Human Rights day: Discrimination and persecution upon Minority Hindus in Bangladesh condemned in Dhaka, Bangaon and Kolkata.
Upananda Brahmachari | HE Media Bureau | New Delhi | 11 Dec 2013::
On the Human Rights Day on 10th December, various Rights Groups and
Hindu organisations opposed the discrimination and persecution upon
Minority Hindus and other religious minorities and conducted various
programmes in Dhaka, Bangaon and Kolkata.
Demonstration and awareness programme in Dhaka
Minority Watch (BDMW) – Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) and
Bangladesh Center for Human Rights Development (BCHRD) jointly organized
-Discussion Meeting – peaceful demonstration and awareness programme on
International Human Rights Day-2013 in front of National Press
Club-Dhaka-Bangladesh with a centralized theme to alleviate the
tantamount attack and humiliation of Bangladesh minority people, mainly
Hindus-Buddhist and the Christian people there.
The program was marked successful as
more than 100 participants including minorities from various parts of
Dhaka and Narayongonj District attended the meeting with festoon and
placards to mark the day despite Hartals (strikes) called by
Jamat-E-Islam at Dhaka denouncing the death sentence of Abdul Kader
Mollah passed by the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of
Hindu minorities are presently at a
stake and fleeing from Bangladesh to seek refuge in neighbouring India
through the present turmoil in Bangladesh between Awami League and BNP
after the pronouncement of some death sentence for the War Criminals in
In the demonstration the speakers said
that Bangladesh must stop all the violation of Human Rights towards the
minorities and must ensure to bring back the 1971 Constitution for the
healing of the fractured Human Rights in BD so far.
Monoranjan Ghoshal – the Freedom
fighter & renowned singer of Bangladesh Radio, Advocate
Rabindra Ghosh-President of Bangladesh Minority Watch (BDMW) , Advocate
Rana Das Gupta-Prosecutor-International Criminal Tribunal and
Secretary-General of Hindu Bouddha Christian Unity Council, Mohammad
Abdul Khaleque- President- Biswa Bangalee Convention, Dr. Gopal Debnath-
Professor of University, Advocate Prodiwp Saha, Ms. Anita Paul-Social
Organizer, Manik Chandra Sarkar-Secretary of BDMW-Narayangonj, Ganesh
Rajbongshi, Mahabul Hoque –BCHRD , Shamsul Alam Chowdhury and many
others were present and delivered their speeches on the importance of
Human Rights Day concerning religious minorities.
Most of the speakers stressed upon the
urgent need of establishing good governance and democracy. Some specific
demands were raised and highlighted for ensuring voting rights of
vulnerable groups. Protection Rights of HR defenders and minorities were
Leaflets concerning human rights issues
ensuring equal participation of minorities in the ensuing national
election in Bangladesh, were also distributed and exhibited.
Hindu Samhati rally in Bangaon
Samhati, a Hindu organisation working mainly in West Bengal, took
out a big protest rally against Persecution of Hindus by Fundamentalist
Muslims in Bangladesh. Bangaon is a sensitive border town on the
India-Bangladesh border in N 24 Parganas District of WB.
Though police refused to give permission
to Hindu Samhati’s rally, the protesters thronged in good number. Some
criticized that the WB police and their direct controller Chief
Minister, Mamtaz Banu Arjee, are supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami & BNP
of Bangladesh and behaving like Islamist.
As a matter of fact, the Rally set to be
nullified to avoid any displeasure the fundamentalist Muslims here in
West Bengal. Hence, the ruling party, Trinamool Congress (TMC) put all
hurdles to obtain the permission from police. Therefore, under a
culpable instruction from the TMC leaders, Bangaon police refused to
give the necessary permission to hold our rally.
However, Hindu Samhati activists were
ready to face any consequences only to show solidarity with victimized
minority brothers and sisters of Bangladesh.
The speakers highlighted the plight of
minority Hindus living in Bangladesh and the Hindu refugees came in
India under a bare religious atrocities and persecution. ”We will not
turn a blind eye to the worsening plight of our Hindu Brothers and
sisters of Banglades”, said Ajit Adhikari, the chief organiser of the
Advocate Brojendra Nath Roy, Bikarna
Naskar, Nisith Ghosh, Abhijit Mishra and other key persons of the
organisation attended the rally.
CAAMB put up a stall at Human Rights Fair at Academy of Fine Arts, Kolkata
Against Atrocities on Minorities in Bangladesh (CAAMB), a Kolkata based
human rights organization that campaigns against human rights
violations on minorities and liberal thinkers in Bangladesh put a small
book stall in front of Acadeny of Fine Arts, Kolkata at Human Rights
The books mainly on Human Rights and the
Works on the matter of Rights Violation of Minorities in Bangladesh were
displayed in the stall for both sit-on-reading and sale. Some books
from Bangladesh by eminent authors like Salam Azad, M A Khan, Humayun
Azad, Shariar Kabir were the main attractions of the stall.
The books, written by Rabindranath Dutta
(born in Bangladesh -settled in West Bengal) on Bangladesh Hindu
Genocide and Plight of BD Hindus, were also sold in good numbers.
As before, CAAMB activists distributed
leaflets highlighting the plight of Bangladeshi Hindu and other
religious minorities with a request to the present Govt of BD to stop
attack on them in various parts of Bangladesh by the fundamental
Islamist belonging to some political parties.
In a discussion forum, Mohit Roy,
Rabindranath Dutta and other dignitaries of CAAMB interacted with the
interested people to do something for the cause of dying religious
minorities in Bangladesh.
(Photo : salon.com) Famous atheists (from L-R): Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens
The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), a global organization that unites atheists, agnostics, and other religious skeptics, released a study that shows 13 Muslim countries around the world mete out execution of non-believers of Islam, according to a Reuters report.
The Freethought Report 2013 covered all 193 U.N. member states and asked the expertise of lawyers and human rights experts to look into statutes, court records and media accounts to verify the situation of atheists and non-believers.
The study found that atheists and free thinkers are always subjected to discrimination and the worst that could happen to them is execution.
"This report shows that the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers although they have signed U.N agreements to treat all citizens equally," Sonja Eggerickx, IHEU President, told Reuters.
IHEU's study this year is more comprehensive. It brought to the fore a full list of countries where execution, usually public beheading, takes place. The study includes Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The list of countries in the study is higher compared to seven out of 60 countries surveyed last year. The study showed that the offenses that warranted public execution are blasphemy and apostasy, or when a believer renounces the faith or switches to another religion.
The study also showed that "there are laws that deny atheists' right to exist, revoke their citizenship, restrict their right to marry, obstruct their access to public education, prevent them working for the state...."
The study asserted that when a person criticizes religious faith in these countries, his action is frequently treated as a felony that can be equated to blasphemy, which is punishable by death.
IHEU also pointed out that a more systematic oppression of atheists and non-believers take place in the European Union. In countries like Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Malta and Poland, any person can be discriminated against and might face jail sentences up to three years if the person publicly expresses his non-belief.
people never before thought of questioning issues like the special
position of the bumiputeras, the institution of the royalty and Islam,
reminisced former police inspector-general of police Mohamed Hanif Omar.
However, this is the norm today, Hanif lamented, no thanks to
the "alternative media phenomena", community leaders and a "small group
of people" who give no second thought to how much this hurts the Malays.
"The feelings of the people, especially the Malays and Muslims,
are no longer considered. My retiree friends and I are very sad about
this and sometimes wonder where this country is being led to, especially
now when there are Muslims who even consider themselves prophets or
God, it is as if there is a grand design in place that can lead to the
country's destruction, if not carefully managed," he said.
was addressing the Selangor Sultan at a tea party with government
retirees in conjunction with the Sultan's birthday last Sunday.
The text of his speech was released to media today.
In his speech, Hanif also said that alternative media has eroded the credibility of the traditional media.
He said these new media were also being used to "spread slander and lies without shame or the fear of Allah".
"There are also leaders who travel from one country to another to speak ill of their own country to gain international support.
is unlike in the US or other Western nations, where political
differences end at their shores and are not brought internationally, for
the sake of national unity, pride and dignity," he said. 'Demonstrations hurt the economy'
In his speech, provided to media by the Selangor government, Hanif also
traced the nation's history from pre-Independence time to the communist
insurgency and to today.
Among others, he expressed regret that
PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu could say that police officers who
died when the Bukit Kepong post was attacked by communists were loyal to
Hanif claimed that this was untrue because the
British never actually colonised Malaya, and were only administering the
federated and non-federated Malay states on the consent of the Malay
Even the British government, when faced with the suit
against 24 people killed in the Batang Kali massacre, argued that
Selangor then was a sovereign state and not a British colony.
forward to the "third phase" - the post-1998 Malaysia - he said this
era was plagued by street demonstrations that "affected the nation's
in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, demonstrations only involved pro-communist
Chinese youths, today this phenomena is anchored by all youths and
Malays," he observed.
Although Malays now make up about half of
urbanites, Hanif said, they were in the lowest economic ranking compared
with their fellow urban-dwellers from the other races.
"All these have their own ramifications and have to be dealt with through long-term vision," he said.
Hanif was the federal police chief from 1974 to 1994, making him the longest-serving head of the force.
took charge at the age of 35, following the death of then
inspector-general Abdul Rahman Hashim, who was shot dead by communist
The Sessions Court in Kota Kinabalu today ordered a restaurant manager charged with statutory rape to enter his defence.
Ummu Khaltom Abd Samad said the court found that the prosecution had
established a prima facie case against Riduan Masmud, 40.
The judge fixed Dec 16 and 17 for the hearing. The court had heard the testimonies of 19 witnesses from July 1 to Nov 14.
had claimed trial to raping a schoolgirl aged slightly over 12 between
9am and 10am in a car by the roadside near the Kionsom Waterfall in
Inanam on Feb 18 this year.
He faces a maximum jail term of 20
years and whipping upon conviction. On May 20, Riduan told the court
that he had married the girl.
However, on June 6, the Attorney-General’s Chambers said it would proceed with the prosecution against the restaurant manager.
The prosecution is led by deputy public prosecutor Raja Zaizul Faridah Raja Zaharuddin while Riduan is not represented.
Mary Lee is holding a watching brief for NGOs Sabah Women Action
Resource Group (SAWO), Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC Penang),
Sisters in Islam and Mama Anne of Bukit Harapan, and Mary Florence
Gomez, for the Sabah Law Association and the Voice of Children Malaysia.
Malaysia’s most exciting political party of the old, United Malays
National Organisation (Umno) just had its general assembly. A ritual of
the political blood transfusion and the annual health check and
administration of medications and treatments of a body politics ageing
and grumbling. Too much good food and good life. Too sedentary of a life
after its early years of “winning the war of independence” through a
victory presented essentially and arguably, on a silver platter.
the advent of mega-issues such as the most hegemonic and imperialistic
US-imposed proposal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA),
the rise of fascist and hate-mongering groups, the disillusionment about
our education system, run amuck and latah behaviors displayed in our
Parliament, massive growth of the underclass amongst the overpopulated
nation on immigrants shipped en masse to build the country to such giddy
heights, a daily rise of cases of mindless crimes, a slackening and
weakening school system that is criticised for not preparing the next
generation for a competitive economy requiring the cultivation of
brainpower, resilience, and a sense of economic republicanism with a
heart of social-democraticism, the clamour for a sense of unity
reminiscent of the 70s - with all these and more, why are the speeches
in this party assembly out of focus?
Here are my questions to the Umno delegates:
Why can’t your speeches be about:
Coming up with strategies to create a better understanding between the races, since we’ve been together for centuries?
Designing our education system to be inclusive of all Malaysians with each race treated on equal terms,
any group progress, regardless of race, religion or political
affiliation, since we are all lawful citizens and we are not going back
to “where we belong”,
Stopping this nonsense called
‘1Malay’ as a greeting since 1Malaysia is already enough as a
meaningless slogan and even 1Mandela would be better,
all systems that will perpetuate hatred amongst us and redesign our
lives around celebrating our strength in diversity,
ways to unify all races as one dignified race of Malaysians united
against any threats from outside (if there are any real or imagined),
together as Malaysians to redesign our education system that will truly
enhance children’s understanding of concepts, skills, attitude to
become good learners, global and transcultural in outlook, and will grow
up to see each other as a human race with a common humane destiny,
rather than see more divisions and destructions,
with all races to see how best we can help those who are marginalized
regardless of race and religion, and how best we can design an economic
system that will promote cooperation, collaboration, and the
enculturalisation of conscience and conscientiousness amongst us, rather
that perpetually create competitions that lead to hatred and
Mediating the differences between
Muslims of different interpretive practices, schools of thoughts, ways
of leading their ‘Islamic life’ rather than create bogeymen and
bogey-women for the purpose of witch-hunting and persecuting each other
of the things we cannot fully understand,
total closing of the Malay mind by constantly instilling fear of
themselves since time immemorial, since feudal times, so that the Malays
can be spared of being called stupid, weak, lazy, and dependent on Umno
as savior - all these a perfect model of a Master-Slave Narrative.
We need new speeches, Umno, saner ones.
You are a political party more intelligent than this.
is a party my beloved grandfather, a good ol’ Johorean, was proud of
back in the days of its early struggle, back in Johor Baru where it all
started. That was one grandfather whom I saw cried profusely in a corner
by his old Sanyo radiogram, the day Abdul Razak Hussein died.
Behave now like an adult, Umno, you are almost 60!
Or - are your days numbered, and better dismantled altogether or reduced to an NGO?
Message to the prime minister
Malaysian prime minister, here is my plea - help all Malaysians not
just Malays. We’re all bumiputras now. We’ve toiled for the soil. And
you’re prime minister for all.
Poverty now cuts across racial
lines, with an increasing number of those in the middle class now
falling below the poverty line. There is no strong rationale any more,
after more than 50 years of independence, to continue policies that are
based on racial lines. Doing this will guarantee another 50 years of
race and class antagonism.
In education especially, scholarships
need to be give based on merit, talent, and needs, not because one is a
bumiputra or a Malay or because of the birthright of one’s race. Many of
those in privileged boarding schools such as MRSM are not from families
who are poor or who could not afford good and quality education. Many
are from wealthy families.
There are deserving children from all
races that must be given all the opportunities to excel, just like how
the Malays from even the abject poor were given the chance back in the
early 1970s when the MRSM system first started its first three schools.
prime minister, you must be fair to all races. Open up the privileged
MRSMs and other well-funded schools to more children of all races. It
will be better for the nation.
Look at the plight other
Malaysians. Promising a billion or so Ringgit in educational,
entrepreneurial, and economic aid to only one race defined by
one-dimensional construct is a wrong political act done with ill
intentions. Be wise, in the remaining political time you and your party
is given. Reverse the trend of apartheid-isation of education - for the
sake of the future of our children.
The New Economic Policy has
been replaced with the New Economic Agenda which promises fairness for
all, not just the Malays and bumiputras. Honour that. There is enough to
go around for everybody’s needs and not just to feed the few’s greed.
Aren’t most of your speeches filled with misplaced and uninformed hatred?
AZLY RAHMAN, born in Singapore and grew up in Johor Baru, holds a
Columbia University (New York City) doctorate in International Education
Development and Masters degrees in four areas: Education,
International Affairs, Peace Studies and Communication.
However, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad welcomes arguments for and wisdom behind Putrajaya's proposal.
PETALING JAYA: Redefining Islam in the Federal Constitution to specify that it refers only to the Sunni denomination will not bring any benefit to the country, Khalid Samad said today.
The Shah Alam MP said that the amendment would only declare “half of the Muslim population as non-Muslims” and strain Malaysia’s relationship with Iran and Iraq, which are Shia majority countries.
“I don’t see what is the benefit of such an approach or stand,” Khalid told FMT.
“Why do something unnecessary to strain the relationship with half of the Muslim world?” he asked.
However, when asked if he would be against the amendment if it was brought to Parliament, Khalid said: “Not necessarily”.
“I will still listen to their arguments and wisdom behind it,” he said.
“Why are we falling into the trap of American international policy of trying to bring the Sunnis and Shias into loggerheads?
“Those are the issues they (Putrajaya) have to answer. It has not been an issue all this while, so why make it into an issue now?” he questioned.
Meanwhile, Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli said the decision to support or reject Putrajaya’s proposal lay with top Pakatan Rakyat leadership.
“We will wait for the top leadership of Pakatan’s deliberation on this,” he said.
Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said last week that his ministry would propose to insert the words “Sunnah wal Jamaah” in Article 3 of the Federal Constitution to specify the definition of Islam as the religion of the federation.
This was to curb the spread of other ideologies, including the much-maligned Shia branch of Islam, in the country.
Yesterday, Umno’s Saifuddin Abdullah said the definition of Islam in the Federal Constitution is sufficient without having to specify that it refers only to the Sunni denomination.
Saifuddin pointed out that even redefining Islam in the constitution would not guarantee an end to the debate regarding Syiah in Islam in Malaysia.
Segalanya bermula sekitar jam 09.30 pagi tadi apabila penduduk kampung dikejutkan dengan kehadiran beberapa pekerja dari syarikat pemaju iaitu Mega 9 Housing Sdn Bhd yang mula mendirikan pagar berzink di sekitar salah sebuah rumah penduduk kampung tersebut.
SEREMBAN: Episod isu Kampung Hakka, Mantin di sini masih belum berakhir apabila sedikit kekecohan berlaku di kampung tersebut sejak pagi tadi hingga 02.30 petang tadi.
Menurut Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Bertindak Kampung Hakka, Chong Tza Yaw, 46; segalanya bermula sekitar jam 09.30 pagi tadi apabila penduduk kampung dikejutkan dengan kehadiran beberapa pekerja dari syarikat pemaju iaitu Mega 9 Housing Sdn Bhd yang mula mendirikan pagar berzink di sekitar salah sebuah rumah penduduk kampung tersebut.
“Seterusnya lebih kurang 50 penduduk kampung tersebut menghalang pekerja pemaju dari mendirikan pagar berzink tersebut. Pekerja-perkerja itu balik dari lokasi kejadian.
“Walaubagaimanapun sekitar jam 12.30 tengahari pekerja-pekerja itu datang semula untuk menyambung kerja menaikkan pagar berzink. Kordinator JERIT, R Gandhi cuba menghalang pekerja daripada meneruskan kerja-kerja mendirikan pagar berzink itu.
“Sejurus kemudian Gandhi ditahan oleh pihak polis dan di bawa ke Balai Polis Mantin untuk siasatan.
“Apa saya kesalkan ialah kita (penduduk kampung) sudah mendapat perintah penggantungan pelaksanaan (stay order) daripada Mahkamah Rayuan Putrajaya sehingga rayuan kes ini habis dibicarakan. Sebaliknya pemaju pula mendirikan pagar dan menghalang tuan rumah ini dari masuk ke kediaman beliau,” jelas Chong.
Peguam penduduk dan juga Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri Lobak (ADUN), Siow Kim Leong (DAP) yang bergegas ke tempat kejadian, bertikam lidah dengan salah seorang wakil pemaju.
“Wakil pemaju memberi interperasi bahawa perintah penggantungan pelaksanaan dari Mahkamah Rayuan bermaksud pemaju tidak boleh merobohkan kediaman penduduk. Tetapi mendirikan pagar tidak melanggar perintah mahkamah tersebut.
“Walaubagaimanapun ianya tidak benar, apabila Hakim Mahkamah Rayuan memutuskan perintah penggantungan pelaksanaan, ianya bermaksud kembali kepada keadaan asal kampung tersebut. Bermakna pemaju tidak boleh buat apa-apa ditapak kampung tersebut termasuk mendirikan pagar.
“Saya anggap tindakan pemaju pada hari ini satu penghinaan kepada mahkamah (contempt of court),” kata Siow.
Siow seterusnya mengesahkan kepada FMT bahawa setelah beliau berunding dengan pemaju, pihak pemaju tetap mahu meneruskan kerja-kerja mendirikan pagar berzink itu.
“Alasan pemaju ialah Majlis Perbandaran Nilai mengarahkan pemaju membuat pagar di tapak projek dan sekiranya tidak berbuat demikian, pemaju akan dikenakan tindakan.
“Saya akan membuat permohonan prosiding ‘penghinaan mahkamah’ ke atas pemaju di Mahkamah Rayuan secepat mungkin,” ujar Siow.
Sementara itu Sidek Muhammad, 62, yang tinggal di rumah tersebut berang dengan pemaju dan sambil menunjukkan kakinya yang berbalut bertanya kepada pemaju bagaimana beliau ingin masuk ke rumah jika kawasan rumah beliau dipagar.
“Saya tidur di sini. Kaki saya sakit. Bagaimana saya mahu masuk rumah kalau awak pagar kawasan rumah ini?
Turut hadir ialah ADUN Nilai, J Arulkumar (DAP); Setiausaha Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) Seremban, S Tinagaran dan wakil NGO Jingga 13.
Heritage Commissioner must take responsibility and act swiftly in protecting heritage sites.
By P Waythamoorthy
Hindraf appreciates the swift action taken by the Kedah Menteri Besar in issuing the stop work order and call by the Tourism and Culture Ministry into gazetting Lembah Valley as a national heritage but beg to differ on the concern of the Kedah MB that the effort is infeasible as it would involve tens of millions ringgit.
There should be no compromise on the protection of our national heritage. There is also funding available from the United Nations.
Although United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) in 1987 was ready to provide the funding with co-operation from the federal government, nothing had been forthcoming in planning and implementation of the masterplan that should have been mooted by the National Heritage Department.
Besides the funding from UNDP, our very own Heritage Act 2005 has the necessary provision under the Heritage Fund for such purpose. Also, the World Heritage Fund too provides monetary assistance.
Hindraf is puzzled as to why is the Heritage Commissioner is silent on the various questions raised on his responsibility to protect these sites.
Recent discovery of jetties dating back to BC487 in Bujang Valley and the similarity in the bricks and smelting systems with the Gandhara area in Kashmir which was a part of the Indus Valley civilization as asserted by Centre for Global Archaeological Research (CGAR) of USM’s Prof Dr Mokhtar Saidin further reaffirms why all sites in Bujang Valley need to be identified and gazetted.
As it stands now it appears only 17 tomb temples (candi) have been registered when there are more than 127 sites and 90 other candis identified.
A detailed report on conservation and preservation of the Bujang Valley has been initiated by Unesco in 1987 but unfortunately the National Heritage Department had not been proactive in pursuing to conserve and safeguard such sites.
Therefore any issue relating cost should not be any issue at all. There should be proactive efforts from the Heritage Commissioner to preserve such a historic archaeological site.
The report by Unesco was quite meticulously prepared and recommended the government to create a National Historical Park in Bujang Valley sprawling over 400 sq kilometer with a view to protecting, preserving and presenting the archaeological sites found therein and thereby creating a national as well as an international tourist attraction.
Unesco made those recommendations to preserve it as the site clearly fulfills the basic criteria to be listed under the World Heritage List.
The Bujang Valley is internationally recognized as the oldest and richest archaeological area in Malaysia and therefore in the interest of the nation, we urge the National Heritage Department to immediately initiate the necessary action plans to revisit the Unesco report that was done in 1987 and carry out the steps to protect the cultural heritage of Malaysia.
The National Heritage Department which has all the necessary authority vested onto them by the Heritage Act 2005 should work in tandem with the federal government and the state government swiftly in delineating the boundaries, acquiring such sites, gazetting them and taking all appropriate actions to avoid such a mishap that had occurred recently in relation to Candi 11.
They can start by initiating a Heritage Steering Committee consisting of personnel from the National Heritage Department, local government, federal government as well as independent expert members.
The Heritage Steering Committee should cover all aspects of heritage management plan, implementation and making the relevant recommendation including introduction of appropriate protection measures in planning policies in response to potential threat like change of land use, housing development and other activities.
P Waythamoorthy is the Hindraf chairman and a deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
Sarawak witnessed state wide rallies calling for human rights to be respected.
KUCHING: The unprecedented statewide series of peaceful rallies on human rights day was successfully held yesterday.
Hundreds of Sarawak natives staged rallies across the state today to protest the state government’s alleged forced acquisition of their land and indigenous rights.
Kuching rally coordinator, Peter John Jaban urges the government to respect the people’s rights.
“I hoped that Malaysia government respect the declaration rights of the indigenous people or the human rights,
“The government signed the declaration of human rights,
“So, please respect human rights,” he said to the media during the rally in Padang Merdeka, Kuching.
In Kuching, an estimated 300 people were at Padang Merdeka in the city center. They carried placards and banners denouncing the acquisition or planned acquisition of their land.
Meanwhile in Sibu, over 200 community people of the central region of Sarawak from Ngemah to Kuala Igan, Saratok to Ulu Mukah staged a peaceful rally starting from the Sibu Town Square to the Divisional Lands and Surveys Office, voicing their dissatisfaction of land development policy that encroach the customary land with unfair deal.
The Sibu rally was led by Matek Maxi, Sarawak Dayak Iban Association HQ activist.
In Bintulu at least 60 people turned up for the event in front of the First Council Negeri Memorial led by Yusuf Abdullah.
Miri had the biggest turnout with more than 400 people; peacefully gathered at the Centre Point commercial centre at Jalan Kubu.
Gerakan Seluruh Rakyat Sarawak (Grass) press liaison officer, Mark Bujang says that the rallies got good responds.
“It’s very good because our expectation was not many but the people giva a very good respond,” he told FMT
The police gave full cooperation to control the rally.
“We also have small protest in Long Lama, Long Mekaba and Baram,
Mark also says that they will do the rallies yearly as to celebrate world human rights day.
“In future we will do it again with proper planning.”
Nicholas Bawin, from the Dayak Culture Council says that the government must be serious in respecting human rights.
“Taib must listen to the voice of the people and stop violating their rights, robbing them of their communal forest and exploiting the state’s resources. He must also stop the construction of the dams.
“The show of force from the various communities that took part in the rally in Kuching is a clear message to the chief minister that he must respect the rights of the natives,” he quoted
There were no reported incidents and police did not attempt to stop the rally participants from marching through the town’s major thoroughfare.
Penang state government has been urged to be proactive in getting more Bumiputeras involved in homestay programme
GEORGE TOWN: Penang opposition leader Jahara Hamid today called on the state government to increase the participation of Bumiputeras in the homestay tourism sector in the state.
The assemblyman from Teluk Air Tawar said Bumiputeras only made up two per cent of the participants in the sector.
The state government should be proactive in intensifying the promotion of homestay as a tourism product, particularly in the rural areas, she said when speaking during the debate on the Supply Bill 2014 in the state legislative assembly.
Jahara said feedback from many foreign tourists indicated that they preferred a homestay holiday so as to experience the unique local culture.
Meanwhile, Muhamad Farid Saad (BN-Pulau Betong) criticised the state government for not providing complete answers to questions in the assembly.
He said state assemblymen required complete information so as to be able to engage well in the debate sessions.
“I also find information of the state expenditure in the budget proposal difficult to comprehend, especially on the distribution of allocations. Some of the information is illogical,” he said.
He said the absence of details for projects to be implemented next year was worrying, leading to apprehension over whether some of the projects could bemimplemented.
The Malaysian Human Rights Commission, or Suhakam, has called for a dialogue between the country's predominant Sunni Muslims and the tiny number of Shia Muslims.
Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Hasmy Agam, saying the Federal Constitution provided for freedom of different communities to practise their faith, called for such a freedom to be extended to other denominations within Islam.
“If other Muslim countries can have Shias and Sunnis living side by side, why can’t Malaysia?” asked Hasmy, adding that the sensitive issue could still be solved through dialogue.
Hasmy said despite followers of two schools involved in violent conflicts elsewhere, both groups should work out their differences through dialogue.
Shiaism is the second largest denomination of Islam, and according to Washington-based Pew Research Center, its adherents make up 10% to 20% of the global Muslim population, now estimated to be at 1.6 billion.
Despite their small number in Malaysia, Shia Muslims have been targeted by local Islamic authorities. The move is ironic, as Malaysia has good relations with Iran, a predominantly Shia Muslim nation.
Hasmy’s call, which was made during an event to mark Human Rights Day yesterday, followed months of belligerent talk by political parties, Muslim groups and government agencies against local Shia Muslims who they said posed a “threat” to Sunni Islam.
Last week, during the Umno general assembly, party leaders took turns in calling for a clampdown on Shia Muslims.
Other local Muslim groups have called for the same treatment towards Shias, although they said the denomination should not be recognised as a branch of Islam in Malaysia.
This is despite the 57-member Organisation of Muslim Cooperation's stand in support of good relations between Sunnis and Shias.
Hasmy meanwhile said the country's quest for a developed nation status by Vision 2020 can only be realised if "hold ourselves to a higher standard of behaviour when it comes to dealing with religious differences".
“I do not want to create controversy but I believe that there should be greater understanding and dialogue. We can agree to disagree and that is healthy," Hasmy told The Malaysian Insider after a panel discussion titled “The Road to 2020: Human Rights and Development” at the Parkroyal Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, yesterday. - December 11, 2013.
Bali agreement, with many promises, is a start, but leadership and reform are required
It would be churlish not to
congratulate the WTO and especially Roberto Azevêdo, its dynamic
director-general, for successfully passing a “Bali package” at the
Indonesian resort well past the 11th hour on 7 December. The WTO Doha Round, launched in the
Qatari capital in 2001, a few weeks after 9/11, had become a synonym of
failure: failure of the WTO and failure to move forward an inclusive
agenda of globalization. It was expected by many, including this author,
that the ninth ministerial conference would follow the pattern.
Instead Bali succeeded, at least in
the sense that unlike previous ministerial conferences it did not
collapse. The question is whether, as some exuberantly declare, the Doha
Development Agenda has been brought back to life or, as others fear,
the state of suspended animation has been extended by temporarily
rebooting the life-support machine.
The trading system put in place after
World War II with the establishment in 1947 of the General Agreement on
Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, contributed enormously to bringing peace
and prosperity to the nations of the North Atlantic. This was when the
world was divided in three: the first world consisting of rich
market-oriented economies; a second world of state-led central-command
economies; and a third world collection of basically poor countries,
many of which – including Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia and India – were
practicing import-substitution industrialization policies. Thus the GATT was essentially an
elite club of OECD countries, with Canada, the US, the EU and Japan,
what was referred to as the “quad” calling the shots. This was fine
because other countries were not interested. After the last GATT Uruguay
Round in 1994, the institution was reformed and recreated the following
year into the World Trade Organization.
The first director-general, the late
Renato Ruggiero, referred to the WTO as the first true institution of
this new phase of globalization. As the Soviet empire, hence the second
world, imploded and major market-oriented reforms occurred in third
world countries, the world gradually unified into one global integrated
market economy with only a handful like North Korea opting out.
Ruggiero warned early on: “we have
gone from a divided world to an integrated world; and an integrated
world is much more difficult to manage.” And so, that has proved to be
the case. In 1995, the WTO counted some 90
member states; at Bali there were 160. But apart from the membership
increase, all has not developed smoothly. The 1999 WTO ministerial
meeting in Seattle descended into total fiasco. Then Director-General
Mike Moore expressed the prophetic fear that the WTO would become the
“League of Nations” of the 21st century world economy – impotent and
In 2001, China was admitted and the
ministerial meeting was held in Doha. Developing countries from the
South wanted a piece of the global trade action, but in areas where they
had comparative advantage: in essence agriculture, raw materials and
labor intensive goods, precisely areas where the quad had maintained
high tariffs, subsidies, quotas, exclusions and other forms of trade
distortions that were especially discriminatory against developing
The South clamored for a level
playing field, something they would not be granted because of lobbies
and vested interests in the countries of the North.
Nevertheless in Doha, in great part
because of the brief and ethereal moment of global solidarity in the
wake of 9/11, not only was a new round launched, but it was called the
Doha Development Agenda, or DDA, thus understood by countries of the
South as development-oriented, aimed at eliminating discriminatory trade
The spirit of global cooperation and
development orientation disappeared before the ink was dry. At the 2003
WTO ministerial in Cancún, talks collapsed for a variety of reasons, but
largely because of Washington’s refusal to cut massive subsidies
allocated to its powerful cotton lobby, thereby undermining more
cost-efficient producers from developing countries, especially Africa’s
“cotton four” – Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali.
In the decade since Cancún attempts
to restore the DDA have failed. While the North-South divide remains,
other issues complicate the global trade picture, two of which stand
out: The first is the absolutely amazing, unexpected rise of China as a
global trade superpower. Another is that technology has made production
of goods and services in the form of global value chains highly
dispersed in a totally new paradigm.
The DDA was launched at a time when
these transformations had not yet occurred. Negotiations were fought on
yesterday’s battlefields. The world had changed immensely while Doha was
Unable to adjust, lead or compromise,
and thereby frustrated by no longer being able to dictate the global
trade agenda, the established powers opted to play in regional trade
deals and then in another more exclusive trade sandbox – in the form of
what’s been called the “trade mega-deals.” There are two especially big ones:
TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, composed of
the US and EU, and The Transpacific Partnership, composed of a dozen
Pacific countries, led by the United States. Both exclude the new
emerging trading powers – China, Brazil, India, South Africa – along
with the poor countries, especially those from southern and central Asia
The intention of these mega-deals is
not only to liberalize trade among members, but also, perhaps
especially, to write new trade rules for the 21st century.
So in the space of not much more than
a decade, the world transformed from a three-part division to an
attempt at integration is back to a new two-part divide with the
essentially rich “in” countries, and the “outs” – emerging, developing
and poor countries – with the former being rule-makers and the latter
There is no guarantee that these
mega-deals will see the light of day. But there’s been a trend in recent
years from global trade integration to fragmentation. Of course, trends
need not be irreversible. Will Bali be seen as a reversal of these
trends of global fragmentation in favor of greater global integration?
One must hope, but a closer look at the Bali package suggests it is
Much of the Bali package is rhetoric,
not yet translated into implementable concrete reality. More
fundamentally, it remains to be seen whether the spirit of global
cooperation, the setting aside of narrow national interests in favor of
improving the global commons, will prevail sufficiently to generate
post-Bali momentum. Bali is Doha-lite. One reason for its “success” is
the view among US trade officials that none of the provisions are likely
to require approval of Congress, in these days an almost-certain
graveyard for trade deals, perhaps even for TPP and TTIP.
Optimists celebrate that, thanks to
Bali, trade multilateralism lives to see another day. The fear was that a
Bali failure would not only have put a last nail in the Doha coffin,
but would also have hastened the demise of the already fragile
rules-based multilateral trade regime. It is a victory of sorts, but
perhaps dangerously so of the pyrrhic variety.
The tattered global trade fabric is
in desperate need of radical reform. Mindsets, the culture of 21st
century globalization, must change and implement radical reforms to
adapt to the new realities and thereby seize the opportunities for a
more equitable, inclusive and sustainable globalization. So Bali is not the end nor, to
paraphrase Winston Churchill, is it the beginning of the end, but one
must hope perhaps the end of a long, tortuous beginning. Great effort,
leadership and vision are required to build solid foundations for a 21st
century trade regime.
Autonomy in schools will allow the resident learning centres to accommodate local needs and allow ownership by teachers, administrators, parents and students.
by Azli Jamil
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia needs to decentralise its schools, provide feedback to parents on performance and find quality teachers as a crucial step in its race to become a high income nation, according to the World Bank’s Economic Monitor report on High-Performing Education released yesterday.
The report said Malaysia’s education system, which is among the most centralised in the world, makes it difficult to adapt to rapidly changing needs and circumstances.
“Autonomy allows for greater responsiveness to local needs as well as stronger ownership of performance by teachers, administrators, parents and students,” said World Bank country director for Malaysia Ulrich Zachau.
“Schools must have more freedom to hire and fire and also to manage its own budget allocations and curriculum.”
He said autonomy must come with accountability where parents must be more involved in demanding performance from the schools as the parents’ feedback loops and bottom-up pressure are important drivers of systemic improvements.
The quality of teachers is the third priority and is a cause of concern where the key is to recruit and retain the best teachers.
Zachau said 46% of principals noted that lack of qualified teaching staff as constraint and the Minister of Education has admitted that some candidates enrolling at teacher training institutions did not meet minimum requirements of academic achievement at the secondary level.
Nevertheless, Zachau noted that there is a need to look at benchmarking the school leadership as that is a key area too in ensuring the success of Malaysia’s education aspirations.
With regard to the nation’s dismal performance at the Programme for International Student Assessment survey results released last week, Zachau said that if the comparison is made using the scores of the top 5% of Malaysian students, it would place them at par with the average level for scores for China and South Korea.
Nonetheless, out of the 65 countries participating in the survey, the overall ranking for Malaysia for 2012 remains at 52 for Mathematics, 53 for Science and 59 for Reading.
Earlier, in his speech, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Wahid Omar said the planning for the 11th Malaysia Plan is underway with the output expected to come in mid 2015. “We want to avoid over planning and focus on implementation,” said Wahid.
The Plan is premised upon six major thrusts; harnessing talent, re-engineering economic growth, strengthening growth enablers, enhancing inclusivity, improving wellbeing and maintaining environmental and resources management.
“It is the last phase of our development plan towards achieving a high-income nation,” said Wahid.
Wahid noted that the issues of school autonomy and greater stakeholder participation in the school system has been recognised in the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025 launched last month.
“Steps have and will be taken to address these proposals,” said Wahid.
KLANG, Dec 11 (Bernama) -- The Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin
Idris Shah today reminded the state's multiracial and multireligious
society not to do anything that could cause mistrust among them.
The Sultan said each individual in the state should respect the freedom
of others to practise their own religion and not touch on sensitive
issues, which could arouse anger and create undesirable situations.
"I wish for the development in Selangor to continue into the times of our future generations.
"Therefore, all communities in Selangor must play their role in
maintaining development in the state by not creating disharmony and
mistrust of each other," the Sultan said at a tea reception with the
rakyat at Padang Mahkota, Istana Alam Shah, here, Wednesday, in
conjunction with his 68th birthday celebration.
In this regard, he also reminded the country's intellectuals to
understand sensitive issues and not make statements that could hurt
people's feelings to the extent of causing disharmony. The Sultan also
urged the people to explore and venture into new things that could make
Selangor even more developed and outstanding in Malaysia.
"Let's not allow Selangor's development to be stagnant. But Selangor
cannot develop further if its multiracial people are not united and
cooperative as one team," he said.
The Sultan also wants the people to assist and cooperate with the police in combating crime in the state.
The couple allegedly told the deliverer of the baby, Dr Tahir Mehmood,
that they could not keep the child as it would bring shame to their
families knowing that she had been conceived out of wedlock. PHOTO: FILE
LAHORE: A baby girl born just four months after her parents’ wedding
and then allegedly given away to protect the couple’s reputation was
returned to her parents on Tuesday.
The parents, Naeem and Sana, wed on October 28, 2012, and some four
months later, a baby was delivered at Rana Welfare Hospital Foundation
in Shahdara Town, according to a police investigation.
The couple allegedly told the deliverer of the baby, Dr Tahir
Mehmood, that they could not keep the child as it would bring shame to
their families knowing that she had been conceived out of wedlock. They
told him he could either kill the baby or keep her himself, according to
A midwife named Razia Bibi who worked at the hospital, with Dr
Mehmood’s permission, then reportedly took the baby to Naseem Hospital,
located at Jora Pul near Chungi Amr Sidhu, where she gave the baby to a
Dr Rana Sohail Azam.
Dr Azam then allegedly sold the baby to a man named Nadeem for
Rs115,000. He gave the child to a relative named Amir Touqeer who had no
children and lived in Denmark.
According to the police investigation, upon learning that the child
had been sold and they had not received a cent, Naeem filed a complaint
with Shahdara Town police alleging that Dr Mehmood, Dr Azam and midwives
Razia Bibi and Yasmeen Bibi had abducted her. A case was registered
under Section 363 (kidnapping) of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).
Both doctors obtained pre-arrest bail, while both midwives were
thrown in jail. Nadeem was also arrested and presented before the court.
He testified that he had not abducted the baby, but paid Rs115,000 for
her. He pledged to recover the baby and hand her over to her parents by
On Tuesday, the baby, brought back from Denmark, was handed over to the parents.
A police source said that the couple had reached a compromise with
the accused and would withdraw the kidnapping complaint. The source said
that Dr Azam had paid the couple Rs200,000 to drop the case.
Court staffers said that the complainant had told the court that a
compromise was being negotiated. The settlement would be brought up at
the next hearing of the case on December 11 (today). Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2013.
A Christian tsunami at the next general election? Not likely, say political analysts, who pooh-poohed Malay rights group Perkasa for turning the country’s religious minority into a bogeyman.
Analysts said if the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) Government was sensitive to the needs of Christians, it need not worry about any threat to the survival of Malays and Islam in the country.
A bigger concern was the impact of the “Allah” ruling, said political analyst Khoo Kay Peng, adding that it touched on Christian sensitivities, especially since there was worldwide condemnation over the ruling.
"Christianity is practised by only 9% of the Malaysian population. The only electoral threat could come from Sabah and Sarawak. If the BN-led government is sensitive to the needs of Christians, there should not be any threat," he said.
Last Saturday, Perkasa's Datuk Zulkifli Noordin (pic) highlighted seven threats to the survival of Malay-Islam in Malaysia and warned that the 14th General Election may turn out to be a "Christian tsunami" if the threats were ignored.
He had also listed Pakatan Rakyat, Singapore, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and liberal Malays as threats.
According to Zulkifli, the Catholic church’s move to drag the “Allah” issue to court was provocative and had insulted Muslims.
Political scientist Dr Jayum A Jawan from Universiti Putra Malaysia also dismissed Zulkifli’s warning, saying the Perkasa leader was just looking for a bogeyman.
"I don’t think anyone is trying to convert anybody. This is about faith and beliefs. People either embrace Islam or embrace Christianity, there is no conversion going on.
“They are making these allegations and spreading this talk for reasons best known to themselves."
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak political analyst Dr Arnold Puyok agreed, saying: "If there is any threat of proselytising, Perkasa must provide proof of its allegations.
"They are playing with fire by saying such things and the authorities must prevent them from doing so in the name of national security and harmony."
Khoo said civil society and Muslim intellectuals should reprimand Zulkilfi and tear to shreds his baseless assumptions.
He said, however, the prime minister should not join the fray. It was best for “for the PM to stay away from folks like Zulkifli Noordin”.
Jayum agreed, saying: “Asking the PM to rein in Perkasa would be giving them prominence and I don't think we should give them any attention."
Puyok, the other hand, said Datuk Seri Najib Razak should act quickly and boldly, at least by reminding Perkasa to stop making baseless allegations.
"It looks like Perkasa is more potent than Najib's global movement of moderates. Najib should use all the support and powers he has to promote the latter," he said.
On police inaction against people like Zulkifli, Khoo said the police served the ruling party more closely than the public.
“If the regime instructs the police to act against these perpetrators, it is likely that it will do so.
"But is the regime calling for any action against Zulkifli and his seditious statements?” he asked.
Puyok added that the real threat to Muslims was Perkasa trying to instil fear in them that they were losing their racial and religious identity, when, in fact, they were not.
"The status of Islam and the rights of the Malays are safeguarded by the Federal Constitution, so what threats are Perkasa talking about?"
He urged the police to act against Perkasa if their allegations were unfounded.
Jayum agreed, noting that Perkasa's accusations ran contrary to the prime minister's efforts to foster unity.
“The Malays, Chinese and Indians have had good relations all this while and when Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaysia, it became a more plural society. This is a historical fact that cannot be disputed."
He added that it was unfortunate that the NGO had a narrow view, with many Malays disagreeing with Perkasa.
"Perkasa lacks confidence. Malays today are highly confident, professional and want to reach out to others.
"Perkasa, on the other hand, appears like a relic," Jayum said.
Khoo said while Zulkifli could exercise his freedom of speech, he should not galvanise society to think like him.
"His talk will only impact on unity efforts if Umno and its president endorse Zulkifli's position.
"And if Umno endorses his candidacy again at the next elections, then the party deserves to lose more middle-ground votes."
Both Khoo and Puyok urged the media not to give Perkasa too must space.
"Instead of reporting everything Perkasa says, the media should focus more on efforts by the Government, NGOs or other parties to foster unity and nationhood,” said Puyok.
Khoo agreed, saying the media should stop reporting nonsense.
"Their editorials should condemn such statements, too," he said. – December 11, 2013.
It is heartening to note that the government together with the media and
several NGOs are doing whatever necessary to help out those affected in
the going flood episodes. The decision by the government to set up so
many flood relief centres with adequate food, clean water and other
essential items to the affected flood victims is laudable.
army, police, Fire and Rescue Department and all other relevant
government and private agencies’ personnel should be commended for their
highly organised, committed and dedicated services to the flood
affected population during these difficult times.
decision by the health authorities to set up several special healthcare
centres to cater for flood victims is timely. This will ensure the flood
victims gets immediate medical care for any flood-related ailment or
injuries. More importantly, it will help detect and prevent any outbreak
of infectious water-borne diseases before it spiral out to be an
In any natural disaster, be it flooding, earthquake,
tsunami, etc, it is natural for us to give high priority in saving human
lives and attending to their sufferings. However, humanity does not
revolve around saving human lives and alleviating their sufferings
alone. Humanity encompasses everything related to taking care of human
sufferings, etc, and it goes beyond that.
We also need to
consider wherever practical during natural disasters of this nature to
see how best we can help save the hundreds of pets, livestock and other
animals that are equally affected in the floods.
animals which are living in our midst and have been part and parcel of
our environment and nature ought to given due consideration as soon as
we have effectively taken care of our fellow men.
I appeal to the
Agriculture Ministry, as well as the veterinary authorities and animal
welfare NGOs, to look into ways and means to save and alleviate the
suffering of pets (cats, rabbits, dogs, etc) and other animals caught in
Ideally, veterinary authorities equipped with the
knowledge, equipment and facilities should immediately set up animal
treatment and rescue centres in the affected areas. If there is a need,
the authorities can seek the help of volunteers from the animal welfare
organisations in the country.
Injured and dead animals in the
badly flood-hit areas may pose a threat to public health if they are not
treated or the dead animal carcasses are not removed in time.
must be pointed out that the spread of the notorious leptospirosis
infection (an animal-borne disease) has been reported to spike during
and after major floods in South-East Asia, according to many scientific
The causative agent of leptospira is contagious in moist
environment. Although rats and other rodents play an important role in
the spread of the infection, there are a wide range of other mammals
including dogs, deer, rabbits, cattle, buffaloes, sheep, and pigs that
have been reported to also carry and transmit leptospirosis. Imagine if
these animals that are killed in the floods are left to rot in the flood
According to meteorological predictions, it appears that
the worst is not over yet and we must be prepared for more flooding
episodes in the lowland areas in many parts of the country.
is up to PKR Padang Serai parliamentarian N Surendran to decide if he
still wants to take up the invitation to join the police operation, said
inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar.
There is no way
the police have any way to guarantee Surendran’s safety, he told a press
conference today when attending Best Police Station award.
police can’t even ensure their own safety when they’re facing a
dangerous situation, how can I give a (safety) assurance?” he said.
can’t even guarantee my staff’s safety. That’s why from an early stage,
I already said he needed to sign the indemnity letter,” he said.
“It’s up to him,” he responded when asked if the invitation was still on.
Surendran had been a frequent critic of the police abuses, particularly on issues of custodial deaths and police shootings.
The most notable incident revolved around the police shooting of five men in Penang in August.
on Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's comments during a subsequent
televised interview, Surendran alleged that the minister had admitted to
the shooting being premeditated.
this, Khalid invited Surendran to join the police in an operation.
Although he had accepted the invitation, Surendran had refused to sign
an indemnity letter which absolves the police of any responsibility should any mishap occurs.
Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) has urged the federal government to interpret
human rights values based on Islamic values because Muslims form the
majority in Malaysia.
In a press release today, Isma deputy
president Aminuddin Yahaya listed out the organisation's six demands,
which among others urged the federal government not to ratify six
international human rights treaties.
These include the Convention
on Elimination of All Forms Of Discrimination Against Women (Cedaw),
International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which
includes freedom of religion, and the Convention On The Rights Of Child
Isma said these pacts were a sinister bid to make the
country a completely free state with no limits on freedom. This would
jeopardise racial harmony in Malaysia and also violate its sovereignty,
a Muslim country where the majority of the people are Muslims, then all
forms of freedom as defined in human rights must be accompanied by the
principles of Islam,” said Isma’s deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya in a
Isma said instead, Malaysia should look to
follow the more conservative standards set by the Organisation of
Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Cairo Declaration of 1990 and the
Declaration of Human Rights by the Association of South-East Asian
Nations (Asean) last year.
In the statement, Aminuddin also once again blasted Comango, a coalition of 54 human rights NGOs, which it alleges carries a sinister agenda.
has said that Isma was out to slander the NGO, which intended to
present the true picture of Malaysian civil society instead of the whitewashed government version at the Universal Periodical Review (UPR) process in October.
Committee members of the Hindu temple at Jalan Raja Chulan turned down options presented to them following several meetings, says former deputy foreign minister Kohilan Pillay.
PETALING JAYA: Former deputy foreign minister Kohilan Pillay revealed that committee members of the KL Hindu temple demolished last month were given an offer early last year.
“Several mediation and negotiation meetings were held between the developer Hap Seng Land and the Sri Muneswarar Kaliyamman temple committee members, between February and March last year,” said Kohilan
“I was approached by Hindu groups asking me to mediate and in the interest of resolving the issue, I took on the job bona fide.”
Speaking to FMT, Kohilan said three meetings were held between the Hap Seng Land representative and the temple committee.
Also present during the meetings was MIC Federal Territory deputy chief Chandrasekhar Suppiah.
During the second meeting, the Hap Seng Land representative handed a RM50,000 cheque to the temple committee chairman as a token, to beautify the temple.
“I can confirm that the cheque was passed to the temple chairman because I was there and witnessed the handing over,” added Kohilan.
During the third negotiation meeting, two options were suggested.
“Option one is to re-build the existing temple but the size will be smaller with a five foot set back.
“The second option is that the developer is willing to give one acre of land in Puchong for the relocation of the temple with a fully built meditation centre and a low cost house for the temple priest,” said Kohilan.
However, the temple committee turned down the options due to differences of agreement within the committee members which is claimed to be made up of ‘family members’ and the temple building chairman.
“If this matter continues to be unsettled then it will create more problems.
“The temple committee chairman had then turned back and said to me, let them come and demolish the temple,” added Kohilan.
Kohilan said that the temple committee was not interested in the suggestions tabled and was adamant that they were not willing to compromise any of the land and wanted a temple built on the original perimeters.
“Earlier this year, Hap Seng Land asked me to re-negotiate with the temple committee, but the temple committee took a court order injunction instead,” he said.
It is being speculated that the temple committee is now requesting for the rebuilding of a two storey temple this time around.
Situated in the heart of Kuala Lumpur’s golden triangle business hub and believed to have originally been built in 1911, the temple is deemed to be on DBKL’s reserve land for ‘road expansion, pedestrian pathways or drainage’.
Hap Seng Land is developing a 30-storey office building on an adjacent plot and can only get a Certificate of Fitness (CF) if it builds a walkway in line with DBKL requirements.
Last month, around 300 DBKL enforcement officers and police personnel demolished the temple without proper notice.
The temple had been issued an eviction notice on June 13, ordering it to vacate the premises before June 26. The eviction order was issued so that a developer could build a multi-storey building.
The Pakatan leaders were vocal in support of the issue until Padang Serai MP N Surendran was booted out from the parliament session where he tried to get parliament to discuss the temple’s dilemma. He now faces six months suspension from parliament .
Seven MIC leaders have filed a petition to declare the MIC elections null and void.
PETALING JAYA: Seven MIC leaders, who failed in their bid to win seats in the central working committee (CWC), have filed a petition seeking to declare the polls null and void.
In the petition to the party’s election committee and MIC president G Palanivel on Dec 6, they said the polls must be held again due to discrepancies in the election held last week in Malacca.
The seven leaders are R Mutharasu, S Kannan, P Vijian, M Pushpanathan and former CWC members Madhu Marimuthu, SP Manivasagam and S Ananthan.
They said results of the CWC election was announced on Nov 30, while that of the vice-presidential race was only announced the next day after four recounts.
“This is a serious anomaly as both elections were conducted simultaneously and therefore results should have been announced at the same time,” Madhu Marimuthu told FMT.
He said since each delegate was given two ballot papers and the election committee should have ensured that the number of ballots cast for CWC was the same as that of the vice-president race to ensure a fair election.
He added that several discrepancies in the counting process became apparent only after the vice-president polls results were announced.
“At that time the CWC candidates or their agents did not have the opportunity to raise objections. We were not present during the counting process. The number of votes cast for both the vice-presidential and CWC elections should have been the same. But sadly it is not,” he added.
Madhu Marimuthu also said the room where the votes were counted was not spacious enough and the 88 CWC candidates and their agents could not monitor the counting closely.
He also questioned the one-hour break given to election officials involved in the tabulation of results while counting was in process.
“The candidates were also not allowed to keep an eye on the ballot boxes which was under the custody of the election committee.
This has given rise to doubts whether the ballot papers were tampered with.
“The total votes cast in the CWC election does not tally compared with that of the vice- president race. Why do the numbers differ.
The same number of delegates voted in both the elections but now the numbers differ,” he added.
A copy of the petition was also dispatched to the Registrar of Societies (ROS) for investigations.
“We want the election committee to immediately hand over custody of the ballot papers to the ROS to investigate the allegations and conduct an inquiry,” said Madhu Marimuthu.
Thugs disrupted a meeting of Indian NGOs and abused women, claims alleged victim.
GEORGE TOWN: Trespassers at a closed-door forum last month verbally abused a group of women and challenged one of them to a fist fight, according to the alleged victims.
“We really felt degraded and feared for our safety,” said one of the women, S Jothee, as she related the incident during a press conference today.
She was referring to a meeting of NGOs on Nov 30 which discussed issues pertaining to Hindu burial grounds in Penang.
Jothee did not identify the alleged intruders or say how many were in the group, referring to them as “thugs” who appeared drunk.
She said they disrupted the proceedings several times and became dangerously volatile when the forum proposed that a petition be sent to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to complain about faulty crematorium incinerators in Batu Lanchang.
She said a group of women tried to calm them down when they were beating up a person attending the meeting, whom she did not identify.
“One thug used foul language and told one elderly woman to step outside to fight with him,” she said. “The woman was old enough to be his mother.
“Another thug was yelling and using insulting words against us.
“We could smell strong alcohol from both of them and, judging from their unruly behaviour, we believe they were drunk.”
Sothee demanded a public apology from the alleged intruders.
The forum organisers—the Coalition of Indian NGOs and Concerned Citizens Penang—last week lodged a police report on the incident.
Last Friday, a group of men held a press conference saying they were innocent of any wrongdoing at the Nov 30 meeting.
The forum was resumed last Saturday and no untoward incident happened.
The Inspector General of Police told Pakatan Rakyat leaders to follow the rules at the planned gathering to hand over a memorandum to the Kuala Lumpur City Hall on Dec 16.
KUALA LUMPUR: Inspector General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar this evening lambasted Batu MP, Tian Chua for refusing to follow guidelines of the Peaceful Assembly Act for a planned protest against quit rent hike proposed by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall, on December 16.
The senior top cop said rules and laws have been provided to ensure smoothness of the assembly and that the police were ready to assist the protesters by manning traffic in the area.
“There are laws why can’t they just follow it. We are here to help them and to help everyone else,” he said.
He added that the police might take precautionary measures to prevent any unnecessary incidents on that day.
“We would take action to prevent unwanted incidents. I urged them to apply for a permit and follow the rules.”
“This is to ensure that everyone else is happy. We could take care of the traffic and so forth,” he said.
This morning, Batu MP Tian Chua told FMT that there was no need for Pakatan Rakyat to submit an application under the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAC) for their rally at Dataran DBKL next week.
Speaking to FMT he said that it is only a submission of the objection letters to the rate hike.
When told the gathering has been described as a “rally” by various quarters including the police, Chua said: “They can describe is as anything they want”
Yesterday Khalid had urged the leaders in Pakatan Rakyat that his men would assist them in their Dec 16 rally against the Kuala Lumpur assessment rate hike as long as they abide by guidelines given in the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAC).
Last week, opposition MP’s representing Kuala Lumpur constituencies told the press they planned to rally at Dataran DBKL on Dec 16.
This came after DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) had sent out a notice to property owners informing them of the impending rise in assessment rates. In some cases, the hike would be as high 1,000%.
The MPs called for a lower increase, saying 10% to 15% would be reasonable.
The DBKL had set Dec 17 as the deadline for objections.
But this year's more comprehensive study showed six more, bringing the full list to Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
In 13 countries around the world, all of them Muslim, people who openly espouse atheism or reject the official state religion of Islam face execution under the law, according to a detailed study issued today.
And beyond the Islamic nations, even some of the West's apparently most democratic governments at best discriminate against citizens who have no belief in a god and at worst can jail them for offences dubbed blasphemy, it said.
The study, The Freethought Report 2013, was issued by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), a global body uniting atheists, agnostics and other religious skeptics, to mark United Nations' Human Rights Day on Tuesday.
"This report shows that the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers although they have signed U.N agreements to treat all citizens equally," said IHEU President Sonja Eggerickx.
The study covered all 192 member states in the world body and involved lawyers and human rights experts looking at statute books, court records and media accounts to establish the global situation.
A first survey of 60 countries last year showed just seven where death, often by public beheading, is the punishment for either blasphemy or apostasy - renouncing belief or switching to another religion which is also protected under U.N. accords.
But this year's more comprehensive study showed six more, bringing the full list to Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
In others, like India in a recent case involving a leading critic of religion, humanists say police are often reluctant or unwilling to investigate murders of atheists carried out by religious fundamentalists.
Across the world, the report said, "there are laws that deny atheists' right to exist, revoke their citizenship, restrict their right to marry, obstruct their access to public education, prevent them working for the state..."
Criticism of religious faith or even academic study of the origins of religions is frequently treated as a crime and can be equated to the capital offence of blasphemy, it asserted.
The IHEU, which has member bodies in some 50 countries and supporters in many more where such organisations are banned, said there was systematic or severe discrimination against atheists across the 27-nation European Union.
The situation was severe in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Malta and Poland where blasphemy laws allow for jail sentences up to three years on charges of offending a religion or believers.
In these and all other EU countries, with the exception of the Netherlands and Belgium which the report classed as "free and equal," there was systemic discrimination across society favouring religions and religious believers.
In the United States, it said, although the situation was "mostly satisfactory" in terms of legal respect for atheists' rights, there were a range of laws and practices "that equate being religious with being American."
In Latin America and the Caribbean, atheists faced systemic discrimination in most countries except Brazil, where the situation was "mostly satisfactory," and Jamaica and Uruguay which the report judged as "free and equal."
Across Africa, atheists faced severe or systemic violations of their rights to freedom of conscience but also grave violations in several countries, including Egypt, Libya and Morocco, and nominally Christian Zimbabwe and Eritrea.
When Nelson Mandela died last Thursday, some Malaysian political leaders paid him tribute and expressed their admiration for what he stood for.
Prime Minister Najib Razak, who recently bought back preventive detention, tweeted, “Mandela lives on in the spirit of every human that believes in democracy and freedom.”
Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, the champion of Perkasa, Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) and the New Economic Policy (NEP), called Mandela a great leader dedicated to the cause of social justice.
Kedah Mentri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir, who in September said he would not entertain any requests for allocations from Chinese schools in Kedah, called Mandela “a true international patriot” for having suffered for the freedom movement against Apartheid.
Wanita Umno chief Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who last year raised the threat of another May 13, extolled his message of unity and called him a “role model for all of the world”.
Weighed against what these people have said, done and been perceived to believe, the tributes sounded hollow – hypocritical, even. It makes one wonder if they truly understand the meaning of Mandela’s legacy.
For them to do so, they need to be more aware of what he stood and fought for throughout his life. And when they have become aware, it will not be enough until they apply what they have learned to governing Malaysia.
First, they need to learn that Mandela served – in the best sense of the word – his country. To do good for it without seeking any reward, financial gains or power, for his own sake.
He fought for his people’s freedom, fought against Apartheid, paid the price of being imprisoned for 27 long years, and became South Africa’s first black president in democratic elections. Did he amass great wealth along the way? Did he use the system to enrich himself and his family? Did he think of winning for himself and his party so that they could remain in power?
What he said at a lecture in Singapore in 1997 is instructive: “When we came out and set up negotiations, we discussed our approach very, very carefully, as the leadership of the African National Congress. And we adopted certain principles. Firstly, that in these negotiations, neither the congress, which is now in power, nor the enemy – the policy of Apartheid – none should win. But South Africa as a whole should win.”
He thought of his country first. He thought of his country winning. Our leaders, however, seem to think of themselves winning, and their party winning. When our government does something, it seems to consider first whether this will benefit the ruling party rather than if it will benefit the rakyat. Consider, for example, the doling-out of BR1M. Even now, the ruling party’s leaders are looking ahead to winning the next general election.
It was also quite revealing that at the Umno general assembly last week, a delegate said that if every 8th century Hindu temple ruin in Kedah were to be gazetted, his party would lose constituencies because the ruins were located all over. Rather than be concerned with preserving ancient treasures, he showed that his priority was winning electoral seats.
Second, Mandela kept to his principles of fighting against racial discrimination. And he promoted reconciliation – to bring the races in South Africa together, instead of sowing hatred and bitterness between them. He let the whites continue to control the economy and big business. In so doing, he has been criticised for not having done enough to improve the economic lot of his fellow black South Africans. But if he had instituted laws to favour the blacks, he would have practised Apartheid, and that would have been morally wrong. It takes someone who has felt the evil of racial discrimination to avoid resorting to it.
He let the whites run businesses because they were adept and experienced at doing it. If he had decreed that this be taken over by the blacks, who were inexperienced, South Africa’s economy would have suffered. Instead, with things continuing as they were, the country has annually achieved robust growth rates of 6, 7 or 8 per cent.
In the same lecture he gave in Singapore, Mandela said, “It is because of the talented people, both within the ranks of the liberation movement as well as in the ranks of the oppressor, that we have been able to bring about this transformation. We sincerely but fully believe that there are good men and women in all communities in our country – amongst Africans, coloureds, Indians and whites – and that the duty of the leadership is to create an environment in which those good men and women can exercise their talents. It is the combination of these factors that has made us progress in South Africa.”
Compare this with Malaysia, which has driven away at least 2 million of its talents and is now experiencing financial difficulties – because of the NEP, Ketuanan Melayu and Bumiputra economic empowerment. In short, Apartheid, Malaysian-style.
Sadly, however, Mandela’s experience is lost on Umno, the biggest ruling party in the country. At its general assembly, its high priest, Najib, actually told the congregation that Umno fought the “same cause” as Mandela did. Oh, how could he have said that and not looked like a fool? And how could he have discredited Mandela by comparing the great man’s cause to Umno’s?
Umno has been practising divide-and-rule for the longest time – the very opposite of reconciliation. Mahathir is still saying things to divide the races. He calls Mandela “my dear friend”, the leader he most admires, but he has not learned the crucial things from him: racial equality and reconciliation.
Neither has he learned from Mandela not to crave power. The latter served as president for only one term, from 1994 to 1999, and then gracefully stepped down.
Perhaps we the rakyat should learn from this and agitate our leaders to conceive of a new system that allows our prime minister to serve a limited number of terms.
Too long at the top can corrupt a person and teach them ways to amass absolute power. And since, as people say, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, we should prevent it from happening. We have already seen the damaging consequences of having a prime minister rule for 22 years; this should be reason and motivation enough to nip another Mahathir in the bud.
Finally, a sobering thought for all of us to ponder. Mandela was in prison for 27 years, but despite the length of his incarceration, he came out of it not as a bitter man seeking revenge and spewing hatred against his oppressors. He instead sought peace, reconciliation, and unification. It may well be that he found his epiphany while in prison. If that’s the case, perhaps our leaders need to serve time in prison, too. This is so that they may realise a thing or two to help them govern later – with fairness, justice and wisdom.
* Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to MSN Malaysia
* Kee Thuan Chye is the author of the new book The Elections Bullshit , now available in bookstores.