Nov 25, 2007

Reuters Video News : Police break up protest in Malaysia

Link : Police break up protest in Malaysia

Nov 25 - Protestors shout 'No democracy in Malaysia, no human rights in Malaysia' as police fire water canons into the crowds.

Thousands of ethnic Indians took to the streets of Kuala Lampur to protest about their treatment by the predominantly ethnic Malay government.

The ethnic Indians, who make up seven percent of the population, are accusing the government of marginalising them over employment and business opportunities.

Protestors holding up placards were sprayed by police water canon laced with chemicals .

The group had promised to hold a peaceful rally in the capital but the government had warned ethnic Indians not to participate, saying it could stoke racial tension.

It is the anti-government protest this month that police have broken up. The previous demonstration saw thousands taking to the streets of the capital demanding electoral reform.

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Al-Jazeera Video News : Ethnic Indians protest in Malaysia

Al-Jazeera Video News : Ethnic Indians protest in Malaysia

"What Bloddy democracy are we talking about?"

Members of Malaysia's Indian community have protested on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, the capital.

They are demanding equal rights in a country they believe discriminates against them.

They are also said to place blame on the colonial policies of Britain, and were intending to deliver a petition to the British High Commission in Malaysia.

Al Jazeera's Hamish MacDonald was there.

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Malaysian police fire tear gas at ethnic Indian protesters: witnesses

Al-Jazeera News Report

This is so called democracy in Malaysia.

(AFP) KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian police fired tear gas at ethnic Indian protesters rallying here Sunday in support of a four trillion dollar lawsuit that blames Britain for their economic problems, witnesses said.

At least 8,000 protesters defied a ban and pushed their way towards the British High Commission (embassy) despite a heavy security presence.

Police used water cannon on the crowd that had gathered from around the country despite a police blockade since Thursday.

"Over the last 50 years Indian have been marginalised in this country and we now want the same rights as enjoyed by other communities," M. Kulasegaran, opposition lawmaker with the Democratic Action Party, told AFP.

"They have no rights to stop us from protesting today. This is the will of the people," he said.

The lawsuit targets Britain, Malaysia's former colonial ruler, and is aimed at highlighting what ethnic Indians there say is continuing discrimination.

It seeks four trillion dollars' compensation for the estimated two million ethnic Indians whose ancestors were brought here as indentured labourers by Britain in the 1800s.

The gathering is organised by the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf). Three of their leaders were arrested on Friday under the Sedition Act and later freed on bail but one preferred to remain in jail.

The activists are also demanding the government boost the social and economic standards of minority Hindus, who make up the third largest community in Malaysia.

The government banned the rally, fearing it could spark racial violence and warned that anyone who participated would be detained.

Demonstrators condemned the tough police action and said that they would not be not silenced. At least a dozen protesters had been arrested, witnesses said.

"This act of police violence must stop. We are here to protest peacefully. We intend to march and hand over the petition to the British mission," A. Sivanesan, a lawyer acting for Hindraf, said.

N. Vijayan, 40, an engineer, said the Indian community had been marginalised for too long.

"This demonstration should be a wake-up call for the government that we are really upset with its policies," he said.

Ethnic Indians, mainly Tamils, account for eight percent of Malaysia's population. A large proportion lack skills, money and education.

Forming 60 percent of the nation's 27 million people, ethnic Malay Muslims make up the majority group, while 26 percent are Chinese. Malaysia won its independence from Britain 50 years ago.

For more latest updates, checkout Malaysiakini or CNN.

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Nov 14, 2007

New post for the cabinet of Malaysia - Minister of MisInformation

(Malaysiakini) Minister of Misinformation - this was the new title conferred upon Information Minister Zainuddin Maidin by Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang in the Dewan Rakyat today.

The issue started when Deputy Information Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi answered a supplementary question posed by Raime Unggi (BN-Tenom).

Raime had asked Ahmad Zahid what action would be taken against the international media for their wide coverage on the mammoth rally held over the weekend.

The rally, organised by the opposition-backed Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), saw some 40,000 people taking to the streets and the submission of a memorandum to the King.

“The media gave a very biased coverage of the illegal gathering until it indicated that our country is in a big mess.

“How would (state-owned television station) RTM straighten this out? And what kind of action would be taken against the media that reported inaccurate facts?” asked Raime.

Responding, Ahmad Zahid (BN-Bagan Datok) said RTM, in its coverage of the rally, showed that demonstrations must not be used as a medium to gain people’s support.

“Even though RTM used the gathering as its lead story, we used the story to send across the message that demonstrations are not the right way to gain support from the public. This is because demonstrations are very undemocratic and could ruin our country’s image and drive away foreign investors,” he said.

'Zam was wrong'

At this point, Lim (DAP-Ipoh Timur) stood up and said that Zainuddin had been wrong in accusing Al Jazeera, the international media mentioned by Raime, of alleged lopsided coverage.

Newspapers reported that Zainuddin, who is popularly known as Zam, had described the satellite television station’s coverage as unfair and confusing to people living overseas.

Lim said instead of pointing the finger at others, the ministry should look at its own coverage of the gathering.

“RTM is guilty of not reporting the facts. In fact, it did not even dare to give the exact number of people who had gathered on that day,” he said.

“It is unfair to say that Al Jazeera had conspired with the opposition. The truth is, RTM had conspired with Barisan Nasional to report negatively. And the order was given by the information minister (Zainuddin), who is the minister of misinformation,” he added.

Ahmad Zahid then urged Lim to retract his remark and this led to a shouting match between opposition and BN MPs.

However, Lim not only refused to withdraw his statement, but also called Ahmad Zahid the ‘deputy minister of misinformation.

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Nov 11, 2007

Nov 10, 2007

Al-Jareeza news footage of the BERSIH Rally for Electoral Reform

This is AlJareeza news footage of the BERSIH Rally for Electoral Reform in KL, Malaysia

Zainuddin Maidin (Malaysia Information Minister)'s comments (more like putting his foot in his mouth, kampung style) regarding the BERSIH Rally

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Nov 7, 2007

Election is around the corner, it is time for MEGA PROJECT

It is election time. It is also time to announce all the mega-mega projects out there!. Recently PM Abdullah Badawi has announced several mega projects :

  • RM382 billion worth Iskandar Development Region (IDR) located at down-south Johor
  • RM177 billion project for Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER)
  • East Coast Corridor involving the states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang
  • and now RM85 million Pujut Flyover in Miri and the RM220 million BDC interchange

KUCHING, Nov 6 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who will make a two-day visit to Sarawak next week, is expected to open two mega projects -- the RM85 million Pujut Flyover in Miri and the RM220 million BDC interchange here.

Sarawak Public Utilities Minister Datuk Seri Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said today the prime minister, who would be accompanied by his wife, Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, was scheduled to arrive in Miri on Monday to open the Pujut Flyover at 3pm and later attend an all-community dinner at the Pavillion Parkcity Everly Hotel.

The 498m flyover was completed in time for the Merdeka celebration on Aug 31, about 11 months ahead of schedule, by developer Global Upline Sdn Bhd, which is expected to carry out another infrastructure work worth RM400 million to build a four-lane highway connecting the Kuala Baram industrial area with the Miri airport.

The following morning, Abdullah will fly to Kuching to open the BDC Interchange at 10.45am, another mega project being undertaken by Global Upline which encompasses the Kuching International Airport and Stutong Link Road here leading from the city centre.

Serving as the main gateway for visitors to the city, it was completed in record time in May this year and opened to motorists, one year ahead of the targeted completion date.

Abdullah will also witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Starwood Asia Pacific Hotels and Resorts Pte. Ltd. and Global Upline for the construction of the Hotel Four Points Sheraton Kuching.

Awang Tengah said that the same day, the prime minister would perform yet another earth-breaking ceremony for the Sarawak Islamic Complex at Jalan P.Ramlee here before departing for Kuala Lumpur.

Abdullah and his wife are expected to arrive in Miri from Kota Kinabalu, where he is scheduled to open the Parti Bersatu Sabah's (PBS) 22nd Congress on Sunday.

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Nov 2, 2007

Tun Mahathir is active and doing 'very well'

Nice to know Tun Mahathir is doing well.

(TheStar) KUALA LUMPUR: Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has kept himself active and is doing very well, according to his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.

"He's walking around a lot more nowadays and is coping well with other exercises in his physiotherapy. But I'm definitely making sure that he gets all the rest that he needs," she said.

Dr Siti Hasmah has also imposed a "curfew" on her husband.

"He really wanted to be here today to meet all of you, but the doctors will not allow it. Even I will not let him," she joked during her speech at the Montblanc - Unicef "The Power to Write " campaign launch here Wednesday.

Dr Siti Hasmah opened the event on behalf of Dr Mahathir, who had agreed to endorse the global initiative by Montblanc aimed at promoting increased worldwide literacy among children.

"I'm proud that my husband is able to take part in this noble gesture, especially on this memorable day, which was when he stepped down as the Prime Minister four years ago," she quipped.

Actress and producer Datin Seri Tiara Jacquelina has also joined in the collaboration.

Across the world, Dr Mahatir and Tiara now join 149 prominent personalities from politics, arts, culture, business, sports and entertainment in the fight against illiteracy.

Two Meisterstuck Montblanc pens will bear the signatures of Dr Mahatir and Tiara, and for every pen sold, RM550 of its proceeds will be donated in support of Unicef education programmes in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The pen retails at RM2,330 and will only be made available until Dec 31.

Dr Siti Hasmah spoke passionately of the issue of illiteracy, especially among children.

"Illiteracy is still prevalent among many children worldwide and it is a subject that is personal to my husband and I.

"There is no shortcut to eradicating illiteracy. Everyone, including parents, publishers, teachers and the public must play their role," she stressed.

She added that there were 115 million children worldwide missing out on their education.

In Malaysia, she said that the National Education Blueprint 2006/2010 found some 4% of primary schoolchildren and 0.8% of secondary schoolchildren illiterate.

"The findings showed the children being unable to completely master reading, writing and arithmetic skills.

"If nothing is done, this will frustrate our government's efforts of building the nation. More work definitely needs to be done," she said.