10.30 pagi, selepas itu mereka akan membawa mayat pulang ke rumah keluarga mereka di Pulau Pinang sebelum jam 1 tengahari.
Menurutnya, beliau dimaklumkan mengenai kemalangan itu pada jam 2.15 pagi, dan beliau serta isterinya, terus bergegas ke tempat kejadian. Gobind dan ibunya, Gurmit Kaur, sempat melihat mayat Karpal.
Upacara pengebumian ahli politik veteran itu dijangka dijalankan sama ada pada petang Sabtu atau pagi hari Ahad, katanya.
"Mendiang mempunyai keluarga dan rakan-rakan di luar negara dan kami menunggu mereka pulang untuk pengebumiannya," katanya.
"Mayat mendiang akan ditempatkan di rumah keluarga kami di Jalan Utama (Pulau Pinang )," katanya.
Gobind berkata Ram, yang mengalami lebam-lebam sedikit, berada dalam keadaan baik.
Beliau turut mengucapkan terima kasih kepada orang ramai atas sokongan mereka dan berharap mereka memberi keluarganya privasi.
Menurutnya, mereka akan memaklumkan kepada orang ramai mengenai perkembangan terkini.
Pada kira-kira jam 8.30 pagi, seorang lelaki yang dipercayai pemandu Karpal, Selvam, dilihat menghampiri jabatan forensik di hospital. Dia menangis teresak-esak tetapi beberapa orang membawanya pergi dari situ.
Difahamkan mayat mendiang Karpal akan dibakar di dewan pembakaran Sikh pada jam 11 pagi hari Ahad.
US President set to arrive April 27 as KL faces increasing international criticism
US President Barack Obama is expected to visit Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia this month as part of his push to increase US diplomatic, economic and security engagement with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. But despite the relative size and strategic importance of the other countries, it is his April 27 trip to Malaysia that arguably gives the president his biggest problems.
Given the events of the past few months, Obama will visit a country that has earned some of the worst press in Asia, not only for its fumbling response to the loss of its jetliner, MH370, with 239 people aboard, but to revelations of growing racial and religious intolerance, blatant attempts to silence the opposition through spurious legal action and bizarre charges by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's own newspaper that the Central Intelligence Agency kidnapped the plane to foment trouble with China, 152 of whose citizens were aboard the missing craft. The same newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, also repeated as a real possibility speculation by former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad that the CIA brought down the World Trade Towers in 2001as a plot to blame Muslims for the destruction.
In recent weeks, an appeals court has reversed a lower court decision against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, declaring him guilty of what were clearly trumped up charges of sodomy. The decision, apparently rushed forward, was designed to deny Anwar an almost certain win in a Kuala Lumpur suburban by-election that would have paved his way to becoming chief minister of the country's most populous and prosperous state and would have given him a potent rhetorical platform to challenge the government. In an equally dubious decision, Karpal Singh, chairman of the Democratic Party, the biggest in the troika of opposition parties, was declared guilty of sedition for saying a decision by the Sultan of Perak could be questioned in court.
The international press that showed up in Kuala Lumpur after the disappearance of the airliner began asking questions that exposed an authoritarian regime unaccustomed to facing independent scrutiny – questions that a kept mainstream media, all of which are owned by the political parties in power, have ignored for decades. While a vibrant opposition press exists on the Internet, the government simply ignores it or tries to neutralize its reports. Those questions include crony capitalism, gerrymandering and political repression. CNN, the major US and British newspaper s and other media assailed the government as authoritarian, corrupt and befuddled.
The feeling in Washington, however, is that the cost of cancellation to the strategic relationship between the two countries would be too high. Obama reportedly is being urged to visit a Christian church while in the country to show US commitment to human and religious rights. Advocates say the President should make at least some gesture of recognition of the fact that a 50.87 percent majority of Malaysians voted against the ruling coalition in 2013 general elections at 47.38 percent but still hold only 89 of the 222 seats in parliament because of gerrymandering. It's unsure if he will do so. There is speculation that he may just opt for a "meet and greet" and get out of town as quickly as possible to avoid international criticism for propping up a regime that is starting to assume Zimbabwean characteristics of repression and kleptocracy.
"I don’t have any problem with Obama visiting Malaysia, provided he reaches out to Malaysians on both sides of the aisle and all sectors of society, including the Christian community, whose rights are being trampled on by their government," said John Malott, a former career foreign service officer who served as ambassador to Malaysia from 1996 to 1998 and who has emerged as Malaysian government’s severest western critic. "But this has to be a visit that is based on the reality of what kind of country Malaysia really is today – and not to believe the talking points that Malaysia is still a tolerant multi-racial, multi-religious, harmonious, moderate Islamic nation, an economic success story, and a role model for others. It no longer is."
Najib visited the White House in 2011 and was given a wholehearted endorsement by the President, who said Najib has "showed great leadership, I think, not only in continuing to show great leadership not only in Malaysia's economy but on showing leadership on a wide range of multilateral issues."
The president is said to like Najib personally despite the fact that a wide range of issues have never been cleared up, going back to allegations of Najib's personal involvement in the US$1 billion purchase of French submarines that according to French prosecutors was said to have netted US$114 million in bribes and kickbacks to the United Malays National Organization. The case is still making its way through French courts.
There is also the matter of the still controversial 2006 murder by two of Najib's bodyguards of Mongolian translator and party girl Altantuya Shaariibuu, who according to a now-dead private detective had been Najib's girlfriend before she was said to have been passed on to his best friend, Abdul Razak Baginda, a key figure in the purchase of the submarines. The bodyguards were acquitted on appeal despite overwhelming evidence of their guilt, raising questions about Malaysia's legal system as well.
There have been some rude shocks. Six months ago, in the run-up to his previous failed visit to the region, the US president hailed Malaysia as an "an example of a dynamic economy” and praised its multi-ethnic, moderate Muslim-dominated society only to see just three days later a court decision ordering Christians not to use the word "Allah" when referring to God, making it the only Islamic country in the world to do so.
After that, the government ordered the confiscation of Malay-language Bibles containing the word – but only in Peninsular Malaysia. Christians using Malay-language Bibles in East Malaysia were allowed to keep them. That is because most of the Christians are tribes indigenous to Borneo that are aligned with the ruling party. In Peninsular Malaysia, they form the bulk of the opposition.
"So the issue is — how can you talk about establishing a 'strategic partnership' with such a government?" Malott asked. "Maybe that is what will have to be downplayed or even canned for this visit. To me, the idea of a declaring a strategic partnership with a government whose faults have now been revealed to the world, day after day, seems politically unwise."
Malott also questioned what strategic benefits the US can obtain from Malaysia.
"What strategic value does Malaysia have that it warrants America to hold its nose and ignore the trampling of democracy and political freedom, not to mention the corruption and cronyism that hurt American business interests there?" he asked. "And with Mahathir, the great anti-American, increasingly calling the political shots and Najib’s popularity the lowest of any Prime Minister in polling history, will a 'strategic partnership' with the US survive Najib’s departure?"
Veteran Malaysian opposition lawmaker Karpal Singh, an eminent lawyer who had been detained without trial under security laws and battled numerous sedition charges, has died in a road accident. He was 73.
District police chief Ng Kong Soon said Mr. Singh was travelling with four others when his car collided with a truck early Thursday on a highway.
Mr. Ng was quoted by national Bernama news agency as saying Mr. Singh and his personal assistant were killed immediately and his Indonesian maid was badly injured, but his son, Ram Singh, and the driver escaped unhurt.
Gobind Singh Deo, Mr. Karpal Singh's son and also a political leader, posted a message on Facebook and Twitter announcing his father's death.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said Malaysia has lost an "indefatigable fighter for justice."
Karpal Singh – the prominent lawyer, lawmaker and DAP leader – died early this morning in a road accident while on the way to Penang, doing what he does best: going to court for a client. He was 73.
His reputation as a lawyer and politician had earned him the nickname the “Tiger of Jelutong” from the time he started legal practice in 1970 – which was also the year he joined the Democratic Action Party (DAP).
When he died early today, Karpal had just let go of the DAP chairmanship as he battled a sedition conviction that risked his four decades of legal and political career.
But the controversial decision was nothing to Karpal. He had been thrown out of parliament, put in detention during Ops Lalang in 1987 and had faced previous sedition charges.
“Eliminating me from the political terrain will not be the end of Karpal Singh. It will in fact lead to the rise of many Karpal Singhs!” said Karpal, who was Amnesty International’s “prisoner of conscience” for his detention without trial.
His legal and political colleagues remember him as a fearless and smart lawyer and politician, but to the countless ordinary people in his Penang constituency and legal office in Jalan Pudu Lama, Kuala Lumpur – he was a friend.
This was the other side of Karpal Singh apart from his legendary roles as a DAP politician and remarkable lawyer – he was a gentle-mannered man who was always ready to help the ordinary folk he came across in his daily life.
They knew Karpal as a humble man with a ready smile, who was always ready to stop and listen, no matter how small you were. No question was too trivial or repetitive for him to answer, no hello was too unimportant to stop for.
His tragic death in a road accident today meant that he “died in his saddle”, a term he had used upon turning 70 when he said: “I’ve always said that a lawyer should die in a saddle. I think it equally applies to being a politician.”
An earlier road accident in 2005 put him in a wheelchair while this morning’s road accident occurred near Gua Tempurung when the veteran lawyer was on his way up north to Penang in his white Alphard for a court case.
Anyone who knew Karpal would easily attest to how he was probably the busiest 73-year-old around, often shuttling between parliament and court during the week, and on weekends, travelling up north, mostly to visit his constituency or for a court case.
Nothing stopped Karpal, who at 73 was still shuttling between parliament and court or travelling north to visit his constituency. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 17, 2014.Nothing would stop him in court or politics. Not even the latest sedition conviction where he was alleged to have said that the removal of Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as menteri besar of Perak by Perak ruler, Sultan Azlan Shah, could be questioned in a court of law.
Karpal’s defence was that he had offered a legal opinion and not a threat to the ruler, who was once the Lord President of the Supreme Court. Charged for the offence in 2009, Karpal was acquitted by the High Court without his defence called in the first round.
However, the prosecution appealed against the decision and succeeded at the Court of Appeal, and even pressed for a deterrent sentence against the wheelchair-bound politician.
He was handed down a RM4,000 fine, which would have disqualified him as an MP if he did not succeed in an appeal which has not been heard.
Karpal joined DAP in 1970 and was first elected as a Kedah state assemblyman in 1974 before becoming MP for Jelutong in 1978, a seat he held until he lost in 1999.
He returned to parliament in the 2004 general election as the Bukit Gelugor MP, and although the motor accident in 2005 confined Karpal to a wheelchair, it did nothing to curb his spirit or vigour.
Karpal’s legal career started when he was admitted to the Penang Bar in 1969 after reading law at the National University of Singapore.
He was one of Malaysia’s most prominent lawyers, and had taken up numerous high-profile cases, including drug trafficking charges against foreign nationals such as Australian Kevin Barlow, and the sodomy accusations against former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He was a staunch opponent of the death penalty, especially for drug trafficking offences.
He was detained in the Ops Lalang government crackdown in October 1987 under the Internal Security Act which allows for detention without trial, along with DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang and 104 others. He was released in 1989.
Karpal was also known to be opposed to turning Malaysia into an Islamic state, often citing the Federal Constitution that provides for a secular nation.
“I'm doing it for the country. At the end that's what it is for,” he had told The Malaysian Insider in an interview before his 70th birthday.
He had also said then that “one can’t always win,but should not stop trying either”.
Clearly, Karpal never stopped. He was and will always be a Malaysian hero.
He will be missed, never forgotten. He will always be loved, treasured and respected for decades to come.
But that cannot be said about the government which until the last moment was trying to put him behind bars for speaking the truth and speaking lucidly about something that mattered dearly to him: the law.
He leaves behind wife Gurmit Kaur, daughter Sangeet, sons Jagdeep, Gobind, Ramkarpal and Mankarpal, and a host of grandchildren. And Malaysians.
"He gave his honours to the world again, His blessed part to heaven, and…henceforth, will now sleep in peace.”
At almost 3 this morning I awoke to the shocking news of the death of one of the nation's most illustrious heroes – YB Karpal Singh. It came like a lightning bolt to me because just last evening, I had had a lengthy chat with him.
After getting hold of myself, I then twittered a short condolence expressing deep sorrow and devastation over the loss of "our indefatigable fighter for justice". Once again, Azizah and family offer our deepest condolences to Gurmit Kaur, Gobind, Ram and the rest of the family. May you all remain strong in this great hour of tribulation.
Indeed, words cannot express enough my profound sadness of the passing away of my brother-in-arms for freedom and democracy, an inspiring symbol for the struggle against oppression and injustice and a man of unimpeachable moral integrity.
The nation has lost one of her most dedicated servants. The people have lost a selfless , courageous and noble defender of their fundamental liberties. The legal fraternity has lost one of it’s sharpest minds and I have lost a true friend, kind in words, noble in deed.
"Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once."
And so it was with our hero Karpal Singh for there is none more valiant in life than this great mortal whose body may have perished but his spirit shall live on with us.
Dikala rakyat semakin perit menghadapi kos sara hidup yang semakin tinggi, harga rumah yang amat mahal, kerajaan Negeri Sembilan hendak kurangkan jumlah Perumahan Rakyat kepada 3,000 sahaja. Jika bimbang kesesakan kenapa tidak buat di kawasan yang lebih luas di pinggir bandar, di Sg Gadut, di Jalan Labu, di Jalan Pantai, demi rakyat?
Kerajaan NS mohon kurang jumlah rumah PR1MA
SEREMBAN:Kerajaan Negeri Sembilan memohon kepada Perbadanan Projek Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA);agar dapat mengurangkan jumlah unit kediaman daripada 5, 000 unit kepada 3, 000 unit rumah kediaman PR1MA yang bakal dibina di Seremban Sentral.
"Jumlah asal kediaman PR1MA ini 5,000 unit. Kita minta ianya dikurangkan kepada 3,000 unit agar bersesuaian dengan keluasan tapak perumahan tersebut.
"Kita memohon agar perancangan jumlah unit kediaman itu tidak banyak jika dibandingkan dengan keluasan tapak perumahan itu yang kecil.
"Perkara ini harus diteliti kerana kita tidak mahu projek PR1MA ini apabila siap dibina, ianya menjadi satu kawasan yang amat sesak apabila ditambah dengan faktor keadan trafik di Seremban.
Pada Februari tahun lepas Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak melancarkan projek PR1MA Seremban Sentral yang terletak di kawasan belakang stesen KTM Komuter Seremban, dengan keluasan lebih kurang 73 ekar.
MASYAALLAH, Perdana Menteri Palestin, Ismail Haniyeh mencium tangan seorang buruh kasar di Gaza. Ismail berkata tangan tersebut dikasihi ALLAH dan RasulNya. Rakyat Palestin amat tersentuh dan menyayangi Perdana Menteri mereka yang amat merendah diri semata-mata mengharapkan keredhaan ALLAH dan mendoakan agar Perdana Menteri mereka dinaikkan darjat.