- From district to state to nation — Sakmongkol AK47
- From electricity to sewage, U.S. intelligence says the Islamic State is fast learning how to run a country
- Egypt trolls Uncle Sam with advice on how best to police Ferguson
- Why should PR lose support just because of the recent Selangor episode?
- Khairy again fails to amend defence against Anwar’s RM100 million suit
- Criticising court judgment not an offence, say ex-judge, lawyers
Posted: 20 Aug 2014 01:38 AM PDT
My friends are saying, if we listen to Dr Mahathir, the Selangor political saga is all because of Anwar. Anwar wants to become PM. Selangor is his stepping stone. By controlling Selangor he can buy Umno and others to cross over and join Pakatan.
If Anwar does that, it is nothing new. Buying his way out of most political predicaments is second nature to people like Najib himself. Monetary gratification is a most effective way to soften the most hardened of political opponents. Selangor should be used as a strategic vantage point if the objective is to capture Putrajaya from the more evil clutches of BN politicians.
So what is wrong with Anwar wanting to become PM and using Selangor in a more strategic way?
Some other friends are saying: "It's true, the problem in Selangor is caused by Anwar." But the problems in Malaysia are all due to Dr Mahathir. Dr Mahathir can be faulted for almost everything bad in Malaysia while he is credited with many things that are right for Malaysia.
So, we should not be overly concerned with what Dr Mahathir says. He has an undying hatred for Anwar. The two will continue to battle until one dies. We ought to see any statements about Anwar from Dr Mahathir as personal assessments with little political significance.
Anwar Ibrahim has the right to want to become the PM of Malaysia. If more people accept him, there is nothing anyone can do. Not even Dr Mahathir.
Since the Khalid Ibrahim issue broke out, Anwar Ibrahim has been relatively quiet. Perhaps he has been issuing directives behind closed doors. Otherwise, his treatment of Khalid has been tangential- producing a subdued article about what is a leader without followers. Not quite a fire and brimstone article.
Otherwise, Anwar hasn't criticised Khalid aggressively as did the others in PKR. Perhaps Anwar's approach is a reflection of what Khalid has achieved in the more positive side.
Why is it wrong for Anwar to harbour the ambition to become PM? If he thinks he has the capacity to become the next PM and he has the support of Pakatan and the rakyat, Anwar ought to be voted in to become PM. I have said it many times, if Najib can become PM, anyone else can. You can look at the statement from any perspectives you like.
If I can single out Anwar's most important achievement, it is that he has bonded 3 different major political parties to share a common platform. Not even Tengku Razaleigh when he broke away from Umno to form Semangat 46 could achieve what Anwar did.
With a shared platform, Anwar has managed to offer the rakyat an alternative to BN, itself made of up of several different political parties. So why should Anwar be seen a lesser man and therefore not fit to become PM?
Malaysians owe him an eternal debt of gratitude for forging a common platform. The common platform is by no means absolute – it is rather a continuing work in progress as the different political parties strive to understand each other better. The recent Selangor saga showed clearly, the bond that exists between PAS- DAP and PKR must be strengthened with mutual respect, understanding and trust.
The only chink in Anwar's armour is his alleged sexual misconduct, so depraved as the BN paints it out to be, that Anwar is morally unfit to become PM. His alleged recent most victim, Saiful Bukhari is suing Anwar for RM50 million. That makes Saiful the owner of the most expensive behind in Malaysia!
Now that morally depraved, is something you cannot conclusively proved. Since 1998, Anwar has been in and out of courts and even jailed for a number of years.
The duration of his association with the courts, which makes Anwar the "other" friend of the court, is now seen by the rakyat as being no ordinary prosecution but a persecution.
How can a man be persecuted for that long a time? Anwar's endurance has even earned and gained admiration for that can only reflect a resolute and unshakeable spirit of the man. Any other man would have wilted a long time ago.
Indeed, rather than indicate a morally depraved being, Anwar's endurance to withstand the longest persecution in Malaysian history has shown that Anwar has the moral fortitude.
Surely such a man is more than qualified to become the PM of Malaysia. How I personally feel about the man, is not significant at all. For that matter, to anyone else. Can and will he gain the trust of the rakyat is more important and far greater significant. – sakmongkol.blogspot.com, August 20, 2014.
Posted: 20 Aug 2014 12:57 AM PDT
The Obama administration’s escalating air war against the Islamic State is running up against a dispiriting new reality: The militants are becoming as good at governing territory as they are at conquering it, making it considerably harder to dislodge them from the broad swaths of Syria and Iraq that they now control.
U.S. intelligence officials say the leaders of the Islamic State are adopting methods first pioneered by Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite militia, and are devoting considerable human and financial resources toward keeping essential services like electricity, water, and sewage functioning in their territory. In some areas, they even operate post offices.
The militants have built new court systems to enforce their harsh interpretation of sharia law, which punishes thieves by amputating their hands and has sentenced numerous Christians and other religious minorities to death because of their beliefs, the officials added.
At the same time, the Islamic State has generally allowed the local bureaucrats in charge of hospitals, law enforcement, trash pickup, and other municipal services to stay in their jobs, according to intelligence officials. In some areas, sitting mayors and other top local officeholders are keeping their posts.
Taken together, the moves highlight the fact that the Islamic State, already the best-armed and best-funded terror group in the world, is quickly adapting to the challenges of ruling and governing. That, in turn, dramatically reduces the chances that the extremists will face homegrown opposition in what amounts to the world’s newest territory.
“ISIS is the most dangerous terrorist group in the world because they combine the fighting capabilities of al Qaeda with the administrative capabilities of Hezbollah,” said David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert who spent several years working as a top aide to Gen. David Petraeus during the height of the Iraq War. “It’s clear that they have a state-building agenda and an understanding of the importance of effective governance.”
In some areas under their control, the Islamic State is opening hospitals, building new roads, launching bus services, rehabilitating schools (at least for boys), and launching small-business programs designed to juice the local economies. In Syria, where bread is a core staple, the militants focus on managing local wheat mills and bakeries to ensure that supplies remain high enough to feed a population that was in some areas on the edge of starvation.
The group’s focus on good governance, at least by militant standards, starts at the top. In his first public comments after conquering Mosul, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, called on ”scientists, scholars, preachers, judges, doctors, engineers and people with military and administrative expertise” to help govern the land his group controls. Those weren’t just words: Shortly after taking control of Mosul, Baghdadi transferred the Islamic State’s hospital administrator for the Syrian city of Raqqa to Mosul to take that same job there, Kilcullen said.
In Raqqa, which has been under Islamic State control for months, traffic police remain on the streets and local citizens pay taxes to the militants, who in turn give them receipts stamped with the group’s logo. A local goldsmith told the New York Times that the taxes are far cheaper than the bribes residents had to pay when Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad was in control. “I feel like I am dealing with a respected state, not thugs,” the goldsmith said.
The Islamic State also launched a “hearts-and-minds” campaign of sorts. In one of the more jarring examples, the group held a “fun day” in Mosul where the militants passed out soccer balls and held Quran memorization and recitation contests. The Islamic State, Kilcullen said, “is thinking like a state.”
Posted: 20 Aug 2014 12:56 AM PDT
Egypt’s generals appear to have an awfully short memory. A year after they massacred supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in the streets of Cairo, they have some advice for American authorities on how to handle the spiraling unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. In a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Egyptian government urges the United States to show “respect for the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion.”
A Ferguson police officer’s killing of an unarmed black teenager has sparked days of intensifying violence there, and a heavy-handed police response to ensuing protests has resulted in widespread international outrage. But the comments from the Egyptian government are depressingly hypocritical. A year ago, during the hot months of July and August, the military government in Egypt attempted to clear the streets of Cairo in a bloody crackdown. More than 1,000 peopledied during the ensuing crackdown, which came to embody the extreme, violent lengths to which the Egyptian military would go to hold on to power and keep the Muslim Brotherhood out of office.
The notion that Egypt’s government would have any constructive advice to offer on humane policing tactics is a dark, cruel joke.
Indeed, events in Ferguson — a police killing with obviously racial overtones followed by an aggressive police response — has provided a fertile opportunity for both America’s enemies and allies to poke Uncle Sam in the eye. Xinhua, the Chinese state outlet,editorialized on the issue, noting that 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr. articulated his dream for a more free and equal America, his vision has yet to be realized. Turkish media has compared the unrest in Ferguson to anti-government protests in Taksim Square, in Istanbul. Russian coverage of Ferguson has entertained a gleefully apocalyptic tone. The supreme leader of Iran also got in on the fun.
Here’s the full Egyptian statement, in a translation provided by Sophia Jones:
Posted: 20 Aug 2014 12:45 AM PDT
During the tumultuous PR-Selangor episode, which has not come to a conclusion yet, PAS has exposed its true colour when Dr Mohd Zuhdi used racist remarks in his messages and was not sacked from the party or even reprimanded by the PAS leadership. PAS has neither apologised nor tried to explain the incident in a wider perspective. PAS has to do something about this as its non-Malay voters are turning away.
PAS has also shown itself as having no real principle when after being adamant in wanting Khalid Ibrahim to stay on, which has almost divided PAS into two factions, one supporting Abdul Hadi and the other Anwar Ibrahim.
Then, in just over an hour of discussion, they decided to retract their support for Khalid Ibrahim. In short, after so much hue, PAS's stubbornness simply fizzled out. PAS has to admit that it is now openly divided. Many new voters and PAS supporters have now decided not to support either PAS or PR from now on.
DAP has shown its solidarity almost steadfastly throughout the fiasco with only one or two isolated voices of dissent against the DAP leadership and against both PKR and PAS. Yet many new DAP supporters have decided not to support PR just because of the blunder made by PAS.
PKR however has been consistent in wanting to bulldoze its agenda. Despite the sacking of Khalid Ibrahim from the party and resignation of Faekah, Khalid's personal assistant and the imminent PKR frogs leaping across to richer soil, PKR leadership has shown to be united and resolute in their endeavour. Yet many new supporters have concluded that PKR is just another Umno and refused to support PR anymore.
See, the Pakatan Rakyat ship was really sailing in a stormy weather and a very rough sea with some even being thrown overboard but fortunately the ship managed survived almost intact. Well at least for now.
But damage has been done with the voters now having second thoughts on how reliable the ship is. Can the PR ship continue its promised journey and reach its destination smoothly from now on? Can the crew of the ship be trusted not to have a mutiny and sail elsewhere or is the ship still sailing on its original route or is it being diverted to Treasure Island and the ship’s passengers will eventually become pirates and start killing each other once they reach the island?
However, in hindsight, once on the same ship, the various component party members are aware that they have to stay united or the ship will sink in unchartered waters. Pakatan Rakyat should be a given second chance. After all, despite all its wrongdoings, Umno/BN has been given all the chances for the past 60 years!
Note that the hardcore PR supporters have given unwavering support in the past two general elections and on the basis of individual party, hardcore DAP and PAS supporters have been consistent in their support.
Note also that the group of voters that made the increase in the percentage of PR voters in GE13 is the new group of supporters comprising newly-registered voters, fence sitters and the ones who want to make a change, especially amongst young voters who are idealistic.
Based on their reactions in the various social media, some sort of picture has emerged reflecting their aspirations and mentality. They have started to turn away from PR as described above.
In fact, some veteran supporters too are having the same mentality. Maybe they are expecting a miracle from PR to make huge changes in the national politics in just two general elections!
This group of idealistic voters is not huge in numbers but they can make a huge difference between PR and BN.
Now, this is the group that has been taken aback by the PR-Selangor fiasco and they make judgements and conclusions based on what they observed on the surface without looking at the bigger picture and at times very naïve. They do not have a balanced view and really compare PR with BN, thus their love lost with PR and they start sulking.
They must realise that no matter what, Umno/BN has the upper hand and PR is always the underdog. BN has a very long history and is a registered party whereas PR is just a loose coalition and refused recognition by the Registrar of Societies which is a government body.
While BN has gone through many episodes and is a veteran, PR is still too young and untested, until now. BN is financially strong while PR is struggling to survive so much so that PAS has to circulate its donation boxes in every “ceramah”.
While PPP, MIC, MCA, Gerakan and the other component parties in Sabah and Sarawak are weak and willing sleeping partners, PAS and DAP of PR are old and established having their own vision and agendas. PKR is like a rookie trying to tame two reputable veterans.
Umno/BN has the advantage of the government machineries while PR has to do everything on its own accord. Umno/BN has all the power to suppress PR and PR only has its few lawyers defending it against the judges in the courts that have lost its integrity as exposed by the Lingam's tape.
There are many shortcomings in PR and also many bad apples and moles who could throw the wrench into the PR gear.
So all those young, idealistic, temperament and naïve voters and supporters, including a few veteran voters as well, how could you simply decide now just based on the PR-Selangor episode to lose hope and not to continue supporting PR? You are living in a real world with realpolitik and not in a fantasy land with all sorts of miracle.
But could all of you, in fact, all this while be really Umno/BN supporters at heart and just wanted to try PR?
Posted: 20 Aug 2014 12:43 AM PDT
The Court of Appeal today dismissed Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar’s appeal to amend his defence in a RM100 million defamation suit against him which was filed by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Judge Datuk Aziz Abdul Rahim, who chaired a three-man bench, said the court was not persuaded by the argument put forward by Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who appeared for Khairy.
“The High Court made a correct finding to disallow the amendments by the defence. Therefore, we dismiss the appeal,” he said.
Anwar had filed the suit against Khairy (pic) on March 7, 2008, after Khairy had allegedly made slanderous accusations that were posted on several websites, including news portal Malaysiakini.
The case is scheduled for case management tomorrow when judicial commissioner S.M. Komathy Suppiah is expected to fix the trial dates.
Komathy in October rejected Khairy, who is now youth and sports minister, from including particulars to bring clarity to his defence.
Anwar filed the suit against Khairy, saying that Khairy had uttered defamatory words and caused a video entitled “Anwar and kin no threat” to be posted on websites, including Malaysiakini.com.
The opposition leader also claimed that the video on Malaysiakini included parts of Khairy’s speech at Lembah Pantai on or around February 20, 2008.
Khairy is relying on the defence of justification and qualified privilege.
Posted: 20 Aug 2014 12:42 AM PDT
t is unheard of to frame a charge against lawyer N. Surendran for criticising a written judgment of the court, a retired judge and lawyers said.
They said it was ridiculous to prosecute him under the Sedition Act for expressing his opinion, adding that there must be room for dissent and criticism in a democratic society like Malaysia.
Retired Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said anyone was welcomed to criticise a judgment in the strongest terms.
“You only run foul of the law like contempt of court for attacking the judges personally.”
He said he had never come across anyone, let alone a member of the Bar, being prosecuted under the archaic law, from the time he started practice in 1970 until his retirement from the bench in 2010.
“It is common for lawyers and academicians to dissect judgments. Are we not now allowed to make a critical evaluation of the judges' legal opinions?”
Sri Ram was referring to the sedition charge against Surendran yesterday for publishing an article, in which he wrote that the Court of Appeal ruling on March 7 which found Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim guilty for sodomy was “flawed, defensive and insupportable”.
Michelle Yesudas of Lawyers for Liberty said Surendran made the statement while carrying out his duty as a lawyer and the charge is similar to the sedition charge and conviction of the late Karpal Singh.
Karpal was found guilty in February 2014 for giving his legal opinion as a lawyer during the 2009 constitutional crisis of Perak.
“Surendran’s case sets an arbitrary and unjust precedent that will allow courts to convict lawyers for legal views that conflict with the political stance of the government,” said Yesudas, who is the legal/campaign coordinator of the lawyers' group.
She said the Najib administration held the record for the most absurd sedition charges against opposition leaders and dissidents like Teresa Kok, Tian Chua, Datuk Tamrin Ghafar, Haris Ibrahim, Safwan Anang, Adam Adli, Hishamuddin Rais, Suhaimi Shafie.
“We therefore call on the police and Attorney-General's Chambers to conduct themselves in a professional, fair and independent manner.”
Lawyer Ragunath Kesavan said the Malaysian judiciary had gone through a tough time and they had been robust with criticism, adding that Surendran’s statement was mild.
“The police and prosecution should not overreact just because multiple reports were made against the accused.”
The former Bar Council chairman also said public institutions should not be cowed by pressure but should instead do the right thing based on merit.
“Lodging 300 reports nationwide, for example, did not reflect the culpability of the offence under this archaic law.”
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