Friday, August 10, 2007

A Day In The Life of the Doghouse Skiffle Group

Alan Harman, Garry Pullen, and Keith Cheesman (three quirky dudes from Hull, England) impersonate Bat Masterson, Hopalong Cassidy and Wyatt Earp on tea-chest bass, washboard, and guitar. Check out their audacious interpretation of "an old English folksong" - A Day In The Life - by The Beatles! Captured live at RWMF 2007.

Randy Raine-Reusch with Tabuh Pak Ainal [RWMF 2007]

Randy Raine-Reusch - Vancouver-based collector of exotic instruments and a master musician of worldwide repute - teams up with superb Sarawakian father-and-son percussion unit, Tabuh Pak Ainal, at the Rainforest World Music Festival 2007.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

No peace on Peace Hill (an interesting excerpt from Malaysia's boldest blog)

The IGP said that he is being framed by his own men. If he is lying that is bad because he would then be in the same league as Umno’s much-disgraced Information Chief. But if what he says is true then that is equally bad. This demonstrates that the IGP has lost control of the police force. Is the police force a force by itself? Is this why officers from the special unit are moonlighting as assassins for those who wish to dispose of pesky foreign lovers? And it appears, according to the court testimony during the ongoing murder trial of Razak Baginda and his two attack dogs, weapons and ammunition can be taken in and out of the armoury without any security checks. In fact, the court was told, the officers can even take home the unused bullets and other dangerous stuff.

Malaysia Today had already arranged to video-record an interview with the late Altantuya’s father but unfortunately the interview had to be aborted because he was being closely followed and he could not shake off his tail. Malaysia Today wanted to record on video the very interesting testimony from the man who has intimate knowledge of the real story behind the Altantuya murder. Of course, normally Malaysia Today has to base its information on what the many Deep Throats have to reveal. But this was going to be no Deep Throat.

This is the father of the deceased who was going to bare it all for the world to see. He had a story to tell and he wanted the world to hear his story through Malaysia Today. But it was not to be because three intelligence agencies would not let him out of their sights.

What they told me was most frightening indeed. It seems the two police officers currently on trial for murder never revealed the location where Altantuya was disposed. The police knew exactly where the place was in spite of its extremely hidden location and which is off the beaten track. How did they know? Is it because that location is ‘gazetted’ as a disposal site? Furthermore, I was told, when the forensic people took away Altantuya’s remains, they discovered that the remains were not of Altantuya alone but of nine different people. I wanted all this on video because short of this 'evidence’ not many would believe such a thing like this.

Now Razak’s Affidavit that he filed during his bail application in front of Justice Segara makes sense. According to Razak, the inspector told him he had already killed six people before. Were these six amongst the remains of that nine?

[Read the whole spine-tingling story here!]

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Rot and More Rot in Malaysia’s Judicial System

by "Mat Salleh" | 06 August 2007
Asia Sentinel

The “retirement” of two top prosecutors is the latest fallout from the Mongolian murder trial, but the problems run deeper.

With the trial of three defendants for the brutal murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu entering another week, the Malaysian judiciary system is facing arguably its biggest crisis since former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sacked the Lord President, Tun Salleh Abbas, and two Supreme Court judges in 1988, ending the court’s independence.

The immediate concern is the threatened resignation of two top prosecutors, Yusof Zainal Abiden, the head of the prosecution division, and Sallehuddin Saidin, the deputy prosecutor and head of the classified cases unit. Although the Attorney General’s chambers denied the two were resigning, they later said they were applying for “optional retirement.”

Although no reasons have been given for the retirement, Malaysia’s gossipy legal fraternity seems to believe that the two are leaving because of dissatisfaction over problems in the politically charged murder case. Other top prosecution figures are reportedly considering quitting as well despite the denials.

In fact much of the spreading dissatisfaction with the judiciary relates to how the case is being handled. Sallehuddin had been named head of the prosecution team until he was abruptly dropped from handling it by Malaysia’s attorney general, Abdul Gani Patail (pictured left), the night before the trial was to begin. The attorney general’s office issued a statement that the dismissal was because Sallehuddin had been seen playing badminton with judges, an explanation that few in the legal system believed. The prosecution was replaced by a new team led by Majid Tun Hamzah.

Before the 28-year-old Altantuya was murdered and her body was blown apart with explosives in a suburban jungle clearing last Oct. 19, she was the lover of Abdul Razak Baginda, the head of the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre and a close advisor to Najib Tun Razak, the deputy prime minister. Abdul Razak was charged, along with Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Constable Sirul Azhar Umar, members of Najib’s personal security team, on suspicion that the political analyst had prevailed on the two security men to get rid of her.

The Russian-educated Altantuya, who spoke five languages, and the high-flying political analyst were involved in a whirlwind affair that included expensive gifts and trips to Europe, as well as payments up to US$10,000. After the married Abdul Razak had apparently tired of his paramour, the woman came to Malaysia to demand US$500,000 from him as support for a baby he allegedly sired.

From the time of the arrests, the case has been treated with extraordinary sensitivity in Kuala Lumpur, with every effort being taken to keep Najib’s name out of the trial – attempts that failed when Altantuya’s cousin testified in court that she had seen photos of Altantuya together with Abdul Razak and Najib at a dinner.

Strangely in what is presumed to be a court of law, both the prosecution and the defense asked that her testimony be stricken from the record, and neither side bothered to attempt to subpoena the picture. Nor at any time during the trial has either the prosecution or the defense attempted to ascertain how Abdul Razak, a private citizen, could prevail on Najib’s bodyguards to get rid of the woman without informing Najib about the matter. Najib has never been questioned or asked to testify.

[Read the rest here]