Friday, October 31, 2008

Razak Baginda freed

Breaking news! Shah Alam 10 am.
No prima facie case.
Abdul Razak Baginda was freed by the Shah Alam High Court a while ago. The Court found there to be no prima facie case to call for his defence in the Altantuya murder case.

Razak was seen crying at the Court house.
But with his release, many will cry foul.
This is going to give a lot of people a heart attack.

Blogging lawyer Elviza reports from the Court, here.

Update 10.16 am
31/10 Altantuya murder case: C/Insp Izilah Hadri and Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar ordered by Shah Alam High Court to enter defence against murder charge/STAR



The Trial, in and out of Court, in pictures:

Above, this morning's pic taken from nst online
Below, from the star online

Pics from cyberfile:












Falling out at Tune Money

CEO Zafrul quits! Tengku Zafrul has been had again. The first time was at Avenue, after the merger with ECM-Libra. Now he's been forced to quit Tune Money, my sources said. Both ECM and Tune Money involved the PM's friend Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan, Kali's friend Lim Kian Onn, and Tony Fernandes.

Zafrul sent in his resignation a week ago but is still sore, especially with the PM's friend and the PM's friend's friend. He told some friends that one of the friends was going around bad mouthing him and putting pressure on him to resign. I could have told Zafrul that that's how the guy operates.

Their quarrel, apparently, is over how to move on. Zafrul wanted to developTune Money, which has been making waves after just one year, as planned. Kali and Kian Onn, it was understood, wanted to get out. Tony is caught in between but he's stuck on Kali with regards to a couple of other big ventures.

The economic uncertainty is making the wizards nervous and uncertain about returns to their investment. More worryingly, Pak Lah will be stepping down in March, the latest, and the talk is that some people are in a hurry to get out ahead of the PM.

Kali and Kian Onn have 16.5 per cent share in Tune Money while Zafrul holds 10 per cent., CIMB 25 per cent stake and Tony much of the remaining.

Pic of happier tunes - Minister of Finance ll, Zafrul, Tony and Kalimullah.

p.s. Tengku Zafrul's CEO blog In Tune was last updated on Oct 16, 2008. Tony hasn't posted anything on The Entrepreneur about his CEO's resignation, either.

Will the Bar Council stand up for Ian Chin, please?

Ian "Boot Camp" Chin resigns, Ambiga says not in the interest of justice.
I am quite relieved to read Bar Council president Ambiga's statement on Justice Ian Chin's resignation. Her silence over former Lord President Salleh Abas' allegation of double-standard practice by the Bar last week had me wondering if she was OK. Her concern about Ian Chin suggests that she is, indeed, alive and kicking.

Now, like Ambiga, I was shocked upon learning of Ian Chin's resignation, h e r e.

Like her, too, I am of the opinion it is "not in the interest of justice that there are question marks surrounding the judge's decision (to resign)".

I don't know what the Bar Council plans to do but I believe Ambiga should push and push hard for an investigation (a Tribunal?) into Ian Chin's boot camp and other allegations against Dr Mahathir.
And, in the process, an investigation into Dr Mahathir's allegations of misconduct against Judge Ian Chin (Ian Chin a disgrace to his prefession, 26/6/08)

Ambiga said:
"It is unfortunate that every time a judge is brave enough to speak up, he has to leave or feels he has to leave and nothing is done about those allegations."

Let me remind her that Tun Salleh Abas, sacked over alleged misconduct in 1988, was brave enough to speak up last week. Look at how some of the Bar Council members lashed out at the former Lord President for speaking up! Read here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Salleh Abas rests his case

"In none of these correspondences has the Bar Council ever provided any explanation other than that I have not met with the requirement of the Rule 60 (1) ... only now members of the Bar Council have finally come out to give a clearer picture ..." - Tun Salleh Abas

Please click on the press satement to enlarge.

Perkasa wants Liow sacked

Abolish Bumi's 30% call. New NGO Perkasa wants the PM to sack new MCA vice president Liow Tiong Lai for his call to abolish the 30 per cent Bumi corporate equity. Perkasa info chief Ruhanie Ahmad, in a press release made available on his blog here, described Liow's call as "extremist".

Liow had reportedly said that the condition for 30 per cent Bumiputera equity in public-listed companies should be abolised in order for them to remain competitive. The Health Minister was also quoted as saying that the 30 per cent target set was a hindrance to the creation of true partnership between Malay, Chinese and Indian businessmen in the country.

Dr Mahathir has said that it is not the time yet to abolish the 30 per cent equity, here.



What is KJ?

Bru Notes: The authenticity of this pic is questionable. In other words, this photograph could be doctored. Click here for the source of the picture. See also Doctored Pictures and Doctored Manifestoes.
Where was KJ? For a while, Khairy Jamaluddin was lying low. But now that he has qualified to contest for the Umno Youth's top post, which many thought not too long ago was his for the asking, the son-in-law is back to his old self.

And so, blogosphere reciprocates accordingly.

Sakmongkol AK47 has a blistering piece The Man called KJ, which answers his own question: What is it with KJ that people find so despicable? "Maybe, he is perhaps what Malaysia needs?".

Nope, says A Voice. In his latest posting here on Another Brick on the Wall, the anonymous blogger asks KJ to explain his close ties with one Tom Daniel and another Mike Thomson. The blog provides several other links to bloggers who obviously do not think that the SIL should be one of the people who would be leading Umno once Abdullah Ahmad Badawi steps down.

The fact remains, however, that KJ has got enough nominations to contest for the Umno Youth chief post. Not the MOST number of nominations, but enough.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

For a change, the views of someone legally trained

In Is Rocky's Bru barking up the wrong tree?, Stephen Tan Ban Cheng came to the conclusion that "... perhaps blogger Rocky, being not legally trained, should be forgiven for his inability in appreciating legal principles and the real issues involved."

I would like you to read a posting by someone "legally-trained" on the issue. Blogging lawyer Nizam Bashir's posting Missing the Forest for the Trees? was put up on Saturday seems to be a response to Stephen's Tan's "tree" as well as to my original posting on Tun Salleh Abas' grouse here.

It has not been published on the Bar's website but I'm sure it will. Excerpts:

Having weighed the totality of the comments, the following must be emphasized. We can attempt to characterize the previous decision to waive Rule 60 as a bad precedent and say that it has no value for future applicants. But doing so, only diminishes us for it avoids the simple truth of this matter. Something unfair has occured.

In fact, this didn’t elude the scrutiny of one senior and respected member of the Bar. He was quick to make the searingly honest suggestion that:

“If the Bar Council erred in the first case then they must act consistently and revoke that decision. The Council should subject itself to the same standards that it expects of others.“

Nevertheless, I humbly beg to differ with the learned senior member’s views. I don’t believe Tun Salleh is looking for the Bar to strip Dato’ KC Vohrah of his consultant status. All he is looking for is some equality or failing that, the moral victory of an apology. Is either too much to ask?

Click h e r e to read Nizam's entire posting. [And the guy's not even on my blogroll!]

p.s. Edmund Bon has asked invited members of the Bar to give legal and constructive suggestions on the issue. What would you do if you are in the Bar Council now? Read his comment piece Difficult Issue, but do not confuse the arguments h e r e.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Deepavali



To all Malaysians wherever you are,
Happy Deepavali.

Bru barks wrong tree?

Bru Notes: This article first appeared in www.malaysianbar.org.my yesterday 25/10/2008. You may leave comments here or at the Bar Council's website, h e r e.

Is Rocky's Bru barking up the wrong tree? PDF Print E-mail
Contributed by Stephen Tan Ban Cheng
Saturday, 25 October 2008 11:16pm
Is Rocky's Bru barking up the wrong tree?

Senior lawyer Robert Lazar: "We recognise that Tun Salleh personally did suffer but to say that the Bar made use of him is a gross insult to the Bar and a gross distortion of history. I am confident in saying that what motivates the Bar is the cause not the person."



KUALA LUMPUR, Sat: Since Thursday, October 23 - the day blogger Ahirudin Attan or better known as Rocky's Bru highlighted Tun Salleh Abas' application to be allowed to be called as a "consultant" in his article entitled Bar-red by Council's double standards, more than 150 comments were posted by the readers on his blog in the aforesaid article and two subsequent articles that followed.

Sadly, majority of these commenters (and writing anonymously) showed a deep ignorance of the real issue and went on a rampage, hurling abuses with racist overtones at the Bar Council and its officers. Even retired Court of Appeal judge, Datuk KC Vohrah was not spared.

This led to one reader writing, "Rocky, I believe you are really barking on the wrong tree. The perception you have moulded your readers to believe is that Tun Salleh has been deprived to practise meaning being deprived of earning a decent livelihood. This is definitely not the case... Nobody is depriving Tun Salleh from practising and he does not need the blessing from the Attorney General nor the Bar Council to practise. That's a fact. He is applying to have the title "consultant" which of course carries more status as not all members of the Bar can be a consultant as you would need to fulfil the relevant rule 60." (Edited]

Another anonymous commenter even alleged that: "Talk had it that Tun Salleh has fallen out with them because the couple (Datuk Dr Yaacob Hussain Merican and Tunku Sofiah Jewa) - once great supporters and relatives of Tengku Razeleigh vowed never to talk to Tun Mahathir again are now close friends of Tun Mahathir. So Tun Salleh so pissed off because Tun Mahathir sacked Tun Salleh! In the Lingam inquiry, Tunku Sofiah even acted as counsel for Tun Mahathir!" He went on to say: "So you Rocky Bru and gang, if you bother to ask any senior lawyers, they will tell you in the 1988 judicial crisis, the Bar fought for judicial independence and not Tun Salleh. As a judge, Tun Salleh wasn't of good temperament and some lawyers even preferred to appear before the old Lord President Tun Hamid!... Vohrah's application was approved years ago and not by the present Council who looked at principles and not personalities. If you had checked the legal directory on the Bar Council's website, KC Vohrah was called to the Bar on 19.12.1964. This means Vohrah must have practised for sometime before he became a judge... Tun Salleh should learn to be grateful for what the Bar did for him!" [Edited]

Rocky's articles have also been reproduced on this website. Generally, members of the Bar were rather astonished by two remarks made by him in his first posting:

"Salleh Abas turns 80 next year. To say that he is disappointed with the Bar Council is an understatement. A close friend of the Tun told me that the former Lord President felt cheated, betrayed even. The Bar had no qualms about using the Lord President's name and person to champion its cause, but was not willing to help him in a matter that it has discretion to.

"BRU notes: During the hours we spent interviewing him for his biography, the former Lord President made no mention of how the Bar Council had been treating him on this issue. If he had told us, we would have strongly advised him against attending the Bar Council's dinner, supposedly in his honour, in April."

Robert LazarThe first remark drew a strong response from senior lawyer, Robert Lazar who wrote here: "On a different note I was rather peeved to note the following comment in Rocky Bru's article. "A close friend of the Tun told me that the former Lord President felt cheated, betrayed even. The Bar had no qualms about using the Lord President's name and person to champion its cause, but was not willing to help him in a matter that it has discretion to." In the first place the "its cause" which must mean the pursuit of justice for all does not belong exclusively to the Bar. Secondly it was not Tun Salleh's personality that drove the Bar in 1988. If Rocky really wants to know, the Tun never really endeared himself as a friend of the Bar pre-1988 and neither did many of his actions and judgements. But it was the seat of justice and the institution that was attacked and it was that that the Bar rose to defend. We recognise that Tun Salleh personally did suffer but to say that the Bar made use of him is a gross insult to the Bar and a gross distortion of history. I am confident in saying that what motivates the Bar is the cause not the person."

To exemplify Robert's reference to "judgements", Tun Salleh Abas' decision in the famous case of Government of Malaysia v Lim Kit Siang in 1988 virtually dealt a death knell to public interest litigation in Malaysia.

Rocky's final shot was rather perplexing. He seemed to imply that Tun Salleh Abas ought to be treated differently, but what the current Council has demonstrated is that there should be equality before the law, and the earlier decision on Vohrah's application should now be best regarded as res judicata.

Be that as it may, perhaps blogger Rocky, being not legally trained, should be forgiven for his inability in appreciating legal principles and the real issues involved.

Istana Zakaria Mat Derus is legal, says Sgor govt

No proof of wrongdoing. Oh dear. I've been filled with guilt ever since I read the posting Nothing Illegal about Istana Mat Derus.

The posting is about a news report on an admission made by Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim that, after conducting an investigation to look into the "legal, social and political aspects" related to the construction of the mansion in Port Klang, his government has found no proof of wrong-doing, abuse of power, or fraud.

How now?

Friday, October 24, 2008

A non-explanatory explanation



I'm not sure whether the Bar Council issued this press release to clarify the posting I made here or the articles that appeared in The Star or/and Utusan Malaysia. No reference is made in the press release to any of the above.

The explanation does not explain why the Bar refused to give dispensation to Salleh Abas and apply its discretion through Rule 62 when it had done so with KC Vohrah. It is this apparent unwillingness to apply the same privilege to the former Lord President that has brought about the perception that the Bar practises double-standards.

If there had been a "mistake" in giving KC Vohrah dispensation, why is that mistake not being admitted here?

But then again, the precedence in the form of KC Vohrah is not even mentioned in the press release!

If the Bar Council is hoping to close the issue with this sorry excuse of a press release, I'm really disappointed with it.

Ambiga concurs, too?

Bar to issue statement today. While we wait for the Bar Council's full statement on Salleh Abas' allegation of double standars, do read the piece by . Krishnamoorthy in The Star h e r e.

Utusan Malaysia also has a story here.


So far, the closest the Bar Council gets to an official response is the following comment in the Bar's website h e r e.

I concur
written by Ng Kong Peng, Thursday, October 23 2008 06:00 pm

I have just read Roger Tan's comment above and I concur with him.

Ng Kong Peng
Chairman
Legal Profession Committee

Ng was concurring with the following remarks by Mr Roger Tan:-

Bar Council acted without fear and favour
written by Roger Tan, Thursday, October 23 2008 04:20 pm

Dear all,

The current Bar Council's decision is a correct one. I am of the view that Rule 62 only allows the AG to waive the entire Rule 60 and not to waive it just to meet a particular application, in this case, Tun Salleh Abas'. Further, there is no cogent reason to have the entire rule waived.

It must be emphasised that just because the application is from Tun Salleh Abas, he should not be treated differently.

But then whether he should be treated similarly as Datuk KC Vohrah or any other case prior to this, my own view is that the previous Council had erred in its interpretation of Rule 60. Also, it is a golden rule that just because the previous Council had erred, Datuk KC Vohrah should not be punished for our error of judgment.

Further, just because we had erred previously does not also mean that we must continue with the wrong precedent.

In fact, I believe we have turned down many other applications from other eminent retired judges. This in fact begs the question whether we should now even re-look at the practice of allowing retired judges to practise or there should even be a cooling off period before they are allowed to do so.

All said, the Council acted without fear and favour when rejecting Tun Salleh's application.

Roger Tan


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Commission charges Sime Darby and KPMG bosses

Something to hide? Remember June's "big mess" in newly-merged Sime Darby, where five top execs had to go? Well, The Star seems to have out-FOXed the other dailies with a report of the Companies Commisison of Malaysia charging Sime Darby's Human Resources top honcho for faling to show it the papers with regards to the sacking. The Commission also charged KPMG Corporate Services Tan Kim Chuan for failing to cooperate with the Commission's investigators.

Something's foxy, but I told you that already back then. I wonder if Brenden Pereira, who appeared briefly as Sime Darby's spokesman in June, will make do another one .. More at SimeDarbyWatch h e r e.

Bar-red by Council's Double Standards

Rule 62. Waiver.
The Bar Council may, in writing, with the approval of the Attorney General in writing, waive any of these Rules ...
Wither, Tun Salleh Abas? For nearly three years, the former Lord President was hoping to move on. Not move up, just move on. He wanted to rejoin Salleh Abas, Yaacob & Sofiah, the small legal firm that he established in Aug 1993, five years after his controversial dismissal as Lord President of Malaysia, as a Consultant.
The rules require him to get the approval of the Bar Council of Malaysia so the firm wrote to the Executive Director of the Bar Council, Ms Catherine Eu, on 27 Feb 2006 requesting that the Bar allows the Tun, who had left practice in 1995, to rejoin the firm as a Consultant.

Bar Council secretary Mr Regunath Kesavan wrote a reply on 3 March 2006 to express its regrets and drew the firm's attention to Rule 60 (1) of the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978.
Rule 60. Use of "consultant" and "associate"
(1) An advocate and solicitor may have his name appear as "consultant" on the letterhead of a firm of advocate and solicitors if:
(a) he has a valid practising certificate issued under Part III of the Act;
(b) he has been -
(i) in active practice at the Malaysian Bar for a period of not less than 20 years; or
(ii) in active practice at the Malaysian Bar for a period of not less than 10 years and, in addition, has served as a Judge or a member of the Judicial and Legal Service for a period which, aggregated with the period of his active practice at the Malaysian Bar, total not less than 20 years; and
(c) he is not a partner of legal assistant in any other firm of advocates and solicitors or engaged in any other capacity in any such other firm in the State of Malaysia.
Long Silence
The firm, in its reponse dated 14 March 2006, informed the Bar that former judge Datuk K.C. Vohrah had been allowed to rejoin the legal fraternity as Consultant even though he had never been in private practice either before or after service on the Bench.

Mr Regunath Kesavan did not respond to this letter. Instead, Ms Eu, the Bar's Executive Director, wrote a short reply to say that the Bar will refer the matter of Tun Salleh's request to its Legal Profession Committee.

Neither Saleh nor his firm heard from the Bar again after that, which prompted the former Lord President on 14 February 2007, a year after his original request to the Bar Council, to write a letter to the Attorney-General. Saleh was still full of hope that perhaps Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail could afford him similar dispensation given to K.C. Vohrah from strict compliance of Rule 60(1).

Gani Patail's office wrote back to the Tun two months later on 17 April. It informed Salleh that the AG could only provide dispensation if the Bar Council applies its discretion, which is provided for under Rule 62 of the Etiquette Rules 1978 (refer to the first paragraph of this posting).

Ambiga says No
The AG's letter also informed Salleh that it had contacted Bar Council President Ms Ambiga Sreenavasan (now a Datuk) about the request. Apparently, Ambiga had told the AG's office that the Bar Council intended to adhere strictly to Rule 60 (1).


On 27 Dec 2007, Salleh Abas' firm wrote to Ambiga, drawing her attention to the earlier correspondences between the firm and the Bar Council, the letter to the AG and Gani's response to the Tun, and for the first time directly urged the Bar to apply Rule 62 and that the same privilege extended to Vohrah could be extended to Tun Salleh.

There was no reply, so another letter was sent to Ambiga on 14 January 2008.

On 12 February, Ambiga wrote to the firm to say that "the Bar Council is not in a position to acceded to your request" in the light of Rule 60. However, she said the Bar Council has decided to liberalise Rule 60 and has submitted a proposal to the AG to amend that Rule. The matter was now under consideration by the AG, she added.

The next letter from Salleh's firm, dated 19 Feb, reflects a growing frustration on its part.

"Respectfully, we are of the the view that it is not a question of the Bar Council not being in a position to acceded (sic) to our request but more of its unwillingness to do in light of the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978 which reads as follows:
The Bar Council may, in writing, with the approval of the Attorney General in writing, waive any of these Rules.
"Furthermore, if the Bar Council's stand is not to waive compliance of Rule 60, how does it explain the admission of our good friend and former Court of Appeal judge Datuk K.C. Vohrah as consultant in a KL firm despite him not having met with the aforesaid Rule 60 requirement?"

Ambiga does not respond
There was no response from Ambiga, so the firm wrote in again on 21 March. It got a response from Mr Lim Chee Wee, the Bar Council's current ecretary, who wrote that the Bar was liaising with the AG's Chambers to revise Rule 60 and are aware of the Datuk K.C. Vohrah precedent.

On 1 April, the firm wrote to Mr Lim Chee Wee, in what appeared to be its longest letter so far, tracing back the chronology of Salleh Abas' simple request starting from the first letter dated 27 Feb 2006 right up to Ambiga's apparent opposition on the matter.

Mr Lim wrote on July 22 to inform the firm that proposed amendments to Rule 60 together with Salleh's application to be a Consultant would be tabled in August.

In a 23 July letter, the firm noted the development with "some optimism" but placed on record "our disapoointment at what we feel a rather double standard effort on the Bar Council's part".

Bar Council tells Salleh to submit fresh application in March 2009!
On 9 October, Mr Lim of the Bar Council wrote to say the Bar had approved the proposed amendments to Rule 60 and that the amendments were expected to be gazetted "in due course". Based on said amendments, Tun Salleh would fulfill the requirements of Rule 60 on 24 March 2009. Mr Lim went on to suggest that Tun Salleh submit a fresh application after 24 March 2009.

Salleh Abas turns 80 next year. To say that he is dissapointed with the Bar Council is an understatement. A close friend of the Tun told me that the former Lord President felt cheated, betrayed even. The Bar had no qualms about using the Lord President's name and person to champion its cause, but was not willing to help him in a matter that it has discretion to.

The Firm's last letter was sent to the Bar Council early this week. Excerpts:

"Our Tun Salleh read your (9 Oct) letter ... with great disbelief.

"In our several correspondences with the Bar Council over this matter, we have often alluded to the fact that in at least one instance (involving YBhg Datuk K.C. Vohrah), the Bar Council had evidently utilised its discretion under Rule 62 ... to allow an "unqualified" (under the said Rules) person to be a consultant to a legal firm.

"Our Tun Salleh is of the view that the Bar Council's decision not to utilise similar discretion in the case of his application amounts to a rather despicable practice of double standards."

BRU notes: During the hours we spent nterviwing him for his biography, the former Lord President made no mention of how the Bar Council had been treating him on this issue. If he had told us, we would have strongly advised him against attending the Bar Council's dinner, supposedly in his honour, in April.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

YB T's not done

She WILL sue Khir Toyo. Read here.
My guess is, she'll sue for RM30 million.

In defence of Berita Harian, anyone?

22/10 Speaker suspends Berita Harian from covering Kelantan State Assembly for alleged misreporting on Sultan speech, reporter escorted out/STAR

Disturbing, indeed. Or no? Will those who speak for Press Freedom stand up and speak for Berita Harian? I guess not. Governments - state and Federal - are the same; they want to control the media.
Defenders of Press Freedom in Malaysia are mostly the same, too - they are selective in which media they defend. The Utusan Malaysia experience has told me me that the same people who want Utusan Malaysia dead will also not rush to Berita Harian's rescue.

[Please note that it is NOT the Kelantan palace that is unhappy with BH's front page Sultan murka kerajaan Pas gagal tadbir Kelantan].

Kawan to meet Speaker, h e r e.

Also related to the Press ...
The Board of the NSTP that met on Monday accepted the resignation of Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan as Deputy Chairman. According to a source, the Board has also decided that the replacement for Syed Feisal Albar, who resigned as the NSTP chief executive officer, will come from outside the NSTP.

Najib accepts apology, praises journo, chides the "real culprits" here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chamil Wariya says YB J bears no resemblance to Kok

Chamil Wariya says:

"YB Teresa can be vocal at times and disliked by some for her style of politics, but generally she is a responsible politician and responsive to her constituents. YB J is not.

"YB J is a manifestation of politicians who politicise race issues and have no respect for the rights of all communities."

Chamil said his goal in writing the story was to call for moderation in political views, and to remind politicians not to incite communal feelings.

Read the entire Nut Graph's exclusive interview with the RM100 million short fiction writer, h e r e.


Blogger sues Blogger in Malaysia

It didn't hit me immediately yesterday when writing the post Hell Hath No Fury, and Teresa Goes on Suing Spree that Malaysia's blogosphere has truly arrived, where a blogger is suing another blogger. Primarily, the bloggers involved - Teresa Kok and Syed Ali Alhabshee - are politicians from rival parties but that really doesn't make a difference as the RM10 million suit has set a precedent for more million-ringgit suits between bloggers.

Just thought I'd put that on record.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hell hath no fury, and Teresa goes on suing spree

Sues Chamil for RM100 million, Alhabshee for RM10 million. YB Teresa Kok Suh Sim is out to create records, it seems. After filing a RM30 million defamation suit against journalist Zaini Hassan and the newspaper Utusan Malaysia, Teresa is now coming after Chamil Wariya and the same newspaper for the cerpen (or short story) "Politik Baru YB J".

On her suing list is Umno Cheras chairman Syed Ali Alhabshee, who blogged about the setting up of a Tabung Azan as part of an initiative to help Utusan defend against Teresa's RM30 million suit.

Both letters of demand to Chamil and Syed Ali were sent out from S.N. Nair & Partners' office on 17 Oct.

In the suit against Chamil,who is CEO of the Malaysian Press Institute, Teresa's lawyers say the article "is deliberately designed to justify and/or encourage the causing of grave harm to our client, including assassination."

Against Syed Ali, Teresa's lawyers wrote that "The impugned words that you uttered and the allegations that you published in the said Article mean and were understood to mean that our client, inter alia:
1) is racist
2) is a religious and racist bigot
3) is untrustworthy and a politician bereft of integrity
4) is intolerant, unprincipled and low moral value
5) is chauvinistic, anti-Islam and anti-Malay and
6) has committed serious criminal offences under the Penal Code and other laws of Malaysia

p.s.

"Politic Baru YB J" was published on 12 OCtober as a short fiction in the newspaper's Sastera or Literature pages and translated into English by Teresa's press secretary h e r e.
Syed Ali Alhabshee's Tabung Azan posting was posted on his blog h e r e.
I did a posting In Defence of Utusan on why Teresa - and politicians - should not be suing newspapers on October 13.

Doctored pictures to doctored manifestoes


They try every thing. I'm glad Malaysiakini carried a quick clarification on the so-called Najib Manifesto which contains, among other things, a vow "to defend till the last drop of his blood the supremacy of the Malay race".
I'm sure a further clarification is called for as I can't imagine a "support group" issuing such a manifesto on behalf of the person they're supposed to support. Obviously, whoever issued this manifesto and claimed it to be from Najib has only one aim: to erode our confidence in Najib through any means, anything at all.

Najib's manifesto's not Najib's manifesto


In between, you have allegations of nasi kangkang, voodoo, heli contracts, submarine commissions, khalwat, the 1987 dip-this-keris-in-Chinese-blood incident, Sukhoi, and the Altantuya murder case. Oh, not forgetting the sodomy case, someone's susceptibility to anal sex, statutory declarations, etc.

Read also:
MT's propaganda war against Najib .. at the expense of Hinduism
by Demi Negara

Unacceptable! Chamil Wariya must publicly recant over his ill-intended short story! by Pasquale

Who says NST's "an old rag"?


Another revamp, with or without the god and his angel. The Board of NSTP meets today and one of the things it will discuss is the resignation of Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan and the expiring contract of Group Editor-in-chief Hishamuddin Aun.
I'm not sure if the Board knows about "an exhaustive revamp" of the NST due to roll out in January 2009 (pls ignore the little mistake about the year in the memo above). Meetings on the revamp are due to start next month.
It seems that the young jounalists at the NST view their paper like an old rag.

Uthayakumar's day in court

I haven't changed my mind about Hindraf. Read my posting Why I didn't Walk yesterday? posted on Nov 26 last year, the day after P. Uthayakumar led the march in KL of thousands of Hindraf supporters against the "ethnic cleansing" in Malaysia. In that posting I produced a memorandum submitted by Hindraf to the British Government.

I haven't changed my stand on the ISA, either. I am totally against it, and I believe the Government must release all ISA detainees and charge and each and every one of them in court.

It's with considerable interest, therefore, that I read h e r e about Uthayakumar's date with the court of law this morning. Haris Ibrahim says the sedition laws are used to silence legitimate dissent. I agree with him that sedition laws are used to silence legitimate dissent, but was Hindraf's - and Uthayakumar's - dissent legitimate?

Uthayakumar's trial will take us back to Hindraf's memorandum to the British government and the various allegations made in that memorandum.

I am not going to reproduce the Hindraf memorandum with this posting; anyone who wishes to read it may click h e r e.
Also Uthayakumar's Singapore Interview h e r e.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

MCA's D-Day

WILL Dr Chua seek REVENGE? And lessons Umno and MIC can learn from MCA - a blog-analysis of the MCA election by Pahit Manis, h e r e.
Update midnight: Results of MCA election
President Ong Tee Keat 1429 votes Chua Jui Meng 917
Deputy President Dr Chua Soi Lek 1115 Ong Ka Chuan 1001
Vice Presidents Kong Cho Ha 1798, Liow Tiong Lai 1725 Dr Ng Yen Yen 1659 and Tan Kok Hong 1329 votes

Flashback! My article in Singapore's mypaper last Friday. Click on image to enlarge.


Original article:
The Malaysian Chinese Association
, Umno's largest partner in the Barisan Nasional coalition, holds party elections today. The real contest is for the Deputy President's post, where Dr Chua Soi Lek attempts one of the most dramatic comeback bids in Malaysian politics.
For Live-blogging, go to mylivingwall.
..

Friday, October 17, 2008

In defence of the Social Contract

"Don't test or challenge". The Conference of Rulers has come out with a Special Statement on the Special Rights of the Malays. A royal intervention indeed. There has been too much provocation and retaliation.

Daulat Tuanku.

General October 16, 2008 22:35 PM
Conference Of Rulers Issues Special Statement


KUALA TERENGGANU, Oct 16 (Bernama) -- The 215th meeting of the Conference of Rulers, held at the Istana Maziah here, issued a special press statement on several matters enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Following is the press statement in full issued by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal, Engku Tan Sri Ibrahim Engku Ngah.

"Press Statement issued by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal on the role of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers regarding the special privileges, position, eminence or greatness of the Malay Rulers, Islam, Malay as the national language, the special position of the Malays, and genuine interests of the other communities in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

"The Malay Rulers who attended the meeting of the Conference of Rulers conferred on the issuing of this special joint press statement Thursday.

"The Malay Rulers hold the constitutional role to safeguard the special privileges, position, eminence and greatness of the Malay Rulers, safeguard Islam, Malay as the National Language, and the genuine interests of the other communities in Malaysia.

"The actions of certain quarters in disputing and questioning these matters, which formed the primary basis for the formation of Malaysia and are enshrined in the Federal Constitution, had caused provocation and uneasiness among the people.

In retaliation, several quarters particularly Malay leaders whether in the government or non-governmental organisations as well as individuals had expressed their dissatisfaction and anger against those who had made the statements and reports and organised the forums.

"Among the reasons identified for these to have occurred is the cursory knowledge of those concerned regarding the historical background as to why these provisions were enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the influence of their attempts to implicate the principles of impartiality and justice without regard for the historical background and social condition of this country. Narrow political interests are also a cause.

"Unless this phenomenon is arrested immediately, it can lead to disunity and racial strife that can undermine the peace and harmony which has all this while brought progress, development and success to the nation.

"As such, it is necessary for the Conference of Rulers to emphasise and remind all quarters of these constitutional provisions besides giving emphasis to the assurance of safeguarding the genuine rights of other communities.

It has to be emphasised that each provision in the Federal Constitution has undergone the process of discussion, consideration, consultancy, sacrifice and compromise of the highest degree for what has been championed, discussed, considered, benefited from as well as agreed to by all quarters concerned, until the realisation of the provisions in the Federal Constitution which are known as the Social Contract.

It is not proper to dispute and question this Social Contract and more so to subject it to a review or change because it is the primary basis of the formation of Malaysia.

Therefore, it is appropriate for the Malay Rulers to remind that there should never be any attempt ever to test and challenge issues related to the Social Contract.

"Truly, the leaders of the pre-independence era were insightful -- far-sighted. They brought along with them the Malay Rulers for the negotiations to claim independence. The Institution of the Rulers was retained and legally enshrined in the constitution of an independent Malaysia.

The Institution of the Rulers was accorded eminence, was positioned at the apex of Government, as the head of the country and the states, as a protective umbrella, ensuring impartiality among the citizens.

The Institution of Rulers takes on the role of being a check-and-balance factor to untangle complications, if any.

"The Conference of Rulers also calls on the Malays to be united to safeguard the privileges, position, eminence and greatness of the Malay Rulers, safeguard Islam, Malay as the national language, and the genuine interests of the other communities in Malaysia as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. It has to be emphasised that this agenda is more important and foremost than political or factional interests.

"Non-Malays should not harbour any apprehension or worry over their genuine rights because these rights are guaranteed under the Federal Constitution and provisions of the state constitutions of Malaysia contained in Article 153 of the Federal Constitution.

"It is hoped that with this emphasis, all confusion among the people regarding these matters can be contained and an atmosphere of peace, harmony and mutual respect can continue to exist among the people for the maintenance of order in the country."

"Evil" blogger's police bail extended

Another month of bail. Sheih Kickdefella was visibly disappointed with the decision to prolong his bail by another month, to Nov 21.

"It's unnecessary for them to extend my bail. My posting is there on the blog, why take so long to close their investigation? I see this as an attempt to put a psychological barrier on me. I think that's the instruction given to the cops. They are just doing their job. It's politically motivated. Because the PM called me evil on Aug 20, the cops had to investigate my posting," he told a journalist on the phone.

Nuraina and I were there to lend our support this morning, the same place Jeff Ooi was taken and later RPK. Close to two dozens journos were there to talk to Sheih.

In defence of me


My posting on the Teresa Kok vs Utusan Melayu's RM30 million suit, In Defence of Utusan Malaysia, has drawn a record number of comments (449 comments as I write this). The letter by Mansur Putih that I published h e r e brought in 323 comments.

I believe that the many people had responded because they care about the Freedom of our Press.

It is quite obvious, however, that we'll have to agree to disagree on the basic concepts of that freedom, as well as on the role of politicians in promoting Press Freedom, and whether they should sue newspapers (or whether the newspapers should sue anyone, even a politician, which is what Utusan has now done).

What most of the commenters seem to agree on is that
1) Press Freedom must come with responsibility, and
2) Journalists must write/report the truth.

That is most heartening. I subscribe to both 1) and 2). Take If we all subscribe to freedom+responsibility and sticking to the truth for bloggers and anyone else (including political activists, NGOs, members of ivil society) who use the media - old or new - to tell their stories to the masses.

Several articles and blogposts have been written to support or condemn my stand. Zainul Arifin wrote a piece in the NST [Use the bully pulpit, not the courts, Wed 15/10]. Wong Chun Wai doesn't want another newspaper or journalist sued, h e r e. And so does Shamsul Yunus in Rocky and the Flamers.

I was given many new names and titles by some of my most regular commenters. Some accused me of having changes sides (defect?). But nobody sued, and I'm thankful for that.

Haris Ibrahim did his stuff h e r e and some commenters, riled by my support of Syed Ali Alhabshee's initiative to set up the Tabung Azan, challenged me to respond to his posting. Haris, however, is part of a legal team representing Jeff Ooi and I in an on-going defamation suit against us by the NSTP & 4 Others. It is, therefore, unreasonable to expect me to be at loggerheads with my own lawyer publicly on a matter that surely shares some of the merits of my own court case.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not in support of Utusan Malaysia

Defamation Suits - ISA of the Opposition?

A letter from Mansor Bin Puteh

Dear Rocky,

I am not writing in support for Utusan Malaysia and its reporter, Mohd Zaini Hassan or anyone, but for fairplay and for the unfettered freedom of the press and of expression. They know how to defend themselves and the freedom of the press and of free speech.

But what I am utterly speechless is, how come there is no blogger or member of the ‘liberal’ crowd who is organizing a candle-light vigil to support and press for the freedom of the press and of freedom?

Have the stores run out of candles? Have the supporters of the freedom of the press and of expression and bloggers and their supporters run out of candles to light?

Where are they, the liberals and democrats amongst the Malaysia, especially those who have been vocal to the point of annoyance and who demand these freedoms?

And where is the National Union of Journalists or NUJ? When is its president, Norlida Daud going to ‘ambush’ Teresa Kok and Karpal Singh to demand that they withdraw their suits against anyone or to stop using the defamation suits as the ‘ISA’ of the opposition?

What if their party is able to form the federal government, don’t you think that they, too, would want to take such drastic and even ‘draconian’ actions against anyone who do not write or speak like them?

Can’t they find their way to berate the journalists and newspapers for having uttered what they consider to be disparaging and defamatory remarks against them the same way that these papers have been said to have done that to them?

American president George W Bush has been called by many names, by the media all over the world; if he take similar actions, surely, he can’t call himself a leader who supports the freedom of the press and of expression.

Suing anyone for RM30 million is serious business by any account. It is aimed to put the person who loses the case in permanent disability and castration much like the persons who are in detention under the ISA.

Therefore, by anyone’s rough calculations there is no difference in the ISA than filing a defamation suit.

Now it seems that the opposition only has the defamation suits to use and they are using them to their full advantage and to get wide publicity which they could otherwise not get, unless if they go around to put up road signs in Mandarin or Tamil, a habit that they decided to stop with the arrest of the three under the last ISA roundout.

I am sure those who had wanted to put up more of the same road signs elsewhere, have now not given it a serious thought anymore. Why stop doing that if they think it is good for the multiracial society?

And when is Teresa going to put out more of these road signs?

But if they come to power and are able to introduce new laws will they not want to ban anyone from filing defamation suits since it is against the spirit of the freedom of the press and of expression?

Look at America or the United Kingdom and many other countries in the West, or for that matter, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, for instance; how many of the national leaders from both sides, have instituted defamation suits against anyone?

If the Malaysian politicians who are members of parliament can withstand insults and disparaging remarks that are uttered against them al the time in parliament, so surely, they can also withstand those that are hurled against them outside of it.

Is it because the members of parliament are immune to prosecution for whatever they say in parliament that the other members are not able to do anything about it?

If this the case, why not also allow the members of the public and especially, members of the press the same rights and immunity, since they are also in the same business, just to be fair and liberal? What’s the difference being in parliament and in the public anyway?

I was speechless again when I heard on television that there is one opposition member of parliament who said that freedom of the press has its limits! Was he serious?

There is no such thing. Freedom of the press and of expression do not have their limits. If there are limits, then there is no such freedoms in the first place.

They cannot say that and expect anyone else to respect them for their stand; it’s the weird form of the freedom of the press and of expression.

Maybe all of them are still in the happy Raya mood, and have their stomach full of ‘ketupat’ and ‘rendang’ and are ‘ketupat’ and ‘rendang’ – drunk.

Let’s hope once they have cleared this that they would want to bring out their candles and light them outside of the Utusan office in Jalan Chan Sow Lin.

I do subscribe to the freedom of the press and of expression, especially those whose skins have become so thick that cutting them with razor blades would not hurt them at all.

In fact, they won’t even mind to show the scars, that they can get from the cuts as a ‘badge of honor’; the more scars they have the better their reputation is.

There is no such a thing as a bad or negative publicity.

If those who had lost in any elections including those in the party had any real ‘reputation’, they would not stayed in politics, having lost in the elections even once before.

Yet, with their ‘thick skin’ and being so shameless, they still pursued.


Thank You.

Monday, October 13, 2008

In defence of Utusan Malaysia

Tabung Azan for Utusan Malaysia. We live in interesting times, where those who complain about the mainstream media being muzzled by the authorities are also the ones who sue these media at the slightest provocation.

DAP's Teresa Kok has filed a RM30 million suit against Utusan Malaysia, the Bahasa Malaysia daily controlled by Umno, over the azan issue. Another DAP leader has also sued the same newspaper for RM10 million, despite the newspaper having published an apology for a mistake it did in a report affecting the politician.

One can argue that ordinary people and organisations sue newspapers all the time. But Ms Kok is not an ordinary person and the DAP is not an ordinary body. As a people's representative, we expect Ms Kok to fight for our basic freedoms, including assuring Malaysians of the all-important Press Freedom.

If Ms Kok and the DAP really believe in the freedom of, say, the Rocket and Malaysia Today, they must also believe in the freedom of Utusan Malaysia.

When I was editor of Business Times and The Malay Mail, I lost many nights' sleep over legal suits filed by disgruntled individuals and organisations. Many politicians were unhappy but none sued because we provided them with the right of reply. And we published without malice. The newspapers I led never sued anyone, either.

I hope politicians will not make it a habit to sue the media, old and new. I hope Theresa would find it fit to withdraw her suit against Utusan Malaysia.

I must applaud Syed Ali Alhabshee's initiative over the weekend to come to the defence of Utusan Malaysia. Some will see it as a political gimmick, but I see the Umno Cheras' inititiave for its simple message: if we believe in a freedom, we must defend that freedom at all times.

Read Syed Ali Alhabshee's posting on the Tabung Azan for Utusan Malaysia, h e r e.

Updates, 530 pm:
Note: I'm including the article about Karpal Singh suing Utusan. I understand from this article that Utusan had apologized for the error in its reporting. And thanks Sinatra_Z for the RM30 million ringgit article

Karpal sues Utusan for RM10 million h e r e
The article that made Theresa Kok sue for RM30 million h e r e

Sunday, October 12, 2008

An advice for Najib

"Keep the cronies and family members at bay". Read h e r e.

Najib will ignore this advice at his own peril. We've seen what happened when a PM lets his unscrupulous cronies and family members [and their own unscrupulous cronies and family members] run the country as if it's their fiefdom.

Mukhriz gets the 38

Umno Youth nominations count. As at half past six, Mukhriz Mahathir has shot past the 38 nominations required by a candidate to quality for the contest in March next year. Khairy Jamaluddin and Khir Toyo trail with 18 and 10, respectively.

"KJ can still make it," I said to a friend.
"Well, that would be too bad. KJ represents everything that is wrong with Umno today. (The remaining divisions) should send a message to KJ by not giving him anymore nominations," came the reply.

There are 191 Umno divisions meeting until Nov 9 to give nominations for candidates vying for all posts in the party. A member aspiring to run for President needs to secure 58 nominations.

An interview with the Spiritual Leader

"The ISA [and other sins of the current Federal Government], will go." - Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, on what PAS will do if/when Pakatan Rakyat takes over.

OUR appointment with Nik Aziz, the Menteri Besar of Kelantan and the Islamic Party's Spiritual Leader, was set at 9 this morning at the Rumah Sri Kelantan on Jalan Stonor, KL.

Sheih Kickdefella knows I'm not a morning person but it's not easy to get Tok Guru. We focused on PAS' 18-year administration of Kelantan. No Opposition party in Malaysia can boast of such a track record.

He speaks of how the Federal government has denied the Kelantan people of the development and the projects they deserve as Malaysians. "It's one of the sins of the Federal Government," he says. When PAS (or Pakatan Rakyat) takes of the Federal Government, "that sin" will cease to be committed, along with t"he other dosa-dosa" like the ISA, he assures.

Our conversation, inevitably, strays to politics. Fortunately, the Tok Guru doesn't mind. In fact, politics and the economy, he says, are intertwined: one can't do without the other.

So, I asked him about Anwar Ibrahim's December deadline to take over the Government from the BN. The deadline, Nik Aziz told me, isn't important. What's imperative is that the takover must happen. "Mesti," he reiterates.

"How can we continue to sail on a ship whose captain is at odds with others? We must take over that ship."

Nuraina A. Samad of Jalan Sudin, who is also group editor of TELL magazine, was at the interview. We are planning a piece for the next issue of Tell. Nik Aziz, she says, is the "conscience of Kelantan". That sounds like a good heading ...

All pics by Nuraina A. Samad