Jumaat, 21 Jun 2013

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Black 505: Rally to go on despite haze, no City Hall approval and police warnings

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 11:31 AM PDT

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Dataran Merdeka closed off 

(The Star) - 10.10am: Smooth traffic along Jalan Sultan Hishammuddin with minimal police presence and festive mood in front of the National Mosque.

9.35am: Some PAS supporters have started gathering in front of their headquarters on at Jalan Raja Laut. Two stalls were also set up in front of the building with one selling Black 505 t-shirts

9.30am: No one being allowed in the Dataran Merdeka area. DBKL staff turning away pedestrians and tourists. A DBKL personnel said they received instructions on Friday night, "just, in case."

9.24am: No crowd at Padang Merbok, DBKL personnel seen on the outskirts of the field.

No crowd at Padang Merbok.No crowd at Padang Merbok.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Black 505 rally, to protest alleged fraud during GE13, is all set to go on Saturday despite the haze, lack of approval from Kuala Lumpur City Hall and warnings from the police.

City Hall personnel have been in the area with their mobile operations centre and vehicles parked in the parking lot of the field since Friday night.

Participants, mainly supporters of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat and a number of non-governmental organisations, are expected to start gathering at noon before heading to Padang Merbok where the rally is expected to begin at about 3pm.

The seven main meeting points are in Brickfields, Masjid Negara, Pudu, Jalan Raja Laut (PAS headquarters), Universiti Malaya, Sogo shopping complex and Pekeliling.

On Friday night, City police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohmad Salleh, in a Facebook posting, had said police had received information that the rally organisers had ordered protesters to provoke the authorities to intentionally create chaos, claiming that the planned provocation was to incite the anger of the policemen on duty during the rally, hoping to elicit some form of retaliation.

In an immediate reaction, PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli and organiser of all Black 505 rallies denied DCP Mohmad's posting, adding that he had ordered his lawyer to start legal proceedings against DCP Mohmad.

"There was not one discussion that touched on aggressive behaviour towards the police and I have had good discussions with Dang Wangi OCPD Asst Comm Zainuddin Ahmad the whole time," he said in a statement Friday night. 

1M Malaysians Reject 100-storey Mega Tower

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 11:18 AM PDT

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Kuala Lumpur Mayor has received an application for CHANGE OF USE OF LAND (FROM OPEN SPACE AND INSTITUTION TO COMMERCIAL) and amendment of layout plan of the Merdeka Heritage sites consisting a 5 bilion 118 storey office tower, 2 blocks of 40 storey service department, a block of 40 storey hotel. This include THE CHANGE of Reserved People's Merdeka Park, Schools, Institution and Road for COMMERCIALPURPOSE.
Never has a project public hearing nor public consultation eversince PM announced this so call 'Warisan Merdeka' COMMERCIAL PROJECT in 2011, now our mayor silently put up a notice board on the site and small notices on 4 printed papers, announcing that you have 14 days to make objection. 

Our government's land grab techniques and land use transformation has always amused us. 

--
For those who wanted to write in for objection, DO IT NOW and submit BEFORE 2.7.2013. 

Important Notes:
In most cases, the objection letters are ignored unless you:
•Post/expose your objection letter and action through medias.
•Make sure you have a copy of the letter that gets stamped 'received' by DBKL. 
•Copy the objection letter to the Housing and Local Govt Ministry, Urban Wellfare Ministry, Land and Mines Ministry and PM Dept.

Action now. 
Save Merdeka Heritage. 

Save Rakyat's lands from cronies capitalists. 

The Chinaman's Burden

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 10:47 AM PDT

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The political environment in Malaysia does not favor the Chinese community with the ruling government criticizing the Chinese community for not supporting them in the general election. That leaves the Chinese community in a dilemma because their economic dominant strength will face challenges with the political institution condemning their political direction.  

Natesan Visnu 

Extract from Dr. Mahathir's blog:

 "If today the schism between the races is deeper it is because the DAP reject the Malay/Chinese/Indian "kongsi". The DAP wants the Chinese who already dominate the economy, to dominate Malaysia's politics as well. It is clearly racist and rejects inter-racial sharing of power and wealth as advocated by the BN. Racial polarization has become more pronounced as a result. It will become more so in the future"

Extract from Lim Kit Siang's blog:

"What they want is a new politics of a Malaysian Dream which could unite all Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region, in a common national purpose to build a new Malaysia where all Malaysians can hold their heads high as proud citizens of a Malaysian nation where there is freedom, justice, good governance, prosperity for all Malaysians where the politics of race is a nightmare of the past"

The recent spat between two senior leaders on racism has intrigued the younger Malaysian to analyze further the concept of Malaysian Dream and racial polarization. The younger generation needs to dig further on the statements made by the leaders with a fair mind without any emotive sentiments towards political belief or support.

The Malaysian Chinese dominates the business and commerce sectors of Malaysian economy. Chinese community contributes 90% of the national income tax and 60% of Malaysia's national income. In context of socioeconomic, the Chinese makes up the higher percentage of Malaysia's educated and professional class. Chinese are the highest white-collar workforce and highest household income earner in Malaysia. Chinese community dominates the Malaysian economy.

In the current development of political economy, the scholars described 'political economy' as interdisciplinary studies of laws, economics and political science. The study explores relationships between political institutions, political environment and economy (capitalist, socialist & mixed) and how the three disciplines influence each other. Translating to our current political scenario, the political environment in Malaysia does not favor the Chinese community with the ruling government criticizing the Chinese community for not supporting them in the general election. That leaves the Chinese community in a dilemma because their economic dominant strength will face challenges with the political institution condemning their political direction. 

How a community with economic superiority does survive in the political chaotic environment? We examine the political chaotic environment using the prisoner's dilemma game. It is a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so.

Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of speaking to or exchanging messages with the other. The police admit they don't have enough evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge. They plan to sentence both to a year in prison on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the police offer each prisoner a Faustian bargain. If he testifies against his partner, he will go free while the partner will get three years in prison on the main charge. Oh, yes, there is a catch ... If both prisoners testify against each other; both will be sentenced to two years in jail. (Wikipedia)

Advocating from traditional Prisoners' Dilemma structure;

Both political parties may choose to "Cooperate" or "Defect". The following describes the payoff matrix:

R (Reward) – if BN and DAP choose to cooperate

T (Temptation) and S (Sucker) – if BN defects, DAP refuses to cooperate and vice-versa

Punishment (P) – if both defects


                                           Cooperate (DAP)                                   Defect (BN)

Cooperate (BN)               R (BN), R (DAP)                                  S (BN), T (DAP)

Defect (DAP)                   T (BN), S (DAP)                                    P (BN), P (DAP)

The above is an example for mutual cooperation is greater than mutual separation. In the context of politics, DAP will never cooperate with BN because of fear for dominant strategy. Economic superiority will lose its strength when it is not backed by political will. The dominant player will always win the game regardless of the condition. In our current development, the Chinese is left with a burden to assist or rather develop the socio-economy of Malays, Indians, Iban, Kadazan, etc. Eliminating the strategy to work with BN leaves DAP with no options to pursue the mutual political cooperation via economic development and transformation at national level.

53% of Malaysian has supported Pakatan Rakyat. The challenge for the Chinese community is to uplift the poor Malaysians from poverty. The political support from Malaysians have demonstrated the desire for a Malaysian Dream. The aspiration from Malaysians must be transformed into reformation actions. The new politics as advocated by Lim Kit Siang has garnered political support but failure to develop socio-economy will definitely affect the support for Pakatan Rakyat. The failure in Kedah is an alarming signal from the public that if Pakatan Rakyat fails to perform, the people will not hesitate to vote PR out of public office.

DAP has demonstrated their political ambition to form a multiracial society. DAP has recruited leaders from all races to represent them. Lim Guan Eng has contributed to Islamic religious activities in Penang more than any other state in Malaysia. On the other hand, PKR has appointed a DAP woman to become the 1st female speaker in Dewan Undangan Negeri. The 'rakyat' truly appreciates the initiatives towards a multiracial society without race, religion or ethnicity. Kudos to Pakatan Rakyat!

The initiatives should not be stopped and the people are expecting more economic initiatives from Pakatan Rakyat. The strength for Pakatan Rakyat at this juncture comes from Chinese community economic strength, 53% popular votes, retaining Selangor, Kelantan and Penang and the additional 7 seats in Parliament. The Malaysian political landscape is divided into two fraternities with the ruling government with the political power and the opposition with the economic power.

Both political parties have a level playing field to deploy dominant strategy. Advocating on the prisoner's dilemma game, if the players are converted into race instead of political parties, the cooperation between Chinese and Malay will reward the relationship. On that note, PR needs to use economic strength to dominate the political environment.

The failure to transform the socio-economic condition of other races will reduce the support for Pakatan Rakyat. DAP should initiate economic reform actions in uplifting the socio-economic condition at massive scale for PR political dominance. PR should form a joint economic council with participation of major Chinese corporations and business owners for economic advancement of other races. The strategies from social business enterprises should be studied further for implementation in Pakatan-led states. The Chinaman's burden continues in the wake of the Malaysian political paradigm shift.  

Conversion of minors: No justification

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 10:41 AM PDT

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Should a man who betrays the trust of a family and abdicates his responsibility be welcome into Islam? Should such people be allowed to bring disrepute to the religion? 

P Ramakrishnan, Aliran executive committee member 

The Federal Court was wrong in its judgment in 2008 about the conversion of minors, says P Ramakrishnan.

A lot has been said that Islam is a just religion, a religion of peace and compassion. All this is true.
In keeping with the virtues and values of Islam, Islamic adherents are under a solemn obligation to give meaning to this by what they do and practise.

In other words, the Islamic faithful cannot be indifferent to the fate of someone who is of a different religion. They cannot deny the rights of these people nor can they be dismissive of the suffering when one Islamic faithful leaves his former family in the lurch after converting.

As a human being, he is expected to provide for his wife and children notwithstanding his embrace of Islam. If he fails to discharge this responsibility that is expected of him, should Islam embrace him? Should a man who betrays the trust of a family and abdicates his responsibility be welcome into Islam? Should such people be allowed to bring disrepute to the religion?

Unfortunately this is what is too often happening today. Secretly, the man converts, and all hell breaks loose for the family. He is not bothered. He compounds the misery of his wife by unilaterally converting his children to Islam. He shatters the life of a mother; and claims refuge in Islam. There is a moral question here.

One would expect religious authorities to guide him in the path of righteousness before he is allowed to convert. He should be advised to exemplify Islamic virtues by displaying compassion and discharging his responsibility to his family before he can find a place in Islam.

The religious authorities contribute to the family break-up when they convert his children without the knowledge or consent of their mother. By so doing, they add to the suffering of the helpless mother. Is this fair?

In a recent case, it is reported that a husband abandoned his wife from Jelebu in February last year without providing for her welfare, and converted to Islam. In April this year, very quietly and without the knowledge of his wife, he converted both his children aged five and eight.

These children were not born Muslims. Is it right to convert minors who have no knowledge of Islam? Having been brought up in the Hindu faith, how do they reconcile their conversion to Islam?

It is wrong for Negeri Sembilan State Islamic Affairs Department director Datuk Johani Hassan to insist that "when one parent embraces Islam, the children can be automatically converted. … The law does not say that we need the consent of both parents before we can convert their children."

The Federal Court might have erred when it ruled that the word "parent" in the Constitution meant a singular person and therefore a single parent could convert the child. But the phrase "consent of the parent" could not have meant that. If that was the intention of the framers of the Constitution, they would have expressed the intention as "consent of either parent".

This contention must be correct. Malaysian Bar president Christopher Leong had pointed out that "Article 160 of the Federal Constitution explains the rules of interpretation. … It is stated that words importing the masculine gender include females and words in the singular includes plural and vice versa."

How this important point could have been overlooked is a mystery to me. According to Mr Leong, "Until 2002, the Bahasa Malaysia version, as published by the Government Printers, translated 'parent' as 'ibu bapa'. However, in the 2002 edition of the translated Federal Constitution, the word 'parent' was translated as 'ibu atau bapa'," he added.

For the word "ibu bapa" to be changed to "ibu atau bapa" would require an amendment to the Federal Constitution. But from what can be ascertained, there was no such amendment. The original intention of the Constitution must remain unaltered.

That is crystal clear. The Malaysian Bar must move to have the Federal Court decision reviewed. Otherwise, a great injustice will be perpetuated.

In this unpleasant and worrying controversy, why is the Cabinet not speaking up especially when a decision was made in April 2009? It was then decided that children of parents where one of them opts to convert must continue to be raised in the common religion at the time of marriage.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department at that time, Datuk Seri Nazri, said it was decided in the Cabinet meeting that a spouse who has converted into Islam would also have to fulfil his or her marital responsibilities according to civil marriage laws.

"Religion should not be used as a tool to escape (marital) responsibilities. Conversion is not a ground for the automatic dissolution of a marriage," he said at a press conference at Parliament building on Thursday (23 April 2009).

"The children should be brought up in the common religion. For the spouse who intends to convert into Islam, he or she would also have to come clean," he said.

This is a fair and just Cabinet decision. Why is the Barisan Nasional government not enforcing this decision? Why is the Prime Minister allowing this unnecessary controversy to drag on? Our nation should not be embroiled in this issue.

Please speak up, Mr Prime Minister. 

P Ramakrishnan is the former president of Aliran and now serves on the Aliran executive committee  

More rallies, yes! But with a more "unifying" theme

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 10:40 AM PDT

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I strongly urge the opposition to move on from the electoral fraud issue. The electoral fraud theme has got a subtle divisive under-tone in it as there are still 48% of the Malaysian electorates voted for the BN/UMNO regime for whatever reasons.
 
Kuo Yong Kooi
 
Here are some historical events for examination on ideas for finding the right unifying theme for future rallies. 

The January 2011 Tharir square revolution started with a united voice of grievances of Egyptian protesters on a broad brush of issues from legal and political issues like lack of free elections, freedom of speech, corruptions, police brutality (sounds familiar?) and including economic issues like high unemployment, low wages and inflation. 

The Tunisian revolution events began in December 2010; precipitated by high unemployment, food inflation and government corruptions and other political freedom issues.

The late nineties Asia's Economic crises was the catalyst for the overthrow of the 32 years Suharto regime. Student protests started in early May 1998 at Trisakti University. The protests were against fuel and energy price rises.

The people power revolution of the Philippine in 1986 against Ferdinand Marcos started with initial non violent protest against electoral fraud and state violence. State sponsored murders and political assassinations were rampant during the years Marcos reigned in power. The tipping point that got people to turn out en masseagainst Marcos was the assassination of the popular opposition figure Benigno Aquino.

The examples from these four countries showed us that the sparks that started the fire against their government's authoritarian rule comes from a culmination of different factors. 

We need to cast a wider net to give reasons for the 48% who voted for the BN in the last election to participate in the rallies. I think drawing the line just below asking for the "overthrow" of the government is a good idea. The 48% voted for BN and many more from the 51% who voted for Pakatan do not feel comfortable with the idea of "toppling" the government. Malaysians are different from the Middle Eastern. Further more I think we haven't got to a tipping point yet. One of the major boiling points usually involve economic matters.

What then is the furthest you can go below the "toppling" of the government line? 
As mentioned in my previous letter to the editor "Why not a four-heads-rolling-in-one" rally, http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/letterssurat/57134-why-not-a-q4-heads-roll-in-1q-rally, I've made some points on better rally themes that unite people. I also highlighted that holding rallies on themes around electioneering matters do not go far enough.

I strongly urge the opposition to move on from the electoral fraud issue. The electoral fraud theme has got a subtle divisive under-tone in it as there are still 48% of the Malaysian electorates voted for the BN/UMNO regime for whatever reasons.

The initial skirmish at Taksim square was over the controversial construction plan for Istanbul's Gezi Park. That later spread onto groundswell support in shows of discontent against Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule.

The latest Brazil's June 2013 demonstrations were sparked by a "bus fair increase" protest which later culminated onto issues of high cost of living and lavish new stadium projects.
 
The two very recent massive demonstrations overseas showed us that the groundswell support from the masses do not have to necessarily come from just political issues.

I think the "law and order" issue is coming to a tipping point. Deaths in custody, daylight robberies, constant news of houses and cars break ins, corruption and the misappropriation of police resources against opposition political activists, are solid examples where the "law and order" issue is at it's tipping point.

By the look of it, a demonstration to ask the current IGP to resign to give way for a non partisan IGP and asking for a change in our police force's culture has got a higher chance of massive groundswell support than a demonstration on the electoral fraud issue.

The best question to ask when looking for a unifying theme is "will the other 48% turn out to support this theme?" and "will we lose further support from the 51%?". The "law and order" issue will give a yes answer to the former and no answer to the later. If you follow that logic, not much can go wrong with rallies along the theme of "law and order".

Conceding defeat in the GE-13 election does not necessarily mean that you are a loser, it could also mean that you are civilised, matured and have humility. It also portrays the opposition on a positive light by being responsible in moving on and addressing urgent matters of national interest.

As I am a Buddhist, my line of thinking is "the present moment is all we have" and "nothing is permanent". We should have a break from the constant battles of harping around the post GE-13 issues. Give our weary minds and bodies a rest, things might just turn around by itself without much effort. The Najib administration has previously shown to have constantly shot themselves in their own foot in the past. 

The UMNO regime with it's mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia and Perkasa are doing the hard yards on national reconciliation for the opposition. The UMNO regime had already united the unlikeliest of allies like PAS and DAP. Give it another four to five years, the other 48% of the electorate will vote for the opposition and the national reconciliation project can be declared a success, thanks to the Najib administration.

The implementation of the GST is just around the corner. 

That could be another potential massive rallying point for the opposition. The "anti GST" rally theme can be a unifying factor as economic themes are less divisive than political themes. The GST is another potential fuel for fire and it might well be the economic or "hip pocket" tipping point. The Najib administration has technically gathered enough fuel to light itself up.

All the opposition needs to do now is to get "the Pakatan house in order", looking for a winning formula in the rural constituencies and get the delineation process right. We might probably able to march into Putrajaya come GE-14 without much struggle "inshallah" (god willing).

Malaysia's rulers face rifts and protests

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 10:26 AM PDT

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(Al Jazeera) - Once again, they're expecting at least 100,000 people to attend. Najib's response will give an indication of whether Malaysia is headed towards a more open and democratic future - or flirting once again with its autocratic past. 

Three days after the Barisan Nasional coalition was returned to power for a record 13th time, more than a hundred thousand people turned out in protest at a rally led by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat in the suburbs of the capital.

While the mood was festive, the concern was serious: a flawed electoral system that protesters said undermined the result of the May 5 poll.

Since then, thousands of people across the country have turned out for what have become known as the "Black 505" rallies. The opposition, meanwhile, has lodged legal challenges to the results in 25 parliamentary constituencies.

On Saturday, two days before the new parliament sits for the first time, Pakatan will hold its last major protest - a mass rally near the historic heart of Kuala Lumpur - despite objections from the police and the Barisan-led local authority.

"We are going to go ahead," Keadilan Vice President Tian Chua told Al Jazeera. "Our demand is not for Najib to resign or for a change in government. It's simply for the elections commission to go. It's our effort to ensure there's real improvement in the electoral system. It shouldn't be seen as an attempt to start a street revolution."

The opposition's Black 505 campaign is not the only headache for Prime Minister Najib Razak, the man who led Barisan to victory in the hard-fought campaign.

While the coalition won 133 of the parliament's 222 seats, the numbers fell short of internal projections and Najib's own conviction that he would restore the party's cherished two-thirds majority in parliament. His party's non-Malay political partners found themselves all but obliterated and the coalition lost the popular vote for the first time.

Now reliant largely on the votes of rural communities and the Borneo states, Barisan and its race-based constituent parties are struggling with an identity crisis.

For the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the coalition's dominant party and the party of every Malaysian Prime Minister since independence, the question is whether to fall behind Najib and his slickly packaged reform agenda or return to the more conservative, nationalist ideology of the past.

"It's hard to get a sense of where the country's going, until UMNO has had its election and we know how the factions align themselves," said Keith Leong, a political analyst with KRA Associates in Kuala Lumpur. "This is a year of two elections. It could well be that the UMNO poll turns out to be more important than the general election."

Already Najib is attempting to appeal not only to the nationalists and the progressives within his own party, but also the reform-minded and increasingly vocal urban Malaysians, who are largely behind the opposition. He is keen to avoid the fate of his predecessor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi; forced out in an internal party coup amid disappointment over 2008's result.

Claiming victory in the election, Najib warned of a "Chinese tsunami" - Malaysia is majority Muslim Malay but also has sizeable populations of Chinese, Indians and indigenous people - that had turned against Barisan, but spoke also of the need for "national reconciliation".

Hours later, Najib was once again on the defensive after Utusan Malaysia, a Malay-language UMNO-controlled newspaper, splashed its front page with the headline: "What more do the Chinese want?" But while the condemnation from civil society and the opposition was swift, Najib said little.

Khairy Jamaluddin, Abdullah's 37-year-old son-in-law and the leader of UMNO's Youth wing wasn't so reticent. "The ideological lines have been drawn," he tweeted to his more than 300,000 followers, fortified by a resounding win in his own constituency. "Game on."

"The future of this party must be won by those who are committed to a moderate, centrist path," he told Al Jazeera in an interview last month, shortly before being named Minister for Youth and Sports. " Utusan 's headline represents precisely the sort of faction I stand against. If this party is moulded in the image of that headline then I don't think we have a future in the next general election."

Under election rules that will be used for the first time this year, some 146,500 of UMNO's estimated 3.5 million members will vote for the Supreme Council, vice presidents, the heads of the youth and women's wings and, in theory, the party's deputy president and president. Previously, voting was limited to the 2,000 delegates at the party conference, a system that helped create a class of party warlords with the money and influence to keep their favoured leaders in power and to dominate the party's political agenda.

But Ahmad Mustapha Hassan, who worked with former Prime Ministers Abdul Razak Hussein, Najib's father, and Mahathir Mohamad, doubts the new system will have much effect.

"UMNO cannot be changed," he said. "Mahathir created warlords and the warlords will not give up their power. If you try to take away their funds they will go against you and I don't think Najib will want to do that. He wants to keep his position. UMNO is still in the grip of Mahathir."

Read more at: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2013/06/2013621182139326174.html 

#black505 Sambut Baik Kerjasama Polis, Sediakan Bantuan Perubatan Yang Mencukupi

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 10:21 AM PDT

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Mewakili gerakan rakyat #black505 yang menganjurkan Himpunan Aman #black505 Padang Merbok yang dijadualkan pada 22 Jun 2013, saya mengalu-alukan kenyataan Ibupejabat Polis Daerah (IPD) Dang Wangi yang mengesahkan bahawa pihak polis akan memberi sepenuh kerjasama untuk memastikan perhimpunan esok berjalan dengan aman.

Rafizi Ramli 

Saya telah dimaklumkan secara tidak rasmi bahawa pihak polis akan membantu penganjuran perhimpunan esok hari, selagi peserta tidak memusnahkan harta awam. Saya merakamkan sepenuh penghargaan terutamanya kepada Ketua Polis Daerah Dang Wangi, ACP Zainuddin Ahmad yang banyak membantu, termasuk kesudian beliau untuk duduk berbincang dengan saya dan rakan-rakan Pakatan Rakyat (walaupun terpaksa dibatalkan akhirnya).

Kesediaan polis memberi kerjasama dan membantu penganjuran esok disahkan oleh ASP Ananthan Rajoo dari IPD Dang Wangi yang mengakui telah menerima arahan atasan untuk membantu, seperti yang dilaporkan oleh laman FreeMalaysiaToday sebentar tadi.

Pada masa yang sama, sekretariat penganjur telah duduk berbincang dengan pasukan perubatan sukarelawan untuk memperhalusi persediaan perubatan sokongan memandangkan keadaan udara yang membimbangkan.

Saya mengambil pandangan bahawa sejumlah besar orang ramai akan tetap hadir untuk menyertai perhimpunan pada esok hari tidak kira arahan yang diberikan oleh pihak sekretariat. Oleh yang demikian, keutamaan utama sekretariat dan pasukan perubatan sukarela adalah untuk memastikan bantuan perubatan sokongan adalah memadai untuk berhadapan dengan sebarang masalah, termasuklah bersabit kualiti udara yang tidak baik akibat jerebu.

Langkah-langkah berikut akan diambil oleh sekretariat dan pasukan perubatan sukarelawan bagi memastikan bantuan perubatan sokongan yang memadai:

Read more at: http://rafiziramli.com/2013/06/black505-sambut-baik-kerjasama-polis-sediakan-bantuan-perubatan-yang-mencukupi/ 

Hak ahli PAS, setakat mana diraikan

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 10:13 AM PDT

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Ini bukan cara sebuah parti yang berteraskan Islam. Ini juga bukan cara sebuah parti yang demokratik. Tentu ini berlawanan dengan perlembagaan parti itu sendiri.

Zaid Ibrahim 

Saya merujuk kenyataan Setiausaha Majlis Syura Ulama PAS yang menolak pandangan saya bahawa Husam Musa adalah pemimpin yang sesuai menerajui parti PAS sebagai Presiden pada masa depan. Beliau mengambil pendekatan bahawa PAS perlu dipimpin oleh seorang ulama kerana hanya kepimpinan ulama sahajalah yang boleh menjaga kepentingan parti yang berteraskan perjuangan Islam.

Saya bersetuju bahawa seseorang pemimpin PAS itu mestilah seorang ulama. Saya juga berpendapat semua ahli PAS itu adalah `ulama' dalam konteks erti ulama yang lebih luas.

Mereka ini semua mahukan politik negara ditadbir dengan berteraskan prinsip agama suci kita, Islam. Semua ahli PAS memperjuangkan Islam. Sebab itu mereka masuk PAS. Bila seseorang itu layak menjadi ahli dalam parti tersebut maka dia sudah diterima sebagai seorang `ulama'. Sekali gus semua ahli PAS layak menawarkan diri sebagai pemimpin parti tersebut.

Hak ahli untuk memilih dan dipilih, mengundi dan diundi, ada dalam Perlembagaan PAS itu sendiri. Bukankah kesamarataan hak ahli merupakan syarat utama yang perlu kita akur sebelum sesebuah parti politik itu diluluskan pendaftarannya  oleh Pendaftar Pertubuhan?

Ini yang berlaku sekarang. PAS adalah sebuah parti yang mempunyai berbagai lapisan pemimpin. Majlis Syura Ulamanya dipimpin oleh seorang Mursyidul Am, dan Jawatankuasa Kerja Pusat dan Jawatankuasa Harian Pusat dipengerusikan oleh Presiden.

Bolehlah dikatakan semua pemimpin dan pucuk pimpinan ini seperti Salahuddin Ayub dan Mahfuz Omar terdiri daripada mereka yang mempunyai latar belakang pendidikan agama dan mahukan pentadbiran negara yang berasaskan Islam. Begitu juga dengan Husam Musa. Kalaulah mereka ini semua dianggap bukan ulama, masakan mereka boleh jadi pemimpin parti.

Husam Musa telah pun dipilih sebagai Naib Presiden, sepertilah juga Mahfuz Omar dan Salahuddin Ayub. Barangkali pakaian dan janggut mereka sahaja yang tidak sama dengan golongan ulama lain dan mungkin kelulusan akademik atau profesional mereka lain daripada Harun Taib dan Nik Amar Nik Abdullah. Tetapi mereka  tidak kurang kesesuaiannya sebagai pemimpin.

Alangkan anehnya parti PAS ini sekiranya seseorang itu, seperti kawan lama saya Mat Sabu, hanya layak memegang jawatan Timbalan Presiden (dan tidak digelar `ulama') tetapi tidak layak memegang jawatan Presiden.

Kalaulah ini caranya parti memilih pemimpin maka ia bukan sebuah parti yang boleh maju kerana hak setiap ahli PAS itu seolah-olah ada`hadnya', iaitu ke tahap mana dia dilayakkan atau dibolehkan memimpin. Had atau jawatan paling tinggi itu pula ditentukan oleh kumpulan lain dalam parti, bukan oleh ahli-ahli secara keseluruhannya.

Read more at: http://zaiduntukrakyat.com/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=392&cntnt01origid=15&cntnt01returnid=80 

Appeals Court: Non-Muslim lawyers can practise Syariah Law in FT

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 10:10 AM PDT

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-LjsLibGKnNA/TYMGWI6oI8I/AAAAAAAAFw0/XW8fx4wcKdc/s400/Victoria%2BJayaseele%2BMartin.jpg 

(The Star) - Non-Muslim lawyers are now eligible to practise Syariah Law in the Federal Territories, following a landmark decision by the Court of Appeal Friday.

In its judgement on the case of Victoria Jayaseelan Martin's attempt to become a Syarie lawyer, the court ruled that the Federal Territories Islamic Council (MAIWP) had exceeded its powers in rejecting the former's application on grounds that she was a non-Muslim.

Justice Datuk Seri Abu Samah Nordin, who lead the three-member bench that made the judgement, said the law governing the appointment of Syarie lawyers does not specify that applicants must be Muslim.

"If the intention is to prohibit non-Muslims from appearing in the Syariah Court, that should be expressly stated in the legislation," he said when delivering the judgement. 

Indonesia probes eight firms for fires, including Sime Darby unit

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 10:08 AM PDT

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/images/uploads/indonesia_22.6.jpg 

(TMI) - Indonesia is investigating eight firms for causing fires that led to the smoke shrouding parts of Southeast Asia, including Malaysia's Sime Darby and Singapore-listed Wilmar and First Resources, the Singapore Straits Times reported today. 
It said that Indonesian Environment Minister Balthasar Kambuaya revealed the details at a meeting in Jakarta yesterday with his Singapore counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan. 

He did not name the firms, but Indonesian officials working with non-governmental groups separately identified 17 pulp and paper and 15 palm oil companies on whose land fires had been burning over the past nine days. 

The majority of the hot spots in Riau province is inside concessions affiliated to Royal Golden Eagle, of which April Group - with an office in Singapore - is part, and Sinar Mas Forestry, which supplies to Asia Pulp and Paper, presidential delivery unit chief Kuntoro Mangkusubroto told a briefing yesterday. 

The April Group said yesterday that the firm and its third-party suppliers practise a strict "no-burn" policy. 

"The information on concession licences was gathered from publicly available sources and confirmed against satellite images of hot spots," said Samadhi Nirarta, the presidential unit's deputy on moratorium monitoring. Dr Balakrishnan, who travelled to Jakarta yesterday as Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's special envoy, welcomed his counterpart's update on enforcement.

"We have got to join the dots and get that trail of accountability back to the companies and the stakeholders who are responsible for this disaster," he told Singapore media. 

"If we don't do that, there will not be sufficient deterrent on the ground." 

On Thursday, PM Lee said his Government will act against Singapore companies found responsible for the fires. 

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/indonesia-probes-eight-firms-for-fires-including-sime-darby-unit/ 

Govt asked to look into plight of jobless doctors

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 10:05 AM PDT

(The Malay Mail) - THE government has been asked to look into the plight of about 300 doctors who have been left in the lurch because the Malaysian Medical Council does not recognise their foreign universities.

Hindraf national adviser N. Ganesan (pic) said the doctors graduated from unrecognised universities and are seeking the help of the government to resolve their predicament.

MMC conducted the Malaysian Qualifying Examinations (MQE) for doctors who graduated from unrecognised universities to vet their standards.

Universiti Malaya, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia conducted the six-month course but the doctors now claim the MMC has suspended the MQE without reason.

Ganesan was addressing a press conference with seven doctors who graduated from Romanian universities here yesterday.

A 32-year-old woman doctor, who declined to be named, said she returned in 2009 after undergoing six years of medical training and has been waiting for MMC to recognise her qualifications.

Another 27-year-old male doctor asked the government to give them a chance to serve the country and prove their abilities and skills.

"We have passed the standard set by the European Union and we took the effort to learn medicine in their language. We worked hard to be doctors and we hope the government will resolve our problem," he said.

Ganesan said initially only the public universities conducted the courses but the MMC later allowed several private universities to conduct them since last year before it suspended the examinations in March.

He said the public universities initially charged RM1,850 for the examination but the fee had since gone up. Public universities had raised the fee to RM22,000 before it was suspended.

Ganesan said there were zero passes in the MQE at UM from 2009 until 2011 and there were only seven passes from UKM in 2011.

"The government should find a way to accommodate these doctors and establish a clear path for them," he said. 

Khairy wins appeal against Anwar

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 09:35 PM PDT

(The Malaysian Times) - The Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin can defend himself in the RM100-million defamation suit brought against him by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

This is because a three-member panel of the Court of Appeal, led by Datuk Mohamed Apandi Ali, has unanimously allowed the Umno Youth chief's appeal to set aside a High Court order which precluded him from defending himself in the civil suit.

Apandi, who presided on the panel with Datuk Linton Albert and Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, said in the light of the facts and circumstances of the case, the court could not sustain the precluded order of the High Court.

The panel ordered the trial to proceed before another judge. He said the essence of the case was that Khairy had failed to comply with the High Court's directives given during case management to file various documents, such as witness list and summary of the case, and to look into the issues of the case.

Apandi said based on the court proceeding, it did not show to the panel as to how the defence's failure of not adhering to the directives could have caused the trial to be delayed.

 "We must remind everybody including ourselves that we don't condone non-compliances of any court order," said Apandi.

However, in this particular case, to issue an order which was unclear in terms, could have resulted in an absurd situation. He said the judge should have given an order to strike out Khairy's defence, instead she gave a different order.

On March 7, 2008, Anwar filed the suit against Khairy claiming that the latter, as then Umno Youth deputy chief, had uttered defamatory words and caused the posting on websites, including Malaysiakini.com, a video clip entitled, 'Anwar and kin no threat'.

Anwar claimed that the video clip on Malaysiakini.com contained defamatory words spoken by Khairy at a 'ceramah' (talk) in Lembah Pantai here, on or about Feb 20, 2008.

Khairy, in his statement of defence filed on Oct 8, 2010, said he relied on the defence of justification and qualified privilege.

On Aug 13, 2012, High Court judge Datuk Hue Siew Kheng issued an order precluding Khairy from defending himself as Khairy's counsel did not comply with the court's directions during case management for parties to file various documents which were supposed to be provided to the court before trial.

On Nov 26, last year, Justice Hue dismissed Khairy's application to set aside her order to preclude Khairy from defending himself in the suit. He appealed to the Court of Appeal. Khairy was represented by lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah while Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah acted for Anwar,  reported Bernama.

 

Ex-Bukit Aman CID chief heads panel probing indelible ink fiasco

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 09:26 PM PDT

Azril Anuar, fz.com

Former Bukit Aman Criminal Investigations Department (CID) director Datuk Christopher Wan Soo Kee will be heading the three man team investigating the indelible ink fiasco that took place over the 13th General Election.

Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof told fz.com that the team was formed not to "investigate acts of internal sabotage" as reported by a Malay daily but to find out the real reason behind the failure and weakness of the indelible ink.

"We did not establish the team because we believe there was an internal sabotage in the usage of the indelible ink. We have formed the team, chaired by Datuk Christopher Wan to study the weakness of the indelible ink.

"We have more or less found out quite a lot but we are still conducting a more detailed study into the ink's failure," said Abdul Aziz, who also named retired judge Abdul Aziz Khalidin and retired Customs Deputy Director General Datuk Md Yusop Mansor as the other two members of the team.

All the three individuals are part of the EC's five member panel.

Abdul Aziz also admitted the commission was shocked by the failure of the indelible ink, resulting in widespread criticism against them.

"We were wondering and were caught by surprise when we realised what had happened because this is the first time after Merdeka that we are using the indelible ink. We have organised elections for decades. At first we thought everything was okay.

"When we first tested it, it was okay. Even when we tested it on journalists, it was okay," said Abdul Aziz.

When asked if he believed the failure could stem from the contractor who supplied the ink, Abdul Aziz said that he would not pre-empt the results of the investigations.

"I don't want to comment until we have a final conclusion on the matter. The results of the investigation will be made public.

"However, we don't have the exact date yet as it is a legal matter and we must refer to our legal department first to ensure that we have conducted a thorough investigation and that everything is in order," said Abdul Aziz.

Today, a Malay daily reported EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar as saying that the three-man team has been given a month's time to conduct their investigations.

He reportedly said: "There are many kinds of EC staff, we don't know their real intentions, so this case needs a detailed and thorough investigation in our quest for the truth.

"We don't know if the ink did not last that long due to poor quality, mistakes made by EC officers or even because of sabotage. We ourselves were stunned because our contract with the supplier was that the ink must last for a long time."

The EC came under much criticism after the indelible ink, meant to prevent electoral fraud, was found to be easily washed off. Several groups have also demanded that the EC chairman and deputy resign over the matter.

 

Abdul Kadir accepts nomination as Speaker, but no hidden agenda

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 09:17 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Former Federal Court judge Datuk Abdul Kadir Sulaiman today said he accepted his nomination as Dewan Rakyat Speaker by the opposition pact so long as there is no hidden agenda.

Abdul Kadir, 74, said he accepted the nomination if the opposition pact was sincere in doing so based on his non-partisan stand, and not for its (opposition pact) interests.
 
"If the intention is right, I'll accept. It is a trust which I think should be accepted for the good of the religion, race and country.
 
"I accept the nomination not out of aloofness, egoism, etc that never crosses my mind. It is the people's trust in me. I will have to answer back if I do not do it right," he said when contacted by Bernama today. 
 
Yesterday, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the opposition pact unanimously agreed to nominate Abdul Kadir as the Dewan Rakyat Speaker.
 
Anwar stated Abdul Kadir's credibility and track record would make Parliament more independent and that the nomination was sent to Parliament last June 10.
 
Asked what he could contribute if elected, Abdul Kadir said with his experience and knowledge, he would ensure Parliament functioned effectively as a venue to resolve the people's problems, instead of becoming a battlefield for the elected representatives. 
 
The selection of the Dewan Rakyat Speaker is scheduled this Monday before the 222 parliamentary members are to take their oath.
 

Such is Malaysian politics

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 07:58 PM PDT

And there is another reason why Kadir Sulaiman should find some support within the Barisan ranks. The Perak power grab was legitimised after the Court of Appeal relied on an obscure statement by Kadir from a 1995 case in Sabah. In reaching the decision, the Court of Appeal relied on a statement made by Kadir in the Amir Kahar case in 1995.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Kadir the acceptable choice?

(The Malaysian Insider, 21 June 2013) - Pakatan Rakyat wants former judge Datuk Kadir Sulaiman as the new Speaker of Parliament when the House convenes on Monday and Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional should find him an acceptable choice.

After all, he is an establishment figure. He served the Terengganu royal household well. Also, it is not as if appointing someone with Kadir's background is going to break new ground.

There is already a precedent of a former judge serving as the Speaker of the House. Tun Zahir Ismail was a High Court judge before he became the longest serving Speaker in Malaysian history.

And there is another reason why Kadir should find some support within the Barisan ranks. The Perak power grab was legitimised after the Court of Appeal relied on an obscure statement by Kadir from a 1995 case in Sabah.

The crux of the issue in the power grab in Perak was whether when the then Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin was granted an audience by the Sultan of Perak, he had lost the confidence of the majority of the assembly, and the Malay Ruler was correct in asking him to step down.

The Court of Appeal decided that the Sultan was spot on in asking Nizar to step down, as he had lost the confidence of the majority. The court added that there was no express provision for a vote of confidence to be taken in the state assembly, which was the contention of Pakatan Rakyat.

In reaching the decision, the Court of Appeal relied on a statement made by Kadir Sulaiman in the Amir Kahar case in 1995.

"The evidence that a chief minister ceases to command the confidence of the majority members of the Assembly...is not only available from the votes taken in the Assembly. There is nothing in the Constitution which can be construed as requiring that the test of confidence must be by a vote taken in the Assembly itself. The fact can be evidenced by other extraneous sources."

This paragraph was relied on by the Court of Appeal to support their decision that there was no necessity for Nizar to face a no-confidence vote in the House and that it was correct for the Perak Sultan to rely on extraneous sources.

This decision was heavily criticised by senior lawyers because Kadir's statement was obiter dicta. It was not the meat of his decision and was merely a throwaway observation.

Still, the Appeal court relied on that statement and the Barisan was relieved that a judge by the name of Kadir Sulaiman was like-minded.

********************************************

Pakatan Rakyat says that the Malaysian courts are not impartial and work for the government while Malaysian judges are slime-balls and scumbags and corrupted to the core. Hence we cannot trust the Malaysian judicial system or Malaysian judges.

However, Pakatan Rakyat is pushing for a retired judge to be appointed the new Parliament Speaker. This appears to be a contradiction to the statement that we cannot trust Malaysian judges farther than we can throw them.

We also see Pakatan Rakyat working closely with many retired police and military officers when at one time they alleged that the Malaysian police and military are tools of the government.

Furthermore, we see Pakatan Rakyat singing the praises of some members of the royal family who were once vilified as leeches but now that they support the opposition they are revered. Some were even given seats to contest in the recent general election.

This is certainly a very interesting turn of events. I bet if some of those 'corrupt and evil people' from Barisan Nasional decide to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat they would instantly be forgiven for their crimes and would be welcomed to the opposition ranks with open arms and with much pomp and revelry.

Such is Malaysian politics. You can be transformed from Satan to Christ by just walking a few paces from the government aisle to the opposition aisle. You need not even return all the money you stole when you were in power.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad should take note of this. If he suspects that Barisan Nasional is going to fall and that Pakatan Rakyat is about to take over all he needs to do is to endorse Anwar Ibrahim for Prime Minister and Lim Kit Siang for Deputy Prime Minister and he will be hailed as the greatest Prime Minister Malaysia ever had.

Such is Malaysian politics.

 

When fences are erected

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 06:30 PM PDT

Malaysia was already badly divided between Nationalist Malays and Leftist Malays long before Merdeka. Then, around Merdeka, we were further divided between Secular Malays and Islamist Malays. Now we are being divided between Liberal Malays (mainly urban) and Conservative Malays (mainly rural). To further divide the Malays between Royalist Malays and Republican Malays is just one more divide too many.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

No unity talks with Najib – Anwar

(The Malaysian Insider, 20 June 1013) - Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim stressed today that there has not been a proposal for a unity government from the prime minister.

Anwar said the only suggestion for a unity government came from the people.

"It is important for us to appreciate the fact that the three parties are committed to Pakatan Rakyat," he said, meaning PKR, PAS and DAP.

"There was no basis whatsoever for any such consideration on embarking on a unity government."

He also dismissed having any such talks and also rubbished claims that he had met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Istana Presiden Indonesia in Jakarta when the two were in the country last week at the same time.

Anwar said he only met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and former vice-president Jusuf Kalla in Bali and Jakarta respectively.

Anwar was speaking to reporters at the PAS headquarters in Kuala Lumpur where PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, who was also present, denied that PAS was involved in unity talks.

"At this stage, not at all. We stick with Pakatan. Any decision we make is under Pakatan, it's very clear," Salahuddin said.

It was reported that talk of forming a national unity government started some time ago but that disappeared after the last general election amidst speculation that Najib's position as the premier was weakening.

*************************************************

The 30-year War of the Roses was fought in England between 1455 and 1485 -- a tussle between the houses of Lancaster and York over the throne of England. From 1642 to 1651, the nine-year English Civil War was fought between the Crown and Parliament. Both these wars were wars between brother and brother, cousin and cousin, and sometimes even father and son.

The problem with those two wars was that the combatants and those who died -- and there were many who died -- were in one way or another related to one another. Yet they had to fight against each other and kill each other just like what happened during the four-year American Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

Of course, all this did not happen only in England and America. All over the world, over thousands of years, wars between 'brothers' have been fought. The Indian Civil War (if I may be permitted to call it that) soon after WWII resulted in the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan. Indians of Hindu and Muslim persuasion that had been living as friendly neighbours for more than a thousand years suddenly and mercilessly butchered each other and more than a million Indians died.

In all three examples above (England, America and India) it was a case of politicians fighting for power. And this power struggle eventually led to a war. But it was not the politicians who suffered. It was the people who suffered.

It is easy for politicians like Anwar Ibrahim and Najib Tun Razak to 'declare war' on each other. If these two were to go behind the swimming pool and slug it out on a one-on-one (like what we used to do in MCKK) then well and fine. But that is not what they do. What they do is they drag the rakyat into their fight and cause the rakyat to turn on one another, fight one another, and hate 'the other side'.

Take the example of the War of the Roses or the English Civil War where brother fought brother, cousin fought cousin, and sometimes even father fought son. Do you think these people really hated each other? They did not.

However, they had no choice but to take sides. You either supported the King or you opposed him. And you either supported the King or opposed him not because you love him or hate him but because you happen to live in that particular town that either supported or opposed the King.

In other words, you are a victim of circumstances. Because of the circumstances of where you live you are forced to choose sides or else you will get killed for being a 'traitor'. Hence you support the side you do not really support and oppose the side you would really like to support…or else…

I am a royalist at heart. Of course, I have criticised the monarchs on many an occasion and for various reasons over the last 30 years or so since the 1980s. But I criticise them because of their conduct or wrongdoings. It is somewhat 'personal to holder'. But I never show disrespect by calling for the abolishing of the monarchy and to turn Malaysia into a republic.

In fact, I have also been very unkind to the Malays although somehow they do not call me a racist like they do when I also criticise the Chinese or Indians. I suppose these people apply the doctrine that you are a 'Towering Malay' when you criticise the Malays but a racist when you criticise the non-Malays.

Nevertheless, I still believe that we need the monarchs to keep the peace between the Malays and the non-Malays. The Malays, however antagonistic and defiant they may be, will always listen to their Raja-Raja Melayu. And in the event of a racial conflict, the Raja-Raja Melayu will be able to issue a titah (royal decree) and the Malays will listen to their monarch and will calm down.

Many are of the opinion that the maintenance of the monarchy is a waste of good money. Would you say that health and safety are a waste of money however much it may cost? I believe that the monarchy serves a purpose. As long as Malaysia has its Raja-Raja Melayu (sovereign) the Malays would feel that their kedaulatan (sovereignty) is intact. That makes up for whatever else the Malays may be lacking.

There are many Malays who feel they have lost out in the economic sphere. Whether it is the fault of the Malays themselves or of Umno -- that the failure of the NEP can be blamed on -- is not really a matter that I wish to debate here. The point I wish to stress is that in spite of the 'backwardness' of the Malays in terms of wealth, the Malays will always find solace in knowing that they still have something that the others do not have -- the Raja-Raja Melayu.

People like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Tun Musa Hitam, Tun Ghafar Baba, Anwar Ibrahim, and many more from Umno (or ex-Umno) are republicans at heart. If given a choice between maintaining the monarchy and turning Malaysia into a republic they will choose the republic option. But even these republicans know that this would be dabbling with the unknown and better you stay with the known than risk the unknown (as they say: better a devil you know than an angel you don't).

Malaysia was already badly divided between Nationalist Malays and Leftist Malays long before Merdeka. Then, around Merdeka, we were further divided between Secular Malays and Islamist Malays. Now we are being divided between Liberal Malays (mainly urban) and Conservative Malays (mainly rural). To further divide the Malays between Royalist Malays and Republican Malays is just one more divide too many.

I have spoken to many of my non-Malay friends and they feel that a divided-Malay is the best way forward. They quote the example of Bersih and the 'Black 505' rallies where there are as many Malays as non-Malays amongst the crowd. Hence this is 'proof' that a divided-Malay augurs well for Malaysia's liberal movement.

Division can never be good. Division can never be better than unity. Although the non-Malays may see a divided-Malay as good for multiculturalism, there will be a price to pay for disunity.

The notion that one person's loss is another person's gain does not always apply to all situations. Civil wars create victims. And most times the victims are the 'innocent bystanders'. Bullets do not pick and choose its targets. The innocent as well as the guilty suffers in a hail of gunfire.

I would urge our politicians to pause and take a long and deep breath. What is the agenda? Have we lost sight of the agenda? Can politics of hate achieve what we are trying to achieve?

I used to be a strong Pakatan Rakyat supporter. In 2009 I even issued a rebuke to His Highness the Sultan of Perak and I refused to publicly apologise for that rebuke even when commanded to do so by my own family from the Selangor Royal Household. When my family gave me an ultimatum to apologise or else get ostracised, I responded publicly that I would rather leave Selangor and never set foot on that state soil ever again than withdraw my rebuke.

So, yes, I too have defied the Palace, and on more than one occasion. But in all that time I still referred to the State Rulers as Their Highnesses and the Agong as His Majesty and addressed them as 'Tuanku' and myself as 'patek'. I never called them dogs and pigs and whatnot like many of you do in your comments on the Internet and in Malaysia Today as well.

But now I am no longer a strong Pakatan Rakyat supporter although my critics translate this as meaning I am now a Barisan Nasional supporter. As I said, I have personally and publicly rebuked the monarchs from time to time. But I never vilify and disparage them like many of you do. And there is a difference in case many of you are too dumb to understand.

How can I support any political grouping that takes political mileage from a hate campaign? Back in the 1980s I became a 'hard-core' opposition supporter when Umno (and led by Dr Mahathir, Ghafar and Anwar) declared war on the monarchy. The plan then was to abolish the monarchy and turn Malaysia into a republic.

This, however, was bitterly opposed by PAS and that was when I (openly) became a staunch PAS supporter although I had been a 'closet supporter' as early as the 1970s. Hence one of the factors in me 'coming out of the closet' and opposing Umno is because of the 1980s Constitutional Crisis. This was also why Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah got support (because he too was opposed to the onslaught on the Rulers) and was the reason why PAS-Semangat 46 won Kelantan in 1990 (because the Sultan of Kelantan openly and defiantly supported the opposition).

As I said earlier, we do not start the wars. The politicians start these wars. We are merely victims of these wars and are compelled to take sides because we are forced by circumstances to do so. Hence Pakatan Rakyat needs to reflect on what will happen if the Malays are further divided than they already are. Do not equate 'Malay unity' as merely strengthening Umno. That is a very narrow way of looking at things.

In that case, do you view 'Malaysian unity' as a weakening of Umno or as a way to prevent a race war in Malaysia? Hence, if Malaysian unity is good for the country how can Malay unity be bad? We seem to have this view that Malay unity will work in favour of Umno while Malays at war with one another is good for the opposition.

Maybe this is how Israel looks at things. Arab unity is bad for Israel while Arabs at war with one another is good for Israel. How can a Middle East at war be good for the world? Wars breed extremists and killers and soon these extremists and killers go all over the world to kill innocent women and children. Then we blame Islam for this whereas the wars in the Middle East are not about Islam but about politics, power and territory.

And this is where politicians from both sides of the political divide are being very irresponsible. Of course both sides will claim that their cause is noble and they will cite all sorts of reasons as to why they need to fight.

Invariably, at the end of the day, it is all about politics and power. The reasons being cited are the excuses to give them a noble image of why they fight. And the result is we hate each other and wish ill on each other. And the way the monarchy is being vilified and disparaged has turned Royalists like me against the politicians from both sides of the political divide.

I am a Royalist and proud of it and I offer no apologies for being a Royalist.

(By the way, a Royalist does not mean a member of the Royal Family but a person who supports the Monarchy).

 

Suu Kyi slams proposed inter-faith marriage law

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 03:55 PM PDT

(AFP) - Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has criticised a proposal by nationalist monks to restrict marriages between Buddhist women and men of other faiths, describing it as a violation of human rights, a report said Friday.

"This is one-sided. Why only women? You cannot treat the women unfairly," Radio Free Asia quoted the Nobel Peace Laureate as saying in an interview.

"I also understand that this is not in accordance with the laws of the country and especially that it is not part of Buddhism," the veteran activist said.

"It is a violation of women's rights and human rights."

Under the proposal -- spearheaded by the controversial Mandalay cleric Wirathu -- non-Buddhist men wishing to marry a Buddhist woman would have to convert and gain permission from her parents to wed or risk 10 years in jail.

The idea was raised at a recent meeting of more than 200 monks called to discuss a surge in Buddhist-Muslim violence in the former junta-ruled country.

Wirathu said the law was needed "because Buddhist girls have lost freedom of religion when they married Muslim men".

Senior clerics have distanced themselves from the proposal while women's rights groups have voiced opposition.

Sectarian bloodshed -- mostly targeting Muslims -- has laid bare deep divides that were largely suppressed under decades of military rule which ended two years ago in the Buddhist-majority country.

Radical monks -- once at the forefront of the country's pro-democracy movement -- have led a campaign to shun shops owned by Muslims and only to visit stores run by Buddhists. Some were also involved in the religious unrest.

Suu Kyi has been accused by some international human rights activists of failing to clearly condemn the anti-Muslim violence.

Dozens of people were killed in clashes in central Myanmar in March while about 200 people died last year in sectarian unrest in the western state of Rakhine.

Last month Suu Kyi criticised a controversial ban imposed on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine having more than two children.

 

Stoning is not Shariah, says Qatar scholar

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 03:39 PM PDT

Argument in magazine sparks lively debate over pratice

Habib Toumi, Gulf News

Doha: An argument in a Qatari magazine that the stoning of adulterous married husbands or wives was not supported by Islamic Shariah (law) is set to ignite a heated debate in the country and well beyond.

In an interview published by posh magazine Al Dana on May 1 in the Qatari capital Doha, Shaikh Isam Talimah said that stoning was a Jewish tradition that was initially taken up by Muslims, but insisted that it was later replaced with lashing.

The scholar said that the Quran, the holy book of Muslims, never prescribed stoning as punishment for adultery and that the punishment prescribed by the Shariah is 100 lashes to the adulterer and the adulteress in public.

The stoning issue was a matter of interpretations by Muslims.

"Those who claim that there were verses that initially mentioned stoning, but were later changed are of course totally and completely wrong," he told the magazine. "The verse on zina (sex outside marriage) in the Quran is very clear and it stipulates lashing the man and the woman equally. The resort by some people to stoning was to reinforce the punishment, especially when there are high immoral risks, such as the proliferation of the cases of rape, pedophile or incest," he said.

The magazine, chaired by Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Attiya, anticipating a storm of reactions to the interview, said that it welcomed the views of those who opposed Shaikh Isam's argument and that it would publish them.

Stoning as a form of capital punishment whereby a group of people throw stones at a person until death ensues was known in ancient times and is mentioned in historical reports.

Some Islamic scholars have had similar views to those of Shaikh Isam, arguing that under the rules of Shariah, the punishment for a married slave-girl is half of that given to free women.

"If the case for adultery is to be stoned to death, how can this punishment be halved? However, if it is flogging 100 times, then the punishment is 50 lashes."

 

Perception and reality

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 03:28 PM PDT

Malaysia's economic growth reached 5.6% last year but it had slowed sharply in the first quarter of this year to 4.1%, while household debt had risen to 82.9%. According to a survey, nearly 90% of respondents believed that they could not afford the real estate, feeling that their salary increment rates were too low to catch up with the rising speed in housing prices. 

Lim Sue Goan, Sin Chew Daily

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had mentioned about the war of perception for more than once. 

If the BN's conclusion for losing votes of urban and young voters in the 13th general election is because it was defeated in the war of perception, I am afraid that it would find it very difficult to regain the support of these voters in the next general election.

The so-called perception may refer to cognitive errors or biases, is that really the case?

Transformation plans have indeed brought some gratifying data. 

For instance, the ETP had announced a total of 149 projects with a cumulative total of RM211.34 billion in committed investments as of December 31, 2012. 

Also, the national per capital income has increased from US$6,700 in 2009 to US$9,970 in 2012. 

These data are credentials for the BN's growing prosperity claim, insisting that the country is not as bad as described by the alternative coalition.

However, they should collect data more comprehensively and make multifaceted comparisons to get a more realistic picture.

Malaysia's economic growth reached 5.6% last year but it had slowed sharply in the first quarter of this year to 4.1%, while household debt had risen to 82.9%. 

Despite the salary increment, car and housing loans have led to the rising household debt.

According to a survey, nearly 90% of respondents believed that they could not afford the real estate, feeling that their salary increment rates were too low to catch up with the rising speed in housing prices. 

Also, car prices, except for national cars, have not yet been lowed and these were the reasons why urban residents were not happy.

While it is committed to reducing the fiscal deficit, the government must not neglect the soaring household debt.

In terms of crime, the crime rate had dropped by 27% over the past three years. 

As of April this year, the crime rate had also dropped by 3.1% compared to the same period last year. 

According to a survey, however, 52.8% of people were still feeling insecure and were worried about security problems.

The OXY robbery gang continued to break into ATM machines even after the police announced to have round-the-clock hourly patrols nationwide to prevent ATM thefts. 

And now, restaurants and eateries have become the new targets of robbers. 

The reduced number of people staying outside at night showed that instead of a stereotype, members of the public are really feeling insecure.

Meanwhile, the problem of human rights violation was not just plucked out of the air. 

From 2000 to February 2011, as many as 156 deaths in custody were reported and there were four custody deaths in two weeks recently, attracting even international media to cover the deaths.

Amidst the call for an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), which was proposed but rejected and replaced by the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAC), it was discovered that the only investigator of the EAIC has been one of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) officers involved in Teoh Beng Hock's case. 

How could the people be convinced as instead of being demoted, he was actually promoted to hold such an important post?

In addition, other National Key Results Areas (NKRA), including improving student outcomes and improving urban public transport, have failed to leave a good impression on the people. 

According to the 2011 Trends in International Math and Science Study (TIMSS), Malaysia was the worst performing nation of the 59 participating countries in terms of marks scored. 

Only 19% of Kuala Lumpur residents are taking public transport is not a satisfactory datum either.

Therefore, the people judge based on facts, rather than perception. 

They should immediately recognise the reality and intensify reforms to hope for a change in the public's view.

 

Don: Those who buy Datukships lack confidence

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 03:20 PM PDT

(The Star) - Those who pay for "illegitimate titles" like Datukships have low self-esteem and lack confidence, says an academic.

Associate Professor Dr P. Sundra­moorthy of Universiti Sains Malay­sia's School of Social Sciences said it was sad that some people depended on titles to make themselves feel important.

He added that some might think that having the titles would help in their businesses or entitle them to receive "special treatment".

"This is unnecessary and merely a false perception of the public.

"We are heading in the wrong direction where people think the more titles the better," he said.

Dr Sundramoorthy said society had become very status-conscious, prompting some people to look for "shortcuts to be acknowledged as somebody".

"The truth will prevail and you will become the laughing stock," he added.

However, Dr Sundramoorthy said he respected those who were conferred Datukships and other titles as a result of their contributions to society and the well-being of the nation.

"I congratulate these people, they deserve the recognition," he said.

Dr Sundramoorthy advised those who intended to spend big bucks on unrecognised titles to use the money for good deeds.

He also appealed to people to help eradicate such practices by not acknowledging those who obtained the titles through illegitimate channels.

The Star reported yesterday that Undang Luak Naning, a customary chieftain in Malacca, has handed out scores of unrecognised Datukships and other titles to the people, who "contributed" to the Naning Ter­ritory.

Another self-claimed "Malacca-Perak Sultan" Ahmad Shah Raja Noor Jan Shah also awarded titles to over 90 people.

These awards, carrying the titles like "Dato Seri", "Dato", "Datuk Paduka and Datuk Seri Paduka, are not recognised anywhere in the country.

 

Anwar: 505 rally will go on

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 03:13 PM PDT

(The Star) - Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the Black 505 rally at Padang Merbok tomorrow will proceed as planned.

"Pakatan Rakyat will continue to push for the resignation of all Election Commission members.

"Elections should be held again at 30 parliamentary constituencies, while the re-delineation exercise should cease until new EC members are appointed. We urge the people to join in," he said after chairing the Pakatan leadership council meeting yesterday.

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub, who was at the press conference, said it was compulsory for party leaders to attend the rally.

He said Pakatan had protested against the use of indelible ink which could be washed off.

PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli said the haze situation would not put a damper on the rally.

"We do not see any possibility of the rally being postponed. The plan will go ahead with no changes," he said.

Meanwhile, DAP chairman Karpal Singh denied that the rally was being organised by Pakatan.

Instead, it was solely planned and implemented by the PKR.

"It is not an event that is jointly organised by Pakatan," he said yesterday.

Karpal remained mum when asked if he would be taking part.

However, he said City Hall should allow the organisers to hold the event at Padang Merbok.

City Hall had suggested that the rally be held in Stadium Merdeka, but Rafizi had insisted on holding the event in Padang Merbok, claiming that it would set a bad precedence if they gave in now.

Dang Wangi police chief Asst Comm Zainuddin Ahmad had warned the organisers that action would be taken against them if they went ahead to hold the rally without a permit.

It is learnt that some Pakatan elected representatives are not keen to take part as they do not want to risk losing their positions if they are fined more than RM2,000 for breaking the law.

Meanwhile, the 2013 Olympic Day Run, which is scheduled to be held at Padang Merbok, has been postponed until further notice due to the worsening haze.

McDonald's Malaysia, which co-organised the event with the Olympic Council of Malaysia, said in a statement that more information would be released in due course.

 

‘Is the police incompetent in handling crowd?’

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 03:04 PM PDT

PKR's Tian Chua questions police competence over suggestions to rope in the army to control Black 505 participants. 

K Pragalath, FMT

PKR's Tian Chua questions police competence over suggestions to rope in the army to control Black 505 participants. - See more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/06/21/is-the-police-incompetent-in-handling-crowd/#sthash.gFazV8rz.dpuf

PKR vice-president Tian Chua questioned the competence of the police force in managing peaceful assemblies following a call by Internal Security and Public Order director Salleh Mat Rasid asking the armed forces to intervene.

"The call for the armed forces to intervene seems to question the incompetence of the police force. We are sure the police are more than capable to handle a peaceful crowd," said Tian Chua who is also Batu MP.

Salleh was reported to have said that the armed forces should be alerted and asked to assist to control the crowd attending the Black 505 rally in Padang Merbok tomorrow.

Tian Chua also blamed the BN-led federal government of hatching a plot to instill fear in an attempt to dissuade the public from attending the rally.

"It seems the ruling party has once again put together a plot to scare and instill fear in the rakyat who are determined to go out this Saturday and make their demands," he said.

He pointed out that Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had stated that he had no issues as long as the rally did not go against the provisions of the Peaceful Assembly Act.

In addition to that, the Olympic Day Run scheduled to take place on Sunday has been postponed indefinitely. The run is co-organised by Olympic Council of Malaysia and McDonalds.

A pro-Pakatan NGO, Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) also criticised Salleh's proposal to rope in the military.

"SAMM believes that the suggestion is an effort to scare the public because the police no longer have the trust of the people," said Noor Edy Reduan who is the NGO's propaganda director.

- See more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/06/21/is-the-police-incompetent-in-handling-crowd/#sthash.gFazV8rz.dpuf

PKR vice-president Tian Chua questioned the competence of the police force in managing peaceful assemblies following a call by Internal Security and Public Order director Salleh Mat Rasid asking the armed forces to intervene.

 

"The call for the armed forces to intervene seems to question the incompetence of the police force. We are sure the police are more than capable to handle a peaceful crowd," said Tian Chua who is also Batu MP.

 

Salleh was reported to have said that the armed forces should be alerted and asked to assist to control the crowd attending the Black 505 rally in Padang Merbok tomorrow.

 

Tian Chua also blamed the BN-led federal government of hatching a plot to instill fear in an attempt to dissuade the public from attending the rally.

 

"It seems the ruling party has once again put together a plot to scare and instill fear in the rakyat who are determined to go out this Saturday and make their demands," he said.

 

He pointed out that Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had stated that he had no issues as long as the rally did not go against the provisions of the Peaceful Assembly Act.

 

In addition to that, the Olympic Day Run scheduled to take place on Sunday has been postponed indefinitely. The run is co-organised by Olympic Council of Malaysia and McDonalds.

 

A pro-Pakatan NGO, Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) also criticised Salleh's proposal to rope in the military.

 

"SAMM believes that the suggestion is an effort to scare the public because the police no longer have the trust of the people," said Noor Edy Reduan who is the NGO's propaganda director.

READ MORE HERE

Italians debate citizenship rights amid resurgent racism

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 02:51 PM PDT

(FMT) - ROME: Savio Warnakulasuriya, born in Rome this month, will have to wait for 18 years before he can be sure of being able to remain in the country where he came into the world.

Until then his right to stay in Italy is tied to the permits of his Sri Lankan parents to work as domestic helpers. These papers have to be renewed every two years.

 

Savio is one of many children born in Italy who Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge says should have citizenship rights at birth, a proposal that has shocked many Italians and drawn a torrent of racist abuse against her.

 

Italy bears the brunt of clandestine seaborne migration to southern Europe, with thousands reaching its long Mediterranean shores every year in crammed rickety boats. Parties such as the opposition Northern League campaign against boosting immigrant rights, pointing to cultural differences and crime rates.

Kyenge, born in Congo and now Italy's first black minister, says it is time for a change in approach to citizenship starting with ensuring that immigrant children are not held back from fully integrating with their peers.

For Savio's father, Fernando, an easing in citizenship rules would be welcome. "The sooner they give our son citizenship, the better. I am a little worried, we want him to carry on living and working here without problems," he said in an interview.

 

Erika Arribasplata, a 34-year-old secretary who was born in Rome to Argentinian parents, remembers the difficulties she faced as a child to fully integrate at school because she lacked rights to Italian citizenship.

 

Insecurity

 

"I remember when we went on a school trip to England, I couldn't go through border controls with my group, I had to take a whole other route where I had to wait longer and go through more checks – it was really annoying," she said.

 

"But the most annoying thing was being tied to my parents' permit, and the insecurity that came with that, because I was born here and did not feel part of their culture but I was stuck in the middle," Arribasplata said.

 

She made a successful application for citizenship at 18, but others are not so lucky.

 

Italy's low fertility rate at 1.4 children per woman means that it will need fresh blood to maintain its ageing population.

 

But due to bureaucratic processes that Kyenge wants to reduce, some Italian-born children of immigrants can find their citizenship applications rejected at 18 because, for example, they spent some time away from Italy as children.

 

"We are talking about young people who could become the future leaders of this country, or could lose themselves in the street if suddenly at 18 they find themselves to be different due to some bureaucratic error," Kyenge told reporters this week.

 

On Saturday she unveiled a plan to make it easier for children of immigrants to apply for citizenship upon adulthood as part of a series of measures Prime Minister Enrico Letta's government is introducing to cut red tape and pull the economy out of recession.

 

Kyenge said she would also be heading to the European parliament soon to propose a common EU-wide approach to citizenship rules.

 

READ MORE HERE

 

ROME: Savio Warnakulasuriya, born in Rome this month, will have to wait for 18 years before he can be sure of being able to remain in the country where he came into the world.

Until then his right to stay in Italy is tied to the permits of his Sri Lankan parents to work as domestic helpers. These papers have to be renewed every two years.

Savio is one of many children born in Italy who Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge says should have citizenship rights at birth, a proposal that has shocked many Italians and drawn a torrent of racist abuse against her.

Italy bears the brunt of clandestine seaborne migration to southern Europe, with thousands reaching its long Mediterranean shores every year in crammed rickety boats. Parties such as the opposition Northern League campaign against boosting immigrant rights, pointing to cultural differences and crime rates.

Kyenge, born in Congo and now Italy's first black minister, says it is time for a change in approach to citizenship starting with ensuring that immigrant children are not held back from fully integrating with their peers.

For Savio's father, Fernando, an easing in citizenship rules would be welcome. "The sooner they give our son citizenship, the better. I am a little worried, we want him to carry on living and working here without problems," he said in an interview.

Erika Arribasplata, a 34-year-old secretary who was born in Rome to Argentinian parents, remembers the difficulties she faced as a child to fully integrate at school because she lacked rights to Italian citizenship.

Insecurity

"I remember when we went on a school trip to England, I couldn't go through border controls with my group, I had to take a whole other route where I had to wait longer and go through more checks – it was really annoying," she said.

"But the most annoying thing was being tied to my parents' permit, and the insecurity that came with that, because I was born here and did not feel part of their culture but I was stuck in the middle," Arribasplata said.

She made a successful application for citizenship at 18, but others are not so lucky.

Italy's low fertility rate at 1.4 children per woman means that it will need fresh blood to maintain its ageing population.

But due to bureaucratic processes that Kyenge wants to reduce, some Italian-born children of immigrants can find their citizenship applications rejected at 18 because, for example, they spent some time away from Italy as children.

"We are talking about young people who could become the future leaders of this country, or could lose themselves in the street if suddenly at 18 they find themselves to be different due to some bureaucratic error," Kyenge told reporters this week.

On Saturday she unveiled a plan to make it easier for children of immigrants to apply for citizenship upon adulthood as part of a series of measures Prime Minister Enrico Letta's government is introducing to cut red tape and pull the economy out of recession.

Kyenge said she would also be heading to the European parliament soon to propose a common EU-wide approach to citizenship rules.

- See more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2013/06/21/italians-debate-citizenship-rights-amid-resurgent-racism/#sthash.OwVFELol.dpuf

ROME: Savio Warnakulasuriya, born in Rome this month, will have to wait for 18 years before he can be sure of being able to remain in the country where he came into the world.

Until then his right to stay in Italy is tied to the permits of his Sri Lankan parents to work as domestic helpers. These papers have to be renewed every two years.

Savio is one of many children born in Italy who Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge says should have citizenship rights at birth, a proposal that has shocked many Italians and drawn a torrent of racist abuse against her.

Italy bears the brunt of clandestine seaborne migration to southern Europe, with thousands reaching its long Mediterranean shores every year in crammed rickety boats. Parties such as the opposition Northern League campaign against boosting immigrant rights, pointing to cultural differences and crime rates.

Kyenge, born in Congo and now Italy's first black minister, says it is time for a change in approach to citizenship starting with ensuring that immigrant children are not held back from fully integrating with their peers.

For Savio's father, Fernando, an easing in citizenship rules would be welcome. "The sooner they give our son citizenship, the better. I am a little worried, we want him to carry on living and working here without problems," he said in an interview.

Erika Arribasplata, a 34-year-old secretary who was born in Rome to Argentinian parents, remembers the difficulties she faced as a child to fully integrate at school because she lacked rights to Italian citizenship.

Insecurity

"I remember when we went on a school trip to England, I couldn't go through border controls with my group, I had to take a whole other route where I had to wait longer and go through more checks – it was really annoying," she said.

"But the most annoying thing was being tied to my parents' permit, and the insecurity that came with that, because I was born here and did not feel part of their culture but I was stuck in the middle," Arribasplata said.

She made a successful application for citizenship at 18, but others are not so lucky.

Italy's low fertility rate at 1.4 children per woman means that it will need fresh blood to maintain its ageing population.

But due to bureaucratic processes that Kyenge wants to reduce, some Italian-born children of immigrants can find their citizenship applications rejected at 18 because, for example, they spent some time away from Italy as children.

"We are talking about young people who could become the future leaders of this country, or could lose themselves in the street if suddenly at 18 they find themselves to be different due to some bureaucratic error," Kyenge told reporters this week.

On Saturday she unveiled a plan to make it easier for children of immigrants to apply for citizenship upon adulthood as part of a series of measures Prime Minister Enrico Letta's government is introducing to cut red tape and pull the economy out of recession.

Kyenge said she would also be heading to the European parliament soon to propose a common EU-wide approach to citizenship rules.

- See more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2013/06/21/italians-debate-citizenship-rights-amid-resurgent-racism/#sthash.OwVFELol.dpuf

ROME: Savio Warnakulasuriya, born in Rome this month, will have to wait for 18 years before he can be sure of being able to remain in the country where he came into the world.

Until then his right to stay in Italy is tied to the permits of his Sri Lankan parents to work as domestic helpers. These papers have to be renewed every two years.

Savio is one of many children born in Italy who Integration Minister Cecile Kyenge says should have citizenship rights at birth, a proposal that has shocked many Italians and drawn a torrent of racist abuse against her.

Italy bears the brunt of clandestine seaborne migration to southern Europe, with thousands reaching its long Mediterranean shores every year in crammed rickety boats. Parties such as the opposition Northern League campaign against boosting immigrant rights, pointing to cultural differences and crime rates.

Kyenge, born in Congo and now Italy's first black minister, says it is time for a change in approach to citizenship starting with ensuring that immigrant children are not held back from fully integrating with their peers.

For Savio's father, Fernando, an easing in citizenship rules would be welcome. "The sooner they give our son citizenship, the better. I am a little worried, we want him to carry on living and working here without problems," he said in an interview.

Erika Arribasplata, a 34-year-old secretary who was born in Rome to Argentinian parents, remembers the difficulties she faced as a child to fully integrate at school because she lacked rights to Italian citizenship.

Insecurity

"I remember when we went on a school trip to England, I couldn't go through border controls with my group, I had to take a whole other route where I had to wait longer and go through more checks – it was really annoying," she said.

"But the most annoying thing was being tied to my parents' permit, and the insecurity that came with that, because I was born here and did not feel part of their culture but I was stuck in the middle," Arribasplata said.

She made a successful application for citizenship at 18, but others are not so lucky.

Italy's low fertility rate at 1.4 children per woman means that it will need fresh blood to maintain its ageing population.

But due to bureaucratic processes that Kyenge wants to reduce, some Italian-born children of immigrants can find their citizenship applications rejected at 18 because, for example, they spent some time away from Italy as children.

"We are talking about young people who could become the future leaders of this country, or could lose themselves in the street if suddenly at 18 they find themselves to be different due to some bureaucratic error," Kyenge told reporters this week.

On Saturday she unveiled a plan to make it easier for children of immigrants to apply for citizenship upon adulthood as part of a series of measures Prime Minister Enrico Letta's government is introducing to cut red tape and pull the economy out of recession.

Kyenge said she would also be heading to the European parliament soon to propose a common EU-wide approach to citizenship rules.

- See more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/world/2013/06/21/italians-debate-citizenship-rights-amid-resurgent-racism/#sthash.OwVFELol.dpuf
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