Tahun Baru Cina kali ini merupakan tahun harimau. Ianya melambangkan keberanian, kejujuran, tangkas, sedia bersaing dan siaga mempertahankan maruah. Kebiasaannya masyarakat cina akan mengambil pedoman dari kitaran tahun-tahun tersebut untuk mencipta dan merencana masa depan yang lebih cemerlang. Namun bagi semua rakyat Malaysia ciri-ciri baik seperti berani, jujur, bersedia untuk bersaing dan berani mempertahankan maruah ternyata bukanlah asing bagi kita yang mempunyai asas kepercayaan dan tradisi masing-masing.
Kita semua mahukan yang terbaik buat diri, keluarga, masyarakat dan negara. Kita berhasrat Malaysia yang dicintai ini senantiasa makmur, bebas dari rasuah dan jenayah. Yakinilah, kita rakyat pasti dapat mengharungi segala rintangan demi mengembalikan Malaysia kepada maksud asal penubuhannya. Harapan kita agar negara ini adil serta saksama menjamin hak semua rakyatnya tanpa mengira kepercayaan dan ras.
Dengan kesempatan ini izinkan saya mengucapkan Xin Nian Kuaile dan Gong Xi Fa Cai kepada semua rakyat Malaysia berbangsa Tiong Hua.
Adalah diharapkan sambutan Tahun Baru Cina tahun ini lebih meriah dengan sambutan bersama oleh masyarakat Melayu, India, Iban, Kadazan dan lain-lainnya.Selamat menyambut Tahun Baru Cina daripada kami, keluarga dan gerak kerja KeADILan di semua peringkat.
Opened by Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah region, the Chamber of Commerce and Gulf Research Center-organized event will focus on the key sectors of banking and finance, energy, environment, trade, agriculture, industry, education, health, and science and technology over its four days of activities.
Forum supervisor and head of the Gulf Research Center Abdul Aziz Bin Saqr, said that groups of academics from Saudi and foreign universities worked together to draw up the list of speakers and the issues to be addressed.
“There will be 42 speakers over nine sessions, and the Gulf Research Center will resume each one in a set of final recommendations to be presented to the Chamber of Commerce once the forum has concluded,” he said. “All the events will be transmitted live on the forum’s website.”
Bin Saqr noted that of the 1,200 participants, 370 were women.
“There have also been special invitations to members of the Shoura Council and officials, and 15 percent of those in attendance will be academics,” Bin Saqr said.
Not everyone is happy with the way events have been planned, however, as a number of specialists have noted that of the over three dozen speakers scheduled to address the gathering, not a single one is female.
Nadia Bakharji, an engineer who spoke at the forum in 2005, said she was surprised not to receive an invitation.
“If I’d been asked I would have been happy to provide my experience as a twice-elected member of the Engineers Commission and as a member of its board for four years,” Bakharji said.
“I have also recently completed ten years on the board of the International Arab Forum for Women, and have experience in many areas of private economic activity. I think I have a lot to say and could have contributed.”
Bakharji added: “I hope this doesn’t suggest they’ll be ignoring women at future forums, and that they realize the error as soon as possible and select a Saudi woman who will do us justice.”
Businesswoman Izdihar Batoubara was equally perplexed.
“Where is Nahid Tahir the first bank director general, and where is Lama Al-Solaiman, the first vice president of a chamber of commerce, and where are all the other Saudi women who’ve distinguished themselves in economic affairs?” Batoubara wondered.
Batoubara further questioned whether the absence of women speakers was an “oversight” or not. “If there aren’t any women speakers in the future I shalln’t be attending,” she said.
Amani Abdul Wasi’ was more magnanimous.
“It’s a troubling surprise, but we can only suppose that there was no ill intention and that everything was organized ahead of time and that women were invited to speak but were unable to attend,” she said.
In response to the dismay, Bin Saqr said that the Gulf Research Center did not discriminate between men and women, and said that speakers were chosen in accordance with their fields of specialty and subjects to be addressed.
“It must be remembered that the forum has a global dimension,” he said.
“The organizers have tried to find a balance between guests from the Kingdom and abroad to bring in diversity.
Women have a significant part to play at the forum, and there will be female academics present who will have the chance to table questions and speak from the floor during discussions.”
The Jeddah Economic Forum will begin proceedings at 8.30 P.M. Saturday evening when Prince Khaled Al-Faisal will give the opening sponsor’s speech, followed by the Minister of Trade and Industry Abdullah Zainal, President of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce Saleh Kamil, and President of the Gulf Research Center Abdul Aziz Bin Saqr.
The first business will involve the honoring of numerous individuals for their work in economic fields, and subsequent sessions over the four days will look at “Global Economic Management after the Crisis”, “Future Reserve Currencies”, Rebuilding Confidence in Financial Bodies, Energy and Environment, Trade and Investment Protection Policies, Agriculture and Food Security, and Health.
ccording to Bin Saqr the forum expects to show a surplus of 1.5 million riyals, “thanks to the great support given by Prince Khaled, Emir of Makkah, who put back his holidays to take part in the forum”. – Okaz/SG
The tiger could be extinct by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger. We look at why it’s so hard to tamp down on poachers and the flourishing tiger trade
THE tigers had been chopped into halves and quarters, much like how a housewife would prepare a chicken for the pot.
Conservationists say that this poacher’s trick, a monstrous mirroring of the kitchen routine, means consumption of tiger meat is increasing. “Over the last couple of years, there’s been a number of seizures in Malaysia, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, where the tigers were cut in half or cut in quarters, without being skinned,” said Mr Chris Shepherd of Traffic, a global network that monitors wildlife trade.
The fact that the pelts hadn’t been removed whole indicated that the skin wasn’t the main consideration, said Mr Shepherd, the senior programme officer for Traffic South-east Asia. Traffic is a joint programme by two conservation groups, WWF and IUCN.
“In South Asia, you see a lot more skin trade but in South-east Asia, the main threat appears to be the demand for bones and meat,” he said, adding that the trade in tiger meat seems to be increasing.
Mr Richard Damania, the World Bank’s lead environmental economist in South Asia, estimates that tiger parts can fetch up to US$70,000 ($99,000) on the black market, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Tiger meat may be found in restaurants that illicitly offer exotic game. The illegal tiger trade is booming in countries like China, which has banned tiger parts in traditional Chinese medicine, but where the fur, whiskers, eyeballs and bones to make “wine” are still used.
“Tiger bone tonic wine has become a fashionable cocktail to serve among the nouveau rich, particularly in countries like China,” Mr Crawford Allan, Director of Traffic-North America, was reported as saying this week.
Illegally poached wildlife is sometimes treated like frozen goods. Traffickers sometimes store tiger carcasses “in big refrigeration units, holding them until they’ve got a sale and then shipping them”, said Mr Shepherd.
Last October, environmental officials discovered two frozen tigers hidden under blankets in a taxi in suburban Hanoi. The perpetrators were allegedly planning to sell the animals, weighing 40kg and 90kg, at 2 million Vietnamese dong ($150) per kg. There were at least three similar seizures there last year.
As the start of the Year of the Tiger is celebrated on Sunday, some conservation groups say that the highly endangered tiger could become extinct in the wild by the next 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
“According to tiger experts, wild tigers may disappear by the next year of the tiger in 2022, if no action is taken to stop the poaching and illegal hunting, and to enhance habitat protection,” says conservation group WWF, which has prioritised tiger conservation this year. In addition, the first Global Tiger Summit will take place in Vladivostok in September.
Deforestation, degradation of tiger environments and poaching of tigers and their prey have contributed to their rapid disappearance. WWF estimates that there are only 3,200 tigers left in the wild, limited to just 7 per cent of their historic range. A century ago, they numbered about 100,000. Three sub-species – the Bali, Caspian, and Javan tigers – became extinct in the 20th century. Many scientists believe a fourth, the South China tiger, is “functionally extinct” as it has not been seen in the wild for more than 25 years.
Some experts estimate the lucrative wildlife black market to be worth between US$10 billion and US$20 billion annually, which, given the illicit nature of the trade and the small numbers of successful prosecutions, may be a misleadingly low figure.
“Wildlife crimes are quite similar to drug crimes,” where kingpins are usually out of reach, said Mr Dwi Nugroho Adhiasto, of the US-based Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Indonesian Programme. “If we arrest the couriers, (who are like) drug mules, we don’t know who is sending the drugs … In 2009, we arrested one middleman in Jakarta, he also dealt in drugs.”
A hierarchy involving “syndicates, middlemen and traffickers” has been observed in certain circles dealing in wildlife crimes, according to Mr Adhiasto. Sometimes “poachers send the tiger skin or bones or fangs to middlemen at district level,” he said, adding that there were also middlemen at “province level.”
Profit margins increase along this illegal chain of supply, according to conservationists interviewed, who said that prices vary in different countries. “In 2006, we identified some villagers who get 2 million rupiah (about $302) a month to get tigers in the forest,” said Mr Adhiasto, adding that rates were probably similar now.
He said that the skin of an adult tiger, the “most popular” tiger product in the Indonesian black market, could fetch “12 to 15 million rupiah”, while a stuffed tiger, which had been treated by taxidermists, could cost “25 to 50 million rupiah”.
WHO ARE THE POACHERS?
The profile of tiger poachers varies. Some poachers are “opportunistic hunters,” said Mr Adhiasto, citing as examples villagers who set up tiger snares made of “motorcycle parts”, steel or plastic. In some tiger habitats in Malaysia, signs of poaching often increase at certain times of the year, said Mr Reuben Clements, formerly the Species Conservation Manager for the Peninsular Malaysia Programme, who this week left his post at WWF Malaysia.
Mr Clements, a Singaporean, said that the “seasonal” demand for deer meat, for instance, rises during “Hari Raya, Chinese New Year”, and some hunters poach tigers if the opportunity arises while hunting game. Sometimes the WWF Malaysia team came across “artificial salt licks”, big chunks of salt dumped onto the ground to entice animals, he said. Some tigers are killed because of run-ins with villagers, rather than poaching.
Many poachers are actually going after “gaharu” or agarwood, which is valued for its distinctive scent and used for incense, said Mr Clements. Sometimes armed with machetes or guns, small groups of foreign poachers often enter the Belum-Temengor forest complex in Perak via the East-West Highway that cuts through the vast forest like a tarmac ribbon, setting up camp in the area.
WWF Malaysia’s day and night patrols and intelligence-gathering have helped wildlife authorities nab poachers and traders, or middlemen near the highway, and about 114 tiger snares have been deactivated since January 2009, said Mr Clements.
Enforcement against wildlife crimes in Russia and the 12 Asian countries – including China, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia – where tigers are found, is often difficult.
“Traffickers and smugglers have a wide network, are well-armed and move fast. Tiger countries will need to invest a great deal more in rangers, enforcement, equipment and intelligence-led investigations to have an impact,” said Ms Pauline Verheij, the tiger trade programme manager at Traffic International, who also works for the WWF Tiger Network Initiative.
With the numbers of tigers plummeting, traffickers and vendors have come up with a new gambit for customers: Fake tiger parts. These are increasingly sold in Medan, for example, said WCS’ Mr Adhiasto, who added that the fakes, often made from cow bones or canine parts, sometimes look “quite real.” “Sometimes they bleach the sambar deer skin, and paint it with the yellow and black pattern,” he said.
In Singapore, “in the last five years from 2005 – 2009, there was no illegal trade in tigers, its parts and products. However, the AVA has investigated cases involving the import and sale of fake tiger parts such as paws, claws and skull”, said Mr Gerald Neo, a Senior Wildlife Regulatory Officer at the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA). There were a total of six cases in those five years, and “the fake tiger parts are usually derived from that of cows and goats”, said Mr Neo.
South-east Asia is a global hotspot for the poaching, trafficking and consumption of illegal wildlife products, in part because of limited awareness of the problem among the public, generally weak laws governing wildlife trade, and low penalties, according to Asean-WEN, the regional Wildlife Enforcement Network.
Mr Shepherd of Traffic South-east Asia said: “There was a tiger found in a guy’s refrigerator in Malaysia a few years ago and the fine he received was far less than the tiger was worth.
“First of all, (perpetrators) rarely get caught. If they do, the penalties are often very low, a few hundred dollars. But they could be smuggling shipments of reptiles, for example, worth millions of dollars.”
Other serious issues that need to be addressed include the controversial issue of tiger farms, which breed tigers, in countries like China, which conservationists say fuels potential illegal demand for tiger parts.
According to Dr Chumphon Sukkaseam, Senior Officer of the Program Coordination Unit (PCU) of Asean-WEN, some tiger parts may have been harvested from tiger farms, which exist in Thailand.
“When we seize the tiger parts, the foot of the tiger is so smooth. The foot of a captive tiger is smooth because they walk on concrete floors,” he said, adding that the authorities have also seized the paws of wild tigers, which are far more rough.
“This year being the Year of the Tiger, we’re starting off with about 3,000 tigers. Last Year of the Tiger, we started off with more than 5,000 tigers,” said Mr Shepherd.
“If something’s not done, that’s it … After the tigers are gone, the demand will shift to the other big cats. We already see packaged medicine that used to claim to contain tiger bone, now claims to contain lion or leopard bone.”
Lim, who participated in the procession two years ago, said that this year’s procession would go ahead as planned.
The embattled chief minister has come under severe criticism over the past few weeks for allegedly being anti-Malay.
“Muhyiddin Yassin is welcomed to join in the procession,” added Lim, referring to the deputy prime minister’s criticism over the alleged cancellation.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has weighed in on the controversy.
Abdullah, who is also the chairman of the Malaysian Islamic Understanding Institute (Ikim), said the cancellation of the procession gave a picture as though the state government presumed that the procession would cause harm.
“Such an opinion should not have been in the mind of the state government because the Maulidur Rasul (Prophet Muhammad’s birthday) is celebrated every year,” he told reporters at Ikim in Kuala Lumpur today when asked to comment on the Utusan Mlaaysia report.
“If the procession is prevented, it may result in other processions from being held on that day,” he said.
“This may lead to uneasiness because the procession could become a protest. This must be avoided.”
There they go again
The opposition leader treads a familiar path into the dock
Feb 4th 2010 | BANGKOK | From The Economist print edition
SLINGING mud at opponents is a staple of most democracies, even if voters might prefer a more sensible debate. In Malaysia, a prudish, majority-Muslim country, it seems that nothing succeeds quite like below-the-belt personal attacks. For Anwar Ibrahim, the opposition leader and former deputy prime minister, who went on trial this week accused of sodomising a young male aide, the tactic is wearily familiar. In 1998 he was charged with the same crime, found guilty and jailed. Exonerated and freed, he has staged a comeback that another conviction might jeopardise.
Much has changed in Malaysia since Mr Anwar last took the stand. His nemesis, the country’s longest-serving prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, who presided over his downfall, has retired, if not exactly gracefully or quietly. The once-mighty United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads a 13-party multiracial governing coalition, looks increasingly vulnerable at a future election. A judiciary that was seen as beholden to its political masters has begun to assert its independence, and has sided with free-speech plaintiffs in prickly faith-related cases.
That independence will be put to the test in “Sodomy 2.0”, as Malaysia’s press has taken to calling Mr Anwar’s trial. His lawyers have pressed for the disclosure of prosecution evidence, including medical reports of the accuser, Saiful Bukhari. He told the court on February 3rd that Mr Anwar coerced him into having sex, which would be illegal in Malaysia and punishable by up to 20 years in jail. Mr Saiful worked briefly for Mr Anwar in 2008, when he was 23. During the same period, he was seen with aides of Najib Razak, then deputy prime minister and prime minister since last April. Mr Anwar accuses Mr Najib and his wife of a conspiracy to frame him and says they should testify. Mr Najib insists he has nothing to do with the case.
UMNO has been scheming to weaken the opposition, which won five out of 13 states in March 2008 elections that stunned the ruling coalition. Last year it seized back one of those states, Perak, by luring defectors. Then it tried, in vain, to peel off an Islamic party in Mr Anwar’s alliance. An anti-corruption agency has been mobilised to dig opposition dirt, with disastrous results in the case of Teoh Beng Hock, a political aide who died last July after falling out of a window while in the agency’s custody.
Mr Anwar’s trial is a much more potent weapon for UMNO, both as a blot on the opposition leader’s image and a distraction from his politicking. UMNO-owned media will harp on the sordid details, just as they did in the first trial when a semen-stained mattress was hauled into court. The blogosphere, however, where young Malaysians get their news, may not be easily impressed. Nor, it seems, will foreign investors, whom Mr Najib is desperate to attract with promises of a more open and less UMNO-dominated economy. His government’s image is already dented by corruption scandals, including a multibillion dollar project at Port Klang that has been dogged by accusations of mismanagement and cronyism. Some Malaysians may be wondering why such matters seem to generate less heat than Mr Anwar’s alleged transgressions.
February 12, 2010 17:10 PM
Eight High Profile Cases Dropped
PUTRAJAYA, Feb 12 (Bernama) — The MACC will not be pressing charges over eight high profile cases the commission investigated, including those involving Melaka Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.
Mohd Ali was investigated for alleged money politics when contesting the Umno deputy president’s post at the party’s polls last year while Abdul Khalid for allegedly abusing state funds to buy 46 cows to be donated for the Aidiladha sacrifice in his parliamentary constituency, Bandar Tun Razak.
Deputy MACC chief Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull said, however, there had been no decision yet whether Khalid would be charged over another case where he is alleged to have abused state funds for maintenance of his Lexus car with the registration number WQR779 and that the investigation papers were now with the public prosecutor.
The other cases concerned alleged power abuse by former Perak Speaker V. Sivakumar who suspended Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and six Perak Barisan Nasional (BN) executive councillors from attending state assembly sittings; Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk T. Murugiah (alleged money politics in PPP’s polls); former Penang deputy chief minister Mohamad Fairus Khairuddin (alleged links with illegal quarrying in Penang).
Also dropped were the cases concerning Penang’s Jawi assemblyman Tan Beng Huat (alleged abuse of assemblyman’s allocations); Selangor’s Batu Tiga assemblywoman Rodziah Ismail (alleged abuse of state funds) and two Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) supreme councillors who are alleged to have attempted to bribe Aminah Abdullah, an independent candidate in the Penanti by-election.
Mohd Shukri said the public prosecutor decided not to pursue the cases against the eight after evaluating the investigation papers submitted by the MACC.
“MACC’s Operations Review Panel has been updated as to why the cases cannot be pursued and all the panel’s seven members are satisfied with the explanation provided by both the MACC and the public prosecutor,” he told reporters here on Friday.
Mohd Shukri, however, said this did not mean that all of the cases were entirely free of corruption, but lack of witnesses and evidence prevented the commission from building “air tight” cases to enable conviction.
“Evidence available must be able to meet the 90 per cent requirement needed for prosecution, only then can the prosecution proceed to press charges. The public prosecutor cannot bring a case that is weak to court,” he said.
As such, he urged anyone with evidence on the eight cases to come forward and help the MACC to build cases that could lead to conviction.
He said these cases could be reopened if fresh witnesses or evidence was made available.
Asked about other high profiLe cases including those that inVolved former Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Azalina binti Othman Said, PPP president Datuk M Kayveas and the one relating to the Middle Ring Road 2 in Kuala Lumpur, Mohd Shukri said the investigations had been completed and forwarded to the public prosecutor to decide whether charges should be pressed.
MACC closes file on 8 high-profile cases
PUTRAJAYA (Feb 12, 2010) : Eight high-profile cases investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), including those involving Malacca chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, have been closed.MACC deputy chief commissioner (operations) Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdull said the decision not to bring those cases to court was taken by its Deputy Public Prosecutor after reviewing the investigation reports conducted based on evidence and witness statements.
“All cases which have been decided as such were referred to the Operations Review Panel. We explained to them why they can’t be charged in court. And all seven panel members were satisfied with the explanation given either by the MACC or the Legal and Prosecution Division,” he told a press conference at the MACC headquarters here today.
Mohd Ali was investigated for alleged money politics during the party election last year when he was vying for the Umno deputy president’s post while Abdul Khalid was investigated for allegedly misusing state funds to buy 46 cows during Hari Raya Haji for his Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary constituency.
However, the allegation against Abdul Khalid for alleged misuse of government money for the maintenance of his Lexus car is not finalised although the investigation paper has been submitted to the prosecution division.
Other cases closed were alleged misuse of power by former Perak Assembly Speaker V. Sivakumar for suspending Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and six other exco members from attending the state legislative assembly meeting, alleged corruption case of Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk T. Murugiah during its PPP party election and alleged corruption by former Penang Deputy Chief Minister Mohd Fairus Khairuddin who was associated with illegal quarry activities.
The rests were that of Jawi state assemblyperson Tan Beng Huat who was alleged to have wrongly used allocations to buy electrical goods, Batu Tiga assemblywoman Rodziah Ismail for alleged misuse of state government money and two Parti Keadilan Rakyat Supreme Council members who were alleged to have bribed Penanti Independent candidate Aminah Abdullah.
Mohd Shukri however said closing a case did not mean the person accused was free from corrupt activities because sometimes, the MACC could not build a strong case to stand up in court, due to lack of witness and evidence.
“The evidence that we have must achieve at least 90%, then only our prosecution division can decide to prosecute. So, not all cases that were not charged are free from elements of corruption,” he added.
Friday, 12 February 2010 Super Admin
(The Australian) – MORE than 50 Australian members of parliament, including frontbenchers from both sides of politics, have signed a letter demanding that the Malaysian judiciary drop charges of sodomy against former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim. Michael Danby, chairman of parliament’s foreign affairs subcommittee, delivered the letter to the Malaysian high commissioner, Salman Bin Ahmad, yesterday.
The letter says: “It should be made known to the Malaysian government that in our opinion global esteem for Malaysia will be affected by these charges against Mr Anwar.”
The letter further states: “Many friendly observers of Malaysia find it difficult to believe that a leading opposition voice could be charged with sodomy a second time, and so soon after his party made major gains in national elections.”
Most of the 50 signatories are Labor members, including two frontbenchers, parliamentary secretaries Gary Gray and Laurie Ferguson. The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Anna Burke, also signed the letter.
On the Liberal side, environment spokesman Greg Hunt is the most senior signatory, along with former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull.
Mr Anwar was first charged with sodomy in 1998. He was convicted, but in 2004 Malaysia’s Federal Court overturned his conviction.
Mr Anwar was a former deputy prime minister and finance minister under Malaysia’s long-serving former leader, Mahathir Mohammed. The two fell out bitterly in the wake of the 1998 Asian financial crisis. Since he was released from jail, Mr Anwar has become the leader of the Malaysian opposition, which made sweeping gains in Malaysia’s last federal and state elections.
Such a strong pro-Anwar intervention by so many, and such senior, Australian politicians could well once more inflame the Australia-Malaysia relationship, which went through turbulent times when Dr Mahathir and Paul Keating were their countries’s respective leaders. Since then Australia has trodden softly to ensure Malaysian co-operation on trade, military and intelligence, counter-terrorism and regional efforts to stop people-smuggling.
Speech by Michael Danby, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports and Chair of the Australian Parliamentary sub-committee on Foreign Affairs
This trial, like the first trial of Anwar Ibrahim, is a disgrace to Malaysia, a country that aspires to democratic norms, where parties change power peacefully and political opponents are not persecuted by organs of the state. Perverting the legal system for political ends by charging Anwar with sexual offences is an affront to human rights.
Tonight, I want to speak out on behalf of fellow democrats around Asia, who are flabbergasted at events unfolding in Kuala Lumpur. I refer to the trial which began today of the Malaysian Opposition Leader, Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim. For the second time, the Malaysian leader of the Opposition, Anwar Ibrahim is on trial for what they call in ancient grating English, ‘Sodomy’. For the second time, the Malaysian legal system is being manipulated by supporters of the incumbent government to drive Malaysia’s best known leader Anwar Ibrahim out of national politics. For the second time, documents are being forged, witnesses are being coerced, evidence is being fabricated.
This trial, like the first trial of Anwar Ibrahim, is a disgrace to Malaysia, a country that aspires to democratic norms, where parties change power peacefully and political opponents are not persecuted by organs of the state. Perverting the legal system for political ends by charging Anwar with sexual offences is an affront to human rights. In the first place, the offences with which Anwar has been charged that should not be on the statute book. Australia abolished its laws punishing consenting adult homosexual acts decades ago, as did most advanced countries. It’s long past time that Malaysia also repealed these laws, which it inherited from British colonial times. If these laws did not exist, they could not be used for political purposes as we are currently seeing.
In the second place, everyone in Malaysia, and everyone in the international legal community, knows that Anwar is innocent of these charges. This week the Wall Street Journal published a first-hand account of how the Malaysian Special Branch police fabricated the charges that led to Anwar’s first trial in 1998. Munawar Anees recalled how he had been starved and beaten into signing a false confession which implicated Anwar. Now it’s happening again. These are the lengths to which the corrupt elements within the Malaysian ruling party are willing to go to frame Anwar and remove his threat to their power.
Malaysia is a long-time friend and ally of Australia. Over the past 40 years Malaysia has become an increasingly prosperous and successful multi-cultural society. We continue our friendly and mutually beneficial relationship with Malaysia, which is a deep economic, strategic and cultural relationship.
But Malaysia is also a country of 28 million people who have lived ever since independence more than 50 years ago under the rule of the same party, the United Malay National Organisation or UMNO. UMNO has stayed in power by playing on the Malay fears of the Chinese and Indian minorities. So long as Malaysian politics were polarised even subtlety along racial lines, so long as the Malays voted loyally for UMNO, then the self-perpetuating UMNO oligarchy, who have grown rich through long years of power and through their cozy links to business, would be safe.
That’s why Anwar Ibrahim is such a threat. For the first time Malaysia has a charismatic Malay opposition politician able to appeal to Malay voters and pose a real threat to UMNO’s hold on power. At the 2008 elections Anwar’s People’s Justice Party and its allies won 60 seats away from UMNO and its allies, creating a viable two-party system for the first time. As a result, Abdullah Badawi was deposed as Prime Minister and replaced by Najib Razak, but the threat from Anwar’s coalition continues to grow. So even though the first attempt to frame Anwar on these spurious charged had failed, the corrupt forces within UMNO have decided to try again.
I recently had the privilege of meeting Anwar Ibrahim when he was in Melbourne for the Parliament of the World’s Religions in December. He is an intelligent and articulate and passionate democrat. He is committed to a thorough reform of Malaysian government, to rid it of the cronyism, corruption and authoritarian tendencies that have gained ground since Mahathir Mohammed became Prime Minister in 1981. He is a great, although not uncritical, friend and admirer of Australia. If he were to become Malaysia’s Prime Minister our relationship with Malaysia would become even stronger.
I am pleased that in the last few hours the judge has suspended the case against Anwar for a day. I hope Prime Minister Najib and his ministers are not involved. The best way for them to prove that they are not is to intervene and have these charges withdrawn, and those responsible for fabricating them punished. Malaysia is a great country, and an emerging power in our region. It can do without the embarrassment that these disgraceful proceedings are undermining its newly won democratic credibility.
Anwar – mangsa pedakwaan yang rakus
Feb 9 – Telah hampir 16 tahun saya berkhidmat sebagai seorang peguamcara jenayah. Sepanjang tempoh ini, pengalaman saya boleh dikatakan cukup luas dalam membela orang tertuduh dalam kes-kes jenayah salahlaku seks. Suatu yang agak nyata dari pengalaman saya, pihak berkuasa tidak akan sama sekali membuat pendakwaan jika bukti perubatan tidak berpihak kepada mereka. Ianya seakan suatu peraturan – atau syarat sah dalam bidang perundangan bagi kes-kes rogol mahupun kes liwat – bukti perubatan adalah merupakan oksigen kepada pihak pendakwa.
Dari pengamatan saya, peraturan atau syarat sah tersebut tidak langsung digunapakai dalam perbicaraan Fitnah 2 Anwar Ibrahim yang sedang berlangsung. Apabila si tertuduh itu adalah Anwar Ibrahim, maka peraturan yang ada akan terus bertukar secara drastik dengan tiba-tiba. Apabila yang didakwa adalah Anwar Ibrahim, pihak pendakwa tidak lagi perlu mengukur keupayaan mereka terhadap kes mengikut bukti-bukti yang ada. Apabila yang dibicarakan adalah Anwar Ibrahim, pihak pendakwa – tidak akan memperdulikan apa pun yang berlaku, akan terus meneruskan pendakwaan dan perbicaraan tanpa mengambil kisah samada dengan kelemahan bukti yang ada mahupun langsung ketiadaan bukti!!
Satu-satunya jenayah yang telah Anwar lakukan dalam kes Fitnah 2 ini adalah kerana namanya Anwar Ibrahim.
Saya percaya jika si tertuduh itu bernama Ibrahim Anwar atau mana-mana Ibrahim sekalipun yang didakwa meliwat Saiful, pihak berkuasa tidak akan mendakwa si tertuduh itu berdasarkan bukti laporan perubatan yang disediakan oleh para doktor dari kedua-dua Pusat Rawatan Islam (PUSRAWI) dan juga dari Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL).
Kedua-dua laporan tersebut, seperti yang dinyatakan kepada saya oleh barisan peguam Anwar mengandungi bukti secara jelas dan nyata yang tidak berpihak kepada pihak pendakwa, iaitu pengesahan bahawa tiada langsung kesan kemasukan yang zahir (no visible penetration) pada dubur Saiful. Malah, laporan Hospital Kuala Lumpur telah disahkan dan ditandatangani oleh tiga orang pakar perubatan. Maka, laporan-laporan perubatan yang ada di dalam tangan pihak pendakwa sekarang merupakan hasil laporan yang disahkan oleh empat orang pakar perubatan (satu dari PUSRAWI dan tiga dari HKL) yang menafikan teori pihak pendakwa bahawa Saiful telah diliwat oleh Anwar.
Persoalan yang ditimbulkan kepada Peguam Negara adalah, walaupun dengan terdapatnya bukti-bukti yang cukup jelas dan nyata ini, mengapa pihak pendakwa berkeras untuk meneruskan pendakwaan terhadap Anwar? Jawabannya cukup jelas, ianya adalah kerana si tertuduh adalah Anwar Ibrahim. Apabila yang dibicarakan itu adalah Anwar Ibrahim, biar pun ada beratus-ratus laporan perubatan yang membebaskan Anwar pihak pendakwa tidak akan ambil peduli.
Bagi kebanyakan orang, persoalan ini pastinya akan timbul di benak kepala. Adakah bukti perubatan ini penting dan signifikan dalam perbicaraan Anwar? Jawaban kepada persoalan ini adalah jelas dan nyata – ya, ia penting dan signifikan. Seperti yang telah saya nyatakan di atas, bukti perubatan (dalam kes-kes jenayah salahlaku seks) merupakan oksigen kepada kes pihak pendakwa. Apabila ketiadaan atau berlaku kerosakan kepada bekalan oksigen ini, kes-kes pihak pendakwa akan terbantut dan mati.
Bagi kes-kes jenayah salahlaku seks, peraturan perundangan (rule of prudence) seperti yang diamalkan oleh peguamcara dan peguambela – bukti dari keterangan pengadu sahaja sememangnya tidak memadai. Bukti tersebut haruslah disokong dan disahihkan (corroborated) oleh lain-lain bukti yang bebas (independent evidence).
Jika dipakaikan di dalam perbicaraan Anwar, bukti keterangan Saiful sahaja sememangnya tidak mencukupi untuk membolehkan Anwar didapati bersalah. Bukti keterangan Saiful harus disokong dan disahihkan (dengan lain-lain bukti). Tidak semua kes-kes jenayah memerlukan bukti sokongan dan bukti sahih. Tetapi, bagi kes-kes jenayah salahlaku seks, pembuktian sokongan adalah amat penting untuk menyokong wujudnya perlakuan liwat seperti yang didakwa.
Mengapa perlu adanya pembuktian sokongan bagi kes-kes jenayah salahlaku seks? Pengamal perundangan bersetuju bahawa ianya perlu kerana jenis dan sifat kesalahan salahlaku seks itu sendiri. Dalam mana-mana kes rogol atau liwat, adalah cukup mudah untuk seseorang itu dituduh oleh seorang yang lain, tetapi sebaliknya adalah amat sukar untuk orang yang dituduh untuk menafikan tuduhan tersebut.
Dengan begitu jelas telah dapat kita lihat walaupun sebelum mahkamah menjatuhkan sebarang hukuman terhadap Anwar, bahawa berdasarkan liputan media yang dibuat oleh Utusan dan lain-lain media kepunyaan BN, Anwar telahpun dihukum bersalah oleh juri-juri ini. Liputan media tersebut berniat cukup jahat dan membuatkan orang tertanya-tanya, samada maruah Anwar mahupun ahli keluarganya diambilkira oleh media-media yang tidak bertanggungjawab ini.
Undang-undang yang ada dengan jelas mengatakan bahawa jika anda menuduh seseorang meliwat anda, anda dikehendaki memberi bukti sokongan dan bukti sahih untuk menyokong tuduhan anda. Kerana itulah dalam undang-undang jenayah Islam apabila seseorang dituduh melakukan liwat, pihak pendakwa wajib untuk memiliki empat orang saksi yang secara nyata melihat kemasukan (ke dalam dubur mangsa). Ini menunjukkan Islam begitu mengambil berat akan pembuktian sokongan.
Di dalam undang-undang Islam juga, tahap pembuktian dalam kes-kes liwat adalah amat tinggi sehinggakan pihak pendakwa harus membuktikan pertuduhan mereka dengan jelas dan langsung tanpa sebarang syak mahupun wasangka manakala tahap pembuktian dalam undang-undang sivil pula hanya memerlukan tanpa sebarang wasangka yang munasabah (beyond reasonable doubt). Maka dalam Islam, sebarang wasangka walaupun sekelumit mana akan memihak kepada si tertuduh berdasarkan kepada pernyataan bahawa “kesalahan hudud akan dihentikan (pendakwaannya) bilamana wujud syak dan wasangka walaupun sedikit”. Islam berpandangan bahawa adalah lebih baik jika seseorang hakim itu tersilap dalam membebaskan 10 orang yang bersalah dari tersilap menghukum walau seorang yang sebenarnya tidak bersalah.
Dalam sebarang kesalahan meliwat, seperti juga kesalahan merogol, elemen utama yang amat perlu dibuktikan oleh pihak pendakwa adalah perbuatan kemasukan (ke dalam dubur atau faraj) itu sendiri. Dalam perundangan Islam juga, elemen yang serupa juga perlu dibuktikan oleh pihak pendakwa dengan terang dan jelas.
Jadi, bagaimana boleh pihak pendakwa membuktikan wujud elemen kemasukan jika mereka tidak mengeluarkan bukti-bukti laporan perubatan (di mahkamah?) Dan apalah gunanya bukti-bukti laporan perubatan itu kepada pihak pendakwa jika ia secara terang menyatakan bahawa tiada kesan kemasukan ke dalam dubur Saiful? Bukti-bukti laporan perubatan sepatutnya menjadi pembuktian sokongan kepada bukti keterangan Saiful tetapi dalam kes ini, bukti-bukti laporan perubatan yang sama sebenarnya membebaskan Anwar dari pertuduhan yang ada. Peraturannya amat mudah sekali: tiada kemasukan, tiada pertuduhan. Tetapi pejabat Peguam Negara seolah-olah berpendapat bahawa, ya, benar tiada kemasukan tetapi pertuduhan akan tetap diteruskan!!
Semestinya jika Anwar dibicarakan di bawah undang-undang Islam, pertuduhan yang difitnahkan terhadapnya tentunya tidak akan diteruskan. Melihat kepada keterangan Saiful di mahkamah setakat ini, umum pasti akan akan merumuskan bahawa pertuduhan yang dikenakan itu sememangnya langsung tidak berasas atau hanya fitnah jahat semata.
Peguam Negara sepatutnya menunjukkan tahap profesionalisma dan integriti yang tinggi dalam kes Anwar ini. Kejujuran intelek mewajibkan pihak pendakwa untuk menarik balik pendakwaan terhadap Anwar Ibrahim. Cukup. Menuduh seseorang tanpa bukti-bukti yang jelas merupakan suatu kesalahan pendakwaan dan pembaziran wang rakyat.
Episod Peguam Negara dijadikan alat kepada ahli politik yang jahat dan zalim sepatutnya telah berlalu selepas tsunami pilihanraya 2008.
Mohamed Hanipa Maidin merupakan Ahli Jawatankuasa Kerja PAS Pusat dan Penasihat Undang-Undang PAS. Beliau juga adalah seorang peguam yang berpengalaman dan berblog di peguampas.blogspot.com