Friday, June 3, 2011
Participants have been asked to gather at Sogo shopping complex, the PAS headquarters and the Kampung Baru mosque at 2pm.
Previously, Bersih 2.0 had said it was rallying the public to march with the movement's leaders to hand over a petition to the King at Istana Negara.
The petition will carry seven demands:
- Automatic voter registration at the age of 21
- Reforms to the postal voting system for out-of-town voters
- Use of indelible ink to avoid repeat voting
- Access to mainstream media for opposition parties
- Minimum campaign period of 21 days
- Independence of enforcement bodies on election offences
- Stamping out electoral graft
The movement's leader, Ambiga Sreenevasan, said the protest was a “last resort” after attempts at engaging the relevant authorities have failed.
Ambiga said that Bersih 2.0 is also inviting all political parties, NGOs and the public to join the rally to voice their demand for free and fair elections.
A recent vice raid in Penang sparked another bout of controversy over police conduct as civil society groups decry the way 30 foreign women were chained up and marked with pens after they were detained for alleged prostitution. In the raid conducted at a high-class nightclub at a shopping mall in Pulau Tikus last night, eight local men and 30 foreign women - 29 Chinese and one from Vietnam - were arrested by a team of 19 police officers from Bukit Aman. According to the Chinese language media, the raid was carried out after the officers spent a week going undercover at the club, which is believed to be well-known among locals. Chinese newspapers however splashed photos of the detained women, showing them chained up in a group and with various markings on their bodies, including an X mark on the forehead of one of those detained.
Energy Minister Peter Chin came out to say that the government has no power to force IPPs to reveal their contracts. Don't make me and the public laugh.
Are we talking about the same government? The government that can arrest and lock up opposition politicians at will, one which the Prime Minister is vicariously in control of our natural gas and oil reserves?
One which billions can be disseminated to cronies and their associates?
One which controls the media to a 'T' to ensure that they don't publish anything negative about the BN government, but openly endorses racism, and division?
The same government which advocates People First, Performance Now? If it is indeed the same government, then I must be completely blind.
As for the general public, what is the financial impact of all of these issues?
Let's view our cost increases in a list as highlighted by Charles Santiago:
1. 7.12% increase in electricity tariff.
2. 8.3% increase for manufacturers who will pass it on to the consumer.
3. Food prices in Malaysia have increased at a 200% rate against world food prices.
4. Between September 2010 and April 2011, vegetables have increased between 40 to 60% in price.
5. The price of onions has gone up by 400%.
6. Sugar is up by 10.2%.
7. A household with an income of RM1,500 would find that their costs have gone up by 40% just from their grocery bill.
On the flip side, the average salary in this country has risen by 2.6% over the past 10 years from 2000 to 2010, or a paltry 0.26% a year! This is almost akin to a Japanese savings account, where you get out less than you put in.
Yes, by all means reduce subsidies, but you need to ensure that we can be a competitive economy in order to do so!
What is the point of trying to sugarcoat everything when this is a classic case of mismanagement of the highest order.
To use a business analogy, it is like saying, the directors screw up but the workers have to pay for it and get penalised consistently.
On top of this, the workers are also the shareholders, and at the AGM, the workers are compelled to re-elect them to the board of directors because of all the past successes of our company. Doesn't make much sense.
Of course, just before the AGM, the directors pay out a token bonus, buy them lunch and say that the future would be better under them. Come on people, we weren't born yesterday.
At this point in time, BN has just given PR a lot more ammunition come the next general election.
They hope the electorate has a short memory, but PR shall just come back and recap everything they have screwed up on.
If BN wants to silence PR, it's a tall order to lock up all the politicians during the election under the Internal Security Act.
Obviously, questioning the government's policies and decisions are a threat to national security.
If we are to operate as a true democracy, it is the right and duty of the people and the opposition to remind the government as to what their responsibility is.
Does BN want to lose the next election? I doubt so. However, it's a massive uphill climb for this government.
Can they make Chin a scapegoat and sideline the Sarawak United Peoples' Party?
Perhaps, considering the SUPP were caught out at the latest elections. The opposition has a really easy job. There is no need to dig up dirt when they so willingly present it to you on a silver platter.
AND UMNO IS STILL WONDERING WHY THE RAKYAT HAVE DECIDED NOT TO VOTE FOR THEM COME GE13!
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
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.
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? 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.
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.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Human rights NGO Suaram director Cynthia Gabriel told Malaysiakinitoday that the identity of the third person involved in the travels is being verified by French investigators.
Although 'a name' had come up during the probe, she said, it was too early to reveal the identity of the individual.
"Our lawyers have informed us that a third person's name came up during the investigations... the probe is going on, but it is still too early to determine who the person is," Gabriel (right) said.
It had been earlier been revealed that a company named Gifen, established in Malta by Jean-Marie Boivin, had intervened in negotiations for the purchase of the submarines to facilitate monetary transfers to finance Abdul Razak and Altantuya's travels.
The negotiations involved the sale of an Agosta and two Scorpene submarines to the Malaysian government under a RM4.3 billion (1 billion euro) contract inked in 2002 between Malaysia and DCNS, formerly known as DCN, a shipyard builder allied with Spanish warship builder Thalès.
It is uncertain whether this 'mysterious' personality could be the missing link in the murder of Altantuya, which has dogged Prime Minister Najib Razak since 2006. Gabriel declined to discuss this matter further.
Blown up with C4 explosives
In 2006, Altantuya, a translator and intermediary for the French submarines deal who was believed to be romantically linked with Razak, a close friend and adviser to Najib, was killed with C4 explosives at a jungle clearing in Shah Alam, Selangor.
Najib was then deputy prime minister and defence minister, while the two special task force officers convicted of murdering Altantuya were Najib's bodyguards.
Gabriel had revealed last month that there was not just one commission paid out but two others as well: a RM129 million (30 million euro) payment by DCNS to the commercial networks of Thalès as "commercial fees linked to the negotiations and the enactment of the contract" and another payment of RM10.8 million (2.5 million euro).
She said the second commission had reportedly been paid by Thalès to an intermediary, still unidentified, in order to convince the Malaysian government that it was necessary to have some more works initiated.
Although Suaram was yet to find out who this 'unidentified' intermediary was, Gabriel said Gifen had reportedly intervened in the negotiations to facilitate monetary transfers to finance the travels of Razak and Altantuya (right, pictured with her son).
Gabriel also said today that Suaram was planning massive fund-raising dinners in Penang and in Kuala Lumpur to support its legal fund.
The events would be held in July and the dates are yet to be confirmed.
She said the dinners would also serve as a platform for Suaram to reveal and explain the findings behind the December suit it filed in a Paris court against against French submarine maker DCNS for "active and passive corruption, trading of favours and abuse of corporate assets".
"The French lawyers who took up the case in Paris will be here to explain in detail and update the public on the findings and information we have got so far," she said.
"We would like members of the public to be aware of what is happening in the case, and that we must continue discussions and question the authorities on suspected corruption surrounding the matter," she added.
Initially, it was suspected that a bribe of RM492 million (114 million euro) had been paid by Amaris, a subsidiary of DCNS and Thalès, to "unidentified Malaysian officials" through a company called Perimekar.
The majority shareholder of Perimekar, officially created to "coordinate" the sale of submarines, is alleged to be Razak's wife.
The agreement to purchase two Scorpene submarines worth billions of dollars was signed when Najib became defence minister in 2002.
The Third Man Theme