Archive for July 2013

Refer Sri Lanka to war crime tribunal

July 26, 2013

P Ramani

| July 26, 2013

MPs and civil societies want the Malaysian government to scale back on its economic ties with Sri Lanka and denounce the atrocities committed against ethnic Tamils.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former senator S Ramakrishnan and civil societies in the country want the Malaysian government to refer Sri Lanka to the war crimes tribunal for atrocities against Tamils in the final days of its decades long civil war.

The DAP leader also suggested that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak denounce economic ties with Sri Lankan government and refrain from attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) meeting in Sri Lanka later this year.

In addition he said the Commonwealth leaders should through consensus also expel Sri Lanka from the group.

Ramakrishan’s call for Malaysia to scale back on its economic ties was in direct reference to CIMB banking group and Rating Agency Malaysia’s (RAM) move to open branches in Sri Lanka.

“They should pull out their business in order to show solidarity support against the war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan government,” he said.

He said this after an open discussion at the ‘No Fire Zone’ documentary screening organised by Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) last night at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall here.

Also present at the screening were Subang MP R Sivarasa and former Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran.

The documentary by British director Callum Macrae, depicted war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan troops against ethnic Tamil minority on a day-to-day account of the nation’s civil war.

Earlier this month, joint organisers Komas, Suaram and the KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Civil Right Committee (KLSCH CRC) had screened the movie, but Home Ministry officials gatecrashed and stopped the screening.

This time around, the screening organised by LFL went on smoothly without any disruption from the Home Ministry officials.

During mid-way of the screening, around 30 Home Ministry officials arrived at the scene, but then left the hall after 10 minutes.

After the screening, Macrae joined the audience for a 10-minutes Q&A session via Skype.

Macrae claimed that the documentary was based on real facts and daily recordings of footage.

“I am not a fan of LTTE, but the war crimes committed against the ethnic Tamil is speechless.

“Innocent people became victims of the civil war, ” said Macrae.

Macrae also alleged that the Sri Lankan government-controlled media twisted the real facts about the no-fire buffer zone.

Parliamentary caucus

Meanwhile Manogaran called on the BN and Pakatan MPs to continue to lead the parliamentary caucus on the Sri Lanka conflict.

The caucus was formed at the end of last year and was then headed by present Tourism Minister Nazri Aziz.

“This caucus will be a good platform to continue putting international pressure on the Sri Lankan government, ” said Manogaran.

Meanwhile Sivarasa said he will hold further talks with BN and Pakatan MPs to re-enlighten the works carried out by the caucus.

He also suggested that the civil societies through NGOs should work together in putting greater international pressure to boycott Sri Lanka in economic terms and bring responsible warlords to war crime tribunal.

Last night also saw Komas,LFL and the KLSCH CRC making similar calls for retribution on Sri Lanka


Dial 999 and get fleeced

July 18, 2013

Most of my friends have encountered house break-in, robbery, road side mugging or snatch-thieves once and sometimes more than once. Public insecurity is the constant source of worries for most families except the law enforcement agencies who think it is perception and not real. People especially ladies dare not walk out to bus stops or shops fearing when they will be mugged by any motorcyclist passing by. Certainly crime has escalated whether police think it is a mere perception and not real. A friend recently narrated to me how his car windowed was smashed with hammer just about 100 meters before a police stop and the thieves escaped with his wife’s handbag. This happened in section 16, PJ one evening. It all happens within split seconds, our police have no chance.

He was told to make a report at the Damansara police station. When he went there he met 2 other couples also robbed in the same vicinity around the same time. After exchanging notes with each other, they feel the same motorcyclist could have done the theft. In the station police personals took the report and the usual questioning but his car was not inspected for any finger print. I suppose the police had no intention investigating looking at the rate crime is committed.

About 2 weeks later his wife received a phone call in the office line which was not given to the police when they made the report. The caller identified as an officer from ex-police association and offered some products for sale. She told the caller to call her husband and gave his phone number. The caller called her husband and identified as ex-police officer wanting to sell police badge and vest for protection from future robbery. My friend not knowing the real identity of the caller, asked him to come to the police station to meet and discuss. But the caller did not turn up. But after a few days another person from the ex-police association called for the same reason. And the calls continue to come till these days.

My friend was saying that rarely calls come in office line and the office number was in the stolen handbag. That’s what puzzles him. How this so called ex-police personal got the office number? This episode shows the depth of fraud and crime intertwined around the police department. To police it is business as usual and whatever happened to anyone they will collect their monthly pay and their comfortable life goes on. They will still get promoted and their bosses will defend them for their callousness and inefficiencies.

Another friend shared his experience to me when his house was burgled. After he made the police report at the nearest police station, one police personal who was observing all the conversations and questioning, approached him and offered police regular checks for a monthly fees of RM300. The police personal said that since there are few VIPs in the same areas, police can offer a few more police check post in the nearby houses. Therefore it is not an issues offering a police check post at your house. Extortions and petty corruption are rampant within the law enforcement agencies. How will crime be reduced under such corruption prone policing department?

I overheard one pawnshop owner saying that even in Hadyai, the border Thailand cowboy town, there are no security guarding pawnshops. But in KL with security guards standing with guns pawnshops are still robbed.

Under these circumstances will additional legislation improve public security? Today’s SUN newspaper reported IGP proposing for new preventive detention laws to be legislated. Home affairs minister supports the police call for more preventive and detention legislation. PR parties are clamoring for more policing and immediate setting up of Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). The police are strongly against the formation of IPCMC thinking that IPCMC will weaken the force.

At present when there is any police abuse or corruption, the only recourse one person has is to make a police report. In most cases there is no follow up or action. Therefore the present situation provides shelter and protection for the corrupted. With the formation of IPCMC, public can lodge complaint to them and they can commence investigation on police personal. The police force is more use to being unaccountable for their action dont want to be investigated by an independent body. Enough is enough. It’s time for police to be more responsible and accountable for their action. IPCMC is the way forward.

Not an act of God, but the folly of zealots

July 4, 2013

The freedom to practice one’s religion is a fundamental liberty enshrined in the Malaysian Constitution. But hardly two months after the 13th general election UMNO is tabling the highly controversial conversion bill despite opposition and reservation from within BN component members. The image that the country is trying hard to push, that Malaysia is truly Asia, with a plural and diverse population, is just the diametric opposite of the increased radicalization of UMNO. This is truly worrying and the future has a dark horizon looming. Umno has once again shown its true colours: that they care two hoots about non-Malays and non-Muslims and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib’s Razak’s National Reconciliation effort.

Amending a legislation to legalize the conversion of a minor who has neither free will nor knowledge about the religion he/she has been converted to tantamount to bullying and forcing the issue down the throats of minorities. Under the new legislation, a parent or guardian can convert a minor. Allowing even guardians to convert a child is a flagrant abuse of power and is against the free choice option of children. Logically, all conversion should be after 18 years old where the person knows and understand what he is going into.

The tabling of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 in Parliament last week, which allows only one parent’s consent, or that of the guardian, to convert a minor to Islam has been done with no consideration for the feelings and wishes of minorities. The consent of both the parents is a must and no two ways about it. This is what the cabinet in 2009 decided and why the change now?

Even the Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Gomaa, one of the most respected Islamic scholars in the world today, wrote under the sub-heading “Freedom of religion in Islam”, “The essential question before us is can a person who is Muslim choose a religion other than Islam? The answer is yes, they can, because the Qur’an says, ‘Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion,’ [Qur’an, 109:6], and, “Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve,’ [Qur’an, 18:29], and, ‘There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is distinct from error’ [Qur’an, 2:256].”  But the UMNO leaders with the holier than thou attitude, may not agree with grand mufti of Egypt.

By persisting to table this sensitive and distasteful bill in parliament, UMNO is trying to whip up Malay Muslim chauvinism to instill fear and reprisal on non-Malays for voting Pakatan Rakyat in GE13. With large number of young Malays and urban voters supporting Pakatan Rakyat, such tactics by UMNO will only bring their own downfall sooner.

UMNO and their supporters instead of countering fundamentalism are themselves becoming more radicalized. The largest and dominant political party is being increasingly insensitive to minorities which does not augur well for the future of Malaysia remaining a land of plural and diverse tolerance or even being truly Asia. Malaysians are now turning towards Pakatan Rakyat leaders to bring about the inclusiveness and provide the constitutional guarantees to all citizens. Do unto others what you want others do to you.