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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Revoking Singaporean’s PR is too harsh, Tiong Lai says

Posted: 17 Aug 2013 12:34 AM PDT

(MM) - Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said today the government's decision to revoke the permanent residency  (PR) of a Singaporean Muslim man for allowing a group of Buddhist tourists to meditate in a Muslim prayer room in a resort, as too harsh of a punishment.

The MCA deputy president said the resort operator should be given a chance to explain and that if it was not his intention to offend Islam, he should not be given such a harsh punishment.

"I would say it is a bit harsh because they have to at least look into the whole issue ... because you must understand the circumstances of the issue.

"The authorities should be sensitive and be tolerant about this issue," he told reporters after a dialogue session with eight major Chinese youth associations at the KL Hilton here.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced earlier today the government was revoking the Malaysian PR of a Singapore-born hotelier based in Johor as a stern reminder to foreigners to mind local religious sensitivities.

The Singaporean was released yesterday on police bail, after being remanded for four days to assist with investigations.

Liow said the government should consider the opinions of religious scholars as well, to resolve this issue.

"Malaysia is a multiracial society, multi-religious...we think the authorities should also be concerned about the feelings of other religion in implementing any decision, so what we want to emphasise is that we want to ensure that whatever action taken by the authorities, it has to be a fair decision, a fair action.

"So in this aspect, since he is a Muslim personnel, we feel that we should take the views of some of the ustazs and also the ulamas [sic] in respect to whatever decision taken," the former health minister said, using the Malay words for Muslim religious teachers and scholars respectively.

"But we view that this issue ... has to be handled with care, it has to be taken in the sensitivity of the issue and we have to preserve the unity and harmony of this country," he said.

On Monday, media reports surfaced of a video uploaded to the popular video-sharing site last week allegedly showing a surau in the Johor resort being used by Buddhist tourists for prayers.

The 85-second-long video titled "Surau dijadikan tokong?" (A surau turned into a temple?) depicted what looked to be a group prayer session of a dozen white-clad people, led by a man dressed in Buddhist red-and-saffron coloured robes in a room that had Arabic script over its doorway.

This later led to the arrest and remand of the Singapore-born Muslim resort owner under section 295 of the Penal Code, which comes under the heading of "injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class", after police reports were lodged over the incident.

Malay daily Berita Harian quoted the resort owner as saying last Monday that he did not expect the offer to lead to the controversy now. 


Pua: DAP deregistration certain without fresh polls

Posted: 16 Aug 2013 04:20 PM PDT

(MM) - Continued resistance to re-election would have been futile as the Registrar of Societies (RoS) would have bent the law to strike the DAP from its lists, the party's national publicity chief said today.

Alluding to unnamed "powers that be" that govern the RoS, the DAP's Tony Pua said the opposition party was forced to hold fresh polls for its central executive committee (CEC) as ordered, to prevent its deregistration that he claimed would have been a matter of political expediency.

"Under normal and routine circumstances, the DAP would not have hesitated to strike out the ROS order in the courts of law," he said in a statement.

Pua (picture), who is also Petaling Jaya Utara MP, said the party's lawyers had checked the legal books and confirmed that the societies regulator had no authority to "punish" a party with fresh leadership elections.

But he argued that the party was not mounting a court challenge because a judicial review application would have given the RoS the "pretext" it needed to flex its muscles and terminate the DAP.

"[If] the ROS can abuse its non-existent powers to demand that DAP hold fresh elections, then certain it will not hesitate to abuse the powers which it has — that is to de-register a political party -- if the powers that be deem it politically expedient and necessary," Pua said.

"Hence the CEC has decided to proceed with a fresh election of the party leadership under protest, to prevent the risk of a devastating de-registration by the ROS," he added.

On January 4, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng revealed that an internal audit showed errors in the tabulation of votes from the December 15, 2012 party elections that he said were caused by a technical glitch when the results were transferred to a computer using the Microsoft Excel programme.

The amendments resulted in Lim's political secretary, Zairil Khir Johari, moving up from 39th position to 20th ? the last elected position in the party's CEC.

This resulted in the RoS investigating the party over the incident and subsequently ordering a new round of elections as it was "dissatisfied" with DAP's explanations.

But the party had, until Wednesday, refused to comply with the RoS directive, saying it did not justify its order beyond saying it was "dissatisfied" with the party's explanations.

The DAP's acquiesance prompted Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin to remark yesterday that the party had known it had erred all along and was deliberately dragging out the dispute to gain public sympathy.

In his statement today, Pua responded by lashing out at his political foe, telling Khairy to show evidence of the RoS's justification to order the DAP to hold re-election of its CEC.

The DAP lawmaker demanded the youth and sports minister retract his statement unless he could substantiate with facts. 


Singaporean loses Malaysian PR over surau storm

Posted: 16 Aug 2013 04:17 PM PDT

(MM) - Putrajaya has flexed its muscles and revoked the permanent residence (PR) of a Singaporean resort operator who allowed a group of Buddhist tourists to meditate in a Muslim prayer room on its grounds.

The drastic move was to remind foreigners that the government would not hesitate to take stern action against those that failed to mind local religious sensitivities, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.

"The home ministry has decided to pull his status as a permenant resident because the status was given for his convenience and was not a privilege.

"And as a permenant resident, he has to be sensitive to religious issues in this country and understand Malaysians' sensitivities," he told reporters at Persatuan Pengasih Malaysia's Aidilfitri celebration here.

He said the 45-year-old Singaporean owner of the resort in Johor has been notified of the ministry's decision. 


Stop challenging Muslims over ‘Allah’, home minister warns

Posted: 16 Aug 2013 04:09 PM PDT

(MM) - The word "Allah" is reserved only for followers of Islam and non-Muslims must stop challenging this absolute right, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today ahead of the long-simmering dispute that will return to court next week.

The home minister also urged Muslim groups to unite and defend against what he seemed to view as an attempt to undermine their religion by non-followers, as the local Catholic Church applied to uphold a landmark High Court ruling that allows Christians the right to also call their god by the Middle Eastern word.

"We respect other religions but for this issue, we want followers of other religious beliefs to respect Islam's stance on this.

"This is not a matter of rights but this is more than an absolute right, the word 'Allah' is an absolute right for Islam, full stop," he told reporters at the Persatuan Pengasih Malaysia's Aidilfitri celebration here.

The tussle over the word "Allah" will return to the courts on August 22, when the Court of Appeal hears the Catholic Church's bid to strike out Putrajaya's appeal against the 2009 High Court ruling upholding the Christians' right to use the Arabic word.

The hearing will be the first time the matter has returned to the legal arena since it was left to languish for nearly four years after the government contested the landmark decision that had shocked Muslims in Malaysia. 


Spy copter found near Wee's home

Posted: 16 Aug 2013 12:13 PM PDT 

(The Star) - A remote-controlled aerial vehicle has been found allegedly spying on MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong's bungalow in Bukit Tiara in Cheras.

Dr Wee said the portable hexa­copter with six rotors was found by his neighbour's son on Aug 8.

"Am I a terrorist? This is an invasion of privacy. They (perpetrators) have no right to do this," he said at a press conference here yesterday.

According to Dr Wee, the hexa­copter fell on his neighbour's rooftop balcony after it hit the lightning arrester.

His neighbour's 14-year-old son found the vehicle and informed his parents but his parents did not suspect anything amiss and told him to just throw it away.

However, the boy removed a chip attached to a tiny video camera from the vehicle and, together with his 15-year-old sister, played it on the computer. They made the shocking discovery and the family quickly informed Dr Wee.

Dr Wee collected the craft from his neighbour only on Thursday.

Dr Wee, who showed five short video clips extracted from the chip and recorded on Aug 5, said the hexa­copter was aimed in the direction of his house and his neighbour's.

The video clip showed two men handling the hexacopter in its initial clip. In another, the camera screen paused when a security guard was going on his patrolling rounds and resumed when the guard moved away.

Asked what the motive for this could be, the former Deputy Education Minister said he would not speculate, but added that it was normal before party elections for snooping activities to be conducted on potential leaders.

"I urge the Prime Minister, Home Ministry and the police to monitor those with hobbies of using such craft because it could be used for criminal activities. If there are such activities, it must be curbed," he said.

Dr Wee had lodged a report on the hexacopter with the police headquarters here, and officers subsequently recorded his statement at Wisma MCA. 


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