Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Let reps who quit to contest, says Dompok


United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organization President Tan Sri Bernard Dompok has called for a review of the Federal Constitution to allow people’s representatives who vacate their seats to contest again.

The proposed anti-hopping law and the present provision in the Federal Constitution which bars State Assemblymen and Members of Parliament who have resigned to stand in an election for another seat in the same House had to be reconciled, he said.

If not, the anti-hopping law would bring injustice to the representatives who really fought for the people, said Dompok who is Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

“Now, elected representatives who vacate their seats have no opportunities to test their influence or obtain feedback from the people. In this respect, it is good if the voters were to determine the position of the representatives,” he told reporters after launching his party’s Natural Disaster Fund here yesterday.

Many quarters have called for the enactment of anti-hopping laws after Bota Assemblyman Datuk Nasaruddin Hashim in Perak quit Barisan Nasional and crossed over to Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

- Bernama

Thursday, February 5, 2009



According to Bob Teoh in My Sin Chew “Some thought it a joke that a Black man can be in the White House. But Barack Obama proved everyone wrong. So can an Iban, Kadazan, Kenyah, Dusun, Chinese, Indian, Orang Ulu, Orang Asli dan lain lain lagi be prime minister of Malaysia? “

Yes, anyone can be PM in Malaysia, said Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"It is up to the people to decide, just as the Americans had done through the democratic process," he told reporters while extending his congratulations to U.S. President-elect the day after his unprecedented victory.. PAS spiritual adviser Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat also commented of Obama‘s victory “"It was a victory of sorts for Islam because Islam did not differentiate between race or creed," "That is why Obama's victory is groundbreaking. It also proves there is no such thing as the superior race of the Caucasian. Everybody shares equality in Islam," he said.

So can anyone become Prime Minister of Malaysia? Yes according to Dr Mahathir. It does not matter if the Prime Minister is Malay or non-Malay, as long as he enjoys the trust of all Malaysians. Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said there was no specification in the country that a Prime Minister must be a Malay.

“But when you talk about having a non-Malay as a PM, you are being racist yourself because you shouldn’t ask the question if one is Malay or non-Malay.

“If he is acceptable to all Malaysians, yes, he can become PM. The specification is that he must be the leader of a majority party and if he can be such a leader of that majority party. Don’t ask if he is Malay, Chinese or Indians,” he told reporters after delivering a keynote address on “Bangsa Malaysia” at the Perdana Leadership Foundation on Wednesday.

However, Dr Mahathir said it was wrong to assume that race-based politics were no longer relevant.“Race-based politics is still relevant. We are still not united if we can’t even a vision school for all children from various races to attend together. As long as there is such sentiment, we won’t be able to have Bangsa Malaysia.


It is correct t hat the Federal Constitution does not prohibit anyone who is qualified from becoming Prime Minster of Malaysia. This is found in Article 43 of the Federal Constitution which reads:-

43. Cabinet

(1) The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint a Jemaah Menteri (Cabinet of Ministers) to advise him in the exercise of his functions.

(2) The Cabinet shall be appointed as follows, that is to say:

(a) the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall first appoint as Perdana Menteri (Prime Minister) to preside over the Cabinet a member of the House of Representatives who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House; and

(b) he shall on the advice of the Prime Minister appoint other Menteri (Ministers) from among the members of either House of Parliament,

but if an appointment is made while Parliament is dissolved a person who was a member of the last House of Representatives may be appointed but shall not continue to hold office after the beginning of the next session of Parliament unless, if he has been appointed Prime Minister, he is a member of the new House of Representatives, and in any other case he is a member either of that House or of the Senate.

(3) The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to Parliament.

(4) If the Prime Minister ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives, then, unless at his request the Yang di-Pertuan Agong dissolves Parliament, the Prime Minister shall tender the resignation of the Cabinet.

(7) Notwithstanding anything in this Article, a person who is a citizen by naturalisation or by registration under Article 17 shall not be appointed Prime Minister.


Is Singapore ready for a non-Chinese PM?

From Malaysia we switch over to Singapore. The recent announcement of Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s promotion to Finance Minister — in addition to his current Education portfolio — set many tongues wagging as to whether he might be the successor to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong many moons from now.

This in turn sparked a debate in the Straits Times as to whether Singaporeans (read: the Chinese-speaking majority) are ready to accept and support a non-Chinese prime minister.
This isn’t the first time this issue has surfaced. Mr Lee Kuan Yew once said that former Cabinet Minister S. Dhanabalan was one of the four men he considered as his successor, but decided against him as he felt Singapore was “not ready” for a non-Chinese prime minister. That was almost 20 years ago. Only time will tell whether a “Obama“ type Ptime Minister can emerge from Singapore


For those who are getting high on Obama’s victory, you need to consider this. It is one thing to win an election. It is another thing to stay in power. Consider the bitter experience of Fiji.

Voyagers from the east settled Fiji at least 2,500 years ago. Some of their descendants later moved on to settle the Polynesian islands to the west. The first known European contact came when the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman sighted the Fiji group in 1643. European sandalwood traders, army deserters, and shipwreck survivors also landed on the islands during the first half of the 19th century, a period in which the chiefs of Bau rose to a dominant position. Protestant missionaries from Tonga arrived in 1835, and French Catholic priests in 1844. After a few chiefs had been converted, more and more Fijians embraced Christianity, usually in the form of Wesleyan Methodism.

In the course of a civil war in the 1850s, Cakobau, the most powerful chief in Fiji, combined forces with the king of Tonga to become paramount chief of western Fiji. The growing presence of Europeans contributed to political and economic instability. In 1871, some 3000 Europeans supported Cakobau's claim to rule as king of all Fiji, but unrest continued. Cakobau's government appealed to Britain for assistance and, on 10 October 1874, Fijian chiefs signed a Deed of Cession making Fiji a British Crown Colony.

From 1879 to 1916, more than 60,000 laborers from India arrived to work on European-owned sugar plantations, and by 1920 they had settled as free farmers. European settlers were granted elective representation in the Legislative Council in 1904, and Indians were admitted in 1929. Ethnic Fijian representation was based on traditional hierarchies until 1963, when the council was reconstituted; the franchise was extended to women, and direct election of Fijian members was provided for. On 10 October 1970, Fiji became a sovereign and independent state within the Commonwealth of Nations, with Kamisese K. T. Mara, head of the Alliance Party, as prime minister. He and his majority party won elections in 1972, 1977, and 1982, but lost the April 1987 elections to a coalition of the Indian-based National Federation Party and the Labour Party. The new government was short-lived, however. Within a month, it was toppled by a military coup led by Lt. Col. Sitiveni Rabuka and aimed at restoring political leadership to ethnic Fijians. On 20 May thousands of rioting Fijians attacked Indians. Under a compromise reached the next day, the governor-general temporarily was to head the government, assisted by an 18-member advisory council, including the coup leader and former Prime Minister Mara. Elections were to be held within six months, and the council was to propose constitutional revisions that would safeguard the political dominance of indigenous Fijians.

On 25 September 1987, however, Rabuka led a second coup. He subsequently suspended the constitution, dissolved the parliament, and declared Fiji a republic. The governor-general, Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, was appointed president of the republic, and Mara was reappointed prime minister. Full civilian rule returned in January 1990 when Rabuka gave up his position as minister of home affairs and returned to barracks as head of the armed forces.

The second coup in 1987 and the adoption of the 1990 constitution, which favored ethnic Fijian control of the government, led to heavy Indian emigration, especially among those Indians with sufficient capital to move. This emigration caused serious economic difficulties for Fiji, but it also ensured that the native Fijian population became the majority. In May of 1992 the Soqosoqo ni Vakavulewa ni Taukei (SVT) or the Fijian Political Party, led by now Major-General Rabuka, won 30 of the 37 seats reserved for ethnic Fijians. Rabuka formed a coalition government with the General Voters Party (GVP) and with the informal support of the Fijian Labour Party (FLP), and became prime minister. After President Ganilau's death in December 1993, the Council of Chiefs elected Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara as the new president in January 1994. Rabuka's government fell in November 1993 when the legislature defeated the government's

budget. New elections were held in February 1994. The SVT won 31 seats, and Rabuka was able to form a coalition government with the GVP. However, Rabuka's hold on power was tenuous as pressure mounted from within and outside the country for constitutional reform.

Beginning in 1995, a Constitutional Review Commission spent almost two years to develop a system that would avoid purely ethnic politics and, at the same time, take account of the concerns of the native Fijian community. Its recommendations were unanimously adopted by Parliament in July 1997. In 1999, parliamentary elections were held that resulted in a government led by Mahendra Chaudhry, leader of the Fiji Labour Party (FLP), who became the first Indian prime minister of Fiji.

On 19 May 2000, George Speight, a failed businessman and son of Sam Speight, an opposition member of Parliament, took Parliament by show of force and held Prime Minister Chaudhry and most of his multiracial cabinet hostage for 56 days. In exchange for the hostages' release, the military—which imposed martial law during the crisis—agreed to replace Chaudhry's government, grant an amnesty to the rebels taking part in the coup, and to abolish Fiji's multiracial constitution. One of Speight's demands was a new constitution that would only permit indigenous Fijians to hold the posts of prime minister and president. The coup resulted in widespread civil unrest and attacks against ethnic Indians, and caused a drop of 41% in tourism. Speight and 369 of his supporters were arrested in July 2000, and the military installed ethnic Fijian Laisenia Qarase as prime minister in a caretaker government. He was charged with organizing Fiji's next general election and drawing up a new constitution. Eighteen political parties fielded 351 candidates for office in parliamentary elections held in August and September 2001. Qarase was elected prime minister as the head of his newly created party, the nationalist Soqoso Duavata ni Lewenivuana Party (Fijian United Party or SDL), which took 32 out of 71 parliamentary seats. Qarase's campaign focused on indigenous Fijians' fears of political domination by ethnic Indians, who make up 44% of the population. Almost all ministers in Qarase's new government were indigenous Fijians. In February 2002, the Fijian Supreme Court ruled that Laisenia Qarase had to include ethnic-Indian members of the Fiji Labour Party in his cabinet. As of January 2003, more than 14,000 ethnic Indians left the country since the May 2000 coup, mainly professionals and skilled workers.


For 200 years, the head of state in the United States has always been a White man (never a woman) until Barack Hussein Obama had the audacity the change all that. That's amazing given that it was not too long ago that people like Obama was not even allowed to vote let alone become President of the most powerful nation on this planet. We are only 44 years old. Will change will take it little while to come or will it come quickly. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009



Although most transactions between meeting planners and suppliers today are created by the exchange of paper, this traditional way of doing business is rapidly changing and totally electronic or “cyber” contracts are now a reality.
By contracting on-line, businesses can improve efficiencies, reduce paperwork, and streamline their operations. At the same time, however, new technologies create challenges for the legal system, which must try to apply existing law in a new context.
Take the following hypothetical exchange of e-mails:
Planner to Hotel:
Can you handle 100 room and meeting space for 150 schoolroom setup on March 11 and 12, 2008.
Hotel sales person to Planner
Yes we can handle it. I’ve checked the books and everything is clear.
Planner to Hotel:
Great!, we’ll take it.

Can the above exchange create a contract? Certainly. But several legal issues arise, many of which are the same as encountered in traditional contracts: What are the exact terms of the contract? Is it enforceable? What happens if a message is garbled or sent in error? What if one of the messages was unauthorized or sent by an impostor? The Internet hasn’t changed the basic rules of contract law. Contracts can be formed by oral or written agreement and they can be implied by conduct of the parties. With the advent of on-line communications, they can be formed electronically. A “cyber”, or electronic contract is a contract created wholly or in part through communications over computer networks. A cyber-contract can be created entirely by the exchange of e-mails where an offer and an acceptance are evident or they can be made by a combination of electronic communications, paper documents, faxes and oral discussions. If a planner and supplier exchange promises by e-mail the law will interpret this agreement the same way it would interpret a more traditional contract written on paper. Parties to an electronic contract should be just a careful in articulating the terms as they would be in traditional contracts.

The daily news is full of headlines detailing the latest computer scam causing someone to lose a lot of money. The biggest concern in electronic communication is the identity and authority of the person on the other side of the transaction. It is a simple matter for a person to adopt a pseudonym on-line or to send an electronic message that appears to come from someone else. This person could be anyone from a curious competitor to a dishonest person with too much time on their hands. It could even be a disgruntled former employee.
For those who want to engage in on-line contracting, two major issues arise: (1) How can you be sure that the person with whom you are communicating is the person he or she claims to be? and (2) Can an impersonator bind you to an electronic contract?
Since electronic communications does not involve business cards, letterhead or corporate seals it is impossible for one party to determine the other party’s authority to book a meeting or sign a contract. Just because someone has a corporate e-mail address and says they are the executive director, vice-president of special events or director of meeting planning does not make it so. Parties to an on-line contract must still exercise due diligence to ascertain who they are dealing with on the other side. The development of digital signatures is helping to solve this problem.
Everyone is (or should be) concerned with someone else impersonating them and fraudulently signing their name to contracts. The key issue of course is who, if anyone, is bound to these contracts. Under current law a forged signature will only bind the forger, not the party being impersonated. The other party to the transaction, however, may be left holding an empty bag if the impostor can’t be caught or identified or if the impostor is in no position to perform on the fraudulent contract. The exception to this is if the real party ratifies the signature or was somehow negligent and contributed to the forgery. This is just as true in on-line contracts as it is in traditional paper contracts. These issues are not unique to on-line communications. Impostors and persons without authority operate in paper transactions as well. The difference is that in on-line communications there is greater anonymity and greater ease in perpetrating fraud without a great deal of financial investment. Technology companies and lawmakers are dealing with these issues daily and the result is new techniques to combat the potential for fraud in on-line communications. As mentioned above, one of these new techniques is the creation of digital signatures. A digital signature can provide assurance that the communication was sent by a known party and not an impostor.

As a general rule, contracts do not have to be in writing or even signed by either party to be enforceable. Contracts may be formed by conduct of the parties and may be oral unless they are required by law to be in writing sufficient to indicate that a contract has been made between the parties. The definition of a writing is not limited to ink on paper. Rather, the essence of the requirement is that the communication be reduced to a tangible form. Electronic transmissions recorded in a tangible form should meet the writing requirement. To ensure this result it is probably necessary to preserve electronic communications, such as e-mails, in printed form or in a computer log.
In many cases, the law requires that an agreement be both in writing and signed by the person who is sought to be held bound in order for that agreement to be enforceable. If two parties are entering into a contract on-line, these writing and signature requirements may apply.
Generally, a signature is “any symbol executed or adopted by a party with present intention to authenticate a writing. Therefore, a signature need not be ink on paper--rather, the issue is the intent of the signer. A symbol or code on an electronic record, intended as a signature by the signer, should be sufficient. Digital signatures should certainly do so.

Most persons are comfortable with traditional contracts because of the security and familiarity with paper documents and handwritten signatures. In on-line contracts the security factor has been missing in the past and there is not much familiar with electronic lines of type. In other words, it is easy to be a victim of fraud when conducting business entirely on-line. The technology industry recognized early on the pitfalls inherent in online communications. They have risen to the occasion by creating systems and procedures for satisfying the business and legal requirements of authenticity, integrity, nonrepudiation, writing and signature, and confidentiality. The primary tool in use is digital signatures. A digital signature is an electronic substitute for a manual signature and is generated by a computer rather than a pen. It serves the same functions as a manual signature, and a lot more.
A digital signature is not a replication of a manual or typed signature such as “signed, John Tan”. In technical terms, digital signatures are created and verified by a special application that generates cryptographic messages. Cryptography is a branch of applied mathematics and involves transforming clear messages into seemingly unintelligible forms and back again. For digital signatures to work, two different translation keys are generally used. The first, called a public key, creates the digital signature by transforming the data into an unintelligible code. The second key, called a private key, verifies the digital signature and returns the message into its original form.
A person’s public key is distributed by the person to other’s with whom they do business. One way of accomplishing this is to post the public key on an organization’s web page for anyone to access. A public key can also be attached to the document being executed. Individual’s using a digital signature will also have a private key that is known only to that individual, or a limited number of corporate officers. The private key is used to create the digital signature. The document’s recipient must have the corresponding public key in order to verify that the digital signature is the signer’s. This system is totally secure as long as the private key is kept private. This is because a digital signature is derived from the document itself. Any change to the document will produce a different digital signature.
A digital signature has many advantages over a manual signature. Both are used to signify authorship. acknowledgment and acceptance of terms. A digital signature, however, also serves an important information security purpose that a manual signature cannot. Digital signatures allow the recipient to determine if the digitally signed communication was changed or not after it was digitally signed. This feature provides integrity and authenticity to a communication that a manual signature does not. Additionally, a message sender can include information about the sender’s authority and job title as well as the sender’s identity encrypted into their digital signature.

A sender must first create a public-private key pair before an electronic communication can be digitally signed. As mentioned above, the sender discloses his or her public key to the recipient. The private key is kept confidential by the sender and is used for the purpose of creating a digital signature. The entire process is started by the sender who runs a computer program that creates a message digest (technically known as a one-way hash value). The program then encrypts the message digest using the sender’s private key. The encrypted message digest is the digital signature. The sender attaches the digital signature to the communication and sends both electronically to the intended recipient.
When the digitally signed communication is received the recipient’s computer runs a computer program containing the same cryptographic mathematical formula that the sender used to create the digital signature. The digital signature is automatically decrypted using the sender’s public key. If the recipient’s program is able to decrypt the digital signature successfully, he or she knows that the communication came from the purported sender. Further, the recipient can tell if a communication has been altered or tampered with because the recipient’s program will create a second message digest of the communication. This second message digest is then compared to the original message digest. If the two match the recipient has now verified the integrity of the message. Messages, of course, can be a few sentences long or an entire facility contract.
This system is virtually foolproof as long as the public key used by a sender can be verified as indeed belonging to that sender versus an impostor. This potential risk has been solved by the use of third parties to verify an individual’s public key. Such a third party is called a certification authority. Several national companies serve in this capacity for individuals and organizations for a nominal fee.


If the proper guidelines are followed, digital signatures should meet all of the legal requirements for electronic contracts. Although we are still primarily dependent on the use of paper in creating contracts, the full use of electronic or “cyber-contracts” is probably not far away. Such cyber-contracts will not take the place of full scale negotiations but they will definitely speed up the end game of signing contracts once the details are agreed to by the parties. Human history in a sense is a story of technology from flint stones to that of genetic clones. The tribulations and triumph of such a journey, which will continue in the future, has one aspect constant at its core - ‘the laws that govern them’.
The cyber revolution holds the promise of quickly reaching the masses as opposed to the earlier technologies, which had a trickle down effect. Such a promise and potential can only be realized with an appropriate legal regime based on a given socio-economic matrix. In the ambit of technology and law, law has always been at the curve of the highway chasing the developments of technology and ends often issuing violation tickets. Law needs to provide a road map to technology with appropriate signals and speed breakers for its safe driving. The need of the times is that law needs to travel along with technological developments if not in advance. Such an effort can make law as a management tool, of rights and obligations in the interface of technology and business and administration.




A security guard was fined RM25 in default three days’ jail by the Magistrate’s Court here yesterday for threatening a man. Sofian b Akan, 33, pleaded guilty before Magistrate Mohd Faiz Omar to threatening Zulkaiman b Zaman, a labourer, by saying “where’s father? I want to beat him up”.

Sofian committed the offence on January 30 this year about 9pm at the Kampung Sembulan mosque area here. He was charged under Section 8 (1) (e) of the Minor Offences Ordinance which provides a fine of RM25.
Meanwhile, the court will set the dates for the trial of four local men who denied causing hurt to another man. Alleminur Mohd Said, 27, Kennedy Yap Meng Sion, 26, Sabri Sunaru, 18, and Foo Mm Fung, 25, pleaded not guilty to a charge of causing hurt to Japalinus b Jacabus, 21, with a belt.

The four men allegedly committed the offence on January 18 this year about 330pm at an unnamed lodging place in Lorong ,Berjaya, Bandaran Berjaya here. The court set March 2 for fixing the tñal date for Sabri and Foo, while Alleminur and Kennedy’s trial dates will be fixed on March 11 and March 16 respectively.

The court granted Alleminur RM1,000 bail deposited under two local sureties, while Kennedy, Sabri, and Foo were granted RM1,500 bail each deposited under two local sureties. The four men were charged under Section 324 of the Penal Code which provides a jail sentence of up to three years or a fine. Inspector Zamri b Zakaria was the prosecuting officer in all the cases.




A 26-year-old man was sentenced to 13 years’ jail plus RM1O,000 fine or six months’ imprisonment in default for stabbing to death a 23 year-old man.

Sessions Court Judge India b Hj Ayub, who meted out the punishment to Saripudin Bin Hami after the submission by Deputy Public Prosecutor APP Mohd Fillanny bin Siji, said the sentence was fitting, as nobody who committed such crime should seek mercy from the Court.

Saripudin committed the crime on February 13, 2006 around 3pm at the badminton court in Ladang Tung Hup, LP7, Kinabatangan when the victim was having a badminton game with fellow workers.

At the time, when the shutter cock dropped to the ground, the accused picked it up and stopped the badminton game, prompting the victim to rush and attempt to take back the shuttle cock.
In the ensuing scuffle, the accused pulled out a Bugis knife from the right side of his waist and stabbed the chest of the vitim as the co-workers at ladang Tung Hup watched in horror.
The victim was also stabbed in his back, and the motive was the accused suspected the victim was having sexual relationship with his (accused’s) wife.

The victim suffered massive. bleeding and was pronounced death upon arrival at the hospital in Kinabatangan. Saripudin bin Hami was prosecuted and charged under Section 304 (a) of the Penal Code.




The Higher Education Ministry will be holding a two-day Education Carnival 2009 next week. The event, jointly organised by the Education Ministry, will be launched on Feb 14 at 1Borneo by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khalid Nordin.

The programme, themed ‘Let’s Enter the U”, is intended as a one-stop centre for students and the public to obtain more information on higher education opportunities, accreditation, sponsorships and education costs.
Various activities will be held during the carnival that include exhibition, forum, counseling services and quizzes Among the participants in the carnival are local colleges, National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), Human Resources Department and Public Services Department.




The Government has been urged to take immediate measures to overcome the worsening traffic congestion in the district. “Road users have to spend hours on the road to get to their workplace and to get home.” said SAPP Silam Zone Chief Kassim Sulaiman yesterday.

“The Government must give priority to solve this problem for the convenience of Lahad Datu people here,” he said in a statement.

Kassim also urged the Government to expedite the construction of the proposed Lahad Datu coastal highway that has been put on hold for many years now, to ease the flow of the traffic between the town and Sapagaya area.
“As a short term solution, it is imperative that immediate action be taken to widen and seal the road from Fajar area to Tabanac township.

“The road linking Dam area and Kampung Kenangan should also be completed as soon as possible as it provides an alternative road for people wanting to go to Segama and Sandakan,” he said.