Rabu, 28 Ogos 2013

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How to become a gang member?

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 12:19 PM PDT

http://www.malaysiaedition.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/main_sy_1308_9b.jpg 

Bold move: Some gang members gesturing in this photo on Facebook. 

Secret societies are open to all. You don't need an A or a good looking face to join. Just like other societies in schools, secret societies welcome new members, have organised cadres and are active in promoting their activities.

Tay Tian Yan, Sin Chew Daily 

In Malaysia, almost everyone has the opportunity to join secret society without difficulty.

If you are a young man, you will have 50% more chance.

Secret societies are open to all. You don't need an A or a good looking face to join.

Just like other societies in schools, secret societies welcome new members, have organised cadres and are active in promoting their activities.

Hong Men, Wah Kee, 04, 36, and Satu Hati are fighting for new members with Scouts, St. John Ambulance, Chinese Society, and Tamil Society.

For some students, secret societies are more attractive than uniformed groups. It is so hard to be a uniformed group member as they would have to march under the hot sun; learn tying knots and first aid; memorise all the rules and go around to raise fund.

It is more relaxing to join secret societies. All you need is to make a vicious face and give orders.

As for fundraising, there is no need to beg. Just ask, "you want to give or not?" After deducting the part for the boss, you can even keep the rest.

Moreover, it is so cool to be a gang member. It can even meet the desire for power, peer fear, and admiration from the opposite sex.

There are also admiration from the society.

Hong Kong-based comic Oriental Heroes demonstrated secret societies as a world of justice. Slashing, burning, kidnapping are necessary means while blood and violence are heroic acts.

Ten-year-old children have already agreed with these behaviours and joining secret societies became their great ambition.

A Better Tomorrow, Young and Dangerous and Infernal Affairs have become classics in the Chinese movie industry. Misbehaviours are covered by brotherhood love while violence are shown more effective than the rule of law.

Fifteen-year-old teenagers are so excited after watching these movies and immediately, they join a secret society so that they can be heroes, too.

Schools attended by Indian young people, their living environment and cultural ecologies are having even higher exposure to secret societies compared to the Chinese.

Please think, how have we actually educated our children and what kind of environment has been provided to them?

Under such an environment, there is no need to teach them. From input to output, it would be as easy as a straight line for secret societies to get members.

Therefore, the headline of this article should instead be "How to avoid becoming gang member".

It is much more difficult to answer this question.

First of all, never ever send your children to secret society preparatory schools. Please do whatever possible to avoid schools with signs of existence of secret societies.

Secondly, search and destroy all gang-themed comics, movie DVDs and books. Please do not hesitate even to smash your 52-inch television if you have to.

Thirdly, track the whereabouts of your children and understand what they are thinking. Develop their ideas of right and wrong and instil the rule of law concept of civilisation to lead them towards a bright future, and help them get the courage and confidence to overcome setbacks and keep pursuing their goals.

Lastly, if all the above methods fail, you can arrange a trip to visit the Simpang Renggam Jail, so that they can see the fate of gangsters. It might bring a shocking and preventive effect. 

The State of the Nation

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 12:09 PM PDT

http://www.cinema.com.my/images/news/2013/7n_thenewvillagedelayed00.jpg 

But the Penang government must also be even-handed. The film New Village must also be disallowed if it causes the same emotions.

Sakmongkol AK47 

The Penang government must do what it thinks is right. If it thinks and believes that screening of the film Tanda Putera would likely cause hatred and communal tension, then it must ban the screening. It's not up to the film director to pronounce whether cinemas in Penang are likely to lose their licenses. She is just a business person hoping to recover enough money to repay the loan she takes. Or to justify the grant given her by the right wing UMNO politicians.
 
If the national body of film FINAS endorses such a move, then FINAS itself is a racist nest.
 
The Penang government must never be a shilly-shallying government like Najib's. Many of us know the true nature of Najib. He believes in a twisted version of elegant silence.  That's insulting Tun Musa Hitam.
 
To him saying nothing seems to infer some halo of statesmanship around him. So he thinks. Well, if its winter time and he is skating on a pool, his political bullshit is warm enough to liquefy the surface on which he stands. His mind says the film is not good, but his blackened heart wants to go along with the right wingers of UMNO. He plays both sides. Front and behind. 
 
But the Penang government must also be even-handed. The film New Village must also be disallowed if it causes the same emotions.

If the government wants to test the maturity of its citizens, allow both Tanda Putera and New Village to be screened. If not, ban both.  The films can either be bad or good. They can't be both. Either they will create racial tension or not. The government must decide promptly.

Read more at: http://sakmongkol.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/the-state-of-nation.html 

Are we breeding bigotry at home?

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 11:52 AM PDT

http://geenanohinek.theworldrace.org/blogphotos/theworldrace/geenanohinek/2191545036_77ee1ee0af_z.jpg

The people in this story happen to be Chinese and Christian. Which serves as a reminder, at a time when we are rolling our eyes at the ignorance and intolerance of Muslim authorities, that no one has a monopoly on bigotry.

Deborah Loh, fz.com 

WITH the government and religious authorities taking an increasingly hard line on race and religion, you can be forgiven if you feel that there is little to celebrate this Merdeka Day and Malaysia Day.
 
That said, it's time Malaysians stop allowing those in power to define what "unity" (read: conformity), "respect" (read: Sedition Act) and "tolerance" (read: acquiesce to the feelings of one race and religion) mean.
 
It's time more Malaysians take things into their own hands, where they can and with what influence they have, to mitigate the bigotry that is poisoning the nation's soul.
 
What do I mean? Here's a story to explain:
 
I recently helped a friend take a class of young teens on a photography trip to different houses of worship. The group of one dozen kids were all urban, Chinese and Christian. The idea was to familiarise them with religions other than their own, besides learning some photography basics.
 
The kids, aged 11, 12 and 13, were accompanied by four adults who acted as teachers and chaperones. We meandered around the Petaling Street area. We walked to Masjid Jamek but found it closed to tourists due to renovations. We then went to the Taoist temple and the Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple on Jalan Tun H S Lee.
 
For some of the teens, it was to be their first time in a house of worship of another faith, having been born into Christian families and being raised in an almost-wholly Christian environment all their young lives.
 
As we approached the two temples, some of the teens began a discussion on how "scary" they thought temples were. 
 
"Those statues freak me out," a girl declared.
 
"The Hindu gods are all half-naked. It's disturbing!" a boy commented.
 
"My mum says we shouldn't go to such places because there are evil spirits!" shrieked the same girl.
 
"Do we really have to go inside?" the boy said plaintively.
 
"Yes, that's the plan for this trip," I said.
 
"Then I'm gonna delete all the photos of the temples after this!" he announced.

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/are-we-breeding-bigotry-home#ixzz2dK50dAHk 

End of the road for LDP’s Liew?

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 11:48 AM PDT

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/VK-LIEW-TEO-CHEE-KANG.jpg 

(FMT) - What we are watching now in Sabah LDP, which incidentally is the oldest BN partner, is an ugly all-or-nothing, party-be-damned, fight that is multi-sided and lined up against the president.

The case for Liew Vui Keong, the leader of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), is strong if he wants to go back into legal practice, his old job before he rose in the party and was made a federal deputy minister.

After all he's more widely known now, has contacts in high places and knows the inner workings of the government like the back of his hand after being a senior member of the Prime Minister's Department for so long.

It's probably what he should have been looking at after he was ignominiously defeated by a virtual unknown in the May general elections.

Instead what we are watching now is an ugly all-or-nothing, party-be-damned, fight that is multi-sided and lined up against the president.

Tuesday's press conference by Liew to announce the sacking of party secretary-general Teo Chee Kang from the post was revealing in itself.

"There was no one else of importance from the party at the PC," said a member of the media who was there.

Things started to fall apart for the former Deputy Minister after he was defeated in the May general election for the Sandakan parliamentary seat where he was the incumbent.

The warning signs that he would not fade away without a fight were always there starting with his failure to take responsibility for his defeat.

The standard offer to step aside as head of the party after DAP's Wong Tien Fatt trounced him was not forthcoming.

"That was a major mistake. He should have made the offer. He could have relied on the sympathy factor if he had played his cards right," said a political observer.

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/08/29/end-of-the-road-for-ldps-liew/ 

Leaders upset over purported student harassment by teachers

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 11:43 AM PDT

http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/Images/TSOL/Photos-Gallery/Nation/2013/08/29/sri%20pristana%20school.ashx?w=620&h=413&crop=1& 

(The Star) - According to a group of parents, more students are expected to be moved out from the school unless the Government takes a firm stand against the alleged harassment of these children.

Allegations of student harassment by teachers at SK Seri Pristana of Sungai Buloh, Selangor, must be thoroughly investigated, said Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan.

"Such reports, if any, must be investigated to unearth the truth," he said when contacted.

The school made headlines when a parent shared photographs of non-Muslim children eating in a changing room that was used as a makeshift canteen during Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month.

Since then, three non-Muslim students have already been transferred out of the school by their parents.

According to a group of parents, more students are expected to be moved out from the school unless the Government takes a firm stand against the alleged harassment of these children.

MCA has also hit out at the school for the alleged maltreatment of students.

"Educationists should serve as mentors and caring protectors of children instead of scaring them away from school and education," said MCA publicity chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie.

MCA Youth chief Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong criticised the headmaster for allowing police to question its students.

"It is very unbecoming to allow students to be questioned by police in what is not even a criminal case," he said.

Dr Wee added that although police should do their job when they receive complaints, there was no point in harping on the issue.

"The long term repercussions should be taken into account.

"If a harmonious environment is not created, it will be difficult for non-Malays to send their children to national schools and this will defeat the Government's purpose," said the former deputy education minister.

Meanwhile, the police are urging the public not to link the arrest of a parent of a student at the school with the controversy over the makeshift canteen.

According to Sungai Buloh OCPD Supt Junaidi Bujang, these were two separate matters that are being investigated separately.

"Police investigated the canteen issue as 19 reports were lodged by members of the public, while four more reports were lodged by school staff," said Supt Junaidi at a press conference at the Sungai Buloh district police headquarters yesterday.

He said the arrest of V. Kumancan, 32, was a result of a report lodged by the headmaster after he allegedly uttered threatening words at the school's office.

On the questioning of students at the school, Supt Junaidi clarified that police officers interviewed some students as part of investigations, but did not "interrogate" them as claimed by some.

Though parents were not present, he added that his officers did not intimidate the students.

"We were given permission by the headmaster to interview students and we were given 30 minutes.

"We spoke to more than six students in a classroom with other students present, including those who were photographed eating in the room," he added. 

Education Blueprint to encapsulate quality

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 11:43 AM PDT

 http://cdn.theborneopost.com/newsimages/2013/08/first_daySk_GARLAnD_p16.jpg

 

(Borneo Post) -  Abdul Ghafar said apart from the recommendation from the trial runs conducted by the ministry, the Education Ministry has also considered 153 suggestions from various non-governmental organisations, associations, institutions, educationists, and the public, including students.

 

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 will encapsulate quality and the holistic empowerment of teachers, students and the education system itself.

 

Education director-general Datuk Seri Abdul Ghafar Mahmud said the final report of the blueprint has been concluded and will be launched on Sept 6.

 

He said the blueprint, which was minutely drawn up based on each phase of study conducted at selected schools and sections in the education sector by the ministry, is set to bring about remarkable improvements to the country's education system. "Based on the nationwide dialogue on education since April, the ministry has conceptualised and drawn up the education development plan for the Malaysian Education Blueprint."

 

Based on trial runs and experiments conducted in multiple phases, he said the blueprint is a wholesome combination of a holistic and effective plan to achieve the desired transformation in the country's education system.

 

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister, will launch the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

 

On Sept 11 last year, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak launched the early report of the Malaysia Education Blueprint, which focuses on six pupil attributes – knowledge, thinking skills, leadership, bilingual proficiency, ethics and national identity – that can be achieved through various approaches depending on the pupil's standards and capabilities.

 

"Experts from various fields including Unesco, have complimented the blueprint. So far it has been well received and complimented based on the outcome and success of its trial runs conducted in various fields. We believe that it would similarly be accepted by others," he said.

 

Abdul Ghafar said apart from the recommendation from the trial runs conducted by the ministry, the Education Ministry has also considered 153 suggestions from various non-governmental organisations, associations, institutions, educationists, and the public, including students.

 

The recommendations were submitted during the three-month National Dialogue on Education, an initiative by the government to gather suggestions from stakeholders on a large scale on ways to enhance the education system.

 

Abdul Ghafar said the final report would be followed by the formulation and development of the new education strategic plan.


An open letter to my generation - A different kind of freedom to fight for

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 11:35 AM PDT

http://www.unicef.org/eapro/malay-equity-362x200.jpg 

We lament the state of our country's education system, but we leave the teaching of our next generation of citizens to "other people" - people who in our minds have less going on for them than us. 

Abel Cheah, TMI 

I am scribbling the draft of what you are now reading on a piece of scrap paper at the back of a dark, stuffy classroom, where I teach my Form 1 students. It's their second English Diagnostic test this year, the reason for the unusual calm that has befallen what would otherwise be a raucous group of pubescent boys and girls.

A kid comes up to me with his test paper in his hand - "Sir, ini betul kah?" His sentence re-arrangement attempt reads like this: "after she saw, a running cat mouse". I don't help him because it's his assessment, but I try to remind him of the countless Subject-Verb Agreement lessons we've had over the past year.

This is but one example of the reality of the English proficiency outside our urban-middle-class- comfort-bubbles. Many of my secondary school students read at kindergarten level, and many are around eight years behind academically.

In 5 years, these Form 1 students will leave their school, but they won't have the grades to qualify for university admissions or even government funded scholarships - unless some intervention is done.

In 10 years, these students will add to the ever increasing number of unemployed persons in our country, giving birth to children who have a 60% likelihood of continuing on the same life trajectory and cycle of poverty.

Meanwhile, over in the cities, we, the urban and educated, are becoming increasingly paranoid with the ever rising instances of snatch thefts, assault, murder and rape. The blame game seems to shift between the police force, the government and the fashion choices of the woman on the street. But these crimes are simply symptoms of a deeper problem: the education level in our country.

It was Victor Hugo who said, "He who opens a school door, closes a prison". Bodies of research point to the relationship between education and crime; in the US it was found that correctional populations (criminals) report a lower educational attainment, with an estimated 40% of state prison inmates having not completed high school or its equivalent, while only 18% of the general population failed to attain high school graduation.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/sideviews/article/an-open-letter-to-my-generation-a-different-kind-of-freedom-to-fight-for-ab 

Hindraf calls on Prime Minister Najib to get cracking on the Hindraf BN MOU

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 11:30 AM PDT

http://www.nambikei.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/hindraf-1-607x410.jpg 
It is ironical that on the one hand, we have this situation with regards to crime being addressed in a hurried manner with these shootings and arrests and which does not assure sustainability anyway. On the other, we have a plan that promises to be a sure and sustainable remedy and which will have long term positive effects effectively delayed.
 
N.Ganesan, Hindraf National Adviser 
 
The recent high pitched campaign by the police to address the rising crime rate in the country has helped to highlight the extent to which Indian youth are caught up in the whirlpool of crime. The fact that there is such a large involvement of the Indian young is a fairly recent phenomenon. This has not always been the case. This trend was set some 30 odd years ago in tandem with the massive forced displacement of Indian plantation workers out of their traditional abodes in the estates. This crime problem of the Indian young is only one of many ailing the Indian community and is also only symptomatic of the more serious socio-economic problem.
 
It was against this background that Hindraf put out its five year Blueprint to address the situation of the displaced estate workers in a targeted and focused manner with permanent and comprehensive solutions in mind. The Blueprint contained all the elements to address the socio-economic issues of the displaced estate workers which would have had a direct effect on this rising crime problem. The plan clearly addressed the many economic, social, physical and psychological factors that contributed to the marginalization of the Indian displaced estate workers – the path that leads to crime.
 
BN bought the Blueprint on the 18th of April 2013 in an MOU Agreement in an official ceremony and made a public promise to implement the Blueprint on returning to power. They returned to power on the 5th of May.
 
The most significant thing that that has been accomplished deriving from the MOU in the period since is the appointment of Waytha Moorthy as a Deputy Minister.
 
The unit headed by Waytha Moorthy in the Prime Minister's department has yet to be given a name. The charter of this unit has yet to be publicly confirmed. The infrastructure proposal for the unit has not been bought. The Expert Steering Committee which is supposed to come out with the specific plan for addressing the income opportunities, housing and skills training for the Displaced Estate workers has yet to be even identified. The Budget proposed for 2013 has still not been deliberated upon, not to even mention the planning for the 2014 budget.
 
The process seems to be painfully slow. It is ironical that on the one hand, we have this situation with regards to crime being addressed in a hurried manner with these shootings and arrests and which does not assure sustainability anyway. On the other, we have a plan that promises to be a sure and sustainable remedy and which will have long term positive effects effectively delayed.
 
The Prime Minister I am sure is behind the plan of the Home Minister to get aggressive in addressing the crime situation through the police. What he should be equally doing is to be behind Waytha Moorthy and get aggressive on rolling out the Blueprint. He should speed matters up and get the implementation of the Blueprint going. He should name Waytha's unit, he should publicly confirm its charter, he should immediately get the Expert Steering Committee going, he should approve the necessary infrastructure and budgets to implement the plan.
 
The current lacklustre and half-hearted approach is not going to win the hearts and minds of the affected Indian estate workers whose expectations are sky high because of the public promises during the recently concluded GE. They want "Janji mesti di tepati and Nambikei" to mean something tangible.
 
We hope the Prime Minster will get things moving without further delay. The Blueprint and its implementation through the unit is the last hope the Indian community places on the government. If Prime Minster Najib fails to keep his promises, he is looking at an imminent resignation of Waytha Moorthy from government and we believe this will permanently shift the Indian voter completely away from BN on a long term basis.
 
It is now in the Prime Minister's hand which way all this will go. For our part we only want to see correction of a serious historical wrong.
 

Welcome to Malaysia Announcement for incoming flights (Satire)

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 11:21 AM PDT

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-PD9UsSWPRDo/Tp5Mqx-UANI/AAAAAAAAE0s/TSFvNG9zmmc/s400/sacrava%2Bnoo%2B2116.jpg
For Christians visiting Malaysia, please note that you may refer to your God as Allah in your worship if you are landing in Sabah or Sarawak but may not do so if you are landing in W Malaysia. In the event of an emergency and you are landing in the sea, you may use any name that works.
 
Ice Cream Seller
 
I was flying into Malaysia recently and tried to make out what the flight attendant was trying to announce in Inggeris (or Manglish).
Perhaps it should be more appropriate to go along these lines: 

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we will be landing shortly. For those of you coming to Malaysia for the first time, kindly be advised that:

1) If you are bringing in dangerous drugs or firearms, you may be prosecuted and if convicted face the penalty of death by hanging. However, please bear in mind that if that were indeed the case, there is also a possibility that you may die of heart failure, asthma, pneumonia or self inflicted injuries pending your execution whilst enjoying our hospitality in detention. In that case, you need not fear hanging.

2) All foreigners will be required to have their fingerprints taken upon arrival at the immigration desk. If the scanning devices are inoperable for any reason, we will take your thumbprints with ink. To help save the environment, tissue paper is not provided to wipe off the ink. However, since our inks are edible and halal you can safely suck your thumb to clear all remnants.

3) Malaysia is well known for its gastronomic delights. As such, if you find yourself in an eatery where seats are full, you may use the shower rooms or toilets to enjoy our culinary delights. We do that in our primary schools too. 

4) Upon checking into your hotel rooms, you will see a guidebook from our very own Prof Ridhuan Tee in which he very kindly shares his expertise and advice on how to consume your meals in the en suite toilet - as he has reportedly done whilst travelling around the country giving his motivational lectures. He shares some great ideas on how to wash your face using the bidets too.

5) Your baggage may be opened by our efficient ground staff to check on any prohibited goods being brought in. This is in case our sniffer dogs get wet in the rain and consequently, defile your luggage when sniffing around. We do not want to have them (the dogs) put down on account of this.

6) Malaysia is a paradise for shopping. Our very own Petaling Street is a must visit for those intent on getting a bagful of the 'genuine imitations' freely on sale. As most of the foreigners in Petaling Sreet are actually the vendors, you will find yourself quite at home.

7) If you are here on a business visa, kindly note the local sensitivities on the giving of gratuities. It is an offence for a gratuity to be demanded but conversely, it is regarded as a heavenly blessing and kosher if given out of your own volition.

8) For Christians visiting Malaysia, please note that you may refer to your God as Allah in your worship if you are landing in Sabah or Sarawak but may not do so if you are landing in W Malaysia. In the event of an emergency and you are landing in the sea, you may use any name that works.

9) If you are a visiting Shia Muslim, please do not engage in any religious discourse as there is a high possibility for exacerbating the level of confusion that already exists.

10) Last but not least, we apologise if you are unable to understand this announcement due to content or pronunciation as we are likewise unable to comprehend the script.

Thank you for flying with us and we wish you a pleasant holiday in Malaysia and for Malaysians, KALAU TAK SUKA, BALIK SAJA.

Terima Kasih



Umno adopts electoral college system

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 10:42 AM PDT

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(The Star) -  Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the system was chosen for the party elections, which for the first time will see about 150,000 members voting for supreme council members, as it was deemed the most practical due to the large number of voters involved.

PETALING JAYA: Although about 150,000 members will be voting in the upcoming Umno elections, the actual votes that will matter are those from the party's 191 divisions.

This is because Umno will adopt the electoral college system, where each division carries only one vote for each post.

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the system was chosen for the party elections, which for the first time will see about 150,000 members voting for supreme council members, as it was deemed the most practical due to the large number of voters involved.

"We have explained to party members how the system works. Although each division represents one vote, the grassroots will still be the deciders because it is they who will first vote to determine candidates their division will support," he told The Star.

In the past, the Umno 191 divisions would send about 2,500 delegates to the general assembly to vote for the party leadership but this time around, voting will take place during the respective division meetings on Oct 19, ahead of the party's annual general assembly slated for Dec 2 to 7.

Tengku Adnan said a candidate must obtain the most number of votes from delegates in a division in order to secure that division's single vote.

The same system, he added, would also be used to elect office bearers for the Youth, Wanita and Puteri movements on Oct 12.

Tengku Adnan said that results for the party elections would be announced on the same day at the Umno headquarters. He added that ballot counting would start in the evening, with the results to be announced several hours later.

"We have explained to party members how the system works. Although each division represents one vote, the grassroots will still be the deciders because it is they who will first vote to determine candidates their division will support," he told The Star.

In the past, the Umno 191 divisions would send about 2,500 delegates to the general assembly to vote for the party leadership but this time around, voting will take place during the respective division meetings on Oct 19, ahead of the party's annual general assembly slated for Dec 2 to 7.

Tengku Adnan said a candidate must obtain the most number of votes from delegates in a division in order to secure that division's single vote.

The same system, he added, would also be used to elect office bearers for the Youth, Wanita and Puteri movements on Oct 12.

Tengku Adnan said that results for the party elections would be announced on the same day at the Umno headquarters. He added that ballot counting would start in the evening, with the results to be announced several hours later. 

READ MORE HERE 

Show ‘Tanda Putera’ or risk permits, director warns cinemas

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 09:48 AM PDT

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(MMO) -  The National Film Development Corporation's (FINAS) Compulsory Screening Scheme was introduced in 2005 to help local filmmakers gain a larger audience. Under the scheme, cinemas must show designated films in their largest screening hall for no fewer than 14 days.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 ― Cinemas risk losing their licences if they comply with Penang's request not to screen "Tanda Putera" as the film is covered by the government's mandatory screening scheme, said its director Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba.

Shuhaimi was responding to the call by the Penang government yesterday to cinemas in the state to refrain from playing the movie, scheduled to hit silver screens today after nearly a year's delay.

"As far as we are concerned the screening should go on as scheduled by FINAS Wajib Tayang (Compulsory Screening) Committee.

"If the cinema operators do not screen the film as scheduled, their licences can be revoked by FINAS," Shuhaimi told The Malay Mail Online via text last night.

The National Film Development Corporation's (FINAS) Compulsory Screening Scheme was introduced in 2005 to help local filmmakers gain a larger audience. Under the scheme, cinemas must show designated films in their largest screening hall for no fewer than 14 days.

They may demote the screening to a smaller hall if audiences fail to reach 30 per cent of capacity for four consecutive days. They may also discontinue screening at their discretion if less than 15 per cent of the hall is filled for three days in a row.

The scheme is open to any film made by a local company or a joint-venture production in Malaysia.

Shuhaimi also confirmed that the movie's distributor received an emailed copy of the directive from the Penang city council to the cinema operators, dated yesterday, requesting them to not screen "Tanda Putera" today.

"If indeed, this instruction came from the chief minister, we find this latest development irrational and incomprehensible as he has not even seen the movie, and this misuse of authority is an embarrassment.

"We are just filmmakers and not his political opponent. Instead of victimising us, he should pick on someone his own size," she said.

READ MORE HERE

LDP in turmoil/ 27 exco members demand for SC meeting

Posted: 28 Aug 2013 12:24 AM PDT

(Borneo Insider) - The squabble within the Liberal Democratic Party has reached its second stage with 27 out of 34 Supreme Council members signing a written requisition for a Supreme Council meeting to be held.

They want the council meeting to be held this September 6 at its Headquarters in Kepayan so as to resolve the on-going leadership tussle in the party.

LDP deputy Secretary-general Ho Jia Lit announced this on Wednesday in the presence of the 27 which included its deputy president Datuk Chin Su Phin, sacked Secretary-general Datuk Teo Chee Kang and vice presidents, Datuk Pang Nyuk Ming and Datuk Lim Ming Hoo.

Also present was its suspended Wanita chief Nancy Lim and Youth chief, Chin Su Yin as well as publicity chief Albert Kok.

Ho explained that such a requisition is in accordance to the Party Constitution's Paragraph 40 (A) which reads:

"The Supreme Council shall meet at least once in every three months or, when directed by the President, or on the written requisition of at least one-third of the members of the Supreme Council.

"And, the presence of half the number of members of Supreme Council shall form a quorum for meeting of the Supreme Council. (Paragraph 40 (B)).

When asked whether there's any possibility that the Party President could ignore such a requisition, its Teo replied that this would not be possible citing that Paragraph 40 (A) of the Constitution made it clear.

"No one can depart from the provision in the Party Constitution, so long as at least one-third of the Supreme Council members requested by way of written requisition for a Supreme Council meeting to be convened, then there's no choice," he said.

Teo also clarified that the controversial resolution for a 'no contest for the top two posts' was not unanimous.

"In fact, at the moment, we do not have the confirmed minutes. (All we have is a draft minutes in Chinese.) Normally, the minutes will be confirmed and endorsed by the subsequent Supreme Council meeting but this has yet to be done," he explained.

He further observed that at the last meeting, when the Supreme Council members were asked to give a show of hands, there were at least four members who did not put up their hands.

Admitting that he was among those who agreed to the said resolution, Teo nonetheless said things had changed subsequently.

"Politics is very dynamic in view of the change of circumstances, the overwhelming voices of the grassroots for a leadership change and because of that we respect such wishes. In fact, that resolution has been superseded by events," he said.

Asked whether they consulted the party's founding president Tan Sri Chong Kah Kiat before attempting to change the party leadership, Teo answered that there were consultations within the party leaderships, but not with Chong.

"I will leave my future in the party to all members and grassroot of LDP. And I believed despite of the challenges and crisis that we are facing currently, I firmly believe democracy will prevail," Teo concluded.

 

US seeks allied regime in Malaysia as millions funnelled to opposition

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 09:19 PM PDT

It has been reported that the US government is behind the current developments in the Middle East, in particular in Egypt. It has also been reported that the US may soon launch an attack on Syria. What has been largely ignored and which the Malaysian government is now investigating is the report regarding the US being behind the Malaysian opposition in an effort to 'export' the Arab Spring to Malaysia through Bersih, PKR and Anwar Ibrahim. Below is the earlier report regarding the matter in the run-up to the recent general election.

Nile Bowie (first published 12 April 2013)

As Malaysia gears up for its most critical general election ever, a prominent opposition figure has come forward with allegations American foundations organized protest rallies and channelled funds to opposition political parties.

In early May 2013, Malaysia will face its most competitive political battle since its independence in the form of an election that pits Malaysia's ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, which has governed the country since 1957, against the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition that has received extensive training and backing from US government-funded foundations.

Washington has often seen Malaysia's leaders as stubborn, and as the unpopularity of the ruling coalition increases, organizations like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have significantly greased the wheels to improve the US-friendly opposition's chances of coming to power through multi-faceted media campaigns and support for anti-government street demonstrations.

On one side, Malaysia's former PM Dr. Mahathir Mohamad often caught the ire of Washington for his unceasing criticism of Israel and US foreign policy, while the incumbent PM Najib Razak has toned down the rhetoric and has pursued a business friendly approach with the West, while deepening economic ties with China.

On the other side, de-facto opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who formerly served as Deputy PM under Mahathir's government, leans closely to the United States.

During his political tenure, Anwar was sacked for implementing IMF austerity measures while Mahathir spearheaded Malaysia's recovery from the 1997 Asian financial crisis through currency controls and protectionist measures. After his political fall, he served as Chairman of the Development Committee of the World Bank and IMF in 1998, and later chaired the Washington-based Foundation for the Future, a US-funded think-tank established by Elizabeth Cheney, the daughter of the former US Vice President. Anwar enraged many in Muslim-majority Malaysia when he stated that he would support a policy to protect the security of Israel in an interview with the Wall Street Journal – a stark contrast to the ruling coalitions' firm stance in support of Palestine. Anwar's unique credentials and close ties to the US political and financial establishment make him undeniably preferred in Washington.

The National Endowment for Democracy or NED, is a Washington-based foundation that supports democratic initiatives and US-friendly opposition groups abroad, provides over $1 million to various projects in Malaysia each year. The NED has regularly come under fire because of the overtly political nature of its programs, and because senior US political figures have leading roles in the foundation.

In addition to funding electoral watchdogs, human rights monitors and news websites that slant toward the opposition, the International Republican Institute has received millions for its Malaysian programs, which assist "political parties and their associated think tanks in being effective representatives of their constituencies." IRI is chaired by conservative Senator John McCain, known for his extremely aggressive position in favor of Israel and US conflicts overseas, while other leading figures have held senior foreign policy positions in the Reagan and Bush administrations. "IRI works in countries important to U.S. interests, where we can make a difference… IRI focuses on three tasks: helping political parties broaden their appeal, ensuring that they rule justly once elected and aiding civil society in guaranteeing good governance… IRI can help catalyze the efforts of democratic activists in a country -- so long as they want change more than we want it for them," writes IRI's president, Lorne Craner, who previously held a position in the US State Department.

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs also receives a huge budget for their Malaysian projects. Madeleine Albright, former US Secretary of State, a famous cheerleader for American exceptionalism and NATO militarism, chairs NDI. In addition, both former US Senator Thomas Daschle and former AIPAC director Kenneth Wollack have high positions in NDI. Malaysia's opposition coalition won historic gains in the 2008 elections and took control of key states such as Penang and Selangor. According to the NED's website, IRI received $802,122 in 2010 to work with"state leaders in Penang and Selangor to provide them with public opinion research, training and other resources to enable them to be more effective representatives of their constituents". IRI claims that it "does not provide direct funding to political parties" in Malaysia, but their lack of transparency, significant budget and emphasis on helping broaden the appeal of political parties in opposition-held states suggests at the very minimum that funding is taking place indirectly.

NED is funded primarily through the US Congress, within the budget of USAID, the US agency for development assistance, which is part of the US State Department – this means that the money NED gives to foreign countries comes from public funds paid by US taxpayers. Funding mostly flows to its two main component parties, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI). NED is required to publish its financial disbursements, but this doesn't apply to the smaller foundations that it in turn finances, such as the IRI and NDI, both the main recipients of funding in Malaysia.

According to the NDI's official website, it conducts "state-level parliamentary workshops in Selangor and Penang" because "opposition parties have had limited experience in government, many of the parliamentarians elected in 2008 lacked a fundamental understanding of parliamentary processes and of representing constituent concerns." Starting from 2007, Malaysians have shown support for Bersih, an electoral watchdog group known as the 'Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections.' Bersih has organized rallies calling for electoral reform, which many criticized as being as thinly veiled anti-government protests due to the participation of key opposition figures. Bersih coalition leader Ambiga Sreenevasan, recipient of the US State Department's Award for International Women of Courage, has under pressure conceded that Bersih accepted funds from US government-linked foundations such as NDI, and the Open Society Institute, headed by billionaire financier George Soros. Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, a Malaysian senator and former opposition figure, has recently issued statements detailing American involvement in funding and organizing the Bersih rallies.

Aziz said that Americans from US-based foundations were calling the shots and outlining the functions and operations of Bersih. "In the meeting, I was offered to head the watchdog because they said I have the credentials, integrity and credibility for the post. They told me that the movement was to ensure free and fair elections in the country," said Tunku Aziz, disclosing that he was offered some $4,000 monthly plus other perks and allowances for his position. Aziz also accused Malaysia's opposition leader of using Bersih to channel support to his political campaign, "Anwar makes good use of his international networking to get these funds. I don't know whether Bersih leaders knew it or not. But Bersih is Anwar's vehicle to receive international funds under the guise of democracy and free and fair elections. Bersih is not a non-partisan independent organisation. It's Anwar's baby." Aziz resisted overseas funding because he claims it compromises national integrity and dignity. "Local organisations should justify their existence to Malaysians, not to foreigners. Local organisations should not owe their existence and allegiance to foreigners," he stressed.

Upon closer examination of the language used by these foundations, when they claim to be working toward "broadening the appeal of political parties," a critical question comes to mind – when does so-called 'democracy-promotion' become political interference? The work of the NED has ostensibly blurred the line between the two, while masking their overt backing for actors they support in the benign language of electoral transparency, freedom and the promotion of human rights. Malaysia's ruling coalition is far from perfect – it is unwilling to address issues of high-level corruption, elite opulence remains a huge problem, and racial minorities feel animosity over ethnic-based affirmative action policies that favor the Muslim majority. The opposition coalition, which has vowed to eliminate authoritarianism and elite graft, has released a manifesto that some have lauded, while others have been more skeptical of. NED does not conduct a single democracy initiative in neighboring US-ally Singapore, despite having a less democratic environment than that of Malaysia – so what could be motivating Washington to spend so much attention on supporting Malaysia's opposition coalition?

Let's not ignore the elephant in the room – the real purpose of America's resurgence of interest in the ASEAN bloc is to fortify the region as a counterweight against Beijing. PM Najib Razak has attached primary importance to Malaysia's relationship with China, as he looked to Beijing to revive Malaysia's export-oriented economy after the 2008 global financial crisis. Sino-Malaysian exchange in areas such as finance, infrastructure development, science and technology, and education have never been higher. China has been Malaysia's largest trade partner, with trade figures reaching $90 billion in 2011 while Malaysia is China's largest trading partner among ASEAN nations. Washington's backing for Malaysia's US-friendly opposition must be seen in the context of its moves to bolster its military muscle and dominance over the Asia-Pacific region in line with its 'Pivot to Asia' policy. Malaysia has sovereign rights over the Straits of Malacca, China's most critical supply routes that transport oil and other materials vital to its continued economic development. Aside from its strategic location, Malaysia has a booming economy that averages around 7 percent annual growth, it is the world's third largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG) after Qatar and Indonesia, and the country has holds over 4 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

Malaysia is a key player in Southeast Asia, and Washington is doing what it can to tip the scale in favor of the opposition after its success in the 2008 elections. In 2013, the opposition coalition is relying on votes from those dissatisfied with the status quo and a large demographic of young voters who want to challenge the ruling coalition's infallibility at the polls. Under the watch of the ruling coalition, Malaysia was transformed from an exporter of rubber and tin into a key industrial player with a strong domestic automobile industry. The ruling coalition has overseen stable economic growth, while promising 3.3 million new jobs in the high-income sector and attracting multi-million dollar investments. As critical elections loom in the country and critics ask whether the untested opposition is able to guarantee continued growth, voters deliberating between the ruling coalition and the opposition will also indirectly be choosing between China and the US. The results of the upcoming election are expected to be the closest ever, and the potential for political turbulence is at an all-time high. The millions that have been funnelled to Malaysia's opposition is proof that Washington has a regional agenda of its own.

 

Mukhriz offers MACC help in RM2m probe

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 08:34 PM PDT

GLC GRAFT: MB says Kedah govt will accept outcome of investigation

(NST) - MENTERI Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir has offered his full cooperation to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in its probe into  alleged misappropriation of RM2 million involving a government-linked company during the Pas-led administration.

Mukhriz said he was shocked by the alleged incident and offered the state government's assistance in facilitating the probe whenever needed by the MACC.

He stressed that the state government would accept the outcome of the probe, including the possibility of the GLC officials facing criminal prosecution.

"I am shocked over the news report and we at the state government are offering our fullest cooperation in the MACC probe.

"The state government will not tolerate any corrupt practice or abuse of power. I have also made this stand clear to our executive councillors, assemblymen and civil servants," Mukhriz said while winding up the debate of motion of thanks on the opening address by the Sultan of Kedah Council of Regency chairman Tan Sri Tunku Annuar Sultan Badlishah.

He was responding to a Berita Harian front-page report yesterday that MACC was probing into an alleged criminal breach of trust (CBT) case involving the embezzlement of RM2 million from one of the GLCs in the state.

The investigation suggested that the money was siphoned from the GLC's account and used for political purposes during the 13th General Election in May.

Three officials from the GLC, including its chief executive officer and managing director, aged between 45 and 50, are being investigated.

MACC special operations department director Datuk Mohd Jamidan Abdullah was quoted as saying that the probe centred on corruption, CBT and money-laundering.

According to the report, the company director had withdrawn RM500,000 from the GLC account and transferred the money into his personal account, believed to be meant for his personal use and political party campaign.

Meanwhile, the second day of the state legislative assembly sitting saw opposition assemblymen being forced to concede that there were serious financial discrepancies and mismanagement in Kolej Universiti Insaniah (Kuin) during the previous administration.

State Education, Transportation and Public Works Committee chairman Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain (BN-Merbok) dropped a bombshell on the opposition bench when he divulged details of management flaws in Insaniah Holdings Sdn Bhd, which had cost Kuin millions of ringgit.

Insaniah Holdings was established by the Pas-led state government to generate income for Kuin but ended up draining millions of ringgit because of poor financial management, cronyism and nepotism.

The revelations prompted Datuk Phahrolrazi Zawawi (Pas-Pengkalan Kundor) to concede that Kuin and Insaniah Holdings top management, appointed by the Pas administration, had caused massive damage to the previous state government.

The former state executive councillor said he was stunned by the findings and called on the state government to initiate a White Paper to investigate the discrepancies and mismanagement in the state-owned institutions.

"There is so much speculation over the alleged discrepancies in Kuin.

"I am proposing that the state government consider calling for a White Paper to investigate the allegations as we (the opposition) are also eager to know the truth."

The state legislative assembly later passed a bill to amend the State Syariah Criminal Enactment to curb the spread of Shia teachings in Kedah.

The bill was passed with 21 votes from the floor.


Facebook says no to Putrajaya’s request for details on 197 users

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 05:21 PM PDT

Elizabeth Zachariah, TMI

Facebook had rejected, on 7 occasions, requests from Putrajaya for information on 197 users.

Data revealed in the first ever Global Government Requests Report by the social networking site showed the Malaysian government did not receive any information from them.

"We scrutinise each request for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and require a detailed description of the legal and factual basis for each request.

"We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests," said Facebook's General Counsel Colin Stretch.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) could not be reached for comment.

The report showed that 74 countries had requested information about more than 37,954 accounts on Facebook and that the vast majority of these requests relate to criminal cases, such as robberies or kidnappings and national security.

The statement said these government requests include basic subscriber information, such as name, the date when they joined Facebook, IP address logs and actual account content.

At least half the requests came from The United States (20,000 to 21,000 accounts).

Neighbouring Singapore had requested information on 117 Facebook users and received 70% of the information it requested.

READ MORE HERE

 

Russia warns of ‘catastrophic consequences’ if Syria hit

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 05:16 PM PDT

(AFP) - Russia today warned a military intervention in Syria could have "catastrophic consequences" for the region and called on the international community to show "prudence" over the crisis.

"Attempts to bypass the Security Council, once again to create artificial groundless excuses for a military intervention in the region are fraught with new suffering in Syria and catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and North Africa," a foreign ministry spokesman said.

"We are calling on our American partners and all members of the world community to demonstrate prudence (and) strict observance of international law, especially the fundamental principles of the UN Charter," ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement.

Earlier Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said that Moscow regretted Monday's decision by the US to postpone a meeting on the Syria crisis, as Western powers mulled military action over last week's chemical attack in Syria.

The scrapping of the meeting, which was due to take place at The Hague later in the week, is the latest sign of a new peak in tensions between Moscow and the West over the possibility of military strikes against President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

"It arouses regret that our partners decided to cancel the bilateral meeting" involving senior diplomats from both sides, Gatilov said on Twitter.

"Working out the parameters of a political solution in Syria would have been especially helpful right now, when military action is hanging over this country," Gatilov said.

In such a climate, it was especially important to work in concert to try to organise the repeatedly postponed peace conference bringing together the Damascus regime and the rebels, Lukashevich said.

"However, the United States' decision to postpone the meeting in The Hague is sending precisely the opposite signal to the opposition, encouraging their intransigence as they await outside intervention," he said.

Lukashevich said convening the peace conference was now a "most urgent task."

Western countries including the United States are considering their response to an alleged chemical weapons attack by Assad's regime on August 21.

Russia has said it believes rebels were behind the incident and has warned any military action without UN approval would violate international law.

On Monday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned the "hysteria" over the claimed chemical attack and said the West had yet to come up with proof that Assad's regime was behind it.

He also said Russia would not get involved in a military conflict in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told British Prime Minister David Cameron in a telephone call on Monday there was no evidence yet that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons against rebels, Cameron's office said.

Pro-Kremlin Russian newspaper Izvestia on Monday published an interview with Assad who ridiculed as "nonsense" the idea his regime used chemical weapons and warned the United States of failure if it attacked Syria.

Russian officials are now comparing the possible use of force against Syria to the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, which was vehemently opposed by Moscow as based on flawed intelligence that Saddam Hussein's regime possessed weapons of mass destruction.

"Deja-vu," Alexei Pushkov, the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee wrote on Twitter.

"It feels like in the White House it's still (George W.) Bush, (Dick) Cheney and (Donald) Rumsfeld and in Downing Street Tony Blair," he said, referring to the former US president, vice president, defence secretary and British premier during the Iraq war.

"The faces change. But not the politics," he added. 

 

Errant LDP sec-gen Teo sacked

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 05:10 PM PDT

LDP president VK Liew says Teo Chee Kang had breached the party's constitution regarding his duties as a secretary-general. 

(FMT) - Sabah's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) has sacked its secretary-general Teo Chee Kang who recently declared that he will take on party president VK Liew in the October polls despite supporting a 'no-contest' resolution by its supreme council in June.

Liew said the sacking took immediate effect. He said Teo was terminated because he had breached the party's constitution.

Liew added that Teo's membership in LDP, however, will be maintained.

He said Teo will also stay in his post as Special Task Minister in Chief Minister Musa Aman's administration "for now."

"My secretary-general has now gone public to declare his intention to contest in the party's election and has accepted nominations for the top post.

"He has cited various reasons including legal points which I respectfully beg to differ with.

"Suffice for me to state here that he has breached the party's constitution regarding his duties as a secretary general – that is, amongst others 'to carry out the instructions of the supreme council'.

"In this regard, I think and I believe he has failed, neglected and/or refused to carry out the instruction as stated above on the resolution passed by the supreme council recently.

"Having considered all options, it becomes clear that it is no more tenable for Teo Chee Kang to remain as the party's secretary general as he is no longer able to carry on the business of the party in accordance with the party's constitution.

"Having consulted the party's stalwarts, I make the decision to relinquish him as my secretary general whom I appointed in 2006," he told a press conference here late yesterday.

READ MORE HERE

 

BN leaders come to Waytha’s defence

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 05:05 PM PDT

But, they say the deputy minister must check his facts before making any future statements. 

Lisa. J. Ariffin, FMT

There is no need for deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythamoorthy to quit his government post over his remarks on the police killing of suspected criminals in Penang last week.

Several non-Umno BN leaders believed there was "no reason" for Waythamoorthy to resign despite calls to do so by Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaffar.

"The only mistake he made was that he should've asked for a proper investigation over the matter before accusing the police of not following procedures when firing at those gangsters," Kedah Gerakan Youth Chief Tan Keng Liang told FMT.

"I don't think there is a need to step down. Why should he step down?" he asked.

"He should have checked his facts first before making accusations," he reiterated.

Labis MP Chua Tee Yong said the progressing political scenario should enable Cabinet ministers to "state their stand" on an issue.

"However, he must also acknowledge collective responsibility. It is important that he makes statements after getting the facts," he said.

Asked if Waythamoorthy should step down from his ministerial post, Chua said there was "no need to".

"If he said it is based on the sentiments of the public, then it is not correct. But if he is highlighting a relevant issue, then it should be investigated," he said.

Tan said there was no pertinent need for Waythamoorthy to resign as "people are bound to make errors in life and become emotional in a matter".

"It's a learning curve for him (Waythamoorthy) as a new deputy minister to check before barging at the police or some others in future," he said.

"I don't think there is a need for him to resign at this state. There is just no reason to."

READ MORE HERE

 

Asian stocks sink, oil prices climb on Syria fears

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 04:55 PM PDT

(AFP) - Asian markets fell sharply Wednesday, while oil prices rose and emerging-market currencies sank, as the West stepped up preparations for a possible military strike on Syria over a chemical attack.

The losses extended falls on Tuesday and followed drops on Wall Street and in Europe as investors ran for cover, while emerging-market stocks and currencies came under renewed pressure.

Adding to the geopolitical tensions in the Middle East are concerns about a looming row in Washington over the US debt ceiling, which could leave the country in political deadlock.

Tokyo tumbled 1.51 percent, or 203.91 points, to 13,338.46 as the dollar eased against the yen and Sydney shed 1.05 percent, or 54.0 points, to close at 5,087.2.

Seoul clawed back some early losses to end flat, edging down 1.32 points to 1,884.52.

Shanghai was off 0.11 percent, or 2.27 points, at 2,101.30 while in the afternoon Hong Kong was down 1.68 percent.

Emerging markets in Asia — already seeing selling because of the expected wind-down of the US Federal Reserve's massive stimulus programme — were also suffering.

Jakarta was downl 2.28 percent, Kuala Lumpur was off 1.42 percent and Mumbai slipped 1.82 percent.

Manila was down 3.88 percent as traders grow jittery before the release of economic growth data on Thursday.

The West, led by the United States, is edging closer to a targeted strike on Syria, which is accused of carrying out a gas attack on August 21 that killed hundreds of civilians.

"We are prepared. We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take," US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the BBC on Tuesday.

The possibility of more turmoil in the oil-rich region saw crude prices extend gains.

New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate for delivery in October, jumped $2.95 to $111.96 a barrel in afternoon Asian trade. The contract hit an intra-day high of $112.23.

Brent North Sea crude for October was up $2.81 at $117.17 after peaking at $117.22.

Kathy Lien of BK Asset Management said: "The possibility of a military strike on the country (Syria) is growing by the minute and investors are worried that it could destabilise the region."

On Wall Street, the Dow fell 1.14 percent, the S&P 500 lost 1.59 percent and the Nasdaq tumbled 2.16 percent, while Paris and Frankfurt each lost more than two percent.

In forex trade, the dollar sat at 97.25 yen in Asia on Wednesday, up from 97.01 yen late in New York but well down from levels above 98.00 yen in Tokyo Tuesday.

The euro bought $1.3381 and 130.21 yen compared with $1.3391 and 129.88 yen.

India's rupee continued to suffer, slumping almost four percent to 68.74 against the dollar — another record low — as fears over Syria compounded domestic economic woes and expectations the US will wind down its stimulus programme.

The unit later picked up slightly to 68.45.

The Indonesian rupiah dived to 11,418 against the dollar from 10,925 rupiah, while the greenback was at 44.79 Philippine pesos from 44.43 pesos.

"The situation with Syria has been playing havoc with currency markets for the last few days," said Kenichi Hirano, market adviser at Tachibana Securities.

"Any action by the US is not likely to be protracted. But wrangling over the national debt could go on for quite a while, as we've seen in the past."

Dealers are increasingly concerned about a repeat of the 2011 debt ceiling stand-off that brought Washington close to defaulting on its repayments and preceded a downgrade of its AAA sovereign rating.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said this week the $16.7 trillion limit will be reached in mid-October, raising the chances that Republicans and Democrats will engage in another game of brinkmanship.

Gold cost $1,424.10 an ounce, near a three-month high, at 0700 GMT on Tuesday, up from $1,410.75 late Tuesday. 

 

RM190 Juta Untuk 1,200 CCTV Di Kuala Lumpur?

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 02:32 PM PDT

http://www.lipstiq.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/art-CCTV-620x349.jpg 

(Mynewshub.my) - Laporan Ketua Audit Negara 2011 menyatakan bahawa pelaksanaan sistem itu GAGAL mencapai spesifikasi yang sepatutnya, bahkan lebih 60 peratus kamera CCTVnya gagal berfungsi! Perlu diingat, projek ITIS yang menelan kos sebanyak RM365 juta itu dilaksakanakan pada 2005 melalui tender terus. Dan kini GTC Global Sdn Bhd diberi pula kontrak oleh DBKL sebanyak RM200 juta untuk pemasangan 1,200 CCTV.

DEWAN Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) akan memasang 1,200 unit kamera litar tertutup (CCTV) dalam usaha terbarunya mengurangkan jenayah dan mengawasi kesesakan lalu lintas di ibu negara.

Pemasangan CCTV ini akan dibuat secara berperingkat dan melibatkan kos sebanyak RM190 juta.

Difahamkan daripada jumlah keseluruhan CCTV yang dipasang, 300 unit adalah untuk kegunaan khas PDRM.

Dikatakan yang CCTV ini akan disambung dengan sistem maklumat ke semua balai polis, dengan lebih daripada 300 unit disediakan khas untuk mengurangkan jenayah

Bagi pengawasan lalu lintas, semua CCTV ini akan disambungkan dengan Pusat maklumat ITIS (Integrated Transport Information System) bagi pengawalan bersepadu.

Dalam erti kata lain, DBKL boleh menyelaraskan semua aktiviti berkaitan gambar dan juga maklumat-maklumat yang boleh digunapakai mereka dari segi trafik dan pihak polis dari segi jenayah.

SEKALI LALU bunyinya memang menarik tetapi ada perkara yang perlu diperjelas dan dimaklumkan pada masyarakat, apatah lagi bila ia melibatkan duit awam yang bukan sikit jumlahnya.

Kita pergi kepada ITIS sendiri, ia sebuah sistem maklumat pengangkutan bersepadu yang dibina khas untuk DBKL mengawasi aliran trafik serta menganalisa data keadaan lalulintas di Lembah Kelang untuk disampaikan kepada pengguna jalan raya.

Tetapi Laporan Ketua Audit Negara 2011 menyatakan bahawa pelaksanaan sistem itu GAGAL mencapai spesifikasi yang sepatutnya, bahkan lebih 60 peratus kamera CCTVnya gagal berfungsi!

Perlu diingat, projek ITIS yang menelan kos sebanyak RM365 juta itu dilaksakanakan pada 2005 melalui tender terus.

Dan kini GTC Global Sdn Bhd diberi pula kontrak oleh DBKL sebanyak RM200 juta untuk pemasangan 1,200 CCTV.

Kebimbangan pelbagai pihak yang tidak mahu sejarah kegagalan ITIS berulang harus diambil kira.

Kita nak tahu juga, apa kelebihan yang dimiliki syarikat ini sehingga ia mampu memperoleh kontrak yang besar dan semahal itu?

DBKL kena ingat, campur tolak darab dan bahagi, kos kamera CCTV yang terbaru ini, dicampur dengan kos 'kewujudan' ITIS telah menyebabkan DBKL telah berbelanja lebih RM500 juta…maknanya lebih separuh billion!

Kita tak nampak setakat ini nilai yang dibelanjakan itu berbaloi…yang selalu kita lihat di papan tanda ITIS adalah 'ucapan selamat ' menyambut hari-hari perayaan…

Setelah melihat kegagalan ITIS, setelah mengetahui jumlah besar peruntukan yang terpaksa dibuat oleh DBKL, dah tiba masanya pihak DBKL memperincikan semua ini kepada warga kota.

Kita nak tahu apakah jaminan kegagalan ini tidak berulang, kita nak tahu adakah pemberian kontrak ini dibuat secara tender terbuka atau rundingan terus.

DBKL kena ingat, rakyat juga ada 'CCTVnya' sendiri…dan percayalah 'CCTV' mereka lebih bahaya dan berkuasa!

Bidders refuse to bid; help owners save houses

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 02:25 PM PDT

http://www.fz.com/sites/default/files/styles/1_landscape_slider_photo/public/Bidders%20at%20Taiping%20High%20Court%20auction%20house_Azril%20Annuar.jpg 

The bidders at the High Court Auction House 

(fz.com) - The bidders not only showed solidarity in not bidding for any of the Taman Suria Permai, Taiping houses that came up on the block but even tried to discourage Megat and couple Lee Chek Chuan and Ng Siew Imm from repurchasing their homes.

Four houseowners who were supposed to have their homes auctioned yesterday had a last-minute reprieve by none other than the bidders to their houses. 

The potential buyers at the Taiping High Court auction house refused to bid for the properties of Jonathan Ng and his small group of victims who are victims of a procedural breach in the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (Bafia) and the National Land Code (NLC).
 
Prior to the start of the auction, Ng and the other victims including Wong Chun Mun, Megat Azmi and couple Ng Siew Imm and Lee Chek Chuan pleaded to the other bidders to not purchase their properties.
 
It was a heart-wrenching scene when Ng's mother, Susan Cheong, broke in tears telling everyone that they have lived in their homes for 10 years and have become the victim of an alleged cheating scheme thought up by their property's developer, KS Properties Sdn Bhd.
 
"We were cheated of our homes. We have fully paid. But they're trying to take our homes away! Please! Don't buy our house, we don't have a place to stay!" begged a tearful Cheong.
 
Another victim, Megat Azmi also appealed for compassion, showing a picture of his ill baby, saying that he has not slept for month trying to raise funds for his house.
 
"Please, please… I just want my house back… Please… please don't fight with me when I start bidding," said Megat Azmi, who finally caved in to the demands of debt collection agency Gale Force Sdn Bhd by repurchasing his home.
 
The bidders not only showed solidarity in not bidding for any of the Taman Suria Permai, Taiping houses that came up on the block but even tried to discourage Megat and couple Lee Chek Chuan and Ng Siew Imm from repurchasing their homes.
 
They informed Lee that they are not interested in his home and will not contest but the couple went ahead, saying they just wanted to get on with their lives.
 
"How long can we suffer? This time around we are lucky no one wanted to contest against us when we began our bid. We paid RM108,000 again yes but how many times must we go through this kind of pain? We don't want to go through this again," said Siew Imm.

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/bidders-refuse-bid-help-owners-save-houses#ixzz2dEqzh7g5

 

RM63.0 B Rapid Project Axed - A Petronas Fumble?

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 02:18 PM PDT

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mwUb7uieeAc/UhxOyJqMzBI/AAAAAAAAOIU/OrH98Om5hjM/s640/Potonah+1.JPG 

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. 

OutSyed the Box 

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.
  • Petronas to delay RM61.3bil refinery project to 2018
  • start up refinery within RM61.3bil petrochemicals complex at end 2017
  • a further delay in the country's largest-ever infrastructure project
  • potential blow to economy 
  • project complicated by need to secure water supplies 
  • final investment decision (FID) to the first quarter next year
  • citing state government problems in relocating villages and graves 
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?



  • Petronas will review costs, delay or differ implementation 
  • Petronas (said) cost remained a major concern
  • especially in light of downtrend in crude oil prices
  • final investment decision on Rapid will be made in March
  • We would not embark on projects that would not be feasible..
  • upstream costs a worry, oil & gas infra, support services rates rising

Shamsul (left) and chairman Sidek Hassan 
  • "costs are creeping up
  • ".bulk of expenditure for upstream activities, 65% of total portfolio
  • scrap the project if the numbers are not right
  • silly to proceed if there's no economic return
  • take into consideration agreements with foreign investors
  • signed four heads of agreements
  • based on US$100 - 110 per barrel, pre tax of RM91bil to RM92bil for year 
  • dividend to Government RM27bil this year compared to RM30bil last year
  • nothing definitive 
  • marginal drop in net profit to RM15.26bil for 2nd qtr ended June 30 
  • lower margins, higher operating expenses, lower gain on disposal 
  • Revenue 5.17% higher RM74.42bil driven by higher crude & gas trading volume
  • increased trading opportunities and stronger customer demand
  • total production rose 11.89% to 2.07 million barrels per day (in the qtr)
  • gas production was 154,000 boe per day 
  • cash and equivalents of RM122.1bil June 30, gearing fallen by 0.6% to 11.1%.
I have been hearing things about Petronas since about two years ago. The Prime Minister has appointed this particular punahsihat as a Board Member of Petronas. Undoubtedly he is the most powerful Board member.


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 :

Read more at: http://syedsoutsidethebox.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/rm630-b-rapid-project-axed-petronas.html 

The mystery of ‘jaguh kampung’ pride

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 02:08 PM PDT

Erna Mahyuni, MM

On the world stage, you have to actually be good. It helps to have a famous backer, no doubt, but making it in Malaysia is a poor indicator of how well you will do overseas. Yet we persist in giving ourselves a pat on the back and crowing about how well we're doing in comparison with, say, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

We are a nation of Little Napoleons. What else can we call it when we have our own Malaysian equivalent of the Guinness Book of Records to reward ourselves for creating new culinary records?

Like over-indulgent parents who treat their children's random scrawls as though they were Louvre-worthy masterpieces, we like to congratulate ourselves for the silliest things. The biggest roti canai, for instance. Really, Malaysia?

This ever-enduring love affair with mediocrity is puzzling. While our own Chinese arthouse directors go overseas and win awards at film festivals, we prefer instead to celebrate the likes of James Wan who may be Malaysian-born but is technically Australian.

Merdeka is just around the corner, but I wonder when we will ever be "merdeka" from our hilariously low standards.

Our government's approach to improving everything — from the economy to the Malay dilemma — is to throw money at it.

Sadly, the money does not seem to go where it is supposed to, with much of it ending up in the pockets of our overfed politicians and their cronies.

The reason our more successful Malaysians thrive overseas is because our country is really no place to gauge your true marketability or competitiveness.

On the world stage, you have to actually be good. It helps to have a famous backer, no doubt, but making it in Malaysia is a poor indicator of how well you will do overseas.

Yet we persist in giving ourselves a pat on the back and crowing about how well we're doing in comparison with, say, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

"At least we're not Myanmar!" a friend once said to me when I bemoaned the state of our nation.

The brainwashing clearly was strong in that one.

Yes, I know that it is depressing to compare ourselves with even the likes of Singapore.

Honestly, how can that tiny island nation still beat us in the things that matter most: education, economy and "most likely to be remembered as a nation by a clueless American"?

The thing here is not to be depressed about not measuring up. We have to learn to face up to our shortcomings instead of denying they exist, unlike a certain education minister who insists our education system is world-class.

Third world, maybe, Mr Minister.

Yes, the bar is high. Yes, we are still far from approaching it much less getting over it. The solution is not to drop it so low we can crawl over it — we have to set our sights higher and learn to say: "We're not there yet, but we're working on it."

So, let's take off our rose-tinted glasses (I'm looking at you, PEMANDU) and start seeing things as they are: not great, with an ocean's expanse of room for improvement.

Raise that bar and let's all learn to jump. And maybe, just maybe, we'll learn to fly.

- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/erna-mahyuni/article/the-mystery-of-jaguh-kampung-pride#sthash.6fVY3OPb.dpuf 

 

Nayagan and the Indian Gangsterism

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 01:16 PM PDT

http://uppercaise.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/malaysian_indian_pupils1.png?w=600 

Just like politics, gangsterism is a career option that does not require education or qualification. The poverty dilemma promotes the concept of gangsterism for survival. When you have nothing, you've got nothing to lose. That's the reflection of the downtrodden Indians in Malaysia. 

Natesan Visnu 

The movie 'Nayagan' is an Indian crime film starring Kamalhassan and directed by Maniratnam. Nayagan was included in the 100 All time-best film list by the Time Magazine and top 20 greatest Indian film. The film was sent by India for the 60th Academy Awards under the Best Foreign Film Category. The movie also marked the rise of Mani Ratnnam as a film maker and it was Kamalhassan who suggested to producer Muktha V. Srinivasan to consider Maniratnam to direct the movie. The rest as they say is history and the film reached iconic status in Indian cinema. 

The story was loosely based on the life of Varadarajan Mudaliar (Vardhabhai) who was a powerful mob boss from 60's to 80's. He started off his career as a porter at VT Station, Mumbai. He started off his criminal life by bootlegging and ventured into contract killing, smuggling and drugs. The famous dialogue from the movie 'Nayakan'; "Are you good or bad?"(Neenga Nallavara Illa Kettavara) and Velu's reply, "I don't know"(Theriyallieppa).

The story of Vardhabhai has influenced Tamil society in general. The tale from rags to riches of a poor Tamil boy to one of the most powerful men in India has certainly impacted Tamil society in general. In life we have been inspired by many tales of rags to riches and most notably are Genghis Khan and Chandragupta Maurya.

Genghis Khan was a homeless boy with his mother who went on to conquer the world and Chandragupta Maurya with a humble beginning went on to create the Mauryan empire. The similarity among these men were their ambition and their rise despite all the social barriers. Poverty forces one to do whatever it takes to release oneself from its clutch.

Chandragupta Maurya and Genhis Khan killed in the name of expansion for their empire and Vardhabhai killed in order to stay the most powerful mob boss. Chandragupta and Genghis were hailed as historical heroes and Vardhabhai went down in history as a criminal lord. Many local Mumbai regarded Vardhabhai as their lord because of his social contribution to the poor Tamil slums in Mumbai. Vardhabhai contributed significantly to the downtrodden slum community of the slums and the writer would hail him as a 'philanthropist'.  

The 71% of Malaysian gangsters who are Indian is the resemblance of Vardhabhai. Deprived of education and economic opportunity, the Indian gangsters were forced into criminal life. The story of Vardhabhai has influenced the Indian community directly or indirectly but the impact of such an iconic movie will definitely be remembered by society. If you were to ask any Indian on the street about the movie 'Nayagan', they will hail the movie as one of the best Tamil movies ever made.

An iconic movie at that large scale will have a profound impact on the community. The movie could be inspirational for many poverty strickened youth to change their life destiny. I would rather die receiving a bullet instead of hunger would be the appropriate line in this context for reflecting the Indian gangsters' thought process. 

The current press statement by the leaders has certainly sparked national interest to curb gangsterism. The leaders and police force have made statements to combat gangsterism. One of the methods used by the police force is encounter. Encounter is an expression or term for killing the suspected gangsters in gun battle. The method has been used to eradicate the suspected gangsters. The practice of encounter is famous in India and a similar method has been applied in Malaysia based on recent news. On that note, the encounter method will only provide temporary relief of the gangsters, but sooner or later 100 Vardhabhais will rise again. Poverty is a serious social disease and encounter is not a permanent resolution for gangsterism.

The Indian political leaders of this country should be made responsible for the rise of gangsterism. Just like politics, gangsterism is a career option that does not require education or qualification. The poverty dilemma promotes the concept of gangsterism for survival. When you have nothing, you've got nothing to lose. That's the reflection of the downtrodden Indians in Malaysia. The political system of the country has failed them and the Indians are left with very little options but to pursue the crime life. It's not by choice but by 'force' of the poor Indian leadership. 

The past and present leadership should view gangsterism as a national threat. The resolution or action plan should be a long term solution. It's a shame for the nation with so many political parties representing the Indians, the Indian leaders have failed to address the issue. On that note, past leaders should be made responsible for the failure of the community and the present leaders have not shown any progress in addressing the issue apart from the Hindraf blueprint promising to curb gangsterism among Indian youths. P. Waythammorthy has raised the matter but only to be criticized by the Home Minister and Defense Minister. On that note, the writer views the lack of credibility and unity displayed by the two most senior leaders in addressing the issue for a comprehensive resolution. 

Do we have a solution? The way of the Malaysian political system is just like 'hangat-hangat tahi ayam'. In a few months, after killing hundreds of gangsters, the police will issue a press statement that Malaysia is safe from criminal threat. The gangsters will resume their business as usual until the next cycle. The Indians will continue to be poor and new Vardhabhais will emerge to replace the old Vardhabhais. Just like the economic cycle of rise and decline, gangsterism will rise again sooner or later. It's just a matter of time. 

The Indians in this country are living in exile. The social and political dynamics of the nation will not improve the community living standard. The rich Indians will continue to strive and educate their children to have the best education money can buy. The rich Indians will continue to consume Blue Labels. The poor Indian will continue to become poor and ensures his children drop out from school as early as possible to start working. The poor Indian will continue to drink cheap liquor and toddy. There will be only a handful of Ananda Krishnas, Tony Fernandeses and the like. The Muthusamys, Karuppusamys, and the like will continue to exist, not live. 

Vardhabhai's story is the continuation of the Indian legacy in this country. The country will be blessed with more Vardhabhais in future instead of Tony Fernandeses or Ananthakrishnas. There is nothing that will be done to resolve the Indian issues. The educated class will continue to become keyboard warriors slamming the government on the Internet with little effect. The Indian leaders will implement programs that burn millions of ringgits but will not have any impact on the community. 

The Indians in this country remind us of the Jews of times long past where the community was forced to live in exile and poverty. It took them hundreds of years to return to Israel and reclaim their land and rights. The Indians were brought here to benefit the British. The British deserted us and took the wealth generated with them. 

The Chinese community had good leaders to lead them and prosper as a society. The Malays had good leaders to shape them to become one of the most prospering communities in the world. The Indians had lousy leaders that drove us to socio-economic plights. We have no one to blame but our past and present leaders. The trust we had in them has been exploited by the political leaders for their own benefit. 

To continue our existence, the little things that we can do are as follows:

- Assist your cousins, nephews, relatives, etc with education. Spend the extra money for their education. The chances for public university is relatively low and the option to send them to private sectors is still possible. Spend that money on them. 

- Assist them during schooling by paying their tuition fees. The Tamil school system is a failure. Send them to a good tuition center that will provide them with decent education to survive in future. At least they will have a decent command of English and Bahasa Malaysia. 

- Encourage your relatives to send them to national schools so that they can have Malay and Chinese friends that would be helpful to them in future. 

Only education can liberate the Indian community. If all the educated Indians in Malaysia would help one or two of their cousins, relatives, neighbours, etc. the chances for them to continue their education is relatively high. That would increase the quantity of educated Indians and this will indirectly uplift the community. The cycle would continue and the community could be liberated from poverty through education. Maybe we could name it 'Educate Family Members' program that is initiated by us without any political interference. 

We live in an age of uncertainty. The community will continue to exist without much progress in years to come. The only hope we have is to work hard and look after our family members. Always remember, the Indian leaders will never do anything for you. 

Jehan Miskin jawab isu loket berbentuk salib (3 Gambar)

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 01:11 PM PDT

http://i1214.photobucket.com/albums/cc482/mediamalaya/7fdb7e36/jehanmiskinsalib3.jpg

(Media Malaya) - Agak kecoh baru-baru ini apabila gambar Jehan Miskin bersama isteri yang dimuat naik ke laman Insta telah dipertikaikan beberapa pihak.

Menurut sumber, terdapat beberapa orang peminat yang menegur loket milik Jehan kerana ia hampir berbentuk salib, ada juga peminat yang menyebelahi Jehan dengan menerangkan maksud loket tersebut adalah bentuk logo pengakap. Persoalannya di sini, jika ia loket pengakap, apakah motif Jehan memakainya?

Pada temubual dengan Berita Harian hari ini, Jehan telah menjawab isu tersebut. Menurutnya,

Apabila isu ini timbul, saya cuba jelaskan yang loket itu bukan lambang salib dan meminta pihak berkenaan merujuk wikipedia. Tetapi, mereka masih menyalahkan saya dan mengatakan memakai rantai bagi seorang lelaki adalah haram.

Saya dilahirkan Islam dan masih berpegang teguh pada agama. Setahu saya, lelaki diharamkan memakai emas dan rantai yang saya pakai itu bukan emas

Sejak akhir-akhir ini, saya tengok masyarakat kita terlalu sensitif, sedangkan benda itu mudah saja. Kalau kita selidik dulu, mungkin takkan berlaku pertelingkahan sebegini. Saya pula hanya menjawab komen untuk membetulkan salah faham.

Saya tidak marahkan pihak terbabit, cuma apabila saya membuat kenyataan balas, ada lagi yang mengatakan loket itu sebagai salib. Jadi saya membalasnya semula untuk memberikan penjelasan sama. Saya tidak menyangka lain pula jadinya.


Miss Malaysia – Not for Muslims?

Posted: 27 Aug 2013 09:50 AM PDT

When the organiser of Miss World Malaysia Anna Lim said that "As Malaysia is a multi-racial country, we have to show respect to the Muslim community", I wonder: Do we respect Islam or Muslims? In other words, do we respect an abstract concept or living breathing human beings? And what are we doing in the name of prosecuting those who "insult Islam"? 

Syahirah, Muslimah Media Watch

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" (herehere 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. 

Read more at: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/mmw/2013/08/miss-malaysia-not-for-muslims/#more-13895 

 

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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