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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Fans worldwide watch Jackson memorial service

(CNN) -- Fans around the world have gathered at arenas and record stores, big screens, parks and makeshift shrines, to watch the memorial service of Michael Jackson and pay homage to their idol.

A Michael Jackson fan in Berlin watches footage of the memorial concert.

A Michael Jackson fan in Berlin watches footage of the memorial concert.

As thousands of fans joined Jackson's family and closest friends at Los Angeles Staples Center arena, millions more followed proceedings on television and online.

In Germany, at least 8,000 Jackson fans watched events in Los Angeles unfold at a Trauerfeier," (translated as Sadness Party) at Berlin's O2 World arena, reported CNN's Frederik Pleitgen.

Fans began arriving at least three hours before the event was due to begin, Pleitgen said. "He [Jackson] connects races, religions and ages," said one fan, "his music connects the world."

Many fans were moved to tears when Jackson's daughter Paris Katherine wept as she called the singer "the best father you could ever imagine." Pleitgen added: "A lot of people got very wet eyes."

South African former president Nelson Mandela paid his respects to Jackson in a statement read to the audience at the Los Angeles memorial by singer Smokey Robinson.

"Michael became close to us after he started visiting and performing in South Africa regularly. We grew fond of him and he became a close member of our family. We had great admiration for his talent and that he was able to triumph over tragedy on so many occasions in his life," Mandela said. "We mourn with the millions of families worldwide."

In the southern Chinese enclave of Hong Kong, fans carried flowers and Jackson paraphernalia, such as a doll and record, at a memorial.

"I cannot accept MJ has already left us, and I think we should come here and do something for him and express our feeling to show that we really miss him," said one man.

Hundreds of British fans in London braved torrential rain to watch a giant screen outside the city's O2 Arena, where Jackson was scheduled to play a series of 50 concerts from July 13. Many more fans are expected to converge on the venue next Monday to mark what would have been the first of his concert dates.

"I am still in denial," said Jenny Keme, 21. "We're going to stay here to the end of the ceremony even though it's pouring. He had such a gentle soul, that's what I love most about him."

Celeste Dixon, 28, added: "He is the King of Pop, not was. No one will ever be worthy of him, he is bigger than life. Without Michael Jackson breaking barriers, Barack Obama would never have made it."

Elsewhere in London the cast of musical "Thriller- Live" paid their own tribute during the evening performance at the Lyric Theatre, with cast, crew and audience observing a minute's silence. "Many of them were in tears during it," reported CNN's Phil Black.

The theater has become a shrine to Jackson, with devoted followers holding vigils and leaving cards and messages at the building's entrance.

In Japan, meanwhile, hundreds of fans gathered at a Tower Records store -- where Jackson twice visited -- in Tokyo to watch his videos on a big screen. Followers were even offered the chance to take a photograph next to a cast of a footprint left by Jackson when he last visited. Video

Michael Jackson: The Memorial
On Tuesday, join CNN, HLN and CNN.com Live for all-day coverage as the world celebrates the life of a worldwide pop icon, and don't miss our prime time coverage starting at 8 p.m. ET.

In a bar in New Delhi, the Jackson memorial gathering was small -- only a dozen or so people. On the wall of the bar that usually only plays hard rock, Jackson's music was blasting, candles were lit underneath two framed pictures of Jackson and customers had written messages saying goodbye. The bar manager said: "We all grew up with Michael Jackson. Other generations had The Beatles, or Elvis Presley. Michael is our generation."

And on the streets of Beijing, people were greeted by a Jackson look-alike, 28-year-old Wang Jie, who performed ahead of the memorial. Though Jackson never himself performed in China, he is loved in the country. Members of the official Michael Jackson Fan Club rented a hotel room so they could watch his funeral broadcast live.

Thousands of other fans worldwide following the coverage online via CNN and Facebook, with many again moved by the comments of Jackson's daughter about her father.

"Never cried so much ever since my dad passed away," said Facebook user Rinoa S Koh from Singapore, while user Nomar Levey in Jamaica added: "OMG Tears are really pouring."

Facebook user Manu Tyagi from India said: "The first English songs I ever heard in India were MJ songs... grew up with his music... and never though we would see him die so soon. He achieved his destiny before he passed to the kingdom of god! Really hope he rests in peace. He was the best."

As Jackson's coffin casket was carried out of the Staples Center, Facebook user Marika Papazoglou in Greece said: "RIP Michael. We love you more.

Hindraf 18-point Memorandum in Full

Hindraf 18-point Memorandum in Full

50th year Merdeka (Independence) demands by the two (2) million ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia to Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Prime Minister of Malaysia on Sunday the 12th day of August 2007 at 10.00a.m at Seri Perdana, Putrajaya Malaysia.


1. Whereas:

    The Reid Commission was appointed by her Majesty the Queen of England and the Conference of Rulers in 1956 with the view to Malaya (and now Malaysia) achieving independence by August 1957.Among the primary terms of reference of the Reid Commission were a Common Nationality for the whole of the Federation.


2. And whereas

    The overwhelming of the 131 written memoranda submitted to the Reid Commission as evidenced by the declassified documents from the Public Records Office, Kew, London, United Kingdom which represented the will and wishes of the then Malayan population were primarily equality and equal opportunities etc for all Malayans irrespective of race or religion as follows: -

    2.1 In the grant of state land,

    2.2 Admission to public and administrative service;

    2.3 To trade and do business, licenses, permits etc

    2.4 Primary, secondary, skills Training, university and overseas university education.

    2.5 No special privileges for the Malays,

    2.6 No discrimination of any ethnic community based on race or religion,

    2.7 The retention of all their places of worship in particular Hindu temples, crematoriums and burial sites,

    2.8 Freedom of Religion,

    2.9 Malaya is to be a Secular State and not an Islamic state,

    2.10 Right to mother tongue education in particular Tamil schools to be fully aided,

    2.11 Minimum wage for the lowest paid, and

    2.12 Equal recognition as sons of soil for all Malayan born.

    3. And whereas

    Based on the aforesaid proposals the Malaysian Federal Constitution, which is the supreme law of Malaysia as drawn out by the Reid Commission in 1957 was passed by the inaugural Malayan Parliament and which formed the basis of independent Malaysia.

    4. And whereas

    Over the last 50 years since independence on the 31st day of August 1957, the United Malays Organisation (UMNO) controlled Malaysian government with their majoritarian might, and backed by police, Attorney General’s Chambers, Judiciary, civil service and the media continuously violated the Malaysian Federal Constitution by their racist and Islamic extremist policies and which in effect have created an apartheid system ala Malaysia and especially resulting in the degeneration of at least 70% of the ethnic minority Indians to become the underclass of Malaysia who end up in the poor and hardcore poor category. The rest of the 29% raised above the poor and hardcore poor category wholly and/or substantially through their own efforts, sacrifices and labour with no or very little assistance by the UMNO controlled government. The 1% of the cream thrives anyway.

    5. And whereas

    The plight of the Indians have been made worse by the racist UMNO mindset having spilled over to even almost all of the Opposition parties, NGOs’, Civil society, Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam), Bar Council, the media etc who do not take up the Indian plight for they are deemed to be lacking “political mileage” (race based) and/or no funding.

    6. And whereas

    The Indians having no or very little opportunities for upward mobility or hope either turn to crime (60% of Malaysian detainees are Indians though they are only 8% of population-Suhakam 2005) or end up committing suicide which is 1000% higher than Malays (Utusan Malaysia 12.9.2005).

    7. And Whereas at a public forum attended by 1,000 over Indians on 28.7.2007 at 7.00p.m at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, the participants unanimously resolved to forward their 18 point demands and which this peaceful assembly gathered here today on the 12th day of August 2007 at Putrajaya once again unanimously resolves to demand as hereinbelow outlined.

    And now it is hereby demanded for and on behalf of the two (2) Million ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia from the UMNO controlled Malaysian Government their 18 point demands as follows:

  1. End 50 years of violations of the Malaysian Federal Constitution.
  1. End Racism, end Islamic extremism and end Malay privileges on the 50th year golden jubilee mega Independence celebrations of Malaysia on 31st August 2007.
  1. Call for affirmative action plans for all poor Malaysians especially the ethnic minority Indians. A Protection of Ethnic Minority Malaysian Indian Act 2007 be passed to secure and safeguard the interests of the poor and defenseless ethnic Indian Minority Community.
  1. All 523 Tamil Schools in Malaysia be made fully aided government schools with immediate effect and to have equal and same facilities as granted to national schools especially in terms of financial allocations, sufficient graduate teaching staff, financial allocation for extra tuition, ample computers, Information Technology facilities, school fields, sports, recreational facilities, air conditioned library, textbook loans, kindergarten, school uniforms and pocket money for poor pupils, nutritional food programmes, teaching aids, school building, infrastructure, film screening room and facilities, financial assistance for poor students, rehabilitation classes, non Muslim religious classes, etc. A RM 100 Billion grant @ 20 Billion per year with effect from 2007 be allocated to Indians under the 9th Malaysia Plan (5 years) for refurbishing the existing 523 Tamil schools and rebuilding of the 300 Tamil schools demolished over the last 50 years.
  1. Extend and implement with immediate effect to Indians the affirmative action plans, grants, scholarships, loans etc as extended to Malay Muslim citizens with the view to providing equal opportunities for higher education, university education, admission to foreign universities, post graduate studies locally and overseas, Trade and Skills Training Institutions, Science Colleges especially for each and every Indian student from the 70% poor and hardcore poor Indian category.
  1. Extend and implement with immediate effect affirmative action plans as extended to Malay Muslim citizens with the view to provide equal opportunities in acquiring wealth, venturing into business, trade, industries, medium and small scale industries, government linked companies, corporate sector, procurement of direct government contracts, in acquiring licenses for contractors, blue chip and / or guaranteed return shares, lorry, taxi and bus permits, loans and licenses to venture into trade, business banking and the corporate sector for each and every Indian from especially the 70% poor and hardcore poor Indian category. To this effect the UMNO controlled government allocates RM100 Billion at RM20 Billion per annum with effect from 2007 and implements successful strategic schemes in investments for the Indians as implemented for the Malay Muslims with the view to the Indians acquiring at least 10% of the nation’s equity.
  1. All the aforesaid is to be handled directly by the UMNO controlled government and UMNO is to stop “playing politics” through the “Mandore” (supervisor) system by dishing out on a piecemeal and/or peanuts basis or merely public and/or newspaper announcements and declarations by the Malaysian Indian Congress (M.I.C) who have no or very little power or say in the UMNO controlled Malaysian government.
  1. 20% of the Government top most level postings (Secretaries Generals), Middle level Management (Directors) and management level (Managers) postings, and the same for the Private Sectors, and positions of District Officers; Foreign and Diplomatic Service positions, civil service positions are reserved for Indians for the next 15 years.
  1. The UMNO controlled government makes public and is transparent on all of the aforesaid affirmative action plans i.e. the aforesaid education places, licenses, scholarships, grants, loans, permits, licenses, opportunities etc by publishing the same in the official website of the Government of Malaysia as and when the same is granted and/or on a monthly basis specifying the Indian beneficiaries thereto.
  1. Stop the indiscriminate unconstitutional and unlawful demolitions of Hindu temples, crematoriums and burial sites in Malaysia. All existing Hindu temples, crematoriums and burial sites be granted state land and permanently gazetted as Hindu temple reserves as has been done for all Islamic places of worship and burial sites. Compensation at RM10 Million per temple be paid by the UMNO controlled Malaysian Government for the 15,000 Hindu temples demolished up to date over the last 50 years.

    Every individual given the Right to practice and profess Religion/s of his/her choice in accordance to Standards adopted by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948. The State and its Authorities barred from interfering in the personal beliefs and conscience of individual citizens. Disputes between Muslims & Non Muslims should be adjudicated in the Civil Courts.

  1. Stop the victimization and direct discrimination by the Police and all other state authorities of the Indians. All Malaysians earning RM 3,000.00 and below are to be fully borne by state funded legal aid for any criminal charges they face.
  1. The UMNO controlled government forms with immediate effect a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Kg Medan Mini Genocide, condemns the violence thereto, apologises to the Indian community on this mini genocide, undertakes not to repeat the same in future and pay a compensation of RM1,000,000.00 for each and every citizen killed, permanently maimed, maimed or injured in this tragedy.
  1. Each and every Indian especially the Indian poor in the aforesaid 70% Indian poor and hardcore poor category is paid compensation which is to be adjudicated and determined by the United Nations Secretary General for the aforesaid 50 years of Constitutional violations by the UMNO controlled government.
  1. All homeless Malaysians are to be provided affordable homes and not low cost flats by law. A minimum wage of RM1,000.00 for each and every Malaysian be made law.
  1. A Royal Commission of Inquiry is initiated to report on the aforesaid constitutional violations by the UMNO controlled government and appropriate recommendations for amongst others further affirmative action plans for especially the 70% Indian poor and hardcore poor category.
  1. All forms of racial and religious discrimination, oppression and suppression of the Indians / Hindus in both the public and private sectors are stopped with immediate effect and a Race Relations Commission Act 2007, an Equal Opportunities Commission Act 2007 and a Freedom of Religion Commissions Act 2007 be passed and powerful Commission thereto be put into force to give effect to anti racism, anti Islamic extremism and anti direct discrimination practices by the UMNO controlled government in both the public and private sectors.
  1. The UMNO controlled government passes specific laws to give effect to the Independence of the Judiciary, the Attorney General’s Chambers, Civil service, Police Force, Army, the Malaysian Human Rights Commission and the Malaysian media and for the Opposition parties, NGOs’ Civil Society groups, Bar Council and the media not to discriminate and side step Indian issues but instead to voice out the same without fear or favor. The Malaysian media is also to be legislated to report the real happenings especially on the 70% Indian poor and hardcore poor without fear or favour.
  1. A minimum of 20 Opposition members of Parliament are elected exclusively by the Indian Community to represent their interest at the highest political level and also as a Parliamentary Democracy check and balance and the same is safeguarded and entrenched into the Federal Constitution and which is to be increased proportionately with the increase in Parliamentary seats.

Proposer: P.Waytha Moorthy

Seconder: V.K Regu; (Chairman, Hindraf) (Secretary, Hindraf)

Compiled by P.Uthayakumar legal Adviser, Hindraf based on the ground reality, sentiments, pulse, blood, sweat and tears of the Malaysian Indians after 50 years of marginalisation, discrimination, oppression and suppression by the UMNO controlled Malaysian Government.

Voters back fresh Perak polls in new survey

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — Despite giving Datuk Seri Najib Razak a high approval rating as the country’s new prime minister, Malaysians appeared to view the continuing political tussle in Perak as a major black mark for the new administration.

The results from a survey by the independent Merdeka Center shows that 44 per cent of Malaysians polled backed the call for fresh elections as the way to resolve the crisis.

Those who feel the best resolution is to “persuade the people to accept the Barisan Nasional (BN) state government” accounted for just 18 per cent of those polled.

Another 18 per cent want fresh elections in the three seats belonging to the three Pakatan Rakyat (PR) defectors. The three defections had helped tip the balance in favour of BN and sparked an unprecedented political and constitutional crisis.

A striking result of the poll showed that a majority of Malay voters also backed fresh elections.

A total of 38 per cent of Malays agreed that the state assembly should be dissolved, with 15 per cent calling for polls in the three affected seats. Some 30 per cent of Malays backed the BN government.

Among the Chinese polled, 54 per cent wanted fresh elections, 20 per cent wanted polls in the three seats while just 8 per cent backed the BN government.

For the Indian community, 46 per cent wanted fresh elections, 24 per cent called for polls in the three seats, and only 15 per cent supported the BN government.

Ousted Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin from the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) said the poll vindicated his stand of fighting for the state assembly to be dissolved.

“They should call for fresh elections in Perak. Najib is behind the power grab and drama there and if he wants to save BN, he should dissolve the state assembly and I would believe that he would be encouraged to dissolve it to ride on the momentum of his popular support,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Some 1,060 selected registered voters were surveyed between June 19 and July 1.

They were asked a range of questions to gauge the PM’s performance, sentiment on the country and economy and measures to liberalise the economy.

The margin of error is about +/- 3 per cent. The survey was jointly commissioned by Merdeka Center and a research house. Najib’s approval rating was 65 per cent, a spike from the tepid 46 per cent in mid-May and 42 per cent just before he became the country’s sixth leader.

Twenty-two per cent are dissatisfied with his performance while 13 per cent were undecided.

“I would think that Najib should capitalise on the encouraging survey which shows that he is popular because of his policies and call for a state election in Perak.

“Najib is on the rising wave and he can ride it further on a sustained basis if responds to the aspiration of the people,” said Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam from the Centre for Public Policy Studies.

The survey appeared to show that there is broad appeal for Najib’s economic reforms.

But BN’s power-grab in Perak, which happened in February before Najib took office, is seen as an affair which has left a bad taste in the mouth for Malaysians.

The power grab, masterminded by Najib, has resulted in continuing political unstability with countless court battles and even two farcical state assembly sittings.

Nizar is still challenging the legitimacy of Datuk Dr Zambry Kadir’s appointment as mentri besar.

Tomorrow, the Federal Court in Putrajaya will hear Nizar’s final appeal.

Court adjourns Sodomy II trial to July 15

Anwar, with fist raised, seems to be in a jovial mood despite his trial been postponed. — Picture by Choo Choy May

UPDATE 1
By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's second sodomy trial, set to start today, was delayed again because his lead lawyer was too sick to go to court.

Sulaiman Abdullah has been warded at the government-run Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) since yesterday, according to his co-counsel.

The seasoned lawyer and former Bar Council president was admitted following an episode of “giddiness” which began last week at the Court of Appeal in Putrajaya while trying to get Anwar's trial returned to the Sessions Court.

High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah fixed next Wednesday to hear Anwar's bid to get more proof from the prosecution before the trial.

It also fixed his bid to strike out the charge for the same date. If he fails, the trial will begin immediately.

Solicitor-General II Datuk Yusof Zainal Abiden, who is heading the prosecution team, had objected to the delay.

He expressed his concern for Sulaiman's health, but argued that the trial could continue without the battle-hardened lawyer.

Pointing to the massive defence team, Yusof said any one of them could easily replace the veteran.

But Anwar's lawyers leapt up to counter the view.

Sankara Nair pointedly told the court his client had a constitutional right to choose his counsel, and was adamant that it must be Sulaiman.

The former deputy prime minister made his political comeback last year after winning big in the Permatang Pauh by-election and was leading the charge to take over the federal government then headed by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The 61-year-old insists he is being politically persecuted to prevent him from reaching his goal and becoming the next prime minister.

Speaking to reporters immediately after the judge adjourned the case, the charismatic leader, who was dressed smartly but casually in a grey suit and open-necked beige shirt, poured scorn on the prosecution's efforts to continue the hearing.

“My lead counsel is now in HKL. But the prosecution team insists on the trial going on... we're just asking for a few days to see what happens to my lead counsel,” Anwar said, criticising Yusof's insistence that the trial be allowed to continue without Sulaiman.

An anak Bangsa Malaysia’s call to Uthayakumar

By Haris Ibrahim

Shakuntala sent in a comment to the “A Challenge to Uthayakumar…” post. It really does articulate what so many of us feel that I felt it deserved a reproduction here as a post.

It’s reproduced in full below.

Thank you, Shakuntala.

_________________________________________

I’m first and foremost an Anak Bangsa Malaysia and I want the numbers to grow….they are already. I believe in being an Anak Bangsa Malaysia only because the concept embraces all of us, whether we are black, yellow, a lighter shade of pale,dark brown, light brown and even white.That’s how far we have come already!There is no stopping the tide.

If we look ahead, our children and their children are not going to be in their particular national grooves…they are all going to be mixed and more mixed…they are definitely going to be MALAYSIAN. There’s no two ways….only ONE, the Malaysian Way.

A true leader who has the welfare of all Malaysians at heart, will heed the call…. for unity and intergration of all races.Because that’s the character of our country, Malaysia. We want the lousy word RACE to end and the only way to do it, is to unite and put an end to this damned thing called RACE which is causing no end of negatives…and problems.

Uthayakumar,….I heard that you fought very hard for a Chinese boy, who was a victim of police brutality, a few years back. I’m not sure if you were successful,or what came of it, but it just shows the kind of person you really are, not a race based crazy fanatic, but a far-sighted all embracing, generous person of the calibre of, maybe,Nelson Mandela?

You’ve been in prison like him. The experience has not embittered you, that is quite obvious. As a result too,of your prison term, you must be imbued with an extra, born again spirit ..a far- sighted one looking beyond the confines of nearness and of only one race,..but rather one that spans miles to embrace a nobler and worthier cause..That cause is the call to a better and united Malaysia and the only way that can come about is, when all of us become ONE PEOPLE ONE NATION, without separation into different races.

Remember,Uthayakumar, your children are the children of Malaysia.They are no longer Indians in this land. They want to live in a united world, a world in which they do not have to fit into race lines and be within a frame….they want to be free to be called just human beings. And because they live in Malaysia they want to be called Malaysians. They will not want prefixes, ie, malay, chinese indian.It is a very strong and enduring wish.

So please look ahead and see this as something to work for, to fight for, to live for, and finally to achieve … a hand is being stretched out that needs grasping.Shake that hand of friendship and far-sightedness, it belongs to Haris Ibrahim, but it is really all of our hands, the hands of the Anak2 Bangsa Malaysia, reaching out to you and Hindraf to join forces.

Take hold of that hand of friendship, and go together as ONE PEOPLE ONE NATION, to secure Justice and Equality for all Malaysians.

Conversion

By The Nut Graph team
thenutgraph.com


Malcolm X (Public domain)
THE late Malcolm X did it, and he's a hero. Amina Wadud did it, and people call her a freak. "It" being converting to Islam. And as African Americans, Malcolm and Amina did it in the belief that Islam offered them spiritual liberation and justice.

People convert to different religions all the time. Who can forget rock 'n roll legend Tina Turner's conversion to Buddhism, which eventually empowered her to escape her abusive marriage to Ike Turner? In another highly publicised — and highly mocked — journey of spiritual discovery, pop music icon Madonna found inspiration in the mystical Kabbalah sect of Judaism in the late 1990s. The creator of the Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis, also wrote extensively about his conversion to Christianity.

But the search for spiritual authenticity does not seem to be the only reason for certain individuals to convert. Former Argentinian President Carlos Menem was born to a family of Syrian Muslim migrants. He realised, however, that if he ever wanted a shot at leading Argentina, he could not remain a Muslim. So he converted to Catholicism and had his marriage to his Muslim wife, Zulema, annulled.


Mohan Singh (Courtesy of Baldi
Kaur, J Belvikohr and Jaswant
Kaur)
In Malaysia, however, the laws give religious conversions another layer of controversy and urgency. Most recently, the High Court yet again gave jurisdiction to the syariah court to determine whether a non-Muslim, art director Mohan Singh a/l Janto Singh, was a Muslim at the time of his death, despite his Sikh family's dispute of his conversion.

Earlier, in April 2009, M Indira Gandhi was in the spotlight when she protested her Muslim-convert husband's unilateral conversion of their three young children to Islam without her consent.

But Mohan Singh and Indira Gandhi are only the tip of the iceberg of conversion controversies in Malaysia. Mohan Singh's case seems to be yet another consequence from the unprecedented tussle in 2005 over Everest climber M Moorthy's religion at the time of his death. Moorthy's family had insisted on giving him a Hindu funeral, but the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department eventually buried him as a Muslim, after the Syariah Court ruled that Moorthy had converted to Islam.

There was also the headline-grabbing six-month detention of M Revathi in 2007 at the Ulu Yam rehabilitation camp in Selangor, where she was forced to cover her hair and eat beef. Revathi, although born a Muslim, was raised by her Hindu grandmother and married a Hindu Malaysian, V Suresh, under Hindu rites in 2004. When she left the detention centre, Revathi famously asserted her Hindu faith by saying, "My name is Revathi. I want to hold on to that name — forever."

And who could forget the Federal Court's 2007 dismissal of Lina Joy's appeal to not identify officially as a Muslim anymore? It was a civil court decision hailed by numerous Muslim groups.

Even the Internal Security Act (ISA), which allows for detention without trial, has been wielded in certain cases of religious conversions. For example, during Operasi Lalang in 1987, the ISA was used to detain Yeshua Jamaluddin, a Malay-Muslim Malaysian who had converted to Christianity. Jamaluddin's detention was eventually declared unlawful by the Supreme Court in 1989, but he had to flee Malaysia and resettle overseas.

Indeed, the situation in Malaysia easily overshadows the more complex, diverse phenomenon of religious conversions as experienced by people in other parts of the world. There is even diversity among leading Islamic authorities on the issue of conversion.


Sheikh Ali Gomaa (Public domain)
In 2007, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, wrote: "The essential question before us is can a person who is Muslim choose a religion other than Islam?

"The answer is yes, they can, because the Qur'an says, 'Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion,' [Qur'an, 109:6], and, 'Whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve,' [Qur'an, 18:29], and, 'There is no compulsion in religion. The right direction is distinct from error' [Qur'an, 2:256]."

Gamal al-Banna, brother of the founder of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, Hassan al-Banna, says "each and every individual has the right to change his [or her] religion without any conditions whatsoever."

On the other side of the fence are scholars like Cairo University's Dr Abdelsabour Shahin who uphold that Muslims who convert out of Islam should be killed. The Malaysian education system clearly adopts Shahin's position: in the official Form Four Islamic Studies textbook, the authors state that the penalty for converting out of Islam should be death.


Text from the Form Four Islamic Studies textbook
(Click on image for bigger view)
It is then no wonder that when organisations such as the Bar Council try to organise public forums on the impacts of religious conversions in Malaysia, some Muslims feel compelled to disrupt them coercively in the name of Islam.

But it is clear that when certain interpretations of Islam become the source of public policies, the issue of religious conversions into and out of Islam affects all Malaysians. And The Nut Graph believes that Malaysians are mature enough to critique, analyse, and argue the issue honestly and with civility. So, give us your Six Words on conversion. Here are some of the newsroom's attempts:

Deborah Loh:

Back off, let God judge apostates.

Plan to convert? Tell your family!

Conversions: For love or for God?

Jacqueline Ann Surin:

Senang nak masuk, mustahil nak keluar.

There is no compulsion in faith.

Imposed conversions give Islam bad name.

Kalau tak percaya, boleh paksa lagi?

Kalau bukan pengikut, nescaya tak percaya.

To convert, surely one must apostasise?


George Michael (Pic by insasse; source:
Wiki commons)
Anda cinta jejaka Islam? Jangan harap!

Nick Choo:

God grants free will. Malaysia doesn't.

Being an unbeliever might be easier.

You gotta have faith: George Michael.

Shanon Shah:

Some religions privileged over others. Why?

Should only be dictated by conscience.

Anda cinta gadis Islam? Snip, snip!

Inter-religious osmosis — a fact of history.

Creating God in our own image.

Leave body-snatching to sci-fi B-movies please.

Newsflash: Free will produces authentic believers.

No right to inheritance

By Deborah Loh
thenutgraph.com

PETALING JAYA, 8 July 2009: There is no avenue for a deceased Muslim convert's next-of-kin to lay claim to his or her estate, as civil laws like the Distribution Act 1958 do not apply to the Muslim deceased, lawyers said.

Instead, the estate goes to the Muslim treasury, Baitulmal, which is meant to distribute the assets among poor Muslims, hence denying the right to inheritance among non-Muslim family members.

In response to the High Court judgment that Mohan Singh a/l Janot Singh was a Muslim and his religion at the time of death should be determined by the Syariah Court, lawyers told The Nut Graph that legal amendments to address the distribution of a convert's estate are imperative.

What happens?

When a non-Muslim dies without a will, the estate is divided among the next-of-kin subject to the Distribution Act.

But for a deceased Muslim, his or her estate is subject to the Islamic laws of faraid (Muslim inheritance and distribution law). Under such circumstances, non-Muslims are prohibited from inheriting Muslim estates, and vice-versa. This is under the Syafie school of thought, which Malaysia adopts for its Islamic laws.

The law has yet to be tested in respect of a deceased Muslim convert who has a will, says lawyer Balwant Singh Sidhu, who represented the Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism. The council was a respondent in the judicial review involving Mohan's religious status.

"When the Distribution Act was enacted in 1958, nobody thought of converts because there were few at the time. Since this Act applies to non-Muslims only, and Muslims are covered by syariah enactments on inheritance, what about converts who drew up their will when they were non-Muslims?" Balwant said in a phone interview.


Balwant

No rights

The absence of specific laws to address the peculiar scenario involving a convert has led civil courts to side with Islamic laws that prohibit non-Muslims from inheriting the estate of Muslims.

Balwant referred to the case of Majlis Agama Islam Wilayah Persekutuan v. Lim Ee Seng in 2000, where the High Court dismissed a wife's claim to her Chinese Malaysian husband's estate because he had converted to Islam.

The wife had commenced proceedings for the Letters of Administration — documents that authorise a court-appointed administrator to manage her late husband's estate — but the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council stepped in to lay claim to the inheritance.

Balwant noted that the Shah Alam High Court, in declaring its judgment on Mohan's case, did not address his next-of-kin's rights to inheritance despite the matter being raised in submissions.

The appeal against the High Court's decision has already been filed at the Court of Appeal, and Balwant said he would raise the matter of inheritance rights during the hearing.

Need to amend laws

In the case of Mohan, whose Muslim name, according to his conversion certificate, was Mohammad Hazzery Shah Mohan Abdullah, Baitulmal will be the beneficiary of his estate.

The Muslim treasury in Selangor is managed by the Selangor Islamic Council (Mais).

Lawyer for Mohan's family Rajesh Kumar said Mohan did not make a will, and as a Muslim, his estate will not be governed by the Distribution Act but by Islamic law.

Besides his sisters and stepfather who are Sikh, he leaves behind a wife and daughter who are non-Muslim, and from whom he is estranged.

"Laws definitely need to be amended to ensure the next-of-kin are not deprived of their rights. In respect of converts, the law also needs to be clearer, such as having the next-of-kin present so that they can acknowledge that the conversion took place," Rajesh said in a phone interview.

Mais's lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla, when contacted by The Nut Graph, said the religious council was discussing Mohan's estate this week, and that he would only be able to comment further next week.


Art director Mohan on a film production set
(Pic courtesy of Baldi Kaur, J Belvikohr and Jaswant Kaur)

Religious council's discretion

K Shanmuga, who also represented Mohan's family in the High Court, said although the non-Muslim next-of-kin had no legal rights to a convert's inheritance, the state religious council could decide to "donate" a portion of the deceased's estate to the family at its discretion.

He said to his knowledge, this has happened once, so far. It was the case of a firefighter in Malacca whose family received RM100,000 or half his estate, 13 years after his death.

The firefighter, Abdul Wahid Lim Abdullah, had died on duty. The family only discovered his conversion to Islam after his death.

In 2005, the Malacca Islamic Religious Council (Maim), in response to his family's plight, then decided to donate half the estate to help them make ends meet.

In the case of Mount Everest climber M Moorthy, it was out of public pressure and his brother's compassion that his widow S Kaliammal was able to receive Moorthy's estate.

Kaliammal's solicitor at the time, A Sivanesan, told The Nut Graph that the widow received an initial RM100,000 as a gratuity, and after Moorthy was promoted to sergeant posthumously, she also received his pension in full and continues to do so.


Sivanesan
Moorthy's two properties which went to his brother, who became Muslim through marriage, were later given to Kaliammal, but only after the brother obtained the agreement of the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council.

"This was an exceptional case and is definitely not the norm. It was exceptional because it shook the whole nation and drew international attention, so the government had to be seen as liberal," said Sivanesan, who is also a Perak DAP assemblyperson.

"The authorities cannot act like this on a case-to-case basis because each case has a different scenario," the still-practising lawyer said. He added that there were more cases involving the conversion of one spouse but with different circumstances, which had not been highlighted to the media.

"The government must study all the different scenarios and make changes to the laws," Sivanesan said.

Kemaskini dari mahkamah

Untuk makluman, kemaskini perjalanan mahkamah secara langsung boleh diikuti melalui laman web http://www.twitter.com/AnwarIbrahim2.

Sila ke laman web tersebut untuk mengikuti perkembangan terkini mengenai kes Dato’ Seri Anwar dari kamar mahkamah.

Pejabat Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim

Jackson hailed as greatest entertainer, best dad


Usher performs next to Michael Jackson's casket during the memorial services for pop star Michael Jackson in Los Angeles July 7, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES, July 8 (Reuters) - Mariah Carey, Stevie Wonder and Usher sang emotional farewells on Tuesday to Michael Jackson, who was hailed as "the greatest entertainer that ever lived" and described by his tearful 11-year-old daughter Paris as "the best father you could ever imagine."

Some 18,000 fans, family members and friends took part in a public memorial for Jackson in the Los Angeles sports arena where the singer had rehearsed the day before his death for a highly-anticipated series of comeback concerts.

Jackson's brothers, each wearing a single sequined glove in homage to his signature look, carried the singer's golden casket into the downtown Staples Center.

Carey performed Jackson's 1970 ballad "I'll Be There", Usher's voice cracked as he sang "Gone Too Soon" and the King of Pop's three children made a rare public appearance without veils used for years by Jackson to shield them from the media.

But it was Jackson himself who loomed larger than life, shown in old concert footage, music videos and news clips, singing, dancing his moonwalk and surrounded by adoring crowds.

"The more I think about Michael, and talk about Michael, the more I think that 'King of Pop' is not good enough," said Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, who signed The Jackson 5 to a recording contract in 1968. "I think he is simply the greatest entertainer that ever lived."

The two-hour memorial focused on Jackson's musical achievements, overshadowed in the last 10 years by the darker side of the singer's life, including his humiliating 2005 trial and acquittal on charges of child sex abuse.

Jackson's sudden death from cardiac arrest in Los Angeles on June 25 at the age of 50 stunned fans across the world and sent sales of his biggest hits from albums such as "Thriller" and "Off the Wall" back to the top of music charts.

President Barack Obama, on a visit to Russia, said he was "one of the greatest entertainers of our generation, perhaps any generation," and added: "I think like Elvis, like Sinatra, like The Beatles he became a core part of our culture.

The memorial focused on Jackson's 45-year musical career in which he was awarded 13 Grammys, his charity work for childrens' groups and his role in opening the mainstream pop and celebrity world to African-Americans.

It was broadcast live on U.S. national TV networks and Internet company Akamai said it was the most widely viewed event on the Web since the inauguration of Obama in January.

The company, which handles 20 percent of the world's Web traffic, reported that it ran some 2.8 million audio and video streams during the webcast.

Gordy was among the few who referred obliquely to Jackson's recent troubles. "Sure there was some sad times and maybe some questionable decisions on his part, but Michael Jackson accomplished everything he dreamed of," said Gordy.

"NOTHING STRANGE" ABOUT DADDY

Jackson was on the eve of a comeback after his career collapsed in the 1990s. The exact cause of his death is still awaiting toxicology results amid reports of abuse of prescription drugs, including the powerful narcotic Diprivan.

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton, who has lashed out at media coverage of the bizarre aspects of Jackson's life, had a message for the singer's three children.

"Wasn't nothing strange about your daddy. It was strange what your daddy had to deal with," he said, to cheers from the audience.

The children, Prince Michael, 12, Paris and Prince Michael II, 7, appeared with the family on stage to join in a mass chorus of Jackson's inspirational hits "We Are the World" and "Heal the World".

Paris, in tears, took the microphone to say: "Ever since I was born my daddy has been the best father you can ever imagine and I just wanted to say I love him, so much."

Jackson's family and close friends held a brief private ceremony earlier on Tuesday at a Los Angeles cemetery before bringing the singer's body and casket to the memorial. Questions remained on where exactly Jackson would be buried.

Police had estimated that more than 250,000 people would gather outside the arena but the orderly crowds were much smaller than expected. Many fans and downtown office workers appeared to have stayed at home to watch the ceremony on TV.

Police, security, escorts and sanitation for the memorial ceremony are expected to cost cash-strapped Los Angeles city council nearly $4 million. The city council on Tuesday launched a web site asking for fans to make donations towards the cost of hosting Tuesday's events and said that contributions had started to come in.

(Additional reporting by Jill Serjeant, Alex Dobuzinskis and Jim Finkle)

© REUTERS 2009

'The best father you could ever imagine'

'The best father you could ever imagine'
Michael Jackson's golden casket is placed on the stage at his memorial as a choir sings and millions of grieving fans say goodbye to the King of Pop. After star-studded performances, family members took the stage for an emotional farewell while Jackson's daughter Paris fought tears as she said how much she loved him.

In memorial of Micheal Jackson





PKR's Zaid Ibrahim in Manek urai

"Saya akan tunaikan amanah Allah ini"- Mohd Fauzi

Khir: I can afford monthly payments from business income

(The Star) - Former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo is paying a RM15,000 instalment per month for his mansion in Section 7 here and he says he can afford it as he has gone into business.

“I don’t depend on my state assemblyman’s allowance to service my loan with HSBC as I have other sources of income,” he said.

He was responding to DAP Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Suee Lim’s query on how Dr Mohd Khir could afford the monthly payments on the house with his assemblyman’s allowance of about RM8,000 a month.

Dr Mohd Khir said he had ventured into business after the general election last year.

“I couldn’t go into business when I was Mentri Besar because it was prohibited. Now that I am only an assemblyman, I am allowed to hold jobs and manage businesses,” he added.

Dr Mohd Khir said he owned a pharmacy as well as a dental clinic.

“I have also ventured into other businesses and the income I get from them is more than enough for me to make monthly payments on my house,” he said.

He said Ng should know better that assemblymen needed other sources of income since he (Ng) owned a couple of grocery shops.

He said he expected the topic of his house to be hotly debated at the state legislative assembly which begins meeting Wednesday.

Dr Mohd Khir also said that the Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives should concentrate on solving problems faced by the people instead picking on non-issues.

“There are many issues they have failed to resolve, especially problems faced by the Indian community in the state. They should look into this first,” he said.

However, Ng told a press conference at the State Secretariat building here that he was prepared to face legal action from the former Mentri Besar.

He said he had obtained the necessary information from several contractors who had worked on the mansion.

Ng also warned that the expose on the house was only the beginning as more information regarding Dr Khir’s wealth would be revealed soon.

On a lighter note, Ng said he had received offers on Dr Mohd Khir’s house and requested for an official letter appointing him to sell the place.

He also asked for the keys to enable him to show potential buyers what they would be paying for.

The untold MAS story: part 2

Image

In part 2, today, we reveal extracts of the Anti-Corruption Agency (now called MACC) report that was submitted to the then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Abdullah, however, did not want the MACC to pursue the matter lest he rubs ex-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad the wrong way. So the file was stamped NFA (no further action) and was conveniently closed. More will be revealed in part 3.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Why English should not be taught in Bahasa Malaysia

Image

There is currently a brouhaha going on about the proposed teaching of Science and Maths in English. Some would like these two subjects to be taught in Bahasa Malaysia. I am not too concerned about Science and Maths. I am more worried about English. I feel English should no longer be taught in Bahasa Malaysia.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

And why do I think that English should not be taught in Bahasa Malaysia? Well, maybe this circular from one of Malaysia’s leading universities would explain everything.

*************************************************

4th UiTM INTERNATIONAL SPORTS FIESTA
19 – 23 November 2009 FUTSAL-RUGBY 7- TENPIN BOWLING-BADMINTON


Dear Sport Friends,

Regarding about the global issue H1N1 happens around the world, sadly to be informing that our UiTM International Sports Fiesta will be postponing to 19-23 November 2009.

For all teams which have been confirm to participate in our events, we have to say sorry for this announcements and our Ministry of Higher Education and Ministry of Health also advise to us to change the date for this current situation.

By the date have been confirm incoming this November hopefully your teams still can participate in our event and don’t hesitate to contact us for further information.

And again, we would like to say sorry about the date change for the sake of our health among us.

See you in this November at UiTM Malaysia!!

Regards,

Mr. Mustaza Ahmad
Director
Sports Centre
Universiti Teknologi MARA
Malaysia

*************************************************

By the way, I have a friend who ensures that his kids say their prayers every night before they go to bed and one night be peeped into the kids’ room and overheard his seven-year old son utter this prayer:

Oh, and by the way Lord, I also wish our Wakil Rakyat would be struck down by a sickness or knocked down by a car. I know, Lord, it is not very nice to wish for someone’s death but I have been told that it is okay to sacrifice one’s life if it is for the sake of the entire community. I mean, Lord, that is what soldiers do everyday. They die so that the rest of the people can have a good life.

If our Wakil Rakyat were to die then there would be a by-election in our constituency. That would mean the government would spend hundreds of millions to upgrade the roads in our neighbourhood. Yesterday, I hit a huge hole in the road and fell down. I not only hurt my knee and elbow but my bicycle is now destroyed.

I heard my dad say that the residents have been complaining for more than a year but the government still did nothing about the bad roads while our neighbour said that unless there is a by-election then don’t hope for anything to be done. So, if our Wakil Rakyat were to die, then there would be a by-election called and our roads would immediately be upgraded.

My dad said he is not prepared to buy me a new bicycle because the economy is very bad and he does not have the money to spend on such things. But if there is a by-election then the government will give out free bicycle to all the kids and I will then get the new bicycle that my dad can’t afford to buy.

Furthermore, my dad’s car has been stuck in the garage for the last three months because the road tax has expired and he can’t afford to renew it. So we now have to take a bus to go to town. If there is a by-election then the government will hand out RM1,000 ang pows and with this money my dad will be able to renew his road tax.

Thank you, Lord, and I hope my wish is not too personal. I will talk to you tomorrow night, Lord, but in the meantime maybe you can see what you can do about the Wakil Rakyat thing that I wished for.

Buktikan Ketua Menteri bukan setakat pandai jaja air liur — Utusan Malaysia

JULY 7 — Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng tanpa segan-silu mengakui kerajaannya tidak mampu untuk mengambil alih tanah di Kampung Buah Pala.

Setiausaha Agung DAP itu mendakwa jika hendak dilakukan juga, tindakan tersebut akan memufliskan kerajaan negeri.

Jadi penyelesaian mudahnya — beliau akan menulis surat kepada Perdana Menteri meminta Kerajaan Persekutuan pula yang mengambil alih tanah kampung itu daripada pemaju.

Guan Eng tidak ambil kisah siapa yang memerintah Pulau Pinang sekarang. Tidak peduli soal tanah adalah di bawah bidang kuasa kerajaan negeri.

Dia lupa bahawa pembangkang yang menabur janji untuk membantu penduduk Kampung Buah Pala sebelum mendapat kuasa memerintah negeri!

Alasannya untuk mewajarkan bantuan kerajaan Persekutuan kini — kerajaan negeri Barisan Nasional (BN) terdahulu yang mencetuskan kontroversi itu!

Dalam hal ini, tidak sukar membaca muslihat Guan Eng memohon bantuan Pusat secara terbuka untuk menyelesaikan masalah penduduk Kampung Buah Pala!

Tabiatnya sejak memimpin kerajaan pakatan DAP-Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) 16 bulan lalu tidak habis-habis menyelongkar kelemahan kerajaan negeri terdahulu.

Sehingga kini belum ada satu pun pencapaian atau kejayaan yang boleh dibanggakan. Hakikatnya, kerajaan negeri Pulau Pinang di bawah Guan Eng berhadapan dengan krisis kredibiliti!

Sekiranya Kerajaan Pusat campur tangan dan berjaya menyelesaikan isu Kampung Buah Pala, sudah tentu beliau akan mendabik dada sebagai orang yang membawa perkara itu ke pengetahuan Perdana Menteri.

Sebaliknya jika isu itu gagal diselesaikan sedangkan Pusat setuju membantu — Guan Eng sudah menolak beban tersebut ke bahu BN.

Justeru reaksi Perdana Menteri yang mahu Guan Eng menyelesaikan sendiri isu Kampung Buah Pala amat tepat sekali.

Isu tanah di Pulau Pinang tidak ada kena-mengena dengan Kerajaan Persekutuan.

Guan Eng perlu menghadapi realiti dan mencari jalan menyelesaikan masalah di negeri yang dipimpinnya!

Memang benar kerajaan negeri sebelumnya telah memberi kebenaran kepada pemaju untuk membina pangsapuri di situ.

Tetapi DAP selaku parti pembangkang pada masa itu yang menyokong tindakan penduduk membantah projek dan mempertahankan Kampung Buah Pala.

Kini setelah menjadi pemerintah, sudah sewajarnya DAP meneruskan komitmen tersebut dan menunaikan janji membantu mereka!

Alasan Guan Eng dan bapanya, Lim Kit Siang menuntut bekas Ketua Menteri, Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon menyelesaikan masalah penduduk Kampung Buah Pala kerana didakwa sebagai pencetus kontroversi itu sebenarnya tidak relevan lagi.

Persoalannya siapakah yang duduk di kerusi Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang sekarang?

Tidak ada maknanya jika pembangkang khususnya DAP menghentam gaya kepimpinan Tsu Koon tetapi pada masa yang sama, mengharapkan bekas Ketua Menteri itu menyelesaikan masalah bagi pihak kerajaan negeri sekarang!

Guan Eng perlu menghentikan tabiat menolak kesalahan kepada kerajaan negeri terdahulu!

Sebulan dua memerintah mungkin rakyat boleh menerimanya tetapi tidaklah setelah 16 bulan berkuasa!

Prinsip Cekap, Akauntabiliti dan Telus (CAT) yang dilaung-laungkan oleh kerajaan negeri pimpinan Guan Eng sepatutnya tidak terbatas dalam mengungkit dan menyelongkar kelemahan kerajaan terdahulu semata-mata.

Tabiat menuding jari kepada orang lain lambat-laun akan menyerlahkan kelemahan sendiri. Guan Eng perlu buktikan yang pembangkang bukan setakat pandai menjaja air liur!

Najib scores a pass with 65pc

KUALA LUMPUR, July 7 – When he entered office in early April, he owned one of the lowest approval ratings of any incoming Malaysian Prime Minister.

One hundred days later and after a slew of measures to reform the economy, Malaysians appear to be warming up to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, a latest survey by an independent polling house shows.

The poll by the Merdeka Centre shows that his approval rating is 65 per cent, a spike from the tepid 46 per cent in mid-May and 42 per cent just before he became the country’s sixth leader.

Twenty-two per cent are dissatisfied with his performance while 13 per cent were undecided.

The survey findings will present further evidence to the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) that the days of it contending with a weak and unsure leader in Putrajaya are over.

Ibrahim Suffian, head of the polling institute, said: “Quite clearly, a growing number of Malaysians like some of the policy initiatives of the PM and his inclusive message.

“Some have begun to trust his leadership and some are giving him the benefit of doubt. This has translated into a higher approval rating.”

Some 1,060 selected registered voters were surveyed between June 19 and July 1.

They were asked a range of questions to gauge the PM’s performance, sentiment on the country and economy and measures to liberalise the economy.

The margin of error is about +/- 3 per cent. The survey was jointly commissioned by Merdeka Centre and a research house.

While he may have started on a low note, Najib can take heart that his approval rating has shot up. - Picture by Choo Choy May

Since becoming PM on April 3, Najib has tried to stake out his credentials as a reformer and architect of a new economic model for the country.

He liberalised the financial services sector, allowing foreigners to own larger chunks of investments banks and insurance companies.

Last week, he dropped the 30 per cent Bumiputera equity requirement for Malaysian firms seeking listing and trimmed the role of the powerful Foreign Investment Committee (FIC).

In addition, he also announced that from next year, a new category of merit-based scholarships will be awarded to Malaysian students.

These changes and policy initiatives are aimed at making Malaysia an attractive destination for foreign investment, nurture the services sector and help the country retain its best brains.

There is also a political imperative.

The moves proposed by the Najib administration are also aimed at regaining some of the support Umno/Barisan Nasional lost in Election 2008, particularly among the non-Malays.

The Merdeka Centre survey shows that Najib’s support is strongest among the Malays.

Some 74 per cent of Malays polled are satisfied with his performance as PM, while the level of support among Chinese and Indians is 48 per cent and 74 per cent respectively.

This finding will provide comfort to the PM at a time when his critics in the Malay community are accusing him of being too eager to remove affirmative action quotas at the expense of the Malays.

Both former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pas) president Datuk Abdul Hadi Awang have disagreed with the decision to liberalise the economy, arguing that Malays still need special treatment from the government.

Najib has said that the move to open up the economy will benefit Malaysia and Malays in the long run.

Economists have hailed the measures, noting that Malaysia had to become more competitive to attract foreign direct investment at a time when FDI around the world is declining.

The survey suggests that the majority of Malaysians accept the need for economic liberalisation.

Some 62 per cent respondents believe that liberalisation will help Malaysia in the long run, with 21 per cent not confident that it will help the country and no response from 17 per cent of those polled to this question.

In addition, 60 per cent of those polled believed that liberalisation will help Malays in the long run.

The survey also showed that despite facing one of the steepest contractions of the economy since the Asian Financial Crisis, Malaysians are fairly optimistic about the state of the economy and the ability of the Najib administration to steer the country down the right path.

Six out of then Malaysians are confident of the PM’s ability to manage the economy and lead Malaysia out of the recession.

Generally, the findings of the survey indicate strong levels of support among Malays and Indians for the new PM but the Chinese remain ambivalent.

Ibrahim said: “The general sense is that the Chinese community likes what they have been hearing but want to see the policies and initiatives to be executed.

“If the PM ensures that his agenda is implemented quickly and effectively, his goodwill will only grow.’’

But as the Abdullah years showed, if there is a yawning gap between press statements and execution, Malaysians can be an unforgiving lot.

The Buck Stops Here

By Sheih Kickdefella,

Yes, the buck stops here, in Manek Urai. Beginning tomorrow we will strip BN naked. All those years of lies by BN leaders about the Oil and Gas issues will come to light. Watch this blog.

Segala penipuan Kerajaan Barisan Nasional dan pemimpinnya tentang isu Minyak Mentah dan Gas Asli serta royalti milik rakyat Kelantan akan terbongkar. Nantikan ia di blog ini dan bersamalah kita telanjangkan BN di Manek Urai dengan fakta-fakta yang akan didedahkan.

Billboard 12x8

Gobbledegook and regurgitation galore in the two written judgments of the Court of Appeal in Zambry v Nizar Jamaluddin

By NHChan

Prologue

I shall start with an aside on the dictionary definition of the two words which feature in the title of this article.

Gobbledegook means unintelligible language.

Regurgitate means repeat information without understanding it. Regurgitation is the noun.

After you have read the article you should have an inkling of what I am trying to suggest with the words. You can then judge for yourself.

There are only two points that really matter in this appeal: Clauses (2)(a) and (6) of Article 16

Let us see if ordinary people like us can understand Clauses (2)(a) and (6) of Article 16 of the Constitution of Perak better than the judges of this Court of Appeal.

There are only two points that really matter in the appeal. They are Clauses (2)(a) and (6) of Article 16 and they read:

(2) (a) His Royal Highness shall first appoint as Menteri Besar to preside over the Executive Council a member of the Legislative Assembly who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly;

And

(6) If the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, then, unless at his request His Royal Highness dissolves the Legislative Assembly, he shall tender the resignation of the Executive Council.

The language of these two clauses, Clause (2)(a) and Clause (6), is easy to understand. There is no ambiguity. Clause (2)(a) is definitive. It is only in this clause that the Ruler has been given the discretion to appoint a Menteri Besar which is based on his judgment.

On the other hand, it is only in Clause (6) where it is said that if the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly then he would be able to ask the Ruler to dissolve the Assembly. If the request for the dissolution of the Assembly is withheld by the Ruler (who has the discretion to do so under Article 1 8(2)(b)), the incumbent Menteri Besar has to tender the resignation of the Executive Council.

It is important that we notice that there is no provision for the incumbent Menteri Besar to resign. In fact, in the present case, the incumbent Menteri Besar Nizar had refused to resign even though he was ordered by the Ruler to do so. Of course, all of us know that the Ruler has no such power to order anyone to do anything. It was unconstitutional of the Ruler to do so.

While members of the Executive Council hold office at the pleasure of the Ruler, it is not so with the Menteri Besar. Clause (7) of Article 16 states:

(7) Subject to Clause (6) a member of the Executive Council other than the Mentri Besar shall hold office at His Royal Highness’ pleasure,

That said, I return to the first part of Clause (6) which I am going to discuss below.

The proper duty of the conjunction “if” is to introduce a conditional sentence

The operative word in Clause (6) is the conjunction “if’. I refer to Fowler‘s Modern English Usage, Second Edition, where it says:

if. To avoid possible ambiguity it may be prudent to confine if to its proper duty of introducing the protasis of a conditional sentence, and not to use it as a substitute for though or whether or (with not) to introduce a possible alternative.

In case you do not know the meaning of the word “protasis”, it means the clause that states the condition in a conditional sentence. In English the protasis is generally introduced by if or unless. But don’t trust Microsoft’s word processor because it suggests the word “protasis” does not exist in the English language. Of course, Fowler is the authority on the usage of the English language (Churchill wrote to the Director of Military Intelligence about the plans for the Normandy landings, “Why must you use intensive here? Intense is the right word. You should read Fowler’ s Modern English Usage on the use of the two words”). Or you may use a good dictionary, not a condensed one, and you will find the word.

The dictionary meaning of the conjunction “if’ means “on condition that, whenever” or “supposing that, in the event that”. In the present context, if is used to mean “on condition that, whenever”. So that Clause (6) is to read like this: On condition that “the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the Members of the Legislative Assembly, then,” he can request the Ruler to dissolve the Assembly. This sentence means that “whenever” a Menteri Besar has ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the Assembly, he can request the Ruler to dissolve the Assembly. As stated in Fowler, the proper duty of “if’ is to confine the word to introducing the protasis of a conditional sentence. The condition in the sentence is that the MB’s loss of confidence in the Legislative Assembly has to be established first before the MB can request the Sultan to dissolve the Assembly.

Therefore, it is only on the condition that a Menteri Besar has lost (ceased to command) the confidence of the majority of the Assembly before he can request the Ruler to dissolve the Assembly.

Definitely, it is not up to Nizar the incumbent Menteri Besar to say that he has lost the confidence of the Assembly. How could he be sure of that without a vote being taken at the Assembly? At best, Nizar could only be guessing. Obviously, the only way in which it could be shown with any degree of certainty that Nizar had lost the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly is to go to the Assembly itself for a vote to be taken.

But what happens when an MB had lost a formal vote of confidence in the Assembly and still refused to resign?

But then, one may ask the hypothetical question (because this is not the case here), what happens when an MB knows by a vote being taken in the Legislative Assembly that he has lost the confidence of the majority of the Assembly? Can he refuse to resign? Professor Kevin YL Tan in his essay which appears on the web portal LoyarBurok (www.loyarburok.com) tells us that:

This happened in Kelantan in 1977 when its MB, Datuk Mohamed Nasir refused to resign even though he had lost a formal vote of confidence in the Kelantan LA, been sacked by his own party, and had his request for dissolution of the LA refused by the Sultan of Kelantan. The impasse led to the declaration of a state of emergency by the Federal Government that lasted three months, after which the LA was dissolved for fresh elections.

Alas, this single precedent is not particularly instructive. No legal solution was possible and ultimately, the situation was resolved politically by the Sultan dissolving the LA and allowing fresh elections to be called. Perhaps, all rulers and governors should, as a matter of course, accede to requests by their respective MBs to dissolve the LA for fresh elections to be called unless the ruler has a premonition that a calamity might befall the state if he so acceded. That way, new mandates are quickly determined and the business of government can proceed once a new leadership is established. Indeed, the Sultan of Perak supported this view of a ruler’s powers when he was Lord President. In his 1992 essay, “The Role of Constitutional Rulers”, he opined:

“… under normal circumstances, it is taken for granted that the Yang diPertuan Agong would not withhold his consent to a request for dissolution of Parliament. His role under such a situation is purely formal.”

This point was picked up by counsel for Nizar and cited with approval by the High Court.

The Sultan has no explicit power to dismiss an MB under the Perak Constitution. Indeed, neither is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong empowered to dismiss a Prime Minister under the Federal Constitution.

It seems that ordinary people are better than these judges because they could understand what the two clauses mean

Now that you are apprised of the meaning of the two clauses that really matter in the appeal, you should be in a better position than the appellate judges who have missed the points to come to their decision.

We all know that whenever there is a situation when there is no Menteri Besar, such as when the incumbent MB dies or resigns or has been disqualified as an assemblyman (because Nizar is an assemblyman) or has been removed from office by the assembly, then the Ruler “shall first appoint as Mentri Besar to preside over the Executive Council a member of the Legislative Assembly who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Assembly”: so says Article 16(2)(a). This is the only occasion in which a Ruler can use his ‘judgment” to select and appoint a Menteri Besar.

We also know that a Menteri Besar, once he has been appointed by the Sultan under Clause (2)(a), cannot be removed by him. The MB does not hold office at the Sultan’s pleasure. The Sultan has no power to dismiss the incumbent Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin or to declare the office of Menteri Besar vacant: so says Article 16(7), “Subject to Clause (6) a member of the Executive Council other than the Menteri Besar shall hold office at His Royal Highness’ pleasure (the emphasis is mine)”. So that when Nizar refused to resign after the Sultan has declined to dissolve the Legislative Assembly, the Sultan has no power to dismiss him nor has he the power to appoint another Menteri Besar when Nizar is still the Menteri Besar as he has not resigned his office.

So then, how are we to determine a loss of confidence in the Assembly? Certainly not by an outsider like us. Not even Nizar himself was in any position to say that he did not command the confidence of the majority of the Legislative Assembly. Only the Assembly can determine if Nizar has lost the confidence of the majority of its members.

Therefore, the reality of the situation is that Nizar is still the Menteri Besar when he refused to resign and the Sultan has no power to dismiss him or to deem the office of Menteri Besar has fallen vacant. The Sultan has no discretion or power to appoint a second Menteri Besar when the incumbent is still in office. The Perak Constitution does not provide for two Menteri Besars. Any decision of the courts otherwise is a perverse one because such a decision is not made according to the Laws of the Constitution of Perak.

Don’t you think all of you ordinary people are better judges than these recalcitrant judges of the Court of Appeal? At least (now that you are informed of the constitutional provisions) you know how to apply the relevant law which is applicable in the present case, whereas the judges don’t seem to know how to do it.

Now that you know the law which applies, you are in a position to judge the two judges

So far the Court of Appeal has issued two written judgments. Let us see if the judges who wrote them come up to your expectations.

Raus Sharif JCA who sat as the chairman of this Court of Appeal meandered through 43 tedious pages of his 48 page judgment before he came to the conclusion that Article 16(6) makes no reference to a motion of loss of confidence to be passed by the Legislative Assembly and therefore he concluded that the High Court judge had erred in law. This is what Raus JCA said, p 43:

For the above reasons, I find that the learned judge had erred in law in concluding that the only manner in which the loss of confidence of the majority of members of the Legislative Assembly could only be ascertained by way of motion to be passed in the Legislative Assembly. Such a finding is contrary to the provisions of Article XVI(6) of the Perak State Constitution which makes no reference to such a motion having to be tabled.

Remember my explanation above about the conjunction “if’? In the instant case the use of the conjunction if means “on condition that” or “whenever”. So that the opening words of Article 16(6) should read, thus: On condition that “the Menteri Besar ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, then,” he can request the Ruler to dissolve the Assembly. In other words, the loss of confidence in the Legislative Assembly must be established first before the MB can make his request to the Ruler for a dissolution of the Assembly. Obviously the only way to establish that Nizar has lost the confidence of the majority is to ask the members of the Assembly themselves. It would be incorrect to ask Nizar because he could only guess at his own popularity. Undoubtedly, you must never ask the Ruler to determine the loss of confidence of a Menteri Besar in the Legislative Assembly as he has no power to determine on the status of the MB’s popularity in the Assembly. And if the Court of Appeal were to confer such power on the Ruler, then it is a blatant refusal of the court to administer justice according to the Laws of the Constitution of Perak.

Of course, in Article 36(2) the Sultan is given a general power “to prorogue or dissolve the Legislative Assembly”.

Yet, the judge has relied on the Ruler’s determination that Nizar no longer commands the confidence of members of the Assembly. This is what Raus Sharif JCA said, at p 40 of his 48 page judgment:

It is an undisputed fact that His Royal Highness interviewed the 3 independent members separately in order to ascertain whether they were really supporting Barisan National. They informed His Royal Highness that they no longer supported Nizar as the Menteri Besar. Instead they declared their support to Barisan Nasional. At the end of it, His Royal Highness was satisfied that with the 31 members of the Legislative Assembly supporting the Barisan Nasional, Nizar no longer command the confidence of the majority of the mambers of the Legislative Assembly.

This is a trashy piece of reasoning coming from an appellate judge. Raus Sharif JCA seems not to know that the Ruler is only a constitutional monarch with no prerogative power to do anything but that which the law allows him.

Plainly, the use of the conjunction if in Clause (6) speaks volumes. The loss of confidence of the MB in the Legislative Assembly must be established first before the MB can make his request to the Sultan to dissolve the Assembly. In this case Nizar requested the Sultan to dissolve the Legislative Assembly before it could be established that the MJ3 has lost the confidence of the majority in the Assembly.

Without doubt, it must not be left to interested parties – neither Nizar nor Zambry and his cohorts – to determine the loss of confidence of a Menteri Besar in the legislature. Not even a constitutional monarch could determine the loss of confidence of a Menteri Besar in the Legislative Assembly because he has no power to do so. Not even the judges can confer on themselves a power which does not exist to determine the loss of confidence in the Legislative Assembly of a Menteri Besar except the Assembly itself. It would be unfair and unjust to do so.

The judgment of Ahmad Maarop JCA

Ahmad Maarop JCA arrived at the same conclusion as Raus Sharif JCA except that Ahmad Maarop JCA is more long-winded. At page 42 of his 76 page convoluted judgment Ahmad Maarop JCA said:

In conclusion, I hold that there is no mandatory and1or express requirement in the Perak State Constitution that provides that there must be a vote of no confidence passed in the Legislative Assembly against Nizar before he ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly. The fact that he ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly under Article XVI(6) could be established by other means. Thus, His Royal Highness was right in making enquiries to satisfy himself as to whether Nizar had in fact ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, in considering Nizar’ s request for the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly.

It took this judge 42 pages to reach this conclusion. At the recent launch of my book, How to Judge the Judges, on 29 June 2009 Mr. Justice Gopal Sri Ram FCJ remarked, “But where a judgment is tainted with intellectual dishonesty there is nothing much you can do except to expose the fallacy of the grounds put forth to justify a conclusion already reached”. Now let us expose the fallacy of the finding of this judge.

The judge said that whether Nizar had ceased to command the majority in the Assembly could be established by other means. One may ask, what other means could there be? He could only give one example. He said, “Thus, His Royal Highness was right in making enquiries to satisfy himself as to whether Nizar had in fact ceased to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Legislative Assembly, in considering Nizar’s request for the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly”. But, all of us know that the Sultan has no power to do anything except that which the law allows him. As professor Andrew Harding has correctly said in his essay Crisis of Confidence and Perak‘s Constitutional Impasse dated June 8 2009 which is featured on the web portals Malaysian Insider and loyarburok.com:

…. the issue seems to become, who was empowered to make the judgment as to whether the MB still had the confidence of a majority? The Judge gave a correct answer to this question by saying it is the legislature, not the head of state.
…..
But, as the Judge also said, it is in any event clear that the head of state is not given the power under Article 16(6), as he is under Article 16(2)(a), to make a judgment as to matters of confidence

The Judge in Professor Harding’s essay is the much respected Mr. Justice Abdul Aziz of the High Court.

Conclusion

I trust we have exposed the fallacy of the grounds put forth by the two judges of the Court of Appeal. All of you, (the ordinary people) who have been informed of the relevant provisions of the Laws of the Constitution of Perak by reading this article, knew that there are only two clauses of Article 16 which apply to the points that really matter before the Court of Appeal. In Clause (2)(a) the head of state is empowered to make a judgment as to matters of confidence. Whereas in Clause (6) he is not given the power to do so but the legislature is.

Mr. Justice Abdul Aziz in the High Court gave the correct answer by saying it is the legislature, not the head of state, who is empowered to make the judgment as to whether the MB still had the confidence of a majority. And, I trust, all of you would agree with him.

Raus Sharif and Ahmad Maarop JJCA are wrong. They are wrong because there is no empowering provision in Article 16(6). They did not apply the law as it stands. Indeed they have blatantly refused to apply the Laws of the Constitution of Perak. They should be ashamed of themselves for not administering justice according to law. The common people of this country can now judge them for what they are.

The full text of the two judgments can be found on the internet. If you have difficulty in finding the cases, try www.loyarburok.com. If you, as a layman, find the judgments unintelligible then that is what the word gobbledygook means. On the other hand, if you find the lengthy judgments merely repeating information which is unnecessary to the two points that matter in the appeal then that is precisely what regurgitation means. So now you can appreciate the title of this essay.