Khamis, 5 September 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

MCA overturns Johor exco’s suspension

Posted: 05 Sep 2013 12:49 AM PDT

Party says that Tee Siew Kiong has shown proof that the Sultan of Johor was the one who appointed him as an exco.

Leven Woon, FMT

MCA has lifted a 3 year suspension imposed against former national organising secretary Tee Siew Kiong, who became a Johor executive councillor despite the party's pledge to decline all government posts, after the 13th general election in May.

The suspension was lifted after Tee presented new evidence to the MCA central committee to prove that he did not take the position on his own free will but on the orders of the Johor Sultan.

MCA president Chua Soi Lek said Tee, in his appeal to the party central committee, attached a statement showing that the Sultan was the one who has appointed Tee to the state exco.

"Sultan said it very clearly…it was his royal command that Siew Kiong was appointed. So after much discussion, majority of us felt that Siew Kiong's suspension should be lifted with immediate effect," he told a media conference after a central committee meeting this evening.

Johor palace official Jaba Mohd Noah in a notice dated July 1 said that "all parties, including MCA leaders or others, should respect the decision made by the Sultan… the Sultan has appointed Tee so that every race in the state has their representations in the exco line-up".

Chua said Tee would only be reinstated as the MCA central committee member, but not as the national organising secretary post he previously held.

"But he can also attend and take part in the coming party elections," he said.

Tee, a Chua's protégé, was slapped with three year suspension in June for accepting the exco post, despite him crying foul that his appointment was done on the Sultan's royal decree.

MCA's "no government post pledge" only applies to government posts only recommended by the party.



In Malaysia, more students getting HIV, many through sex

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:34 PM PDT

Ikram Ismail, MM

Young Malaysians between the ages of 20 and 39 formed the largest segment of those infected with HIV over a five-year period.

That is pretty much general knowledge, but the most alarming piece of statistic is the dramatic jump in the number of students contracting HIV.

The total number of new cases of Malaysians infected with  HIV and AIDS had held steady over the five years since 2008.

The number of cases in 2008 was 4,633, while in 2012, the figure was 4,799.

The number of deaths from HIV and AIDS over the period, however, declined from 1,050 in 2008 to 702 in 2012.

In 2008, only 28 students contracted HIV and seven contracted AIDS.

That figure rose to 35 and six in 2009, 44 and eight in 2010 and 69 and 15 in 2011.

But in 2012, a startling 170 students contracted HIV while 16 contracted AIDS.

The number of students contracting HIV that year saw an explosion of 148 per cent — from 69 to 170.

In contrast, the increase of new HIV cases from 2008 to 2010 was at a steady 25 per cent.

These figures are striking compared to those from the period between 1986 to 2007.

Over the earlier 22-year period, only 205 students had been found to be HIV positive, while only 48 were found to be suffering from AIDS.

Over the 2008 to 2012 period, 35 students died from either HIV or AIDS.

The ministry was not forthcoming in outlining the details, but it is believed that the majority of students newly-diagnosed as HIV infected were college and university students.

Malaysia Aids Council Executive Director Roswati Ghani said they are deeply concerned by the growing number of new HIV infections among students.

"What's also alarming is the proportion of new HIV cases reported in the younger age group of 13-29 years, to the overall population (1 to 4 in 2012)," she said.

"We are also cognizant of this situation; and that the HIV epidemic in this country continues to be driven by sexual transmission since beginning 2010."

She encouraged students, especially those who engage in high-risk behaviours, to get tested regularly and be aware of their HIV status.

"To address the rising number of new HIV infections among students, the management of universities and colleges must also make accurate HIV information accessible to their students," she said.

"They  should formalise HIV education in the curriculum and provide counselling services that are evidence-based while, at the same time, respecting the students' sensitivities and rights."

The health ministry, upon learning of a student diagnosed as HIV positive or having AIDS, will set in motion a chain of actions.

The amount spent in response to HIV and AIDS, such as on antiretroviral therapy and treatment, medicines and campaigns, since 1993 has reached RM1.23 billion.


PKR rebel Zahrain rewarded with plum job as envoy to Indonesia

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:27 PM PDT

Jahabar Sadiq, TMI

Former Penang PKR leader Datuk Seri Mohamed Zahrain Hashim (pic) is to be named as the next Malaysian ambassador to Indonesia in what is seen as a reward for supporting Barisan Nasional (BN) in Election 2013.

Sources told The Malaysian Insider that Datuk Seri Najib Razak is rewarding him with the plum diplomatic posting, much to the chagrin of career diplomats who say relations with Jakarta must be handled delicately.

"Zahrain is getting the ambassador's job in Jakarta," a source told The Malaysian Insider.

Another source said an announcement will be made in due time.

Zahrain became Bayan Baru MP in Election 2008 but quit PKR in February 2010 after Pakatan Rakyat (PR) component party DAP criticised him for speaking out against Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

A month earlier in January 2010, Zahrain attacked Lim as being a "dictator, a chauvinist and communist-minded", citing what he saw as a failure by Lim to deliver on his election promises.

Once a close friend of PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Zahrain formed Konsensus Bebas with other PKR turncoats who later supported BN.

After leaving PKR, Zahrain was also heavily featured on Umno-controlled private television station TV3 where he hit out at PR and criticised Anwar on various issues.

But Zahrain did not contest in the May 5 general election where BN only won 133 federal seats, down seven from the 140 won in Election 2008.

The Malaysian Insider understands the posting to Jakarta is a political move to shore up support for BN among Indonesian politicians who are seen to be close to Anwar.

Anwar is a regular visitor to Jakarta, where some of his aides fled after he was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998.



‘DAP may have lost its spunk’

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:10 PM PDT

DAP's silence on recent price hikes spurs Penang Umno liaison committee deputy chairman to call on the party to continue doing so and focus on boosting states under Pakatan governance.

Hawkeye, FMT

DAP's failure to challenge the recent hike in fossil fuel prices could be a reiteration that the party has lost its fiestiness as it also kept mum when the Penang state water authority (PBA) increased the water conservation surcharge by 100 percent last month.

Penang Umno liaison committee deputy chairman Musa Sheikh Fadzir said the socialist party should continue keeping quiet and focus on developing Penang or the two other states of Kelantan and Selangor under the Pakatan Rakyat alliance.

"People can now see and compare what sort of government Pakatan and Barisan Nasional (BN) offer. If one was to analyse the governance style, it is no different from Barisan's in certain ways," Musa said in an interview.

Musa alleged that in reality, BN seems to be more consultative whereas Pakatan comes across as dictatorial, owing to the much touted abrasive style of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

DAP has been ranting about the fuel hike via the Internet but on the other hand, they are the same party which had approved the water surcharge hike being fully aware that water is an essential in our daily lives, he added.

Musa was referring to PBA's recent move of hiking water conservation surcharge in hope of inculcating a water conservation habit among Penangites since water is a resource that is fast depleting .

"However, DAP had failed to reveal to the public that PBA must contribute annual royalty to the state government coffers," he said, adding that instead of increasing the surcharge, the state should reduce the royalty payout and focus on assisting the people to cope with the rising cost of living.

The reality on the streets here is that the authorities have failed to put the brakes on the rising living costs in the state, which is compounded by the inflated property prices here, traffic congestion and a slowdown in manufacturing.

"When people find accommodation expensive, there is a spiral effect as food, tourism, services, healthcare and retail will also see an increase," he said.



Court orders lifting of ban on Irshad Manji’s book

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:07 PM PDT

(Bernama) - ZI Publications Sdn Bhd today succeeded in its bid to remove the ban ordered by the Home Ministry on the Malay translation, 'Allah, Kebebasan dan Cinta', of a book by Irshad Manji.

High Court Judge Zaleha Yusof allowed the publishing company's judicial review application to quash the prohibition order by the Home Ministry under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 in May last year against the printing, distribution or possession of the book.

ZI Publications' lawyers K. Shanmuga and Nizam Bashir said that with this ruling, the book, published by their client, was now free for circulation in the market.

Senior Federal Counsel Noor Hisham Ismail, representing the respondents, said he would take further instruction from the Attorney-General's Office on the next course of action.

ZI Publications director Mohd Ezra Mohd Zaid said he was happy with the verdict.

On May 29, 2012, ZI Publications translated and published in Bahasa Malaysia the book originally authored by Irshad Manji in English as 'Allah, Liberty and Love'.

In her ruling, Justice Zaleha held that ZI Publications had locus standi to bring the action against the respondents (home minister, deputy home minister and the government) as the company had been adversely affected by the ban order.

"If it's true that the book is prejudicial to public order, why was no action taken to ban its English version when it was first circulated.

"Why was the prohibition (order) only made when it was translated into the national language? As I understand it, the root of the respondents' concern is 'kecelaruan keagamaan' or religious confusion," said Justice Zaleha.

She also said that as the authorities had only decided to ban the book when it was translated into the national language, she wondered whether it meant that only Malay-speaking readers would be confused.

"I can't help but ponder on this because steps taken to ban the book only came about when the book had been translated into the national language," she said.

Justice Zaleha also said that it must be emphasised that the book had been in circulation for about two weeks before it was banned, while its original version in English had been in circulation locally since 2011.

On July 9, 2012, the publisher filed the judicial review application for a declaration that the ban order was void, unlawful and of no effect as it was ultra vires Section 7 of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and in violation of Article 10(1)(a) and 8(1) of the Federal Constitution relating to freedom of speech and expression.

The company claimed that the book only contained opinions in the form of brief summaries criticising current approaches in the administration of religion, which it said were not harmful.


‘Go to hell Miss World’: Indonesian Muslims protest pageant

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 04:00 PM PDT

(AP) — Indonesian Muslim hard-liners staged a protest Tuesday in the country's capital to try to stop the holding of the Miss World pageant this weekend on the resort island of Bali.

More than 200 members of several Muslim hard-line groups organized by the Islamic Society Forum staged a rally and march on the MNC Tower, the building that houses the local organizer of the contest.

They held up banners with "Reject Miss World that exploits women" and "Go to hell Miss World" on them, and shouted "Allah akbar," or God is great, outside the building, which was guarded by 300 police.

"This is an insult and humiliation of women," Muhammad Al Khathath, an Islamic Society Forum leader, told the crowd. "Muslims should reject the Miss World contest," he said.

The demonstration was peaceful and broke up after protest leaders met with the pageant organizers.

Some of the contestants have already arrived for the competition set to be held partly on Bali, where the opening ceremony is to be held Sunday, with the final round set for Sept. 28 on the outskirts of Jakarta.

Last week, the Indonesian Ulema Council, the country's most influential clerics group, urged the government to cancel the event, saying the exposure of skin by women in such a competition violates Islamic teachings, even after organizers agreed to cut the bikini competition and instead outfit contestants in more conservative sarongs.

The chairwoman of the Miss World Organization, Julia Morley, earlier confirmed that none of the contestants would wear a bikini.

Most Muslims in Indonesia, a secular country of 240 million people and the world's most populous Islamic country, are moderate, but a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years.


Malaysia bars Lamb of God show amid Muslim criticism

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 03:57 PM PDT

(AP) — Muslim-majority Malaysia has barred a performance by American metal band Lamb of God after Islamic officials accused the Grammy-nominated group's work of being blasphemous.

The band expressed frustration because it believed authorities had not studied the content and meaning of its songs carefully enough.

Lamb of God had been scheduled to perform at a concert hall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's largest city, on Sept. 28. But the Communications and Multimedia Ministry said late Wednesday it would not issue a permit because the performance could infringe on Malaysia's religious sensitivities and cultural values.

The decision comes after the government-run Department of Islamic Development last week said the group's work could lead Muslims astray, partly because the band has been known to mix excerpts from the Quran, Islam's holy book, with heavy metal music.

The band posted a statement on its Facebook page saying it would continue with other shows this month in New Zealand, Australia and Thailand.

"It is very evident (and a bit frustrating) that the groups, parties and powers that have taken the most offense to our music and lyrics, have themselves only made a passing glance at the content and meanings of those songs," the statement said, adding that more than 1,500 tickets had been sold in Malaysia.

Lamb of God is the second prominent American act in less than two years to run afoul of Malaysian authorities for religious reasons. In February 2012, the government banned a show by R&B star Erykah Badu on the eve of her performance, saying a photo of her body art was offensive to Muslims.

Lamb of God, from Richmond, Virginia, has had three albums that reached the top ten of the U.S. Billboard 200 chart.


Call for more tweaks in subsidies, reforms

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 10:59 AM PDT 

(Business Times) - REACHING TARGETS: Moody's says fuel price hike a positive step but more adjustments to Malaysian govt fiscal plan needed

THE fuel price hike is a positive step but more tweaks in subsidies and other fiscal reforms are needed if the government is to address its overall fiscal deficits.

Global rating agency Moody's Investors Service Inc said the lack of additional reforms would place the government's fiscal targets "increasingly out of reach".

The government announced a 20-sen increase in RON95 petrol and diesel prices on Monday as it seeks to maintain a full-year surplus in the operating budget, while keeping this year's overall fiscal deficit under four per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

Moody's, which has forecast Malaysia's current fiscal deficit at more than four per cent of GDP, pointed that significant adjustments to the fiscal framework that broaden the tax base and reduce the subsidy burden have been largely absent since 2008.

Read more at: 

Four Umno Youth Leaders To Contest MT Posts

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 10:51 AM PDT 

(Bernama) - Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin said four leaders have been named as candidates for Umno Supreme Council (MT) posts in the party elections next month.

They are Umno Youth vice-chief Datuk Razali Ibrahim, information chief Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, economic bureau chairman Datuk Sohaimi Shahadan and new media unit chairman Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz.

"We give unanimous support to the four candidates. I urge all the youth delegates who will vote for the Supreme Council seats to give them solid support," he told reporters after chairing the Umno Youth committee meeting at Menara Dato' Onn, Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) here Wednesday.

He said although the four are Umno Youth official candidates, the others keen to contest the MT seats would be considered.

Four leaders who offered to contest the Umno Youth vice-chief's post are Perak Youth chief Khairul Azwan Haron, Umno Youth Exco member Lokman Noor Adam, Tenom Youth chief Jamawi Jaafar and Lengong Youth chief Mohd Iruan Zulkefli.

At least they agreed on one thing: only in Malaysia is Allah an issue

Posted: 04 Sep 2013 10:12 AM PDT 

(TMI) - The forum "Is Allah exclusive to Islam – Law, Faith and Politics" was organised by, an online TV portal yesterday.

In a heated online television discussion yesterday, three Muslim scholars were still agreed on one thing: that the use of the word "Allah" to describe gods of different religions – including the Christian god – is an issue only in Malaysia and nowhere else in the world.

But it still was an issue to two of the scholars as they argued there was an agenda behind Christians using Allah to refer to their god in Malay bibles.

"Christianity is said to be over 2,000 years old. They should have a big vocabulary bank to choose from to refer to God. The fact that they chose Allah was evidence that they have an agenda," argued Dr Khalif Muammar Harris, associate professor of the Center for Advanced Studies on Islam, Science and Civilization at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

Agreeing with him, another panellist echoed the refrain of some that Christians had used the word to mislead East Malaysians to convert them to Christianity. Making this point was Dr Yusri Mohamad, chairman of the Coalition of Supporters of Islam (Pembela), who wanted the word "Allah" banned in Malay bibles.

"It is a Christian virus in the country. They cannot be faulted for having their own missionaries, but they are propagating the virus of pluralism, that all religions are the same," he said.

The forum "Is Allah exclusive to Islam – Law, Faith and Politics" was organised by, an online TV portal yesterday.

It was moderated by ex-Perlis mufti Dr Asri Zainul Abidin and held as a curtain raiser to Putrajaya's appeal set to be heard on Tuesday.

The appeal is against a 2009 High Court ruling that allowed the Catholic Church to use the word "Allah" in its weekly newspaper, the Herald.

Dr Asri, in his opening comments, said the word Allah was in a Catholic bible he bought in Jordan some time ago.

"They have been using the word a long time ago, and so it's a non-issue in the Arab world," he noted.

But Dr Yusri responded that the word was currently being misused in the Malay bible.

"Yes, the problem is exclusive to Malaysia, but my personal opinion is it cannot be used in bibles. The National Fatwa Council also felt the same.

"The world would not turn upside down for the Christians if they are not allowed to use the word. It is actually not a big issue to them even if the word is banned. It's not as though they don't have an alternative word that will not upset their Muslim friends," he said.

The third panellist, PAS Member of Parliament for Shah Alam Khalid Samad, felt that it was not an issue.

He argued that instead of banning the word from non-Muslim tracts, religious leaders and scholars should instead educate and create awareness on what Allah means to Muslims. 

Read more at: 


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