THE NATHAN family lost a jewel when daughter Dina Deve Nathan was swept away by the swift currents of the Sungai Kampar yesterday when a suspension bridge over the river collapsed. The 11-year-old girl was described as a smart, bright child who will be dearly missed by all who knew her.

On Monday night, the suspension bridge connecting the 1Malaysia Co-curiculum Centre to Sekolah Kebangsaan Kuala Dipang, Kampar, collapsed.

In the 10.40pm incident about 50 students fell into the Sungai Kampar. They were among 298 students from 60 primary schools in Kampar, Tronoh and Batu Gajah involved in a programme organised by the Kinta Selatan District Education Department. The group was accompanied by 23 teachers.

Dina spent most of her time in the Nathan house in Mambang Di Awan, Kampar, buried among her books.

It was a very regrettable tragedy indeed. The misery and lost could be avoided. only if, the newly build bridge properly constructed. only if, the students given safety jackets. Only if, well trained staffs checked the safety of the facilities.only if, .......... we've learned from our past mistakes.

Its not the 1st time, let the mistakes of the past be lesson for future.

Restore our faith in the system

Schoolgirl N. Dina Deve has become the victim of the first 1Malaysia tragedy. It was while attending a 1Malaysia camp organised by the South Kinta District Education Department that the 11-year-old drowned when the suspension bridge she was on collapsed over Sungai Kampar.

If the investigation committee under the director-general of the Education Ministry discovers that the construction of the bridge did not fulfil the required specifications, or that safety procedures were not adhered to in the use of the bridge at the time of the accident, or that supervision by teachers was inadequate, Malaysians will conclude that there are serious shortcomings in the way we manage our affairs – shortcomings that can lead to the loss of innocent lives.

When such shortcomings express themselves over and over again through the decades, they undermine our faith and trust in the institutions and individuals charged with the management of our society. It will reach a point when the public will refuse to believe any idea however worthwhile – such as 1Malaysia – put forward by the powers-that-be.

In this regard, the outrageous instances of financial mismanagement, misappropriation of public funds, and abuse of fiduciary responsibility, revealed year in and year out in the Auditor-General’s Annual Report which was published on this occasion just before the Sungai Kampar accident, have once again incensed a lot of people who want the authorities to take sterner action against the culprits.

That such anger and disappointment cut across ethnic lines, and that the demand for tougher punitive measures transcends religious boundaries, speak volumes for 1Malaysia.

Indeed, the multi-ethnic, multi-religious desire for competent governance, efficient administration, and honest and upright men and women in important places both in the public and private sectors, is a noble emotion that will help build 1Malaysia. And it is the betrayal of such universal values and principles that will subvert 1Malaysia.

1Malaysia Board of Trustees.

MIC president S Samy Vellu today explained to the party's central working committee (CWC) on the issue surrounding the legality and ownership of the Maju Institute of Educational Development (MIED) and AIMST University.

"I gave them a full briefing on the formation, management and the inseparable relationship between the two entities and MIC," he said in a statement after chairing the three-hour CWC meeting at the MIC headquarters here.

He told the CWC members that although the MIED and AIMST University in Semeling, Kedah are separate entities of the MIC, no individuals or MIC leaders owned the two entities.

"The ownership between MIC and MIED will be a perpetual relationship and will be part of the MIC," he said.

Samy Vellu said the MIED trustees and board members were made up of MIC office-bearers, thus cementing the link between the MIED and MIC.

"The MIC through the MIED will work closely towards achieving the educational objective and vision of the party in its capacity as an educational arm of the party," he said.

He said the CWC members agreed that MIED and AIMST University are separate entities with the MIED formed as a company limited by guarantee.

Controversial remark in September

He also urged all MIC members to regard the two institutions as their own organizations which are managed by their appointees.

"None of the MIED trustees are owners of the university and as such the question of hijacking the MIED and AIMST University does not arise," he said.

Samy Vellu said the MIED had done very well to help the MIC in looking after the educational interests of the Indian community.

It has already produced 7,000 students while another 7,000 students are continuing their studies, he added.

Samy Vellu's clarification on MIED and AIMST today came in the wake of questions posed by several party leaders, including former deputy president S Subramaniam, over the status of the two institutions.

Their concerns were raised following Samy Vellu's remarks in September that he would be resigning soon and would be spending his time at these two NGOs, which he had claimed to be separate entities from MIC.


A top Pakatan Rakyat leader today warned the opposition alliance was suffering from a "bout of loss of public confidence" after it enjoyed unprecedented success in national polls last year.

Pakatan, a loose three-party coalition which seized control of a third of seats in parliament in the 2008 elections, has recently been hit by infighting.

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang urged the alliance to "impose discipline among their leaders" to protect the opposition's image, especially after its defeat in a by-election earlier this month.

"Pakatan Rakyat had been suffering a prolonged and unceasing bout of loss of public confidence... to convince the Malaysian electorate in its credibility, cohesion, integrity and common sense of purpose," he said in a statement.

Lim cited BN's by-election victory in Bagan Pinang state seat in Negeri Sembilan two weeks ago as an example, saying the opposition "cannot take the setback lightly and must not be in denial about its weaknesses and faults".

BN had lost seven out of eight by-elections held since 2008 polls but it ended the opposition winning streak with a thumping victory in the latest vote, although it was criticised for fielding a popular but graft-tainted candidate.

'Problematic leaders'

The main Islamic party PAS is dogged by infighting after its spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat called for an extraordinary general meeting to remove several top party leaders he described as "problematic".

Nik Aziz, a highly respected figure in PAS, made the proposal over his unhappiness that some of the party leaders were keen on pursuing a pact with Umno, the largest party in ruling BN.

PKR was also divided after Zaid Ibrahim, a former cabinet minister who quit last September and later joined the multi-racial party, recently announced his plan to go on a six-month leave.

Zaid reportedly said he did not want to be "distracted by any internal party politics", fuelling speculation on the growing discord within PKR, led by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim.


PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat today suggested that the Islamic party hold an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to deal with 'several problematic leaders'.

He also suggested that the time has come for the party to change its president, Abdul Hadi Awang (right).

"Even the Indian community can go against (MIC president S) Samy Vellu.

"So why should it be odd if we (PAS) hold a special meet to deal with these errant leaders," jotted the veteran politician in his blog.

Nik Aziz, who is also Kelantan menteri besar, is upset with several party leaders, including Abdul Hadi, secretary-general Mustafa Ali and Selangor PAS commissioner Hassan Ali over the unity government proposal.

The trio were said to be supportive of the proposal to form a joint government with Umno, a move which was strongly opposed by Nik Aziz.

The issue had also caused rifts in the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance.

"If the extraordinary general meeting is held and decides that there will be no change in the president (Abdul Hadi), then we will agree to maintain the status quo.

"Similarly with the issue surrounding Hasan or Mustafa over their efforts to have PAS and Umno to form a unity government, which seems to me, there is no end. We try to sink it, but it resurfaces. Then it died down when people were angry. What is this," questioned the Kelantan menteri besar.

Commenting on the development of several extraordinary general meeting held by PKR, Umno and MCA this year, NIk Aziz wrote in his blog that though the issues in the MCA was different involving corruption, PAS need not worry as the party's EGM was not about corruption.

"Our issue is on the two or three problematic party leaders. The Indian community has protested against (MIC president) Samy Vellu by forming other parties.

"We need not be afraid to call for an EGM, and we may call it a special muktamar. In fact, we should have held it first."

'Need for change in party leadership'

Nik Aziz said the special EGM is important to prevent problems in the Islamic party and is also to prepare itself in facing the next general election.

"Whether the people can accept it or not, we will see and bring it before this special muktamar. We need to ensure its legality and to be sure of whom we select. Who do we want to maintain and who do we throw," asked Nik Aziz.

"This time around, I strongly feel there is a need for a change in important players for the central PAS leadership."

The enigmatic PAS leader was commenting on International Islamic University academician Dr Aziz Bari, who attributed the PAS failure in attracting votes in Bagan Pinang to the trouble brewing in Selangor involving Hasan Ali who called for the ban of alcohol beverages in the state.

The academic also said that Hasan's comments on the Selangor Competency, Accountability and Transparency committee hearing had also affected PAS' credibility in the Bagan Pinang by-election.

The academician had heavily criticised Abdul Hadi for not commenting on Hasan's fiasco and compared such negative and indecisive behaviour with former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The IIU professor had written in Sinar Harian earlier this week and commented that it was time for PAS to take drastic measure to either discipline or sack Hasan from the party.

He however noted it would be difficult for PAS to take such action against Hasan as he is deemed to represent the pro-Umno faction within PAS like Abdul Hadi and his deputy Nasharuddin Mat Isa.

Nik Aziz, who was writing in his blog Tok, said he agreed with certain portions of Aziz's strong comments and statement.

In suggesting the setting up of a special muktamar, Nik Aziz proposed that a simple, transparent and confidential vote could be taken and suggested that it be held within a day or two.

Nik Aziz said he had to make the admonition as it is compulsory to do so during "this uncertain times", faced by the party.

"My heart also boiled at the time of former PAS president the late Mohamad Asri (joined the BN). At that time, I had to show my displeasure and have commented on this. This is documented in my book "Kemuncup dalam Perjuangan".

Meanwhile, Mustafa has refused to make any comments on Nik Aziz's statement.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has tabled Budget 2010 with the theme "1Malaysia, Together We Prosper". Totalling RM191.5 bil, he said it would be the foundation of a new economic model and precursor to the 10th Malaysia Plan.

These are the main highlights of the speech as per delivery.

* Time for country to move to an economy of innovations to face the challenges of the future

* GDP for 2009 expected to be -3%, better than previous projections of -4% to -5%

* Focus of Budget 2010 will be on well-being of the people

* Three strategies:

- driving the country towards a high-income economy,

- ensuring holistic and sustainable development,

- focusing on the well-being of the rakyat.

* Government to make it easier for skilled/qualified people to get permanent residence status. Visa to be granted for family within 14 days.

* CSR Fund of RM100mil to be set up to carry out social programmes.

* Tax breaks for registration of patents and copyrights.

* Big scale factory outlets to be set up to boost tourism besides having major events like KL Grand Prix Fest, National Water Festival, Malaysia International Golf Exhibition and Rain Forest Eco-Challenges

* Taxpayers will get tax relief on broadband subscription fee of up to RM500 from 2010 to 2012. Civil servants can apply for computer loans up to a maximum of RM5,000 from the govt once in every 5 years.

* RM6bil for agriculture sector for irrigation of paddy fields, fish production, fruit farming, livestock farming infrastructure, training

* RM2bil subsidy for farmers and fishermen including subsidies for fertilisers, incentives for padi yields and allowances for fishermen

* RM9bil to finance infrastructure projects including road and bridges projects and rail, sea ports and airports facilities

* RM1.5bil fund to promote green technology by providing soft loans to companies that supply and use green technology

* RM200mil Creative Industry Fund to finance film, drama, music productions, animation, advertisements through Bank Simpanan Nasional

* RM30bil to be allocated to enhance primary and secondary school education nationwide

* Rewards for students who excel in studies:

- 30 National Scholarships for the creme de la creme of students, stictly based on merit

- Conversion of PTPTN loans to scholarships for students who graduate with 1st class honours degree, beginning from 2010,

- Offer of netbook package, including free broadband service, to university students for RM50 per month for 2 years.

* The Permata programme, which emphasises on early childcare and education, including the gifted child programme, to get RM100mil

* Insurance industry to be improved to meet market demand.

* Govt to clamp down on the abuses committed by Ah Longs by enforcing Anti-Money Laundering and Anti Terrorism Financing Act 2001. Moneylenders Act 1951 to be also reviewed.

* Allow 100% foreign equity participation in corporate finance and financial planning companies compared with the present requirement of at least 30% local shareholding.

* To ensure rapid development of financial services, the existing tax incentives to be extended to 2015.

* Among steps to combat corruption is to set up 14 Special Corruption Sessions Courts and 4 Special Corruption Appeal High Courts.

* Tax of 5% to be imposed on gains from the disposal of real property from Jan 1, 2010. Existing tax exemption will be retained for gifts between parent-child, husband-wife, grandparent-grandchild.

* To promote prudent spending, a service charge of RM50 a year to be imposed on each principal credit card and charge card; and RM25 a year on each supplementary card, effective from Jan 1, 2010.

* To ensure that fuel subsidies only benefit targeted groups, Govt will implement a fuel subsidy management system in early 2010, which will utilise the MyKad.

* All ministries and govt departments are required to provide day care and education centres for children of civil servants.

* The maximum income tax rate for individuals to be reduced to 26% from assessment year 2010. Personal relief increased to RM9,000.

* Police force to get RM1bil to improve its services in govt's efforts to reduce crime. Major measures include to increase police presence, including mobile police stations in 50 crime hotspots.

* To promote house ownership, Govt will launch a scheme that enables EPF contributors to utilise current and future savings in Account 2.

* Employees' EPF contribution to be increased to 11% again, on a voluntary basis, effective immediately. However, from Jan 1, 2011 employees' EPF contribution will revert to 11%.

* Personal relief for EPF and life insurance schemes to be increased to RM7,000.


Quick facts

  • Malaysia economy to grow 2-3 percent in 2010.
  • Per capita income to increase by 2.5 percent to RM24,661.
  • Budget 2010 allocations totalled RM191.5 billion, of which RM138.3 billion is for operating expenditure and RM53.2 billion for development expenditure.
  • Federal government revenue in 2010 to decline by 8.4 percent to RM148.8 billion.
  • Budget deficit at 5.6 percent of GDP compared with 7.4 percent in 2009.

  • Maximum income tax rate to be further reduced to 26 percent from 27 percent effective from the 2010 year of assessment.
  • Personal tax relief will be increased to RM9,000 from RM8,000 effective from the 2010 year of assessment.
  • Individual taxpayers to be given tax relief on broadband subscription fee up to RM500 a year from 2010 to 2012.
  • Income tax for 2010 based on income derived from 2009 will be allowed to be paid in instalments in five years.

  • Employees EPF contributions will be raised again to 11 percent on a voluntary basis with immediate effect. However, from Jan 1, 2011 employees' EPF contribution will revert to 11 percent.
  • The government proposes existing personal tax relief of RM6,000 for EPF contributions and life insurance premiums be raised to RM7,000.
  • Civil servants are eligible to apply for computer loans once in every three years and up to a maximum of RM5,000 from the government once in every five years.
  • A five percent tax to be imposed on gains from disposal of real property from Jan 1, 2010.

    Credit cards
  • There will be no more free credit cards which are currently being used extensively. The number increased from more than two million in 1997 to 11 million as of August 2009, excluding 285,000 charge cards.

  • To promote prudent spending, a service tax of RM50 a year will be imposed on each principal credit card and charge card, including those issued free of charge.
  • There will also be service tax of RM25 a year imposed on each supplementary card.

    Fuel subsidies
  • To ensure fuel subsidies only benefit targeted groups, the government will implement a fuel subsidy management system in early 2010.

    Goods and Services tax
  • Government is in the final stage of completing a study on imposing Goods and Services Tax (GST). The rate will be lower than the current sales and service tax.

    Approved Permits (AP)
  • RM10,000 to be imposed for each AP to open AP holders effective Jan 1, 2010. A portion of the collection will be channelled to the bumiputera development fund in the automotive sector.

    Permanent residency
  • Simplify permanent residency (PR) applications for those who possess high talents, expatriates will be issued visas within 14 days while male expatriates who marry locals will be automatically conferred PR status.



  • Government to allocate RM9 billion to finance infrastructure projects, with RM4.7 billion for road and bridge projects, RM2.6 billion for water supply and sewerage services, RM899 million for rail facilities, RM820 million for ports and sea services and RM276 milliion for airport projects.
  • RM3.7 billion set aside to beef up the security forces, including providing modern and sophisticated equipment for the relevant agencies.
  • TNB to spend RM5 billion to implement electricity generation, transmission and distribution projects in 2010.
  • Public-private collaborations to include an integrated immigration, customs and quarantine complex in Bukit Kayu Hitam, construction of six UiTM campuses and the development of Matrade centre.
  • RM3.5 billion for infrastructure and basic amenities and training programmes and socio-economic projects to support implementation of private sector projects.

    Corporate social responsibility
  • 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) will establish a corporate social responsibility fund totalling RM100 million as a start to finance community activities.

  • Government to allocate RM899 million to intensify tourism industry.
  • Tax incentives for healthcare service providers who offer services to foreign health tourists with income tax exemptions of 100 percent on the value of increased exports from 50 percent previously.

  • RM14.8 billion is allocated to manage, build and upgrade hospitals and clinics.

  • Allocate RM137 million to upgrade and improve drainage and irrigation infrastructures in paddy fields involving 180,000 farmers.
  • RM70 million to build the Paya Peda Dam Project in Terengganu to increase water supply capacity to paddy irrigation scheme in Besut.
  • RM82 million to modernise aquaculture industry and conduct entrepreneurship training scheme for aquaculture breeders with focus on production of fish fry and ornamental fish.
  • RM149 million to develop food farming industry such as fruits, vegetables, organic farming, herbs, seaweeds and swiftlet nests.
  • RM58 million to develop basic infrastructures for livestock farms and establish supply chains for beef and mutton production.
  • A consortium comprising Felda, Felcra and Risda will be established by the end of 2009, with a paid-up capital of RM300 million and with each agency contributing RM100 million.
  • Government to provide subsidies, incentives and assistance amounting to some RM2 billion to farmers and fishermen to safeguard their interests.

    Small and medium enterprises
  • To consolidate 79 SME funds to 33 to simplify access to SME financing to be coordinated by SME Corp.
  • An allocation of RM350 million to SME Corp, with RM200 million set aside for SME soft loans, RM100 million for capacity enhancement and the balance for branding and promotion.
  • Financial institutions to approve micro-financing in six days and disbursement in four days.
  • To allocate RM538 million for implementation of various SME programmes, with RM281 million to state economic development corporations, RM200 million to Tekun and RM57 million for purchase of business premises and infrastructures.

    Green technology
  • Government to sanction RM20 million to intensify green awareness activities and practise environment-friendly lifestyle.
  • Develop Putrajaya and Cyberjaya as pioneer townships in GreenTechnology as a showcase for the development of other townships.
  • Establish a RM1.5 billion fund to promote green technology, with a maximum RM50 million financing for suppliers and RM10 million for consumer companies.
  • Applications for financing through the National Green Technology Centre to commence on Jan 1, 2010 and 140 companies are to benefit.

  • Building owners obtaining GBI Certificates from tomorrow until Dec 31, 2014 are to be given income tax exemption equivalent to additional capital expenditure. Stamp duty exemption to buyers of buildings with GBI Certificates from tomorrow till Dec 31, 2014.

    Regional corridors
  • Government will ensure that the five regional corridors - launched during former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's tenure - will be developed according to schedule.

  • Target set to reduce crime index by five percent, including street crimes such as snatch theft and robberies by 20 percent by the end of 2010. Among the measures that will be taken is to increase police presence by providing stations in 50 crime hotspots.

    Hardcore poverty
  • Government committee to achieve target of zero hardcore poverty in 2010. Five thousand poor households registered with eKasih and 4,000 Orang Asli households to receive aid. Skills training programmes and income generating programmes will be provided. Federal welfare assistance to be distributed on the 1st of each month.
  • RM141 million to be allocated for 'Program Lonjakan Mega' scheme to alleviate 5,600 families from hardcore poverty.

  • Double deduction on expenditure incurred in promoting Malaysia as an international financial centre.
  • Deduction on expenditure incurred to set up Islamic stockbroking companies.
  • To introduce a basic insurance and takaful scheme for motor insurance protection by mid-2010.
  • To expand micro insurance and takaful coverage for small-scale businessmen to benefit from coverage ranging from RM10,000 to RM20,000 with a premium as low as RM20 per month.
  • Stock market to be further liberalised to enhance efficiency. Liberalise commission-sharing arrangements between stockbrokers and remisiers by allowing flexible brokerage sharing at a minimum rate of 40 percent for remisiers and to have commission-sharing fully liberalised effective January 1, 2011.
  • Allowing 100 percent foreign equity participation in corporate finance and financial planning companies.
  • Current tax incentives to develop financial services, particularly Islamic finance, extended to 2015. Twenty percent stamp duty exemption on Islamic financing instruments.
  • Tax exemption on banking profits derived from overseas operations.
  • Effective Jan 1, 2010, government agrees to allow agencies to retain 50 percent of rentals received while the remaining 50 percent will be remitted to the government as revenue.
  • Maximum tax rate for cooperatives will be reduced to 26 percent while the fixed tax rate for non-resident individuals will be cut to 26 percent.

    Human resources
  • Income tax on employment income of Malaysians and foreign knowledge workers residing and working in Iskandar Malaysia will be set at 15 percent compared with the maximum 26 percent for the rest of the country.
  • Government to launch a scheme in January 2010 that enables EPF contributors to utilise current and future savings in Account 2 to promote house ownership.
  • The government to establish the 1Malaysia Retirement Scheme to be administrated by EPF.

Kampung Buah Pala Residents Association chairperson M Sugumaran (left) had told reporters on Sunday that the 10 residents, including himself, had been directed to sign and read out a letter of apology.

He claimed that the apology, to be prepared by the administration, was to be addressed to Lim and others for what the villagers had said and done at the height of the Kampung Buah Pala issue.

Sugumaran also said the state government had barred him and four other office bearers of the association from entering Level 28 of Komtar (where Lim's office is located) and Level 52 (Ramasamy's office) since last week.

He named secretary Joseph Stephen Draviam, assistant secretary C Tharmaraj, assistant treasurer I Pasunagi, committee member O Selvaraj, as the others who were affected.

In addition, the 10 were told to first see Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer to facilitate negotiations, he alleged.

Kampung Buah Pala, a 200-year-old Indian settlement, was demolished last month to make way for the Oasis condominium project, undertaken jointly by landowner Koperasi Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd and developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd.

Residents of the demolished Kampung Buah Pala today blasted the Penang government of ignoring their plight and neglecting its duties to help them.

Residents association chairperson M Sugumaran said the government is playing games even while negotiating an amicable solution for remaining the 10 households, who have yet to take up any form of compensation.

He said the state government has demanded the 10 to sign and read out an apology letter to the state government at a press conference.

dap 2010 budget rocket cafe 071009 lim guan eng 01He said the apology to be prepared by the administration was meant for the Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (left) and others for what the villagers had said and done during the height of the Kampung Buah Pala fiasco.

He said the government had barred him and four other principal office bearers of the association from entering Level 28 (Lim's office) and Level 52 (Deputy Chief Minister 2 P Ramasamy's office) in Komtar since last week.

Sugumaran said the other banned were association secretary Joseph Stephen Draviam, assistant secretary C Tharmaraj, assistant treasurer I Pasunagi, committee member O Selvaraj.

He said the 10 remaining householders had been told to first see Seri Delima assemblyperson RSN Rayer, not Ramasamy as told to the press, to facilitate negotiations.

"This state government is inhumane. It destroyed our homes while we were still living in them and flattened our 200-year-old village.

"Now it wants us to apologise for its wrongdoing," Sugumaran told a press conference at the now uprooted village.

Family squatting under a tree

Kampung Buah Pala was once famously known as Penang's Tamil High Chaparral for its population of Indians, cowherds, cattle, goats, other livestock, unique and lively Indian cultural features and festivities.

NONEIt was demolished last month to pave for a lucrative Oasis condominium project undertaken jointly by land owner Koperasi Pegawai Kanan Kerajaan Pulau Pinang Bhd and developer Nusmetro Venture (P) Sdn Bhd.

Sugumaran (right, in blue shirt) accused the current DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat state government of allowing the demolishment of their houses, leaving them homeless and stranded.

He claimed that a family was now squatting under a tree nearby the village, another taking shelter in an Umno-owned community hall and one more residing in a vacant motor workshop, while the majority of those evicted are now staying in rented homes.

Sugumaran criticised the state government of neglecting its duties in handling the relocation and resettlement issues of the villagers.

NONEHe said the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf), not the state government, had been helping the villagers in rental payments and search for alternate decent homes.

He pointed out that under the land sales and purchase agreement between the state government and the cooperative society, all issues pertaining to the villagers, including compensation, relocation and resettlement, have to be settled first before the land title could be transferred.

However, he said Chief Minister Lim transferred the land title to the cooperative society within 19 days after coming to power without settling outstanding villagers issue, even until today.

"This is how the DAP government had rewarded us for voting for Pakatan Rakyat in the last general election,' said Sugumaran.

'Who the rightful trustee?'

Pointing to an Oasis project signboard outside the site, he noted that the developer had not stipulated anything about the double-storey houses promised by Lim for the villagers.

The signboard, he said had also stated that the project development plan was approved by the Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP) when legally it should have been approved by the island council MPPP.

He said the villagers would still pursue their case to determine who the rightful trustee of their land is - if it is the federal or state government, and claim damages for criminal demolition of their properties and broken promises by Pakatan leaders.

He said in its decision on Nov 10 2007, the High Court stated that the state government had failed to disclose any documents or other evidence to show that the federal government had alienated the land to the state's care.

"Thus, if it is under the federal government's trust, how could the state government sell the land to a cooperative and allow a joint venture private development project?" he said.

He called the former Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon (left) and Lim to hold the much-anticipated live televised debate to enable the public to know the truth behind the scam.

He said a document issued by the state land office revealed that the village land title had contained several restrictions on any future development plan.

"Who gave approval to by-pass these restrictions? A Koh v Lim open debate will reveal all these," he said.

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Kg Buah Pala...pawn in a political game

In bucking the trend set over the last eight by-elections, Barisan Nasional obtained a whopping 42 percent increase in non-Malay support in the Bagan Pinang by-election on Sunday.

Political analyst Ong Kian Ming made the estimation based on the Election Commission's data when he examined the change in the level of BN support from 2008 to 2009 by 'saluran' or polling stream and the ethnic composition of the respective 'saluran'.

According to him, Umno candidate Mohd Isa Samad had also registered an increase of 4 percent in Malay support in the Negri Sembilan state seat compared to the results in the 2008 general election.

In the Sunday's by-election, Isa doubled the majority garnered by Azman Mohammad Noor when the late Umno candidate crushed his PAS opponent last year.

Isa (right with garland), a former cabinet minister, who was suspended from the party for three years after being found guilty of vote buying in Umno polls, took the seat with a margin of 5,435 votes.

Ong said that based on the results of the Bagan Pinang by-election, 67 percent of Malay voters had backed Isa.

Interestingly, a higher proportion - 73 percent - of non-Malay voters gave their support to the Umno candidate.

Three key factors

Ong identified three key factors which led to the dramatic voter swing back to BN.

  • Isa's long standing presence in the constituency as well as in the state as a former MB.
  • The weakness of the PAS candidate and machinery.
  • The salience of local issues that were perceived to be more important than national issues like the cow-head incident in Shah Alam and the Teoh Beng Hock case.

As for the postal voters, which make up 40 percent of the state constituency, Ong said Prime Minister Najib Razak's reputation and popularity as the former long-standing defence minister has ensured that Umno received the lion share of the votes.

Isa bagged 3,521 postal votes while his rival, PAS' Zulkefly Mohamad Omar pulled in a measly 601 votes.

In the 2008 general election, BN got 3,080 postal votes against PAS' 1,189.

Wake-up call for Pakatan

Ong (below) however added that the hefty swing seen in Bagan Pinang may not be so pronounced in other constituencies.

"Any swing towards the BN (elsewhere) would be much less because of the absence of postal votes and the inability to have another Isa-type candidate for Umno."

He also questioned whether BN's feat could be replicated in another racially-mixed seat where the opposition was the incumbent.

"Any seat in an urban area with a larger Chinese voter presence would not be so easy for the BN to swing to the same extent.

"It would be mistaken to think that such a large vote swing could be manufactured in another constituency, for example in Selangor or Kuala Lumpur."

Nevertheless, he said Bagan Pinang is a wake-up call for Pakatan Rakyat.

"It is a stark reminder, especially to PAS, that they cannot take the non-Malay votes for granted."

Federal Territory Putera MIC has launched a "PC for young minds" programme to collect new or used computers to aid primary schools in education.

Its chief M.Thanasekaran said for a start, 10 reconditioned computers would be given to three Tamil schools in Kuala Lumpur; SJK(T) Vivekananda, SJK (T) Edinburgh and SJK (T) Segambut.

"We started this campaign using the internet, especially via Facebook about three weeks ago and the respond has been encouraging. We aimed to collect another 25 computers by end October," he told reporters after the progamme's launching here on Thursday.

Thanasekaran said initially, focus was on primary schools in Kuala Lumpur and would be later expanded to other areas.

He said donors from outside Kuala Lumpur were welcomed and that it was willing to collect and service the computers.

Donors can contact S.Saravana Kumar at 013-6907382 or Yuvan Kumar at 012-2901523 or by sending emails to