Ahad, 4 Ogos 2013

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Another case of much ado about nothing (reprise)

Posted: 04 Aug 2013 12:47 PM PDT

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The crafty hoodlums who rule over unthinking mobs must of necessity opt for the most demented, inane and constricted interpretation of any belief system in order to have any control over the untutored passions of their flock. They will set up formal councils and academies to determine the parameters of belief and behavior and vigorously persecute (and even execute) anyone who preaches any form of "deviancy" from the orthodox doctrine. 

Magick River 

Many years ago I met a Sufi master whose profound understanding of Islam truly impressed me.

But before I continue with this story, let me state that almost all the Muslims with whom I have had close friendships have either been Sufis - or were gravitating towards a mystical interpretation of Islam. The mystical approach is experiential and private; whereas ritualistic religion is regulated by public behavior and therefore tends to be tribalistic in nature.

I find it impossible to have an intelligent conversation with fundamentalists of any persuasion - whether Muslim, Christian or whatever. This is because fundamentalism is antagonistic to intelligence. Wherever violence erupts over religious differences, fundamentalism is invariably the root cause. Brawn and brute force override brain and heart when independent thinking is suppressed.


Looking up the word "fundamentalism" in my trusty digital dictionary, I found this concise summary:

"Islamic fundamentalism appeared in the 18th and 19th centuries as a reaction to the disintegration of Islamic political and economic power, asserting that Islam is central to both state and society and advocating strict adherence to the Koran (Qur'an) and to Islamic law (sharia), supported if need be by jihad or holy war."

There you have it. Fundamentalism is basically an outward manifestation of ego insecurity. An entire tribe or nation can suffer from ego insecurity and seek refuge in hardline dogmatism and fanaticism. You could say it's a pathological condition and, as such, can be quite easily cured - once the hidden hand behind the reactionary forces is revealed and surgically amputated.

In every case you will find that the chief puppetmaster isn't even a believer. He cynically exploits the gullibility of the mindless mob and manipulates its collective pain-body through control of the mass media and law enforcement.

Read more at: http://www.magickriver.org/2010/02/allah-another-case-of-much-ado-about.html 

Tentang Negara Islam

Posted: 04 Aug 2013 12:28 PM PDT

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(The Malaysian Insider) - Pemimpin agama Islam di negara ini nampaknya menganggap kedudukan mereka "lebih tinggi dalam agama, jadi mereka tidak boleh duduk sama taraf dengan Bukan Islam".

Fakta: Islam adalah agama rasmi Persekutuan Malaysia tetapi agama-agama lain boleh diamalkan tanpa gangguan mana-mana pihak.

Fakta: Islam mengharamkan rasuah.

Fakta: Walaupun Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad mengumumkan Malaysia sebagai sebuah "Negara Islam" pada 2001, Malaysia bukan sebuah "Negara Islam".

Bagi bekas pengerusi Barisan Nasional (BN) dan bekas Perdana Menteri itu, seperti dilaporkan oleh Bernama (17 September 2002), pengiktirafan yang diberikan oleh "dunia Islam dan bukan Islam" sudah mencukupi untuk Malaysia dianggap sebagai "Negara Islam".

Beliau juga dipetik sebagai berkata, "Alasan lain sebenarnya tidak perlu untuk membuktikan Malaysia ialah negara Islam. Kerajaan boleh menunjukkan bukti jelas bahawa segala ajaran Islam yang mampu dilaksanakan oleh pemerintahan di Malaysia telahpun dilaksanakan."

Hampir sepuluh tahun kemudian, Mahathir dilaporkan berkata bahawa beliau tidak boleh dilabel sebagai "haram" kerana beliau telah mengisytiharkan Malaysia sebagai "Negara Islam" (Malaysiakini, 11 Ogos 2012).

Pengerusi DAP kebangsaan yang juga seorang peguam yang disegani, Karpal Singh menyifatkan pengisytiharan Malaysia sebagai "Negara Islam" oleh Mahathir pada 2001 sebenarnya tidak terikat dengan mana-mana undang-undang.

Tindakan Mahathir juga dilihat sebagai bercanggah dengan lima pengisytiharan Mahkamah Persekutuan pada 1998 bahawa Malaysia sebuah negara sekular. Malah, ketiga-tiga Perdana Menteri sebelum Mahathir juga mengakui secara terbuka bahawa Malaysia adalah sebuah negara sekular walaupun Islam diiktiraf agama rasmi Persekutuan.

Malah, sekiranya diteliti, Suruhanjaya Reid diberikan mandat menggubal Perlembagaan Persekutuan apabila negara mencapai kemerdekaan pada tahun 1957 tetapi laporannya tidak menyebut Tanah Melayu (kini Malaysia) sebagai sebuah "Negara Islam".

Hujah-hujah yang dikemukakan ini pasti sudah membuatkan telinga pihak tertentu berasap kerana beranggapan makalah ini bertujuan memperlekeh, mempersenda, mempertikai dan mempersoalkan agama Islam.

Apatah lagi apabila timbalan presiden Umno, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin sudah mengeluarkan kenyataan rasmi bahawa "Tiada orang Islam yang mempersendakan agama-agama bukan Islam seperti Kristian, Hindu dan sebagainya. Tetapi yang berlaku di sini, bukan Islam telah memperlekehkan dan mempersendakan agama kita" (Bernama, 30 Julai 2013).

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/uthaya-sankar/article/tentang-negara-islam 

MCA akhirnya bersuara, namun apa tindakan mereka?

Posted: 04 Aug 2013 12:15 PM PDT

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(The Malaysian Insider) - Kami perlu bersuara dan masyarakat yang menilainya. Kami perlu mencari jalan penyelesaian. Jka kerajaan memerintah buat perkara yang betul, kami berikan sokongan, Jika mereka salah, kami suarakannya.

Semasa berkuasa, bekas Presiden MCA Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik ada ungkapan khusus buat parti lawannya, DAP.

Katanya, "DAP seperti NATO - tiada tindakan, cakap kosong."

DAP tiada masalah dengan MCA mahupun Barisan Nasional (BN) apabila Dr Ling memimpin parti dari 1986 hingga 2003.

Malah, bekas Menteri Pengangkutan itu memimpin BN semasa Umno diisytihar haram pada 1988.

Kuasa dan pengaruh MCA pada ketika itu tidak mencukupi bagi mewakili suara orang Cina didengari mahupun mempengaruhi ahli dan penyokongnya.

MCA terus menyokong BN meskipun kebanyakan orang Melayu meninggalkan gabungan pemerintah itu pada 1999 selepas Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim dipecat.

Hari ini MCA sedikit berbeza. Mereka memilih untuk tidak menyertai kerajaan selepas hanya memenangi tujuh kerusi Parlimen semasa Pilihan Raya Umum ke-13 (PRU13) kurang separuh daripada 15 kerusi yang dimenangi pada PRU12 tahun 2008.

Pemimpin MCA juga lantang bersuara tentang pelbagai perkara. Dari hal kemasukan pelajar ke universiti awam hinggalah murid sekolah rendah yang makan di bilik mandi - pemimpin MCA kini mendahului kerajaan.

Namun, adakah ini taktik bagi meraih kembali sokongan orang Cina dan adakah MCA pasti ada langkah yang diambil menangani isu tersebut?

"Pada asasnya, kami tidak mengaitkan menyuarakan pendapat dapat meraih undi. Kami berasa kini rakyat mahu kami bersuara. Maka, apa yang tidak kena?" kata Ketua Pemuda MCA Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong kepada The Malaysian Insider.

"Kita adalah negara demokrasi. Kami tidak perlu terlalu memikirkan apa pandangan parti komponen lain dalam BN.

"Jika ada yang salah, kami suarakan," menurut bekas Menteri Pendidikan yang merupakan satu daripada tujuh ahli Parlimen MCA yang masih bertahan selepas PRU13.

Komen Wee mengimbas kembali semasa Timbalan Presiden MCA Tan Sri Lee Kim Sai yang mengadakan bantahan pada 1987 terhadap bintang Umno menyinar pada ketika itu, Anwar Ibrahim sebagai Menteri Pendidikan meminta guru bukan kaum Cina mengajar di sekolah Cina.

Namun Wee berkata pemimpin MCA selalu berunding dan berbincang secara sulit bagi memperbaiki kerajaan namun masyarakat sering melihat mereka tidak membuat kerja.

"Kami perlu bersuara dan masyarakat yang menilainya. Kami perlu mencari jalan penyelesaian. Jka kerajaan memerintah buat perkara yang betul, kami berikan sokongan, Jika mereka salah, kami suarakannya.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/mca-akhirnya-bersuara-namun-apa-tindakan-mereka 

Soi Lek to fight to the end?

Posted: 04 Aug 2013 12:13 PM PDT

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(The Malay Mail) - Despite a public announcement that he would not seek another term as the party chief, recent events in the MCA have indicated that Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek may seek re-election in the December party elections.

Sources close to Dr Chua have indicated that he was almost sure for go for it as the party president felt he still had the support to pull it off.

"Although he did say he will not contest, the personal attacks on him are just overwhelming. He may change his mind just to prove a point to his detractors," said a senior party leader yesterday.

"It looks like he wants to give a real fight to anyone who wants the position."

Following the party's dismal performance in the general election, Dr Chua issued a statement on May 6 that he would not seek another term in office as the party chief.

"I have decided that I will not seek re-election in the upcoming party elections," he had said then.

MCA only won seven out of 37 parliamentary seats it contested.

However the turn of events had not taken Dr Chua's rivals by surprise as many seemed to expect it.

The party elders had also conveyed their opinion on the matter, saying they were sure Dr Chua would stand for re-election as they believed he still had some unfinished business in the party.

Possibly as a prelude for Dr Chua's expected announcement that he will re-contest, MCA divisions in Kedah and Selangor have built up the momentum for it.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/soi-lek-to-fight-to-the-end 

Disqualified beauties warned against attending ‘finals’, says pageant organiser

Posted: 04 Aug 2013 12:03 PM PDT

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(The Malay Mail) - Jawi director Datuk Che Mat Che Ali was quoted by Bernama on Saturday as saying the religious authority had mounted enforcement operations around the venue of the finals.

One of the four Muslim beauty contestants recently disqualified from the Miss Malaysia World was warned not to attend the finals in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

Insiders revealed Sara Amelia Bernard was cautioned by the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) that she would be "arrested on sight" if she attended the event.

"I don't want to talk much about it except that they (Jawi) told me not to go for the event," she said.

Sara Amelia was among four contestants dropped from the beauty pageant. The others were Wafa Johanna de Kote, Miera Sheikh and Kathrina Ridzuan.

Wafa Johanna said she was also "advised" not to go for the finals.

"We got the same warnings from the religious institute as it is not right for us to be there even though we're there to show support," she said.

Miera, however, was unaware of such a warning.

"I didn't even know we were not supposed to go for the event. I received the invite (for the finals) but declined due to a prior engagement in Johor," she said.

Efforts to contact Kathrina were not successful.

Official pageant licensee and Miss Malaysia World organiser Datuk Anna Lim was informed by the girls they would not be attending the finals as to not "create any further problems".

Jawi director Datuk Che Mat Che Ali was quoted by Bernama on Saturday as saying the religious authority had mounted enforcement operations around the venue of the finals.

If they competed in the event, the four would be fined not more than RM3,000 each or jailed not more than two years or both, if convicted. 

Guns for hire and bullets for cheap, says crime watchdog

Posted: 04 Aug 2013 12:01 PM PDT

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(The Malay Mail) - Guns are rented out for less than a night's stay at a local five-star hotel while bullets are sold cheaper than a bottle of water, crime watchdog MyWatch co-founder S. Gobi Krishnan alleged yesterday as the nation continues to be stunned by the proliferation of shootings.

Yesterday, a 44-year-old businessman was shot dead in a drive-by shooting in Kota Kinabalu, bringing the number of gun-related incidents to eight in as many days — including a brazen attempt on Gobi's partner in MyWatch, R. Sri Sanjeevan.

"It started as a favour of borrowing guns among friendly groups, then it became rental," Gobi told The Malay Mail Online.

This rental "service" began last year, Gobi said, with guns hired out to assassins for as little as RM300 for three hours, with bullets costing just 80 sen each.

"It seems to be a new trend, copying what's happening in other countries," added the MyWatch adviser, referring to powerful drug cartels terrorising Mexico and South Africa.

He said that the trend of gun rentals started out small, but spiked this year as more people came to know about it.

Shootings and gun murders exploded into the nation's consciousness last Monday when Arab-Malaysian Development Bank founder Hussain Ahmad Najadi was assassinated in broad daylight by a gunman in Kuala Lumpur, just days after Sanjeevan survived an attempted hit in Negri Sembilan on July 27.

According to Gobi, the most commonly available gun for rent is the Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Popular with law enforcement agencies worldwide, the Glock is also issued to members of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Customs Department enforcers, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and authorised RELA personnel.

"In the past few years, if you want to shoot somebody, you have to spend RM5,000 to RM6,000 for a gun," he said. "Now, it's just available."

"If you buy a gun, you have to be worried as the police might catch you. But here, you just rent, execute the job where you shoot somebody, and then return the gun," added the anti-crime activist.

Gobi stressed that there was no surge in the smuggling of firearms into the country, but said corruption in Malaysia's Anti-Smuggling Unit guarding the border between Thailand and Malaysia has enabled the entry of some firearms.

"Definitely there're corrupt officers there. Otherwise guns cannot be brought into the country," Gobi asserted.

Malaysia has strict gun control laws that allow people to own firearms only if they have a licence from the police, and last week, the authorities were urged to publish the names of licensed firearm owners in the country.

The police and Home Ministry have blamed the rash of shootings and violent crimes on the release of detainees once held without trial under the now-repealed Emergency Ordinance, and are angling for the return of such powers.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has also vowed to provide the police "anything" it needs to fight serious crime, including extra powers under a new law that is expected to be tabled in Parliament in September.

On Thursday, the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) announced the government's decision to introduce new interim measures that allow law enforcers to tap into public communications, as well as to snap electronic tracking bracelets on criminal suspects to arrest the rising crime rate.

Opposition lawmakers, however, have criticised Putrajaya's plan to intercept communications for intelligence gathering, calling the move "overkill".

They further contend that Malaysia did not need new laws to combat the growing menace, but only for the police to devote more than just 9 per cent of the force it currently does to crime fighting. 

Only in Malaysia: where we have gone wrong with fatwa

Posted: 04 Aug 2013 12:37 AM PDT

Fatwa are only advisory opinions to guide a Muslim to lead a life according to Islam.

Zainah Anwar, The Star

I WONDER how many Malaysians know that under the Syariah Criminal Offences laws of this country, it is a criminal offence for a Muslim to defy, disobey or dispute or to give, propagate or disseminate any opinion concerning Islamic teachings, Islamic law or any issue, contrary to any fatwa for the time being in force.

And that we must be the only country in the Muslim world that has turned the opinion of the ulama into the law of the land without going through the legislative process and then makes it an offence for anyone to challenge that opinion.

That this is a gross violation of constitutional guarantees of fundamental liberties and has no basis in Islamic legal history seem to escape those who drafted the laws and passed them in Parliament and state legislative assemblies.

As long ago as 1997, Sisters in Islam had submitted a memorandum to the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, alerting him to the Shariah Criminal Offences (SCO) federal and state laws.

We pointed out that in Islamic legal thought, fatwa are mere advisory opinions and do not have the force of law; to make it a crime to challenge a fatwa in force is to equate the opinion of a Mufti to the infallible word of God; the legislative authority to make laws in Malaysia lies with Parliament and the state assemblies, not the fatwa committees; the right to restrict fundamental liberties lies solely with Parliament and thus the provisions in the law that punish indecency amounts to an unconstitutional trespass on federal powers.

He ordered the suspension of the law and for the Attorney-General's chambers to conduct a full study. This occurred after the public outcry over the arrest and charging of three young women for violating a fatwa by taking part in a Miss Malaysia Petite beauty contest which drew public attention to the existence of these draconian provisions in the SCO laws.

But when the ruckus died down, so it seems did the review. The public was not informed of any progress.

So these laws remain on the books. Whenever the opportunity arises, the law is revived to threaten and intimidate those who dare to have an opinion different from those in religious authority. So much for Malaysia being touted as the model moderate Muslim country.

In 2005, when another public outcry broke out over the arrest and treatment of 100 young Muslim women and men at the Zouk discotheque, Sisters in Islam yet again submitted another memorandum to the Government calling for a comprehensive review and repeal of the SCO laws.

This time SIS supported its position with research by two legal experts who studied the laws from constitutional and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) perspectives.

How much more does it take for this government to realise that forcing people to believe what they do not believe does not constitute faith?

That is why every time a fatwa is issued that makes no sense to the public or the law is enforced that violates the fundamental liberties of citizens, there is a public outcry. And then those in religious authority get insulted and are befuddled as to why so many Malaysians, even Muslims they say, dare to challenge their views and contradict fellow Muslims.

Not a crime

My friends and scholars I know in the Arab world are stunned that a modern country like Malaysia could be so close minded when it comes to Islam. Everyone, literally everyone I meet, knows that fatwa are only advisory opinions to guide a Muslim to lead a life according to Islam. They are theological and legal reasonings given in question and answer form. If at all it is binding, it is only to the questioner, certainly not binding on a whole population and certainly not a crime to disobey.

In fact, if you don't like the fatwa given by your local mullah, you can go to another one to ask for another opinion and it is left to your conscience to decide which fatwa you want to follow. Everyone understands that in the end it is between you and God.

Truly, only God knows best. The state has no role to play to force you to believe or obey a fatwa and send you to prison or fine you for disobeying the opinion of someone in religious authority. And the media certainly does not sensationalise and incite hatred against anyone for not following a fatwa.

But for some people in Malaysia, this Islamic tradition that has enabled Islam to thrive and grow for hundreds of years in all social and cultural contexts seems an alien tradition.

And yet there are hundreds of fatwa listed in the e-fatwa portal of Jakim and the state religious authorities on a whole range of issues, from whether it is harus (permissible) to dye one's hair black (only for jihad purposes or for a woman to please her husband), to the use of indelible ink on voters' fingers (permissible). Some are gazetted, most are not.

For example, many states have issued fatwa that say smoking is haram; Selangor and Penang gazetted, the others did not. Selangor, Pahang and Penang have issued fatwa that declare Amanah Saham Bumiputra (ASB) and Amanah Saham Nasional (ASN) as haram (forbidden), but the National Fatwa Council states it is harus. Some other states followed suit to state it is harus, but not those three states.

So who is right and who is wrong?

All fatwa are justified in the name of Islam. So when there are so many fatwa on the same issue, some making it haram, some harus, some gazetted, some not, some states have them, some don't, what then is the "Islamic" position on any particular issue?

This would not pose a problem if, like other Muslim countries, the Malaysian authorities have the wisdom to leave it to the conscience of the individual to decide which opinion or which teaching he or she wants to follow and leave it to God to decide in the end whether that person has committed a sin by obeying or disobeying.

But when the state tries to play God, it leads us to the conundrums we are in today. For the public will question the basis upon which some states decide to gazette one fatwa but not another. On what basis is action taken against those who violate a fatwa?

Thousands of Muslims in Selangor and Penang violate the smoking fatwa on a daily basis, and yet none of them has been accused of insulting Islam or charged for violating a fatwa. Why not?

Neither has any tobacco company been charged for propagating and disseminating their opinions on smoking through advertising and promotion that clearly violate the fatwa.

On the scale of wrongdoings, the public wonders why corrupt politicians and officials or the thousands of fathers who fail to pay maintenance to their children are not accused of insulting Islam. It is this selective persecution and hypocrisy that rile public opinion.

Difference of opinion

There is a good reason as to why fatwa never have the force of law in Islamic history. Because to do so is to, in effect, equate the opinion of the ulama to the word of God.

One reason why the doctrine of binding precedent did not evolve in the Islamic legal tradition is due to the belief that the opinion of one mujtahid (a jurist qualified to interpret legal issues) can never be regarded as the final wisdom in understanding the infinite message of the Quran.

Another jurist can give an equally valid opinion based on his learned understanding of the text. In the context of law-making in a democracy, these differences of opinion should be debated in public and the legislative body will then decide which opinion it wants to turn into law to serve the best interest of society. Public law must be open to public debate and pass the test of public reason.

But in Malaysia, disobeying a fatwa has become elevated to insulting God, insulting Islam. Yes, the state religious authority could consider it an insult to what it considers its learned opinion on Islam; but this cannot constitute a crime, nor can it equate its opinion to God as that would be tantamount to shirk (associating others with God).

If it is the Islamic tradition to make it a crime to have differences of opinion in Islam, how then did numerous schools of theology and numerous schools of law develop in Islamic history?

In the canons of Islamic juristic scholarship written by the classical scholars of Islam, no one accuses another of insulting Islam for differences of opinion. Only politicians and those with aspirations to power and control do that.

The tragedy of Muslims today is that while we say we want to restore Islam to its past glory, we are instead doing a grave injustice to our rich legal tradition. We bring the religion into disrepute and ridicule in our obsession to make all Muslims think only in the way the state deems fit.

That the coercive power of a modern nation state is then used to impose this one point of view on a whole community of Muslims is unprecedented in Islamic history. And obviously unenforceable in a democracy as there would be public outrage.

We have abused what is authoritative in our Islamic tradition for authoritarian purposes. And this has no place in a democracy nor in Muslim practice.

 

Umno polls could spring a surprise

Posted: 04 Aug 2013 12:29 AM PDT

The Umno polls are just another couple of months away but the ground is quiet, the campaigning subdued and the mood is not to rock the boat after what the party went through in the general election.

At another level, some 146,500 delegates from 199 Umno divisions will vote on the posts for president, deputy president, three vice-presidents and 25 supreme council members (Fig 3). This is in contrast to the past when 2,000-plus delegates decided on the leadership line-up.

Joceline Tan. The Star

Figure 1

TAN Sri Mohd Isa Samad looks rather well groomed these days. The Felda chairman has been sporting a more contemporary hair-do and a neatly trimmed goatee. He is also into well-tailored suits and his ties match the folded handkerchief in his breast pocket. But most of all, Isa is glowing with health and contentment.

His previous scruffy grassroots politician image is a thing of the past and according to his friends, the credit goes to his wife Puan Sri Bibi Sharliza Mohd Khalid, the Puteri Umno politician whom he married several years after his first wife died of cancer. It is so sweet to find love the second time around and Bibi has stepped naturally into her role as a politician's wife.

Isa, who is also Bagan Pinang assemblyman, has enjoyed a high profile in the Malay heartland since his 2010 Felda appointment.

The new-look Isa even comes across as rather polished and sophisticated – until he opens his mouth. Then you know that he is the same old Isa – loquacious, full of jokes and as down-to-earth as ever.

 

Figure 2
But the Umno circle is buzzing with talk that Isa is mulling whether to go for one of the three Umno vice-president (VP) posts.

In fact, Kok Lanas assemblyman Datuk Alwi Che Ahmad has labelled Isa the "dark horse" in the VP race.

This will be his fourth try. He failed the first time in 2000, won the second time in 2004 but had to resign following disciplinary action for money politics, and lost in his third attempt in 2009.

The media has been pressing him for an answer everywhere he goes. His official response is that he has not decided. But those close to him think he is "70% decided".

Some said Isa has been telling Umno people to make sure that incumbent VP Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi wins again before adding with a smile: "If you can, also put me there."

It is a rather clever way of riding on Zahid's popularity without seeming to do so.

 

Figure 3

It is only two more months to the Umno elections but the VP race has not stirred the sort of excitement or interest that it used to. Those whom the Umno grassroots think might be suitable up there have shown little inclination so far.

Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman whom many say would join the race is reportedly quite contented to concentrate his efforts on looking after his state.

Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, still flushed from the success of the Kuala Besut by-election, said "not at all" when asked if he was looking at the VP post.

Selangor Umno chief Datuk Noh Omar, who came in No 2 in the last supreme council contest, said he has his hands full as the opposition leader in Selangor.

Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir had not even given it a thought because he had decided early on that his priorities are squarely on Perak.

Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Hasan told reporters he is "not that ambitious."

The Umno rank and file say that they want to see at least one "young face" up there among the seniors but potentates like Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir have indicated that they prefer to concentrate on their new administrative duties.

"I am not feeling it at all," said one Perak Umno official about the party polls.

The dates for the polls have been set. All posts are open for contest and anyone eyeing a post can file his or her papers on Sept 7. All they need is a single nomination, unlike the previous system where aspiring candidates had to canvass for nominations from the divisions and, after that, campaign for votes.

The strange thing is that despite the laissez faire system, very few people have openly stated their intentions. Some have put it down to the Malay trait of segan or reticence. Umno is rarely short of ambitious persons but it was evidently easier to have the Umno divisions nominating them for posts than to be upfront about one's ambition for a post.

Even Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin have been rather circumspect about their positions and it is likely that those down the line are taking the cue from them.

"There is an overwhelming mood not to rock the boat after what we went through in the general election. People are free to contest but the feeling is that this is not the right time for big challenges that may split the party," said Urban Well-Being, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Rahman Dahlan.

One of Umno's most independent voices, Cheras Umno chief Datuk Seri Syed Ali Alhabshee, has urged delegates to vote only for "real party men who will live and die in Umno".

"This is the chance for us to select people who speak up, work hard and are not there just to warm the seat. They must be people who will stand by the party and not up and go if they do not get what they want.

New faces

"I am also appealing to my fellow party members to give the No 1 and No 2 another term. They have worked hard, they work well together, they deserve to be there. As for the posts of VP and below, let the grassroots decide who they want as their future leaders," said Syed Ali.

Alwi has suggested that the next supreme council comprise of at least one-third fresh faces who can help in the Prime Minister's transformation policies while the other two-thirds should include performing ministers and experienced faces.

There are also many in Umno who feel that there must also be leaders who are willing to be vocal on Malay rights, or what they call "Perkasa types", to defend the party's position on Islam, the Rulers and the nation.

The more cynical say the current calm spell is the lull before the storm and that this election may see the biggest number of candidates yet, especially for the 25 supreme council seats.

It will also see thousands of delegates voting, putting the new and radically different election system to the test. The Wanita, Youth and Puteri elections will take place on Sept 28 and the election for the supreme council on Oct 5.

Some 100,000 delegates are eligible to vote in the Wanita election, 70,000 in the Youth election and 50,000 in the Puteri election (Fig 1 and 2).

At another level, some 146,500 delegates from 199 Umno divisions will vote on the posts for president, deputy president, three vice-presidents and 25 supreme council members (Fig 3). This is in contrast to the past when 2,000-plus delegates decided on the leadership line-up.

"It's big and the good thing about it is that money cannot determine the outcome. But those who have a high profile will enjoy the edge," said Alwi.

At the same time, said Alwi, the grassroots know who can deliver and those who work hard.

"Watch out for Azeez," said Alwi.

Umno blogs have been grousing about Datuk Abdul Azeez Rahim's appointment as the new Tabung Haji chairman. There is a great deal of prejudice against Azeez because of his colourful past but, on the ground, Azeez has a reputation as someone who is not afraid of hard work and who helps the disadvantaged.

His efforts for the poor and needy in Baling helped him beat Brig-Gen (R) Datuk Najmi Ahmad of PAS and the younger brother of Datuk Ahmad Nakhaie in the Baling parliamentary seat.

He has spent the holy month of Ramadan traversing the country in his capacity as Tabung Haji chairman, handing out zakat to the poor. He has also been doing other charity work as head of Putera Malaysia.

Last week, Azeez was in Kota Baru where he met up with some of the Kelantan Umno leaders including state chief Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed and Alwi.

Alwi reminded those present that Azeez had squeezed into the last slot of the 25-seat supreme council at the last Umno election.

Then turning to Azeez, he teased: "No more No 25 for you this time. God willing, you will be No 2 or No 5."

It was sheer flattery but Azeez must have left Kota Baru floating on cloud nine.

But apart from the top two posts, the outcome of the Umno elections is hard to predict this time around.

The thousands of delegates who will be voting come from diverse parts of the country and they have their own criteria and priorities in selecting whom they regard as suitable leaders. There may be some surprising results.

 

Petisyen: Jangan uji kesabaran rakyat

Posted: 03 Aug 2013 10:52 PM PDT

http://en.harakahdaily.net/images/stories/pimpinanPAS/salahudin.jpg 

(Harakah) - 'Walaupun kita bertanding di atas padang yang tidak sama rata tetapi kita tetap bertanding kerana mahu peralihan kuasa berlaku dengan aman'.

Naib Presiden PAS, Salahudin Ayub berkata kerajaan Malaysia sepatutnya berterima kasih kepada PAS dan Pakatan Rakyat yang terus menyertai pilihanraya walaupun pelbagai penyelewengan dan kekeliruan berlaku semasa proses pilihanraya diadakan.

'Walaupun kita bertanding di atas padang yang tidak sama rata tetapi kita tetap bertanding kerana mahu peralihan kuasa berlaku dengan aman'.

'PAS tidak pernah gagal menyertai setiap pilihanraya walaupun kita tahu terlalu banyak perkara yang tidak telus dan berat sebelah berlaku, jangan uji kesabaran kami sehingga kami sudah tidak mahu lagi menyertai pilihanraya" ujar Salahuddin.

Beliau berkata jika parti-parti politik sudah tidak mahu menyertai pilihanraya, dibimbangi rakyat akan mengambil jalan lain sebagai protes kepada tindakan kerajaan yang menyeleweng, rasuah, menindas rakyat dan sebagainya.

"Jangan uji kesabaran rakyat yang sehingga ini masih bersabar dengan segala penipuan dan penyelewengan rakyat, kesabaran ini ada tahapnya" tambah Salahudin.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika menyampaikan ceramah anjuran PAS Kawasan Bukit Katil di sini malam tadi.

Salahuddin juga berkata mahkamah Malaysia seolah-olah seperti Bursa Saham apabila menolak Petisyen Pilihanraya dengan kos yang mencecah ratusan ribu ringgit.

"Keputusan Hakim pada perbicaraan petisyen ini seolah-olah sudah ada skrip, di mana semuanya ditolak dengan kos puluhan ribu malah ada yang mencecah ratusan ribu, mereka sebenarnya menggertak kita supaya lain kali jangan buat petisyen lagi'.

"Tidak pernah sebelum ini kos ini ditolak dengan jumlah yang begitu besar sehingga membebankan pempetisyen" tambah Salahuddin.

Turut sama menyampaikan ceramah pada malam tadi ialah Pengerusi DAP Melaka yang juga Ketua Pembangkang Dun Melaka, Goh Leong San; Ahli Parlimen Bukit Katil, Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin dan Adun Bukit Baru, Dr Md Khalid Kassim. 

DAP grassroots want CEC re-election, say ROS

Posted: 03 Aug 2013 10:50 PM PDT

http://w1.nst.com.my/polopoly_fs/1.206088.1358872312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_454/image.jpg 

(Bernama) - DAP should hold its central executive committee (CEC) re-election immediately as this is what the party grassroots want, said Registrar of Societies (ROS) director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman.

In a statement Sunday, he said this was the best decision and which would also show transparency on the part of the party leadership, which had promised the public that it would implement whatever decision announced by ROS.

Abdul Rahman said all matters related to any body was handled in accordance with the Societies Act 1966 and ROS made the decision on the CEC election issue based on the statements given by the parties involved.

He said the Act did not provide the need for ROS to explain the matter to the public, adding that ROS took a humanistic approach with regard to the DAP leadership.

On July 30, ROS ordered DAP to hold a CEC re-election and informed that he was not satisfied with the explanation given by the party on the issue of manipulation of votes during the CEC election.

A day later, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng questioned the legal provisions used by ROS in making the decision.

Lim was also reported to have said that DAP would not abide by the directive given by ROS issued via a notice for the CEC election be reconvened as long as the order was not fully explained.  

The great dog debate revisited

Posted: 03 Aug 2013 10:12 PM PDT

http://static.ddmcdn.com/gif/dog-breed-dog-breed-pictures1.jpg 

Rusaslina Idrus, The Malaysian Insider

In the mid 1930s, a member of the Kelantan royal family and his sister had a disagreement over him keeping a pet dog. She felt that dogs, and in particular their saliva, were polluting according to Islamic law. The issue quickly became a matter of public debate with Islamic experts in the state weighing in with different opinions.

In order to resolve this issue, the Tengku (the dog owner) called for a public council of debate (a majlis mudzakara) with both sides having the space to present their arguments regarding dog keeping in Islam.

In January 1937, the mudzakarawas held in Istana Sri Cemerlang and attended by two thousand members of the public. It was reported to be the event of the year for the people in Kota Bahru and it continued to be the talk of the town for many years to come.

On team pro-dog were ex-Mufti Wan Musa Wan Abdul Samad, Haji Abbas b. Muhammad Taha, a qadi from Singapore and Burhanuddin Muhammad Noor1, a young man who studied in Delhi and Aligarh.

On the otherside were the mufti of Kelantan Haji Ibrahim bin Haji Yusof, chief Qadi Haji Ahmad bin Ismail and leading Islamic scholars and members of the Kelantan Islamic council Haji Abdul Manan and Haji Abdullah Tahir.

The two teams presented their arguments drawing from a range of sources including the Quran, the Prophet's (PBUH) hadiths and tradition and studies on Islamic jurisprudence.

Both teams composed of highly learned scholars with extensive Islamic training abroad and locally.

At the end of the debate, the Sultan did not declare a winner butleft the people of Kelantan having heard both sides of the arguments to make their own informed decision2.

In the meantime, the Tengku wanting to have a clearer outcome submitted a query to the Fatwa Committee of al-Azhar in Cairo regarding this matter.

In May 1937, the Syaikh of al-Azhar issued a fatwa affirming the permissibility of dog keeping3. While the matter remains controversial in Kelantan, the differences in opinion were accepted.

I bring this historical moment up not to be seditious, but because it illustrates a time in our country where there was space for a public debate on such religious matters.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/the-great-dog-debate-revisited-rusaslina-idrus 

'DAP Trying To Rewrite History'

Posted: 03 Aug 2013 07:28 PM PDT

(MD) - A "sacked" DAP branch leader yesterday alleged that the party's national leaders were willing to allow it to be de-registered  to erase the fact that the party was founded by an Indian.

Ladang Paroi branch vice-chairman A. David Dass (pic), whose membership was terminated by the party but has yet to receive a formal letter on the matter, claimed the leaders wanted to turn the party into a Chinese-dominated one.

This, he said, was the reason why they had refused to heed the Registrar of Societies' instructions to hold fresh elections for the party's central executive committee (CEC).

He claimed the leaders wanted to "rewrite history" as the party was founded by former Singapore president Devan Nair.

"This is another attempt by DAP leaders to erase the fact that the party was founded by an Indian and further marginalise Indians in the party. While many have forgotten the party's history, the party leaders are taking the opportunity to convince members and the people that DAP was founded by Dr Chen Man Hin, turning it into a party that belongs to the Chinese."

Dass said Dr Chen was qualified only to be referred to as a lifetime DAP adviser and not a founding member.

"Dr Chen's involvement in the formation of DAP started in a by-election on Dec 9, 1965, when he won the Rahang state seat in Negri Sembilan as an independent.

"Nair at that time decided to (start up a party), and the party was registered formally as the Democratic Socialist Party on March 18, 1966.

"To establish the party, they needed at least seven people as sponsors and Dr Chen was one."

Dass said by de-registering the party, the leaders could also sustain their power by covering up their flaws in the CEC polls held in December.

"What they have engaged themselves in now adds only to the people's uncertainty over whether there really was fraud in the CEC election. They overlooked the rights of party members to vocalise their dissatisfaction with the CEC results and terminated the membership of those who have been vocal in the matter."

Dass commented on the double standards practised by party leaders, citing his membership termination.

"Terminating my membership without talking to me is a sterling example of the double standards in the party. Ironically, when it comes to the RoS, they (DAP leaders) insist RoS gave concrete reasons on why the party's CEC is not recognised."

Nilai Perdana DAP deputy chairman S. Rajashegher, whose membership was also terminated on June 28 without any issuance of official letters, said it was unbecoming to terminate anyone's membership without notice.

"The obvious thing is DAP only 'sacked' Indian members without any valid reasons. This is clear evidence of marginalisation of Indians in the party."

 

Cops holding Sanjeevan’s friend, but not for the murder attempt

Posted: 03 Aug 2013 07:20 PM PDT

Musliza Mustafa, TMI

The man who was in a car with MyWatch chairman S. Sanjeevan when the latter was shot last weekend  is police custody on suspicion of drug trafficking.

Federal Narcotics department director Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim (pic) said he has been detained under the Drug Preventive Act which allows police to hold him for 60 days pending further investigation.

He told The Malaysian Insider that police had been looking for the 35-year-old but he was off the police radar for quite a while.

"His arrest is in relation to drug trafficking and has nothing to do with the shooting of Sanjeevan," said Noor Rashid.

The man was detained last Saturday, hours after Sanjeevan was shot at a junction near Taman Awana Indah in Bahau, Negeri Sembilan.

He was in Sanjeevan's BMW when two men on a motorcycle rode up and the pillion rider fired a shot. Sanjeevan was hit in the rib cage but managed to speed away. The friend took over the wheel soon after and drove him to the Jempol Hospital where he first received treatment.

Sanjeevan is currently in an induced coma at Serdang Hospital. He will be operated on to remove the bullet once his condition improves.

READ MORE HERE

 

‘Stop attacking Chua Soi Lek’

Posted: 03 Aug 2013 03:55 PM PDT

Sixteen MCA divisions want Dr Chua to continue to hold his post as MCA president and Penang Port chairman. 

Alfian ZM Tahir, FMT

Sixteen MCA divisions in Selangor today urged all loyal leaders and members within the party to stop attacking its president and calling for his resignation from the Penang Port chairman post.

Klang MCA division chairman, Teh Kim Poo also appealed to the president's supporters to stop all counter attacks as their action would worsen the party internal condition.

"On behalf of 16 divisions in Selangor, I wish to appeal all loyal leaders and members from attacking our president.

"The president should continue to hold his contractual post until the term expires… the supporters should also spurn from making any counter arguments," Teh said in a press conference this morning.

On Thursday, eight MCA division chairmen have announced that they would urge the party presidential council to refer its president Dr Chua Soi Lek to the disciplinary committee for not resigning from his Penang Port chairman position.

The movement, known as Save Party Committee 3.0, also said they would resolve to get one third of the central committee members to impeach Chua should the first move fails.

Teh then questioned the motive of certain leaders and members of MCA who repeatedly call for Chua's resignation. He added that the move was uncalled for as the party will soon hold its election.

"MCA is currently undergoing its election at the branch levels today and all divisions will be holding their elections on Sept 22, and national level election on Dec 22.

"Why certain leaders and members are calling for the president to resign? We have only four months left, why can't we wait? These leaders and members if do not have any personal agenda should then use the democratic process to elect the new leadership," Teh said.

READ MORE HERE

 

Karpal dares BN man to show proof

Posted: 03 Aug 2013 03:52 PM PDT

Denying the allegations made against him and Anwar, the DAP national chairman challenges BN's Mazlan Ismail to also reveal the identity of the person who has made the allegations.

Alya Azhar, FMT

DAP national chairman Karpal Singh and PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim today challenged former Permatang Pauh Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Mazlan Ismail to produce bank account details and cheque numbers which had allegedly implicated the duo of bribing judges and prosecutors.

"We vehemently deny the allegations as they are ridiculous, frivolous and made recklessly.

"I challenge Mazlan to produce the bank accounts and cheque numbers, as well as to reveal the identity of the person who has made the allegations," said Karpal after lodging a police report with Anwar at the Tropicana police station today.

Mazlan had alleged that he had received more than 6,000 letters sent to his house containing allegations involving Anwar and Karpal.

Saying that he did not know the identity of the sender(s), Mazlan said each letter was eight pages long and contained allegations as well as copies of savings account numbers of various banks and amounts belonging to Anwar.

"I believe the individual wants me to be the go-between to expose Anwar's dealings with Karpal. The person wants to expose that Anwar had paid more than RM50 million via cheques to Karpal since 2008.

"The person had claimed that besides settling legal fees, the amount was also to allegedly bribe judges and prosecutors," said Mazlan.

Karpal said Mazlan should have gone to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police to lodge reports rather than make his allegations public.

READ MORE HERE

 

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