Jumaat, 18 Oktober 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Hishamuddin Rais keluar kenyataan kontroversi lagi berbahaya

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 12:40 PM PDT


(Kuala Lumpur Post) - Aktivis politik pro pembangkang, Hishamuddin Rais dilihat mengeluarkan satu kenyataan kontroversi lagi berbahaya apabila menyamakan neraka, syurga, bidadari, dosa dan pahala yang disebut dalam al-Quran sebagai konsep daripada kitab suci Hindu Veda.

Tidak kiralah apa tujuan sebenar Hishamuddin sekali pun, dia seharusnya hati-hati apabila mahu bermain dengan soal agama.

Malah ada pengikut Twitter yang tidak berasa selesa dengan status tersebut telah meminta supaya dia memberi penjelasan memandangkan status itu boleh mengelirukan.

Hishamuddin yang dikenali sebagai manusia sinikal turut berpesan di hujung status Tweet supaya 'jangan marah'.

Tweet yang dimuatnaik olehnya pada 17 Oktober jam 11.32 pagi itu dipercayai satu daripada siri sindiran Hishamuddin terhadap orang Melayu ekoran kes kalimah Allah, menurut sumber mynewshub.

Apa agaknya komen para ulama dan bijak pandai agama yang banyak terdapat dalam barisan Pakatan Rakyat berkenaan kelancangan mulut Hishamuddin ini agaknya. 

Workers’ Death in Malaysia Sparks Outcry

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 12:03 PM PDT


(Jakarta Globe) - As the bodies of four Indonesians shot dead by Malaysian police last week arrived and were subsequently buried in their hometown here on Thursday, demands are mounting for the Indonesian government to lodge a protest and seek explanation for the deadly incident.

The bodies of the men, identified as Hafat bin Angang, 44, Heri Setiawan, 33, Ikno Riansyah bin M. Saleh, 25, Wahyudi bin Kuling, 28, were returned to their families shortly after arriving at Lombok International Airport in West Nusa Tenggara on Wednesday evening.

Cradling a toddler in her arms, Ikno's wife Ika screamed and cried hysterically as the coffin carrying her husband's body was packed into the hearse that would carry his body home to Sumbawa for the last time.

Ika first heard about her husband's death on television, and said she did not believe the Malaysian police's claim that her husband was shot dead because he was a part of a gang of armed robbers.

"My husband was working in Malaysia as a construction worker. How is it possible he was accused of being a robber? If he really was a robber we would have been rich by now, but we can only afford a rented room," Ika told the Jakarta Globe.

Families said the funeral for the four men were held on Thursday afternoon because Indonesian authorities had not requested an autopsy.

Dino Nurwahyudin, a counselor at the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, assisted repatriation of the men's bodies. He said that Indonesia had retained several lawyers to handle the case and was now awaiting results of the official autopsy conducted by Malaysian authorities.

"This is definitely not the first time such an incident has happened. Last year, three Indonesian migrant workers were shot dead in Malaysia," Dino said.

He said it was very possible for Indonesia to lodge a formal protest in Malaysia to prevent similar incidents in the future.

"For now let's wait for the autopsy results. The Malaysian government said it would take one or two weeks," he said.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has expressed concern that the incident is the latest in a series of frequent shootings that have been taking place since 2007.

In 2012, Malaysia's then-minister of home affairs, Hishammuddin Hussein, confirmed that 300 people had been shot to death since 2007. More than half — 151 — of those killed were Indonesians.

Indonesian human rights activists and legal experts are skeptical of Malaysian authorities' claims that lethal force was necessary against all of the Indonesians shot dead in recent years.

"We don't know what really happened. The media quoted only the Malaysian police as sources. That's why we need a thorough investigation. The Indonesian Embassy should demand it," lawyer and activist Frans H. Winarta said.

"They should not just shoot people because they are Indonesians," he added.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the Malaysian minister responsible for internal security, suggested at a gathering last Friday that police should "shoot first" when confronting criminal suspects.

"What is the situation of robbery victims, murder victims during shootings? I think that the best way is we no longer compromise with them.

"There is no need to give them any warning. If we get the evidence, we shoot first," he was quoted as saying in an audio recording made public by the online news portal Malaysiakini.

Outraged Malaysian opposition and rights groups quickly demanded the minister's resignation over the remarks.

Malaysian police have staged a nationwide crackdown on criminal organizations in recent months as a wave of violent crime stoked a public outcry.

More than a dozen criminal suspects have reportedly been killed in police shoot-outs in recent weeks.

Haris Azhar, the chairman of the Jakarta-based Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), called on the Indonesian government to conduct a criminal investigation into all the shooting deaths of its citizens.

He said the government should actively pursue all information to ensure the shootings were justified in each case.

"This is not the first time this has happened. There should be a very rigid mechanism to ensure that Malaysian authorities follow proper procedures, considering the large number of Indonesians living in Malaysia, both legally and illegally," he said.

"A similar incident occurred last year. It suggests the Indonesian government has not learned from past experience."

Haris said Indonesia should demand that Malaysia explain the apparently disproportionate use of immediate lethal force on Indonesian citizens, and provide justification for each killing.

"If Malaysian police can arrest them, why the need to kill them? We need to find out everything that was really happening. The families deserve that much," he said.

Read more at: http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/news/workers-death-in-malaysia-sparks-outcry/ 

Allah decision binding on all Malaysians, says retired AG Abu Talib

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 12:02 PM PDT


(TMI) - All Malaysians are bound by the Court of Appeal ruling on the Allah issue, says former attorney general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman (pic), who is puzzled that Putrajaya believes the controversial judgment does not affect Christians in Sabah and Sarawak.

The appellate court agreed that the Home Minister could ban the word Allah in the Catholic weekly Herald, but two Cabinet ministers had insisted the decision did not include the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia bible widely used in Sabah and Sarawak, and other Christian publications in East Malaysia.

"It has the effect of a binding precedent and all have to respect that decision, whether you agree or disagree," he told The Malaysian Insider, adding it was binding until set aside by the country's highest court, the Federal Court.

Abu Talib, who was the chief legal adviser to the government for 13 years from 1980, said there could be no two sets of law when "we have one nation and one supreme constitution".

"So, there cannot be exemptions given to Sabah and Sarawak on this religious issue based on region or state," he said.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/allah-decision-binding-on-all-malaysians-says-retired-ag-abu-talib 

Soaring Crime Rate Takes a Growing Malaysia by Surprise

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 11:58 AM PDT


(NYT) - The Malaysian government has also stopped providing crime statistics to the United Nations, according to Enrico Bisogno, the official responsible for compiling crime data at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Malaysia's population has tripled over the past four decades. Its largest city, Kuala Lumpur, a place once so sparsely populated that it looked like a botanical garden, has exploded into a cosmopolitan metropolis of shopping malls, luxury hotels and sprawling suburbs.

But with modernity and urbanization came an unwanted corollary: a soaring crime rate that has blighted Kuala Lumpur, previously considered one of Asia's safest cities, and other urban areas across Peninsular Malaysia. It is hard to find someone in Kuala Lumpur today who does not have a story about a purse snatching, a burglary, or worse.

"Whatever defense we put up is not enough," said Chong Kon Wah, a British-trained engineer who was burglarized twice at his home in the Kuala Lumpur suburbs and robbed once while in his car — all within 10 days in August.

Residents in middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods have begun to gate their communities, often without local government permission. And the demand for personal guards has soared, with the number of certified security companies nationwide more than tripling over the past decade to 712 from 200, according to the Security Services Association of Malaysia, which trains guards.

Last month, the United States Embassy in Kuala Lumpur sent a warning to American citizens here: "Remember to carry your backpack or purse on the shoulder AWAY from the road to prevent having it snatched by motorbikers."

The possible reasons for a higher crime rate are a matter of debate — some say the country's ethnic-based policies that favor majority Malays are partly to blame; others say the police force is corrupt and ineffectual. Even the extent of the crime wave in this country of 29 million people is in question.

Read more here 

Chua should keep his word and quit

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 11:53 AM PDT


If people want him to go, he should do so gracefully, rather than be placing conditions for others to go as well.  

Kee Thuan Chye 

Chua Soi Lek is being extremely unreasonable in telling his deputy, Liow Tiong Lai, to quit the leadership of the MCA before he himself will step down. And his push for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to overturn the party's resolution not to take up government positions in light of its poor performance at the last general election (GE13) is a betrayal of his pre-GE13 promise.

On these two issues alone, he has lost all dignity and should just slink into a corner and disappear. He should not be blustering like he is doing in order to try and get things his way. It only makes him appear more and more like a dictator, and an irrational one, to boot.

It is no wonder there are groups within the party campaigning to bring about his downfall. Like the Save Party Committee 3.0 and the ABC (Anything But Chua) movement. The latter was initiated by newly-elected central delegate Lee Hwa Beng, who was summarily sacked from the party last week at a meeting chaired by Chua, clearly to get rid of the latter's opponents.

If Chua can't see the writing on the wall, he must be blind or thick-headedly stubborn. If people want him to go, he should do so gracefully, rather than be placing conditions for others to go as well. He shouldn't be saying, "I am willing to go but Liow must leave with me because he is not the right man to lead the MCA in this challenging political situation."

Why should Liow step down just because Chua wants him to? Liow has every right to contest for the presidency during the upcoming party elections in December. Who is Chua to tell him he should not?\

The reasons Chua cites to support his contention that Liow is "not the right man" are idiosyncratic. Metaphorically speaking, they won't hold up in a court of law. They reflect his personal opinion, which of course is vulnerable to challenge.

The reasons are that Liow is weak and indecisive, that he is not a fighter, and that he is easily influenced by people outside the party. Others – for example, Liow's supporters – might say the opposite of him, and who's to say which side is right?

When it comes to this, the best option then is to let the party delegates decide. It is not for Chua to assume the role of Big Brother and say who should and should not contest, who is fit or not fit to be leader. He can of course express an opinion, but he should not dictate terms.

He contends that the party should be led by younger people. But can he be absolutely sure that these people will not be as unfit as Liow? If he can't be, then he has no business making assumptions with the hope that they will turn out true.

Read more at: http://news.malaysia.msn.com/community/blogs/blog-chua-should-keep-his-word-and-quit?page=2 

Husam harap Mukhriz menang

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 10:17 AM PDT


(Sinar Harian) - Naib Presiden Pas, Datuk Husam Musa berharap calon Naib Presiden Umno, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir memenangi jawatan tersebut pada Pemilihan Umno hari ini kerana pemimpin itu dikatakan membantu melemahkan hasrat kerajaan menandatangani Perjanjian Perkongsian Trans-Pasifik (TPPA).

Beliau berkata, kemenangan Mukhriz penting bagi membolehkan Tun Mahathir Mohamad menolak Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak daripada barisan kepimpinan Umno jika masih berminat menandatangani perjanjian tersebut.

"Itu saja cara untuk kita selamat daripada TPPA, ia tidak berkesan dengan bersuara dari luar kerana rakyat di kampung-kampung tidak faham implikasi TPPA ini sedangkan ia merupakan satu bentuk penjajahan baru yang lebih dahsyat daripada penjajahan British dahulu.

"British menakluki negara melalui beberapa perjanjian seperti perjanjian Pangkor, penyerahan Pulau Pinang dan sewa beli Singapura yang akhirnya menyaksikan mereka mengaut kekayaan negara," katanya.

Beliau berkata demikian ketika menghadiri Majlis Korban anjuran Gabungan Profesional Menuntut Royalti, Hak Pendaratan Minyak dan Gas ke Kelantan (Royalti) di Markas Penerangan Pas Pasir Puteh di sini, kelmarin.

Turut hadir, Presiden Royalti, Nazri Deraman; Pengerusi Royalti Pasir Puteh, Zarir Yaacob; Yang Dipertua Pas Kawasan, Datuk Dr Nik Mazian Nik Mohamed dan Timbalan Yang Dipertua Pas Kawasan, Yuganu Yunus.

Husam berkata, TPPA akan menyaksikan Amerika datang bersama syarikat-syarikat besar yang dilindungi menerusi perjanjian tersebut untuk mengongkong perdagangan negara.

Katanya, pertubuhan bukan kerajaan (NGO) atau gerakan anti TPPA perlu mengadakan bantahan khususnya di Jeli, Kelantan kerana menteri yang bertanggungjawab adalah Menteri Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa dan Industri, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed yang juga Ahli Parlimen Jeli.

"Saya percaya rakyat Jeli tidak memahami TPPA sedangkan ianya merupakan pengkhianatan kepada rakyat Malaysia," katanya.

Menurutnya, Presiden Amerika Syarikat, Barack Obama sepatutnya datang ke Malaysia baru-baru ini bagi tujuan tersebut tapi ia ditangguhkan memandangkan Perhimpunan Agung Umno belum selesai.

Amerika Syarikat memberi respons positif ke atas gesaan Malaysia supaya rundingan TPPA lebih fleksibel dan ia dilihat membantu mengukuhkan hubungan ekonomi antara Washington dan Kuala Lumpur.

Leaders to face critical challenges for top Umno positions

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 10:12 AM PDT


(The Star) - The much awaited Umno polls today will be a test whether division leaders and party warlords can still influence the race for the vice-presidents' posts and supreme council seats.

There is much uncertainty over their power now as 146,500 party delegates are set to cast their votes in an election, the outcome of which could shake up the established order in the party.

While last week's elections for Youth and the Wanita wings saw the incumbent chiefs winning as expected, today's polling is likely to produce some upsets and surprises.

Two-thirds, or 127 of Umno's 191 division chiefs' posts, are up for grabs. For the supreme council, 50 new aspirants will compete with 14 incumbents for the 25 seats.

Cheras Umno chief Datuk Seri Syed Ali Al-Habshee said division leaders could no longer call the shots.

"It was possible in the past because they had a smaller number of delegates to influence. Now it is a different ball game altogether," he said.

Kepong chief Datuk Ridzuan Abdul Hamid said trying to influence delegates would be tough especially when incumbent division chiefs themselves were being challenged.

According to party officials, most delegates are firm in wanting their say on who should lead the divisions and be given seats in Umno's top decision making body.

Party vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said delegates of last Saturday's election voted in more than 30% new faces for the wings at division level.

"They kept the incumbents for some of the posts but at divisional level, they voted for change.

"If last Saturday's trend is any indicator, there will be many changes in the division line-up," said Zahid.

Johor Baru Umno division information chief Abu Talib Alias said while it was expected that ministers and mentris besar would be voted in, the rest of the supreme council members should comprise capable new leaders.

The race for the party vice-presidencies has generated the most interest, as its result would indicate the future leadership of Umno.

The three incumbent vice-presidents – Dr Ahmad Zahid, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal – face strong challenges from Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Mohd Isa Samad.

Major changes in the line-up for the supreme council and vice-presidents' positions could provide Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak reasons to consider a Cabinet reshuffle.

Currently, besides Najib and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, 10 of the 32 members of the Cabinet comprise elected Umno supreme council members and three vice-presidents.

Winners of the supreme council seats and division chiefs will also likely be selected as candidates to lead Umno's charge in the 14th general election.

One of the divisions that's being watched closely is Gua Musang where long-time chief Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is facing a contest after helming it for more than 30 years.

In the Johor Baru division, another party veteran Tan Sri Shahrir Samad is up against two challengers.

Several ministers and mentris besar are also being challenged as division heads.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the Agriculture and Agro-based Minister, is being challenged by his former political secretary Datuk Azizan Che Omar in Bera while his deputy minister Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman is facing Perak exco member Datuk Zainol Padzi Paharuddin in Pasir Salak.

Shafie, who is also Semporna chief, is up against two challengers – former Youth chief Nixon Abdul Habi and former Sulabayan assemblyman Datuk Harman Mohammad.

Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar and Rembau chief Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan is being challenged by former Chembong assemblyman Datuk Mohamad Rais Zainuddin while Terengganu Mentri Besar and Kemaman chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Said will face the division's former head Mat Dalam Awang.

Polling will take place at all 191 divisions around 9am and is expected to end in the afternoon.

Umno executive secretary Datuk Rauf Yusoh said results for the vice-presidential election will likely be known by midnight.

Pakatan, beware!

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 10:06 AM PDT


The leaders of the three parties in Pakatan must put an end to factionalism within their own parties. All unhappy and disputing parties must be called to the negotiating table to iron out differences for how can Pakatan battle the external enemy when internally there is conflict and strife? 

Selena Tay, FMT

While the main focus for Pakatan Rakyat now is to be a good and strong opposition by speaking out against the government's mismanagement, Pakatan must also go back to the drawing board and learn from history not to repeat the blunders they made in the 13th general election and the biggest blunder was none other than deciding the candidates list at the 11th hour.

In January this year, everyone had already known that GE13 would be held within the next few months. Therefore by end of February, the list of candidates should have been finalised instead of waiting for finalisation to be done only after Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had dissolved Parliament.

The way Pakatan decided upon the candidates list was akin to recruiting soldiers only after the war has been declared. Pakatan should have an army ready beforehand, all set for the war.

As of now, the next general election is still a long way off and this gives Pakatan time to lay the groundwork for the future polls.

However recently for the past few weeks, a local English daily has highlighted the issue of factionalism within DAP. While DAP leaders may not believe everything churned out by this daily, it still pays to look at this issue with grave concern as factionalism also played a role in the candidates list prior to GE13.

This means that factionalism must be stamped out before it damages the party from within.

For GE14, in regard to Penang and Perak, DAP should field Malay candidates for their state seats. Long-serving Malays should be given a chance to prove that they can also serve the rakyat well and DAP should end these Malay grouses by putting more Malays in the race.

Seats for Malay candidates must be identified in ample time so as to allow them to do the groundwork before the polls.

In addition to that, candidates who had lost in the previous general election should be notified early whether they can still contest in the same seat. Otherwise the new candidate must be sent there early enough to enable him or her to do the groundwork before polling day comes.

Interviews with the local folks revealed that they dislike not knowing who is the candidate right up till the 11th hour.

There should not be what can be labelled as certain 'cliques' or factions trying to influence the choice of candidates.

For DAP two things that must be carried out prior to GE14 is to give more opportunities to Malay candidates and to choose the candidates early.

Anwar must be forceful

Next we come to PKR. Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has to be more forceful in taking charge and taking the lead.

Although there are factions in PKR too as there are in every political party, this matter too must be firmly dealt with. Those who do not have the party's interest at heart must be cast aside. No looking after self-interest.

Again, similar to DAP , there should not be any policy of selecting candidates based on which faction they belong. Factions are destructive – they destroy the party from within. If the party is full of cliques, the party will soon implode. A house divided upon itself will soon fall.

And last of all, there is PAS. Their grassroots workers are good and well-organised. But according to the latest insider information, there is a group in PAS who is inclined to take PAS out of Pakatan.

Factions also exist in PAS. If this group succeeds in their unwise move, they will not only destroy Pakatan, they will also succeed in destroying PAS itself.

The only job for PAS to do now is to convince the Malays that the Chinese are disinterested in power-grabbing.

All in all, the three parties in Pakatan must work together well. There must be give-and-take in the candidates list. The folks in the small towns need to be convinced that Pakatan is the better alternative but when they see Pakatan having disputes or struggling with the candidates list, they will have doubts in Pakatan's ability to govern well.

Of course, the lack of internet facilities in small towns make the problem worst for Pakatan because for the small town folks, seeing is believing.

Therefore when these folks see Pakatan being indecisive on the candidates list, they will think that Pakatan is not ready to govern.

Overall it can be said that Pakatan would have won more seats if the candidates had been decided early. It must be noted that BN had ironed out their candidate problems much earlier than Pakatan.

Disputes between Pakatan's component parties had led to BN winning three state seats (Damak, Semenyih and Kota Damansara) wherein the votes polled by the two Pakatan candidates added together could have easily defeated the BN candidate.

Government is Playing Politics with ‘Allah’

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 09:58 AM PDT


Since the issue is political, and most Malaysians don't believe that the judiciary is independent, what should happen next? The Herald has said it would bring the case to the Federal Court, but would that be of any use? Already, before the Court of Appeal sat to hear the appeal, many of us had thought its verdict would be a foregone conclusion. So when it came out, it was not the least bit surprising. How would the Federal Court be different?

Kee Thuan Chye

Firebombs didn't go off in mosques. Pigs' heads were not thrown into mosque compounds. These things did not happen after the Court of Appeal ruled against the High Court's 2009 decision to allow the Catholic weekly newspaper 
The Herald to use the word 'Allah' in referring to God.

They did not happen despite Muslim group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia's adding insult to injury by telling Christians to accept the verdict or leave the country. Its president, Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman, said, "They can choose to move to another country if they cannot accept the supremacy of Islam and the royalty that protects the supremacy of the religion." It was irrelevant, uncalled-for and provocative, but the community that was targeted did not retaliate with violence. This of course is to its credit.

It did, however, react angrily to the verdict. Rev Eu Hong Seng, chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, declared: "This is yet another erosion and infringement of the constitutional protection to the freedom of religious communities to profess and practise their faith and to manage their own affairs. The decision might encourage and fuel further misunderstanding and mistrust between the Muslim and Christian communities which will further undermine the unity of Malaysians."

Bishop Thomas Tsen, president of the Sabah Council of Churches, said, "It is not fair to say that using 'Allah' would confuse Muslim practitioners. No, we have always called our father in heaven 'Allah Bapak' or the Lord God 'Tuhan Allah'… We are sad and disappointed about this current ruling … it challenges the government's sincerity to see our people united."

Archbishop Bolly Lapok, chairperson of the Association of Churches, Sarawak, censured chief judge Mohamed Apandi Ali for saying that the use of the word 'Allah' was not integral to the Christian faith. In strong terms, he said, "The church does not need an apologist from outside to decide what is integral or not integral to our faith. It is repugnant to the universal common sense."

With justified defiance, he asserted that Christians in Sabah and Sarawak would "continue to reverently worship this 'Allah' till kingdom come, and we are asking the Government, 'What are you going to do about it?'"

Bully for Bolly! That's the attitude to strike against a government that is proving to be increasingly hostile to the minorities. That's also the way to call a bully's bluff. That's what Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno did when in 2009, she was dealt a punishment of six strokes of the cane and a fine for drinking beer in a hotel bar. Instead of cowering, she stood tall and challenged the authorities to bring it on. In the end, her sentence was commuted to three weeks of community service.

Last month, when poet A. Samad Said was arrested and questioned for sedition, the NGO Gagasan Pendidikan Melayu Malaysia urged the Government to take away his Sasterawan Negara (National Laureate) title. And Culture and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said it was up to the panel that awarded Samad the title to decide whether it should be revoked. But was Samad cowed by it?

No. Instead, he said, "I welcome that with open arms." He even went further to say, obviously to satirise the recent calls made by a few ministers to revoke the citizenships of some critics of the government, "I even welcome the revocation of my citizenship if that's what they decide."

Since then, no further action has been taken against him.

Defiance apparently works. In the 'Allah' case, as the Christian community expressed its outrage at the Court of Appeal's verdict, the Government found itself on the back foot and had to resort to damage control – because the Christian populations of Sabah and Sarawak amount to 1.6 million, and the votes from these two states have been keeping the ruling party in power, including at the recent general election.

To appease them, ministers Joseph Kurup and Maximus Ongkili came out three days after the verdict to say that the Cabinet had decided it would not restrict Sabah and Sarawak Christians from using the word 'Allah' in their worship and in their Bahasa Malaysia Bible, Al-Kitab. They emphasised that the Court of Appeal's ruling was applicable only to The Herald.

But why should there be two standards for this matter? Why is 'Allah' all right for Sabah and Sarawak, and not all right for The Herald, based in Peninsular Malaysia?

Besides, the Government's argument has all along been that 'Allah' is to be used exclusively by Muslims. So how come it's all right for the Government to let the Sabah and Sarawak Christians use it too? This is contradictory to its stand. Obviously, then, the decision to allow for this contradiction must be political.

And since the issue is political rather than religious, Malaysians must see through this ploy of the Government's and view the issue objectively. Instead of being charged by religious emotion, Muslims must grasp the reality that 'Allah' has not been exclusive to Islam even in Arab countries for more than a  thousand years. They must realise that the Government is playing with religion for its own political gain.

Former Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin has argued that the word 'Allah' predates Islam. This was corroborated by The National, a United Arab Emirates (UAE) newspaper, which, when commenting on the verdict, wrote, "The word 'Allah' is never exclusive to Islam – indeed, both Christians and Jews used the word 'Allah' to refer to God even before the coming of Islam. When Christians across the Middle East pray to God, they use the term 'Allah'. Walk into a church in Cairo, Baghdad or Beirut this coming Sunday and you will hear the name of 'Allah' invoked."

The National, which is based in Abu Dhabi, even said that the Court of Appeal's decision appeared to be "wrong". How's that, coming from a Muslim-brother nation?

Since the issue is political, and most Malaysians don't believe that the judiciary is independent, what should happen next? The Herald has said it would bring the case to the Federal Court, but would that be of any use? Already, before the Court of Appeal sat to hear the appeal, many of us had thought its verdict would be a foregone conclusion. So when it came out, it was not the least bit surprising. How would the Federal Court be different?

The Herald could of course challenge the Court of Appeal's justification for its verdict, particularly its interpretation of Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution. This interpretation assumes that the use of the word 'Allah' will cause unrest in society because the Muslims would be confused, and therefore to maintain "peace and harmony" as spelt out in Article 3(1), the Christian publication should not use it.

However, as has been pointed out by constitutional expert Abdul Aziz Bari and Bar Council President Christopher Leong, the meaning of "peace and harmony" pertains to the Federal Constitution's guarantee that religions other than Islam enjoy the right to be practised freely, so the Court of Appeal is mistaken in reading it the way it did.

The wording of Article 3(1) is: "Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation." (my italics) It is clear from this that Abdul Aziz is right in saying that the "plain meaning" of Article 3(1) is "that despite the fact that Islam has been made official religion, non-Muslims may go on practising their religions freely without restriction", and that "the court is there to protect and enhance the provisions for fundamental liberties, not to narrow them down".

By the same token, Leong is also right in saying that "the words in their clear and ordinary meaning provide for the right of other religions to be practised unmolested and free of threats", and that it is unreasonable for a fundamental liberty to be denied "on the basis that some people would be confused".

Would the Federal Court agree with this and adjudge the Court of Appeal to have erred? Would it also uphold the High Court's ruling that 'Allah' is not exclusive to the use of Muslims?

The answer to that might well be the same for this question: Are there at least a few good men left in the judiciary, even if there appears to be none in the Government? Well, the jury on that, as they say, is still out.

Perkasa on Allah: Arabs ignorant, Westerners have vested interests, and some Indonesians eat pork

Posted: 18 Oct 2013 09:52 AM PDT


Syed Jahmal Zahiid, The Malay Mail 

Datuk Ibrahim Ali has slammed Arab scholars who criticised the Court of Appeal's ban on Christian usage of "Allah" as ignorant, saying that not everyone in the Middle East, Islam's birthplace, understood the religion well.

The Perkasa chief also blasted Western critics as having vested interests, while accusing detractors from Indonesia, a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, as worse than the Arabs, pointing out that some Muslims in the neighbouring country even consume pork.

"Why should we be bothered if there are Arab countries or Indonesia criticise the Malaysian courts on the Allah issue. Don't think that every Arab knows or understand Islam. That there is no one ignorant there. 

"Those (from the Arab world) that support the US are socialists and Christians. So when we say Arab we must consider who is talking, in the media that belongs to who and which Arab? Don't be easily swayed by what they said," Ibrahim told The Malay Mail Online yesterday.

On Indonesia, Ibrahim said: "The same can be said about Indonesia...it is far worse. Those who don the 'songkok' are not necessarily a Muslim...there are those who consume pork. It's all possible in Indonesia".

He further pointed out that even though Indonesia has a large Muslim population, it has so far produced very few respected Islamic scholars. "So why should we follow what others say?" he said.

Perkasa is one of the most vocal groups calling for the Arabic word to be barred to non-Muslims here. Iranian-American religious scholar Dr Reza Aslan said recently that the Court of Appeal's ruling barring non-Muslims from referring to God as "Allah" showed Malaysia's folly.

The ruling was also censured in several international publications, such as Indonesian daily Jakarta Post, which wrote an editorial yesterday that "those who claim exclusivity to God undermine their own faith, and inadvertently or not, preach polytheism".

International current affairs magazine The Economist pointed out that Christians in the Middle East commonly refer to God as "Allah", and called the court verdict an "unhelpful contribution" to religious discourse between Muslims and Christians.


Hishammuddin banks on ties for future in Umno

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 10:13 PM PDT


Joseph Sipalan,The Malay Mail 

Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein can point to many attributes in the defence of  his Umno vice-presidency, but observers believe that none are more convincing than the latter half of his name.

He is now a five-term member of parliament, and has served as a federal minister under various portfolios for nearly as long. Hishammuddin can also lay claim to being a symbol of Malay supremacy, even if in the past, when he became the last to brandish the keris – a traditional Malay dagger – during an impassioned speech while serving as Umno Youth chief at the party's 2005 general assembly.

But for all his political and government experience, Hishammuddin's support appeared to rest primarily on his status as the son of third prime minister Tun Hussein Onn and the nephew of Tun Abdul Razak, the second.

As such, he must depend on continuity and status quo to retain his position. "He is the weakest link, but he has the advantage of incumbency and the tacit support of the two incumbents," political analyst Khoo Kay Peng said, referring to Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, who are also defending their vice-president posts this Saturday.

But Ahmad Zahid's rise has also contributed to Hishammuddin's own decline. The two swapped portfolios after Election 2013, with the former taking over as home minister while the latter was placed in charged of defence.

Ahmad Zahid's decisive manner in running the Home Ministry also drew further attention to Hishammuddin's tenure there, during which he was branded "Menteri Amaran Dalam Negeri" (Minister of Internal Warnings) by Umno critics for his penchant for issuing cautions instead taking action.


Not in the name of the Almighty, please

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 10:06 PM PDT


For now the "Allah" issue can come handy in elections at hand. Like the Sungai Limau by-election in Kedah which Umno want to wrest from PAS. An "ideal" situation for "Islamic issues".

Mohsin Abdullah, Fz.com

What's this talk that Putrajaya can override the Appeals Court's decision in the usage of the word "Allah" by Christians? And the need for Putrajaya to revisit a proposal to have different laws for  Sabah /Sarawak and the peninsula? A case of one country, two laws.

Such talk came from cabinet members of the Najib administration - Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili and Datuk Abdul  Rahman Dahalan.
Could this be sort of an "afterthought"?  In the wake of a fierce reaction  from a substantial number of  Malaysians? In groups as well as individuals. But wasn't such an angry  response expected?  Or are we right to sense signs of "panic" in the administration? Major or minor, regardless.
Abdul Rahman did not outline clearly what he exactly meant but Ongkili is seen as suggesting that Christians can use the word "Allah" in the Bible or Al Kitab as it is known.
And what about de facto law minister Nancy Shukri (and others in the government as well), "taking pains" to remind us rakyat that the court ruling "is restricted to Catholic weekly The Herald".
As if right on cue, Umno-linked Malay newspaper Berita Harian took the liberty to "explain"  in its editorial recently,  that "Malaysians need to understand the use of the word "Allah" by the  Herald  has no connection with the use of the word by Christians in Sabah and Sarawak".
And as such Berita Harian wants us Malaysians "not to be easily fooled by the provocation of certain parties that are intent on affecting racial and religious harmony in the country". One need not be a genius to know the "certain  quarters"  Berita Harian was referring to.
As for the Appeals Court ruling involving only The Herald -  how true.. We must thank Nancy Shukri and Berita Harian for reminding us. But tell that to the likes of Perkasa and the Malays who turned up at court the other day when the ruling was made. 
They, well the majority of them anyway, were and are still under no illusion that the word "Allah" cannot be used by non-Muslims. Namely Christians.  Period. Their t-shirts and banners  said it all.
Perkasa boss Datuk Ibrahim Ali however opted for a "read the court ruling in toto and up to the authorities to interpret  it" stance. At least moments after the ruling was made.
However wasn't The Herald  issue portrayed by the authorities as a  "fight to save the akidah or faith of the Muslim ummah in Malaysia?"  As such didn't many Malays believe or were led to believe that the "enemies of Islam are out to get us"?  Didn't Friday sermons call for "Muslims to unite to fend off the enemies?" The "enemies" were not named of course but the message was clear. The word "Allah" must be defended and Christians must not be allowed to use it?   
And in the middle of it all ,wasn't Umno portrayed or seen  as "championing Islam"  and being the only  party "determined and strong willed in defending the word "Allah"? And didn't Umno benefit from the issue, enough for it to bag Malay votes in GE 13?  At the expense of PAS which had to back paddle? 
Yes, now we are hearing Umno supreme council members denying comments made  by BBC News a few days ago that the ban  on the "Allah" word was to "boost Umno's Islamic credentials  and to win back Malay support."
Despite that, we still have Umno leaders taunting PAS  asking via twitter if the Islamic party is agreeable that the "Biblical God be replaced by Allah"?
But now BN components are saying - out loud - the coalition risks losing GE14 because of the court ruling which has been hailed by Umno.

Read more at: 

It's Not A Bubble Until It's Officially Denied, Malaysia Edition

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 09:52 PM PDT


It is very difficult to completely deny the existence of a bubble in China, and even worse to say that Southeast Asian economies won't be affected by its popping. 

Jesse Colombo, Forbes

My recent report about Malaysia's economic bubble has generated quite a bit of a interest and controversy in the past few days. In addition to receiving over 45,000 views and 3,000 Facebook shares on Forbes, it made the headline of The Malaysian Insider, where it continued to spread virally in Southeast Asia.

The report received a favorable response from Lim Guan Eng, the Chief Minister of the State of Penang, who said in a press statement, "Even renowned financial analyst Jesse Colombo wrote in the Forbes online magazine that Malaysia's economic bubble will burst due to its high government and household debt."

Lim went on to say, "Interestingly, Colombo said that plans to build the tallest building in Southeast Asia, the 118-story and RM5 billion Warisan Merdeka Tower, is a major Skyscraper Index red flag." The Skyscraper Index red flag refers to a Dresdner Kleinwort report in 2009 which showed a correlation between the construction of the world's tallest buildings and the impending end of business cycles.

The report also struck enough of a raw nerve that Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed refuted my assertion that the popping of China's precarious bubble economy will also pop Malaysia's bubble in a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, saying "The Chinese economy is not going to tumble. It's going to stay strong. We've seen high growth in China for many years."

"Malaysia is not going to be adversely affected. Anyway, we are focusing more on domestic resources growth and it's becoming more relevant in this context," he added.

There seems to be an unwritten rule that government officials across the world must deny the existence of economic bubbles that pose a great threat to their countries. When I was warning about the U.S. housing and credit bubble in 2005, Ben Bernanke infamously denied its existence. Officials are denying the UK's and Australia's housing bubbles, along with many other post-2009 bubbles that I am currently warning about.

I don't see how public officials' bubble denial does anything but harm to their countries' citizens. Denying the existence of bubbles does not make them disappear, but only serves to hamper the early detection process that is so critical to the survival of terminal illnesses, whether physical or economic.

I also don't see how denying the risks posed by China's massive economic bubble does any good either. I will be writing an extensive report about China's bubble after I finish covering bubbles in Southeast Asia, but for starters, they have a multi-trillion dollar debt bubble that has exploded in recent years as their government has encouraged the building of scores of empty "ghost cities" to generate economic growth.

Charts show a ballooning Chinese credit bubble:




Read more at : http://www.forbes.com/sites/jessecolombo/2013/10/18/its-not-a-bubble-until-its-officially-denied-malaysia-edition/ 

The presence of absence

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 06:51 PM PDT

It sounds weird that two groups of people go to court to fight over ownership of something that they cannot prove does, in fact, exist and that the court did not insist that existence must first of all be proven before ownership can be established.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Many people are very happy that Umno's new system of choosing its leaders in its annual general assembly has successfully eliminated 'money politics' -- basically the term for bribery to win votes. This was what NST reported:

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which had in the past investigated politicians for money politics, is banking on the party and its will to promote transparency, to keep money politics at bay.

Its chief commissioner, Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, said as Umno had made an unprecedented move to amend its constitution in ensuring transparency and eradicating money politics, this effort must be seen through.

"At the end of the day, Umno members should be electing their leaders based on their integrity, merit and track record," he told the New Straits Times.

A source, meanwhile, said MACC had yet to receive any reports on money politics following Saturday's polls.

This, he said, was a stark contrast to the party's previous polls, where reports alleging vote buying came pouring in, in the run-up and immediately after polling day. It then rounded up 12 party division leaders for allegedly dabbling in money politics.

What the MACC chap was saying is simply this. Since there are no reports about a certain incident, then it does not exist. It is fundamentally absent.

I have been arguing about this issue for some time now. Since no one reported experiencing it or seeing it, then it surely cannot exist. If it does exist, then at least one person or more than one person would have reported it.

This is the same argument regarding whether there is life in outer space or on other planets or in other galaxies. Since no one has reported actually meeting Martians or whatever, then we must assume that life exists only on earth and there is no life outside earth.

Proof of an existence of something has to be based on eyewitness accounts. This, too, is how the court works when it comes to laws of evidence. You must have personally seen or heard something for it to be considered as reliable or credible evidence.

To testify that this is not what you personally saw or heard yourself, but that this was what you were told by someone, and you do not even know who started this story or where it originated from, would mean that what you have to say is mere hearsay and cannot be accepted as evidence.

I understand this and accept the fact that this is how the law of evidence works and that this will be the acid test that the court will apply in grading a person's testimony or 'evidence' (and whether it is credible or mere hearsay). Did you see it or hear that person say so yourself or are you merely repeating what you heard from another source and cannot, in fact, even confirm the source of this story?

Hence, no one actually came forward to say that he or she saw someone pay the bribe or was, in fact, personally offered a bribe to vote for so-and-so. This means, in the absence of such evidence, we have to assume that bribery does not exist in the Umno elections, all due to the new Umno election system, which has successfully eliminated 'money politics' or bribery.

It is actually a good standard to apply and helps separate fact from mere unconfirmed stories, rumours, hearsay, 'coffee shop' talk, and whatnot. Were you there? Did you see it yourself? Are you a witness to the event? Did you hear that person utter that statement with your own ears? Or is this merely a story you picked up and, in fact, cannot even confirm whether it is true or not?

If we accept 'stories' as evidence then millions would now be in prison. DAP is pro-Communist -- that is why they want to bring back Chin Peng's ashes to Malaysia. The Christians are trying to convert Muslims to Christianity -- that is why they want to use the Allah word. The Chinese want to take over Malaysia and make Malays second-class citizens in their own country -- that is why 97% of the Chinese voted opposition. The Vatican is financing the Malaysian Christians in its effort to undermine Islam -- that is why they propagate Christianity in Bahasa Malaysia. The Americans are anti-Islam -- that is why the US supports Umno (Barisan Nasional) and not PAS (Pakatan Rakyat).

These are mere stories. Is there any evidence that these stories are true? If not then these 'opinions' cannot be accepted as evidence and therefore cannot be true.

A good argument is it not? And this standard of evidence helps maintain some level of sanity in our legal system. If not, and if any story from anyone is accepted as true, then stories would become fact and this so-called 'evidence' will result in many people being punished for something they did not do but are punished anyway because of these unconfirmed stories.

Okay, this is how the law works. And our courts are tasked with the job of upholding these laws. And these laws are passed by Parliament based on the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. And any laws that violate the Constitution will be considered unconstitutional and hence would be illegal.

It is a good check and balance and ensures that we receive justice and will not be subjected to injustice -- although sometimes it does not always work as we hope and as our Founding Fathers had planned. Nevertheless, in most instances, the results are positive with only sometimes being negative.

Now, after saying all that, and taking into consideration how the system is supposed to work, what happens when the court dabbles in matters of religion (or makes a ruling regarding a matter of religion)?

For example, the court may rule, say, on who has exclusivity over the name of God, meaning 'Allah' here, of course. This is a legal matter, not a matter of theology. The court needs to decide who owns the name.

Allah is supposed to be the name of God. And the Muslims argue that only the Muslims may use this name. Non-Muslims may not use this name.

The court, however, has assumed that God does exist. It now needs to decide whether Allah is the Muslim God or whether non-Muslims share this same God and, therefore, can use the same name.

Based on the law of evidence, no one has argued in court that God does, in fact, exist or offered any evidence that God does exist. No one has seen God. No one has personally spoken to God. Hence the evidence of the existence of God has not been established.

How can the court decide on the name of God and who has the exclusive right to this name before first establishing that God does, in fact, exist? If God does not exist then God would not have a name and, hence, there is no issue as to who owns that name. You cannot own something that does not exist, can you?

It is like a quarrel over ownership of, say, a piece of land. We go to court to argue about who is the real owner of that land. But that land must first of all exist. If that land does not exist and both sides cannot prove the existence of that land, then the legal ownership of that land does not arise. You cannot fight over a non-existent piece of land.

So, while we commend the court for its attempt at establishing the legal ownership of a certain item, both sides in the dispute must first of all prove to the court that the item being fought over does exist. Once that existence is proven then we take it to the next level -- who is the owner of that item.

It sounds weird that two groups of people go to court to fight over ownership of something that they cannot prove does, in fact, exist and that the court did not insist that existence must first of all be proven before ownership can be established.

I call this the presence of absence.


Too many implications

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 05:39 PM PDT

Nevertheless, churches have made the stand that they will continue to use the word in their services. As Association of Churches Sarawak (ACS) chairman Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok said, "Christians in Sabah and Sarawak continue to reverently worship their Allah until the Kingdom comes. What are you going to do about it?"

Sharon Ling, The Star

WE have been left with more questions than answers following the Court of Appeal's decision banning the Catholic weekly The Herald from using the word "Allah" in its Bahasa Malaysia publication.

Along with shock and disappointment at the ruling, there were immediate concerns about its implications, particularly for Christians in Sarawak and Sabah.

The bumiputra Christian community here has long used the word "Allah" to refer to God in the practice of their faith, whether in worship, prayer or Bahasa Malaysia and native-language Bibles.

Our use of "Allah" for hundreds of years predates the birth of Malaysia and surely comes under the religious freedom promised to Sarawak at the formation of the country.

So Christians are right to be concerned over the decision, which overturns a 2009 High Court ruling that the Home Ministry's ban on the use of the word was unlawful and unconstitutional as it violated Article 11 of the Consti- tution, which provides for freedom of religion.

The situation is not helped by the judges' finding that "the use of the name 'Allah' is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity", despite the well-documented history of its use in Sarawak and Sabah.

Nevertheless, churches have made the stand that they will continue to use the word in their services. As Association of Churches Sarawak (ACS) chairman Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok said, "Christians in Sabah and Sarawak continue to reverently worship their Allah until the Kingdom comes. What are you going to do about it?"

Various groups and politicians have tried to assure Christians in the two states that the court decision only applies to The Herald and does not affect them.

Now it appears that the Federal Cabinet has also decided that there will be no restrictions on Christians in Sabah and Sarawak using the word "Allah" in their services and Bibles.

On the face of it, this looks like a piece of assurance to be welcomed by the Christian community in the two Borneo states.

But a pair of Sarawakian lawyers have warned that it would be naive for us to accept such pronouncements.

According to Baru Bian, the decision is now a legal precedent for similar cases anywhere in Malaysia.

He said the controversy over using "Allah" had been affecting Sabahans and Sarawakians even before The Herald brought its case to court in 2009.

"May I remind you about two cases that are pending decisions in the High Court. The first case was brought by Borneo Evangelical Church Sabah against the Home Ministry in 2007 for confiscating its Malay-language Sunday school materials containing the word 'Allah'.

"The second concerns the 2008 government seizure of audio CDs belonging to Sarawakian Christian Jill Ireland Lawrence which also contain the word 'Allah'," he said in a statement.

Furthermore, he noted that thousands of native Christian Sarawakians and Sabahans who live and work in Peninsular Malaysia would be affected by the decision.

Baru's colleague See Chee How said it was a "fallacy" to think that the ban is confined to The Herald because the court decision did not specify such a limitation.

He made the point that the Cabinet, as the executive branch of Government, had no overriding power over the judiciary. In other words, the Cabinet cannot confine or restrict the enforceability of a court decision except by amending the law to annul or invalidate it.

"Where does it say in the judgement that it only applies to The Herald? So the Cabinet cannot say it affects The Herald only and does not apply in Sarawak and Sabah.

"The enforcement agencies can prohibit the use of the word in other Christian publications in Sarawak and Sabah based on the grounds of the judgement, regardless of what the Cabinet says. It would be very naive to accept what the Cabinet says or believe that the decision does not affect Sarawak and Sabah," he said.

See also said the most important thing Sarawakians could do now was to speak up on the issue.

"Sarawak has an important role to play in this matter. Because of our multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, we are unique and inherently a check and balance on racial politics.

"We must use our significant position to say we cannot have this kind of prejudice against any community in Malaysia. We should say we stand together with all other Christians in the peninsula. If we don't fight for this, no one else will," he said.

In the midst of the controversy, one thing is clear: We must not be silent but keep speaking up against injustice and prejudice. In doing so, let us steer clear of hatred and insults so as not to provoke greater intolerance, division and bigotry, but aim for reconciliation and unity while standing firmly for the right of every Ma- laysian to practise their respective faiths freely.


Anwar: Allah can be used with good intentions by non-Muslims

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 05:32 PM PDT

(Daily Express) - The word "Allah" can be used in a proper manner by anyone with good intentions, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said even as a row between Christians and Muslims over its use continued following Monday's Court of Appeal ruling which bars a Catholic newspaper from using it to describe God in in its Bahasa Malaysia newspaper.

Referring to the view of international Islamic scholar Yusuf Qardawi, Anwar said there were no prohibitions against the use of "Allah" if it is used in a proper manner and with good intentions.

"Now that the courts have decided, I would like to appeal to all to maintain their calm and not to allow religious zealots to further exploit this issue," he said in a press conference after visiting several mosques here.

Anwar said he believed that the whole issue would be exploited by Umno to make it look like it was defending the dignity of Muslims.

"If we look behind all these from the point of Islamic laws, it is not right to politicise this issue at all," he said.

The Permatang Pauh MP urged the public to respect the right to appeal against the recent decision by the Court of Appeal to quash an earlier High Court decision that had allowed the use of "Allah".

Anwar pointed out that even the Prophet Muhammad's father was named Abdullah which meant "a servant of Allah" even before the existence of Islam.

The PKR de facto leader said he understands why some Muslims are worried that Christians are using the word "Allah" to intentionally confuse Muslims.

"They have been misled by Umno into thinking that this is a ploy by Christians to convert Muslims so it is now our duty to explain to Muslims that it is not so," he said.

Instead of demonising, insulting and instigating people over this issue like what is purportedly being done now by Umno, Anwar said this issue should be handled calmly and explained in a proper manner to all Muslims so that there will not be any misunderstanding.

He said Pakatan Rakyat will be discussing this issue in a meeting today and leeway will be given to PAS to draft out a joint statement on the issue.

"Christian leaders, PAS and even I have been attacked repeatedly for our stand on this issue but my response is that however difficult it is to switch the thinking of Malays so as not to let them be exploited by Umno, we need the courage to continue pushing forward," he said.

The Court of Appeal ruled Monday against a 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.

The Allah row erupted in 2008 when the Home Ministry threatened to revoke the Herald's newspaper permit, prompting the Catholic Church to sue the government for violating its Constitutional rights.

In 2009, the High Court here upheld the Catholic Church's constitutional right to use the word "Allah", shocking Muslims who considered the word to only refer to the Muslim God.


CEC re-election not legitimate, claims DAP man

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 04:42 PM PDT

(NST) - The recent DAP central executive committee (CEC) re-election may be flawed, having failed to follow the party's constitution.

Taman Sri Sungai Pelek branch member Wong Yu Liuh alleged that the re-election, held on Sept 29, was not in accordance with the party's constitution, as it had to be held 10 weeks after noticed was served.

He said DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng had failed to adhere to the party's constitution by holding the re-election within four weeks.

"In the constitution, 10 weeks is stipulated.

"Members should be in agreement with chairman Karpal Singh.

"He had said a fresh CEC election was to be held in November.

"That would have been in accordance with the minimum 10 weeks stated in the constitution," he said yesterday.

Wong had earlier submitted a letter of complaint to Registrar of Societies (RoS) management director Desmond Das against Lim for not abiding by the party's constitution.

He said members were aware that the re-election had breached the constitution, as it was conducted as the CEC National Special Congress, instead of the National Congress, as directed by RoS.

"I hope that with the letter of complaint, RoS will act accordingly to investigate the matter before recognising the results of the CEC re-election."

Ali Rustam baffled at sedition charge, says only telling truth about Chinese

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 04:36 PM PDT

(TMI) - Umno vice-presidential candidate Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam (pic) has defended his controversial remarks accusing the Chinese of being involved in illegal businesses, which led to a police report being filed against him for sedition.

"I am just saying that the Chinese can run certain businesses that are haram for Muslims – casinos, lotteries, gambling and Ah Long (money lending services), he said.

"It is haram for Muslims to run these businesses although they have the permits to do so," he said.

He said his statement had been misunderstood and he was accused of insulting non-Muslims.

Kota Laksamana assemblyman Lai Kuen Ban lodged a report against him on October 9, and The Malaysian Insider yesterday reported that Kuala Lumpur police had launched a sedition probe on Mohd Ali.

Mohd Ali made the remarks at a Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad (PUNB) event on October 8 where he had criticised the Chinese for being allegedly involved in all "illegal businesses" in the country.

"We can't have casinos, 4D, Toto, gambling, lottery, massage parlours, ah long. These are all illegal. And the Chinese are the ones dabbling with all the illegal businesses," he was quoted as saying at the event.

Yesterday, he said he was baffled that his remarks were deemed seditious.

"The Chinese are running those businesses. How come they accused me of being racist? How can that be a racist statement when I'm only telling the truth?" he asked after meeting supporters at Kompleks Tabung Haji in George Town.

Mohd Ali questioned why police are investigating him when certain quarters such as DAP and Chinese educationist group Dong Zong "can say whatever they like".

"If I can't even talk about this, then what else can I say? Are you expecting me to say 4-D gambling and casinos are halal?" he asked



Court orders NST, MACC to pay lawyer RM300,000 in defamation suit

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 04:28 PM PDT

(The Star) - A High Court here has ordered The New Straits Times (NST) and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to pay lawyer Rosli Dahlan a total of RM300,000 in damages in a defamation suit filed by Rosli against them.

Justice Siti Khadijah S. Hassan Badjenid ordered NST and MACC to pay RM150,000 damages each and RM35,000 costs each.

Justice Siti Khadijah said the court found that the article was false and defamatory and the law presumed malice on the part of NST.

She said NST was motivated by commercial consideration in writing the articles and NST as the premier newspaper wanted to be known as leading newspaper in obtaining and publishing news.

She said NST article was written in such a manner not just to attract public attention by its sensational news but also to maintain its position among the public that it was the fastest in publishing the latest news.

"The court found that NST readers have been misinformed by the stint defamation in making the public believed that Rosli was not an ethical lawyer and had committed an offence by hiding a police officer's assets worth RM27mil," she said Friday.

Justice Siti Khadijah said by linking the article to MACC sources was also an offence under Section 21 (4) of the MACC Act as the news was untrue to confuse the public.

In his suit filed in Oct 2009, Rosli had named The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad, the then NST chief editor Zainul Ariffin Mohammed Isa, former NST reporter V. Anbalagan, Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), MACC and two senior MACC officers Shamsun Baharin Mohd Jamil and Zulkifli Hamzah.

Rosli said that NST had published two articles on Oct 12 and Oct 13, 2007 and following that the article was published in the MACC website and magazine.

The article on Oct 12 reported that ACA arrested a lawyer over undeclared assets worth RM27mil allegedly amassed by a senior police officer and the ACA was investigating the possibility that the assets were being held under Rosli's name.

Rosli said in their natural meaning, the words in the articles in NST and the MACC magazine were meant, among others, that he was unlawfully in possession of RM27mil worth of assets belonging to senior police officer Datuk Ramli Yusof.


Against Pakatan’s stand, Haron Din maintains ‘Allah’ only for Muslims

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 04:24 PM PDT

(MM) - PAS leader Datuk Haron Din has insisted that "Allah" belongs exclusively to Islam, contradicting Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) official stand that non-Muslims have the right to use the Arabic word to describe their god.

The Islamist party's deputy spiritual leader was quoted by Utusan Malaysia as saying that the Christians, who believed in "several gods", had no right to use "Allah" as the Arabic word meant "God All Mighty" or "The Only God".

"Those who transform Allah into three or two or anything else then the Allah term is damaged according to our understanding as well as their understanding," Haron, who is currently in Mecca,  Saudi Arabia, was quoted as saying.

"Therefore I invite all Muslims to express their gratitude to Allah because after a struggle that goes all the way up to the Court of Appeal, the sacred word Allah remains only for Islam.

"In other words, the sacred word is exclusively for Islam while the application of others have been prohibited by the courts," he added.

The PAS leader was also reported to have warned Muslims that the battle for "Allah" is yet to end as the Christians are set to challenge the ruling in the Federal Court.

Haron also expected the legal battle to drag on into the international arena.

"There remains one more battle arena left that is the Federal Court. Maybe there will be instructions (to challenge the ruling) or maybe Malaysia will not be the battlefield to defend Allah.

"Instead it will go to the International Courts. Maybe all the way there. Whatever it is Muslims who understand Islam as the agama tauhid (the religion of truth) must defend the sacred word," he was quoted as saying.

Yesterday the federal opposition bloc maintained its earlier view that non-Muslims can refer to God as "Allah", after the Court of Appeal ruled otherwise on Monday.

The opposition pact, represented by PKR's Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP's Lim Kit Siang and PAS' Datuk Mustafa Ali, said that it upheld its support for non-Muslims, as previously declared in January this year.

"We remain consistent with what we said earlier," Anwar told reporters at a joint press conference with Lim and Mustafa.

On Monday, the Court of Appeal ruled 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.

The ruling was censured in several international publications, such as Indonesian daily Jakarta Post, which wrote an editorial yesterday saying that "those who claim exclusivity to God undermine their own faith, and inadvertently or not, preach polytheism".

International current affairs magazine The Economist pointed out yesterday that Christians in the Middle East commonly refer to God as "Allah", and called the court verdict an "unhelpful contribution" to religious discourse between Muslims and Christians. 


Human rights a facade to destroy Islam, says Jakim in Friday sermon

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 04:20 PM PDT

(MM) - Complaints of human rights abuses against Malaysia are not genuine, and are part of a masquerade to push the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGT) agenda to undermine Islam, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) said in its Friday sermon today.

It also claimed there was a global liberal conspiracy to challenged the position of Islam in Malaysia and local rights groups were acting as its agents, pointing particularly towards Comango, a coalition of NGOs campaigning for LGBT rights.

"As of recently, there is a concerted plan undertaken by certain quarters on the name of human rights. It is undermining and challenging the principles of freedom allowed in Islam.

"It is not only moved by quarters in the country, but, with the advent of new media, these groups are getting the support of international liberal groups," read the sermon.

It pointed out that the groups like Seksualiti Merdeka, which is a part of Comango, are now planning to use next week's human rights convention in Geneva to submit reports of supposed human rights abuses in Malaysia.

"Among the demands are freedom of religion, recognition to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer person, questioning certain provisions in the Islamic family law that they claimed discriminate Muslim women, discrimination against syiah followers and protest against the ban of publications that violates syarak laws".

Jakim said this would ultimately threaten Islam's position as the country's official religion.

"The action and behaviour of those who are making the demands will soon be made the foundation for local human rights NGOs to capitalise and continue to confuse people and this can destroy the harmony and undermine Islam's special position," it said.

Yesterday Comango dismissed accusations by a Muslim group, identified only as "Muslim NGOs", that it was promoting unnatural sex and threatening the position of Islam in its human rights report.

"Our proposals to the Human Rights Council are within the framework of the Universal Declarations of Human Rights," Comango spokesman Honey Tan Lay Ean told a media briefing on the forthcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva.

The report, submitted to the UPR in March, would be a part of the council's review of Malaysia's human rights standing following Putrajaya's pledge to improve civil liberties in 2009.

Tan alleged Putrajaya had not been honest about its human rights record after reading the government's submission to the UPR council.

She cited the controversial amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act (PCA), which would restore the government's power for arbitrary detention, as an example.

"They repealed the Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance that saw the abolition of detention without trial. But it resurfaced in the form of the PCA," she said. 


‘Teach Christians a lesson, ban Malay bibles’

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 04:13 PM PDT

Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali says he has had enough of Malays being "trodden and spat on" by "ungrateful Christians" and wants the government to ban Malay bibles in retaliation 

Anisah Shukry, FMT

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak should ban the Malay bible the al-Kitab from Malaysia in retaliation for the Christian community's "ingratitude", right-wing Malay group Perkasa urged last night.

"We have been compromising, we have given them leeway. They wanted the Malay Bible, we allowed them to have it… they were still not satisfied," said its chief Ibrahim Ali said at the Perkasa Selangor Conference 2013 here.

"It is better that we urge the government and the prime minister to rescind its decision to allow Malay bibles in Malaysia!," he said to loud applause and roars of approval from the audience of about 500 of its members.

The Perkasa chief was responding to the Catholic Church's recent announcement that it would not give up its struggle for the rights to use the Arabic word 'Allah' in its weekly publication, The Herald.

This was after the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled on Monday that The Herald could not use the word 'Allah' on the basis that the word was "not integral" to the Christian faith.

Amid the backlash, ministers were quick to explain that the ban applied to The Herald alone, and not other Christian publications, including the al-Kitab, as per the Cabinet's 2011 decision – a decision that Ibrahim wanted amended.

"How long are we going to compromise, to give in? We have been trodden on, spat on but we would have been fine with that if they were grateful for our compromises. But they aren't!" said Ibrahim.



‘Who will defend Malay rights if not Umno?’

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 04:08 PM PDT

When Umno leaders touched on Malay rights or issues, they are branded as 'racists' when their true nature is to talk about the plight of their own race or religion. 

Hawkeye, FMT

Umno leaders on the election campaign trail should not be apologetic when dwelling on issues related to race or Islam because the party is founded on nationalism principles and to defend Malay rights, said supreme council candidate Musa Sheikh Fadzir.

Musa said nowadays when Umno leaders touched on Malay rights or issues, they were branded as "racists" when their true nature was to talk about the plight of their own race or religion.

"The tone may be seen by some, in particular opposition politicians, as racialism but the truth is that Umno is just defending Malay rights.

"If we do not speak out, who will do it? PKR is about justice and PAS is purely about Islam.

"We fought for Independence because we felt the Malay rights were trampled on under the colonial powers. Now, we are again fighting because we feel that in the economic aspect, the Malays continue to lag behind. Umno leaders come and go but our fundamental struggle is about Malay rights," he said.

He added that it was therefore unbecoming for certain quarters to accuse Umno of becoming a "racist" party in the present political context.

Musa said the same principle applied to MCA and MIC, which were founded to defend the rights of the Chinese and Indians respectively.

"Umno cannot help, but champion issues, which are important to the Malays. The issues also happen to be part of the Federal Constitution, such as the special rights of the Malays, the official religion of Islam and our economic stake," he said.

Musa said he was vying for a supreme council spot, not for personal pride, but on the need to voice out the plight of the Penang Malays.

"Even in the Barisan Nasional era (in Penang), the community is discriminated as they are the ones facing eviction due to shortage of land, poor job prospects and social ills which comes along with poverty," he said.



Intense campaign right to the end

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 04:02 PM PDT

The political careers of six of Umno's most prominent politicians are on the line in the contest for the Umno vice-president's posts which will be decided tomorrow.

Joceline Tan, The Star

IT is going to take a bit of adjusting for everyone to view Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein as a grandfather figure.

His daughter, who married at the time the Umno general assembly was taking place last year, is about to give him and his wife Datin Seri Tengku Marsilla Tengku Abdullah their first grandchild.

The 52-year-old Defence Minister will be the most boyish-looking grandfather in Umno by December.

But this grandfather-to-be has been going at the pace of a man half his age in his bid for a second term as an Umno vice-president.

The VP contest has not been this electrifying in decades.

The other incumbents are Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

Hishammuddin had started out on a strong note.

But things began to seem less predictable when Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad jumped into the ring.

But Hishammuddin received two crucial boosters this week. First, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin threw his clout behind him and, yesterday, Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil gave him a sort of restrained endorsement. Suddenly, he is looking like a possible winner again.

Hishammuddin has been explaining the perceptions formed about his role as the former Home Minister in the Lahat Datu intrusions.

At one session in Terengganu, a delegate had stood up to let loose a litany of complaints.

After the event, Hishammuddin joined the man and his friends for a smoke outside where they had a long discussion.

Sometimes, simple gestures work best and when the minister finally stood up to go, the man raised his hand and shouted several times, "Hidup, Datuk Hisham!".

Umno election season is when there is a role reversal in the party – people on the ground become the VIPs and the VIPs have to humble themselves and go around appealing for support.

It is a good reminder that power comes from the people.

All suggestions of a pact among the incumbents have evaporated and the trio are running their own campaigns.

Sources said an Umno official from Pekan had asked Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during an Umno meeting whether the Umno president had called for a status quo vote on the VP race.

Najib had apparently said he advocates an open contest and that delegates are free to choose.

All this has added to the complexity of the VP contest, making it hard to call. It is not going to be like last Saturday where anyone could tell who would win in the Wanita and Youth contests.

Zahid aside, it will be a pretty close finish for the other two seats. Zahid has run a clever campaign, combining his tough guy image as Home Minister with that of his political image as a Malay champion. The Chinese would probably say he is enjoying some good fengshui because everything is going his way.

It is quite evident by now that the Umno establishment, namely, the top leaders as well as many of divisional heads have an affinity with the incumbents and are rooting for them.

It is not surprising because politics is very much about alliances between people who can help advance each other's career.

Ali and Isa were part of this "big boys club" in the 2009 party election. Ali was then Malacca chief minister and Isa a federal minister. Both men are in their 60s and are basically riding on their likeability and past glories.

The question is whether all this will translate into enough votes for them to make it.

Mukhriz is a newcomer to the big game and it is no secret that some of the big boys are not ready to admit him to the club.

The Kedah Mentri Besar's strength lies largely with the women and the younger delegates. Of the five delegates or so from each Umno branch who will be voting this Saturday, three or 60% will comprise the Wanita, Youth and Puteri branch heads.

They see him as representative of the change that the Prime Minister talks about. Again, no one can really tell if the cheers and applause that have greeted him reflect the votes he will get.

An intense campaign is about to come to an end.

Hishammuddin, who began his campaign by calling on the Sultan of Johor and visiting his grandfather's grave, will be back in Semborong tonight. Others will return to their respective base camps for prayer sessions and to wait for the big day.


Umno polls: Five candidates fight for two remaining vice-president spots

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 03:58 PM PDT

(The Star) - The battle for the Umno vice-presidency is set to be a cliffhanger with only one clear winner in sight – incumbent Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, which leaves the other five candidates fighting for the two remaining spots.

The odds appear to be even for the five vying to be the second echelon in Umno.

While many are predicting that Dr Ahmad Zahid will easily secure one of the three positions, the large number of voting delegates – totalling 146,500 – has made it hard to predict who will fill the two remaining slots.

Last Saturday's elections saw delegates give sweeping victories to Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Wanita head Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, leaving the impression that the power of incumbency may favour Dr Ahmad Zahid as well as Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

However, the overwhelming response by delegates towards Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir and Datuk Seri Ali Rustam at the party's meet-the-candidates roadshow suggests that there could be changes to the status quo.

While Mukhriz, Ali and Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad may be the challengers, they are all political heavyweights, making the outcome tough to predict.

Mukhriz is the youngest of the six candidates and is seen as the face of change in Umno. The popularity of his father Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also helped his campaign.

Dr Ahmad Zahid, who was the top vice-president in the 2009 Umno election, is riding a wave of popularity after his tough and no-nonsense stance on crime.

Hishammuddin is credited with heading the committee that introduced the new election format giving an opportunity to more party members to decide on the leadership.

Shahrizat praised him at a Wanita gathering yesterday but stopped short of openly endorsing him unlike Khairy who gave him an unqualified endorsement and said the movement would support his re-election. The backing from the two wings will be crucial as they make up about 40% of the voters.

Shafie's portfolio as a two-term Rural and Regional Development Minister has made him popular among the country's Malay rural community, including many in the party grassroots.

Former Malacca Chief Minister Ali has gone on a platform of defending the position of the Malays, religion and the country.

Isa has been enjoying a new high profile as Felda chairman. More than 50 Umno divisions are involved in Felda schemes and that is where his strength lies.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said support from the delegates would enable him to carry out his heavy responsibilities as Home Minister in these challenging times.

Hishammuddin has been on a tireless mission throughout the country to clear misconceptions that he was a weak leader and to explain his role during the Lahad Datu incident.

Shafie said he was not just relying on support from his home state and was confident that Umno members in the peninsula appreciate the role Sabah Umno played in delivering seats during GE13.

Mukhriz and Ali said all the candidates had their strong points, putting them on almost equal footing in the eyes of the voters.

Isa urged delegates to vote for leaders who will remain loyal to the party through its ups and downs.


Umno veeps to spearhead GE14 campaign

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 03:52 PM PDT

Dr Ahmad Zahid said general election preparations were the key priority for all 68 candidates vying for the vice-presidency as well as seats in the supreme council, Umno's top decision-making body.

(The Star) - The three Umno vice-presidents who will be voted in tomorrow face a heavy responsibility – they will be tasked with spearheading the party's charge at the next general election.

Vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is defending his position said the new team would be put in charge of boosting support for the party especially among urban Malays, a key target for Umno in the next elections, which could be a make-or-break one for Barisan Nasional.

"Whoever is going to be there as the number three in Umno will be given a bigger responsibility," Dr Ahmad Zahid said.

The party's three vice-presidents are the third in line in the party hierarchy after president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said it was important that Umno steps up efforts to win over Malays living in the major towns and cities as the country was becoming increasingly urbanised.

He said that 60% of Malaysia's 13.2 million voters were in urban areas and many would return to vote in rural constituencies, giving them a big political clout in those places, too.

"Not enough attention is given to wooing urbanites. If we are not careful, we may even lose in the next elections," he said.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said general election preparations were the key priority for all 68 candidates vying for the vice-presidency as well as seats in the supreme council, Umno's top decision-making body.

"This is no ordinary party election," he said.

"The Umno polls is also important for the party to promote its best people to serve as leaders and to inject new ideas on how to woo support from voters."

Dr Ahmad Zahid who had conducted numerous in-house research projects for Umno on the matter, noted how the Opposition often tried new approaches in reaching out to target groups, especially using social media.

"The incoming line-up must be able to help Umno manage public opinion on issues affecting the Government to win support for Barisan," he said.


Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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