HSBC Bank officer charged for stealing money from victims of missing flight MH370


KUALA LUMPUR: A couple pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to multiple charges involving theft from the bank accounts of four passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Bank officer Nur Shila Kanan and her mechanic husband Ba­­sheer Ahmad Maula Sahul Hameed, both 33, were accused of making illegal transfers and withdrawals, amounting to RM85,180 in total, from the accounts.

Nur Shila faces 12 principal charges in relation to transferring money from the HSBC Bank accounts to other bank accounts, theft, getting approval for a debit card and making a new Internet banking application with intent to cheat, and using forged documents at the HSBC branch in Lebuh Ampang from May 14 to July 14.

Basheer faces four main char­ges, including one for allegedly using a debit card and an ATM card to withdraw cash from the bank accounts.

He allegedly committed the offences at the bank’s ATM centre at Ampang Point here between May 15 and June 29.

Each of them also face four alternative charges of stealing from the HSBC Bank accounts.

The money was reported missing from the accounts of two Chinese nationals, Ju Kun and Tian Jun Wei, and Malaysians Hue Pui Peng and flight steward Tan Size Hiang.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Fadhli Mahmud applied to the court to set bail for each at RM20,000 in one surety and asked that the couple be made to surrender their passports to the court.

Lawyer Abdul Hakeem Aiman Mohd Affandi, who appeared for the couple, asked that bail be set at RM10,000 in one surety for each and said that they were willing to surrender their passports.

Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah set bail at RM12,000 in one surety for each and impounded their passports.

He fixed Aug 25 for the case to be brought before him again.

The Star/Asia News Network

MH370: Couple claim trial to illegal withdrawals

KUALA LUMPUR: A bank officer and her husband pleaded not guilty in the sessions court today to multiple charges involving illegal transfer and withdrawal of money, amounting to RM110,643, from the accounts of four passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Nur Shila Kanan and her husband, Basheer Ahmad Maula Sahul Hameed, both 33, face multiple charges under the Computer Crimes Act, 1997, and Sections 379, 465 and 471 of the Penal Code.

Judge Mat Ghani Abdullah allowed them to be tried jointly. He set bail at RM12,000 each in one surety and ordered that their international passports be surrendered to the court.

Nur Shila faces 12 principal charges of illegal transfer of money from HSBC Bank, thefts, cheating and forging documents.

She also faces three alternative charges for theft, all of which she allegedly committed at HSBC Lebuh Ampang branch between May 14 and July 8.

Basheer faces four principal charges of using an ATM card and debit card to make illegal withdrawals and four alternative charges for theft, all of which had been allegedly committed at the HSBC ATM at Ampang Point between May 15 and June 29.

DPP Ahmad Fadli Mahmud asked the court to set bail at RM20,000 each in one surety.

Defence counsel Abdul Hakeem Aiman Mohd Affandi, however, requested for the bail to be reduced to RM10,000 on grounds that Nur Shila is a staff in HSBC earning RM3,000 a month, while Basheer, a mechanic, earns RM2,000 a month and have five people under their care, including three children aged between five years and six months old.

Mat Ghani fixed Aug 25 for mention before Judge Norsharidah Awang.

It was earlier reported that money had been missing from the bank accounts of four passengers of MH370 – Chinese nationals Ju Kun and Tian Jun Wei, and Malaysians Hue Pui Heng and flight steward Tan Size Hian.

Initial investigations reportedly revealed that the suspect had transferred funds from three passengers’ bank accounts into the account of a fourth passenger through Internet banking, and together with the fourth passenger’s account, the amount totalled RM110,643.

It was also reported that the missing money came to light on July 18 when a bank officer from a foreign bank detected a series of suspicious transactions and transfers from the four accounts.

Flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens on March 8 as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board. The plane has yet to be found, even after an exhaustive search in the southern Indian Ocean where it is believed to have gone down.

By Karen Arukesamy newsdesk@thesundaily.my

Related posts:

Hackers target information on MH370 probe The computers of high-ranking officials in agencies involved in the MH370 investigation were ha…
Malaysia is poised to escape the middle-income trap, but also ready to fall back into it. Normally the middle-income trap refers to count…

Related articles:

What the hack were they up to, MH370?


HackingHackers target information on MH370 probe

The computers of high-ranking officials in agencies involved in the MH370 investigation were hacked and classified information was stolen.

The stolen information was allegedly being sent to a computer in China before CyberSecurity Malaysia – a Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation agency – had the transmissions blocked and the infected machines shut down.

The national cyber security specialist agency revealed that sophisticated malicious software (malware), disguised as a news article reporting that the missing Boeing 777 had been found, was emailed to the officials on March 9, a day after the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane vanished during its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Attached to the email was an executable file that was made to look like a PDF document, which released the malware when a user clicked on it.

A source told The Star that officials in the Department of Civil Aviation, the National Security Council and MAS were among those targeted by the hackers.

“We received reports from the administration of the agencies telling us that their network was congested with email going out of their servers,” said CyberSecurity Malaysia chief executive Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab.

“Those email contained confidential data from the officials’ computers including the minutes of meetings and classified documents. Some of these were related to the MH370 investigation.”

About 30 computers were infected by the malware, CyberSecurity Malaysia said. It discovered that the malware was sending the information to an IP address in China and asked the Internet service provider in that region to block it.

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique numerical label assigned to each device on a computer network.

“This was well-crafted malware that antivirus programs couldn’t detect. It was a very sophisticated attack,” Amirudin said.

The agency and police are working with Interpol on the incident.

CyberSecurity Malaysia suspects the motivation for the hacking was the MH370 investigations.

“At that time, there were some people accusing the Government of not releasing crucial information,” Amirudin said. “But everything on the investigation had been disclosed.”

Flight MH370 with 239 on board went missing on March 8 about 45 minutes after take-off.

Expert: Spearphishing needs a lot of planning and work

Hacker Anatomy of Spearphishing attack

Spearphishing attacks such as the ones that targeted the Civil Aviation Department and the National Security Council require a lot of planning and work, said a cyber security expert.

These point to either a very skilled attacker or group of hackers who have the know-how to spoof an email address to make it appear as if the message is coming from a familiar sender, said Dhillon Kannabhiran.

He is chief executive of Hack In The Box which organises the annual HITBSecConf series of network security conferences.

He said that sensitive and confidential documents should always be encrypted as an added layer of security against hackers.

How sophisticated an attack was, Kannabhiran said, depended on which version of the Microsoft Windows operating system was on the victim’s computer and how up to date the system security was.

By Nicholas Cheng, The Star/Asia News Network

Related posts:

Malaysia is poised to escape the middle-income trap, but also ready to fall back into it. Normally the middle-income trap refers to count…
Photo taken on July 17, 2014 shows the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine. A Malaysian…

Malaysia is poised to escape the middle-income trap, but also ready to fall back into it. Normally the middle-income trap refers to count…

 
Boeing has patent for autopilot tech: When it was first speculated that Flight MH370 could have been hijac…

USA Today: US print newspapers break-ups without financial support


Gannett, publisher of USA Today and dozens of other newspapers, became the latest to unveil its plan, splitting its print and broadcast operations into two separate units in a move to ‘sharpen’ the focus of each. – AFP

Washington (AFP) – Following an unprecedented series of spinoffs by major US media companies, the print news industry now faces a rocky future without financial support from deep-pocketed parent firms.

The wave of corporate breakups comes with newspapers and magazines struggling in a transition to digital news, and shareholders of media conglomerates increasingly intolerant of the lagging print segment.

Gannett, publisher of USA Today and dozens of other newspapers, became the latest to unveil its plan, splitting its print and broadcast operations into two separate units in a move to “sharpen” the focus of each.

This follows the recently completed spinoff by Tribune Co. of its newspaper group, which includes the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, and Time Warner’s separation of its magazine publishing group Time Inc.

Two other newspaper groups, EW Scripps and Journal Communications, announced last month they would merge and then spin off their combined newspaper operations while creating a separate entity focused on broadcasting and digital media.

The trend arguably took hold last year with Rupert Murdoch’s split of his empire into separate firms focused on media-entertainment and publishing — 21st Century Fox and the newly structured News Corp.

- ‘Cast out of house’ -

The wave of spinoffs “certainly plays into the perception that these are children being cast out of the house by their parents,” said Mark Jurkowitz, associate director of the Pew Research Center’s Journalism Project.

Newspapers were snapped up by media groups in an era when print was hugely profitable, but other segments of the media conglomerates are now driving profits, such as local television.

“The market doesn’t think much of the newspaper industry’s future,” Jurkowitz said.

Industry consultant Alan Mutter argues that publicly traded newspaper firms still produce an average profit margin of 16 percent, higher than that of Walmart and Amazon.

But Mutter said on his blog that profits and newsroom staffing have taken a huge hit in recent years, and that newspapers have failed to do enough in the digital arena.

“Rather than reliably ‘owning’ their audiences as they once did in print, the internal metrics at every newspaper show an increasing dependence on the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter to generate the traffic that is the lifeblood of any media enterprise,” he said.

Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern University, said newspapers are recovering from the negative impact of earlier corporate tie-ups.

“It’s really corporate debt and the expectations of Wall Street that have done as much to damage the newspapers business as Craigslist,” Kennedy told AFP.

“Newspaper margins are still pretty good. And when you have newspapers owned by private companies without debt, some of them are doing pretty well.”

Some analysts say that the breakup of big media firms may force publishers to create ways to connect with readers online. “The real problem with newspaper industry has not been with the dead tree part, it is the failure to monetize the digital eyeballs,” Jurkowitz said.

“Unless there is an increase in digital revenue streams it’s hard to imaging them getting out of the situation they are in.”

The industry is closely watching the efforts of newspapers like the New York Times, which is experimenting with new digital access plans, and the Washington Post, which under new owner Jeff Bezos has boosted online readership to record highs.

- ‘Not the death phase’ -

Kennedy said that while newspapers may be profitable and an important part of the community, they may not be able to meet Wall Street’s expectations for growth.

“It’s not a growing business,” Kennedy said.

Private owners can still keep the business in the black, said Kennedy, citing the record of Boston Globe’s new owner, sports magnate John Henry.

But he said that newspapers need to make considerable investments “to make a smart transition to digital” in the coming years.

Peter Copeland, a former Scripps Howard News Service editor and general manager who now is a media consultant, said the breakups are logical and generally positive for newspapers.

“It’s better for the newspapers and TV to be separate,” Copeland said. “They were never a match. They are very different businesses.”

Now, he said the owners “will be able to focus 100 percent on the newspapers.”

Copeland said newspapers may end up severing their corporate ties and going back to their roots of local and private ownership.

“Newspapers always had difficulty” being part of corporate empires, said Copeland.

“I think newspapers are entering another phase. It’s not the death phase, it’s just another phase in the life cycle.” – AFP

Related posts:

  Shangri-La, China LHASA, Aug. 13 — Since British novelist James Hilton introduced the fictional “Shangri-la” to Western r…

 He reached out to Nakamoto through one of the Bitcoin founder’s untraceable email addresses and offered his assistance. His initial message to Bitcoin’s inventor read: “Bitcoin is a brilliant idea, and I want to help. What do …
The Internet has spawned a new form of currency that’s purely digital called Bitcoin.  Picture this — a high speed car chase with a sle…
 Bitcoin: the new gold or a giant bubble? PETALING JAYA: Malaysians have been warned against investing in virtual or Internet money as …

Are the problems of Malaysia Airlines, symptomatic in other government-linked companies?


MAS logo_girlsLots of public funds will be spent to make things right at MAS, and it will start with the RM1.4bil takeover of the airline.

THE events of MH370 and MH17 have soured the operations of Malaysia Airlines (MAS), where the extent of the damage from these events on its financials will be more accurately shown when the airline reports its quarterly figures next week.

While these tragedies have led to MAS’ major shareholder, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, offering to not only take the company private but also undertake what appears to be an exhaustive overhaul of the airline’s operations, the problems at MAS have been simmering for a long time now.

The airline has been losing money for some time, and previous turnaround plans, in hindsight, were akin to applying bandages when major surgery was needed. Previous turnaround plans might have just delayed what needs to be done now.

But all gloves are off with the upcoming overhaul when it comes to salvaging MAS. Political will appears to be there, judging from comments made by the Prime Minister and the airline will undergo a big transformation on how it operates.

Lots of public funds will be spent to make things right at MAS, and it will start with the RM1.4bil takeover of the airline. The overhaul of MAS should be more than just cosmetic or quick fixes.

While the airline’s revenue will surely slump, MAS also has to deal with its cost. As it stands, experts have pointed out that the size of its cost structure is one that supports a far larger network than what MAS currently operates.

Tackling costs won’t be easy also, given that it is a government-linked company (GLC) with social obligations. In fact, MAS, like its other GLC brethren, has commitments that most private companies just don’t have.

Will the overhaul of MAS take into account just how far it needs to go to remove a certain portion of such obligations, and if it is happening in MAS, are other GLCs too shouldering the same kind of burden as MAS is?

It has been long suspected that the airline has been losing lots of money due to leakages and some have even alluded to political interests having their fingers in the pie.

Khazanah should undertake a thorough review of the supply chain, and conduct forensic accounting if needed to ensure corruption is weeded out of the company. MAS needs to make sure that the services and supplies bought are at market rates and of a fair value.

For Khazanah, it needs to revisit its GLC transformation programme and see whether it has been as effective as what the market expected it to be. There has been a series of colourful books and manuals issued, and among them, the red book. Just how far have the initiatives of the red book, which deal with procurement, been successful in reducing costs?

But the need to ensure support for its social obligations can be tough on a GLC. For one, if the contracts given or services and goods acquired are inflated beyond an acceptable amount, then it will just balloon cost. Social obligations that relate to the need for support to help companies grow in scale is understandable, but not handouts.

Even Petroliam Nasional Bhd president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Shamsul Azhar Abbas has inferred that there is pressure from Government interference and the need to back vendors that charge quite a bit above market prices.

If such pressure is existent in the national oil company that is different from other GLCs, then one can hypothesise that such pressure is prevalent among GLCs.

There needs to be a balance between social obligations and market value. GLCs cannot go on supporting programmes at inflated costs if the companies they are supporting have not shown improvements or are detrimental to their own well-being. This is because doing so will have a telling effect on the performance of the companies.

Should its costs become inflated as a result of such support, then there could be implications on the performance of the GLCs. For one, investors will make that distinction and attach a lower market multiple for GLC companies compared with its private-sector peers. Some will say that it is already being seen in some GLCs.


By: JAGDEV SINGH SIDHU The Star/Asia News Network

Related posts:
 

Malaysia is poised to escape the middle-income trap, but also ready to fall back into it. Normally the middle-income trap refers to count…
 
 
Photo taken on July 17, 2014 shows the debris at the crash site of a passenger plane near the village of Grabovo, Ukraine. A Malaysian…
 
Boeing has patent for autopilot tech PETALING JAYA: When it was first speculated that Flight MH370 could have been hijac…
 

Related Articles:

Japanese surrendered on Aug 15: It’s dangerous for Japan to sow seed of war; hard to warm up frozen ties with Tokyo


Video: 8.15, remembrance of the Chinese suffering and victory over Japanese invasion

It is dangerous for Japan to sow seed of war

BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) — To mark the 69th anniversary of its defeat in the World War II, the Japanese government has, as usual, duly advised its citizens to observe one minute of silence in honor of the deceased.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, has a separate agenda. Despite the cancellation of a planned visit, he sent an offering Friday to the notorious Yasukuni Shrine, which honors top war criminals, through his aide Kouichi Hagiuda.

Such a show of “compromise and sincerity,” as some put it, is hardly acceptable, particularly given the recent barrage of remarks and moves by Japan’s rightist politicians which lay bare their unrepentant attitude toward the WWII.

One who forgets and denies history does not deserve a future. It has become a matter of urgency for the current Japanese leaders to truly reflect upon the lessons of history so as to avert a risky future.

During the WWII, a militaristic Japan ruthlessly trampled over its Asian neighbors and slaughtered tens of millions of people there. Yet, Japan was also considered a victim of the war as countless innocent civilians in the country were killed by U.S. nuclear retaliation.

The unconditional surrender of Japan in 1945 put an end to the bloody war in the Asia-Pacific and ushered in a new era of peace and development for the whole region, including Japan, which has since kept its extreme right-wing forces in check and tugged itself out of the quagmire of war.

Remarkably, Japan has created an enduring economic miracle which saw it once grow into the world’s second largest economy.

It is reasonable to say that Japan’s post-war success has testified the fact that peace, not war, is the cornerstone for development.

Sadly, a new generation of rightists in the country have chosen to ignore that. With Prime Minister Abe at the helm, Japan, bent on shaking off its war-renouncing pacifist reins, has once again embarked on a precarious path and blatantly challenged the post-war international order of peace.

By doing this, Japan is sowing the seed of another war.

Notably, the Abe administration has sugarcoated its military ambitions with rhetoric touting “peace” and “security,” while former Japanese militaristic rulers had used similar tactic to disguise their unquenchable thirst for aggression.

What has also sounded the alarm is that Japan has been deliberately flexing its muscles against China. From the purchase and naming farce of China’s islands, to the constant hyping up of China’s “military buildup,” Japan’s increasingly provocative actions are not only tearing the two nations further apart, but also putting the hard-won peace and security in the whole region at stake.

Some might say history always repeats itself, yet it is unwise for Japan to reckon that China, along with other WWII victims as well as those peace-loving people on its own land, would stand idle in face of the brewing threats of war.

It is highly advisable for those who did wrong in the past to stop playing with fire and avoid leading their country further down the dangerous road.

By Lili Xinhua

Hard to warm up frozen ties with Tokyo

As the 69th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in WWII, August 15 has become the perfect time for Japanese nationalists to put on a farce to draw world attention. Will Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visit the notorious Yasukuni Shrine? This has become the most disconcerting mystery in the geopolitics of Northeast Asia.

Abe released some messages, saying he wouldn’t visit the Shrine. But media outlets guessed he might offer tribute instead. This could be called a positive signal sent to China from a Japanese perspective. It was also reported that he is looking forward to having a bilateral meeting with Chinese leaders at the forum of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Beijing in November.

Bitter confrontations over historical issues have dragged both China and Japan into a tug-of-war. With years of friendliness buried, China and Japan seem to be locked into a blood feud.

The conflicts over historical issues are no longer limited to different understandings of history. They have become a major manifestation of the geopolitical rivalry between both sides. A sober mind can tell that such a conflict can only result in a lose-lose situation: Japan is losing its upper hand in the international community due to its irresponsible attitude toward history, and China has spent too many unnecessary resources and attention on it.

But now, it could be anticipated that warming Sino-Japanese ties are still impossible, even though Abe acted mildly on the Yasukuni Shrine issue this year and Chinese leaders might meet him at the APEC forum.

On historical issues, both sides are just speaking to themselves. These issues have become a battle of public opinion in the international community. In this case, only national strength matters.

Japan was the side which took the initiative in the historical issues, as it was in full authority of whether to visit the Shrine and revise history books. But China has established a system to penalize provocative Japanese government officials. China has got back part of the initiative. The fact that China is getting used to the political deadlock and carries forward economic cooperation also requires full attention. The unfolding tensions between both nations have not inflicted many losses on China, which is able to sustain a long-term standoff with Japan.

China’s rise has changed many foundations of the former Sino-Japanese ties, and we must accept and get adapted to the fundamental changes.

The biggest force that can transform Sino-Japanese relations is the rise of China. It probably won’t make Japan and China regain rapport, but it will drive Japan to assess the outcome of a full confrontation with China.

In the past 20 or 30 years, China has not been engaged in such tense relationship with a major power as it does with Japan. There are so many uncertainties ahead, and Japan is destined to offer unavoidable and significant challenges to China’s confidence and patience when the latter is rising.

Source: Global Times Published: 2014-8-15 0:23:01

69 years later, Japan still unrepentant after nuclear attacks from US

Sixty-nine years ago, mushroom clouds rose over major population centers for the first (and fortunately, only) time in the history of warfare. At approximately 8:16 a.m. on August 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Three days later, the Army Air Force dropped a second bomb on Nagasaki.

Nagasaki mayor questions policy on A-bomb day

TOKYO – The mayor of Nagasaki criticized Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push toward Japan’s more assertive defense policy, as the city marked the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing.

Nagasaki mayor questions policy on A-bomb day
Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue reads out the Peace Declaration at the Peace Park in the city on Aug. 9, 2014, during a ceremony marking the 69th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city. [Photo/IC]

In his “peace declaration” speech at the ceremony in Nagasaki’s Peace Park, Mayor Tomihisa Taue urged Abe’s government to listen to growing public concerns over Japan’s commitment to its pacifist pledge.

Thousands of attendants, including US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and a record number of representatives from 51 countries, offered a minute of silence and prayed for the victims at 11:02 a.m., the moment the bomb was dropped over Nagasaki on Aug 9, 1945, as bells rang. They also laid wreaths of white and yellow chrysanthemums at the Statue of Peace.

The US dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, prompting Tokyo’s World War II surrender. The first on Hiroshima killed 140,000 people and the Nagasaki bomb killed another 70,000.

The anniversary comes as Japan is divided over the government’s decision to allow its military to defend foreign countries and play greater roles overseas by exercising what is referred to as collective self-defense. To achieve that goal, Abe’s Cabinet revised its interpretation of Japan’s war-renouncing constitution.

Pacifism, enshrined in the constitution, is the “founding principle” of postwar Japan and Nagasaki, Taue said.

“However, the rushed debate over collective self-defense has prompted concern that this principle is shaking,” he said. “I strongly request that the Japanese government take note of the situation and carefully listen to the voices of distress and concerns.”

Polls show more than half of respondents are opposed to the decision, mainly because of sensitivity over Japan’s wartime past and devastation at home.

Representing the Nagasaki survivors, Miyako Jodai, 75, said that Abe’s government was not living up to expectations.

Jodai, a retired teacher who was exposed to radiation just 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) from ground zero, said that the defense policy that puts more weight on military power was “outrageous” and a shift away from pacifism.

“Please stand by our commitment to peace. Please do not forget the sufferings of the atomic bombing survivors,” Jodai said at the ceremony.

The number of surviving victims, known as “hibakusha,” was just more than 190,000 this year across Japan. Their average age is 79. In Nagasaki, 3,355 survivors died over the past year, while 5,507 passed away in Hiroshima.

Abe kept his eyes closed and sat motionless as he listened to the outright criticism, rare at a solemn ceremony.

In his speech, he did not mention his defense policy or the pacifist constitution. He repeated his sympathy to the victims and said Japan as the sole victim of nuclear attacks has the duty to take leadership in achieving a nuclear-free society, while telling the world of the inhumane side of nuclear weapons.

The speech had minor tweaks from last year’s, after Abe faced criticism that the speech he delivered in Hiroshima was almost identical to the one from the previous year, Kyodo News reported.

Nagasaki mayor questions policy on A-bomb day
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (2nd from L) offers a moment of silent prayer at 11:02 am on Aug 9, 2014, the exact time the US atomic bomb was dropped 69 years ago, during the ceremony at the Peace Park in Japan’s southwestern city of Nagasaki.[Photo/IC]
Nagasaki mayor questions policy on A-bomb day
Nagasaki residents pray and place lanterns on Motoyasu river to commemorate the victims of the bombing 69 years ago.[Photo/IC]
- China Daily/Asia News Network

Hiroshima nuclear bombing, 69th anniversary: 8:15am, the moment Japan will never forget, until ..

British and Westerners’ “Shangri-la complex” stymies rational perception of Tibet


LHASA, Aug. 13 — Since British novelist James Hilton introduced the fictional “Shangri-la” to Western readers eight decades ago, foreign minds have often perceived Tibet as a mystical but harmonious paradise.

They believe the mythical Himalayan region, isolated from the outside world, has been a permanently happy land where most inhabitants are meditative lamas clad in crimson robes, holding prayer beads and chanting scriptures.

But scholars and journalists from China and abroad attending the ongoing forum on the development of Tibet said that Westerners’ “Shangri-la complex” is hampering and limiting rational understanding of the autonomous region of China.

In many Chinese eyes, Tibet used to be a backcountry with an inhumane serf system. The highland craves for development and civilization as any other part of the world.

Hilton had never been to the Tibetan areas he wrote. When journalists, film directors and politicians in his time portrayed Tibet as a heavenly place, the region was under the feudal system — a form of society the same cruel as, if not worse than, its European alternatives in the dark Middle Ages.

It was also a land where the average life expectancy for Tibetans was no older than 36 years and wives with extramarital affairs would have their noses and ears cut off for punishment.

“Despite the British invasion of Tibet in 1904, the West did not have the opportunity to understand Tibet,” Alessandra Spalletta, China news editor of the Italian news agency AGI, spoke at the forum. “They started a mystification of Tibet while building the mythology of ‘Shangri-la.'”

“Western people are fond of their own images of Tibet,” she said, “rather than the real Tibet.”

As some scholars pointed out, Tibet has become a “spiritual supermarket” for Westerners, who are trying to find what they have lost in their own societies in the process of industrialization and modernization.

Some believed that Tibet, as the “last pure land on the earth,” should be immune from any development which they are afraid might lead to destruction of the traditional Tibetan culture and annihilation of Tibetan Buddhism.

“Those people believe that Tibet should remain in a primitive stage for ever and Tibetans should always ride yaks and live in tents,” Cui Yuying, vice head of the State Council Information Office, spoke at the opening ceremony of the forum.

For the past half century, however, Tibet has been on an irreversible path of development and civilization, which complies with the general trend of the development of the human society, the senior official said.

With the “Shangri-la complex,” many Western scholars have opted to study Tibet’s history before the 20th century. Some even suggest the history of Tibet after 1951, when the region was peacefully liberated, is not worth studying at all. Some Western media have shunned the economic achievements Tibet has made over the recent decades.

The notion of Shangri-la, created by the Westerners, has been utilized by separatists for splitting Tibet from China.

“Romanticization (of Tibet) is a part of the Dalai Lama’s campaign for separatism,” said Narasimhan Ram, chair of Kasturi & Son Limited and publisher of the Indian newspaper Hindu.

He said that the Dalai Lama always talks about beauty and isolation of the old Tibet rather than its backwardness and extreme poverty, taking advantage of the “Shangri-la complex.”

Matevz Raskovic, a board member of the Confucius Institute, the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, told Xinhua that some Western media’s skewed depiction of Tibet that has reinforced the “Shangri-la complex” hinders and limits rational understanding of Tibet.

“When you look at Tibet the way some Westerners perceive it, it always goes to religious issues,” he said. “It should be responsibility of journalists to expose other faces of Tibet, such as tourism opportunities and cohabitation of diverse cultures.” – Xinhua

Related:

International forum issues the ´Lhasa Consensus´

 The 2014 Tibet Development Forum concluded on Wednesday in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Re…

 International forum issues the ‘Lhasa Consensus’ – CCTV News – CCTV.com English http://english.cntv.cn/2014/08/14/VIDE1407986050448705.shtml#.U-yqKnXS_FY.twitter

 

Do not let USA stoke South China Sea disputes; Round one of Asia pivot ends with tie


Asean-21st ARF

 

FM: China, ASEAN able to safeguard S. China Sea´s peace, stability

Dismissing the so-called tense situation advertised by the US over the South China Sea, Chinese Fore…

 

 

Do not let US stoke disputes 

South China Sea issues and thoughtless moves of some countries should not hinder ASEAN’s continued exchanges with BeijingThe annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations Regional Forum Foreign Ministers’ Meeting was held recently in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, with the disputes and situation in the South China Sea on the agenda.

This is not the first time that the ARF has touched upon the South China Sea disputes. In July 2010, at the ARF Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hanoi, then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the disputes were concerned with the United States’ national interests and solving them in line with international laws would be the key to regional stability. Her speech was considered to mark a new twist of US policy line vis-à-vis the South China Sea disputes.

The disputes have since then become a key part of the implementation of the US’ “pivot to Asia” policy, as well as an increasingly thorny issue in China-US exchanges. Especially so since China operated an oil rig near the Xisha Islands in April, which many US observers believed was part of China’s speeding up of its “salami slicing” strategy and called for a response to it.

Before the current ARF Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the US and its allies made multiple moves. In July, US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Russel advised a “freeze” on actions aggravating disputes in the South China Sea, namely that related parties stop occupying more islands or reefs and establishing outposts, avoid changing landforms and do not take unilateral actions against any other country. While on the surface this initiative might reasonably opt for peace, but in the eyes of Beijing at least, it would actually legalize certain nations’ illegal occupying of islands and reefs in the South China Sea in past decades, as well as bestow on the US the status of “arbiter”.

The Philippines echoed the US’ initiative by claiming it would propose a three-step process to the ARF, namely suspending all actions, setting up a code of conduct among involved parties and solving disputes through international arbitration. Both initiatives seemed to gain support from several nations, and, as Washington and Manila expected, China would face the most coordinated pressure at the ARF.

The US is also trying to improve the binding effect and enforcement mechanism of international arbitration. For example, whether a nation accepts arbitration of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea can be taken as the prerequisite of participating in multinational military exercises or the Arctic Council. The US can also consider strengthening economic pressure on the involved Chinese SOEs like China National Offshore Oil Corp, which is reported to build floating liquefied natural gas carriers and explore underwater gas.

Meanwhile, the Philippines has been strengthening its maritime force. Since Benigno Aquino took office in 2010, the Philippine government has already invested 40 billion PHP ($910 million) on purchasing frigates, anti-submarine helicopters and long-range patrol aircraft, with a further plan to install advanced radar and a coastal warning system in the disputed sea area. Japan and Vietnam signed an agreement in early August, according to which Japan will give six ships to Vietnam to empower its maritime police. The Vietnamese government issued an order that all vessels of its Fishery Resources Supervision Department be equipped with weapons like pistols and machine guns as of Sept 15.

On July 11, Nguyen Phuoc Tuong, a former adviser to two Vietnamese prime ministers, said Vietnam must form an alliance with the US “to defeat the new Chinese expansionism” in an op-ed on The New York Times. Japan is preparing for the first Japan-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ meeting in November, which many believe is to counterbalance China’s emerging maritime power.

All the heated disputes about the South China Sea make the ARF Foreign Ministers’ Meeting especially important. On Saturday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that China supports and advocates a “dual-track” approach to solving the South China Sea disputes, namely that disputes should be addressed by the concerned countries peacefully through friendly negotiations, while peace and stability in the South China Sea should be jointly maintained by China and ASEAN countries. That means China is willing to embrace a multilateralism spirit in pacifying the situation and willing to negotiate with the parties involved in the disputes in a rule-based manner, though it will not accept any new trouble caused by certain nations.

 (“Countries outside the region can express reasonable concerns, but we are opposed to ‘bossy gestures'”, Foreign Minister Wang Yi , adding: “China and ASEAN are totally able to safeguard well the peace and stability of South China Sea.”)

To some extent, China and the US are competing over South China Sea issues and such competition is on proposing initiatives and rules that can attract more international support with a firmer legal and moral basis.

It should be noted, specifically, that China as a committed supporter of ASEAN and related mechanisms should clarify that it is not seeking to divide ASEAN. Over the years, China has hosted about one-third of the cooperation programs within the ARF framework; in 2015 it will co-host six programs together with ASEAN nations, which cover disaster-relief, maritime security, preventive diplomacy and cybersecurity.

These are good opportunities for ASEAN and China to improve their relations. Both sides need to prevent the maritime disputes from poisoning mutual relations. They cannot afford to be strategically misguided.

By Zhao Minghao (China Daily)/Asia News Network

The author is a research fellow with the Charhar Institute and adjunct fellow with the Center for International and Strategic Studies, Peking University.

 

Round one of Asia pivot ends with tie

The latest ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting wrapped up on Sunday with a joint statement, in which quite an emphasis was given to the South China Sea crisis. Washington has shown its approval for the result, and some US analysts believe US backing has inspired ASEAN countries to be more united in facing China. But there are also other voices claiming that the US was cold-shouldered in the meeting as China was not mentioned in the statement and Washington’s call for a South China Sea “freeze” was also missing from discussions.

Perhaps a more convincing conclusion would be that China and the US reached a tie in this engagement in the South China Sea issue.

It was quite a surprise to China when the Obama administration pitched the “pivot to Asia” strategy in 2009. Washington has kept pushing so the dormant controversies in the East China Sea and South China Sea have become more explicit. Countries like Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam keep posing challenges to China’s geopolitics.

But in these years, China’s neighborhood has become more controllable, as some principles have become a consensus. For example, in the Diaoyu Islands dispute, both China and Japan have expressed their determination to avoid military confrontation, although squabbles and spats never cease about the East China Sea. In the South China Sea, China is taking more initiatives to check the recklessness of the Philippines and Vietnam.

The first wave of force sent by Washington’s “rebalancing to Asia” strategy has died down. The US has achieved some of its goals effortlessly, but China has exerted some strength to deal with it. Both sides drew in the first round, as neither side can push their strategies without limitations.

Washington boasts military strength and the support of allies, but China’s economic influence in this region gives it leverage to win over many friends. In this case, the US parry has been fended off by China’s shield. If we must make these East and Southeast Asian countries pick sides between China and the US, the result would be unpredictable. This is because standing on neutral ground benefits them the most.

Washington will find it more difficult to inflict problems on China after the first round. It will face more resistance. If conflicts surrounding the South China Sea escalated, it would be an unfolding and resource-consuming disaster for both sides.

China has clear goals in its neighborhood policy, which is to safeguard its sovereignty and development environment. But as for the US, a rebalancing to Asia strategy to maintain its dominance in this area is not where its core interests lie. China is more determined than the US. Washington should become more level-headed and stop making calculations. There won’t be a united front going against China in this area, and this truth also applies for China, as it is unable to drive off the presence of US as well.

- Source:Global Times Published: 2014-8-12 0:43:02  

Related: 

ASEAN FMs focus on Asian regional issues

 Foreign Minister Wang Yi and top diplomats from Europe and Asia are in Myanmar to discuss regional s…
 

 For more in-depth analysis, we´re joined in the studio by Mr. Zhang Junshe, Vice President of …

Studio interview: China supports ´dual-track´ approach to resolve S. China Sea issue

 For more insights, we´re joined in the studio by Su Xiaohui, Deputy Director of the Department… 

 

Why is the US going in hard in the South China Sea disputes?

The South China Sea is a critical strategic point.As the mid-term presidential elections in the US approach, Obama wants to show a hard-line attitude. 
 

US should stop trying to make waves

By confusing right and wrong and throwing its weight behind countries such as the Philippines, Washington’s real intention is to contain China’s rise in the region and expand its own interests here.
 
The Philippines has developed a “three-step” solution plan for the South China Sea dispute with Chin[Read it]

Philippines’ three-pronged plan for South China Sea doomed to fail

Obama whining a result of US decline
Where those responsibilities lie is not decided by Washington. What the US desires does not equal the welfare of all humankind.

Migrant wives kept like slaves by Aussies


By GLENDA KWEK

Aussie's hushandsLooking out for them: Case worker and former child bride Eman Sharobeem says victims are reluctant to pursue justice through legal means. – AFP

Unhappily married – In Australia, migrant wives in abusive marriages are all the more vulnerable as they are dependent on their husbands. 

KANYA thought she was starting a new life in Australia after arriving from India to marry her husband, but it quickly turned into a nightmare.

She was barred from going out on her own, forced to cook and clean for her partner’s family, and made to sleep outdoors if she did not complete her tasks.

The fate of the 18-year-old, whose name has been changed to protect her identity, mirrors that of others in “slave-like” relationships that Salvation Army worker Jenny Stanger has taken in at a Sydney refuge for trafficked people in recent years.

The women came to Australia under the promise of a happy marriage, only to be exploited by their partners.

“It’s an absolute deception on the part of the perpetrator,” said Stanger of a problem involving nearly a quarter of her safehouse’s residents. Immigration figures show women in such situations come from China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam among others.

“Marriage was the tool that was used to exploit the women for profit, gain or personal advantage.”

“In a typical case, the migrant wife would face extreme isolation, extreme denial of their basic rights around freedom of movement, possibly an exploitation of their labour … and being denied money,” she said.

Getting a sense of how many marriage visas under Australia’s partner migration programme are used to bring women in for exploitation is difficult. Social workers say victims are often deliberately isolated and threatened if they seek help.

Researcher Samantha Lyneham, co-author of the first Australian study looking into the exploitation of women through migrant relationships beyond forced marriages, said the reluctance of victims to report crimes was a problem – such is their dependence on their abusers.

Lyneham said the fear of being deported, which stemmed from the “precarious immigration status” the women faced, was a key barrier, along with language and also mistrust of police after bad experiences in their home countries.

An inaugural Global Slavery Index published by the Walk Free Foundation in October said roughly 30 million people were living in modern-day slavery, of whom up to 3,300 were in Australia.

Lyneham’s new Australian Institute of Criminology report recorded the experiences of eight female victims – including Kanya – aged 18 to 49, mostly from South-East Asia, but also the Pacific, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.

They found that while some women moved to Australia on marriage visas in search of economic opportunities, others did so for love and to start a family.

All the women had consented to their marriages, having met their spouses through arranged situations, family links, online dating sites and chance encounters. Seven of the women said they married their husbands outside Australia.

Case workers said the husbands – half of whom were from the same countries of origin as the women – were most likely to be dual-citizens.

One woman told of how her husband would lock her out of the house at night. “I would have to stay in the tree overnight,” she said.

Others told of sexual violence and coerced pregnancies, according to the report. The women said their passports were taken and they were blocked from using telephones or having access to money.

Clandestine crime

Lyneham said although the interviews showed cases had been “happening for some time”, it was also clear when she raised the issue with authorities that some were not aware of it.

“It’s a clandestine type of crime that people mistake for domestic violence,” Lyneham said.

The use of domestic violence laws to address cases highlights the difficulties in identifying and prosecuting such crimes, which cut across legislation separately targeting human trafficking, slavery and domestic abuse.

Official Australian data between July 2001 and June 2011 showed 337,127 people were granted partner migration visas, with Britain, China and India the most common countries of origin.

Between July 2006 and Dec 2011, 3,654 people on the visas obtained protection under the Family Violence Provision.

This allows them to apply for permanent residency if they or a family member are subjected to violence. About 12% came from China, 10% from the Philippines and 8% from Vietnam. Others came from India, Britain, Thailand and Fiji.

Lyneham said while the numbers appeared low, previous research showed under-reporting, particularly in migrant communities.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott in June announced more than A$100mil (RM298mil) to fight domestic violence, and vowed a “particular focus” on women from culturally diverse and indigenous backgrounds.

Forced marriages were criminalised and laws against forced labour were strengthened in 2013.

Case worker Eman Sharobeem, a former child bride who was abused during her marriage, said some women who approached her for help were not comfortable pursuing their husbands through the legal system.

While she worked with politicians to help formulate the 2013 laws, what “we are really interested in is educating the community more than just having a law to guide them”.

Her views are echoed by Salvation Army worker Stanger, who praised the legislation but added: “They (victims) are looking for a way out, so … the more doors we can open, the more likely someone is going to step through that door.” – AFP

Unhappily Married

Related posts:

Australia, still an US’s sheriff in the Asian Century?

Beware of Aussie’s “Asian dogs and pussies …

Australia and Malaysia sign ‘refugee’ deal 

Australia Tightens Foreign Property Ownership Rules

Happy together: Li gazing lovingly at Gan as she admires Li’s gift to her for Valentine’s Day. LI Kangyu has not left his house …

Selangor state of Malaysia in a mess !


Selangor_what a mess

Twists and turns aplenty

It is a mad, mad world in Selangor where the power struggle over the Mentri Besar post has resulted in political crossovers, name-calling, accusations of corruption and talk of fresh elections.

Selangor_KHALID vs WanIT was a day of confusing twists and turns for journalists covering the never-ending saga of the tussle over the Selangor Mentri Besar post.

A press conference by the party’s Selangor deputy chairman Zuraidah Kamaruddin at the PKR headquarters took on a pasar malam atmosphere when two conflicting documents were handed out to reporters.

One document claimed that Selangor supported PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for the Mentri Besar post while another document nominated deputy president Azmin Ali as the alternative candidate.

The situation turned even more chaotic when Zuraidah, who is known to be an Azmin ally, read from the document supporting Dr Wan Azizah.

It seemed like Zuraidah had switched alliances and thrown her support behind Dr Wan Azizah.

Before the morning’s excitement could die down, reporters began getting whatsapp images of a sensational letter purportedly written by party secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution to Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Fortunately for Saifuddin, it was a fake letter or else his goose would be cooked. The fake letter had stated that if Khalid resigned, all the allegations of wrongdoing made against him would be withdrawn. It also offered to make Khalid the state economic adviser with a salary of RM50,000 a month.

Even as reporters rushed to verify the authenticity of the letter, the Mentri Besar had made a highly strategic move to invite the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate him on the accusations of corruption that Saifuddin had made against him a few days earlier.

Khalid had sent no less than the chief private secretary to the Mentri Besar to lodge the MACC report. It was Khalid’s way of telling his accu­sers: I have nothing to hide, investigate me.

He is so confident that he is in the clear, he has not bothered to wait for his accuser to go to the MACC; he himself is asking the MACC to scrutinise him. It was a slap in the face of his accuser.

As all this was happening, a news portal reported PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali calling PKR strategist Rafizi Ramli “stupid”.

When The Star phoned Mustafa about it, he said Rafizi had made a “stupid comment”.

Rafizi had told a forum on the Selangor crisis that, in the run-up to the general election, PAS had wanted Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah instead of Anwar for Prime Minister. It was his way of explaining PAS’ insistence on supporting Khalid and its opposition to Dr Wan Azizah.

Mustafa is a very courteous politician and he was obviously not impressed by Rafizi’s habit of showing everyone how much he knows about everything.

The media who have been covering the power struggle have often likened what Khalid was going through to a roller-coaster ride but it was reporters themselves who were now feeling like they were on a roller coaster.

Reporters would be chasing one story in the morning. By midday, the story would have been overtaken by new developments and by evening, something new would have happened. That is how convoluted and fast-moving events have been in PKR. It is a mad, mad world in Selangor.

The chaotic press conference yesterday morning was a step forward for the lady president who has been battling public opinion about her candidacy for the challenging job of Mentri Besar.

Zuraidah is not only the party’s No.2 in Selangor, she is also the Wanita chief. Two other Azmin allies, Dr Xavier Jayakumar and Abdullah Sani, were also present at the press conference.

It has been very embarrassing for Dr Wan Azizah that Selangor, where Azmin is the chairman, has been lukewarm about her candidature for the top job in the state.

Azmin would have overtaken her if the matter had been put to a vote in the PKR supreme council meeting that was held to discuss the Mentri Besar candidate and if Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had not insisted on her.

Zuraidah’s U-turn suggests that the powers-that-be in the party have been working hard to undermine Azmin’s base by persuading his allies to change sides.

It has also come at a price and Zuraidah has been slammed by Selangor members for betraying her old friend Azmin.

It was also curious that she signed off her press statement in her capacity as Ampang division chief rather than deputy Selangor chairman.

Zuraidah’s U-turn is unlikely to be a turning point for Dr Wan Azizah in Selangor where Azmin still holds sway.

Moreover, very few are convinced that Dr Wan Azizah will ever make it as Mentri Besar.

Going by the commentary coming from PAS, it is evident that the party will not endorse her when it meets on Aug 10. PAS will continue to insist on Khalid.

The chatter among Pakatan politicians is that a snap state election is the only way out of the mess. The Kajang Move which was supposed to stabilise and unify PKR and its Pakatan partners has morphed into an uncontrollable monster that is about to consume the coalition.

But will the Mentri Besar issue be resolved even if Pakatan opts for fresh elections?

There is no guarantee that the three parties can agree on the next Mentri Besar even if they win. In fact, the coalition will probably crack by the time state polls are called.

- Comment by Joceline Tan The Star/Asia News Network

It’s a game of numbers

The role of the Sultan becomes paramount if the political wrangling fails to come up with a solution.

THE raging turmoil in Selangor over the post of the Menteri Besar is testing the tenuous bonds of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partnership. Many riveting issues of constitutional law have come to the forefront.

The Selangor MB was appointed by the Sultan of Selangor and there are five main ways in which the MB’s term can come to an end – resignation, expulsion from his party, defeat in the assembly, dismissal by the Ruler and disqualification due to a criminal conviction.

Resignation: If the MB resigns and the ruling coalition (with 44 out of 56 seats) unanimously nominates a successor, a smooth transition is likely. The Sultan’s constitutional role of appointing a new MB will be largely formal.

Expulsion from party: If the MB digs his heels in because he thinks that he has a working majority of 28+1 in the 56-member assembly, an engaging political scenario may ensue. He may be expelled from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and be reduced to an independent or join another faction.

Expulsion from PKR does not automatically affect the post conferred on him by the Sultan if Khalid retains majority support in the Assembly. For example Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister of India, was in 1969 expelled from her Congress Party. Mahathir Mohamed was left without a party in 1988 because Umno was declared illegal by the High Court. Yet both premiers retained their posts because it is not party affiliation or party posts but requisite number of legislative supporters that count.

No-confidence: If Khalid does not resign, a motion of no-confidence is a looming possibility. Two examples from constitutional history are: in 1976 the BN majority in the Selangor Assembly dismissed its MB, Datuk Harun Idris, because he had fallen foul of the national leadership. In Kelantan in 1977 PAS moved a motion of no-confidence against its own MB, Datuk Mohammed Nasir.

Khalid is not entirely powerless in the face of such a threat. The Selangor assembly is not in session and the power to advise the Sultan to summon the assembly belongs to the MB and not the Speaker or the PKR leadership.

Under Article 70 of the Constitution of Selangor, six months can elapse between one session and the next and Khalid can frustrate PKR by not advising early summoning of the assembly! The Sultan may, of course, frown upon such unreasonable delay.

A motion of no-confidence needs an absolute majority of the total membership i.e. 29/56 legislators. Many permutations are possible. First, PKR’s 13 Assemblymen (Khalid excluded), DAP’s 15, PAS’s 15 and Umno’s 12 may all team up to oust Khalid.

Second, Umno may support Khalid or abstain but all PR partners (43) may unanimously support the motion. Third, PAS may be divided but even if one PAS member supports PKR’s 13 and DAP’s 15, the motion will reach the requisite number 29. A fourth scenario is that PAS’s 15 and Umno’s 12 may abstain. With PKR having 13 (Khalid excluded) and DAP 15, the motion will fail by one vote! Khalid will have a right to continue. PAS’s role is therefore pivotal.

Dismissal by Sultan: The power of the Sultan to dismiss an MB is not explicitly mentioned in the Selangor Constitution. However Common­wealth conventions indicate that the Head of State has a reserve, residual, prerogative power to dismiss the political executive in some exceptional circumstances.

For example, PM Whitlam of Australia was dismissed by Governor-General Sir John Kerr in 1975 due to the budget stalemate between the Senate and the House and Whitlam’s refusal to call an election to resolve the issue.

In the present scenario, the Sultan can remove Khalid in the following three circumstances.

First, if a majority of the members of the Selangor assembly make a written representation to the Sultan that they have lost confidence in Khalid and the Ruler wishes an immediate sitting of the assembly to resolve the issue of confidence and the MB refuses to advice the Sultan to summon the legislature immediately.

Second, because the assembly is in prorogation, the Ruler can follow Perak’s Nizar v Zambry (2010) precedent and personally determine the issue of confidence by taking note of political realities outside the assembly. The Stephen Kalong Ningkan v Tun Abang Haji Openg (1966) ruling in Sarawak that the issue of confidence must be resolved only in the legislative chamber is no more law.

If the Ruler comes to the conclusion that confidence has been lost, he can ask the MB to resign. If the MB refuses, the Ruler can dismiss him.

Third, if the assembly when convened, votes Khalid out, the Sultan can ask him to resign.

Dissolution: If Khalid is defeated by an absolute majority of the total membership, he has two options: resign or advise dissolution. The Sultan has wide discretion to accept or reject the advice. There are precedents from Kelantan (1977), Perak (2009) and Sabah (1994) when the advice to dissolve the assembly was rejected by the Rulers and Governor respectively.

Appointing a new MB: If Khalid resigns or is voted out but the PR coalition is deeply split over the choice of its MB, then the Ruler’s discretion and wisdom can provide the solution. As on many occasions in the States of Australia, the Sultan can choose a compromise candidate of his choice till the coalition puts its house in order.

Can a woman be appointed as MB? The incredible assertion that she cannot, has no basis in federal or State laws. In fact Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution is clear that gender discrimination is forbidden except in explicitly specified areas like personal laws.

A “hung Parliament”: If after a new election, no party or coalition in the assembly has a clear majority, the Sultan’s discretion will become pivotal. He may appoint a minority government or a unity government pending a repeat election.

Sultan’s role: All in all, it can be said that in the following critical circumstances, the Sultan holds the key to keeping things on an even keel:

> the summoning of the assembly in case the MB is reluctant to face a vote;
> the discretion to accept or reject the MB’s advice on dissolution in case it is 28-28 on the confidence vote;
> the discretion to accept or reject a defeated MB’s advice to dissolve the assembly after a vote of no-confidence;
> If on a vote of confidence, the floor is split 28-28 for both sides, the Sultan would have the discretion to allow the MB to continue pending elections;
> the dismissal of the MB in the situations outlined above;
> the choice of a new MB if the majority coalition is hopelessly deadlocked over who should lead it;
> after a dissolution, to allow the incumbent to remain as caretaker MB or to appoint someone else as head of an interim, neutral government pending election that must be held within 60 days after dissolution;
> after the election, the appointment of a minority or unity government if the results indicate a “hung” Assembly with no decisive support for any grouping.

One prays that none of the above exceptional powers will have to be marshalled and that Selangor politicians, despite themselves, are able to put the State’s and the nation’s interest above their compulsion for partisan polemics.

–  Reflecting On The Law by Shah Saleem Farquqi

> Shad Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM. The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.

Related post:

 Those of us who have been lucky enough to travel on business class on MAS will find the airline’s satay simply irresistible. Having lost the nasi lemak fight, we hope MAS will now redeem its image and go to Kajang for a satay …


Malaysia’s poor response following the disappearance of flight MH370 reflected the fact that the country is still way behind in terms of governance. Behind the chaotic information are the flaws in Malaysia’s system of …http://rightwaysrichard.blogspot.com/

Contradiction blots Obama’s legacy with outdated Cold War mindset


Obama insurance conference call providers Russia and the U.S. are sending rather contradictory signals about their relationship.

US President Barack Obama belittled Russia as a nation that “doesn’t make anything” in an interview with the Economist on Sunday. He also said that the West must be “pretty firm” with China, as the latter will “push as hard as they can until they meet resistance.”

Obama downplayed Russia’s role in the international community by saying Moscow is unable to attract quality immigrants and Russia’s population is shrinking and aging. He described US tensions with China as “manageable,” but stressed that the West should be tough with China when China “breaches international norms,” and show China “the potential benefits over the long term.”

Condescending to China and Russia, Obama treats both nations separately. He wants to draw more Western attention to China, so there could be more efforts to contain China. Obama paying close attention to China resulted in his “rebalancing to Asia” strategy.

He hasn’t shown much belligerence to China and Russia since he took office, but apparently, he lacks strategic insight and the power to control his government and be a good decision-maker. His advocacy is always ambiguous and easily misguided by some emergency issues. Diplomacy will not be a proud part of his legacy.

In the Middle East, the US withdrawal from Iraq under his leadership has not helped sort out the mess in the region. He won’t be given a medal for the current situation.

In its relationship with Russia, the US wrongfully kept its momentum to squeeze Russia’s strategic space and caused Moscow’s intense countermeasures.

Washington and Moscow are now engaged in Cold-War-level tensions, and they will cost the US much resource and attention.

In US-China relations, Obama has also found it hard to fully achieve his “rebalancing to Asia” goals. When the new Chinese leadership proposed the concept of a new type of major power relationship, the Obama administration accepted the general idea, but hasn’t accepted the connotations.

Obama has not made constructive contributions to China-US relationships. He cannot make landmark progress if he still clings to an outdated Cold War mindset.

In the next two years before his last term ends, Obama could make himself remembered by making breakthroughs in the Sino-US relationship.

He could work with his Chinese counterparts to work out a framework for both countries, which would influence the entire picture of international relations.

In the early years of Obama’s administration, people were impressed by his less strident posture toward international affairs, and this is also why he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But now he has become more self-contradictory.

Perhaps that’s how the most powerful man plays his role, held back by many different forces. It seems that only recklessness and strident talk can make the US presidency function well, while forward thinking won’t get anywhere.

Source: Global Times

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,230 other followers

%d bloggers like this: