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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

'Dr M will oust Najib following son's failure to secure VP post'

Posted: 20 Oct 2013 06:33 PM PDT

Sean Augustin,

Opposition lawmaker and blogger Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz claims Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will avenge his son's failure to secure an Umno vice-president post by ousting the Prime Minister.

Mohd Ariff said the former prime minister would come out with "guns blazing" and has already laid down the issues, such as Datuk Seri Najib Razak's failure at transformation, incompetence at managing the economy and out of control spending.

Mahathir, Mohd Ariff said, has even taken aim at the BR1M programmes, an initiative which sees financial aid distributed to households earning less than RM3,000 a month.

"Dr Mahathir now will spend his waking hours with insatiable rage.

"So from now on here, Dr Mahathir will train his canons towards Najib. And boy, does he have many," the Raub MP, commonly known by his blogger name of Sakmongkol AK47, wrote in his blog today.

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir lost a six-cornered battle at the party elections on Saturday, despite putting up a spirited fight. The Kedah menteri besar won 91 divisional votes, just nine divisional votes shy of incumbent Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Mohd Ariff pointed out that when Mukhriz lost his bid to become the Umno Youth chief, Mahathir got his revenge by engineering the exit of his successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi by persuading Umno leaders to revolt against the fifth prime minister.

The difference between Najib and Abdullah, the DAP politician said, was that the former "did not fall asleep on the job", in reference to Abdullah's habit of dozing off which was attributed to sleep apnea.

Najib, Mohd Ariff claimed, would have called up the Umno liaison chiefs and operatives at state levels and stated he wanted to retain status quo.

Citing his experience as Najib's former information chief, he went on to state that the Umno president would avoid direct frontal attacks and use subterfuge as well as works insidiously.

"If Dr Mahathir calls, what can he offer but a fading memory of who he once was? Out of power, means out of sight means Dr Mahathir is ignorable," said Mohd Ariff, who had previously served as an Umno assembly member in Pahang.

On a separate matter, Mohd Ariff alleged that more than RM250 million was spent on the 146,000 delegates to elect the Umno Supreme Council members.


Minister: OK for peninsular Christians to use ‘Allah’ in masses

Posted: 20 Oct 2013 05:13 PM PDT

(MM) - A minister in the Prime Minister's Department insisted today that Christians in Peninsular Malaysia can still use the word "Allah" in their weekly masses, even after the recent ruling by the Court of Appeal.

Tan Sri Joseph Kurup also urged Malaysians to stop practising racial and religious bigotry, which he said is the root cause behind the deteriorating solidarity between Malaysians.

"I am aware that the ruling is only applicable to the Herald case. It is specific to the Herald case. This means those who are in Sabah and Sarawak are still free to use that "Allah" word," Kurup told reporters here.

The minister in charge of national unity also answered "yes" when asked for his opinion whether the word can still be used by Christians in their weekly masses in Peninsular Malaysia.

The Court of Appeal ruled last week against a 2009 High Court decision allowing the Catholic Church to refer to the Christian god with the Arabic word "Allah" in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its weekly paper, the Herald.

The court adjudged the usage of the word "Allah" as not integral to the Christian faith and said that allowing such an application would cause confusion in the Muslim community.

Former attorney-general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman had since weighed in on Saturday, saying that all Malaysians are bound by the ruling, not just those in the peninsula.

Meanwhile, current attorney-general Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had said that the Home Minister has the discretion to ban any words deemed "prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial" in regards to national security and public order.

In his speech during the launch of December's Global Peace Conference 2013 today, Kurup said that racial and religious bigotries "totally contradict" Putrajaya's national reconciliation efforts and the Federal Constitution itself.

According to Kurup, the Constitution guarantees the right of every ethnic group to worship in their own religions and to preserve their own languages and culture.

"Racial and religious bigotry are the cause for our anger and frustration and the root problem of our nation's deteriorating solidarity and unity. This must stop," he said.

"Everyone especially political and religious leaders should be more careful in what they articulate in public forums so not to stir up racial sentiments and to avoid further dividing our communities."

Catholic Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam has said today that denying Malay-speaking Christians the right to describe God as "Allah" in their worship and in the Al-Kitab is tantamount to persecution.

The archbishop of Kuala Lumpur also pointed out that more than half of the Catholic Church's parish churches and chapels in the peninsula conduct at least one worship service or catechism lessons weekly in Bahasa Malaysia, in order to cater to the thousands of Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christians from Sabah and Sarawak who live here.

Churches in Sabah and Sarawak have said that they will continue their age-old practice of referring to God as "Allah" in their worship and in their holy scriptures.

Several ministers also said recently that the 10-point solution issued by Putrajaya in 2011 — which allows the printing, importation and distribution of the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Christian bible, containing the word "Allah" — should stand, despite the appellate court ruling. 


PMO defends Felda’s RM500m London hotel foray, says will bring yield

Posted: 20 Oct 2013 05:03 PM PDT

(MM) - Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim insisted today that the Federal Land Development Authority's (Felda) RM500 million investment into a hotel in London will bring yield, although he could not give an estimated figure.

He was responding to Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng's question in Parliament on the amount and type of investment made by Felda in the hotel business in London, which was not related to its core business of commodity plantation.

The DAP politician had also asked the Prime Minister's Department to state Felda's financial performance and whether the revenue is adequate to finance the capital expenditures or investment cost.

"The cost to buy the hotel or serviced apartments was £98 million (RM502 million), but valuation on paper is £115 million and, according to our research, that place can bring in profit because it has an occupancy rate of 90 per cent every month.

"The investment is an opportunity for the subsidiary company, but I can't answer if the investment can bring profit or if the capex will be enough," the Muar MP said.

Residential Land sold the freehold of Grand Plaza Serviced Apartments for £98 million to FIC UK Properties, a subsidiary of Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) Sdn Bhd in early September 2013.

The serviced apartment is one of the biggest in London, has 198 apartments across 13 period stucco-fronted buildings over 105,044 square feet, near the Bayswater Subway station.

Razali said that it is important to not "put everything in one basket", in justifying the Felda's move to invest in non-agricultural sectors. Felda now owns nine hotels in total.

Last month, Lim had asked Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad to own up to the "real reasons" behind FELDA's decision to invest some RM700 million in the hospitality and information technology sectors.

Chided by Isa for being a busybody, the opposition lawmaker retorted that the FELDA chairman owed an explanation to the one million-plus FELDA settlers the reason for the land authority's decision to spend nearly RM600 million to buy two hotels and a further RM110 million to acquire a 25 per cent stake in public-listed Iris Corp instead of parking their money in a field related to agriculture, its core business.

Isa had also recently denied reports that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACCA) is investigating the purchase, as reported by the news portal The Malaysian Insider.

There are seven subsidiaries under Felda, three of which are not involved in its core business.

They are Felda Global Ventures Middle East Sdn Bhd, Grand Borneo Hotel Sdn Dhd, and its investment arm, FIC, he said.

"All the investments by the subsidiaries are being monitored closely," the Umno Youth vice-chief said. 


In latest law tweak, jail time for officers who expose government secrets

Posted: 20 Oct 2013 04:58 PM PDT

(MM) - In yet another move likely to rile civil rights activists and lawmakers here, Putrajaya is expected to table an amendment Bill this week seeking jail term for officers who disclose government information to the public.

PKR lawmaker N. Surendran called today for Putrajaya to stop its plan to table the amendment, which will introduce the brand new Section 203A to the Penal Code, saying it would only create a law even more restrictive than the Officil Secrets Act (OSA) 1972.

"This provision is unprecedented in any modern democracy; and is more suited to one-party states such as North Korea.

"With this provision, the BN is dragging Malaysia further into the dark ages. Why does the BN government need such a stifling and undemocratic law? What do they want to hide from the public?" the Padang Serai MP was quoted as saying in a report on Malaysiakini.

The first-term parliamentarian pointed out that unlike the OSA, which views only certain information classified by the minister or his agents as secret, Section 203A sees everything as restricted information.

"This provision is clearly intended to prevent the public from obtaining information that can expose corruption, financial scandals and mismanagement by the BN government," he said.

The federal opposition have long campaigned against the OSA, which they argue have been abused by the Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership to hide excesses and mismanagement in the government.

Lawmakers from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have often been accused of running afoul of the controversial OSA when exposing alleged government wrongdoing in the media but they insist that such information should be made accessible to all parties.

Two PR states — Selangor and Penang — have even passed Freedom of Information enactments to prove their transparency and support for free access to information, allowing members of the public to request any information from the state that do not fall under the jurisdiction of restrictions under federal law. 


Despite court ruling, other ‘Allah’ legal challenges to proceed

Posted: 20 Oct 2013 12:15 PM PDT 

(MMO) - These three cases involving Jill Ireland, Sabah SIB and the Herald's publisher have cast a spotlight on the rights of religious minorities in the country, especially Bumiputera Christians. 

Amid continuing unease over the effects of an appellate court ruling suggesting Muslim monopoly over "Allah", a lawyer in another case also related to the use of the Arabic word has sought to put distance between the two instances.  

Annou Xavier, the lawyer for Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, maintained the Sarawak-born Christian's legal challenge involving compact discs bearing the word "Allah" differed from case in which the Home Ministry banned the use of the word in the Catholic Church's weekly paper Herald as part of the publication permit.

"The principles in (the Herald) case and the principles in Jill Ireland's case [are] a little bit different," Xavier said when contacted by The Malay Mail Online.

"Different because (the Herald) case is about a permit issued by Home Ministry where the permit says you can't use the word in the weekly. In Jill Ireland's case, it is about her right of education and her right of worship.

"We will try to distinguish Jill Ireland's case from the Court of Appeal (ruling)," he said.

Last week, the Court of Appeal's Justice Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali said the home minister had acted well within his powers to disallow the Herald from using the word "Allah" in its Bahasa Malaysia section, which caters to the Catholic Church's Bumiputera Christians.

The court also controversially decided that "Allah" was not integral to the Christian faith and its practice.

"From such finding, we find no reason why the respondent is so adamant to use the name 'Allah' in their weekly publication. Such usage, if allowed, will inevitably cause confusion within the community," the leading judge in a three-man panel had said when reading out from a summary of the judgment.

When asked how the judges' finding that "Allah" was not integral to Christianity would affect Jill Ireland's case, Xavier merely said that the judges had "went on a frolic of their own".

Xavier, who had also represented the Catholic Church in the Herald case, stressed that Jill Ireland's case will still proceed.

"As far as Jill Ireland case is concerned, we will go on with the case irrespective of decision of the Court of Appeal," he said, amid concerns that the ruling would not bode well for other court cases on the word "Allah".

The ruling also casts doubt over how the judiciary will rule on another similar court case brought by Sidang Injil Borneo (Borneo Evangelical Church) Sabah, who is suing the Home Ministry for confiscating its Malay-language Christian education publications, which contain the word "Allah", in 2007.

Both the SIB Sabah case and Jill Ireland's case were put on the backburner in recent years pending the disposal of the Catholic Church's case.

Read more at: 

Standing up for the right things, not the stable ones

Posted: 20 Oct 2013 11:56 AM PDT 

(TMI) - Time for some honesty. Twenty-five years ago when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad dismantled one of the most respected judicial institutions in the Commonwealth and destroyed the concept of separation of powers in Malaysia, how many Malaysians were truly upset with his interference?

Not disappointed or perturbed, but truly upset.

Think back to the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas in 1988 and the suspension of Tan Sri Azmi Kamaruddin, Tan Sri Eusoffe Abdoolcader, Tan Sri Wan Hamzah Mohamed Salleh, Tan Sri Wan Suleiman Pawan Teh and Datuk George Seah.

Think back to the constitutional amendments pummelled through Parliament by Dr Mahathir, changes which essentially divested the judiciary of some of its powers.

No shame in admitting that the incident called the judicial crisis of 1988 barely registered a blip on the radar of most Malaysians.

The Bar Council led the charge, often taking on the Mahathir administration single-handedly in seeking justice for the wronged justices.

Opposition veterans like Karpal Singh and Lim Kit Siang shouted themselves hoarse on the far-reaching consequences of that politically-motivated intervention by Dr Mahathir.

But few were interested in listening to them, or even reading the book by K. Das on the darkest day in the history of the judiciary.

To the average Malaysian, what was happening to Salleh Abas and friends seemed so far away, so remote, something which had little to do with their quality of life. Few thought about what would happen to this country with a compliant and lame judiciary.

Very few wondered whether years down the road they would be denied justice because of the executive's involvement in the selection and promotion of judges.

Few even harboured the thought that the written judgments of Malaysian judges, once widely respected for clarity, competence and sense of fairness, would be caricatured as cut and paste jobs.

Perhaps, more Malaysians have been forced to finally think about the judiciary in the wake of the Court of Appeal's decision on October 14 on the Allah issue.

Read more at: 


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