The Malaysian NGO, Aliran, has a nice column that tracks media reports and how they go astray. It started in 2000. There is no equivalent in $ingapore. The Malaysians call it the Great Malaysian Hiding Game. Heres a sample:
On 26 July, the youth wing of DAP or DAPSY was finally able to hold the debate on the Internal Security Act (ISA) between the BN's Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz and the DAP's Lim Kit Siang. This came after the police had earlier refused permission.
The event finally held was a first in Malaysia. Dubbed "The Great Malaysian Debate", it drew a 1,000-strong crowd, which spilled out of the packed Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. This reflected the significance or controversy of the ISA for many Malaysians and not just those who could be present at the debate. In short, here was (1) an unprecedented event (2) about a highly controversial law, that (3) attracted a huge crowd.
How then did the NST, theSun and The Star cover the event?
NST hides the story on page 14
Of the three, the NST showed the least interest in the story. To begin with, it had the story on page 14 and at the very bottom of it. Even a story on a post-grunge band, Hoobastank (say what?) from Los Angeles coming to perform in Malaysia on 15 Aug got better treatment (it was placed at the top left corner of page 8). A picture of the band took up even more space than the report on the ISA debate.
To say the NST buried the story is a glaring understatement. More accurately, it was trying to hide it
Meanwhile theSun and The Star gave significantly more substantive coverage. The story took up about two-thirds of a tabloid page in each paper. Both papers also provided more of the views from Nazri and Lim from the debate.
The problem with theSun's story was that it was lop-sided. Nazri's view took up significantly more space than Lim's. Even the headline came from Nazri, that parliament is not a place to debate ISA. It was a rather lame headline as well, as it is very much old news.
Star buries a newsworthy report
At least The Star's headline - indicating a huge turn-out for the debate - was far more newsworthy. The paper also provided a picture while the other two papers did not. It was of Nazri and Lim shaking hands.
On the other hand, The Star somewhat buried its report, which appeared on page 8, unlike theSun, which carried its story on page 2. Why could they not have given the story the appropriate treatment by front-paging it?
the three major Chinese-language dailies-Nanyang Siang Pau, Sin Chew Jit Poh, and Oriental Daily--appeared to be far more cognizant of the news-worthiness of the debate story. They front-paged the story and accompanied it with pictures.
So, why were the English dailies, especially the UMNO-connected NST, trying to downplay the event?
here for the full report.
AT LAST, THE 'GREAT MALAYSIAN DEBATE'
Gatsiounis. This is an insightful comment and report. There are now 37
Singaporeans locked up under the Internal Security Act. Another 12 are
under "restriction orders". Another 30, "marginally involved in JI activities"
according to a nation-builder report Jan 15, 2004, have been warned to
cease their links with terrorist groups. None have been charged in court
for any crime. No one has ever asked to hear their side of the story.
There has been no "great $ingapore debate".
As reported in the UK paper The Guardian:
Malaysia's prime minister, Abdullah Badawi, arrives in London July 22 2004 to meet Tony Blair, amid an outcry over the sudden and unexplained postponement of an appeal court verdict that could have severely embarrassed the travelling leader.
Malaysia's highest court, the federal court, had been expected today to reject the final appeal of Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy prime minister who was jailed for corruption and sodomy after falling out with Mr Abdullah's predecessor, Mahathir Mohamad, in 1998.
But late on Tuesday Mr Anwar's lawyer, Sankara Nair, was told that the case had been postponed indefinitely.
"I was given no reason for the decision," he told the Guardian. "It was all quite surprising."
A deputy registrar at the federal court confirmed the postponement. "We were given no reasons," she said. "There are no unfortunate circumstances [that might explain it]."
Tian Chua, the vice president of the People's Justice party which Mr Anwar founded, said he was convinced that there had been political interference in the case.
Mr Abdullah "doesn't want to be embarrassed or answer questions about Anwar Ibrahim when he's on his overseas trip", he said. "It's his intention to project his new image as a liberal reformer, but at the same time he's not acting to correct the problems of the judiciary and corruption he inherited from the Mahathir era."
Harakah, an independent newspaper, has offered yet another view on the tragic fate of former DPM Anwar Ibrahim.
"Alas, as a non-Malay who tries to teach my children to appreciate and respect Malay culture, custom and creed, I dread the day when I have to explain to them the manner in which the powers of the day stooped so low to bring contempt and odium to bear upon a man, who is still revered by many as an illustrious son of this nation.
"Anwar Ibrahim (and his family) has been humiliated enough. The Malay has been shamed enough. This whole nation has been fractured enough. It is time for the PM to initiate the healing process -- he can take the first giant step by allowing Anwar to receive treatment overseas.
"It is humility and humaneness that will restore Malay pride and wholeness and healing to the nation, and not the haughtiness and high-handedness that we have seen for many years. The overwhelming mandate given to Pak Lah in the last general election is largely out of the desire for a gentler and kinder government." Read the opinion at http://www.harakahdaily.net/article.php?sid=8900
STILL FRIGHTENED AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
An AFP report, July 14 2004, said the Malaysian government will not allow the former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim to seek treatment abroad for his back injury. Anwar was rushed to hospital from prison late July 13 2004.
Doctors at the government-run Kuala Lumpur Hospital had advised Anwar to undergo surgery "as soon as possible to decompress pressure on the nerves affected as they are showing warning signs and there is a risk of paralysis", his wife Wan Azizah said. Anwars injuries are a result of police beatings after his arrest in 1998.
ANWAR NOW - EZAM
IBRAHIM FACES HEALTH CRISIS
With Tengku Razaleighs announcement, July 9 2004, that he is willing to contest the UMNO presidency in September, the Malaysian political leadership is beginning to stir. Will it be a storm in a teacup or will the water be brought to boil?
NO LOVE LOST BETWEEN PAK LAH AND DATO SERI NAJIB
IT IS THE WORST-KEPT secret: the ill-disguised contempt and hostility between the prime minister, Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and the deputy prime minister, Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak; complicating it is like "love and affection" their wives have for each other. Pak Lah pulls rank, and Dato' Seri Najib cannot but rise to each snap of the older man's fingers. As one who knows both said: "If looks could kill, all four would have been dead months ago." Before the Hermit of Langgak Golf [Tengku Razaleigh] turned up to skewer the political pitch to insist he is a candidate for the UMNO presidency, leader and deputy and their supporters focussed their attention on bringing the other down. MGG Pillai offers an insiders view at http://www.mggpillai.com/article.php3?sid=1961
According to MGG Pillai, Tengku Razaleigh announced his decision on July 2 but the Malaysian nation-builder press refused to acknowledge it until Saturday July 10. See the story here: Tengku Razaleigh takes on Pak Lah for the UMNO presidency
WHO WILL BE THE ONE TO BELL THE CAT?
The battle lines are drawn. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Ku Li) is going to make a bid for the top job; that of the Umno Presidency, which would then automatically make him the Prime Minister of Malaysia writes Raja Petra Kamarudin.
Ku Li has
tried this before in the mid-1980s -- once for the Deputys post
and then for the Presidency. But he failed both times. Read the full article
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The Malaysian government Saturday extended by two years the detention of 10 alleged Muslim militants, including two Indonesians, under a harsh security law, rights activists said. The ten, arrested in April 2002 under the Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows detention without trial, were accused of being members of the Al-Qaeda-linked regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). Their two-year detention order expires Saturday but the Abolish ISA Movement rights group said they were informed by police that the 10 would not be released. "The police said their detention orders have been renewed for another two years and have been served on them. No reasons were given," said spokesman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh.
Malaysia is holding more than 90 alleged Islamic militants under the ISA, which the government says is needed as a first line of defence against terrorism. However, the group slammed the prolonged detention and urged the government to release the men or prosecute them in open court if it had solid evidence of their involvement in terrorist activities. "The government clearly has no evidence to substantiate their detention. It is obviously abusing its power arbitrarily and hiding behind the ISA with total impunity," Syed Ibrahim said.
FIRST THEY SAID THIS
THEN THEY SAID THIS
MALAYSIA FINALLY USES ISA ON NUCLEAR BLACK MARKETEER AFTER 202 DAYS
B.S.A. Tahir, the Sri Lankan businessman who allegedly deceived Malaysian company Scomi Precision Engineering Sdn Bhd (Scope) into manufacturing a component believed to be for nuclear weapons, has finally been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
It was learnt that police officers investigating the case detained the 44-year-old Tahir at 11.30 am in Bangsar May 28, 2004. Police revealed that they were informed by the CIA on Nov 10 last year. It took them 202 days to arrive at the decision to arrest B.S.A. Tahir.
Tahir was immediately sent to the Kamunting detention centre. Malaysian company Scomi is linked to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's son, Kamaluddin.
Meanwhile, there has been no update on the company in $ingapore that supplied parts to Scomi to build the centrifuges for nuclear weapons. Click on the banner below or visit http://www.bigo.com.sg/fooled/tahir.html for the background to this story.
Click here for the full report on Tahir's arrest.
THE $INGAPORE-BASED COMPANY
A $ingapore company was also supplying parts to the nuclear black market. The company was Bikar Metal Asia Pte Ltd. They have said they were unaware their parts were meant for a nuclear weapons ring. The only account of this $ingapore connection is in the Asian Wall Street Journal. No $ingapore paper carried a comprehensive report on Bikar Metal. But we get plenty of reports on Abu Bakar Bashir.
WHY MALAYSIAS PRESS LIKE $INGAPORES IS RATED "NOT FREE"
By now it is obvious there is a systemic move to play down, if not black out altogether, news of Anwar's crucial appeal at the Federal Court, which has reached Day Seven May 20, 2004. We can compare this blackout of Anwar with the prominent coverage given to the Cannie Ong and Norrita Samsudin murder trials, both of which have a sexual twist.
Today's newspapers had the following placement of news reports:
So much for editorial integrity in Malaysia. Need we say more? Shame on the editors concerned for keeping Malaysians in the dark about the Anwar appeal.
Star (13 May), for instance, there was not a single report on the Anwar
trial. In contrast, the Norrita murder trial was prominently covered on
page 4 while a large report on the Canny Ong murder trial appeared on
page 6. Care to explain, Star? Are you only interested in sensational
murder trials to sell your paper?
Much of the confusion at the recently concluded Malaysian General Election has been laid at the foot of the Election Commission. It broke its own rules and will have a hard time in future to claim its independence. Here is an account of how it handled the Permatang Puah constituency which Anwar Ibrahim used to represent. It is now held by his wife. The following account is by M.G.G. Pillai, a veteran observer of Malaysian politics.
"Pak Lah campaigned in the constituency four times during the eight-day campaign. So did several BN and UMNO leaders. There was only one thing wrong with the BN strategy: there was none. The [BN] candidate [former National Mosque imam, Dato' Pirdaus Ismail, 38] was flawed He was widely known in Permatang Pauh as 'Tok Imam Duit' and 'Tok Imam Rasuah', the imam for money and corruption respectively. The campaign went from bad to worse. Pak Lah was surrounded by cheering voters when he first arrived; he wound down his window, to be confronted by an unfurled large size portrait of Dato' Seri Anwar, and asked: 'Ingat dia?' (Remember him?). They were ruder with Ustaz Pirdaus: when they shook hands with him, they had five sen coins in their palms which they passed to him, an insult. Worse, when they mobbed his car al la Pak Lah, he wound down the windows and people threw coins into the car.
"Datin Seri Wan Azizah was returned with a 33-vote majority after two recounts. A third the next day ensured it, but with a majority of 590 votes. The votes are counted in stacks of tens, and the result got by counting the stacks. In her case, it was found that her stacks had more than 10 votes, while her opponent had less than 10. By counting the stacks, one would get the total. A recount revealed this discrepancy. In other words, even with the odds against her, she won. Ustaz Pirdaus is not about to let go. He is to challenge it in court. So sure is he that he would get his wish - lest we forget, he is, after all, Pak Lah's man - the BN and UMNO in Permatang Pauh is told to ready itself for fresh elections. But I do not see how there could be a re-election, without Pak Lah losing further ground. Even with the odds in his favour, he could not defeat his nemesis. If he does win, Pak Lah would not gain much honour from it. For in the first confrontation between him and Dato' Seri Anwar, albeit by proxy, he lost."
From the FreeAnwar.com site: "To demonstrate the extent of this outrage, the National Justice Party (keADILan) president, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the solitary keADILan Member of Parliament, showed Suhakam, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, the stacks of protest notes received from Malaysians from all walks of life."
Here are the various incidents cited:
The dead who voted: " Azmin Ali, keADILans Director of Elections and a party Vice President, said the Election Commission (EC) documents showed that his dead father had turned up to cast his vote."
The phantom voters: "For example, in many constituencies, the number of voters who turned out to vote in the Parliamentary constituencies exceeded those who turned out to vote in the State constituencies. Considering that each voter is issued two ballot papers, one for the Parliament constituency and another for State, it would mean the ballot papers must tally. Yet in many constituencies all over Malaysia the ballot papers did not tally.
The baby voters: " toddlers [who] were officially born four years ago [were] somehow registered to vote and did vote."
The abandoned identity cards: "A day after the election, stacks of identity cards were found abandoned at some polling stations. How did these identity cards find their way to the polling stations and why were they so well hidden that whoever hid them forgot all about them or could not find them later?"
Abandoned ballot papers: "Equally perplexing were the envelopes and sacks with the EC seals found in the dustbins outside the polling stations. Inside these envelopes and sacks were ballot papers, already marked in favour of the ruling party, with a list of names of these voters. Why had they been abandoned? Was it because whoever was in possession of them failed to stuff them into the ballot boxes due to the vigil by the opposition election workers and since having ballot papers on your person is a crime so whoever was in possession of them chose to discard them?"
FreeAnwar.com is run by Raja Petra Kamarudin.
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CYNICAL ABOUT ELECTIONS
The latest Malaysian elections is over. To quote Newsweek [Mar 29, 2004], its another Florida election, Asian-style. When George W Bush ascended to the American presidency, he took it in a controversial election that showed flaws in vote-counting methods.
Trawling the net, you can read the cynicism about the Malaysian election. Heres one reported as a maths test.
If the ruling party obtained 54% of the popular votes the last election and won 151 or 80% of the seats, and if it saw an increase of 10% in votes this election, how many more seats would it gain?
ANSWER (Choose one)
1. The ruling party will not show a 10% increase in votes, as it will stuff the ballot box with another 20% to give it a 30% vote increase.
ruling party will win an additional 25 seats, which are the newly created
seats in the delineation exercise recently done.
On Mar 20, 2004, the day before Malaysians went to the polls, Steven Gan, the editor of Malaysiakini called Malaysians to think carefully before they voted. Here is an excerpt:
"This election will not just only be a referendum on Abdullah. It will also be a referendum on political Islam.
"Voters should send two clear and unmistakable messages to our politicians.
"One, we want to see real reforms in the ruling BN coalition. Two, we want political Islam, in whatever form, to respect Malaysia's rich cultural and religious diversity.
"For this to happen, both BN and PAS should be deprived of an emphatic victory. It is only through a robust third force that these two dominant poles in Malaysian politics be effectively checked.
"And just as important - with the ruling coalition expected to romp home with more than a two-thirds majority in Parliament - we urge Malaysians to vote for a strong opposition.
"It doesn't really matter whether the opposition is BA or BN. Indeed, if Islamic party PAS retains Kelantan and Terengganu, then these states deserve a strong BN opposition."
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Heres an excerpt of the above comment by Raja Petra Kamarudin of FreeAnwar.com:
" the opposition must go to the voters, in particular the fence sitters, and woo them over.
"Take note that a rule-of-thumb to use (though not always accurate) would be 35% of the voters support the ruling party, 35% the opposition, while the balance 30% are fence sitters. In the short eight-day campaign period between Nomination Day and Polling Day, there is too little time to work on the ruling party diehards. It is an exercise in futility. It is also no point working on your own supporters. You have had four or five years to work on retaining their loyalty. Eight days is only enough time to work on the 30% fence sitters.
"30% is no small figure. Considering that a seat can be won or lost by a mere single digit percentage, 30% could make a difference between winning, or losing, an entire state.
"So go door-to-door. Go meet those 'uncommitted' voters. Go talk to those voters who have never attended a ceramah in their life. Do not talk bad about the present government. That is too negative. These people probably know more than us anyway about what is wrong with this country and the government that is running it. Talk about how we can be a BETTER government, which does not mean you are saying the present government is no good (it is just that we can do better).
"Explain the present government's policies on education, the economy, corruption, health, religion, the judiciary, and so on. Then explain the opposition's policies and ask the voter to compare the two. Then ask the voter to give the opposition a chance to prove itself in implementing its better policies, for at least five years. Explain that if the opposition fails to deliver its promises, the voters can always give the country back to the present party in power.
"Whatever it may be, go meet them and talk to them, and don't expect them to come to you, especially to your ceramahs. And please talk sense when you go meet them. Leave all your rhetoric at home and do not insult them with 'ceramah talk'."
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In the above report, Malaysia's Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar said: "The whole thing is over already." He was referring to US accusations that a Malaysian permanent resident Bukary Syed Abu Tahir was manufacturing nuclear bomb components with a Malaysian company directly linked to PM Abdullah Badawi's son, Kamaluddin.
Although Malaysian police have published a report that confirms Mr Tahir was sending the parts to Libya, the police did not arrest him. Tahir is a Sri Lankan citizen married to a Malaysian.
In the above report, Malaysia used the Internal Security Act to arrest six Indonesians they claimed were "terrorists." And people who make nuclear bombs are not?
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR INT'L WOMEN'S DAY 04
In conjunction with International Women's Day 2004, Amnesty International will set up a booth in Mid Valley Megamall on Mar 13-14 to promote Amnesty International's Stop Violence Against Women campaign, distribute/ sell its materials as well to encourage the public to take action through letter writing. Volunteers are needed at the booth on those two days. Below is the schedule for volunteers.
Saturday, March 13
Sunday, March 14
Interested call Amnesty International at 03-79552680.
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In a Feb 21, 2004 Billboard story, the writer included in the last paragraph this prediction.
"Although publicly remaining silent on the topic [of lower fixed CD prices], many industry insiders suggest the pricing issue is aimed at winning consumer votes in Malaysias next parliamentary elections, which are likely to take place in April."
was originally going to impose fixed pricing for CDs and VCDs to control
piracy and stimulate interest in buying legitimate products at a lower
price. $ingapore has gone after music fans who download music before providing
them with a legal download alternative. Go figure.
When Malaysia named names and charged VIPs and even a minister for corruption, it came almost at the same time US intelligence agents were getting ready to announce a key Malaysian link in the secret nuclear network operated by a Pakistani scientist. Over the past week, PM Abdullah Badawis only son, Kamaluddin, found out that a company he controlled was named by US intelligence as the manufacturer of centrifuge parts for the nuclear black market. Below is how the revelation came about:
WHAT U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH SAID
These are the exact words used by President George W Bush when he answered questions after a speech at the National Defense University, Feb 11, 2004:
"To increase their profits, Khan [Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan] and his associates used a factory in Malaysia to manufacture key parts for centrifuges [used for enriching uranium for nuclear bombs]."
President Bush clearly identified the link man in Malaysia:
"Khans deputy a man named BSA Tahir ran SMB computers, a business in Dubai. Tahir used that computer company as a front for the proliferation activities of the A Q Khan network. Tahir acted as both the networks chief financial officer and money launderer. He was also its shipping agent, using his computer firm as cover for the movement of centrifuge parts to various clients. Tahir directed the Malaysia facility to produce these parts based on Pakistani designs, and then ordered the facility to ship the components to Dubai. Tahir also arranged for parts acquired by other European procurement agents to transit through Dubai for shipment to other customers."
President Bush did not let up on pinpointing the Malaysian connection:
"Mr Tahir is in Malaysia, where authorities are investigating his activities. Malaysian authorities have assured us that the factory the network used is no longer producing centrifuge parts. Other members of the network remain at large As a result of our penetration of the network, American and the British intelligence identified the shipment of advanced centrifuge parts manufactured at the Malaysian facility. We followed the shipment of these parts to Dubai, and watched as they were transferred to the BBC China, a German-owned ship. After the ship passed through the Suez Canal, bound for Libya, it was stopped "
President Bush has
The reaction in Malaysia was like this: Scomi has admitted making the parts but have said they were unaware of its final destination. They thought the parts were to be used for oil and gas industries. A company in $ingapore who supplied parts to Scomi have made the same plea of ignorance.
On Feb 20, 2004, Malaysian police, after denying for two weeks any wrongdoing in Malaysia, released a report that agreed with President Bush that indeed Tahir "had known that the centrifuge components manufactured by Scomi Precise Engineering (Scope) were destined for use in Libya's uranium enrichment programme".
However, no one in Malaysia has been arrested.
Here are three ironies worth noting:
- President Bush is the same man who compiled a thick dossier of "evidence" that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The "evidence" was claimed to be detailed and accurate. Those weapons have not been found nine months after the war ended.
- Malaysia used the Internal Security Act against Malaysians whom US intelligence claimed were part of a terror network called the Jemaah Islamiah [JI]. Many allegations have been made against the detainees but none of the charges and claims have been proven in court. However, about 90 Malaysians remain in detention.
- The US has now uncovered a nuclear proliferation ring within Pakistan, a key ally in the US-led war against Iraq. The US invaded Iraq because they said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But they didnt. Instead their ally, Pakistan, had a secret ring selling nuclear secrets. The president of Pakistan has decided to pardon the alleged ring leader, Prof AQ Khan, the countrys leading nuclear scientist.
This is our fave clip of the ISA detentions so far:
Yazid Sufaat was arrested in December 2001, about the same time $ingapore began arresting $ingaporeans alleged to be members of JI. In the above report, US and Malaysian security officials after two years now claim Yazid was the man running Osama Bin Ladens "chemical and biological weapons program". These claims remain unproven.
When asked if the US were interested in interrogating Yazid, this is what the Malaysian Foreign Minister Syd Hamid Albar said: "We are always ready to cooperate with any quarter in helping combat international terrorism."
Ninety Malaysians are under ISA detention for being alleged members of JI but Bukary Syed Abu Tahir, an alleged member of a nuclear proliferation ring, remains free while Pakistan has pardoned the alleged nuclear ringleader Prof AQ Khan. Whats going on?
Police: Tahir knew Scope's parts destined for Libya
Probe Scope independently call from DAP, PAS
FIVE STUDENTS CONFESS TO TERROR LINKS
Five students deported by Pakistan and arrested by Malaysian security forces in November 2003 have finally "confessed voluntarily to allegations against them that they had links to regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah (JI)" reports malaysiakini, Jan 29, 2004. They had been held in detention for almost 90 days before this "voluntary confession" made in front of Suhakam officials. Suhakam is the official Malaysian human rights group.
Meanwhile, a lawyer representing four of the detained students, Amer Hamzah Arshad, said his clients cannot be considered to have admitted to the crimes as they are being held against their will with no proper access to legal advice.
"How can they say anything else when there is a Special Branch officer [Malaysias version of the ISD] listening in to every word they say? When we (the lawyers) visited them in the past, each boy was accompanied to the interview by three or four officers," he said.
Amer said that if it is indeed true that the students had confessed, then the authorities should be able to bring them to trial in an open court and not continue to deny them trial.
is here http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/2004012900113846.php
There is an attempt to protect high profile figures linked to the Perwaja scandal, jailed ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim claimed Feb 11, 2004.
He said this is apparent since the authorities have failed to record a statement from him although he was the first - as then finance minister - to discover the alleged embezzlement which led the steel company to suffer colossal losses.
Anwar was responding to the arrest of Perwaja's ex-managing director Eric Chia, who was yesterday charged with criminal breach of trust for allegedly channelling funds worth RM76.4 million from Perwaja to a non-existent company. Chia, 71, is a close associate of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who had sacked Anwar in 1998.
Anwar claimed that the charge against Chia involved only the first part of the investigations conducted up to 1996. "What about the further probe into the scandal conducted from 1996 onwards involving misappropriation of funds worth more than RM76 million?" he asked.
The ex-deputy premier, who is serving a 15-year prison term for corruption and sodomy, has alleged that the charges against him were fabricated. This has been denied.
11 SUSPECT GETS ANOTHER TWO YEARS ISA DETENTION
The report said: "An al-Qaeda program to develop chemical and biological weapons was in the early 'conceptual stages' when it was cut short by the US-led invasion of Afghanistan..." The report said US and Malaysian security officials believe Yazid Sufaat ran the program. No where in this latest report is there any mention of the four tonnes of ammonium nitrate he was originally accused of supplying. Ammonium nitrate is used as a fertilizer like bullshit.
NO DETENTION HERE
On Jan 29,
2004, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi signed detention orders extending
for a further two years, the jailing of Yazid Sufaat [see above] without
the benefit of a trial. In the above report, nine days later, the same
US intelligence agency that fingered Yazid Sufaat also pointed their fingers
at a company that the PM's only son has a controlling stake in, the Scomi
Group. US intelligence accused Scomi of being "the supplier of alleged
centrifuge parts" which were bound for Libya's nuclear weapons program.
PM Badawi's son, Mr Kamaludin Abdullah, owns a controlling stake in Scomi.
No one in Scomi has been arrested.
report says a $ingapore company, Bikar Metal Asia Pte Ltd, supplied the
raw materials to Scomi. The report was run as a sidebar in the nation-builder
press's Asia section.
in Hamburg, Germany, was Abdelghani Mzoudi, also accused of helping the
terrorists who carried out the Sept 11 attacks. Mzoudi is a former roommate
of Mohamed Atta who was accused of providing support to the suicide pilots.
In the Feb 2, 2004 issue of Time it was reported that prosecuters introduced
a surprise witness, six weeks into the trial. The "star witness" is a
self-proclaimed Iranian intelligence agent known as Hamid Reza Zakeri,
who told the court that Mzoudi handled logistics for the three hijackers
based in Hamburg before the strikes.
WHAT IT COULD HAVE
now 37 Singaporeans locked up under the Internal Security Act. Another
12 are under "restriction orders". Another 30, "marginally involved in
JI activities" according to a nation-builder report Jan 15, 2004, have
been warned to cease their links with terrorist groups. None have been
charged in court for any crime. No one has ever asked to hear their side
of the story.
It has never
been explained why it was initially broadcasted that $ingapore was free
of Osama links. Now we have 79 people who are allegedly involved in some
kind of "terrorist activity" linked to al-Qaeda.
only reported Singaporean victim of post Sept 11 was an innocent bystander
in a military airbase here."
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SPAT ON AND BEARDS BURNT
Thirty-one Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees have outlined 59 forms of abuses which they have allegedly suffered in a memorandum to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam). Submitted on Jan 19, 2004, the top five complaints are:
- being placed in a small cell during the interrogation period,
- handcuffed in the presence of their families during arrest,
- blindfolded and handcuffed when taken to the interrogation room,
- the government levelling accusations against them via the media [while they are powerless to defend themselves] and
- The 31 detainees also claimed the details in their detention orders were "twisted and fabricated" by the authorities.
"We never knew or never mentioned, during the interrogation, (any attempt) about the setting up of an Islamic state through militant means. This fact was added in by the special branch officers who said they received information from the Home Ministry," they said.
Like their Singaporean counterparts, all 31 were arrested and detained for two years under the ISA over terrorism charges, namely for being members of the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah. A majority of their detention orders are expected to expire between this month and March.
Other allegations in the memorandum include being forced to strip naked during interrogation, told not to seek legal aid, not allowed to sit during a day-long interrogation, developed breathing difficulties due to the 'heavy-smoking' by interrogators in an air-conditioned room, forced to urinate in a bottle and denied a copy of the al-Quran.
The detainees also claimed that their interrogators had spat on them, forced them to drink spittle and even burnt their beards.
They also alleged of being threatened with the arrest of family members should they not cooperate or file an habeas corpus application.
(Habeas corpus is a writ ordering prisoners to be brought before a judge to ascertain if there are any procedural defects which could render their detention unlawful)
MALAYSIAN LAWYERS START "NO DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL" CAMPAIGN
After years of fighting what it regards as abuses of detention without trial provisions in the law, the Malaysian Bar Council has finally decided to formalise its efforts by launching a campaign against all forms of preventive detention.
At a press conference Jan 17, 2004, Bar Council chairperson Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari said the 'No Detention Without Trial' campaign would start by focusing on three major legislation - the Internal Security Act, the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969 and the Dangerous Drug Act (Special Prevention Measures) Act 1985.
"The time has come for Malaysia to progress to the next (and higher) phase of compliance with internationally recognised human rights standard. It is a fallacy that effective governance and maintenance of public security cannot be successfully carried out without laws that violate the rights of citizens," he said.
As part of the campaign, the council will be organising nationwide distribution of pamphlets entitled 'What is Preventive Detention?', car stickers, lapel pins, compiled reading materials for various organisations, universities and institutes of higher learning. Talks and seminars on the subject will also be held.
The Bar Council
chairperson also said that human rights are universal and not "Western"
in nature. For example, he said the same principles are found in the Universal
Islamic Declaration of Human Rights. Read more here http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/2004011700113703.php
Below is a brief excerpt of an analysis by malaysiakinis Yap Mun Ching on the 13 Malaysians who were detained under the ISA after they returned from Pakistan:
Where the Karachi 13 were concerned, the very fact they were detained by Pakistani authorities appeared sufficient for Malaysian police to implicate them as being involved with regional militant group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).
Just three days into the students' arrest in Karachi, Deputy Home Minister Chor Chee Heung told the press that "initial investigations" revealed that they were 'future leaders' of JI.
Since the students were later released by Pakistan without having charges being laid against them, the allegations should have proved groundless. For this reason, doubts have been cast over the legality and necessity of their arrests under the ISA.
To compound the matter, comparisons have arisen between the interrogation methods used by Pakistani and Malaysian security personnel. Interviews with two of the released students reveal stark differences.
Mohd Tarmizi Nordin, 16, said questioning did not exceed an hour in Pakistan, where the focus of foreign intelligence officials was more on his father's alleged activities than his own. (His father, Nordin Ahmad, is among 58 suspected JI members being held under the ISA.)
"They asked repeatedly about my father. They wanted to know about my father's alleged involvement with JI. They also asked how we (the students) were involved with the group," he said.
The other student, Ahmad Firdaus Kamaruddin, 18, claimed that the JI 'link' was made purely on the basis that the Malaysian youth were sharing a home with seven Indonesians, one of whom was Gun Rustam Gunawan, the brother of detained JI leader Hambali.
"(The security personnel in Pakistan) said I must be a JI member because Gun Gun was my friend. They also claimed that my studies were paid for by the organisation, and they questioned me repeatedly on my views on suicide bombing," he said
"Gun Gun was just like the rest of us. We just shared a house and we played football together. We knew that he was Hambali's brother, but he never mentioned his brother."
For the full
ISA INTERROGATION AFFECTS STUDENTS MENTAL HEALTH SAY LAWYERS
Lawyers of four of the 'Karachi 5' students have expressed their concern about the physical and mental conditions of their clients - who are held under the ISA - following a meeting with them Jan 2, 2004 at the Bukit Aman police headquarters. (One of the five did not seek legal assistance.)
"The students appear to have been mentally and emotionally disfigured by their continued detention since Sept 20, 2003. The persons we met on Nov 21 and Dec 4, 2003, are not the same persons we met yesterday," they said.
The lawyers claimed in a statement issued through Messrs Chooi & Company that the exertion of continuous interrogation by the authorities have 'turned over' the students in an almost complete mental and emotional transformation, institutionalisation and reliance on the police."
According to the statement, one of the students broke down and cried while denying his involvement in any terrorism-linked groups.
Despite this, the detainee told his lawyers that he nevertheless would just accept what his captors would tell him to say, do or agree to as he has lost all hope of gaining his freedom. The detainee also complained that the frequent interrogation by the authorities had "broke him down" as a person.
The lawyers also said another detainee however displayed lack of ability to decide but merely "accepting interdependence on the police and tacitly approving their action".
"Another student confirmed our suspicion that their detention was in many ways a political decision, motivated by what the authorities from the US wanted and they would only be released from detention by the authorities in Pakistan if they were detained under the ISA," the statement claimed.
The lawyers said they were "extremely disappointed" about the latest development and called on the government to reveal the location of the students as they are still held at an "unknown location".
They said the students have not been sent to the Kamunting detention centre, where ISA detainees are normally held. A letter sent to the police, home ministry and the attorney-general on Dec 24 pursuing the matter has yet to receive any response.
The lawyers also demanded that the students be counseled and examined by psychiatrists and psychologist on a continual and regular basis to ensure their mental well-being and emotional sanity.
"(We request) the government will cease from using its draconian powers under the ISA to detain the students but to charge them, if there in any evidence against them," the statement stressed.
The detainees were among the 13 Malaysian students arrested in Karachi, Pakistan on Sept 20 on suspicion of being involved in guerilla warfare training but were released and cleared later.
However they were arrested upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 10 and held for investigations for alleged links with JI.
Eight were released later while the remaining five were slapped with a further two-year detention order under the ISA. $ingapore also detained two young $ingaporeans under the ISA who returned from Pakistan. See item below.
urge CJ to expedite JI suspects' habeas corpus hearing
The nation-builder press Dec 19, 2003.
ISA GROWS STRONGER & STRONGER IN $INGAPORE
The above report by nation-builder Helmi Yusof said: "Two young $ingaporeans who were being groomed to be leaders of militant group Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and had the potential of playing a role in Al-Qaeda operations, have been detained by the $ingapore Government.
"The two men, Muhammad Arif Naharudin, 20, and Muhammad Amin Mohamed Yunos, 21, were trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan to be part of the next generation of JI leaders and operatives, skilled in handling weapons and explosives and conducting espionage and urban warfare."
joined the 33 Muslim $ingaporeans still held under the Internal Security
Act [ISA]. Nation-builder Helmi Yusofs report did not say whether
the two men had undergone national service in $ingapore. Every $ingaporean
male must undergo a minimum of two years compulsory military training
which includes handling weapons and urban warfare.
MALAYSIA STARTS FREEDOM FILM FEST
To encourage local filmmakers to look beyond MTV music videos and sickly sit-coms, Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat [Komas] have launched Freedom Film Fest. They want Malaysian youngsters to make films with a purpose stories that illuminate peace, equality, justice and freedom. Hmmm sounds like the $ingapore Pledge.
Anna Har (left), a member of Komas, explained what they hoped to see: "Issues that affect the marginalised in our society like the urban poor, the indigenous people, factory and plantation workers, people living with AIDS, the disabled and children.
"We are also in need of films tackling issues that affect us personally such as consumer and housing issues to the wider issues in society like the environment, health care, incest, politics the list goes on.
"In general it would be great to see more films expressing different or alternative viewpoints from the ones taken by mainstream media." Read more at freedomfilmfest.komas.org
what for for $ingapore? Even if such a film is made here, it would have
to be cut and cut and cut and cut and cut [plus 22 times more] before
we can see it. Remember what happened to that JB Jeyaretnam documentary?
Get the picture.
MALAYSIA CONSIDERS SHORTENING ISA DETENTIONS
Instead of the requisite 60 days that an ISA suspect can be detained while the secret police investigate the case, the Malaysian government is now considering shortening this detention period by half to 30 days, said the Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Mohd Yatim, at the National Security Divisions website.
is currently reviewing the Internal Security Act [ISA]. The committee
tasked to do the review hopes to submit a report to the cabinet after
almost two years of deliberation.
Raja Petra Kamarudin, the director of the Free Anwar Campaign (www.freeanwar.com) sent out the following message today (Dec 19, 2003): "The Free Anwar Campaign website has been closed down by our host. We don't know why yet other than there has been a complaint received by our host that our website is 'inflammatory'. We have appealed against the decision by the host to close us down but have received no word from them thus far. If they refuse to reinstate us, then we shall have no choice but to migrate to a new host... but we hope to be up and running again in a couple of days."
MALAYSIA TO REVIEW ISA TO MAKE IT "HUMANE"
On Dec 12 2003, Malaysias de facto law minister, Dr Rais Yatim, said his department's law review committee is working on making the Internal Security Act [ISA] more humane and vowed that the government will "repair" several controversial laws which consider less of the desired human rights aspects such as the ISA and the Restricted Residence Act.
REPEAL ISA IS THE ONLY HUMANE WAY
No other means could be seen as a "humane" approach to deal with the ISA apart from scrapping the security law, the Bar Council human rights committee reiterated Dec 13, 2003.
Its chairperson Cecil Rajendra said the Bar has constantly demanded that the ISA be repealed, not just a review, as the security law which allows for detention without trial is against the spirit of the law.
"We can't humanise any human laws, it is a high time to repeal the ISA because it is totally against the rule of law," he told reporters after a forum at the Bar Council in Kuala Lumpur. "We shouldn't even do that (detention without trial) to a dog," he added.
Rajendra also said the ISA which was enacted during the colonial British era to combat the communist insurgency in 1960 is outdated. The law earned notoriety when it was used against opposition politicians and other dissidents in recent decades.
National Human Rights Society (Hakam) secretary-general Elizabeth Wong echoed Rajendra's sentiments. "Finally the government has admitted that the ISA is inhumane and acknowledged that detainees were tortured during detention," she said when met at the same venue.
"There is no way to make detention without trial humane or inhumane. A person deprived of his or her rights (for an open trial in court) is a gross violation of human rights," she stressed.
Meanwhile, Rajendra also revealed that the Bar Council will launch a national 'No detention without trial' campaign in January. The campaign was proposed by the human rights committee and it was approved by the council last week.
to create a public awareness on the danger of detention without trial
and we will explain to them in layman terms the impact of such a detention,"
he said. "The whole world seems to be using terrorism as an excuse to
justify detention without trial, but we should not simply start pointing
fingers at people and abuse such a legislation."
HIGH COURT TOLD NOT TO QUESTION ISA DECISIONS
The Kuala Lumpur High Court was told to refrain from intervening in matters of national security as the government is entitled not to reveal information in making decisions on such matters.
Deputy public prosecutor Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria said this Dec 8, 2003 during the habeas corpus hearing of two alleged Jemaah Islamiah members - Ahmad Yani Ismail and Abdul Samad Shukri Mohamad - who are currently being held under the Internal Security Act (ISA).
"Where matters of national security and public order are involved, the court should not intervene by way of judicial review or be hesitant in doing so as these matters invariably involve policy considerations and the like," he said during a full-day hearing before justice Heliliah Mohd Yusof.
Ahmad Yani and Abdul Samad were both arrested on Dec 29, 2001 under Section 73 of the ISA for allegedly being involved in local militant group, the Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM). Around the same time, $ingapore also arrested 13 alleged terrorists under the ISA.
Lawyers representing the detainees had earlier argued that the ISA detentions had been carried out with bad faith as the authorities had failed to show any proof of their involvement in subversive activities.
They also said the right to judicial review is a fundamental feature of the Federal Constitution which cannot be compromised by any later amendments or law.
Lawyers who managed to gain second access to the 'Karachi 7' students held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) again complained Dec 4 2003 that the meetings with the detainees were closely monitored by police officers.
The seven were among the 13 students arrested in Pakistan in late September for alleged involvement in militant activities but were cleared and released later. However they were arrested by the Malaysian police upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur on Nov 11.
"At the outset of the meeting, we told the officer-in-charge that we object to the presence of police officers because the communication between counsel and their clients should be privileged communication and the police shouldn't be there," lawyer Abdul Rashid Ismail told reporters outside the Bukit Aman police headquarters.
He told the police that it is the right of the detainees for legal consultation as provided under Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution and the refusal tantamount to a violation of that fundamental right.
"But our request was rejected. We informed (the police) of our objection and today's interviews were carried out under protest," Abdul Rashid said.
According to him, the plainclothes officers sat in the same room within sight and hearing distance during the separate meetings with the seven students. Each of the seven was given 20 minutes to communicate with two lawyers. The lawyers also said the students' state of health was satisfactory.
Apart from Abdul Rashid, lawyers Latheefa Koya, Edward Saw and Henry Leong also represented the students.
Latheefa stressed that the presence of policemen was inappropriate from a legal perspective since the police - with the home minister and the government - have been named as respondents in the habeas corpus affidavits by these students.
(Habeas corpus is a writ ordering prisoners to be brought before a court to ascertain if there are any procedural defects which could render their detention unlawful)
In an unexpected development, the Home Ministry Nov 24 2003 released two groups of alleged militants from Internal Security Act (ISA) detention on the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations.
Those released today are 15 individuals accused of being members of the al-Ma'unah group and four of 13 Karachi students who were detained exactly two weeks ago on allegations that they had undergone militant training in Pakistan.
Anti-ISA Movement (AIM) coordinator Badaruddin Ismail said the al-Ma'unah detainees were released early this morning from the Kamunting detention camp in Perak.
In an immediate reaction to the release, the opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (Keadilan) lauded the move but called on the government to free the remaining 10 student detainees.
"We believe that there is no strong evidence against the students... If indeed the police and the government have evidence to prove their case, they should take to court any suspect to be tried fairly, and not to conveniently detain them under ISA without trial," said party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali in a joint press statement.
In a rare concession, the police have agreed to allow lawyers to see nine of 13 Karachi students presently detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for alleged terror links after being deported from Pakistan. One of the lawyers, Edmund Bon said: "We want to get the students' side of the story in order to file court applications to secure their release so the time given is definitely insufficient. But that's all the time (the police) would give us so we have to work with it." The lawyers have been allocated between 15 and 20 mins per student.
He said the police also rejected a request by the legal team to meet with the students at an earlier date as it would be 11 days into their detention by Friday, Nov 21.
"From our experience dealing with ISA cases, after harsh interrogation for days, the detainees would be in such a state of shock that they are unable to give proper instructions. Under these circumstances, we may only be able to give them moral support," he added. The students, aged between 16 and 25, were first arrested in the Pakistan in late September on suspicions of being involved in militant activities but were later released and deported to Malaysia.
Meanwhile, social movement Aliran expressed its concern about the mental and physical well being of the students. "While understanding the concern of the government regarding militant groups and their activities, there are sufficient laws in the country to deal with such individuals without resorting to the use of arbitrary detention," said the movement in a statement today.
While reiterating its call to abolish the ISA, Aliran urged the government to either charge the students in open court and have them released early.
WHERES PROOF THAT 13 STUDENTS ARE TERRORISTS?
The Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) Nov 14 called on the authorities to reveal proof that the 13 students held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) are linked to the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah (JI).
In a statement, its chairperson Zaid Kamaruddin said the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) should immediately look into the detentions to ensure that the students' safety and health are not threatened. He said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's justification to deny the students right to counsel and trial under the security law was an "abuse of power and serious violation of human rights."
The students, aged between 16 and 21, were studying in Karachi, Pakistan. They were detained by authorities there for two months before being deported. They were arrested on Monday by Malaysian police upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur.
More at http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/2003111400113028.php
The Malaysian government is going ahead to pass a new anti-terrorist Bill. Human rights groups object to it arguing that there are sufficient laws to safeguard the country and that the new law is vague. There is one provision under the Bill which classifies a terrorist act as one that "involves prejudice to national security or public safety". So dont burn your national flag too close to a baby.
The new law
also gives special mention to lawyers and accountants. It aims to punish
lawyers and accountants who give aid to "terrorists".
Malaysiakini was barred Oct 30 from attending the final press conference chaired by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad ahead of his retirement Oct 31. A party official at the press registration desk at the Putra World Trade Centre said a standing order barring malaysiakini journalists had been issued by Umno secretary-general Khalil Yaakob, who is also the Information Minister.
The order by Khalil is believed to have stemmed from his displeasure over malaysiakini's coverage of a July press conference after an Umno meeting. Malaysiakini had then questioned Mahathir about a multi-million ringgit logging scandal involving Umno Pahang.
In the controversial transaction which took place during Khalil's tenure as mentri besar some five years ago, Umno Pahang was given a vast plot of land, approximately 40 sq km in size, to be developed into a oil palm estate.
Investigations by malaysiakini showed that, although the land was unsuitable for development into a plantation, the plot was completely cleared by concessionaires. Mahathir had claimed that he was not aware of the deal.
malaysiakini has not received any response from the government with regard
to an application submitted for a weekly paper publishing permit. Malaysiakini
is a news website and not a nation-builder website.
A labour and human rights activist, Irene Fernandez, was found guilty of "maliciously publishing false news" under Section 8A(2) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 by releasing a memorandum at a press conference in August 1995 on the alleged torture and death in immigration detention camps of migrant workers. She was jailed for 12-months.
But rights groups in Malaysia are horrified by the courts decision. Aliran said that the perpetrators should be punished, not the whistleblowers. Aliran president P Ramakrishnan said: "Under the cover of law, sadists in uniform had a field day vilifying and violating the dignity of human beings. According to the testimony of witnesses, the torture that was inflicted on the detainees also resulted in a few deaths.
"These perpetrators ought to be in the dock - not Irene who had exposed their dastardly deeds. They are a disgrace to the nation.
"Why does this country criminalise whistleblowers discharging their patriotic duty by exposing wrongdoings? Why must misdeeds be harboured and sheltered by law?" asked an outraged Ramakrishnan.
Meanwhile, Suaram executive director Cynthia Gabriel said in any other democracy, it is standard practice to expect authorities to investigate human rights complaints brought up by NGOs, rather than harass, abuse or press charges against the complainants.
"This is the very fundamental aspect which has gone wrong, right from the start of Fernandez's prosecution," said Gabriel.
This trial, she said, "demonstrates that there is no protection for whistleblowers and human rights defenders to articulate concerns over human rights violations to the authorities."
Another human rights group, Hakam, said that it was troubled by the verdict. "What Irene did is to essentially bring the truth to light so that something can be done about the lives and the rights of migrant workers. Today, Irene paid the price of trying to speak the truth," said Hakam secretary-general Elizabeth Wong.
In Hong Kong,
human rights group Amnesty International vowed that it would consider
Fernandez as a prisoner of conscience if she is imprisoned.
found guilty, sentenced to 12 months' jail
husband vows fight will continue
files appeal, supporters speak up
The nation-builder press, July 12 2001.
$INGAPORES WHISTLE-BLOWER ACT [aka It pays to be QUIET Act]
of $ingapores Official Secrets Act was extended to 21 statutory
boards including CPF, EDB, MAS and the National Heritage Board. Any
$ingaporean "who is reasonably suspected of having committed such
an offence, can be arrested without a warrant." The offence is defined
as "the use of
information in a manner prejudicial to $ingapores
interest." Two years jail and a $2,000 fine awaits the offender.
The wives of three Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees Oct 9 2003 urged the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) to launch a public inquiry into the violation of their husbands' rights.
The three women, who represented the wives of other ISA detainees, also handed numerous protest letters from the detainees to Suhakam secretary Kamaruddin Mohd Baria at the commission's headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
Among the letters, was a request by 60 detainees that the commission reopens its dialogue with them.
The detainees said it was their view that "elements of sabotage" had worked to prevent Suhakam from doing a proper job in accounting the views of all detainees when it held a public inquiry into detention conditions last June.
"Suhakam was only able to meet individuals for only five minutes. Even then, those individuals in which detainees had selected to represent them in interviews with the commission were not called upon," they said.
One of the detainees, Yazid Sufaat - who sent three separate letters - claimed that medical officers refused to record his complaints.
Yazid was detained over his alleged links with the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiah and the Sept 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.
The detainees also claimed that their families were being harassed, including receiving phone calls from Special Branch officers while their wives were called in for interviews with the police on the pretext that the detainees would be released.
"Our husbands have become convenient victims in our pursuit to fulfill America's war aims against terrorism," said Jurainah Basari, wife of detainee Suhaimi Mokhtar.
have not been able to obtain a single evidence on our husbands, despite
ransacking our homes trying to look for weapons or bombs to incriminate
them. How long more will they be kept under detention?" she asked.
original 13 ISA detainees were arrested between Dec 9 and Dec 24 2001.
They have been jailed without trial for almost TWO YEARS. Of the 13 suspects,
the only one to have admitted involvement in an Al-Qaeda plot to bomb
the US Embassy in $ingapore is Mohamed Nazir. No one is asking the $ingapore
government to substantiate its claim in court.
The Kuala Lumpur City Hall's decision to impose guidelines for the arts fraternity is akin to 'breast feeding' the artistes in the country, said social reform movement Aliran Oct 6. The Penang-based movement complained that stringent measures such as censorship would stifle creativity and artistic freedom.
"It is also downright patronising and insulting of City Hall to dictate what should and should not be made in a script. A City Hall censored play would amount to a theatre of the absurd - next to which a school play would seem like a cultural paradise," it said in a statement.
Aliran also stressed if the liberty to stage political satires is shackled, then the country will only have plays similar to what was staged in the Soviet Union which glorified leaders and the party in power.
The movement also asked if the guidelines, which it termed "as another form of thought control", is the brainchild of City Hall or Barisan Nasional [Malaysias ruling political group].
"After all, aren't these councillors appointed by the BN to do, as some would claim, their dirty job?" The relationship between City Hall and the performing arts fraternity has been on rocky ground following the controversy over a recent play called Bolehwood, which lampooned politicians.
the PAP government has the right to censor anything.
One of the biggest pop stars out of the 70s is coming to Kuala Lumpur to perform at a charity concert. British singer Cat Stevens who converted to Islam and is now known as Yusuf Islam, will be performing one night at the World Peace Now concert, Oct 14.
The event will also see the launching of several nasyid (Islamic devotional songs) albums under Yusuf's British-based production house Mountain of Light. He will also introduce a video series titled Children of Adam by Saba Islamic Media, producers and distributors of Islamic educational material.
Stevens was one of the biggest solo artists during the 1960s and 1970s, famous for his hits Morning Has Broken, Matthew and Son, Moonshadow, Wild World and Father and Son. It is unlikely he will come to $ingapore which supported Americas invasion of Iraq.
Penang-based social reform movement Aliran Sept 21 slammed the government for pursuing action against the whistleblower in a scandal involving the Election Commission's plan to hire election workers from among the Puteri Umno ranks.
"Aliran is deeply concerned that the Barisan Nasional government has once again demonstrated indecent haste in reprimanding messengers of bad tidings. The recent police questioning of Harakah editor-in-chief Zulkifli Sulong is a case in point," the organisation said.
Zulkifli was questioned by police last Friday for publishing leaked letters exchanged between the commission's top officials and Puteri Umno chief Azalina Othman discussing the controversial arrangement. Although the plan to hire election workers from Puteri Umno was subsequently aborted, the commission went ahead to lodge a police report calling for investigation into the leakage of the documents which are said to be protected under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
also has an Official Secrets Act that has wide powers to halt any leakage
of information. There have been no reported case of whistleblowers in
BAN ON PUBLIC RALLIES LIFTED
A lifting of the 1978 ban on public rallies has been lifted according to the Election Commission in an exclusive interview with malaysiakini. But the ECs announcement has caught the Malaysian government by surprise. Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad reacted with a statement that the police and not the Election Commission can grant approval for public rallies as it concerned national security.
National security should not be used as an excuse to prevent political parties from holding public rallies during the elections campaign period, said social reform movement Aliran Sept 23. The Penang-based movement said parties have the right to communicate and explain their policies to the public while the masses also have the right to know.
in $ingapore are strictly controlled. A police permit is required and
is seldom ever granted to opposition parties.
MALAYSIA TO LEAD IN FIXED CD PRICES S$14 ONLY
There they go again. Making waves. Malaysia is to slash the prices of music and movie discs beginning Jan 1 next year. The top price for locally-produced video compact discs (VCDs) will be fixed at RM14 [US$4] , Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said. Locally-manufactured music CDs of foreign artistes will be priced at RM29 [US$8.20 or S$14] and those of local artistes at RM21 [US$6], he said.
The price controls will not affect imported CDs, VCDs or music cassettes, digital video discs (DVDs) or computer software.
has given the best solution to the problem we are facing. I hope all parties
will agree to this. A 30 percent decrease in prices of the CDs and VCDs
I think is good," the minister said. The music and movie companies have
till the end of the year to clear stock. Looks like the Malaysian fire
sale on CDs, VCDs and DVDs has begun. The move will definitely impact
CD prices this side of the Causeway.
The activities of the six former Internal Security Act (ISA) reformasi detainees who were released in June would be constantly monitored by the Malaysian government, Deputy Home Minister Chor Chee Heung said. "The monitoring by the ministry is to ensure they are not manipulated by elements out to jeopardise the country's security and peace," he told the Dewan Rakyat.
Keadilan leaders Tian Chua, Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor, Saari Sungib, Lokman Adam
and Dr Badrulamin Bahron, and malaysiakini columnist/filmmaker Hishamuddin
Rais, were released at the end of their two-year detention period at the
Kamunting detention centre. They were released in two batches, on June
1 and June 12 respectively.
Malaysiakini scored with an insightful interview with former deputy premier Musa Hitam. In a wide-ranging interview Musa talked about the incoming prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the opposition and corruption in Malaysia. Here are some highlights:
ON THE NEW PREMIER
"I think it will be better (for Umno)... One opposition leader came to my house and said to me: 'Musa, I think we are going to have a problem because Mahathir is leaving. No more punching bag'."
"Abdullah is taking over. It is the Malaysian mentality - kasi chan lah (give him a break). Abdullah also has a softer image. It has always been the issue of style. Even in the case of my quarrel with Mahathir, it was over the manner in which things were done."
ON THE OPPOSITION
"(The opposition) is messing it up again," he said, referring in particular to the Islamic state issue which is on the PAS state-level agenda.
"The strongest possible party is PAS... Is it to be Islamic state or not? They said 'Yes, but we won't tell this at the federal level'. This sounds ridiculous. The Malaysian electorate has become intelligent and they are able to analyse."
"Before, we had a very small and compartmentalised middle-class... Now, as a result of National Economic Policy (NEP) plus overall development, there is a huge middle-class population cutting across racial lines.
"They now have a common interest in stability. I maintain this has developed only in the last 20 years and that has made it difficult for opposition political parties like PAS to win their support."
"I am a realist
- corruption is here to stay but the issue is how to contain it. If you
start listing cases then we are in trouble. It relates to the judiciary,
the mentality, the psychology, leadership by example... We will see how
Abdullah will tackle this."
+ + + +
for Hishamuddin Rais' column, Dotmai Kembali, which returns after a two-year
hiatus with the article, Merdeka: Tiga Bohong Dan Satu Mitos (Merdeka:
Three Lies And A Myth). The 'trendy rebel' - known for his trademark beret,
scarf and sunglasses - was forced to take a protracted sabbatical from
writing following his arrest under the Internal Security Act in 2001.
The writer/filmmaker was held under the security law, which provides for
detention without trial, with five Keadilan leaders for allegedly plotting
to topple the government through militant means, a charge they have vehemently
denied. The six were only released in June.
The deputy premier was asked by opposition politicians Aug 12 2003 to substantiate his anti-corruption speech by clearing the air on his brother's involvement in the privatisation of a MAS subsidiary.
"I hope the Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi can give full explanation on the involvement of (his brother) Ibrahim Ahmad Badawi in the privatisation of MAS Catering," said Kubang Kerian member of parliament Husam Musa.
Meanwhile, DAP national chairperson Lim Kit Siang proposed that Abdullah draw up a long-term plan that would "give teeth" to Malaysia's oft-announced plans to crack down on corruption.
"Yesterday was not the first speech by Abdullah on corruption ...at the Ethics and Integrity Conference last August, Abdullah had declared that the government possessed ample political will to eradicate the scourge of corruption," Lim said.
He pointed out that seven years ago, former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim had also promised a new era when the Dewan Rakyat approved the Anti-Corruption Law 1997, announcing the intention to catch both large players and the smaller fry.
and tragically, the only 'big fish' caught during the 22-year Mahathir
premiership was none other than Anwar himself, convicted and jailed for
a corruption offence which did not involve a single sen," he said. http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/2003081200111676.php
On the anniversary of the 1988 democratic uprising and civilian massacre in Burma, exiled Burmese leaders together with human rights NGOs Aug 8 2003 presented Asean members with a 'birthday card' calling for the expulsion of Burma from the association. Malaysias premier, Dr Mahathir, has mentioned that expelling Burma is a possible course of action.
In Bangkok, the coalition paid visits to the embassies of Laos, Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia to hand over the memo. However, representatives of the Singaporean and Burmese embassies refused to meet the group.
August 8 marks the anniversary of the1988 people's strike in Burma which ended with the massacre of civilians by the military junta. Ironically, August 8 is also the 21st anniversary of Asean. The current Asean Secretary-General is $ingaporean Ong Keng Yong who was previously in the Prime Ministers Office. The position is similar to the UNs Secretary-General. Mr Ong has been quiet.
The Federal Court Aug 9 2003, ruled that the detention of alleged Malaysian Mujahidin Group (KMM) suspect Nasharuddin Nasir under the Internal Security Act (ISA) was valid.
Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Steve Shim made the ruling when allowing the government's appeal against the release order made by the Shah Alam High Court judge Suriyadi Halim Omar on Nov 8 last year. His decision was concurred by Federal Court judge Siti Norma Yaakob. The other judge who heard the appeal was the former Chief Justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah who has since retired.
The decision means that other alleged KMM suspects also detained under the ISA will likely be unable to see release any time soon.
Last year, High Court Judge Suriyadi had allowed Nasharuddin's habeas corpus application when he held that there was no evidence to show that the trader was involved in any terrorist activities as alleged by the police when they arrested him with 13 others in April last year.
(Habeas corpus is an application which enables detainees to challenge their arrest or detention order, including those made under the ISA which provides for detention without trial.)
He further found the two-year ISA detention order issued by the home minister as unlawful, as it flowed from the initial 60-day police detention which was declared unlawful.
However, the decision failed to secure freedom for Nasharuddin who was re-arrested upon his ''release'' at the Kamunting Detention Camp the next day.
Nasaruddin was arrested together with 13 others and they were believed to have planned to sabotage activities in Port Klang. The KMM organisation was alleged to have been led by Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir and Hambali.
Others arrested included Sejahratul Dursina @ Chomel Mohammad, 37, wife of ISA detainee Yazid Sufaat who had himself been arrested on Dec 9, 2001 for alleged links with Al-Qaeda terrorists. Sejahratul has since been released. These arrests took place around the time $ingapore arrested its own alleged terrorists.
In his 23-page judgment, Justice Shim said he disagreed with Nasharuddin's counsel that Section 8B of the ISA - which disallow any court to question the use of the minister's discretion under the act - is unconstitutional.
"Where matters of national security and public order are involved, the court should not intervene by way of judicial review as these are matters especially within the preserve of the executive," he said.
and at http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/2003080600111607.php
Malaysias Internal Security Act [ISA] turned 43 on Aug 1, 2003 and the Abolish ISA Movement [AIM] took a delegation of 20 to the Home Ministry to submit a memo. The ministry's detention department officer Awang Din received the memorandums and held a 45-minute meeting with the group.
Among those present were human rights group Suaram executive director Cynthia Gabriel, recent-released detainees Tian Chua and Saari Sungib. Others were wives of detainees from the alleged terrorist groups Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) or the Jemaah Islamiah (JI).
In the 14-point memorandum presented by AIM, the movement urged the government to immediately release all the remaining ISA detainees or charge them in court.
$ingapores ISA turns 40 on Sept 16.
Malaysiakini hosted a chat session at 9 pm on July 24, 2003, to provide an opportunity for readers to have an online discussion with ex-Internal Security Act detainee Hishamuddin Rais.
The film producer cum political activist made himself available for one hour in a real-time chat with malaysiakini subscribers from around the world. The ex-ISA detainee is acclaimed nationally and internationally as a talented film producer and widely respected for his courage and outspoken views.
Hishamuddin was arrested two years ago along with five other reformasi leaders and detained without trial until his release last month. They were accused of conspiring to topple the government through illegal and forceful means, allegations that were never brought to an open trial.
include such short films as 'From Here to A Long Yesterday', 'Malaysian
Werewolf in London' and 'Three Second of See'. Hishamuddin also produced
a full-length feature entitled 'Dari Jemapoh Ke Mancheste', which received
praises from critics in the country. The film was also showcased in film
festivals in Singapore as well as Rotterdam.
MALAYSIANS PROTEST AGAINST TV CONFESSIONS
The Abolish ISA Movement (GMI) Friday July 11, 2003 lodged its protest with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over the government's agreement for four ISA detainees to testify via video-link at the treason trial of Indonesian cleric Abu Bakar Bashir.
GMI coordinator Yap Swee Seng said the organisation was concerned over the circumstances which led to the testimony of the four men who have been detained without trial on allegations that they are members of militant organisation Jemaah Islamiah (JI).
"GMI was informed by the family of Ahmad Sajuli Abdul Rahman (one of the detainees) that he was transferred from the Kamunting Detention Camp to an unknown police remand centre in Kuala Lumpur on many occasions while serving his two-year detention order.
"We question the purpose of the police and the prison authorities in transferring Ahmad Sajuli and urge Suhakam to initiate an investigation to ensure that he was not subjected to maltreatment," he said.
Indonesian prosecutors are believed to have requested the testimonies of suspected militants detained in Malaysia and Singapore after previous witnesses failed to definitely link Abu Bakar to specific acts of terror.
Meanwhile, Yap said the testimonies by the detainees cannot be accepted as legitimate and credible unless they are accorded their fundamental rights and are able to speak on their own free will without fear of repercussion.
"Given the circumstances that these ISA detainees have been detained without trial indefinitely and left practically at the mercy of the police and prison authorities, the credibility and legitimacy of these testimonies are highly doubtful.
"It is even a cruel irony to the detainees to give testimony in someone else's trial when they themselves are deprived of this right to be tried openly and fairly," he said.
Last week, the Malaysian Bar Council also expressed its concern over the government's decision to allow the four detainees to testify by video.
Bar Council chairperson Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari said persons held under the ISA are at the mercy and control of their captors, therefore any confessions made under such circumstances may be tainted with the possibility of duress, coercion or inducement.
were also shown on TV confessing and implicating Abu Bakar. There was
ABSOLUTELY NO REACTION from any $ingaporean.
The wives of several Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees claimed July 11, 2003 they were being harassed by Kamunting detention camp officials and the police Special Branch personnel for seeking legal counsel for their husbands.
The eight women said they were subjected to direct harassment when they visited their husbands and also received threats via short messaging service (SMS) on their mobile phones.
They filed a complaint on the matter with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam). In their complaint, the wives said: "The camp officials have taken all sorts of action to prevent the detainees from getting legal counsel...As a result of such harassment, several persons interested in meeting with visiting lawyers later pulled out. This is a violation of their rights."
They added that camp officials, including one Corporal Fauzi, tried to intimidate them by telling them not to appoint lawyers. "No need to hire lawyers, it is not even certain that you would win. What's more, these lawyers are only out for your money," he had allegedly said.
The complainants' husbands were being detained under the ISA for allegedly being members of terror groups Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM) or the Jemaah Islamiah (JI). They were detained between December 2001 and mid last year. [EDITORS NOTE: Singapores ISA detainees were also arrested near the end of December 2001.]
on behalf of the wives, Siti Normah Ismail said a number of the detainees
had stopped from engaging the help of lawyers as they were worried that
it could mean a lesser chance for their release.
detainee calls for a democratic, secular gov't
For newly released political prisoner Tian Chua, the toughest part of his two-year ordeal of detention without trial, under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA), was the period he was held in solitary confinement - without access to lawyers, family or doctors.
"The solitary confinement was the most torturous. It was killing me," said the Keadilan vice-president after he was released this month. "I was blindfolded and handcuffed every time I left the cell. I could only hear the sounds of others, but could not see them.
"The isolation was so bad that I ended up looking forward to the interrogation," he said, recalling his first 52 days of being held incommunicado by the police after he was arrested in April 2001. "It was deliberate mental torture," he said. "I was asked all sorts of questions, something from the day you were born until the day you were there."
"Then I was moved to a basement cell. There was no sunlight. The air conditioning and the neon lights were on 24 hours a day and you did not know whether it was day or night," he said. This time, the police interrogators took turns on going back to his answers. "It was to counter check on what I had said before," he pointed out.
According to a report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch, prolonged torture and sleep deprivation were used during the interrogation stage under ISA, and had led some detainees to sign 'state-manufactured confessions' under duress.
Such practices used by the police, during the interrogation of ISA detainees, were exposed during the 1999 trial of former deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim, who is now serving a 15-year jail sentence for sodomy and corruption charges.
"In prison under the ISA, anticipation could break you down," said Tian Chua.
was ever produced in a court to prove the governments claim that
the six had conspired to topple the government by military means.
Two Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees accused of being members of the Jemaah Islamiah (JI) militant group have filed their habeas corpus applications before the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
"The wives of 18 ISA detainees arranged for us (lawyers) to meet with them in Kamunting on Monday. They have all been accused of being JI members. We filed the first two applications on Tuesday," said lawyer Edmund Bon.
The habeas corpus is a writ which tests whether a prison has been accorded due process during his arrest. If procedures are found to have been violated, the court may order their release from unlawful detention.
Both Ahmad Yani and Abdul Samad were arrested on Dec 29, 2001 in an operation against alleged regional militants following the Sept 11 terrorist attacks in the United States. "I stress that I have never and will never do anything which threatens the national security of Malaysia. I state that the (national police chief, Home Ministry and the government) do not have any proof against me and therefore, have been unable to charge me in court," they said in their respective affidavits. Thirteen Singaporeans were similarly arrested under the ISA in $ingapore.
13 Singaporeans were arrested under the ISA between Dec 9 and Dec 24 2001.
They have been jailed without trial and there has been little news
about them for 18 months. Their detention is up for review after 24
months. Of the 13 suspects, the only one to have admitted involvement
in an Al-Qaeda plot to bomb the US Embassy in $ingapore is Mohamed Nazir.
Nazir is also the only one who is represented by a lawyer. No one is asking
the $ingapore government to substantiate its claim in court.
Keadilans youth chief, Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor, repeated the importance of getting jailed ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim freed. Ezam was recently released after two years in detention under the ISA. His speech at Anwars home was attended by 1,500 people.
"They claim [Keadilan] has no other issue but Anwar. They say he is irrelevant. If this is true then why did they go all out during my 26-month detention to persuade me to abandon the struggle for Anwar!
"From the Kamunting [where he was held under ISA] to Kajang [ where he served his OSA sentence] prisons, they had different teams to torture, cajole and persuade me to leave Anwar.
"It was obvious that the main reason behind my detention was Anwar. That shows just how important the man is," he said.
He added that the opposition front Barisan Alternatif (BA) Youth will formulate a plan to build the momentum in the campaign for Anwar's release when his bail application is heard July 14. Ezam also alleged that premier-in-waiting Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's men had acknowledged that he (Mohd Ezam) was a strong leader who fought corruption and they were prepared to provide him with documents regarding the corrupt practise of a particular high-ranking Umno leader.
"....But they don't know that we already have the documents," Ezam said.
Keadilan Youth Chief Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor was reunited with his family and supporters June 10 2003 when the Shah Alan High Court allowed his bail application. Ezam was one of the ISA six.
Thunderous applause followed Justice K N Segara's decision to allow Ezam's application for a stay of execution pending his appeal against conviction and a two-year jail sentence for breach of the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
After the hearing, Ezam told reporters that the decision marked a new era for the judiciary in the country. "I remain steadfast in my stand and struggle for reformasi and, despite having been incarcerated for 26 months, this has not changed," said Ezam, who had led several reformasi demonstrations before he was detained for two years under the Internal Security Act (ISA) from April 2001.
"I will go on with the struggle for reformasi. I remain steadfast to the belief that peaceful protests, which are within our constitutional rights, should be permitted." Ezam is the fourth detainee to be released since June 1, after Keadilan vice-president Tian Chua, supreme council member Saari Sungib and malaysiakini columnist-cum-film maker Hishamuddin Rais. Only Keadilan leaders Lokman Adam and Dr Badrulamin Bahron remain in Kamunting, although they may be released on Thursday when their detention orders expire.
The Malaysian government has never proven its case that the ISA detainees were plotting to use militant means to topple the government.
The Anti-ISA Movement (AIM) is planning to intensify its efforts to free some remaining 100 detainees being held at the Kamunting detention camp in Perak. On Sunday night [June 1], four reformasi activists - Saari Sungib, Tian Chua, Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor and Hishamuddin Rais - were freed from detention under the ISA.
AIM secretary Yap Swee Seng said June 4 2003 in addition to the lobby to abolish ISA, the grouping would continue to push for the immediate release of reformasi activists Dr Badrulamin Bahron and Lokman Adam. The two are still in Kamunting pending the expiry of their detention orders on June 12.
They, together with four others, were detained under the ISA in April 2001 for planing to topple the government through militant means. They denied the accusation. The government has never proved its case.
Three ISA detainees and supporters of jailed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim who were held under the Internal Security Act were freed June 1 2003, when their two-year detention orders expired. A fourth detainee was also technically released but remains in prison on separate charges.
The three freed detainees are: Tian Chua, Keadilan vice president, Saari Sungib and Hishamudin Rais, malaysiakini columnist-cum-film maker. They were first detained in April, 2001. However, malaysiakini understands that Saari is the only one physically out in the street tonight. Tian Chua and Hishamudin were sent to Taiping Prison where they are expected to be held until bail could be posted on the unlawful assembly charges against them
The Internal Security Act (ISA), under which six Anwar supporters are being held, allows detention without trial and the standard two-year detention orders can be renewed indefinitely.
Another detainee, Ezam Mohd Noor, Keadilan Youth leader, has also been "technically" released from the ISA but he had to complete jail time for another offence. Ezam was last year moved to Kajang prison to serve a two-year jail term for a breach of the Official Secrets Act.
Malaysia has come under mounting international pressure to charge or release the opposition detainees, with 46 members of Denmark's parliament issuing the latest in a series of petitions to the government. They joined parliamentarians from Britain, Japan and the Netherlands and a group of 40 Islamic scholars who have already pressed Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the six men. Critics accuse the government of using the ISA to stifle political opposition.
The six ISA detainees were arrested on the unproven allegation that they plotted to overthrow the government by military means.
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