- Uthayakumar’s wife claims jailed Hindraf leader being tortured in prison
- Make syariah Malaysia’s only law, urges ISMA
- Indonesia sees no rush despite push from Malaysia
- ‘Allah’ not exclusive to Muslims, stresses Dzulkefly
- The fight for the final Umno VP spot, and Najib’s reforms
- Workers’ Death in Malaysia Sparks Outcry
- Allah decision binding on all Malaysians, says retired AG Abu Talib
- Soaring Crime Rate Takes a Growing Malaysia by Surprise
- Leaders to face critical challenges for top Umno positions
- Perkasa on Allah: Arabs ignorant, Westerners have vested interests, and some Indonesians eat pork
Posted: 18 Oct 2013 05:23 PM PDT
(The Star) - The wife of jailed Hindraf leader P. Uthayakumar has called on the Government on Saturday to intervene on behalf of her husband, whom she alleges is being tortured and inhumanely treated in Kajang Prison.
S. Indra Devi, who was addressing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in a letter, claims that her husband who is a diabetic and suffers from a degenerative prolapsed disc in his spinal lumbar, has been locked up in dark isolation for 28-days and is forced to sleep on concrete despite his condition.
She claims that he was being fed food and water through unsanitary means.
"They put him in confinement, 24-hours a day, not seeing sunlight or fresh air and just one prison pants and shirt.
"The prison officers are also teasing, humiliating and verbally abusing my husband.
"I urge Najib or Zahid to please go and see what is being done to him at the Kajang Prison and address it. I don't deny he is a prisoner but at least treat him like a human," alleged Indra, adding that Uthayakumar had lost around 15kg since he was jailed in June.
On top of the gross treatment of the Indian rights leader, Indra also claims that prison officials were deliberately denying his family access of communication to him.
She claims officers would deny being responsible for her husband and would pass her to other departments for referral.
Uthayakumar's lawyer Avtar Singh Dhaliwal alleges that the treatment being meted to his client in prison was "selective prosecution".
"He is not being treated as a normal prisoner. This is a clear violation of basic human rights which is enshrined in our constitution," he said.
In a letter from Uthayakumar made available to The Star, he alleged that he was denied phone calls to his family and lawyers and warm water, to the point where he is force to drink "contaminated tap water".
"I am denied even a toothbrush, tooth paste, bathing and washing soap, towel, blanket and even the half-inch mattress to sleep on the cement floor.
"I am force to sleep on the bare cold cement floor despite also suffering from arthritis, forced to drink rice porridge using a dipper I and hundreds, if not thousands of other prisoners have used to wash their backsides."
On June 5, Uthayakumar was jailed for two years and six months over a sedition charge.
The former Internal Security Act detainee had on Dec 11, 2007 claimed trial to publishing a seditious letter on the Police Watch website, which was addressed to then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Posted: 18 Oct 2013 05:01 PM PDT
(MM) - Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) suggested today for syariah to be the law of the land replacing the country's existing dual-track legal system.
This comes as ISMA lamented the lack of political will to champion a concept it called "ketuanan syarak" (syariah supremacy), which places Islam above all other considerations.
Posted: 18 Oct 2013 04:49 PM PDT
Nurfika Osman, The Jakarta Post
Indonesia is in no rush to revive the controversial Malacca Straits Bridge project, which has been on hold since the Asian financial crisis back in 1998, a senior government official says.
The Public Works Ministry's director general for highways, Djoko Murjanto, said in Jakarta on Friday that the ministry, together with relevant ministries and departments, such as the Foreign Ministry and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), would need to comprehensively study the prospects for the bridge and its benefits for Indonesia.
Posted: 18 Oct 2013 04:43 PM PDT
Dzulkefly Ahmad disagrees with Haron Din's statement that "Allah" is exclusive to Muslims. Nevertheless he welcomes the difference in opinions.
Lisa J. Ariffin, FMT
PAS leader Dzulkefly Ahmad today stressed that the party's collective stand on the term "Allah" was that it is not only exclusive to Muslims, but could be used by those of other faiths.
He was responding to PAS' deputy spiritual leader Haron Din's insistence today that "Allah" belongs exclusively to Islam, contradicting Pakatan Rakyat's official stand that non-Muslims have the right to use the Arabic word to describe their god.
"What is important is the collective stand of the party and majlis syura (the party's highest decision-making body), and the collective stand of Pakatan," Dzulkefly told FMT.
However, he said Haron was entitled to express personal views that may not necessarily coincide with the collective stand of the party.
"Anyone of any standing and leaders of any discipline can state their own particular stand. In short, he is free to state his own views.
"I, for one, will not criticise him nor vilify him for stating a different view. I have seen so many differences and variations in Muslim scholarships," he added.
Dzulkefly explained that the Islamic religion encourages differing opinions through discourse and scholarly debates.
"The Islamic discourse and scholarship is willing to accept differences by even a single voice or by a few," he said.
"In fact, we celebrate differences. All arguments to me are logical," he added.
Dzulkefly reiterated that the party's collective stand was to allow non-Muslims to use the term "Allah", however he urged those who do use the term "not to abuse it".
"Allah celebrates the plurality of religious belief. As such, we allow the use of Allah by people of other faiths provided they do not abuse it," he said.
"I believe this is a very objective and principled stand," he added.
Posted: 18 Oct 2013 04:34 PM PDT
Zubaidah Abu Bakar, TMI
As 146,000 Umno delegates vote in the party polls today, attention will be on the race for the final vice-presidential slot as both Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal are seen as shoo-ins for two of the three spots.
At risk is Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein's rising seniority in the party and his cousin and party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak's leadership and reform agenda.
Party insiders say Najib needs Hishammuddin to be a vice-president, not just to continue a family legacy but more as an assurance of support should there be retaliation from the Mahathir faction in Umno against his leadership in future.
Hishammudin's defeat would mean one less Najib loyalist in Umno's powerful decision-making supreme council.
In his own defence, the 52-year-old has been meeting party grassroots leaders in the past week, trying to convince them of his relevance to the Umno top echelon after unfavourable ground reports on his chances in the six-cornered fight.
Umno sources believed he might just scrape through now that his campaign had been boosted with the help of Najib and senior leaders like Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Wanita chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil, among others.
Najib has been adamant about keeping Zahid, Shafie and Hishammuddin in their posts to ensure continuity of his reform agenda, which has been derailed by repeated pandering to the party's right wing.
It is understood that he has personally made phone calls and met some division chiefs to get them to help maintain the status quo in the 3.5 million-strong party.
Would anyone reject a favour asked by the party chief to keep an unpopular leader?
Party insiders say division chiefs are aware some delegates are not happy with Hishammuddin's performance as minister and Umno leader but they also do not want to risk their relations with Najib.
A state Umno leader said division chiefs who are MPs will make sure delegates from their divisions vote for the incumbents for fear of being sidelined in a much anticipated Cabinet reshuffle said to take place soon after the party elections.
"They fear that if their divisions do not toe the line, they might be out should Najib reshuffle his Cabinet," said the division chief on condition of anonymity.
Najib is not worried about Zahid and Shafie as both look set to be re-elected.
The Home Minister has remained the popular choice since day one because his no-nonsense way of handling political opponents and crime plays well in Umno.
Votes that are going to Sabah chieftain Shafie are seen as a reward for the state's strong support of Barisan Nasional in the last general election.
Posted: 18 Oct 2013 12:03 PM PDT
"If Malaysian police can arrest them, why the need to kill them? We need to find out everything that was really happening. The families deserve that much," he said.
Posted: 18 Oct 2013 12:02 PM PDT
(TMI) - All Malaysians are bound by the Court of Appeal ruling on the Allah issue, says former attorney general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman (pic), who is puzzled that Putrajaya believes the controversial judgment does not affect Christians in Sabah and Sarawak.
The appellate court agreed that the Home Minister could ban the word Allah in the Catholic weekly Herald, but two Cabinet ministers had insisted the decision did not include the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia bible widely used in Sabah and Sarawak, and other Christian publications in East Malaysia.
"It has the effect of a binding precedent and all have to respect that decision, whether you agree or disagree," he told The Malaysian Insider, adding it was binding until set aside by the country's highest court, the Federal Court.
Abu Talib, who was the chief legal adviser to the government for 13 years from 1980, said there could be no two sets of law when "we have one nation and one supreme constitution".
"So, there cannot be exemptions given to Sabah and Sarawak on this religious issue based on region or state," he said.
Posted: 18 Oct 2013 11:58 AM PDT
(NYT) - The Malaysian government has also stopped providing crime statistics to the United Nations, according to Enrico Bisogno, the official responsible for compiling crime data at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Malaysia's population has tripled over the past four decades. Its largest city, Kuala Lumpur, a place once so sparsely populated that it looked like a botanical garden, has exploded into a cosmopolitan metropolis of shopping malls, luxury hotels and sprawling suburbs.
But with modernity and urbanization came an unwanted corollary: a soaring crime rate that has blighted Kuala Lumpur, previously considered one of Asia's safest cities, and other urban areas across Peninsular Malaysia. It is hard to find someone in Kuala Lumpur today who does not have a story about a purse snatching, a burglary, or worse.
"Whatever defense we put up is not enough," said Chong Kon Wah, a British-trained engineer who was burglarized twice at his home in the Kuala Lumpur suburbs and robbed once while in his car — all within 10 days in August.
Residents in middle-class and wealthy neighborhoods have begun to gate their communities, often without local government permission. And the demand for personal guards has soared, with the number of certified security companies nationwide more than tripling over the past decade to 712 from 200, according to the Security Services Association of Malaysia, which trains guards.
Last month, the United States Embassy in Kuala Lumpur sent a warning to American citizens here: "Remember to carry your backpack or purse on the shoulder AWAY from the road to prevent having it snatched by motorbikers."
The possible reasons for a higher crime rate are a matter of debate — some say the country's ethnic-based policies that favor majority Malays are partly to blame; others say the police force is corrupt and ineffectual. Even the extent of the crime wave in this country of 29 million people is in question.
Posted: 18 Oct 2013 10:12 AM PDT
Posted: 18 Oct 2013 09:52 AM PDT
Syed Jahmal Zahiid, The Malay Mail
Datuk Ibrahim Ali has slammed Arab scholars who criticised the Court of Appeal's ban on Christian usage of "Allah" as ignorant, saying that not everyone in the Middle East, Islam's birthplace, understood the religion well.
The Perkasa chief also blasted Western critics as having vested interests, while accusing detractors from Indonesia, a country with the largest Muslim population in the world, as worse than the Arabs, pointing out that some Muslims in the neighbouring country even consume pork.
"Why should we be bothered if there are Arab countries or Indonesia criticise the Malaysian courts on the Allah issue. Don't think that every Arab knows or understand Islam. That there is no one ignorant there.
"Those (from the Arab world) that support the US are socialists and Christians. So when we say Arab we must consider who is talking, in the media that belongs to who and which Arab? Don't be easily swayed by what they said," Ibrahim told The Malay Mail Online yesterday.
On Indonesia, Ibrahim said: "The same can be said about Indonesia...it is far worse. Those who don the 'songkok' are not necessarily a Muslim...there are those who consume pork. It's all possible in Indonesia".
He further pointed out that even though Indonesia has a large Muslim population, it has so far produced very few respected Islamic scholars. "So why should we follow what others say?" he said.
Perkasa is one of the most vocal groups calling for the Arabic word to be barred to non-Muslims here. Iranian-American religious scholar Dr Reza Aslan said recently that the Court of Appeal's ruling barring non-Muslims from referring to God as "Allah" showed Malaysia's folly.
The ruling was also censured in several international publications, such as Indonesian daily Jakarta Post, which wrote an editorial yesterday that "those who claim exclusivity to God undermine their own faith, and inadvertently or not, preach polytheism".
International current affairs magazine The Economist pointed out that Christians in the Middle East commonly refer to God as "Allah", and called the court verdict an "unhelpful contribution" to religious discourse between Muslims and Christians.
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