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The Government Doesn’t Understand Patriotism

Posted: 26 Aug 2013 12:11 PM PDT 

Who would want to die for a country that is shabbily governed, headed for financial distress, and one in which the Government plays politics to divide the people?

Kee Thuan Chye 

I would like to talk about patriotism. Not just because Merdeka Day is coming up this Saturday, but also because the Government has lately shown its lack of understanding of what patriotism means.
It doesn't mean flying the flag during the Merdeka month or at any time. That's put-on patriotism and counts for nothing. It doesn't mean playing the national anthem at cinemas and getting people to stand up for it.
Patriotism is what you carry in your heart – your love for your country, if you want to put it that way. It is something that makes you decide you will fight to protect it, perhaps even die for it. It is not something for you to shout out and tell the whole world about. Not even in Malaysia, which has a habit of wanting to show off and grandstand – for example, by sending to the prime minister last Merdeka Day the highest number of twits … sorry, tweets.
Patriotism is also about showing concern for your country. At no time was that kind of patriotism more evident than during the run-up to the last general election, on polling day and even after the results had been announced. At no time before had so many Malaysians shown their concern for the country in expressing their reasons to save it from its current corrupt mess. They cared enough for the country to want to see it improve and stop it from going the wrong way.
This was not something forced on them, unlike what the Government is doing now by getting cinemas to screen videos from Aug 28 to Sept 3 to remind people about the significance of independence, and to get cinemagoers to SHOW that they are patriotic by standing up at the end of the videos when 'Negaraku' is played.
Worse, the cinema operators have been asked to switch on the cinema hall lights when the national anthem is played and to ensure that their patrons stand up. 

Nawawi Mohamad, writing in the online news portal Malaysia Chronicle, is right in observing that this is "Umno's brand of false patriotism", and that it pathetically contrasts with the real spirit of patriotism: "If you were to attend any of the Opposition's ceramahs or political rallies, and these are usually multi-racial unlike Umno's only-Malays, you will find the 'Negaraku' is sung spontaneously and each time before the crowd disperses. It is always with joy and participation."

Read more at:'t-understand-patriotism#page=0 

No need for quota system, meritocracy is enough

Posted: 26 Aug 2013 12:09 PM PDT 

(MMO) - There is no need for a quota system to ensure equality in the workplace, whether based on gender or ethnicity, as quotas will only limit rather than allow actual inclusiveness, said former international trade and industry minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

The outspoken veteran politician, who was speaking at the Northern Region MNC Women's Leadership Summit, said it was time to stop the practise of having a quota system which would only create unnecessary ceilings.

"If you say you want to have a quota of 30 per cent women in a company, does this mean the company can stop at 30 per cent when it could have taken in 40 per cent or more?" she asked.

She pointed out now is the era of inclusiveness where women are included in all aspects of economic and social economic spheres be it in the workplace, organisations or any establishment.

"Inclusiveness is not about being politically correct, having a quota, appeasement of women or about tokenism," she said.

The AirAsia X chairman said it is all about including women who merit being considered and included, who have the necessary and requisite skills to add value to an organisation.

"Why have 10 women who can't even do one woman's job when you can have one woman who can do 10 women's jobs?" she asked.

She said the nation also had no more need for the system of ethnicity and ethnic-based quotas.

"This is no longer something that we can continue to press on, such as we must have a 30 per cent bumiputra when the times now is different, there are a lot of capable bumiputras who are being hired based on their merits not because they can fill the quota," she said.

She said this is now a different era from previously, when certain disadvantaged groups needed extra help and pointed out all are equally capable now and can compete based on their own merits.

She emphasised the importance of meritocracy which will ensure inclusiveness regardless of gender or ethnicity.

Though she championed the many policy changes and steps taken to ensure women are included in the workforce and decision-making, she rejected any further need for policies to push for 'women's rights'.

"This is ad nauseam. Aren't we all sick of this 'women's right' talk? 'Cakap sampai nak muntah' (repeatedly said till it causes nausea)," she said.

She said it needs to be impressed on the women, and men, that it is not about fighting for women's rights anymore but for inclusiveness and meritocracy.

"Once I get them (women) to understand this inclusiveness term, there is no need to fight for any rights, because if you, man or woman, merit it, you get it, simple as that," she said. 

Altantuya murder case: Evidence insufficient to sustain guilt of policemen, says court

Posted: 26 Aug 2013 12:04 PM PDT 

(Bernama) - "It is our judgment that from the facts of this case, namely the role of DSP Musa in bringing the two appellants into the picture of the entire episode, his evidence is essential to unfold the narrative upon which the prosecution's case is based on"

The circumstantial evidence was insufficient and not strong enough to sustain the finding of guilt of two police special action unit personnel in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu, said the Court of Appeal in its judgment.

Justice Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, in a 47-page judgement released on Monday, said the court was constrained to give the benefit of doubt to Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar as their guilt had not been satisfactorily proved.

"We are conscious that a heinous crime has been committed but the guilt of the appellants (Azilah and Sirul Azhar) had not been satisfactorily proved...we are constrained to give the benefit of the doubt to the appellants," she said.

She said the court below had ignored and overlooked salient facts and evidence favourable to the appellants which resulted in serious and substantial miscarriage of justice to the appellants, adding that the cumulative effect of those non-directions rendered the convictions of the appellants unsafe.

Tengku Maimun also said DSP Musa Safri was an important witness to unfold the event and to offer explanation of the facts and to close the gap in the narrative of the prosecution's case.

"It is our judgment that from the facts of this case, namely the role of DSP Musa in bringing the two appellants into the picture of the entire episode, his evidence is essential to unfold the narrative upon which the prosecution's case is based on," she said.

On Friday, the Court of Appeal's three-member panel chaired by Justice Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali freed Azilah and Sirul Azhar on the murder charge after unanimously allowing their appeals.

The other judges who presided on the panel with Mohamed Apandi were justices Datuk Linton Albert and Tengku Maimun.

They (Azilah and Sirul Azhar) had appealed against a High Court decision which convicted and sentenced them to death for Altantuya's murder.

Azilah, 37, and Sirul Azhar, 42, were alleged to have murdered Altantuya, 28, at Mukim Bukit Raja in Shah Alam between 10pm on Oct 19, and 1am on Oct 20, 2006.

Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 50, who was charged with abetting them, was acquitted by the High Court on Oct 31, 2008 after the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case against him. The prosecution did not file an appeal.

In her judgement, Tengku Maimun said the affidavit by Abdul Razak, which had been taken by the trial judge to be part of the prosecution's evidence, contained prejudicial matters against the appellants and it tended to suggest the guilt of the appellants.

"In fact, since the 3rd accused (Abdul Razak) was acquitted and discharged with no appeal lodged by the prosecution, it appears that whatever  that the appellants did in committing the crime was entirely on their own accord.

"However, it must not be overlooked that this ugly and horrendous episode started with the request by the 3rd accused to DSP Musa before the appellants came into the picture.

"The evidence established that the appellants' task was to patrol the vicinity of the 3rd accuser's house and that the presence of the appellants at the 3rd accuser's house on the night of 19.10.2006 was upon the request for such assistance from the 3rd accused to Azilah," she said.

At the time, Musa was the aide-de-camp of then-Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (now Prime Minister).

Tengku Maimun said the trial judge had also failed to consider the defence of alibi by Azilah, which revealed that he could not have been at two places at the same time on the night of Altantuya's murder.

She also said that the trial judge failed to address his mind to the defence challenge on the exhibits such as the call logs and coverage predicition and to make a finding on the authenticity of the data which were important pieces of evidence to establish Azilah's presence at the scene of the crime.

According to the exhibits, Azilah was at Pekan Subang at 10.15pm and at Kampung Melayu Subang at 10.19pm.

However, the police station diary at Bukit Aman indicated that Azilah was there collecting his weapon, a Glock EAH 387 and two bullet magazines, at 10.18pm.

On Sirul Azhar, Tengku Maimun said there was a conflicting and inconclusive account of events as regards to the discovery of a black jacket and jewellery (Altantuya's jewellery).

She said, according to one of the police witnesses, Sirul Azhar had told him he kept the items (jewellery) in the jacket, but the testimony of another officer did not disclose any such statement being made.

Tengku Maimun said the onus on the prosecution where the evidence was of a circumstantial nature, was indeed, a very heavy one.

"The circumstances must be fully and cogently established, the chain of evidence must be complete, the evidence must point irresistibly to the conclusion of the guilt of the accused and there must not be any gaps in the prosecution's case, and if there were gaps in it, then it was not sufficient," she said.

She said the prosecution had suggested that the presence of the appellants (Azilah and Sirul Azhar) at Hotel Malaya on Oct 18, 2006 was evidence of their intention to commit the crime.

"However, an inference favourable to the appellants may also be drawn, i.e., that their presence was merely to confirm that the deceased (Altantuya) was indeed, staying at the hotel as per the information given by the private investigator to Abdul Razak, and by Abdul Razak to Azilah," added Tengku Maimun.

Tengku Maimun said the presence of the appellants at Hotel Malaya did not establish a complete chain of evidence against them to find them guilty.

She also said the prosecution had conceded that there were various non-directions by the trial judge and had requested the court to invoke the proviso of section 60(1) of the Courts Judicature Act 1964 to correct the defects to uphold the police commandos's conviction.

"Looking at the whole evidence and circumstances of this case, we are of the view that this is not a fit and proper case for us to invoke the proviso.

"The circumstances relied upon by the prosecution had not been fully and cogently established, and the chain of evidence is not complete.

"We cannot say if a reasonable tribunal properly directed would have convicted the appellants on available evidence," she said. 

Parent to be charged with intimidating Seri Pristana HM

Posted: 26 Aug 2013 12:02 PM PDT 

(MMO) - The SK Seri Pristana shower room-canteen fiasco has resurfaced again following the arrest of a parent who allegedly threatened the headmaster.

Angry parents have raised questions behind the man's arrest, saying 18 police reports had been made against the headmaster and no action has been taken.

The reports were made after an incident last month whereby non-Muslim pupils had to eat in the shower room of the school.

Yesterday, one of the parents, allegedly involved in highlighting the case, was detained and later released on police bail.

It was learnt that the school headmaster Mohd Nasir Mohd Noor had singled out the 32-year-old parent in an identification parade at the Sungai Buloh police station yesterday afternoon.

Sungai Buloh police chief Supt Junaidi Bujang said the parent was released on police bail about 4.45pm.

"We received three reports of criminal intimidation against the parent — one from the headmaster and two from the teachers. Though we understand he is a concerned parent, we have to do our job."

He is expected to be charged with criminal intimidation on September 9.

He said 18 reports were lodged against the headmaster — all demanding his termination.

"This is not something within the power of the police to terminate the headmaster from his position. That is up to the Education Ministry," said Junaidi.

MIC strategic bureau chief S. Vell Paari said it was only fair for the police to carry out their job and urged those concerned to remain patient.

"We will offer the parent legal advice and the representation he requires. We will let the law take its due course. We are confident no action will be taken against the parent as he did not threaten anyone.

"Maybe after this, the parent can sue the headmaster for lodging a false report against him," he said.

The Seri Pristana school fiasco came to light in July after a parent posted pictures of her child and other students having their meals in an area next to the toilet.

The pictures went viral and created a national uproar. The school had since denied the incident, claiming the students had been using the area temporarily while the canteen was under renovation. 

MIC here to stay, let others join us, says MIC deputy chief

Posted: 26 Aug 2013 11:58 AM PDT 

(Bernama) - Dr Subramaniam, who is also health minister, said: "They asked the MIC to 'gulung' (fold up), we are not prepared to 'gulung'. The original idea was that everybody merge with MIC, for which we are quite prepared.

The MIC is ready to accept all Indian-based parties under its umbrella but does not agree to have the party dissolved to form a new one to represent the Indians.

Stressing this, party deputy president Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (pic) said it was inappropriate for MIC, one of the oldest political parties in the country, to lose its identity.

The MIC was established in August 1946.

Dr Subramaniam, who is also health minister, said: "They asked the MIC to 'gulung' (fold up), we are not prepared to 'gulung'. The original idea was that everybody merge with MIC, for which we are quite prepared.

"But some of them still want to maintain their identity. Another thing is, they want guarantee of certain positions and posts. That will depend on ability to accommodate their request."

He said this at a press conference after launching the Malaysian Health System in Transition (HiT) Country Report in Putrajaya today.

Yesterday, Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor urged all Indian-based political parties under the BN to merge into a single entity in the best interest of the Indian community.

According to him, it was no use for the numerous parties to compete with one another, when what they should be doing was to work together to formulate the best policy to ensure a better future for the Indian community.

Tengku Adnan, who is also federal territories minister, said the merging of the parties was vital for the BN, especially after only 48% support was garnered from the Indian community in the last general election. 

Foreign funds dump Malaysian shares at fastest pace since 2008

Posted: 26 Aug 2013 11:56 AM PDT 

(The Sun Daily) - Weaker growth outlook and worries over the US Federal Reserve (Fed) tapering talks spurred foreign investors to dump local shares at its fastest rate since the global financial crisis in 2008.

MIDF Research in a report yesterday calculated that the outflow of foreign funds from local equities amounted to RM2.9 billion last week.

Overseas investors, it said, dumped RM1 billion worth of stocks last Tuesday, the biggest single-day sell-off by foreigners in almost four years.

Last week's rout was the fourth straight weeks of deficit on Bursa Malaysia. During the four-week period, a total of RM4.9 billion of foreign money had left the Malaysian equity market.

"The intensity of foreign selling had increased in a rather sudden manner,'' MIDF Research head Zulkifli Hamzah said, noting that the foreign participation rate had surged to two-month high last week.

He estimated that the cumulative purchases by foreigners stood at RM8.5 billion as of last Friday, which means that despite the huge sell-off last week, foreign liquidity in the local stock market remained "very high".

Shares on Bursa Malaysia fell 3.8% last week, although a rebound yesterday trimmed some of the losses. The ringgit weakened from 3.28 to 3.30 against the US dollar.

While Bursa Malaysia took the brunt of the foreign sell-off, markets in Indonesia and Thailand were hit harder as their key indices plunged 8.7% and 7.4% respectively.

In Jakarta, the government announced a package of stimulus aimed to shore up the rupiah, which had dropped 5% in August.

Sentiment in Thailand was shaken after the country unexpectedly fell into a mild recession after the economy contracted in the second quarter. Last week, Thailand revised its official 2013 growth forecast to between 3.8% and 4.3%.

MIDF Research noted that the only market out of seven Asian markets it tracked that was spared the sell-off last week was South Korea.

"Korean stocks are attracting interest as corporate profits are rising,'' it said.

Despite the heavy sell-off by foreigners, the benchmark FBM KL Composite Index is holding up above its 200-day moving average line.

This is a good sign as its means the long-term support for the index is still intact, said MIDF Research.

Strong support from local institution is expected to cushion any sudden drop in prices, as evidence last week when local funds net buying jumped to RM2.65 billion worth of stocks.

The market will also be looking at companies releasing their June quarterly numbers this week for direction. 

Altantuya trial judge erred, ex-cops should never have been convicted, rules Court of Appeal

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 07:21 PM PDT

V. Anbalagan, TMI

The two former policemen convicted for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu should have been acquitted at the trial stage. This was the finding of the three-man Court of Appeal bench which said the prosecution was aware that the trial judge had failed to thoroughly analyse the evidence in the trial of Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar.

The prosecution had wanted the Court of Appeal to correct the defects to sustain the conviction but the three-man bench was not convinced.

Judge Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, who wrote the grounds, said the prosecution had conceded that there were various non-directions by the trial judge, Mohd Zaki Md Yassin, and urged the three-man bench to use a provision in the Court of Judicature Act 1964 to cure the defects.

In exceptional cases, she said, an appellate court could uphold a conviction despite the misdirection.

"However, looking at the whole evidence and circumstances of this case, we are of the view that this is not a fit and proper case for us to invoke the proviso," she said.

Tengku Maimun said the circumstances relied upon by the prosecution had not been fully and cogently established and the chain of evidence was not complete.

"We cannot say if a reasonable tribunal properly directed, would have convicted the appellants (Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar) on available evidence.

"The court below had ignored and overlooked salient facts and evidence favourable to the appellants which resulted in serious and substantial miscarriage of justice to the appellants," she said.

She said the cumulative effect of these non-directions rendered the convictions of the appellants unsafe.

Tengku Maimun also said that the prosecution's case relied on circumstantial evidence.

"It is our judgment that the circumstantial evidence are insufficient and not strong enough to sustain the finding of guilt," she said.



Heaven can wait

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 06:21 PM PDT

Nevertheless, that brings us back to 2013. What is Pakatan Rakyat's position on this issue? Do we have a consensus? Do we agree to disagree? Do we wait until Pakatan Rakyat takes over before we attempt to sit down and discuss this issue? How do we wish to resolve this one issue amongst many issues that need resolving and are yet to be resolved?


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Mufti sokong kerajaan Kelantan laksana hudud

Mufti Kelantan menyokong sebarang usaha kerajaan negeri pimpinan PAS untuk melaksanakan hukum hudud di negeri itu khususnya dalam membanteras kegiatan jenayah.

Datuk Mohamad Shukri Mohamad berkata, pelaksanaan salah satu daripada hukum Islam itu bukan sahaja akan memberi jawapan kepada persoalan yang timbul sebelum ini, sebaliknya membantu mengembalikan keamanan sejagat.

"Kalau kita boleh melaksanakan hukum hudud ini, memang diyakini banyak persoalan yang dihadapi sebelum ini diatasi, kita tengok di Arab Saudi berapa peratus sahaja jenayah, paling rendah dalam dunia."

"Allah SWT memberi jaminan, kalau kita boleh laksanakan (hudud) memang kita yakin bahawa persoalan yang kita hadapi boleh diatasi, cuma soal bagaimana untuk melaksanakan hukum hudud itu, apakah ada halangan itu persoalan lain, tetapi kalau hudud itu sendiri memang (Allah) sudah bagi jaminan," katanya semalam dipetik daripada Sinar Harian Online.



For three years since 2010 I have been having a running battle with the opposition activists, in particular the pro-ABU horde. Their argument is that we need to vote Pakatan Rakyat into office first and then sort out all the issues later -- once we have kicked out Barisan Nasional and have given the country to Anwar Ibrahim. 

My argument is that a prenuptial agreement must be negotiated, the terms agreed upon, and the contract signed, BEFORE the marriage vows. If we talk about the prenuptial agreement AFTER the wedding, then it would not be called a prenuptial agreement. It would be called a postnuptial agreement. And how do you sort out an agreement after the event?

Anyway, it is not like we have never entered into any prenuptial agreement with the opposition before this. We have. And that prenuptial agreement was entered into in February 2008 in the run-up to the March 2008 general election. This agreement was called The People's Declaration or Deklarasi Rakyat and it was signed in a formal ceremony at The Blog House in front of so many people. And the signatories were six non-Barisan Nasional political parties, the three parties from Pakatan Rakyat included.

However, Pakatan Rakyat did not honour this agreement. And even after lamenting about it so many times, Anwar Ibrahim said that it is not easy to implement all the terms of the agreement. In other words, what Anwar is saying, they cannot honour the terms of the agreement.

After one 'failed marriage' and a violation of the first prenuptial agreement, do you expect me to enter into a second marriage and agree to the signing of a second prenuptial agreement AFTER the marriage?

Let me pose that question in another way: do you take me for an idiot?

There are many issues we need to resolve BEFORE the elections. And if you want me to support you, then these issues need to first be resolved. Of course, you do not need to resolve them. I am not saying that this is compulsory. But then you must respect my decision of not supporting you if you do not resolve them -- just like I will respect your decision in not resolving these issues.

Let's discuss just one of the many issues, the issue of Hudud. DAP is bitterly opposed to Hudud (over my dead body, as Karpal Singh said). PAS is in full support of it (we will slowly educate Malaysians into accepting it, as Mustafa Ali said). And PKR, in particular Anwar Ibrahim, has two opinions about the matter. On a personal note, as a Muslim, Anwar supports Hudud while, as a party leader, his 'official stand' is he is opposed to it.

So, DAP says 'no', PAS says 'yes', and PKR says…'hmm…well…yes and no'.

And that is just one issue, although some may regard it as THE most crucial of the many issues.

And, today, the Kelantan Mufti has said that he supports the effort of the PAS Kelantan government in implementing Hudud. In short, PAS has NOT abandoned its Hudud agenda. So can we now hear from Anwar, the opposition leader and Prime Minister-in-waiting?

Never mind. No need to say anything concrete or definite. Just say we agree to disagree and we shall resolve this matter once Pakatan Rakyat forms the new federal government. That will satisfy most of the voters although that is not good enough to garner my support.

Now, many argue for and against Hudud without knowing the history of the whole thing. So allow me to run through a very brief history of this Islamic law called the Sharia, the criminal law of Hudud being part of those laws.

If I were to give you my personal opinion many of you will argue that I am not qualified to offer any opinion on Islam since I am not an Islamic scholar. Hence let me quote Karen Armstrong from her book 'Islam: a short history', someone who even Malays regard as an authority on Islam.

Prophet Muhammad is believed to have received his first revelation in 610. Twenty years later, in 630, eight years after the Hijrah (migration) of 622, Muhammad's army conquers Mekah without shedding even a drop of blood. Two years later Muhammad dies.

Thereafter comes a period of turmoil and civil wars.

The first Caliph, Abu Bakar, is embroiled in putting down rebellions.

The second Caliph, Umar, invades Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Jerusalem and defeats the Persian Empire. Umar is then assassinated by a Persian prisoner of war.

The third Caliph, Uthman, invades Cyprus, Tripoli in North Africa, Afghanistan and Sind. Uthman is assassinated by his own Muslim soldiers.

Ali is appointed the fourth Caliph but is not accepted by Prophet Muhammad's family and a civil war (the Battle of the Camel) erupts with Aisha, the Prophet's widow, leading the rebellion against Ali.

Syria, led by Uthman's relative, Muawiyah, also rebels against Ali and Muawiyah is appointed the new Caliph in Jerusalem. Ali is then assassinated and a new Umayyad dynasty begins.

Yazid takes over as the second Umayyad Caliph on the death Muawiyah and the second civil war erupts, which is decided on the battlefield of Karbala with the defeat of Ali's son, Hussain.

Further civil wars and rebellions erupt all over the Muslim empire. In 749, less than 100 years after the Umayyad Empire was founded in 661, the Abbasid Empire is founded.

In 786, around 37 years later, Harun Al-Rashid takes over as the new Caliph in Baghdad, a period described as The Golden Age of Islam. And this was when the Sharia began to be properly formalised, almost 200 years after Prophet Muhammad first began to receive the revelations.

Hence the argument that the Hudud, which is part of the Sharia, is God's law can be disputed. The Sharia, plus Hudud, was decided about 200 years later -- no doubt after careful research, study and debate. But then this came about during a period when the religious scholars were of the opinion that the Caliph (Harun Al-Rashid) was a bit too liberal and 'modern' for their liking and they wanted to separate church and state.

So matters concerning religion were taken out of the hands of the Caliph and came under the jurisdiction of the religious scholars. And they decided these new laws while the job of the Caliph was merely to uphold and implement these laws -- or else get ousted and/or assassinated (the fate of many Caliphs before and after Harun Al-Rashid).

To say that the Sharia and Hudud were laws implemented by Prophet Muhammad would not be entirely correct (although some of these 'traditions' did exist during the time of the Prophet) mainly because they were formalised about 200 years later. Some were old pre-Islamic tribal laws and some were Jewish laws. Some, no doubt, were revealed in the Qur'an. But they were actually a mix or various traditions -- Qur'anic, pre-Islamic, as well as Jewish traditions.

Muslims (Malaysian Malays in particular) need to be less emotional about this matter. They need to understand the history and developments of the many Islamic empires and the various changes that took place.

There were a lot of politics, rebellions, civil wars and assassinations soon after the death of Prophet Muhammad in 632 until the collapse of the Ottoman Empire soon after World War I -- a period of almost 1,300 years. And Islam, in particular the Sharia, evolved and transformed over time and did not 'fall from the sky' during the time of Prophet Muhammad.

Nevertheless, that brings us back to 2013. What is Pakatan Rakyat's position on this issue? Do we have a consensus? Do we agree to disagree? Do we wait until Pakatan Rakyat takes over before we attempt to sit down and discuss this issue? How do we wish to resolve this one issue amongst many issues that need resolving and are yet to be resolved?

This has been my argument over the last three years since 2010.


Better to let 10 guilty men go free

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 04:37 PM PDT

By overturning the decision, the Court of Appeal is not saying that no one killed Altantuya. It is not even saying that the two accused did not kill the victim. What the Court of Appeal is saying is that the evidence presented at trial is not enough to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the two accused are guilty. Thus, because there is not enough to prove, the decision of the High Court judge to convict the two is wrong and should be overturned. 

Syahredzan Johan, The Star

In 2009, two police commandos; Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar were convicted by the High Court of the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu. Last week, the Court of Appeal, in a unanimous decision by a three-man panel, Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali, Datuk Linton Albert and Datuk Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, overturned the conviction of the two accused and freed them and in doing so sent shockwaves that reverberated throughout the country. 

Understandably, people are shocked and outraged. The decision was met with derision, criticism and ridicule. Conspiracy theories mushroomed, as people tried to make sense of the Court of Appeal's decision. Who killed Altantuya? they asked, since all those who were charged with her murder have now been freed?

Several reasons were put forth by the Court of Appeal as grounds for its decision. Amongst others, it found that the High Court judge had erred by not taking into account several important issues such as the alibi and telephone logs of one of the accused. It also found that there were also inconsistencies in the testimonies of the prosecution witness leading to the discovery of the crime scene. 

According to the Court of Appeal, the High Court judge also did not make a finding on how the two accused could come into possession of the explosives used in the murder, since the type of explosives used were not found in the police armoury. Most importantly, the Court of Appeal held that the failure of the prosecution to call a material witness was essential. This material witness, the Court of Appeal held, should have been called to unfold the narrative which the prosecution's case was based on. 

Thus, the culmulative effect of these doubts raised by the counsel for the accused rendered the convictions 'unsafe'. A conviction would be 'safe' if it is established that the two accused were guilty of the murder beyond reasonable doubt. 

Remember the basic principles of the criminal justice system. A person is innocent until he or she is proven guilty. There is a presumption of innocence that may be rebutted by evidence in a criminal trial. A person should not be incarcerated until the charge is proven against him or her. The accused must also be allowed to defend himself or herself from the charge. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, to collect and present enough compelling evidence to convince the Court that the accused is guilty.  The prosecution must do so by showing that there is no reasonable doubt that he or she did it. If even one reasonable doubt is raised, then the accused should be acquitted. 

By overturning the decision, the Court of Appeal is not saying that no one killed Altantuya. It is not even saying that the two accused did not kill the victim. What the Court of Appeal is saying is that the evidence presented at trial is not enough to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that the two accused are guilty. Thus, because there is not enough to prove, the decision of the High Court judge to convict the two is wrong and should be overturned. 

It is not easy to prove a criminal charge against a person. This is how it should be. 

If a person is convicted, his or her liberties would be taken away. Sometimes, as in the Altantuya case, a guilty verdict would result in death. In order to justify these state-sanctioned violations of liberties, it must adequately be established that the person is guilty of the offence in question. 

The prosecution would have the entire machinery of the State at its disposal to investigate and prepare the case against the accused. The accused would not have such tools at his or her disposal. To balance this out, these principles of the criminal justice system were established. 

The English jurist, William Blackstone, expressed what is now known as the 'Blackstone formulation' for criminal law . According to the formulation, the criminal justice system must always err on the side of innocence, even if it means that with this current system guilty men would also escape punishment. 

We may believe that the two accused are guilty. We may think that with the evidence we have seen, it is very likely that two did commit the murder. We may also feel that in this case, justice has not been delivered for the victim. 

But at the same time, we can never be completely sure. The truth is out there and even if there is a small chance that they were innocent of the crime, then the benefit of doubt should go to the accused. Remember the Blackstone formulation - "It is better that 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer".

There is nothing wrong with criticising or disagreeing with the decision. But let us criticise the decision if the decision is indeed wrong. Not because we did not get the decision that we wanted.

Syahredzan Johan is a young lawyer and partner of a legal firm in Kuala Lumpur.


Cracks in Sabah opposition parties

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 04:34 PM PDT

(The Star) - Cracks are appearing in another Sabah opposition party with four PKR assemblymen said to be unhappy with the choice of Datuk Lajim Ukin to lead them.

The four Assemblymen were said to be upset over the failure of PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to consult them about the choice, sources said.

The four were said be contemplating of staying out of any party activities but had no intention of quitting PKR.

Matunggong assemblyman Jailani Hamdan, who was said to be among the four leaders, was reported to have said they would wait for the appointment of the Sabah PKR leaders council before making their next move.

The other three were Terrence Siambun (Moyog), Jeremy Malajad (Kedaimaian) and Christina Liew (Api Api).

''We will wait to see who Lajim appoints into the council and also whether he would consider our proposals," Jailani was quoted as saying.

Jailani said that they had submitted their proposals to Anwar and Lajim, who is Klias assebmlyman, over certain issues.

He said if their proposals were not accepted, they would not accept any positions in any committees or within the party.

Jailani said they may take a similar approach as the Sabah DAP counterpart Hiew King Cheu, the Luyang Assemblyman, who had resigned as the party's advisor here.

Hiew quit the post last week citing his unhappiness with certain state leaders whom he said had alienated him from DAP activities and failed to consult him on issues.

Four elected DAP leaders also sought disciplinary action against Hiew for supporting Lajim as state opposition leader in the Legislative Assembly.

Sabah DAP's choice was Tamparuli assemblyman Datuk Wilfred Bumburing who heads the Sabah Reform Movement but won the seat on a PKR ticket.


Dr M says it again: We don’t need TPPA

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 04:00 PM PDT

Malaysia can still expand its market without the TPPA, says Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Alyaa Azhar, FMT

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is still of the opinion that Malaysia should not sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as Malaysia can still expand its market without the agreement.

"If we do not sign the TPPA, we can still expand our market and be one of the biggest markets in the world," said Mahathir during a roundtable discussion held by the Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) here today.

"Our trade has increased year by year and without the TPPA, we have become a rather big trade market.

"We do not need the TPPA, we have managed to expand our market without depending on agreements," stressed the former prime minister who has been vocal about his opposition to the agreement.

He further stressed that Malaysia should not sign the agreement as there is not much that the country can export.

"Why must we accept this agreement which will open our market to the United States (US) as though they are our people?

"What can we sell to the US? Can we sell to them, fighter jets?" he asked.

He also claimed that the US' promise of increased export for Malaysia was nothing but bait on the latter's part.

"They promised if we sign the TPPA, our export will increase.

"However, it is just bait for us to sign the TPPA. They will instead block our export," he said.

Control trade

The former premier also said there was no such thing as free trade, rather, control trade, with regard to the agreement.

"All the member countries will have to follow the terms set in the agreement. By tying ourselves to the US, we won't have freedom anymore.

"Everything will be controlled by the US as the agreement is meant to colonise Malaysia and the other smaller member countries," he said.

He further stressed that the agreement will only be beneficial for the US.

"If we study the agreement, some of the terms will only incur losses for us.

"It's not a partnership, rather, the agreement is to tie a few countries who are not so aware that some of the terms will only benefit the US.

"The US won't introduce an agreement with other countries unless they can reap as much profit as possible," said Mahathir who cautioned that agreements will only put Malaysia at the losing end.

"We are always trapped when we join agreements with other countries," said Mahathir, citing the water agreement with Singapore.

He then added that although the US make it seem as though member countries can export their goods easily, the fact is otherwise.

"Although the US say they are opening their market, their terms will be strict.

"And for example, because we cannot fulfill their terms, we cannot sell our cars to them," he said.



Us versus them – Othering in the Malaysian elections and beyond (Part 1)

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 03:50 PM PDT

Constitutionally, a Malay is defined as someone who speaks the Malay language, practices Malay customs and professes the religion of Islam (Art.160). Ethnicised and race-based politics that build upon these constitutionally defined identity markers become visible on various levels, including the level of language. This can be observed in daily communication but is especially evident in the media.

Saskia Schäfer and Frederik Holst, New Mandala

Business as usual – that's what the process and result of the recently held 13th general election in Malaysia seems to indicate. Once again the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition won the elections (albeit for the first time with less than 50 per cent of the popular vote). Once again after 2008 the opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat (PR) managed to reduce this majority against a number of odds in an electoral system based on competitive authoritarianism (Levitsky and Way 2002). PR's more inclusive approach seems to have won over at least significant majorities in the urban and semi-urban areas, making it look like a shining example of how to transgress the deeply-entrenched ethnicised[1] structures of Malaysia's political system.

However, as we have argued elsewhere, processes of ethnicisation are much more complex and manifest that they could simply be overcome by changing the political approach towards it (Holst 2012: 206). In this two-part article, we shall thus take a closer look at the background of some aspects of PR's campaigning in the light of the phantom voter issue. This debate has been going on for decades, but has taken a different twist this time with the focus on foreigners who were said to have been given citizenship in return for BN votes, therefore thwarting PR's chance of winning the elections. How is this foreignness constructed and what implications do some of the mechanisms of these constructions have?

Categories help to sort and understand the world we live in, both in academic discourse as well as in daily lives. However, every categorisation draws boundaries which are often used to exclude people from groups, and often this entails excluding them from specific privileges. The 'us' and 'them' groups that are thereby drawn can result in resentments and, in the worst cases, even hatred and genocide (Appadurai 2006).

Departing from the recent discussions on non-Malaysian voters in the general elections 2013, this article explores the various boundaries and exclusion mechanisms that predominate the Malaysian social and political landscape. Our argument is that the tendencies of 'Othering'[2] visible in the recent elections offer an important opportunity to look into how deeply and in what ways mechanisms of division and exclusion are enmeshed in Malaysia's social fabric. This is not only academically interesting but also important in order to enable those individuals and groups who seek to counter these divisions to do so holistically on a broad scale.

In order to properly understand the divisive potential of the way voters were encouraged to watch out for "non-Malaysians," we will firstly turn one of the most important boundaries/lines of exclusion, namely that between those citizens classified as Malays versus those registered as non-Malays. During the past decades, this differentiation has increasingly been framed in religious terms and is expressed in many a discussion on 'Muslims' versus 'non-Muslims'.

Ethnicisation of religious identities: A Malay is a Muslim is a Malay…

Islam and Malay identity are closely tied together and perpetuated in various ways, most notably through the legal system as well as through textual representations. Constitutionally, a Malay is defined as someone who speaks the Malay language, practices Malay customs and professes the religion of Islam (Art.160). Ethnicised and race-based politics that build upon these constitutionally defined identity markers become visible on various levels, including the level of language. This can be observed in daily communication but is especially evident in the media.

An analysis of a large number of articles concerning the topic of 'religious freedom' in the Malaysian daily newspaper 'The New Straits Times' between 2001 and 2007 revealed that in most articles, 'Islam' is tied to Malayness and framed in ethnicised terms (Schaefer 2009). In the vast majority of print media, the two categories of race and religion, in particular in the case of Malayness and Islam, are used in a way that may be called synonymous. Very often, "race and religion" and the formulation "multi-racial and multi-religious" are mentioned together as if an inseparable tandem. An example is this sentence from an article about Christmas carols in the daily newspaper 'The New Straits Times': "They (Christmas carols) are certainly not out of place in an Open House, which Rais correctly describes as 'a joyous occasion where people of all races and religions can get together and partake of the celebration."[3] This formulation includes the word 'race' and thereby suggests that there are 'racial' festivities, or that festivities are likely to be celebrated only with people of your own 'race'

Several other examples show this synonymous use: "The Prime Minister said religious tolerance among the various races was vital in preserving the country's peace and harmony".[4] Here, rather than saying 'among the various religious communities', the word 'race' is utilised. Another pattern is the preceding mentioning of 'non-Muslims' and then referring to the Chinese: "He said PAS' stand on the matter was also causing fear among non-Muslim communities. Ong said the MCA and Chinese (emphasis ours) accepted and respected Islam as the official religion, but, this was not applicable to PAS' plans".[5] "Malaysian Chinese have been assured that they will not lose their rights and privileges despite the recent statement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad that the country is an Islamic state." [6]

These examples demonstrate the synonymous use and illustrate the shift from an emphasis on race or ethnicity to that of religion. Here, the boundaries of the 'we'- and 'they'- groups are shifting.

The causes and effects of the establishing and perpetuating of these boundaries are manifold. They can partially explained with the tight control on the print media on part of the Malaysian state apparatus whose interest in a divided and fragmented society is obvious. However, the phenomenon of the synonymous use is not restricted to the print media which are controlled or overseen by the government and affected by technologies of self-censorship. Rather, it can also be observed in the independent news websites to a similar extent.



Waytha determined to stay in government, calls on minister to help Indian community

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 02:04 PM PDT

(TMI) - "When realised, it will certainly help wean these wayward Indian youth from crime and into productive economic activity. That will really be a win-win approach. I have chosen to come into government primarily for this purpose," he stressed.

Two Umno ministers have warned him to follow the government line but P. Waythamoorthy is not backing down.

Waytha has little to lose in making his stand because if he is kicked out of cabinet, he will be given the credibility he does not have in the Indian community.

Today he asked if crime should be tackled by shooting all gangsters.

"Every major town in the west coast, I am sure has several gangs and probably as many members as in Penang. That is a large and disturbing number. Is anyone suggesting we shoot off all these wayward youngsters to clean the streets of crime?" he questioned in a statement.

Labelling it a crisis in the Indian community, the deputy minister said there was a need for urgent and and positive intervention to stop the slide, adding that a memorandum of understanding had been signed between the Barisan Nasional and Hindraf before the elections for a 5-year blueprint for the advancement of the Indian community.

He called on his critics in the Cabinet to work with him on solving problems of Indian youths involved in crime rather than call for his ouster from the government.

Waythamoorthy said Putrajaya needed to address the root cause of the issue, which was a symptom of socio-economic malaise affecting the Indian community.

"In my discussions with the Prime Minister, I had it made very clear that my role is to deliver comprehensive and permanent solutions to the longstanding socio-economic problems of the Indian community and nothing else.  I have chosen to come into government primarily for this purpose," he said in a statement today.

Over the weekend, Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Defence Minister Datuk Hishamuddin Hussein had told the former Hindraf leader to quit his Cabinet position after the deputy minister had questioned the police shooting of five alleged gang members.

"In the war against crime, there should be no quarter given to criminals," Ahmad Zahid had said.

Hishammuddin had called on the former Hindraf leader to "think rationally before making statements now that he is in government".

The five shot dead – J. Gobinath, 31, R. Ramesh, 27, N. Rakan, 25, M. Suresh, 25, and M. Gobinath, 21 – were believed to be linked to nine shooting cases this year, according to police.

They were in an apartment in Sungai Nibong when the police moved in.



Can 300 SPAD enforcement officers cover West Malaysia?

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 01:59 PM PDT

( - With only 300 personnel throughout the whole of Peninsular Malaysia and more than half of that based in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, does the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) have the strength to make a dent in the slew of public transport problems facing the nation?

Its enforcement general manager Major General Datuk Che Hasni Che Ahmad told that he only has 105 enforcement agents to monitor the Central Zone consisting of Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Southern Perak and Northern Negeri Sembilan.

When compared to the Road Transport Department (JPJ) that can mobilise 1,500 enforcement agents just to go undercover for Chinese New Year, SPAD's lack of personnel is really telling, raising the question of whether or not it can perform its duties effectively.

During an operation to bust errant taxi drivers last Tuesday, Che Hasni admitted that cases of taxis refusing to use their meters are on the increase. This operation alone saw 29 out of 30 taxi drivers checked found to be committing offences from not using their meters to not carrying a taxi driver's identification card.

One 35-year-old man was even caught twice on the same day for not using his meter – a first for SPAD.

If that was not enough, he tested positive for syabu and has been referred to the relevant authorities.

"This year we have caught 144 taxi drivers and the statistics are rising. Around 60% of the cases have been compounded or were brought to court. You have to understand, each case needs two to three months before completion as there is a lot of paperwork to do.

"After that, we still have to submit the investigation papers to the deputy public prosecutor who will decide what to do with the case," said Che Hasni.



Uncommon Sense with Wong Chin Huat: Beyond election petitions

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 01:49 PM PDT

Why bother with election petitions? And what's beyond these election petitions and all that talk of a unity government? What else do citizens need to be aware of and be vigilant about if Malaysians are to get a cleaner and fairer electoral system come GE14? The Nut Graph asks political scientist Dr Wong Chin Huat.

By Jacqueline Ann Surin, The Nut Graph

IT would seem there is still dust in the air even though it's been nearly four months since the 5 May 2013 general election known as GE13. Post-elections, Barisan Nasional (BN) filed 21 election petitions while Pakatan Rakyat (PR) lodged 35 of its own in both parliamentary and state seats. Additionally, there has been talk of a unity government even though this has been denied by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Why bother with election petitions? And what's beyond these election petitions and all that talk of a unity government? What else do citizens need to be aware of and be vigilant about if Malaysians are to get a cleaner and fairer electoral system come GE14? The Nut Graph asks political scientist Dr Wong Chin Huat.

Was there any difference in the motivation behind BN's and behind PR's election petitions? What's the purpose of petitioning? Why not just accept the results of GE13?

Candidates file election petitions for two reasons. It's either to have the election outcome overturned so that they can be declared the rightful winners without fresh elections, or nullified so that they can have a second chance in a new election which should be run fairly.

Election petitions are stories where there are villains. These villains are at best, incompetent people who make stupid but innocent mistakes and at worst, evil people who violate democracy through deliberate fraud and manipulation.

For the PR, the story is straightforward. The villains are the BN and the Election Commission (EC) it controls which denied PR their victory. I doubt that PR was hoping to overturn the results in any of the constituencies they filed petitions for. Rather, their aim was to force re-elections.

Had they secured re-elections in all the 25 parliamentary seats they petitioned for, it would have been a mega season of by-elections. With the remaining 108 seats in BN's hands and 89 seats in PR's hands, it would have been a national referendum for the electorate in those 25 constituencies to decide whether PR should be made the new government. Of course, PR would have known there was a fat chance of that happening.

Is the BN suggesting PR is powerful, or that Bersih 2.0 is right about the EC's incompetence?

For the BN, the story is more complicated. It is perfectly fine for a few candidates to feel wronged by the system. But what message is BN sending by appealing the outcome in 21 out of 727 (nearly 3%) of the parliamentary and state seats it contested? That the PR is so powerful that they can play dirty in so many places? Or that the Bersih 2.0 coalition was right about the EC's incompetence in conducting elections?

I suspect the real reason for the BN's many election petitions was insurance. In the event some judges boldly rule in the opposition's favour, the BN can then count on some court wins to negate those PR victories.



Avoid sensationalising religious issues for political mileage: Raja Nazrin

Posted: 25 Aug 2013 01:41 PM PDT!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_454/ximage.jpg.pagespeed.ic.KYaPF21sQz.jpg

Regent of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah inspects the guard-of-honour during the opening of the 13th Perak state assembly. -- NST Pix/Muhaizan Yahya

(NST) -  The Regent of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah reminded the state's assemblymen, regardless of their political group to demonstrate mutual understanding in avoiding sensationalising the religious issues for their political mileage.

Delivering his royal address at the opening of the 13th Perak state assembly here today, Raja Nazrin said the assemblymen from both the political divide must be at the forefront in representing the voice of moderation to ensure the democratic culture continues to flourish in the state.
Also present was Raja Puan Besar Perak Tuanku Zara Salim
Raja Nazrin said the complexity in dealing with issues relating to religion  must be understood as disagreement between parties were often occurred due to the lack of understanding on the sensitivity of the issue.
"Religion issues should be handled with the utmost discretion and wisdom to ensure public order will not be affected.
"Harmony can not be achieved if all parties choose confrontational methods," he said.
Raja Nazrin also urged for the long-awaited West Coast Expressway project connecting Banting in Selangor and Changkat Jering in Perak to be implemented immediately.


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