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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Makkal Sakti party set for a split

The newly-formed Malaysia Makkal Sakti Party (MMSP) president RS Thanenthiran has issued show cause letters to 14 rebel central committee (CC) members.

mmsp internal dispute 060110 sanjay with a show cause letter to cc member m anbalaganCC members R Kogilavani, M Anbalagan and S Sanjeeviramah @ Sanjay (left) confirmed receipt of the letters on party letterheads signed by Thanenthiran as party president.

The 14 supported a motion of no-confidence against Thanenthiran at an emergency CC meeting on Dec 19 last year.

Among them were deputy president A Vathemurthy and party secretary-general R Kannan. The letter, dated Dec 31, 2009, reads:

"That you, on Dec 19, 2009, at about 10am conducted an illegal meeting outside the Makkal Sakti premise (in Section 13, Shah Alam) and passed resolutions against the interest of our party and also gave degrading press statements which has caused multiple damages and embarrassment to the party."

All the 14 recipients were asked to show cause as to why they should not be dismissed as party members and CC member under schedules 7.2 and 10.1 of the party constitution.

They were given seven days from date of issuance to reply the show cause letter, failing which, Thanenthiran warned, appropriate action would be taken against them.

However, CC member Vincent Micheal who attended the Dec 19 meeting but did not support the no-confidence motion was spared Thanenthiran's 'backlash'.

Baseless attempt

Kogilavani, Anbalagan and Sanjay claimed that the show cause letters were baseless and an attempt by the embattled president to oust them.

"Our party is a people's party. It's the members who have the power to decide whether they want their president or not.

"However, Thanenthiran has become a dictator to get rid of anyone who challenges his poor leadership ability and quality," alleged Sanjay.

mmsp internal dispute 060110 kogilavani with her show cause letterKogilavani said the Dec 19 emergency meeting was held because of Thanenthiran's failure to convene a CC meeting.

Since its launch by BN chairperson and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in Serdang on Oct 10 last year, she said that Thanenthiran had only called for one CC meeting on Nov 2.

"Since then he failed to conduct any CC meeting and failed to submit the accounts of the party's launch expenditure," she said.

She said during the Nov 2 meeting, the CC meeting decided to hold the next meeting on Dec 16.

But she said Thanenthiran postponed the meeting to Dec 19, citing that the accounts were not ready.

The president yet again cancelled the Dec 19 meeting at the 11th hour and postponed it indefinitely, citing the same reason.

Sanjay said the rival faction went on with the meeting because the majority of the 27 CC members wanted it.

"Moreover the party constitution allowed it," he said.

Meeting to kick out the president


The rival faction will now hold a CC meeting at the party head office this Saturday to boot out the party's founding president as party member altogether.

Secretary-general Kannan said the 27 CC members have been notified of the meeting.

malaysia makkal sakti party official launch 190509 08Thanenthiran (right) is learnt to be in India performing his annual spiritual pilgrimage. He is expected to be back in two weeks' time.

Sanjay, meanwhile, plans to file a multi-million ringgit defamation suit against Thanenthiran once the embattled president is back home.

Sanjay claimed that Thanenthiran abused him and two others with slanderous remarks when they went to the president's house on Dec 26 to deliver a letter asking him to quit his position.

Obama lambasts bomb plot 'failures' - Al Jazeera

Obama has come under heavy criticism from the opposition for the security lapse [AFP]

The US president has criticised the country's intelligence agencies for failing to disrupt an attempt to blow up a US-bound passenger plane on Christmas Day.

In a news conference on Tuesday, Barack Obama said agents had sufficient information to stop the attempted attack but "failed to connect the dots".

"This was not a failure to collect intelligence," he said. "It was a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence that we already had."

The president used stronger language when addressing his senior intelligence and national security aides on Tuesday, according to a quote by the White House.

'Screw-up'

"This was a screw-up that could have been disastrous," the president said during the meeting in the White House situation room, according to the White House media office.

In depth

Profile: The US counterterrorism bureaucracy
Blogs: US air security shifts beyond borders

"We dodged a bullet but just barely. It was averted by brave individuals, not because the system worked, and that is not acceptable," he told them.

In a televised statement after the meeting, Obama said "it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully analysed or fully leveraged".

"That's not acceptable and I will not tolerate it."

Obama's comments came after Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, told reporters that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian arrested over the failed bombing, had given intelligence to US officials just hours after his arrest on December 25.

"[Abdulmutallab] was taken from the plane in Detroit. FBI interrogators spent quite some time with him," Gibbs told reporters.

"I don't want to get into all the specifics, but I think they would agree he has provided - in those interrogations - useful intelligence."

Abdulmutallab was allowed to board a plane in both Lagos and Amsterdam despite US intelligence agencies and the state department having received information that many critics have said should have seen him placed on a so-called "no-fly" list.

Talking tough

In video


Analyst tells Al Jazeera Obama's criticism of intelligence agencies is "somewhat misleading"

Bob Ayers, a former US intelligence officer, said Obama's announcement was an attempt to "correct the perception that he's being soft on national security".

"It provides him with an opportunity to demonstrate that he's concerned and he's tough and he's going to do something about this problem," Ayers told Al Jazeera.

But Ayers also warned against blaming the incident solely on the failure of the US intelligence process.

"The man still had to go through a security checkpoint. He was allowed on to an aircraft at his point of debarkation without even having a passport.

"That's not an intelligence failure, that's an airport security failure."

Obama said the system of so-called watch lists of potential suspects would be reviewed in light of the attempted attack.

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, the FBI and other US agencies drew up lists intended to prevent suspected criminals or people labelled terrorists from boarding flights to and within the US.

The "watch list" comprises 550,000 names of people who US authorities believe have possible ties to terrorism but do not present a specific threat and are allowed to fly.

The much smaller "no-fly" list comprises about 4,000 people who the US claims present a known, specific or suspected threat to aviation.

US authorities have already imposed stricter screening regulations for US-bound airline passengers from Yemen, Nigeria and 12 other countries, including possible full-body pat-downs, searches of carry-on bags, and full-body scanning.

But the "enhanced screening" rules got off to a patchy start, amid complaints of delays and discrimination.

Several European governments, including Germany, France and Spain, said they were still studying the rules before implementing them.

Amsterdam investigation

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, Dutch investigators said they found no evidence to suggest Abdulmutallab had contacted accomplices at an airport in Amsterdam.

Officials said he underwent a security interview and check and did nothing unusual in his three-hour stopover.

"Investigations so far have uncovered no indication that the suspect contacted possible accomplices at Schiphol, left the transfer area or behaved suspiciously," the national prosecutor's office said in a statement.

"At the moment, it appears that he was already in possession of the explosives before he reached Schiphol."

Suaram: Halt repatriation of 17 refugees - Malaysiakini

Human rights NGO Suaram has urged the government to stop the repatriation of some 17 Sri Lankan 'asylum seekers and refugees', who claim to fear persecution in their home country.

In a statement today, Suaram coordinator Temme Lee said Malaysia is planning to deport the group over two days from Thursday.

sri lanka refugees civilians 290109 04It said the Sri Lankans were transferred yesterday from Machap Umboo immigration detention centre in Malacca to the KLIA immigration detention depot, in preparation for deportation.

“This is a repatriation exercise by the Malaysian government,” claimed Lee, pointing out that refugees can only be sent home on voluntary basis.

Suaram demanded that the government respects the international law of non-refoulement, which prohibits the return of people to places where they may face persecution or threats to their life or freedoms.

It also said the group should be given immediate access to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Once they are verified to be refugees, they should be released into the commissioner's care.

Officer 'unaware' of move

When contacted, immigration principal deputy director of enforcement, Kamroldin Hitam, said he is not aware of the deportation of this group.

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He explained that each detention centre makes arrangements for deportation whenever the immigration court hands down a conviction.

“We do not deport refugees who carry the UNHCR card as they have been certified (as refugees) and (are entitled to) receive protection from (the immigration department),” he added.

Refugee issues in Malaysia have been increasingly highlighted in recent years as more asylum seekers from neighbouring shores flock to the country.

NGOs and the media have reported that they are vulnerable to rampant abuse by the authorities, prolonged detention and human trafficking.

Lack of recognition and protection from the government has further exposed them to various forms of abuse.

PKR Selangor Neglects Flood Victims

PKR neglects Indian poor flood victims which has persisted for ten years now (BH 22/12/09 at page 8). But despite PKR ruling Selangor for the past 2 years, this flood problem in Kampong Ampar Tenang, Dengkil, an Indian Village, is still persisting. How then is PKR any different from the former UMNO regime.

P. Uthayakumar.

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Killer Police Force & Ethnic Cleansing

IGP Musa Hassan insists in bringing crime rate by shooting dead and killing suspected Indian criminals in police stations. This is ethnic cleansing! Because he unilaterally deems these people criminals and thus assumes the role of Judge, Jury, Prosecutor, Executioner and also policeman. This kind of logic by the country’s top cop can only exist and subsits in UMNOs’ Malay-sia.

P. Uthayakumar

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No MRSM for PMR Indian top scorers

Year in and year out of three Tamil newspapers churn out the good news that the Indian students had done well in PMR, etc (MN 25/12/09 front page). But they, under UMNO’s KDN instructions do not report that 99% of these hundreds of Indian students do not make it to the 12,440 MARA and fully residential school students (BH 21/11/09 at page 7).

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Pertambahan murid Sekolah Tamil Batu Empat kekurangan Bilik Darjah

Pertambahan murid

Sekolah Tamil Batu Empat kekurangan Bilik Darjah

KLANG, 5, Januari - Peningkatan jumlah murid baru menyebabkan Sekolah Tamil Batu Empat mengalami kekurangan bilik darjah. Menurut Puan Indrani, Guru Besar Sekolah Tamil Batu Empat pada tahun lepas jumlah pelajar di sekolah ini ialah seramai 153 orang manakala tahun ini jumlah tersebut telah meningkat kepada 187 serta jumlah ini dijangka akan meningkat akhir minggu ini. Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah telah memberi kebenaran supaya tujuh bilik darjah digunakan oleh murid tahun satu di mana pertambahan murid baru menyebabkan sekolah menggunakan kelas- kelas khas untuk dijadikan bilik darjah.

Sebelum ini sekolah terpaksa menggunakan makmal sains serta bilik guru yang diubah suai menjadi kecil supaya bilangan bilik darjah dapat ditambah. Para ibu bapa tidak puas hati dengan masalah yang dihadapi sekolah di mana pihak sekolah terpaksa berulang alik untuk mendapat tapak yang tetap bagi sekolah ini. Semasa pilihan raya lepas Ketua UMNO negeri Selangor dan bekas Menteri Selangor Dato Seri Dr. Mohd Khir Toyo telah berjanji akan mendapatkan satu ekar tanah untuk sekolah ini. Namun kini pihak sekolah difahamkan bahawa UMNO menjadi halangan dalam pemberian tanah tersebut kepada sekolah ini. Demi mendapatkan suasana belajar yang lebih baik pihak ibu bapa akan mengadakan perhimpunan bertujuan meminta tapak tetap bagi sekolah tersebut akhir bulan ini.

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Hidup dalam kemiskinan bersama empat orang anak Tiada wang untuk makan dan bayar sewa

Hidup dalam kemiskinan bersama empat orang anak

Tiada wang untuk makan dan bayar sewa

KLANG, 29, Disember - Sebuah keluarga yang mempunyai empat orang anak hidup dalam kemiskinan sehingga mereka tiada wang untuk mengalas perut. Menurut Thanaletchumi, 35 tahun, suaminya bekerja sebagai pengawal dan mendapat sebanyak RM800 sebulan. Thanaletchumy menghidapi penyakit jantung dan tidak dapat bekerja. Mereka tinggal di sebuah rumah sewa di mana sewa bulanan tertunggak selama lapan bulan dan pemilik rumah telah menyuruh mereka keluar dari rumah dalam masa 10 hari.

Kadangkala jirannya menolong memberi makanan kepada anak- anaknya. Tetapi sesekali dia pernah terfikir untuk bunuh diri daripada hidup merana dalam kemiskinan kerana tidak ada barang di dapur untuk masak makanan buat anak-anaknya. Dia tidak mendapat sebarang maklum balas daripada Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) setelah memohon bantuan lapan bulan yang lalu. Dia telah meminjam RM1000 untuk membayar sewa rumah dengan kadar bunga di mana bunga serta bayaran asal RM300 harus dijelaskan setiap bulan untuk 6 bulan. Di samping itu, dia juga telah meminjam sebanyak RM2000 bagi perbelanjaan perubatannya dan kadar bayarannya adalah RM300 sebulan. Jadi dari pendapatan suaminya RM800, mereka terpaksa membayar RM600 kepada peminjam. Keadaan ini memudaratkan mereka untuk meneruskan kehidupan di mana dua orang daripada anak mereka - Hema Varman (9 tahun), Poobalan (6 tahun), Yogeswaran (6 tahun) dan Parmila (5 tahun) sedang belajar di Sekolah Tamil Batu Empat. Thanaletchumi menyeru Kerajaan agar memberi bantuan segera kepada mereka supaya dapat menjamin pendidikan serta masa depan anak-anak mereka.

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20,000 time bomb Hindu temples in Malaysia, denied state government land titles.

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While all the muslim places of worship had progressively over the last 52 years been given land titles with the help of the JKKK District Office, State Secretariat, Jabatan Ugama Islam in the Prime Minister’s Office most of these 20,000 hindu temples have not been similarly granted state government land by both the UMNO and also the PKR, DAP and PAS State governments. This is in contravention of Article 8 of the Federal Constitution (refer The Star 17/12/09 page N55) 1 Malaysia?

P. Uthayakumar.

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RMAF sergeant, director charged with jet engines theft

Tharmendran being led into court this morning where he was charged.

By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Sgt N. Tharmendran and company director Rajandran Prasad were today charged in the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court today in connection with the missing two F-5E jet engines amid cynicism that the government has covered up the scandalous theft.

Rajandran, 37, was charged with disposing of the engines while Tharmendran, 42, was charged with stealing the engines. Bail for the two was set at RM150,000. The case has been fixed for mention on Feb 11.

Police had earlier said four men, three of them rank-and-file RMAF airmen, were the only ones involved in the 2007 theft of two General Electric J85-21A turbojet engines, said to be worth RM100 million, much to the chagrin of many that the scale of the crime suggests higher-ups were involved.

The RMAF had earlier denied that a brigadier-general and 40 others sacked for incompetence were involved in the crime.

According to the charge sheet, Tharmendran, who is still serving in the air force, had conspired with senior airman Mohamad Shukri Mohamad Yusop at the RMAF base Subang Jaya to steal the engines from the Material Procession Shed at RMAF Base in Sungai Besi on Dec 2007.

If found guilt he faces imprisonment of up to 10 years and fine. Mohamad Shukri was not charged.

Rajandran was charged with intentionally disposing of the engines which he knew were stolen on April 30, 2008 at the Subang Industrial Park. He faces a maximum of seven years imprisonment and fine.

The case was heard before Sessions Judge Aslam Zainuddin. Tharmendran was represented by lawyer V. Ravichandran while Pritam Singh Doal acted for Rajandran.

Deputy Prosecutor Raja Rozela Raja Raja Toran had asked the court to set bail at RM200,000 for both men because of the seriousness of the offence.

However Aslam set bail at RM150,000 after defence lawyers objected.

Pritam said his client would be able to post bail today but Ravichandran said he doubts Tharmendran would be able to raise the money.

Sin Chew Tam Siong Yein is accosted by a relative of one of the accused outside the courtroom this morning. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Female family members of one of the two men were seen openly crying in court today while before the start of the case a female Sin Chew photographer was manhandled by male relatives of the two men as she tried to get their pictures.

The reporter was seen grimacing in pain but was otherwise unhurt.

Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail said last night the RMAF airman would be charged for stealing while the company director for disposing of stolen properties.

"Investigations revealed that both F-5E jet engines were removed from the Material Udara 1 (Matra 1) godown in Kuala Lumpur as a result of a collaboration between an RMAF personnel with the rank of sergeant and a company director to dispose off both jet engines," he said in a statement issued via Bernama.

He said based on information from witnesses and documents obtained, he ordered the duo to be charged.

The sergeant will be charged under section 380 of the Penal Code to be read with section 109 of the same code, while the company director, under section 414 of the code.

The jets engines were found missing in 2007 while being taken for a routine maintenance from the 12th Squadron (Scorpion) in Butterworth to the RMAF godown in Kuala Lumpur.

The jet engines were discovered stolen by RMAF on May 22, 2008 and a police report was lodged on Aug 4 the same year.

But like the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal where four executives were charged for criminal breach of trust (CBT), prosecuting the airmen and company director will not abate calls for further investigations into how the jet engines ended up in South America.

Gani had said the engines powering the ageing F-5Es are now in Uruguay after police said it went through a Middle East nation to Argentina.

They have said that Malaysia will seek international cooperation to recover the engines.

But opposition leaders are asking for a royal commission of inquiry into the theft that happened when Datuk Seri Najib Razak was the defence minister.

Now prime minister, Najib has promised that there will be no cover-up but many are left pondering his words with just a serviceman and an aviation services firm director in the dock.

Asri’s constitutional right violated, says lawyer

Dr Asri (left) stands beside his lawyer Kamar Ainiah who speaks to the media, outside the courtroom. – Pictures by Jack Ooi

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Jan 6 — Selangor religious authorities had violated Dr Asri Zainul Abidin's constitutional rights when it charged the former Perlis mufti of teaching without authorisation last year, his counsel argued in the state syariah High Court today.

Kamar Ainiah Kamaruzaman also told court that the charge brought against Asri is also against Islamic principles which compel all Muslims to propagate its teachings.

Asri is charged under section 119(1) of the Selangor Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2003 for teaching without authorisation, which carries a jail sentence of up to two years, a fine up to RM3,000, or both upon conviction.

“Does the Selangor Assembly intend to stop Muslims from spreading the teachings of Islam?” asked Kamar, citing Article 11 of the Federal Constitution that guarantees freedom of religion.

She said Asri's right to freedom of expression, which is also guaranteed by the Federal Constitution, was also violated by the charge.

“Section 119 is inconsistent and contradicts the syariah that compels all Muslims to preach,” said Kamar.

Kamar also objected on the grounds that the charge against him was not an offence in Islam and therefore, he could not be charged in the syariah High Court because it contradicted section 61 of the Selangor Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2003.

She was presenting the preliminary objection to the prosecution’s application for a review of the Gombak Timur syariah lower court’s decision in rejecting the case from being heard by the syariah High Court.

Former Perlis MB Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (right) present to provide support for the former mufti. Next to him is Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad. - Picture by Jack Ooi

The prosecution team, led by Selangor syarie chief prosecutor Abdul Shukor Abdul Hamid, told the court that interpretation of the Federal Constitution should be left to the Federal Court.

The prosecution also said that the issues raised in Asri's preliminary objection have nothing to do with the prosecution's application for a review of the lower court’s decision.

Syariah High Court judge Mohammad Adib Hussain will rule on the objection on Jan 25.

Asri had on Nov 18 last year pleaded not guilty in the Gombak Timur syariah lower court to the offence allegedly committed at a house at No. 2, Lorong 2C, Taman Sri Ukay, Ampang between 8.10pm and 9.45pm on Nov 1.

Anwar gets time to file appeal for documents

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 6 — The Federal Court today adjourned opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal to obtain documents for his sodomy trial to a date to be fixed to give him sufficient time to file the petition and prepare his case.

The postponement was granted by a panel comprising Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Arifin Zakaria, Justice Datuk Md Raus Sharif and Justice Datuk Abdull Hamid Embung.

Earlier in the proceedings, Anwar's counsel Karpal Singh told the court that they should be given sufficient time to prepare the appeal as they had only received the record of appeal from the Court of Appeal on Dec 30 last year.

"According to the rules, we have 10 days from the day we received the record of appeal to file the petition of appeal. We will file the petition by Monday.

"We also received a notification from the court on Dec 29 last year, informing us that this appeal was set for hearing today. It is unconstitutional that the hearing date was fixed even before the petition of appeal is filed," he said.

Solicitor-General II Datuk Mohamed Yusof Zainal Abiden, however, asked the court to fix an early date for the appeal hearing as the case involved public interest and the sodomy trial in the High Court would commence on Jan 25.

Karpal said: "There is no need to hurry. This is an important appeal involving interpretation of section 51A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC). The decision of this court will bind and affect other courts.

"Just because the trial will go on Jan 25, (it) doesn't mean that this appeal should be rushed. We should be given sufficient time, at least one month."

Anwar, 62, is charged with sodomising his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 24, at a condominium in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur on June 26, 2008.

On July 16 last year, High Court judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah granted Anwar's application to compel the prosecution to supply him with the documents under section 51A of the CPC to enable him to prepare his defence so that the prosecution process would be more open and fair.

However, on Nov 6 last year, the Court of Appeal allowed the prosecution's appeal against the High Court order on the grounds that documents sought by Anwar did not fall under section 51A of the CPC as there was limitation for the prosecution to supply certain documents to the accused.

Among the documents he sought were the recorded witness statements of Mohd Saiful, Dr Osman Abdul Hamid, of Pusrawi Hospital, and condominium owner Hassanuddin Abdul Hamid, statements of three doctors from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, a chemist's notes and medical reports.

The Court of Appeal had also rejected Anwar's cross-appeal against the same High Court order which rejected his application to get a specimen sample from Mohd Saiful. — Bernama

PKR backs ‘Allah’ judgment, slams opponents as opportunists

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — PKR has weighed in on the raging battle over the use of the word “Allah” by backing the High Court ruling that allows the Catholic weekly Herald to use the Arabic term for God in its Bahasa Malaysia edition amid an uproar from Muslim conservatives.

PKR Religious Strengthening and Understanding Bureau chief Dr Muhd Nur Manuty said "the wish of the non-Muslims to call their God Allah is a positive turn of events and should respectably be recognised".

"There is no necessity for any faction in society to take advantage of the current circumstances and turn the dispute into a narrow political propaganda to show off as if they are really the champion and guardian of Islam in this country," Muhd Nur said in a statement issued last night.

He argued that to worship and glorify Allah as the God is a fundamental right of every person.

The PKR leader then said there were many verses in the Quran which indicate clearly that there is no harm in Christians using the term "Allah":

"If indeed thou ask them who it is that created the heavens and the earth, they would be sure to say: "Allah." … (Az Zumar 39:38)"

"O people of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you: that we worship none but Allah; that we associate no partners with Him; that we erect not from among ourselves Lords and patrons other than Allah." If then they turn back, say: ye! "Bear witness that we (at least) are Muslims (bowing to Allah's will)." (Ali Imran 3:64)

Muhd Nur claimed not only did the ruling coincide with the teachings of Islam, but was also legally appropriate as reflected in the Federal Constitution.

"This is parallel to the provision of the Federal Constitution, Article 3(1), which guarantees the status of Islam as the official religion of the Federation while at the same time concedes that other religions may be practised in peace and harmony."

This, he claimed, is also consistent with PR's stand on the matter as reflected in the recently affirmed Declaration of Understanding of the Pakatan Rakyat.

Apart from the country's religious conservatives, the landmark ruling by Justice Datuk Lau Bee Lan has triggered vigorous attacks from the hawks within the ruling party, Umno.

PKR, like its fellow coalition partners in the opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat, has always accused its political rivals, particularly Umno, of attempts to exploit the situation for support.

Mysterious people in need of rules

I don’t understand what is so edifying about claiming that we are always weak and easily confused. How do we on the one hand claim a superior position for our faith when at the same time we admit that we can be so easily influenced? Are the fortifications that we built for ourselves in our hearts and consciences so fragile?

By Marina Mahathir (The Star)

There will be those who will be confused, others who will act without restraint, rampaging freely and causing havoc ... they are faceless strangers we have yet to meet.

RECENTLY I conducted a workshop with some university students in which I asked them for ideas on how to protect young women from violence and HIV.

One idea that came up was to fence and guard women’s hostels on campuses to prevent men from entering. I then asked the young man who suggested this if, without fences, he would not be able to restrain himself from entering the women’s hostels.

“I didn’t mean me,” he replied, “but other people…”

I often hear that we need laws, rules and regulations because there are people who are bound to need them. Without these, such mysterious people are bound to act without restraint, rampaging freely and causing havoc in society.

Yet when I ask anyone whom do they mean by these others, they don’t mean anybody they know. They are inevitably some strangers with weak constitutions that they have yet to meet.

The same is true of that insidious thing called self-censorship. We are constantly afraid that “someone” will get offended, so we make sure that everything we write, say, or do is so devoid of any possibility of offence that it becomes bland and dull.

The trouble with this thinking is two-fold: one is that there is only one group of people we think will be offended, and two, we know that there are some people within that group who will make it their business to seek offence and insults wherever they can.

Are people’s lives so empty that it can only be filled with imagining other people are out to hurt them? And why are they so easily wounded at all?

I find it especially puzzling when people are constantly finding their faith, which should be so personal, attacked at every juncture. Yet presumably, between Dec 31 and Jan 1, their beliefs have not changed because of what happened in court.

But it’s not about them, they say, it’s about all those poor ignorant souls, including children, who will become confused. One wag wondered how to explain why his child has to fast and pray five times a day when their friends call God by the same name but don’t have to.

Well, if parents cannot explain the basic tenets of their religion to their own child, then it’s not anyone else’s fault that the child gets confused.

Similarly, if there are sections of any faith community that have muddled ideas about which is their religion and which is others’, then surely that is the fault of their own community rather than others.

I don’t understand what is so edifying about claiming that we are always weak and easily confused. How do we on the one hand claim a superior position for our faith when at the same time we admit that we can be so easily influenced? Are the fortifications that we built for ourselves in our hearts and consciences so fragile?

Oh, but I forget, it’s not us we are talking about, it’s those people, that mysterious group of weaklings and ignoramuses that we have to stand up for. Funny, doesn’t it say in the Quran that we all have to answer for ourselves eventually?

If we constantly tell people that their faith is weak, it will become exactly that. If we say that every little thing, including language, the sound of church bells, or where temples are located, can challenge our faith, then they will feel challenged.

If we keep telling them that confusion will reign, they will believe that. Not for themselves but for some imaginary members of their faith community.

Yet, if we polled every single person to ask if they felt confused, they would deny it. Thus, on whose behalf do we bust our guts for in these issues?

Could it be that in fact it’s impossible to know what anyone’s true faith is, because only God can read anyone’s heart? That it is redundant for anyone to try and legislate faith because it is simply not the province of human beings? All we can do is try and make people behave in an orderly fashion.

There are surely more important things to occupy our minds than whether any of our brethren may misread something.

In other countries, our so-called religious kinfolk are killing each other by the dozens, no doubt invoking God’s name as they do so. Others are illiterate, starving or dying from preventable diseases.

Demonstrating over a court decision about a word is the privilege of the healthy and prosperous.

Allah can’t be substituted with Tuhan in Bible translation

Muslims in other parts of the world (Arabs, Persians, North Africans, Pakistanis and Indonesians) have no objection and are not worried about getting confused when Christians using the word “Allah”. In contrast, some Malaysian Muslims claim to be confused; a strange phenomenon indeed.

By Dr Ng Kam Weng (Sin Chew Daily)

This observation lends credence to the suggestion that the Allah issue is an artificial Malay issue and not a genuine Muslim issue. The truth is that the current orchestrated protests against the recent High Court decision to allow the Catholic Herald (and Christians) to use the word Allah must be seen to be as cynical manipulations by Malay politicians to gain votes from their community.

I am more interested in going beyond these political manoeuvres. Politicians (and that includes government bureaucrats) are happy just to stay at the level of vague suggestions since they have no competence nor care to address real issues of translation. In contrast, Christians must ensure their arguments for the right to use the word Allah are based on concrete evidence supported by a coherent linguistic philosophy of translation of Scripture.

One major demand from the Malay protestors is that Christians stop using the word Allah on grounds that Christians can find a simple alternative, that is, simply substitute the word Allah with the word Tuhan. Unfortunately, this demand only betrays the ignorance of the protestors.

I would have thought that any Malay would know that the meaning of the words Allah (God) and Tuhan (Lord, Rabb) are not the same. How can they suggest that Christians simply use the word Tuhan to substitute the word Allah? To express the issue linguistically, Allah and Tuhan have different senses even though they have the same reference.

Both the terms Allah and Tuhan are used in the Malay Bible. Following the precedent set by Arab Christians, Allah is used to translate el/elohim and Tuhan (or TUHAN in caps) is used to translate Yahweh (YHWH). The two words are sometimes paired together as Yahweh-Elohim in 372 places in the Old Testament (14 times in Genesis 2-3; 4 times in Exodus; 8 times in Joshua; 7 times in 2 Samuel; 22 times in Chronicles; 12 times in Psalms; 32 times in Isaiah; 16 times in Jeremiah and 210 times in Ezekiel, etc.).

More importantly, the word Tuhan is also applied to Jesus Christ in the New Testament. Thus we read of the LORD Jesus as Tuhan Yesus (The word LORD was used to translate the word kurios 8,400 times in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament. It refers to human beings in only 400 times and refers to God 8,000 times. Of these 8,000 times, 6,700 are substitute for the word YHWH). The transference of the title kurios LORD/YHWH to Jesus Christ is testimony to the belief in the deity of Christ right at the beginning of Christianity.

This simple statistical survey shows clearly that the demand by Muslim demonstrators that Christians simply substitute the word Allah with Tuhan is unreasonable since it renders many Biblical references to God and Jesus Christ incoherent. First, the substitution is incorrect since the meaning of Allah and Tuhan are different.

Second, it creates an absurd situation when Christians try to translate the paired words Tuhan Allah (LORD God). Are Christians now required to call the LORD God, Tuhan Tuhan? This sounds like committing linguistic redundancy. Worse still, the repeated words Tuhan Tuhan come across to Malay readers as suggesting that Christians believe in a plurality of Lords/Gods (since the plural form in Malay is expressed by repeating the noun and setting them in apposition).

Finally, Christians are unable to express the Lordship of Jesus Christ as one who is distinct from the Father and yet shares with the God of the Old Testament, the name that is above every other name — kurios/Tuhan (Philippians 2:9, cf. Isaiah 45:23). In other words, Christians are rendered unable to affirm the deity of Jesus Christ and teach the doctrine of Trinity without the foundational words that maintain the semantic relationship between the words Allah and Tuhan as they are applied distinctively in the Malay Bible.

Christians in Malaysia would do their utmost to maintain religious harmony in Malaysia. Indeed, the Christianity community has made many concessions to accommodate the concerns of the Malay community.

However, it cannot accept the demand that it abandons the use of the word Allah and adopts the word Tuhan as the substitute simply because some ill-informed Malays take offence at their practice — an offence which would not have arisen if only these people set aside emotions and prejudices and examine the historical and linguistic evidence in a calm and rational manner. At the very least, Malays (or rather Muslims) should understand that believers are not at liberty to change the meaning of their Scriptures, the word of God, to satisfy the unfounded scruples of man.

Postscript

I refer readers to the accompanying post, “Translating the Names of God” published in the learned journal (The Bible Translator) that gives more concrete examples of how the names of God are translated in the Malay Bible.

The article also discusses the controversy among some scholars on how words Allah and Tuhan should be used in the revision of Shellabear’s version of the Malay Bible. In any case, all the scholars in the controversy agree that Christians need to use both the words Allah and Tuhan in the Malay Bible. Please note that the article is reproduced (partially) with permission from the author Dr D Soesilo.

Responding to “Allah” differently

By Ding Jo-Ann
thenutgraph.com


(Pic by Adrian Van Leen / sxc.hu)

PREDICTABLE. This best sums up the reactions by some Muslim groups and the government to the High Court's 31 Dec 2009 decision to lift the ban on the use of "Allah" by Catholic paper Herald.

Malaysians were probably able to anticipate the newspaper headlines and ensuing comments, given the usual rhetoric on race and religion in this country. After all, we have all heard the same tune before.

Same old song

"This is an insult to Islam," said several Muslim groups during a protest in George Town, Penang.

"This can be used to confuse Muslims," said Defence Minister and Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

"Muslims are the majority in Malaysia ... The right to practise other religions peacefully means they are to be practised without eroding the peace and harmony of the official religion, Islam. This is the special position of Islam," said Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar, president of the Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association in a Berita Harian column.

"The [Herald's] actions [in using the word 'Allah'] is akin to stirring up a hornet's nest," said Datuk Dr Ma'amor Osman, secretary-general of Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia.

Amid all the tangential hoopla, one would hope that the government would respond responsibly and intelligently instead of playing along with the scare-mongering religious rhetoric. Instead, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his cabinet have chosen to appeal for "calm" and to let "the government deal with the matter" while it "expedites" its appeal. Najib has also been quoted as saying he will seek an audience with the Yang-di-Pertuan Agong to brief him on this issue.

And of course, no discussion on race and religion would be complete without the constant reminder that this issue is sensitive, sensitive, sensitive and extremely sensitive.

An alternative scenario

How could the government and the traditional Malay-language media have responded to this issue differently? How would it have sounded if they were truly sincere about building national unity à la 1Malaysia?


What they could have said
Najib, for example, could have announced that even if some Muslims disagreed with the decision, they had to abide by the rule of law.

He could have made good on his 1Malaysia concept and said that as the prime minister for all Malaysians, he must ensure that the legitimate interests of all parties are protected at all times. Indeed, he could have noted that not all Muslims disagreed with the decision. There are Muslim Malaysians who agree with the High Court decision because they understand the historical use of "Allah" that predates Islam, and because their faith isn't as fragile as it's made out to be by other Muslims, including the Umno leadership.

Najib could then have added that although Malay-Muslim Malaysians are the majority in some parts of the country, that does not preclude non-Muslim Malaysians from expressing themselves. It also should not prevent non-Muslims from practising their own religions in a way that they have historically done before without any fuss or threat of public disorder.

At the same time, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein could have called a press conference to say that although the ministry would exercise its right to appeal, it nevertheless respected the High Court's decision. And while the appeal was pending, he would demonstrate this respect for the courts — one of the three pillars of government — by ensuring that the Herald would not encounter any problems with the usage of the word "Allah".

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan could also have weighed in and said that the police would clamp down on any violence by any group. He could also have said that as a police officer, he is bound by the court's decision, which would be considered valid law until and unless overruled by a higher court.


(Musa pic by Ridzuan Aziz / Wiki commons)
Even so, any attempted violence in relation to the case would be illegal, and the police would take prompt action should threats of violence be made or executed.

Muslim religious leaders could have advised that regardless of the race and religion of the presiding judge, she had the power to preside over the case and that due process of the law should be respected. And that even if some Muslims disagreed with her decision, that did not mean people should question her integrity and capabilities because she is a non-Muslim and non-Malay Malaysian. After all, shouldn't any court judgement be evaluated on the merits and facts of a case, rather than the judge's racial and religious identity?

Imagine the effect if government leaders said that Malaysians were resilient, and able to work through this issue together. Imagine if they told us, "Even if we disagree, we are one nation, and we will discuss these issues and come to a common consensus and understanding through respectful dialogue." Imagine what the outcome could be if they stopped emphasising how very sensitive some Muslims' feelings were and how fragile their faith was.

The only variation on the usual "sensitive" anthem has come from Rembau Member of Parliament Khairy Jamaluddin. The Umno Youth chief has at least acknowledged the existence of Catholic sensitivities and called for dialogue between the National Fatwa Council and the Catholic Herald publishers to resolve the issue. But his is a solo voice in the usual uninspiring melody of fear.

Additionally, what would it look like if the traditional media could also sing a new tune? What if instead of one-sided accounts of Muslim pressure groups purporting to speak for the Malay-Muslim majority, we instead had myriad views from different Malaysians? What if the traditional press also reported the views of Muslim and non-Muslim Malaysians who agreed with the High Court's decision?

Imagine if Utusan Malaysia wrote an editorial saying that Malay-Muslim Malaysians should respect the law and not take this issue as a personal insult. Imagine if they wrote factually about the historical use of the word "Allah". Imagine if they noted the current use of the word by other faith communities in other Muslim countries, instead of blinding readers with threats of public disorder and chaos because Malaysian Muslims are somehow "special" in how sensitive they are.


Ceilings of a mosque (left) and a church (Pics by ctkirklees and beriliu / sxc.hu)

Genuine reform

What is the value of 1Malaysia and all the talk about national unity if the government's rhetoric is clearly unmatched on issues such as this "Allah" issue?

In the face of conflict and disagreement, can our leaders stand by the High Court's decision and tell the population to grow up? Do they have the courage to speak up for minorities, even though it makes them unpopular among some groups who are bent on illogical and unconstitutional reasoning? Will our leaders have the integrity to speak honestly and truthfully about respecting a court judgement and the rights of minority groups?

Truth is, genuine reform that leads to real national unity can only happen with such leaders. For now, though, we're stuck with the same old boring, unhelpful and ultimately destructive racial and religious tunes, no thanks to leaders who only know how to repeat the same chorus.

ISNA Commends Malaysian Court Ruling that Affirms Religious Freedom of Christians

From Islamic Society of North America
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Plainfield, IN – January 4, 2010) The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) commends the landmark ruling by a Malaysian Court on December 31, 2009, that affirms the religious freedom of Malaysian Christians. The ruling asserts that Christians have the right to use the word “Allah” to translate “God” into Bahasa Melayu, the Malaysian language. It strikes down a government ban that was placed in 2007 on the use of the term in Christian literature.

The opponents of the use of the word Allah in reference to God have argued that the term “God” is usually translated by Malaysians who follow faiths other than Islam as “Tuhan” in Bahasa Melayu, not “Allah.” They insist that “Allah” should only be used to refer to God in Islam. This argument is contrary to both Islamic understanding and practice.

The Qur’an is quite explicit that Muslims worship the same God recognized by Christians. The Qur’an commands Muslims to declare that the God they worship and the one worshiped by the followers of revealed books, including Christians, is one: “… and say: We believe in that which has been revealed to us and revealed to you, and our God and your God is One, and to Him do we submit.” (Qur’an 29:46)

With regards to actual and historical practices, Christian Arabs have been using the word “Allah” to refer to God in their religious sources since the inception of Islam, and have never been challenged by private Muslims or Muslim governments on this ground. Islamic law is clear that followers of the Christian faith have the right to practice their religion according to their own religious teachings.

We call on the Malaysian government to uphold the religious freedom of Christians and to let the court ruling stand. We also urge Muslim NGOs to respect Islamic teachings and long-held Islamic traditions, and to withdraw their opposition to the use of the word “Allah” by their Christian compatriots.

Nazri would have been arrested and charged for serious offences including contempt of court for saying what he said about the KL High Court judgment o

By Lim Kit Siang,

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz would have been arrested and charged for serious offences including contempt of court for saying what he said about the Kuala Lumpur High Court judgment on the Allah issue if he is in the Pakatan Rakyat.

Every informed observer, whether Malaysian or foreigner, would be struck by the sharp contrast in such treatment with the swift police action to investigate the Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng for sedition over his expression of the national sentiment about the death of Teoh Beng Hock at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Shah Alam as being caused by murder as well as the unexceptional call by the DAP Selangor State Chairman and Selangor Executive Councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah on the police to stop its baseless investigation of Guan Eng.

I am not suggesting that Nazri should be arrested and charged in court for his statement about the judgment of High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan but to question how Malaysia is to restore national and international confidence in institutional competence, independence, professionalism and integrity – which is a major cause of Malaysia’s losing out in international competitiveness – if the key national institutions continue to behave in utter disregard of basic national standards and international benchmarks.

Nazri said High Court judge Lau was wrong in making the ruling that Catholics could use the word “Allah” in their weekly publication Herald, arguing that the judicial review was supposed to be on whether the Home Minister had the power to impose the ban, not on whether non-Muslims should be allowed to use the word “Allah”.

He said: “The Home Minister was definitely acting within his powers in exercising the ban, in view of public interest and sensitivities in order to avoid public unrest over the matter.”

Is it proper for Nazri, who is the de facto Minister for Law whose jurisdiction covers the judiciary, to so publicly venture his views on an ongoing legal case, as it could be construed as improper attempt to influence the appellate process against the High Court judgment by a Minister having oversight over the judiciary?

As the Minister directly responsible over the judiciary, should he be suggesting to the judges how they should decide cases before them, especially those affecting the government?

Nazri’s comparison of the “Allah” uproar to the cow-head protests in Shah Alam is most unfortunate and inappropriate, as they just cannot be mentioned in the same breath.

Nazri was neither fair nor right when he blamed the Catholic church for being “irresponsible” and “looking for trouble” over the Allah controversy, claiming that “For 50 plus years after independence this issue has never cropped up before”.

He need only consult his Cabinet colleague, the Minister for Plantations Industry and Commodities, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, for the answer to his own rhetoric – that the term “Allah” had been used for a long time, even before Sabah and Sarawak decided to form Malaysia with Malaya, Sarawak and Singapore in 1963.

Dompok said yesterday: “The Sabah communities have always used Bahasa Melayu as it is the regional lingua franca and Christianity has been in Sabah since 1881.”

Dompok said the Christian Bumiputra community in Sabah, like the Murut and Kadazandusun, perform religious rites in three languages – English, Bahasa Melayu and their mother tongue. In the rites where English is used, the term is God while the rites in Bahasa Melayu is Allah and the one in the mother tongue, like Kadazandusun, is ‘Kinoingan’.

Most churches in the cities use English while Bahasa Melayu is used widely in churches in rural areas in Sabah – the result of Bahasa Melayu as the national language and the medium of instruction in the national education system.

As Dompok has rightly pointed out, the younger generation in the Christian Bumiputra community from Sabah (which applies also to Sarawak) who have migrated to the peninsula to work or for further studies have also asked church authorities to have services in the national language.

The Allah controversy is not a time for one-upmanship or brinkmanship. It is a time for responsible and sober response and rational conflict-resolution.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak had more than once said that he is Prime Minister for all Malaysians, and not just for any one race or group.

This is Najib’s supreme test whether he will live up to his pledge – whether he will walk the talk of his slogan of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”

A Letter to Lim Kit Siang

Dear Mr. Lim Kit Siang,

I have utmost respect and admiration for your tenacity in remaining in Malaysia to champion the cause of justice and equality and fight for a Bangsa Malaysia.

My heart broke when I read about your article regarding the honest cyber cafe operator especially when he wondered if he ‘had chosen the wrong country’ to start and operate his business.

I see my situation summed up in that phrase. You have said before that the best and brightest are leaving this country. Well, I am making every preparation to leave. I have consistently scored straight As in every public exam and placed among the top 3 of my form. In university, I studied medicine and am among the top scorers. I have just graduated and scored near perfect results in a medical licensing examination that will enable me to work abroad and further my studies.

I was born a Malaysian yet I cannot see myself as a Malaysian. As a Chinese, I feel that I am being discriminated against. I feel that the government is trying its hardest to sideline me just because of my race. I look around and see this discrimination manifested in various forms. From the issue regarding religious conversion to the allocation of places in local universities, the stench of discrimination is sickening.

It was horrifying to note in my batch of medical students, there were a substantial number of malay students who actually did not apply for medicine but were sent to study it. It is disgusting to think that many STPM straight A scorers are deprived of a chance to study medicine while the government gives the places to people who are not even sure that they want to study medicine.

I have seen how racial politics sully the environment in the university and how unqualified people are in high posts at the expense of far more intelligent and qualified individuals just because they are Malay. I have heard the terrible statements made by delegates at the recent UMNO General Assembly about revoking my citizenship rights should I question their special rights.

I have seen the videos on YouTube where UMNO MPs have the audacity to ask us to ‘keluar’ of the country if we don’t like what they are doing to it. And I see the pathetic attempt by the PM to ‘discipline’ these racists. I hate the fact that Gerakan and MCA have done NOTHING to fight for my rights instead of just kow-towing to UMNO for their own gains.

Patriotism isn’t about singing the national anthem or raising the flag. It isn’t about accepting at face value everything the government says. It isn’t about attending merdeka celebrations. It is about feeling accepted as part of your nation. It is about knowing that your nation accepts you as a son or daughter. It is about realizing that being a part of a nation entails certain responsibilities. That is my definition of patriotism.

And right now, as a Malaysian, I am feeling anything BUT patriotic. 50 years of independence? So what? What has it done for me? Whoopee. I have a chance to change my life. I will change my destiny. I could not choose the country where I was born but I can very well choose the country that I will swear my allegiance to. I want a country that will recognize me as a citizen and grant me rights equal to that of all other citizens. I want a country that has the wisdom to recognize my potential and talents and reward me accordingly. I want a country where the government fears its people and conducts itself in a manner worthy of respect and honor.

This is not my nation. I am leaving. Mr. Lim, I salute you and all those like you who can find the strength and energy to fight for an ungrateful bunch of people. How many actually held mass protests, hunger strikes or rose up to defend you and your family when you or your son was imprisoned for fighting for us? How many did more than just shake their heads and move on with their petty little lives? None that I know of. Yet you continue to defend their rights.

You are an amazing man, Mr. Lim and I truly admire you for that. Unfortunately, I have a bright future ahead and I will not waste it in this country. It is not my nation.

Thank you for fighting the good fight.

(Author’s name withheld for privacy)

Viva Palestina: More Than 10 Injured, Seven Arrested, Including A Malaysian

From Kuzaimah Idris

EL-ARISH PORT, Jan 6 (Bernama) -- More than 10 members of the Viva Palestina convoy were injured, four of them seriously, and seven members arrested by Egyptian police during a protest here Tuesday at 11.40pm local time.

Among those arrested was a Malaysian, Ibrahim Mohd Azmi, a University of Bristol medical student who was a convoy volunteer.

The protest was staged by Viva Palestina convoy members to protest against the decision by the Eqyptian government to bar 59 convoy vehicles from leaving here for Gaza.

Egyptian police acted strongly against the convoy members three hours after the protest was staged at the entry and exit security point at this port.

Four members were seriously injured and had to be taken to hospital for further treatment.

More than 10 members sustained light injuries due to thrown rocks and tear gas.

Also arrested were three Britons, two Americans and a Kuwaiti.

According to witnesses, the incident was provoked by agents provocateurs of the Egyptian government.

Earlier, the convoy members had gathered and formed a human wall to protest against the decision to disallow the 59 vehicles from leaving the port.

The Egyptians deployed 189 anti-riot personnel equipped with water cannon and tear gas.

According to Viva Palestina leader George Galloway, there are negotiations at the highest level by Turkish authorities with the Egyptian government including for the release of all those detained.

At the time of this report at 4.10am local time, the situation was calm although observation and enclosure was still on by the Egyptian authorities.

The Viva Palestina Convoy is made up of 450 people from various countries with 220 vehicles in a mission to send humanitarian aid like food, medicines and school equipment worth more than US$1 million to Palestinians in Gaza.

The mission began in London on Dec 9 last year and has moved through various places in Turkey, Syria and Jordan.

The convoy was supposed to arrive in Gaza on Dec 27 but was held up by the Egyptian government which refused to allow use of the port of Nuweiba for entry to Rafah before arriving in Gaza.

As a result, they had to return to Syria to find another way to reach Rafah to go into Gaza.

Kemelut Kelantan serius

Utusan Malaysia
Oleh WAN ZULKIFLI WAN YAACOB

KOTA BHARU 5 Jan. - Walaupun masalah tersebut cuba dinafikan, pergeseran dalam keluarga Istana Kelantan semakin tidak dapat ditutup lagi dan menarik perhatian rakyat.

Ia menjadi kemelut yang sukar dirungkai apabila ia mula berkait dengan masalah hak dan kuasa yang perlu ditafsirkan, malah hari ini sudah ada laporan polis dibuat oleh individu yang menggelar dirinya rakyat prihatin.

Menurut sumber, pertelingkahan yang membabitkan keluarga diraja kini telah meletakkan kerajaan negeri yang dipimpin Menteri Besar, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat dan para pegawai tadbir dalam keadaan tersepit.

Beberapa rombakan pegawai tadbir, pelantikan dan pengguguran keahlian dalam Majlis Perajaan Negeri, penarikan balik gelaran Datuk serta pembatalan pelantikan Jaksa Pendamai difahamkan sebahagian daripada punca pertelingkahan yang berlaku kini.

Ia dibuat selepas Sultan Kelantan, Tuanku Ismail Petra yang menghidap serangan jantung berangkat menerima rawatan susulan di Singapura Mei tahun lalu dan putera sulung baginda, Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra dilantik sebagai Pemangku Raja.

Pelantikan itu bagi membolehkan Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra menjalankan tugas Sultan Kelantan mengikut perenggan (b) fasa (1) dan (3) Perkara 22A Undang-Undang Tubuh Kerajaan Kelantan (Bahagian Yang Kedua).

Tengku Muhammad Faris kemudiannya mengambil beberapa tindakan yang juga melibatkan kedudukan adindanya Tengku Temenggong Kelantan, Tengku Muhammad Fakhry yang merupakan anakanda ketiga dalam keluarga itu.

Tengku Muhammad Fakhry telah digugurkan keahlian dalam Majlis Perajaan Negeri (MPN) bersama Tengku Mahmud Tengku Abdul Halim, Datuk Nik Sulaiman Datuk Nik Daud dan Datuk Yusof Mohd. Othman

Tengku Temenggong kemudiannya dilaporkan berkata, tindakan-tindakan yang dibuat oleh pihak pentadbiran negeri tidak sah dan tidak mendapat sebarang restu dan keizinan baginda yang dikatakan masih sedar untuk mengikuti segala perkembangan yang berlaku di negeri itu.

Tengku Muhammad Fakhry juga membayangkan terdapat motif-motif tertentu di sebalik kenyataan yang dibacakan oleh Menteri Besar semalam berhubung laporan panel perubatan yang diwujudkan oleh kerajaan negeri berkaitan dengan tahap kesihatan ayahandanya.

Tengku Muhammad Fakhry beralasan bahawa panel enam anggota itu tidak pernah melawat dan menjalankan pemeriksaan ke atas baginda dan laporan seumpama itu juga tidak sepatutnya didedahkan kepada umum kerana ia hak peribadi baginda.

Menurut sumber-sumber, ketiadaan pegawai-pegawai tinggi melawat baginda dan keengganan pihak berkuasa negeri menerima arahan berhubung isu yang mendesak, menimbulkan kemurkaan baginda.

Setiausaha sulit baginda juga tidak muncul bagi menjalankan arahan rasmi walaupun telah diminta menghadap secara lisan untuk menyelesaikan beberapa isu yang memberi gambaran buruk kepada istana.

Apatah lagi mula timbul bibit-bibit tidak menyenangkan di media termasuk isu bayaran tunggakan bayaran hospital ketika kerajaan negeri dipercayai telah meluluskan peruntukan untuk tujuan itu.

Utusan Malaysia semalam melaporkan pendedahan Tengku Muhammad Fakhry mengenai titah Sultan Kelantan menyentuh beberapa isu berkait dengan bidang kuasa baginda yang disampaikan dalam sepucuk surat melaluinya.

Surat yang didakwa sebagai mewakili baginda ditujukan kepada Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri, Datuk Mohd. Aiseri Alias dan Setiausaha Majlis Perajaan Negeri Kelantan manakala salinannya kepada Menteri Besar, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat.

Surat bertarikh 29 Disember yang ditandatangani oleh Tengku Temenggong itu menyebut bahawa disebabkan ketidakhadiran setiausaha sulit yang dipanggil menghadap, baginda telah memberi kuasa kepada anakandanya untuk menyampaikan arahan terbarunya.

Namun difahamkan Sultan Kelantan tidak lagi mempunyai setiausaha sulit selepas baginda berangkat menjalani rawatan susulan di Singapura Mei lalu.

Bekas Setiausaha Sulit baginda, Engku Rajhan Engku Ismail, 46, ditukarkan bertugas di pejabat Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri tanpa sebarang portfolio oleh pihak pentadbiran negeri.

Difahamkan pertukaran itu dilakukan beberapa hari selepas baginda berangkat dalam satu rombakan yang turut melibatkan beberapa pegawai kanan kerajaan negeri.

Sehubungan itu, Engku Rajhan tidak dapat memenuhi permintaan Tuanku Ismail Petra untuk menghadap baginda di Singapura kerana tidak lagi mempunyai kaitan dengan pihak istana dengan jawatan barunya.

Difahamkan Engku Rajhan berkhidmat selama dua tahun sebagai setiausaha sulit baginda dan jawatan itu tidak lagi diperlukan kerana setiausaha sulit baru telah dilantik bagi berkhidmat di bawah Pemangku Raja.

Sementara itu, dalam surat yang dikeluarkan oleh Tengku Muhammad Fakhry yang didakwa dipersetujui Sultan Kelantan, baginda dikatakan tidak bersetuju, tidak mengiktiraf dan tidak mengesahkan apa-apa surat atau arahan bersabit dengan pembatalan dan pelantikan mana-mana pihak dalam MPN yang dibuat oleh Pemangku Raja, Tengku Muhammad Faris Petra.

Surat itu juga menyatakan penarikan balik darjah-darjah kebesaran dan pembatalan pelantikan Jaksa Pendamai.

Surat itu turut menyebut baginda menitahkan darjah kebesaran 'Datuk' atau setaraf dengannya ditarik balik melibatkan lapan individu termasuk Mohd. Aiseri dan Pengelola Istana, Datul Abdul Halim Hamad.

Penarikan balik darjah kebesaran itu juga melibatkan Ketua Polis Kelantan, Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi; seorang peguam, Datuk Sukri Mohamad; pemaju perumahan, Datuk Razali Daud; ahli perniagaan, Datuk Chai Kin Loong dan Tan Choon Hwa.

Menurut sumber-sumber, Tengku Temenggong berkemungkinan akan mengambil tindakan undang-undang sekiranya titah baginda tidak diendahkan oleh kerajaan dan pentadbiran negeri.

Permohonan Anwar ditolak lagi

Utusan Malaysia
Oleh AMIRUDDIN HARUN

KUALA LUMPUR 5 Jan. - Permohonan Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim untuk membatalkan kenyataan bertulis pendakwa raya yang menyatakan tiada fakta memihak kepada pihak pembelaan dalam kes liwatnya, disifatkan sebagai sesuatu yang remeh, menyusahkan dan penyalahgunaan proses mahkamah.

Mahkamah Tinggi (Bahagian Rayuan dan Kuasa-Kuasa Khas) memutuskan demikian hari ini semasa menolak dengan kos permohonan Penasihat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) itu untuk mendapat kebenaran membuat semakan kehakiman terhadap kenyataan pendakwa raya tersebut.

Hakim Datuk Aziah Ali dalam penghakimannya menyatakan, mahkamah sivil bukanlah forum yang betul untuk menyemak kenyataan bertulis yang dikeluarkan bagi tujuan perbicaraan kes di mahkamah jenayah.

''Ia adalah penyalahgunaan proses (mahkamah) untuk mendapatkan bantuan mahkamah sivil bagi menyemak kenyataan bertulis itu dan mengarahkan responden pertama mengeluarkan kenyataan bertulis yang baru,'' ujar beliau.

Tegasnya lagi, mahkamah sivil tidak mempunyai bidang kuasa untuk menyemak sebarang tindakan pendakwa raya selain sebarang cabaran oleh pihak pembelaan seharusnya dikemukakan di mahkamah jenayah.

''Untuk membenarkan permohonan ini bermakna mahkamah sivil masuk campur bidang kuasa mahkamah jenayah,'' tegas beliau dalam penghakiman bertulis setebal 15 muka surat yang dibacakan di kamar beliau di sini.

Beliau menyatakan demikian ketika membenarkan bantahan Peguam Negara yang diwakili oleh Peguam Kanan Persekutuan, Datin Azizah Nawawi terhadap permohonan Anwar bagi mendapatkan kebenaran semakan kehakiman tersebut.

Anwar memfailkan permohonan itu pada 3 Ogos tahun lalu dengan menamakan Timbalan Pendakwa Raya, Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria responden pertama, pendakwa raya responden kedua dan Kerajaan Malaysia responden ketiga.

Beliau memohon perintah perisytiharan bahawa kenyataan bertulis itu yang ditandatangani oleh responden pertama dan diserahkan kepadanya pada 24 Jun lalu tidak menepati Seksyen 51A(1)(c) Kanun Prosedur Jenayah, batal dan tidak sah.

Antara fakta yang didakwa memihak kepada pembelaan ialah laporan Dr. Osman Abdul Hamid dari Hospital Pusrawi bertarikh 28 Jun 2008 dan laporan Dr. Khairul Nizam Hassan, Mohd. Razali Ibrahim serta Dr. Siew Sheue Feng dari Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) bertarikh 13 Julai 2008.

Ketua Pembangkang itu yang tidak hadir diwakili peguam Edmund Bon, Amer Hamzah Arshad dan Leela J. Jesuthasan.

Dalam penghakimannya, Hakim Aziah juga bersependapat dengan Peguam Kanan Persekutuan bahawa kenyataan bertulis itu bukan suatu 'keputusan' mengikut Aturan 53 Kaedah-Kaedah Mahkamah Tinggi 1980, sebaliknya ia hanya satu pendapat.

Pada hemat beliau, sekalipun ia adalah satu 'keputusan' seperti yang dihujahkan oleh peguam, kenyataan bertulis itu masih bukan sesuatu yang yang seharusnya dibuat semakan kehakiman kerana ia tidak menjurus kepada keputusan pentadbiran.

''Pemohon mempunyai kebebasan untuk mengemukakan bantahan terhadap kenyataan bertulis itu semasa perbicaraan. Ruang tersebut ada semasa perbicaraan di mahkamah jenayah.

''Keputusan akhir sama ada terdapat fakta memihak kepada pemohon atau sama ada kedua-dua laporan perubatan memihak kepada pemohon akan ditentukan oleh hakim yang mendengar perbicaraan,'' katanya.

Dalam penghakiman tersebut, Hakim Aziah juga menyatakan, pengendalian pendakwaan adalah tanggungjawab penuh pendakwa raya.

Justeru itu, katanya, untuk membuat semakan kehakiman terhadap tindakan pendakwa raya di bawah Seksyen 51A(1)(c) Kanun Prosedur Jenayah akan terjumlah kepada campur tangan dalam pelaksanaan tanggungjawab pendakwa raya.

Anwar, 62, didakwa meliwat bekas pembantunya, Mohd. Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 24, di Unit 11-5-1, Kondominium Desa Damansara, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, di sini di antara pukul 3.01 petang dan 4.30 petang, 26 Jun 2008.

Kes itu dijadual dibicarakan di hadapan Hakim Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd. Diah selama sebulan mulai 25 Januari ini.

Amer Hamzah ketika dihubungi menyatakan, pihaknya akan berbincang dengan Anwar untuk mendapatkan arahan lanjut sama ada perlu memfailkan rayuan terhadap keputusan tersebut.

250 crowd boat, hope for a home

Pakistan: Taliban brainwashes kids with visions of virgins

Nawaz Kot, Pakistan (CNN) -- "When we got to this compound it was shocking for us," Lt. Col. Yusuf tells us, standing in the middle of what the Pakistani military says was a brainwashing center -- for children.

It was here, according to the Pakistani military, that children aged 12 to 18 were turned from innocent youngsters into cold-blooded killers, willing to blow themselves to bits as suicide bombers.

The discovery of the compound was first reported in Pakistani media last month. Yusuf says his unit took it over after a three day battle with militants.

Part of the compound consists of four rooms -- each wall adorned with brightly colored paintings in clear contrast to the barren and harsh landscape surrounding it. The children were told that this was what awaited them in heaven.

Each of the images has a river flowing through it. Some have people playing in the water. Others have women lining the banks.

The military says that the children are told that these are rivers of milk and honey, that the women are the virgins that await them in heaven. That the children were told that they will live in the company of the holy prophet and be served feasts.

One has a home similar to the mud homes in the area which the military says is meant to invoke memories of where the children are from but with a beautiful mountainous green backdrop. Written across it are the words "Long live the Taliban of the mountains."

The images may appear simple. But for the children from this part of Pakistan they are captivating. They grow up in abject poverty surrounded by dirt-colored mountains with treacherous gullies and valleys with no exposure to the outside world. They are gullible and easily manipulated.

"I have never seen such elaborate paintings about so-called heaven," Taliban expert Zahid Hussein says, looking at the images.

He has seen similar tactics in the past and spoken extensively with would-be child suicide bombers in the custody of the authorities.

"They [the militants] say life is a waste here and if you do a good thing you will go to heaven, immediately to heaven. For someone who does not have anything to look forward to, who does not have any opportunities and is living a wretched life, this sort of thing comes as a big incentive," Hussein explains.

He says the children end up believing that their life in this world is worthless, that life only starts in the hereafter. The Taliban is offering them a fast track option to paradise, a longed for escape from their daily reality surrounded by violence.

Nawaz Kot was once a Taliban stronghold.

"The militants were mostly hidden away in bunkers. The tactic they would use was long-range sniping and IEDs (improvised explosive device) on the road," Brigadier General Sarfraz Satter explains as we bump along the road just outside of his brigade's base in South Waziristan on our way to the training center. "They [the militants] had all those positions up there."

He points to the mountaintops in clear sight of his headquarters. When the military launched its operation to take these lands back, he says they knew that the compound was a training center, that perhaps children were involved. What they didn't realize was the sheer level of indoctrination.

The children were from the local area. He says the parents would send them thinking they were getting an education and, more importantly, free food.

"But they don't know what kind of religious education their child is being put through." General Satter says, acknowledging that for the next phase of operations to succeed, there has to be a focus on education. "When we start our rehabilitation, we have to reopen schools to stop them [the parents] from sending their children into the wrong hands."

The military says that the compound could house some 200-300 children. The Pakistani military believes it was in full use until the summer when they bombed it. Since then they say that numbers had dwindled although they are not sure how recently children were staying there. But for the children that have already passed through the compound, it's likely too late.

"The pamphlets we found tell us they were trained in weapons handling, preparing of suicide jackets and ambush tactics," Lt. Col. Yusuf says. "These terrorists keep the children at the frontline, and most of the casualties have been children when they [the terrorists] are attacking the posts.

"They say to them, 'Look your sacrifice will not be wasted,' and so he [the child] is mentally prepared to do whatever they want him to do,' expert Zahid Hussein further explains.

He says it's a complete distortion of Islam, but one that the children fervently believe.

"They are also led to believe that the Muslims who are killed in suicide bombings, they will go to heaven as well. So that is a very powerful instrument of brainwashing," he adds.

The Taliban says that this particular compound is not one of their's. But they say that they are actively training children from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Middle East to be suicide bombers.

As Pakistan tries to cope with an ever increasing wave of suicide bombing, a chilling statistic is coming to light.

"Almost 90 percent of suicide bombers, if you look at their profile, are 12 to 18 years old," Hussein says.

The war on terror expert says there also needs to be a war on poverty and a commitment to providing education and opportunity so that children in the future won't be turned into murderers, thinking that suicide and death are their only escape from a hopeless life.