Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tremors @ Workplace - Quake in Sumatra, tremors in Malaysia

At about 6:18 pm, I felt myself being swayed as I was sitting on the chair at my work station. 'I am moving...' I thougt to myself, '...but I am not moving...Is this an earthquake...?' I looked around the office. No one seemed to know.

Suddenly, one of my colleagues shouted, 'Oh my God!' We looked at him looking straight at a bottle of water on the table. 'Earthquake!' he said. 'Yes, earthquake!' I echoed him. By now, most of us were in a state of shock, followed by a commotion. We started talking about 'THE EARTHQUAKE', not knowing that there was a quake in Sumatra though some knew of the tsunami that hit Saoma.

Even though the 'quake' stopped, we did not stop talking about it until...well, I don't know when. I left the office 15 minutes later and was still having some 'aftershocks'...As I left the building into the open, I couln't help but thank God for His mercy...that there were just tiny tremors...

@ The Star Online

Published: Wednesday September 30, 2009 MYT 6:33:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday September 30, 2009 MYT 10:18:04 PM

Quake in Sumatra, tremors in Malaysia (Update 8)

Tremors felt in office blocks

PETALING JAYA: A powerful earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck off the city of Padang off the coast of southern Sumatra at about 6.17pm on Wednesday, killing at least 21 people, trapping thousands of others and causing tremors as far away as peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.

The earthquake which damaged houses, brought down bridges and buildings and caused fires in Padang, also caused people to evacuate buildings in various towns and cities in Malaysia.

The epicentre of the quake was about 481km southwest of Kuala Lumpur.

At 6.38pm, a temblor measuring 5.5 in magnitude was also recorded 11km north of Padang.

So far, there has been no report of the 300 Malaysian students at Andalas University in Padang being affected by the massive earthquake.

Malaysian Consul-General Fauzi Omar told The Star that he has contacted the Sumatra Barat tourism chief and was told that there is no report of any Malaysians being hurt.

“Well at least the tourism chief’s handset is still working. I have been told the Minangkabau airport in Padang is closed.

“I am trying to leave for Padang tonight. It is a one-hour flight and by road it will take at least one day because of the bad road condition,” Fauzi said.

The Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta is despatching a team to Padang in Sumatra to assist the Consul-General in Medan in checking on the students.

Padang was hardest hit by the earthquake.

“We are sending a team as soon as possible and our Consul-General in Pekan Baru will also be despatched to help,” said Malaysian embassy charge d’affaires Amran Mohamad Zain.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre first issued a tsunami alert for Malaysia (George Town and Port Dickson specifically), Indonesia, India and Thailand, but cancelled it at about 7.31pm.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department monitored the situation from the outset, but did not issue a tsunami warning because no significant waves were generated.

In the JayaOne complex here, reports came in of shaking furniture and swaying fixtures.

In KUALA LUMPUR, Mariam Anis and her colleagues on their 21st-floor office in Plaza Sentral in Jalan Sultan Ismail felt the tremors.

“The tremors were strong and I could feel the building shaking. My colleagues and I did not waste another second and ran towards the emergency stairways to make our way down from the 21st floor.

“It was rather scary,” she said.

Tremors were also felt in the federal administrative capital of PUTRAJAYA. Mohd Kamel Othman, press secretary to Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, was in his office at the Prime Minister’s Department when he felt the tremors.

“I could literally see the building moving from left to right. Even the flowerpots were shaking. I immediately rallied my colleagues to leave the building.

“My minister also came out of his office as he too could feel the tremors,” he said, adding while he had experienced tremors before, the ones which on Wednesday were stronger.

In GEORGE TOWN, people rushed out of several high-rise buildings in Macallum Street, Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Tokong, Gurney Drive and the inner city of George Town.

Student C.Y. Khoo, 18, said she decided to walk out from the cinema in Gurney Plaza with her friends after she felt the tremors.

“I feared for my safety. My friends and I decided to get out from the cinema although we like the movie very much,” she said.

A Golden Screen Cinema spokesman said a tremor was felt at about 6.20pm for about 25 seconds.

“Some moviegoers walked out of the cinema but ... generally, the situation was not that serious,” he said.

Penang police chief Deputy Comm Wira Ayub Yaakob said policemen were deployed to monitor the situation.

“My men were on the look-out and would have moved in to help if the need arose,” he said.

Marine Operations Force Region I commander Asst Comm Zainul Abidin Hasan said all his men, both at the base and on patrol, were put on standby.

State secretary Datuk Zainal Rahim Seman said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was concerned about the initial tsunami alert.

“The state directed all relevant departments such as the police to be on standby,” he said.

A State Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said they received numerous calls from anxious residents enquiring about the tremors.

However, there were no reports of any injuries or of anybody trapped in lifts or buildings.

In JOHOR BARU, many people rushed out of buildings and the new Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex halted operations abruptly and was evacuated for about 40mins.

This caused massive congestion as thousands of motorists were returning from Singapore after office hours.

Fire and Rescue Department personnel were called in to check the building before operations resumed.

The lanes were later reopened and traffic policemen deployed to control traffic at the complex.

Assistant administrative worker Wong Hook Tuck, 52, who was at his office at level six of Menara Plaza Pelangi, described the tremors as bad.

“The tremors started at around 6.15pm and lasted for about five minutes.

“I felt very dizzy and all my colleagues and I started to evacuate the building as the fire alarm had gone off,” he said.

He said he was in shock and had thought that there was an earthquake in Malaysia.

In Taman Ehsan Jaya, administrative executive Surinder Kaur said she was shocked when the people in her apartment building started running downstairs, saying that there was an earthquake.

“I stay on the second floor and I didn’t feel anything, but my neighbours warned me about the tremors and told me to quickly evacuate,” she said.

She said one of her neighbours was having his dinner at the time and the whole table started to shake, spilling the soup he was eating.

“All of the residents quickly assembled at the ground floor; the tremors lasted for about four minutes,” she said.

In SINGAPORE, residents from Toa Payoh, Woodlands, Bukit Timah, Simei and Kembangan in the eastern part, reported tremors shaking their buildings, The Straits Times reported.

A spokesman from National Environment Agency said it received calls from members of the public from Red Hill, Choa Chu Kang, Changi, Toa Payoh, the city area, Punggol, Sengkang, Sembawang and Pasir Ris.

Kee Ya Ting of Woodlands said she thought her flat was going to collapse.

“I was scared. I live on the 12th floor. I was sitting at my desk when the flat shook and I felt myself swaying from left to right. I thought my flat was going to collapse,” she told the paper.

In PADANG itself, the situation looked dire. Indonesian television reported that hundreds of buildings had collapsed and many people were feared trapped under the rubble.

Footage from Padang showed flattened buildings, with at least one person trapped underneath, a foot sticking out from beneath the debris, The Associated Press reported.

“The earthquake was very strong,” said Kasmiati, who lives on the coast near to the epicenter. “People ran to high ground. Houses and buildings were badly damaged.”

“I was outside, so I am safe, but my children at home were injured,” she said before her cellphone went dead.

The quake triggered a landslide that cut off land transport to the provincial town of Padang Pandang, which lies about 70km north of Padang, said a police officer in the town, who identified himself only as Riko. He said three cars were reportedly hit by the landslide.

Padang, a sprawling low-lying city of around 900,000, was badly hit by an 8.4 magnitude quake in September 2007, when dozens of people died and several large buildings collapsed, AP said.

Power in the city was reportedly cut and telecommunications networks were down or overloaded, making it difficult to get accurate information about the extent of the damage.

“Many buildings are badly damaged, including hotels and mosques,” said Wandono, an official at Meteorology and Geophysic Agency in the capital, Jakarta, citing reports from residents.

He said a steep, sloping riverbank collapsed, houses had toppled and a fire had broken out in buildings on the road to Padang.

Wednesday’s quake comes a day after a quake with a magnitude of between 8.0 and 8.3 in the South Pacific hurled a massive tsunami at the shores of Samoa and American Samoa, flattening villages and leaving at least 99 dead and dozens missing.

The epicenter of Wednesday’s temblor off Indonesia lies several thousand kilometres to the west, on the other side of Australia.

Danger ahead
Geologists have said Padang, which lies near the colliding Indo-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates, is the most likely in the country to fall victim to the next major quake or tsunami, AFP reported.

“There will be aftershocks but it’s difficult to predict whether there will be a bigger quake,” Geological Disaster Mitigation and Volcanology Centre head Surono told AFP.

“There are three big volcanoes in West Sumatra -- Merapi, Talang and Tandikat. We fear that this quake might cause volcanic eruptions there,” he said.

Experts have said the city is most at risk from a final segment along the zone shifting to unleash a massive amount of energy.

The zone’s other segments have already cracked, including a large portion off Aceh, at the northern tip of Sumatra, which triggered the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which killed more than 220,000 people.

Plans for evacuation shelters and improved roads to provide better escape routes from tsunami have mostly not been realised.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” where the meeting of continental plates causes high volcanic and seismic activity.

A quake on the main island of Java earlier this month killed 123 people.


MB vs MB: Final appeal on Nov 5

Will it be Pakatan's Mohammad Nizar or BN's Zambry? The Federal Court is set to make a ruling on which of the two is the...

MB??

Finally, the Federal Court, the judiciary that is the final frontier for justice, will decide who is the legal MB.

In the very first, can the rakyat trust the Federal Court to make a fair judgment?

The truth shall be known on Nov 5.

M'sia scores US$2.5 bil deal with Saudi Arabia

@ The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — Malaysia today made a major breakthrough in economic ties with Saudi Arabia, setting up a US$2.5 billion joint-venture company with the oil-rich kingdom.

The company is expected to spearhead flow of foreign direct investments (FDI) from the Middle East into Malaysia as well as make strategic investments in high-impact projects here.

The partnership between Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and PetroSaudi International Limited (PSI) also comes at a time when the global economy is recovering and countries are in great competition for FDI.

This venture is the first undertaken by PSI in this region and will be read by analysts and government officials as a sign of confidence in Malaysia and economic prospects here.

The 1MDB is wholly owned by the government of Malaysia and was established recently to drive strategic initiatives for long-term sustainable economic development and promote flow of FDI into the country.

PSI, based in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, is mandated to carry out investments which can strengthen the relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and key countries worldwide.

In a joint press release, the 1MDB and PSI said that the aim of the joint venture company is “to seek, explore, and participate in business and economic opportunities which results in the enhancement of and promotion of the future prosperity and long-term sustainable economic development of Malaysia.” It is also expected to actively make investments in the renewable energy sector.

The JVC is also expected to be a vehicle for investments from the Middle East into the region, thereby giving Malaysia the edge in drawing investments from the cash — and resource — rich region.

PSI’s Chairman HRH Prince Turki Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud said: “Malaysia has long been a model of stability and development for developing countries. We believe that recent economic liberalisation policies announced by the Prime Minister will only make Malaysia a more attractive place for investors.

“We envisage Malaysia becoming an important partner for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.’’

Also lauding the setting up of the JVC was 1MDB’s chairman Datuk Mohd. Bakke Salleh.

He said: “The JVC is set to further increase foreign direct investment from the Middle East, in particular Saudi Arabia. We will leverage on PSI’s strong international presence, their networks and expertise to promote Malaysia as the preferred investment destination.”

This is the first major economic initiative with a Middle Eastern nation since Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak became the Prime Minister in April.

Several countries in the region, notably Singapore, have been courting Middle East investors in recent years.

'Najibnomics'? HAHAHA

'Najibnomics'? It's laughable, says Zaid

The premier has done little to warrant the tag line for contributions to economics, says former minister Zaid Ibrahim.

@ The Free Dictionary:
laugh·a·ble
adj.
Causing or deserving laughter or derision.
laughable
Adjective
ridiculous because so obviously inadequate or unsuccessful

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Live - Rich Cook

I live, I live because He is risen
I live, I live with power over sin
I live, I live because He is risen
I live, I live to worship Him

Thank You Jesus, thank You Jesus
Because You're alive
Because You're alive
Because You're alive I live

© 1976 John T. Benson Publishing
Source: HigherPraise.com
This old and not-so-well-known song came to me this morning.

BAGAN PINANG: ISA vs ZULKEFLY

Meanwhile, PAS has confirmed that it will be fielding its Negeri Sembilan party chief Zulkefly Mohd Omar for the state seat.

The announcement was made by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang during a ceramah later in the night in Teluk Kemang.

pas bagan pinang candidate zulkefly mohamad omar.jpgZulkefly, 45, is a businessman who holds a masters degree in science and has six children.

His claim to fame includes successfully leading the Broga No-Incinerator Committee, which managed to pressure the government to scrap the construction of a 'mega-incinerator'.

He has contested in three elections since 1999. His 2008 foray in the Lenggeng state seat saw him losing by a 1,285 majority.

(Source: Mkini - Support Mkini - Subscribe to Mkini!)

Isa, the one. Isa, the man. Isa! Isa! Isa!

Bagan Pinang: Umno picks 'local hero' Isa
BREAKING NEWS updated 10.50pm Umno is fielding its former vice-president Isa Samad for the forthcoming Bagan Pinang by-election in Negeri Sembilan.

Muhyiddin said Isa was selected based on a detailed survey at the grassroots level among the Malays, Chinese and Indians in the state constituency.Moreover, according to Muhyiddin, he did not make his own decision as the residents said Isa! Isa! Isa! before he announced Mohd Isa as the BN candidate for the by-election.

In other words, Muhyiddin had no choice. Isa was the people's choice! ;o So, will Isa win. I think so since he is popular with the local. After all, one must be popular in one's community, Najib said. Don't care what Dr M said about Isa. Just ignore the former's objection against the latter's nomination.

No-show in prosecution of Kugan death

BREAKING NEWS The expectation was that a cop would be charged today with A Kugan’s death, but the attorney-general’s chambers says nothing has been confirmed.

Whad'Ya Know!? No show!

Why ah? How long more?

When will Kugan's murderer(s) be charged?



Fernandes: F1 team not Najib's baby

The sky is the limit for the 1Malaysia project, and shame on the naysayers, says one who's been there and done that.

Datuk Seri Tony Fernandez said that the concept of Malaysia's own Formula 1(F1) team was not the brain-child of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak though based on his '1Malaysia' concept explained that the prime minister's endorsement was needed to win the cooperation of the relevant government-linked companies (GLCs),including the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) and Proton.

Monday, September 28, 2009

najib altantuya Kugan's death: Cop to be charged tomorrow - nizar nizar nizar

UPDATED 10.50PM At least one police personnel is expected to be charged tomorrow in relation to the death of 23-year-old police detainee Kugan Ananthan.

It is believed that the police personnel would be charged at the Petaling Jaya Magistrate's Court early in the morning.

Malaysiakini later learnt that there is a possibility the AG may defer his decision to charge the suspect tomorrow.

Ok lah. At least, one police personnel is expected to be charged but nobody knows when except the AG.

Speaker raps 'consistently inconsistent' Hasan

BREAKING NEWS Selangor Speaker Teng Chang Khim today lashed out at s tate PAS commissioner Hasan Ali for allegedly cooking up a 'blatant lie'.

Quit call: Nik Aziz hits back at Ibrahim Ali

‘What is wrong with being old? What is the use of being young but a load of rubbish?' asked the veteran Kelantan MB.

Nik Abdul Aziz said the PAS administration had brought development to the state, including in backward districts like Gua Musang, Tanah Merah and Jeli.

"The people can judge for themselves the changes that had taken place under my leadership since PAS came to power in 1990," he told reporters at the party's Aidilfitri open house at the Sultan Mohamed 1V Stadium today.

(Source: Mkini - Support Mkini - Subscribe to Mkini!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The 'conspiracy' against MIC

MIC insiders believe that Umno has hatched a conspiracy against their party and its president, one that has been in the making even before the last general election.

The conspiracy was to ensure that the MIC president was defeated in the polls and was proven when a local Indian businessmen aligned to a former top MIC leader admitted that he and a former Umno minister conspired to ensure the defeat, said the MIC insiders, without naming those involved.

Umno wanted
to seize control of the powerful Works Ministry. Thus, Samy had to be ousted.

Hmm...interesting 'conspiracy'.

(Source: Malaysiakini)

Uncertainty over candidate spells trouble for Umno

PKR's election machinery chief Saifuddin Nasution observes that Umno's dilemma in selecting a suitable candidate for the by-election is good news for Pakatan Rakyat.
PKR's election machinery chief Saifuddin Nasution said if Isa said:
"If they (Umno) do not choose Isa, the party machinery may face a boycott in the Teluk Kemang Umno machinery. This will result in a possible loss. "If they choose Isa, then it would show that Umno does not have any credible candidates to lead the challenge, not a single credible person from the ranks of the present leadership in Teluk Kemang Umno, even in its Puteri, Umno Youth or putera divisions."
(Source: Mkini - Support Mkini - Subscribe to Mkini!)
Nevertheless, Lim Guan Eng is of the opinion that Umno will win with Isa. He said:
“You can win the battle but lose the war. You can win Bagan Pinang but can lose the whole Malaysia. They also cannot lose in Bagan Pinang because they will also lose the whole Malaysia.
(Source: The Malaysian Insider)

Rais: No reason to stop Beyonce’s show

KUALA KLAWANG: There is no reason to stop popular American singer, Beyonce from holding her show in this country if she adheres to the conditions and regulations stipulated, said Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

He said protests against popular Western entertainers coming to perform in Malaysia were nothing new.

"If she deliberately bares her body and violates the conditions imposed by the authorities, then she would be prevented from performing," he told reporters after hosting an Aidilfitri open house attended by about 5,000 people of all strata of society, here Sunday.

He said those opposing her show should be patient and see whether it adhered to the conditions imposed. It would certainly be wrong if the show offended the religion.

He said this when asked to comment on the trip here by Beyonce on Oct 25 for a performance although many groups had opposed the show on grounds that it would affect the morals of youths in the country.

Meanwhile, commenting on the open house, Rais said a bigger celebration would be held between his ministry and the Perak state government on Oct 18.

"Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to deliver an important speech at the function which would also become a symbol for 1Malaysia," he said. - Bernama

(Source: The Star Online)

His Eye Will Guide


Artwork © Nathan Faubion 2009

"But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love." (Psalms 33:18 NIV)

#1: Occupying the Promises

#2: Digging New Wells

#3: Entering the "Tent"

Dr M volunteers to run in Bagan Pinang

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 26 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today reaffirmed his stand that Tan Sri Isa Samad should not be nominated to represent Umno for the by-election in Bagan Pinang on Oct 11.

He also suggested sarcastically that Umno should nominate him to stand instead of Isa if there were no other suitable candidate.

He stated it would be a shame on the part of Umno and Barisan National (BN) as a whole if Isa won the by-election, and that this would directly impact the ruling coalition collectively.

“If I was in Isa’s shoes, I would step down immediately and support another Umno candidate. I would want the party to not nominate me but instead campaign for someone else in the party who is more deserving and qualified,” said Dr Mahathir here today.

Dr Mahathir has been a vocal critic of the possible nomination of the former Negeri Sembilan mentri besar, who was punished with a three-year suspension after the party’s disciplinary board found him guilty of vote buying during the Umno elections in 2004.

Mahathir’s Bagan Pinang campaign poster? — file pic

According to him, Umno stands a strong chance of winning the Bagan Pinang seat because the area was an Umno stronghold, but having a candidate who was found to have been involved in corruption does not speak well for Umno and BN.

“If Umno cannot find enough candidates, just choose me,” Dr Mahathir quipped.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has set itself the target of capturing the Umno stronghold but has acknowledged it as an uphill battle.

Critics speculate that Umno has a good chance of retaining the seat due to the high number of registered postal votes, which traditionally is a reliable vote bank for BN.

The Bagan Pinang Seat fell vacant following the death of incumbent Azman Mohamad Noor of Barisan National on September 4th. He won the seat in the last general elections after defeating PAS’ Ramli Ismail with a majority of 2,333 votes.

Mahathir is making his comeback! Maybe he can cleanse Umno! ;-)

Najib's 1Malaysia questioned in Seoul

I got to know about the article 'Living in the shadow of Najib's 1Malaysia' written by Tunku Aziz when I visited MAGICK RIVER.

The reality is locally and internationally as well, Malaysia is perceived to have a PM with a known reputation (or should I say 'tainted image'?) and in the Altantuya Shaariibuu trial, the Malaysian judiciary was acting improperly to protect Najib.

Let me reproduce the article verbatim:

SEPT 26 — I was in Seoul last Monday to participate in the World Forum for Democratisation in Asia (Third Biennial Conference) on “Sustaining Democratisation in Asia: Challenges of Economic and Social Justice” with some 200 delegates from Asia and the United States.

The conference brought together people from diverse backgrounds and of all ages, to seek ways of strengthening, and arresting the rapidly declining state of democracy in their countries. These men and women, all with impeccable credentials as human rights advocates, shared many of the same democratic values that have inspired human beings through the ages, all over the world, to make great personal sacrifices against humanly impossible odds in the name of justice and freedom from the tyranny of state-sanctioned human rights abuses, such as we are subjected to in Malaysia regularly.

I spoke on the panel on “Citizen Participation and Political Accountability.” In the audience were participants from Indonesia, the US, India, Cambodia, Nepal, Singapore, Malaysia and Mongolia, among others.

I thought I was doing well, having made some rather important points on the need for citizens to take charge of their own destiny as freedom was far too important to be left to the tender mercies of politicians, many of whom were charlatans at best and untrustworthy to boot. I mentioned as an example how citizens’ active participation in the March 2008 general election in my country had succeeded in changing, albeit ever so slightly, the 50-year corrupt political landscape, a feat that was nothing short of miraculous given the corrupt and repressive environment against which they were fighting to change.

I must confess that I was somewhat surprised that interest in Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “baggage” had extended beyond the shores of Malaysia. Blame the borderless cyber technology for this unwelcome attention. Before I could finish my final remark, I was stopped dead in my tracks by the personable Yale- and Princeton-educated Ms. Oyungerel Tsedevdamba, advisor to the President of Mongolia. She wanted to know, in the nicest possible way, why Malaysian citizens had voted for a person of Najib’s known reputation to assume the highest political office, and, she continued, was it true that in the Altantuya Shaariibuu trial, the Malaysian judiciary was acting improperly to protect Najib?

We do not, of course, have direct prime ministerial elections in Malaysia. I explained that the prime minister was elected by his party; Umno. It says more about the integrity of the party than perhaps the person it elected to high office. Now, I am not unused to being asked all kinds of questions in my years of public speaking, both at home and abroad, but this, about the murder trial of Altantuya threw me off balance. Ms Tsedevdamba was putting the proverbial cat among the pigeons. It caused a real flutter in my dovecot, no pun intended. My character and integrity would be put under close scrutiny, effectively on trial, and as in any trial, telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth would, I thought, be the best policy.

I am fiercely patriotic, proud of our many achievements in a number of important areas, but like many of you I often hang my head in utter shame and humiliation when I see the cynical manipulation of democratic principles by a government that seems to have lost its moral capital by developing an unethical and immoral political behaviour into a fine art form. To them who govern this country, the end would seem to justify the means.

In this respect, it is useful to remind ourselves what Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when he was Prime Minister, used to proclaim, without a tinge of embarrassment, that we were a democracy because we held regular elections. It was not important to the emasculator (or perhaps constrictor is a more appropriate word in his case) of human rights that they might not always have been free and fair. What Dr Mahathir and his Umno friends have never appreciated, or deliberately failed to acknowledge, is the fact that democracy is not just about elections. It is what happens between elections that really is the point at issue. I hope Najib will not allow this grotesquely vintage Mahathir blind spot to rub off on him. It could lead to further electoral nightmares he can do without.

The “Umno-led by the nose Barisan Nasional” government has always been preoccupied more with the form rather than the substance. To them democracy is a product you could pick and choose as and when you like, much like buying a kilo of sugar over a supermarket counter, in the same way they buy votes by the thousands at party election time.

Democracy is a process that requires active citizen participation and direct involvement because it belongs to the people irrespective of race. They should, therefore, be free from the shackles of corrupt political and bureaucratic practices that have become embedded in many of our once proud national institutions but, which today, have become nothing more than the sordid tools of an unprincipled government. The people should be liberated from the clutches of unjust and undemocratic laws such as the ISA.

Don’t these Umno leaders see any contradiction between sending their own fellow citizens to indefinite detention without trial and celebrating Merdeka religiously at great public expense each year to mark the nation’s freedom from the injustice and degradation of alien rule? You cannot have 1 Malaysia without first dismantling those policies and systems that have done untold damage to the development of democracy in our society. These must be replaced by those that are consistent with the dictates and aspirations of a Malaysian Malaysia with all that this implies.

The end of the year is the season for overseas conferences. I will be speaking at three in the next six weeks and I wonder if the likes of the delectable Ms Tsedevdamba will be in the audience to plague and ply me with questions as I was in Seoul about the Najib-Altantuya nexus, the submarine and other arms contracts. Najib should have realised by now that his every word, gesture and action will be scrutinised and analysed by the people of this country. It is their right to know what their prime minister is up to in the public domain. It is the price he must pay willingly under our democratic system.

I suppose if my listeners ask me awkward questions about Najib, I will have to tell them that I am not, thank heavens, Najib’s keeper. I suppose, also, that is the price I pay for living in the shadow of Najib’s 1 Malaysia.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kugan: Petition to palace fails




(Pictures courtesy of Malaysiakini)
UPDATED 5.07 PM It was an unsuccessful atempt as police refused entry to more than three persons to meet Istana Negara officials.

Besides Kugan's mother N Indra, his sister S Garthiyaini and brothers Iswara and Shargunan, there were lawyer N Surendran and Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) and S Manikavasagam (PKR-Kapar) among others.

Indra broke in tears when the police refused to
to let all of them to submit their petition. She demanded that justice be served and punishment meted out against her son's murderers.

Why is justice delayed?


Wither 1Malaysia?
People First Performance Now?



Samy sees short exit, no long goodbye

He is said to be seriously considering going on leave for two months from his presidential duties. This would perhaps be in three months' time at the very earliest.

Samy assured that for better or worse, Palanivel will step into the president's post. Also, Samy said that he had no intention of destroying his deputy like what Mahathir did to all his potential successors and even his successor, all hand-picked by him, not the party members.

Hmm...Why does Samy compare his 'succession' plan to that of Mahathir's?

He did say that he loved Mahathir, didn't he?

Hmm...maybe his is a love-hate relationship with Mahathir. I hate myself for loving you, sings Samy.

Neem leaf baby bath: Janson recovered fast!

After Active Sunday (Sept 20) and coming home from a Raya open house, we 'detected' Janson's fever.

Next day (Monday), we brought him to Klinik Kanak-Kanak Pakar Yong on adhoc basis. He responded quite well to the medication (no antibiotics) and his fever broke that night.

The following day (Tuesday), his fever shot up again in the morning. So, that was the day Janson's gong gong and Ah Mah went to pluck some neem leaves and pass them to nanny to boil. Later in the afternoon, we brought Janson's to nanny's house to bathe in neem leaf water! 8)

Neem leaves after boiling


Ready.GetSet.Go
video

Go.Go.Go
video

Finish
video

Murky neem leaf water after bath.




After bath, Janson was in an active mood!



Google for 'neem leave bath' and you will find a lot of info. Just to share one result with you:
Baby Bath - Natural Shampoo

Thank You Jesus for providing neem leaf - a natural remedy!


Active Sunday: Janson shaking, grooving, moving!


Janson first time security tagged as a toddler.
video
@PJLA Studio before Children Ministry began.

Tiong hits out at corruption watchdog, suit pending

24 hours after urging Transparency International (Malaysia) to substantiate its corruption claims against his company, Tiong says he is ready to sue.

Tiong will not only be richer but his 'reputation' salvaged as well if he sues and wins.

Tiong's company was not mentioned albeit implicated in the report by TI. The report said the PKFZ case was one of the biggest scandals of the year -- involving politicians, government officials and businessmen, substantiates the weak oversight of public-private relationships.

Najib finds new Indian allies, bypasses MIC

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — The invitation card is glossy, in gold colour and of superior quality, in keeping with the VIP who is guest of honour at the Oct 10 launch of the new kid on the block — the Parti Makkal Sakti Malaysia.

The VIP will be Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who appears to be signalling that he is not going to solely depend on Barisan Nasional (BN) stalwart parties like the MIC and MCA to reach out to the non-Malay communities.

He will launch the new Indian-based party formed by former leaders of Hindraf at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park in Serdang next month in a strategy which bears similarities to his father Tun Razak Hussein's move in the 1970s to welcome more political parties into the establishment fold.

For this reason, it is significant that Najib is launching the party which received recognition from the Registrar of Societies in a “matter of weeks” on May 11.

His presence indicates that in the changed political landscape after March 8, 2008 which saw BN allies like the MIC, MCA, Gerakan and PPP fall like tenpins, Umno is finding and creating new allies.

Leaders of the new party have already pledged to campaign for BN in the upcoming Bagan Pinang by-election.

With MIC's and even the PPP's failure to reform and reinvent under Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and Datuk M. Kayveas, Umno may well be searching for new partners. The Makkal Sakti party could well play such a role.

A lot is riding on the party formed by former Hindraf national co-coordinator R.S. Thanenthiran, 47, who is president.

The party has yet to make an impact but Thanenthiran said it has been working quietly to recruit over 50,000 members, getting the divisions established and setting up best practices.

“We made an impact at Kampung Buah Pala trying to save it from demolition. The Indian community knows about it,” he said.

He says Najib’s presence is an honour but claims that the party is independent and only wishes to serve the people.

“The Prime Minister is launching our party and we are honoured but it does not mean we have lost our independence,” Thanenthiran told The Malaysian Insider.

“We are working together with him as partners… we walk together for the benefit of the Indian community,” he said.

“It is true the BN did not do much for us in the past 52 years but the Pakatan Rakyat has done even less for us in the past two years,” he said.

“BN under Datuk Seri (Najib) is beginning to do for the Indians in major areas and we welcome it. We want to work with him to get a fair share of the nation's resources,” he said, giving reasons why Najib was invited to launch the party and open the annual general meeting.

“We invited Selangor Chief Minister (Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim) to open a culture night the same day but he declined,” Thanenthiran. “We tried… you can’t blame us.”

Najib’s decision to launch the Makkal Sakti party is a milestone in Indian politics in Malaysia.

It not only suggests the increasing irrelevance of the MIC, but also sidelines the many Indian-based NGOs that claim to be offshoots of the Hindraf movement, including the yet-to-be registered Human Rights Party headed by lawyer and Hindraf founder P. Uthayakumar.

Having the ear of the Prime Minister is a major boon for the Makkal Sakti Party which has asked Najib to act on three main areas of concern for the Indians.

These are turning all 543 Tamil schools into fully-aided schools, 10 per cent Indian recruitment in the civil service and at all levels and socio-economic help to uplift the Indian urban poor.

Thanenthiran said Najib told them to give him two years to act on these issues. “You all watch what I do,” Najib told them, according to Thanenthiran.

The MIC for them is already irrelevant.

“We won’t be here if the MIC had delivered,” said A. Waythamoorthy, the former Perak Hindraf co-ordinator who is deputy president.

“If they had delivered there would not have been a Makkal Sakti movement in the first place, no 2008 tsunami and we won’t form a new party,” he said.

The party would also actively campaign for the Barisan Nasional in the Oct 11 Bagan Pinang by-election because leaders feel it is a BN-ruled state and another PR or independent win would not make any difference for the Indians.

“In Bagan Pinang we want to show we can bring Indian voters for the Barisan… it is an acid test for us,” Thanenthiran said.

(Source: The Malaysian Insider)

Yet another race-based party. Nothing has changed. Sadly, the Kampung Buah Pala folks are victims of race-based politics. Not too long ago, The Malaysian Insider reported 'Najib washes federal hands of Buah Pala'. 1Malaysia PM couldn't (or wouldn't?) even save Buah Pala!

"You all watch what I do"? So good. Just watch only. So, why need Parti Makkal Sakti Malaysia? 1Malaysia PM can do the job what! ;-)

Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him



1 Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. 2 And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. 4 Ia]">[a] must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. 7 And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
8 Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blindb]">[b] said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?”
9 Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.”c]">[c]
He said, “I am he.
10 Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
11 He answered and said, “A Man called Jesus made clay and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to the pool ofd]">[d] Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed, and I received sight.”
12 Then they said to him, “Where is He?”
He said, “I do not know.”

New King James Version (NKJV)

Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Selcat and the ongoing public inquiry - it’s the right thing to do, says Dr M

The former prime minister also said he did not see a problem with Selcat and the ongoing public inquiry into the misused of state allocations by former Barisan Nasional state assemblymen who had spent their annual allocation for small projects in just two months ahead of the general election last year.

“It’s the right thing to do.”

Source: The Malaysian Insider

PKFZ: PKA sues Kuala Dimensi, BTA for RM920m

SHAH ALAM: Port Klang Authority (PKA) chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng has filed two suits against Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd and BTA Architect, amounting to RM920mil, disputing the amount of money claimed by both companies for work done on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

In his writ of summons filed at the High Court here on Friday, Lee is seeking damages against what he has described as a conspiracy.

He is also seeking to rescind all development and supplement agreements signed between February 2003 and November 2006, Lee said in a statement.

PKA wants all the agreements rescinded or a declaration that Kuala Dimensi is only entitled to be paid the “reasonable value of work properly done” on the scandal-hit PKFZ project.

Kuala Dimensi is the turnkey developer and BTA the appointed consultant of the project.

Alternatively, PKA wants the court to declare that all notices of payment issued by Kuala Dimensi are null and void.

It is also seeking damages from BTA over what it alleged were “fraud and negligent misrepresentation.”

The original cost of the land and PKFZ project was estimated at RM1.96bil but escalated eventually to RM3.52bil under a series of supplemental agreements. Including the cost of interest on deferred payments to Kuala Dimensi, the total costs came up to RM4.95bil.

Price-waterhouseCoopers Advisory Services (PwC), which was commissioned by the PKA to look at the PKFZ project, has estimated that based on current projections of revenue and costs, including interest costs, the project could eventually cost RM12.45bil.

Lee had earlier said various parties had made disputed claims that amounted to about RM1.5bil from the PKFZ project.

He alleged a possible conspiracy among five parties: Kuala Dimensi, its chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, former PKA general manager Datin Paduka O.C. Phang, BTA Architect and consultant for development works Bernard Tan Seng Swee.

Lee said details of these irregularities were reported to police on Aug 11.

Earlier September, the PKA filed a suit against Kuala Dimensi disputing the latter’s imposition of interest in the PKFZ land purchase and for wrong computation of interest.

(Source: The Star Online)

najib altantuya Royal suit: Manohara and mom yet to enter defence - nizar nizar nizar nizar

@ The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, 24 Sept – The Tengku Temenggong of Kelantan, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry Sultan Ismail Petra’s wife and mother-in-law have yet to enter their defence to the defamation suit brought against them by the Kelantan prince although the writ was served on them nearly a month ago.

Tengku Fakhry’s counsel, Mohd Haaziq Pillay, when contacted by Bernama today, said he served the writ on Tengku Fakhry’s wife, Manohara Odelia Pinot, and her mother, Daisy Fajarina, through Messrs Fakrul Hisham Abdullah & Associates last month.

Messrs Fakrul Hisham was the law firm in Malaysia engaged by one of Daisy’s and Manohara’s lawyers in Indonesia to represent them in the suit, he said.

He said that according to procedure, the two had 14 days from the date of service of the writ to enter an appearance and another 14 days to enter their statement of defence.

“They entered a memorandum of appearance in the middle of August but to date have yet to enter their defence to the statement of claim filed by Tengku Fakhry,” he said.

However, lawyer Noor Hisham Abdullah, of Messrs Fakrul Hisham, could not be contacted for comment.

On July 20, Tengku Fakhry, the Sultan of Kelantan’s third son, filed a RM105 million suit in the Kuala Lumpur Civil High Court against Daisy ad Manohara claiming that he was defamed at news conferences in April and June.

The suit was filed after High Court senior assistant Safarudin Tambi allowed his application to commence defamation proceedings against the two as defendants.

In his statement of claim, Tengku Fakhry said that they had falsely and maliciously uttered slanderous words in allegations of sexual abuse on Manohara at news conferences between April and June.

The alleged defamatory words were republished in the electronic media like ‘The Jakarta Globe’, ‘Banjarmasin Post’, ‘Detiknews’, ‘Kompas.com’, ‘Global TV’ and Malaysiakini and widely reported in newspapers in Malaysia and Indonesia, he said.

He claimed that the words were designed to belittle and embarrass him as a member of the Kelantan royal household and also the government and people of Malaysia.

He also claimed that the allegations and insinuations were untrue, unfounded and had seriously damaged his personal reputation at the national and international levels. – MORE

“The defendants uttered the words motivated by financial gains,” claimed the prince, who is seeking RM105 million in aggravated, exemplary and compensatory damages, interest, costs and an injunction to restrain Manohara and her mother from further uttering the alleged defamatory words.

Tengku Fakhry, 31, and Manohara, 17, who holds the title Cik Puan Temenggong, were married on Aug 26 last year and lived in Istana Mahkota, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan.

Nine months after the marriage, Manohara suddenly returned to Indonesia without the permission or knowledge of her husband. – Bernama

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gmail is temporarily unable to access your contacts. You may experience issues while this persists.

Anyone got this message in Gmail as per screenshot below?

Looks like Gmail is facing some technical issues. System overload?

Pahang sultan urges rakyat to continue backing BN

Sultan Ahmad Shah has called on the people to continue supporting the BN government so that more social and economic programmes would be implemented.

Is the Sultan supposed to apolitical or political? What next? Is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong going to urge the rakyat to vote for BN in the next general election?

"Malay rulers are above politics." Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak.

Ours is a democracy. The rakyat has the right to choose. BN is not the only choice. That is the truth. ;)

najib altantuya Teoh's wife: We were pawns - nizar

Wife of DAP political aide the late Teoh Beng Hock, Soh Cher Wei, has shared little with the world about her spouse, until now.

She has set up a blog. Its name is 'Don't say goodbye'.

In her first posting entitled Am I happy?, written in Chinese, Soh expressed to Teoh that they have both become pawns in a “selfish battle”.

If I were in Soh's shoes, I would be very grieved too.

Indeed, a helpless pawn was Teoh Beng Hock who fell from MACC building.

Will justice ever be served?

IGP denies saying minister to be grilled over PKFZ leak

UPDATED

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 – Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan tonight denied a Bernama news report that quoted him as saying that a minister or ministers would be called up to assist in the probe on the leakage of the Cabinet Paper on the Port Klang Free Zone issue.

Police Assistant Director of Management for Public Affairs ACP Lai Yong Heng said in a statement that Musa had at no time mentioned that a minister or ministers would be called up for that purpose at a function at the Ampang Jaya police district headquarters earlier today.

“What he (Musa) said was that witnesses or individuals will be called up to assist in the investigations and have their statements recorded,” he said.

Police are expected to haul up those believed to have been involved in the leaking of the Cabinet Paper on the PKFZ issue.

The purported Cabinet Paper posted on a website regarding the RM12.5-billion PKFZ project had incurred the wrath of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who denounced the act, because such documents are covered by the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

The 18-page Cabinet Paper is purportedly a memorandum by the Finance Ministry in June 2007 to seek the Cabinet’s approval to retrospectively approve a RM4.6-billion soft loan to fund the PKFZ project.

The Bernama report released earlier in the day, quoting Musa, said a minister is expected to be among a number of individuals to be hauled up by police for questioning, in connection with the leaked Cabinet papers on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) case.

“Police will call those believed to be involved, including a minister,” the national news agency quoted the IGP as telling reporters after visiting the Ampang Jaya police headquarters here today. – Bernama

(S0urce: The Malaysian Insider)

TI: Public fed up


@ Sun2Surf
TI: Anti-corruption efforts wanting
By Karen Arukesamy

Datuk Paul Low

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 23, 2009):
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and other "reforms" introduced by the government has so far been ineffective in fighting corruption in the country.

Transparency International president Datuk Paul Low said today they have not produced "the desired results" and so the public perception of corruption remains unchanged.

"Malaysians are fed-up with the status quo and the unbearable effects of corruption in the country," he told a press conference after presenting the country report in the Global Corruption Report (GCR) 2009, which focused mainly on corruption in the private sector. Also present was TI executive director Mark Chay.

Low said indicative of this is the Global Corruption Barometer 2009 survey released in May which showed that 70% Malaysians believe the Malaysian government is ineffective in fighting corruption.

In contrast, although Indonesia’s has a far worse position in the corruption perception index than Malaysia, the survey found that 76% of its people believe the Indonesian government is effective in fighting corruption.

“Before the MACC was established last December, the public perceived the then Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) was not independent from the executive branch of the government.

"The ACA was perceived to be selective in its investigations and prosecutions, in that they catch only the small fry and leave the big fish -- and it was politically motivated," he said.

“With the MACC now, although there are commissioners from outside in its new structure, it is really difficult to say if it is any different from the old ACA and MACC has yet to prove this statement otherwise,” he said.

Low pointed out that the controversial death of political aide Teoh Beng Hock in July, in itself raises questions on the MACC's professionalism and hints of abuses of powers in the way it conducts investigations.

Likewise, the GCR pointed out that the implementation of the watered down Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to a Special Complaints Commission (SCC), strongly indicates the government’s inability to regulate the gatekeepers.

Low said the public needs to be confident of a clean police force which is free from external influences and that investigations are conducted fairly into all reports lodged to the police.

The GCR report noted that inaction in the light of serious corruption allegations and inability to catch the ‘big fish’, has gravely undermined public confidence in the authorities.

“Public confidence will be further undermined if these issues are not addressed quickly and effectively,” said Low, pointing out that issues pertaining to alleged tampering in the appointment of judges as highlighted in the V.K. Lingam case, has been left unresolved since 2007.

Low stressed that the inter-relationship and participation between the government, civil service and private sector, in effect, negates the concept of check and balance.

“A common thread running through politics, the civil service and private sector is the revolving door, through which individuals move from government to business or business to politics and back again,” the report highlighted.

Low said while it is good in the context of solving economic problems and dealing with investments, “political patronage or funding and money politics are big issues in the economics.”

“Until drastic action is taken to separate the cozy relationship between government, business and politics, the anti-corruption effort will remain no more than a token gesture,” he stressed.

Among others, the GCR said the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) case -- which it described as one of the biggest scandals of the year -- involving politicians, government officials and businessmen, substantiates the weak oversight of public-private relationships.

“The complexity of the relationships between politics and private sectors mean that corruption may take place with impunity. Therefore, the practice of revolving and rotating doors and active government participation in the economy creates an appearance of impropriety…and increases corruption risks,” said the report.

However, Low was happy to note that there has been commendable efforts in making public the details of the scandal.

“Never in the Malaysian history has there been such a disclosure before,” he said.

Meanwhile, the GCR commended the Penang state government for introducing several measures to improve the regulatory environment with regard to government procurement, referred to as a CAT -- Competent, Accountable and Transparent -- government.

“It is the first state government to implement the open tender system for government procurement and contracts,” it noted.

As to the question of whether corruption is a way of life in Malaysia, Low said:

“Yes, when the society believes that nothing can be done to fight it; when elected representatives and their close supporters believe that they are there to make money for themselves; when institutions and enforcement agencies are ineffective and independence are compromised; and yes, when dishonesty, corruption and self-indulgence becomes values that are tolerated.”

Updated: 07:01PM Wed, 23 Sep 2009

Who do men say that I am? Who do you say that I am?


Matthew 16:13-20 (King James Version)

13When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

20Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Jesus, the Son of man.

Jesus, the Prophet.

Jesus, the Priest.

Jesus, the King.

Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the living God.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Improper for CM to call one a thief, retorts Teng

The High Chaparral fiasco continues as an upset Penang Gerakan chief Teng Hock Nan hit back at Lim Guan Eng that it was improper and uncultured of the Chief Minister to call one a thief.

"It's against the Malaysian culture for a person of his position to call the previous government as land thief or robber.

"It's improper and unwarranted for a chief executive of the state government to resort to name calling," said Teng, who was a senior executive councillor in the previous Barisan Nasional state government.
(Source: Mkini - Support Mkini - Subscribe to Mkini!)
I really didn't know who this Teng was until he spoke out on the Buah Pala issue. While it may be 'uncultured' for one to resort to name calling, is it ethical to accuse or blame someone without any proof? According to Lim, Teng has not provided proof but merely telling 'shocking lies'.

'Thief shouting thief' over Buah Pala

Penang CM Lim Guan Eng lashes out at Gerakan's Teng Hock Nan and accuses him and BN of 'selling out' the villagers.

Lim said the declassification of exco minutes on July 7, 2009 showed that the land was alienated by BN at a ridiculously low land premium of RM10 per square feet (when the market rate then was at least RM50 psf) with unanimous support from all MCA, Gerakan, Umno and MIC state exco members including Teng. Lim added that Teng never repented and apologised and he was now blaming the Pakatan state government of robbing the villagers of their land, a classic case of 'the thief shouting thief'.

Documents don't lie. So far, Teng and BN have not provided proof
that the Pakatan Rakyat government finalised the village land deal and sold Kampung Buah Pala to Koperasi Pegawai Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang (Koperasi).

Hindraf alleges Pakatan double standard in Tanjung Tokong

The human rights movement says that the Kg Buah Pala and Tanjung Tokong issues exposes the Pakatan government's ‘chameleon-like' character.

In an exclusive email to Malaysiakini from the New York, Hindraf's International Coordinator, R Shan asked, "Why is that the state government suddenly seems to have power to resolve the issue of Tanjung Tokong but not Kampung Buah Pala?"

Why is that Hindraf seems to voice out and protest a lot but not able to bring about any change? Like an empty vessel only.

Why is that Hindraf seems to be operating from outside Malaysia, this time New York?

Hindraf should read RPK's post '
Do we really own that land we own? (UPDATED WITH CHINESE TRANSLATION)'
Posted by admin
Thursday, 17 September 2009 00:06

Image

The long and the short of it is we do not own that land which we own. We only have the right to use that land. The land belongs to the government. And the government can take it back from us any time it so wishes.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

I have thus far not commented on the Kampong Buah Pala land issue in Penang. One reason is because so much has already been said about the matter that there is very little I can add to the issue.

It appears that most comments made about the matter are very emotional in nature and the angle being taken is that poor Indian landowners are being oppressed by powerful people. The fact that the government of Penang is a Pakatan Rakyat government makes these people even angrier. They had expected the Pakatan Rakyat government to fight for the people rather than ‘take the side’ of the developer.

Some have even slammed Lim Guan Eng. They wanted Guan Eng to reverse the decision of the previous Barisan Nasional government. They just can’t understand why the Pakatan Rakyat Chief Minister, and from the DAP on top of that, is not the rakyat’s ‘champion’ as they had expected him to be.

I remember back in the old days when my grandfather’s land was acquired by the government. He was then still the Governor of Penang and he had just completed his retirement home on a plot of land in the Lake Gardens in Kuala Lumpur.

The government, however, wanted that plot of land plus the few surrounding it to build Malaysia’s new Parliament House. So the government acquired all the land on that hill and my grandfather lost his retirement home even before the paint on the walls could dry.

I remember seeing the house being given the finishing touches and not long after that it was totally demolished.

My grandfather may have been the Governor of Penang, but if the government wants to take his land then there is nothing you can do about it.

Over the last 50 years I have seen many plots of land acquired by the government. Some of them belonged to my friends and family. Even my own land was once acquired by the government.

Unfortunately, there is nothing much we can do if the government wishes to acquire our land. You see, under the National Land Code, we only have rights over the land as long as we pay the cukai tanah and as long as the government does not need it back. Once the government needs it then we lose that right to the land, never mind how many generations that land has been in the family.

In fact, our right over that land is only as far as the approved land usage of the land is concerned. If we need to change the usage then we need to apply for permission and only if the government approves the conversion of that land can we change the usage.

Therefore, agricultural land must only be for agricultural purposes and even then if it is for padi planting then it can only be used for planting padi and not for planting other agricultural produce.

In short, we can’t simply do whatever we like with ‘our’ land even though we may think we own that land.

Furthermore, our right to the land is only the space within six feet above it and six feet below it, so to speak. Therefore, if we discover oil 100 feet below our land, that oil does not belong to us but to the government. And we can’t stop any plane from flying over our land because the air space more than six feet above our land does not belong to us but to the government. In fact, even to fill your land or level it you need government approval.

Okay, maybe I am over-simplifying the argument, but this is as simple as I can explain it without throwing in too much legal jargon and whatnot.

The long and the short of it is we do not own that land which we own. We only have the right to use that land. The land belongs to the government. And the government can take it back from us any time it so wishes.

But the government can’t just take back our land for the heck of it. There must be a reason for doing so. And the reason must be that they need to develop the land for the needs of the community. So we, the individual, must lose our land so that the community can benefit.

Nevertheless, I remember more than 25 years ago when the Terengganu government acquired big chunks of land just for the heck of it. You see, at that time the state government had plenty of cash and did not know how to spend it -- thanks to the oil royalty it was receiving. So they just acquired as much land as they could get their hands on and built up a huge land bank for future development purposes.

The government did not even know what it was going to do with the land after acquiring it. And all the land belonged to Malays but they had not choice but to surrender their land. And many of them were padi farmers who lost their livelihood. Of course, the cash soon ran out whereas if they still had their land they could continue planting padi.

One thing to note is that the government can’t take back the land for free. The landowner must be compensated. And the compensation must be according to market value plus whatever loss we might suffer.

So, while we can’t challenge the government when it wants to take back our land, we can, however, challenge how much compensation we will receive.

Once the government takes back our land we can’t refuse to accept the compensation that the government wants to pay us. We accept the compensation but we ask for it to be noted that we accept the compensation ‘under protest’. Then we file in court a demand for more compensation.

Say the government acquires our 10,000 square feet land and pays us RM50.00 per square foot as compensation. We may feel this is too low. The compensation should actually be RM120.00 per square foot according to market value. Then there is our house sitting on the land which is worth at least RM350,000.00 if we were to build it today.

So we go to court and challenge the compensation. If the court agrees with us then the government has to pay us the difference of RM70.00 per square foot plus another RM350,000.00 for the house.

But we must first accept the RM50.00 per square foot compensation. We can’t refuse to accept it. If we do not accept the compensation then we can't demand the extra or shortfall. But on accepting the compensation we must note on the papers that we are accepting it under protest so that we can go to court to ask for more.

There is no issue about whether the Penang government can or cannot acquire the Kampong Buah Pala land. It can. The one thing we can argue about is whether the government acquired the land following the proper procedure. The next thing would be, if we are the legal owner of that land, is to challenge the compensation we are being paid, assuming we feel the compensation is too low.

Of course, we must also separate the legal issue from the moral issue. Maybe the government is legally allowed to acquire the land and did, in fact, acquire it following the proper procedure. But is it morally right for them to acquire the land? Is the land being acquired for the sake of development so that it will benefit the entire community or is it being acquired so that someone can make money from it and become very rich?

In short, the intention (niat) behind this whole thing has to be explored. Right, from the legal point of view, might not be right from the moral point of view. For example, it is legally right for the Minister to sign a detention order and detain you without trial for ten years just because you criticised Rosmah Mansor. But is it morally right in spite of the fact that he did it the legal way?

This should be the issue debated with regards to the Kampong Buah Pala land issue. And if the acquisition was because of a larger agenda then we need to go to part two. And part two would be are the landowners, even if they are squatters with no titles over the land, being paid the proper compensation?

Unfortunately, we can’t stand in the way of progress. But we must not become a victim of progress. Sure, sometimes when they widen roads and build schools and hospitals we end up having to make way for this development. But we must be properly compensated for our loss and not short-changed.

If we argue that you can develop the country but please do not touch my land, then there would be no development because most times development will have to be done in the built-up areas and not in the deep isolated jungles where no privately-owned land would be involved.

The Kampong Buah Pala folks are not the first to lose their land -- and neither will they be the last. Penang is crowded and most of the land is no longer government-owned. To continue developing Penang would mean it would affect private land. So what does the Penang government do? Stop all development?

Translated into Chinese at: http://ccliew.blogspot.com/2009/09/blog-post_19.html


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