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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Muslim clerics at loggerheads after “infidel” label on those who oppose Allah ban

Posted: 15 Oct 2013 07:18 PM PDT

Elizabeth Zachariah, TMI

Former Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (pic) has scoffed at a suggestion by an Islamic bureaucrat that Muslims who question the "Allah" ban on non-Muslims risked being called infidels.

Asri was responding to a statement by Datuk Noh Gadut, a former Johor mufti turned adviser to the Johor Islamic Council, who warned Muslims who questioned the ban of the word Allah in non-Muslim religious texts.

"Even if you are a diehard supporter of the government and everything that they do, you cannot say things that will make you look foolish," Asri told The Malaysian Insider today, referring to Noh Gadut's statement.

Asri pointed out that the use of the word Allah was only an issue in West Malaysia.

"In Arab-Muslim countries, there is no such problem and non-Muslims are allowed to use the word. Countries like Jordan and Egypt see Allah being used in big churches which date more than 1,400 years ago.

"So, is he (Noh) saying that all the Muslim scholars and clerics around the world, except for those in Peninsular Malaysia, are infidels?"

Asri warned that Noh's statement would have wide repercussions as  the Allah issue was non-existent in other Muslim countries.

"He is accusing the other Muslims around the world of being apostates for allowing Christians to use the word. This is big," he charged.

Umno's Utusan Malaysia had quoted Noh as saying that those questioning the decision were deviant and disloyal to the religion.

"If the Muslims question it consciously they can be ruled as being infidels or becoming apostates," he said.



Umno politicians support court decision on Allah but reject claim of interference

Posted: 15 Oct 2013 05:38 PM PDT

Jennifer Gomez and Hasbullah Awang Chik, TMI

Umno lawmakers stood behind the Court of Appeal's decision banning the use of the word Allah in Catholic weekly Herald, and said the judgment was in line with the party's struggle in defending the pride of Islam.

They pointed out that while Umno opposed the use of the word by non-Muslims, the party had not interfered in Monday's court decision.

They were responding to commentary on BBC News which said that the ban on Christians from using the word Allah is seen as Umno's efforts to boost its Islamic credentials and win back support from the Malays.

Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin said the court ruling would help promote religious harmony among Malaysia's many races.

To Bung Mokhtar, there will be no issues among Sabah Christians on the ruling.

"It is not a big issue in Sabah because Christians here use 'Tuhan Maha Esa' (God Almighty) in their prayers. They do not use Allah, so it will not have a big impact in Sabah," he added.

He said the court's decision would mean that churches in Sabah would have to streamline their practices with those in Rome, which do not use the word Allah.

"Why does Malaysia want to use Allah then?" he asked.

Bung Mokhtar agreed that the Allah case was tied to Umno's struggle as the party was formed to uphold the rights of the Malays.

"This is in line with Umno's struggle for the Malays and Muslims because the Muslim community is against non-Muslims using the word, and that would affect the harmonious race-relations in the country.

"Whatever allegations thrown at Umno, this is our struggle. I wish to congratulate the Umno leaders for defending the pride of Islam," he added.

Bung Mokhtar however said the court decision had no extremist or racial elements, but was based on the reality that the word Allah was synonymous with Islam as it is a daily usage among Muslims, while the Christians only used it in churches.

Umno supreme council member Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi also denounced the BBC commentary as baseless.

"Yes the government succeeded in its appeal, but why is this linked to Umno? he questioned.

He said it was the government's responsibility to appeal against the earlier High Court decision allowing the Herald to use the word Allah, saying the Prime Minister has stated he would not compromise on the issue.



DAP’s Lee lodges police report for defamation

Posted: 15 Oct 2013 05:06 PM PDT

Ex-DAP assemblyman Jenice Lee wants deputy chairman Tan Kok Wai investigated under the Penal Code for allegedly defaming her to the press.

Anisah Shukry, FMT

Former DAP assemblyman Jenice Lee lodged a police report today against the party's deputy chairman Tan Kok Wai for allegedly defaming her.

Lee alleged that Tan, who was also DAP's disciplinary chief, had on April 24 told the media that she was involved with embezzlement, corruption, and abuse of power without evidence to back up the accusations.

"I deny all of Tan's defamatory media statements and urge the police to investigate this case under Section 500 and 501 of the Penal Code," Lee read out from her police report outside the Pandan Indah police station here.

The newspapers had quoted Tan as saying that Lee had been aware that her assistant, Lee Hsuan Ba, was abusing his power and involved in embezzlement.

Tan told the media that Lee had attempted to cover up her assistant's actions and was thus, was abating Lee.

But Lee had strongly denied this.

"As a result of the published reports about me in China Press, Nanyang Siang Pau, Sin Chew Jit Poh, Guang Ming Daily and the Oriental Daily, the people have lost their trust in me," Lee said.

She said the libelous news articles, which quoted Tan, had caused DAP to drop he as a candidate to contest in the 13th general election despite her anticipating that she would be contesting for the Teratai state seat.

Lee then contested as an independent candidate against DAP and BN in the May 5 polls, resulting in her sacking from the party. She also lost in the polls.

However, she was reinstated as a party member after the Registrar of Societies (ROS) declared the party's internal elections in December as null and void thus, allowing to take part in the re-election last month.

Lee and 11 other previously sacked members were each then issued letter of reason on Oct 10.



S’wak Christian BN leaders rebel

Posted: 15 Oct 2013 05:02 PM PDT

Administration remains cautious, refusing to comment on the banning of Christians from using 'Allah' in their prayers until it sees the written judgment

(FMT) - KUCHING: Christian BN leaders here have rebelled and declared that they will continue to mouth the term "Allah" in their worship irrespective of the latest ruling by the Court of Appeal barring its use.

Whilst BN leaders in Sabah have kept mum, in Sarawak the affront has been widely reported.

The majority of Sarawak's population are Christians while in Sabah although on record Christians are a minority, in reality many of the outwardly Muslims are closet practitioners.

Many here are in shock over the court ruling, especially since Umno-BN's hold in Putrajaya is hugely dependent on Borneo MPs.

Senior Minister James Masing called the decision the "second" misjustice by the judicial system which he alleged was ignorant of the socio-cultural and economic situation in Borneo.

Masing was referring to an earlier court decision on native customary rights (NCR) land sale.

"As a Christian I'm sad to know of the court ruling. The court must understand that Christians in Sarawak have used Allah for over 100 years in Sarawak.

"The court must realise that the the word Allah predates Islam. We must not politice religion," said Masing reminding those in power that history remembers that the most vicious wars were fought in the name of religion.

"We must never allow it to happen here in Malaysia," said Masing who heads Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS).

PRS Youth chief Liwan Lagang, who is also assistant minister, said the people of Sarawak and Sabah were promised the right to practise their religion when courted for the formation of Malaysia.

"So we expect the federal government to abide by the Federal Constitution which guarantees religious freedom," he stressed.

Meanwhile a former Sarawak federal Minister, who is still politically influential, said the ruling will not stop Christians in Sarawak from using the term.

Said Leo Moggie:"We will continue to use the word in reverence in our prayers."

Both Masing's and Moggie's comments comes on the heels of dismissive remarks from ruling Muslim leaders.

Nothing to do with Sabah and Sarawak?

A senior minister in Chief Minister Taib Mahmud's administration claims the Court of Appeal decision had "nothing to do with" Sarawak and Sabah.

Abang Johari Abang Openg, who is state tourism minister, said: "The ruling was made by the Court of Appeal. For Sarawak and Sabah, I don't think it is an issue."

Sarawak's Minister for Islamic Affairs Daud Abdul Rahman, however, was less dismissive.

"(As of now) we are not yet certain of the effect of the ruling. I'm still waiting for the written judgment. In the meantime we just accept the verdict. I request the Christian community to remain calm and not to be over-emotional over the matter.

"I'm sure the problem could be solved amicably as we do not want this issue to create any tension between Muslim and non-Muslim communities in Sarawak or Sabah," he told reporters.

When asked further if the decision will affect support for BN in the next state election due by 2016, Daud said: "It would".



Guan Eng impatient, says ex-DAP leader

Posted: 15 Oct 2013 04:51 PM PDT

Former leader accuses Lim Guan Eng of witch-hunting to divert attention of his own wrong doings in the party

Athi Shankar, FMT

A former DAP grassroots leader has advised Lim Guan Eng not to jump the gun to weed out his detractors, and wait for the party's re-election held last month be given recognition by the Registrar of Societies (ROS).

The DAP's former Selangor publicity chief Tan Tuan Tat also called on Lim to stop his media tales to create a false innocent guy game.

Tan said that Lim and others should know by now that without ROS' recognition, the position of those elected to the central executive committee (CEC) was still in abeyance.

The DAP held its re-election in a special congress on Sept 29 after the ROS nullified its earlier internal polls held in Penang on Dec 15, 2012 due to allegations of massive irregularities by members.

Pointing this out, Tan said Lim should realise that since last December to-date the party does not have a legitimate leadership due to absence of ROS' recognition.

Thus, he said Lim was wrong to start his own witch-hunting spree to divert attention and create a false impression and public perception that all laws pertaining to organisations and ROS were against the DAP.

"Lim should be patient and wait for recognition by ROS before he can actually launch his Gestapo-style Ops Cantas to weed out critics within and outside the party," rebuked Tan today.

He was commenting on Lim's announcement that the DAP had adopted a two-pronged strategy to wage war against the Barisan Nasional-controlled media and its own members who were allegedly sabotaging and destroying the party.

Describing them as those who wear "the rocket badges but have BN hearts", Lim said the party's national organising secretary Anthony Loke and legal bureau head Gobind Singh Deo will execute the task.

Tan said he believed that the DAP's prominent leaders, especially those with legal knowledge, should by now hold Lim solely responsible for the party's election fiasco.



Kalabakan wanita team resign en mass

Posted: 15 Oct 2013 04:46 PM PDT

(Bernama) - All but one of the 15 newly elected committee members of the Kalabakan Wanita Umno Division have resigned citing irregularities in the election held last Saturday.

This was disclosed by Suriyani Lamai who spoke on behalf of the 14 committee members at a news conference attended by all of them.

"We decided to resign en masse because we are not satisfied," she said.

The 13 other committee members are Masnah Lama, Hindun Abu Bakar Titingan, Salmah Maidin, Astika Tahir, Nurida Abu Bakar, Zainab alias Jainab Ali, Shaniah Sampar, Norizan Omar, Juo Amin, Fatimah Abdullah, Sofiah Daud, Asiah Indobeche and Muliati Engkeng.

Former Kalabakan Wanita Umno chief Hamisa Samat (pic), who also attended the news conference, said the division had sent a letter to the Umno headquarters protesting about the election process.

"We hope the Umno Elections Committee will make a decision soon, if possible before Oct 19, and call for fresh elections," she said.

Hamisa, who lost to Cahaya Sulaiman by 33 votes for the post of Wanita Umno head, had garnered 384 votes to Cahaya's 417 votes. Ten votes were spoilt.

The Kalabakan Wanita Umno had 825 delegates but only 764 had turned up for the meeting last Saturday, she said.

"I wonder where the 47 additional votes came from. Several of the delegates had even gone back and did not vote," she claimed.

Hamisa said there was external interference in the election process and claimed that unauthorised people, and even men, had entered the voting venue.

"This should not have happened," she said. 


US secretary of state hails autocratic Malaysian government

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 


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