Ak57\’s Weblog

Thoughts and opinions on Malaysian news, its people and its culture

Archive for November 2007

Devamany to be Whipped

Johari: Not fair for BN MP to blame govt for Indian woes

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 26, 2007): A backbencher was told today it was unfair for him to accuse the government of being unfair to the Indian community when it comes to sharing the country’s economic pie.

S.K. Devamany (BN-Cameron Highlands) had said, when posing a supplementary question, that despite measures promised by the government in its 2020 Vision policy and the Ninh Malaysia Plan, the reaction (Hindraf’s demonstration) yesterday showed that there is frustration in the lower rung of the Indian community which saw the involvement of youths and those from the middle income group.

“What are the actions taken to show proof of the government’s efforts in overcoming poverty and limited opportunities in the Indian community,” he asked Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum in Parliament.

Johari, replying in Parliament lobby, said it was not fair for Devamany to say the Indian community took to the streets on Sunday because the government was not being fair to them.

“How can he say that the demonstrations were due to Indians’ frustrations,” he said.

– quoted from an article published in the Sun on 26th November 2007 (link)

Despite representing himself poorly on Al-Jazeera on Sunday, it appears that Devamany made the quick decision to take off the ‘incompetence mask’ worn by most ministers and ask a perfectly reasonable question. Johari’s response indicates that he believes it to be work of the Opposition, or some other malarkey.

What is the result of Devamany questioning his masters’ (government) statement? A meeting with the Chief Whip, which turns out to be Najib. All these years I have been wondering whether we have a Chief Whip and who it is, and its Najib.

MIC MP to explain remarks to Najib

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 27, 2007): S.K. Devamany (BN-Cameron Highlands) will meet Barisan Nasional Chief Whip and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak to explain his remarks on the Indian community’s woes in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz said a report from the Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club (BNBBC) and the transcripts of the Hansard involving the MIC man showed that he broke ranks by questioning Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum.

He added that the MIC Central Working Committee member broke ranks with his BN peers by disputing the government’s figures on the number of Hindraf (Hindu Rights Action Force) demonstrators by saying that 50,000 participated in the rally.

Speaking to reporters in Parliament lobby today, Nazri said Devamany’s remarks went against the BN and MIC’s stand and position on the Hindraf demonstration.

He further criticised the first term MP for putting his party in a difficult position and urged him to stand by the majority of Indians who did not take part in the rally.

“We have an MIC MP refuting the party’s stand on several issues. It is serious,” said Nazri.

“If you want to be a fighter, then fight. But don’t put your party in a difficult position, “Nazri stressed.

Asked if the BN action against Devamany would make him a “hero” among the Indian community, Nazri said the BN could not be thinking in terms of one community.

“Should we encourage people to be popular among the community by breaking ranks? Or should we consider the welfare of the whole BN? Do we not take action against Robin Hood because he robbed the rich to give the poor, even though he broke the law?” he asked.

On Monday the backbencher in a supplementary question questioned the government’s policies on the Indians in the country.

He said that despite measures promised by the government in its 2020 Vision policy and the Ninth Malaysia Plan, the reaction on Sunday showed that there is frustration in the lower rung of the Indian community which saw the involvement of youths and those from the middle income group.

– quoted from an article published in the Sun on 27th November 2007 (link)

Nazri quickly pounced on the report of a disloyal lapdog (more news on this online, don’t have the link right now sorry). I wonder how Devamany will fare?

Getting Whipped

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Written by ak57

November 28, 2007 at 7:01 am

A Quick HINDRAF comic

HINDRAF Rally #1

Still reading through all the news on this event, its been most depressing. Just a quick comic for now, hope the chaps throwing back the tear gas canisters weren’t identified and caught!

Written by ak57

November 26, 2007 at 8:46 am

Posted in AK57 Comics, Human Rights

Tagged with ,

Interpretation of Opposition

Kelantan State Assembly: BN members stage walkout

OPPOSITION members staged a walkout yesterday after Datuk Nozula Mat Diah (BN-Paloh) was not permitted to speak in the debate on the motion to thank Sultan Ismail Petra for his opening speech.

– quoted from an article published in NST on 22nd November 2007 (link)

I was puzzled for a brief moment upon reading the start of this article. Then I realised, silly me – the Opposition in Kelantan means BN! I wonder what it is like there, when people like Nazri are saying, “so and so are behaving like the Opposition” and similar negative remarks. Do Kelantanese have a strong hatred of the Opposition and share Nazri’s views without realising that they both interpret the word differently?

Its an amusing thought.

Written by ak57

November 25, 2007 at 3:39 am

Posted in Amusing Thoughts

Bar Council can comment but not take part

Bar Council ‘can take part in hearings on video clip’

KUALA LUMPUR: The Bar Council is welcome to take part in the royal commission hearings on the “Lingam” video clip, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said.

“We have no problems with it. They can come forward and give us their input.”

However, he said there was no possibility that Bar Council members could become royal commissioners themselves.

“There is no chance of that happening. How can they act fairly and be unbiased if they have already marched against the judiciary? They have already made their stand.

“Secondly, Lingam is a member of the Bar. Just like they don’t trust the police to investigate their own, how can the Bar be part of an investigation into one of their members?

“Justice must not merely be served, but must be seen to be served,” he said.

In the video clip, lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam is allegedly shown discussing judicial appointments with a senior judge.

The terms of reference for the royal commission of inquiry was up to the government, Nazri said.

“It is not for the Bar Council to decide, but the government.

“We won’t consult them and we will not give up our right to decide.”

Nazri said the terms had not been finalised.

“We (the cabinet) have given our opinions, but the prime minister has not finalised anything yet.”

He also said the government was happy with the present system of appointing judges and would not be changing it, despite calls to set up an independent judicial appointments and promotions commission.

(cut) …

In Putrajaya, sources said the Anti-Corruption Agency was still gathering evidence in relation to the video clip.

Investigations were still continuing and the case had not been wrapped up.

In Kuala Lumpur, a lawyer yesterday filed an application seeking a declaration that the resolutions made during the Bar Council extraordinary general meeting on Thursday relating to the “Lingam” video clip were null and void.

Lian Meng Wah, in his application filed at the High Court yesterday, said the Bar Council was not a member of the Malaysian Bar and does not have the power, authority or right to propose any motion under the Legal Profession Act 1976 to be considered at the EGM.

He further stated that the meeting was legal but the motions were illegal and unconstitutional.

Lian, a member of the Malaysian Bar, claimed the resolutions deemed illegal during the EGM include:

– The Malaysian Bar strongly deplores and condemns any member of the Bar who indulges in any conduct that may adversely affect the independence, integrity and credibility of the judiciary or the administration of justice;

– The Malaysian Bar strongly deplores and condemns the manipulation of the appointments and promotion process of judges by any party which interferes with and adversely affects the independence, integrity and credibility of the judiciary, and

– The Malaysian Bar welcomes the announcement of the prime minister to establish a royal commission of inquiry.

Lian sought an order to set aside the adoption of the Bar Council motion as a resolution of the Malaysian Bar and an injunction to refrain the Bar Council from publishing, implementing, acting upon, prosecuting or canvassing the resolutions of the EGM.

– quoted from an article published in NST on 24th November 2007 (link)

For once I agree with Nazri, to prevent a conflict of interest no Bar council member should be part of the Royal Commission. However, wasn’t Haidar also linked to VK Lingam yet given the OK to head the Panel? Sounds like selective judgement sir.

That part about the government being happy with the current system of appointing judges is also disheartening – now is your chance to get support for the government sir! Make a big show of improving the system, get more votes from the less-informed population who only read the media that you control.

Then again it may still happen, to distract from whatever happens at the HINDRAF gathering tomorrow.

It is worth noting that the ACA is reported to be still investigating matters related to the video clip, though that may just be their interview with VK Lingam and nothing more.

Finally out of all the members of the Bar Council, only one had a beef with the result of the meeting? I am not that familiar with legal parlance, but by filing the report and saying the stated resolutions were illegal, is Lian Meng Wah endorsing :

  • conduct that adversely affects the independence, integrity and credibility of the judiciary
  • the manipulation of the appointments and promotion process of judges

There is nothing to ‘implement, act upon or prosecute’ here, unless you count future condemnation of Bar Council members who practice corruption. What is he talking about? There must be more to this than what was printed.

Perhaps he is just a stickler to the rules (I’ll have to pick up a copy of the Legal Profession Act now sigh) and the Malaysian Bar might not have the right to officially give comment on the process of appointing/promoting judges or on the performance of its members.

Written by ak57

November 25, 2007 at 3:31 am

VK Lingam Makes The Headlines

Looks like the government is going all out to draw public attention away from more important issues (like the BERSIH rally and the upcoming HINDRAF memorandum delivery?) and instead focus on VK Lingam. Even The Star finally spilled out the same details NST had been ballsy enough to print weeks ago. Lets look at the major events of the week, there has been too much for me to do my usual day by day post.

Nov 19th (Monday)

  • VK Lingam dismisses the allegations made by his brother by saying ACA already investigated and dismissed them in 1998. (link)
  • The police report made by V. Thirunama Karasu (VK Lingam’s brother) will be referred to the ACA. (link)
  • Both NST and The Star ran this story on the frontpage the next day.

Nov 20th (Tuesday)

  • V. Thirunama gives his statement to ACA. Claims he is not Whistle Blower. (link)
  • DPM Najib states that the Cabinet will discuss the Royal Commission’s terms of reference, scope of power and members on the 21st. (link)

Nov 21st (Wednesday)

  • The Cabinet did not discuss the Royal Commission at all and instead decided to postpone it to next week so that the PM would be able to attend. (link)
  • VK Lingam seen entering ACA hq, presumably to give a statement. (link)
  • ACA reopens investigation into corruption allegations against VK Lingam based on new leads provided by his brother. (link)
  • VK Lingam claims his brother is a suicidal psychiatric patient and claims to have medical documents to prove it. (link)
  • ACA records a statement from a judge in his 70s (not Fairuz) regarding one of the VK Lingam corruption charges.  (link)

Nov 22nd (Thursday)

  • ACA clears VK Lingam of all but one graft allegation. (link)
  • The Bar Council held an extraordinary general meeting and passed a resolution to call the judiciary to support the Royal Commission investigating the Lingam video clip. The previous resolution to boycott the courts for an hour on a specified date was adjourned to March in light of the RC formation. (link)

What’s interesting is that since the spotlight is not on Fairuz at all, it looks like my earlier prediction might be right after all – VK Lingam as a scapegoat, case closed.

Written by ak57

November 25, 2007 at 1:34 am

Posted in Local News

Tagged with ,

Empowered to Call the UnNameable

Royal commission can call anyone as witness

KANGAR: The proposed royal commission of inquiry into the “Lingam” video clip will be empowered to summon the personalities in the footage as well as those who recorded it.

Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad, one of the three ministers assigned to provide legal input to the cabinet prior to the setting up of the royal commission, said it would have the power to call anyone to assist in its inquiry.

“In this case, the lawyer seen in the video clip is the primary suspect.

“Once the royal commission is established, and based on its governing enactment and instruments, it has the power to call anyone as a witness.

“If the person fails to appear (before the royal commission), he can be brought to court,” Radzi said after giving out prizes during the “Piala Datuk Seri Radzi” basketball tournament in Taman Perlis here.

He said the setting up of the royal commission would lead to a comprehensive investigation into the video clip, which allegedly shows lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam discussing judicial appointments with a senior judge in a mobile phone conversation.

Lingam had mentioned the names of several judges and ministers.

“All the witnesses involved in this case would be forced to appear.

“This way, we will get to the bottom of it,” said Radzi.

A three-member independent panel was set up in late September to determine the authenticity of the video clip.

The report it submitted to the cabinet on Friday is said to have recommended the formation of a royal commission.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had said that the establishment of the panel was deemed appropriate based on the panel’s findings.

Radzi, who is a lawyer by profession, said he and his colleagues who were studying the panel’s report were assigned to fix the terms of reference for the royal commission.

“We are not studying who should be in the panel, and we would not be panellists. We are not scrutinising it, so don’t be confused. We are observing and establishing the terms of reference.”

The other two with Radzi are Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim.

Asked who would head the commission, Radzi said the cabinet would discuss the matter at its next meeting.

“After the cabinet meeting on Wednesday, and after discussions regarding the terms of reference, the prime minister will suggest the panel’s chairman.”

Asked if former chief justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim would be called before the royal commission, Radzi said: “The royal commission can summon anyone it wants — the person who recorded the video, the actor, or the people mentioned in the clip.”

– quoted from an article published in NST on 19th November 2007 (link)

The lawyer seen is the primary suspect..uhoh, looks like VK Lingam’s goose is cooked! I am curious though, how can the Royal Commission summon Whistle Blower when that person’s identity is unknown? I hope this is not another fishing expedition to get Whistle Blower’s identity in order to ‘pay him back’.

It is sad and funny to see the government reaction to two scandals – crisis in the judiciary versus crisis in the election process. The decision? Distract the public by focusing their attention on the ‘crisis in the judiciary’, even then only on VK Lingam and the implications of corruption of himself and numerous judges. I have a bad feeling that the RC will just bring about VK Lingam’s prosecution and no change in the judicial system 😦

Kudos to his brother though for coming forward (indirectly via DAP), hopefully with solid evidence  :

Lingam’s brother spills the beans

KUALA LUMPUR: The younger brother of lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam has alleged he was privy to various acts of “corruption” involving judges.

V. Thirunama Karasu lodged a police report in March detailing his brother’s alleged relationship with two former chief justices, several judges and a former inspector-general of police in the mid and late 1990s.

Malaysian Democratic Party secretary-general Wee Choo Keong released the police report at a press conference yesterday.

Among other things, Karasu alleged that he used to send his brother to a former chief justice’s house just before midnight and pick him up an hour or so later and that he had delivered handphones and briefcases to several judges, adding he had paid the handphone bills of a former inspector-general of police.

Karasu, met at his house, said: “I did not give Wee consent to announce the police report. But the contents of the police report are true.”

He said he was willing to testify before the proposed royal commission to investigate the Lingam video clip.

– quoted from an article published in NST on 19th November 2007 (link)

Further reading : a list of Karasu’s allegations (courtesy NST)

Cops will be knocking at VK Lingam’s door soon – he’s having sleepless nights I bet 😉

VK Lingam’s Fear

Written by ak57

November 20, 2007 at 6:15 am

Posted in AK57 Comics, Local News

Tagged with

MCA Supports Common Sense

Cabinet’s decision shows transparency, says Ong

KUALA LUMPUR: The setting up of a royal commission to investigate the “Lingam” video clip was approved by the government to show its transparency on the issue, said Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting.

Ong had attended last Wednesday’s cabinet meeting where the reports by the three-member panel investigating the authenticity of the clip was reviewed.

Ong said that all ministers present at the meeting supported the decision.

“We all felt that a royal commission was necessary.

“The cabinet felt it should be really transparent in handling the video clip issue.

“The government has nothing to hide and we want the royal commission to get to the bottom of the whole thing,” Ong said after officiating the World of Chinese Books Fair at Mines Resort yesterday.

The video clip in question showed a purported telephone conversation between lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam and a senior judge discussing judicial appointments.

Ong also said three ministers had been tasked to oversee the formation of the royal commission but their roles would be limited to giving their input.

“All MCA ministers also believe that having a royal commission to look into the video clip issue is the right move,” he said.

– quoted from an article published in NST on 18th November 2007 (link)

How lame of MCA to suddenly endorse the setting up of a royal commission. Datuk Seri, where were you in the last couple of months? What a sycophant.

Wasn’t it reported previously that the Haidar Report was not reviewed in cabinet, but instead a copy was given to each minister for discussion next week? Nazri himself said on Wednesday and Thursday that he had not seen the report – well, maybe he is not really a cabinet minister 😉

I am a bit curious which ‘three ministers’ he is referring to though, and what role exactly do they play in deciding who the members of the royal commission will be. I hope its not the same trio picked to provide legal input, because Nazri is one of them and his sense of logic is really flawed.

Written by ak57

November 19, 2007 at 1:49 am

Posted in Local News

Tagged with ,