One Morning in Bukit Aman


The story is simple. The story is not new. The only thing new is that some of the protagonists are new. Selvach Santhiran Krishnan is a witness in a death in custody case of R.Gunasegaran.

Gunasegaran died on the same day Teoh Beng Hock died last year, but because of the public outcry over Beng Hock’s suspicious death, Guna’s death was overlooked by everybody, except his sister.

Here she tells her story.

Earlier this week, the inquest into his death concluded in an open verdict, despite Selvach Santhiran’s testimony that he saw a policeman kick Gunasegaran in the lock up. Gunasegaran was later found dead.

His body was kept in horrid conditions and by the time a second autopsy was ordered, his remains were so decomposed that nothing conclusive could be derived.

But that story is not over. Selvach Santhiran, the witness, was allegedly beaten viciously in front of his family by a bunch of policemen before being taken away.

The public, outraged by this gross abuse of power by the police, turned up today at the police headquarters in Bukit Aman to demand his whereabouts and release. Here’s the story.

Below are the pictures of the morning gathering.

Today, after waiting awhile and being given the runaround, we were told that Selvach Santhiran was held under the Sec 39 B Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures).

human rights lawyer N. Surendran.

Selvach Santhiran’s wife, crying for her husband, while the police told us to disperse.

Lawyer Latheefa Koya demanded to know the cop in charge’s name and was told it is one ACP Kang or Khang.

Several MPs also turned up, including PAS’s Khalid Samad (Shah Alam), Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor) , PKR’s Sivarasa Rasiah (Subang) and Charles Santiago (Klang).

Film maker Fahmi Reza with his own placard.

A hundred odd people turned up in support of the memorandum to the police today. Thanks guys, for turning up. It was a multi coloured turnout, and that alone gives me hope that someday, we will be Malaysians first and turn up whenever a brother Malaysian is facing injustice.

Murder, Massacre, Mayhem…Misery


For a couple of weeks now, I have been unable to blog.

Yeah yeah. Bitch…bitch, rant, whine. 75 million blogs in the world. Who bloody cares if you don’t write?

Sorry, alter ego escaped.

Anyway, the reason I’ve been unable to blog is that I’m speechless. Marinate that in dumbfoundedess, add a fistful of shame, and lastly, stir in a dollop of futility. Coat it with a sprinkle of sadness and deepfry.

Voila! Abject misery, ready to serve.

Why?

Too much misery in this world. Contagious. Late last month, some Pakistani blokes decide to teach Mumbai a lesson. Jihad is fashionable these days and these GPRS-toting gunslingers wanted to check out of life while making a big statement. Death to the infidels of the west, the filthy Jews and idol-worshipping Indians!

I have loved ones in Mumbai. Even if I didn’t, I still would have been aghast at the impunity with which some people kill and maim their fellows.

Nothing new. Murder and mayhem has formed the piquant sauce that greased the mill of human civilisation through the ages.

That battle-weary, desert kingdom that was Iraq was trampled to the ground under the guise of “Freeing the people from the despot that was Saddam Hussein”. Yet the Nisour Square massacre of last year proved that an average Iraqi’s life matters even less to the occupiers.

It is interesting to note that it is the five trigger-happy Blackwater employees that were indicted couple of days ago, but not Blackwater Worldwide. Not the company.

This outfit must have serious clout remain unscathed despite mounting criticism and calls for oversight, even from the ranks of the US military that it claims to support.

This is a company that won USD1billion contract from the Pentagon to render security and logistics services related to postwar reconstruction in Iraq.  Erik Prince is one of the many pigs feeding at the huge war trough made possible by the Bush administration featuring cowboys like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Bremer and their likes.

While I join the Iraqis and a lot of people around the world in welcoming the news, I wonder if in the end, all the legalese and the manoevring by the defense lawyers will get these murderers off, scot free.

After all, there is that interesting CPA Order 17 that reads

Contractors shall not be subject to Iraqi laws or regulations in matters relating to the terms and conditions of their Contracts, including licensing and registering employees, businesses and corporations; provided, however, that Contractors shall comply with such applicable licensing and registration laws and regulations if engaging in business or transactions in Iraq other than Contracts. Notwithstanding any provisions in this Order, Private Security Companies and their employees operating in Iraq must comply with all CPA Orders, Regulations, Memoranda, and any implementing instructions or regulations governing the existence and activities of Private Security Companies in Iraq, including registration and licensing of weapons and firearms.

Sure. They are charged in the United States now. But hell, I don’t have much faith anymore in authorities doing the right thing.

Meanwhile, it is business as usual for Blackwater and the rest of the hyenas for whom the heightened security concerns in post 9/11 world has presented a capital opportunity.

I mean, the dogs of war has gone private in a big way.

On the other side of the coin, people who will bomb everybody else to kingdom come, so they check into the heaven of 72 virgins a little early.

Both parties have guns and bombs.

God help this world.

DNA Bill: Why Malaysians Should Be Alarmed


The DNA Identification Bill 2008 has been a contentious one since it was introduced in Parliament on August 17. Lots of Malaysians would not have remarked much on it since everyone’s attention was focused on the Permatang Pauh by-election.

It was passed in principle barely 11 days later, after the second reading, on Aug 28, 2008. The Opposition MPs in Parliament even staged a walkout to protest the move.

Why?

A DNA Databank is good, don’t you think? I think so too. However, this is an area covering liberty and freedom. And in Malaysia, more often than not these days, your freedom depends on whether the Police and the Home Minister think you are a threat or not.

Not whether you have been convicted of a crime.

At a time when the public confidence in the Police and the Home Ministry is at an all time low, provisions in the DNA Bill is worded to give them carte blanche.

This is the gist of the arguments against the passing of this Bill by the Opposition. Also, the manner in which it was rushed in Parliament (cutting queue) over the Universities and Colleges Bill also raises concern, especially since Anwar Ibrahim’s trial was due to start on September 12.

You may think the manoeuvres are just political, for a political end. But consider this, whatever law passed by Parliament will have repercussions in the future well beyond what you and I can fathom at this moment. Hence the worry.

Let’s examine some of the clauses, provisions and other stuff.

Function of DNA Databank

5. The function of the DNA Databank is to store DNA profiles and any information in relation thereto from any forensic DNA analysis carried out by the Chemistry Department of Malaysia or Forensic Laboratory of the Royal Malaysia Police, or any agency or body as may be designated by the Minister from time to time by order published in the Gazette.

Power of Minister to designate agency or body to carry out forensic DNA analysis

6. (1) The power of the Minister to designate any agency or body to carry out forensic DNA analysis under section 5 shall only be exercised in the event the Chemistry Department of Malaysia or Forensic Laboratory of the Royal
Malaysia Police is unable to carry out any forensic DNA analysis.

(2) The Minister may, in the order referred to in section 5, specify that the forensic DNA analysis to be carried out by the agency or body so designated shall only be for the purposes mentioned in subsection 4(2) subject to such terms and conditions as he may impose.

Wow! Home Minister is really directing things here.

Appointment of Head of DNA Databank, Deputy Head and other officers

7. (1) The Minister shall appoint a police officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police as Head of the Forensic DNA Databank Malaysia for such period and on such terms and conditions as may be specified in the instrument of appointment.

The Head has to be a POLICE OFFICER! And wait, it gets better and better.

Sec 13 (7) A police officer may use all means necessary for the purpose of taking or assisting the taking of a non-intimate sample from a person.

ALL means necessary. You figure out the permutations of that implication. To make it more vivid, imagine yourself accused of a crime.

Sec 15 talks about the administration of samples given voluntarily. But it is somewhat schizophrenic when you consider that in Sec 14 there is this clause.

Refusal to give sample

14. If a person from whom a non-intimate sample is to be taken under this Act

(a) refuses to give such sample;

(b) refuses to allow such sample to be taken from him; or

(c) obstructs the taking of such sample from him,

commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both.

I’m sure most of you English-literate readers have heard of of the term Catch 22. This section encapsulates that Joseph Heller-coined phrase. You’re screwed, whatever you do.

Information from the DNA Databank to be conclusive

24. Notwithstanding any written law to the contrary, any information from the DNA Databank shall be admissible as a conclusive proof of the DNA identification in any proceedings in any court.

Now this gets really scary. What this section is telling you is that if your DNA is found at a scene, it places u there. Suppose you cry on some guy’s shoulder and he later on goes somewhere and gets killed, you are a suspect, based on the DNA from your tearstains.

And how can this be conclusive? DNA evidence around the world are meant to be corroborative and has to work with other evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, in determining guilt or innocence of the accused. DNA fingerprinting itself is not foolproof, as numerous instances how.

Check out this news.

Remember that the earlier sections authorised a police officer to employ “all means of getting your DNA”. Now tell me, shouldn’t you worry?

Protection against actions and legal proceedings

25. No action, suit, prosecution or other proceedings shall lie or be brought,

instituted or maintained in any court against―

(a) the Minister;

(b) the Head of DNA Databank;

(c) the Deputy Head of DNA Databank;

(d) DNA Databank officers;

(e) a government medical officer; or

(f) a chemist,

in respect of any act, neglect, default or omission done by him in good faith in carrying out his powers, functions and responsibilities under this Act in such capacity.

So, say you are innocent and yet was made to suffer as a suspect, you can’t even seek redress in a court of law. So tell me, under the full might of the government, you are worth nothing. So you’re innocent of the crime? Oops, too bad.

Savings and transitional

27. Any existing DNA profile and any information in relation thereto kept and maintained by the Chemistry Department of Malaysia or Royal Malaysia Police, immediately before the coming into operation of this Act shall, on the coming into operation of this Act, be deemed to have been kept and maintained in and to form part of the DNA Databank established under this Act in accordance with
indices applying.

That just means this law is retroactive. That means all those who had been examined and had their samples taken before by the police, will come under this rule.

Even when you watch CSI you would see a lot of instances of evidence deemed inadmissible in court because improper procedure and not following the safeguards that the law put in place so that the innocent is not persecuted and procsecuted.

This Bill, in its current form, has not taken into account all the safeguards necessary. We do need a DNA Bill. It has to be looked at and debated and thoroughly examined so that it does not compromise that one important thing. JUSTICE.

To that end, I implore you readers to reject this bill in its current form. Let’s get the AG’s chambers to work harder for a comprehensively researched work that will stand the test to time. After the way they botched the Batu Putih case, I am sorry my confidence in them is nonexistent.

To record your disagreement with the bill, go here.

I am no lawyer, but this bill already looks dodgy to me. Do you wonder why the Penguins are up in arms?

This Bill gives too much powers to the police at a time when they stand accused of brutality and heavy handedness with the public. They are behaving like thugs and you wanna put this time bomb in their hands?

Pete…


Pix curi from The Star

Good to see the guy, albeit with more hair. Went hunting for my No-ISA T.shirt over the weekend. Supplier was out. I guess i’ll go again tonite.

They took him to the court for his Sedition trial today. I wonder though, even if he wins this case, he’s still be behind bars thanks to Albabu and Dol Keropok who just kena keropok by his fellow Umno brethren.

What goes around comes around.

Till then, take care, man!

Theresa Kok’s Statement on Her Detention


This is police intimidation coupled with knee-jerk reactions.

I guess the dogs in PDRM was just following orders from their political masters.

Teresa Kok’s press statement

I have been released after being detained in solitary confinement in a 6-by-8 holding cell for seven days under the Internal Security Act (ISA). I was informed by the police that they detained me under section 73(1) of Internal Security Act 1960, which means I have incited racial and religious tension and conflict.

After being detained for seven days under the guise of so-called investigations, the police failed to produce any evidence or proof of me being involved in the activities of causing racial and religious tension. They were only able to ask me few questions based entirely on the false and malicious article written by Zaini Hassan under the topic ‘Azan, Jawi, JAIS, UiTM dan ba-alif-ba-ya’ that was published in Utusan Malaysia on Sept 10, 2008.

The three main questions that the investigation officers asked me were:

1. whether I have mobilised a group of residents at Bandar Kinrara to present a petition to oppose to the azan at the Bandar Kinrara mosque;

2. whether I have made a statement that 30 percent of the Selangor Islamic Department (JAIS) allocation is to be given to other non-Islam religious bodies; and

3. whether I have opposed to the Jawi-wording road signages in Kuala Lumpur.

Read the rest of her statement here.

Now ask yourself, don’t you think Utusan Malaysia should be made liable for their rabble -rousing, erroneous reporting? I think Theresa Kok has a case here. She already sued them by the way.

Knee Jerk Reactions That Will Destroy Us Malaysians…


…are a dime a dozen these days.

I refer specifically to the storm generated by the forum organised by the Malaysian Bar Council, on religious conversion.

Let’s be rational about this whole conversion business. Can you? After all, religious conversions are something you undertake in a sane frame of mind, aren’t they?

So the issues that came up with it will have to be discussed in the same way.

This discussion is about rights and aimed at the possibility of reaching an understanding that will hopefully someday result in equitable legal resolution.

Faith is, for all God-fearing people, an issue that it sacrosanct. But we are human beings and our interpretation of what the holy books say may be flawed even.

Let me ask you something however. What if the enforcement of religious rule result in patent injustice and denial of basic human rights? What if it breaks up families? What if it results in whole families suffering because a man’s adoption of another religion grants him a loophole that enables him to escape from his responsibilities?

As it is, many women and their children are suffering because some husbands left them in the lurch. Even Muslim wives seeking redress in the Syariah Court often fail to get it. A man can often get away without paying alimony to the wife he left.

That was the Syariah Court. The topic of the moment involves the jurisdiction of the Syariah Court and the Civil Court and how the glitch in our legal system that our lame-ass legislators have no political will to fix, is causing a lot of suffering.

So the Bar Council forum was timely. But insecure people will do what they will, tacitly approved and aided by both the police and our government.

But what about these issues of justice and equity? I ask because there are a lot of cases emerging in recent times that points to this flaw in our legal systems that results in a breakdown in families.

It is nicely documented by this blogger. Go check it out.

Bar Council VP Ragunath Kesavan, made a statement on Monday about the protest generated by the forum and I would like to draw your attention to this part…

“At the end of the day, if we cannot speak about this, then who else is going to bring up these issues, ” he told a press conference yesterday.

Ragunath said the council’s forum on conversion to Islam on Saturday was not intended to question Islam as the official religion of the country nor its position as provided for in the Constitution.

“The issue here is matrimonial matters involving a Muslim and a non-Muslim. There is a lot of unhappiness among non-Muslims on how such matters are handled at present.

“There is no proper legal representation for issues involving property and child custody. That is why the forum was organised. “

Ragunath said such forums were a healthy way of promoting better understanding and providing the right solution through proper discussions.

“I don’t think the way forward is to have a closed-door meeting to come up with a solution and impose it on the people. It does not work. You need to understand the problem faced by the people and try to help them with it. – NST Online.

Blogger Rockybru in his posting asked this series of questions.

Should the Bar have gone ahead with the forum in the first place? Should it have held it when we are more ready, like after they’ve held equally controversial forums on other religions? Or, perhaps, after the Pakatan Rakyat has formed the Government? Would PR be more tolerant of such a discussion on Islam? – Rocky’s Bru

I don’t think banking on the Pakatan Rakyat government, if it ever gets in to power, is a wise move. Why can’t this government do something about an issue that needs to be looked at? What would be the right time to bring this up? What is the guarantee that Pakatan Rakyat will be more amenable to this kinda discussion? We don’t know, do we?

There are other rumblings out there about why Islam was singled out? Again I tell you morons out there,  this is not about singling out Islam. This is just some issues of legal jurisdiction when it comes to  conversion as well as inter-religious marriage.

Ours is a multi-ethnic, multi-faith country. These issues are relevant and should be addressed before they become another Natrah/Maria Hertogh incident that rocked Singapore decades ago.

And if you say your religion, whatever faith choose to profess, can turn a blind eye to injustice and unfairness, then I pity you.