Sabtu, 7 Disember 2013

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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News

It will be Malay tsunami next, Utusan warns Umno

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 11:38 AM PST

Lee Shi-Ian, TMI

PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat will change their strategies to garner more support from Malays and Bumiputeras to create a "Malay tsunami" in the next general election, columnist Awang Selamat said today.

After the "Chinese tsunami" in the 13th General Election, as described by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Awang predicted the outcome of the 14th polls would revolve around the Malay votes.

"Umno will have a fierce fight on their hands from PAS and PKR in order to win support from the Malay majority. PAS and PKR are set to change their game plan," Awang said in his Sunday column in "Utusan Malaysia".

"The Umno supreme council needs to be humble as they will have nobody to blame but themselves if the party fails to retain Putrajaya in the next polls."

The party's mouthpiece, "Utusan Malaysia", reminded the supreme council members not to focus on their personal ambitions to the extent of forgetting Umno's fundamental principles.

Awang, the pseudonym for the newspaper's collective editorial team, said the supreme council members would be held responsible if Umno failed to defend its political position in the next general election.

"Be wary, while Umno is strong, it is not invincible. Everyone must take up the struggle and fight for Umno to be supported, especially by Malays and Bumiputeras," Awang said.



Where’s Pakatan’s national development plan?

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 11:21 AM PST

Since its 2008 historical sweep into the political forefront and its retention of two key states – Penang and Selangor - in GE13, the Pakatan Rakyat coalition has done doing but gripe, claims a NGO. 

Athi Shankar, FMT

An NGO here wants answers and a national development floor-plan from Pakatan Rakyat, which it claims has done "nothing"  todate except criticize the Barisan Nasional government and tarnish the country's reputation abroad.

Sensible & Ethical Malaysian United Team (Semut) president Huan Cheng Guan said that for every criticism hurled against the federal government, Pakatan was neither innocent nor blameless in not committing the same actions its leaders condemned.

"For all their criticisms at the federal government, has Pakatan proposed any concrete ways to overcome problems highlighted?

"Pakatan does not have a good record securing foreign investments on their own without riding on BN efforts.

" Have any of their leaders ever praised or promoted the country locally or internationally in speeches or social networking platforms?

"Pakatan have never assured Malaysians or foreigners that the country is a fantastic place to live and to invest, " he said in a  statement yesterday..

Huan said that since 2008, Pakatan was yet to produce a shadow cabinet to provide the much needed check and balance and prove their leaders can be better than BN leaders.

All they seemed to be doing is  complaining, ranting and disgracing the federal government on corruption, wastage and other issues, he said.

"Malaysians are keen to know what Pakatan has done for the country as a whole.

"Picture this scenario.  Two opposing factions declare their allegiance to their country.

"One works to develop the nation positively although not perfectly, while the other consistently runs down the country locally and abroad supposedly for the rakyat's sake.

"Internationally, the nation's prestige is on the downward trend. Many conclude that things are not well on the home front.

"So whom would you trust?" asked Huan.



Waking up to a good history lesson

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 10:05 AM PST

History is interesting if we learn to live it, rather than just treat it as another examination subject.

Wong Chun Wai, The Star

IT'S a bit hard to swallow. Imagine you are a housing developer in an area like, say, Xian in China with its terracotta soldiers, or around Stonehenge with its ring of standing stones in Wiltshire, England, and you say you have no idea of their significance.

Can you believe anyone working or living in the area when they say they have no idea of these historical structures?

Take it to a Malaysian level. Here we have a Malaysian developer who wants to build houses in Lembah Bujang – known internationally as a historical area of archaeological significance – telling us exactly that.

The developer isn't working in Jalan Alor or Jalan Petaling but is carrying out work in Malaysia's largest archaeological discovery site.

And this is what Bandar Saujana Sdn Bhd project manager Saw Guan Keat said after his workers flattened a candi, one of the ancient structures on that site. The contractors subsequently removed and disposed of all the material that made up the structure.

"We had a site visit before land clearing started in September. We saw a stone structure (the candi). We did not know what it was," he said.

This must be one of the most incredulous and outrageous statements of the year. And we thought that such statements could only come from our politicians.

According to Saw, they carried out a land search at the Kedah Land Office on Jan 14 this year before buying the eight lots of land from the previous owner, another housing developer.

"The search clearly stated that the land has no encumbrances. The company proceeded to buy the land in February. When we did another search at the Land Office on July 30, again we did not find any encumbrance," he said.

In simple language, an encumbrance means any obstruction, impediment, hurdle or claim that stands in the way. In other words, legally speaking, there was nothing to prevent him from starting work on the area.

The company, he said, only knew it had demolished a candi after reading about it in news reports.

"If we had known the structure was a historical site, we would not have cleared it. Our company merely took over the project, which was approved back in 1994 or 1995."

Saw lodged a report on the incident at the Merbok police station on Nov 29.

Well, that's a bit late now as the damage has been done. But if it is possible for the candi to be rebuilt, using the same ancient materials, then it has to be done.

But the positive aspect of the demolition of the candi and the controversy it has sparked off is that even the most ignorant Malaysians are waking up for a good history lesson.

Located near Merbok, Kedah, between Gunung Jerai in the north and Muda River in the south, the Lembah Bujang area comprises ruins that date back more than 2,000 years ago. There are reportedly more than 50 ancient tomb temples, called candi, that have been unearthed so far.

It has been reported that in the area of Lembah Bujang known as Sungai Batu, excavation works have revealed remains of jetties, iron smelting sites, and a clay brick monument dating back to 110AD, making it the oldest man-made structure to be recorded in South-East Asia.

As one who studied Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) and history up to Form Six, and subsequently at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, I have always had an interest in the period of Hindu-Buddhist influence in our country.

Reading the writings of Sabri Zain in his website, which has a section on the history of the Malay peninsula, we learn that when a Malay speaks a sentence of 10 words, five would be from Sanskrit, three from Arabic and the remaining of English, Persian, Chinese or other origins.

The words of foreign origin include guru (teacher), asmara (love), putera (prince), puteri (princess), syurga (heaven), samudra (ocean), belantara (ocean), kenchana (gold), sukma (soul) and even sambah (pray). So is the often-used term "bumiputera" for prince of the earth or "puasa" for fasting.

For the Chinese, many Taoists may not be aware that the famous deity, Guan Yin, isn't of Chinese origin but of Indian origin, with her Sanskrit name Padma-pani, meaning "Born of the Lotus". It is already well reported that the Goddess of Mercy was originally male.

History is interesting if we learn to live it, rather than just treat it as another examination subject.

History is not about dead people, ancient culture, races that disappeared, disregarded stone structures or dates that we have to commit to memory. Rather, it is about how these historical events have affected our daily lives. Without the past, there is no present and surely no future.

Of course, there are many people and regimes that seek to rewrite history to their advantage.

But those who seek to re-write history to suit a political agenda will learn soon enough that it will never work because the past has a way of creeping up on us.


Najib charts Umno’s Islamic direction

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:54 AM PST

(Bernama) - Umno closed  it 2013 General Assembly yesterday in high spirit and with a  commitment  to formulate concrete strategies to implement affirmative action to achieve Malay and Bumiputera agenda, as well as to uphold Islam.

The assembly, which is the first after the 13th general election (GE13) and October party polls, also agreed for Umno to continue its political transformation agenda at all levels.

At the GE13, Umno managed to win 88 out of 133 parliamentary seats won by Barisan Nasional (BN), compared to only 79 in 2008, thanks to the support from the Malays and Bumiputeras, especially in rural areas.

Umno president Najib Tun Razak stressed that the causes of Islam would continue to be fought by the biggest Malay party, including through amendments of party's constitution to recognise Islam as federal religion.

To define Islam, Umno will amend the Clause 3.3 of its constitution to recognise Islam as the federal religion, while Islam constitutes Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah, he said in his adjournment speech.

A total of 2,759 Umno delegates attending the assembly also heard Najib emphasise  the Bumiputera Empowerment Agenda, which he said would be made a national agenda and implemented by government-linked companies.

"For social justice, the positions of Malays and Bumiputera must be improved. This is our rights, but we are not sidelining the rights of others," he said.

On Umno's political transformation, Najib called on members to change their strategies for success based on the five transformation strategies for Umno to emerge as the party of hope and stay relevant.

On Thursday, Najib in his policy speech, said filling the transformation included efforts in strengthening the economy of the Malays and Bumiputera; upholding the syariah objectives; strengthening the party cadre; preparing the transformative machinery; and to draw up the Umno Key Performance Indicators or KPI.

Wanita Umno the 'backbone'

During the five-day assembly, Wanita Umno was also declared as Umno's 'backbone' based on its roles, hard work and contribution in ensuring success for the party, as well as the country's development, all this years.

Established in 1949 as Kaum Ibu Umno before being renamed as Wanita Umno in 1971, the movement now has 1.3 million members from 191 divisions and 20,797 branches nationwide.

For the sake of the party's survival. Umno is committed to implementing  the party cadreship development programme, involving aspects of creativity, personal skills and mastering the new media to face the challenges of the new political landscape.

This is to facilitate the delivery of party and government policies so that they could be accepted by the people in a responsive manner to resolve the grassroot's problems.


Dear Selangorians, your children and grandchildren will still be paying Hannah Yeoh’s pension

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:41 AM PST

By Helen Ang

The DAP has been going around town loudly proclaiming that Hannah Yeoh is the country's youngest ever Speaker. Therefore when her term as Speaker finishes, she will be eligible to collect a hefty pension for the rest of her life.

Do please remember that women live longer than men. Thus the pension to be paid to Hannah Yeoh – if she lives long and prospers – should ultimately touch tens of million ringgit, given that she is only 34 now.

Your Pakatan top (exco) politicians – "claps, claps, claps!" (a meme popularized in Twitterjaya by former DAP Serdang MP Teo Nie Ching) – had voted to give themselves a stratospheric pay rise, with Hannah Yeoh's being the second highest.

She voted to give herself an increase in her Speaker's salary amounting to RMRM16,400. The Speaker's salary is going to almost triple from RM6,100 to RM22,500 per month.

Her state assemblyman salary, separately, is slated to go up to RM11,250 per month from RM6,000. Therefore she will be collecting altogether RM21,650 in salary rise. This amount refers to the increment alone.

Are you aware that the Selangor state legislature (DUN) met only total of 21 days last year? The Selangor state assembly sittings in 2012 were — First Session (7 times: 19-23 March, 26-27 March), Second Session (4 times: 9-12 July), Third Session (10 times: 19-23 Nov, 26-30 Nov).

If we take the Speaker's basic monthly pay of RM22,500 multiply by 12 months, that makes RM270,000 per annum. If you divide that annual pay by the 21 days that the assembly sits throughout the year, this will give us a figure of RM12,857.14 to be received by Hannah Yeoh for her attendance at each day's sitting.

This is presuming that Hannah Yeoh presides over every single one of those 21 days. In the past, Hannah held the record for the most ponteng, i.e. she was the Selangor representative who had absented herself the most days from the DUN meetings. 

Since Malaysians mudah lupa, some of you may have already forgotten that the Pakatan Selangor state assemblymen (Aduns) had voted to give themselves a raise in allowance a mere two years ago – in April 2011.

Selangor Aduns are among the best paid and given in excess of RM10,800 (old rates) in allowances, inclusive of basic and special allowances, housing allowance, entertainment allowance, phone allowance, allowance for a driver and allowance for their constituency office expenditure.

The various allowances granted the Speaker has not been made public, so I'm unaware. However Hannah Yeoh's Speaker basic salary plus Adun basic salary plus Adun allowances add up to a take-home pay of at least RM44,560 ++ per month.

Malaysia's minimum wage is RM900. Therefore the Selangor Speaker will be earning almost 50 times the income of Malaysia's poor wage earner.

Last year the International Labour Organization did a world survey and found that the average monthly salary in Malaysia is USD 961 (RM3,107). Considering that the Selangor Speaker enjoys a lot of civil servants perks such as free healthcare and all that, Hannah Yeoh can be said to earn something like 15 times the income of the Average Mamat.

Perhaps if the Ordinary Joe learns to hone his tweeting and Instagram skills, he may have a bright future venturing into DAP populist politics.

At this juncture, some of you may want to trot out the trope that "You pay peanuts, you get Anwar" to justify the high pay for your Pakatan pollies.

"Don't tell me that the poorer you are, the more corrupt you become!", Umno Johor Baru MP Shahrir Samad was quite correct to exclaim.

It is insulting to suggest that a person with an income of RM6,000 will be more prone to corruption than his colleague with an income of RM12,000.

One can equally argue that the bigger the payout, the greater the greed. Someone who is used to pampering himself with relative comforts will grow to want more of the same.

This condition recalls the saying 'power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely'. The man with a smallish job responsibility may be content with a bribe of RM10,000 whereas the gatekeeper with a biggish clout may be expect his palm to be greased with at least RM100,000. In other words, small salaried man, small bribe, big salaried man, big bribe.

Shahrir also correctly pointed out that "corruption is a matter of GREED and lack of morals, not about a lack of money".

Some readers may recall the Enron scandal. Now don't tell me the Enron CEOs should have been paid even bigger salaries so that they will not succumb to temptation.

According to the article 'Pay Madness At Enron' in Forbes magazine (22 March 2002), the company's top five executives received payments of $282.7 million in the year 2000 alone. And during the five-year period between 1996 and 2000, Enron paid its top five execs more than USD500 million. Their lucrative paycheques did not deter the scandal from erupting, did it?

This recent episode of the Selangor Speaker and her Deputy's salary leap clearly displays how self-serving are the young Pakatan carpetbagger newbies, i.e. those who did not emerge from the ranks of the grassroots. Greedy buggers ...

When asked to justify why she deserved such a humongous remuneration (urm, what exactly is it that the Speaker does anyway?), the Selangor Speaker scatters her shotgun take potshots at the "First Lady", at "private jets" and at "diamonds (ring)".

So if there's a screw-up in Selangor, you can expect Hannah Yeoh to employ a similar diversion tactic and point her finger at some shortcoming apropos of nothing occurring in Putrajaya, Iskandar or Labuan.

Also BN representatives (Ministers, MPs) must beware if your children are not "babies" like hers but a bit older in age. The Pakatan politicians will automatically assume that your son or daughter are "involved in doing business with the government" (getting contracts).

Oh, wait a minute! I get it now the job specs of popular DAP politicians who have hordes of ardent followers provide excuses and partisan endorsement on why their favourite politician's obscene greed should be rewarded.

The job of the DAP top rung mascots in Selangor is to cultivate personality cults. It's a lucrative trade. And the safety net is always there with fanatical worshippers ready to step into the breach to aggressively defend their political icons, and slander critics and opponents.


Islamist conservatism in Malaysia

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:36 AM PST

By the time his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi pronounced Islam Hadhari, through which Islam was to be interpreted and applied through enlightened civilisational lenses, the Islamic bureaucracy had ossified into a monstrous elite whose ruthless hold on the Muslim populace was justified on the basis of Article 3(1).

Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, New Mandala

The transmission of Islam in the Malay-Indonesian world remains entrenched in history as one of the foremost examples of peaceful proselytisation of religion on a trans-continental scale. So successful was the continuous process from around the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, that the Islamic faith (agama) became comfortably embedded as a definitive criterion, apart from the Malay language (bahasa Melayu) and rulership (kerajaan), of Malayness – in reference to the broad category of Southeast Asia's indigenous population who were previously adherents of animism and variants of Hindu-Buddhist religious traditions prevalent in the archipelago. The sources, modalities, timing and other details of the genesis of Islam among the Malays had always been diverse – there were sufis or Muslim mystics and shias; Arabs, Chinese, Indians and Bengalis; sayyids, sheikhs and itinerant missionaries; merchants, traders and political escapees from the flux engulfing their lands of origin or transit.

With its kaleidoscopic provenance as the backdrop, Islam as understood and practised by Malay-Muslims prior to the era of the nation state never bore monolithic traits. On the contrary, accommodation of mores from a variety of civilisational traditions prevailed, as strongly reflected in the assortment of religious practices deriving from various ethno-cultural traditions that eventually assumed the label of being part of Malay-Muslim heritage. Hence we find for instance, in Penang, the boria musical tradition which traces its ancestry to Shiah festivities. Religio-cultural marhaban and berzanji troupes who commonly perform during Malay wedding receptions, in turn, owe their origins to rhythmic salutations of the Prophet Muhammad popularised by sufi congregations. Islam in Malaya, up till independence on 31 August 1957, had remained steadfast to the spirit of wide interpretation, as personified by its perennial willingness to accommodate the intricacies of local customs known as adat, and to tolerate the arrival of new cultural strands such as the Kaum Muda and even the West. The celebrated public debate in Kelantan on whether a dog's saliva could be considered impure or not in 1937 was indicative of the spirit of tolerance of diversity of views that prevailed in pre-independent Malaya. The differences of views between the traditional and reformist ulama notwithstanding, the terrain of Islam in Malaya was invariably pluralist from the pre-colonial through the colonial epochs.

Accompanying independence from Britain on 31 August 1957 was the inauguration of a Federal Constitution which installed Islam as the state religion via Article 3(1). The Constitution was arguably a hybrid document, which was nothing peculiar in view of the new nation state's eclectic sources of national history. Many analysts have put forward arguments that it had secular intent, but yet it seemed to elevate the religion of the majority of the population to a pedestal unreachable by other religions. The precise implications of Article 3(1) never made clear, the political role of Islam in independent Malaya and later Malaysia was left to the behest of Malay-Muslim politicians entrusted with governance of the fledgling nation state. In managing Islam as a component of public life, however, religious purity was made subservient to political expediency connected in one way or another to the political fortunes of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which has continuously ruled the country together with its non-Malay component partners in the multi-racial Perikatan (Alliance) and Barisan Nasional (BN: National Front) coalitions. The public fate of Islam was thereby laid in the hands of successive Prime Ministers and UMNO leaders, who resorted to the bureaucratisation of Islam in order to assist them. The expansion of the Islamic bureaucracy took place at a relentless pace under Dr. Mahathir Mohamad's Islamisation programme in the 1980s.

By the time his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi pronounced Islam Hadhari, through which Islam was to be interpreted and applied through enlightened civilisational lenses, the Islamic bureaucracy had ossified into a monstrous elite whose ruthless hold on the Muslim populace was justified on the basis of Article 3(1).

In contrast to his predecessors who had refrained from exploiting Islam as a political tool, whether out of their own ignorance or respect for constitutional niceties established by its secular-inclined drafters, Mahathir unabashedly championed Islam as the most effective way of outflanking his competitors for Malay loyalty, namely the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS: Islamic Party of Malaysia) and emergent dakwah organisations such as the Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM: Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia) and Darul Arqam, which later morphed into Rufaqa' Corporation and Global Ikhwan following Darul Arqam's banning in 1994. In doing so, Mahathir unwittingly (or not) inducted many elements of political Islam or Islamism into the official state apparatus. Inducting the Islamist (which needs to be differentiated from Islamic), strand into affairs of the state was a double-edged sword. While being a politically deft move in neutralising the Islamist challenge, the state also incorporated negative aspects of marrying the management of Islam with overt politics, parallel with the regressiveness of the Saudi Arabian state as a result of its adoption of the Wahhabi brand of conservative Islam during its inception.

The state's recent repression of unorthodox Islamic groups, as exemplified in renewed crackdowns on the Shiah and Global Ikhwan movements following the Thirteenth General Election, smacks of its inability to intellectually engage discontented elements within its majority Malay-Muslim population, who increasingly find the state's handling of Islam to be inept and downright hypocritical. It would have looked credible for the UMNO-controlled state if its actions were all guided by a sincere intent to defend the integrity of Islam, but the fact of the matter remains that when so-called transgressions against orthodox Islam are committed by elements organically connected to the state, the ruling elites indulge in deafening silence.

My personal contacts in the police's anti-terrorism unit admits that influential UMNO individuals at branch and division level also have connections to the Shiah, but the focus of the authorities, such as in seminars conducted across the country on the 'Shiah virus,' have portrayed as though the heterodoxy is an affliction linked solely to PAS. Solitary pronunciations by political elites that Shiism is acceptable for non-Malay Muslims such as Iranians (who provide good income by forming the bulk of Middle Eastern students conducting postgraduate research in Malaysian universities), but forbidden for Malay-Muslims, adds an ethnic dimension to the state's management of Islam (comprehension and practice of Islam) in Malaysia being a factor of ethno-religious politics rather than religious purity.



Adaptation and Extinction

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:26 AM PST
Why do you want to write something about Sunni Islam into the constitution when UMNO Malays don't have faith in our constitution?  
Sakmongkol AK47 
The principle of natural selection applied socially as used by Herbert Spencer for example refers to the ability and means by which a social organism adapts to its immediate, local environment. It's not used in the sense biologists understand the term.
It's the ability of a social organism to adapt to its social environment whereby it quickly acquires the traits that confers it advantages to survive. It's not merely being fit to survive but acquiring the traits that confer it advantages over others. In biology, as long as an organism can reproduce it must be by definition, fit. The fact that UMNO is there means it is already fit. It can reproduce political yahoos and the hallelujah types cant it?
But can it acquire the traits, values and culture to ensure political longevity? That requires leadership and quality members. UMNO lacks both. And that is good for all of us.
At the end of the UMNO PAU-wow recently, its president spoke of the imperative for UMNO to adapt. It simply means that UMNO must abandon its current traits and acquire new ones to ensure its longevity and survival.
From my own personal experience, there is a wide divide between what Najib says and what he will actually do. I am inclined to believe that when Najib spoke about adaptation, he intended it for public and not UMNO consumption. Much of what he said is lost amidst the din of morbid Malay triumphalism during the UMNO PAU-wow.
To me what Najib said was just empty talk. I draw this conclusion because he totally avoided qualifying his call for adaptation. Did he rein in the calls to assert Malay supremacy when delegates say UMNO should not care less if others call it racist? This actually affirms that UMNO is indeed a racist party. Now, when you don't have the culture and values that reject such extremism, UMNO racism will continue notwithstanding what its president says.

In redefining Islam, PAS-DAP reps take divergent paths

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:17 AM PST 

Joseph Sipalan, The Star 

A proposal by Putrajaya to specify "Sunni" as Malaysia's only legally recognised Islamic sect has drawn divergent views from two Muslim leaders in the multiracial Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact, with Islamist PAS backing the move and secular DAP labelling it "un-Islamic".

DAP assistant national publicity secretary Zairil Khir Johari said there was "no need whatsoever" to legally define the sort of Islamic ideology that is practised in Malaysia, as it would only lead to discrimination against other Islamic groups, driving a stake deeper into Muslim unity here.

But his PAS comrade Salahuddin Ayub, a vice-president in the Islamist party, tacitly agreed to the plan, saying it is important in Islam to streamline the ideology, especially since the practice of the religion has long been adopted as part and parcel of Malay culture.

"In things like this, the less state interference the better. After all, who are any of us to define religion?" Zairil said when contacted by The Malay Mail Online.

"For that matter, discriminating against other Muslim groups is in itself un-Islamic. Islam is Islam. There is no need to set it in stone. Islam is the religion of the federation, and that is good enough," the Bukit Bendera MP added.

But Salahuddin appeared to believe differently, pointing out that in Malaysia, the Sunni school of jurisprudence has long been practised and accepted as the country's brand of Islam.

"That has been the practice all the while in this country. In general, we accept that it is Sunnah wal Jamaah... but the approach must be polished," he said.

On Friday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the proposal would be brought before the government for discussion in a bid to prevent the spread of other Islamic ideologies, including the Syiah sect, in Malaysia.

National newswire Bernama quoted the minister as saying that by inserting the words "Sunnah wal Jamaah" in the definition of Islam in the Federal Constitution, it would ensure that Muslims who follow other ideologies are prohibited from spreading their teachings.

It is widely accepted that "Sunnah wal Jamaah" is the de-facto ideology adopted by the majority of Muslims in Malaysia, though religious authorities have long grappled with pockets of different sects that have taken root across the country.

But Zairil brushed aside Umno's call to specify the denomination that can be legally practised in the country as mere fear mongering so they can remain as the country's most powerful political party.

"Their standard modus operandi is to divide and rule. All these games by Umno are to keep the Malays fearful, to create the enemy... the other, so they can mobilise their people.

"The whole idea is to create a siege environment, because Umno is irrelevant the moment the Malays can see that Umno is not taking care of them.

"They are looking for ways to distract from the economic agenda," he said, citing the subsidy rationalisation, the recent hike in rates for public amenities and the 2015 implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

On his end, Salahuddin reminded that ideological differences have been a long-standing issue among Muslims in Malaysia, particularly in the case of Perlis, which he said has not adopted any particular Islamic ideology for a long time now.

"It is normal for a Muslim country to review acts or enactments related to the practice of Islam from time to time.

"But the most important thing is that religion falls under the (jurisdiction of the) state and the sultans, the Council of Rulers.

"There is a need for Ahmad Zahid to have a roundtable meeting and get input and advice from the state governments, because this does not only concern the federal government. Even in the Constitution, it says that this matter runs concurrently with the states," he said.

Prior to the creation of PR in 2008, ties between DAP and PAS were at times tenuous and even directly antagonistic as both parties disagreed on how Islam should be approached in the national context.

DAP has long maintained that Malaysia is a secular state, insisting that Islam's position as the religion of the federation does not make the country an Islamic state.

PAS, on the other hand, continues to hold on to the aim of establishing an Islamic state — as outlined in the party's constitution — despite easing up on the issue in recent years to accommodate their partners in the PR coalition.

The two parties, however, still lock horns every so often over issues related to Islam, with the latest tiff surfacing early last month when DAP chairman Karpal Singh suggested that all religious- and race-based professional or political bodies be de-registered to protect the unity and interests of Malaysia's multi-racial society.

At the close of the Umno general assembly yesterday, party president and prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that his party would be taking the lead in formalising "Sunni" as Malaysia's brand of Islam in its internal constitution.

Several Muslim lawyers, however, have voiced out that any move to gazette this in the Federal Constitution, the highest law of the country, would be "unconstitutional" as it would entirely wipe out the Malay-Muslim identities of non-Sunni Muslims in Malaysia.

Former Umno minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim recently echoed the same, arguing that hardline Islamic leaders who seek to punish Syiah Muslims here may only "destroy the country".

He likened the crackdown to the intra-faith conflict raging among Arab nations and urged Malaysians not to go down the same road as their Muslim brethren there.

"Are they Syiah Muslim? Obviously they are; otherwise Jakim would not be interested in them.

"So if you are Muslim, but not of the variety accepted by Jakim, you get punished... If this is not stupidity, what is?"

"Just because the Arabs partake in Syiah-Sunni warfare doesn't mean we have to follow. Do we want those killings in this great country?" he said in his tirade on Twitter in August.


Rallying the Malay ground

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:13 AM PST

Umno is at its most stable in years after a successful party election but it is taking nothing for granted as it prepares to dominate the new political landscape and win the young Malay vote.

Joceline Tan, The Star

The floods in the east coast states succeeded in pushing news about the Umno general assembly off the front pages of most newspapers.

News about the rising flood waters in parts of Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu and Johor dominated the pages of all the print media including the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia.

Umno leaders from the affected states had to skip the annual do and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak headed off for Pahang shortly after delivering his opening speech on Thursday morning. Kuantan, the state capital of Pahang, had been inundated and even parts of Pekan was under water.

The next morning, deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin flew off to Terengganu where Kemaman and Dungun have been badly affected.

The general assembly is the party's biggest annual show but the east coast states are the Malay heartland. Acts of God crises like these are Umno's forte. Their management of such crises are partly why they are known as the party that membela rakyat, that takes care of the people's needs. It explains why Umno is still the staple party of the majority of Malays.

Umno's crisis response is well-tested. They know exactly what to do and that was why they told Kuantan MP and PKR politician Fuziah Salleh to return to Kuantan to help her constituents instead of trying to move a motion on the flood situation in Parliament. They saw her as a drama queen out to score publicity in the midst of a crisis.

Umno means to be the political party of choice among the Malays. That has been what much of the sound and fury from the recently concluded general assembly has been all about.

For several years now, Umno had tried to market itself as a party that could be accepted by all races. But the Chinese snub in the general election has been a sobering experience. Umno knows now that the Chinese have rejected the party and will continue to do so for some time to come.

At the same time, Umno members know now that they can still form the government without Chinese support. Umno is the party to beat and as long as Umno can secure the Malay ground, it will have the upper hand.

The explicit message coming from the Umno gathering is that Umno needs to reach out to the six million new voters in the next general election. The majority of the new voters will be Malays and Umno needs to secure their votes if it is to stay in power.

The implicit message is that they are not going to lose any more sleep about the Chinese vote. If the Chinese want to go with the other side, Umno has no choice but to rally the Malay ground to stay on top.

This is what the Malay rhetoric at the general assembly has been largely about.

Speakers finally felt free to dwell on bangsa, agama dan negara or race, religion and nation type of issues or what some have diplomatically termed the "core values" of Umno.

The Malays who are drawn to Umno range from centrist-thinking types to the right wingers. But they are basically defined by race and religion and many of them are nationalistic thinking Malays who will stand up for king and country.

The call for 1Melayu will resonate among many Umno members even as some of the top leaders try to play it down. It is evident that some in Umno feel that their president's 1Malaysia initiative has failed.

Penang Umno veteran Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir who made the call will probably be hailed as a Malay hero when he returns to Penang where his party's dislike for the DAP-dominated government has intensified rather than eased off.

Commentary on more proactive policies to help advance the bumiputra economy also dominated the assembly. Many of them quoted the statistics cited by their president - bumiputra will comprise 69% or two-thirds of the population by 2020 and it is only just and timely that economic policies be aimed at helping the majority of the population.

It is also likely that Umno members believe that their president did the right thing in defending the kalimah Allah as exclusive to the Muslims.

They are also relieved that Najib did not take the flip-flop path of PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang who initially said the "Allah" word could be used by all, then changed his mind and said only Muslims could use it.

Umno leaders sense that PAS Islamic agenda has been seriously compromised because of DAP's might. Umno wants to fill the vacuum to defend the faith and it will not compromise on those who propagate deviationist teachings.

The Chinese will probably view this Umno general assembly as yet another indication that Umno wants to punish them.

But where Umno members are concerned, their overtures were spurned, and they now need to take care of their core business of wooing Malay support.

Najib's challenge in the next few years will be to manage this trend so that it does not go overboard even as he continues to reach out to the other communities.

His Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin's bid to take the centrist and progressive path on issues will also help to counterbalance things.

The Umno ground is still quite restless. Things have not been the same since the 2008 political tsunami and the party is edging its way back to its old equilibrium.

Najib's edge over the other political parties is that his party is at its most stable in years.

The fact that he and Muhyiddin won their posts uncontested says a lot. Muhyiddin and the three vice-presidents are extremely loyal to Najib. On top of that, the leaders of the three wings won their posts in a convincing fashion.

There is also a sense of renewal in the party. The new election system has ushered in more than 60% new faces at the division level and when the new supreme council took their place on stage, there was a good mix of old and new.

Umno's transformation is on track.

Young and progressive ulama figures are starting to make their presence felt in the party. Ustaz Fathul Bari Mat Jayah who was one of the debaters came in with the highest number of votes in the contest for the exco of the Umno Youth wing.

But Khairy is the trail-blazer in Umno Youth. He scored a perfect victory in the party election, he is a news-maker and everyone can see that he is different from the run-of-the-mill Youth leaders. He is also controversial in an exciting way.

Not everyone in Umno likes him but most of them agree that he could be a future prime minister if he plays his cards well. The Youth wings of the Pakatan Rakyat parties see him as their greatest threat and that alone makes him an asset to his own party.

Another notable change is the emerging presence of younger and intelligent women within the Wanita and Puteri wings. They are the product of the NEP, they are impressive in a contemporary way and they are giving their Umno Youth counterparts a run for the money.

The days when nervous-looking Wanita ladies stood at the rostrum to deliver rambling grandmother stories are over. This year, some of the debates of substance came from confident and professional women speakers and one of them was Datin Nor Sabrina Mohd Noor, 34, the youngest Kedah executive council member.

Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil who has been talking about grooming a core group of women in the wing, will be spoilt for choice. These younger women will shape the future of Wanita Umno.

Shahrizat also scored a morale booster for her wing which was officially recognised as the "Backbone of Umno.

Vice-president (VP) Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal in his winding-up, addressed her as ketua Tulang Belakang Umno (chief the backbone of Umno). Shafie is riding high after coming in close behind Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in the VP contest.

Many in Umno see Zahid as most likely to move up should the No 2 post become available but Shafie should not be discounted as a contender.

But Zahid is such a charming populist and it was evident that he is a crowd favourite with his infectious smile, tough talk and cheeky remarks. His party president teased him as the ketua umum Jawa in reference to his Javanese roots.

The Home Minister drew loud support from the floor with his pledge to be firm on crime and security as well as to act against Syiah activities which may divide the Muslim faith in the country.

Zahid also made a daring accusation against the PAS deputy president. He did not name him but it was clear that he was referring to Mohamed Sabu.

The third VP Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein had to follow the proceedings this year from his hospital bed. He suffered chest pains last Monday and had to undergo an angioplasty.

This has been a difficult year for the Defence Minister who almost lost the VP post to Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir. It has also been a year of wake-up calls in terms of his health and politics.

Hishammuddin is a notorious chain-smoker, hence his nickname Hisap-mmuddin ("hisap" means smoke). But he has promised his cousin and party president that he will give up smoking.

Najib is often seen as a decorous speaker. But over the last few years, he has let it all hang out when addressing the troops.

His off-the-cuff style has improved and yesterday, as he delivered his winding-up speech at the general assembly, he made it clear that the party would not be apologetic in standing up for the Malays and the faith.

He knew that party members felt that he had given more priority to those who did not support the government over them. Yet, they were the ones whose support helped return Umno to power.

In that sense, this party assembly was very much about acknowledging that and also to reassure the party faithful that the party's core values are intact.


PM wraps up 67th general assembly with declaration

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:11 AM PST 

(The Star) - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wrapped up the Umno annual general assembly with a declaration that the party had always been fair to all.

"We want everyone to be with us, the Chinese, the Indians, the Kada­zans and the rest, moving forward.

"But Umno must be at the helm because under us others can be assured of fairness. Under others, there is no assurance that the Malays can get justice," the Umno president said in an emotionally-charged winding up speech yesterday.

Najib said that Umno had always been considerate and only implemented what it thought was best for the country's development and national unity and justice.

Even during the implementation of the New Economic Policy, Umno never denied the rights of others or did anything detrimental to the economic growth of others, he said.

"We are fair to all. Do not accuse us of being racist, of being this and that.

"We have to do this (defending the economic position of the Malays) because this is our right," Najib said at the end of the five-day assembly.

He added that he understood the message sent by the delegates that the party must do its utmost to fulfil the bumiputra economic agenda.

Strengthening the economic position of the bumiputra was necessary to ensure lasting stability in the country as they made up 67% of the population, Najib said.

"If the majority is sidelined, the situation will be grave. For the sake of social justice and long-term stability, we must ensure that the wealth of the country is shared equally," he added.

He also said that upgrading the bumiputra economy was a national agenda and part of the key performance index for chief executive officers of all Government-linked companies.

"We will see at the end of the year if their score cards are good. If they are, then they can continue," he said.

At a press conference later, the Prime Minister said the commitment of Umno and the Government to boosting the economy of bumiputras was not about rewarding Malay voters, but about doing what is right.

"We can't sideline the majority of the population," he said, adding that the implementation of the NEP had benefited other races as well.

Najib told the assembly that Umno would change its constitution to strengthen the status of Islam as the religion of the federation in line with the Federal Constitution.

In the amendment, he said Islam would also be defined as the teaching of Sunnah Waljamaah.

Asked later if the definition would be included in the Federal Constitution, Najib said this would require the consent of the Conference of Rulers and two-thirds majority support in the Dewan Rakyat.

Amid cheers to his question of "Where would the Malays be without Umno," Najib reiterated that the transformation of the party would continue for it to be relevant in the new political landscape.

"Umno must be a party for the future, not merely content to be proud of its past achievements," Najib told the delegates representing 3.4 million members.

In “Agama dan Bangsa”, Umno sees a lifeline

Posted: 07 Dec 2013 09:06 AM PST

A party insider said that the strong stance on Islam was to capitalise on PAS's internal rifts which have seen it sending mixed messages on religious issues, notably the spread of Shia Islam and the Allah issue. 

Sheridan Mahavera, TMI

The Umno president's first two messages for his party grassroots to take home represent the party's hopes to get back flagging support among urban Malay Muslims and check the influence of its main political rival, PAS.

The first was that the party was taking back the mantle of "true defender of Islam" from PAS.

The second was that the party was going full steam ahead with its Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Agenda, which seeks to serve the interests of Malay-Muslim businessmen.

The second message is easily understood. As Datuk Seri Najib Razak has declared time and again, Umno has increased its support among Malay Muslims.

The Barisan Nasional, which Umno leads, was returned to federal power by a combination of votes from Malay Muslims, Sabahan and Sarawakian Muslims and non-Muslim Bumiputera.   

And then in his speech at the start of the assembly, he said those two communities make up 67% of the population.

So by simple math, if Umno and the BN can harness the support of at least 60% of them, it can return to power in the 14th general election.  

As was repeatedly said by the party's grassroots, and reaffirmed by Najib during the assembly, these are their hardcore supporters.

To increase its support among urban Malay Muslims, Najib himself said that he will personally see to it that the CEOs of government-linked companies help Malay Muslim contractors and vendors.

"They will be getting a KPI on this and they will have to submit report cards on how they have met their targets," said Najib to rapturous applause from the audience at the assembly.

The first message, on the other hand is more subtle in its aim but has a far reaching impact.

A slew of the party's grassroots leaders took to the stage to demand that the authorities persecute Shia Muslims, homosexuals, liberals and anyone it thinks has insulted Islam.

They also wanted the government to enforce the ban on the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims.

They even wanted the Federal Constitution to be amended to declare that the official religion of the federation was the Sunni branch of Islam.

Najib did not go this far, saying only that the party's constitution would be changed to say that Umno only recognises Sunni Islam.


Muslim scholars urged Muslims to unite

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 06:55 PM PST

(NST) - Disunity among Muslims will only benefits the enemies of Islam, said Ummul Qura university aqidah profesor Lutfullah Khaujah.

He said it is better for Muslims to focus on similarities to foster unity, than to fight among themselves due to disagreements between different groups.

"The enemies of Islam will rejoice if Muslims fight among themselves over some differing views,"

"Muslim should instead focus on the basic tenets of Islam which everyone agrees on as the basis to unite," he said.

Speaking at a press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre here yesterday, Lutfullah said Muslims in Malaysia are fortunate to have the presence of Islam highlighted prominently by Islamic institutions such as the syariah court.

Also present at the press conference were Masjidil Haram imam Halid Ali Alablaji Al Ghamidi and the Saudi Arabia embassy Islamic counsellor Dr Abdul Rahman Al Belaihi.

Umno Youth exco Fathul Bari Jahaya acted as interpreter for them.

Asked about allegations in opposition-friendly websites that Halid was a Wahabi sect follower and the Friday prayer at PWTC led by Halid being void, Lutfullah said there is no such thing as a Wahabi sect.

"We are of the Hambali sect and part of the ahli sunnah wal jamaah (Sunni). The term 'Wahabi' has never been part of the Muslim lexicon," he said.

He pointed out that such differing views will only drive Muslims to fight among themselves. Commenting about the contention that hudud implementation is a prequisite for an Islamic country, he said Muslims should emulate Prophet Muhammad where Islamic laws are concerned.

"Even the prohibition of alcohol came in stages, beginning with highlighting its negative effects and then the banning of those who had consumed alcohol from the places for solah (prayer)," he said.

Lutfullah and Halid both lauded the proposal to add ahli sunnah wal jamaah to define Islam in the Constitution.

Halid said it will help curb the spread of teachings that are detrimental to Islam.

"The Muslims in Malaysia should stand behind the government in its efforts to strengthen Islam and its institutions,"

He said the presence of Islam is already strong in Malaysia and further strengthening should be done in stages.

DAP Kedah tolak sesi dialog bersama Zairil

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 06:48 PM PST

(Sinar Harian) - Semua cawangan DAP di Kedah menolak penganjuran sesi dialog bersama Pengerusi Interimnya, Zairil Khir Johari yang dijadualkan Isnin ini.

Bendahari DAP Kedah, Law Theng Hooi berkata, penolakan dibuat kerana Pendaftar Pertubuhan (ROS) tidak mengiktiraf lantikan jawatankuasa interim.

Sehubungan itu, semua cawangan sepakat menolak dialog itu dan tidak akan patuh kepada mana-mana arahan jawatankuasa eksekutif pusat (CEC) kerana belum diiktiraf ROS.

"Memang kita bertegas dari dulu lagi bahawa tidak akan mengiktiraf jawatankuasa interim DAP Kedah kerana ROS belum mengiktiraf pelantikannya.

"CEC tidak mempunyai hak dan kuasa untuk melantik Zairil sebagai Pengerusi Interim kerana kita masih mempunyai pengerusi yang sah," katanya kepada Sinar Harian, hari ini.

Difahamkan, dialog akan berlangsung di Alor Setar pada 9 Disember dan Sungai Petani 10 Disember.

Beliau yang juga Ketua Cawangan DAP Taman Kristal, Mergong berkata, ahli tetap yang ingin hadir dialog itu tidak akan dihalang.

"Kami (DAP Kedah) tidak akan halang kalau ada ahli yang nak hadir dialog bersama Zairil. Tetapi semua cawangan DAP negeri ini sepakat tidak hadir," katanya.

Menurutnya, sebagai sebuah parti yang mengamalkan demokrasi, DAP pusat seharusnya memberi penjelasan kepada jawatankuasa interim mengenai situasi yang sedang berlaku dalam DAP Kedah agar tidak menjadi lebih keruh.

Theng Hooi turut menyarankan jawatankuasa interim yang dilantik CEC dapat memberi laluan kepada jawatankuasa yang sah, berdasarkan pengiktirafan yang diberikan oleh ROS, 4 Disember lalu.

Pada masa sama, beliau menggesa dialog berkenaan tidak diteruskan demi keharmonian parti.

"ROS mengeluarkan surat pengiktirafan bahawa Lee Guan Aik adalah Pengerusi DAP Kedah yang sah dan CEC tidak mempunyai hak untuk melantik jawatankuasa interim bagi menggantikan Guan Aik berikutan lantikan CEC juga belum diiktiraf.

"Sekarang ini terpulang kepada DAP pusat dan ROS untuk menentukan sama ada dialog itu mendapat kebenaran. Kita ada undang-undang dan perlu patuh kepadanya. Kalau tidak dibenarkan ROS, maka satu tindakan undang-undang perlu diambil kepada mereka yang terbabit," katanya.

Sebelum ini, Zairil berkata, akan mengadakan dialog bersama semua cawangan DAP Kedah bagi menyelesaikan masalah dalaman yang berlaku.

Menurutnya, ia tetap diteruskan meskipun ROS mengiktiraf Guan Aik sebagai Pengerusi DAP Kedah yang sah.

Zairil dilantik oleh CEC DAP bagi menggantikan Guan Aik, selepas DAP pusat menghantar satu surat kepada Guan Aik pada 10 Mei lalu.


‘Declare war against deviant teachings’

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 06:39 PM PST

(Bernama) - An all-out war must be carried out against deviant teachings as they could divide the Muslims and go against the teachings of the Sunnah Wal Jamaah, which is practiced by Muslims in Malaysia.

The Syiah ideology which originated from the Middle East not only went against the faith but could also destroy the country due to the differences in religious practices.

The ideology had already been declared as 'haram' or forbidden by the National Fatwa Council at a special discussion or 'muzakarah' in 1996 and must be addressed aggressively by the authorities and the Islamic Religious Council as it clearly threatened the Muslims' faith, thus affecting solidarity among Muslims in the country.

Strongly upholding the Sunnah Wal Jamaah, independent preacher Mohd Fikri Che Hussain said Umno, as the largest Malay and bumiputera political party championing the Islamic cause, must act quickly to check the Syiah ideology.

"As is the case in countries like Syria, the Syiah proponents are embroiled in civil wars because of the differing ideologies between the Syiah and 'Ahlul Sunnah'. Thus, before the situation gets out of hand, the government must take stern action," he told Bernama.

The fact is that there are 81 deviationist groups that were actively operating throughout the country.

According to the chairman of the Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah Organisation Malaysia, Abu Syafiq Mohd Rasyiq Mohd Alwi, five of the groups were the Syiah, al-Arqam, Hizbut Tahrir, Wahabi and Tarikat Naqshabandi teachings.

Mohd Fikri said the Islamic education system in schools and the universities must be strengthened and streamlined by focusing on their faith so that the future generation would not be easily influenced and deceived by deviationist teachings.

"The threat from the Syiah will only be apparent in countries which did not take action to suppress its influence," he said.

Actually there are advantages and disadvantages in the proposal to define Islam according to the practice adopted by the 'Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah' in this country.

The head of the Muslim Transformation Bureau, Malay Consultative Council, Mohamed Ghazali Md Noor conceded that the proposal was good but required in-depth discussions and must be studied in detail in a wide context.

"Islamic bodies in the country such as the Islamic Development Department Malaysia (Jakim) and other non-governmental organisations must be proactive and effective in carrying out such efforts, besides tightening enforcement," he said.

Former PAS deputy president Nasharudin Mat Isa believed the proposal was a good move but there must be follow-up action too.

Acknowledging that Islam was facing major challenges that not only involved the Syiah teachings, but also the demands of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which were hiding behind human rights movements, Mohd Fikri wanted the government to be more sensitive to the current environment.

"The younger generation nowadays are seen to be keen to be closer to religion. What is feared is that they get involved in deviationist teachings and went against the teachings of the Sunnah. Thus, the government must look into this development," he added. 


Bersih’s aims for ‘one-on-one with PM’

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 06:30 PM PST

The coalition intends to meet with the prime minister for the first time to discuss the appointment of a "fair and neutral" election commissioner.

Anisah Shukry, FMT

Frustrated with the Election Commission's (EC) unceasing "ineptitude", polls watchdog Bersih 2.0 has announced its intention to engage directly with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to discuss electoral issues plaguing the country.

The meeting, which Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah hopes will take place within the next year, will focus on the flaws in the election process and the role of the EC.

"We can't do it this year, as it is already coming to an end. But we do have the intention to meet with the prime minister, and with him alone, so we will be communicating with him soon," she told FMT.

Maria, who was elected chairperson in Nov and came into the position just this month, said the coalition was bypassing the EC to meet Najib directly because he had the powers to appoint the election commissioners.

"So if the PM is going to appoint a new chief, we are hoping he will take into consideration all the flaws that we bring up to him during our proposed meeting, and therefore appoint someone more fair and deserving of the position," said Maria.

This will be the first attempt by the coalition to directly engage with the prime minister in a one-on-one meeting.

Previous efforts such as inviting him to its events, as well as holding global rallies have so far failed to garner positive attention from Najib, despite the massive influence Bersih wields.

However, Maria said she would not be pessimistic over the chances that Najib would agree to a meeting with Bersih when they write to him.

'Take responsibility for your mistakes'

Meanwhile in a statement yesterday, Bersih took the EC to task for allegedly failing to take responsibility for its errors during the 13th general election – most notably over the issue of the easily washable indelible ink.

"The (EC's) statement admitted to the failure of the indelible ink but evaded responsibility for them…the statement did not acknowledged(sic) flaws in procurement process of the so-called indelible ink used for GE13, which cost taxpayers RM7.1 million.

"Nor did the EC take responsibility for its ludicrous excuses following widespread discontent over the failure of the indelible ink," office-bearers of the coalition's steering committee said in a joint statement.

The coalition was referring to the EC's 11-page post-mortem statement released a week ago detailing seven flaws in its handling of the May 5 polls.

In the statement, the EC acknowledged that the ink had stained ballot papers, its implementation was not explained thoroughly, and that the ink could be washed off and took to long to dry.

But it further added that they had since improved from feedback given by the media, and the two subsequent by-elections was testament to that.

Besides indelible ink, the post-mortem statement touched upon the lack of training and briefing of the election workers, its difficulty in detecting a person's residential and bankruptcy status during nomination, and the difficult EC officers faced when executing their duties during the campaign period.



BN partners: Najib should talk to Anwar

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 05:56 PM PST

Anisah Shukry, FMT

In an unexpected turn of events, Barisan Nasional component parties MCA, MIC and Gerakan said they welcomed engagement between Pakatan Rakyat and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, "as long as it benefits the people".

Their openness to the possibility of inter-party discussions flies in the face of comments made by Umno leaders that Najib was "too busy" to accommodate Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's invitation to talk on matters of national unity.

"To me, there is no harm with any discussions. I think that it is good to discuss among each other how the country can improve. There has been too much politicking this year," said Gerakan president Mah Siew Keong.

"Election is over, 505 is over, so let us all work together to build the nation. I think the prime minister has a lot of plans to move the country forward, so let's put aside our differences," he added.

He warned the PKR de facto leader not to politicise every issue and to use the talks, should they take place, as a platform to support what was good for the people.

MIC central working committee member S Murugesan said that as prime minister of Malaysia, Najib should be open to talks with "everybody".

"But of course, whatever the terms are must be agreed upon by the component parties. For instance, the discussions should be strictly about what can be done to benefit the country, and not for politicking.

"As the prime minister of the country, I believe that he should be able to discuss with anyone for the benefit of the country."

Former MIC vice president SK Devamany also welcomed the talks, adding that remaining a fractured government would only harm the rakyat.

Time for real 'inclusiveness'

The Perak state assembly speaker said the Pakatan-Najib discussions would be in line with the "inclusiveness" ideal as outlined in the New Economic Model, which he said he had worked on during his time as deputy minister in the prime minister's department.

"All parties must play a role in bringing the country forward, and this is facilitated by us all coming together.

"Pakatan Rakyat should come before the prime minister with a full proposal on how we can help the rakyat. The more we are fighting, the more the rakyat will suffer," Devamany told FMT.



The 7 threats against Muslims in Malaysia, according to Perkasa’s Zulkifli Noordin

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 05:07 PM PST 

Hasbullah Awang Chik, TMI 

Perkasa today highlighted seven threats to the survival of Malay-Islam in Malaysia and warned Putrajaya that the 14th general election may turn out to be a "Christianisation Tsunami" if the threats are not dealt with seriously.

The vice-president of the Malay rights group, Datuk Zulkifli Noordin, said the threats included Pakatan Rakyat, Singapore, non-government organisations (NGOs) and liberal Malays.

He pointed out that the move by Christians to drag the Allah issue to court was provocative and one which insulted Muslims.

"Their failure in the appellate court did not deter them as they attempted to drag it into the international arena using the United Nations.

"The Christian movement has received support from a faction of Malays who are hell-bent on capturing Putrajaya at all costs.

"If the 13th general election was labelled as a 'Chinese Tsunami', I would not be surprised if the 14th general election turns out to be a 'Christianisation Tsunami'," Zulkifli was quoted in today's Utusan Malaysia.

He then trained his guns at the DAP, saying that the Chinese-based party is the main threat to Muslims because of its "chauvinistic, racist, extremist and anti-Malay attitude which is strongly prevalent within the party".

Zulkifli highlighted the controversy surrounding Jelutong MP Jeff Ooi, who was forced to apologise publicly to the staff of the Penang Municipal Council for calling them "kucing kurap", as an example.

"As the majority of the Penang Municipal Council staff are Malays, calling them 'kucing kurap' proves how chauvinistic and racist the party is," Zulkifli said, adding that Ooi had failed to issue an immediate apology.

"It is as if apologising to the Malays is an insult. Remember how DAP national publicity chief Tony Pua labelled the officers and staff of the Registrar of Societies as Umno's running dogs?"

Another threat mentioned by Zulkifli was Parti Keadilan Rakyat and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Calling PKR irrelevant, he blamed Anwar for causing a split among the Malays in his quest to take over Putrajaya.

"Pakatan Rakyat has given a political lifeline to DAP to penetrate into constituencies which it had previously been unable to enter.

"This is a coalition which is led by a man who has been hauled to court twice on moral charges involving his own staff," he said, referring to the two sodomy charges against Anwar. 


‘Fighting PAS is a jihad’

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 04:58 PM PST

(Fz) - Kelantan Umno declared that their quarrel with PAS for all these years was not due to reasons such as hate, revenge or over colours but it was all in the name of jihad, a religious duty of Muslims.

This declaration was made by Ketereh delegate, Ahmad Termizi Musa during his speech on the closing day of the Umno General Assembly today.

"Umno is fighting PAS not due to the name. Umno is not fighting PAS because of the colours. Umno fights PAS not because of hate. Umno fights PAS not due to revenge.

"Believe me my dear Muslims, we fight PAS because it is a jihad," said Ahmad Termizi.

Ahmad Termizi was speaking in the context of the situation in Kelantan where he said that the state government has been using its religious schools as platforms to mould the youth towards their own political beliefs.

He said that parents were keen to send their children to religious schools that cater to both religious and academic syllabi.

"A majority of parents are interested to send their children to religious schools that integrate religious studies with academic studies," he said.

However, according to Ahmad Termizi, the Kelantan education department receives a lot of applications from parents to send their children to National Religious Secondary Schools (SMKA).  More than 5,000 applications are received, but there are insufficient places available as Kelantan only has six SMKAs.

This means it could only provide about 1,200 places, so the balance of 4,000 applicants do not get places in SMKAs. So parents who wish to send their children to religious schools resort to sending them to state government schools which are often Arabic-centric religious schools.

"Kelantan is a very different state when compared to others. It is not the same with other states.

"What is happening that makes us worry is that children who are sent to learn at Arabic religious schools of the state government are moulded to meet their (PAS state government) needs and benefit their political struggle.

"That is how they have maintained their governance for more than 23 years," he told delegates.

Read more at:

Zahid orders action against Mat Sabu over alleged Syiah links

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 04:56 PM PST 

(MMO) - Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today issued an order for religious authorities to clamp down on PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu over his alleged links to the banned Syiah movement.

Addressing a packed auditorium on the last day of Umno's 64th general assembly, Zahid — who is also an Umno vice-president — said his ministry will no longer tolerate any elements that are seen as a threat to national security.

"PAS, set aside politic interests. This is about akidah (faith) and national security... I am surprised how their party elections installed a Syiah as the number two leader in PAS," he said in his winding up speech, in a clear reference to Muhamad Sabu.

"We are done laying low. Jamil Khir, KDN gives you the power to take action against (that) PAS leader," he said to thunderous applause from the over 2,000 delegates.

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Call to set up Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah institute

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 04:53 PM PST 

(MMO) - Johor Umno has urged the government to set up an institute on Ahli Sunnah Wal Jamaah in an effort to ward off the spread of Syiah and deviant teachings. 

Johor Islamic Religious Committee chairman Abd Mutalib Abdul Rahim said Johor already had such institute which was found to be effective in containing liberalism, pluralism and Al-Arqam. 

"Previously, there were only a handful of them, but now they have a number of followers. They used to be a covert operation, but now they operate openly and dare to challenge the authorities. 

"Ironically, we are still trapped in comfort zone. We have not been taking action against them until the problem gets out of hand," he said when supporting the motion on religion and education at the 2013 Umno General Assembly here today.  

Hence, Abd Mutalib said the institute could play a major role in curtailing falsehood and deviant beliefs. 

Perlis Umno proposed that the Home Ministry take action against the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) under 'Ops Cantas' for poisoning the minds of the people. 

Its representative, Ramli Sharif said stern action should be taken against Comango for denigrating Islam and disrupting unity.  


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