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news without borders


| THURSDAY MAY 21 2009

No action against Uthayakumar, says Hisham
by Husna Yusop

PUTRAJAYA: Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said no action will be taken against released Hindraf leader P. Uthayakumar for skipping a scheduled advisory council meeting in Kamunting on Tuesday. He said this is because it was not part of the conditions for his release from the Internal Security Act detention camp. “The board had called them (former ISA detainees) to check on the level of rehabilitation and attitude of those detained under ISA. If he (Uthayakumar) did not show up, the council

will make a report based on its own observation. It does not breach any laws which enable us to take action,” he said. “But, we view seriously his threats of street demonstrations and other allegations made which are threats in nature. We don’t compromise this. If it is against the law, we will take action.” Hishammuddin said the council will report to him the outcome of the meeting. Uthayakumar did not turn up for the meeting – which was attended by former detainees Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan, K. Vasantha Kumar, V. Ganabatirao and R. Kenghadharan – citing article 5 of the Federal Constitution which provides a citizen the right to live freely.

Hishammuddin also said based on his investigation, Uthayakumar’s refusal to sign the conditions of release also was “not something that is against the law and will not affect his release.” Asked his comment on Uthayakumar’s plan to hold street demonstrations and a public forum, he said: “These are threats. We don’t base ourselves on threats. Once they convert the threats into something that break those conditions, then we’ll take action without fear or favour.” On police clamping down series of gatherings including small ones and candlelight vigils and claims that their action has made as if wearing black is an offence, he said “it is not as simple as the way it is being painted”.

“That’s how it has been made to look at but there are many things which the public, including those involved (in gatherings), do not know or realise. Just wearing black, of course, is not an offence. Don’t think I’m too naïve to say we are going to imprison everybody who wears black,” he said. “But there is more to it than that. And if they want to sue me and the inspector-general of police for that, both of us are willing to go to court and explain whatever actions that have been taken.” He said the ministry looks at the matter not from the angle of a particular incident only but based on the context of national security.

I am not crazy for power, says Najib
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said he was not like someone who was crazy for power for the sake of power only. “I don’t craze for power for the sake of power but I need power to serve the people and ensure successful nationbuilding. “But there are some people who cannot wait to be in power,” he said at a function in his honour at the Finance Ministry here. “Power is only a means to an end and the end is about serving the people and nation,” he said obviously hitting at a certain opposition leader. Najib said to reach where he was now, he did not “take an express bus” but a “normal bus which journeyed 33 years in his political career”. Najib said the experience made him not only ready but humbled to take on such a heavy responsibility. He said this was why he needed everyone’s cooperation to carry out the responsibility entrusted to him. The prime minister said one of the people’s yardsticks was how the government managed the economy. He said the people would accept the existing government if it could carry out its duties well. “The public will like us, businessmen will like us, smallholders will like us and this will translate into greater support for us,” he said. The function was held to celebrate the appointments of Najib as prime minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah as finance minister II and Datuk Wira Chor Chee Heung and Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin as deputy finance ministers. It was also to appreciate the services of former finance minister II Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop who is now minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and former deputy finance Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha who has been made housing and local government Minister. Najib, who is also finance minister, said Nor Mohamed’s experience in handling the 1997 financial crisis made him very suited to handle the nation’s economic planning through the Economic Planning Unit. He said Ahmad Husni’s experience as deputy finance minister before this would hold him in good stead in his new role. As for Kong, Najib said he (Kong) now held an important portfolio in terms of delivery and services to the people. – Bernama

Calls grow for war crimes probe into Sri Lanka conflict pg 6

Police seize 227kg of ganja
by Bernard Cheah

GEORGE TOWN: Police seized 227kg of ganja worth about RM900,000 in Butterworth on Tuesday, making it the biggest drug bust in the state this year. Five men, aged between 25 and 35, were arrested after they flee the scene in two cars in Bagan Dalam. State police chief Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob said yesterday the Penang, Kedah and Bukit Aman narcotics units raided a warehouse in Bagan Dalam at about 12pm on Tuesday and nabbed the suspects based on a tip-off. “Upon inspection, police found 10 jute sacks containing ganja, placed in rear seats and the car boot of one of the cars, weighting about 227kg,” he said. He said the ganja is believed to have originated from a neighbouring country and was meant to be marketed in Klang Valley.

“Apart from the ganja, police also seized both cars and RM15,000 cash from the scene,” he told reporters at a press conference held in the Penang contingent police headquarters. The case was being investigated under section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carried the death penalty upon conviction. On a separate issue, Ayub said police have arrested 750 individuals in the state, alleged to be involved in drugs, in the Ops Sepadu, which is aimed to tackle drugs nationwide. Of the total, 583 of them are drug addicts, 12 were drug dealers and the rest, 155, were in possession of drug. He said among the items seized during the ten day operation, which started on May 10 and ended on Tuesday were ganja weighing 227.109kg, heroin (402.74gm), syabu (18.54gm), ketamine (112.2gm), Eramin 5 (329 tablets), psychotropic pills (38.1gm), Ecstasy pills (20 tablets) and WY pills (141gm).


Ayub (centre) holds a press conference with the seized ganja in the foreground.