Archive for January 31st, 2010

For Karpal, the personal is political

29 Jan 10 : 8.00AM
By Deborah Loh; The Nut Graph

FIVE years ago, in the blink of an eye, life changed for the Lion of Jelutong. A car accident close to midnight on 28 Jan 2005 now keeps Karpal Singh confined to a wheelchair and under constant supervision and assistance in order to perform the simplest of tasks.

That incident has not dampened the Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament’s drive to serve in law and politics. Even so, Karpal, 70, considers his disability worse than detention without trial under the Internal Security Act, which he experienced for two years from 1987 under Operasi Lalang.

At an age and under circumstances where many others would have retreated to live quietly, the DAP national chairperson is still fighting — as an opposition leader, a crusader for justice, and against physical pain, which he tries to ignore by working. The Nut Graph spoke to Karpal at his law firm in Kuala Lumpur on 20 Jan 2010 while he was preparing for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s second sodomy trial which starts on 2 Feb.

TNG: What keeps you going in politics?

Karpal Singh: Making sure that government is held accountable. Once in a while we get into trouble, but that’s the risk we take. For example, I’ve been charged with sedition for saying that the sultan of Perak can be sued. Of course he can be sued. And even if I were wrong, it’s just my opinion. Does that amount to a crime?

During Anwar’s first sodomy trial, I was charged for what I said while discharging my duties in court. It was when urine tests on Anwar found that he had an excessive amount of arsenic in his blood. I made a statement in court that he had been poisoned, and that people in high places were responsible. Read the rest of this entry »


Khaled should not turn the clock back but boldly go forward to foster the spirit of academic freedom among university lecturers and students

Higher Education Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin should not turn the clock back but boldly go forward to foster the spirit of academic freedom among university lecturers and students by supporting University of Malaya Vice Chancellor Ghauth Jasmon’s handling of the campus polls controversy.

Khaled should not undermine Ghauth’s authority as UM VC by attacking or criticizing the latter’s decision to suspend the controversial campus election to allow an independent testing of the e-voting system as well as to investigate allegations of bias and partisanship of the deputy vice chancellor of student affairs (HEP) Azarae Idris.

There is talk that Khaled is so unhappy with Ghauth that moves are afoot to replace him with a new Vice Chancellor for University of Malaya.

Khaled should quash such talk and deny any such moves without any delay as any such arbitrary and high-handed Ministerial interference in university autonomy will have far-reaching consequences and bring to nought all recent efforts to restore University of Malaya’s status as one of the world’s Top 200 universities.

It is open secret that UMNO and UMNO Youth leaders were blatantly involved in the recent as well as previous campus elections, not only in University of Malaya but also in other public universities – not only directly but also through their proxies in the various university administrations.
Read the rest of this entry »


PR Penang greatest legacy – prove right policies can make Malays and Malaysians compete and succeed against the best

by Lim Guan Eng

Pakatan Rakyat Penang’s greatest legacy to Malaysia and greatest threat to BN’s stranglehold on power is to prove that the right policies can make Malays compete and succeed against the best in the world. Ever since the Pakatan Rakyat Penang state government took power in March 2008, we have made integrity and CAT governance(Competency, Accountability and Transparency) the hallmark of financial administration.

New measures implemented includes competitive and public open tender, payments directly to recipients without going through middle-men, priority given to Penang contractors, e-tender through the internet and a 2 week objection period to ensure that successful contractor no longer need “political cables” but “computer cables”. There is no doubt that competitive open tenders saves costs and improve quality.

Many contractors have been liberated with the implementation of open tenders at all levels. For Class F contractors which is only open to bumis, open tender system has allowed non-UMNO linked contractors in Penang to get contracts for the first time. In the past contracts are usually reserved for UMNO cronies and those outside the state. Clearly the competitive open tender system of PR is more transparent, accountable and beneficial to the people compared to the negotiated tender system for BN cronies.

What is more surprising is the outcome of the open tender system open to all races. Instead of perception that Malays cannot compete and that the non-Malay contractor would win all open tender contracts, this is not true. Since the new PR government took over, Penang Development Corporation(PDC) had issued 23 tender awards, of which 7(30%) were won by non-Malay contractors and 16(70%) won by Malay contractors. Perbadanan Bekalan Air Pulau Pinang(PBAPP) had issued 66 tender awards of which 22(33%) were won by non-Malay contractors as compared to 44(67%) by Malay contractors.

The performance by Malay contractors in an open tender system with non-Malays proves that Malay contractors can compete with others and win tender awards on their own merit. Clearly it is not the race that is an issue but failed policies that encourage dependency especially when it helps BN maintain the status quo and its grip on power. Read the rest of this entry »