Selasa, 5 November 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

After the win, PAS seeks palace intervention

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 09:15 PM PST 
Mohsin Abdullah, 
AT THE HEIGHT of campaigning for the just concluded Sungai Limau by election, PAS had "revealed" numerous "malpractices" and "abuses" allegedly carried out by the Barisan Nasional in wooing voters.

Now that PAS has won, what has become of the allegations? Is PAS keeping mum and "let by gone be by gone "with victory in the bag?
"It will definitely be pursued, in parliamentary debate, Bersih election reform, and even though the courts although we don't put too much hope in the latter", said Dr Hatta Ramli, PAS elections director. 
His colleague, PAS strategist Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad had this to add: It would be important to get the PAC involved as abuses of public funds must seek for accountability. No better place than parliament. This money was never budgeted for. So how did they manage to spend?
Off budget or off balance sheet spending again. For Sungai Limau, allocated RM15 million. That's abuse of public fund".
Hard words indeed. And that's not all. On the eve of polling, PAS information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man issued a statement hitting out at the Election Commission (EC) and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) for being "dead wood" in "allowing widespread corruption in Sungai Limau."    
Tuan Man alleged that handouts in cash and in kind were handed out "openly by government leaders as well as the usage of almost the entire government machinery" - adding on sarcastically, "except for the Meteorological Department which was not seen". 
"MACC which is supposed to be an anti-corruption agency and the police stood still and became observers", said Tuan Ibrahim, going on to say: "We keep hearing stupid excuses like the handouts were not given by the calon or wakil calon so it is not rasuah". 
According to Hatta the "abuses" have been highlighted and "the authorities including the EC are in the know and the rakyat have been informed'.
But said Dzulkefly, "Umno callous disregard for the law, yet the EC continue to do nothing, as the custodian for a free and fair election".

Read more at:

Any chance of a meaningful solution in ‘Allah’ furore?

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 08:36 PM PST

If the rule of law and not the whims and fancies of the government is to be upheld, the contradiction between the court judgment and the government's 10-Point Agreement must be resolved, says Dr Ronnie Ooi.

Dr Ronnie Ooi, Aliran 

Malaysia's 'Allah' controversy is fundamentally a political issue about how different communities relate to one another. It is not a legal issue. The Catholic Church needs to take account of the Malay community's majority view before deciding on the next step.

If unrestricted use of the word Allah is not acceptable to the moderate Malay community, then the Church, together with others, should search for a compromise that will preserve the religious practices of Christians in East Malaysia as well as that of the Sikhs, who also refer to their God as Allah.

The concept of "what is integral to a religion" may provide the framework for such a compromise. It is hoped that all sides will approach the issue in a spirit of goodwill and with a desire to find a solution.

The Court of Appeal's decision on the use of the word "Allah" has angered and worried the Christian community and other segments of society. But if the decision had gone the other way, it would have angered segments of the Malay community.

This shows that the issue fundamentally is not a legal issue but a political one about how the communities relate to one another. It is only a political settlement that will allow both communities to feel satisfied and secure.

Many place their trust and hopes on the social contract reached by our forefathers and enshrined in the Malaysian constitution. It is certainly a good place to start, but constitutions are subject to differing interpretations.

Governments appoint judges who favour their political outlook. Just look at the different outlooks of Supreme Court judges appointed by American Democratic and Republican presidents.

If the majority race is united, they could command the two-thirds majority necessary to change the constitution. Just as marriage vows cannot guarantee a lasting marriage and relationships have to be worked on, so too a country has to work on its relationships, that is, in politics, and not rely entirely on its constitution.

Interpretations of the Court of Appeal decision

There are three possible positions that the mainstream Malay community can take:

  1. That the Court of Appeal decision is completely wrong and the use of the word Allah should be unrestricted. This is certainly the view of the MP for Sepang and Pas central committee member Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, expressed in a very well written article for Malaysiakini, and of Professor Abdul Aziz Bari.
  2. That the decision applies to The Herald only and not to East Malaysia. This appears to be the position of Muslim Lawyers' Association of Malaysia president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya and the Malaysian government.
  3. That the decision implies a blanket ban on the use of the word Allah by all non-Muslims including in East Malaysia and presumably in the Sikh holy books as well. This appears to be the view of the lawyer for The Herald and is demanded by Perkasa. It seems to be implicit in what Pas syura council deputy chief Haron Din wants when he says the "holy name is exclusively for Muslims only".

Views of the mainstream Malay community

In assessing what the strategic objectives of its next move should be, surely the Roman Catholic Church should take the mainstream Malay community's view into account. This is because the judgment of the full bench of Federal Court, the final appellate court, will most likely mirror the Malay community's view.

Secondly, it is quite clear that certain quarters in Umno and groups such as Perkasa are fanning distrust and fear of Chinese and Christians as a means of holding on to or gaining power. We must guard against unknowingly and carelessly giving ammunition to such people.

It seems incredible that in his judgment, Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali could write: "It is my judgment that the most possible and probable threat to Islam, in the context of this country, is the propagation of other religions to the followers of Islam."

As far fetched as this claim is, surely Church leaders must ask themselves if they could have done more to prevent this perception of Christians taking hold?

What is the Malay community's majority view or, put another way, what does the silent Malay majority want? The evidence I am aware of is not too promising. I remember reading a survey which found that a high percentage of Malays (70 per cent) considered the thought of another religion using the word Allah "disturbing".

What is also highly significant is that Pas leader Abdul Hadi Awang's initial stand that Islam cannot forbid other religions from using the word Allah, provided it is not abused, was reversed by a revolt of its syura council, led by Haron Din. This would seem to indicate strong opposition at the grassroots level.

However, we should not depend on past history and should assess the Malay community's majority position again, in particular whether it can be changed by arguments. The picture is not completely dark.

Apart from the two prominent Muslims who have come out against the decision of the Court of Appeal, there are others who have said that the decision only applies to The Herald and not to East Malaysia, such as the president of the Muslim Lawyers' Association of Malaysia and the deputy president of Isma.

Others, such as former Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin, former Pas syura council member Wan Ji and Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (Abim) have come out against the extreme position taken by the adviser to the Johor Islamic Council that all Muslims who question the court's ruling become infidels.

Dialogue with such individuals and organisations will help to clarify what is and what is not acceptable to the mainstream Malay community.

Strategic choices for the Catholic Church

If MP Hanipa Maidin and others of his thinking can deliver a united Pas in favour of the unrestricted use of the word Allah, and dialogue indicates that this is acceptable to the mainstream Malay community, then clearly the Church should make unrestricted use of the word Allah its strategic objective.

But if Pas as a party comes down on the side of Haron Din and dialogue indicates that unrestricted use of the word Allah is not acceptable to the mainstream Malay community, then the Church must consider whether it is in its best interests to pursue what is almost certainly a lost cause or switch to an acceptable compromise.

The important battle surely is not to achieve unrestricted use of the word Allah, but to counter groups like Perkasa, whose demands for a blanket ban on the use of the word Allah by all non-Muslims will lead to chaos for Christians in East Malaysia and for Sikhs.

To win this battle, we need the support of the moderate Malay community. And if a necessary condition of such support is recognition of their sensitivity by accepting restrictions on the use of the word Allah, then it seems to me to be an honourable compromise.

A compromise that springs to mind is to restrict the court's decision to The Herald, thus excluding East Malaysia. But does this mean that another publication called (say) Church Times can use the word Allah? If not, the restriction must apply to Peninsular Malaysia and not just The Herald.

In that case, what happens to the Sikhs, whose Holy Book contains the word Allah?

The question of the Sikhs has been pushed to the side, but should be brought centre stage as it is of great help in framing a solution. Firstly, to counter those like Haron Din, who claims that the "holy name is exclusively for Muslims only", we do not need to point to Arabia but to the Sikhs on our own doorstep.

Secondly, note that one of the main grounds for the Court of Appeal decision is that "Allah is not essential to or an integral part of Christianity" but in the Sikh religion, Allah is clearly "essential to or an integral part of" the religion as it is found in the Holy Book.

Therefore, clearly the court must protect the right of the Sikh religion to use the word Allah. Once the precedent has been established that one religion can use Allah, surely it becomes less difficult for mainstream Malay community to accept its use by East Malaysian Christians.

How then can we frame a rule that allows the word Allah to be used in the Sikh religion and East Malaysia but not in the Christian community of Peninsular Malaysia? I think the solution lies in the concept of "an integral part of the religion".

The word Allah is integral to the Sikh religion because it is found in their Holy Book. It is integral to Christianity in East Malaysia and the Malay-speaking church congregations in Peninsular Malaysia. It is not integral among Christian communities who use the English or Mandarin Bible.

The concept must be applied to objective, verifiable facts, such as the number of Malay-speaking Christians, and not to a judge's subjective assessment of what is integral to a religion that is not his, which clearly he is not competent to do. 


Syariah for Malaysia

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 04:10 PM PST

Malaysia is ready for syariah laws with the condition that the various enforcement bodies must be seen executing the basic tenets first among Muslims here.

Narinder Singh, FTM

The official religion of Malaysia is Islam as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. As a Malaysian, born, bred and educated here without once leaving the shores to gain formal knowledge, it has dawned upon me that it is utmost important to self-educate in issues pertaining to Islam.

The triggering and motivating factor stems from the fact that only in having an open mind can one stretch his tolerance and acceptance to others in terms to their religion, culture and beliefs.

Nevertheless, in as much as Islam and its syariah laws are admired and should be integrated in our society as it encompasses our very existence in every sense, what baffles and astonishes me is the ignorance displayed by some Malaysian Muslims.

In the discovery and continuous learning, I was made aware that syariah laws are divine and outlines in detail every aspect of life a Muslim must adhere to: from his behaviour, dressing, foods, gestures, hygiene, prayer and almost every facet being human.

Thus I am baffled and taken aback that in the push for syariah laws to be implemented in our society, we should be the least resistant as it also addresses issues surrounding economy, politics and social platforms.

Today Malaysia stands atop as a leading nation in Islamic financial management, earning a role model status even for other Muslim nations globally. The greater Europe and even Americans have acknowledged our beyond par excellence in Islamic banking and financial systems that have captured customers from all walks of life regardless of religion.

Syariah compliant financial tools and exchange board have made many a fortune without complaints even with international banks. The non-Muslims have welcomed the Islamic financial world with open arms. Then why the fuss and grumble when other syariah aspects are being discussed?

So, it is perfectly fine if syariah makes money for one but a big 'NO' if it does not. Does not that reasoning fit perfectly into hypocrisy and unfounded substance for negating the proposal to implement syariah laws to the full extend? Why be selective?

Nevertheless, the Islamic authorities must also be aggressively proactive in practical education to both the Muslims and non-Muslims on syariah laws.

In my opinion, the Islamic enforcement agencies at federal and state levels have failed un-forgivingly and miserably in aligning the basic tenets of Islam among the younger generations.

Some life experiences

These are some experience and questionable practices observed in public. I wonder if the following antics are allowed in Islam in public; in specific for Muslims, and even the non-Muslims per se.

Let me narrate a few incidents that got me intrigued in begging for clarifications from fellow Muslim friends and experts alike.



Laugh, Perkasa, and Be Effing Happy!

Posted: 04 Nov 2013 03:19 PM PST

By Kee Thuan Chye, Yahoo News

The disclaimer at the beginning of the show tells it all: "This programme is intended for immature audiences only. This programme is NOT intended for educational purposes, merely to stimulate FUN. If you are easily offended, mudah tersinggung or terkeliru, probably best to close the window right now."

This is That Effing Show, described by its producers as "a satirical news show that laughs, pokes fun and points out the (often) obvious and not-so-obvious absurdities of Malaysian socio-political life". Created by a bunch of clever, creative and concerned young people, it has been coming out regularly on the web TV network PopTeeVee since 2010.

By its own description, the show is a parody of Malaysian life, done in good humour, which means it is not to be taken seriously. Those who are easily offended or confused are warned not to watch it. This being clear, the show should therefore not expect any complaints against it except aesthetic ones – like perhaps it failed to generate fun or to entertain, or that the technical production was sub-standard, or that its actors performed badly.

Perkasa, however, is taking it very seriously. The Malay rights organisation has taken exception particularly to the series' recent segment, 'That Effing Show #95: Allah, Apa Lagi?', and its complaint is not on aesthetic grounds. Perkasa has even made not just one but nine police reports against it!

Selangor Perkasa chief Abu Bakar Yahya says show #95 insults the recent ruling made by the Court of Appeal, which banned the Catholic weekly newspaper The Herald from using the word 'Allah' to refer to God. He says the show has also offended the Islamic community. No kidding?

I have since viewed the six-minute video a few times, and I still can't fathom how it could be an insult to the court's verdict. At no point does any of the performers in the video question the verdict, either directly or obliquely, let alone show it any disrespect. What one of them does say is that Muslims need not fear getting confused if others used the word 'Allah'; it should be the other users who would be confused. Besides, Islam is the official religion, so what's there for Muslims to be worried about?

The video gets funnier in the next skit, which features a banter between two Malays on one side and two Indians on the other.

The Malays (played by Ezra Zaid and Faiq Syazwan Kuhiri) emphasise that now the court has given its ruling, other religions should use words other than 'Allah' for their God – like 'Tuhan' or 'Jesus' or 'Yahweh' – and leave 'Allah' solely to the Muslims. The Indians (played by Kubhaer Jethwani and Umapagan Ampikaipakan) retort, "OK, if you want to play like that, if you Muslims want to take back words, we also can take back words!"

At this, the Malays shrug and pull funny faces to mock what they've heard. Until the Indians tell them, "You think Bahasa Melayu is so original? There are actually many words in it that originated from Sanskrit, Tamil, Portuguese, Persian."

"Hah!" scoff the Malays. "Original or what, take back lah what you want! We have 'Allah', what more do we need? Go ahead!"

"Confirm?" ask the Indians.

"Confirm," say the Malays.

Then the Indians say that the first word they want to take back is rokok (smoke/cigarette). The Malays are taken aback. "Where did the word come from?" they ask.

"It's Dutch," say the Indians.

The Malays are a bit flustered by this, but they say, "OK, take it back. Surely, that's all. Anyway, we still have 'Allah'."

But the Indians reply, "There are many more." Then they rattle off a few other words – bahasa, budaya, bumiputra, raja, negara, pahala, puasa, cinta. As the Indians savour each word, the Malays agonise. They can't stand it now. "These are favourite words of the Malays!" they cry. "From the time we wake up in the morning, we use all those words!"

The Indians try to console them. "We are merely concerned. We don't want you to be confused. Because so many words in Malay originated from Sanskrit, when you guys use them, we don't want you to 'terHindu'!" (terHindu = accidentally become Hinduised)

The Indians continue: "Because that would be a ter-rible problem."

The Malays ask each other, "What do we do now? We surely don't want to 'terHindu'!"

"I know, I know," says one of them. "We'll call on our big back-up ... we'll call Uncle Ib … we'll call Ibrahim Ali."

"He's from Perkasa, right?" ask the Indians.

"Yes," say the Malays.

"Perkasa …," reply the Indians, "… that word sounds Sanskrit."

This is too much for one of the Malays to stomach. He launches into a manic mimic of that famous moment caught on video of Perkasa President Ibrahim Ali blustering in an interview with Al-Jazeera, "I … I … I … I … Don't talk shit! I tell you … three times! Don't talk shit! Don't talk shit!"

Hahaha! Perhaps this is the part that offended Perkasa the most! And drove its members to make the police reports!




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