Where’s Bala? Cops launch global manhunt for missing PI

Family went into hiding after he denies statement implicating Najib



NO ONE’S HOME: A four-wheel-drive vehicle is parked at the porch of Mr Balasubramaniam’s terrace house. The PI, his wife and three young children have not been seen since last Friday. — PHOTO: CHINA PRESS

THE police in Malaysia launched an international manhunt yesterday for a private investigator who went missing after retracting a claim suggesting links between the Deputy Prime Minister and a slain Mongolian woman.

Mr Balasubramaniam Perumal is believed to have gone into hiding or is being hidden by unidentified parties, Criminal Investigation Department director Bakri Zinin told reporters.

His disappearance has added to the bizarre political drama that has played out in Malaysia since the March 8 general election, when the ruling party was dealt a severe setback.

Since then, both sides have traded allegations of sexual misconduct, conspiracies and assassination plots.

Mr Bakri urged Mr Balasubramaniam to come out of hiding, saying he has nothing to fear.

‘I give a guarantee of his safety if he comes to meet us. And he is free to bring a lawyer to the meeting,’ he said.

‘The police in the country have been put on alert to find him. We have informed Interpol…as well as the police in neighbouring countries.’

Mr Balasubramaniam dropped a political bombshell last Thursday by stating in a sworn declaration that he was told that Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak had sex with Ms Altantuya Shaariibuu, a 28-year-old Mongolian who was shot and killed on Oct 19, 2006.

He made the claim at a news conference with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

He said the source of his information was Abdul Razak Baginda, a prominent political analyst who is on trial on charges of abetting the woman’s murder. Abdul Razak is a close associate of Datuk Seri Najib.

But less than 24 hours later, Mr Balasubramaniam withdrew the statement, claiming that he had made it under duress.

He issued a fresh statement last Friday that said his earlier statement was false, and that Abdul Razak had not told him about any links between Mr Najib and Ms Altantuya.

Soon afterward, the detective, his wife and three young children disappeared and could not be reached on their mobile phones, said Mr N. Surendran, a lawyer for Mr Balasubramaniam’s nephew.

The nephew, Mr R. Kumaresan, has lodged a police report about the disappearance of his uncle and family.

Journalists have been descending on Mr Balasubramaniam’s house in Rawang, a suburb outside Kuala Lumpur. They reported seeing a four-wheel-drive vehicle parked in the porch of the terrace house.

The neighbours, who said Mr Balasubramaniam had not returned home since last Friday, are frustrated at the constant ringing of their doorbells by reporters making enquiries.

‘This has been going on the whole morning, and it is quite annoying,’ said a neighbour, who expressed concern that two Rottweilers belonging to the private investigator had been left with only water.

Mr Najib and Mr Anwar are vying to be Malaysia’s next prime minister, and both face accusations that could destroy their political careers.

Mr Anwar has been accused of sodomising his male aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

Both Mr Najib and Mr Anwar have denied the allegations.

Meanwhile, police have recorded statements from 18 people concerning the sodomy report against Mr Anwar, the New Sunday Times reported.

‘To date, we have recorded statements from 18 witnesses, including several doctors who had examined the complainant (Saiful),’ Mr Bakri said yesterday.

‘Police are still in the process of identifying several other individuals believed to be involved in the case, and they will be called up very soon to assist the investigation.’

Asked when police would record Mr Anwar’s statement, he said: ‘It is all up to the findings of the police investigation.’

ASSOCIATED PRESS, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Abdullah upset over the negative perceptions

PUTRAJAYA, July 7 — Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi lost the battle of perception in the last general election and it seems that he is still fighting an uphill battle against appearances and realities.

For Abdullah, perception negates the truth.

“The truth is no longer talked about. The important thing is the perception,” said the Prime Minister, adding that perceptions had influenced the attitudes and options of some people in making decisions including those related to investment and business.

While acknowledging the problem must be rectified, the Umno president also realised that it had become a much too popular subject among the public.

“So much so that it had become word of mouth and they resorted to exaggeration. The people must be appeased so as not to have any fear of a possible shortage of food. They must be pacified so as not to have any worry over their own safety and that of their families,” he was quoted by Bernama as saying today.

Addressing his office staff members at the monthly gathering of the Prime Minister’s Department this morning, Abdullah was clearly upset with what he described as lies and slanders spread via the Internet and the short messaging service (SMS).

Describing those “lies” as an attempt to create a perception of uncertainty in the country, he believed it was also an act against the principles of the Rukunegara.

Such attempts were against the tenets of the Rukunegara such as loyalty to king and country, upholding the Constitution, the rule of law, and good behaviour and morality.

“There is no more regard for statements of truth in law. Little attention is given to (one’s) demeanour in life. The sovereignty of the Rulers is turned into an issue. Truth is not appreciated. What is appreciated is the perception, and along with it the lies,” he added.

Abdullah also said the government had been given the mandate to administer the country and it wanted to fulfil the aspirations of the people.

He said the government had adopted measures to reduce the financial burden of the people arising from the increase in fuel prices.

“The people must have confidence in our efforts,” he said.

The prime minister called on the enforcement authorities to be firm in maintaining peace and security in the country.

“Let’s stop doing what is undesirable. The people must exercise a high sense of responsibility. Our priority must be to maintain peace,” he said.

Pants Stripping Issue – Defending PAS (To A Degree)

http://surind.blogspot.com/

I arrived at the Stadium around 830pm & immediately got down to my digging, investigating & psychosociological observations / research. Here are some of things I got:

* There we’re less PAS supporters at that time compared to the afternoon.
* All the Unit Amal guys we’re missing & let me tell you with 100% certainty & from seeing it with my own eyes – AMK Security (Angkatan Muda Keadilan) we’re really F’in up. Many of them we’re unprofessional, not taking charge efficiently & effectively, aggressive & biadap, egoistical & immature, uncoordinated & even violent at times. One of my DAP friends whom was helping Lim Kit Siang get into the stadium was pushed down by one of the members. He landed badly & was in much pain & a rather bad mood. Even Kit Siang looked disturbed as there was much pushing, shoving & monkey like behaviour from the time he got out of the car, till the time he got into the stadium. I should know, I was standing right next to him & even got some blows during all the commotion. The conduct of the greedy & Kiasu press & their photographers we’re no better!
* If you have seen Unit Amal of PAS in action, you will understand what I mean when I say that I have much respect for them. DAP or PKR will not be able to put something like Unit Amal together for sometime (quality!). Having said that, let me tell you about the huge ceramah in SS2 ceramah during the last elections. There was no security groups there at all. Kit Siang simply walked through the mainly Chinese suburban crowd & they just stepped aside & opened up a way for him to get to the stage. It was calm & generally good natured.
* From what I picked up from members of the public, international press & a few sources that wish to remain anonymous (organisers), the lead singer of Carburettor Dung was mainly pissing off PKR (Keadilan) members with his performances. Because most of the PAS supporters had already left the stadium when the band started performing. Apparently he said some things that “could be interpreted” as demeaning towards Anwar. Then again this type of music is sometimes filled with double entrendes & the messages could have been misinterpreted by any simpleton. I am not making a judgement call here, I am only reporting what I heard. So, when he dropped his pants, it was mainly pissed off PKR supporters or even non member, trouble makers (monkeys) & conservative elements in the crowd that started the violence & started throwing bottles. It’s also hard to tell as many we’re not wearing ‘party colours’ today (Protes T-Shirts). Throughout the day, there we’re many trouble makers & probably UMNO youngster gangstas there (as usual). All the monkeys came out to play! To wrap up this part, some AMK guys could have roughed up the members of Carburettor Dung as they we’re ‘taken’ out of the stadium. They went missing after, hope they are alright & give their account today. These are some photos I just discovered.
* More examples (AMK); as Anwar was leaving after his speech, a man had rushed him hurling abuses, but did not manage to get close. From what I heard later, many said he was punched & beaten up by AMK. Trust me, Unit Amal would never do that! They would just restrain him professionally, handle it without emotions involved & take him away.
* There we’re a lot of kids & families in the stadium throughout the day & as the crowd started to build up again after dinner & prayer time. Roughly 20,00 were there as the main speakers started to come – Anwar was after Kit Siang (Semut has some photos). PAS had warned that it was a family event with a carnival mood & that if there was any entertainment that was provocative to them, that they would leave. As a rocker I can say that even in the United States, Carburettor Dung would be classified as a band meant for those above 13 or 18 (Parental Guidance). So, with all the very young kids in the crowd, the organisers certainly made a bad call in asking them to perform. This type of bands can’t be controlled & I certainly do not want them to be! They are usually pro liberal / choice, rebellious & in your face. Nothing wrong with that! I also heard something about the pressure already building up around this issue, among the PR organiser (few events).
* Yes, many did take the reactive view & say that Unit Amal could have swallowed their pride & stayed, to maintain order & security. I respect their courage to stand by their claims & beliefs though.
* Many apologies we’re made throughout the night by the speakers & here is the thing folks… PR is made up of three parties of equals & diverse ideologies & bandwagons. Good! Not like BN – with UMNO the masters & their lapdogs. So please don’t go off attacking PAS without first examining the facts. This is a new partnership / relationship & remember… all 3 need each other to succeed & that PR are our only other option now. I’m sure they will value feedback that is given in a respectful & non-righteous manner.

Kata Penasihat Petronas-Dr Mahathiriskma

http://test.chedet.com/che_det/

Saya berasa amat sedih kerana ada orang menyalahkan Petronas kerana kenaikan harga minyak sehingga sanggup mengkasari beberapa pekerja Petronas yang memakai baju Petronas dan menolak-nolak mereka dalam keretapi komuter.

Kenaikan harga minyak disebabkan oleh peniaga minyak antarabangsa yang menjual beli minyak sesama mereka seperti dahulu mereka menjual beli matawang negara tertentu termasuk negara kita. Terdapat maklumat yang mengatakan mereka menyewa tanker besar untuk simpan minyak menunggu kenaikan harga.

Kenaikan harga yang amat tinggi mempunyai kesan negatif kepada negara seperti China dan Jepun yang bersaing dengan Amerika Syarikat dan Eropah.

Di masa yang sama pendapatan dolar yang bertimbun-timbun oleh Negara pengeluar minyak terpaksa disimpan di Amerika. Wang ini digunakan oleh Amerika untuk menampung ekonomi mereka yang menghadapi defisit dalam belanjawan negara dan defisit dalam dagangan Amerika.

Kebanyakan daripada syarikat pengeluar minyak dimiliki oleh rakyat Amerika dan mereka mendapat keuntungan yang amat besar daripada penjualan peratusan minyak yang dikeluarkan oleh mereka bagi negara-negara pengeluar yang tidak mampu mengeluar sendiri. Di Malaysia juga terdapat syarikat-syarikat asing yang untung besar daripada bahagian mereka dalam perjanjian “production sharing”.

Hanya di Malaysia Petronas memiliki bahagian yang lebih besar kerana kita tidak serah semua kegiatan pengeluaran kepada syarikat asing semata-mata. Industri petro-kimia juga adalah milik Petronas.

Kerana Petronas terlibat secara menyeluruh dalam industri minyak ia diundang untuk mengambil bahagian dalam pengeluaran, penapisan dan lain-lain kegiatan industri minyak di 34 buah Negara.

Keuntungan daripada operasi luar Negara kian meningkat dan pendapatan dibawa balik dan di miliki sepenuhnya oleh Kerajaan Malaysia.

Pendapatan Petronas lebih tinggi daripada jumlah cukai korporat dan cukai pendapatan Kerajaan. Tanpa sumbangan besar daripada Petronas Kerajaan tidak akan dapat memberi subsidi minyak sama sekali.

Keputusan untuk menggunakan sumbangan wang daripada Petronas untuk subsidi adalah hak Kerajaan dan bukan hak Petronas. Bagaimana dan banyak mana subsidi yang hendak diberi adalah tanggungjawab dan hak Kerajaan. Mengurang atau tidak jumlah subsidi juga ditentukan oleh Kerajaan.

Walaupun Kerajaan mengganti rugi semua syarikat minyak di Malaysia kerana menetap harga minyak yang rendah daripada kos minyak, ini tidak dilakukan berkenaan harga gas.

Harga gas sekarang jauh lebih rendah daripada harga sebenar. Kerajaan memaksa syarikat penjual gas menanggung kos ini. Oleh itu hanya Petronas sahaja yang sanggup mengadakan stesen gas untuk kereta dan juga membekal gas kepada stesen jana elektrik. Tiap satu meter padu gas yang dibekal oleh Petronas untuk kereta atau stesen janakuasa, Petronas menanggung kerugian.

Oleh kerana permintaan untuk gas melebihi daripada pengeluaran di Semenanjung, Petronas terpaksa beli gas dengan harga pasaran dunia. Dengan ini kerugian menjadi lebih besar.

Jika lebih banyak gas digunakan, walaupun Petronas dibenar menaikkan harga gas, tetapi Petronas tetap akan rugi. Sudah tentu syarikat minyak yang lain tidak akan import dan jual gas di Malaysia. Sebagai syarikat negara Petronas sanggup tanggung kerugian. Syarikat dagang tidak akan berasa bertanggung jawab terhadap negara ini.

Penggunaan minyak dalam negara meningkat sepanjang masa. Tiap tahun hampir setengah juta kenderaan bermotor didaftar. Bangunan-bangunan pencakar langit dan bangunan rumah bertambah dengan pesat. Demikian juga industri yang mewujudkan peluang kerja kepada rakyat. Semuanya mengguna kuasa elektrik yang dijana dengan gas sebagai bahan api.

Hari ini kita keluarkan lebih kurang 650,000 tong sehari, dan kita guna 400,000 tong dalam negara. Baki 250,000 tong kita jual di luar negara dengan harga pasaran iaitu 140 Dolar Amerika se-tong bersamaan dengan RM420 se-tong.

Dengan kenaikan harga minyak, subsidi untuk minyak tentu naik. Tetapi kerana kita dapat tambahan pendapatan daripada kenaikan harga jualan minyak yang kita eksport maka subsidi boleh ditambah.

Tetapi jika kegunaan dalam negeri meningkat, dan ia tetap meningkat, maka eksport tentulah merosot sepanjang masa. Bertambahnya penggunaan dalam negeri bermakna lebih banyak jumlah subsidi yang diperlukan. Lebih banyak yang digunakan dalam negeri, maka jumlah eksport tentulah merosot dan pendapatan daripada eksport juga akan merosot.

Jika sampainya satu masa jumlah kegunaan dalam negeri menjadi sama dengan jumlah pengeluaran dalam negeri, maka tidak akan ada lagi pendapatan daripada eksport. Di waktu itu tidak ada wang untuk memberi subsidi lagi.

Petronas saya percaya jika tidak diganggu oleh pihak tertentu untuk menguasai industri yang begitu untung ini, akan cuba mengeluarkan minyak di luar negara. Minyak ini tidak akan beri pulangan yang sebesar minyak dalam negeri. Bayaran hasil oleh Petronas kepada Kerajaan akan merosot. Jika tidak ada sesuatu usaha dibuat sekarang, jika hanya politik yang diberi perhatian oleh Kerajaan Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi, ekonomi negara ini boleh hancur dan rakyat akan kembali jadi rakyat negara ketiga.

Sementara itu kita harus fikir apakah akan jadi kepada kita jika tidak ada Petronas dengan kecekapan anggotanya dalam industri yang strategik ini.

Walaupun saya dinamakan penasihat kepada Petronas, setelah saya tidak jadi Perdana Menteri saya tidak lagi memberi apa-apa nasihat.

Apa yang saya tulis ini ialah berkenaan dengan strategi Petronas yang dibentuk dahulu, yang mengambilkira masa depan industri minyak negara dan kesan terhadap ekonomi negara. Memang kenaikan harga minyak tidak diduga, tetapi ramalan kita tidak akan sebegini teruk. Strategi ini perlu dikaji semula memandangkan kenaikan harga yang luar biasa.

Strategi ini perlu mengambilkira bukan sahaja keadaan dalam negara dan keperluan mencari populariti tetapi juga keadaan di luar Negara di mana sekali lagi konsep pasaran bebas (free market) memberi peluang kepada penyangak gergasi untuk memperkayakan diri mereka di atas penderitaan yang miskin di dunia.

9 terrorism suspects detained in Indonesia after a raid uncovers bombs


An Indonesian police officer with one of the nine terrorism suspects arrested on Thursday in Sumatra. An antiterrorism official said the men were planning an attack on Westerners in Jakarta. (Achmad Ibrahim/Associated Press)

JAKARTA, Indonesia: Indonesian police transferred nine terrorism suspects, bound and wearing black hoods, to the capital, Jakarta, on Thursday after their arrest in southern Sumatra.

According to the police, a raid on Wednesday in the Sumatran port city of Palembang by an elite Indonesian counterterrorism team turned up more than a dozen homemade bombs and a cache of ammunition. A police spokesman refused to give further details, saying that the prisoners were being interrogated about the nature of their plan and their roles within the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network.

Indonesian news outlets quoted an antiterrorism official as saying that the men were planning an attack on Westerners in Jakarta, but no details were given.

Jemaah Islamiyah is believed to have a vast network throughout the island of Sumatra.

The police confirmed that at least one of the suspects was Singaporean, but experts dismissed rumors that he might be Mas Selamat Kastari, who is suspected of being the leader of Jemaah Islamiyah. He escaped from a Singapore prison in March.READ MORE

U.S. employers challenge crackdown on illegal immigrants

Posted by SM Maulana

By Julia Preston – iHT

Under pressure from the toughest crackdown on illegal immigration in two decades, employers across the United States are fighting back in state legislatures, U.S. courts and city halls.

Business groups have resisted measures that would revoke the licenses of employers of illegal immigrants. They are proposing alternatives that would revise U.S. rules for verifying the identity documents of new hires and would expand programs to bring in legal immigrant laborers.

Although the pushback is coming from both Democrats and Republicans, in many places it is reopening the rift over immigration that troubled the Republican Party last year. Businesses, generally Republican stalwarts, are standing up to others within the party who accuse them of undercutting border enforcement and jeopardizing U.S. jobs by hiring illegal immigrants as cheap labor.

Employers in Arizona were stung by a law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature that revokes the licenses of businesses caught twice with illegal immigrants. They won approval in this year’s session of a narrowing of that law making clear that it did not apply to workers hired before this year.

Last week, an Arizona employers’ group submitted more than 284,000 signatures – far more than needed – for a November ballot initiative that would make the 2007 law even friendlier to employers.

READ MORE

50,000 S. Koreans protest ‘unsafe’ U.S. beef

Posted by SM Maulana

SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) — Tens of thousands of South Koreans were demonstrating Saturday on the streets of the capital to protest the government’s decision to import what they say is unsafe U.S. beef.


South Korean protesters protest against government’s policy on U.S. beef imports on Saturday.

South Korean police estimate that the crowd in Seoul is about 50,000. No clashes were reported between the protesters and riot police, although ongoing protests have at times turned violent.

South Koreans have protested regularly since April when the government announced it would resume importing beef from the United States after a five-year ban. That ban was instituted over a case of mad cow disease in the United States in 2003.

The widespread public protests essentially paralyzed the government of President Lee Myung-bak, who replaced seven top aides this month and plans to reshuffle his Cabinet.

Tens of thousands of auto workers in South Korea went on strike Wednesday to oppose the government’s lifting of the ban.

After a series of negotiations, Seoul and Washington came up with a revised agreement on June 21 — one that limits imports to cattle younger than 30 months old.

Animals older than 30 months old are considered at a greater risk for mad cow disease, which can be transmitted to humans.

The revised agreement also excludes the import of certain parts believed more susceptible to mad cow disease. The initial deal would have allowed the import of all U.S. beef imports.

Scientists believe mad cow disease spreads when farmers feed cattle recycled meat and bones from infected animals. The U.S. banned recycled feeds in 1997.

Eating meat products contaminated with the illness has been linked to variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare and fatal malady in humans.

Until the 2003 ban, South Korea was the third-largest market for U.S. beef exporters.

South Korea’s new pro-U.S. president agreed to lift the import ban in April before a summit with U.S. President George W. Bush.

But the move provoked a backlash over health concerns spurred in part by false media reports about risks, along with a sense that South Korea had backed down too easily to American pressure.

The government has vowed to get tough with the rallies.

In Washington, the White House announced that Bush would visit South Korea on August 5-6 before heading to the Beijing Olympics.

Bush had originally been expected to go to Seoul next week when he visits Japan for the G-8 summit, but the trip did not materialize amid the protests.

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