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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Task force set up to probe FB posting insulting religion

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 04:38 PM PDT

(The Star) - Police have formed a special task force to investigate an online greeting which featured a picture of lemang, ketupat and a roasted pig head.

Johor police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff (pic) said the task force would be headed by Johor deputy CID Asst Comm Nor Azizan Anan.

"The incident is being investigated under Section 298 of the Penal Code for insulting a religion," he told reporters at the launch of the Coun­try Garden Danga Bay property deve­lopment here yesterday.

He said the police had also recor­ded a statement from the alleged victim Alan Tang.

The greeting was posted on the Faceboook page of Tang, who is the assistant to Stulang assemblyman Andrew Chen Kah Eng.

Tang lodged the first police report over the greeting on Aug 8. He claimed that his Facebook page had been hacked into and made it look like he had posted the greeting.

The other three police reports were lodged by representatives from the state Umno Youth division, the Johor Baru district youth council and Pasir Gudang MCA division at the Seri Alam district police station in Pasir Gudang yesterday.

Senior Deputy Comm Mohd Mokhtar said the police had also recorded a statement from Tang.


On YouTube, yet another religious row stirs

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 04:34 PM PDT

(MM) - Malaysians are again picking up their well-worn pitchforks after a video surfaced on YouTube yesterday allegedly showing a Muslim prayer room in Johor being used by Buddhist tourists for worship.

The 85-second-long video titled "Surau dijadikan tokong???" (A surau turned into a temple?) begins with an external shot of a small building and a close-up of what appears to be a sign in Arabic script over a doorway.

The video's maker then approaches the building to record what appears to be a prayer session by a dozen white-clad people led by a monk in red and saffron. At the front of the room, the video briefly displays a Buddhist poster below a plaque with Arabic script.

According to reports by several local dailies today, the surau (prayer room) is located within the grounds of Tanjung Sutera Resort, but the resort's manager has clarified that the tourists were allowed to use the Muslim prayer hall as the other locations were unavailable due to over-booking.

Still, the angry responses are pouring in.

Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAIJ) adviser Datuk Noh Gadut said the group of tourists should be banned from Malaysia, accusing them of violating the sanctity of a Muslim place of worship.

"We should be stricter by using existing laws including blacklisting that group from re-entering the country.

"That incident should not have happened. They have to understand Malaysia's laws because that action does not only mengguris perasaan (hurtful), but also insults Islam," he was quoted as saying by Berita Harian.

The Johor Religious Department will also probe the incident before action is taken, the Malay-language daily reported.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria also weighed in, saying that the resort management was at fault for allowing the incident to happen.

But Tanjung Sutera Resort manager Syed Ahmed Alkaff explained that permission was given to the tourists as the resort had no knowledge that they would be using it for worship.

"We gave them permission to use the surau because the other halls were already full.

"They told us only for meditation, not worship," he was quoted as saying by Malay-language daily Kosmo.

Berita Harian also reported the resort manager as saying he did not expect the offer to lead to the controversy now.

"I do not think the action of giving permission to believers of other religions to use the surau is wrong. This is because they only wanted to use the surau for meditation.

"I have no intention of hurting anyone's feelings. My intention is to show that Islam is universal and tolerant," said the Singapore-born Muslim with permanent resident status in Malaysia.

Kota Tinggi district police chief Supt Mohd Nor Rasid confirmed that the police will investigate reports lodged over the matter.

The incident is the latest case of local Muslim outrage over what the group perceives to be insults to Islam.

Last month, bloggers Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee were charged with sedition, among others, after they posted a photograph of themselves eating "bak kut teh" (a pork broth), together with a Ramadan greeting on Facebook.

Days after that, a Muslim dog trainer, Maznah Mohd Yusof, was also arrested and probed under the Sedition Act over a video she made three years ago in which she is featured celebrating Aidilfitri with her three pet dogs. 


Opposition ran smart campaign against BN

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 03:06 PM PDT

Umno man lauds Pakatan Rakyat's campaign against Umno-BN as "very smart" and "very successful".

(FMT) - "With a very heavy heart, I have to say that it (Pakatan's campaign) has been successful. It is a very smart campaign. Now BN looks like a Malay party," Saifuddin told FMT in an exclusive interview.

PETALING JAYA: Umno's Saifuddin Abdullah has praised Pakatan Rakyat's campaign against ruling coalition Barisan Nasional as "very smart" and "very successful".

The former Temerloh MP credited the opposition's success on their campaign against Umno, "and not the Malays", which gave rise to the movement Asalkan Bukan Umno (ABU) – Anything But Umno.

"With a very heavy heart, I have to say that it (Pakatan's campaign) has been successful. It is a very smart campaign. Now BN looks like a Malay party," Saifuddin told FMT in an exclusive interview.

"So I feel there must be changes starting from structural changes in BN," he added.

Saifuddin said there was a need for a new platform in BN for direct membership, where "youths regardless of race can be a member of BN without having to join a component party".

"At the same time, we must assist MCA and the others. Umno as leader of the coalition has to be moderate now and help component parties that are in trouble," he said.

However, he stressed that Umno would not interfere in party matters but "whatever assistance must be given" when required.

"Umno must take that leadership. If MCA is weak, ABU will be more potent on the next round," he said.

"Strong Umno is good but weak component parties will make BN look bad and we cannot go to the next election like that," he added.


What army of criminals on our streets? DAP pours scorn on Home Minister’s logic

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 03:01 PM PDT

(TMI) - "Then these right-hand men have their own set of right-hand men. Multiply this with the earlier 26,000 and you have 260,000," the Umno vice-president told the paper while reiterating that the repeal of the EO had brought about this situation.

Going by the Home Minister's logic, the Malaysian armed forces and the UN peacekeeping force should be called in to help police combat 260,000 criminals who are roaming Malaysian streets, said the DAP.

Secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (pic) said this is what the government must do if Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is to be believed.

"If this outrageous number is true, then resuscitating EO-like laws will not help the police, but the army and United Nations peacekeeping force would be necessary to be brought in," Lim said a statement today.

"This shocking 260,000 army of criminals is more than the combined numbers of police personnel of 112, 583 and the Malaysian armed forces of 124,000."

On Sunday, Ahmad Zahid told Umno-owned Mingguan Malaysia that the police had reached this statistic based on 2,600 detainees released from Simpang Renggam detention centre.

"Each has his hardcore followers. If each of the released detainees has 10 right-hand men, this translated to 26,000 who are with them.

"Then these right-hand men have their own set of right-hand men. Multiply this with the earlier 26,000 and you have 260,000," the Umno vice-president told the paper while reiterating that the repeal of the EO had brought about this situation.


Simplistic arguments and band-aid solutions

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 12:43 PM PDT

The key to a safer Malaysia is to have political will, proper enforcement and curbing cross border arms smuggling.

The government must also seriously look into preventing cross border smuggling. And these laws must be complemented with the government's will to tackle the culture of corruption and impunity in the police force, Immigration and Customs.

By Charles Santiago, FMT

What is gun control? According to Wikipedia, it is any law, policy, practice, or proposal designed to define, restrict, or limit the possession, production or modification, importation, shipment, sale, and/or use of firearms.

There are a minimum of 370,000 guns owned in Malaysia, which has a total population of 28 million. Japan has a population of 127 million and 710,000 guns.

Malaysia has a ratio of one gun to every 78 people, higher than Vietnam which has a ratio of 80:1.

But Malaysia has strict gun ownership laws.

Only those with a license are allowed to own arms. Those caught possessing firearms without a license can face up to 14 years in prison. And having a live bullet can warrant the death penalty.

So where do the guns, used in the recent shooting spree, come from?

In 2011, Time magazine reported a dizzyingly-complex arms smuggling route in the region. The reporter said guns were readily available along the Cambodia-Thailand border as leftovers from the Pol Pot rule.

She also said Malaysians were smuggling firearms (including rounds of ammunition) into the country, which were bought in Thai military camps.


MyWatch: Gang members recruited while still in school

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 12:29 PM PDT

(The Star) - MyWatch co-founder S. Gobi Krishnan said recruitment into triad gangs start in the school compound, mainly along racial lines and at a young age.

He said boys as young as 13 or 14 years old would be offered protection from older "big brothers" of other races in the gang.

"When they turn 15, their 'big brothers' will give them a small amount of drugs to distribute, something smart, as police will not suspect the schoolchildren, and the boys will earn a small profit from the cut," he said.

"Soon, they become closer to the gang and drop out of school, and the 'big brother' will introduce them to alcohol, girls and nightclubs," Gobi said.

"Then, they will go on to follow the 'big brothers' instructions to fight or chop up someone."

Gobi, who is also People's Welfare and Rights Coalition (Power) president, said gangs usually targeted youths from the urban poor, who came from broken families and lived in flats near their schools, as they were the most vulnerable and accessible.

He added that when the boys turned 17, they would be initiated into the gang through a ritual.

"They would say some prayers and then someone would use a knife to cut flesh out of their hands," Gobi added.

"And the boys need to withstand the pain to show they are strong enough to be in the gang."

Gobi said the youths had an easier way out by joining gangs because it promised them a good life.

"The downside is that they will probably be killed if they wanted to leave," he added.

"Unless they get caught by the police and jailed, that would be their safest exit."

Power, a civil rights group, deals with youth gangsterism while MyWatch is a prominent anti-crime group which acted as a watchdog of the police force.

Women promote mosques 'for all' in Britain

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 12:19 PM PDT

(The Nation) - "There is nothing in the Koran that says that women and men can't pray together or that women can't lead prayers," said Tauqir, whose long black shirt with long sleeves matches her Dr Martens shoes, while a keffiyeh is arranged around her neck.

In the damp basement room of a Caribbean restaurant in London, Naima leads prayers for an audience of male and female worshippers.

They face Mecca, directed by an arrow scrawled on a blackboard in pink chalk.

But Naima -- she did not want to give her full name -- had just begun the Al-Fatiha when a young woman got up and hurried out of the room in Camden in the north of the British capital.

As if on cue, "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" by punk band The Clash was playing in the restaurant.

Leila Bakkioui, 25, clad in a headscarf, admitted she was reeling.

"I went downstairs to pray and a sister led the prayer," she explained breathlessly to her friend Tana Rasekh, who was waiting for her in the restaurant.

Rasekh said: "When she came out, I thought she had seen a ghost."

Bakkioui, a young mathematics teacher, had stumbled into a group of Muslims working towards a more "inclusive" Islam, where men and women pray in the same room, with women sometimes leading the prayers.

Tamsila Tauqir helped to launch the Inclusive Mosque Initiative (IMI) in November last year after she became frustrated by what she saw in mosques in Britain and the wider Muslim world.


Asian universities top Times list

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 12:03 PM PDT

(The Edge) - Of the 30 countries featured in the list, Malaysia did not rank.

A survey carried out by the Times Higher Education, ahead of its inaugural World Academic Summit in October, shows that Asian universities are front runners in getting investments for their researches.

The Times World Academic Summit Innovation Index gives a global snapshot of how successful the world's top universities compete for research funds.

There are nine Asian countries featured in the Index, with over 50% of its institutions ranked in the top 10 list — more than any other continent.

Coming in at the top of the list is Korea, where the findings of the survey show that global companies are investing the equivalent of nearly US$100,000 (RM325,000) in each Korean scholar to carry out work in innovation and research on their behalf.

This is compared to less than US$10,000 per head for countries lower down the index.

Second on the list is Singapore, with companies willing to fork out US$84,500 per researcher.

As recent as last month, scientists at the Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) showed off their latest "invisibility cloak" by making a cat and a goldfish vanish.

The device — which is capable of making anything within its confines disappear from direct sight — could have serious real-world applications in the field of security or entertainment.



Malaysia falls behind on international compliance

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 11:51 AM PDT

(The Edge) - Malaysia's lack of commitment to comply with United Nations(UN) conventions may affect foreign investments and the goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020.

Malaysia's lack of commitment to comply with United Nations (UN) conventions may affect foreign investments and the goal of becoming a developed nation by 2020.

"Increasingly more companies are looking at human rights, their environment standards as important issues for them to consider when they are choosing locations for their investments," Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute CEO Tan Sri Michael Yeoh told The Edge Financial Daily.

He said foreign investors will have more confidence in investing in the country if it abides by certain international standards.

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam said investors link their investments to basic international standards before they invest or trade in a country to ensure stability.

"If Malaysia is progressing, the country is able to convince investors. However, what happens if we are regressing and we have no international standards to gain investor confidence?" he told The Edge Financial Daily.


Barisan would have lost without postal, advance votes, says Merdeka Centre

Posted: 11 Aug 2013 11:39 AM PDT

MIC president Palanivel won his Cameron Highlands parliament seat thanks to the postal and advance votes. TMI pic, August 12 2013.

(TMI) - Merdeka Centre said that after stripping and analysing the data, it concluded that BN could have lost as many as 30 parliamentary seats if it did not win the postal/advance votes.

Numbers tell a story and the startling story that has emerged from studying the past general election results is this: Barisan Nasional could not have gone back to Putrajaya without the controversial postal and advanced votes system.

These votes alone gave BN victory in 22 parliamentary seats, which made all the difference. Without those 22 seats, BN would have tied with opposition Pakatan Rakyat at 111 seats.

Without those key postal and advanced votes, MIC would be without the two Cabinet ministers Datuk Seri S Subramaniam  (Segamat) and Datuk Seri G. Palanivel (Cameron Highlands).

Several seats in Johor and the Federal Territory would have also fallen to Pakatan Rakyat.

This new information was revealed in a voting pattern study by Merdeka Centre, which was obtained by The Malaysian Insider.

Merdeka Centre said that after stripping and analysing the data, it concluded that BN could have lost as many as 30 parliamentary seats if it did not win the postal/advance votes.

Data from different voting channels from the 222 parliamentary seats was analysed using a system designed to uncover natural groupings or clusters.

The study was able to show the voting patterns in GE13 and confirmed the rural and urban divide in Malaysia as well as the 20 percent swing of Chinese voters away from Barisan Nasional.



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