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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

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.


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.



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.


Government urged to act on threats against Malaysian students

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 10:46 AM PDT


(SBS) - Senator Nick Xenophon has condemned a Malaysian consulate email sent to students urging them not to attend a lecture in Adelaide by Anwar Ibrahim. 

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has called on Australia to condemn threats made to Adelaide scholarship students about attending his public forum.

They have been warned their scholarships are under threat if they attend Mr Anwar's address to Adelaide's Festival of Ideas on Saturday.

They have been sent an email by the student adviser at the Malaysian consulate in Sydney who told them to "refrain from further joining this activity".

"You are smarter to think and focus on what matters rather than joining this activity that could make your hardship in maintaining good grades and earning the scholarship goes down the drain."

On his arrival in Adelaide on Friday, Mr Anwar told journalists he regretted the fact that the Malaysian authorities had decided to intimidate students to stop them from meeting him.

Read more at: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/10/18/government-urged-act-threats-against-malaysian-students 

Quran encourages non-Muslims to use ‘Allah’, says ex-Perlis Mufti

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 10:41 AM PDT


(MMO) - Banning non-Muslims from calling God "Allah" is tantamount to "syirik", which refers to the sin of practicing idolatry or polytheism and is an unforgivable crime in Islam, respected Islamic scholar and former Perlis Mufti Datuk Dr Asri Zainul Abidin has warned Muslims.

The influential Islamic scholar stressed that Muslims must answer "Allah", if a non-Muslim were to ask them who his true god is.

"They cannot say, 'Your god and my god are different. You cannot say the name of my god'," Asri wrote in a post on his blog yesterday.

"If they say that, then they are committing 'syirik'," added the Muslim cleric.

Asri also noted that the Qur'an and the Sunnah allow, and even encourage non-Muslims to use the Arabic word "Allah" to describe God, as long as they are referring to "The Supreme Being".

"And if you asked them, 'Who sends down rain from the sky and gives life thereby to the earth after its lifelessness?' they would surely say 'Allah'. Say, 'Praise to Allah'; but most of them do not reason," he said, quoting Surah al-Ankabut verse 63.

Asri also noted that Prophet Muhammad had told Christians to swear on the name of "Allah", and not Jesus Christ.

"Indeed, the example of Jesus to Allah is like that of Adam. He created Him from dust; then He said to him, "Be," and he was.

"The truth is from your Lord, so do not be among the doubters. Then whoever argues with you about it after [this] knowledge has come to you - say, "Come, let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then supplicate earnestly [together] and invoke the curse of Allah upon the liars [among us]," said Asri, quoting Surah Ali 'Imran verses 59 to 61.

The well-known Muslim scholar also questioned the logic of prohibiting non-Muslims from referring to God as "Allah".

"What about Christian Arabs who come to Malaysia? Will they be forced to stop themselves from saying 'masya Allah' (God has willed it) and instead, replace it with 'masya God'?" said Asri.

"Saying that the ban is absolute is not based on Islamic teachings. What more a statement that makes apostates of those who allow such usage, as if we are making apostates of Prophet Muhammad and of Muslims in the entire world," he added.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/quran-encourages-non-muslims-to-use-allah-says-ex-perlis-mufti 

Malaysia to establish marine corps, naval base close to Shoal

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 10:37 AM PDT


(StratRisks) - Hishammuddin's announcement of a new naval base at Bintulu follows a number of unpublicised incursions by Chinese naval and maritime surveillance forces into Malaysian waters off East Malaysia and the Malaysian portion of the Spratly Islands. 

Malaysia is to set up a marine corps and establish a naval base close to waters claimed by China, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said in a statement on 10 October.

According to the statement, the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) base will be established at Bintulu on the South China Sea (SCS) to protect the surrounding area and oil reserves.

Unstated by the minister is the base's proximity to James Shoal, which is 60 n miles away and was the location for the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) exercises on 26 March that were the most recent example of China asserting its claims to most of the SCS.

Hishammuddin's description of the marine force only states that it will be established for amphibious operations, drawn from all three services and essential for security in the East Malaysian state of Sabah, where Sulu militants staged an incursion in February that was subsequently repelled by a military operation.

The statement did not give any further details but IHS Jane's understands that the marine corps proposal was planned before the Sulu incursion but has since been prioritised.

While the marines will be drawn from all three services, the bulk is expected to be drawn from one of the three parachute battalions of the 10th Parachute brigade, which will be redesignated as a marine battalion.

The 9th Royal Malay Regiment (para) and 8th Royal Ranger Regiment (para) have both conducted amphibious warfare training as a secondary mission, most recently in June during the CARAT exercise with the US Marine Corps (USMC) and subsequently in an amphibious landing exercise with French troops and the landing platform dock FNS Tonnerre.

The marines will be drawn from existing personnel because of a government cap on the number of armed forces personnel allowed on active duty.

The Ministry of Defence is yet to decide whether marines will fall under Malaysian Army or Royal Malaysian Navy control. Initial plans call for the unit to be an independent force under the control of the Malaysian Joint Force Headquarters until operational experience determines which service is better suited.

Malaysia is keen to draw on the USMC's expertise and has been in discussions with the United States (US) over support, training and expertise exchange. Malaysia has been without an amphibious naval platform since the loss of Newport-class landing ship-tank KD Sri Inderapurain an October 2009 fire.

Plans to obtain an LPD, with France offering a downsized Mistral design and South Korea offering a downsized Dokdo design, have been stalled due to budgetary constraints. The US has offered the LPD USS Denver , scheduled to be decommissioned from US service in 2014, to Malaysia on a hot transfer along with some equipment, which likely includes AAV-7 amphibious vehicles.

The US would welcome Malaysia's establishment of a marine force as current Pentagon regulations restrict the USMC to conducting exchanges and training with marine units of non-US treaty ally nations – an exception being in the case of multiservice exercises such as CARAT. Likewise, Malaysia has been keen to further develop joint amphibious training exercises and exchanges with the US but has been hampered by the absence of a marine force.

Other than equipment for the marines, the US has offered Malaysia surplus equipment from operations in Afghanistan, including infantry weapons and sights, night-vision goggles and mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles.

Read more at: http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/15969 

Malaysian Dynasties Reinforced as Mahathir's Son Bids for UMNO

Posted: 17 Oct 2013 10:28 AM PDT


(Bloomberg Businessweek) - Mukhriz Mahathir, the 48-year-old son of Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, will tomorrow contest the vice presidency of the nation's biggest political party, staking his claim as a potential future national leader.

The United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO, which has led coalitions to govern Southeast Asia's third-biggest economy since independence from Britain in 1957, will elect party leaders who typically hold their posts for three years. As UMNO seeks to shore up its base after a May general vote that saw the government returned by its smallest margin, the meeting will provide an insight into policy priorities and leadership style ahead of the next election due in 2018.

One of those who may play a role in setting the party's course is Mukhriz, whose 88-year-old father, Mahathir Mohamad, led Malaysia for 22 years until 2003. Prime Minister Najib Razak is the third from his family to be premier, while UMNO's youth wing is headed by Khairy Jamaluddin, son-in-law of former Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

"It's a family affair," Bridget Welsh, associate professor of political science at Singapore Management University, said by phone. "It's not just about the sons, it's about who your business partners are, who you are married to. It's an inter-woven elite. Mukhriz stands for his father. He stands for the race policies of the past."

Mukhriz Prospects

Mukhriz, whose elder brother Mokhzani Mahathir is vice chairman of SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd. (SAKP), declined to be interviewed. While acknowledging a need to rejuvenate the party, he told state-owned Bernama television on Oct. 16 he thought younger leaders need to refer to people with more experience.

"The chances of him one day becoming party president are very good," Wan Saiful Wan Jan, chief executive officer of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, said in an interview. "The question of whether UMNO is still in government then is a different thing."

Mahathir senior's rise to power was marked by his push to deepen policies favoring ethnic Malays and other indigenous people, who make up the majority of Malaysia's 29 million-strong population. He enforced an affirmative action program to increase their wealth compared with the minority ethnic Indian and Chinese communities.

IDEAS's Wan Saiful foresees a potential future showdown for the party presidency between Mukhriz and Khairy. "They have slightly different visions," he said. "Mukhriz represents a more conservative side of UMNO, i.e. those who demand more protection for the Malays. The other side sees UMNO as a party for everyone regardless of ethnicities."

Inclusive, Moderate

Khairy, 37, who was brought into cabinet after the last election as youth and sports minister, said he advocated an "inclusive, moderate, centrist" agenda.

"It doesn't mean that we are any less committed towards the Malay community but it has to be all-encompassing, it has to be not at the expense of other people," Khairy said in an interview. "While we still fight for the Malay community, it's in terms of empowerment, it's in terms of capacity building, it's not free handouts. We must not allow the conservative right-wing forces to dominate the narrative within the party."

Family links are not unusual in democratic politics. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is the grandson of a former premier, while former U.S. President George H. W. Bush's son George W. Bush also became U.S. leader. Philippine President Benigno Aquino is the son of the late leader Corazon Aquino.

Affirmative Action

Najib, 60, and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, 66, aren't being been challenged for UMNO's top two posts this weekend, even after the May election saw the coalition lose the popular vote for the first time. Najib oversaw a 60-fold expansion in the pool of UMNO members who pick its leaders in 2009, in a move against so-called money politics. His personal popularity ratings have routinely exceeded those of his government in opinion polls carried out by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research.

Even so, Najib sought to bolster support from rank-and-file members last month by boosting privileges for the core base of ethnic Malays and indigenous people. The extra aid included a 10 billion ringgit ($3.2 billion) unit trust to support skills training, education and home ownership, and a pledge of more government-linked concessions and contracts.

Read more at: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-10-17/dynasties-reinforced-as-mahathir-son-in-umno-bid-southeast-asia#p2 


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