Friday, May 22, 2015

How much taxpayer funds are wasted on political uniforms? – J.D. Lovrenciear

As we begin to witness Umno and its component political parties running helter-skelter in these troubled times of political instability, there is one very noticeable practice that deserves a thorough investigation. It is the uniformed gatherings we see all too often.
Have you noticed the increased frequency of political party gatherings, and rallies included? Yes.
Have you also noticed that each time the Umno or Barisan Nasional people gather, they are always clothed in some new uniform? And it keeps changing for each gathering.
Even, when the deputy prime minister meets divisional leaders in a highly-secretive gathering, the audience and the speaker himself are donned in a brand spanking new uniform.
Likewise, when the prime minister wants to flaunt his "I Love PM" show of support, you see another set of uniforms.
Every gathering translates to a new set of clothes worn by followers and leaders.
It must cost the government loads of cash to rush such outfits each time they gather in numbers.
But you cannot say the same very often for the opposition political parties. They are in all kinds of garbs – even minus the fashion-label suits and decked jewelry.
Likewise, when the rakyat take to the streets, they choose to buy the T-shirts and head bands on sale. Nobody supplies them free outfits, mind you.
So is it yet another case of abuse of power and wastage of public funds here? Will someone please do the arithmetic and investigate the truth please.
This is no petty matter. Since we are all into the high season of accountability and transparency given the controversial scandal of the century, the 1MDB saga, we must expose all things that are going wrong. And expose we must since Umno-BN themselves are saying that the Auditor-General’s report will be acted upon decisively.
* J.D. Lovrenciear reads The Malaysian Insider.

Cops want A-G to review Peaceful Assembly Act

After the spate of arresKuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Tajudin Md Isa says the police now have to work harder as the notice period for the Peaceful Assembly Act is no longer required for assemblies. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 23, 2015.Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Tajudin Md Isa says the police now have to work harder as the notice period for the Peaceful Assembly Act is no longer required for assemblies. – The Malaysian Insider pic, May 23, 2015.ts under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) which drew widespread condemnation, police have now admitted that the controversial legislation needs to be reviewed.
This is especially so after the Court of Appeal, in the case against PKR youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, ruled that Section 9(5) of the Act, demanding that a 10-day prior notice be submitted before a public assembly, was unconstitutional.
Nik Nazmi was initially charged with organising the "Black 505" rally at Kelana Jaya on May 8, 2013, shortly after the 13th general elections, without submitting a 10-day prior notice to the police.
The Federal Court later acquitted Nik Nazmi after the prosecution withdrew their case.
Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Tajudin Md Isa admitted that the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) should look into the implications of the court ruling.
"The legal department needs to look at the implication of the ruling. We accept that," Tajudin told The Malaysian Insider.
"Based on that decision, we need to look again at how we are going to deal with assemblies."
He said further questions must be directed to the AGC as the police's job is merely to enforce laws.
On April 25 last year, a three-men bench at the Court of Appeal, chaired by Justice Datuk Mohd Ariff Mohd Yusof ruled Section 9(5) of the Act unconstitutional as non-compliance with the notice period requirement does not invite criminal charges.
Last week, the Federal Court struck out the government's appeal to the highest court in the country after Deputy Public Prosecutor Manoj Kurup withdrew the prosecution's case.
Accepting the court decision, Tajudin said that the police now have to work harder as the notice period is no longer required for assemblies.
"Currently, they do not need to hand in notices for assemblies. So we have to work harder," he said.
"We are worried that even if an assembly is peaceful, it will drag on, resulting in unsavoury incidents," he added.
The latest major public assembly was the anti-goods and services tax (GST) rally on May 1 which drew a crowd of more than 10,000. Tajudin said it was a peaceful rally with no one suffering any physical injuries.
He said there were efforts to provoke the police, but the officers had handled the provocation in a "professional manner".
"We, along with the organisers, tried to ensure the assembly went on peacefully. We did not have the intention to stop it," he said.
"Previously PAS organised an assembly and they followed our orders that it be held in Padang Merbok."
However, just hours after the May 1 rally, police started arresting the protesters.
In total, the police made 59 arrests, including politicians, activists and six underage youths.
Those arrested included former Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, PKR vice president Tian Chua, PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke, and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan.
They were all arrested under Section 143 of the Penal Code for unlawful assembly. Some were also investigated for committing acts of vandalism.
Tajudin defended the arrests.
"We identified those involved. We did not arrest randomly," he said, insisting that the police did not ill-treat any of those arrested.
He also said that they had followed the standard operating procedure (SOP) in arresting minors during the rally, a move that drew much criticism from civil society groups.
"In the initial stage of the arrests, to make investigations easier, we do not inform the lawyers. But, at the end of the day, it is compulsory for us to inform lawyers and parents," he said.
"There is not set time period, whether 10 minutes or an hour. We follow reasonable timing. But one day is not reasonable," he said.
Tajudin also said the long waiting process at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters for many politicians and activists who were arrested after the rally was due to the high volume of work at the station.
"We made a lot of arrests. Different officers made the arrest, question, and only then another officer records the statements. That is the work process. I admit that, that can take some time," he said.

NAJIB IS ALREADY HISTORY, BN IS NEXT: The inevitable fall of Barisan Nasional

NAJIB IS ALREADY HISTORY, BN IS NEXT: The inevitable fall of Barisan Nasional
They say all good things must come to an end. I wonder why not enough emphasis is given to the other end of the spectrum where all bad things, too, come to an end.
Throughout history, we  have  seen  how  evil regimes, however mighty and strong they may be for a period of time, eventually come crumbling  down. And interestingly enough, it is almost always the case where the crumble is due to internal squabbles within that particular regime, incompetence, irrational behaviour and of course greed.
As  night  follows  day,  governments  of  the day will eventually change. It  is only natural. The reason for this is very clear. It is simply because the people, over time, come to realise that a particular government, and its manner of administration, is no more suitable with the current times.
Sometimes, a  particular  government  of  the  day  refuses  to let go of  power  and will do all that is necessary (and unnecessary)  to be in power and remain  relevant.
This  may  lead  to  irrational approach to things  thus making it difficult for a smooth transition of power to take place.
It  is  in  these  circumstances where we shall  see a "fall" of a particular government.
Fall is an effect of a "push". When we do not want something and yet it is shoved to our faces, the only natural reaction would be to push that thing away resulting in its fall.
Similarly, a government of the day which is irrational and greedy  would eventually face the same fate. However much they try to stay in power, if they  continue  to  administer  a state under policies which are  contrary to the  wishes  of  the  people,  they will be pushed away by the people when the people have had enough.
In  Malaysia, are   we   going  to  see a  smooth transition of a  government or  a  fall of a government? In  other  words, will  UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES  hand over its power when the time comes in a peaceful and gentleman-like  manner, or will  UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES create  a  fuss  like  a  6-year-old  refusing to give back the neighbour’s bicycle that was borrowed  for the evening?
It  is  clear  that in the next couple of years, we are  almost definitely going to see a change in government at the federal level. People have come to  realise  that  the  current  policies  practiced  by UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES are no longer relevant, and dare I say, beneficial to the country as a whole.
Over  the  years, we  have seen  how the empty promises of UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES has  led to the decay in all aspects of  life for the ordinary folks. On the same breath, we have seen how a handful of ‘super-stars’ have  gotten obscenely rich, as a result of  UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES’s policies. The concept of distribution of wealth in Malaysia is non-existent.
People have now come to realise that as a result of UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES’s policies, certain people are getting richer, while the ordinary folks are not seeing any improvement in their quality of life.
The NEP  which  was  introduced  in  1971 was for the eradication of poverty  and  yet, some  forty  years down the road, we still see Malays being  the  poorest of the lot. This  despite  UMNO’s yearly promises  of  advancing  Bumiputera?  Something  is  clearly amiss here.
Why is Umno continuously keeping the Malays downtrodden?
It  is  against  this backdrop that we see today a significant change in people’s  attitudes  towards  UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES’s policies.
These  realisation and  frustration  of  the  people  had resulted in the fall of UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES in certain states, something which has never  before been seen  in the history of Malaysia.
It  is  also  against  this  backdrop  that  we  see  the people’s  acceptance  of a multi-racial and peaceful approach to things, as opposed to the "divide and conquer" approach of UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES.
Having  seen  this  uprising of the people, UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES, have now resorted  to  irrational tactics in their attempt to remain relevant and in power.
And what  more  better way to do that than to remove all the  catalysts behind the uprising at whatever cost.
However, there is a cost to be paid.  As a result of  UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES’s  actions  to  destroy  any  form  of  opposition, the  rule  of  law  and the perception of  the judiciary became victims in the cross-fire.
Any  country  without  the rule of law cannot possibly thrive in any way.
Any  country  in which the judiciary is perceived to be biased cannot possibly have any confidence of investors and of the people in general. A country  without  the rule of law and an impartial and un-biased judiciary can  never, under any circumstances, be  considered a developed nation.
UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES, over  the  years, have  somehow  successfully  managed to do just that.
UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES’s  specific  and actual  allocation of funds (people’s money mind you)  are  somewhat  subject  to  secrecy and cannot be revealed to Malaysians as a whole.
As a result, when the ordinary folks do not see any form of  help despite UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES’s announcement in a budget or Rancangan Malaysia, we, the ordinary folks tend to think that those funds must have stopped somewhere down the line.
In such circumstances, how is an ordinary Malaysian not to have the perception that the UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES government is not corrupt?
Strangely enough, as  stated  earlier, the  inevitable  fall  of UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES in  the  upcoming   years  will  ultimately be due to its own internal squabbles, incompetence, irrational behaviour and  greed.
This picture seems to be growing more and more real as the days go by.
Ultimately, the question that every Malaysian has to ask himself or herself is simply this: Are these people from UMNO+MCA+MIC +OTHER MONEY MAKING PARTIES truly and genuinely representing my interest as a citizen of the Malaysia or are they representing their own interest? – TMI

SACK NAJIB - Umno members cheer but too wary to admit it

SACK NAJIB - Umno members cheer but too wary to admit it
The video recording of Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's speech at a closed-door Umno event has been making waves, primarily because he wanted the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) directors axed and investigated.
However, there is a second issue concerning claims that a sizeable number of the 400 Umno members present at the Janda Baik function cheered when a call rang out for party president Najib Abdul Razak to be sacked.
Malaysiakini checked with three Umno division leaders who attended but only one confirmed that it happened while another was unsure.
"The crowd was getting excited when Muhyiddin called for 1MDB's board to be axed and probed," said one of them, on condition of anonymity.
It was at this juncture that the division leader heard the call for Najib to be removed.
"Out of 400 members, half of them responded with applause and cheers," he claimed.
"Muhyiddin was steady," he replied, when asked how the deputy prime minister reacted.
Some speculated that perhaps the call was made in relation to 1MDB president Arul Kanda and not Najib but pundits dismissed this.
The division leader revealed that Muhyiddin was not slated to speak about 1MDB, but chose to do so because he knew that Umno members wanted answers.
"We knew about 1MDB issues from the opposition's claims; we just did not know if they had lied about it.
"We wanted our leaders to tell us the truth. We wanted answers from them," he said.
'We don't blindly follow leaders'
However, Pontian Wanita Umno chief Hasrunizah Hassan denied this.
"I didn't see anyone provoking and calling for the president to step down. We only agreed to probe and sack the 1MDB board for possible wrongdoings," she said.
Despite this, Hasrunizah implied that not all in Umno are on the same page as Najib on the 1MDB issue.
"The meeting has shown that Umno members do not follow their leaders blindly," she said, without elaborating.
Another leader, who also declined to be named, claimed that he stepped out for a smoke when Muhyiddin delivered his speech.
However, the leader said he would not be surprised if such a call was made and speculated that it could have originated from the Pagoh division, which is headed by Muhyiddin.
"Even if this incident happened, it was probably from the Pagoh division's grassroots as they want Muhyiddin to take over the premiership," he added.
Despite claiming that he was not present when Muhyiddin addressed the attendees, he however disclosed that he heard some members shouting their support for the number two, stating: "If you jump, we would jump with you."
The meeting was attended by four Umno divisions - Pontian, Bentong, Hulu Langat and Pagoh. It was a three-day course to strengthen the party to face the next general election.
Also present were vice-president and training bureau chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Pahang Mentri Besar Adnan Yaakob, and Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan.
Zahid has since revealed that Umno is investigating the case of the leaked video, while fingers pointed at Segambut Umno deputy chief Azri Mohd Zain as the culprit.
Segambut leader denies leaking video
Asked what action Umno proposed to take against this person, party executive secretary Ab Rauf Yusoh replied, "It's up to Zahid to decide."
"I have nothing to say. My role was just to facilitate the event organised by the training bureau," he told Malaysiakini when asked if the perpetrator was from the Segambut division.
Meanwhile, Suara TV quoted Azri as denying leaking the seven-minute video.
"There was a huge crowd; anyone could have taken the video. Yes, I was there as a member of the programme secretariat. But there were many people, close to 400.
"We told them not to take videos or snap photos, but the secretariat took recordings and photos for the purpose of keeping a record of the event.
"It is not right to accuse me only," he added. - M'kini

Umno PRETENDS all is fine between Najib & Muhyiddin, blames 'instigators' for internal turmoil

Umno PRETENDS all is fine between Najib & Muhyiddin, blames 'instigators' for internal turmoil
KUALA LUMPUR - Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s recent outburst over Putrajaya’s handling of debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was just his personal opinion and not a sign that he does not support Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Umno leaders said today.
Senior members of the Barisan Nasional (BN) lynchpin party played down the deputy prime minister’s tirade, which was caught on video during a party training session last week — claiming that it does not diminish his support for Najib who is also Umno president.
“No need for DPM to pledge his loyalty lah,” Pulai Umno chief and MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed told Malay Mail Online when contacted.
“You got so many batu apis, people who use the government, instigators who like to see Umno as a whole going into turmoil. I hope these people would stop,” he said, using the Malay term for agents provocateurs.
Yesterday, a video of Muhyiddin saying the government should sack the entire board of debt-laden 1MDB or face being booted from power was uploaded on a blog called APANAMA.
Not long after the video went viral, former Umno minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin urged the party to call for an emergency meeting to discuss the episode and decide if Muhyiddin should face action for his remarks.
Zainuddin claimed that Muhyiddin’s remarks had undermined Najib’s leadership and proved that “Umno is not united to face Dr Mahathir’s attacks, 1MDB and the current political and economic crisis”.
Abdul Rahman Dahlan
Former deputy Education Minister Dr Puad Zarkashi also hit out at Muhyiddin, calling the latter “lazy” in a Facebook post for allegedly failing to deal with the deplorable conditions at a school in Keningau, Sabah.
Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan today argued that the only difference between the party’s top-two leaders was on the punitive action that should be taken on 1MDB’s board, with Muhyiddin preferring to have all board members of the state-owned fund sacked.
“On record, both of them have said that it is a concern and that it has an effect on the party and the government. Both of them want this issue to be resolve. Both of them want investigations to be done.
“They only have some differences on the decision. Like in the video, DPM wants (the) 1MDB board to be sacked but the PM’s position is that he will only take action after investigations are completed. That’s the only difference,” he said.
Pahang Wanita Umno chief Datuk Rosni Zahari denied that Muhyiddin’s remarks were a sign of a rift within the party, arguing that Muhyiddin is right to demand for the sacking of 1MDB’s board if it is true that the fund had been mismanaged.
Nur Jazlan Mohamed
She also took a dig at Dr Puad, chastising him for “very unbecoming” behaviour ostensibly to justify his appointment as head of the federal government’s Special Affairs Department.
Najib has been under pressure of late over his handling of the 1MDB fiasco, with his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad openly demanding that the former step down for allowing the fund to accumulate some RM42 billion in debt to date from the time it was incorporated in 2009.
Most recently, the fund was pilloried after the Finance Ministry ― which Najib also heads ― declared that the US$1.103 billion (RM3.91 billion) that 1MDB redeemed from its offshore account in the Cayman Islands into a Singaporean bank is not in actual cash but assets.
This added to public anger over an expose on RM188.5 million paid to 1MDB by pilgrimage fund Lembaga Tabung Haji for 1.5 acres in the Tun Razak Exchange, and also some RM3 billion invested by the Employees Provident Fund and Retirement Fund Inc in the controversial fund. - Malay Mail

Lorry driver shocked by 13 arrest warrants

Believing he had only seven arrest warrants, he also had 30 outstanding summonses.
lori,13 waran tangkap
KUANTAN: A lorry driver was stunned to learn that he had 13 arrest warrants for various traffic offences when he was stopped at a roadblock at Jalan Kuantan-Sungai Lembing here.
When detained, the 30-year-old man from Seremban, Negeri Sembilan told the police that he only had seven arrest warrants, but further checking revealed that he actually had more than that and 30 outstanding summonses.
The man was among six others detained for having two to 13 arrest warrants during Ops Warta conducted by the Pahang Police Headquarters Public Order and Traffic Department.
Its chief Supt Mohamad Noor Yusof Ali said the operation was carried out simultaneously in three locations along Jalan Kuantan-Sungai Lembing and focusing on lorry drivers.
He said 36 summonses for various offences were also issued in the operation.

Two men, one objective

Zunar, in fighting against the culture of fear, continues the work left unfinished by former Utusan editor Said Zahari.
By Mariam Mokhtar
Two Malays, one 87 years old, the other 53. Their birthdays are within days of one another. Both are Taureans and both live by the pen. You know Zunar, Malaysia’s satirical cartoonist, who was recently given a platform at the United Nations in Geneva to make everyone aware how the culture of fear, imposed by Umno-Baru, strikes at Malaysians.
Very few of the current generation of Malaysians would have heard of Said Zahari, a veteran journalist who was once the chief editor of Utusan Melayu, the first Malay-owned newspaper, started by Yusuf Ishak. Yusuf later became the first President of Singapore.
Singaporean-born Said wanted to be a teacher, but World War Two intervened. He was educated at the Anglo Chinese School in both English and Malay. He was also fluent in Mandarin and learnt Japanese during the war.
From an early age, Zunar was schooled in a village in Kedah and proved that he had a talent for drawing, but as was common in his time, his parents persuaded him to enter the science stream.
He became a chemist, but Kuala Lumpur, where he worked, provided the opportunity for him to observe first-hand the inequalities of life. He stopped drawing for a while, but the injustices against Anwar Ibrahim motivated him to pick up his pen again. He has not stopped drawing since.
Said was a journalist who admired Samad Ismail for his stance against British colonialism. During WWII, Said had first-hand experience of the Japanese Occupation and this strengthened his resolve against any form of imperialism. The irony is that later on, the paper he would helm fell under the dictatorship of another imperialist master – Umno.
Both Said and Zunar perform necessary roles in society. Both criticise the government of the day for its excesses. Both champion the needs and aspirations of the common man. Both are prepared to make a stand and both are prepared to accept the consequences.
Zunar is being hounded by the police and a slew of charges have been levelled at him. He faces nine charges of sedition and could be jailed for 43 years.
Five decades ago, Said incurred the wrath of Umno when the party wanted to dictate terms to Utusan Melayu. He was jailed under the ISA for 17 years in “Operation ColdStore”. Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew said it was at the request of Malaya, but there was possibly collusion between Malaya and Singapore.
Few would believe that Utusan Melayu, started in 1939, was an independent paper, which voiced the aspirations and concerns of the ordinary Malays of the newly independent Malaya and Singapore. Today, it is the mouthpiece of Umno-Baru.
By 1961, men loyal to Umno had infiltrated the paper’s board of directors. Umno subsequently demanded that the editorial of Utusan Melayu accede to their demands. Said was shocked by Umno’s arrogance and fought fiercely for the paper’s independence. He successfully launched a strike to defend press freedom.
The 100-day strike was broken only when Said went to visit the Singapore offices and was refused entry back into Malaya. Then agents provocateurs were sent to intimidate the people who were striking.
Zunar may not have led any strikes, but he has refused all awards and financial rewards offered by the Umno-Baru government. He is aware that these will be used to tarnish his reputation.
Said Zahari was against an Umno takeover of Utusan. Zunar is against the takeover of Malaysian minds.
For writing critical editorials and blasting the European countries which colonised parts of Africa and treated their citizens despicably, Said incurred the wrath of Umno. He was also in trouble with the Alliance government (precursor of BN) because his paper championed the concerns of the people. They often demanded an apology from Said, which he refused to give.
Zunar has openly admitted that he criticises the people who control the purse strings of the nation, the PM and the self-styled “First Lady of Malaysia”. Zunar has been arrested, his offices raided, his books confiscated and he has been hauled to prison.
In 1961, Said did not get any support from the international press, which was aware of what was happening but for one reason or another stayed silent. Today, with the Internet and social media, Zunar’s plight is publicised by the foreign media and spread worldwide.
The moral of the story is that Utusan Melayu was once a firm and fearless voice of the people and a champion of the oppressed. The man who fought so hard for an independent media was jailed for 17 years. He is Said Zahari, a courageous Singaporean Malay who was prepared to make many personal sacrifices to make a stand so that the ordinary man could have a voice. He was betrayed and punished by Umno.
Today, the modern-day Malaysian who is prepared to fight to the bitter end, so that we may enjoy the freedoms we are entitled to, is Zunar. He continues the good work which Said Zahari left unfinished.
Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.