Rabu, 6 November 2013

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Stamp controversy: Pixman satisfied to have embarrassed Pos Malaysia

Posted: 06 Nov 2013 09:17 AM PST


Earlier reports mentioned that Pos Malaysia's Stamp and Philately Unit had publicly assured a Facebook user last Friday that the collection's scheduled release during Stamp Week, from November 13 to 19, would not be delayed. 

(Yahoo News) - "Pos Malaysia is guilty of photo theft and gross ignorance"

Filipino photographer Romy Ocon has decided to not sue Pos Malaysia over the alleged theft of his photo for use in the postal service's Visit Malaysia 2014 stamp series.

"As things stand now, I have obtained my major objective - stop Pos Malaysia from using my work without permission and make the matter a public embarrassment.

"The vast majority of comments on the issue has but one verdict - Pos Malaysia is guilty of photo theft and gross ignorance," he told us in an email interview.

On Friday, the 48-year-old wildlife photographer accused Pos Malaysia of stealing his photo and using it without his permission in Pos Malaysia's stamp collection for Visit Malaysia Year 2014 (VMY).

In an online photography forum, Romy detailed how he found out and compared his original photo against a montage of Pos Malaysia stamps scheduled to be released under the Malaysian tourism campaign. ( Read the original story here )

He told us that, after consulting his lawyers, he will not go to court yet. However, he added:

"After this public embarrassment, photo pirates will have second thoughts before they will lift photos without the owner's permission and use such intellectual property in a mass circulated medium.

"That for me is victory enough, as sweet as any legal court can grant," said the Manila-based photographer.

We contacted Pos Malaysia to get their reaction to Romy's decision, and more importantly, on whether the VMY stamp collection was to be launched next Wednesday as planned during the VMY Stamp Week. The officer who declined to be named responded with a 'no comment' to both questions.

We persisted, asking Pos Malaysia to help clarify the confusion over the stamp launch and was directed instead to follow up with Jaffri Amin Osman, a representative from World Communications Network Resources Sdn Bhd. We were told this company is commissioned to work on the collection with Tourism Malaysia. 

We've tried reaching Jaffri, but so far have not received any response to emails,calls and text messages to Jaffri.

On Monday, the company's design house Media Eye Sdn Bhd, told us in a statement that the collection was only a draft and has yet to be released, because itwas subject to final approval from the parties involved. (Read the story here)

World Communications Network Resources is a public relations agency, which has also serviced clients such as Bank Negara and the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry. The company is said to have affiliates in Australia and Singapore, according to a UK-based public relations association PRCA website.

We did a search on the Companies Commission of Malaysia's online database and learnt that Jaffri is the controlling shareholder of World Communications Network Resources. The company's paid-up capital is RM5 million and the other directors are Shaik Sulaiman S. Mohamed Ismail and Yasmin Osman. The company recorded a revenue of over RM4 million at the end of June and profit of over RM70,000.

Read more at: http://my.news.yahoo.com/stamp-controversy--pixman-satisfied-to-have-embarrassed-pos-malaysia-094449158.html 

Holier than thou?

Posted: 06 Nov 2013 09:13 AM PST


We have become religious class monitors constantly needing to remind every Tom, Dick and Harry of our duties and faith.  We seem to be incapable of having a general conversation about sex, food, books, cars, health without invoking god. 

Dina Zaman, MM 

Do people, i.e. Muslim Malaysians, remind each other of their obligations every second of the day?I don't know if it's me but lately the conversations I have with fellow Muslims have become miniature usrahs. My Facebook statuses on quotes by non-Muslims have been marked as too Westernised. Why post Socrates's thoughts, or even Oprah's, when Islam is more than enough?  I just like these quotes, I say when I'm asked.

A true Muslim will only post Islamic quotes. Our religion is enough, you don't need to go far.


Allow me to give you two more examples of how preachy we have become.

I was invited to a kenduri recently, and had brought a book along with me, titled Folklore of the Holy Land: Muslim, Christian and Jewish, by JE Hanauer, and published by Islamic Book Trust (IBT). I bring a book everywhere I go, which is why my handbag weighs a tonne!

You wouldn't believe the flap over the book.

"Oh you can't show that to the kids."

"What? I can't?"

"Well (patient eyelash fluttering), I mean (pause), is that book halal? Does it have Islamic teachings?"

The men interjected. You know, the Malay lelaki saviour thing.

"Well it did say folklore… folklore means a myth kan Dina?"

The female mullahs glared at me and spoke very patiently to their dunderhead spouses.

"We have to be careful you know. Muslims are under threat these days and we want to impart the right kind of knowledge to our children."

"Marmaduke Pickthall edited the book," I said.

"And it's published by IBT, so how haram can it be?"


My younger sister is a recent hijabi (though this fact has nothing to do with this article at all) and studies linguistics and languages. Recently, she found herself in a rather interesting situation. It was a discussion on Islam, but the conversation went south. She contacted me early in the morning to ask what to do with these people. 

"You know kan sometimes plugs don't connect with sockets kan?" I said. "Basically, those people karan (current) tak masuk. Kepala fius."

"But this is crazy. Islam is very intelligent. Why are there Muslims like this?"

"I told you. FIUS. You better don't deal with these mullahs again."

Finally this.

Read more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/opinion/dina-zaman/article/holier-than-thou 

Ketua Pengarang Herald dakwa Perkasa tidak amal budaya Melayu

Posted: 06 Nov 2013 09:06 AM PST


(TMI) - Ketua Pengarang Mingguan Katolik, Herald,Father Lawrence Andrew menyalahkan Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) kerana bersikap anti penganut bukan Islam dengan memberikan gelaran pendatang serta mengarahkan mereka untuk keluar dari negara ini.

Beliau berkata, tindakan Presiden Perkasa, Datuk Ibrahim Ali mengancam untuk membakar Bible yang mempunyai kalimah Allah adalah perbuatan biadab.

"Adakah ini budaya seorang Melayu? Orang Melayu tidak pernah biadap sebegini. Saya sendiri sejak dahulu tidak pernah berjumpa dengan seorang Melayu berakhlak sedemikian.

"Apabila perkara buruk berlaku, mereka (Perkasa) akan sibuk berdemonstrasi di sana sini, tetapi kami pihak gereja tidak berdemonstrasi.

"Kami menghormati undang-undang negara ini. Adakah kami membuat bising? Tidak sama sekali. Kami akur dengan proses undang-undang mahkamah dan bersedia melalui peringkat seterusnya dalam prosedur penghakiman," katanya dalam satu wawancara bersama Projek Dialog.

Andrew berkata, keputusan Mahkamah Rayuan pada bulan lalu yang memutuskan Herald tidak dibenarkan menggunakan kalimah Allah menyinggung masyarakat Kristian di Sabah dan Sarawak.

Katanya, penganut Kristian di dua negeri itu bertutur dalam bahasa Melayu dan secara tiba-tiba orang Kristian di sana dihalang daripada menggunakan kalimah Allah.

"Penganut Kristian di Sabah dan Sarawak berasa sangat tersinggung. Herald pada bulan ini juga memuatkan nukilan daripada akhbar utama di Pakistan dan Turki yang mengatakan keputusan penghakiman ini adalah salah.

"Artikel mereka bertegas mana-mana pihak tidak boleh mempunyai hak cipta terhadap perkataan Allah termasuk orang Melayu. Kami juga banyak menerima sokongan daripada individu dan organisasi Islam seperti Sisters In Islam (SIS). Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir telah bersuara dan mengulas isu ini," katanya.

Andrew berkata, kekeliruan di kalangan orang Melayu dalam isu penggunaan kalimah Allah tidak seharusnya timbul kerana dalam kamus terjemahan Latin-Melayu yang diterbitkan pada  1613 ada  terjemahan kalimah Allah.

Katanya, bahasa yang diguna pakai oleh gereja Katolik di Tanah Melayu sebelum jajahan kolonial British adalah dalam bahasa Melayu sebelum ia ditukar ke bahasa Inggeris selepas kedatangan British ke Tanah Melayu.

"Apabila British menyarankan penggunaan bahasa Inggeris sebagai bahasa pengantar dan orang ramai menjadi lebih berpendidikan, mereka mulai bertutur dalam bahasa Inggeris.

"Bahasa Melayu bukan bahasa yang baru diguna pakai oleh gereja Katolik, ia digunakan sebelum negara mencapai kemerdekaan malah ia pada kurun ke-16 iaitu sewaktu mesin pencetakan baru diperkenalkan untuk mencetak buku.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/ketua-pengarang-herald-dakwa-perkasa-tidak-amal-budaya-melayu 

Drugs, guns and race feed Malaysia gang violence

Posted: 06 Nov 2013 09:00 AM PST


(Global Post) - If you want to eliminate gangs, start with the politicians, and then with the police. 

Jobless at 16 and facing the economic marginalisation of many Malaysian Indians, Raju opted for the danger and easy money of life in the notorious "04" criminal gang.

He was nearly beaten to death by a rival gang a few years ago, his teeth and bones broken.

But he survived, and is flush with cash thanks to the lucrative drug-trafficking and protection rackets on his Kuala Lumpur turf.

"To live a luxurious life you have to deal in drugs. There is a lot of money to be made," the burly, mustachioed gang captain, now 33, told AFP, asking that his real name be withheld.

But these are perilous times for people like him.

Malaysian police are battling to douse a burst of gang violence blamed on drug-trafficking turf battles, readily obtainable guns, and government policies that critics say marginalise Malaysia's two million ethnic Indians, driving many into crime.

Public concern over robberies and street crime has escalated for years in Malaysia, but this year's surge in gun violence has shocked a nation proud of its record of stability despite a tense mix of races and religions.

High-profile unsolved killings have included those of Malaysia's deputy customs chief in April and a respected former banker in July.

Blaming gangs, police in August launched a national crackdown that has seen 21,000 suspected gang members arrested and more than a dozen shot dead, including "04" members.

But gangsters and crime experts warn that the Indian-dominated syndicates have deep roots, including links to police and politicians.

"The gangs have been around for too long and the networks have grown too big. You can silence them for a while but not eliminate them," Raju said in the Tamil language spoken by most Malaysian Indians.

Read more at: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131106/drugs-guns-and-race-feed-malaysia-gang-violence 

Who are we kidding?

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 08:23 PM PST


Erna Mahyuni, The Malay Mail 

I find it quite amusing that we are up in arms over the US "spying" but have no qualms about spying on our own citizens.

We take it for granted, but my dear fellow Malaysians the government owns most of our data, mostly via our illustrious National Registration Department (NRD).

The IC number is tied to so many transactions in this country that it is far too easy for someone to misappropriate it. Credit cards you don't remember applying for, loans you know you didn't take out, everyone has heard the stories.

 And let us be honest, why do you think the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was formed? Merely to make sure the President didn't get assassinated?

Countries spy on each other, the trick here is to not get caught. All a silly game of smoke and mirrors, this pretense of indignation when we probably keep close tabs on diplomatic appointees and staffers when they arrive.

Let me tell you a story of this director friend of mine. He directed me in a musical a long time ago, one he wrote about the Vietnamese boat people.

Being slightly cheeky, he had one refugee reference Tun Dr Mahathir's saying, during the boat people influx, to just shoot them if they tried to land.

The musical was banned from being performed and Mr Director had to endure some difficulties from the authorities. Fortunately for him, they did not think his transgressions bad enough to throw him into the batcave we call Kamunting.

Mr Director refuses to have a mobile phone as those things are notoriously difficult to secure. He told me of this one time, where he was somewhere no one was supposed to know, in a location where no one should be able to contact him.

But wonder of wonders, he was informed that he had a phone call. From Special Branch. Just to, oh, keep tabs on him.

Funny that Special Branch puts so much effort to locate a harmless playwright/director but our cops struggle to catch thieves, rapists and conmen.

We also seem to be so free that we meddle in the affairs of our neighbours covertly or so we think. We did get rather too close to Muslim separatists in the Philippines and Thailand, after all.

Here is the thing: espionage is not going away. For it not to be needed, all countries need to be open and transparent about their dealings, there must be universal trust and adherence to basic principles of ethics.

But when we have a prime minister who says that some definitions of human rights do not apply to us, well, that isn't going to happen any time soon, is it?


Sg Limau by-election: BN makes phantom voters claim, to file complaint with EC

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 08:18 PM PST


(The Star) - Barisan Nasional will lodge an official complaint with the Election Commission (EC) alleging existence of phantom voters detected during the Sungai Limau by-election.

The party will file the complaint during the two-week objection period of the electoral re-delineation exercise.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim described the "phantom voters" as voters who no longer resided in that area, but had not updated their address in the electoral roll.

"We faced huge problems during the Sungai Limau by-election as we could not detect the voters.

"We will lodge official complaints in all constituencies to ensure that the "phantom voters" do not exist anymore.

"We have highlighted it to the EC but they could not do anything about it as voters did not change their addresses," he told a press conference at the Parliament lobby on Wednesday.

The review was to have started in March 2011, but the EC decided to postpone it to prepare for the 13th General Election.

The last re-delineation exercise was completed in March 2003.

Shahidan, who is also an Umno supreme council member, said that he would bring the case to the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on electoral reforms to look into the matter.

Asked if the problem was part of the reason Barisan failed to re-capture Sungai Limau, Shahidan said; "we just realised the problem and voters must keep their address updated as it will be unfair for those who are living in the area."

What’s happened to Putrajaya’s appeal, ask Mongolia and Altantuya’s dad

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 08:09 PM PST


(TMI) - Setev Shaariibuu, the father of murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, and the Mongolian government want to know what is happening to Putrajaya's appeal against the acquittal of two former police commandos for killing her in 2006.

They noted that it has been more than two months since the acquittal of former chief inspector Azilah Hadri and corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, but there has only been silence from the Attorney General's Chambers.

Lawyer Karpal Singh, who is holding a watching brief for Setev, said his client had been in touch with him constantly to find out the progress of the appeal.

"Two weeks ago the Mongolian Ambassador in Bangkok, who is also in charge of Malaysia, wrote to me to inquire about the case," Karpal told The Malaysian Insider.

He said the Mongolian government intended to send a delegation to follow the proceedings in the Federal Court, the court of final appeal.

"This case has not only grabbed the attention of locals, but is also closely followed by others abroad, including those in Mongolia," he said.

Karpal said the high profile murder appeal could be concluded speedily only if the Federal Court took the initiative to fix a hearing date.

"The Federal Court can make an exception to this case which is of public interest, both locally and internationally," he said in response to the matter being left idle for more than two months.

Karpal drew comparison with the sodomy case of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim where the Federal Court had set the appeal date expeditiously.

On September 18, the Court of Appeal dismissed Anwar's application to disqualify Umno lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah's appointment as deputy public prosecutor on grounds that the appointment was valid and in accordance with the provisions of the law.

In a criminal case, it is a practice for the court to fix the appeal date once an appellant filed his petition of appeal (grounds for appealing a decision).  However, before Anwar could file his petition of appeal, the Federal Court had fixed the appeal date.

Anwar's appeal to disqualify Shafee will now be heard on November 11.

During the opening of the 2013 legal year, Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria said in order to ensure a speedy disposal of criminal cases in the Federal Court, all appeals would be heard three months from the date a complete appeal record was received.

"So there is an exception to the general rule like in Anwar's matter," said Karpal who is also counsel in that case.

He said Putrajaya appeared to be dragging its feet on the appeal against the acquittal of Azilah and Sirul.

The prosecution filed its notice of appeal on August 23, the same day the policemen's appeals were allowed.

The written judgment was made available on August 26.

A three-man bench chaired by Datuk Seri Mohamad Apandi Ali said in their judgment, among other things, the prosecution's failure to call DSP Musa Safri, a former aide-de-camp of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, had weakened the prosecution's case.

AG Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had gone on record to state that the prosecution's case would be intact, even without Musa being called to testify. 


Observations from the by-election

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 08:03 PM PST


Tay Tian Yan, Sin Chew Daily 

The Sungai Limau by-election in Kedah did not present much surprise to everyone. PAS retains the state constituency probably as a tribute to the late menteri besar Azizan Abdul Razak.

This could also be a universal mentality in the Malay society to show respect to the elderlies. While the contributions of the late MB were disputable, his sincerity, candidness and amicability definitely won him great acclaims in the state. And this has helped consolidate PAS' support base.

One unique thing about PAS in the Malay rural areas, especially in the northern and eastern regions, is that most of the party leaders have succeeded in building up a good rapport with the grassroots.

Ideologies aside, PAS leaders are also known for their relative incorruption, religious devoutness and amicability, allowing them to easily earn the trust of local residents. And also because of this, it is hard for Umno to completely thrash the party no matter how hard it has tried.

In the Sungai Limau by-election, for instance, although BN dumped in a good deal of money to run the electoral campaign, it has still failed to unseat PAS from its stronghold.

Indeed BN has succeeded in halving PAS' majority, but the outcome is still very obvious. PAS has won by over a thousand votes.

No one could have been more disappointed than Mukhriz and his father Mahathir.

As the commander-in-chief of the campaign war, Mukhriz has to swallow the responsibility of defeat. He received endless support from both the state and federal governments while he himself has vowed to adopt the constituency if BN were to win the election. Unfortunately, his effort was not reciprocated by the constituents, marking yet another setback in his political career.

Along with his failure to clinch the Umno vice presidency in the recent party elections, it appears that disaster strikes more than once for Mukhriz. Although this will not immediately impact his political future, within the short to medium term his prospects will not look any better than this for sure.

His father is equally frustrated with the result. He visited the constituency personally to show his support for BN's man there and as an old Kedahan, he was pinning his hope on his presence to help BN through the tough race.

But the old man does not enjoy good reputation there, and his influences have been significantly weaker than anticipated.


Apologise, PAS Youth tells Karpal over 'de-register' call

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 05:29 PM PST

(The Star) - PAS Youth wants DAP chairman Karpal Singh to retract and apologise publicly to PAS over his call for the de-registration of all associations that operate along racial and religious lines, including PAS.

"We, from Federal Territories PAS, hope that Karpal retracts his statement and makes a public apology, especially to PAS. We do not want to jeapordise our relations in Pakatan Rakyat," said its Youth chief Kamaruzaman Mohamad in a statement Wednesday.

Kamaruzaman, who is also PAS Youth deputy information chief, said Karpal should not equate PAS to other race or religion-based political or professional bodies.

"One bad apple spoils the barrel. This idiom can aptly describe the DAP chairman's statement. PAS, being the only religious-based political party left, is inevitably being implicated in this," he added.

Karpal, a long-term Bukit Gelugor MP, on Tuesday lashed out at the Muslim Laywers Association (MLA) for warning the Bar Council against supporting for Catholic weekly The Herald. He said such associations should be de-registered.

The veteran lawyer also called for the de-registration of all political or professional bodies which operate along racial and religious lines, saying that the move would work in the interest of unity.

"This applies to all parties, including PAS, unfortunately," he was quoted saying.

Earlier Wednesday, PAS information chief Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man also hit out at Karpal, describing the statement as "serious, dangerous and unfounded".

"PAS is very disappointed with this baseless statement which seems to show that he (Karpal) has failed to understand PAS' struggle," he said in a statement.

"What is the danger of PAS to multi-racial Malaysia?" he asked, adding that the party should be judged based on its track record as a state government.

"The people should evaluate for themselves how PAS has ruled Kelantan for over 23 years, Terengganu in 1999 and Kedah in 2008 and how it promoted unity and protected the rights of Muslims and non-Muslims. Were there any non-Muslims sidelined?" asked Tuan Ibrahim.

He said the statement should not be coming from a Pakatan leader at a time when the public was beginning to have faith in the Opposition.

"Karpal should have been more wise and not come out with a statement that could affect the good relations in Pakatan and the people's support.

"This type of statement also does not benefit DAP," he said, adding that he would leave it to DAP to take action against Karpal over the statement.

Karpal's call also drew criticism from other non-governmental organisations, such as Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM), whose objectives are to fight for Malay rights.

Its president Azwanddin Hamzah said Karpal was kurang ajar (insolent) and no longer respected the majority of the country.

"He should apologise publicly to us because he has no right to interfere in the business of such organisations like ours.

"If he did that, we could also interfere in DAP's business by calling the de-registration of the party," he said.


Raja Kamarul Bahrin: PAS, present and future

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 03:58 PM PST

"Whose fault is it if Muslims are converted out of Islam? Those responsible for governance have a duty to provide religious education. If people are lacking knowledge in fundamental tenants, then there is a definite flaw in our system."

Dina Murad, The Star

KUALA Terengganu MP Datuk Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad, who arrived for this lunch interview in an immaculate three-piece grey pinstripe suit, does not quite portray the conventional image of a PAS politician.

The dapper gentleman will definitely surprise those who believe that politicians from Islamist parties come equipped with kafiyyah (turbans) - although the man does sport a formidable salt-and-pepper goatee.

Raja Kamarul Baharin has courted controversy in the past, with allegations of child 'smuggling' and a collapsed stadium roof linked to him.

In 1992, he captured international attention when he smuggled his two children from Australia back to Malaysia by boat.

The Terengganu royal said he resorted to such drastic measures because his parental rights were being diminished by the Australian courts in favour of his ex-wife Jacqueline Gillespie.

Years later, he came under scrutiny again when the roof of the Sultan Mizan Zalnal Abidin stadium in Terengganu - a building which his architecture firm designed - collapsed.

He later clarified that the design and construction of the roof was conducted by a different company which was not under his control.

Now a keen player in the Terengganu conservation front, the affable architect-turned-politician is an avid campaigner against the demolition of Pasar Payang, a traditional market on heritage death row.

After a chat over Pasar Payang, Raja Kamarul Bahrin spared some time to answer a few questions concerning politics and faith.

"I joined PAS because the party tries its best to represent good governance and amanah (trust)," he said.

"These are values that are often lost in the hustle and bustle of politics," he added.

Protection of religion is a contentious topic when it comes to Malaysian affairs of state. The recent ban of the usage of the term "Allah" in Catholic weekly Herald is nothing more than a ploy to create disharmony, he observed.

According to Raja Kamarul Bahrin, it is clear that non-Muslims are entitled to the much sought-after word.

"Prophet Muhammad's father is named Abdullah, meaning Servant of Allah. He was not a Muslim. If people are misled, it is not by the word but by inadequate education.

"Whose fault is it if Muslims are converted out of Islam? Those responsible for governance have a duty to provide religious education. If people are lacking knowledge in fundamental tenants, then there is a definite flaw in our system."

Rather than blaming others, perhaps self-reflection is required in examining why Muslims convert out, he suggested.

"Take a look at the incredible mismanagement of zakat funds. The deserving poor are made to travel and fill in tedious forms in a lengthy process to receive money that is rightfully theirs. Why do we burden them with inconvenience?"

"While Muslims lag behind, other missionaries approach them with provisions of funds and education," he explained.

Regarding usage of the term "Allah" he believed that educating Malaysians was preferable to an outright ban.

"As long as the word is not maliciously employed to mislead Muslims, I do not see a problem with it," he said.

A round of politics

When it comes to eradicating poverty, Raja Kamarul Bahrin is a proponent of need-based policies.

"The approach should be to help the poor across the board, regardless of race or religion. If you give money to the poor based on needs, pure statistics decrees that Malays would still get a large chunk of the allocation because they command the majority.

"The New Economic Policy is not to help the Malays. It is for the benefit of Umno," he said.

When asked to share his thoughts on the new Umno line-up, he expressed some pessimism.

"Apart from the vice-president, nothing else has changed within the leadership. Worse still, Umno lost a lot of progressive candidates. Where is (Pulai MP) Nur Jazlan? Where is (former Temerloh MP) Saifuddin Abdullah? Everyone liked him. Even we (the Opposition) liked him.

On Pakatan Rakyat's side, he points to figures such as Zairil Khir Johari, Datuk Husam Musa and Rafizi Ramli, individuals which he is confident will bring positive changes to the coalition.

In the last general election, PAS gained many urban seats in Terengganu but lost its rural standing.

Raja Kamarul Bahrin attributed this to alleged fear-mongering amongst rural voters.

"They fear that essential public amenities like water and electricity may be disrupted if they vote 'wrongly'.

"They were told that if they vote for DAP, the Chinese will overtake the Malays," he said.

He explained that when access to media and information is limited as is the situation in many rural areas, scare tactics become more effective.

He also claimed to have witnessed first-hand the effect of these threats when campaigning in kampungs.

"We knocked on a door and when the owner opened it and saw our shirts and banners, she froze.

"The lady was speechless and looked absolutely terrified. I doubt it was because we looked particularly menacing," said the politician.

"For them, their most prized assets are their houses and resources such as water and electricity. They would not want to risk losing access to it," he said.

He claimed that although it may not be said directly, it was implied that development may not be forthcoming if the government of the day was voted out.

According to him, tacit punishment of voters was common practice in our nation.

Raja Kamarul Bahrin said that the East-Coast Highway, which stops at Terengganu, should rightly access Kelantan as well.

"The highway is the responsibility of the Federal Government but they did not see fit to link it to Kelantan, an Opposition state.

"You should never do this to your own people. They rightly fear having their electricity taken away, their duit raya, their roads.

"The rhetoric is to protect the people, tetapi kesian, Melayu diperbodohkan. (It is a pity that the Malays are treated like fools)," he said.

PAS-sing through the ages

PAS has remodelled itself through the years, now having included many professionals to its once ulama-controlled leadership.

"We should dispel the idea that PAS is equated to extreme Islamic regimes. Tuan Guru (PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul) Hadi Awang's views echo those of Tok Guru (party spiritual advisor and former Kelantan MB Datuk) Nik Aziz.

"They both support moderation in approach. The goal is not just to 'win' non-Muslim votes but to explain why we fight to upload Islamic values and principles," he said.

Raja Kamarul Bahrin attributed his win in Kuala Terengganu to a strong non-Muslim voter base.

"In Terengganu, many Chinese voters have been exposed to Islam and have good knowledge of it. There is no fear of extremism from PAS on their part," he said, crediting Nik Aziz's approach of persuasion and moderation for the increase of votes among the youth.

When prompted about a perception held among some that Kelantan's laws on Islamic attire and entertainment are excessive, Raja Kamarul Bahrin answered with an invitation to visit the PAS stronghold.

"I could say many things to dispute this and we could go on for ages, but don't just take my word for it.

"The best way to find out is to go to Kelantan and see for yourself," he concluded.


Support for PAS going downhill

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 03:46 PM PST

Sira Habibu, The Star

Analysis of the just-concluded Sungai Limau by-election saw an erosion of Chinese and Malay support for PAS, even though it won the battle.

PAS, which won the state seat by a 60% lower-vote majority, also lost its grip on four of the 13 districts it had won in the last general election.

Barisan Nasional made greater inroads into the PAS stronghold, winning 10 out of the 19 polling districts in the constituency that has been a PAS fortress for the last 18 years.

Barisan received greater support from the elderly, securing the majority in 59% of the 37 polling streams for older voters.

PAS, meanwhile, secured the majority in 67% of the 21 polling streams for younger voters.

According to Sungai Limau MCA by-election operation centre chief Ooi Aik Bee, Chinese support had certainly returned to Barisan.

"In Batu 17, 70% of the 295 Chinese votes went to Barisan. In Sungai Limau Dalam, 79% of the 605 Chinese votes went to Barisan while in Simpang Tiga, 71% of the 285 votes went to Barisan," he said.

Chinese votes could have contributed significantly in helping Barisan win in the Sungai Limau and Kabu Sepuloh polling districts in the closely fought by-election won by Mohd Azam Abdul Samat by a 1,084-vote majority.

He garnered 12,069 votes against Barisan candidate Dr Ahmad Sohaimi Lazim who received 10,985 votes.

In the last general election, the late Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak of PAS won by a 2,774-vote majority in a four-cornered fight.

Barisan has made inroads into Sungai Limau, Kabu Sepuloh, Sedaka and Padang Lumat polling districts previously held by PAS, while maintaining its forts in Simpang Tiga, Selengkoh, Sungai Daun, Sungai Kering, Dulang Kecil and Dulang Besar.

PAS recorded a reduced majority in Bukit Besar, Sungai Dedap, Matang Buloh, Bukit Choras and Gelam 3.

Azam's relatives, who make up a significant portion of the Sungai Limau electorate, could have provided the lifeline for PAS.

Azam did his best in the Bukit Besar polling district, where he secured 1,556 votes compared with Sohaimi who only managed to attract 443 votes.

Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said Bukit Besar had recorded an unusually high number of voters, and some of their addresses could be traced to the various pondok schools in the area.

Despite the election results, he said the proposed new road linking Guar Chempedak with Pulau Bunting would be built, while the suggestion to build a port at Pulau Bunting would still be considered.


Bittersweet for winners and losers

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 03:39 PM PST

The outcome of the Sungai Limau by-election bore a sweet and sour aftertaste for both the winning and losing sides.

Malay support aside, Barisan politicians claimed that the Chinese sentiment has softened since the general election. Chinese voters comprised less than 7% of the total voters, and they are located in mainly four PDMs, three of which were won by Barisan.

Joceline Tan, The Star

MOHD Azam Abd Samat, who successfully defended PAS' claim to the Sungai Limau seat, is one of those natural smilers.

He basically smiled his way through the entire campaign because his minders did not allow him to speak to the media.

They did not want a repeat of the boo-boo as seen in Terengganu's Kuala Besut by-election when their candidate said the wrong thing even to their party organ, Harakahdaily.

Azam stuck to the script and let the others do the I-say-you and you-say-me stuff that happens in a political campaign.

Sungai Limau has been what Kedah luminary Datuk A. Kadir Jasin termed an "emotional campaign".

The last time Kedah witnessed a campaign that was as emotional was after the death of PAS' beloved president Datuk Fadzil Mohd Noor in 2002.

Likewise, the death of former Mentri Besar Tan Sri Azizan Abdul Razak so soon after the fall of Kedah had an air of tragedy about it and PAS felt compelled to go all out to defend the seat.

Sinar Harian put it well when they headlined the win as Hadiah untuk Azizan (a gift for Azizan).

But not far beneath the smiles and the celebration over the win is the niggling fact that the reduced majority is yet more proof of PAS' eroded standing in the Malay heartland.

The majority of win shrank from 2,774 to 1,084.

Apart from that, Umno won in 10 out of the 19 voting districts (PDM or peti daerah mengundi) in the constituency.

In the May general election, Umno had won in only six PDMs.

PAS, on the other hand, won in only nine PDMs, down from 13 in the May election.

Their overall victory was largely garnered at one of the bigger PDMs called Bukit Besar where their hardcore supporters are located.

The signs of erosion are visible and it was clear that more middle ground in Sungai Limau has shifted without Azizan there to hold it back.

The Sungai Limau results were also in stark contrast to Kuala Besut where Umno had held on to its stronghold with a bigger majority.

"It is a win for PAS and also a setback.

"You have to remember that this is their stronghold because they have held the seat since 1995. The voters did not go solidly with PAS," said Kadir.

Malay support aside, Barisan politicians claimed that the Chinese sentiment has softened since the general election.

Chinese voters comprised less than 7% of the total voters, and they are located in mainly four PDMs, three of which were won by Barisan.

"The Chinese liked Ustaz Azizan. They saw him as a gentleman politician but I believe they also want to see more development in the area," said former Alor Star MP Datuk Seri Chor Chee Heung.

But the young vote was also marginally tilted towards PAS in most of the PDMs.

The battle for Kedah in the years ahead will be a battle for the young hearts and minds.

The Umno side has tried to spin the reduced majority as "a win" for Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir. But in an election, a loss is a loss.

However, as Kadir noted, Mukhriz has given Umno a new political momentum.

His youth, intellect and the fact that he has relatively little baggage has breathed life for Barisan in the state.

Mukhriz was disappointed and the result probably left both a sweet and sour taste in his mouth.

As photographers snapped away at his post-election press conference on Monday night, he quipped: "Should I smile or should I look sad?"

The by-election has been the first real political baptism for the Kedah Mentri Besar.

He knew critics were watching his every move, ready to pounce on any mistake on his part.

He has done quite well considering that he has only been on the job for six months.

Many had thought that the Sungai Limau campaign would be as sleepy as the one in Kuala Besut.

But it turned out to be chockful of drama and incidents from phone hackings to bizarre mannequins with amputated legs hanging from trees to photos doctored to show that Azam is close to Azizan.

No less than Azizan's widow, Puan Sri Faekah Sheikh Hamzah, as well as his political rival Datuk Phahrolrazi Mohd Zawawi, claimed that their phones were hacked to send misleading SMSes – marking the first time that Kedah is seeing hi-tech campaigning.

The PAS win made its way into Facebook in a ticklish way.

Immediately after the results, Facebook was full of jokes about security guards with fake ICs voting for PAS in Sungai Limau.

It was a dig at Pakatan's infamous claims of 40,000 Bangladeshis being flown in to vote in the last general election.

Azam was not the only winner in Sungai Limau.

The other big winner is PAS' by-election chairman Datuk Mahfuz Omar.

The by-election outcome will be a huge boost to Mahfuz's prospects of defending his vice-president post in the PAS election later this month.


Attorney General’s position under threat? Reportedly in Mahathir camp’s sights

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 03:33 PM PST

(TMI) - Abdul Gani Patail's position as Attorney General appears under threat as reports and sources say former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has met several people to discuss the top government lawyer's misdeeds.

This appears so, judging by what former top cop Mat Zain Ibrahim narrated in a meeting attended by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and  prominent lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

Mat Zain was reported by the news portal Malaysiakini of having received a surprise phone call from Shafee about three months ago urging him to attend a meeting with the former prime minister.

On August 10, three days after Hari Raya, Mat Zain, the former Kuala Lumpur Criminal Investigations Department director, met Shafee at the lawyer's office-cum-residence in Bukit Tunku.

At the meeting, the two was said to have discussed the alleged "misconduct" of Gani, including the highly publicised case on Pulau Batu Puteh – the island off Johor that Malaysia lost to Singapore in a legal dispute before the International Court of Justice in 2008.



This time, NGO supports Penang Municipal Council, raps DAP’s Ooi

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 03:19 PM PST

Looi Sue-Chern, TMI

A non-governmental organisation has spoken against Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi for taking the Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) to task over delays in processing building plan applications from developers.

The Citizens Awareness Chant Group (Chant), which is usually critical of the council, has come to its defence and said that the MPPP should not be blamed if the developers submitted "bad quality" applications that were incomplete or not presented in the proper format.

"The council has to deal with technical matters when processing applications. There are also several levels or different departments to go through sometimes. Surely the MPPP can give reasonable explanations for the delays," said its adviser Yan Lee (pic).

"We also do not think politicians should get into the MPPP's work."

Lee said the council needs to come down hard on developers, adding that if an application did not meet requirements, it should give the developer only a few changes to get it right.

He also said the council needs to put into good use information gathered and mistakes learned from development cases under inquiry, and organise relevant courses and seminars for its officers to improve its performance.

"Take the Menara Umno lighting arrestor case, for instance. It shows that planning and building submissions must be carefully studied," he told a press conference in George Town today, adding that how fast applications are cleared should not be the sole benchmark to measure the council's performance.

Lee, however, agreed with Ooi that Penang needed to speed up the introduction of the local plan which would clearly determine zoning and the kind of development each plot of land was allowed.

The absence of the local plan since 2005 has been blamed for the delays by the MPPP.



Karpal tak faham perjuangan PAS

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 03:04 PM PST

Karpal sepatutnya lebih bijak sebelum mengeluarkan kenyataan yang boleh menjejaskan hubungan baik dalam PR serta sokongan rakyat selama ini.

Ikhwan Zulkaflee, FMT

Pengerusi Kebangsaan DAP Karpal Singh gagal  memahami perjuangan Pas, kata Ketua Penerangan Pas Pusat Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man.

Ini ekoran daripada saranan Karpal yang menyatakan parti politik berteraskan kaum dan agama patut dibatalkan atau diubahsuai agar boleh disertai semua rakyat tanpa sempadan kaum dan agama semalam.

Selain dari menyatakan bahawa kenyataan Karpal itu tidak berasas, beliau turut bertanya apakah bahayanya perjuangan Pas bagi masyarakat majmuk di Malaysia.

"Nilailah sendiri pada Pas yang memerintah Kelantan lebih 23 tahun, Terengganu pada tahun 1999 dan Kedah pada 2008 dari segi perpaduan dan menjaga hak Muslim dan bukan Muslim.

"Adakah ada golongan yang bukan Islam yang disisihkan? Karpal sepatutnya mengemukakan fakta, bukan mengeluarkan kata-kata ikut sedap hati" katanya melalui satu siaran media.

Tuan Ibrahim menambah kenyataan seperti ini tidak sepatutnya keluar dari mulut seorang pemimpin Pakatan Rakyat (PR) dalam suasana rakyat menolak Barisan Nasional (BN) dan mulai yakin dengan kepimpinan Pakatan Rakyat.

"Beliau sepatutnya lebih bijak sebelum mengeluarkan kenyataan yang boleh menjejaskan hubungan baik dalam PR serta sokongan rakyat selama ini. Kenyataan sebegini juga merugikan DAP secara amnya," tambahnya lagi.

Apabila dihubungi hari ini, Tuan Ibrahim ternyata kecewa dengan saranan Karpal itu.

"Memang tak patut la parti kawan sendiri (DAP) minta kita dibatalkan. Mungkin pada asalnya hanya menyentuh parti berteraskan kaum, tapi bila ianya melibatkan agama, Pas turut dilibatkan," katanya melalui perbualan telefon.

Beliau turut mengingatkan yang sifat agama itu sendiri menjadikannya sesuai dalam konteks Malaysia.

"Agama ini bersifat penyatuan sebenarnya, bukannnya memisahkan," katanya lagi.

Tuan Ibrahim dilihat bersifat diplomatik apabila ditanya adakah saranan Karpal telah meretakkan hubungan diantara kedua-dua parti komponen PR itu.

"Secara peribadi, hubungan itu masih dipelihara dan belum sampai meretakkan hubungan…tetapi ada beberapa perkara yang perlu diperbaiki terutamanya dari segi mengeluarkan kenyataan," katanya.

Beliau menambah bahawa Pas menganggap perkara ini adalah urusan dalaman DAP dan menyerahkan sepenuhnya kepada DAP untuk mengambil sebarang tindakan.

Karpal membuat kenyataan kontroversinya itu ketika menyelar kenyataan Presiden Persatuan Peguam  Muslim Malaysia (PPMM) Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar baru-baru ini yang mengingatkan Majlis Peguam supaya tidak menyokong isu penggunaan kalimah Allah dalam edisi bahasa Malaysia majalah katolik The Herald.



‘Opposition trying to screw up our system’

Posted: 05 Nov 2013 02:53 PM PST

There is nothing wrong with race-based parties like Umno, MIC, and MCA as they work together to serve all races, say BN leaders. 

Anisah Shukry, FMT

Barisan Nasional leaders have slammed DAP chairman Karpal Singh for calling race- and religious-based parties to be deregistered.


Umno Cheras division leader Syed Ali Alhabshee said Umno, MCA and MIC formed the Alliance more than 50 years ago and later through the Barisan Nasional had fought for all races.

"Without BN, we would be nowhere. But now, the opposition is trying to screw up the system that we have been building. They are trying to poison the minds of the people.

"Karpal is senile and has gone to the extreme," he said.

Yesterday, Karpal had said race- and religious-based parties, including PAS, were impractical and dangerous.

The DAP leader had said such parties should either be deregistered or opened to everyone.

Syed Ali told FMT that even though Umno's membership was solely Malay, it had always stood by BN's concept of helping all races.

"With Umno in BN, you can see that we are helping all races. Otherwise we would not have many Indian and Chinese doctors as well as lawyers.

"So it's okay to maintain parties based on race. We've been working this way for over 50 years and only now Karpal says it is not right," he added.

PAS more dangerous

MCA Young Professionals Bureau chief Chua Tee Yong pointed out there was a difference between MCA, MIC and Umno and parties that were religion-based like PAS.

"Race-based parties cover a variety of issues. But parties based on religion champion only one thing – religion. So PAS is more dangerous than BN," said Labis MP.

"Even though we are race-based, we are under the umbrella of BN, so we represent all races. But PAS, DAP, PKR stand separately."

Throwing the ball back into Karpal's court, Chua urged the Bukit Gelugor MP to call for a merger between the three opposition parties.

"There's no point just talking about it. Why not get together and merge? Why not put a stop to PAS?" he asked.

Chua said at the end of the day, the political statement would lead to nowhere.



Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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