- Malaysia Day is just a day....
- English teachers to come from India? PAS asks Putrajaya
- A lone voice warns fellow judges against “obedient judiciary”
- In defence of Fathul Bari
- Sabah Illegal ICs: The Buck Stops with Mahathir
- Allah Yang Naikkan Harga Barang?
- With the will of Allah
- Dr M: Why didn’t my deputy stop Projek IC if it was policy?
- The day Karpal sneaked in petrol to Parliament to burn evidence
- What Bumiputera discrimination? Shopping’s a money game – business experts
- Zaid to Zahid: You’re not a film censor
- Asian academia faces language block
- Indonesia’s woes are Asean’s problems
- Harris blames local reps for Sabah’s woes
- Healthy competition to ease impact of price rises
- Malaysians expect a shadow cabinet
Posted: 12 Sep 2013 12:36 PM PDT
Malaysia Day marks the formation of Malaya, North Borneo (Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore. Malaysia Day is as important as our Merdeka Day. The day reminds us of the union between West Malaysia and East Malaysia. Singapore has left us and pursued Lee Kuan Yew's dream or the Singaporean Dream. What dream are we supposed to pursue?
We are Malaysian, but the Muslims and Christians are fighting in the name of God.
We are Malaysian, but the premier of the country blamed the Chinese for losing the election.
We are Malaysian, but a deputy minister is criticized publicly when he voices his opinion over a national issue.
We are Malaysian, the rural folks in Borneo still live in poverty and they don't have access to basic infrastructure.
We are Malaysian, the Indians are always the criminals and society treats them as outcasts.
We are Malaysian, the rich man's kids go to private school and get the best education money can buy. The poor kids go to a national school which is unsure of what to teach the kids.
We are Malaysian; a temple could be destroyed despite pleas from society members to consider the decision.
We are Malaysian; a dog trainer is sent to jail in the name of insulting the religion.
We are Malaysian, the ministers can say whatever they think or believe without any considerations.
We are Malaysian; election candidates can insult religion publicly without any fear of the law.
We are Malaysian, a meaningless nation without a dream, hope and future.
We are moving backward from where we started. We have lost our sense of identity being a Malaysian. We are no longer the crowd that goes to Stadium Merdeka to support Mokthar Dahari, Soh Chin Aun and Arumugam wearing the national jersey giving Korean footballers a run for their money. The Merdeka Cup used to be the one of the most competitive football events in Asia. We were a proud nation to have a football team that was very Malaysian in spirit.
We have leaders, billionaires, history, buildings, culture and tradition, but we have lost the beautiful Malaysian soul in our destiny progressing towards 50 years of Malaysia. We are no longer the Malaysian from the past. We are products of political propaganda that has consumed the 50 years of our progress towards being a Malaysian. The word Malaysian remains a myth, not reality.
We have forgotten our history and greatness from the past. The Malaysia we used to know built based on brotherhood among the races. Today, we are ashes from the past. We have nothing to embrace on our existence as a Malaysian apart from our food.
We have to work on the very ideology of Malaysian. It should be a natural process instead of manufactured political propaganda. Maybe we could initiate little steps to create Malaysian ideology. We should start by learning from kampung and small-town people. Ipoh would be a great town to learn this. To date, the pakciks and makciks still go to the Chinese kopitiam to have breakfast. Kelantan will be another great example, the Indian and Chinese in Kelantan can generally converse in the Kelantanese dialect.
The ideal Malaysian ideology is when three people are sitting at a table having a conversation. The Chinese is speaking in Tamil, the Indian is replying in Chinese and the Malay could understand them both and replies in Malay, English, Chinese or Tamil. When we achieve this, we are truly Malaysian.
Posted: 12 Sep 2013 12:27 PM PDT
(MMO) - PAS demanded to know today if Putrajaya had already inked a deal to import English teachers from India prior to announcing the National Education Blueprint, noting the short three-year notice the government had given to turn every school English-ready by 2016.
The party's information chief Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the decision to turn English into a must-pass subject seemed to come without any semblance of an action plan to address Malaysia's stark shortage of qualified English teachers.
In a statement here, Tuan Ibrahim pointed out that while announcing its plans to improve English proficiency here, the government had in the same breath admitted that over 70 per cent of the country's 60,000 English teachers had scored poorly in the English Language Cambridge Placement Test.
"This means at least two-thirds of our English teachers are considered 'incapable' or 'unqualified' to teach the subject in school," he said.
"Is this likely to be resolved by 2016? What about the students, especially those in the rural areas, how would they prepare themselves to face a must-pass English examination from now until 2016 with the current quality of our teachers?" he added.
Tuan Ibrahim recalled that when Datuk Seri Najib Razak visited India on December 20 last year, the prime minister had urged his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh to consider sending its English teachers to teach Malaysian students.
According to a news report on English daily The Star, Najib had said that this would help ease the government's burden on finding ways to address the current shortage of English teachers here.
"One of the suggestions I raised for the consideration of the Indian Prime Minister is for us to receive teachers in India who are fluent in English to teach our students in Malaysia.
"He welcomed the idea and will instruct the relevant ministry to hold discussions with the (Malaysian) Education Ministry to realise this," he was quoted as saying in the December 20 report.
Reminded of the incident, Tuan Ibrahim asked if Putrajaya had gone ahead with the plan to import teachers from India but was keeping the deal a secret for fail of a backlash ahead of the coming Umno general assembly.
"Looking at the government's apparent confidence in turning English into a must-pass subject, PAS would like to ask if this plan to import Indian teachers was kept under wraps?
"Did the government strike a deal with the Indian government before announcing the National Education Blueprint?" the PAS leader asked.
"Was this step to make English a mandatory passing subject merely for the benefit of commissions to specific parties who were tasked with importing these Indian teachers?" he continued.
Posted: 12 Sep 2013 12:23 PM PDT
(TMI) - It has been awhile since a senior judge has so publicly reminded his own peers of their oath to preserve, protect and defend the Federal Constitution - and that they should not be bullied by government leaders and Parliament.
But that's exactly what happened when a judge wrote his dissenting opinion on a high-profile appeal recently against the conviction of several activists for illegal assembly.
This is the first time in the history of Malaysia that a judge - Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer (pic) - has held that the requirement for a permit to assemble peacefully under the Police Act 1967 is unconstitutional.
Hamid said that in this case there was a requirement under Section 27 of the Police Act to obtain a permit, but in that process the police could not refuse to grant the permit.
Five former university students were arrested under the charge of unlawful assembly in 2001. They were fined RM3,900 each by a magistrate's court four years later. They challenged this but six years later the High Court let the conviction stand.
The ex-students then took the challenge to the Court of Appeal. Last week, two of the three judges hearing the appeal ruled that the convictions should stand.
Court of Appeal judges Datuk Seri Mohamad Apandi Ali and Datuk Linton Albert were in the majority. Apandi, in his 50-page judgment, said there was no merit to the appeal as the Police Act did not prohibit the right to a peaceful assembly and police were duty-bound to maintain security and public order.
But Hamid dissented, leading the defence lawyer Edmund Bon to hail this judge's decision as a "consolation" as he wrote a very strong dissenting judgment.
"Hopefully constitutional lawyers can pursue this matter before the Federal Court in future cases," Bon said on the court steps after the judgment.
In his dissenting judgment, Hamid said it is a fallacy to believe that the judges had lost their judicial power, following an amendment to the Federal Constitution in 1988.
He said that any unlimited power vested with the executive, which may compromise the fundamental guarantees enshrined in the Constitution, must be struck down by the courts.
"It is not for the judge to say that the dignity of his office has been stripped by Parliament and accept that the court has no judicial power," he said.
He said an obedient judiciary could not stand as a defender of freedom and would result in there being no rule of law. Judicial power was vested since the inception of the Constitution and cannot be removed, he added.
Hamid said it was for the public to initiate steps to arrest the progress of an obedient judiciary and ensure that the judiciary was independent to protect the Constitution.
Posted: 12 Sep 2013 12:15 PM PDT
With his words public, I can convince how perhaps we do not really need ulamas if what they know seem mostly irrelevant, and has not much practical value.
Zurairi AR, MMO
It is slightly embarrassing when somebody talks about a topic of which he has no clue. It is, however, pretty hilarious when Islamic clerics do so.
Case in point, Fathul Bari Mat Jahya, a popular preacher with ILMU, the Umno-backed wing of young ulamas (religious scholars).
During the weekend, Fathul Bari took to his column in Malay daily Sinar Harian to defend the recent fuel subsidy cut.
Granted, increasing fuel pump prices was bound to be a very unpopular move with the public, but Putrajaya did explain it as a way to reduce its ballooning deficit.
Not so for Fathul Bari, whose attempt to appease the masses is to explain that any increase in fuel prices is indeed "Allah's will."
According to him, any increase in the prices of goods is just a matter of God "testing" his believers in this fleeting material world.
He also seemed to have suggested that it is useless to strive for cheaper goods, for who are we to know what plans God has for us in the future?
This was, perhaps unsurprisingly, not Fathul Bari's first and only attempt at justifying socio-political issues with such wonderful excuses.
Earlier this year, just weeks before the May polls, Fathul Bari had also claimed that Malaysians get their leaders as a result of "Allah's will."
Going by this trend, it would not be too far-fetched to imagine what Fathul Bari's next few columns in the future will be like: "GST is Allah's will", "interest rate hike is Allah's will", and maybe "the property bubble is Allah's will."
Ridiculous as he may be, however, I support Fathul Bari's freedom to speak his mind, unlike some who felt he is not worthy to talk about our economy.
Posted: 12 Sep 2013 11:59 AM PDT
Mahathir's disavowal of knowledge about its happening does not exonerate him. He was the CEO of Malaysia. Ignorance is no defence. He has to take responsibility.
Kee Thuan Chye
Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad drew considerable laughter last Wednesday when he gave testimony at the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants in Sabah. One hopes the laughter was laced with irony and scepticism.
Irony and scepticism because it seems unlikely, going by reports of the proceedings, that anyone listening to some of the things he said could find them acceptable.
The most unacceptable was his saying that he had not heard about Project IC or Project M (for Mahathir) until only recently, and that the Government could not be held responsible for the issuance of illegal identity cards (ICs) to immigrants who had entered Sabah illegally.
"These illegal immigrants may have been issued the identity cards erroneously or it may have been the wrongdoing of certain low-ranking civil servants," he said, expressly passing the blame on to others.
Well, if it were a matter of only a few hundred ICs, we might say these civil servants acted corruptly on their own and out of their personal greed, but a key witness has earlier testified at the RCI that in 1993 alone, about 100,000 ICs were issued to immigrants in Sabah. One hundred thousand in one year is a staggering number. How likely is that to have been a private enterprise undertaken by "low-ranking civil servants"?
It is a requisite of leadership that the leader is accountable for what his underlings do. Especially when it is something serious – in fact, treasonous. We're not talking here about giving out free food vouchers or concert tickets. We're talking about giving out citizenships illegally. Mahathir's disavowal of knowledge about its happening does not exonerate him. He was the CEO of Malaysia. Ignorance is no defence. He has to take responsibility.
Besides, it's extremely unlikely that he was not aware of it at the time when so many ICs were given out, under what was apparently an organised programme, and leaders of Sabah political parties were making a hue and cry about it. The prime minister does not live in a cocoon, much as Mahathir would want us to believe.
We can also bet our bottom ringgit that he could not have found out about Project IC or Project M only recently when the issue has been out in the media for years, with specific naming of the project. A man like Mahathir who is so well-informed of developments must surely have heard of Project IC or Project M way before "recently".
In fact, people were detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for alleged involvement in the issuance of identity cards to foreigners, like Hassnar Ebrahim (who was arrested in 1988), Akjan Ali Mohamad (in 1995), Ramli Kamaruddin (in 1995), Mohd Nasir Sugip (in 1995), Kee Dzulkifly Kee Abdul Jalil (in 1995) and Abdul Rauf Sani (in 1996).
Most of them have testified at the RCI and admitted issuing tens of thousands of ICs illegally. Some have also alleged that they received instructions to do this from then deputy home minister Megat Junid Megat Ayub. They have also claimed that they carried out their operations in the Kampung Pandan home of Aziz Shamsuddin, Mahathir's then political secretary.
They were detained when Mahathir, apart being from the premier, was also minister of home affairs. He held the portfolio from 1986 to 1999. In that capacity, he would have known about the arrests and the reasons for them. He probably signed the detention orders himself.
So how could he say to the RCI, "Hassnar? I have never heard of him. I am also not aware that he had been arrested under the Internal Security Act."?
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 08:42 PM PDT
Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin
Apabila artikel 'Kenaikan Harga Barang Ketetapan Allah' muncul di saat rakyat sedang merasai ancaman kenaikan harga barang akibat potongan subsidi minyak oleh pihak kerajaan, majoriti rakyat memang tidak puas hati. Saya tidak tahu, apakah hasrat sebenar penulis berkenaan. Mungkin niatnya hendak meredakan perasaan rakyat terhadap kerajaan ataupun meredhakan kerajaan terhadapnya, itu tidak pasti. Kata penulis, dia bercakap dalam konteks sabar. Mungkin itu maksudnya.
Menariknya saya terbaca satu komen yang menyebut: 'Kalau begitu pegawai-pegawai penguatkuasa kawalan harga barang sedang menentang ketetapan Allah lah?!' Ringkas, tapi penuh makna.
Sebelum kita pergi kepada hadis yang diguna pakai dalam penghujah isu ini, saya suka menyebut bahawa dalam sejarah umat Islam pernah muncul aliran Jabariah yang menganggap bahawa semua perkara adalah ketetapan Tuhan, manusia sama sekali tiada pilihan. Jabariah tidak termasuk dalam kalangan Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah, sebaliknya mereka termasuk dalam golongan Ahlul Hawa (pengikut hawa nafsu). Saya percaya penulis berkenaan tidak demikian.
Nabi s.a.w mengajar kita tentang takdir dan usaha dalam masa yang sama. Apabila manusia berusaha, namun gagal disebabkan aturan perjalanan alam yang membabit pelbagai pihak; iklim, manusia, masa dan lain-lain, maka manusia hendaklah akur dengan kehendak Allah dalam hal itu. Segala yang berlaku dalam alam ini dengan izin Allah. Tiada apapun yang boleh berlaku tanpa izinNYA. Namun, apa yang DIA izinkan, bukan semestinya DIA redha. Demikian, apa yang DIA redha bukan semestinya DIA izinkan. DIA tidak redha kezaliman Firaun, tetapi DIA mengizinkan kewujudan Firaun atas sistem alam yang diciptaNYA. DIA redha hamba-hambaNYA bersedekah, tapi bukan semua mereka DIA izinkan memiliki harta yang banyak, atas sistem alam ciptaanNYA. Maka, di situlah adanya pahala bagi niat yang baik. Maka, DIA juga menetapkan Hari Pembalasan selepas kematian untuk membalas kebaikan dan keburukan.
Kita disuruh berusaha kerana keizinan Allah itu sering berkaitan dengan usaha yang menuruti sunnah ataupun tabiat ciptaan alam. DIA boleh memenangkan para nabiNYA dalam sekelip mata, namun itu tidak berlaku. Semua para nabi terpaksa berjuang dan mencari sebab musabab untuk membolehkan mereka menang. Lihat Maryam ibu Nabi Isa, ketika dia dalam keadaan lemah hendak melahirkan Nabi Isa a.s., Allah menyuruh dia menggoncang pokok tamar. Rutab (tamar masak) pun jatuh berguguran. Firman Allah: (maksudnya)
Lihat, padahal Allah Pemberi Rezeki, tidak bolehkah DIA gugurkan sahaja buah tanpa perlu Maryam bersusah payah menggoncangnya?! Jika pun dia goncang, sekuat mana sangat wanita yang sarat mengandung dapat menggoncang pohon tamar?! Tidakkah dia sedang mengandung dengan pilihan Allah terhadap dirinya. Ya, namun, Allah mahu hidup ini berjalan menurut tabiatnya, usaha tetap disuruh dan bantuan Allah akan mengiringnya.
Sama halnya dengan sakit demam, walaupun segalanya ketentuan Tuhan, namun Nabi s.a.w menyebut:
Kita kena berusaha, kita tidak boleh cakap 'ini semua takdir' lalu membiarkan penyakit merebak. Allah itu al-Syafi (Penyembuh). Benar, tapi kita kena berusaha mengatasi penyakit. Sabda Nabi:
Kata Al-Imam Nawawi (meninggal 676H ketika mensyarahkan hadis ini memetik kata-kata al-Qadi 'Iyadh yang menyebut:
Jika seseorang jaga kesihatannya, namun penyakit datang juga maka bersabarlah. Anggaplah itu ketetapan Allah. Ada hikmahnya. Ada sebab musabah di luar dari kemampuan diri. Ada pahala atas kesabaran itu. Tapi jika sendiri membahayakan diri. Melakukan perkara yang merosakkan seperti mengambil dadah, ataupun rokok, ataupun apa-apa tindakan yang bahaya lalu terkena penyakit, maka sebelum dia menyerah kepada takdir, dia hendaklah menyalahkan sikapnya terlebih dahulu. Allah telah ingatkan (maksudnya)
Jika seseorang mati kerana sakit atau tanpa sebarang sakit maka kita terima sebagai takdir. Namun jika dia dibunuh, walaupun itupun takdir, pembunuh mesti dihukum. Ulama tidak boleh bagitau mahkamah 'jangan salahkan pembunuh kerana itu takdir, Allah itulah yang menghidup dan mematikan'. Demikian jika ada yang dirompak dan dirogol, tidak boleh kita beritahu bahawa dalam Islam penyelesaiannya 'terimalah sebagai takdir dan bersabar, jangan salah sesiapa, rezeki ketentuan Allah'. Dalam Islam ada undang-undang jenayah dan pesalah boleh dihukum. Ada sistem keadilan yang wajib ditegakkan.
Jika anda masuk ke kedai, anda dapati pekedai menaikkan harga barang dan bila anda tanya kenapa lalu dia jawab "Allah menaikkan harga barang". Apakah anda akan berkata: 'masyaAllah, akidah awak terlalu teguh, awak sangat beriman'. Ataupun, 'awak menggunakan nama Tuhan untuk ketamakan awak!'.
Dalam negara ini, ada berbillion projek yang dipersoalkan. Ada istana yang dibina dengan harga berbillion ringgit. Ada projek harta awam yang tersangkut atas pelbagai alasan berbillion harganya. Apakah jawapannya: 'semua itu takdir Allah?!'. Saya juga lebih tertarik dengan kerajaan sekarang, lebih dari pembangkang, tapi bukan itu cara berhujah yang betul untuk membela.
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 06:56 PM PDT
Hence do we now blame Allah or blame Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for the recent increase in the price of petrol? Najib is powerless and would not be able to increase the price of petrol if Allah does not will it. Hence, also, do we hold protest demonstrations against the government or do we hold protest demonstrations against Allah?
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
"Insha-Allah", the Muslims will normally utter, when someone says something. The English will say, "Touch wood".
'Touch wood' is a very un-Christian thing to say. This is a custom from the pre-Christianity days when people believed that devils lived in trees. And if you say something -- such as: let us hope it does not rain today -- the devil will make sure it rains just to dampen your plans. So you 'touch wood' to stroke the devil as a way of pacifying it so that the devil does not create mischief.
I remember when we were kids and whenever we said something we completed that statement with 'touch wood' and then touched the head of the chap closest to us. Why? Well, figure that one out. Hint: the Malays will say 'kayu' (wood) and touch your head whenever you say something silly.
'Insha-Allah' means 'Allah willing' or 'with the will of Allah'. Muslims believe that nothing happens without Allah's will or the will of Allah.
In fact, one Malay-Muslim scholar even said two days ago that the increase in the price of petrol is the will of Allah. This means unless Allah allows it then there would be no increase in the price of petrol.
Hence do we now blame Allah or blame Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for the recent increase in the price of petrol? Najib is powerless and would not be able to increase the price of petrol if Allah does not will it. Hence, also, do we hold protest demonstrations against the government or do we hold protest demonstrations against Allah?
Going by the opinion of this Malay-Muslim scholar, the culprit in the increase in the price of petrol is Allah and not Najib. Najib could have done nothing without the will of Allah. Hence Najib is innocent of the 'crime' of increasing the price of petrol.
Yes, if you are a 'true believer', then, as this Malay-Muslim scholar said, nothing happens without the will of Allah. Man can propose but God disposes, as they say. Hence, while we plot and plan, only Allah can determine the outcome of whatever we plot and plan.
"And when those who disbelieved devised plans against you that they might confine you or slay you or drive you away; and they devised plans and Allah too had arranged a plan; and Allah is the best of planners" -- verse 30, chapter 8 (sūrat l-anfāl) of the Qur'an.
If this is so, how about when we plot and plan other things? We plot and plan to kill someone. But because Allah does not permit what we plotted and planned, what we tried to do will fail. Only if Allah allows it will it succeed. So can we be punished for the evil deed when it would not have happened unless Allah allows it?
What about when Muslims leave Islam? I have asked scholars as to why -- if Islam is the true religion -- did Allah create us as Muslims and non-Muslims? Why did Allah not create all of us as Muslims?
The reply they gave me is that Allah will open our heart to the truth. Only when Allah opens our heart will we follow the true religion of Islam. If Allah does not open our heart then we will never see Islam as the true religion.
Going by this response this would mean Allah decides who shall become a Muslim and who shall not become a Muslim. Allah chooses those who shall be Muslims and those who shall be non-Muslims. And if Allah wants you to become a Muslim then He will 'open your heart' and if not He will keep your heart closed.
Muslims believe that only Islam is the true religion and all those who follow other religions are following false religions. Muslims also believe that only Muslims will go to heaven while non-Muslims will never enter heaven.
Based on this doctrine, is it fair that Allah wills only some people (20% of the world) to become Muslims and the rest (80% of the world) to remain non-Muslims and then sends 80% of the people to hell when they became non-Muslims not out of choice but because of the will of Allah?
Then we come to the subject of free choice. Does free choice exist in Islam? Some say yes. So, if free choice exists, how would this work with the will of Allah when Allah wills whatever happens and free choice will not come into play?
Theology and religious doctrine is a complex subject is it not? The more you ponder and seek answers the more contradictory everything appears. And if I were to leave Islam and become a Christian is this the will of Allah or free choice? If Allah does not will it can I even leave Islam in the first place?
Anyway, that is not really what I want to discuss today. I want to talk about something else but in my usual cheong hei manner I talk about other things before I come to the real subject matter.
What I want to talk about is the Allah word. The government appears to be playing up the Allah word to the hilt. And people like you and I wonder why the government appears to have a death wish by playing up such a sensitive issue. Will this issue not hurt Umno, especially when it comes to the support of the non-Malays or non-Muslims?
Maybe yes and maybe no. If Umno has decided that it has lost the support of the non-Malays anyway then there is no loss. Even if they do not play up the Allah word issue the non-Malays are still not going to support Umno anyway. So what has Umno got to lose?
However, Umno can place PAS and PKR between a rock and a hard place. If PAS and PKR agree that Bibles should not use the Allah word they will lose the support of the non-Malay opposition supporters. And if PAS and PKR agree that Bibles should be allowed to use the Allah word they will lose the support of the Malay opposition supporters.
Worse still, if PAS and PKR keep quiet and do not take a stand they will lose the support of both the Malay and non-Malay opposition supporters because the silence would be deafening.
Do you think they really care whether the Bible does or does not use the Allah word? Most Malays are not concerned and in fact were not even aware that Bibles printed in Bahasa Malaysia were using the Allah word. If the Christians and those in government had kept quiet, Bibles could have continued to use the Allah word without anyone being the wiser because Malay-Muslims never read the Bible anyway (so how would they know?).
But then the Allah word is a very good political platform to stand on. Umno can raise this issue knowing that Pakatan Rakyat would be hard-pressed to take a position on the matter. If Pakatan Rakyat takes one position it is in trouble and if it takes the other position it is also in trouble. And if DAP, PKR and PAS take 'independent' positions it will also spell trouble because then it will be clear that Pakatan Rakyat is divided on the matter.
But then, you may ask, what about the Christians from Sabah and Sarawak? These two East Malaysian states are Barisan Nasional's 'fixed deposits' and there are many Christians there. Would this not jeopardise Barisan Nasional's support in East Malaysia?
Well, Bibles in East Malaysia are allowed to use the Allah word. Only in West Malaysia is this matter being contested. Hence Umno believes that the support from the East Malaysian Christians will not suffer while the support from the Christians in West Malaysia is lost anyway and therefore does not matter.
It is yet to be proven whether this is a sound political strategy or whether Umno has blundered big time. We will, of course, know soon enough once the Sarawak state elections are held in two-and-a-half years time or so, which will be two years ahead of the next general election. Then we can see whether Umno is a fool or a genius.
Maybe they can say that this is the will of Allah. If Allah wills it then Bibles can use the Allah word and if Allah does not will it then Bibles will not be able to use the Allah word. Then Allah and not Umno were to be blamed for this.
Don't you just love how the will of Allah works? It helps you to 'wash your hands' and shift the blame of your decisions to some higher power.
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 04:31 PM PDT
(MM) - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad asked today why his former "deputy" had not stopped "Projek IC" if it had been a government policy during his reign, appearing again to shrug off blame for the controversial citizenship-for votes initiative in Sabah.
Without directly naming Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the former prime minister said that the current "Pakatan leader" should have known about the purported Sabah initiative as he would have been familiar with government policy then.
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 04:25 PM PDT
V. Anbalagan, TMI
The best kept secret about a pornographic videotape which lawyer Karpal Singh (pic) submitted to the Dewan Rakyat in 1992 is finally out.
Worried that the videotape would not be accepted and that he could be charged with possession of pornographic material, Karpal prepared a contingency plan. He took into the House a small bottle of petrol inside a specially constructed metal container that fitted neatly into a large briefcase.
The plan was to use the flameproof container to destroy the evidence inside the parliamentary debating chamber if the Speaker, or one of his deputies chairing a session, refused to allow the videotape to be tabled.
"I had earlier conducted a dry run in my office to ensure the videotape can be destroyed quickly if it was returned to me," he told The Malaysian Insider.
This little known story was revealed in the 325-page biography of Karpal, authored by New Zealand journalist Tim Donoghue.
The book titled "Karpal: Tiger of Jelutong" was launched at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday by DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.
The 73-year-old, who is wheelchair-bound following a road accident in 2005, said he knew police would be waiting for him outside Parliament to seize the tape and later charge him.
"I had no defence. I would have been found guilty under the Film Censorship Act, which carries a fine of up to RM10,000," he said, adding that he would have lost his job as lawyer and been stripped of his position as a parliamentarian.
On July 20, 1992, he took the opportunity to hand over the tape when the then-Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat was in the chair during the House debate on an amendment to the Companies Act.
While speaking during the debate, he took out the videotape from the briefcase and walked towards Ong.
Having said that the videotape was his gift to his fellow MPs, Karpal was relieved that the unsuspecting Ong readily accepted and marked it as part of parliamentary proceedings.
He said the late Speaker Tun Mohamed Zahir Ismail had subsequently requested him to take the tape back but he refused.
"A police officer even came to record my statement but I refused because the incident took place in the House," he said, citing parliamentary privilege.
Karpal said the briefcase remained within the confines of Parliament until it was handed over to the police.
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 04:18 PM PDT
Trinna Leong and Mohd Farhan Darwis, TMI
Several business experts have refuted an allegation this week by two Malay groups that shopping malls were discriminating against Bumiputera businesses.
"In business, the main issue is never about race. It is about profit and loss and keeping the business alive," said Dr Yeah Kim Leng, the group chief economist at credit advisory firm RAM Holdings, told The Malaysian Insider.
On Monday, the Malay Chamber of Commerce Malaysia and Malay rights group Perkasa accused major shopping malls of refusing prime space to Malay businesses and called for more lots to be reserved for Malay retailers.
The chamber's secretary-general Hanafee Yusoff said high rentals at these malls made it difficult for Bumiputera traders to compete with international brands.
This drew a response from the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (MSMA), which said malls do not have a racial quota policy on the sale or leasing of lots.
Yeah said while such a policy can be introduced, it may not encourage businesses to grow.
"We can prepare the space and everything but if the business is not sustainable, losses would still be made. We have to take into account the commercial value of such a practice," said Yeah.
When met by The Malaysian Insider, academics in business schools in Kuala Lumpur echoed the view.
"At the end of the day, it's just business. If there is a demand, from the business point of view, they would sell it to the highest bidder," said associate professor Dr Che Ruhana Isa, dean of the Faculty of Business and Accountancy in Universiti Malaya.
"Owners of malls would definitely look at those who can meet the requirements they want," she added.
Dr Suhaimi Sarif, who heads the International Islamic University's business administration department, agreed. He said while the groups have a right to voice their grievances, they should understand that it is a free market out there.
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 04:05 PM PDT
Former minister Zaid Ibrahim lambasted the home minister for his attempt to teach the Film Censorship Board on how to do its job.
K Pragalath, FMT
Former cabinet minister Zaid Ibrahim today told Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi not to take over the Film Censorship Board's (LPF) role as a film censor.
"It looks like (Ahmad) Zahid Hamidi also wants to be a film censor. Please don't act smart and teach the Board. You don't need to pressure them.
"In Malaysia, the ministers act as if they know everything," said Zaid on Facebook and Twitter in response to Ahmad Zahid's call for the LPF to be cautious and objective when reviewing the locally-produced Chinese-language movie, 'The New Village'.
"The board has professionals who have been appointed to do the job because of their expertise. A minister should know his role which is in policy-making. He should not be interfering in LPF's work," he said.
Ahmad Zahid was earlier reported by Bernama as saying that the LPF should be cautious in making decision on the movie as it was said to have concealed an intrinsic message in glorifying communist terrorists and putting them in better light than members of the security forces during insurgency.
When Bernama asked Ahmad Zahid on LPF chairman Raja Azhar Raja Abdul Manaf's comment in FMT yesterday that there was nothing wrong with the movie and its screening was suspended due to objections from Umno and right wing groups, Ahmad Zahid said LPF should take responsibility for the public backlash, if any, with its release.
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 03:17 PM PDT
Malaysia, as a country that was once partly Anglophone, and where English was once spoken well, has to make a choice sooner or later. While it remains the case that we cannot deny or neglect the importance of Bahasa Malaysia as a tool for nation-building, Malaysia's future -- like all other countries in this globalising world -- lies beyond our shores as well.
Farish Noor, NST
GLOBAL LINGUA: Scholarly works that are not in English are not able to penetrate the international arena
THE debate over the teaching of the English language continues, not only in Malaysia but also in many other countries across the world. While the form and content of the debate has been shaped by domestic political considerations and agendas, there are some pressing realities that we cannot escape from; and one of them is the simple fact that English remains the most commonly used language in global academic circles.
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 03:02 PM PDT
As investors see ASEAN as a whole, Indonesia's market jitters could affect its neighbours. Other ASEAN economies also rode the wave of loose United States monetary policy. With this wave ending, they might also suffer.
Efforts to solve the current problems could twin with the goals of Asean community and economic integration.
Simon Tay, todayonline.com
Some fear that Indonesia is heading for a crisis. Growth in the second quarter dropped below 6 per cent. Deficits in both the current account and trade widened markedly. The rupiah fell some 10 per cent last month to its lowest level against the US dollar in four years.
Investor confidence is shaken. The estimate is that a staggering US$4 billion (S$5 billion) in capital has recently flowed out of the country.
If there is a crisis, the entire region should be concerned. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is building its Economic Community by 2015 and Indonesia is some 40 per cent of the region's economy.
Investors see the region as an interconnected whole and the past crisis shows how quickly and quite indiscriminately contagion spreads. Indonesia's ASEAN neighbours should watch their economic woes carefully, as they, too, rode the same wave of growth in recent years.
CRISIS AVERTED BUT BOOM ENDED
The good news, though, is that fears about the crisis in Indonesia are overstated. Corporate balance sheets seem healthy. Flexible exchange rates can absorb shocks.
Even as the rupiah drifts downward, there is no need to panic. Indonesia should not try to prop up the currency and, given its relatively low levels of foreign reserves, it has no real capacity to try.
If there is extreme financial and currency volatility, the macro-economic conditions are more supportive than before.
The Chiang Mai Initiative's Multilateralization (CMIM) mechanism provides for currency swops and others — especially Japan and China — would extend assistance to deal with the fluctuations.
A crisis can be avoided. There are, however, no easy and quick solutions to bring back the boom.
Normally, a weaker currency would help push up exports — but not in this case. Indonesia's main exports, like coal and palm oil, face weak demand and generally low prices as China's growth has slowed and the resource boom has ended. For manufactured goods, its still-developing industrial sector cannot generate big foreign-exchange receipts.
Even as steps are being taken to staunch the financial problems, expect higher inflation, interest rate hikes and slower growth. Looking ahead, it will be tricky to find the right balance in raising interest rates to control inflation while avoiding further slowdowns in growth.
POLITICAL WILL AND REFORM NEEDED
However, recent appointments of top policymakers offer hope. Finance Minister Chatib Basri and Bank of Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardjojo are both highly-rated and credible choices.
Since their appointments in May, policy-making has noticeably improved. Jakarta has cut fuel subsidies and raised interest rates to tackle inflation. The government's 2014 budget also aimed to reduce the budget deficit. They offer hope that there is political will and sufficient expertise to do what is necessary, however painful and difficult.
This has not always been the case. During the boom, policymakers and the legislature refused to take reform seriously. Instead, they made nationalistic and protectionist rules. Political in-fighting and corruption scandals, too, distracted from economic issues.
Even today, some in Jakarta seem to be in denial, pointing to external factors as the sole cause of current problems.
Others are distracted by preparations for next month's APEC Summit and, even more, next year's presidential elections.
Yet reform is critical to boosting competitiveness and regaining investor confidence. Many issues are long recognised, such as infrastructure gaps and energy subsidies. Others are problems emerging from the boom, like the rapidly rising wages and expectations among workers.
... AND ASEAN INTEGRATION
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 02:55 PM PDT
Federation of Borneo Territories
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 02:50 PM PDT
The problem is, the government must ensure that the price hikes are justified while making the greatest effort to stop unreasonable price rises.
Soong Phui Jee, mysinchew.com
Pan Malaysian Lorry Owners Association's (PMLOA) announced a 15% increase in transportation charges to alleviate the burden and cost pressure of lorry operators. Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), however, reminded lorry operators that the collective decision to increase transport charges by 15% might have violated the Competition Act 2010.
The Competition Act 2010 is meant to prohibit anti-competitive trading and activities, to ensure a healthy competition on price, improve the quality of goods and services, as well as provide more choices for consumers.
The country's business community is still unfamiliar with the Competition Act 2010 and there are even many questions about it. Like the PMLOA, the common practice of many organisations is to announce a flat increasing rate after having internal negotiations. But such a move has now raised a question: Is a collective price rise a violation of the Competition Act?
The answer is yes, unless if the operators have obtained immunity under the Act.
Even so, the operators may still announce price rises respectively based on the needs of the free market. In such a way, they can then bypass the constraints of the Competition Act.
Any price hike measures could bring butterfly effect and affect people's lives in varying degrees. Therefore, how great the impact of the recent fuel price and transport charge rises would be? Particularly when the value of ringgit is low, would it lead to another wave of inflation? The people are worried.
The people are equally concerned about how the government would use the money saved from fuel subsidy cut to expand the social safety net and reduce the impacts of fuel price hikes on low-income earners.
Meanwhile, members of the public should recognise the fact that there are great drawbacks in the existing fuel subsidy mechanism as everyone, regardless of rich or poor, can enjoy the same subsidy benefit. Consumers, particularly high-income earners, have then lost the reason to save. As a result, fuel consumption grows, as well as the government's financial burden.
Today, the phasing out of fuel subsidy has been a decided policy and the people must face fuel price rises someday, if not today. In fact, if the fuel price rises were not halted because of the general election held in May this year, the government would have long adjusted the prices.
Posted: 11 Sep 2013 02:39 PM PDT
Accountability and transparency
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