Saturday, July 28, 2007

Malaysia Threatens
For Bloggers

The Nation

Malaysia has warned web bloggers not to write on "sensitive issues" relating to religion or politics, threatening to arrest wrongdoers using a security law that allows detention without trial, official reports said Wednesday.

Minister in the Prime Minister's department, Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, said the government would not hesitate to use the draconian Internal Security Act, as well as the Sedition Act, against irresponsible bloggers. Both laws allow for indefinite detention.

"I want to issue a warning that the time has come for us to take action against them (bloggers).

"We have the right and we will do it. We have been very patient," Mohamad Nazri was quoted as saying by the official Bernama agency.

Mohamad Nazri's comments, which came in parliament late Tuesday, were in response to several articles on a local blog which the government claims contained disparaging comments against the king as well as Islam, the country's official religion.
Malaysia Cracks Down
On bloggers, Faces Criticism

IT News, Australia

A press freedom watchdog has criticised Malaysia after police in the mainly Muslim nation grilled an Internet-based writer over postings the ruling party called an insult to Islam and a bid to stir racial tension.

Scathing Internet criticism has embarrassed Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government several times this year, whether over complaints of corruption among senior officials or scurrilous talk about the private lives of others.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists was concerned over the eight-hour interrogation of the founder of the Web site Malaysia Today over a complaint by the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) that leads the ruling coalition.

"We call upon the Malaysian authorities to immediately cease harassment of Internet journalist Raja Petra Kamarudin," Joel Simon, executive director of the panel, said in a statement.

"Any new laws tailored to censor the Internet would represent a significant step backward for press freedom in Malaysia."

Raja Petra saw the campaign against bloggers as a bid to keep complaints about corruption out of the public eye at a time of growing expectations that Abdullah's government could hold early general elections, as soon as early 2008.

"Bloggers are begining to get a very wide readership and a lot of the things authorities would like hidden no longer stay hidden, so they find they are losing a lot of credibility."

Raja Petra said he was questioned about reader comments posted on his Web site, rather than his articles on corruption among police and government officials.

"The bottom line is, what you post in the comments section may get me sent to jail under the Sedition Act," he said.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A Comedy Of Errors

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Yes, guilty as charged. I have stolen this line from Shakespeare. But I can’t help it. What better way to describe the eight hours I spent under interrogation at the Dang Wangi Police Station yesterday other than it was a comedy of errors? By the way, before I go on, I have received more than a thousand phone calls, SMSes and e-mails from well-wishers and supporters. I have not found the time to reply to each and everyone yet so I hope you will forgive me for my rudeness. I am certainly touched by the concern and the messages of support posted in Malaysia Today’s blogs. From the bottom of my heart, and with sincere humility, I thank you all and promise you that the fight for more freedom in Malaysia shall continue come hell or high water.

I received a call from the police at 8.00am yesterday that they want to record my statement on the police report lodged by an ex-Selangor Menteri Besar with two Muhamads in his name. I saw the phone call coming and was not only expecting it but was hoping that they would summon me for interrogation so that I can expose this entire episode for the farce that it really is. In short, I pushed their hand with the ‘See you in hell Muhamad son of Muhamad’ article so that they would be forced to make their move on me.

They wanted me in at 10 but I told them I can only make it at 11. I wanted to update the website first in case my visit to Dang Wangi ends up a two-week stay.

According to the press reports, the police report made against me was with regards to an article I wrote on 11 July 2007 that they regard as insulting the Agong and Islam. By the way, in case you did not know, Malaysia does not have a king so please stop referring to the Agong as King. Agong does not translate to king. Agong means supreme and it merely means he is the Supreme Ruler of the nine rulers, a sort of ‘first amongst equals’ situation.

I brought along two shopping bags of four copies of the Quran in Arabic, English and Bahasa Malaysia, the Salasilah or family tree of the Selangor Sultanate, and an ‘approved’ version of Selangor’s history written by Buyung Adil. I could of course have also included Joginder Singh Jessy’s, DJ Tate’s and Winsted’s versions as well, but I thought the Buyung Adil version, which is in Bahasa Malaysia, would be less strenuous on the more simple-minded.

The police informed me that my interrogation was not about my article of 11 July 2007. In fact, on 11 July 2007, I never wrote any article. I did on 8 July though and again on 13 July, but never on 11 July. According to what the newspapers reported, I was alleged to have insulted the Agong and Islam, so the purpose of the two shopping bags of books was to debate Islam and the Agong with those who were about to interrogate me. But they did not want to talk about any of my articles. They only wanted to talk about some of the comments in the blogs posted by Malaysia Today’s readers.

I told the police I refuse to talk about the comments in the blogs. I did not write these comments so I refuse to talk about what I did not write. I only want to talk about what I wrote and defend myself against charges that I have insulted the Agong and Islam. But no, the police did not want to talk about my articles. They only wanted to talk about the comments in the blogs.

I told the police I still refuse to talk about the comments and if therefore they want to charge me for sedition under the Sedition Act then go ahead. I banged the table with my fist and shouted, “Charge me! Charge me now!” The police said that they do not wish to charge me yet but only to take my statement. I can refuse to reply if I wish or reply that I do not know anything. But they have no choice but to take my statement because a police report had been made against me.

It boggles the mind that they MUST take my statement barely two days after the police report against me was made whereas they do not feel they MUST do anything on the hundreds upon hundreds of other police reports made the last ten years or so since 1998. Take, as one example, the police report made by four Umno delegates to the Kubang Pasu AGM last year alleging that they were each bribed RM200 to not vote for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Malaysia Today published copies of these police reports. One of the Umno delegates who made the police report was subsequently beaten up in his house in front of his family. He made a second police report on the beating and even fingered those who had beaten him up because he knew them personally. Again, nothing was done. So this MUST take your statement once a police report has been made against you is as truthful as I am still a virgin.

When that ex-Selangor Menteri Besar with two Muhamads in his name went to the Dang Wangi Police Station on Monday to lodge his police report, he did not have any details to support the allegation that Malaysia Today had insulted the Agong and Islam. He was told that the evidence to support this allegation must be attached to the police report. They then tried to get onto the internet to access Malaysia Today so that they could look for the evidence. But they did not know how to and could not find Malaysia Today.

They then enlisted the help of a journalist from one of the Chinese newspapers who was there covering the event. Through the good help of this Chinese reporter, they finally found Malaysia Today and went through the comments in the blogs to find the evidence that they needed to support the police report.

Malaysia Today was launched on 13 August 2004 and since then we have about 20,000 or so items with an estimated five million comments in the blogs. Looking for the evidence would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. We must note that at this point of time they had lodged a police report but lacked the evidence. They were now putting the cart before the horse. They now needed the evidence to support the police report.

They finally found about a dozen or so postings amongst five million that looked strong enough to prove that Malaysia Today has insulted the Agong and Islam. One was my own posting that said if you insult any race or religion then I would have no choice but to delete your posting and ban you from further posting comments in Malaysia Today. Another was by Indianputra who was appealing to Malaysia Today’s readers not to fight and argue as some people might take advantage of the squabbling and exploit it to divide the races. What we want is a peaceful country, argued Indianputra, so if we engage in a civil manner then we will be able to unite all the races. And so on and so forth. Basically, this was the evidence they were working on to prove that Malaysia Today insulted the Agong and Islam.

I asked the police whether these postings are insulting the Agong, insulting Islam, and are trying to divide the races, or whether they are actually the reverse. The face of the ASP interrogating me turned red as he tried to explain that he was just doing his job and that he was ordered to take my statement. I replied that the person who made the police report is a stupid person who can’t speak English. So what do you expect from someone like that? He can’t even understand comments that are appealing for national unity and instead interpret it as calling for racial strife.

“Do you know that that orang bodoh ran away with the Sultan’s daughter and then denied it?” I asked the police. They just smiled. “Well, I am going to reveal this to the world,” I continued. “I am going to publish the letter he wrote to the Sultan where he denied he had married the Sultan’s daughter whereas he had in fact already secretly married her in Thailand. You tengoklah. I akan balun si bodoh tu habis-habis.”

The police appeared amused at what I had to say although their only retort was, “Banyak maklumat kita dapat hari ini.”

They then wanted to know the identity of those who post comments in Malaysia Today’s blogs. I told them I do not know who they are but I do know that amongst them are 25 Umno cyber-troopers headed by Azalina and Norza.

“Azalina?” they asked.

“Yes, Azalina lesbian,” I replied.

“Oh, Azalina Othman.” Apparently they know who I meant by Azalina lesbian.

“I did not say Azalina Othman. I said Azalina lesbian. You are supposed to record everything I say the way I say it. That is what a cautioned statement under Section 112 is all about. Saya kata Azalina lesbian. Bukan Azalina Othman. You record what I say and I will sign the statement.”

The second police officer stopped typing and scratched his head with a sheepish grin on his face. “Okaylah, I don’t want you to get into any trouble. Drop the lesbian and change it to Othman.” The second officer continued typing while chuckling. He was certainly enjoying himself.

I pointed out a few IDs that belonged to the Umno cyber-troopers and the second officer recorded them down. “How do you know they are Umno cyber-troopers?” the first officer asked me.

“Because I have received information from inside Umno,” I replied.

“You have people planted in Umno?”

“Of course I do, and I bribe them to feed me information. I just slam RM1,000 onto the table and ask them to tell me everything and they sing like a canary. It is not that hard to buy information.”

The four police officers in the room smiled and shook their heads in disbelief. “Can we record this in your statement?”

“Of course you can. The reason I am telling you this is so that you can record it in my statement. I want it on record that Umno is attacking Malaysia Today with 25 cyber-troopers and they are the ones who are posting racial statements. Sometimes they even masquerade as Chinese and whack the Malays and Islam. Then other cyber-troopers would respond and whack the Chinese. The Umno cyber-troopers are the ones behind this racial and religious bashing in Malaysia Today. Then they make a police report alleging that Malaysia Today insults Islam and stirs racial sentiments.”

All this exchange was of course recorded as anything you say under Section 112 interrogation is recorded and you are made to sign the statement at the end of the interrogation. And you go to jail if you make a false statement.

At the end of the eight-hour interrogation, I asked them whether we are finished and they said yes. “Okay, now I want to make my additional statement,” I informed the police.

“Of course, we will ask you before we end whether you want to add anything more to your statement. That is the procedure.”

“Okay, now I will make that statement. Malaysia Today’s domain name is registered in the UK,” I told the police. When you click on the domain name you are sent to the server of the registered IP address in that domain name. Our server is in Singapore. But what you see is only the front page. Then you choose which item on the front page you want to read and you are sent to the blog. The blog sits in the US. When you post a comment it goes straight to the blog. For all intents and purposes, Malaysia Today is a foreign website and not a Malaysian website. We therefore do not come under Malaysian laws.”

“Let me put it another way,” I told the police. “Sodomy is a crime in Malaysia and you can get sent to jail for nine years for the crime of sodomy even if you are a Deputy Prime Minister. In England, men can marry men and you will even receive a congratulatory message from the British Prime Minister. So, sodomy is not a crime in the UK and you do not go to jail.”

“In short,” I summed up. “Your Sedition Act is valid only in Malaysia and not outside Malaysia. So you cannot impose Malaysia’s Sedition Act on Malaysia Today which resides outside Malaysia. I can actually tell you to go to hell and that I will not waste eight hours answering all your questions. But I do not want you to think I am sombong so I was prepared to spend eight hours with you answering all your questions as I know you have a job to do and it is not your fault.”

I knew this officer was under tremendous pressure because every half an hour he would receive a phone call from his OCPD as well as the IGP asking about the progress of the interrogation. The top bosses were monitoring the whole situation and my interrogation was not a routine one at all. One senior Chinese officer who sat there the entire duration without opening his mouth revealed his true role when the only time he spoke was to utter the statement that I am trying to topple the IGP. That was what the police really wanted. It was payback time for the revelations of the links between the IGP and the Chinese organised crime syndicate.

Umno, however, had other motives. It was not about Malaysia Today insulting the Agong or Islam. They did not even have any evidence of this until that Chinese reporter helped them get onto the internet and access Malaysia Today’s website. What they were perturbed about is my article in my column No Holds Barred on 8 July 2007 about the powers of the Agong.

If you read Article 150 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia -- which I have reproduced below -- you can see that the Agong has the power to remove the Prime Minister if the Agong perceives the Prime Minister as totally incompetent and a danger to the economic life and well-being of Malaysians. Of course, this has never been done before except in 1969 to address the problem of the May 13 race riots. But this does mean it cannot be done, just that it has never been done or done only once in 1969.

Note the key points in Article 150 such as:

1) If the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied
2) That a grave emergency exists
3) Whereby the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof is threatened
4) He may issue a Proclamation of Emergency making therein a declaration to that effect.
5) A Proclamation of Emergency may be issued before the actual occurrence of the event which threatens the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation
6) Except when both Houses of Parliament are sitting concurrently
7) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that certain circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action
8) He may promulgate such ordinances as circumstances appear to him to require.
9) The Houses of Parliament shall be regarded as sitting only if the members of each House are respectively assembled together

Now, Article 150 is very clear in that the Agong can interpret the situation as he sees it and take action that he thinks is befitting the situation. Basically, it is his opinion and only his opinion that rules and he can act based on his opinion.

When this article was first published on 8 July 2007, it sent shockwaves right through the fourth floor and right up to the fifth floor of the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya. They suddenly realised that if the Agong perceives the Prime Minister as incompetent and a danger to this country, then the Agong can remove the Prime Minister and appoint anyone he so wishes to replace the Prime Minister. It need not be the Deputy Prime Minister or any of the Umno leaders. In theory, it can even be the Agong’s gardener if the Agong thinks he is better than the Prime Minister and the best man to lead this country.

And that was when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi decided to quietly sneak out of the country with his entire family. They suspected that this article of 8 July 2007 was not a coincidence but was instead a hint that the Agong may act within his powers under the Federal Constitution of Malaysia to sack the Prime Minister and replace him with someone better. The Prime Minister then summoned the IGP and the Director of the Special Branch to Australia to obtain feedback as to whether he is in danger of being ousted.

Earlier, Abdullah had announced the extension of the IGP's tenure on contract basis beyond 13 September 2007 when he is supposed to retire. Abdullah received a major blow yesterday during the Rulers' Conference when the Rulers expressed displeasure at Abdullah's announcement of this extension without first informing them about it. This was the Rulers' very strong message to Abdullah that they are not happy with the way he is running this country.
Abdullah is worried that Malaysia Today might be playing a role of ‘instigating’ the Rulers to sack him. They then sat down and came out with a plan to turn the Rulers against Malaysia Today by accusing Malaysia Today of insulting the Agong and Islam. They hope that by doing this the Rulers would get angry with Malaysia Today and be very grateful to Abdullah for putting Raja Petra in jail and in that same process protect and defend the image and dignity of the Rulers. In short, Abdullah wants the Rulers to think that Malaysia Today is their enemy while the Prime Minister is their friend. So, no need to sack Abdullah. Instead, put Raja Petra in jail. And with that Abdullah and his family can continue to live happily ever after as the First Family of Malaysia.

Abdullah is due back on 27 July 2007. According to his office, he may delay his return until the first week of August. Abdullah was hoping that by the time he returns on 27 July 2007, Raja Petra would be safely tucked away behind the high walls of the Sungai Buloh Prison and he can then request an audience with the Agong to inform the Agong how he defended the image and dignity of the Agong by punishing Raja Petra for the crime of insulting the Agong and Islam.

But they sent a fool to undertake the job of assassinating Raja Petra. This ex-Selangor Menteri Besar with two Muhamads in his name botched the mission. Abdullah now has to rethink his strategy as well as the date of his return home. Would he still be walking in the corridors of power or would he have to stay in Australia and apply for PR status? Yes, we live in interesting times. A certain Datuk from Abdullah’s camp phoned me last night and I told this Datuk to inform his boss that Raja Petra is bent on destroying Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and ensure that all that remains of him is a pile of dust. An Uncle to the Agong phoned me two days ago and said “Bodoh betul Mat Taib!”

Round One: Raja Petra. But will I also win Round Two? I don’t know yet. We will have to wait and see. Time will of course tell. But what I do know, it is a fight to the death and I really do not care whether that will be me.

Article 150 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia

(1) If the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof is threatened, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency making therein a declaration to that effect.

(2) A Proclamation of Emergency under Clause (1) may be issued before the actual occurrence of the event which threatens the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof if the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that there is imminent danger of the occurrence of such event.

(2A) The power conferred on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by this Article shall include the power to issue different Proclamations on different grounds or in different circumstances, whether or not there is a Proclamation or Proclamations already issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong under Clause (1) and such Proclamation or Proclamations are in operation.

(2B) If at any time while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, except when both Houses of Parliament are sitting concurrently, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that certain circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such ordinances as circumstances appear to him to require.

(2C) An ordinance promulgated under Clause (2B) shall have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament, and shall continue in full force and effect as if it is an Act of Parliament until it is revoked or annulled under Clause (3) or until it lapses under Clause (7); and the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to promulgate ordinances under Clause (2B) may be exercised in relation to any matter with respect to which Parliament has power to make laws regardless of the legislative or other procedures required to be followed, or the proportion of the total votes required to be had, in either House of Parliament.

(3) A Proclamation of Emergency and any ordinance promulgated under Clause (2B) shall be laid before both Houses of Parliament and, if not sooner revoked, shall cease to have effect if resolutions are passed by both Houses annulling such Proclamation or ordinance, but without prejudice to anything previously done by virtue thereof or to the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to issue a new Proclamation under Clause (1) or promulgate any ordinance under Clause (2B).

(4) While a Proclamation of Emergency is in force the executive authority of the Federation shall, notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, extent to any matter within the legislative authority of a State and to the giving of directions to the Government of a State or to any officer or authority thereof.

(5) Subject to Clause (6A), while a Proclamation of Emergency is in force, Parliament may, not-withstanding anything in this Constitution make laws with respect to any matter, if it appears to Parliament that the law is required by reason of the emergency; and Article 79 shall not apply to a Bill for such a law or an amendment to such a Bill, nor shall any provision of this Constitution or of any written law which requires any consent or concurrence to the passing of a law or any consultation with respect thereto, or which restricts the coming into force of a law after it is passed or the presentation of a Bill to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for his assent.

(6) Subject to Clause (6A), no provision of any ordinance promulgated under this Article, and no provision of any Act of Parliament which is passed while a Proclamation of Emergency is in force and which declares that the law appears to Parliament to be required by reason of the emergency, shall be invalid on the ground of inconsistency with any provision of this Constitution.

(6A) Clause (5) shall not extend the powers of Parliament with respect to any matter of Islamic law or the custom of the Malays, or with respect to any matter of native law or custom in the State of Sabah or Sarawak; nor shall Clause (6) validate any provision inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution relating to any such matter or relating to religion, citizenship, or language.

(7) At the expiration of a period of six months beginning with the date on which a Proclamation of Emergency ceases to be in force, any ordinance promulgated in pursuance of the Proclamation and, to the extent that it could not have been validly made but for this Article any law made while the Proclamation was in force, shall cease to have effect, except as to things done or omitted to be done before the expiration of that period.

(8) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution:
(a) the satisfaction of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong mentioned in Clause (1) and Clause (2B) shall be final and conclusive and shall not be challenged or called in question in any court on any ground; and
(b) no court shall have jurisdiction to entertain or determine any application, question or proceeding, in whatever form, on any ground, regarding the validity of-
(i) a Proclamation under Clauses (1) or of a declaration made in such Proclamation to the effect stated in Clause (1);
(ii) the continued operation of such Proclamation;
(iii) any ordinance promulgated under Clause (2B); or
(iv) the continuation in force of any such ordinance.

(9) For the purpose of this Article the Houses of Parliament shall be regarded as sitting only if the members of each House are respectively assembled together and carrying out the business of the House.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

IDR - Whither Malaysia-Singapore Relations?

Datuk Rejal Arbee

Singapore’s Foreign Minister George Yeo has been quoted as saying the Iskandar Development Region “will be good for Johor. It will be good for Singapore. Both sides will benefit. The pie will grow faster and there will be plenty to be shared.”

But he qualified that this would only be on the basis of no borders between the two countries likening it to water flow which will find its own level whereby a lot of the economic growth in Singapore will spill over into the IDR, which will lower Singapore’s own costs.

The reality is there is a border and to Yeo because there is this fence “the water doesn’t flow completely and there is a certain pressure difference, but to the extent that there is connectivity and ferocity, that is good for both sides.”

He likened the benefits arising from the IDR as water flow. But we in Malaysia can only hope that it will not be just a one way flow like a river which always flows downstream.

But knowing the calculative Singaporeans they will surely do the arithmetics and will only commit if the sums favour them more. Thus in so far as Singapore’s investment in the IDR is concerned it is not just a river flow downstream to Johore but more like the tide which flows in and out. So with every investment it makes, there is the concomitant flow back to Singapore in terms of profit repatriation and other kind of outflows from the IDR to the island republic.

Even with this Yeo has qualified his statement that there would be ‘some practical problems’ which needed to be tackled at the first joint ministerial meeting in Johor Bahru. So what message is Singapore trying to make prior to the ministerial meeting? They want a free flow of Singaporeans into the IDR?

This was something which Johoreans had objected to resulting in the shelving of the proposal to allow Singaporeans freely into the IDR without the need for travel papers. Is Yeo now hinting at reinstating the proposal? But what is the reciprocity from Singapore?

So the flow that Yeo is talking about doesn’t seem to brush off onto other areas of relationship between Malaysia and the republic despite what he described as the better climate of relationship between the two nations now. "I believe with the present spirit of co-operation and goodwill, we should be able to do something to promote easier flow between the two sides, which would be good for the IDR," so said Yeo as reported by Channel News Asia which was picked up by Bernama.

However which ever way one looks at it, the flow is mostly one sided. The goodwill always comes from Malaysia with Singapore at times not reciprocating at all. Thus Malaysia continues to allow the free flow of Singapore cars into Johor despite the Cabinet deciding to impose a token levy which was not enforced. Malaysians driving into the republic have to pay to drive there.

Thus the republic won’t even allow Malaysians from the peninsula who had stopped working in Singapore to withdraw their money from the Central Provident Fund. It would not have cost the republic anything (the money is not even theirs) but would gain goodwill from the affected Malaysians. But of course in this case the flow would be towards Malaysia and the republic cannot be seen to give way to Malaysia lest we be ‘embolden’ to ask them for more as often charged by Lee Kuan Yew and company. Its simply unthinkable for them to be seen to give way to Malaysia.

So whither Malaysia-Singapore relations?

Latest On RPK:
Webmaster Raja Petra Questioned For 8hrs

Malaysia Today owner Raja Petra Kamarudin spent eight hours at the Dang Wangi district police headquarters having his statement recorded over a police report lodged by Umno.

The Umno police report concerning articles and comments posted on his website alleged that Raja Petra had insulted the Yang diPertuan Agong and Islam.

“I was interrogated as a witness and questioned under Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code,” Raja Petra, 57, told a press conference after his statement was recorded on Wednesday.

Raja Petra arrived at the Dang Wangi police station at 11am accompanied by his wife Marina Lee Abdullah, 50, and several family members and friends.

Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman spoke briefly with Raja Petra before the webmaster was brought to the CID office at 12.15pm.

Zulkarnain confirmed that Raja Petra was called in to record a statement under the Sedition Act. He declined to comment further.

In the police report lodged on Monday, Umno information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib claimed the comments and remarks published on the website on July 11 had insulted the King, degraded Islam and could incite hatred and violence in Malaysia’s multi-racial society.

[By Andrew Sagayam, The Star]
Mike Tyson Vs. M-Today
Or UMNO Vs. Bloggers?

The police report lodged yesterday by UMNO Information Chief, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib (Mike Tyson) against Raja Petra Kamarudin (Pet or RPK) and Malaysia Today is being widely perceived not as a straight forward case of Mike Tyson versus Raja Petra. The general perception is that it is a case of UMNO versus Malaysian bloggers in general. It is also generally viewed as a move to instill fear and anxiety within the community of Malaysian political bloggers.

In his report, Muhammad allegedly said that Malaysia Today had published “a series of comments and remarks that it deemed as insulting the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, degrading Islam and inciting hatred and violence in Malaysia's multi-racial society.”

In reply to this accusation, RPK said in his latest article posted yesterday: “Many people from the media phoned me today to ask me my comments on the police report against Malaysia Today and me. Well, this is my response to that police report against Malaysia Today and me. I would just like to say: go to hell Muhamad the son of Muhamad. You are a disgrace to the Muhamad name. And let me tell you Muhamad the son of Muhamad: you should thank your lucky stars that this is 2007 and not 1907. If this was 1907 instead of 2007 I would challenge you to a duel. It would be a man-to-man, one-to-one duel. It would be a duel to the death with kerises.”

To read more of what RPK has written, please click on the following link: To most people, RPK’s article is being considered as one write-up which will cause more damage to Muhammad’s credibility compared to Mohammad’s allegation against RPK.

Most local netcitizens have the perception that the latest move by UMNO may become a prelude to a possible crackdown on political bloggers in Malaysia. I don’t know how far this is true, but one thing may be possible - the police report made by Mohammad against RPK could be one of the many developments we might witness in the coming weeks or months.

Many Malaysians also believe that the move is not initiated by the government or its relevant ICT enforcement agencies. It is perceived as more of a move made by UMNO said to be aimed at creating fear and anxieties within the circle of Malaysian political bloggers in particular, and all other Malaysian bloggers in general.

In short, the police report against Malaysia Today and RPK is being considered by many as a case of UMNO versus Bloggers. And, ultimately, it is generally believed that UMNO, not the bloggers, is the one who is going to suffer the losses. It is so because the majority of bloggers in Malaysia are not like RPK, Datuk A Kadir Jasin, Datuk Rejal Arbee, Datuk Paduka Marina Mahathir, Ahirudin Attan, Jeff Ooi and I, who gentlemanly and voluntarily display our real identities in our respective blogs.

Instead, most Malaysian political bloggers are still blogging behind masks and secret identities. They are mostly professionals of various disciplines; including engineers, lawyers, financial analysts, journalists, medical doctors, academicians and politicians from both of the divides.

According to a bloggers’ on-line dirctory - - currently there are 500 political bloggers in Malaysia. And this number is proliferating by the day. True enough, majority of these bloggers are using secret identities.
UMNO and Muhammad can therefore do whatever that they think needs to be done to achieve their political ends and objectives. UMNO can take actions against bloggers of my kind, if it thinks that it is both necessary and timely. But, can UMNO stop those Zorro political bloggers from uploading their views and opinions about fairness, equality, transparency, truth and justice on to the cybersphere?

UMNO and Muhammad may be able, to a certain degree, to “gag” political bloggers who dare to expose their own names and identities. UMNO and Muhammad can do this through various ways and means - subtly, covertly, openly or officially. But, can they do the same to the Zorro category of political bloggers? I am sure the Zorros will hit back with a pace and manner which is more intense. I am very sure about this because the spirit of comradeship amongst the majority of Malaysian bloggers - irrespective of their of politics and ideologies - is very real, intact and sustainable. They will fight back with force and vigor. They will not easily surrender to threats and intimidations.

I am not the spokesman to the Malaysian bloggers in general. But, I am very sure of this comradeship because the majority of Malaysian bloggers are blogging from the bottom of their hearts in search of equality, fairness, truth, transparency and justice. They are not mercenaries like the ones allegedly under the stewardship of Azalina Othman. They are not paid a fixed monthly allowance believed to be within the range of RM1600 to RM2600 each. They do not blog for money. They write blogs voluntarily.

[I was told by an authoritative source yesterday that Azalina is currently said to have hired about 200 bloggers throughout the country. If we take an average monthly allowance of RM2,000 per blogger, this means that an amount of not less than RM400,000 is allegedly being spent on these mercenary cyber-troopers every month. A huge sum isn’t it? Whose money is it?]

Another significant point for UMNO to note is the strength of political bloggers in Malaysia. They have a big audience and followers. They also have big and wide cumulative daily hits. As of yesterday, Malaysia Today alone received almost four millions hits.

Taking all these into account, what Muhammad and UMNO has done to Malaysia Today and RPK, is being generally perceived as a counter productive effort. Many Malaysians believe that it creates backlash, it angers the majority of Malaysian bloggers and internet surfers, and it invites retaliations. It is also being perceived to even give more credence to the opposition in the forthcoming general election, said to be held in September 2007.

As a card carrying member of UMNO, I am definitely very concerned about this. But, does the party leadership have a similar view with me? If you do, please act accordingly in this case with your outmost wisdom and credibility.

In conclusion, I sincerely hope the party’s top leadership will seriously consider this humble opinion of mine for the sake of UMNO and the general well-beings of the the Malays. – Ruhanie Ahmad
Latest On RPK Of Malaysia Today
Raja Petra Kamarudin has been summoned to the Dang Wangi Police Station, Jalan Staduim, at 11.00am today (25 July 2007) for his statement to be recorded with regards to the police report made by the Umno Information Chief. It is believed a second police report has also been made with regards to the article Raja Petra wrote called ‘See you in hell Muhamad son of Muhamad’.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bumis Will Regress
Without NEP, Says Mahathir

Ethnic Malays have made poor use of the 36-year-old affirmative action policy and will regress economically if it is taken away, former Malaysian Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said.

The New Economic Policy (NEP) gives Malays and other bumiputeras quota privileges over ethnic Chinese and Indians for government contracts, homes and company shares in a bid to redistribute wealth.

“The Malays have not responded to the efforts made by the government and because of that, the disparity remains,” said Tun Dr Mahathir in an interview.

“When you're coming up from behind to catch up, you have to run faster, you have to make more effort,” he added.

But without the NEP, the Malays will slip further behind and the country risked a return to racial violence, he warned.


For detailed text please click the link be BLOOMBERG

Monday, July 16, 2007

Tun Mahathir & Tun Hasmah
A Couple Whom We Adore

By Jennifer Guan

We are gathered here this very day
in celebration of a couple dear
a couple who in love unite
are seldom cross and hardly fight.

To a couple who bring joy to all
and made it better day by day
may happiness surround the both of you
that is our wish for you.

For years you’ve lead our country
through sunny days and rainy ones too
leadership never failing, lending a hand to many
you’ve changed lives, becoming an inspiration.

The strength and courage you had to use everyday
regardless of what others might say
steadfast and determined, you lead our way
making sure that young people like us won’t go astray.

For every loving thing that you both
have done and continue to do
manifests the essence of which we are all apart
if angels on earth were to come true
I’m sure God must have given that duty to you.

For your love has left an imprint here
then so will we, the young ones, strive to keep it there
your words of wisdom will be in our thoughts
In what we do, in what we see
and in the decisions we make.

As we grow older things must change
but they don’t always have to end
even though its different now
the values you showed us, apply just the same
All we need is to remember what we’ve learnt
so that mistakes aren’t made again.

Being young and untainted
we know that we have much more to learn
to grow, to hope and to give
we’ll make this vow that though it’ll be hard
we’ll go on with a smile and play every card.

To give all we can, to help others
and most importantly to share the love
for we’ll ask for strength we don’t have
from the One above.

And for all that you’ve given us
in this home we share
we’ll remember to care, remember to feel
and no matter what happens
our home will heal.

I’m sure you’ve heard it all before
how there can never be enough words
to thank you for your deeds
we will pay you back in kinder deeds
by not forgetting what you both have given us
for appreciating the changes you’ve made
in such we are proud to have this place called home.

There are few who are so lucky
to have the things, the both of you do
companionship and friendship
and loving feelings too.

May this love you both share
for each other, and for the people of our homeland
shine like a beacon
a guide for all the rest.

Thus, we humbly wish these pleasures
will last forevermore
for we know that you will ever be
a couple whom we adore.

July 11, 2007


The above poem was dedicated to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali. It was recited by Jennifer at the Tuns’ birthday luncheon in Putrajaya on July 11, 2007.

Jennifer, 19, is an active member of the Young Acheiver’s Club. She is now awaiting her A level results and hopes to pursue medicine.

She had visited Iraq to witness the plight of the children in that war-torn country. She had also represented the children of Malaysia for an international children media conference in Brazil. Apart from that, she has taken part in many charitable events and hopes to be able to continue to do so in the future.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quo Vadis National Interest
And Sovereignty In IDR?

Datuk Rejal Arbee

What is it with the Iskandar Development Region (IDR) that matters of national interests and national integrity can be compromised all for the sake of development? We seem to want to be so accommodative to the foreigners that national interests and sovereignty seems to have been thrown out of the window. So our own well being do not matter anymore in IDR?

The latest in a series of decisions that seem to favour foreigners is the requirement that local architecture firms wanting jobs in the IDR need to forge partnerships with a selected group of foreign architects already identified by Khazanah. Isn’t this a reversal of the normal requirement where a foreign company needing certain contracts have to get a local partner/s to ensure among others transfer of technology?

It looks like the IDR is indeed something very special. Is there any other country in the world which gives such preference to foreigners? It seems that Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) have protested this unprecedented requirement but to no avail.

And now some environmental groups have expressed fear of an ecological disaster waiting to happen to the Sungai Pulai estuary within the IDR because of the various industries being planned for the area including the building of the RM100 million 40ha man-made island at Tanjung Bin to be the site of a RM1.4 billion project aimed at making the country a regional petroleum hub.

The bunkering terminal near the tip of Johor’s southeastern coast near to the Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), will be used to provide integrated services and uninterrupted bunkering to ships. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when officiating the ground-breaking ceremony for the reclamation works on Thursday (July 5) said the Asia Petroleum Hub will create opportunities in the maritime industry as well as promote the emergence of marine support activities.


However ecological groups are now questioning the setting up of the various heavy and medium-sized industries in the Sungai Pulai estuary which is an estuarine river system having minimal freshwater influx from the upstream watershed. Thus the tidal ebbs and flows will not bring about the outflow of wastewater discharged by the various industries to be set up there into the sea but will be brought back by the high tides into the estuary.

The area will then become polluted and would affect the Merambong seagrass and other seagrass which support sensitive marine species like seahorses and dugong at the mouth of the Sungai Pulai. They are calling for a DEIA (Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment) for the area which could comprehensively assess the cumulative impact of the industries on the ecosystem of the area. This is needed because discharge by individual heavy and medium-sized industries might not individually cause an impact but the accumulative impact of all the industries together, that is the total pollution load, will create a major environmental disaster in the Sungai Pulai estuary.

So what gives for the IDR? Earlier moves were afoot that could compromise the sovereignty of the area beginning with the unprecedented proposal to allow free flow of Singaporeans into the region without any travel papers as if they are going into their own territory. It was only when the people were shocked with disbelief at such blatant ‘giveaway’ that the government was forced to back track and abandon any thought of providing the Singaporeans such unprecedented freedom of excess.

Then there is this decision by the Advisory Panel announced by one of its members, former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Musa Hitam that the Bumiputeras cannot expect any undue privileges provided by the NEP for jobs in the IDR. He said they could no longer depend on preferential or special treatment from the government to secure projects in the IDR but should instead take advantage of the opportunities provided. But the Bumiputera entities need to prove their worth to be considered.

Musa seem to blame the whole Bumiputera business community for the problem, when it was the government’s patronage system that had created it in the first place. And who are these Bumiputeras given the preferential treatment? Aren’t they the rent seekers, the types who have access or connections to those who can give out the largesse? They are the ones who on getting the contracts hawked them out to the non-Bumiputeras for peanuts. And to blame the Bumiputeras as a whole for this is a disgrace.


The rent seekers should not only not be welcomed in the IDR but throughout the country. The NEP itself should not be blamed but those in positions of making the decisions should be blamed for the excesses. In any case the people needed to be reminded that the Bumiputera entities do not mean 100 percent Bumiputera owned since even partnerships where 49 percent of the equity owned by non-bumis are still considered as Bumi entities. What can be more accommodative than this?

The problem over awarding of projects is not really due to the policy’s shortcomings but how it was administered and implemented. It is good that the patronage system be done away with so that those not qualified not be awarded any contract. Conversely the qualified Bumiputeras including the genuine 51-49 partnership should not now be discriminated against especially in the IDR.

Unfortunately there are those in the corridors of power who do not see the positive side of the NEP. Thus moves are afoot to use the IDR to dismantle the NEP. But as stated by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad affirmative action if used judiciously could yield good results. If implemented correctly there would not be dissentions instead it could dissipate tensions arising from economic disparities between the races and even among the races. It is when nothing is done to overcome such disparities that tensions will arise and can compromise national stability.

It is bad enough that for the IDR, a joint ministerial committee between Singapore and Malaysia had been set up entrusted to plan and oversee development and progress of the region. It is as if without the island republic being made part of such a joint committee, Singaporeans will not want to invest there.

Thus the continued outcry among the people especially those who value national sovereignty and integrity over what is happening in the name of development of the IDR. The feeling is that Malaysia should be the sole deciding authority and not to share it with a foreign government for development in our sovereign area. Participation by the foreigners should also be on our terms.


The Johoreans especially including Umno politicians are still questioning why the nation’s sovereignty is being eroded bit by bit all for the sake of expediency of the IDR? The question of sovereignty is very sensitive to the Johoreans. This is understandable, maybe not to Lee Kuan Yew, the Singapore Minister Mentor considering that a number of places in Johore where there are the republic’s water treatment plants being regarded as if they are part of the republic’s territory. The places are all manned by Singaporeans and out of bounds to any others.

To make matters worse places like Pulau Batu Putih (which is only about 15 km off the Penggerang coast and more than 30 km away from Changi and subject to disputed claims by both countries and now before the International Court) and Pulau Pisang (about 100km up the Straits of Malacca opposite Pontian town) where there are lighthouses are still being manned by Singaporeans. In fact at one time the Singaporeans had the gall to even fly Singapore’s flag at the lighthouse in Pulau Pisang where there is no dispute of ownership. The question is why are the Singaporeans still manning the lighthouse especially in Pulau Pisang. Aren’t there Malaysian who can do the job? If not then who is manning the lighthouse in Tanjung Tuan (formerly Cape Rachado)?

And it seems the grand old man of the republic Harry Lee cannot stomach questions by Johore Umno about the possible erosion of sovereignty of the IDR. Thus his latest outburst equating people who questioned the special treatment afforded to the Singaporeans in the IDR as part of a movement to topple Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He even reminded Singapore companies intending to invest in the IDR not to expect privileged treatment from Malaysia just like the “generous treatment” accorded by China to investors from Hong Kong in Shenzhen province.

Lee Kuan Yew

”Singapore cannot expect the same treatment from Malaysia,” he said in a special interview with Berita Harian (Singapore) last week. Of course the republic should not expect such privileged treatment. After all Singapore is not a territory of Malaysia unlike Hong Kong which is a part of China.

Being the dictator that he was, where nobody in the island republic dared oppose whatever he said or did, he will see ghosts lurking wherever there are dissensions. He is just not used to opposition. To him whatever is shoved down the throat must be accepted, no questions asked. So he equates rumblings against what is going on in the IDR vis-à-vis questions over erosion of sovereignty and national integrity and especially coming from Johore Umno as moves to topple Pa Lah. How ingeneous.

Lee also said IDR could pose pressure to Singapore just like Shenzhen to Hong Kong where industries were being wooed out of Hong Kong into Shenzen. “This has left Hong Kong with only a few manufacturing plants and with high unemployment rate. Hong Kong’s economy is now dependent on the service sector….If Singapore loses many industries to IDR, we will face serious unemployment problem as not all factory workers can find jobs in the service sector,” so said Harry Lee.

What is his motive in saying all this? Is this not a veiled threat by him to eke out even more concessions from the IDR? Is the presence of “invisible fingers” of foreigners that are slowly, but surely, having influence on the leadership as one blogger put it still not enough?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Bravo Charles Morais!!

Malaysian Charles Morais
Acquiring More Hotels
In United States

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 (Bernama) -- The name Charles Morais may not yet ring a bell in Malaysia but the Ipoh-born entrepreneur is well on his way to becoming one of the leading hoteliers in the United States.

Spurred by the success that he has been notching up since he began acquiring hotels in the U.S. in 1999, his Atlanta-based Kronos Hotels and Resorts last month bought a portfolio of 16 more hotels with 3,100 rooms.

And with 26 hotels already under his chain, mainly in the East Central region of the U.S., Kronos Hotels has announced plans to acquire 12 other properties outside the U.S. by the end of the year, including two hotels in Morais' native country Malaysia.

Kronos Hotels Public Relations Manager Amira Shahnaz Ahmad Shahizan told Bernama from New York: " Morais wants to expand his hotel business in Malaysia, where he is now in the process of purchasing two new hotels which will be ready to open in 90 days".

Amira Shahnaz, herself a Malaysian and who works in Kronos Hotels' branch office in New York, said not only Morais wanted to expand his hotels to Malaysia but he would also promote Malaysian food and tourism worldwide.


For detailed news please click:


Bravo Morais!! You are a proud son of Malaysia. Your success recipe should be shared with other Malaysians aspiring to become renowned global players as being envisaged by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his Vision 2020. – Ruhanie Ahmad

Monday, July 2, 2007

Putrajaya 2 In Penang

Patrick Lim's Batu Kawan. Another new administrative capital?

That's the talk in the market. In Penang, at least. Patrick's Equine Capital has a huge landbank in Batu Kawan in the Prime Minister's home state, and is believed to have finally received the green light to turn it into a mega property development like nothing Penang has witnessed.

Lim, who is also known as Patrick Badawi for his perceived closeness to the PM, rose to prominence for being the Chosen One to develop Pulau Duyong in Terengganu and organize the Monsoon Cup, a pet event of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Equine and friends will benefit immensely from another mega project on Penang island, including the multi-billion ringgit 2nd Penang bridge. Equine also owns a quarter of the 239-acre Penang Turf Club, which has been earmarked to be Penang's new city centre. A Penang Towers Complex will be built. The redevelopment of the Penang Turf Club is estimated to generate a value of RM25 billion over 10 years, double that of the KLCC's!

The Batu Kawan project will be as grand as the Iskandar Development Region in Johor and is expected to offer foreigners the same NEP-free incentives. There'll also be a bullet train service that zips through it, I believe.

Question is, do we need another Administrative capital?

I am sure the financial journalists who are going to Penang for a briefing tomorrow on the country's latest mega-mega project will ask the tough questions but one thing's for sure, mega projects are well and alive.
Monday, July 02, 2007