Archive for category Crime

Cops overstepping legal limits in ongoing public crackdown, lawyers say

by Joseph Sipalan
The Malay Mail Online
March 25, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 – The police are acting beyond their legal means by relying on a law provision that has been declared unconstitutional to arrest people for participating in public shows of dissent, lawyers said.

They argued that the authorities cannot continue to detain individuals using disputed laws when the courts have clearly ruled against the admissibility of such legislation, even if an appeal is still pending.

“This is a worrying development. The authorities seem to take the position that just because an appeal is filed, it means there is no finality to the interpretation of the impugned provision,” said civil liberties lawyer Syahredzan Johan.

“This is a deliberate misapprehension of the law,” he added when contacted by Malay Mail Online. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Najib administration has become a hydra-headed government with Ministers and heads of departments giving different stands on a whole variety of issues

The Najib administration has become a hydra-headed government with Ministers and heads of government giving different stands on a whole variety of issues.

The present meeting of Parliament is providing multiple examples of a hydra-headed government.

For instance, the Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi in a written answer to the DAP MP for Kulai, Teo Nie Ching, said police have completed investigations on incendiary statements by Umno leaders, the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the former Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr Mashitah Ibrahim and are waiting for further instructions from the Attorney-General.

A total of 32 police reports were lodged against Ismail over his call for Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses as a way to force down the prices of goods while ten police reports were lodged against Mashitah, who had said that Chinese people had burned the Quran in a religious rite in Kuala Kedah, which was a downright lie as it never happened.

But while the Home Minister said that the Police are waiting for instructions from the Attorney-General, another Minister, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, cleared Ismail Sabri of any offence or any crime! Read the rest of this entry »

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Baggy clothes didn’t stop my rapist, victim tells Ridhuan Tee

The Malay Mail Online
February 24, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Baggy jeans and a loose T-shirt did not prevent her sexual assault in 2001, rape survivor Rosheen Fatima told controversial columnist Ridhuan Tee Abdullah who claimed that women’s bodies attract rapists.

In an article titled “My body is not an invitation” published on the website of women’s magazine Elle Malaysia, Rosheen insisted that there is no justification for rape and said Tee was merely engaging in victim-blaming.

“Shame on you, Ridhuan Tee. Put the blame where it belongs. There is only one thing that causes rape: rapists,” Rosheen said.

“Rapists make a choice to rape. There is no invitation, no fate that intervenes. It is a choice to rape. A choice to brutally assault and traumatise a fellow human being. There is no justification. Ever,” she added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Has IGP completely lost his sense of priorities – setting up the world’s first police special unit on sedition for him to twitter instructions to harass PR leaders and NGO activists while overlooking the big national threat of Islamic State extending its tentacles to vulnerable young Malaysians including 14-year-old girls?

Many Malaysians must be asking whether the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has completely lost his sense of priorities in setting up a special sedition unit called D5 for him to twitter instructions to the police officers attached to the unit to investigate and harass Pakatan Rakyat leaders and NGO activists while overlooking the real big national and international threat of Islamic State (IS) extending its tentacles in the country to vulnerable Malaysians, including 14-year-old girls?

Neither Parliament nor the country had been informed that sedition crimes have become so serious and ubiquitous that the Police have deemed it necessary to set up a special unit called D5 with special police officers who can and must respond immediately to the IGP’s twitter commands to act against PR leaders and NGO activists on sedition and whole variety of other speech crimes.

Undoubtedly, Khalid has made a name for himself in the international fraternity of No. 1 policemen in the world, for he must be the first head of police in a country to set up a special unit on sedition, as if Malaysians have just set a new world record as the most seditious people in the world!

At a time when the IGP’s eye must be unfailingly focused on the new real crime and threat not only to Malaysia and the world – the rise of Islamic State with its siren appeal to Malaysian Muslims for a Muslim Caliphate stretching beyond national borders and space – Khalid’s focus is fixed in the wrong direction.

This has caused him to set up D5 and arrogating to himself the supreme task of roaming the cyberspace so that he could tweet directives to D5 police officers as to who are the PR leaders and NGO activists to harass and investigate, and undoubtedly, laying down a deadline when the D5 officers have to comply to report to him as to how they had carried out their instructions. Read the rest of this entry »

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Have an opinion? Stuff it!

Fa Abdul | February 24, 2015
Free Malaysia Today

How come freedom of speech is limited to a select few who can say what they please while the majority spend a night in the lock-up for doing the same?

COMMENT

When I was growing up, reading the daily newspaper and watching the 8pm news was a must in my home. And every day during family time, my dad would open the floor for discussion. We used to discuss (and sometimes debate) various issues – politics, social, religion, entertainment, the works. Sometimes we got too excited over certain issues that we continued the same discussion for a few days.

Thanks to my dad, my brothers and I grew up having the ability to form our own opinions on matters that concerned us. And having strong opinions meant standing up to it as well.

But lately, I’ve begun to wonder if my dad made a big mistake having raised us the way he did. Because of my dad, I now have a tough time keeping my thoughts to myself and my mouth shut.

Like the other day, when I wrote about why I wasn’t offended by the Charlie Hebdo cartoons – I received piles of hate messages.

And then there was one time when I politely advised the security guards in my apartment that it was against the law for them to hold a visitor’s important documents – and the head of security raised his baton over my head.

Since when did freedom of speech and expressing oneself become an offence?

This reminds me of an acquaintance of mine who was arrested recently on a sedition charge for criticising the Federal Court judgement over the Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy case.

All he did was to post his opinion of the case on Facebook. He had to spend one night in a lock-up filled with creepy crawlies simply because he had trouble zipping his mouth. I bet he too was raised to stand up for what he believed in.

Looks like we can no longer call a spade, a spade. Freedom of speech can get us into lots of trouble these days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sirul should make a clean breast of the truth about the 2006 murder of Altantuya – admit to being one of the two killers, demonstrate true remorse and spell out the outrage that he is sentenced to death while the murder “mastermind” is allowed to get away scotfree

Former police special commandore Suril Azhar Umar should stop hiding and running which he had been doing for the past nine years but to take a honest stand to make a clean breast of the truth about the 2006 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu – admit to being one of the two killers (together with Azila Hadri), demonstrate remorse at the heinous deed “under orders” and spell out the outrage that he is sentenced to death while the murder “mastermind” is allowed to get away scot-free.

The time has also come for Sirul to make a public declaration of his first confession to the police on November 9, 2006 on the Altantuya’s murder.

Although his confession to the police was declared inadmissible by the Kuala Lumpur High Court during Sirul’s trial in July 2007, Sirul must now declare whether his confession represented the truth.

On Feb. 3, 2009, a tearful Sirul had asked the court not to sentence him to death for Altantuya’s murder, saying he was like “a black sheep that has to be sacrificed” to protect unnamed people who have never been brought to court or faced questioning.

“I have no reason to cause hurt, what’s more to take the life of the victim in such a cruel manner,” Sirul said. “I appeal to the court, which has the powers to determine if I live or die, not to sentence me so as to fulfil others’ plans for me.”

In his Nov. 9, 2006 confession to the police, which had been ruled inadmissible in the Altantuya murder trial, Sirul said his boss at the time, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri who is also charged with Altantuya’s murder, had talked about a reward of between RM50,000 and RM100,000 if the case was settled. Read the rest of this entry »

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Sirul cannot continue to equivocate about the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu but must show genuine remorse for the killing under orders if he wants Malaysians and the world to be equally outraged at his betrayal by the murder “mastermind”

The latest from former police commando Sirul Azhar, one of the two convicted murderers of the Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu who is in Australia challenging the bid of the Malaysian government to extradite him to return to the death row in Malaysia, is that he had never admitted to the murder of Altantuya.

Sirul has been maintaining in his telephone conversations with Malaysiakini that he had acted under orders and was being made a scapegoat.
He told Malaysiakini on Chinese New Year on Wednesday, 19th February – the day the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, blurted “utter rubbish”, “total rubbish” to Sirul’s claim of having acted “under orders”:

“There are no witnesses to the murder until today. All this is based on circumstantial evidence linking me (to the murder).

“I understand that circumstantial evidence is not strong as direct evidence.”

Sirul should come clean and admit to the heinous murder of Altantunya under orders.

Sirul cannot continue to equivocate about the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu but must show genuine remorse for the killing under orders if he wants Malaysians and the world to be equally outraged at his betrayal by the murder “mastermind” Read the rest of this entry »

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Sirul is showing to the whole world the “feet of clay” of the Inspector-General of Police, the Attorney-General, the Judiciary and the Prime Minister in their mishandling of the 2006 Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case

The last thing former police commando Sirul Azhir Umar wanted to do is to show to the world the “feet of clay” of the Inspector-General of Police, the Attorney-General, the Judiciary and the Prime Minister in their mishandling of the 2006 Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case.

In his first telephone interview with Malaysiakini on Tuesday 17th February, Sirul said:

“I was under orders. The important people with motive are still free.

“It is not like I do not love the police (force) or the country, but I acted under orders.”

But this is exactly what Sirul has done, for in one fell swoop he had exposed the “feet of clay” of the pillars of our country, the Inspector-General of Police, the Attorney-General, the Judiciary and the Prime Minister.

Many Pakatan Rakyat leaders, including the DAP MP for Bukit Gelugor Ramkarpal Singh, who is also lawyer for the family of the murdered Mongolian, have called on the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar to initiate fresh investigations into Altantuya’s murder after Sirul claimed that he was ordered to kill her.

The IGP, however, is obstinate that the police will not re-investigate Altantuya’s murder even though new allegations have surfaced on the ground that Sirul had not divulged information that merited renewed scrutiny into the case. Read the rest of this entry »

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Is Najib’s statement on Sirul’s claim that he acted under orders exculpatory or incriminating?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has made a most rash and imprudent outburst at the MCA Chinese New Year open house today, when he said that former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar’s claim that he acted under orders to murder Altantuya Shaariibuu was “utter rubbish” and “total rubbish”.

Was the Prime Minister’s outburst exculpatory or incriminating?

It would be exculpatory if he is asserting that Sirul was talking “utter” or “total rubbish” that he murdered the Altantuya in 2006 together with Chief Inspector Azila Hadri under orders as there were no such orders to the two former police commandos to murder Altantuya.

The question that immediately arises is how Najib knows that the two convicted police commandos had not received any such orders from their superior to kill Altantunya and destroy evidence by blowing up her body using C4 explosives?

He can say there was no such “order” from him, but how could he say that there were no such “order” from other people? How can he be so sure? Read the rest of this entry »

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Why have the police, the Attorney-General and the judiciary ignored the “elephant in the room” in Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case – that Sirul and Azilah could not have killed the Mongolian whom they did not know without a motive and a mastermind?

The Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case is the second case in Malaysia to kick up an international storm after the Federal Court’s 5-0 conviction of Anwar Ibrahim on Sodomy II and five-year jail sentence.

Although the Federal Court decision on the Altantuya murder case was made on Jan 13 finding the two former police commandos Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri guilty of the murder of the Mongolian in 2006, the Altantuya case did not become an international storm until after Anwar’s Federal Court decision when Sirul, seeking refuge in Australia, announced that he was thinking of “telling all” about the murder of Altantuya.

Sirul said: “If I die today, I would not find peace. I did what I was told and this is what I get in return.”

I believe the entire Malaysian population can share Sirul’s sense of injustice if he has to pay for the murder of Altantuya, but the mastermind who had the motive and ordered the killing is able to get away scotfree. Read the rest of this entry »

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What could Sirul tell us?

– Nawawi Mohamad
The Malaysian Insider
19 February 2015

The order to kill the Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu must have been cascaded down the line of command from someone above. Ultimately Sirul Azhar Umar was the one who had to do all the dirty work and take all the blame when things went wrong.

Thus when any person along the line of command is removed, the others will be insulated and will not collapse like a domino.

Therefore allowing Sirul to slip off to Australia could be part of the plan. Sirul may be allowed some freedom and may also tell his story, but he could only put the blame on his immediate superior.

Sirul telling his story also acts like a pressure release valve, since the Altantuya murder case has heated up like the pressure in a volcano that increases from time to time.

In court, Sirul mentioned that it was Azilah Hadri who instructed him to ensure that Altantuya was really dead. Sirul may not know firsthand on who actually gave the order.

The one who gave the order must have been wise enough to insulate himself or herself from the crime through the line of command. Thus whatever Sirul will say, he cannot say for sure say that such and such person instructed them to kill. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 35-Minister Cabinet tomorrow will have second and final opportunity to demonstrate whether they are “We Are All Ismail Sabri” or “We Are All not Ismail Sabri”!

The 35-Minister Cabinet tomorrow will have a second and final opportunity to demonstrate whether they are “We Are all Ismail Sabri” or “We Are All Not Ismail Sabri”!

Cabinet Ministers should stop equivocating and end their hypocritical stances, as beating their breasts in public promising to “claim justice for the Chinese community” for the smear by the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, against the Chinese community but the astounding revelation later by the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein that neither the MCA nor MIC Ministers at the Cabinet meeting last Wednesday had asked Ismail to retract his racist statement or resign from the Cabinet. No mention whatsoever about the Gerakan Minister’s role in Cabinet!

Yesterday, after a week of procrastination, the police had finally recorded a statement from Ismail Sabri for his racist call to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses.

Malaysians are still intrigued and puzzled why the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar insists on wasting police time and resources on an investigation into the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry when the Cabinet last Wednesday had sanctioned, condoned and defended Ismail’s racist call to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses.

Is the IGP seriously suggesting that the Police will dare to find the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet wrong in sanctioning, condoning and defending Ismail’s racist call, and to submit such an investigation report to the Attorney-General for further action?

Who could envisage the Attorney-General charging in court not only Ismail, but also the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet for sanctioning, condoning and defending Ismail’s racist call on Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses? Read the rest of this entry »

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IGP Khalid should just call off his twitter directive on Monday to police officers to investigate Ismail Sabri for his racist call to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses now that the Cabinet has massaged it into an inoffensive call to all traders and not directed at any race

It would appear that the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has also become victim of the Ismail Sabri virus as to make him say and do weird, outlandish or unacceptable things but putting up a pretence that what he is doing is the most normal, routine or ordinary thing.

Ismail made a rabidly racist call on Malay consumers to boycott Chines business and is trotting round the country basking as a hero as he felt vindicated not only by UMNO leaders lining up behind him with the placard “We Are All Ismail Sabri”, but by the Cabinet as well.

On Wednesday, the entire Cabinet succumbed to the Ismail Sabri virus when the Cabinet decided, as announced in a subsequent Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) statement, that Ismail’s call did not target Chinese traders alone but was aimed at all traders.

The PMO made a gem of a statement, which should framed for all posterity, stating: Read the rest of this entry »

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35 Ministers of Najib Cabinet 2015 made history – proving to have comprehension problems worse than ordinary school children who are already several years behind other countries

Although the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin claims that Malaysia has the best education system in the world, better than Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, international educational tests like PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) have consistently shown that Malaysia’s 15-year-old students are not only below the international average in the three critical subjects of reading, science and maths but four or even five years behind their peers in the top-performing countries/regions in Shanghai, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.

But it is fortunate that the 35 Cabinet Ministers did not represent the country in these PISA and TIMSS tests or Malaysia would be ten or even more years behind other countries.

This is because the Cabinet today has created history and a record of sorts, demonstrating that the 35 Ministers in the Najib Cabinet 2015 have comprehension problems worse than ordinary school children who are already several years behind other countries.

This is because even the average school children would not have made the colossal error committed by the 35 Ministers today in concluding that the call by the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese businesses was not targetting Chinese traders alone but aimed at all traders.

After the Cabinet meeeting, the police today called up Ismail Sabri for investigation over his racist call on his Facebook to Malay consumers to boycott Chinese business, which prompted my tweet: “Sheer rigmarole when PMO has cleared Ismail Sabri”.

This has only made the police, the overwhelming majority of whom are dedicated and professional officers committed to the duty to maintain peace and uphold law and order, look very foolish. Read the rest of this entry »

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My lawyers instructed to institute criminal and civil proceedings against an UMNO blogger Syed Akhbar Ali for his defamatory tweet insinuating that I am a communist and racialist who is anti-Malay who caused the May 13 race riots

I have instructed my lawyers to institute criminal and civil proceedings against an UMNO blogger Syed Akhbar Ali for a defamatory tweet late last night insinuating that I am a communist and a racialist who is anti-Malay who caused the May 13 race riots.

Syed Akhbar’s tweet carried a graphic of me in the garb of Mao Tse Tung, alleging that I am “Bapa 13 Mei”, and accusing me of having caused the May 13 race riots in 1969 because of my anti-Malay statements and slogans, with a caption “’MELAYU KELUAR! APA LAGI DUDUK SINI, KITA HENTAM LU, SEKARANG KITA SUDAH ADA KUASA” LIM KIT SIANG (BAPA 13 MEI).

The graphic in Syed Akbar’s tweet alleged that I had made the following statements in the following places and dates:

1. Menggunakan slogan “Malai-Si” bermaksud “Mati Melayu”.

2. “Apa polis boleh buat, kita Raja. Buang sama polis Melayu.”
– (11 Mei 69, Bukit Bintang)

3. “Mati Melayu, sakai pergi masuk hutan”.
– (11 Mei 69, Jalan Bukit Bintang).

4. “KL sekarang cina punya”.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Roundtable Conference of concerned MPs, NGOs and NGIs to outline the contours of Parliamentary Inquiry into Altantunya Murder or alternatives before Parliament reconvenes on March 9 being considered by the DAP Legal Bureau

I have received positive and favourable response to the suggestion for an all-party Parliamentary Committee to inquire into the many unresolved but important and critical public interest questions on the Altantunya Shaariibu Murder Case, despite the end of the Altantuya murder trial and the conviction of two elite policemen Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar of the Special Action Unit (UTK) for the murder and their death sentence.

Many however are not sanguine that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Najib and his Cabinet would agree to the proposal for an all-party Parliamentary Committee into the Altantuya Murder, even if the parliamentary committee is headed by a Barisan Nasional MP.

Najib and his Cabinet has a month before Parliament reconvenes on March 9 to decide whether to endorse the establishment of an all-party Parliamentary Committee on Altantunya Murder.

If the Najib Government is not prepared to agree to a Parliamentary Committee or any other form of public investigation into the Altantunya Murder, then the alternatives will have to be explored, including a hybrid of a Parliamentary-Civil Society Inquiry Committee comprising MPs from both the Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat and the civil society (both NGOs and NGIs) who believe that good conscience, national interests and our international reputation for justice, the rule of law and good governance demand that the answers to the many outstanding public interest questions about the Altantuya Murder case must be ascertained.

With the victim a Mongolian and one of the convicted murderers Sirul Azhar Umar holding out in Australia refusing to return to the death row in the country, the inquiry into the unresolved public interest issues in the Altantuya Murder Case will become an international one. Read the rest of this entry »

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IGP Khalid lucky there is no IPCMC as recommended by Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission of Inquiry or he would be the first IGP to be the subject of complaint of police misconduct…

The Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is lucky that there is no Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as recommended by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission of Inquiry a decade ago or he would be the first IGP to be the subject of complaint of police misconduct for refusing to investigate as to why two elite policemen murdered in cold blood with C4 explosives a defenceless Mongolian woman, who they did not know or had never met before.

I am really astounded by the lame excuse Khalid has given for not launching a thorough and wide-ranging inquiry to ascertain why two police commandos Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar of the elite police squad, the Special Action Unit (UTK), tasked with protecting people’s lives, had murdered in cold blood defenceless Altantuya Shaariibuu now that their murder trial had ended with their conviction and death sentence.

Could it be that the No. 1 Policeman is just not interested in finding out why two members of the police elite corps, instead of upholding the law, became the most heinous law breakers, even abusing their special position in the police force to secure C4 explosives to do their dastardly deed, so that there could be no such recurrence?

I find any IGP who is indifferent as to the motive for the murderous deed by the two elite policeman most inexplicable and extraordinary, for it is tantamount to a serious dereliction of duty as the No. 1 policeman in the country.

If the IPCMC is in operation today, I have no doubt that complaints would have been lodged against him for gross police misconduct for not investigating or wanting to know what could be the motive for the cold-blooded murder using C4 explosives of defenceless Altantuya. Read the rest of this entry »

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DAP to call for an all-party Parliamentary Committee to inquire into all unresolved public interest questions on the Altantunya Murder Case when Parliament reconvenes on March 9

DAP will call for an all-party Parliamentary Committee to inquire into all unresolved public interest questions on the Altantunya Murder Case when Parliament reconvenes on March 9.

The latest news is that Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar has refused to return to Malaysia from Australia to face the gallows.

Sirul, the ex-elite force police commando who, together with Chief Inspector Azila Hadri, had been sentenced to death for the 2006 murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibu, is now detained at Sydney’s Villawood immigration centre.

Nobody is surprised that Sirul, who had belonged to an elite police squad, the Special Action Unit (UTK), has refused to come back, as he is clearly nursing a great sense of grievance and injustice for his dastardly deed of murdering a defenceless Mongolian woman as he must have believed at the time he was performing the highest act of “loyalty” in the interest of the state, and now to be condemned as a “rogue policeman” and having to face the gallows without any “protection” from his “patrons” for his act of “loyalty”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Response to Razak Baginda’s interview

– Americk Sidhu
The Malaysian Insider
31 January 2015

Rogue police may possibly kill. That has been proved with the convictions of Azilah and Sirul. But the young lady killed in this case was not under remand. So why draw the analogy with the number of deaths in police custody? This does not make sense.

Razak Baginda says he is now willing to speak “from a legal point” as the criminal case involving Azilah and Sirul is over. He fails to explain why he chose to call a press conference shortly after his acquittal in November 2008. See this link.

The criminal case was still in progress then, sans his presence of course.

Why does Razak Baginda keep insisting this case has been politicised and at the same time refers to it as “just another straightforward murder case”? He doesn’t explain why he thinks it is “political”. How has this case been used against Najib? He doesn’t explain.

No one has accused Najib of being involved in this murder. Is this a Freudian slip on his part? Does he know more about this whole sordid affair than he is letting on? Read the rest of this entry »

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Singing the praises of Major Zaidi

By Syerleena Abdul Rashid
Free Malaysia Today
January 13, 2015

COMMENT

This MPPP councillor pays tribute to a “true patriot” who was willing to risk it all to expose a broken electoral system and push for political reforms.

Growing up, everybody had a favourite hero. It could have been Superman, Badang or even a Sesame Street character but as we grew older, our tastes in heroes and our perception of qualities that defined heroism changed. We broke away from fiction and began to look at real life for inspiration. We sought intellectual heroes; political leaders, activists, great thinkers or even authors who observed our societal behaviours and witty life anecdotes while transfixing the subtlety of modern life grievances into words and then, on to pages.

Aristotle believed that heroes were “associated with courage and integrity and a disdain for the cramping compromises by means of which the unheroic majority manage their lives. Heroes were capable of something momentous – the defeat of an enemy, the preservation of a political system, the completion of a voyage – which no one else could have accomplished.” In other words, heroes were the embodiment of a superb spirit.

In modern times, heroic figures included martyrs, whistleblowers and good Samaritans. We often associate heroism with grandiose acts of valour, sacrificing or risking one’s life with unabashed gallantry but heroism can also occur less dramatically – one that is engaged voluntarily and conducted as a service to improve social or political stature. It is often initiated out of compassion without any expectations of material gain.

Many of us, have found highly commendable heroic qualities in everyday men and women; Mahatma Gandhi who taught us the power of passive resistance, Karpal Singh who reminded us to be strong and remain principled in life, Adam Adli who introduced us all to a generation of young Malaysians who were not afraid to reclaim ownership of our country and Ambiga Sreenevasan who displayed fortitude and determination to purge corruption from our system. Of course, there are many more heroes… too many to list, in fact. Read the rest of this entry »

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