Sunday, August 28, 2011

TV1 False "Murtad" Report

TV1 last nite reported in its 8pm prime-time news on the existence of "Murtads in Malaysia & Singapore" Facebook group. What is most despicable and sickening is TV1 highlighting the alleged association of DAP leaders such as Tan Kok Wai, Charles Santiago, Dr Boo Cheng Hau, Ean Yong Hian Wah with the Group. TV1 even placed the spotlight on the chairman of Parti Socialis Malaysia (PSM) and ADUN for Kota Damansara Dr Nasir Hashim insinuating the betrayal of his own faith.

The “news” report is obviously calculated to inflame sentiments and anger among Malays and Muslims in the country, especially towards Pakatan Rakyat whose leaders’ names were “found” to be part of the group.

The problem is those responsible in TV1 obviously did not bother to find the truth to the story but went ahead to make the baseless insinuations above. TV1 either were too ignorant to know, or did not want to know the fact that the “add to group” function in Facebook is such that you cannot prevent a group administrator from adding you to any group. There is no requirement to secure one’s permission or approval for adding a Facebook member to a Group.

Therefore all of the accused “supporters” of the Facebook page did not intend to, or never knew they had “joined” the Group. TV1 was completely unethical in its reporting by not first verifying the above information with the relevant people who were “implicated” by the Facebook page, especially since they were Pakatan Rakyat leaders who were easily accessible.

Hence instead of making a news report to cite the existence of the “Murtads in Malaysia & Singapore” Facebook page and criticising the administrators for wantonly adding Pakatan Rakyat leaders to the page and to cause anger among the people, TV1 chose to emphasize the supposed support shown by these leaders to the page. TV1 must be charged for making and disseminating false news to incite hatred among ordinary Malaysians.

The false TV1 news report follows closely another fake news aired by TV3 on 21 August which claimed the proselytization by a tuition centre in Old Klang Road after complaints by a non-existent “Surau Al-Musyrikin”.

It is absolutely clear that the above incendiary and seditious false news reports by the Government-owned and UMNO-associated media organisations are part of a systematic and orchestrated campaign to divide the people and retain power for Barisan Nasional in the next general elections. The desperation of the Najib administration is so deep that “to win at all cost”, BN is willing to not only spread false news, but also to use the highly-charged religious sentiments to tear the country apart.

We condemn the actions of the TV stations in the strongest possible terms and demand that the Minister of Information, Communications and Culture Dato’ Seri Dr Rais Yatim apologise on behalf of the TV stations for making false and seditious news reports. Dr Rais must also conduct an immediate investigation into the completely lack of professionalism in both TV1 and TV3 and insist that the responsible parties are removed from the posts.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Election Commission Must Punish Errant Registrars

Reveal and punish errant registrars, DAP tells EC
UPDATED @ 01:40:13 PM 26-08-2011 By Clara Chooi August 26, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — DAP today demanded the Selangor Election Commission (EC) reveal the political parties which have been registering permanent residents as voters and penalise those found responsible.

DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua suggested that errant assistant registrars should be punished by having their licenses stripped or suspended for six months if at least 30 per cent of their voter registration forms were found with errors like the registration of permanent residents or the dead, incorrect addresses and dual registrations.

He told a press conference here that the Selangor EC’s letter on Monday to political parties was a clear admission that certain political parties have been attempting to register such un-eligible voters.

In the letter distributed to reporters today, the Selangor EC had complained that “nearly 50 per cent” of voters registered by assistant registrars recently had to be rejected as some applicants were found to be already deceased; their addresses did not reflect their MyKad details; they were registered twice before; and some were found to be permanent residents with no voting rights.

To curb a repeat of such discrepancies, the Selangor EC ordered all assistant registrars to submit a photocopy of the voters’ MyKads along with their application forms.

But Pua lamented the solution, saying this would not only punish the errant registrars but also the honest ones.

“With this new regulation, it makes it hard for us to register voters and it slows down the process.

“We go to supermarkets, malls, offices, night markets and so on for our voter registration drives ... where are we to find power points and photocopy machines to make a copy of their MyKads? And what if the voters refuse to produce the copies because they are afraid that we may use it for something else?” he said.

He claimed that only about 10 per cent of forms submitted by the DAP’s 60 registrars in Selangor contained errors compared to 70 per cent by some undisclosed parties.

Pua added that with automatic voter registration, the commission would not have to hire thousands of data entry clerks to record voter details or appoint assistant registrars to help with the new voter registration process. At present, each political party is allowed to appoint two registrars for every state constituency.

“If you want to talk about freedom of choice, that some voters may not want to be registered at all, then what about having MyKads ... do we have freedom of choice there? In any case, they are merely turned into eligible voters automatically when they turn 21 but they can still choose not to vote,” he said.

Pua said that in order to implement automatic voter registration, the EC does not need to amend any election law as the present legislation already grants the commission authority to decide how voters are registered.

Automatic voter registration is one of the key demands made by election watchdog Bersih 2.0.

Remove Religion from Voter Registration Forms

Remove religion from voter registration forms, Pua tells EC
UPDATED @ 02:17:10 PM 26-08-2011 By Clara Chooi August 26, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — DAP MP Tony Pua appealed to the Election Commission (EC) today to remove religion column from voter registration forms, pointing out that a person’s faith is irrelevant to his right to vote.

He claimed that at least one in 20 or 30 of those registered were rejected by the EC for writing “no religion” in their forms or when their religions did not match the one stated in their MyKad details.

“The numbers may be small but it affects a citizen’s right to vote. I find the requirement onerous as a person’s religion is irrelevant to his or her citizenship,” Pua told a press conference this morning.

He added that the authorities should also acknowledge that some Malaysians choose not to profess any faith and this should not affect their eligibility to be registered voters.

“They must take that it is possible for people here not to have a religion ... to be either agnostic or an atheist. It is a frivolous reason to reject their applications,” he said.

Pua added that many Malaysians were unaware that their religion is recorded in their MyKads and may state a different faith when registering to be a voter, resulting in their applications being rejected.

He cited the case of a man who professes Christianity but had his application rejected after it was discovered that his MyKad states that he does not practise any faith.

“It is understandable that they need a voter’s MyKad number, his exact name and address but why bother with the religion?

“Also, what happens if a non-Muslim, for example, wants to change his or her religion? It would be a hassle to keep having to go to the NRD (National Registration Department) to change your MyKad details every time you change your faith,” said Pua.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

MRT: Bumi Quota

MRT Bumi quota shows NEM like NEP, say Pakatan leaders
By Boo Su-Lyn August 24, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — The 30 per cent Bumiputera quota for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) construction packages shows that the New Economic Model (NEM) is no different than the New Economic Policy (NEP), Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lawmakers charge.

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana) said yesterday that the nation’s largest construction project ever will have fixed reservations for Bumiputera.

The MRT is due to begin operations in January 2017.

“This proves beyond doubt that the NEM is not in the least bit different from the NEP,” DAP publicity chief Tony Pua told The Malaysian Insider last night.

“All the associated problems arising and related to the NEP over the past few decades — such as declining competitiveness, brain drain — will continue to be aggrieved, if not made worse, by such policies,” added the Petaling Jaya Utara MP.

Abdul Malik Azman, Prasarana’s head of the MRT Procurement Management Department, told The Malaysian Insider that the quota was part of the government’s “national agenda”.

The Malaysian Malay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and also Malay rights groups had previously demanded Prasarana’s stringent contractors requirements were relaxed so that more Bumiputera companies qualified.

Read the full article at The Malaysian Insider here.

Chua Soi Lek Gets a "Slap"

On 24 August, Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek proudly told all affected property owners in Chinatown as well as reporters after his meeting with Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD) Chairman, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar that the land acquisition controversy has been resolved.

Chua told the reporters that “an agreement in principle had been reached” after a one-hour meeting this afternoon with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).

According to Chua, the compromise will see the government acquiring only the strata title for the property 100 feet below ground required for the MRT tunnel, while the buildings, many of which are nearly a hundred years old, and land above ground will remain in the current owners' hands.

His role as a hero was unfortunately a most short-lived one, for Syed Hamid has given the MCA President a figurative “tight slap in the face” by insisting that Chinatown would be acquired to make way for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT) and there was no guarantee at all that it would be returned to the owners.

Chua has turned from hero to zero within 24 hours but what is perhaps most telling is how shocking flip-flop and ad-hoc decisions are being made by this administration on a daily basis which affects the lives and livelihood of the man-on-the-street.

Syed Hamid has reverted back to the “original” argument that compulsory acquisition of the Jalan Sultan lots — where the KVMRT would run underground — was necessary because under land law, landowners also owned the land that lies below ground.

Once again, this is complete and utter nonsense. The National Land Code 1965 had been specifically amended in 1990 to allow for the acquisition of underground land without affecting surface property by inserting Part Five (A) (section 92A to 92G) under Clause 3. The amendment enables the disposal of “underground land”, which can then either be alienated or leased for the use to construct tunnels, car parks and to lay pipes.

Even Dr Chua agreed with the above after I raised it earlier in the media. Clearly Prasarana is attempting to hijack the land affecting the heritage shop lots in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown for the purposes of profit and not for the purposes of MRT construction works 100 feet underground. Such action for profit is clearly bad faith on the part of the Government.

The Government must not abuse the powers in its hands to profiteer at the expense of the existing property owners and is against the spirit of the law. Given that it is possible for Prasarana to acquire the use of land underground without having to acquire property on the surface, it must immediately withdraw its order to the affected landowners without causing any further inconvenience to them.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tajuddin Bailout: GLCs Evasive in Disclosure

Pua: GLCs must reveal contents of Nazri’s Tajuddin letter
By Yow Hong Chieh August 17, 2011

Pua lambasted the failure by MAS and TM to divulge the contents of Nazri’s letter. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — The government-linked companies (GLC) now suing Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli must disclose the contents of Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s letter to settle the cases, in the interest of transparency and corporate governance, DAP’s Tony Pua said today.

The DAP publicity chief said there was no point confirming receipt of the de facto law minister’s letter without providing details as shareholders and the public still did not have confirmation that the GLCs were told to drop their suits and seek an out-of-court settlement.

“Until today, we do not have confirmation of what exactly is in the letter. We have hearsay,” he told reporters at DAP headquarters here today.

“It is ridiculous to say you received a letter but don’t say what’s in the letter. It’s like I’m a company... and I announce that I got a contract but I don’t tell you from who, I don’t tell you the amount, I don’t tell you how long the contract is and I don’t tell you what the contract is about.”

In separate filings made to Bursa Malaysia last night, Malaysia Airline System Bhd (MAS) and Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) confirmed receiving a letter from Nazri instructing them to drop their suits against Tajuddin and to seek out-of-court settlements.

Neither, however, revealed the contents of the letter in question.

Pua also highlighted what he claims to be “unjustified” interference by state investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd in GLC operations after several of them issued near-identical statements on Bursa Malaysia last night in connection with their suits against Tajuddin.

Both MAS and TM announcements read: “However to date, MAS/TM has not received any proposal for settlement from TSDTR, and is not engaged in any negotiation with TSDTR in regard [sic] to an out of court settlement of the legal suits concerning MAS/TM.

“As a general rule, MAS/TM is always open to explore an amicable out of court settlement in any dispute it is involved in, provided the Board of Directors of MAS/TM are fully satisfied that based on proper legal advice, a settlement and the terms thereof are in the best interest of the Company and its stakeholders.”

Khazanah has a 48.83 per cent stake in MAS following last week’s share swap with AirAsia, and a 36.78 per cent stake in TM.

“Did Khazanah draft this announcement for them or is it the respective boards and management crafting their own announcements?” Pua said.

“It’s a massive, uncalled for and probably unjustified interference by a major shareholder in the regular operation of these GLCs.”

Read the full article in The Malaysian Insider here.

Where's the Promised Tung Shin Report?

Liow ‘very poor minister’ for not releasing Tung Shin report, says Pua
By Yow Hong Chieh August 17, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 17 — DAP publicity chief Tony Pua called Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai a “very poor health minister” for not releasing an overdue report on the use of tear gas and water cannon outside Tung Shin Hospital in the July 9 Bersih rally.

Pua pointed out that the public has “not heard a single sound” from the health minister since the latter announced on July 21 that his ministry would complete the report on the incident within two weeks.

“Four weeks later, we have heard absolutely nothing from the minister. I think it’s a total cop out,” Pua told reporters at DAP headquarters here today.The Petaling Jaya Utara MP was one of the thousands of Bersih rally demonstrators near the hospital on the fateful day.

“He doesn’t dare admit the truth, he has no courage to admonish the police, and I think he makes a very poor health minister as a result.”

Liow (picture) announced on July 14 that his ministry would set up a committee to look into allegations that police fired tear gas and water cannon into the Tung Shin Hospital compound to flush out Bersih protesters who sought refuge there during the chaotic July 9 rally.

He later said the committee, headed by Health Ministry secretary-general Kamarul Zaman Mohd Isa, would look into whether the safety of the hospital was compromised.

Liow, who is also MCA deputy president, has drawn flak from many quarters for denying that the police fired into the hospital despite photo and video evidence suggesting otherwise.

Police have denied firing tear gas and water cannons at Tung Shin, claiming tear gas fired outside the hospital was blown into its compound by the wind.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Join BN? Dream On!

DAP tells Nazri to ‘dream on’ that it will join BN
By Debra Chong August 15, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — Senior DAP leaders today laughed off an offer from Barisan Nasional (BN) Cabinet member Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz for the opposition party to join the ruling coalition and swell its ranks.

Both party adviser Lim Kit Siang and national publicity chief Tony Pua rejected Nazri’s offer made yesterday in an interview with Chinese daily Sin Chew Daily, saying the DAP would immediately be forced into a racial mould the instant it joined the powerful coalition, which went completely against the party’s beliefs.

“Nazri can dream on. He needs to get his perspective correct. We are not a representative of the Chinese community. We represent the Malaysian community at large,” Pua told The Malaysian Insider today.

De facto Law Minister Nazri had purportedly extended the invitation based on the BN’s predecessor, the Alliance’s, past record in winning the opposition Gerakan to its side after the latter party took Penang in the 1969 general election.

Gerakan was among a host of parties that joined the three original Alliance members — Umno, the MCA and MIC — to form the BN in 1973.

While he acknowledged that the DAP remained a Chinese-dominated party that appealed largely to one ethnic community, Pua stressed that “they are not a racial party”.

“We do not subscribe to BN’s divide-and-rule ideology,” he said.

“Only a new politics and a new national compact, breaking completely away from the politics of ‘divide and rule’ along ethnic lines, subordination of public interests to private greed resulting in destruction of independent national institutions, rampant corruption and cronyism where privatisation has become piratisation and NEP an instrument to foster Umnoputras in the name of Bumiputeras, can save Malaysia,” Lim said, elaborating on Pua’s remark.

Read the full article in The Malaysian Insider here.

MRT: Chinatown Land Acquisition II

Traders and shop owners express their opposition to the proposed acquisition
of their properties for the MRT today. 
— Picture by Jack Ooi

Prasarana should stop making outrageous excuses to make unnecessary property acquisitions on the pretext of making way for the MRT in Chinatown.

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd project development director Zulkifli Mohd Yusoff said last week that the land and buildings above the tunnel in Chinatown had to be acquired because “Section 44 of the National Land Code 1965 states that property owners not only have the right to the plot itself but also the air above and ground below.”

At the meeting with the affected property owners on Thursday last week, Zulkifli said that SPNB had spent “three to four months” in talks with the Attorney-General’s Chambers to see if it was possible to tunnel underneath existing properties without having to acquire them but was told it could not be done.

“We had months of discussion with the Attorney-General’s Chambers on how we can have the tunnel underneath and the buildings remain... but under the current law, there is no such provision,” he said.

The above “excuse” for the compulsory acquisition of land above the tunnel is complete and utter nonsense. Either Prasarana is trying to get away by telling tall tales, or the Attorney-General’s Chambers does not know what laws have been passed in this country.

The National Land Code 1965 had been specifically amended in 1990 to allow for the acquisition of underground land without affecting surface property by inserting Part Five (A) (section 92A to 92G) under Clause 3. The amendment enables the disposal of “underground land”, which can then either be alienated or leased or can be subject to the right of use.

In fact, when the Amendments were debated and passed in parliament on the 15 December 1989, the then Deputy Land Development Minister, Dato Haji Mohd Khalid bin Mohd Yunus had presented the bill and clarified that this was to enable the construction of underground car parks, underground railways and underground pipes and other conduits.

…Terdapat juga keadaan di mana kawasan-kawasan yang terhad yang berada di kawasan strategik, perlu dikekalkan sebagai kawasan lapang, padang permainan dan lain-lain kegunaan awam. Dalam keadaan sekarang tanah yang berada di bawah paras bumi tidak dapat dilupuskan secara berasingan. Dengan kemampuan teknologi yang ada pada masa ini, tanah di bawah permukaan bumi mungkin bloeh dimajukan bagi kegunaan yang tertentu, seperti tempat letak kereta, keretapi bawah tanah dan lain-lain.

…Pindaan kepada Kanun Tanah Negara pada kali ini timbulnya dari… Keperluan mengadakan peruntukan bagi membolehkan pelupusan tanah di bawah paras bumi bagi kegunaan yang berlainan daripada kegunaan tanah di permukaan bumi dan Kajian semula Akta Hakmilik Strata 1985… (Hansard 15 December 1989 pp 11320-11321)

Clearly then Prasarana is attempting to hijack the above pieces of land which affects the heritage shop lots in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown for the purposes of profit and not for the purposes of MRT construction works 100 feet underground. Such action for profit is clearly the use and abuse of the Land Acquisition Act 1960 in bad faith.

Given that it is possible for Prasarana to acquire the use of land underground without having to acquire property on the surface, it must now immediately withdraw its order to the affected landowners without causing any further inconvenience to them.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tajuddin Bailout: Securities Commission Must Reprimand GLCs

Despite the nationwide furore over the directive given by Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz to all Government Linked Companies (GLCs) to withdraw from civil suits against Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli, none of the GLCs which are listed on Bursa Malaysia have made any public announcement over the matter.

According to The Malaysian Insider, the directive from the Nazri, who claimed to have the mandate of the Government said that:
This is to inform you that the government of Malaysia and the Finance Ministry has agreed to settle all civil claims against Tan Sri Dato Tajuddin Ramli and others to be withdrawn immediately in view of the fact that the government and the Finance Ministry have agreed that the said cases will be settled out of court… For your information the government has given me the mandate to act for the government in this matter.
Nazri’s letter also directed the lawyers acting for the GLCs and Danaharta to hand over their cases to the firm of Hasfarizam Wan and Aisha Mubarak, a well-known UMNO lawyer.

Such a directive from the Minister dated 8th August to public-listed entities should have been immediately disclosed on Bursa Malaysia as the litigations involved billions of ringgit in claims and counter-claims which are surely “material” to finances of these companies.

The Board of Directors of these companies must also immediately state their immediate position vis-à-vis the letter from Nazri to allow investors, particularly the minority shareholders to weigh their investment options.

The listed companies involved include Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd, CIMB Bank Bhd, Atlan Holdings Bhd and Malaysia Airlines Bhd (MAS). None of these companies have issued any announcements pertaining to the matter as at the time this statement is issued, nearly a week after the government directive was given.

The failure to disclose material developments on a timely basis may subject the company and/or its director and officers to penalties under the Listing Requirements and the Securities Industry Act, including a fine not exceeding M$1 million, a suspension of trading of the company’s securities; and/or the delisting of its securities.

The Securities Commission (SC) must act without fear or favour and reprimand these listed companies for failing to make the necessary disclosures to protect the public and shareholder’s rights. SC must also require these companies to publish the Government’s directive in full to ensure that investors are not confused by “hearsay” over the exact content of the letter.

The blatant interference by the Government will also rock investors’ confidence in our stock markets as it becomes questionable if the Board of Directors will act in the best interest of these companies, or will be nudged to comply with arbitrary government decrees.

SC which has worked hard over the years to improve Malaysia’s reputation for poor corporate governance since the Asian financial crisis especially over the then RM3.2 billion bail out of Tan Sri Halim Saad, must not allow this incident to reverse the progress it has achieved.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tajuddin Bailout: Gross Negligence by Najib & Nazri

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and Minister in Prime Minister's Department must be warned that they could be sued for gross negligence in the carrying out of their duties by directing Government Linked Comanies (GLCs) to withdraw all civil suits against former MAS Chairman Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli.

Should the civil suits be withdrawn before a satisfactory settlement is achieved, and if a settlement could not be achieved subsequently, there will no longer be any recourse for these GLCs to reclaim the debts outstanding or damages and compensation from Tajuddin.

This is because they would not be able to continue with the existing suit against Tajuddin once they are withdrawn. At the same time, because the claims were for actions which occurred more than 6 years ago, the GLCs will not be able to initiate new legal actions against Tajuddin as it would be time-barred.

It would mean that Tajuddin will get away scot free without having to pay a single sen for his billions of ringgit in debt as well as any compensation for damages he may have caused to the various GLCs, especially MAS through negligence, abuse or maladministration.

Tajuddin who is well-advised, would have little or no incentive at all to “settle” any of the outstanding sums or claims once the suits are withdrawn. This is unless of course, the intended “settlement” is not with the GLCs but a clandestine "off-site" solution with Najib, as suggested by the latter.

What assurance can Najib or Nazri give to Malaysian tax-payers that their monies will be well-protected and that Tajuddin will indeed pay off the bulk, if not all of his debt to the Government and GLCs? If no assurance can be given, one can only conclude that the Ministers have been reckless and grossly negligent intentionally or otherwise, in decreeing the withdrawal of civil suits against Tajuddin, knowing full well that the latter is in all likelihood going to get away scot free.

If the current Attorney-General is unwilling to consider the above action against the Prime Minister due to the complete lack of independence of the former’s office, Najib can be assured that full, open and transparent investigations will be carried out by the Pakatan Rakyat government against his misdeeds should we secure victory in the next General Election. This is to ensure that those who have knowingly and negligently caused losses to the Government’s coffers will be held accountable and will not be let off unpunished.

In the meantime, Nazri must immediately withdraw his directive to GLCs to ensure that the rakyat's interest can be fully protected by the respective Board of Directors and the legal advisors they have entrusted with the legal suits.

Tajuddin Bailout: Najib Panders to Billionaire Cronies

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's meek attempt to explain the withdrawal of civilian suits against Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli as an "off-site" solution epitomises the former's complete lack of political will to fight patronage, rent-seeking and cronyism in Malaysia. In fact, the “off-site” solution by Najib suggests some secret rendezvous between the two parties to thrash out a handshake deal by subterfuge.

In his oft-quoted speech to foreign investors at the launch of his landmark New Economic Model (NEM), Najib said that "we can longer tolerate the behaviour of rent-seeking and patronage". However, the crude and blatant attempt to direct all Government Linked Companies (GLCs) to withdraw their multi-billion suits against Tajuddin to reclaim outstanding debts as well as other alleged misendeavours when he was the Chief Executive of Malaysian Airlines System (MAS) leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

The directive proves beyond doubt that Najib is not only failing to live up to his NEM promise, he is doing the complete opposite. The Prime Minister is more than tolerating behaviour of rent-seeking and patronage, he is protecting the richest cronies who have benefited from the largesse handed down by the Barisan Nasional government.

In one of the most outrageous bail outs in Malaysian history, the Malaysian government paid RM1.79 billion to acquire MAS shares belonging to Tajuddin's corporate vehicle at RM8.00 per share despite its market price then being only RM3.62 per share. In addition, gross mismanagement by Tajuddin since 1994 has resulted in MAS suffering billions in losses and was laden with RM9.5 billion in debt.

Despite MAS debts being whittled down via a "asset unbundling" exercise where Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd (PMB) was set up to acquire all MAS aircrafts and their associated debts, MAS never really recovered from Tajuddin's maladministration with its share price today struggling below RM1.80 per share.

The attempt by Najib to withdraw all suits againts Tajuddin, and to even replace all the lawyers independently appointed by the GLCs with a well-known UMNO lawyer smacks of letting Tajuddin getting away scot free.

Is Najib trying to tell us that when the respective GLCs including MAS, Telekom Malaysia, Prokhas (formerly Danaharta), many of which are listed, were poorly advised and did not know what they were doing when they filed their suits against Tajuddin?

Is the Government telling us that the existing panel of appointed lawyers, including some renown names, were wrongly advising the GLCs to claim billions of ringgit in debt and damages from Tajuddin? Were their advice so bad that they must be replaced wholesale by an UMNO lawyer?

Given the billions of ringgit in rakyat's money involved, the Government must be completely transparent in its actions and not sweep everything under the carpet. The public interest in this case is paramount and must be protected at all cost.

Najib must immediately withdraw the directive to GLCs to drop the suits againts Tajuddin because it is improper, an abuse of power and a corrupt practice to protect a billionaire crony. The Government must instead make public the case against Tajuddin to prove the Prime Minister's determination to eradicate rent-seeking behaviour, political patronage and cronyism.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tajuddin Bailout: Did Nazri Finish Law School?

I have asked earlier for the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz to be investigated under Section 2(1) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No. 22/1970 where “Any member of the Administration, Parliament or State Legislative Assembly or any public officer who commits a corrupt practice shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of 14 years or a fine of RM 20,000 or both.”

A “corrupt practice” in this case is defined as “any act done by a member... in his capacity as such member... whereby he has used his public position or office for his pecuniary or other advantage...”

When questioned on the above, Nazri retorted that I was “practising double standards”.

Nazri told The Malaysian Insider, “I want to ask him (Pua): When (PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul) Hadi Awang asked the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) and Jais (Selangor Islamic Religious Department) to see him and explain the recent church raid, why did he not rebuke Hadi? Because what power does Hadi have in doing so? He is not the mentri besar of Selangor and neither is he the minister for religious affairs. So why the double standards, Tony?”

I’m complete shocked by the absurdity of the analogy used to accuse me of being hypocritical and practising double standards.

Firstly, PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang did not ask DUMC and JAIS to see him. Hadi asked to see them to better understand the recent controversy at DUMC.

Secondly, PAS President did not give any directive to JAIS, a government body – whether to withdraw from investigation the alleged offences or to take action against any party.

Thirdly, even if Hadi did in effect express an opinion on the issue, one way or another, it does not constitute a directive especially since Hadi is not a “member of the Administration” who is able to exercise the powers of his public office over JAIS.

On the other hand, Nazri as a Minister is clearly a “member of the Administration” who has “used his public position or office” to unduly exercise improper influence over the actions of Government Linked Companies (GLCs) by-passing the GLCs Board of Directors, possibly to obtain “pecuniary or other advantage…”

It is the exact same law used to find Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim guilty of alleged abuse of power in 1999 where he was sentenced to jail for 6 years. Anwar, while holding the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, was found guilty of having “committed corrupt practice” by giving alleged directives to two police officers.

If there is a relevant analogy at all, it has to be with the former Deputy Prime Minister’s case. The comparison between his actions and that of the PAS President is that between night and day, which raises the question of whether Nazri is qualified to take on the role of Minister in-charge of law.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Should Nazri be Investigated for "Corrupt Practice"?

In an unprecedented move, a Minister in Prime Minister’s Office had directed all Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) to withdraw all civil suits against former MAS owner and chairman, Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli.

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz wrote that “the government of Malaysia and the Finance Ministry has agreed to settle all civil claims against Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli and others to be withdrawn immediately in view of the fact that the government and the Finance Ministry have agreed that the said cases will be settled out of court.”

Such an instruction from a Minister’s office, especially one with no authority over the various GLCs including Malaysia Airlines System (MAS), Telekom Malaysia and Prokhas (formerly Danaharta), must be at the very least highly improper, and at worst an illegal and corrupt practice to allow Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli to get away with billions of ringgit in debt.

It is a clear case of a Minister using his superior position to exercise undue influence over decisions to be made in these companies. Each of these companies, many of which are listed on Bursa Malaysia, have their own Board of Directors tasked to make decisions in the best interest of the respective companies. Nazri who does not sit in any of these Boards, has no business giving instructions of any kind to them. In fact, the party that is best positioned to advice the Boards on their legal case is their appointed legal team, who were taken by complete surprise by the directive from the Minister.

His directive to these GLCs made a complete mockery of corporate governance in these companies and will only turn away local and foreign investors who will not tolerate blatant interference from the Government on business and financial decisions.

Nazri can be investigated under Section 2(1) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No. 22/1970 where “Any member of the Administration, Parliament or State Legislative Assembly or any public officer who commits a corrupt practice shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of 14 years or a fine of RM 20,000 or both.”

A “corrupt practice” in this case is defined as “any act done by a member…in his capacity as such member…whereby he has used his public position or office for his pecuniary or other advantage…”

It is the exact same law used to find Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim guilty of alleged abuse of power in 1999 where he was sentenced to jail for 6 years. Anwar, while holding the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, was alleged to have “committed corrupt practice” by giving directives to two police officers.

Nazri’s attempt to explain his letter that the suits should be withdrawn so that a settlement between the parties can be reached does not hold water for a settlement could still be reached before the respective suits are withdrawn.

The Minister’s directive for the GLCs to withdraw their civil suits against Tajuddin Ramli is clearly designed to provide the latter breathing space and a desperate attempt to bail him out of billions of ringgit in debt to the government agencies and companies, as well as to excuse him from causing billions of ringgit in losses to our flagship carrier, MAS. In 2001, Tajuddin Ramli via his corporate vehicle, Naluri Bhd was bailed out to the tune of RM1.792 billion by the Malaysian government for the acquisition of MAS at RM8 per share despite the market price being only RM3.62 per share.

What is perhaps most tragic is the fact that all the credibility and goodwill generated by the Prime Minister’s New Economic Model (NEM), where Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak boldly declared “we can no longer tolerate practices that support the behaviour of rent-seeking and patronage”, is completely and irreversibly lost.

Tajuddin settlement proof political patronage alive and well

Tajuddin settlement proof political patronage alive and well, says Pakatan
By Shannon Teoh August 11, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 11 —Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has flayed Putrajaya’s decision to drop all claims against Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli, calling it proof that Barisan Nasional (BN) is resorting to political patronage to fund its war chest ahead of the next general election.
Opposition lawmakers said the out-of-court settlement was a “scratch-your-back, you-scratch-mine” deal that would allow the former chairman of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to further reduce an initial RM1.8 billion owed to state-owned debt restructuring firm Danaharta.


DAP publicity chief Tony Pua also said that “this shows that political patronage is alive and well in the country.”

“This sounds the death knell of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s New Economic Model and Economic Transformation Programme when the prime minister can allow cronies to get away at the expense of public interest,” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said.

He added that as 37 other parties were told to drop suits against Tajuddin, a poster boy of the Mahathir-era policy to raise Malay corporate captains on government largesse, total funds including interest lost to the public could be in the tens of billions.

The Malaysian Insider reported today that Putrajaya has directed all government-linked companies, including MAS and Danaharta, to cease all civil suits against Tajuddin.

For the full article on The Malaysian Insider, click here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

When Will Najib Call For Polls?

Bursa bloodbath gives Najib pause on polls
By Shannon Teoh August 10, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — With some RM91 billion slashed from the stock market since last Monday (over eight days), Datuk Seri Najib Razak faces yet another global financial meltdown ahead of general elections — due in less than two years.

Although the prime minister was said to be mulling snap polls as early as the end of the year, politicians and analysts say that economic factors are now firmly out of his hands, with him hanging on to his Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) projects only for a rebound next year.

“These projects are his only defence against the storm clouds on the horizon,” said Jupiter Securities research head Pong Teng Siew, stating that Najib (picture) will only go to the ballot boxes after the ETP bites.


But DAP’s Tony Pua, one of the opposition’s top economic spokespersons, said that Najib is “hamstrung” as he heads into the pre-election period.

“In the last two years, he has been able to rely on high oil prices to bankroll public spending but that is not going to happen this time as the global slowdown will hit oil prices and our exports.

“This is Najib’s worst nightmare. The perfect storm is brewing and he can only hope to wait it out,” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said.

For full article on The Malaysian Insider, click here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

MRT: Chinatown Land Acquisition

Traders and shop owners express their opposition to the proposed acquisition
of their properties for the MRT today. 
— Picture by Jack Ooi

Chinatown businesses suspicious over MRT acquisition
By Melissa Chi August 09, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Traders and shop owners in the historic tourist enclave of Chinatown expressed outrage today over government plans to acquire properties in the area, and are bracing themselves for the destruction of heritage buildings to make way for the Klang Valley MRT (KVMRT) project.

To date, 34 units have been served compulsory acquisition notices to make way for the KVMRT project, which runs along Jalan Sultan and Jalan Petaling, cutting through the arch that bears the name “Petaling Street” in three languages.

“That means they are trying to chak jiu pai (shut down our business) and cheong ngo dei ge fan woon (steal our livelihood),” said Daniel Wong, a trader who owns multiple properties in the area, during the first meeting with the traders last week. “How can we just stand by and watch?”

Bukit Bintang MP Fong Kui Lun met with the traders today at the Lok Ann Coffee Shop, located in a building which will be acquired as well, and encouraged them to step up their protests and be vocal about their dissatisfaction over the acquisitions.

“Chinatown has witnessed the development of KL. It’s been around for a hundred years,” he said, adding that it was not right for the government to just take their businesses and properties from them. “All we can do now is protest against it.”


Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, who was also present to speak with the traders, told The Malaysian Insider that there was no reason for the government to acquire the land specifically for the MRT project.

“The MRT station is actually located a block away, so these shops are actually not above the MRT station itself. They are above the tunnel track but because the tunnel is actually 100 feet below ground, there is no reason for the government to acquire these particular shop lots. So the only reason why they would want to acquire these shop lots is so that they can profit from the appreciation resulting from the construction of the MRT system.

“We disagree with this kind of mechanism for the simple reason that when the government builds infrastructure, it’s meant to benefit the people in and around the area. You cannot, just because you build the infrastructure, claim that all the profits have to go to the government,” he said.

For the full article in The Malaysian Insider, click here.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Bersih: Now Ministry of Health Abdicates Responsibility

Tung Shin probe a whitewash, says DAP
By Shannon Teoh August 08, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 — The DAP has accused the authorities of sweeping under the rug the firing of tear gas and water cannons into the Tung Shin hospital compound during the July 9 Bersih rally.

Although Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had ordered a “high-level” ministry probe into the incident, publicity chief Tony Pua (picture) said he was informed by the Health Ministry on August 5 that it was now “joining the police in building an investigation report that will be held soon.”

“The minister initially delegated his responsibility to his secretary-general. Now the whole ministry is delegating to the police.

“After more than a month since Bersih, all the police have done is release some heavily-edited video clips to show how nice they were. The Health Ministry has got no courage to declare the truth,” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said.

Party international secretary Liew Chin Tong also accused the police of “trying to rewrite history with its own version of what happened.”

“It is regrettable that police can still refuse to accept responsibility and admit its mistake,” the Bukit Bendera MP told reporters today.

In the aftermath of the rally that saw tens of thousands dispersed by police with tear gas and water cannons, Liow ordered the probe on July 14 after a group of medical consultants had written to the media refuting the hospital board and police who claimed that no gas canisters or water cannons were fired directly into the hospital.

The MCA deputy president had initially agreed with the hospital but then ordered the probe, stating that patient security and hospital safety were paramount.

Pua, Liew, Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching and Zairil Khir Johari, the political secretary to the DAP’s secretary general, had offered themselves as witnesses to the Health Ministry, which Liow had accepted and forwarded to the committee.

But Pua said he received a call from Bukit Aman on August 5, asking him to record his statement on the Tung Shin incident and to “bring along the other three.”

On the same day, the Health Ministry wrote to him asking him to co-operate in the “inquiry and investigation,” which the letter said was now being done with the police.

Police had absolved themselves of any wrongdoing during the July 9 rally after setting up six internal teams to investigate claims of police brutality that followed after nearly 1,700 were arrested, scores injured and an ex-solider died during chaotic scenes in the capital.

However, they admitted on July 21 that Tung Shin was hit with tear gas canisters and water cannons during the rally, but denied shooting directly into the compound.

Federal police internal security and public order director Datuk Salleh Mat Rashid said that shots were only fired “nearby” the hospital compound on July 9, and speculated that the wind caused by the rain probably caused the tear gas and water cannons to enter the hospital compound.

However this statement flies in the face of various video clips uploaded on the YouTube video-sharing site showing water cannons and tear gas fired into the hospital.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

An Evening with Lim Guan Eng and Mat Sabu

We would like to invite you to join us in our 2011 DAP Selangor Fund Raising Dinner.
Theme: “An Evening with Lim Guan Eng and Mat Sabu”
Venue: MBPJ Dewan Sivik
Date: 22 August 2011 (Monday)
Time: 7.00pm
Halal Malay food will be served, and the primary language for this dinner will be English and Bahasa Malaysia.

The cost of the dinner will be RM60 per pax or RM600 per table. VIP tables are also available for RM1,500 a table. The funds raised from the dinner will be used for in preparation for the upcoming election campaign.

For reservations, please email to sara_dyl (at) or to me directly with your name, contact number, which dinner(s) and number of seats or tables (VIP or normal) required.

For those who are not able to make the dinner, donations are also very much welcome ;-). Cheques should be written to "DAP Selangor" or cash can be deposited at DAP Damansara Maybank account: 5141 9634 2008.

We'd like to thank you in advance for your much needed support!

13th General Election to be Dirtiest ever

The rumours have been swirling intensely for the past few months that the Barisan Nasional (BN) is registering foreign workers and permanent residents as voters for the coming general election. Various parties have given eye-witness accounts of vans from the National Registration Departments (NRD) heading to remote areas to conduct discreet registration exercises.

In May 2011, PKR Ampang Member of Parliament, Zubaidah Kamaruddin had also surfaced a letter allegedly written by UMNO Hulu Selangor to the Home Minister to grant citizenship to a list of 2,000 foreign workers with the pretext that they will vote for BN in the upcoming elections.

However, it was the reports in Malaysiakini earlier this week providing hard-evidence that foreign permanent residents have been granted voting rights in Malaysia. What was perhaps more shocking was that within a matter of 4 hours, the status of the dubious new voters were immediately changed from permanent residents to citizens of this country in the NRD database.

The above cases prove beyond doubt that there is an unholy conspiracy between BN, the Election Commission as well as the NRD to cheat their way to victory in the next general election.

Alarm bells are raised over the integrity of our national security systems because of the flagrant abuse of the process and the ease at which our citizen data get manipulated. They also prove that the biometric system proposed by the Election Commission to "prevent phantom voters" is a complete non-starter. If even our NRD system can be tampered with so blatantly, there is no credible assurance that the government can provide that the biometric system proposal worth hundreds of millions of ringgit will be clean, transparent and secure.

The action of the above parties follows the Prime Minister's rallying cry in Selangor in May 2011 for BN to "win at all costs". While the results of 2008 took BN by surprise, they are now leaving nothing to chance and would use all tricks in the book to maintain their strangle hold on power as well as to recapture the states lost to Pakatan Rakyat.

It is also not the first that BN has awarded of citizenship to foreigners in a massive scale. They have previously done the same in Sabah with the covert “Project IC” which is also known as “Project M” where “M” denotes Mahathir. The project has cemented UMNO’s stranglehold on power and reduced the political power of the Kadazan, Dusun and Murut communities in Sabah. The outcome today in Sabah was a population explosion where naturalised “foreigners” outnumber locals in the state.

BN will use its control over the media and security apparatus to intimidate Malaysians to vote BN as seen most recently during the Bersih rally, and money will not be an object to buy votes as shown in the Sarawak state elections. And if intimidation and the buying of votes do not assure them of success, BN would blatantly cheat its way to victory.

Malaysians who are united in seeking free and fair elections will need to work doubly hard to negate the electoral malpractices committed by BN. And Malaysians seeking to achieve change in the next general election will have to work triply hard to convince those who are still in doubt over the need for change to overcome the uneven playing field in favour of BN.

Najid Dares Not Defend "1Malaysia"

Najib is proving to be the lamest Prime Minister in Malaysia’s history - he has neither the political will nor courage to even defend his own policies when it is repudiated by his Deputy

At the Malaysian Student Leaders’ Summit yesterday, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak exposed himself as a weak leader with no political conviction and neither political will nor political courage when he refused to defend his “1Malaysia” policy as defined in the Government Transformation Plan (GTP) policy document.

The GTP developed by PEMANDU in the Prime Ministers’ office had defined 1Malaysia as a “nation where every Malaysian perceives himself or herself as Malaysian first, and by race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic background second”.

However, the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had twice reiterated in 2009 that he is “Malay first” for “he would be shunned by all the Malays if he were to say that he is a Malaysian first”.

Despite “1Malaysia” being made the cornerstone of this administration, Najib had refused to openly declare himself a “Malaysian first” or commit to its definition when asked by a student at the Summit. Instead, he dodged the question by giving answer that would have left the students in no doubt that the man before them is no leader. Najib said that he does not “want to respond in a way that will divide me from my deputy. In Malaysia, that can be very dangerous”

He further added that “it does not matter what you say, just as long as you follow (the 1 Malaysia concept)”. It certainly doesn’t take 600 of our brightest young minds at the forum to tell the Prime Minister that you can’t follow a concept that is neither here nor there, and can’t even be defined properly.

Najib’s refusal to declare support for his “Malaysian first” policy clearly demonstrates that he has no personal conviction of his “1Malaysia” clarion call. In addition, despite the seeming importance of the policy to achieve a united and harmonious multi-racial Malaysia, he is willing to sacrifice “1Malaysia” for political expediency.

Instead of demonstrating leadership and conviction by standing firm on his “principles” and demanding that his Ministers support his cause, Najib has chosen to mollycoddle his Deputy, as the latter disagrees with him.

In the past, we have repeatedly witnessed former Deputy Prime Ministers openly declaring their loyalty and undying support for the then Prime Ministers. What we are seeing now today is the complete reverse, where the Prime Minister is doing his utmost to avoid displeasing his Deputy, even at the expense of his most important policy linchpin.

It raises the question as whether Najib’s position as the Umno president is so “very dangerous” that he has to march to Muhyiddin’s beat, with the latter firmly in the driver’s seat.

If the Prime Minister himself does not even dare to stand firm on his convictions, and has no political will and courage to ensure that his entire administration, including his own Deputy fall in line with his Malaysian first policy, how does he even expect ordinary Malaysians to believe in him?

Monday, August 01, 2011

MCA: Are You Malaysian First?

DAP to MCA: Contracts given on merit, not race
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal July 30, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, July 30 — DAP rapped MCA today for accusing the Penang government of sidelining the Chinese community in the award of contracts, stressing that the state administration’s criteria was strictly merit-based.

In a strongly-worded reply, DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua charged that Barisan Nasional (BN) parties like MCA were stuck with “archaic” policies where they were only interested in attracting votes from the “respective races” they claimed to represent.

“They fail to recognise their own chauvinism and their total disconnect from ordinary citizens today who are increasingly seeing themselves as Malaysians first,” he told The Malaysian Insider today.

MCA had accused Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng of awarding all of the state’s Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) contracts to Malays, Bumiputeras and Indian Muslims, leaving the Chinese community out in the cold.

Penang Wanita MCA chairman Tan Cheng Liang claimed yesterday this was likely because the chief minister was “currying favour” with the non-Chinese community as, according to her, the DAP has realised that it could not rely on support from the Chinese forever.

Tan was referring to a statement Lim purportedly made on Wednesday that the contractors in all five districts in Penang for DID contracts are Malays, Bumiputeras and Indian Muslims, with women accounting for 20 per cent.

In response, Pua today said DAP and Pakatan Rakyat (PR)’s policies were specifically designed from a “merit and needs-based perspective.”

“Unlike MCA and BN’s model, we are race-blind. If one is poor, he or she will deserve assistance, regardless of race, religion or creed.

“If one is competent and cost-efficient, they will be awarded government contracts and projects irrespective of company ownership,” he added.

The Petaling Jaya Utara MP said that since majority of Malaysians below the poverty line in the country were Malays, PR states would therefore ensure that they were ones mainly benefitting from financial assistance.

“Similarly, if the best contractors happen to be Bumiputera companies, there’s no reason why they should be penalised just because of their skin colour.

“First Umno calls us anti-Malay. MIC says DAP ignores the plight of Indians, and now MCA says we are anti-Chinese? That doesn’t make much sense, does it?” Pua asked.

The Penang administration under Lim’s rule has regularly been accused by Umno, MCA’s senior partner in the ruling BN coalition, of being racist for allegedly discriminating against the Malay community.