Some clarification, please?

I previously wrote HERE that according to Charles Santiago, there were 1,535 custodial deaths between 2003-2007. I re-quote:

According to statistics revealed in Parliament last year, there were a total of 1535 custodial deaths in the country between 2003 and 2007.

This was posted on 22 Jan 2009. So “last year” in the quote above would mean 2008.

Today, I came across an article in the Malaysian Insider HERE, with the following information:

In 2007, then Internal Security Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had stated there were 106 deaths in custody between 2000 and 2006. No updated statistics have been issued since then.

The figures are completely out-of-sync.

I am not going to dwell on the figures. As far as I’m concerned, 106 deaths in custody is no better than 1535. They were deaths that weren’t supposed to happen.

What I’m concerned about is the discrepancy between the two figures. The difference is so huge, that I can only think that someone made a mistake while typing up their articles, and was not meant to mislead us.

Another point is that according to Malaysian Insider, the most updated statistic was issued in 2007. But according to Charles Santiago, his figures came from Parliament in 2008.

These two articles are completely contradictory. Putting aside the believability of these two sources and their numbers, I am completely baffled at how different these two pieces of information can be.

Is this really just a case of “typo”? Or is this the consequence of not having updated information readily available? Whichever it is, this has left me unsure and completely in the dark, which really shouldn’t be the case.


Newsworthiness

I have with me today, a copy of yesterday’s Star newspaper. In print. And I don’t quite understand the logic behind their arranging the news articles the way they did.

On page N3, which is basically the first page behind the cover, is THIS piece of news about two Malaysian Muslim artistes pleading not guilty to khalwat.

On page N26, is THIS piece of news about the Altantuya murder case, where Azilah says he had no reason to kill her, and saying that it would have been a “stupid job”.

Comparing the two, there are several similarities. For one, they are both court cases. Both are pleading “not guilty”. And both are news involving Malaysians.

But somehow or other, the good people in the Star have decided that the news about two artistes being charged for close proximity is worthy of being on the 3rd page of the newspaper, whereas news about someone pleading not guilty to a murder charge is only worthy for a position in the 26th page.

Could it be that nowadays, we are more interested in whether a couple of artistes committed khalwat than we are in whether someone committed murder (and of the most brutal kind)?

Could it be that we (or our media) have our priorities the other way around?

Or maybe, I could be all wrong, and it actually doesn’t matter which page a news article is on, as long as it’s in there?


A. Asohan: Enough is enough

A. Asohan writes on what he thinks about the “war” in Gaza. He starts off with:

OKAY, time for a rant. Don’t expect a well-reasoned argument or a nuanced stance. Don’t even expect coherence or professional wordcraft here. Forget about journalistic objectivity or a professional code of ethics, seeing both sides of the story or walking in another man’s moccasins. I don’t care about the supposed political complexities, cultural sensitivities or historical subtleties.

Not when you start killing innocent people. Especially not when you start killing children.

And he ends with:

This is not an issue about religion, despite how some are painting it. No, neither are these atrocities against the Muslim world, despite what some politicians say. Such beliefs have led to a mess of misconceived statements and intentions, such as boycotting American products or sending in the troops to fight for a regime that doesn’t have an exactly spotless conscience either.

No, this is a humanitarian issue. It’s as simple as this: There is a bunch of people killing children. What is the world community – what are we – going to do about it?

Read the full article HERE, if you will. If you won’t, still read it anyway.


Big hoo-hah over ‘missing’ addresses?

That day, I wrote HERE about Farish Noor’s books being taken off the shelves in Kinokuniya, KLCC. Apparently, according to Nutgraph HERE, it was because the book did not carry the publisher’s address. Silverfish Books had this to answer:

“In the 10 years since [Silverfish Books] opened, we have shifted addresses three times,” Krishnan said.

“Instead, we have our website and email address on our books,” he said. “These are permanent. We have not changed them since we started. If you want me to put in my street address, I will, but it doesn’t make any sense anymore.”

In a totally unrelated incident, I just wrote HERE about a volunteer for Jerit who was arrested while distributing leaflets. According to Anil HERE, the arrest was because the leaflets that were being distributed did not carry Jerit’s office address. Anil goes on to say:

The Jerit leaflets only displayed the Jerit website address, the Jerit email, and the Jerit office phone number.

But the Jerit website shows the Jerit office address.

If it’s the law, it’s the law. And the law states that all books and leaflets are to carry the publisher’s address. From the same Nutgraph article:

The first clause of Section 11 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 stipulates that “Every publication printed or published within Malaysia shall have printed legibly in Bahasa Malaysia or the English language on its first or last leaf the name and address of its printer and publisher.”

But surely to seize ALL copies of Farish’s books from off the shelves at Kinokuniya was too much? If it was merely about the missing address, they should have contacted both the author and the publisher, which incidentally, the Home Ministry did not. Farish and Silverfish Books only found out about the removal of From Majapahit to Putrajaya from shelves after a couple of months.

And to arrest a person for distributing leaflets because it didn’t carry the office address? Surely the police could have just asked for the distribution to stop while they make contact with the publisher? Was this done?

I’m not sure how fair this parallel is, but while an average of 12 in every 100,000 people are being raped, and 98 in every 100,000 are being robbed (statistics from Parliament today), surely the police force can, and should be better utilised?


Video of the Anti-ISA vigil arrests on 9 Nov

Found this video from Susan’s blog HERE.

There have been many videos now showing the arrests during that one vigil that saw 23 people arrested. I still do not know the reason behind the mass arrests up till today. If the reason is because the vigil had no permit, it still does not explain the need for the FRUs to arrest that many people at one go, and to be so rough on civilians.

From the video we see the police, uniformed or otherwise, running and chasing down someone, presumably one of the vigilers. It looked to me like they were chasing down a criminal! If I didn’t know better, I would have thought this video was about chasing a robber or something.

On another note, it seems that the Malaysiakini camera and tape that were ‘arrested’ on the same day have been tampered with. If you’re subscribed to Malaysiakini, the story is HERE.

First and foremost, if the cameraman was there as media, why was he even arrested? Accroding to him, he was clearly wearing his Malaysiakini vest that had the words “Media” and “Malaysiakini” printed in bold on the front and back. Members of media should not be arrested for being at the scene covering a story.

And to make matters worse, his camera and tape were both taken (why take the camera is something I don’t get). And upon return, they found out that some parts of the video recording have been written over.

Whether the tape was tampered with by the police, or by a third party is yet to be determined. But it does make me wonder what the contents of the ‘missing’ parts are.