Jumaat, 5 Julai 2013

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Pulau Pinang Akan Diisytiharkan Sebagai Negeri Kristian Secara Rasmi Dalam Tempoh Terdekat

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 12:24 PM PDT

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Kemenangan besar di Pulau Pinang pada PRU13 lalu, telah membuatkan DAP sedar bahawa usaha mereka mengubah Perlembagaan Malaysia semakin tidak terhalang. Pulau Pinang akan diisytiharkan sebagai Negeri Kristian pertama di Malaysia manakala Selangor pula menjadi hub pengembangan dengan pusat pendakwahan Katholik terbesar di Asia Tenggara, bagi menggantikan kedudukan Filipina.

SEL13.COM 

Walaupun Sabah dan Sarawak merupakan dua negeri yang mempunyai bilangan penganut Kristian yang ramai dan majoriti daripada komposisi penduduk, namun disebabkan penganut-penganut Kristian di kedua-dua negeri tersebut adalah Pribumi dan Bumiputera, kecenderungan untuk mencetuskan masalah dan bermegah-megah dengan kebencian terhadap Perlembagaan Malaysia tidaklah begitu ketara.

Kalaupun para pemimpin DAP Sarawak yang juga bertindak sebagai mubaligh Kristian, cuba berlagak dengan kemenangan mereka, mereka sendiri tidak akan berani membuat sebarang perisytiharan di Sarawak. Sebaliknya mereka akan menyeberang Laut China Selatan dan menuju ke Pulau Pinang.

Tidak lama dahulu, beberapa hari selepas berakhirnya Pilihanraya Negeri Sarawak, para pemimpin dan calon-calon DAP Sarawak yang menang, telah berkumpul di Pulau Pinang bersama-sama dengan gerombolan pastor dan paderi. Pendedahan tentang sumpah ikrar mereka untuk menjadikan Malaysia sebagai Negara Kristian telah menggemparkan negara.

DAP menerusi Lim Guan  Eng, dengan pantas menafikan berita berkenaan dan menyifatkannya sebagai satu fitnah. Sebaliknya Setiausaha Agung DAP itu menyatakan bahawa DAP menjunjung tinggi Perlembagaan Malaysia yang telah meletakkan Islam sebagai agama rasmi Persekutuan dan sebarang cubaan untuk mengubah perkara berkenaan akan ditentang oleh DAP secara habis-habisan.

Bagaimanapun, itu hanyalah pemanis mulut Lim Guan Eng dan DAP.

Hakikatnya, DAP sedang bergerak secara aktif untuk menjadikan Kristian Katholik dan Methodist yang mereka anuti sebagai agama rasmi negara ini. Beberapa kes pemurtadan yang turut melibatkan para pemimpin DAP, telah berlangsung di Selangor. Hanya kerana enggan menjadikan negara ini sebagai kawah berdarah kerana pertempuran kaum, para pembesar dan penguasa Melayu-Islam mengambil jalan tengah tanpa mahu membesar-besarkan perkara berkenaan.

Mungkin kerana itulah, DAP semakin bongkak dan angkuh. Kemenangan besar di Pulau Pinang pada PRU13 lalu, telah membuatkan DAP sedar bahawa usaha mereka mengubah Perlembagaan Malaysia semakin tidak terhalang. Pulau Pinang akan diisytiharkan sebagai Negeri Kristian pertama di Malaysia manakala Selangor pula menjadi hub pengembangan dengan pusat pendakwahan Katholik terbesar di Asia Tenggara, bagi menggantikan kedudukan Filipina.

SEL13.COM mendapat maklumat tentang persiapan terakhir DAP Pulau Pinang yang diketuai oleh Lim Guan Eng untuk membuat pengisytiharan Pulau Pinang sebagai Negeri Kristian di Malaysia apabila beberapa desakan mereka terhadap Kerajaan Malaysia, termasuklah memindahkan kuasa DYMM Yang Di-Pertuan Agong menerusi SPR kepada Jawatankuasa Parlimen yang disertai oleh Lim Kit Siang untuk memantau SPR, sudah dipenuhi.

Pengisytiharan Pulau Pinang sebagai Negeri Kristian rasmi pertama di Malaysia, akan membantu DAP mengaut lebih banyak kerusi dalam Pilihanraya Negeri Sarawak yang dijangka akan berlangsung pada tahun hadapan. DAP akan menggunakan kejayaan tersebut sebagai umpan kepada para pengundi, khususnya Bumiputera-Kristian di Sarawak agar menjadikan DAP sebagai payung mereka agar Sarawak menjadi Negeri Kristian kedua selepas Pulau Pinang.

Di Pulau Pinang, kegiatan pemurtadan sedang giat dijalankan. Lebih banyak ikon serta simbol Kristian dinaikkan di serata negeri berkenaan tanpa dapat dihalang atau ditegur oleh sesiapa pun. Kedudukan DYMM Yang Di-Pertuan Agong selaku Ketua Agama Islam di Pulau Pinang, telah dipandang remeh dan langsung tidak memberikan sebarang kesan kepada mereka.

Dan kalau kita perhatikan, kecenderungan tentera Red Bean Cina DAP menghentam, menyerang dan menghina DYMM Yang Di-Pertuan Agong serta Raja-Raja Melayu, merupakan antara strategi utama untuk mendapatkan hak bagi penubuhan Pulau Pinang sebagai Negeri Kristian. Walaupun DAP mungkin berselindung di sebalik segala macam penipuan yang mereka lakukan, terutama sekali menerusi persekongkolan dengan PAS dan PKR, hakikatnya DAP lebih bijak beroperasi secara senyap-senyap dan lebih halus dengan penafian menjadi rukun hidup mereka.

Found at: http://sel13.com/pulau-pinang-akan-diisytiharkan-sebagai-negeri-kristian-secara-rasmi-dalam-tempoh-terdekat/ 

Taib has 14-year travel ban on my Sarawak lawyer, says activist Rewcastle Brown

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 12:21 PM PDT

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(TMI) - There is a curious twist to the story of the British activist banned from entering Sarawak.

The same security office of Chief Minister Tan Sri Taib Mahmud that would not let her enter the state last week to defend herself in a legal suit there, has apparently also banned her Malaysian lawyer from leaving the country – for the past 14 years.

Activist Clare Rewcastle Brown revealed this about her lawyer See Chee How in an exclusive interview with The Malaysian Insider.

"See is restricted from travelling outside Malaysia on similar orders from Sarawak CM, even though he is an elected member of the state assembly," she said.

See, the state assemblyman for the urban area of Batu Lintang in Sarawak, confirmed the ban on him when contacted by The Malaysian Insider yesterday by phone.

He said the last time he left Malaysia was to Myanmar 14 years ago for an international campaign.

"After I returned, I was then prohibited from leaving the country," he added.

Rewcastle Brown said in an email interview: "His offence was to show support many years ago for a demonstration requesting the liberation of Aung San Suu Kyi. It tells you all you need to know about Taib Mahmud and how he runs Sarawak."

See was with Rewcastle Brown when she tried to enter Sarawak to meet him to discuss the defamation suit brought against her.

But the way the lawyer and his client are handling their different bans is itself another twist to the tale.

The one-term assemblyman laughed off the ban, saying it was not a hindrance to his daily life, as "there was a lot of work to be done here."

His client, Rewcastle Brown, who is also the sister-in-law of former British prime minister Gordon Brown, said her entry ban into the state was "nothing personal" and it would not make her more determined to expose Taib's alleged wrongdoings.

The former BBC journalist is the founder of the influential blog, Sarawak Report and Radio Free Sarawak, which are both critical of the chief minister.

"I would not be criticising Taib out of some sort of wounded pride. I am just focused on exposing a great wrong that has taken place in Sarawak because it has not been adequately covered for a variety of reasons," Rewcastle Brown told The Malaysian Insider.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/taib-has-14-year-travel-ban-on-my-sarawak-lawyer-says-activist-rewcastle-brown 

Putting the contest in context: why only Shahrizat and Azalina for top Wanita

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 12:16 PM PDT

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(TMI) - Call it the Umno dilemma: two spirited, headstrong women who believe they have unsullied reputations and are fit to contest the top position in Wanita Umno.

They are completely deaf to opinion outside the party and totally cheered their party's strong showing in the last general election, where it won the largest share of national seats – 88 out of 222.

What about Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil's critics? Malaysians remember that her family snared a RM250 million grant from the government for the National Feedlot Corporation project.

They also know of the expensive condominium purchases, luxury cars and how the venture failed miserably. She has critics from Perlis to Johor who think she should make way for younger leaders.

Shahrizat's response? "They can go to hell."

What about Datuk Azalina Othman's critics? Malaysians remember the reports about corruption in the Tourism Ministry, the allegations that ended her once promising ascent in Malaysian politics.

Azalina is equally nonchalant about the negativity surrounding her offer to contest the top position in Wanita Umno.

She said: "My records are clean. If I am on-the-go now, winning the Pengerang seat even, that means I do not 'owe' the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) anything.

"What wrong did I do when I was the Youth and Sports Minister? What did I do? I had executed my tasks very well!"

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/putting-the-contest-in-context-why-only-shahrizat-and-azalina-for-top-wanita/ 

Dr M: DAP destroyed racial power-sharing balance, rift will widen

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 12:13 PM PDT

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(The Malay Mail Online) - The indisputable fact is that the DAP has succeeded in destroying the collaboration or sharing between the different races as exemplified by the BN coalition

Malaysia's delicate racial power-sharing balance has been upset by the DAP and the Malay-Chinese schism exposed by the outcome of the May 5 polls will only deepen, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) warned today.

The still-influential former prime minister continued to paint a dark future for this Southeast Asian melting pot despite Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's pledge reconcile a nation divided.

"The indisputable fact is that the DAP has succeeded in destroying the collaboration or sharing between the different races as exemplified by the BN coalition," he said in his chedet.cc blog post, of the racial power- and wealth-sharing formula long practised by the 13-member Barisan Nasional (BN).

The man who held office for 22 years has been leading a campaign of blame against the opposition party as being responsible for whipping up "hatred of the Malays" through its "Malaysian Malaysia" slogan as the nation's ethnic minorities grow more vocal in seeking affirmative action policies based on merit as proposed by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact rather the racial policies long-practised by the ruling BN.

Dr Mahathir, who turns 88 on July 10, continued to weave the same spiel, accusing the minority Chinese of falling for the DAP ruse to enlarge the community's control not just of the nation's economy but its politics, which Dr Mahathir appeared to believe to be the territory of the Malays.

"If today the schism between the races is deeper it is because the DAP reject the Malay/Chinese/Indian 'kongsi'," Dr Mahathir said, using the Malay word for "sharing".

"The DAP wants the Chinese, who already dominate the economy, to dominate Malaysia's politics as well. It is clearly racist and reject inter-racial sharing of power and wealth as advocated by the BN," he added.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/dr-m-dap-destroyed-racial-power-sharing-balance-rift-will-widen  

New rules for property buyers

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 12:09 PM PDT

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(The Star) - Property buyers will no longer have the option to take loans for longer than 35 years. Anyone taking a personal loan can now only do so for a period of up to 10 years.

These are new rules set by Bank Negara with the aim of helping to reduce household debt in the country.

Before the new caps, property buyers could take loans for up to 45 years, while personal loans could be paid back over a period of up to 25 years.

Bank Negara is acting because Malaysia's household-debt-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio is a high 83%. It is the highest in emerging Asia.

The stricter lending guidelines also saw the central bank prohibiting the offering of pre-approved personal financing products.

These new measures to tackle household debt will also be extended to all financial institutions and credit cooperatives regulated by Bank Negara, the Malaysia Co-operative Societies Commission, Malaysia Building Society Bhd, and Aeon Credit Service (M) Bhd.

All these institutions will also need to follow responsible lending limits. New borrowers, especially those with lower incomes, can only take on debt amounting to 60% of their monthly take home pay.

The new limits will not affect loan applications made before yesterday.

Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, in a briefing yesterday, said the household debt was not yet at an alarming level, but based on present trends it would eventually be so.

Extremely long property loan periods "encourage excessive debt accumulation by households and increases the vulnerability of this (the household) sector," she said.

Industry players said the measures would have a limited impact on the property market because the older generation of Malaysians had already bought into the property cycle.

They said the latest caps would mainly affect the younger generation.

"They are the ones who will need loans with the extra tenure, not the older generation who are mainly able to afford (higher monthly repayments)," said IOI Properties' director Teh Chin Guan.

"In the short term, the level of affordability for the younger generation will be lower at today's prices," he added.

Elvin Fernandez, managing director at property consultant Khong & Jaafar, said these moves by the central bank should be applauded because property loans with a tenure of more than 40 years was not advisable.

Real Estate and Housing Developers' Association of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Michael K.C. Yam believed the measures were a "good pre-emptive move because Malaysians are not very disciplined when it comes to these matters".

"In other countries the maximum tenure is usually 25 years or until the person reaches the retirement age of 55," he added.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations president Datuk Marimuthu Nadason also supported the new measures.

"But I urge Bank Negara to work with civil societies like us on financial literacy education, which Malaysians sorely lack," he said, pointing out that 51 people were declared bankrupt daily in the country.

Korisatan Karu­ppiah, Penang Consumers Protection Asso­ciation president, said borrowers should be allowed to repay their loans ahead of schedule, without penalty.

"The lenders argue that they have already made plans with your money over the tenure you agreed with, and that paying back the sum early affects their plans," he said.

He said the penalty was a fine, of between RM10,000 and RM35,000, depending on the size of the loan. 

Matriculation intake: MIC hoodwinking everyone?

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 12:05 PM PDT

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(FMT) - In the future, Indians will only need to highlight their woes directly to the government for it to be addressed and attended to. And this will effectively render MIC, its ministers and deputy ministers irrelevant.

The party's failure to ensure 1,500 Indian students get matriculation seats points towards that direction.

Has MIC been hoodwinking the Malaysian Indian community? If the recent matriculation seat allocation fiasco is any measure then it seems so.

When Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak announced in 2011 that the government would allocate 1,500 matriculation seats for Indians from the 28,000 seats available nationwide, there was euphoria. But in actual fact only 900 Indian students were allocated seats in the 2012 intake.

The government gave no reason for the shortchange and MIC which claims to have 680,000 members said "nothing".

In 2013, an astounding 6,185 Indian students applied for the 1,500 seats but according to the Matriculation Department only 892 students took up the offer. But NGOs campaigning on the issue claimed the numbers were less.

The drop in numbers from the previous year sent shock waves in the community with many questioning why so few were picked. Many who obtained 10As in their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) had not secured seats and were, strangely enough, deemed "unqualified."

The disclosure saw affected students, parents and NGOs protesting the injustice.

New truth?

Following the outcry, deputy Education Minister P Kamalanathan, who is also an MIC central working committee member, issued a statement defending his ministry.

He said 1,850 seats were allocated but only 892 students took it up.

Two days later on June 26, Education Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin confirmed that 1,800 Indian students were offered matriculation seats. He later reportedly said that the cabinet had discussed the issue and decided to fulfill the government's promise to allocate 1,500 seats for Indian students.

The question now is which one of the two elected Education Ministry official is lying?

Why is there an inconsistency in the numbers of seats allotted for Indian students?

A new 'controversy' arose yesterday when some 50 angry parents, NGO and opposition leaders gathered to protest in front of the Education Ministry in Putrajaya.

Their actions earned a response from the Matriculation Department, who until now had been silent on the issue.

While the department said it would re-look at 333 applications who were earlier rejected, a more interesting 'truth' emerged which further surprised parents and NGO leaders.

According to the protesters, they had compiled a list of eligible students who had applied but were rejected and had forwarded the list to MIC deputy president-cum Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam and Kamalanathan.

A copy of the list was also forwarded to the MIC headquarters.

Wealthy MIC leaders?

But according to the Matriculation Department, they had not received any list from MIC leaders. 

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/opinion/2013/07/06/matriculation-intake-mic-hoodwinking-everyone/ 

Bung Mokhtar to quit politics if ...

Posted: 05 Jul 2013 12:00 PM PDT

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(The Star) - Controversial Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin has issued a warning - he will quit politics if he sees no development in his constituency within the next five years.

This will be the last term for the Sabah Umno politician in his poverty-stricken constituency bigger than Pahang if the government did not meet the demands of his voters for basic infrastructure especial sealed roads.

"I have been told by my voters to make sure the government give enough money to build roads. If not, I'm worried.

"Maybe they won't vote for me or for BN again. I myself have decided that if the government doesn't give my people good kampung roads, I will not contest anymore," the 53-year-old firebrand MP told The Star Online.

The fourth-term MP said the current tanah merah (laterite) roads in the villages were flooded and became muddy whenever it rained, leaving villagers stranded for days.

Bung Mokhtar, who is married to actress Zizie Ezette, he had forwarded his voters' request to Putrajaya and he was waiting for a positive reply.

"They just need small roads for their daily use, not highways. They are not asking for mega projects like the second Penang Bridge or the LRT that costs billions of ringgits.

"The people gave us the mandate during the elections. Barisan National's tagline is Janji Ditepati (promises fulfilled), so I need this to be ditepati (fulfilled)," said the politician who is no stranger to controversy.

Bung Mokhtar hit the headlines for the wrong reasons and is often criticised for his uncouth remarks in Parliament.

On Wednesday when debating the motion of thanks on the Royal Address, Bung Mokhtar called Air Asia X chief Azran Osman Rani a Melayu biadap (an uncouth Malay) and said that he did not deserve to be a citizen for criticising Utusan Malaysia.

"If he said he is muak (disgusted) with Utusan I don't care, but threatening to cut off all business deals with them is a threat to Malays," he said.

Bung Mokhtar remains unapologetic for using the parliament space to attack Azran.  

"He used his position as a CEO to blast Utusan on his Twitter and Facebook. It's the same thing," he said.

Bung said he wouldn't change his style of dealing with issues, especially when it concerned the public. 

"If I try to be like Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad (Johor Baru MP) maybe there is no more Kinabatangan or Bung Mokhtar. When I feel there is an issue I have to speak out, I will. I don't care if it's against the opposition, government or individuals," he said.

He said he recently criticised the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) for not being able to control social media and the police for not being able to curb the drug problem.

Bung Mokhtar said he was not affected by criticisms against him. 

"They have their right to condemn me but I also have my right to reply and condemn them. This is a democratic country," he said.

Denying that he was an attention seeker, Bung Mokhtar said it was the media that was sensationalising him.

"My voice is in the Dewan Rakyat, but the moment I speak, the reporters pick it up and put in the paper. I love some of it (the media coverage), but sometime I feel they put an ugly picture. But I don't care because they are making me more popular," he said. 

Bill on minors' conversion to Islam withdrawn - Muhyiddin

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 06:45 PM PDT

(NST) - The cabinet has decided to withdraw the proposal to allow the conversion of minors to Islam by just getting one parent's approval, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

In a statement today, Muhyiddin said the cabinet has made the decision to withdraw the  proposed Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013,  to ensure that any religious decision made is fair to all.

"We also want to give time to the government and all parties to review the bill holistically and will only re-table the bill once we achieve a consensus," he said.

The proposed amendment to Section 107(b) of the Administration of Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 had been tabled for its first reading at the Dewan Rakyat. 

If it goes through, it will allow the conversion of minors to Islam by just getting one parent's approval.

 

'We did not risk our lives simply to change the players'

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 06:34 PM PDT

What happened in Morsy's first year in office that forced me to change my mind and decide to rebel against him? Are the millions of people who marched in the streets demanding his immediate resignation, including myself, bad losers who simply could not accept the result of the first free and fair elections Egypt has ever witnessed? Or are we revolutionaries who have seen some of the main demands of our revolution go unfulfilled?

However, Morsy undertook a series of disastrous steps that made me question my briefly held guarded optimism. Morsy had won with a mere 51.7% of the vote. I expected him to understand the implications of this figure: he did have a mandate, but Egypt was divided and his prime duty would be to close its rifts. Morsy should have worked hard to include the opposition in the key decisions facing his troubled country. He should have tried to win the trust of the half of the nation that had not voted for his presidency.

Khaled Fahmy, CNN

Two days before Hosni Mubarak was ousted as president of Egypt, I wrote an article for CNN calling for the Muslim Brotherhood to have a place in the post-Mubarak Egypt.

Back then, I wrote: "As a secularist, I am not in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power in Egypt, and I remain deeply skeptical of its political program, believing that much of it is vague and impractical. But as an Egyptian hoping for freedom and justice for my country, I am deeply convinced that the Muslim Brotherhood has a place within a free and democratic Egypt."

A year and half later, and after participating with my fellow Egyptians in an inspiring peaceful revolution, I went to cast my vote in the first free presidential elections Egypt had ever witnessed. I was not happy with either candidate: Ahmed Shafik, a hawkish representative of the former regime, and Mohamed Morsy, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood. I invalidated my vote.

Still, given that these were free and fair elections, I recognized the winner, Morsy, as the legitimate president of Egypt. Even though I never believed that he or his organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, had a solution to my country's woes, I accepted the result of the vote, and prepared myself for the hard work that needed to be done over the coming four years, his term in office, so that we could have a chance to topple him in the next presidential elections.

All of this changed six weeks ago. At midnight on May 18, 2013, I went down to Tahrir Square to sign the "Tamarod" (rebel) campaign petition calling on Morsy to step down immediately. And on June 30, I marched with millions of other Egyptians in the largest demonstrations our country has ever witnessed reiterating the same demand: Morsy has to step down.

What changed?

What happened in Morsy's first year in office that forced me to change my mind and decide to rebel against him? Are the millions of people who marched in the streets demanding his immediate resignation, including myself, bad losers who simply could not accept the result of the first free and fair elections Egypt has ever witnessed? Or are we revolutionaries who have seen some of the main demands of our revolution go unfulfilled?

Even though I had invalidated my vote, I had a sigh of relief that Shafik did not win the elections. He had pledged to adopt a policy of blood and iron to "cleanse Tahrir" of the revolutionaries. Had he won the elections, I thought, I would have had to join my fellow compatriots to hold on to our newly-won territory and to make sure that the demands of our revolution were fulfilled. Morsy's win, I thought, meant I could catch my breath and continue our struggle for a free and democratic Egypt, while keeping a watchful eye on the new president.

However, Morsy undertook a series of disastrous steps that made me question my briefly held guarded optimism. Morsy had won with a mere 51.7% of the vote. I expected him to understand the implications of this figure: he did have a mandate, but Egypt was divided and his prime duty would be to close its rifts. Morsy should have worked hard to include the opposition in the key decisions facing his troubled country. He should have tried to win the trust of the half of the nation that had not voted for his presidency.

Instead, Morsy adopted a hard line, exclusive approach and trusted no one but the most extreme of his group, the Muslim Brotherhood. The cabinet he chose and the governors he selected were either Muslim Brotherhood members or sympathizers of the iron-clad, clandestine organization. In a revealing speech, Morsy addressed members of the organization as "my family and folk," raising doubts among many Egyptians as to his true sympathies: with the country at large or with his secretive organization. And instead of reaching out to the center, he courted the fundamentalist salafis on the extreme right. Crucially, this resulted in a constituent assembly which was dominated by Islamists and which ended up drafting a deeply flawed constitution.

Still, I considered Morsy to be my president.

Throughout the fall of 2012, Morsy and his Muslim Brotherhood launched an all-out war against Egypt's judiciary. As a student of this institution, I recognize the Egyptian judiciary's venerable history but also realize that, like many of Egypt's institutions under Mubarak's long reign, it has suffered from nepotism, corruption and ineptitude. But the president and his group were convinced that the judiciary was out to get them, so they launched a coordinated attack aiming to bring it into line.

They dismissed the Prosecutor General (akin to the U.S. Attorney General), ordered their followers to lay siege to the Constitutional Court and drafted a law sending to retirement more than 3,000 judges whose sympathies were suspected of lying with the former regime. The culmination of this pogrom against the judiciary was a constitutional coup in November 2012 in which Morsy declared himself to be above the law and his orders to be immune from any judicial oversight. With no sitting parliament and with the judiciary under a ferocious attack, we had a dictatorship in the making.

Still, I considered Morsy to be my president.

Throughout the first year in his term of office, Morsy showed little respect for or tolerance of the opposition, repeatedly accusing it of being in the pay of the feloul, a derogatory term in Egypt which literally means remnants of a defeated army, but which has come to refer to members of the former regime. Instead of accepting that the job of the opposition is to oppose, and that of the government to govern, he blamed his own shortcomings on what he believed was a conspiracy by the opposition to thwart his efforts and to bring about his downfall. Increasingly, he and his Muslim Brotherhood became more and more intolerant of all dissenting voices. Thus, they allowed their followers to lay siege on the "Media City", a congregation of studios of independent TV stations at the outskirts of Cairo. They drafted a draconian law which would have curbed the work of NGOs and which is much worse than anything that Mubarak had ever passed. A freedom of information draft law, in which I personally had participated in drafting, was rejected by the Ministry of Justice by proposing an alternative text that makes a farce of freedom of information.

Still, I considered Morsy to be my president.

For many months now, Morsy and his Muslim Brotherhood have been performing a slow and sinister "Brotherhoodization" policy, whereby senior, and not so senior, officials in Egypt's bureaucracy are being replaced by Brotherhood members. I do understand that in the wake of any elections the winning side is expected to make some changes to the administration so that the new regime can execute their policies. But these changes are typically limited to key positions within the administration, usually the first and second tiers, leaving the third and fourth ones intact to ensure stability and continuity of the civil administration.

'Brotherhoodization policy'

The Brotherhoodization policy has gone way beyond what is normally expected in any healthy transitional process. In addition to the provincial governors -- who are gradually being replaced by Brotherhood members -- the Police Academy is reportedly being infiltrated by members of the clandestine organization. Within the Ministry of Education, replacements have reached the level of school principals. And the new Minister of Culture has replaced the head of the Cairo Opera House, dismissed the head of the Cairo Ballet Company, the head of the Egyptian Book Authority (the largest government publishing house) , and the director of the National Library and the National Archives. The new appointees have no credentials except being members or sympathizers of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Still, I considered Morsy to be my president.

What prompted me to rebel against Morsy and forced me to decide that he was no longer a legitimate president -- no longer my president -- is not anything he did, but two things he did not do, namely, bring the army under civilian control and undertake a serious process of security sector reform.

I am a historian of modern Egypt, and for the past 25 years, I have been working on the history of these two specific institutions: the military and the police. I have come to realize the enormous cost paid by the Egyptian people in founding what are two crucial pillars of any modern state. I have also come to the conclusion that -- without subjecting the military to civilian rule and without undertaking a serious effort to reform the Egyptian police -- our bid for freedom, dignity and social justice will always be thwarted.

READ MORE HERE

 

A small child follows the religion of whichever of his parents is Muslim

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 06:10 PM PDT

The majority (the Hanafis, Shaafa'is and Hanbalis) are of the view that what counts is the Islam of one of the parents, whether it is the father or mother, so the children are to be regarded as Muslims, following the parent, because Islam should prevail and not be prevailed over, because it is the religion of Allah that He is pleased with for His slaves.

Shaykh Muhammad S. Al-Munajjid

Firstly: The child who is born to two Muslim parents is ruled to be a Muslim, according to scholarly consensus.

If the parents have different religions, then the child follows the one who is Muslim, whether it is the father or the mother. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: If the child's parents are both Muslims, then he is Muslim too, following his parents, according to the consensus of the Muslims. The same applies if his mother is Muslim, according to the majority of scholars such as Abu Haneefah, al-Shaafa'i and Ahmad. End quote from Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 10/437.

It says in al-Mawsoo'ah al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kuwaitiyyah (4/270): The fuqaha' are unanimously agreed that if the father becomes Muslim and he has young children, then these children are to be regarded as Muslim, following their father. 

The majority (the Hanafis, Shaafa'is and Hanbalis) are of the view that what counts is the Islam of one of the parents, whether it is the father or mother, so the children are to be regarded as Muslims, following the parent, because Islam should prevail and not be prevailed over, because it is the religion of Allah that He is pleased with for His slaves.

Secondly: When the Muslim child reaches the age of puberty, he is not required to utter the Shahaadatayn again. 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said: The Muslims are unanimously agreed that if a child reaches the age of puberty as a Muslim, he is not required to renew the Shahaadatayn. End quote from Dar' al-Ta'aarud, 4/107.

And he said: The early generation and the imams are unanimously agreed that the first thing to be enjoined upon people is the Shahaadatayn, and they are agreed that if a person did that before reaching puberty, he should not be enjoined to renew that when he reaches puberty. End quote from Dar' al-Ta'aarud, 4/107

But if after reaching puberty he says or does something that indicates that he is not content with Islam, then he is to be regarded as an apostate and is to be treated as one who has apostatised from the religion of Islam.

Shaykh al-Islam said: In terms of worldly rulings, the child comes under the same rulings as his parents, because he is not independent. When he reaches puberty and speaks words of Islam or disbelief, then he is to be judged on that basis, according to the consensus of the Muslims. If his parents are Jews or Christians, but he becomes Muslim, then he is a Muslim according to Muslim consensus. If they are Muslims and he becomes a kaafir, then he is a kaafir according to Muslim consensus. End quote from al-Fataawa al-Kubra, 1/64

Thirdly: When the child reaches the age of seven, his parents should instruct him to pray and encourage him to do so, because of the report narrated by 'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'Aas (may Allah be pleased with him), according to which the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: "Instruct your children to pray when they are seven years old and smack them if they do not do it when they are ten." Narrated by Abu Dawood (495); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood (466).

Al-Nawawi said: The imams said: It is obligatory for the fathers and mothers to teach their children about purification, prayer and other laws after the age of seven, and to smack them if they do not do them after the age of ten. End quote from al-Majmoo', 3/11.

Ibn Qudaamah said: This discipline is prescribed for the child in order to accustom him to prayer, so that he will feel comfortable with it and get used to it, and he will not neglect it when he reaches puberty, but it is not obligatory upon him. Al-Mughni, 1/682

If a child does not pray before the age of puberty, that does not put him beyond the pale of Islam, because he is not accountable for doing it and it is not obligatory for him.

Shaykh al-Islam said: Prayer is not obligatory for a child, even if he has reached the age of ten. This is the view of the majority of scholars.

Al-Ikhtiyaaraat al-Fiqhiyyah, 1/32; see also the answer to question number 1994.

Based on this, the child who has a Muslim father and a non-Muslim mother is a Muslim. If he reaches the age of ten and does not pray, he is not a kaafir because of his not praying, because he is not accountable for that until he reaches the age of puberty. If he reaches the age of puberty and persists in not praying, then he is an apostate from Islam because of not praying. 

 

Religious upbringing of children in Muslim-Christian marriages

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 05:56 PM PDT

Islam does not permit the father to neglect giving his children a Muslim upbringing. It is important to remember, though, that a Muslim upbringing does not force a child to live his entire life as a Muslim. A Muslim upbringing simply prepares the ground for the child's adulthood. Ultimately, when the child reaches maturity, he will make his own decision regarding which faith to follow. 

Shaykh Hamza Karamali

QUESTION

Dear Sir,

I have a question concerning religious education of children in Muslim-Christian partnerships.

I know that the dominant opinion among the Muslim community is that these children have to be raised solely as Muslims. As far as I am aware, this is not explicitly stated in the Qur'an, but based on the following assumptions:

1) Every child is a Muslim at birth. Only the parents and/or its environment make it to follow any other religion than Islam. Thus, the inherent and therefore right religion of every child is Islam.

2) The Qur'an explicitly states how children should be taught about religion e.g. with regard to learning prayers at a certain age etc. Because these are general statements, children born to parents who are not both Muslims are no exception either. These rules also exclude the Christian partner from teaching the children about her religion in the same way as the Muslim partner is obliged to do.

3) A Muslim man can marry a Jewish or Christian wife, but not the other way round. In the male-dominated society at the time of Prophet Muhammad, it was supposed that a Muslim woman might experience difficulties in practising her religion having a husband who would not acknowledge Islam and its Prophet, whereas a Muslim husband would appreciate Judaism and Christianity and thus ensure that his Jewish/Christian wife could continue practising her religion. However, the husband's dominance over his family would also imply that children would be brought up in his religion. Thus, the tolerance of a Muslim husband towards his wife practising her religion would not entail her passing on this religion to the children.

Leaving aside all practical and emotional difficulties arising from this "Islam only" stance with regard to education of children for Muslim-Christian marriages, I am aware that there are also Islamic theological positions justifying the teaching of both religions to children (and subsequently allowing them to choose one themselves once they are old enough).

Would you, please, let me know what verses in the Qur'an these are based upon and how their theological reasoning is? I would be grateful if you could, please, go into some detail in this. Also, it would be interesting to know which respected scholars hold this opinion.

Thank you very much for your help.

 

ANSWER

Thank you for your question. I pray that this message finds you in the best of health and spirits.

The tolerance of Islam to other religions is--as you point out in your question--borne out in the permissibility of Muslim men to marry Christian or Jewish women. The nature of a successful marriage relationship is one of friendship, love, and genuine concern for one's spouse, and non-Muslim wives are not an exception to this rule.

However, there is a difference between one's non-Muslim wife and between one's child from the non-Muslim wife. The wife is a mature adult who has the ability to reason things for herself and then choose her own belief. Her God-given ability to reason implies the freedom to choose her faith. God Almighty says in the Qur'an, "Let whosoever wishes believe, and let whosoever wishes disbelieve." (18:29)

Children do not have the ability to reason independently. Rather, they are innocent pieces of clay waiting to be moulded into whatever form their parents desire. Parents are responsible to give them the best upbringing possible to best prepare them for their lives as adults. It is not, for example, acceptable for the father to neglect educating his child and to say instead that "he can grow up and learn to read and write if he wants to." For him to not educate his child would put the child at a tremendous disadvantage when he grows up. This would constitute parental neglect.

Muslims believe that God gave all humans the ability to freely choose whatever faith they please. This freedom of choice does not, however, imply that they believe every choice to be equally good. A Muslim father believes that his Christian wife has the freedom to choose her faith. But he also believes that her choice is not the best one--that's why he retains his Muslim faith.

For a Muslim father not to give his child a Muslim upbringing would therefore constitute parental neglect on his part because the child will be at a disadvantage compared to other children who will have a "head start" over him through their Muslim upbringing. For this reason, Islam does not permit the father to neglect giving his children a Muslim upbringing.

It is important to remember, though, that a Muslim upbringing does not force a child to live his entire life as a Muslim. A Muslim upbringing simply prepares the ground for the child's adulthood. Ultimately, when the child reaches maturity, he will make his own decision regarding which faith to follow. Belief is something in people's hearts and is beyond the reach of compulsion.

I hope this answer helps clarify matters for you. Please don't hesitate to follow up with further questions if something remains unclear.

Sincerely,

Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

 

To carry an argument further

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 05:08 PM PDT

I don't understand why we are arguing about the issue of 'forced' conversion when in the first place children are being forced into a religion not of their choice. They did not choose to be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever. They were forced, due to an accident of birth, to be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever. Then we argue about conversion when in the first place you 'converted' your children into a religion at the time of their birth.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

The Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 on unilateral conversion of minors to Islam is against the spirit of Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which Malaysia has acceded to on 17 February 1995.

The purpose of the CRC is to incorporate the full range of human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights for children, who needed a special convention just for them because people under 18 years old often need special care and protection that adults do not.

Article 18 of the CRC provides that:

Article 18

1. States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child. Parents or, as the case may be, legal guardians, have the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child. The best interests of the child will be their basic concern.

2. For the purpose of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set forth in the present Convention, States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.

As a party to the CRC, Malaysia recognizes that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child. By allowing a minor to be converted to the religion of Islam with single parent's consent, we are going to deny the non-converting parent from playing his/her role in the upbringing of the child.  

By agreeing to undertake the obligations of the Convention, Malaysia has committed ourselves to protecting and ensuring children's rights and we have agreed to hold ourselves accountable for this commitment before the international community. We are obliged to develop and undertake all actions and policies in the light of the best interests of the child. Unilateral conversion of minor will have huge impact on the development of the child hence should be reviewed and withdrawn immediately.

Teo Nie Ching

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

Why are we arguing this matter midway? If we want to argue this issue then we should argue it from the beginning, not midway, like what we seem to be doing now.

First of all, for many of you who do not know -- and many of you do not know -- religion comes under the Rulers. Hence the Conference of Rulers decides what happens regarding matters related to Islam. And that is why The Sun reported today: Open secret that Rulers objected to cabinet's decision on conversion.

Senior Umno leader Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today that "it was an open secret" that the Conference of Rulers objected to the implementation of the cabinet's 2009 decision against the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam.

He said the conference was the only institution in the country that could object in the matter, which ultimately led to a suspension of the decision that both parents should agree to the changing of a child's faith.

The tourism minister said a bill is tabled in Parliament only when the cabinet has decided and approved it.

So there you have it. This is not a 2013 issue, like many of you thought. This is a four-year old issue that met with a stalemate back in 2009 when the Rulers opposed the Cabinet decision that BOTH parents must approve any change of religion of minors.

I suppose what the Cabinet can now do is to tell the Conference of Rulers to go to hell and proceed with what they think is best for the country.

But hold on. If I am not mistaken, Their Highnesses the State Rulers have to act on the advise of the Menteris Besar while His Majesty the Agong has to act on the advise of the Prime Minister. On matters regarding Islam, however, the Rulers also have to act on the advise of the Muftis. (In fact, the Prime Minister and the Menteris Besar also attend the Conference of Rulers).

So can Nazri tell us, to make the matter clearer, what was the advice the Prime Minister, the Menteris Besar, and the Muftis gave the Rulers back in 2009? The rakyat need to know how the Prime Minister, the Menteris Besar and the Muftis 'voted' back in 2009. Did they oppose the Rulers and advised Their Highnesses/His Majesty what the government would like to see or did all these people advise Their Highnesses/His Majesty to oppose this Bill?

Based on Nazri's statement we know that the Rulers were against this Bill. Nazri, however, did not reveal what advise the Prime Minister, the Menteris Besar and the Muftis gave Their Highnesses/His Majesty. And since Nazri is in the mood to 'reveal', he should reveal everything and not just part of the story.

We must remember, the Federal Constitution of Malaysia stipulates that His Majesty has to act on the advise of the Prime Minister while Their Highnesses the State Rulers have to act on the advise of the Menteris Besar and the Muftis.

We know what the Conference of Rulers did. Nazri has told us already. What we want to know now is whether the Rulers did what they did based on advise, as what they should do, or against advise.

Remember what His Majesty the First Agong, Tuanku Abdul Rahman, said soon after Merdeka in August 1957. His Majesty said that in Malaysia the Prime Minister (then Tunku Abdul Rahman) can sack the Agong but not the other way around. Hence the Rulers must listen to the government and not the government listen to the Rulers.

Yes, I wait with bated breath Nazri's response to this. Maybe this issue can be used to trigger a Constitutional Crisis so that the power of the Rulers in matters regarding Islam can be removed totally. And once the Rulers no longer have power over Islam then we can contemplate removing the Monarchy and turn Malaysia into a Republic, like many of you want (since the purpose of having Rulers no longer exists).

Actually, removing the Monarchy is not only good for matters concerning Islam but the added advantage would be they would also not be Colonels-in-Chief/ Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces as well. The military would then come directly under the command of the Generals. That would be good if we get a government we don't like and we want to remove that government like what just happened in Egypt plus many other countries before this.

This will mean we need not worry about the EC or about electoral reforms. If we feel the government was not properly elected we can just take to the streets and the military will help us change the government. That will solve the problem of fraudulent elections in Malaysia. In fact, once the military takes over we do not even need elections and if there were no elections then there would be no fraudulent elections as well.

Problem solved.

Anyhow, that is not really want I want to talk about today -- so no need to respond to what I wrote above. What I want to talk about is what I said in my opening paragraph:

Why are we arguing this matter midway? If we want to argue this issue then we should argue it from the beginning, not midway, like what we seem to be doing now.

Yes, why argue midway? Why argue about the 'forced' conversion of a minor from one religion to another? Agreed we should allow the minor to decide once he/she is 18 as to what religion he/she wants to follow. That is sensible, as many of you argue, and that should be the law we pass.

However, in the first place, why was this minor 'forced' to follow any religion? We should not force the minor to be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever. The minor should be allowed to choose his/her own religion once he/she is 18.

Hence the law should not be just about 'forced' conversion of a minor from one religion to another. It should be about not forcing any minor to follow any religion whatsoever until 18 when he/she can decide for himself/herself.

I don't understand why we are arguing about the issue of 'forced' conversion when in the first place children are being forced into a religion not of their choice. They did not choose to be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever. They were forced, due to an accident of birth, to be a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever. Then we argue about conversion when in the first place you 'converted' your children into a religion at the time of their birth.

Teo Nie Ching talks about civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights for children. Well, forcing children to become a Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or whatever, just because they are under-18, is a violation of the civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights for children -- just like forcing them to change religions.

How stupid religionists can sometimes be.

 

Religion is a game of numbers

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 03:36 PM PDT

This freedom to pick and choose — it might seem that this is a freedom only those outside Islam enjoy — is not really there for everyone. It is a known fact that most people do not choose their religion as much as they are born into it.

Zurairi AR, MM

There was marked silence from Malay Muslim MPs on the proposed amendment that would see a child converted into Islam if either parent consents to it. Save for some dissenting voices, most of them see no problem with it.

Being Muslims themselves, I guess they are secure in the fact that their children will never ever get converted.

The ones who will get converted are the Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and irreligious kids. Never precious Muslims.

It is illegal for anybody to even try to convert a Muslim to another religion. Proselytising to Muslims is prohibited under syarie law in most states, under the threat of whipping and long stints in jail.

Conveniently enough, this does not apply the other way round. Proselytisation by Muslims is not only allowed, but encouraged.

This has caused awkward moments when a child happens to have just one parent who is a Muslim, she must embrace Islam as did her parent. She cannot choose to follow the non-Muslim parent's religion, despite the other parent being... her parent.

Selangor Mufti Tamyes Abd Wahid had himself stressed this. Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria and him have both defended the unfair provision and told critics to back off.

For non-Muslims, if at this point you are feeling like you are being treated as a second-class citizen, then you are quite right. Nothing says "screw you" as much as saying that your opinion is not worth a damn.

Religion in an ideal world

In an ideal world, a child would have the freedom to pick and choose which religion to adhere to the moment she reaches adulthood. It is only fair that one can decide her religion at the same age when she is deemed wise enough to enter marriage, drive a car and get wasted.

This freedom to pick and choose — it might seem that this is a freedom only those outside Islam enjoy — is not really there for everyone. It is a known fact that most people do not choose their religion as much as they are born into it.

Parents would teach their children about their chosen god(s) the moment the children can understand speech. For Muslims, one of the first words a human will hear after her birth is the call to prayer.

Kids then go through a set of routines and rituals to reinforce that belief. In Malaysia and for Muslims, the reinforcements are even state-sanctioned, as religious education is made compulsory at school.

Is it any wonder then that most people stay loyal to their god until their death, and they call it "faith" instead? As for the rest, some will choose another god to worship, while others abandon all of them completely. Except for Muslims, obviously.

Quantity, not quality

For most religions, it is just a game of numbers. It is a race to see who has the most number of followers. Whose god can command more humans.

Ask most Muslims, and they will tell you that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. The Guinness Book of World Records has said so, so it must be true.

However, ask some Christians, Hindus, and even Wiccans and they might say the same thing too.

Mormons currently have one of the largest growth rates in the United States, and is predicted to be a major world religion by the end of the century. Wiccans have claimed that they have a growth rate of over 100 per cent every year.

Quite interestingly enough, irreligion is on the rise too. Claims have been made that more and more people identify themselves as being non-religious, despite professing a religion.

Perhaps the next time a population census is held Malaysia, let us have all the non-practising Muslims, lapsed Christians and I-don't-care animists tick the "no religion" box.

What are the chances that we might see irreligion turn out to be the fastest growing "faith" in Malaysia?

Will Izzah be a champion?

PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar revealed this week that a joint committee has been set up among the Pakatan Rakyat parties to study the law on child conversion. It might be her latest chance to prove her commitment to freedom of religion.

Last year, she had made a great stride among Malaysians for openly saying that freedom of religion should apply to all, even Malays. Sadly, political pressure from conservatives and religious hawks caused her to go back on her words, and we have all been the poorer from that.

In a country where apostasy is seen as one of the worst crimes — punishable by death, as justified by some — we more than ever need champions of freedom for, and from religion.

 

There was marked silence from Malay Muslim MPs on the proposed amendment that would see a child converted into Islam if either parent consents to it. Save for some dissenting voices, most of them see no problem with it.

Being Muslims themselves, I guess they are secure in the fact that their children will never ever get converted.

The ones who will get converted are the Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and irreligious kids. Never precious Muslims.

It is illegal for anybody to even try to convert a Muslim to another religion. Proselytising to Muslims is prohibited under syarie law in most states, under the threat of whipping and long stints in jail.

Conveniently enough, this does not apply the other way round. Proselytisation by Muslims is not only allowed, but encouraged.

This has caused awkward moments when a child happens to have just one parent who is a Muslim, she must embrace Islam as did her parent. She cannot choose to follow the non-Muslim parent's religion, despite the other parent being... her parent.

Selangor Mufti Tamyes Abd Wahid had himself stressed this. Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria and him have both defended the unfair provision and told critics to back off.

For non-Muslims, if at this point you are feeling like you are being treated as a second-class citizen, then you are quite right. Nothing says "screw you" as much as saying that your opinion is not worth a damn.

Religion in an ideal world

In an ideal world, a child would have the freedom to pick and choose which religion to adhere to the moment she reaches adulthood. It is only fair that one can decide her religion at the same age when she is deemed wise enough to enter marriage, drive a car and get wasted.

This freedom to pick and choose — it might seem that this is a freedom only those outside Islam enjoy — is not really there for everyone. It is a known fact that most people do not choose their religion as much as they are born into it.

Parents would teach their children about their chosen god(s) the moment the children can understand speech. For Muslims, one of the first words a human will hear after her birth is the call to prayer.

Kids then go through a set of routines and rituals to reinforce that belief. In Malaysia and for Muslims, the reinforcements are even state-sanctioned, as religious education is made compulsory at school.

Is it any wonder then that most people stay loyal to their god until their death, and they call it "faith" instead? As for the rest, some will choose another god to worship, while others abandon all of them completely. Except for Muslims, obviously.

Quantity, not quality

For most religions, it is just a game of numbers. It is a race to see who has the most number of followers. Whose god can command more humans.

Ask most Muslims, and they will tell you that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. The Guinness Book of World Records has said so, so it must be true.

However, ask some Christians, Hindus, and even Wiccans and they might say the same thing too.

Mormons currently have one of the largest growth rates in the United States, and is predicted to be a major world religion by the end of the century. Wiccans have claimed that they have a growth rate of over 100 per cent every year.

Quite interestingly enough, irreligion is on the rise too. Claims have been made that more and more people identify themselves as being non-religious, despite professing a religion.

Perhaps the next time a population census is held Malaysia, let us have all the non-practising Muslims, lapsed Christians and I-don't-care animists tick the "no religion" box.

What are the chances that we might see irreligion turn out to be the fastest growing "faith" in Malaysia?

Will Izzah be a champion?

PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar revealed this week that a joint committee has been set up among the Pakatan Rakyat parties to study the law on child conversion. It might be her latest chance to prove her commitment to freedom of religion.

Last year, she had made a great stride among Malaysians for openly saying that freedom of religion should apply to all, even Malays. Sadly, political pressure from conservatives and religious hawks caused her to go back on her words, and we have all been the poorer from that.

In a country where apostasy is seen as one of the worst crimes — punishable by death, as justified by some — we more than ever need champions of freedom for, and from religion.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/zurairi-ar/article/religion-is-a-game-of-numbers#sthash.O7LjbBYM.dpuf

There was marked silence from Malay Muslim MPs on the proposed amendment that would see a child converted into Islam if either parent consents to it. Save for some dissenting voices, most of them see no problem with it.

Being Muslims themselves, I guess they are secure in the fact that their children will never ever get converted.

The ones who will get converted are the Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and irreligious kids. Never precious Muslims.

It is illegal for anybody to even try to convert a Muslim to another religion. Proselytising to Muslims is prohibited under syarie law in most states, under the threat of whipping and long stints in jail.

Conveniently enough, this does not apply the other way round. Proselytisation by Muslims is not only allowed, but encouraged.

This has caused awkward moments when a child happens to have just one parent who is a Muslim, she must embrace Islam as did her parent. She cannot choose to follow the non-Muslim parent's religion, despite the other parent being... her parent.

Selangor Mufti Tamyes Abd Wahid had himself stressed this. Perak Mufti Harussani Zakaria and him have both defended the unfair provision and told critics to back off.

For non-Muslims, if at this point you are feeling like you are being treated as a second-class citizen, then you are quite right. Nothing says "screw you" as much as saying that your opinion is not worth a damn.

Religion in an ideal world

In an ideal world, a child would have the freedom to pick and choose which religion to adhere to the moment she reaches adulthood. It is only fair that one can decide her religion at the same age when she is deemed wise enough to enter marriage, drive a car and get wasted.

This freedom to pick and choose — it might seem that this is a freedom only those outside Islam enjoy — is not really there for everyone. It is a known fact that most people do not choose their religion as much as they are born into it.

Parents would teach their children about their chosen god(s) the moment the children can understand speech. For Muslims, one of the first words a human will hear after her birth is the call to prayer.

Kids then go through a set of routines and rituals to reinforce that belief. In Malaysia and for Muslims, the reinforcements are even state-sanctioned, as religious education is made compulsory at school.

Is it any wonder then that most people stay loyal to their god until their death, and they call it "faith" instead? As for the rest, some will choose another god to worship, while others abandon all of them completely. Except for Muslims, obviously.

Quantity, not quality

For most religions, it is just a game of numbers. It is a race to see who has the most number of followers. Whose god can command more humans.

Ask most Muslims, and they will tell you that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. The Guinness Book of World Records has said so, so it must be true.

However, ask some Christians, Hindus, and even Wiccans and they might say the same thing too.

Mormons currently have one of the largest growth rates in the United States, and is predicted to be a major world religion by the end of the century. Wiccans have claimed that they have a growth rate of over 100 per cent every year.

Quite interestingly enough, irreligion is on the rise too. Claims have been made that more and more people identify themselves as being non-religious, despite professing a religion.

Perhaps the next time a population census is held Malaysia, let us have all the non-practising Muslims, lapsed Christians and I-don't-care animists tick the "no religion" box.

What are the chances that we might see irreligion turn out to be the fastest growing "faith" in Malaysia?

Will Izzah be a champion?

PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar revealed this week that a joint committee has been set up among the Pakatan Rakyat parties to study the law on child conversion. It might be her latest chance to prove her commitment to freedom of religion.

Last year, she had made a great stride among Malaysians for openly saying that freedom of religion should apply to all, even Malays. Sadly, political pressure from conservatives and religious hawks caused her to go back on her words, and we have all been the poorer from that.

In a country where apostasy is seen as one of the worst crimes — punishable by death, as justified by some — we more than ever need champions of freedom for, and from religion.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/zurairi-ar/article/religion-is-a-game-of-numbers#sthash.O7LjbBYM.dpuf

Selangor softens stance on Langat 2

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 03:32 PM PDT

(The Star) - The state government has softened its stance on the Langat 2 water treatment plant, with Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim saying he is willing to discuss the project with the Federal Government.

Previously, the Selangor Govern­ment had objected to it, claiming that it was too expensive and the cost of construction would be borne by the people through higher water tariffs.

Khalid said the state government was prepared to accept the project if its economic value was appropriate.

"If we have already terbuat (accidentally constructed) Langat 2, we can sit down and discuss how to provide water to the people of Selangor at a reasonable rate," he said in response to a question from state Opposition leader Datuk Sham­suddin Lias (BN-Sungai Burong).

Shamsuddin had asked Khalid whether the state was prepared to allocate funds to reduce non-revenue water as it would be costly to replace and repair water pipes.

While Khalid did not give a straight answer, he said the state government was ready to have a "professional discussion" with the Federal Government to ensure that Selangor residents would get treated water supply at the best price.

The RM3bil Langat 2 water treatment plant is a federal project but it needs to be approved by the state government under the Land Code.

The plant will receive raw water from Pahang via an underground tunnel, which is almost completed.

After he was sworn in as Mentri Besar for a second term in May, Khalid said the Langat 2 project must be discussed as part of the water services industry restructuring exercise and not as a stand-alone matter.

Last week, Khalid said he was optimistic that the restructuring exercise could be completed by September as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had expressed his readiness to complete the matter in line with the Water Services Industry Act.

The state government had made three bids to take over water management from all four water concessionaire companies in Selangor.

On Feb 20, the state government made a RM9.65bil offer to take over Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas), Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd, Konsortium Abass Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holding.

In 2009, the state government made a bid of RM5.7bil but it was rejected by all the players. A subsequent offer of RM9.2bil was made in 2011 but it was rejected by Puncak Niaga and Syabas.

The Federal Government holds one golden share in Syabas through the Minister of Finance Inc.

 

Anwar: Kejatuhan Morsi sebabkan ‘Arab Spring’ mundur

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 03:22 PM PDT

(TMI) - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hari ini mengutuk kudeta tentera yang menggulingkan Presiden Mesir, Dr Mohamed Morsi dan mendakwa ia menyebabkan kemunduran kepada "Arab Spring".

Ketua Pembangkang itu, berkata seluruh negara yang mengamal demokrasi mesti mengutuk tindakan tidak demokratik itu.

"Pemimpin yang dipilih secara demokratik melalui pilihan raya bebas dan adil tidak seharusnya digulingkan sebegitu rupa.

"Tidak kira apa pengakhirannya, caranya adalah tidak wajar," katanya pada kenyataan media lewat petang ini.

PAS hari ini mengutuk penggulingan Mohamed Morsi dan mengecam tindakan tentera negara itu menggunakan golongan ulama bagi menghalalkan perbuatan mereka.

Menurut Mursyidul Am PAS, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, kudeta dan diktator bukan lagi pilihan manusia lagi dalam era sekarang.

"Di mana-mana sahaja, ada ulama dipergunakan untuk menentang gerakan Islam," kata Nik Abdul Aziz dalam satu kenyataannya pagi ini.

READ MORE HERE

 

Non-Muslim BN MPs reject one-parent child conversion

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 03:11 PM PDT

Non-Muslim MPs urge the Cabinet to be sensitive to grouses of the minority in their objection to the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013. 

Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT

Non-Muslim BN MPs have voiced their concern over the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 which provides for unilateral child conversions.

The MPs were responding to queries whether they would be supporting the Bill when it comes up for the second time in Parliament.

Hulu Selangor MP, P Kamalanathan, said: "It should not be a single parent's decision alone to chart the future of a child. Both parents must have a say in their child's life.

"It is important that both the parent are happy, satisfied and content with the religion that their child is to live with for rest of his life."

MCA's Labis MP, Chua Tee Yong, said his party had objected to the Bill because it is inconsistent with the Cabinet's 2009 decision to ban the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam.

"I really hope the government will maintain a consistent stand," he said. "Islam is the country's number one religion but non-Muslim rights have to be protected."

Gerakan and Simpang Renggam MP Liang Teck Meng also said his party's view was the same.

"Our secretary general Mah Siew Keong has already said that the views of both parents must be taken into account, and the right of the child must also be considered," he said. "I do not support the Bill."

'Bill not cast in stone'

However, Kamalanathan assured that the government understood the complexity of the issue and will take into account the sentiments of all stakeholders before making a decision.

"The Bill is in its early stages and from my understanding it's a translation difference between the English and Malay language versions of the Bill that is the cause for concern," he said.

"While the English version clearly states the need for both parents' consent to convert a child, the Malay version states that either parent can make the decision for a child.

"I'm sure this matter can be solved amicably and even (Deputy Prime Minister) Muhiyiddin Yassin agreed that amendments would be made if the situation warranted it," he added.

Chua concurred and said the Bill "has not been cast in stone".

READ MORE HERE

 

Frustrated ‘fixed deposits’ see hope in DAP

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 03:04 PM PDT

Fifteen years ago, the number of Muslim Bumiputra members in DAP in Sandakan could virtually be counted on the fingers of one hand, but this is changing.

Cyril Lim, FMT

KOTA KINABALU: The Muslim community in Sabah, long seen as the bastion of Umno, may be more flexible politically that commonly assumed.

The community considered as the "fixed deposit' of ruling Umno-led Barisan Nasional and said to be the poorest in the country, is showing indications of political awakening.

The glimmer of hope that their grouses will be heard after decades of neglect and their support at every election being taken for granted comes following dialogues with the opposition.

According to Sabah DAP leaders in the past the Muslim and Bumiputra community often felt they had no choice over who they should support but this view, they believe, is changing.

DAP Tanjung Papat division chairman Poon Ming Fung said that in talks he had with members of the community they had articulated their dissatisfaction with the status quo (Barisan Nasional).

Poon said the community told him that they were more often than not ignored by the government who took on an attitude "we know best."

He said several members in the community had spoke about the hardship and exorbitant costs of educating their children, the high cost of living and difficulty in finding rewarding employment in Sabah.

What Pung found worthy of note was the fact that the community had chosen to voice their grievances to DAP representatives in the kampungs.

"Hardly anything is done in the villages. What can be seen as development is how contracts have been parceled out to turn the shabby wooden walkways into concrete ones..

"They complain that their MPs hardly visit the kampungs and their state representative drop in only once every five years or during fasting month," Poon said.

Venting frustrations

Many of them are struggling to earn a living, having no marketable skills other than driving taxis. Many also complained that they have not received the government aid that has been trumpeted in the media.

Poon said this dissatisfaction has turned the once diehard local community leaders particularly those in urban areas to vent their frustration to the opposition.

Weighing-in these little changes in perception over DAP, Poon feels the opposition has a good chance in wresting the Tanjung Papat and Elopura state seats from BN in the next elections after narrowly missing out in the 13th General Elections.

Both Tanjung Papat and Elopura are state seats within the Sandakan Parliamentary constituency. In the recent GE13, DAP wrested the Sandakan seat from LDP-BN's V.K. Liew.

The Sandakan Parliamentary constituency though considered a Chinese-majority seat is witnessing a gradual change in its voting population and observers have questioned if the same anti-BN sentiment will be seen in the next elections.

For the opposition to have any prospect of making further inroads in Sandakan, the Muslim-Bumiputra vote is seen as crucial.

While the opposition failed this time in Tanjung Papat and Elopura State the party has bagged the Sandakan parliamentary constituency four times – 1978, 1982, 1986 and 2013. 

An opposition candidate was also primed to win the seat in 1990 but lost out after PBS pulled out of BN less than one week before the poll and became part of the opposition.

This was the same year PBS, riding on a wave of anti-federal and BN sentiment overthrew the longstanding DAP parliamentary candidates in Gaya, Tanjung Aru, and Tawau.

READ MORE HERE

 

‘I will not apologize’

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 02:58 PM PDT

(Bernama) -  Simpang Renggam MP Liang Teck Meng will not retract his statement that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has 20 offshore bank accounts with amounts of more than US$66 million (RM209 million) and S$49 million (RM123).

Undeterred, Liang told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday that he wanted the government to investigate the exposure made by WikiLeaks that Anwar stashed the money in the United States, Singapore, China and Israel as it involved national security.

Liang stood his ground when Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia asked him to clarify the statement, which he made on Tuesday, after Pakatan Rakyat MPs, including Jeff Ooi Chuan Aun (DAP-Jelutong) demanded that he retract the statement and apologize to Anwar.

Liang said he would only do so if investigations were carried out and the findings showed that there were no elements of foreign intervention involved.

Pandikar Amin said he would look into a notice submitted to him by Opposition MPs and would take appropriate action.

"If YB Simpang Renggam apologizes, the issue is resolved. But Simpang Renggam did not want to say sorry or retract his statement, so I will look into this notice and take appropriate action," he said.

Jeff Ooi told reporters that he and Sim Tze Tzin (PKR-Bayan Baru) had handed an official notice to Pandikar Amin at 4pm yesterday, calling for Liang to be referred to the Rights and Privilege Committee for making an unsubstantiated claim.

 

Why do you need more funds, Khalid?

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 02:49 PM PDT

(Bernama) - The Selangor Government's request for an additional RM761.44 million for expenses, after being allowed RM1.63 billion in November last year, has raised questions.

Permatang Barisan Nasional assemblyman Sulaiman Razak claimed the Selangor Government had consistently requested for additional allocation each year since 2009.

He said state government had tabled a balanced budget for 2009, 2010, 2010 and 2012 but at each state assembly sitting during those years, Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim would inevitably ask for an additional allocation to finance the increasing operational costs.

This year, Sulaiman said, Khalid had asked for RM761.44 million.

Sulaiman was debating the Supplementary Supply Bill 2013 under which Khalid had made the request for the additional funding.

He said in the 2009 Budget, the Selangor government experienced a deficit of RM120 million, while in the years 2010 and 2011 the amount had been RM194 million and RM210 million respectively. But 2012  the deficit was RM167.12.

He said the additional amount asked for this time was huge, at RM761.44 million or a deficit of 47 per cent from the balanced 2013 Budget of RM1.63 billion, which was tabled in November last year.

"After only five to six months, the state government has already spent RM1.63 billion," he said.

Sulaiman also questioned the need to borrow RM80 million from the state treasury for government-subsidiary company, Selangor State Development Corporation.

The RM80 million, he said was for the purpose of taking over a piece of land belonging to the Petaling Jaya City Council to develop the Datum In-City project.

Sulaiman also questioned the RM413.2 million borrowed from the state treasury for Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd to take over Kumpulan Hartanah Selangor Bhd.

He said state government subsidiary companies should be able to stand on their own feet instead of obtaining loans from the state government.

He also asked why almost every year, the state government had to ask for an additional allocation to support the provision of free water for the first 20 cubic metres to consumers in Selangor.

At the assembly sitting this time, Khalid asked for RM83 million to subsidise the free water for July to December this year, and another RM22 million to cover the existing allocation which had been used for the free water subsidy for May to June.

The state assembly sitting continues today. 

 

Metallica's 'Aidilfitri' KL Gig: Band Gets Paid Bigger Bucks, PAS Youth Undecided

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 01:53 PM PDT

http://cdn.malaysiandigest.com/images/CNY/rsz_metallicanst.jpg 

(Malaysian Digest) - Nasruddin added that PAS is not against entertainment, but the policy has to change to ensure that the types of entertainment that come into Malaysia are not against Islam in nature.

Local Metallica fans who are already planning a trip across the causeway to catch the heavy metal band on August 24 can rejoice and forget about having to convert your Malaysian Ringgit to Sing dollar.

According to the latest announcement on the band's official website, Metallica is set to rock the stage at Stadium Merdeka on August 21, three days before appearing in Singapore's Changi Exhibition Centre.

The band announced that they are thrilled to include Kuala Lumpur as part of their tour as this would be Metallica's first concert ever in Malaysia.

Tickets are expected to go on sale from July 6 at 11.30am following an exclusive launch. Purchases over the counter and online will begin on July 8.

Their concert will be managed by Galaxy Group and for more information, fans can visit www.galaxy.com.my.

Tickets will be priced from RM195 to RM680.

Metallica was formed back in 1981 by Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield. To date the band has sold 110 million albums worldwide.

Barely 24 hours the announcement was made about Metallica stopping by KL as part of their tour and the reactions are aplenty.

Hardcore fans who have purchased tickets for the Singapore gig are voicing their disappointment that the band will be coming to KL afterall.

A Malaysian Digest reader who only wanted to be known as Erwan said, "I hope the KL concert will be cancelled! I've already bought tickets for Singapore!"

Meanwhile, Rembau member of parliament and Youth and Sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin reacted positively to Metallica's performance in Malaysia.

In a tweet earlier today, Khairy said that with the likes of Metallica and Smashing Pumpkins slated to perform in Kuala Lumpur, perhaps Malaysia has turned a corner and will not keep losing out to neighboring country Singapore.

Former actress, Wardina Safiyyah however took to comparing Metallica to Egypt in her tweet earlier today: "MESIR or METALICCA??? Which would be your concern?"

Khairy responded to Wardina's tweet, saying that why can't it be both as the youth have various interests, at the same time pointing out to the former actress that she misspelled 'Metallica'.

On the deal to bring Metallica here, a local concert industry observer told Malaysian Digest that negotiations on the matter have been ongoing since 2011.

A quick Google search brought to attention several blog articles mentioning that the band was slated to perform in 2011 however the matter merely died down after a while.

It was brought to our attention by the observer that with regards to Metallica, the deal is different than with any other singers or bands invited to perform in the country.

Usually, payment arrangements would either be a 50-50 deal or the singer/band gets paid one lump sum, regardless of ticket sales.

With Metallica, the deal is reportedly 90-10, with 90% of the ticket sales going directly to Metallica, leaving the concert promoter having to sell 80% of the projected tickets just to break even.

Galaxy secured the deal to bring in Metallica in collaboration with LAMC and Rockstar Touring who are also responsible for brokering Metallica's Singapore tour.

It is however unclear why Galaxy would agree to a 90-10 deal especially when it means that they're profit would be considerably lower than bringing in other performers.

Meanwhile, PAS youth chief Nasruddin Hassan Tantawi when contacted by Malaysian Digest said that he has no immediate respond to Metallica coming to Kuala Lumpur.

He added that PAS youth will meet with the ministry responsible before giving a full reaction.

However, Nasruddin said that they have faced similar experiences in the past where they oppose certain concerts and although some concerts were cancelled, it does not solve the root of the problem.

"We cancel one, there'll be others coming in. We need to address the problem at its source," he said.

Nasruddin added that PAS is not against entertainment, but the policy has to change to ensure that the types of entertainment that come into Malaysia are not against Islam in nature.

"We need to suggest alternative forms of entertainment. We can be lenient but the performance must not go against syarak," he told mD.

"We do not want to focus on specific performances because at the end of the day, it is the policy that has to change.

"A guideline needs to be set for entertainment in Malaysia. As for now, we are not saying that Metallica cannot come and perform here, what we are saying in general is that concerts in the country must adhere to a few things; namely the performers do not dress in a provocative manner, they do not spread unhealthy western culture, and the lyrics in their songs do not indicate worshipping of drugs, alcohol, or anything that is haram," Nasruddin said.

Meanwhile, on the concert date being in the month of Syawal, Nasruddin said that it would be wise for concert promoters to choose dates that do not coincide with significant dates in the Muslim calendar.

"It would be wiser to change the date of the concert," he added.

PAS youth have been known to ruffle feathers when it comes to foreign singers/bands performing in Malaysia. Previously, PAS opposed to r&b artiste Beyonce Knowles because of her skimpy clothes.

They also took to opposing Rihanna and Elton John, citing the latter's gay lifestyle as a reason to not allow the singer to perform here.

Mariah Carey was also not spared, however her concert sailed through but the singer was fined for violating the dress code.

The band Michael Learns to Rock also faced the wrath of PAS when the party insisted their concert permit be revoked because the concert was scheduled to take place in the holy month of Ramadhan.

Former Kulim Bandar Bharu member of parliament, Zulkifli Noordin, meanwhile took to making a police report against a concert by Bob Dylan that took place on Maulidur Rasul (Prophet Muhammad's pbuh Birthday).

With regards to Metallica, it remains to be seen on whether the concert will proceed without a hitch. Given that the date choosen is in the month of Syawal, which is a celebratory month for Muslims around the world after completing a full month of fasting in Ramadhan, it might prove to be a bit difficult for Metallica's concert in Malaysia to take place without some form of opposition from certain quarters.

The concert promoter should have included it in the negotiations with Metallica's management and point out that Ramadhan and Syawal are not advisable months for concerts in the country.

To those already 'salivating' while waiting for tickets to go on sale, a good advice would be to not put your hopes up just yet. Concerts in Malaysia are known to be cancelled at the very last minute, as was the case with Erykah Badu last year. 

Open secret that Rulers objected to cabinet's decision on conversion

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 01:48 PM PDT

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(The Sun Daily) -  I think Malaysians can make their own deduction on why it has not become a law... who else can stop the cabinet's decision.

Senior Umno leader Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today that "it was an open secret" that the Conference of Rulers objected to the implementation of the cabinet's 2009 decision against the unilateral conversion of minors to Islam.

He said the conference was the only institution in the country that could object in the matter which ultimately led to a suspension of the decision that both parents should agree to the changing of a child's faith.

The tourism minister said a bill is tabled in Parliament only when the cabinet has decided and approved it.

"Once Parliament approves it, it will become law. But in Malaysia, the only institution that can, in a way, stop this process will be the Conference of Rulers.

"It is an open secret and obvious for any right-thinking Malaysian to come to this conclusion or deduction that this could be the only reason why such a powerful cabinet decision cannot be implemented."

Nazri, who is also Padang Rengas MP, qualified himself by adding that he was not explicitly saying that the Conference of Rulers objected to the cabinet's 2009 decision.

"But I think Malaysians can make their own deduction on why it has not become a law... who else can stop the cabinet's decision," Nazri told theSun today.

He said this in reference to theSun's front page report yesterday that despite mounting objections to unilateral conversion of minors to Islam, reservations from the Malay rulers put paid to the 2009 cabinet's stand against unilateral conversion.

Nazri, who was the de facto law minister then, added that the proposed amendment to Clause 107 of the Administration of the Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013, which is being objected by various groups, should not be tabled for its second reading or debated.

He explained that from a Muslim's point of view, there should be no coercion in religion.

Nazri said every child that is born already has a religion and is inculcated with religious values by the parents.

"When one of the parents convert to Islam and also convert the children who already has a religion, then it is actually coercion. No Muslim will agree to this because Islam must be embraced and 'embrace' here is a connotation of free will.

"As a Muslim, I am very upset that Islam is being used as a tool of convenience by parties at fault in the marriage, to dissolve the marriage and run away from responsibilities.

"This is how I see in this issue ... a husband (or wife) trying to use Islam to run away from their responsibilities and punish their spouse," he added.

Nazri said the bill is merely postponing a bigger issue which will occur when the child attains the age of 18, when he or she decides what religion to embrace.

"If the child decides to embrace his or her original religion, then it is considered as apostasy and it is an offence in Islam.

"It will create more issues in the future, which will give Islam a very bad name," he said.

Meanwhile, former Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainal Abidin said the mother or father who has embraced Islam is not supposed to make their young children follow suit.

He said what should be done is that the children should undergo Islamic education until they are mature enough to decide on the religion of their choice.

He said a Muslim father can teach their children about Islam even if they are under the care of their non-Muslim spouse.

"It is alright if the custody of the children is given to the mother, as Islam is the official religion in the country and the religion of the federation, and what is needed is for the father to teach Islam to the children," he said. 

Kuala Besut by-election: Uphill task for PAS, says Ideas' Wan Saiful

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 01:40 PM PDT

http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/Images/TSOL/Photos-Gallery/Nation/2013/07/05/ideas%20wan%20saiful.ashx?w=620&h=413&crop=1& 

(The Star) - If PAS opposed the clause especially the part that said when one of the parents converts to Islam  the child will have to follow, the accusation would be that PAS had sold itself to the non-Muslims. 

Kuala Besut will be a difficult state seat for PAS to capture in the upcoming by-election. 

"Umno and the whole Barisan Nasional machinery will be in Terengganu to ensure the coalition retains the Kuala Besut seat," said Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) chief executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan. 

The 38-year-old, who is also a member of PAS, feels that Umno has the upper-hand in the Kuala Besut by-election, the date for which will be decided by the Elections Commission today. 

"I don't think PAS or Pakatan Rakyat stand a good chance to win. The majority for Umno in Kuala Besut during GE13 was quite comfortable. It's not going to be an easy one for PAS," he said.

The state seat became vacant following Dr A. Rahman Mokhtar's death due to a lung problem on June 26.

He retained the seat for a second term with a majority of 2,434 votes against PAS candidate Napisah Ismail on May 5 elections.

Wan Saiful also feels that the recent child conversion issue in the Administration of Religion of Islam (Federal Territories) Bill 2013 might also play a key role in the by-election.

"I can see that PAS is already thinking about the Kuala Besut by the way the party is dealing with the Bill," he said.

According to Wan Saiful, if PAS opposed the clause especially the part that said when one of the parents converts to Islam  the child will have to follow, the accusation would be that PAS had sold itself to the non-Muslims. 

"PAS will be in a tricky position because of their partnership with DAP and PKR. They will have to position themselves correctly for the Kuala Besut election.

"They are biding their time to see how to tackle this issue," he said. However, Wan Saiful said he wouldn't be surprised if PAS comes up with a stand completely different from their Pakatan counterparts.  

Wan Saiful participated in a Q&A session conducted by The Star Online. During the session, he answered questions ranging from PAS-Umno unity talks to the sex-video allegations against the party secretary general Datuk Mustafa Ali. 

Mainstream media needs new approach to get back audiences, says Bernama chief

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 01:36 PM PDT

http://www.therocket.com.my/en/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/paper-malaysia.jpg 

(TMI) - "Is being bold in criticising the government equal to professionalism? What is being professional? Understand these terms to attract the audience"

The mainstream media should be more proactive to draw back audiences so that information could be disseminated accurately and widely.

Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) chairman Datuk Abdul Rahman Sulaiman said the matter should be the top priority as many people have now appeared to have lost confidence in the credibility of news from the mainstream media. 

Based on the results of the general election, there were several misconceptions on efforts by the government as the mainstream media information delivery system was weak, reported Bernama.

"This happened as the community now believe that information presented by the alternative media is more professional and daring in criticising the government openly.

"Is being bold in criticising the government equal to professionalism? What is being professional? Understand these terms to attract the audience," he said after opening a two-day 'Editorial Retreat Bernama News Coverage: The Way Forward' in Putrajaya yesterday..

According to him, it was not surprising that the younger generation had wrong perceptions on issues as they were inclined to obtain information from the leftist media.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/mainstream-media-needs-new-approach-to-get-back-audiences-says-bernama-chief/ 

Mandela showed us the "real" national reconciliation

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 01:35 PM PDT

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If Najib Razak is to survive a challenge from Muhyiddin Yassin, it is better for him to change his position and adopt the Mandela's model of national reconciliation. His current position is unstable as there are mounting pressures from the right wing factions of UMNO to push for a more conservative Mahathir Mohammad's type agendas. He cannot possibly out-conservative Muhyiddin to win the UMNO's top job. 

Kuo Yong Kooi  

Nelson Mandela is one of the global iconic figures of our time. Now that Mandela is struggling for his life, it is an opportune time to have some introspection on the man and his achievements. 

The attitude, approach and world view of a leader can produce a different outcome on the fate of a nation. Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe both taught us this lesson of their starkly different world views and approaches to the same problem.

In the struggle for power, Mandela took on a non-violent path and Mugabe preferred the opposite. When both took over power, Mandela's approach was inclusive and reconciliatory by forgiving the others through a "truth and reconciliation commission". South Africa was able to move on in a positive light. Mugabe acted on a divisive theme to carry the country forward during the post colonial period. The state of Zimbabwe today is the testimony of Mugabe's attitude and approach to overcome a problem.  

The Sri Lankan conflict started in 1983 when the Tamil Tigers demanded for a separate state in the Jafna Peninsular. The damage bill after twenty six years of civil war was incalculable. Sri Lanka gained independence on February 4th 1948 much earlier than Malaysia. Sri Lanka today is still struggling to recover from the civil war. Most part of the country is still in a Third World squall-er condition.

The conflict showed us that both opposition and government need to navigate through the common problems carefully or else it will have a detrimental effect on the nation. Throughout the twenty six year civil war in Sri Lanka, there were numerous reconciliation/seize fire efforts put forth but failed. National reconciliation when in conflict situation needs full sincere cooperation from both sides.

To extrapolate these history lessons to our current situation in Malaysia may be wise as the damage has not yet been done in terms of physical conflict. 

Now that the GE-13 dust has settled, the results has clearly indicated that some changes in attitude and approach is required by all stakeholders who chart the future path of our nation. Any mis-navigations in terms of wrong application of tactics can be explosive and detrimental to our nation.

On the side of the present Najib administration, it is clear that he is continuing the previous UMNO lead administration's policy of taking on the divisive path to carry our nation forward. 

Nothing much has changed, even the previous Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia was re-elected as the Speaker for the current parliament. There will be little or no reconciliation on the floors of our parliament when the Speaker of the parliament has clearly displayed his biases. Fruitful debates needed to amend laws that affect the future of the country are put on a back-burner. Most debates will be on a partisan level with highly charged emotions. The situation in the parliament can stifle the country from moving positively forward.
 
If the GE-13 is to be of any guide, something has to change from the Najib administration's side to accommodate to the 51% popular vote that went to the opposition. If he thinks that he has the upper hand because BN has won 133 seats in the parliament, he should take heat from contemporary global political history lessons.

The January 2011 Tharir square revolution started with a united voice of grievances of Egyptian protesters on a broad brush of issues from legal and political issues like lack of free elections, freedom of speech, corruptions, police brutality (sounds familiar?) and including economic issues like high unemployment, low wages and inflation. The Tunisian revolution started in December 2010 on similar issues.

Closer to home the people's power revolution of the Philippine in 1986 ousted the Ferdinand Marcos regime and the street protest in 1998 ended Suharto's 31 year dictatorial rule.

Time and time again history had showed us that we can't get away with the wrongs that we have done for a long period of time. If no basic changes happen at the government administrative levels like installing an independent Attorney General, Inspector General Police, head of the election commission and Malaysian Anti-corruption Commission to mitigate the current situation, then the pressure will naturally mount further through the streets.

This is the nature of the forces of the universe. The collective frustrations and anger of the Rakyat which is a form of energy cannot be contained by the same type of lies or with brute force, it will only lead to more opposite force to counter it.

The same as before position displayed by Najib at the moment is untenable as the GE-13 election results indicated that things can only get worse for UMNO. UMNO's mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia and Perkasa are doing the hard yards on national reconciliation for the opposition. The same as before position had already united the unlikeliest of allies like PAS and DAP. The other 48% of the electorate will most likely vote for the opposition in the next general election and the national reconciliation project can be declared a success, thanks to the Najib administration's position of carry on as usual.

If Najib Razak is to survive a challenge from Muhyiddin Yassin, it is better for him to change his position and adopt the Mandela's model of national reconciliation. His current position is unstable as there are mounting pressures from the right wing factions of UMNO to push for a more conservative Mahathir Mohammad's type agendas. He cannot possibly out-conservative Muhyiddin to win the UMNO's top job.

If Najib adopts the Mandela's national reconciliation model, he might be able to elevate his popularity to a rock star status. Judging from his previous actions he seemed rather "wannabe" a rock star (remember Psy?) than a politician. Mandela is a well established global "political" rock star so to speak. Mandela and FW de Klerk from South Africa jointly won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.

The unfortunate part of our present predicament is that the fate of our nation depends on the position and world view of the UMNO's top leaderships. Our nation had embarked on a divisive path for more than three decades and has lead us to the current predicament. The national reconciliation project has to come from the one in the position of power to avoid further unwarranted conflicts in the future.

It is a shame that the Najib administration is not willing to take on the Mandela's path of national reconciliation to change his fortune. Going towards the South African's direction is probably the only road left for him. If he wants to go towards the Zimbabwean's direction, Muhyihiddin is already ahead of him, furthermore that is a dead end. Fiji adopted the "Malaysian divisive model" to carry their nation forward, they've went through four definitive coups for the last two decades and they are still not out of the water yet.

The East Timorese gained independence in 2002. They quickly adopted the South African's model of "truth and reconciliation" to bring the country forward. East Timor is sailing on fine today without much trouble. Jose Ramos Horta won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1996.

Mandela did the hard yards to prove to the world that a path and vision of a peaceful coexistence amongst people of all colours can be realised. This is the only way to move forward peacefully and positively for any nation of multi-ethnic composition. 

 

A Bill that Does Not Fit

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 01:30 PM PDT

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It may be that BN, particularly Umno, has decided to give up on winning the support of those who do not support it and instead concentrate on those who do. If so, we can expect the Government to play the religion and race cards more strongly from now on. In which case this bill could just be the harbinger of more exclusivist actions and policies. 

Kee Thuan Chye

 

The amendment to Clause 107(b) of the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Act 2013, tabled for passing this month, is going to be one helluva bill. Voting on it will see whether representatives of certain component parties within the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition will break from the party line and vote according to their own conscience.

The MCA, the MIC and Gerakan, avowedly looking after the interests of non-Muslims, have been critical of the bill. It will therefore be a real test of their integrity to vote against it. Abstaining from voting will not be enough. They must walk their talk.

From the layman's point of view, the bill seems to be simply about granting either parent of a child below the age of 18 the right to convert the child to Islam. The front-page headline of the July 3 edition of theSun sums it up: 'Mom or dad?' And if one were to apply simple logic, the answer would be obvious. Since both parents gave life to the child and are responsible for its growth, why should it be that only one is enough to decide?

But the issue is not so simple. It never is when it comes to religion. And more than that, this current bill indicates an about-turn by the Cabinet.

In April 2009, the Cabinet had decided that children should remain in the religion of their parents at the time of the latter's marriage if one of the parents decided to convert. It even declared that the Government would ban parents from secretly converting children.

The Cabinet also decided that outstanding issues in a marriage should be settled before conversion to prevent children from becoming the victims.

In fact, two months later, the Government then proceeded to table a bill on these matters, but it was delayed by the Conference of Rulers. Nazri Aziz, the then de facto law minister, even expressed disappointment over the delay. But after that, no effort was made to revive the bill.

It's unfortunate that the 2009 bill didn't get its day in Parliament. The stand it reflected appears to be an accommodating one that takes into consideration the feelings of non-Muslims. In today's context, it would cohere with any intention the Government may have of actually bringing about "national reconciliation" instead of just talking about it.

But instead, the Government has now taken an opposite stand. Why?

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin defends it on the grounds that the Cabinet was guided by a Federal Court ruling on a previous case as well as the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

He did not elaborate, but the understanding is, he was referring to the Federal Court ruling of December 2007 in the R. Subashini case in which the court said Subashini's husband, T. Saravanan, had the right to convert their four-year-old son to Islam without the knowledge of the mother.

It said that according to Article 12(4) of the Federal Constitution, the consent of only one parent was sufficient in the conversion of a child. "The argument that both parents are vested with equal right to choose is misplaced," it added.

This statement is now being disputed by several quarters.

The Bar Council says such conversion of children without the consent of both parents amounts to an "unauthorised alteration" of the Constitution that came about with a new Malay translation of Article 12(4) that saw print in 2002.

Article 12(4) states that "the religion of a person under the age of eighteen years shall be decided by his parent or guardian". Bar Council president Christopher Leong points out that "parent", although in singular form, refers to both parents as this was in accordance with the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution, which clarifies that "words in the singular include the plural, and words in the plural include the singular".

Before 2002, the Malay translation of "parent" in Article 12(4) was "ibubapa" (father and mother) and therefore correct. But the new translation has it as "ibu atau bapa" (mother or father). As such, the Bar Council contends, the confusion caused by the translation cannot be grounds for amending an Act.

MIC Deputy President and Health Minister S. Subramaniam points to the same discrepancy in translation and holds it responsible for the current controversy.

However, he would not commit himself to saying that the MIC would vote against the bill. Instead, he said, "I don't think it will reach that stage."

This makes one wonder if the tabling of the bill might not just be a sandiwara to appease Muslim conservatives, and perhaps some Umno members as well in view of the upcoming Umno general assembly which promises to be a high-stakes event for leaders who will be standing for party elections.

Read more at: http://my.news.yahoo.com/blogs/bull-bashing/bill-does-not-fit-114656820.html 

Wanita Umno tidak mahu Shahrizat dicabar

Posted: 04 Jul 2013 01:26 PM PDT

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(FMT) - Berkemungkinan besar tidak ada calon yang layak mencabar Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil dalam pemilhan jawatan Ketua Wanita Umno akhir tahun ini.

Bahagian Wanita mahu mengekalkan kepimpinan Shahrizat sekurang-kurangnya sepenggal lagi.

Berkemungkinan besar tidak ada calon yang layak mencabar Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil dalam pemilhan jawatan Ketua Wanita Umno akhir tahun ini.

Bahagian Wanita Umno mahu mengekalkan kepimpinan Shahrizat sekurang-kurangnya sepenggal lagi.

Bekas Ketua Puteri Umno, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said yang menawarkan diri tetapi dipandang sepi oleh orang lain.

Menurut mereka, Azalina bekas menteri kabinet era Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi bukan lawan setanding untuk Shahrizat.

Azalina tidak mempunyai jawatan besar dalam parti dan kerajaan, sekadar ahli parlimen Pengerang dan ketua Umno bahagian. Sebaliknya, Shahrizat mengetuai  pergerakan itu sejak Mac 2009 yang menewaskan Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz penyandang jawatan waktu itu.

Jika Wanita Umno serius memilih ketua baru, mereka perlu mencalonkan calon yang lebih berwibawa dan popular. Azalina sudah melepasi tahap itu – beliau umpama kacang kecil dan kerana itu tawarannya itu berlalu sepi.

Bekas Ketua Wanita Umno Johor, Datuk Halimah Sadiue; Ketua Wanita Kedah, Datuk Maznah Hamid dan Ketua Wanita Selangor, Datuk Raja Ropiaah Raja Abdullah merupakan calon yang lebih berpengalaman dalam politik Wanita Umno. 

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/07/05/wanita-umno-tidak-mahu-shahrizat-dicabar/ 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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