Thursday, November 29, 2007

Keep out, Nazri tells Tamil Nadu - The Star

By Zulkifli Abd Rahman

KUALA LUMPUR: Stay out of the controversy involving the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) – that’s the stern message for Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who rebuked Karunanidhi for interfering, said what happened here had “nothing to do with Tamil Nadu.”

”Do not meddle in our affairs. This is Malaysia, not Tamil Nadu ... lay off,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday, when asked about wire reports that Karunanidhi had written to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging him to take immediate and appropriate action to end the “sufferings and bad treatment” of Tamils in Malaysia.

Nazri said he would not apologise for calling those who participated in the Hindraf rally on Sunday “penyangak” (thugs), stressing that the demonstrators had violated the law as no permit was issued.

He explained that it was illogical to assume that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi would not accept their memorandum.

[More at]

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It’s apartheid, says poet who fled Malaysia - DNA

Venkatesan Vembu

22-yr-old Sharanya talks about the plight of Indians

HONG KONG: As a celebrated bilingual poet, Sharanya Manivannan, 22, knows the searing power of words. Yet, as an ethnic Indian-Sri Lankan who lived in Malaysia for 17 years — and fled to India last month to escape systematic racial harassment — she finds even the most powerful words hopelessly inadequate to describe the plight of Indians there.

“What is happening [to Indians] in Malaysia,” Sharanya told DNA from her Chennai home, “is nothing less than formal apartheid.”

Strong words, particularly when you consider that Sharanya doesn’t exactly come from the “bottom of the pyramid”. Her grandfather was a former Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Malaysia.

On Sunday, ethnic Indians’ pent-up anger over Malaysia’s Constitution-sanctioned discrimination spilled over on to the streets.

This drew international attention to the dirty truths that lie beneath picture-postcard images of “multicultural Malaysia”.

To go behind the headline-grabbing news of temple demolitions and rising Islamo-fascism in the country and get a first-hand account of how this discrimination manifests itself in day-to-day life, DNA spoke to Sharanya.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Muhyiddin: Other races have poor too - The Star

MUAR: Umno vice-president Tan Seri Muhyiddin Yassin warned yesterday that the country could collapse if the people carry their grievances to the streets.

“To me, the group just wanted to create instability and cause problems, especially to the people in Kuala Lumpur,” he said, when commenting on the Hindraf protest yesterday.

Muhyiddin, who is Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister, said there were poor people among the Malays and Chinese as well and poverty was not just among the Indians.

He said if Malaysia had treated the Indian community unfairly, as claimed by the organisers of the Hindraf demonstration, the group leader would not have obtained a good education and become a lawyer.

In Penang, Deputy Information Minister Datuk Seri Chia Kwang Chye said there was no need for Hindraf to stage a street demonstration merely to hand over a memorandum to the British High Commission.

[More at]

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ethnic Indians protest in Malaysia - Al Jazeera

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.

Malaysian police fire tear gas at ethnic Indian protesters: witnesses - Channel NewsAsia

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.

[More at]

Monday, November 19, 2007

Police report lodged against Malaysia Today, Raja Petra - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: A businessman has lodged a police report against web portal Malaysia Today and its owner Raja Petra Kamaruddin for an article in the site which he alleged could cause disunity.

Noor Hisham Yusoh, 33, lodged the report at the Brickfields police station at about 7.30pm yesterday accompanied by seven other friends urging the authorities to carry out investigations into the article.

He said the article headlined “What the eye does not see” by Raja Petra had elements of instigation.

“As a Malaysian citizen, I think that his accusations are serious and can convince a lot of people in Malaysia that the country is not peaceful anymore,” he said, adding that the article could make the situation worse.

Noor Hisham from Bukit Subang said he decided to lodge the report after having a discussion with his friends who agreed that the article could cause disunity in the country.

“We are living in a very prosperous country and we do not want such an article to cause any problem,” he said.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Tuanku Mizan Regrets Claims He Supports Illegal Rally - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 16 (Bernama) -- Yang di- Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin has expressed regret over claims that he and the Palace approved and suppported Saturday's illegal rally in the city.

In a statement issued here today by the Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja of Istana Negara, Datuk Wan Mohd Safiain Wan Hasan, the King also regretted the gathering which was organised by the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) and supported by the opposition parties.

Tuanku Mizan stressed that he and Istana Negara had at no time approved or given any support, directly or indirectly, to any quarters that organised or was involved in the illegal assembly or any other activities that contravened the law.

On Saturday, Bersih, which comprises several non-governmental organisations, as well as some opposition parties had gathered their supporters at various spots in the city, including around Masjid Jamek, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and the National Mosque, before marching to Istana Negara to hand over a memorandum to Tuanku Mizan.

The following Monday, PAS secretary-general Datuk Kamaruddin Jaffar said Bersih had decided to submit the memorandum to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after the ruler himself approved of it, and that the presence of Bersih at Istana Negara was to hand over the memorandum to the King's representative.

In the statement, Tuanku Mizan said as the head of state, he was responsible in ensuring that the country's administration based on the constitutional monarchy system as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, was respected and adhered to by all.

[More at]

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kayveas raps Puteri Umno - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The People's Progressive Party, irked by recent criticisms by Puteri Umno chief Datuk Noraini Ahmad, has accused her of being arrogant.

“The Barisan Nasional could lose Terengganu in the next general election if she continues to make arrogant statements,” PPP president Datuk M. Kayveas said in a statement here yesterday.

Noraini, at the recent Umno general assembly, had said that her junior movement had about the same membership strength as the PPP, which is a whole party by itself.

Her remarks followed earlier remarks in the Barisan camp against the PPP, which wanted more seats to contest at the next polls.

Kayveas said it was not the size of the party that counted but the voters and the support that they give during the elections.

“No Umno president nor leader in the history of the Barisan has made statements that compared the size of a component party when it comes to seats.

“I am very surprised that the agenda of Puteri Umno is to talk about another component party,” Kayveas said.


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bersih succeeds in submitting memo to King -

The Bersih delegation led by Anwar Ibrahim handed the memorandum to theKing's secretary at the gate of the Istana Negara. Anwar is accompaniedby PAS' Hadi Awang and Nasharuddin Mat Isa and DAP's Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng. The organisers are asking the 40,000-strong crowd to disperse.

Reject demos and use polls, PM urges public - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The people should reject street demonstrations and effect any change through polls, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Prime Minister reiterated that today’s planned demonstration by the non-governmental organisation Bersih was illegal as it did not have a police permit.

Calling the organisers stubborn, he said: “I am disappointed. Are they trying to challenge the Government and leadership? But what they are actually challenging and casting aside is the law.

“People want the country to always be stable and peaceful and that is what they (Bersih) are challenging, not me.

Saya pantang dicabar (I don’t take to being challenged),” he said yesterday in his winding-up speech.

The Umno president said street demonstration was not the Malaysian way.

[More at]

Friday, November 9, 2007

Pak Lah: Malaysia is for all - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: There is a future in this country for every Malaysian, said Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The Umno president said the party does not engage in duplicity.

“We are not makhluk dua alam (amphibian or semi-terrestrial creatures).

“We do not change our tune to suit the occasion or the audience.

“We are ready to seek intelligent resolutions and win-win solutions when dealing with sensitive issues relating to race and religion,” he said.

However, for these issues to be addressed effectively, they should be discussed behind closed doors, Abdullah said in his presidential address at the Umno general assembly on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister said the harmony among the various communities and religions in the country was not an “optional luxury” but a necessity.

[More at]

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Malaysian opposition rallies for change - Asia Times Online

By Baradan Kuppusamy

KUALA LUMPUR - A mammoth opposition rally planned for next week threatens to expose examples of vote-buying, gerrymandering, fraudulent electoral rolls and blatant use of public resources to win votes in Malaysian elections, unless the government is able to stop it.

Organized by BERSIH, a coalition of four main opposition political parties and 67 civil rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the rally is the first concerted effort to change the election rules ahead of the country's 12th general election, widely expected to be held by March.

The government is dead set on stopping the rally, which could be the biggest since Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi came to power in 2003. The premier rode a wave of popular adulation that has since soured by his failure to fight corruption and promote the rule of law.

The police have issued a warning, citing a pre-colonial era law that bars gatherings of more than five people that the rally is banned and anybody who turns up at independence square in the capital risks being arrested.

"Despite the concerted threats we expect over 10,000 people to turn up," said Sivarasah Rasiah, a key organizer and vice president of the opposition National Peoples Party. "The threats are not going to force us to back down," he said. "It is our democratic right to gather peacefully to show our unhappiness with the tainted system."

[More at]

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hishammuddin: Keris protects all, not just Malays - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The keris is a protector of not just Malays but everyone as the Government will protect Malaysians of all races, said Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

With this assurance, he hoped to lay to rest concerns about the keris which had been a bone of contention among non-Malays.

He said that the keris had been misinterpreted last year by some quarters, who questioned why he had unsheathed and kissed at the Youth assembly.

"They said the keris is a symbol of fighting. It looks like 50 years after independence, there are still some of our people who do not understand the culture of our people and country," he said in his speech at the Umno Youth assembly on Tuesday.

Saying that the keris is a symbol of strength and for centuries a part of Malay heritage, he said it signifies sovereignty, power, dignity, and responsibility.

He added that the keris is unique in the way it is made, sheathed, worn and used, and it carried with it specific dos and don’ts.

[More at]

Monday, November 5, 2007

Sparks fly even before start of Umno assembly - The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The Umno general assembly begins today but the sparks have started to fly with one politician hitting out at the English media for carrying opposition reports.

Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said some media were being used by the opposition to highlight their causes now that there was greater press freedom and transparency.

“Since it has been free, there are some mainstream papers which favour those who do not support the Government.

“Some are done in an indirect manner and some directly, especially in English papers,” he said when speaking to student leaders at the Overseas Umno Club leadership course here yesterday.

Citing the judiciary issue as an example, Information Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin said the media had its own agenda.

“For example, (the Sultan of Perak) Sultan Azlan Shah’s speech talked about various issues but what was only highlighted was the teguran (warning) on the judiciary,” he said.

[More at]

Friday, November 2, 2007

Khairy: I want to use ‘protection’ to change things - The Star

PETALING JAYA: Khairy Jamaluddin says that being the Prime Minister’s son-in-law has provided him “protection” which he wants to use to change things for the better.

The Umno Youth deputy chief said he was able to “push the envelope now” partly because of that relationship with the prime minister.

“There’s a certain extent (to which) these people in Umno will not go after me. So it gives me ‘protection’ to change things.

“If I don’t use this ‘protection’ to change things for the better, then I’m just wasting time and marking my time to go up the ladder of politics. That’s not what I am about.

“I want to use this time that I have while I have this ‘protection’ to change things, to change Umno for the better,” he said yesterday during a question-and-answer session at the Kancil Awards Festival Speakers series.

Khairy, who is married to Nori, the daughter of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, said it was true that this relationship meant he knew which buttons to push and which leaders to pull in to make a particular programme a success.

[More at]