- Accept syariah law, says PAS’ Nasrudin
- DAP: We’ll ignore complaints by rogue members
- Signs of trouble in Selangor?
- Disgruntled members: DAP re-election ‘unlawful’
- ‘Khalid yet to address real concerns’
- Deaths at NS camps due to undetectable diseases, claims ministry
- Malaysia's English language crisis
- Zahid: Herald’s ‘Allah’ ban extends to East Malaysia too
- On Herald seizure, Ambiga asks if ‘left hand knows what the right hand is doing’
Posted: 27 Oct 2013 08:36 PM PDT
In defending his call for syariah law, Nasrudin says that non-Muslims can opt to be tried under the laws of their own faith
K Pragalath, FMT
PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi questioned the logic behind accepting laws from foreign countries that were against Islamic principles and human rights when we should indeed implement syariah compliant laws.
"How can one accept a British law that allows detention without trial but have reservations on Islamic law, syariah," said the first term Temerloh MP in reference to the now defunct Internal Security Act that provided detention on the basis of suspicion.
Currently the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act and Prevention of Crime Act also provides for detention without trial.
"I don't see why one should resist Islamic laws since Islam is the official religion and our banking and halal food industry are syariah compliant," he added.
He said this in defending his recent proposal for laws here to be syariah compliant; further adding that the syariah law with hudud punishments is limited to crimes which are related to robberies, murder, rape, adultery and alcohol consumption.
"It is more focused on preventing crime; so we should work to reduce situations that would spur people to commit crime," said Nasrudin.
Last Monday, Nasrudin had called for laws to be syariah compliant while debating on the amendments to the Penal Code (Amendments) Bill 2013 in Parliament.
He had called for Islamic laws to be given a chance as it will not only deter crime but also enrich an individual's soul since it encompasses the concept of sin and reward.
When asked how syariah law can be implemented since there is a significant number of non-Muslims in Malaysia, he said that non-Muslims should be given an option.
"The current laws fail because it lacks spirituality. For non-Muslims, they should be given an option whether they want to abide by civil law or the laws that are governed by their respective faith," stressed Nasrudin.
He also said that syariah law and hudud penalty is not foreign to Malaysia.
Posted: 27 Oct 2013 08:31 PM PDT
DAP's leadership to ignore complaints made by members over "unlawful" CEC polls.
Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT
The DAP leadership will ignore complaints made by several members who are dissatisfied with party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and the recent central executive committee (CEC) polls, said national organising secretary Anthony Loke Siew Fook.
Through letters sent to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) this morning, some DAP members said Lim was not the secretary-general due to the invalid Dec 15, 2012 CEC polls and thus did not have the power to call for the re-election.
"We have complied with the ROS and are not afraid because we have followed its directive.
"These are just a few troublemakers who want to disturb the party and keep the issue alive. As far as we are concerned, it is no longer an issue," the Seremban MP told FMT.
Loke said the directive from the ROS stipulated that the new congress must consist of previous CEC leaders.
He explained that Lim was the former secretary-general, therefore "there is no issue with this".
Loke said it was up to DAP's disciplinary committee (DC) to take disciplinary action against the rogue members.
Earlier today, Taman Seri branch assistant secretary Wong Yu Liuh said there were no office bearers in the CEC until a proper re-election was held.
Wong said as such, Lim was not the legal secretary-general and could not sign any documents.
He said Lim had no respect for the Societies Act, ROS and the DAP Constitution by giving only four weeks notice.
Posted: 27 Oct 2013 05:15 PM PDT
Cindi Loo, The Ant Daily
Pakatan Rakyat has been in power in Selangor for five years and yet nothing seems to have changed. It is as if the Barisan Nasional was still ruling the state.
So when PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim apparently criticised the state government for the slow pace of development, he was registering his unhappiness over the leadership of Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.
The one sore point with Anwar and other critics is that Khalid is not planning to use the state's excess funds of more than RM3 billion for development purposes.
However, Anwar was also quite diplomatic in his approach, saying that the fact that Selangor has excess funds showed the state government had practised good governance and was not riddled with power abuse and corruption.
"Excess funds is okay, but there are still poor people in the state; there are still youths who can't afford to get into university, and there are people who need housing aid," he reportedly said.
But shortly after Anwar's veiled criticism, the Selangor Backbenchers' Club jumped into the ring when it submitted a memorandum to Khalid on Oct 7, claiming that the state planned to slash development expenditure by RM100 million.
The memorandum was signed by representatives of all three Pakatan parties – Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lau Weng San (DAP), Meru assemblyman Abdul Rani Osman (PAS) and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali (PKR).
The trio urged Khalid to increase allocations for state development in the 2014 state budget.
"The failure of state government agencies to meet their budget performance targets should be scrutinised. However, the state government should not use it as an excuse to reduce development expenditure as it will burden the rakyat," the memorandum stated.
Political observers have interpreted this sudden move by the Backbenchers' Club as signs that something is wrong with the administration of the state.
Sources said Anwar's criticism of the state's lethargic performance came when Khalid showed no signs of developing Selangor further or turning it into another stellar state like Penang.
"Pakatan has been governing for a full five years and yet there are people who did not know there was a change in state administration, because everything looks and feels the same," the source told theantdaily.
"In the rural areas, they think that Mohamad Khir Toyo is still the menteri besar, and not Khalid," he said.
Posted: 27 Oct 2013 04:55 PM PDT
Disgruntled members say that the recent CEC election was unlawful as it was called by Lim Guan Eng who was not the secretary-general.
Alyaa Azhar, FMT
Several disgruntled DAP members have expressed their dissatisfaction against party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and the recent central executive committee (CEC) polls, calling it 'unlawful'.
Through letters sent to the Registrar of Societies (ROS), some DAP members stressed that as Lim was not the properly selected secretary-general due to the invalid December 15 2012 CEC polls, he did not have the power to call for the DAP re-election.
One of the members, DAP Taman Seri branch assistant secretary Wong Yu Liuh said there was no office bearer in the CEC until a proper re-election is held.
"The only proper and lawful office bearer of the DAP was the public officer as provided under Section 9 (C) of the Societies Act.
"The lawful person who can act for the DAP after December 15 was the public officer as approved by the ROS," he said.
Wong added that as such, Lim was not the legally elected secretary-general and could not sign any documents.
"Lim has the same right as any other DAP member, no more no less. (Thus), the recent polls that was held on September 29 was unlawful as it was not called by the public officer," he said.
Wong also argued against the notice period of four weeks given for the DAP re-election.
"It was unconstitutional due to the fact that the notice period was only four weeks whereas the DAP Constitution provides for 10 weeks. This was a serious violation of the DAP Constitution," he said.
DAP chairman Karpal Singh had declared that the party CEC polls would be held sometime in October in compliance with the provision of the DAP constitution, which provides for 10 weeks notice to be given to all its delegates to attend its Congress.
Posted: 27 Oct 2013 04:47 PM PDT
Selangor state assembly deputy speaker Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad notes that the Menteri Besar has yet to tackle major issues in the state.
Anisah Shukry, FMT
Selangor state assembly deputy speaker Nik Nazmi Nik Nazmi has joined the volley of criticism against Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim saying that the state government has yet to address 'real concerns' in Selangor.
"We should not just be focused on reserves – building our reserves when there are still major issues faced by the public such as urban poverty, facilities for housing, affordable housing, basic services.
"People will start to [question] if we keep announcing higher and higher reserves, but these basic things are not addressed," Nik Nazmi, who is also Seri Setia state assemblyman, told FMT in a recent interview.
Abdul Khalid has come under criticisms not only from the Barisan Nasional but also from his own party over his 'stingy' ways. The Menteri Besar often boosts to have managed to increase state coffers but this had become a point in contention.
Among those who had criticised the Menteri Besar include Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Selangor party chiefs Dr Abdul Rani Othman of PAS, Mohamed Azmin Ali of PKR and DAP's Lau Weng Sang also had submitted a joint memorandum on Oct 17 urging the state government to loosen its purse strings, while Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli has demanded an explanation over why the constituency's allocation had been slashed.
Adding fuel to fire, Nik Nazmi, who is also former PKR communications director, noted that the Selangor government had yet to tackle problems faced by the younger generation, who migrate to the country's richest state in droves to study and earn a living.
He acknowledged that affordable housing had become a real bone of contention for young working adults in Selangor, and that the state "could do more" about the issue.
"I think this is one of the biggest challenges for the young generation – my generation. A lot of my friends find that we are being driven further and further away from the city in order to stay and work in Selangor," the 31-year-old said.
"The development of younger generation also needs to be looked at, in terms of sports, youth development," he added.
Posted: 27 Oct 2013 01:34 PM PDT
(MM) - "Since the programme started in 2004, actually there were only 20 deaths, and not 22.
All 20 deaths at National Service (NS) camps, except for one, were caused by "undetectable" health problems such as leukemia, the Defence Ministry revealed today.
In a reply to Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul in Parliament, Deputy Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said the deaths were "undetectable" as they were due to health problems prior to the trainees' participation at the camps.
"Since the programme started in 2004, actually there were only 20 deaths, and not 22.
"There were various reasons for the deaths but the majority was caused by the trainees' health problems like leukemia, heart problems, breathing difficulties, which were not detectable, while one death at the Muadzam Shah camp was caused by a serious misunderstanding, resulting in one person being charged in court," he said.
On September 22, 2013, an 18-year-old trainee was bludgeoned to death at the Muadzam Shah, Pahang camp for allegedly cutting queue during breakfast earlier in the day.
However, there has been reports such as death caused by leptospirosis, or commonly known as the "rat fever" in March 2012, at a camp in Perak, a death due to viral infection in June 2005, in Negri Sembilan, another death in Sabah in May during the same year after allegedly being injured during training.
There was also a report on a trainee who died when he was swimming in Sarawak in April 2004.
"There is one rape case on February 24, 2004 when the programme had just started and the case has been tried in court and brought up to the Court of Appeal, the trainer has been punished 12 years jail with three strokes of the cane.
"As for arguments or fights, there are 442 cases misunderstandings in 10 years from 2004 to 2013 and 242 reported to police to be recorded and get counseling from the police while the rest were settled amicably.
"The government is always concerned about these cases and will take the appropriate action based on the law especially cases involving negligence and officers who did not follow the SOP," he said.
Posted: 27 Oct 2013 01:30 PM PDT
(Straits Times) - Govt anxious to counter slump in test results by local studentsIN PERAK on the northern Peninsular Malaysia, an English teacher uses textbooks meant for seven-year-olds to teach her Form One class of students, mostly aged 13.
"When I first taught them, they could not even tell the difference between 'when' and 'what'," the teacher, who wants to be known only as Yee, told The Straits Times recently.
"I had to put my planned lessons aside and start with the basics."
It is the type of story many English teachers in Malaysia share, but are reluctant to speak openly about because they worry about being sanctioned by the education ministry.
And so, when the ministry recently announced that from 2016 onwards, students in Form Five - the equivalent of a GCE O-level class in Singapore - must pass English before they can obtain their school-leaving certificates, it set tongues wagging.
After all, last year, almost a quarter of 470,000 Form Five students failed English, and only 16 per cent of them scored highly in the language.
"Without the school-leaving certificates, the students cannot further their studies or get jobs," said Lok Yim Pheng, secretary-general of the National Union of the Teaching Profession. "Is their future being killed?"
Part of the problem, educators say, is that there are not enough qualified English teachers. Recently, the education ministry revealed that 70 per cent of the country's 70,000 English teachers failed a competency test to teach the language.
The ministry is now working overtime to re-train thousands of English teachers around the country to try and meet the 2016 deadline.
"It is an ambitious goal, but we cannot tolerate students not being able to communicate in English any more," Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim, head of a new agency within the ministry, told The Straits Times in a recent interview.
"Something needs to be done."
In Malaysia, English is a |compulsory subject from Primary One to Form Five. Despite that, many school-leavers, especially in rural areas, cannot converse or write fluently in English.
It was not always this way.
During the British colonial era, schools used English as the medium of instruction. This continued after independence in 1957 and many English teachers either came from the United Kingdom or were trained there.
"In the 1960s, one of the books read and discussed in English classes by sixteen-year-olds was George Orwell's "Animal Farm", recalled Andrew Yip, 60, a shopkeeper in Ipoh, Perak.
In 1970, the Malaysian government began requiring all state-funded schools to use Malay to teach, to build nationalism; though English remained a compulsory subject.
Many English teachers were phased out.
Over the years, students' academic performances declined.
In the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment, an international benchmark on students' performance in reading, science and mathematics, Malaysian students were in the bottom third among 74 countries.
According to Jobstreet.com Malaysia, a recruitment agency, poor English is among the top complaints that employers have about fresh graduates.
Posted: 27 Oct 2013 01:23 PM PDT
(MM) - The Catholic Church weekly, the Herald, cannot refer to God as "Allah" even in Sabah and Sarawak, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today, despite the prime minister's assurance that East Malaysians were free to use the Arabic word.
Zahid said this was based on the recent Court of Appeal ruling that the Home Ministry's decision to ban the use of the word "Allah" in the Herald was justified, but he stressed that the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia translation of the Christian bible, is allowed to describe God as "Allah" as it is not technically a "publication".
"It can be used in the Al-Kitab, but not in the Herald," Zahid told reporters at his office here today, after meeting a Cambodian government minister.
"The Al-Kitab is not a publication; it's a bible," he added.
The Home Ministry seized copies of the Herald at the Kota Kinabalu airport last week for inspection, but cleared the newsletter for distribution yesterday after finding that the word "Allah" was not used in the weekly.
When asked if the ban of the word "Allah" was restricted to the Herald, Zahid said: "Refer to the court verdict".
"I don't want to go beyond what has been decided by the Court of Appeal," he added.
According to Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew, around 2,000 copies of the weekly publication were seized at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport on Thursday, apparently on order of the Home Ministry.
The Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM), an umbrella body of Protestant churches, decried the confiscation as a violation of the Catholic Church's right to distribute the newsletter to its own members.
Posted: 27 Oct 2013 01:21 PM PDT
(MM) - The Home Ministry's unexplained seizure of the Catholic weekly The Herald conflicts directly with the federal government's directive on the "Allah" ban and places the Najib administration "in an embarrassing position", Datuk Ambiga Sreenavesan has said.
The vocal former bar council president and human rights activist charged that the incident either signalled a disconnect between the top and bottom leadership, or was yet another example of "broken promises" by Putrajaya in protecting minority rights.
"The seizure conflicts directly with what the PM said only a few days ago. Either the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing or this is yet another example of broken promises.
"Who gave the orders for the seizure that has put the PM in a very embarrassing situation?" Ambiga, who is also the co-chairman of popular poll reform group Bersih 2.0, told The Malay Mail Online.
According to Herald editor Fr Lawrence Andrew, around 2,000 copies of the weekly publication were seized at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on Thursday, apparently on order of the Home Ministry.
"The consignment arrived at 2.54pm on Thursday, and it was checked by KDN officials as the usual practice," he told The Malay Mail Online, referring to the Home Ministry's Malay acronym.
"The forwarding company were however told not to release the consignment. The company checked again on Friday at 10am, and were told that the consignment has been withheld. No reason was given," Lawrence added.
But in a sudden about-turn yesterday, Home Ministry officials ordered a release of the publications and allowed the consignment to reach its Catholic readers in the east Malaysian state.
The flip-flop, although lauded by the Catholic church, only left more question marks in its wake and uncertainty over the possibility of more such bans in the future.
Calling the ban "bizarre", Andrew told The Malay Mail Online that the ministry must explain the episode.
He pointed out that apart from the church, many lawmakers are also keen on finding out why the ministry had ordered the ban in the first place.
"It is a very funny situation. The copies were already in the hands of the forwarding agents, but they were told not to distribute the Herald.
"They could only release it on the instructions of the authority," he said.
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