Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TBH RCI: Report submitted to Yang di-Pertuan Agong

A 124-page report has been submitted to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by commissioners of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the death of Teoh Beng Hock.



The commission had an audience with Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin for 30 minutes today.

Commission chairman Tan Sri James Foong said the decision whether to make the report public would be up to the King.

He told reporters that the report had been completed on June 15 after going through 19,200 pages of notes of evidence, 256 exhibits, 750 pages of submissions and 1,000 pages of authorities.

A copy of the report will be extended to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today afternoon.

Foong also said that the commissioners were unanimous in their conclusion on Teoh's cause of death.

He added that there were also recommendations made on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in its report, as per two of the terms of reference of the commission.

Foong said the whole inquiry process “was sometimes trying”, but added they were “extremely satisfied that we came out with the report” ahead of the June 25 deadline.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Selangor Land Grab - The Spanker & Ah Chun Agree

I don't normally agree with spinning gasing Ah Chun, but on the Selangor land grab issue we do.
Just in case you're wondering why The Spanker doesn't always  agree with him, perhaps the "Spinning Gasing" tag will tip you off.




Here are my tweets on the issue


And here's Ah Chun's article

None of Yayasan Selangor’s business
On The Beat
By Wong Chun Wai


The foundation should learn to run itself first before telling others how to run their business.

JUST think. Why should Yayasan Selangor – a state education foundation that was set up to bring needy rural students to hostels in urban areas – be given prized land in a prime location that would eventually be worth hundreds of millions of ringgit?

Have we become so politically partisan that we have refused to ask how this foundation, which has a horrible reputation for mismanagement, could possibly be able to utilise the land properly and efficiently?

There are now suspicions, rightly or wrongly, that the land currently being used by nursery operators would be passed on to crony developers once it has been acquired by the state.

Yayasan Selangor is not in the business of developing land. It cannot even run itself properly. We are now suddenly being told that the land where the nurseries are located has underground water pipes and that, for security reasons, the nursery operators have to move out.

But Yayasan Selangor will get the land. We should then be demanding to know why Yayasan Selangor would want the land with all these “dangerous” water pipes.

The fact is that these 50 nursery operators are sitting on land that is next to the over 1,300ha of land belonging to the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia which has been earmarked for redevelopment. The development in the area comes under the Greater Kuala Lumpur Strategic Development Project initiative which is under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Of the present total land area, rubber plantations take up about 939ha (2,320 acres) while the remainder includes the nurseries and other buildings. So who can blame them if they are suspicious of the motives of the state government?

Even if we accept the argument that the state has the right to take over this land, we should be looking at the track record, or lack of it, of Yayasan Selangor.

Financial mismanagement has caused Yayasan Selangor to chalk up RM7.41mil in deficit from January till November last year.

In normal circumstances, the financial state of the foundation would have been called a scandal and there would have been a demand for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to be set up to investigate it.

But it looks like many of the Barisan Nasional state assemblymen are still not thinking, acting and functioning like aggressive opposition leaders.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim himself has revealed that “expenditure that is not transparent, prudent or reasonable had caused the cost of Yayasan Selangor’s 40th anniversary celebration to reach almost RM1mil”.

The audit on Yayasan Selangor was done from Nov 29 till Dec 1 last year after the Sultan of Selangor snubbed the foundation’s 40th anniversary luncheon, which was scheduled for Nov 15, over its exorbitant cost. The luncheon was subsequently called off.

First, the state government said the luncheon was billed at RM300,000 but Selangor Umno claimed that the event would have cost RM800,000. The audit report showed that the foundation actually spent RM996,472 on the overall celebration.

The luncheon may have been cancelled but Yayasan Selangor still had to pay RM387,232. The other costs included RM225,000 for copies of the Quran, RM206,040 on souvenirs and clothes, and RM178,200 on a fishing competition.

Can someone shed some light over this fishy event involving public funds?

The audit report also stated that Yayasan Selangor could recover an estimated RM148,500 from the company in charge of the luncheon, but it had yet to do so.

The fiasco, however, did not stop the Yayasan Selangor board of trustees from paying themselves bonuses of RM5,000 last year – a violation of the foundation’s memorandum.

Yayasan Selangor’s board of trustees includes Khalid, who is chairman, former state secretary Datuk Ramli Mahmud, Selangor executive councillor Dr Halimah Ali, Ilham Marzuki, Datuk Mohd Arif Ab Rahman, Sulaiman Wak and Haji Mohd Adenan Deraman.

The only saving grace is that the Mentri Besar has taken action and revealed the contents of the audit, and a former deputy general manager has been charged in court on three counts of graft involving RM45,000 in connection with the anniversary celebrations.

The nursery operators who have been toiling the land for over 22 years are now being shown a grand plan submitted by Yayasan Selangor. It supposedly involves converting the land into an expo area with plans for flower shows, 24-hour security and proper lighting.

Who are Yayasan Selangor to tell these operators how to run their nurseries when they have no experience whatsoever in this business?

And if they buy the Yayasan Selangor idea, what about the security of the water pipes claim that has been bandied about?

The story doesn’t seem to tally at all. Would the water pipes/security claims suddenly vanish?

It’s just like the pomelo farmers in Tambun, Perak, who have finally been given a 99-year land lease after having to fight their case for years.

Then there are the ornamental fish rearers in Gopeng who are still fighting for their land despite bringing in millions of ringgit for the country.

These people truly deserve our support. They have toiled on their land for decades while contributing to the nation’s economy and no one should grab the land from them.

Certainly, in Sungai Buloh, Yayasan Selangor should learn to run itself first before telling the flower growers how to run their business. It’s really none of Yayasan Selangor’s business.

As always, spank the poor lil monkey below for a link to the original article


Hannah Yeoh - Much Ado Over A Baby

It's Hannah Yeoh and Ramachandran Muniandy's baby, but guess what - The Indian community's disappointed with them and wants them to register the baby as "Indian"!

click article to enlarge

Spank the monkey below to read what I said earlier about Shay Adora Ram, Hannah's baby




Spank this monkey below to read the full article in the Star:





Monday, June 13, 2011

Khir Toyo Trial: Businessman gave Toyo discounts out of fear


During the hearing in Shah Alam today, a company director told the High Court that he sold his mansion and two plots of land to Dr Mohd Khir Toyo for RM3.5 million despite buying the properties for RM6.5 million as he feared for his business in Selangor.

Ditamas Sdn Bhd director Shamsuddin Haryoni testified in the corruption trial of the former Selangor mentri besar that Dr Khir had rejected his offer of between RM5 million and RM5.5 million, insisting instead on buying his properties in Section 7 here for just RM3.5 million.

“We have projects in Selangor, businesses in Selangor and a mentri besar wants my house for RM3.5 million,” said Shamsuddin at the High Court here today.

“So we agreed. I was worried about my position as a businessman and I was afraid that my business would be threatened,” he added.The 55-year-old construction and property developer said he was involved in ongoing property projects with state subsidiaries Selangor Development Corporation (PKNS) in Bangi and Permodalan Negeri Selangor Bhd (PNSB) in Sungai Long, Cheras.

Shamsuddin said he bought the house and two plots of land in 2004 for RM5 million and spent RM1.5 million on renovations.

“Datuk Seri Khir Toyo asked me to buy the properties. He was interested in the house,” Shamsuddin told a packed courtroom.

“I’m a businessman in Selangor. I have projects. So I felt I had no choice and I just proceeded,” he said.

Shamsuddin said today that he sold his properties to Khir, who previously helmed the country’s wealthiest state for almost eight years, in 2007.

“I just wanted to give a small discount,” said the businessman, when asked why he offered a selling price of RM5 million to RM5.5 million.

Shamsuddin pointed out that he had engaged a property valuer who estimated the value of his properties at RM5.5 million.

Khir, a former Selangor opposition leader, was charged with obtaining the two plots of land and the bungalow, which are located at No. 8 and 10, Jalan Suasa 7/1 L, Shah Alam, for himself and his wife Zahrah Kechik.

If found guilty, the Sungai Panjang assemblyman faces two years’ jail, a fine, or both under Section 165 of the Penal Code.


Double irony for me: Rais apparently didn't spend RM100M on Artists Day celebrations

 
There are days when you just have to grin and write the truth. Double irony for me:

Irony 1: Rais is the Information Communication and Culture Minister, which means that Bloggers like me come under his jurisdiction. Instead of engaging the bloggers, Rais has been on a suing spree for perceived insults and character defamation.

Irony 2: As much as I dislike Rais for being the trigger happy serial lawsuit filer that he is, the journalist in me has to report the truth about Rais being bashed by DAP stalwarts father Lim and son Lim team.

Why the usually quick to respond to perceived slights minister himself has not leveled his trigger happy shotgun at them is a right real mystery for now.

Only RM100,000 used for Artistes Day (source Bernama news)

The Information Communication and Culture Ministry only spent RM97,800 for Artistes Day 2011 celebrations on May 29, said event management division secretary for the Evening With The Artistes programme, Modzaki Din.

He clarified that media reports stating RM100 million was used for the celebrations was a misunderstanding.

"This is because the RM100 million actually refers to money channeled to artistes under the Creative Industry Fund," he told Bernama today.

Under the 2011 Budget, the government allocated RM200 million to the Creative Industry Fund in efforts to boost the country's creative industry.

During the Evening With the Artistes programme in conjunction with Artistes Day 2011 celebrations at the Craft Complex on May 29, Information Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim reproached artistes and arts practitioners for not appreciating the government's efforts to recognise their involvement through Artistes Day. Read the Spanker's report on that  

here and here

Modzaki said the ministry had helped with the industry's development through loans from the Creative Industry Fund jointly managed by the ministry and Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN).

Besides, he said there were creative industry development grants which were managed by the Malaysian Communications And Multimedia Commission (MCMC), as well as cultural aid for non-governmental organisations involved in arts, culture and heritage.


Blogger Jeff Ooi Apologises To NSTP


Blogger Jeff Ooi today openly apologised to New Straits Times Press (M) Berhad (NSTP) and its three former senior management staff over defamatory statements made in his blog, five years ago.

In the agreed statement read out in open court through his counsel Asma Mohd Yunus, Ooi Chuan Aun, who is also the Member of Parliament for Jelutong, said he regretted that the statements were ever published.

Reading out the same statement, counsel Tan Sri Cecil Abraham representing NSTP, the then deputy chairman of NSTP Datuk Seri Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, its former group editor-in-chief Datuk Hishamuddin Aun and its former group editor Brenden Pereira, said Ooi stated that he had acted bona fide and without malice.

"However, he (Ooi) appreciates that his allegations may have caused the plaintiffs embarrassment and inconvenience and regrets the same. As such, the defendant (Ooi) now wishes to state that he retracts all allegations and publications which form the subject matter of these proceedings," he said.

Abraham said in the course of publishing the statements in his weblog (Ooi's), some of the statements were taken from rockybru.blogspot.com.

He said the plaintiffs maintained that the allegations were libellous and were without foundation and had caused the plaintiffs considerable distress, embarrassment and inconvenience.

The agreed statement was recorded by High Court Judicial Commissioner Datuk Nik Hasmat Nik Mohamad in open court.

She also allowed the suit to be struck out and ordered both parties to bear their own costs with no liberty to file a fresh suit.

Speaking to reporters later, Kalimullah said he was glad that the case had been resolved after four years the damage was done.

In August 2004, the four had sued Ooi for posting a series of defamatory statements from Feb 16, 2006 until Dec 4, 2006, in his blog.

In its statement of claim, NSTP claimed that the defamatory statements, among others, meant that NSTP had tampered with its journalists' reports in order to propagate points of view to please its political masters.

Ooi in his statement of defence countered that he had not embarked on a consistent and continuing course of conduct to defame and injure the plaintiffs as contended.


Friday, June 10, 2011

What If YB Hannah Yeoh Had Tried To Register Her Daughter's Race as "Human"?


 
Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh, while I admire your idealism, you need to realise that race and nationality are two different things altogether and that they can co-exist.

Malaysians are not prepared to cut all ties to their respective ethnicities. Being Chinese, Indian or Malay is still a huge part of our identities as individuals although we are also proudly Malaysian at the same time. Every society, every generation, each family, may wish to continue traditions on how their beliefs are reflected.

With regards to the current raging debate on YB Hannah Yeoh & Ramachandran Muniandy attempting to register their baby daughter Shay Adora Ram as “Anak Malaysia”, many commentors seem to have missed the bigger picture. Some of their statements on forums have been incorporated into this article but are difficult to credit due to anonymity.

Let's put things into proper perspective, shall we? The sole purpose of any detail in any identification card or document is precisely in the very definition of the English word - 'identification'.

This is none other than to identify and describe the subject in its relevant form and this has to serve an intended purpose, not merely arbitrary. In the world we live in today, it is imperative that we identify and distinguish between male and female, hence the need to specify gender.

Likewise, the age of a person, hence the need to stipulate date of birth. Religion is another important form of identification as it determines the acknowledgment and specific respect the bearer is to be accorded with. I can also understand the need to specify hair, eye or skin colour for identification purposes in our passports.

Did you know Malaysian children of certain mixed parentage can choose to be registered under the race of one of their parents? Previously Malaysian parents had to register their children with the National Registration Department (JPN) as per paternal race until 2008 when the scenario changed.

Since 2008, the regulation has been amended to allow parents of different races to choose the race they prefer for their child instead of merely following the father’s.

Would Yeoh have requested to register the new born child as 'anak Malaysia' if she wasn't married to an Indian Malaysian and instead married to someone who is a Chinese Malaysian?

Is a new race created when a child of a mixed marriage is born? What happens when that child marries a member of a third racial group?

Can a person opt out of a racial group? Does society have to deal with such questions? What is the relevance of racial classification for the bureaucracy?

The dominant groups; 'MY', 'CN' and 'IN' may have their patriarchal conventions. We also have the matriarchal Minangkabaus from Negri Sembilan and West Sumatra. Then therre are the Ibans, Kadazans, Bidayuhs, Thais and Kristangs who have their own conventions.

Yeoh’s child does not have to hide her ancestry to be more Malaysian. There's no need for Yeoh to politicise this issue. The fact is, there is no provision at present to register a child as 'anak Malaysia'. Yeoh can do that if, and when, an Act is passed to the effect.

Also, one should not confuse between race and nationality. Since Yeoh is a Malaysian, and I presume Ramachandran Muniandy is also one, then their daughter is a Malaysian by nationality.

Again, until a law is passed to delete 'Race', there seems to be no choice but to fill in the blank. YB Hannah Yeoh ought to know the difference between nationity and ethnicity. Her family’s nationality is Malaysian. Her ethnicity is chinese while that of her husband is indian.

As an elected representative, YB Hannah Yeoh should adhere to the framework of the NRD, just like everyone else. Instead, she tried this stunt to push for the abolition of ethnicity. While some may agree and others disagree on the question of ethnicity, I believe there are many other intelligent ways to promote her agenda; Such as pushing for a national referendum or getting a motion tabled in parliament to achieve the removal of ethnicity altogether in the registrar of citizenry.

PKR/DAP/PAS must present a more progressive and intelligent approach for it to be taken seriously as proponents of better governance. Resorting to politcal gimmicks, grandstanding, playing up to the gallery with weak and lame arguments reveal their lack of intellectual depth and makes it difficult for them to be accepted as a credible and viable replacement for the BN.

Here’s something to think about - How about if she had tried to register her daughter’s race as 'human' ? Opens a whole different can of worms, doesn’t it? Where does it stop?