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Malaysia Bans Ke$ha Concert Over 'Religion and Culture'

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 01:23 PM PDT

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(Rolling Stone) -  "To be clear. I did NOT cancel," Ke$sha wrote, "I was not allowed to play. and then I was going to play anyways and was threatened with imprisonment."

Ke$ha is officially too hot for Malaysia. The pop star's concert at the Kuala Lumpur stadium was canceled after authorities in the Muslim-majority country determined that it would "hurt cultural and religious sensitivities," the Associated Press reports.

The concert organizer Livescape told the AP that it had received a letter the night before Saturday's show with news of the decision, and claimed that it was losing more than $350,000 because of the ban. Malaysia's Ministry of Communications and Multimedia said that it was rejecting the application for Ke$ha's performance for reasons of religion and culture, but did not elaborate. 

Livescape said in a statement that Ke$ha had already agreed to make changes in the concert plans to comply with the government's guidelines. "Livescape would also like to go on record to applaud and thank Kesha and her team for working closely with us and having agreed to modify the show to suit the Malaysian culture and sensitivities," the statement said, "including having made adjustments to her song lyrics, wardrobe changes, and a set list that was modified to specifically adhere to the guidelines set forth by the authorities."

A performance by the band Lamb of God was also banned in Malaysia last month after officials accused the group of being blasphemous. In 2011, Lady Gaga's hit "Born This Way" was censored in the country to avoid fines for its pro-LGBT lyrics.

Ke$ha, who recently spoke with Rolling Stone about next Wednesday's premiere of the second season of her show My Crazy Beautiful Life, vented her frustration at the cancellation over Twitter. "To be clear. I did NOT cancel," she wrote, "I was not allowed to play. and then I was going to play anyways and was threatened with imprisonment."

MB’s job out of finance wizard Khalid’s league

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 01:12 PM PDT

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(fz.com) - Which is worse, someone who, whether corrupt or not, you can keep on his toes, or someone who is clean but does not know or refuses to take necessary action on his officers who are corrupt?

Frustration and disappointment is reigning among Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state representatives in Selangor under the administration of Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.

It is no secret that some prefer PKR deputy president and Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Mohamed Azmin Ali to take over the reins of the state administration.

Several state assemblymen whom fz.com spoke to said Abdul Khalid does not heed input, advice or ideas.

They find it difficult to gain necessary approvals for programmes and community initiatives, including those pertaining to people's grouses which were submitted to his office.

Because of this, elected representatives have to face angry constituents.

The frustration and disappointment culminated in the submission of a memorandum by the PR backbenchers club (BBC) to Abdul Khalid after word that the Selangor government would slash expenditure for development purposes.

One elected representative of the state government said he was frustrated by Abdul Khalid's delay not only in approving allocations but also reviewing and approving programmes devised for communities after painstaking effort.

"It is not easy to get professionals to come in and sit down with us to talk and draft programmes for the community. But once we submit (the programmes) to his office, there is no word on them," he said.

"I am very frustrated. I have submitted requests for allocations for certain programmes, but so far, nothing has been approved," he added.

One first term assemblyman said there are long delays over the implementation of development projects.

He lamented that over the past five years of Abdul Khalid's administration, nothing concrete has been put in place to herald a long-term changes.

"Yes, we have a lot of money, but how are we going to take Selangor forward?" he asked, alluding to Abdul Khalid's tight-fisted ways.

He said elected representatives find it difficult to engage with Abdul Khalid as he is not open to meeting with any of them, save for Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua.

"He only listens to a few people, of which are his advisers and political bureau," he said, adding Bank Islam chief economist Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin were one of the few Abdul Khalid engages with.

(Azrul was suspended from the bank after stating in a forum that Pakatan would clinch Putrajaya with a slim majority in the 13th general election.)

An MP meanwhile said there was no engagement between Abdul Khalid and elected representatives on initiatives for the people, which has frustrated many of the elected PR representatives.

"It does not matter if it is Abdul Khalid or someone else leading the state, what is important that there is a real move to implement the policies outlined by Pakatan in its manifesto but we see it happening here in much too slow a pace," he said.

"That is why GLCs (government-linked companies), businesses, investors and so on are very frustrated because they are tied down by bureaucracy," he added.

He said the previous notions that the civil servants were not cooperative with the Pakatan administration cannot be used as an excuse any longer.

"It has been five years. We have re-elected with a stronger mandate. We need to fulfil our promises to the people who voted us in based on what we said we would deliver," he added.

Would Azmin make a better MB?

The first term assembly member admitted that many elected representatives are starting to feel that Mohamed Azmin might make a better MB to Abdul Khalid.

However, Mohamed Azmin does not have a good reputation with the public, who generally feel he is prone to corruption, he said.

Abdul Khalid has a clean record with a keen eye for picking out financial pickles, but lacks the meat to deal with corrupted civil servants.

"The thing is both Azmin and Abdul Khalid are not great but I would prefer Azmin as MB because things would be settled more quickly without too much fuss," he said.

"For example, the state government's takeover of the solid waste management policy… there was so much delay over the hiring of the contractors because his people were not happy even though they were hired through an open tender.

"He (Abdul Khalid) is really good at solving structural issues, like the restructuring of the water industry, but that could have also been done by hiring some professionals from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"I am not saying that his strengths are negligible. I am just saying he would make a better finance minister than an MB," he added.

Asked about the corruption factor that plagues Mohamed Azmin, the assembly member said: "Yes, that may pose a problem, but we have a host of check and balances to keep him in check.

"The state's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is there. But which is worse, someone who, whether corrupt or not, you can keep on his toes, or someone who is clean but does not know or refuses to take necessary action on his officers who are corrupt?" he said.

It is a known fact that Mohamed Azmin is not endorsed by DAP and PAS for the mentri besar's post.

Instead, DAP and PAS had supported Abdul Khalid's run for the position, the sole factor that propelled the former CEO of Guthrie Group to helm the position of MB.

Asked if this may have backfired on the state, another elected representative from one of the aforementioned parties said: "Yes, I think so."

A meeting between Abdul Khalid and the backbenchers on Thursday seemed a feeble attempt at damage control following a leak of the BBC memorandum.

Both parties had played down the matter and said that it was a "good discussion" and that Abdul Khalid had no hard feelings.

Truth be told, sentiments are still raw and there is no indication that the problem will go away anytime soon.

 

Utusan calls Chinese ungrateful, again

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 01:03 PM PDT

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(TMI) - Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia has again played the race card by calling the Chinese in Malaysia ungrateful despite being given citizenship here, the privileges in the economic sector and the leeway to develop Chinese schools.

This time the paper justified its argument by drawing heavily on a book published by Ye Lin-Shing from China, The Chinese Dilemma, in 2003.

"Ye-Lin is a businessman in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Australia, Britain and United States. His book captures his experience involving the Chinese in these countries. He criticised many parties including the Malaysian Chinese," said Awang Selamat, the pseudonym for its collective editorial team, in the weekend edition, Mingguan Malaysia.

"He had concluded that the Chinese here were lucky compared to other countries, yet were still ungrateful. He had also stressed how generous the Malays were in the social contract prior to independence in allowing the Chinese citizenship.

"Yet when Utusan Malaysia published a front page article title 'Apa Lagi Cina Mahu?' two days after the 13th general elections, some DAP and Chinese non-governmental organisations were upset even though it was a realistic and rational question.

"Despite controlling the country's economy, the development of Chinese schools and the implementation of government policies which allows the Chinese to continue to prosper, the Chinese still wants to topple Malay political leadership from power."

It is a clear message that the Chinese do not like to be criticised and that the racial approach to politics is becoming dangerous, Awang Selamat said.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/utusan-calls-chinese-ungrateful-again 

Putrajaya must explain Herald ban in Sabah, say East Malaysian politicians

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 01:00 PM PDT

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(TMI) - Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi must explain the new restriction, especially after Putrajaya had said the Court of Appeal ruling would not apply in Sabah and Sarawak.

East Malaysian politicians want Putrajaya to explain why 2,000 copies of this week's edition of the Herald cannot be distributed in Sabah, 10 days after the Catholic weekly's right to use the word Allah was overturned by the Court of Appeal.

Putrajaya had assured East Malaysians that they can continue using Allah, in an effort to ensure it keeps its key vote bank in both Sabah and Sarawak where there are many Christians who worship in Bahasa Malaysia.

But the forwarding company bringing the weekly into Sabah on Friday was told by the Home Ministry that the copies were not to be distributed.

The Catholic Church prints 14,000 copies of the Herald weekly for the about one million Catholics in the country and Herald editor Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew said Allah was used in inverted commas in the latest edition when referring to the Court of Appeal ruling on October 14.

"Why can't the Herald be read in Sabah when the Prime Minister has announced the ban on the use of the word Allah only applies to the Herald in the peninsula?" Sabah State Reform Party (STAR) chief Datuk Dr Jeffery Kitingan (pic) asked in reaction to the latest move by Putrajaya.

"How come they are applying it (the ban) to Sabah as well?  Why is the government inconsistent in its actions? They say one thing and do another," Kitingan told The Malaysian Insider.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/putrajaya-must-explain-herald-ban-in-sabah-say-east-malaysian-politici 

A matter of law, not policy

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 10:43 AM PDT

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Stripped of political implications, the case is one that is easily determined. It was made controversial by certain quarters for their own purposes. Regrettably, in failing to recognise the controversy for what it was, the Court of Appeal may have inadvertently laid the ground for the further machinations of those who would divide this nation.

Malik Imtiaz Shawar 

IT LOOKS fairly certain that the decision of the Court of Appeal on the use of the word Allah in the Malay version of the newsletter of the Catholic Church, The Herald, will be appealed to the Federal Court. It is improbable that the apex court will deny permission to appeal, considering the obvious constitutional implications of the matter.

It is obvious that the Federal Court will have much to consider. Among the criticism levelled against the Court of Appeal is the suggestion that the Court had made a policy decision, as opposed to a legal one. Considering the reasons advanced by the judges concerned for their decision, there is substance to this complaint.

The Court of Appeal was required merely to determine whether the High Court judge had arrived at a decision that was consistent with the relevant legal principles. That decision related to only one question — whether the home affairs minister had exercised his powers in a manner that was justified in law in imposing the condition that the word Allah was not to be used in the publication. And while the Court of Appeal would have been right to interpret such law as it was required to for the purpose of deciding whether the High Court judge had erred, it ought not have gone so far as to effectively develop a legal framework for the protection of Islam.

Settled principles of law dictate that the courts are not to substitute the decisions of administrators with those of the courts. All that the courts can do in affording judicial review is to consider whether the administrator concerned, in this instance the minister, had adopted the correct decision-making process, and whether the administrative decision challenged was reasonable having regard to the circumstances as they stood at the time the administrative decision was made. These legal constraints were in fact recognised by the judges of the Court of Appeal who discussed them in their respective judgments.

In this context, all that the Court of Appeal ought to have done was to enquire into the reasons advanced by the High Court to quash the decision of the minister. These reasons ultimately centred on one primary conclusion — that the minister had no reasonable basis on which he could objectively conclude that the use of the word Allah in The Herald would be a threat to public order.

A review of this conclusion by the Court of Appeal would have entailed an objective consideration of the basis of the minister's decision, that is the factual considerations that the minister took into account at the time he made the decision, with a view to determining whether his decision was one that any reasonable person in the minister's shoes would have made.

For this purpose, negative reactions on the part of the public to the decision of the High Court were not relevant, it being a matter of established principle that the popularity of a decision of the courts is not the yardstick by which the correctness of that decision is to be measured. Were it otherwise, many a litigant would arrange for public controversy in order to gain a foothold in the appellate courts.

It must be appreciated that at the most fundamental level, the complaint of the Catholic Church was that the condition impacted on the right of the Church and the members of its congregation to express themselves fully. And while it is tempting to characterise disputes of such a nature as concerning the freedom of religion, this was really a case about the freedom of expression.

From a constitutional standpoint, it is an established principle that all Malaysians have the right to say what it is they want, save where their right to do so has been limited by law on grounds of national security and public order. Such law must, however, be reasonable and the restraint on expression limited to only what is essential to achieve the aim of the law. These constraints apply equally to any administrative action sanctioned by law.

Like us or not we helped BN win GE13, Perkasa tells Najib

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 10:34 AM PDT

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The rise of Perkasa, championed by its patron Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has pushed Najib's Umno to tack right in recent years, hurting BN's hold on middle Malaysia.


Syed Jahmal Zahid, The Malay Mail 


Whether or not Datuk Seri Najib Razak agrees with Perkasa's views, he must admit it had helped keep his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in power, the Malay rights group has claimed, while accusing Chinese voters of betraying the prime minister.

Its youth chief Irwan Fahmi Ideris said Perkasa's politics had aided the return of Malay support towards the ruling party, adding that it had done more work than BN's non-Malay component allies in garnering votes.

Yesterday, outgoing Gerakan acting president Datuk Chong Ko Youn claimed Najib opposed Perkasa's extreme politics despite not making his stance public, saying this had been conveyed to the party's leadership behind closed doors. 

"Whether he likes us or not, Perkasa had contributed to BN's victory," he told The Malay Mail Online.

The rise of Perkasa, championed by its patron Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, has pushed Najib's Umno to tack right in recent years, hurting BN's hold on middle Malaysia.

This has come at a heavy cost for BN's non-Malay parties in the peninsula, with both Gerakan and MCA performing disastrously in Election 2013.

Umno has, however, kept the support of its conservative base, while the ruling coalition stayed in power even though it lost the popular vote. Perkasa's Irwan blasted Chong for the statement, saying the Gerakan leader was only grandstanding to his party's grassroots in a bid to conceal the leadership's failure to win Chinese support in the national polls.

"And whether or not he (Najib) likes us is a second question, the main issue is what have they (Gerakan) done to win Chinese support? "Cakap orang kalah kita tak nak dengarlah (we shouldn't bother with the words of a loser)," he said.

Irwan also accused Gerakan and MCA, BN's main Chinese party of laziness, saying they had only "makan gaji buta (been paid for doing little or no work)" when given allocations to campaign for Chinese support in the last two elections.

"At least we contributed to BN's victory. They? Just 'makan gaji buta' as you can see the Chinese didn't even back them".


READ MORE HERE 

No free lunch

Posted: 26 Oct 2013 10:28 AM PDT

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Even though the GST is seen as a more equitable form of taxation--as the more a person spends, the more taxes he or she will have to pay--and that many essential items and services are in the exclusion list, poor people still have to pay the taxes as they need to buy clothes and shoes for themselves of their children. 

Lim Sue Goen, Sin Chew Daily 

There could be possibly some brief sessions of free lunches in politics, but they won't last forever. The national Budget that comes after so many years of generous handouts, it's now time for Malaysians to pay foot the bill.

From Mahathir, Abdullah to Najib, they have all tabled "painless" budgets during their tenures as finance ministers.The size of handouts could vary, it is nevertheless invariable truth that some form of goodies could be expected from them year after year. For example, bonuses for the country's civil servants.

To please the public, the budgets have remained in the red for the past 17 years, culminating in sky-high public debts. We can no longer be this generous any more. If the government fails to stay prudent in managing its expenses in a bid to lower public debts, our sovereign ratings will be slashed. As a consequence, we have trimmed deficits, zero sugar subsidies and imposition of 6% GST, among others.

Najib has attempted to cut down on expenses ever after he assumed office. For instance, the total allocation for 2010 Budget was 11.2% lower than the previous year at RM191.5 billion. Unfortunately because of overdraft, the government still needs to seek parliamentary consent for supplementary bills every year.

To improve its chances of re-election, the BN government has been offering generous aids, resulting in uncurbed expenses. Administrative expenses have reached the level of 80% of total government allocations.

From the themes of budgets tabled over the past five years, we could see that Najib has strived to pursue economic prosperity.In 2010 we had "1Malaysia, shared prosperity," in 2011 "Transformation into a high-income nation," 2012 "National transformation program to preserve economic prosperity," 2013 " and for 2014 "Strengthening economic resilience, accelerating transformation and fulfilling promises."

But, from the developed status advocated by Mahathir to Najib's high-income country, despite the fact that the government has been handing out so much of subsidies and assistance over the years, many Malaysians remain financially strapped. Why?

If we can achieve the goal of developed nation status two years ahead of our deadline in 2018, i.e. with a per capita income of US$15,000, why do our household debts remain at a staggering RM784 billion?

Judging from the ratio of household debts to disposable income of 194% in 2012, we are at a more alarming level than that of the United States during the 2008 subprime crisis (130%). Although we have accumulated more and more wealth at the same time, our credit growth has expanded faster than our GDP at about 83% of GDP, anticipated to expand further to 97% by 2018.

Which means, if we are not going to cut down on household dents, even if we make it to the ranks of high-income nations, we will be hard pressed under mounting debts.

The minimum salary scale and generous distribution of money by the government will only increase the superficial income of the people, as their disposable income has been largely eroded by skyrocketing living costs, debts and property prices. Subsidies and handouts can no longer fix our problems.

According to the survey conducted by Kelly Services, the salaries of Malaysians only grew by a meager 2%-6% over the last ten years, with 34% of employed Malaysians living under the RM720 national poverty line. The Statistics Department pointed out that the average monthly expenses of Malaysian families rose from RM1,953 in 2004/05 to RM2,190 in 2009/10, up 12.1% at a rate apparently much faster than income growth.

Unless we are able to drastically enhance our productivity, or there is no way for us to see bigger growth in income. Depressingly, the government has allowed unchecked entry of foreign workers into the country, suppressing further the magnitude of upward income adjustments.

READ MORE HERE 

Anwar's budget comments that of a populist: Idris

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:45 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is a populist for saying that 2014 Budget, especially the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), as punishment for the people.

Chief Minister Datuk Idris Haron said the opposition leader just wanted to get the attention of a handful of people without thinking about balancing the economy.

"The accusation is proof that he (Anwar) is a populist leader who only makes nice announcement in front of the people for personal gain without considering the effects on the future of the country," he told reporters after attending the 9th convocation of Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) in Durian Tunggal, here today.

Idris was commenting on a news portal report quoting Anwar as saying the budget tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, especially the implementation of GST, as punishment for the people.

He said the decision to implement GST of 6 percent effective April 1, 2015 was the right move as the government has to find resources to balance the economy. This was necessary as the country's resources would decline by 2018 and the implementation of GST was the best way for the people to share the responsibility. 

 

I don't care about Dong Zong protest over school land: Nazri

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:41 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has stressed that he did not care about the protest by the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) on the land acquisition at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Chin Woo.

"I don't care what they (Dong Zong) think...I only take into account what is decided by the Chin Woo school board members. If the members of the board agree, I agree. If Dong Zong, I don't care about them," he told reporters after launching a 1Malaysia Reading Carnival here today.

In July, the ministry intended to acquire land in the school in Pudu to build a culture village through the RM32.5 million Kuala Lumpur Heritage City project. However, the decision was opposed by numerous parties, especially parents, as the land was being used as a basketball court since 1938.

On the encouragement to read books in conjunction with the two-day carnival, beginning today, Mohamed Nazri targeted that every Malaysian read 20 books this year.

He said a study in 2005 indicated that Malaysians read two books while a study by Prof Atan Long in 1996, revealed that Malaysians read two pages a year.  

 

Much ado about nothing (part 2)

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 08:32 PM PDT

Now, there are two things to note here. First of all, God acknowledged Isaac (the younger brother) and not Ishmael (the elder brother) as the true successor and heir to Abraham. Secondly, according to the original and untranslated Genesis, God referred to Himself as El Shaddai and not Eloi, Ilah or Allah.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Yesterday we talked about the tug-of-war between Malaysian Muslims and Malaysian Christians regarding 'ownership' of God's name -- in this case that name being 'Allah'.

While I do not deny that many Muslims may be well tutored in their religion, Islam, this knowledge is limited to only the rules and regulations or the dos and don'ts of the religion. That is why most Muslims have the ability to talk about the Sharia and the punishment of serious crimes under the Sharia, called Hudud.

But then it ends there.

And this is why we are seeing many emotional statements coming out from Malaysian Muslims regarding whether Malay-speaking Christians should or should not be allowed to use 'Allah' as the name of God. 

Malaysian Christians, on the other hand, are pushing the envelope, so to speak, and are not really spot-on regarding the issue. Hence I would say that both sides in this conflict, the Muslims as well as the Christians, are arguing off tangent.

If you want to translate 'God' or 'Lord' into Bahasa Malaysia then it should be 'Tuhan' (God) or 'Tuan' (Lord) and not 'Allah'. And if you wish to retain the Arabic for 'God' or 'Lord' then it would be 'Rab'.

For example, verse 2 chapter 1 of the Quran is 'Al-hamdu lillahi Rabb il-'alamin, which means 'Praise be to Allah, Lord (God) of the Worlds'.

In other words, God with a capital 'G' (His name) is 'Ilah' while god with a small 'g' is 'Rab'.

Now, Jesus and his disciples spoke Aramaic and not Arabic, the common language of Judea in the first century AD. The towns of Nazareth and Capernaum in Galilee, where Jesus spent most of his time, were Aramaic-speaking communities.

According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, Aramaic was the spoken language of the Jews until Simon Bar Kokhba tried to restore Hebrew as the official language of the Jews during the revolt against the Romans in 132-135. Hence we need to look at Aramaic and not Arabic when we translate the name of God into another language.

In Aramaic, 'God' is 'Elah' while 'Elahi' means 'my God'. And, as I said, this is the language that Jesus spoke, Aramaic.

In Arabic, 'God' is 'Ilah', while 'my God' is 'Ilahi', which are actually Urdu words of Arabic origin. 'Allah', on the other hand, means 'The God' (Al Ilah), implying that Ilah is 'the sole God' or 'the one and only God'.

In Aramaic, 'Abba' means 'Father' while 'Bar Abba' literally means 'Son of the Father'.

The Gospel of Mathew reports Jesus as having said, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" -- which translates to 'My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?' Hence 'my God' is 'Eloi' (or 'Elahi' in Aramaic) and not 'Ilahi' as in Arabic.

The Gospel of Luke reported Jesus as having said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do", and 'Father' here would be 'Abba' in Aramaic. 

Another interesting point is that religious gift or offering (such as an animal sacrifice) in Hebrew is 'korban', which is found in Mark 7:11 and the Septuagint (in Greek transliteration). The Malays, too, use 'korban' for animal sacrifice (which they are now doing in school compounds).

We must take note that many Arabic terms are derived from the Nabateans, an ancient people who inhabited the Southern Levant between Arabia and Syria around 37-100. The Nabatean capital, Petra, was established around 312 BCE and now sits in Jordan. Hence even Arabic is not an original language as many Muslims may think.

Okay, that is the brief history of the languages of the region where Jesus came from. Hence, as to whether Allah, Ilah, Ilahi, Elahi, Eloi, etc., belong to the Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, pagans, etc., is debatable. At the end of the day, everyone borrowed from someone else and over time your language became my language, and so on. And, if you go back far enough, you can actually say that both Christians and Muslims do not have ownership over these words as both Christians and Muslims 'stole' these words from other people.

How is that for a new twist to the Allah word controversy?

Now let us go back to the issue of Genesis, a book written long before Christianity and Islam. I wish to talk about Genesis because both Christianity and Islam accept the stories in Genesis (mainly because these same stories appear in both the Bible as well as the Quran).

Genesis is basically a genealogical record covering a period of 2,500 years from the time of Adam and Eve (which means this is the story regarding the creation of humankind 4,000 years or so before the birth of Jesus Christ).

One very important point to note, though, is that Genesis was written 1,200 years after the event, which also means long before the birth of Christ.

The most important section of Genesis (at least as far as I am concerned) is the part about Abraham. And I say this because Judaism, Christianity and Islam all come under what we can call the Abrahamic faiths or the religion of Abraham. In fact, Muslims face the Kaaba (God's house or Baitullah) when they do their prayers, which Muslims believe was built by Abraham and his son, Ishmael.

Muslims are also supposed to make the pilgrimage to the Baitullah at least once in their lifetime. Hence the House of God or Baitullah built by Abraham and Ishmael is central to Islam. Hence, also, we need to talk about that.

According to Genesis, Abraham had a wife named Sarah who was barren and could not give him any children. Sarah had an Egyptian slave named Hagar, so Sarah told Abraham to use Hagar as a surrogate mother since she (Sarah) could not give Abraham any children.

Hagar soon became pregnant and not long after that Sarah, too, became pregnant. So now both of them were pregnant. Hagar's son was named Ishmael while Sarah's son was named Isaac. But Ishmael was elder to Isaac since he was born first.

Sarah soon became jealous and told Abraham to get rid of Hagar and Hagar's son, Ishmael. So Abraham dumped both of them in the desert and left them there. God, who called Himself, El Shaddai, then appeared and told Sarah that she will become the mother of all nations.

Now, there are two things to note here. First of all, God acknowledged Isaac (the younger brother) and not Ishmael (the elder brother) as the true successor and heir to Abraham. Secondly, according to the original and untranslated Genesis, God referred to Himself as El Shaddai and not Eloi, Ilah or Allah.

Genesis also tells us that El Shaddai asked Abraham to sacrifice (korban) Isaac at the altar. Just as Abraham was about to slit Isaac's throat, an Angel appeared and stopped Abraham from proceeding. The angel then referred to Isaac as Abraham's 'only son' even though Abraham had one more son, Ishmael, who was elder to Isaac.

Okay, that is what Genesis tells us. Islam, however, disagrees with Genesis's version of events. Islam says that Allah asked Abraham to sacrifice (korban) Ishmael (and not Isaac) at the altar. And just as Abraham was about to slit Ishmael's throat, an Angel appeared and stopped Abraham from proceeding and said he should instead sacrifice an animal in Ishmael's place.

(And that is why Muslims practice animal sacrifice once a year during Hari Raya Haji).

So there is a fundamental difference between the Genesis and Quran version of events. While both agree that the incident did happen, they disagree on which son was involved. Hence the Jews regard Isaac as Abraham's successor and heir while the Muslims regard Ishmael as this successor and heir.

Genesis does not tell us what happened after Abraham abandoned Hagar and Ishmael in the desert at the behest of a very jealous Sarah. From hereon Ishmael is out of the picture and Isaac continues with Abraham's legacy.

Islam, however, continues this story. Islam says that many years later Abraham visited the place where he had abandoned Hagar and Ishmael and by then Ishmael had already grown into a man. Islam further says that Allah then ordered Abraham to build the Kaaba on that spot and with Ishmael's help Abraham built God's House or the Baitullah.

And this is the major difference in belief between the Jews and the Muslims. The Christians, however, subscribe to the Jewish version of this story as related by Genesis and not Islam's version as related by the Quran.

Okay, if the Christians subscribe to Genesis and not to the Quran, then God's name should be El Shaddai and not Allah. That is the point of this whole story, which is to determine what is God's real name as narrated by Genesis.

Oh, by the way, Jews practice circumcision, an Egyptian practice at that time -- and Hagar was Egyptian while Sarah was not. Does this mean the Jews follow Hagar and not Sarah? 

Food for thought, is it not?

 

Christian body decries Herald seizure as rights violation

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 05:37 PM PDT

(MM) - Putrajaya's alleged seizure of copies of The Herald in Sabah is a violation of the church's right to distribute the newsletter to its own members, a Christian umbrella body said today in protest against the latest incident in the "Allah" controversy.

Council of Churches (CCM) general secretary Rev Hermen Shastri said if the ministry had indeed ordered for the 2,000 copies to be withheld without any acceptable grounds for doing so, the group would "definitely" voice its objection.

"This is shocking. It is unacceptable. It is a denial of rights of the church to distribute its newsletter, which is meant for its own members.

"If there are no grounds (for the ministry's order), we will definitely strongly protest," Hermen told The Malay Mail Online here, adding that they will wait for further information from the Catholic Church on the issue.

According to Herald editor Fr Lawrence Andrew this afternoon, 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.

The priest said that as of now, there is still no news as to the status of the consignment, which was supposed to have been distributed to churches in the Kota Kinabalu and Keningau dioceses.

The distribution ban is the latest incident to hit the controversial tussle between the Catholic Church and the government over the use of the word "Allah".

Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Home Ministry's decision to ban the use of the word in the Herald was justified, as the use of the word "Allah" was not integral to the practice of the Christian faith.

The ruling - which overturned an earlier High Court decision that the ban was unconstitutional - has since sparked confusion over the use of the word by Christians in their worship, especially with conflicting opinions within the government itself on how far the ruling would affect practicing Christians.

Churches in Sabah and Sarawak, however, have said that they will continue their age-old practice of referring to God as "Allah" in their worship and in their holy scriptures.

Several ministers also said recently that the 10-point solution issued by Putrajaya in 2011 - which allows the printing, importation and distribution of the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Christian bible, containing the word "Allah" - should stand, despite the appellate court ruling.

The Najib administration issued the 10-point solution shortly before the Sarawak state election in 2011 to end a Home Ministry blockade of shipments of Christian holy scriptures in the Malay language containing the word "Allah".

The Cabinet, through Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jala, had stated in the resolution that the large Bumiputera Christian population in Sabah and Sarawak could use their holy books in the Malay, Indonesian, and indigenous languages.

Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili, the energy, green technology and water minister, said last Wednesday that the Court of Appeal's verdict should, "in no way", affect the 10-point solution.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup also reportedly said recently that the Cabinet has decided to stick to the 10-point solution.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and de facto law minister Nancy Shukri have said that the court ruling was restricted to the Herald.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also said previously that the ruling would not affect Sabah and Sarawak, while separately another Cabinet minister claimed that Christians from the Borneo states could also use the word in peninsula Malaysia.

They were silent, however, on whether the Herald ruling meant the publication could be distributed in Sabah and Sarawak.

According to a 2010 census, Muslims are Malaysia's largest religious group, followed by Buddhists. Christians are the third-largest at 2.6 million, which comes up to about 10 per cent of the entire Malaysian population.

Bumiputera Christians, who form about 64 per cent or close to two-thirds of the Christian community in Malaysia, have used the word "Allah" when praying and speaking in the national language and their native tongues for centuries. 

 

Gerakan: Mah Siew Keong is the new party president

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 05:32 PM PDT

(The Star) - Datuk Mah Siew Keong was chosen as Gerakan's new president at the party's 42nd National Delegates Conference 2013 on Saturday.

The deputy post was retained by Cheah Soon Hai.

The three vice-president posts were won by Asharuddin Ahmad, A. Kohilan Pillai and Teo Eng Twe.

Gerakan acting secretary-general Datuk Mah Siew Keong went up against the party's Penang chairman Datuk Teng Chang Yeow in a straight fight for the president post.

The post was vacated after acting president Datuk Chang Ko Youn, who had led the party since last May, declined to defend his post to pave the way for younger leaders to helm the party.

Mah is 52 years old while Teng is 49.

Mah is a former MP of Teluk Intan (1999-2008), a former deputy minister and former Gerakan Youth chief (2002-2008).

He assumed responsibility as party acting secretary-general on May 11 following Teng's resignation as the party secretary-general and Barisan Nasional (BN) Penang chairman.

Meanwhile, 39 candidates vied for the 18 Central Committee positions.

A total of 2,298 national delegates voted in this year's party elections.

 

Copies of Herald seized at KK airport

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 05:21 PM PDT

(MM) - The Home Ministry has allegedly barred the distribution of Catholic weekly the Herald in Sabah, despite earlier assurances by the government that there was no ban on the use of the word "Allah" in the East Malaysian state.

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.

The priest said that as of now, there is still no news as to the status of the consignment, which was supposed to have been distributed to churches in the Kota Kinabalu and Keningau dioceses.

When contacted, however, deputy home minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he had no knowledge of the seizure.

The ban on distribution is the latest incident to hit the controversial tussle between the Catholic Church and the government over the use of the word "Allah".

Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Home Ministry's decision to ban the use of the word in the Herald was justified, as the use of the word "Allah" was not integral to the practice of the Christian faith.

The ruling — which overturned an earlier High Court decision that the ban was unconstitutional — has since sparked confusion over the use of the word by Christians in their worship, especially with conflicting opinions within the government itself on how far the ruling would affect practising Christians.

Churches in Sabah and Sarawak, however, have said they will continue their age-old practice of referring to God as "Allah" in their worship and in their holy scriptures.

Several ministers also said recently that the 10-point solution issued by Putrajaya in 2011 — which allows the printing, importation and distribution of the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Christian bible, containing the word "Allah" — should stand, despite the appellate court ruling.

According to a 2010 census, Muslims are Malaysia's largest religious group, followed by Buddhists. Christians are the third-largest at 2.6 million, which comes up to about 10 per cent of the Malaysian population.

Bumiputera Christians, who form about 64 per cent or close to two-thirds of the Christian community in Malaysia, have used the word "Allah" when praying and speaking in the national language and their native tongues for centuries. 

 

We are Malaysians, Gerakan tells Perkasa

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 05:16 PM PDT

Gerakan acting president Chang Ko Youn also tells Barisan Nasional (BN) to fight extremism and stop punishing the 51% voters who voted against the ruling coalition at the last general election.

Leven Woon, FMT

Lashing out at Perkasa for its extremism, outgoing Gerakan acting president Chang Ko Youn today called on the BN not to take 'revenge' on the 51% voters who voted against the ruling government at the May general election.

In his keynote address at the 42nd Gerakan national delegates conference today, Chang also trained his guns at the Malay rights group Perkasa, led by firebrand Ibrahim Ali.

He said Ibrahim has undermined the spirit of 'Merdeka' and interracial relationship through his statements.

"It is most unfortunate that extremists like Perkasa gleefully challenge the non-Bumiputeras to either return to their ancestral lands or migrate to a third country.

"Let me make it clear, in front of all of you today, that we are all Malaysians and no Malaysian will ever have to leave this country simply because he does not agree with any policy or approach.

"We are all Malaysians, citizens of this nation, and no one can take that away from us," he told some 2,000 Gerakan members at the conference. Prime Minister and Umno president Najib Tun Razak was the guest of honour of the delegates conference.

Chang also urged BN to fight extremism internally, as how it does internationally, and to ensure equal protection and application of the law on those who threaten the country's peace and stability.

At the media conference later, Chang equalled Perkasa to the right-wing Tea Party in the US and said Gerakan was pushing for BN to condemn the NGO.

Asked about Najib's lack of action against Perkasa for its offensive remarks, Chang said he was not sure if Najib had indeed criticised Perkasa before, but he "definitely does not endorse the statements".

Don't punish the 51%

On a separate matter, the former Perak executive councillor also urged BN not to punish the 51% of voters who deserted BN in the 13th General Election.

"BN and its component parties must not thrive in the fault lines of politics rather show humility in victory and accept that a new way is needed within BN as well.

"A new thinking must support that new way and the new thinking must encapsulate the hopes and aspirations of all Malaysians for clean, fair, just and inclusive government," he said.

He said the failure by the BN to change will lead to its self-destruction, because its shortcomings will endear its supporters to cross to the opposition.

He said an in-depth analysis of BN's victory in the 13th General Elections (GE13) shows that BN only won the federal administration with a margin of 44 seats with a combined majority of 25, 968 votes.

BN captured 133 while Pakatan Rakyat bagged 89 seats in the GE battle.

"Hence, we should not take our victory in GE13 for granted because it was a lot closer than many of us realise because 12,985 Malaysians voting the other way could have changed the results," he said.

READ MORE HERE

 

‘Allah’ issue about Malayisation and Islamisation of Malaysia

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 04:29 PM PDT

Written by Yin Ee Kiong, CPI 

Nesrine Malik of The Guardian hit the nail on the head when she said the Allah ban "is less about religion than about putting the non-Malay minorities in their place . . ."

It's about Umno-Malays domination and their claim to the exclusive right to set the country's agenda, riding roughshod over the concerns of the minorities.

Religion is used as a convenient tool because Islam and Malay identity are inseparable. Rather than use the ethnic dichotomy to pit the Malays against the non-Malays, which has lost its punch as more and more Malays (especially the urban Malays) have grown wise to Umno Baru-BN's trick of pitting the races against each other (GE13 is proof enough), Umno now exploits the Muslim/non-Muslim dichotomy. Umno has decided that this is an even better tool as it gives it an air of Divine Will, an act sanctioned by Allah.

The Allah issue is a guise to hide Umno Baru's agenda which is the Malayisation of the country. This is not the first time that Umno has tried to turn Malaysia's multicultural identity into a Malay identity.

It's about Ketuanan Melayu. It's about institutional racism. It's about putting the 'pendatangs' in their place; people who should be grateful with what they are given, 'guests' who should know their place. And for those who don't (know their place) they are shown the exit – they have been reminded enough times lately by ministers, politicians and Malay NGOs.

We do not have to dig too deep into our past to see the many attempts Umno has made to remodel our multicultural national identity, and as religion and race are tied with regard to the Malays, Islam is part and parcel of this identity.

Let us look at the Umno-BN government's track record to see this pattern of Malayisation and Islamisation of the country.

(I say the Umno-BN government, because the non-Malay component parties – MCA, MIC, Gerakan – are complicit to the plot if only by their acquiescence).

Islamisation and suppression of other religions

Even before the introduction of its Islamisation programme in 1982, the government has been promoting Islamic values as the country's values while ignoring the values or contributions of others in this multiracial country. It was as if there was only one set of values – the Islamic one.

"It is important that we prove that the Islamic system can fulfill the needs of not only the Muslims but other communities as well" said Dr Mahathir Mohamad (New Straits Times, 18 March 1985)

To leave nothing in doubt, Mahathir went on to say: "I hope we will not waste any effort shouting slogans which sound nice to the ears but empty in content. Instead we should go gradually forward in implementing Islamic principles." (The Star, 2 August 1985).

Hence the process of Islamisation took hold and was fast paced in government, administration, and education. This has caused great anxiety among the non-Muslims not because they were anti-Islam but because this undermines the basic foundation of Malaysia as a secular nation where there is religious freedom with Islam as the official religion.

The Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code were amended in 1982 ostensibly to deal with 'deviant' Islamic teachings (anything that is not in keeping with the government's version of Islam). However it also allows for "state interference in the practice, profession and propagation of non-Muslim religions". (Lim Kit Siang – Malaysia Crisis of Identity, page 39). This was another nail in the coffin of religious freedom in Malaysia.

In education, 'Islamic Civilisation' was made a compulsory subject in universities. While the non-Muslims accepted that it was good that they come to understand Muslims better through this subject, their proposal that, for the same reason the study of other major religions' civilisations can help Muslims understand the non-Muslims, was ignored.

The process of Islamisation was also felt in schools. There was an increase in government control of schools, especially of the mission schools. Before long, the principals of mission schools – who were traditionally Christians – were replaced by Muslim principals and principals of other faiths.

In the early 1980s, Moral Education as a compulsory examination subject was introduced for non-Muslim pupils while Muslim pupils were taught the Koran. The suggestion by the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) that it was only fair that "Pupils Own Religion" (POR) be taught was rejected. (It should be noted that in Indonesia POR is provided for all pupils and no religion has advantage over the other yet Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation with an overwhelming Muslim majority).

What further alienated non-Muslim parents was that the majority of the Moral Education teachers were Muslims and as such there would be a natural bias towards Islam.

Other acts of Islamisation in schools included instructing mission schools to remove crucifixes from the building and the removal of the cross or any other Christian symbols from their school badge and replace it with a star or a crescent.

In Sabah the authorities banned the teaching of Christianity on the school premises even after school hours. Because of strong protests this ban was lifted.

The doa is now recited in all school assemblies something which even the missionary schools did not do in my time.

The Islamisation of the education system has been going on for years. The Deputy Prime Minister at that time, Anwar Ibrahim, said in a press statement that the changes brought about by the government in the education system were in line with Islam. (New Straits Times, 26 March 1994).

I wonder what is Anwar's present position on this today?

Places of worship

The discrimination and suppression of other religions took many forms.

Regarding places of worship, it was recommended that Muslims be given an allocation ratio of 1:800 population with a spatial requirement of 0.4 hectare for a mosque. For a surau, it is 1:250 and 0.1 hectare. For non-Muslims the ratio was 1:4000 with a spatial requirement of "suitable standards" for a church or temple.

MCCCBHST request that they be treated equally was rejected. However the "suitable standards" was made more specific. Non-Muslims were now allocated 0.2 hectare – half that of the Muslims'. In fact, it is less when considering the ratio remained 1:4000 which is five times the number of people required for a mosque.

Another form of discrimination and suppression was by refusing or making it extremely difficult for non-Muslims to get planning approval for their places of worship. Land was not allocated for places of worship for non-Muslims and burial grounds not provided for in the master plans of some of the new towns.

The Sultan of Selangor commented in 1984 that while he was happy to see many suraus and mosques in the state, he aired his unhappiness that there was not a single place of worship for non-Muslims in Shah Alam. He wondered aloud, tongue-in-cheek no doubt, if non-Muslims ever prayed. He further observed that although land for places of worship for non-Muslims had been identified, its conversion had been stopped, ". . . perhaps by the state government or the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS)" (The Star, 17 January 1984).

The Shah Alam Church of Divine Mercy (often dubbed "the-on-and-off church) is probably the most famous example of how the authorities try to thwart attempts by non-Muslims to build places of worship.

The Catholic Church had applied for a piece of land to build a church in 1977. A 1.116 acre was allocated by the state and sold to the church in 1985 after the Sultan of Selangor's much publicised comments.

Formal approval to build a church was given in May 1993. Work started on the church in Section 24 of Shah Alam in June the same year.

Almost immediately Muslim NGOs and politicians protested claiming that the church would challenge the sanctity of Islam as the country's official religion and the position of Muslims. The Menteri Besar Muhammad Muhammad Taib instructed the municipal council to withdraw the approval.

It would be too tedious to go through the details of this saga. Suffice to say the government gave in to the Muslim extremists and offered the church a new site at Lot 172, Jalan Pemaju amongst the factories in the Industrial Park.

The Church of Divine Mercy opened its doors 28 years later in September 2005 after navigating every obstacle the government could throw in its way.

The continued reluctance by local authorities and state governments to cater to the needs of non-Muslims is probably the cause of the sprouting up of 'shophouse churches' and temples.

Administrative roadblocks on non-Muslims

Other examples of the State's actions vis-a-vis non-Muslims include: lack of burial ground, the propagation of Islam to non-Muslim minors despite strong parental objections. The conversion of 17-year-old Susie Teoh is a case in point. Her conversion to Islam was challenged by her father Teoh Eng Huat who appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the verdict of the Kota Bharu High Court that parents have no right to determine the religion of their children. Apparently this is contrary to reading of the law by Tun Mohammed Suffian Hashim (the late Lord President) that the religion of a minor under the age of 18 is decided by his/her parent or guardian.

Cases of dubious conversions persists to this day including cases of alleged 'body snatching' – when the state religious department take corpses for Muslim burial despite the protests of family members and evidence that they were practising other religions – Hinduism in most cases.

The import of Al-kitab, the Bible in the Indonesian language, was banned under the ISA in 2 Dec 1981. This was lifted after the churches protested.

The prohibition of the use of certain words deemed exclusive to Islam is not something new. State governments in Perak, Selangor, Kelantan and Terengganu in the 1980s issued a list of 36 words, including 'Allah' that non-Muslims were forbidden to use. After the MCCBCHST protested the list was pruned down to four words (Allah, solat, Kaabah and Baitullah). The Christian leaders refused even this list on the principle that no government has the right to forbid anyone to use any word of any language on earth.

So the banning of the use of 'Allah' is not something new. It is worth noting that the non-Muslims have consistently refused to accept this ban.

The Immigration Department also did its part in suppressing other religions by making it difficult for priests to enter the country. This affected the Buddhists, Sikhs and Hindus greatly as they needed the priests to conduct religious ceremonies and there were not enough local priests.

Sabah and Sarawak are not exempt

If those in Sabah and Sarawak think that it's only about the 'A' word, that they are free from this suppression they should look back on the government's track record in their states.

The Sacred Heart Cathedral in Kota Kinabalu is the most famous case.

Some Muslims in Sabah had objected to the rebuilding the Sacred Heart Cathedral that would have been the biggest Roman Catholic church in the Sabah when completed. The old church had been demolished so that a new one could be built in the same design as the St Joseph's Cathedral in Kuching and able to accommodate a congregation of some 1,380 in a single sitting.

In Sandakan, Sabahan Muslims objected to the building of a Buddhist temple in Kampung Tanah Merah. The then Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Chong Kah Kiat resigned over the issue of Maru, a Goddess of the Sea statue in Kudat, Sabah, for which approval was granted but later withdrawn when Muslim extremists protested.

In Sarawak, the Sikhs were attacked for building a gurdwara in Kuching.

The letting in of Muslim immigrants into Sabah is as much a political issue as it is a religious issue. It is to change the ethnic and religious balance in the state – to create a Muslim majority which can in turn impose restrictions on other religions just like in West Malaysia.

East Malaysians accept the government's assurance on the use of Allah at their own peril. The problem goes beyond the use of one word. It is a problem of Malayisation and Islamisation.

While all religions are affected by the government's ban on the use of 'Allah' and other restrictions and discrimination, it is the Christians who are the main target of Umno's politics. This was made clear by the Minister for Tourism and Culture Nazri Abdul Aziz who told other religions to butt out of this controversy. "I hope non-Christian groups won't get involved in this matter. It is between us Muslims and the Christians. This is very sensitive." ( Malaysiakini, 21 Oct 2013)

READ MORE HERE

 

Mengapa PAS bantah GST?

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 03:36 PM PDT

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(Harakah) - Kerajaan BN masih meneruskan kerja borosnya manakala memangsakan rakyat dengan cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST)  untuk meningkatkan pendapatan.

"Oleh itu, PAS tetap membantah pelaksanaan GST," tegas Ketua Penerangan PAS Pusat, Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man dalam satu kenyataan.

Katanya, pelaksanaan GST hanya boleh dilakukan apabila kerajaan mula bertanggungjawab untuk mengurangkan pengurusan operasi dan bukannya terus berboros dengan duit rakyat.

"Pengurangan subsidi dan kini GST bukan penyelesai kepada masalah ekonomi negara yang berpunca daripada sikap boros kerajaan berbelanja," ujarnya lagi.

Berikut ialah kenyataan penuh beliau.

Pelaksanaan cukai barangan dan perkhidmatan (GST) merupakan langkah baru untuk menambahkan pendapatan negara.

Ia adalah cara mengambil duit daripada rakyat melalui cukai yang dikatakan saksama sebagai pendapatan kerajaan.

Peluasan asas cukai ini mustahak untuk Malaysia, dakwa sesetengah pihak kerana hanya kira-kira 10 peratus daripada penduduk yang bekerja membayar cukai pada masa ini. 

PAS tidak bersetuju dengan kenyataan tersebut, kerana rata-rata rakyat sedang membayar cukai tersembunyi tanpa diketahui mereka.

Umpamanya pembelian kereta, semua rakyat yang mempunyai kereta sudah dikenakan cukai.

Dengan GST, mereka yang tidak mempunyai kereta dan tidak mempunyai pekerjaan tetap sehingga tidak layak membayar cukai pun dikenakan cukai atas setiap pembelian.

Lebih-lebih lagi, rakyat Malaysia tidak diberikan tempoh untuk menyesuaikan diri dengan GST apabila GST diumumkan pada kadar yang sebegitu tinggi pada 6 peratus.

Di Singapura, kadar GST diperkenalkan pada kadar 3 peratus sebelum beransur menjadi 7 peratus.

Ada yang berkata masyarakat kampung tidak akan merasai beban daripada GST. Ingin diingatkan bahawa kebanyakan barangan yang dijual di kedai-kedai runcit di kampung datangnya juga daripada para pembekal di bandar.

Barangan itu sudahpun dikenakan GST ketika tiba di kedai runcit. Walaupun kedai runcit yang kecil itu dikecualikan daripada GST kerana tidak melepasi had minimum perolehan tertentu, barangan yang dijual kepada masyarakat kampung sudah tentunya pada harga yang lebih tinggi kerana sudah dikenakan GST oleh pembekal.

Jangan terlalu gembira dengan pengumumkan pelbagai barangan asas seperti tepung, gula, beras dan garam tidak dikenakan GST. Hakikatnya, apa-apa yang dihasilkan daripada tepung, gula, beras dan garam kepada makanan siap yang sampai ke tangan pengguna boleh dikenakan GST.

Perkara terpenting dalam perlaksanaan GST ialah penguatkuasaan, bab yang kerajaan BN terkenal sebagai kelemahannya.

Untuk memastikan GST berfungsi dengan baik yakni menjana pendapatan yang seharusnya bagi kerajaan, penguatkuasaan kepada semua yang mengenakan GST perlu dilakukan secara saksama dan adil.

PAS terbayang akan berlaku masalah di mana kedai yang tidak layak mengenakan GST, akan sengaja mengenakan GST kepada pelanggannya untuk pendapatan lebih. Lebihan wang hasil daripada peratusan tambahan GST itu pula tidak dilaporkan kepada kerajaan kerana penguatkuasaan dan pemantauan yang lemah.

Akhirnya, rakyat membayar GST ini bukan untuk pendapatan kerajaan tetapi untuk mengkayakan lagi mereka yang tidak bertanggungjawab ini.

READ MORE HERE 

 

Malaysia bans Ke$ha concert over religious fears

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 03:24 PM PDT

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(AFP) - US pop singer Ke$ha has been forced to cancel a concert due to take place in Muslim-majority Malaysia on Saturday after authorities said it would undermine religious and cultural sensitivities.

"We are distraught to confirm that the show (at Kuala Lumpur stadium) will be cancelled," concert organiser Livescape said in a statement, adding that it was losing 1.1 million ringgit ($350,000) due to ban.

Livescape said it had received a letter from the authorities on the decision to ban the concert "at the 11th hour" on Friday, despite agreeing to "modify the show to suit the Malaysian culture and sensitivities".

The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia said in a brief statement Friday that it had rejected the application for the concert on grounds that it "touches on religious sensitivities and cultural values of Malaysians".

Ke$ha's MTV reality series 'My Crazy Beautiful Life' has featured her bizarre behaviour in the past, including drinking her own urine.

Some of her songs refer to sex and alcohol, which are considered taboo subjects by most Muslims.

Livescape said it had made adjustments to Ke$ha's song lyrics, wardrobe changes, and had modified a set list to specifically adhere to the guidelines set forth by the authorities.

Last month, Malaysia pulled the plug on a planned concert by US heavy metal group Lamb of God after Islamic authorities declared the band's music religiously offensive.

To avoid business risks and similar bans, Livescape said: "We encourage the authorities to engage in a productive dialogue with local promoters to avoid the current situation from repeating."

Muslims make up 60 percent of multi-ethnic Malaysia's 28 million people, while Christians account for about nine percent.

Malaysia is known for its relatively moderate version of Islam.

But conservatives occasionally cry foul over concerts by Western artists whom they accuse of promoting promiscuity, corrupting young people or offending religious sensitivities, though most concerts usually go ahead.

Music superstar Beyonce has twice cancelled shows in Malaysia amid criticism of her image, while American singer Erykah Badu had a concert cancelled by authorities last year after a photo appeared showing her with the Arabic word for "Allah" painted on her body.

Najib: BN ‘victims of own success’

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 03:19 PM PDT

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Barisan Nasional president Najib Tun Razak assured Gerakan that its losses in Penang are a sign of BN's successful policies which brought "changes to mind, atitudes and values" of the younger generation. 

Anisah Shukry, FMT 

Barisan Nasional was a "victim of its own success" in the past two general elections, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak told its embattled component party partner, Gerakan today.

In a bid to console the party after its bitter showing in the May 5 polls, Najib said:  "With our successes, we developed this country not just physically, but in terms of human capital and intellectual development.

"This has brought changes to the minds, attitudes and values of society today, especially the younger generation…

"Thus we have become a victims of our own success. And we must change.

"I have initiated this process by introducing the concept of transformative leadership in the government and in the party."

Najib, who was speaking to delegates at the 42nd  Gerakan National Delegates Conference, attributed the growing support for the Opposition to BN's success in allegedly developing the minds of the younger generation.

Gerakan suffered an embarrassing defeat at the May 5 polls when only one of the 11 candidates it fielded for a Parliamentary seat managed to win. Out of its 21 candidates contesting for state seats, only three emerged victorious.

The party also failed to wrest its former stronghold, Penang, from the DAP.

However, Najib said today the loss was not Gerakan's fault, insisting again that it was a sign of BN's "success".

"Gerakan's political base, Penang, was a beacon of light. The Gerakan state government developed Penang into a state not only famous for its tourism, but for becoming a magnet for foreign direct investment during the 70's," said Najib.

"This success has resulted in the situation today, where, ironically, Penang has become a challenge for us (to win back), not because of our failures, but because of the successes of the BN parties' policies."

Najib said that BN would continue to reject communal politics and maintain a "moderate, progressive, centrist, inclusive and fair stance", to win back support for the ruling coalition.

He also stressed that the BN parties had room to improve and must adapt to the changing political landscape so as to be seen as a relevant, vibrant and reflective of the voice of the younger generation.

"Most of our problem lies with our ability to communicate, about selling what we are doing to the people," he added, claiming that the Opposition coalition had managed to hoodwink the rakyat with their untruths.

"Why is a lie being swallowed wholesomely? I am looking into this… is it a problem of trust deficit? Are they trusting the opposition more than BN? Those are the questions and we have to find the solution."

READ MORE HERE 

 

Now, Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister disagree on cause of diabetes

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 03:17 PM PDT

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(TMI) - The Deputy Prime Minister and the Health Minister are not on the same page when it comes to what causes diabetes.

While Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic) used former Kedah Menteri Besar Tan Sri Azizan as an example to justify the ending of the sugar subsidy, Dr S. Subramaniam said sugar intake alone is not the primary cause of diabetes.

Azizan was a diabetic and had both his legs amputated immediately after the May 5 general election because of infection brought about by diabetes.

The Sungai Limau assemblyman subsequently died of a heart attack on September 26.

"The problem with Malaysia is we're prosperous," said Muhyiddin.

"Those who died are destined by Allah, but in this world, many are eating a lot at the same time taking a lot of sugar, until... I don't have to elaborate much about the late Azizan.

"Because of this (consuming sugar), he is forced to go through the process where his legs had to be amputated," Muhyiddin was reported as saying by the Malaysiakini news portal today.

Malaysiakini reported that he made the remarks to some 1,500 people at the SMK Sungai Limau for a meet-the-people session today as part of the by-election campaign.

The Sungai Limau by-election is being called following the death of Azizan, a five-term Sungai Limau assemblyman.

In the by-election on November 4, BN's Dr Ahmad Sohaimi Lazim will face PAS candidate Mohd Azam Abdul Samad in a straight fight.

This morning, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Subramaniam (pic) said diabetes in the country is not a product of just sugar consumption but noted that uncontrolled sugar intake can cause chronic diabetes and obesity.

Dr Subramaniam said in terms of science and nutrition, it was not compulsory to add sugar in one's daily food intake.

"Sugar intake is a culture in the country, but we have to know that is not a necessity as it is not a need like rice or petrol.

"If a diabetic were to go see a doctor who gives this advice, they would definitely reduce sugar intake from their daily diet," he said in a press conference after attending the National Clinical Immunology Symposium in Kuala Lumpur today.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in his 2014 Budget announcement yesterday, said 2.6 million Malaysians under the age of 30 were diabetic patients. Najib said the 34 sen subsidy per kilogram for sugar will be abolished from today, pushing the price to RM2.84 per kg. 

READ MORE HERE 

 

Malaysia's Top Scholars Sidelined in 2014 Budget ... Where Art Thou?

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 11:00 AM PDT

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It could have become a better budget had Najib provided some direction as to why the country needs qualified Malaysians to come to the fore, and especially for those who are currently living and working abroad to return to the country to serve it, in any field they are in.
 
MBP
 
The 2014 Budget which Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak presented is too general; it gives emphasis to the same areas that they have covered, which basically are those involving the industries and activities of all the ministries in the government.
 
It could have become a better budget had Najib provided some direction as to why the country needs qualified Malaysians to come to the fore, and especially for those who are currently living and working abroad to return to the country to serve it, in any field they are in.
 
Surely, the talk about encouraging Malaysians to pursue their education at some of the most prestigilous universities in the world, particularly the Ivy League and Oxbridge ones in America and the United Kingdom, respectively, is nothing but just talk.

The truth is that the government does not care for their personal well-being, and if their academic backgrounds and professional experiences in all the fields they are are crucial and beneficial to the growth and expansion of the industries and hence economy of the country, then surely, they should be given special roles to play in the industries they are in.
 
Why then encourage the students to pursue their education at such universities when the government does not really know what to do with them?
 
The ministry of education is organizing some town hall-type of activities to encourage people to attend them and give their views on how to further improve the level of education in the country.
 
Yet, the same ministry does not even know who they are and where they can be found. Some of them are already in these universities with the many others who have already returned to the country, quietly and unannounced.
 
They are not like the sportsmen and women who habitually attend sports meets all over the world, and if they lose, they are not condemned. However, if they win, it becomes a media attraction.

Scholars who go abroad to study in such prestigious universities are hardly given any notice, and even when they return they are not welcomed by the very ministries that should be first to embrace them, so that they are given the right treatment and posts in the ministries and agencies or other government-linked companies or GLCs to lead the departments which are suitable to them.
 
Some of them have wide professional exprience, and they can easily be taken in as consultants to the government or the ministries so that they are not led by the same tired and jaded PTD officers who move from one agency to another agency without showing any real or personal conviction.

These officers who hold the posts of the deputy and secretary-generals of the ministries are the ones who are always in the way of progress, because most of them are not qualified, but who assume such posts simply because they remain in the government service, so they could rise up the ladder to be what they are today, until they retire at the age of sixty, before they are given another post at another GLC.
 
No wonder some of the industries which the government is trying to develop cannot develop fully because they are held back because the ministries or agencies do not wish to have qualified persons messing around with them.
 
Malaysia cannot say that it has that many people who have academic qualification from the prestigious Ivy League and Oxbridge universities, and the few that we have must be utilized fully, or else they would wither and not able to contribute much because the are not given the right jobs with the right tasks to perform.
 
And it is also odd for Malaysia not to have anyone with degrees from these universities who are vice-chancellors or deans of the universities, when they are supposed to be the top brains, who must personally endeavor to excel in their education so that they can then look at the students in their respective universities to become good examples to them.
 
Malaysians who are teaching at the public or state universities are generally not so well-educated; they only have a string of degrees because they are paid to study and to get degrees.

So they normally go to non-competitive universities and work on research that is not relevant to the needs of the country because their main reason to pursue their education is to get a better post with better pay later. It is not for them to excel in their education to become internationally-recognized scholars or academics.
 
There is one so-called professor of rural poverty who lives in the city and who does not want to sit in the warungs or mix with the poor in the pasar malam. Yet, he has the audacity to claim to be an expert in rural poverty.

This explains why the so-called scholars that we have in the country are really not scholars in the right sense of the word, but officers of the universities, so their comments and views on anything are so general.
 
And when they retire from the universities, some go into politics or disappear. 

Unfinished slaughtering

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:57 AM PDT

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(National Express Malaysia) - Saravanan is bemused on why police were looking for him when they should press charges of criminal intimidating and sedition on Papa Gomo and his blog commentators. "It's as if non-Muslims have no right to defend their religious rights and sensitivities in Malaysia.

Saravanan, who had a heated argument with a school headmaster over slaughtering of cows in school compound, is ready to meet the police over the issue, albeit one condition. He demands the police took stern action on "racist" blogger Papa Gomo and his fans for instigating religious and racial hatred and issuing death threats to him on the issue. Saravanan said the police shall not practise double standards by going after him while Papa Gomo and his fans go scot-free. 

Anyway Saravanan, who claims to be based in an unnamed foreign country, said he was shocked to learn that the police was looking for him for questioning over his argument with the headmaster. "I have said nothing bad about other religions or uttered anything seditious. "I had only questioned the headmaster on whether the education ministry had allowed the cow slaughtering to take place in his school. "I don't understand why the police are after me over baseless seditious allegations," he said here today. Saravanan had the heated chat with the headmaster on Oct 16 on the same day when cows were freely slaughtered in the primary school compound in conjunction with Muslim Hari Raya Aidil Adha festival. 

Saravanan had promptly posted the recorded audio clip of his conversation with the headmaster. In the audio recording, Saravanan was heard questioning the headmaster on whether he had permission from the education ministry to slaughter cows in school. He also challenged the headmaster to produce a documented proof to show that cow slaughtering was allowed under the ministry's rules and regulations, which the school head could not. Headmaster trying to justify that it was Muslim religious obligations to slaughter cows and that he had received consent from all teachers including Indian and Chinese staff. Saravanan then questioned on pigs can be slaughtered in schools during Chinese festivals, to which the headmaster claimed non-Muslim religious activities were disallowed in schools. 

Saravanan removed the audio posting, which drew many commentators criticising the headmaster, after a day. However, what appeared to be an inoffensive posting took a ugly turn when blogger Papa Gomo apparently downloaded Saravanan's audio recording and posted in his blog. Papa Gomo also remarked: "Memang kurang ajar Keling DAP ni. Elok sembelih je haramjadah ni.Sampai bila Umat Islam nak bersatu? Ni tanah air kita tempat kita bukan tempat pendatang!!!!" Papa Gomo posting drew some 3524 comments, in which majority issued threats to Saravanan and verbally him and Hindu community in general. Following a report lodged by Perkasa Johor, police have said they were locating Saravanan for questioning. 

The case has been classified as seditious. Saravanan is bemused on why police were looking for him when they should press charges of criminal intimidating and sedition on Papa Gomo and his blog commentators. "It's as if non-Muslims have no right to defend their religious rights and sensitivities in Malaysia. "I don't mind meeting the police but they must take action on Papa Gomo and his followers. "They are threatening me and abusing me with racist remarks. "Why pick on me when I have done nothing wrong?" asked Saravanan. Slaughtering of cows in schools have drawn criticisms from non-Muslims parents, social commentators and Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) due to religious insensitivity, especially to Hindus. 

 

Noh! Ops Lalang was Orchestrated

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:46 AM PDT

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We know that 1987 was a time during Dr Mahathir's term when he was faced with the biggest threat to his rule, with Team B under Tengku Razaleigh challenging the results of the UMNO elections. A court decision in Team B's favour would have meant the end of Mahathir's grasp on power. 

Dr Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser

BN's Tanjung Karang MP Noh Omar has been quoted as saying that Malaysia would not be a country at peace if Operation Lalang had not been carried out in 1987. He was speaking in the debate on the amendments to the Security Offences [Special Measures] (Sosma) in the Dewan Rakyat on 22 Oct. The amendment seeks to place organised crimes as an offence punishable under Sosma. He said that there was a threat of racial riots in 1987 before the dragnet which saw more than a hundred innocent Malaysians arrested and detained without trial under the ISA.

I was one of those detained and I happen to be one of the few Malaysians who have been documenting and monitoring UMNO and the way they orchestrate "sensitive issues" whenever there is a crisis facing the party. Yes, like the May 13 pogrom, Operation Lalang was also orchestrated by UMNO. Unlike May 13, we have the benefit of more media coverage and more witnesses among the present generation regarding Operation Lalang.

UMNO facing a break-up

We know that 1987 was a time during Dr Mahathir's term when he was faced with the biggest threat to his rule, with Team B under Tengku Razaleigh challenging the results of the UMNO elections. A court decision in Team B's favour would have meant the end of Mahathir's grasp on power.

Thus, in the run up to Operation Lalang and before the assault on the judiciary resulting in the sacking of the Lord President and several other Supreme Court judges, the ruling party orchestrated a tense situation in the country by creating various "sensitive" issues involving the sending of non-Mandarin qualified administrators to the Chinese schools, conversion of Muslims to Christianity and even threatened to organize a 500,000-people UMNO rally in the capital. All this was to justify unleashing 'Operation Lalang' to deal with the so-called "threat to national security".

The Tunku, at the time in his twilight years had more perception and integrity than Mahathir in his prime and certainly more political nous than the Tanjung Karang MP. He, like many other perceptive democrats at the time could see how Operation Lalang was orchestrated. This is how he described the situation:

"UMNO was facing a break-up. The Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad's hold on the party appeared critical when election rigging was alleged to have given him a very narrow victory over Tengku Razaleigh. The case alleging irregularities brought by UMNO members was pending in court. If the judgement went against him he would have no choice but to step down. So he had to find a way out of his predicament. A national crisis had to be created to bring UMNO together as a united force to fight a common enemy – and the imaginary enemy in this case was the Chinese community."

Gangsters now the new "threat to national security"?

The Internal Security Act was at the convenient disposal of the government-of-the-day ever since its introduction in 1960. When it was first introduced in Parliament, Tun Razak tried to justify it by saying it would only be used against "communist terrorists". Through its grisly career, the ISA has been used most blatantly by the ruling coalition to cripple its political opponents, most notably the arrest and detention of practically the entire leadership of the Socialist Front, the main threat to the Alliance during the sixties. This sham democracy was the main reason for the Socialist Front's boycott of the 1969 general elections.

Since then, "threats to national security" have included Members of Parliament, trade unionists, environmentalists, educationists, Christian evangelists, Islamic practitioners, document forgers, the list goes on…

Since the repeal of the ISA, detention without trial now comes in the guise of the Security Offences [Special Measures] Act, SOSMA. With the latest amendments to SOSMA, we are told that gangsters are the new "threat to national security".

All this points not to any threat to the nation but to the machinations of a very insecure regime which orchestrates "sensitive issues" whenever any crisis to the ruling party necessitates it.

 

DPM: GST will boost the economy

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:19 AM PDT

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Muhyiddin Yassin and other ministers say the government conducted a thorough study before calling for its implementation.

G Vinod, FMT

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin lauded his boss Najib Tun Razak's firm stand in implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) despite objections from many quarters.

"Remember, it's not an additional tax. We are removing the Sales and Services Tax and replacing it with the GST," said Muhyiddin, at a press conference after the budget speech at Parliament.

Earlier, Najib announced that the government would introduce the GST on 1st April 2015, starting at a 6% rate.

The new tax system would replace the Sales and Services Tax, which the government claimed is flawed as it involves double taxation to the masses.

Muhyiddin said the rakyat need not worry about the GST as goods such as rice, sugar, flour and other essential items would be exempted from the new tax.

He said that the government had conducted a thorough study on the matter.

Commenting on a separate issue, he said that the additional funds allocated under the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) would help ease the rakyat's burden.

"In addition, the government will also restructure the income and corporate tax with the coming of GST. Personal income tax will be reduced between 1 to 3 percentage points," said the Pagoh MP.

Whether the government would compel employers to raise wages post GST, Muhyiddin replied in the negative saying there was no law to compel employers to do so.

"We leave [it] to the employers' discretion. We cannot force them as there are no laws to do so. But we think that should not be the case as it will be a burden to the employers," he said.

Bold moves

Summarising his views on the budget as a whole, Muhyddin said that the budget would further strengthen the nation's economy and improve Malaysia's sovereign rating.

"The bold moves initiated in the budget will give confidence to both domestic and international investors to our nation.

"In the long run, the people will benefit from all this," he said.

Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah commented that the GST may cause inflationary pressure on some sectors in the initial stage, but the impact would be minimum.

"We have studied the matter thoroughly. The effect will be minimum. Besides, essential goods are exempted from GST," he said.

Husni also said that his ministry had conducted a thorough study on how to implement the GST, from nations who are already imposing the tax system in their respective countries.

Whether 6% is good start for the GST, Husni said, " We feel it is the right figure. It will benefit the government and the people."

When asked whether the new 30% rate for Real Properties Gains Tax (RPGT) would affect the property market, Husni said the government felt the rate was reasonable.

"We will have to wait and see. There are lots of speculative activity in the property market but we feel 30% is reasonable," said the minister.

FMT were also able to get the response of other Barisan Nasional leaders regarding Budget 2014:

READ MORE HERE 

 

GST targets a bigger group but poor hit most, say economists

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:13 AM PDT

Trinna Leong, TMI 

Putrajaya's decision to finally introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a regressive move that would largely hurt poor and debt-ridden Malaysians, say economists.

While they lauded the government's move to abolish the Sales and Services Tax (SST) for the GST, the economists argued that the consumption tax of 6% effective April 1, 2015 would in fact do more harm than good in the long run.

"This is a regressive tax where the poor would be taxed more than the rich," said Lim Mah Hui, from the Socio-economic and Environment Research Institute (SERI).

The lower income group would have to fork out a bigger chunk of their wages in terms of percentage compared with the rich, forcing the poor to pay a bigger percentage margin to the government in the form of the GST, he told The Malaysian Insider.

But Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said during his Budget 2014 speech yesterday the GST would be a "fair and comprehensive tax system that would benefit all Malaysians".

"More than 160 countries have already implemented the GST. This clearly demonstrates that GST is proven to be a transparent, effective and fair tax system," said Najib, who is also the Finance Minister.

"The vast majority of nations in the world would not have implemented GST if it is disadvantageous to the people and the country," he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said after Najib's budget speech that the lower income group would not be burdened.

"The effect to this group is neutral," he told a press conference in Parliament.

Economists said that a low income household earning roughly RM1,800 a month would have to spend more of their pay for necessities, a fact which Bank Negara noted in its Outlook and Policy 2013 report on the BR1M.

The report mentioned that based on analysis, "lower income households are more sensitive to income shocks" and that the poor "tend to have lower savings as most of their expenditures are for necessities".

By pushing forward with the GST, the government would reinforce investor confidence but burden the people in the long run.

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With a definite GST rate, the market would receive it positively," said Edward Lee, regional chief economist at Standard Chartered.

Influential former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said earlier this year that the GST should be implemented in stages.

"Everything should be done in stages, slowly, not the full amount at the same time, for the benefit of the people," he said during the Perdana Leadership Foundation CEO Forum in June.

Institut Rakyat economist Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin said Putrajaya deserved credit for abolishing the SST instead of running the taxes in parallel but added that the government needed to ensure that it can enforce the GST effectively.

READ MORE HERE 

 

Budget 2014 – Making it work

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 09:54 AM PDT

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Mohsin Abdullah, Fz.com 

ONE thing's for sure, the 2014 Budget cannot be called an election budget. If not for anything else, then it's because of the timing of the announcement itself i.e. it came after the country had held the general election. Obviously. 

That made it an "after election" budget. So the government need not have to worry about the possibility of losing votes due to painful measures to be taken. Very unlike election Budgets, where goodies and sweeteners rule.
 
In fact a day before tabling the Budget, Finance minister cum PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak had warned that the government would "avoid populist measures that undermine economic stability."
 
And he went on to say: "Some measures may not be popular now but over the medium term what is good for the economy is also good for the people".
 
So we braced ourselves for the "unpopular measures". And it came, the main one being the introduction of the GST. This is not much of a surprise as it was expected, to say the very least. In fact, PAS Youth held an anti-GST demo in front of parliament before Najib delivered his Budget speech. 
 
Still, despite being an after-election Budget, Najib deemed it right to  "sugar coat" a little bit. By saying it will be implemented "only" in 2015 and will  not  involve  goods and services used extensively by the rakyat
 
Come to think of it, the PM somehow sounded like he was still in election campaign mode saying things like "Putrajaya will be always be defended" and Malaysia was  hailed "even by the US secretary of state and Chinese president" who came a-calling recently. And there were "goodies" as well. For civil servants mostly. 
 
Anyway, as for the GST, detractors said  the effects will be felt "very soon" with ordinary  folks feeling the burden.  
 
True, there will be a GST monitoring committee to be chaired by the second finance minister. And in the words of the PM: "Goods will be constantly monitored". Ok, enough of GST and inflation. 
 
But then Najib also said: "Consumers should make rational choices, spend prudently and report unethical traders to the authorities."
 
I for one wished he had not said that. With the current economic climate, consumers (read rakyat) are feeling the heat enough. To urge us to make rational choices and spend prudently is like rubbing salt into the wound. People are doing just that but are struggling to cope with spiralling prices, high costs and low wages. Yes we have reported unethical traders too. But they continue to be, well, unethical.
 
And we also learn, courtesy of the 2013/2014 Economic  Report released on Budget Day  that  federal government debt is expected to increase to RM541.3 billion which is 54.8% of the GDP.
 
"Total government debt is expected to increase mainly due to borrowings to meet  financing requirements", said the finance ministry in the report.
 
Now, what the government is doing somehow does not gel with what the government wants the rakyat to do. 
 
Making things hotter under the collar, is the endless leakages, wastages as revealed annually by the Auditor-General's reports. 
 
To DAP's Tony Pua the Budget "proves the Najib administration is only interested in cutting subsidies and raising tax without any intent to tighten government's purse strings."
 
BN's Khairy Jamluddin however described  the Budget as "responsible, responsive, sustainable and resilient."
 
To be fair, there are good measures and the government is trying to do things good and right for the rakyat. As in previous Budgets. 
 
But we have seen in previous Budgets when the government  had to come back to parliament seeking approval for extra allocations.

Read more at: http://www.fz.com/content/mohsin-abdullah-budget-2014-%E2%80%93-making-it-work#ixzz2imjrNCis

 

SUARAM: The Whining Human Rights Watch-Dog?

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 11:25 PM PDT

Tunku

SUARAM, has just sent a 'whining' letter to the American President to refute the President's views on Malaysia as a global model for 'diversity, tolerance and progress'. 

SUARAM insisted in the letter that there are various defects and shortcomings under the leadership of  Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak that defy the President's views.  SUARAM had listed among others, the history of racism, religious extremism, corruption, electoral fraud and various other criminal activities as the reasons for Malaysia not deserving such acknowledgment.

SUARAM has also claimed that the government has committed serious human rights abuses for selectively deployed repressive legislation such as the Sedition Act 1948, the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012 and the Penal Code in order to suppress protests against the election result by human rights defenders, opposition leaders and Malaysians from various religions. 

To add to that, SUARAM had also pointed out that the government has been 'demonizing the non-Malays' (the Chinese) for voting the Oppositions.  And of course, 'Zahid's shoot to kill' statement was also mentioned in the 'whining letter'. 

The list could at any time be swapped with the Opposition's attack points as it does not reflect a genuine effort to protect human rights.  This, is nothing to be surprised of because majority of SUARAM's leaders are also holding positions in the Opposition party. 

Malaysians believe that President Obama will take SUARAM's letter as nothing more than a whining from a spoilt brat who is way passed tantrums.  BERSIH's Ambiga once tried the same trick, pulling the shirt of an Australian's MP whining with her best pitiful look for the Mat Salleh to come and spank our Prime Minister for not letting the Opposition wins the election. 

Surely, the Mat Salleh of Australia knows better than to listen to the crap.  The fact that the government had barely won the election had, in itself, proven that Malaysia is as democratic as any democratic country could be. 

The fact is that, SUARAM is writing to the America on behalf of the ungrateful citizens of Malaysia who have had everything but insist that they have nothing.  

Ever since Independence, the only life known to Malaysians is that it is the Chinese who controls the economy.  Chinese discriminating other races in all aspects of economic activities has since become a part of life, which is not healthy.  The Chinese becomes more and more arrogant and oppressing, while other races become more and more angry at them.  All the emotions had led to May 13 1969 racial riot and finally to the bumi-rights policy.

So far, the bumi-rights policy has been proven to be the most effective way to tackle the problem of economic disparity among races.  The bumiputeras no longer angry while the Chinese can continue to make money. 

It is interesting to note that the spokesperson for SUARAM and the leader of BERSIH are Indians, not Chinese.  Obviously, they don't give much thought that their own race is also being discriminated by the Chinese in the private sectors as much as in the Chinese dominated opposition party, DAP. 

Just in case President Obama didn't know, DAP is now going through so much pressure for being accused by its own members to deliberately cheated and manipulated their party election in such a way, so that the Indian representatives were denied of their rights to vote.  Not to mention that the party actually appointed a Chinese to represent the Malays in the party.   That is the Opposition for you Mr. Obama, the same one crying of discrimination, racism and injustice against the government.     

Yes, 'race' is a factor of everything in Malaysia today as we can see through the election result where 97% of the Chinese rejected the ruling party.  Malaysia has always been very tolerant in giving all races a space in the cabinet so that their voice would be heard.  The ruling party which is made of numbers of parties to represent every race and tribe has proven to be the best formula in maintaining stability and peace.  

But the Chinese wants more power.  Controlling the economy is not enough.  They want to conquer everything.  They cannot do that if the government keeps protecting and helping the less fortunate, the bumiputeras or the original settlers, in the long struggling effort to close the economic gap.  So the Chinese rejected the ruling party for it, thus, lost their voice in the government.

READ MORE HERE

 

Much ado about nothing

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 08:19 PM PDT

The issue here is: who has the right over the name Allah? Is it exclusive to Muslims or can Christians also share this name? And since we are using logic and applying common sense to argue this case (as many have done, Tommy Thomas included) then we need to first of all determine the existence of the name, which we will have to fall back on Genesis to do that.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

The court ruling forbidding Christians from using the Allah word is still a hot issue. Many religious and legal experts have given their expert opinion on the matter. You can read one such opinion by constitution lawyer Tommy Thomas HERE.  

I must admit that most opinions are rather logical and make a lot of sense. But then we assume that matters of religion are logical and make a lot of sense. If not then you are attempting to use logic and talk sense in a matter that defies logic and does not make sense.

Some of what the religious and legal experts argue is as follows:

1. Allah was the name of God since long before the coming of Islam. In fact, Allah was the name of the pagan God of Mekah. Hence Islam does not 'own' the name 'Allah' and, in fact, actually 'stole' that name from the pagans of pre-Islamic Mekah.

2. The Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians also use Allah as the name of God until today. Hence not only Arabic-speaking Muslims use Allah as the name of God (the Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians do as well) and hence, also, Allah is not exclusive to only the Arabic-speaking Muslims

3. The Malay-speaking Christians of East Malaysia have been using Allah as the name of God since long before Sabah and Sarawak became part of Malaysia and this has never been a problem until now. So why is it a problem only now?

4. Under the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, the practitioners of the non-Islamic faiths are free to practice their religion without any restrictions and interference. So, to restrict what the non-Muslims can and cannot do (such as what to call God) is a violation of the Constitution.

Those are just some of the arguments and, as I said, are good arguments on top of that. They are very logical and make a lot of sense. But that, of course, would be if logic can be applied to religion and if common sense can prevail in matters of religion. If not then your arguments will get demolished.

The Muslim mind is a very complex animal to comprehend. That is why many governments walk on eggshells when dealing with the Muslims, even in the more 'progressive' west. You never know when you might accidentally say or do the wrong thing to upset the Muslims.

You may inadvertently say or do something that would be viewed as an insult to Islam or a challenge (cabaran) to the Muslims. And Muslims, when challenged, would rise to the challenge and respond accordingly -- most times with a physical and violent response.

Muslims would defend their actions by saying that Islam is the most misunderstood religion. That may be partly true. But then how do you understand Islam? That is the crux of the matter and the problem with most people not being able to understand Islam is because Muslims themselves do not understand Islam. So how can non-Muslims attempt to understand Islam when Muslims themselves do not?

Islam is one of the three branches of the Abrahamic faiths. This means Islam's roots are from the beliefs and teachings of Abraham. And the other two and earlier branches of the Abrahamic faiths is Judeo-Christianity. As I have said before, which many Muslims are not happy with, is that Abraham's belief and teachings is Version 1.0 while Judaism, Christianity and Islam are Versions 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 respectively.

Hence, to understand Islam you must first fall back on Judaism and understand Judaism before attempting to understand Christianity and Islam (the two branches of the Abrahamic faiths that are fighting over ownership of the word 'Allah').

How did the Abrahamic faiths first emerge? To know that you must read Genesis because Genesis explains how humankind first came about and, therefore, why we are here today and why most of us believe that there is a God that created us (if not then we will not be here) and that the name of this God is Allah (in Arabic and Bahasa Malaysia, even for Christians).

Genesis explains that God created Adam from mud and then, later, created Eve from Adam's rib. Genesis then tells us that Adam and Eve had three sons (Cain, Abel and Seth). Genesis also tells us that Adam and Eve also had a few daughters but we are not told their names or the number of daughters that they had.

Those of the Abrahamic faiths believe that Adam and Eve must have had daughters (even though Genesis is vague about who they are) or else how could we be here? Adam's and Eve's sons must have married their sisters for us to be born. But Genesis is silent on these details other than giving us details about the three sons and their names.

Ten generations later, Noah was born through the lineage of Adam's and Eve's third son, Seth. Then the Great Flood came and everyone got wiped out other than Noah and his immediate family. Hence the world started afresh with Noah and his family.

Genesis, however, is silent on so many details. We are just told that all this (the creation of humankind) happened around 6,000 years ago. Hence there were no humans before 6,000 years ago. But scientists and archaeologists have discovered evidence of advanced settlements that existed 12,000 years ago (just after the Ice Age) that engaged in agriculture and animal husbandry. These were not nomads or hunter-gatherers but communities that were very advanced and had a system of government.

Basically, these were the post-Ice Age communities. Hence we can assume that all these advanced activities stopped during the Ice Age -- for obvious reasons (the entire world was covered with ice).

Then they discovered evidence of pre-Ice Age communities that were as advanced as those of the post-Ice Age era. And these communities date 600,000 years ago. Hence humankind was quite advanced 600,000 years ago, and then time stood still for 100,000 years when ice enveloped the world, and then humankind continued after that. So how could humankind have started just 6,000 years ago when evidence shows an advanced human race as long as 600,000 years ago?

We are told that the world went through the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Ice Age, and so on. The Ice Age of about 110,000 years ago wiped out a lot of creations but humankind continued and survived for a hundred thousand years and then sprang back with global warming when earth, again, became conducive to agriculture and animal husbandry 12,000 years ago.

But all this was supposed to have happened before the creation of humankind 6,000 years ago. We must also remember that Noah was supposed to have lived in the Mesopotamia region around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. It does show that a great flood did occur around that region but if you were to dig deep enough, below the evidence of the flood, you will find evidence of earlier and more advanced societies that go back tens of thousands of years.

Hence, did the whole world become flooded, as what Genesis tells us, or was it only that small area of 400 miles by 100 miles that was flooded? The stories in Genesis contradict the evidence that is being revealed since the 1800s and 1900s. Even the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered more than 2,000 years after Genesis tells a different story. One extremely glaring contradiction is that the early Abrahamic faith, before the time of Moses or Jesus, believed not in One God (Allah) but in many Gods.

And this is the fundamental belief or doctrine of the Abrahamic faiths -- that there is only One God and that the name of this God is Allah. But the Dead Sea Scrolls does not support this doctrine.

One more point I wish to make is the argument about freedom of choice (which is what the Federal Constitution upholds). Many (especially non-Muslims) always quote this verse of the Quran that says there is no compulsion in religion.

If this is true then why did God (or Allah) bring about the Great Flood (as related in Genesis) to wipe out the entire world except for Noah and his immediate family? Does God not allow freedom of choice? And if freedom of choice is allowed why did God wipe out all those who chose not to follow Noah?

Hence, according to Genesis, freedom of choice is not allowed. In fact, the Greek word for 'choice' is 'heresy' (hairesis: αἵρεσις) -- or 'shirik' in Islam. Heresy or shirik is a great sin for both Christianity and Islam. In days gone by, Christians and Muslims who commit heresy or shirik were put to death.

Hence both Christianity and Islam do not believe in freedom of choice. Freedom of choice (heresy or shirik) is a crime and is punishable by death.

So, is it logical and does it make sense to apply logic and use common sense to argue matters of religion such as whether Christians, too, have a legal and constitutional right to use Allah as the name of God? To do that we must first dissect the story in Genesis regarding the creation of humankind and that a God called Allah created humankind. And if that story is wrong (that the first man was Adam and the first woman was Eve and that they were created 6,000 year ago) then the entire Genesis is wrong.

And it is important to first determine whether Genesis is right or wrong because the very foundation of the three Abrahamic faiths is tied to Genesis. If Genesis is wrong then Judaism, Christianity and Islam are equally wrong about when and how humankind first came about and about this Creator called Allah.

The issue here is: who has the right over the name Allah? Is it exclusive to Muslims or can Christians also share this name? And since we are using logic and applying common sense to argue this case (as many have done, Tommy Thomas included) then we need to first of all determine the existence of the name, which we will have to fall back on Genesis to do that.

And if we do that (we fall back on Genesis) then our entire argument would get demolished because Genesis is fundamentally wrong about the history of humankind and hence about humankind's Creator as well (never mind whether Christians can or cannot use Allah as the name of this Creator).

And with that, your honour, I rest my case.

 

Reverse ‘Allah’ decision as it leads to ‘severe oppression’, says Harun Yahya

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 05:31 PM PDT

(MM) - Prolific Turkish writer Harun Yahya urged Putrajaya today to reverse its ban on the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims here, saying the decision was "based on illogical and theologically unacceptable reasoning".

The writer — whose real name is Adnan Oktar — said such a ban would inevitably lead to an environment of severe oppression, despite Putrajaya's repeated claim that it only applies to local Catholic newspaper the Herald.

"Such a decision cannot be accepted and defended even if it was directed at one newspaper or a single person," said Oktar in an opinion piece carried by Indonesian daily The Jakarta Post here.

"This decision, which is completely against Islam, a religion of peace and brotherhood, must be reversed and there must be freedom of expression for everyone."

Oktar has achieved a cult status among Muslims in Malaysia for his controversial rejection of Darwinism and the theory of evolution, having claimed the concepts deny the existence of God.

Oktar's books, such as The Atlas of Creation and The Evolution Deceit, argue in favour of Islamic creationism, which believes that all humans are descended from Adam, the first human and a Muslim prophet.

However, his works have been denounced by the scientific community, who argued their lack of scientific evidence.

In his opinion piece, Oktar criticised the views of right-wing Muslim groups in Malaysia by saying that a prohibition on using the name "Allah" does not align with Islamic teachings and the international norms of human rights.

"For Muslims, peace is important because the word "Islam" comes from the Arabic letters "s-l-m" meaning peace. In the concept of peace, there is love, understanding, compassion, mercy and as much freedom as possible: there is freedom of faith, life, behaviour, ideas and speech, even for atheists," he added.

"The religion of Islam supports such freedoms completely. Trying to change this religion of love into a completely different religion of cruelty and violence that has nothing to do with Islam, and trying to make life miserable for people through coercion and oppression, is completely unacceptable."

This week, American religious scholar Dr Reza Aslan told local radio channel BFM in an interview that the world was "laughing" at Malaysia over the court ruling that he described as a "political decision more than anything else".

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has since questioned two BFM radio producers over the interview.

The Court of Appeal ruled last week against a 2009 High Court decision allowing the Catholic Church to refer to the Christian god with the Arabic word "Allah" in the Bahasa Malaysia section of its weekly paper, the Herald.

The court adjudged the usage of the word "Allah" as not integral to the Christian faith and said that allowing such an application would cause confusion in the Muslim community.

Churches in Sabah and Sarawak, however, have said that they will continue their age-old practice of referring to God as "Allah" in their worship and in their holy scriptures.

Several ministers also said recently that the 10-point solution issued by Putrajaya in 2011 — which allows the printing, importation and distribution of the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Christian bible, containing the word "Allah" — should stand, despite the appellate court ruling. 

 

Allah, lost in translation

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 05:21 PM PDT

"When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of (captivity from) the land of Egypt, is with you! For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!" (Deuteronomy 20:1,4 New Living Translation).

Bob Teoh, TMI

A pastor in Kuching rang me up to update me won the situation over the Allah controversy in Sarawak.

"Brother, the battle belongs to the Lord. The enemies are all confused now," he said sounding very pleased.

The world may rely on Sun Tzu's "Art of War" but the Bible actually has its own principles for going to war.

One of it is found in the fifth book by Moses (Musa in the Quran) in the Christian Old Testament or the Jewish Bible:

Regulations concerning War

"When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid. The Lord your God, who brought you out of (captivity from) the land of Egypt, is with you! For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!" (Deuteronomy 20:1,4 New Living Translation).

In the Court of Appeal judgment, the three judges are unanimous in their finding: "It is our common finding that the usage of the name 'Allah' is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity. We find no reason why the Herald is so adamant to use the name 'Allah, if allowed, will inevitably cause confusion within the community."

They are way off the mark but this is understandable because they are judges and not theologians or Bible scholars. It would be unfair to expect expert opinion from them on the rendering of divine names in the Bible.

This particular passage from Deuteronomy concerns regulations on how Hebrews and Christians should engage in war, spiritual or otherwise. Therefore, they must be very clear on the usage of the words LORD and God failing which they may just lose the war.

This passage from Deuteronomy where the words LORD and God appear alongside each other makes its context clear. The original language of the Bible is mainly in Hebrew, New Testament (not classical) Greek and some Aramaic, the language that Jesus spoke. Any study Bible would explain how divine names are translated to a modern language to avoid any confusion.

The New Living Translation Bible from which this passage is quoted explains the principles used in rendering Divine names:

"In the Old Testament, all appearances of 'el', 'elohim', or 'eloah' have been translated 'God', except where the context demands the translation 'god(s)'. We have generally rendered the tetragrammaton (YHWH) consistently as 'the LORD' utilizing a form with small capitals that is common among English translations. This will distinguish it from the name 'adonai', which we render 'Lord'. When 'adonai' and YHWH appear together, we have rendered it 'Sovereign LORD'. When 'elohim' and YHWH appear together, we have rendered it 'LORD God'.… The Greek word kurios is consistently translated 'Lord', except that it is translated 'LORD' wherever the New Testament text explicitly quotes from the Old Testament, and the text there has it in small capitals."

We need to note that in the original ancient languages there are no capital letters used. These were introduced in modern languages.

READ MORE HERE

 

Ego dan jiwa kecil berdiri di antara PAS dan UMNO

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 05:16 PM PDT

Aspan Alias, TMI

Sejak negara mengadakan pilihan raya, Sungai Limau adalah sinonim dengan PAS. Negara telah mengadakan pilihan raya sebanyak 13 kali dan PAS telah berjaya di kawasan ini sebanyak sembilan kali sementara Umno hanya empat kali.

Sekarang PAS adalah penyandang kepada kerusi dan pilihan raya kali ini ramai yang masih beranggapan PAS akan menang walaupun dengan majoriti lebih kecil. Dalam pilihan raya 2013, Allahyarham Tan Sri Azizan mengalahkan lawannya dengan majoriti undi sebanyak 2,774.

Jika dinilai untung ruginya memenangi kerusi ini, kedua-dua belah pihak tidak menokok dan mengurangkan tahap kehadiran parti masing-masing. Kemenangan PAS di sini tidak menambah apa-apa, sekadar menunjukkan bahawa PAS tetap mempunyai pengaruh dan sokongan di kawasan ini. BN pula tetap menjadi kerajaan negeri Kedah.

Kemenangan BN sekadar menunjukkan pada ramai yang Mukhriz mempunyai sedikit 'consequence' kerana beliau baru sahaja mengetuai kerajaan BN selepas PRU yang lalu. Jika BN kalah di kawasan ini, Umno tetap berkuasa ke atas kerajaan negeri itu.

Dalam pilihan raya ini masih lagi peperangan ego yang besar dan segala usaha yang di sebutkan oleh setengah pihak akan ada perpaduan di antara kedua parti Melayu itu hanya tinggal cerita dongeng semata-mata. PRU ini masih lagi di tahap 'siapa kuat dia menang' tetapi tidak nampak unsur untuk meningkatkan perpaduan di antara kedua-dua belah pihak. Tidak ada lagi unsur yang boleh meyakinkan kita yang kedua-dua pihak mahu menjalin kerjasama yang baik dan telus untuk kepentingan umat Melayu yang masing-masing bersetuju sedang dalam kegelapan.

Hakikatnya apa dan siapa sahaja yang memenangi kerusi ini tidak membawa keuntungan kepada sesiapa. Calon Umno (BN) berdepan dengan media dengan begitu kerap memberikan segala perancangan beliau untuk kawasan ini. Kata-kata itu sememangnya kata-kata biasa dalam mana-mana pilihan raya.

Maudhuknya tetap menjanjikan kemudahan asas dan pembangunan ekonomi dan sebagainya. Ini kita dengar dalam setiap pilihan raya sejak dahulu lagi tetapi kawasan-kawasan itu masih tidak mempunyai cukup pembangunan.

Sudah 56 tahun negara merdeka, keadaan Melayu Islam tetap sama sedangkan janji-janji dalam setiap pilihan raya adalah janji yang sama. Seandainya janji setiap calon BN dilaksanakan sejak merdeka dahulu, masakan negeri Kedah tetap sebuah negeri yang miskin berbanding dengan negeri-negeri lain?

Kedah bukannya miskin sejak PAS memerintah sahaja. Kali ini berjanji lagi seolah-olah jika mendapat kemenangan, semua rakyat dan pengundi di Sungai Limau itu akan maju dan menyumbang untuk mencapai matlamat negara maju menjelang 2020.

Baik pemimpin pusat dan negeri apabila berjanji seolah-olah dunia ini hendak dialihnya. Matahari yang terbit dari timur hendak diterbitkannya dari barat. Najib berjanji seolah-olah beliau mampu mengalirkan sungai dari muara naik ke bukit, serta menukar malam menjadi siang dan siang menjadi malam.

Sesungguhnya pemimpin Umno yang selama ini meminta PAS menghulurkan salam persahabatan hanya berada di bibir sahaja tetapi tidak menunjukan kesungguhannya. PAS dikatakan degil dan sombong oleh Umno kerana keras kepala kononnya. Namun, dalam isu ini PAS tidak boleh dipersalahkan kerana PAS pernah mengalami dipecat oleh Umno dan parti itu terkeluar daripada BN suatu ketika dahulu.

READ MORE HERE

 

The “Allah” Decision is Wrong in Constitutional Law

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 05:06 PM PDT

Tommy Thomas explains the why the Allah decision was not constitutional.

Tommy Thomas, Loyar Burok

Tommy Thomas explains the why the Allah decision was not constitutional.

The sustained public attack on last week's decision of the Court of Appeal in prohibiting the Catholic Church from using the word "Allah" in their internal publication, the Herald, is absolutely unprecedented, even in a nation very used to bad court decisions.  From a constitutional perspective, the three judgments are poorly reasoned, the law misread and conclusions reached which will baffle any right-thinking student anywhere in the common law.  The decision is not just wrong, it is horribly wrong, and will represent a terrible blot on our legal landscape, unless overturned quickly by the apex court, the Federal Court.  Regrettably, what follows may seem unduly legalistic, but it cannot be avoided in a critique of a court decision.

Relevant Facts Disregarded

By their very nature, judicial review proceedings are determined in the first instance by a single judge of the High Court who does not hear witnesses.  Instead, the application is disposed of by Affidavits and Exhibits, supplemented by submissions of lawyers.  In the High Court [1],  the Government baldly denied about 20 facts which the Catholic Church referred to in their Affidavits.  In such circumstances, the judge accepted, as she was duty bound in our adversarial system, the evidence produced by the Church.  In effect, the High Court made findings of fact, as it was entitled to do.  Some of these facts are worth recalling :

"(i) The word 'Allah' is the correct Bahasa Malaysia word for 'God' and in the Bahasa Malaysia translation of the Bible, 'God' is translated as 'Allah' and 'Lord' is translated as 'Tuhan';

(ii) For 15 centuries, Christians and Muslims in Arabic-speaking countries have been using the word 'Allah' in reference to the One God. The Catholic Church in Malaysia and Indonesia and the great majority of other Christian denominations hold that 'Allah' is the legitimate word for 'God' in Bahasa Malaysia;

(iii) The Malay-Latin dictionary published in 1631 had translated 'Deus' (the Latin word for God) as 'Alla' as the Malay translation;

(iv) The Christian usage of the word 'Allah' predates Islam being the name of God in the old Arabic Bible as well as in the modern Arabic Bible used by Christians in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and other places in Asia, Africa etc;

(v) In Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, the word 'Allah' has been used continuously in the printed edition of the Matthew's Gospel in Malay since 1629, in the first complete Malay Bible from 1733 and in the second complete Malay Bible since 1879;

(vi) Munshi Abdullah, considered the father of modern Malay literature, had translated the Gospels into Malay in 1852, and he translated the word 'God' as 'Allah'

(vii) The Bahasa Malaysia speaking Christian natives of Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah had always and have continuously and consistently used the word 'Allah' for generations and the said word 'Allah' is used in the Bahasa Indonesian translations of the Bible used throughout Malaysia;

(viii) At least for the last three decades, the Bahasa Malaysia congregation of the Catholic Church have been freely using the Alkitab, the Bahasa Indonesia translation of the Holy Bible wherein the word 'Allah' appears;

(ix) In any event, the word 'Allah' has been used by Christians in all countries where the Arabic language is used as well as in Indonesian/ Malay language without any problems and/ or breach of public order and/ or sensitivity to persons professing the religion of Islam in these countries."

The above matters provide the factual background in this dispute.  No case can ever be decided in a vacuum, isolated from the facts.  Unbelievably, none of the judgments gave any weight to the findings of fact made by the High Court — a gross error.

Nordin Salleh Ignored

It is incredible that none of the judgments even mentioned, let alone considered, the impact of the most important constitutional case ever decided by our courts, which had a direct bearing on the dispute.  The Supreme Court decided in Nordin Salleh,[2] that in testing the validity of any state action impinging any of the fundamental liberties enshrined in Part II of the Constitution, the court's duty is to look at the effect, result or consequence of state action.  If such effect is to render the exercise of such fundamental liberty "illusory or meaningless", it is unconstitutional.  If the ratio of Nordin Salleh, which incidentally is binding on the Court of Appeal, had been applied in the Herald case, the decision would have been different because the effect of the State prohibiting Christians from using the word "Allah" in their worship is to render their right to practise their religion under Article 11(1) and (3) illusory or meaningless.  It is as plain and simple as that.  The appeal ought to have been dismissed for that obvious reason alone.

Article 3

It was misconceived for the Court of Appeal to have focused their attention on Article 3(1) rather than Article 11(1) and (3).  Article 3(1) provides for the role of religion in the new nation of Malaya (subsequently Malaysia).  Islam is the religion of the Federation, but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony.  The Founding Fathers intended the new nation to be one for believers where God has a prominent place; they did not wish their country to be atheist or agnostic.  Other countries have similar belief systems stated in their constitutions.  Thus, the Preamble to the Constitution Act, 1982 of Canada declares :-

"Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law."

But Article 3(1) does not confer a supremacy status on Islam when compared to other religions.  The draftsmen of the Constitution were aware of the hierarchy of laws and rights:  hence, the very next article provides for the supremacy of the Constitution over all other laws in the land:  see Article 4(1).  No similar words are used in Article 3(1).  Further, it was not intended to establish a theocracy in the new nation, which is to remain at all times a secular state.

More significantly, the right to practice a religion of one's choice is found in Part II, and in particular, Article 11, which I now turn to.  But the fundamental freedoms of personal liberty [Article 5(1)], equality [Article 8(1)], anti-discrimination [Article 8(2)] and freedom of speech, assembly and association [Article 10(1) and (3)] are also relevant, and indeed far more relevant than Article 3.

Freedom of Religion as an Absolute Right

Freedom of religion is a fundamental right under the Federal Constitution. Article 11(1) gives constitutional protection to an individual's right to profess, practice and propagate his religion, and Article 11(3) recognizes collective worship by providing that "every religious group has the right to manage its own religious affairs".

A plain and ordinary reading of the language employed in Part II of our Constitution will indicate that the Founding Fathers drew a distinction between the measure of protection that each of the specific, listed fundamental liberties would enjoy.  Thus, our fundamental liberties are not treated equally in the Constitution.  Hence, there is an in-built hierarchy of rights, and freedom of religion is given core or central protection.  A simple reading of the text of each Article in Part II containing Articles 5 to 13 suggests that some liberties are more fundamental than others.  The Fundamental Liberties can therefore be placed in two distinct categories:-

- See more at: http://www.loyarburok.com/2013/10/25/allah-decision-wrong-constitutional-law/#sthash.3rUVq5hX.dpuf

Tommy Thomas explains the why the Allah decision was not constitutional.

The sustained public attack on last week's decision of the Court of Appeal in prohibiting the Catholic Church from using the word "Allah" in their internal publication, the Herald, is absolutely unprecedented, even in a nation very used to bad court decisions.  From a constitutional perspective, the three judgments are poorly reasoned, the law misread and conclusions reached which will baffle any right-thinking student anywhere in the common law.  The decision is not just wrong, it is horribly wrong, and will represent a terrible blot on our legal landscape, unless overturned quickly by the apex court, the Federal Court.  Regrettably, what follows may seem unduly legalistic, but it cannot be avoided in a critique of a court decision.

Relevant Facts Disregarded

By their very nature, judicial review proceedings are determined in the first instance by a single judge of the High Court who does not hear witnesses.  Instead, the application is disposed of by Affidavits and Exhibits, supplemented by submissions of lawyers.  In the High Court [1],  the Government baldly denied about 20 facts which the Catholic Church referred to in their Affidavits.  In such circumstances, the judge accepted, as she was duty bound in our adversarial system, the evidence produced by the Church.  In effect, the High Court made findings of fact, as it was entitled to do.  Some of these facts are worth recalling :

"(i) The word 'Allah' is the correct Bahasa Malaysia word for 'God' and in the Bahasa Malaysia translation of the Bible, 'God' is translated as 'Allah' and 'Lord' is translated as 'Tuhan';

(ii) For 15 centuries, Christians and Muslims in Arabic-speaking countries have been using the word 'Allah' in reference to the One God. The Catholic Church in Malaysia and Indonesia and the great majority of other Christian denominations hold that 'Allah' is the legitimate word for 'God' in Bahasa Malaysia;

(iii) The Malay-Latin dictionary published in 1631 had translated 'Deus' (the Latin word for God) as 'Alla' as the Malay translation;

(iv) The Christian usage of the word 'Allah' predates Islam being the name of God in the old Arabic Bible as well as in the modern Arabic Bible used by Christians in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and other places in Asia, Africa etc;

(v) In Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, the word 'Allah' has been used continuously in the printed edition of the Matthew's Gospel in Malay since 1629, in the first complete Malay Bible from 1733 and in the second complete Malay Bible since 1879;

(vi) Munshi Abdullah, considered the father of modern Malay literature, had translated the Gospels into Malay in 1852, and he translated the word 'God' as 'Allah'

(vii) The Bahasa Malaysia speaking Christian natives of Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah had always and have continuously and consistently used the word 'Allah' for generations and the said word 'Allah' is used in the Bahasa Indonesian translations of the Bible used throughout Malaysia;

(viii) At least for the last three decades, the Bahasa Malaysia congregation of the Catholic Church have been freely using the Alkitab, the Bahasa Indonesia translation of the Holy Bible wherein the word 'Allah' appears;

(ix) In any event, the word 'Allah' has been used by Christians in all countries where the Arabic language is used as well as in Indonesian/ Malay language without any problems and/ or breach of public order and/ or sensitivity to persons professing the religion of Islam in these countries."

The above matters provide the factual background in this dispute.  No case can ever be decided in a vacuum, isolated from the facts.  Unbelievably, none of the judgments gave any weight to the findings of fact made by the High Court — a gross error.

Nordin Salleh Ignored

It is incredible that none of the judgments even mentioned, let alone considered, the impact of the most important constitutional case ever decided by our courts, which had a direct bearing on the dispute.  The Supreme Court decided in Nordin Salleh,[2] that in testing the validity of any state action impinging any of the fundamental liberties enshrined in Part II of the Constitution, the court's duty is to look at the effect, result or consequence of state action.  If such effect is to render the exercise of such fundamental liberty "illusory or meaningless", it is unconstitutional.  If the ratio of Nordin Salleh, which incidentally is binding on the Court of Appeal, had been applied in the Herald case, the decision would have been different because the effect of the State prohibiting Christians from using the word "Allah" in their worship is to render their right to practise their religion under Article 11(1) and (3) illusory or meaningless.  It is as plain and simple as that.  The appeal ought to have been dismissed for that obvious reason alone.

Article 3

It was misconceived for the Court of Appeal to have focused their attention on Article 3(1) rather than Article 11(1) and (3).  Article 3(1) provides for the role of religion in the new nation of Malaya (subsequently Malaysia).  Islam is the religion of the Federation, but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony.  The Founding Fathers intended the new nation to be one for believers where God has a prominent place; they did not wish their country to be atheist or agnostic.  Other countries have similar belief systems stated in their constitutions.  Thus, the Preamble to the Constitution Act, 1982 of Canada declares :-

"Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law."

But Article 3(1) does not confer a supremacy status on Islam when compared to other religions.  The draftsmen of the Constitution were aware of the hierarchy of laws and rights:  hence, the very next article provides for the supremacy of the Constitution over all other laws in the land:  see Article 4(1).  No similar words are used in Article 3(1).  Further, it was not intended to establish a theocracy in the new nation, which is to remain at all times a secular state.

More significantly, the right to practice a religion of one's choice is found in Part II, and in particular, Article 11, which I now turn to.  But the fundamental freedoms of personal liberty [Article 5(1)], equality [Article 8(1)], anti-discrimination [Article 8(2)] and freedom of speech, assembly and association [Article 10(1) and (3)] are also relevant, and indeed far more relevant than Article 3.

Freedom of Religion as an Absolute Right

Freedom of religion is a fundamental right under the Federal Constitution. Article 11(1) gives constitutional protection to an individual's right to profess, practice and propagate his religion, and Article 11(3) recognizes collective worship by providing that "every religious group has the right to manage its own religious affairs".

A plain and ordinary reading of the language employed in Part II of our Constitution will indicate that the Founding Fathers drew a distinction between the measure of protection that each of the specific, listed fundamental liberties would enjoy.  Thus, our fundamental liberties are not treated equally in the Constitution.  Hence, there is an in-built hierarchy of rights, and freedom of religion is given core or central protection.  A simple reading of the text of each Article in Part II containing Articles 5 to 13 suggests that some liberties are more fundamental than others.  The Fundamental Liberties can therefore be placed in two distinct categories:-

- See more at: http://www.loyarburok.com/2013/10/25/allah-decision-wrong-constitutional-law/#sthash.3rUVq5hX.dpuf

The sustained public attack on last week's decision of the Court of Appeal in prohibiting the Catholic Church from using the word "Allah" in their internal publication, the Herald, is absolutely unprecedented, even in a nation very used to bad court decisions.

From a constitutional perspective, the three judgments are poorly reasoned, the law misread and conclusions reached which will baffle any right-thinking student anywhere in the common law.

The decision is not just wrong, it is horribly wrong, and will represent a terrible blot on our legal landscape, unless overturned quickly by the apex court, the Federal Court.

Regrettably, what follows may seem unduly legalistic, but it cannot be avoided in a critique of a court decision.

Relevant Facts Disregarded

By their very nature, judicial review proceedings are determined in the first instance by a single judge of the High Court who does not hear witnesses.  Instead, the application is disposed of by Affidavits and Exhibits, supplemented by submissions of lawyers.  In the High Court,  the Government baldly denied about 20 facts which the Catholic Church referred to in their Affidavits.

In such circumstances, the judge accepted, as she was duty bound in our adversarial system, the evidence produced by the Church.  In effect, the High Court made findings of fact, as it was entitled to do.  Some of these facts are worth recalling :

"(i) The word 'Allah' is the correct Bahasa Malaysia word for 'God' and in the Bahasa Malaysia translation of the Bible, 'God' is translated as 'Allah' and 'Lord' is translated as 'Tuhan';

(ii)       For 15 centuries, Christians and Muslims in Arabic-speaking countries have been using the word 'Allah' in reference to the One God. The Catholic Church in Malaysia and Indonesia and the great majority of other Christian denominations hold that 'Allah' is the legitimate word for 'God' in Bahasa Malaysia;

(iii)      The Malay-Latin dictionary published in 1631 had translated 'Deus' (the Latin word for God) as 'Alla' as the Malay translation;

(iv)      The Christian usage of the word 'Allah' predates Islam being the name of God in the old Arabic Bible as well as in the modern Arabic Bible used by Christians in Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and other places in Asia, Africa etc;

(v)       In Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia, the word 'Allah' has been used continuously in the printed edition of the Matthew's Gospel in Malay since 1629, in the first complete Malay Bible from 1733 and in the second complete Malay Bible since 1879;

(vi)      Munshi Abdullah, considered the father of modern Malay literature, had translated the Gospels into Malay in 1852, and he translated the word 'God' as 'Allah'

(vii)     The Bahasa Malaysia speaking Christian natives of Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah had always and have continuously and consistently used the word 'Allah' for generations and the said word 'Allah' is used in the Bahasa Indonesian translations of the Bible used throughout Malaysia;

(viii)    At least for the last three decades, the Bahasa Malaysia congregation of the Catholic Church have been freely using the Alkitab, the Bahasa Indonesia translation of the Holy Bible wherein the word 'Allah' appears;

(ix)      In any event, the word 'Allah' has been used by Christians in all countries where the Arabic language is used as well as in Indonesian/ Malay language without any problems and/ or breach of public order and/ or sensitivity to persons professing the religion of Islam in these countries."

The above matters provide the factual background in this dispute.  No case can ever be decided in a vacuum, isolated from the facts.  Unbelievably, none of the judgments gave any weight to the findings of fact made by the High Court — a gross error.

Nordin Salleh Ignored

It is incredible that none of the judgments even mentioned, let alone considered, the impact of the most important constitutional case ever decided by our courts, which had a direct bearing on the dispute.

The Supreme Court decided in Nordin Salleh, that in testing the validity of any state action impinging any of the fundamental liberties enshrined in Part II of the Constitution, the court's duty is to look at the effect, result or consequence of state action.  If such effect is to render the exercise of such fundamental liberty "illusory or meaningless", it is unconstitutional.

If the ratio of Nordin Salleh, which incidentally is binding on the Court of Appeal, had been applied in the Herald case, the decision would have been different because the effect of the State prohibiting Christians from using the word "Allah" in their worship is to render their right to practise their religion under Article 11(1) and (3) illusory or meaningless.  It is as plain and simple as that.  The appeal ought to have been dismissed for that obvious reason alone.

Article 3

It was misconceived for the Court of Appeal to have focused their attention on Article 3(1) rather than Article 11(1) and (3).  Article 3(1) provides for the role of religion in the new nation of Malaya (subsequently Malaysia).  Islam is the religion of the Federation, but other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony.

The Founding Fathers intended the new nation to be one for believers where God has a prominent place; they did not wish their country to be atheist or agnostic.  Other countries have similar belief systems stated in their constitutions.

Thus, the Preamble to the Constitution Act, 1982 of Canada declares :-

"Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law."

But Article 3(1) does not confer a supremacy status on Islam when compared to other religions.  The draftsmen of the Constitution were aware of the hierarchy of laws and rights:  hence, the very next article provides for the supremacy of the Constitution over all other laws in the land:  see Article 4(1).  No similar words are used in Article 3(1).  Further, it was not intended to establish a theocracy in the new nation, which is to remain at all times a secular state.

More significantly, the right to practice a religion of one's choice is found in Part II, and in particular, Article 11, which I now turn to.  But the fundamental freedoms of personal liberty [Article 5(1)], equality [Article 8(1)], anti-discrimination [Article 8(2)] and freedom of speech, assembly and association [Article 10(1) and (3)] are also relevant, and indeed far more relevant than Article 3.

Freedom of Religion as an Absolute Right

Freedom of religion is a fundamental right under the Federal Constitution. Article 11(1) gives constitutional protection to an individual's right to profess, practice and propagate his religion, and Article 11(3) recognizes collective worship by providing that "every religious group has the right to manage its own religious affairs".

A plain and ordinary reading of the language employed in Part II of our Constitution will indicate that the Founding Fathers drew a distinction between the measure of protection that each of the specific, listed fundamental liberties would enjoy.  Thus, our fundamental liberties are not treated equally in the Constitution.

Hence, there is an in-built hierarchy of rights, and freedom of religion is given core or central protection.  A simple reading of the text of each Article in Part II containing Articles 5 to 13 suggests that some liberties are more fundamental than others.  The Fundamental Liberties can therefore be placed in two distinct categories:-

READ MORE HERE

 

There's a gay in the office!

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 04:55 PM PDT

Another Brick in the Wall

Was alerted this morning by a Whas App message of a blog revealing an affidavit involving the divorce case between an officer in the Prime Minister's Department and his former wife.

The said officer is PM's speechwriter, Khairul Annas Jusoh. His ex-wife was Syarifah Nabila Sara bin Dato Syed Abdul Rahman.

Rings a bell?

Yes, she is the daughter of Mongolia's Honorary Consul in Malaysia Datuk Syed Abdul Rahman Alhabshi. When they got married in 2010, it was not actually a marriage between celebrities but the pomp and pageantry was close to one and dubbed the wedding of the decade.

The affidavit revealed a dark side of Dato Najib's Head of Policy and Research at the Prime Minister's Office. It will be viral in the next few days. As always, anything with S E X, normol or abnormal, will always be HOT HOT HOT ... issue.

In the affidavit posted by The Benchmark blog here, it revealed this fella has some weird sex practices. We highlight below:

READ MORE HERE

 

DAP’s Zul quits posts

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 04:44 PM PDT

DAP's Zulkifli Mohd Noor has resigned from all positions in the party and GLC's to show that he has lost confidence in the party's leadership.

Athi Shankar, FMT

Zukifli Mohd Noor, who offered himself as a DAP national chairman candidate during the party's recent central executive committee (CEC) re-election, has resigned three party and government-link company (GLC) positions, effective yesterday.

In his press statement here today, Zulkifli said he decided to relinquish his posts due to loss of confidence in the current party leadership, which he claimed as being too self-centred and embarking on selfish political goals.

"I believe the current DAP leaders have swayed far away from the party original struggle based on socialist-democrat ideals.

"This can be seen from their leadership style and policies in both party and state government," said Zulkifli, who joined the party some 26 years ago.

He has quit his party positions as Bayan Baru parliamentary liaison committee head and state DAP committee member, and as director of GLC, Penang Global Tourism, a subsidiary of Penang Development Corporation (PDC).

Earlier this year, Zulkifli also resigned as a councillor in the Penang island municipality (MPPP).

Zulkifli submitted his resignation letters dated Oct 24 to the various related bodies.

He said that the Penang government leadership led by Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has and never will favour lay public, especially people from lower income group.

He pointed out that the unscrupulous and speculative property price hike in Penang is beyond the reach of ordinary layman and was a fine example to prove that the DAP was not a people-orientated organisation.

He stated that the party has transformed into a dictatorial outfit favouring only the rich, elite and powerful.

"DAP's original democrat struggle has transformed to a capitalist-dictator regime," said Zulkifli, a former party national and state vice-chairman.

Referring to Saidina Umar Abdul Aziz's famous quote of "Aamal Maaruf Nahi Mungkar", he said the words were blatantly misused as a rhetoric propaganda used by Guan Eng, to hoodwink the people.

He pointed out that the current party and Penang government leadership style was in contrast to the famous phrase.

Despite his frustrations, Zulkifli said he will remain as a party member.

READ MORE HERE

 

”Kami Gembira, Kami Ada Duit Dan Anak Yang Cantik, Kamu Ada Apa?“

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 01:40 PM PDT

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(Mynewshub) - Jika sebelum ini kekasih Nora Danish, Nadeem Nazri dilihat sentiasa 'cool' melayan kutukan peminat dan individu yang kurang senang akan hubungannya dengan artis comel tersebut, dia kini dilihat kian kurang sabar.

Mungkin, dia semakin tertekan apabila setiap gerak gerinya dan Nora diperkatakan dan menjadi bahan bualan masyarakat termasuk yang terbaru, percutian mereka ke Eropah.

Sebelumnya, Nadeem turut menjadi bahan berita berkaitan isu pembelian rumah bernilai jutaan ringgit dan menjadi pegawai khas kepada bapanya, Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Kelmarin, dalam satu status Instagram miliknya Nadeem dilihat seolah-olah membalas kritikan orang sekeliling apabila memuat naik status berbunyi:

While the men are hating the fact that I got this beauty on my side, we are laughing it off.. We r happy, we got money and we got beautiful kids.. What do u guys have? Lol.. I love my fans but I pity you haters, please work hard and make some good living so u can enjoy it like us. #justsaying #factual

http://cdn.mynewshub.my/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/noradanishnadeemnazri.jpg 

Mungkin Nadeem sekadar meluahkan apa yang dia dan Nora sedang lalui kini, namun pada masa sama ia sebenarnya membayangkan keadaan mereka yang terganggu dengan segala publisiti diterima.

Status ini juga agak pedas bagi sesetengah orang yang memandang Nadeem lebih pada individu yang bertuah kerana dilahirkan sebagai anak orang kaya dan berpengaruh untuk menyuruh orang lain bekerja keras bagi mendapatkan apa yang dimilikinya pada hari ini.

Rasanya jika mahu segala perhatian terhenti, Nora perlu tinggalkan bidang seni dan paling baik, jika mereka mendirikan rumahtangga secepat mungkin.

Jika tidak, anda perlu belajar bersabar kerana inilah asam garam dunia glamor. 

Experts laud Brunei for introducing Syariah law

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 01:32 PM PDT

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(Borneo Post) - Malaysian experts yesterday praised Brunei's move to introduce Syariah Law with political will coming from the highest authority in the Sultanate as this would give more blessings. They hoped that other Muslim countries would follow suit, Borneo Bulletin reported.

"Muslims should accept Syariah Law which if rejected could lead to apostasy," said an invited speaker from Johor, Malaysia, Dato' Seri Sheikh Hj Nooh bin Gadot, Islamic Religious Council Advisor of the state of Johor, at a premier forum on Syariah Law.

 

"His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in his titah said it is obligatory to adhere to in order to gain more blessings. Other countries should follow suit," he said.

 

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister's Office attended the forum held to mark the Knowledge Convention 2013 in honour of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam's 67th birthday celebrations. Also present were HRH Prince 'Abdul Malik and HRH Princess Hajah Masna.

 

The chair of the panel discussion, Dr Awg Hj Japar bin Hj Mat Dain @Maidin from the State Mufti's Office said the titah delivered last Tuesday (at the opening of the Knowledge Convention) was a shift in the country's legal system and became a milestone for the nation. The Syariah Criminal Law was gazetted last Tuesday and will be enforced in April next year.

 

Meanwhile, Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Awg Hj Metussin bin Hj Baki, Syariah High Court Judge, said the nation should be thankful for the titah from a pious monarch. There are two issues that need to be looked into, namely the development of Islamic religion and Islamic law in the Sultanate.

 

The principles are Ad-din (way of life covering Tauhid). Islam teaches its Ummah for betterment in present life and in the days of the hereafter. What has been said by His Majesty should be upheld.

 

"The order from Allah the Almighty has its wisdom and such wisdom may not appear now, but will appear in the future," Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Awg Hj Metussin said.

 

Dr Awg Hj Japar admitted that there are certain sections of society that are against the Syariah Law. '`They are not convinced. Some are prejudiced and think that the Syariah Law is harsh as their minds are solely focused on the forms of punishment such as stoning, flogging, chopping off limbs and so on. There is a teaching behind the law"

 

Dato' Seri Sheikh Hj Nooh said Syariah Law or Hudud comes from Allah the Almighty and it is not man-made. "Allah the Almighty is perfect and there are no weaknesses or flaws. Hence it is obligatory for us to accept and abide.

 

"We should be thankful as there is huge blessing in it. It is not only Muslims that would gain but non-Muslims too in the present life," Dato' Seri Sheikh Hj Nooh added.

 

"I laud Brunei Darussalam and hopes that Allah the Almighty showers the nation with blessings," he said.

 

Meanwhile Prof Emeritus Dato' Paduka Dr Mahmood Zuhdi bin Hj Abd Majid from Malaysia also lauded Brunei Darussalam for introducing the Syariah Law.

 

"Introducing such a law is a victory to Muslim countries, be it Muslim countries that are brave to introduce such a law or Muslim countries who are not brave enough to introduce. Brunei has set an example to other countries to implement such a law"

 

He said the confusion on Syariah Law is due to the liberalism in education found in the Western countries who want all to be ruled in a liberal manner.

 

Brunei Darussalam is very fortunate in that the political will comes from the top. In other countries, they struggle from the bottom in implementing 'Hudud' or to implement the Islamic Law wholly and there is no political will from the top.

 

There is a secret behind such a law as it nurtures discipline in society. In the Western world, there is no discipline. For instance in the financial crisis in the West, the community did not want to spend moderately but rather lavishly.

 

Dato Seri Setia Ustaz Awg Hj Metussin added the law acts as a lesson to the offender and those who have seen the punishments and not solely to punish the offender. Dato Seri Sheikh Hj Nooh added that the implementation of Syariah Law reduces the crime rate as seen in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which practises Syariah Law.

 

Earlier, Their Royal Highnesses were greeted upon arrival at the International Convention Centre by joint chairpersons, Pehin Datu Singamanteri Col (Rtd) Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Awang Haji Mohammad Yasmin bin Haji Umar, Minister of Energy at the Prime Minister's Office and Pg Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohammad bin Pg Hj Abd Rahman, Minister of Religious Affairs and other senior officials.


 

Ex-minister Dr Ling acquitted of cheating Putrajaya in PKFZ land deal

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 01:22 PM PDT

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/assets/uploads/resizer/LingLiongSik_10252013_tminazirsufari_007_540_358_100.jpg 

(TMI) - The Najib administration was left red-faced today after former transport minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik was acquitted of charges that he had cheated Putrajaya in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) land deal.

The government made the headline-grabbing charge against the former MCA president hoping to bolster its anti-corruption credentials, but like a litany of other high profile cases brought against so-called big fish, this too ended in a humiliating defeat.

High Court Judge Datuk Ahmadi Asnawi, in acquitting the former transport minister and MCA president, said the defence had created a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case.

In a packed courtroom, the judge said he was not reading the 42-page judgment but will only deliver the verdict.

"The accused is cleared of all charges as the defence has created a reasonable doubt in the prosecution's case," Ahmadi said.

His supporters clapped while a cool and composed Dr Ling, the first person with the honorific title "Tun" to be charged with a criminal offence, walked out of the dock and was swarmed by those present to shake his hand.

He, however, declined to speak to the media.

"No comment", he said while placing his finger to his lips, gesturing that he would not say anything.

Counsel Wong Kian Kheong appeared for Dr Ling while the prosecution team was led by deputy solicitor-general III Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah.

Abdul Majid was not present as he is away to perform his Haj.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Manoj Kurup, who assisted Abdul Majid, said the prosecution will study the judgment before deciding whether to appeal. It has 10 days from today to file the notice of appeal.

Nine witnesses, including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, gave evidence for Dr Ling.

Dr Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years, was also the finance minister between 2000 and 2003, when Dr Ling was alleged to have committed the offences.

The judgment showed that Dr Mahathir's evidence rebutted the prosecution's case which led to Dr Ling's acquittal.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/ex-minister-dr-ling-acquitted-of-cheating-putrajaya-in-pkfz-land-deal1 

 

The DAP Malay and Islam

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 01:17 PM PDT

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There seem to be misplaced furor and confusion over statements attributed to me on the implementation of Islamic laws. As I see statements going around especially from people remote from what actually transpired and the absurd and the manic responses arising thereafter, I am now convinced that in general, there is a morbid and irrational fear about anything said in relation to Islam and Islamic laws. 

Sakmongkol AK47 

I said these things:

I agree to Islamic laws as long as they do not contradict our present constitution. 2) I agree to the bigger agenda of Islamic law of establishing a state founded on the principle of the rule of law. 3. I will not object if the laws do not tyrannize others not of Muslim faith.
 
How are these objectionable? These are the things I said in response to questions asked by a reporter.
 
To Muslim conservatives, if these views cannot be pigeonholed into specific categories, it is because of my own shortcomings. To secular politicians if they appear alarmingly Islamist, the fright is unnecessary.
 
Let me offer a more sophisticated explanation.
 
There seem to be misplaced furor and confusion over statements attributed to me on the implementation of Islamic laws. As I see statements going around especially from people remote from what actually transpired and the absurd and the manic responses arising thereafter, I am now convinced that in general, there is a morbid and irrational fear about anything said in relation to Islam and Islamic laws. Perhaps this morbidity and irrationality and regrettably manic disposition stem from years of self-induced personal bigotry. But perhaps also because Muslims have themselves to blame for so much negativity about them. But that is another subject matter.
 
 

Najib’s men screwing Borneo’s BN support

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 01:15 PM PDT

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Allah-Decision-II1-300x202.jpg 

(FMT) - Sarawak Workers Party claims Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's flip-flopping has made "some people more equal than others".

Sarawak Workers Party (SWP), which once claimed it was Barisan Nasional- friendly has slammed federal leaders for mocking the loyalty expressed by Sarawakians when they voted to retain the ruling government.

Party vice-president Josephine Mawat said neither Christians nor their use of the term "Allah" was ever a threat to social harmony and national security

"The word 'Allah' was not a threat to the country or national security.

"It has been used all over the world and has not caused any problem.

"It has been used in Sabah and Sarawak for over 100 years, long before the formation of Malaysia and not caused problems.

"It has been used by even the Arab countries and Middle Easts, it has not caused problems" she lamented adding that the term "Allah" is the name of God and "nobody regardless of religion can change the name of God at their fancy, not even governments of the day".

Mawat was voicing the rising concerns in Sarawak, which is a predominantly Christian population.

Sarawakians are bristiling over the recent Court of Appeal decision which overuled an earlier High Court ruling allowing the use of the term "Allah" in The Herald publication's Malay version.

The decision triggered wideranging anti-Christians comments from orthodox Muslims and Malay ultras demanding among others that the Bible be burned

She said while the people in Sarawak and Sabah believed Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's assurance that the recent Court of Appeal (COA) ruling would not affect them further affirming his earlier 10 point solution allowing for the printing, importation and distribution of the Malay version of the Bible, Al-kitab, his federal leaders were not sincere.

Najib's brag

She also questioned Tourism Minister Nazri Aziz's insistence that Christians from East Malaysia must not use the word in prayer in Peninsular Malaysia.

Thousands of Sarawakians and Sabahans are living and working in Peninsular Malaysia. In Johor alone there are over 40,000 Sarawakians.

"Now it sounds like; since East Malaysia is a power 'deposit', therefore the court ruling can be discounted.

Read more at: http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2013/10/25/najibs-men-screwing-borneos-bn-support/ 

 

Allah Judgment: What the Special Branch saw on Sunday

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 01:10 PM PDT

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Here's what I imagine the Special Branch would have reported to the Home Minister about what they saw in a typical West Malaysian church – whether Catholic or not – on the Sunday after the Court of Appeal Judgment in the "Allah" case.
 
write2rest 

Announcements and prayers. The pastors and leaders advised those who were assembled to remain calm. They prayed for guidance on whether the Catholic church should appeal the decision, and whether other Christian groups should join as interveners.

Malay songs. In their non-Malay services, they included Malay songs. One of the songs was "Kau Yang Terindah":

Kau yang terindah di dalam hidup ini
Tiada Allah Tuhan yang seperti Engkau
Besar perkasa penuh kemuliaan
Kau yang termanis di dalam hidup ini
Ku cinta Kau lebih dari segalanya
Besar kasih setiaMu kepadaku

Kusembah Kau ya Allahku
Kutinggikan namaMu selalu
Tiada lutut tak bertelut
Menyembah Yesus Tuhan Rajaku
Kusembah Kau ya Allahku
Kutinggikan namaMu selalu
Semua lidah 'kan mengaku
Engkaulah Yesus Tuhan RajaKu

Older church members usually sing Malay songs grumpily. Though millions of Malays have been educated in Malaysian Christian schools, almost no Malays have become Christians. So, except for East Malaysians, no native-Malay speakers attend Sunday services in West Malaysian churches. Therefore, the older members think there is no need to use Malay. (They 'tolerate' Malay because their children are fluent in Malay.)

The Sunday after the CoA decision was unusual. The older members didn't frown or strain when the Malay songs were sung. They not only stood up with the younger members to sing. They even looked happy when the Malay songs were sung, repeatedly.

The quality of the singing was poorer than usual, because the older members pronounce Malay words badly. Yet, no one seemed to mind. Even the worship leaders who normally twist their faces when the assembled people sing poorly, seemed happy.

Read more at: http://write2rest.blogspot.com/2013/10/allah-judgment-what-special-branch-saw.html 

MCMC grills BFM producer duo over Reza Aslan interview

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 08:52 AM PDT

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(MM) - The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) questioned two BFM radio producers today over a recent interview they conducted with American religious scholar Dr Reza Aslan over the "Allah" controversy.

Ezra Zaid said that the country's communications and Internet regulator called him and his colleague, Umapagan Ampikaipakan, up for a statement this afternoon over their interview with Aslan.

"Umapagan and myself were called in today to give a statement," Ezra told The Malay Mail Online today.

In the interview with the business station last Monday, Aslan criticised the recent Court of Appeal ruling that found that the word "Allah" belonged exclusively to Muslims, pointing out that the word was just an Arabic term for God.

"Allah is a construction of the word al-Ilah...Al-Ilah means 'The God'. Allah is not the name of God.

"Frankly, anyone who thinks that Allah is the name of God, is not just incorrect, but is going against the Quran itself. It is almost a blasphemous thought to think that Allah has a name," Aslan had said.

Part of the interview with Aslan, which featured his remarks on the "Allah" issue, did not air, but  was uploaded in a podcast on BFM's website www.bfm.my instead.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/mcmc-grills-bfm-producer-duo-over-reza-aslan-interview 

 

Malaysia curbs on use of word "Allah" seen hurting Muslim image

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 08:50 AM PDT

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(Al Arabiya) - Malaysia's self-styled image as a global leader of moderate Islam has been undermined by a court ruling that only Muslims can use the word Allah" to refer to God, with a growing number of Muslim scholars and commentators condemning the decision.

A Malaysian court ruled last week that the word was "not an integral part of the faith in Christianity," overturning a previous ruling that allowed a Malay-language Roman Catholic newspaper to use the word.

Since then, confusion has reigned over the interpretation of the ruling, with government ministers, lawyers and Muslim authorities giving widely diverging views on its scope. Critics of the decision have said it casts a chill on religious rights in Muslim-majority Malaysia, which has substantial minorities of ethnic Chinese and Indians.

Commentators in some countries that practice Islam more strictly than Malaysia have condemned the ruling, arguing that the word Allah has been used by different faiths for centuries. Christians in Malaysia's eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak have used the word for generations, as have Christians in the Middle East.

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper said in a commentary that the decision was a "sad reflection on how an otherwise modern country, widely seen as a role model for the Muslim world, is succumbing to the current trend of insularity in matters of faith."

Read more at: http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2013/10/24/The-Allah-monopoly-Malaysia-ruling-tarnishes-Muslim-reputation-say-scholars-.html 

Doubling Detention Period in Lock-ups will lead to more Deaths

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 08:47 AM PDT

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We are extremely concerned that once the authorities double the amount of time lawfully allocated in lock-ups, the number of police lock-up deaths and brutality will also increase as it is abundantly clear from the police's atrocious track record, that the safety and welfare of detainees are rarely a concern.
 
Lawyers for Liberty 
 
Lawyers for Liberty is concerned with the suggestion to amend Section 7 of the Prison Act 1995. This amendment is to appoint police station and court house lock-ups to contain persons remanded under the Prevention of Crime Act 1959.
 
Section 7 of the Prison Act only allows detention in police station and court house lock-ups for a period that does not exceed one month. Police station and court house lock-ups are designed to be temporary in nature and its facilities have been crafted to contain individuals who are awaiting trial or for police investigation under the CPC and other laws. The containment of an individual within these lock-ups cannot exceed one month.  
 
The amendment to Section 7 of the Prison Act would allow the Home Minister to designate lock-ups at police stations and court houses for the confinement of persons remanded under the Prevention of Crime Act that allows detention up to 60 days, therefore breaching the requirement for a lock-up to only be used up to one month.
 
Needless to say, police station and court house lock-ups are not suitable and properly equipped to detain individuals for long periods of time. 
 
In the event a suspect is to be remanded for more than a month, it would be more suited for them to be transferred to a more permanent location, equipped to deal with the living conditions of the suspect, and to ease police management as well. It would be cumbersome for the police to manage a suspect twice as
long as usually required in the police lock-up.

Moreover, despite the temporary nature of the police lock-ups, we have seen it being transformed into a killing field for suspects. Many individuals have been tortured to death or died under unlawful circumstances in police lock-ups. The names N. Dhamendran, A. Kugan and Karuna Nithi are not alien to us and their short, brutal, fatal time spent in the police lock-up cannot be forgotten.

We are extremely concerned that once the authorities double the amount of time lawfully allocated in lock-ups, the number of police lock-up deaths and brutality will also increase as it is abundantly clear from the police's atrocious track record, that the safety and welfare of detainees are rarely a concern.

Post MCA EGM : Who Will End Up Winning MCA Presidential Race in Dec?

Posted: 24 Oct 2013 08:41 AM PDT

http://1sya.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/MCA-Liow-Tiong-Lai-Dr-Chua-Soi-Lek-300x202.jpg 

How much votes from resolution that voting against to censure Liow Tiong Lai is actually votes and supports from the neutral, sympathizer and swing votes according to cases, issues, causes, sentiments and emotions? The answer can only be concluded only if we look forward to analyze the outcome of resolution 2, 3 and 4.

SYA 

Many political analyst just analyze the outcome of the latest MCA EGM through just looking at Resolution 1 while neglecting Resolution 2, 3 and 4. Resolution 1 will just provide an insight of 25% of the entire EGM. We should look in more detail to come out with a better conclusion.

MCA EGM Resolution 1 – To Censure Liow Tiong Lai

965 (supporting) vs 1190 (against) with a majority of 225 to vote against censuring Liow Tiong Lai (46% vs 56 %).
According to The Sun columnist Kong See Hoh, the 1,190 nays to a resolution to censure him for the party's general election debacle included neutral and sympathy votes.

Liow own supporter Datuk Paul Kong said "It doesn't mean by rejecting motion number one, there will be 100 percent support for Liow Tiong Lai for the president's post. I think, for the next two months, both sides still need to work hard as what Dr Chua's side need to do is to increase their votes by another 200," said MCA Central Committee (CC) member Datuk Paul Kong (reported by Malay Mail).

Senior journalist of Oriental Daily News Lin Shu Yun said while Liow garnered 1,190 votes in the just-concluded MCA extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to overthrow the first resolution of censuring him, he was reminded that a vote against the resolution does not mean a vote in support of him to be the next MCA president. Indeed, some votes against the resolution might come from central delegates who either sympathise with Liow or taking a neutral stance on the issue

What can we conclude from resolution 1? Sin Chew Daily also has a similar reading on Chua's strength. Its senior journalist Guo Shu Qin said, Chua was still seizing 900 "iron votes" from his hardcore supporters.

Having said that, Dr Chua Soi Lek is still having firm and solid control over 965 MCA Central Delegates (46%) while from just resolution 1 alone is hard to predict how many supporters are Liow real hardcore solid supporters. How much votes from resolution that voting against to censure Liow Tiong Lai is actually votes and supports from the neutral, sympathizer and swing votes according to cases, issues, causes, sentiments and emotions? The answer can only be concluded only if we look forward to analyze the outcome of resolution 2, 3 and 4.

Read more at: http://1sya.com/?p=7895 

Ambiga calls on government to put Penal Code, Sosma amendments on hold

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 09:50 PM PDT

http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/assets/uploads/resizer/ambiga-sreenevasan1-march23_1_270_183_100.jpg

Viswaree Palansamy, TMI 

Bersih co-chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan (pic) wants Putrajaya to put on hold the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2013, and to agree not to gazette it until further discussions are held with concerned stakeholders.

She described Section 203A of the Penal Code as a "muzzling provision", referring to the contentious provision that restricts civil servants from disseminating any information gathered during one's tenure of duty or the exercise of one's functions.

"Amendments always warrant further scrutiny," she told reporters at the Parliament lobby today.

The Penal Code (Amendment) Bill 2013 was passed by the Lower House on Tuesday, while the Security Offences (Special Measures)(Amendment) Act 2012 was passed today without changes.

Ambiga said that even lawmakers did not have enough time to pour over the amendments as they only received the copies of the relevant Bills a day before the tabling of its first reading.

"The Bar Council has been asking for Bills in advance for many years and I don't think that is unreasonable if we want to be the so-called 'best democracy in the world'," she said.

Opposition lawmakers had objected strongly to the amendments and warned that the inclusion of two ordinary criminal offences - organised crime and anti-human trafficking - contradicted the government's stand that Sosma was created to curb terrorism activities. Under this law, bail is not allowed and the remand period is 28 days. 

 

‘Illegitimate’ Comango funded by foreign powers, alleges Muslim NGOs

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 09:28 PM PDT

(MM) - A coalition of Muslim groups accused human rights lobbyist Comango of being an illegitimate and foreign-funded organisation, in a move believed timed for Malaysia's turn at the United Nations (UN) Universal Periodic Review (UPR) tonight.

The attack by the Muslim NGOs banding together under the MuslimUPRo umbrella comes as it vied for attention from UN members in Geneva, Switzerland against the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) in the UPR this week, several days ahead of the review.

"Comango has articulated its demands without respecting the position of Islam as the religion of the federation, and has purposely confused Malaysians (to show) as if Malaysia is a secular country that puts every religion on an equal position," said a MuslimUPRo memorandum dated October 22.

"Comango's action is meant to put any policies and laws enacted by the government or religious councils under the regulation and purview of the UNHRC," it said, referring to the UN Human Rights Council.

The memorandum was drafted by Azril Mohd Amin, the vice-president of Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia (PPPM), and head of the MuslimUPRo.

It was signed by 27 Islamic and Muslim NGOs including Perkasa, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA), Jati, Muafakat, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), and Pembela.

Comango's 22-page report touches issues such as the administration of justice; freedom of religion, expression and participation; rights to work, health and education; indigenous and migrants' rights; and discrimination involving sexual orientation and race.

The coalition is made of 54 NGOs, which also included Amnesty International Malaysia, Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), Tenaganita, and Seksualiti Merdeka.

In the memorandum, MuslimUPRo claimed that only 12 societies under Comango are registered under the Registrar of Societies (RoS), while the rest are not and as such any dealings with them are illegal under Section 6 of the Societies Act.

"Their voices and demands do not represent the majority of Malaysian citizens, in addition some of the unregistered societies' pioneers have operated illegitimately for decades," said MuslimUPRo.

"Some of them have even purposely created a business entity under the Registrar of Companies in order to get foreign funding to fund their evil demands to betray the religion of the federation."

MuslimUPRo did not specify details of the alleged foreign funding, however, but instead urged Putrajaya to probe the issue.

The NGOs have stepped up its attacks in the last week before the UPR, with a seminar on the "threat of liberalism" allegedly championed by Comango, organised by Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) on Saturday.

The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) also said in its Friday sermon last week that complaints of human rights abuses against Malaysia are not genuine, and are part of a masquerade to push the lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LBGT) agenda to undermine Islam.

Held every four and a half years, the UPR is a UNHRC mechanism that was established in 2007 to improve the treatment of human rights in all 193 UN member states. Malaysia is currently a member of UNHRC, the second time after a term in 2009.

The process involves a three-hour interactive dialogue, where UNHRC members will question Malaysia based on reports prepared by the government, UN agencies, and the stakeholders' report ― which summarises the report of NGOs both national and international. 

 

Budget 2014: Two sides of the GST coin

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 08:45 PM PDT

http://i1177.photobucket.com/albums/x356/imdavidlee123/GSTmalaysia_zpse3a4dc0e.jpg 

Michelle Tam, The Star 

 

Both bouquets and brickbats will be hurled at the goods and services tax (GST) if it is introduced in this Friday's budget.

Though implementation has been delayed since its first mention in the 2005 budget, the premise seems simple enough: the more you consume, the more you pay.


Also known as value added tax, it is implemented in 160 countries worldwide. As for South-East Asia, only three countries - Brunei, Malaysia and Myanmar - have yet to follow suit.


Since the 1970s, Malaysia has imposed a sales and services tax (SST), which is comprised of the Sales Tax Act 1972 - with rates of 5%, 10% and 20% - and the Service Tax Act 1975 with its 6% levy.


The proposed GST, a consumption tax likely to fall between 4-7%, will replace the standard cumulative SST of 16% and extend to items not currently covered by it.


Ringgit and sens


But one of the major criticisms against the GST is its regressive quality.


The poor, who are not currently taxed on their income, will now have to shoulder some of the burden via the new consumption tax.


"To alleviate this negative feature, the GST is usually designed to be zero-rated or exempted for essential goods and services, which the poor consumes in greater proportion," said RAM Holdings Bhd chief economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng to The Star Online.


These different rates - standard, zero-rated and exempted - is more difficult to implement from an administration perspective, says Malaysian Association of Tax Accountants (Mata) president Abd Aziz Abu Bakar.


"Back in 1994, Singapore imposed a standard 3% GST on everything, which is much easier for the government to manage. But here, the Malaysian government is taking the rakyat into consideration with different rates," he said.


Though the GST is only likely to be implemented in mid-2015, Abd Aziz adds that consumers are already in the era of consumption tax.


"For example, a bottle of Coca-Cola has a 10% sales tax that is charged at a manufacturing or importer level. Consumers don't know about that embedded tax as it's not transparent," he said.


Now, customers will be well aware of the GST's impact, and make purchasing decisions accordingly.


He hastened to add that one of the GST's main targets is to reform tax avoidance in the business community, and not so much the fiscal deficit: "The government loses an estimated RM3 billion in sales tax revenue due to loopholes and leakages. Now, they'll be sucked into the net."


And with or without the GST, says Abd Aziz, the prices of goods and services are on the rise due to supply and demand.


Our heavy dependence on income tax and oil and gas revenue - "The latter is close to 40%," says Dr Yeah - also illustrates the need to broaden and diversify the country's revenue base.


From a business perspective, key benefits will include the increased efficiency of tax administration despite the higher burden of record-keeping.


"Small businesses will be encouraged to register to get rebates on their inputs (raw materials or services that go into production). And if businesses want to claim rebates, they have to keep detailed records," said Dr Yeah.


MARC Bhd economist Nurhisham Hussein agreed that input tax credits will provide an incentive for businesses to comply, and termed the GST a "really elegant system" with fourfold results.


"Businesses won't incur additional taxes or double taxation, and the market prices of goods and services won't be distorted, unlike under the SST system.


"Businesses will also act as de facto collection agents for the government, and the tax yield will be larger at any given tax rate relative to the SST," he said.


While Nurhisham admits that the GST's main drawback is a relatively higher tax burden on the poor in terms of percentage of income, the proposed rates are "fairly low" and essential goods will be either zero-rated or exempt, making the actual tax burden on them "relatively small".


"This will be even more true if the government follows through with a higher BR1M payout and adjustment or cuts in personal income tax," said Nurhisham.


He calls the current SST system "just as regressive" with none of the GST's advantages: "The SST results in higher business costs and distorted market prices, is subject to a higher rate of evasion and fraud, and yields less tax revenue for the government."


"SST is also a harder system to administer, and requires more audit resources. Most other potential revenue sources, such as a capital gains tax (CGT), also don't have the stability that GST offers," Nurhisham adds.


Research indicates that while the investment-based capital gains tax system has a positive impact on mitigating income and wealth inequality, it is susceptible to the booms and busts of the business cycle and less suitable for increasing government revenue.


As exports are GST-free, it is also likely that the country's export-oriented economy will benefit.


Dr Yeah adds that a "one-off inflation spike" will occur, which Alliance Research chief economist Manokaran Mottain agrees with.


"It's the public's mentality. When the government increased petrol prices by 20 sen, people were lining up nationwide. You will see this hoarding effect," said Manokaran.


He also pointed out resource-heavy implementation and tax collection issues as potential teething problems: "Even Singapore faced issues in the first two years. The collection agents, or traders, could not pay taxes to the government. You'd want to ensure that the GST is strictly followed."

 

READ MORE HERE 

 

Budget 2014: End subsidy mentality, says economist

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 08:07 PM PDT

(The Star) - This budget, the government is expected to announce the new amount that will be given out under the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) scheme and Alliance Investment Bank Bhd chief economist Manokaran Mottain (pic) feels that such short-term solutions should be dispensed with.

"The government is already trying to get rid of the subsidy mentality but these types of hand-outs only reinforces the mentality," he said, adding that the government's intentions were good but the execution was not.

Manokaran suggested that a system similar to India's rationing system be introduced, under which people who fall under the low-income category can buy basic items at a subsidised price.

"I'm not asking the government to go backwards but the concept can be modified to suit the local context. 

The government should also identify the target group and ensure that no one takes advantage of the scheme," he said.

He added that although the money that is given out may boost consumption. there was no guarantee that it would be used wisely.

"Even if the government give the RM500, do you think the people are really going to keep it for their children's education expenses etc? There are many other ways to help them instead," he said.
 

 

Pemuda PAS desak NGO gugur tuntutan bercanggah Islam

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 07:14 PM PDT

(TMI) - PAS menggesa agar tuntutan-tuntutan bercanggah dengan Perlembagaan dan amalan ajaran Islam di negara ini yang dibawa oleh badan bukan kerajaan hak asasi manusia (Comango) ke Proses Semakan Berkala (UPR) Majlis Hak Asasi Manusia Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (UNHCR) di Geneva, Switzerland hari ini digugurkan.

Ketua Dewan Pemuda PAS, Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi (gambar) dalam sidang medianya menegaskan, menggesa NGO itu perlu merujuk kepada kerangka Perlembagaan Malaysia serta prinsip agama khususnya Islam bagi mengelakkan sebarang prejudis dan persepsi negatif.

"Kami turut mendesak agar campurtangan atau tekanan luar terhadap keputusan yang telah diambil melibatkan Islam tidak wajar di lobi ke peringkat antarabangsa memandangkan ia harus ditangani secara ilmiah di negara ini di samping mewujudkan perundingan bersama di setiap peringkat," kata kenyataan berkenaan.

Nasrudin bagaimanapun turut  menyokong usaha sesiapa sahaja yang memperjuangkan hak asasi manusia, asalkan ia tidak bercanggah dengan amalan Islam.

"Islam menyanjungi kemuliaan manusia dan menolak segala bentuk kezaliman yang dilakukan," katanya dalam kenyataan berkenaan.

Antara tuntutan NGO berkenaan yang dipertikaikan parti Islam itu adalah gesaan agar Malaysia menandatangani International Covenant on Civil & Political Right (ICCPR) yang mengandungi peruntukan kebebasan beragama.

Selain itu, PAS turut membantah gesaan yang dibawa NGO berkenaan untuk mengiktiraf hak golongan Lesbian, Gay, Biseksual dan Transgender (LGBT), dan mempertikaikan peruntukan yang terdapat Enakmen Kesalahan Jenayah Syariah termasuk beberapa keputusan Mahkamah Syariah berkenaan isu kalimah Allah, pengharaman Syiah, dan hak Muslim menukar agama anak bawah umur kepada Islam.

Perbahasan berkenaan NGO berkenaan semalam dibangkitkan bekas Menteri Pertanian dan Industri Asas Tani, Datuk Seri Noh Omar di Dewan Rakyat dan mencetuskan pertikaman lidah apabila beliau bertanyakan soalan sama ada beberapa pemimpin pembangkang menyokong perkahwinan sejenis.

Noh ketika sidang medianya turut mendakwa ancaman perpecahan agama merupakan ancaman terbaru yang mula menular di Malaysia dan tuntutan NGO itu adalah virus yang mula menular terhadap ancaman berkenaan.

READ MORE HERE

 

Former Anwar aide to debate Ambiga

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 07:07 PM PDT

Tweets between a former Anwar aid and Ambiga suggest that a debate is in the making on issues related to the People's Tribunal

Athi Shankar, FMT

Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga is set to debate Yuktes Vijay, former aide of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, on the recent general election, according to some tweet exchanges between them.

Ambiga and Yuktes tweeted and mutually agreed to hold the debate on Nov 16.

Ambiga recently organised a People's Tribunal to put some light on Pakatan Rakyat's allegations that the 13th General Election held on May 5 this year was marred by fraud.

Yuktes on the other hand attempted to hold a public forum on October 11 to scrutinise the findings of Bersih's People's Tribunal.

The forum was to expose the lies spread by Pakatan and Anwar on the election.

The forum however was disrupted by a group of rowdies, who Yuktes alleged, was led by a special officer to Anwar.

Yuktes has already emailed Anwar to claim compensation for his financial loss.

"Until today, Anwar has failed to reply to my email," said Yuktes.

Following the fiasco, a former aide of Zaid Ibrahim, Firdaus Christopher tweeted to question Ambiga on the incident.

In her tweet, Ambiga said that she was least concerned about the forum and had nothing to do with the disturbances that occurred.

Thereafter Yuktes joined into the tweeting and challenged Ambiga for a head-on debate in relation to the election issues.

The tweet exchanges suggest that Ambiga has accepted Yuktes' challenge and even named a Macfaisal, as the moderator.

READ MORE HERE

 

Suaram tells British PM about M’sia’s sad state of affairs

Posted: 23 Oct 2013 06:46 PM PDT

Suaram wants the British government to review its business ties with Malaysia and to urgently look into the allegations of electoral fraud, corruption and human rights abuse.

P Ramani, FMT

Human rights watchdog Suaram has called on the British government to review a range of critical issues affecting Malaysian civil society before Britain could strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

Suaram made the call via a letter to the British Prime Minister David Cameron, Lord Mayor of London Boris Johnson and the British Government in view of the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) that would be held from Oct 29 and 31 in London for the first time.

Former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi founded WIEF in 2009 with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as the patron of the coming event.

Suaram had also in the letter brought to the attention of the addressees the burgeoning violence, electoral fraud, corruption and serious human rights abuses that had been ongoing under the leadership of Prime Minister Najib.

"We remained deeply concerned that while Najib promoted Malaysia and his administration as moderate and peace-loving on the world stage, basic human rights in Malaysia remained under serious threat," the NGO said.

It also informed the British leaders that the BN government continued to employ harsh measures against any form of dissent, institutionalised religious inequality, bribery and gerrymandering in the electoral system with protests calling for electoral system reform brutally suppressed over the years.

Besides that, Malaysian government allowed detention without trial, ignored police brutality, compromised the rights of indigenous people and minority groups as well as staunchly curbing the freedom of expression, assembly and association, added the letter.

In the light of these issues, Suaram urged the British government to review its business ties with Malaysia and to urgently look into the allegations of electoral fraud, corruption and human rights abuse.

READ MORE HERE

 

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