Posted: 27 Aug 2013 02:18 PM PDT
There is some not very good news from Petronas. I hope this is not a precursor to a more worrying trend. I know you will say that this is Syed Akbar being pessimistic again (Club of Doom). But it is all really happening.
First there was a delay in the RM63.0 Billion project in Pengerang.
That was old news. Now the latest news says Petronas is going to kill the RM63.0 Billion Rapid Project altogether.
This is going to cause disaster for many in Pengerang as well as slow down the bumiputra and non bumiputra economy throughout the country.
The question is what is the problem with Petronas' project planning that they had to delay (already) and now want to cancel a RM63.0 Billion project? This is not good planning.
This is not a 200 unit condo project in Old Klang Road that may not change the colour of the sunset if it is postponed or cancelled.
The Rapid Project is an RM63.0 Billion project that can create tens of thousands of jobs, create billion Ringgit spinoff industries and redefine the petrochemical industry in South East Asia. It puts Pengerang on an equal or even better footing than Singapore as the refining and petro-chemical hub.
Is there any element of "meddling" to cancel this project in favour of Singapore? There is plenty kiasu across the causeway over projects like these. And will anyone get paid compensation for the cancellation?
Shamsul (left) and chairman Sidek Hassan
Among the more inexplicable things that Petronas has done recently under his watch is make undetectable changes to their logo.
While the change in the logo does not make any difference to the seagulls who aim at them, it has certainly cost Petronas tons of money to rebadge all their facilities, ship tankers and other assets. And the CEO now says 'costs are creeping up'.
Actually there appears to be more to the CEO's one liner. Lets relook what he said :
Posted: 27 Aug 2013 09:50 AM PDT
Beauty pageants have gotten a bad rap over the years for objectifying women by putting them on parade and privileging their looks over their personality or brains. Some pageants have actively tried to change this idea, by including a talent segment, and making charity work an increasingly bigger part of the winners' duties. One such pageant for Muslim women was the 2011 Indonesian Muslimah Beauty competition, which emphasised women who "don hijab, have Internet and technology capabilities, Qur'an-reciting proficiencies, and accomplishments in sports, academics, and culture."
Miss World is one of the classic beauty pageants, and in an apparent effort to reduce the emphasis on women's external beauty, has dropped the swimsuit component from its competition. In the 2013 Miss World competition, to be held in the Muslim majority country of Indonesia (although not without protests from their ulama), participants would wear sports attire with long pants or beachwear made from a sarong (a traditional textile from the region) during the beachwear segment.
However, earlier this year in July 2013, four Malaysian Muslim finalists were dropped from the finals of Miss World Malaysia. They had competed unnoticed, until the spotlight was shone on them as finalists. Federal Territories Mufti Wan Zahidi Wan Teh had raised the issue of a 1996 fatwa which states that "participating, organising or contributing to any sort of beauty contest is haram and a sin." The reason given for disqualifying them was that as Muslims, they should not "disrespect" or "insult" Islam by joining a beauty pageant.
"Insulting Islam" has been used yet again as a reason for people to "control public conduct of Muslims in terms of dress and indecency," according to a local NGO, Sisters in Islam. It has increasingly become a tool of public control, as anyone deemed to be "belittling Islam" can be investigated, then fined or jailed.
Earlier in 1997, two contestants of the Miss Malaysia Petite contest were fined, while three other contestants from the same beauty pageant were brought to trial for violating the same fatwa. They were arrested during the pageant, handcuffed and locked up.
In a similar vein, the four dropped finalists in 2013 were being investigated for criticising the fatwa, which was considered as "disrespecting or insulting Islam," according to an official of the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (JAWI). Under Malaysian laws, anyone found guilty of disrespecting or insulting Islam can be punished with up to two years imprisonment or a fine of 3,000 ringgit (USD900) or both. It was under this pressure that three of the four finalists decided to issue apologies.
The official pageant organiser Anna Lim acknowledged that she knew about the 1996 fatwa against Muslim participation in beauty pageants, but believed it was on the basis of revealing their bodies. Considering that the pageant had changed its rules on clothing to eliminate swimwear, and that the finals would be held in Muslim-majority Indonesia, she believed that these four women had a chance.
One of the young women, Sara Amelia Muhamad Bernard (20) called the fatwa "outdated". Wafa Johanna de Korte (19) added that she found it disappointing that after 17 years, the perspective that Muslim women should not join pageants "is still out there." The division that these two women have made, pitting tradition against modernity, has not helped the situation because it prevents critics from questioning the very assumptions that underpin these two dynamic concepts.
Despite the attempts at making beauty pageants less about beauty and more about personality, some articles reporting on the incident still focused on the visual beauty of these four women anyway. Following the popular maxim that "mixed kids are always so beautiful," the young women's "mixed parentage" was detailed (German-Iban-British-Malay, Arab-Malay, Dutch-Malay, English-Malay); elsewhere, they were simply called "beauties" (here, here and here) and repeatedly described as "very beautiful."
But I find it interesting that despite their mixed parentage, the "Muslimness" and the "Malayness" of these four women took precedence. Even in Malaysia, where most Muslims are ethnically Malays, and where these two terms are often used interchangeably, these young women were not purely Malay in any case. Even though one's ethnic group or "race" is no longer stated on Malaysian identity cards, the Malay part of their parentage was given precedence in order to justify norms of proper Malay behavior.
Furthermore, being Muslim is described as their primary identity. Their protest at being banned meant that they had to convince others that they were indeed Muslim enough, and that being Muslim and a beauty pageant participant were not mutually exclusive.
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