Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Flood affected villagers in Baling urge govt to set up RCI

Flood affected villagers in Baling urge govt to set up RCI

Villagers affected by the flood in Kupang, Baling have urged the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the tragedy in Kampung Iboi on July 4, which claimed three lives and damaged more than 1,000 houses.

They also insisted that all paperwork, approval letters, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports, agreements, logging results for private developers and the state, and reports from agencies involved be made public.

Their spokesperson Hamirudin Hasan said the villagers and flood victims have the right to know all the facts because they are the ones who have suffered from development.

“We do not reject forest development and logging, because we understand that it is also one of the sources of money for government that will eventually return to the people. But let the development that is carried out be sustainable and take care of the natural ecosystem and society.

“We are against all development whose results are only for those who are selected, while the people and the community suffer.

“We strongly urge the experts who have issued reports on the cause of floods to guarantee in the future to properly investigate before issuing reports that can mislead the public,” Hamirudin said during the “Liberating Gunung Inas” gathering today.

The gathering which ended at 5pm aims to present a memorandum to state and federal governments.

Representatives from Kampung Iboi, Kampung Bukit Iboi, Kampung Bendang Bechah, Kampung Hangus, Kampung Tanjung, Kampung Sadek. Kampung Kuala Kuang, Kampung Sineyek, Pekan Kupang, Kampung Masjid, Iboi, Kampung Bok Bak, Kampung Pisang, Taman Mesra Kupang and Kampung Jerai attended the event.

Be proactive and transparent

The villagers also urged the government to completely stop the cultivation of the Musang King durian farm project and replace it with a tree species allowed by the Forestry Department.

They also want the Forestry Department, together with the Environment Department, to be more proactive and transparent in monitoring and permitting the development of the Gunung Inas forest reserve.

They added that Gunung Inas is a catchment area and the source of drinking water for several villagers and the catchment area must always be protected without any compromise.

Hamirudin said they will hand over the memorandum to Kedah Menteri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor, Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and Bayu, Kupang and Kuala Ketil state assemblypersons.

“We want the government to return the status of the Musang King durian farm to the Gunung Inas permanent forest reserve. This is to ensure that the natural balance in the settlement area remains guaranteed,” he added.

Hamirudin said they also want the government to stop all forest development in areas with slopes exceeding 25 degrees and heights exceeding 1,000 feet. This is because 70 percent of the mountainous area is a sloped area.

The buffer zone of the river basin and catchment area for the watershed must be fully protected from any interference by human hands in the name of development, Hamirudin said.

He added that the villagers also want the government to expedite the repair of infrastructure that has collapsed and been severely damaged as a result of flood debris such as bridges, roads, drains, clean water sources and residents' sewage systems.

“Upgrade the water catchment ponds to guarantee cleaner and safer water facilities for the villagers. Since the logging project and the planting of Musang King durian, the residents have had a very dirty water supply that is not suitable for their daily use. Gazette the water catchment area to ensure that no logging will be carried out in the future.

“We also urge the state government to immediately approve the grant of permanent title to the owners of agricultural land in compartment 8 which has been delayed for so long, as promised by the state government since 2012,” he said.

Hamirudin added that these lands have been cultivated by the villagers for more than 60 years but have not yet received the status of permanent ownership by the state government.

He said the landowners here have spent a lot of money to measure in detail the lands that have been cultivated with the consent of the Kedah Forestry Department in 2012 but the state government has yet to solve this matter.

“We want the Forestry Department to react on the matter but it continues to take a silent approach and let go of what has happened. Therefore, we would like to demand that this matter be resolved immediately.”

Russia halts Nord Stream 1 gas flow to Europe again

al Jazeera:

Russia halts Nord Stream 1 gas flow to Europe again

Russia has denied halting gas flows in retaliation for Western sanctions on Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine.

Workers are seen at a Nord Stream 1 pipeline site in Lubmin, Germany [File: Lisi Niesner/Reuters]
Published On 31 Aug 202231 Aug 2022

Russia’s state-owned energy giant Gazprom has again suspended gas deliveries on the arterial Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany, citing maintenance requirements.

The suspension is the latest in a series of halts to gas supplies that have contributed to an ongoing energy crisis in Europe in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began on February 24.


Russia gas cuts stoke Asia’s energy security fears

Gazprom said on Wednesday that supplies via Nord Stream 1 were “completely stopped” for “preventive work” at a compressor unit. The announcement came shortly after European gas network operator ENTSOG announced that deliveries had ceased.

Gazprom has repeatedly maintained the stoppages in supply are necessary for routine maintenance but have been exacerbated by equipment delivery complications created by Western sanctions on Russia.

Germany has accused Moscow of using its energy resources as a weapon.

Germany’s Federal Network Agency chief Klaus Mueller called the latest cessation “technically incomprehensible”, adding that experience shows that Moscow “makes a political decision after every so-called maintenance”.

“We’ll only know at the beginning of September if Russia does that again,” said Mueller, apparently referring to suspensions and reductions of flows in June and July that Russia blamed on maintenance.

Expected to worsen

Europe’s ongoing energy crunch has seen a 400 percent surge in wholesale gas prices since last August.

The shortages have squeezed consumers and businesses alike, who are reeling from sky-high inflation and the high cost of living. It has forced governments to spend billions to ease the burden.

The situation is expected to worsen as European countries enter the cold winter months, with many homes using natural gas for heating. Some countries, including France, have said fuel rationing is possible.

Since launching its invasion of Ukraine, Russia has also stopped supplying Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Poland with gas while reducing flows via other pipelines.

On Tuesday, Gazprom said it would suspend gas deliveries to its French contractor over a payments dispute. France’s energy minister said that was an excuse, but said the country had already been anticipating the loss of supply.

The European Union is preparing to take emergency action to reform the electricity market in order to bring rising prices under control, with energy ministers scheduled to hold extraordinary talks next week.

‘Nothing interferes with supplies’

Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, is faring better than expected, with Mueller reporting the country’s gas storage was nearly 85 percent filled.

Europe as a whole is also making progress in filling its gas storage tanks. On Sunday, storage levels were already at 79.9 percent of capacity in the EU.

German economy minister Robert Habeck, who is leading efforts to replace Russian gas imports by mid-2024, says the country currently does not have the needed stores to make it through the winter.

Asked if Gazprom’s supplies would resume after the three-day works were completed on Saturday, Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “there is a guarantee that, apart from technical problems caused by sanctions, nothing interferes with supplies”.

Western capitals “have imposed sanctions against Russia, which do not allow for normal maintenance, repair work”, he said, appearing to refer to an incident in July when, following 10 days of scheduled maintenance, Nord Stream 1 flows dwindled.

Gazprom said the issue was the result of a key turbine being blocked from delivery to Russia because of sanctions.

Germany, from where the turbine was being sent, said Moscow was the one blocking that delivery.


AG must resign over letter to judge, says Puad

AG must resign over letter to judge, says Puad

Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi said the letter to the judge was proof that the judicial system could be manipulated. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi has called on Attorney-General Idrus Harun to resign over a controversial letter issued by his office to the High Court.

Puad said the letter was proof that the country’s judicial system could be manipulated.

“The letter must be thoroughly investigated and the AG must resign,” he said on Facebook.

Earlier this week, a letter dated Aug 29 authored by deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Abdul Malik Ayob to judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah’s secretary went viral.

In the letter, Malik had said he was instructed to ask Sequerah to prioritise Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial over former prime minister Najib Razak’s 1MDB trial, which the judge is also presiding over. Malik has since retracted the letter.

Yesterday, Sequerah said no one could dictate what case was to be given priority in the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

In his Facebook post today, Puad claimed there were attempts to manipulate the judiciary and undermine the government.

“There must be a conspiracy at the highest level,” he said without naming anyone.

kt comments: No need, we know who, wakakaka. Najib is already jailed (with more to come), thus now is the time to focus on Zahid, and get him jailed as well too

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim was reported as saying yesterday that Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat must call on Idrus to show cause why he should not face contempt of court proceedings over the letter, despite its retraction.

He told FMT that Tengku Maimun must also seek an explanation from the DPP who wrote the letter.

He said the specific nature of the request was “alarming” and was a clear show of “political interference in the judiciary”.

The UK leadership race and the coverage of Rishi Sunak’s heritage

al Jazeera:

The UK leadership race and the coverage of Rishi Sunak’s heritage

There has been a flurry of commentary about the finalist in the race for the UK’s top job, who has Indian and East African heritage.

Rishi Sunak meets supporters as he arrives to attend a Conservative Party leadership election hustings [Rui Vieira/AP Photo]
By Gouri Sharma

Published On 31 Aug 202231 Aug 2022

Rishi Sunak reached the last round of the contest to replace current British PM Boris Johnson last month and since then, there has been a flurry of coverage, critique and commentary around the potential that Britain may have a prime minister of Indian origin.

For Sunak, the Hindu-practicing, Southampton-born son of Indian and East African parents, much of the focus has been on the former banker’s class and wealth background.


The combined wealth of Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murty, the daughter of one of India’s most successful and richest IT entrepreneurs, is estimated to be 730 million pounds ($852m).

Throughout the campaign, 42-year-old Sunak has been forced to downplay his privilege, having to admit that he was “silly” after a video emerged of him making comments when he was a student nearly 20 years ago, in which he said he did not have any working-class friends.

He was also called out after saying he eats a McDonalds breakfast wrap that the fast food chain later confirmed they had stopped serving two years ago.

His Hindu religious identity has also been an aspect that the PM hopeful has been keen to highlight, most recently posting an image of him and his wife marking an auspicious Hindu religious festival by praying at an Indian temple.

Sunak positioning himself as a devout Hindu has been well received by Hindus in the UK, US and India, and reports of Hindus praying for him have been among the consistent shows of support for him on and offline in recent weeks.

As Rima Saini, a senior lecturer in sociology at the school of law at Middlesex University London, told Al Jazeera: “In the UK, there is a growing, cosmopolitan South Asian Hindu middle class which in recent years has been leaning increasingly more towards the Conservative Party. Amongst this demographic, he has been very well received.”

Saini said, however, that this support does not necessarily extend to other parts of the UK’s South Asian diasporic communities.

“Bangladeshi and Pakistani populations are still much more economically challenged than the Indian population in the UK so it’s likely they would prefer a more left-leaning candidate,” she said.

“Due to historical events like the Partition [of the colonised British Indian territories], there is still animosity between Hindus and Muslims in the Indian community here, and I think Sunak very much aligns himself with being critical of so-called radical Islam, something that was seen again when he talked during the campaign about cracking down on extremists. And so I don’t think Sunak is naturally going to have the same cachet amongst Muslim populations.”

Sunak addresses Conservative Party members during election hustings [File: Rui Vieira/AP]

In India, commentators say his bid has been eagerly watched by English-language mainstream media and online.

The story of his bid, as well as his political ascent as the UK’s chancellor of the exchequer within the last couple of years, have taken a celebratory tone, with pieces about the rise of the Indian diaspora and the strength of British multiculturalism.

Professor Harsh Pant, the vice president of studies and foreign policy at Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi told Al Jazeera: “There are two ways in which this story has been approached. One has been: Look – this is the real strength of multicultural democracies, where you have equal opportunities for someone like Rishi Sunak who’s not viewed as traditionally British, but who has still climbed up political ranks.”

“There has also been an undercurrent that some of the attacks on him have been very seemingly racist but by and large, it has been a positive reception,” he said.

Professor Pant said that Sunak’s relationship with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, albeit indirect through his wife’s family, has not been hugely unpacked or critiqued.

“Among the wider narratives, there has been some pushback that while it is good to see this as a success story, let’s not overdo what a PM of Indian origin could mean for Indian-British ties,” he said.

East African heritage

One aspect of his identity that has not been highlighted as much is that of this East African heritage – Sunak’s parents, Ashvir and Usha were born in Kenya and Tanzania respectively during the days of the British empire.

The story has received general coverage in East Africa, with one piece in The Nation newspaper in Kenya drawing on comparisons with when Barack Obama was running for president in the US.

Yet beyond that, analysts say that the story on Sunak has received very little attention, potentially speaking to the wider existing relationship dynamics between the two communities.

Fridah Naliaka, a digital journalist with prominent Nairobi-based news site Citizen Digital, told Al Jazeera that the Nation story received little engagement online.

It was a similar reaction from readers when Naliaka published her piece in which she mentioned Sunak’s Kenyan roots.

The story received just two comments on the media organisation’s Twitter feed, a significantly low figure amid a Twitter following of nearly five million.

“Indians are still a minority in the country and there is still huge social disparity between the African and Indian communities, so for the majority of Kenyans, Sunak’s story has not been relatable. Coverage has not blown up in the region in the same way it did when Obama was running,” Naliaka said.

“This may change if he wins, there may be more of a buzz around his Kenyan identity but from a journalistic perspective, it’s about looking at how the audience engagement. And right now, I don’t see this story as being particularly useful to our audience,” she added.

Truss speaks during her campaign launch event in London [File: Toby Melville/Reuters]

Britain’s new prime minister will be announced on September 5, with polls showing Sunak’s rival, Liz Truss with a significant lead. Analysts say whatever the outcome, Sunak’s run is likely to have an impact.

“The Indian diaspora have been doing well in politics recently, so I think this may now galvanize Indians in the UK to do more in terms of political mobilization. There is a sense that you can do well in British politics if you are someone of Indian origin now and I think that that sentiment will strengthen,” Pant said.

Yasmin Nair – a writer and human rights activist who has been following the story from the US, where Sunak admitted earlier this year that he had permanent residency with his Green card up until last year – told Al Jazeera that Sunak’s run could come to represent a moment to look beyond a political candidate’s religious and ethnic identity.

“What we can hope for in the long run from this is a more complicated way of thinking beyond racial and ethnic identity and integrating it within the context of class, capitalism, diaspora and Empire,” she said.

“These identities are not separate entities and should be with more nuance. The Sunak story affords us the opportunity to look at identities in a much more complicated way.”


10 states likely to stay out

The Star:

10 states likely to stay out

Wednesday, 31 Aug 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Six Opposition-held states are not likely to go along and dissolve their assemblies if the 15th General Election were to be held this year.

The PAS-led states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah will not be dissolved before March 2023, the party’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan announced.

Pakatan Harapan-held Selangor, Penang and Negri Sembilan are also set to stay out.

With Sabah, Sarawak, Melaka and Johor having held their elections within the past two years, a total of 10 states are not likely to feature in GE15.

Pakatan Harapan leaders in Selangor have unanimously agreed that the assembly would serve its full term until July next year while Negri Sembilan also does not plan to dissolve the assembly early.

In Penang, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced that the state had decided not to hold concurrent elections.

If the states stick to their guns, only three states – Perlis, Perak and Pahang – will go to the polls along with the federal elections.

Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said earlier this year that they wanted to go the full term.

He said the state government had to be in power until the end of its term to ensure all development projects in the pipeline were executed.

However, he added that the decision to dissolve the state assembly lay in the hands of state Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

State Speaker Ng Suee Lim said he was not certain if Amirudin’s earlier statement still stood.

“We have not discussed it and I do not know if it is still the mentri besar’s stand to not call for a state election and to serve the full term,’’ he said.

However, he said things were very fluid currently and everything was changing very quickly.

Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Aminuddin Harun has also said states ruled by Pakatan were not ready to dissolve their assemblies early but added that things might change if elections were held later in the year.

Takiyuddin said the PAS central committee had agreed the assemblies of Kelantan, Kedah and Terengganu would not be dissolved before March next year.

“The party’s central committee made the decision in a meeting on Monday.

“This is because we need to continue our focus on economic and health recovery efforts,” Takiyuddin said in a statement.

Kedah PAS commissioner Datuk Ahmad Yahaya confirmed that the state assembly would not be dissolved, in line with the stand of the party central leadership.

“We will follow what has been announced by our leadership,” he said.

Speculation is rife that GE15 will be held before the end of this year, with Umno piling pressure on the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to dissolve Parliament.

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has also said the Prime Minister had agreed to call for elections this year.

With Ismail Sabri announcing that the Budget 2023 will be tabled on Oct 7, three weeks earlier than scheduled, it has been speculated that Parliament will be dissolved soon after.

Even with only three states in the fray, all 222 parliamentary seats in all states – and federal territories –will be up for grabs.

Currently, PAS has 17 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, while PKR has 36 and DAP 42.

Najib’s jailing under Umno’s rule proves we don’t interfere in judiciary: Nur Jazlan

Najib’s jailing under Umno’s rule proves we don’t interfere in judiciary: Nur Jazlan

Party leader claims this is contrary to ‘selective prosecution’ during PH’s governance

Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed says the spirit and confidence shown by Umno and Barisan Nasional are beginning to petrify those in PH and Perikatan Nasional, whom he said are worried they would be defeated should elections be called soon. – The Vibes file pic, August 31, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR – Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s imprisonment during Umno’s federal rule is a clear indication that the party does not interfere in the court process, according to an Umno leader.

Johor Umno deputy chief Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the recent development involving the beleaguered Pekan MP runs contrary to claims by certain quarters that Umno has its hands in influencing the judiciary.

Chiefly, the former deputy home minister took aim at electoral watchdog Bersih over its statement last Saturday saying it rejects calls by certain factions within Umno to expedite the general election as a bid to save more corrupt leaders from ending up in prison.

“To me, this excuse is completely moot, as even today, Najib was sent to prison although the government is led by an Umno vice-president,” he said in a lengthy Facebook post today.

“This proves Umno does not influence the judicial institution as was done by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government before this, when it selectively prosecuted Umno leaders.”

Najib was ordered to serve his 12-year prison sentence beginning August 23 after the Federal Court upheld the lower court’s guilty verdict in his SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption case.

His imprisonment had infuriated those aligned to him in Umno, who gathered last Saturday for a special briefing by party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as they demanded for justice and early election.

Jazlan said the spirit and confidence shown by Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) are beginning to petrify those in PH and Perikatan Nasional (PN), whom he said are worried they would be defeated should elections be called soon.

He said this was why certain quarters are making personal attacks against Umno, including a supposed attempt by the Attorney-General’s Chambers to expedite Zahid’s trial, questioning the existence of political interference.

Jazlan added that the excuse given by PH to hold off the election, supposedly in the interest of the people, is an indication that the opposition coalition is concerned about its own fate following a failed 22 months in federal power.

“They know if the election is held today, the rakyat will punish them. They have also run out of political ammunition to attack Umno-BN. The Najib issue has expired, so has the issue of littoral combat ships (LCS), as no Umno leaders are implicated.”

The situation in PN, Jazlan said, is no better, with PAS wanting to use its own logo in states under its control, which the Umno man said indicates a lack of confidence in the PN banner.

Meanwhile, he noted the overtures made by PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to form a cooperation with other opposition parties, which have been rejected on multiple occasions.

“Behind Muhyiddin’s confidence that PN is prepared to face the general election, deep down, he is still afraid, because he knows his party Bersatu is getting weaker.”

Latiff to be dropped in coming polls?

On a separate matter, Jazlan said the recent statement by Muhyiddin, calling for a probe into Bersatu cabinet member Datuk Abdul Latiff Ahmad and his alleged involvement in the LCS project is a sign that the latter’s political career is about to come to an end.

This, he said, is purportedly to release the burden off Bersatu’s shoulders, fearing that it might cost the party in the election.

“Muhyiddin agreed for the authorities to probe into Latiff without him or any other Bersatu leaders standing up for a fellow party colleague.

“Muhyiddin’s aim is to sideline Latiff so that the latter doesn’t become a liability.

“Muhyiddin and Bersatu don’t want the LCS case or Latiff to be an ammo used by rival parties to attack them during the general election.”

Latiff was recently drawn into the LCS scandal after his name was implicated in a forensic audit report, in which he was named as the spouse of one Zainab Mohd Salleh, who allegedly siphoned millions of ringgit of project funds.

Latiff, who is special functions minister, has consistently denied his relationship with Zainab or having any involvement in the scandal. – The Vibes, August 31, 2022

Another Scottish Referendum In October 2023 : Will Scotland Break Away

OutSyed The Box

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Another Scottish Referendum In October 2023 : Will Scotland Break Away

The Flag of Scotland is considered the Oldest National Flag in Europe

Scotland's motto is:

'Nemo me impune lacessit'
('No one provokes me with impunity')

Well the long wait - until October 2023 - gives the British MI5 and MI6 ample time to do their skullduggery to fix things. Let me guess - strange things will happen in Scotland between now and October 2023. First the news :

637 years ago the English invaded Scotland (for a short while) in 1385. Then 300 years later in 1707 the Scots and the English "united" to form the United Kingdom. It seems that even after over 300 years of the Union they still do not see a common interest.

Will the referendum in October 2023 for Scotland to secede from the UK succeed ? We have to wait and see. But like I said the Brits will be up to all sorts of dirty tricks to swing things their way.

But the damage has been done. The British (or rather the English) should just let Scotland go. And Northern Ireland too. They should pay damages and reparations to Ireland for the colonisation of Ireland and for the war crimes committed against the irish during the brutal Irish War of Independence (1916). After that England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland can 're-unite' and create a 'British Union' - like the European Union. With free movement of people and free trade. And let their people find their own level of comfort with each other. Dont listen to the politicians.

Bar Council, jangan cakap ta'serupa bikin

Lawyer Zaid wants CJ to ask AG about letter to judge

Zaid also wants the Malaysian Bar to state its stand on this controversy which smacks of interference by the AG's Chambers.

Written by TheMole

KUALA LUMPUR — Aug. 30, 2022: Lawyer Datuk Zaid Ibrahim wants Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat to ask Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun to show cause why he should not face contempt of court proceedings over a letter sent by his office to the high court, despite the retraction of the letter by a prosecutor in court this morning.

He was referring to a letter dated August 29 written by prosecutor Abdul Malik Ayob to the secretary to Justice Datuk Collin Lawrence Sequerah which went viral yesterday.
“Such a letter seeking to dictate the priority in which cases should be heard by any court is unprecedented and is surely contemptuous,” said Zaid.

“This morning’s retraction was not because the author felt it was wrong and showed any remorse.

“It was only withdrawn because it had raised alarm overnight after a copy of it went viral on social media.”This is what the letter says: “I am instructed to request that (the judge) give priority to the above case (PP v. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) in preference to the trial of the 1MDB case (involving former prime minister Najib Razak) which is also before Yang Arif Dato’. This request is made to enable the defence’s case to be concluded as quickly as possible.”

Zaid points out that the letter says the DPP was writing it “on instructions, which must mean he had been instructed by the AG to do so”.

He said it was wholly wrong and unacceptable for the AG to dictate to any court the order in which cases ought to be heard and thus the AG must immediately explain his involvement in the request and the reasons for it.

Zaid also called on Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah to state the Bar’s stand.

“The Bar president was quick to attack my colleagues and me for what she claims was an abuse of process on our part in Najib’s SRC International appeal. Now is the time for her to prove her true worth,” he said.

There is no Merdeka from the 1MDB scandal

There is no Merdeka from the 1MDB scandal

From Zaid Ibrahim

The Federal Court decision that saw the incarceration of Najib Razak last week is possibly the most talked about judicial event in Malaysia’s legal history.

To me especially, the former prime minister’s jailing was a significant low point for our country. I am truly saddened by it.

I am saddened for Najib because I believe he did not get a fair trial. Justice was denied to him.

I am saddened that this Malay leader who tried to steer Umno and the country away from 23 years of Mahathirian rule had to pay such a heavy price.

Najib’s generosity to the poor was branded bribery of the populace, while his 1Malaysia model was pushed back by the right-wing thinking of Mahathirism in Umno.

I am also saddened for our beloved country.

So many questions about the 1MDB saga have been left unanswered, yet, somehow, it seems our politicians are keen to close the book on it.

For instance, where is the supposed mastermind of the heist, Jho Low, and his protégé and former SRC International CEO, Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, both of whom had massive roles in the scandal?

It has also been proven that 1MDB money was paid to ex-minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Tawfik Ayman, the husband of former Bank Negara governor, Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

A much longer list of beneficiaries of ill-gotten gains from 1MDB is being kept by the US justice department. Why have their identities not been disclosed?

How much have these persons received and what efforts have been taken to recover these amounts? Why have they not been brought to justice?

Even as regards Najib’s case, many questions are left unanswered.

Can the attorney-general and the MACC explain what happened to the investigation into Justice Nazlan Ghazali? Until today, neither has confirmed whether the report leaked on the internet earlier this month is authentic.

In hindsight, I would say that this unfortunate state of events has been a long time coming. The 1MDB saga has exposed deep divisions that now exist among the races that make up our beautiful country.

A large segment of the non-Malay community sees 1MDB as a massive heist by a Malay leader. These Malaysians decided long before any court pronouncement that Najib was guilty by virtue of the scale and extent of the theft.

But the Malays, especially Umno members, know that 1MDB is not just about Najib. They see enough evidence of other players involved, but these persons have not been charged. They also see selective prosecution and political persecution at play.

They claim restrictions placed by the courts on Najib and his lawyers amount to a miscarriage of justice and are now calling for a reform of the criminal justice system.

At the other extreme are those who, for their own selfish reasons, relish Najib’s incarceration and are happy to accept his jailing as the end of the matter. They do not even want to talk about it. They are prepared to accept the flaws in our justice system.

In reality, however, the 1MDB case has exposed deep institutional failures in our country. Malaysia today is a far cry from the country which won its independence 65 years ago.

One of my favourite childhood memories was hearing Tunku Abdul Rahman’s “Merdeka” cry over the radio. It was not even a radio my family owned. It blared from a Chinese coffee shop nearby.

It was February 1956. Tunku was making that historic announcement in Melaka that Malaya would gain its independence the following year. It was a special day for us even as far away as in Kota Bharu.

Merdeka then meant that we would soon be free of foreign rule, but that was not all. Merdeka also meant that we now had the freedom to build this nation into a great one, with peace, harmony and prosperity to be shared by all.

We achieved Merdeka because we were willing to submerge narrow sectarian politics and unite to form one big family – a melting pot of races, religions and ethnic groups – seeking to build a happy country.

As Tunku said then, his dream was not to make Malaya rich but to make Malayans happy.

Today, Tunku’s dream, which became the dream of all Malaysians, is in tatters. Why?

Firstly, because we have abandoned consensus politics, where problems – no matter how big they were – could be resolved through honest, serious and meaningful discussions.

In its place we have allowed our own ideologies, bigotry and prejudices to take root in the name of politics. Partisan politics has divided this nation.

Secondly, we are in tatters because the bedrock of this nation, Umno, has strayed from the noble path set for it by Tunku, which was to be the cornerstone of our nation-building.

Instead, Umno has adopted “Ketuanan Melayu”, an obnoxious concept which has seen Malays brainwashed into thinking they are a special and entitled race with superior rights.

Segments of the community now believe they can abuse their special privileges and their dominance in government to the detriment of the non-Malays. Understandably, this has aroused anger.

As if that was not enough, under Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s rule, we saw massive political interference in our institutions, particularly the judiciary.

This began during his Umno days when he held the post of prime minister and continued when he took office again in 2018 under Pakatan Harapan’s rule. Good governance was thrown out the window.

As a consequence, non-Malays became disenfranchised, isolated and felt unwanted, and eventually their support gravitated to the opposition. They launched attacks on Malays, branding Umno a party of racists and kleptocrats. Naturally, the Malays in Umno have responded in equal fashion.

This is where we are today.

There is no dialogue, no discussion and no consensus. All that is left is the politics of hatred.

This cannot go on. It is time for a reboot.

Malaysians must learn the real meaning of the Merdeka consensus and restore mutual trust in the political sphere. Together, we have to bring about an environment that is conducive to peaceful engagement.

This is not easy to do after so many years of division, but there is no other choice.

We have a massive task ahead to restore the integrity of our institutions, reset our economy and improve our education system.

We need to rekindle friendships and mutual reliance among races, so that we can recover and utilise our inherent strength in diversity.

Nation-building requires a sustained effort. The true spirit of Merdeka impels each of us to forgo our prejudices and short-term political gains.

We must instead work together on a meaningful long-term political reform to revitalise our beloved country.

Can we do this together?

Selamat Hari Merdeka to all Malaysians!

Zaid Ibrahim is a former federal minister.

National Day: At least four drones shot down around Dataran Merdeka, say cops

The Star:

National Day: At least four drones shot down around Dataran Merdeka, say cops

KUALA LUMPUR: Police here have brought down at least four drones that were flown illegally during the National Day 2022 celebrations in Dataran Merdeka on Wednesday (Aug 31).

Bukit Aman Air Operation (PGU) Drone Unit officer Insp Muhammad Faiz Shahabudin said the drone owners would be investigated and action will be taken against them.

“We’re here today to ensure that no private drones were flown around the event area.

"Any drones flown without a permit will be shot down and action taken against (their owners) by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM),” he told The Star.

ALSO READ: Public advised to avoid flying drones to ensure safe National Day celebrations

Insp Muhammad Faiz added that four personnel from the unit were stationed at the venue where numerous dignitaries, including Their Majesties the King and Queen, were attending the National Day parade.

On Monday (Aug 29), CAAM said the move to ban drones was to avoid any untoward incidents that would involve public safety or increase the risk of accidents involving Royal Malaysian Air Force aircraft flying in low formation in the area.

Themed “Keluarga Malaysia Teguh Bersama”, the National Day celebrations returned on ground at Dataran Merdeka after a two-year hiatus.

Anwar and Rafizi must be on same page

Francis Paul Siah

COMMENT | Supporters of Pakatan Harapan should have one key concern at the moment. I share their worry as the 15th general election looms.

Anwar Ibrahim and Rafizi Ramli, the PKR president and his deputy, do not seem to be on the same page. This is the public perception, at least. And rightly so, Harapan supporters are not happy about it.

Since the PKR general assembly where Rafizi won the deputy president’s post, Anwar has not commented with a nod of approval for any of Rafizi’s public statements.

The party president did not even give his deputy a pat on the back for his (Rafizi’s) expose of the littoral combat ships (LCS) scandal.

Rafizi has earned much public approval for taking on the main culprits head-on behind the scandal. I feel that a word of encouragement from the president to his deputy is in order.

Rafizi must have put a lot of effort into it, although he said it was a hobby of his to investigate the LCS scandal.

“I am not the type to pick issues solely for politics, it is also my hobby. I like it, like Detective Conan”, he said.

Perhaps it is also prudent to remind Rafizi that he has to exercise extra care and caution in such exposure in future. Now that he is the Number Two in PKR, the party cannot afford to lose him to another “cow and condo” debacle.

I would like Rafizi to seriously consider letting other party leaders down the line handle such “delicate” work in future, but with him still playing the lead role, albeit in the background.

PKR needs Rafizi. Harapan needs Rafizi. Harapan supporters are looking up to Rafizi to play a very prominent role post GE15 and in the years ahead. He cannot afford to fumble and tumble, not again.

PKR is also the lynchpin of Harapan and Anwar is the prime ministerial candidate of the coalition. As the top leader of the coalition, Anwar should know that he has to stand above any misgivings he might have with junior colleagues in the coalition.

Most important of all, Anwar must be gracious and seen to be gracious to Rafizi. He has to put the PKR election behind where he supported Saifuddin Nasution Ismail for the deputy president’s post.

Better and brighter future

The fact that Rafizi won with an absolute majority proves that the majority in PKR support and approve of his leadership.

Anwar must accept that his group of favoured boys are not what the PKR majority want or support to lead the party, at least for now.

It is true that Harapan supporters saw a glimmer of hope in Rafizi’s victory and his comeback to politics. At only 44 years of age, Rafizi is considered a breath of fresh air, exuding hope for a better and brighter future for the nation.

Although belatedly, I must salute the maturity of PKR members in voting for change and a chance for real reforms moving forward. GE15 may be a difficult proposition but there will be more elections to come.

Rafizi and the younger generation are needed to propel Malaysia forward towards cleaner, vibrant and more progressive politics.

I think that Rafizi is honest enough to concede that he needs Anwar’s help to unite the party. I also believe that he would still look up to Anwar as his mentor and accord the party president the respect and reverence due to him.

PKR is not what it was before GE14. For the past few years, since the Sheraton Move, the party has taken a serious beating. The unforgivable betrayal by Azmin Ali and the gang has brought shame and ridicule to PKR, so much so that the voters have started losing trust in the party.

It is up to Anwar to work tirelessly with Rafizi and unite the party to bring back the trust and goodwill of the public. Together on the same page, Anwar and Rafizi would be able to rejuvenate PKR and bring back some of its past glory.

However, there is something which Anwar must seriously bear in mind and act upon should GE15 turns out not in favour of Harapan. That is, he has to gradually give way to Rafizi and the younger team to lead the party.

Surely, Anwar must know that if he cannot lead Harapan to victory in GE15, it would be the end of the road for his ambition to be prime minister.

When GE16 comes along, Anwar will be around 80. There are better things to do at 80 than to become prime minister. Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the only exception.

DAP and Amanah would surely be consoled and more confident going into the GE15 battle if they see a united PKR leading the charge for the coalition.

So will the majority of Malaysians!

FRANCIS PAUL SIAH is a veteran Sarawak editor and heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS). He can be reached at

Rosmah files 11th hour application to disqualify judge

Rosmah files 11th hour application to disqualify judge

The judgment in Rosmah Mansor’s corruption case linked to the RM1.25 billion Sarawak rural schools’ solar energy project is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.

KUALA LUMPUR: Rosmah Mansor has filed a last-minute application to disqualify High Court judge Zaini Mazlan from presiding over her corruption trial linked to the RM1.25 billion Sarawak rural schools’ solar hybrid energy project.

The judge is scheduled to deliver his decision tomorrow.

The application was filed by legal firm Messrs Akberdin & Co yesterday afternoon and the cause papers were served on the prosecution at the same time.

Lawyer Akberdin Abdul Kader, a counsel in Rosmah’s legal team, confirmed the matter.

FMT understands the application was made following the publication of a leaked “draft judgment” by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin last week

The application said Zaini could be influenced as the purported judgment was written by a third party.

On Saturday, Sentul district police chief Beh Eng Lai said the alleged leak was being investigated under Section 8 of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 and Section 203A of the Penal Code. Both laws are related to the illegal disclosure of confidential information.

The case is also being probed under Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act (CMA) 1998 for improper use of network facilities.

The chief registrar’s office of the Federal Court earlier lodged a police report over the alleged leak, saying it was a deliberate attempt to compromise the integrity of the court’s operation and administration of justice.

The purported leak came less than a week after another leak of the “draft judgment” of Najib Razak’s SRC International appeal in the Federal Court.

Rosmah, 70, is charged with soliciting RM187.5 million from former Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin, through her then aide Rizal Mansor, as an inducement to help the company secure the project through direct negotiation with the education ministry.

She is also accused of two counts of receiving bribes amounting to RM6.5 million from Saidi between 2016 and 2017.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Why the double standard, Bersih?

Why the double standard, Bersih?

Azalina Othman Said speaking at the Umno meeting on Saturday.

From Azalina Othman Said

Since Thomas Fann, chairperson of Bersih, has made a public statement to express disappointment in me, I should also make a public statement to clarify a few things, just in case he has deduced his conclusions based on headlines regarding my speech (like most people do).

A former law practitioner since 1990, and a lawmaker since 2004, I would be the last to condone any intervention in the judiciary by the executive or legislature.

In my speech and my thoughts, I merely held dear to the maxim of “innocent until proven guilty” as a basic rule of natural justice. The legal burden of proof falls on the prosecution to establish their case beyond reasonable doubt, and I believe that denial of a change of legal representation is consequential, in delivering absolute justice.

This applies in all cases, including at the appellate courts. Did I ask for YB Pekan (Najib Razak) to be freed? The answer is a clear no.

I was asked to speak at last Saturday’s gathering as the legal advisor to Barisan Nasional and as the Member of Parliament for Pengerang. My short, circa 10 minutes, speech highlighted only a few things, without getting into too many technical details.

The crux of my speech is to raise the legal right of any citizen of Malaysia to appeal in the court of law. Every man and woman has the right to a defence and the right to adduce new evidence.

Let’s not forget, the prosecution represents the government of Malaysia, and therefore YB Pekan’s (Najib) appeal is technically objected to by the government. The attorney-general (AG) is the counsel to the government and therefore is the only person who can support any application.

Fann accused me of changing my stance on the AG appointment since YB Bera (Ismail Sabri Yaakob) became the ninth prime minister and compared it to my statement during the tenure of YB Pagoh (Muhyiddin Yassin) as the eighth prime minister.

When I said “orang dia” in my speech last Saturday, it had nothing to do with my dearly held stand on the separation of powers between the judiciary, executive and legislature, as well as the separation of the roles of AG and public prosecutor.

The AG, an executive position

Now back to the contentious issue of the AG. No offence to the current AG. He’s a decent man whom I respect.

The position of AG is established under Article 145 of the Federal Constitution, and he is a very powerful officer of the government. He is the chief legal advisor to the government and represents the government.

The AG is not only part of the executive, but he is also the highest-ranking public prosecutor in the country, who can exercise discretion to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings in most courts in Malaysia, save for shariah and native courts, and a court martial.

My stand on the separation of the AG is two pronged:a political or ministerial AG who sits in the Cabinet and accountable to Parliament, thus answerable to all lawmakers on every decision that he makes and advice he gives to the government, and
a professional public prosecutor as in the UK, where he is a senior career prosecutor, and not a political appointee, from the rank and file of the prosecution authority.

Why else would I be part of Bersih’s effort in the multi-party reform caucus? Doesn’t this mean that I have the support of my party Umno and that we are consistent on the reform agenda? Let’s not blemish the larger purpose of this caucus with a short speech made at a political gathering.

Perhaps Fann missed the point, that when I said “orang dia”, it means putting the political-ministerial AG in Parliament as I have repeatedly said in the past, especially during the imposition of an Emergency during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Wouldn’t having a political-ministerial AG appointed by the prime minister mean increased transparency and accountability of the executive?

By the way, Article 145 (of the Federal Constitution) does not prohibit the AG from being a law minister or vice versa, who sits in the Cabinet. This is the scheme of arrangement in countries spanning from Australia to the UK, and to Canada.

I would also like to remind Fann and readers here that our nation had two political-ministerial AGs in the past, in the form of Abdul Kadir Yusof and Hamzah Abu Samah, with Umno heritage no less. It didn’t cause any hysteria as it does today.

Wouldn’t having an accountable political-ministerial AG in Parliament expedite the reform agenda that we want? Many laws can be amended as soon as possible, to address issues on human rights, citizenship and electoral law reform, including constitutional amendments without being contingent on the Attorney-General’s Chambers, which at present is headed by an AG who is not a member of either House of Parliament.

Is Bersih jumping the gun, or does Bersih, in demanding the split in the role of AG and public prosecutor as part of the reform agenda, not realise what it demanded?

My question to Fann is: if the Reform Caucus succeeds in separating the AG post, and then the prime minister decides to appoint a political-ministerial AG in Parliament from the ruling party, would Bersih then object to this decision? Especially if the appointment carries Umno’s DNA?

Sadly, everyone thinks that a new AG appointee will be manipulated to drop criminal charges against party members or they be pardoned of all charges. This is not my intention, nor the intention of the Umno special meeting last Saturday. Watch the speeches again for verification, please.

Stand on AG, a dissonance?

Ok, let’s address the biggest elephant in the room. In my speech, did I ask the AG to be removed to free YB Pekan (Najib)? So that he does not need to face the remaining charges and trials?

Didn’t YB Port Dickson (Anwar Ibrahim) receive a pardon and release from prison within seven days of PH securing victory in GE14? Or when Tommy Thomas was appointed as AG by the seventh prime minister, wasn’t he “Orang PH”?

So my question to Fann is why didn’t Bersih say this then: “By afternoon, our fear of this grave threat to the rule of law was largely confirmed at the special meeting at Umno headquarters.”

Did Fann just move the goalpost? Pakatan Harapan’s prime minister changed the AG and so did Perikatan Nasional’s prime minister, but a prime minister from Umno-Barisan Nasional cannot change or replace the AG? A double standard, I reckon.

On to my next point. Does Bersih have a different legal maxim for Umno-BN politicians, one of “guilty until proven innocent”? Is it legally forbidden for a respondent in the Court of Appeal to ask the prosecutor for time or to support a motion to change counsels?

Shouldn’t counsel be allowed to discharge himself even though his solicitors have been terminated on the same day? This sets an unanticipated precedent for all Malaysian lawyers and clients.

Time and time again, people hurl accusations at the accused of abusing court processes, but what about the abuse of the right of the accused here? Shouldn’t Bersih uphold the principle of “Every latitude must be given to an accused person to defend his case or himself”?

Lastly, the special meeting last Saturday was an Umno solidarity rally among Umno members, in Umno’s Dewan Merdeka. At the highest level, Umno does not have a mob mentality. We didn’t take it to the streets and cause inconvenience to members of the public.

I really hope that this is a case of “both sides being so blinded by their fear and hate of each other that they couldn’t see they were all fighting for the same thing.”

Azalina Othman Said is Member of Parliament for Pengerang.

The tip of PAS spear in culture war against ‘others’

The tip of PAS spear in culture war against ‘others’

YOURSAY | ‘I don't expect Hadi to be charged or detained.

Bukit Aman probing Hadi over remarks against non-Muslims

More reports lodged over Hadi's 'corrupt non-Muslims' remark

Hadi's 'instant noodle' jibe makes him look like court jester, says Penang DCM

Faustus: The time is now perhaps opportune to take PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang to task over what could be perceived by some as his emotional and psychological bullying.

It should be worrying for a multicultural nation’s reputation and good name intentionally for an individual such as him with religious credentials and also with a current appointment as a special envoy of the government internationally to potentially sully the nation’s good name.

His official government position could be reviewed with the possibility of removing him from it.

It should be also worrying if his recklessness against peaceful co-existence and harmonious race relations in a multicultural nation could be speculated as a crime against humanity in such a national setting.

IndigoKite6964: If the enforcement agencies do not act against Hadi for causing disharmony among the population and criminally defaming an entire segment of the population, then both Hadi and the current government must be prepared for the repercussions that will ensue.

The law has to be applied fairly. This kid-glove treatment of Hadi is not only a cause for concern among Malaysians but also among potential investors in Malaysia's economy. Some of his diehard followers will believe every word he says.

He is therefore a very dangerous person indeed. PAS is a party of religious extremists and completely racist. Umno/BN is a party that is completely corrupt and behaves like a criminal organisation.

Meanwhile, Perikatan Nasional is also a corrupt, racist and religiously extreme coalition that subverted the people's choice of a government in the 14th general election.

The next general election must be another unprecedented GE. There is no other way out for Malaysia.

Apanama is Back: Again and again, I say, ignore Hadi because he and his party days are numbered. Of course, the press needs to give him some space just to be fair to him.

Treat him as a clown if you want. Oops... I should not insult the clowns. They may come after me. Thus, ignored him.

Always remember one thing, besides the late PAS leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, almost all the PAS leaders' statements need to be ignored and all of these people are attention seekers.

What do they know about government administration, the economy, science and technology? Zilch.

OCT: I don't expect Hadi to be charged or detained. He holds the key to keeping Ismail Sabri Yaakob in power.

Investigation is one thing and prosecution is another. The rakyat will hear lots of excuses like, for example, his words were taken out of context and cases such as this are very delicate and sensitive and thus takes a long time to conclude.

However, if you are from the opposition, a case like this will be investigated and the person charged super-fast.

Maya: This man is just a waste of our time. There is nothing he says is of any benefit to the people. When one goes on speaking nonsense and trying to pick on something to better one’s own self-interest, he is gaslighting.

The other thing about him is that, as a party leader, he does not try to work with his people to improve and lift them out of poverty. He does not have any conception of why he is a politician and why people have voted for him.

The other thing is that the political parties who rope him and his party in are desperate to stay in power. That gives him and his party a great platform and the freedom to say all sorts of things and get away with them.

Like the remarks he made about the corruption of non-bumis and non-Muslims, which would have been seen as seditious, only if it was made by an opposition politician or party.

MarioT: These people should be extinct by now. Their thinking is so clouded that they contradict themselves. They want to introduce the Neolithic period in the 21st century.

When religion and politics are combined in the administration of the state, there is much confusion and conflict in implementing policies where the interests of both Muslims and non-Muslims are taken into consideration.

When religious leaders try to impose their thinking and secluded way of life on everyone, then the cosmopolitan existence of our country is seriously threatened.

According to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, politics and religion are a bad mix and he encourages secularism in the largest Muslim country in the world.

These so-called religious leaders here can learn a lot from this wise man who governs one of the largest countries in the world.

Mamula Moon: Hadi, stay strong. This is a test from Allah.

I am sure that in time the police will see that your wise and truthful words were misquoted and twisted by the enemies of Islam who are fearful of the truth you speak.

Quo Vadis Malaysia: Nowadays, it’s hard to tell which comments are tongue-in-cheek/sarcasm and which are not because there is so much insanity going around now.

See how a proven thief is being put on a pedestal as if he is a great man.

Police, govt liable over Balamurugan’s 2017 custodial death - court

Police, govt liable over Balamurugan’s 2017 custodial death - court

The Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that the police and the government were liable over the death in custody of S Balamurugan five years ago.

In a media statement, counsel Zaid Malek - from Lawyers for Liberty - confirmed that the court decided in favour of the family of the deceased in their civil action to hold the authorities responsible for his death on Feb 8, 2017.

The family’s lawyer said the civil court will set another date to determine damages to be paid by the government and the police over the matter.

“High Court judge Ahmad Bache held that the police and the government are liable for the death of Balamurugan.

“The court ruled that they were liable for negligence, unlawful imprisonment, breach of statutory duty and assault and battery against the deceased which caused his death,” Zaid said.

Senior federal counsel Norfauzani Mohd Nordin represented the defendants, namely four police officers, the inspector-general of police (whose name was not specified) and the government of Malaysia.

On Feb 7, 2020, the two plaintiffs - Balamurugan’s Thai wife Natthanan Yoochomsuk and his brother S Balraj - filed the civil action through the law firm Daim & Gamany.

Back on Jan 18, 2018, the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) found that the police had committed several serious breaches of conduct and abuses of power concerning the death of Balamurugan the year before.

Balamurugan was arrested and allegedly beaten at the Bandar Baru Klang police station on Feb 6, 2017, before he was taken to the Shah Alam centralised lock-up facility for a few hours and then sent for a remand hearing at a Klang Magistrate's Court in the morning.

The magistrate ordered that Balamurugan be released, but instead, he was allegedly held at the North Klang police district headquarters and was found dead in the early hours of Feb 8, 2017.

Breach of statutory duty

According to the statement of claim, the two plaintiffs claimed that one of the defendants or other police officers had intentionally and without just cause committed assault and battery on Balamurugan while under detention, causing his death.

The duo alleged that in the alternative, the injuries and death of Balamurugan, as well as the resulting loss and damage, are caused by the defendants’ breach of duty.

The plaintiffs claimed furthermore or in the alternative that Balamurugan’s death was caused by the defendants’ breach of statutory duty under Section 3(3) of the Police Act 1967, among others.

Section 3(3) states that the police force “shall subject to this act be employed in and throughout Malaysia (including the territorial waters thereof) for the maintenance of law and order, the preservation of the peace and security of Malaysia, the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension and prosecution of offenders and the collection of security intelligence”.

The plaintiffs also contended further or in the alternative that the defendants had arrested and detained the deceased without proper cause and in contravention of the law between Feb 6 and 8, 2017.

Through the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are seeking general, aggravated, exemplary and vindicatory damages, as well as RM23,000 in special damages, damages to the family for loss from the death, and damages for the benefit of the deceased’s estate.

The duo seeks a declaration that the defendants had with intention, without just cause and with malice, violated the deceased’s basic freedom under the Federal Constitution.

They seek eight percent annual interest from the date of filing of the suit to the date of judgment, five percent interest from the date of judgment to the date of full settlement, cost, and any other relief deemed fit by the court.

Natthanan and Balraj are the administrators of Balamurugan’s estate.

Dr M: GTA willing to talk to PN but ‘unsure’ of cooperation

Dr M: GTA willing to talk to PN but ‘unsure’ of cooperation

Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) is ready to hold discussions with Perikatan Nasional (PN) on cooperation to face the 15th general election (GE15) but does not know whether the talks will be fruitful, its chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

Commenting on PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin’s call for opposition parties to consider negotiating cooperation with the coalition, Mahathir said such discussions should involve all parties and NGOs in GTA.

“He (Muhyiddin) can come and discuss with us but we do not know what the outcome will be,” he told reporters after flagging off GTA’s Semangat Merdeka programme today.

Mahathir said Muhyiddin had met him recently but they did not talk about a political cooperation.

The Langkawi MP reiterated that GTA, which comprises Pejuang, Berjasa, Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra), Parti Perikatan India Muslim Nasional (Iman) and NGOs, would fight abuse of power and corruption, and champion Malay rights in a bid to form a clean government.

Mahathir said GTA would submit its application for registration with the Registrar of Societies (ROS) on Sept 6.

Cops investigating Zahid for allegedly insulting judiciary

Cops investigating Zahid for allegedly insulting judiciary

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi speaking at the Umno special meeting on Saturday.

PETALING JAYA: Police are investigating Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for allegedly insulting and slandering the judiciary while addressing the special meeting of the party on Saturday.

Bukit Aman said investigations started after 12 reports were lodged against Zahid.

Zahid is being investigated under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948 for seditious tendency, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (CMA) for improper use of network facilities or network service.

The investigation is being conducted by Bukit Aman’s D5 classified criminal investigation unit.

Yesterday, an Amanah official said he had filed a police report against Zahid over his speech at the Umno meeting. Amanah mobilisation director Sany Hamzan said Zahid had insulted the judiciary, the attorney-general’s chambers, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in his speech.

Zahid had made remarks about the Federal Court’s decision to uphold Najib Razak’s conviction and sentence in the SRC International case last week.

Media Bias Enables Israel’s War on Palestine

Volume 27, Number 240 —Wednesday , August 30, 2022

Media Bias Enables Israel’s War on Palestine

The deadly Israeli wars on Gaza, including the slaying of children, are made possible by an endless stream of Western media misinformation and misrepresentation, writes Ramzy Baroud.

(Libertinus, Creative Commons)

By Ramzy Baroud
Common Dreams

While U.S. and Western mainstream and corporate media remain biased in favor of Israel, they often behave as if they are a third, neutral party. This is simply not the case.

Take The New York Times coverage of the latest Israeli war on Gaza as an example. Its article on Aug. 6, “Israel-Gaza Fighting Flares for a Second Day” is the typical mainstream Western reporting on Israel and Palestine, but with a distinct NYT flavor.

For the uninformed reader, the article succeeds in finding a balanced language between two equal sides. This misleading moral equivalence is one of the biggest intellectual blind spots for Western journalists. If they do not outwardly champion Israel’s discourse on “security” and “right to defend itself,” they create false parallels between Palestinians and Israelis, as if a military occupier and an occupied nation have comparable rights and responsibilities.

[Related: Killing Children in ‘Self Defense’]

Obviously, this logic does not apply to the Russia-Ukraine war. For NYT and all mainstream Western media, there is no question regarding who the good guys and the bad guys are in that bloody fight.

“Palestinian militants” and “terrorists” have always been the West’s bad guys. Per the logic of their media coverage, Israel does not launch unprovoked wars on Palestinians, and is not an unrepentant military occupier, or a racist apartheid regime. This language can only be used by marginal “radical” and “leftist” media, never the mainstream.

The brief introduction of the NYT article spoke about the rising death toll, but did not initially mention that the 20 killed Palestinians include children, emphasizing, instead, that Israeli attacks have killed a “militant leader.”

When the six children killed by Israel are revealed in the second paragraph, the article immediately, and without starting a new sentence, clarifies that “Israel said some civilian deaths were the result of militants stashing weapons in residential areas” and that others were killed by “misfired” Palestinian rockets.

On Aug. 16, the Israeli military finally admitted that it was behind the strikes that killed the five young Palestinian boys of Jabaliya. Whether the NYT reported on that or not matters little. The damage has been done, and that was Israel’s plan from the start.

The New York Times Building. (Michal Osmenda, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

The headline of the BBC story of Aug. 16, “Gaza’s children are used to the death and bombing,” does not immediately name those responsible for the “death and bombing.” Even Israeli military spokesmen, as we will discover later, would agree to such a statement, though they will always lay the blame squarely on the “Palestinian terrorists.”

When the story finally reveals that a little girl, Layan, was killed in an Israeli strike, the language was carefully crafted to lessen the blame on her Israeli murderers. The girl, we are told, was on her way to the beach with her family, when their tuk-tuk “passed by a military camp run by the militant group Palestinian Islamic Jihad,” which, “at the exact moment, (…) was targeted by Israeli fire.” The author says nothing of how she reached the conclusion that the family was not the target.

One can easily glean from the story that Israel’s intention was not to kill Layan — and logically, none of the 17 other children murdered during the three-day war on Gaza. Besides, Israel has, according to the BBC, tried to save the little girl; alas, “a week of treatment in an Israeli hospital couldn’t save her life.”

Though Israeli politicians have spoken blatantly about killing Palestinians children — and, in the case of former Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, “the Palestinian mothers who give birth to ‘little snakes'” — the BBC report, and other reports on the latest war, have failed to mention this. Instead, it quoted Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who reportedly said that “the death of innocent civilians, especially children is heartbreaking.” Incidentally, Lapid ordered the latest war on Gaza, which killed a total of 49 Palestinians.

BBC Broadcasting House, London. (Matt Cornock/Flickr)

Even a human-interest story about a murdered Palestinian child somehow avoided the language that could fault Israel for the gruesome killing of a little girl. Furthermore, the BBC also labored to present Israel in a positive light, resorting to quote the occupation army’s statement that it was “devastated by (Layan’s) death and that of any civilians.”

The NYT and BBC have been selected here not because they are the worst examples of Western media bias, but because they are often cited as “liberal,” if not “progressive,” media. Their reporting, however, represents an ongoing crisis in Western journalism, especially relating to Palestine.

Books have been written about this subject, civil society organizations were formed to hold Western media accountable and numerous editorial board meetings were organized to put some pressure on Western editors, to no avail.

Desperate over the unchanging pro-Israel narratives in Western media, some pro-Palestine human rights advocates often argue that there are greater margins within Israel’s own mainstream media than in the U.S., for example. This, too, is inaccurate.

The misnomer of the supposedly more balanced Israeli media is a direct outcome of the failure to influence Western media coverage on Palestine and Israel. The erroneous notion is often buoyed by the fact that an Israeli newspaper, like Haaretz, gives marginal spaces to critical voices, like those of Israeli journalists Gideon Levy and Amira Hass.

Israeli propaganda, one of the most powerful and sophisticated in the world, however, can hardly be balanced by occasional columns written by a few dissenting journalists.

Additionally, Haaretz is often cited as an example of relatively fair journalism, simply because the alternatives — Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post and other rightwing Israeli media — are exemplary in their callousness, biased language and misconstruing of facts.

The pro-Israel prejudices in Western media often spill over to Palestine-sympathetic media throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world, especially those reporting on the news in English and French.

Since many newspapers and online platforms utilize Western news agencies, they, often inadvertently, adopt the same language used in Western news sources, thus depicting Palestinian resisters or fighters, as “militants,” the Israeli occupation army as “Israeli Defense Forces” and Israeli war on Gaza as “flare ups” of violence.

In its totality, this language misinterprets the Palestinian struggle for freedom as random acts of violence within a protracted “conflict” where innocent civilians, like Layan, are “caught in the crossfire.”

The deadly Israeli wars on Gaza are made possible, not only by Western weapons and political support, but through an endless stream of media misinformation and misrepresentation. Though Israel has killed thousands of Palestinian civilians in recent years, Western media remains as committed to defending Israel as if nothing has changed.