Khamis, 13 Jun 2013

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Will non-Muslim parents get justice, interfaith panel asks Putrajaya

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 03:33 PM PDT

(TMI) - Malaysia's leading non-Muslim interfaith council demanded today the federal government answer if it had reversed its 2009 stand on child conversions to Islam, in the wake of a recent case in Negri Sembilan that may reignite the simmering religious tensions within the country.

The latest case of S. Deepa, a 29-year-old Hindu mother from Jelebu who learnt in April her estranged husband had unilaterally converted their two underage children to Islam after he embraced the country's main religion over a year ago, had moved the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) to censure the authorities for what it perceived to be injustice towards non-Muslims.

"Was the Cabinet decision in April 2009 a flash in the pan to pacify non-Muslim Malaysians because of the numerous cases of such gross injustice?" the MCCBCHST asked in a statement signed by the leaders representing five of the country's six main faiths.

In April 2009, Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz announced the government will ban the automatic conversion of minors to Islam, in a bid to quell unease among religious minorities in mainly Muslim Malaysia.

Then the de facto law minister, he had said minors were to be bound by the common religion of their parents while they were married even if one parent later becomes a Muslim

"We have to resolve this once and for all. I don't think we should be deciding on a piecemeal basis every time a conversion issue crops up," Nazri said in a news conference then. "We have decided on a long-term solution because we expect more cases will occur, being a multiracial country."

Islam is the religion of over 60 per cent of Malaysia's 28 million people and its followers are bound by Syariah as well as civil laws that apply to non-Muslims.

In its statement today, the MCCBCHST demanded Putrajaya answer if the Cabinet decision ― announced shortly after Datuk Seri Najib Razak replaced Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as prime mimister ― carried any weight at all, or if civil servants were given free rein to enforce the law as they saw fit.

The MCCBCHST did not explain its question but it appears to follow on the heels of the remark by Negri Sembilan Islamic Affairs Director Datuk Johani Hassan, who reportedly said only one parent's consent was needed to convert a child to Islam.

"The law does not say that we need the consent of both parents before we can convert their children.

"When one parent embraces Islam, the children can be automatically converted," he was quoted as saying by The Star Online in its June 9 news report.

MCCBCHST also demanded to know if conversion cases would be adjudged fairly by the civil courts, which it says is the proper platform to decide on such issues as non-Muslims have no legal standing in Syariah courts, which is where Islamic authorities have persistently argued for the matters to be heard.



Accept final ruling, parties told

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 03:15 PM PDT

(The Star) - With the deadline to file election petitions now over, the Election Commission (EC) has reminded all parties to accept the eventual decision of the court on their legal bid to challenge the results of the 13th general election.

EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof said petitioners unhappy with the High Court ruling that will hear their cases could send their appeals to the Federal Court, which will make a final decision.

"I urge all parties who have filed petitions to accept the court's final ruling and not blame the court if the decision is not in their favour," he said yesterday.

The 21-day period to file election petitions following the gazetting of the GE13 results ended at 5pm yesterday.

Abdul Aziz said the petitioners had 15 days to notify and submit a copy of their petitions to the EC after filing their petitions at the High Court.

The EC would then prepare affidavits in response to the petitions before the High Court decides whether the cases should proceed to a hearing or be dismissed.

Abdul Aziz said the Attorney-General's Chambers had assigned a team of lawyers in each state to represent the commission in court and that the team will be coordinated by the commission's legal adviser.

It was reported that Barisan Nasional has decided to file 21 election petitions, fewer than half of the 50 initially announced by its chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Pakatan Rakyat has managed to squeeze in three more election petitions yesterday, bringing the total to 29 complaints, hours before the deadline.

PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli said the three petitions were for the Kudat, Tawau and Libaran parliamentary seats.

The petitions for the parliamentary seats from PKR involved 18 parliamentary and one state seats. PAS will be challenging the results in four parliamentary and nine state seats while DAP will petition against two parliamentary seats.

DAP candidate for Cameron Highlands M. Manogaran filed a petition at the Temerloh High Court. The seat was won by MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel.

In Ipoh, PAS filed three petitions for the Perak state seats of Rungkup, Manong and Selama, while PKR filed its petition for the Tapah parliamentary seat.

In Johor Baru, the state PKR filed petitions for the Tebrau and Pasir Gudang parliamentary seats.


Najib acknowledges voters call for transparent, fair, accountable government

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 03:06 PM PDT

(The Star) - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he understood and acknowledged the call made by voters at the 13th general election for the government to be transparent, accountable and fair in distributing economic benefits.

The Prime Minister said that in charting a course towards sustainable economic growth, he would work to ensure that no one is left behind in sharing the fruits of the country's national successes.

"I understand and acknowledge the message from voters: that as we proceed along this path, we must be transparent and accountable, and that the benefits of economic transformation must flow to all Malaysians.

"I will work to ensure our national success leaves no one behind," Najib said in his keynote speech at the 2013 Invest Malaysia conference here Thursday.

Addressing an audience that included foreign investors at the annual event organised by Bursa Malaysia that is now in its ninth year, Najib pointed out that market confidence in the government remained strong despite the outcome of the keenly contested 13th general election.

This could be seen in the biggest one-day gain recorded by the KL Composite Index, which surged by more than 100 points after polling day on May 5.

"I wonder if that is any indication that the markets prefer our economic agenda over the opposition's," he said.

Najib said that while it was tempting to see the post-general election stock market rally as the market's endorsement of the path that the government has chosen for Malaysia, it was also an expression of relief.

"After a year of growing uncertainty, the country's political risks had eased," said Najib.

The Prime Minister said that after its success in securing a new five-year term, the government now had an opportunity to set Malaysia on a sustained growth path for decades to come.

"As we approach developed nation status, it is time to reflect; to ask ourselves where next?"

"The conversation will be less about economic indicators and more about how we can build sustainable economic growth; about where we should position ourselves in Asia and the global economy," said Najib.


STAR will persevere, targets GE14

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 02:53 PM PDT

Sabah State Reform Party (STAR) chief Jeffrey Kitingan believes that although the party failed in GE13, they "have planted the seeds" and will continue with their "political struggle". 

Michael Kaung, FMT

KOTA KINABALU: The State Reform Party (STAR) Sabah which came away with just one seat in last month's 13th General Election has forced the fledgling party to reconsider its options and strategies and indeed its very survival till the next election.

While all state based or 'local' parties suffered wounds in the just concluded election, STAR is the first to make efforts to address the real-politic in the state and country and  is hoping to re-organise and strengthen itself in preparation for the 14th general election.

Party chairman Jeffrey Kitingan said the decision was made at the meeting of the central committees and heads of divisions from across the state today.

He said the meeting was called in response to GE-13 post-mortem recommendations following the unexpected election results.

"Despite your hard work and enthusiasm we failed to deliver in this election because our expectations were too high within such a short period of just 15 months. But, considering the obstacles and huge odds, we can stand proud of our efforts" Jeffrey told the meeting.

"Don't forget that we have just planted the seeds of our struggle in a hostile and competitive environment where other political trees have already grown and taken roots.

"We need to be patient and committed to nurture these seeds so that one day our political struggle will outgrow the others and bear fruits for our people," he added.

During the May 5 general election, STAR contested in 49 state and 21 parliamentary seats in Sabah but only won one state seat. The seat was delivered by Jeffrey in Bingkor.

Jeffrey, who also challenged his elder brother Joseph Pairin Kitingan for the Keningau parliamentary seat, however lost that contest after the opposition failed to agree on a one-on-one fight against the Barisan Nasional coalition.

It was nevertheless telling that Pairin, who is the president of Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and a deputy chief minister, saw his support base become even smaller and even then only with the help of the Umno-led government machinery.



Carmakers refute Utusan’s price slash claim

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 01:04 PM PDT

People have a look at the Preve when it was first launched in Kuala Lumpur last year. This Proton model was cited by Utusan as one of several makes of cars where prices have been reduced. 

(TMI) - Carmakers Volkswagen and Peugeot have both refuted claims of a price slash this year, as reported in Umno-backed broadsheet Utusan Malaysia three days ago as part of proof that the ruling coalition had fulfilled its election pledges.

Utusan had reported that Volkswagen, Peugeot, Honda and local marques Proton and Perodua had reduced the prices for 10 of their models by up to 11 per cent from January this year, presenting the list as proof that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government has fulfilled its pledge for lower car prices in its Election 2013 manifesto.

"Please be advised, the price on the image is incorrect. The Golf price has always been RM157,888 from the time of launch. Not RM169,888," a representative from Volkswagen Malaysia commented on its Facebook page, referring to its sports hatchback model Golf.

A user had previously posted an image ofUtusan's report, which claimed that the Golf's price has been slashed by 7.1 per cent from RM169,888 to RM157,888.

Speaking to The Malaysian Insider, a dealer for the German marque confirmed that the Mark 7 1.4 TSI version of the Golf, which was launched earlier this year has always been priced starting from RM157,888.

Peugeot Malaysia also has responded on its Facebook page to the claim by Utusan that the price of its 308 model has been slashed by 11 per cent from RM115,663 to RM102,888.

"Without prejudice, nothing was issued by us, we were not consulted before the article went to print and have no association with the news contained therein. The prices shown appear to be the 308 Turbo pre-facelift and 308 VTi which are in fact two different variants of the Peugeot 308," said the French marque.

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This is our land

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 12:50 PM PDT 

(The Sun Daily) - The Tourism and Culture Ministry will take SRK (C) Chin Woo – located in Jalan Pasar, Kuala Lumpur – to court if it cannot get its land back from the school.

Its minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz said the ministry has made a firm stand on the matter.

"It is our land, and it is the right of any land owner to take their land back. They would do the same if we encroached on their land," he told a press conference today.

Nazri was commenting on a stalemate over a 0.13ha (15,000 sq ft) plot of government land, which has been occupied by the school since 1938.

"We have held many discussions and I have made the decision that if this issue is not resolved, we will take the school to court and let the court decide," Nazri said.

The ministry wants to use the land as part of its RM32.5 million Kota Warisan Kuala Lumpur project as a cultural village.

The cultural village project, approved in concept by the cabinet in 2007, involves the building of an auditorium, a six-storey complex and a restaurant on 3.24ha of land.

The Kota Warisan project is a joint development venture between the Tourism Ministry and Enfiniti Productions Sdn Bhd.

However, the project met with strong objections from the school board on grounds that it would have to give up land for the project construction.

The Chin Woo board reportedly argued that the school had received the approval of the then British government of colonial Malaya to occupy the land on which stands its school walls, two basketball courts and its garden.

The ministry, however, claims the school was encroaching upon government land.

The school has been in talks with the Kota Warisan project developer since last year to resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, Nazri announced that there was an increase in the number of tourists arrivals in the first quarter of this year compared to 2012.

"Malaysia recorded an overall growth of 15.9% with 6.4 million tourists in the first quarter of this year compared to 5.6 million tourists in 2012.

"Tourist spending for 2012 also grew by 16.7% generating RM14.99 billion in revenue for the country as compared to RM12.84 billion in 2011," said Nazri.

The higher tourist volume was atttributed to the increased number of flights, especially long-haul flights, by low-cost airlines.

Nazri also announced the third annual "Magic of the Night" event to be held in Putrajaya from June 22 to 30, in conjunction with the Putrajaya Flower and Garden Festival.

It will feature 14 lighted boats from organisations and state governments each featuring tourism attractions of their respective bodies. Also to be featured is an entry from Suzhou, China.

"We will use this event to promote tourism in Malaysia by inviting media and organisations from other countries, in preparation for Visit Malaysia Year 2014.

"As for (opposition-run states) Selangor, Penang and Kelantan which are not taking part in the event, it is their choice. We have invited them," he added.


Attack on Nazir Razak linked to Umno polls?

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 12:35 PM PDT 

( - "Utusan operates by taking orders from the Umno president or supreme council. Yet Utusan is whacking the president's brother. One wonders if Najib holds the real levers of power anymore or are the little Napoleons all breaking loose?"

IS THE "attack" on Datuk Seri Najib Razak's brother by the so-called coalition of Malay/Muslim NGOs "related" to Umno polls? Apparently so, at least judging from comments posted on the internet.

The "coalition" as we know had issued a statement hitting out at Datuk Seri Mohd Nazir Razak, younger brother of Najib, for speaking up for AirAsia X CEO Azran Osman Rani.
We also know Azran had criticised Malay newspaper Utusan Malaysia for its infamous 'Apa Lagi Cina Mahu' headline deemed by many as "racist."
Nazir praised Azran, saying what the AirAsia X CEO did "was the hallmark of a great leader," which got the coalition of Malay Muslim NGOs all riled up. Hence the branding of Nazir as "anti-Malay" and "kacang lupakan kulit" or one who has forgotten his roots.
One netizen questioned if all that "is infighting before the Umno polls". To another, that is definitely the case, saying "infighting in Umno is such – even the PM's brother not sparred. Power brokers are moving in on the top post and are attacking the siblings. The noose is tightening round Najib's neck."
Umno is scheduled to have hold its elections later this year – starting at branch level, followed by divisional and culminating with the election for the top leadership. But now we are hearing calls for a 'no top two posts contest' which some claim are being made by a handful of leaders and not the Umno grassroot.

Stop delving on spat with Palanivel, says Zambry

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 12:21 PM PDT 

(NST) - MB had accused MIC chief of jumping the gun over the appointment

IPOH: MENTERI Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir has slammed the brakes on the ongoing spat between him and MIC president Datuk Seri G. Palanivel over the appointment of the state assembly speaker.

Asked to comment on the matter after chairing the weekly state executive council meeting here yesterday, Zambry said he did not wish to prolong the issue.

"Enough is enough. There is no need to make noise any more. I think my (previous) statements on the matter had been more than sufficient.

"When the time comes, we will appoint the speaker. Until then, let us leave it as it is," he said.

Pressed further on calls by a non-governmental organisation, Persatuan Warga Prihatin Perak, for a meeting between the two to settle the spat between them, Zambry said: "Well, it is not a question of meeting or not. (In fact) we have been meeting all this while.

"Let me stop here," he added.

Persatuan Warga Prihatin Perak chairman V. Subramaniam said not much would be solved by both parties issuing media statements.

Palanivel was reported last week to have threatened to reject all government posts in Perak if the state government refused to award the speaker's post to one of MIC's leaders.

Zambri had then replied by accusing Palanivel of jumping the gun over the state assembly speaker appointment and that he was uncertain if Palanivel's move was a tactical statement to divert attention in view of the coming MIC elections.

On another matter, Zambry said he would announce the candidates for the adviser and special officer posts, in the state government, from MIC within the next few days.

"We have identified the persons and we are in the process of getting the approval from the state executive council members.

"Let me remind everyone that the positions should not be seen as a privilege, rather they carry a lot of responsibility and trust which has to be carried out well."

Meanwhile, events consultant, Zainudin Lot, did Perak proud when he became the first from the state to successfully scale Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, recently.

The 37-year-old's success earned him praises and recognition from the state government, particularly Zambry, who congratulated him on behalf of the people of the state.

Zambry, who presented RM10,000 to Zainudin after the weekly state executive council meeting yesterday, said it was the state's way of recognising the latter's success.

Zainudin, in thanking the state government for the monetary gift, said he viewed the incentive as a bonus for his and his team's success.

"It was an invaluable experience. What the team went through was no easy feat. Nevertheless, we managed to do in, and in the process, brought fame to the nation.

Zainudin was part of a group of seven mountaineers who participated in the 50-day expedition in early April.


New Umno regulations hailed

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 12:19 PM PDT 

(NST) - Move proves Umno is more democratic than parties like DAP, PKR

THE amendments in Umno's party constitution has been described as "transformational" in its efforts to address a host of issues, including money politics and the continuity of committed leaders.

At the same time, the new regulations, especially in Article 9.5 of the constitution, also reflected Umno's resolve in being more open and democratic.

Umno deputy permanent chairman Datuk Mohamad Aziz was positive the new amendments would bode well for the party as it was done as a part of a transformation drive espoused by party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

He said the party's election requirements were to gauge a candidate's commitment.

"Quality candidates are one thing but commitment is more important. The amendments were crucial for the continuity of committed members.

"The candidate should be at least a divisional committee member, which shows that he had at least rendered services for the party. We do not want those contesting just for the sake of competing," said Mohamad.

Before the amendment in 2009, Article 9.5 stated that those eyeing any post in the supreme council must receive a required minimum number of nominations from party divisions nationwide to contest as party president (30 per cent nominations), deputy president (20 per cent), vice-presidents (10 per cent) and council members (five per cent).

However, the new regulation stipulates that candidates must have held a post in the supreme council or at the divisional level for at least for a term to be eligible to contest. Some 150,000 members from 191 divisions nationwide will be casting their votes for the party's top posts this year.

Former Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Sabbarudin Chik agreed that those who wanted to contest should be serious about their objectives.

"Now, (almost) everyone has the opportunity to contest for the top posts. But they must be serious in their objectives. Only those committed to serve the party should contest," said Sabbarudin, who is also the party's appeals board member.

In the battle against money politics, described by some as a bane for Umno, former Wanita Umno secretary Datuk Faridah Abu Hassan believed that the new election process could serve as a countermeasure.

"This will definitely reduce the risk of money politics leading up to the party polls. Under the previous regulations, when the top posts could only be contested by acquiring a certain percentage of nominations, people could easily buy support from members.

"The amendments to the party's constitution prove that transformation is being carried out from within," said Faridah.


Ku Li eyes PM post, meeting more MPs, say sources

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 12:13 PM PDT 

(TMI) - Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has been meeting more MPs from both rival coalitions this week in a bid to get elected as prime minister after Parliament convenes on June 24, say sources.

The Malaysian Insider understands the Kelantan prince has initiated the meetings at his White House-styled residence in Langgak Golf here, to discuss strategies to get enough numbers in the 13th Parliament to take Datuk Seri Najib Razak's job.

He would need 112 votes, including himself, if a motion is approved for the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat to choose a prime minister. But is still doubtful if he can get the numbers to unseat Najib.

"Some of the MPs agree that Ku Li is the only one who can provide leadership," a source familiar with the meetings told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the veteran lawmaker by his moniker.

"We are talking about support from both PAS and DAP too," he added.

PAS and the DAP respectively won 21 and 38 parliamentary seats in the May 5 general election which saw the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) take only 133 federal seats, down seven from the 140 won in Election 2008.

PKR, the ally of PAS and the DAP in Pakatan Rakyat (PR), won 30 federal seats and its leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is seen as the coalition's pick for the prime minister's job if they capture Putrajaya.

Another source said Tengku Razaleigh was seen as a compromise candidate by the BN MPs who will not support either Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin or Anwar for the top job.

"The choice for the unhappy BN MPs is easy. Ku Li or Muhyiddin but electing the DPM will just mean a continuation of Mahathirist policies. There is no difference between Najib and Muhyiddin.

"Ku Li as PM will be a break from such policies," the source told The Malaysian Insider, referring to the Gua Musang MP's arch-rival Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister.

The Mahathir camp has already put pressure on Najib to drop his advisers whose strategies led to BN's poor performance in GE13. Najib has not re-appointed his political secretaries who lost in the polls but his "war room" strategists remain in office, with two of them made a minister and deputy minister respectively.

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