Archive for August 28th, 2010

Burma’s ailing dictator resigns military post

by Ben Doherty
27th August 2010

Than Shwe and other generals quit military to apparently ensure they stay in charge as civilians after November elections

Burma’s reclusive and ailing dictator, Than Shwe, has resigned his military post, exiled Burmese media have reported, paving the way for him to become president in Burma’s government after the elections.

Shwe, the despot who has brutally ruled south-east Asia’s poorest country as commander-in-chief of the armed forces since 1992, yesterday handed control of the army to his adjutant general. However, the 77-year-old will remain head of the Burmese government.

More than a dozen other senior military officers also resigned, in an ominous sign for the country’s forthcoming elections. Inside Burma, Shwe’s resignation of his military role is being seen as a significant step towards ensuring he and his military cadres remain in charge after 7 November’s national elections, the first to be held in Burma for two decades.

“I think this means only one thing – he wants to be president,” a source inside Burma told the Guardian. Read the rest of this entry »


National Day on August 31 is deadline for Najib to prove he is serious about “zero tolerance” for racism in the country, particularly by public servants

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should have received public feedback that his declaration yesterday of a “zero tolerance” towards racism and pledge to take immediate action against those found to have made racial slurs had been received with great cynicism countrywide as another Najibism which is good for soundbites and publicity but never to be taken seriously – that it would be forgotten once delivered.

In fact, public cynicism about Najib’s political will and leadership after 16 month as Prime Minister in his various policy pronouncements because of the large gulf between proclamation and action has culminated in Merdeka month celebrations this year with the theme “1Malaysia transforms the nation” highlighting the failures of Najib’s 1Malaysia rather than celebrating the new Prime Minister’s signature nation-building programme.

The question now is whether Najib can inspire confidence in time for National Day on Tuesday, August 31st in his “zero tolerance” policy for racism by taking firm and decisive action in the next 60 hours against racists who had created inter-racial misunderstandings and tensions in the past weeks?
Read the rest of this entry »


Teo Nie Ching apologises to Sultan of Selangor

DAP MP for Serdang Teo Nie Ching has issued a public apology to the Sultan of Selangor over the Surau Al-Huda incident. Her statement reads:

Pada hari Ahad 22hb Ogos, saya sebagai ahli parlimen Serdang telah mengunjungi Surau Al-Huda, Kajang bertujuan untuk menghulurkan bantuan berbentuk sumbangan kerajaan untuk memperbaiki pagar surau, dan berbuka puasa bersama ahli jawatankuasa dan jemaah surau.

Oleh kerana saya telah dijemput untuk memberi sepatah dua kata, saya dengan secara ikhlas memberikan sedikit penjelasan mengenai program pendidikan kerajaan negeri yang memanfaatkan rakyat Selangor.

Saya menyesal bahawa perkara ini telah menimbulkan perasaan keresahan antara umat Islam negara kita dan isu ini telah diperhangatkan oleh pihak-pihak tertentu atas sebab-sebab politik. Read the rest of this entry »


Anwar Ibrahim again battles dubious sex charges

by Mark MacKinnon
Globe and Mail
Aug. 27, 2010

Prosecution appears to be thinly veiled attempt to ruin Malaysian opposition leader’s reputation and political career

There is an uncomfortable pattern to life for Anwar Ibrahim, the charismatic leader of Malaysia’s opposition. In 1998, shortly after he quit the authoritarian government of Mahathir bin Mohamad, he was convicted and jailed on trumped-up sodomy charges.

Six years after that conviction was quashed and he was released from prison – and just as it looked like he and his multi-ethnic coalition might finally oust the long-ruling United National Malays Organization from office – Mr. Anwar finds himself trapped in the most awkward of reruns, once more accused of “consensual intercourse against the order of nature.”

The charges again look to be a thinly veiled attempt to ruin Mr. Anwar’s reputation and sabotage his political career in this Muslim-majority country. The trial to date – dubbed “Sodomy II” in Malaysia’s unsubtle government-controlled press – has produced a succession of lurid headlines about lubricant tubes and stained underwear, while Mr. Anwar and his lawyers have been denied the right even to see the medical records of the man with which he is alleged to have had anal sex.

But instead of letting the scandalous court proceedings force him to the sidelines, the eternally optimistic Mr. Anwar has been using good humour and his ever-present BlackBerry to turn even the most awkward of headlines to his advantage, holding up the charges against him as proof of the absurdity of the system he’s trying to change. Read the rest of this entry »