Archive for January, 2011

MET sees non-stop rain in Johor this week

By Boo Su-Lyn
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MET) has forecast continuous rain in major towns in Johor throughout the week.

Unrelenting rain in the southern state has forced thousands from their homes, cutting off Segamat and threatening other towns.

“Tomorrow morning, we expect isolated rain over coastal areas,” an official from MET’s Central Forecast Office told The Malaysian Insider today.

“We expect thunderstorms in the afternoon tomorrow throughout Johor,” she added.

Heavy rain is forecast in Segamat today and all of tomorrow, while thunderstorms are expected to occur in the afternoons for the rest of the week, according to the MET website.

Segamat’s first respite from the rain is expected to come only on Saturday afternoon. Read the rest of this entry »


In Tenang, Malay votes won the day for BN

By Shannon Teoh
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — More than half of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) 1,200-vote gain over PAS in Tenang was due to increased Malay support in the constituency, DAP statistics have shown.

Malays who had in 2008 voted against Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s stewardship of BN or abstained from the general election, came out to signal its support for Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration.

The Malays make up about 49 per cent of the 14,753 voters in Tenang. Chinese account for over 38 per cent and Indians, 12 per cent.

Umno’s Azahar Ibrahim received 83.3 per cent of Malay votes, up four percentage points from Election 2008, said DAP publicity chief Tony Pua on Twitter earlier today.

A Malay turnout of 81 per cent yesterday, up two points from 2008, translated to a 700-vote increase.

BN’s 3,707-vote majority was also due to Chinese voters skipping yesterday’s by-election.

Although Normala Sudirman managed to hold on to PAS’s 64 per cent Chinese support from the 2008 general election, an 18-point fall in turnout resulted in another 300-vote gain for BN’s majority. Read the rest of this entry »

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Muddy waters: Post-Tenang reflections

Bridget Welsh | Jan 31, 11 4:58pm


Malaysia’s 14th by-election since March 2008 scored another victory in the BN column, as they held onto their seat. This was expected, as it was home ground for Umno and the contest was purely about the winning majority.

Even with the lower voter turnout, Umno did well with a comfortable and higher majority of 3,707. Rather than provide a numerical assessment of the voting results, let me share some broader observations and tensions that arise from the Tenang campaign.

Despite the centrality of machinery and money, this election highlights the increasing challenges of engaging the diverse electorate in Malaysia. Arguably, the dynamics of the by-election in Johor muddy the waters, making the decisions about national electoral strategies and tactics even more complex.

Decision to proceed irresponsible

The most defining feature of this election was the weather. It was dreadful, and it negatively affected the polling. Watching voters drench themselves to vote, despite umbrellas, and wade in up to knee-high water to the polling station, made me question whether the by-election was worth the risks involved.

I remain deeply puzzled why this by-election was not postponed. I woke up the morning of the poll thinking that it might already be time for Noah’s Ark as the overnight downpour had already affected roads and submerged parts of the constituency. Read the rest of this entry »


With 10% increase of Chinese voter support for Pas/PR candidate in Tenang, will Chua Soi Lek have the political courage to tell UMNO the truth?

I had said at the close of the Tenang by-election campaign that Pakatan Rakyat would have cause to celebrate if it could achieve three of four aims – firstly, to debunk Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s boast of winning 5,000 majority in Tenang which he had described as a Barisan Nasional “fortress”; secondly, to slash the BN’s 2,492 majority won in the 2008 general election; and thirdly, to secure the votes of more than 55% of the Chinese electorate who voted for the PAS candidate in the 2008 general election.

The fourth aim is to win the Tenang by-election, which I had not considered as likely.

In the event, only two of three aims – debunking Muhyiddin’s boast of 5,000-vote majority and increasing Chinese voter support for the Pas/PR candidate from the previous 55% – were achieved in the by-election yesterday.

I have no doubt that all the three goals would have be achieved if not for the climatic disaster, resulting in incessant rain and heavy flooding aggravated by selective and discriminatory assistance given by various government agencies ferrying only Barisan Nasional voters to the polling stations. All this caused unprecedented low voter turnouts, especially in Chinese and Indian areas.
Read the rest of this entry »


Thousands leave homes as Johor braces for more rain

by Shannon Teoh | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 31 — Unrelenting rain in Johor has forced thousands from their homes, cutting off Segamat and threatening other towns, raising fears of a repeat of floods six years which claimed six lives and inflicted more than RM1 billion in economic losses.

Nearly 30,000 people have been evacuated so far, with 16 villages in Segamat inundated by as much as one metre of water. Two deaths have been reported so far.

According to locals in the Segamat area, the situation appears worse than the floods that hit Johor in December 2006 and January 2007.

The Meteorological Department is predicting more rain for the rest of the week.

Motorists had to leave their vehicles as three rivers in Johor burst their banks and five more are being monitored by the Department of Irrigation and Drainage.

Rescue workers are only able to access Segamat by boat as all three main roads out of the town have been closed off by police.
Read the rest of this entry »


Imperative that the public lock horns over ‘Interlok’

By K Pragalath
Introduction by CPI
28 January 2011

The Star today frontpaged ‘Interlok stays’ as its main story and reporting Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as saying the contentious novel is to remain a Form 5 exam text but with amendments to several aspects “deemed sensitive by the Indian community???.

A section of the Indian community suspects that the selection of this more than 40-year-old book – only reprinted as recently as last year – was impelled by an ulterior motive. The novel Interlok not only portrays the Indian community as the ‘pariah’ class that emigrated to the peninsula but has as its running theme a recurrent allusion to the Indian and Chinese races as ‘pendatang’ as well as many negative, racial stereotypes.

Muhyiddin was quoted by The Star (source: Bernama) as saying that his ministry’s decision to retain ‘Interlok’ was made “after taking into consideration the views of all parties, which acknowledged that the book was good in nurturing and strengthening unity among the multi-racial and multi-religious society in Malaysia???.

The Minister’s rationale and claim of “nurturing unity??? fail to withstand scrutiny when there have been nationwide protests against the book, countless police reports as well as threats of civil suits. These very acts in themselves are already indicative of the deep cleavages and ill-will that the book has engendered.

Are we to trust Malay Literature teachers, predominantly belonging to one race, to exercise an adequate wisdom and tact over such an emotion-rousing novel when the racist utterances of the Bukit Selambau (Kedah) and Kulaijaya (Johor) school principals still leave a sour taste in the mouth? Read the rest of this entry »


Biggest losers in Tenang – MCA and Chua Soi Lek

Tweets :-

Pakatan decries selective assistance to voters – Mkini
Sunday, January 30, 2011 5:28 PM

Incessant rain bad flooding discriminatory govt assistance 2ferry stranded voters n low voter turnouts have messed up forecast of Tenang b/e
Sunday, January 30, 2011 5:37 PM

Tenang b/e – Voter turnout when polls closed @ 5pm: Total of 10,585 voters or 71.75 per cent of the 14,753 electorate.
Sunday, January 30, 2011 5:40 PM

Very low voter turnout in Labis town – in Labis Tengah only 51.82%!
Sunday, January 30, 2011 6:03 PM

Very low voter turnout in Labis town – in Labis Tengah only 51.82%! 2008 GE turnout @ this station was 69%
Sunday, January 30, 2011 6:09 PM
Read the rest of this entry »


Pakatan decries selective assistance to voters

Kuek Ser Kuang Keng | Jan 30, 11 4:50pm

The day-long downpour in Tenang had caused flooding in many areas across this rural constituency in Johor, rendering several of the 12 polling stations inaccessible to voters.

Pakatan Rakyat complained that this had significantly reduced the turnout of Chinese voters, considered the ‘vote bank’ for the opposition.

Although police, army, the Civil Defence Department and various government agencies had been deployed to assist the voters to get to the polling stations, Pakatan leaders are upset that the assistance were not provided equally to all.

According to them, more transportation facilities were deployed in Felda areas, which are BN strongholds.

“Why are there no boats to ferry the voters in Labis town, which is also flooded, but Felda gets all the police and fire department boats?” asked DAP publicity chief Tony Pua in a tweet message.

BN secured 80 percent of votes in the three Felda settlements in Tenang in the 2008 general election.

“The failure to provide sufficient boats and trucks, and distribute them evenly across all polling districts will severely tilt the outcome of this by-election.

“The police and army should not just provide their assistance to selective areas because the flood is everywhere in the constituency.” he added when contacted by Malaysiakini. Read the rest of this entry »


MCA continues to tell lies in Tenang by-election through its newspaper Star – but good luck to Chua Soi Lek continuing as MCA President!

Today is polling day for the Tenang by-election, the fourteenth since the 2008 general election.

The outcome of the by-election should be left to the 14,753 voters but it is most regrettable that MCA continues to peddle lies and falsehoods through its newspaper The Star.

In its analysis report today headlined “Up to the voters now to choose who is best”, Sunday Star wrote:

“Never mind that the Barisan Nasional candidate Mohd Azahar Ibrahim is from Umno, it was the MCA that DAP, especially its adviser Lim Kit Siang, was after.

“A political observer viewed the DAP’s all-out effort to attack MCA as mainly an attempt to divert the community’s attention from the various breakthroughs the MCA has achieved since Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek became party president in March last year.

“’A stable and united MCA has always been a threat to DAP,’ reasoned a veteran MCA leader, pointing out that DAP’s survival hinged a lot upon MCA’s weaknesses as both parties banked on the support of the Chinese community.

“The fact that Dr Chua has adopted a low-key and personal touch in his campaign, such as personally meeting Tenang voters, has also put the opposition in a bind, remarked a political observer.

“As expected by many MCA supporters, Kit Siang had, in his ceramah in Tenang, challenged Dr Chua to step down if he failed to get the support of the Chinese community in the by-election.”

I had never in any ceramah in Tenang challenged Chua to step down if he failed to get the support of the Chinese community in the by-election.

Unlike the views of the majority of MCA leaders and delegates, I have no objection whatsoever if Chua continues as MCA President, regardless of the Tenang by-election result today. Good luck to him! Read the rest of this entry »


BN to win with 700-vote boost in majority

Ong Kian Ming | Jan 29, 11


Tomorrow, Jan 30, and just four days before Chinese New Year, voters in Tenang will decide on the 14th by-election since the 2008 general election.

The outcome is not in doubt. BN will win this seat. Even the opposition has conceded as much. The only question that remains is BN’s winning majority and why the margin may (or may not) be important in the larger electoral picture.

Like most analysts and observers, I anticipate a higher vote margin for the BN than in 2008 as a reflection of the larger national trend of voters moving back to the BN in 2010, especially the Malay and Indian voters.

But the winning majority will fall far short of the 5,000-vote majority Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has been predicting. Instead, I anticipate a majority of roughly 3,200 votes, or a 700-vote increase from 2008.

The increase in the BN majority will be from a five percent increase in the Malay vote, from 80 percent to 85 percent, and in the Indian vote from approximately 70 percent to 80 percent.

I expect the Chinese vote for the BN to remain at approximately 35 percent. I base these calculations on a 71 percent turnout rate, two percent less than the 2008 general election because of the proximity to Chinese New Year, and turnout rates of 77 percent, 71 percent and 58 percent among the Malay, Chinese and Indian voters. Read the rest of this entry »


Factors that will shape tomorrow’s outcome

Bridget Welsh | Jan 29, 11


In this semi-rural constituency, rain and floods have dampened the turnout at ceramah and made for a low-key campaign. Walkabouts and quiet face-to-face campaigning, sometimes backed by ‘gifts’, have been the norm, as the BN aims to reach the lofty target of 5,000 majority and Pakatan Rakyat fights hard to win ground in an area that is far outside of its usual base.

No question, political watchers are fatigued observing this 14th by-election since March 2008, and hearing the same old issues of money politics and racial politics shaping the outcome.

For some, the fight for a few thousand votes in the protracted struggle for power is a distraction and waste of money. With an estimated RM150 million cost for campaigns in this tiny constituency, it is no wonder that cynicism has set in nationally.

It is important to understand that the Tenang by-election – its campaign and political significance – symbolise an ongoing climate change in Malaysian politics that has evolved since Najib Razak came into office. As with climate change generally, we do not yet know the impact, but its immediate effects are significant.

The Tenang contest will affect future campaigns and political fortunes, even though the actual result will likely remain in the BN column. Below, I describe three broad transforming features tied to Tenang and point to a few key factors that will shape the contest in tomorrow’s outcome and the size of the majority. Read the rest of this entry »


DAP calls for Royal Commission of Inquiry into Kugan’s death in police custody as the criminal justice system has completely broken down beyond repair to deliver justice in cases of mysterious deaths in official custody

DAP calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into A. Kugan’s death in police custody as the criminal justice system has completely broken down beyond repair to deliver justice in cases of mysterious deaths in official custody.

It is not only Kugan’s family members and relatives headed by his mother, N. Indra, 41, hotel worker, who are shocked by this morning’s acquittal of constable V. Navindran for causing grievous hurt to Kugan, 22, when interrogating him at the Taipan police station in USJ-Subang Jaya on January 16, 2009, all decent Malaysians who had expected justice are also outraged.

This is another blot in the service record of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail who had said that 11 officers were involved but only one was charged – and even the one charged ended with his acquittal when the Sessions Court judge Aslam Zainuddin said the prosecution had failed to prove a prima facie case against the accused.

If the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak can finally agree to the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh Beng Hock’s mysterious death at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission more than 18 months ago following public outrage at the unsatisfactory “Open Verdict” of Teoh’s inquest, there is no reason why a Royal Commission of Inquiry is not established into Kugan’s death because of the most unsatisfactory and irresponsible handling of Kugan’s case in the past two years to establish the circumstances of his death, identify and punish the police personnel responsible for Kugan’s life and deliver justice to Kugan’s aggrieved family.

There have been too many cases of mysterious deaths in official custody as well as the result of police shootings. Read the rest of this entry »


Egypt cuts off internet access

By Charles Arthur
Friday 28 January 2011

Most of the major internet service providers in Egypt are offline following week-long protests

Egypt appears to have cut off almost all access to the internet from inside and outside the country from late on Thursday night, in a move that has concerned observers of the protests that have been building in strength through the week.

“According to our analysis, 88% of the ‘Egyptian internet’ has fallen off the internet,” said Andree Toonk at BGPmon, a monitoring site that checks connectivity of countries and networks.

“What’s different in this case as compared to other ‘similar’ cases is that all of the major ISP’s seem to be almost completely offline. Whereas in other cases, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were typically blocked, in this case the government seems to be taking a shotgun approach by ordering ISPs to stop routing all networks.”

The cutoff appears to have happened around 10.30pm GMT on Thursday night.

Only one internet service provider appears to still have a working connection to the outside world: the Noor Group, for which all 83 routes are working, and inbound traffic from its connection provider, Telecom Italia, also working.

Protests in Egypt at the government’s rule have been building all week, and Friday was expected to see the largest demonstrations so far.

An analysis by Renesys, which provides real-time monitoring of internet access, says that “every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, internet cafe, website, school, embassy and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world. Link Egypt, Vodafone/Raya, Telecom Egypt, Etisalat Misr, and all their customers and partners are, for the moment, off the air.” Read the rest of this entry »


Egypt blocks social media websites in attempted clampdown on unrest

Facebook, Google, Hotmail and Twitter among services blocked by government, report users

Charles Arthur, technology editor
Guardian UK
26th January 2011

Internet sites such as Twitter and Facebook were cut off within Egypt today as the government of President Hosni Mubarak tried to prevent social media from being used to foment unrest.

Many sites registered in Egypt could not be reached from outside, according to, a website where users report access problems.

Twitter, YouTube, Hotmail, Google, Chinese search engine Baidu and a “proxy service” – which would allow users to evade obvious restrictions – appeared to be blocked from inside the country, according to reports on the site.

Twitter said blocking was intermittent and some users were able to tweet while Bambuser, a Swedish site for streaming video from mobile phones, said it had been blocked after being used by some protesters this week. Read the rest of this entry »


Who are telling the truth – or who are telling lies – about government’s proposed censorship of online news?

Who are telling the truth – or who are telling lies – about the government’s proposed censorship of online news?

Could one of the country’s top civil servants like the Home Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam be openly and blatantly telling a lie when he was reported by Bernama yesterday as saying that the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 would be amended to expand its scope and include publications posted online and “plug loopholes”?

Mahmood had said that the Home Ministry was looking at the definition of “publication” and whether it should include Internet content, blogs or Facebook to expand the Act due to the changing landscape of the digital era.

Expressing the hope that the amendments will be tabled in Parliament by March this year because “we need to overcome weaknesses, especially those involving multimedia content”, Mahmood said the ministry was working with the Attorney-General’s Chambers to study the proposed amendments.
Read the rest of this entry »


RCI into TBH’s mysterious death fulfilled only one of three criteria needed to fully satisfy public demands for a credible, high-level, wide-ranging and no-holds-barred probe

The Royal Commission of Inquiry into Teoh Beng Hock’s mysterious death fulfilled only one of three criteria needed to fully satisfy public demands for a credible, high-level, wide-ranging and no-holds-barred probe.

I had yesterday given the instant comment that the Royal Commission of Inquiry announced by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is “a step in the right direction” as it has an expanded scope to investigate into the cause of Teoh’s death at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters at Shah Alam on July 16, 2009 – as Najib had earlier announced with full public support by the MCA President Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek that the RCI is only tasked with investigating MACC’s “investigation procedures” but specifically excluded from probing into the cause of Teoh’s death.

It was this limitation of the RCI from further probing into the “Open Verdict” of the Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas in Teoh’s inquest excluding suicide as the cause of Teoh’s death and the important finding of Teoh’s pre-fall neck injury, which had caused nation-wide consternation and outrage – further compounded by the refusal of the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail to give public accounting whether he was seeking to revise the Coroner’s “Open Verdict” to reject the finding excluding Teoh’s death as caused by suicide!

If Gani Patail had not wanted to revise the Coroner’s “Open Verdict” by striking out its finding excluding suicide as the cause of Teoh’s death, why didn’t the Attorney-General immediately exercised his powers and duties under Section 339(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code to take action and direct the police to initiate investigations against those MACC officers who must be held responsible for Teoh’s prefall neck injury and to get to the bottom of the truth about the relationship of Teoh’s prefall injury to his death?

While the RCI’s terms of reference now cover the cause of Teoh’s death, it scope has been narrowed from that originally announced by Najib in July 2009. Read the rest of this entry »


Mukhriz’ “bizarre” dismissal of GFI report Malaysia lost RM888 billion in 9 years in illicit capital outflows – a pre-emptive Mahathir strike to forestall full inquiry into corruption and financial scandals under his premiership?

International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Mukriz Mahathir said today that the government will not look into claims by international financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI) that Malaysia had suffered illicit financial outflows in excess of RM888 billion or US$291 billion due to corruption and mismanagement between 2000 and 2008.

He categorically dismissed the GFI report listing Malaysia as the world’s top-fifth country with illicit financial outlays in the past decade due to corruption and bad governance as bizarre.

Mukhriz told a press conference after launching Google Malaysia’s new office in Kuala Lumpur:

“We do not see the need to look into it. If you go through the report, they have made quite a few bizarre claims against several countries.

“Going by Bank Negara’s figures, we know how much exactly is going out so you can hardly consider those figures (from GFI) as factual.”

Who is this “we” – Mukhriz and Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak or Mukhriz and his father, former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohhamad? Read the rest of this entry »


MPs say press law changes will drive investors away

By Clara Chooi | The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — Opposition lawmakers piled criticism today on the government’s plan to regulate online media content, predicting that the move would see severe voter backlash and hamper investor confidence in Malaysia.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang told The Malaysian Insider today that the Najib administration’s latest attempt to quell online dissent was a clear violation of the Barisan Nasional government’s pledge not to enforce censorship on the Internet.

The promise, he noted, was made under the 10-point Bill of Guarantees (BoGs) of the Malaysian Multimedia Super Corridor launched in 1996.

“They should be aware of this violation and if they proceed with this, they will frighten away investors.

“If the guarantee is not honoured, investors will view Malaysia as losing its credibility,” he said when contacted.
Read the rest of this entry »


The right to know one’s history

By Mrs Sheela | CPIASIA

The teaching of History at the secondary school level is shrouded in controversy due to the apparent inaccuracies, biased representations and distortion of facts.

At the primary school level, Malaysian history which is examined in the subject ‘Kajian Tempatan’ (local studies) fares no better.

Consider the subject matter and emphasis taught at the Year 5 level. A government approved textbook comprising 98 pages focuses on two main segments or themes i.e. ‘Tema mengenal negara kita’ (to know our country) and ‘Tema sejarah negara kita’ (the history of our nation). In the first segment, seven pages are devoted to Malaysia’s geographical position, 11 pages to topography, 16 pages to climatic conditions and another 13 pages to wildlife, flora and fauna. Well and good.
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Youths in BN T-shirts heckle Guan Eng

By Regina Lee and Kuek Ser Kuang Keng | Malaysiakini

The welcome given to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng at two back-to-back functions in this small constituency of Tenang last night were poles apart.

While Lim was given a rousing welcome when he arrived for his first ceramah in Bandar Labis Tengah, it was a totally different scene in the night, in Felda Chemplak Barat.

As early as 5pm, reporters were told that Umno supporters would “demonstrate” against Pakatan Rakyat at the settlement around 8pm, when Lim was expected to arrive.

It was only around 9pm when about 30 youths wearing BN T-shirts gathered some 20 metres from the PAS ceramah venue.
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