Isnin, 8 Julai 2013

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News


Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News


Regent of Perak: Utusan Malaysia is not racist

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 10:18 AM PDT

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSXszynGg-Mcc4bM_tzt7CZ0eIOaQTVuvOAcIUbkI9m_3vaMz1QMg

(Utusan) - Di sebalik kritikan pelbagai pihak terutama para pemimpin pembangkang terhadap Utusan Malaysia, Dr. Nazrin bertitah mempertahan akhbar itu yang disifatkan baginda tidak mengamalkan diskriminasi kaum.

Pemangku Raja Perak, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah menggesa kerajaan mengutamakan pendidikan asas kenegaraan bermula di peringkat sekolah dengan menyemai semangat setia kepada raja dan negara, sesuai dengan kedaulatan Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Titah baginda, kerajaan perlu mengasuh kanak-kanak melalui kurikulum serta kaedah bersesuaian sejak awal untuk turut menghormati simbol lain seperti bendera supaya tidak terus dihina seperti dipijak-pijak atau dijadikan pakaian.

Tanpa pendidikan sedemikian, baginda khuatir akan muncul lebih ramai individu seperti pengguna Facebook dengan nama 'Melissa Gooi' yang baru-baru ini ditahan kerana didakwa mengeluarkan kenyataan menghina Yang di-Pertuan Agong akibat kejahilannya tentang fungsi raja-raja di negara ini.

"Kurikulum kandungan dan kaedah pengajaran mengenai aspek kenegaraan yang benar-benar dihayati hendaklah segera diperkenalkan tanpa bertangguh dijadikan kandungan pengajian bukan sahaja di sekolah, malah maktab perguruan, kolej serta institusi latihan dan diuji dalam urusan lantikan dan kenaikan pangkat pegawai awam," titah baginda.

Baginda bertitah demikian dalam majlis Syarahan Angkatan Tentera Malaysia (ATM) 2013 bertajuk Pasca Pilihan Raya Umum Ke-13: Permuafakatan dan Perpaduan Nasional di Wisma Perwira ATM, Kementerian Pertahanan, di sini hari ini.

Yang turut hadir, Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Menteri Pertahanan, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein dan Ketua Setiausaha Negara, Tan Sri Dr. Ali Hamsa.

Sementara itu, di sebalik kritikan pelbagai pihak terutama para pemimpin pembangkang terhadap Utusan Malaysia, Dr. Nazrin bertitah mempertahan akhbar itu yang disifatkan baginda tidak mengamalkan diskriminasi kaum.

Dengan mengambil contoh tulisan Penolong Ketua Pengarang 1 Kumpulan Utusan, Datuk Zaini Hassan melalui kolum Cuit baru-baru ini, baginda bertitah, kupasan Zaini mengenai situasi Melissa Gooi membuktikan akhbar itu membela wanita berketurunan Cina tersebut.

Titahnya, tulisan Zaini yang diterbitkan Utusan Malaysia pada 5 Jun lalu bertajuk Salahkah Melissa Gooi? Ajarlah Asas Perlembagaan di sekolah meningkatkan keyakinan baginda majoriti rakyat negara ini tidak bersifat perkauman, sebaliknya insan berjiwa rasional dan berfikiran waras.

Malah, baginda turut memuji Zaini yang disifatkan berjiwa besar dan contoh semangat seorang Malaysian yang secara tegas melahirkan pandangan kritis atas prinsip kebenaran meskipun percaya Zaini tidak mengenali Melissa Gooi.

"Beta tidak kenal Zaini Hassan secara peribadi tetapi mengikuti rencana tulisan beliau, Melissa Gooi adalah rakyat Malaysia berketurunan Cina sementara Zaini, wartawan kanan, bukan sahaja berketurunan Melayu, berwajah Melayu, berdarah Melayu, malah bertugas dengan akhbar Utusan Malaysia yang dilabel setengah pihak sebagai akhbar yang meniup api perkauman.

"Apa jua jenama negatif yang dilabelkan terhadap Utusan Malaysia, akhbar tersebut tidak melakukan diskriminasi untuk tidak menyiarkan rencana yang bernada membela situasi seorang anak gadis keturunan Cina," titah baginda.


 

Ex-editor: Mahathir wanted memory of Anwar 'erased'

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 10:09 AM PDT

http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/h/www.fz.com/sites/default/files/styles/1_landscape_slider_photo/public/xkadir,P20jasin_1.JPG.pagespeed.ic.EytHNygp3B.jpg

Kadir Jasin felt that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to erase Anwar from public memory as the editors had built up his image for 16 years.

(fz.com) - "For 16 years, we developed Anwar from a rabble rouser, from a street fighter to a consummate politician listened to by Americans"

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wanted media giant New Straits Times (NST) to "try and do away" with his adversary Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister, a prominent former editor revealed today.

"His (Mahathir's) feelings were that we should try to do away with Anwar. Maybe we should try to erase the memory of Anwar," said former NST group editor-in-chief Datuk A Kadir Jasin.

At the "GE13: An analysis and aftermath" seminar today, Kadir said that he told Mahathir that it would be a "Herculean task" as Kadir had groomed Anwar's image as Mahathir's successor for 16 years.

Anwar was axed by Mahathir on allegations of corruption and sodomy in 1998 and sentenced to six years in prison for graft, while the conviction for sodomy was overturned.

"What I told the party president (Mahathir) then and people who were carrying out the instructions on his behalf is that it is difficult, and (moreso), if we are talking about having to face an election in the next few months.

"It is almost impossible because (it was) fait accompli… that Anwar (had become) what he was then and still is. We developed Anwar for 16 years," Kadir said.

"He (Anwar) wasn't like that when we first met him. In 1982, he was a scrawny fellow, poorly dressed - in batik lusuh (faded batik shirt), not-so-nice pants and sandals.

"He was socialist, a poor person and he was leader of the downtrodden," said Kadir.

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/ex-editor-mahathir-wanted-memory-anwar-erased#ixzz2YVSISl35

 

Dr M: Law cannot be drafted, abolished on mere demands

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 10:08 AM PDT

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ4AUFNoEHvf21UNo27yGuhqw02sIRfBt3tmDi36ihASFwMHtkJ 

(fz.com) - "The problem in not the law, but the people who are abusing the law." 

A law cannot be simply drafted or abolished following demands from certain quarters, including the opposition, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said. 
 
In fact, he said a study must be carried out to collect input and opinions from various quarters, or other countries which had enforced or abolished such and act, as well its impacts. 
 
"If we bow to the demands of the opposition, there will be no law. Right now, they are demanding to have a rule of law, but if there's no law, how can we have a rule of law," he told reporters after launching Naza World Cup Asia Paintball (NWCAP) 2013 here yesterday. 
 
He said this in response to the demands made by certain quarters to abolish the Sedition Act 1948. 
 
Mahathir said if the Act were to be abolished, the people would be free to do anything or insult anybody. 
 
"We used to have a courteous society where we don't easily insult people, but now, we have people easily bad-mouthing us, insulting our religion and our Prophet, but we can do nothing about it. 
 
"The problem in not the law, but the people who are abusing the law," he added. 

 

Chua: Clarify how conversion Bill was allowed to pass, causing unnecessary disputes

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 10:05 AM PDT

http://www.thenutgraph.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Chua-Soi-Lek-02.jpg

(The Star) - Non-Muslim Cabinet members should give the people an explanation as to how they allowed the controversial Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 to be passed unanimously by the Cabinet, said MCA.

Its president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said although they welcomed the decision by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister to withdraw the Bill, he said the Bill had triggered many unnecessary controversies.

"The move to withdraw the Bill shows that the Government listens to the people and that it has heeded the people's aspirations.

"However, I believe that the Bill was thoroughly deliberated in the Cabinet before it was tabled for first reading in Parliament.

"I cannot understand how the non-Muslim Cabinet ministers were not aware about the differences in using the term of 'mother or father' and 'parents' in Section 107(b) of the Bill until it was passed by the Cabinet for tabling in the Parliament," he said yesterday.

He said the move would also cost the Barisan Nasional Government its image, therefore the non-Muslims Cabinet members have the responsibility to explain to the public.

"We also support the call that Section 95 of the Administration of Islamic Laws (FT) Act 1993, which also uses the same wordings of 'mother or father', and other relevant state enactments, be amended so that conversion of a minor would need the consent of both parents," he said.

Various groups have voiced their opposition to the Bill, which includes a controversial provision allowing a child to be converted with the consent of only one parent.

The Bill was withdrawn yesterday from Parliament following a motion by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom.

Two other related Bills – the Syariah Court Civil Procedure (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2013 and Syariah Criminal Procedures (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2013 – were also withdrawn.

MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong said it was good the Bill was retracted in the interest of religious harmony.

"Now we will have more time to iron out what's not accepted by all races," he said adding that MCA wants the word "parent" (ibu atau bapa) in the Bill to be replaced with "parents" (ibu dan bapa), in line with the Federal Constitution. 

Catholic Church moves to strike out Putrajaya’s ‘Allah’ appeal

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 10:04 AM PDT

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/uploads/articleslawrence-andrew1-080713_484_323_100.jpg

Lawrence is editor of the Herald, the Catholic Church's sole newspaper. 

(The Malay Mail) - Its patience seemingly worn thin, the Catholic Church has finally initiated a bid to strike out the federal government's appeal against a landmark High Court ruling that Christians have as much right as Muslims to call their god "Allah".

The Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur filed an application yesterday afternoon to throw out Putrajaya's appeal, which has been languishing in the Court of Appeal for the past four years, the editor of Herald, the Church's sole newspaper, told The Malay Mail Online.

"We have filed the application to strike out their appeal," said Father Lawrence Andrew.

The Church was moved to act as the government had shown no signs of dropping its suit, the priest said, despite the Najib administration's initial overtures to mend the cracks that have appeared in Malaysia's multireligious society that has left Muslims on one side and believers of other creeds on the opposite ledge.

"This appeal case has to be struck out because the prime minister had in a letter dated 11 April 2011 offered a 10-point solution to the problems faced by the Christians in procuring the Al-Kitab for their worship, study and prayer," Lawrence added.

The 10-point solution was an assurance given by Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the country's Christian population that they were free to bring in and use their bibles in Malay as well as in other indigenous languages that contained the word "Allah", after shipments of the holy book were banned.

Christians are Malaysia's third-largest religious population at 2.6 million people, according to statistics from the 2010 census, behind Muslims and Buddhists.

Bumiputera Christians form about 64 per cent, or close to two-thirds of that figure, and have prayed in the national language and their native tongues for centuries.

And the Catholic Church makes up the largest numbers of all Christians in Malaysia. The Official Catholic Directory 2012 puts its congregation as numbering 1,007,643 people at the end of 2010, but the figures would have spiked in the past three years.

The Herald's readership is also estimated at roughly one million people.

Lawrence noted that the government has also recognised the rights of Christians to "Allah" and pointed to a compromise reached with the Christian groups who agreed to allow copies of their holy book to bear the Home Ministry's stamp, which marks the Malay and native-language bibles to be Christian publications for a Christian readership only.

"By the Cabinet decision and the subsequent letter of the PM, it has been stated that the Christians can procure the Al-Kitab freely but with the words for 'Christians only'.

"The action of the government is an indication of admission and acceptance from the government that makes pursuit of the case academic," the priest said.

Lawrence said the government's actions indicate it admits the "Allah" word has been an integral part of Christian Scripture and a core of the creed's dynamics in the country for more than four centuries.

The "Allah" row erupted in 2008 when the Home Ministry threatened to revoke the Herald's newspaper permit, prompting the Catholic Church to sue the government for violating its constitutional rights.

In 2009, the High Court made a landmark ruling in favour of the Catholic Church, when it said the Middle Eastern word was not the exclusive right of Muslims and the Herald could publish it in its Bahasa Malaysia section, which caters to its Bumiputera congregation.

The federal government's appeal to reverse the 2009 High Court judgment is scheduled for case management in the Court of Appeal today.

But in light of the latest development, the Court of Appeal will have to attend to the Church's strike-out application before it can decide a hearing date for the government's challenge.

 

Guan Eng: Penang should be afforded its long overdue city status

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 09:59 AM PDT

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-DXH7KXMTB1Q/UHpKCB1ZJYI/AAAAAAAA93c/AnJfr2TdStA/s400/Lim-Guan-Eng.png 

(The Malay Mail) - We are the second most important city in the country so we should be given the city status instead of remaining as a municipal.

Penang should be afforded its city status and its municipal council be given the city council status by the Housing and Local Government Ministry, said Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

"We are the second most important city in the country so we should be given the city status instead of remaining as a municipal," he said.

Speaking at the swearing in of municipal councillors for the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP), Lim said it is time that the ministry make haste to recognise George Town as a city and the council become a city council.

"Why is it that until now, Penang can't be given a city status? It can't be that Penang can't compete with the 12 cities in the country so I do hope that the ministry will speed up the process of giving George Town its city status," he said.

He had pointed out that the Europe Business Assembly (EBA) had recently awarded the MPPP president Datuk Patahiyah Ismail as the Best Municipal Manager and also given MPPP the Best Municipality Award.

"This international recognition should be enough to convince the housing and local government ministry that George Town should be given its city status and its municipal council be recognised as a city council," he said.

George Town's city status has been a bone of contention raised by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government since 2009 as George Town was declared a city by a royal charter granted by Queen Elizabeth II on January 1, 1957.

However, it lost its city status and is no longer recognised as a city by the federal government and the PR-led state government has been demanding that the federal government reinstate its city status.

"I hope that this delay in giving George Town its city status is not due to unexplainable reasons and that the ministry will speed up the process," Lim said.

On the newly appointed councillors, 12 of whom are new faces, Lim advised that they perform in their duty as municipal councillors.

"Be sure to go down to the ground and look at drainage or the roads if you must because it is your duty and do not turn away from your duty just because it is not within your scope of responsibilities," he said.

He told the newly sworn-in councillors that they were picked by their respective parties so they must fulfil the expectations placed upon them by their parties.

"You must perform because once we return the third vote to the people, you will be elected based on your performance by the people so if they do not want to elect you, there is no one else to blame but yourselves," he said.

The Bagan MP also touched on the increase of street crimes in Penang after five years of being the state with the lowest crime index in the country.

"It is alarming to note that our street crimes have increased by 72 per cent between January and May this year to place Penang as the state with the highest street crimes in the country," he said.

With this in mind, he had instructed MPPP to install at least one street lamp each day and also to allocate an additional RM1.4 million to install 70 new CCTVs on the island.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/guan-eng-penang-should-be-afforded-its-long-overdue-city-status?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.pLWXShVY.dpuf 

Snowden made the right call when he fled the U.S.

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 09:55 AM PDT

http://nsarchive.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ellsberg_time1.jpg

One lesson of the Pentagon Papers and Snowden's leaks is simple: secrecy corrupts, just as power corrupts. 

Daniel Ellsberg, Washington Post 

Daniel Ellsberg is the author of "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers." He was charged in 1971 under the Espionage Act as well as for theft and conspiracy for copying the Pentagon Papers. The trial was dismissed in 1973 after evidence of government misconduct, including illegal wiretapping, was introduced in court. 

After the New York Times had been enjoined from publishing the Pentagon Papers — on June 15, 1971, the first prior restraint on a newspaper in U.S. history — and I had given another copy to The Post (which would also be enjoined), I went underground with my wife, Patricia, for 13 days. My purpose (quite like Snowden's in flying to Hong Kong) was to elude surveillance while I was arranging — with the crucial help of a number of others, still unknown to the FBI — to distribute the Pentagon Papers sequentially to 17 other newspapers, in the face of two more injunctions. The last three days of that period was in defiance of an arrest order: I was, like Snowden now, a "fugitive from justice."

Yet when I surrendered to arrest in Boston, having given out my last copies of the papers the night before, I was released on personal recognizance bond the same day. Later, when my charges were increased from the original three counts to 12, carrying a possible 115-year sentence, my bond was increased to $50,000. But for the whole two years I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures. I was, after all, part of a movement against an ongoing war. Helping to end that war was my preeminent concern. I couldn't have done that abroad, and leaving the country never entered my mind.

There is no chance that experience could be reproduced today, let alone that a trial could be terminated by the revelation of White House actions against a defendant that were clearly criminal in Richard Nixon's era — and figured in his resignation in the face of impeachment — but are today all regarded as legal (including an attempt to "incapacitate me totally").

I hope Snowden's revelations will spark a movement to rescue our democracy, but he could not be part of that movement had he stayed here. There is zero chance that he would be allowed out on bail if he returned now and close to no chance that, had he not left the country, he would have been granted bail. Instead, he would be in a prison cell like Bradley Manning, incommunicado.

He would almost certainly be confined in total isolation, even longer than the more than eight months Manning suffered during his three years of imprisonment before his trial began recently. The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Torture described Manning's conditions as "cruel, inhuman and degrading." (That realistic prospect, by itself, is grounds for most countries granting Snowden asylum, if they could withstand bullying and bribery from the United States.)

Snowden believes that he has done nothing wrong. I agree wholeheartedly. More than 40 years after my unauthorized disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, such leaks remain the lifeblood of a free press and our republic. One lesson of the Pentagon Papers and Snowden's leaks is simple: secrecy corrupts, just as power corrupts.

Read more at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/daniel-ellsberg-nsa-leaker-snowden-made-the-right-call/2013/07/07/0b46d96c-e5b7-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story_1.html 

New national curriculum to introduce fractions to five-year-olds

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 09:53 AM PDT

http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pixies/2013/7/7/1373219626584/Michael-Gove-008.jpg 

Michael Gove's changes will see five-year-olds learning fractions and writing computer programs. 

(The Guardian) -  "This curriculum is a foundation for learning the vital advanced skills that universities and businesses desperately need – skills such as essay-writing, problem-solving, mathematical modelling and computer programming." 

The education secretary Michael Gove's efforts to revolutionise learning in England's schools will see five-year-olds studying fractions and writing computer programs in their first year of school, according to final versions of the new national curriculum published on Monday.

Among the changes are a requirement for 3-D printers to be used in design and technology lessons, after major revisions to the subject's curriculum.

According to a Whitehall source: "Three-dimensional printers will become standard in our schools – a technology that is transforming manufacturing and the economy. Combined with the introduction of programming, it is a big step forward from Labour's dumbed-down curriculum."

The latest versions of the national curriculum include revisions to drafts that were fiercely criticised when they were published in February. Subjects such as history and geography have had massive rewrites from their initial drafts.

Key skills in many subjects have been brought forward in a child's school career, so primary-age pupils will be given more demanding tasks. For example, tThe teaching of word processing will be dropped in favour of allowing five-year-olds to create and test programs they write themselves. The maths curriculum will see nine-year-olds taught multiplication up to 12 times tables, which is more advanced than the current curriculum allows for 11-year-olds; while the design and technology curriculum will see seven-year-olds introduced to computer-aided design techniques.

David Cameron hailed the new curriculum as "rigorous, engaging and tough". "As a parent this is exactly the kind of thing I want my children to be learning. And as prime minister I know this revolution in education is critical for Britain's prosperity in the decades to come."

Gove said: "This curriculum is a foundation for learning the vital advanced skills that universities and businesses desperately need – skills such as essay-writing, problem-solving, mathematical modelling and computer programming."

Under the new computing curriculum, pupils will be taught internet safety at a much younger age, including how to keep personal details private. Pupils from the age of five will be taught how to create digital information and content, as well as learning how to write and test simple programs and to organise and store data.

Read more at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/jul/08/michael-gove-education-curriculum-fractions?CMP=twt_fd 

Al-Biruni, Comparative Religion and Malaysian leadership

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 09:33 AM PDT

http://visnunatesan.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/images.jpg 

The Islamic bill has been withdrawn by the Government in tandem with protests from non-Muslim Members of Parliament (MP). However, Malaysians are in still in the dark with several religious issues in our Malaysian multi-religious society.

Natesan Visnu 

Prophet Muhammad sent a message to the monks of Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai:

"This is a message written by Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, far and near, we are behind them. Verily, I defend them by myself, the servants, the helpers, and my followers, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be changed from their jobs, nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they (Christians) are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, this is not to take place without her own wish. She is not to be prevented from going to her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation is to disobey this covenant till the Day of Judgment and the end of the world."

The recent crisis with the conversion bill for children has sparked an uproar among the non-Muslims in Malaysia. The Islamic bill has been withdrawn by the Government in tandem with protests from non-Muslim Members of Parliament (MP). However, Malaysians are in still in the dark with several religious issues in our Malaysian multi-religious society.

The purpose of this article to explore the understanding between religions in a multicultural society. The writer is not a religious expert and the views are based on reading various religious literature available online. Constructive criticism and views are welcome to explore the subject for mutual benefit and understanding among fellow Malaysians.

Religious tolerance has been a debate for centuries. Many scholars have researched and produced works explaining the subject with great depth. However, the thoughts and opinions of these scholars have not resolved inter-faith issues and to date, humans have not resolved the differences among them. According to Al-Biruni (a Muslim scholar on the history of religion), "there is a common human element in every culture that makes all cultures distant relatives, however foreign they might seem to one another." (Rosenthal, 1976, p. 10). Biruni is a Muslim scholar that had studied Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, and other religions. He studied religion with an open mind and his motive was to understand all of them instead of vilifying other religions. To take it further, Biruni was responsible to study Hindu scholarly books, learned Sanskrit and translated Hindu books into the Arabic language. He wrote Tarikh al-Kinh (History of India) exploring culture, mathematics, astronomy and every aspect of Indian life.

Biruni is one of many scholars from the Muslim world that has explored in depth other religions and produced works towards religious tolerance. His main approach was to explore the common principles among the religions to promote religious harmony. Politicians with half baked knowledge on religion have been politicizing issues and misleading Malaysians in general for years. Translating the effort and approach of Biruni, a similar approach could be used in Malaysia to tackle the religious issues that have been plaguing our society for years and causing unnecessary grief for Malaysians. 

The religious issues in Malaysia have been provoked by racist leaders such as Ibrahim Ali attacking Christians on the 'Allah' word usage, Zulkifli Nordin condemning the Hindus, and other politicians making inane comments. If we analyse closely, the religious issues are caused by politicians for their personal political gain. In Malaysia, certain groups of irresponsible politicians are the major cause for religious conflict among members of the society. The first most important move is to stop the politicians from further confusing the public on religious issues.

In line with the above argument, the bill that needs to be studied and passed in Parliament is for politicians to stop making comments on religious issues. Politicians without the expertise on religion should be stopped from discussing religious issues in public. These issues should be addressed by experts with the similar wisdom of al-Biruni and the Dewan Rakyat should act based on their analysis on religious issues. Dewan Rakyat members should appoint an interfaith council consisting of scholars on comparative religion to provide advice on issues pertaining to religious issues. The approach will assist Malaysians to have a better solution on religious issues instead of relying on politicians who lack fundamental knowledge on religion attempting to debate the subject in Dewan Rakyat.

Prophet Muhammad has set a great example in leading the non-Muslim community. The Muslim leaders in Malaysia should further study the method used by Prophet Muhammad to promote religious harmony among Muslims and non-Muslims. Echoing Islamic terminology, the term hadith refers to actions and statements by Prophet Muhammad, teaching the world on leadership for a multi-religious society. Malaysians need to urge politicians to explore further, with the help of the correct experts, the underlying concepts and reforms of religious issues that have been plaguing our society for years.

Relating to the child conversion bill tabled recently, one particular verse of the Qu'ran: "let there be no compulsion in religion". Prophet Muhammad and his followers never practiced forced conversion on Pagan Arabs. The proposal for conversion of a child with only one parent's consent is a subject that requires indepth study. This writer's view is that the subject must be studied further by religious experts from all faiths and a collective recommendation be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat for debate. Politicians without indepth knowledge in comparative religion should consult the appropriate experts to explore the subject.

To encapsulate the above, a comprehensive resolution on religious issues is required for the progression of our society. The failure to address religious issues will cripple the nation and limit our ability to prosper as a multi-religious society. Politicians should set aside their differences, work along with scholars and formulate policies that will benefit the people in general; not their political mileage.

 

Estimated Indian Voters : GE14

Posted: 08 Jul 2013 09:00 AM PDT

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/images/uploads/2013/april2013/indians-april23.jpg 

Between the GE's of 2004 and 2008, there was an increase of only 13,800 new Indian voters showing a mere 1.9% increase. However, between the GE's of 2008 and 2013 there was an incredible 233,456 new Indian voters which showed an amazing 31.6% increase. 

Paraman Subramaniam

In the 2004 GE, registered Indian voters totaled 724,423. This represented 7.43% of the then total registered voters.

In the 2008 GE, the total Indian registered voters totaled 738,223 which represented 6.87% of the total registered voters then.

In the 2013 GE, 971,679 Indians were registered to vote, representing 7.32% of the total registered voters.

Between the GE's of 2004 and 2008, there was an increase of only 13,800 new Indian voters showing a mere 1.9% increase. However, between the GE's of 2008 and 2013 there was an incredible 233,456 new Indian voters which showed an amazing 31.6% increase. This percentage increase was more than double that of the Malays or Chinese new voters during the same period, meaning the Malays and Chinese recorded around a 15% new registered voters as compared to their respective GE12 numbers.

It is believed that this huge surge in Indian voter registration took place post Nov 25th 2007 Hindraf rally, which attributed to raising the political enlightenment and awakening of the Indians in general. There were only around 30 plus working days after this rally before registration was closed for GE12 hence the spillover effect was felt after that elections, well into the year 2012.

It is interesting to note that there were an additional 276k eligible Indians that had not registered to vote in the last GE. This would mean that roughly 78% of the Indian population that were eligible to vote were registered to vote in GE 13.

If the next GE were to be held in 2017/2018, there will be a further 180k Indians who will come of age and be eligible to register to vote.

It is therefore estimated that there will be roughly 1.1 million registered Indian voters in GE 14, taking into an account of roughly 75% of eligible Indian voters would have been registered to vote by then.






 

Mainstream media will only change if BN loses, says Kadir Jasin

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 11:20 PM PDT

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRAzh8pCc5q5AxtnDS-Iu3pGEun-M1sNKiiCVlZt-uEyzAPv7gtEQ

(TMI) - Kadir said Umno and the government used the media to vilify Anwar but the BN did badly in the 1999 general election as the Malays were split. The government then was returned to power because of the support of the non-Malays.

The mainstream media owned by Umno and MCA are not expected to change its ways despite the poor performance by the Barisan Nasional in the last general election, an industry veteran said today.

"Things will remain the same," said blogger and former New Straits Times Press group editor-in-chief Datuk A. Kadir Jasin.

He said no editor would change the editorial policy when the media, whether print or electronic, was owned by the government or political parties.

"They have to follow the agenda set by the owners," he said at an international seminar titled "General Electon 13: An analysis and aftermath" held at the International Islamic University in Gombak today.

"The public will have to put up with them as Umno has became stronger in winning more seats compared to 2008," he said.

In fact, he said some segments of the media reinforced old issues like playing up race and religion.

Kadir said the mainstream media will change only when the party which controls them loses in the election.

He said only then the media will change as what happened in countries like Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea.

Kadir, who helmed NSTP for 12 years until 2000, said his own experience showed that it was difficult to promote change.

He said it was the media which transformed former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when he was in the government.

"The government then attempted to use the media to destroy Anwar in a short span but failed miserably," he said.

Kadir said Umno and the government used the media to vilify Anwar but the BN did badly in the 1999 general election as the Malays were split.

The government then was returned to power because of the support of the non-Malays.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/mainstream-media-will-only-change-if-bn-loses-says-media-veteran/ 

Selangor opposition chief again declines PAC chair

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 11:18 PM PDT

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c6/Shamsudin_Lias.JPG/220px-Shamsudin_Lias.JPG 

(Bernama) - Selangor Opposition Leader Datuk Mohd Shamsudin Lias on Monday stood his ground and turned down an offer to chair the state public accounts committee, saying he would prefer to be just a member. 

The Sungai Burong assemblyman declined the offer after Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (PKR-Pelabuhan Klang) tabled the motion which had the majority support of the house.
 
 "I thank the state government for proposing me as the chairman of the PAC. 

"However, I decline to accept the offer. I propose that the state government appoint another member of the house. I just want to be a committee member only," he told the state legislative assembly meeting. 

Abdul Khalid then proposed Ng Suee Lim (DAP-Sekinchan) as the chairman of the committee and it received the unanimous agreement of the house and was officially announced by Speaker Hannah Yeoh. 

On July 1, Mohd Shamsudin dismissed the motion of the state government proposing him as the chairman of the PAC and claimed that the appointment was insincere and had a political motive.

He claimed that the appointment was conditional in that the Pakatan Rakyat wanted its representative to be appointed chairman of the PAC in the Dewan Rakyat.

Yeoh denied that the appointment was conditional and urged Mohd Shamsudin to reconsider his decision. 

It’ll be back, Jamil Khir says of child conversion law

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 09:12 PM PDT

Zurairi AR, MM

The controversial Bill on unilateral child conversion to Islam will be resubmitted once the authorities "streamline" it, Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom (picture) said today.

Earlier this morning, the minister had withdrawn the disputed Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 from Parliament following vocal opposition to the proposed law, along with the Syariah Court Civil Procedure (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2013 and Syariah Criminal Procedures (Federal Territories) (Amendment) Bill 2013

"We will 'perkemaskan' (streamline) them in the future," Jamil Khir told reporters here.

He did not, however, specify when the Bills will be re-tabled, and explained that the authorities will fall back on the current laws in the meantime.

"We'll see, after consulting a number of bodies of every level, after that is done then we'll table it," he said.

Before the amended proposal, the law in effect was the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) 1993, also known as Act 505.

Last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in a statement that the Cabinet had discussed the matter at length and decided to retract the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 pending further study.

He was reported by national news agency Bernama as saying that the issue of a child's religious status, particularly in cases where either the mother or father is Muslim, should be discussed thoroughly among all relevant stakeholders before being made law.

"The Cabinet had agreed that the retraction of the Bill was necessary to ensure that the issue on the determination of the child's religion in such cases was resolved in a fair manner for everyone," he was quoted as saying.

All further amendments to the law contained in the Bill would also be retracted for now, Muhyiddin said.

The attempt to legislate single parent consent for child conversion to Islam had caught the attention of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) and Bar Council shortly after it was tabled, with both calling the move unconstitutional.

The MCCBCHST went a step further and slammed the Cabinet as "insincere" for introducing the law despite a 2009 announcement by then law minister Nazri banning the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam.

The storm over proposed law resulted in a rare public disagreement among some Cabinet members, which saw ministers Datuk Seri G. Palanivel, Datuk Paul Low and Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz voicing their objection to the Bill.

Custodial tussles in cases of unilateral child conversions have been a growing concern over the years and provide a high-profile glimpse of the concerns of Malaysia's religious minorities over the 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 do not apply to or recognise non-Muslims.

 

Death toll in Cairo shooting rises to 42 - state TV

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 09:06 PM PDT

CAIRO (Reuters) - The death toll in violence on Monday at the Cairo headquarters of the Republican Guard rose to 42, Egyptian state television said, after the Muslim Brotherhood accused the security forces of attacking protesters there.

The Egyptian military said "a terrorist group" had tried to storm the building. One army officer was killed and 40 wounded, the military said.

State television reported that an additional 322 people had been wounded in what it described as an attempt to storm the Republican Guard's headquarters.

 

Anti-Muslim riots haunt shattered Myanmar city

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 08:45 PM PDT

The horrors that followed have been pieced together by rights group Physicians for Human Rights who, quoting eyewitnesses, described a Buddhist mob – including men in monks' robes – hunting down and killing some 20 students and four teachers.

(AFP) - MEIKTILA: The thugs ordered Kyaw not to look as they killed his classmates, but the terrified teenager still caught glimpses of the merciless beatings as a wave of anti-Muslim killing engulfed his school town in central Myanmar, leaving dozens dead.

"They used steel chains, sticks and knives… there were hundreds of people. They beat anyone who tried to look at them," the 16-year-old told AFP.

Kyaw's small madrassa (Islamic school) on the outskirts of Meiktila town was razed during sectarian bloodshed in March that triggered an outbreak of Buddhist-Muslim violence across the country.

Officially 44 people were killed – although some fear the toll was much higher – and thousands were left homeless.

Kyaw, whose name AFP changed to protect his identity, escaped serious injury, but his school friends – who he saw as "brothers" -were not so fortunate.

"Five students from my class were killed," he said, with a quiet precision belying his haunted expression.

March 20 began as usual for the students, who traded jokes as they gathered in the school's mosque.

But by afternoon the centre of town was already seething after an argument in a gold shop and the brutal murder of a Buddhist monk.

As word spread that Muslim areas were being torched, the students took shelter in nearby undergrowth, hiding overnight as a mob descended and set the school alight.

The next morning, security personnel evacuated local Muslims. Kyaw and his friends were marched through a hostile crowd which hit them with stones and sticks. A few students retaliated. Some strayed or were pulled out and set upon.

The horrors that followed have been pieced together by rights group Physicians for Human Rights who, quoting eyewitnesses, described a Buddhist mob – including men in monks' robes – hunting down and killing some 20 students and four teachers.

Witnesses recounted seeing one pupil being decapitated and several being burned alive, according to a May report by the US-based group.

Graphic video footage given to AFP by activists shows an embankment next to the school turned into a killing ground.

In one sequence, a man is chased out of the undergrowth by an armed mob. One man hits him so hard with a wooden pole that the weapon snaps in two before a robed monk joins the savage beating.

Several more videos show charred corpses dumped in hastily-made pyres.

"When I arrived there I saw piles of bodies still burning," said local Buddhist political activist Myint Myint Aye, adding that she believes the death toll was closer to 100.

She said residents were swept up in the rioting, with a huge crowd cheering and clapping the demolition of Muslim shops.

But, like other observers, she believes the violence was manipulated, perhaps by Buddhist hardliners using hired thugs — a practice widely suspected during the former junta rule.

"If it was only people from Meiktila it would not have been that bad," she told AFP. "In just a day and a half, everything had been destroyed."

Attacks against Muslims – who make up an estimated four percent of Myanmar's population – have exposed deep fractures in the Buddhist-majority nation and cast a shadow over its emergence from army rule.

Security forces have been accused of being slow to stop the killing. "Killers and robbers are criminals – (police) have duties to stop them or to arrest them," said lawyer Thein Than Oo, a Buddhist who has acted on behalf of some Muslim men jailed in May for their part in the monk killing that sparked the Meiktila unrest.

"They said they have no order to interfere. So even the children were brutally killed at Meiktila," he told AFP.

At least ten Muslims have been convicted of serious offences in relation to the unrest. Only one Buddhist is known to have been found guilty of murder over the violence.

Families of the Muslim victims are too afraid to pursue the police over the whereabouts of their loved ones, according to activists who say bodies of the victims were removed and burned by the authorities without being identified.

According to state media, 49 people are on trial for murder with scores more facing court for their roles in the unrest.

"Both sides have been prosecuted," government spokesman Ye Htut told AFP, without giving further comment.

But rights groups insist the official response has been grossly inadequate.

"The message of impunity is shocking," said PHR report author Holly Atkinson. "In less than 48 hours they were able to drive… 30,000 people out of Meiktila. There are basically no Muslims in Meiktila."

Despite repeated requests by AFP, Meiktila police refused to comment.

Buddhist-Muslim clashes first erupted in the western state of Rakhine last year, leaving about 200 people dead, mostly minority Muslim Rohingya who are denied citizenship by Myanmar.

Some robed monks – revered in the country and who were at the forefront of past democracy campaigns — have taken part in the clashes.

"If there are monks who incite such harm, arson or murder… I boldly say that they are wrong," said Buddhist clergyman Sein Ni Ta, who was part of cross-faith relief efforts after what he termed a "systematic massacre" in Meiktila.

Senior monks urged peace after talks on the violence in June. But the meeting was used by radical cleric Wirathu – who has campaigned for a boycott of Muslim shops — as a platform to call for restrictions on marriages between Buddhist women and men from other faiths.

Blaming "Muslim extremists" he told AFP that Buddhists were provoked "to commit arson, destroy shops and to set fire to mosques."

Meiktila remains under a state of emergency. Life for local Buddhists has assumed some semblance of normality, but fear shudders beneath the surface.

Kyaw, who is back with his family in another part of Myanmar, struggles to sleep and is receiving counselling after his ordeal. Little remains of his Meiktila school — just a few scorched books among the rubble.

 

Resolving an unresolvable issue

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 07:54 PM PDT

Hence is there only one Rabb or many Rabbs? And if there were only one Rabb then the Christians would share the Rabb of the Muslims. And since we have only one Rabb and we all share the same Rabb and this Rabb is called Allah then the Rabb of the Christians is also called Allah.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

How will the court rule regarding the 'Allah' word issue? I really don't know but one thing I do know is that it can never be resolved. And it can never be resolved because we are using man-made laws to try to resolve what many perceive as God's laws. And the 'Father Lord' and 'Mother Justice' are in conflict about the meaning of justice

Mother Justice is having a whooper of a headache trying to balance between man-made laws and God's laws

The dispute regarding the Bahasa Malaysia translation for God would have to depend on how you perceive the matter. 'God' is the English word while 'Tuhan' is the Malay word and the Arabic word is 'Rabb' (meaning Lord) or 'Ilahi' (meaning 'the one God'). Lord is specific while God is not. Hence if you want to use the Malay or Arabic word for God (Lord) it would have to be 'Tuhan' or 'Rabb'.

The Malaysian Christians, however, want the court to rule that the Malay word for 'Tuhan' that will be used in the Bahasa Malaysia translation of the Bible is 'Allah'.

And herein lies the conflict.

'Jesus' is the name of the Christian Prophet. The Muslims call him 'Isa'. But then the Christians also call him 'Christ'. But there is no Muslim translation for 'Christ' so the Muslims do not use 'Christ'. They call him 'Nabi Isa'.

So Jesus is 'Christ' and God is 'Lord' for the Christians. But 'Lord' is 'Tuan' in Bahasa Malaysia (ever hear the Chinese use the term 'Tuan Allah'). Hence 'Tuhan' is 'Tuan' just as 'God' is 'Lord'. But the Muslims call God 'Allah' and not 'Tuan'. And now the Christians also want to call God 'Allah' and not 'Tuan' (Lord).

So how do we get the court to resolve an unresolvable issue? If the court rules that the Christians can use 'Allah' for Lord the Muslims will not accept that and will get upset. If the court rules that the Christians cannot use 'Allah' for Lord then the Christians will not accept that and will say the court is biased and not independent.

Either way one party is going to go away upset like hell (and why do we use 'hell' to describe upset?).

Now, the Muslims believe that Adam, Enoch, Noah, Hud, Saleh, Abraham, Lot, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job, Jethro, Moses, Aaron, David, Solomon, Elias, Elisha, Jonah, Ezekiel, Zecharia, John, Jesus, and Muhammad -- all the 25 Prophets named in the Qur'an -- are Muslims (as were the 124,000 other Prophets not named in the Qur'an). Hence, according to Islam, Jesus was a Muslim.

The Muslims also believe that there is only one Rabb and that this Rabb is named Allah. So Allah is everyone's Rabb since the time of the first Prophet, Adam.

Now, if I were to apply logic rather than theology or law to this argument (since I am neither a theologian nor a lawyer), I would come to a conclusion that Allah is also the Rabb of the Christians. If Allah is NOT the Rabb of the Christians and that the Christians have another or different Rabb, then the Muslims are wrong about there being only one Rabb. There would be more than one Rabb.

And this belief violates the doctrine of Islam and it would destroy your akidah if you say this or believe this.

Hence is there only one Rabb or many Rabbs? And if there were only one Rabb then the Christians would share the Rabb of the Muslims. And since we have only one Rabb and we all share the same Rabb and this Rabb is called Allah then the Rabb of the Christians is also called Allah.

But then, as I said, I am not a theologian or a lawyer. So ignore what I say because what I say is based only on logic. And logic cannot be applied in matters concerning religion because if it were then you will never believe in any religion since all religions defy logic.

 

When two interests collide

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 06:38 PM PDT

Anyway, today my concerns were proven right. We are seeing Parliament moving in one direction and then the opposite direction a day or two later. And this is because we have so many conflicts of interest. And when interests collide we will see what we are seeing today.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Have you noticed that since Parliament started last week we have seen many U-turns and flip-flops? New laws are being proposed. Old laws are being targeted for amendment. Old laws already abolished are coming back under a new name. And then all these proposals are suddenly being aborted or withdrawn.

Parliament can't seem to decide whether it is coming or going. It appears to be moving in both directions at the same time. We have five years to go for this Parliament to run its course before the next general election and in a mere week we have seen so much back paddling and back tracking. What in heaven's name is going on?

This is exactly the reason why three years ago back in 2010 we launched the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) and also why Haris Ibrahim proposed the Independent Candidates Initiative -- which did not meet the approval of Pakatan Rakyat and had to be aborted.

Prior to the 12th General Election in March 2008 life was simpler. Barisan Nasional always won more than two-thirds of the seats in Parliament ever since the coalition was formed prior to the 1974 general election.

No doubt the reason for forming Barisan Nasional was so that Umno, MCA and MIC -- or the Alliance Party -- could regain its two-thirds majority that it lost in the May 1969 general election. Nevertheless, from 1974 up to 2008, there was no problem for the ruling coalition maintaining its two-thirds majority in Parliament.

In 2008, however, that changed. The campaign to make sure that no party ever controls a two-thirds majority in Parliament -- whether Barisan Nasional or Pakatan Rakyat -- and to make sure that Malaysia can see a strong two-party system, succeeded. In 2008, the voters cut Barisan Nasional down to size and gave the opposition a big-enough win to create this two-party system that we were fighting for.

But that was merely the first step -- to dismantle the two-thirds majority of any one party and to create as close as possible a two-party system. The next step was to dismantle the 'vote along party lines' culture of Malaysian politics so that the Members of Parliament can 'vote according to their conscience' -- like here in the UK. If we do not do that then Malaysians will never get a fair deal because the Members of Parliament will put their personal or party interests above the interest of the voters or rakyat.

But that attempt failed because Pakatan Rakyat did not want independent-minded Members of Parliament. They wanted 'loyal' Members of Parliament. And 'loyal' here means loyalty to the party and not loyalty to the voters who put them in office.

And this was the fundamental disagreement that I had with the Opposition Leader in Parliament, Anwar Ibrahim -- and later with my comrades in the MCLM. We disagreed on the new political culture that Malaysia should adopt. They wanted party loyalty above loyalty to the rakyat while I put loyalty to the rakyat above party loyalty. Hence we parted company and went our separate ways -- plus I 'retired' from the MCLM, which was going in the opposite direction to where I would rather it went.

Anyway, today my concerns were proven right. We are seeing Parliament moving in one direction and then the opposite direction a day or two later. And this is because we have so many conflicts of interest. And when interests collide we will see what we are seeing today.

So what do you now want me to say? I told you so?

On 1st January 2010, Britain, the country that gave Malaysia its laws, abolished the sedition and criminal defamation laws. Malaysia, however, still wants to retain such draconian laws. And note that those were the same two laws that I was arrested for and charged under back in 2008.

Then we abolish one detention without trial law -- the Internal Security Act -- and then bring back that law under another name. Then we abolish a second detention without trial law -- the Emergency Ordinance -- and now talk about bringing it back under yet another name.

And is Malaysia going to repeal the Sedition Act? Some say 'yes' and some say 'no' while some say it is only a 'suggestion' by the Prime Minister -- which means no one needs to listen to Najib Tun Razak since it is only a 'suggestion'.

Then three laws concerning Islam -- Rang Undang-undang Pentadbiran Agama Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) 2013, Rang Undang-undang Tatacara Mal Mahkamah Syariah (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) (Pindaan) 2013 and Rang Undang-undang Tatacara Jenayah Syariah (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) (Pindaan) 2013 -- have been withdrawn after almost triggering an ethnic conflict in Malaysia.

And we are yet to hear the court's decision regarding the 'Allah' word matter -- which threatens to tear the country apart if the court rules 'not in favour' of one side or another.

Why are all these happening? Well, simple, because everyone wants to protect his or her interest. It could be his or her personal political interest. It could be his or her party interest. It could be his or her racial interest. It could be his or her religious interest. In other words, it is another interest other than the rakyat's interest.

Muslims need to show they place Islam above everything else. Christians need to show they place Christianity above everything else. Hindus need to show they place Hinduism above everything else. Malays need to show they place their race above everything else. Chinese, Indians, etc., need to show they place their race above everything else.

Najib needs to show he is a 'strong' Prime Minister or else he will not last till Christmas. Anwar needs to show he is a 'strong' Opposition Leader or else he cannot justify staying on as Opposition Leader. The Umno Ministers and leaders need to show they are 'tough' so that they can win a seat in the coming party election later this year. The MCA, MIC and Gerakan leaders need to show they are 'tough' to justify remaining in office and not having to resign because of the election disaster on 5th May 2013.

And so it goes on and on and around and around. No one is bothered about the rakyat's interest. It is all about their own interest or the interest of their party, race or religion. And this is what happens when two interests collide.

How and when is this going to end? Actually I do not know how and when this is going to end. But there is one thing I do know. However and whenever it ends will have to be based not on the rakyat's interest but on the personal interest and the interest of the party, race and religion of those people who are pushing these agendas.

Now can you see why we need a third force? The third force works for the interest of the rakyat and not for the interest of any particular political party, race or religion.

But it is too late for that now. So just sit back and watch the circus as our politicians take us through one comedy to another. And meanwhile I, too, will sit back and watch and scream 'I told you so!" every time we see a fiasco develop.

 

Goodbye ACCORD, Hello PERDANA!

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 05:06 PM PDT

The Honda Accord 2012 will be phased-out and will reemerge as the new Proton Perdana

Apparently, PROTON intends to replace the Perdana with an interim model, pending the new Perdana targeted for launch in 2016. Thus PROTON will, in early 2014, introduce a rebadged 2012 (late model) Honda Accord, which is being phased out/discontinued and this model will be branded as the Perdana, exclusively for government use. In the interim, until 2016, PROTON will supply about 400 units of the faux Perdana to the Federal Government this year and 3,000 units in total by 2015.

The Pink Panther

Is it unfair business practice to substitute an inferior or lower-quality product for what was promised according to a prior business arrangement?

Common sense would tell you yes, it is, whether we are judging by man's intrinsic moral code and especially spiritual and Islamic ethics. But this is exactly what is playing out now in what I'm going to refer to as PROTON versus Public Servants.

To cut a long story short, PROTON under an existing 25-year concession is to supply a new Perdana and Perdana Executive model every five years to the Federal Government. These cars are part of the perquisites for government senior officers including Ministers and Deputy Ministers.

Since the Perdana was discontinued in 2008, a new model should have been launched in 2013. However, it was recently reported that the Perdana and Perdana Executive would be replaced with the 2013 Honda Accord 2.4 litre model, as approved by the Cabinet. The replacement is being proposed because PROTON is yet to bring a new Perdana model to market. On the surface, there appears to be no problem, since officials would still benefit by getting a comparable current model executive sedan.

However, these plans look likely to be scuttled by PROTON itself. Apparently, PROTON intends to replace the Perdana with an interim model, pending the new Perdana targeted for launch in 2016. Thus PROTON will, in early 2014, introduce a rebadged 2012 (late model) Honda Accord, which is being phased out/discontinued and this model will be branded as the Perdana, exclusively for government use. In the interim until 2016, PROTON will supply about 400 units of the faux Perdana to the Federal Government this year and 3,000 units in total by 2015. To add insult to injury, PROTON intends to charge the Federal Government for the rebadged 2012 Accord at prices above current market value.

Thus, the Government and civil servants will not benefit from or enjoy the usage of the latest models in the motor industry, but will use what is effectively a 2012 phased-out model for the next three years. This is reminiscent of the situation where PROTON continued to supply the Perdana - which was discontinued in 2008 - to the Government until recently. Essentially, the Government – ultimately meaning the taxpayer and the public - are and will continue to be overcharged for an obsolete product. 

Now, you might ask why the Government isn't eliminating the middleman (PROTON) by going straight to the manufacturer (HONDA) and bargaining for bulk rates on the latest Accord models. The answer lies in the ownership structure of PROTON and Honda. Since both Honda and PROTON are controlled by DRB-HICOM, it is understandable that it has been emphatically stressed that Honda will not supply the new 2013 Accord model direct to the Government as all Honda sales to the Government will be channeled through PROTON. In substance, doesn't it look as though PROTON is essentially monopolising the market, dictating prices and manipulating market behaviour?  Is this aligned with best practices promoting a competitive and open marketplace which benefits consumers and end-users? Are consumers' rights being infringed upon making this a matter for regulators enforcing the Competition Act 2010?

Drilling deeper, this issue is also symptomatic of the endemic rot plaguing Malaysia. What are the signals being sent out by PROTON's management and board in their guise as business leaders and guardians of integrity and good governance? One, that there is a paucity of innovation, creativity, vision and strategic thinking in a company lauded as Malaysia's flagbearer in the global automotive industry and tasked as a driver for heavy manufacturing. How does rebadging a Honda model – albeit to augment its ageing product lineup - contribute to PROTON and Malaysia's innovation efforts? Why delay bringing a new Perdana model to market only in 2016? 

Two, has PROTON reneged on the interests of its investors and stakeholders by resorting to rebadging? DRB-Hicom Group Managing Director Tan Sri Dato' Sri Haji Mohd Khamil Jamil reportedly told media in March 2012 in a reference to the rebadging of the Vollkswagen Polo that: "Rebadging was never in our plans. If we want to develop the national auto industry, we have got to move forward. Rebadging is taking a step backwards." He added that "I may have to eat my words someday, but as long as I'm in charge, I will never allow that (rebadging) to happen." How then do you account for the rebadging exercise? Investors (especially minority shareholders) and stakeholders deserve to know why PROTON is backtracking as well as the risks and prospects involved. 

Three, isn't substituting a lower-quality product instead of the product originally agreed AND charging a price above market value a form of oppression and unfair business practice? By providing the Government and civil servants eligible for a new Perdana or 2013 Accord with a discontinued Accord for a higher price, isn't PROTON essentially shortchanging them as well as the public funding these purchases? Is PROTON demonstrating concern for its stakeholders, especially consumers and the public? How are unfair business practices such as these aligned with Malaysia's desire to build a reputation as a world-class investment destination? Does such behaviour give investors confidence?

Four, why is the Government continuing to kowtow to PROTON and Honda – in other words, DRB-Hicom - instead of sourcing other suppliers? The Toyota Camry 2013 edition, to name another option, is priced the same as the 2012 Accord. Why continue to subsidise Bumiputera-controlled businesses if they are unable to stand on their own two feet in a supposedly free market?

In this millennia where communication is king and the Internet records stupidity for posterity, brands and reputations can be tarnished by the arrogance of silence. Can PROTON afford to disregard reputational issues, which will affect its goodwill and brand? Please, PROTON, explain your actions and decisions to all the relevant parties, especially the affected Malaysian civil servants. An apology, along with accountability, would be welcome. The Cabinet too is well-advised to correct its stance vis-à-vis PROTON in favour of upholding consumer rights and saving public monies before public perception damns the Malaysian government as one that bends the rules for monopolistic big business, endorses unfair business practices and rides roughshod over the rights of the civil servant and the public interest. If we want Malaysia to evolve into a mature developed economy, we can no longer afford to ignore the elephant in the room and sweep things under an increasingly bulging carpet.

 

Shooting of pro-Mursi protesters deepens Egypt crisis

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 04:32 PM PDT

The Brotherhood's official spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad, who is at a pro-Mursi sit-in at a mosque near the scene, said 37 Mursi supporters had been killed.

(Reuters) - At least 15 people were killed in Cairo today, medical sources said, when the Muslim Brotherhood said shots were fired at supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi near the military building where he is being held.

The bloodshed deepened Egypt's political crisis, escalating the struggle between the army, which overthrew Mursi last Wednesday after mass demonstrations demanding his resignation, and the Brotherhood, which has denounced what it called a coup.

The military said "a terrorist group" tried to storm the Republican Guard compound and one army officer had been killed and 40 wounded. Soldiers returned fire when they were attacked by armed assailants, a military source said.

The Brotherhood's official spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad, who is at a pro-Mursi sit-in at a mosque near the scene, said 37 Mursi supporters had been killed.

He said shooting broke out in the early morning while Islamists were praying and staging a peaceful sit-in outside the Republican Guard barracks.

"We call on all patriotic brave Egyptians 2 join us @... sitin to defend country from conspiratorial traitors of military coup," he said in a Twitter message.

As an immediate consequence, the ultra-conservative Islamist Nour party, which initially supported the military intervention, said it was withdrawing from stalled negotiations to form an interim government for the transition to fresh elections.

Al Jazeera's Egypt news channel broadcast footage of what appeared to be five men killed in the violence, and medics applying cardiopulmonary resuscitation to an unconscious man at a makeshift clinic at a nearby pro-Mursi sit-in.

A Reuters television producer at the scene saw first aid helpers attempting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a dying man. Wounded people were being ferried to the field hospital on motorbikes, given first aid treatment and taken away in ambulances.

The military overthrew Morsi on Wednesday after mass nationwide demonstrations led by youth activists demanding his resignation. The Brotherhood denounced the intervention as a coup and vowed peaceful resistance.

ROADBLOCKS

Military vehicles sealed off traffic in a wide area around the Rabaa Adawia mosque where Morsi supporters led by senior Brotherhood leaders have been staging protests since his ouster.

The army also closed two of the main bridges across the Nile River with armoured vehicles, witnesses said.

Talks on forming a new government were already in trouble before today's shooting, after the Nour party rejected two liberal-minded candidates for prime minister proposed by interim head of state Adli Mansour.

Nour, Egypt's second biggest Islamist party, which is vital to give the new authorities a veneer of Islamist backing, said it had withdrawn from the negotiations in protest at what it called the "massacre at the Republican Guard (compound)".

"We've announced our withdrawal from all tracks of negotiations as a first response," party spokesman Nader Bakar said on Facebook.

The military can ill afford a lengthy political vacuum at a time of violent upheaval and economic stagnation in the Arab world's largest nation of 84 million people.

Scenes of running street battles between pro- and anti-Mursi demonstrators in Cairo, Alexandria and cities across the country have alarmed Egypt's allies, including key aid donors the United States and Europe, and Israel, with which Egypt has had a US-backed peace treaty since 1979.

At least 35 people died in violence on Friday and Saturday in fresh turmoil that came two-and-a-half years after autocratic ruler Hosni Mubarak was toppled in a 2011 uprising.

While yesterday was calmer, the sight of huge crowds numbering hundreds of thousands gathering in different parts of Cairo was a reminder of the risks of further instability.

The army appeared to be counting on exhaustion and the onset of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan from tomorrow to wear down the Brotherhood protesters.

However, even before today's incident, many were determined to hold out and die for their cause if necessary.

Hanim Ahmad Ali Al-Sawi, 55, spent yesterday encamped outside the Republican Guard barracks where Mursi has been helped since the coup.

"We will not leave until Mursi returns. Otherwise we'll die as martyrs," she said, as soldiers and policemen looked on from behind barbed wire. She had been there with her five children for the last three days in spite of the scorching heat.

BITTER BLOW

For many Islamists, the overthrow of Egypt's first freely elected president was a bitter reversal that raised fears of a return to the suppression they endured for decades under autocratic rulers like Mubarak.

On the other side of the political divide, hundreds of thousands of Mursi's opponents poured into Cairo's Tahrir Square, the cradle of the popular uprising to oust him.

Last night, a carnival atmosphere took hold, and a troupe of folk musicians played darabukka drums and mizmar flutes as others danced and let off fireworks.

The army has denied it staged a coup, saying instead it was merely enforcing the will of the people after mass protests on June 30 calling for Mursi's resignation.

People blamed the Brotherhood for economic stagnation and said it was trying to take over every part of the state, an accusation the movement stringently denies.

Washington has not condemned the military takeover or called it a coup, prompting suspicion within the Brotherhood that it tacitly supports the overthrow.

Obama has ordered a review to determine whether annual US assistance of US$1.5 billion, most of which goes to the Egyptian military, should be cut off as required by law if a country's military ousts a democratically elected leader.

But US lawmakers said that was unlikely to happen.

"We should continue to support the military, the one stabilizing force in Egypt that I think can temper down the political feuding," US Representative Mike Rogers said on CNN's "State of the Union".

Egypt can ill afford to lose foreign aid. The country appears headed for a looming funding crunch unless it can quickly access money from overseas. The local currency has lost 11 per cent of its value since late last year.

The governor of Egypt's central bank, Hisham Ramez, flew to Abu Dhabi yesterday, officials at Cairo airport said, following Egyptian media reports Cairo was seeking financial aid from Gulf states after Mursi's removal.

Egypt's foreign reserves fell US$1.12 billion in June to US$14.92 billion, representing less than three months of imports.

Only about half are in the form of cash or in securities that can easily be spent, and the IMF considers three months to be the minimum safe cushion for reserves. 

 

Tunku Zain: ‘DAP’s Was Not The Only Offer I Received'

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 04:13 PM PDT

http://cdn.malaysiandigest.com/images/CNY/20130703_103112.jpg 

(Malaysian Digest) - In any government, in any debate, in any intellectual discourse, there will always be one side proposing and the other, opposing.

The most important and logical thing to understand is that there is no reason why peace and harmony cannot be attained whilst subscribing to the proposition-opposition method.

Advocating this idea in hopes to better Malaysia, is an individual who defies the general mindset that those of royal blood generally do not show interest in putting forward ideas of change.

Sitting with him over a cup of coffee, it is not difficult to see that this individual is a humble, intelligent and inspiring young man.

Having only just turned 31, Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Zain al-Abidin Tunku Muhriz is an old soul whose ideas and thoughts run deeper and wiser than most men his age.

He received his education at the famed London School of Economics and despite his age, he has served as a parliamentary researcher at England's House of Commons and also had a stint as a consultant at the World Bank.

To further defy the odds, at 31, Tunku Zain has three books published.

His latest book titled Roaming Beyond The Fence is not unlike his earlier book Abiding Times, although he says that this time the publishers convinced him to put a picture of himself on the cover.

"They think it would increase the sales," he said, laughing.

The book is a collection of his writings for a column he used to contribute for local English daily, The Star.

What can be said about the second son of Yang Di Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir and Tunku Ampuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Tuanku Aishah Rohani Tengku Besar Mahmud is that he is somewhat of a 'change whisperer'.

Tunku Zain is one who realizes that the emergence of new politics in the country should be made as a ground for change towards a better Malaysia, instead of constant bickering between both sides of the political divide.

This is reflected in the force that powers IDEAS, the NGO he started with two other friends.

IDEAS or the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs was founded with Wan Saiful Wan Jan, a PAS member and Wan Firdaus Wan Mohd Fuaad, an Umno member.

The 'marriage' between the three to bring up IDEAS is inadvertently the same change Tunku Zain is hoping to see in Malaysia.

"Why can't different sides sit down and discuss solutions to issues that affect the society?" he said.

"People need to be taught that it is ok to disagree. The mindset that if you disagree, automatically you become a traitor, has to go," he added.

Tunku Zain spoke passionately about decentralization and how he believes that would be the way forward for our country, particularly in terms of giving more say to the rakyat.

However, he understands that the ideas proposed by think-tanks in general sometimes fail to reach the laymen, mainly because of the 'ivory tower' perception that comes attached with most think-tanks around the world.

This is where he comes in, advocating for press freedom, as well as encouraging think-tanks to use a more down-to-earth language.

"We do a lot of speaking engagements, particularly to students, to educate them about the ideas that we want to inculcate," he said.

Getting back to decentralization, Tunku Zain said that it is not easy putting forth the idea of giving more power to the states. He cited an example of the United States of America, where the states have more power compared to the states in Malaysia.

"What I do is ask the people if they are happy with the crime in their neighborhood, are they happy with the way rubbish is collected in their area. More often than not, the answer is no. That is where the idea of decentralization will appeal to them because the public will then have a bigger say in the things that affect them directly.

"The biggest issue is education. Parents are generally more concerned about education for their children. This is why decentralization should be the mechanism to accommodate their needs and want," he told mD.

"I'm not saying that we should decentralize the entire education curriculum. Subjects like history should be unified to maintain a similar understanding of the fight and struggle our nation has endured to get here.

"I understand that as a concept, decentralization might be lofty but if you link it to an issue that the public is interested in, then the message gets through very easily," he added.

"What we need to make people understand is that it is possible to decentralize a lot of things without compromising on national unity."

Decentralization, in the eyes of the Negeri Sembilan prince, may help to ease political parties into the realization that should they lose power over the federal government in the future, they will still be able to serve the rakyat through the states.

"What we need today are more moderate candidates in politics," he said.

While he may have a wide interest in writing about political matters, and in putting forth his ideas for a better Malaysia, Tunku Zain does not see himself becoming a politician.

When asked if he may want to start a new political party, Tunku Zain laughed and said that creating a new party in any country is not a small endeavor.

"It requires a huge logistics effort. It is much more feasible for people in the current political parties to steer the party towards the greater good. What we need is to exact change from within the parties to better themselves in hopes to better serve the country."

"I am actually a conservative," he told mD.

"I strongly believe in the institution, in Merdeka, and in constitutional monarchy. I am also a hardcore fan of Tunku Abdul Rahman and his 'perjuangan'."

"To me, overthrowing the system will not work, what is needed is rejuvenation. we should reignite the true spirit of merdeka. We need to go back to what merdeka is all about, the sheer essence of Tunku's fight," he added.

Perhaps that is why, Tunku Zain rejected the offer from Opposition party DAP to join them. The matter was brought to light several months ago by former DAP leader, Tunku Aziz, and created quite a stir, particularly because DAP was seen as gutsy enough to proposition a member of the royal family.

On that controversial matter, Tunku Zain smiled and said that the offer was not entirely 'weird'.

"I have conversations all the time with members of different parties. And this is not the first time someone offered me to join them. The only difference is that this time the offer was made public. What should have been a private conversation suddenly received limelight," he said.

"I never considered the offer and I had no intention of taking it up," he added.

"I can understand why Tunku Aziz was upset about the matter. I've known him for a long time, he's a family friend. Perhaps to him, it was wrong for DAP to approach me like that. I understand his point of view.

Moving away from the controversial DAP talk, Tunku Zain, who in some ways can be regarded as an idealist, is perhaps exactly what Malaysia needs more of today.

The young man opined that with regards to Malaysian politics, it is much more likely, and hopeful, that one of the parties today may evolve into a party that truly encapsulates the great Tunku's (Tunku Abdul Rahman) 'perjuangan'.

Before ending the interview, another question was posed, on whether he thinks the monarchy institution in Malaysia is still relevant today.

"Yes it is," he said, smiling.

Another question was thrown, is he saying that because he is a part of the royal institution?

Unfazed and without so much as a stutter, Tunku Zain responded with a firm and resounding 'No'.

"If you look at any of the indicators of the most democratic countries in the world, the most economically advanced countries, and the country with the most political freedom, they are countries of constitutional monarchy. For instance, Spain, Sweden and Japan. That is why, to say that monarchy is contradictory to political freedom is not true," he said ending the interview. 

20 MCA leaders in hot water over GE13 sabotage

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 04:07 PM PDT

http://www.therocket.com.my/en/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/stable-bus2.jpg 

(TMI) - Some party insiders are said to be concerned that the hearing was a tactic to stop certain leaders from contesting in the upcoming party polls.

Some 20 MCA leaders are expected to be hauled up by the party's disciplinary committee over complaints of sabotage during the recent polls.

Though no names were revealed, committee chairman Tan Sri Michael Chen was quoted as saying that he hoped investigations into the alleged misconduct during the campaign period will be wrapped up soon.

It is reported that the list includes several division chiefs.

Some party insiders are said to be concerned that the hearing was a tactic to stop certain leaders from contesting in the upcoming party polls, as a guilty verdict could result in their membership being frozen, which would mean that they are not able to participate in party-related activities, including the party elections.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/20-mca-leaders-in-hot-water-over-ge13-sabotage/ 

Authorities see red over Air Asia uniforms

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:59 PM PDT

http://static.relax.com.sg/site/servlet/linkableblob/relax/1865554/topImage/Authorities_see_red_over_Air_Asia_uniforms-topImage.jpg 

(AsiaOne) - The maverick-owner of Asia's largest budget carrier got a dressing down on Tuesday by the country's Transport Ministry over the propriety - or the lack thereof - of the uniforms worn by his female flight attendants. And the Transport Ministry seems to want a cover-up, or at least a review of the airline's dress code.

All Air Asia female flight attendants, many of whom are Muslim-Malays, generally dress in bright red jackets over white blouses and slightly-above-the-knee skirts. It's the last item that seems to make the ministry see red. It told Parliament in a written reply on Tuesday that it would ask the budget carrier to reassess the uniforms to better "reflect the Malaysian culture".

The issue surfaced after a Kelantan lawmaker from the United Malays National Organisation, Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz, commented that the airline's uniforms were "sexy" and "did not reflect the national identity". He did not specify what the national identity was, or is. The MP then asked if dress code guidelines were imposed on an airline when its licence was issued.

"Airlines have to abide by the safety standards, among others, and comply with emergency evacuation in the allotted time, as set by the Civil Aviation Department and the International Civil Aviation Organisation," acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said, seeming to skirt the issue.

"Airlines including AirAsia are free to choose their uniforms as long as it complies with the criteria set by the authorities." Again, he did not specify what the criteria is.

Separately, Mr Fernandes had to contend with more criticism against the chief executive of Air Asia X, the carrier's long haul sister airline. Bung Mokhtar Radin, a Sabah lawmaker, known for controversial statements, advised CEO Azran Osman Rani to leave the country for criticising Utusan Malaysia, an Umno-owned newspaper that's perceived as becoming increasingly anti-Chinese.

Proclaiming Mr Azran to be "an insolent Malay" to a packed House of Representatives, Mr Bung said Mr Azran should emigrate if he was not happy in Malaysia. The House was, however, spared a further tirade when Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia advised Mr Bung not to use his Parliamentary privileges to launch attacks on civilians and government officers who could not defend themselves.

Mr Bung's remarks show that Umno's members are still smarting over Mr Azran's criticism of Utusan as "racist". To recapitulate, the paper had gone on a rampage against Mr Azran after the latter was critical of the paper's extreme anti-Chinese views in the wake of the May 5 general elections which saw the community desert the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in droves.

Since then, no one, not even the chief executive of CIMB Bank, Nazir Razak, has been spared. Without specifying the paper, Mr Nazir, younger brother of Prime Minister Najib Razak, had defended Mr Azran's "forthright views" as "the mark of a leader". Utusan, and several pro-Umno blogs, flayed him for those sentiments.

Mr Fernandes has chosen to remain silent. He did not respond to a query from BT.     

 

Something to think about

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:38 PM PDT

To understand Malaysia in its entirety is to realise and accept that the majority of Malaysians are the Bumiputeras ("The Princes of the Earth"), and that the Malays make up the majority of the Bumis. Our constitution has deemed that all ethnic Malays are of Muslim. And yet these basic facts are the source of contention, even among Malay academia and intelligentsia.

Dina Zaman The Malay Mail Online

The dust has somewhat settled since the Malaysian general election came to pass. News is lively — every week, non-mainstream media picks up on the latest fiasco related to the elections. This week, the Election Commission admitted in Parliament that food colouring was used during the elections, and not indelible ink. The Blackout 505 rallies have been organised almost consistently by opposition political parties, and their supporters, in protest of the elections and how they were conducted.

One cannot deny that with all things, especially politics, there is much gossip and rumour mongering. Malaysia is famed not just for its shadow puppet play theatre; similarly, much of her politics can be attributed to "wayang kulit" performances.

What is the future of Malaysia May 2013 onwards, and how does this future impact on race and religious relations of the country? What created the DNA of our current politics that has led to a division of loyalty among Malaysians?

A brief history of Malaysia, ethnicity and religion

To understand Malaysia in its entirety is to realise and accept that the majority of Malaysians are the Bumiputeras ("The Princes of the Earth"), and that the Malays make up the majority of the Bumis. Our constitution has deemed that all ethnic Malays are of Muslim. And yet these basic facts are the source of contention, even among Malay academia and intelligentsia.

There are a few matters to consider, that has led to Malaysia questioning her identity:

1. Christopher Rodney Yeoh stated in his paper on pluralism in Malaysia that Malaysia's official religion is Islam, but it is not an Islamic state. "... despite the Muslim majority, Malaysia is not an Islamic state. Instead, Malaysia is considered to be a 'Malay-dominated plural society' and the freedom of practising other religions is granted to everyone (Shamsul 1998, p.29). This conception of Malay hegemonic rule is a result of the political bargaining between the major ethnic political groups of Malaysia, Umno (United Malays National Organisation), MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) and MIC (Malaysian Indian Congress) during the formation of post-colonial Malaysia (at that time called Malaya) in 1957. As a result of the bargaining, non-Malay ethnic groups such as the Chinese and Indians were granted citizenship and their 'legitimate interests (economic rights), their rights of citizenship…and residence as well as their…freedom to preserve, practice and propagate their religion, culture and language' were recognised" (Ibrahim, p.128).

2. In return, Malays "retained their major symbols of their nation, that is, their Sultans, their special position, their language (as the official language), and their religion (Islam as their religion)" (Ibrahim, p.128). In addition, special rights were granted to protect the Malays. This is enshrined in the controversial and often quoted Article 153 in the constitution of Malaysia. According to this article, those who "profess the religion of Islam, habitually speak the Malay language, and conform to Malay customs" are entitled for special reservation of quotas in three specific areas: public services, education, and business licences, without harming the rights of other ethnic groups. Thus it is important to emphasise that Malaysia is founded "not on individual rights but on what political theorists have come to refer to as 'ethnically differentiated citizenship'" (Hefner 2001, p.29).

Zainah Anwar, founder of Sisters in Islam, feminist and columnist, in her column for The Star dated August 1, 2010, stated that political power would always remain in Malay hands. "The Malays make up the majority of the country's 28 million population and the percentage will only increase substantially over the coming decades given their higher birth rate."

"Political power remains in Malay hands. In spite of the Umno losses in 2008, Malay members of Parliament actually increased from 123 in 2004 to 130 in 2008, while Chinese representation decreased from 61 to 53. Umno still received the highest number of votes among all the parties in the 2008 elections, at 2,381,725 votes, almost 30 per cent of the total votes cast."

"Together with PAS, which obtained 1,140,676 votes, these two Malay parties garnered 44.3 per cent of the total popular votes. This is not counting PKR, a multi-racial party with a Malay base, which garnered 1.5 million votes. Compare this to DAP's 1.1 million, MCA's 840,489 and MIC's 179,422."

However at one point in time, the Malays were a minority in their own country.

Hussin Mutalib wrote in his book "Islam and Ethnicity in Malay Politics" that the religious psychology and infrastructure were decided upon by the British rule, even though the Malays had a tradition of Islamic education from before their arrival. The British were not unsympathetic towards the Malays deep-seated faith in Islam, but they were instrumental in dividing the classes via education. "One of the main outcomes of British rule in Malaya was the emergence of a 'plural society', the result of non-Malays... the Chinese and Indians, being brought into Malaya in large numbers." The immigrant groups were consciously not integrated into Malay society, as they were there for a purpose: to serve the British economic interests.

"In the twentieth century, for the first time, the Malays found themselves outnumbered by an 'open-door' immigration policy. In the 1921 census, Malays became a minority in their own country, constituting less than half of the total (Mills, 1942: 25; Sabarudin Cik, 1978)." (pg 15)

With a rising immigration population due to current labour policies and development, as well as expatriate packages that welcome permanent residences for well-heeled foreigners, outflow of Malaysian talent to foreign countries, and with an election outcome whereby the Chinese vote has shaken the current establishment, is the fear of becoming a minority (Malays) a possible materialisation?

 

Custodial deaths a national shame

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:30 PM PDT

Justice served: Kugan's mother Indra Nalathamby leaving the court. Kugan's family was awarded RM751,709 in damages and another RM50,000 in costs. 

Our enforcement officers must appreciate, if not be made to appreciate, that it is the cornerstone of our criminal justice system that a person, including a suspect, is innocent until proven guilty.

Roger Tan, The Star 

ON June 28, Justice Datuk V.T. Singham indeed retired with a bang! Two days before his retirement, he awarded RM751,709 in damages and another RM50,000 in costs to the family of Kugan Ananthan who died while in police custody on Jan 20, 2009.

Singham held that the then Selangor police chief Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, now the Inspector-General of Police, had committed misfeasance in public office.

In delivering his judgment, he also reportedly urged the government to urgently set up the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as recommended by the 2005 Royal Commission to enhance the operation and management of the Royal Malaysia Police (RCI).

However, at the time of writing this piece, his written judgment is still not available. In any event, the government and the IGP are expected to appeal against his decision.

This reminds me of the case of Mohd Anuar Sharip who vomited blood, collapsed and died in a police cell on Aug 19, 1999. In June, 2010, Justice Lee Swee Seng awarded about RM1.6mil in damages to his widow, Suzana Mohamad Aris. However, Lee's decision was subsequently reversed by the Court of Appeal. In October 2010, Suzana failed to obtain leave from the Federal Court to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal.

But it is worthy to reiterate Lee's words when he handed down his judgment: "Let the message go forth from this place that any more deaths in police custody would be one too many! Those with power to arrest and detain must ensure that the basic human rights (sic) of a detainee to seek medical treatment while in custody, is immediately attended to. There should be no more wanton and wasted loss of life in police custody for every life is precious … The safest place to be in should not by default be turned into the most dangerous place to be taken to."

This is in line with the oft-quoted words of Lord Bingham of Cornhill in the decision of the House of Lords in Amin, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, 2003. In this case, a young offender was murdered by his cell-mate due to the latter's racial antipathy against the victim. Lord Bingham said: "This means that a state must not unlawfully take life and must take appropriate legislative and administrative steps to protect it. But the duty does not stop there. The state owes a particular duty to those involuntarily in its custody ... Such persons must be protected against violence or abuse at the hands of state agents. They must be protected against self-harm. Reasonable care must be taken to safeguard their lives and persons against the risk of avoidable harm ... But in any case where a death has occurred in custody, it is not a minor or unimportant duty. In this country ... effect has been given to that duty for centuries by requiring such deaths to be publicly investigated before an independent judicial tribunal with an opportunity for relatives of the deceased to participate. The purposes of such an investigation are clear: to ensure so far as possible that the full facts are brought to light; that culpable and discreditable conduct is exposed and brought to public notice; that suspicion of deliberate wrongdoing (if unjustified) is allayed; that dangerous practices and procedures are rectified; and that those who have lost their relative may at least have the satisfaction of knowing that lessons learned from his death may save the lives of others."

Last month, Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed that there were 231 custodial deaths between 2000 until May 2013. Of these, Zahid said only two cases involved foul play and they are understood to be that of Kugan in 2009 and, recently, N. Dharmendran. He went on to say that the allegation that there were many custodial deaths, and that it was racially motivated, was merely a perception.

If this is the case, then indeed the government and the police are suffering from a serious perception problem. In the first place, no inquest was held for every custodial death when an inquest is mandatory for every death in police custody under section 334 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). The RCI Report noted that out of 80 custodial deaths between January 2000 and December 2004, inquests were held for only six of these deaths.

Further, the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) too is suffering from the perception problem. In fact, I respectfully disagree with Singham weighing in judicially on the ongoing debate to support the inception of IPCMC when the executive branch of the government was in favour of EAIC and the Opposition, the IPCMC. But EAIC by its own volition had also just shot at its own foot by appointing former Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Jamil Johari and former Bar Council chairman Lim Chee Wee as its consultants to a task force set up to investigate custodial deaths.

Firstly, no police personnel, whether current or former, should even be involved in any investigation into custodial deaths if EAIC is to be perceived as independent. This is particularly so when it involved Dharmendran and R. James Ramesh who died in police custody in order to counter allegations of police prevarications. Secondly, Lim may be a former president of the Malaysian Bar, but according to EAIC website, one of its Commission members, Vinayak Prabhakar Pradhan, is also his partner in their law firm, Skrine. If EAIC were a local authority, it would have expressly infringed provisions of the Local Government Act, 1976.

Be that as it may, it is sad to see that even at its infancy stage, EAIC fails when it should have zealously espoused and embraced for its own survival the fundamental values of independence, integrity, transparency and good governance required of an enforcement body such as EAIC.

Having said that, I do welcome the government's announcement to establish a permanent coroner's court to deal with custodial deaths. But it will still be a waste of time if the enabling law does not provide, for example, the following:

> A coroner should not be a junior judicial officer such as a magistrate. He should be at least either a senior Sessions Court judge or a High Court judge depending on the severity of the case.

> The process should be adversarial and not inquisitorial in nature. Relatives of the deceased should be made a party to the proceedings with a right to call and cross-examine witnesses.

> The various inhibitions to early disclosure of documents and information should be removed as currently there are just too many excuses and exceptions for important materials to be kept secret.

> Section 112 of CPC, which currently allows a witness to refuse to answer any questions which may incriminate him, should be dispensed with. In other words, all police officers and any persons who appear in the Coroner's Court are compelled to give evidence and they cannot claim this privilege against self-incrimination. However, any such self-incriminating evidence can be rendered not admissible in any subsequent criminal proceedings filed against them.

In conclusion, I cannot emphasise enough that there can be no public confidence in the system if there continues to be government inaction and a culture of impunity when it comes to dealing with custodial deaths. A Malaysian's right to life is enshrined in Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, and it is incumbent upon our law enforcement officers to uphold this. Custodial deaths are, therefore, unacceptable and inexcusable in a civilised society. Our enforcement officers must appreciate, if not be made to appreciate, that it is the cornerstone of our criminal justice system that a person, including a suspect, is innocent until proven guilty. This principle not only protects those suspects who are under their care, but also those police officers who are suspected of police brutality. But that does not mean that those who have already been convicted and are in the prison should be treated otherwise than what Lord Bingham has elucidated above.

It follows the government must urgently either overhaul EAIC or establish an independent police oversight body such as IPCMC with powers as suggested in the RCI's Report. Do not drag any more. The reason is simple. This culture of impunity must not be perpetuated. It must be immediately discarded for the sake of our future generations. Otherwise, it remains a national shame.

Hence, it is apposite to remind the government what the RCI said on page 122 of its report: "Of growing concern around the world is the 'culture of impunity' within police forces and the PDRM is not exempted ... culture of impunity feeds on itself. When officers act in contravention of laws and regulations without fear of investigation or reprimand, the culture of impunity begins to develop. Each wrongdoing that is not investigated or punished or is supported by higher ranks within the police leadership leads to the perception that such misconduct is permissible. As each new generation of officers observes and learns from their superiors, the culture becomes embedded in all the ranks of the PDRM."

The writer, a senior lawyer, is a former Malaysian Bar councillor. 

 

Can Umno stop money politics?

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:28 PM PDT

Under the new system, 146,500 party members from 191 divisions will be involved in electing the president, deputy president, vice-presidents and 25 supreme council members. However not all 146,500 votes cast will be counted directly as the party will use the "one division, one vote" system, similar to the country's electoral roll system.

Rashvinjeet S. Bedi, The Star

Umno's new voting system for this year's party elections can help reduce the incidence of money politics but will not curb it entirely.

Former News Straits Times group editor-in-chief Datuk Kadir Jasin is of the view that the voting system will make it difficult for any contestant to use money to gain votes because of the larger pool of voting delegates.

"The people at the grass roots are more sincere and not prone to money politics," he said, adding that money politics could never be entirely wiped out.

Under the new system, 146,500 party members from 191 divisions will be involved in electing the president, deputy president, vice-presidents and 25 supreme council members.

However not all 146,500 votes cast will be counted directly as the party will use the "one division, one vote" system, similar to the country's electoral roll system.

Previously, about 2,500 delegates to the party's general assembly voted to elect the party's top echelon.

For this year's party elections, the quota system that required a certain percentage of nominations from Umno divisions for a leader to be eligible to contest a top post has also been done away with. This means anyone can contest for the top positions now.

In the past elections, there were frequent allegations that the votes of delegates could be bought by leaders and their proxies who gave cash and gifts, arranged for holidays and other incentives to entice voters.

Kadir, however, cautioned that the new system could cause a lot more unhappiness if the voting process was not carried out properly or there was cheating at the grassroots voting.

"It is a double-edged sword," he said.

Former tourism minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, who has voiced her intention to contest the Wanita Umno head's post, is confident the opening up voting to the grassroots would eliminate money politics in the party.

"The party is trying to clean itself and it's good for a start," she said.

She also said the system was beneficial for underdogs like her as more people had a say as to who they wanted instead of the 3,000 odd delegates in a hall.

Former Umno supreme council member Tan Sri Shahrir Samad said the new system recognised the grassroots character of Umno and he did not think anyone would be unhappy with it.

One challenge in the conduct of the party elections would be getting people who were really neutral and who were the "civil servants" of Umno to supervise the polls, he said.   

Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng believes the new system will not curb money politics because the structure of politics within Umno is very top-down and that the power is in the hands of a selected few.

He explained that most branches were created from inner circles although some division and branch leaders could still yield some say.

Most political parties in Malaysia operated this way, he said.

"Money politics can still play a part if candidates can get support from branch and division leaders," he said.

Khoo, however, acknowledged that the new system would make it more difficult and expensive to buy votes.

"It is a start and improvement for Umno," he said.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin was doubtful if the new system could curb money politics, saying that the "rich would not feel the pinch" if money need to be thrown to secure votes.

He said that previously, the voting process would be over in a day, but now it would require two days and each division would also incur more costs.

"I agree to the transformation but there must be some financial contribution from the headquarters," he said.

The branch elections are scheduled to be held from July 15 to Aug 31, while the dates for the divisional elections and party leadership election will be decided later.

 

Living in fear of being the next victim

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:23 PM PDT

Crime is happening everywhere, even at the doorsteps of victims, that one cannot help but wonder when he or she will be next on the list.

There are so many opportunities for me to get robbed – when I get out of the car to open the gate, when I'm unlocking the gate, when I get out of the car after I have parked it in the garage, when I'm locking the gate and when I'm unloading stuff from the car, even after I've locked the gate.

Philip Golingai, The Star

HOW many of you cheered when you read that a Tan Sri had gunned down a robber? I did.

Last Thursday, three armed men held up a private clinic in Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, at 10pm.

"Everyone was shocked when the three men burst in.

"They were carrying knives and a parang and held it at people's necks, shouting 'kasi wang! (give money)'," said Litya Gunasegaran, a 24-year-old nurse.

"One of them just snatched my necklace and went to another person."

The robbers grabbed cash and valuables from the doctor and his staff before turning their attention on the patients.

One of them was Pahang Chinese Chamber of Commerce chairman Tan Sri Lam Kam Sang.

The 68-year-old businessman and Raub MCA division chief was in the clinic because he was unwell after dinner.

The Tan Sri was armed with an automatic pistol.

With his finger on the trigger of his Glock 9mm, Lam warned the robbers he would shoot if they did not leave.

Instead, they lunged at him.

One of the robbers slashed him with a parang and Lam sustained slight abrasions on his abdomen. The Tan Sri then fired multiple shots.

The robbers fled the clinic.

One of them was found dead about 30m away with gunshot wounds on his knee, abdomen and buttocks.

Police recovered a knife and a Nissan car outside the clinic.

"The car was stolen during another robbery at a clinic in Kajang on Wednesday," said Cheras OCPD Asst Comm Mohan Singh.

Lam has no regrets shooting the robber dead.

"He was very aggressive and threatened my life.

"I pumped three shots into him after he tried to slash me a second time.

"If I did not have my gun, it could have been me who would be dead," he said.

I salute the Tan Sri.

I hope with the death of one of their comrades, the robbers would think twice before they go on their crime spree.

If I had a Glock 9mm and my hands were not trembling with fear, I would have shot the robbers, too.

I had the same thought when I watched a video clip sent to me via Whatsapp by my Twitter friend @kcl1308.

In that clip taken from a CCTV, you can see the automatic house gate opening and a dark-coloured luxury car entering the garage.

While the car was entering, two men in a motorcycle passed by.

As the automatic gate was closing, one of the men wearing a helmet ran into the house.

He whacked the front passenger window with what looked like an iron rod while the motorcyclist waited in front of the house.

He, however, could not break the window and the driver of the luxury car reversed his or her vehicle.

As the car was reversing, the man ran to the driver's side and tried to smash the window with his iron rod. He then jumped onto the motorcycle and he and his accomplice sped off.

If he or she wanted to, the owner of the luxury car could have rammed the robbers.

But he or she didn't.

I told myself, if it was me – in the heat of the moment – I would have tried to run down the robber.

But when I thought about it, probably it would not be a good idea as what if the (injured) robber returned to seek revenge.

I was filled with fear and loathing when I watched the video clip.

It reminded of a recent robbery involving my 29-year-old sister's best friend in Kota Kinabalu.

The modus operandi was the same – robbers entering a house while the automatic gate was opening.

The robbery drives the point home that we are no longer safe – even in our house.

I have heard enough horror stories of daylight robberies happening in my neighbourhood that I am quite fearful whenever I get out of my car at my house.

There are so many opportunities for me to get robbed – when I get out of the car to open the gate, when I'm unlocking the gate, when I get out of the car after I have parked it in the garage, when I'm locking the gate and when I'm unloading stuff from the car, even after I've locked the gate.

My only game plan if I'm about to be robbed is to press my car alarm button.

But from my conversations with robbery victims, I don't think I would dare press that button.

Probably, when parang-wielding men run towards me, I would freeze.

Even if I did press my car alarm button, what could happen?

Probably, my neighbours would think it was just another car alarm going off.

Or even if they rushed out of their house, the robbers would have escaped by then.

I have a feeling that it is just a matter of time before I become a crime statistic. Or is it all in my mind?

 

On Being Raped

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:19 PM PDT

Not once did you ever visit the games village to check on the security situation. We hope that you will do the right thing and resign and take full responsibility for what has happened. 

Kamariah Mohd 

Dear YBhg. Dato' Seri Zolkples Embong, Ketua Pengarah, Majlis Sukan Malaysia
 
It is with regret and deep shame that I am writing this to you. This morning, the newspapers were splashed with the news that one of the "female" participants was brutally raped by three boys in her dormitory.
 
It was also most shameful to hear you say that the "security situation" at the games village was extremely tight, with guards constantly making rounds.
 
If what you say is true, then how did three boys enter the dormitory of the female victim at her most vulnerable time and commit the most heinous crime to her?
 
For your information, there was hardly any security at the games village. Anybody could enter the games village at whatever time they wanted; boys, men, all had free reign of the girls dormitory. We can only imagine the "horror" of what has been happening and had happened.
 
Do you know the grief, pain, suffering, shame of a girl who has been raped? Do you know how humiliating it is to make a police report that you had been raped? She carries it with her for the rest of her life. She wakes up screaming in the middle of the night because the "nightmare" never lets go of her.
 
It took great courage for the victim to report the crime done to her but you just brushed off all responsibility by hiding behind the new Youth & Sports Minister and pretending that all was OK at the games village.

Not once did you ever visit the games village to check on the security situation. We hope that you will do the right thing and resign and take full responsibility for what has happened. 

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

NSC leaves investigation into Sukma rape case to Police 

(The Malaysian Times) - The National Sports Council (NSC), as organiser of the Malaysia Games (Sukma) 2013, will leave investigation into an alleged rape reported during the event, to the police.

NSC director-general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong said he ws only informed of the matter this morning.

"According to reports (in a local daily), it's become a police case so I'll leave it to the police.

"It is the first such case to be reported in Sukma and has interrupted the flow of the event this time," said Zolkples, who is also 2013 Sukma Managing Committee chairman, during a news conference at the Sukma Main Media Centre in the NSC here today.

Media reports stated that a handball athlete participating in Sukma had lodged a police report, alleging she was raped by a group of male athletes at the sports village in Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) last Wednesday.

According to the report, the 19-year-old said she was unconscious when the men took turns raping her. Prior to the incident, she was reportedly drinking with several male handball athletes at a basketball court.

Zolkples said he would contact the contingent on the matter.

"There was an offence and we (NSC) will get to the bottom of it, with the Federal Territory contingent.

"This can happen anywhere. In terms of safety, we have the cooperation of the police, and UPM has also increased the number of safety officers to monitor the sports village," he said.

Zolkples said security guards on duty monitored the area in the sports village but did not check every room.

"We have almost 4,000 athletes staying at the sports village, it's difficult to check each room. We also separate the blocks, according to gender, for safety purposes," he said.

ARRESTED 

Meanwhile Star Online reported  Three handball players, aged between 18 and 19, have been arrested in connection with the rape of a fellow teammate from the women's squad.

The three teenagers were picked up a day after the victim lodged a police report on Wednesday.

Serdang deputy OCPD Supt Lam Chin Fei said the three boys have been remanded till July 11 to facilitate investigations.

"We have classified the case under Section 376 of the Penal Code for rape.

"They could face a maximum 20-year jail term and whipping if convicted," he said.

The 19-year-old girl, who was taking part in the ongoing Malaysia Games (Sukma), alleged that she was raped at the sports village at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) on July 3.

The girl claimed to have gone out for drinks with several of her teammates the night the alleged rape took place.

The next thing she realised was that she was naked and pinned down by a man at around 4am.

She claimed that she was in a semiconscious state when the three teenagers took turns to rape her.

DSP Lam urged anyone with information on the case to contact the police hotline at 03-2052 9999 or visit the nearest police station.

Meanwhile, Bernama reported that Police are investigating the rape allegations and are viewing the case seriously as it involved the country's sports image and crime among athletes, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

"This is a very serious report. We will carry out a thorough investigation," he said.

 

Internet big boys take aim at Singapore's 'regressive' new rules

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:16 PM PDT

http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/h/www.fz.com/sites/default/files/styles/1_landscape_slider_photo/public/x2013-07-07T213935Z_2_CBRE9661O4C00_RTROPTP_4_SINGAPORE-INTERNET_1.jpg.pagespeed.ic.GzzCfoRiWN.jpg 

(fz.com) - Singapore's move to tighten regulation of news web sites, already under fire from bloggers and human rights groups, has attracted criticism from an unexpected quarter – large internet firms with a big presence in the city-state who say the new rules will hurt the industry. 

Web giants Facebook Inc, eBay Inc, Google Inc and Yahoo! Inc have said the revised rules "have negatively impacted Singapore's global image as an open and business-friendly country".
 
The comments, made in a letter to Singapore's minister of communications and information by the Asia Internet Coalition, an industry body, are the first sign that Singapore's success in wooing major players to its shores is not assured. Google, eBay, Facebook and Yahoo all have a major presence in the city-state.
 
Google said separately it was concerned about the long-term implications of the regulation – especially for local internet entrepreneurs who it said now faced greater uncertainty and legal risk.
 
In late May Singapore said websites that regularly report on Singapore would have to be licensed and listed 10 news sites that would be affected, based on criteria such as having 50,000 unique visitors from Singapore each month.
 
Websites affected by the new licensing regime would have to put up a S$50,000 (RM124,561) performance bond as well as take down within 24 hours any story that authorities deemed objectionable.
 
"Singapore aims to be the future, but this regulation looks a lot like the past," Google's Ann Lavin, director of public policy and government affairs, Southeast Asia, told Reuters. 

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/internet-big-boys-take-aim-singapores-regressive-new-rules 

 

Najib’s pick for Tabung Haji boss draws flak

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:14 PM PDT

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/images/uploads/mugshots/azeezabdulrahim-sept5.jpg 

(TMI) - When filling in a position, the consideration should not be to compensate a politician who has not been given a Cabinet position or help him with a better income.

He should be celebrating his appointment as the chairman of one of Malaysia's most respected institutions but instead Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (pic) has been on the receiving end of the 2 Rs: ridicule and rejection.

And most of the vitriol against the head of Umno's Putera club and the MP for Baling is coming from his own party.

In the eyes of Umno politicians, the choice by Prime Minister Najib Razak for chairman of Tabung Haji lacks the experience, wisdom, qualifications and does not have the standing to head an organisation which sits on a fund totaling RM35 billion.

And those are the more charitable comments for the 47-year-old grassroots politician who has a secondary school certificate and little by way of blue ribbon pedigree.

The more biting criticisms link his appointment to his cozy relationship with the First Family and as a payback for his ability to make embarrassing issues for the rich and powerful disappear.

In fact, his was the only name forwarded by the PM to Datuk Jamil Khir, the minister-in-charge of Islamic Affairs, to replace Tan Sri Abi Musa Mohamed.

Sources told The Malaysian Insider that among the names bandied about for the chairman's post was that of Tan Sri Ismail Omar, the recently retired Inspector-General of Police.

Azeez is aware of the groundswell against him and that he is not a popular choice. But he believes that he deserves a chance.

"I appeal to everyone to give me the opportunity to serve as the chairman of Tabung Haji before passing judgement. My focus will be to handle the welfare of the pilgrims," he told The Malaysian Insider.

He has also heard the sniping that he does not have the corporate background but is quick to point out that there are other directors on the board of Tabung Haji who are experienced in business.

"I believe that the direction Tabung Haji is taking in business is already well set.

"We have many high-calibre directors such as Datuk Othman Mahmood, who used to be the deputy secretary-general in the PM's Department. So in terms of business, I don't have to be too concerned," said Azeez.

"There are many complaints that people are waiting too long to perform their haj. I will look into this matter," said the politician, who has made a name for himself as an executor of outreach programmes, including sending aid to Palestinians in Gaza.

Najib's supporters defend Azeez's appointment, arguing that he has proven himself to be an effective leader on the ground, and that he has served as a director on the board of Tabung Haji.

The PM himself has stayed silent on the matter, knowing that the current mood in Umno is one of restlessness and unhappiness and that sentiment is rooted more in BN's performance in the elections and the less-than-stellar performance of the government since the May 5 elections.

The flak against Azeez's appointment is also an indication that the days of Najib getting a pass from his own party are over.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/najibs-pick-for-tabung-haji-boss-draws-flak/ 

 

Climate effects already upon us

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:14 PM PDT

A report last week shows that the climate crisis is already increasing with extreme weather incurring thousands of deaths. Countries need to prepare for the worst with adaptation plans.

Martin Khor, The Star

THE world is facing weather extremes and it's time for countries to act and adapt to the changes. Two events last week sent out similar messages.

Most of the debate on climate change has been on mitigation, or how to prevent further global warming by curbing emissions.

But the spotlight should be on adaptation – how to cope with the effects of climate change. Because whatever we do to curb emissions (and not enough is being done), the impacts are already upon us.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) released its report last week, aptly titled The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade of Climate Extremes.

It reported that the decade was the warmest in the world for both land and ocean surface temperatures.

The report is full of information on data showing how the rate of increase in global warming between 1991-2000 and 2001-2010 was unprecedented.

Every year of the decade except 2008 was among the 10 warmest years on record.

The average land and ocean surface temperature for 2001-2010 was estimated to be 14.47°C, or 0.47°C above the 1961–1990 global average and 0.21°C above the 1991–2000 global average.

The report also documented the recent effects that climate change have had, showing the crisis of adaptation is already with us.

First, there has been a rapid decline in Arctic sea ice and accelerating loss of net mass from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and from the world's glaciers.

As a result, global mean sea levels rose about 3mm per year, about double the observed 20th century trend of 1.6mm per year. Global sea level averaged over the decade was about 20cm higher than that of 1880.

Second is the increase in rainfall and floods. The 2001-2010 decade was the second wettest since 1901. Globally, 2010 was the wettest year since records were kept.

Most parts of the world had above-normal precipitation during the decade.

The eastern United States, northern and eastern Canada and many parts of Europe and central Asia were particularly wet.

Floods were the most frequent extreme event of the decade. Eastern Europe was particularly affected in 2001 and 2005, India in 2005, Africa in 2008, Asia (notably Pakistan, where 2,000 people died and 20 million were affected) in 2010 and Australia, also in 2010.

Third, droughts occurred in all parts of the world.

Among the worst hit were Australia (2002 and other years), East Africa (2004 and 2005) and the Amazon Basin (2010) with negative environmental impact.

Fourth, the decade saw 511 tropical cyclone-related events which resulted in nearly 170,000 deaths, over 250 million people reportedly affected and economic damages worth US$380bil (RM1.21 trillion) was recorded.

Fifth, there was tremendous increase of over 2,000% in deaths from heatwaves, from less than 6,000 in 1991-2000 to 136,000 in 2001-2010.

This was mainly due to the heatwaves that hit Europe (2003) and Russia (2010).

Sixth, more than 370,000 people died in 2001-2010 due to extreme weather and climate conditions including heatwaves, cold spells, drought, storms and floods, according to the data by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). This was 20% higher than 1991-2000.

The average population exposed to flooding every year increased by 114% globally between 1970 and 2010, a period in which the world's population increased by 87% from 3.7 billion to 6.9 billion. The number of people exposed to severe storms almost tripled in cyclone-prone areas, increasing by 192% in the same period.

Can all extreme weather events be attributed to climate change?

Though there is no certainty and each case has to be taken on its own, many scientists conclude that the likelihood of many events was probably substantially increased by rising global temperatures.

I was also in Beijing last week for an international conference on adaptation, organised by China's National Development and Reform Commission with the British and Swiss aid agencies.

We were treated to presentations by Chinese scientists and policy makers on how climate change has been affecting local communities in several provinces in terms of rain, water supply, drought and rise in sea levels.

A four-year project run by the three agencies helped the development of scientific research, policy coordination among government agencies and the communities to adapt to climate change.

This was in the area of facing up to water shortages, flooding, development of drought-resistant and flood-resistant crops, health and infrastructure to cope with flooding and other weather events.

Policy makers and NGOs from other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin American also shared their adaptation experiences.

Some of them, including Kenya, Mauritius and China itself, have prepared national adaptation plans, covering various regions and sectors in their countries.

Formulating a national adaptation strategy is already an achievement as it requires scientific knowledge of local conditions in different regions in the country, projecting the effects of climate change under various scenarios, and mapping out solutions and costs.

Given the WMO report of more extreme weather events to come, each country should prepare itself, and try to get their plans implemented.

 

PM only ‘suggested’ Sedition Act repeal, says Subra

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:12 PM PDT

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/uploads/articlesnajibrazak18062013_484_328_100.jpg 

(The Malay Mail) - A "suggestion" was all that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made when he "announced" plans to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 last year, Datuk Seri S. Subramaniam said today.

The health minister stressed that the Cabinet has yet to decide whether to abolish the colonial-era law that critics have denounced as a tool to silence political opponents and dissent.

"The prime minister (picture) has the right to make a suggestion," Subramaniam told reporters at the Parliament House here today.

"He has to bring it back to Cabinet," he added.

In July last year, the prime minister announced that the Sedition Act will be repealed but added that this would only be done once a replacement law — a National Harmony Act — is introduced in its place.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday, however, that Putrajaya was merely looking at amending the Sedition Act, instead of abolishing it.

But Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz separately said the exact opposite yesterday, insisting that the federal government is committed to repealing the Sedition Act.

Najib told British broadcaster BBC in London on July 2 that the law was only applied on individuals who were undermining Malaysia's security, saying: "We will amend the Act but we want to keep Malaysia peaceful and harmonious."

Subramaniam said today that whether the Sedition Act is amended or replaced with another law, freedom of speech needed to be balanced with maintaining national security.

"We have to give enough space for people to freely express their opinions," said the MIC deputy president. "That will be maintained together with ensuring national security."

In October, Nazri, who was then the de facto law minister, said the proposed National Harmony Act will keep the main elements of the Sedition Act, but will have the additional element of allowing for criticism of the government. He added it would happen this year.

But the authorities' decision to charge PKR's Tian Chua along with activists Haris Ibrahim, Adam Adli and Safwan Anang last month with the Act has renewed questions over the government's sincerity to do away with the controversial law.

Opposition lawmakers argue that prosecution under the Sedition Act should not be pursued given Najib's announcement.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar has filed a Private Member's Bill in Parliament in a bid to hasten the abolition of the law.

Ahmad Zahid stressed yesterday that the Sedition Act is necessary to ensure that nobody can question the four issues embedded in the Federal Constitution — on the position of Islam as the official religion, Malay as the national language, special rights of the Bumiputeras, and the position of the Malay kings.

Ahmad Zahid has been seen as a strong advocate of preventive detention laws, which the Najib administration has slowly begun to remove as part of its reform measures.

Najib was seen to initiate a raft of legal reforms after taking office in April 2009, introducing a law that allowed peaceful assemblies in public and abolishing the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Emergency Ordinance (EO), both which allowed for detentions without trial.

 

A ticking time bomb as ‘Allah’ row returns to court

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 03:01 PM PDT

Ng said Allah is central for Malay-speaking Christians. — Pictures by Choo Choy May - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/a-ticking-time-bomb-as-allah-row-returns-to-court#sthash.d4mVh1wU.dpuf

Ng said Allah is central for Malay-speaking Christians. 

Underlying that concern, however, are growing fears that Islam's followers are leaving the faith that formed part of the very identity of the Malaysian Malay.

Debra Chong, The Malay Mail

The tussle between Malaysia's Muslim majority and their Christian countrymen for the rights to "Allah" appears to be back on track to be argued in court, but the continued delay in its hearing risks deepening the cracks within Malaysia's religious communities after the issue's protracted run on the political stage.

The dispute first arose in 2008 when the federal government banned the Catholic Church from publishing the Middle Eastern word "Allah" to refer to the Christian god in the Malay section of its weekly paper, Herald, ostensibly over concern that the majority Muslims would be confused by the similarity of the name to Islam's god and worship another.

Underlying that concern, however, are growing fears that Islam's followers are leaving the faith that formed part of the very identity of the Malaysian Malay.

The government sought to prevent that, but in so doing, stepped on the toes of the Christians who rose up to defend what they saw as an attempt to strip away their constitutional rights and the essence of their religious identity.

"There is nothing more central to a religion than its Scripture. Without Scripture, there is no authentic religious identity," said Ng Kam Weng, research director of Christian think-tank Kairos Research.

"Allah is central for Malay-speaking Christians. What is at stake is not just the 'Allah' word but Christian liturgy, prayers and worship songs that are based on scriptural references to God, or 'Allah' for Malay-speaking churches," he told The Malay Mail Online in a recent interview.

The problem however in the perception of Malay-speaking Christians, seen as an anomaly in Peninsular Malaysia but not in Sabah or Sarawak where a large proportion of the Bumiputeras are devout churchgoers and have prayed in the national language and their native tongues for centuries.

Christians are Malaysia's third-largest religious population at 2.6 million people, according to statistics from the 2010 census, behind Muslims and Buddhists.

The Bumiputera and Malay-speaking Christians form about 64 per cent, or close to two-thirds of that figure.

"If the word 'Allah' is banned the life of the Malay church will be suffocated," Ng said.

The Christian scholar said that the "Allah" row marked only the tip of a more pervasive problem as the various state Islamic authorities have also banned non-Muslims from using up to 42 words that include "Iman, Injil, Nabi and Wahyu".

"Without these words Christianity, or any religion for that matter, ceases to exist or operate meaningfully," he said.

"That's why Christians have no choice. What else can the Church do but to seek justice and appeal to the civil court to redress this injustice that the government has imposed on them? The Church would rather not seek any quarrel with anyone or the authorities," he added.



Lawrence is confident the 'Allah" dispute will be resolved in the courts soon.

The Court of Appeal is set to handle the case management tomorrow for the federal government's bid to ban the Catholic Church from publishing the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian god in the Herald.

The Catholic Church had challenged the Home Ministry's decision and won its lawsuit at the High Court after the judge made the landmark ruling that "Allah" is not exclusive to Islam, as the government would have Malaysians believe.

But the Najib administration has since offered an olive branch to the religious tussle that turned into a hot-button election issue, especially in Sabah and Sarawak where Christianity is the majority religion among the electorate who have long been considered a vote bank for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Taking into account the public religious sentiment, the Najib administration offered a 10-point solution agreeing to the use of "Allah" in the Malay bibles.

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew is confident that the dispute will be resolved in the courts soon, after a four-year delay that has seen the case being fought in the political arena in the run up to the 2011 Sarawak state polls and more recently in the May 5 general election.

He told The Malay Mail Online that the church has filed several additional documents to support its case and is praying that the High Court judgment will be upheld.

For now though, he is praying for an amicable resolution to the trial.

"We want them to respond," Lawrence said, referring to the Attorney-General's Chambers representing the government, and the six state Islamic councils plus the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (MACMA) that the Court of Appeal had allowed to join in the dispute.

 

Muslim Brotherhood says 34 supporters killed

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 02:57 PM PDT

(Reuters) - A spokesman for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood said 34 of its supporters were killed  today when they were fired upon at a sit-in outside the military facility where toppled President Mohamed Mursi is being held.

Reuters could not immediately verify the toll.

Murad Ali of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party said that shooting broke out in the early morning while Islamists staged a sit-in outside the Republican Guard barracks. 

 

Rafizi dakwa SPR belanja hampir RM500 juta pada PRU13

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 02:52 PM PDT

Mohd Farhan Darwis, TMI

Ahli Parlimen Pandan, Rafizi Ramli mendakwa Suruhanjaya Pilihan Raya (SPR) menggunakan perbelanjaan hampir setengah bilion ringgit pada Pilihan Raya 2013 (PRU13).

Pada sidang media di lobi Parlimen, beliau berkata, ia dibuktikan apabila SPR memohon peruntukan tambahan dalam Rang Undang-Undang Perbekalan yang dibawa ke Parlimen hari ini dengan tambahan  RM60 juta.

Pengarah Strategi PKR itu berkata, peruntukan tambahan itu bagi menampung urusan kos perbelanjaan persediaan awal yang digunakan pada 2012 sebelum PRU13.

Beliau berkata, SPR diberi peruntukan RM45 juta tetapi memerlukan tambahan RM360 juta sebelum ini.

"Berkemungkinan mereka jangka PRU13 berlangsung pada 2012 tetapi sebaliknya 2013. Ini tambahan lagi RM60 juta, kalau tidak digunakan mengapa perlukan tambahan kewangan?" katanya yang menggesa SPR mengemukakan butiran perbelanjaan untuk semua jumlah peruntukan itu.

"Jumlahnya RM465 juta. Kita akan terus tanya di Dewan. Setakat ini jawapan disediakan SPR. Mereka tidak sediakan pecahan," katanya, menambah 'permohonan peruntukan tambahan' dibuat selepas ia digunakan.

Sebelum ini, Timbalan Pengerusi SPR, Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar, berkata kepada Bernama jumlah sebenar perbelanjaan PRU13 hanya diketahui apabila akaun perbelanjaan pilihan raya ditutup memandangkan bayaran masih dilakukan pejabat SPR negeri.

"Dalam soal bajet, kita telus kerana perbendaharaan akan pastikan setiap kos pada PRU disertai dengan butiran dan akhirnya diperiksa dan diaudit.

"Berdasarkan pengalaman, selalunya tidak melebihi jumlah besar atau jumlah siling yang diluluskan. Dasar SPR ketika meminta peruntukan, kita tidak mahu apabila sampai setengah jalan, bajet tak cukup.

Jadi kita membuat permintaan untuk jumlah atau anggaran besar," katanya. - 8 Julai, 2013.

READ MORE HERE

 

16 Egypt coup protesters shot dead in Cairo

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 02:46 PM PDT

(AFP) - Sixteen activists were shot dead early on Monday during a protest outside a key Cairo army headquarters calling for ousted president Mohamed Mursi to be reinstated, his Muslim Brotherhood said.

"Sixteen people were killed and 100 others injured, many of them in serious condition," the group's spokesman Ahmed Aref told AFP.
Police barricades prevented journalists from accessing the area around the elite Republican Guards base.

Demonstrators told AFP that troops and police had fired tear gas canisters and bullets into the air to disperse the protesters.

"They wanted to disperse the protesters," who were determined to stage an indefinite sit-in, the protester said.

Another protester, Mahmud al-Shilli confirmed that security forces fired into the air, adding that a group of men in civilian clothing had attacked the protesters.

"The Republican Guard fired tear gas but the thugs came from the side. We were the target," Shilli told AFP.

Earlier, demonstrators told AFP by telephone that troops and police had fired tear gas canisters and live rounds in a bid to disperse them.

"I saw with my own eyes the people who they shot at," one protester said, adding that several people had been injured.

On Friday at the same spot, four people were shot dead by soldiers.

Supporters of Mursi's Brotherhood have mobilised in large numbers in different parts of Cairo in recent days, vowing to defend Mursi, who was ousted by the military on Wednesday after mass protests calling for him to be removed from power.

Mursi was Egypt's first freely elected president but lasted just a year in power.

Two more die in Saudi Arabia from MERS coronavirus

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 02:36 PM PDT

(Reuters) - Two more people have died of the SARS-like coronavirus MERS, Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry said, bringing to 38 the number of deaths from the disease inside the country shortly before Islam's Ramadan fast when many pilgrims visit.

A two-year-old child died in Jeddah and a 53-year-old man died in Eastern Province, where the outbreak has been concentrated, the ministry said late on Saturday in a statement on its website. Four people have died outside the kingdom.

The ministry said another three people had been confirmed as being infected with Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), bringing the total number of confirmed cases inside the kingdom to 65 since it was identified a year ago.

On Friday the World Health Organization said MERS, which can cause fever, coughing and pneumonia, had not yet reached pandemic potential and may simply die out.

Ramadan, Islam's fasting month, is expected to start in Saudi Arabia today night and is traditionally a time when hundreds of thousands of Muslims come to Mecca for umrah, a pilgrimage that can be carried out at any time of year.

Millions are also expected to travel to Mecca for the main pilgrimage, haj, that will take place in October, although the authorities have cut the number of visas this year, citing safety concerns over expansion work at the main mosque site.

WHO experts said last month that countries at risk from MERS should put in place plans for handling mass gatherings but has stopped short of recommending restrictions on travel. 

 

Parlimen: Tiga rang undang-undang ditarik balik

Posted: 07 Jul 2013 02:29 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Tiga rang undang-undang yang dijadual dibacakan untuk kali kedua ditarik balik daripada Aturan Urusan Mesyuarat pada persidangan Dewan Rakyat hari ini.

Tiga rang undang-undang itu ialah Rang Undang-undang Pentadbiran Agama Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) 2013, Rang Undang-undang Tatacara Mal Mahkamah Syariah (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) (Pindaan) 2013 dan Rang Undang-undang Tatacara Jenayah Syariah (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) (Pindaan) 2013.

Usul itu dibentangkan oleh Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom di hadapan Timbalan Yang Dipertua Dewan Rakyat Datuk Ismail Mohamed Said.

Pada Jumaat lepas, Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin mengumumkan Jemaah Menteri bersetuju untuk menarik balik Rang Undang-Undang Pentadbiran Agama Islam (Wilayah-Wilayah Persekutuan) 2013.

Rang Undang-Rang tersebut dibentangkan untuk bacaan kali pertama di Dewan Rakyat pada 26 Jun lepas oleh Jamil Khir.

Muhyiddin berkata isu status agama anak dalam kes ibu atau bapa memeluk agama Islam telah dibincangkan secara mendalam oleh Kabinet dengan mengambil kira pandangan dan kebimbangan pelbagai pihak termasuk parti komponen Barisan Nasional. 

 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan

 

Malaysia Today Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved