Ahad, 20 Oktober 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

AG: Home Minister is correct in “Allah” case

Posted: 19 Oct 2013 04:58 PM PDT

(Bernama) - The gist of the Court of Appeal's decision in "The Herald" case is that the Home Minister has the discretion to ban words which are prejudicial or likely to be prejudicial where national security and public order are concerned, said Attorney General Abdul Gani Patail.

In a statement today, Abdul Gani said that as long as the discretion was exercised legally, reasonably, rationally and proportionally, the court will not interfere with the Minister's discretion in these matters.

"The Attorney General's Chambers advises the public to respect and abide by the Court of Appeal's decision and to refrain from making any statement which may lead to contempt of court," he said.

Abdul Gani's statement was in response to the October 14 judgment allowing the Home Minister and Government of Malaysia's appeal against the Kuala Lumpur High Court decision of December 31 2009.

The High Court had allowed the application for a judicial review by the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur (Titular) against the Minister's decision of January 7 2009 prohibiting the Titular from using the word Allah in the Bahasa Melayu text of the Herald.

Abdul Gani emphasised that the Court of Appeal's decision was only confined to the publication of the Bahasa Melayu text of the Herald.

According to Abdul Gani, in paragraph 30 of his judgment, Justice Abdul Aziz held that the Al-Kitab and the Herald were two entirely different publications.

"The Al-Kitab is the Malay version of the Bible meant for Christians and used in churches, whereas the Herald is an online newspaper accessible to Muslim and non-Muslim readers," he said.

"His Lordship went on to state that therefore the Minister's permission for the printing and publication of the Al-Kitab in which the word Allah appears cannot be treated in the same manner with reference to the Herald," said Abdul Gani.

The Attorney General said the Court of Appeal unanimously held that the constitutional protection afforded to the practise of one's religion was confined to practices which formed an essential and integral part of the religion.

"The court held that the use of the word "Allah" in the Malay version of the Herald to refer to God is not an essential or integral part of the religion of Christianity and therefore does not attract the constitutional guarantee under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution," he clarified. 


Zahid: Pro-opposition media made me famous

Posted: 19 Oct 2013 04:27 PM PDT

The negative publicity by pro-opposition media had indeed brought success to Zahid in retaining his position in Umno. 

Alfian ZM Tahir and Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT

Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has expressed delight after triumphantly retaining the vice-president's seat in the Umno election last night.

Zahid who obtained the highest votes at 185, was followed by Mohd Shafie Apdal at 174 and Hishamuddin Hussein at 100.

Speaking at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), the former Minister of Defence thanked the grassroots members and his Bagan Datoh division for their trust in returning him as Umno vice-president.

"I thank everybody in the machinery, my friends who have helped me and the delegates who have put me back among the Umno leadership,"

"The agenda for transformation within Umno will be executed in order to assist the president and deputy president for the 14th general election. God's will, the agenda will help retain Umno's position as the backbone for Barisan Nasional," he said in a statement.

Zahid then added that the transformation agenda is decisive as it would convert Umno into a more relevant political party; rejuvenating it with fresh ideas from newly- elected candidates in the supreme council.

He also stresses out that he would certainly give serious attention to opinions coming from the youth wing and the women's' division wing.
"I am confident with my principles, I do not want to become a seasonal leader who only exist during elections, I will be with the grassroots and I will listen to what they have to say," Zahid said.

The Perak born politician then thanked online newspapers and magazine as well as pro-opposition news portals, describing that the media coverage given to him have made him popular within the party.

"Thank you to pro opposition news portal for making me famous, by giving me 'bad media' coverage and I hope they do not regret it,"



No transformation in Umno, says Pakatan

Posted: 19 Oct 2013 04:23 PM PDT

The status quo in Umno proves the party only wants power and favours from their leaders, not change, says Pakatan Rakyat

Anisah Shukry, FMT

The reinstatement of Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Hishammuddin Hussein and Shafie Apdal as Umno vice-presidents in the party's polls last night proves one thing: Umno delegates don't want change; they want power – and the favours that come with it.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders said this when asked to comment on the new lineup of the ruling party, which saw incumbents retaining their posts, and the most powerful in government maintaining positions in the Umno supreme council.

"What new lineup? It's the old lineup!" laughed PKR vice-president Tian Chua when contacted for a response.

"But on a more serious note, we can see that Umno is not posed for change. All this talk about progressives in Umno fighting against conservatives is nonsensical. Delegates have only voted for those in power in the government.

"Mukhriz Mahathir lost the vice presidency post because he is only a Menteri Besar of Kedah. He was up against ministers who could award projects from across the nation to cronies, whereas the projects he could offer would only be in Kedah," said Tian Chua.

Yesterday, in the fight for the vice-presidency position, both former Malacca chief minister Ali Rustam and Mukhriz had lost to the three incumbents, who are also ministers in their own right.

This was despite the fact that Ali had resorted to playing "the race card to the hilt" and resorted to "Chinese-bashing", while Mukhriz had the support of his father, the former prime minister Mahathir Mohamed to help him through the polls.

"So the negative culture of Umno continues. There is no real reform in any way, because delegates will keep voting in those who can 'help' them, regardless of the candidate's character," said Tian Chua.

PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar said that this meant leaders with bad track records would continue to be elected by Umno, to the detriment of Malaysians.

"There was no transformation process in last night's Umno elections. Instead, those who won are those proven to have failed to manage the country and their own ministries well, as revealed in the Auditor-General's 2012 report," PAS vice-president Mahfuz Omar told FMT.

"I hope that with the reinstatement of the Umno leaders, the society can evaluate for themselves what this means, and they are able to vote wisely in the coming elections," the Pokok Sena MP added.

'Mahathir's waning influence'

Pakatan also hailed the decline of Mahathir's influence in Umno, but said that while the man himself was slowly becoming irrelevant, his legacy of corruption would still live on in Umno.

"[Mahathir was] irresponsible, ruthless and reckless in playing the race card, reiterating the preposterous allegations and lies since his failed attempt to racialise the Gelang Patah battle in the 13th General Elections that the Chinese in Malaysia were out to oust the political power of the Malays and dominate Malaysian politics," said DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang.

"But the Umno party elections yesterday is further confirmation that Mahathir's aura and magic have been on an unchecked decline, not only among the Malaysian and Malay public from his 13th general elections campaigns in Gelang Patah, Shah Alam and Pasir Mas but also inside Umno."

But his waning influence would not signal a better Umno, stressed Tian Chua.



We want to slaughter cows, so back off, Muslim group tells Hindu parents

Posted: 19 Oct 2013 04:18 PM PDT

(TMI) - A Muslim non-governmental organisation has rejected criticisms by some Hindu parents over the practice of slaughtering animals in school grounds by saying Muslims should not bow to pressure on the issue.

Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia's (Isma) deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya (pic) said Muslims must have the courage to defend their own religious practices.

"Why should we bow to pressure from them (Hindus)? It is as if we do not have our own identity. This is our country and it is an Islamic country," he was quoted by news portal Malaysiakini as saying.

"We want to slaughter cows, who cares? What is the percentage of the Indian community in Malaysia? Only 1% or 2%," he said, adding Malays were over 60% of the population.

Aminuddin was referring to Hindu parents who complained about the use of school grounds to slaughter cows, considered sacred to Hindus, during the recent Hari Raya Haji celebrations.

On a separate issue, Aminuddin said Isma had no problem if Christians wanted to use the word 'Allah' in their prayers.



Threat to Malaysian students backfires as Anwar draws bigger crowd in Australia

Posted: 19 Oct 2013 04:05 PM PDT

Trinna Leong, TMI

A warning emailed to Malaysian students in Australia against attending a programme featuring opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had the opposite effect. It piqued interest and drew a large crowd to his talk at Adelaide University yesterday, said those who attended it.

The event received overwhelming response, forcing organisers to change the venue to a bigger hall to accommodate some 900 people, 300 more than initially expected.

Those who attended the talk said that the crowd, a blend of Malaysians and Australians, were curious to hear Anwar speak after news that Malaysian offcials warned students was reported by the Australian media.

The email from the Malaysian Students Department was addressed to students sponsored by the Public Service Department (JPA), warning them against attending the Festival of Ideas programme in the university where Anwar was featured.

Allan Chin, 28, told The Malaysian Insider that the warning was free publicity for Anwar.

"I know of people who knew about the event because of the threat and hence attended. It's free publicity for Anwar," said Chin, a Malaysian working in Adelaide, speaking over Facebook.

At the event, Anwar was interviewed by Australian Broadcasting Corporation journalist Waleed Aly. He took questions on the Allah controversy, the results of the 13th general election and freedom of speech.

Anwar also defended Malaysian students who were told they could lose their scholarships if they attended the event.

"Anwar said that people from all religions should be free to describe their God as Allah and it is absurd that Malaysia is the only country that is 'pro-Allah'," said Chin, referring to the recent Court of Appeal ruling barring Catholic weekly Herald from using the word Allah.

Jerad Tan said it had been very frustrating to get the email from the Malaysian students office, noting the Festival was a forum to share ideas and knowledge, not a political rally.

Being in Adelaide for decades, a Malaysian-born woman who did not want to be named, said the email was shocking and very silly.

"They are students, telling them not to come will make them more curious," she said.

"They are intelligent people, how can you think they will not think for themselves?"



Eschewing change, Umno keeps to the president’s men

Posted: 19 Oct 2013 04:01 PM PDT

The Malaysian Insider

Yesterday's Umno polls have thrown up one fact – that nothing has changed even with a new electoral system and talk of transformation in the Malay nationalist party.

The vice-presidential and supreme council line-up shows almost the same old faces. No one new or with exciting ideas has received enough votes to break into the chummy old boys club that is the Umno supreme council.

But the Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia talked about "winds of change blowing" through the party in its weekend edition Mingguan Malaysia today, citing the strong support for Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir.

The 48-year-old son of the popular Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad received 91 votes, just nine short of Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who managed to retain his vice-presidency.

Would that be a change, considering that Mukhriz represented the hopes of those who long for the good times under Dr Mahathir's leadership?

Would that even be a transformation for party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak?

The fact is, the Umno grassroots followed their division leaders, keeping most of them and their peers in power in the latest party elections.

There is virtually no change in the leadership from division level except for those who retired or those who had lost badly in the general election. The warlords remain in power from division right up to state and national levels.

The grassroots have in effect endorsed the status quo and are happy with it, and if anything, the support for Mukhriz is just an expression for the previous status quo before Tun Abdullah Badawi's short rule.

Umno members would be deluded to believe talk that the winds of change had blown through the party in the elections. Instead, Najib has cemented his hold on the party as most of his preferences went through, some for the second time since he took power in 2009.

Change in Umno will not come from within for a long time until there are more new faces than old in the supreme council and office bearers.



Zeti: Malaysia not experiencing asset bubble

Posted: 19 Oct 2013 03:57 PM PDT

(Bernama) - There is no reason to believe that Malaysia has seen the formation of an asset bubble that is about to burst, as the country has addressed many of the issues and risks related to it, says Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

She said three series of macro prudential measures had been introduced this year to avoid the very risk of the formation of such a bubble asset.

She was responding to a question on whether Malaysia is experiencing an asset bubble that would burst if China's economy tumbles and as global interest rates rise, as reported recently by the foreign media.

"Conditions between now and in 1997/1998 are different. We are now on a growth path," she told a press conference in conjunction with the South East Asian Central Banks (SEACEN) 30th Anniversary Conference on Greater Financial Integration and Financial Stability, here today.

Zeti said domestic demand was driving Malaysia's economic growth and the country was not at the epicentre of the recent global financial crisis.

"Our financial intermediaries remain resilient and the supply of credit was never disrupted," she added.

She said financial intermediation was continuing and financial markets continued to function.

"There is confidence in the financial system. This is the result of the focus over the last decade on financial reforms that have strengthened the foundation of our financial system.

"We believe that credit growth has moderated to a sustainable pace that supports the growth of the economy. In this regard, we continue to monitor conditions," Zeti added. 


Najib strengthens hand in Umno polls

Posted: 19 Oct 2013 03:53 PM PDT

(AFP) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak strengthened his hand in ruling-party elections but analysts said questions remain over his stop-start plans to reform Southeast Asia's third-largest economy amid resistance from conservatives.

Najib was unopposed as president of the long-ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) in the party's polls, the final results of which were tallied late Saturday.

But other posts were closely watched to determine whether Najib was losing ground to powerful conservatives upset with his earlier pledge to liberalise a controversial system of preferences for the Muslim Malay majority, and other reforms.

Analysts said Najib appeared to have held off conservatives, for now.

"On the surface of it, Najib's leadership of the party is undisputed," said Ibrahim Suffian, director of leading polling organisation Merdeka Centre.

"His team will be able to push some reforms, but the right-wing element of the party is not extinguished. There will have to be some compromise."

The Barisan Nasional (National Front) coalition, through which Umno has ruled the multi-ethnic, Muslim-majority country for decades, has won national elections by diminishing margins as voters tire of its race-based politics and authoritarian rule.

Najib, now 60 and in office since 2009, responded by advocating political and economic reforms to win back support, but has been restricted by hardliners keen to protect Malay dominance.

Najib has already backtracked on key reform moves including a cautious pledge to water down Umno's decades-old affirmative-action policies for Malays in education, housing, and economic opportunities.

The system is resented by the sizeable ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities and economists view it as a drag on national competitiveness.

Najib was seen to be under heightened pressure from Umno right-wingers since May elections in which he led Barisan to its worst polls showing ever, though it clung to power.

But the three party vice-presidents, who are close to Najib, defended their positions, narrowly fending off a challenge by Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, son of conservative former strongman leader Tun Mahathir Mohamad.

Ooi Kee Beng, deputy director of Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, said Najib had a firmer mandate but may be held back by his "own timidity".

"It's a mixed bag where reforms are concerned. I don't think Umno or Najib himself is totally clear where they want Malaysia to go," he said.

Mahathir ruled Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 with an iron fist, developing it from a rural backwater to an economic success, but was widely accused of trampling rights and allowing corruption to flourish.

Though retired, he is now viewed as the focus of conservative resistance to reforms.

Barisan has steadily ceded parliamentary ground in recent elections to a multi-racial opposition alliance.

The alliance advocates an end to corruption and Umno authoritarianism, and replacing the race-based Malay preferences with needs-based social aid. 


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