Khamis, 31 Oktober 2013

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Desire, ‘Allah’ & Trinity

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 11:14 AM PDT 

The name of God is like desire. If someone has a bad case of Horny, demanding that he becomes a purity angel will only make him grow horns. 

Alwyn Lau

The name of God is like desire. If someone has a bad case of Horny, demanding that he becomes a purity angel will only make him grow horns. Try to tell people they're not allowed to love in a certain manner and you may as well try to put out a fire by dousing it with Ron 95. Police the erotic and you'll end up eroticizing the policing. Isn't this why virtually all attempts to stamp out the gay 'problem' tend to back-fire? If you judge my sex you'll not only generate more heat than light, you'll get me and my partner in heat faster than you can say LGBTQ.


On the Sunday right after the Court of Appeal's unappealing decision on Oct 14th, most non-Malay speaking churches in PJ/KL proudly defied the law and used the word 'Allah' for (probably) the first time in their worship services. Previously – and would you believe 'Allah' has been a BN-created problem since 1986? - had these same churches used God's Arabic title, many worshippers would've been giggling. Today, the word is a rallying cry. On the whole it's like trying to ban Americans from using the word 'American'. Try that and it'll be the 4th of July every day.

A law against invoking God's name is a recipe for rousing God's people. But that's not the only irony of the 'Allah' judgment.

Other than producing more only-in-Malaysia jokes, it also provided some theological laughs. Like when JAKIM claims that Christian use of 'Allah' nullifies the Trinity. Haha. This is like saying that my conference in Penang should not be called a Malaysian conference because it's held in only one state. Haha.

Three centers of consciousness (the sexier term for 'persons') known and worshipped as one God is no more nullified by a single title (in reference to the Godhead they are and share) any more than Baskin Robbins' thirty one flavors are nullified when people speak of the ice-cream served at BR in the singular.

The Trinity means 3-in-1. God is one, but not alone. Likewise, Malaysia is 13-in-1 hence it's quite un-Malaysian when some states (not least Sabah and Sarawak) are treated like unwanted children left alone. In fact, Trinitarian thinking is something our law-makers could consider because the concept entails that the Many draws value, strength and purpose from the One (and each other), and vice-versa.

In Malaysian-ese this means, e.g., that Terengganu and Selangor and Sabah are one and the same with all the other states, we are all Malaysian, we share with each other and mutually nurture each other. It means that Malay, Chinese and Indian all encapsulate the 'Malaysian' because we adhere to and grow with each other. A Chinese already Malaysian but she is most Malaysian when she shows compassion to and solidarity with a Malay and Indian. Ditto, East and West Malaysia.

You know how most Singaporean churches today couldn't give a rat's behind about the plight of their Malaysian 'family in Christ'? Well, isn't that the same deal with Peninsular Malaysians vis-à-vis our Sabah-&-Sarawak churches? Even now, nobody's exactly rushing to GIRO funds over to East Malaysian churches. Even now, there is a nagging suspicion that most Christians in the Klang Valley are more concerned that they - and NOT the folks living next to Mount Kinabalu and the hornbills flying around it – aren't allowed to use 'Allah'.

This is doubly weird, because East Malaysian Christians were never 'in' to the word in the first place. It simply wasn't on our minds, let alone on the agenda. Doesn't this uncannily remind you of the consumption phenomenon? Our lives were perfectly fine without fancy cars, without smart-tablets and without the latest TV. But lo and behold one of our Facebook friends (whom we spend less than two seconds a year thinking about) shows it off one time on his wall, and without much ado we decide we MUST possess it! God forbid it wasn't in our hands yesterday.

This is what Marx calls 'commodity fetishism' i.e. our consumables develop an aura, a life of their own over and above practical utility or real worth. The point here is not to compare the 'Allah' issue with IKEA discounts. It's to highlight how flimsy and flippant our emotions can be. It's also to caution that we don't do with God's name what we do with pop-tech stuff i.e. get excited for a while and ignore when something cooler comes along.

As with an iPad, not so with God's name. The 'Allah' issue shows Malaysian Christians how much we need each other despite the South China Sea separating us. The 'Allah' issue shows how much the Malaysian faithful are connected despite the doctrines and dogmas separating our faiths. We don't know what we have and we don't care about what others have until perfectly sensible and community-loving parties (how else to describe stalwart groups like UMNO and PERKASA?) take it away.

In 1990 I heard a church leader say, provocatively, that perhaps Saddam Hussein was anointed by God in his invasion of Kuwait. Because when, later in response, Rambo's colleagues started marching into the Middle East, so did many Christian missionaries, Red Cross workers and all manner of humanitarian aid folks many of whom would not have been given the chance to 'invade' the country with their compassion and contributions. Could something similar be happening now?


Thank God for allowing this incident to bring Malaysian churches (and religions?) together. The East needed the compassion; the West a shove.

Open letter to Tan Sri Fong Chan Onn

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 10:49 AM PDT 

The Star Insider 
Dear Tan Sri Chairman,

I think your reply ( the allegations in this blog was so funny, I can't believe you were a former Minister. But you are from MCA, so it's okay.

You only beat around the bush but never answer the questions / issues / controversies. You may be able to bluff some people, but not everyone stupid like MCA leaders like to think we are.

You said the Bukit Tunku land was sold to a royalty who is relative of Tunku Abdul Rahman. Do you dare to name that person or his or her company? I bet you won't dare to. Please do not think Star's staff does not know about the real story to the deal. If the land not for property development, the owner paying millions to do what? Build Disneyland? Vincent know the whole story. He is part of the conspiracy.

On LiTV, you also never answer why Vincent Lee paid an expensive premium for the stake. RM35 million is a lot of money. That's over RM20 million more than what it is thought to be worth. Where did the RM20 million go to? Vincent use the kickback to fund CSL to topple Liow Tiong Lai? If divide by 2,500 delegates, one person will get RM8,000. Still a lot of money.

About newsprint, you said the company has been very careful. Then, why is our competitor (like NST) paying average of US$560 per tonne when we pay US$650 per tonne? Ok, you said we didn't pay US$650 per tonne. So, how much did Vincent pay? Show proof, don't just talk and try to hide!

Star Chairman who must answer to the corruption in the company
Star also manipulate figures to mislead. We know Vincent issue directive to Finance to magically inflate the profits by factoring in the RM135 million sale of the old office in Section 13, PJ. This is under accounting principles, wrong because the building hasn't even been built. This is to cover the huge drop in profits from operations.

Enough of this nonsense, Tan Sri. You and I know all this is due to the siphoning taking place right under our noses for political purposes. This unholy partnership of Chua Soi Lek, Vincent Lee and Chun Wai is treating Star like a bottomless ATM machine. But poor Chun Wai gets the smallest portion.

Read more at: 

Malaysia PM: Obama’s cancelled Asia trip a “missed opportunity”

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 10:40 AM PDT 

(CNN) - He told Amanpour that he is trying to achieve his long-term goals and vision for the country, and in reaching stability, "you must make sure that the majority of the people are not marginalized." 

The cancellation of U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to Southeast Asia earlier this month because of the government shutdown was a "missed opportunity," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

"It was a missed opportunity for Obama to assert his leadership, particularly in the context of his policy pivot towards Asia," Najib told Amanpour in London. "I know he regrets it."

"When he called me he said, 'By hook or by crook, I will visit Malaysia next year,'" the prime minister said. "So we're looking forward to receiving him."

Najib leads a nation of nearly 30 million – a diverse, majority-Muslim country that wants to be viewed as a modern Islamic democracy.

It is an appealing destination for tourists and investors alike – though the global recession did take its toll, and with tension between various ethnic groups and allegations of election fraud, it is not without controversy.

"My priority is to ensure peace and harmony in Malaysia. That is uppermost in my mind," Najib said.

Najib drew attention last month when, at the U.N. General Assembly in New York, he said that the greatest threat to Muslims now "comes not from the outside world, but from within."

"It's very alarming to see what's happening in the Muslim world," Najib told Amanpour. "And it's about time we come to our senses and realize that moderation is the only path that will ensure peace and stability for the Muslim world, and for the wider world."

That conflict is stark in Egypt, where tumult has reigned since Hosni Mubarak was deposed two and a half years ago. At times violent divisions continued following the election of Mohamed Morsy as president and through his being pushed from power this past July, after just one year in office.

"I know what I would have done," Najib said, referring to the situation in Egypt. "I would have waited until the next election, because they were elected and deserve a chance to perform and to show their worth."

"But that's water under the bridge, now," he told Amanpour. "It's not going to be easy, because there are strong positions on both sides. But there must be a form of national reconciliation."

Najib himself, though, faces strong criticism of corruption in his own country. The coalition of which his party is a member has ruled the country for nearly 60 years, and rights groups have accused him of fraud in the last election.

"By and large the allegations are totally unfounded," he protested. "For example, they allege that we brought in 40,000 people from Bangladesh to vote in the last election. And since the last election they've not been able to produce any evidence of that."

Najib said that he had a "very positive record," having "disbanded the Internal Security Act, which is detention without trial."

He told Amanpour that he is trying to achieve his long-term goals and vision for the country, and in reaching stability, "you must make sure that the majority of the people are not marginalized."

"We do cater as well, in a very inclusive way, for the small minorities," he said. "We are not racist at all."

Read more and watch the interview at: 

A racist Budget 2014

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 10:36 AM PDT 

This, to me, is blatant racism and discriminatory. Maybe the Prime Minister doesn't see it that way. He is after all the expert who coined 1Malaysia. 

Zan Azlee, TMI 

So it's been exactly one week since Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tabled the National Budget 2014 in Parliament.

There I was, sitting in the newsroom listening to him speaking and enjoying the attention he was getting.

So, among the highlights would have to be the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) in May 2014. And at 6%, it is definitely higher than the 4% to 5% that everyone was expecting to be announced.

There is also the cut in subsidy for sugar. It's going to cost substantially more now so we won't be a diabetic nation. But it is guaranteed that every other food product in the market will increase in price too.

There is also the increase in the income tax bracket and also the abolishment people having to file their tax returns.

So it really looks like Budget 2014 is trying very hard to address the country's fiscal deficit. That's what everyone is focusing on and it's all good and well. But I think I'll choose to highlight something else.

If you notice, the Prime Minister announced all kinds of incentives for the Bumiputeras and the Indian community.

And guess what? Hardly any incentives were announced for the Chinese community. Actually, there was nothing.

In fact, the PM even said that he was thanking the Indian community for voting Barisan Nasional in the General Election.

So, by not giving any incentives to the Chinese, he was basically saying, serves you right for pulling that "tsunami" stunt.

Read more at: 

Najib: Stability the reason behind curb on Allah use

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 10:32 AM PDT 

(MM) - Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak defended a court ruling banning a Christian newspaper from using the word "Allah" to refer to God, saying yesterday it would help ensure stability.

The court decision this month fanned religious tensions and raised questions over minority rights in the mainly Muslim country.

Christians there have used the word for centuries, but the three Muslim judges ruled The Herald's usage of it in its Malay edition would "cause confusion in the community".

"People must understand that there are sensitivities in Malaysia, but what is important is public security and national harmony," Najib told Reuters Insider in an interview.

He sought to clarify confusion over the scope of the ruling, saying it only covered the newspaper and would not stop people using the word in predominantly Christian areas.

"With respect to the court ruling it only applies to The Herald paper, which has got wide circulation, and doesn't apply to the situation in Sabah and Sarawak. So what we're trying to do objectively above all is to ensure stability and national harmony," he said on the sidelines of the World Islamic Economic Forum in London.

Najib has in recent months sought to solidify his support among majority ethnic Malays, who are Muslim by law.

His government has toughened security laws and strengthened a decades-old affirmative action policy for ethnic Malays, reversing liberal reforms that were aimed at a broader section of multi-ethnic Malaysia.

Najib said he did not expect such moves to hit investor sentiment, saying that the government was strengthening its relationships with foreign and domestic investors.

Read more at: 

How Can MyKads Issued by NRD be Fakes?

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 10:23 AM PDT!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_454/ximage.jpg.pagespeed.ic.YzRT83q88W.jpg

The goldsmith shop in KL festival City Mall in Setapak which was robbed at gunpoint by its own security guard. 

Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, Chairman, STAR Sabah

"The federal government should admit that there is now a serious problem of identifying who is a genuine Malaysian and who is not because of the rampant unlawful issuance of MyKads to foreigners" said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief in response to the arrest of 20 security guards with fake Mykads.

The abuses of the National Registration Department (NRD) facilities by a certain political group to serve their political agenda has now reached national proportions that will eventually destroy this nation if left unresolved.

"I doubt whether these are really fake MyKads" questioned Dr. Jeffrey.

"How is it possible for the companies to recruit these people in the first place, if they didn't have a genuine MyKad" he asked further.   

"Or do they (MyKads) become fakes only if they do something wrong. Whether or not they are fakes these are likely to be the product of the Project IC in Sabah".

The government cannot and should not continue to deny the existence of the so-called "Project IC" or whatever name they are called and there are evidences that the issuance of dubious MyKads is happening.

People are now wondering what is going to happen to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) which has recently concluded hearings for this purpose?

How ironic it is for us to establish ESCOM/ESSZONE to protect Sabah from external intrusion and invasion when the government also know that potential "intruders" are running all over Sabah previously and now all over Malaysia as "Malaysians" with MyKads given by the Malaysian government, hand delivered personally in many cases by Malaysian government officials and Umno leaders.


Judging from the population "explosion" and extraordinary increase in Sabah's population from 1960 to 2010 compared to the rate of increase in the Peninsular and Sarawak, there could be as many as 1.5 million "Malaysians" with fake MyKads and part of the problem is now exported from Sabah to the Peninsula. It is time for all genuine Malaysians to wake up to this problem and make the government responsible for their wrong-doings and resolve them.


In Spain, even toddlers learn Chinese for job hopes

Posted: 31 Oct 2013 10:21 AM PDT 

(The Sun Daily) - Numerous schools and language centres here have started holding such lessons as Spaniards look to China's fast-growing economy for opportunities after five years of on-off recession in Spain. 

"Xiang jiao! Banana!" says Fu Huijuan, beaming as she waves the fruit in front of her three-year-old pupil, Leon, at a Madrid nursery school.

He and his four classmates have barely learned to speak even in their native Spanish, but already they are absorbing Mandarin Chinese -- as are many adult Spaniards concerned for their job prospects.

"Xiang jiao," Leon replies in a tiny voice, grinning as he is rewarded with a bite of banana and a sticker. "Xie xie. Thank you."

Fu's class -- offered free for the first month -- is the newest after-hours activity for children at the TEO private nursery, whose parents hope it will pay off later in life.

Numerous schools and language centres here have started holding such lessons as Spaniards look to China's fast-growing economy for opportunities after five years of on-off recession in Spain.

"Chinese seems to me an essential language in today's world, and the best way to learn it is from an early age. Learning it as an adult seems much more difficult," says Leon's mother, Sara Vergara.

'A long-term strategy'

"It is a long-term strategy, for his job prospects in the future," adds Vergara, a 33-year-old housewife, arriving to pick Leon up from the class. "And I think he is enjoying himself."

Pilar Alvarez, director of TEO, said the nursery launched the after-hours Chinese lessons after seeing that many other schools in Madrid were doing so.

"After the second or third class, the kids start really getting into it," she says. "We are considering introducing it bit by bit for all the children during normal school time."

Regional governments in Spain are also expanding Chinese courses in their subsidised language centres, while some public schools are offering them as an after-school activity.

A programme of free classes jointly funded by the Andalucia government and the Chinese state has seen enrolments nearly double since it started two years ago, to 1,200 for this school year, the regional education ministry says.

It estimates that 30,000 people are currently studying Chinese as a foreign language in Spain. No such figure was available from the national education ministry.

"China is expected to be the leading world power in a few decades," the Andalucia ministry said in a statement. "This is driving a boom in the number of people studying its language and culture."

Madrid's network of official language schools has taught Chinese since the 1960s but demand has surged recently, said Maria Jose Garcia-Patron, head of secondary education and professional training in the regional education ministry.

"Demand for these lessons was stable for 40 years, with about 80 or 90 students enrolled, but over the past 10 years the number has grown markedly and has reached about 300," she told AFP in an email.

The recent crop of students in Chinese seem undeterred by its alien systems of intonation and writing that many see as challenging for Western learners.

"It is a bit hard to write, but I think it is easy to teach children to talk," said Fu. "Children have good memories."

Fu, 25, came to Spain six months ago and applied for the teaching job with Bambu Idiomas, a private company that organises classes for schools and individuals of all ages.

"There are lots of opportunities in Spain. Lots of families are looking for Chinese teachers, and now lots of nurseries too," she said.

Set up in 2011, the family-run company had 87 pupils signed up last year. This year the number surged to 235, said one of its Spanish founders, Ruben Camarero.

"It is an important language for the future," he said. "We decided it was a language that would interest people because Spain is in an enormous economic crisis and China is drawing a lot of interest worldwide."

In the classroom, Fu plays from her laptop the nursery rhyme known in Europe as "Frere Jacques", sung in Mandarin in a version well-known to Chinese children.

As she repeats the names of fruit to the five toddlers, correcting their intonation, four-year-old Angela jumps around excitedly, her long brown hair whirling.

"Banana!" she yells. "Xiang jiao!" 

Malaysia’s bumiputera debate asks the wrong questions

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 09:01 PM PDT 

Hwok-Aun Lee, East Asia Forum

Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak rolled out his Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Programme (BEEP) on 14 September 2013.

The agenda's blatant political motives, ethnically exclusive giveaways and the absence of any acknowledgment of past shortcomings or lessons learned delighted his UMNO faithful and Malay nationalist audience.

He made it easy — perhaps too easy — to condemn the BEEP.

The most voluble criticism is that the policy does not benefit the vast majority of thebumiputera or the poor in general, and that the money should be allocated to broader social spending instead. This contention is understandable, but detracts attention from a more important question.

The time is ripe to ask whether Malaysia should in the first place promote bumiputeraindustry. In particular, should Malaysia endeavour to raise bumiputera participation in the ownership and management of dynamic enterprises, especially in industrial sectors, and should the country implement effective programs that directly try to achieve that national objective?

These questions are better tackled head-on because, for the most part, reactions to the BEEP have split into opposing flanks, neither of which offers constructive and feasible prospects for reform. There is the Perkasa–UMNO–Barisan Nasional stance of explicitly supporting the agenda and perpetuating corrupt policies. In contrast, there is a popular counterpoint of implicitly supporting bumiputera industrial development (opposition to the objective is very rare) but advocating needs-based, pro-poor policies as solutions. This argument is usually paired with the claim that race should not be a factor in qualifying for empowerment opportunities, especially government contracting and licensing.

Rhetoric and popular momentum behind needs-based policies and meritocracy are high, and much negative reaction to the BEEP springs from these principles. However, the discourse is disconnected and muddled.

This bumiputera agenda does follow a long line of failure, shortfalls and mishits. Nonetheless, these past experiences do not in any way make social spending a viable alternative for the purpose of bumiputera industrial development. Such needs-based policies are pursuing distinct objectives. They will help level the field in basic needs and attainments, but can scarcely be depended on to produce dynamic bumiputeraenterprises.

Practically, as well, programs and allocations cannot be lightly switched from one set of recipients to another. Many have focused on the approximately RM30 billion worth of spending that can be tallied from Najib's BEEP launch speech, especially RM20 billion per year of Petronas contracts for upstream and downstream projects. This forthcoming largesse clearly placates Malay contractors who have complained of being neglected. However, it does not immediately follow that this comes at a cost to society at large.

The Malaysian government cannot carve up a Petronas contract to one firm and offer it instead to masses of people. Likewise, these funds are tied up in particular projects and cannot simply be appropriated for other purposes. Inflated prices and substandard quality do incur a social cost, but this raises questions about the amounts being spent and the selection process, not the entire procurement policy.

Again, the pertinent question is: should Malaysia intervene in bumiputera industrial development? It's plainly untenable to answer 'yes' and then leave it to social spending to deliver the results. On the interrelated matter of meritocracy, undoubtedly there is a case to be made for abolishing racial representation in selection criteria for contracts and licences, and making the process transparent, stringent and competitive. Still, such policies have no direct role in facilitatingbumiputera participation in industry.

So, those opposing bumiputera industrial development policies must acknowledge the consequences: purposefully omitting bumiputera enterprise development as an objective and bumiputera representation as a target, and leaving these outcomes open-ended. Such a reform would hold out the possibility that bumiputeraparticipation might not increase or be sustained — and may well decline. The risk of the latter seems to have been ignored.

Interestingly, there is frequent talk of resetting politics and resetting policies, never of resetting expectations. Yet can Malaysia implement meaningful and difficult reforms, and continue to target ambitious growth and improvement? Odds are stacked against having it all. The current situation arguably calls for more restrained and effective bumiputera industrial development — and suitably modest expectations and targets. Select policies are needed to cultivate long-term bumiputera industrial development and avert major declines in participation in the short term. 



When truth and myth collide

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 07:08 PM PDT

Hence one religion of two sects (Essene Jews and Nazarene Jews) eventually broke into two separate religions 400 years after Jesus and about 200 years before Islam. And then Islam, which also started as a sect of the religion of Abraham, soon divorced from the two Jewish sects to become a third religion after Muhammad turned his back on Jerusalem -- the original Kiblat -- and adopted Mekah as the new Kiblat.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

There are three comments (see below) responding to my articles over the last week or so regarding the story of the creation of humankind (that is reported in particular in Genesis) that I would like to talk about.

I find that Christians -- just like Muslims -- do not know their religion. What they know is what they have heard in church -- just like Muslims know their religion based on what they have heard in the mosques. But then all these are mere stories that lack documentary evidence. And then they argue that there is evidence, which are the holy books.

Fine, the evidence that all these events did happen may be found in the holy books, as they argue. But where is the evidence that these books are holy, meaning that they came from God and not from man?

We must remember that the Old Testament Bible was still being written up to 200 years before the birth of Christ (meaning they were writing the history of humankind thousands of years after the event). But then where was this source of reference? The only evidence that some of what they say happened actually did happen was not discovered until almost 2,000 years later between 1946 and 1956 in Qumran.

And the evidence to all these events, the Dead Sea Scrolls, that was discovered just 50-60 years ago, not only confirms some of these stories but also points to some flaws in what we had believed for 2,000 years.

Genesis reports that humankind started 4,000 years before the birth of Christ. However, between Genesis and Exodus there is a gap of 400 years in the story of humankind. Then there is a further gap of 400 years between the end of the Bible's story on humankind and the birth of Christ. So there is a total gap of 800 years in the 4,000 years history of humankind (400 years between Genesis and Exodus and 400 years before the birth of Christ).

Today, when we talk about the three Abrahamic faiths, we talk about Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Quran makes a reference to the followers of Moses and the followers of Jesus who follow the way of Abraham as being the true submitters. (In fact, the Quran talks about the followers of Moses and the followers of Jesus and not the followers of Muhammad). Furthermore, the Quran refers to Jews as 'Yahudi' and Christians as 'Nasrani'.

In that sense the Quran got it right because, at the time of Herod Archelaus, the Ethnarch of Judea ('Judea' is Hebrew but will be 'Yahudia' if in Greek), and Jesus, the Jews were divided into two groups -- the Jews of Judea/Yahudia (the Essene Jews) and the Jews of Nazareth (the Nazarene Jews). Hence Yahudi (Judea/Yahudia) and Nasrani (Nazareth) is the correct way to refer to the two groups of Jews. And this is what the Quran calls them.

It was not until 200 years after the birth of Christ when the Nazarene Jews began to separate from the Essene Jews. And by 400 years after the birth of Christ, the Nazarene Jews took on their own identity and doctrine and divorced totally from the Essene Jews.

Hence one religion of two sects (Essene Jews and Nazarene Jews) eventually broke into two separate religions 400 years after Jesus and about 200 years before Islam. And then Islam, which also started as a sect of the religion of Abraham, soon divorced from the two Jewish sects to become a third religion after Muhammad turned his back on Jerusalem -- the original Kiblat -- and adopted Mekah as the new Kiblat.

Hence even Islam faced Jerusalem first before turning to Mekah and this resulted in a separation of Islam from Judaism and Christianity.

The Gospel of the Nazarenes more or less sealed the split between the Essene Jews and the Nazarene Jews. This first and 'ground-breaking' Nazarene gospel was written in Hebrew and was written about 100 years after Jesus. In the year 177, Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyon, challenged the writings of the Nazarenes and even went so far as to say that Jesus had practiced the wrong religion (or had committed heresy) in his treatise, Adversus Haereses (Against Heresy).

One of the Qumran scrolls, Aramaic Apocalypse, actually confirms that Nazarene Judaism (now called Christianity) is a breakaway from Essene Judaism. Hence, in short, Jesus was considered a heretic who had deviated from true Judaism.

The bottom line is, around 200 years after Jesus, the two Jewish sects of Judea and Nazareth began divorce proceedings and, another 200 years later, the divorce became final and Nazarene Judaism became known as Christianity. Then, another 200 years later, along came a third group that took some of the Judaism beliefs and some of the Christianity beliefs and thereafter emerged a third group under the name of Islam.

My final note is that Christians say they follow the New Testament and not the Old Testament. But then all the stories from the time of the creation of humankind up to the time of the creation of the nation of Israel are in the Old Testament. Are you saying the Christians reject all these stories?


When Jesus Christ asked his apostle to spread the news, it is not just about the old testament, it is about how the old testament points to him, the savior and redeemer.

- When Adam and Eve sinned, they covered themselves with fig leaves but God covers them with animal skin, signified that sin must be repaid by blood and only God (Jesus) can repay it.

- When God judge the world with flood, he asked Noah to build an ark so that all who believe and enter the ark would be save, again pointing the God's salvation plan in Christ.

- When Abraham near sacrifice Isaac on the altar, this point to the actual sacrifice that God made with His son for the sin of the world.

- When Joseph brothers betrayed him but later was saved and forgave by Joseph, this point to the betrayal of the world of Christ but His grace and mercy remained.

The old testament is the preparation for the coming savior, the new testament is the revelation of the savior.

Darren, October 30, 2013


With all due respect, there is no version 1 or 2 or 3. This may be your opinion but for Christians this is our faith. It is an insult to us when Islam is seen as the next evolution of our faith since it is not. It seems like the new trend now. Previously Islam was seen as the true faith while Christianity was not but now it is being referred to as the perfection of the one religion. Maybe there will be a 3rd squeal - 10 or 20 years down the road.

The Bible may be fallible but it is also very powerful. Like it or hate, people will talk about it. I'm a logical thinking person and always use the scientific approach. So I'm very well aware of it. But that does not stop me from reading through scriptures and passages that has given me inspirations, hope, strength and at times comfort.

You can dictate and deduce all you want but every follower of Christ knows that He is the Son and there will be none after him until judgement day.

'for all who draw the sword will die by the sword, forgive lest ye not be forgiven, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself' - these are some of the virtues that we try our best to live with and not just words read from a book and used as quotation.

As always the problem has never been the written word but the person who interprets it and acts upon it.

mentora, October 30, 2013


I think the writer is being too logical in his thinking re the route Moses took in leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Remember there was no GPS in those days. They relied on the stars to find their way in the desert. Also, I don't think any of the Jews that left Egypt got to the Promised Land. Even Moses was denied this privilege and till today none can find his grave. After the idolatry and bad behaviour of the Jews like honouring the golden calf they were deemed unfit to reach their final destination. I think Joshua led the people instead of Moses and by then after 40 years of wandering in the desert the next generation was the ones who entered the Promised Land. About whether Moses existed and the Exodus happened, I doubt 3 world religions can be wrong about this truth. It is only us and our feeble minds who think we know better, at times even more superior than God!

Angel, October 30, 2013


Sekarang Anwar kata Pakatan akan laksana GST bila perintah, namun bersyarat

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 05:18 PM PDT

(TMI) - Pakatan Rakyat (PR) akan turut melaksanakan Cukai Barangan dan Perkhidmatan (GST) apabila mereka memerintah kelak kerana ia sistem percukaian yang efisien, kata Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar bagaimanapun menegaskan, perkara itu hanya akan berlaku dengan syarat kerajaan menghentikan gejala rasuah, kebocoran dan juga monopoli yang kini dilihat berleluasa dan tidak sesuai untuk melaksanakan GST.

"Kita kata ketelusan. PR akan hentikan rasuah, kebocoran dan monopoli. Hentikan ini dulu. Kemudian usahakan taraf hidup rakyat," katanya ketika sidang media di lobi Parlimen, Kuala Lumpur.

"Dua faktor ini perlu diberi tumpuan," katanya dan menambah pembangkang juga tidak akan melaksanakan GST sekarang kerana ia tidak munasabah.

"Bila kita dalam defisit kita akan fikiran perolehan. Ia akan ambil masa yang lama untuk mengatasi defisit," kata ahli Parlimen Permatang Pauh itu lagi.

Tempoh 17 bulan menjelang pelaksanaan GST pada April 2015 juga tidak cukup untuk melaksanakan cukai berkenaan kata Anwar selagi masalah berkenaan gagal diatasi.

"Dengan situasi ekonomi sekarang apa yang boleh kita buat? Beri kita capai kedudukan yang selesa, kalau tidak capai bajet surplus pun beri kita selesa dahulu," kata Anwar.



Pelaksanaan GST: Anwar pernah sebut pada 1993

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 05:14 PM PDT

Jelas beliau, pada 1993, beliau memang menyokong ketika Tun Daim Zainuddin mengumumkan untuk melaksanakan sistem GST.

Anis Nazri, Harakah Daily

Pakatan Rakyat hanya akan melaksanakan GST setelah dua perkara diatasi terlebih dahulu, iaitu soal ketirisan, pembaziran serta monopoli, serta pendapatan rakyat ditingkatkan.

Ketua Pembangkang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim berkata sekiranya dua perkara itu tidak diatasi, GST tidak akan dilaksanakan jika Pakatan Rakyat mengambilalih pentadbiran negara.

Bercakap pada sidang media di lobi parlimen, hari ini, Anwar menegaskan perkara ini bukan pertama kali disebut beliau, sebaliknya pernah menyebut mengenainya pada 1993.

Bagaimanapun, beliau kesal apabila terdapat laporan yang cuba memusing kenyataannya seolah-olah baru sekarang beliau menyokong GST.

"Bukan sahaja ketika perbahasan bajet baru ini saya sebut tentang pelaksanaan GST yang lebih telus dan efisyen, malah ketika menjadi menteri kewangan dahulu. Tapi, perlu hapuskan dulu ketirisan, rasuah dan monopoli, serta meningkatkan taraf pendapatan rakyat dahulu," tegas beliau.

Jelas beliau, pada 1993, beliau memang menyokong ketika Tun Daim Zainuddin mengumumkan untuk melaksanakan sistem GST.

Bagaimanapun tegas Anwar, selepas beliau mengambilalih jawatan Menteri Kewangan, dalam keadaan kerajaan mempunyai lebihan perbelanjaan ketika itu, pelaksanaan GST tidak dilakukan.

"Kenyataan saya mengenai GST tidak pernah berubah kerana ia memang satu sistem yang baik, cuma pelaksanaannya nanti dengan keadaan negara yang perlu ditumpukan terlebih dahulu," kata Ahli Parlimen Permatang Pauh itu.

Dalam pada itu, Anwar turut menegaskan pengurangan subsidi tidak akan mengurangkan beban rakyat, sebaliknya hanya menguntungkan syarikat tertentu.

"Saya tidak hairan kalau ada MP BN yang bercakap bagi pihak Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar, kerana itu sudah menjadi amalan. Tapi pada kali terakhir subsidi gula dipotong iaitu Mei 2011, keuntungan yang direkodkan melonjak naik sehingga 15 peratus, yang sebelumnya sekitar sembilan peratus. Jadi, jika mahu dikatakan pemindahan subsidi itu mengurangkan beban rakyat, ia tidak benar," tegas Anwar.


'Bak Kut Teh' means 'meat bone tea' and not offensive to Muslims, Court hears

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 05:09 PM PDT

(The Star) - The word "Bak Kut Teh" means "meat bone tea" and the usage of the terminology does not cause humiliation to Islam, counsel Chong Joo Tian submitted to the High Court Thursday.

Chong, who is representing controversial sex bloggers Alvin Tan Jye Yee and Vivian Lee May Ling, said the feeling of humiliation was only caused by confusion and lack of knowledge.

He said Section 298A of the Penal Code was basically a legal provision to control, manage and ensure smoothness of the practice of Islam among its followers.

Chong argued that the prosecution's claim that the words used by Tan and Lee were an insult to Islam was not logical and baseless.

He said the allegation showed prejudicial thinking towards other ethnicities in Malaysia.

"Section 298A is basically and substantively not a law to control public order as claimed by the prosecution," he said.

Chong was giving his submission in a hearing to strike out a charge under Section 298A(1) of the Penal Code faced by Tan and Lee before High Court judge Justice Kamardin Hashim Thursday.

Meanwhile, Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said Lee and Tan's act in inviting Muslims to break fast with Bak Kut Teh during the Ramadan month was clearly an insult to all Muslims.

Wan Shaharuddin said it would surely stir hatred, anger and cause disunity.

He said Section 298A was not exclusive to Muslims and was established to ensure harmony and unity among the multi-racial communities in Malaysia.

"The application by Tan and Lee is an attempt to prevent legal action against their act which threatens the harmony among the ethnicities in the country," he said.

Justice Kamardin adjourned the matter to Nov 14 for the decision.

On July 18, Tan, 25, and Lee, 24, were jointly charged under Subsection 5(1) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 (Act 620), Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act and Section 298A(1) of the Penal Code.

They were charged with displaying pornographic images on their blog between July 6 and 7.

For the second charge, they were accused of uploading content that could possibly stir hostility among those with different beliefs at a restaurant in Jalan Dang Wangi here between July 11 and 12.

They also faced a charge of publishing a seditious photograph and inviting Muslims to break fast with Bak Kut Teh, together with a halal logo.

The Facebook page was later shut down.

Tan and Lee later apologised for the posting in a 1:22 minute video on YouTube, and said that it was done in humour.


Pas will never agree to GST - Mahfuz

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 05:02 PM PDT

(NST) - Pas vice president Datuk Mahfuz Omar today took a contradictory stand over opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's positive view on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) due for implementation in April 2015.

Mahfuz said Pas would never agreed to GST implementation as they felt the taxation system would create a massive leakage in the country economy.

The Kedah Pas commissioner and the party's election machinery director for Sungai Limau by-election refused to comment on Anwar's recent about-turn over the GST issue, several days after the PKR de-facto leader announced that the Pakatan Rakyat would go all out to object its implementation.

Anwar was yesterday quoted as acknowledging that GST was an efficient taxation system and that it could be a major contributor to the national economic growth.

Tycoon Halim Saad fails RM2b court bid against government

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 04:55 PM PDT

(MM) - The High Court threw out today tycoon Tan Sri Halim Saad's RM2 billion case against Putrajaya and state investment arm Khazanah Nasional over a deal on the Renong-UEM shares.

In explaining her decision, the judge found that there was no basis to say that there was fraudulent misrepresentation by former minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop over the compensation to Halim.

"But based on the core bundle, the documents before the court, the contemporaneous documents, in my view there is no basis for the matter to go on trial," High Court judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah said after almost three hours of oral submissions by both sides.

She then ordered Halim to pay a total of RM50,000 in costs, with Nor Mohamed and the government to receive RM25,000 while the third defendant Khazanah Nasional would get RM25,000.

The lawyers who represented Halim today are Gopal Sreenevasan and Ranjit Singh.

When asked if Halim would be filing an appeal, Gopal said that they would consult their client first.

Halim filed the suit in April, claiming he had suffered losses due to alleged fraudulent misrepresentation and fraud by the three defendants against him.

Nor Mohamed was named the first defendant, with the Malaysian government and Khazanah Nasional listed as the second and third defendants respectively.

Nor Mohamed was the special economic adviser to the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, between 2001 and 2003.

Halim claimed that he was "induced" by Nor Mohamed to enter into two agreements in 2001 and 2003 respectively despite the government and Khazanah's lack of intention to pay him in the acquisition of the shares.

The businessman claimed that he had only received RM165 million from Khazanah as a refund for the RM100 million he paid to purchase the Renong shares through a "put option" and an additional RM65 million.

In the suit, Halim had sought a compensation of RM1.3 billion for giving up his shares in the Renong and UEM group, as well as a separate sum of RM508 million.

But on July 8, the three defendants filed an application to strike out Halim's claim, arguing that no agreement was ever reached between the government and the magnate.

The lawyers for the defendants also argued that Halim had taken legal action too late, years after the six-year period under the Limitations Act of 1953 had expired.

Halim's lawyers argued today that their client had only found out through an August 2010 meeting with the now-retired Dr Mahathir that there was allegedly never an intention to pay Halim as the assets purportedly belonged to Umno.

But the judge today agreed with the defendants' argument that Halim had found out about a change of situation in 2002 and should have taken legal action then instead of waiting more than ten years.

Halim previously controlled around 70 per cent of the shares in Renong Berhad.

In October 2011, he gave up his posts as executive chairman and director in Renong, as well as other companies under the Renong and UEM Group.

UEM, which was then a listed company, was then taken off the stock market and is now a wholly-owned subsidiary under Khazanah. 


Ex-supreme councillor: Yes, there is money politics in Umno

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 04:51 PM PDT

(MM) - Amid a storm of claims and denials of money politics in Umno, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has confirmed its practice in the party's last election campaign as a tool to shore up support, but said its prevalence was "understandable".

The former Umno Supreme councillor said the revamp of Umno's electoral process in the Malay party's previous internal polls was meant to deter money politics, but had failed in its first execution and greater measures were needed to prevent repeats.

"The assumption was if you have more people, then there is less possibility of money politics," Saifuddin told The Malay Mail Online in an exclusive interview last week, referring to the bigger number of voters in the new system.

"Was there money politics? I say yes. But we need to qualify that statement... There is a difference between money spent for your own campaign machinery and money given to delegates as a sogokan (bribe), meaning buying votes."

Saifuddin explained that it had become an acceptable and expected practice in Umno for leaders to provide members with petrol money supposedly to cover transport costs, whenever they held an event such as during campaigning the day before the polls.

The questions to be addressed, he said, concerned the definition of "petrol money", and how much of "petrol money" can be distributed by Umno candidates before it was considered a violation of morals and ethics.

The former Temerloh MP also pointed out that the immense number of voters this time around had made it important for a candidate to gather his own political machinery.

"During the campaign, we realised that many grassroots leaders didn't really know who were running for supreme council," said Saifuddin, claiming that in a division, only around 100 members will recognise all the candidates.

As a way to remedy this problem, every division will come out with a list of either 20 or 30 candidates to guide its members on whom to vote into the 25-member Supreme Council, he said.

"There is this necessity, understandable, to come out with this guide. So how does a candidate get his name into the cai (menu)? That's where you need the machinery," he said, although admitting that the practice is wrong.

According to Saifuddin, this is where the ethical line can once again be crossed, as there is unclear distinction whether a candidate is paying division members either as part of his own machinery, or as vote buying.

The Umno man admitted that it will be very difficult to present hard proof of the practice, as none of those involved will gladly come out and admit it.

He also claimed that although the practice is less blatant this year due to an increase of voters, it has however become more dangerous as the practice has now reached more Umno members and gone deeper into the grassroots.

Saifuddin however refuted claims that he was only bringing this topic up after his double loss in the polls, both as a Supreme Council candidate, and as a candidate for the Temerloh deputy chief hat.

This is not the first time I'm talking about money politics... I'm not a crybaby, because I lost then I talk about money politics," said the Global Movement of Moderates Foundation (GMM) CEO.

He admitted that he had expected to lose his previous Supreme Council post, since he only kept a skeleton machinery of volunteers instead of a well-oiled machinery.

"When I campaigned, I met people in large numbers, in small numbers, on one-to-one basis, gave text message blasts. I presented delegates with my latest book 'Memacu Transformasi'... that's almost all that I did," he said of his campaign for the Temerloh post.

"Then I got this from a friend who is a delegate, somebody had told him, 'The other candidate gave me RM50... but Saifuddin only gave me a book!'," he related, laughing.

The Umno man however was reluctant to bring members who have admitted to receiving "petrol money" to justice, pointing out that educating party members would be more relevant in eradicating money politics instead of disciplinary action.

"This is not a legal matter, this is about habit, culture within the party. Because if you want to address it simply by looking at the legal view, it will be difficult," he explained.

"I don't blame the delegates. Money politics is about the candidates, not delegates ... They don't want to come out because they don't think it is a problem they should be faced with."

Saifuddin revealed that he will be meeting soon with Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas, acting chairman of the Special Committee of the Umno Disciplinary Board, to discuss the problem and disclose any knowledge that he has regarding the practice.

He said he will suggest for the party to have a guideline on the ceiling amount of "petrol money" that can be distributed as a token to members, and the maximum number of members each candidate can employ for his campaigning machinery.

"When we come out with this new election procedure, I thought we're already drawing the line.

"I would like to think that we've drawn a line .. (I guess) now we need to draw a second line. It has to be the last one otherwise the party will suffer," he stressed.

On Monday, former Umno president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had claimed that undeserving candidates had emerged as winner is the recent party polls thanks to money politics.

Some Umno Supreme Council members have hit back at him in return this week, saying his remark was an insult to the 146,000 delegates who had cast their votes this month.

The Umno elections saw the three incumbent vice-presidents re-elected, with the post of president and deputy president left uncontested. 


Anwar: Pakatan would roll out GST, but only if fiscal position solid

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 04:47 PM PDT

(MM) - Pakatan Rakyat (PR) would consider rolling the controversial goods and services tax (GST) should it be elected to power, but only if the country's fiscal position is solid while Malaysians enjoy higher income, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.

The opposition leader was responding to allegations that the federal opposition bloc is against the consumption tax after they were seen opposing its implementation.

He dismissed the accusation and claimed he has been consistent about the issue — that PR agrees with the GST in principle but opposes Putrajaya's reasons for replacing the current services and sales tax with a more broadened tax scheme.

"End corruption and monopoly, pluck leakages and elevate the standard of living of the people, then we can consider the GST," he told reporters in Parliament here.

State-owned Utusan Malaysia ran a report today saying Anwar had backed proposals to roll out the tax system when he was the deputy prime minister in 1993.

In response, Anwar said he had never claimed to be against the GST in principle and admitted that the consumption tax was more efficient and transparent than the present form of taxation by way of the sales and service tax.

"I have been consistent on this issue and I have stated before that in principle, it (GST) is efficient and transparent. But what I am stressing on is that we should first stop leakages and real wage must increase," he said.

The PKR advisor said the GST idea was mooted by then finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.

Anwar said that although he agreed on the positives of the tax system, he was against its implementation in light of Malaysia's weak economy.

"Daim had said the GST should be in place and I said it is an efficient system but in a situation where the country's finances is bad... I never did implement it," he said.

The opposition leader and his allies in Pakatan Rakyat had been campaigning against the GST in the run-up to Election 2013.

While some observers said the implementation must coincide with an increase in disposable income and called for its delay, others have described it as a regressive tax hurtful to the poor and middle-income group.

Three days ago, Anwar said Malaysia may be heading towards an income cliff similar to that of the United States if it rolls out the contentious GST.

In his criticism of Budget 2014, the 66-year-old cited a purported warning by analysts that any economy that has a disproportionate income disparity is destined to doom.

"It is now mainstream discussion, that any economy which has a huge income gap, like that of the US, cannot survive," he told the Dewan Rakyat in his Budget 2014 debate, following up on previous claims that the consumption tax would reduce the purchasing power of the poor and middle income group.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in tabling Budget 2014 confirmed previous speculation on the impending implementation of the GST to help widen the government's tax base and slash its chronic deficit.

The GST, which will replace the current sales and services tax at a rate of 6 per cent in April 2015, comes, however, amid public concerns that it will increase the cost of living through a hike in the inflation rate, especially after a fuel subsidy cut in September.

In an immediate reaction to the announcement, Anwar said the new tax system would widen Malaysia's income gap. 


Stop being meek, Anwar tells goverment after spy scandal exposé

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 04:41 PM PDT

(MM) - Putrajaya's delay in protesting against the US and Australia for eavesdropping on its Malaysian ally does not bode well for the country's sovereignty, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim suggested today.

The opposition leader chided Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman for their silence towards the two global economic giants who were recently exposed as having spied on their allied nations, including Malaysia, though their diplomatic missions here.

"I am appalled by the meekness of the prime minister and the foreign minister for not able to respond to the issue of spying," he told reporters in Parliament here.

"We want Putrajaya to respond to this immediately and lodge a strong protest to the US ambassador. We do not condone or tolerate any spying in our country," Anwar added,

The Permatang Pauh MP pointed out that countries like Brazil had sent a strong protest signal against the US when its president cancelled a scheduled trip to Washington following allegations of American spying.

While Malaysia's neighbours Indonesia and Thailand have lodged formal protests, Putrajaya's reply has remained muted so far.

Yesterday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government would "study" the spying allegations first before deciding its course of action.

On the heels of the US espionage storm, the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) today reported that Australia's electronic intelligence agency was using its diplomatic missions to spy on its Asian neighbours.

Citing new information disclosed by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden and a former Australian intelligence officer, the Australian newspaper also reported that clandestine surveillance facilities at embassies were carried out without the knowledge of most Australian diplomats.

SMH's revelations come as Washington D.C. was left red-faced by global news reports it had been eavesdropping on allies, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Australian Greens leader Christine Milne yesterday called for the Australian government to review its intelligence gathering methods.

Previously Anwar demanded that Putrajaya lodge a protest against the US for using its KL embassy to listen in on Malaysian leaders.

"People are disgusted with the way that the intelligence apparatus are being used to spy... latest of course in Spain," the opposition leader told The Malay Mail Online.

"I think the Malaysian intelligence, in particular the prime minister, should not be seen to be so submissive and not prepared to say anything.

"They must lodge a protest, there is no reason for any country, foreign country, whether it's United States or any other country to be involved in any internal espionage in any country."

Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob from the ruling Barisan Nasional has also criticised the US for using its KL embassy to run a monitoring station to tap telephones and monitor communications networks, describing it as "immoral" and called for protest should the allegation be true.

He said although the Cabinet will have the last say, the rural and aggro-based industries minister said Putrajaya should immediately send a protest note to Washington if the accusations are verified.


‘DAP, the undisputed champion of Penang’

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 04:33 PM PDT

Gerakan concedes that DAP has become the new undisputed champion of Penang but will continue to work on strategies to make a comeback as well as focus on new frontiers.

Hawkeye, FMT

A lingering question has emerged following the successful completion of the Gerakan's national party elections last weekend.

The poser – has Gerakan abandoned its former power base, Penang?

Results of its elections seemed to indicate this although officially, party leaders preach about closing of ranks and unity in Barisan Nasional (BN).

But if one analyses it closely, most of the candidates who won were largely not from Penang but from all over the country.

The first casualty was Penang Gerakan chairman Teng Chang Yeow, who lost his bid to become the new president, losing to Mah Siew Keong with a majority of over 500 votes.

Mah, a former party secretary-general has slowly but surely moved through the ranks to become the party's fifth president after his predecessor- former Penang Chief Minister Dr Koh Tsu Koon who was forced out after he was unable to break free from a widely held perception that he was subservient to BN's power broker- Umno.

Former Penang Gerakan Youth head Oh Tong Keong lost the wing's national post to upstart Kedah Gerakan Youth head Tan Keng Liang.

During the 80′s and 90′s, Gerakan was mostly top heavy with leaders from Penang and Perak, but this changed after the 2008 general election.

Gerakan is now seen to be gravitating northwards as two of its promising leaders, deputy president Dr Cheah Soon Hai and Keng Liang hail from Kedah.

Its vice-presidential line up is one of the most colourful ever, it is also the first time that a Malay – Dr Asharuddin Ahmad has managed to win such a post, followed by A. Kohilan Pillay and Teo Kok Eng, from Johor, who was rewarded for securing one parliamentary seat for the party.

Dr Asharuddin and Kohilan represent Gerakan's presence in the Klang Valley.

Teo helped Liang Teck Meng retain the Simpang Renggam parliamentary seat and Liang is on track to become Gerakan's sole representative in the cabinet if Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak accedes to its request to return back to the federal government.

Historically, Gerakan was founded by the human rights driven academician – the late Syed Hussein Al-Atas, who was among several intellectuals forming the party in 1968, as an offshoot from the now defunct Labour Party.

Its political bastion covered mostly Penang and Perak until it lost both states in 2008.

Now its elected leaders are a diversified lot judging from the central committee line-up where only three Penangites; Baljit Singh, Ng Siew Lai and Dr Thor Teong Gee were elected in while the rest are based in Kedah, Perak, Pahang, Johor, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur or Selangor.

It is said that Sabah should be the party's new frontier because the state has shown that it appreciates Gerakan's multi-ethnic background and moderate political stance.



Malaysia Building Major Business District In Kuala Lumpur Amid Fiscal Struggles, Raises Doubts

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 02:00 PM PDT 

(International Business Times) - Malaysia is building an enormous business district in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, but its shaky finances raise doubts on whether the Southeast Asian nation is capable of such an ambitious undertaking just now.

The project, named the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) after the country's second prime minister (and current Prime Minister Najib Razak's father), is part of Malaysia' plan to develop Kuala Lumpur into an international financial center, the Financial Times reported Monday.

But Malaysia may need to check its ambition because its finances are not in the best shape at the moment. Earlier in the year, Fitch downgraded its sovereign credit-rating outlook to negative, citing a growing debt pile and large fiscal deficit.

Najib, who also serves as finance minister, is well aware of the fiscal challenges his administration is facing, and last week promised to begin tackling the government debt problem by introducing a new consumption tax and trim subsidies. Even so, the problem will take time to address, and analysts are concerned that the government is overextending itself with the project, which is now inviting bids from developers and investors.

Phase one of the TRX will comprise of up to four office towers, a luxury hotel, a shopping mall and as many as five residential buildings, and real estate agents began soliciting bids of interest from investors and developers on Monday. The project is modeling itself after Canary Wharf, the financial center in London, and IFC, Hong Kong's financial center.

Aside from being taxing on the nation's already weak finances, the project could also worsen the oversupply of office space in Kuala Lumpur in the medium term, analysts from CIMB, a major Malaysian bank, told theFinancial Times. Occupancy of office space in the Klang Valley, which includes central Kuala Lumpur, fell for the fifth straight year in 2012.

Read more at: 

Sacrificial ritual begs respect

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 01:57 PM PDT 

Does a dominant race have the exclusivity to do as they please, wherever and whenever, even if there is no authorisation to do so?

Jeswan Kaur, FMT

The issue is not that the non-Muslims are against the practice of Hari Raya Korban; the problem is when discretion is thrown out of the window in the excitement over the korban.

We are a nation divided, mostly owing to the unscrupulous politicians and bigots who never tire of instigating Malaysians of different faiths.

With the country now split between 'what's right' and 'what's wrong', harmony and unity between the people have become endangered, making it impossible to bridge the racial gap that threatens to drown Malaysia's cherished asset – her diversity.

While the nation suffers an 'identity crisis' due to the never-ending racial slurs and 'misrepresentation', chaos over respect for the respective faiths continues to reverberate.

Barely two weeks after the Court of Appeal dismissed the Catholic Church's fight over the use of the word 'Allah' in its weekly publication, a new racial row has erupted.

This time, the issue revolves around the Hari Raya Korban/Hari Raya Aidiladha/ Hari Raya Haji slaughtering of cows, a practice which in this country is done in full view of the public, in any space available.

To say that the 'open air' ritual leaves many people aghast is an understatement. The situation is made worse when the television stations showcase the slaughtering process time and again.

This year's Hari Raya Korban turned controversial when several non-Muslim parents took umbrage over the slaughtering of cows in schools in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur.

The parents complained that sacrificing cattle in schools was an insensitive move and inappropriate to schoolchildren.

This well-meaning concern however did not sit well with the Malay zealots of this country, who then raised the issue of the Hindus's carrying the kavadi openly during the Thaipusam festival.

Unlike the killing of cows, the kavadis or decorated carriers are not brandished just about any place the devotee pleases. Still, attacking one another's faiths and demeaning cultures simply to prove a point leaves the country in a very vulnerable position.

Scary revelations

When Deputy Education Minister (II) P Kamalanathan said the Education Ministry has never allowed the slaughter of cows in schools, why did the truth upset Malay supremacist group Perkasa?

Perkasa Youth chief Irwan Fahmi Ideris via his blog unleashed his anger and launched a personal attack on Kamalanathan.

"The parliamentarian P Kamalanathan's statement that the korban ceremony cannot be carried out in schools is an act that insults the Malays and all Muslims," Irwan wrote.

It is worrying to note the myopic approach groups like Perkasa continue to use in defending Islam and Malays.

How is stating a fact downgrading the country's official religion or hurting the sensitivities of Muslims?

Going by the conundrum that as erupted as a result of the cow-slaughtering in school, it brings to light some very frightening revelations:

Does a dominant race have the exclusivity to do as they please, wherever and whenever, even if there is no authorisation to do so?

Why was the deputy education minister's statement viewed as a threat by defenders of the Islam like Perkasa, to the point that it threatened to turn the tables against Kamalanathan in the 14th general election?

Was butchering cows in places of learning a 'wholesome' affair?

Did Perkasa forget about the sentiments of the young non-Malay pupils who would have been terrified watching the butchering of these animals?

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