Khamis, 14 November 2013

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Issue a betrayal of Malaysia Agreements – ACS

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 08:05 PM PST 


(The Borneo Post) - Churches in Sarawak yesterday affirmed in front of about 1,500 forum participants their stand on the recent ban of the word 'Allah' in the Catholic weekly bulletin 'The Herald'.

Association of Churches (ACS) in Sarawak chairman Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok said the Bumiputera Church would continue to use the word 'Allah' as it is fundamental to all aspects of their profession and practice of the Christian faith.


"Any attempt to forbid the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims would be most regrettable and wholly unacceptable as it is a flagrant disregard and betrayal of the


Malaysia Agreements that guarantee the inalienable rights of non-Muslims in Sarawak and Sabah to complete religious freedom."

Bolly, who is also Archbishop of the Province of South East Asia, Council of Churches Malaysia acting president and Christian Federation of Malaysia deputy chairman, said these rights must be given its rightful place and that religious bigotry, racism and extremism must be contained.


Accompanying Bolly on stage at the Christian Ecumenical Worship Centre here were Catholic Archbishop Datuk John Ha, Iban Methodists of Sarawak president Rev Steward Damat, Chinese Methodists president Datuk Dr Su Chii Ann, Seventh Day Adventist Mission chief Lawrence Banyie, Salvation Army chief Major Francis Ng and ACS secretary-general Ambrose Linang.


The forum featured three speakers, comprising constitutional lawyer Lim Heng Seng, Dr Ng Kam Weng – an authority on theology and historical perspectives over the use of the word 'Allah', and Universiti Putra Malaysia political science lecturer Prof Dr Jayum Jawan.


Bolly said the word 'Allah' had been in use long before the birth of Malaysia and it is used in all aspects of the Christian faith and practised by Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christians in services, prayers, praise and worship liturgy and religious education.

"As such, it is reasonable to expect that the word also be used in our Christian publications and multi-media resources."


There are 1.6 million Bumiputra Christians in Sarawak and Sabah, and they use Bahasa Malaysia and their native languages in their worship.


Bolly said it made no sense that only Christians in Sarawak and Sabah may use the word 'Allah' because Christians from both states worked or live all over the country and carry with them their Alkitab and other Christian materials in the Bahasa Malaysia language.

Even non-natives from the peninsula own and read the Alkitab as Bahasa Malaysia is the national language, he said.


Bolly said: "It is our view that the (appellate court) judges had overstepped their boundaries when they ruled that using the word 'Allah' was not 'integral to the Christian faith'".


"It is the fundamental right of every religion to determine its expression and practice of its own faith. As such, the 'Allah' controversy is about unreasonable government policies and laws that infringed on the rights of non-muslim Malaysians to practise their religion of choice.


"In the face of such unreasonableness we cannot and should not remain silent."


ACS, he said, viewed with grave concern the re-interpretation of Article 3 of the Federal Constitution by the Court of Appeal to mean that non-Muslim religions may only be practised in peace and harmony subject to Islam.


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Parliament descends into chaos after BN lawmakers tear Opposition motion on salary cuts

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 07:59 PM PST 

(TMI) - Barisan Nasional MPs today mimicked their Opposition counterparts today by tearing away a motion paper tabled by PKR's Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh while chanting "usul haram" (illegal motion), in a tit for tat response.

Earlier, Pakatan Rakyat MPs did the same on the motion by the government to suspend PKR's Padang Serai MP N. Surendran for six months.

Fuziah had tabled a motion to dock the salaries of five special advisers for a year, totalling RM1.63 million or RM27,227.20 monthly.

The five include special adviser to the Prime Minister on women's affairs Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, adviser for Selangor Datuk Seri Noh Omar, special prime ministerial adviser on the Northern Corridor economic project Datuk Mohd Johari Baharum, social and cultural adviser to the government Tan Sri Rais Yatim, and chairman of the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board, Hasbi Habibollah.

BN's Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin started the ball rolling when he pointed out Fuziah's technical error in her motion.

He demanded that Fuziah be referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee, slamming her motion as "usul haram" (illegal motion) before tearing and throwing away pieces of the motion paper.

He then chanted "tipu" (cheating), followed by his other colleagues.

Deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee had a hard time controlling the disorderly session as MPs from both sides of the divide engaged in a war of words.

Pakatan MPs shouted for Fuziah's motion to be allowed for debate, while the BN MPs wanted it put to a voice vote. The motion was finally shot down after a voice vote. 



Trending: Ernest Zacharevic, Malaysia's answer to Banksy

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 07:45 PM PST 

Malaysia has its own version of Banksy - street artist Ernest Zacharevic. His latest piece of work, which highlights the problem of crime, has been painted over by the authorities - but not before being widely shared on social media. 

(BBC) - Across the water from wealthy Singapore is the Malaysian city of Johor Bahru, known as one of the country's crime hot spots. Late last Thursday evening, 27-year-old street artist Ernest Zacharevic was at work on a wall there with his spray can. Zacharevic is from Lithuania but is a permanent resident of Malaysia, and is well-known in the region for his street art.

The mural he painted that night depicts a Lego woman carrying an expensive Chanel bag with a knife-wielding mugger Lego man lurking around the corner (the Lego reference can be explained by the fact that Malaysia's branch of Legoland is also in Johor).

The image rapidly became a hit on Facebook. "Pictures speak a thousand words of truth," reads one of the comments. Tens of thousands of people have "liked" or shared it. Many have added their stories of muggings and vented frustration at the police.

This was exactly the reaction the artist had intended. "My paintings are always a response to whatever social environment I get exposed to," Zacharevic told the BBC. "I noticed many people just feel extremely unsafe. Everyone I talked to - no matter what their situation - would say, 'Take care of yourself and hide your bag.'"

Local officials didn't see the funny side and six days on, they sent workers to paint over it. "We cannot simply allow people to come and paint murals on the wall," Abdul Aziz at Johor Bahru City Council told the BBC. He insists crime rates are actually falling in the city, thanks to measures like improved street lighting. 



DAP told to put off state meets

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 05:07 PM PST

Ex-leader Zulkifli says the party must wait for ROS' approval of its CEC election.

Athi Shankar, FMT

A former leader of DAP has warned the party against conducting any state convention until the Registrar of Societies (ROS) has approved the recent election of its Central Executive Committee (CEC).

Zulkifli Mohd Noor, who offered himself as a candidate for party chairman just prior to the Sept 29 election, said today that all state conventions stood to be declared null and void if held before ROS's official recognition of the polls.

He referred to Article 6 of the DAP constitution, which states that the dates of state conventions shall be fixed by the CEC.

Thus, he said, ROS must give recognition to the new CEC line-up before it could decide the dates for state conventions.

The Sept 29 election was held after ROS had rejected the validity of an election held on Dec 15 last year. Zulkifli also failed in his bid to be elected to the CEC.

Zulkifli, who last month quit all his posts in the party and Penang government agencies, noted that ROS had yet to recognise the party leadership since the Dec 15 polls.

"If state conventions were held now, they all would contravene the party constitution," he said.

"The constitution is the heart and soul of a party. If one breaks it, the whole party collapses."

He also said all appointments decided and endorsed by the CEC since Dec 15 were invalid for the same reason.

FMT has learnt that DAP submitted the Sept 29 election results to ROS early this week and is scheduled to hold all its state conventions by the middle of next month.



Tycoon Halim Saad applies to reinstate RM2 billion suit against Putrajaya, Khazanah

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 04:27 PM PST

V. Anbalagan, TMI

Tycoon Tan Sri Halim Saad (pic) has gone to the Court of Appeal to reinstate his RM2 billion suit against Putrajaya, Khazanah Nasional and a former minister for allegedly duping him into giving up control of troubled conglomerate Renong Bhd.

The notice of appeal against the October 31 High Court ruling that struck out the suit was filed on Monday.

Halim's solicitors, Sreenivasan and Young, would now be waiting for judge Datuk Hanipah Farikullah to provide her written ground before filing the appeal.

n allowing the defendant's application to strike out the suit, Hanipah had said that Halim's action was filed out of time.

She based this on the Limitation Act which states that claims for civil suits have to be filed within six years.

"He has been sleeping on his right," she had said when delivering her oral judgment after hearing submissions from lawyers representing Putrajaya, Khazanah, former Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and Halim.

Halim, who filed his suit in April this year, claimed  the defendants "fraudulently induced" him to sell UEM and Renong shares to Khazanah in 2001 and 2003.



Bersih is against global settlement, says election judges are to blame

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 04:23 PM PST

V. Anbalagan, TMI

Any out-of-court settlement between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat to withdraw election petition appeals will set a bad precedent, polls reform group Bersih 2.0 warned today.

Its co-chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan (pic) said election courts would continue to dismiss election petitions on technical grounds.

She said the courts would also impose exhorbitant costs when petitoners or respondents lost their cases.

"We are concerned because there will be no access to legal channels in future to obtain a remedy," she told The Malaysian Insider.

Her response came following reports that the BN and the opposition are discussing the possibility of a global settlement over 19 election petitions appeals pending before the Federal Court.

What this meant was that BN and PR would withdraw their suits which would also prevent the apex courts from making important legal pronouncements for future references.

Lawyers Datuk Mohd Hafarizam Harun and Datuk Firoz Hussein Ahmad Jamaluddin, appearing for the BN, informed the Federal Court on Wednesday on the possibility of reaching a global settlement.

Parties have been given until December 2 to inform the court on the outcome of their discussion.

Almost all 70 election petitions earlier were struck out by election courts with costs as high as RM150,000.

The appellants are now in the Federal Court to have their election petitions reinstated and sent back to the election court to decide on their merits by way of a full trial.



Marina to take legal action against Isma

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 04:14 PM PST

SIS' Marina Mahathir is initiating legal action against Isma to put the record straight as to where she stands with Comango.

K Pragalath, FMT

Sisters in Islam (SIS) board member Marina Mahathir will be sending a letter of demand to Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) soon to retract their accusations; but she was short of revealing when the letter will be sent.

"My lawyers will be sending out letter of demand first with time frame. If they don't comply, then we go to the next step," she said in an email correspondence.

When asked when the letter would be sent, the social activist said, "soon."

Isma accused her of being the mastermind behind a coalition of local human rights organisations called Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) since she is SIS' board member and SIS is part of Comango.

On Nov 8, Isma distributed 70,000 leaflets in mosques all over the country claiming that Comango was attempting to undermine Islam.

Isma said Comango did that by calling for the removal of Malay privileges, freedom to leave the Islamic faith, and championing rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

They named Bersih 2.0 co-chair S Ambiga and Marina as being part of Comango.

Last month, Comango submitted its report on the state of human rights during United Nations' Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

Isma also attended the session along with government agencies and Muslim NGOs to defend the government's stand on these issues.

Marina in return warned Isma to retract their accusations or face legal suit three days later.

Yesterday, Marina in an open letter reiterated that Isma was spreading lies about her.

"I was indeed well aware that SIS is a part of Comango and was certainly well aware of the report Comango was preparing for the UPR process.

"But I never attended any meetings nor was personally involved in the production of the report, which is only one of the 28 NGO reports on human rights in Malaysia," she said.



Don’t be silent, Archbishop tells Christians

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 04:03 PM PST

Southeast Asia's Anglican Archbishop Bolly Lapok said non-Muslims need to 'hear and see more than just a display of ad hoc benevolence by the Malaysian government'. 

Winston Way, FMT

A high-ranking church leader has urged non-Muslims and Christians in particular "not to be silent" and reminded the government that these communities want 'a tangible commitment' on the assurance of freedom of religion.

Archbishop of Southeast Asia's Anglican Church, Bolly Lapok, said the 'Allah' controversy was about unfair government laws and policies that contravened the right of non-Muslim Malaysians to observe their respective religion.

"We need hear and see more than just a display of ad hoc benevolence by the Malaysian government.

"We need a tangible commitment from the authorities to respect and uphold the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Federal Constitution which is the supreme law of the nation," he said in a statement released here after a public forum involving theology, history of churches and the Malaysian constitution.

Lapok said the churches in Sarawak, under the Association of Churches of Sarawak (ACS), had made a three-point request for the government. Lapok is ACS chairman.

He said to prove their stronger commitment to religious freedom in Sabah and Sarawak, the Malaysian government must recognize and confirm that the word 'Allah' is an integral part of the Christian prayer in the Malay language and used by native speaking churches in Sarawak and Sabah.

The churches, he said, also expected the federal government to respect, honour and abide by the guarantee of religious freedom as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and which was agreed to when Sarawak and Sabah joined Malaya in 1963 to form the Malaysia.

He also requested  the federal government to honour the 10-point Agreement by the federal Cabinet in April 2011 on the printing, importation and distribution of the Al-Kitab in which the word 'Allah' appears.

He said 1.6 million Bumiputera Christians in Sabah and Sarawak worshiped in Bahasa Malaysia and in their own native tongues and the rights of these communities must be respected.

Christians in Sabah and Sarawak make-up two-thirds of the faith's followers in Malaysia.

"Any attempt to forbid the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims would be most regrettable and wholly unacceptable as it is a flagrant disregard and betrayal of the Malaysia Agreements which guarantees the inalienable rights of non-Muslims in Sarawak and Sabah to complete religious freedom," Lapok said.

Court ruling 'makes no sense'

He also reiterated that the Bumiputera churches would carry on using the word 'Allah' as it was 'fundamental to all aspects of their profession and practice of their Christian faith'.

"It is used in all aspects of Christian faith and practice by Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christians and other natives  including in services, prayers praise, liturgy, worship and religious education.

"As such, it is reasonable to expect that the word also be used in our Christian publications and multi-media resources," he said.

Lapok, also noted it did not make any sense that only Christians in Sarawak and Sabah were being allowed to use the term Allah.

"Christians from Sarawak and Sabah move across the country from East to West to live and work and carry with them their Alkitab and other Christian materials in the Bahasa Malaysia language.

"Even non-natives from West Malaysia own and read the Alkitab as Bahasa Malaysia is our national language.

"It also makes no sense for the Court of Appeal's recent judgment to be interpreted as being applicable only to The Herald.

"While The Herald may have been the case brought before the court, it is our view that the judges have overstepped their boundaries in determining that using the word 'Allah' was not "integral to the Christian" faith," he added.

In deciding thus, he said, the judges have 'arrogated to themselves a right that did not belong to any human court of law-the (which is) the right to determine religion.

"It is the fundamental right of every religion to determine its expression and practice of its own faith.

"The right of native Bumiputeras to profess and practice their faith in their own language is safeguarded by the Federal Constitution.

"When Sarawak and Sabah agreed to join in the formation of Malaysia in 1963, they did so as sovereign states and with conditions attached; these being known as the Sarawak 18-point and Sabah-20-point Agreements a kind of covenant to which Malaya was a party," said Lapok.



Four Suits Over Bersih Resolved After NSTP Makes Apology

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 10:33 AM PST 

(Bernama) - NSTP had published in its newspaper and online newsportal an article, "Plot to Destabilise Govt" with the subtitle, "Exposed: RM20mil paid to several Malaysian organisations since 2005"

Four suits over an article on Bersih 2.0 published by the New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP) were resolved Wednesday after the publishing company tendered an apology in the High Court.

The suits were filed by Bersih chairman Datuk S. Ambiga and 14 Bersih 2.0 steering committee members, Merdeka Strategic Development Centre Sdn Bhd, CIJ Communication Service Sdn Bhd and Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd or Suaram against NSTP for publishing the article on Sept 21 last year.

They named NSTP and New Straits Times reporter Farrah Naz Karim as defendants.

High Court Judicial Commissioner Lee Heng Cheong recorded a consent judgement which contained an apology statement read out by counsel Ranjit Singh who acted for Ambiga and the 14 plaintiffs in open court.

Lee ordered NSTP to pay RM30,000 as legal costs for each suit, causing the company to bear RM120,000 as the entire cost for the four cases.

Reading the apology statement, Ranjit said the defendants had acknowledged that the accusations in the article were false and unfounded.

"We also acknowledge that we had no proof whatsoever to substantiate any of the said allegations and that we did not verify the information relied on with Bersih 2.0, CIJ, Suaram and Merdeka Centre," said Ranjit.

He also said there was insufficient verification to the information used to support the allegations and accordingly the defendants acknowledged that the article ought not to have been published.

"We (defendants) wish to offer our unqualified apologies to Bersih 2.0, Suaram, CIJ and Merdeka Centre for the distress and embarrassment caused by the article," said Ranjit.

He said the apology was to be published by NSTP in its NST newspaper on its third page in exactly the same manner and style within 14 days from today.

Ranjit further said NSTP had also to publish an apology on the NST Online portal on the front page as the first item under column top news.

Reading the statement, Ranjit said on Sept 21, last year, NSTP had published in its newspaper and online newsportal an article, "Plot to Destabilise Govt" with the subtitle, "Exposed: RM20mil paid to several Malaysian organisations since 2005".

Ambiga and the 14 other Bersih 2.0 steering committee members in the statement of claim said that the words in the article implied that they, or anyone of them through Bersih 2.0, were conspiring with foreign elements to destabilise or overthrow, through illegal or illegitimate means, the Government of Malaysia.

Motorcyclists may have to pay toll

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 10:26 AM PST!/image/image.JPG_gen/derivatives/landscape_454/image.JPG 

(MM) - Putrajaya is considering toll charges for motorcyclists nationwide and studying the feasibility of constructing bike lanes on highways.

Nanyang Siang Pau quoted Works Minister Datuk Fadillah Yusof as saying that a special committee would study the proposal.

He said only a few highways nationwide had bike lanes.

"We will also study the feasibility of restricting the types of motorcycles that can use the highway based on their engine capacity.

"We will also study the width of the dedicated lanes to ensure they accommodate motorcycles of various sizes."

He said the ministry would only make a decision after the committee completes the study.

Fadillah said at present toll charges were not determined according to engine capacity but based on the class or type of vehicle.

"High-powered motorcycles are exempted from toll charges because they fall under the category of two-wheeled vehicles," he said, adding that motorcyclists had to pay toll at the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link Expressway (Tanjung Kupang Toll Plaza), as well as the Penang Bridge. 

KL folk cry foul over proposed city tax hike, say could risk BN’s future electoral prospects

Posted: 13 Nov 2013 10:21 AM PST 

(TMI) - Where else can they get the money from, I guess. 

Ask Robert Quah about the proposed 100% hike in assessment rates for Kuala Lumpur house owners and his anger is palpable.

The head of the Taman Seputeh residents' association believes the hike could be an impetus to kick out the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government in the next general election, due by 2018.

He is not alone. Other representatives of residents' associations are also seething at the increase announced by Kuala Lumpur City Hall through notices, which house owners have been receiving in the past week.

The last revision of assessment rates in Kuala Lumpur was 21 years ago.

And according to a report in The Star last year, the total number of residential properties in Kuala Lumpur stood at about 1.77 million units.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor yesterday justified the hike in assessment rates by saying property prices have gone through the roof.

"If a house used to cost RM80,000, but is now worth RM700,000, but the assessment rate is still low, what are we going to do?" Tengku Adnan said in Parliament yesterday.

Quah was not convinced with Tengku Adnan's reasoning.

"The increase is ridiculous," he said, adding that for link houses in Taman Seputeh, the assessment rate has increased from about RM9,000 to RM18,000.

In Kepong, some owners of low-cost houses are saying the hike is as much as 267%.

"They (City Hall) sent us a letter saying that we have 12 days to object," Quah added.

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