Aug 31, 2007

MALAYSIA, Happy 50th Birthday!!

Malaysia, Happy 50th Birthday.

Aug 28, 2007

At age 50, Malaysia questions its identity


(AFP) KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia marks the 50th anniversary of its independence later this week at a time when it is increasingly questioning its own identity amid rising Islamisation and racial polarisation.

Since winning independence from Britain, Malaysia has been transformed into one of the Muslim world's most developed countries, complete with skyscrapers such as the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and massive highways and ports.

It has also slashed poverty through stable economic growth.

Yet as the country prepares to mark a half-century of nationhood on Friday, many are struggling to agree on what it means to be Malaysian, and how much your religion and culture counts.

P. Ramasamy, a political scientist and former professor with the National University of Malaysia, is worried about a rising influence of Islam, and the racial and religious divisions it could spark.

"If this is the indicator after 50 years, I do not want to look forward to the next 50 years as the situation may become worse," he told AFP.

Islam is the official religion here and Muslim Malays make up 60 percent of Malaysia's 27 million people, with the rest mostly Buddhist, Christian and Hindu.

Freedom of religion is enshrined in the constitution but a number of recent events -- such as a court's decision not to recognise a woman's conversion to Christianity and a row over whether Sharia law should be incorporated into the legal system -- have highlighted long-standing divisions.

Malaysia experienced deadly race riots between Malays and Chinese in 1969 sparked by political rivalries and anger over the wealth of the Chinese, and today ethnic Malays dominate politics.

The National Front coalition -- formerly known as the Alliance Coalition -- has ruled Malaysia since independence.

It includes ethnic Chinese and Indian parties, but is dominated by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), led by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Abdullah frequently preaches national unity and freedom for all religions, but Zaid Ibrahim, a lawmaker with UMNO, says that communal relationships have become worse over the past five decades.

"This 50th celebration of our independence brings to me a tinge of sadness," he told AFP.

"I'm sad that we have become a country that talks of race and religion on a daily basis, and that we feel the need to continuously emphasize power, authority and coercion to extract obedience," he said.

Former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who was sacked and jailed in 1998, told AFP that Islam in Malaysia had been "hijacked" for political reasons by the ruling party, and urged caution against creeping extreme Islamic tendencies.

He pointed to a recent decision by the Federal Court rejecting a women's bid to be legally recognised as a Christian after converting from Islam.

Lina Joy waged a decade-long battle to have the word "Islam" removed from her national identity card, but the court threw out her case and said only the Sharia court can legally certify her conversion.

Anwar decries not just the religious divisions, but the economy, which he says is being battered by corruption.

"Foreign investments are heading elsewhere. This is due to incompetence, poor governance and refusal to change. So we are losing out to Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, India and China," he said.

Quality of life for many Malaysians, however, has risen considerably over five decades.

Most homes now have a car and two television sets. Per capita income last year stood at 5,388 dollars, up from 2,335 dollars in 1990.

Malaysia's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2006 was valued at 151.4 billion dollars from 44 billion dollars in 1990.

Yet Southeast Asia's third largest economy has seen foreign direct investment steadily declining. In 2006 it amounted to an estimated 3.9 billion dollars, compared to 5.5 billion dollars in 2001.

Malaysia's official economic growth forecast for 2007 is six percent, behind that of rivals China and India. Its economy grew 5.9 percent in 2006.

Wan Suhaimi Saidie, an economist with Kenanga Investment Bank, warned that boosting foreign investment was going to become a challenge.

"Unless we introduce new investment friendly policies like tax breaks we will lose out," he said.

Almost half of the last 50 years were dominated by the economic and political policies of Mahathir Mohamad, 81, who retired from office in 2003 after 22 years as prime minister.

He handed the reins to Abdullah, but has since become an outspoken critic of his 67-year-old successor, whom he has accused of nepotism and corruption.

The next elections will be in 2009, but P. Ramasamy warns that the country must find a solution to religious tensions if it is to continue to modernise.

"If it is not addressed, it will create serious racial problems in the country," he said.

Aug 27, 2007

Debate on RM4.6 bil scandal - REJECTED!

As per LKS's blog

This is a great blow to public and investor confidence in the just rule of law, especially efficient upholding of law and order and the fair administration of justice, which had reached increasingly critical level because of a series of incidents including:

  • Sloppy police investigations of crimes and sloppy prosecution even resulting in many accused charged with serious crimes being acquitted without their defence being called;
  • Long delays by judges to deliver grounds of judgments – in one case involving nine years and three months and with one Federal Court judge with 33 outstanding grounds of judgments for criminal and civil cases dating back to his High Court tenure.
  • The seven-month constitutional crisis over the appointment of the new Chief Judge of Malaya which highlighted the urgent need for judicial reforms including having a Judicial Commission to recommend appointment and promotion of judges.

As reported by Malaysiakini :

Dewan Rakyat speaker Ramli Ngah Talib rejected the ‘urgent motion’ put by Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang to debate the RM4.6 billion bailout of the troubled Port Klang Free Zone as Parliament resumes today.

"The government is looking into the matter and as such there is no need to debate it in Parliament," said Ramli in disallowing the debate.

In an immediate reaction, Lim said that he was “disappointed” by the speaker’s action and considered it a setback in the campaign against corruption.

“It would appear that no Barisan Nasional MP (member of parliament) is prepared to take a principled stand demanding full parliamentary accountability of the scandal,” he said.

But Lim said he was undaunted.

“I will continue to demand full and proper accountability for the scandal in the current budget meeting of Parliament,” said the veteran opposition leader, who is DAP MP for Ipoh Timur.

Aug 24, 2007

Minister absent, officials vanish, Datuk Z is OK

So what is new?

June 27th 2007 : Eric Chia Acquitted

July 12th 2007 : ACA probe on Johari closed, says A-G

July 28th 2007 : IGP and ex-ACA boss cleared of graft, abuse of power

(TheStar) KLANG: All 37 charges against controversial Port Klang assemblyman Datuk Zakaria Md Deros and five of his business partners instituted by the Companies Commission (CC) have been withdrawn.

The CC had taken Zakaria and the five to court by virtue of their position as directors of Harvest Court Industries Bhd and Titi Steel Sdn Bhd, which had contravened the Companies Act 1965.

Each charge could be punished with a fine of up to RM30,000 and five years jail.

They were charged for failing to notify of change of address, failing to hold annual general meetings, failing to submit financial statements and failing to submit profit-and-loss accounts.

Mozni Sham Ahmad and Joseph R. Samuel who appeared for Zakaria, his partners and the two companies said the charges were withdrawn because the "outstanding problems had been settled".

Companies Commission's prosecutor Azmil Haron told magistrate Fadzilatul Isma Ahmad Refngah that he had been instructed to withdraw the charges against the two companies and its directors.

While Malaysikini reported :

Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy and his subordinates once again evaded fielding questions on the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) controversy.

The minister was conspicuously absent from a press conference called Tranport Ministry at the PKFZ headquarters regarding the issue today.

Other ministry officials also did a disappearing act, leaving PKFZ officials to distribute a five-page statement from the ministry.

Unfortunately, the statement does little more than state some facts already known about the fiasco, fudge other facts, while completely ignoring a host of other important questions that have been raised with regards to the development project.

The statement confirmed that the government has approved a 'soft loan' to Port Klang Authority (PKA), the state-owned agency responsible for the mega-project. "Details of the borrowing are being finalised," it said.

According to the statement, the ‘facts’ are:

  • The land on which PKFZ now stands was bought at RM1.088 billion which, paid over 15 years with 7.5 percent interest, amounts to RM1.807 billion. This clarifies earlier discrepancies on the actual sum paid - put simply, the land price was RM1.1 billion while PKA which bought the land had to pay in total RM1.8 billion over 15 years.

  • PKFZ was initially to be developed in two phases - the first, to develop 500 acres with a price tag of RM400 million.

  • However, following the advice of the Dubai-based Jebel Ali Free Zone Authority (Jafza), PKFZ’s owner Port Klang Authority agreed to develop the land in one go at a cost of RM1.845 billion, said the statement, which appeared to suggest that Jafza should shoulder part of the blame.

    This included additional developments such as the building of a business-class hotel with 135 rooms.

    “Hence, the total cost of PKFZ after including the land purchase and development costs, interest cost of 7.5 percent, professional fees of 10 percent and a variation order limited to 20 percent (if used) is estimated at RM4.632 billion,” read the statement.

    The ministry also said PKFZ is a national project to help increase the volume of cargo at Port Klang “to serve as a catalyst for national economic growth and to create employment opportunities and ancillary support services and business activities.

    “Hence, because the total PKFZ costs are high, the government has agreed to approve a soft loan to PKA. The details of that loan are under discussion,” it added.

    tags :

    Aug 21, 2007

    Internal Security Ministry : Stop publishing reports related to the ‘Negarakuku’

    It is time to stop?

    Malaysiakini : The Internal Security Ministry has directed the mainstream media to stop publishing reports related to the ‘Negarakuku’ controversy.

    This was confirmed by the ministry’s Publications Control and Al-Quran Texts Unit senior officer Che Din Yusof.

    “Yes, the directive was issued today,” he said when contacted. “What more is there for the papers to write? Enough is enough.

    “There are so many other things that can bring benefit to the nation, why focus on this issue and bring in other points? He (Wee Meng Chee) has already apologised,” he added.

    However, Che Din said the media can still report on comments made by Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Najib Abdul Razak on the issue.

    Raise tensions

    Meanwhile, Che Din justified the ministry’s move in issuing the directive on the grounds that the issue can raise tensions in the country.

    “(If we keep talking about it) it will raise tensions, do you know that?

    “You as an emotional layman can say anything, If I wasn’t a civil servant, I can say anything too. It’s too polemic already in the newspapers,” he said.

    According to him, political leaders, NGOs and Wee himself can no longer have their statements published in the newspapers.

    As for the exception given to the prime minister and his deputy, Che Din said the statements made by these leaders are aimed at "fixing the situation".

    Asked whether there is a similar ban on the broadcast media, he said: “Those belong to other ministries but if it was under (my ministry), I would order them to stop (broadcasting the Negarakuku issue too).

    Related updates :

  • Malaysiakini : Rap song - what’s the big deal?

  • JeffOoi : Beneath the smoke-screen ( 3 ): The Free Zone bailout

  • LKS : Negarakuku - Cabinet tomorrow last chance to ensure 50th Merdeka not celebrated under dark cloud of worst generational polarisation

  • tags :

    Aug 20, 2007

    'Negarakuku' : Meng Chee now investigated by MCMC

    Ok, so far he has been charged under the Sedition Act 1948 and the National Anthem Act 1965, and now he is being investigated by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

    As reported by Malaysiakini :

    The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) will investigate if student Wee Meng Chee has broken the law by posting a video parody of the national anthem.

    Contacted today, MCMC director Abdul Halim said the case has set a precedent as the subject of the investigation is overseas. Wee, 24, is a university student in Taiwan.

    “We will complete the investigation papers. We have to record statements from the relevant parties,” he said, adding that Wee’s family members are expected to be interviewed as well.

    On whether MCMC will question Wee in person, Abdul Halim said the issue would be referred to the Attorney General’s Chambers.

    “This is the first time that such a case has happened. Aside from the location of the subject, it will be a normal process,” he added.

    Report lodged

    The investigation was based on a report lodged with MCMC against Wee last week, for allegedly inciting racial hatred.

    The rap video, entitled Negarakuku, was posted on YouTube in July. It has been viewed over half a million times since then.

    Wee received fervid responses from thousands of Internet users who in the comments section, said his video displayed racial insensitivity and was insulting to Islam.

    Government officials and community leaders have also criticised the video.

    For his video, Wee went under the moniker Namewee, the first two syllables translate to a foul word in the Hokkien dialect.

    In the video, Wee, who has since apologised for his action, accused the Malaysian police of being corrupt and described the subuh (Muslim dawn) prayers as his wake-up call.

    He also insinuated that the Malays, who form the majority of government servants and enforcement officers, are lazy and proud. He described the Chinese as hardworking.

    Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that while his apology is accepted, Wee will not be exempted from possible legal action.

    The student could be charged under the Sedition Act, which carries as maximum three-year jail sentence upon conviction.

    ‘Aren’t they real issues?’

    When contacted, Wee said that he believed that the problems which arose as a result of his Negarakuku song could be solved amicably.

    He said that he wanted to come back to Malaysia to personally settle the issue but was hampered by financial difficulties at the moment.

    He further said he wanted to explain to the people here on the meanings of his lyrics.

    “Even if I had not sung the matters in my song, does it mean that what I have mentioned do not exist,” he asked.

    He also rejected claims that he had meant ill-feelings to anyone in another song titled Kawanku (My Friend) which is now making its round in the YouTube.

    Related Updates :

  • Bernama - Changing Negaraku Lyrics To Express Dissatisfaction Is Wrong - Koh

  • TheStar - MP: Song is about youth narrating his problems

  • Jeffooi - More... Meng Chee now investigated by MCMC

  • LKS - Negarakuku rap — end the persecution mania and listen attentively to the legitimate grievances sung by Wee

  • tags :

    Tun Mahathir Discharged From IJN After Routine Check-up

    Latest updates on Tun Mahathir

    KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 (Bernama) -- Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was discharged from the National Heart Institute (IJN) Monday after undergoing a routine check-up since Saturday.

    His special officer, Sufi Yusoff, said the former prime minister was discharged from the country's premier heart centre at noon after completing a set of comprehensive cardiac investigations.

    His condition is reported well, Sufi told Bernama.

    Dr Mahathir, who was admitted at 5.30pm on Saturday, did not receive any visitor while at the hospital.

    He underwent a coronary artery bypass operation in 1989 and has been going for routine periodic checks since then.

    tags :

    Umno information chief - Blog Writers Are Actually Coward or Pondan

    New definition for bloggers - Coward / Pondan

    KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 (Bernama) -- Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Mohammad Taib has described writers of political blogs, whom he says looked brave in criticising government leaders, as cowards.

    "Why I say they are coward? Because they are afraid of using (web) addresses in the country but use overseas addresses to slam our country leaders. Is this the character of a man? This is not a man, this is a 'pondan'.

    "How dare they say no one can touch them, no one can drag them to court because no laws can be used to take action on them," he told reporters after a meeting of Umno's information chiefs from the divisions nationwide.

    Muhammad was commenting on allegations that Umno leaders were afraid to speak up and face bloggers.

    He said Umno leaders were not afraid to response to all allegations contained in the blogs but were sure that despite the replies, the bloggers would not take the side of the government.

    Umno Youth vice chief Khairy Jamaluddin who attended the function, said he was not afraid to face and have dialogues with political blog writers if they were ready to face him.

    "To most of the allegations, I have responded before this and last year. Most of them are recycled and re-written in different styles.

    "I'm not afraid... I'd answered all the allegations but were not posted in the blogs. If their minds and attitude are closed, they cannot accept any of our replies," he said.

    He said attacks on individuals were not serious and it was up to the victims to sue but more attention should be given to attacks on institutions especially the government and rulers as well as against religions and races because of the sensitivities involved.

    Also present at the meeting, held behind closed doors at the Putra World Trade Centre, was Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

    tags :

    Aug 16, 2007

    Information Minister says YES but Cabinet says NO to apology

    Yesterday's news is different from today's news.

    Updates :

    • BERNAMA : Rais Wants Probe Into Mocking Of Negaraku To Continue

    • TheStar : Cabinet rejects apology from Negaraku rapper

    As reported by Malaysiakini :
    The cabinet has not accepted 24-year-old Wee Men Chee’s apology over his Negarakuku rap song, which was described as an insult to the nation.

    In announcing this, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz said the cabinet was in no “position to forgive him” and that the Attorney-General’s Chambers will decide whether to prosecute Wee.

    “To not prosecute him is not ‘on’ at all because he has committed an offence against the nation and no one, not the cabinet or political parties, are in the position to forgive him,” he was quoted by the Star today.

    “If he had committed an offence, which I think was an offence, then we must allow the attorney-general to investigate and decide whether to take him to court,” he added.

    Nearly half a million people have viewed a six-minute rap music video by Wee, a 24-year-old Malaysian student at Taiwan's Ming Chuan University.

    Wee, who also goes by Namewee, posted a music video where he raps on national issues. The rap was done in Mandarin and Hokkien

    The video post, on, received thousands of comments, many of which described Wee’s video as insulting Islam or inciting racial hatred.

    On whether Wee would be called home to answer charges against him, Nazri said the AG would have to investigate and if he comes to the decision to prosecute him, then when Wee returns, he would have to face the charges.

    Cannot create precedent

    Wee could be charged under the Sedition Act because he had insulted the symbol of the nation, he said.

    “We cannot be like the West where you can have the underwear with the design of the Union Jack. In Britain, you can insult the Queen or the flag, I don’t care, but in this country we have laws and we cannot create a precedent where you commit an offence, apologise and get away with it,” Nazri was quoted as saying by the Star.

    He added that Wee was not a boy but a 24-year-old man and he should be held responsible for the act.

    “It is not an issue of ethnicity or being racial but against national interest,” he said.

    “Malaysia Negaraku ku. 'Ku ku' can also mean ‘cuckoo’ so it was insulting. I don’t think this was done out of ignorance. He was a university student and he meant to insult the national song,” he added.

    In the Hokkien dialect, ‘ku ku’ could also translate to penis, longevity or cheap.

    Meanwhile, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage Dr Rais Yatim agreed that Wee’s case should be handed to the AG’s office to determine if the song was seditious.

    “As an ordinary person, if even as a cabinet member, we cannot decide whether the matter was wrong under the law. We have the public prosecutors to decide whether legal action would be taken based on their investigations,” Rais was quoted as saying by Bernama today.

    tags :

    Tun Mahathir : I have never taken sides with the Opposition

    During a 3-hour meeting with bloggers, web-site owners and on-line writers in Putrajaya recently

    • Tun Mahathir slams Pak Lah for corruption, incompetence

    • Malaysiakini : Tun Mahathir - Bloggers are only hope left

    • TheStar : Tun Mahathir - I’m not with the Opposition

    Report by Malaysiakini
    As Umno musters its forces against the emergence of bloggers, the party’s former president Dr Mahathir Mohamad is urging online dissidents to keep up the pressure on the government.

    At a special meeting with bloggers today, Mahathir described bloggers as the “only hope” left to speak out on problems in the country.

    “Umno has become completely paralysed. It cannot do anything (to correct itself). The only hope left is with the bloggers,” said Mahathir during a two-and-a-half hour speech to some 100 bloggers at the Perdana Leadership Foundation headquarters in Putrajaya.

    Mahathir was speaking on the perceived intolerance of Umno’s leadership towards criticism on allegations of corruption, cronyism and nepotism.

    He has been over the past two years attacking number of party leaders, in particular his handpicked successor, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his powerful son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, who is Umno Youth deputy chief.

    Up until now, Mahathir had only been expressing tacit support for online dissidents, although he had once dubbed malaysiakini as “traitors to the country” when he was in power.

    ‘Be brave’

    Of late, many Umno leaders have been on an unprecedented warpath against bloggers who criticise the government and its policies.

    Mahathir also referred to the eight-hour marathon police interrogation of political website owner Raja Petra Kamarudin as an example of how the authorities can intimidate bloggers.

    “You have to gather force. You have to talk to people. Even if you are arrested, you go and talk... If you have only one person doing that, it’s not good enough.

    “If you want to do something that is positive, you have to get everybody, as much as possible, and do it openly and say it loud and clear,” said Mahathir who was met with loud applause from the floor.

    Citing a recent lecture in a local university, Mahathir expressed disappointment with students who blamed the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) as the reason for not speaking out on issues.

    “There are ways to get around the rules and regulations. If you want, if you love your country, you would take the risk,” he added.

    Write prudently

    However, Mahathir advised bloggers to be careful in their writings and avoid courting negative publicity.

    “There are bloggers who use words that are dirty, obscene, personal attacks, monkey, monyet... people would react by saying ‘so those are bloggers? Useless people! Read the mainstream media. The (New) Straits Times tells you the truth,’” said Mahathir with his usual sarcasm.

    On the upcoming general election, Mahathir claimed that there would be widespread vote buying due to the precedence set in the recent Selangor’s Ijok and Pahang’s Batu Talam by-elections.

    “It is for certain that in the coming general election, a lot of money would be spent in vote buying... if the ruling parties do this, we would be governed by a government that is outrightly involved in corruption,” he said.

    “For RM200, people are willing to sell their votes. They are not just selling their votes. Dia jual maaruahnya (he is selling his dignity).”

    Updates from RockyBru - "There is something rotten in the state of Malaysia"

    While as reported by TheStar

    I’m not with the Opposition, says Dr M
    PUTRAJAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has refuted claims that he is on the “Opposition’s side”, stressing his love and loyalty remained strongly with Umno, the country, and his religion and race.

    “I have never taken sides with the Opposition. I love my party dearly but this does not mean that I support the party leadership,” he said at a dialogue session with the Malaysian Concerned Citizens Council ad-hoc committee (Prihatin) at the Perdana Leadership Foundation yesterday.

    The former prime minister said that when he quarrelled with the late first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, it was because he loved the party and wanted to save Umno.

    He said that while loyalty to the party should remain steadfast, members must be brave enough to point out leaders' mistakes so they would not be repeated and “bring about destruction and downfall, and weaken the party”.

    “Leaders on the other hand, must not have this misconception that support for Umno means support for them too. When there is victory, leaders think it is because the people support them when the support may just have been for the party.”

    Unlike other races, particularly the Chinese, who would use their votes to send a message or make a point, the Malays, he claimed, would blindly support political parties, whether Umno or PAS.

    Dr Mahathir admitted he had failed to alter the mindset of his race, particularly on the issue of loyalty, and pointing out mistakes and wrongdoings by leaders.

    “If 400 years ago, they were loyal to the Sultans, now their loyalty is to political leaders,” he said, adding that the Malays’ fear of going against leaders was mainly because they did not want to be perceived as derhaka (treacherous), as loyalty was one of the race’s traits.

    tags :

    Aug 15, 2007

    Information Minister : Malaysians Must Accept Wee's Apology

    Let's forgive and forget.

    KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 (Bernama) -- The society must accept the apology by Wee Meng Chong who has regretted mocking the national anthem and making racial slurs, Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said today.

    He said the 24-year-old Wee, a mass communication student at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, had made the mistake by choosing the national anthem and mocking it because he was young and unable to assess the sensitivities in the country.

    "He should not be punished but instead be guided and educated to enable him to understand the basics and to distinguish between political and national issues," he told reporters after launching the first anniversary celebrations of the national classic radio at Wisma Radio in Angkasapuri.

    Zainuddin also praised MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting for taking a pro-active stance by not turning the issue into a racial issue.

    Wee created a controversy and came under fire recently for singing a rap version of the "Negaraku" and changing the lyrics and posting it in a five-minute and 32-second video clip over "YouTube".

    Wee made his apology today to the government and the people during a 30-minute telephone conversation with MCA vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

    Zainuddin also expressed regret with the actions of several groups, especially opposition parties, which took advantage to politicise the issue and turn it into an issue with racial undertones.

    "There are political parties, for instance, the DAP has offered Wee to be its member just because he was vocal in criticising the government. I regret very much things like these," he said.

    Zainuddin hoped the Malaysians would not continue to harp on this issue as Wee had already apologised to the people.

    In fact, this incident had made Wee realise the importance of valuing and appreciating the national heritage, particularly the Negaraku, he said.

    Earlier, in his speech, Zainuddin said the National Classic Radio, just a year old, has already captured 1.2 million listeners,

    Praising the station for its extraordinary achievement within a short span of time, the minister expressed confidence it would emerge as one of the popular radio stations in the country.

    He said merging the Classic FM and National FM was one of the excellent planning by RTM.

    "Upon realising the waning response to the National FM while the Classic FM was gaining in popularity, we decided to merge them and this is the outcome of it," he said.

    The National Classic Radio, which went on air on Aug 12 last year, plays a mix of classical, traditional and modern songs to suit the taste of listeners from all age groups, he added.

    as reported by Malaysiakini
    Malaysians should be magnanimous in accepting an apology by Negarakuku rapper Wee Meng Chong as his MTV-style online video which mocked the national anthem was due to his ignorance.

    This was the verdict of Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin, who in the past has been a fierce and vocal critic of bloggers for their criticisms of the government.

    "He should not be punished but instead be guided and educated to enable him to understand the basics and to distinguish between political and national issues," Zainuddin told reporters late yesterday, as reported by Bernama.

    The minister said the 24-year-old Wee, a mass communication student at Ming Chuan University in Taiwan, had made the mistake by choosing the national anthem and mocking it because he was young and unable to assess the sensitivities in the country.

    As such, Zainuddin said, the society must accept the apology by Wee Meng Chong who has regretted mocking the national anthem and making racial slurs.

    After two weeks of threats from Umno politicians, Wee yesterday issued an open apology to those who were offended by his work.

    Wee’s music video Negarakuku which attracted more than a million views on video sharing website YouTube earned the wrath of Umno for allegedly insulting Malays and Islam.

    “Following this controversy, I would like to offer an explanation and openly apologise to all Malaysians who feel insulted and offended by my actions,” said Wee in an emailed press statement in Bahasa Malaysia and Chinese.

    Wee also expressed his apology to the government and the people during a 30-minute telephone conversation with MCA vice-president Dr Chua Soi Lek yesterday.

    tags :

    Aug 10, 2007

    Altantuya Case : September date to wrap up case

    It is finally wrapping up next month. So how do you think the prosecution had prosecuted the accused so far?.

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

    SHAH ALAM: The prosecution is confident of wrapping up its case in the Altantuya Shaariibuu trial by the end of September.

    The trial, which started on June 18, will break for three weeks from today.

    So far, a total of 23 witnesses had been called to the stand.

    “God willing, we would most probably complete the trial by the end of September barring any side applications,” DPP Tun Abd Majid Tun Hamzah told Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin.

    Among the reasons for the break were to give the lawyers time to look into their other cases and to allow the prosecutors to attend a conference later this month,

    Justice Mohd Zaki said the hearing would resume on Sept 3 and would contintue through the fasting month due to start in mid-September until the end of the prosecution's case.

    tags :

    Aug 8, 2007

    Malaysian student in trouble for Negaraku YouTube rap

    So he is guilty as charged?.

    Updates :

  • NST - Namewee: I did not mean to insult Malays

  • Malaysiakini : Hina lagu Negaraku: K'jaan digesa ambil tindakan tegas

  • TheStar - Ministry to check if rapper Wee in Taiwan on govt loan

  • (AFP) KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian authorities are investigating the YouTube video of a student rapping to the national anthem using allegedly seditious lyrics, the Straits Times reported on Wednesday citing officials.

    Nearly half a million people have already watched the six-minute video by Namewee, a 24-year-old Malaysian student at Taiwan's Ming Chuan University, a log on the popular video sharing site showed.

    In the intro to the video, which shows a Malaysian flag in the background, Namewee dedicates the song to "all Malaysians, specially the government".

    According to the paper, the song – in a mixture of Mandarin and Bahasa – contained lyrics which "touched on racially-sensitive issues by sarcastically singing the morning call to prayer for Muslims".

    A partial translation of the lyrics circulating in the Internet says they also portray Malaysian police as corrupt extortionists.

    Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum said police would look at the video clip to determine whether the student violated the country's strict sedition laws.

    "If he has, we will act against him under the Sedition Act," Johari said.

    Originally enacted by British colonial authorities, sedition is punishable by up to three years in prison and a fine of 5,000 ringgit (1,400 dollars).

    Rights groups and press freedom activists have previously accused Malaysian authorities of applying the law to stifle political critics.

    Liow Tiong, the deputy youth and sports minister, said that while Namewee may have only tried to express his nationalism, he had inadvertently insulted the national anthem.

    "He seems patriotic but needs guidance to show his patriotism in the proper way," he said, adding he should not have disparaged national symbols.

    At the end of the video clip, Namewee says in Bahasa "Don't sue me. I don't have money."

    CD versions of the song are reportedly being sold secretly in Kuala Lumpur bazaars or night markets.

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    Aug 7, 2007

    PM should invite Raja Nazrin as personal adviser

    Raja Nazrin’s deep and superb insight and analysis of the country’s political situation makes him eligible to be personal adviser to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. This was demonstrated by his keynote address to students at the first Malaysian Student Leaders Summit 2007 on Sunday.

    As reported by Malaysiakini :

    In a media statement, DAP national adviser Dr Chen Man Hin said the prince’s “deep and superb” insight and analysis of the country’s political situation makes him eligible for the post.

    According to Chen, Raja Nazrin demonstrated this in his keynote address to students at the first Malaysian Student Leaders Summit 2007 on Sunday.

    In his address, the prince deplored the lack of national unity and commented that 50 years after Merdeka, the country is still grappling with concerns about unity.

    Chen said this is happening because of the strains on unity by introducing a bumiputera policy in 1966, the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1970 and Islamic state during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s premiership.

    “To make matters worse, at the Umno general assembly last year, the ultras rejected the concept of ‘bangsa malaysa’ and proposed the implementation of a ‘Malay agenda’ where Malays are conferred ‘ketuanan melayu’ (hegemonic) status, while the rest are plain or ordinary Malaysians.

    “Then last month, the deputy prime minister (Najib Abdul Razak) heightened the unease amongst the people when he unilaterally announced that Malaysia was Islamic and not secular, claiming that the constitution did not state Malaysia was secular,” he added.

    He said this claim was contrary to the declaration by former prime ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Abdul Razak and Tun Hussein Onn that the Malaysian constitution was secular.

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    Aug 6, 2007

    Nik Sapeia Identified As Man Who Sprayed Tun Mahathir

    KOTA BAHARU, Aug 6 (Bernama) -- A witness today identified businessman Nik Sapaeia Nik Yusof as the white-haired man who sprayed a substance at former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the airport here last year.

    C/Insp Fauziah Che Mat, assistant audio video analyst with the Royal Malaysia Police Forensic Laboratory, identified Nik Sapeia from one of three still images tendered in the Magistrate's Court.

    She said she was asked by investigating officer ASP Baharin Mohd Noor to analyse a recording of the spraying incident which took place just as Tun Dr Mahathir stood up in a four-wheel drive vehicle at the airport to address the crowd.

    "After looking repeatedly at the recording of what happened, both before and after the spraying, I found that the white-haired man had done it," she said pointing to Nik Sapeia.

    The three still images taken from the recording of the incident which lasted 23 minutes 10 seconds had been enlarged for clarity.

    Nik Sapeia, who is also a politician, 53, is charged with causing hurt to Dr Mahathir by spraying a hazardous substance at him and three other people -- former Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali, Mohd Nasir Muda and Suberi Sahidan -- at the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Pengkalan Chepa on July 28 last year.

    Yesterday Fauziah told the court that the three photos were kept in a file in the computer and later printed.

    She made a full report on her analysis after that.

    She said the other two images showed Dr Mahathir with the white-haired man.

    Asked by defence counsel Zainal Abidin Mustaffa whether she submitted her analysis for checking by a more expert officer, she said the post of expert analyst had not been filled then and she was the only analyst around.

    Fauziah also said that when she made the analysis, she did not know Nik Sapeia and the investigating also did not describe him nor reveal his identity.

    "He asked me to analyse the spraying incident. He did not give his (accused's) identity. He said the spraying was done by an individual there. I only knew after looking repeatedly at the recording," she added.

    She said she did not analyse other individuals in the recording.

    Asked why she did not analyse seven other suspects as contained in the brief report given her by ASP Baharin, she said this was because there were no images of the seven in the recording.

    The hearing continues tomorrow.

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    Aug 4, 2007

    Tun Mahathir : South-South Nations Must Strengthen Ties To Tackle Poverty

    (Bernama) -- South nations must reinforce ties among themselves to combat the ever increasing challenges faced by developing countries, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, founder of the long-running Langkawi International Dialogue (LID) which enters its eighth edition on Sunday.

    Speaking to Bernama in an interview recently, the former Malaysian Prime Minister said linkages between these developing nations should be upgraded, describing LID as an ideal platform to "renew their vows."

    "I think LID will help. The government is backing it and it is spending a lot of money to hold this," he said.

    Dr Mahathir, who is also the Perdana Leadership Foundation president, has confirmed his attendance at the three-day event beginning on Sunday at the Berjaya Langkawi Beach and Spa Resort here.

    However, the outspoken leader, who was Prime Minister for 22 years before giving up the post in 2003, will not be presenting any paper at LID 2007.

    After retiring, Dr Mahathir attended LID in 2004 when he was appointed Commonwealth Partnership for Technology Management Fellow Emeritus.

    LID 2007, themed "Poverty Eradication through Human Capital Development and Capacity Building," will take the conference a notch higher, concentrating on issues that matter a lot to South nations.

    Poverty has been one of the major issues that have hampered South countries, making it difficult for them to attain developed nation status.

    These mostly African nations will need to seek guidance from Malaysia in formulating action plans as the country has successfully almost eradicated poverty.

    They also acknowledged that one of the ways to overcome the problem is through education.

    Last year, Malaysia's total investment in South countries amounted to US$4.8 billion (RM16.51 billion) through brisk efforts by the government to encourage local firms to invest in developing nations.

    LID 2007 will not only involve the South countries but is also open for the first time to leaders from outside the Commonwealth countries, such as Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.

    A total of 16 heads of government, mostly from Africa, and 500 participants have confirmed their participation.

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    US indicts two Malaysians for supporting terror

    AFP - The United States announced new indictments on Friday for a Malaysian national already designated as a terrorist and his US-resident brother, for their alleged support of radical Muslim activities in the Philippines.

    The US Justice Department, Northern California District, released the 16 count indictment, dated August 2, against Zulkifli Abdhir, aka Zulkifli bin Hir, 41, who is in the Philippines, and his brother Rahmat Abdhir, aka Sean Kasem, 43, a US citizen living in San Jose, California.

    According to a Justice Department statement, over 12 months to June 2007, Rahmat Abdhir shipped money, two-way radios, pistol bullet clips, binoculars, camouflage clothing and other items to Zulkifli at the latter's request, to be used in fighting Philippine troops.

    Zulkifli Abdhir, who also goes by the names Marwan and Hulagu, was named a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" by the United States in 2003 and has a five million dollar reward on his head set by the US State Department.

    The US says he has links to the radical Islamist groups Kumpulun Mujahidin Malaysia and Jemaah Islamiyah, has conducted bomb-making training for the Abu Sayyaf group, and is in the Philippines working with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

    The indictment charges Zulkifli with providing material support to terrorists and related charges.

    His brother Rahmat was arrested Thursday at his workplace in Sunnyvale, California, and was charged in the indictment with providing material support to terrorists, and related charges.

    The charges say that between June 2006 and June 2007 Rahmat sent his brother more than 10,000 dollars using false names and addresses, as well as the equipment his brother requested.

    "With yesterday's arrest and indictment, we have closed off a channel by which an American citizen was allegedly funding and supplying a fugitive designated terrorist with two-way radios and other materials for his operations overseas," Assistant Attorney General for National Security Kenneth Wainstein said in the statement.

    * Checkout report by Malaysiakini

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    Altantuya Trial : ‘Twin’ reports cause a stir

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • TheStar : ‘Twin’ reports cause a stir

  • Malaysiakini : Cop claims responsibility for errors

  • Report Lodged Against Troublesome Woman 'Lawyer' At Altantuya Hearing

  • A POLICE officer lodged a report after he interrogated Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar last year but when the report was used in court yesterday, there appeared to be two original copies with differing contents.

    The “twin” reports caused a stir in the trial, which had already gone through several shortfalls on the part of the prosecution.

    The court only realised that there were two original copies when a reference made by Kpl Sirul Azhar’s counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, through the copy provided to him, did not tally with the details in the copy of report held by the judge.

    For identification purposes, the report referred to by the judge was marked P76 while the one held by the lawyer was named D91.

    D91 was being referred to by Kamarul Hisham when he cross-examined the interrogating officer, Asst Supt Zulkarnain Samsudin, at mid-morning.

    While both the documents bore the same report numbers and ASP Zulkarnain’s original signature, they also have the following five areas of dissimilarities:

    > P76 says that ASP Zulkarnain’s date of birth is on Oct 5, 2073, while D91 says Oct 5, 1973;

    > P76 mentions Kpl Sirul Azhar as the suspect while D91 only referred to “the said person”;

    > P76 spelt the name of ASP Zulkarnain’s father correctly while in D91, it was spelt as “Shamsuddin”;

    > P76 mentions “?I shot at the forest, which I kept” while D91 says “?I shot at the forest, I did keep?”;

    > P76 mentions “no. tel (hp)” while D91 says “no. tel (bimbit)”.

    In an attempt to clarify the disparity, ASP Zulkarnain said D91 was the original version of the report which he had lodged at 2pm on Nov 7 after he had interrogated and obtained new information from Kpl Sirul Azhar.

    He said P76 was the result of an amendment he had made to the original report.

    He said he made the amendment through the police reporting system (a computerised system) after having made a request to the IT department of Bukit Aman at about 7pm the same day.

    By the end of the day, when the matter had not been ironed out, High Court judge Justice Mohd Zaki Md Yasin adjourned the trial to Wednesday.

    The trial would be vacated for the first two days of next week to allow the judge to hear a case involving an accused who has been remanded the last five years while awaiting his trial.

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    Aug 2, 2007

    Altantuya Court Case : Trial-within-a-trial

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Malaysiakini : Court holds mini-trial on jewellery discovery

  • Sirul Kept Altantuya's Jewellery In His Black Jacket - Witness

  • Bomb Unit Called To Check Sirul Azhar's House

  • As reported by Malaysiakini :
    High Court judge Mohd Zaki Md Yasin today allowed for a trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissibility of evidence relating to second accused Sirul Azhar Umar showing the police the place where he kept Mongolian national Altantuya’s jewellery.

    In an oral judgement, Mohd Zaki said the mini-trial was allowed "in the interest of fairness".

    This is seen as another setback for the prosecution team in admitting statements vital to their case in charging Sirul for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu.

    The trial-within-a-trial was sought by Sirul’s lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin after he objected testimony by witness ASP Zulkarnain Samsudin yesterday.

    Zulkarnain told the court that Sirul had said 'I kept the jewellery in my jacket' and had nodded and pointed at the jewellery with his finger when they were at Sirul’s Kota Damansara house.

    According to the serious crimes unit officer, he found a Larmes watch, a diamond ring and a pair of earrings on the inside left pocket of Sirul's black leather jacket.

    Kamarul’s applied for the statement to be excluded, adding that a trial-within-a-trial was needed to determine the admissibility of the evidence.

    Mohd Zaki heard submissions by all parties today before allowing for a trial-within-a-trial.

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    Aug 1, 2007

    Court Rules Sirul Azhar's Testimony As Inadmissible

    Updates on Altantuya murder case:

  • Prosecution Fails For Third Time To Adduce Sirul Azhar's Statement

  • Court Rules Sirul Azhar's Testimony As Inadmissible

  • SHAH ALAM, August 1 (Bernama) -- The prosecution in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial failed for the third time to adduce statements made by Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar to the police relating to the crime as evidence in the high-profile case.

    This time, the High Court rejected Sirul Azhar's statement made to the police team when he was brought to the crime scene in Puncak Alam on Nov 6 last year, disclosing where the body of the Mongolian woman was blasted.

    The prosecution's 23rd witness, ASP Zulkarnain Samsudin told the court last week that Sirul Azhar had gone to the crime scene in Puncak Alam with a police party and had uttered the words: "Saya boleh tunjuk tempat perempuan itu diletupkan." (I can show where the woman was blasted)

    Counsel Kamarul Hisham Kamarudin, for Sirul Azhar, objected to the admissibility of the statement but deputy public prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah said the evidence was admissible under section 8 of the Evidence Act as it only revealed Sirul Azhar's conduct.

    Justice Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin today ruled Sirul Azhar's statement inadmissible as it was not a conduct under section 8.

    Sirul Azhar, 36, and Chief Insp Azilah Hadri, 31, both of the Bukit Aman Special Action Force, are charged with murdering Altantuya, 28, in Mukim Bukit Raja between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20 last year while political analyst Abdul Razak Abdullah Baginda, 47, is accused of abetting them.

    In rejecting the statement, Mohd Zaki said: "The DPP submitted that the statement made by the second accused was not under section 27 of the Evidence Act. Rightly so, the police had discovered the crime scene.

    "In this case, the statement by the accused person was accompanied by his act of pointing to the crime scene. The evidence adduced was undisputed that the second accused said and pointed to the crime scene when the police took him to the crime scene.

    "Under section 8, the word conduct does not include statement unless statement is accompanied by acts other than statement. At this stage, having heard the submissions and read all cases which admitted evidence of conduct, such admission are of evidence conduct simpliciter.

    "I find nothing in the illustrations of section 8 to be an example of the category of conduct that fits with the circumstances of this case.

    "On the facts of the case today, I'm not prepared to consider the statement as conduct under section 8 and therefore the statement is inadmissible."

    On July 26, the prosecution failed to get the court to admit Sirul Azhar's information to the police disclosing the location where Altantuya was murdered.

    Mohd Zaki expunged the information adduced through Chief Insp Kamaroszaman Othman after ruling that it was a statement and not within the ambit of Section 8 of the Evidence Act.

    The court on July 10 also threw out Sirul Azhar's alleged confession to the crime.

    Latest Report from Malaysiakini :
    Allegedly incriminating statement against second accused corporal Sirul Azhar Umar will not be admitted as evidence in the on-going Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial, posing another setback to the prosecution case.

    The Shah Alam High Court ruled this morning that the statement made last week by ASP Zulkarnain Samsudin is inadmissible, as it is a statement and was not gathered under Section 8 of the Evidence Act 1950 as required.

    The witness' statement referred to Sirul's disclosure of the spot where Mongolian national was blasted.

    Under examination, Zulkarnain, 34 - who testified that he had taken Sirul to the crime scene on Nov 6 last year - had said: “(Sirul) can point out the place where the Mongolian woman was blown up.”

    "I am not prepaped to consider the statement by the second accused...the statement is inadmissible," said judge Mohd Zaki Md Yassin.

    The prosecution has sustained several blows to date, including Sirul’s purported confession being ruled inadmissable.

    Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 30, and Sirul, 35, are charged with the murder of the Mongolian national while political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 47, is charged with abetting them.

    Prosecutors say Abdul Razak Baginda, 47, planned her killing and ordered two police officers to carry it out. All three face the death penalty if found guilty.

    Foot-long bone

    Later, continuing with his testimony, Zulkarnain said he saw a foot-long bone at the crime scene in Puncak Alam, Shah Alam on Nov 6 last year.

    Zulkarnain, during examination by deputy public prosecutor Tun Majid Tun Hamzah said Sirul had showed him two locations.

    "Sirul show me two spots. One was the clearing near some bushes. The other was amongst the bushes.

    "It was the second spot that I saw a 1 to 1.5 foot long bone and several pieces of what I suspected were bones. I also saw burnt leaves," the Serious Crimes unit officer said.

    Zulkarnain also told the court that Sirul had showed him the way to his house located in Kota Damansara on Nov 7 last year.

    "Sirul showed us his room which was located at the end of the apartment and we followed him. He then opened his cupboard door and showed us a black jacket.

    "I checked the jacket and I found a Larmes watch, a diamond ring and a pair of earrings on the inside left pocket," he said.

    The police officer said he spent 15 minutes in Sirul's house.

    The bomb disposal unit - which Zulkarnain contacted before leaving for Sirul's house - went to search the house for 20 minutes after him. The special action squad (UTK) followed soon after to retrieve equipment belonging to the police.

    The prosecutors say that Altantuya was killed by “probable blast-related” injuries in a clearing in Puncak Alam, Shah Alam after she was driven away from outside Abdul Razak's house in mid-October.

    Mohd Zaki then broke for lunch. Zulkarnain will resume his testimony at 2.15pm.

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