Sunday, November 14, 2010

Zaid, take a break and refocus your efforts

By Aloysius Pinto

Zaid should take a break from party politics and focus on developing the necessary tools and mechanisms to put in place a shadow cabinet based on the Pakatan Rakyat policy framework.

It should provide guidelines and directions on how to develop the various policies, directions and action plans for all the different areas highlighted in the framework.

The numerous offers of expertise by civil society, which includes NGOs, professionals, academicians and concerned citizens should be tapped to form the shadow cabinet.

It is not important at this time to identify the shadow cabinet ministers. He must harness the discontent of civil society to come up with action plans to deliver election promises.

Zaid is the appropriate person to lead, organise and moderate the various sessions that needs to be organised for shadow cabinet ministries. If Zaid is not doing this, who else?

Yes, Zaid should take a break from party politics and just focus on bringing the various stakeholders through forums, seminars, dialogues and even a convention.

Enormous talents are willing to provide their expertise so that Pakatan not only retains control of the four states, but also instil confidence in the rakyat that it is ready for Putrajaya.

Otherwise Zaid, don’t bother about party politics at all.

There are already too many politicians around. In fact, more than necessary, that’s why the jostling for positions!

Be a statesman Zaid and lead this work that needs to be done to prepare Pakatan to govern the nation.

Shamala's verdict: Court should have resolved issues of law

By A.Vaithilingam

In my opinion, there is a tendency for judges who are Muslim to consider that they have a duty to protect their faith. There appears to be a pattern in this direction.

As I understand Islam, in all my years in religious organizations, judges must be unbiased.

This is similar to all other religious teachings. When Muslim judges and non Muslim judges give different judgments in matters involving Islamic tenets, it is confusing for lay people.

I hope all judges will decide all cases according to what they think is just, regardless of their views about their own faith.

When the civil High Court judge, in giving joint custody of the two children to husband and wife, ordered Shamala Sathiaseelan not to expose her two children to her own religion of Hinduism, the judge did not cite any civil law authority for such a decision.

When the government Islamic religious authority converted her own infant children to Islam without her consent, and the civil High Court refused to intervene telling her instead to submit to that religious department for assistance, it was the last straw for her.

If she committed contempt of court by leaving the country with her children, the above can be considered strong mitigating factors.

The husband who deserted her was being given special consideration because he was a Muslim.

Both the High Court and the government religious authorities did not give recognition to her equal rights as a mother and a woman.

She appealed to the Court of Appeal who referred the matter to the Federal Court. She hoped she would get justice. But the Federal Court has shut her out completely.

If she was in contempt of court, that offence must be considered separately.

It did not mean that she should be denied relief in the substantive matters she complained about.

Pull together, Guan Eng tells Perak DAP factions

By Clara Chooi

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng told the warring factions in the party’s Perak chapter to close ranks after today’s polls and concentrate on recapturing the state in the next general election.

Lim, who opened the polls this morning, reminded party members to keep their sights set on the bigger picture and unite under the common goal of helping Pakatan Rakyat (PR) regain Perak from Barisan Nasional (BN).

“Two years ago, at the last Perak Ordinary Convention, it was at that moment in time, that we were celebrating the achievement of being a partner in power with winning the Perak government. But now, Perak voters have lost their freedom to elect their government following the coup d’état that negated the people’s mandate.

“But I believe that two years again into the future, we will return this power. This is the responsibility of all members, to ensure that Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin is reinstated as the Perak mentri besar,” he said in his opening address.

Ngeh is expected to retain his post in today’s polls.
Perak DAP was at the forefront of PR’s success in wresting Perak from BN during Election 2008, when it swept all the 18 state seats it had contested. PKR won in seven state seats while PAS took six, earning the three opposition parties a majority of 31 seats to BN’s 28.

Due to the subsequent defections of three PR representatives — two from PKR and one from DAP — the state fell back into BN’s hands in February 2009.

Since then, another DAP representative has deserted the party to turn independent, leaving DAP with 16 state seats to its name.

In a press conference later, Lim expressed hope that both feuding factions in Perak DAP would close ranks following today’s polls, regardless of the results.

“As we said, we want to come up as a team, a cohesive team that is in concert with the aspirations of the people,” he said.

Today’s state polls is said to be a crucial test for the Perak DAP leadership, which has been split between two factions headed by the Ngeh-Nga cousins and M. Kulasegaran respectively.

It is, however, believed that the cousins — incumbent state DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and secretary Nga Kor Ming — will likely be re-elected into one of the 15 posts in the state committee once the polls close today.

The cousins have been at loggerheads with Kulasegaran and his loyalists over several leadership issues, including the formation of branches in the state and the alleged dictatorial leadership methods employed by the duo.

At the climax of the leadership crisis last month, Kulasegaran caused an uproar when an unsettled dispute with the cousins led him to threaten to quit all his state party posts and expose his grouses in public.

Following intervention from the party’s national leaders, however, Kulasegaran held back on his threat and stayed on in his post, abiding the gag order that the leadership had issued.

Today, however, Lim claimed that no such order had ever existed and insisted that he had merely advised both factions not to air their dirty linen in public.

“No gag order. There was none, none that I am aware of. That was just an advice given by me. All party matters should be resolved internally and it was agreed by both parties so why was it twisted to be a gag order?” he said.

He reiterated the importance for the party leaders to stand together as a team to face the coming general election.

“We want also to honour the memories of those who sacrificed for their dreams so that we can live in ours. So the best way is we must work together,” he said.

Lim also called on the media not to manipulate the issues plaguing Perak DAP, pointing out that it would only serve the interest of their enemies in BN.

“Just let the delegates decide,” he said.

During today’s convention, a total of 78 per cent or 961 delegates of 1,228 delegates were present.

The results of the polls are expected to be announced shortly.

Kula's faction voted out in DAP election

By Clara Chooi

In a surprising turn of events, Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran and most of his loyalists failed to survive Perak DAP’s crucial party polls today and was not voted into the top 15 posts on the state committee.

Only one member of his faction, Jalong assemblyman and incumbent party treasurer Leong Mee Meng, made the 15th spot, when the polls results were announced at 7.15pm this evening.

Others in Kulasegaran’s camp like Pasir Pinji assemblyman and incumbent organising secretary Thomas Su Keong Seong; Pasir Berdamar assemblyman and incumbent state committee member Seah Leong Peng; and Cheong Cheong Chi Khing, also an incumbent state committee member; failed to make the cut, along with their leader.

Kulasegaran’s arch-rivals, on the other hand, incumbent state DAP chairman Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and incumbent secretary Nga Kor Ming cruised to an easy win and polled the top two highest number of votes of the 41 candidates in the contest.

The results further strengthen the cousin’s hold over DAP’s Perak chapter, once seen to be wracked by a leadership crisis involving the two warring factions.