Monday, June 30, 2008

Exercise Arthritis Away?

An Exercise Prescription
by Mary Y. Choi

When you're facing the stiffness and aches of arthritis, the last thing you want to do is move. But it's also generally one of the best things you can do. Exercise protects joints by strengthening the muscles around them. Whether you have osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or another form of the disease, moderate-intensity exercise can improve joint flexibility, easing symptoms. Plus, it reduces your risk of falls, helps maintain a healthy weight, and even combats anxiety and depression.

Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk

Omega-3 Foods May Lower Eye Disease Risk

June 13 (HealthDay News) -- Consuming fish and other foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of severe vision loss in elderly people.

Australian researchers reviewed nine published studies that included a total of 88,974 participants, including 3,203 people with AMD. The combined findings from the studies suggest that a high dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a 38 percent reduced risk of late (advanced) AMD, and that eating fish twice a week is associated with a reduced risk of both early and late AMD.

The study was published in the June issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.

The University of Melbourne researchers noted that long-chain omega-3 fatty acids form an integral part of the layer of nerve cells in the retina. Outer cells of the retina are continually shed and regenerated. Because of this, deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids may cause AMD.

"A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fish, as a proxy for long-chain omega-3 fatty acid intake, has therefore been hypothesized as a means to prevent AMD," the researchers wrote.

While they did find an association between omega-3 fatty acid intake and reduced risk of AMD, they didn't go so far as to recommend regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids to ward off AMD.

"Although this meta-analysis suggests that consumption of fish and food rich in omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with a lower risk of AMD, there is insufficient evidence from the current literature, with few prospective studies and no randomized clinical trials, to support their routine consumption for AMD," the researchers concluded.


SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, June 9, 2008

How Exercise Fights Arthritis

How Exercise Fights Arthritis

By:
Nathan Yates

Reviewed By:
Vikas Garg, M.D., MSA

If arthritis makes moving hurt, then why would you want to exercise? It may seem counterintuitive, but exercise helps reduce arthritis pain. Not moving leads to stiff joints and weak muscles, which makes arthritis worse rather than better.

Exercise has other benefits too. Regular workouts can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight, so there's less pressure on your joints. You'll also have more energy and better sleep-common goals for many people with arthritis.

This doesn't mean that you should get up from the computer right now and go for a run. Talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen. Low-impact exercises are generally easier and lead to less post-workout pain. Swimming and water aerobics are excellent choices because water reduces the stress of gravity on your joints. If you can't get to a pool, try the sidewalk. Walking at a comfortable pace provides a great low-impact workout and can be done nearly anywhere.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends three types of exercise for people with arthritis :

  • 1. Flexibility ("range-of-motion") exercises. Stretching your neck, back, arms and legs reduces risk of injury and helps you prepare for more vigorous workouts. Gradually work your way up to 15 minutes of continuous stretching each day. (If you enjoy exercising in groups, check your local gym for a beginner yoga class.)

  • 2. Strength-building moves. Extra muscle helps support your joints, which may help reduce pain. The key to building muscle is resistance exercises, which involve pushing, pulling or bending your joints against a force. Even walking (pushing against gravity) builds muscles. As you get stronger, increase the resistance by adding hand weights or resistance bands. Unlike your daily flexibility exercises, try to do resistance exercises two or three times a week. Leave a day in between each session to give your body a chance to recover.

  • 3. Aerobic exercises. Nearly anything that gets your heart rate up and makes you breathe a little harder counts as aerobic exercise. This kind of workout will strengthen your heart, help you burn calories to lose weight, and probably improve your sleep, too. Doctors recommend a half to a full hour of aerobic exercise, three to five days a week. You can also break up the exercises to fit your schedule and still get similar benefits. Also, talk to your physician before starting aerobic exercises.

So, yes, it may be painful to move your body, but physical activity is also the path toward less pain. Ask your doctor for exercise recommendations; a healthcare professional such as a physical therapist can set up a plan for you, and some fitness facilities have arthritis programs. One last point about exercising safely with arthritis: Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity. You'll probably find you have less pain by exercising in short bursts instead of trying one long workout.

Anwar ups ante with police report against IGP, A-G

Anwar ups ante with police report against IGP, A-G

musa

Tan Sri Musa Hassan

gani

Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Facing fresh allegations of sodomy, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will raise the stakes in his fight with the government by lodging a police report today against its police chief and top lawyer for faking evidence against him in a similar case a decade ago.

The opposition leader claims he has proof that Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail concocted evidence for his corruption and sodomy trials in 1998 and 1999 which kept him imprisoned until he was freed in 2004.

He is due to lodge the report at 2pm at the Shah Alam police station, his Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) officials said. They have painted his 23-year-old accuser as a government plant and a coffeeboy and not a political aide as claimed.

Saiful Bukhari Azlan lodged a police report last Saturday alleging Anwar had sodomised him in a Damansara condominium on June 26 and other occasions abroad. Anwar denies the sodomy complaint and said it was to destroy his political comeback and distract the people about problems blighting the country.

PKR has released a set of four photographs showing Saiful with Cabinet ministers and a political aide to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, whose office the party claims has plotted to kill Anwar. Anwar sought refuge at the Turkish Embassy on Sunday, saying he feared for his life but left late yesterday when the government guaranteed his safety.

Both Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib have denied Anwar's claims of framing him or to get him assassinated.

New electricity tariff takes effect today

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 ─ Consumers in Peninsular Malaysia will have to be more prudent than ever when the new electricity tariff takes effect today.

Under the new tariff, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) decided that domestic users would still be eligible for the existing tariff of 21.8 sen/kWh if their monthly usage does not exceed 200 kilowatt hour (kWh).

However, for electricity usage between 201kWh and 400kWh, they will have to pay 34.5 sen per kWh unit.

The rate will increase on subsequent 100kWh of usage ─ 30 sen for 401-500kWh, 39 sen (501-600kWh), 40 sen (601-700kWh), 41 sen (701-800kWh) and 43 sen (801-900kWh).

A maximum rate of 46 sen will be charged for each kWh when the usage reaches 901kWh and above.

Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Wazir Mustafa of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM)'s Faculty of Electrical Engineering said a majority of households would be affected by the new tariff.

"I think more than 50 per cent households in the country use over 200kWh of electricity monthly, and the effect would be felt by most of them.

"Most of us live in terrace houses with few windows, and we need the lamps and fans switched on for 24 hours a day. If there is no one in the house during the day, maybe the electricity usage will not reach 200kWh per month," he said.

On the use of solar energy as an alternative, he said, it could help in long-term energy-saving, but it would costly to install such devices.

"If we want to depend 100 per cent on solar energy, our house will need more panels, space and, of course, money," he said.

That was why, he said, currently solar energy devices were only used by the well-to-do and in island resorts where there were no sources of electricity.

On several gadgets in the market which claimed to be able to save on consumption, Mohd Wazir said he was not sure of their effectiveness.

In fact, he said, apart from solar energy, the consumer was left with no choice other than to be more prudent and not to depend too much on electrical appliances in their daily chores.

He said ironing, for example, should be done on a large scale, because the iron needs more electricity and time before it could really heat up.

The amount of items placed in the refrigerator could also help in saving electricity, he said.

"Reduce the items in your fridge. The more items you placed in it, the more power it needs to keep them cool.

"And if you are on vacation, empty the fridge, switch it off, but leave the door ajar so it won't smell," he said.

Better still, Mohd Wazir said, electric rice cookers could be replaced with conventional pots and stoves.

His view was shared by his colleague, Professor Dr Shah Rizam Mohd Shah Baki, who said that the key in energy-saving was actually public awareness and not on technology only.

She said, however, that there were several energy-saving approaches that could be used, especially in lighting aspects.

As such, she said, the T5 fluorescent tube, compact fluorescent and light emitting diode (LED) bulbs would definitely help because they only use minimum power.

Although the bulbs might be a little expensive, they usually last longer and are more environmentally-friendly, she added.

Federation of Malaysian Consumer's Associations (Fomca) communication director Yusof Abdul Rahman said the public should change their lifestyle to cope with the new tariff.

He said the tariff was unavoidable as the government had to bear the rising cost of gas and coal which were the main fuels for power generation in the country.

"The public must be willing to buy and use efficient electrical appliances even though they might cost a little higher, but they can save energy in the long run," he said.

The Malaysian Muslim Consumer Association (PPIM) however asked the TNB to explain thoroughly how the new tariff would be determined so the public could be prudent in their power usage.

"A clear guide to count the new tariff should be attached in the monthly bill to enable consumers to count and monitor their household usage," PPIM project coordinator Noor Nirwandy Mat Noordin said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Bumiputera Manufacturers and Services Industry Association president Datuk Raja Nong Chik said the new tariff would definitely affect the industrial businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises.

He estimated that about 50 per cent of small and medium entrepreneurs would have to adjust to the new tariff, a process which he said would take up to two years to complete.

The new tariff would also increase their operational costs and they would be left with no choice but to pass them to the consumers in the form of higher prices of goods, he.said. ─ Bernama

Anwar's ex-speech writer sends support note

Anwar's ex-speech writer sends support note
1 July, 2008

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's current troubles have seen an outpouring of support, from the public in Parliament and cyberspace and now, from his former speech writer Munawar Anees who was jailed for sodomy.

In a posting at www.anwaribrahimblog.com, Anwar published an excerpt of the Pakistani scientist's letter to an unnamed relative of the Opposition leader.

"This is a re-enactment of the 1998 comedy. Is it not an insult to the intelligence of Malaysian people? Are these guys still living in a world of fantasy? But I am genuinely concerned about Datuk Anwar's personal safety, may Allah protect him," Munawar wrote.

"I hope Datuk Anwar has taken the news in good stride, I pray for his health; kindly convey my respects and salam to him."

Munawar was jailed for six months in September 1998 together with Anwar's adopted brother Sukma Darmawan as both were convicted of allowing Anwar to sodomise them. Munawar was released and later issued a statutory declaration denying sodomy and related his treatment by Malaysian authorities.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Anwar supporters are expected to congregate at the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) headquarters in Tropicana, Selangor tonight with reports that Anwar might turn up there. Anwar has just left the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur, where he had holed up since Sunday morning after the fresh sodomy allegations.

In a demonstration of technology at work, several foreign correspondents and even Anwar's family have been communicating with the Opposition leader through Blackberry chat, an application in the Blackberry mobile phone for instant messaging.

Other reporters were said to be scrambling for the device which Anwar's wife Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail showed yesterday to display a photograph of the political aide who accused Anwar of sodomy. - The Malaysian Insider

The Oil-for-Food scandal revisited

The Oil-for-Food scandal revisited
1 July, 2008

One of the names that cropped up in the final report of the Independent Inquiry Committee into The United Nations Oil-For-Food Programme was the Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Malaysia was the fourth highest purchaser of oil - RM1.8 billion.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Malaysia Today

On Sunday, the BBC reported as follows:

The Iraqi government has said it will file lawsuits in US courts against firms and people suspected of illegally profiting from a UN programme. The UN oil-for-food programme allowed Saddam Hussein's government to sell oil in order to buy humanitarian supplies during UN sanctions from 1996-2003. An inquiry found that 2,200 firms paid $1.8bn in bribes to Iraqi officials.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement that the legal action was to recover damages and hold those who benefited from the illegal activity accountable for their actions. "The oil-for-food programme was subject to huge financial scandals by companies and others [who] conspired with Saddam Hussein to embezzle large sums of money through kickbacks, inflated prices and the supply of shoddy goods," he said.

A UN-commissioned inquiry headed by former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker found that 2,200 companies in 66 countries had paid kickbacks to Iraqi officials to win supply contracts under the $60bn (£30bn) programme. The Iraqi statement did not name the firms or people the legal action will target nor when and in which courts the suits will be filed.

Two years ago, this was what the BBC said:

More than 2,000 firms linked to the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq were involved in making illicit payments to the Iraqi government, a report says. It found Saddam Hussein received $1.8bn (£1bn) from firms including Daimler Chrysler and Volvo, and it also named individuals said to have benefited.

More than half of the 4,500 companies - from 60 countries - involved in the oil-for-food programme paid kickbacks or surcharges to the Iraqi government, Mr Volcker reported. The single largest bribe came from a Malaysian trading company, Mastek, which paid Iraq $10bn over a prolonged period, the report found.

****************************************

PM & The Oil for Food Scandal

The Oil-for-Food Programme was established to allow Iraq to sell oil in exchange for food, medicine and other vital supplies. It did not take long however for the Iraqi government to abuse the programme by demanding kickbacks from companies. Several investigations were launched and voluminous reports written.

One of the names that cropped up in the final report of the Independent Inquiry Committee into The United Nations Oil-For-Food Programme was the Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Studying Chapter Two of the report, Malaysia was the fourth highest purchaser of oil under Phase IX of the programme (circa 2000 and above). This amounted to a figure of US$500 million or RM1.8 billion.

The report names Mastek Sdn Bhd as one of the companies that paid bribes to Iraqi officials amounting to US$10 million. The Prime Minister publicly denied any involvement in the scandal. He only recommended several people to participate in the Oil-for-Food Programme in his capacity as (then) Deputy Prime Minister. Malaysiakini was threatened by government officials for reporting on Abdullah Badawi's involvement.

The current Foreign Minister Syed Hamid issued a statement saying that the Prime Minister had nothing to gain from obtaining oil in Iraq. The Iraq Survey Group that prepared the report concluded that a person in the programme could profit by US$0.65 per barrel of oil obtained.

Returning to Mastek Sdn Bhd, it is listed as a saw timber company. Mastek Sdn Bhd was at that time a dormant company which was revived by three persons, namely:

  1. Noor Asiah Dato' Mahmood (Abdullah Badawi's sister-in-law)
  2. Faek Ahmad Shareef (Noor Asiah's ex-husband)
  3. Jaya Sudhir (businessman)

After it's revival it became a crude oil company, participating in Phase VII to Phase IX of the Oil-for-Food Programme. Currently Mastek Sdn Bhd is listed as a computer software develpoment company.

Prior to Phase IX, Mastek Sdn Bhd received roughly 7.5 million barrels of oil. During Phase IX however, Mastek Sdn Bhd's oil allocation rose to 39.5 million barrels. This coincided with the time when Abdullah Badawi cemented his position as the Deputy Prime Minister, after the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim. In fact, this was the single largest allocation of oil during the entire Oil-for-Food Programme.

The report specifically stated that Iraqi officials gave such a large allocation to Faek Ahmad because of his relationship to Abdullah Badawi. In written documents, Iraqi officials referred to Faek Ahmad as "Mr. Faek Ahmad Shareef/for the benefit of Abdullah". According to the definition of corruption as defined by the Anti-Corruption Agency, translated as below:

“Any officer of the civil service using his/her position or post in the service to obtain bribes/benefits regarding any decision made by the person or making a decision regarding any matter, in which he/her, his/her family members, friends or partners have a stake in the matter, whether direct or indirect.”

Abdullah Badawi's role in the scandal skirts dangerously close to the definition of corruption. Besides Mastek Sdn Bhd, another Malaysian company implicated in the report is Tradeyear Sdn Bhd. Listed as it's non-contractual beneficiaries are Faek Ahmad as well as a certain "Mr. Abdullah Badawi".

Tradeyear Sdn Bhd was allocated 9.2 million barrels of oil, after paying surcharges (aka bribes) of US$116,000. 9.2 million barrels of oil translates to a profit of US$6 million. Looks like a certain "Mr. Abdullah Badawi" is laughing all the way to the bank.

A simple search of the report turns out another two Malaysian companies that implicated in kickbacks, Jawala Corp Sdn Bhd of Dato Majid Khan (US$1 million) and Petma Oil of Dato Paduka L.M.N Affendi (US$110,000). To it's credit, Petronas was charged with surcharges but refused to pay.

As far back as June 2006, Teresa Kok (MP for Seputeh) had raised the issue in Parliament. Now it is May 2007 and no action has been taken against the companies mentioned nor has any satisfactory explanation been given. It's no wonder that Parliament leaks. The report can be found here. (By Goldenhub)

*******************************************************

In September 2006, Malaysia Today published this piece by Matthias Chang:

THE FATHER OF ALL SCAMS

CORRUPTION AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL

Mastek Sdn Bhd: Owned By Noor Asiah Mahmood Supported By Pak Lah Made Obscene Commissions & Gave Kickbacks At The Expense Of Iraqis Suffering Under 12 Brutal Years of Sanctions

An Entire Family In The Cesspool of Corruption

Scomi
ECM Libra
UN Oil-for-Food Programme

The Dirty Little Secret Of Pak Lah: “Mr Clean”

Reading the headlines in the New Straits Times and the spin churned out by Pak Lah’s spin doctors, we were led to believe that Pak Lah personifies integrity and honesty.

But is Pak Lah really “clean?”

Pak Lah did launch a campaign against corruption and some patsies, politicians and businessmen who were no longer useful in his agenda were put on show trials, orchestrated to project his “Teflon” image.

Only just recently, Mr. Clean called on Muslim countries “to step up efforts to fight corruption.” He was quoted as saying that, “the current condition that Muslim countries find themselves in is deeply alarming and distressing. I am saddened when we consider Islam’s glorious legacy of culturally and scientifically advanced civilisations, all built on solid foundation of ethics and moral values.”

Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Pak Lah has a fa├žade of Cleanliness but hides a rotten core!

What do you make of a person who preaches ethics and morality to fellow Muslims but in practice commits the most blatant corrupt practices?

This is a US$800 million question.

This is the scam committed by a Malaysian company supported by our Mr. Clean, Pak Lah in the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme.

An international correspondent described it well when he said that:

“It was meant to be the “Mother of all Humanitarian Programs”, but has turned out to be the Father of all Scams!”

And a Malaysian company was right in the middle of this cesspool.

This is the DIRTY SECRET of Pak Lah!

READ ON.

Let me explain the Dark Side of Mr. Clean.

There are two reports on the Iraq Oil for Food scandal, namely:

1) Charles Duelfer - Comprehensive Report of the Special Adviser to the Director of the Central Intelligence on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, September 30, 2004 (the “Duelfer Report” in short); and

2) Paul A. Volcker – Independent Enquiry Committee into The United Nations Oil-for Food Programme (Manipulation of the Oil-for-Food Programme by the Iraqi Regime) October 27, 2005 (the “Volcker Report” in short).

Both reports have named Pak Lah’s connection to the Oil-for-Food Programme via Malaysian companies.

The relevant companies are:

1) Mastek Sdn Bhd (50717-A)

Shareholders: Obata-Ambak Holdings Sdn Bhd - 379,200 shares Noor Asiah Binti Mahmood - 100,800 shares (Sister-in-Law of Pak Lah)

2) Tradeyear Sdn Bhd (361316-K)

Shareholders: Tradeyear Ltd - 2 shares

The Volcker Report specifically named Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as a “Non-Contractual Beneficiary.

The Report defines such a beneficiary as “The name of the individuals and entities other than the named contracting party that were named in the Ministry of Oil records as the intended beneficiary of the oil allocation. In some instances, the named beneficiary is an official of the contracting party.”

The Volcker Report indicated that Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had written a letter to Taha Yassin Ramadan on November 13, 2000 recommending a delegation headed by Mr. Faek Ahmad Shareef and Noor Asiah Mahmood (the sister-in-law of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) for the purposes of obtaining oil allocation.

The question that needs to be asked of Pak Lah is – “Why did you make those recommendations when the two companies referred to above were merely acting as middleman?”

Petronas, our the national oil company was already involved legitimately in the Oil-for-Food programme, and as the Volcker Report showed clearly that when the Saddam Government demanded kickbacks, Petronas refused to give kickbacks!

In the Volcker Report, it is clearly stated that a kickback of US$10,916,241 were demanded of Mastek Sdn Bhd, of which US$9,803,960 were paid, leaving a balance of US$1,112,281 unpaid.

In the case of Tradeyear Sdn Bhd, the sum of US$116,870 of kickback was demanded and the amount was paid in full.

The amount of moneys involved in the transactions was staggering. We can only imagine the amount of commissions earned by Mastek Sdn Bhd, owned by Noor Asiah Mahmod, the sister-in-law of Pak Lah.

While Petronas took up only 13,276,782 barrels of oil valued at US$264,111,195 from an allocation of 14,100,000 barrels, the above two stated companies in comparison took the following:

Mastek Sdn Bhd: Allocated: 45,000,000 barrels of oil
Took : 43,614,685 barrels of oil
Value : US$884,919,027

Tradeyear Sdn Bhd: Allocated : 9,200,000 barrels of oil
Took : 9,094,996
Value : US$171,771,487

When we add the two values, the amount earned exceeds US$1 billion!!

From interviews conducted with one Mr. Jaya Sudir (August 19, 2005) the Volcker Report states that Mr. Faek Ahmad Shareef had leveraged his connection with Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. A review of Iraqi documents confirms that Iraqi officials associated Mr. Faek Ahmad Shareef with Mr. Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as references to Mr. Shareef’s oil allocation in SOMO (State Oil Marketing Organisation) documents appear in some instances as “Mr. Faek Ahmad Shareef/for the benefit of Abdullah.”

In the case of Mastek Sdn Bhd, Pak Lah’s sister-in-law was directly involved in the payment of kickbacks. Pak Lah who was then the Deputy Prime Minister had admitted writing the letter of recommendation in support of the company’s application of oil allocation under the Oil-for-Food programme. There is therefore a “conflict of interest” when Pak Lah as the Deputy Prime Minister made the said recommendation.

Additionally, while serving as Deputy Prime Minister and without the knowledge of the then Prime Minister and or the Cabinet, Pak Lah placed himself in a situation whereby his personal as well as the government’s integrity have been brought into question.

What Action Must Be Taken?

In a similar situation that obtained in India, where the then foreign minister, Mr Natwar Singh was alleged to have benefited from the Oil-for-Food programme, the said minister was removed from the highest decision making body of the ruling party (the Indian Congress Party). Mr. Natwar Singh subsequently resigned from the government, notwithstanding his protests of innocence. The scandal was also alleged to have implicated Mr. Natwar Singh’s son.

It is inconceivable that Pak Lah having called upon all Muslim countries to fight corruption should be allowed to continue with his charade and to remain in office as the Prime Minister of Malaysia and President of Umno.

Pak Lah by any measure is tainted by the corrupt practice of his sister-in-law, Ms Noor Asiah Mahmood who has admitted making kickbacks in the Volcker Report.

When the scandal first broke out, Pak Lah pretended not to know anything about it. Pak Lah did not inform the government and the Malaysian people that his sister-in-law was a key figure in the scandal. It was only after the publication of the Volcker and Duelfer Reports, that he “claimed” that he was not involved in the scandal. In such scandals, it is often difficult to establish the money trail.

But what is important is that Pak Lah is tainted by his recommendation of his sister-in-law for the oil allocation and the kickbacks.

If it was not right for Pak Lah to approve the ECM Libra-Avenue merger because of a conflict of interest, as his son-in-law was the beneficiary, likewise it is not right for Pak Lah when he was the Deputy Prime Minister, to recommend his sister-in-law. They made obscene profits at the expense of fellow Muslims who were suffering from 12 years of brutal economic sanctions! 500,000 children died as a result of the sanctions. This is Blood Money!

We demand a Judicial Inquiry into this sordid affair!

Pak Lah must resign as President of Umno and Prime Minister of Malaysia!

By Matthias Chang

'My plans have been derailed'

'My plans have been derailed'
1 July, 2008


NEW OBSTACLES: Mr Anwar, who left the Turkish Embassy yesterday, told the press that recent sodomy charges are aimed at keeping him out of Parliament. -- PHOTO: AFP

Anwar says he was about to announce by-election, defections

By Carolyn Hong, The Straits Times


De facto leader of the Malaysian Opposition, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim leaves the Turkish Embassy in Kuala Lumpur after the government gave assurance of his safety on Tuesday. The ex-DPM of Malaysia is facing a sodomy accusation, similar to the one he faced in 1998. -- PHOTO: AFP

MALAYSIAN opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim emerged from the Turkish Embassy, where he had taken refuge on Sunday, and told reporters that his plans had been derailed by allegations of a sex scandal.

He said that he had been ready to announce plans to contest a parliamentary by-election, and that four lawmakers from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition would defect to his alliance today.

'Well, I can't announce now,' he said yesterday evening. 'This is derailed temporarily.'

His plans changed abruptly after a male aide, 23-year-old Saiful Bukhari Azlan, told police on Saturday that he had been sodomised against his will by Mr Anwar.

Mr Anwar, 60, denied it before he fled to the embassy, citing fears for his safety and saying he had received death threats.

Yesterday he filed a defamation suit against Mr Saiful.

Mr Anwar told The Straits Times that he agreed to leave the embassy after receiving government assurances of his safety.

He also said the new sex allegation, a repeat of what he had faced in 1998, was aimed at keeping him out of Parliament.

'It is precisely because of this that they have created this mess. They will keep me very busy in the coming days on this case,' he said.

The opposition also demanded an investigation into whether Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was linked to Mr Saiful, because there was a photograph showing the young man with Mr Najib's special officer at the Deputy Premier's office.

Mr Anwar's wife, Datin Seri Wan Azizah Ismail, who leads his Parti Keadilan Rakyat, said they had reason to believe that Mr Saiful was close to Mr Najib's aide.

Mr Anwar became eligible for elections in April after the expiry of a ban arising from his conviction for corruption in 1999.

The sex scandal comes just as his alliance has been threatening to make a grab for power, with defectors from the Barisan Nasional.

It recalled the events of 1998 when Mr Anwar was accused of sodomy. He was later cleared of the charge.

Riot police were on standby at the Turkish Embassy and outside Parliament yesterday but there were no incidents.

Mr Anwar said yesterday that he was not giving up his plans to take power.

His alliance is standing by him. All three parties - Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), and the Democratic Action Party - urged Malaysians not to be taken in by the accusation.

PAS deputy president Nasharuddin Mat Isa said the sex allegation was a wicked conspiracy to destroy Mr Anwar's reputation and distract Malaysians from the crisis of spiralling inflation.

Forensic team gathers evidence at RM2.2 mil luxury condo

Forensic team gathers evidence at RM2.2 mil luxury condo
1 July, 2008

(The Straits Times) - A MALAYSIAN police forensic team yesterday visited a luxury condominium in the upscale Damansara neighbourhood to gather evidence for the sodomy case lodged against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

ALLEGED CRIME SCENE: The upscale development where the alleged offence took place. The unit in question is said to be worth at least RM2,200,000. -- PHOTOS: WWW.MALAYSIAKINI.COM

The team spent more than five hours sweeping the unit where the alleged offence had taken place, reported online newspaper Malaysiakini.com

Team members entered the condominium premises at about 12.15pm, and left at about 5.15pm.

A group of police investigators was also at the posh condominium inspecting the log books at the guard house.

The police also spoke to security guards and viewed hours of closed-circuit television footage.

Security guards refused to speak to the horde of journalists who had been camping outside the development, saying that they had been instructed by their employers to stay silent.

According to a witness, the corridor leading to the fifth-floor condominium unit was cordoned off with police tape, and several policemen were seen guarding the entrance.

The luxury unit is said to be worth at least RM2.2 million (S$900,000), and its monthly rental rates range from RM7,500 to RM15,000. The condo facilities include a fitness centre, sauna, swimming pool, and squash and tennis courts.

Last Saturday, Mr Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan lodged a police report accusing Datuk Seri Anwar of sodomising him at Unit 1151 of Kondominium Desa Damansara in Kuala Lumpur. The alleged offence was said to have taken place on June 26.

Mr Anwar has denied the allegation, calling it a total fabrication. Yesterday morning, he filed a defamation suit against Mr Saiful.

US cautions over sex charges against Anwar

US cautions over sex charges against Anwar
1 July, 2008

The United States said today it would oppose any politically motivated investigation or prosecution of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim facing fresh sex misconduct charges.

Anwar is being investigated over new allegations of sodomy, Malaysian police said on Saturday, the same charge that saw him jailed six years until 2004, when the charge was overturned.

The former deputy premier accused the government of concocting the new sex claims by a 23-year-old male aide and had briefly sought sanctuary at the Turkish embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, saying he had received threats and feared for his life.

"The main point for us is that the rule of law needs to stand above politics," said Tom Casey, spokesman for the US State Department.

"And we would certainly oppose any use of law enforcement or judicial procedures for anything other than legitimate purposes of the law," he said.

Noting that Anwar had previously faced similar charges and that his conviction was ultimately overturned, Casey said, "So, we would hope that there's not a pattern here.

"But, certainly, we would be concerned that anything that is done be done in a way that is appropriate, that is a legitimate investigation of charges that might exist under Malaysian law, and would not be anything that was a politically-motivated investigation or prosecution," he said.

The new charges erupted after Anwar stormed back into Malaysian politics in March general elections that handed the opposition a third of parliamentary seats and five states.

Since then, Anwar has said he is poised to form a new government with the help of defectors from the ruling coalition, undermining Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who has faced repeated demands to step down over the polls debacle.

The charismatic opposition leader said the new charges would be "a repeat of the 1998 fiasco" when he was hit with the sodomy and corruption counts that were widely seen as politically motivated.

Anwar said he was targeted again because he had evidence that the police chief and attorney-general had fabricated evidence in the original sex trial.

Premier Abdullah denied any involvement in the new charges.

"We had no plans to do anything to him just because he says he's made a political comeback," he said.

Malaysian Criminal Investigation Department chief Bakri Zinin said Anwar's aide had personally written the report against his boss detailing an incident at a condominium in an upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb of Damansara. - AFP

Venom pity questions as bloggers debate claims

Venom pity questions as bloggers debate claims
1 July, 2008

(The Straits Times) - WHEN blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin made a sworn statement last week claiming that the wife of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak was involved in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, the opposition went to town with the claim.

But they have rejected outright a police report filed by an assistant of Datuk Seri Anwar that he had been sodomised by the de facto opposition leader.

'I wonder why Raja Petra's (statement) was swallowed whole as truth by the opposition...but when it comes to this police report, it was rejected. No double standards lah!' wrote a posting on a blog by someone who called himself Two-Face.

Such a reaction was just one of scores of rants and observations in cyberspace as Malaysians debate and dissect the latest scandal rocking their country's political scene.

On Saturday, Mr Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 23, an assistant in Mr Anwar's camp, filed a police report claiming that the former deputy prime minister had sodomised him.

Mr Anwar and his supporters have denied vehemently the allegation and have filed a defamation suit against Mr Saiful.

Since then, websites and blogs have been variously filled with venom and hatred, or pity and understanding, about both Mr Anwar and Mr Saiful.

Many are curious about Mr Saiful, and why Mr Anwar's party hired him if they knew all along that he was a mole 'planted by the other side' - a claim made by a senior party official on Sunday.

The blog, riwayathayat.blogspot.com, where Mr Saiful had last posted comments in February, was swamped with 21,600 unique visitors on Sunday and 9,300 yesterday. This far exceeds the blog's usual traffic of fewer than 100 visitors a day in the past month.

Some netizens have accused Mr Saiful of being an instrument of the wobbly Barisan Nasional coalition to kill Mr Anwar's political career. 'I think BN ran out of ideas to put Anwar down. I am no PKR fan, but enough is enough. This sodomy is an old story,' said one netizen.

Some do not believe the sodomy charge at all. 'How credible is it that this healthy young man of 23 was sodomised against his will (on more than one occasion, mind you) by a 60-year-old man with a bad back problem?' reader Lilian Tan asked in online newspaper Malaysiakini.

On the other side of the fence, there are those who are outraged at the sodomy charge and want justice meted out.

'Let the police investigate. If it is proven untrue, then we all demonstrate to ask (the Prime Minister) to take action on those responsible,' said a posting on political site Malaysia Today.

Either way, Malaysians seem overwhelmed by the number of political scandals gripping their country.

Popular political site aisehman.org perhaps best summed up the feelings of many when it stated: 'True or untrue, I am almost speechless at the sheer audacity of either possibility.'

Some bloggers such as Angelia hope Malaysians will focus not on the scandals, but on making their country a better place.

'I am not a fan of Anwar (not that I am a fan of BN policies either), and what he does in his own time, if indeed it is what he does, I don't care,' she wrote.

'I want things to change for the better, that is what I am more concerned with. A better place for my kids.'

Revisiting Malaysia’s Social Contract

Revisiting Malaysia’s Social Contract
Joe Fernandez
01 July 2008

The contractual glue that keeps Malaysia’s races together seems to be running out

It was the turn of Malaysia’s Bar Council this time to host a public forum over the weekend in Kuala Lumpur on the country’s Social contract, the arrangement between Malays and non-Malays at the country’s birth to share its wealth.

In the end, no surprises were in store. The four panelists were evenly split, two calling it a piece of fiction, two disagreeing in polite terms. This is an endless debate and we can be sure the Bar Council Forum won’t be the end of the matter. Every school child in Malaysia has been well fed in the early years of independence with tons of material on the Social contract. It’s the younger generation that seems perplexed. Hence, the issue is revisited at regular intervals and the debate continues.

The contract, a simple unwritten arrangement fostered between Malays and non-Malays by the founding fathers, brought about a rare unity among the multiracial peoples of British Malaya and expedited the advent of independence on 31 Aug 1957. The Social contract also paved the way for the inclusion of Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei in an enlarged Federation within just six years of the midnight air ringing with shouts of “merdeka” – “freedom” – in Stadium Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur. Brunei stayed out over oil revenues and Singapore, as we will see later, was soon booted out. The Social contract remained intact.

At independence the Malaysian economy was held almost 29 percent by the Chinese; less than 2 percent by the Malays, who were largely outside the money economy; less than 1 percent by the Indians and about 69 percent held mostly by the British and other foreigners. (Malaysia introduced the 20 year 1070-90 New Economic Policy in late 1969. The NEP pledged to eliminate the identification of race with economic function and place of residence; eradicate poverty irrespective of race, color and creed; and ensure that the Malays and other indigenous races own, control and manage at least 30 percent of the nation’s corporate economy by 1990.

But deviations soon set in and there was rampant nepotism, cronyism and corruption to sabotage the NEP and send the economy into a tailspin by the early 1980s. The NEP had to be scaled back to bring the economy out of a recession in the mid-1980s.)

The thrust of the contract was simple: since the Chinese of the towns in particular had considerable economic power in comparison with the largely rural-dwelling Malays who saw themselves as the indigenous people of the country, it was felt that it was only right that the Malays held the reins of political power firmly in their hands in a quid pro quo. This power they would then share with the non-Malays and thereby underwrite the continued economic success of the country. Malay hopes, unlike the disastrous route taken by economic nationalists in so much of Africa, Myanmar and Fiji, hinged on the economy going right. Had the Malays been overwhelmingly in the majority, it is unlikely there would have been a social contract of any sort. The non-Malay numbers almost matched the Malay, even after being bolstered for nearly 150 years by immigrants from the Malay Archipelago. Had overwhelmingly Chinese Singapore been included with Malaya, the Malays would have been in a distinct minority in their “own land”.

There were shades of New Zealand, Australia, Mauritius and the Americas here, all lands where the original inhabitants were reduced to an insignificant minority caught in a vicious cycle of alcohol and drug abuse, poverty, ignorance and disease in vice-ridden shantytowns or in god-forsaken reservations apportioned the most inhospitable and difficult terrains.

The founding fathers, perhaps in a stroke of genius, saw no reason for a time-frame-bound social contract, nor did they see any reason for preserving the arrangement in print for posterity. The social contract, it was foreseen, would serve the nation well and melt away when its time came.

As the nation ends its celebration of its 50th anniversary of independence, an important watershed when we look back at this moment in history in the years ahead, the thinking among many Malaysians is that the social contract has entered the history books as a minor footnote. They point out that not only have Malay numbers increased significantly but the community itself has considerable leverage in the economy of the nation within and without the context of an expanding economic pie.

The levers of the economy at the policy level are almost totally in Malay hands, albeit because of their sheer numbers, although the community continues to be edged out at the retail level. The market is a different ball game altogether.

Not so, scream a vociferous minority, who not only see the social contract as far from having outlived its purpose but insist that it also includes other aspects like the granting of citizenship status to hundreds of thousands of stateless and immigrant non-Malays and their descendents; the position of the Malay rulers, the position of Islam as "the religion of the Federation" according to Article 3 of the Federal Constitution; the position of Bahasa Melayu as the basis of Bahasa Malaysia, the national language, and the sole medium of instruction in education; and the special privileges of the Malays, and by extension, other indigenous peoples of the Federation in the peninsula and Borneo.

This revisionist approach among a diehard Malay nationalist core hasn’t gone down well with the Indians and Chinese in particular and they have made no bones about it in the vernacular media and other channels. Malay moderates feel it’s high time to take the debate behind closed doors, not so much to re-negotiate the social contract, “but to remind community leaders about the history of the past so that they can re-assure themselves and their people once again and renew their faith in the nation and a common destiny, sharing and caring alike”.

(Article 3 of the Federal Constitution states that "Islam is the religion of the Federation but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation." Wanita Umno called in November 2007 at the Umno Assembly for the insertion of the word "official" before the word "religion" to prevent any "misunderstanding".)

Essentially, the various issues being bandied about outside the social contract are either well covered in the Federal Constitution or backed by social convention. Hence, the question of including these in an unwritten political arrangement like the Social contract should not arise at all. Generally, non-Malays are even more for the Malay rulers and see the institution as an important bulwark against mob rule and rabble-rousers. Meanwhile, the Federal Constitution remains secular, despite Islam being recognized by the otherwise color-blind document as the official religion. There’s a fine distinction between official and national and the fact remains that Malaysia does not have a national religion and the Federal Constitution guarantees complete freedom of worship.

Again, the country is definitely multiracial, multi-religious, multilingual and multicultural, as anyone with eyes can see, and nobody can take that away – “Malaysia Truly Asia” runs the official tourism theme proudly all over the globe -- despite conflicting claims that it is an Islamic state one day, Muslim the next day, run according to Islamic principles the third day while admittedly not a theocratic state, a bizarre contradiction in terms.

These shifting mindsets even among the religious moderates can best be seen as their coming to terms slowly and painfully with secular Malaysia and preaching a brave, new way to combat the dangerous mix of politics with religion. Religion is religion, and politics is politics, and never the twain shall meet in Malaysia. We need not go so far as to echo DAP MP Karpal Singh’s infamous outburst not so long ago that, “Malaysia will only be an Islamic state over my dead body”. Karpal was quickly hailed as “the tiger – shouldn’t it be lion – of Jelutong.”

The current debate over the social contract is not the first time that attempts have been made to revise history for reasons of political expediency.

Nearly 40 years ago, after the searing Sino-Malay race riots May 1969 in Kuala Lumpur, many historians attributed the bloodshed to the “breakdown” of the social contract when non-Malay political parties made substantial gains in the May 1969 General Elections. The island of Penang, the Pearl of the Orient, had fallen to the newly-formed Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia, which was in fact mostly composed of ousted rebel leaders from the Malaysian Chinese Association, a key member of the ruling Alliance Party.

The DAP (Democratic Action Party), the Malaysian chapter of Singapore’s ruling PAP, had almost half the seats in the Selangor State Assembly, while the PPP (People’s Progressive Party) made similar gains in its Perak heartland. The MCA saw no further purpose in being part of the Federal Government and pulled out while still remaining as a member of the Alliance. The MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress), the other key member of the Alliance, stayed put in the Federal Government and in the states and at the local levels even as quite a number of panicky families sold their properties for a mere song and packed their bags for India. Elsewhere, long queues of would-be migrants formed for weeks outside the Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian High Commissions in particular and the US Embassy.

The MCA pullout from the federal government was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Race riots erupted first in the Chinatown area of Chow Kit which had a Malay hinterland and soon spread all over the capital city. The incomplete polling was abandoned, Parliament was disbanded, democracy suspended, a state of emergency declared by the caretaker government and Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, seen as too pro-Chinese, was ousted and placed virtually under house arrest for a while. It was like a coup d’ etat. There were isolated incidents everywhere. The police were hopelessly outnumbered and overwhelmed and the Malay Regiment was brought in while the multiracial Federation Army and the famed Sarawak Rangers of elite Iban and other Dayak troops were both confined to their barracks. The Malay Regiment were mindless robots who contributed to the carnage as well in perceived defense of race, religion and country. They were eventually ordered, albeit reluctantly and gently, to return to their barracks but not until the blood-letting had dragged on for some ten days or more of unspeakable tales of horror.

In hindsight, the apologists and conspiracy theorists rationalize that the Malay Regiment ran amok in revenge for the killings over two weeks by the Communist Party of Malaya’s Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army which virtually had a free run of the country while awaiting the return of British troops in strength following the Japanese surrender after the 2nd World War. The Japanese looked on. The MPAJA’s victims were mostly Malays seen as Japanese collaborators. There were feeble attempts in official circles to blame the communists for May 13 but these were quickly denounced and roundly condemned by the man in the street. At the height of the Vietnam War, the communists were the eternal bogeyman in Southeast Asia and everywhere in the Free World.

The Malay Regiment, disgraced in the eyes of the non-Malay population, was replaced by the Federation Army and the Sarawak Regiment and calm quickly returned to the burnt-out streets of Kuala Lumpur. There had been a heavy price to pay in innocent lives, all because extreme-right Malays in Umno, the lead player in the Alliance, had been rattled by the electoral setbacks suffered by the MCA and feared the unraveling of the Social contract. Apparently, the rightwing game plan was to intimidate the political opposition, punish the voters and force the MCA back into the Government. The fact that the political opposition had never been party to the Social contract was lost on the rightwing instigators of the May 13 bloodbath.

Even so, the Gerakan and the PPP were virtually blackmailed, with the promise of democracy being restored, to become members of an enlarged Alliance which was renamed Barisan Nasional. The Social contract was back on track. The Alliance, symbolized by a sailing boat, had sunk. The BN chose the scales of justice as the new symbol.

Hardly five years before May 13, Singapore had queried the social contract as a member of the Federation and was quickly ushered out. It's important that Malaysian history books explore the expulsion of Singapore from the Federation. However, this tragedy along with the Japanese occupation is simply glossed over. The key lies in former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's "infamous" outburst: "If these people (Kuala Lumpur) think they can squat on Singapore and get away with it, they are sadly mistaken." Apparently, Lee was alarmed that Kuala Lumpur had rapidly changed track after Malaysia with the extreme right wing in Umno calling the shots.

A serious deviation of the social contract was the misinterpretation by the right wingers that it was a carte blanche for Ketuanan Melayu --Malays first -- Malay political dominance and supremacy. This was anathema to Lee. Many saw Ketuanan Melayu as nothing less than an unabashed amalgamation of the Nazism of Hitler's Germany and the Apartheid of South Africa's white supremacists with the caste system of the Brahmins of India. Surely, such a system could not be good for anyone, even including the great majority of the Malays themselves.

Sabah and Sarawak, the Borneo states, remained in the Federation after some initial demands for a review by Sabah. Kadazandusun leader, Donald Stephens (later Mohd Fuad Abdullah), was eventually packed off into exile as the High Commissioner to Australia, before making a stunning political comeback in 1976 and dying mysteriously in an air crash shortly after with almost his entire State Cabinet.

Is the social contract still relevant in this day and age? Every two people have three opinions.

A simple reading of history and the demographics shows that the Malay factor will henceforth continue to be an important aspect of the nation’s politics unlike in the early days when the community genuinely feared being swamped by the immigrants from India and China and their descendents. No longer can a non-Malay be the Prime Minister of Malaysia, for example, unless with the consent of the governed, predominantly Malay and other indigenous peoples.

Malays have also entered the money economy in a big way as a community and made considerable gains as well in this field. As the Malays prosper and emerge more educated and universal in outlook, having a stranglehold on politics will be less and less the community’s main pre-occupation and obsession. Herein lie the seeds of destruction of the social contract despite having served the nation well. It is unlikely too that the Chinese parties in government will ever contemplate leaving the ruling coalition and should they do so, as was the case with MCA in the aftermath of the 1969 polls, they would not be wooed back. The Chinese in the political opposition, too long in the wilderness, are waiting in the wings for a historical opportunity to taste the spoils of office.

Support from Saiful's family

Tuesday July 1, 2008

Family shoots down conspiracy theory

By FASLIKA DAS and ONG EU LIN

PETALING JAYA: Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan’s family stands by him and stresses that no one put them up to accuse Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of sodomy.

An uncle of Mohd Saiful, who did not want to be named, said the family was on its own in this matter.

“We are not getting any backing from the Government. We are on our own but as a family we fully support Saiful.

“We had asked for the Government’s help but they have chosen to back off and not dirty their hands,” he said when met at his house here yesterday.

The uncle added that they had repeatedly called the Inspector-General of Police but were told to stop calling his number.

He said his nephew had initially approached the Bukit Aman police station to lodge his report against Anwar but they turned him away upon learning who he was accusing.

Mohd Saiful eventually found a police station in Kuala Lumpur which was willing to accept his report, his uncle added.

“Saiful is no longer in the hospital but is under police protection and even our family does not know his whereabouts,” he said.

The uncle said the family would eventually hold a press conference to allow Saiful to “explain from A to Z” his accusations against Anwar.

“Our family is a small family and we do not benefit in any way from Saiful’s revelation.

“We are not getting any money and in fact our family is being cut off by other people.

“Saiful is sacrificing himself for the country even though he knows that society will scorn him and the family for his accusation,” the uncle said.

He said Mohd Saiful had also contemplated suicide as he felt that he had committed a sin.

The uncle said he had been a strong supporter of Anwar but was disillusioned now.

On why Mohd Saiful had pictures with of him posing with Cabinet Ministers and a Prime Minister’s Department aide, his uncle said it was normal for a student leader to take pictures with government officials.

*************************************************************************************

Alleged victim goes into hiding, says report

(The Straits Times) - MR SAIFUL Bukhari Azlan, the young man who lodged a police report against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has gone into hiding, though it was earlier reported that he had checked himself into a hospital.

Three ministers deny knowing Anwar’s aide

Tuesday July 1, 2008

Three ministers deny knowing Anwar’s aide

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Datuk Azalina Othman have denied knowing Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

The three ministers were photographed with the 23-year-old Mohd Saiful. The photographs were released by the PKR leadership on Sunday.

Photo with VIP: Mohd Saiful (fourth from left) standing behind Azalina (in blue dress) in this photo released by PKR on Sunday. However, Azalina said she could not recall when the picture was taken or knowing Mohd Saiful.

Shahrir, who is Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister, said he did not know Mohd Saiful and could not recall ever meeting him.

“I don’t even know there is a copy of such a photograph. Someone has asked me whether I had met Mohd Saiful at a college somewhere, I told him I don’t know.

“This is too much like a drama, more so when (Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim is involved because he is like a drama king,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here yesterday.

Shahrir said he had taken pictures with many people and he only “saw his with Mohd Saiful” in the newspapers.

“I was in a baju Melayu so I think it’s probably during the Umno general assembly,” he said.

Shahrir, who laughed when asked if this was a conspiracy by the Barisan Nasional Government, said it was best to allow the police to investigate the claims made by both Anwar and Mohd Saiful.

“I don’t think this is a conspiracy. As an aide, Mohd Saiful must have had a close relationship with Anwar,” he said, adding that it would have been impossible for Umno or Barisan to plant somebody like that.

“I don’t know whose conspiracy this is. There has been more transparency in this country since 1998 (when Anwar was last arrested) within the media and the judiciary.”

Azalina, who is Tourism Minister, also said she could not recall when the photo of her with Mohd Saiful was taken but said it was probably during her tenure as Youth and Sports Minister.

“I honestly do not recall taking the photo nor do I know who Mohd Saiful is,” she said.

When asked, Mustapa said it was ridiculous to say he was involved based on a picture.

He, too, said he could not recall who Mohd Saiful was or when the picture was taken.

“In fact, I only found out about it after I saw it on a news website. It is absurd to say that we (Barisan Nasional leaders) would resort to such things,” said Mustapa, who is Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister.

Tuesday July 1, 2008

Mohd Saiful wanted to become a pilot

KOTA BARU: The young man who accused PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of sodomising him had attended an interview with the Kelantan-based Asia Pacific Flight Training School.

A school spokesman confirmed that the interview took place three months ago and his application to be a trainee pilot was currently under study.

Flight training: An aerial view of the flying school which Mohd Saiful applied to.

“The man attended the interview with 82 other applicants,” he said.

The spokesman for the flying school said during the interview, Mohd Saiful did not say that he was Anwar’s aide or that he was a student with an institution of higher learning.

The flying school operates out of the Sultan Ismail Petra airport in Pengkalan Chepa here.

Najib: Chinese will not be left out in Ninth Plan

Tuesday July 1, 2008

Najib: Chinese will not be left out in Ninth Plan

KUALA LUMPUR: The Chinese will not be left out in strategies to eradicate socio-economic inequalities in the Mid-Term Review (MTR) of the Ninth Malaysia Plan, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.

Najib, who gave a ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday explaining the details of the third thrust of the strategy framework of the MTR , said an additional explanatory statement needed to be outlined to prevent the issue from being misunderstood by any party.

He added the third thrust, which concentrated on addressing persistent socio-economic inequalities between ethnic groups, would give emphasis on three groups which still lagged behind the other races in terms of income and wealth ownership.

Najib said the three groups were the bumiputras, bumiputras from Sabah and Sarawak and the Indian community.

“This effort will not discriminate against the Chinese community and other groups as outlined under the national philosophy of growth which we had been practising since the 1970s,” he said .

Najib said emphasis would be given to the bumiputras to enable them to have 19.4% equity ownership in the corporate sector, 15% ownership of premises and an average income of RM3,156 each; Sabah and Sarawak bumiputras to have 3% ownership in the corporate sector and have an average income from RM2,063 to RM2,858 each; and the Indians to have 1.1% ownership in the corporate sector, 3.8% premises ownership and an average income of RM3,799.

He added that Chinese ownership in the corporate sector actually increased to 42.4%, while their ownership of premises was 76.1% and they had an average income of RM4,853 each.

Najib said talented bumiputra graduates would be given assistance to commercialise their ideas based on merit and needs.

“This doesn’t mean that this strategy will be an attempt to hold back the opportunities that can be gained by the non-bumiputra entrepreneurs,” he added.

Najib said the mid-term review period would also see a progressive liberalisation of the economy as an engine of growth, and the foreign investment committee guidelines would be reappraised to prevent the private sector from seeing the guidelines as a hurdle in their efforts to participate in the country’s economic activities.

“Unsuitable provisions will be repealed to ensure more market-friendly guidelines,” he added.

Najib said another strategy was the restructuring of the labour force without recognising racial differences in economic activities.

The private sector would be encouraged to employ bumiputras and non-bumiputras would be encouraged to work in the public sector, he added.

“The Government has no intention to force any public or public-listed companies to increase the bumiputra workforce in their operations,” he said.

Najib said the people should not ignore the reality of the existence of a huge disparity between ethnic groups, regions and between states and districts.

“The third thrust of the strategy to eradicate inequalities between the ethnic groups will benefit everyone and those who still need assistance from the Government.

“Such efforts will be continued to ensure equitable distribution of wealth and the participation of all ethnic groups, which will help to improve the quality of the people’s lives and guarantee national unity,” Najib said

Face police probe if you’re innocent, says Mohd Ali

Tuesday July 1, 2008

Face police probe if you’re innocent, says Mohd Ali

MALACCA: Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should be brave enough to face police investigations if the allegation against him is mere fabrication.

“If he is innocent, he should be brave enough to face the police. I also hope the Turkish Embassy does not intervene in our national affairs,” he said when contacted in Kedah.

Echoing the same sentiment in Kuala Lumpur, Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali urged Anwar to let the police investigate the allegations instead of claiming it as a conspiracy.

“It is not healthy to make such an allegation just after a police report is lodged,” said Ibrahim.

In Kota Baru, PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa called on the Government to apply the Islamic approach.

To guarantee justice and fairness to both the accuser and the suspect, Husam said the Islamic Syariah Law compels the calling of four witnesses to ascertain if sexual misconduct occurred between the two.

He said the emphasis towards finding the truth and the verdict of guilt beyond reasonable doubt in Islam would also ensure that anybody who made a false allegation would also be punished.

The four witnesses would also be compelled to be impartial and sincere as they stand the risk of huge suffering in the afterlife if they too commit a sin by making false statements, he said in a statement.

Husam said the first allegation of sexual misconduct against Anwar remained fresh in many minds of Malaysians.

Therefore, the latest episode was bound to be seen by many as an attempt to cripple the efforts of the Pakatan Rakyat alliance to become the next Federal Government, he said.

Tuesday July 1, 2008

Assurance on Anwar’s safety

By IZATUN SHARI

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar have given assurances on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's personal safety but advised that the law be allowed to take its course.

“We assure him of his personal safety. He’s never been harassed all this while especially when he was campaigning as an opposition leader,” Najib, who is the Deputy Prime Minister, told newsmen at the Parliament lobby yesterday when asked to comment on Anwar seeking refuge at the Turkish Embassy following the fresh allegation of sodomy against him.

Show of support: Anwar’s supporters gathering at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya yesterday.

“This is not a question of political prosecution. It’s a question of law. Let the law takes its course,” he added.

Syed Hamid, who is the Home Minister, said he gave the guarantee that Anwar would not be harmed.

“After he was released from prison, Anwar had been politically active and moved freely about the country without any endangerment to his life,” he stressed.

“It will be a bit odd for him to say he has no confidence in the police when his life is not being threatened and he’s making speeches everywhere. It’s not fair for him to try to cast aspersions on the force,” he said.

He said it was Anwar himself who had sought an appointment with the Turkish ambassador at his office yesterday and then refused to leave.

Asked on Anwar’s previous experience in custody back in 1997 when he was punched in the eye by the then Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor, Syed Hamid said action had been taken against the man responsible.

Meanwhile, Najib also denied any involvement in the sodomy allegation against Anwar.

“I am not involved in the case in any way,” he said when asked to comment on PKR president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail releasing a picture of his special officer Khairil Anas Yusof with the accuser Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, implying that he was behind the alleged conspiracy against Anwar.

Mohd Saiful, who was a student leader and Anwar’s special assistant during the March general election, lodged a police report alleging that he was sodomised by Anwar last Thursday.

Najib said the picture was taken when Mohd Saiful went to his office to apply for a government scholarship three months ago.

“The officer (Mohd Saiful) met with my officer (Khairil Anas) because he wanted to apply for a scholarship from the Government. The picture was taken three months ago,” he said.

Asked whether the Government would question the Turkish Ambassador for offering refuge to Anwar, he said: “It is up to the Foreign Minister to tell the Turkish Ambassador.”

On Anwar’s claim that he received death threats from Barisan Nasional agents, Najib said: “We’re not involved in anything to threaten any politician.”

Politically correct, Morally wrong?

Politics

By definition, politics has to do with the governance of a country or area. It sounds simple, governing a country. In reality it is not. Who wants to be governed by an idiot? It is hard work. Requires a strong leader with an intelligence (wisdom) and vision so far so that the country will do well and its people live in happiness and harmony. A job not many people would be capable of.
However there are still many people out there who wants to be in politics. Thus there would be some politicking before they can start leading. Strategies are required against your competitors and again are required with your neighbouring countries and the world.

Such politicking can be healthy, however they can get very dirty or even murderous, when they are cornered or when are desperate. This is reflective of the maturity of the people and its leaders.

Malaysia's politics of late has shown much drama. There are strategies we can see which are peculiar to Malaysia. Pen poisons were used. Scandals, as sensational as possible are effectively used in Malaysia. The recent scandals involving DPM and his wife and the 2nd sodomy accusation against former-DPM are explosive examples.

Anwar is now seen as being attacked from behind. He is now in hiding, fearing for his life. An assassination threat! How much more sensational? He is still acting from behind the political scene, yet he is viewed as being formidable and thus must be "killed politically".

Let's stop this drama series for a while. The viewers are already getting involved in the plot and are becoming emotional. I supposed this is what the directors want for their drama series. However the plot is getting out of hand. Too much may be at stake here. The "actors" (politicians) are too much into "winning" here.

We know for sure some people are already lying through their teeth. Slander is not what is deemed moral by any standard. To get to the stage they aim for, unwholesome thoughts and actions may be made. Strategies are strategies. Morals must be there all the time. Malaysian wouldn't want a lying, unscrupulous, corrupt person as their leader. Let's have a clean politics in Malaysia. We want to have good leaders, not selfish scheming ones.

Najib denies involvement in Anwar sodomy allegation

Monday June 30, 2008 MYT 3:05:57 PM

Najib denies involvement in Anwar sodomy allegation

By IZATUN SHARI

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has denied any involvement in the sodomy allegation against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“I am not involved in the case in any way,” the Deputy Prime Minister told reporters at Parliament lobby here on Monday.

On Saturday, Anwar's former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan had lodged a police report alleging he had been sodomised by the PKR de facto leader.

A day later, Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail released a picture of Najib's special officer Khairil Anas Yusof with Mohd Saiful at the Deputy Prime Minister’s office, implying that he was behind the conspiracy against Anwar.

Najib said the picture was taken three months ago when Mohd Saiful went to his office to apply a for government scholarship.

“The accuser (Mohd Saiful) met with my officer (Khairil Anas) because he wanted to apply for a scholarship from the Government. The picture was taken three months ago.

“He was a student leader and met with my officer. He had also met other leaders.

"The main question is did the act take place. That is for the police to establish,” Najib said.

That reminds me……. (by Raja Petra)

That reminds me…….
30 June, 2008

The Umno State Assemblywoman from Sungai Rapat, Hamidah Osman, revealed the attitude of these Umno women last week when she insinuated that if you see an Indian and a snake, you kill the Indian first. Yes, that is what she meant.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

"The police are the ones who will determine whether the report is true or not. It is not something that we can determine. He will definitely deny it. That is common for someone who has been accused," said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

No, Abdullah Badawi was not talking about the people named in the Statutory Declaration (read it here). He was referring to the latest sodomy allegation against Anwar Ibrahim. “He will definitely deny it. That is common for someone who has been accused." Yes, but is this common only to Anwar Ibrahim? Would not Abdullah Badawi, his son-in-law, Najib, Rosmah, Col. Aziz and Col Norhayati not also do the ‘common’ thing and also deny what was alleged in the Statutory Declaration?

Thus far, everyone named in that Statutory Declaration has denied what has been alleged. But, as Abdullah Badawi said, “He will definitely deny it. That is common for someone who has been accused." And, as Abdullah Badawi further said, “The police are the ones who will determine whether the report is true or not. It is not something that we can determine.”

Hmm….but did not Abdullah Badawi also say last week that he believes his Deputy Prime Minister Rosmah Mansor and her husband, Najib, are innocent? Well, he said this at least as far as Rosmah and her husband are concerned. But when it comes to Anwar Ibrahim he says, "The police are the ones who will determine whether the report is true or not. It is not something that we can determine. He will definitely deny it. That is common for someone who has been accused."

Why did Abdullah Badawi open his mouth and profess Rosmah’s and Najib’s innocence even before the police started their investigation? Will the police now dare announce the opposite to what Abdullah Badawi said, thus embarrassing the Prime Minister and making him a liar, at worse, or stupid, at best?

Abdullah Badawi has already ‘locked’ the police investigation and this will force the police to arrive at only one verdict. It is now impossible for the police to rule any other way other than declaring that the Statutory Declaration is false. That would be the only way to save the Prime Minister’s face and insulate him from controversy, or worse, from criminal charges.

In fact, the move to declare the Statutory Declaration false started very early in the day. The Statutory Declaration was signed on Wednesday, 18 June 2008, and handed to the prosecutors in the Altantuya murder trial the following day. On Friday, 20 June 2008, the Attorney-General lodged a police report on the basis that I had made a false declaration.

How did the Attorney-General know it is false? Again, the Attorney-General ‘locked’ the police. Since the police report was based on a false declaration and since the Attorney-General has said thus, the police will now have to concur or else the Attorney-General too would lose face.

We must remember that even before the Altantuya murder trial started the Attorney-General had announced that only three people and no others are involved in the murder. The Attorney-General had pre-judged the case and effectively ‘locked’ the judge. If evidence surfaces in the course of the trial which points to the possibility that more than three people are involved, the Attorney-General would look very stupid and would probably open himself to allegations of trial-rigging, which is a criminal act.

But then this will not be the first time that the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney-General have been accused of trial-rigging. According to Anwar Ibrahim, he has evidence that the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney-General had fabricated evidence during his 1998-1999 trials. In 1998, the Inspector General of Police and Attorney-General were the investigating officer and prosecutor respectively. Anwar was about to give this evidence to Malaysia Today so that we can expose it when, suddenly, the latest sodomy allegation exploded. Is this fantastic timing and a mere coincidence or something more sinister?

Have no fear, Malaysia Today is here, and once we get our hands on the evidence we will certainly reveal it to prove that the Inspector General of Police and Attorney-General conspired to fabricate evidence in Anwar Ibrahim’s 1998-1999 trials -- unless they get Anwar or me first of course. Anyway, if anything happens to Anwar or me then you will know why we were silenced. But the evidence will definitely not be silenced. It will still surface, with or without Anwar or me. And let the conspirators beware because they will have to face the wrath of the people.

So, I have signed a false Statutory Declaration, have I? Well, then prove it because the onus is on the accuser to prove guilt and not on the accused to prove innocence. And since they made a police report and announced that I had made a false declaration even before launching the investigation, this points to the very strong possibility that the police investigation must ‘support’ what they have said, that I had signed a false declaration. To do otherwise would be suicide, for them of course.

In the meantime, while they figure out how they are going to bring me down and lock me away in the Kajang Prison, I too am working on the evidence that will prove the Inspector General of Police and Attorney-General fabricated evidence in Anwar Ibrahim’s 1998-1999 trials. Let’s see whether they get me first before I get them. Anyone want to make a small wager that I will get them before they get me? This should be an interesting bet don’t you think?

Ooooh….I just love impossible odds. Anyway, while we wait to see who gets whom first, let us look at another subject matter. This was what happened in the Perak State Assembly last week as reported by The Star on Friday:

The first 36 minutes of Question Time yesterday saw opposition assemblymen continuously standing up and asking him for the chance to speak, and raise issues.

One by Hamidah Osman (BN-Sungai Rapat) particularly earned the wrath of the Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen when she asked whether Sivakumar “agreed to disagree” with the well-known fable of whether a snake or a man from a certain racial community should be killed first.

Nga Kor Ming (DAP-Pantai Remis) and other Pakatan assemblymen demanded Hamidah retract her words but she maintained she was merely asking if Sivakumar “agreed to disagree” with it.

Sivakumar let her off with a warning and told her not to bring up anything sensitive. Barisan whip Datuk Seri Mohamad Tajol Rosli Ghazali (BN-Pengkalan Hulu) then asked her to retract her words, and she did.


This reminds me of the statement by the Kampong Medan Umno State Assemblywoman soon after the race riots of almost a decade ago, which saw the loss of a number of lives. She said that the Indians had it coming because they have been arrogant for far too long.

I was shocked when I read the newspaper report quoting this Umno State Assemblywoman. Was she trying to say that it is not wrong to kill Indians because they deserve it and were asking for it? Hell, she is a State Assemblywoman and this is no way for a State Assemblywoman to talk. Endorsing killings of Malaysians, even if they are not of your race but are of another race, is just not on. Even if they are not Malaysians but are illegal immigrants that is still no reason to slaughter them and say that they deserve it.

Why are Malays so worked up and angry about Israeli soldiers killing Palestinian civilians? Palestinians are not Malaysians. They are not even Malays. So why poke our nose into something that is happening so far away in a land we have never visited and to people we have never met? If we have no sympathy for non-Malays killed in our own country why are we so nosy-parker about the same thing in a far away land?

The Umno State Assemblywoman from Sungai Rapat, Hamidah Osman, revealed the attitude of these Umno women last week when she insinuated that if you see an Indian and a snake, you kill the Indian first. Yes, that is what she meant. Hey, fuck you; Raja Petra Kamarudin is not seditious. This Umno State Assemblywoman from Sungai Rapat and that other Umno State Assemblywoman from Kampong Medan (now retired), who both endorse the killings of Indians, are. Go for their balls (metaphorically speaking of course since they do not actually have any). Leave mine alone. My wife has grown attached to them and she would hate to see the government take them away from her for the next couple of years.