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Declare war against crimes

Posted: 01 Aug 2013 12:33 PM PDT

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It seems that the government is really serious in fighting crimes this time, instead of believing the data showing a drop in crime rate. However, addressing the problem piecemeal cannot actually help solve the issue. Instead, it requires a thorough rectification to restore public confidence. 

Lim Sue Goan, My Sinchew

The homicide of Arab Malaysian Banking Group founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi has prompt the government to face the harm on economy that brought by serious crimes. If foreign experts dare not to come, how are we going to have economic transformation?

This time, not only Chinese-language newspapers have published the shooting on their cover page, but English-language and Malay-language newspapers, too, have made it a cover page story, proving that Chinese-language newspapers have not hyped it, but the poor public security has indeed reached a worrying level.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the government will set up a committee, comprising Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and several other ministers in the Prime Minister's Department, to discuss with Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, and come up with possible additional laws to fight serious crime. The government will also provide the police necessary resources to facilitate crime fighting efforts.

Meanwhile, the Home Minister revealed that under the Cabinet's instruction, the crime fighting meeting formed by four ministers will advise the government to continue the policy of no detention extension without trial, while strengthening ties with the people, modernising police equipment and setting up special forces to reduce crimes.

It seems that the government is really serious in fighting crimes this time, instead of believing the data showing a drop in crime rate. However, addressing the problem piecemeal cannot actually help solve the issue. Instead, it requires a thorough rectification to restore public confidence.

From the data, the police has received many resources in recent years. For instance, from 2007 to 2012, the police has obtained a 65.17% increase in funding.

The number of uniformed police officers has also increased to 112,583 people. Therefore, there is apparently a fallacy for the minister to say that the police to citizen ratio in Malaysia is 1:700 as compared to 1:35 in New York. If we calculate based on 28 million of population, the ratio should then be 1: 249, which is in line with the standard of 1:250 as recommended by the Interpol.

Therefore, the police's efficiency and discipline should be enhanced instead. Without doing so, the same effect would not be achieved no matter how much funding is added and how modern the equipment is.

The government is expected to table a new law bill to replace the Emergency Ordinance in the September session of the Dewan Rakyat and thus, the police cannot be over-dependent on the new law as it requires at least two months for the bill to be passed and made effective.

The police force distribution is also a problem. Only 10,150 policemen or 9% are crime investigation officers and the number is far from enough to combat crimes.

In addition to the police efficiency, the disintegration of family structure and the complexity of social structure have also contributed to the rise of crimes. It compromises both internal and external factors.

Most young people started from dropping out of school, street racing, drug abuse to eventually become followers of criminal syndicates. Foreign criminals have also sneaked into Malaysia and engaged in illegal activities including human trafficking, drug trafficking and drug refining, heavily polluting the country. Illegal gambling centres and porn premises could be found everywhere and crimes take place after they spent all their money in gambling and drugs.

Rampant underground activities lead to disputes over interests. Arms smugglers smuggle firearms to meet the demand of contract killings, resulting in the proliferation of illegal guns.

In addition to shortening the Visa On Arrival (VOA) from 90 days to 14 days for foreign citizens, the Home Ministry must also step up the arrest of "overstayers".

Social peace could be restored only if the problem is addressed at all levels. However, slowness has always been our Achilles' heel. 

Alvin and Vivian: Who’s inciting who?

Posted: 01 Aug 2013 12:19 PM PDT

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Alvin and Vivian aren't inciting most of us; our government is.

write2rest 

Till today, I didn't pay much attention to Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee (Alvivi). Last night I was in a group where Alvivi were discussed. The group was mixed, cutting across age, gender, race and religion. I learned about what Alvivi did, the responses to date and what these indicate about our society.

Alvivi have been investigated by the police. They have been charged in a Sessions court. They have been charged over a Facebook posting they made. The posting was a photo with a caption:

The photo shows the two of them with beaming smiles. They are well dressed – he in a red Polo T-shirt, she in a printed, mainly white, collared blouse. They are seated at an outdoor table, with parked cars in the background.

There are three bowls on the table.

The centre bowl is a claypot resting in an orange plastic soup plate, indicating it's hot. Alvin and Vivian each have a white bowl before them. The bowls have been carefully placed so the viewer can see a red and black rooster printed on Vivian's bowl and a bluish bird, perhaps a chicken, on Alvin's bowl.

Alvin and Vivian are each holding a piece of taufu (beancurd), with white pale coloured chopsticks.

The caption, in Malay, reads "Selamat Berbuka Puasa, (dengan Bak Kut Teh . . . Wangi, enak, menyelerakan)," which means "Enjoy breaking fast, with Bak Kut Teh, . . . fragrant, delicious, appetizing."

The caption is in a curly-whirly font, like that commonly used on (Hari Raya) season's greeting cards.

On the bottom left hand corner are two logos. The first logo reads "Alvivi;" the second includes what looks like the Arabic for "halal," and the word "Malaysia."

["Bak kut teh" is Chinese; in direct translation it means "meat bone tea;" in common usage in Malaysia and Singapore, "bak kut teh" means "pork bone soup." In Malaysia, the "Halal" logo is issued by Islamic authorities. "Halal certification" is a key element Malaysia's plans to be a food hub for the Muslim world. ]

Below the two logos is a watermark which reads http://www.alvivi.tv.

What are Alvin and Vivian trying to achieve? First, a little information about them.

Alvin, 25 yrs, a Malaysian, is a law undergraduate at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He's one of 170 students from 9 countries who earn ASEAN scholarships annually. In November 2012, NUS revoked his scholarship because he made online posts of sexually explicit materials of himself and Vivian. [Considering Alvin's age, it's not clear why Alvin is still a law undergraduate.]

Alvin was even discussed in the Singapore Parliament. Singapore's Education Minister said Alvin's conduct was "reprehensible and unbecoming of a scholar."

Vivian, 24 yrs, also a Malaysian, is said to have graduated in October 2012 with a Marketing major from the Multi Media University (MMU) in Malacca, Malaysia.

What are Alvin and Vivian trying to achieve?

I believe they are trying to achieve personal notoriety and to embarrass the Malaysian government.

They are intelligent persons with enough professional knowledge to achieve their goals. They carefully staged the photo; they left "the message" to the imaginations of their readers.

Read more at: http://write2rest.blogspot.com/2013/08/alvin-and-vivian-whos-inciting-who.html 

Mahkamah Tinggi tiada hak campur bidang kuasa Mahkamah Syariah dalam kes Indira Gandhi

Posted: 01 Aug 2013 12:11 PM PDT

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(The Malaysian Insider) - Presidennya, Musa Awang, berkata keputusan Pesuruhjaya Kehakiman Mahkamah Tinggi Ipoh, Lee Swee Seng yang membatalkan pengislaman tiga anak M Indira Gandhi (gambar) dan Muhammad Ridzuan Abdullah tidak memberi kesan kepada hak penjagaan dikeluarkan oleh Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah Ipoh pada April 2009 yang memberi hak penjagaan tiga beradik itu kepada Mohd Ridzuan.

Persatuan Peguam Syarie Malaysia (PGSM) menegaskan Perkara 121 (1A) Perlembagaan Persekutuan memperuntukkan bahawa "Mahkamah Tinggi sivil tidak mempunyai bidang kuasa berkenaan apa-apa perkara dalam bidang kuasa Mahkamah Syariah", yang memberi maksud keputusan Mahkamah Syariah tidak boleh disentuh atau digugat oleh Mahkamah sivil.

Presidennya, Musa Awang, berkata keputusan Pesuruhjaya Kehakiman Mahkamah Tinggi Ipoh, Lee Swee Seng yang membatalkan pengislaman tiga anak M Indira Gandhi (gambar) dan Muhammad Ridzuan Abdullah tidak memberi kesan kepada hak penjagaan dikeluarkan oleh Mahkamah Tinggi Syariah Ipoh pada April 2009 yang memberi hak penjagaan tiga beradik itu kepada Mohd Ridzuan.

Katanya, keputusan permohonan semakan kehakiman yang dikemukakan Indira hanya menyentuh aspek prosedur yang mungkin tidak dipatuhi, tetapi tidak bermaksud pengislaman kanak-kanak itu tidak sah dari segi undang-undang dan hukum Syarak.

"Semakan kehakiman adalah daripada segi prosedur. Keputusan dibuat oleh Mahkamah Tinggi belum muktamad kerana perkara ini masih terbuka kepada rayuan dan keputusan mahkamah yang lebih tinggi.

"Saya bersetuju satu rayuan difailkan terhadap keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi Ipoh itu. Ini kerana dalam penghakiman itu terdapat suatu isu baru yang perlu diputuskan oleh mahkamah lebih tinggi.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/mahkamah-tinggi-tiada-hak-campur-bidang-kuasa-mahkamah-syariah-dalam-kes-in 

Muslim dog owner’s remand extreme, born of paranoia, says Zaid

Posted: 01 Aug 2013 12:05 PM PDT

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(The Malay Mail) - He observed that Maznah had been treated like a criminal who posed a serious security threat to the country when she had yet to be charged, let alone convicted by a court of law. 

Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has called the decision to remand a Muslim woman over an Aidilfitri video which featured her dogs a result of paranoia and suggested that Muslims were "protected species" in Malaysia.

Screen capture of the series of tweets Zaid posted on the issue.

 

Besides the former Cabinet minister, a number of other Malay-Muslim community leaders have also labelled the action excessive.

"You can investigate any case but there is no need to remand, no need to detain people unless it's absolutely necessary. This is not a hardcore crime," Zaid told The Malay Mail Online yesterday, referring to the arrest and detention of Maznah Mohd Yusof on Wednesday on sedition claims.

The former de facto law minister during the Abdullah administration denounced the police action on the 38-year-old woman as excessive in relation to her purported offence.

He observed that Maznah had been treated like a criminal who posed a serious security threat to the country when she had yet to be charged, let alone convicted by a court of law.

"I think they have taken a high-handed approach... everyone is paranoid," said the former lawyer who once ran the country's largest legal firm, Zaid Ibrahim & Co.

"Everybody is influenced by public opinion and everybody is scared to do the right thing," he added.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/muslim-dog-owners-remand-extreme-born-of-paranoia-says-zaid 

A fearful symmetry

Posted: 01 Aug 2013 11:55 AM PDT

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Our history is so badly taught that a film is deemed a threat to our understanding of it.

It was International Tiger Day on Monday and the big news was the number of wild tigers in Nepal had increased by 63 per cent since 2009, to 198.

There are around 500 in Malaysia and the WWF wants to double that number by 2020 through its conservation programme and awareness campaigns.

Even if that is achieved, it would still be a third of the number we had at Merdeka, which shockingly is similar to the number of wild tigers estimated in the world today: 3,200.

Unfortunately, the persistent demand for traditional "medicines" has incentivised continued poaching.

There are encouraging signs though: when research showed that a forest alongside the Gerik-Jeli highway was being used by tigers, the Perak government gazetted part of it as a permanent forest reserve. I am sure with intelligent private sector involvement, prospects for the Malayan tiger can be further enhanced.

Many other animals are prominent in our state symbols. The coat of arms of Kelantan is supported by muntjacs (kijang), Malacca has its mousedeer (kancil), Pahang uses crossed tusks and Sarawak uses the hornbill (though the White Rajahs used a beaver). Sabah's crest has human arms, though as North Borneo its logo included a lion, while the Straits Settlements featured two. Royal palaces, regalia and titles also make ample reference to animals, real or mythological.

But references to tigers are in a different league. Malay legends refer to their mystical powers and folklore demands that "Pak Belang" is accorded due respect. In 1954, a colonial officer wrote about Datuk Paroi, an alleged were-tiger who had a shrine between Seremban and Kuala Pilah, near Bukit Putus, itself named after a tiger's tail that broke off.

Tigers featured on the Johor state crest by the time hunter Archduke Franz Ferdinand received his Darjah Kerabat Johor in 1894. One appeared on the flag of the Federated Malay States in 1895, and then two supported the coat of arms of the Federation of Malaya and later Malaysia, the latest edit being the tigers becoming more aggressive when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister.

Harimau Malaya remains our football team's nickname (some Borneans forget Panthera tigris malayensis is Malayan), and tigers feature in the branding of institutions and companies that want to advertise their patriotism.

Tigers are even part of our wartime history. Imperial Japan's General Yamashita, who led the Malaya campaign, was nicknamed the "Tiger of Malaya", and in "The Tigers of Terengganu" written a decade later, the author makes mention of tigers having to share the jungles with communist terrorists.

It was Warriors' Day on Wednesday and as usual the Royal Malay Regiment, whose regimental crest features two tigers, played a prominent part in the event, remembering our heroes who fell while fighting the Japanese and the communists.

The latter period of our history has been in the news again because of a movie, "The New Village", which detractors claim (from the trailer) glorifies communism. So now there are calls for the film's release to be reconsidered, despite having been earlier approved by the Film Censorship Board. The Multimedia and Communications Minister was right to say that the movie should not be judged by the trailer alone, recalling public condemnation of "Tanda Putera".

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/tunku-abidin-muhriz/article/a-fearful-symmetry 

 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Posted: 01 Aug 2013 11:50 AM PDT

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We should no longer be willing to blindly obey rulings and pronouncements made in the name of our religion especially when they are arrogant, unjust or cruel. The ulama do not have the divine mandate or right to be the sole authority to speak on matters which affect our religion or its interpretations.

We, as the ummah or congregation of the faith, should all be part of that conversation and not remain silent. It is our religion too.

I remember the exact moment that I became concerned and interested in women's issues and their link between human rights and religion.

It was back in June 1997. The front page of a number of newspapers that month had showcased the results of a raid conducted by the Selangor Religious Department — the picture of three girls being manhandled and marched out by a group of grim-faced men and women.

Looking at pictures taken during the raid and the way they were treated, one could be excused for thinking that these girls clothed in evening gowns, satin sashes and clutching trophies in their hands were criminals of the worst variety. Their offence? Participating in a beauty pageant.

It was later revealed that the religious officers had watched the Miss Malaysia Petite finals from start to finish while lurking in the shadows and among the audience of the packed hotel ballroom.

At the conclusion of the awards ceremony, they proceeded with the arrests on stage and in front of television cameras, the media and a disbelieving audience. The charges? Under section 31 of the Syariah Crimes Enactment Selangor 1995 which stipulates that Muslim women are not allowed to take part in a beauty contest, and under section 2 of the same enactment for being indecently dressed.

After spending the night in the Subang Jaya police lockup, the three part-time models pled guilty in the syariah court and paid the fine.

History was made that night; this was believed to be the first time that individuals had been arrested in Selangor for participating in a beauty competition. It also set the tone for all future beauty pageants in Malaysia.

Organisers would from then on actively exclude Malay-Muslims girls from such competitions to avoid a repeat of what happened to the Miss Malaysia Petite finals. After all, it's bad for business to have the morality stormtroopers barge uninvited and arrest the participants.

Future Yasmin Yusofs (Miss Universe Malaysia 1978) and Erra Faziras (Miss World Malaysia 1992) have since then been deterred from participating in such competitions. That is until the recent Miss Malaysia World 2013 pageant.

The 1997 incident to me was a clear demonstration of what happens when oppressive practices and thinking were allowed to grab hold and dictate our actions. Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had in fact, in the 1997 case, declared that the raid was "not the Islamic way."

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/azrul-mohd-khalib/article/beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder 

Anwar to testify in Sabah RCI

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 11:40 PM PDT

The PKR de facto leader also did not announce the much speculated new Sabah PKR line-up said to be led by Lajim Ukin.

Luke Rintod, FMT

PKR supremo, Anwar Ibrahim, today said he is ready to testify before the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah.

"I am ready to testify before the RCI. Tomorrow we will have a meeting with the authority in Kuala Lumpur for the RCI to fix the date I am to appear and I will come here," he told a press conference here soon after a breaking-of-fast dinner with PKR leaders in a hotel here.

The opposition leader, who was at one time a deputy prime minister and deputy Umno president, said he would share with the RCI hearing whatever information that was available to him while he was in Umno.

Anwar arrived in KK late this afternoon and went straight to a meeting with his Sabah PKR liasion committee at the hotel.

Also present at the meeting were state party chief Ahmad Thamrin Jaini, as well as PKR assemblymen including Lajim Ukin, Wilfred Bumburing, Christina Liew, Jelani Hamdan, Jeremy Uku Malajad and Terence Siambun.

Flanked by Lajim and Ahmad Thamrin, the charismatic top leader of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) also revealed that the party would decide on a new line-up of Sabah PKR a month from today.

"Today's meeting held that Thamrin would continue as Sabah liaison chief until the party headquarters decides on a new line-up next month," he said.

Anwar also said that he had advised the party leadership here to also give roles to senior leaders especially Lajim for him to help strengthen PKR programme in the state.

READ MORE HERE

 

Gossip on Broadway: Malaysia's first Kopitiam in North-West England

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 10:31 PM PDT

OFFICIAL OPENING: 8th August 2013

OPEN HOUSE: 2nd-3rd August 2013, 11.30am-10.30pm (all readers welcome)

MORE DETAILS HERE: http://gossiponbroadway.com/

 

Hearing of appeal against Anwar's acquittal for sodomy

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 06:36 PM PDT

(Bernama) - The prosecution's appeal against Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's acquittal in a sodomy case will be heard over two days from Sept 17.

Court of Appeal deputy registrar Darmafikri Abu Adam fixed the dates in chambers today when the case came up before him for case management.

Meanwhile, Anwar's lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, who was present at the case management proceedings, said the defence would be filing an application to disqualify Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah from appearing as the lead prosecutor in the appeal.

She told reporters that Darmafikri had fixed the same dates to hear Anwar's application to disqualify Muhammad Shafee from leading the prosecution in the appeal.

Shafee's appointment to lead the prosecution was by way of a fiat (decision) which was signed by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail on July 2 this year.

At the case management proceedings, Darmafikri also instructed Anwar's lawyers to file the application to disqualify Muhammad Shafee before Aug 23.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Noorin Badarudin appeared for the prosecution.

On Jan 9 last year, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur acquitted and discharged Anwar on a charge of sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 26.

He was alleged to have sodomised Mohd Saiful Bukhari at a Desa Damansara condominium unit in Bukit Damansara between 3.10 pm and 4.30 pm on June 26, 2008.

High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah ruled that there was penile penetration but it was uncorroborated by other evidence.

He had held that the court could not be 100 per cent certain on the integrity of samples taken for DNA testing from Mohd Saiful Bukhari as the samples could have been compromised before they reached the Chemistry Department for analysis.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Shafee, who was at the Palace of Justice for another court matter, told reporters that he was not aware of any grounds to disqualify him as public prosecutor.

He was responding to questions from reporters on Anwar's move to file an application to disqualify him as public prosecutor.

Muhammad Shafee said Anwar's lawyers did not mention the grounds when they objected to his appointment in the Court of Appeal on July 22 this year.

Asked whether there were valid grounds to disqualify him, Muhammad Shafee said "not that I am aware of", and added that he would reply to Anwar's application once it was filed.

On July 22, when Ram Karpal Singh, another of Anwar's lawyers had raised an objection to Muhammad Shafee's appointment, he was told by Justice Datuk Ramly Ali, who chaired a three-member panel, to raise the matter at the next hearing date.

Ram Karpal Singh later told reporters on that day that the defence was objecting on the grounds that it might not be proper for him (Muhammad Shafee) to represent the prosecution as Anwar's case was politically motivated, and that he (Muhammad Shafee) had been appointed in the past to represent Umno in several court cases.

 

When culture overrides religion

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 05:23 PM PDT

There are many Schools in Islam plus variations to that as well. Hence, while you may follow one School, you need to respect the beliefs of those who follow the other Schools. To be honest, I, too, do not follow 'Malay Islam'. Hence Malays would probably view me as a deviant (according to Malays standards).

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

The dog: a victim of Muslims' misunderstanding

Majority of Muslims in Malaysia follow Shafi'i school of law. They may regard dog as impure or najis, which is in fact washable. At the same time, they must respect other opinions in other school of laws that consider dogs as pure.

Arif Fahmi Md Yusof, Harakah Daily

The uploading of a video of a Malay Muslim celebrating Hari Raya in the facebook with his three dogs invites voluminous responses from Malaysians especially Muslims. Most of the Muslims consider the video as insulting Islam. Many regard this video as insulting episode in the Holy month of Ramadan for Muslims. Regrettably, in this Holy month of Ramadan, many use a very offensive and indecent language in the social media, commenting this video.

What is insulting here? It is about the dog. Muslims generally are sensitive to dogs. For majority of Muslims particularly in Malaysia, dogs are impure. Many Muslims try to avoid contacts with dogs. The intention of the person who uploaded the video may be good, to appreciate the similarities between the creation of God and to promote kindness towards animals especially the dog. Unfortunately, the cultural perspective in Malaysia is against this idea.

Many people often adhere to an idea they heard without examining whether it is legally correct. Therefore, it is usual to find people who easily believe in erroneous ideas that may have no basis or evidence. In Islam it is pertinent to understand its teachings and observe them. The primary consideration in dealing with other beings, especially animals is promoting kindness and avoiding cruelty.

An act of kindness to the dogs is recorded in one hadith where a man gave a dog water to drink using his shoe as the vessel to contain the water. The hadith praises the man, and Allah forgives his sins as a result of his kind act of providing the dog water.

The Quran in some occasions mentions the dogs. In one of the most popular story of cave sleepers, the Quran also regards a place for a dog as similar to other humans when they were trapped in a cave. The Quran clearly mentions the position of a dog as one of the individuals that comprised in a group, doing what exactly the others are doing.

The verse clearly portrays the dog as important individual in the group and made no negative comment about its presence in the group, who are protected by Allah. The dog did not cause problem or trouble and there was no warning in the verses to keep away from the dog in the verse.

Furthermore, dogs are common in the time of Prophet Muhammad. They were part of daily life of people and shared the same environment.

During the Prophet's time, the dog would enter mosques and even urinate in them. In one of the hadith, it is reported that the dogs would come and go easily into the mosque, and no one would sprinkle water on those areas of the mosque. It was also reported that a puppy once went under the Prophet's bed.

The main sensitive issue relating to the dog is the question of purity. The four main school of laws differs on the question of purity of the dog. Some scholars mainly in Shafi'i and Hanbali schools of laws, believe that dogs are impure. Therefore, if a person touches a dog or licked by a dog, he has to wash that portion of the body or clothing before prayer.

The Maliki school of law does not consider dogs impure at all. Hanafi school of law regards the saliva of dogs to be impure. Therefore, only the part of body or clothing that the dog's saliva touched needs to be washed and purified before prayer.

Majority of Muslims in Malaysia follow Shafi'i school of law. They may regard dog as impure or najis, which is in fact washable. At the same time, they must respect other opinions in other school of laws that consider dogs as pure.

Islam encourages its believers to learn, understand and adhere to its teaching. Differences of opinion do not permit Muslims to hate each other. It is a time for Muslims in Malaysia to appreciate the differences and diversity.

READ ALSO: Chapter 80 of The Search for Beauty in Islam The Lord of the Essence: A Fatwa on Dogs

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Malays generally believe that Christians are Christians. Not many Malays understand that Christianity is divided into so many churches. In that same spirit, non-Muslims think that Islam is Islam. Not many non-Muslims understand that Islam, too, is divided into so many 'churches'.

I actually do not blame the non-Muslims for this when Malays themselves do not appear to know this. Malays think that there is only one brand of Islam and that the Malay brand of Islam is correct whilst all others are wrong.

Even when we point out that the Arabs do this, that or the other (so how can they be wrong when the Arabs speak Arabic and they know what the Holy Books say whereas most Malays read the Qur'an without knowing what they are reading?) -- the Malays will argue that the Arabs are deviants.

They are wrong. We are right.

Take the issue of dogs as one example. For years I have been telling the Malays that dogs are NOT haram (forbidden). Their spit or wet fur may be najis (dirty) but dogs are not haram.

The Malays will still insist that dogs are haram even though there are many references in Islam contradicting this view. And then we even have the 'enlightened' Malays telling me to 'go learn Islam from an ulamak'. That means I am jahil (ignorant) and need to brush up on my Islamic studies.

Have the Malays never heard that dogs are a man's best friend -- while diamonds are a girl's best friend according to Marilyn Monroe (so give a girl a dog with a diamond-studded collar)?

Are the Malays aware that one Mufti of Terengganu actually owned a dog and would walk the dog every day when going to the market? Are the Malays aware that one Mufti of Kelantan had a neighbour who owned a few dogs and he smiled and said that dogs are okay when asked about it?

There are many Schools in Islam plus variations to that as well. Hence, while you may follow one School, you need to respect the beliefs of those who follow the other Schools. To be honest, I, too, do not follow 'Malay Islam'. Hence Malays would probably view me as a deviant (according to Malays standards).

I once bought a dog (but unfortunately was forced to leave it in Malaysia when I left the country in 2009). I eat meat (other than pork) not slaughtered by a Muslim (I never used to until an Arab ulamak taught me that it is okay if slaughtered by 'people of the book'). I shake hands with those of the opposite sex and even give them a peck on the cheek if I know them well enough.

Dogs are not an issue in Islam and should not be made into an issue. If you ask me, dogs make better friends than humans. Old people who live alone and have no family living with them should be encouraged to own a dog. Their life would be less lonely with a loyal and lovable dog around.

Anyway, the photo below is the type of dog I once bought. A lovely creature is it not? Maybe I will buy another one soon.

 

Don’t sacrifice national unity for political agenda, MCA tells politicians

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:52 PM PDT

Elizabeth Zachariah, TMI

Public figures should not sacrifice national unity for the sake of their personal political agenda, MCA said today, referring to the outcry over a video clip of a Muslim dog trainer washing her dogs.

MCA publicity chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie (pic) said instead, they should be cautious and restrain from making baseless allegations.

"Although we understand that many political parties are now in the process of holding their party elections, we urge all quarters to be cautious with whatever comments they utter," she said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur today.

Her comments came on the heels of a controversial YouTube clip of Maznah Mohd Yusof, 38, celebrating Hari Raya with her dogs, causing an uproar this week among Muslims who deemed it to be insulting to the religion.

Police arrested Maznah yesterday for questioning over the video that was first uploaded three years ago.

Before she was identified, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had blamed non-Muslims for the video, saying "the callousness of some towards Islam and Muslim sensitivities" could spark disharmony among Malaysians.

"Is this a manifestation of the assumption of some quarters that we (Muslims) are weak and that they could walk all over us?  Or that we are afraid to react when others insult the sanctity of Islam? No Muslim has made fun of other faiths," he had said during an event.

Heng, who called the video "provocative and displays irresponsible behaviour", hoped the incident would be able to alert and educate the public to be more cautious and sensitive.

"It is regrettable that this video comes at the heels of similar incidents such as the Alvivi buka puasa greeting, shower room canteen controversy and "balik India dan China" slurs by a school principal.

READ MORE HERE

 

Hadi’s son-in-law says he’s PAS backbone and saviour

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:46 PM PDT

Hasbullah Awang Chik, TMI

Addressing party critics, the son-in-law of the PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang has described himself as the "backbone" in the fight against those out to undermine the credibility of the party's leadership.

Zaharudin Muhammad said all his actions in the party was aimed at protecting Abdul Hadi, PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, and deputy president Mohamad Sabu from those within the Islamist party who wanted to discredit them.

Zaharudin, or Din Ayam as he is popularly known, said he was forced to become Abdul Hadi's "supporting entity" in the party during the last general election as there was a group within that wanted to see the party do badly.

He said this in a statement posted on his Facebook page following a report in The Malaysian Insider that highlighted his growing influence in the Islamist party through Abdul Hadi, which has had tongues wagging.

Zaharudin criticised The Malaysian Insider for equating his relationship with Abdul Hadi as being on the same footing as former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin, the Youth and Sports Minister.

"I am amused by this comparison with the Umno experience. If this is the case, who in PAS is the equivalent of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Najib?" he asked in a statement posted in his Facebook page yesterday.

"Is this an attempt to topple Abdul Hadi by the 'Mahathir PAS' the way Mahathir toppled Pak Lah? Who is the Najib PAS who will replace Abdul Hadi?" he said referring to the country's longest serving prime minister and Abdullah.

Zaharudin said he would provide witnesses to his claim that he was not the source of the problems in the party but, rather, it was those out to topple the president.

The influential Syura Council member also denied that he was the cause for the Pakatan Rakyat's defeat in the Kota Damansara seat in the May 5 polls.

"Who is to be blamed then for PR defeats in Sungai Acheh, Labuan, Bukit Besi and other state and parliamentary seats where PAS and PKR had overlapping claims for the same seats?"

He said the claim that the Parti Sosialist Malaysia (PSM) candidate Dr Nasir Hashim would have won if PAS had not fielded a candidate is flawed.

Zaharudin said his critics' assumption that the 7,312 votes received by the PAS candidate would have gone to Dr Nasir is wrong.

READ MORE HERE

 

Ban Syiah books

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:37 PM PDT

The government should also have more detention depots to cater for the rising number of illegals detained.

(Bernama) - The Home Ministry was been urged to immediately ban printed materials such as books and novels written by Syiah followers on the deviant religious doctrine.

Senator Noriah Mahat said the ministry should also take stern action against any such individual so that their writings would not erode the faith of Muslims in the true teachings of Islam.

"If it is not controlled, I fear for young Muslims because they could be easily influenced by Syiah teachings as they are a curious lot," she said when debating on the Supplementary Supply Bill (2012) 2013 in the Dewan Negara yesterday.

Noriah said she meanwhile supported all efforts by the Home Ministry in combating Syiah activities in the country, whereby the government had already banned the Malaysia Shia Organisation based on Section 5, of the Societies Act 1966.

On another matter, Noriah suggested that the government increase the number of detention depots to cater for the rising number of illegals detained before being repatriated.

"Considering that the number of illegals has reached 1.3 million (as at August 2012), surely we need more detention depots for the illegals to avoid congestion," she said.

She added that urgent action was required to solve the presence of so many illegals in the country due to the arising problems which could affect security and order in the country.

 

Thanks to Maznah, a statement is made

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:33 PM PDT

FMT LETTER: From Stephen Ng, via e-mail

This is Malaysian politics. To be more precise, this is Umno Baru politics. It is all mixed up – a bit of religion, race and even sex – depending on what's expedient for the day. A big "hoo-hah", and after a while, it all dies down. Compared to someone like Tok Guru Nik Aziz, to some extent, it shows the shallowness of Islam as practised by some of our politicians who turn a molehill into a mountain.

Not even the Deputy Prime Minister is spared. The moment a video clip of an unknown person bringing a few pet dogs into the mosque, Muhyiddin Yassin had immediately jumped the gun by hitting out at non-Muslims.

I quote: "This shows that there is no deep understanding within society. Muslims do not insult the religion of non-Muslims such as Christianity and Hinduism. But non-Muslims are insulting our religion."

In a way, this is also seditious, as it creates further tension between the Muslims and the non-Muslims. Thankfully, in Malaysia, the Muslims are generally more tolerant, compared to the examples set by people the likes of Ibrahim Ali, Zulkifli Noordin and even Muhyiddin himself. Fair enough that he should ask for stern action to be taken against the culprits for tarnishing the image and sanctity of Islam.

However, Muhyiddin should realise that he is a Deputy Prime Minister of the country. He is not speaking as the deputy president of Umno Baru. He is correct to point out that there is basically shallowness in the way how people practice their religion.

I felt touched when I first learnt from a fellow Chinese gentleman about the humility of this man, Tok Guru Nik Aziz. When he wanted to travel to Kuala Lumpur for his party meeting, he asked to get a ride from two lawyers who were on their way back to Kuala Lumpur. His reason for not using his official vehicle: "This is a party meeting. The official vehicle is for official use only."

Later, when reaching the toll gate, Nik Aziz asked the two lawyers. "Which way are you going? You can drop me here, if you are going in another direction." When the lawyers expressed their concern for his safety, Nik Aziz said, "Allah will look after me. Surely someone going in my direction will recognise me and give me a lift!"

Such is the humility of Nik Aziz. I have not heard him make any derogatory remarks against Christianity or Hinduism, but probably Muhyiddin is right if he had referred to Nik Aziz or he has been sleeping on his job as Deputy Prime Minister when one after another incident unfolded.

History has recorded many of these 'ugly' incidents where Muslims have insulted the Christians and Hindus – and I need not repeat myself here – that religious and racial sentiments have been played up countless times by Umno Baru leaders, raising the ire of the larger Malaysian population.

I thank Maznah Mohd Yusof for making a statement through her video clip. I believe all Malaysians should stand up for her courage to speak up against the bureaucracy of religion. For that, she was arrested yesterday and now risks being labeled as anti-Islam.

I quote her once again: "I love my religion. I think these people should learn about their religion first, and not misinterpret my video." How can someone like Maznah insult her own religion when she is a practicing Muslim? Between her and someone like Ibrahim Ali, I would say that Maznah is more likely to be a genuine Muslim girl than the Perkasa president.

She has not even uttered a derogatory word against her religion, in the way that Zulkifli Noordin and Ibrahim Ali had done to both the Hindu and Christian community.

If it had been the slightest tinge of insult, as in the case of the non-Muslim blogger couple, Maznah would have been arrested for insulting Islam. The whole roof would collapse, when NGOs linked to Umno like Jati and Perkasa take it to the streets.

It's time for Umno politicians to realise that the nation is getting agitated with their behaviour. They have not only staged out sex scenes and used them against Anwar Ibrahim, or attempt to discredit him using sodomy, but they have become religiously phobic about everything.

Over a small issue like the invitation to Buka Puasa with 'bah kut teh' – considering that there are so many versions of the favourite Chinese cuisine – our leaders and media have hyped up the entire thing, calling that an insult to Islam. This is despite the fact that the couple having apologised if they had offended any party.

Umno Baru leaders should realise that in modern day, Malaysians do not play up to their games anymore. The more that they create an issue out of a molehill, the more agitated people become with their style of leadership.

Pushing to the extreme just for illustration sake, if things are allowed to carry on the way it is, before long you cannot even print the word, "Al Quran" in the newspapers. The reason is because people use newspapers for all sorts of activities around the house.

 

Why my friend Chetz made that video

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:30 PM PDT

FMT LETTER: From Aneesa Alphonsus, via e-mail

Chetz Togom or Maznah Mohd Yusof is my best friend. Today, she's being harassed, hounded and harangued for a video she made three years ago on how she spent that particular Hari Raya with her dogs. I was there when the video was shot and since TV stations are not taking the trouble to find out why she made that video, I'm going to tell them and all the others who are screaming for Chetz's blood why she made that video.

It was late morning when she took her dogs for a walk. When she came home, Chetz cleaned herself, then she washed the dogs' paws as she planned on bringing them into the house for some treats. When I asked her why she did it this way, she said, "No special reason, I just want people to know that having dogs isn't a dirty thing. We clean them and we clean ourselves well."

That was it. It has nothing to do with all the fuss about "ambik air sembahyang dengan anjing" (taking abolution with the dogs) that some irresponsible media quarters are harping on as are some bloggers who don't know head or tail, pun not intended, about the situation.

Then there is the question of the takbir Raya. Chetz put it in the video because it reminds her of her late grandmother who raised her, plus the fact that it is significant to Hari Raya. What is the harm in that? How does this show disrespect to Islam?

I want to add that she has also been given a very hard time by certain individuals who berated her for being a Muslim who rescues and works with dogs. When she shares videos about noted Islamic teachers and scholars speaking about dogs being permissible in Islam, the retorts, among others, include. " Why must you help dogs? Why can't you help people?"

So now, Chetz has to help who they think she should? Anyone who knows Chetz will attest to how much respect she has for her faith and religion. She has battled inwardly with several of her choices in regards to helping dogs, and has been troubled numerous times because of this.

It takes courage to do this. It takes courage to go through something like this – to follow what your heart and conscience tells you, to the chagrin of people who react so unfairly to something they don't care to find out more about.

Chetz is a good person and she has never, not once, said anything against her faith and religion. To think that a harmless video made over three years ago is being dredged up now, makes one wonder why? Why now?

And is the video so offensive that it warrants death threats? Who gives anyone the right to say, "I'm going to find a gun a shoot this person who made the video"? Is it really that severe?

Watch the video again and see for yourself if there is any intent to offend Islam. It saddens and disappoints me that with so many issues that should be brought to the fore, some quarters are choosing to make something out of nothing. This is what the mob mentality is about.

To journalists, news editors, bloggers, Facebook and other social media users, I ask of you, please use discernment and see if something really warrants such a harsh response.

What if it were you, or someone you loved, or someone who know who is being persecuted wrongly? Wouldn't you wish they were given the proverbial fair trial before judgment? What happened to the being given the benefit of the doubt, or does this not apply when it comes to religion.

 

Raya dog video: Chetz held in Segamat

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:23 PM PDT

Maznah Mohd Yusof, better known as Chetz, is to be remanded there following public outcry over her controversial video deemed to be "insulting Islam".

Anisah Shukry, FMT

Dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusof  is now in Segamat and will be remanded till tomorrow afternoon after having spent a night in police lockup here.

Her counsel Latheefa Koya, in a text message this morning, said: "She has been brought to Segamat…just spoke to (Investigating Officer) Inspector Othman.

"He confirms she (is) currently being taken to the magistrate in Segamat to be remanded. I am trying to get a lawyer to represent her. (Being further remanded) is a normal procedure.

"But it is an abuse of power as there is no need to bring her all the way to Johor just (because) a police report was apparently lodged there."

She later confirmed that the police had obtained a two-day remand against Maznah.

Lawyers for Liberty tweeted last night: "Even if the report was made in Segamat, it's no reason to take her there. PDRMsia has taken her statement. She (should) be released".

In a following tweet, they wrote: "@PDRMsia ni betul tak masuk akal, saja nak salahguna kuasa. Jadi kalu ada 100 repot suluruh negara, Chetz akan dibawa merata2? Kerja bodo".

(The police are not making any sense, they are just abusing their power. So if 100 police reports were made across the whole country, Chetz will be brought all over the nation? This is foolish.)

Police arrested Maznah also known as Chetz under Section 298A of the Penal Code as well as the Sedition Act yesterday evening after a three-year-old video of her bathing her dogs and wishing viewers Selamat Hari Raya resurfaced online the day before.

She was brought to the Bukit Perdana Commercial Crimes Department at around 5pm, where she had her statement recorded by the police as well as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

'No forgiveness for such a video'

The controversial video was uploaded by user "acaiseven fiska" two days ago, who titled it "Video menghina Islam. 1 hari di hari raya" (video insulting Islam. 1 day in Hari Raya).

But Maznah has clarified to the media that her intention was to remind Muslims to celebrate Hari Raya with animals and humans.

"I have no intention to demean Islam. I made the video for fun but later decided to 'educate' outsiders on dogs and cleanliness," the 38-year-old was quoted as saying by news site Mynewshub.com.

But many, including the Director-General of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), see her video as insulting Islam.

READ MORE HERE

 

Religious sensitivities – respect begets respect

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:18 PM PDT

In my school days, school canteens used to sell both halal and non-halal food in stalls side-by-side. No Muslim children ever bought from the non-halal stall, but non-Muslims did buy food like nasi-lemak from the Muslim stall. Then they sat at the same table to eat. There was no question of hurting the sensitivities of anyone.

FMT LETTER: From Ravinder Singh, via e-mail

So-called "religious sensitivity" is a thing of the mind. It is not something external like the heat from a fire that one can feel, but purely a state of mind. It is what one chooses to make of something. A thing done or said by someone to another of a different race or religion is seen one way by a broadminded person and another way by a narrow minded person. It is seen one way by a wise person and the opposite way by a fool. A rational person interprets it differently from an irrational person. In interpreting one should take into account the manner, tone, context, occasion, etc. in which it is said.

It is akin to a normal person seeing a rope for what it is, and a psychiatric patient seeing the same rope as a dangerous snake and trying to kill it before it attacks him. Remember, the mind is not only capable of playing games under different conditions and circumstances, it can also be conditioned into such a state by external hypnotic pressure. Such pressure can even make a normal person who is unable to resist such pressure, see the rope as a snake.

People's minds can be manipulated by those who have power over them by the constant harping on something. Teachers, including BTN teachers, therefore have the great power of making or breaking a nation by what they teach their charges. Politicians, as leaders, also have such power. Knowing this, our former medical doctor Prime Minister had chosen the way of running his administration on the premise that telling a lie and repeating it would finally have the people believe it is the truth. But repeating lies is like blowing and blowing into a balloon. Some day it will burst.

One question of "religious sensitivity" is that of eating and drinking by non-Muslims in the month of Ramadan. It is now being bandied about that for non-Muslims to eat or drink when in the company or presence of Muslims is to hurt the sensitivities of the Muslims. This was never an issue in the good old days. Muslim scholars have said that Islam does not forbid non-Muslims eating in the presence or company of Muslims in the month of Ramadan. So who started this nonsense and why?

In my school days, school canteens used to sell both halal and non-halal food in stalls side-by-side. No Muslim children ever bought from the non-halal stall, but non-Muslims did buy food like nasi-lemak from the Muslim stall. Then they sat at the same table to eat. There was no question of hurting the sensitivities of anyone. The Indians did not say that by eating beef next to them the Malays children were being insensitive to their religious beliefs (it is pantang for Indians to eat beef). Similarly the Malay children did not complain that the Chinese students, by eating pork dishes next to them, were not being sensitive to Islam as pork is haram to the Muslims.

So how and why did the question of non-Muslims being insensitive to Muslims by eating in their presence or company become an issue?

Last week, I was at the BNM Penang branch for a discussion on a banking matter. Two officers attended to me, a Malay lady and a Chinese lady. As we sat down, the Malay lady put a plastic glass of mineral water before me and said "this is for you". I felt so touched by this gesture and respect shown to me as a non-fasting person who would need to quench my dry throat. Did she, as someone who was fasting, do something wrong by giving me the water?

Yesterday I was at another meeting in KL at an office manned by a dozen staff. It ended at 2pm and a non-Malay staff and myself went for lunch nearby. The staff said she was so hungry as she had not taken any drink or snack the whole morning as she was afraid of doing so in the office (it has a coffee corner) during puasa month as it would be insensitive to the Muslim staff. I was taken aback to hear this. How the words and actions happening around us today have put the fear of offending Muslims if one were to eat in their presence.

Why should it be insensitive to my Muslim friends if I have to eat or drink in their presence? As a non-fasting person, my mealtimes are morning, afternoon and evening. When mealtimes come, I feel the pangs of hunger. A fasting Muslim, as told to me by fasting Muslim friends, does not feel the pangs of hunger during the daytime. This is because the body has received the normal amount of food, with the difference that meal-times are changed from daylight hours to night-time hours. Within two or three days of the start of fasting, the body adapts to the new schedule of mealtimes.

So could Muslim scholars please put this issue in its proper perspective. Do I have to hide myself from my Muslim friends when I am eating during fasting hours in the fasting month? Why should they feel I am being insensitive to them if I eat in their presence?

 

Queering Malaysian Malay-Muslim cohesiveness

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:07 PM PDT

The sexual activities of Malaysian Muslims are often subjected to surveillance and penalties. Religio-political institutions such as Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia or Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur are assiduous in stampeding on the private sexual lives of Malay-Muslims, irrespective of heterosexual or homosexual expression. In this regard, sexual subjectivities have become unwitting pawns in political strivings.

Joseph Goh, New Mandala

My recent chapter in Queer Sexualities: Diversifying Queer, Queering Diversity entitled "Malaysian Masculine Exposé: Queering the Politics of Non-Heteronormative Malay-Muslim Men" argues that non-heteronormative Malaysian Malay-Muslim men confront and lay bare political agendas which rely on the heteronormative assemblage of masculinity and sexuality. This assemblage, which has assumed spaces of privilege, converges with, affects and is influenced by issues of religion, ethnicity, patriarchy and citizenship. Insistence on performativities of masculinity and men's sexuality serve to undergird an imagined "Malay-Muslim cohesiveness." While "non-heteronormative" refers to a gamut of gender identities and sexual expressions that defies gender and sexual conventions, I use it in reference to men whose lives are incongruous with socio-cultural and religio-political endorsements of masculinity and heterosexuality as essentialised and stable traits. Any variation of or divergence from these definitions is unequivocally excoriated as deviant and/or sinful. In queering the aforementioned political agendas, I challenge the normalisations and uncritical acceptance of these intersecting issues, and foreground the lived experiences of non-heteronormative men. My aim is to expose how the imagined Malay-Muslim cohesiveness belies the real intent of political security and power.

The topic of sexuality is one which continues to be held in great sensitivity among many Malaysians. The sexual activities of Malaysian Muslims are often subjected to surveillance and penalties. Religio-political institutions such as Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia or Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) in the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur are assiduous in stampeding on the private sexual lives of Malay-Muslims, irrespective of heterosexual or homosexual expression. In this regard, sexual subjectivities have become unwitting pawns in political strivings. In my work, I specifically focus on two warring Malaysian political parties – the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). UMNO's presence in the ruling coalition of Barisan Nasional or the National Front (BN) is so formidable that its position in the federal government has eclipsed that of other component parties. History has borne witness to how UMNO and PAS have struggled to "out-Islamise" each other in order for one to wrestle moral authority from the other. Additionally, the efforts of UMNO and PAS to out-Islamise each other are also attempts to "out-Malayise" and "out-Malaysianise" each other. Section 160(2) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia conflates the ethnic identity of a Malay person with the praxis of the Islamic faith, thus constructing the Malaysian-Malay-Muslim triadic identity. This UMNO-PAS crusade is evidently not embarked upon for gratuitous purposes, as the emergent champion of morality commands greater political credibility.

I wish to highlight three particular areas in which the UMNO-PAS rivalry has unfolded. First, both parties engage in mutual vilification by invalidating each other's "Islamness." Second, the competition for moral – and by extension, political – legitimacy has materialised in the Malaysian heteropatriarchal and masculine systems of Islamic family laws. In such religio-legal matters, the ruling UMNO/BN-led government clearly favours Malay-Muslim men, as evident in marriage and paternal rights. Third, UMNO and PAS actively foster the vilification of all non-heteronormative persons, including especially non-heteronormative men. I argue that Malaysian men elicit greater religio-political and socio-cultural capital over women, particularly in Muslim societies. While such a disposition may lead to the imaging of women as subservient to men, it is "manness" in male bodied-persons which claims centre stage. Thus, the imagined "Malay-Muslim cohesiveness" that is built on heteronormative masculinity is crucial for UMNO and PAS as they scramble towards religio-political ascendancy. Heteronormative masculinity becomes the metonym for strength, power, uprightness and religiosity. Conversely, non-heteronormative expressions of gender and sexuality are feminised, and perceived as weakness and subjugation. From this perspective, non-heteronormative Malay-Muslim men become entrapped in ideologies that act as collateral for the UMNO/BN-PAS political rivalries.

READ MORE HERE

 

Pua: Hidden debts behind negative Fitch Ratings outlook

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:04 PM PDT

Pua said the government was ignoring warnings on spiralling hidden debts as it continues spending money without fear of increasing its budget deficit. — File pic

(The Malay Mail) - "In reality, if both official government debt and government-guaranteed debt are put together, our debt to GDP ratio will be a much higher and worrying 68.9 per cent," Pua explained.

DAP MP Tony Pua fingered the Najib administration today for Fitch Ratings' negative reading of Malaysia's finances, saying it was due to Putrajaya's penchant for hiding debts that led to its credit rating revision from "stable" to "negative".

This comes following the global ratings agency's recent report that Malaysia's public finances are its "key rating weakness", and warned of future negative shocks should no reforms and measures be taken by the federal government to remedy the country's financial standing.

"We call upon the government to follow the reform (of) its outdated accounting practice of 'off-balance sheet financing' and recognise fully these hidden debts as the federal government debt commitments," the Petaling Jaya Utara MP said in a statement.

Fitch's report noted that the federal government debt rose to 53.3 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) at the end of 2012, up from 51.6 per cent at the same period the year before.

The general government budget deficit had also increased from 3.8 per cent of GDP in 2011 to 4.7 per cent in 2012, coming from a 19 per cent rise in public wages expenditure in a pre-election year.

Putrajaya has always maintained that federal government debt is well below its targeted ceiling of 55 per cent of GDP, but Pua stressed that the figure does not include government-guaranteed debt which is hidden.

In December 2012, Fitch had warned Putrajaya that its reliance on off-balance sheet funding could make the 55 per cent ceiling meaningless.

Fitch also highlighted recently that government-guaranteed debt has jumped from nine per cent of GDP at end-2008 to 15.2 per cent by end-2012.

"In reality, if both official government debt and government-guaranteed debt are put together, our debt to GDP ratio will be a much higher and worrying 68.9 per cent," Pua explained.

He accused Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of ignoring warnings on spiralling hidden debts as it allows Putrajaya to continue spending money without fear of increasing its budget deficit.

"By channelling development expenditure to off-budget measures, it enables the Najib administration to paint a false perception of financial prudence, that his government has the necessary political will and financial discipline to reduce the country's fiscal deficit," he added.

To remedy the problem, Pua also called on Najib to ensure that all privatisation projects are tendered competitively and government procurement be open and transparent.

Pua also urged Najib to cut down unnecessary spending in the Budget 2014, expected to be tabled in October this year, by reducing "Supplies and Services" expenditure which ballooned to RM33.7 billion in 2013 compared to RM23.8 billion in 2012.

According to Bank Negara Malaysia, the federal government debt currently stands at RM508.9 billion in the first quarter of 2013 compared to RM501.6 billion in the previous quarter. Government-guaranteed debt is at RM147.7 billion in the same quarter.

 

#ServeSomethingNice: Feeding the Homeless of Kuala Lumpur for 17 Days

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:03 PM PDT

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-ciFzvI9QcJ4/Ufi1xY-1hQI/AAAAAAAACOs/J4YpAFKLH8A/s400/servesomethingnice.jpg 

We should put aside our differences and help those who are in need 

Anas Zubedy 

I would like to share the story of a group who dedicates their time to help the poor and the homeless. Kechara Soup Kitchen is a non-profit charitable body that feeds the poor and homeless of Kuala Lumpur. They are located in Jalan Imbi. Their soup kitchen is open for the poor and homeless every day and every Saturday the Kechara team and their volunteers roam the streets of Kuala Lumpur at night to give food for the homeless. I find Kechara Soup Kitchen's selfless service to the poor heartwarming and compassionate.  They forego their Saturday night fun just to see the homeless receive a bit of food and basic supplies. This is why I want more people to learn about what they are doing. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from their generous act and take it to do it ourselves in the future.

As a part of our #SaySomethingNice projects, we at zubedy are looking for donation for Kechara Soup Kitchen. As the campaign is 17 days long, we feel that it's best if we are able to find our friends who want to fund food and supplies for Kechara Soup Kitchen during this period. Your donation will go a long way to help the homeless of Kuala Lumpur who are elderlies, dying patients, victims of natural disasters, children, as well as cast members of society.

There are two ways which you can help. You can sponsor a slot of your choosing. Your donation will be used to buy vegetarian food and basic necessities such as toiletries, vitamins, and ointment for the poor and homeless. You can also participate as a volunteer on a Saturday night with the Kechara team.

Read more at: http://letusaddvalue.blogspot.com/2013/07/servesomethingnice-feeding-homeless-of.html 

DPM: Education blueprint to be implemented in spite of Dong Zong protests

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 02:00 PM PDT

http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/h/www.fz.com/sites/default/files/styles/1_landscape_slider_photo/public/xmuhyiddin,P20muar_1.jpg.pagespeed.ic.o_7QHOWEk6.jpg

Muhyiddin receiving business tithe amounting to RM150,000 from Ahmad (L) during a ceremony at a surau in Bakri, Muar yesterday.

(fz.com) - Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, said the government would really like to see all children in the country, regardless of their race, be it Malay, Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli or the ethnic group in Sabah and Sarawak, to attend national school for the sake of racial unity.

The National Education Blueprint (PPPM) 2013-2025 will be implemented as planned beginning Sept 6 in spite of the protests from the United Chinese School Committee's Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong).
 
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said there was no reason for Dong Zong to continue protesting the government's move to transform the national education system because it would not affect the status of the Chinese language in national education.
 
"When I want to launch it, they started to protest. Recently, Dong Zong had even held a convention in protest of the implementation of the PPPM, which they claimed would diminish the Chinese language.
 
"I would like to challenge them to read every sentence in the PPPM and try to find any word that proves that we are trying to diminish the Chinese language. Let me tell them, there is none.
 
"The government wants to uphold the status of Bahasa Melayu and to improve the quality of education in national school where Bahasa Melayu is used as the medium of instruction. What is wrong with that?" he asked. 

READ MORE HERE

 

In the Dog House for being kind

Posted: 31 Jul 2013 01:39 PM PDT

http://dogwhisperertraining.chetztogom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/chetzindy.jpg 

I am a Malaysian Muslim and I am NOT INSULTED by Maznah's actions. I am however insulted by extremist routinely ploughing my sensibilities with their "sensitivities". 

Shenaaz Khan, President of Malaysian Animal Welfare Society 

The arrest of dog trainer Maznah Mohd Yusuf is appalling and reflects the flimsy fabric of the Malaysian Muslim faith. The contention that the act of walking a dog past a mosque and washing its paws are akin to burning the Quran is ludicrous and displays a dreadful disposition towards dogs.

The chorus of outrage led by seven NGO's i.e. Pertubuhan Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia (MJMM), Selangor State NGO Secretariat, Malay Army Veterans Association (PVTM), Badan Amal Tarbiah Sejagat Malaysia (BATAS), Pak Long Nusantara, Cahaya Haluan Amanah Insan Malaysia and Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim Malaysia (IRIMM) exhibits the abysmal ignorance of Muslim "champions" in this country. This clan have clearly vacated their minds of knowledge and dogged it with doctrine. Hitherto the video, these sinless soldiers have remained silent on almost all other un-Islamic practises. They appear to not be "insulted" by some Muslim men collecting wives as if they were stamps, leaving many women and children in a state of destitution. They are certainly not "insulted" by how corporations and hotels have turned the humble act of fasting into a feasting fiesta of gluttony!  And rape and incest by their brethren is mere kitchen matter, unworthy of their divine intervention. Yet, this harmless video has compelled them to don their guerrilla garbs and Ray bans and start their pilgrimage up the pavement of righteousness!  

Believing themselves to be vastly superior to others, these virtuous vigilantes had the audacity to state that Maznah had "committed a grievous insult towards all Muslims in Malaysia". Well dear feckless NGO's, I am a Malaysian Muslim and I am NOT INSULTED by Maznah's actions. I am however insulted by extremist routinely ploughing my sensibilities with their "sensitivities". And I am repulsed further by how quickly the authorities went wildly out of control to persecute Maznah, yet remain apathetic to brutal animal abuses.

And why have the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry and the Department of Veterinary Services, the self proclaimed animal welfare crusaders, remained silent on this ridiculous fiasco? While they use the new Animal Welfare Bill as a tool to publicise their efforts in combating animal cruelty, have they made it known that this new law does not preclude animals unacceptable to a faith? Should they not applaud Maznah's treatment of animals and encourage others to do the same?

Malaysia's legacy for animal cruelty is set to outlast the sun. Animal abusers, wildlife traffickers and repugnant zoo operators and pet breeders still evade justice and continue to roam our streets but a kind, animal-loving person like Maznah is hauled up, finger-printed, mug-shotted and chucked in jail to pander to religious zealots! Using Section 298A of the Penal Code for causing disharmony on the grounds of religion clearly reflect the inability of the authorities to make a distinction between Islamic principles and Muslim prejudices. And while there appears to be a crime wave in this country, animal lovers are being assailed by the authorities for promoting unity, tolerance and animal welfare! This madness must cease. Maznah should be commended not condemned. She has committed no crime and therefore must be released.

 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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