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Monday, January 12, 2009

A tale of two systems

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Malaysia is a country with two laws -- one for Barisan Nasional and another for the opposition. I suppose this is not surprising when we have two classes of citizens -- Bumiputeras and Pendatangs.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

There is one rule for Barisan Nasional and another for Pakatan Rakyat. Pakatan Rakyat needs a police permit to organise ceramahs. However, when they do apply for one, the police reject the application on ‘technical’ grounds.

Many opposition ceramahs during the ongoing Kuala Terengganu by-election campaign are, therefore, classified as ‘illegal assemblies’. Nurul Izzah Anwar has been summoned to the police station for her ‘statement to be recorded’ because she spoke in a ceramah that did not have a police permit and, therefore, was regarded as an illegal assembly.

Umno does not suffer this same problem. Umno ceramahs are not only allowed but the police even provide outriders to escort the VIPs to these ceramahs. Opposition ceramahs too have a heavy police presence. But the police are there to instruct the opposition to end their ‘illegal assemblies’, or else……..

DAP and PKR have been told to take down their flags. DAP and PKR, according to the Elections Commission, are not contesting the election. Therefore their flags should not be put up. Only PAS flags are allowed.

Umno, MCA and MIC are also not contesting the election. Barisan Nasional is. But Umno, MCA and MIC flags can be put up, alongside the Barisan Nasional flags.

When JERIT organised the cycling expedition recently, the police took action and arrested the participants because, according to the police, it is against the law to use children for political purposes. But Umno and Barisan Nasional not only can use children for politics, but can use them for election campaigning as well.

Malaysia is a country with two laws -- one for Barisan Nasional and another for the opposition. I suppose this is not surprising when we have two classes of citizens -- Bumiputeras and Pendatangs.

Children are very much in the thick of the campaigning (Photo by Choo Choy May, The Malaysian Insider).

Umno flags at the Menteri Besar’s residence even though Umno is not contesting the by-election.

Khairy tells his part in hudud row

21 arrested at anti-war vigil

Pakatan Hudud discomfort

Two hurt, one missing in Ipoh limestone outcrop collapse

IPOH, Jan 11 – A limestone outcrop collapsed, leaving two visitors seriously injured and a security guard trapped beneath boulders at the Perak Cave Temple in Jalan Kuala Kangsar today.

Fire and Rescue Department personnel led 16 other visitors were led to safety at 4.50pm – more than an hour after the mishap.

The security guard, in his 20s, who works at the temple, sustained fractures in the legs.

Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin said a search and rescue operation had been put on hold pending the arrival of police tracker dogs from Kuala Lumpur.

"It is very risky to look for the victim who is trapped beneath the boulders. We believe he is a security guard as his motorcycle is still in the vicinity," he told reporters after visiting the scene.

The visitors were ascending the steps to the limestone cave when the incident occurred, causing the steps and the bridge linking it to collapse at 3.15pm. Eight minutes later, a visitor alerted the department with his mobile phone.

Mohammad Nizar said the cave temple management had been asked to seal the area until it could be declared safe.

It is learned that the incident was the first at the cave which houses a temple built about 40 years ago.

In 1973, 27 squatters at a cave in the Gunung Cheruh limestone hill were buried alive when part of the outcrop collapsed. – Bernama

Fiery words brought back to haunt Umno

By Debra Chong
KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 11 - Among the many Barisan Nasional (BN) banners and billboards on Jalan Cerong Lanjut in Kampung Tiong here, the Pas banner stands out.

The banner, which displays the faces of Umno Youth hopeful and son of Malaysia’s ex-premier, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, as well as the controversial Umno Penang division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail, is a direct attack against the senior BN party.

The words in Mandarin below their images say it all: “Umno is becoming more extreme.”

The provocative slogan is a reminder to the Chinese of certain attitudes towards the minority community adopted by key Umno members since the March 8 general elections last year.

The two most notable incidents were the one in Penang, where Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail called Malaysian-Chinese “squatters”, resulting in the arrest of a reporter from a Chinese daily under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Second, Mukhriz’s suggestion to do away with vernacular schools and replacing them with a single education system.

While the predominantly Malay electorate remain equally split between the BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) front, Pas is stepping up its campaign to woo the Chinese community, which accounts for around 11 per cent of voters.

Polling day for the Kuala Terengganu by-election is only a week away.

There have been strong signals that the Chinese are warming to the Islamist party over the past week.

The Chinese have been turning up in increasing numbers at public ceramahs organised by the PR, including the one last night in an open air car park in Chinatown.

PRINCE HARRY'S RACIST REMARKS SPARKS ANGER

Prince Harry's racist remark about a Pakistani member of his army platoon has prompted widespread criticism although the prince issued an apology after the News of the World published a video diary in which he calls one of his then Sandhurst colleagues a "Paki".

Cabinet Minister John Denham said it was "offensive", while the Ramadhan Foundation called the prince a "thug" meanwhile to calm the situation the St James's Palace said he had used the term "Paki" as a nickname about a friend and without any malice.

Watch this video for the detail account: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7822883.stm

Will any form of action be taken against Prince Harry since he had violated the law.

news n picture courtesy of BBC News

Baradan – Comment is free but facts are sacred

Lim Kit Siang, Jan 11 2009

Just phoned Baradan Kuppusamy whose “Analysis” in the Star today made the mischievous claim that I had defended hudud and qisas laws as they apply only for Muslims.

He has also dragged DAP National Organising Secretary and MP for Seputeh Teresa Kok into the picture, alleging that she had taken the same stand.

When I spoke to Baradan, he said he had not read the Star.

I asked Baradan when I had ever made such a claim. He said he read it in a report but he was unable to recall which report.




As a veteran journalist, Baradan should know the important maxim for ethical and responsible journalism – Comment is free but facts are sacred.

I will like to know what is the news report which Baradan is claiming as his source and authority as neither Teresa nor I had ever made the claim he had alleged.

Is Baradan prepared to do the most decent thing and get a correction published prominently and immediately in the Star?

*******

The Star

Saturday January 10, 2009

A vote for hudud or multi-ethnic secular state?

Comment
By BARADAN KUPPUSAMY


A vote for Barisan Nasional in the upcoming Kuala Terengganu by-election is a vote for a secular and multi-ethnic Malaysia ruled by the Federal Constitution.

DAP national chairman Karpal Singh is not easily discouraged from speaking his mind, even if his words could potentially cost the Pakatan Rakyat the Kuala Terengganu by-election.

Unlike other politicians, Karpal Singh is neither a fair-weather friend nor one given to sacrificing core principles for political expediency.

Somehow, DAP leaders like supremo Lim Kit Sing and Seputeh MP Teresa Kok can hobnob with top PAS leaders, and lend credence to the Islamic ideology of PAS and at the same time defend a multi-ethnic society founded on a secular constitution that has no place for hudud or qisas laws.

However, they defend their association with PAS by arguing that hudud and qisas laws are only for Muslims, an argument also advanced by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim while campaigning in Kuala Terengganu on Wednesday.

With his eye on the majority conservative Malay voters there, Anwar took the argument a step further, arguing that syariah laws should be extended beyond Muslim marriage, divorce and inheritance, but only for Muslims.

Karpal Singh, however, does not buy the “only for Muslim” argument simply because the society we live in now is multi-ethnic and governed by a secular constitution that is the supreme law of the land.

There is no other higher authority and MPs take an oath in Parliament to promote and defend the same constitution.

Karpal Singh argues that for hudud laws to be applicable, the prerequisite is to set up an Islamic state in which Islamic laws would be applicable equally to both Muslims and non-Muslims, as is the case now in Iran and Saudi Arabia, two Islamic theocratic states.

Karpal Singh’s position on an Islamic state has been unwavering – Malaysia is not an Islamic state, the country’s highest court had said so, and the constitution which rules all our activities, is a secular constitution.

It does not matter whether Umno or PAS leaders have declared Malaysia to be an Islamic state or nation. Such declarations have no legal effect except to rally the political faithful.

The issue is simple. “Enacting and implementing hudud laws is unconstitutional,” says Karpal Singh.

The MCA has also criticised Anwar, with its Information and Communication Bureau chief Lee Wei Kiat saying the PKR leader’s stand wavered and shifted according to the audience.

“His statement leaves the option of expanding syariah laws to non-Muslims open,” Lee said, calling on Anwar to uphold and defend the constitution.

“Our party rejects any form of a theocratic state and hudud laws. MCA would like to reiterate that Anwar should honestly inform voters that hudud laws would not only affect Muslims but also deprive their rights in various aspects of their lives,” he said.

Islam and an expanded role for syariah are shaping into key issues as traditional rivals Umno and PAS battle for the hearts and minds of the 80,000 voters in the Kuala Terengganu constituency.

Chinese voters, who number about 10%, might hold the key if the Malay vote is equally divided between PAS and Umno.

How non-Malays vote in PAS territory has always been coloured by their perception of Islam and an Islamic state where hudud and qisas laws would hold sway, compared to now where syariah is confined to Muslim family and matrimonial rights.

However, non-Malays bottled their fears and accepted PAS on March 8 after it dropped its Islamic state dreams for a welfare state.

They also believed Anwar would be able to bottle up the worst aspects of PAS.

With PAS raising the issue again and with Anwar advocating the expansion of syariah, albeit for Muslims only, the issue is back on the plate of non-Muslim voters.

PAS has a dream and is not shy about it – to hopefully one day capture state power and bring all Muslims under syariah law. At the same time, it promises to protect and promote non-Muslims but in accordance with the precepts of the Quran which it says is just and fair.

PAS has never come near to realising its dreams and that’s not because of lack of effort or commitment. Their dedication, commitment and sacrifice for their cause are absolutely without parallel.

After suffering many ups and downs, they scored on March 8 in alliance with the DAP and Anwar’s PKR, and are closer to achieving their dreams than ever before.

To satisfy non-Muslims, PAS has given a written undertaking to its allies in the Pakatan Rakyat that it would not implement an Islamic state or hudud laws if the Pakatan seized power but with an “until and unless the allies agree” caveat.

Politics can make for strange bedfellows and such a promise is small comfort for people like Karpal Singh and others who feel that once the genie is out, there is no persuading it back into the bottle.

That’s why the Kuala Terengganu vote is important for a secular, multi-ethnic Malaysia ruled by the constitution, because a victory for PAS advances its avowed dream one small step forward.

A defeat is just another small setback for them in a long, untiring journey

21 Held After Defying Police Order At Dataran Merdeka

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- Police rounded up 21 people including eight women and a 12-year-old boy at Dataran Merdeka tonight after they did not heed the order to disperse.

Among those held were Kota Damansara Assemblyman Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim, Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago and Jerit coordinator Arutchelvan Subramaniamrit, said Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Mohammad Sabtu Osman.


"They were arrested while gathering at the Dataran and taken to the Tun HS Lee police station for questioning," he added.

The gathering was organised by Parti Sosialis Malaysia to protest the conflict in Gaza and Sri Lanka.

The group was seen marching from the compound of the Bar Council building to Dataran Merdeka at about 8pm and police moved in half an hour later after they refused to disperse.

-- BERNAMA

Gaza “a big concentration camp”, says Vatican cardinal

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace, has issued the Vatican’s toughest criticism of Israel, calling Gaza a “big concentration camp”.

“Defenceless populations are always the ones who pay. Look at the conditions in Gaza: more and more, it resembles a big concentration camp,” Martino, whose informal title is Vatican “justice minister”, was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.

“For decades, human dignity has been trampled in the Gaza Strip; hatred and homicidal fundamentalism find fodder in social and economic injustice,” he said in another interview.

Meanwhile, the Latin (Catholic) Patriarch of Jerusalem Archbishop Fouad Twal, quoting from the 18th Conference of the Council of Oriental Catholic Patriarchs, criticised the siege of Gaza in his Christmas Day message:

Together with all the Catholic Patriarchs of the Middle East “we turn to our faithful and to all the citizens of the Holy Land, living in deteriorating conditions, especially the unjust siege that has struck Gaza, and the hundreds of thousands of innocent residents there.

And while we offer our thanks and appreciation, for the efforts invested by all those of good will, to break the siege, we appeal to the local and international authorities, to finally reach a just and final peace in the Holy Land, so that it might return, to being a source of redemption, reconciliation, justice and forgiveness for its people and the whole world.

We also call upon the Palestinians themselves, to return to unity in the context of a recognized Palestinian legal structure, and in this way, to spare the people the continuing and degrading siege.” (Final Statement: 18th Conference of the Council of Oriental Catholic Patriarchs)

21 Held After Defying Police Order At Dataran Merdeka

ImageBernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 (Bernama) -- Police rounded up 21 people including eight women and a 12-year-old boy at Dataran Merdeka tonight after they did not heed the order to disperse.

Among those held were Kota Damansara Assemblyman Dr Mohd Nasir Hashim, Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago and Jerit coordinator Arutchelvan Subramaniamrit, said Kuala Lumpur police chief Datuk Mohammad Sabtu Osman.

"They were arrested while gathering at the Dataran and taken to the Tun HS Lee police station for questioning," he added.

The gathering was organised by Parti Sosialis Malaysia to protest the conflict in Gaza and Sri Lanka.

The group was seen marching from the compound of the Bar Council building to Dataran Merdeka at about 8pm and police moved in half an hour later after they refused to disperse.

Dewan Rakyat Special Sitting

Pain in the butt. Malaysia's parliament meet for a Special Sitting to discuss the Gaza issue today at 2.30 pm.

As I see it, here is an opportunity for outgoing PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to go out with a bang.

An opportunity to condemn Bush for protecting Israel and to condemn Tel Aviv for Gaza.

And here is a chance, too, for Anwar Ibrahim, the Opposition leader, to do the same.

Go to hell with talk about his friendship with Paul Wolfowitz, who not too long ago was probably the second most powerful Jew in the Bush Administration.

[See The Jews in George Bush's Cabinet]

Here is a chance for Anwar to condemn Wolfowitz for his close ties to the Israeli military.

Today at the Special Sitting, Malaysia has a chance to be a pain in the butt. Such pain helped end Apartheid in South Africa. It also helped end the Balkan War. Let's help end the Israeli atrocities and let Gaza live.

Here's an opportunity to consider several proposals.

1. An OIC peace-keeping force to oversee conflicts in Islamic counties, including Palestine. The proposal was made by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi;

2. Adopt a resolution for the UN to set up an international tirbunal to investigate and prosecute Israeli war crimes, as had been suggested by Francis Boyle, an expert in international law and human rights, from the United States.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has proposed that the special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat discuss this;

3. Boycott of products of Israel's allies, including the United States. This proposal has been made by various quarters in Malaysia and globally; and

4.
To get the OIC members to gazette Gaza and the West Bank as concentration camps (like the infamous Auschwitz which the Nazis created to incarcerate and kill Jews during the Second World War). The proposal was made by Information Minister Shabery Cheek.

MOZZARELLA CHEESE II

1. I don't know whether my piece about Langkawi mozzarella was read by the Star or not but I am glad the paper carried reports on the production of the unique Italian cheese in Langkawi.

2. There is no doubt the recipe was brought by Mr Muhammad Michael Bruschi, an Italian who married a Malaysian.

3. His cheese making facility is located near a Government buffalo breeding farm. Talking to Mr Bruschi I realise that there is not enough buffalo milk for him to grow his business.
4. He is very knowledgeable about cattle breeding and he has a number of French limousine cows in his farm

5. I am informed that the buffalo breeding station is to be handed to a cooperative. Although the Government veterinary staff know about breeding buffaloes and can train the co-operative to carry on, perhaps they can make use of Mr Bruschi to bring in Italian practices into buffalo breeding, especially for maximising the production of milk. I am sure it will benefit everyone.

6. I hope no one will be offended by my unsolicited suggestion. I am still nominally the adviser to LADA or Langkawi Island Development Authority.

7. Mr Bruschi also has a Malay boy who he had sent for training in butchery in San Marino, an independent country inside Italy. Carving up the carcass of a slaughtered animal requires special skills. The different parts of the animal sell at different prices in the market. A trained butcher would carefully carve the carcass so as to maximise the returns from selling at different prices the best parts and the less tasty parts.

8. Maybe our butchers are already doing that and would require no more training. But in case they are not then they should get themselves trained so tha they can maximise the returns to themselves by selling special cuts like T-bone, rib, cheek, fillet, rump etc.