Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pemimpin itu ibarat penoreh upahan, jadi menorehlah dengan jujur - Jangan curi-curi jual sekerap

Pemimpin itu ibarat penoreh upahan, jadi menorehlah dengan jujur - Jangan curi-curi jual sekerap


Pemimpin itu ibarat penoreh upahan, jadi menorehlah dengan jujur - Jangan curi-curi jual sekerap

Posted: 14 May 2011 10:32 AM PDT

Keadaan berubah dengan masa. Itulah sebabnya Islam mengingatkan yang kita mesti hidup mengikut masa dan zamannya. Apa-apa agama pun menyatakan yang perubahan itu adalah satu elemen yang tidak dapat di elakkan. Sedangkan secara fisiknya dunia ini pun berubah. Jika kita tengok peta dunia sebelum dan selepas 'ice age' misalnya, perubahan dalam bentuk dunia pun berubah dengan begitu besar.

Manusia sentiasa berubah dari muda sehingga tuanya usia. Semasa muda manusia mampu melakukan banyak kegiatan yang memerlukan tenaga, tetapi manusia itu berubah menjadi matang dan tua dan dituruti dengan tenaga dan kudrat yang berkurangan. Semua makhluk berubah dan tidak statik.

Pemikiran kita berubah dari masa ke semasa dan dari zaman ke zaman yang lain. Persepsi terhadap sesuatu perkara berubah dan perubahan ini akan memberikan reaksi kepada pihak lain kerana memang satu principle kepada sains yang menyatakan 'in every action there will be reaction'.

Hidup ini ibarat pusingan roda, kadangkala diatas, kadangkala di bawah. Tidak ada siapa yang dapat mengelak dari pusingan ini. Begitu juga kuasa; kita berkuasa di satu masa dan akan hilang kuasa itu pada suatu hari nanti. Kuasa itu akan datang atau hilang bergantung kepada perlakuan sendiri. Tidak ada kuasa yang hilang disebabkan kesalahan pihak lain.

Dunia ini berubah dengan sendirinya jika kita lihat dari zahirnya. Tetapi pada hakikatnya ianya berubah dengan afa'al tuhan atau dalam erti lainnya adalah disebabkan kehendak dan gerakNya. Kadangkala kita lupa bahawa kuasa yang paling dan Maha besar adalah kuasa Tuhan, dan selalu kita merasakan kuasa kecil yang dipinjamkanNya itu adalah hak kita untuk selamanya. Ingat kata-kata ini, 'The earth is much more intelligent and putting all human minds together'.

Saya menyebut isu ini kerana kita selalunya mendabik dada yang hanya kita sahaja yang mampu membawa pembangunan dan orang lain tidak berkeupayaan. Kitalah yang telah membangunkan negara, kitalah yang telah mencipta segala kejayaan, kitalah yang membawa penyatuan umat, kita adalah contoh kepada seluruh dunia dan semuanya kita. Kita telah mengambil segala keizinan Tuhan kepada kita seperti orang yang kufur nikmat. Semuanya adalah 'kerana aku..aku…dan…aku…seolah-oleh tidak ada Tuhan yang bersifat mukhalafah dan manawi di sebalik segala-galanya.

Tidak ada unsur maknawi yang lain apabila mendapat kejayaan selain dari kita dan parti kita. Segala kuasa ghaib dinafikan; hanya kita..aku…kita dan aku. Tuhan telah pun menunjukan sedikit demi sedikit untuk kita mengakui bahawa kuasa yang ada kepada kita ada PEMILIK MUTLAKNYA. Kita hanyalah peminjam sementara semata-mata.

Sedikit demi sedikit kuasa pinjamanNya telah diambil balik oleh pemilikNya, tetapi kita masih merasakan yang kita adalah pewaris kepada segala kuasa dariNya. Kita sedang diintai-intai oleh kelemahan dan kegagalan kita sendiri.

Kita sudah tidak dapat membezakan dua bentuk kesalahan hina yang sama, sehinggakan kesalahan yang dilakukan oleh orang lain itu sahaja yang hina sedangkan kesalahan yang sama atau lebih hinanya yang kita lakukan tidak diperbetulkan. Kesalahan oleh pelaku seks haram itu sahaja yang salah tetapi salah guna kuasa dan rasuah itu tidak beberapa besar kesalahannya.

Kita lupa pelaku seks haram yang diintai dan dirakamkan itu merupakan dosa besar kepada Tuhan tetapi dosa rasuah itu adalah lebih besar kerana ianya melibatkan manusia lain. Lain-lain perkataan ianya adalah kesalahan sesama manusia dan isunya ialah isu 'hablum minan naas'. Ianya melibatkan harta dan wang ringgit manusia yang kita diamanahkan untuk memimpin.

Setahu saya isu 'hablum minan naas' adalah lebih besar dari isu 'hablum minallah'. Allah itu Maha pengampun dan pengasih dan dosa dengan Tuhan mudah terampun dari dosa kepada manusia lain apatah lagi dosa kepada rakyat yang puluhan juta ramainya.

Itulah sebabnya dosa kepada rakyat cepat mendapat balasan. Jika kita orang politik maka kita akan hilang sokongan dari mereka. Sebagai pihak yang memerintah parti kita sedang pemerhatian rakyat dan jika kita masih tidak berubah cara pendekatan kepada mereka kita tidak mustahil ditinggalkan oleh mereka kerana mereka tidak ada apa-apa 'obligation' terhadap kita.

Hanya kita sahaja yang merasakan yang mereka mesti membalas budi kepada kita sedangkan hakikatnya kitalah yang sepatutnya membalas budi rakyat yang telah memberikan mandat untuk mentadbir negara yang dianugerah kekayaan yang melimpah ruah.

Isu membalas budi tidak lagi menjadi bahan kempen yang sesuai kerana pemimpin dibayar gaji dan elaun yang besar untuk mentadbir mereka. Mereka yang mengupah pemimpin kita untuk mentadbir negara. Itulah sebabnya apabila mereka melihat pemimpin-pemimpin yang mereka upah itu tidak melaksanakan tanggungjawab dengan jujur mereka ada hak untuk mengganti manusia lain untuk diupah mentadbir negara. Sebenarnya pemimpin itulah hamba kepada rakyat, bukan sebaliknya.

Rakyat mentertawakan pemimpin yang meminta rakyat membalas budi mereka sedangkan merekalah yang sepatutnya bersyukur kerana diberikan mandat untuk mentadbir negara.

Kalau kita mengambil upah untuk menoreh getah di kebun seseorang tuan punya kebun ada hak untuk menukar penorehnya jika didapati penoreh yang diupahnya itu tidak jujur dengan menjual torehan itu tanpa pengetahuan tuannya. Jadi pemimpin-pemimpin UMNO ini merupakan mereka yang telah diupah oleh rakyat untuk menoreh getah mereka.

Jadi menorehlah dengan baik. Jangan dicuri getah torehan itu dan dijual tanpa pengetahuan tuannya iaitu rakyat Malaysia yang berbilang kaum ini. Pilihanraya yang akan datang ini ialah proses memilih siapa yang akan menjadi penoreh. Jangan pula penoreh upahan pula yang mengatur dan menggertak tuan punya kebun.

Rakyat sekarang sedang mengira berapa banyak getah mereka yang dicuri oleh penoreh-penoreh si kebun getah mereka. Dengarnya berbillion telah tiris dan telah banyak kerugian yang dialami oleh tuan punya ladang getah itu, iaitu rakyat.

Tuan punya ladang sekarang sudah sedar yang penoreh upahan mereka lebih kaya dari mereka. Isteri penoreh pun glamor gila! Ladang-ladang rakyat yang punya. Mana boleh jadi....

"Tunggu!!!" Kata mereka. "Nanti kami pilih penoreh-penoreh yang lain!!"


KURANG AJAR, BIADAP KATTU PANDIKUTTY MUHYIDDIN TELLS NIK AZIZ SWALLOW THE BITTER PILL

Posted: 14 May 2011 06:33 AM PDT

Asked, however, on the likes of Umi Hafilda Ali, the witness in Anwar's first sodomy trial, who along with several other former PKR members have in the past week been zigzagging Sarawak campaigning and delivering speeches in crude language, Muhyiddin said that she was only telling the truth.
"She could be telling the truth, but for those who have not heard it is rather unusual. For those in the peninsula it is quite usual, although some still don't know about it. She is talking about her experience with Anwar and (Umi Hafilda's brother and PKR deputy president) Azmin (Ali), so voters can make the right judgment about PKR leaders ," he said.
However, he said, Umi Hafilda is not an official BN campaigner and had come on her own accord.
BN never buys votes
He also said that it is not a stretch to expect the opposition to fly in members of the youth wings from PAS and PKR to create trouble on polling day, especially for constituencies where the opposition is not confident of winning.
Muhyiddin also denied all allegations of vote-buying by Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian who claims that votes are being bought for several thousand ringgit per voter in Ba'Kelalan, saying that the BN has always stuck to the rules.
 Today, saw the return of a long lost daughter of Malaysia. A new super heroine is born.
What happened to you, and where were you all these years? Out of nowhere, you returned again to enthrall the nation with your wit. Single-handedly, you brought hope back to our BN government, and you also brought the joy and laughter back to us sober Malaysians. We missed you so much. Our country has never been the same after you left. Caught in the evil clutches of Pakatan Rakyat, our country is slowly being run to the ground.
But since your return, you've made the headlines again; fame has followed you, and hopefully fortune will too!!
Already on the lips of everyone, you have been called the saviour of the nation; while there are others who named you the Second Messiah.
Your message to everyone to piss on Anwar was incredible.
Kinky fans of yours salivate at the thought of Anwar lying on the ground and you squatted squarely over his face, while a fountain of whisky-colored liquid comes pouring forth. As Anwar screams, how therapeutic for the BN and how lady-like of you – our heroine -  to share this secret formula of yours with the rest of the nation.
Beach TGP
                                                     

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"She could be telling the truth, but for those who have not heard it is rather unusual. For those in the peninsula it is quite usual, although some still don't know about it. She is talking about her experience with Anwar and (Umi Hafilda's brother and PKR deputy president) Azmin (Ali), so voters can make the right judgment about PKR leaders ," he said.
However, he said, Umi Hafilda is not an official BN campaigner and had come on her own accord.
BN never buys votes
He also said that it is not a stretch to expect the opposition to fly in members of the youth wings from PAS and PKR to create trouble on polling day, especially for constituencies where the opposition is not confident of winning.
Muhyiddin also denied all allegations of vote-buying by Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian who claims that votes are being bought for several thousand ringgit per voter in Ba'Kelalan, saying that the BN has always stuck to the rules.
NONE"Biasalah you(That's typical of you to ask that), I think people here won't buy these kinds of allegations. The BN has never done so, and I don't know if the opposition is doing so out of desperation, although I'm not accusing anyone. We never break the rules," he said.
Another incident to make Malaysia a "laughing stock"
a religious teacher, just before he died, wrote an open letter to the Harakah detailing the reasons he had disowned her and, in no uncertain terms, implicated her as the prime mover behind Azizan."Ummi's father died broken-hearted without ever forgiving his daughter for the role she played in framing Anwar of sodomy charges," related Fernando.
Fernando had earlier read out Azmin Ali's (Ummi's brother) testimony in court that proved she played an active role in the whole conspiracy.
The prosecution never called her to testify in court to rebut this allegation, added Fernando. Instead they expected the defence to call her. The judge, in fact, even mentioned this point in his written judgment. "But Ummi would have been a hostile witness so it should have been up to the prosecution and not the defence to call her," argued Fernando.Fernando said that the court should have invoked Section 114 (g) of the Evidence Act on the prosecution for failing to call a most crucial witness to testify in court.
Fernando then took the court through the testimony of Raja Kamaruddin Raja Wahid, a.k.a Raja Komando, who had, in fine detail, revealed how the conspiracy against Anwar originally unfolded and the role he was given in this whole conspiracy.
"The evidence of this witness will show he was invited to join the conspiracy with a view to topple the Deputy Prime Minister," said Fernando.
"The meeting was held in the office of Aziz Samsuddin, the Prime Minister's Political Secretary, on 26 June 1998."
In the meeting, revealed Fernando, Aziz confirmed that Ummi and Azizan would pose no problem as "Ummi is a prostitute".Raja Komando then asked Aziz whether there was any other way to bring Anwar down.According to Raja Komando, "Aziz replied sodomy would be the best way. Other ways would have no affect.""Raja Komando's role was to manage the political assassination part of the exercise," added Fernando. "The sodomy allegation was assigned to Ummi and Azizan."
"Raja Komando was to disseminate the allegation as far and wide as possible. He was also to spread word that Anwar is a CIA agent."From what Fernando told the court today, it was clearly established in the meeting Raja Komando had with Aziz Samsuddin that he (Aziz) was the Chief Conspirator and that, while Ummi had written the purported "Azizan" letter to the Prime Minister accusing Anwar of sodomy, Aziz was the one who had edited and redrafted it.
The letter, Fernando said, was based on the book "50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot be PM" Рwhich somehow found its way into the attach̩ bags of almost 2,000 delegates at the Umno General Assembly that year."The judge did not give this evidence the weight it deserved," argued Fernando. "He erred, grossly.""If he had given the evidence the weight it deserved, would he have arrived at the judgment he did?"And what about the tragedies befalling the rest of the gang of conspirators? Remember what happened to Aziz Samsuddin, Dr Ristina Majid, Megat Junid, Mohtar Abdullah, Ummi Hafilda Ali, Azizan Abu Bakar, Hamzah Zainuddin, Rahim Thamby Chik, Daim Zainuddin, etc.?
The only two remaining yet to hit the dirt are the AG and the IGP. These two are still awaiting judgment on earth. And when it comes it will come hard and brutal. So stay tuned to see how the remaining scumbags find their faces hitting the shit in time to come
Sex and RM100 million – could anyone ask for more!
The 44-year old sister of one of Anwar's staunchest assistants Azmin Ali has been going around the nation badmouthing the Opposition Leader, her own brother, sister-in-law and niece.
Yet Umi sees nothing wrong in slapping a suit on her ex-business partner when he threatened to do the same to her – which is to tour the country and wash her dirty linen.
Datuk Najib Altantuya and Nor Azman tell-all would be a sell-out tour
If both were to set up stall at side-by-side venues, few Malaysians have any doubts that the crowds would throng Nor Azman's "ceramah" rather than hers.
After all, he can be counted to talk about how it was like to sleep with her in 1998 when she was just 31 years old, while she can only hope to draw fresh laughter with her protestations of virginity.
Nor Azman is also bound to rehash what he told the court in 2001 that Umi had offered to give his ex-wife RM200,000 so that Umi and him could get married and elope to London. Nor Azman was not only married but also had two children at that time.
Umi has previously denied Nor Azman's allegations, which also included a RM10 million advertising deal from a Tourism ministry unit.
She is once again denying his allegations and is seeking an injunction to stop him and Malaysiakini from repeating or publishing further 'defamatory' statements about her.
"Baginda is merely a tool used by Anwar to defame me," she told reporters on Thursday.
She also denied she was taking legal action because she was afraid Nor Azman would smear her with his proposedceramah tour.
Coincidentally, PKR is finalising a D.N.A or Datuk Najib Altantuya tour and there has been talk about combining it with the Nor Azman tell-all.
Fears have run high in the Umno camp that with such a star-studded lineup led by the PM himself, his alleged but murdered ex-mistress Altantuya, his current and overly ambitious wife Rosmah Mansor, a still-virile Nor Azman and a still pretty Umi, the PKR ceramah might become too popular and lift Anwar off onto a new wave of mass popularity.
Meanwhile, in her 18-page statement, Umi claims Nor Azman and Malaysiakini's March 15,2010 article implied:
  • that she was a desperate businesswoman who wanted more business opportunities
  • an immoral woman
  • a woman with many scandals
  • a lady who practises pre-marital sex
  • a person who cannot be trusted
  • a woman who is not truthful
  • a cheap woman who could be paid to do anything
  • a liar
  • a person who is willing to lie in court
  • was a person responsible in bringing allegedly present victim Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in the present sodomy case.
Ummi confesses to being the architectthe Anwar sodomy allegation; a purely fabricated charge
During the earlier trial, it was revealed that the Special Branch tried to convince Anwar to "take action" but that Anwar refused, until pressed further by the Director who said it was "for the sake of national security" before Anwar agreed that action be taken.
In a new twist to the Anwar Saga, it was revealed that Ummi Hafilda Ali was the architect behind the accusation that Anwar had sodomised Azizan Abu Bakar. And, for this, she was disowned by her father just months before he died of a broken heart.
Christopher Fernando told the Kuala Lumpur Appeal Court that Said Awang, the Director of the Special Branch, went to meet Azmin Ali, Ummi's brother, who was then Anwar's Chief Private Secretary, to solicit his (Azmin's) assistance to persuade Ummi to retract the allegation that Anwar had sodomised Azizan.
What is most interesting by this revelation is that:
1. Said Awang went to meet Azmin BEFORE he met Anwar. Therefore, the allegation that Anwar had abused his position by summoning the Special Branch, and that he asked them to force Ummi and Azizan to withdraw the sodomy allegation, is a fallacy. In fact, it was not Anwar who summoned Said Awang to see him, but the Special Branch Director who took the initiative to meet Anwar.
2. The idea to persuade Ummi and Azizan to retract the sodomy allegation came from the Special Branch and not Anwar. During the earlier trial, it was revealed that the Special Branch tried to convince Anwar to "take action" but that Anwar refused, until pressed further by the Director who said it was "for the sake of national security" before Anwar agreed that action be taken.
3. The Special Branch was fully aware that it was Ummi who was behind the sodomy allegation and that Azizan was merely the instrument to the whole thing. That was why they wanted Azmin, her brother, to try to persuade Ummi to retract the allegation.
This sheds light on the previous day's proceedings where Fernando revealed that Azizan testified three times, under oath, that Anwar never sodomised him – an admission that took even the trial judge aback.
Fernando related how Said went to meet Azmin to request a meeting with Anwar Ibrahim. In the meeting with Azmin, Said asked him whether Ummi is his sister and Azmin confirmed so.
Said Awang then asked Azmin whether he was able to persuade his sister to withdraw the sodomy allegation against Anwar but Azmin replied that would be impossible as he no longer talked to his sister since the allegation surfaced.
The Special Branch was aware that Ummi was behind the accusation and was, in fact, the plotter of the whole thing. And, the period when this discussion with Azmin was going on, the Special Branch had not met Anwar yet.
Azmin then called the family together to discuss the issue. In all, three meetings were held that included Ummi herself.
Ummi at first denied she had written the letter to the Prime Minister accusing Anwar of sodomy. Azmin then advised his sister to steer clear of the conspiracy, and that was when she admitted this would be impossible to do as she had been promised money and contracts for her role and, in fact, money had already changed hands.
Ummi later confessed to her father her involvement in the conspiracy and that it was actually she who had written the letter to the Prime Minister. The father, a religious teacher, then disowned her and, soon after, died of a broken heart, never forgiving his daughter for what she had done.
A defence witness in the sodomy trial of jailed former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim told the High Court today that he had sex with star prosecution witness Ummi Hafilda Ali.
"I had sex with Ummi in London," said Norazman Abdullah @ Baginda anak Minda to the murmurs of those seated in the public gallery.
The 40-year-old Iban told judge Arifin Jaka that he had known Ummi since 1992 but their relationship only became close when they were in London in June 1998, together with businessman and former MP S'ng Chee Hua (who was Norazman's boss then) and another friend.
"When we returned to Malaysia, Ummi told me that she would give my ex-wife RM200,000 so that we (Ummi and I) could get married and elope to London," Norazman said, adding that he was then married with two children.
"Ummi also told me that I would have a 25 percent share in a RM10 million advertising project," he added.
Ummi, who made court appearances during Anwar's corruption trial last year in designer attire and matching accessories, had told the press that she "is still a virgin".
She, together with former driver of Anwar's wife, Azizan Abu Bakar, wrote letters to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad alleging Anwar had committed sexual misconduct.
They later retracted their allegations and said they wrote the letters under coercion and on "mere suspicion".
"In the beginning, Ummi told me that the sodomy allegations against Anwar were true. But later, after our relationship became closer, she confessed that they were all fabricated," Norazman said.
He also told the court this morning that Ummi told him she "forced" Azizan to confess that he was sodomised by Anwar.
"Ummi told me that she did it because she hated Anwar and her brother Azmin Ali as they both did not give her any business projects.
"She also said that when Anwar was toppled from power, she will get an advertising project at Kuala Lumpur International Airport worth RM10 million from Tun Daim Zainuddin (business tycoon turned finance minister)," Norazman said.
He, however, added that he did not ask Ummi how she forced Azizan to make the confession.
Norazman, who is now a farmer, also told the court that while they were in London, Ummi had told him that Mahathir was the man behind the "50 Dalil: Mengapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Jadi Perdana Menteri" ("50 Reasons Why Anwar Cannot Become Prime Minister") book.
"She also told me that Daim, (former Malacca chief minister) Rahim Tamby Chik and (Umno executive secretary) Tengku Adnan Mansor were involved in the fabrication of the sodomy charges in the book," he said, in response to a question from defence counsel Gurbachan Singh.
According to Norazman, Ummi also told him that Khaled Jeffri was the writer of the book while (former finance minister) Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Daim and Tengku Adnan were the sponsors.
He added that Ummi called him one night in August 1998, and said that her father had disowned her because she had given false information for the contents of the book.
"Ummi called one night and said that she could not sleep and wanted to meet me as her father had chased her out of the house," he said.
Ummi's brother Azmin Ali, who was also Anwar's former private secretary and now state assemblyman for Hulu Klang, had testified earlier that Ummi is not the person she portrays herself to be and was disowned by her father in late 1998 "for running away with a married man overseas." ("[#1]Ummi eloped with a married man, says Azmin[/#]", April 7.)
Norazman also told the court that Ummi told him that she had written a letter to Mahathir but the contents (of the letter) were later amended by Aziz Shamsuddin, who was then the political secretary to the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, the prosecution refused to cross-examine the witness, saying that his evidence was merely hearsay.
Lead prosecutor Abdul Gani Patail told the judge: "Unless and if Ummi is called to testify, this evidence is all useless."
The court will resume on Friday as Anwar's lawyers said that the rest of their witnesses, including Daim, deputy education minister Aziz, former consumer affairs minister Megat Junid Megat Ayob and his wife Ziela Jalil would only be called in if Mahathir was allowed to testify in the trial.
Arifin yesterday said that he would announce his decision on the application for Mahathir's testimony in court on Friday. The defence and prosecution had argued over the relevance of the prime minister's evidence for more than three weeks.
Anwar, currently serving a six-year jail term for corruption, is on trial for sodomy and sexual misconduct.
He and his adopted brother Sukma Dermawan are charged with sodomising Azizan at Sukma's apartment on "one night at 7.45pm, between January and March, 1993″.
Anwar has repeatedly denied all charges and said they were fabricated by political rivals to end his political career.
It was clear, from the testimony in court, that Azizan's letter to the Prime Minister had been written by Ummi. Ummi had confessed to this. Azizan, in turn, during the course of the trial, admitted that Anwar did not sodomise him.
However, when the defence tried to bring up this very crucial bit of evidence during the trial, the trial judge disallowed it. The judge refused to allow the letter to be admitted as evidence or to allow Ummi to be called to court to testify.
Ummi's role in this whole thing was clear and indisputable. The fact the sodomy accusation against Anwar was false was apparent. Just before he died, Ummi's father wrote an open letter to Harakah, an opposition newspaper, explaining the whole matter and, in no uncertain terms, accused his daughter of involvement in the conspiracy to frame Anwar and of being the person who wrote the letter to the Prime Minister.
Had the judge allowed this crucial bit of evidence to be admitted, argued Fernando, it would have changed the entire complexion of the case and the judge would have been hard-pressed to find Anwar guilty.
Attempt after attempt was made to frame Anwar of sexual misconduct charges; and Pak Lah is involved too
"There was an evil plot to secure a conviction through devious means," said Christopher Fernando on the second day of Anwar's appeal hearing in the Kuala Lumpur Appeal Court.
Fernando then told the court that attempt after attempt was made to frame Anwar on sexual misconduct charges.
One such case was Dr. Munawar Ahmad Anees, then one of Anwar's speech writers, who was arrested and subjected to physical and mental torture to force him to admit he had a homosexual relationship with Anwar.
Fernando then took the court through the lengthy Affidavit signed by Dr Munawar on 7 November 1998 that detailed the experience he went through at the hands of the Malaysian police.
The torture he endured finally broke him and he admitted to the 'crime', which he later retracted in his Affidavit.
Fernando then brought the court's attention back to the Manjeet Singh Dhillon matter that was raised in court yesterday to emphasis his point of yet another attempt to frame Anwar.
At this point, Fernando called upon the court to recommend a Royal Commission of Inquiry be established to investigate Manjit Singh Dhillon's serious allegation against Abdul Gani Patail and Azhar Mohamad as this is a most serious matter affecting the administration of justice and the rule of law.
"If they are found not to be involved in extorting fabricated evidence, then their names will be cleared," said Fernando. "It will be to their benefit."
"If they are involved, then they ought to be brought to justice. That is the only way to resolve this pressing problem and to restore public confidence."
Clearly there was a concerted effort to frame Anwar. But these attempts were not confined to Malaysia. It also extended to the shores of the US as well, argued Fernando. One case in point was an incident involving Jamal Abder Rahman.
"We are trying to show a pattern, how witnesses were approached to give fabricated evidence and these efforts extended beyond the shores of Malaysia to the US," said Fernando.
Jamal is an American citizen of Arab descent who operates a limousine service in Washington DC and had a contract to provide limousine services to the Malaysian Embassy in Washington.
In September 1998, soon after Anwar's dismissal and subsequent arrest, a Malaysian Diplomat, Mustapha Ong, asked Jamal to declare that he had procured women and young boys for Anwar.
"A witness who constantly changes his stand means he is lying," argued Karpal. "And yet the judge declared that Azizan's testimony is 'as strong as the Rock of Gibraltar'."
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
"The prosecution not only wanted their pound of flesh, it also wanted a pint of blood"
Karpal Singh continued where he left off on Wednesday, 26 March 2003, by emphasising that Section 402A of the Criminal Procedure Code is mandatory and there is absolutely no discretion in the matter.
The Kuala Lumpur Appeal Court was told that the date on the charge against Anwar was amended twice; from 'May 1994', to 'May 1992', then to 'one day from1 January 1993 to 31 March 1993'. The defence had asked for a postponement to allow it time to file its notice of alibi but the court did not grant this ten-day grace that it should have under the law.
"This violated Article 5(1) of the Constitution," argued Karpal. "Dato Seri Anwar was deprived of his right under the law."
Karpal said the trial judge had acted prejudicial and irredeemable and he ought not to have sanctioned the prosecution of Anwar.
Karpal then asked the court to consider setting aside the judgement against Anwar.
On the credibility of the prosecution's star witness, Azizan Abu Bakar, Karpal said Azizan gave five conflicting statements at different points of time.
Azizan's statement was recorded under Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code and, under this section of the code, a person whose statement is being recorded:
1. Must answer all questions posed to him. (He/she cannot refuse to answer any question).
2. Must tell the truth. (He/she cannot lie).
3. Anything he/she says can be used against him/her. (Including cited for perjury if he/she lies).
Azizan, who had his statement recorded over five different dates from August 1997 until June 1999, however, kept changing his stand.
"A witness who constantly changes his stand means he is lying," argued Karpal. "And yet the judge declared that Azizan's testimony is 'as strong as the Rock of Gibraltar'."
"Far from it!" said Karpal.
"The duty of the prosecutor is not to obtain a conviction but to administer justice."
"The role of the prosecutor should exclude the notion of winning or losing."
Karpal said that since Azizan made five conflicting statements at different points of time, this "made an improbability of what actually happened."
As for the fact that Anwar was charged in 1999 for an event that was alleged to have happened in 1993, the six years delay would have reduced his opportunity of preparing a proper defence.
"Memories fail with time erasing the ability to recollect happenings six years ago," said Karpal. "A fair trial could not be achieved with such a long time lapse."
"Under section 402A, Dato Seri Anwar's trial should never have taken place. This is a serious miscarriage of justice."
"Your Lordships are bound to rule that Section 402A has been infringed."
The Bench and Karpal then engaged in a debate as to the notice of alibi which, according to the Bench, is to the benefit of the prosecution.
Karpal argued that it did not matter as to whose benefit the notice of alibi may be. It is something mandatory and not something the judge could use his discretion to rule. The defence had made a request for a postponement but the trail judge denied the request.
"The judge did not do his duty. He should have stopped the trial and all the evidence should have been ruled inadmissible."
Karpal then related how the defence had applied for a postponement to allow the investigating officer to investigate Anwar's alibi. The Attorney-General then, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah, stood up to say he had no objections to the postponement.
"However, after lunch, the AG turned turtle and raised an objection."
Even the judge had declared that the police should investigate the alibi. "Then, later, he turned round and said that it is their choice, that it was their discretion if they choose to do so.
"The judge said that it was the prosecution's own funeral if they do not challenge the defence's alibi."
Karpal then told the court that the judge had stated that corroboration is necessary. He then turned around and said he was prepared to accept Azizan's testimony without corroboration though Azizan was an unreliable testimony who perjured himself many times.
"Corroboration is necessary. But, if a witness is unreliable, then, even if his testimony is corroborated, it still cannot be accepted and should be rejected."
Karpal then took the court through Azizan's close proximity (khalwat) case in the Alor Gajah Syariah Court. Because of this case, Azizan's credibility as a witness had been destroyed.
Azizan said he had revealed the alleged sodomy incident because of his "duty and honour as a Muslim."
Karpal said the defence then requested to recall Azizan as a witness to reassess his credibility. The judge, however, would not allow it.
"You can put a label of a thoroughbred on a horse," said Karpal. "But a donkey is still a donkey."
"The judge was not only scraping the bottom of the barrel. He was scraping the outer bottom of the barrel."
The investigation officer had testified that Azizan's testimony had no contradictions. "Then why amend the date on the charge?" asked Karpal.
"Was the judge judicially honest in arriving at the decision that Azizan is a reliable witness who did not perjure himself?"
Karpal then said that medical evidence is prime evidence. "Why was Azizan not sent for a medical examination? This could have corroborated Azizan's testimony."
"The investigation officer admitted that there was still time to send Azizan for a medical examination."
"The judge swallowed the evidence hook line and sinker."
"Allegations of sodomy can easily be made but are very difficult to prove. The evidence therefore must be very convincing."
In any trial, there is the prosecution's case and the defence's case. But Dato Seri Anwar was denied his constitutional right to a proper defence. Anwar, therefore, had only half a trial – which means he had no trial.
Karpal then asked the court to allow Anwar's appeal and set aside the conviction.
"Anwar's prosecution, in fact, ought not to have commenced right from the word go. No man properly trained in the law would have done what the AG (then) had done."
"The prosecution not only wanted their pound of flesh. It also wanted a pint of blood."
"Azizan's evidence has turned to stardust."

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has described the Malay community as victims of fear-mongering tactics by the Malay-language media as well as taken in by the so-called benefits for the Bumiputras.

"Malay society is influenced by the Malay media to fear others.
"As if we're poor because of the Chinese, our house is dirty because of the Chinese, the roads are not fixed, Chinese, no money, prices of goods going up, the Chinese and the Christians," the PKR de facto leader said at the launch of the Urban Renewal Project in Taman Maju Jaya here.
Anwar arrives at Maju Jaya flats PJS 3 for the launch of the Maju Jaya Urban Renewal Project by the Selangor government today. — Picture by Choo Choy May

The latest controversy to rile the country's dominant majority was the "Christian Malaysia" report first published by the Umno newspaper Utusan Malaysia last Saturday.

The Umno daily carried a front-page article headlined "Kristian agama rasmi?" (Christianity the official religion?), claiming the DAP was conspiring with Christian leaders to take over Putrajaya and abolish Islam as the religion of the federation.
Utusan Malaysia's report had been based entirely on unsubstantiated blog postings by two pro-Umno bloggers, alleging that the leaders had taken a pledge during the gathering promising to take over Putrajaya, abolish Islam as the religion of the federation and install a Christian prime minister.
The paper also published a grainy photograph showing what it described as a secret pact between the DAP and pastors at a hotel in Penang last Wednesday.
DAP and Christian leaders have since voiced their rage over the allegations and vehemently denied taking any part in such a pledge.
The Permatang Pauh MP also said that the government had been painting a rosy picture of the country's economy, yet the people had not felt the economy boom.
"They say foreign investment keeps on coming, then there are the landmark buildings, the twin towers, but for the residents, for the workers, what does development mean to us at the bottom? What do we get?
"If the rakyat do not reap the benefits, no matter how many billions are being made, how many booming companies there may be, in 20 years, we will still remain the same," he said.
Anwar, together with other PKR leaders, launches the Urban Renewal Project by painting a wall of the Maju Jaya flats. — Picture by Choo Choy May

The former deputy prime minister pointed out that only a minority of the Bumiputras had reaped the benefits of the specially allotted shares under the New Economic Policy (NEM).

"I want to ask how much Bumiputera shares since the New Economic Policy (NEM) till now, RM5.4 billion for Bumiputras but which Bumiputras? Aren't the Bumiputras in Maju Jaya Bumiputra as well?" he asked, claiming that the money had gone to crony companies and family members of political leaders.
Anwar's PKR leads Pakatan Rakyat (PR) which denied Barisan Nasional (BN) its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority and cost it four states in Election 2008.
BN's dominant partner Umno is now working to ensure it keeps the key Malay vote in the run-up to the next general election, using the media to show up weaknesses in PR.
The media and pro-Umno bloggers have also been playing up reports of a sex tape showing a man resembling Anwar. The latter will know on Monday if he has to defend himself against a second sodomy complaint.


The ADVERT that wouldn't be ...

Posted: 14 May 2011 03:49 AM PDT


Yes, our Recolor May 13th advertisement was not published as our usual media platform The Star and also the other English print media felt that the time is not right for the advert.

We must understand that many in the media want to carry the advert but they want to be cautious. They employ thousands of people, and support many families. That is why, I am not sore about their action and decision. It is just a little test from God, perhaps He wants me to work harder. All of us must work within the parameters that we are comfortable with.

I would be most happy if you could spread the message by reposting, tweeting, facebooking, emailing ,etc

Here's the advertising copy :)

"Let's recolor May 13, breathe new spirit into the date, dilute and eventually erase the negative thoughts and replace them with positive meanings and values."

In the incidents of May 13, 1969, 196 Malaysians perished.



We must make sure their deaths were not for nothing. Their sacrifices must be made a deeply rooted lesson so that nothing like that ever happens again.

How?

First, we need to clearly define what actually took place.

Acknowledge that May 13 occurred, a grave day in which riots and killings happened among us. Many lives were lost. We need to accept that we, as a nation, made a mistake. We let our differences escalate into violence. We need to take collective responsibility.

At the same time, we must also take it to heart that while it was an event of national interest, it was not nationwide turmoil. Only a marginal few got violent while the rest were more concerned for their safety and the safety of others. This was the majority Malaysians; Malaysians who would not hurt their neighbors but instead protected each other from the madness. There are many uplifting stories of Malaysians from all races who kept each other safe from violent rioters. Malaysians with good hearts, people like you and I. Malaysia did not fail in the face of threats.

The lesson we must learn is to stop taking the racial angle. Many, even among the intelligentsia, are still talking about who started it and comparing how many Malays or Chinese or Indians died. Is one life worth less than another? Would you grieve less for a Malaysian from a different race as you? Why then do we try to pin the blame on others, if we all suffered losses? Stop pointing fingers. If we still hold on to racial mentality, we fail to be real Malaysians.

Second, let's recolor May 13.

Each year, we at zubedy Recolor May 13 through publishing books to unite Malaysians. In 2009 we launched 'Have a meaningful Malaysia', a collection of our full-page ads that invite people to consider our shared values through highlighting Malaysian beliefs. In 2010, we released two books, 'A Plea for Empathy' by Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, and 'The Quran and I' by Anas Zubedy.

This year, we are happy to share 'Can we use Allah in the Bible? A Quranic perspective' and 'Allah dalam Bible, boleh atau tidak? Satu sudut Al-Quran'. The purpose of this book is to bring two groups of Malaysians, the Christians and the Muslims, closer. With this book, it is our hope that we will find a way to reconcile with each other.

Please join us and make May 13 a day of Unity. Find ways to understand each other better, bring to light our Unity in diversity and share your stories with children and young people. Organize gatherings and discussions, Unity parties and kenduris. Or simply take a moment and reflect on where we are today and give thanks; we have much to be grateful for.

At zubedy, our programs and actions draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.

THE BOOK LAUNCH

This book is a call for peace and reconciliation. Recently we have seen how religion can become a fault line that divides our society. But this is ironic because the Christians and Muslims are both people of the Book who believe in a Good god.

In discussing the issue of using the term 'Allah' to refer to God in the Bible, this book focuses on two propositions: what the Quran has to say about this issue; and a call for Muslims to be more Muhammad-like and Christians to be more Christ-like in their relations with others, according to the true spirit of their faith.

"Let us resolve this issue and reconcile with one another. Let us do this in ways that do not go against our faith, but ironically, require us to be more true to our calling."

"Allah willing, this book will play a role in helping to calm down the situation and encourage us to reconcile with one another. Allah willing, this book will open our eharts. Allah willing, this book will serve to unite us!"




A response to Ms. D

Posted: 14 May 2011 03:04 AM PDT

Despite our obscurity here at our divisive, racist, hate-mongering Islamophobic blog, despite being blocked by Muslim governments in the UAE, Malaysia and probably elsewhere, occasionally the Mohammedans find us and leave us comments. And that's where the real fun is, for that's when they share with all of us their full-frontal cognitive dissonance. A lack of critical thinking is something of an Islamic trait.

One such commenter, named 'Deeva', recently left a comment at one of our most remarked-upon pieces, 'Why do people convert to Islam' which was first posted way back in March 2006. Her lengthy comment below, in italics, deserves a thorough, point-by-point debunking. 

There are alot of mistakes people make when it comes to Islam...
1. Jihad doesn't mean "holy war" it means daily struggle.. .. Ex. helping someone across the street is a form of jihad.

Deeva has no number two on her list, but never mind. Our Muslim friend would like us to believe that 'jihad' is as innocuous as helping Granny cross the street. Where could we infidels get the quaint notion that Jihad means holy war?  Oh yeah, from the Muslims themselves, as well as their own religious teachings, put this beyond a shred of doubt.

Why do you care if someone converts to Islam?? It won't affect in you in any way!? Are you like terribly bored and you just want to dis on something? There are plenty of other things to argue about...

Argue about something else? As you yourself say, how does this personally affect you, Deeva?  Apparently Deeva believes, as all devout Muslims do, that their belief system should be beyond all questioning and scrutiny. She doesn't bother explaining why this must be so, because to wonder about anything is beyond argument is in itself heresy if not apostasy (disbelief).  In Islam, the greatest crime is not murder, but skepticism and disbelief.

When you torment Islam you are tormenting jesus,David,Moses,and many more prophets and important people in other religions.

Yes, questioning Islam is torment, of course. Anyways, you were saying that Jesus is a prophet of Islam?  This is patently ridiculous, as Jesus taught people that they should love their enemies. When was the last time anyone taught this concept in a mosque or madrassah? And the Quran, something I've read in a language I understand and something this 'Deeva' almost certainly hasn't, is all about fighting the 'enemies of Islam'.  Besides, the only 'prophet' this blog has ever gone on at length about is the sole prophet is Islam, Mr. Mo himself. Without Mo there would be no belief system known as Islam.

Your anger for Islam make people more eager to see what the fuss about Islam is all about and they would want to convert to Islam too.

So, by this logic, if anger for Islam is doing Islam such an alleged service, why do you so strenuously object to what we write about?  Just a minute ago you said that I should never ever criticize Islam. Now, all of a sudden, it's ok?

When you say these mean things about other religions you are making yourself look bad. In my opinion I think your an atheist or a Christian. If other people saw this they would think your representing Christianity and therefore they might think all christians are rude and dis about other religions.

Muslims think my own religious views, religion or lack thereof are somehow relevant. How or why this is, is of course not explained. Heck, why not accuse me of being a Jew?  Everybody knows that everything bad that happens to Islam or Muslims is the fault of the Jews.

People I know (who arnt Muslim) are really disappointed that someone would say these things.

These dhimmified people, assuming they are real, are free to comment here as much as they want and to their hearts' content. As if the beliefs of a misguided non Muslim are somehow more credible than yours.

I am speaking to the person wrote this article.also I am not speaking for me but for other people on my side. I am a 14 yrs old and plz take my word.

So who made you the spokesperson for Islam?  As for me, I don't pretend to speak for anyone besides myself. I am definitely not 14, Ms. D, and take it from me, as you are a young woman, you clearly have a lot left to learn.  Your Islamic elders have clearly hoodwinked you.

Call me ms d. I'd your going to comment on my comment.

Your grammar is clearly missing something here, but I've had my peace for now.  The ball is now in your court.


IF PAS JOIN UMNO-BN A DODGY RECORD ON INTEGRITY PAS WILL BE FINISH LIKE DMK FROM EGYPT TO MADRAS THE ELECTIONS WERE A WARNING THAT PEOPLE WILL NOT TOLERATE CORRUPTION.

Posted: 14 May 2011 02:52 AM PDT

 




Umno Information Chief Ahmad Maslan has vowed to do his best to bring PAS into Umno and Barisan Nasional to unite the Malays. In doing so he hopes to stop Malays from quarrelling among themselves. He said a merger would lead to peace that would benefit not only the Malays, but the other races as well. Ahmad also said that the Malays should regard the Chinese and other races as friends so that they could jointly develop the country.

A classic example of the one-track mind of a typical UMNO Malay Leader, Ahmad is implying that the Malays are quarrelling among themselves and that Malays should regard other races as friends, and Malays must unite so that there will  be peace in the country and Malay and Muslim unity.
This stale rhetoric seems to be part of the UMNO legacy. Yet, while the Malays have grown tired of it, UMNO still capitalizes on it lovingly.
How can there be unity when UMNO continues to belittle the Malays and treat them as fools. Malays watch in amazement and anger when their own Malay brothers are openly disgraced with Sex and Sodomy Charges without any regard for religious sensitivities. The so-called special rights of the Malays never reached their doorsteps even though UMNO continues to hype at it, constantly telling everyone who will listen, while the Malays themselves could only sulk in silence
Reasons for disunity
There are a few reasons why Malays refuse to unite.
Educated Malays and Muslims who can see through the hypocrisy of UMNO and their corrupted ways, their greed and lust for power will choose to disassociate from them. They watch in astonishment at the blatant distortions and the constant hijacking of the religion to enslave the masses. They have seen how their counterparts suffered, lagging behind and struggling to make ends meet while the UMNOputras continue to grow richer and more powerful.
The rural less-educated Malays in the villages shake their heads, at the mention of UMNO, unimpressed with the shouts of Ketuanan Melayu and Bumiputra rights. Malays are openly unhappy with UMNO for their failure to uphold Religion and to reduce the growing economic divide with that of the Non-Malays.
Too cowed in the past, they accept their fate and look onto the Almighty to provide sustenance. But now, the Malays in the rural areas are finally learning to say that enough is enough.
The Malays are really starting to come out of their coconut shells. They want to go forward. They are looking forward to a united Malaysian race, with equal opportunities for everyone, a democratic government answerable to the people, corrupt-free and colour-blind. They can foresee a brave new world without UMNO.
UMNO is incapable of thinking outside the box. Still clinging lovingly to their old ways, their refusal to accept changes has made them obsolete. Their 'constant reminders for the Malays to be patient, spendthrift and accepting of their fate while the other races are moving forward at lightning pace have made the Malays weary of UMNO.
Temptation
Najib's invitation for PAS to join UMNO in the interest of Race and Religion is heating up It is evidently clear that UMNO has stepped up its campaign to woo PAS into a merger. There is no denying the desperation in UMNO as it goes about openly wooing PAS to merge.
Lately, they started a campaign to re-educate the UMNO grass roots of the benefits of a merger saying that the core of Umno's struggle is still to champion the Malay cause and strengthen Islam, while at the same time ensuring fair distribution of the economic pie to all races.
They go on to say that PAS is an Islamic party that has been around for more than 50 years without making any impact on Malaysian Politics and still chalking up limited number of seats in every election.
Meanwhile, PAS – despite championing Islamic ideals – is still a political party interested in gaining political mileage and worldly benefits. It is the only party in the Pakatan that represents the Malays and Islam, while PKR is a multi-racial entity and DAP a multi-racial but still Chinese-based organization.
Sooner or later, PAS may soften its heart and reconsider their stance. It is hard to resist if UMNO is willing to concede half its power to regain their tactical might. UMNO knows that if they are persistent enough, PAS will relent in the end. UMNO has nothing to lose buts its face, and they can hardly wait for PAS to give the green light.
Sooner or later, PAS will forget all the gross injustices that UMNO has waged against them in the past. All the lies about extremism, radicalism, talibanism and fundamental Islamic state will be forgotten as UMNO pretends to play along.
PAS with all its goodness and grace may see it fit to forgive their Muslim brothers and stretch out their hands to prevent them from falling into the abyss.
Crazed with lust, Umno will promise everything
UMNO in their bid to show sincerity will promise everything under the sun to ensure a merger, which will consolidate their power in this country. They will sell out the nation, the Constitution, and the Multiracial Citizens to ensure their survival.
Would a merger be possible, when Unity requires that the Good and the Bad, the just and the unjust, the Corrupt and the Non-Corrupt, the Saints and the Devils, the humble and the greedy the power hungry and the meek to mix and merge?
Actually, a Merger would be suicidal to the nation, to our Faith and to our Race. We simply cannot merge. Trying to unite good and evil is like trying to mix petrol with water. The engine simply won't run. It will have a seizure and the good will go down together with the bad.
While Umno openly disgraces and condemns a fellow Malay leader in Anwar Ibrahim in the foulest way possible, they still continue to preach Islamic Unity. The vile poisons disguised as sweet words continue to spew forth daily from their mouths with forked tongues.
It would be very unwise for PAS to consummate with such a foul entity. In doing so, it will arouse the anger of the true Muslim Malays who have lost complete faith in the BN government.
Although the senior leaders in PAS are wise to the ways of UMNO, the younger leaders may have minds of their own. Their passion for instant power, grandeur and wealth, may cloud their judgement, which UMNO is trying hard to impress upon them.
The constant propaganda by UMNO, that PAS would not be able to realize their struggle for a Islamic State with DAP in the way, does not help either.
PAS doesn't need Umno, Umno needs PAS
The time has come for us to realize that PAS doesn't need UMNO. UMNO needs PAS. The latest fiasco about Malaysia becoming a Christian country is seen as an attempt to blackmail PAS into an Unholy merger to fend of the threat of Christian domination.
PAS president, Hadi Awang's timely statement, calling the BN government to refrain from using dirty tactics to destabilize the nation and pave the way for Emergency rule is a blow to UMNO.
Whatever respect PAS has for UMNO is long gone. UMNO's desperate insistence at a merger, grovelling at PAS' feet, on their hands and knees to beg for their hand in marriage has made it apparent that UMNO has lost total credibility.
Finally, PAS has offered UMNO an olive branch. Resign with honour and join PAS, if they are really sincere to struggle for Malay Unity and Islamic Unity.
For sure, it will be PAS that will make the calls then. Why is UMNO or more specifically the UMNO elite not considering the offer?  Why is UMNO so silent on this matter? Are they too proud to concede to PAS?             -
Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee gestures while addressing her party workers and supporters at her Kalighat residence after her thumping win.
mamata
A happy Mamata Banerjee after winning assembly elections in West Bengal.

From a street fighter to a change agent. And now an icon. Mamata Banerjee's single-handed demolition of the Left Front in Bengal is the stuff legends are made of.

Over the years, the Trinamool Congress supremo has transformed herself from the mercurial, impulsive boss of a regional party to the responsible leader of a state. The metamorphosis has come through times that have been rough, tough and testing. Under her, the Trinamool can now boast of stronger national ambition. All because a hurt, humiliated woman refused to be cowed down.

The impulsive Mamata, who went into isolation after she quit the NDA ministry in early 2001, held her nerve after the Jnaneswari Express disaster in 2006. She carved out a tangible development model for West Bengal using the railway ministry, which helped her earn the confidence of the industry without comprising on her achievements in Singur and Nandigram.

This was not the case in 2001. At the end of polling in the 2001 assembly polls, Mamata flashed the 'V' sign, only to shut herself in her modest home at 30B Harish Chatterjee Street, a nondescript locality in south Kolkata, after the crushing defeat. Those were the days when the only 'mantra' of Mamata's politics was blind opposition to CPM, when she would switch alliance without much thought so long as she was facing away from the Left. This was a time when Mamata liked to hog the limelight in her own party meetings by denying others present an opportunity to speak.
Not any more. "I am not going to resign. Even if there are accidents, I will not quit," she had said after the Jnaneswari Express disaster. For, she had realized that the railway ministry was important for her to do something positive for Bengal before the all-important assembly elections in 2011.

Despite a now-bitter-now-bland relation with Congress and the breakdown in seat sharing arrangement in the municipal elections in 2010, she did not leave the UPA, nor did she throw tantrums, correctly assessing that the relationship with Congress would be necessary to prevent a split in Opposition votes. It would also help immensely if she was on the right side of the Centre in the run-up to the elections. She rejected all overtures by BJP, realizing the importance of retaining Muslim support.

Embracing Rizwanur Rahman's family after the tragic death of the computer graphics engineer could have been part of a shrewd political strategy but the way she did it — with a humane touch — is remarkable and could be a lesson for leaders who would rather maintain a stiff upper lip.

Less obvious, but no less important, is the gradual shaping up of her political ideology. Those who admired Mamata for her raw courage against the CPM — that no other person in the Opposition could even remotely match — could find in her a mature politician who talked about "badal" (change), and not "badla" (revenge against CPM). "I am against CPM, but I am not against communists. There are good people among Left sympathizers, but they should leave the company of CPM which has lost its moorings and deviated from the path of socialism," she keeps repeating in public meetings.

Sensing the depth of the sentiment against forcible land acquisition, she took up in Delhi the question of amending the Land Acquisition Act 1894, a relic of the British era.

Her detractors are often sarcastic about the lack of sophistication in her speeches in public meetings, but this possibly builds a bridge with the poor and the uneducated who still comprise the multitude in Bengal. Her slogan — Ma Mati Manush — could touch hearts more than the Left jargons could.

There have been occasions when her supporters, some from Left background, would sing songs of the IPTA or lyrics from Salil Chowdhury during the anti-land acquisition stir. Mamata would sit in the audience and encourage speakers and singers to harp on the Left cause that the CPM party managers have unlearnt.

In an effort to build mass contact, she would walk tirelessly for miles on 'padyatras', something rarely done these days by politicians used to air-conditioned SUVs or bulletproof Ambassador cars. Mamata took meticulous care to prepare herself for these hardships — insiders say it would not have been possible without regular physical exercise. What is remarkable is her disregard for danger, as she does undergo considerable personal risk in such mass contact programmes.

The change has not come suddenly. The successive reverses in 2001 and 2006 assembly elections and 2004 Lok Sabha election gave Mamata time to reflect. "I would sit alone in Parliament and think," she had said on one occasion. She must have understood that with her brand of impulsive politics it would not be possible to achieve her goal of unseating the Left Front government. Then came Singur and Nandigram and she grabbed the opportunity with both hands. The maltreatment she had received when being brought from Singur to Kolkata in a police vehicle — which she recounted on occasions — must have steeled her resolve to fight till the last. It would have brought back memories of the brutal beating at Hazra crossing.

Gone were the histrionics — past acts like wrapping a shawl round her neck and threatening to hang herself in public or squatting in front of the chief minister's chamber at Writers' Buildings and being thrown out.
Instead, she stunned the government by the way she organized a 'dharna' outside the Nano factory gates at Singur and forced Tata Motors to withdraw, and at the same time garnered support of powerful people for her cause. Instead of trying to hang herself, she went on a life-threatening 26-day fast, knowing that in the land of Mahatma Gandhi fasting is more powerful a weapon than violence.

She also realized it would not be possible to fight this battle on her own along with the band of leaders who had left Congress to join Trinamool, particularly in a state where the Left ideology is deep-rooted.
She needed people who knew the agrarian scene, who could take on CPM on its own turf. Which made her turn to parties like SUCI, to former CPM leaders as well as Naxalites. Some of them played an important role in shaping Mamata's political strategy, helped her in winning the support of farmers in rural Bengal. She became the messiah of all victims of forcible land acquisition in the state and the rallying point of the multitude of poor people who felt left out as they were not with the ruling CPM.

This has admittedly made Trinamool a broad spectrum political party, with people from different walks of life drawn to it. Critics may call it a hotchpotch set-up, but Mamata has made it clear she wants to take everyone along in the road to prosperity for Bengal.

Today, Mamata, too, harps on the need for industrialization. But, she wants to take the public sector route. With the railway ministry under her control, she wants to make railway projects the fulcrum of industry in Bengal. Where private industries are concerned, she wants them to buy land on their own, allowing the market mechanism to operate down the chain. The Left Front's has been a mixture of laissez-faire and state intervention, allowing the private sector to do unfettered business, but the state acquiring land for them. It has paid the price for the confusion too.

Her plain saree, her hawai chappal, her 'jhola bag', her preference to travel in a non-air-conditioned small car, all these make Mamata a picture of plain living. Though her entire life revolves around politics, she is still an intensely private person, who likes to paint, write poems, take care of her mother, get up late but work till late in the night and eat 'muri' and 'telebhaja' over 'adda'. Even during the height of poll campaigning, when Mamata was travelling the length and the breadth of the state, she took time off to return to her Kalighat home on 'Nababarsha', the Bengali New Year's Day, to pay respects to her mother.

Administrative stints are not new to her, she has been railway minister and held other portfolios in the Union cabinet. Now one has to watch how she reconciles her

NEW DELHI: A difference of just 1.2 lakh votes between the UDF and LDF which has translated into a four-seat victory for UDF in Kerala has saved Congress the blushes. With a 3-2 verdict in this round of state elections, UPA-2 has got the breather it desperately needed.

But that's about it. Otherwise, the polls have not given Congress the 5-0 or 4-1 win that many expected. So, the shot in the arm for Congress is not exactly a potent revival tonic. While its troublesome ally, DMK, is on the backfoot after its Amma-wash, its other ally, Mamata Banerjee has scored a thumping win and could get more demanding in the coming days.

Mamata's two-thirds victory on her own reduces Congress to a clapper boy in West Bengal although she may not rub it in because she will need central assistance in big doses to make an impact on her home ground.

The tsunami that buried DMK chief M Karunanidhi and his squabbling progeny in the wake of the 2G spectrum scam is expected to embolden voices calling for urgent anti-corruption initiatives to counter the government's image deficit.

P Chidambaram on Friday acknowledged that there was a "perception of corruption in high places" and said the government needed to put the 2G scam behind quickly, indicating that there might be some action soon.

Although this might hurt DMK, specifically Karunanidhi's youngest daughter Kanimozhi who has been charged in the 2G scam case, it will think twice before resorting to the muscle flexing that has been its trademark.

The Congress is not likely to dump DMK, though. Pranab Mukherjee said as much on Friday. The fact that UPA now has 273 seats in Lok Sabha, enough to scrape past the majority mark, will prevent it from courting Jayalalithaa at DMK's cost. While DMK has 18 MPs, AIADMK has just 9 MPs.

Mamata is expected to be tempered by her need for central assistance. However, on issues like fuel price hike or the land acquisition bill, she will go by her Bengal-centric calculations — one of them being the danger of being dubbed anti-poor in a state where politics will continue to follow a left-of-centre political trajectory.

Mamata has also made it clear that TMC will retain the railway ministry. Mukul Roy is said to be the frontrunner for the portfolio. The Congress would also be worried by the fact that its prospects in TN and Andhra Pradesh don't look encouraging in the next Lok Sabha elections; the two states have given the UPA-2 ruling coalition 60 seats. In AP, from where Congress won 33 seats, Congress rebel Jagan Reddy's win in the Kadapa Lok Sabha bypoll by 5.5 lakh votes could leave the party with a sinking feeling. Even tiny Puducherry holds a mirror to Congress. A splinter group led by former Congress CM N Rangasamy has ended Congress's 12-year rule. Ironically, Rangasamy is seen as an honest leader, a quality that saw a gang-up against him in mid-2008.

The PM is expected to carry out a rejig of the cabinet with efficiency and integrity being the buzzwords. He had promised a larger cabinet shuffle after a limited exercise in January and it is said he might seize the opportunity within a fortnight or so. Inefficient ministers, as well as those with a dodgy record on integrity, could face the axe. Kapil Sibal said the elections were a warning that people will not tolerate corruption.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has assured Anna Hazare that she favours a strong Lokpal Bill to curb corruption. But some members of her own party have been left free to attack the civil society members of the joint committee formed to draft the Jan Lokpal Bill. They have also raised questions over the efficacy of the Lokpal in checking corruption. And, after causing the damage, Pranab Mukherjee, who is also co-chairman of the drafting committee, is sent to issue a statement that the work of the committee will continue despite controversies. The attempt seems to be to show the people that "nobody is clean" but in the process Congress leaders have also made their frustration evident – the frustration of being defeated by the Gandhian ideology to which Congress claims to have a copyright but rarely exhibits in its character.

On April 21, 2011, when the Madhya Pradesh High Court was directing the Economic Offences Wing to file a chargesheet by June 30 against former chief minister Digvijay Singh in connection with the alleged irregularities committed in the construction of a shopping mall during Singh's rule in the state, Singh was addressing a press conference in Lucknow, passing judgment on the efficacy of the Lokpal in curbing corruption. Targeting Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde , Singh said that despite being a strong Lokayukta, Hegde has not been able to curb corruption in Karnataka ruled by the BJP. Singh apologised later when Hegde threatened to quit the joint committee formed for drafting of the Jan Lokpal Bill. Through his statement, however, he not only attacked BJP government in Karnataka and Hegde to scuttle the endeavor but also tried to mislead people by arguing that an institution like Jan Lokpal is useless.

Nobody can believe that Singh is unaware of what Justice Hegde has done in Karnataka. The institution of Lokayukta has been deliberately kept weak by politicians and government in power so that they can get away with their misdeeds. But despite the limitations, Hegde cracked the whip on corruption. He became Lokayukta in 2006 and since he has exposed over 350 cases of corruption in the state and unearthed disproportionate assets of scores of officials and politicians, including mining giants Reddy brothers. But the state government has not taken appropriate action in any of the cases. The powers of Lokayukta are limited, hence he cannot move court to prosecute the corrupt. The law has been made by politicians like Singh. Naturally, no matter how strong a Lokayukta is, the results are not going to be up to the mark. But this does not mean that the Lokayukta or the Lokpal is a useless institution. Give it the power and the institution will definitely deliver.

Digvijay Singh seems to be against a strong Jan Lokpal because as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, he locked horns with the state Lokayukta several times. The most talked about case was the allegations of corruption against two ministers of his cabinet in a land deal. After conducting an inquiry, the Lokayukta in 1998 sought the governor's permission for prosecution. The governor sought advice from the council of ministers headed by Singh. The latter refused to accord sanction saying there was no material available against the ministers in the case. But the governor gave the sanction. The ministers challenged the order in the High Court which ruled in their favour. The High Court order was challenged in the Supreme Court, where a five-member Constitution Bench on November 5, 2004, in a landmark verdict ruled that the governor can grant prosecution against the advice of the council of ministers, if the latter is biased.

Significantly, Justice Santosh Hedge, then a Supreme Court judge, was also in the five-member Bench, which in its judgment observed: "The democracy will be at stake, if the government refuses to accord sanction for prosecution against ministers in matters where prima facie a clear case for a prosecution was made out. It would lead to a situation where people in power may break law with impunity, safe in knowledge that they will not be prosecuted as requisite sanction for prosecution will not be granted." Though by that time the two ministers had resigned, it led to a huge embarrassment for Digvijay Singh. Clearly, a Lokayukta with appropriate legal powers would have been fatal for Singh's government. This explains why politicians like Singh and bureaucrats are against a strong Lokpal. Such an institution would make it difficult for the corrupt to evade prosecution after being caught looting the wealth of the country.

Union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal has raised questions that a Jan Lokpal will not be able to bring children to school or provide safe drinking water. As a loyal follower of Gandhi family, Sibal would be aware that former Congress prime minister the late Rajiv Gandhi had said (later reiterated by his son Rahul) that out of Re 1sent from the Centre for development, less than 15 paise reaches the grassroots, the rest is siphoned off by the corrupt. That's the reason why India continues to suffer despite trillions being sanctioned for the welfare schemes for poor. The Congress has been ruling the country for over 55 years after independence and takes credit of the development done in the country after 1947, hence the responsibility of corrupting the system also lies with it. From 1966 Jeep scam to 2011 2G scam, 100-odd big scams have taken place in India, of which the majority occurred during Congress regimes.

Another argument being given by Congress leaders as well as some members of the civil society that a Jan Lokpal cannot be placed above a government elected by 120 crore people of India. The argument holds no ground because democracy will be under threat if a government refuses to grant sanction for prosecution of ministers or chief minister or prime minister. One cannot be a judge of his/her cause. Further, there is no democracy within the political parties. Sycophancy rules and individuals have become important than ideologies. Also, if one goes by the head count, khap panchayats enjoy majority support in their area of jurisdiction but their decisions taken by majority votes do not become legal if they are against the law of the land. Today winning elections has become the only aim of political parties and in the process, money, mafia, muscle, mandir and masjid have been introduced in the system to influence voters.

Further, no political party can claim to have majority support in the democratic set-up we have. As per the data of the Election Commission, total votes polled in the country in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections were over 41.71 crore, of which the Congress got only 11.91 crore, which was 28.55% of the total votes polled and 16.61% of the total electors in India. The party contested 440 seats and won 206. It gained majority in the 543-member Lok Sabha with the help of alliance partners. The BJP got 18.80% of total votes polled. Total votes secured by all the seven national political parties in the country was 63.58% of the total polled and 36.99% of the total electors. Of total 543 candidates, only 95 got more than 50% votes in their constituencies. A person can become prime minister without contesting any direct elections as a back-door entry, as in the case of Manmohan Singh, through the Rajya Sabha.

The political arithmetic to win elections is not about getting majority votes but how to get maximum votes by applying various caste and community combinations, by fielding dummy candidates, by using muscle to prevent weaker sections from voting, by using money to buy floating votes etc. Ideally, the democracy should be about entire population and not majority alone. The corrupt regimes have been overthrown in the past but their replacements were equally corrupt. People have been forced to accept corruption as an inseparable part of life. Those who deliver after taking bribe are considered `honest'. A section of `disenchanted' people have stopped voting because they know that money speaks whosoever is in power. For poor, who constitute 80% of population, survival is a bigger issue than corruption. A dialogue from the movie Rajneeti aptly defines compulsions of poor in elections: "Bus do roti ka asra de do, kisi bhi rang ka jhanda utha lenge," .

In such a situation, a strong Jan Lokpal is required to save democracy from politicians who have made `politics a business'. According to an study conducted by National Election Watch, the total assets of all the 543 MPs is over Rs 3,000 crore. The number of crorepati MPs in 2004 was 154, which has increased to 300 in 2009. Of 430 candidates fielded by the Congress, 261 were crorepatis, of which 138 won. The average worth of a Congress MP was Rs 3.38 crore in 2004, which increased to Rs 6.86 crore in 2009. The BJP gave ticktes to 177 crorepatis, of which 58 won. The average assets per BJP MP in 2004 were 1.20 crore which increased to Rs 3.06 crore. Among top 10 crorepatis MPs, five are from Congress, three from Nationalist Congress Party and one each from ShiromanI Akali Dal and Telgu Desham Party. Notably, the average assests have doubled between 2004-2009 despite the great economic recession of 2008-09.

All the major scams — 2G, CWG, Radia Tapes, Cash for votes July 2008 UPA I trust vote – have taken place between 2004-09. Politicians take vote from people and work for corporate. Is this democracy? And, why not bring corporate and media (which helped A Raja to become minister) also under Lokpal?

The election centric politics (instead of people-centric) with an aim to grab power at any cost has been then main cause of corruption. Hundreds work for a party but few become MP or MLA. Rest survive on `cuts and commissions' in transfers and postings of officers or by grabbing government contracts. The elections are mostly funded through illegal means. After winning, the office is used to earn several times than investment. The rule of the BJP and other political parties at the Centre and in states have also been no better than Congress on the issue of corruption. Though parties say that they support Anna, they will try every trick to scuttle or dilute it the institution of the proposed jan lokpal. It's not without a reason that the Bill is pending since 1968. Only public pressure can make a strong Jan Lokpal a reality. And, thereafter, as Anna says, we will have to fight a long battle do decentralisation of power and adopt a village-centric Gandhian and Jai Prakash Narain's model of democracy wherein every individual will have say in the governance.

Filed under Uncategorized



Is Yin's A Past Voice I Know WellA?

Posted: 14 May 2011 02:46 AM PDT

Desiderata belatedly caught up with CPI writes, and a SIRname that is quite uncommon in Chinese "Yin" struck a chord with YL Chong, the newshound in me. When I use Desiderata, it's more the Blogger/BUMmer in me, or for creative writes I have some flair for since schooldays. Poet-aSspirant, yes!?

Anyway, that familiar voice could have been a colleague going back a decade in pioneering malaysiakini.com days where I slogged for one year as its inauguralNews Eitor. Those were heady days, and someone describes me as from Jurasic(k:) park -- is it a compliment?

Sdr Yin, if thou art indeed fromer mkini journo, even not of Jurassic age, please drop me a line to say Hi or Lo! Desi offers endless rounds of tehtarik!:):)

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'Utusan' best recruiting agents for Pakatan


Written by Yin Ee Kiong Thursday, 12 May 2011 07:13

First things first: DAP's ban on Utusan Malaysia is wrong. Wrong because it is hypocritical to damn Umno-BN when they ban certain media from covering party or official functions and now DAP is doing the same thing.

DAP banning Utusan is wrong because it is the right of every paper to attend events so that they can report to their readers. Let the readers decide on the veracity of each report and let the authorities deal with the paper if it has overstepped the mark. Wrong because to call for freedom of the press on the one hand and now to ban a paper on the other all only the party does not like what it's reporting is an indefensible position to take.

And wrong again to kick up such a ruckus as it did over the Utusan issue. It is enough to refute such false statements. There is no need for the brouhaha because it is in the opposition's interest that Utusan and their fellow travellers be given enough rope to hang themselves.

So instead of bellyaching, DAP should thank Utusan and Ibrahim Ali etc. With enemies like that you don't need friends.

As we get nearer to the 13th general election Umno-BN is panicking and when you panic you make mistakes.

Mistake No.1

To try to whip up Malay support by playing the race card (Ketuanan Melayu) and then the religion card (Christianity as 'official religion', Christian prime minister). In the latter case, PAS cut the ground from under Umno's feet by saying that it has no objections against a Christian PM.

Worse still, its own cabinet minister Bernard Dompok stated that the Federal Constitution allows anyone of any religion to be PM. He was the only one of the non-UMNO ministers who dared challenge the perception of many that only a Malay or Muslim can be PM. I recall it was also Bernard Dompok who spoke out against the declaration of Malaysia as an Islamic State while the other non-Malay ministers and MPs cowered in fear.

Mistake No.2

To think that the Christians will turn the other cheek once more and remain docile and quiet when false accusations are hurled at them. Sometimes enough is enough! Just as they will not accept the government's position on the use of the word 'Allah', Christians (with the Catholics leading the charge) have started to defend themselves against lies and further erosion of their right to freedom of worship as guaranteed by the Constitution.

Mistake No.3

To think that the average Malay can be easily whipped into a jihad. The average Malay is a decent person, he knows what is right and what is wrong. His religion teaches him tolerance. He is concerned with making a living. And he is just as incensed at the level of corruption and abuse of power as a non-Malay. He too does not like the way Islam is being portrayed by certain of his fellow Muslims.

While the average Malay is concerned with his future he does not want to be dependent on government handouts forever and a day – he has his pride too. But after 40 years of robust racial policies in his favour, he still sees poverty in the kampungs and he wonders why. He wonders if Ketuanan Melayu only benefits certain groups and not those who need help most.

Today's Malays are smart enough not to be used as political pawns in the name of race and religion. But then again like in every community there are black sheep and greedy pigs.

Mistake No.4

To think that money buys everything. Yes, the simple-minded ulu folks are still for sale but increasingly the urban and semi-urban folks know that whatever is promised is not always delivered. And they are sophisticated enough to accept bribes with their head and vote with their heart. They are also less timid these days and are not easily cowed by threats.

Mistake No.5

To think that PAS can still be used as the bogeyman to frighten the non-Muslims. Although PAS has come out clearly that they want an Islamic State, voters know that this won't happen unless PAS can capture 75% of the seats – which is most unlikely. Besides in trying to out-Islam PAS, Umno has made itself unpopular with both the Muslims and non-Muslims. True Muslims know that Umno is hypocritical: How can they promote Islam when many of them do not live an exemplary life as a Muslim? Today Umno is the bogeyman and not PAS.

I say let Utusan Melayu have as much rope as it wants. Let Ibrahim Ali have his say. And let the Muslim NGOs go to town. They are the best recruiting agents for Pakatan Rakyat. May Allah bless them all.


AUSTRALIAN MINER LYNAS CORP CEO, NICHOLAS CURTIS.PATHOLOGICAL LIAR LAUGHED AT MALAYSIAN LAW MP P. KAMALANATHAN WHO LIED ABOUT HIS QUALIFICATION IS NOT QUALIFIED TO TALK

Posted: 14 May 2011 01:36 AM PDT

HULU SELANGOR MP P. KAMALANATHAN WHO LIED ABOUT HIS QUALIFICATION ADDED THAT THE CONTROVERSIAL PLANT WOULD CREATE "HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS" OF JOBS AND BRING BILLIONS INTO GEBENG, WHICH IS A MAJOR PETROCHEMICALS HUB IN THE HOME STATE OF PANDIKUTTY PRIME MINISTER DATUK SERI NAJIB RAZAK.

A nation that cannot uphold its law cannot preserve its order. When Anderson was smuggled out to safety, the authority of state abandoned the responsibility of state. Excuses, evasions and lies have shifted over 26 years; this central truth has not.Trust me: if thousands of politicians, or their cousins, the nouveau riche, had died on that apocalyptic night in Bhopal, Anderson would still be in an Indian prison, rather than in America, protected by his company, and the company that his company keeps. But only the poor died in Bhopal. We treat our poor as dispensable chattel whose death is meaningless in the economic calculus, since there is no shortage of supply. Bhopal is class war.

It is odd that the government should have chosen law and order as its final alibi after some exhausting self-laceration in its search for a credible explanation for the escape of Union Carbide's Warren Anderson on December 7, 1984.

Why do we say "law and order" rather than "order and law"? Simple. Law comes before order. Law defines the nature of order. Law is the difference between civilization and chaos. Law is evolutionary: the edicts of tribes, chiefs and dynasties lifted human societies from scattered peril to structured coexistence. The laws of democracy have vaulted us to the acme of social cohesion, for they eliminated arbitrary diktat and introduced collective will. The divine right of kings is dead; it has been reborn as the secular right of an elected Parliament.

A nation that cannot uphold its law cannot preserve its order. When Anderson was smuggled out to safety, the authority of state abandoned the responsibility of state. Excuses, evasions and lies have shifted over 26 years; this central truth has not.

Unsurprisingly, Anderson sneered at the establishment that knelt before him; contempt is the umbilical chord of the colonial, or neo-colonial, relationship. The crux of the Bhopal tragedy is summed up in a few sentences uttered by Anderson as he was escorted out of India on December 7, 1984: "House arrest or no house arrest, or bail or no bail, I am free to go home…There is a law of the United States… India, bye bye, thank you."

'House or no house arrest': he could not care a damn about those funny-looking policemen (in lathis and khaki shorts?) who had dared to arrest a pillar of the American corporate establishment. 'Bail or no bail': what was a rotten piece of paper signed in an Indian court worth to a lord of Wall Street? Not even the decency of silence. Anderson was publicly, even proudly, contemptuous of those who did not have the courage to interrupt his freedom for a mere industrial disaster in which a few thousand semi-slave Indians had been gassed to death within hours and thousands more would die over years.

'There is a law in the United States': Anderson had twigged on to a basic truth that the law is a malleable reality for those who are "well-connected" in India. How could Anderson have respect for India's law when those entrusted with its sanctity had defiled it? Anderson laughed at Indian law, and jeered at the Indian state. Compare this with the fact that his company was scared witless at the prospect of an American trial. Carbide fought hard, and successfully, with predictable help from a comprador Indian establishment, to shift the trial from America to India. Their subsequent collusion with Indian courts touched Supreme heights.

British Petroleum knew the perils of entanglement with American justice and shelled out within six weeks of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Big Oil (which is far bigger than Big Chemical) has been forced to put aside $20 billion for the repair of the environment after an ecological disaster that has not killed a single innocent human being. Technically, BP need not have paid more than $75 million. The first demand on Carbide, 26 years ago was for $15 billion. It has paid the equivalent of just one billion dollars (at today's prices) for the death of nearly 20,000 people and the horrific maiming of over 100,000.

Barack Obama slipped on a bit of oil himself when the spill began. He thought playing to the gallery would subdue the clamour, while BP contained the damage. He upped the ante (it became an environmental 9/11) even while his National Guard helped BP by hiding affected bird-life from media cameras. Obama began to taunt the British in British Petroleum, perhaps because he found it easier to attack a nation than a multinational; but public opinion was not to be mollified by rhetoric.

BP paid America out of fear, not because of a demand order from its conscience. Carbide had nothing to fear, and never possessed a conscience. QED. BP will not pay a dividend this year. Carbide paid a dividend even after Bhopal.

'India, bye bye, thank you': those famous last Anderson words. Bye bye; this is a divorce, not a separation. There might be some alimony in it, but don't start shopping until the cheque is in the bank.

Accusation is the easy exit route from Bhopal. Introspection will take us back to the beginning. Betrayal is impossible without trust. We did not trust Carbide to be honest. We trusted our political class, and it continues to search for new and inventive ways to betray us again.
Cynicism is never irrational. The irrational, often wrong, sometimes right, are impelled by instinct, heart or even conscience. Cynics are morality-proof. They prefer data to truth.

Delhi has set the gold standard for cynicism. It operates on four axioms: public memory is a dwarf; anger is effervescent; media can be massaged at the appropriate moment; any public crisis can be assuaged with crumbs, while the promotion of private interests continues off-screen.

CEO, Nicholas Curtis.Pathological liar 
"We have perfectly good permission (from the government) to store it onsite, forever," said its CEO, Nicholas Curtis.

As debate continues to rage over the start of the Lynas rare earth plant in Malaysia, the Western Australian government has said it will reject calls to take back the mining company's radioactive waste.

"The Western Australian government does not support the importation and storage of other countries' radioactive waste," the state government leader, Norman Moore told its parliament just last Thursday.
Moore, who is the Western Australian minister for mines and petroleum, fisheries and also of electoral affairs, was replying to Greens MP, Robin Chapple.
Chapple had noted that Kuantan MP, Fuziah Salleh, has been lobbying the Malaysian government to pressure Sydney-based Lynas Corp to take back to Australia any radioactive waste material from its RM700 million rare earths refinery now being built in Gebeng, Pahang.
The Western Australian government's response appears to confirm what the mining giant disclosed to The Malaysian Insider in an interview yesterday.
"We have perfectly good permission (from the government) to store it onsite, forever," said its CEO, Nicholas Curtis.
The world's biggest rare earths producer outside of China started building its plant in Gebeng two years ago and hopes to be able to start operations in September and is awaiting the go-ahead from Malaysia's Atomic Energy Licensing Board (AELB).
Entrance to the Lynas plant.

Fuziah has been the most vocal critic of the Lynas Advanced Materials Plant (Lamp) and has said she is working with the Australian Greens Party to pressure their government against allowing its companies dumping hazardous wastes in Malaysia.

"Now the Australians are saying that it's our radioactive waste, not theirs!" she wrote in her blog last night, in an immediate reaction to the news.
Local residents and environmentalists have countered Lynas' claims that its raw material has only two per cent of the thorium — the radioactive element found in virtually all rare earth deposits — by arguing that the waste would build up over time, especially as it was reported that it would process 10 times as much ore as the Bukit Merah refinery.
"The waste is a sitting time bomb," Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia (EPSM) president Nithi Nesadurai had said.
Lynas has repeatedly reassured critics that its Mount Weld mine Down Under was one of three unique sites with rare earth deposits of very low levels of radiation and should not be compared to the Bukit Merah plant that is still being cleaned up at a cost of RM303 million nearly 20 years after being shuttered.
Putrajaya has also assured the public that the federal government will cancel Lynas's operating permit should the company breach safety rules on radiation.
However, toxicologist, Dr Jayabalan Thambyappa who had treated Bukit Merah residents for leukaemia had warned that it was an eyewash to allay fears of contamination.
Perak residents have blamed the Japanese-owned Asian Rare Earths (ARE) plant there for the increased incidents of cancer and birth defects.
A nation that cannot uphold its law cannot preserve its order. When Anderson was smuggled out to safety, the authority of state abandoned the responsibility of state. Excuses, evasions and lies have shifted over 26 years; this central truth has not.This is a central dilemma: power is too lucrative for anyone to walk away without a shove from the electorate. Some parties have also begun to believe that they can purchase enough voters to ensure victory, but such are the illusions that money tends to induce.

Perhaps our politicians should learn to laugh. It is a good antidote to self-importance. Clemenceau, prime minister of France during World War 1 and a hero to his nation, said, wistfully, upon seeing a pretty girl when he was 80, "Oh to be 70 again!"



Like a good Frenchman, Clemenceau had interests that were larger than politics.

 Lynas Corp has told residents living near its rare earth plant in Kuantan that its RM1 billion investment into the Gebeng industrial zone will be a boon, not bane, for their future despite fears of its radioactive effects.

The Australian miner says its RM700 million refinery and other investments will be "the foundation industry for other high-technology industries that use rare earth."
"This will be of benefit to the next generation of Malaysians," executive chairman Nicholas Curtis told The Malaysian Insider in an interview yesterday, adding that the multiplier effect could result in double or triple the money flow from its initial investment.
"The whole momentum, the workshops we use, the equipment that needs to be built, maintenance contracts. The economic impact is far in excess of our own investment," he said.
Curtis also insisted that the amount of thorium – the radioactive element found in virtually all rare earth deposits – that will be released from the factory would result in "zero public exposure" due to specialised storage dams it is constructing onsite. Studies say radiation is linked to diseases such as to cancer and congenital birth defects, fears of which has led environmentalists and local residents to protest against the project.
Kuantan residents examine the government's point of view before a town hall meeting to discuss the Lynas plant in Kuantan, April 5, 2011. — Picture by Jack Ooi

They have compared the plant being built by Lynas to the Asian Rare Earth (ARE) plant in Bukit Merah that eventually closed down in 1992 after sustained public protests.

Nearly two decades later, the plant is still undergoing a RM303 million cleanup exercise and has been linked to at least eight cases of leukemia, with seven resulting in death.
Although reports say that the plant may generate revenues amounting up to one per cent of the Malaysian GDP, critics have questioned the real economic benefit of the project, pointing to the 12-year tax holiday Lynas will receive after being accorded pioneer status.
However, the government has estimated RM2.3 billion in investments spinning off from the plant that will be ready for operations in September after over two years of construction.
Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Maximus Johnity Ongkili told Parliament last month that RM300 million has already been poured in for two factories in Gebeng that will produce the hydrochloric and sulphuric acid needed to extract the rare earth metals.
Curtis said yesterday that the plant would position Malaysia as a prime hub for high-technology industry as rare earth metals are crucial in applications ranging from the automotive, energy and electronics sectors.
Lynas plans for its Gebeng plant to supply one-third of global rare earth demand outside of China by 2013, with California being the only other site outside of the Asian giant with a similar kind of deposit the company says has low enough thorium levels to be processed safely.
curtis reassuring Gebeng residents about the benefits of the plant. — Picture by Jack Ooi

"Electronics is a big end user but Malaysia is principally an assembler. But this is an opportunity to move from assembler to manufacturer.

"When the full value chain is here, that's 2020, that's knowledge society," Curtis said, referencing Malaysia's plan to be a developed, high-income nation in nine years.
He said that the Gebeng industrial zone could grow into a hub for research and development (R&D), resulting in "distinctive Malaysian intellectual property" as rare earth metals was making cutting-edge products like smartphones, hybrid cars and laptops possible.
Curtis said that of the 350 skilled workers the plant would hire, only a handful of R&D staff would be non-Malaysian, who will be given "the best knowledge in the world on the processing of rare earths and the potential to modify those processes to meet special application needs."
Asked if there was the right skills in Malaysia to fill those positions, he replied, "We advertised for 30 positions last week and received 10 Malaysian applicants per position."
"I firmly believe that the best people to run a plant in Malaysia are Malaysians. It's their home, they will look after it as though it is their home and they will actually be proud of it," Curtis said.

Jairam Ramesh's promise of a Green Tribunal in Bhopal is a classical instance of a crumb dipped in the pickle of hypocrisy. Where was this or any other tribunal in the last 26 years when the dead, the deformed and blind babies and the stillborn fetuses were a reminder that justice must be done? Or is this tribunal meant for the next onslaught by the dogs of chemical war upon the sleeping slums of Bhopal? Who was Veerappa Moily trying to fool when he claimed that the case against Warren Anderson had not been closed? Why doesn't he keep the case open for a few more years, until God closes the chapter by taking Anderson away to whichever destination has been allotted to the butcher of Bhopal? A Group of Ministers has been appointed — merely to buy time until the return of amnesia.

The true Bhopal verdict was delivered within four days of the tragedy, in December 1984, not on June 7, 2010, when Anderson was smuggled out of Bhopal on a state government aircraft and then put on a plane to America. Since then we have witnessed a pretend-justice farce played out by government, police and the judiciary, including the Supreme Court. The last is most culpable, since we hold a Chief Justice of India like A M Ahmadi to higher standards of probity than we do politicians or policemen. Ahmadi got his proper thank you note after he retired.

Chief judicial magistrate Mohan Tiwari's judgment served only one useful purpose. The sheer scale of its magnanimity towards the accused lit a fuse under the volcano of collective guilt. The lava is spewing from myriad crevices, scorching and burning many-layered masks that have hidden deceit for a generation. As memories were stoked, officials, some perhaps frustrated by the fact that their silence had not been rewarded, revealed how successive governments had intervened to slow down the judicial process and sabotage any chance of Anderson's extradition. Union Carbide and its collaborators, including Indians of course, have sustained themselves with a lie, that it was an Indian disaster since the plant was built and run by Indians. The design is an exact replica of an American plant, and an American who was terrified of being tried in India was in charge of management.

The political establishment assumed that June 7 would be just another day in a long calendar, possibly punctuated by an occasional, futile scream. The court was fortified, and entry denied to petitioners, victims and media. My one memory of this courtroom, gleaned from television, shall be of the smug grin of an obese policemen laughing at two old women, their faces contorted by rage and frustration, who knew that the system which had stolen their lives had also cheated their children in death.

Trust me: if thousands of politicians, or their cousins, the nouveau riche, had died on that apocalyptic night in Bhopal, Anderson would still be in an Indian prison, rather than in America, protected by his company, and the company that his company keeps. But only the poor died in Bhopal. We treat our poor as dispensable chattel whose death is meaningless in the economic calculus, since there is no shortage of supply. Bhopal is class war.

Is it surprising — or not? — that while even the Obama administration jumped in with some gratuitous advice, Dr Manmohan Singh had nothing to say? Perhaps the Prime Minister would have been repetitive. In essence, the signal from Washington and Delhi is the same: forget the dead, get on with multinational life.

Barack Obama was not elected to ensure justice for the Indian victim. He is in the White House to protect American business, and defend the two-laws theory that motivates American international relations, whether in war or peace. When 11 American workers were killed in an oil rig blow-up in the Gulf of Mexico, Washington demanded $1.5 billion from BP. Nearly 20,000 dead in Bhopal, half a million affected, and the total compensation is $470 million. Do the math. Obama has promised to penalize BP for the current oil spill to the extent of many billions of dollars. Magistrate Manoj Tiwari wants only Rs 5 lakh as reparation from Carbide for mass slaughter.

When Exxon was fined $5 billion for the Alaska oil spill, nearly $40,000 was spent on the rehabilitation of every affected sea otter. The victims of Bhopal are, so far, entitled to $200 each.

Don't do the math. It may turn you into a cynic.

Welcome to "The Watchdog," which will keep a close eye on regulatory agencies and how their actions impact the lives of everyday Americans. Though the rules and regulations they write — from determining how much arsenic is allowable in your drinking water to whether your favorite TV show can drop the F-bomb in primetime — affect all of us, their deliberations and the way that lobbyists influence their decisions receive very little coverage. To make sense of these debates, follow the implementation of health care and financial reform and decipher the minutia of the Federal Register, "The Watchdog" is on the case. If you have any tips,

The safety plan for any nuclear power plant reads like a doomsday book. Earthquakes, floods, airplane crashes, mass evacuations, terrorist attacks, hurricanes, tornadoes — all are disaster scenarios deemed a risk to reactor safety. The most likely threat, however, involves none of these headline cataclysms.
Fires regularly occur at the 104 U.S. nuclear plants, nearly 10 times a year on average. About half the accidents that threaten reactor cores begin with fires that can start from a short circuit in an electric cable, a spark that ignites the oil in a pump, or an explosion in a transformer. Even a small fire could trigger a chain of events that threatens a meltdown, and some have come close.
Just a year ago, a South Carolina nuclear plant suffered two fires in a single day – ironically on the 31st anniversary of the nation's worst nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. The seven-hour crisis escaped much national notice even though it left half the plant without adequate power or a reliable supply of cooling water for its reactors, a situation worsened by workers' unfamiliarity with the proper safety response.
Despite growing concerns, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission hardly ever issues serious penalties for fires, preferring instead for voluntary compliance and slaps on the wrist, a review by iWatch News found. The South Carolina plant, for instance, received low-level written citations that carried no penalty after the March 2010 fires.
The low-key approach has some safety experts and political leaders worried that America is poised for an epic, yet preventable, nuclear disaster.
"The NRC is to nuclear power today what the SEC was to Wall Street three years ago," said Richard Brodsky, a former Westchester, N.Y., assemblyman who draws comparisons between current nuclear regulation with the lax enforcement that preceded the recent fiscal crisis. Brodsky opposes the two reactors at Indian Point, N.Y., the commercial nuclear plant nearest New York City that could impact the largest number of people anywhere in the country.
The nation's chief nuclear regulator, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko, acknowledges fire concerns have faced too low a priority in the past but he is intent on changing that. "In the last couple of years this has been a significant priority for the agency, and I think right now it has the priority it needs," Jaczko said in an interview with iWatch News.
At the same time, "it doesn't mean we've solved all the problems," he added.
The NRC flexed its muscle Tuesday, issuing a rare "red finding" – its most serious violation - against the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant near Athens, Ala., after investigating how a valve on a residual heat removal system became stuck shut. Officials said the valve's failure could have left one of the plant's emergency cooling systems unable to function in an emergency such as a plant fire.
The Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry trade group, acknowledges the peril. "Fire is an important concern," it says in a fact sheet for investors, executives and policymakers, "because it has the potential to affect critical systems needed to safely maintain and shut down the reactor."
Yet when it comes to this commonplace threat that is more predictable and preventable than tsunamis or earthquakes, federal regulators tread lightly, allowing power companies wide latitude in deciding how to safeguard the nation's 104 nuclear plants, an iWatch News examination of records and interviews with utility industry insiders has found.
For instance, the NRC, the federal agency charged with protecting health and safety, has so routinely exempted utilities from what's on the books to safeguard plants from fires that some companies no longer bother to request an exception. Even when safety flaws are identified, the NRC allows operators to voluntarily come up with their own solutions. And some reactors operate for years on temporary fixes. When blazes recur at the same plant, penalties tend to be minimal.
Fire safety at some reactors now hinges on how long it takes a worker to perform up to 20 tasks such as unlocking cabinets, finding a ladder, locating a fire hose or flame suppressant, checking for radiation, donning protective clothing, and then quenching a blaze — a timed exercise rather than a fix such as reliable fireproofing or a sprinkler system.
Luckily in the South Carolina incident, in March 2010, a backup transformer ensured the reactor core was not damaged. But nuclear industry insiders say the near miss was more serious than has been widely acknowledged. "This is one of the most significant events in years," noted the Professional Reactor Operator Society, in an summary of the event, published last July. Yet the incident resulted in little more than a written slap on the wrist from the NRC. The NRC found no "immediate" safety concerns, and the low-level citations it issued to the owner carried no penalties, documents show.
On other fronts, the NRC has acquired a reputation for being lenient and too close to industry. For instance, despite compelling evidence after September 11, 2001, that reactors could be vulnerable to terrorist attacks, the NRC still allowed many security gaps. And the NRC has allowed reactors to continue operating despite known design problems and deteriorating equipment that could lead to a loss of coolant and fuel damage. At some two dozen of the nation's reactors, spent fuel sits in unsecured, above-ground storage pools — a radiological threat underscored by recent events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The potentially lethal waste in those pools far exceeds the stored rods in Japan.
Of greatest concern at Indian Point, besides whether the plant can withstand an earthquake: Inadequate fire protection and a threat that workers say has been minimized by regulators for years — a major interstate natural gas line that runs 200 yards from the control room.
Indian Point sits 35 miles north of Manhattan.
The current chairman of the NRC, Jaczko, has described his agency's fire protection rules as "an unwieldy and confusing patchwork of requirements." The NRC — with the backing of industry — is trying a different approach to fire safety. Instead of requiring repair of an identified problem, like faulty insulation on electrical cables, regulators will work with utilities to calculate the odds of something going wrong. If the risk is low enough, a repair will no longer be deemed critical to safety.
Under the new plan, utilities can identify possible fire threats, address how likely they are, and say what the consequences would be. On the surface, it seems like a simple, common-sense approach.
However, as a 2006 manual prepared by the NRC and the industry notes, accurate predictions are difficult. Nuclear plants are too complex – too many things can happen. Even though sophisticated computer programs help engineers model how different kinds of fire might move and affect each small space within a reactor, plotted out on grids, certainty is elusive. "There are typically hundreds of thousands to several million grid cells [within the reactor] and thousands to hundreds of thousands of time steps" that must be factored in to each assessment of what could happen, according to the seven-volume manual.
Although the NRC and the industry's Electric Power Research Institute set out a series of fire "models" in the document, the experts are quick to note they haven't thought of everything.
"Given the complexity and range of features in current fire models, it is impractical to evaluate the accuracy of every model output," concluded some of the manual's co-authors in a 2007 article in Fire Protection Engineering magazine. "Users of the report [should] be aware that scenarios falling outside of these bounds have not been rigorously validated."
The NRC will require utilities simply to provide "reasonable assurance" they have "minimized" the probability and consequences of fires, documents show. For instance, instead of fireproofing a critical safety system, the reactor owner can simply send out a worker to sniff for smoke.
The agency calls this approach fire "protection," not "prevention."
Critics complain the new approach is tantamount to gambling. "There's a saying about safety in numbers. Not these numbers," said David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and former NRC instructor who directs the Union of Concerned Scientists' nuclear safety project.
And some engineers within the industry aren't buying it. They have doubts about the approach, saying it's not ready and they'd rather make meaningful equipment fixes than rely on questionable computer models of what could happen.
"There's no way in hell I'm going to jump in this pool until the water settles down," Danny L. Pace, a vice president of engineering at First Energy Corp., told members of an NRC reactor safety advisory committee in December 2010, according to a transcript of the meeting.
Added Pace, whose company owns the Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants in Ohio, as well as Beaver Valley Power Station in Pennsylvania: "I believe we'll resolve these modeling issues. I believe we'll have a more stable environment sometime down the road, but it is not there today. It's full of crocodiles today."
Spending $20 million to move electrical panels around, he noted, might be better than spending $20 million "on analysis." That way, at least the utility would have "really made a fundamental change in the physical plant itself" to enhance safety.
Downplaying risks that have a low probability fits neatly into the overall safety culture that prevails throughout the nuclear industry and those who regulate it. It appeals to many engineers, scientists and others who want to set safety priorities based on the probability of a mishap, not merely the possibility.
But unlikely events do happen. Case in point: Japan.
"The phrase 'it can't happen here' has been a harbinger of trouble in the nuclear industry," said Peter Bradford, an NRC commissioner during Three Mile Island who now teaches about nuclear power and public policy at Vermont Law School. "Specific accidents don't repeat themselves. Failures of reactor owners and regulators to anticipate and defend against remote but not impossible contingencies do."
The nuclear industry is quick to point out that a fire has not significantly threatened a reactor since 1975, when a candle ignited insulation at the Browns Ferry reactor near Decatur, Alabama, burning seven hours, damaging critical cooling system circuitry, and dispelling any thoughts among regulators and industry that fires were not a potentially serious safety threat to a reactor core.
Today, fires are an accepted reality at nuclear plants.
"These are large installations with a lot of electrical equipment, and fires do occur despite all your efforts," said John Butler, senior director of engineering operation support at the industry's Nuclear Energy Institute. "What's important is, are they detected quickly and is the plant response appropriate? That is what needs to be evaluated."

GAPS IN ENFORCEMENT AND REGULATION

An examination by iWatch News of NRC documents, as well as interviews with people who have worked for the industry and the nuclear regulatory agency, show that when it comes to fire threats, gaping holes exist in enforcement, research and planning involving the nation's 104 reactors.
Among the findings:
  • Even as regulators push utilities to "risk-based" fire protection, the NRC lacks information needed to calculate and model the risks. Within the NRC, some existing data, meanwhile, is being challenged as unreliable. For instance, determining how fast certain electrical cables burn — cables vital to a safe shutdown — is still not completed. Internal memos made public by a watchdog group in April disclosed NRC staffers' doubts about whether reactors could withstand a Fukushima-like earthquake or tsunami. The doubts conflict with regulators' public statements that U.S. plants can withstand such events — assertions based on risk assessment data.
  • The NRC has extended 50 reactors' operating licenses another 20 years — despite knowledge that many have unresolved fire hazards. License extensions for 16 more reactors, reaching the 40-year lifespans for which they were engineered, are under review. Included are the two reactors at Indian Point. Although the NRC has promised to review seismic standards before renewing the licenses, it has not indicated it will also review fire protection efforts.
  • Many utilities have made only "temporary" fixes to reactor safety equipment, steps that have remained in place for years.The NRC has not required permanent improvements or repairs and, even with the stepped-up emphasis on fire safety, operators will be given several more years to come into compliance.
  • The NRC has knowingly allowed utilities to rely on worthless fireproofing insulation.The issue, which first arose in 1989, hasn't been resolved. After 17 years, the NRC finally ordered industry to deal with the problem — only to face resistance from industry. Result: The NRC granted more exemptions. Bottom line: Faulty insulation remains at many plants, including Indian Point.
  • Regulators have taken meager steps to remedy identified shortcomings even at nuclear plants where multiple fires have occurred. Back-to-back fires last year at the H.B. Robinson reactor in South Carolina could have triggered a series of events threatening the core. In March, the NRC chairman labeled the H.B. Robinson reactor as one of three in the U.S. "we are most concerned about," in part because of the fires and poor maintenance. Yet after investigating the fires, the NRC rated them of low to moderate safety significance and put the plant on a watch list for a year, meaning the NRC will give it more oversight, adding some announced inspections and examinations of employees.
  • For more than 30 years the NRC has been routinely granting exemptions to reactor fire regulations. The NRC has been so quick to hand out exemptions — more than 900 by 2001 — that utilities eventually stopped asking for them, figuring advance approval was not required. The NRC did not challenge that position and thus often was not consulted, meaning that shortcuts around fire safety rules were unilaterally put in place by reactor operators. The agency issued so many that its own inspectors complained that they couldn't tell which plants were in compliance and which weren't — because nobody kept track of all the exemptions.
In 2008, federal auditors criticized the NRC for not even compiling a list of its exemptions to fire code rules. Last year, the NRC prepared a database. The list is incomplete, the NRC's own records show. Among missing exemptions: The most recent, issued March 30 to owners of the nation's oldest reactor, Oyster Creek Generating Station in Ocean County, N.J. Oyster Creek is nearly identical in design to the reactors at Fukushima.
Exelon Corp., which owns Oyster Creek, had pleaded financial hardship, despite profits of $2.7 billion a year. In a letter to the NRC, Exelon complained of "an unwarranted burden"  from being required to protect a backup reactor shutdown system, including moving critical cable systems more than 20 feet apart. The NRC said it did not weigh costs in its decision to grant the request and that the company did not provide any substantiation of its claims of financial hardship. But the commission exempted the New Jersey plant from the modifications, allowing operators instead to dispatch employees to as many as 21 areas of the plant in the event of a fire to protect the equipment.
Exelon Nuclear spokeswoman April Schilpp declined to provide the costs of moving cable systems and of the other remedies, noting how routinely the NRC grants exemptions.
 "Exelon is in full compliance" with regulations, said Schilpp. "Exemptions such as these are not uncommon in the industry and provide for safety with more than adequate margin." Schlipp said the company "is confident in our safety systems, rigorous procedures, and our operators' training to ensure their actions protect the health and safety of the public at all times."
The NRC itself has noted the risks of allowing utilities to develop extensive fire response plans relying on employees rather than requiring remedies to equipment. In a 2008 assessment of fire safety efforts, the Government Accountability Office — referring to regulators' own statements — observed that, according to the agency,"nuclear fire safety can be considered to be degraded when reliance on passive measures [such as sprinklers] is supplanted by manual actions or compensatory measures" such as sending a fire crew to extinguish a blaze after it has broken out.
Yet that is exactly what the NRC has allowed to happen at reactors across the country.

A 'NEAR MISS' — AND MEEK RESPONSE FROM THE NRC

Even seemingly small fires at a nuclear power plant can have severe consequences. About 40 percent of the fires reported at reactors involve electrical problems, in part due to the vast amount of cables and circuitry snaking through the plant. A typical boiling-water reactor has about 360 miles of cables ferrying electricity or running controls and instruments. Those cables and wiring act like the brakes on a car, guaranteeing that you can slow down and stop the reaction. Protecting those lines in an emergency is crucial if the reactor is to be shut down and its core cooled.
Those brakes fail more often than many people may realize, cascading close to calamity — no earthquake or tsunami necessary. Sometimes, all it takes is a faulty light socket.
Shortly before 7 p.m. on March 28, 2010, a 4,160-volt electrical cable in the H.B. Robinson nuclear plant in Hartsville, S.C., shorted out, sparking a fire. A circuit breaker designed to cut power to the cable failed, allowing electricity to flow into the ground. This reduced voltage to the large pump that circulates water through the reactor core.
Without enough power, the flow of water slowed and the reactor automatically shut down. The electrical problems damaged a transformer that should have produced backup power for the plant, leaving a second transformer as the plant's sole source of power. That left half the plant's equipment without electricity.
Lacking power, valves on the main steam drain lines opened and temperatures in the reactor plummeted, threatening the integrity of the piping and reactor vessel.
Operators had no idea the drain valves were open. Nor did they know the temperature had dropped sharply.
Then, 33 minutes later, another power failure: The drain lines closed.
Still, employees had no idea what was going on. For another 30 minutes, they failed to notice the lack of water needed to protect seals on pumps that supply the reactor cooling system. Normally when a reactor shuts down, auxiliary pumps flush the reactor with extra water from a storage tank. This time, the tank didn't refill and ran dry.
Nearly an hour passed before employees noticed.
About 10:30 p.m., operators attempted to restore power to the failed circuitry. But they didn't check first to see if it had been repaired. It had not. That caused a second blaze, triggering an emergency alert. This time, the fire affected equipment directly responsible for safely shutting down the reactor — or not.
The plant's fire crew responded and the fire was put out in about 30 minutes. Backup power was used to cool the reactor.
In a later report on the incident, the NRC noted that the cable involved in the first fire lacked proper insulation. Instead of protecting wiring from the fire, flames spread along its length. A warning light that might have indicated problems with the circuit breaker was out, thanks to a faulty socket. The light hadn't worked for a year and a half.
The NRC criticized operator errors, ranging from employees' failure to notice how fast the reactor was cooling to their re-energizing the cable without first determining if it still posed a fire hazard.
The series of mishaps at Robinson were eerily similar to many that caused the Three Mile Island reactor to experience a partial meltdown exactly 31 years earlier. There, a mechanical or electrical failure shut down the main feedwater pumps, coolant poured out of a stuck valve, and operators failed to understand what was occurring. Ultimately, the reactor overheated and half the fuel melted.
At Robinson, the small fire set off a domino effect of equipment malfunctions worsened by operator mistakes and failure to understand just what was happening. Although backup safety systems kept the reactor core from harmthe post-accident analysis by the NRC painted a picture of an accident spinning rapidly out of control. It was the fortuitous power failure 33 minutes into the event, closing the drain lines, that prevented further damage. Nearly seven hours after the cable shorted, the emergency was declared over.
Only six months later, the NRC was back at Robinson after the reactor again shut down when a motor failed in a feedwater pump. The auxiliary feedwater system kicked in. Concerned that continued reliance on the auxiliary system might warrant a "red" violation from the NRC — a finding of "high safety significance" that might result in a rare order to shut down the plant — the operators struggled to restart the normal feedwater system about 10 hours into the incident.
To do so, they overrode system equipment, meaning the plant operated without safety protection for more than three hours until the problem was corrected.
In its findings about the October accident, the NRC noted that the plant operators had been aware since 2003 of deterioration of the pump motor but had yet to repair it. That was what triggered the accident, they concluded.
Nuclear engineer David Lochbaum, a respected safety specialist, said he considers the Robinson fire the nation's "most significant near miss" among 14 reactor accidents he examined for the Union of Concerned Scientists last year.
A spokesman for the plant's owner, Progress Energy, disagreed, saying the incidents were not so serious, and that shortcomings had been corrected.
"Following the event in March of 2010," said the spokeswoman, Jessica Lambert, "the NRC stated that the health and safety of the public was never in jeopardy." She said the views of Lochbaum and others represented "an extremely selective and limited view of the NRC inspection process and industry corrective action programs."
When the NRC delivered its annual assessment of Robinson in March 2011, the commission took note of four unplanned outages at the plant during the previous year and announced that it would step up oversight of operations for the next 12 months.
"We were disappointed with the regulatory performance at H.B. Robinson last year," Richard Croteau of the NRC told the owners of the reactor, Progress Energy, at a public meeting. Progress, based in Raleigh, N.C., led the Union of Concerned Scientists' list of reactors experiencing "near misses" in 2010, with four accidents at three reactors.
Still, the citations handed out by the NRC were only the second lowest of five possible sanctions, and the NRC said in February it believes the plant "continues to operate safely."Under the NRC reactor oversight process, inspection findings are evaluated using a color. Findings with very low safety significance are labeled "green." "White" findings have low to moderate safety significance, "yellow" findings have substantial safety significance, and "red" findings have high safety significance. The problems at Robinson warranted three "white" findings.
NRC Chairman Jaczko, in March 2011 testimony before a House energy subcommittee, referred to Robinson as one of three "plants we are most concerned about." The other two are the Fort Calhoun reactor in Nebraska and Wolf Creek in Kansas, where emergency systems to keep reactors cool had failed.
Robinson will be subject to a year of added oversight by NRC inspectors, who will monitor safety remedies underway at the plant.
Progress Energy's Lambert said the utility has, among other things, filled vacancies, added new staff to reduce maintenance backlogs,  increased training for reactor operators, undertaken reviews to assess worker qualifications and the effectiveness of supervisors, and revised work priorities based on the safety significance of equipment.
"We are taking definitive steps to address the issues raised [by the NRC] and return the Robinson plant to the highest industry performance standards," she said in an email.
Failure to improve performance at the plant could result in senior NRC management taking a role in operations.
The Union of Concerned Scientists' Lochbaum said the safety plan implemented at Robinson "seems thorough and adequate" and "sufficient to turn over all the necessary rocks, find all the hidden problems, and fix them."
But, he asked, "Why did it take a fire — nay, two fires — for these many problems to be recognized?"

A LEGACY OF FIRES — AND DELAYS

When it comes to fire prevention, regulators have tallied plenty of fires — and acquired a long history of dawdling over fixes.
In the 13 years ending in January 2008, according to a count by the GAO, 125 fires had been reported at 54 of 65 locations where 104 reactors are operating. That's nearly 10 fires a year.  Eight fires were recorded in 2009, according to NRC recordsSome of those fires damaged or destroyed equipment. Many of the events were relatively trivial, and on the surface, at least, little different from the small incidents that plague many complex industrial facilities. Oil refineries, for instance, also have experienced a spate of fires in recent years, underscoring how little-noticed, seemingly minor incidents provide telltale clues about big hazards.
What's different about a nuclear plant is what sits inside: highly radioactive fuel. If exposed to air or water outside the containment building, it can contaminate large areas or sicken thousands. Decisions made — or not made — in a matter of minutes can trigger events with disastrous outcomes.
"Factors contributing to small or minor events almost always also contribute to catastrophic events," said Lochbaum, who is a nuclear engineer..
Prior to the mid-1970s, the nuclear power industry followed fire codes used by other industrial operations. Regulators and the industry did not fully understand that fires could threaten a reactor's ability to safely shut down. Then came a fire at the Browns Ferry reactor, started with nothing more than a flickering candle.
"Whereas [fire] was before seen as primarily an insurance concern or an industrial hazard, it was properly understood after Browns Ferry as an important nuclear safety issue," the NRC's Jaczko said in a speech May 6 to the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The candle, used to detect air leaks in safety seals, instead ignited fire retardant foam that turned out to be quite combustible. Before the fire was extinguished seven hours later, it had damaged some 1,600 electrical cables, more than 600 of which were important to reactor safety, including all emergency core cooling system pumps for the Unit 1 reactor.
Although Browns Ferry illustrated the potential hazards from fire, the NRC took its time addressing the problem. It wasn't until 1980 that the commission approved fire safety regulations, spelled out in a section of the code of federal regulations known as 10 CFR 50.48. Part of those regulations includes a special section, known as Appendix R,that set rules for the 58 reactors in operation as of Jan. 1, 1979. Newer reactors were allowed to apply for deviations to fire safety rules under a different federal code.
From the outset, however, the NRC began handing out exemptions to those rules because owners of many plants complained that the rules were expensive and difficult to meet. Most U.S. reactors had been built or were in their final design stages by the beginning of 1979, and thus accommodating the safety upgrades would have been complicated and costly.
Instead, the NRC let reactor owners devise their own alternatives, some of which the NRC approved, some of which it didn't even know about. Regulators believed the industry should take the lead on fire safety.
Many of those exemptions involve what are called "operator manual actions." Simply put, instead of having an automatic safety system, the utility vows to take certain actions in the event of fire — for instance, sending a worker into the plant to manually turn a valve or activate a pump to ensure that the reactor can be shut down.
This may be a far cheaper way to put out a fire or save the reactor core — but reactors are so complex the steps aren't always quick and easy. At one plant, for instance, a fire scenario calls for the operator to perform more than 20 separate actions within 25 minutes to achieve a safe shutdown.Those actions might have to be performed in smoke, heat, darkness or radiation releases.
Just finding the fire might take 20 minutes. On the night of Oct. 29, 2008, for instance, a fire broke out at Plymouth Nuclear Station in Plymouth, Mass. It took a fire brigade between 15 and 20 minutes to find the fire after the control room was first alerted, according to an NRC account. Then, once the fire was "visually verified," it took another 19 minutes to extinguish. And this was a fire in a laboratory in a maintenance building — not the reactor.
Another type of exemption is called an "interim compensatory measure." That may be nothing more than allowing the utility to deploy a roving watchman sniffing for fire, a prevention measure in use at a number of U.S. reactors.
That fact that so many fires — about 40 percent  – involve electrical problems is in large part due to the miles of cable and circuitry spread throughout the plant, the arteries and veins that all flow into the "heart" of the plant, the control room. Protecting those cables in the event of fire is critical. After Browns Ferry, reactor owners were advised to protect their critical cable trays with fireproof insulation.
Appendix R rules require that these fire barriers or "wraps" withstand a one-hour blaze in areas with fire detection systems or sprinklers, or a three-hour fire in areas without those systems. Reactor owners commonly used products called Thermo-Lag and Hemyc.
In 1989, the NRC learned that Thermo-Lag, the most popular of the fire wraps, used in about 100 reactors, had failed fire tests. Subsequent tests raised additional doubts about the product's ability to withstand fire. In 1992, the NRC notified reactor owners of its concerns.
In 1993, NRC staff recommended a review of all fire barrier materials used to protect critical cables. But reactor owners were not required to remove them; many utilities simply filed for exemptions to Appendix R and devised their own fire drills, relying on operator manual actions.
When asked by Congress why it took four years to deal with the fire-prone fire wraps, NRC chairman Ivan Sellin quoted from an internal report: "In some cases there appears to be reluctance on the part of the staff because of the general view that fire protection concerns were rarely serious safety concerns."
When, in 1993, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) finally tested Hemyc for the NRC, the insulation didn't even come close to meeting the one-hour rule. It failed in just 23 minutes.
In another test, performed by Sandia National Laboratory, it survived only 13 minutes.
For reasons that still are unclear, the NRC did not communicate the Hemyc test results to the 15 plants where it was in use, the NRC's inspector general found in 2008.
In 1999, an inspection at the Shearon Harris reactor in North Carolina turned up more problems with Hemyc. Plant engineers couldn't prove to NRC inspectors' satisfaction that the insulation would protect the primary and backup safety systems. According to the NRC, the fire test data the utility relied upon when it installed Hemyc was "nonconservative." Cable damage could occur "without indication of excessive temperature on the cables," the NRC concluded.
Inspections at other plants, including Waterford Nuclear Generating Station in Louisiana and McGuire Nuclear Station in North Carolina, came up with similar doubts about the product's performance. That prompted an NRC staff review of the earlier test results.
In August 2000, the NRC decided to conduct more tests, but didn't get around to doing so for five years — because of negotiations with the industry, which didn't want to pay for the tests. The industry's argument: Because the agency had originally certified the test results, plant owners had technically been in compliance with the regulations. The industry refused to voluntarily upgrade the fire barriers.
In tests the NRC eventually did conduct, Hemyc failed again, and in April 2005 the commission published its test results. Even so, the NRC still did not require plant owners to take any action — or even respond in writing.
Finally, in April 2006, the NRC notified plant owners of the Hemyc failures — and gave the owners until December 2007 to describe how they planned to resolve the problems.
Through the deliberations over insulation, the industry's Nuclear Energy Institute and its utility members played a role in shaping the outcome.
When the NRC set the 2007 deadline, the NEI pushed back, saying the requirement would be expensive without providing a demonstrable improvement of safety.
"If this approach is followed," NEI senior vice president Marvin Fertel wrote NRC chairman Nils Diaz in March 2006, "we estimate that more than 1,500 exemption requests will be formally submitted to the NRC. We further believe the great majority of these exemption requests have no safety significance."
The NRC withdrew the rule and replaced with it a document setting out "regulatory expectations" for operator manual actions.
The one-hour and three-hour rules are still in effect.
Among the plants that continue to use Hemyc as a fire barrier is Indian Point. In June 2006, the plant's owner, Entergy, notified the NRC that it had implemented "fire watch tours" in lieu of replacing the Hemyc. That was one of many operator manual actions instituted at the plant. Entergy maintains it is in compliance with its license, and the NRC concurs. Others disagree.
On March 18, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman formally asked the NRC to assess all public health and safety risks to the public posed by Indian Point as part of its relicensing review, including the reactors' ability to withstand earthquakes, as well as the adequacy of the fire protection plan.
According to Schneiderman's petition, 275 separate fire zones at the two reactors require operator manual actions if safety circuits are damaged by fire. In some instances, Schneiderman noted, multiple tasks might be required in each zone to safely avert a fire.
By Schneiderman's count, Indian Point has been granted in excess of 100 exemptions. A spokesman for Entergy told reporters the number is about 30. According to the NRC's official exemption database, meanwhile, Indian Point has received just six, although multiple exemptions may be included with each listing. When asked about the disparity in numbers, an NRC spokesman said its count was accurate.
Indian Point's upcoming license renewal has also been under assault in a federal court for several years. On March 4, a federal judge dismissed a complaint filed against the NRC by several citizens' groups, challenging the NRC's exemptions to Appendix R. Although the judge rejected the petition, the challengers are expected to pursue the matter further.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has called Indian Point "a catastrophe waiting to happen,"  has recently called on the NRC to re-examine the plant's ability to withstand an earthquake. In the past he has raised concerns over vulnerability to terrorists as well as safety concerns at the plant due to age.
In response, Entergy has launched a media campaign. "All who work here have complete confidence in the safety of our plants," is the message of one radio spot. "We continuously upgrade our systems, train constantly and build redundancies in all our operations to assure safety. Our families and friends live here, too. We would not be here if we didn't also believe that Indian Point provides clean, reliable, lower-cost power, safely."

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China Doll berpeluang ke syurga?

Posted: 14 May 2011 12:08 AM PDT


Petikan dari laporan kenyataan Nik Aziz terbaru:
"Orang yang terbabit dalam komplot video berkenaan akan teruk nanti, selagi tak jilat kaki Anwar atas dunia ni, tak boleh masuk syurga dan ini sudah sah (tak masuk syurga).

"Hanya Allah saja yang dapat mengampunkan dosa mereka," kata Menteri Besar Kelantan di Kota Baru, dipetik Berita Harian Online hari ini.

"Walaupun orang itu menteri ke, tindakan berkenaan (mengaibkan itu) tetap tidak boleh. Malah kini televisyen dan Internet sudah menayangkan (video seks) ke seluruh dunia, pihak berkenaan akan menerima bahana nanti," kata Nik Aziz lagi.
Adakah dosa mendedahkan Anwar lebih besar dari melakukan zina? Maqasid memelihara zuriat campak ke mana, Tok Guru?

Kalau demikian, adakah bermakna China Doll ada lebih peluang untuk pergi ke syurga?


Dia dapat lebih dari cium kaki.

Wow! Masuk politik, ramai jadi ular dalam semak.


Rocky Bru Wants An Apology For Big Dog & Shamsul Yunos

Posted: 14 May 2011 12:01 AM PDT


By Admin

Ok, no matter how much you hate Utusan Malaysia and want want to kick their journalists to Kamunting, you can only blame one DAP man here. And those who have called bloggers Big Dog and Shamsul Yunos liars please shut up and do consider apologizing when the time comes ... (Akhiruddin Atan aka Rocky Bru, pic above)

The Scribe says "You Rocky Bru, Big Dog, Shamsul Yunos, Utusan Malaysia, Hisammuddin Hussein, Ibrahim Ali and all those who are spinning the so-called Christian Conspiracy Theory are gonna face heavy metal music from Naqir and Mungkar (the Angel's of Death in the realm of Barzakh as stated in the Holy Quran).

By the way Rocky, have the Police shown you Razali's report because your deduction here gives The Scribe the impression that you are privy to Razali's Police Report. Read the rest of Rocky Bru's take here
http://www.rockybru.com.my/2011/05/daps-pastors-meeting-dap-man-confesses.html


GROWING OLD AND LONELY

Posted: 14 May 2011 12:00 AM PDT

Photo: The Star 6 May 2011
This picture and the accompanying article "Growing old alone is a sad thought" in the Star last week struck a chord with me. Looking after my mom for the past months after her hip surgery has made me realize that growing old can be very lonely if you don't have someone to share the journey with you. You can have a house full of family members, yet the loneliness remains. Your adult children and grandchildren are not of your generation. They don't share the same wavelength or speak the same 'old' language. They are out most of the day, and when home, are busy with their own things. The little time spent with you is mostly confined to meal times at home or out.

It makes little difference whether you are in your 60s or 80s, living at home or in a home - you are still marking time on your own if your other half is no longer around. All day long you sit there in your favourite armchair or lie in bed, alone with your thoughts. What is going on in your mind? Are you reliving your carefree days of youth? Are you regretting over things you should have or shouldn't have done? Or are you pondering your future, whatever is left of it, as you count down your remaining years?

As I look at my mother sitting staring into space, these are the questions that run through my mind. I wonder too when I reach her age, would I end up just like her - lonely, depressed and showing early signs of dementia?

I hope not. I think not. I'm sure not.

There is no quality of life if each day is spent waiting - waiting for meal time or bed-time. Having someone to engage with you is important. Blessed are couples who stay happily married in their old age. They have each other to lean on. They have held true to their marriage vows of "through thick and thin, in sickness and in health, till death do us part".

As my good friend, Mrs Jagjeet Singh, 70, says, "Couples that do things together stay together. They should also have complete trust in each other, and be deserving of that trust. With the children grown and independent, this is the best time for retired couples to rediscover each other, travel together, enjoy each other's company and rekindle that romantic spark in their marriage."

However, there are elderly couples who bicker all day long and get on each other's nerves. For them and for those who choose to remain single, it's important they have a close circle of friends with common interests. They should get together on a regular basis and enjoy group activities and outings. There must be something on their social calendar to look forward to each week.

A group of senior citizens enjoying a day outing.
Alternatively, the elderly should develop a passion for at least two things - one that they can enjoy on their own (e.g. reading, gardening), and one that involves other people (e.g. social activities like going for classes, or volunteering for community services like helping the underprivileged). Even if they are wheelchair bound or in a nursing home, they can still keep themselves busy and useful.

The message is to have an interest in life, and in people. The fastest route to loneliness and depression is to be a recluse, to spend your days feeling wretched and sorry for yourself.


BUM2011 Is Kambing!:)

Posted: 13 May 2011 10:59 PM PDT

For one solitary peep, surf to http://bum4msia.wordpress.com/


CHIEF MINISTER M KARUNANIDHI TO CHIEF MINISTER IN WAITING AMMA JAYALAITHA MELLA PO MELLA PO

Posted: 13 May 2011 09:40 PM PDT

jaya1.jpg

Clearly, successive defeats in elections since 2004 had taught Jayalalithaa the importance of a strong alliance. In 2006, she went almost on her own against a formidable front of DMK-Congress-PMK-Left and had to settle with just 60 seats. This time, she showed an uncharacteristic willingness to negotiate and conceded seats from the AIADMK's share to Vijayakanth's DMDK and the Left.

"In fact, in the last elections itself, the AIADMK would have won but for the DMDK. In 50-odd assembly segments, DMDK's votes were higher than the winning margin of DMK candidates," said political observer Gnani.

What the AIADMK-DMDK alliance did was to prevent a split in the anti-DMK votes. Many seasoned AIADMK leaders pitched for an alliance with the DMDK, which has a 10% vote spread

People were crying with joy as the news of victory spread. "We won, we won… we won the election," was the chant in the streets of West Bengal. Soon enough the firecrackers started to go off in the capital city of Kolkata and you could hear the roaring of an impatient crowd. The euphoria of a new government is fresh in the air.
Bengal has a new government after thirty-four years of CPI(M) rule and Bengalis have high expectations for a government with limited resources.
Didi will inherit a dismal economy and a suffering state. Even though, she has the ability to meet these expectations, she will also need to develop a sound strategy. So, I thought I would put forth my humble strategy for West Bengal drawing from my World Bank experience* (though she does have brilliant strategists such as Amit Mitra with her).
Here it goes:
The first issue that Didi will have to fight is unemployment. In various rallies Didi has promised jobs for the unemployed and she will need to deliver to an increasingly restless West Bengal. Now, West Bengal's suffering infrastructure (i.e. lack of connectivity through roads, few industrial parks etc.) can become a boon in this context. She can start by employing low-skilled workers on unfinished government projects. But that won't be enough. She also needs to announce new infrastructure projects. Both of these will be able to employ quite a number of people in the short-term.
To a great extent she has already executed on this strategy by bringing in railway projects to West Bengal but now she needs build on it further. Particularly if she focuses on constructing roads, she will not only be able to increase employment but also connectivity. The state budget for West Bengal is expected to be a handsome sum and hopefully much of this will go to infrastructure projects.  Employing people through government projects, though, is short-term strategy (1-3 years). In the longer term Didi will need to bring in private sector.
A reformed attitude toward private sector is needed immediately. If the state can be portrayed as private sector friendly, then investors will gladly come. This can be done with the additional support of organizations such as Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (and Dr. Mitra becomes particularly important here).  West Bengal needs to rebrand itself as the investor-friendly state because private sector is the only known source of sustained job creation.
Secondly, government schools in West Bengal need to be strengthened through quality instructions and innovation in the classroom. The Andhra Pradesh state government is investing on educational research and the Bengal government can draw from their studies to restructure government schools in the state. The low hanging fruit is to improve the mid-day meal program. However, TMC should not only work on mid-day meal programs but also improve the quality of education. Innovative classroom technologies such as using television as a mode of instruction can be particularly promising. Thus, the government needs to increase its focus on improving the quality of education and building human capital.  Along the same lines, there also need to be several vocational education institutes that can give youth the needed skills to become competitive in the job market (particularly because youth unemployment issue is a severe issue).
Thirdly, the government needs to bring electricity and water to the state. Both of these are lacking particularly in the backward districts in West Bengal. Rather than going through the centralized model that can be bogged down in bureaucracy, the government should start exploring the possibility of working with private actors (particularly for-profit social enterprises) who are growing quite active in this field and can produce clean water and electricity through decentralized stations in a shorter time-span. Additionally, more jobs will be created through these actors who will work on the gram-level.
Fourthly and finally, the government needs to revamp and restructure the existing law and order conditions. Currently, there are four police officers for every one lakh people. In order to maintain stability, more police officers are needed.
As Didi comes in to office, she is likely to have tremendous support. The existing momentum for change in the first few months in office will make it easier for her to implement many of these policies. Thus, while she still hasmanush (people) in her favor, she should start working on these policy issues. The time for change is now and with the right plan she will be able to take Bengal back to her glory days of the 1960s and 70s.
*The views presented in this article are the authors and not a reflection or indication of any World Bank Policy.
TIRUCHI: In February this year, J Jayalalithaareached out to actor-politician Vijayakanth and ceded 41 out of the 234 assembly seats to DMDK, a gesture uncharacteristic of the AIADMK chief. The seat offer took place a few days after the two leaders had engaged in a verbal duel. That marked the beginning of AIADMK's efforts to cobble together a coalition to match the formidable alliance that the DMK headed.

Jayalalithaa's action to rope in DMDK and many smaller parties proved to be a masterstroke. The 13-party strong alliance comprehensively won even in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu, where the DMK had banked on the combined strength of the Vanniyar-based PMK and Thol Thirumavalavan's Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi to make substantial gains.

Clearly, successive defeats in elections since 2004 had taught Jayalalithaa the importance of a strong alliance. In 2006, she went almost on her own against a formidable front of DMK-Congress-PMK-Left and had to settle with just 60 seats. This time, she showed an uncharacteristic willingness to negotiate and conceded seats from the AIADMK's share to Vijayakanth's DMDK and the Left.

"In fact, in the last elections itself, the AIADMK would have won but for the DMDK. In 50-odd assembly segments, DMDK's votes were higher than the winning margin of DMK candidates," said political observer Gnani.

What the AIADMK-DMDK alliance did was to prevent a split in the anti-DMK votes. Many seasoned AIADMK leaders pitched for an alliance with the DMDK, which has a 10% vote spread across the state. They knew the damage the actor-politician could do to the party's prospects, if he chose to project DMDK as an alternative to both the DMK and the AIADMK.

The alliance, of course, faced numerous hurdles, especially after Jayalalithaa unilaterally released her party's list of candidates for 160 constituencies. This led to the Vaiko's MDMK snapping ties with the AIADMK. The Left parties and the Puthiya Thamilagam held a meeting with Vijayakanth sparking rumours that they intended to float a third front. But the differences were ironed out and seats sharing talks concluded. Again, when Vijayakanth kept away from the AIADMK front's mega rally in Coimbatore, there was talk of the alliance collapsing over the egos of the two leaders.

AIADMK cadres say that although the alliance played a role in shaping the victory, there were several other factors that contributed, key among them, of course, Amma herself. "The landslide victory is an indication of people's trust in Amma," said V Senthil Balaji, an AIADMK candidate. "People trust that Amma could give a corruption-free rule," he says. Yes, the anti-incumbency wave that arose over the 2G scam added wind to her sails.

Political bandwagons have screeched to a halt in Tamil Nadu and Kerala which go to the polls on Wednesday. Now for the silent revolution.

Almost immediately after the hullaballoo ended at 5 pm on Monday, the major political parties activated their war rooms. It is here the Machiavellians plot their 24-hour revolution through black money, white lies and grey areas. Their foot soldiers would soon fan out, wielding such weapons of mass deception as wads of currency, glib talk and gallons of chemicals to put makers of the indelible ink to shame and show the middle finger to democracy.

In many parts of the Dravidian land, newspaper readers anxiously open page-three without a glance at page-one. For, tucked away there would be crisp currency note from which the Father of the Nation smiles a tired smile. Some others open their doors before the milkman comes, and find dhotis and saris that had mysteriously materialised overnight. The only signs of the midsummer Santa Claus would be on the borders of the fabric that depict rising suns or a pair of leaves.

The election commission has so far seized Rs 33 crore from people who were ostensibly out to distribute them for votes. Among those arrested for cash distribution was former telecom minister A Raja's elder brother A Kaliaperumal. Chief minister M Karunanidhi compared the EC's crackdown to the Emergency; many 'traders' went to courts saying the commission was harassing them while they were just transporting money for their livelihood. The courts said such people could get back their money by producing proof that they were being taken on genuine business. None has claimed back his 'trade' money yet.

In the neighbouring God's invented country, currency notes are not so much in abundance. And whatever little they have are put to better use—like investing on election-day operations. Not much has changed since former chief election commissioner TN Seshan famously remarked a couple of decades ago that Communist party members are the best practitioners of Rig Veda. "They rig the polls with such finesse," he had quipped. Only that nowadays the Congress, too, does it with elan.

Here's a peep into a typical operation. In Kerala's palm-fringed backyards of polling stations, beedi-smoking activists hide homoeopathy bottles filled with some chemical concoction under their lungies. A designated rig-vedic voter walks out of the polling booth, wiping his left forefinger on his hair smeared with – what else – coconut oil.  The one in lungi fishes out the homoeopathy bottle and dips the stalk of a breadfruit leaf in the liquid. The voter extends his finger to the comrade who does the honour. The voter is soon transported to another booth, probably in another ward or another constituency, to exercise someone else's franchise.  It may not be that easy this time, with the election commission introducing voter photographs on electoral rolls, but 'vedic' experts say they have done their homework well.

This is one game I don't wish the best player wins.



The agendas behind the Bin Laden news event

Posted: 13 May 2011 09:30 PM PDT

Obama has been caught out on a lie. He is now back-pedaling to try to put things right. Rather it's his administration that has been tasked to repair the damage. Curiously, the more they try to do it the more they trip on themselves. Showing what a bunch of morons they are and it's not the general public whom they had mistaken. The saying "you can fool some people some of the time but not all the people all the time" has caught up with them and exposing the frauds that they really are. But what are the reasons that drove the nincompoops to try pull another fast one on the people? Paul Craig Roberts gives us his thoughts here …

The US government's bin Laden story was so poorly crafted that it did not last 48 hours before being fundamentally altered. Indeed, the new story put out on Tuesday by White House press secretary Jay Carney bears little resemblance to the original Sunday evening story. The fierce firefight did not occur. Osama bin Laden did not hide behind a woman. Indeed, bin Laden, Carney said, "was not armed."

The firefight story was instantly suspicious as not a single SEAL got a scratch, despite being up against al Qaeda, described by former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld as "the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth."

Every original story detail has been changed. It wasn't bin Laden's wife who was murdered by the Navy SEALs, but the wife of an aide. It wasn't bin Laden's son, Khalid, who was murdered by the Navy SEALs, but son Hamza.

Carney blamed the changed story on "the fog of war." But there was no firefight, so where did the "fog of war" come from?

The White House has also had to abandon the story that President Obama and his national security team watched tensely as events unfolded in real time (despite the White House having released photos of the team watching tensely), with the operation conveyed into the White House by cameras on the SEALs helmets. If Obama was watching the event as it happened, he would have noticed, one would hope, that there was no firefight and, thus, would not have told the public that bin Laden was killed in a firefight. Another reason the story had to be abandoned is that if the event was captured on video, every news service in the world would be asking for the video, but if the event was orchestrated theater, there would be no video.

To read more, go HERE.

Even more, HERE.


Tagged: Osama Bin Laden


PSM: K'jaan hipokrit, halang sambutan Hari Pekerja

Posted: 13 May 2011 03:09 AM PDT

Sekumpulan aktivis PSM dan NGO hari ini berhimpun di hadapan bangunan Kementerian Sumber Manusia bagi menuntut agar kerajaan menghormati sambutan Hari Pekerja. Kumpulan seramai kira-kira 30 orang itu menuntut supaya kerajaan tidak menghalang pekerja daripada merayakan sambutan oleh masyarakat pekerja seluruh dunia itu. Setiausaha agung PSM S Arutchelvan yang mengetuai anggota parti dan juga aktivis NGO itu turut membidas tindakan kerajaan yang didakwanya bersikap "hipokrit" kerana tidak membenarkan perhimpunan diadakan bagi sambutan Hari Pekerja. Full story: www.malaysiakini.com
Views: 163
3 ratings
Time: 05:28 More in News & Politics


RM30 million donation rejected and scholarship for the poor

Posted: 13 May 2011 07:37 PM PDT

This is a guest post by a philanthropist tycoon, Mr. Koon Yew Yin. You can read about his recent stock recommendation here.

Mr. Koon Yew Yin, a very successful Malaysian investor and businessman

This content is the speech during DAP dinner on 30th April 2011.

1. I am not a politician. But I know politics is very important because it affects you and your children. I want to help you win the coming election. I have already donated Rm 100,000 during your last dinner to celebrate Lim Kit Siang's 70th Birthday, a few months ago.

I put my money where my mouth is. Many people would grumble and complain about BN government's corruptions, abuse of power and Chinese cannot get university places and also employment in the civil services, etc but they dare not come forward to support Pakatan Rakyat to change the Government.

I hope my coming forward openly will encourage many people to show support. Your party needs money and I hope you all will donate as much as you can afford.

2. You must bear in mind that the population of the non Malays is relatively small, even all non Malays vote for the P R and without Malays winning some seats, Pakatan Ryakyat cannot control the Perak State Government or Putra Jaya. After tonight's dinner, I would like each of you to make a serious effort to make friend with at least one Malay and convince him to vote for PR.

3. I wish to remind you that in the last Gen Election, PR won control of Perak, but lost control because a few frogs jumped over to BN. On your table you will read my article 'Restore democracy to Perak: appeal to Sultan Aslan Shah', but the Sultan did not dissolve the State Assembly as I requested. In the next election, you must make sure we can win a lot more seats to regain control.

4. Many of you would have heard about UTAR in Kampar rejected my Rm 30 M donation offer to build hostels to help students because the MCA leaders who own the land outside the University campus do not want me to disturb their very profitable rental business. There are 12,500 students and each of them pays Rm 200 per month and the total monthly rental income is about Rm 2.5 million or Rm30 m a year. They cannot build fast enough to cater for the yearly students increase. Remember the greedy MCA leaders will continue to suck your blood.

5. MCA has been in the BN government since Merdeka more than 54 years ago. Did MCA ever dare to criticise UMNO to protect non Malays' interest? Now the World Bank has reported 2 days ago that a large number of non Malayshave migrated to Singapore, UK, Australia etc due to unfair treatment. 4 of my 5 children have gone out of the country to find work. I am sure some of you and your friends have children migrated overseas simply because we are called 'PENDATAN', visitors.

6. I have given scholarships to 80 poor students whose parents are earning less than Rm 2,000 per month. If you know of any poor parent who needs scholarships please contact my assistant Dr. Jeffrey Yee, 012-5286696. He graduated with a PhD from Cambridge, He will address you in Mandarin.

Thank you
Koon Yew Yin
DAP dinner speech on 30th April 2011

Disclaimer:

I seldom post article that relates to politic issue. But this guest post make a lot of "financial sense". Share it on Facebook if you think it will be beneficial to Malaysians.

This article is posted at: KCLau's Money Tips


Every Malaysian must know (about Lynas)

Posted: 13 May 2011 06:30 PM PDT

Every Malaysian must know.

Australia is 58 times bigger than Peninsular Malaysia. With a population of 21million and a government that answers to the people, Australia dare not take a bet that a Rare Earth Plant is worth its risk and investment. If Australia which is nearly 60 times bigger than Malaysia reject the setting up of a Rare Earth Plant, why would Malaysia 60 times smaller thinks it's all right to go ahead?

The USA has closed most of its mines, and so has China. In Mongolia, vast tracts of lands thousands of square kilometres are rendered hazardous, with toxic runoffs destroying everything in their path, with high radioactivity, tainting precious water supplies and this chain reaction will continue for thousands of years.

And all this is just from one small factory which has also been closed down. It is surrounded by partly frozen red-colored 'tailing lakes' up to a square mile in size and the land is scarred with toxic runoffs from the refining process and pock-marked with craters and trenches. Larger Rare-Earth refineries sit around the banks of the world's largest tailing lake, Baogang - seven square miles of evil-smelling toxic waste that shows the shocking extent of this industry's impact.

It is a scene that Chinese officials do not want the world to see. Several villages close to the lake have already been relocated because of pollution and security guards hired by the mining company.

And to think that Malaysia is building the world's largest Rare Earth Plant is truly madness of the highest order.

Even massive Australia balks

Australia with its massive land size, could site it many thousands of miles in the centre of Australia, far away from populated areas and still be shielded should an accident happens but it will not even dream of building one in the country itself. But Peninsular Malaysia would be dead meat if the inevitable happens. And to think that it could never happen is fool hardy. The Chernoybl meltdown was not supposed to happen and neither was the

Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan.

In the event of an accident the fallout could reach within an area of 80km radius, wiping out Kuantan, Pekan, Kemaman and most of the areas around Pahang and Terengganu. Long term the two states will be rendered useless and unliveable. It simply is illogical to site a Rare Earth Refinery so near to a large population and in such a small country.

Should there be an accident, the Peninsular will never be able to recover, and may even be sued by Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore And now that Australia with such a huge storage capacity would not allow the waste tailings to be reimported, shows Australia's determination to wash its hands off the matter.

With Australia's announcement that they will not accept our waste, what are we going to do it? Hide it in Taman Negara, on Gunung Tahan, or drop in the sea? Or try to sell it to another unsuspecting third world country? All the profits we make will not be enough to pay for the disposal of the highly toxic waste.

Malaysia in its stride to become a global economic powerhouse, should seriously weigh the pros and cons of the project. And anyhow we put it, the cons do outweigh the pros. It would be downright silly to even think that we can outwit nature.

Childish reaction

The Pahang MB's threat to pull the plug on Gebeng with the loss of 20 thousand jobs, should the Rare Earth Plant be called off, is really a childish reaction and a very weak attempt to resolve the problem. And to allow 20,000 people to lose their jobs just because the people rejected this insane project, when the Rare Earth Plant should not be there in the first place, is unbelievable.

It is also preposterous that Officials from the EIA saw if fit to announce that a comprehensive EIA study was unnecessary, EIA was set up for the sole purpose of protecting the environment of the nation, and it is downright insulting of EIA to ignore the people and to side the Federal Government.

If the BN government does not take steps to settle this issue immediately, it will only cause the people to lose faith in the government. Already the Bukit Merah incident is a black mark, and our government should take steps that such an incident should never be allowed to happen again.

How can our government be fooled by this Orang Putih Foreigners who continues to insult our intelligence? When will we ever learn not to play with fire? In our relentless pursuit for the extra dollar, we continue to mess around with nature without thinking of its disastrous consequences.

Rare Earth belongs in the ground and It should never be dug up and refined in the first place. Just like nuclear fusion, it will cause a chain reaction that may one day cause the end of the world. Chernobyl and the Fukushima Reactor in Japan is a testament to that.

180 countries in the world cannot be wrong to reject such a dangerous project. There is simply no mitigation possible should an accident happen. Gebeng is also situated very near to the South China Sea and a Giant Tsunami generated from a simple earthquake cannot be discounted from its list of failsafe emergency procedures.

One day we may be the laughing stock of the world by our decision to lose a country for the sake of a Rare Earth project. The risk is just too high. And it is simply not an option.


Brother Anwar Bin Ibrahim’s Crackup Continues!!

Posted: 13 May 2011 01:38 PM PDT


Yo! Mo! You all decide for yourselves!


By
Christopher Badeaux

In some ways, vile anti-Semite and cowardly woman-abuser though he is, you have to feel sorry for Anwar Ibrahim. Well, you'd have to if he didn't truck with Jew-hating Muslim extremists and use adoring political crowds as opportunities to take shots at his political opponent's wife. But a more sympathetic man than Anwar would be a perfect tragic figure: A man who reaches his limits just shy of his goals; a man who can never quite reach the top; a man whose past crimes become less important than his present successes, which are themselves ultimately failures.

Anwar Ibrahim is a Sisyphus who never reaches the middle of the slope.

Anwar's most famous, present achievement is to craft a dysfunctional opposition coalition composed of his own vanity party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR); the socialist-left/secularist Democratic Action Party (DAP); and the sh'ria-obsessed Parti Islam Semalaysi (PAS). Just the descriptions of those parties makes clear that their unifying plank is desperation, a determination to finally win a national election against the hated Barisan Nasional, the governing coalition whose primary achievements are rapid economic progress and continued democratization. In other words, Anwar's merry little band of schizophrenics must convince Malaysians that democracy and increasing standards of living are bad things, and that a group of socialists, Islamists, and rich poseurs will somehow form a government together, maintain that government, and keep the democratic and economic development going full-tilt.

Unsurprisingly, Malaysians show no sign of accepting this argument.

Anwar's second great achievement is to convince the world at large — if not Malaysians yet — that his conviction for corruption (upheld on appeal), much-documented association with the Muslim Brotherhood, and apparent proclivity for finding himself denying wide-ranging sexual adventures, are not remotely reflective of the sort of head of government he would be, if he could convince his countrymen to elect a government composed of Islamic extremists, far-left socialists, and general malcontents. While the U.S. foreign policy establishment is finally coming to grips with Anwar's real nature, his constant self-promotion and the general laziness of a large number of foreign reporters and foreign ministries have aided his disproportionately favorable image.

Both of these achievements will be for even less than the nothing they currently are if Anwar is unable to better, during the upcoming national elections, his just-shy-of-the-goal electoral result from the 2008, when the wind was at his back and the electorate was in a mood for national change. Three-and-change years later, Anwar is showing the stripes that led to his corruption conviction years ago, and reminding the world why Malaysians have not yet shown any inclination to hand the reins of power to a man who seems to spend a lot of time making amateur porn videos.

Anwar's latest stumble — stumbles seem to come more rapidly for the man these days — lies in calling Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak a "pandi kutti," a Tamil term for a piglet, to a group of Indian Malaysians. The Prime Minister was not, of course, present; Anwar's stock in trade these days is to belittle his political opponents (and their wives) before adoring crowds, displaying the sort of raw political courage that has led to nearly a month of silence on the allegations that he was, according to long-time new media backer Raja Petra, possibly the man behind a series of preposterous allegations against the Prime Minister (detailed here). So, quite aside from the sheer heroism Anwar displayed and the statesmanlike pose he has adopted (calling one's opponent an animal is no more acceptable in Malaysia than in any other civilized country), he elected to call a devout Muslim a pig.

Smart opposition leaders with the wind at their back take pointed jabs at their opponents. Elitists with coalitions doomed to failure by their very nature and no chance of success resort to name-calling. The difference is subtle in print, but obvious in practice: Suggesting that one's opponent is asleep at the wheel, confused, incompetent, corrupt: These are all on the table. Name-calling is a way of indicating that one's primary schooling was not an unrivaled success. Naturally, the Prime Minister is unfazed, but when his putative opponent has been reduced to calling him a poopy-head, it would seem reasonable to treat Anwar as a nuisance rather than a danger.

Anwar's world is not only crumbling on the political front, where his coalition is starting to crumble and his own party shedding supporters, and his former attack-dog blogger has implicated him in a major controversy. He is dealing with yet another sodomy trial, one looking progressively worse for him over time. Indeed, "worse all the time" is an understatement, as authorities have positively identified Anwar's DNA from the samples collected at the scene. No matter what we in the West think of making sodomy a crime, the man who would be prime minister should be the first to obey his nation's laws, and the first to righteously demand exoneration if he was innocent, offering his own DNA to test against the sample, thundering for justice from the heavens.

Instead, Malaysians get more rallies about the prime minister's wife.

An honest assessment of the opposition in Malaysia shows that they have no real chance in the upcoming elections, and that even if they somehow succeeded in getting past the post, they would neither make Anwar Ibrahim prime minister nor last as a governing coalition for very long. An honest assessment of Anwar's life shows a man who has striven, sought, found, not yielded, and ultimately, will never win. His desperation is clearly overwhelming him.

Were he a man of even average moral decency, we should ache with his tragedy. It is a pity that at the last, amid a storm of name calling and gutter politics of his own making, he cannot even succeed in being of average moral decency.








Akhirul Zaman ~ These End Times ~ Dealing with Devils in Disguise

Posted: 13 May 2011 06:28 PM PDT

"Allahumma inna nas aluka salamatan fid diin, wal afiyatan fil jasad, waziyadatan fil ilmi, wabarakatan fir rizqi, wataubatan qablal maut, warahmatan indal maut, wamaghfiratan ba'dal maut!"
"O Allah, our God, indeed we appeal to You to protect us in our religion and grant us our physical health, enhance our knowledge and bless us with bounties, give us a chance to repent before we die and bless us while we are about to die and forgive us after we die!"

Such are one of the numerous prayers that has been taught to us by our beloved Rasul Sallalahu Alaihi Wassallam. 

By praying to Allahu Ta'ala, our Lord Most High, we establish a spiritual connection between our inner self and our Creator, Who Knows us best.

In these Akhirul Zaman @ End Times, we will be and are being bombarded by tests that were not experienced by people who lived way before us.

We are assailed continuously by news and views that if presented to those who lived centuries before us would be deemed to be nothing but sorcery and magic.


For me as a Muslim Blogger, life has been very challenging especially when dealing with the trials and tribulations that I face daily in my life.


Trying to earn a living whilst dealing with blinkered ones can at times be quite exasperating. One faces insurmountable emotional, mental and spiritual obstacles dealing with those who have vested interests and afraid to incur the wrath of those whom can be said to be the so called 'powers that be'.


For a true Muslim, the only power that he or she really, truly needs to be subservient to is Allahu Rabbi.


The Almighty, Most Powerful of all.


We, who are mere mortals have no basis to think that we are this or that! We are so insignificant.


Who gives a rat's ass as to whether one is a king or a commoner?


The minute we have our soul's taken away from these mortal bodies of us, our bodies start to rot and putrefy.


Our remains starts to decompose and we will all be eaten by the maggots that will swarm all over and do an 'Alam Flora' on us.


Perfection!


Earth to earth, dust to dust!


The Malaikats Munkar and Naqir Alaihis Salam won't give a hoot about us having been this or that, learned academic or what the hell ever?


First thing that they will ask is 'Ma Rabbuka?' Who's your Lord?


They won't bother to ask as to whether you are a bloody professor or just a plain simpleton?


They won't care as to whether you have your entire office wall plastered with your worldly achievements in whatever field you have wasted your life upon!


All that they would care is to whether you are a Mukmin or otherwise?


In these Akhirul Zaman, there are too many bloated up dumbos pretending to be so high and mighty.


No one gives a shit as to who one claims to be or thinks as to who he or she is?


Am I not stating the whole truth and nothing but the truth here?


There are multitudes of plain dimwits who think that they are so very precious to this earth that if they are not around, the whole world is gonna stop and search for their sorry ass self!


Err..I'm sorry but we have better things to do.


Like what, you might ask me?


Well, like maybe realizing that no matter who the hell or what we think we are, we are but just a speck of dust, currently existing in human form by the Grace and Mercy of Almighty, All Powerful Allahu Ta'ala.


As long as we are alive here, do tread upon the Earth with humbleness and humility.


Not go around thinking that the world gives a shit as to who we think we are?


Some choose to hurt others without considering the implications of such actions by spewing out their venom egoistically.


There are a couple of Malay pantun that describes this clearly:


Lebah bukan sebarang lebah,
         Lebah bersarang berisi madu,
Lidah bukan sebarang lidah,
        Lidah orang bagai sembilu.

Lebah bukan sebarang lebah,
         Lebah berduyun membuat sarang,
Lidah bukan sebarang lebah,
        Lidah beracun dilaknat orang!

Lain datang lain buahnya,
       Buah masam di sambal orang,
Lain orang lain lidahnya,
      Lidah tajam dibedal orang!

What these pantun's infer to are the way some loose tongues can inflict hurt and wound the hearts and minds of others?


There are so many evil ones out there who think that they can get away with insulting others by belittling people as this or that without considering the implications of their nasty words!


For those of us who are Muslims, it is imperative to always remain humble and watch our tongues.


It's so easy to hurt others but so hard to cure! Think before you talk! Be kind not cruel! Don't be so damn egoistic! You are nothing but a mere mortal just like others! Be human.


If you fail to be that, then you are nothing but just a bloody devil in disguise!


For all the worldly trappings and grandeur one imagines one possesses, it will all come to nothing when Izrail Alaihis Salam comes to rip one's soul out from one's sorry ass self when one's time is up!!!


And that's a fact! Dare anyone deny it?


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