Rabu, 20 November 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

Over-regulation of Islam won’t help resolve interfaith issues

Posted: 19 Nov 2013 08:36 PM PST


One thing is for sure: any form of dialogue can only take place if its participants are well-equipped with knowledge to argue their case, coupled with the humility to accept varying opinions

Alyaa Alhadjri, The Ant Daily 

Any move to "over-regulate" the practice of Islam as Malaysia's official religion is not the solution to resolve issues surrounding interfaith relations.

Jihad for Justice president Datuk Thasleem Ibrahim said the process should instead start from an early stage where children are taught religious values in the "right way".

"Faith is between you [as a person] and Allah SWT. Let us as Muslims examine ourselves first.

"Are we doing the right things or are we going to over-regulate until the day we find our children going overseas, only to realise that this [what they were taught] is not Islam in its entirety?" he told theantdaily.

Thasleem also said that the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim), as well as state religious authorities, should reconsider its approaches towards regulating Islam in Malaysia.

The first step, he said, is to stop propagating government-sanctioned ideologies during the weekly Friday prayer sermons.

"Some of the sermons today are just ridiculous. Nowhere in the world are the sermons prepared in this way," he said in echoing criticisms to the perceived pro-government stand adopted in the name of Islam and delivered through the pulpit.

A sense of disillusionment with the message delivered had even driven National Laureate Datuk A Samad Said to perform his Friday prayers at Masjid India where the sermon is delivered in Tamil.

"I moved to the Masjid India mosque on purpose. I do not understand Tamil, so I feel more relieved," said the octogenarian, who is fondly known as Pak Samad, in an interview with an online portal last week.

This, Thasleem argued, is a clear sign of the extent that religion and Islam have been "politicised" in Malaysia, particularly by the ruling Barisan Nasional government led by Umno.

"They [Umno] have tried the racial, economic and religious cards but [many] people today have progressed beyond the stupidity of Jakim," he said.

Thasleem also said that there has been no proof to back up claims of Islam and Malays in Malaysia being under threat from non-Muslims.


Salesman fined RM15,000 for insulting Sultan of Perak on blog

Posted: 19 Nov 2013 07:15 PM PST

(Bernama) - A 48-year-old mobile phone shop salesman was fined RM15,000 Wednesday after he was found guilty of posting remarks on his blog insulting the Sultan of Perak four years ago.

Rutinin Suhaimin was accused of committing the offence at Block A, Lot 4, Sedco Shop, Kundasang, Ranau at 6.33pm on Feb 13, 2009.

He was charged under Section 233(1)(9) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, which carries a fine of not more than RM50,000 or a jail term of not more than one year or both upon conviction.

Rutinin allegedly posted insulting remarks on a blog linked to the Sultan of Perak's official website.

Judge Ummu Kalthom Abdul Samad found Rutinin guilty and ordered him to pay a fine of RM15,000 in default of a eight months' jail term.

Senior Federal Counsel Jamil Aripin appeared for the prosecution while Rutinin was represented by counsel Muammar Julkarnain.

Rutinin paid the fine.


Pakatan leaders side-step quit threat by Penang PAS

Posted: 19 Nov 2013 06:00 PM PST

Azril Annuar and Sangeetha Amarthalingam, fz.com

Penang Pakatan Rakyat Council (PPRC) chief Lim Guan Eng has asked PKR and PAS to sort out their differences over religious and political matters that were highlighted by the state PAS leadership yesterday.

Penang PAS' shocking revelation confirmed rumours among political circles that the problem was evidently between PKR and PAS.

Lim, who is also Chief Minister, said `misunderstandings' between political parties were common and as a democratic government, the parties are given the space to voice their discontent.

"I have asked Deputy Chief Minister (I) Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnor and Datuk Abdul Malik Abul Kassim to discuss with State PAS commissioner Datuk Mohd Salleh Man in order to iron things out.

"Mohd Salleh has agreed to speak with them. They have already met and they have agreed to resolve this matter internally. Both parties will not to make further media statements," he said.

The anticipated press conference by Lim was over within ten minutes with no question and answer session, along with Lim's comment that PR leaders were not allowed to make media statements.

He said despite giving political parties within the government room to voice their discontent, `certain media' manipulated the statements.

Lim was speaking in relation to an English daily that carried a report alleging DAP's inteference in religious matters following PAS' statement.

Therefore, he added it was better that the matter was resolved internally and behind closed doors.

"The important part is we are united in PR and we are still strong in our common goals. We want to tell our supporters not to be worried. Some of the media reports were manipulated," he said.

Mohd Salleh, who was with Lim, dismissed the allegations in the English daily that implied DAP's `interference' in Islamic affairs in Penang.

"State PAS deputy commissioner Muhammad Fauzi Yusoff's statement yesterday did not mention any parties' involvement.

"Therefore, the paper's article is actually a manipulation to break up our relationship with our partners in PR," he said, adding that legal action by PAS will be taken if the daily refused to apologise.

Yesterday, Muhammad Fauzi issued a startling statement with four demands to PRC to give them more opportunities to speak, decide and select political appointees, and engage in policy making.

He said failure by PRC and the state government to do so would result in PAS reviewing its position within the council, and withdraw and resign from the positions and portfolios it held in the state and the council.

Permatang Pasir assemblyman Mohd Salleh, who is the sole PAS representative in the government, was also Penang Islamic Religious Council (MAIPP) president, a position that is appointed by the King.

PAS asked PPRC and the state government to give Mohd Salleh `absolute control' over the selection of the MAIPP chairman and its councillors, and MAIPP subsidiaries' board of directors.

PAS claimed that there have been `unreasonable interference' by the state executive council on the appointment of MAIPP councillors, the chairman, and the board of directors of MAIPP's subsidiaries.

PAS also stressed that the number of PAS local government councillors should be increased from two to four in both local councils, and be given `absolute power' to select village development and security committee (JKKK) members within the six state and two parliamentary seats it contested.

The issue of overlapping opinions between PKR and PAS in relation to Islamic matters and the appointment of MAIPP office bearers has existed from the PR government's first term.

While Abdul Malik, who is State PKR vice chairman, was the state exco member for religious affairs, Mohd Salleh was MAIPP president, a post that was given to PAS by way of consensus among PR leaders in Penang.

However, over the years, alleged conflict between the parties on religious affairs occurred occasionally.

PAS' national leaders said the threat by Penang PAS to leave Pakatan Rakyat (PR) if their demands were not met by the coalition partners will be brought up in a meeting with the PAS Central Committee after its Muktamar this weekend.



We never claimed 40,000 Bangladeshis were voters, says Anwar

Posted: 19 Nov 2013 03:11 PM PST

Eileen Ng, TMI

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic) today accused Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of misleading Parliament by alleging that the opposition had claimed 40,000 Bangladeshis were registered as voters.

He said Pakatan Rakyat had checked and found that no such allegations were made.

"We spoke about voters being flown in from Sabah and Sarawak but never said anything about 40,000 Bangladeshis being registered as voters.

"This allegation was created and spun by pro-Umno blogs," he said a press conference at the Parliament lobby.

When tabling Budget 2014 on October 25, Najib had spoken about the Malaysian population breakdown and had jokingly quipped that it did not include the 40,000 Bangladeshis who were brought in as phantom voters in the 13th General Election as alleged by the opposition.

"Until today, no one has seen them or their shadow. Enough of lies. Seek forgiveness from Him," Najib had said. Anwar said it was irresponsible of Najib to have made such accusations and to ask Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to issue a denial that her countrymen voted in the general election.

"How would she know? This is an internal matter which should be monitored by the Election Commission." He said EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Mohd Yusof had previously acknowledged that there were 62,000 dubious voters on the electoral roll.

He said this was supported by information received by Pakatan Rakyat, who had proof that foreigners were part of the early voters' list, which is confined to certain people like police and army personnel. "There should be an independent commission to investigate this," Anwar said.

Last week, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim criticised the opposition for claiming that 40,000 Bangladeshis voted for Barisan Nasional.

He said only 12 Bangladeshis were granted Malaysian citizenship in the past 10 years. "These 12 people can only vote if they registered as voters. Let us close the book on the 40,000 Bangladeshi voters issue as it is a big lie," he had said.



SEE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gki4J09BjdI 


SEE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XG6yxJxVocs


MCA to Pakatan: State stand on PAS hudud plans

Posted: 19 Nov 2013 03:03 PM PST

(MM) -  Pakatan Rakyat (PR) must come clean on whether or not it supports pact member PAS' latest push for hudud, the MCA insisted today when saying the Islamic penal code would infringe upon the fundamental rights of all Malaysians.

MCA publicity bureau chairman Loh Seng Kok said that the latest announcement by PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub - who reportedly said that hudud implementation in Kelantan is only the beginning - would require "colossal change" to the Federal Constitution.

"Pakatan allies, in particular DAP and PKR must now come up to clarify if they agree or object to this latest reiteration of PAS' insistence on the enforcement of the Kelantan Syariah Criminal Code (II) Enactment 1993 and to exert its influence.

"Failure to chastise Salahuddin's remarks indicates the tacit collusion of DAP and PKR as a conduit to gradually introduce PAS hudud enactments into Penang and Selangor," Loh said in a statement.

Yesterday, Salahuddin was reported to have said that hudud implementation in Kelantan is only the first step in PAS's plan to expand Islamic penal law to other states under PR rule.

Malay daily Sinar Harian quoted him as saying that the plan would need co-operation from the federal government and all stakeholders.

PAS information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, however, denied reports that their coming muktamar or general assembly will pressure PR state governments to adopt hudud, saying instead that they are setting their sights on nationwide implementation.

In a statement today, also carried by Sinar Harian, Tuan Ibrahim said the motion received to debate hudud implementation at their muktamar this weekend is to pressure the federal government to fully implement Syariah law and assist any state that wants to do the same.

Loh today claimed that there are many examples to show that PAS's pursuit of Islamic laws and its "ultra conservative values" have encroached on the rights of non-Muslims, such as the controversial separate seating ruling for unmarried couples at a cinema in Kuala Selangor last year.

PAS leaders have since denied that such a ruling was in place, however, claiming that it was merely a suggestion by a PAS local councillor in the district to discourage public displays of affection such as kissing.

Loh also homed in on "unreasonable gender segregation rules" that were implemented in Kedah, which until recently was under PAS rule, and the alleged forced closure of entertainment outlets during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, saying that it only proved that theocratic rule is not an option for Malaysia.

"All parties irrespective of political affiliation must prevent PAS from extending its influence into other states in Malaysia, lest we see further erosion of our rights," he said.

Implementation of hudud has long been a hot button issue in Malaysia, whose citizens are mostly Muslim but with a sizeable non-Muslim population.

PAS's pursuit of full implementation of syariah law, which also includes hudud, had repeatedly put it at odds with PR partner DAP, who argue that the federal constitution's recognition of Islam as the nation's official religion does not make Malaysia an Islamic state.

MCA, which is a component of the ruling Barisan Nasional, have also been a staunch critic of PAS's hudud plans, and have regularly used the issue as part of their campaign tactics to sway voter sentiments against the opposition. 


Daim suggests abolishing open Approved Permits for cars

Posted: 19 Nov 2013 03:00 PM PST

(Bernama) - Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin has suggested that the government consider abolishing the open Approved Permits (APs) policy required for the import of vehicles to help reduce the cost of owning cars in Malaysia.

"Removing the APs would translate into cheaper cars for the rakyat," he said here today.

Daim was commenting on a statement by Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Sdn Bhd President and Chief Executive Officer, Roland S. Folger, who had said that such a move would mean cheaper cars and encourage car manufacturers to increase their investments to produce more affordable cars locally.

"For me, there is one way we can reduce car prices. It's a simple solution to the issue (and that is to) do away with open APs," Folger told The Sun newspaper recently.

Daim said the government would have to take positive steps in the soon-to-be-revised National Automotive Policy (NAP) in order to consider the interests of larger sections of the population rather than a selected few.

It has been reported that 98 companies are Open AP holders for the import of cars into the country.

Industry analysts have often debated how to make the local automotive industry more competitive, encourage greater investment and re-investment, and for cars to be more affordable locally.

Folger had also highlighted the fact that removing open APs would not hurt government revenue collection but would even serve to enhance its collection.

Industry analysts say that the government could do away with an extra layer of people in the business equation and pass on the cost savings to the rakyat as open AP holders charge several thousand ringgit for each transaction processed.

The cost savings could be used by the government to spur the industry further or chanelled to more productive spending, they add.

Analysts suggested that the government could tender out the Open APs to earn more revenue, which in turn may reduce taxes for car buyers to make the cars more affordable.

Open APs are usually used by parallel importers to import re-conditioned luxury cars to sell them at slightly lower prices than the locally-assembled ones.

For example, an Internet check revealed that a new Mercedes-Benz E200 is sold from about £35,000 (about RM179,000) in Great Britain compared with RM366,000 for the same locally-assembled model in Malaysia.

A second-hand Mercedes-Benz E200 in Great Britain would be even cheaper by about £10,000 or about RM51,000, depending on the year of manufacture and mileage covered. 

Grey importers, or open AP holders, then take advantage of the higher price differential in Malaysia to sell the "re-conditioned" E200 from between RM270,000 and RM290,000 each, even after paying for taxes.

This discount is often seen as "advantageous" to the consumer but is at the expense of the manufacturer who has to incur additional costs like local procurement, assembly costs, branding and promotion, sales and after-sales service.

Doing away with open APs would also eliminate Malaysia as one of the top destinations for luxury second-hand cars in the world, the analysts note.

They stress that the government would have to re-examine the whole automotive industry structure, including areas like the tax regime and end-of-lifespan of cars, to ensure that it can move forward since the national car makers have been around for almost 20 to 30 years as the first Proton Saga rolled out in July 1985 and the first Perodua Kancil emerged in August 1994.

The NAP was introduced on March 22, 2006 and subsequently revised in 2009 and 2012 aimed at promoting a competitive and viable domestic automotive sector, in particular, national car manufacturers.

It was also to promote Malaysia as an automotive regional hub, by integrating the local automotive industry into regional and global industry networks within the increasingly liberalised and competitive global environment.

Analysts also say that providing for greater competition would shake out the complacency among local car manufacturers and their local parts suppliers.

They also hope that the revised NAP would look at the larger picture and help rejuvenate the local automotive industry to become a foreign exchange earner for the country. 


Sacked Fong accuses DAP of being selfish

Posted: 19 Nov 2013 02:52 PM PST

The Pujut assemblyman said party gave him 14 days to appeal, fully aware that he will be attending the 10-day Sarawak Legislative Assembly as a people's representative.

(FMT) - KUCHING: Sacked Pujut DAP assemblyman, Fong Pau Teck, accused the party of "depriving" him of his rights and least caring of his responsibility to his constituents.

He said the party's disciplinary board had given him 14 days to appeal knowing full well that he would be attending the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting which began on Monday.

"The DUN is sitting for 10 days, that means they (disciplinary commitee) have only given me four days to respond. They expelled me on the first day of sitting.

"It means they want me to chose between my constituents and my personal interest. They deprived me of my right to appeal and have shown that they don't care about the people's interest," he said.

On Monday, DAP disciplinary committee chairman Tan Kok Wai confirmed that Fong was sacked for insubordination and "various acts of disobedience".

"The disciplinary committee decided that Fong's insubordination has set a bad precedent which is unpardonable," said Tan in a statement today.

He added that the decision was unanimous and Fong had been directed to vacate his seat enabling a by-election.

At the DUN sitting yesterday Fong maintained his seat amongst DAP assemblyman.

He told reporters that he will debate as a DAP assemblyman for the period of the current DUN sitting because "I still have 14 days to appeal".



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