Anwar Ibrahim

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Anwar Ibrahim

Can Najib Survive Scorpene’s Sting?

Posted: 10 May 2012 12:18 AM PDT

By Mariam Mokhtar

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak sealed his own fate, 11 years ago at a meeting to discuss the Scorpene submarine purchase. The date was July 14, 2001.

As any history student will tell you, the storming of the Bastille in Paris, on the morning of July 14, 1789, signalled the beginning of the French revolution. Every year, the French celebrate their National or Bastille Day, on July 14.

From now on, Malaysians may also attach some significance to July 14. It might not be the start of a Malaysian revolution, but it was on July 14, 2001, that Najib held a meeting with DCNI, the subsidiary of the French shipmaker DCN.

Najib, who was the defence minister at the time, had allegedly demanded that the French pay US$1 billion (RM3 billion) to the Malaysian company Perimekar, as a condition for meeting him.

These details were divulged by the French investigators for Suaram, and form only the tip of the iceberg. Their list of witnesses includes Najib, Abdul Razak Baginda and the current Defence Minister Zahid Hamidi. All are required to testify in Paris.

It has not been a good week for the PM. The government’s response to the Bersih sit-down protest has attracted international condemnation. In the week which coincided with World Press Freedom Day, his policemen have been accused of brutality and his administration has been villified for media censorship.

Independent foreign observers have criticised Najib for mishandling the peaceful protest, and denying the rakyat their fundamental right to freedom of assembly.

Two newspapers face legal action; the New Straits Times, by an Australian senator, Nicholas Xenophon, because the paper libeled him, and Utusan Malaysia, which ran a front-page story that the Opposition politician Azmin Ali was involved in a tryst.

Diminishing support

With the French court case looming, corruption scandals rocking his cabinet and further delays to GE13, Najib fears that support for him and his party will diminish further.

Is it any wonder that a few days ago, Najib tried to distract us, by claiming that Bersih’s sit-down protest was a plot to topple his government?

Najib’s opposition to Bersih 3.0 is a clear indication that Umno knows that it cannot win a clean election. He knows he cannot allow a free and fair election.

That explains the concerted effort by Umno and the Election Commission (EC) to cheat. In desperation, Najib has accused Bersih 3.0 of wanting to turn Dataran Merdeka into Tahrir Square.

In a press conference last week, Suaram confirmed that the French judicial probe had evolved from a “civil complaint” into a “criminal investigation.”

The French lawyer acting for Suaram, Joseph Breham said: “Investigations so far have provided sufficient evidence to point our finger at Malaysian officials in this (court) hearing.”

Suaram secretariat member and lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri said, “….The parties involved in the scandal would soon be charged in the French criminal court. It’s going to be bigger than it already is now”.

Suaram secretary-general Cynthia Gabriel (left) called the Scorpene scandal, “the Great Malaysian Robbery” with several companies, including the pilgrimage fund (Lembaga Tabung Haji) and the military servicemen’s pension fund (Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera) being used to obscure the money trail.

Gabriel said, “The Malaysian and French people have clearly been misled, cheated and robbed of their monies through blatant corruption and mismanagement of funds in the name of national safety and security.”

The former finance director of DCN, Gerarde Philippe Maneyas, alleged that Malaysian officials in the deal had been bribed.

With the introduction of new laws in France and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention in 2002, bribes made to foreign officials are considered a criminal offence. Previously, these bribes were tax-deductible.

As a result of these laws and the OECD, all documentation relating to arms deals would replace reference to the payment of “commissions” with “payment to service providers”.

Terasasi surfaces

The French inquiry also revealed the presence of a previously unknown company, Terasasi, which is owned by the PM’s former aide, Abdul Razak Baginda.

Baginda (left) also owned Perimekar, and both these companies received several million euros in commissions and kickbacks. Baginda’s wife and father are also linked to Perimekar and Terasasi.

Interestingly, French investigators found an invoice from Terasasi to a French company, Thint Asia International, dated Aug 28, 2004 for 359,450 euros (RM1.43 million) with a handwritten note saying: “Razak wants it in a hurry.” Needless to say, the race is on to discover which “Razak” this refers to.

Despite the rapid pace of development by the French investigators, members of Najib’s cabinet have remained eerily silent.

One thing is clear. Najib cannot be non-committal in future press conferences and abruptly terminate them when any reference is made to Scorpene. He cannot use that old trick of saying he will go the mosque and swear on the Quran. He cannot avoid the French subpoena without risking an international arrest warrant.

Despite the internal power struggles in the upper echelons of Umno, none of those who wish to be PM has appeared to lodge the first knife in his back. Perhaps, they all realise that despite Najib’s unpopularity, they have to band together to save their skin.

Najib faces a dilemma. He needs the support of Umno members so he can remain as PM, because it is said that a head of state enjoys immunity while he is in office. Once he stands down, he becomes another ordinary person and will be prosecuted, for any crimes committed.

Najib probably rues the day he entertained the French on July 14, 2001. Even Swiss bank accounts and exile to a “friendly” country are no guarantees of freedom.

Kenyataan Media AIC: Panel Penasihat Bebas Bersih 3.0, Apakah Kebebasan Yang Dimiliki?

Posted: 09 May 2012 10:39 PM PDT

Kelab Anwar Ibrahim (AIC) mempertikaikan keputusan kerajaan yang melantik Tun Hanif Omar mengetuai enam anggota Panel Penasihat Bebas bagi mendapatkan gambaran sebenar mengenai kejadian rusuhan di Kuala Lumpur berikutan penganjuran Bersih 3.0 pada 28 April lepas.

Panel Penasihat Bebas itu terdiri daripada bekas Ketua Polis Negara Tun Hanif Omar selaku pengerusi panel, bekas Ketua Hakim Borneo Tan Sri Steve Sim, Pengarah Urusan Kumpulan Akhbar Sinar Harian Datuk Husammuddin Yaacub, Penasihat Undang-undang Kumpulan Akhbar Sin Chiew Liew Peng Chuan, Pengurus Besar Kanan Hal Ehwal Korporat Petronas Datuk Medan Abdullah, dan Pakar Psikologi Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Prof Dr Ruszmi Ismail.

AIC ingin mempersoalkan tentang kebebasan yang dimiliki oleh Panel Penasihat tersebut memandangkan majoriti daripada anggotanya adalah masih atau pernah berkhidmat dengan kerajaan dan juga mewakili kepentingan-kepentingan korporat yang mereka ketuai.

Amatlah malang juga apabila Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia (SUHAKAM) tidak dipertanggungjawabkan bagi mengetuai siasatan ini atau, sekurang-kurangnya tiada seorang pun wakil Suhakam yang dijemput bagi menganggotai Panel Penasihat yang dibentuk ini. Justeru AIC melihat ini lebih kepada satu lagi bentuk sandiwara kerajaan untuk membolehkan satus quo keadaan pada 28 April lepas memihak dan memberi kelebihan persepsi terhadap mereka. 

Tindakan kerajaan menolak sebarang wakil pemerhati dan siasatan daripada Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu juga adalah satu langkah aneh dan terdesak, seolah-olah tidak mempercyai sebuah badan dunia yang Malaysia sendiri menyertainya sebagai anggota. 

AIC juga mempertikaikan pemilihan langsung yang dibuat terhadap Tun Hanif Omar yang sebelum ini begitu lantang mengkritik penganjur dan ratusan ribu rakyat yang menyertai Bersih 3.0 , satu sikap prejudis yang dipercayai bertujuan untuk menimbulkan rasa sangsi terhadap keganasan oleh polis terhadap rakyat seperti yang dilaporkan berlaku pada Bersih 3.0 

AIC mencabar Kerajaan Malaysia terutamanya Kementerian Dalam Negeri untuk berlaku adil dan benar-benar telus bagi mendapatkan gambaran sebenar tentang kejadian yang berlaku pada 28 April lalu, yang telah mencatat sejarahnya yang tersendiri dengan melihat kebangkitan rakyat dari satu sudut positif untuk membawa perlaksaan sistem di negara ini lebih teratur dan dipercayai.

Generasi Penggerak Zaman

Saifuddin Shafi Muhammad

Anwar Ibrahim Club

Siri Jelajah Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim Ke Hulu Selangor

Posted: 09 May 2012 09:44 PM PDT

Merdeka Rakyat – Pascal Bersih 3.0

11 Mei 2012 (Jumaat)

1)    7.00 – 9.30 malam –   Munajat Perdana  / Tazkirah / Jamuan Rakyat

        Lokasi : Dataran Sungai Tengi, Felda Sungai Tengi, Hulu Selangor

2)    8.00 – 12.00 malam – Ceramah Perdana – Merdeka Rakyat – Pascal Bersih 3.0

        Lokasi: Padang Bukit Beruntung (Belakang Esso)

3)    Penceramah:

i.                    YB Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim

ii.                  YB  Sivarasa Rasiah

iii.                YB Xavier Jayakumar

iv.               YB S. Manikavasagam

v.                 YB IR. M. Muthiah

vi.               YBhg N. Surendren

vii.             YBhg Khalid Jaafar

viii.           YBhg Naza Yakin  

The Prospect of Upcoming Elections is Raising Political Temperatures in Malaysia.

Posted: 09 May 2012 06:24 PM PDT

From Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
By Vikram Nehru

There has been growing speculation that the thirteenth Malaysian general elections will be held in June this year. But massive demonstrations in Kuala Lumpur on April 28 organized by Bersih (a civil society coalition for clean and fair elections) that ended in tear gas and pitched street battles, may have thrown a spanner in the government's plans. The inevitable finger pointing between Bersih and the police that followed (some 380 people were arrested, significantly less than a similar rally last year) masks the more important point that there is popular belief that the election system is rigged in favor of the ruling Barisan Nasional.

The Election Commission has been at pains to announce that it has implemented many of the recommendations of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms, which conducted a genuine and nationwide consultative process. One recommendation being implemented is the use of indelible ink to prevent voter fraud, a recommendation put forward by Bersih itself. The Election Commission also scrutinized the electoral rolls and found few irregularities, but so deep is the distrust in the country that this result appears to have carried little credibility. The accuracy of the electoral poll in Malaysia is indeed a critical matter that must be beyond reproach. There are several swing states where small margins can change the national result significantly.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Najib has embarked on a charm offensive. He fulfilled an earlier promise by repealing the Internal Security Act, which allowed for preventive detention without trial. The government also passed a law that allows students to join political parties (although political events on campuses are still banned).

These actions no doubt will positively impact the prime minister's popularity, which was already high following a populist budget and a recent report complimenting the government on the implementation of its economic reform package. But while the prime minister enjoys very favorable ratings in the polls, his party, Barisan Nasional, does not. This has given the opposition parties some hope, although they have yet to coalesce and offer a clear alternative. The scenes over the weekend of street protests and tear gas, together with allegations of police brutality, will likely help the opposition and hurt the government. This could further narrow the difference between the incumbent Barisan Nasional and the main opposition coalition.

All the tea leaves suggest a close race, perhaps closer than the one in 2008 when the opposition took five of thirteen state legislatures and over a third of the seats in parliament, denying the Barisan Nasional a two-thirds majority.

CAUGHT LYING BY THE UN: From Utusan to NST to the Star, Najib Shames Malaysia

Posted: 09 May 2012 05:42 PM PDT

Malaysia Chronicle

The United Nations in Malaysia would like to refer to the article published in The Star newspaper on May 7, 2012 titled "Police: Tear gas used at rally safe, UN-approved'.

We very much regret that the UN in Malaysia was not consulted before the publication of this article as it contains serious inaccuracies. The UN has consistently condemned the excessive use of force, including through the use of tear gas.

Please also note that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council have on various occasions publicly expressed concerns about reliable reports indicating that civilians who died from tear gas suffered complications from gas inhalation, and that security forces have been firing metal tear gas canisters from grenade launchers into crowds.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression after his mission to the Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in December 2011 noted that “while the use of tear gas to disperse a crowd may be legitimate under certain circumstances, tear gas canisters should never be fired directly at demonstrators.”

Moreover, unlike what is alleged in the article, the UN does not set international standards on different kinds of irritants, nor has the UN approved 'CS Gas' as a 'riot control' agent.

Journalists AND public officials should be professional

As far as the use of force is concerned, the relevant UN instrument is the Basic Principles on the use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which was adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in 1990, not the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) of 1993. I provide its general provisions below:

1. Governments and law enforcement agencies shall adopt and implement rules and regulations on the use of force and firearms against persons by law enforcement officials. In developing such rules and regulations, Governments and law enforcement agencies shall keep the ethical issues associated with the use of force and firearms constantly under review.

2. Governments and law enforcement agencies should develop a range of means as broad as possible and equip law enforcement officials with various types of weapons and ammunition that would allow for a differentiated use of force and firearms. These should include the development of non-lethal incapacitating weapons for use in appropriate situations, with a view to increasingly restraining the application of means capable of causing death or injury to persons. For the same purpose, it should also be possible for law enforcement officials to be equipped with self-defensive equipment such as shields, helmets, bullet-proof vests and bullet-proof means of transportation, in order to decrease the need to use weapons of any kind.

3. The development and deployment of non-lethal incapacitating weapons should be carefully evaluated in order to minimize the risk of endangering uninvolved persons, and the use of such weapons should be carefully controlled.

4. Law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. They may use force and firearms only if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result.

5. Whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall:

( a ) Exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved;

( b ) Minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life;

( c ) Ensure that assistance and medical aid are rendered to any injured or affected persons at the earliest possible moment;

( d ) Ensure that relatives or close friends of the injured or affected person are notified at the earliest possible moment.

6. Where injury or death is caused by the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials, they shall report the incident promptly to their superiors, in accordance with principle 22.

7. Governments shall ensure that arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offence under their law.

8. Exceptional circumstances such as internal political instability or any other public emergency may not be invoked to justify any departure from these basic principles.

We at the United Nations appeal to all journalists to correctly and accurately research and report all matters and procedures related to the UN. We believe that such professionalism should also extend to all public officials.

Dr Lin Mui Kiang is the United Nations Coordination Specialist, Malaysia

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