Umno Youth leader: Probe doctor who did first post-mortem

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An Umno Youth leader today called for a probe to determine if the pathologist who conducted the first post-mortem on deceased police detainee Kugan Ananthan had made a false report to help certain individuals.

Should this be the case, Umno Youth exco Ahmad Ikmal Ismail said an investigation must be carried out.

And if found guilty, he added that appropriate action must be taken against the doctor.

Ahmad Ikmal was questioning the startling differences in the findings of the two post-mortem reports, the second by a pathologist commissioned by the deceased's family.

The report of the first post-mortem, conducted by a forensics pathologist from the Serdang Hospital, stated that Kugan died of fluid accumulation in his lungs.

However, the second report from a Univeristi Malaya Medical Centre pathologist stated that the 22-year-old car theft suspect died as a result of being severely beaten during his incarceration.

It also stated that Kugan had been burnt, starved and that no examination below the heart area of Kugan's body was conducted during the first post-mortem.

The family's lawyer N Surendran had said this was puzzling as it is compulsory for any pathologist to conduct a complete check-up.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Ikmal said he was happy to note that both Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan and his deputy Ismail Omar had announced that necessary action will be taken after receiving instructions from Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail

"I am also happy that the deputy IGP said the police will not side or cover up any of the policemen involved in the alleged beatings," he added in a statement.

Form ad-hoc committee

The Umno Youth leader also called on the police to form an ad-hoc committee to launch a thorough investigation into the case.

"What circumstances led to the beatings? Where was it done? Why was it so easy for the interrogators to beat the deceased over the several days he was in the lock-up?" he asked.

Ahmad Ikmal also called for appropriate action to be taken against the alleged perpetrators in the case.

"While we appreciate the serious nature, heavy duties and responsibilities of the police, these few errant policemen must not be allowed to continue in their wrong ways.

"Because of the actions of these few errant cops, the initial investigations of the alleged criminal involvement of Kugan with the stealing of luxury cars have been derailed," he said.

"We must not allow these few bad apples to spoil the trust and confidence enjoyed by the police," he added.

Kugan had died on Jan 20, five days after he was arrested, at the Taipan police station in Subang Jaya.

Following the emergence of a video clip taken at the Serdang Hospital mortuary which revealed severe lacerations on the deceased’s body and enormous public pressure, the attorney-general reclassified the case as murder.

Subsequently, 11 policemen were reassigned to desk duty pending investigations.

Serdang Hospital director: Weak evidence

Yesterday, Serdang Hospital director Dr Mohd Norzi Ghazali said a mob of about 50 people had barged into the mortuary and tampered with Kugan's body before any post-mortem was carried out.

According to the New Straits Times, the director said his medical officers were afraid and sought cover for two hours in a connecting room of the mortuary.

A report on the incident stated that Kugan's fully-clothed body was in a body bag, which had been torn open by the mob.

The medical officers also reported that they were shocked to see a pool of the deceased's blood on the floor of the mortuary.

The report said this indicated that wounds on the body could have been inflicted after his death.

Meanwhile, Nordin said both post-mortems were "weak evidence" in the case as they were conducted after the body had been tampered with.

On the claim that Kugan was starved during his detention, the director said a person's stomach would be cleared of traces of food about four hours after his or her last meal.

Politicking Part 2

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It is quite confusing actually, statements heard in the past week or so, especially when some are viewed against the earlier decisions made by opposition man Anwar Ibrahim. On the one hand he scoffed at the idea that foreign experts may be brought in if and when the sodomy allegation against him goes a step further into the courts but on the other his lawyers talked about having independent verification if Anwar was to submit to DNA sampling.

To end off last week let's recap some of the more significant decisions and statements made to hopefully allow us to make an informed opinion and judgement.

In talking about the involvement of independent parties, Anwar's lawyer and PKR vice-president R. Sivarasa also gave a condition -- the police must not be involved. This was as good as saying "nothing is going to happen/it is status quo, i.e. Anwar will not voluntarily submit to DNA testing" because the police will have to be involved. If they can't be involved who else is empowered by law and has the expertise to handle the investigations? Think about it.

In explaining why Anwar was not prepared to give a blood sample for DNA testing, Sivarasa repeated the claim that there was tampering/fabrication of evidence during the 1998 case against his client. If indeed there was tampering/fabrication how can they in the same breath suggest that the police should use the DNA sample from 10 years ago? I can foresee another allegation later being thrown at the police and prosecutors if the old sample was used, should the case go to court: "We cannot rely on the 1998 sample because since it has been kept by the police for so long, how are we to know it has not been tampered with?"

My question to everyone reading this posting is this: "If you don't trust someone at all, in this case the police, would you then lodge a report with the police, especially one against the national police chief himself?" I don't think you would but not Anwar.

The statement by Sivarasa on Friday made clear their position on the police and yet in the last three weeks Anwar had made at least two reports which would require the involvement of the police to investigate. The first on June 30 was a defamation suit filed at the High Court against his former election worker and accuser Mohd. Saiful. It said that the police report lodged by Saiful was intended to harm Anwar and destroy him politically.

A day later Anwar lodged a police report alleging that Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Gani Patail had cooked up evidence over Anwar's beating while under police custody in 1998.

Then last Thursday, after being released by the police, Anwar claimed that the night before he was asked to strip by staff at the KL Hospital to facilitate the basic medical check-up on him. Anwar alleged that he was asked to strip, had his private parts checked and measured. The hospital has since officially denied that anything like this had taken place, that he was briefed about the check-up in the presence of his lawyer and his consent obtained. You decide who's telling the truth. I know who I want to believe in because I can't see how a limp penis (that is measured) has any significance in relation to Saiful's allegation.

Another issue that was made to look contentious by Anwar was the failure of the police to give him a copy of Saiful's police report. He would go on to say that he thus would not give a report that would allow the police to amend and amend Saiful's report into the perfect report that would do Anwar in. But were Anwar given a copy of that report, would that not allow him to come up with a version of events that could render Saiful's report useless?

Anyway Deputy IGP Ismail Omar on Friday clarified when Anwar would get a copy of the report, citing Section 51A of the Criminal Procecure Code.

It's also worth looking again at what Anwar had said at a rally days after Saiful's allegation, should the case go to court. He was reported to have said that he would like to see credible judges handling it or otherwise he would throw the files at them. Whose standards shall we apply; whose opinions will eventually decide which judge should hear the case? Those of Anwar and his legal team? Hmm......

Peace..peace...and peace.

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It's a hunch which I'm hoping will turn out to be correct, that the developments we see today are a start to the first of many phases that will eventually bring closure to a tumultuous period in Malaysian history and from then on, better times for the people.I have a feeling that we will be able to enjoy more peace and quiet from now on.

It is crucial too that the government does better in crisis management because from commentaries in cyberspace and letters to the mainstream media it's obvious that the people are clamouring for a more decisive and strong leadership. A leadership that through it's statements and actions can give the people a peace of mind, that they are being led by people who know how to manage politics, the economy and provide convincing solutions to problems. Act with firmness and fairness, apply the rule of law equally to everyone, discard any signs of bias especially due to political differences.

But in listening to the people and in trying to do what the people want, the government must also remember that the public is not always right and trying to meet every demand by the public is not necessarily what a responsible government must do religiously.

Having read some of the commentaries relating to the politics of Anwar Ibrahim, I sometimes wonder if some people really know what is it they want the government to do and how they expect the police to enforce the law.

On the one hand you have a situation where people say the police must be the first to respect the rule of law and on the other you have those, including some amongst the former, who question if certain police actions are necessary although they are in accordance with the law. Treat someone special and they cry foul but apply the rules and they say the police should be more tactful.

That's why I always maintain that governance is never easy, although it appears like a piece of cake from the outside. Just ask the opposition politicians who are now administering Penang, Perak, Kedah and Selangor. As they say, criticising is always easy.

Many commentators have pointed to the fact that Anwar was freed by the Federal Court in 2004 on a sodomy charge to insinuate that the case was politically motivated and that the charge was trumped up. Yes, it is generally agreed that both the police and the prosecution did a bad job but read the judgement in full and you will understand the 2-1 court decision better.

One online commentary today quoted unnamed Barisan Nasional politicians as saying that it would have been better if the report by Mohd. Saiful alleging sodomy by Anwar had not been made because they thought that Anwar was not making much progress in his attempts to convince Barisan MPs to join his Pakatan Rakyat to allow him to one day become prime minister and that cracks were beginning to appear in the opposition coalition. In short, the allegation is not beneficial to the Barisan.

We don't know if indeed the writer spoke to Barisan politicians but again this in a way is suggesting that politics is involved. But this is not about politics. Many of my friends and I don't think so because if the government was going to find a way to try and put Anwar in jail as a way to kill off his political ambitions for good, it would have looked for another offence to charge him with because sodomy, unlike conventional rape, is very, very tough to prove.

But as a citizen Saiful has every right to lodge a report to the police, who then have to investigate. Charge someone with weak or made up evidence and the court will let the accused ago. That doesn't do the government any good, so to suggest that the government would do this just to fix someone is to me a preposterous suggestion.

A photo of Anwar's arrest outside his home in Segambut today showed at least one cop with a gun and wearing a balaclava. It may appear wrong to some people for the police to do it this way but there were security issues involved. A police method such as this one is not peculiar to the Malaysian police. It is a standard method with police forces all over the world. Go back to that day in the year 2000 in Miami when the police moved into the house of Cuban immigrants to take way six-year-old Elian Gonzalez to be sent back to Cuba to be reunited with his father. What were the cops wearing and carrying as a means of protection?

Samy: MIC members will choose my successor

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It remains a mystery as who will succeed MIC president S Samy Vellu as he admits that he has no succession plan in place.

Speaking at a press conference after addressing the party's 62nd general assembly at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur this morning, Samy said he will leave it to the grassroots to choose their next leader.

"The grassroots can elect their next leader. When there is an election, the question of 'automatic' (succession) goes off. I don't think anything can happen without an election," he told reporters.

"We want everybody to think that finally it is the members who are going to elect the president," he said referring to the 3,600 delegates who will have their say in electing the president come March next year.

He also clarified that branches are free to elect whoever they want as their leaders and he will not object to it.

Asked on his readiness to step down after the abysmal showing of MIC in the last elections, Samy deflected the idea by saying that the embattled Indian-based party is in the process of a "strong rejuvenation".

"I don't know if that sort of a thing can happen now. I could have just dropped the party and walked away. But I don't want to see MIC destroyed," he explained.

Previously, in the 2006 party election, Samy had openly voiced his support for his former press secretary, G Palanivel to be deputy president.

Palanivel eventually stood against incumbent S Subramaniam and won. However, with Samy Vellu's statement today that there is no succession plan in place, it might pose another deep-seated problem for the beleaguered party.

MIC is the only major party in the Barisan Nasional without a clear succession plan as both MCA and Umno have announced theirs in recent days.

"I have to engage with overseas experts to draw my succession plan since you are so interested," Samy joked in response to repeated questions on the leadership transition in the party.

There appears to be no frontrunner for Samy's successor. In a Malaysiakini poll yesterday participated by 5,109 readers, 22 percent voted for Subramaniam while Palanivel ended up a distant third with 3.1 percent.

Grassroots must behave like grassroots

In his keynote address earlier, the MIC president started on a stiff note saying that "grassroots should behave like grassroots", in apparent reference to the 'walk-out" of some delegates at a party dinner last night.

In the incident, it is learnt that Samy's ire started with party information chief M Saravanan leaving the function hall early, after having stayed for only 15 minutes. His followers also left with him. This resulted in an annoyed Samy to also leave the dinner early.

Saravanan, who is the deputy federal territory minister, confirmed with the Star today that he had left early “as there was no protocol at the dinner.”

He added that he was cheesed off because [former deputy president] S Subramaniam was seated at the main table with other MIC leaders and prominent Indian businessmen.

“As the party's information chief and deputy minister, I was not given due respect,” Saravanan said, adding that “I don't know on what basis Subramaniam was given prominence as he is just a division leader."

On the incident, Samy indicated to reporters that some media would twist it as a sign of protest to his leadership.

"What actually happened was that the moment they finished eating, they left while others were still dining.

"If they are that unhappy with Samy Vellu, they wouldn't be here today," he laughed.

In his speech, Samy also highlighted five main issues faced by the Indian community that require urgent government attention.

The areas of concern are transportation licensing, agro-businesses, small and medium enterprises, metal scrap dealing and vendor development and entrepreneurship.

He pledged MIC's solidarity with the Barisan Nasional, adding that "the BN are the guardians of the multiracial society in Malaysia".

He however urged BN to do away with racial politics in order to win back support from the people.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who opened the assembly stressed that MIC is an old friend and BN will stand by the party.

"Whatever the difficulties and whatever the failures, we have to look at all of this (referring to general election results) as a lesson to learn from. It is not a tragedy, it is a lesson," he said.

The prime minster also spoke about the four issues plaguing the government's administration.

"We have to work very hard together to resolve issues such as the fuel price hike, rising inflation, world food crisis and competition for the global market," he added.

Samy: Different style of politics

Commenting on the determination to rebrand the party, Samy pointed out that MIC had won many times, "so what is the distress that we have lost once". This drew enthusiastic cheers from the delegates.

The MIC supremo who has led the party for 29 years then referred to an age old Tamil proverb which translates that "the only way to learn hard lessons is through experience, no matter how painful".

He subsequently said that a change is needed in the style of politics but conceded that rebranding would be a mammoth task which must be implemented.

"It's a very big exercise to convert (the members) to new thinking," he confessed.

Commenting on Abdullah's plan to hand over the premiership to his deputy Najib Razak in 2010, Samy quipped that the duo are "good partners".

However he implied that MIC did not have much role in the decision- making process.

"Although we are partners in Barisan Nasional, we can only see what is happening. We are not active participants. Still it is their (Umno) decision," lamented Samy.

PM has good news for Tamil schools

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Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today announced immediate steps to enhance education among Indian students, either at school or university level, for the long-term benefit of the country's third largest community.

He said among others, the government had agreed to turn more partly-aided Tamil schools, many of which are in the rural areas, into fully-aided schools.

"The government will also speed up the process of merging and consolidating the Tamil schools that have less than 50 students," he said in his speech when opening the 62nd MIC general assembly in Kuala Lumpur today.

According to Bernama, the prime minister said the government also agreed that students from the MIC-run Asian Institute of Medicine, Science and Technology (AIMST) University in Kedah would be allowed to apply for scholarships from the Public Services Department.

Fifth private U to enjoy facility

The move will make AIMST University the fifth private university to enjoy such a facility after institutions like the Monash University, Swinburne University and the University of Nottingham, among others.

The BN chief said the government would also assist the AIMST University to increase its student population in critical fields such as engineering and medical - a move which Abdullah said would help push the university's standard to a higher level.

He said such a recognition would indirectly result in more Indian students taking courses at the university, of which main campus was under construction on a 156-hectare site in Semeling, Kedah.

The AIMST University now operates at its temporary campus in Bandar Aman Jaya, Sungai Petani.

Abdullah said the government was giving emphasis to education in the efforts to help the community because the success of future generation would depend on human capital development through skills enhancement training and education.

Earlier, the prime minister asked all quarters to really understand why the Barisan Nasional government had to implement measures regarded as unpopular, such as restructuring the fuel price subsidy which resulted in higher prices for petrol and diesel.

Responsibility, not popularity

He said the measures, some of which had made the people angry with the government, had to be implemented to ensure that the people were not burdened for the long term.

"Every decision may have not been popular but we had to resort to implementing them all the same because the government has to assume the responsibility in the interests of the people and country," he said.

Abdullah pointed out that the BN government was not prepared to neglect the responsibility it had been entrusted with by being popular through the introduction of measures that did not bring any benefit to the people.

"It is stupid for the government to seek to be unpopular. Why should we do something to be unpopular? Why must we do something for the people to get angry and condemn us? Why?

"We feel we don't want all that but what we want to do is something that we must do. We took those measures not to become popular.

"We cannot be popular but we must be responsible to the people and the nation," he said.

Abdullah added that the BN government was striving hard to overcome the problems of the people and announcements would be made from time to time on the measures taken in that direction.

Rally Oh Rally

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I'M still not sure what my feelings are about Sunday's rally in Kelana Jaya which was a combo to include a protest against rising prices, another platform for Anwar Ibrahim to take aim at his usual political targets and a band that was supposed to entertain but instead misfired and was lucky to escape with minor injuries after being set upon by the crowd.

I don't expect them to agree with me but I think the news item about Carburetor Dung and its vocalist Alak is quite funny. Although brought to the stadium to entertain, they found themselves targetted by a crowd that appeared not to agree with the lyrics to a song and also with Alak's underwear exposing antic. From what I've read I conclude that everything about them was a bad choice. They would be more at home with the reformasi crowd, particularly their song Mari Nyanyi Menjilat and its lyrics, but then I read that the coordinator of the entertainment segment for the day was my friend and activist Hishamuddin Rais. No surprises there for me.

The crowd of course fell way, way short of the one million the organisers said they were going to attract. In the absence of an established system to estimate the number of people present, not surprisingly one news report put the total at 10,000 while another had it at 20,000!

I've also read and read the remarks by Anwar relating to a suggestion that both he and his accuser Mohd. Saiful swear their positions on the Quran. The many reports quoted Anwar's response differently but I think I'm right to say that he has decided that he was not going to do so, as suggested by Perlis mufti Dr. Mohd. Asri but preferred the truth to the allegation be determined by a syariah court, I assume only if the prosecutors decide there is sufficient evidence to charge Anwar that is.

Other religious officials have since given their opinions on Asri's suggestion. I don't know about the rights and wrongs of it from a religious perspective but if there is nothing against the religion for someone to swear his innocence on the Quran and in the name of God, I would not hesitate to do it if I'm innocent. I'll even do it on my father's grave if that helps to dispel all doubts.

Just as he has been doing since Saiful alleged and reported to police that he had been sodomised, Anwar yesterday announced that he was going "to provide more evidence of wrongdoing by Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail". In the meantime we await what other evidence, if any, Anwar has against DPM Najib Razak. After all Anwar had said a few days ago that he was going to do so "in a few days time".

The Truth about Anwar-Ism

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I THINK it's going to be a classic example of the saying that "you can't cheat all the people all the time", this ongoing saga which has Anwar Ibrahim as the leading act.

Granted that Malaysians have good reasons to be cynical about many things when politicians of all affiliations are involved but surely they can also stop and think. Surely they have the brains and ability to analyse statements, claims and allegations. If only they do this Malaysians will live to be better people, the country more proud of its achievements rather than being known more for its frailties and bungles.

After Mohd. Saiful Bukhari lodged the police report alleging that Anwar had sodomised him, the former deputy prime minister claimed that it was all a political game and that his life was threatened because he had incriminating evidence against police chief Musa Hassan and Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail. Anwar lodged his report against Musa and Gani today but will be hard pressed to convince a lot of people outside of his camp that their alleged indiscretions were serious enough to warrant any ill intentions against their accuser. Like one commentator on Malaysian Insider said Anwar promised a blast but produced a whimper.

It was claimed in the last couple of days that it was what Anwar had on Musa and Gani which was the reason for the threat against him. Now think. No one had heard about Anwar's so called evidence before the Saiful report. No one had ever mentioned it in public before Sunday. This being the case, how could something that was a "well kept secret" be the reason for a threat?

Anwar's wife Wan Azizah was to say yesterday that the threat was received about three weeks ago and that government agents were going after Anwar. Why wasn't a police report lodged on this? What? "We don't trust the police", you say? But you have lodged other reports with the police, including one against the police chief himself!

Think. If indeed his life was under threat you would expect Anwar to be surrounded by at least a dozen bodyguards wherever he went but he didn't have 12 men protecting him. Or he would probably go into hiding. That too he didn't. On the contrary he moved around freely, attending functions which could have easily exposed him to an assassin's bullet.

A political ploy to check on his big plans to form the next federal government and that the Barisan Nasional government had been scheming against him, plotting his downfall, planting a mole by the name of Mohd. Saiful Bukari to do a number on him? Think. He has been free to talk, campaign, travel in and out of the country, earn a living and scheme and indulge in politics since he left prison four years ago right to March 8, where he was said to be the main factor for the unprecedented successes by the opposition. And today he remains free to talk and talk to the world's press.

The allegation by Saiful is frivolous said Anwar and since nothing of that sort happened the government should just drop the case. That's what he says but Saiful has his own story to tell so we'll have to allow a third party -- the police, prosecutors and judge -- to decide the truth of it all. Think. Why should Anwar be in such a hurry to have the case dropped if Saiful is lying? If Anwar is proven right I think he need not coax the Barisan MPs to cross over to his Pakatan Rakyat; I think more than 30 will voluntarily sprint over to his side.

That the report by Saiful was a scheme to derail Anwar's announcement planned for this week about his intention to contest in a parliamentary by-election and also the decision by four Barisan MPs to join Barisan. If he did plan to contest yes I agree that the report has upset everything Anwar has put in place because he may be called in by the police. Then if the police and AG think there is sufficient evidence he most likely will be charged. Think. But surely the report should not in any way affect the decision by the four MPs. Anwar after all is not a parliamentarian who has to be there to guide and lead the four. They can be in Pakatan even without him.

Threat of a political assassination against him? Think. Anything is possible of course but in this country? When was the last time a high-level Malaysian politician of significance at the national level was dumped by his rival? And we are talking about since British times here.

But what is a drama, sandiwara and wayang kulit put together if it doesn't have elements of Ian Fleming's Bond, a bit of Alfred Hitchcock and a lot of J. K. Rowling -- for fiction. Anwar is actually the main distraction that prevents the government from focusing its time and effort to better govern the country.