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Ex-DAP member Jenice Lee stopped from attending party convention

Posted: 14 Dec 2013 05:18 PM PST

(The Star) - Former Teratai assemblywoman Jenice Lee, who was sacked as a DAP member, slammed the party for barring her from attending the state convention as an observer.

Lee claimed that she had applied to attend the convention as an observer five weeks ago but failed to receive a reply.

"Thinking that it would not matter, I walked in and I was surprised when the officers stopped me.

"It is ridiculous to stop me when reporters are allowed to go in," said Lee, who arrived at the convention hall at 9am.

"I can understand if there is not enough space but the hall looked empty and there were so many empty seats," she added.

Lee criticised the party for removing her name in the convention attendance lists.

"There is clearly some hanky-panky going on or else they would not have removed my name from the attendance list of the previous party conventions," she said.

State DAP national legal bureau chief Gobind Singh Deo said officers manning the entrance had exercised their right in not allowing Lee to enter as she had been expelled from the party.

"Only DAP members, delegates and invited guests can come in as observers," he said.

"Our simple response is Lee's membership has been dealt with by the disciplinary committee. The CEC has upheld the decision that she is no longer a member of the party," Gobind said.

He added that Lee had sought an interim injunction to maintain her membership in the party but was denied the order last Wednesday.



Expelled DAP members in limbo

Posted: 14 Dec 2013 01:50 PM PST

(The Star) - DAP members who have been recently sacked are wondering if they can vote at the party's Selangor-level election, as the Registrar Of Societies (ROS) has yet to recognise DAP's top office bearers.

L.P. Selvam, who received his expulsion letter signed by secretary-general Lim Guan Eng two weeks ago, asked if his sacking still stands as ROS did not recognise Lim and other DAP top leaders.

"I was told that the state party election is scheduled for Sunday (today) and I feel this should be an issue that must be explained by the leaders in the convention.

"Does this mean I am no more a DAP member and free to join another party?" asked Selvam, who stood as an independent candidate in the 13th general election.

The former aide to ex-Kota Alam Shah assemblyman M. Manoharan said his fellow DAP members who stood as independent candidates faced a similar predicament.

Another grassroots member, who chose to remain anonymous, said it was immature for DAP leaders to expel members without clear instructions.

"I just received a letter from the party and nothing else. Nobody called me up to say why the expulsion was made.

"It becomes further complicated when the ROS says it does not recognise DAP's office bearers," he said.

The man, who has been in the party for more than 15 years and contested as an independent candidate in the last general election, said he received his expulsion letter several weeks ago.

Selangor DAP vice-chairman Charles Santiago said the convention was expected to be a "lame one", as many delegates have adopted a carefree attitude towards it.

"Unlike in the past, not many are looking forward to the convention and party polls as the general election has ended," he said.

The state party polls, which is held once every two years, will see 35 delegates contesting for 15 positions today in Shah Alam. About 1,200 delegates were expected to be present.

Former Teratai assemblyman Jenice Lee (pic), who also received an expulsion letter from the party, had reportedly announced her intentions to secure a seat at the Selangor executive committee.

Lee, who had also stood as an Independent in the last general election, withdrew her lawsuit against the party after receiving a show-cause letter asking why her membership should not be withdrawn.

By sending her the letter, she claimed that it was an endorsement that the party still considered her a member.


Evaporating euphoria

Posted: 14 Dec 2013 01:36 PM PST

PAS has been stirred and shaken over the Home Ministry's allegations that its deputy president Mohamad Sabu has Syiah links.

On Thursday, the Home Ministry released a 10-point statement outlining their case against Mat Sabu. The allegations ranged from him attending religious classes by two Syiah ustaz in Bukit Merah, Perak, in 2011 to his open admiration of the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran which propagates Syiah.

Joceline Tan, The Star

THE year 2013 has been both wonderful and lousy for PAS leader Mohamad Sabu.

First, the wonderful part. Mat Sabu, as he is known, won a second term as PAS deputy president last month. It was no mean feat because he was essentially up against the pro-ulama group in his party. But he beat the odds and defeated his ulama opponent Datuk Nik Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah by 98 votes.

The narrow margin was an indication of how divided the party was about him, but a win is a win and Mat Sabu was a happy man.

He needed that booster after failing to hold on to the Pendang seat in the general election. It was a huge psychological blow to PAS because Pendang had been synonymous with its beloved late president Datuk Fadzil Mohd Noor.

Now, for the less wonderful part. The euphoria from his victory has evaporated following the daring accusation against him by Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the Umno general assembly last week.

Mat Sabu is struggling to fend off allegations about him being a Syiah follower.

On Thursday, the Home Ministry released a 10-point statement outlining their case against Mat Sabu. The allegations ranged from him attending religious classes by two Syiah ustaz in Bukit Merah, Perak, in 2011 to his open admiration of the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran which propagates Syiah.

Mat Sabu has dismissed the allegations as "fitnah" or lies. He said he is not a Syiah follower and is consulting his lawyer about initiating legal action against his accusers.

The issue has grabbed the attention of Muslims nationwide because the National Fatwa Council had, as early as 1996, decreed the Syiah sect as "sesat" or deviant.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Mustafa Ali said the party has not met to discuss the matter or received requests for an investigation.

"The allegations made against Mat Sabu were personal, no need for the party to meet about it. Mat Sabu knows what to do," said Mustafa.

He said that when similar allegations surfaced during the recent party election, Mat Sabu informed the party he is not a Syiah.

The Home Ministry's 10-point allegations have been somewhat of an anti-climax. It was not exactly the "evidence" that everyone was expecting.

But some of the allegations are disturbing enough to have left PAS members confused and looking for answers. The implications are enormous because PAS prides itself as an Islamist party and this concerns no less than its deputy president.

PAS, as its president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang pointed out, is the only party with a constitution acknowledging the paramount position of the Quran and Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet).

The party is scrambling to contain the issue. Hadi and Dewan Ulama chief Datuk Harun Taib have come out to defend the party's espousal of the Sunni creed and reiterate their opposition to Syiah beliefs.

Mursyidul Am Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat returned fire at Umno, saying that the nationalism and secularism endorsed by the Umno-led government was as bad as Syiah practices.

He also implied that Umno harboured deviant preachers or, as he put it: "How can the tiger remind the sheep about the dangers of the wolf? The tiger must first cleanse its fangs and claws of human meat."

Not many in PAS appreciated Nik Aziz equating secularism and nationalism with Syiah belief and, besides, two wrongs do not make a right.

"Syiah is a threat to our beliefs as Sunni Muslims whereas nationalism and secularism are political ideologies. How can he put it at the same level?" a Kelantan-based Muslim intellectual asked.

Other PAS leaders have defended Mat Sabu's visits to Iran and his admiration of the late Ayatollah Khomeini as "nothing wrong" because many Muslim leaders have visited Iran.

Harakahdaily returned fire, publishing pictures of Umno politicians meeting Iranian leaders, including the famous photograph of a very young Datuk Ibrahim Ali with Khomeini in Paris shortly before the Iranian Revolution erupted.

But they were less forthcoming on allegations that Mat Sabu visited a Syiah mosque in South Thailand in 2011 or attended Syiah religious classes in Perak. Most of them stopped short of directly clearing Mat Sabu of being Syiah.

"The rumours have been around for ages. Almost everyone I know has heard about it. Such things are not easy to prosecute but it's not impossible," said Dr Yusri Mohamad, chairman of the Coalition of Islamic NGOs or Pembela.

For instance, the Sky Kingdom cult in Terengganu was in full bloom and giant teapots and fountains had been erected before the authorities moved in. But the leader, Ayah Pin, was never charged despite reports that he had returned to Terengganu last year to recover from a crippling stroke.

The widow of the late Ashaari Muhammad, founder of the outlawed Al-Arqam movement, only recently pleaded guilty to deviationist activities in the Syariah court after years of endless reports of her group's activities that emphasised sex and religion.

Muslims in Malaysia belong to the Sunni sect or Sunnah wal Jamaah which means a righteous Muslim majority who follow the Prophet's teachings. The Sunni and Syiah are divided by fundamental differences on matters of "akidah" or faith.

The Sunni concern about Syiah is so acute that, as recent as September, an Islamic forum in Kuala Lumpur had condemned Syiah as "a poison" and "a virus". The forum even urged the government to sever ties with Iran, which has the world's biggest Syiah population.

Another concern is that Syiah is regarded as a potentially divisive force because Sunni-Syiah disputes in some countries have resulted in conflict and bloodshed.

Action against Syiah groups had been ongoing but took on an urgency after the shooting of the Pahang Islamic Religious Department enforcement chief who had been investigating deviant religious activity. The government wants to step up the momentum and is studying the setting up of a Syariah Police Squad.

Mat Sabu's reputation as a Muslim and PAS leader is at stake. Some of his supporters see the attacks as a political witch hunt and an attempt to undermine the image of PAS. Earlier last week, Mat Sabu wrote in Harakahdaily that Syiah had replaced communism as the new bogeyman and that he was the victim of this trend.

But there is also a segment within PAS who have doubts about him and who had, as a result, campaigned against his re-election.

Some of them are high-level party officials and they are of the view that the party must not compromise on deviant beliefs. They say this is crucial for the integrity of the party and the unity of the ummah.

Some of the young Turks in the pro-ulama group think there should be an internal investigation to set the record straight. They have suggested that the matter should go before the Syariah Audit Committee, a new body recently approved to handle internal issues connected to the syariah and which fall outside the purview of the Disciplinary Committee.

Others think PAS should appoint senior and respected leaders to help clear the air because they are concerned that the party will be dragged down.

The more down-to-earth say that Mat Sabu ought to take an oath to denounce Syiah and clear his name once and for all. Otherwise, there will be no closure and the matter will return to haunt the party. Their priority is the party. Leaders come and go but the party must survive.

Iran, the Iranian Revolution and the Ayatollahs have always been a prickly issue for Muslims here. That revolution led to the birth of the world's first modern Islamic state and was one of those defining moments of the 20th century.

It inspired Muslims everywhere and Malaysia was no exception, sparking off an irreversible wave of Islamic fervour – the building of mosques, women took to covering their aurat and Islamic banking arrived on our shores.

PAS' modern form was very much inspired by what happened in Iran. Some examples include its policy of "leadership by the ulama" and its powerful Syura Council of Ulama headed by the Mursyidul Am, the PAS equivalent of the Ayatollah.

The party's maroon-shirted Unit Amal, a highly respected unit in PAS, is often perceived as a moderate version of the revolutionary guards.

"Many of us were inspired by the Iranian Revolution but that does not mean we are Syiah. However, Syiah beliefs can destroy our party and we should sieve it out when recruiting members," said a young PAS official.

Mat Sabu, some thought, has been too easygoing about such accusations for too long. During the general election, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir in Kedah had openly accused him of being Syiah.

Pamphlets about him were flying all over. One flyer had the slogan, "Jangan suburkan Syiah di Pendang", urging voters not to sow the seeds of Syiah in the parliamentary seat where Mat Sabu was contesting.

Similar allegations surfaced in the months running up to the PAS election. This time, the attacks were more dangerous because they were coming from within his own party and, many believed, from the pro-ulama group.

Again, Mat Sabu turned a blind eye. It was only when he realised that the allegations could derail his re-election that he finally issued a clear-cut denial.

But he did not help himself when he persisted in quoting examples from Iran or praising Hezbullah, the militant Syiah group, in his speeches. His excuse was that he admires Iran for standing up to American imperialism.

The Home Ministry's allegations were stunning as much for the content as for the way they were made. On hindsight, Zahid almost stole the show at the closing of the Umno assembly when he launched the attack against Mat Sabu.

But that is Zahid for you – he rarely does things by halves. He knew very well that a strong action would draw an equally strong reaction and everyone is now bracing for what's next.

Mat Sabu is contemplating clearing his name in a court of law. But, more important, he may also have to clear his name in the court of public opinion. 


Ku Li to open Perkasa meeting in the hope of turning right-wing Malay group around

Posted: 14 Dec 2013 01:27 PM PST

V. Anbalagan, TMI

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah's credentials as a statesman and a politician with enlightened views on race are now on the line as he has reportedly accepted Perkasa's invitation to open its fourth annual general meeting next week.

While the Gua Musang MP has regularly met Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali as both are from Kelantan, they cannot be more different as chalk and cheese.

Tengku Razaleigh is urbane, sophisticated and cosmopolitan while Ibrahim has been known to be crude with a narrow racial view that has seen him jump from one party to another, earning the sobriquet of a "political frog".

The Malaysian Insider understands that the former finance minister and Umno veteran, popularly known as Ku Li, has confirmed he would attend the meeting at Pusat Islam in Kuala Lumpur on December 22.

Those close to the Kelantan prince said he had weighed the pros and cons of associating with the right-wing Malay group before confirming his attendance at the assembly themed "Upholding the Constitution for the wellbeing of all".

"He wants to engage the Perkasa leadership and persuade them to be more inclusive. He wants them to look at the bigger picture," a Ku Li confidante told The Malaysian Insider.

Tengku Razaleigh, who was tasked with setting up national oil firm Petronas, has been an advocate of market and economic liberalisation in the past decade unlike Ibrahim who believes that the Malays should have a greater control and share of the economy.

Ibrahim has articulated his views through Perkasa, which boasts a 500,000 membership mainly from Umno, which he found after 2008 elections when he stood on a PAS ticket.

He turned independent to support the ruling Barisan Nasional after Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stepped down as prime minister.

His relationship with Ku Li goes back to the time when both were in the old Umno and the now defunct Semangat 46, which was once in power with PAS in the Kelantan government.

Both only returned to the Umno fold in 1996, where Ibrahim eventually became a deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department in Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's government.



Where my loyalties lie

Posted: 14 Dec 2013 01:25 AM PST

If I were asked to choose between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional I have no problems making that choice. If I were asked to choose between a Secular State and an Islamic State I have no problems making that choice as well. But if I were asked to choose between a Constitutional Monarchy and a Republic then you are placing me in a very difficult situation. I will have to choose the Constitutional Monarchy.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

I am certainly a Libran -- I was born on 27th September. I would like to believe that I am also a libertarian. And what would one mean when one says he or she is a libertarian?

Libertarianism is a political philosophy that advocates free will and individual rights. The core doctrine of libertarianism begins with the recognition that people have certain natural rights and that deprivation of these rights is immoral.

Libertarianism can be traced back to ancient China of 2,600 years ago where philosopher Lao-tzu (Laozi) advocated the recognition of individual liberties. The modern libertarian theory emerged in the sixteenth century through the writings of Etienne de La Boetie, an eminent French theorist.

In the seventeenth century, John Locke and a group of British reformers known as the Levellers fashioned the classical basis for libertarianism with well-received philosophies on human nature and economics. Since the days of Locke, libertarianism has attracted pacifists, utopianists, utilitarianists, anarchists, and fascists. This wide array of support demonstrates the accessibility and elasticity of the libertarian promotion of natural rights.

Many Malays, especially those in PAS, consider me a deviant Muslim (they have told me so). They cringe when they read my article regarding Islam, which are certainly non-mainstream and stray from what many would describe as 'fundamental' Islam. Some Malays, in fact, even consider me a heretic, or worse, an apostate because of my unorthodox views on Islam.

I admit it is not easy to 'marry' orthodox Islam and libertarianism. Libertarianism is about free will and individual rights while Islam is about complying with the Sharia. And this is where one faces a clash of ideologies when one tries to be both a Muslim and a libertarian.

I have never hidden the fact that I am a libertarian at heart. My views on Islam, which I have espoused often enough, lies testimony to this. I confess that I am walking the very narrow path between being a Muslim and an infidel (kafir), as my stronger critics would say. But that is the path I have chosen for myself.

I was born a Muslim but for the first 27 years or so of my life I was a Muslim in name only. Even when I went to an all-Malay school, the Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK), I was never a practicing Muslim. I fasted because we were forced to do so but I did not pray because we were not forced to do so.

No doubt I had to go to the mosque every Friday but I went only because it was compulsory. That did not mean I prayed though (you can force the horse to water but you cannot make it drink). I merely chilled out (lepak) at the back of the mosque until it was time to go home.

As I said, for the first 27 years of my life I was a Muslim in name only (I have, in fact, written about this many times before). Then I 'rediscovered' my old friend from MCKK, Anwar Ibrahim, when he came to Kuala Terengganu to talk at a PAS ceramah (rally). Anwar was then heading ABIM, the Islamic Youth Movement, and had just been released from ISA detention.

And I fell in love with Anwar (who I initially disliked when I was in MCKK) and at the same time fell in love with Islam. It was then when I decided to become a Muslim or, as I have written many times before, a 'Born Again Muslim'.

Within a few months I mastered the Quran (much to the amazement of my Tok Guru who said it takes years rather than just months to master the Quran). I started praying and fasting and even did the optional fast and prayers (to make up for the 27 years that I had missed as a fasik Muslim). Within a couple of years I did my first pilgrimage to Mekah, the first of about ten trips I made in all.

It was in Mekah soon after the Islamic Revolution of Iran when I met up with members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. I talked to them and joined their demonstrations while carrying pictures of Imam Khomeini. I was smitten by the Islamic Revolution and imagined the same thing happening in Malaysia.

I was now what many would probably label a Muslim militant or fundamentalist. But I was not a Shia, mind you. I was still a Sunni and held to my Sunni doctrine. But I began to question much of the beliefs and practices of Sunni Islam and considered Khomeini my hero and the Iranian Islamic Revolution my guiding light.

I suppose my exposure to other forms of Islam (where initially I was exposed to only one form of Islam) opened my eyes somewhat. 

But my love affair with the Iranian Islamic Revolution soon ended when I saw the brutality and intolerance in Iran. The revolution just replaced one draconian regime for another. Basically, it was the same old wine in a new bottle. The situation in Iran did not improve from the time of the Shah. In fact, it became worse.

My love for Anwar Ibrahim also ended at around the same time when he joined Umno. I fell in love with him and 'converted' to Islam because of what he said and did as the ABIM leader. Then I saw that he was never sincere in his struggle and was merely using Islam as a political platform in his ambition to get ahead.

It was not until 1998 that I 'returned' to Anwar, mainly because of the 'Black Eye' incident and the 'explosion' of the Reformasi movement. After 20 years I, again, became committed to Anwar's struggle for a reformed Malaysia and a libertarian or civil society. Nevertheless, I was still quite suspicious of Anwar because he has had a history of deviating from the struggle in the interest of his own political agenda.

For ten years until the 2008 general election I worked for Anwar's party at a pittance of RM2,500 a month when I could have earned five or six times that in the corporate world. In fact, at that time I was a Chairman and Director of a foreign-owned company, which I had shares in, and I was paid RM10,000 each time just to attend and chair the meetings. But I gave all that up to serve the party because it was not money but the cause that drove me.

The year 2008 was a new milestone for Malaysian politics. The gains made by the opposition in that election convinced me that my sacrifice had not been in vain. The ten years from 1998 to 2008 were the most difficult years for me. I practically lived in poverty and survived from hand to mouth. My 'mentor', Datuk Kamarul Baharin Abbas, can testify to this because it was he who helped pay my monthly allowance, which just covered my living expenses with nothing more to spare.

After the 2008 general election, and when Pakatan Rakyat formed the new Selangor government, my good friend, Ronnie Liu from DAP, offered me various positions in the state but I declined all offers. First of all, the ten years I spent working for the opposition was not about being rewarded with positions of power. Secondly, my cousin was the Sultan of Selangor and I did not want to get on his wrong side by working for the Selangor government in the event that there is a crisis between the state government and the palace.

My anxiety was the result of a meeting I had with His Highness the Sultan in 2001 soon after I was released from my first ISA detention. His Highness made it very clear that he was not too happy regarding my involvement with the opposition. It was a two-hour meeting in the palace and His Highness did not hide the fact that he did not like Anwar or trusted him one bit.

Anwar is anti-Monarchy, said His Highness, and Anwar was very much with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad in attacking the Monarchy during the 1980s Constitutional Crisis. I knew that because it was widely reported in the mass media at that time. In fact, I have personally heard both Dr Mahathir and Anwar attack the Rulers so I had no doubts in my mind that both Dr Mahathir and Anwar are anti-Monarchy.

But that was when Anwar was in Umno and when Anwar was Dr Mahathir's blue-eye boy and anointed successor. This is the new Anwar, the voice of reform. I believed, as many others did too, that Anwar had changed since his Umno days.

Then, in 2010, I met up with one of Anwar's closest Chinese advisors and financiers and we had a long discussion. This meeting in London was about a year after I had left the country.

We discussed what Anwar had planned for the future in the event Pakatan Rakyat forms the new federal government. And what was revealed is most alarming. It appears that Anwar has not changed his anti-Monarchy stance at all. A future Malaysia with Pakatan Rakyat as the federal government had no place for the Monarchy.

Yes, I am a libertarian. I believe in a civil society. But I do not believe in a Republic of Malaysia and the abolishing of the Constitutional Monarchy.

This was when I decided to part company with Anwar and wash my hands of his cause.

If I were asked to choose between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional I have no problems making that choice. If I were asked to choose between a Secular State and an Islamic State I have no problems making that choice as well. But if I were asked to choose between a Constitutional Monarchy and a Republic then you are placing me in a very difficult situation. I will have to choose the Constitutional Monarchy.

I was born in the UK, not in Selangor. However, in 1956, just a year or so before Merdeka, our family returned to Malaysia and on 2nd May 1956 my late father was declared a Subject of the Ruler of Selangor. Hence we are not just Malaysians or Selangorians. We are Subjects of the Ruler of Selangor. 

Therefore, my loyalty is, first, to His Highness the Sultan of Selangor, second to the State of Selangor, third to Malaysia, fourth to Islam, fifth to the Malays, and finally to Pakatan Rakyat, in that order of priority.

Hence, also, I can no longer stand with Anwar and his cause when that cause runs contra to the cause of the Monarchy. That is a choice I made in 2010 and is a decision I will not change. And it is a choice I have a right to make under a democracy. After all, libertarianism is about free will and individual rights. So what I have chosen is what libertarianism guarantees.




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