News Cuttings

Friday, October 15, 2004

Not in Manila’s interest to revive Sulu Sultanate: Expert

Daily Express
15th October 2004

Kota Kinabalu: Leading historian Prof. Dr D.S. Ranjit Singh of the University of Malaya said any attempt to settle an international dispute at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague must have the concurrence of both the parties involved.

Hence, a reported claim that the so-called dispute over the ownership of Sabah has been taken to the ICJ cannot be true.

“The ICJ will not accept the case if it is done unilaterally as both Malaysia and the Philippines must agree on the matter before it is brought before the World Court.

“Malaysia has not agreed to take the claim to ICJ because Sabah has been recognised as part of Malaysia when the case of Sipadan and Ligitan Islands was decided (by the ICJ) in December 2002.

“Furthermore, the United Nations also recognises Malaysia as comprising the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.

“So if Malaysia were to agree to bring the matter to the World Court, it would mean that we acknowledge the (so-called Sulu Sultan’s) claim,” he said at a dialogue with the Sabah Law Association (SLA) at Hyatt Regency Kinabalu here.

The dialogue followed a luncheon talk on the Sipadan & Ligitan Issue and Basis of the ICJ’s Judgement organised by the association.

However, most of the discussion centred on the claim by a so-called newly-installed Sulu sultan Rodinood Julaspi Kiram II that Sabah belonged to his family.

Prof. Ranjit was responding to SLA’s Continuing Legal Education Committee Chairman Alex Decena who queried why Malaysia had not agreed to bring the Sabah claim to ICJ for a once-and-for-all resolution.

To this, Ranjit reiterated that the so-called Sultan cannot take the case to the World Court without the consent of a second party.

“Moreover, for an individual to do so is even more difficult. He (Sultan) is actually a private person without the attributes of constitutional or legal standing.

“Individuals have no international standing nor the attributes of an international personality to make the move. Only sovereign states can negotiate,” he said.

To SLA Vice-President Ahmad A. Rahman query on the chances of the “Sultan” pursuing the claim with ICJ if the Philippine Government granted him sovereignty by reviving the sultanate and allowing him to form his independent kingdom, he said:

“Politically, it is not wise for the Philippine Government to do so. No country in the world will ever try to give full independence to a province and allow it to form its own government.”

SLA member Christina Liew called for a permanent settlement, saying the issue should not be swept under the carpet.

“We have been independent for 41 years, yet the claim has not been put to rest. We should resolve it by approaching the rightful heir to avert potential security problems without discounting the possibility of terrorism.”

In reply, the Professor said it was difficult to determine the rightful heir, considering the last Sultan of Sulu left 70 families as heirs.

“The sovereignty issue is out of the question. Sabah Document l and Sabah Document ll of 22 January, 1878 (signed by the then Sultan of Sulu, Sultan Muhammad Jamaluladzam) are evidence of the Sultan having relinquished all his rights and sovereignty over Sabah permanently.

“And officially, the sultanate (which existed in the past) does not exist today as the Philippine Government had de-recognised it in 1936.

“The title has no constitutional significance. Perhaps the only issue involved (if any) is the annual rent which has to be settled.”

In his reply to Syari’e lawyer Maijol Mahap, he said based on the terms of the grant, we are obliged to pay the rent of 5,000 dollars ($1,315) to the heirs and successors every year.

“We are bound by the 1878 Treaty, but at the same time, we do not want a litigation by 70 other groups.”

Answering another lawyer who raised the possibility of any inconsistency of language used in the 1878 Treaty, Prof. Ranjit said the agreement, all executed and signed by the Sultan (witnessed by William Hood Treacher, then Governor of Labuan and Acting Consul-General for Borneo), was written in three scripts (Jawi, Romanised Malay and English), using two languages (Malay and English).

Chong Ket Vui wanted to know whether the treaty was signed by thumbprint as the Sultan was illiterate, to which the historian said, it had the Sultan’s seal and signature.

“The Sultan might not understand English but he had translators. He was not entirely backward. We cannot assume that the Court of the Sultan did not have experts.

“He was a powerful ruler who had international dealings with the outside world,” said the Professor.

Teo Chee Kang asked: “Assuming that the case is taken to ICJ for a decision, who will have a better Treaty-based title and better effectivities?”

Enlightening the audience, Prof Ranjit said based on Sabah Document 1, he has no doubt that the title rests with Malaysia.

“The document is very clearÖthe then Sultan had transferred his rights and sovereignty over Sabah to the Overbeck-Dent Association (ODA) in perpetuity. As such, the newly-crowned Sultan has no title to the land.

“Talking of effectivities, I believe we (Sabah) are in a better position, having been independent for 41 years through joining Malaysia.”

To a question by V.K. Liew, Prof. Ranjit said he did not know how the claimant arrived at the staggering figure of US$20 billion (RM76 billion), which the Sultan’s brother claimed belonged to the Sultanate of Sulu but was now being held in the Malaysian Treasury.

“But I am not saying the Government has not paid.”

This prompted Josephine Hadikusumo to question the validity of the Sabah claim. “Hypothetically speaking, if we don’t pay the annual rent or if we have skipped a couple of years, are we in breach and is the claim valid? Are we in danger?” she asked.

Going by the Sabah Document 1 and Sabah Document ll, in the event of any dispute, both parties would submit the matter to the judgment and opinion of Her Britannic Majesty’s Consul-General at Brunei. However, Brunei had gained independence from Britain in 1984.

Prof. Ranjit contended that Malaysia is now the successor to the 1878 Treaty whereby the grant by the Sultan of Sulu of territories and lands on the mainland of the island of Borneo is legally and constitutionally the inheritance of the present sovereign Malaysian Government.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Budget 2005 to focus on four strategies

The Star Online
Friday, September 10, 2004

Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Friday presented his maiden Budget speech to Parliament.

Dressed in a red baju Melayu, the Prime Minister said the focus of Budget 2005 will be on four strategies, namely:

First: Enhancing the effectiveness of Government financial management, efficiency of the delivery system and competitiveness;

Second: Accelerating the shift towards a higher value-added economy;

Third: Developing human capital as a catalyst of growth; and

Fourth: Ensuring the well-being of the rakyat through improving their quality of life.

Main points

Review of taxation system

Review of consumption tax (sales tax and service tax) to pave the way for introduction of Goods and Services Tax in 2007

Fund for tax refunds to be established

Excess tax payment will be offset against current year tax, or refunds for excess will be made from the fund

Zakat: to be allowed as income tax deduction up to 2.5% of income for companies

Agriculture promotion

RM300mil commercialisation seed capital for private sector and government-linked companies

adoption of modern methods through the application of technology, including biotechnology

develop Malaysia as a centre of processing, packaging and marketing of agriculture products for global markets

develop skilled manpower and transforming Univerisiti Putra Malaysia into a centre of excellence for agriculture education

RM1.5 bil allocated for agriculture projects, especially for those benefitting smallholders

Tax incentives to encourage food production extended further five years until 2010; equity requirement for investing in subsidiary is reduced from 100% to 70%

Developing Halal Products

investment tax allowance of 100% for five years

RM10mil special fund for Development and Promotion of Halal Products for studies in business planning, technology and market development, improving quality

Financial sector

allow up to five major foreign stockbrokers to operate in Malaysia

allow up to five leading global fund managers to operate in Malaysia

100% foreign ownership in futures broking companies

100% foreign ownership in venture capital companies for ICT sector

abolish limit on number of foreign dealer representatives

allow EPF to increase size of funds places in local fund management companies from current RM6bil within three years

Tax exemption on interest earned by non-resident companies from ringgit-denominated Islamic securities and debentures, excluding convertible loan stocks, and securities issued by Malaysian government

Additional RM1.75bil of Merdeka Bonds to be issued by end of 2005

Government will issue Islamic Treasury Bills, based on syariah principles

Overseas branches of local banks to establish Islamic banking counters.

Tax or duty exemption on Islamic financial products approved by Syariah Advisory Council of Bank Negara, and Islamic capital market products approved by the Syariah Advisory Council of Securities Commission

Individual income tax relief on premium payments for life insurance increased from RM5,000 to RM6,000

Real Estate Investment Trust

Exempted from tax on income distributed to unit holders; undistributed income taxed at 28%

Non-resident unit holders tax payable at 28%


Ministry approved arts and cultural performances by local artists in Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya given full entertainment duty exemption. Call on states to do same.

develop health tourism


Expedite approvals and accreditation for courses by private institutes of higher learning

ranking performance of private and public institutes of higher learning based on international standards

RM670mil for building new polytechnics, community colleges, industrial training institutes, MARA Skills Insititutes and National Youth Skills Institutes and RM248mil for upgrading

RM190 mil for facilities to increase skills training for secondary school leavers

Increase number of MARA sponsored students overseas from 700 to 1,000 under Skim Pelajar Cemerlang

Khazanah Nasional to sponsor 100 high achieving students for technical and professional subjects overseas

Guru Cemerlang and Pengetua Cemerlang can remain in schools with opportunities to be promoted to Special grade C and JUSA C posts respectively. 12 Special Grade C posts for guru cemerlang and 5 JUSA C posts for pengetua cemerlang to be created

RM205mil for Tuition Voucher Scheme for children from low-income group

Abolishing or Reducing Import Duties on Selected Goods

Current import duty on surgical gloves, carpet, glassware and semi-finished components for wood-based industry of between 5% and 25% abolished

Current import duty on raw materials for apparel industry and herbicides from between 10% and 35% to between 5% and 30%.

Pioneer status or Investment Tax Allowance for existing companies relocating manufacturing activities to promoted areas, including Eastern Corridor of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.

RM2.5bil development allocation for East Coast Corridor, RM3.8bil for Sabah and Sarawak.

Developing the ICT sector

Target to create additional 100,000 high value-added jobs to existing 20,000 in Multimedia Super Corridor


soft loans and matching grants will continue

SMI Fund 2 will be increased by RM1.6bil to RM4.5bil

New Entrepreneurs' Fund 2 increased by RM550mil to RM2bil

Enhance marketing and promotion capabilities, scope of Market Development Grant expanded to include marketing and promotion, expenses for negotiations for Mutual Recognition Agreement. Maximum increased from RM60,000 to RM100,000

RM50mil fund for enhancing marketing skills

RM100mil fund for enhancing product design, packaging and labelling capabilities

Eradication of poverty

RM94.2mil for Housing Assistance Programme, Income Generating Programme, Dietary Food Supplement Programme, Mindset Change Programme and Training and Educational Programme.

RM205mil for Tuition Voucher Scheme for children from low-income group (also in education)

Orang Asli

RM77.3mil for improving standard of living for Orang Asli, including a comprehensive development plan in education, health, property ownership and infrastrucre development and mindset development

Disabled, children and elderly

Additional tax relief from RM5,000 to RM6,000; and RM2,500 to RM3,000 for disabled spouses

RM25 monthly allowance for each disabled child who participates in the COmnunity Rehabilitation Programme or who attends special schools sponsored by voluntary welfare organisations

Increase daily expenditure on food from RM3.90 to RM8 per person for children, elderly and disabled in rehabilitation and shelter institutions

Rural areas

RM130mil for rural electricity supply programme

RM174mil for construction of kampung roads

RM50mil for building and completion of rural roads

RM18.7mil for improvement of rural health

Info Desa and Internet Desa programmes will be expanded


Tax rebate for purchase of personal computers increased from RM400 to RM500

Tax relief increase from RM500 to RM700 for purchase of books

RM30mil for National library to buy reading material


Additional 100,000 units of affordable homes to be implemented through Industrialised Building System

Housuing developers fully exempted from CIDB levy if IBS component usage exeeds 50%

Additional RM778mil for construction of 21,000 units of low cost houses under Project Perumahan Rakyat

Additional RM177mil in loans for construction of 3,000 units under Projek Perumaham Awam Kos Rendah

Additional RM100mil for 2,500 farmers and fishermen and the poor to finance construction of homes under Projek Perumahan Mesra Rakyat

Pilot project on integrated development in Mukim Pantai Dalam to house 1,000 households living in longhouses

Pudu Prison site to be developed as commercial and residential centre.

Tax on Cigarettes and Liquor

excise duty on cigarettes to be increased from RM58 to RM81 per 1,000 sticks; and

excise duty on liquor be increased from between 5 sen and RM23.40 to between 10 sen and RM28 per litre.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Anwar Freed As Court Quashes Sodomy Conviction
Malaysian National News Agency
September 02, 2004 16:17 PM

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 2 (Bernama) -- Former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was freed Thursday after nearly six years in jail when the Federal Court upheld his appeal against conviction for sodomy.

Federal Court judges Datuk Abdul Hamid Mohamad, Datin Paduka Rahmah Hussain and Tengku Datuk Baharuddin Shah Tengku Mahmud decided with a 2-1 majority to overturn Anwar's conviction and nine-year jail sentence imposed on Aug 2, 2000.

Anwar, 57, was sentenced on April 14, 1999 to six years' jail on four counts of corruption relating to abuse of power by interfering in police investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct.

Anwar's release from prison Thursday comes exactly six years after he was sacked from the Cabinet.

The court also overturned the conviction and six-year jail sentence on Anwar's adopted brother, Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Madja.

They were found guilty of sodomising Anwar's family driver, Azizan Abu Bakar, at Sukma's Tivoli Villa apartment in affluent Bangsar here between January and March 1993.

Anwar thanked the judges for quashing his conviction and sentence, saying: "May God Bless You."

Outside the courthouse, he told reporters: "Thank God that it is over. But I remain committed with my struggle for justice.

"I also give credit to the Prime Minister."

Wearing a neck brace, Anwar arrived at the courthouse in a wheelchair. He was accompanied from Hospital Kuala Lumpur, where he was being treated, by police cars and motorcycle outriders.

The vehicle which brought Anwar headed straight for the underground carpark behind the courthouse but waiting journalists and photographers were unable to follow as the entrance was then locked.

Gathered outside the courthouse were about 400 of Anwar's supporters including from Parti Keadilan and PAS, some who came as early as 7am.

Among those spotted there were Keadilan Vice President Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, PAS Secretary General Nasaruddin Mat Isa and the DAP Member of Parliament for Seputeh Teresa Kok Suh Sim.

In an 88-page judgment, Justice Abdul Hamid said the prosecution had failed to prove the case against Anwar and Sukma beyond reasonable doubt as required by the law on admissible evidence and in accordance with established principles of law.

Even if the court were to find evidence to confirm Anwar and Sukma were involved in homosexual activities and were more inclined to believe that the alleged incident did happen, the court might only convict them if the prosecution had successfully proved the alleged offences beyond reasonable doubt, he added.

He said that the issue to be determined by the court was whether, at the end of the prosecution's case, it had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Anwar and Sukma had sodomised Azizan at the Tivoli Villa one night between January and March 1993, and in Sukma's case, whether he abetted the offence committed by Anwar.

Justice Abdul Hamid said the essential part of the offence had not been proven by the prosecution as Azizan, being the only source for the date of the offence, showed inconsistency and contradiction when giving evidence and was, therefore, not a reliable source.

He said Azizan's evidence on the date of the incident was doubtful as he had given three different dates in three different years, the first two covering a period of one month each and the last covering a period of three months.

In the charge, dated Oct 5, 1998, against Anwar regarding Tivoli Villa, the date of the commission of the offence given by Azizan was May 1994.

When Sukma was charged on April 23, 1999, the date of the offence was given as May 1992 and the charge against Anwar was amended from May 1994 to May 1992.

On June 7, 1999, the charges were again amended from May 1992 to "between the months of January and March 1993".

Justice Abdul Hamid said Sukma's confession was inadmissible as it appeared not to have been made voluntarily. Even if admissible, it would not support the date of the commission of the offences alleged, he added.

The court ruled that it was incumbent on the trial judge to hold a confession inadmissible if there appeared to be suspicious circumstances surrounding the making or recording of the confession.

Justice Abdul Hamid said that there seemed to be so many unusual things that happened regarding Sukma's arrest and confession, before and after the confession was made.

The confession came after 10 days of intensive interrogation and 12 days of detention (up to the time he made the statement to a magistrate) when for all intents and purposes he was arrested as a witness but interrogated as an offender and ended up as an accused, twice.

Indeed, he was charged two days later for allowing Anwar to sodomise him, the record of which was introduced as evidence in his trial.

Justice Abdul Hamid also found Azizan to be an accomplice. Therefore, corroborative evidence of a convincing, cogent and irresistible character was required, he said.

By Azizan's own evidence, he was sodomised 10 to 15 times at various places, including in Anwar's house, over a number of years. He never lodged any report, never complained about it and he did not leave the job immediately after he was sodomised the first time.

Justice Abdul Hamid said while the testimonies of Dr Mohamed Fadzil Man who examined Sukma on Nov 10, 1994 and former Inspector-General of Police Tun Haniff Omar and Anwar's conduct confirmed both their involvement in homosexual activities, such evidence did not corroborate Azizan's story that he was sodomised by them at the place, time and date specified in the charge.

In the absence of any corroborative evidence it was unsafe to convict them on the evidence of an accomplice alone unless his evidence was unusually convincing or for some reason was of special weight which the court found it was not, he added.

He stressed that the prosecution must prove its case beyond reasonable doubt before the defence might be called.

He said the High Court had misdirected itself in calling them to enter their defence. Instead, they should have been acquitted at the end of the prosecution case.

In her dissenting judgement, Justice Rahmah Hussain said that even though there were discrepancies in Azizan's testimony relating to the date of the offence, that did not straightaway make Azizan an unreliable witness and the whole story of his evidence unacceptable.

The discrepancies were not fatal to the prosecution's case since, in sexual offences, the date was not a vital ingredient of the charge.

As to the issue of voluntariness of Sukma's confession, she found no good reason to disagree with the concurrent finding of the High Court judge and the Court of Appeal. She agreed that details in the confession rendered an inevitable conclusion that it must be given voluntarily.

She also agreed with the finding of fact by the High Court judge that Azizan was not an accomplice.

There was nothing to suggest that Azizan "concurred fully in the criminal designs of another for a certain time, until getting alarmed or for some other cause, turn against his former associate and gave information against him."

She said Azizan was no more an accomplice than a rape victim and was ashamed and afraid to lodge a police report against both of them.

"Therefore, since Azizan was not an accomplice, no corroborative evidence was required before the court could make a finding that Azizan was credible," she said.


Anwar's rise and fall

(CNN) -- Once being groomed to succeed former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar Ibrahim's fall from grace was dramatic. The following is a timeline of his life.

Aug. 10, 1947 - Anwar Ibrahim is born in the northern Malaysian island of Penang.

1974 - Anwar is arrested during an anti-government protest and spends 20 months in jail.

1981 - Mahathir Mohamad becomes president of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and Malaysia's prime minister.

1982 - Anwar, the founding leader of youth Islamic organization called ABIM, shocks his liberal supporters by joining the UMNO.

1991 - Anwar moves up the political ranks and is appointed finance minister.

1993 - Anwar is made deputy to Mahathir.

April 1997 - Anwar holds the post of acting prime minister while Mahatir takes a two month holiday.

June 1997 - Mahathir reverses several Anwar decisions, as Malaysia faces the Asian economic crisis.

Sept. 2, 1998 - Anwar is fired from the Cabinet, amid police reports that he is under investigation for sex and corruption allegations.

Sept. 20, 1998 - Anwar leads tens of thousands in a protest march in Kuala Lumpur demanding Mahathir's resignation. He is arrested hours later.

Sept. 29, 1998 - Bruised and with a black-eye, Anwar appears in court and pleads innocent to charges of sodomy and corruption. The national police chief later admits to beating him.

Nov. 2, 1998 - Anwar's trial begins. He faces four counts of corruption.

April 14, 1999 - Anwar is sentenced to six years in prison.

June 6, 1999 - Trial for charges of sodomy opens.

July 28, 1999 - Azizan Abu Bakar, Anwar's former family driver, tells the court he was sodomized up to 15 times by Anwar.

July 18, 2000 - Anwar's hearing ends after more than a year.

Aug. 8, 2000 - Anwar is found guilty and is sentenced to nine years prison for sodomy, to be served consecutive to his six year term for corruption.

Nov. 25, 2000 - Anwar is hospitalized for a spinal injury he claims resulted from the beating by police two years ago.

April 29, 2001 - Anwar's corruption conviction is upheld by Malaysia's Court of Appeal.

May 24, 2001 - Mahathir refuses to allow Anwar to leave the country for medical treatment for his spinal injury.

Feb. 6, 2002 - Anwar's lawyers request a longer appeal time.

April 2, 2002 - Anwar's final appeal against his corruption conviction concludes in the Federal Court.

June 25, 2002 - Deputy Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, is officially named to succeed Mahathir in late 2003.

July 10, 2002 - Anwar loses his appeal against a corruption conviction.

Oct 31, 2003 - Mahathir steps down as premier, hands power to his deputy, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Sept 2, 2004 - Federal Court acquits Anwar on sodomy charge.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Sebatik folk to get clean water supply

15 August, 2004

Tawau: A RM12.45 million water project to be launched at Kampung Wallace Bay, Sebatik Island, off here, today (Sunday) heralds the end of the hardship faced by the community there.

Sebatik Assemblyman Datuk Dr Patawari Patawe said the project, to be implemented through a rural water supply programme, will benefit 5,000 people from Kampungs Mentadak Baru, Sungai Tamang and Wallace Bay.

The project would be launched by Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin.

Patawari said villagers had been awaiting the project for a long time and thanked the State and Federal Governments, as well as the Sabah Chief Minister for the support.

“We did not expect the Government to approve the endeavour in such a short time as I presented the problem to the governments only four months ago,” he said.

Presently, villagers, mostly fishermen and farmers, depend on well and rainwater, which are not in steady supply, especially during drought when they have to get water from the mainland.

Patawari said the project is estimated to be completed in one year, adding the population of the island needs to be patient in the meantime.

Two weeks ago, the Ministry of Health approved a proposal to construct a mini hospital on the island, an upgrade from the present Desa Clinic, following increasing demand for medical treatment.

The approval was confirmed by Deputy Health Minister, Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad, who visited the island recently.

Prior to that, the Federal Government, through Permanent Secretary of the Finance Ministry Datuk Dr Hilmi Yahya, gave its support to form a free trade or goods exchange zone on the island to uplift the population’s economic status.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Short-lived freedom

12 August, 2004
Daily Express

Kota Kinabalu: Former hotel waiter Azman Bakar @ Samsuddin Mustamin, 25, was discharged and acquitted by the High Court here of murdering Rural and Entrepreneurial Development Assistant Minister Datuk Norjan Khan Bahadar.

However, his freedom was short-lived - he was re-arrested immediately as he stepped out of court after Justice Datuk Ian H.C. Chin delivered his judgement Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecuting officer ASP Asmadi Yusuf said the re-arrest was related to a false Identity Card that Azman admitted possessing. It is also believed to revolve around theft of money and jewellery and failure to report to a police officer the discovery of a dead body. "He will be brought to court tomorrow for further remand," he said.

Azman was charged with murdering Norjan, 52, at Room 208 of Hotel Shangri-La in Bandaran Berjaya, here, between 4am and 6am on Feb. 11. Justice Chin ordered Azman to enter his defence on July 27 when he found that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against him.

In his 16-page judgement, Justice Chin said after considering all the evidence, a reasonable doubt as to whether it was the accused who had killed Norjan out of jealousy, lingered in his mind.

"Two Principles of Law must be borne in mind. Firstly, all the accused needs to do to earn an acquittal is to cast a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case.

"Secondly, the prosecution carries the general burden throughout the case to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt.

"Where the accused's testimony is believed, then, of course, he is entitled to an acquittal. But even if the court does not believe his testimony, the court must still consider whether his evidence raises a reasonable doubt as to the truth of the prosecution evidence or the guilt of the accused.

"As to what is meant by 'proof beyond reasonable doubt', Denning LJ in Miller v Minister of Pensions [1974] 2 All ER 372,373 said this:

Proof beyond reasonable doubt does not mean proof beyond a shadow of a doubt. The law would fail to protect the community if it admitted to fanciful possibilities to deflect the course of justice. If the evidence is so strong against a man as to leave only a remote possibility in his favour which can be dismissed with the sentence 'of course it is possible, but not in the least probable', the case is proved beyond reasonable doubt, but nothing short of that will suffice.

"Finally, as to what that 'doubt' is, Sharma J in PP v Samin & Ors [1971] 2 MLJ 16 adopted the following definition:

It is not mere possible doubt, because everything relating to human affairs and depending upon moral evidence is open to some possible or imaginary doubt. It is that state of the case which after the entire comparison and consideration of all the evidence leaves the minds of the jurors in that condition that they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction to a moral certainty of the truth of the charge."

Justice Chin said the defence introduced evidence that threw new light in certain areas. One was maintenance staff Christopher Crispen Lijawi, who went to fix the air-conditioner in Room 208 and saw only one woman open the door and it was not Norjan.

"Similarly, I have no reason to reject the evidence of David Phang that Norjan had not stayed in the hotel before Feb. 10; she did not stay there as far back as three years."

He said the explanation of the accused of there being another person in the room added to the doubt of the case for the prosecution.

"It is difficult for me to disbelieve him merely on the ground that he is a good actor as popositioned by the prosecution because the evidence of the prosecution had, in some aspects, lent support to his case," he told the packed courtroom where family members of both parties were present.

The accused had also said he did not know Norjan before that night and asserted that he did not kill her and that there was another man in the room, Chin said.

"In view of the accused's denial that he knew Norjan, this called for a consideration of whether the motive, which the prosecution said is jealousy, had really been established beyond reasonable doubt."

Establishing motive in view of the evidence of the accused become crucial in order to tilt the scale against the accused, he said.

"Jealousy in the sense used in this case meant that the accused must have known Norjan before Feb 10.

"It will be recalled that for the prima facie case all that the prosecution had adduced with regards to this point, about the accused knowing Norjan, was that the accused, who was allegedly standing only five feet away and near the bar-counter, kept looking at Amir (Khan Amjad Khan) when Amir was seated beside Norjan," he said.

However, Justice Chin said, a receipt had now been produced to establish the fact that Amir was seated at table 60 and it was also established that 60 was not five feet from the accused but right at the other end of the room, and some six tables away.

"That was roughly about 30 to 40 feet away and that the distance made it difficult if not impossible to discern in artificial light whether a person was looking at you or not.

"Then there is the evidence of the maintenance staff who said that only Baria (Baria Mohamad) was in the room while the bathroom door was locked which contradicted that of Amir and Baria who had said both of them as well as Norjan were in the room.

"So, it means Amir was in the bathroom with Norjan, leaving Baria in the bedroom to deal with the maintenance staff. Here again, both Amir and Baria lied," he said.

Justice Chin said: "Given Amir's penchant to lie, like his denial in having had sex with Norjan and of his being in the bedroom instead of the bathroom, he can no longer be considered creditworthy when to those lies is added this newly discovered untruth about the distance the accused was seated away from him when he alleged the accused kept looking at him".

"I, certainly, after hearing the evidence for the defence, entertain a doubt as to whether the accused was really looking at Amir or looking in such way as to show the accused was acquainted with Norjan.

"The prosecution had urged that because the accused had attended to room service instead of the usual persons, this must mean the accused knew Norjan. But Eliza (Eliza alias Elizabeth Mikeh Laga Dohi) had said that she had asked Azman to take the hot milk to the room and it was not Azman who had asked for the task," he said.

Justice Chin said there were other matters that had been urged as supporting the inference that the accused knew Norjan "all of which I am of the view cannot be relied on".

On the prosecution's contention that it was not possible for the accused not to have known Norjan as it was difficult to comprehend why Norjan, a Muslim woman and a public figure at that, would expose her body in a room in darkness to a total stranger, Justice Chin said in her case it was not at all difficult to comprehend.

"She had already planned a rendezvous and had sex with Amir. This tells us much about her and her proclivity for sex.

"Professing a certain religion and belonging to a certain race does not automatically clothe one with purity or with virtue nor with any less likelihood of erring. So it should come as no surprise that Norjan did not mind a stranger massaging her. So, the matter of religion and race is neither here nor there," he said.

The prosecution had gone at length to put forth the posssible scenario as to what could have happened in the room and thereafter, particularly as to how Norjan could have been stabbed while the accused was having sex with her, all of which hinged upon the crucial factor of the accused knowing Norjan.

However, Justice Chin said for the prima facie case, there was only the evidence of Amir to support the prosecution's case that the accused knew Norjan but in the face of the evidence of the accused and the rejection of the evidence of Amir as being not creditworthy, that evidence of Amir "falls to pieces".

He said that the motive for the murder was required since the prosecution's case and that of the defence were delicately balanced, and establishing the motive would have tilted the scale in favour of the prosecution.

"This is not so for the reasons I have stated and the accused is therefore discharged and acquitted," he said.

Azman displays no emotion over verdict

Kota Kinabalu: The High Court was packed both inside and outside with media personnel, lawyers, law students, observers, friends and family members of the deceased, including the deceased's brother, Kawang State Assemblyman Haji Ghulam Haidar Khan and the deceased's son, Fadzil.

Some recalled that the other time the court saw such a crowd was on Jan. 18, 1994, during the verdict on the corruption case of PBS President and then Chief Minister Datuk Pairin Kitingan.

The tension was apparent on the faces of Senior Federal Counsel, DPP Noorbahri Baharuddin, DPP Amir Nasruddin as well as the accused's counsel, Alexander Siew.

At 2.20pm, as Justice Chin was ready to pronounce his verdict. Azman Bakar stood in the dock, pale-faced and anxious. Azman was expressionless as court interpreter Ong translated what the judge had said, i.e. "Öthe accused is therefore discharged and acquittedÖ"

When the judge left the bench, Azman appeared confused, then sat down and lowered and rested his head on the ledge. Escort police were already waiting to bring him out. But the crowd was slow to move.

Family members of the deceased looked dismayed. Asked to comment, Siew merely said:

"My client feels he is vindicated. He has all the while maintained his innocence."

When he looked up from the dock, Azman's eyes were red, although there were no visible tears. As he emerged from the courtroom, the handcuffs were immediately clasped on him again.

As regards the three offences as mentioned by the judge, the first, Azman may be charged again under Section 25(1)(e) of the National Registration Regulations, which carries a jail term of three years or a minimum fine of RM3,000 to a maximum RM20,000, or both for having a fake IC.

For the second offence of theft, he may be charged under Section 380 of the Penal Code, which carries a jail term that may extend to 10 years and liable to fine.

For the third offence of not disclosing a dead body, he may be charged under Section 202 of the Penal Code, which carries a jail term that may extend to six months or fine, or both.

Ghulam: Family sad but accept verdict

NORJAN's brother, Ghulam, was teary but calm, as reporters swarmed around him. "The family feels sad that the decision was such. But we respect the decision of the court," he said.

A woman, Ratna Beddu, 28, whom reporters noticed hovering near Azman as he was led to the court lockup after being rearrested, later claimed to be a cousin.

She claimed she had never met him, but that their uncle had told her about Azman's case.

She said since she was staying in KK, she made it a point to come and offer him some courage. "I'm happy to be able to meet him," she said.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

M'sia-Bound Indon Workers To Receive Better Training

JAKARTA, July 28 (Bernama) -- Thousands of Indonesian workers heading for Malaysia in search of a better fortune will receive in-depth and broader skills training that will lead to a higher pay.This is made possible following the joint effort of the Association of Indonesian Manpower Service Agencies (APJATI) and a Malaysian-based educational and training firm, the Infomaya Group of companies (IGC).

Workers from all sectors supplied by agencies under APJATI will be given training by qualified instructors not only in relevant skills but also in other areas like Bahasa Malaysia or English language, Malaysian basic law and culture.

They will be issued with certificates at the end of their training programme in a move that will give them due recognition from Malaysian employers.APJATI and IGC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) early this month to provide a technical framework for the undertaking.IGC managing director Dr Mohamed Fauzi Mohamad told Bernama here Wednesday that two of its subsidiaries -- Alliance Legacy Sdn Bhd and Progressive Skill Development Centre Sdn Bhd -- had been assigned to provide the service.

He said Alliance Legacy would be responsible for formulating training programmes for instructors and selected training assessment materials for the workers.Progressive Skill Development Centre would arrange for the accreditation and certification of workers who had completed the courses, he said.

The two subsidiaries had been officially appointed by the National Vocational Training Council of the Human Resources Ministry as the agency that provides training for trainers of foreign workers and as foreign workers technical evaluation agency.Under the arrangement, APJATI, the umbrella body for some 400 Indonesian manpower supply agencies, will provide administrative and training facilities at all its 130 workers training institutes throughout Indonesia, the world's biggest provider of workers to foreign countries.

APJATI deputy head Idris Laena said about 10,000 workers would be trained every month under the Malaysian Human Resources Ministry-approved curriculum and module, for the training programme.

"With the training, workers' skills will be markedly improved and recognised, which will lead to a better pay for them, at par with the locals or workers from other countries," he said.

He said that currently, manpower from Indonesia for the foreign labour market was also given training but it was not accredited and was too basic to produce skilled workers.

For the past few decades, Malaysia has been home to hundreds of thousands of Indonesian workers earning their living mostly in the construction and plantation sectors as well as housemaids and factory workers, following the scarcity of jobs at home.

Many of them also entered the neighbouring country through illegal means, exposing them to manipulations and fraud by their employers and underground employment agencies.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

It's open source from now onBy RASLAN SHARIF

Friday July 16, 2004
The Star

CYBERJAYA: All Government technology procurement will now have a preference for open source software (OSS), under the Malaysian Public Sector Open Source Software Masterplan made available to the public this morning. 

In what was its strongest show of support for OSS, the Government's masterplan calls for policies to be put in place in several areas, including procurement, that would favour such software. 

The masterplan has been a topic of debate among ICT companies, local and foreign, that supply goods and services to the Government. 

Its objectives include reducing total cost of ownership and increasing freedom of choice in the public sector, as well as reducing the digital divide through the use of OSS, software in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/ or modification free of charge. 
Proprietary software, like Microsoft Corp's Windows, is tightly-controlled by its owners and only licensed to users under strict conditions of use. 

Under the masterplan, OSS procurement "should be based on merits, value for money, transparency, security and interoperability." 

However, it also states, "in situations where advantages and disadvantages of OSS and proprietary software are equal, preference shall be given to OSS." 

The move looks set to generate more controversy, especially as some vendors argue that a preference-based procurement policy would be unfair. 

Asked about the concerns of these companies, Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, Chief Secretary to the Government, said the Government was committed to the masterplan and suggested that suppliers would have to follow its lead. 

He was speaking at the launch of the Open Source Competency Centre (OSCC) that would serve as the focal point of all OSS-related activities in the country, and also part of the masterplan. 
The centre would be "the main reference point, the pulse that drives (the Government's) OSS implementation," he added. 

The masterplan's near-term targets that might have an immediate impact on public sector suppliers include having 60% of all new servers able to run OSS operating systems, 30% of office infrastructure -- like e-mail, DNS, proxy servers -- on OSS, and 20% of school computer labs to have OSS applications such as productivity suites installed. 

All this must be done by next year. 

The masterplan, which was developed by the Government IT and Internet Committee (GITIC), was approved in February and is now being implemented. 
Share and share alike 

The OSCC, operational since June 1, has several core functions, including maintaining a repository or "knowledge bank" for all OSS information and news, and to serve as a platform for sharing and collaboration. 

The centre will also coordinate OSS training and certification programmes for the public sector, conduct R&D with institutions of higher learning, and undertake promotional and awareness activities. 

Samsudin said the centre would also serve as the hub for a local OSS community comprising nine institutions of higher learning, the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) and Multimedia Development Corporation to drive activities at the national level. 

Datin Paduka Nazariah Mohd Khalid, Director-General of the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu), said the centre was a significant effort "to enhance service quality and efficiency in the public sector." 

Currently, a total of 54 government agencies are using OSS, mostly applications such browsers, e-mail clients, file and print servers, firewalls, domain name servers and applications servers, she said. 

Only 10% were using OSS desktop applications such as productivity suites and operating systems, she added. 

The users comprise 14 ministries, 14 federal departments, 16 statutory bodies and 10 agencies at State-level. 

Nazariah also said that a recent survey conducted among government agencies showed that there were many areas in which OSS use could be enhanced. 

"The results of the survey were very encouraging," she said, adding that feedback from the 33 agencies that participated showed many were keen to explore OSS use further. 

The agencies identified over 200 instances in which OSS use could be intensified. These included applications development, distributed enterprise implementation, infrastructure use, high-performance computing, desktop use, and workload consolidation. 

"This showed that there was a need to quickly make available technical training and assistance to enhance OSS expertise in the public sector," said Nazariah. 

"The development of the OSCC is therefore timely." 

She added that in the one month since it became operational, the centre has trained 54 public sector employees, while more than 160 have registered to use its knowledge bank. 

"I'm confident that the number will increase after this," said Nazariah.