18 August 2014

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

18 August 2014

Pendapat

Pendapat Anda?

TMI

Published: 22 August 2011

My name is Anwar bin Ibrahim. I am the leader of the Opposition in Parliament. In the 1990s, I was the Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister until September 1998 when then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad sacked me after I had refused to resign. He had told me to resign or face dire consequences including criminal prosecution for alleged sexual and corruption offences. I refused and all hell broke loose. My unceremonious and grossly unjust dismissal simultaneously orchestrated with a trial by media under Mahathir’s complete control triggered mass and widespread demonstrations throughout the country and launched the movement for change and reform known in our history as the Reformasi era.

After a series of show trials during which every rule in the book on evidence and criminal procedure was violated with impunity at the hands of the prosecution and the courts, I was convicted and sentenced to a total of 15 years.

THE CHARGE AGAINST ME

 

First and foremost, I categorically deny the charge against me. I want to state in no uncertain terms that I have never had any sexual relations with the complainant Mohamed Saiful. His allegation is a blatant and vicious lie and will be proved to be so.This is a vile and despicable attempt at character assassination. In this regard, let me reiterate that they can do all they want to assassinate my character and sully my reputation and threaten me with another 20 years of imprisonment but mark my words, they won’t be able to cow me into submission. On the contrary, it only serves to fortify my conviction that the truth will eventually prevail. Come what may, I shall never surrender. With apologies to Jean Racine in “Phaedra”:

“You know how well your tyranny favours my temperament and strengthens me to guard the honour of my reputation.”

Yes indeed, I will guard it with my life if I have to. And if I may bring the message closer to home, let me quote the words of Nelson Mandela in his speech made from the dock in the famous Rivonia show trial of 1963 under the apartheid regime:

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Back in 1998, blindfolded and handcuffed, I was beaten senseless by the Inspector-General of Police and left to die in the lock up at the Federal Police headquarters. However, it was by the grace of God that a few of the rank and file of the police took pity on me and nursed me to recover from the near lethal blows. There was then a cover up by Gani Patail (now the Attorney-General) and Musa Hassan (the IGP at the time that I was charged in this new episode) with the full knowledge and connivance of Datuk Yusuf, the current chief prosecutor in this trial. All these personalities were linked in one way or the other with the 1998 show trial and more insidiously with the suppression of evidence in respect of the black eye scandal and attempts to pervert the course of justice. These are the same personalities who are now actively involved in the current prosecution against me. Res ipsa loquitur, as they say, but in this regard I’m not talking about negligence but rather proof of criminality in this heinous plot betraying indeed “the deep damnation” of the conspiracy.

The circumstances are compelling that I elect to make a statement from the dock. And in this statement I shall attempt my utmost to place the truth ahead of the web of lies and deceit that has been spun thus far. To quote Shakespeare:

“And let us once again assail your ears,

That are so fortified against our story…”

Which has set me from the outset of the trial to have been deprived of a level playing field and subjected to inequality of arms vis-a-vis the prosecution.

The prosecution’s failure to discharge its duties professionally

1) Even though these matters are done as a matter of routine in criminal proceedings, the Prosecution has consistently refused to disclose material critical to my defence, including: (a) prosecution witness list; (b) primary hospital examination notes written by the medical examiners of the complainant at HBKL; (c) witness statements (including that of complainant); and (d) forensic samples and exhibits for independent examination and verification. All this has caused considerable prejudice to my defence and occasioned grave injustice. The only conclusion that one can reasonably draw from the prosecution’s persistence in this act of perversity is that unseen hands are at work and it is certainly not the hand of God.

2) Your failure to respond during the course of the trial to several attempts by persons hostile to me to discredit me by commenting on aspects of the trial. These included whether I should provide samples of his DNA; blaming the defence for the delay of the proceedings; and reporting on matters that were the subject of a suppression order. These public comments were made either in defiance of your orders that they not be made. They were made by Umno officials and politicians, including Datuk Seri Najib orchestrated through the controlled electronic and print media, such as Utusan Malaysia, Berita Harian, the New Straits Times and TV3. The constant comments by the Prime Minister and Umno officials in the media and adverse comments on the progress of the trial were clearly calculated to influence you and illustrates the political motive behind the charge.

3) The latest act of blatant disregard occurred just last Tuesday and Wednesday over TV3 which broadcasted a pre-recorded interview with the complainant saying things which are clearly in contempt of the proceedings in respect of the trial. In particular, the audacious portrayal of himself as the victim who is a pious and God-fearing Muslim who has sworn on the Quran that he is a witness of truth.

4) But the truth is that even as the trial was in progress, the complainant who was engaged to someone else was shamelessly having an affair with a member of the prosecution team. Quite apart from the consequences of such an affair on the conduct of the prosecution, the complainant’s facade of moral rectitude is shattered by this scandalous affair with the lady prosecutor who herself was also engaged with another man.

5) In spite of all this, the complainant, assisted by the full force of the Umno propaganda machine, via their media, has gone to town to vilify me. The point is that all comments were calculated to discredit me, adversely influence the course of the proceedings and to intimidate the witnesses at the trial. In spite of all these blatant transgressions, you have persistently refused to respond to any of these acts of contemptuous behaviour.

The solemn duty of a judge is not to sit mute when the law provides for a court of its own motion to issue show-cause notices against those who interfere in the administration of justice. I am reminded of the maxim Judex Habere Debet Duos Sales, Salem Sapicutiae, Ne Sit Insipidus, Et Salem Conscientiea, Ne Sit Diabolous, the English translation of which is,

“A judge should have two salts, the salt of wisdom, lest he be insipid; and the salt of conscience, lest he be devilish”.

The office of a judge is one of the most honourable in the country; he is the voice of the legislator and the organ for dispensing justice; he holds the balance between the executive and the subject.

Even more significantly, in the discharge of his duties, the judge should be mindful of Allah’s command:

“…and let not hatred of others

Swerve you into error

And depart from justice.

Be just, that is nearer to piety

Fear Allah, For Allah is

well acquainted with all that you do” — Surah al-maidah: 8

In the middle of the Second World War in 1942, Lord Atkin, in Liversidge v Anderson, had occasion to say in the House of Lords,

“It has long been one of the pillars of freedom…that the judges are no respecters of persons and stand between the subject and any attempted encroachment on his liberty by the executive, alert to see that any coercive action is justified by law.”’

In my case, YA, presiding in an adversarial trial, had the residual power and the jurisdiction to have invoked YA’s powers relating to contempt of court. YA chose not to do so for reasons best known to YA. What has happened is not in the best traditions of the Judiciary. In the ongoing Banting murder trial, the learned trial judge in that case, YA Datuk Akhtar Tahir, took it upon himself to summon a local television producer over a clip it aired during its prime news slot relating to the defence in the murder trial of Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others. A newspaper clipping of that report is annexed herewith. YA Datuk Akhtar Tahir has courageously demonstrated judicial activism in the name of human rights and the essential requirement of a fair trial.

To compound the position to incredulity, the open scandal relating to DPP Farah Azlina Latiff having an affair with PW1 did not concern YA. This invidious relationship should have alerted YA in that I have been denied a fair trial for the simple reason that Farah Azlina Latiff would have had access to the investigation papers being a member of the prosecution’s team and, therefore, PW1 would, through this relationship, would have had knowledge of the statements given by witnesses, including my alibi witnesses in the course of the investigation.

YA did not even chastise Farah Azlina Latiff for the illicit affair with SP1. All that was done was that Farah Azlina Latiff was taken off the prosecution team at the behest of the prosecution which was an open confirmation of the existence of that illicit affair. Farah Azlina Latiff did not deny the allegations against her. Neither was PW1 recalled by the prosecution to deny the existence of this unsavoury affair.

The Attorney-General had publicly stated the reasons would be given later to account for the sordid affair. That has yet to eventuate.

Yet, in the face of this, YA, at the close of the prosecution case, made a finding that PW1 was a truthful witness from this passage in the judgment as follows,

“Nothing came out from the lengthy cross-examination of PW1 or from the evidence of other prosecution’s witnesses that could suggest what PW1 had told in his evidence was something which was not probable. I find PW1’s evidence remains intact. He had truthfully and without embellishment or exaggeration in his evidence narrated in minute detail how he was sodomised by the accused on the date and at the place stated in the charge. I find him to be truthful witness and his evidence is reliable and if accepted would establish all the facts required to prove the charge against the accused.”

My lawyers had clearly made the submission that YA had made a prejudgment when YA ought to have only made findings as to who was telling the truth at the conclusion of the defence, in which event, I would have given evidence under oath. My lawyers did not, at any time, advert to the passage above in isolation. They zeroed in on the obvious, namely, whether a witness was truthful or not had to be decided at the close of the defence case. The provisions of section 182A(1) of the Criminal Procedure Code provided the judge with that guidance but to no avail. That section bears repeating. It states:

“At the conclusion of the trial, the court shall consider all the evidence adduced before it and shall decide whether the prosecution has proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.”

Pursuant to what I have stated above, I have been denied the benefit of putting up my defence under oath. That amounts to deprivation of a fair trial and the existence of a level playing field.

The Court of Appeal going out of line

My appeal to the Court of Appeal over the recusal of YA on account of prejudgment, following which would have resulted in biasness was heard on July 6, 2011. A copy of the order is annexed herewith. No written judgment was handed down by the Court of Appeal on July 6. The appeal was dismissed summarily on the preliminary objection taken by the prosecution that the order appealed against was not a final order. Those were the reasons given in open court. Nothing more, nothing less. The Court of Appeal took no more than five minutes to dispose of the appeal.

Unbeknownst to me or my lawyers, there was at the same time a 40-page judgment under the hand of YA Datuk Haji Abdul Malik bin Haji Ishak, also dated July 6, 2011. A copy of that judgment is annexed herewith.

Why did the Court of Appeal not read out the 91 paragraphed grounds of judgment dated July 6 on July 6 itself? Obviously, this judgment was at hand on July 6 but had surreptitiously been concealed from my knowledge and the knowledge of the public. The letter dated August 11, 2011 supplying a copy of this judgment to my lawyers is annexed herewith. As is usual, YA must have had the benefit of reading this judgment which will further exacerbate your bias against me. The judgment is an open and flagrant attack on me to which I will advert in due course. Suffice to say at this juncture that here is a judgment of the Court of Appeal written after July 6, 2011 which contains harsh criticism against me without my being given the opportunity to reply.

But that begs the question: the appeal had been dismissed in limine on the ground that the order appealed against was not a final order. That should have been the end of the matter because it followed that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal. [YA Datuk Haji Abdul Malik bin Haji Ishak sat mute during the course of submissions on the preliminary objection]. The matter did not go beyond into the merits. That is what the Court of Appeal announced on July 6 without going an inch further. The preliminary objection is adverted to, not as the main part of the judgment. The major part of the judgment goes beyond. It is a frolic of his own used for the purpose of hitting out at me.

If that was so, why did Datuk Haji Abdul Malik bin Haji Ishak embark upon a relentless attack on me in the rest of the judgment? In fact, he had no jurisdiction to do so. This is a blatant abuse of judicial power, perhaps in a surreptitious attempt to curry favour the political masters? Otherwise, how else can one explain as to why he embarked upon such a scurrilous attack on me by stating in the following paragraphs as numbered:

“[5] This case will fall in history. It will be chronicled as the only known case in our country or for that matter within the Commonwealth enclave where the appellant as an accused person persistently and consistently filed one application after another in an attempt to recuse the learned trial judge from hearing and continuing to hear the sodomy trial which is ongoing.

“[6] It seems that the appellant here is trying his level best to scuttle his sodomy trial for reasons best known to him, much to the chagrin of the prosecution and the exasperation of the members of the public at large.

“[15] It was certainly an uncalled for criticism [against the learned judge] bent to deceive and confuse the uninitiated. It is easy to criticise but it is always difficult to justify it.

“[18] It is also difficult for us to accept that the Notice of Motion was filed out of a genuine belief that the learned trial judge had been biased against the appellant.

“[49] The charge graphically described what the appellant did to Mohd Saiful Bukhari Bin Azlan [PW1.] [It is elementary that it is the evidence, not the charge, which proves an offence].

“[50] The trial was unduly prolonged. It received wide media coverage.

“[56] After such a fine display of judicial impropriety, Y.A. Datuk Haji Abdul Malik bin Haji Ishak now has audacity to patronise us about a sound judicial system by stating, in what sounds like a broken symbol, as follows:

“The perquisites of a sound judicial system are independence and impartiality. For an effective and a strong judicial system, the impartiality of its judges is of paramount importance. But it cannot be denied that the public’s confidence in the judicial system is shaped and moulded more by appearances.”

YA Datuk Haji Abdul Malik bin Haji Ishak rather ungraciously, and without jurisdiction, took a swipe at the judgment of his brother judges of the Court of Appeal including Richard Malanjum, now Chief Judge (Sabah and Sarawak), with the obvious purpose of humiliating them when stating:

“[72] Rowstead did not consider the ‘real danger of bias’ test in determining whether the learned JC should have recused himself notwithstanding the Federal Court had earlier on applied the said test in:

(a) Majlis Perbandaran Pulau Pinang v Syarikat Bekerjasama-sama Serbaguna Sungai Gelugor dengan Tanggungan [1999] 3 MLJ 1, FC; and

(b) Mohamed Ezam bin Mohd Nor & Ors v Ketua Polis Negara [2002] 1 MLJ 321, FC

“[73] Consequently, Rowstead’s suggestion that the request for recusal to be heard by another judge is quite radical. We categorically say that the recusal request, like the present matter, was rightly heard at the first instance by the learned trial judge and followed by this court.

“[74] Rowstead did not consider nor ventilate on section 3 of the CJA read with section 50(1)(a) of the CJA and the Explanatory Statement thereto.

“[75] The recusal application housed in the Notice of Motion concerned a long protracted trial that saw the legal manoeuvrings activated by the appellant at every nook and corner in an attempt to scuttle the criminal trial of the appellant for an offence of sodomising PW1. It is the mother of all trials in Malaysia.”

[I had every right to exhaust all legal remedies open to me. No attempt has been made by anyone, or any quarter, to prevent me from doing so by seeking an order to declare me a vexatious litigant].

As alluded to earlier in this statement, YA would have had the advantage of reading this judgment after it was distributed by letter dated August 11, 2011. This, in effect, amounts to placing, by YA Datuk Haji Abdul Malik bin Haji Ishak, alleged bad character evidence on my behalf.

In view of this, how can I get a fair trial or even the semblance of one before the trial judge now who has been further put in a position to compound biasness against me?

How can I possibly give evidence under oath when the DPP has, in his possession, the same judgment which could be used against me in cross-examination? YA cannot be disabused of what has been fed to YA by YA Datuk Haji Abdul Malik bin Haji Ishak when delivering a judgment dated July 6, 2011 which obviously, having regard to the length thereof, must have been prepared well before July 6, 2011.

This is scandalous.

Then again, why wasn’t the judgment which, even if written after midnight on July 5, 2011 read out in open court so that I could counter and demolish all the allegations made against me by YA Datuk Haji Abdul Malik Bin Haji Ishak?

It is elementary no one should be condemned, unheard. This is axiomatic. As far back as August 12, 1999 the Federal Court, the highest court in the land, in Insas Bhd and Anor v Ayer Molek Rubber Company Bhd and others had occasion, after adverting to the authorities on the position to rule,

“The offensive remarks made by the Court of Appeal against the High Court, the applicants and their counsel ought to be expunged from the judgment of the Court of Appeal, as it had a tendency to bring the whole administration of law and order into disrepute. Judicial pronouncements should be judicial in nature and should not depart from sobriety, moderation, and reserve. It also should not display emotion and intemperance, as displayed in the judgment of the Court of Appeal.”

Adverting to an Indian Supreme Court case of State of Uttar Pradesh v Mohd Naim, the Federal Court had occasion to adopt what was said there as follows;

“If there is one principle of cardinal importance in the administration of justice, it is this: the proper freedom and independence of judges and magistrates must be maintained and they must be allowed to perform their functions freely and fearlessly and without undue interference by anybody, even by this court. At the same time it is equally necessary that in expressing their opinions, judges and magistrates must be guided by considerations of justice, fair play and restraint. It is not infrequent that sweeping generalizations defeat the very purpose for which they are made. It has been judicially recognised that in the matter of making disparaging remarks against persons or authorities whose conduct comes into consideration before courts of law in cases to be decided by them, it is relevant to consider: (a) whether the part whose conduct is in question is before the court or has an opportunity of explaining or defending himself; (b) whether there is evidence on record bearing on that conduct justifying the remarks; and (c) whether it is necessary for the decision of the case, as an integral part thereof, to animadvert on conduct. It has also been recognised that judicial pronouncements must be judicial in nature, and should not normally depart from sobriety, moderation and reserve.”

In Insas, the Federal Court adopted what was said in AM Mathur v Pramod Kumar Gupta & Ors when dismissing an apparently unsustainable review petition which had certain derogatory remarks against AM Mathur, a senior advocate and also the ex-Advocate General of the State. The Court had occasion to hold,

“Judicial restraint and discipline are as necessary to the orderly administration of justice as they are to the effectiveness of the army. The duty of restraint, this humility of function should be a constant theme of our judges. This quality in decision-making is as much necessary for judges to command respect as to protect the independence of the judiciary. Judicial restraint in this regard might be better called judicial respect, that is, respect by the judiciary. Respect to those who come before the court as well as to other co-ordinate branches of the State, the executive and the legislature. There must be mutual respect. When these qualities fail or when litigants and public believe that the judge has failed in these qualities, it will be neither good for the judge nor for the judicial process. The Judge’s Bench is a seat of power. Not only do judges have power to make binding decisions, their decisions legitimate the use of power by other officials. The judges have the absolute and unchallengeable control of the court domain. But they cannot misuse their authority by intemperate comments, undignified banter of scathing criticism of counsel, parties or witnesses. We concede that the court had the inherent power to act freely upon its own conviction on any matter coming before it for adjudication, but it is a general principle of the highest importance to the proper administration of justice that derogatory remarks ought not to be made against persons or authorities whose conduct comes into consideration unless it is absolutely necessary for the decision of the case to animadvert on their conduct.”

Chief Justice of India, Bhagwati, in State of Madya Pradesh & Ors v Nandlal & Ors, in expressing his strong disapproval of the strictures made by the judge, stated:

“We may observe in conclusion that judges should not use strong and carping language while criticising the conduct of parties or their witnesses. They must act with sobriety, moderation and restraint. They must have the humility to recognise that they are not infallible and any harsh and disparaging strictures passed by them against any party may be mistaken and unjustified and if so, they may do considerable harm and mischief and result in injustice. Here, in the present case, the observations made and strictures passed by BM Lal J were totally unjustified and unwarranted and they ought not to have been made.”

How could I under these circumstances give evidence under oath?

YA, when making the order for the witnesses offered to the defence for interview in court, gave a lifeline to the witnesses in stating in open court that they could refuse to be interviewed. YA did not in doing so evenly handle the scales of justice. YA created and perpetuated an imbalance unbecoming anyone holding the mantle of justice. In fact, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, former Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan, and SAC Datuk Rodhwan Ismail who featured prominently in the evidence of PW1 came to the interview room echoing similar protests namely, “We are not prepared to be interviewed” with the Prime Minister saying YA suggested this could be done. These were material witnesses compelling the defence now to resort to causing subpoenas to be issued for their presence.

YA has created a position under which I cannot give evidence under oath. I say, with all the force at my command, that I would have been prepared and willing to give evidence under oath but for the handicaps foisted on me, in the manner YA has conducted the trial and in the manner in which the Court of Appeal judgment dated July 6, 2011 would have come to the notice of YA with regard to what I have stated herein before.

My trial is an adversarial one and YA ought not to have descended into the arena by suggesting witnesses offered to the defence could deny to be interviewed. It did not come within the province of YA to do so.

My alibi witnesses made known to the prosecution were in fact included in the prosecution list of witnesses which was not supplied to my lawyers. They were defence alibi witnesses. I am informed this is the first time this has been done.

In fact, the owner of the unit 11-5-2, Haji Hasanuddin bin Abd Hamid, had been harassed by the police for a total of 30 hours in the recording of his statements which were all video recorded. This was obvious when he was interviewed by the defence lawyers in my presence. The police investigation has scuttled my defence.

To make a mockery of the situation, the prosecution offered at the close of their case an alibi witness named, Fitria binti Dipan, who by their own admission cannot be traced.

THE COMPLAINANT’S ALLEGATIONS ARE PURE FABRICATION

As I have said at the outset, I categorically deny the allegations made against me by the complainant.

The complainant stated in evidence on June 26, 2008 he arrived at Kondominium Desa Damansara at 2.45pm to discuss work matters and hand over documents given to him by one Ibrahim Yaakob [my Chief of Staff] to myself. He says he stopped his van at the security post and mentioned the code name “Mokhtar” to the guards at the condominium before being allowed in. He parked his vehicle and took the lift to Unit 11-5-1 where I was allegedly seated at a dining table in the living room. He says he sat down at the same table and started the discussion. He told the court of the crude manner in which I had allegedly asked for sex.

The following appears in his evidence thereafter (as attached).

When questioned, he answered that he was angry and scared and that he was not prepared to do it but purportedly because I had appeared angry, he eventually obliged. It has to be observed at this stage the complainant could have, on his own admission in examination-in-chief, left the room as there is no evidence of any attempt by me to latch the door from inside.

He had further alleged that he was ordered into the bedroom and that he did enter out of fear. Even at this stage, the complainant had the opportunity to leave the living room. He did not do so. The rest of the evidence in this regard clearly showed that the complainant had every opportunity on every occasion to flee but he did not do so. His reason was that he was petrified by fear. But such a reason flies against the facts. Here is a man in his early twenties, a six-footer, physically fit and robust and with powerful connections in the top police brass as well as the political elite with access to the very inner sanctum of power. Additionally, he has also been a key Umno student operative, having undergone the rigorous training conducted by the Biro Tata Negara of the Prime Minister’s Department. And here I was a 60-year-old man with a history of back injury who had undergone a major back surgery holding no position of power. If indeed I could have exercised any kind of undue influence or mental pressure on him, this could have been easily neutralised by a quick phone call to his connections. As regards the fear of physical harm, it would take a great stretch of the imagination to suggest that I could pose any physical harm to him.

Under cross-examination, the following significant evidence was elicited from the complainant. He admitted that he had brought along lubricant and had himself voluntarily and without hesitation applied it. He claimed that carnal intercourse took place and that it was painful and coarse. However, this was clearly not borne out in the medical evidence in the prosecution case suggesting fissures or tears. After the alleged act, he testified that he had a drink and engaged in a friendly conversation with me. Startlingly, no attempt was made by the complainant to seek immediate medical attention. Instead, he attended a PKR function the following day. In the evening, he joined a meeting of the Anwar Ibrahim Club at my house without showing any sign of either emotional or physical discomfort let alone trauma. On the contrary, he was going about matters in a calm and confident manner. His conduct therefore is totally inconsistent with having been violated. In any event, he neither made a police report nor sought medical attention, notwithstanding that two days prior to the alleged act, he had met with Najib and Rosmah as well having talked on the phone with Musa Hassan and met with Rodhwan at a hotel.

It is obvious, from the evidence above, that the complainant was lying through his teeth although YA, despite the compelling evidence to the contrary, found him a truthful witness at the close of the prosecution case. This defies logic, let alone the law.

Then again, the expert evidence with regard to DNA led in the course of prosecution case through PW4, Dr Seah Lay Hong, and PW5, Nor Aidora Saedon, was highly questionable in that crucial information pertaining to the DNA analysis of both the said witnesses which they were obliged to furnish to the court was suspiciously withheld despite them confirming the existence of such information. The real possibility that the samples analysed were contaminated and even planted were completely disregarded despite such possibilities coming clearly within guidelines set by the international forensic community which were completely ignored, if not, blatantly disregarded by PW4 and PW5 to fit the prosecution’s case. It is obvious had the said possibilities been explored, the conclusions reached would have been very different in that the complainant’s own semen was found in his own anus, there was ample evidence of contributors other than Male Y around the complainant’s perianal, lower and higher rectal region and there was clear evidence of the samples having been tampered with before they were sent for analysis. In such circumstances, the integrity of the said samples was surely compromised. Furthermore, the impartiality of PW4 was highly questionable having regard to the way in which she completely dismissed the very high possibility that the samples sent to her would have degraded to a certain degree by the time they reached her which such degradation was completely absent from all samples in this case. This clearly points to the obvious reality that the samples sent for analysis could not have been what were extracted from the complainant’s person.

Trial within a trial

The Gestapo-like manner in which I was arrested and the subsequent detention and interrogation by the police all betrayed the hands of the political masters at work. What was the need to send in balaclava-clad commandos to effect the arrest if not to attempt to flex political muscle and to display pure vindictiveness? These startling facts were completely ignored by YA.

YA had made an earlier ruling to exclude the recovery of certain items including water bottle, Good Morning towel, toothpaste from the lock-up at IPK, Kuala Lumpur where I had been detained overnight from 16.7.08 to 17.7.08. However, you reversed this ruling subsequently which is something most shocking and unprecedented.

Although in the trial within a trial, I had adverted to the role of Taufik and Supt Jude Pereira, the prosecution elected only to call Taufik in rebuttal in the trial within a trial. Taufik attempted to produce a photostat copy of the warrant of arrest which was only marked as an ID and, therefore, could not be considered as evidence in the trial within a trial. A photostat copy of a document is not admissible as evidence in a court of law. It was in the trial within a trial that primary evidence of the document ought to have been given if the original record had been lost or destroyed.

The prosecution could not, by producing the original warrant of arrest in the main trial, cure the infirmity. It is in evidence that three copies of the warrant of arrest were in the possession of Supt Jude Pereira. The evidence of the warrant of arrest was available during the trial within a trial.

Even Supt Jude Periera, whose role was adverted to by me during the trial within a trial, chose not to take the stand despite having had the opportunity to have produced the original copy of the warrant of arrest in the trial within a trial.

It was during the trial within a trial that Supt Jude Periera should have testified. It was clearly unlawful for the court to accept Supt Jude Periera’s evidence in the general trial for the purpose of rebutting my evidence in the trial within a trial that the DNA profiling from the Good Morning towel, toothbrush and mineral water bottle had been obtained by unfair methods and unfair means and my arrest, therefore, had been procured unlawfully.

In fact, Supt Jude Periera’s evidence in the general trial confirms that there had been non-compliance with Rule 20 of the Lock-up Rules, 1953 in that I, after my arrest on 16.7.08, had not been placed in the lock-up from 6pm to 6am the following day. The provisions of Rule 20 are mandatory.

If this was the position in our case, which it was, then, clearly, my being taken to the HKL in breach of Rule 20 reflected unfair means and unfair methods being employed by the police to obtain the DNA profiling from the items set out hereinbefore. The position is further compounded by the evidence of Supt Jude Periera in the general trial that he did not direct police personnel in charge of the lock-up not to touch the said items despite the police personnel in the general trial before the trial within a trial, clearly, saying that Supt Jude Periera had done so.

So the position comes to this, Supt Jude Periera, in his evidence on oath in the main trial, supports the defence case that unfair methods and unfair means had been used by the police to obtain DNA profiling from the items set out hereinbefore.

From the ruling made by the court to exclude the items, it is clear it was based on unfair means and unfair methods employed by the police meaning it was by trick and deception that the police attempted to introduce the DNA evidence.

In any event, from the evidence of DSP Taufik given in the trial within a trial and the general trial, the grounds of arrest could not have been given by him to me in Segambut as this is, clearly, contradicted by the evidence of S.N. Nair and myself.

The question of challenging evidence given in the main trial by DSP Taufik and Supt Jude Periera does not arise. It was the assertions made under oath by me that my arrest was unlawful and unfair methods and unfair means had been used to obtain his DNA profiling in the trial within a trial stood unchallenged by the prosecution by leading lawful evidence in rebuttal of those assertions. In fact, YA should have drawn an adverse inference against the prosecution for not having done so.

FORENSIC EVIDENCE

The prosecution case rests on the evidence of the DNA and so-called “findings of seminal fluid” or “sperm” as they claim. As a matter of fact, this is the only forensic evidence upon which the foundation of the prosecution’s so-called proof rests. Yet, this foundation is erected on shaky grounds though this has not prevented them working in hand in glove with the powers that be to mount an insidious and relentless campaign to vilify me.

The fact is that there is not an iota of evidence, DNA or otherwise, that has ever been found in the premises of the alleged act, not in the wash room, bedroom, carpets or anywhere else where such evidence ought to have been found.

Supt Pereira, despite being instructed to keep the HKL samples (marked B1 to B10) in a freezer, deliberately defied the instruction of Dr Siew Sheue Fong (HKL forensic doctor) and also admitted that he was in serious breach of the IGSO (he even stated he took full and personal responsibility for breaking of the IGSO), when he deliberately kept the HKL samples in his office cabinet for about 43 hrs before delivering them to the chemist. One must not forget that the alleged act was supposed to have occurred two days prior to the said samples having been extracted. Coupled with this 43-hour delay in delivery to the chemist, it would mean that the samples were already at least 90 hours old by the time they were examined by the chemist. Undoubtedly, the samples would have totally degraded. Yet evidence by the prosecution claimed that no degradation of any consequence had occurred.

In any event, even the 43-hour delay alone would have seriously compromised the integrity of the samples in terms of its deterioration due to bacterial action. Also, by not storing the samples in the police exhibit store (which will accord access only to him), his deliberate omission of such strict rules of the IGSO has, by his very act, presented an opportunity and possibility of tampering of the samples as access to others was made easier. This was disregarded.

There are also no cogent or compelling reasons both in law and practice for Supt Jude Pereira to cut open P27 (the big tamperproof bag containing all the HKL samples which was sealed and handed over to him), ostensibly to re-mark them (B1 to B10). It is clear that this act was just a convenient excuse to get access to the individual samples which by themselves were clearly not tamperproof as they were deliberately “sealed” with ordinary and easily removable tapes and easily removable HKL paper seals.

Dr Siew Sheue Fong, as evident in court, was most reluctant to refer to his medical notes during cross examination despite being unable to remember details. During the break he was caught surreptitiously taking a sneak peek of his notes. This dishonest act of a professional doctor who ought to have conducted himself in a fair and independent manner was blatantly ignored. Many a time Dr Siew and Dr Mohd Razali Ibrahim deliberately chose not to answer pertinent questions put to them by my counsel. Instead Dr Siew and Dr Razali’s evidence was accepted without reservation.

Dr Seah Lay Hong (the chemist) gave evidence that when she received the 12 HKL samples there were two samples that were marked as taken on very different dates, she testified she did nothing to seek clarification from Dr Siew . She further testified that she “gave the benefit of doubt” to Dr Siew. My lawyers submitted strenuously that such acts and/or omissions amount to a serious breach of the cardinal rules of international lab protocols and those of the Jabatan Kimia Malaysia. Despite such blatant exposures and abject failures of non observance of strict rules, Dr Seah’s evidence was well received and in totality when it ought to have been jettisoned in totality for reasons of incompetence and gross negligence.

The defence evidence will show that the prosecution claim to have proof of the presence of “seminal fluid” or “sperm” is completely unfounded. In fact, this purported proof is nothing but pure fabrication, a fact which is not that unusual considering the past history of the prosecution in this regard. If they had had any such forensic evidence, they would have guarded it for dear life rather than let it being handled in such a sloppy manner.

SUMMATION

Your Lordship has failed to ensure a fair trial as demonstrated, inter alia, by the following instances:

1. Your refusal during the course of the trial to order disclosure of material critical to my defence, most of which you thought was sufficiently relevant and which fairness required that you should order it to be disclosed before the trial. Your failure to fairly and properly exercise his judicial discretion to order disclosure was not only contrary to Malaysian laws but violated the international standards expected of a modern state which purports to practice the rule of law.

2. Your refusal to act accordingly either to take cognizance or to hold to account those responsible for the flagrant acts of leaking and publishing in the media of prosecution submissions before the matter was heard in court; your utter indifference to my protestations about these transgressions has wittingly or unwittingly facilitated the conspiracy to vilify me in the court of public opinion even as the trial is in progress.

3. Your failure to order that witnesses critical to my defence attend the trial to testify, in circumstances where their involvement was patently material to the issues at trial and recorded under oath in the complainant’s testimony and admitted by statements made by these witnesses to the media. These witnesses relate to the circumstances in which the complainant came to make his early complaints against me. Nothing could be more material to the credit of the complainant.

4. Your finding the complainant to be “a truthful witness” at the close of the prosecution case clearly amounted to prejudgment demonstrating in the process a clear bias against me. Consequently, you have deprived me of my constitutionally guaranteed right to a fair hearing the effect of which is to entitle me to an unconditional release with the charges levelled against me falling to the ground. Notwithstanding this, you have not only failed to order my release but have adamantly refused to recuse yourself from further presiding at the trial.

5. Your arriving at the conclusion that the complainant was a witness of truth without first hearing the evidence of the defence would render the continuation of this trial an exercise in futility. What use would there be for me to adduce evidence to show that the complainant is in fact a liar if you have already found “him to be a truthful witness” and that his evidence is reliable and conclusive and by virtue of that irrefutable? It is untenable and the law does not allow you to do what you have done.

6. Your finding that the complainant has corroborated himself by complaining to the medical doctors of sexual assault was a glaring error of law apart from it being in gross disregard of a finding of fact, that is, that the clinical finding had indicated no evidence of penetration. Additionally, your failure to question why the prosecution has for no apparent reason refused to call in the first medical officer who had examined the complainant to testify. Did it not cross your mind that this failure was prompted by the need to suppress evidence that might be unfavourable to the prosecution?

7. Your accepting without hesitation the forensic evidence as corroborative of the complainant’s account in circumstances where there were obvious concerns about how those samples were obtained, labelled, stored and analysed.

CONCLUSION

This entire process is nothing but a conspiracy by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to send me into political oblivion by attempting once again to put me behind bars. I therefore declare that I have no faith whatsoever that justice will prevail in these proceedings notwithstanding the valiant efforts made by my defence team. As I have said at the outset, this is not a criminal trial. It is a charade staged by the powers that be to put me out of action in order that they remain in power.

In 1998, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did just that and by his Machiavellian use of all the organs of power of the State, succeeded in getting me convicted for 15 years for offences that I had never committed. Such was the tyranny and injustice done to me then. And such is the tyranny and injustice being perpetuated today.

Najib Razak is doing the same thing as his mentor did, which is to employ all means within his power through the media, the police, the Attorney-General and the judiciary in order to subvert the course of justice and to take me out of the political equation.

This relentless conviction to send me back to prison became all the more imperative because of the major victories gained by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat in the March 2008 elections. Their worst fears were confirmed when it became clear that once my legal disqualification was over I would be contesting for a parliamentary seat and if I won, would be elected leader of the opposition.

It was therefore no coincidence that this new conspiracy surfaced three months after the March 2008 victories and the formal charge against me was made just one month prior to my contesting the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat. The sequence of events that unfolded prior to the formal charge appeared to be lifted from the plot of 1998 minus, in this latest episode, the black-eye affair and the purported victims being led into court as partners in crime. In this second episode, the conspirators have tweaked the plot to make the complainant take on the role of a helpless victim, having realised that the 1998 method of employing Stalin-like confessions and the portrayal of the alleged victims as remorseful and repentant sexual deviants were just too much for the public to believe.

Hence, during the entire examination of the complainant, the prosecution left no stone unturned in their attempt at painting the picture of a helpless, naive and innocent young man who is a witness of truth and whose testimony should be believed regardless of any evidence to the contrary. The fact is that in the entire scheme of things, the complainant, who was just a university drop out working part time helping out my chief of staff, is essentially a pawn being employed by the shady plotters to achieve their devious ends in the conspiracy. And yet it was the decision of the court after the close of the prosecution case that he indeed is a truthful witness.

The preparation entailed in this conspiracy was most elaborate and went all the way to the Prime Minister himself and his wife Rosmah Mansor both of whom by the complainant’s own admission had met him in their residence where he purportedly complained of being sexually assaulted. The initial statement by Najib that he had met with the complainant merely to discuss about a scholarship was a blatant lie only to be retracted later after various exposes were made via the social media and the Internet blogs. It was obvious that neither Najib nor Rosmah would not want to be seen to be part of the conspiracy being themselves embroiled in a series of other scandals the details of which have been raised in Parliament which to date have never been categorically refuted. But the stakes in this conspiracy are so high that nothing can be left to pure chance for indeed the prospect of the Umno-led Barisan Nasional losing power to Pakatan Rakyat is becoming more real by the day.

The main thrust of the conspiracy was to fabricate this sodomy charge in order to inflict maximum damage to my character in the run-up campaign to the by-elections. Towards this end, an intense and virulent media blitz was launched concurrently with the staging of rallies and ceramahs where the focus of the debate was not on any social, economic or even political issues but purely on my person and my morality. The plotters for reasons known only to themselves became privy to information which would be used subsequently by the prosecution and went to town in an orgy of character assassination calculated no doubt to ensure a humiliating defeat for me in the polls. But Allah is great and instead of losing, I won the Permatang Pauh seat with a thumping majority of 15,000 votes.

But the zeal to consign me to political oblivion continues unabated. Najib seems to think that by destroying my political future, it would also destroy the prospects of Pakatan Rakyat ever coming to power.

Hence, nothing is spared to ensure that I will be convicted in order that the Umno-led Barisan government continues to rule.

Having regard to all the above, I now wish to state that this trial is for all intents and purposes a show trial. I say this not to mock your Lordship nor with animosity towards anyone personally but I sit before you in the dock only to speak what I know and what I believe with conviction to be the truth. And this conviction is borne by having been in public service for more than 40 years, a quarter of which was spent within the walls of incarceration in Kamunting and in Sungai Buloh. The fact remains that I was condemned to imprisonment not because of any crime that I had committed but for my political beliefs and convictions and more significantly because back in 1998 I had posed a clear and present threat to the more than two decades of autocratic rule of Mahathir.

I say it because as I’ve stated earlier, the court’s integrity has been completely compromised and bears all the classic symptoms of a show trial where the script has been effectively written and the outcome a foregone conclusion. I say it because as a presiding judge you have demonstrated beyond the shadow of a doubt your complete lack of impartiality. I say it because you have consistently refused to recuse yourself even in the face of mounting evidence of your bias against me. I say it too because you have persistently turned a blind eye to the gross violations of protocol and procedure committed by the prosecution while at the same remaining impervious to my protestations about these blatant irregularities that would have without more alerted any impartial judge as to the malice and bad faith of the prosecution.

In the matter of the duty of a judge, the Holy Quran commands:

“And when you judge between mankind

Then you judge justly.” — Surah An-Nisaa:58

18 August 2014

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Malaysiakini

The people who doubt Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s suitability as Selangor menteri besar (MB) and who claim that Malaysia is not ready to accept a woman to govern either the state, or the nation, are wrong. Step forward, the self-appointed ‘First Lady of Malaysia’ (FLOM), Rosmah Mansor.

In the past, many people, especially those from Umno Baru, despised the FLOM because they believe that she was masquerading as the FLOM when she was really the prime minister. Najib Abdul Razak, they said, is her proxy. So, are the critics of Wan Azizah afraid that the top echelons of political power will become too crowded with women? So, who are the groups which are sabotaging Wan Azizah?

Many people claim they want change, but when faced with opportunity for change, which is to have Wan Azizah as the MB, they develop cold feet. They fear uncharted waters. Dr Wan Azizah is not unfit to be MB, but Malaysians are afraid of change.

The trouble also lies with the indecisive politicians, in Umno Baru, BN, Pakatan and PAS, and the conservative people who want to retain our patriarchal society.

The people who currently hold the reins of power know that when Wan Azizah turns the country around, they will be in trouble. They know they will lose power, status and wealth, and be punished for their past crimes.

The men who fear a woman at the top are probably afraid that a woman will show up their weaknesses.

The rakyat is fed up with the current administration which puts in minimal effort to help uplift the lives of women. A few years ago, Najib nominated himself as the women, family and community development minister but failed to bring any meaningful changes for Malaysian women.

Najib could not even force himself to sack his predecessor for her role in the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal.  Was he afraid of what she could do to him? An honest person can never be conned. Likewise, a person who has nothing to hide does not fear the skeletons tumbling out of his closet.

Malaysians want something done about the many crimes against women – the gang rapes, the child marriages, the increase in domestic violence, the abuse of maids, sometimes by women themselves, women being infected by HIV/Aids by their husbands, women who are abandoned by their polygamous husbands, the abandoned babies and the single mothers with no lifeline.

Why are Malaysian men, principally Malay men, averse to women holding senior and important roles in society, especially in politics?

Are they afraid that women in power might behave like the wife who has discovered her husband’s cheating and will curtail both his nocturnal and extracurricular activities? Will the Malay men fear that Wan Azizah may force a complete overhaul of the syariah law, in Malaysia, to gain more protection to Malay women?

‘Priority to her husband’s needs’?

Do Malay men have the same opinion as the vice-president of the Obedient Wives’ Club (OWC), Rohaya Mohamad (left), who in 2011 said that women should be “high class whores in bed” to prevent their husbands from straying. Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali certainly thinks so. He said, “From a Muslim perspective, the wife has to drop all of this (cooking, etc). She must give priority to her husband’s needs.”

If only Rohaya realised the struggles of Malayan fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, who in the early 1900s, valued education. They fought for the right of education for their daughters. They did not think that to become whores was the full extent of an education. They wanted to empower their daughters.

The trouble with Wan Azizah is that compared with other Umno Baru women, she is educated, well-travelled, sophisticated and squeaky clean; but that does not stop people from making up lies about her, like former PKR Youth secretary Lokman Nor Adam, who jumped like a frog to Umno Baru and defamed Wan Azizah with claims that she led an extravagant lifestyle and had a penchant for expensive suits.

Around the world, there are women who had to take charge of multi-million dollar enterprises when their husbands died. These women, who had previously not known how to pay an electricity bill, were able to make their companies more successful.

If they did it, why can’t Wan Azizah be MB? Many of her detractors claim that she lacks experience, but is this really such an impediment? She will have an army of advisers, including economists, lawyers, security experts, bankers, academics and industrialists to assist her.

Wan Azizah may not be good at ‘investing’ like a former Umno Baru politician, who corralled public funds to secure the purchase of many luxury condominiums. Wan Azizah may not have the financial wizardry of one Umno Baru wife, who is able to purchase multi-million ringgit jewels and handbags, because she began saving when she was a teenager.

PAS acted like a dithering adolescent with its wishy-washy endorsement of Wan Azizah. They must learn that one can be committed to democracy and equality, and still be a true Muslim.

The opposition to Wan Azizah is not because of her sex, her educational background, or that she is Anwar’s wife. She could be perfect in every way, but her detractors will always be able to find a reason for her unsuitability.

The only reason people oppose Wan Azizah is that they do not want the floodgates to be opened, for the empowerment of women. They fear the moment when Malaysians discover that Malaysian women are as good as, or better than, men, at ruling, promoting justice and equality, ensuring peace and harmony, and providing opportunities for all.

18 August 2014

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Media Statement
For Immediate Release
18th August 2014

UMNO’s Attacks Upon My Lawyer Is An Orchestrated Attempt To Interfere With Fitnah 2 Appeal In Fed Court

On 14th August 2014, the Federal Court fixed 28 and 29th October 2014 for hearing of my appeal against the Fitnah II conviction by the Court of Appeal. This is my final legal recourse against the unjust and politically motivated Fitnah 2 conviction.

Since the fixing of the appeal dates, Umno has orchestrated the making of hundreds of police reports by Umno divisions nationwide against N Surendran, who is my lawyer in the Fitnah 2 appeal. Among others, top Umno leader Mukhriz Mahathir has publicly called upon all Umno divisions to lodge police reports, whereas Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia’s editorial has called for immediate action against my lawyer.

The excuse for this campaign of intimidation against my lawyer is that he had said in a press conference after attending case management for the appeal that the charges against me are a political conspiracy involving Prime Minister Najib Razak.

My lawyer has the right and the duty to speak of Najib’s involvement in the Fitnah 2 conspiracy to jail me. The involvement of Najib in this conspiracy was one my main defences during the trial at the High Court; and will be raised extensively in my appeal in the Federal Court on 28 and 29 October 2014.

The evidence of Najib’s involvement is clear and shocking. Najib had met with the accuser Saiful on 24 June 2014, which is two days before Saiful claims the alleged incident took place.

When asked about it, Najib initially lied that only his officer met Saiful supposedly regarding a scholarship. Later, Najib changed his story and admitted meeting Saiful at his residence.

The meeting was set up by Najib’s own special officer Khairil Anas. Najib’s personal lawyer, who is now prosecuting me, Shafee Abdullah has also admitted that he was present.

Top policeman SAC Datuk Rodwan, who was involved in the Fitnah 1 conspiracy in 1998, also met Saiful the same evening of the meeting with Najib. Saiful was also in contact with then IGP Musa Hassan. Musa was deeply involved in the 1998 conspiracy as the investigating officer.

This is blatant conspiracy staring us in the face!

Ignoring all this, the court of appeal perversely decided to convict me on 7 March 2014, on the eve of the Kajang move.

Now, Umno is going all out to prevent my lawyers from even mentioning Najib’s involvement in this conspiracy.

In my statement from the dock which I read out during the trial, I have said :

“This entire process is nothing but a conspiracy by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to send me into political oblivion by attempting once again to put me behind bars.”

“Najib Razak is doing the same thing as his mentor did, which is to employ all means within his power through the media, the police, the Attorney-General and the judiciary in order to subvert the course of justice and to take me out of the political equation.”

How is it a crime for my lawyer to state to the public this essential ground of my defence in the Fitnah 2 appeal?

I believe the top Umno leadership is involved in orchestrating this campaign of intimidation. The intention is to prevent me from getting a fair hearing during the appeal on 28 and 29 October, and to cover-up Najib and Umno’s role in the conspiracy.

These attacks upon my lawyer Surendran are a clear and blatant interference by Umno in the pending appeal, as it is a direct attempt to prevent the ground of conspiracy from being raised by my lawyers.

I call upon Najib and Umno to stop this interference with the legal process; there must be no pressure, direct or otherwise, upon the lawyers and the courts. If the legal process is allowed to function independently and impartially, I am confident of being acquitted. With this latest move, Umno and Najib show no sign of allowing this to happen.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

15 August 2014

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TMI

Saya memerhatikan pergolakan Selangor sambil mendisiplinkan diri dengan membisu sekian lama. Diharapkan ia tidak menambahkan kekeruhan sedia ada sekalipun sekian ramai awak-awak mengharu-birukan lagi keadaan dengan komen yang sesetengahnya tidak bertanggungjawab, bahkan mencederakan nama baik PAS.

Tikus lebih mudah merosakkan labu kerana menghancurkan lebih mudah daripada membina.

Namun begitu, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim sebagai seorang insan gentleman dan berakhlak mulia mesti tahu batas beliau boleh menumpang PAS.

Beliau boleh mendapatkan simpati, perlindungan sementara dan sokongan PAS dalam lingkungan semangat Pakatan Rakyat (PR). Presiden PAS Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang sudah menghulurkan ranting zaitun untuk beliau. Episod itu sudah berlalu.

Perkembangan lain berlaku selepas episod itu. Di mana PAS tidak wajar timbul tenggelam dengan Khalid dan menggorbankan prinsipnya yang lebih besar, nama baiknya, akhlak politik dipegangnya dan amanah atas nama PR yang ia perolehi daripada rakyat Selangor.

Tan Sri sudah dipecat sebagai ahli PKR. Oleh kerana beliau belum diterima menjadi ahli mana-mana parti gabungan dan bukan mewakili PR lagi.

Tan Sri sedar sepenuhnya hal ini?

Kerajaan Selangor adalah kerajaan PR. Bukan kerajaan Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

Bagaimana seorang Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Bebas bukan anggota PR boleh terus menjadi menteri besar PR?

Tan Sri memecat exco daripada PKR dan DAP. Juga mengambil pelbagai langkah politik lain lagi yang ikut memalitkan PAS tetapi PAS tidak pernah tahu mengenainya.

Tindakan ini boleh memecahbelahkan PR kerana seakan-akan menunjukkan PAS terus mendokong menteri besar yang sudah hilang legitimasi.

Ia merosakkan PAS dan Tan Sri tidak berhak berbuat demikian kepada PAS.

Untuk memecat exco daripada PKR dan DAP dan mengekalkan PAS, ia mesti dibincangkan lebih dulu dengan PAS (Jawatankuasa PAS Pusat) dan mendapat persetujuan gabungan yang lain.

Setahu saya, PAS Pusat tidak pernah bermesyuarat dalam tempoh ini untuk memutuskan kedudukan itu.

Saya selaku salah seorang naib presiden tidak pernah dimaklumkan mana-mana pihak tentang hal ini. Setahu saya, PAS Pusat juga tidak pernah memberikan mandat kepada sesiapa untuk memutuskan perkara ini.

Dengan ini, Tan Sri sudah melibatkan PAS untuk survival Tan Sri sebagai menteri besar dengan cara yang menjejaskan nama baik PAS di mata rakyat Selangor. Ini sangat tidak wajar.

Bagaimana Tan Sri boleh kekal sebagai menteri besar dengan tidak melepaskan jawatan secara bermaruah pada hari sama Tan Sri  dipecat sebagai ahli PKR? Sultan menitahkan untuk Tan Sri kekal adalah kebijaksanaan baginda tetapi Tan Sri mempunyai pilihan untuk menolak perkenan itu atas pilihan Tan Sri sendiri.

Apa lagi bertindak seakan-akan Tan Sri  masih berkuasa penuh padahal asas legitimasi Tan Sri  sudah runtuh. Untuk kekal sebagai menteri besar, Tan Sri tidak boleh mencaturkan 15 Adun PAS untuk menggenapkan cukup bilangan bagi pembentukan kerajaan Selangor PAS + Umno + Khalid + lompat parti DAP/PKR.

Itu sangat tidak bermoral. Itu meniru gaya Umno di Perak. Perbuatan terkutuk dan ditolak amalan demokrasi yang mulia. Memasukkan perkongsian kuasa PAS dan Umno melanggar banyak prinsip yang dipegang PAS selama ini.

Umno adalah lawan PAS dan tidak ada mana-mana kuasa dalam PAS boleh mengizinkan PAS berkongsi kuasa dengan Umno tanpa melalui kelulusan Muktamar Agung PAS.

Ia tidak mungkin dilakukan dalam jangka masa Tan Sri membilang jumlah Adun untuk mengekalkan Tan Sri sebagai menteri besar sekarang. Tan Sri sudah tidak mempunyai cukup bilangan sekarang.

Jika itu dilakukan PAS, bermakna PAS menerima hubungan ‘sodomy’ (liwat).

15 Adun PAS dipilih rakyat Selangor atas tiket kerja sama PR. Umno ditolak majoriti rakyat Selangor kecuali di 12 DUN. Kedudukan Umno adalah sebagai pembangkang dan PAS adalah sebahagian kerajaan Selangor.

Membawa Umno daripada pembangkang dan duduk sebagai kerajaan bersama PAS dengan menolak dua lagi parti gabungan yang dipilih secara sah oleh rakyat adalah perbuatan terkutuk yang tidak dizinkan Islam.

Islam tidak mengizinkan pengkhianatan. Islam tidak mengizinkan pecah amanah. Dalam hal ini, amanah majoriti pengundi Selangor memilih PR sebagai kerajaan dan menolak Umno.

Tan Sri sebagai tokoh korporat yang biasa dengan angka tentu tahu, sekalipun 15 Adun PAS campur 13 Adun Umno campur Tan Sri, ia hanya berjumlah 29 Adun daripada 58 jumlah Adun.

50:50. Ia tidak membolehkan Tan Sri mendapat majoriti mudah dari awal, sekalipun jika PAS dan Umno sanggup bersekongkol untuk mendaulatkan seorang insan bernama Khalid Ibrahim lebih daripada segala-galanya.

Sementara PAS dan Umno kedua-duanya, secara pendirian parti yang rasmi, tidak pernah memberikan persetujuan itu sehingga hari ini. Hari Jumaat yang mulia – 15 Ogos 2014 – hari ini.

Jika Tan Sri mengharapkan Rodziah Ismail dan Datuk Teng Chang Kim yang disebut-sebut kononnya akan bersama Tan Sri sehingga Tan Sri melewatkan pemecatan Rodziah berbanding yang lain, namun mereka mengambil pendirian insan bermaruah dan pendekar terbilang kerana kekal bersama parti masing-masing.

Syabas! Saya amat bangga dengan mereka dan ia memberikan hiburan bagi hati yang gundah di tengah kecenderungan menggunakan “jual beli kuda taruhan”.

Kentalnya Rodziah menolak tawaran kekal dalam exco sekalipun berkereta besar dan bergaji lumayan adalah satu tamparan yang patut menyedarkan Tan Sri pada saat itu juga.

Legitimasi Tan Sri sebagai menteri besar sudah berakhir.

Harapan mendapatkan sekurang-kurangnya seorang Adun untuk mendapatkan majoriti mudah sudah tertutup.

Apa lagi bila dua Adun PAS mengambil langkah bersendiri mereka menolak Tan Sri sebagai menteri besar secara terbuka.

Sekalipun jika jarum boleh berpatah ke belakang, saya akan menasihatkan mereka untuk terlebih dulu mendapat restu parti. Itu yang terbaik.

Tetapi tindakan mereka meletakkan usaha pihak mana jua untuk mewujudkan sebuah kerajaan gabungan PAS, Umno, Khalid dan Adun lompat gagal dan mustahil.

Tan Sri tahu ini.

Lantas, apa lagi yang ditunggu?

Tidakkah mulia untuk Tan Sri bermaruah melepaskan jawatan menteri besar?

Atau Tan Sri kini berfikir untuk membubarkan Dewan Undangan Negeri (DUN)?

Bukankah tindakan itu akan menyusahkan Tuanku Sultan Selangor?

Kenapa tidak pada tarikh Tan Sri mengadap Sultan Selangor baru-baru ini Tan Sri mencadangkan DUN dibubarkan?

Jika kerana Tan Sri gagal mendapatkan cukup bilangan Adun dan Sultan Selangor mengambil langkah membubarkan DUN, ia pada hemat saya, akan mencemarkan istitusi diraja.

Model Perak di mana tokoh yang mendapat sokongan majoriti dilantik tanpa pembubaran DUN dan tanpa sidang DUN hendaklah menjadi cermin. PAS sudah mengalami pengalaman pahit bila menteri bedar Kelantan yang dilantik atas tiket PAS dan hendak ditukar oleh PAS, antara lain bukan kerana kesalahan jenayah rasuah tetapi semata-mata kerana gagal mengikut semangat dan arahan parti, mencetuskan krisis disebabkan Umno melanggar konvensyen urusan parti lain tidak boleh dicampuri parti gabungan yang lain.

Malangnya Umno melanggar konvensyen itu. Lama PAS mengutuk tindakan jahat Umno itu. Dari dulu hingga kini. Ia tercatat dalam dokumen rasmi PAS, ucapan pemimpinnya dan tesis para mahasiswa.

Oleh itu, Tan Sri tidak harus mengheret PAS dalam krisis Tan Sri.

Parti Tan Sri berhak menukar Tan Sri dengan calon lain.

PAS boleh memberikan pandangan tetapi harus akur prerogative itu adalah hak PKR.

Itulah yang berlaku di Kedah semasa ada pandangan Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak wajar ditukar daripada terus menjadi menteri besar.

PKR tidak menjamah urusan itu.

Jika Tan Sri berterusan mengheret PAS, seakan Tan Sri mahu PAS dilihat melanggar konvensyen yang sudah dijunjung sejak ia kehilangan kuasa di Kelantan 1978. Jika budi PAS yang sudah menunjukkan setia kawan bersama Tan Sri dihargai, janganlah PAS diseret lebih jauh.

Meletakkan jawatan adalah langkah terhormat. Ia bukan akhir sebuah karier politik.

Bertindak secara tidak bermaruah itulah sebenarnya akhir sebuah karier politik. Dan hitamnya rekod kehidupan.

Pada hari Jumaat yang berkat ini, kita memohon panduan Allah.

Husam Musa,

Naib presiden PAS, 15 Ogos 2014.

13 August 2014

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RT

Thousands of people marched from the BBC headquarters in London, at Broadcasting House to Hyde Park, on Saturday, August 9.

Once again, as with the other recent demonstrations in solidarity with the Palestinians, the media has failed in reporting the numbers accurately.

Interestingly, a piece in the Guardian which at least covered what must have been one of the largest public displays of support for Gaza, and opposition to the state of Israel since millions marched against the illegal war waged on Iraq in 2003, noted that “According to police, more than 20,000 people marched”. Which technically is true. More than 20,000 people did march, but by all accounts the true figure was more likely closer to 150,000.

But of course, rather than acknowledge the level of support and sympathy that is growing for the Palestinians, in part due to the fact that social media circulating the stories which fail to reach the public’s eyes and ears, most in the media would rather willfully bury their heads in the sand.

It might be the case that of late that institutions and platforms like the BBC have been forced to alter, ever so slightly their coverage of the so-called Israeli Palestinian conflict, to actually reflect something closer to the truth, and some real Palestinian voices, but this is only because of a huge level of public outcry.

 

Reuters / Luke MacGregorReuters / Luke MacGregor

The demonstrations outside the BBC’s offices must have deafened the chief execs. Such is the nature of power. They have not shifted their tone, albeit by just a millimeter because of some kind of moral epiphany. It is because it is becoming more and more apparent that the siege on the media, plays a direct role in shaping public opinion, which directly fuels the disinformation, which is key in legitimizing the illegality of the occupation in people’s minds.

Clearly public protests and other forms of resistance can and do have an impact. If nothing else, large numbers of people hitting the streets (if reported) at the very least puts the issue firmly on the map.

And it was not just in London where people took to the streets to show their disgust at the actions of the Israeli government, and IDF extremists.

In South Africa, the biggest public demonstrations since the fall of the apartheid system were seen, as South African’s acknowledged, as did their great leader Madiba, that apartheid in Palestine must stop. Indeed, Nelson Mandela once said “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

Could the tide be turning? If the media begins to change is tune, then perhaps this underpins the fact that public support now overwhelmingly identifies with the plight of the Palestinians, even if the media does not wholly reflect it.

A good example of the need some feel, to nonetheless cling to the stale propaganda which the continued oppression of the Palestinians depends on, can be seen here.

 

Reuters / Luke MacGregorReuters / Luke MacGregor

Ali Abunimah, founder of the website Electronic intifada debates a commentator renowned for his pro-Israeli bias, and eloquently destroys each of the propagandistic talking points which Zionist supporters love to cling to, articulated here by J.J Goldberg. Goldberg repeats the same talking points you’ll always here the defenders of Israel’s terrorism cling to, despite the fact that Palestinians are facing annihilation. Abunimah very clearly, dismantles each of them.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi stepped down as a government minister from the coalition government, stating that she found the government’s position on Gaza to be “morally indefensible”.

There is another worrying direction though, that public debate is veering to regarding the bombardment of Gaza.

First are discussions about the rise of anti-Semitism. As we have seen a rise in Islamophobia throughout Europe, reports over the last few days have showed an equally worrying spike in racist attacks on Jewish communities throughout Europe.

Any reasonable person would thoroughly reject any form of racism, including rejected directed at Jewish communities. This goes without saying. But we must be equally vigilant in dealing with Islamophobia which unfortunately in the Western media, directly feeds into the justifications for the treatment of Palestinians. People think the Palestinians are terrorists, largely because Hamas the elected government of Palestine are presented as such. I will say that again.

 

Reuters / Neil Hall Reuters / Neil Hall

Hamas are the elected government of Palestine, who receive no funding from the US, nor do they have any diplomatic support, unlike the IDF extremists, who have killed hundreds of civilians in their latest and periodical assault on Gaza. This leads to my final point.

I have done a few radio appearances in recent days including one on LBC. It is interesting to me, that despite the fact that literally hundreds of innocent Palestinians have been butchered, many of the questions I faced were about the rise in anti-Semitism, and also the legitimacy of Hamas as elected representatives of the besieged Palestinian people.

It is a surreal world, when Westerners whose taxes fund the oppression in Palestine, think that the Palestinians (And people like me who try to highlight the injustice they face), in the face of unimaginable suffering, and unimaginable war crimes, somehow have to answer for the leadership they have chosen. We only have to imagine how the world would react to hundreds of innocent Israelis being killed on beaches, synagogues and in hospitals as is happening to the Palestinians, to understand just how much the media and political establishment favor the terror state of Israel.

The world would not stand for it, but they stand for this, because whether they realize it or not, many people believe that Palestinian lives are not worth anything, that they are terrorists, despite the fact that they are the victims of terrorism.

 

Reuters / Luke MacGregorReuters / Luke MacGregor

The Palestinians are being murdered by one of the most sophisticated armed forces in the world, and all the compliant media can do is bleat on about Israel’s right to defend itself.

The dynamics of this so-called conflict are really very simple. Israel are terrorists and the IDF are extremist militants carrying out the actions of a murderous state.

The victims of this terrorism are the Palestinians. Hamas are the government of the Palestinians. This is not conjecture, this is fact, acknowledged by International law and every human rights organization which is respected.

The media has for so long favored those enforcing the apartheid state, but the tide will turn. It is a sick world when the victims of terrorism are called terrorists and the ones carrying out the terrorism are presented as democrats.

It is even more unbelievable that people believe the lies they are fed, in the face of undeniable evidence that Israel simple wants to rid the hold land of every single Palestinian. What is happening in Gaza is systematic ethnic cleansing. The world needs to wake up and stop entertaining this silly notion of Israel’s right to defend itself when plainly and simply Israel is trying to erase the Palestinians from the history books.

11 August 2014

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Mewakili seluruh kepimpinan dan akar umbi KEADILAN, setinggi ucapan tahniah diucapkan kepada sahabat saya Recep Tayyip Erdogan di atas kemenangan beliau melalui Parti Keadilan & Pembangunan (AK Party) dalam pemilihan Presiden tanpa perlu melalui pusingan kedua.

Pemilihan Presiden ini yang julung kali diadakan dalam sejarah demokrasi Turki nyata sekali memberi impak positif buat Turki dalam mendepani arus perubahan. Meski berhadapan saingan sengit, keupayaan Erdogan meraih lebih 50 peratus undi membuktikan AKP di bawah kepimpinan Erdogan diyakini untuk terus mengemudi Turki.

Doa kami di Malaysia buat Erdogan dan AKP agar terus memainkan peranan aktif dan istiqamah demi memperjuangkan keadilan sejagat.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

9 August 2014

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TMI

PAS spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has distanced himself from the party’s Shura Council decision endorsing embattled Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to continue as Selangor menteri besar – making it harder to define the Islamist party’s stand on the issue.

The former Kelantan menteri besar also said he left the meeting deliberating the matter about 30 minutes after it had started as he was not feeling well.

“I attended the meeting for a short while. I left before the decision was made. The Shura Council secretary came to my house later, after Maghrib and explained the decision,” Nik Aziz told reporters at a Hari Raya open house in Kota Baru late on Thursday, indicating that he had not participated and given his views on the matter at the meeting.

Nik Aziz made these comments coincidentally when the Shura Council released its statement on Thursday, but his views on the matter were somehow overlooked by the media.

However, an audio clip of Nik Aziz’s view on the matter is now being circulated on YouTube and among party faithful in several blogs, including in http://www.malaysiawaves.net/

Nik Aziz added that he had been trying to keep out of the political manoeuvring taking place in Selangor that appears to have divided the ruling Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.

“Politics in Selangor, I have said it before, even Kelantan I am willing to let go, why should I interfere in Selangor? The Kelantan that I treated like my own son, the state that I care most about, I was willing to give to someone else. Why should I take care of Selangor? The people of Selangor should know how to take care of their own state,” he was quoted as having said on Thursday.

Since Nik Aziz’s statement and the Shura Council’s stance were released at the same time, many assumed that he was in agreement with the council’s decision.

Based on the audio clip, Nik Aziz appeared to distance himself from the decision, saying he only attended the meeting for about half an hour and left because he was unwell.

“I was not there long. I left before the decision was made. The secretary of the meeting came to my house to inform me the outcome of the meeting,” he said, explaining his signature on the statement along with that of his deputy, Datuk Dr Haron Din.

Yesterday, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrhaim said PKR was not bound by the decision of the PAS Shura Council, which he added did not have all the facts on the issue.

He said he would furnish additional details and information on the matter.

“PAS cannot make a decision on behalf of PKR. In solidarity with Pakatan Rakyat, we respect their views,” Anwar had told reporters at the party headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

PKR has said it wants party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to replace Khalid as the menteri besar but PAS senior leaders have publicly said that they did not see the need to replace Khalid.

PAS has now scheduled August 17 to decide whether Dr Wan Azizah should take over from Khalid, a week after the original meeting on the matter.

The PKR leadership is to meet today on the latest developments while DAP has scheduled a meeting tomorrow on the matter, ahead of a PR leadership council meeting late tomorrow.

PKR has also scheduled a disciplinary board meeting with Khalid this evening but the Selangor menteri besar has asked for August 15 to explain his reasons to remain in office until the next general election.

The PR coalition has 44 seats in the 56-seat assembly with DAP and PAS having 15 each while PKR has 14 seats. The other 12 is with Umno, which surprisingly endorsed Khalid to keep his job.

9 August 2014

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Haaretz

Reporters who covered “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza dismiss Israeli accusations of giving Hamas an easy ride.

On Wednesday night Benjamin Netanyahu briefed the foreign press, summing up four weeks of warfare in Gaza. “Now that the members of the press are leaving Gaza and are no longer subjected to Hamas restrictions and intimidation,” he said,” I expect we will see even more documentation of Hamas terrorists hiding behind the civilian population, exploiting civilian targets. I think it’s very important for the truth to come out.”

The prime minister’s voice betrayed no rancor but his words masked a deep frustration in his office over what one adviser called “a conspiracy of silence” by the foreign correspondents reporting from Gaza for the past month. “They have remained silent over how no one digs too deep into the Hamas side or into how they use civilians as human shields,” the adviser said. “That’s how they get an opportunity to cover Gaza, and it creates an imbalanced picture, which is bad for Israel. We should be trying to expose that.”

Netanyahu’s expectations have yet to be fulfilled. Of the 710 foreign journalists who crossed into Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, only a handful have claimed they were intimidated by Hamas or produced hitherto unpublished footage of rockets being fired from civilian areas, such as the pictures filmed by Indian channel NDTV, which were shown at the Netanyahu briefing. Maybe such footage will still emerge — all the foreign correspondents interviewed for this piece insisted that it doesn’t exist, and not because they wouldn’t have liked to obtain such pictures.

“It’s a phony controversy,” said one reporter who spent three weeks in Gaza and, like most who were interviewed, asked to remain anonymous. “This is a post-facto attempt to claim the media’s biased and Netanyahu [is] therefore infallibly right.”

Elusive Rockets

But how could Hamas and other Palestinian organizations launch 2,657 rockets and mortar shells from Gaza, Israeli officials ask, and only NDTV reporter Sreenivasan Jain captured a launcher on film? Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor says he can’t believe “how veteran war photographers couldn’t capture even one launch team, a single Hamas fighter on a barricade, the kind of exclusive photo they routinely risk their neck for.”

“What nonsense,” says one senior correspondent based in Israel. “The fact that NDTV succeeded proves nothing; it was an almost unbelievable opportunity. There are places which are just too dangerous and a photographer has to first protect himself.”

“I didn’t see a rocket at point of launch,” says one European photographer who left Gaza a few days ago, “but I did see a lot in the air, and those pictures were published. If I had a chance I would have photographed launchers, but they were well hidden. Israel, with all its sensors and drones, didn’t find them all.”

“You couldn’t tell exactly where a rocket was being launched from,” says an American reporter. ”Often they were hundreds of yards away, although you could hear the launch and see the contrails. We didn’t hesitate to mention the general area in our reports, but that didn’t necessarily add much.”

“There are always some gung-ho photojournalists who would go to any front line, no matter how dangerous,” says Anne Barnard, the New York Times Beirut bureau chief, who spent two weeks reporting from Gaza. “But that requires essentially an informal embed with the militants, to even be able to locate them without getting caught in crossfire on the way. Our team in Gaza noted frequently in stories that Hamas operates in urban areas and from farm fields. We mentioned witnessing specific rocket launches in numerous stories, witnessing the rocket going up from some distance away, that is. But in two weeks I never saw a rocket crew; for obvious reasons, to avoid getting a hit by Israeli strikes, they try not to be seen.”

Missing in Action

The elusive rocket launchers are only one detail in the Israeli criticism. Where were the Hamas attackers throughout the operation? Why are pictures of uniformed and armed fighters totally absent from the coverage?

“I described the few Hamas fighters I saw in my pieces,” says one veteran war reporter, “but there were so few of them. It reminded me a lot of Lebanon in 2006, where you didn’t really see Hezbollah fighters even right at the border. Except for one chance encounter with a mortar team who looked embarrassed to be spotted. It was the same in Iraq, too, in the 2003 insurgency. Most of the time the fighters were invisible and dangerous.”

Reporter after reporter returning from Gaza has spoken of how, with the notable exception of spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas fighters melted away during the warfare, even abandoning their regular checkpoint at the entrance to the Strip from Erez, so no one was checking the journalists’ passports.

“Members of the political wing could only very occasionally be found or talked to,“ says Barnard. “This was frustrating because, of course, there are many questions they should be asked, not just to respond to Israeli allegations but to evaluate their performance on their own terms and those of Palestinians in Gaza: Are their strategy and tactics effective? Do they believe they have popular support for their conduct of the conflict and the decisions they made? How do they respond to people who complain that they went into hiding and left ordinary people who had no choice about the fact that their neighbor was in Hamas to be targets?”

The New York Times came in for specific criticism from pro-Israel advocates who focused on the seeming failure of its star photographer, Tyler Hicks, to capture any militants in his camera lens.

“Tyler saw some guys come out of a hole in the side of a building in Shujaiyeh during the brief cease-fire on July 20,” recalls Barnard. “They were without guns but making gestures to say no photos. I put that in the story. Tyler also took pictures of at least one Hamas member being buried, but again funerals were harder to access than usual because they were held quickly and without much fanfare and [with] few mourners because of the danger. You could understand why they stayed out of sight: Israel appeared to be defining Hamas targets very broadly, to include any member of the Hamas administered police, government, etc. They may have felt that they would be targets, and so would the reporters they were talking to. We certainly were concerned about that ourselves.”

“There’s been a lot of talk about Hamas preventing us from seeing them,” says another correspondent with extensive experience in covering Middle East wars. “But the fact is that the areas they were fighting in were just too dangerous. If I had tried to report from Shujaiyeh during the fighting, I would probably have got killed. Hamas isn’t a regular army: When they leave the fighting areas, they don’t wear uniforms or carry guns.”

None of this impresses the Foreign Ministry’s Palmor. “The fact remains [that] we didn’t see anywhere pictures of fighters carrying weapons or launching rockets. There were humanitarian cease-fires when they were free to walk around without being attacked. Why didn’t they try to photo them then? I don’t think anyone was in Hamas’s pay. That’s why the question mark is so large. We know Hamas were trying very hard to hide, not just for their security but for propaganda purposes. We have heard of reporters who said they weren’t allowed near fighters and were threatened. But this is the A-Team of the war-reporting profession. How did Hamas succeed so completely?”

Press Freedom

This is perhaps the biggest bone of contention that Israeli spokesmen have with the foreign media corps: Why won’t they acknowledge they were being pressured and monitored by Hamas? All but a few journalists deny there was any such pressure.

“I wasn’t intimidated at any point,” says one seasoned war reporter. “I didn’t feel Hamas were a threat to my welfare any more than Israeli bombings. I’m aware some people had problems, but nothing beyond what you would expect covering a conflict. Hamas’s levels of intimidation weren’t any worse than what you occasionally experience at the hands of the IDF, which didn’t allow access to fighting for most of the conflict either. As a rule no armed forces permit you to broadcast militarily sensitive information.”

If anything, most reporters are complaining that Hamas seemed to make little effort to engage with the media. “How could there be Hamas censorship if there was no Hamas to be seen?” says one exasperated reporter.

“The American military, and many others including Israel, imposes limits on embedded reporters under which you cannot reveal troop movements, weapons locations and other info that could compromise ‘operational security,’” says another experienced correspondent. “There was no such official restriction from Hamas because there was no embed and almost no contact. Hamas did not complain about anything to anyone on our team.”

In a few cases, journalists who tweeted on their personal Twitter accounts about seeing rockets launched from specific areas deleted the tweets after other Twitter users complained. Most of these complaints seem to have come, though, from local residents who were worried that they would lead to Israeli strikes. “I heard that Hamas officials made inquiries about a reporter who tweeted about rocket launches,” says one journalist, “but it seemed they were asking to see if she was really a reporter and not a spy.”

In another case, a number of reporters have said off the record that Hamas officials summoned one photographer and warned him that they would confiscate his camera if he didn’t delete a certain picture. There are also reports of fighters brandishing rifles to prevent photographers from taking their picture, but all the reporters insist these were isolated cases.

“Look, no one is claiming for one moment that Hamas is an enlightened organization that believes in freedom of the press,” says one reporter who has been visiting Gaza for years. “I don’t think I have to mention that fact in every report I make. But at least over the last month, they were simply too busy fighting to bother themselves very much with the media.”

Government officials are convinced that the great majority of foreign journalists are simply too embarrassed to admit that they worked under Hamas monitoring. “It’s clear that they were being intimidated and had to face abnormal pressure,” says one spokesman. “We know of specific cases in which they were harassed and menaced.”

“I can’t really judge them,” says another senior press official. “It is extremely difficult with Hamas in your hotel lobby and in the corridor.”

Asymmetric Journalism

“Israel wants reporters to write about the conflict as it conceived it, as a security problem framed by the IDF,” says one reporter with 30 years experience in hot spots worldwide. “Most journalists chose to report it from the point of view of [the] humanitarian impact of conflict, which is what war reporters actually usually do. They’re not writing like defense correspondents. I personally chose not to speak to Hamas mouthpieces because I hold Hamas propaganda in as much contempt as that of Netanyahu.”

“In all conflicts, reporters are loath to ‘serve’ either side by revealing information that could lead to a specific strike in real time,” says the New York Times’s Barnard. “Even information that could be seen as having led to a specific strike.

“First of all, that could endanger all reporters by making them be seen as spies. But beyond that, we are observers, not participants. We don’t want to be the reason that, say, a bomb was dropped. What if it killed a bystander? So let’s say I had seen a rocket launch from a specific building in Gaza, which I did not, I would not have reported it in real time, by my own choice. For one thing I wouldn’t want the return strike to come while I was standing there. That said, I also assume the Israeli military has better ways than reporters’ tweets to know where rockets are launched from. But I would, and did, report launches that we saw, in stories a few hours later.”

“Much of the criticism from the government, and groups monitoring the [coverage,] is from people who don’t understand the real role of the media. They just want to see which side ‘wins’ in each report,” says a another journalist in Gaza. “Our job isn’t to give out points, and this isn’t a game. The great majority of our readers simply rely on us to explain what is happening here.”

But Israeli spokesmen find it hard to accept such a view of the reporters’ role in Gaza. “Their entire objective seems to be to supply pictures of dead babies and blood,” says one. “Not context.” Another spokesman echoes him, saying that “when it gets down to pictures of dead children, then Israel can’t win because we don’t have any. That’s the fact of life.”

Many reporters, especially those belonging to large news organizations that had reporters and teams on both sides of the conflict, dispute these claims.

“There’s an asymmetry here, not just in the warfare but also in the coverage,” says one bureau chief. “You can’t cover an organized army and a guerrilla group in the same way, and it’s pointless to try. You have to find the correct proportions in each report and news package, and I believe we did a good job of that.”

Not all the Israeli officials share the criticism. Nitzan Chen, director-general of the Government Press Office, says that “you can’t judge the correspondents without having been in their place. At the end of the day they also have families and want to get home in one piece. Their job isn’t to do [PR] for Israel; they don’t work for us. All in all, I think the coverage was relatively balanced.”

On the other side are some correspondents who accept at least a bit of the Israeli criticism.

“Looking back, I should have at least tried to report a bit more about the Hamas fighters and still plan to,” says one reporter still in Gaza.

“There was just so much work around the civilian casualties and the destruction that it swamped us. Going to home after destroyed home, where multiple family members were killed, was just too shocking, even for those who had covered Syria. The civilian angle took up nearly all the attention, but the Hamas angle should have got more coverage, especially the fact [that] they were fighting with so much greater tenacity and discipline than in 2009 and, to judge by the Israeli strikes, had hidden weapons in private homes and mosques. That should have been covered better, but there was just so much death all around.”

8 August 2014

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TMI

How does one become the head of a government? And when one does, does one forget the people who supported you and voted you into public office?

Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (pic), the beleaguered incumbent Selangor Menteri Besar, believes that state government matters are separate from the party and he does not need to explain his actions to the party or rather, he is beyond the party’s scrutiny.

So, who is he answerable to? To the state ruler? To the people who elected him directly in Port Klang or to the people who voted for his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition or to those who had confidence in him as menteri besar?

When he was the prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had always stressed that he was only in that office because he was the Umno president. He owed his position as PM to his his party and that was why he had to take cognisance of the party’s views in running the country.

Obviously, Khalid does not think the same way.

In a three-page reply addressed to the PKR disciplinary board chairman Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong, which was posted on the Selangorku website, Khalid said the board’s show cause letter had asked him to give detailed explanations on five issues.

They include the water restructuring deal in Selangor, MB’s new allowance, tax increase on business licenses, the proposed Kidex expressway and the Bank Islam out-of-court settlement issue.

“The five additional issues which have been raised were discussed by the state government committee which has the executive power to administer Selangor.

“The PKR disciplinary board only has the authority to decide on any transgressions related to the party and not state administrative issues,” Khalid said in his reply, which his political secretary submitted to the party this morning.

This is where Khalid is wrong.

He is answerable to his party because he is the MB by virtue of the support and confidence of his party. The party leadership now has no confidence in him, hence the crisis enveloping the state government.

As a public official, he is also answerable to the voters and that is why he has to make public the out-of-court settlement with Bank Islam. If he had lost the case, Khalid could be a bankrupt and lose his Port Klang state seat and be out of the Selangor Menteri Besar’s job in a flash.

He obviously does not view the situation that way. What would his options be if PKR goes ahead and sacks him? What would his options be if his executive councillors resign?

And, who put him where he is today? At the very least, he should listen to those who put him in public office, supported his job, and end this sorry spectacle of a leader ignoring his own people.

8 August 2014

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TMI

The PAS Shura Council is not privy to all the details on the Selangor menteri besar (MB) tussle, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today, after the council announced its support for Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to remain as MB.

The opposition leader said while he respected the decision of the council to retain Khalid, it needed to be briefed on certain facts.

“I feel that there are issues that we need to explain to them (the Shura Council) that they are not privy to before this.

“And Khalid is not only a leader in Keadilan and a menteri besar but also a friend and like family to me, so I don’t want this to  prolong or cross unethical boundaries,” he said at a press conference today.

He also called on PKR members to stick to the facts and the interests of the party when debating the MB issue, and nothing beyond that.

When asked about a comment that Khalid’s refusal to relinquish his MB post is similar  to his refusal to resign from the Cabinet in 1998, Anwar said that it was not the same, as the issue of transition of leadership and the ‘Kajang move’  was not new and had been discussed and decided since January 15 this year.

He added that although Khalid had said that he was not fully supportive of the Kajang move, he was elections director for the Kajang by-election.

“There were umpteen meetings between PR leaders and also with Khalid, so I don’ t think it is correct to equate that rancorous exchange in 1998 with the position now and the issues raised.

“At the right time, if compelled, I will explain, but for now the public needs to know that we have observed the process of the transition of the MB post through many meetings, counseling and advice over the last six months,” he said.

Anwar said the the Selangor MB issue would be the focus of the PKR central leadership council tomorrow, but added that he could not say for sure if they would announce a decision after the meeting.

On whether Selangor PKR lawmakers were told to sign a statutory declaration pledging support for Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as MB, he said that it was only a suggestion at this point and a decision on that would be made later at a more suitable time.

6 August 2014

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Foreign Policy

By: Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson

Ending this war in Gaza begins with recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political actor.

Israelis and Palestinians are still burying their loved ones as Gaza’s third war in six years continues. Since July 8, when this war began, more than 1,600 Palestinian and 65 Israeli lives have been sacrificed. Many in the world are heartbroken in the powerless certainty that more will die, that more are being killed every hour.

This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government’s deployment in Gaza.

Two factors are necessary to make Palestinian unity possible. First, there must be at least a partial lifting of the 7-year-old sanctions and blockade that isolate the 1.8 million people in Gaza. There must also be an opportunity for the teachers, police, and welfare and health workers on the Hamas payroll to be paid. These necessary requirements for a human standard of living continue to be denied. Instead, Israel blocked Qatar’s offer to provide funds to pay civil servants’ salaries, and access to and from Gaza has been further tightened by Egypt and Israel.

There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.

There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes. This is true for both sides. Hamas’s indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable. However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously.

The U.N. Security Council should focus on what can be done to limit the potential use of force by both sides. It should vote for a resolution recognizing the inhumane conditions in Gaza and mandate an end to the siege. That resolution could also acknowledge the need for international monitors who can report on movements into and out of Gaza as well as cease-fire violations. It should then enshrine strict measures to prevent the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Early discussions have already taken place. The Elders, an international group of elder statesmen of which we are a part, hope these discussions will continue and reach fruition.

At the Palestinians’ request, the Swiss government is considering convening an international conference of the signatory states of the Geneva Conventions, which enshrine the humanitarian laws of warfare. This could pressure Israel and Hamas into observing their duties under international law to protect civilian populations. We sincerely hope all states — especially those in the West, with the greatest power — attend and live up to their obligations to uphold the Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs the treatment of populations in occupied territory.

Unity between Fatah and Hamas is currently stronger than it has been for many years. As Elders, we believe this is one of the most encouraging developments in recent years and welcome it warmly. This presents an opportunity for the Palestinian Authority to reassume control over Gaza — an essential first step towards Israel and Egypt lifting the blockade.

The Palestinian Authority cannot manage the task of administering Gaza on its own. It will need the prompt return of the EU Border Assistance Mission, an international effort to help monitor border crossings that was launched in 2005 and suspended in 2007. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton has already offered to reinstate the program, covering not only Rafah but all of Gaza’s crossings. Egypt and Israel would, in turn, cooperate with international monitors to be deployed in Gaza and along its borders, backed by a U.N. Security Council mandate to protect civilian populations. A valuable precedent for trust-building between Egypt and Israel is the international peacekeeping force operating in the Sinai, mandated by the peace treaty signed by the two countries in 1979.

The international community’s initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt, and the sea. Concurrently, the United States and EU should recognize that Hamas is not just a military but also a political force. Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons. Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the West’s approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result.

Ultimately, however, lasting peace depends on the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel.

Leaders in Israel, Palestine, and the world’s major powers should believe that policy changes are within reach that would move Israelis and Palestinians closer to a day when the skies over the Holy Land can forever fall silent.

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