Ahad, 21 Julai 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Malay-ness this, Malay-ness that

Posted: 20 Jul 2013 04:04 PM PDT

Yet communal politics is alive and well here. Every year, every month leading up to a by-election, general election, Malaysians are subjected to rumours and hatred is fuelled. Malay supremacy is at stake. The non-Malay bogeymen are out to sap the country dry. Is the 1921 census coming true?

Dina Zaman, MM

When asked the following questions in a closed group on Facebook, "In a 1921 census, the Malays were a minority in their own country because of the British open door migration policy, which served their economic interest. (Hussin Mutalib, Islam and Ethnicity in Malay Politics). Zainah Anwar in a Star 2010 op-ed piece said, political power will always remain in Malay hands. Is this relevant still post-GE13?" the responses were mixed, though a majority disagreed with the sentiment in the question(s).

A number expressed that such sentiments were legitimate during that era, but today, this fear that the Malay race would be extinguished economically, psychologically and physically is irrelevant.

Gregore Lopez, academic, political analyst, activist and visiting fellow at The Australian National University, found the whole idea "... a little rich", and many debunked the notion.

Yet communal politics is alive and well here. Every year, every month leading up to a by-election, general election, Malaysians are subjected to rumours and hatred is fuelled. Malay supremacy is at stake. The non-Malay bogeymen are out to sap the country dry. Is the 1921 census coming true?

Ahmad Fuad Rahmat, academic and Director of Project Dialog (a non-profit organisation dedicated to inter-faith dialogue) wrote in The New Mandala, a website, on the pathologies of Malay nationalism. Rahmat argued that the nationalist agenda of the country is at odds with the realities of Malaysian life.

"The problem begins with the nation-state ideal; for its coherence depends on there being a people deemed as the rightful owners of a land. It is rooted to the belief that territory is property — a thing to own — and that loyalty to the people means, among other things, the readiness to uphold the integrity of territory to ensure it belongs to the nation," Rahmat wrote.

Islam, Rahmat as well as other political observers have noted, has repeatedly become a legal tool of uniting the Malays, and as well as control. For Muslims, Islam is already a way of life but for Malay Muslims, Islam has become an identity crutch.  In another essay, we will discuss what Islamisation is about. But we must think: is the Islam practised in governance today holistic and healthy?

Gaik Cheng Khoo from the University of Nottingham Malaysia, is of the same opinion as Rahmat. "Constitutional patriotism is in fact growing, partly as a response to the concatenation of Islamisation and the discourse of Malay ethnic hegemony (ketuanan Melayu) which perpetuates identity boundaries between Malays and non-Malays and between Muslims and non-Muslims." (2013 Constitutional Patriotism in Malaysian Civil Society)

For non-Muslim Malaysians, and non-Malay Muslim Malaysians, this divide is creating a chasm in their relations with their Malay counterparts. Khoo's paper is a shrewd and objective analysis of Malaysians' shared identities.

What is apparent is that the recent general elections was really not about racial votes, but rather about the discontentment of the middle class. "Today the BN is discredited, particularly among the urban-based educated middle classes and those who have not benefited from its policies, for its abuse of power and its corruption — especially its sponsorship of corrupt networks of patronage and its engagement in money politics."

This sentiment is echoed by a sizeable number of even BN stalwarts who are of a different generation. Their patriotism cannot be denied, but they too want change from old politics. The current style of leadership is not in keeping with this social media savvy, articulate generation.

The latter is part of a global phenomenon, an effect from the failure of governments to meet the rising expectations of the newly prosperous and educated ('The Middle Class Revolution', Francis Fukuyama , The Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2013.)

The middle class, whatever race, creed they are, will be the most powerful impact on politics. The numbers are burgeoning, and this is not a silent group. They are critical, articulate and financially savvy: they will support only the causes they feel passionately about.

Fukuyama quoted a 2012 report by the European Union Institute for Security Studies which predicted that the number of people in that category would grow from 1.8 billion in 2009 to 3.2 billion in 2020 and 4.9 billion in 2030 (out of a projected global population of 8.3 billion).

"The bulk of this growth will occur in Asia, particularly China and India. But every region of the world will participate in the trend, including Africa, which the African Development Bank estimates already has a middle class of more than 300 million people."

"(The) middle-class status is better defined by education, occupation and the ownership of assets, which are far more consequential in predicting political behaviour. Any number of cross-national studies, including recent Pew surveys and data from the World Values Survey at the University of Michigan, show that higher education levels correlate with people's assigning a higher value to democracy, individual freedom and tolerance for alternative lifestyles. Middle-class people want not just security for their families but choices and opportunities for themselves."

Still, the issue of the Malay standing in our country's politics is widely debated. For professionals like JVC (names have been changed to protect their identities) the question of whether Malays will impact the country's governance is relevant. JVC is in his thirties, loves travelling and is widely read. He is proud to be Malay.

"My being biased is simply because throughout history, the Malays have always been a wonderful host. And this has always been taken advantage of. Our 'guests' over the years have become our compatriots, of which in itself a difficult issue to explain. I have no qualms about migration as I think this a basic human right. But being a traveller myself, I will always have that special respect for my host and the country I am in."

The thing was, he observed, that it seemed that "Our 'guests' are unhappy with almost everything with the Malays. From administration to daily living." He accepted the very fact that Malays were to blame for some of the quandary, but this did not mean that the Malays would have to forego their "rights." And this is made complicated knowing that once we were a minority.

"Political hegemony is needed anywhere, much less by the majority. But more often than not, when you have the majority scraping for power, the nation would naturally be in turmoil. And to make it even more difficult, racial polarisation and the mixture that we have now in Malaysia. But to say that political power will always be in Malay hands is a bit childish. This country has gone through a period where non-Malays are controlling the economy and continued to doing so. "

The gist of the issue is trust. A country with mistrust among her citizens will never be short of issues, he concluded.

"Malay-ness" crops up every so often in discussions, and many times, shows the divide between class and education. "The Malays of Yore" that the writer Kam Raslan depicts in his stories are liberal, accepting of others, humorous and remind contemporary Malaysians of a past they would have only read or heard about, a past of a Perfect Malaysia.

And yet on the other hand, there are also many men and women of the same generation who share a deep mistrust of non-Malays. They are not lesser educated, but their political beliefs veer to the right. These prejudices are still apparent among younger, educated Malaysians, whose views have more than raised eyebrows during heated debates on Malaysian politics. This will be discussed later.

* The writer is on a fellowship.


We can’t move forward with suspicious minds

Posted: 20 Jul 2013 04:01 PM PDT

In the past, we took it in our stride and rarely let off-colour jokes and remarks get to us. But of late, no thanks to social media and the Internet, any action or remark spreads like wildfire and gets mangled, misinterpreted and embellished along the way.

The Star

SUSPICIOUS minds. That seems to be the state of thinking in our country in these disquieting times. Any action, any utterance is quickly judged on whether it's racial, religious and even gender "unfriendly".

Granted, in a multiracial society, there is the expectation that people should know how to speak and behave so as not to cause offence.

But we know in reality, there is a tendency to typecast or stereotype ourselves and people from other communities. This is an age-old mindset but for the most part, it's harmless. And if anything, it was and still is fodder for jokes and teasing.

In the past, we took it in our stride and rarely let off-colour jokes and remarks get to us. But of late, no thanks to social media and the Internet, any action or remark spreads like wildfire and gets mangled, misinterpreted and embellished along the way.

There seems to be a wilful desire to think the worst of "others". It doesn't matter the source: it can be the Government trying to introduce a compulsory subject in private colleges, or people from one community trying to scale Everest, or high scorers not getting places in their chosen courses, or two foolish young people trying to be funny in their tasteless and ill-conceived joke.

The reaction to all of the above is there is a hidden agenda, an ulterior motive to all such actions. Because of the suspicion, it leads to the desire to hit back, to accuse, to hurt, to mock or even to punish beyond the actual "crime".

More worrisome is the almost- automatic way to look for racial and religious undertones in just about everything, which inevitably leads to people thinking along the lines of Us Against Them.

Sadly, there is a strong belief that the results of the general election on May 5 has worsened race relations. The hearts of the people have hardened against each other.

One group feels betrayed by another, that there is no sense of gratitude for or appreciation of what has been done for them nor the generous accommodation of their demands.

The other group's response is that they have been pushed to the wall and the decades of accepting what they perceive to be biased policies and implementation has gone unacknow­ledged and finally, enough is enough.

Interestingly enough, the lyrics of Elvis Presley's song Suspicious Minds encapsulates this Malaysian dilemma: "We're caught in a trap, we can't walk out ... Why can't you see what you're doing to me when you don't believe a word I say? We can't go on together with suspicious minds, and we can't build our dreams on suspicious minds."

When Malaysia celebrated its 50th year of Merdeka, The Economist commented about the "increasingly separate lives that Malay, Chinese and Indian Malaysians are leading".

The British magazine added: "More so than at independence, it is lamented, the different races learn in separate schools, eat separately, work separately and socialise separately. Some are asking: is there really such a thing as a Malaysian?"

That was six years ago. How do we answer that now?


Storm in a teacup

Posted: 20 Jul 2013 03:55 PM PDT

The writer is baffled over the resistance to the move to make Titas a compulsory subject. Titas was already mandatory for Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia students more than 30 years ago and it has, he feels, fostered better understanding of different civilisations among the different races.

Wong Chun Wai, The Star

THE move to make Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies (Titas) compulsory for university students in private institutions from Sept 1 has kicked up a storm.

But for many graduates of local universities, particularly Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, it has certainly not raised an eyebrow.

Thirty years ago when I was studying at UKM, it was already mandatory for us to pass the Islamic Civilisation course.

It did not matter what we studied; we all had to pass the paper if we wanted to get our scroll at the end of our studies. No one, even Muslims, was exempted and often there were non-Muslims who were top scorers.

As I can recall, none of my friends was converted into Islam, and certainly this writer did not become a Muslim. We didn't complain about the requirement to pass the ZI course, as it was code-named, as we already knew about the condition when we picked UKM as our choice.

Certainly, taking the course has given me a better understanding of Islam. Like it or not, Islam is the religion of the majority of Malaysians.

The course at UKM was simply an introduction to Islam and it has helped me in the course of my work as a journalist.

As I had sat for Islamic History and Malay Literature in my Sixth Form examination, the ZI course was pretty easy for me. That arrogance and complacency, however, proved to be costly as I did not score as well in ZI as I had expected. The others who did not have that academic background studied harder and performed better in the end.

I still passed the test but it was lectures by the late Datuk Fadzil Noor, who went on to join politics and become a PAS president, and Datuk Dr Haron Din, with his profound story telling of jins and spirits, that caught my interest.

I have continued to collect books on Islam, improving my understanding of the subject, and building up a decent private collection.

Certainly, reading plenty of books on this subject and my ZI classes have benefited me in many ways, particularly in my interaction with friends, colleagues and other acquaintances who are Muslims. I am glad I took the ZI course in UKM.

But I also believe that studying and appreciating the other main religions, especially Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism, will also benefit all of us.

The idea is not to belittle any religion or to extol one's belief as more superior, but rather to emphasise the commonalities such as compassion, tolerance, love, sharing and peace.

We all call God by different names and we practise our beliefs in different ways but there will always be many common values and areas because we all believe in the importance of goodness and respect for each other.

In fact, students of Islam in UKM, like in other institutions in the Middle East, are also required to study other religions including Judaism and Christianity.

Likewise, students who want to become Catholic priests and Protestant pastors will need to study Islam at their seminaries.

I have been lucky growing up in Penang and later working in Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Keling, previously Pitt Street. It was always a joy to walk past, or at least drive through, the road which has a mosque, a Hindu temple, a Taoist temple and a church located next to each other.

As a child who grew up in the Chulia Street area, where my grandmother's home was located, it was common for me to walk through the Kapitan Keling mosque to take a short cut.

Today, two paintings by the late Penang artist Tan Choon Ghee hang on the wall of my home in memory of my childhood days. There is no religious hang-up of having drawings of a mosque in my home.

In Singapore, schools regularly organise visits to places of worship as part of their extra-curricular activities.

We shouldn't be afraid of learning the religions of all communities. It should not be restricted to just one religion.

Non-Muslims should learn about Islam and at the same time, there is no reason why Muslim students in universities, both public and private, should not study other religions which have been here for centuries.

It should be made compulsory for everyone to study each other's religion in order to have a better understanding of each other.

In this period of Ramadan, breaking fast with our Muslim friends and colleagues is certainly encouraged. It will be a good way to understand each other's faith.


Respect all races and faiths

Posted: 20 Jul 2013 03:32 PM PDT

With all the racial tension and unhappiness taking place, it is a wonder how Najib intends to pull off the national reconciliation agenda.

The word "Allah" has been used by the Sikhs and Christians for a long, long time or for that matter Arab Christians have been using the term "Allah" for over 600 years before the Muslims began doing so?

Jeswan Kaur, FMT 

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad keeps insulting the non-Malays all the time and not a word comes of concern comes out from the mouth of the country's leading party, the Barisan Nasional alliance.

Likewise, Mahathir's protege, Ibrahim Ali who founded the Maly  extremist party Perkasa and his deputy Zulkifli Noordin who have little to fear each time they take pot-shots at the non-Muslims.

Then there are others in powerful positions who keep stirring racial tensions by warning the non-Malays to refrain from using the word 'Allah'.

The word "Allah" has been used by the Sikhs and Christians for a long, long time or for that matter Arab Christians have been using the term "Allah" for over 600 years before the Muslims began doing so?

The word "Allah" is used 12 times in the Sikh holy scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, by Sheikh Farid, Guru Nanak and Guru Arjan Dev while Sant Kabeer has uttered the word 18 times.

Despite that, Umno continues to live by its fallacy that only Muslims have the right to use the word "Allah" despite the fact that the term has been used by the Sikhs and the Arabic-speaking Christians of Syria and the rest of the Middle East.

Now Kedah menteri besar Mukhriz Mahathir has decided to follow in the footsteps of the rest by barring the non-Malays there from using the word 'Allah'.

National reconciliation not happening

The country's Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak talks a great deal about unity and national reconciliation but when politicians like Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin accuses the non-Malays of causing trouble and violating the Federal Constitution when they use the word 'Allah', why does the premier not feel compelled to do the right thing i.e. defend the non-Malays?

And as long as insensitive and racist politicians like Ibrahim contine to enjoy 'immunity' and go unpunished for insulting the non-Malays, there is no hope for any national reconciliation.

Ibrahim had once publicly demand that Malay Bibles be burnt and yet there was nothing seditious about what he had said.

Just as worrying is the warped outlook displayed by Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria who  last year said that non-Muslims who insist on using the word "Allah" to refer to their Gods should convert to Islam if they refused to accept that the word belongs only to Muslims.

The controversial cleric also went on to accuse the Christian community of intentionally provoking Muslims by pressing on with their demand to use "Allah" in their holy book.

Pressuring, threatening and intimidating the non-Malay communities of this country to accept that the word 'Allah' is exclusive only to the Muslims is definitely not helping as far as calling it a truce between Malaysians of diverse faith goes.

What is worrying is that there is no stopping the ultra-Malay politicians from  pursuing their agenda of condemning the other faiths and portraying Islam as an antagonistic religion.

When bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee published a photograph in Facebook, greeting Muslims "Selamat Berbuka Puasa" by eating Bah Kut Teh ( a dish with pork serving), it was a case of 'do or die' for Umno, the country's largest political party.

In the end, with pressure coming down hard on the couple, they were  charged under Section 4 (1) (C) of the Sedition Act 1948 for allegedly insulting Islam and the holy month of Ramadan. Their bail was rejected and the two went sent off to jail, with Tan to the Sungai Buloh Prison and Lee to the Kajang Prision.

If found guilty, Tan and Lee could face a three year imprisonment or a fine, or both.

Maybe Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail found it "easier" to prosecute the young couple but not the nation's real trouble makers, i.e. Ibrahim, Zulkifli etc for sowing racial discord?



How to avoid being seditious

Posted: 20 Jul 2013 03:25 PM PDT

Here are probably eight things you would have to consider before speaking in Malaysia to avoid having a 'seditious tendency'.

By JoFan Pang, FMT

To kick-start this collaboration between MyConsti and FMT I'm sure many would appreciate a brief description of the Constitution.

Most would know that Malaysia is a nation which practices constitutional supremacy. That basically means that the Federal Constitution of Malaysia is the highest law of Malaysia and it defines our whole existence in this country. It defines the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. It also sets out the three branches of government (Parliament, Executive, Courts) and states all of their roles and functions.

And when I said that the constitution defines our existence in this country I was not exaggerating.

From the very moment you step out of your house every morning (freedom of movement), say goodbye to your family (freedom of speech), gather with your colleagues at work and hang out with your friends at night (freedom of assembly) to performing your religious obligations (freedom of religion) as well as your very identity as a Malaysian citizen (citizenship).

All these freedoms are granted to you by the Constitution, and it is also through the Constitution where you seek protection for all these freedoms. These are what we call 'constitutional rights', what we all are entitled to have.

Hence, any action taken by authorities or laws legislated by parliament which we feel breaches our constitutional rights can be challenged in court.

Recently, we have witnessed many cases where people were arrested and charged under this mysteriously powerful law called the Sedition Act 1948 ('Akta Hasutan 1948'). This law was enacted by the British in 1948 to combat the communist insurgency.

However the Act was never used to prosecute anybody until after Merdeka, when it was primarily used on opposition figures.

The most recent investigations and charges made under this Act will be the case of the five speakers in a particular forum and a woman who allegedly spoke against the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong on Facebook.

Even Zunar, the cartoonist was charged under this Act and is now appealing to the Court of Appeal.

So under this Act, you may be liable for a criminal offence by just, well, saying things. But what exactly are these things?

Section 4 of the Act provides that one would be liable for sedition if such words uttered (or published) have a "seditious tendency".

Linguistically speaking, the sentence is worded in such a literal sense it is as if it is the same as claiming that "I'm hungry because I am experiencing a hunger tendency".

But that is not true.

Stirring up emotions

The meaning of these two words is provided under Section 3. These two words essentially mean words that have a tendency to generally stir up emotions against the government or the Ruler or even towards the courts and to provoke racial tension.

As vague as this short phrase may be, its implementation, after 65 years have been quite settled.

For all you law students, relevant authorities interpreting the meaning of these words are PP v Ooi Kee Saik & Ors [1971], PP v Fan Yew Teng [1975], PP v Oh Keng Seng [1978] and PP v Param Cumaraswamy [1986].

For those who are older, you might have seen these high profile cases. For those of you who aren't, at the very least, you have the luxury of Google.

Based on the four cases mentioned, these are probably eight things you would have to consider before speaking in Malaysia to avoid having a 'seditious tendency':

1. Seditious words have to be spoken by the accused. [PP v Ooi Kee Saik & Ors]

Yes, being Captain Obvious, I thought you may want to know that this is generally what all the prosecution has to prove to presume that you have intended to stir up hatred or contempt towards the relevant parties provided under Section 3.

2. Immaterial whether statement is true or false. [PP v Oh Keng Seng]

Because as long as the statement made is perceived to be able to cause the consequences discussed in Section 3, it has a seditious tendency and the accused will be guilty.

3. Constructive criticism towards government policy for change or reform is safe speech. But if court is satisfied that speech is clearly aimed at stirring up hatred, contempt or disaffection towards the government (or the YDPA), it shall be caught within s.3(1) of the Act. [PP v Ooi Kee Saik & Ors]

Basically it is okay to criticize the government and its' policies but that criticism cannot stir hatred or excite disaffection towards these parties.

4. 'Excite disaffection' in relation to a government refers to the implanting or arousing or stimulating in the minds of people a feeling of antagonism, enmity and disloyalty tending to make government insecure. [PP v Param Cumaraswamy]

Well, we all have our insecurity issues, don't we?

5. Section 6(2) provides that a person shall not be convicted under S4(1)(c) or (d) if he did not authorize the publication or has no reason to believe that the publication had a seditious tendency. [PP v Ooi Kee Saik & Ors]

So the only way publishers can get off the hook is to prove that they are completely unaware of it.

6. The courts must determine sedition tendency by using the general impression that a normal person has upon reading the statement. [PP v Fan Yew Teng]

This is probably the simplest yardstick to grasp "seditious tendency"

7. It is unnecessary for the prosecution to specify in charge which of the 6 tendencies under S.3 of the Act that the accused has violated. Judge may determine it in trial. [PP v Param Cumaraswamy]

Judges will honestly ask themselves if statement has tendency to cause those consequences. They would act like juries in our jurisdictions which does not have the jury system.

8. Words are seditious if they are likely to incite or influence the audience addressed or if they are likely to incite or influence ordinary people even though the audience addressed was unaffected by the words [PP v Param Cumaraswamy]

It does not matter even if the audience is generally fine with it, as so long as it is likely to influence other people, it is seditious.



Keep the English school option open

Posted: 18 Jul 2013 03:12 PM PDT


It is not just here in Malaysia that the importance of the English language as a communication and competitive tool is being hotly debated. Even in France, where opposition against the use of English in universities is fierce, proponents of the language are gaining strength.

Azam Aris, The Edge

It is not just here in Malaysia that the importance of the English language as a communication and competitive tool is being hotly debated. Even in France, where opposition against the use of English in universities is fierce, proponents of the language are gaining strength. 

A proposed law to introduce more courses in English in universities was passed by the French lower house in May, a move which a top scholar called a "suicidal project" that would lead to France sacrificing its language to "Americanisation disguised as globalisation".
And you are talking about the French community, who are excessively proud of their language wherever they live in the world. In English-speaking Canada, French in spoken by the majority in Quebec and is the sole official language of the country's largest province. In Geneva, Switzerland's second largest city, French is also the official language.
But the introduction of more courses in English in French universities is deemed necessary by its supporters as the lack of usage of English was cited as a major factor for the country's declining global competitiveness.
According to news reports, the move is part of a broader overhaul of tertiary education there, and was introduced in March by France's Minister of Higher Education and Research Geneviève Fioraso. This proposal is part of an ongoing effort to relax a 1994 law that requires the use of French in classrooms, from nursery schools to universities.
It is also aimed at attracting more students from abroad - from emerging economies like China, India and Brazil - who prefer to go to university in English-speaking nations. In short, France realises that English plays a crucial role in ensuring a nation's competitiveness in the Internet era and a globalised economy.
In Malaysia, the sentiment is no different. There are many supporters who want to "bring English back into the education system" because they feel that as a nation, we will lose out. In an Internet world, so much information out there is available in English, information that can only be maximised if one has a reasonably good command of the language.
It is an accepted fact that many employers, including multinational corporations, have cited poor command of English as a reason local graduates find it difficult to get a job here, let alone overseas.
Proponents of the English language are not against the present education system of using Bahasa Malaysia, but they want an option where parents can choose to send their children to a national English school, like in the post-independent years of the 1950s and 1960s. Currently, there is none.
National English schools were slowly phased out by the government from 1970 in the name of promoting national unity and Bahasa Malaysia as the medium of communication in education and administration, in line with its status as the national language. By 1982, teaching in the whole education system was conducted in Bahasa Malaysia with English becoming just a language subject.
Since then, many education experts and professionals in the private and public sectors agree that this is a key reason the standard of English and its proficiency among students have dropped dramatically over the last 30 years.
The government realises this and the Education Ministry chose to implement a policy of teaching and learning science and mathematics in English (PPSMI) in 2003 as one way to avert further decline.
The move to reintroduce English was the right one, but many believe the subjects chosen were wrong if the objective was to improve the writing and communication skills of the students.
Without getting the teaching infrastructure right - having enough science and mathematics teachers proficient in English and English language teachers to implement PPSMI - the move was opposed by many parents and was doomed to fail.
This is because many students in the rural areas, who do not have a strong foundation of English, were put at a disadvantage, so much so that it affected their understanding and performance in the two subjects of science and mathematics. To circumvent the situation, many teachers in the rural areas ended up teaching science and mathematics in Bahasa Malaysia or using both languages.

Cock-up, cover-up and conspiracy

Posted: 18 Jul 2013 02:32 PM PDT

Are homicidal maniacs on the loose masquerading as policemen? Until there's political will by all BN MPs to form the IPCMC, deaths in custody will continue to be part of police SOP

Mariam Mokhtar, FMT

Do you remember N Dhamendran, the 32-year-old man who died on May 21, whilst in police custody, at the Tun HS Lee lockup, in Kuala Lumpur? His case is mired in controversy, just like all the other deaths in police custody.

First, the cock-up, involving alleged brutality and torture. Then, comes the cover-up, to disguise what actually happened. When the victims' families probe deeper and demand answers, denials swiftly follow and scapegoats are eventually found.

Two months after Dhamendran's brutal murder, the final piece in the jigsaw has been revealed. A few days ago, the identity and photo of the remaining policeman who was allegedly responsible for Dhamendran's murder was released. This thug remains at large. Is he armed and dangerous? Was there really a fourth person involved in Dhamendran's murder?

On May 11, Dhamendran was arrested, along with three other suspects, after he lodged a police report about a fight.

His family only knew of his arrest on May 19 and after visiting him at the police lock-up, they were told that he would be released on police-bail four days later. Instead of welcoming him home on May 22, they received a telephone call from an unidentified policeman, telling them to collect his body from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (KLH).

May 22 was also the day when the CID chief Ku Chin Wah released a statement claiming that the detainee, after complaining of being unwell with chest pains and breathing difficulties, had succumbed to his illness. Ku said that Dhamendran was rushed to the KLH but was pronounced dead on arrival. The death was attributed to a suspected asthma attack.

It is the same old story, with the usual plot – chest pains, breathing difficulties, asthma attack, sudden death. The only difference being the players, healthy, young adults, some of whom never had asthma or any other chronic illness, appear to drop dead whilst in detention.

Horror, disgust, condemnation and outpourings of grief are often followed by denials and declarations by senior policemen that an investigation will be conducted "by an officer from Bukit Aman".

One would have thought that with every death in police custody, lessons would have been learnt, the guilty punished, the bad policemen weeded out, violent men and violent tactics stopped, the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for questioning suspects would be reviewed and there would be an end to this type of tragedy.

Despite these assurances custodial deaths continue, with increasing savagery, as Dhamendran's murder has shown.

Many questions remain unanswered: Why did Ku pre-empt the post-mortem results? Does he have any medical qualifications? Was Ku's statement an ill-advised premature act, a panic induced reaction or a genuine error of judgement? Did he have something to hide?

Irreparable damage

Why did Ku jeopardise both his credibility and the already tarnished image of the police force by adding another lie to the layers of denials and lies of the PDRM? Why did he utter a lie that could so easily be denounced? Was Ku ordered to make this announcement?

On May 22, the initial findings of the KLH consultant pathologist confirmed that Dhamendran died from a "diffusion of soft tissue injuries due to multiple blunt force trauma". There was evidence of beating and torture, with fresh wounds from whipping with a rotan, on his back. Staples had been found in his ears and legs.



Race and the Ordinary Malaysian

Posted: 18 Jul 2013 12:44 PM PDT


The problem, contrary to what many think isn't in fact the special rights accorded to one class but the denial of rights of another. Here we see a form of institutionalised oppression that has led us to not only mistrust but also dislike other races for reasons hitherto known. 

That a matter of blatant stupidity should be clamped down, denied bail and prosecuted with the full force of that a threat to national security is not only uncalled for but deeply troubling. It is even harder to swallow the AG's reasoning of further provocation from the defendant when a simple silence order would have sufficed. 

Vivegavalen Vadi Valu

Disclaimer: The graphic images below are not the works of the author and neither do they represent the stance of the author. They have been reproduced purely for the purposes of illustration and in the hope that it provides some context as to the true purpose of the article.


Is this really what we have become? 


Questions needing answers 

As the saying goes, a picture speaks a thousand words and the cold hard truth is that if our forefathers were still alive today, they would cringe, devastated that their dreams which have cost many a life and sweat now lay wasted at the feet of the current generation of Malaysians. One could almost be forgiven for not recognizing Malaysia in all her grandeur and beauty for today it is no longer the country many of us may have grown up in. The continued decline of a society once built on the values of tolerance, understanding and respect is worrying to say the least. Today, the ordinary Malaysian looks over their shoulders with contempt, doubt and often emotions bearing hatred towards another race or religion. The question then is what exactly happened? How did we, peace loving citizens of a country formed on the consensus of racial harmony and religious tolerance come to this?

To be able to understand our current quandary, we must first address our history. The Malays are traced back to the Indo-Siam lineage and were the earliest explorers and traders to settle in Malaysia. For the sole purpose of economic construct, the Indians and Chinese were brought in respectively to work for and service rubber plantations and mining of tin ore. Sun Tzu's Art of War sheds some light as to the methodology employed by the British whereby cultural integration was avoided and within the community, a chain of command established to divide and rule. A distinct pattern begins to emerge, not to dissimilar to that of fundamental Marxism or rather what Marxism stood against. Several prominent Marxists describe the theory as the appreciation of class conflict within the capitalist mechanist whereby the privatization of surplus product to create a value for profit is controlled by the bourgeoisie and the human capital subservient to them or the proletariat.

This creates unrests between the two antagonistic classes thus culminating in a social revolution. While Marxism employs its theory in absolutes, discarding factors such as race as its sole purpose is the destruction of the capitalist market, Malaysia operates a somehow hybrid form where by the initial two classes were further expanded and amalgamated with a person's race. This meant that the situation will present itself when it mattered not of a battle between the rich and poor so long as the rich was part of one community, even if it meant that the rest continued to suffer. This is what we have come to know today as race politics.

The British when granting independence in haste sought to assimilate the classes, making it a requirement that the three major races were united in harmony and collectively rule the country. The problem here is that owing to the fact that there was never in fact a cultural overlap as a precursor, no one predicted the underlying interests and needs of varying communities. Furthermore, the fact that there was an established majority and minority group of races, disparity in terms of power and economic benefit would certainly lead to a clash of interest. May 13 1969 anyone?

Now, we are all well versed with the apartheid regime in South Africa whereby the ruling party enacted into legislation the supposed 'white supremacy' and curtailed the rights of the blacks. The then Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammad was a staunch critic of the regime and Malaysia with ASEAN was one of the biggest players in the push for reform. However, what ensued in our own backyard immediately after the 13th May incident is in fact not too different to the very issue we strongly opposed. The New Economic Policy 1970 was deemed to be the answer to our problems then but little did we know of its repercussions that would not only destroy racial harmony of the country but pave way to a new generation of Malaysians who no longer considered each other as brothers and sisters but rather employing an 'us v them' mentality.

Whatever said and done about the causes of the May 13 riots, it is clear that the underlying problem was poverty and socio-economic interest. Thus, the overriding objective of the NEP was supposed to be a move towards national unity coupled with a strategy to accelerate economic growth and to ensure a holistic development of the nation. However, what was supposed to be the answer to our problems evolved into our biggest nightmare. While the NEP has had its fair share of success, its biggest flaw was the rift it created between the three main races owing to its affirmative action, distortion of the economic pie in terms of the private and public sector, education quota and most importantly, what many call today special privileges and unquestionable rights of the 'bumiputera'.

The problem, contrary to what many think isn't in fact the special rights accorded to one class but the denial of rights of another. Here we see a form of institutionalised oppression that has led us to not only mistrust but also dislike other races for reasons hitherto known. This should have been evident enough to the politicians then when even within a family, favouritism causes siblings to often be envious among each other, which then naturally leads up to a clash. A recent paper published for the United States Committee on Foreign Affairs depicts a closer look as to how institutionalised racism and religious freedom has affected Malaysia as a whole. The root of the problem is prescribed to be Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, the direction of Malay supremacy. However, the discourse holds that what is in normal context termed racism is in fact the outcome of a failed system and an incompetent bureaucracy.

The politics of the country is such that we have inadvertently taken the whole divide and rule concept to a whole new level. Malaysia has successfully managed to create literally a class within a class whereby the Malay elite continue to subjugate the rural workers and the Indian and Chinese upper class who benefit directly from government transactions ignore the plight of their community and serve to fool the very people who trusts them to protect their affairs. This leaves the oppressed, the poor and the minority fighting not only against the system and state but the upper class of their own community in which they are shackled and blinded for being a member of a similar race.

Coming back to the present day, we are presented almost on monthly subscription, doses of racial bigotry and religious intolerance. Who can forget the cow-head incident, or the threat to burn bibles and the 'Apa Lagi Cina Mahu' farce? Recently of course is the whole 'Alvivi' fiasco which has caused rage among the muslim community. While I absolutely abhor and denounce their actions, I take issue with the reaction generated and subsequent punishments intended to be meted out. There can be no grey areas for where the Law is concerned and equality of standing in the course of justice has to be ensured if we are to attain consistency. The problem of course isn't the reaction or lack of reaction from the ruling coalition but rather in which selective persecution is often the norm in particular where race is involved.

That a matter of blatant stupidity should be clamped down, denied bail and prosecuted with the full force of that a threat to national security is not only uncalled for but deeply troubling. It is even harder to swallow the AG's reasoning of further provocation from the defendant when a simple silence order would have sufficed. Even as we speak, comparisons are made to the rape incident involving a grandfather who was allowed bail despite the severity of the allegations. If we are to transcend this path, what then of Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Nordin? In what legal spheres are the slanders committed not an act against national security and racist in nature? How is it that the same act, nay a significantly lesser act committed by A is wrong whereas B is allowed full leeway without the fear of prosecution?

Here, we hit the crux of the matter nail on in that Malaysians were never racists or religious zealots in nature. We have been moulded over decades to fear, despise and ultimately discard another solely by their race. The incumbent establishment has for political survival constructed a model of race politics that has enabled them to play us against each other, blinding us to their abuse of power, corruption and matters of actual importance. The facade that they have put up may have you believing in ideologies such as "Ketuanan Melayu" or "1 Malaysia" but the reality is that there is and has always been only them against us, the rich against the poor and the powerful against the powerless.

The sad disposition we find ourselves in now is that two children, yes children for their act is as such, now find themselves prosecuted for a stupid act and find none in their defence despite the fact that the State has infringed on their freedom of speech and continued reliance on the Sedition Act or its metamorphosis for fear of being labelled a racist. In context, which Chinese would want another tirade from Utusan Malaysia? There can be no right and wrong so long as the system in place serves only selective justice. This issue will surely continue on and result in further aggravation but we cannot afford ourselves to continue to fall deeper, to be fooled by the play of the political masters above.

The racial construct of Malaysia is too deeply entrenched to undergo a radical change in a short span of time and although a Malaysian Malaysia remains the ideal, our best hope lie under the very earth we step on. The values held close by our forefathers, the ability to respect, love and cherish each other for our differences is what made us citizens of this country. There is no harm in trying to avoid drinking or eating in front of our muslim brothers or sisters during Ramadan and neither is there any harm in calling out and protecting our non-muslim family from being abused or threatened with by a select few imbeciles who would rather see us crash than to co-exist together.

Should we lose sight of our roots permanently, I fear the future generation will never be able to see the Malaysia we have grown to love and willingly die for. Is there hope? Yes. Are Malaysians naturally racist? No. We are peace loving people who have been brought up together with our friends of varying races. It is within the power of each and every one of us to give in, to understand the grievances of one another and to stand united against the very institution put in place to divide us. We have done it for fifty-six years and I have an unshakeable faith that we will be able to come out of this again, stronger, together.

The author would like to take this opportunity to apologise to all Muslims who were offended by the Alvivi incident. It matters not if they were Chinese or Indian, for in my capacity as a foremost Malaysian, on behalf of a fellow Malaysian, hope that you will be able to forgive them. We are and always will be better than this. Ramadan Mubarak.


Malaysia's Masteel: Government-Linked Company?

Posted: 18 Jul 2013 12:26 PM PDT


"The question that needs to be asked to the Prime Minister's Department is, if the government has to fund 70 percent of the project, why bother privatizing it in the first place to a 37-year concession?"  

John Berthelsen, Asia Sentinel 

UMNO-linked steelmaker looks like winning contract to build RM100 billion commuter rail project

A "private sector initiative" criticized by opposition figures in Parliament earlier this week to build a RM1 billion commuter train project linking the Malaysian state of Johor to Singapore is starting to take on the trappings that sank a controversial national cattle feeding scheme in 2012, which earned it the nickname "Cowgate" because of the magnitude of the scandal.

The circumstances of the contracts are about the same. In the feedlot episode, the Malaysian government granted a RM250 million soft loan to individuals closely connected to the United Malays National Organization that had no experience remotely related to the operation of a company feed and slaughter 60,000 imported cattle each year. 

In the Johor case, a joint venture called Metropolitan Commuter Network, a 60:40 joint venture between Malaysia Steel Works or Masteel and KUB Malaysia Bhd, has won the commuter project, 70 percent of which is to be financed through a government soft loan. As with the National Feedlot operation, both sides of the Metropolitan Commuter Network are linked to UMNO and are in the process of finalizing the contract to build and operate the 100km inter-city rail service in Johor. 

Like the National Feedlot Corporation, which established the cattle feeding operation without any prior experience in dealing with cattle but plenty of experience in dealing with UMNO -- since the concern was headed by Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the government minister for women, family and community development – Masteel acknowledges that it has never built anything remotely resembling a 100-km light rail commuter operation. In fact, it has mainly been involved in steel manufacturing. 

Read more at: http://www.asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5575&Itemid=229 

One can’t insult Islam, it’s simply not possible

Posted: 18 Jul 2013 10:56 AM PDT

Elsewhere, this would probably have been shrugged of, and the whole thing would have died down. Not in Malaysia, where every Ramadan in the past three years or so have seen Muslims waging personal crusade against even the littlest things that tick them off. All over the excuse of "insulting Islam."

Zurairi AR, The Malay Mail 

If ever there is a way to insult Islam, it would surely be scamming the gullible with inferior goods by proclaiming its supposed Islamic quality. It seems the gullible are even more gullible during the blessed month of Ramadan.

Perhaps you have heard about the al-Khodafi "therapy water" being hawked by a man calling himself Ir. Fazli Azmi. Try Googling it, and you will find how people have mocked its over-the-top claims of magic.

Al-Khodafi is not mere mineral water. It has been treated using an obscure technology called "nano hydronium", which sounds so scientific it must be true.

As if that is not enough, the water is also enriched with a fungi called "kulat susu harimau", incense from the Islamic city of Mecca, zam-zam water, and water taken from rain that occurred on the 10th day in the Muharram month of the Islamic calendar.

I read that kulau susu harimau is being used by traditional medicine practitioners, who believe it has powers to cure cancer.

Meanwhile, Muharram 10 is supposed to be sacred day, celebrated by Sunnis as the day when Moses rescued the Israelites from the Pharaohs, while it is celebrated by Shiites as day of mourning for the martyrdom of one of their saints, Hussein the grandson of Muhammad — which is also known as the Day of Ashura.

In addition to all that, some Muslims also believe that the world will end on that date. What better way to celebrate it than to ... drink rainwater from that day?

It was also advertised, rather unashamedly, as containing "cendawan ajaib". If magic mushrooms were involved, that would probably explain the inventor's state of mind.

I guess the people selling mineral water labelled as water from the supposedly sacred well of zam-zam in Mecca have just got their arses handed to them.

The ultimate ingredient in the al-Khodafi, at least for me, is from a termite nest. Not just any termites, but termites which have eaten the Quran. Not the whole Quran — which has 30 parts called juz' — but only 22 of them.

Did the termites choose which parts to eat? Were they fed the 22 parts? How were the parts chosen? Did the al-Khodafi people know that termite nests also contain termite's spit and s**t?

These are the mysteries that perhaps only Ir. Fazli Azmi can answer.

Of course these scams do not stop there. Just days after, keen observers revealed another scam selling water that has allegedly been dipped with Prophet Muhammad's hair.

The seller even conveniently left a disclaimer: "If you don't love the Prophet, if you don't feel amazed by the power of the Prophet's hair, do not even bother to leave nonsensical comment."

My point is, these are not a mere coincidence. Every minute there is a sucker duped into giving money to these charlatans who have half of their work done for them by invoking Islam. That is insulting.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/zurairi-ar/article/you-cannot-insult-islam-it-is-simply-not-possible 


Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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