- The KJ factor in vice-presidents' race
- The Historical Facts of Princess Hang Li Po, Queen to Sultan Mansur Shah of the Melaka Sultanate!
- Allah Issue: Beginning of the End of Malaysia Unless …
- US secretary of state hails autocratic Malaysian government
- Alorie Lepa Lepa Resort – just another mega tourism and investment scam?
- We have discussed this before
- PAS respects court's decision to ban 'Allah' in The Herald
- DAP on the warpath, warns members with “BN hearts” and BN-controlled media it will act
- 'Outright cheating' at DAP elections
- Sending mixed signals ... again
- Use of Allah not a Christian conspiracy to convert Muslims, says DAP
- Court of Appeal judges influenced by right-wing forces in Allah issue, says PAS lawmaker
- After RoS woes, DAP MP asks if agency will order fresh Umno polls
- Who is confused over Allah?
- Allah issue: Find solution or face communal friction
- PAS: We did lose rural Malay votes but…
- What’s next? The banning of Sikh Holy Book?
- Understanding liberalism
- Progressives and Umno politics
- Jakim, simply being stunningly stupid
- Malaysia court rules 'Allah' only for Muslims
- Appeal Court inept judgment based on internet research
Posted: 15 Oct 2013 11:12 AM PDT
Posted: 15 Oct 2013 11:07 AM PDT
Such is the myopia our Professors Emeritus and historians suffer from. The are just too plain lazy to take a shovel and dig for the truth, preferring instead the more wholly agreeable and pleasurable pursuit of inertia and somnambulence in the cosy, air-conditioned offices of our sleepy halls of 'academia.'
If we were to exclude the knowledge of the existence and details of legends and myths from our history books, then, not only would Greeks, Egyptians, Jews, Chinese, Indians and others be robbed of a rich heritage, so too would the world. Legends and myths are not based on mere conjecture and the dreams of the Homers, Vyasas, Valmikis and the like. Much of their stories are based on actual places and events, though embellished with fantastic feats and stories of the adventures of Gods, supermen and super evil-men and women and of heroes, heroines and villains. Many of these stories while exploring universal human values, behaviour and themes, also give us glimpses of the world as it was thousand of years ago. Who really knows what happened in the past, in pre-historic times?
Archaeologist Hans Schliemann (CLICK HERE) believed that the Iliad and Odyssey were based on actual historical events and staked his life on it. He went on to discover in the 1870's near what is now modern Turkey, Troy, the 3,000-years old city of fabulous treasures where the married Greek Queen Helen of Sparta, of 'the face that launched a thousand ships' fame, had been taken to by her lover, Paris, who had seduced and/or abducted her. This one act by Paris triggered off the Trojan Wars and the 10-year long siege of Troy, resulting in its eventual destruction by the Greeks. How the pulse quickens at the mention of Achilles, Hector, Odysseus, Priam, Paris, Helen, Cassandra and the Trojan Horse, and how to "beware of Greeks bearing gifts!"
The boy Arthur Evans's (CLICK HERE) imagination had been fired by the stories from the Iliad and the Odyssey. As an archaeologist, he discovered the remains of the Knossos Palace on the Greek island of Crete and proof of the existence of the ancient Minoan civilization. Underground tunnels directly beneath the palace gives credence to the old story of the youthful and brave hero Theseus who was said to have defeated the half man, half bull and man-eating beast called the Minotaur!
Many towns such as Dwaraka, Ayodhya and Kurushetra are mentioned in the 5,000-year old texts of the Ramayana and Mahabharatha. (CLICK HERE) (AND HERE). Two sites explored in the 19th century by Hirananda Shastri and DR Bhandarkar of the Archaeological Society of India were declared to be of no historical significance. Later expeditions in the 1920's, led by Sahni, Banerji, Bandhyopadhyay and John Marshall, established Harappa and Mohenjodaro (Mound of the Dead),(CLICK HERE) (AND HERE) both now located in modern Pakistan, as two of the world's earliest urban settlement. The 5,000-over year old Indus Valley Civilization is possibly even older than that of Babylon and China.
Closer to home, the 2nd century Indian Hindu-Buddhist Bujang Valley (and also the Kedah Annals or Merong Mahawangsa) was discovered in the 1860's by Colonel James Low, and explored in detail in 1937-38 by Quaritch Wales from London and Professor Nilakanta Shastri of India. Since then, has any local historian searched for gold chariots and treasures mentioned in the Kedah Annals in the hills surrounding the Bujang Valley?
Posted: 15 Oct 2013 10:35 AM PDT
If the PM accepts the reasoning of the Muslim NGO, it is time to start dis-engagement talks and allow Sabah and Sarawak to depart Malaysia and the Peninsula can revert back to Persekutuan Tanah Melayu by itself.
Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, Chairman, STAR Sabah
"It's not the Court of Appeal ruling but the non-action and continued policies of the Umno/BN ruling regime that will cause the ultimate demise and break-up of Malaysia unless the Prime Minister and Umno/BN show a genuine and sincere all-encompassing transformation of government and politics of inclusiveness and reconciliation" said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief in response to the Court decision to ban the The Herald from referring and using "Allah".
The PM and his federal government needs to be reminded that the issue started with the then Home Minister in banning the reference to Allah arising from the Minister's discretionary powers under the Printing Presses and Publications Act, 1984. It was an unequivocal act of the ruling Umno/BN government.
Religious freedom was so important that the natives in the interiors of Sabah erected a Stone Monument, known today as the Batu Sumpah in Keningau, to etch into perpetuity such freedom. If not for these promises, there is no Malaysia today.
Posted: 15 Oct 2013 10:29 AM PDT
(World Socialist Web Site) - The US secretary of state declared that Washington was prepared to "be both flexible and creative in order to help countries" meet the US timetable of an agreement by the end of 2013.
US Secretary of State John Kerry used his brief stopover in Kuala Lumpur last Friday to heap praise on the autocratic government of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Kerry made the visit after President Obama called off his tour of South East Asia, including summits in Bali and Brunei, as a result of the ongoing government shutdown in Washington. Obama's visit to Malaysia would have been the first by a US president since 1966. The US focus on Malaysia and South East Asia is part of the Obama administration's "pivot to Asia"—a comprehensive diplomatic, economic and military strategy aimed at reasserting US dominance in the region against potential rivals, particularly China.
Kerry used his short trip, including a speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, to lionise the country's Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government. He praised Malaysia as an example for multi-racial and multi-faith democracies around the world. Malaysia, he said, was "more than a market place. It is a human and economic mosaic—and it is a model for the world."
Kerry's "model" democracy is one in which Najib's United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has ruled continuously through various coalitions since the country gained formal independence in 1957. Successive UMNO-led governments have clung to power through the ruthless use of police-state measures against opponents and racial-based discrimination in favour of ethnic Malays against large minorities of ethnic Chinese and Indians.
For Najib, Washington's support has been a political lifeline. In May, the BN government suffered its worst ever result, gaining 47 percent of the popular vote, compared to 50 percent for the Peoples Alliance (PA) led by Anwar Ibrahim. Due to a substantial gerrymander and alleged electoral fraud, the BN won 89 seats in the 123-member lower house of parliament and retained power.
The outcome provoked PA-led rallies throughout Malaysia involving hundreds of thousands, the largest demonstrations in Malaysia's history. Opposition leader Anwar was clearly looking for international backing to force Najib to relinquish power or make concessions, but received none. Obama personally backed the BN "win" and the US State Department brushed aside electoral "irregularities" as an internal matter.
Similarly, the US has ignored the ongoing legal persecution of Anwar, whose acquittal on bogus sodomy charges in January 2012 is now being challenged by state prosecutors. The frame-up was launched in 2008 in a bid to behead the opposition PA coalition. Najib, who met with the chief prosecution witness before the case, has attempted to posture as a democratic reformer. He "abolished" the draconian Internal Security Act, only to imbed its anti-democratic powers, including detention without trial, in other legislation.
Read more at: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/10/15/mala-o15.html
Posted: 15 Oct 2013 10:19 AM PDT
This certainly does not augur well for the Visit Malaysia Year 2014. How does the State government expect us tour operators to promote the Mabul Island which is now as good as ruined, ironically by a dubious project of its namesake?
Note: The following expose was emailed to us today with a brief that the scam might be perpetrated by high-powered people.
"Your garden will be made of corals and when you wake up in the morning, you'll have the pristine sea of Mabul Island and Celebes Sea in front of you!".
These were the exact words of Jean Marc Lafosse, Founder and CEO of Alorie Hospitality during an interview with Astro Awani's "In Reality" program on 11 April 2012, to promote the Alorie Lepa Lepa Resort which is located on the world-famous Mabul Island and some 20 kilometres away from Malaysia's 'crown jewel' diving resort – Sipadan Island.
During the said interview, Laffose also disclosed that the RM200 million five-star resort on Mabul Island that is being developed by Sabah-based Jewel of Mabul Development Sdn Bhd (Jewel of Mabul) was supposed to be completed in January 2014.
A project listed under the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's much-publicised Economic Transformation Program (ETP), it is among the other initiatives identified to serve as catalysts to establish Semporna as Borneo's Marine Paradise. The other initiaties are the Sipadan Mangrove Resort, and Mount Conner Tourism Hub.
Unfortunately, when a group of us (Sabah-based tour operators) visited the project site recently to check out the progress of the project whether it would be ready to carter for our guests during next year's Visit Malaysia Year, we were shocked by what we found there. The place was riddle with thousand of huge concrete piling columns protruding from the seabed out to the water surface, spanning about 1 kilometer long, from one end to another.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 07:52 PM PDT
In short, the entire Bible has been translated from, say, Latin or Greek, into, say, Bahasa Malaysia. But then one word in that translation (God) that was originally in Latin (Deus) or Greek (Theos) has been translated not into Bahasa Malaysia (Tuhan) but into Arabic (Allah).
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
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.
Like the history of most religions, the history of Islam is complex and much debated. But there are a few elements that are not in dispute, chief among them that the God of the Quran is the same as the God of the Bible and of the Torah before it. The mission of Islam, as expressed in the Quran, is not to bring a new faith, but to update the messages of the monotheistic faiths before it.
It is therefore surprising to see, as The National reports today, that a Malaysian court has ruled that a Christian newspaper may not use the word "Allah" to refer to God. The court overturned a previous decision by a lower court, ruling that "Allah" as a term is not exclusive to Islam. This causes a problem for the country's substantial Christian minority, who have used the word "Allah" to refer to God for decades.
In a fellow Muslim country with substantial Christian and Hindu populations, this feels like the wrong decision. The UAE is rightly proud of its society that allows people from all over the world to practise their faiths openly and without discrimination. Indeed, that inclusiveness is inherent in Islam.
One of the reasons Islam was able to spread so far, so rapidly, was the inclusive nature of the faith: for at least two centuries after the coming of Islam, the Arabs ruled vast regions where the majority were not Muslims. 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.
That remains the case today. 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. That also applies to the Jews of the Arab world, who for centuries have prayed to "Allah". The Quran itself is explicit on this subject, declaring, in Surah Al Ankabut, that Muslims should tell People of the Book (Christians and Jews) that "our God and your God is one".
The Malaysian decision overlooks not merely the theology, but also the etymology of the word. The word "Allah" is derived from the Arabic "al-ilah", the god. It's found its way across the world and entered Malay from Arabic.
Arabic as a language is a vehicle for faith, be that Christianity, Judaism or Islam. The God of the three monotheistic religions is the same god. It is unsurprising, therefore, that all three faiths in the Arabic-speaking world (and beyond) refer to God as "Allah". And if they have the same God, they should have the right to call their deity by the same name. -- The National UAE
Allow me to repeat what I have already written before.
The term Allah is derived from a contraction of the Arabic definite article al (the) and ilah (deity). The name was previously used by pagan Meccans as a reference to a creator deity, the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia.
In pre-Islamic Arabia, amongst pagan Arabs, Allah was not considered the sole divinity, having associates and companions, sons and daughters -- a concept that was deleted under the process of Islamisation.
The Aramaic word for God in the language of Assyrian Christians is Elaha, or Alaha. Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word 'Allah' to mean 'God'. The Christian Arabs of today have no other word for 'God' than 'Allah'.
Okay, so what is my take on the latest controversy surrounding the Allah word?
First of all, the word 'Allah' was used as a reference to God long before Islam. In fact, before the coming of Islam, Allah was the 'chief God' who had many subordinate-Gods plus sons and daughters. Now, of course, since the coming of Islam, Allah means the one and only God.
Secondly, Muslims, especially Malaysian Muslims, practice Islam in Arabic, so to speak. They pray in Arabic plus they read the Arabic version of the Quran (before they even go to school). Some even dress as Arabs.
Some Malaysian Muslims, in fact, frown upon those who read translations of the Quran and insist that the Quran must be read only in Arabic -- hence one must learn Arabic to understand the Quran (plus to understand your Arabic prayers) rather than read a translation of the Quran.
So, to most Malaysian Muslims, there is no translation to the word 'Allah'. The name of the one and only God is Allah. This is the Muslim word for God and no other word may be used as a reference to God. Hence the view of most Malaysian Muslims is that Allah 'belongs' to Islam and is the exclusive Muslim name for God.
But what about those non-Muslim Arabs who also use the 'Allah' word as their reference to God?
Well, that is the main issue here. Those are Arabic speaking non-Muslims. So they also use the Arabic word 'Allah' as the name for God. But non-Muslim Malaysians do not speak Arabic. They speak non-Arabic languages. So the argument would be: why do they want to use the Arabic word (Allah) for God when they are not speaking Arabic but are, in fact, speaking, say, Bahasa Malaysia?
If, say, the Malaysian Christians speak Arabic, then it would make sense that they also use the Arabic word (Allah) for God. But since they are speaking English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese, Tamil, or one of the native languages of East Malaysia (and are not speaking Arabic), then why use the Arabic word (Allah) as the name of God?
In short, the entire Bible has been translated from, say, Latin or Greek, into, say, Bahasa Malaysia. But then one word in that translation (God) that was originally in Latin (Deus) or Greek (Theos) has been translated not into Bahasa Malaysia (Tuhan) but into Arabic (Allah).
In the original Latin or Greek version of the Bible, the word 'Allah' is not used as the name for God. But after translating the Latin or Greek version of the Bible into Bahasa Malaysia, one word, God, has been translated into Arabic. If the entire Latin or Greek version of the Bible is translated into Arabic, then it makes sense that the Arabic word for God would be translated as Allah.
This is what has upset the Malaysian Muslims. The Bible has not been translated into Arabic. It has been translated into Bahasa Malaysia. But instead of using the Bahasa Malaysia word for God they go and use the Arabic word when the Bible is not in Arabic but in Bahasa Malaysia.
Not going to be an easy issue to resolve, isn't it? Well, that is religion for you. And when both sides think they are right there is not going to be an easy resolution in sight. At the end of the day it is going to be politics that will decide what happens.
And trust me on this. This is all about politics and not about religion.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 06:44 PM PDT
Aaron Ngui, The Sun
PAS respects the decision of the Court of Appeal to bar The Herald from using the word "Allah" to refer to God. PAS vice president Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the decision of the court was respected by the Islam-based political party.
"At the same time, PAS also respects the right of the Church to appeal the ruling," he told theSun when contacted.
However, the Pokok Sena MP declined to comment further when pressed on the issue which has triggered debate on the Federal Constitution and freedom of religion in Malaysia.
The appellate court three-men bench, led by Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Alihad, on Monday allowed the government's appeal to set aside a 2009 High Court decision to allow the weekly to use the word "Allah".
The judgment comes after the Roman Catholic Church led by Archbishop Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam filed a judicial review on 2010 to seek among others, a declaration that the Home Ministry's prohibition to use the word was illegal.
Also on the same page was Penang Islamic Religious Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim who urged people to abide by the ruling.
"We have no choice but to abide by the ruling but we are closely following any future developments," he said when contacted.
Meanwhile, the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) expressed its disappointment over the ruling as it appeared that all Christian publications in the national language would be affected.
CFM chairman Reverend Dr Eu Hong Seng said the court had ignored the position of Christians in East Malaysia who used Bahasa Malaysia for worship and service.
He pointed out that churches using the word to refer to God had done so before and after Merdeka, noting that it was not an issue all those years.
He said the authorities who made an issue out of the matter as well as the selective action or inaction have only fueled misunderstandings and mistrusts among the Christians and Muslims in the country.
"As Malaysian Christians we are committed to our beloved nation and our love for Malaysia remains steadfast and we continue to respond with love and not hatred," he said in a statement.
Penang Gerakan Human Rights and Legal Bureau chief Baljit Singh said such matters should have been handled by "men of the cloth" (clerics and priests) and not "men in robes" (judges).
He said the issue should not have gone to the courts for a decision in the first place as religion was a personal matter.
"God should be kept out of court and politics," he told theSun when contacted.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 05:42 PM PDT
Rita Jong, TMI
DAP is ready to wage war against the Barisan Nasional-controlled media and against its own members who are out to sabotage the party, said its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (pic) today.
The party has directed its national organising secretary Anthony Loke, who is also the Seremban MP, to investigate and take disciplinary action against party members who "wear the Rocket badges but have BN hearts" and try to destroy DAP.
"Loke will submit a formal complaint and if there is basis for further action, it will be brought up to the party's disciplinary committee headed by DAP deputy chairperson and Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai."
Lim also said DAP's legal bureau head and Puchong MP, Gobind Singh Deo, will also take legal action against BN-controlled media, like the New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia, who continue to defame the party.
"Gobind will study the statements published in these newspapers and decide whether to file defamation suits against them to protect the party from being subjected to further attacks that may give opportunity for oppressive action by the Registrar of Societies (RoS)," he said in a statement.
"DAP has to take firm action and protect the party from these lies of cheating to repel BN and its media, New Straits Times and Utusan Malaysia's shameless tactics of 'turning a lie into the truth by repeating it 10,000 times'.
"The public has lost count of the number of times both the media have apologised to Pakatan Rakyat leaders to settle suits out of court."
Lim pointed out that DAP had created history by being the first political party in Malaysia to appoint an international accounting firm to monitor its election process last month, from the issuance of notices, to delegates, to the counting of ballots.
DAP held a fresh election on September 29 after the RoS had directed the party to do so after ruling there were irregularities in its elections last December.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 05:36 PM PDT
MANIPULATION: 450 'observers' allowed to vote in CEC polls, says ex-veep
(NST) - A FORMER DAP vice-chairman has alleged some 450 observers were allowed to vote in the party's recent re-election exercise of its central executive committee (CEC).
Zulkifli Mohd Noor claimed the CEC had cheated by "upgrading" the status of the observers, from 120 divisions, to allow them to manipulate the outcome of the Sept 29 re-election exercise.
"DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was aware of this and he allowed it to happen. By right, he should not be getting the 1,301 votes but he was saved by the 450 'delegates'," he told reporters here yesterday.
Zulkifli, who is also Bayan Baru DAP division chairman, said the CEC should have used the original delegates' list for the re-election exercise.
"The cheating was obvious. Lim and the CEC have brought shame to the party. This outright cheating should have never happened."
He said the party's disciplinary committee should issue show-cause letters to Lim and the other CEC members.
"The Registrar of Societies should also investigate."
It was reported that Kluang member of parliament Liew Chin Tong came up tops in the re-election exercise while Guan Eng and his father, Lim Kit Siang, dropped to second and fifth places respectively.
The Lims occupied the two top spots in the first polls last December.
However, there were no surprises in the CEC re-election results as all 20 previously elected members retained their spots.
The polls saw 2,576 members from about 1,000 branches voting at a hotel in Petaling Jaya.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 05:20 PM PDT
Lessons over the weekend may point the way on what to expect in the Umno elections on Oct 19.
Karim Raslan, The Star
UMNO elections are never boring, despite the fact that this year the top two posts remain uncontested.
The vastly expanded voter base and new election system is terra nova for Umno. What hasn't changed is the tension of the smoke-filled halls of the PWTC of elections gone by.
With the weekend's leadership contests for the party's three wings – Pemuda, Wanita and Puteri – Umno delegates have once again proved that the party can still surprise, confuse and yes, disappoint.
On one hand, delegates retained the progressive, if divisive Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin whilst also anointing Masjid Tanah MP Mas Ermieyati Samsuddin as the new Puteri head.
Khairy resisted the racial rhetoric of his challengers and remained rooted to the ideological centre.
This paid off as seen by his clean sweep of all the Youth divisions and it gives him the opportunity to remould Pemuda.
While it may infuriate certain retired Umno leaders, ultimately this is good for the party: it gives it a fighting chance to regain the centrist, urban and youth votes it has struggled with and largely lost.
Progressives like Khairy are essential for Umno's future.
It needs to move out of its rural heartlands. If it wants to do so, it needs leaders like Khairy, who more than tripled his majority in Rembau in the last elections where others plummeted.
It will also force Rafizi Ramli and Nurul Izzah to redouble their energies because Khairy is the only Umno leader capable of shaking their hold of the younger Malay mindset.
At the same time, the Puteris have struggled to shine at national level.
Mas Ermieyati who had campaigned intelligently, focusing on the need to restore confidence in the wing will give them a second chance.
Indeed, it's reassuring that Umno's younger members have spoken so boldly when the ladies in red (Wanita Umno) have appeared so unconcerned with public opinion.
It's a shame that Shahrizat Abdul Jalil – who deserves to be congratulated for her victory and political acumen – didn't also see fit to run in the last general election. Victory in the general election would have silenced her critics.
As such (and this despite her strength in the party), she remains a weakened and controversial figure on the broader national stage.
Wanita showed great courage by refusing to be dictated to (especially by men) when they elected their leaders.
Despite what many Umno diehards feel, being popular amongst the general public is a good thing.
So what – if anything – did last weekend tell us about what's going to happen on Oct 19?
First: There's clearly some sort of an inter-generational shift going on within the party. Whilst the younger members want to move to the centre and reconnect with new constituencies, the older members are firmly focused on the above-mentioned Umno bubble (or is it a tempurung?) – a world where the only things that matter are Utusan Malaysia, Putrajaya, TV3 and the 38th Floor of the PWTC.
Second: Delegates don't like to be told who to vote for – which explains why the top two office-holders have not released their "laundry lists" or "menus" so to speak.
Third: Umno voters remain cautious and conservative. Having invested years, if not decades in building their respective networks, they're unwilling to jettison the personalities they've spent years if not decades supporting – ergo the party's love affair with what it sees as "gradual change".
Rocking the boat? No way.
Fourth: Whilst Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is still wildly respected and adored by party members, his influence on the delegates may well have been over-estimated. He is a catalyst – pushing and cajoling his "flock" into action – but no more.
However, when it comes to the details, the members will do exactly what they want, when they want.
What else would explain Khairy and Shahrizat's sweeping victories when neither of the two were Dr M's favourites.
Fifth: With more than 146,500 delegates voting under the new electoral system, it's impossible to meet all the delegates face-to-face. This has necessitated a much more mediagenic series of campaigns, with an emphasis on public perception of a candidate's achievements and potential.
It's to be hoped that this more modern and open process will equip Umno for the challenges of 2018 (or whenever the next elections are) as the built advantages of being "parti kerajaan" (i.e. a compliant media, control of government machinery, etc.) become less and less useful in the face of technological change.
As Umno members re-group to deal with the vice-presidential and supreme council contests, it's important for them to remember that they are selecting their line-up for 2018.
Again, those who are popular within Umno may not be vote-winners in the broader community. Losers are losers, winners are winners and Umno, if it wants to survive, needs to move with the times and dump the losers.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 05:09 PM PDT
Jennifer Gomez, TMI
The court's decision banning the word Allah from the Bahasa Malaysia section of Catholic weekly Herald could have wider implications on other Christian reading materials, an opposition politician warned today.
DAP's Serdang MP, Dr Ong Kian Ming (pic), said the grounds of judgment by the three judges implied that the ban could be easily extended to all Christian publications, including the Al-Kitab, or any other material printed in native languages.
"To say that the use of the word Allah is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity shows a complete lack of understanding of Bumiputera Christian practices as they have been using the word in their prayers, songs and scriptures for generations," he said in a statement today.
Ong also hit out at Judge Datuk Mohd Zawawi Salleh who, he said, had done a great disservice to the Christian community by "liberally quoting Christian sources from outside Malaysia to explain that even some Christians did not agree to the use of the word".
"In liberally quoting sources, including an opinion piece by a Brutus Balan which appeared on a website run by Daniel Pipes, a well-known right wing US academic, as well as Fox News, is a great disservice upon himself," he said.
Ong also highlighted a point in Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali's judgment, saying it implied that the use of the word in the Herald was a potential threat to the peace and harmony which exists in Malaysia.
"This is despite the fact that such a threat has never surfaced in Sabah and Sarawak where Bumiputera Christians have been using the word for generations," Ong said.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 05:03 PM PDT
V. Anbalagan, TMI
An opposition lawmaker believes that the three Court of Appeal judges were influenced by right-wing Muslim groups when they unanimously banned the word Allah from being used in the Bahasa Malaysia section of the Catholic weekly, the Herald.
PAS's Parit Buntar MP, Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pic), an advocate of interfaith dialogue, said the decision was a setback to interfaith relations and that right-wing forces were responsible for the current predicament.
Malay rights groups Perkasa, Jalur Tiga and Pertubuhan Pembela Islam have been at the forefront of protests against the use of the word Allah in this issue.
The Court of Appeal, which allowed the appeal by Putrajaya to reverse an earlier High Court ruling that the Herald could use the word, relied on religious and political reasons to come up with yesterday's decision, said Mujahid.
A three-man bench led by Datuk Seri Mohamed Apandi Ali said the name Allah was not an integral part of the Christian faith and practice.
The court said it found no reason why the church was so adamant in wanting to use the name Allah.
Apandi said such usage, if allowed, would inevitably cause confusion within the community, adding that the welfare of an individual or group must give way to the majority community.
Mujahid, who is also a PAS central committee member, said he respected the court decision but disagreed with the way the issue was handled by Putrajaya.
"There has been a lot of media coverage by the government media, representing the extreme right-wing views. These are people who are not able to understand the need for interfaith relationship. They were given attention as if they represent the whole (Muslim) society, which is not the case," Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.
The son of former PAS president Yusof Rawa said he begged to differ on the threat of proselytization among Muslims as highlighted by the judges.
He said this only went to indicate that the followers of Islam were weak.
Mujahid said Muslims should protect other faiths to ensure freedom of religion and show others that there was no compulsion in Islam.
"We should see the bigger picture. But the decision only meant that people of all faiths cannot be united if we continue to be like this," he said.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 04:52 PM PDT
(MM) - DAP lawmaker Teo Nie Ching today challenged the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to declare Umno's junior elections last Saturday as "illegitimate" following allegations of irregularities such as missing ballot papers.
The Kulai MP pointed out today the Barisan Nasional (BN) lynchpin's polls were marred by more issues that the vote-tallying error that led the RoS to order the DAP to conduct a new round of elections for its central executive committee (CEC).
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 04:44 PM PDT
Christians are not confused. Some Muslims, not all, are.
K Pragalath, FMT
In delivering his verdict yesterday, Justice Zawawi Salleh stated that there would be confusion among Muslims and Christians if Catholic publication The Herald continues to translate God as Allah.
"If the word Allah is to be employed in the Malay versions of The Herald to refer to God, there will be a risk of misrepresentation of God within Christianity.
"This is because the Christian concept of God as symbolised by the Trinity is absolutely and completely dissimilar to the concept of Allah in Islam.
"The potential for confusion is not confined only to Muslims but also to Christians," said Zawawi in his written judgment.
The decision to block The Herald from using Allah's name was a unanimous decision made by Zawawi Salleh, Apandi Ali and Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim.
Going by the various Christian groups that opted to seek a legal recourse in this case, I do not see Christians as being confused over the usage of Allah. In court yesterday were representatives of different Christian denominations.
Father Lawrence Andrew and Emeritus Archbishop Soter Fernandez are Catholics. However Council of Churches general secretary Hermen Shastri is Methodist. Sidang Injil Borneo that had a watching brief in court belongs to the Evangelical Christian Church.
Now that I have established that the Christians are not confused over Allah's name, let's look at the Muslim groups.
There were, among others, the Malaysian Chinese Muslim Association (MACMA), Malay rights group Perkasa and Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA).
ISMA's second vice president (II) Abdul Rahman Md Dali even accused Christians of "constantly hatching plots to separate Islam from the Muslims".
Media reports stated there were about 200 Malay Muslim crowd at the steps of Palace of Justice that performed prayers, thanking Allah for a judgment that favoured them.
However it must be noted here that the Muslim groups and the 200 odd crowd do not represent the majority of the Muslims. Groups such as Perkasa would not gel with Muslim NGOs such as, for example, Sisters in Islam.
So now, who is confused? And why is there such a confusion when Islamic studies have been part of
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 04:37 PM PDT
The issue, if remained unsolved, would spark a communal friction between Christians and Muslims in the country, says Tan Keng Liang.
Athi Shankar, FMT
Kedah Gerakan Youth has urged the Barisan Nasional supreme council to take a firm and fair stand on the 'Allah' issue soon.
Out-going head Tan Keng Liang wants BN leadership to reach an amicable solution to resolve the contentious matter after seeking views of all its 13 component parties.
He said this in an e-statement in response to the Court of Appeal (COA) decision yesterday to stop the Catholic weekly periodical The Herald from using the term 'Allah' in its Bahasa Malaysia publication as a reference to 'God'.
The COA reached the decision after the Home Ministry had appealed against a High Court ruling to allow the word to be used in the publication.
Tan said the debacle occurred after the Home Minister exercised his discretion under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 to impose the 'Allah' prohibition.
Pointing out that Christians from Borneo states had been using the term 'Allah" for a very long time, he said the government should have considered those facts seriously before taking legal action.
He cautioned that the issue, if remained unsolved, would spark a communal friction between Christians and Muslims in the country.
He said the government should always consult with all BN components and take into account views of all communities before endorsing a national policy or legislation.
"Such issue wouldn't have arisen if the views of all BN component parties, in particular those from Sabah and Sarawak have been sought before the decision being made," he said.
"The BN supreme council should convene a meeting at the soonest possible to resolve this issue," insisted Tan, who is vying for the position of national Gerakan Youth chief in the coming party election.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 04:34 PM PDT
Party vice president Salahuddin Ayub says while they may have lost some rural votes, PAS had made inroads in states such as Johor and Terengganu.
G Vinod, FMT
PAS vice president Salahuddin Ayub attributed the party's losses at the Malay rural heartland due to lack of information dissemination.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with FMT, Salahuddin said that PAS failed to counter the negative portrayal against the party via the BN-controlled mainstream media in the last general election.
"We faced a lot of problem from mainstream media. Barisan Nasional (BN) used the race and religious card as a weapon against us.
"Having said that, we also failed to counter the negative perception. Our machinery in the rural area did not work as well as we thought it would," he said.
In the last general election, PAS grabbed 21 parliamentary seats, as opposed to the 23 it won in 2008. Its allies in Pakatan Rakyat, DAP and PKR gained 38 seats and 30 respectively.
Elaborating on that point, Salahuddin said that PAS grassroots failed to counter BN's propaganda on the mainstream media that claimed the Islamic party was only a minor player in the Pakatan fold.
"We lacked party branches and machinery to counter the negative perception in rural areas. Moving forward, we need to address this. The party will set up more branches in the rural areas to welcome more members," he said.
Salahuddin added that while they have lost some rural votes in states like Negeri Sembilan and Kedah, they managed to retain Kelantan and gained significantly in Terengganu.
"We also made inroads in Johor. I know this because I'm leading the party's post-mortem team for general election. The full report and details will be tabled in November," he said.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 04:31 PM PDT
The Court of Appeal ruling on the Allah issue yesterday has given wide-ranging discretionary powers to the Home Minister to make pre-emptive executive decisions, says Tony Pua.
P Ramani, FMT
The Court of Appeal decision yesterday which ruled in favour of the government on the use of the term 'Allah' has also given wide-ranging discretionary powers to the Home Minister to make pre-emptive executive decisions.
The judgment read by Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali stated that the Home Minister had sufficient material before him to ban Catholic weekly The Herald from using the 'Allah' word as "such usage if allowed will inevitably cause confusion within the community".
"In a swoop, the court has empowered the Home Minister to make pre-emptive executive decisions to ban words or publications which he deems will cause "confusion"," said Petaling Jaya Utara MP and DAP National Publicity Secretary Tony Pua today.
He added that with such powers, the Home Minister will be able to rule that the Sikh Holy Book should be banned. It must be noted that the word 'Allah' is also used in the Sikh Holy Book.
"[And] should any church in East or West Malaysia be declared illegal for the widely accepted use of the term 'Allah', and the court will deem itself to have "no plausible reason for the High Court to interfere with the minister's decision"," he said in a statement.
He pointed out that the ramifications of the Court of Appeal decision to empower the Home Minister were wide-ranging.
Pua also said that the Court of Appeal had decided on who are "the majority" and what the "majority" wants.
"It is not the place of the Court of Appeal to decide who are the majority and what they want, and they certainly have no competence to do so.
"It should be emphasised again that the role of the court is to determine "legality" and not making highly subjective moral judgments on ill-defined subjects," he said.
Deciding on behalf of the church
Pua further said that the Court of Appeal judges had decided on behalf of the church on what was deemed "integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity".
The court found 'Allah' not integral to the church and hence they "find no reason why the respondent is so adamant to use the name 'Allah' in their weekly publication, he said
"The court has no role in deciding what is integral or otherwise in any religion practised in Malaysia. Such a finding is completely irrelevant to a decision over the legality over the use of 'Allah'.
"Hence the court have clearly overstepped its boundaries into the realm of theological discourse, and more critically, breached the Article 3 of the Federal Constitution which allows for other religions to be practised in peace and harmony, and and Article 11 which states that every religious group has the right to manage its own affairs," he added.
He warned that the long-term impact of the Court of Appeal decision was well beyond the issue of the church's use of 'Allah'.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 01:23 PM PDT
In a nutshell, being a liberal or a libertarian means believing in the rule of law, limited government, individual liberty and responsibility, and the free market.
Wan Saiful Wan Jan, The Star
THE word "liberal" has been bandied about quite a lot lately. Most of the time the term is criticised for something completely unrelated to what the word actually means.
The word 'liberal' has been abused so much that, in some cases, the meaning has been greatly distorted. In America, the word has been stolen by those who generally believe in greater state intervention (e.g. Obama's Democratic Party).
In Malaysia, none of our mainstream political parties have a coherent philosophical foundation, while in the United States, the Democrats are on the left.
Classical liberalism is usually used in Europe to describe a political philosophy that in the United States would be called libertarianism. A libertarian's most basic belief could be traced back to the Abrahamic and Greek idea of a "higher law", a law by which everyone, including the ruling elites, could be judged. The advent of Islam strengthened this belief, and reinforced the idea that those in positions of power are not the ultimate source of authority. They too are subject to the law.
Libertarians believe in the "rule of law", not the lack of rules and laws. Libertarianism is a call for everyone to be subject to the same set of rules, with no one being above the law. This is the best safeguard that we have against dictatorship and totalitarianism.
Rule of law calls for equality between the ruled and the ruler. Since the ruling elite holds the key to coercive power – such as the ability to legislate, and control of the armed forces and the police – it is very important that their powers are limited.
If the ruling elites have unlimited powers to legislate and dictate, we will quickly descend into the rule of men. Hence we need a "limited government", which is another important principle of liberalism.
The government is an institution to which citizens delegate the authority to rule. It is this delegation that gives government its power. But the government is such a powerful institution that it can easily become a dangerous one, especially when it coerces citizens into obedience.
To prevent government coercion, the roles and powers of the government must be limited, usually through a written constitution that both enumerates and limits executive power with checks and balances.
This is an important point. The ruling elite exists because we the citizens empower them. The rakyat is the true master, and those in power are the servants. Not the other way round. We must do all that we can to prevent anyone in power from behaving like kings and this is why we must demand a limited government.
The concept of limited government implies the need to respect "individual liberty and responsibility". Individuals are free to choose how they live their lives as long as they do no harm to others, and they must be responsible for what they do. The religious ones must be free to practice their religions, while those who are not must be free to be so too.
Islam tells Muslims to be among the most liberal in this sense. In the Golden Age of Islam, a Muslim leader Rubi'e bin Amir proudly told Persian General Rustom that Islam was sent to free mankind from servitude to other men so that they serve only God. Of course, the rise of a new generation of human gods in Islam (and in other religions) deserves a treatment on its own, but we must be careful to distinguish the principles from the practice.
Perhaps most importantly, the concept of individual liberty demands that those in power must not encroach into what is private to the individuals. The government should only step in when individuals do harm to others, but otherwise they should leave us alone.
It is well known that liberals support free markets. But many are confused about why this is so. Some accuse free marketeers as supporting inequality between the haves and the have-nots. And others confuse between the actions of capitalists and principles of capitalism.
Libertarians support the free market capitalism because it is the only system that respects human dignity. The free market is the only system that truly gives people choice and prevents cronyism.
In a free market, businesses have to compete to please the rakyat, the consumers. But in a non-free market, businessmen can ignore the rakyat because all they need to do is to collude with politicians to gain favourable treatment and subsidies.
A non-free market system victimises the rakyat because it denies our freedom to choose. And more often than not, systems other than the free market result in the privatisation of profits and nationalisation of losses.
All the cronyism, nepotism and corruption that we see around the world are almost always the result of collusions between politicians and businessmen, which can only happen when the economy is not free and this is exactly what the free market wants to eradicate.
In short, and at a great risk of oversimplifying a complex issue, being a liberal or a libertarian means believing in the rule of law, limited government, individual liberty and responsibility, and the free market.
The next time someone accuses liberalism of this and that, I urge you firstly judge whether that person knows what he is talking about or not. We need to spot those who more often than not talk nonsense, and expose them for their ignorance.
> Wan Saiful Wan Jan is chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (www.ideas.org.my).
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 01:13 PM PDT
There must be real and substantial differences in their political views and thoughts before we can make this distinction. It's not necessary for us the rakyat to take sides in the Umno political contest by lending credence and respectability when none is expected from us.
Last week I was immersed in the literary festival in Ubud, Bali, listening to well-known writers as they shared their progressive views on the many facets of the human condition.
Most people associate the word "progressive" to include far-sighted views on democratic systems of government, an equitable economy and a free society where personal liberty is well protected.
In political terms, a progressive country is one where laws protect the rights of all communities—including minorities—and where the courts are independent and well respected.
In other words, improving the human condition is the yardstick by which progressives are measured.
In the US, for example, the progressive movement of the 1890s included the fight for progressive taxation, where the rich were taxed more; the fight for the rights of women generally, including their right to vote; and freeing education from the clutches of vested interests and the Church.
In the UK, reformists sometimes use the term "progressive" when they are not happy with either the Conservatives or the left-leaning socialists in Labour.
There is not much difference, however, among the three big parties on the "big issues", such as the meaning of democracy; the need for accountability and transparency in Government; the need for the Rule of Law to be applicable at all times; or the idea that liberty and freedom for the people of Great Britain are guaranteed.
Their differences are more on budgetary priorities, healthcare services, school systems and the role of the state in providing socioeconomic services.
By now most of us have read about the great success of Khairy Jamaluddin and Dato Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil at the recent Umno polls.
Everyone was ecstatic that the so-called "progressive forces" in Umno had won. In their opinion, the fact that the relatively unknown challengers (whose names many people could hardly spell) failed to unseat the powerful incumbents signalled a major political shift in Malaysian politics.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 01:07 PM PDT
If Jakim is talking about the same Islam, then I dare say that Islam having survived and flourished from that start in Medina in 622 to its current 1.5 billion believers are more than capable of taking care of itself.
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 12:58 PM PDT
Posted: 14 Oct 2013 12:47 PM PDT
How then does the judge proceed in his inquiry? Essentially, he offers a series of cut and paste, piecemeal quotations which he deems to have a decisive bearing on his judgment.
Ng Kam Weng, TMI
The Court of Appeal in Putrajaya on yesterday over-ruled the earlier decision by Justice Lau Bee Lan in the Kuala Lumpur High Court to allow Christians (Herald) to use the word Allah.
The wide ramifications of the Appeal Court decision calls for careful analysis to ascertain whether it is based on accurate facts which are foundational for a coherently argued and impartial judgment.
I shall focus on the judgment delivered by one of the three judges, Justice Mohd Nawawi bin Salleh, since it ostensibly examines the facts pertaining to the legitimacy of Christians (the Herald) using the word Allah.
Justice Mohd Nawawi notes that Justice Lau Bee Lan in her High Court judgment concluded that "it is apparent that the use of the word Allah is an essential part of the worship and instruction in the faith of the Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) speaking community of the Catholic Church in Malaysia and integral to the practice and propagation of their faith." 
He then refers to some earlier court judgments which ruled that the wearing of the purdah and the serban was not integral to the practice of Islam. More importantly, he cites the principle that was used by a court in India to decide whether a dance involving public display of skulls and knives was integral to the practice of the sect in question. "Test to determine whether a part of practice is essential to the religion is to find out whether the nature of religion will be changed without that part or practice. If the taking away of that part or practice could result in a fundamental change in the character of that religion or in its belief, then such part could be treated as an essential or integral part." 
This should have been a straight forward test. Dressing and dance change as fashions come and go. They would not be considered as constituting the essence or core of a religion. In contrast, the concept of God is THE defining centre for any religion. This being the case, Justice Lau's judgment which affirms the word Allah is an integral part of Christian faith and practice would have been self-evident.
Justice Mohd Zawawi seems to think otherwise and proceeds to lay out the grounds for his decision to set aside the judgment of Justice Lau. The judge reiterates the claim made by the Muslim appellants that the word Allah is not found in the original Hebrew and Greek Bible, and as such, it cannot be integral to the practice of the Christian faith. However, the Muslim appellants' assertion is disputed by the respondent for the Herald who emphasizes that the word Allah has been used for years by the majority of the Catholics to translate the Hebrew word elohim.
We should not miss the judge's acknowledgment that "This debate does not exist for Arabic-speaking Christians who had continually translated "Elohim" and "Theos" (the primary terms for "God" in Biblical Hebrew and Greek), as Allah from the earliest known Arab Bible translations in the eight century till today." 
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