- UN official says Malaysia should reverse Allah ban
- MB Khalid: Too late to change now
- Now’s the best time for Anwar to lead PKR, says Azmin
- Ex-EC head joins Perkasa to boost Malay power
- No place for rockers in PAS leadership
- Clear message but BN washing its hands off non-Malays
- Stand up to allies on Islamic affairs, Islamist group tells PAS, Umno
- GLCs sidelining Bumiputera-owned advertising agencies, CEO claims
- Top-secret exposé: Singapore helping US spy on Malaysia
- PAS’s political partners are the ‘true enemies of Islam’, columnist says
- The cost of saving Utusan
- Guess how long it takes to get a brand-new MyKad?
- After the party, PAS begins real work of increasing support
Posted: 25 Nov 2013 03:56 AM PST
Malaysia should reverse a ban on a Christian newspaper using the word Allah to refer to God, a UN official said today about a decision that fanned religious tension in the mainly Muslim country.
Malaysia's second highest court ruled in October that the Catholic weekly, Herald, could not use the word Allah to refer to God, in a landmark decision on an issue that has fanned religious tension in the majority Muslim country.
"Freedom of religion or belief is a right of human beings, not a right of the state," the UN special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, said in a statement.
"It cannot be the business of the state to shape or reshape religious traditions, nor can the state claim any binding authority in the interpretation of religious sources or in the definition of the tenets of faith," he said.
The chief judge in the Malaysian court said the word Allah was not an integral part of the faith in Christianity and that its use by the newspaper would cause confusion.
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 ruling have said it casts a chill on religious and minority rights in Malaysia, which has substantial minorities of non-Muslim ethnic Chinese and Indians.
"The current case may affect the right of all non-Muslims in Malaysia to use the word Allah while referring to God," the UN official said.
Lawyers for the Catholic paper had argued that the word Allah predated Islam and has been used for centuries by Malay-speaking Christians in Malaysia's part of Borneo island.
They said they planned to appeal against the decision in the country's highest court.
Christians make up about 9% of Malaysia's 28 million people. Muslims are the majority at about 60%.
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 07:47 PM PST
Meena Lakshana, fz.com
Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim today took in stride Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's comments about him at the PKR Congress yesterday.Commenting on the Opposition leader's bittersweet praise for him, Abdul Khalid said as a leader of a state government which is at the helm of implementation, he needs to do so carefully so as not to waste public funds.
"It is good. I must be very careful in implementation. We know what we want to do in the state," he told reporters when met at the Annexe Gallery of the state assembly.
"We are extra careful with how we implement things because it is the people's money. If we lose the people's money, no matter how good your intentions are, it reflects badly on you," he added.
Asked if he felt a need to change his ways to implement programmes at a faster rate, Abdul Khalid said with a laugh: "It is a little too late to change now."
Abdul Khalid said he deemed Anwar's comments as constructive as Pakatan Rakyat always holds discussions on how best to serve the community.
While praising him yesterday, Anwar also added somewhat cheekily that Abdul Khalid was slow in implementation.
"Khalid is a good friend and a great leader. This is proven with the amount of money he has brought to the state coffers," he has said in his wrap-up speech during the congress.
"When I advise my friend (Abdul Khalid), it does not mean I am scolding him.
"He is a loyal person and he listens attentively when there is a discussion. It is just that he implements slowly what I tell him," said Anwar.
Meanwhile, state Backbenchers Club leader Mohamed Azmin Ali also brushed off the remarks as constructive criticism.
"We should view this as something good, not negative," he said.
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 07:35 PM PST
Mohd Farhan Darwis, TMI
It is time that opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim led Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and help towards the restructuring of the party, said PKR's deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali.
"It is no secret. PKR accepts and admits that Anwar's leadership is needed," Azmin said in Shah Alam today.
Azmin, a protege of Anwar, said the suggestion for the opposition leader to take up the presidency during yesterday's special PKR national party congress is a sign of "acknowledgement by the delegates".
The Gombak MP stressed that the party needed to restructure itself to avoid stagnation.
"We cannot remain at the same level for too long. A party based on reformation should take into account the voices of the grassroots," Azmin said.
"This is a good start and we will continue to work on placing Anwar at his rightful position in the party," he added after attending the state legislative assembly meeting.
Yesterday, PKR Selangor's secretary Amirudin Shari proposed that Anwar take over the presidency since it is allowed according to the party's constitution.
Amirudin said that the suggestion is to depose of speculations that Anwar may take over the position in next year's party elections.
However, Anwar dismissed talks of party leadership by telling the press that it is too soon to discuss such matters.
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 03:33 PM PST
(MM) - Former Election Commission (EC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman has joined Perkasa to keep the dominant Malay community in power, a news portal reported today.
Abdul Rashid reportedly opened the Malay right-wing group's Federal Territory annual general meeting yesterday, where he was quoted as saying that the three redelineation exercises during his term at the EC, which were done "in a proper way", had ensured the continued political dominance of the Malays.
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 03:28 PM PST
(The Star) - Singers and rockers are welcomed into PAS but are not taken seriously as prospective leaders.
This was clearly seen in the defeats of several entertainers vying for posts in the party and harsh criticisms against the organisers and participants of a rock concert to mark the just-ended PAS 59th muktamar here.
Singer Wan Aishah Wan Ariffin (picture) and comedian Sulaiman Ibrahim, popularly known as Aishah and Man Raja Lawak respectively, in their fields, failed miserably in their bid to be among the chosen leaders in PAS.
Wan Aishah, a defeated parliamentary candidate in the May 5 general election, received the third-lowest votes for the central committee posts and fourth lowest in the Muslimat central committee polls.
Sulaiman came last in the PAS Youth central committee election.
Even PAS education bureau chief Datuk Abu Bakar Chik was not spared the humiliation of being discarded by die-hard party delegates.
The vice-president contender received the lowest votes, attributed to his drum-playing stage appearance at the Gig Green Zone concert.
The event could have also been the reason why PAS culture and arts bureau chairman Dr Muhamin Sulam lost in his bid to secure a seat in the central committee.
However, in his speech before the delegates, he adamantly defended the show as being in line with the party's campaign theme, PAS for All.
"Yes, we had long-haired youngsters clad in jeans performing rock metal on stage. This suits the youngsters.
"PAS for All is about inclusiveness. Perhaps, that is why we (Pakatan Rakyat) won two terms in Selangor but only one term in Kedah (2008-2013) and Terengganu (2000 to 2004)," he said, to responses of "oohs" from the floor.
He called on the delegates to accept the artistes as well as all proponents of culture and fine arts into their fold.
Alor Setar PAS delegate Adnan Saad was clearly furious when he lambasted the organisers of the concert.
Saying he was shocked to see metal rockers performing on stage at an event organised by PAS, he exclaimed: "This is worse than Umno."
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 03:25 PM PST
Sonia Ramachandran, The Ant Daily
Most of the non-Malays turned away from the ruling Barisan Nasional in the 13th general election, with both MIC and MCA getting a drubbing.
This swing towards the opposition Pakatan Rakyat carried a clear, unmistakable message: the government of the day has not been doing enough for the Indian and Chinese communities.
It should have prompted the BN government to rectify the situation; instead the government appeared to have washed its hands off the Indian community.
This seemed to be the attitude taken by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim who said the "Indians at the top should help their own kind who are 'at the bottom' instead of blaming the government over problems faced by the community".
It was a puzzling remark to political analyst Prof James Chin who asked: "Why doesn't he [Shahidan] say that the top Malays should help the poor Malays? Why does the government help the Malays only?
"This is typical of Umno ministers who think that the entire government and entire country belong to the Malays only. Is it any wonder that the non-Malays in the country voted against Umno in the last general election?"
Shahidan made the remarks on Nov 22 in Parliament in response to a question by M Kulasegaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat).
He reportedly said that Indians were successful with a high ratio for academic excellence and that Indian lawyers outnumbered both Chinese and Malay lawyers.
Shahidan added that 30 per cent of the country's doctors came from the Indian community, but that there was "a big gap between those who are top achievers and the dropouts".
He also reportedly said that the two MIC cabinet ministers and two deputy ministers in the federal government proved that the administration gave utmost consideration to the community.
Kulasegaran, however, disagreed, saying that the government had failed the Indians with ineffective policies and that in the absence of government support, the community had to work very hard to achieve any form of success.
Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng (picture) feels Shahidan's statement is a reflection of the dichotomy within Umno.
"On the one side, the liberals and progressives would like to represent the interests of all Malaysians and I think Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak falls within this category. That's why when he took over from [Tun Abdullah Ahmad] Badawi, a lot of liberal programmes under the 1Malaysia umbrella were implemented.
"On the other hand, people like Shahidan are conservative right-wing leaders who believe that Umno has already given a lot to the other communities by allowing them to stay here," he said.
The way forward for the country, said Khoo, would lie with Najib.
"At the end of the day, Najib would have to decide whether to rule using the conservative platform or continue to serve on BN platform where Umno serves all communities, including the Indians.
"At the moment, the BN platform needs a lot of tweaking and rejuvenation to ensure it continues working as it has over the last 50 over years," he said.
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 02:57 PM PST
(MM) - Following PAS' show of readiness, Islamist group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (ISMA) has offered itself today to facilitate a discussion between the Islamist party and Umno in an attempt to implement Islamic administration in Malaysia.
Predicting resistance from PAS and Umno's allies in both Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Barisan Nasional (BN), ISMA also told the two parties to stand up to any pressure from others.
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 02:53 PM PST
(MM) - Advertising agencies owned by the Bumiputera have been unfairly sidelined by government-linked companies (GLCs) who favour internationally owned agencies instead, a chief executive officer has said.
Datuk Shafri Mohamad, who also works in the local multi-billion advertising industry, claimed that local agencies were unable to compete because of an existing prejudice against their ability to deliver work of international standards.
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 02:45 PM PST
(MM) - Neighbouring Singapore is a key partner of the "5-Eyes" intelligence group which was revealed to have tapped telephones and monitored communications networks in Kuala Lumpur, according to more top secret documents leaked by intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In a report by Australian media group Fairfax Media today quoting Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad, it was revealed that Singapore is a key "third party" providing the ring — made of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand — access to Malaysia's communications channel.
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 02:42 PM PST
(MM) - PAS's political partners are "enemies of Islam" and are slyly using the Islamist party to merely win political control, controversial columnist Ridhuan Tee Abdullah has said.
In his column in Sinar Harian, Ridhuan Tee said he had repeatedly warned PAS to be wary of the political parties that he termed collectively as "ultra kiasu", appearing to allude to PAS's allies in the opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat — the secular-based DAP and urban-centric PKR.
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 08:43 AM PST
(The Nut Graph) - What exactly is the government saying when it instructs GLCs to increase its ad spend in Utusan and gives the paper the honour of having a road named after it? Clearly, the government is saying unethical journalism that serves the current ruling party's interests will be rewarded. Indeed, even if unethical journalism puts the business at risk, the newsroom should rest assured that Umno and the Umno-led government will protect the paper and ensure its survivability.
It's irrefutable from these reports that the ethno-nationalistic Malay daily enjoys huge support from Umno despite the legitimate criticisms against the paper's lack of journalistic ethics and professionalism. And while Umno would do anything to ensure the survivability of its media mouthpiece, there is a price to pay for bailing out Utusan.
Read more at: http://www.thenutgraph.com/the-cost-of-saving-utusan/
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 08:29 AM PST
The writer shows his 'misplaced' MyKad while holding his temporary identity paper. — Picture by Arif Kartono
(MM) - I now realise how easy it is for foreigners to use MyKad belonging to another to get about their daily chores.
It takes only an hour for one to obtain a new MyKad — no questions asked.
The Malay Mail journalist K. Harinderan put the process to test and was in for a shock.
Despite being in possession of a MyKad, he was able to apply for another card without having to lodge a police report or filling any forms.
Harinderan visited the National Registration Department (NRD) branch in Rawang last Thursday on the pretext of applying for a new MyKad after having "misplaced" his old card.
The exercise was conducted following revelations in Parliament last week that more than half a million MyKad were reported missing between January 1 and October 31. That's an average of almost 2,000 cards lost daily.
There have also been numerous reports of foreigners caught holding a MyKad.
Harinderan relates his experience:
I visited the NRD Rawang branch at 9.15am but was met with a large sign on the counter that read "system offline".
I returned at 11.15am and saw a large crowd, with at least 40 people ahead of me. After getting my number, I chatted with several people.
Alice Wu, 24, said she misplaced her MyKad and was told by a NRD officer that she need not lodge a police report.
"This reduces the burden of me running around to replace my card," said Wu.
Azli Rahim, 41, said he too lost his identity card and was surprised that it took him only one hour to get his temporary identification paper.
"I was in and out within an hour and was told to return in two weeks to collect my new MyKad," said Azli.
It was my turn after 45 minutes. The officer asked me to place my thumbs on a scanner to verify my prints.
The officer then asked me how I had lost my card. I replied I had simply misplaced it and was not a victim of a snatch theft or robbery.
He then told me I had to pay RM210 since this was the second time I had lost my card.
For the record, I lost my identity card about two months ago after my car was broken into.
The officer then asked me to take my photo at the photo booth. A temporary identity paper was printed out and handed to me accompanied with a receipt.
I was told to return within 10 days to collect my new MyKad. I left the department at about 12.20pm, just in time for lunch.
I lodged a police report at the Rawang police station over this exercise the following day.
Since police do not carry MyKad readers at roadblocks and banks do not have links with NRD, I am able to go about my daily routine and carry out transactions with my "missing" MyKad.
And I now realise how easy it is for foreigners to use MyKad belonging to another to get about their daily chores.
Posted: 24 Nov 2013 08:25 AM PST
(TMI) - Taken together, these themes reflect the process by which PAS reconciles its founding principles as an Islamist movement and the demands a political party trying to be relevant in a multi-religious, open and complex society.
God does not hand you victory if you have not earned it, said a PAS activist from Kota Raja as cleaners began clearing up the remains of the party's 59th assembly last night.
He wasn't talking about the party's heated elections over the weekend. In his own way, he was reviewing his party, where it stood now and how to move it forward.
But his observation seemed to encapsulate the anxieties and the challenges voiced repeatedly in the assembly, from reviewing cooperation in Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to polemics about "ulama v Erdogans" to how to "win back the Malay vote".
Taken together, these themes reflect the process by which PAS reconciles its founding principles as an Islamist movement and the demands a political party trying to be relevant in a multi-religious, open and complex society.
Requesting anonymity so that he could talk freely, the activist recounted the controversy over a PAS-organised heavy metal concert held a day before the assembly started, to get his point across.
Some delegates criticised the concert organisers and questioned whether an event that featured loud, heavy metal music was appropriate for an Islamist party.
"But the critics did not see that we had a prayer session before the concert began. We also had (PAS education bureau chief) ustaz Abu Bakar Chik speaking to the audience. There was nothing haram forbidden in Islam) in the event."
The concert was PAS's latest experiment in trying to broaden its appeal among different segments of the 20-something crowd. It has also held concerts featuring talks by celebrity religious speakers.
The activist's contention was that if the party's conservatives refused to broaden PAS's appeal with programmes like this, then how was it going get the support it needed to gain federal power?
"You can't just bring people to you if you're just going to hold kuliah Maghrib (religious talks after evening prayers)," said the activist.
In other words, PAS as a party has to realise that it will take more than religious teachers and scholars to earn the trust it needs from the public, to give it the reins of the country.
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