Thursday 31 May 2012

Probe Peter John Jaban’s abduction immediately

Aliran is deeply concerned at the incognito abduction of popular London-based Radio Free Sarawak deejay and democracy campaigner Peter John Jaban soon after his arrival in Miri.

Peter John Jaban

According to RFS founder-editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown, Peter John was abducted by a group of “three unidentified plainclothes personnel” after the car he was travelling in was intercepted on the route from Miri Airport into Miri town.

Commonly known by his moniker ‘Papa Orang Utan’, Peter, 48, was earlier detained in Kota Kinabalu Airport while on his way back to Miri for the Gawai Dayak Harvest Festival. There he was photographed and his documents photocopied by Kota Kinabalu police before being escorted onto his plane. He was also informed that he would be detained by Special Branch on his arrival in Miri.

Although Peter was met on arrival in Miri by a group of police personnel, no arrest was made as they apparently had not received any instructions to proceed with an arrest. This allowed Peter to leave the airport accompanied by Miri PKR leader Dr Michael Teo and DAP State Assembly member and lawyer Alan Ling. Their car, however, was later intercepted and Peter whisked away by the abductors who refused to disclose their identities.

Peter John’s only ‘crime’ is that he is critical of the deeply corrupt BN regime in Sarawak led by nepotistic Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. His popular Iban language radio call-in programmes, aired for two hours daily, have provided a platform for local people to speak out about their ongoing woes, about poverty, their lack of access to public infrastructure and amenities, deforestation, land grabs and ruthless BN leaders.

Miri Criminal Investigation Department (CID) deputy chief ASP Ooi Jin Bing has denied police involvement in Peter John’s abduction and disappearance. Ooi has also insisted that the three abductors were not police personnel.

Peter John’s current whereabouts remain unknown. He is known to be under medication for high blood pressure.

Aliran calls upon the Home Minister and police to immediately investigate Peter John’s mysterious abduction and disappearance. Failure on the part of the police to act decisively will only fuel damaging public suspicion and speculation that can only further erode public confidence in the police force’s integrity, professionalism and respect for democratic freedoms, human rights and the rule of law.

Aliran executive committee
31 May 2012

Scorpene to surface in Parliament

Nurul Izzah Anwar wants to propose an emergency motion in Parliament to debate the alleged sale of a top secret document relating to the Scorpene submarine to the French. 

PETALING JAYA: Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar plans to raise the controversial topic of Scorpene submarines in Parliament following revelations that a highly-classified defence document was allegedly sold to a French defence company.

In a press statement today, Nurul said that she will be seeking an emergency motion during the June 11-28 session of Parliament.

The motion would be “to debate on the exposé of illegal commissions and sale of national defence secret documents in regard to the Scorpene submarines as revealed by Suaram in Bangkok on May 30, 2012 which threatens national security and sovereignty”.

Said Nurul: “The people have the right to demand Prime Minister [Najib Tun Razak] issue an immediate statement on this matter.

“… because if it is true, then it places the operations of the Scorpene submarines at risk as defence secrets may have been sold to foreign agents.”

Nurul said that if the government fails to respond to this allegation, Malaysians should be “prepared” to face the consequences that their nation’s security and sovereignty would be compromised.

Earlier today, FMT reported that a highly-confidential government document – an evaluation by the Malaysian navy of the Scorpene-class submarine and contract details – was allegedly sold to a French defence company for 36 million euros (RM142 million).

This claim was made by human rights NGO Suaram, which had initiated a now ongoing French judicial inquiry to look into corruption allegations surrounding the submarine deal.

Suaram said the secret document was sold by Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd to French defence giant DCNS, ostensibly for “commercial engineering” works.

This was among the major issues that the French judge probing the case lodged by Suaram against Paris-owned shipmaker DCNS for alleged corruption, is looking at.

High treason

According to a French lawyer acting for Suaram, Joseph Breham, the judge had inquired what those payments were and had demanded reports of financial transactions.

The lawyer had said it was even possible that Thales, a subsidiary of DCN, paid the money to obtain the classified document so that it could better its bid for the project.

The lawyer also said that the sale of the secret document could also amount to high treason.

Hong Kong-based Terasasi’s directors include Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s close ally Abdul Razak Baginda and the latter’s father Abdul Malim Baginda.

The secret document was allegedly sold to Thales International, also known as Thint Asia, which is a subsidiary of DCN (later known as DCNS).

DCNS is the company central in the legal suit filed by Suaram in 2009 in the French court, which recently commenced a judicial inquiry at the Tribunal De Grande Instance in Paris.

The inquiry revolves around the RM7.3 billion deal to purchase two Scorpene submarines with DCNS and Spainish Navantia in 2002, when Najib was defence minister. Suaram’s complaint was based on the claim of corruption for a payment amounting to 114 million euros from DCNS to Perimekar Sdn Bhd.

Perimekar is also directly linked to Abdul Razak who was acquitted of abetting in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu, while two of Najib’s former bodyguards were convicted of the murder.


31st May 2012 

Radio Free Sarawak anchorman, Peter John Jaban, abducted by Malaysian security forces – Police deny knowledge on the whereabouts of the popular indigenous radio presenter.

(MIRI, MALAYSIA) Peter John Jaban, a presenter of Radio Free Sarawak, an independent radio station broadasting news for Sarawak’s indigenous communities, has today been abducted by unidentified Malaysian security forces who are believed to be members of the Special Branch, Malaysia’s secret political police.

According to a statement by Radio Free Sarawak, the radio presenter was on his way home to spend the Gawai harvest festival with his family when he was detained and photographed prior to boarding a flight from Kota Kinabalu to Miri in Sarawak, Malaysia. Malaysian police officers told him that he would be arrested upon arrival in Sarawak. But when he reached Miri, despite heavy police presence, a lawyer and a local politician awaiting Peter John Jaban managed to bring him out of the airport as the police did not have immediate arrest orders.

Several minutes after leaving the airport, Peter John Jaban’s car was stopped and the radio presenter was forced out of the car by plainclothes security forces who refused to identify themselves.

"To say we are worried is an understatement" Clare Rewcastle Brown, Founder of Radio Free Sarawak, has said today. We are desperately trying to find where Peter is and why he was pulled from a car without any proper reason by unidentified people."

London-based Radio Free Sarawak broadcasts a daily two-hour-show on local news in Malay and Iban, a native language spoken by longhouse communities in Sarawak’s interior. The radio station aims at breaking the information monopoly held by the authoritarian Sarawak government under Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. Recently, politicians from Malaysia’s ruling Barisan Nasional coalition had called on the government to clamp down on the rebel radio.

The Bruno Manser strongly condemns the Malaysian authorities' attack on press freedom and calls on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to immediately order Peter John Jaban’s release.

For updated information on this case, please check the Radio Free Sarawak website under:

Please call the police in Sarawak to protest against Peter John Jaban's abduction and ask about his whereabouts:

Sarawak Police Commissioner: +60 82 247204
Sarawak Police Headquarters Hotline: +60 82 240 800
Miri Police Station: +60 85 432 222 

For more information, please contact us:
Bruno Manser Fund
Socinstrasse 37
4051 Basel, Switzerland
Tel. +41 61 261 94 74

Is Malaysia under rule of law or law of jungle where Radio Free Sarawak presenter Peter John Jaban can disappear for 6 hours after arrival in Miri without anyone in authority claiming knowledge or responsibility?

Is Malaysia under the rule of law or the law of jungle where Radio Free Sarawak presenter Peter John Jaban can disappear for six hours after arrival in Miri this morning without anyone in authority claiming knowledge or responsibility?

I have just spoken to Jaban’s lawyer, Alan Ling, the DAP Piasau State Assemblyman in Miri, and he confirmed that he is completely in the dark as what to has happened to Jaban some six hours after he met him at the Miri Airport on his arrival from Kota Kinabalu.

Alan had just spoken to the Miri police less than an hour ago and he was again told that the Miri police had no instruction or was not in anyway involved in Jaban’s arrest or disappearance.

Jaban had arrived in Miri from Kota Kinabalu in an Air Asia flight at about 10.45 am and as the Miri police had assured Alan that there was no instruction for Jaban’s arrest, Jaban had left the airport for Miri town with the Miri PKR chairman Dr. Michael Teo.

On their way to town, three men in a Proton car stopped Teo and Jaban, and Jaban was taken away.

Six hours have passed and nobody knows what has happened to Jaban or he is, safe or otherwise – and whether the three men who took Jaban away were from the police specially dispatched to Miri to apprehend Jaban, and if so, why the Miri police have been kept completely in the dark.

Malaysia is under an international microscope in the government handling of the Jaban case as it will become an international scandal of the first magnitude if a person could just disappear into thin air for six hours after arrival at the Miri airport this morning.

The Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Omar Ismail must be reminded that they are living not only in the era of information technology where information travels with the speed of light but also of global and not just national accountability.

Malaysians and the world expect them to immediately throw light on the whereabouts of Jaban as six hours are definitely enough time for the police authorities to come out with clear statement of Jaban’s whereabouts or an open admission that lawlessness in Malaysia have reached a new level where three persons completely uninvolved with the police or the government have abducted Jaban in broad daylight in Miri in Malaysia!

MACC blamed for alleged whitewash in Shahrizat-NFC probe

May 31, 2012
KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) was accused today of whitewashing Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil's National Feedlot Centre (NFC) graft investigation , with PKR's Rafiz Ramli pointing out that he had not even been questioned by investigators despite being responsible for most of the allegations against the minister and her family.

Rafizi, the man who led a relentless campaign to expose alleged misappropriation of public funds in the management of NFC, pointed out that he had been the one leading the series of exposes on the NFC since the RM250 million federally-funded cattle funding project hit media headlines late last year.

"Seeing as I was the one who exposed all these issues in the NFC, one has to wonder - why have I not been called in to see the MACC when I have been the loudest in this issue?" he told The Malaysian Insider when contacted this afternoon.

Rafizi (picture) said that to completely clear Shahrizat's name, the MACC must now explain why the RM250 million project had been awarded to a company owned by the Wanita Umno chief's family members, even though it has zero experience in farming.

He said it was too simplistic to clear Shahrizat just because she had not been directly involved in awarding the contract, saying it was obvious that the former minister would not have been "so stupid" to sit on the tender committee that decided on the award.

"The way they investigated it is as if they were merely trying to find a reason to let Shahrizat go.

"What the MACC needs to prove is that there was no influence whatsoever from Shahrizat that allowed her family to get the contract although they had absolutely zero experience in cattle-farming," he said.

Earlier today, MACC Operations Evaluation Panel (PPO) chairman Tan Sri Datuk Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil revealed that Shahrizat has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the RM250 million NFC scandal, which has been dominating media headlines for months since last year.

Hadenen told reporters the MACC has declared investigations into Shahrizat's involvement closed after finding that the former minister had not been directly involved in the process of awarding the loan to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), a company where her husband and children sit as directors.

"The decision to award the contract to the company and to award the loan does not involve her," he had said.

With the MACC's decision on Shahrizat, Rafizi said the onus was now on the agency to explain to the public its reason for not taking any further action against the tender committee that had selected the NFCorp to lead the federally-funded cattle farming project.

The committee, pointed out Rafizi, had been chaired by Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the time, and had included then Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is currently deputy prime minister.

"There were six bidders for the project and of all, only one had some experience in farming. The NFCorp, was clearly only set up recently and was not fit to run the project," he said.

"So the fact that the tender committee chaired by Najib went ahead to award the project to Shahrizat's family clearly indicates an element of corruption... otherwise, it would be quite difficult to fathom why Najib and the committee was so stupid as to award the project of this magnitude to a company with no experience," he added.

As such, said Rafizi, it was only "logical" to find the link between the committee and the company in question in order to determine if any corruption was involved in the contract award.

"And the only link between the selected company and Najib, Muhyiddin was Shahrizat," he said.

Shahrizat, who is the wife of NFCorp chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, had been linked to the scandal by PKR because of her husband’s position, and their three children’s directorships in the same firm.

The former women, family and community development minister had been questioned by the graft watchdog earlier in February after returning to her ministerial duties.

She had earlier taken three weeks’ leave to allow authorities to investigate claims of abuse of power against both her and her family.

Shahrizat stepped down as minister after her double-term as senator expired on April 8.

The RM250 million publicly-funded cattle-raising scheme was first coined a “mess” in an article in English daily The Star after it made it into the pages of the Attorney-General’s 2010 Report for failing to meet production targets.

The term was later repeated by other media organisations to describe NFCorp after PKR launched a series of exposés to show that the project’s funds had been allegedly abused.

The company’s assets were frozen after investigations were launched by the police and the national anti-graft body following the revelations.

Shahrizat's husband, Mohamed Salleh Ismail was charged with criminal breach of trust and violating the Companies Act in relation to RM49 million in federal funds given to NFCorp last March 12.

The 64-year-old was charged under Section 409 of the Penal Code relating to CBT for misappropriating RM9,758,140 from NFCorp’s funds to purchase two condominium units at the One Menerung complex in Bangsar for the National Meat and Livestock Corporation (NMLC) on December 1 and December 4, 2009.

He was also charged under the same section for transferring RM40 million of NFCorp’s funds to the NMLC between May 6 and November 16, 2009.

He was further charged in both cases for using the said funds without any approval from company’s annual general meeting, which is an offence under Section 132 of the Companies Act 1965.

If found guilty, he faces between two and 20 years’ imprisonment, whipping, and a fine for the offences under the Penal Code.

Mohamad Salleh also faces a five-year jail term or RM30,000 fine for the charges proffered under the Companies Act.

He pleaded not guilty to the CBT charge as well as two counts under the Companies Act in the scandal that has opened Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to damaging attacks ahead of elections that must be called by March next year.

Southern tsunami for Pakatan at GE13, says PAS

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will win big in Umno bastions in Johor, Negri Sembilan and Malacca at the next national polls, PAS predicts, saying the next political “tsunami” will be in the southern states.

“In the next GE, I see a tsunami coming from the south where support, especially in Johor, is growing, not like previously where we lost our deposits,” Datuk Mustafa Ali (picture), secretary-general of the opposition bloc’s Islamist party, told Sinar Harian in an interview published today.

“We are confident of a tsunami in the south because the northern tsunami is dry, is saturated,” the Malay-language daily reported him as saying.

PAS, the DAP and PKR swept to victory in five states in Election 2008, snatching control of economic powerhouses Selangor and Penang from Barisan Nasional (BN) besides winning Perak and Kedah while retaining Kelantan, which has been in PAS hands since 1990.

The three parties formed the PR pact to rival the ruling coalition soon after the northern political tsunami.
All in, the three federal opposition parties took 84 seats out of 222 in Parliament, effectively denying the BN its two-thirds hold for the first time since 1969.

Mustafa also told Sinar Harian that PR would be able to retain its hold on all the states it won in the election four years ago.

“PR is confident of winning Perak, Terengganu, Negri Sembilan, Johor, Malacca and increase support for PR in other states,” Sinar Harian quoted him as saying even though the ruling coalition reclaimed Perak in early 2009 after three PR state lawmakers turned independent.

The 13th general election must be called by March next year when the BN’s mandate expires but talk is rife that Prime Mister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will call for early polls in the next few months.

Hit by a series of corruption allegations against several ministers and businessmen linked to top-level politicians in the 13-member coalition, BN’s control of Putrajaya is being severely tested for the first time since coming to power in 1957.

Anti-Taib radio presenter taken away by three men

Radio Free Sarawak's Peter John Jaban was today taken away by three unidentified men in Miri, soon after the anti-Taib radio station presenter flew into the northern Sarawak town.

However, his lawyer Alan Ling said Miri police have denied taking away the presenter with the London-based radio station that has been highly critical of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud's administration.

NONELing, who is also DAP's Piasau assemblyperson, told Malaysiakini that the three men took Jaban (left) away  in a Proton car.

Jaban was with Miri PKR chairperson Dr Michael Teo and on the way to Teo's clinic in the town centre after arriving at Miri airport at about 10.30am.

The men in the Proton car stopped Teo and Jaban as they were on their way to town.

“As I understand it, no force was used... that the men whispered something to Jaban and he left with them. We still don't know who the men are or Jaban's location,” Ling said.

He said Jaban has not contacted anyone since then, including Radio Free Sarawak, to inform them of his whereabouts.

Both Ling and Teo had waited for Jaban at the airport from about 10am, after they received information from PKR's Batu Lintang assemblyperson See Chee How that the presenter was supposed to be arrested there.

“I was told that Jaban was detained in Kota Kinabalu and was sent to Miri to be arrested. I spoke to Miri Criminal Investigation Department (CID) deputy chief ASP Ooi Jin Bing, who told me there was no instruction to detain Jaban.

“So I informed Ooi that we will be picking Jaban up from the airport, and gave a guarantee that we will escort him to the central police station with legal representation, if the police wanted him,” he said.

He added that Ooi, too, was surprised when told about what happened on the way back from the airport and insisted that the three men were not police personnel.

Ling added that Ooi said that he had also checked with the Special Branch who confirmed that there are no instructions for an arrest, even from their side.

Jaban's son also in the dark

Jaban's son Valentino Ngabong Peter earlier told Malaysiakini that his father had been detained by the immigration authorities at the Kota Kinabalu airport at 9.30am.

Contacted later, Valentino said his father had not contacted him since leaving for Miri.

NONEIn a press statement early this morning, Radio Free Sarawak said Jaban had been "detained, photographed and had his documents photocopied, before being escorted onto the flight" to Miri to be arrested.

“To say we are worried is an understatement” Radio Free Sarawak founder Clare Rewcastle Brown said in a statement on the latest development.

“Our immediate concern is that (Jaban) is not hurt.”

The presenter, who goes by the moniker Papa Orang Utan, was in Sabah for a diving course, and  returned to Sarawak to spend time with his family for the Gawai festival.

Jaban had last year complained that his family in Sarawak was being harassed by authorities, believed to be as a result of to his work with Radio Free Sarawak.

The station, which features interviews with local activists and opposition politicians, broadcasts on shortwave and is widely followed in the interiors of Sarawak.

Probes against Taib, Musa 'yet to be resolved'

Corruption investigations involving chief ministers Abdul Taib Mahmud and Musa Aman have yet to be resolved, said high-powered Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) operations review panel chief Hadenan Abdul Jalil.

NONE“They (MACC) have not completed the case. If (the cases) have been closed at least I could have announced it today,” he said.

However, as the investigation papers have yet to be submitted, Hadenan said the files were still open.

Taib (right), who the country’s longest-serving chief minister, has been accused of power abuse and corruption. Several reports had been lodged against him but the MACC has been tight-lipped about its investigation.

Last year, MACC chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed admitted to digging into corruption allegations against the Sarawak chief minister, particularly concerning logging concessions in the state.

Besides the MACC, a financial regulatory body in Switzerland is also investigating claims of illegal assets linked to Taib kept in Swiss bank accounts.

Allegations against Musa, on the other hand, also involve his brother and Foreign Minister Anifah Aman .

According to NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), Musa is being investigated by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) for allegedly having laundered over US$90 million (RM276 million) in timber corruption money through UBS bank accounts in Hong Kong and Switzerland.

Musa has however denied the reports, calling them “recycled allegations”, while UBS has refused to comment.

NONEWhistleblower website Sarawak Report had claimed to have in its possession MACC documents showing its investigators had concluded that Musa had illegally issued timber licences to his brother worth tens of millions of ringgit.

On another matter, Hadenan said that they have yet to receive the report on graft-busters’ interrogation of human rights activist Irene Fernandez.

Fernandez, who is the executive director of Tenaganita, was hauled up on May 11 for making remarks allegedly damaging to Malaysia in an interview with Indonesian newspaper The Jakarta Post.

She had stated that Malaysia was not safe for Indonesian workers because it did not have a legal framework or specific law to protect migrant workers.

MACC clears Shahrizat of NFC contract, loan award

Former women and family development minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has been cleared of having had a hand in awarding the multi-million ringgit National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) project to her family members.

"We found that Shahrizat was not involved in the process - in awarding the project to the company and the RM250 million loan," Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) operations review panel chief Hadenan Abdul Jalil said today.

azlanThe NFC has been accused of mismanaging the loan.

Shahrizat’s husband Mohamed Salleh Ismail is the company’s chairperson with her children its directors.
Speaking on the matter briefly, Hadenan said the panel has decided to wrap up the matter.

Shahrizat relinquished her ministerial post on the expiry of her senatorship on April 8, but decided to continue as the Wanita Umno head and Wanita Barisan Nasional (BN) head.

She has repeatedly claimed she had nothing to do with the controversies surrounding the company and its management of the loans.

The project, meant to reduce Malaysia’s dependence on beef imports, received a negative assessment in the Auditor-General’s Report 2010 as being very far off-target.

NFC has also been accused of abusing its govrenment soft loan for the cattle breeding and beef supply project on purchases unrelated to the project.

In March, Salleh, 64, was finally charged with misappropriating RM9,758,140 to fund the purchase of two condominiums at 'One Menerung' in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.
The trial begins on Nov 5.

MACC’s cow sense — The Malaysian Insider

MAY 31 — Here’s a question for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Who accused Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil of being involved in the process of awarding the RM250 million government soft loan to the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) operated by her family?

Short answer, no one. Long answer, not one person ever did.

So, clearing the Wanita Umno chief of any involvement in the scandal is not even news because she wasn’t accused of that. And if MACC and Shahrizat are crowing about this, they have as much cow sense as the cattle in the Gemas farm.

Let’s be clear why Shahrizat’s name has been dragged into this and the government had to drop her from the Cabinet by not extending her tenure as senator.

Her family is accused of abusing public funds meant for a cattle-rearing project for their own shopping spree of luxury properties in Malaysia and abroad. They had admitted as much, saying the funds were being put to some use while waiting for the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries to do its part of the deal.
Of course, it begs the question whether public funds meant for one project can be used in other ways while waiting for something else to happen. The short answer, no. The long answer, of course not.

MACC operations evaluation panel (PPO) chairman Tan Sri Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil was stating the obvious today when he said that investigations into Shahrizat’s involvement in NFC were now closed.

“We have found she was not involved in the process of awarding the loan,” Hadenan told reporters at a press conference today.

“The decision to award the contract to the company and to award the loan does not involve her,” he added.
Malaysians are just outraged that a company with no experience in cattle farming got the money and instead of working on the project, it used the funds for something else. Because there are farmers out there in Malaysia who could use a bit of that money for their own cattle farms.

Because there are Malaysians out there who get their loan applications rejected even if it is not a government soft loan.

Because it looked like the financial records of the company showed Shahrizat’s family was living the high life from the company that was funded by public money. Perhaps she might have benefitted? We don’t know. Because the MACC didn’t look into that.

They just investigated if she had a role in approving the loan. Why would she be involved? Was she in the particular ministry? Was she in the treasury? Did the matter even come up at any Cabinet meeting where she attended?

Why is the MACC pulling wool over our eyes? Why are they even investigating this aspect which is not even a complaint from anyone?

Why is the MACC spending public funds to get its officers to investigate a non-story?

Why do they have cow sense instead of common sense?

What is the MACC supposed to do? Will they ever do it?

Today’s conclusion by the MACC just shows how little transformation has happened since the anti-graft agency was upgraded into a commission. They should have a lot more smarter than they revealed themselves to be today.

Is there a wonder that people have little faith in the MACC?

Radio Free Sarawak presenter detained in KK

Radio Free Sarawak presenter Peter John Jaban was detained this morning at the Kota Kinabalu airport while trying to board a plane to Miri.

In a press statement, the anti-Taib London-based station said that Jaban, who goes by the moniker Papa Orang Utan was "detained, photographed and had his documents photocopied, before escorted onto the flight".

"We are awaiting news and also information on why he has been detained," the station said.
Peter, who has been on a holiday from RFS, was planning to return to see his family in Sarawak in order to celebrate the traditional Dayak harvest festival, Gawai.

He has been wary of returning to Malaysia, because of threats against the radio station made by certain official figures. There have even been accusations of sedition, vehemently denied by the station.

However, Peter was wanting to spend time with his family. His son has told the radio station that the family is extremely worried about his father, who's health has recently not been good.

The presenter has been taking blood pressure pills and has suffered the stress of working on a show that has received a great deal of criticism from  government circles in Malaysia.

PEMANDU hiding ETP failure, say critics

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — Putrajaya’s efficiency unit is “shifting the goalposts” to hide its failure to transform the economy since launching its ambitious Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) in October 2010, says the Research for Social Advancement (REFSA) think-tank.

The opposition-linked think-tank, which has published a series of critiques on the ETP that aims to double per capita income by 2020, said in a focus paper released today that the Performance Management and Delivery Unit’s (PEMANDU) gross national income (GNI) targets were lower than those set by the government.

Idris has been accused of ‘intellectual dishonesty’ by taking credit for the 7.2 per cent gross domestic product growth in 2010. — File pic
REFSA noted that after the Finance Ministry (MoF) released the national income figure of RM830 billion for 2011, PEMANDU claimed the RM797 billion target had been exceeded. The unit under the Prime Minister’s Office is tasked with executing various transformation plans,

“Where did this RM797 billion target come from? It was not stated in the ETP Roadmap launched in Oct 2010. The MoF had already projected RM811 billion GNI for 2011, before the ETP Roadmap was launched.

“PEMANDU’s so-called ‘target’ is underwhelming. Taken at face value, PEMANDU is dragging down the Malaysian economy instead of transforming it. How else would you explain PEMANDU’s target for GNI being smaller than the forecast made by the MoF?,” REFSA said.

It added that while nominal GNI growth hit 12.3 per cent in 2011, this was due to the 7.6 per cent hike in prices under its “GNI deflator” which incorporates all goods instead of a basket of goods which includes price-controlled items.

“The ETP has failed when measured by real GNI growth. Real GNI grew by just 4.7 per cent in 2011 compared to the six per cent per year target cited in the ETP Roadmap Report,” it said.

The paper, authored by political analyst Ong Kian Ming and Teh Chi Chang, who was previously economic adviser to the DAP, added that PEMANDU’s target was equivalent to just 7.8 per cent nominal growth, lower than its own 8.8 per cent average annual growth target to achieve high-income status.

“PEMANDU might have exceeded its ‘target’ but what value did it deliver? The MoF was already projecting GNI higher than PEMANDU’s... even without the benefit of the ETP,” they wrote.

They also accused PEMANDU chief executive Datuk Seri Idris Jala of “intellectual dishonesty” by taking credit for the 7.2 per cent gross domestic product growth in 2010.

“PEMANDU steals credit when none is due. Idris cited 2010 economic numbers as part of his achievements but the ETP was launched only in late October 2010,” said the paper, referring to the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

PEMANDU has previously insisted that the ETP was developed accurately despite assertions by the think-tank that the government agency’s figures do not add up.

“We stand by the fact that the ETP Roadmap was developed with thought and input from a wide base of expertise and as the intention is to make Malaysia globally competitive, international benchmarks were used,” it said in a blog posting in February.

The unit was set up after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak took office in April 2009. On Monday, he announced 21 new projects worth over RM20 billion under the ETP, that was expected to boost the GNI by RM4.59 billion in 2020 and create 39,918 jobs.

Rafizi waived right not to incriminate self

PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli freely avowed his responsibility to Bank Negara investigators for disclosures that would render him liable to be charged for offences under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia).

PKR vice-president N Surendran, who accompanied Rafizi when the latter was summoned yesterday by the central bank for questioning, said Rafizi was heedless of the stricture against self-incrimination a potential accused is entitled to.

NONE"Rafizi freely avowed he was responsible for disclosures of the bank accounts of companies and individuals involved in the cattle-breeding project that has been the subject of media scrutiny because of suspected misappropriation of public funds," revealed Surendran who is Razafi's legal counsel.

Section 97 of Bafia protects the confidentiality of bank accounts and statements. Disclosures would render an accused liable to a jail term and a hefty fine.

According to his lawyer, Rafizi was unfazed by the potential consequences of his disclosures and his admission of responsibility for them.

Surendran explained: "He feels the very fact that criminal prosecutions based on his disclosures are now proceeding in the courts vindicate his decision to make those disclosures that now expose him to charges under Bafia."

Doing a civic duty

The PKR veep said the objective of Section 97 of Bafia was to protect the confidentiality of bank accounts, but it did not entail the protection from public scrutiny of fraudulently obtained funds from public sources, which is a bigger crime in any moral calculus.

"That is why Rafizi did not hesitate to admit his responsibility for the disclosures for without them criminal charges would not have been preferred against individuals now arraigned in the courts," said Surendran.

Surendran said Rafizi is willing to bear the consequences of his "performance of a civic duty to protect public funds from fraudulent abuse."

"He obeyed a higher call and in the process left himself exposed on lesser counts," opined Surendran.

NONEOn March 12, National Feedlot Corporation chairperson Mohamad Salleh Ismail was charged in a sessions court in Kuala Lumpur with two counts of criminal breach of trust and two offences under the Companies Act 1965 involving a total of RM49.7 million, related to the purchase of two luxury condominium units.

Razak Baginda’s firm sold Malaysian naval secrets to French, says lawyer

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — A highly-confidential government document on the Malaysian Navy’s evaluation of the Scorpene submarines it planned to buy was sold by Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd to French defence giant DCNS for €36 million (RM142 million), a lawyer involved in an ongoing inquiry has revealed.
Abdul Razak is being sought as a witness in the French inquiry into the purchase of the Scorpene submarines. — Reuters pic
Abdul Razak Baginda , a former think-tank head who was at the centre of a 2006 investigation into the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, is listed as a director of Terasasi with his father, Abdul Malim Baginda.
 The company was previously incorporated on June 28, 2002 as Kinabalu Advisory and Support Services Ltd, according to the Hong Kong Companies Registry.

The data was purportedly for “commercial engineering” works, French lawyer Joseph Breham, who is acting for activist group Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) in an ongoing inquiry in Paris, told a news conference in Bangkok yesterday.

Suaram had filed a complaint against DCNS in a French court last month. The court’s two-man panel has asked for the shipmaker’s financial transaction reports, Breham said.

“They were given information which is already available on the Internet and newspapers, except for this one document,” Breham said, referring to investigating magistrates at the Paris Tribunal de Grande Instance.

“It was a secret document by the Malaysian Navy, an evaluation for the order of the submarines, which is a highly confidential report,” he added.

Breham said that in France “selling” highly-classified papers to another country is a breach of defence secrets and illegal and considered to be treason.

“It’s treason because you are selling a competitor or a foreign country what you think about a specific weapon, and your plan on how to use this specific weapon.

“In France, if you release them, you can be punished up to 10 years’ jail,” he said.

Malaysia paid RM6.7 billion in 2009 for the two submarines of which RM574 million was earmarked for co-ordination and support services for Perimekar Sdn Bhd, owned by Abdul Razak.

Abdul Razak is being sought as a witness in the French case.

DAP duo attacked by BN supporters, suffers fractures

Selangor DAP state committee member V Ganapathi Rao and his brother V Papparaidu, who are leading the Hindraf splinter group Malaysian Indian Voice (MIV), suffered bone fractures after three BN supporters assaulted them in Klang last night.

Ganapathi Rao told Malaysiakini this morning that the assailants armed with a car steering lock and metal objects attacked the duo at a road junction at Taman Mutiara.

hindraf pc 241209 k vasanthakumar, v ganabatirao, v papparaiduResulting from the 10-minute attack, Ganapathi Rao (centre in photo, with Papparaidu at right) suffered a nasal bone fracture, swollen jaw and several bruises while Papparaidu's right arm was broken and shoulder dislocated.

Ganapathi, a former Hindraf leader once detained under the Internal Security Act, claimed the attackers were unhappy with him and Papparaidu for organising the MIV rally last Sunday that attracted 1,000 Indians to voice their support for Pakatan Rakyat.

[More to follow]

French 'bought' top secret document from M'sian Navy

A highly-classified document - an evaluation by the Malaysian Navy of the Scorpene-class submarines to be purchased by the government - had been allegedly "bought" by a French defence company.

French lawyer Joseph Breham, who is acting on behalf of human rights NGO Suaram, revealed that the company had allegedly paid 36 million euro (RM142 million) to Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd, ostensibly for "commercial engineering" works.

NONEBreham (right) said French investigative judges probing the case lodged by Suaram against Paris-owned shipmaker DCNS for alleged corruption have inquired what those payments were and demanded reports of financial transactions from the company.

"They (the inquiry judges) were given information which are already available in the Internet and newspapers, except for this one document," revealed Breham at a press conference in Bangkok yesterday.

"It was a secret document by the Malaysian Navy - an evaluation for the order of the submarines, which is a highly confidential report," he told journalists at the Foreign Correspondence Club of Thailand.

Breham, who based his expose on the French prosecution papers, said the act of "selling" top secret papers to a foreign country such as this was considered a treasonous act.

In France, he stressed, it would be absolutely illegal to sell such reports as it could either be considered a breach of defence secrets or high treason.

"It's treason because you are selling a competitor or a foreign country what you think about a specific weapon, and your plan on how to use this specific weapon," replied Breham, when asked by a journalist if it was legal for an individual to sell such reports.

"In France, if you release them (the secret documents), you can be punished up to 10 years jail," said Breham, who is with Sherpa, a non-profit legal and human rights Paris-based NGO representing Suaram in the legal action.

Najib can be arrested by Interpol

Hong Kong-based Terasasi had been accused of funneling money through its accounts to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak as "commissions" on the sale of the submarines.

The submarines was purchased from the French company Thales International, also known as Thint Asia, in a deal inked in 2002 when Najib was defence minister and deputy prime minister.

Thales is an off-shoot of French defence giant DCN, which later changed its name to DCNS, a company facing legal charges filed by Suaram in 2010. The case has recently opened in the French court.

Two Terasasi directors are Najib's close ally Abdul Razak Baginda and the latter's father Abdul Malim Baginda.

In 2006, Razak, together with two of Najib's former bodyguards were charged for the murder of Mongolian national, Altantuya Shaariibuu, but the political analyst was acquited without his defence being called.

mic election 120909 najibNajib (left), who has refused to comment on the matter, has also denied ever being involved in the scandal, but Breham has reiterated that the PM cannot avoid testifying in a French court if he is either subpoenaed or issued a warrant of arrest by Interpol.

Breham said that it was possible that Thales decided to pay the money to obtain the classified document so that it could better bid for the project, and this meant "paying someone to commit an offence".

The other possibility, he added, is that the French company had paid the commission to channel money to ruling party Umno or to high-ranking individuals in Malaysia, as already revealed in French prosecution papers.

Breham said that this "demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt" that the French counterpart knew the money was illegal and should not be paid, and that it would go to top Malaysian officials.

He added that the money, whether legal or illegal, was paid to individuals "for no forseeable reasons" when it could have been put to better use.

"To put it blunt and clearly - if the money had not been paid to high-ranking officials, it could have been used to allow Malaysians to pay less taxes for the same services or to have much more services for the same amount of taxes," suggested Breham.

"The Malaysian taxpayers are the first casualties in this case," he added.

Selling nation's secrets a crime

Meanwhile, Subang parliamentarian R Sivarasa, who was at the Bangkok press conference, said that the expose of the top secret document being sold to a foreign country could land a person in jail.

NONESivarasa (right), who is also a lawyer, said anyone familiar with the Malaysian legal system know that the country has the toughest official secrets legislation.
In terms of the broad scope of the law, he added, the breach of all official secret documents and publications are punishable by a mandatory jail sentence.

"These documents - as mentioned by Breham - falls into the highest category of official secret documents as it has implications for the security of the country," said the PKR leader.

"Without any question, this is a criminal offence (to allegedly sell the documents to a foreign company). There have been people who went to jail for revealing far less innocous documents," he added.

Sivarasa was in Bangkok together with Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel, lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri and Breham to reveal 'damning details' surrounding the alleged Scorpene scandal.

The press conference was held in Bangkok as Breham was unable to get a proper visa to enter Malaysia.
NONEHis law partner, William Bourdon, was deported from Malaysia after he attended a fundraiser in Penang last year.
The Bangkok event, attended by foreign journalists and Malaysian embassy officials (left) - who left immediately after the function - was hosted by regional human rights NGO Forum-Asia.

EC to hold electoral roll checking campaign from June 1

PUTRAJAYA, May 30 — The Election Commission (EC) will hold the Electoral Roll Checking Month Campaign 2012 to enable the 12,658,803 voters who registered up to December 31 last year to verify their status.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said the campaign, which will be held from June 1-30, was aimed at increasing voter awareness on the importance of checking their status before the 13th General Election (GE) is held.

“The campaign will provide more room for voters to check and update their registered information for any mistake or inaccuracy,” he said in a statement here today.

Abdul Aziz said the campaign was also part of the EC’s initiative to clean up the electoral roll, with the help of the National Registration Department and cooperation from voters to ensure all registered information was correct and accurate.

“Only voters can correct their details in the electoral roll. The EC cannot correct any mistake, without the voters informing the EC, according to set rules and procedures,” he said.

He said, if there were mistakes in the roll such as missing names, changes of address and the like, voters would be able to lodge complaints to the EC, via the complaints system on its website; call centre at 03-88856565; fax at 03-8889112; mail; or by visiting the EC headquarters in Putrajaya or any of the state general election offices in the coming month.

The call centre and state offices operate from 8am to 5pm.

Voters may check their status online via the EC website by entering their MyKad number and their details will be displayed.

They may also send an SMS by typing SPRSEMAK(ICNUMBER) to 15888.  
Abdul Aziz said the EC would also be setting up counters for new voter registrations and change of voting centres at its headquarters and state offices. — Bernama

Wednesday 30 May 2012

Anti-Bersih dirty work will bury BN - DEAN JOHNS

In rash defiance of the old axiom “when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging”, Barisan Nasional has responded to the success of the Bersih 3.0 rally the only way it apparently knows how; with more of the lies, fraud, threats, thefts and other dirty deeds that have made it so deeply and increasingly unpopular.

Claims that Bersih 3.0 was not a call for clean and fair elections but an attempted coup against the government have only served to underscore Malaysians’ belief that the regime has no intention whatever of reforming the rotten electoral system.

And popular suspicion that BN has no intention of relinquishing power even if defeated in the next general election has been further aroused by regime-sponsored attacks on Bersih leaders and opposition ceramahs.

Many see these attacks as just a foretaste of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s notoriously stated determination to defend Putrajaya even at the expense of crushed bodies and lost lives.

And a reminder of the fact that, like his father, Abdul Razak Hussein, long suspected of fomenting the May 13, 1969 riots to wrest the prime ministership from Tunku Abdul Rahman, the allegedly “moderate” Najib has already presided over crushed bodies and lost lives.

azlanThe murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu by two of his bodyguards still continues to haunt Najib, as does the still-unresolved suspicious death of the witness to alleged opposition corruption, Teoh Beng Hock, at the hands of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Yet following the Bersih 3.0 rally, the same discredited MACC has had the effrontery to offer its services to determine the cleanliness or otherwise of opposition candidates in the next general election.

And as if to highlight the complete failure by the MACC to investigate the Scorpene submarines scandal that involved the murder of Altantuya, Malaysia’s current defence minister has crowed that he, Najib and other BN figures are safe from subpoena by French authorities currently examining this sordid affair.

Meanwhile, the widely-suspected beneficiary of the billion-ringgit “commission” on the Scorpene submarines purchase, Najib himself, has been busily spending untold millions of public money in a desperate bid buy himself and his rotten regime out of trouble.

Obsessed with the concept of millions
In fact he seems to be obsessed with the concept of millions, having recently spent countless numbers of them on a ridiculous event devised to demonstrate his popularity, a five-day so-called “Millions of Youths” gathering at the very venue he vows to defend, if necessary, with crushed bodies and lost lives, Putrajaya.

Billed as a celebration of National Youth Day and hyped as one of the world’s top 10 festivals, this blatant attempt to outshine and outnumber the Bersih 3.0 rally provided Najib a golden opportunity to showcase his principal talents: perversion of the truth and pathetic self-praise.

Professing himself “overwhelmed” with the turnout, he urged a crowd decked-out in free “I love PM” T-shirts not to let a “handful of youths,” by which of course he meant the massive Bersih 3.0 rally, “hijack the country’s agenda and image.”

“Do not let them seize power,” he went on, falsely accusing Bersih attendees of “street riots, hurling stones and kicking policemen”, and calling on his captive audience not to “fall prey to instigation and slanders posted on the Internet and speeches of irresponsible people who incite us.”  

azlanHe then interrupted this litany of lies to deliver one of his trademark Freudian slips, evoking recollections of his wife’s multi-million-dollar diamond ring with the bizarre remark that “we should know how to choose between diamonds and gems”.

And having thus strayed onto the topic of his widely-despised spouse, he pressed on with the self-adoring observation that he hoped that all the T-shirts and signs bearing the message “I love PM” and “We love PM” would “not make my wife jealous as this expression of love reflects the respect and love of the leader.”

Next, as if this load of hogwash hadn’t been enough to convince a majority of Malaysians of their fast-fading love and respect for his so-called leadership, Najib addressed a crowd of petty traders purpose-assembled at Dataran Merdeka in a clear studied insult to Bersih 3.0.

Standing on the very site from which Bersih 3.0 participants were so unjustly excluded, he lamented that the April 28 rally had cost petty traders “millions” in losses before declaring that “this group must be protected and the BN government will continue to defend them.”

Apparently it didn’t occur to Najib that the “millions” he falsely claimed that his minions had lost due to Bersih 3.0 would only serve to remind the rest of us, as if we needed reminding, of the billions that Malaysia has lost through the fraud, theft and incompetence of BN and its cronies.

But such an obvious fact didn’t deter him from typically promising to throwing even more public money away on one of his trademark “You help me, I help you” exercises: the slashing of traders’ licence fees, a 50 percent discount on fines for such infractions as late renewal of licences, and the possibility of some kind of social security initiative for traders.

Money-mad to the point of mania

And in case anybody in Malaysia retains a shred of doubt that Najib and his accomplices are money-mad to the point of mania, the regime has brought a civil suit against selected Bersih leaders for the cost of alleged damages to police equipment in the course of the recent rally.

Of course Najib hasn’t been alone in digging ever deeper into the depths of the hole he’s in. All the usual suspects like Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the rest of the crew have been out there shovelling for all they’re worth.

Ably assisted, as ever, by Bernama and the rest of the ‘mainstream’ media who never tire in their efforts to bolster the regime’s terminally soiled reputation while simultaneously throwing dirt on the opposition.

But though these media’s names are mud and they know it, and so are those of their masters, they clearly can’t help go on digging the hole that will bury them. And the rest of us can hardly wait to see the crater collapse.

DEAN JOHNS, after many years in Asia, currently lives with his Malaysian-born wife and daughter in Sydney, where he coaches and mentors writers and authors and practises as a writing therapist. Published books of his columns for Malaysiakini include ‘Mad about Malaysia', ‘Even Madder about Malaysia', ‘Missing Malaysia' and ‘1Malaysia.con'.

No direct public Q&A for Chua-Lim debate 2.0

Floor participants will not be able to pose direct questions in the second round of the debate between MCA president Chua Soi Lek and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as the organiser is drawing up a new format.

azlanAnnouncing it at a press conference this afternoon, organiser Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli) chief Michael Yeoh said the participants will need to either submit their questions beforehand or write it on a card.

He said the decision was made as there were accusations of biasness and unfairness on the Q&A session in the previous debate.

The last face-off between Lim and Chua on Feb 18 had seen numerous complaints from DAP members over their not being given the chance to pose question despite having waited for a long time.

NONEIt was the same Q&A session where little known MCA politician Jessie Ooi (right) has become an unwitting ‘star’ overnight and earned herself the moniker of ‘Ms Tow Truck’ for a fiery question she posed to Lim on the Penang government’s policies.

The debate, themed ‘Debate 2.0: DAP and MCA: Whose policies benefit the country more?’, will be held at Sunway Convention Centre, Sunway Pyramid on July 8.

Conducted in English, the debate will last two hours, which is double the time of the previous debate.

Yeoh said he expect the debaters to cover areas such as education, healthcare, economic prosperity, community service, national unity, public welfare and poverty alleviation.

Explaining the choice of topic today, Yeoh said there is a greater need to focus on public policy discussion as the general election looms.

“To bring our politics to a different level we have to debate on issues and public policies, rather than being emotional and criticising certain individuals,” he said.

When asked whether the title will spark another round of the usual political rhetoric from Chua and Lim, Yeoh said certain elements of political selling are inevitable.

“I think it is unavoidable for Chua to sell MCA and for Lim to talk about DAP. But it depends on the debater.

“I will also advise them to stick to the topic,” he said.

Asked again why the debate topic singles out DAP and MCA instead of their affiliated coalitions, he explained that it is just a continuation of the previous topic.

Tickets priced at RM88 each

Unlike the last debate, a three-member panel consisting of leading academicians and editors from newspapers will be formed to observe the debate and pose questions.

“This will be similar in nature to the American presidential debates whereby professional panellists can pose questions,” he said.

He, however, stressed that that panellists must be non-partisan and acceptable to both the debaters.

Meanwhile, seats allocated for members of public, numbering 500 in total, have been priced at RM88 each this time; whereas party delegates from MCA and DAP will be allocated between 400 and 500 seats, with the detail being finalised soon.

The tickets can be purchased via Asli at 03-2093 5396 starting on Friday June 1 on a first-come first-served basis.

The NGO is also negotiating with several television stations for a live telecast.

'Penan Peace Park is for all of us'

Most Penan have never seen the bright lights of Miri, Kuching or Bukit Bintang. The Penan have lived traditionally for centuries in the forests of northeast and central Sarawak, as nomadic hunter-gatherers.

In the past few decades, nearly all the 15,000 Penan have now settled down as rice farmers, give or take the odd week-long hunting trip. But their hearts remain in the rainforest.

These shy, slender but remarkably strong people are used to living sustainably in their 'tana' or forests. They prefer the cool shade of the canopy to the air-conditioning of urban tower blocks.

It was a struggle, therefore, for a maverick delegation of nine representatives of Penan communities to travel 800km from Upper Baram to Kuching, to present their calls for a Penan Peace Park to the seat of power at the State Assembly, on May 22.

NONEThe Penan Peace Park is a culture and biodiversity conservation project, covering 1,630 square kilometres of some of the last remaining primary forests in Tutoh and Upper Baram.

Penan chiefs of 18 communities declared the park a protected zone - open to visitors but not loggers and other invaders - in November 2009, with the support of international NGOs such as the Bruno Manser Fund.

"The Peace Park is aimed at defending our rights, our forest, the source of our food and our adet (customs)," said village chief Bilong Oyau, from Long Sait, a quiet and neat village of some 80 families, in the Selungo region of upper Baram.

"The Peace Park is not the property of the Penan alone, it is for all of us," Bilong went on. "Not only the Penan people benefit, all Sarawakians benefit. We wanted to explain (to the State Assembly) our adet and culture, how we can preserve our food, rattan, plants, rivers, for everyone."

NONEThe Penan chief noted drily that he has been told the state even has a tourism minister.

"The minister should support this Peace Park. Sarawakians and people from foreign places, can visit this beautiful park. As long as I remain alive, I myself am willing to show visitors our flowers, plants, rivers, waterfalls - everything we have."

Hysterical response to Peace Park

The Peace Park was established to protect the upper Baram forests from the ongoing encroachment by loggers, plantation tycoons and hydro-electric dam companies.

The official response to this call for environmental and cultural protection was alarming. In December 2009, Len Talif Salleh, then the director of Sarawak Forestry, and now an elected state assemblyperson, hysterically condemned the idea as "illegal", arguing it "tainted Sarawak's image".

On the contrary, it is frenzied logging and deforestation, even on steep slopes in Baram, that has stained the state's image.
NONEDuring Len Talif's watch as head of the forestry authority, this destruction accelerated, causing a horrific logjam on the Rejang River, and triggering more than 200 ongoing civil suits filed by native landowners against the state government and its supporters in the logging industry.

To this day, Sarawak Forestry, a privatised logging authority, has found itself in the unhappy position of playing a game of "cops and robbers".

The forestry "cops" are an ostensibly private commercial entity, but are endlessly manipulated by Sarawak's chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. The "robbers", or timber barons, are the ruling party's staunchest political and financial supporters.

BN lawmakers snub Penan

Given the authorities' hostility, it came as no surprise when 56 BN lawmakers all refused to attend the nine Penan chiefs' slide presentation and press conference at the State Assembly on May 22.

In contrast, all 15 Pakatan Rakyat representatives lent their support to the Peace Park at the presentation.

The only BN elected representative to meet the Penan delegation was the assembly representative for Telang Usan, Dennis Ngau. He was quoted by the Borneo Post as urging them to emulate Long Beruang, a pro-BN village that now, he says, enjoys wi-fi and the internet.

Dennis Ngau did not mention, though, that the average Penan inhabitant of Long Beruang has no money to buy petrol for a generator, let alone a computer.

In fact, the villagers have been steadily impoverished by the depletion of game and fish, after loggers moved in over a decade ago. The closest school and clinic remain five hours' walk from Long Beruang.

The only tangible "development" Long Beruang has seen from logging is a rutted, muddy logging track that the loggers maintain only when it suits them, a flimsy and dilapidated "longhouse" built by the logging company - and now, quixotically, wireless Internet provided by the loggers' partners in the state government.

NONE"The (logging) company says they bring development," observed Bilong Oyau, "but we Penan don't really understand what they mean. In Tutoh, Apoh, Batu Bungan, places the company has been, the people have truly suffered - their food, water, have all became terrible."

Bilong said he could not be certain why the BN lawmakers had ignored their Peace Park presentation.

"Perhaps they think of us as children, just playing around. But we're not fooling around. We wanted to meet all the State Assembly, to tell them the problems of people from the interior."

Bilong says they will not give up.

"We'll make police reports, write to the authorities, whatever it takes," he said. "We'll work hard to protect our land rights."

KERUAH USIT is a human rights activist - ‘anak Sarawak, bangsa Malaysia’. This weekly column is an effort to provide a voice for marginalised Malaysians. Keruah Usit can be contacted at

3,457 Klang voters gone from electoral roll, claims MP

Klang MP Charles Santiago has discovered that the names of 3,457 voters in his parliamentary constituency have, without reason, disappeared from the electoral roll since the 2008 general election.

“They were registered voters in the 2008 general election but when you key in their identity card numbers in the Election Commission (EC) online database, it says ‘no information’,” he told Malaysiakini after calling a press conference in Klang this morning.

Under the current laws, only voters who have died, been declared bankrupt, have had their citizenship revoked or been declared insane can be removed from the electoral roll, and the reasons for removal will be stated in every quarterly supplementary roll.

NONEHowever, Santiago (left) claimed that the reasons for their removal from the roll were not stated, and not all of them are elders.

“In our search on the ground, we located several of them. They are still alive and eligible to vote,” he said.
Klang, a parliamentary constituency with three state seats - Pelabuhan Klang, Kota Alam Shah and Pandamaran - has some 95,000 registered voters in the latest electoral roll.

Santiago and his team also found out that 2,195 voters in Klang have transferred their voting addresses to other constituencies but their addresses in the electoral roll still remain in Klang, which is not allowed under the current regulations.

Since 2002, the EC has make it compulsory that any voting address must be the same as the voter’s address recorded in his or her MyKad.

If voters want to change their voting constituencies, they must first change their addresses recorded in their MyKad.

Hence, for those Klang voters to transfer their voting addresses to other constituencies, they have to first change their MyKad addresses, which will be reflected in the electoral roll.
According to Charles, these 2,195 voters have been relocated to 184 parliamentary constituencies nationwide including Sabah and Sarawak.

‘Questionable transfers of voters’

“This trend is highly irregular. These are questionable transfers of voters. We need a re-check of the Klang electoral roll,” Charles commented.

He doubted that all the removals and transfers have obtained the permission of the voters.

azlanCharles had filed a complaint to the Selangor EC on May 17 but there has been no response until today.

“We are now going to the ground to locate these voters,” he added.

The DAP MP also claimed that a voter in Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang, had complained that he was forced to re-register himself as a new voter as his name had suddenly disappeared from the electoral roll.

Another lady, Charles said, complained that she had never registered herself as a voter but a check with the EC online database showed that she had been registered to vote in Butterworth.

The lady, who has never resided in Butterworth, was forced to change her voting constituency back to Klang.

When this case was raised by Charles during the press conference, a female reporter from an English daily claimed that she had also encountered such incidents.

She found herself to be a voter in Hulu Selangor although she has never registered, said Charles.

EC bans caricatures during GE13

Political parties contesting in the 13th general election are reminded not to put up posters or buntings bearing caricatures of any individual or personality.

NONEElection Commission deputy chairperson Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said it was observed that in the 2011 Sarawak election, there were too many campaign materials used which insinuated and disparaged individuals or personalities.

He said such materials were inappropriate and could portray a lack of seriousness in running for elections.

"The election is a serious matter and we cannot allow political parties to display campaign materials which put down any person," he told reporters after giving an election briefing for the state-level Election Campaign Enforcement Teams (PPKPR) in Senai today.

NONEThe EC will use provisions under Section 4(a) of the Election Act 1958 to remove or take down such posters or buntings for the coming general election.

Wan Ahmad said the decision was a good one as it would save the image of leaders and candidates contesting, as well as impose discipline in putting up posters for the elections.

Meanwhile, 26 PPKPR were formed in Johor's parliamentary constituencies to monitor and carry out enforcement during the campaign period.

There are 1.5 million voters in Johor, of whom 22,000 are advance voters comprising members of the armed forces and police, and voters abroad.

Daim's ally named in Scorpene probe papers

Human rights NGO Suaram has revealed that the name of an individual closely linked to former finance minister Daim Zainuddin is mentioned in the French prosecution papers on alleged corruption in Malaysia’s RM7.3 billion purchase of two Scorpene-class submarines in 2002.

NONEAt a press conference in Bangkok today, Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel said French police had seized documents including a note for the French defence minister dated July 2, 1999.

This related to an interview with then Malaysian defence minister Najib Abdul Razak and French-Malaysian diplomacy on defence matters.

"The note mentions one Mohd Ibrahim Mohd Noor and Abdul Razak Baginda as points of reference for political network," she said.

"It further states that both have strong political connections as Mohd Ibrahim is close to Daim, and Abdul Razak to Najib.”

She said the note explains that by early 2001, Mohd Ibrahim's influence had begun to decline in tandem with Daim’s waning power.

Mohd Ibrahim's name then ‘disappeared’ from Perimekar Sdn Bhd - said to have served as intermediary in the Scorpene purchase - both as shareholder and director. He was replaced later by those in Abdul Razak's network.

Gabriel said consultants (company agents) are used as "political network" agents to facilitate monetary transfers and to receive commissions from their mandators.

abdul razak baginda pc 201108 06Abdul Razak (left) eventually became the main point of reference for political network to facilitate the money transfer, she claimed.

"The note stated that ... Abdul Razak maintained excellent ties with the defence minister and the prime minister. Furthermore, his wife is a close friend of the defence minister’s wife. Therefore, Abdul Razak became the centre of the network.

In a document tagged ‘Malaysia’, there is a confidential report on Perimekar and Terasasi Sdn Bhd - owned by Abdul Razak and his father - as well as a report that includes a note on ‘retracing the background of negotiations’, said Gabriel.

The note states that, pursuant to the major defence contracts between France and Malaysia, there was a requirement that substantial transfer of money had to be channelled to individuals and political organisations like Umno.

Lawyers R Sivarasa and Fadiah Nadwa Fikri were at the press conference - hosted by Forum-Asia executive director Yap Swee Seng - alongside Suaram’s French lawyer Joseph Breham and Malaysian embassy officials.

Ambiga to contest in GE…

In the aftermath of the April 28 Bersih 3.0 rally, Malaysia now has a third force

Imagine if the above headline is for real and the Bersih 3.0 chairperson decides to enter the political ring instead of delivering blows from the sidelines.

Will she win? Given the right constituency, she will probably knock out her opponent(s) cold.

Although Bersih consists of a steering committee made up of individuals from diverse backgrounds with a common objective, it is S Ambiga who has become the face of the movement and the punching bag of its detractors.

Ask any burger seller, posterior excercise specialist or ikan bakar connoisseur and he or she will attest to this.

During the last general election, observers credited, among others, the mammoth Hindraf protest as being one of the catalysts behind the voters casting their ballots for the opposition.

Hindraf managed to awaken the Indian community from its deep political slumber and at the same time sent their traditional representative MIC into near coma.

Now, observers claim that Ambiga is the new Hindraf and the Indians are fuming once again, this time over the manner in which she has been abused and ridiculed.

Some even joke that she should contest against MIC president G Palanivel in the coming polls.

The biggest thing around

But Ambiga is much bigger than Hindraf, MIC and Palanivel. In fact, she is probably the biggest thing around at the moment. And unlike the other three, she has international appeal as well.
sing this, the powers-that-be opted to slap her with a civil suit but hauled several opposition stalwarts to court to face criminal charges over what transpired during the April 28 protest.

The oppositio
n is also aware of her influence and its leaders choose to keep her close, hoping to capitalise on her stardom.

Certain quarters call this hijacking but it is simply a case of common sense – it is wiser to ride a wave instead of attempting to stop it with barricades, burgers, grilled fish and ex-servicemen moonlighting as the Chippendales.

The former Bar Council president is adamant that her movement is apolitical but the critics are not convinced, claiming that there is an abundance of circumstantial evidence that point to the contrary.

Guilty or innocent, one undeniable fact is that Ambiga is now probably just as, if not, more famous than Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor.

Apart from the tens of thousands who took to the streets in support of Bersih, the government also ensured that her fame reaches dizzying heights with a string of outlandish and bizarre accusations.

Despite being an ethnic Indian, Ambiga has not championed any particular cause related to her race because like her, her struggle is also colour blind.

She is demanding free and fair elections and therefore unlike Hindraf or Perkasa, Ambiga appeals to all races who believe in Bersih’s fight.

Therein, lies the danger.

The new third force

In the 2008 general election, Pakatan Rakyat made unprecedented gains, seizing five states (later reduced to four) and denied Barisan Nasional for the first time, a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Malaysians believed that just like Pakatan’s then election slogan, the nation witnessed a new dawn and things were bound to improve.
But soon the familiar allegations of corruption, cronyism and stifling of dissent began to surface, leading to the conclusion that both political blocs were cast in the same mould.

Then the idea of a third force began to take root but it never blossomed and many politicians and luminaries saw their reputations crumble in the process.

Now in the aftermath of the April 28 rally, Malaysia has a third force in the form of Ambiga and by extension, the movement she leads.

Ambiga has always dismissed the notion of contesting in the election as she apparently detests partisan politics and loves her legal profession.

If that is the case, then she should have stuck to lucrative courtroom battles instead of waging war against the Election Commission in the streets.

So some observers feel that perhaps the time has come for her to put on a pair of boxing gloves and enter the ring as an independent to take the fight to the next level, to become a true representative of the people.
And perhaps the time has also come for Bersih to broaden its scope since electoral irregularities are not the only thing which need cleaning up in Malaysia.

To illustrate his point, one fervent supporter cited a famous Tamil movie which depicts how a journalist is given the opportunity to become chief minister for 24 hours.

During that brief period, he institutes sweeping reforms, earning the admiration of the people and the wrath of ruling politicians.

After he relinquishes his post, he is beaten black and blue by hired thugs.

But the next day, the bandaged hero wakes up to a sea of people gathered outside his house urging him to contest in the elections.

He resists at first but in the true spirit of Indian celluloid melodrama, a disabled youth crawls up to him with a flower garland and whispers these words: “This country is crippled like me. Make it walk!”

Guess what happens next?

Anwar says slowdown warrants fiscal debate, retabling of Budget

KUALA LUMPUR, May 30 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim renewed today calls for a debate on economic policy with archrival Datuk Seri Najib Razak after Malaysia posted a 4.7 per cent growth for the first quarter, short of the five to six per cent projected in the latter’s Budget 2012.

The opposition leader said in a statement the “serious repercussion” to public finances from the slowdown also warranted a retabling of the Budget in next month’s parliamentary session as the growth assumptions used to derive the Treasury’s revenue and fiscal deficit were wrong.

“I have cautioned Najib that his tendency to manipulate economic growth projection to present a much lower deficit target is irresponsible.

“If Barisan Nasional (BN) continues to spend according to the current Budget, this will have a severe impact on the deficit level and can breach the 55 per cent statutory limit of debt-to-GDP ratio,” the former deputy prime minister and finance minister said.

Prime Minister Najib, who is also the current finance minister, said yesterday the government will ensure that Malaysia’s debt will not exceed the statutory ceiling under the Loan (Local) Act and Government Funding Act due to its prudent management of the nation’s finances.

The BN chief also accused Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat (PR) of making “far-fetched” populist promises such as abolishing the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) student loan scheme, which he said would cost RM45 billion, and setting an unrealistic RM4,000 minimum wage policy.

But Anwar said today the Umno president was misleading the public, pointing out that PR was targeting to make RM4,000 the minimum household income within five years of taking federal power.

“The economic target set by PR that the combined income of each Malaysian family should be at least RM4,000 a month is not only morally right but achievable through a combination of pro-people economic policies proposed,” the Permatang Pauh MP said.

He also told Najib if “he is confident that PR will not be able to deliver our economic promises, he must be bold enough to defend his conviction in a public debate.”

“Najib should not criticise our economic policies when he avoided a public debate on such policies. His refusal to debate with me on economic policies can only confirm the assertion that he is leading a weak government — economically, morally and intellectually.”

 Malaysia reported a 4.7 per cent GDP growth for the first three months of the year, a third consecutive quarterly drop since it posted a 7.2 per cent increase in Q2 2011.

Analysts have warned Malaysia to brace for a significant slowdown here due to rising linkages with top trade partners including China, the world’s second largest market which economists say is headed for a sixth consecutive quarterly drop in growth with worse to come.

A Greek exit from the euro zone, which is  growing threat, would cause a second recession in as little as four years in Malaysia as the knock-on damage to Europe poses a threat to the global economy, Bloomberg reported analysts and economists as saying today.

The World Bank also urged Malaysia last week to expedite reforms such as subsidy cuts and broadening the tax base, key initiatives that have stalled ahead of an impending federal election, if it wants to achieve Putrajaya’s target of being a high-income economy by 2020.

Rafizi: Why me and not NFC chief?

PKR strategy chief Rafizi Ramli has questioned Bank Negara's move to summon him over alleged offences under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989 (Bafia).

Rafizi, who was served the summons under Section 87(1)(a) of the Act, asked why the central bank did not act against National Feedlot Corporation chairperson Mohamad Salleh Ismail and his children for "openly" transferring funds "illegally" to family-owned businesses in Singapore and Kazakhstan.

"They had admitted to it and shouldn't they also be investigated by Bank Negara under the Anti-Money Laundering Act?" he asked.

Rafizi was called to Bank Negara at 2.30pm today for his statement to be recorded.

Bank Negara’s investigation against Rafizi comes after Mohamad Salleh’s police complaint against him for 21 breaches for revealing private and confidential banking details that are protected under Part XIII of Bafia, on Secrecy and Information.
“While I respect Bank Negara’s responsibility and the authorities in conducting investigations, but I’m worried that the constant pressure on me and Johari Mohamad (a former Public Bank clerk) are to cover up the scandal involving NFC,” Rafizi said in a statement today.

The issue is believed to be related to claims by Rafizi on purchases in KL Eco City by Mohamad Salleh and his family, which are worth at least RM10 million.

'The authorities do not welcome whistleblowers'

However, hauling him up for investigations showed that “the authorities do not welcome whistleblowers”.

Rafizi challenged Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to deny that his administration was victimising informants and protecting those involved in corruption.

“This phenomena worries me, because it can instil fear among the people and stop them from coming forward to expose discrepancies.”

NONEOn March 12, Mohamad Salleh (left in picture) was charged in a sessions court in Kuala Lumpur with two counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) and two offences under the Companies Act 1965 involving a total of RM49.7 million, related to the purchase of two luxury condominium units.

On the first charge, he is alleged to have, as a NFC director, committed CBT involving RM9,758,140 by issuing staggered payments to purchase the two units in the One Menerung condominium block in upmarket Bangsar.

On the second charge, Mohamad Salleh is alleged to have committed the same offence by transferring RM40 million via a NFC cheque into the National Meat and Livestock Corporation Sdn Bhd’s account for its use.

The two charges under Section 409 of the Penal Code provide for a jail term of two to 20 years and whipping, and a possible fine, upon conviction.

NFC was given the loan for the National Feedlot Centre project to produce beef for the nation, which the auditor-general found was not meeting its targets.

Mohamad Salleh, the husband of former women, family and community development minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, runs NFC and its associate companies with his three children.

The family has initiated legal action against and has been counter-sued by Rafizi and PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin for previous exposes relating to NFC.