Selasa, 21 Disember 2010

Kicap tak serupa punya

This is what your response seems to imply. You are saying because Bala did not produce any of his SDs for the purpose of court proceedings, he cannot be charged for an offence under s 199 even if one of his SDs was false or untrue.

Americk Sidhu
Here we go again. More wool pulled over our eyes and more hogwash poured all over our intelligence. What can I say?
Lim Kit Siang quite rightly asked a very pertinent question in Parliament last week. He asked for a reason why the Attorney General decided to close the file on my client’s two conflicting statutory declarations.
Nazri was chosen to respond.
This is what he had to say. I have translated his comments as best I can and they go something like this:
“It was found that both the contradictory SDs was not an offence as they were not made for the purposes of court proceedings therefore the element under s 199 was not fulfilled and so Bala’s making two contradictory SDs was not an offence under the section. The contradictions in both SDs did not affect in any way the Altantuya case”.
That is a shame because if Bala’s first SD was allowed to be presented to the Court in the Altantuya case it would probably have ‘affected’ the outcome quite significantly. It was only because of his second SD that the first was rather inelegantly ‘neutralized’.
Both these SDs could not have been true because they were in total conflict with each other. Nazri, you have picked this detail up when you admitted they were ‘contradictory’. You were on the right track.
I have been made to understand my client, Bala, has already written to the A.G. confessing that his second SD was not true and that an invitation to charge him for that transgression was tendered.
As far as I am aware this offer has yet to be accepted.
Nevertheless, let’s see what Nazri’s or the A.G’s excuse is. They are apparently relying on the provisions of s 199 of the Penal Code to say that they can’t possibly charge Bala (as much as they would like to), because there has been no offence committed.
There has been no offence committed because Bala’s SDs were not ‘made for the purposes of court proceedings’ …..Nazri’s words….not mine.
I am sorry I am now forced to refer everyone to the details of the legal mumbo jumbo contained in s 199. This I have to do for completeness so please bear with me. I have highlighted the relevant bits just so you don’t get side tracked by the irrelevant portions. It’s not easy to understand even for trained lawyers like Nazri, the A.G.….or even myself, but all will become clear if we persevere.
S 199  False statement made in any declaration which is by law receivable as evidence.
Whoever in any declaration made or subscribed by him, which any declaration any court or any public servant or person is bound by law to receive as evidence of any fact, makes any statement which is false and which he either knows or believes to be false or does not believe to be true, touching any point material to the object for which the declaration is made or used, shall be punished in the same manner as if he gave false evidence*.”
(*false evidence here means perjury.)
So really Nazri, I think we are concerned with the part that reads ‘any court… bound by law to receive……’.
This is what your response seems to imply. You are saying because Bala did not produce any of his SDs for the purpose of court proceedings, he cannot be charged for an offence under s 199 even if one of his SDs was false or untrue.
I don’t think you can possibly be right here.
Firstly, Bala actually did produce his first SD for the purposes of court proceedings. He has stated this very clearly in paragraph 54 which I reproduce below for ease of reference:
54. The purpose of this statutory declaration is to :-
54.1  State my disappointment at the standard of investigations conducted by the authorities into the circumstances surrounding the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu.
54.2  Bring to the notice of the relevant authorities the strong possibility that there are individuals other than the 3 accused who must have played a role in the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu.
54.3  Persuade the relevant authorities to reopen their investigations into this case immediately so that any fresh evidence may be presented to the court prior to submissions at the end of the prosecutions case.
54.4  Emphasize the fact that having been a member of the Royal Malaysian Police Force for 17 years I am absolutely certain no police officer would shoot someone in the head and blow up their body without receiving specific instructions from their superiors first.
54.5  Express my concern that should the defence not be called in the said murder trial, the accused, Azilah and Sirul will not have to swear on oath and testify as to the instructions they received and from whom they were given.
Secondly, Nazri (and really this is the coup de grace), I don’t think the A.G. nor your goodself may have had the opportunity of referring to the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1960, and in particular to s 3 which reads as follows:
“Declarations made by virtue of the provisions of this Act shall be deemed to be such declarations as are referred to in s 199 and s 200 of the Penal Code.”
That makes things a lot clearer now, doesn’t it?
It seems it doesn’t matter whether the SD was ‘made for the purposes of court proceedings’ or not.
S 3 of the Statutory Declarations Act says basically, any SD made under this Act is deemed to be one to which s 199 refers and so both Bala’s SDs would clearly fall into this category and therefore he can be charged for an offence under s 199.
Just to make sure all the loop holes have been plugged, Bala did end his SD with these words:-
55.  And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true by virtue of the provisions of the Statutory Declarations Act 1960.
I don’t think I can make this any clearer for you or the A.G.
I am unable to understand (or maybe I do) why you are devoting so much time and energy in trying to avoid prosecuting my client when the offence to which all this relates has been admitted to by my client.
If your interpretation of s 199 is correct, then I have another question for you.
Do you recall the Statutory Declaration YM Raja Petra Kamaruddin made some time ago in relation to the information he had received concerning Rosmah Mansor’s presence at the scene of the Altantuya detonation. Yes, how could anyone forget this?
Anyhow, there was absolutely no hesitation charging Raja Petra for criminal defamation for this SD even though it was not made ‘for the purposes of court proceedings.’
There just seems to be one sauce for the goose and a completely different one for the gander.
Please forward this message on to the persecution department of the Attorney General’s Chambers. Hopefully they may now perceive things in a different light.
Thank you.

Utusan musnah akibat gempa bumi 9.99richer.

Oleh Tok Pepijat
Beruntung sungguh DAP kini. Mendapat publisiti percuma dari Utusan Malaysia, musuh ketatnya. Memang dari dahulu parti yang bersimbolkan roket itu telah mendapat publisiti hebat dari media barua UMNO itu.
Tetapi sejak peisytiharan Pengerusi DAP Karpal Singh untuk mempertahankan Agama Islam sebagai Agama Rasmi Malaysia, publisiti dari Utusan mencapai peringkat "menggila". Utusan "mempublisitikan" DAP sehingga 6 halaman.

Sejarah Utusan di bawah ZAM, PAS tidak pernah mendapat publisiti "menggila" itu dikala amarah ZAM begitu tinggi terhadap PAS berbanding nasib DAP sekarang.
Sebenarnya tujuan Utusan "memperkasakan " isu kewarganegaraan oleh Lim Guan Eng adalah untuk mengalihkan kenyataan Karpal tentang persetujuan DAP berjuang mempertahankan Islam sebagai Agama Rasmi.
Sebenarnya ucapan Karpal Singh di Konvensyen PR ke 2 umpama gempa bumi berukuran 9.99 richer melanda Utusan Malaysia. Kesannya mengundang "kemusnahan yang teruk lagi punah ranah" terhadap segala usaha Utusan untuk memburukkan DAP dikaca mata orang Islam selama ini.
Tentunya Tok Guru Nik Aziz manusia paling gembira dengan ucapan Karpal Singh.
Bayangkan jika ucapan Karpal itu bisa mencetuskan "gempabumi 9.99 richer" buat Utusan, bagaimana suatu masa nanti jika Karpal memeluk Islam dan isytiharkan sertai PAS, apa yang bakal berlaku pada Utusan? Barangkali bakal jadi padang jarak padang tekukur bagai di serang garuda!
Ianya tidak mustahil.

PAS terus perkasakan Pakatan Rakyat

Oleh Roslan SMS
Semalam pihak media menghubungi saya ekoran kenyataan Dato Seri Tuan Guru Hj Abd Hadi Awang di Konvensyen Pakatan Rakyat yang diadakan di Pulau Pinang Ahad lalu. Ada akhbar yang memuatkan di muka hadapannya, bahawa Tuan Guru Presiden PAS itu mendakwa PR akui kegagalannya.

Mungkin sesetengah pihak yang memiliki agenda jahat mahu menggambarkan yang seolah Presiden PAS menzahirkan ketidak-selesaannya dengan pakatan politik ketiga-tiga parti ini.

Saya jelaskan bahawa apa yang sebenarnya dinyatakan adalah muhasabah terhadap kelemahan yang ada, suatu teguran yang konstruktif yang bukannya mahu menghancurkan tetapi menggesa agar tindakan segera diambil agar memperkasakan lagi wadah yang diterima rakyat ini.

Berikut sedutan ucapan Presiden PAS:
Dengan perasaan penuh keikhlasan kita menyedari akan kelemahankelemahan ini, tetapi kita bukanlah seperti komponen musuh yang saling bercakaran sesama sendiri, lalu bertindak menyembunyikan masalah mereka sehingga ianya menjadi seperti ‘api dalam sekam’ yang menunggu masa untuk menjahanamkan negara kita yang tercinta ini. Inilah beza nya pakatan kita dengan mereka, di mana kita berani untuk berdepan, berbincang, berbahas, semuanya dalam semangat yang tulin bagi menyelesaikan sebarang masalah yang timbul dalam gagasan kita ini. Inilah yang ingin kita sampaikan kepada rakyat. "

Sebagai pemimpin dalam gabungan yang mewakili parti yang paling berusia, sudah pastilah PAS berhak menegur agar segala kelemahan yang muncul dalam pakatan ini segera ditangani, diperbaiki, agar ia menjadi bertambah kuat dan kukuh bagi menghadapi musuh politik yang satu iaitu BN.

“Perlu kita ingat, bahawa Pakatan kita ini bukan sahaja bergerak untuk menafikan kekebalan pemerintahan Barisan Nasional semata-mata, tetapi adalah untuk melaksanakan perubahan yang adil di mana keharmonian dan keupayaan masyarakat memahaminya di jadikan teras dalam perubahan dalam negara kita ini.”

Sebagaimana tegas Tuna Guru:

"PAS yakin dengan gabungan ini. PAS sedar rakyat memberikan pengharapan besar terhadap PR bagi mengambil-alih kepincangan dan ketempangan BN yang semakin ketara dari hari ke hari. Bagi menggalas tugas yang besar ini PR perlu bukan sahaja dilihat teguh tetapi benar-benar teguh luar dan dalam. PAS ingin menyatakan bahawa dasar yang ingin kita laksanakan dalam negeri di bawah Pakatan Rakyat perlulah bertitik tolak dari pemahaman bahawa (1) kita membaiki kerosakan yang ada dalam negara kita, (2) kita ingin meletakkan negara dan negeri di atas dasar yang sepatutnya, (3) semuanya dilaksanakan dengan semangat dalam perkara yang menjadi Dasar Bersama kita.

SPM, Alahai Ciput Upahnya…

Oleh Komplen Sokmo
20 Disember 2010 merupakan hari merdeka bagi semua pelajar tingkatan 5 yang telah menduduki peperiksaan SPM yang bermula sejak 23 November yang lalu. Bagi mereka, hari-hari mendatang adalah hari kebebasan dan kini mereka boleh menarik nafas lega kerana tidak perlu lagi untuk memikirkan tentang ujian.

Namun bagi saya sebagai seorang guru DG41 merangkap pengawas peperiksaan dan rakan-rakan yang lain, tarikh itu bukanlah tarikh yang bererti buat kami. Ini kerana pengorbanan yang dicurahkan sejak hari pertama bertugas hingga hari terakhir tidak mendapat imbalan atau upah yang sepatutnya daripada pihak berwajib.

Etika perguruan seperti sifat amanah, integriti, bersyukur dan ikhlas sememangnya menjadi tonggak utama dan amalan murni penjawat awam di setiap masa, tetapi adakah disebabkan oleh keterikatan itu, kami terpaksa mengorbankan segalanya tanpa mendapat perhatian yang sewajarnya.

Apakah cukup di pihak kami untuk menyemai sifat sedemikian sedangkan di pihak kerajaan ia hanyalah omong-omong kosong. Bak kata orang "menyuruh orang berbuat ikhlas tetapi kita sendiri yang culas". Apa yang saya maksudkan di sini, imbalan atau upah yang diberikan seolah-olah tidak ikhlas atau dalam erti kata lain "beri macam tak beri". Sebab itulah terdapat di kalangan pengawas yang enggan menuntut semua elaun memandangkan apa yang diberi tidaklah setimpal dengan apa yang telah dicurahkan.

Bayangkan upah untuk seorang pengawas sepanjang peperiksaan berlangsung hanyalah sekadar RM225.00. Sudahlah elaun setiap sidang hanya diberi RM1, tuntutan perjalanan juga kalau boleh dipotong atau ditiadakan langsung ianya amat digalakkan atau “pencapaian” ke arah meminimakannya amat-amat “diutamakan”. Mekanisma yang digunapakai dalam menentukan jarak tuntutan itu adalah lokasi yang paling dekat iaitu sama ada rumah atau sekolah yang mana lebih hampir dengan Pusat Peperiksaan tanpa mengambil kira jarak perjalanan yang harus ditempuh oleh pengawas ke Pusat Peperiksaan itu.

Dimanakah keadilan sekiranya seorang guru bertolak dari rumah seawal pagi ke Pusat Peperiksaan yang jauhnya 20KM dan dalam masa yang sama jarak sekolahnya pula dengan Pusat Peperiksaan tersebut 5KM, guru tersebut hanya boleh membuat tuntutan perjalanan 5KM sahaja iaitu dari sekolah ke Pusat Peperiksaan. Dalam kes lain tetapi sama, terdapat dalam beberapa hari guru tersebut juga diminta untuk mengiringi Ketua Pengawas ke Bilik Kebal untuk mengambil soalan yang jaraknya dengan sekolah 3KM, tuntutan yang boleh dibuat hanyalah 3KM walaupun perjalanan yang dilakukan dari rumah ke Bilik Kebal tersebut juga 20KM.

Persoalan yang timbul, dimanakah letaknya tuntutan hak perjalanan 15KM lagi bagi kes pertama dan 17KM lagi bagi kes kedua ? Kehilangan 15KM atau 17KM yang disebut di sini hanyalah untuk jangka masa 1 hari dan bagaimana pula dengan hari-hari yang lain?

Adakah dengan sebab kerajaan ingin berjimat, hak tersebut terpaksa diketepikan ataupun sememangnya kerajaan sudah tidak ada duit? Sudahlah guru tersebut secara paksa rela diminta menjaga peperiksaan dan terpaksa pula mengorbankan semua cuti panjang, hak yang sepatutnya dia dapat juga terpaksa dilupakan!

Janganlah kita hanya bijak memohon pertolongan orang lain, sedangkan kita sendiri tidak menilai dengan baik serta memberi upah yang sewajarnya kepada mereka. Kerajaan yang mendahulukan rakyat akan prihatin terhadap semua ini dan bukannya bersikap memeras keringat terhadap orang lain.

Apa yang ditakuti, slogan “Rakyat didahulukan.. “ itu tidak beerti malah akan menjadi tidak lebih daripada satu retorik kosong bagi memperdaya dan menindas rakyat serapat-rapatnya. Dan jangan pada suatu masa nanti, kerajaan melalui pegawai-pegawai atasan kementerian terbabit terpaksa turun padang untuk mengawas peperiksaan dek kerana “ketidakbuluran” kami guru-guru biasa mahu lagi menjalankan tugas yang secara lahiriah nampak seperti ikhlas yang tak bertempat.

Alahai Ezam ...

Oleh P Hayat

Desak mengharamkan DAP oleh seorang jaguh yang telah terlencong landasan perjuangan adalah petanda jelas betapa terdesak dan gelabahnya parti assobiyah Umno.Desakan watak tersebut (pembaca – panggillah Senator Ezam) yang telah dianugerah hadiah istimewa oleh Perdana Menteri adalah di saat manis Pakatan Rakyat mencapai deklarasi penting dari konvensyen di Pulau Pinang tiga hari lepas.
Barangkali Senator Ezam teraba-raba apa pula peluru yang hendak dilepaskannya setelah berjaya menumpas seekor jerung di Selangor, kerana ia bukan suatu kerja mudah (menumpaskan jerung) dan maklumlah saudara Ezam adakah pembenteras gejala rasuah yang disegani!

Saudara Ezam perlu ingat bahawa jerung yang ditumpaskannya hanya satu peratus  (angka diberi oleh penganalisi Pakatan Rakyat) , bermakna Ezam perlu bongkar 99 peratus lagi skandal rasuah melibatkan jerung yang bersembunyi di dalam negara ini.
Penulis percaya rakyat sukar menerima desakan atau saranan Ezam ini kerana mereka nampak Ezam adalah projek mega Najib untuk menyambung sisa-sisa hayat Umno dan diri Najib sendiri, justeru itulah seorang bertaraf bekas Menteri Besar seperti Khir Toyo sanggup mereka korbankan. Bukankah Umno sanggup lakukan apa saja demi mempertahankan Putrajaya (atau Umno/Najib?)
Jika tidak kerana diputar belit dan disembunyi oleh media perdana pengampu Umno, rakyat akan lebih jelas dan faham mana lebih baik antara DAP dan Umno buat masa ini, khususnya di dalam isu melibatkan Pulau Pinang dan Selangor.
Allah s.w.t. telah takdirkan perjuangan DAP mungkin tidak sesuai berseorangan di bumi Malaysia ini, maka diberi jalan untuk bersama PAS dan PKR.
Deklarasi berharga yang telah dicapai oleh Pakatan Rakyat melalui konvensyen ke 2 di Bayan Lepas itu khususnya jaminan oleh Karpal Singh bahawa DAP akan tetap mempertahankan Perlembagaan khususnya perkara berkaitan Islam, orang Melayu dan kedudukan Raja-Raja Melayu telah semakin menyakinkan rakyat pelbagai kaum terutama orang Melayu untuk bersama Pakatan Rakyat.
Karpal Singh adalah tokoh peguam dan politik super veteran yang dikenali oleh seluruh rakyat Malaysia, kini sedang didampingi oleh ulamak-ulamak dari PAS yang teguh dengan agenda perjuangan ummah Melayu dan Islam.

Karpal Singh (satu watak yang dibenci/ditakuti? Oleh Umno) adalah antara tokoh DAP yang telus dan berintergriti.
Lim Guan Eng juga daripada DAP adalah Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang kini,  pernah masuk penjara hanya semata-mata mempertahan dan membela seorang gadis Melayu yang telah dionar oleh orang besar. Moga rakyat tidak lupa pengorbanan tokoh ini.
Kini beliau yang mempunyai sedikit kuasa berhasrat untuk menuruti Umar Abdul Aziz di dalam pentadbirannya.
Kebajikan yang dilakukannya seperti memberi elaun kepada para hufaz, menambah elaun untuk imam dan guru KAFA, elaun untuk warga emas dan lain-lain lagi sehingga menambahkan peruntukan untuk Hal Ehwal Agama Islam sehingga RM 24 juta  (dibanding semasa BN memerintah, RM8 juta)     meletakkan Guan Eng di hati rakyat yang berbilang kaum.
Malangnya media perdana tajaan Umno-BN tidak pernah melaporkan perkara baik dan kebajikan yang dilakukan di negeri-negeri Pakatan Rakyat, sebaliknya disiarkan perkara buruk, fitnah dan provokasi hanya semata-mata kerana irihati tidak dapat projek untuk kroni.
Meneropong perkembangan terkini inilah (deklarasi konvensyen ke 2 Pakatan Rakyat) barangkali saudara Ezam tersentak dari lamunan tidur di sofa empuk senatornya, lantas tergesa melancarkan peluru tak berpandu dan peluru itu tersasar di Laut Cina Selatan.

'Higher' Rela votes will help BN secure Putrajaya

By G Vinod

KUALA LUMPUR: The federal government's denial against allegations that it is bolstering its reservoir of postal voters by increasing the number of auxilliary police (Rela) personnel is sounding weaker by the day, acording to opposition leaders.
Speaking to reporters at the Parliament lobby, PKR senator Dr Syed Husin Ali said it was difficult to believe Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein's assurance that Rela personnel will not be converted into postal votes.
"Despite the Home Minister's assurance, we are still concerned about the rising number of Rela personnel in the country.
"There is a possibility that they will be used as postal voters.
"As at Oct 31, there are some 2,042,215 Rela members in the country. In addition, a company of Rela personnel will be placed at every parliamentary consituency," he said.
Ironically the states with the highest number of Rela personnel are Pakatan Rakyat-administered Selangor, Perak (which was won by Pakatan in the 2008 polls but later wrested by BN in a reverse takeover) and Sabah.
Currently, Selangor has the highest number of Rela members at 355,269. Perak has 294,900 personnel stationed in the state while Sabah has 168,407 members.
The numbers are expected to increase in 2011 in time for the 13th general election.
PAS information officer Idris Ahmad recently issued a high alert to Pakatan-ruled states warning them of this insidious Umno-Barisan Nasional strategy.
His warning came on the heel of the federal government's move to increase the number of Rela members in Selangor by another 300,000 next year.
Challenge to opposition
Idris describing the move as a “tactical” strategy by Umno-BN to boost its “fixed deposit” of postal votes and wrest Selangor from Pakatan.
Said Idris: "It's been done before... BN's modus operandi to take over Terengganu in 2004 was to boost postal votes. This is how Umno-BN took over Terengganu.
"We are aware that Umno-BN is reinforcing its fortresses everywhere. They want to keep Pakatan out," he said.
Postal votes are a constant challenge to the opposition.
In the recent Galas (Kelantan) and Batu Sapi (Sabah) by-elections, political observers noted that the BN candidates had already secured over 1,000 votes each even before polling day.
In the historic 2008 general election, BN's win was attributed to its “fixed deposit” of postal votes comprising military and police voters.
However, it appears that going into the 13th general election, a “jittery” Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is bent on securing his grip over Putrajaya “at all cost”.
It was recently reported that all wives and family members of uniformed personnel were directed by the authorities to register as postal voters – an “order” that has further challenged the opposition's march to Putrajaya.

A case for Selcat: RM2 firm gets rich contract

By B Nantha Kumar

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor government has awarded a contract to a previously unknown RM2 company to build nine blocks of high-rise buildings in Section 52, Petaling Jaya, on the site currently occupied by PKNS, sources have told FMT.
They said the state gave the contract to Puncak Wangi Sdn Bhd without calling for tenders.
They allege that the company is associated with PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and suggest that it is a case for the Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) to investigate.
A FMT reporter went to the site and saw a notice indicating that the plan is to build four office blocks, two hotel blocks and two service-apartment blocks.
A source claimed that Azmin allegedly pressured Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim to award the contract to Puncak Wangi.
According to records at the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM), Puncak Wangi was registered on Sept 25, 1995 under the names of S Vasanthi and Cheong Yoke Ling. SSM documents indicate that they lived in the same house in Taman Tan Yew Lai.
However, a week after the registration, Vasanthi and Cheong resigned as directors and were replaced by Nurulhaini Rosli of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Mahinder Kaur Teja Singh of Ulu Kelang and Zubaidah Ahmad Tajuddin of Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur.
In 2005, Nurulhaini and Mahinder Kaur resigned and were replaced by Mohd Azrin Mohd Barrier and Krushiah Ali Mohamed. Zubaidah is no longer a director, but there is no record of her resignation.
Of Puncak Wangi’s 200,000 shares, Mohd Azrin holds 10,000 and Krushiah 5,000. The rest belongs to Gapurna Sdn Bhd, a family company headed by millionaire Mohd Salim Fateh Din.
A check with the Selangor Land and Mines Office revealed that Mohd Salim also owns Bisraya Construction Sdn Bhd, which placed a caveat on the PKNS land in May last year.
The registered addresses of Puncak Wangi, Gapurna and Bisraya are all at Kelana Brem Tower in Kelana Jaya. And the three companies share one secretary by the name of Gong Lu Kew.
A PKR leader in Kelana Jaya told FMT that Azmin was known to have an interest in developing PKNS land for commercial purposes.
He also said that after the 2008 general election, many of the big contractors who used to support BN switched their allegiance to Pakatan.
He said he and several associates had tried to solve the mystery behind Puncak Wangi by checking on the backgrounds of Mohd Azri and Krushiah.
“We found they are not prominent figures,” he said. “They don’t even seem to have enough money to buy nice cars. They use only Satria and Kancil.
"Where does their money go? Who makes profits by using their name? I hope Selcat can reveal the mystery behind the contract."

Marching towards the battle for Putrajaya

Lim Sue Goan
bn-pkr-putrajayaThe Barisan Nasional and the Pakatan Rakyat have held their respective pre-election-preparatory conventions, and both had tried to make themselves look good and attractive to the public. The BN convention, however, seemed to have missed something.
The BN convention did not make any announcement of any new policy or programme. BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak mainly reminded BN component parties to stay away from four “political diseases”.
Najib also cited a Chinese saying "Xian tian xia zhi you er you, hou tian xia zhi le er le", which means that one must be concerned first about the welfare of all and enjoy the fruits after the people do.
The BN charter with seven principles was also unveiled. The seven principles are (1) upholding the Constitution and rule of law, (2) strengthening the racial relationship, (3) improving the economy, (4) assuring quality education, (5) defending the people, (6) strengthening the family institution and (7) rejecting corrupt practices.
But the BN charter lacks proposals on political, educational and social reforms, as well as the pursuit of democracy and openness. It is also the greatest deficiency of the Government Transformation Plan (GTP) and the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) promoted by the BN.
That is also why the people always think that nothing much has changed even after many plans have been launched by the government.
The Pakatan Rakyat common policy framework (CPF), on the other hand, is loaded with many proposals for change. It is a voluminous document, and the Chinese version actually contains 11,511 characters. Many of the proposed policies are related to democratic practices, including the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA), amending the Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA), allowing automatic registration for all citizens as voters when they reach 18 years old, and restoring local council elections.
Whether the Pakatan Rakyat can fulfill its promises is dependent on how it performs in the next general election. The most important thing at present is that it has a vision and a concrete plan of action to give hope to the people.
Because of the lack of political reform, the country has been ranked 71st out of 167 countries in the Democracy Index 2010 released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), dropping three places compared to the ranking in 2008. What is worrying is that Malaysia has been listed under the category of flawed democracy.
Among the five indicators, we scored the lowest in civil liberties and political participation, with only 5.88 and 5.56 points respectively. It is also a weakness of the country's democracy. For example, university students are not allowed to participate in politics, the freedom of expression is restricted and a newspaper's publishing permit must be renewed annually.
The ranking has again shown that Malaysia is still in the middle position and is trapped in a stagnant dilemma. Other Asean countries like Thailand and Indonesia have been ranked better than us. Perhaps we could still console ourselves that Singapore has been ranked worse than us.
The government should not underestimate the importance of democracy. If the government efficiency is poor, yet there is a strong democracy and freedom, the executive will still be supervised to a certain degree and the country will still be able to attract foreign investment.
Today, people are talking about the economic scenario, including the government lack of transparency in contract distribution and unreasonable highway concession contracts, due to the lack of democracy.
The Pakatan Rakyat has pledged to abolish the toll system during the first 100 days of it taking over power. It is of course the people's wish but the crux of the problem is to accelerate the democratic process, so that democratization will bring sunshine policies to help the country get onto the right track as soon as possible. - mysinchew

Why be hypocrites and hide behind NGOs - go join Zaid's KITA

Zaid has been accused of being an Umno Trojan horse
YL Chong, Malaysia Chronicle

I don't care what motivated RPK and Haris' latest move via MCLM, but I care if it threatens the people/Rakyat's concerted efforts to topple the BN-UMNO government in Putrajaya, which I contend MCLM's progress will despite the founders' and supporters' protestations to the contrary. If you want to play an active role as NGO, let it be, just don't start this process of contesting GE13 directly or indirectly. Join former PKR deputy president aspirant Zaid Ibrahim -- Go sign up as a KITA member-lah, for a start -- that's surely a basic desideratum of infant entry into playing politics, is it not?

KUALA LUMPUR - I recently bumped into an non-governmental organisation (NGO) activist who expressed concern about civil rights lawyer-blogger Haris Ibrahim's increasingly "political" role in Malaysian politics. Nothing wrong with any individual playing politics except that Haris is also founder of People's Parliament which has been, and still is, a key component of the coalition named Bersih -- Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH2.0)-- whose cornerstone role since its formation is fighting for free and fair elections in Malaysia. Just two weekends ago, the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) was launched by blogger-in-exile Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) in London with RPK being announced as the Chairman, and Haris as the President.

"Bersih" in Bahasa Malaysia means "Clean" and is the acronym for this coalition of NGOs started before the last general elections in 2008 (GE12) to improve all aspects of what was and still is perceived by the citizenry of a highly "tainted" electoral processes leading to the Malaysian Parliament as well as to the State Assemblies. And with the next general elections (GE13) expected to be around the corner, the weekend saw a briefing by Haris for NGOs on what MCLM is all about, and the previous weekend the launch of MCLM in Lodon.

My "concerned" activist-friend said that with Haris' involvement in MCLM -- touted by many as The Third Force -- he and several Bersih activists are not happy that the "neutrality" of Bersih is being compromised once MCLM started announcing "nominees" comprising so-called "Malaysians of integrity" as candidates for GE13 -- the first being lawyer said to be esteemed by the community, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar. A first public forum scheduled for tomorrow (Dec 21, 2010) in KL will see the second MCLM candidate publicised.

Will Bersih2.0 leaders now make a policy decision with component-members like Haris and RPK who want to actively take part in partisan politics, however "independent" they claim to be? Just for the record, some key Bersih2.0 Steering Committee Members hereby listed:

1. Dato’ Ambiga Sreenavasan Chairperson of BERSIH. Former President of Malaysian Bar Council and a senior practising lawyer.
2. Andrew Khoo Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, Malaysian Bar Council
3. Arumugam K. President of SUARAM, a well-known human rights organisation
4. Dr Farouk Musa President of the Islamic Rennaisance Front, a think tank promoting civilisational dialogue; a lecturer
5. Maria Chin Abdullah Executive Director of Empower, a women and human rights organisation and working for democratic governance.
6. Haris Ibrahim Founder of Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia, a citizen movement that fights corruption and racism; a human rights lawyer

I am not writing today about the mechanics of MCLM's participation in GE13 like the rote it would finally take -- via other PR component parties like DAP and PKR as hinted by Haris? -- but lesser mortals like me a blogger who also carries a membership card of an Opposition party would ask: Isn't this a political tole for Malaysians who have committed to a REGISTERED political party's membership for some time to offer themselves as "candidates". Never mind the semantics of "quality" and who judges "integrity or character" -- I referred to these judges as demi-gods yes as a non-compliment, I must add! -- of the nominees, but surely a potential candidate must have been himself/herself sufficiently motivated to sign up as a member of the duly registered parties, UMNO,MCA, MIC, do I care? Or PKR, DAP or PAS, yes, I care! Or even KITA if you are desperate enough!

I don't care what motivated RPK and Haris' latest move via MCLM, but I care if it threatens the people/Rakyat's concerted efforts to topple the BN-UMNO government in Putrajaya, which I contend MCLM's progress will despite the founders' and supporters' protestations to the contrary.IF you want to play an active role as NGO, let it be, just don't start this process of contesting GE13 directly or indirectly. Join former PKR deputy president aspirant Zaid Ibrahim -- Go sign up as a KITA member-lah, for a start -- that's surely a basic desideratum of infant entry into playing politics, is it not?

After Ku Li, the heat is on Soi Lek to prove his worth to Umno

KUALA LUMPUR - After Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah successfully proved to UMNO that he still wielded influence following the BN's victory in Galas by-election, another BN leader is now expected to prove himself when the Tenang state by-election is called.

Insiders say that UMNO leaders are training its gun on MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek, whose criticisms of UMNO's battlecry "Malay supremacy" (Ketuanan Melayu) threw a spanner in MCA-UMNO ties.

Chua, who called for a ban on the phrase "Ketuanan Melayu" and censured UMNO for acting like the sole ruling party by approving government policies at its meetings, will now have to prove that he is still a political force in Tenang, which sits in Labis, once Chua's parliamentary seat.

Chua, the former Health minister, is widely known as MCA's comeback kid after his triumphant return to the party as its president, two years after he was forced to resign from politics following revelation of a sex tape exposing his adulteruous affair with a "female companion" in a hotel room.

In the last general election, Chua's son Chua Tee Yong replaced his father and won the Labis constituency.

'Is he still influential?'

UMNO’s mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia today quoted several UMNO leaders pressuring Chua to prove himself in the Tenang by-election as it could gauge Chua’s charm with the Chinese electorate.

UMNO Johor Baharu member of parliament Shahrir Abdul Samad (left) said Chua’s influence to attract Chinese votes in the state seat would be an important factor for BN to defend the seat it won in the 2008 general election.

“This can also gauge Soi Lek’s ability as MCA president, what’s more the Tenang state seat is located in Labis, and he was the ex Member of Parliament.

"Tenang state seat is in Soi Lek’s area, and if he is influential, there is no problem for BN to win,” added Shahrir.

Tenang state seat has been left vacant following the death of its state assemblyman Sulaiman Taha last week due to diabetes complication. Sulaiman had won the seat for two successive terms beating PAS candidate Mohd Saim Siran by 5,517 votes in 2004 and 2,492 votes in 2008. It is expected that a PAS candidate will again contest against BN this time.

The constituency has a total of 14,511 voters, 49.66 percent of whom are Malays, 38.13 percent Chinese and 12.11 percent Indians.

Referring to the racial breakdown, Shahrir said it would be the best chance for Chua to prove his worth as MCA president and ensure 38.13 percent the voters there support BN.

“I can say that Soi Lek’s influence in Labis parliamentary area is very important if BN wants to retain Tenang,” he stressed.

Why Najib has money for RM36bil MRT but not for bonuses

Najib - we are not a spendthrift gov't
Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

Amid rising speculation that the biggest gainers for the RM36bil mass rapid transit system were the Umno elite and the Perak royal family, Pakatan Rakyat leaders have called on Prime Minister Najib Razak to come clean on where the already cash-strapped federal goverment would raise the money from.

Indeed, their caution is timely given that the Najib administration has warned the country could go bankrupt by 2019 if he did not cut subsidies and raise prices of consumer essentials.

Even today, Najib refused to confirm if civil servants would be paid bonuses for 2010, saying that any payment would depend on the country's economic situation.

"The government must be realistic and not spend more than it earns. We cannot borrow to pay civil servant salaries or else we will end up being ruled by the IMF (International Monetary Fund). What is the use of being independent when our sovereignty is ruled by an international body like IMF?" Najib told reporters.

Salt to the wound

His words only added salt to the wound as far as the man on the street was concerned.

"It only confirms the hypocrisy of the BN government. The fuel hikes, the sugar price hikes only save the government RM126 million. And yet they have the gall to launch an RM36 billion project that only contains the scantiest of details," PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

His sentiments were shared by DAP leader Tony Pua, who also worried that gross mismanagement of the country's finances could leave the country indebted for decades to come.

"The announcement also indicated that the Government will own and finance the project in its entirety. However this raises further questions on how the Government, via Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd will be able to bear the entire cost of the project, estimated at RM36 billion before taking into account land costs of an additional RM10 billion," Pua, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP, said in a statement to the press.

"As of today, Prasarana is already heavily indebted with RM8.5 billion in bonds which it is unable even to service its interest. This has been heavily criticised by the Auditor-General’s report in 2009 for making accumulated losses of RM840 million as of December 2007, in part due to suspicious activities and mismanagement. In the 2011 budget, the Government had to allocate RM2.5 billion of funds to bailout Prasarana-issued bonds which are due in November 2011. It will not only affect the Government’s financial position, it will also affect finally the fees to be charged for the MRT commuters when it is ready for use."

It's the cronies again

Najib had last week appointed MMC-Gamuda Joint Venture Sdn Bhd as the project delivery partner for the deal to lay 156-kilometres of rail across key parts of Kuala Lumpur.

Muhyiddin, Syed Mokhtar, Najib
Both firms, MMC led by tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary and Gamuda by the Perak princess Raja Eleena, are widely regarded as crony firms with strong connections to the Umno elite.

Syed Mokhtar's MMC has benefitted from dozens of mega-projects handed out by the Umno-led federal government, while the Perak royal family has been accused of being enticed by the huge deal into siding Najib during the coup d'etat he staged against the Pakatan Rakyat state government in February 2009.

"It is highly misleading for the Prime Minister to espouse the viability of the project by claiming that it will generate gross national income of up to RM4 billion per annum when the interest servicing cost for the project at completion may in itself come up to more than RM2 billion each year.

"We call upon the Government to be completely transparent with the entire plan, design and financial impact of the MRT project to convince the rakyat that the MRT routes are optimised based on maximum public benefit, but also that it will not become an unsustainable project which will leave our future tax-payers with billions in debt."

Malaysia Chronicle appends below the press statement from Tony Pua for readers' convenience.

Tony Pua

Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak must disclose how the MRT will be financed and why the project is expected to commence before even the urban public transportation plan is ready.

We welcome the Prime Minister’s announcement on Saturday which announced that Malaysia’s largest ever infrastructure project, the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, will be tendered openly via 9 project parcels. This is after strong criticisms against the Prime Minister’s initial proposals and admission in October that “there are some contracts that you just cannot tender out”.

The announcement also indicated that the Government will own and finance the project in its entirety. However this raises further questions on how the Government, via Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd will be able to bear the entire cost of the project, estimated at RM36 billion before taking into account land costs of an additional RM10 billion.

As of today, Prasarana is already heavily indebted with RM8.5 billion in bonds which it is unable even to service its interest. This has been heavily criticised by the Auditor-General’s report in 2009 for making accumulated losses of RM840 million as of December 2007, in part due to suspicious activities and mismanagement. In the 2011 budget, the Government had to allocate RM2.5 billion of funds to bailout Prasarana-issued bonds which are due in November 2011.

The Prime Minister must come clean with the entire funding process as it will not only affect the Government’s financial position, it will also affect finally the fees to be charged for the MRT commuters when it is ready for use. While Malaysians, particularly those who reside in the Klang Valley look forward to better public transport facilities, they must be made available at an affordable basis without at the same time, become an unsustainable burden for the tax-payers.

For example, last year’s audit report on Prasarana showed that the current average LRT fare of RM1.60 has to be increased to nearly RM9 for the LRT infrastructural costs to be fully recouped within the next 20 years despite the LRTs costing the Federal Government less than RM8 billion, nearly 5 times less than the proposed MRT system.

What is perhaps most worrying is the fact that the Government is rushing headlong into the project without the newly minted Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) first coming out with the 20-year urban public transport plan for Klang Valley, which is only expected in September next year. The Cabinet has however decided to award the relevant contracts and commence construction works for the MRT in July 2011, even before the holistic public transport plan, which will include buses and other rail systems is finalised!

In fact, SPAD is still unable to declare, as of today, backed by a thorough and professional study that the MRT is the best option for the Klang Valley in the near future, as opposed to cheaper alternatives like buses or even trams based on travel patterns and population statistics.

It is highly misleading for the Prime Minister to espouse the viability of the project by claiming that it will generate gross national income of up to RM4 billion per annum when the interest servicing cost for the project at completion may in itself come up to more than RM2 billion each year.

We call upon the Government to be completely transparent with the entire plan, design and financial impact of the MRT project to convince the rakyat that the MRT routes are optimised based on maximum public benefit, but also that it will not become an unsustainable project which will leave our future tax-payers with billions in debt.

Pengurus Sime Darby dakwa diseksa

Bekas pengurus kanan Sime Darby Engineering telah dikenakan tuduhan rasuah yang melibatkan bayaran sejumlah RM200,000 di Mahkamah Sesyen di sini hari ini. Beliau ialah Mazhazmi Jamaluddin (gambar) yang dihadapkan bagi menerima pertuduhan menerima bayaran tersebut daripada MLC Shipbuilding Sdn Bhd pada 31 Disember 2008 dengan mendakwa syarikat pembinaan perkapalan itu memperoleh kontrak bernilai AS$134.2 juta (RM421.6 juta) dari Sime Darby.
Beliau yang berumur 36 tahun dikenakan tuduhan di bawah Seksyen 11(a) Akta Pencegahan Rasuah dan mengaku tidak bersalah dan memohon dakwaan beliau dibicarakan. Kontrak yang dilibatkan di sini adalah membina dan menjual satu pelantar dan beberapa perkakasan berkaitan dengan operasi pelantar tersebut.
Jika beliau didapati bersalah, beliau boleh dipenjarakan tidak lebih dari 20 tahun, denda sekurang-kurangnya RM10,000 di bawah Akta Anti Rasuah. Beliau didakwa menerima rasuah tersebut daripada pemilik MLC, Redzuan Goh Mohamed Karian di pejabat MLC.
Peguam Mazhazmi memohon mahkamah membenarkan jaminan pada harga RM10,000 dan memberitahu anak guamnya memberi kerjasama penuh selama ini kepada pihak Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) di dalam penyiasatan mereka. Tetapi pihak pendakwaraya diketuai oleh Kevin Morais memohon hakim meletakkan RM20,000 sebagai wang jaminan yang akhirnya dipersetujui oleh hakim Rozilah Salleh.
Namun begitu, peguamnya memberitahu mahkamah bahawa anak guamnya itu telah dikenakan tekanan secara mental dan fizikal oleh para pegawai penyiasat SPRM. Antaranya beliau dipaksa berbogel, ditutup mata dan sebagainya.
Mazhazmi mendakwa dirinya dipaksa untuk mengaku perbuatannya itu oleh pihak SPRM dan pegawai SPRM pernah menyebut perkataan ’Mampuslah kau nanti.’. Hakim berjanji akan membangkitkan isu penggunaan kekerasan SPRM nanti apabila perbicaraan dimulakan pada 7 Januari tahun hadapan nanti.

Saifuddin gesa IPT terima inovasi demokrasi, buang karenah birokrasi

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Dis — Institusi-institusi pengajian tinggi (IPT) tempatan perlu segera menerapkan budaya “inovasi demokrasi”, antara lain membuang amalan karenah birokrasi yang masih mengekang kebebasan para pelajar, kata Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah hari ini.
Sehubungan itu, Timbalan Menteri Pengajian Tinggi ini berkata, budaya inovasi perlu bermula dari usia muda, contohnya di kalangan pelajar IPT.
Kata beliau, walaupun Akta Universiti dan Kolej Universiti (AUKU) telah dipinda dan banyak pelan transformasi telah dilancarkan, malangnya pelajar masih dikekang oleh karenah birokrasi.
“Contoh karenah birokrasi yang mengekang inovasi pelajar IPT yang perlu dihapuskan segera ialah pelajar dikehendaki menyediakan kertas kerja tebal untuk menganjurkan aktiviti mudah seperti ceramah dan forum.
“Sepatutnya surat dan borang ringkas memadai,” kata beliau pada kenyataan media yang dikeluarkan hari ini.
Malah kata beliau, pelajar terpaksa menunggu lama untuk mendapatkan kelulusan aktiviti kerana pegawai bercuti dan sebagainya.
“Sepatutnya kelulusan disegerakan kerana hayat keaktifan pelajar adalah mengikut sesuatu semester sahaja, justeru mereka tidak mempunyai tempoh masa yang panjang untuk sesuatu aktiviti,” katanya.
Selain itu kata Saifuddin, pelajar juga dilarang menganjurkan sesuatu aktiviti kerana ia tidak selari dengan minat pegawai. “Sepatutnya pelajar diberi kebebasan untuk menganjurkan aktiviti mengikut minat mereka, kerana yang menyertainya ialah pelajar, bukannya pegawai,” kata beliau lagi.
Malah menurut Ahli Parlimen Temerloh ini, aktiviti pelajar dikekang oleh kekurangan atau ketiadaan peruntukan, tetapi apabila untuk aktiviti lain, maka ada pula peruntukannya. “Sepatutnya seboleh-bolehnya dijimatkan peruntukan supaya pelajar dapat menganjurkan sebanyak mungkin aktiviti,” katanya.
“Apabila pelajar mencari dana sendiri, mereka disukarkan pula untuk mendapatkannya untuk menyelesaikan urusan pembayaran aktiviti. Ada kes saya dahulukan duit saya, bukan kerana pelajar minta, tapi kerana IPT lambat keluarkan dana yang dicari pelajar sedangkan pelajar sedang dalam peperiksaan dan dikejar pembekal untuk pembayaran.
“Sepatutnya semakin pelajar bijak mencari dana sendiri, semakin dipermudahkan urusan mereka,” tambah timbalan menteri.
Di samping itu beliau juga mendedahkan bahawa pelajar dimarahi kerana menghubungi menteri atau timbalan menteri, yang terbuka dan suka merapati pelajar, secara langsung secara terus melalui media sosial. “Sepatutnya pelajar digalakkan untuk merapati menteri atau timbalan menteri secara terus,” katanya lagi.
Justeru kata beliau, budaya inovasi adalah satu daripada nilai aspirasi dalam gagasan 1 Malaysia.
Katanya, budaya inovasi merujuk kesediaan berubah, mencuba perkara dan cara baru dalam kehidupan.
“Dari segi konsep, budaya inovasi merangkumi kreativiti dan inovasi yang menjadi penggerak kepada pertumbuhan dalam setiap bidang.
“Kreativiti melibatkan pemikiran, idea dan gagasan baru manakala inovasi meliputi penambahbaikan dan penyesuaian kepada kreativiti  yang sedia ada hingga memberi nilai tambah yang boleh digunakan termasuk dalam bentuk barangan dan perkhidmatan dengan bermanfaat, termasuk boleh dikomersialkan.
“Inovasi tidak boleh dikhususkan atau dihadkan dalam bidang sains dan teknologi semata-mata. Sebaliknya, ia perlu diamalkan dalam setiap bidang, termasuk dalam politik, iaitu dengan melakukan inovasi politik atau inovasi demokrasi,” katanya.

Program 100 Hari Pakatan boleh jadikan Malaysia muflis, dakwa Muhyiddin

PUTRAJAYA, 21 Dis – Rakyat jangan mudah terpengaruh dengan tawaran-tawaran istimewa daripada pakatan pembangkang semata-mata untuk meraih sokongan rakyat, kata Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Beliau (gambar) berkata mereka boleh membuat tawaran sebegitu kerana pakatan pembangkang tidak mempunyai pengalaman untuk mengetuai kerajaan di peringkat pusat.
Katanya ini kerana setiap perkara yang diputuskan perlu membuat kajian dengan mendalam daripada segi implikasinya kepada rakyat dan negara.
“Kita nak meneliti apa kesannya dan kita akan beritahu rakyat mengenai penipuan di sebalik tawaran-tawaran manis dan gula-gula itu. Ada penipuan yang dibuat untuk mempengaruhi pemikiran rakyat.
“Ini kerana mereka tidak mengambil kira sama ada tawaran sedemikian akan membawa negara kepada muflis atau sebagainya. Asal menang, sudah,” katanya kepada pemberita selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Kabinet Mengenai Pembangunan Belia, di sini hari ini.
Dipetik Bernama, Muhyiddin berkata demikian ketika mengulas mengenai tawaran dalam Program 100 Hari yang dikemukakan pakatan pembangkang pada konvensyen mereka yang diadakan di Pulau Pinang, Ahad lalu.
Ia mengandungi sembilan perkara termasuk pengurusan negara, ekonomi dan pendidikan yang akan dilaksanakan dalam tempoh 100 hari jika menang pada pilihan raya umum ke-13.
Antaranya mengarahkan Khazanah Nasional Berhad dan Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja (KWSP) menyempurnakan pengambilan alih aset lebuh raya oleh kerajaan dengan tujuan menghapuskan tol, merombak struktur subsidi bagi mengurangkan subsidi kepada swasta dengan memindahkannya bagi menampung perbelanjaan subsidi rakyat, menaikkan imbuhan perguruan RM500 sebulan dan melupuskan Felda Plantations bagi membuka ladang yang diuruskannya kepada generasi kedua dan ketiga Felda.
Timbalan Perdana Menteri berkata berbanding Barisan Nasional (BN), setiap keputusan yang dibuat perlu diperhalusi dan diteliti dan kerana itu, selama 53 tahun, negara boleh kekal dengan kemajuan yang cukup baik dan semua pihak mendapat faedah daripadanya.
“Oleh kerana itu, kita tidak boleh boros, tidak boleh membuat sesuatu yang boleh memberi kesan dan bencana kepada negara bagi jangka masa yang panjang.
“Ini adalah pertimbangan yang perlu diteliti oleh rakyat agar tidak termakan dengan tawaran yang dibuat oleh pembangkang,” katanya.
Muhyiddin berkata tawaran tersebut boleh menjadi satu pembohongan yang besar dan satu penipuan jika mereka membuat tawaran, dan tidak melaksanakannya kerana tidak membuat perkiraan yang betul daripada segi implikasinya.
“Setiap guru RM500, jumlah guru di negara ini hampir 400,000 guru, bermakna perbelanjaan sebulan RM200 juta, setahun RM2.4 bilion.
“Tetapi dari segi implikasinya, naik gaji guru tetapi gaji kakitangan kerajaan seramai 1.2 juta, tidak naik. Adakah guru sahaja yang diberi tawaran, kenapa tidak ditawarkan kepada kakitangan kerajaan yang lain, boleh jadi bankrap kita,” katanya.
Ditanya mengenai kemunculan parti-parti politik baru pada masa ini yang akan menjejaskan BN, Muhyiddin berkata “lagi banyak lagi bagus, kerana Malaysia ialah sebuah negara demokrasi.”
Katanya beliau menggalakkan lebih banyak pertubuhan yang berminat untuk bertanding pada pilihan raya umum untuk mendaftarkan parti-parti politik mereka dan rakyat mempunyai pilihan yang lebih banyak untuk memilih.
“Bagi kami, itu tidak mengugat BN, seperti yang lepas banyak parti lain, tetapi ia hanya boleh bertahan untuk satu penggal sahaja. Ia tidak boleh kekal kerana ia tidak mempunyai dasar yang jelas, ideologi pun takde, pemimpin mereka pun tidak mempunyai visi yang jelas,” tegasnya.

Penggantungan 4 ahli parlimen: Nazri sanggup berbahas dengan pembangkang

Menteri Jabatan Perdana Menteri Mohd Nazri Aziz menyatakan kesudiannya untuk berbahas dengan pembangkang dalam isu penggantungan empat orang ahli parlimen Pakatan Rakyat pada 16 Disember lalu, sambil menyanggah tuduhan bahawa kerajaan Barisan Nasional menafikan kebebasan pembangkang untuk membela diri.
Sebaliknya, Nazri Aziz berulang kali mempersalahkan pembangkang, bahawa ahli parlimen PR sendiri yang menafikan hak mereka untuk bersuara kerana membuat kecoh dalam Dewan Rakyat dalam persidangan pada 16 Disember 2010.  Dalam satu wawancara di rancangan"Isu Khas: Kemelut di Parlimen", TV1, pada jam 9 malam tadi, beliau diajukan soalan daripada pengantara, Prof. Madya Dr. Asyraf, bahawa kerajaan BN dituduh menegakkan benang yang basah selagi pembangkang tidak diberi ruang untuk bersuara dalam isu ini.
"Saya difahamkan dia orang (pembangkang) pun ada suratkhabar dia orang ya?  Tapi dia tak bagi ruang untuk saya bela diri saya pun.  Saya ingat macam ni saja.  Saya tidak ada masalah.  Kerana apa yang kita lakukan, saya nak sebut sini, awal-awal saya dah kata saya Menteri Undang-Undang, dan saya ada penasihat undang-undang khusus untuk diri saya.  Dan di parlimen juga ada penasihat undang-undang.  Dan Peguam Negara menasihati saya.  Jadi ada enam tujuh kepala yang bercakap tentang undang-undang ni.  Jadi takkanlah kita ni salah?"
Nazri meneruskan, "Sebab itu saya bila-bila masa.  Kalau...katalah macam RTM, panggil saya, tak apa.  Kalau nak berbahas, kalau betul saya tidak ada masalah.  Kita boleh turun.  Saya minta kepada mereka buatkan program, maknanya kita boleh bahas.  Tapi, kita kena fahamlah.  Bahas dengan dia orang ni, dia kuat menipu.  Kalau kita cakap betulpun, dia cakap tak betul.  Jadi buang masa saja."
"Jadi, untuk mengatakan saya tidak berlaku adil, itu tak betul.  Saya dah bahagi kesempatan kepada mereka untuk membahas usul saya.  Memang dah bahagi tahupun, saya beritahu kepada pembangkang, saya bentang usul ini, baik, pada 16 September (Disember), you bahas lima orang, saya lima orang..."

Saman untuk pertahan kebenaran

PULAU PINANG, 21 Dis: Ekoran mengalami tekanan dan fitnah yang berleluasa ekoran penyiaran berita doa khutbah Jumaat yang didakwa menggantikan nama Yang di-Pertuan Agong dengan Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng, Utusan Melayu, NST dan Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Permatang Berangan, Shabudin Yahaya disaman oleh Ustaz Zakaria Ahmad.
Dalam kenyataannya kepada media di sini malam tadi, beliau berkata saman itu adalah bagi mempertahankan kebenaran yang dibawa oleh beliau sebagai seorang tokoh agama daripada terus diperlekehkan oleh mereka yang mempunyai motif tertentu dalam membesarkan isu yang tidak benar lagi batil itu.
"Saman ini adalah bagi mengingatkan mereka yang jauh tersasar supaya tidak dengan sewenang-wenangnya menggunakan platform agama untuk mencari pengaruh.
"Saya bercakap atas dasar agama Islam yang sebenarnya. Mereka telah memfitnah saya melalui akhbar sehingga memberi satu impak yang negatif terhadap kepercayaan, kewibawaan dan reputasi masyarakat terhadap saya," tegasnya lagi.
Seperti mana dalam salinan saman yang diperolehi menyebut penyiaran dalam Mingguan Malaysia bertarikh 22 Ogos dengan perkataan fitnah oleh Shabudin 'tindakan menyebut nama Guan Eng dalam doa khutbah itu seolah-olah ada agenda politik dan membawa imej beliau'.
Begitu juga dengan penyiaran berita mengenai unsur fitnah yang mengaitkan isu khutbah dalam Berita Harian bertarikh 23 dan 25 Ogos lalu.
"Kenyataan yang menyatakan etika khutbah juga dah tak betul apabila melebihkan Guan Eng berbanding pemimpin agama Islam yang lain serta pengesahan Shabudin sebagai bekas Yang Dipertua Majlis Agama Islam bahawa saya tidak memiliki tauliah untuk membaca khutbah yang dikeluarkan oleh Majlis Agama Islam adalah bersifat fitnah sedangkan saya mempunyai tauliah sejak 29 Mac 2003 lagi," tambahnya lagi.
Sebelum ini, Pengerusi Badan Perhubungan Umno negeri, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi telah mendedahkan penyalahgunaan nama Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang dalam khutbah Jumaat di beberapa buah masjid di Pulau Pinang ketika mempengerusikan mesyuarat perhubungan di Tasek Gelugor.
Ekoran pendedahan tersebut Pergerakan Pemuda Umno Pulau Pinang melalui Pemuda Umno bahagian telah membuat beberapa laporan polis supaya perkara itu disiasat.
Zakaria memfailkan saman itu Oktober lepas di Mahkamah Tinggi Pulau Pinang melalui Tetuan Aswar, Simon dan Azhar.
Katanya lagi, apa yang diharapkan ialah keadilan tertegak tanpa menidakkan kebenaran yang sepatutnya dijadikan asas dalam penyiaran oleh mana-mana media dalam negara ini.
Beliau juga turut dipanggil untuk memberi keterangan kepada Jabatan Hal Ehwal Agama Islam Pulau Pinang pada 24 Ogos lalu.
Namun begitu, tiada apa-apa tindakan diambil terhadap beliau setelah keterangan yang turut dihadiri oleh Yang Dipertua Majlis Agama Islam Pulau Pinang, Ellias Zakaria diadakan pada 24 Ogos lalu.

Berbicara tentang Reformasi PKR...

PKR dan Barisan Nasional telah mengadakan kongres/konvensyen-nya baru-baru ini.  Tidak kurang juga peristiwa yang menimpa PKR kebelakangan ini.  Sesungguhnya PKR boleh mempersalahkan media arus perdana kerana memperbesarkan "kekecohan" yang berlaku dalam partinya, namun pada hakikatnya, kemegahan dan semangat PKR telah luntur berbanding dua tahun yang lalu.
Secara perbandingannya, semangat BN pula dipacu dengan kemenangan dua PRK yang terdekat.  Malah, BN yang kini semakin stabil dari pimpinan atasannya, sering menyindir PR dengan nada yang sinis.  Seandainya PRU diadakan sekarang juga, PR tidak semestinya mengulangi kegemilangan yang dicapainya pada tahun 2008.
Mengapa kekuatan PR, terutamanya PKR luntur dalam tempoh dua tahun?  Meskipun tidaklah sampai tahap meranap, namun seandainya tidak bermuhasabah, ia bakal menyusut.  Situasi sedemikian sememangnya menjejaskan sistem dua parti yang baru muncul pada tahun 2008.  PKR wajar mengkaji kelemahannya dari segi kualiti anggota, struktur organisasi, pimpinan, strategi dan sebagainya.
Memperbaiki kualiti anggota PKR
Bukan sesuatu yang baru bahawa anggota PKR berasal dari latar belakang yang berbeza, malah memperlihatkan kualiti yang jauh berbeza.  Masalah ini juga dihadapi parti lain, tetapi nampaknya lebih ketara dalam PKR.  Punca masalahnya adalah penerimaan keanggotaan secara sewenang-wenangnya.  Ini kerana mobilisasi diperlukan semasa berkempen, maka parti politik di Malaysia perlu menarik sebanyak anggota yang mungkin untuk memperkasa organisasi dalam parti dan mengerah sokongan.
Namun, seandainya sebilangan besar anggota parti itu sekadar "gerombolan", maka ia akan membebankan parti.  "Pendidikan politik" perlu dimantapkan agar anggotanya dipandu ideologi, lantas partinya berideologi.  Namun, inilah yang paling kekurangan dalam aktiviti parti setakat ini.
Organisasi tidak cerminkan keperluan
PKR meniru struktur organisasi parti lain dalam negara, terutamanya musuh politiknya UMNO.  Kritikan ini pernah dibangkitkan sebelum ini.  Cuma, pernahkan PKR memikirkan, apakah kekurangannya yang sebenar?  Apa yang paling diperlukannya?  Dan apakah struktur organisasi yang mampu mencerminkan keperluan ini?
Saya yang bukan anggota parti memang tidak tahu jawapannya.  Tetapi adalah kurang bijak untuk PKR jika sekadar meniru struktur organisasi musuh politiknya tanpa mempertimbangkan keperluan diri yang sebenarnya.  Misalnya, pengkhususan peranan dalam struktur pimpinan tertinggi PKR agak mudah, hanya diwujudkan beberapa jawatan seperti Ketua Penerangan, Pengarah Strategi dan sebagainya.  Apakah ia mencerminkan keperluan dalam parti?  Apakah masih ada peranan yang perlu dikhususkan kepada pemimpin tertentu untuk menjalankan fungsinya?
Pada masa yang sama, terdapat institusi yang pada hakikatnya tidak diperlukan, tetapi diwujudkan untuk memenuhi ego sesetengah orang.  Tetapi kewujudan institusi ini hanya membazir sumber dan menambah perselisihan dalaman.  Apakah benar perlunya sayap Angkatan Muda Keadilan dan Wanita?  Atau ia diwujudkan kerana ia wujud dalam organisasi dalam negara?
Kekurangan bakat mentadbir
Saya terasa Anwar Ibrahim tidak lagi "gagah" sebagaimana yang dahulu selepas "Kes Sodomi II".  Hujah ucapannya berulangan, dan tidak menunjukkan prestasi yang terserlah setelah dilantik menjadi Penasihat Ekonomi Selangor.  Kemampuannya untuk menyatukan parti, mengawal situasi turut dilemahkan.  Jelas, kes ini telah banyak melunturkan dayanya dan membazir masanya - strategi BN yang cukup tajam untuk melemahkan musuhnya.
BN menyasar pada Anwar - bahagian yang paling kuat dan pada masa yang sama paling lemah untuk PKR.  Setelah penat lelah Anwar dibuatnya, kekuatan parti berjaya dilemahkan.  Di kalangan pemimpin PKR, ramai yang berimejkan "akar umbi" atau "politik", tetapi terlalu kurang "pakar/profesional".
Ketika pemimpin PKR berucap, saya sering merasakan - jikapun halatuju mereka betul, tetapi mereka gagal meneliti soal dasar, pentadbiran secara terperinci.  Bahasa yang cukup molek tetapi tidak bernas - semuanya "syiok sendiri", langsung tidak masak dengan soal pentadbiran.
PKR seharusnya menarik dan melahirkan lebih banyak pemimpin seperti Tony Pua, Liew Chin Tong dari DAP, yang tahu berbicara tentang soal dasar.  Mereka yang hanya pandai beretorik - pemimpin kononnya inilah hanya akan menjadikan kemelut PKR dari segi pimpinan semakin ketara.
Strategi kurang tepat
Satu lagi masalah PKR, tidak membezakan keutamaan dalam percaturan strategi.  Selepas PRU 2008, PKR dengan megah dan yakin bahawa dirinya mampu menawan Putrajaya, menguasai kerajaan peringkat persekutuan.  Namun, keyakinan ini tidak lagi sekukuh dua tahun yang lalu.  Prestasi PKR baru-baru ini memberi persepsi bahawa parti ini tidak mempunyai halatuju yang jelas.
PKR haru jelas dengan halatuju dalam percaturan strateginya.  "Mempertahankan Selangor, kemudian berperang (dengan BN) untuk jangka panjang", atau terus "menuju ke Pusat"?  Sesungguhnya, kedua-dua ini bukan pilihan yang saling berkontradiksi.  Tetapi dalam keadaan di mana sumber terbatas, adalah penting untuk mendahulukan dan mengemudiankan tugas-tugas - agar tidak memecah-belahkan sumber sehingga tidak kesampaian dua-dua matlamatnya.  Misalnya, pemilihan langsung PKR, bukannya tidak baik, tetapi apakah ia wajar diadakan pada peringkat ini?  Ini soalan yang dipertikaikan.
Diharapkan PKR meneliti kelemahan diri sebaik-baiknya.

Ketepikan perbezaan ideologi, konvensyen berjaya fokus agenda bersama

Sepanjang seminggu lalu, rancangan Pakatan Rakyat untuk tidak membincangkan isu negara Islam dalam konvensyen kedua di Kepala Batas, Pulau Pinang dimanipulasi oleh Umno sebagai satu bukti kelemahan PAS dalam Pakatan.
Menurut kenyataan pemimpin-pemimpin Umno dan blog-blog penyokong parti itu, PAS telah mengkhianati perjuangan Islam apabila membiarkan agenda penting parti itu tidak menjadi sebahagian agenda konvensyen Pakatan.
Hal ini jelas satu penyelewengan fakta oleh Umno yang tidak memahami persepakatan dalam Pakatan.
Hakikat bahawa Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim yang dilapor menyebut perkara itu menambah lagi keseronokan Umno untuk memainkan isu itu.
Anwar dikemukakan oleh Umno sebagai memperkudakan parti-parti Pakatan dan kenyataan itu ditafsir terus oleh Umno sebagai penolakan agenda negara Islam oleh Anwar.
Penerimaan agenda negara Islam, satu asas perjuangan PAS sebagai gerakan Islam bukan isu dalam konvensyen Ahad lalu.
Pakatan telah memilih untuk tidak membincangkan perkara-perkara asas perjuangan parti komponen dalam konvensyen.
Ini bermakna agenda negara Islam PAS tidak menjadi halangan kepada perjuangan Pakatan, dan tidak menghalang kesepakatan dicapai sehingga berjaya mengadakan konvensyen untuk kali kedua.
Konvensyen kedua telah memutuskan untuk membincangkan agenda-agenda bersama, seperti yang dipersetujui pada konvensyen pertama di Shah Alam, Selangor tahun lepas.
Selepas lebih dua tahun wujud sebagai sebuah gabungan parti yang beraspirasi menggantikan kerajaan Barisan Nasional, Pakatan telah semakin matang menangani soal ideologi.
Parti-parti Pakatan tidak memaksa rakan-rakan lain menerima ideologi parti lain dalam gabungan, dan menyedari perbezaan-perbezaan setiap parti.
Sebagai rakan dalam sebuah pakatan, parti-parti anggota menyedari keperluan menghormati satu sama lain, menyedari wujud perbezaan mendasar antara setiap parti dengan parti yang lain.
Pemerhatian Harakahdaily terhadap konvensyen hujung minggu lalu menolak apa yang dikempen oleh Umno itu.
Pakatan telah mempersetujui agenda-agenda bersama, yang telah ditandatangani sebelum konvensyen Ahad, 19 Disember lalu.
Tidak seperti sebelum ini, ketika isu perbezaan masih menghambat Pakatan, gabungan tiga parti ini kini telah matang dan tidak membenarkan lagi perbezaan menjejaskan kesatuan Pakatan.
Konvensyen di Kepala Batas tempoh hari juga telah menunjukkan satu perkembangan positif hubungan PAS dengan DAP, dua parti yang paling cenderung untuk berselisih dalam hal ideologi.
Ucapan pemimpin kanan DAP Karpal Singh yang menyatakan perjuangan negara Islam PAS “perlu dirundingkan segera” menunjukkan ada ruang untuk isu ini ditangani dengan baik oleh kedua-dua parti, yakni dengan cara yang tidak membawa kepada pergeseran atau perpecahan dalam Pakatan.
Walaupun dalam kenyataannya Karpal jelas menyatakan hanya menerima Islam sebagai agama rasmi Malaysia dan tidak lebih daripada itu, sikap Karpal itu menunjukkan kesediaannya menerima realiti berhubung Islam di Malaysia.
Perkembangan ini, walaupun masih terlalu awal untuk dinilai sebagai penerimaan DAP terhadap perjuangan Islam PAS, menunjukkan sikap DAP tidak sekeras sebelum ini.
Perubahan sikap ini boleh dinilai melalui kesediaan DAP terlibat dalam gabungan dengan PAS sehingga hampir mencapai dua pilihan raya umum.
Hubungan PAS dengan DAP yang semakin positif ini menjadi kayu ukur hubungan baik parti-parti Pakatan.
Seperti yang tercetak dalam buku jingga yang terhasil daripada persetujuan konvensyen ini, jelas bahawa hanya agenda dipersetujui yang dibincangkan dan dipersembahkan kepada rakyat.
Agenda-agenda yang tercatat dalam buku jingga itu memperhalusi apa yang ingin dan perlu dicapai oleh Pakatan untuk meningkatkan taraf hidup rakyat Malaysia tanpa mengira kaum.
Agenda membela rakyat daripada terus menjadi mangsa dasar-dasar ekonomi dan sosial pemerintah BN yang tidak kelihatan serius membela rakyat terbanyak yang berpendapatan rendah.
Pada masa sama, Pakatan berhasrat membebaskan rakyat daripada tafsiran-tafsiran menyeleweng gabungan parti-parti BN yang memonopoli perjuangan bangsa masing-masing tanpa benar-benar membela nasib bangsa terbabit.
Ini jelas menunjukkan perjuangan yang dibawa, agenda yang dipersetujui untuk dipersembahkan kepada rakyat pada pilihan raya umum akan datang tidak dihalang langsung oleh perbezaan ideologi parti-parti Pakatan.
Perjuangan membela rakyatlah yang menjadi pegangan Pakatan buat masa ini, tanpa mengorbankan ideologi masing-masing.
Seperti yang selalu dinyatakan pemimpin-pemimpin Pakatan, Pakatan Rakyat ialah satu pakatan untuk rakyat.
Hanya agenda rakyat yang menjadi tumpuan, kerana hanya itu yang dipersetujui oleh parti-parti dalam Pakatan Rakyat.

Seorang lagi peguam dinamakan calon ‘third force’ PRU-13

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 Dis – Gerakan Kebebasan Sivil Malaysia (MCLM) mengumumkan peguam Sreekant Pillay sebagai calon bebas kedua ‘third force’ untuk diturunkan pada pilihan raya umum ke-13.
Sepuluh hari yang lalu ia mengumumkan peguam dan aktivis hak asasi Malik Imtiaz Sarwar sebagai bakal calon pilihan raya umum kali ini, yang disebut-sebut akan diadakan tahun depan.
Pengumuman itu dibuat pada forum awam pertama MCLM, yang didaftarkan di London, di negara ini malam ini.
Seperti Malik, Sreekant (gambar) juga mewakili kerajaan negeri Selangor dalam inkues kematian Teoh Beng Hock, yang keputusannya akan diketahui 5 Januari depan.
Peguam itu merupakan anak sulung wartawan ternama mendiang M.G.G. Pillai.

Top 10 news of 2010

You have to say this much about the major news events of the year - at least some of these were different.

Who would have expected to see royals feature so prominently in the headlines? Or a Tun charged with cheating the very cabinet of which he was a member?

Perkasa, politicians and the police also provoked their share of public comment, and we suspect that we have not heard the last of them. Roll on, 2011, as we take a last look at 2010.

NONERoyal rumble in the news jungle

Royals in some states created a 'majestic' quagmire from which they had quite a job extricating themselves. Muddy boots and fingers aside, they proved quite a media spectacle for the gawking masses who are accustomed to seeing them in venerable light.

The dramatic Kelantan succession shuffle saw unprecedented sibling rivalry as two brothers attempted to muscle their way to the throne, even seeking recourse via the police and the courts. The sultan, incapacitated because of a stroke, was replaced by his elder son.

Next, the incumbent royal family in Perak was put to another test of succession, this time on the eligibility of its right to rule. Questions were raised about the way that an amendment to the state constitution was rushed through the legislative assembly.

In Selangor, there was the questionable award of the now-abandoned Shah Alam Hospital project to members of the royal family. This was fraught with tales of financial mismanagement and rent-seeking of the 'Ali Baba' variety.

Over the year, too, some royals have not been loathe to express their opinions on issues ranging from seeking a return of their immunity to constitutional issues that relate to their position as Malay rulers.

WHAT'S NEXT: The times they are a-changing, as Dylan sings... and the royal-watching now takes on a whole new - and more serious - meaning.

NONEBetting on a comeback

When word got out that the government had quietly issued a sports betting licence to Berjaya Group's Vincent Tan through its subsidiary firm Ascot Sports in May, a whirlwind of protest swept through the nation.

The Pakatan Rakyat-led states pledged to bring in a ban, and the federal government sood found itself under pressure from both PAS and Umno to revoke the permit.

Tycoon Tan tried a trade-off, announcing that he would donate RM525 million to charity once he sells his stake in Ascot Sports to Berjaya Corp. It did not allay the vocal objections.

Najib finally - and strangely - announced that the government had rejected the legalisation of sports betting, just over a month after the news broke.

But his decision to do so after an Umno supreme council meeting instead of after a cabinet discussion has reverberated to this day with allies in the BN stable, namely MCA and Gerakan.

WHAT'S NEXT: Given a government desperate for revenue in any form, who'd bet against this scheme being brought in by the back door? There's far too much money at stake to wave bye-bye to the promised riches.

NONESand in Selangor's rice-bowl

Pakatan found the going far harder during its second year in charge of Selangor as BN and Umno ramped up pressure on the state government's handling of key issues.

The multi-million ringgit sand industry was in the spotlight over illegal extraction of sand and the subsequent loss of revenue to the state.

The state attempted to consolidate management of the industry through Kumpulan Semesta Sdn Bhd, but the company fell far short of its financial target. For all that, it was 'caught out' for paying a fat bonus to staff.

The drawn-out battle between the federal and state authorities over water supply dragged on for another year, as Selangor insisted that water should be accessible to consumers at the lowest cost.

The issue was taken to the streets by 7,000 representatives of the state, NGOs and the public, who mounted a rally to hand over a petition to the Agong. The federal government has since climbed down, allowing the state to proceed with restructuring the industry.

But Selangor's much-vaunted policy against corruption was besmirched in the matter of 'support letters' which landed DAP's Tee Boon Hock and his boss Ronnie Liu in the soup.

Tee was found to have abused his position by using Liu's letterhead and seal to obtain contracts up to RM1 million. He was booted out of DAP and sacked as Klang municipal councillor.

Despite calls to ban the issuance of support letters, the state government has maintained that this is a necessary evil. It issued a circular to local agencies, however, not to entertain such recommendations when awarding contracts.

WHAT'S NEXT: There'll be no let-up, as BN is bent on taking back the wealthiest state in the peninsula.

NONECaught - or not - in the act

High-profile politicians or individuals were charged with various offences, but a fair number of acquittals caused red faces in the Attorney-General's Chambers and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Former transport minister Dr Ling Liong Sik was the first 'Tun' to be charged in court. He faces a charge of misleading the cabinet over land purchase for the Port Klang Free Trade Zone. Four senior individuals including former general manager OC Phang have been charged as well.

Former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo was charged with graft in relation to the acquisition of land for his mansion in Shah Alam.

Among those set free by the courts were commercial crime director Ramli Yusof, the third most senior police officer in the force. Former Umno Youth Federal Territories leader Norza Zakaria was acquitted of money politics by the Temerloh Sessions Court.
Former director-general of immigration Wahid Md Dom was freed of a corruption charge, although deputy director-general Yusof Abu Bakar was found guilty and was slapped with a sentence of 56 years in jail. But given that the sentence is to run concurrently for the 14 charges, he will serve six years in total.

Meanwhile, former Tourism Ministry director-general Mirza Mohammad Taiyab had mixed fortunes - he was acquitted of a corruption charge last year, only to face new ones concerning the activities of Pempena, a problem-plagued subsidiary of the ministry.

WHAT'S NEXT: Will Mohd Khir and Ling be found guilty? Many are of the opinion that these are just show-trials ahead of a general election.

NONEFalse dawn for BN?

BN found much to smile about, having won three of the four by-elections held during the year - in Hulu Selangor, Galas and Batu Sapi. It only lost the Sibu parliamentary seat.

MIC and MCA both strengthened their leadership. Dr Chua Soi Lek made his comeback as MCA president, while long-time MIC head S Samy Vellu stepped down earlier than expected.

Important constitutional amendments were made to enlarge the BN. It now allows individuals to become associate members, while NGOs may be absorbed as affiliate members.

BN chief Najib Abdul Razak sounded the charge for change before the next general election. The ruling coalition, he said, must do away with delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance to regain public support.

Even former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad sounded optimistic when he predicted that the coalition may do better than in the 2008 outing when the coalition lost five states to Pakatan Rakyat, on top of failing to secure a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

But Najib will need a swing among still-sceptical Chinese voters if he is to come out victorious and bolster his position in Umno.

WHAT'S NEXT: BN still needs to come to terms with resistance from within and to win over sceptics. Whatever it chooses to believe, it has only managed to paper over the cracks thus far.

NONEPKR polls: Bold experiment or big debacle?

When PKR passed a resolution last year to implement direct elections, no one could have foreseen the impact it would have on the party.

It was the first to give each member a vote in electing the top echelon of the leadership. But the idealistic notion turned out to be a double-edged sword.

A mad scramble for the deputy presidency ensued when maverick politician Zaid Ibrahim - who joined PKR for no more than one year - threatened the traditional ascension into power by declaring his candidacy.

What was supposed to be a 'festival of democracy' quickly became a mudslinging exercise, with Zaid's call to de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim and his right-hand man Azmin Ali to step down.

Allegations of electoral fraud, malpractice and even vote-rigging dogged the polls process, leading to much frustration among staunch supporters who had hoped the party would set a benchmark in local politics.

Amidst the uproar, Azmin and his team were crowned as the big winners, but not before Zaid's abrupt departure from both the contest and the party hierarchy.

WHAT'S NEXT: The months of endless bad publicity the party has endured could hinder its chances in the next general election. PKR has come to be described as the weakest link in Pakatan, and it has precious little time to sort itself out.

NONEUnder-flavoured alphabet soup

Prime Minister Najib Razak launched a series of economic reforms that are bubbling in a cauldron of alphabet soup.

There is the NEM (New Economic Model), ETP (Economic Transformation Plan) and NKEA (National Key Economic Areas) - all meant to pull the country out of its 'middle income' rut onto the rung of high-income, developed status by 2020,

However, some contents of the cauldron were quickly moved to the back-burner when Malay rights pressure group Perkasa and even Umno members showed they are averse to the phasing out of the race-based affirmative action policy.

The government retreated, as proved evident in the concluding report - released in December and which retained the 30 percent bumiputera equity quota as a policy tool.

Others got hot under the collar over a mega-project under the ETP - Permodalan Nasional Bhd's 100-storey 'Warisan Merdeka' tower saw opposition from 270,000 members of a Facebook group as well as 'cake party' protest against the waste of resources.

Attention was also focused on the RM26 billion Kuala Lumpur International Financial District project, initially said to be located at the site of the Sungai Besi airport. One claim linked billionaire Jho Low with the project, but he has denied it.

WHAT'S NEXT: It remains to seen if the soup will serve as sufficient comfort food for the anticipated snap polls next year.

NONEA bridge too far?

Sporadic but heated debate cropped up as religious bodies took on public opinion - and each other - in an emotional stand-off sparked by non-Muslim use of the word 'Allah'.

Sentiments ran high after a Kuala Lumpur High Court decision allowed Catholic publication Herald to use 'Allah' in its Malay section.

Muslims argued that the name is exclusively for their use while non-Muslims, particularly the Christians and Sikhs, countered that they have as much right to use the word.

While most limited their objections by holding peaceful protests, some took out their frustrations on several churches. The worst damage was to the Metro Tabernacle Church which had its ground floor gutted by a firebomb. This lead to a spate of copycat and reprisal attacks on churches, mosques, suraus and a Sikh temple.

The broader effect was that it intensified the glare on religion-based issues, such as Shamala Sathiyaseelan's custody battle and Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching's visit to a surau, where she gave a speech.

An interfaith committee was set up to bridge the divide, but it has made little headway after just one meeting in April.

WHAT'S NEXT: For as long as religion is muddied by politics, Malaysians can only muddle along, hoping for good sense to prevail.

NONEPolice paranoia over parangs

The police force again came under heavy fire, following several incidents in which civilians fell in a hail of bullets. The youngest victim to date was Aminulrasyid Amzah, gunned down in April, months short of his 15th birthday.

The teen's death split opinions, with some believing that the men in blue were justified in opening fire on the boy who was driving illegally in the small hours of the night.

But police conduct has come under question as testimony in court has already given the lie to the claim that the police personnel shot in self-defence as Aminulrasyid 'tried to reverse' his borrowed car onto them.

It was also claimed that a 'parang' (machete) was found in the car, but the teenager's family has denied any knowledge of its existence.

Sustained public pressure led to the setting up of a special Home Ministry committee to review the Inspector-General's Standing Orders (IGSO), which detailed guidelines for the use of firearms. However, the once-regular updates from the committee are now few and far between.

While silence presides over the IGSO review, survivors of several subsequent shootings live to vouch innocence and seek compensation.

Other deaths have occurred - three youths were suspiciously shot in the head by police in Shah Alam, branded as 'parang-wielding criminals'.

The police have often attributed their shoot-to-kill decisions to the claim that suspects had charged at them with 'parangs' and screwdrivers.

Meanwhile, those who dare speak out about custodial deaths risk retribution. K Selvach Santhiran was violently arrested under the Dangerous Drugs Act hours after the verdict in an inquest during which he testified to having seen a police officer kick the deceased, R Gunasegaran.

WHAT'S NEXT: Still holding your breath? Don't! The IGSO review will go the same way as the proposal to set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission.

NONEThe 'monster' that is Perkasa

Umno and BN tried hard to be relevant again, promoting the all-encompassing, all-inclusive '1Malaysia' catchphrase but the wholesome goodness of the concept did not seem to sit well with the grassroots.

Pro-Malay rights group Perkasa continued to grow in prominence, consistently stirring debate with shrill demands for 'Ketuanan Melayu' (Malay supremacy).

Popular belief suggests that Umno can no longer afford to harp on Malay rights without losing non-Malay votes. Thus the job of securing Malay interests was outsourced to Perkasa, headed by Independent MP Ibrahim Ali.

As this did not resonate with the oft-repeated 1Malaysia chants, Umno has had to deny having a hand in Perkasa - it even blamed the media for unleashing the monster.
Formed in 2009, Perkasa receives comfortable support from former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Umno Youth leader Khairy Jamaluddin and federal minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz have not been able to curb Perkasa's growing influence in the mainstream of politics.

Perkasa has strained Umno's relationship with its BN partners, in particular MCA head Dr Chua Soi Lek and Gerakan's Koh Tsu Koon over issues relating to the special privileges of the Malays.

WHAT'S NEXT: Abetted by Umno, an unchallenged Perkasa will crow louder and orchestrate more protests against Pakatan, with a view to winning over Malay-majority constituencies.