Posted: 22 Aug 2011 11:14 PM PDT
On 22nd August 2011, Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim made an unsworn statement from the dock during his second sodomy trial in just over a decade. He chose to do so knowing that less weight would be given to his testimony as compared to sworn testimony from the witness box. This decision not to testify from the witness box is at once a searing protest against an unjust legal and political system, an eloquent indictment of that system and a powerful call for reform and change. By refusing to testify and daring them to do their worst, Anwar Ibrahim has put the legal and political establishment itself on trial. Through this single, public act of principled defiance he has demonstrated the shocking extent to which our justice system has been reduced to being a tool of those who are in power now. His act echoes that of Nelson Mandela, who in a bygone era also chose to give an unsworn statement from the dock during his political trial. Mandela used his now famous statement in the Rivonia sham trial to expose the evils of the apartheid regime to the scrutiny of the world.The stirring conclusion to Mandela's speech is quoted by Anwar Ibrahim in his own statement from the dock. Like Anwar after him, Mandela realised that the only possible verdict was 'guilty' and preferred to make a full and coherent statement of his struggle rather than let his argument emerge in 'bits and pieces' during cross-examination.
The unsworn statement as it is today is the fruit of several hundred years of development of the common law. In England accused persons were not allowed counsel in felonies until 1836 and the practice thus grew up of allowing the accused person to make an unsworn statement from the dock. When the Criminal Evidence Act 1898 finally allowed sworn evidence to be accepted by the court, the right to make an unsworn statement from the dock was expressly preserved so as not to compel an accused person to go into the witness box. This hallowed and time-marked right is invaluable to the victim of a political trial, fighting against the entire might of the State. What Nelson Mandela did in 1963, Anwar Ibrahim did yesterday. Used in a righteous cause, the unsworn statement from the dock is a powerful tool against an unjust legal and political establishment. Anwar Ibrahim has rightly said that the outcome of his sodomy trial is a foregone conclusion. Now he has taken this judicial persecution and turned it into a weapon for the betterment of the nation.
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Posted: 22 Aug 2011 08:05 PM PDT
THE Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) had embarked on a green initiative to encourage and reward residents to care for the environment.
The initiative, PJ Low Carbon Green Rebate Assessment Scheme, will reward residents for their effort.
Practices such as composting, using a solar water heater or collecting rain water for washing are considered "green".
State executive councillor in charge of Environment, Tourism and Consumer Affairs Elizabeth Wong said environmental friendliness was a good effort and MBPJ's rebate assessment scheme could create a green revolution.
"Residents can take part in activities to green their homes in simple acts of composting or even buying energy-efficient appliances," she said.
MBPJ will give rebates of up to RM500 in annual assessment to residents who incorporate energy-efficient methods or follow a green lifestyle.
Residents can get the forms from the council and send it by Oct 21 for the rebate.
Wong, who launched the scheme at the council yesterday, said housewives could easily become agents of the green move by just collecting fruit or vegetable peels or for organic composting.
"Organic composting using a drum and some earth in your garden can get a resident to enjoy the RM150 rebate.
"Residents could earn another RM150 if they can show proof that they have recycled plastic, paper or cans weighing 50kg for the month," she said.
"Our officers are working hard to make Petaling Jaya into an environment-friendly city. Our rebate assessment scheme will benefit people during this difficult time," said Roslan.
He said for the pilot programme, MBPJ would accept only 100 applicants.
Five categories — energy, water, household waste products, transport and outdoor landscape — would be taken into account in the scheme.
A person can claim only 50% for each category.
"We are trying to promote green incentives or eco-friendly policies to reduce the carbon footprint," he said.
Roslan said people must make greener choices in all areas of their life, from cycling to the neighbourhood store to making their home energy-efficient.
Wong said if the programme was successful in Petaling Jaya than it would be extended to other councils.
For verification of homes that have incorporated energy-efficient upgrades or residents leading a green lifestyle, a team of consultants would visit the houses of the rebate applicant.
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