Khamis, 18 Julai 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News


‘Abolish 9A′ campaign launched

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 11:25 PM PDT

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Online campaign by Bersih and Pakatan is to pressure the government to allow the electoral roll to be scrutinised by the courts

(FMT) - Section 9A states: "After an electoral roll has been certified… (and) published in the gazette… the electoral roll shall be deemed to be final and binding and shall not be questioned or appealed against in, or reviewed, quashed or set aside by any court."

 

Pakatan Rakyat with the support of Bersih chairperson, S Ambiga, have launched a campaign to pressure the government to allow the Court to scrutinise the 'dirty' electoral roll.

Previous efforts to file a court case compelling the Election Commission (EC) to clean up the electoral roll were rebuffed on the grounds that it violates Section 9A of the Elections Act 1958.

Section 9A states: "After an electoral roll has been certified… (and) published in the gazette… the electoral roll shall be deemed to be final and binding and shall not be questioned or appealed against in, or reviewed, quashed or set aside by any court."

This means that once an electoral roll is gazetted, it cannot be challenged in court, DAP leader Charles Santiago said today at a joint press conference with Ambiga, Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang, and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng at the Parliament lobby.

READ MORE HERE

 

MCA blames indelible ink row on Bersih’s demands

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 11:18 PM PDT

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(The Malay Mail) - "Now that the general election is over, it is now proven that her original idea is messy, impractical and a waste of money and manpower," Heng added.

MCA's Datuk Heng Seai Kie today laid the blame for the entire indelible ink fiasco squarely at the door of Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, suggesting the furore over the ink's inefficacy would not exist had the electoral watchdog not insisted on the safeguard against vote fraud.

Introduced in Election 2013 as a concession to one of Bersih's eight demands for free and fair elections, the indelible ink meant to prevent repeating voting ironically became a symbol of alleged electoral fraud after voters flooded social media to show the ease with which it was removed.

Although it initially denied the allegations, the Election Commission (EC) has since conceded to the "shortcomings" of the ink that had been meant to last for up to seven days.

Opposition lawmakers, led by PKR's Rafizi Ramli, have honed in on the EC and the supplier of the controversial ink, but today the MCA Publicity Bureau chairman said they were barking up the wrong tree.

"If PKR Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli wants to blame anyone for the hue and cry over the indelible ink, it should be former Bar Council president and current Bersih chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan as she was the one who had initiated this idea and riled up the crowds to support her in this venture of hers," Heng said in a statement today.

Pointing to Bersih's demand for indelible ink to be used, Heng asserted that this led Putrajaya to drop suggestions to employ biometrics for fraud prevention instead.

"Now that the general election is over, it is now proven that her original idea is messy, impractical and a waste of money and manpower," Hend added.

The failure surrounding the indelible ink has since led Pakatan Rakyat to sue the EC's commissioners in a bid to annul the result of Election 2013.

After the initial denials, EC deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar explained that the election ink failed to stay on for seven days because the level of silver nitrate — needed to give the ink its permanence — had been kept at just one per cent following the Health Ministry's recommendations and to meet halal requirements for Muslims.

The matter, however, sank deeper into controversy when Shahidan appeared to communicate that even the one per cent of silver nitrate had not been present, telling Parliament last month that there were "no chemicals" in the ink, and just food colouring.

But Wan Ahmad later contradicted Shahidan and said that the ink did contain one per cent silver nitrate, and that it was likely classified as a metal, instead of a chemical. He said that food dye was used to turn the indelible ink red for early voters and dark blue for ordinary voters.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has also opened an investigation into the procurement of the ink.

Nurul’s bill to remove Sedition Act rejected

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 06:39 PM PDT

(FMT) - The Private Member's Bill Nurul Izzah Anwar filed to bring an end to the Sedition Act 1948 has been rejected by the Speaker on the grounds that the act's abolishment would threaten the position of the Malay Rulers.

The Parliament Speaker, in a letter to Nurul yesterday, said that abolishing the Sedition Act would also mean abolishing its subsections, which touched upon the position of the Kings.

"…abolishing [this act] especially subsection 3(1)(f) will result in the act of questioning the special position of the Malay Rulers no longer becoming seditious," the letter, signed by Pandikar Amin, reads.

"I also understand that Act 38(4) of the Federal Constitution states that no law that touches upon the position of the Malay Rulers can be approved without agreement from the Conference of Rulers."

This has prompted Nurul to question whether Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was aware of this clause when he announced last year that the government would replace the controversial act with the National Harmony Act.

"Does this mean that Najib is unaware of the procedure and mechanisms related to any Act before it is repealed?" the PKR vice-president asked at a press conference in the Parliament lobby today.

"Why didn't he realize there were such requirements before making a public announcement to Malaysians on July 2012 that he would abolish the Sedition Act?" she said.

The government has received widespread flak for wielding the Act primarily on Opposition Leaders and activists critical of Barisan Nasional as recently as May this year.

Read more here:  http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/07/18/nurul%E2%80%99s-bill-to-remove-sedition-act-rejected/#sthash.HUeYVanY.dpuf

 

he Private Member's Bill Nurul Izzah Anwar filed to bring an end to the Sedition Act 1948 has been rejected by the Speaker on the grounds that the act's abolishment would threaten the position of the Malay Rulers.

The Parliament Speaker, in a letter to Nurul yesterday, said that abolishing the Sedition Act would also mean abolishing its subsections, which touched upon the position of the Kings.

"…abolishing [this act] especially subsection 3(1)(f) will result in the act of questioning the special position of the Malay Rulers no longer becoming seditious," the letter, signed by Pandikar Amin, reads.

"I also understand that Act 38(4) of the Federal Constitution states that no law that touches upon the position of the Malay Rulers can be approved without agreement from the Conference of Rulers."

This has prompted Nurul to question whether Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was aware of this clause when he announced last year that the government would replace the controversial act with the National Harmony Act.

"Does this mean that Najib is unaware of the procedure and mechanisms related to any Act before it is repealed?" the PKR vice-president asked at a press conference in the Parliament lobby today.

"Why didn't he realize there were such requirements before making a public announcement to Malaysians on July 2012 that he would abolish the Sedition Act?" she said.

The government has received widespread flak for wielding the Act primarily on Opposition Leaders and activists critical of Barisan Nasional as recently as May this year.

- See more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/07/18/nurul%E2%80%99s-bill-to-remove-sedition-act-rejected/#sthash.HUeYVanY.dpuf
he Private Member's Bill Nurul Izzah Anwar filed to bring an end to the Sedition Act 1948 has been rejected by the Speaker on the grounds that the act's abolishment would threaten the position of the Malay Rulers.

The Parliament Speaker, in a letter to Nurul yesterday, said that abolishing the Sedition Act would also mean abolishing its subsections, which touched upon the position of the Kings.

"…abolishing [this act] especially subsection 3(1)(f) will result in the act of questioning the special position of the Malay Rulers no longer becoming seditious," the letter, signed by Pandikar Amin, reads.

"I also understand that Act 38(4) of the Federal Constitution states that no law that touches upon the position of the Malay Rulers can be approved without agreement from the Conference of Rulers."

This has prompted Nurul to question whether Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was aware of this clause when he announced last year that the government would replace the controversial act with the National Harmony Act.

"Does this mean that Najib is unaware of the procedure and mechanisms related to any Act before it is repealed?" the PKR vice-president asked at a press conference in the Parliament lobby today.

"Why didn't he realize there were such requirements before making a public announcement to Malaysians on July 2012 that he would abolish the Sedition Act?" she said.

The government has received widespread flak for wielding the Act primarily on Opposition Leaders and activists critical of Barisan Nasional as recently as May this year.

- See more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/07/18/nurul%E2%80%99s-bill-to-remove-sedition-act-rejected/#sthash.HUeYVanY.dpuf
he Private Member's Bill Nurul Izzah Anwar filed to bring an end to the Sedition Act 1948 has been rejected by the Speaker on the grounds that the act's abolishment would threaten the position of the Malay Rulers.

The Parliament Speaker, in a letter to Nurul yesterday, said that abolishing the Sedition Act would also mean abolishing its subsections, which touched upon the position of the Kings.

"…abolishing [this act] especially subsection 3(1)(f) will result in the act of questioning the special position of the Malay Rulers no longer becoming seditious," the letter, signed by Pandikar Amin, reads.

"I also understand that Act 38(4) of the Federal Constitution states that no law that touches upon the position of the Malay Rulers can be approved without agreement from the Conference of Rulers."

This has prompted Nurul to question whether Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was aware of this clause when he announced last year that the government would replace the controversial act with the National Harmony Act.

"Does this mean that Najib is unaware of the procedure and mechanisms related to any Act before it is repealed?" the PKR vice-president asked at a press conference in the Parliament lobby today.

"Why didn't he realize there were such requirements before making a public announcement to Malaysians on July 2012 that he would abolish the Sedition Act?" she said.

The government has received widespread flak for wielding the Act primarily on Opposition Leaders and activists critical of Barisan Nasional as recently as May this year.

- See more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/07/18/nurul%E2%80%99s-bill-to-remove-sedition-act-rejected/#sthash.HUeYVanY.dpuf

Alvin, Vivian charged, bail rejected

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 06:26 PM PDT

Sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee, who posted an insensitive Ramadan greeting on their Facebook have been charged and sent to prison without bail. 

K Pragalath, FMT

Sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee who posted an insensitive Ramadan greeting on their Facebook have been charged with publishing indecent photographs, promoting enmity among the races and for sedition at the Jalan Duta Sessions Court today.

No bail was granted and Tan was sent to the Sungai Buloh Prision while Lee was taken to the Kajang Prision.

The couple were charged under:

a) Section 5 of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for publishing indecent photographs online between July 6 and 7. If found guilty they can be fined not less than RM10,000 or not more than RM50,000 and or imprisoned for not exceeding five years;

b) 298A Penal Code for promoting enmity between different groups of religion or race and doing acts prejudicial to maintaining harmony by publishing an offensive Ramadan greeting which carries a minimum jail term of two years or a maximum of five years; and

c) Section 4(1) (c) of the 1948 Sedition Act for posting seditious material through the offensive greeting which carries fine maximum fine of RM5,000.

Tan, 24, and his girlfriend Lee, 25, enraged the Malaysian society when they posted a Ramadan greeting image of them eating 'bak kut teh' (herbal pork soup).

The couple famously known as Alvivi have apologised for their action.

READ MORE HERE

 

Impressions and interpretations

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 05:33 PM PDT

And this is the single most crucial element in the difference between the two religions. If you accept the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ that would mean the Bible is right and the Qur'an is wrong. If you reject the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ that would mean the Qur'an is right and the Bible is wrong.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Most religionists (a religionist means a person who has faith in something: also called acceptor, submitter, adherent, apostle, canonist, convert, devotee, disciple, doctrinaire, dogmatist, follower, freak, orthodox, prophet, proselyte, religious person, supporter, upholder, zealot, etc.) think that religion is an exact science.

It is not. There is nothing precise in religion. Religion is subject to impressions and interpretations.

Hence, to the layman, they need to take the word of a scholar, priest, imam, etc., to interpret what their religion is trying to teach you because just by reading the 'holy books' you can't always understand what the message is supposed to be.

And herein lies the problem. You need to trust the skills and knowledge of your 'teacher'. And your teacher will look at things from his or her viewpoint -- which may not always be right because people are unavoidably influenced by 'external factors' such as upbringing, society norms, cultural background, etc.

And this means you can never get a 'pure' impression and interpretation. Invariably, all impressions and interpretations will get 'tainted' to a certain degree.

This is further complicated by the belief that some 'holy books' contain 'hidden messages', which are beyond the comprehension of the 'lower level' religious adherent. For example, Muslims believe that only the Sufis can grasp the 'higher' or 'hidden messages' in Islam. The layman Muslim, which would be the majority of the Muslims, cannot grasp this 'higher level' understanding of Islam.

So who then really knows Islam? Not you and I, the 99% or so of the Muslims. Only the 1% or less of the Muslims who are truly enlightened can understand Islam. The rest of us just have to accept the word of the 'learned man' and trust this person and follow this person's advise.

It was once the same for Christianity. In the past it was a crime to translate the Bible into your mother tongue. The Bible had to be in Latin so you needed to learn Latin to know the Bible. And, like in Islam's case, since less than 1% of Christians read Latin, that means 99% or so of the Christians did not understand what the Bible was really saying. You had to trust the impressions and interpretations of your priest.

But then the Bible was not originally in Latin (or Greek). It was in Aramaic. So if you want to really understand the Bible you had to get your hands on the Aramaic version of the Bible and learn Aramaic to be able to read it.

How many Christians speak Aramaic and have an Aramaic copy of the Bible? So you need to get your hands on the translated version of the Bible instead and hope that whoever translated it got it right.

But then the message in most of the 'holy books' (the Qur'an included) is not always literal. There is much that is allegorical as well. Did the person who translated this original version of the 'holy book' understand which part is literal and which part is allegorical?

And herein lies the second problem.

Let me give you an example. Let us look at Genesis 3:15.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (King James Version)

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. (New International Version) 

How would you interpret this verse? Is it literal or allegorical? If I were to take it literally I would say this refers to God making the snake the enemy of humankind because of what the snake did to Eve: tricked her into convincing Adam to eat the forbidden fruit. People will kill snakes while snakes will strike people as punishment.

But is that all there is to this message: about snakes and people being enemies? Is there instead maybe an allegorical message here?

Another very crucial point to note is: was it not Satan that tricked Eve? In that case why is the snake being punished when it was actually Satan, masquerading as a snake, who committed the crime? How can a just God punish the snake for the evil deed of Satan? This does not give the compassionate God a good image, does it?

So you see, much of what we know and what we believe is based on 'guidance'. In short, we have been taught by certain people what we should believe based on these people's understanding of what it was supposed to mean. Are these people right? As what religionists would say: only God knows.

You may think you know your religion. In fact, you may even think you know more than me. But what is it that you know? You only know what someone told you. But you do not know whether this someone is right. You believe this person is right. And belief does not make it right or a fact. Belief is still just that, belief.

In law, hearsay is not evidence. In religion, hearsay is everything. Can you send someone to jail or sentence that person to death based on hearsay? You would be outraged if that happens. But you are not outraged when someone tells you a story about an event that happened, say, 3,500 years ago, based on hearsay.

How many 'holy books' do you read? And which 'holy books' are those? Do you know that there are more 'holy books' in existence than you are not aware of? And you do not read these 'holy books' because they are classified as Apocryphal. But who agreed on this classification?

It is the same with Islam. We have the Qur'an and then we have the Hadith. There are about 700,000 Hadith but less than 7,000 are accepted as authentic and the rest as apocrypha. Some sects accept only 500 and others none at all.

Again, Islam and Christianity walk down the same path.

If you were to read the Bible and the Qur'an you will find much overlap and agreement in belief. The glaring difference would be in the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ is the foundation of Christianity. Islam rejects this in total so this means Islam rejects the foundation of Christianity.

And this is the single most crucial element in the difference between the two religions. If you accept the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ that would mean the Bible is right and the Qur'an is wrong. If you reject the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ that would mean the Qur'an is right and the Bible is wrong.

And this whole thing comes about because of the issue of sin and the punishment for sin. Without the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ then the matter of sin can never be resolved.

In Islam, you commit both good and bad deeds and God will look at the balance between the two. You receive sin for the bad deeds and blessings for the good deeds. If you clock up more positives than negatives then you get to go to heaven. So you need to make sure your account is in black and not in red.

In Christianity, you commit only good deeds. Even the smallest bad deed (say like calling someone 'stupid') is a sin that will not escape punishment. Hence you can commit 1,000,000 good deeds but if you commit even one bad deed you will still get sent to hell, unlike in Islam.

In other words, in Islam, the door to heaven is still open to you if you can try to do a bit more good than bad (say 51% good versus 49% bad). In Christianity, the door to heaven will always remain closed even if you do 99.9% good and just 0.1% bad. No sin can be forgiven never mind how good you are.

Now, Christianity believes we are all born sinners (while Islam says we are born pure like a white cloth). That means every single person is going to end up in hell. Not a single person is going to heaven. But then God sent Jesus to die on the cross so that he can 'underwrite' all our sins. Hence, without the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, heaven will be entirely empty and every single person will be in hell.

And this, basically, is the fundamental difference between the two faiths involving the way or road to heaven. And that is why Christianity and Islam have been fighting for 'world domination' for more than 1,000 years. It is all about the differences of opinion in how we get to heaven.

And while they battle it out to decide who has the correct version and who has the wrong version in how we get to heaven, they make life on earth a living hell for the rest of us.

To conclude, you could say that Islam is about balance while Christianity is about absolute. But then that is my impression and interpretation of things and is subject to opinion.

 

Govt explains Lynas’ local disposal facility

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 04:47 PM PDT

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Deputy minister Abu Bakar Mohamad says the government is firm with Lynas in shipping its radioactive waste abroad.

(FMT) - Lynas has previously said they are studying method to recycle some of its wastes into synthentic gypsium and fertilizer locally.

The government has compelled rare earth refiner Lynas Corp to produce a plan for local permanent disposal facility (PDF) because it is an international requirement, the Parliament is told today.

Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Abu Bakar Mohamad said the PDF proposal did not mean that Lynas would be allowed to store its radioactive waste in the country.

"(PDF) is an international standard. So when we draft the temporary operating license (TOL), we have to include it as one of the conditions.

"In fact, the government is firm with the decision for them to export the waste abroad," he said.

 READ MORE HERE

MB defends decision to let councillors move into exco village

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 04:40 PM PDT

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(fz.com) - It is also learnt that the Selangor Mufti Datuk Mohd Tamyes Abdul Wahib has agreed to move into one of the bungalows.

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has defended the state government's decision to allow its state executive councillors (exco) to live in the exco village in Section 7 here despite an earlier stance against it.
 
Justifying his decision, Abdul Khalid said the state government has been forking out funds to maintain the houses even though there were no occupants.
 
"Either way, our choice was to sell the property. But we think, it is not the right time for it," he said when met after the state executive council meeting yesterday.
 
"We tried to rent out the houses but due to the design of the place, not many people were willing to do so at the price we wanted," he added.
 
He said the state government had decided to rent the 10 bungalows at RM5,000 each a month.
 
This was partly due to the maintenance cost of the area, he added.

 READ MORE HERE

Sex blogger couple face three charges

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 04:32 PM PDT

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(fz.com) -  A total of three charges were leveled against Controversial Malaysian sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee.

Two charges were on their provocative Ramadan greeting on Facebook under the Penal Code and Sedition Act.
 
The other charge was against their crude photos on their websites under Section 43 of the Film Censorship Act.
 
The couple claimed trial for all three charges.
 
Last Friday, the couple uploaded a photo of them enjoying a meal of bak kut teh (a pork soup dish) on their Facebook page with the caption: "Selamat Berbuka Puasa with bak kut teh… fragrant, delicious and appetising" together with the halal logo.
 
The couple's stunt drew so much flak not only from the Muslim community but also from Malaysians in general which lead to their Facebook page being shut down.
 
They apologised for their behaviour the next day, admitting on Twitter that it was the "stupidest stunt" they have done and that they were wrong.

Sex bloggers detained, to be charged today

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 03:31 PM PDT

(NST) - Sex bloggers Alvin Tan Jye Yee and Vivian Lee were detained by police when they arrived at Jalan Duta Court Complex this morning.

They are expected to be charged in court this afternoon.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was quoted in the New Straits Times today as confirming the couple would be charged but declined to reveal details of the offence.

The couple, aged 25 and 24 respectively, had incurred the wrath of Malaysians after posting a picture of themselves eating bak kut tehwith the caption Selamat Berbuka Puasa on Facebook.

The picture had a halal logo and the words wangi, enak, menyelerakan (fragrant, delicious and appetising).


 

‘CEO’s lack of plantation experience a matter of concern’

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 03:23 PM PDT

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(The Edge) -  The board of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) is more concerned over its newly appointed group CEO Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah's lack of PLANTATION experience than his questionable doctorate qualification, according to analysts tracking the company.

Several analysts closely covering the government-linked plantation company said the FGV board was not overly concerned about the credibility of Emir's PhD in Government Reforms from Warnborough University.

"It is Emir's lack of experience and knowledge in the plantation sector that has become a concern. They want to know if he is able to perform as the CEO of a leading palm oil producer and sugar refiner.

READ MORE HERE

Bung’s betrayal in Parliament?

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 03:21 PM PDT

Frankie D'Cruz,The Malay Mail

It was only Monday and already Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar was having the worst week in Malaysia with his staggering remark that Barisan Nasional politicians who don't ask for contracts from the government are cowards.

Bung had implicated his colleagues and none I would expect were sympathetic toward him. But we all know that Bung's demeanour is one of gruff agitation. The cranky MP is like that obsessive spammer who fills your inbox with thickets of confusing disclosures.

Everyone snaps from time to time, but Bung broadcasts his hostility and impatience in the rudest and most impudent manner. In the process, he sparks a jarring breach of parliamentary respectability.

On Monday in Parliament, grouchy Bung stood up, rolled his eyes, shook his head and left BN MPs flushed with embarrassment when he openly declared that they demanded contracts from the government and anyone who did not do so were cowards.

Clearly, he displayed greed when, according to Malaysiakini, he said that open tenders were indeed being done but lamented that because of this, he could not get the contracts that he  demanded.

Malaysiakini reported that Bung, responding to a question raised by Gombak MP Azmin Ali, said: "I think Gombak has left Umno for a long time and he does not know about the developments (in the party).

"We are also upset with the leaders because when we ask (for contracts), we do not get them.

"Everything is via open tenders now and it shows the government's transparency in moving towards open tenders. Gombak does not know of these changes."

An amused Azmin replied: "I thank Kinabatangan for verifying for us that Umno division leaders do indeed ask for contracts."

Realising his mistake, Bung lashed out at Azmin: "In PKR it's the same, they also ask (for contracts). If they do not ask, they are cowards."

Will Bung, the entertainer, ever embrace quiet humility in the august House?

That's a skill he has yet to learn — and if the first session of the 13th Parliament is any indication, he certainly isn't trying — as are others.

Still, that should come as no surprise.

Multi-award winning journalist Frankie D'Cruz is editor of The Malay Mail. He can be reached at frankie@mmail.com.my or Twitter @frankieDcruz. - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/frankie-dcruz/article/bungs-betrayal-in-parliament#sthash.hOhB7iSU.dpuf

Multi-award winning journalist Frankie D'Cruz is editor of The Malay Mail. He can be reached at frankie@mmail.com.my or Twitter @frankieDcruz. 

 

80% of rainforests in Malaysian Borneo logged

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 03:03 PM PDT

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Bulldozer at a conventional logging site in Borneo 

(Mongabay) -  80 percent of the rainforests in Malaysian Borneo have been heavily impacted by logging, finds a comprehensive study that offers the first assessment of the spread of industrial logging and logging roads across areas that were considered some of Earth's wildest lands less than 30 years ago.

The research, conducted by a team of scientists from the University of Tasmania, University of Papua New Guinea, and the Carnegie Institution for Science, is based on analysis of satellite data using Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (CLASlite), a freely available platform for measuring deforestation and forest degradation. It estimated the state of the region's forests as of 2009.

The study uncovered some 226,000 miles (364,000 km) of roads across Sabah and Sarawak, and found that roughly 80 percent of the two states have been impacted by logging or clearing. At best, only 45,400 square kilometers of forest ecosystems in the region remain intact.

"The extent of logging in Sabah and Sarawak documented in our work is breathtaking," said study co-author Phil Shearman of the University of Papua New Guinea. "The logging industry has penetrated right into the heart of Borneo and very little rainforest remains untouched by logging or clearfell in Malaysian Borneo."

 

READ MORE HERE

In London property, Malaysia a leader of the Asian invasion

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 02:56 PM PDT

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(The Malay Mail) -  The government-backed funds of Malaysia, Singapore and Korea are at the forefront of a new wave of investment in London's booming property market, the Financial Times reported today.

Asian and Middle Eastern money accounted for more than eight out of 10, or 82 per cent of commercial transactions in London in the first half of the year.

The FT reported that "overseas investors were behind a record 82 per cent of property transactions in the City of London during the six months, to the value of £4.15 billion (RM20 billion)."

This underscored the demand for high value property at a time of low interest rates and weak sterling.

According to the newspaper, the year has been punctuated by a series of high-profile, high value deals in central London – the latest being the £260m purchase last week of the Lord Rogers-designed Lloyd's building by Ping An, the Chinese life assurer.

Other notable transactions include the Malaysian pension fund Kumpulan Wang Persaraan's (KWAP) purchase of a City office block for £215 million.

KWAP is a government fund used to finance pensions paid out to civil servants.

Last month the same newspaper also reported that Malaysians are among the top 10 biggest foreign buyers of US commercial property, joining the flow of investors from emerging markets looking to park their cash in a stable environment with higher yields.

Citing data from global real estate research and consulting firm Real Capital Analytics (RCA), the widely-read business and current affairs paper reported Malaysia to have entered the same league as Canada, Singapore, China, South Korea, Australia, Israel and Kuwait in buying up chunks of prime office space in New York as well as in gateway cities across the US valued at US$27.2 billion (RM84.3 billion) last year.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told FT that Malaysia would continue to gobble up London property as cash-rich funds such as Employees Provident Fund (EPF) "need to take some of that surplus abroad".

The prime minister was in London to launch the Battersea project — owned by the Malaysian consortium of Sime Darby, SP Setia and the EPF — in the British capital.

The redevelopment of the iconic power station has also come to symbolise Malaysia's appetite within the sector.

Already, the EPF and government-linked corporations such as Sime Darby have shot Malaysia to second place in London's lucrative property sector.

According to the Financial Times, an EPF spokesman said the fund aimed to have 23 per cent of its portfolio invested overseas by 2014/15, up from 18 per cent now.

The EPF and its public sector equivalent, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan, began venturing into UK property in 2010, acquiring an office building as part of plans to invest up to £1 billion  in the British property market, according to the Reuters news agency.

A year later, the EPF expanded its foray by taking out a five-year £300 million loan ― its first offshore loan ― to fund the acquisition of three London-based properties.

It holds 20 per cent of the Battersea project, with Sime Darby and SP Setia owning the remainder.

The EPF handles around RM176 billion generated from the mandatory retirement savings of Malaysian private workers.

Najib also told the British newspaper that Malaysia aimed to be a "major player" in the London property market.

FT reported that spending by Asian investors accelerated rapidly during the three months to the end of June, with the region responsible for £1.04 billion during the first quarter, up 166 per cent on the previous three months.

London, cornered more international property investment last year than any European country.

This reflects the growing pressure on large, cash rich investors to diversify away from the bond markets amid a period characterised by low interest rates and volatile equity markets, according to FT.

The newspaper added that the central London office market has been highlighted by investors for offering a government bond-like risk profile but significantly better yields, typically between four per cent and six per cent.

Beware of Umno’s education game plan

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 02:55 PM PDT

It is likely that the Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies course is part of the overall game plan of Umno to establish the party's version of politically correct history. 

Lim Teck Ghee

PKR's Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli's support of the proposal by the Ministry of Higher Education to make the Islamic and Asian Civilisation Studies (TITAS) course compulsory in private tertiary institutions (IPTS) is a disappointment.

More disappointing is the reasoning behind his support for the introduction of the subject.

His argument that "politically, it's not helping when it's made too much of a fuss, because it fits the Malay right-wing argument that the Chinese and non-Malays refuse to understand and look down on everything Islam" smacks of crude political opportunism.

Members of the public who see him as a potential future leader expect him to take on and not surrender to Malay right wing opinions that are based on irrational and mischievous thinking.

Rafizi should know that the religious and socio-cultural conflict in the country is not because the non-Malays refuse to understand and look down on everything that is Islamic.

The great majority of Malaysians respect the faith of their neighbours even if they may not understand it. What they resent and oppose is the state-sponsored assertion of dominance and superiority of a religion that is different or not their own.

I am sure Malay Muslims will similarly resent and resist any action to marginalize their religion and culture in any country in the world.

In this particular case, we are witnessing the use of the public sphere to force feed the young with perspectives that are biased to one religion and narrowly selective.

During the past two decades there has been a concerted attempt by Umno leaders using the bureaucracy to reconfigure Malaysian and world history as well as civilizational studies taught in schools to fit in with their "ketuanan Melayu", "ketuanan Islam" and "ketuanan Umno" mindset.

Surely Rafizi is fully aware of these efforts – including those linked with the BTN scandal – which are derived from unjust and unacceptable notions of Bumiputera and Muslim privilege, superiority and dominance.

Surely he does not believe the lame justification put out by Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Parliament that the introduction of the required course is simply to streamline the requirement of public and private institutions of higher education. If he did so, he must have been born yesterday.

That Umno has been able to succeed in the past with the introduction of one policy after another to mould the educational system to conform to its political agenda speaks volumes about the so-called neutrality and professionalism of the Education Ministry, the craven non-Umno leaders in the government as well as about the degree of ignorance and apathy amongst Malaysian parents.

The Malay and non-Muslim public have now awoken. During the past two years we have seen various NGOs, including the multi-racial and multi-religious grouping of "Kempen Sejarah Malaysia Sebenar" (KemSMS) raise their voices for the overhaul of the current history syllabus and text books.

They have also requested for delay in the planned implementation of History as a compulsory subject at the secondary level.

It is not clear to what extent their proposals and recommendations have been accepted and incorporated into the report of the special committee studying the history text books and history syllabus for secondary schools curricula.

The important thing is that they have done their homework and spoken up.

A similar outcry and close scrutiny of TITAS is needed. Under the guise of instilling "national patriotism" and "nationalism", it is likely that TITAS is part of the overall game plan of Umno in cahoots with our education officialdom to ensure that the party's version of politically correct history, religious and civilizational studies is imprinted into the minds of our young generation.

If TITAS goes through as a compulsory requirement, non-Malays and non-Muslims will not be the only losers.

Young Malays and the Muslims themselves too will lose out as they imbibe and internalize a propagandistic and truncated version of the world's religions and civilizations which will highlight the self -proclaimed superiority of Islam and the shortcomings of all other religious and civilizational systems.

This can only diminish and impoverish rather than nourish their minds, values and behaviour.

This is why Rafizi needs to reconsider his stand – if not for the sake of the non-Malays, at least for the sake of the Malays.

This is why other stakeholders need to speak out and demand to know the truth behind the proposed course and put its contents, the recommended text books, and other requirements under the microscope of public scrutiny.

Lim Teck Ghee is the director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives.

 

‘New preventive law must be specific’

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 02:34 PM PDT

New set of preventive laws to replace the Emergency Ordinance must be more specific, says MCA vice-president Donald Lim. 

Alfian ZM Tahir, FMT

MCA vice-president Donald Lim said the new law to replace the repealed Emergency Ordinance (EO) should be definitive and specific in tackling crime.

Lim told FMT that it was time for the Barisan Nasional to reform itself and deliver its promises to the people.

"We have to be more specific and state the type of crime we are dealing with," he said.

Lim said the people were happy when the government repealed the ISA and praised Najib for his reforms.

Last week, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the first draft of new set of laws replacing the EO was now with the Attorney-General's chambers.

However, in a buka puasa event yesterday, Zahid said the police were toothless without the EO.

Zahid said since the EO was repealed, organised or serious crimes increased by 90% which were carried out by former criminals.

READ MORE HERE

 

In the Malay Press: Govt to continue with culture project on Chin Woo land

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 02:24 PM PDT

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(fz.com) - "The land is gazetted for culture, that is to build the Kota Warisan. I don't intend to negotiate with any party including the MCA and am only prepared to meet them in court," Nazri said.

The government will continue to reclaim the land of SJK (C) Chin Woo for the Kota Warisan project despite MCA's protest against it, Utusan Malaysia reported today.
 
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the land reclamation process will begin in the near future for the purpose of building a Cultural Village through the project.
 
At the same time, Nazri said, the ministry is preparing a team of lawyer to face any possibility to resolve the issue in court.
 
"The land is gazetted for culture, that is to build the Kota Warisan. I don't intend to negotiate with any party including the MCA and am only prepared to meet them in court," Nazri said.
 
Nazri said this in response to MCA's call for the government to reconsider its decision to take back the 0.13 hectare land from Chin Woo School.
 
MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai had said the government must take into account that the land, which is now a basketball court, has been used by the school since it was established 1938.
 
READ MORE HERE

Speaker denies motion to send Rafizi to rights committee over indelible ink

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 02:18 PM PDT

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Rafizi said last Tuesday that the supplier of the indelible ink used in Election 2013 is linked to Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar. — Picture by Choo Choy May - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/speaker-denies-motion-to-send-rafizi-to-rights-committee-over-indelible-ink?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.PiOAhvRS.dpuf
Rafizi said last Tuesday that the supplier of the indelible ink used in Election 2013 is linked to Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar. — Picture by Choo Choy May - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/speaker-denies-motion-to-send-rafizi-to-rights-committee-over-indelible-ink?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.PiOAhvRS.dpuf

Rafizi said last Tuesday that the supplier of the indelible ink used in Election 2013 is linked to Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar. — Picture by Choo Choy May

(The Malay Mail) - Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia rejected today a motion to refer PKR MP Rafizi Ramli to the Parliament's Rights and Privileges Committee over the latter's remarks on the indelible ink supplier.

Rafizi, who is the Pandan MP, said last Tuesday that the supplier of the indelible ink used in Election 2013 is linked to Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof and deputy chairman Datuk Wan Ahmad Wan Omar.

"In this matter, I am fair," Pandikar ruled in Parliament here today.

"The three conditions fall short," he said, referring to the three criteria required to send a lawmaker to the Parliament's Rights and Privileges Committee, which are: the statement is false, the MP knows the statement is false but does not correct it, and the MP has intentions to mislead the House.

Police are now ‘powerless’, says Zahid

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 02:14 PM PDT

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(Bernama) - He said the police were losing their powers to record statements of witnesses and could not compel witnesses to appear in the court.

Legislative transformationS carried out by the Attorney-General's Chambers to replace the Emergency Ordinance (EO) with new laws need not burden the police in their effort to reduce the crime rate in the country, said Home Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said the new legislation needed to be similar to the EO which enabled police to have the power to fight crimes especially serious crimes.

"We (Home Ministry) do not want to contradict what is being done by the Attorney-General to carry out legislative transformation. But we must understand the police are toothless when there is no EO.

"Do not see only from the legal perspective but from all aspects to fight crime," he told reporters after attending a breaking of fast event of the National Anti-Drug Agency here last night.

According to him, since the EO was repealed, incidents of organised or serious crimes increased by 90 per cent which were carried out by former criminals.

Ahmad Zahid had recently reportedly said that following the repeal of the EO, 2,600 detainees at the Simpang Renggam Detention Centre in Johor were released and that many of them returned to lead a life of crime.

He also requested Malaysians to understand the position of police who were now powerless.

He said the police were losing their powers to record statements of witnesses and could not compel witnesses to appear in the court.

Therefore, he said, the community should not blame police when the crime rate increased.

"We are not seeking the people's sympathy but understanding on the police's duty in arresting criminals but having to release them for lack of evidence.

"Prior to this, Inspector-General of Police (Tan Sri) Khalid Abu Bakar had also requested for a new law similar to the EO to curb serious crimes like shooting," he said.

According to Khalid, without EO and no witnesses coming forward to assist in investigations, criminals were getting bolder to carry out radical and aggressive crimes such as shootings.

Police chief denies having top secret news of Sulu intrusion

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 02:06 PM PDT

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(TMI) - The Lahad Datu police chief has denied making any statements about the impending attack by the Sulu militants and has lodged a police report regarding the issue, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah heard today.

Superintendent Shamsudin Mat said he had applied to be called as the 186th witness of the RCI to clarify the statement made by Lahad Datu district officer Zulkifli Nasir on Tuesday.

He said he had lodged a police report at 1.22pm yesterday after reading Zulkifli's statements in the newspapers.

On Tuesday, Zulkifli told the five-man RCI panel that he had been called to a meeting by Shamsudin in February and was told about the planned landing of the armed intruders.

Zulkifli said that he had been told about the intentions of the armed Sulu terrorists two weeks before they began arriving in Lahad Datu.

"I was told that Lahad Datu was the main target of the armed intruders and informed that the issue was top secret. I was warned not to leak any news about the issue," Zulkifli told the RCI panel led by former Sabah and Sarawak Chief Justice Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong.

Today, Shamsudin denied that he had called Zulkifli for a meeting or made any statements as claimed by the latter.

He said he was unsure why Zulkifli made such a statement and attempted to contact him for clarification.

"Zulkifli didn't answer my call but called me back later. He said that his friends and family had also asked him about the issue after reading about it in the newspapers," Shamsudin said, adding that Zulkifli claimed that he had been misquoted.

"I only came to know about the intrusion on Feb 12 after authorities had detected the landing of the armed Sulu terrorists. I had no information or intelligence relating to the Sulu terrorists prior to Feb 12.

READ MORE HERE

Govt will discuss if replacement to EO is needed, says Najib

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 01:08 PM PDT

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(The Star) - Najib stressed that the Government was not backtracking on its decision to repeal the EO.

The Government will discuss the view that a new law similar to the repealed Emergency Ordinance is needed, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister, in his first reaction to the issue, said some wanted preventative detention while others were against it.

"We will discuss this with the police and the Attorney-General," he told reporters at his office here yesterday.

"What is important is that the law must have a balance between protecting individual rights and safeguarding community interests," he said.

"It must also ensure that there would be no abuse of power by any party."

Najib stressed that the Government was not backtracking on its decision to repeal the EO.

"But we want to maintain that the fight against crime will be effective while ensuring freedom of individuals and no abuse of power," he added.

Najib added that the views of stakeholders, such as Suhakam and maybe the Bar Council, would be taken into account.

It was reported that the Home Ministry would hold a forum to discuss the idea of introducing a new law to replace the EO on Aug 24.

Since the repeal of the EO two years ago, there have been voices of concern over the rise in violent crime and drug-related cases.

On Tuesday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Government would not push to reintroduce preventive detention to deal with the rise in organised crime.

He added that the ministry would stand with Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail — who declared he would not support any move to reinstate preventive detention — but believed that the country still needed a law to clamp down on gangsterism and serious crime.

On the same day, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said that some kind of preventive law was needed to strike fear in violent criminals and check organised crime.

The Prime Minister also said that the National Harmony Act, currently being drawn up to replace the Sedition Act 1948, would not affect the Government's power to handle actions that jeopardised national unity and harmony.

He said the Government wanted to guarantee freedom of speech for all Malaysians, but this should not be abused to the extent of endangering national unity and harmony.

"The insolent and impudent act by the young couple who insulted Islam showed that freedom of expression and irresponsible opinion can jeopardise the community," he added.

Sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee angered many Malaysians – both Muslims and non-Muslims – by uploading a photograph showing them eating bak kut teh with a captionSelamat Berbuka Puasa on Facebook.

Both are being investigated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission while Abdul Gani said they could also be investigated under the Sedition Act 1948.

Najib said the Government would ensure that the new Act would maintain three major principles.

The first referred to the tackling of actions that led to hatred of or insult or disloyalty to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any other Ruler.

The second concerns the tackling of acts that encourage malicious feelings and enmity among the various ethnic groups in the country.

"The third principle refers to matters on tackling acts that dispute any matters pertaining to special privileges, sovereignty or prerogative stipulated or protected by the provision in section three of the Federal Constitution or articles 153, 151 and 181 of the Federal Constitution," Najib said.

He added that the nation needed to determine principles that could look after the interests of the country, including the matter on racial harmony as well as the position of religion.

"This is not a matter pertaining to Islam alone, but also involved all ethnic groups and the sensitivity of all races and religions."

Siapa yang sebenarnya menghina Islam?

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 12:53 PM PDT

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Photo taken by the police in the police station uploaded onto the Internet
 
Naturally the BN-government's and police's double standards in going after the idiots while ignoring their own provocative idiots have been breath-taking, but then this is BN's Malaysia Boleh.

KTemoc Konsiders 

The Malaysian Insider - My case has nothing to do with sex bloggers, says youth who was abducted

The youth who was abducted and assaulted by a group of men in Shah Alam and had the words "Saya hina Islam" written on his body said his case had nothing to do with the hot issue involving the controversial sex bloggers' Ramadhan photograph.

Ng Mun Tatt, 21, said he was abducted for money and that the words 'Saya hina Islam' were a tactic by his assailants so that he would be beaten by the public if he tried to escape.

Ng said he is stunned how his photograph taken at a police station was leaked and went viral on Facebook even before his statement could be taken by the police.

"I was more shocked when the police said yesterday my case was triggered by the sex bloggers' case," he said at a Press conference in Klang today.

"I don't even know anything about them, nor have I offended anyone recently."


It was the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar who told reporters in Bukit Aman yesterday that Ng's case could have been triggered by sex bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee's controversial Ramadhan greetings photograph of bak kut teh on Facebook.
 
 
Sooner or later this and more would have happened. The racial-religious-political climate in Malaysia is now so tinder dry which makes such event inevitable.

And I cannot help but wonder whether the campaign for GE-13 is really over, or has the campaign for GE-14 already started?

Recent events haven't help like the Vatican in undiplomatically raising the Allah word issue again when we have both the Home Minister and IGP under pressure, one from his party election campaign and the latter from strident public calls for his immediate resignation in the criminal case of a death-in-police-custody, and a Malaysian public on steroids through daily dosages of racial-religious incitation and blatant fabrications.

Then a couple of idiotic publicity hounds added to the simmering likely-conflagration by posting provocative photo and remarks in Facebook, though I have to say the proposal to invoke the Sedition Act in their provocation was way over the top and if processed, would be a gross abuse of the law.

Naturally the BN-government's and police's double standards in going after the idiots while ignoring their own provocative idiots have been breath-taking, but then this is BN's Malaysia Boleh.

Back to Ng Mun Tatt - Not only was he beaten up and accused of insulting Islam, his photo taken by police with the words "Saya hina Islam" scrawled on his chest was posted on the Net and which went viral.

I wasn't aware that police have this role of posting as-yet unsubstantiated accusations on the Net?

And a besieged IGP (besieged for his bull about a death-in-custody case) made some rather irresponsible as-yet unproven connections between Ng Mun Tatt's case and the idiotic Alvivi duo.
 

Something is seriously wrong!

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 12:32 PM PDT

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We can understand if one or two do not perform well in the interview or stutter in their English, but if most of the cream fail to get entry because they are said to  perform poorly  in interviews, and then there must be something wrong with the methodology of the interviews or the people conducting the interviews. As simple as that! 

Dr. Hsu

In Malaysia, we dont have the 4 seasons. However, certain happenings in Malaysia is as predictable as the 4 seasons in temperate countries.

Yearly we have the Auditor General's report outlining the abuses and wastage in government spending. Yearly, there is  a big 'hoohaa'  after the release of the AG annual report ,  with calls for reform from  NGOs and civil society and promises from the authority to tackle the problems. Two or three weeks after the release, everybody is deemed to have done their duty and everything is forgotten till the next round.

Then we have the perennial Haze problems, and the usual predictable responses from politicians across both divides asking something to be done to solve the problem permanently.  Yearly, the Indonesian authority blames the Malaysian companies. The Malaysian companies will then issue a denial, and after a few days, wind changes direction, sky becomes clear again, and everyone forgets about the issue.

Around this time of the year, another perennial problem will surface, and it does surface this week.

Many of the straight  A's students are denied places to study the courses of their choice and these poor students have nowhere to turn to, except to the media and the politicians.

Every year, the politicians will play the role of firemen, and individual cases sometimes do get a reprieve, and after an appeal, some of these students may  get the places they wish.

Read more at: http://hsudarren.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/something-is-seriously-wrong/ 

Don’t mock Islam, warns DPM

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 12:16 PM PDT

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(FMT) - Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has warned all parties not to challenge and mock the sanctity of Islam to the extent of incurring the wrath of Muslims in the country.

The erring couple, Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee will be charged in the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court at Jalan Duta today.

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has warned all parties not to challenge and mock the sanctity of Islam to the extent of incurring the wrath of Muslims in the country.

He said insults such as the latest perpetrated by couple Alvin Tan, 25 and Vivian Lee, 24 appeared to be increasing lately and it was of grave concern that such actions could lead to racial tension.

"Islam's status should not be questioned as it is enshrined in the Federal Constitution. I'm concerned that if such mockery is unchecked it will become a trend which Muslims will not tolerate anymore," he said.

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/07/18/don%E2%80%99t-mock-islam-warns-dpm/

Marino’s apology is not enough

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 12:15 PM PDT

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(Bernama) - The Selangor Islamic Religious Council want Archbishop Joseph Marino expelled and tough action taken against any Muslim or non-Muslim who insulted Islam.

It appears that an apology from the Vatican's envoy to Malaysia is simply not enough for the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (MAIS).
MAIS said Archbishop Joseph Marino's  comment  over the use of the word "Allah" by Christians in Malaysia was tantamount to contempt of the rule of law assented to by the Malay rulers.
Its chairman Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa, said Marino, had incurred the anger of Muslims at a time when they were observing the Ramadan fast.
Mais is most disappointed that the issue of the use of the word "Allah" had been assumed to be trivial by certain quarters, so much so that it cropped up every year, he said in a statement.
Mohamad Adzib said the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, had emphasised repeatedly in 2009 and 2010 and, most recently, on Jan 6 this year that the word "Allah" could not be used in the state by non-Muslims.
"In fact, the sultan had expressed disappointment over the practice of some non-Muslim individuals who had insulted the sanctity of Islam in the country," he said.
Mohamad Adzib urged relevant authorities such as the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), the police and the Home Ministry to act firmly against any Muslim or non-Muslim individual who intentionally insulted the sanctity of Islam, the religion of the federation according to Article 3 of the Federal Constitution.
This was because the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims, by associating the word with other entities, was clearly in violation of Islamic law, he said.

Fatwas issued
He said that the "fatwa" (edict) gazetted in Selangor on Feb 18, 2010, and the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 had been in force for some time.
However, they seemed to have little significance among a handful of non-Muslims towards the sensitivities of Muslims in the country despite the legislation being in force in almost all states in peninsular Malaysia, he said.
"Mais fully supports the statements and commentaries made by religious experts and scholars in the media, such as Johor Islamic Religious Council advisor Noh Gadut, Muslim Welfare Organisation of Malaysia (Perkim) vice-president Nakhaie Ahmad and Negeri Sembilan Mufti  Mohd Yusof Ahmad as well as several others who censured the actions associated with the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims.
"Mais urges more religious experts and scholars, regardless of political background, to come forward to express their objection and criticise the misuse of the holy word," he said.
He also said that Mais backed the call by Islamic NGOs to the Foreign Ministry to expel the Vatican's ambassador to Malaysia for having made what he described as an irresponsible statement.
Marino has apologised for the misunderstandings and inconveniences that his comments might have caused and said it was never his intention to meddle in the internal affairs of the country.
Foreign Minister Anifah Aman had summoned Marino to Wisma Putra and advised him to be mindful of the religious sensitivities of the country and also informed him that the issue he had commented on was pending hearing at the Court of Appeal.

Maintain harmony
Meanwhile Minister in the Prime Minister's Department  Joseph Kurup said he hoped with Marino's apology the issue is regarded as settled.
Kurup, who is the federal minister responsible for unity and national integration, thanked all quarters who had extended cooperation and shown a high level of enthusiasm in handling the issue.
"I urge all quarters to work together to consolidate unity and enhance understanding through discussion and mutual understanding to maintain harmony in the country," he said in a statement.

Kurup urged for the issue to be left to be decided by the courts. 

Change the only constant

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 12:09 PM PDT

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When we put individual interests aside, we will find it easier to make the right decisions for the party and the country. 

Liow Tiong Lai

What happens when you hit rock bottom?

That's the question MCA was faced with after the party's disappointing performance in the 13th general election.

The answer is clear: we have to pick ourselves up, learn from our mistakes and revitalise the party. The voters sent a clear sign that the party has to transform itself.

From the beginning, we decided the transformation process would be carried out systematically, through detailed implementable programmes that can effect real change.

Taking a solution-focused approach will help us to resolve the party's problems. This requires that we look at what we are already doing that might contribute to resolving the problem as well as ask ourselves where we want to get to so that we can figure out how to get there.

Going back to basics — the party's constitution — helps to remind us of our original objectives so that we can get back on the right path. The party's philosophy, in a nutshell, is to provide equitable opportunities for all Malaysians and safeguard the legitimate rights of the Chinese community.

Based on this common understanding, it was determined we need to focus on four pillars to revitalise the party: restructuring the party; rediscovering our political ideologies and values; emphasising communal inclusiveness; and empowering the people.

Restructuring the party involves improving our processes and practices to rebuild a more credible party.

The next pillar is rediscovering our political ideologies and values, which I personally believe is the key to our transformation. We must remember the values that guided our founding fathers: to uphold the family institution, the Chinese language and culture, to promote health and the environment and to abide by Confucian principles.

Our core values — of accountability, fairness and justice — must also be attractive to the younger generation, who is the future of the party and the nation. Thus, we must ask ourselves, how can MCA attract youths to volunteer with the party and pledge their commitment to our cause?

The third pillar — communal inclusiveness — should see the party getting back on track to unite the Chinese and all citizens of Malaysia. MCA's constitution and ideology has always been to protect the rights of all races in Malaysia. 

The principle of inclusiveness enables us to empower the people, through quality education, sound economic policies and social programmes. The goal is to equip people with the competitive strength to face the challenges ahead.

The transformation task force has come up with an outline for the process that we will undertake. Some of the urgent areas we need to address are organisational change, election reform, re-registration of members and selection criteria for candidates.

We need a clear road map so that we remain true to our objectives. This is not a job that the president or deputy president can do alone: MCA is not a one-man show, but a big party that belongs to the hundreds of thousands of members.

The nationwide roadshows are critical to give grassroots members the opportunity to speak honestly, without fear or favour. Different opinions and even criticisms are welcomed. If a person keeps an open mind, the voices from the Tower of Babel will start to make sense.

We are also holding dialogues with NGOs, Chinese associations, chambers of commerce and the public, as well as international seminars to learn from the practices of other countries who have successfully rejuvenated their political parties.

All this input forms the blueprint, which will be presented to members for feedback, before being debated and endorsed at the party's annual general meeting in December.

From there, our journey towards transformation would have just begun. Do we have the courage to look within ourselves for change? From the grassroots to the top, we have to discard every bit of arrogance and learn to be humble to the community.

Most importantly, we need to work together as one party with one goal. How do we achieve this? I have always reminded others when we talk about party unity, it starts with oneself. The question should be: "How can I unite with others?" not "How can others unite with me?"

When we put individual interests aside, we will find it easier to make the right decisions for the party and the country. So, with Election Day well behind us, let us get on with our work. The people do not want excuses, they want solutions.

Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai is MP of Bentong, Pahang. In this column, he shares his personal perspective on national and community issues close to his heart. Follow him on his blog (www.liowtionglai.com/blog), or on Twitter (@liowtionglai).

 

Bingo! This is indelible ink

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 12:07 PM PDT

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If a 2 per cent silver nitrate solution cannot cause a stain on the eyes of newly born babies, do not expect a 1 per cent silver nitrate to do the magic that we all know about in the genuine indelible ink. 

Stephen Ng, The Malay Mail 

Finally, the formula is out!

Ladies and gentlemen, The fiasco "indelible" ink is made of:

Silver Nitrate       1 per cent

Organic colour    60 per cent

Moisturiser         29 per cent

Solvent              10 per cent

This, as declared by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Shahidan Kassim makes a perfect 100% indelible ink fiasco that rocked the nation and mocked our country's electoral process.

It has made me wonder why the Election Commission (EC) as a constitutional body set up to safeguard the electoral process from being manipulated by either party, has not been that forthcoming with the truth or willing to use the right tool correctly to tighten the loopholes within the system.

Now, with the ink formula being told in parliament, there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.

Firstly, the Minister should be censured for misleading the Dewan Rakyat by earlier stating that the ink did not have chemicals and only contained food colouring.

Minister Shahidan, please do not also make a mockery out of our august House by stating what is apparently untrue. Even a young teenager will be able to tell you that silver nitrate and moisturizers are chemicals; or else, would you also categorise them as food "colouring" that can be consumed?

But at least you score a point by telling the world the composition of the "indelible" ink. So, to be fair, now we know that in the indelible ink, there is one percent Silver Nitrate after all! I give the Election Commission chairman, Abdul Aziz Yusof a one-point score for stating the ink should not be more than 1 per cent Silver Nitrate, but excuse me, I have to minus two points from his deputy, Wan Ahmad Wan Omar for insisting that the ink had at least 4 per cent Silver Nitrate.

Do not think that the rakyat are all stupid. We are in fact very disgusted with the way how ministers and the EC duo contradict each other, hoping that the public would buy their stories. There are no reasons why they should be playing the hide-and-seek, especially since the EC no longer enjoy public confidence after the indelible ink fiasco. If they have any sense of dignity left, they should immediately resign.

After over a thousand police reports being lodged after GE13, the issue is still being taken lightly? Why?

Silver Nitrate!

According to public knowledge, industry standard for electoral inks contain anything between 10 to 18% silver nitrate solution, depending on the length of time the mark is required to be visible.

A one percent silver nitrate is as good as the 2 per cent aqueous silver nitrate solution used for the treatment of Ophthalmia neonatorum (ON), or neonatal conjunctivitis. In other words, if a 2 per cent silver nitrate solution cannot cause a stain on the eyes of newly born babies, do not expect a 1 per cent silver nitrate to do the magic that we all know about in the genuine indelible ink.

There is, in fact, no basis for the ink manufacturer to reduce the silver nitrate to 1 percent, especially since there is hardly anything carcinogenic about silver nitrate.

As my chemistry professor at Monash University in Clayton wrote in his email reply to my query: "Silver nitrate has been spilt on hands of dozens of students before OHS were tightened. The effects are unsightly stains that are hard to remove, but I have not heard of adverse health effects. Further AgNO3 has a long history in removal of warts from hands and feet, again without adverse effects other than stains. Given the attention to heavy metals I would have thought adverse effects would be documented by now. If not in MSDS, it should be OK."

I thought my knowledge of chemistry has gone to the rust, but a well-known chemistry professor confirmed my suspicions that silver nitrate, which can be purchased online at its 99.9% purity, will not harm human beings. Why then the fuss of keeping it at one percent? If the ink supplier has any knowledge about the indelible ink, who then instructed them to change the formulation to one percent? Why was only one percent used? Was it done by intention?

Moisturiser!

Instead of silver nitrate, which is reduced to a mere one percent, moisturizer content in the ink is ("Ooops!) 29 percent! I have yet to come across an ink which carries a moisturizer, but I have seen ink formula which uses a binder – never a moisturizer! This is not about moisturizing the finger to keep it give it that 'youthful glow at all times', but to make sure that an indelible stain is made on the skin to stop multiple voting.

With the electoral roll frauds that we have seen, this is one way to stop people from voting more than once. It is a quick, easy and cheap way of deterring people from multiple voting. But to use moisturizer in indelible ink, I have to ask, "Who gave that instruction?"

Moisturiser is essentially an emulsion preparation of oil and water, and sulfur lauryl sulfate (SLS) is used to stabilize the emulsion. For the sake of the ordinary folks, SLS is basically "soap" or detergent. It will only help remove stains. Oil, as you know, is repellent to any form of ink adhesion. If you have a moisturizer mixed into an ink, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you why the ink would not adhere to the skin after it is being washed.


Eureka! That's why our friends in Sabah could remove the ink using grass to clean their index fingers within the same day which means the electoral process has a loophole, left there inadvertently or by design, I let you decide! 

If there are health concerns over the use of silver nitrate which the EC chairman kept harping on, Abdul Aziz should be more concerned about the use of moisturisers. First, it has to do with the ingredients used in the moisturizer as a recent study had cited that 'the application of certain moisturizers increases the incidence of skin cancer in high-risk mice, but these animals were subjected to UVB radiation in high doses over a long period of time prior to application of moisturizers.'

There are also other factors to consider when using a moisturizer in the ink such as allergy, as some ingredients can cause irritation, rashes, and other allergic reactions. Besides that, the ink supplier had failed to include a most basic ingredient, which is the biocide since the moisturizers run the risk of being contaminated with bacteria that can cause disease.

In the first place, using a moisturizer in the indelible ink is not only making us a big laughing stock, but totally unthinkable and unsound as far as formulation of inks is concerned.

Minister Shahidan Kassim could have scored a point if he had said 89 per cent of the ink is food colouring, but for revealing the 29 per cent moisturizer content in the indelible ink, I shall remove 2 points from his score.

There is a reason why you cannot use food colouring alone for the indelible ink, but I shall wait for the right time to reveal. However, any chemist would immediately pick up that, without the peroxides (in hair dye) or the silver nitrate in this case the indelible ink, the organic food colouring will not be lasting. The trick in indelible ink is simply the silver nitrate, and it is public knowledge that an 18 per cent solution silver nitrate is what you need for an effective stain. Anything more than that makes no difference to the stain longevity.

Solvent!

What is so secretive about the solvent used?

We all know that silver nitrate can dissolve in water or alcohol easily. If water is used, to manufacture 3 tonnes of the fiasco ink, 10 per cent of this (i.e. 300 kg) is nothing but water but did we pay RM6.9 million for this?

Judging from the length of time it took for the ink to dry on the index finger, I doubt if alcohol was used, but even if it is used, there is no way that the ink could dry in three seconds as stated earlier by Wan Ahmad. With alcohol, it will take about 15–30 seconds to dry before it causes a smudge o the ballot paper.

For this reason, I believe Tindak Malaysia had, before the last General Election, argued that the EC should follow the standard practice of dipping the index finger into the bottle after the voter had cast his votes.

One of the other reasons is because if you applied the ink at the second clerk's position, fewer eyes are on it after the slightest traces are being painted over. The polling agents who are supposed to be the watchdogs would not be able to determine if there was indeed foul play.

Whether this entire thing is done deliberately or not, I leave it to the people to judge especially since the evidence points to the fact that the EC had indeed committed misfeasance, at least in my opinion. They have flip-flopped with their own statements every other day.

Could this be perhaps, signs of Alzheimer's Disease, and if that's being the case, they no longer hold such important positions, especially since they no longer enjoy public confidence.

Think about it! The results of the General Election determines who will form the next Government, and as the EC, I would do whatever I can to safeguard the electoral process from all sorts of frauds. Forget about the indelible stain on the index finger that will remain for another seven days (it is safe), I would want a clean and fair election.

It is obvious to me after monitoring the development around the ink fiasco that there was a deliberate attempt to make the ink fail to perform, thus making the electoral process vulnerable to manipulation by multiple voters.

My proposal of indelible ink

Having the privilege of working in the research and development laboratories in all three areas – printing ink, paint and emulsion polymers – I share with you my philosophy behind my own 'backyard product' if I were to formulate the indelible ink.

I would put 18 per cent silver nitrate to make sure that the ink is indelible. The rest of it, I would add perhaps a 15% per cent organic dye depending on the colour and opacity that you want. I will also need about 0.5 per cent biocide to make sure that the ink does not become contaminated with bacteria. I still have a room of 66.5 per cent to play with.

Given the selling price is RM6.9 million of 'halal' money, I would be generous to put a dose of 0.5 per cent fragrance to make the ink smell good. You can choose jasmine, lavender or rose. The rest of it, it's nothing but a combination of water and alcohol.

Doesn't this work better for an indelible ink?

I go back to the Wikipedia for a quick reference – and bingo!

It says: "Electoral stain typically contains a pigment for instant recognition, and silver nitrate which stains the skin on exposure to ultraviolet light, leaving a mark that is impossible to wash off and is only removed as external skin cells are replaced. Although normally water-based, electoral stains occasionally contain a solvent such as alcohol to allow for faster drying, especially when used with dipping bottles, which may also contain a biocide to ensure bacteria aren't transferred from voter to voter."

* Stephen Ng is a chemist by training. He dealt with printing ink, paint and emulsion polymer for 15 years before becoming a freelance writer.

 

Chinese-based parties in merger talks

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 12:00 PM PDT

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(FMT) - Donald Lim is confident BN will have only one Chinese party when GE14 comes around.

Chances are good that the Chinese-based parties in Barisan Nasional will merge into one before the 14th general election, according to MCA vice president Donald Lim.

He told FMT in an interview that MCA was already engaged in informal talks with the Sarawak United People's Party (SUPP) and Gerakan.

He indicated, however, that the discussions with Gerakan would have to be pursued more intensely.

"We are getting feedback from SUPP and Gerakan," he said. "At the moment, SUPP has been really positive about the idea. We will pursue our discussion with Gerakan after our party election." 

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/07/17/chinese-based-parties-in-merger-talks/ 

Khairy hints at Najib's bleak future 'if we lose Kuala Besut'

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 11:59 AM PDT

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(Harakah) - "If we lose and if there is a Terengganu state election, a wave - not blue - but a movement, a jolt, would reach Parliament"

The UMNO general assembly may be three months away but its president Najib Razak is already feeling the heat following the unexpected by-election in Terengganu, where BN had been hanging to power by a one-seat majority.

In the clearest yet warning to Najib, UMNO Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin (pic), whose father-in-law lasted in power only several months after Barisan Nasional's disastrous performance in the 2008 general election, hinted that the Kuala Besut poll may now well decide Najib's future.

"If we lose and if there is a Terengganu state election, a wave - not blue - but a movement, a jolt, would reach Parliament," Khairy was quoted as saying by news portal Malaysiakini.

"And we don't want to see BN's position (and) Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's position - the BN chairperson, UMNO president - threatened because of what happens (here)".

The Kuala Besut state seat became vacant after the death of BN's Dr Abdul Rahman Mokhtar last week. Since then, the coalition has been left with 16 seats while PR has 15. A PAS victory in Kuala Besut - which did happen in 1959, 1969, 1974 and 1999 - would result in a hung state assembly and likely to resurrect the debate on the role and power of the Sultan in the country's governance.

BN's weaker performance in the May election has led to speculations of an internal coup in UMNO to replace Najib and his deputy Muhyiddin Yasin, prompting many leaders to call for a no-contest rule for top posts. 

BN must secure much bigger majority

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 11:56 AM PDT

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(FMT) - A win in the Kuala Besut state seat by-election on July 24 is crucial for development programmes planned by the government in the area to be implemented in the best possible manner. 

Mohd Shafie wants the BN election machinery to identify and engage with every voter in Kuala Besut towards obtaining a bigger majority in the upcoming by-election.

Rural and Regional Development Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal said the federal government could easily channel aid to the area if the state government was from the same party as the central government. "This factor must be taken into account by voters," he told reporters after visiting Kampung Nangka and Kampung Lampu, here, yesterday.

"BN's capability is clearly proven by fulfilling its promises and always endeavouring to improve the people's standard of living, whether by building  infrastructure or by providing direct aid," he said.

Mohd Shafie said RM4.4 million had been allocated from 2010 until now for 28 projects to boost the infrastructure in Kuala Besut.

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/07/18/bn-must-secure-much-bigger-majority/

MB: Land for elected representatives part of state policy

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 11:52 AM PDT

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(fz.com) - In attempt to quell criticism from the Pakatan Rakyat, Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Said disclosed that the land given to four elected representatives was part of a state policy.
 
He added that PAS had also done similarly when it governed over the state. PAS ruled the state from 1999 to 2004.
 
Ahmad explained that the state policy was to award locals land for housing or agricultural purposes.
 
Since the state representatives were providing a service to the people, he said, land was awarded to them as a token of gratitude.
 
"They asked (for it) and we granted (it). What is wrong with that? It was acquired the right way," he told reporters after chairing the weekly exco meeting, this afternoon.
 
Ahmad was responding to Pakatan Rakyat when the opposition took the Barisan Nasional state government to task for failing to provide land for the 'rakyat' and instead awarding a one-hectare plot of land to four of its elected representatives.
 
The four were Besut MP Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, former Besut MP Datuk Seri Abdullah Mohamed Zin, Hulu Besut assemblyman Nawi Mohd and Jertih assemblyman Mohd Pehemi Yusof.
 

Removed, but Vell Paari gears up for VP post

Posted: 17 Jul 2013 11:49 AM PDT

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(fz.com) - Vell Paari said that his removal from the CWC was probably due to his statement published in an English newspaper two days ago. 

S Vell Paari,  who was removed from MIC's Central Working Committee  by party president Datuk Seri G Palanivel today, is adamant that he will contest the vice president's post in the coming party elections, if only to test his strength among  members. 

 
"I can challenge the removal but I am not going to, as I am of the opinion that the president has actually ended his term and it would be childish for me to argue over it. He was never elected to the post anyway. 
 
"I will stand for the VP post and this will show the strength of support I have within the party," said Vell Paari, who is the party's strategy director. Palanivel was promoted to the president's post from being a deputy after Vell Paari's father, Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu, stepped down in 2010.
 
Samy Vellu was the longest serving MIC president, holding the post for 11 consecutive terms. 
 
Vell Paari said that his removal from the CWC was probably due to his statement published in an English newspaper two days ago, about the possibility of MIC deputy president Datuk Seri S Subramaniam challenging Palanivel for the president's post.
 
Vell Paari was quoted in the report as saying that "there was a 50-50 chance that the two leaders, both full ministers in the current cabinet, could meet in a head-to-head clash at the upcoming presidential polls to be held in September".

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/removed-vell-paari-gears-vp-post#ixzz2ZMUHO36j 
Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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