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A Business as Usual ‘RM 33.4 Million Remuneration Package’for Puncak Niaga’s Tan Sri ...

Posted: 02 Jul 2013 12:17 PM PDT

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Charles-Santiago-and-Syabas.jpg 

In all these years of debt, bailout and inefficiency, Rozali's remuneration increased. In 2009 he was paid RM14 million, in 2011 he received RM8.35 million and in 2012 he took home a whopping RM33.4 million. 

Charles Santiago 

We have certainly come a long way.

Tomorrow, the Federal Court will hear a landmark case lodged by the Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP). The case seeks to compel the federal government and Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn. Bhd (Syabas) to publicly disclose their 2004 agreement and audit report that justified a 15% hike in water rates.

While on one hand this case marks a significant milestone for the raykat's access to information and transparency on the issue of water management, on the other hand, it seems to be business as usual for Puncak Niaga.

On 26 June 2013, shareholders of Puncak Niaga Holdings Berhad, which owns 70% of Syabas, learnt that its Executive Chairman, Rozali Ismail, would receive a RM20 million gratuity as part of its remuneration package.

In fact, shareholders were told that Rozali was paid RM 33.4 in remuneration for the 2012 financial year period. This would be a four-fold increase from RM 8.35 million in 2011.
 
Focus Malaysia has quoted Syabas' Ruslan  Hassan as justifying that Rozali was paid RM1 million for each of his 19 years in service, summing up  that the total amount paid is a rounded up figure.

Also, Puncak Niaga extended Rozali term as the Executive Chairman for another five years. This raises questions on the purpose of the gratuity payment in the first place.
 
While it is within Puncak Niaga's legal right to pay whatever it wants to its directors, such excessive remuneration is by no means an ethical and responsible decision given that water is a public good.

This is because:

(1) At a time when the management of water in Selangor was facing a water "crisis" due to Puncak Niaga's and Syabas' incompetence, its directors were being rewarded handsomely. RM20 million could be used to upgrade and better maintain Puncak Niaga's and Syabas' infrastructure, and to reduce non-revenue water (NRW);

(2) When the company was in dire straits at the end of 2011, the federal government, via the wholly owned subsidiary of Pengurusan Aset Air Bhd (PAAB) – Acqua SPV Bhd, bailed out Puncak Niaga by acquiring its RM328.12 million debt instrument.

(3) Of the numerous preferential loans given by the government, such as the RM320.8 million back-loaded interest free unsecured soft loan given in 2009.

(4) The company has an escalating debt which is at an astronomical figure of RM5.66 billion as of last year, a sharp increase from the amount posted in 2008, at RM4.46 billion.

In all these years of debt, bailout and inefficiency, Rozali's remuneration increased. In 2009 he was paid RM14 million, in 2011 he received RM8.35 million and in 2012 he took home a whopping RM33.4 million.

Why is he being rewarded for incompetence, poor management and at the expense of taxpayers' funds via the bailouts?  It raises serious concerns about the merit of Rozali's gratuity.
 
And could there be a conflict of interest and breach in corporate governance in determining Rozali's remuneration?

It is no secret that he was the treasurer of UMNO Selangor, while the chairman of Puncak Niaga's remuneration committee, Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak is also an UMNO member. Furthermore, he sits on the International Affairs Bureau of the UMNO Supreme Council.

The remuneration committee also includes Dr Ting Chew Peh, who is the former MCA Secretary-General.

This is clearly a text-book example of using political cronies to take home a fat remuneration, or in this case, a gratuity payment.
At a time when the global masses are questioning the role and responsibilities of corporations, Puncak Niaga and Rozali continue to operate with almost no fear of accountability.

I call upon the Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN) to investigate 1) whether public funds were used to enrich politically linked individuals i.e. gratuity package; 2) and  if it constitutes an abuse of public funds as Puncak Niaga is a recipient of state loans and bailouts and to take the necessary actions.
 
Charles Santiago
Member of Parliament, Klang

Co-ordinator of Coalition Against Water Privatisation (CAWP). 

Selangor gets nod to take over water supply

Posted: 02 Jul 2013 12:05 PM PDT

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(The Sun Daily) - The federal government has agreed to Selangor acquiring all four water concessionaires in the state.

Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim said he has received a letter from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak agreeing to the deal.

"Selangor is all set to bring the supply of water under its control before the end of the year," Abdul Khalid said.

While he did not disclose figures or terms of the agreement, the Pakatan government, since came into power in 2008, has been clamouring for water to come under the control of the state.

Abdul Khalid told Dr Abd Rani Osman (Meru-PAS) in the state assembly today: "The state and federal governments are working together in drafting the agreement in accordance with the Water Concessionaries Industry Act 2006.

"Under the Act, the federal government has the executive power over any water deal across the peninsular and federal territories."

The Selangor government cited incompetence on the part of the concessionaires as one of the reasons to acquire the companies.

Answering a supplementary question, Abdul Khalid said the state is ready to manage water supply and that a professional management team is already in place. 

PAS to battle it alone as involvement of DAP, PKR could weaken party’s appeal

Posted: 02 Jul 2013 11:45 AM PDT

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(The Malay Mail) - The Kuala Besut by-election is expected to be a 'closed-door' religious affair between Umno and PAS.

Due to the local sensitivities, PAS is now expected to battle it out alone as the involvement of DAP and Parti Keadilan Rakyat could weaken the party's appeal to the locals as it canvasses for votes.
Besut voters, who are considered religious and parochial are not expected to welcome DAP leaders and campaigners as several sensitive issues raised before the 13th general election have sparked verbal wars between them and PAS.

For Kuala Besut voters, religion is the core issue that matters while physical development plays second fiddle.

Besut has been the centre of Islamic development in the nation, where pondok or religious schools is part and parcel of the local identity.

Due to differences in Islamic opinions between PAS and Umno followers in the state, they have even gone to the extent of having separate surau and even prayed separately at one time in the 80s.

However, locals are quick to put aside their differences when defending the religion from outsiders and from non-Muslims.

They are possessive when it comes to Islam and whatever differences they may have in interpretations of the religion, the locals considered it as their own problems and no outsiders should interfere.

With such background, DAP is not and in this case, probably not welcome at all in the campaign and PAS, given that its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang considers Terengganu, particularly Besut his turf, will not want outside interferences.

In fact, Abdul Hadi, whose bastion is Rusila in Marang, some 100km away from Besut had given out his edict that purportedly described Umno as an infidel in a kampong in Besut in 1982.

Thus religion is expected to be the main issue PAS will play up in its campaign besides the factionism in Umno, taking advantage of the 'cold war' between Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said and Besut division chief who is now Education Minister 11 Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.  

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pas-to-battle-it-alone-as-involvement-of-dap-and-pkr-could-weaken-partys-ap 

Church group under probe for ‘Allah’ Facebook post

Posted: 02 Jul 2013 11:42 AM PDT

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More than 60 per cent of the country's Christians, believed to number just under 2.8 million, are Malay-speaking Bumiputeras from Sabah and Sarawak. 

(The Malay Mail) - An evangelical church group is now being investigated for posting a Facebook message urging Christians to pray for the blessings of "Allah", a word still in the center of a tug-of-war battle that has been threatening religious harmony in multiracial Malaysia.

Selangor PAS commissioner Dr Abd Rani Osman confirmed with The Malay Mail Online yesterday that the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) is investigating the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia (NECF), despite the state government's earlier attempt at intervention.

"The state government proposed to take over to control the whole thing," Rani said when approached on the sidelines of the Selangor state legislative assembly here.

"The state government doesn't want to make this a big deal. But... according to JAIS, a complaint has been opened, so the investigation is on," the Selangor PAS chief said.

Jalur Tiga (Jati), a group formed by former Selangor state lawmaker Datuk Hasan Ali who purports to champion Malay rights, had filed a police complaint against NECF on May 14, accusing the Christian group of attempting to convert Malays in a Facebook campaign.

"I saw the use of the word 'Allah'in the picture was against the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation amongst Muslims) Enactment 1988 and Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which makes it an offence," Jati treasurer Noor Azizan Abdul Majid had told reporters after filing his report at the Shah Alam district police headquarters on May 14.

Religious tensions have been long been simmering in Malaysia in recent years, with the latest controversy surrounding a proposed law on child conversions to Islam deepening divisions between the Muslim majority and religious minorities.

The Muslim Lawyers Society of Malaysia (PPPMM) accused NECF last month of committing "criminal" sacrilege against Islam by misappropriating the word "Allah" for their purposes, despite a landmark High Court ruling in 2009 that the Middle Eastern word was not "exclusive"to Islam.

The NECF said in a response last month that its Facebook prayer campaign, which is called Malaysia MyHome, was just meant for Christians.

The umbrella body representing Malaysia's evangelical churches added that the Bahasa Malaysia version of the campaign contained the word "Allah" for the benefit of its East Malaysian Bumiputera congregation.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/church-group-under-probe-for-allah-facebook-post 

Listen, stop telling Malaysians to leave, leave, leave

Posted: 02 Jul 2013 11:40 AM PDT

http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/Images/TSOL/Photos-Gallery/Nation/2013/07/03/bung%20azran%20combo.ashx?w=620&h=413&crop=1& 

(The Star) - Grow up and stop asking people to leave the country, that is the viewpoint of Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs' (Ideas) chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

To him, it is unacceptable to ask another Malaysian to migrate just because of difference in opinions.

"In reality, every single one of us belongs to the country, and the country belongs to us. If A can tell B to move out, B can tell A to do the same," he said.

Wan Saiful advocated the need for maturity, especially from "politicians who continuously leak these kind of suggestions".

"They need to realise that time has moved on. These attitudes are too childish for the era we are in now," he said.

MCA vice-president Gan Ping Sieu believed those who made such statements were in need of a basic education on democratic principles as there had to be room for disagreement.

"Such remarks are uncalled for, no matter who utters them.

"Reasonable opinions may differ and we should cherish the deliberation of differing views and ideas with the objective of betterment. Don't be a sore loser," he said in a phone interview.

Wan Saiful and Gan were commenting on a speech in Parliament by Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin who took to task Air Asia X chief executive officer Azran Osman Rani for calling Utusan Malaysia a racist newspaper.

On June 30, Utusan in its Awang Selamat column told DAP publicity chief and Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua to migrate to Taiwan or Hong Kong if he did not approve of Ramadan bazaars in Malaysia.

MIC vice-president Datuk S.K. Devamany felt that statements from one or two did not reflect the spirit of the country's leadership or people, as Malaysia was "an example of the spirit of unity."

"Perhaps those statements were a manifestation of frustrations after putting in much work," said the Perak state assembly Speaker.

He warned that leaders should be thoughtful of the rakyat's feelings as such statements cut deep into people's hearts.

Devamany said the grassroots were changing due to a democratisation of the mind with social media.

"People are going for a just government and transparency. We must reform the fundamentals of the nation rather than throw words that can hurt people and be detrimental to nation-building," he added.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah termed this sort of talk "out of date" as Malaysia had celebrated 56 years of independence.

"Malaysians from all walks of life and ethnic backgrounds consider Malaysia their home. I strongly believe that they also love their country," he said.

Though people may have differing views on matters, Saifuddin was firmly against asking people to leave the country.

"If they make statements or hold on to certain views that may contradict with official or mainstream points, they do it out of love for the country," he said.

Saifuddin suggests that everyone make an effort to find out about the differing views of others.

"If you strongly feel that your stand is right, then persuade them to agree with you. Don't ask them to leave!

"We must be able to live in the 21st century, appreciate differences and accommodate people with different beliefs," he added. 

PM Najib Razak makes sedition pledge

Posted: 02 Jul 2013 11:37 AM PDT

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(TMI) - "We have shown an awful lot of latitude to people who protest against the government," he said, "but people cannot say something that will undermine the stability of our country."

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he will honour a pledge to abolish the Sedition Act following a hotly contested election in May.

"We will amend the act but we want to keep Malaysia peaceful and harmonious," Najib told BBC World News yesterday in London.

He said that the law was only used against those who undermined stability.

Najib had promised to repeal the Sedition Act (1948) last year, along with other security legislation that dates from the British colonial era.

The Malaysian opposition says that the prime minister has used the sedition law to make needless arrests. It says the continuing delay in repealing it proves that Najib is not an "honourable man".

In his BBC interview, Najib accused the opposition of being "populist and irresponsible" during the election which saw big losses for the ruling coalition in urban areas.

He said that his government had repealed the Internal Security Act - which correspondents say has often used to detain anti-government activists - in addition to bringing an end to detentions without trial.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/pm-najib-razak-makes-sedition-pledge/ 

Indonesia assembly bill raises fears of crackdown on freedoms

Posted: 02 Jul 2013 11:35 AM PDT

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Hundreds of demonstrators block the road outside the parliament building, while parliament members hold a meeting to pass the mass organization bill, in Jakarta July 2, 2013. 

(The Malay Mail) - Indonesia's parliament passed a bill yesterday curbing freedom to organise and assemble, prompting street protests and raising concerns among religious groups and labour unions that it will allow the government to silence opposition.

Fifteen years after the downfall of dictator Suharto, Indonesia has embraced sweeping democratic reforms that have helped fuel average annual economic growth of 5 percent.

These reforms are illustrated by daily demonstrations in the capital, Jakarta, protesting against everything from low wages and poor healthcare to corruption and lack of education.

Under the bill, non-profit groups must abide by a long list of rules, including getting a government permit to operate and publicizing who their donors are.

"We need this (bill) because in Indonesia there are so many mass organisations, one might say too many. And they need to be regulated," lawmaker Abdul Malik Haramain told Reuters.

"This (bill) also applies to foreign NGOs (non-governmental organisations). Our principle is not to ban them of course, or even to restrict them, but only to make sure they are making a contribution."

Critics say the bill, which must be approved by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, is too broad and will allow the government to restrict opposition.

Hundreds of demonstrators, mainly from labour unions, briefly blocked roads outside parliament in downtown Jakarta to protest against the bill.

"The government wants to restrict our freedom to unionise and assemble when these things are guaranteed by the constitution," said union leader Mudhofir, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

A group of UN experts wrote to Indonesian lawmakers in February, warning that the bill threatened to restrict freedom of speech and religion in the world's most populous Muslim country. 

Overstayers may not be Malaysians

Posted: 02 Jul 2013 11:32 AM PDT

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(NST) - He said Malaysia was currently in the top 10 countries for illegal overstayers in the UK.

VISA ABUSE: Many of the 20,000 offenders in UK could have used forged passports

LONDON:  A HUGE question mark hangs over the status of the 20,000 "Malaysians" who had allegedly overstayed in the United Kingdom after their six-month visitor's passes or student visas had expired.

While some are undeniably Malaysians, there is a lingering suspicion that a significant number could very well be non-Malaysians who had somehow used Malaysian passports to enter the UK.

It is not known how many of them are "bogus" Malaysians, but a Malaysian tour operator here suspects the number is high.

"Malaysian passports are much sought after, as the holder gets a six-month visitor's visa on arrival in the UK.

"Once they enter the country, they will get rid of the Malaysian passports," claimed Kembara UK chief executive Ishak Gaffar, whose company conducts tours from here to other European countries, as well as the United States.

The issue has placed the "visa-free" status of Malaysian passport holders in jeopardy, as the UK starts clamping down on foreigners staying illegally in the country to work.

If the UK government imposes an additional visa requirement on Malaysians, it will be bad news for tour operators like Ishak, as his predominantly Malaysian clientele will not only be required to apply for a visa prior to entering the UK, but also other European Union countries, which may follow suit.

The authorities here are also mulling the idea of imposing "security bonds" on visitors from high-risk countries to tackle the problem of visa abuse.

Malaysian High Commissioner to the UK Datuk Seri Zakaria Sulong said there were no official statistics on the number of Malaysians who had overstayed.

"The British immigration authorities are strict in dealing with overstayers and will not compromise on the matter, although the country continues to welcome genuine Malaysian tourists, students and businessmen.

"I hope Malaysians respect and obey British laws and don't abuse their visas."

Zakaria could not say if the "visa overstayers" issue would be deliberated on during bilateral talks between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his British counterpart, David Cameron, tomorrow.

Najib, who arrived in London on Monday, is on a four-day working visit to the UK. The highlight of his visit is the launch of the Battersea Power Station redevelopment project with Cameron tomorrow.

The multi-billion ringgit project is to be undertaken by a Malaysian consortium, comprising Sime Darby Bhd, SP Setia Bhd and Employees Provident Fund.

The overstayer issue has been one of the biggest challenges faced by the UK immigration system and UK Border Agency.

The abuse prompted the authorities here to mull the idea of imposing "security bonds" on visitors from high-risk countries to tackle the problem.

Bernama reports that Zakaria said the British home minister was concerned about the visa abuse, since foreigners who overstayed had abused the country's National Health Service and other benefits meant for its people.

He said Malaysia was currently in the top 10 countries for illegal overstayers in the UK.

The commission was assisting overstayers, who did not want to continue staying in the country as illegal immigrants, to return home.

Malaysia is among the Commonwealth countries whose nationals are allowed to enter the UK without a visa for a period of not more than six months.

 

MP claims Anwar has 20 bank accounts abroad, including Israel

Posted: 02 Jul 2013 11:28 AM PDT

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(Bernama) - The Permatang Pauh MP was said to have a treasure-trove of US$66 million (RM209 million) and SG$49 million (RM123 million) in 20 banks in the United States, China and Singapore besides Israel. 

A claim made by an MP in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim stashed away RM332 million in 20 banks in four countries, including Israel, drew an angry response from opposition members. 
 
Quoting anti-secrecy organisation WikiLeaks, Liang Teck Meng (BN-Simpang Renggam) said the Permatang Pauh MP was said to have a treasure-trove of US$66 million (RM209 million) and SG$49 million (RM123 million) in 20 banks in the United States, China and Singapore besides Israel. 
 
"This information went viral on the internet. And when I read this, I wonder where this money comes from," he said when debating the motion of thanks on the royal address. 
 
Liang said all accounts had detailed particulars of the holder's name, position and passport number as well as the date the account was opened and the maturity date. 
 
He said hence, the government should investigate the matter as one of the account was opened in Israel where Malaysia had no diplomatic relations. 
 
Tian Chua (PKR-Batu), who was the first to come to Anwar's defence, asked Liang to provide proofs to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to enable investigations to be carried. 
 
"We've been pursuing our struggle for 15 years and we didn't even get a single sen. If our leader is so rich, we also want to know about it," he added. 
 
Jeff Ooi Chuan Aun (DAP-Jelutong) said if Liang failed to provide proofs, he should be taken to task by the Rights and Privilege Committee. 
 
Datuk Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) interjected and challenged the opposition to sue WikiLeaks for posting the information. 
 
Liang ended the debate by criticising Anwar for opening a bank account in Israel as this showed that he had reneged on his stand against the Israeli invasion of Gaza. 
 
"When the prime minister tabled a special motion condemning the Israeli invasion of Gaza last year, Permatang Pauh together with PAS and the DAP condemned the incursion. But behind our back, he has an account in the country concerned," said Liang. 

How to move backwards

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 07:08 PM PDT

Most Muslims will argue that the child must follow the religion of the father, not the religion of the mother. That is why a Christian woman need not convert to Islam if she marries a Muslim man while a Christian man must convert to Islam if he marries a Muslim woman. It is because the children have to follow the religion of the father so the non-Muslim man must convert to Islam while the non-Muslim woman need not.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

If you think Malaysia is facing a serious race-relations problem (which it is) wait until Islam takes over as the number one problem for Malaysia. And it can come to that if issues regarding Islam are not handled properly.

Before we go on, take note of one thing, the Federal Constitution of Malaysia says that Islam is the religion of the Federation and that the Rulers are head of Islam. And perish the thought if you think that all you need is a two-thirds majority in Parliament to amend the Constitution to change this.

First of all, the non-Muslims will never control a two-thirds majority in Parliament. And if you think that the non-Muslims can combine their minority with some of the Muslim members of Parliament to get the two-thirds majority required to amend the Constitution, perish that thought as well. No Muslim who is a true Muslim would risk hell by doing that, not even the more 'un-Islamic' Umno or PKR Muslims.

Have you noticed that some Muslims drink, gamble, do not fast or pray, or even take bribes, but they will not eat pork? Why do you think that is so? And would these fasiq Muslims dare declare that Prophet Muhammad never existed or that the Qur'an is a fake? They would rather die than do that blasphemous thing. 

They may be the worst Muslims on earth but there are certain compromises they will not make. And removing Islam as the religion of the Federation is one of those compromises they would not make.

Anyway, the issue of Islam needs to be discussed by the Conference of Rulers, not in Parliament. And do you think the Rulers will dare remove Islam as the religion of the Federation? Doing that would spell the end of the Monarchy as well. Islam is the only thing that is keeping the Monarchy alive.

So, Islam is still going to remain the religion of the Federation and the Rulers are still going to be head of Islam long after you and I are dead and buried and rotting in our graves. Hence learn to live what that and don't try to fight it because it is futile to resist something that is never going to change.

And as I said in my previous article regarding the Palace and the Rulers: learn how to delicately navigate the very complex and sensitive shark-infested waters regarding Islam. Or else prepare yourself for doom.

The issue of the religion of minors, in particular if the parents are divorced and one parent has left Islam, promises to be an explosive issue. Do you remember the Maria Hertogh riots that erupted in Singapore in 1950 regarding this issue? Many people died because someone wanted to convert a Muslim child out of Islam. (Read more here).

That was in 1950, you may say. That can never happen today. You think so? Soon after WWII and around the time of Merdeka the Malays were more liberal than they are today. Just go watch the old Malay black-and-white movies of the 1950s to see what I mean. And those movies showed 'real life' of 60 years ago. Today, the Malays are more conservative than the Malays of 60 years ago.

There are two conflicting reports as follows:

Anak bertukar agama perlu diserah kepada ibu, kata Anwar

http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/beritakomentar/57823-anak-bertukar-agama-perlu-diserah-kepada-ibu-kata-anwar

Pakatan mum on child conversion law, says needs further scrutiny 

http://www.malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/newscommentaries/57825-pakatan-mum-on-child-conversion-law-says-needs-further-scrutiny

One report quotes Anwar as saying that the child must follow the religion of the mother and the other report says Pakatan Rakyat has not taken a stand on the matter.

Most Muslims will argue that the child must follow the religion of the father, not the religion of the mother. That is why a Christian woman need not convert to Islam if she marries a Muslim man while a Christian man must convert to Islam if he marries a Muslim woman. It is because the children have to follow the religion of the father so the non-Muslim man must convert to Islam while the non-Muslim woman need not.

I feel Pakatan Rakyat will not be able to reach a consensus on this matter. They can't because this issue will override party lines. If this is tabled in Parliament the Muslim Members of Parliament from Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat will unite against the non-Muslims from both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat.

This is going to a be a good 'test' to see whether the Muslim MPs are going to be Muslims first or politicians first. And if PAS shows loyalty to Pakatan Rakyat and votes against Umno, then PAS is finished and for sure it is going to lose the coming Kuala Besut by-election.

 

Penang urged to set floor pay at RM1,200

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 06:04 PM PDT

He alleged that some employers in the Bayan Lepas Free Trade and Industrial Zone were still offering RM600 as the starting wage, the same amount they offered when the manufacturing hub was launched in 1973.

Hawkeye, FMT

Trade unionist and retired DAP leader Abdul Razak Abdul Hamid today proposed that the minimum wage be set at RM1,200 for employees of the Penang government and its agencies.

He said that would be a more realistic figure than the RM900 set by the federal government and would send out a strong message that Pakatan Rakyat was ready to govern the entire country instead of just a few states.

Abdul Razak, who was once chairman of the Penang chapter of the Malayans Trade Union Congress and served in DAP's Penang liaison committee until the year 2000, said the floor wage set by Putrajaya was too low to enable workers to contend with the high cost of living.

He said life was particularly tough for blue collar workers in Penang, who were struggling not only to put food on the table but also to find decent lodgings as property prices and rentals continued to rise.

"Many workers continue to live on credit, with a large number of them relying on loan sharks," he said.

He alleged that some employers in the Bayan Lepas Free Trade and Industrial Zone were still offering RM600 as the starting wage, the same amount they offered when the manufacturing hub was launched in 1973.

He said DAP must use its second term as the governing party in Penang to prove to Malaysians that Pakatan was ready to govern the entire nation under just and democratic principles.

READ MORE HERE

 

The Palace fights back

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 05:29 PM PDT

Do you want to know what really happened? What really happened was that Dr Mahathir made two attempts to take on the Palace and both attempts failed miserably. However, so as not to 'lose face', they spun a story that Dr Mahathir took on the Palace so that he could reduce the powers of the Rulers. And they spun a story that Umno succeeded in doing that. And the gullible Malaysians swallowed this propaganda hook, line and sinker and celebrated this 'success'.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

A statement issued by His Highness Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, the Sultan of Johor, via his private secretary, Jaba Mohd Noah, said that Tee Siew Kiong of MCA's appointment as an EXCO member was the Sultan's choice and that it was His Highness's right to choose the line-up of the state executive council members under Phase 4 Section II of the Johor State Constitution 1895.

All parties, including MCA party members and leaders, were asked to respect Sultan Ibrahim's decision and that they should not question His Highness's authority and power as the Sultan of Johor.

His Highness Sultan Ibrahim is not required to seek anyone's opinion or suggestion before appointing his preferred state executive council members' line-up nor does any need arise for His Highness to explain the reason for the appointments.

Whatever issue pertaining to MCA should stay within the party and Tee's appointment by His Highness the Sultan of Johor as an executive council member should never be questioned or politicised.

Even though Tee may be sacked from his party he is still an executive council member appointed by the Sultan of Johor. His Highness the Sultan of Johor does not wish to interfere in the affairs of any political party and also does not want any political party to interfere in Johor State affairs.

So there you have it. His Highness the Sultan of Johor has spoken up, as have a few other Rulers of late. And did you notice that they 'speak' through an official palace spokesman and not directly to the media like politicians normally do.

So, yes, Malaysia may be a Constitutional Monarchy but that does not mean the Rulers are rubber-stamp monarchs with absolutely no power and authority whatsoever.

The fact that most times the Rulers choose to remain silent should not be interpreted as them having no power or authority. In fact, Their Highnesses have immense power because they are all Colonels-in-Chief of the various branches of the military while His Majesty the Agong is the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

Did you notice one more thing? The Johor State Constitution of 1895 has been quoted as the reference. This goes back to the time of pre-Malaya when Malaya did not exist yet and what existed were the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States and the Unfederated Malay States.

And note one very crucial point here: they were called 'Malay States'.

Would anyone like to challenge this? Maybe MCA, MIC, Gerakan, PKR or DAP would like to challenged this in court. I know Umno and PAS would not dare do that. The Rulers are head of Islam so to challenge the powers and authority of the Rulers would be to challenge the head of Islam. And the last thing Umno and PAS would want to do is to challenge the head of Islam.

It is time that the non-Malays from both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat wake up to this reality. There is a limit to how far you can push the envelope, so to speak. Push too hard and someone will start to push back. And you may not have noticed it but some of the Rulers are beginning to push back although some are doing it very subtly and without creating too much waves. But they are pushing back, have no doubts about that.

So how do you handle this? Well, first of all, you cannot challenge the Rulers head on. If you do then you expose Malaysia to a very real risk of a civil war. And show me one civil war where the rakyat does not suffer. Instead you have to handle this the way the politicians around the time of Merdeka handled it. They learned how to delicately navigate the very complex and sensitive palace-politics shark-infested waters.

Some say Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad changed all that 30 years ago back in the 1980s. Some even say if there is one good thing that Dr Mahathir did was that he reduced the powers of the Rulers.

Is that so? If so, then tell which of the powers of the Rulers that Dr Mahathir removed? List down all those powers of the Rulers that Dr Mahathir removed? Give me the details.

Actually, other than laws passed by Parliament automatically becoming law whether His Majesty the Agong did or did not sign the Bill, there are no other powers of the Rulers that had been reduced or removed. None! Zilch!

Do you want to know what really happened? What really happened was that Dr Mahathir made two attempts to take on the Palace and both attempts failed miserably. However, so as not to 'lose face', they spun a story that Dr Mahathir took on the Palace so that he could reduce the powers of the Rulers. And they spun a story that Umno succeeded in doing that. And the gullible Malaysians swallowed this propaganda hook, line and sinker and celebrated this 'success'.

So why are you all celebrating the so-called 'good thing' that Dr Mahathir was alleged to have done? That was the one and only thing that happened. And do you really think this is a good thing?

What happens if Parliament passes a law that says Muslims who leave Islam can be sent to jail, Christians who preach Christianity to Muslims can be sent to jail, Muslims who do not follow Sunni Islam but Shia Islam can be sent to jail, and whatnot? And what happens if His Majesty the Agong refuses to sign this Bill into law?

Well, it does not matter because with or without His Majesty's signature it would still become law anyway. So, is this 'good thing' that Dr Mahathir did really good after all? Do you still want to celebrate that 'good move'?

Do you know that you have just removed the 'check-and-balance' that the British created? The British wanted to prevent the creation of a Malaysian Oliver Cromwell. Dr Mahathir wanted to be Malaysia's Oliver Cromwell. And you celebrate that and think it is a good idea?

Do you know what Oliver Cromwell did to Ireland because the Irish were 'different' Christians? Oliver Cromwell was anti-Catholic but King Charles I was too sympathetic to the Catholics. So they removed the powers of the King and slaughtered the Catholics in Ireland.

Why do you think until today there is still trouble in Ireland? The Irish have never forgotten and forgiven what the English did to them almost 400 years ago. And now the Sunni Malays of Malaysia can do to the Shias what the Puritans in England did to the Catholics 400 years ago.

By the way, did you read the report that said PAS would sack any member, leaders included, who are suspected of not following Sunni Islam? Welcome to Iraq. Welcome to Beirut. Welcome to England of the 1600s.

So, can the Rulers who are head of Islam stop this injustice? Not if Parliament makes this into law and it becomes law even if His Majesty the Agong does not sign the Bill.

Oh, I have a good idea. Why not we abolish the Monarchy entirely and turn Malaysia into a Republic so that Barisan Nasional need not share power with the Palace. If that happens you will wish you were living here in Manchester with me rather than back in Malaysia. Yes, let's turn Malaysia into a Republic like many of you want. That would be fun for whoever controls Parliament.

 

Pakatan mum on child conversion law, says needs further scrutiny

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 04:09 PM PDT

(Malay Mail) - Pakatan Rakyat leaders today declined to weigh in on controversial law on child conversions to Islam, saying they needed time to study the matter first.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the coalition will only issue a statement on the matter sometime next week, while his daughter and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah revealed that a joint committee had been set up to study the law.

"We are looking at the Bill thoroughly and I have had a initial discussion with (PAS president) Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and also (Penang Chief Minister) Lim Guan Eng to get some understanding before we give a public response," he told reporters in Parliament here.

"We have already set up a Pakatan committee to look into this and we will meet soon," Nurul told pressmen in a separate press conference earlier.

The proposed amendment contained in section 107(b) of the Administration of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 has led to concerns by Malaysia's religious minorities that more cases of unilateral child conversions to Islam may result.

Several non-Muslim government leaders have openly condemned the Bill as unconstitutional and called on lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to oppose the law which was tabled in Parliament last Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has defended the Bill, however, arguing the proposed amendment was done according to existing laws.

But the Umno deputy president noted that the government will take into consideration all views given on the matter and Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, will be issuing a statement on the controversy soon. 

Earlier today, Muhyiddin's Cabinet colleague Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam suggested that a translation error was at the heart of the growing row.

The health minister was reported to have said the Malay version of section 107(b), which states the conversion of a minor requires the consent of a "parent or guardian", was not in line with the English version.

However, he said the Malay version translates the word "parent" to "ibu atau bapa" ("mother or father").

"The Bill is a totally new Bill. I think this part was not seen by them," the Segamat MP was quoted as saying by the Malaysiakini news portal in a news conference here, referring to his colleagues in the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

Dr Subramaniam, who is also deputy president of MIC, added that he did not think the Bill would be presented for voting.

"I don't think it will reach that stage," he said when asked if the MIC would vote against the Bill in the Dewan Rakyat.

The Bar Council had pointed out the translation error in a statement last week, on the heels of an uproar from the country's largest non-Muslim faith group over the proposed law.

Both the Bar Council and the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) ― the umbrella body of Malaysia's non-Muslim creeds ― had said the Bill, which aims to broaden the definition of parental consent in the conversion of children under the age of eight to mean either instead of both parents, was "unconstitutional".

Custodial tussles in cases of unilateral child conversion have been a growing concern over the years and provide a high-profile glimpse of the concerns of Malaysia's religious minorities over perceived dominance of Islam in the country.

It also highlights the complications of Malaysia's dual legal systems where Muslims are bound by both civil and syariah laws, the latter of which does not apply to or recognise non-Muslims.

In 2009, then Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the government will ban the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam, in an attempt to assuage concerns among Muslim-dominated Malaysia's religious minorities.

But cases since, such as that of a Hindu mother in Negri Sembilan who discovered in April her estranged husband had converted their two underage children to Islam after he had done so a year earlier without her knowledge, illustrate the lack of adherence to the ruling.

 

Pakatan Rakyat leaders today declined to weigh in on controversial law on child conversions to Islam, saying they needed time to study the matter first.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the coalition will only issue a statement on the matter sometime next week, while his daughter and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah revealed that a joint committee had been set up to study the law.

"We are looking at the Bill thoroughly and I have had a initial discussion with (PAS president) Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and also (Penang Chief Minister) Lim Guan Eng to get some understanding before we give a public response," he told reporters in Parliament here.

"We have already set up a Pakatan committee to look into this and we will meet soon," Nurul told pressmen in a separate press conference earlier.

The proposed amendment contained in section 107(b) of the Administration of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 has led to concerns by Malaysia's religious minorities that more cases of unilateral child conversions to Islam may result.

Several non-Muslim government leaders have openly condemned the Bill as unconstitutional and called on lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to oppose the law which was tabled in Parliament last Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has defended the Bill, however, arguing the proposed amendment was done according to existing laws.

But the Umno deputy president noted that the government will take into consideration all views given on the matter and Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, will be issuing a statement on the controversy soon.

Earlier today, Muhyiddin's Cabinet colleague Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam suggested that a translation error was at the heart of the growing row.

The health minister was reported to have said the Malay version of section 107(b), which states the conversion of a minor requires the consent of a "parent or guardian", was not in line with the English version.

However, he said the Malay version translates the word "parent" to "ibu atau bapa" ("mother or father").

"The Bill is a totally new Bill. I think this part was not seen by them," the Segamat MP was quoted as saying by the Malaysiakini news portal in a news conference here, referring to his colleagues in the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

Dr Subramaniam, who is also deputy president of MIC, added that he did not think the Bill would be presented for voting.

"I don't think it will reach that stage," he said when asked if the MIC would vote against the Bill in the Dewan Rakyat.

The Bar Council had pointed out the translation error in a statement last week, on the heels of an uproar from the country's largest non-Muslim faith group over the proposed law.

Both the Bar Council and the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) ― the umbrella body of Malaysia's non-Muslim creeds ― had said the Bill, which aims to broaden the definition of parental consent in the conversion of children under the age of eight to mean either instead of both parents, was "unconstitutional".

Custodial tussles in cases of unilateral child conversion have been a growing concern over the years and provide a high-profile glimpse of the concerns of Malaysia's religious minorities over perceived dominance of Islam in the country.

It also highlights the complications of Malaysia's dual legal systems where Muslims are bound by both civil and syariah laws, the latter of which does not apply to or recognise non-Muslims.

In 2009, then Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the government will ban the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam, in an attempt to assuage concerns among Muslim-dominated Malaysia's religious minorities.

But cases since, such as that of a Hindu mother in Negri Sembilan who discovered in April her estranged husband had converted their two underage children to Islam after he had done so a year earlier without her knowledge, illustrate the lack of adherence to the ruling.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pakatan-mum-on-child-conversion-law-says-needs-further-scrutiny#When:05:01:55Z

Pakatan Rakyat leaders today declined to weigh in on controversial law on child conversions to Islam, saying they needed time to study the matter first.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the coalition will only issue a statement on the matter sometime next week, while his daughter and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah revealed that a joint committee had been set up to study the law.

"We are looking at the Bill thoroughly and I have had a initial discussion with (PAS president) Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and also (Penang Chief Minister) Lim Guan Eng to get some understanding before we give a public response," he told reporters in Parliament here.

"We have already set up a Pakatan committee to look into this and we will meet soon," Nurul told pressmen in a separate press conference earlier.

The proposed amendment contained in section 107(b) of the Administration of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 has led to concerns by Malaysia's religious minorities that more cases of unilateral child conversions to Islam may result.

Several non-Muslim government leaders have openly condemned the Bill as unconstitutional and called on lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to oppose the law which was tabled in Parliament last Wednesday.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has defended the Bill, however, arguing the proposed amendment was done according to existing laws.

But the Umno deputy president noted that the government will take into consideration all views given on the matter and Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs, will be issuing a statement on the controversy soon.

Earlier today, Muhyiddin's Cabinet colleague Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam suggested that a translation error was at the heart of the growing row.

The health minister was reported to have said the Malay version of section 107(b), which states the conversion of a minor requires the consent of a "parent or guardian", was not in line with the English version.

However, he said the Malay version translates the word "parent" to "ibu atau bapa" ("mother or father").

"The Bill is a totally new Bill. I think this part was not seen by them," the Segamat MP was quoted as saying by the Malaysiakini news portal in a news conference here, referring to his colleagues in the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

Dr Subramaniam, who is also deputy president of MIC, added that he did not think the Bill would be presented for voting.

"I don't think it will reach that stage," he said when asked if the MIC would vote against the Bill in the Dewan Rakyat.

The Bar Council had pointed out the translation error in a statement last week, on the heels of an uproar from the country's largest non-Muslim faith group over the proposed law.

Both the Bar Council and the Malaysian Consultative Council Of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) ― the umbrella body of Malaysia's non-Muslim creeds ― had said the Bill, which aims to broaden the definition of parental consent in the conversion of children under the age of eight to mean either instead of both parents, was "unconstitutional".

Custodial tussles in cases of unilateral child conversion have been a growing concern over the years and provide a high-profile glimpse of the concerns of Malaysia's religious minorities over perceived dominance of Islam in the country.

It also highlights the complications of Malaysia's dual legal systems where Muslims are bound by both civil and syariah laws, the latter of which does not apply to or recognise non-Muslims.

In 2009, then Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the government will ban the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam, in an attempt to assuage concerns among Muslim-dominated Malaysia's religious minorities.

But cases since, such as that of a Hindu mother in Negri Sembilan who discovered in April her estranged husband had converted their two underage children to Islam after he had done so a year earlier without her knowledge, illustrate the lack of adherence to the ruling.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pakatan-mum-on-child-conversion-law-says-needs-further-scrutiny#When:05:01:55Z

Home Ministry grilled over Lahad Datu intrusion

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 03:31 PM PDT

(The Sun Daily) - Several Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs from Sabah took the Home Ministry to task today and grilled its deputy minister over the delay in responding to the Lahad Datu intruders.

Datuk Bung Moktar Radin asked why the government took such a long time to investigate and act on the intrusion and questioned why there was a need for negotiations with the intruders.

To this, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Wan Jaafar (picture) replied the intrusion in February involved foreigners and it took a while for the government to identify the situation.

"At that point we did not know, only after our initial investigation that we found out they were armed and wanted to destroy the country.

"After that, the police started its investigation and when our policemen were ambushed, only then we knew it was a terrorist attack," said Wan Junaidi during the question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.

Wan Junaidi further explained that since Malaysia has bilateral ties with the Philippines, and in the spirit of Asean camaraderie, there was a need to get the neighbouring country involved in the matter.

"This is why our investigations took a long time because we (initially) did not know who they were when they attacked us.

"We have to work with the Philippines during the investigations... it is not easy (to just take arbitrary action without the Philippines)," he added.

This, however, did not sit well with Datuk Ghapur Salleh (BN-Kalabakan) who said the security situation in the state has always been an issue.

"Why did the government take two weeks to know that the intruders had weapons?

"If people armed with weapons enter my home, what will I do? Negotiate with them? Definitely not. I will take my shotgun and shoot them.

"This shows that we were careless and we had negotiations with them. They wanted to claim Sabah, but what took us such a long time to defend?

"When will the government give us a satisfying answer to make us feel safe because even with the formation of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM), we don't feel safe," stressed Ghapur.

To this, Wan Junaidi said there are certain procedures and guidelines that must be followed and assured that the government took swift action on the intrusion.

He added that the intrusion was also a wake up call to the government, which is why ESSCOM was swiftly formed.

"The emergency in (then) Tanah Melayu from 1948 to 1960 took a long time to end. The emergency in Sarawak took 12 years to end. But in Lahad Datu, it only took the government three months to solve the matter.

"Also, with the increased cooperation with the Philippines, we are safe and I want you YB and the entire Borneo to also feel safe," said Wan Junaidi.

Ghapur then interjected and said: "We are not safe and I don't want the Deputy Minister to merely state that we are."

Earlier, Wan Junaidi said the government has prosecuted 30 individuals under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 as they were involved in the Lahad Datu attacks.

"Out of that, four are Malaysians, one is a permanent resident, while the rest are not Malaysians.

"Their cases were mentioned at various stages at the Tawau High Court in May.

"Another individual is in the hospital and that case will be heard on July 25," he said in reply to Bung who asked if the intrusion by the Sulu terrorists in Tanduo, Lahad Datu were followers of Sultan Kiram III and if there were Malaysians involved.

Wan Junaidi also said he did not want to divulge more details on the incident as the police are still conducting their investigations on the matter.

 

Anak bertukar agama perlu diserah kepada ibu, kata Anwar

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 03:23 PM PDT

Md Izwan, TMI

Anak atau kanak-kanak bawah umur yang memeluk agama Islam bersama bapa perlu diserahkan di bawah jagaan ibu, kata Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (gambar) hari ini tetapi ia masih perlu perbincangan yang lebih mendalam.

Kenyataan Ketua Pembangkang tersebut hadir selepas disoal wartawan tentang Rang Undang-Undang Pentadbiran Agama Islam (Wilayah Persekutuan) 2013 yang dibentangkan untuk bacaan kali pertama di Dewan Rakyat baru-baru ini.

"Biasanya dalam ketetapan Islam seperti yang disebut Nabi apabila anak kecil masuk Islam bersama ayah tetapi ibu bukan Islam, anak itu akan dikembalikan kepada ibu untuk dijaga," kata Anwar apabila ditanya wartawan di lobi Parlimen.

Rang Undang-Undang yang dibentangkan tersebut mendapat tentangan daripada parti komponen kerajaan Barisan Nasional (BN) dan juga Pakatan Rakyat (PR) kerana bercanggah dengan keputusan Kabinet pada tahun 2009 yang tidak membenarkan penukaran agama secara satu pihak sahaja.

READ MORE HERE

 

Bar against move to resurrect any law similar to EO

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 03:12 PM PDT

(The Star) - The Bar Council is against any move to resurrect any law similar to the Emergency Ordinance (EO), which was repealed two years ago.

Council president Christopher Leong said the current crime situation had nothing to do with the abolition of the EO.

"The EO was used to detain syndicated criminals.

"What we have now is an increase in snatch thefts, house burglaries, stabbings, and robberies at ATM machines and restaurants. These crimes are not as a result of the repealing of EO," he said.

He said the EO was never about detaining such criminals and pointed out the police have sufficient investigative abilities to address the current crime situation.

"We are not in favour of the EO being resurrected in the shape or guise of some other laws," he said.

Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN- Ayer Itam) said all angles and possibilities should be looked into to find a proper way to tackle crime.

"We must find the right mechanism. The enactment of a new law to replace EO can still be argued. Perhaps there can be other ways, including having more stringent policies, enforcement and manpower," he said, disagreeing that the repeal had caused crime to spike.

Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli (PAS-Kuala Krai) said the problem did not lie with the repeal of the EO but the failure of the criminals' rehabilitation process.

Criminologist Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat denied that there was a link between the abolishment of the EO to the recent spate of violent crimes.

"Factors in the spate of violent crimes include the level of moral decay, a higher threshold of violence tolerance through media portrayal, social desensitisation and individualisation of norms," she said, adding that there was also not enough police personnel to cover a wide geographic area.

Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) secretary-general Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria said serious police work was necessary, such as undercover operations, a better informer system, more professionals in investigation teams and better witness protection programmes.

 

PAS snubs DAP’s call to boycott polls

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 03:07 PM PDT

(The Star) - PAS has snubbed a call by its Pakatan Rakyat partner DAP to boycott the Kuala Besut by-election.

Its state commissioner Abdul Wahid Endut said it would not allow Barisan Nasional to retain the seat uncontested.

"There were calls to boycott the swearing-in of MPs before, yet everyone was sworn in.

"The issue of boycotting the by-election does not arise," he said here yesterday.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng on Sunday suggested that PAS should boycott the by-election to protest alleged dirty tactics by the Election Commission (EC) during the May 5 general election.

Abdul Wahid, the Wakaf Mempelam assemblyman, said the by-election was crucial for Pakatan Rakyat, as a win for the Opposition coalition would bring the seat assembly to an equal tally of 16 representatives from both sides.

"This situation has never occurred before. We are going to approach this by-election with an aim to form a new state government should we win," he said.

Abdul Wahid added that the party already shortlisted three to four candidates and would make an an­­­­­noun­­cement at the appropriate time.

On reports that PKR is interested in fielding its own candidate in Kuala Besut, Abdul Wahid said the seat must be contested by PAS as it did so in the last general election.

He added that state deputy PAS commissioner Satiful Bahri Mamat, who is also Paka assemblyman, will be the party's by-election director.

In Kuala Lumpur, PAS information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the party had no intention of boycotting the by-election.

"Although there are things which we disagree on pertaining to the electoral process by the EC, we have no intention not to contest as this seat is very crucial for PAS in Terengganu," he told online news portal The Mole yesterday.

Tuan Ibrahim said PAS had three important requests for the EC regarding this upcoming by-election.

"Firstly, we want the EC to ensure no interference from the government's machinery.

"Secondly, we want fair and balanced media coverage.

"Thirdly, we hope for improvement in terms of observers as well as the conduct of the EC officers during the polling day itself," he said.

Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that he would lead Barisan's charge in the by-election.

Muhyiddin, who is Umno deputy president, said the Prime Minister had tasked him to lead the election machinery in Kuala Besut with Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh as his deputy.

"We are fully prepared for the by-election. We are working with Men­­tri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said to determine our strategies to face the by-election."

 

PKR: No issue if Bumburing doesn't join Pakatan

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 03:03 PM PDT

(The Star) - It is okay if former Upko president Datuk Seri Wilfred Bumburing (picture) does not join Pakatan Rakyat despite running on a PKR ticket in the May 5 general election, PKR vice-president N. Surendran.

"It happens, we have a cordial relationship and he is still keeping in line with the party's goals and aims," he told The Star Online at the Parliament lobby Tuesday.

In the 13th general election, Bumburing - who was formerly Tuaran MP - defeated PBS' Jahid Jahim, then incumbent Tamparuli assemblyman.

However, he failed to keep the Tuaran parliamentary seat against Upko's Madius Tangau.

 

NGO calls for setting up of Tamil religious school

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 02:55 PM PDT

(The Star) - THE Malaysian Hindu Sangam has called for the setting up of a Tamil religious school, Tamil Nesan reported.

Its president Datuk Mohan Shan said the school would be of great help to curtail the social ills amongst Indian students in the country.

The recommendations were contained in a memorandum handed over to Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan during the NGO's delegates conference on Sunday.

Mohan Shan said the Government should only provide allocations to temples recommended by the sangam to ensure a better relationship between the NGO and Hindu temples.

He also said only Hindu temples which were registered with the sangam should be allowed to recruit musicians and priests from India.

He also called for the sangam members to be appointed into government agencies.

In another report, former MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu has called for more Tamil-oriented programmes to spread the language among youths in the country.

Speaking at a festival honouring the poet Kannadasan in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, he said hosting programmes like these would ensure the Tamil language continues to survive.

 

‘Only RM200m paid for land worth RM1b’

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 02:40 PM PDT

Bandar Kuching DAP MP Chong Chieng Jen wants an inquiry to be setup to look into all the lands given to the Taib Mahmud's family companies.

Leven Woon, FMT

Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud continued to come under the spotlight for allegations of corruptions, with opposition members today claiming his family members had obtained 23 parcel of lands worth RM1 billion at RM200 million.

Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen claimed that the lands located in Kuching, Sibu, Miri, Mukah were transacted to Taib's family between 2000 and 2010.

The 23 parcel of lands totalled 3,8255.25ha.

He claimed that the beneficiary companies included those belonging to Taib's son Mahmud Abu Bekir, brother Ibrahim Mahmud, daughters Jamilah Hamidah and Hanifah Hajar, daughter-in-law Anisa Hamidah Abdullah, sister Raziah Mahmud and brother-in-law Robert Geneid.

"Most of them formed shell companies specially to receive the lands. This is just the tip of iceberg," he told a joint press conference by five Sarawak DAP parliamentarians at the Parliament's lobby today.

Responding to the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission which formed a 10-men panel yesterday to investigate Taib's graft claims, Chong said such move was merely "window dressing".

He said this was because the formation of such panel has been long delayed after MACC announced that they had opened a file on Taib in June 2011.

READ MORE HERE

 

MACC: Show us proof on Taib Mahmud

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 02:32 PM PDT

The MACC wants those with information on the Sarawak chief minister's alleged corrupt practices to talk to them.

Alfian ZM Tahir, FMT

The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) today responded to Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen by urging the Sarawak DAP leader to come forward if he has proof that Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud is corrupt.

"We take serious note on the allegations brought forward by Chong related to land acquisition in Sarawak by seven companies linked to the family members of Taib Mahmud.

"It would be very much appreciated if Chong hands us any information with regards to this matter" MACC said in a press statement.

The MACC then mentioned that they have never delayed any investigation on the Sarawak Chief Minister and added that they need time to investigate the matter thoroughly as various people are involved directly and indirectly in this particular case.

"This is not the first case, we have had cases involving former Kelantan mentri besar, Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim which took us considerable period of time" MACC added.

The anti corruption agency also stressed that it was important for all parties to cooperate in order for them to carry out their duty.

Yesterday Chong had claimed that plots of land located in Kuching, Sibu, Miri, Mukah were transacted to Taib's family between 2000 and 2010.

He claimed that the beneficiary companies included those belonging to Taib's son Mahmud Abu Bekir, brother Ibrahim Mahmud, daughters Jamilah Hamidah and Hanifah Hajar, daughter-in-law Anisa Hamidah Abdullah, sister Raziah Mahmud and brother-in-law Robert Geneid.

READ MORE HERE

 

'Insolent' AirAsia X chief Azran should emigrate, says BN's Bung Mokhtar

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 01:52 PM PDT

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/bung-mokhtar.jpg 

(fz.com) - In his fiery criticism against Azran in his debate on the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat today, the Kinabatangan MP said it was "inappropriate" for Malays to criticise the Malay newspaper as it is the "voice of the Malays".

AirAsia X Bhd's head honcho Azran Osman Rani should emigrate for criticising Umno-owned dailyUtusan Malaysia's hardline report in the aftermath of the May 5 national polls, said BN backbencher Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin.
 
"I declare this man a very insolent Malay... and I challenge him, this kind of Malay who doesn't deserve to live on this land, to migrate to a different country, one that he prefers," Bung Mokhtar lashed out.
 
In his fiery criticism against Azran in his debate on the royal address in the Dewan Rakyat today, the Kinabatangan MP said it was "inappropriate" for Malays to criticise the Malay newspaper as it is the "voice of the Malays".

More to come at: http://www.fz.com/content/insolent-airasia-x-chief-azran-should-emigrate-says-bns-bung-mokhtar#ixzz2XrRDJuBw 

How Can We Have Faith in the IGP?

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 01:26 PM PDT

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 "The lies are not in the core print of the statutes book but in the integrity of the police officer, whatever his rank." 

Kee Thuan Chye
 
In street parlance, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) is in deep shit.
 
Khalid Abu Bakar has been singled out by the judge who gave his verdict on the civil suit brought by A. Kugan's family against him, the police force and the Government as having not told the truth about how Kugan died while in police custody four years ago.
 
Khalid was then Selangor police chief. In his first statement to the media at the time, he said Kugan collapsed and died after drinking water. In a subsequent statement, he said Kugan died of water in the lungs.
 
When an independent post-mortem initiated by human rights lawyer N. Surendran found that Kugan had suffered 45 external injuries and a wide range of internal injuries due to severe beatings, leading to his death from acute renal failure, Khalid did not clarify why its findings contradicted glaringly what he had said to the media.
 
Senior federal counsel Azizan Md Arshad, in the civil suit hearing, agreed with the judge that Khalid should have held a press conference to clarify the matter. "Only God knows (why this was not done)," Azizan is reported to have also said.
 
Indeed. There is a world of difference between dying of injuries sustained from being beaten and dying of water in the lungs.
 
At the hearing, Khalid testified that there was no cover-up in the investigations into Kugan's death, and he denied all the allegations against himself, the police force and the Government over what had happened to Kugan.
 
However, judge V. T. Singham said in his ruling that there is sufficient evidence against Khalid for misfeasance as a public officer. He said with absolute certainty, "No person in any position or rank, when testifying in court, should take this court for granted and attempt to suppress the truth to escape liability."
 
He also said, "The lies are not in the core print of the statutes book but in the integrity of the police officer, whatever his rank."
 
The import of these words is serious. They call into question the credibility and integrity of the country's highest-ranking police officer. How much faith can the Malaysian public now have in Khalid Abu Bakar?
 
What will the government that appointed him to this high position do now? Should it ignore the judge's comments and continue with business as usual? Let's use an analogy. If, say, the head of a key department of a company were declared by a court of law to have committed a breach of trust, what should the CEO of the company do?
 
It already reflects badly on the Government for having selected someone who had some baggage to a position that demands the highest integrity of its occupant. The Kugan case is, after all, no small matter. It is a contentious case that has been hogging media attention for a long time.
 
Furthermore, in the case of Aminulrasyid Amzah, the 14-year-old schoolboy who was killed after having been shot 21 times by police in 2010, a police report was lodged by the boy's parents against Khalid alleging a cover-up. Khalid has denied the allegation and also the claim that he had called the boy a criminal, but the subsequent public perception of him has been negative. It doesn't help any police officer's reputation to be confronted with cover-up allegations twice.
 
Besides, last April, the boy's family took out a lawsuit against the police and the Government, naming Khalid as one of the subsequent defendants. And to cap it all, under his current watch as IGP, two other men – N. Dharmendran and P. Karuna Nithi – have recently died while being held in police custody.
 
How now can the public have faith not only in the IGP, but also the police and the Government?
 
More than ever, the Government needs to set up an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), as proposed by the Royal Commission of Inquiry of 2005, to bring about police reform and keep watch on the conduct of police officers. Judge Singham himself categorically says there is an urgent need for this. Most Malaysians would agree.
 
And yet Home Minister Zahid Hamidi is saying that the IPCMC would overlap with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and contradict the Extra Territorial Offences Act 1976 and Section 127a of the Criminal Procedure Code.
 
This is mere pussyfooting. The IPCMC would be specifically looking at complaints against the police. If it could encroach on the territory of the MACC, which is tasked with probing corruption, it would be in taking on complaints against corrupt police officers. If this be the case, a provision could surely be made to relieve the MACC of tackling police corruption and channelling this to the IPCMC instead. In fact, this might make the handling of police corruption more efficient.
 
As for the other existing legal provisions, the Government is surely aware that it is capable of working things out to circumvent this problem.
 
Zahid's insistence that the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) that was set up instead of the IPCMC would be enough to do the job is ridiculous when the CEO of the EAIC, Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar, has recently disclosed that the Commission has only one investigating officer probing complaints against the police, and its recommendations on action to be taken against errant cops so far may not even have been implemented.
 
The real question we need to ask is, does the Government care enough to want to bring about police reform? Does it care enough to ensure that citizens will be safe in police hands?
 
The lip service that the Government pays to this issue is supposed to give the impression that it cares. But the problem is, truth coming from the halls of power these last few years has been in such short supply that we can't seem to trust whatever the Government says or does.
 
At this rate, unless the Government proves it is worthy of trust, we the rakyat may be the ones who'll be heading for deep shit.
 
 

* Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the bestselling book No More Bullshit, Please, We're All Malaysians, and the latest volume, Ask for No Bullshit, Get Some More! 

Manusia, Perjuangan dan Penyakit Wahan

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 01:20 PM PDT

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Nampaknya, masyarakat kita juga terjangkit dengan penyakit Wahan – hanya pandai menjaga 'tembolong sendiri' demi mengejar keselesaan dunia (jauh sekali 'berani mati').

A. Faizal Rahman 

Unsur utama sesebuah perjuangan adalah; menegakkan keadilan dan menentang kezaliman. Jika unsur ini tiada, daya usaha sesebuah kumpulan hanya boleh ditakrifkan sebagai initiatif, gerakan, kegiatan, koperasi, aktivisme dan sebagainya – bukan perjuangan.

Perjuangan memerlukan pengorbanan, dan pengorbanan adalah sesuatu yang perit. Pengorbanan menagih seseorang mengorbankan keselesaan, kebebasan, hinggakan nyawanya sendiri. Maka, tidak ramai yang sanggup berjuang untuk 'menegakkan keadilan dan menentang kezaliman'. Juga, tidak hairanlah jika terdapat mereka yang tidak tahan, lalu berhenti separuh jalan.

Sirah dan perjuangan

Perjuangan 'menegakkan keadilan dan menentang kezaliman' bukanlah sesuatu yang baru. Ia adalah kitaran peradaban semenjak manusia mula-mula menjejakkan kaki di bumi ini. Cuma kumpulan dan kaum pendokong perjuangan itu bertukar-tukar, dari generasi ke generasi.

Kepada penganut agama samawi (Yahudi, Kristien dan Islam) yang mempercayai Kitab-Kitab Suci (Taurat, Injil dan Al-Quran), mereka tidak akan terlepas dari sirah-sirah (kisah-kisah) para Rasul. Rasul-rasul ini membawa mesej Tauhid, yakni mengajak manusia untuk tunduk kepada Tuhan yang Maha Esa; membebaskan manusia dari menyembah idola, atau apa sahaja selain dari Tuhan.

Dalam menyampaikan mesej tersebut (dakwah), para Rasul tidak terlepas dari tentangan masyarakat, terutama sekali pembesar-pembesar yang zalim. Selain dari menyampaikan mesej ketuhanan, para Rasul bersama sahabat-sahabat setia mereka menjadi pembela keadilan golongan teraniaya dan menentang penguasa yang zalim.

Sebagai contoh, Nabi Nuh a.s dengan tegas dan konsisten berhadapan dan berhujah dengan pembesar-pembesar kaumnya yang kasar dan angkuh. Pada masa yang sama, beliau berdiri teguh bersama golongan yang menerima kebenaran, walaupun mereka terdiri daripada pengemis dan orang miskin. Kesabaran dan ketabahan beliau menjadi pengajaran kepada usaha-usaha perjuangan umat manusia selepasnya. (Akhirnya, seperti yang semua tahu, beliau dan sahabat-sahabatnya terselamat dari bencana banjir besar dengan menaiki bahtera yang diperintahkan Allah untuk membinanya)

Sirah Nabi Musa a.s memberi pengajaran perjuangan 'menegakkan kebenaran dan menentang kezaliman' dengan – terang, jelas dan klasik. Mungkin kerana itu, Al Quran dipenuhi dengan sirah Nabi Musa a.s. Seperti yang diketahui umum, Nabi Musa a.s berjaya membebaskan Bani Israel dari perhambaan Firaun yang sangat kejam dan zalim. Beliau tegas apabila berhadapan dengan ancaman Firaun serta pembesar-pembesarnya seperti Haman dan Karun. Nabi Musa a.s, mempunyai pilihan untuk tinggal di istana Firaun (beliau adalah anak belaan Asiah-permaisuri Firaun), tetapi memilih perjuangan untuk membela kaumnya. Keberanian dan kecekalan jiwa Nabi Musa a.s dalam menegakkan kebenaran, menjadi contoh ketinggian moral kepada umat manusia selepasnya.

Sirah Nabi Muhammad SAW juga penuh dengan perjuangan 'menegakkan keadilan dan menentang kezaliman'. Inilah sunnah yang diikuti oleh para sahabat dan generasi berikutnya. Ia merupakan faktor perkembangan Islam yang fenomenal pada generasi para sahabat, sehingga ia tersebar dari Persia hingga ke Mesir (dalam satu generasi sahaja).

Sirah Nabi Muhammad SAW jauh lebih lengkap dan terperinci berbanding rasul-rasul lain. Tidak kiralah dari sumber mana sekalipun, Islam ataupun barat. Ini adalah hasil usaha sarjana Islam yang sistemetik. Umat manusia haruslah berterima kasih kepada sarjana Islam kerana telah menyempurnakan sistem pengesahan fakta bersanad, yang sekurang-kurangnya 1200 tahun lebih awal dari sistem citation (seakannya) yang digunapakai sebagai kaedah sainntifik masa kini.

Secara ringkasnya, Nabi Muhammad SAW telah mengangkat martabat penduduk tanah Arab dengan nilai ketuhanan dan peradaban yang unggul. Perubahan ini amatlah mengagumkan kerana sifat orang Arab sememangnya kasar dan degil. Seperti rasul-rasul sebelumnya, Nabi Muhammad SAW dan sahabat-sahabat setianya – membela mereka yang teraniaya dan menentang pemerintah yang zalim (Quraisy). Pengorbanan para sahabat tiada tolok bandingnya. Isteri Nabi Muhammad SAW, Siti Khadijah yang kaya raya, meninggalkan dunia tanpa sebarang harta. Sama juga para sahabat, yang ternama ataupun tidak. Bukan setakat harta, mereka sanggup mengorbankan nyawa; menyertai peperangan menentang kaum Quraisy, perikatan kaum-kaum Arab, puak Yahudi dan kaum Roman, yang tidak henti-henti menekan kaum Muslimin. Ramai isteri yang menjadi janda dan ramai anak yang menjadi yatim. Pengorbanan mereka melibatkan keseluruhan kaum Muslimin ketika itu. Semuanya dikorbankan mereka demi menegakkan akidah, keadilan dan menentang kezaliman.

Read more at: http://secebiswaras.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/manusia-perjuangan-dan-penyakit-wahan/ 

Easy loan access plunges civil servants into greater debt rut

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 01:11 PM PDT

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Many civil servants are taking out personal loans to finance their weddings. 

(The Malay Mail Online) - Civil servants are finding themselves spiralling deeper into debt as more among them fall prey to the lure of taking hefty personal loans to foot the bill for weddings, home furnishing, or even indulgences like expensive smartphones and cars.

Many even have zero savings to cushion their fall in times of financial emergencies but still apply for loans with great ease, banking on their job security and the easy availability of personal financing offered by non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs).

Mohd Herman Che Rahim is among those who have fallen into such a trap.

Despite having a monthly salary of just RM1,700, 32-year-old Public Works Department general worker pays RM1,480 every month to service his personal and car loans without worrying much about defaulting on his debt.

Like many in the civil service, he is confident of his guaranteed job security and banks generally share the same sentiment as they comfortably issue large personal loans to government employees.

"I work in the government," Mohd Herman told The Malay Mail Online in a recent interview. "So I have a pension, insurance. If you work in the government, it's easier to get a loan. They just make sure that the loan does not exceed 60 per cent of your salary every month."

In 2007, Mohd Herman took a RM90,000 personal loan from a bank and Bank Rakyat Sdn Bhd, which is an NBFI, to finance his wedding, the downpayment for a Honda Civic, a smartphone, home furniture, as well as cameras for his part-time wedding photography business that cost between RM20,000 and RM30,000.

His personal loan, which has a 20-year tenure, costs him RM900 a month, while his car loan costs RM580 a month.

Some civil servants take personal loans for smartphones to keep up with the latest trend.Some civil servants take personal loans for smartphones to keep up with the latest trend.Mohd Herman supplements his income with RM2,000 a month on average from shooting weddings part-time. He supports a stay-at-home wife and two young sons aged five years and seven months respectively in a single-storey house in Jitra, Kedah, that was provided for by his father-in-law.

He admitted that he finds it hard to save and only has "just enough to eat", but had decided to buy a thousand-ringgit smartphone to keep up with the latest trend.

"Smartphones are a necessity," said Mohd Herman. "Everyone has a smartphone. Even makciks (aunts) are using smartphones."

He added that a Honda Civic was preferable to a cheaper local car because foreign cars have "better quality", saying: "If you want to buy a car, you want it to last long."

Mohd Herman stressed that he took out a personal loan to buy "necessities, not luxuries", pointing out that a RM90,000 loan was "not much" as he knows others who have borrowed RM100,000 or RM200,000.

In recent months, economists stressed the need for stricter supervision on NBFIs that issue personal loans primarily to civil servants, voicing concern about the vulnerability of low-income households to economic shocks.

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) reported in March that 80 per cent of personal loans from NBFIs, which are not supervised by the central bank, goes to government employees with household incomes of less than RM3,000 a month.

The NBFIs include, among others, Bank Rakyat Sdn Bhd and Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB), and development financial institutions (DFIs) such as Agrobank, SME Bank and Lembaga Tabung Haji.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/easy-loan-access-plunges-civil-servants-into-greater-debt-rut

Fool me twice, shame on you, is the feeling on conversion bill

Posted: 01 Jul 2013 01:05 PM PDT

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(TMI) - If the Bill allowed for one parent to covert a minor, then the other parent can convert the child back, under provisions in the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land. 

When the Government brought to Parliament on Wednesday the most controversial bill in recent times, it not only raised the backs of a lot of people, it also sank their hearts.

Mention the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Bill to them and they will mention back a new buzzword to describe the Government's motives and it's not a nice one.

Betrayal. Of non-Muslims. And for some, twice.

And it's the depth of this feeling that may also inform the election patterns of non-Muslims in the "safe deposit" vote bank of Sabah and Sarawak. Not to mention the already evenly-split Indian vote.

Just examine the facts.

In April 2009, de facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz announced that the Government would ban the automatic conversion of minors to Islam, in a bid to quell unease among non-Muslims in mainly Muslim Malaysia.

He said minors were to be bound by the common religion of their parents at the time they were married, even if one parent later becomes a Muslim. 

And now, this Bill purports to provide that the consent of one parent alone is enough for the conversion of minor children to Islam.

The "Allah" issue is another hot topic, especially now, since the government's appeal is going through its rounds of case management at the Court of Appeal.

The Government is appealing against the 2009 High Court decision that the word "Allah" can be used by the Catholic Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur's weekly newspaper, The Herald, in its Bahasa Malaysia articles.

In April 2011, just before the Sarawak elections, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Idris Jala announced that Christians in East Malaysia can use that word.

However, in April this year, PM Najib Razak in an interview with global news station Al Jazeera took the opposite tack. He clearly expressed support for the appeal to overturn a High Court ruling that said it was all right for non-Muslim groups in Malaysia to use the Arabic term "Allah" for God, specifically in Bahasa Malaysia literature.

Coming back to the conversion bill, there is another thought. Talk is also rife that just the act of tabling the Bill was itself a strategic move by the government to seek out weak links in the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat.

Perhaps PAS parliamentarians may decide to vote in support of unilateral conversion of minors, against the line drawn by their secular partners in the opposition?

A veteran politician, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that if that is what the Government is trying to do, it might backfire.

This is a double-edged sword, as even government coalition partners MCA and MIC have both made their stand clear – that they are against unilateral conversion - let alone their non-Muslim bumiputera coalition partners from Sabah and Sarawak.

"It will expose the weak chains in the Barisan Nasional coalition when issues of race and religion are put to the test like this," the MP said.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/fool-me-twice-shame-on-you-is-the-feeling-on-conversion-bill/

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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