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Committee Stage Debate of Budget 2015

Today in Parliament we start the committee stage debate of the Budget.

I have been assigned two ministries to debate on; Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the Ministry of Plantations and Commodities.

These ministries are due to debate on Wednesday this week and Monday next week. The committee stage will continue for 2 and the half weeks and then we will get to several legislation in the final 2 days. My research officer is working on these legislations including one on accrual accounting and one on income tax.

We also received two big stack of auditor general reports today. It’s gonna be a very busy day in Parliament.

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Budget Dialogue; PJS10 Gotong-Royong

I am curently in St Thomas More church for a budget dialogue. The other speaker here is Aru, the secretary general of PSM. The turnout is good with about 80 people.

I also made it to my other event at 7.30 am for a gotong royong in PJS 10.

We spent an hour walking around the apartments of Sri Subang. The issues are similar; sewage, rubbish and longkangs. Next week, we will send some volunteer engineers to help assess the extent of their problems.

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St Thomas Moore Church Budget Session

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PJS10 Gotong-Royong

SS17 Subang Anti-Dengue Campaign

I was unwell on Friday. I think I caught a cold/sore throat on Thursday night in the rain. So I rested most of Friday and got back to my duties today. I went to four events today.

A funeral (my intern’s grandfather passed away), an anti dengue campaign in ss17 Subang and two Deepavali celebrations, one in USJ6 and one in Seri Setia ss7.

Please note that dengue cases are on the rise again. In ss 17 we recorded 60 cases in 110 days.


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DSAI Sodomy II Trial

Day 8 (7 November 2014):

4.30pm: Anwar’s appeal has ended. Judges will deliver judgment on another day. Judgment date to be announced.

 

Day 7 (6 November 2014): 

8.52pm: My battery died 2 hours ago. Just got home.
Sri Ram has rejuvenated our supporters with his most excellent arguments. At 7 pm he was asked to stop. The case will continue at 3pm tomorrow.
Our supporters have been with us for 12 hours and it was pouring with rain outside. Anwar and several PKR leaders walked out to join them. As we crossed the road and past the police barricades, a few of us were hit by pepper spray gas. I was about 5 steps behind Anwar. I suspect someone in the crowd tried to pepper spray Anwar but hit us instead. We were choking but the heavy rain soon washed it away.
Anwar then led the mahgrib prayers under a tent in the pouring rain. He delivered a short thank you speech to the supporters. Reformasi!

6.09pm: Case restart 6.02 pm. Sri Ram continues. He says the ky jelly issue is also a fake. No evidence found in carpet. The ky jelly tube was handed over to the investigation officer at a very late stage, hence it is improbable it was ever used.

5.37pm: Sri Ram completely rubbishes the claim by Shafee that a Brioni suit was given by Anwar to Saiful. How can they claim the existence of a RM16,000 Brioni suit but never produced it in court? The govt produced only the pants and the pants does not even have a label on it. Sri Ram said that even his tailor Ah Chong will put his label on his tailored pants. So why the missing label? So Sri Ram says Saiful is a fantasist and the suit story is a complete fabrication.

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4.48pm: Sri Ram started his submission at 4.07 pm. We are now in the final stretch of the appeal. He has a very stern demeanour and loses his temper with his supporting counsels. Sri Ram attacked the evidence of Saiful and he looked into the issue of the carpet. Sri Ram asked how did a carpet where the sodomy allegedly took place moved from one condo unit to another condo unit. With no evidence on court record explaining how the carpet moved, then no act of sodomy could have taken place as alleged by Saiful. Therefore Saiful is not a truthful witness. That is why all the doctors found no evidence of penetration.

It is an incredibly powerful train of argument. It is going to be very hard for the judges to ignore this argument.

Sri Ram says that Shafee painted Saiful as a honourable man and that he idolised Anwar. However, Sri Ram said the testimonies of witnesses have demonstrated that Saiful actually hated Anwar. One witness testified that Saiful posted on facebook a year before he joined Anwar’s office many pictures of BN leaders and a photo of Anwar with a caption of “Anwar is evil”. The witness testified that Saiful hated Anwar, so how could Shafee say Saiful idolised Anwar. The prosecution case looks like game over.

4.03pm: Gobind started his submission at 3.20 pm and in typical style he starts slow and studiously. Around 3.40 pm Gobind unleashed his attack with vigour to dismantle the case. It is something to witness Gobind arguing in full flight.
Arguing on scientific basis he destroys Shafee’s arguments. He also said Shafee made a most desperate submission two days ago throwing in all sort of theories and raising all sort of issues. Gobind said this action of raising doubts by Shafee actually helps the defence because it creates more doubts to the case. If there are doubts, the court must acquit Anwar. The prosecution can only sentence Anwar if it is beyond reasonable doubt.

2.25pm: The case will resume shortly. In dismantling the prosecution case, our lawyer produced several comments this morning that were absolutely hilarious.
Ram Karpal finished this morning and Sangeet is about to start. After that Gobind and Sri Ram will close. It is touch and go whether we can complete the case today.

10.40am: Am at Putrajaya for what is expected to be the very last day of the case. Anwar’s lawyers will be giving their replies, expected to finish around 5pm.
Outside the court, police FRU and water cannons have been deployed. Reporters told me they have also seen horse mounted police.
This raises the prospects of an immediate decision to be made today. However, this is not likely to happen, since there seems to be no urgency in the way the appeal has been handled so far. But as we all know, in Malaysia apa pun boleh. That’s why today I am wearing my less formal shoes with rubber sole, more agility just in case the police mobilise against the crowd.

 

Day 6 (4 November 2014): 

2pm: It appears the great Shafee has lost his plot. He is talking so much irrelevant things, some are downright pornographic that everyone in court is not sure what his intentions are. For this morning his 1.5 hours has now clocked 3 hours and after lunch he will likely continue for another 2 hours.
Several of us went to see our supporters to update them.

Court to resume on Thursday (6 November 2014).

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11am: Shafee is still giving his round and round submission. Looks like it will take another hour or two perhaps. Why is he running the clock down?
We are now at tea break and Anwar is meeting his well wishers.

 

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Day 5 (3 November 2014): 

12.45pm: Shafee concluded the “plastic bottle” Burmese doctor as not a credible witness. To this point, Ram Karpal asked, did Shafee impeach him? The answer is no.
If so, how can Shafee conclude the Burmese doctor as not credible? Loud murmurs of disbelieve by lawyers in the court. Shafee is caught. But Shafee then argue that his cross examination is alike an impeachment. Wow! If like that, Shafee can rewrite the laws single handedly in this case.

 

12.33pm: In an attempt to defend Saiful as a credible witness, Shafee says that the first doctor that examined Saiful was dishonest. He alleged that the doctor “added” in the plastic bottle story because someone pressured him to do so! Where is the evidence to support such a wild claim? The bottle story was written in the medical notes at the point of examination. And we all remember how the Burmese doctor was pressured for deportation. So if anyone was pressuring the doctor, it is not from us.
From the mouth of Shafee, we are witnessing Malaysian justice being sodomised.

 

12pm: Shafee puts up a point that sodomy is alike a heart attack. This drew the ire of YB Dr Tan Kee Kwong (Wangsa Maju PKR MP) seated next to me. He whispered “where got backside the same as a heart, what bullshit argument is this?” Dr Tan is a medical doctor.

 

11.20am: In a moment of pure clarity, Shafee spoke a freudian slip when he said “The truth is irrelevant …”. Shafee argues that if you find sperm in the anal area it is conclusive of penetration. Wow!

Fact 1. We do not know who’ s sperm as the dna has degraded. Fact 2. Saiful had no anal tear, no signs of penetration. His pain in the anal area he admitted to the first doctor came from a plastic bottle.
The argument forwarded basically means you can put someone’s sperm around Saiful’s backside and then conclusively convict Anwar of raping Saiful.

 

10.40am: Shafee is reading his submission and his basic argument is there is no conspiracy. In a classic Shafee putar belit logic he argues that on the issue of the unknown DNA from the water bottle, toothbrush and good morning towel, the fact that the police choose to speak the truth that they did not see Anwar used these items (presumably the police should have lied?), proves that there is no conspiracy. He continues that if there was a conspiracy, the police could have lied that they saw Anwar drink the water, used the towel and brushed his teeth.

Here is where the logic fails; it is the job of the prosecution to establish the case NOT the other way round.

Shafee then also admitted that the evidence were illegally obtained but it nevertheless admissable to be used against Anwar.

 

8am: This morning, police presence is heavier than usual. I arrived at 7 am and got my pass. This day’s trial is expected to end at lunch. Apparently the courts are celebrating some Court of Appeal anniversary.

 

Day 4 (31 October 2014): 

1pm: YB Gooi, Sim and I are taking the international observers for lunch in Petaling Jaya. There was a request for banana leaf rice so we are at Sri Paandi, Jalan Gasing. All the observers, except one, are leaving today having extended their stay 2 extra days. They find the proceedings to be in order so far but will reserve comment until verdict is given. We also gave a press conference earlier to ask the court officials to not allow special branch officers to occupy the limited seats for Monday hearing.

Trial resumes Monday morning.

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9am: This morning in Palace of Justice Putrajaya, the government started their case. It is expected to continue until lunch, breaking for prayers. No afternoon session is expected after prayers. I am in the cafeteria with some senior leaders having our tea break with Anwar. Court resumes in 5 minutes.

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Anwar Ibrahim and A. Samad Said.

 

Day 3 (30 October 2014): 

1.50pm: Court adjourned for the day to allow prosecution time to reply. Trial to continue tomorrow morning.

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8.45am: Ram Karpal is continuing his defence submission this morning. He continues to show that the DNA samples are scientifically wrong indicating the samples are contaminated by foreign bodies. Essentially the chemist had failed to follow her own guidelines and she had admitted in court to the mistakes. Ram Karpal argues that the chemist findings are therefore fundamentally flawed. The judges are taking notes. Will they do the right thing?

 

8am: I got to Putrajaya at 7.15 am with Dr Tan again. We are neighbours and shared a ride here. This morning the special branch is occupying 12 seats again. The government has also changed the passes from light green to pink. Anwar walked in at 9 am. Court is about to start.

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Day 2 (29 October 2014): 

10.16am: Sangeet is delivering her submission. As expected, the judges are giving her a hard time questioning her and interjecting her flow of arguments. She is holding up well and showing good composure. Yesterday, the judges gave Sri Ram an uninterrupted passage.

 

9.45am: The case resumes as Surendran continues his submission. The order of submissions for the defence after Surendran will be Sangeet and then finally Ram Karpal. The defence will most likely rest by late afternoon or sometime after lunch. We expect the prosecution to begin their submission today.

 

9am: There is a small ruckus as Anwar’s son questioned the officer why about 12 seats have been given to special branch officers in plainclothes. They are strangers, not family, not politicians, not diplomats, not media. We asked them to leave but they refused to budge. I joked that they should seat in the dock to guard Anwar and not take up limited seats.

 

8.30am: I left at 6.30 am this morning for Putrajaya with Dr Tan Kee Kwong. We got to Putrajaya around 7.15 am and obtained our passes. Around 8 am, about 200 policemen marched in to take their positions around the courts.

There is only about 20 passes for the public. So what will happen is we will be “sharing” our passes with other MPs as and when they arrive. We will go out to let the next one to replace our seats. That way we will enable most Pakatan MPs and international human rights observers a chance to observe the trial.

 

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Day 1 (28 October 2014): 

8.25pm: First day of court battle is over. Please watch this short video. Please spread this video to your friends & relatives. I salute our die hard supporters, they came today and stayed in rain and shine. See you again tomorrow.

 

3.30pm: Sri Ram is tearing up the prosecution case. He produces cases after cases. The 5 man judge panel tries to engage and question him to show flaws in his arguments. One of the Federal Judges said it was Karpal Singh’s fault for not raising a matter during trial. Sri Ram rebutted and said ultimately the judge is in control of the proceedings. It not the job of the lawyers. This retort brought giggles from the crowd. The panel is silenced and Sri Ram continues unfazed.

 

2.30pm: The trial resumes. I have managed to get a seat in the courtroom. Sri Ram continues on his submission for the defence. He questions the testimony of Saiful pointing out various inconsistencies. This morning Sri Ram focused on Saiful’s meetings with Najib and police officer Rodwan.

Earlier at lunch break, together with Pakatan MPs Khalid Samad, Gooi, Manivanan and Julian, we addressed our supporters and gave an update of events.

 

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9am: I am in Putrajaya Palace of Justice this morning. There are barriers and very strict rules to prevent supporters into the courts.

I managed to get in via the Syariah court. Anwar’s family members are here. Diplomats and members of the media too. There are very limited seats. Only 20 passes were given out. Media passes are also restricted. I managed to sneak into the courtroom during the break. Outside the courts we have about 1,000 supporters. Babies included.

 

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Sisters in Islam

I have not met Sisters in Islam but I am aware that they are fighting for better rights and recognition for Muslim women. That has to be a good thing. So when a Selangor fatwa against them came out, I was disappointed.

Today, HRH Sultan Selangor says Muslims cannot criticise a fatwa. In expressing his views, HRH said that “A fatwa is not prepared by one mufti alone, but by the National Fatwa Council which comprises clerics and professionals who are well-versed in their respective fields, including law.”

This is worrying because you have to ask why is the National Fatwa Council (presumably pro UMNO) influencing Selangor fatwas? Why has Pakatan Rakyat no say in Selangor fatwas? I am sure the PKR and PAS leaders of Selangor are also experts in Islamic jurisprudence, if not better than the pro UMNO experts.

You can read the report here.