Rabu, 23 Oktober 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

What’s in a Name, Really?

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 09:05 AM PDT


So, what's in a name really? Sadly, in Malaysia, more often than not, our names help others to identify our ethnicity right away. And sometimes, our religious beliefs, too. All this does not augur well for national unity, does it? While we can ignore the race or ethnic column or box on an application form, our names often betray us. 

Lee Kok Hoong, Loyarburok 

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
- Shakespeare

When my friend asked me to write for LoyarBurok, I expressed reservations.  They want to know my full name, I said.  My real name.  Bonnie was quick to impress upon me that there is no reason for me to hide behind a pseudonym unless I am planning on promoting some falsehood in my writings.  No, I am not.  Unemployed, I am also not governed by any employment terms and conditions barring me from writing for LoyarBurok.  Then, just use your real name, Bonnie said.

There is really nothing embarrassing about my name on my NRIC, although the pronunciation of my middle name may clearly identify my gender to all and sundry.  Bonnie said that is a positive sign – historically many female authors used male names in order to increase sales or to conform to social norms.  Since I am writing neither to build up a readership nor to create a following, there is no need to mask the fact that I am a Romeo rather than a Juliet.  Nor is it necessary to adopt some androgynous name like Robin, Sunny, Chris, etc.  I argued that writers do use pseudonyms, and some do so just to keep a low profile.

Back in the 1980s, a friend of mine found a new faith and adopted a new name which she enthusiastically used as her new byline in her news articles.  Love makes us do crazy things sometimes, including changing our name.  When her love story tapered off prematurely, she called me every other week about how to win back his heart.  My advice to her was let it go if she had to.  I also wickedly told her that with her new religion and name, she could soon be someone else's second, third or fourth wife, legally. So, relax! A few months later, she moved to an English daily, and started writing under her birth name again. Her calls resumed, asking me for advice about executing a deed poll to renounce her religion. I was by no means a lawyer, nor pursuing my LLB or some Syariah law qualifications, and was certainly in no position to advise her on such matters.  I pacified her to let the matter rest since she had not changed the name in her NRIC to reflect her faith.  That was way before MyKad started including religion on its microchip.

So, what's in a name really?  Sadly, in Malaysia, more often than not, our names help others to identify our ethnicity right away.  And sometimes, our religious beliefs, too.  All this does not augur well for national unity, does it?  While we can ignore the race or ethnic column or box on an application form, our names often betray us.

Some of us thought that all the racial undertones as well as blunt rhetoric in the run up to the GE13 would die after polling day, but the subsequent party elections gave rise to a new wave of it.  In moving towards forging national unity, it is times like this that I wish I have a truly Malaysianised name which identifies me as being Malaysian above everything else, not my ethnicity.  I do get envious of Swedish singer Jennifer Brown, who very well by name alone could be white or black, or even brown.

Read more at: http://www.loyarburok.com/2013/10/24/name-really/ 


Well Done Malaysia! In Incarcerating The Sycophants Of The Team Four Documentary. ...

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 08:45 AM PDT


The Malaysian Government has done well in apprehending Mme. Lena Hendry and her accomplices who are none but sycophants of those behind the Team Four Documentary whose agendas appear to be sourced, funded and approved by powerful  sources comprising the global anti Sri Lankan Tamil lobby. 

Sunil Kumar, Lankaweb 

The  adjudicators of the trial of a woman in Malaysia who faces jail for screening a Channel Four film now infamous albeit purportedly popularised as having won some awards (from which donor one wonders? ~ linked to myopia and insensitivity for all the wrong reasons perhaps!) about Sri Lanka needs to be assertive and definitive as well as precedent setting towards discouraging others from broadcasting the exaggerated lies and innuendo this film has portrayed and the damage it has purportedly caused towards the smooth functioning of Sri Lanka as a Sovereign Nation emerging from a near nation destructive terrorist insurgency.

The irony of it all is that under the guise of promoting Civil Rights and Human Rights used as a front for some to eke out a living (a popular means of existence for certain types in the world today) they seem to thrive in their trade hardly giving a thought to the damage it can cause towards swaying world opinion about a situation that through their incongruous as well as misconceived tools of malicious intent such as the Channel Four presentation have not only totally distorted the truth but has also caused unnecessary distress for a sovereign nation making great inroads towards progress where big western powers based singly on the trash promoted by the Channel Four codswallop which was examined by many experts and analysts and deemed false and distorted based on scientific reasoning, are now targetting Sri Lanka at a time when they realistically should be supporting the progress, which is an apathetic response from those involved.

Therefore it seems like poetic justice when Mme. Lena Hendry, said to be "a mild-mannered member of a small civil rights group in Malaysia" has been arrested by the Malaysian Authorities during the screening of the despotic Channel Four film "No Fire Zone ~ the killing fields of Sri Lanka" at Kuala Lumpur's "Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall". 
Her organisation, called KOMAS, which has been using the facility for years to show documentaries and movies about human rights, on the day of the screening recently, however had a rude surprise when a number of "unexpected guests" as reported in the media, turned up overturning whatever the objectives were in screening this film as they happened to be Law Enforcement Officers who promptly threw the book at her and her aides.

As reported – thirty Malaysian policemen, government officials and immigration officers had tried to shut the screening down and had also made three arrests and interrogated members of the audience – according to those in attendance, some claiming harassment. "We were shocked by what happened," said Ms Hendry probably unaware that the activities of her organization had been monitored for sometime which was obviously not viewed in an encouraging perspective by the Malaysian authorities whose actions speak louder than words about the intolerance of organizations such as hers and the confidence shown towards supporting the Government of Sri Lanka and her real people not antagonists..

The film that KOMAS was promoting was the controversial  Channel Four  presentation"No fire-zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka," said to be a multi-award winning documentary although little is known of the awards or their sources which certainly do not entail any Film Academy of repute or any others that might have the affront to present awards to such a souped up and wickedly doctored film which even appears to have utilised false information provided by pro terrorist elements about the alleged  Sri Lankan Government's brutal assault on Tamil civilians at the end of that country's Tamil Tiger led terrorist insurgency which was crushed by Government Forces four years ago. 

Despite the lies and innuendo in this presentation there have been no tangible proof towards the accusations thus far although the bellyaching on the part of the accusers continue where to the contrary there is documented and first hand corroborated evidence that it was the Tamil Tiger insurgents who caused widespread distress to the citizens of Sri Lanka irrespective of ethnicity and it was the Armed Forces that eventually played a major role in providing protection and safe passage for fleeing innocent civilians from the clutches of the terrorists who used them as a human shield. In this respect the Channel Four news item and any others forthcoming of similar presentation should be irrefutably trashed as being damnable as they seem to have conveniently avoided including the related sequences in their presentation which would otherwise show the Armed Forces in their true guise as protectors and redeemers!  

Read more at: http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2013/10/22/well-done-malaysia-in-incarcerating-the-sycophants-of-the-team-four-documentary-hopefully-others-will-follow/ 



(Colombo Gazette) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has confirmed he will attend the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which will be held in Sri Lanka from the 15th to the 17th of next month, the Malaysian media reported today.

"We have confirmation that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will be attending CHOGM next month," said Foreign Ministry's assistant secretary for the South Asian desk, Mashitah Ahmad when contacted by phone, Free Malaysia Today.com reported.

There have been calls by certain parties for Malaysia to boycott the meeting following Sri Lanka's alleged war crimes against its Tamil population.

Yesterday, Suaram advisor Kua Kia Soong made the call because Malaysia sponsors the World Moderate Movement and has even formed a war crimes tribunal against the US and Britain – for their invasion into Iraq.

Four days ago a coalition of Indian NGOs also urged Najib to boycott the meet due to alleged human rights abuses committed by the Sri Lankan government against the countries' Tamil minorities.

Former Teluk Intan MP M Manogaran expressed that he was pessimistic about Najib boycotting the meeting as Malaysia had abstained from voting on the UN resolution against the island nation last year. 


Malaysia’s Budget Woes

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 08:38 AM PDT


(The Diplomat) - Government expenditure is the highest among the five biggest Southeast Asian economies, accounting for nearly 27 percent of GDP, while Malaysia also has the highest civil servant to population ratio in the region. 

An Asian government facing persistent budget deficits is under pressure from financial markets to introduce a consumption tax, despite popular and internal party opposition. Sound familiar? This time though, it is Malaysia and not Japan whose leader is in the firing line ahead of its 2014 budget announcement on Friday.

ANZ economist Weiwen Ng did not mince words when describing the challenge facing the Malaysian government in an October 22 research note, which was headlined "Bitting the fiscal consolidation bullet."

"Given international capital's aversion to 'deficits' and Malaysia's multi-year structural fiscal deficit, we would prefer to see Malaysia err on the side of fiscal prudence rather than growth…Malaysia's fiscal deficit is still woeful – multi-year structural deficit (for 15 consecutive years) and not enough has been done to narrow the structural deficit," Ng said.

"Tax reforms such as the introduction of GST [goods and services tax] is never popular but is a necessary evil that has been long overdue for Malaysia," he added.

According to Bloomberg News, the Malaysian ringgit has shown the biggest gains this month among 24 emerging market currencies on speculation that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will honor promises to curb the budget gap by enacting politically unpopular tax hikes.

Fitch Ratings cut Malaysia's credit outlook to negative in July, citing increasing debt levels and a lack of fiscal reform. After responding with a cut to fuel subsidies, Najib, who also serves as finance minister, faces the threat of further downgrades and potential spikes in government bond yields should his budget disappoint.

Read more at: http://thediplomat.com/pacific-money/2013/10/23/malaysias-budget-woes/ 

Latest SOSMA Amendments are Needless and Dangerous

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 08:34 AM PDT

The inclusion of migrant smuggling and organized crime into the definition of security offences is an act of laziness to transform the term 'security offences' into a 'catch all' category where virtually any offence comprising more than one participant will amount to an offence threatening to public order.
Lawyers for Liberty 
We call for caution against placing offences from the Penal Code and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007 (ATIP) when amending the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA). These amendments reflect an attempt to widen the very draconian ambit of security offences in Malaysia.

SOSMA has been put in place for the purpose of 'maintaining public order' and 'security', pursuant to Article 149 of the Federal Constitution, which allows its derogation from constitutional articles for the greater 'safety' of the federation. Article 149 envisaged these measures to be temporary and operative against subversion and dangers to public order.

Our objection to placing the Penal Code and anti-trafficking offences into the security offences framework stems from the fact that these are not extraordinary offences and should therefore be governed by the Criminal Procedure Code, with established and basic fair trial safeguards unlike SOSMA.

SOSMA is only supposed to apply to genuine security offences as opposed to crimes which occur daily such as trafficking and organized crime.

LFL is against the inclusion of these offences because they widen the ambit of security offences under SOSMA and will allow the state to derogate from its responsibilities in upholding constitutional rights and standards of fair trial.

The inclusion of migrant smuggling and organized crime into the definition of security offences is an act of laziness to transform the term 'security offences' into a 'catch all' category where virtually any offence comprising more than one participant will amount to an offence threatening to public order.

Rather than creating more unnatural security offences, we urge the state to focus its resources properly in tackling organized crimes and people trafficking via standard law enforcement and prosecution norms that respect human rights, legal procedures and standards of fair trial.

One of world’s highest civil servants-to-population ratio relying increasingly on foreign ...

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 08:30 AM PDT


It would appear that in the first 52 years of the nation's history under the first five Prime Ministers, there is greater confidence in Malaysians than on foreigners or foreign consultants in their ability to think and plan for the country's future, whether economic or educational, that the practice of outsourcing the preparation of national plans and masterplans to foreign consultants was a great rarity.


Lim Kit Siang 

A parliamentary reply has given a new insight into the strange directions that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib is taking the country with his slogan of "Endless Possibilities".


Malaysia has one the largest civil services in the world, with a 1.4 million civil servants accounting for 10 per cent of the labour force.


In 2009, Malaysia's civil servants-to-population ratio was the highest in the Asia-Pacific.  The ratio was 4.68 per cent  compared to Singapore's 1.4 per cent, Indonesia's 1.79 per cent, South Korea's 1.85 per cent and Thailand's 2.06 per cent – all of which have less than half our ratio.


Strangely enough, despite having one of the highest civil servants-to-population ratio in the world, Malaysia is relying increasingly on foreign consultants even to draft national documents and masterplans.


Recently, the country was shocked by the revelation that the government spent RM20 million to international consultant McKinsey and Co to draft the National Education Blueprint, when in the past, all national plans, blueprints and official documents were drafted by local experts.


As a result, I put in a question to ask the Prime Minister to list "all the reports, masterplans or official documents in the past 10 years which the government had commissioned foreign consultants to prepare, like the Malaysian Education Blueprint which was commissioned to McKinsey & Co., the identity of the foreign consultants and the cost of each commission".


In a written answer, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, failed to give a fulsome response, such as the identity of the reports and consultants commissioned, and the respective individual costs, except a general reply on the costs incurred by the Prime Minister's Department  for outsourcing drafting of national reports and blueprints to  foreign consultants from 2008 to 2013, viz:


2008 - RM 3,313,121.00

2009 - RM17,751,570.00

2010 - RM20,134,063.00

2011 - RM71,904,227.45

2012 - RM84,535,849.77

2013 – RM18,349,135.80


The answer raised even more questions, including what is the Najib administration trying to hide when it failed to answer  the very clear question on the identity of "all the reports, masterplans or official documents in the past 10 years" where the government had commissioned foreign consultants to prepare, "the identity of the foreign consultants and the cost of each commission".


In the past five years, RM212.5 million had been spent to outsource the preparation of reports, masterplans and official documents to foreign consultants, a rare practice in the early decades of the nation's history under the administration of the first five Prime Ministers.


It would appear that in the first 52 years of the nation's history under the first five Prime Ministers, there is greater confidence in Malaysians than on foreigners or foreign consultants in their ability to think and plan for the country's future, whether economic or educational, that the practice of outsourcing the preparation of national plans and masterplans to foreign consultants was a great rarity.


Is this one important meaning of Najib's "Government Transformation Plan"?


In any event, why is the Najib administration shy to enumerate all the reports, masterplans or official documents which had been outsourced by the Prime Minister's Department to foreign consultants to prepare, the identity of the foreign consultants and the cost of each commission? 


I call on Shahidan not to commit the unparliamentary practice of avoiding my question but  to give a full reply to my question, listing all the reports, masterplans or official documents which had been outsourced to foreign consultants to prepare, the identity of the foreign consultants and the cost of each commission.

Police Reputation Going Down the Toilet?

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 08:23 AM PDT


This business of the police losing guns is shocking and shameful. It compounds the public perception of their incompetence at battling crime. 

Kee Thuan Chye

Hahahaha! So the story now is that some policemen lost their guns while they were taking a pee, izzit? And this was revealed in Parliament by the guy who has just been elected Umno vice-president!

Did the guns drop into the toilet bowl and got flushed down?

Well, Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi did not provide the gory details when he was giving his written answer in Parliament to a question raised by Opposition MP Tian Chua about the Auditor-General's having reported that the police lost 44 loaded firearms between 2010 and 2012.

However, Zahid did also reveal that some guns were lost when cops got mugged. Woh! Cops getting mugged? Imagine that! If cops can get mugged, what hope is there for ordinary people?

Cops are crime-busters. They are supposed to apprehend muggers. How do they get mugged instead? Are they not fit to be cops? How did they get hired in the first place? Is that why crime is on the rise?

No wonder only last week, the New York Times ran a report highlighting the "soaring crime rate that has blighted Kuala Lumpur, previously considered one of Asia's safest cities, and other urban areas across Peninsular Malaysia".

It said that the United States Embassy in KL was prompted to send this warning to American citizens in the city: "Remember to carry your backpack or purse on the shoulder AWAY from the road to prevent having it snatched by motorbikers."

It quoted a Malaysian criminologist saying, "There are a lot of people not reporting crimes, because they feel there's nothing the police can do."

OMG! We are becoming known throughout the world for the wrong reasons. Where do the police hide their faces?

Come to think of it, how did they feel when their own chief, Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Khalid Abu Bakar, responded to the Auditor-General's report three weeks ago by saying that the lost guns could have fallen into the sea? Did they squirm with embarrassment or did they applaud the IGP for providing comic relief?

Strangely, though, in his written reply to Tian Chua, Zahid did not give falling into the sea as one of the ways the police lost their guns. Why is that? Is the home minister not communicating with the IGP although the police force comes under his ministry? They can't get their stories straight?

Read more at: http://my.news.yahoo.com/blogs/bull-bashing/police-reputation-going-down-toilet-043355360.html 

Malaysia's rights record under fire

Posted: 22 Oct 2013 09:11 PM PDT


The country's own human rights commission, which will send a delegation to Geneva, has already warned that the latest law enforcement legislation will "open the country to scrutiny and criticism by the international community," describing the provisions as "retrogressive" and "inconsistent" with accepted international principles on human rights.

Kate Mayberry, Al-Jazeera

After a 30-minute briefing at Malaysia's police headquarters where he was measured for a bullet proof vest, although not, apparently, a helmet, opposition politician and human rights lawyer N Surendran is ready to join officers at their next confrontation with armed criminals after an invitation from the country's top policeman to get a "feel" for what happens.

The offer, made via Twitter over the weekend was criticised, as was Surendran for accepting, but the Member of Parliament says it's an opportunity to highlight the potential dangers to Malaysians from a force seen by some as the country's most corrupt institution.

"It's not about the risks to me," Surendran said as he arrived for the briefing last week. "It's about the risks being faced by everyone. We cannot have trigger happy enforcement officers. They keep saying they're shooting criminals, but how do they know that? They are suspects and, what do you do with suspects? You try your best to arrest them. "

Surendran doesn't know when he'll join the patrol - he's been told it could happen any time of the day or night - but he may well find himself face-to-face with a potential criminal at the same time as Malaysia's diplomats sit down at the United Nations in Geneva for what is expected to be a frank discussion on the country's human rights situation.

The government of Prime Minister Najib Razak, in its submission to the UN, highlighted its moves to repeal anti-democratic laws, but activists are likely to focus on a spate of recent decisions that have cast doubt on the government's human rights record.

An 'astounding turn'

Last month, just a year after detention without trial was ended, the government pushed through amendments to the long-forgotten Prevention of Crime Act 1959, in a move that effectively reintroduced the measure and also limited the scope for judicial review.

An apparent surge in serious crime and concerns about public security were used to justify the decision, the same reasoning behind a police crackdown in which more than 400,000 people have been "screened" since the middle of August and nearly 16,000 detained, according to official figures. More recently, the Home Minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, told a closed-door meeting that he supported a "shoot first" policy in dealing with criminals.

"Malaysia's human rights record has taken an astounding turn for the worse in the past six months that should not go unnoticed by countries at the Human Rights Council," Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch wrote in a statement released ahead of the UN review set for October 24. "The UPR session is a moment for concerned governments to tell Malaysian policymakers to reverse course."

The country's own human rights commission, which will send a delegation to Geneva, has already warned that the latest law enforcement legislation will "open the country to scrutiny and criticism by the international community," describing the provisions as "retrogressive" and "inconsistent" with accepted international principles on human rights.

Malaysia is a signatory to just three of the United Nations' core conventions on human rights; those relating to the rights of the child, the disabled and women. At the 2009 review, Malaysia's first, the government accepted 62 of the 103 recommendations made by the UN body and "noted" 22 others. 

This year's submission, compiled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stressed the government's "strong commitment to the rule of law, to upholding respect for human rights, and widening the democratic space," noting a series of initiatives to tackle poverty, build more affordable homes and improve access to education and healthcare. It highlights too, the July 2012 decision to repeal the Internal Security Act, which was used frequently against government critics, and assures the UN that its replacement, the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act was consistent with international human rights standards.

"The UPR process is a positive and constructive mechanism, which allows for a substantive exchange of views aimed at improving the human rights situation in the country," the Ministry said in a statement. Its delegation will be led by Ho May Yong, a senior civil servant. 


Noh Omar: Do you support homosexuality?

Posted: 22 Oct 2013 08:59 PM PDT


Tanjong Karang MP Noh Omar asks opposition MPs whether they support homosexuality, which caused an uproar in the house.

Alyaa Azhar, FMT

Parliamentarians today got entangled in a war of words over the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issue after Tanjong Karang MP Noh Omar insinuated that the opposition is in support of it.

While debating the amendments to the Securities Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma), Noh also accused the opposition of being involved with the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on human rights.

Comago which is in Geneva for the human rights review, had urged the government to endorse Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) rights or LGBT rights, among other demands.

Noh then said that Comango is there to also propagate things like free sex.

Baya Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin interjected saying that Noh should focus on other human rights issues such as abuse on migrant workers and human trafficking.

Noh then asked Sim if he would like it if a man had sex with another man.

At this point, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar stood up and Noh immediately asked her whether she supports sodomy or not, alluding to her father, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy case.

This brought an uproar from the opposition bench and led Kota Bharu MP Takiyuddin Hassan to bring up a standing order to reprimand Noh for uttering the words.

However, deputy speaker Ronald Kiandee absolved Noh, saying that the latter was only asking a question.

Later at a press conference, Noh defended himself, saying that Comango should not bring up sensitive issues which would go against Islamic teachings.

"Human rights in the West are different than us. There is no need to bring the issues to Geneva, they don't understand our culture.


Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing Act Will Be Amended, Says BNM

Posted: 22 Oct 2013 08:52 PM PDT


(Bernama) - Bank Negara Malaysia will amend the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act to further strengthen the financial system.

Its Assistant Governor, Abu Hassan Alshari Yahaya, said amid the developing global trend, jurisdiction, resilience and capabilities needed to be continuously strengthened.

"We are hoping to go to Parliament sometime this year to get this particular amendment approved," he told reporters at the Fifth International Conference on Financial Crime and Terrorism Financing 2013, themed 'Risk, Governance & Self-Regulation: Within and Beyond', in the capital, Wednesday.

Abu Hassan hoped that the amendment could be approved soon so that it could be implemented early next year as it was very important in efforts to reduce the overall crime nationwide.

Ealier, in his keynote speech, Abu Hassan said the Malaysia's anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime would be undergoing the third mutual evaluation exercise commencing August year.

He said the assessment methodology this time around would be different from the previous two assessments.

"It will not only depend on how good we are in achieving technical compliance to the international standards by having the necessary laws, regulations and policies in place.

"But importantly, the focus of the assessment will be placed on the effectiveness of AML/CFT measures being implemented taking into consideration the risk and context of money-laundering and terrorism financing risks in Malaysia," he said.

Abu Hassan said an overall positive rating in the assessment would strengthen the confidence in the country's financial system and therefore the country's economic development.

"Our success in meeting the shared goal of protecting the integrity of our financial system against criminal abuse will continue to depend on the cooperation among the regulators, the financial industry and the law enforcement authorities," he said.

Malaysia curbs on use of "Allah" hurting moderate Muslim image

Posted: 22 Oct 2013 08:47 PM PDT


(Reuters) - Malaysia's self-styled image as a global leader of moderate Islam has been undermined by a court ruling that only Muslims can use the word "Allah" to refer to God, with a growing number of Muslim scholars and commentators condemning the decision.

A Malaysian court ruled last week that the word was "not an integral part of the faith in Christianity", overturning a previous ruling that allowed a Malay-language Roman Catholic newspaper to use the word.

Since then, confusion has reigned over the interpretation of the ruling, with government ministers, lawyers and Muslim authorities giving widely diverging views on its scope. Critics of the decision have said it casts a chill on religious rights in Muslim-majority Malaysia, which has substantial minorities of ethnic Chinese and Indians.

Commentators in some countries that practise Islam more strictly than Malaysia have condemned the ruling, arguing that the word Allah has been used by different faiths for centuries. Christians in Malaysia's eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak have used the word for generations, as have Christians in the Middle East.

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper said in a commentary that the decision was a "sad reflection on how an otherwise modern country, widely seen as a role model for the Muslim world, is succumbing to the current trend of insularity in matters of faith".

Reza Aslan, a prominent American Muslim theologian, called the ruling a political decision and said it had made Malaysia an international laughing stock.


Husam explains recent outburst

Posted: 22 Oct 2013 04:46 PM PDT

(The Star) - Embattled former Kelantan government senior exco member Datuk Husam Musa appeared before top PAS leaders for two hours to explain his recent outburst against the state government.

The meeting, which was held at the Mentri Besar's residence at JKR 10 here yesterday, was chaired by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

It was also attended by Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob, his deputy Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, Kota Baru MP Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan and state executive committee members.

Two weeks ago, Husam had reportedly criticised the Kelantan government during the state assembly sitting on several administrative matters.

His outburst raised eyebrows among the party members, whom did not expect such a senior leader to openly criticise his own party.

Abdul Hadi, who emerged from the meeting later, tried to downplay the issue.

He said that no action would be taken against Husam and that the meeting was actually to discuss the direction of the party's administration.

"His spat was not on our agenda although it was discussed collectively.

"It is a norm for leaders to be voci­ferous within the party and it will be resolved amicably.

"But when one is dissatisfied with something, he must do it within the boundary of decorum and respect," he added.

Hadi said any form of dissatisfaction within the party would be addressed immediately and settled amicably.

"We (PAS) are open to Husam's criticisms towards the Kelantan government, and this meeting was held to get his explanation, although we have proper channels to address this matter," he added.


Pakatan puts pressure on Selangor Menteri Besar to spend more

Posted: 22 Oct 2013 04:21 PM PDT

(TMI) - PAS, PKR and DAP have turned the screws on Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid by sending a memorandum urging him not to be stingy with the state's growing cash reserve.

The memorandum dated October 7 was handed over to Khalid last Friday and signed by three Selangor party chiefs. They are PAS's Dr Abdul Rani Othman, PKR's Mohamed Azmin Ali and DAP's Lau Weng Sang.

The memorandum noted that the state government planned to slash the development expenditure of RM600 million by RM100 million.

It suggested that money be spent on public housing, hill slope maintenance and stabilisation, upgrading of state-owned Universiti Selangor, scholarships, upgrading Wifi services in key areas, providing free bus services during peak hours and increasing the annual allocation for state assemblymen from RM500,000 to RM800,000.

"We are doing this so that the parties have a role to play in drawing up the state budget and not just rubber-stamp it," Rani told The Malaysian Insider.

Khalid is expected to present the 2014 Selangor state budget on November 19.

The move comes after Khalid came under pressure from his party for the stingy manner in spending state funds.

Dr Rani said the memorandum was not meant to pressure Khalid but to ensure the Selangor state budget took into account the views of Pakatan Rakyat.

Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli turned up the heat on Abdul Khalid recently when he demanded an explanation from the state government on the reduction of allocation for his constituency.

In a letter dated October 22, 2013, Rafizi questioned why the Pandan constituency only received RM75,000 for an eight-month period, from May 2013 to end of the year.

He said the allocation was half of the amount set aside for the Kuala Selangor constituency.

Earlier, Oposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim criticised Abdul Khalid openly at a forum in Petaling Jaya.

Anwar said it was pointless to be parsimonious when there were many areas where money needed to be spent.

The PKR de-facto leader also praised Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng for managing the state in a balanced manner.



After son’s loss, time for Dr M to lay down arms, analysts say

Posted: 22 Oct 2013 04:14 PM PDT

(MM) - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's silence so far in the aftermath of his son's loss during last weekend's Umno polls has not surprised many political observers here who believe that this time, the once all-powerful former prime minister should finally admit to his declining influence.

According to several analysts, it would have reflected poorly on the former Umno president if he chooses to kick up a storm now, especially after a majority of delegates voted to maintain the status quo in the party on Saturday, in support of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

"I think Dr Mahathir will be gracious and accept the outcome. In fact, he has no choice.

"He will not want to be seen as destroying party unity or acting as a catalyst for a crisis within the party leadership," Dr Lim Teck Ghee, CEO of think tank Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI), told The Malay Mail Online.

Lim's opinion was mirrored by political analyst Khoo Kay Peng, who said that the current structure of the party does not allow Dr Mahathir to interfere in party matters.

"He will be rubbing a lot of people the wrong way, he has to respect that larger voting pool this time around," Khoo told The Malay Mail Online.

Close to 146,000 Umno delegates voted for the status quo during Saturday's polls, with Puteri chief Mas Ermieyati Samsuddin the only fresh face in the top eight positions, by virtue of the spot being vacated.

Mukhriz was one of the six contenders for the vice-president post, but in a nail-biting race, narrowly lost to incumbents Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

Khoo also thought that Mukhriz's position as Kedah mentri besar, the youngest ever to hold such post, is sufficient enough for his father to not meddle in party politics for his sake.

Meanwhile, Prof Dr Shamsul Adabi Mamat, a political science lecturer with Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) claimed that Mukhriz has already made his an indelible mark in Umno with his candidacy, without any help from Dr Mahathir.

"The entry of Mukhriz in the vice-president (candidacy) line-up had at least given Umno the effect of change that it wanted," Shamsul Adabi told The Malay Mail Online.

Moreover, Shamsul Adabi insisted that Dr Mahathir had never actually engaged in an open duel with the Umno leadership after his retirement, except to express his disappointment over the administration of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"The role played by Najib is different to Pak Lah before. Najib has always taken Dr Mahathir's opinion himself in his administration. Dr Mahathir has no problems with Umno's top leadership," he said, referring to Abdullah by his popular moniker.

Although some political commentators have noted that Mukhriz's loss signalled Dr Mahathir's waning conservative influence, Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin brushed off such notion yesterday and put his defeat down to Mukhriz's lesser popularity compared to Hishammuddin.

Lim however claimed that the perception of Dr Mahathir's fading influence is true, due to his inability to work the ground personally these days, and the lack of political rewards that he could promise to his followers — both results of a long-serving political career.

"Don't forget that he has his eye on how history will remember him. I am sure he knows that his good name depends on his not rocking the Umno boat too much," said Lim.

Mukhriz's campaign was mired in controversy after it became the subject of reports alleging money politics, and was also hit by rumours that he was disqualified over the claims, as propagated by a fake Facebook account purported to belong to Muhyiddin. 


Nik Aziz calls Umno’s bluff in row over ‘Allah’

Posted: 22 Oct 2013 04:08 PM PDT

(MM) - Umno's struggle to keep "Allah" exclusive to Muslims had merely been tailored for the polls, PAS's Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has suggested, noting how party leaders have appeared less keen on the topic now that the election has passed.

In moving to distinguish between Umno's and PAS's Islamic ideals, the PAS spiritual adviser accused his rivals of practising what he described as a "cosmetic" form of Islam, which he said neglects the actual spirit of Islam.

He pointed out that while Umno's leaders appeared at the forefront of the struggle for "Allah" before the polls, subsequent news reports quoted many among them as saying that non-Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak were not banned from using the Arabic word.

"For example, in the use of the word "Allah", it is made a big topic as if Umno is fighting to the end so that only Muslims can use the word "Allah".

"But that is the story before elections. After elections, then small stories only come up that the court decision that maintains the ban on the use of "Allah" does not apply to Sabah and Sarawak.

"In other words, perhaps only Muslims in the peninsula will become apostates if non-Muslims are allowed to use the word 'Allah', the Muslims in Sabah and Sarawak have different laws," Nik Aziz wrote in a statement yesterday carried by PAS organ Harakah Daily.

Nik Aziz was referring to the Court of Appeal's decision last Monday, where it ruled that the Catholic Church is still banned from using the word "Allah" in the Bahasa Malaysia section of the latter's weekly paper Herald, which caters to Bumiputera Christians.

After the Court of Appeal's decision, churches in Sabah and Sarawak have said they will continue to use the word "Allah", while the Sikh community also said they will not stop using the Arabic word which is also contained in their holy book.

On Monday, ministers Tan Sri Joseph Kurup and Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that last week's Court of Appeal decision — which found that the home minister had acted well within his powers to prohibit the Herald from using the word "Allah" in its Bahasa Malaysia section — was limited to the church newspaper.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had on the same day reassured Christians in East Malaysia that they will be able to continue using the word "Allah" in their religious practice, pointing to Putrajaya's 10-point solution in 2011 that allowed Christians to publish, import and distribute Malay-language bibles containing the Arabic word.

"Recently when the Appeals Court made its decision on the use of the word Allah, it did not at all touch on the practices of Christians in Sabah and Sarawak, in fact the 10-Point Agreement is still being maintained," Najib had said.

Yesterday, minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said that east Malaysian Christians have to respect Muslims' exclusive right to describe God as "Allah" in peninsula Malaysia, as peninsula Malaysians have to similarly respect customs in Borneo.

The former de facto law minister said that the Christian bible in peninsula Malaysia is typically in English, but noted that those in Sabah and Sarawak, including Muslims, are fine with Christians using the Arabic word to refer to God, as it is part of their culture.

"As much as you want us to respect what you do in Sabah and Sarawak, I'd expect Sabahans and Sarawakians to respect Muslim sensitivities in the peninsula," Nazri told reporters after the Malaysia International Golf Fair Symposium here.

Nazri, who is currently the tourism and culture minister, also noted that state Islamic enactments in the peninsula, except for Penang and the Federal Territories, prohibit the usage of "Allah", and several other words, in non-Muslim creeds.

"There are no laws, no Islamic enactments in Sabah and Sarawak to disallow the use of Allah," said Nazri.

"The practice here is that Allah is a reference to God only for the Muslims. In Sabah and Sarawak, it's different, but in Semenanjung (peninsula Malaysia), it's sensitive," he added.

According to a 2010 census, Muslims are Malaysia's largest religious group, followed by Buddhists. Christians are the third largest at 2.6 million, which comes up to about 10 per cent of the entire Malaysian population.

Bumiputera Christians, who number 1.6 million or form close to two-third of the Christian community in Malaysia, have used the word "Allah" when praying and speaking in the national language and their native tongues for centuries.


Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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