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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

More than just a storm in the tea cup for Gani?

Posted: 08 Nov 2013 08:50 AM PST 
Mohsin Abdullah, 
THEORIES a plenty – now that many have come to know of (via online media with Malaysiakini first breaking it) the mystery meeting between famous lawyer Datuk Shafee Abdullah, former top cop Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad – during which the "misconduct" of AG Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was discussed.
In attendance also were Matthias Chang, Mahathir's former political secretary and another top cop Datuk Ramli Yusof who has had his share of "run-ins" with the AG. So it was reported.
Also of Mat Zain's extensive statutory declaration against Gani – "suggesting" for want of a better word, that the AG was "ill prepared" before the International Court of Justice resulting in the loss of Pulau Batu Putih to Singapore.
We all know the details by now. Hence the big question – are the allegations true? Hence the call by Mat Zain himself, for a RCI to look into it. In the event of that happening, then that poser will be answered. Should be anyway. 
So the next big question – why? As to why all these "things" are hurled at Gani. With all the "central figures" keeping mum, theories a-plenty, as said earlier. One such "theory"  is the mystery meeting "suggests a move against the AG".
Before this Batu Putih SD, Mat Zain has been sending open letters to the authorities urging action against allegedly corrupt government officers involved in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's first sodomy trial. And he had also alleged that Gani had fabricated evidence in the course of investigations into Anwar's black eye incident. Mat Zain was, then, the investigating officer.
So it's not wrong to say Mat Zain has been "consistent" with his allegations.
But why is Mahathir involved? Is he "going after Gani"? Aides of the former PM didn't want to respond. According to an acquaintance of Gani, said the former PM and the AG enjoy good relations. 
Which brings us to Shafee. Is he also "out to get" the AG? If so, why? Wasn't it the AG who had appointed him to head the prosecution in the appeal against Anwar's acquittal on the second sodomy charge?
Another "theory" has it as this being a case of "someone stepping on someone's toes". No details. No specifics as to who is stepping on whose toes.
There's also this talk of the AG becoming too powerful for the powerful – thus this "attempt to get rid of him". Again, nothing to back it up as to who 'the powerful' are and what big cases are being pursued.
People who are supposed to be in the know, even among the legal fraternity, are not talking. Not openly, at least. Except to say "baffling" and "interesting" when asked  just what is going on. Nothing more.
But to PAS Youth's Ahmad Zamri Asa'ad Khuzaimi, himself a lawyer, considering the people who attended the meeting with Mahathir "it appears that the revelation to the media is to put pressure on Gani and his boss Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak".
Now, on to remarks made by Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman as reported by The Malaysian Insider. Said the former AG, it's pointless to congregate at someone's house and badmouth the individual without pursuing further action.
Therefore, those with evidence of criminal wrong doing by the AG must be responsible enough to lodge police reports and stand by the allegations, said Abu Talib.
But to Lawyers for Liberty co-founder Eric Paulsen, state institutions like the police, the AG's Chambers and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) are not free from political interference and as such, police reports if any, made against Gani "will come to nothing".

Read more at :

A matter of individual choice, not communal right

Posted: 08 Nov 2013 08:36 AM PST

It is wrong to over-exaggerate the situation, as if Muslims are 'persecuted' or 'oppressed' with regards to the hijab, which is how some voices (especially those with an "axe to grind") are portraying it.

Yes, one may argue the State has not been sufficiently reasonable with regards to the policy, yet the matter must be argued in a rational and fair manner.

Mohamed Imran Mohamed Taib, Today Online

Several people have asked why I've not weighed in on the 'hijab issue'. To be frank, the only reason why I'm apprehensive about commenting on the matter is because of the way the issue has been crafted and the utter lack of civility, divisive attitude and extremely patriarchal and bigoted nature of some of its major proponents who are dominating the various social media platforms, particularly on the Malay online sites.

But here's my stand on the matter, in gist.

1. This matter is a political issue, not a religious issue. Therefore, any discussions on the matter must be submitted to public reason, not theological arguments. The issue has to do with policies in dealing with multicultural space in Singapore. As such, there must be an over-arching framework in dealing with such issues.

2. The over-arching framework, in my opinion, ought to be individual liberty and the right to practice his/her religion as long as it does not infringe on the fundamental rights of others, cause harm to others or undermine the nation-building process.

This matter, therefore, must not be seen as an assertion of communal right, as no one person, group or institution can lay claim to being representative of the entire Muslim community. The call for allowing hijab must be seen within the lens of individual liberty and rights with regards to practising his/her religious belief.

3. The call for women to be able to don hijab in the uniformed services and front-line jobs in government sectors is legitimate from the standpoint of point 2. The hijab can be tailored to match the uniform, as has been done in many government and private sectors in Singapore and other countries. It does not infringe on the rights of others nor cause harm to others, nor is it inimical to the nation-building process (which professedly subscribes to 'multiculturalism' policy)

4. It must be noted that the call for allowing Muslim women to don the hijab is not equivalent to ensuring all Muslim women don the hijab. The latter is undesirable, nor should be tolerated as it infringes again on the liberty and right of an individual to dress as she deems fit according to her personal or religious belief.

5. The wearing or non-wearing of hijab must be left to the individual's discretion and no woman should be coerced to wear it on religious grounds, just as she cannot be coerced to take it off on secular grounds.

On religious grounds, the hijab has always been a subject of contention even among Muslim jurists and scholars of the past and present, and wearing/not wearing it has never been part of the fundamental belief system of Islam. However, traditionally, the hijab has been seen as part of the (non-definitive) Muslim women's attire and the State ought to respect this standpoint and allow ease for those who so choose to wear it.

6. Public education must continue in ensuring that Muslims and non-Muslims, men and women, do not adopt stereotypical views on the hijab and confuse the women wearing it as ignorant or oppressed, nor with the view that women who do not wear it as immoral or immodest.


Pakatan, wake up!

Posted: 08 Nov 2013 08:23 AM PST 

Selena Tay, FMT 

It is high time Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders stir themselves back into action. Why so?

Consider recent events: a hike in RON95 petrol price from RM1.90 to RM2.10 in early September, announcement of the GST (Goods & Services Tax) implementation in April 2015 and re-delineation of electoral boundaries beginning end of this year.

PR leaders should organise ceramahs to inform the rakyat about the impact of the GST on one's pocket. BN are already launching their nationwide efforts to explain the GST to the citizens.

Although Pakatan have organised some forums – the pace is very slow.

Pakatan needs to present their side of the argument as the BN Government will do everything in its power to present the GST as a people-friendly tax.

Pro-GST economists will inform the rakyat that many goods are zero-rated but will not tell the rakyat that most goods are not.

Under the present system of Sales & Service Tax (SST), over 3,000 items are tax-exempted but under the GST system, over 1,000 items only are to be given tax-exemption.

Low-income earners need to buy soap – previously they do not pay tax on the soap, now they will. The same goes for stationery, toothpaste, detergent and other daily necessities, not to mention shoes, bags, etc.

Does this not show clearly that the poor will be taxed?

A taxi driver told this columnist that the GST is a method of 'forcing' the poor to pay taxes through the purchase of items needed for daily living, therefore low-wage earners will have less money in their pockets once GST is implemented.

"The BN government is trying to deceive me by saying that GST is good. How is it good for me when I have less money in my pocket?

"Only stupid people will believe the government," said the taxi driver who goes by the surname of Ng.

Regarding BR1M, Ng said that it is only a small amount which will not cover the GST he will be paying the whole year round, as prices of goods will also go up in the course of a year.

How long should PR leaders rest?

Ng remarked that it is time for PR leaders to organise a protest against the RON95 price hike and the GST.

He lamented that of late, PR seemed to be in deep slumber. Although Pakatan leaders had protested strongly and were present at Ground Zero against the demolition of Kg. Hakka in Negeri Sembilan.

The 25 people I recently interviewed, excluding relatives and neighbours, all shared the view that lately PR have been quiet and said perhaps it is due to political fatigue.

It is now six months after the 13th general election.

I knew that this time round, Pakatan was going to have some difficulties because the parliament debates after GE13 are not as 'hot' as the debates after GE12.

An ancient Chinese Military Manual states: 'a soldier who rests too long will fail to be a good soldier when war is declared' and 'a sword that is not in use is a useless sword'.

Pakatan leaders should shake off their lethargy and swing into action at a more vigorous pace, starting with GST ceramahs/forums.

There is no better time to kickstart momentum as now. My survey also revealed that all 25 respondents think the RON95 petrol price will be increased again, next month or latest before the end of Jan 2014.

The amount of increase according to these respondents' guess will be between 10sen to 30sen.

Too many protests may look bad and be energy-zapping, however, lack of protests will embolden the government to simply do whatever they like, such as raising the price of goods.

One must take note that there are already new petroleum producing countries, namely Brazil and Russia while countries that buy oil have maintained the same level of imports.

The price of petrol in the world market has dipped. So why is price of petrol going up in Malaysia?

Definitely the answer has got to be due to the government's mismanagement and that is the reason why subsidies have to be reduced – in order to fill/fuel up the government's coffers.

Thus on Pakatan's 'List Of Things To Do' will be to educate the rakyat regarding GST. And to organise a protest by April 2014 against the RON95 price hike plus the GST implementation.

Pakatan must wake up and give meaning to the phrase 'strong opposition watchdog'.

The ancient Chinese Military Manual also says: 'a soldier who rests too long will forget how to fight'. Pakatan leaders need to be reminded of this!

Dialogue is the only way forward

Posted: 08 Nov 2013 08:13 AM PST

The responsibility of sincere and sensible Christians, Jews and Muslims of good conscience is to assist one another against wickedness and wicked people, and to work together in union and togetherness. 

Harun Yahya 

Following ratification of the ruling by the Malaysian Court of Appeals  that the name "Allah" can only be used by Muslims, Prime Minister Najib Razak once again defended the decision.What first needs to be said is that in the same way that this ruling is incompatible with the friendship of Christians and Muslims - who have lived together in Malaysia for many years -  it also conflicts with understanding of Islam itself.

Non-Muslims constitute some 40% of the population of Malaysia. The fact that copies of the Bible published in the Malay language 400 years ago used the term 'Allah' gives us a better idea of the problem to which this ban will lead. Alongside the question of social peace and understanding, there is no logic in religious terms in telling someone who uses the name 'Allah' that he must not do so. There is nothing troubling about a non-Muslim using the name Allah in prayer and worship; on the contrary, it is a cause for rejoicing for a Muslim. 

While this is going on in Malaysia, more interesting things are happening in Iran. No matter how much I say that there can be no solution until the deep state in Iran and Shiite extremism are eliminated, I still support all the initiatives, since the election of President Ruhani in Iran indicates a positive step forward for the region that will lead the way to peace and brotherhood. 

Following the election of Ruhani, major steps have been taken toward the dream of a freer Iran. Language denying the  Holocaust  is being abandoned, moderate messages from President Ruhani via Twitter on the occasion of  his U.S. visit, the telephone conversation between President Obama and President Ruhani, and President Ruhani ending his address to the U.N. by emphasizing the common values found in the Torah, the Gospels and the Qur'an are some of these strides forward. Another instance was added to these just the other day.

President Ruhani hosted Archbishop Leo Boccardi in his office. The message, accompanied by a photograph, that was published on Twitter following that meeting was exceedingly important. President Ruhani said:

"Today we have common objectives and enemies. Extremism and terrorism are our common enemies and, based on the divine teachings, human interactions and cooperation for the elimination of poverty and injustice are common objectives," We need to have a deeper knowledge of each other's beliefs and cultures, because nowadays, most of the gaps and enmities are rooted in unfamiliarity and lack of knowledge about each other's cultures."

President Ruhani's words are actually a reflection of the moral values recommended by Islam. According to Islam, Christians and Jews are the People of the Book, and Muslims' relations with the People of the Book are based on love and understanding. The faithfulness to the Prophet Jesus or the Prophet Moses of the People of the Book, and their loyalty to the Torah or the Gospels, are delightful things for Muslims.

Another important matter shaping Muslims' relations with the People of the Book is that it is lawful in Islam for Muslims to eat food prepared by them, and Muslim men are allowed to marry women from the People of the Book. The fact that Allah encourages Muslims to engage in such social relations is clear proof that He wishes us to establish warm and high-level human relations with the People of the Book. Sitting down at the same table and raising children together by marrying and spending a lifetime together is a fine and appropriate response from Islam to those who strive to create division and sow disagreement between the two communities.

There may have been various conflicts and disagreements between members of the three divine faiths in the past. However, these did not originate from the essence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but from mistaken ideas and opinions on the part of nations, communities and individuals, and from expectations of political or economic gain. Otherwise, one of the common aims of the three divine faiths is for all people to live in peace, tranquility and security, and all opinions that reject that aim and encourage conflict are mistaken in the eyes of all three faiths.

The responsibility of sincere and sensible Christians, Jews and Muslims of good conscience is to assist one another against wickedness and wicked people, and to work together in union and togetherness. That union must be built on the basis of the principles of love, respect, affection, compassion, understanding, harmony and cooperation.

So let us be united and work together to eliminate all the causes that might lead to conflict and fighting. Let us strive together against the bigotry that hinders such an alliance. Let us love and watch over one another. Let us not make differences of belief into pretexts for conflict. Let us build upon our common beliefs for unity and togetherness.

The writer has authored more than 300 books in 73 languages on political, faith-related and scientific topics.



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