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Friday, January 15, 2010

Putrajaya concedes on Allah for Sabah, S'wak - Malaysiakini

After several months of running verbal battles with the Catholic Church , the Umno/Barisan Nasional Government finally conceded yesterday on the Allah issue for Sabah and Sarawak.

Christians in the two Malaysian Borneo states can continue to use the term 'Allah' for God in Malay print as they have done for the last 300 years.

The Federal Government still sees no reason why Christians in Peninsular Malaysia should use the term 'Allah' for God even in Malay print.

However, East Malaysians resident in the Peninsula have to respect the prohibition.

parliament gobind singh ban over nazri mistake 251108 04These pronouncements came from Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz (left) in an exclusive interview yesterday in Kuala Lumpur with five journalists from the Borneo Post, Utusan Borneo and the Oriental Daily.

“Christians in Sabah and Sarawak need not worry over this issue because it is a common tradition there. I have been to an Iban church service and I heard 'Allah' used there,” he said.

Asked why the need for two sets of rules on the usage of the word, he stressed that this is not a unique practice as Malaysia also has two sets of laws on other matters, citing the Syariah Court and the Civil Court as examples.

Nazri went on to say that the situation in the Peninsula is different as 'Allah' was only introduced into Christian worship and publication a few years ago.

Going to court is no solution

“Muslims in Peninsular Malaysia cannot accept it as 'Allah' was never used in Christian preaching until recently and they questioned the motive behind the substitution of Tuhan for 'Allah'”.

Nazri cited the Federal Constitution to point out that no other religion can be propagated to Malay Muslims and this article had been enacted in all states in Malaysia where the Sultan is the Head of State.

“So this excludes the Federal territory, Penang, Malacca, Sarawak and Sabah,” explained Nazri. “In these states, for the ban on the use of 'Allah' to be implemented, the Home Minister can use the Printing Act to enforce it.”

church attacks sunday massHe added that Christians should recognize that using 'Allah' in their worship and publications is sensitive to Muslims and that this issue was not going to be solved by going to court.

“The government has a duty to stop acts of disrespect and provocation that inflame religious and racial feelings in the nation even if there was no law that stated that these acts were wrong,” he said.

Nazri pointed out as an example that there was no law against stepping on a cow's head.

Still, when a group of Malays did that in protest against the relocation of a Hindu temple, “we hauled them up and charged them because that act was disrespectful to Hindus”.

Justification for illegal acts

On the same score, if the usage of 'Allah' by Christians was – it certainly is, he said – sensitive to Muslim, the government has to act even if the courts deem it illegal, according to Nazri.

The minister clarified that it was not the Government that dragged the matter to court.

endon funeral 201005 murphy pakiamHe pointed the finger of blame at Catholic Archbishop Murphy Pakiam (left), leaving no choice for government but defend itself.

The government, he said, is continuing with the case in court and had applied for a stay of execution “which the other party had agreed to”.

The High Court, in its ruling on Dec 31, had contended that “there was no evidence to show that the use of 'Allah' (by non-Muslims) could incite violence”.

Nazri conceded that such incidents had not happened during the hearing and the government could not, therefore, produce such evidence in court.

The subsequent arson attacks on the churches, continued Nazri, “proved that the government was right” (the 'Allah' ban).

Nation's shield: The ban

He did not touch on allegations that the fire-bombings of churches were stage-managed (to convince the courts).

“Banning the use of 'Allah' by Christians was a pre-emptive move to stop outbreaks of religious violence in the nation,” said Nazri.

Asked how the continuing controversy could be solved, he replied that here had to be a solution soon.

In the meantime, he appealed to the people involved to be calm and rational.

NONEThe Federal Government's apparent about-turn albeit in Malaysian Borneo, after 11 churches were fire bombed and a Sikh temple stoned , is front-page news in the Borneo Post today.

The Utusan Borneo also has a Kadazandusun section in its Sabah edition.

The concession is seen here as the Federal Government choosing a face-saving exit strategy recently suggested by a group of Sabah Justices of the Peace who used “compromise” as an euphemism.

These JPs were publicly taking issue with their President Clarence Bongkos Malakun for openly advocating that Christians forgo using the word 'Allah' “to pacify the Malays for the sake of peace”.

The Home Ministry is not expected to withdraw its appeal against the Herald, the Catholic weekly, now in the Court of Appeal.

This is against the High Court ruling on Dec 31 that the term 'Allah' is not exclusive to Islam.

Friday sermons urge Muslims to unite over ‘Allah’

Protestors brandish banners during last week’s protest at the Shah Alam state mosque. — file pic

By Adib Zalkapli- The Malaysian insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — Friday sermons in Selangor mosques today reminded Muslims to unite over the “Allah” controversy, and described the use of the word by Christians as an attempt to undermine the position of Islam in the country.

According to the text of the sermon — prepared by the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) — allowing Christians to use the word “Allah” would create religious tension. It also called on the Muslims to set aside their political allegiance on this matter.

“Although some [of] us may have [a] different ideology, it should not compromise the sanctity of the religion just for the sake of position and power,” according to the sermon, in an apparent reference to Muslim politicians who are deeply divided over the issue.

Earlier this week, the Sultan of Selangor issued a directive to uphold the stance that the word “Allah” may not be used by non-Muslims when referring to God in the Malay language.

“The decision of the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Thursday, Dec 31, allowing the Herald – The Catholic Weekly to use the word ‘Allah’ was shocking to Muslims nationwide,” said the sermon, which was meant for delivery before the start of Friday prayers.

“The use of the word ‘Allah’ by the Christians, especially in writings, must be stopped by the government. According to Islamic principles, the government has the right to take pre-emptive measures to stop [the] expected damage,” it added.

It also reiterated the stand made by Muslim groups opposed to the High Court ruling — that the move would create confusion among Muslims.

“We are worried that all churches will be renamed Baitullah (House of God), the Bible will also be renamed Kitabullah, and more confusion will arise if all religions in the country use the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God.

“Their aim is to equate Islam with other religions in the country. In fact, Islam is the religion accepted by Allah, there is no other religion but Islam. Islam came from Allah, while other religions were man-made,” it added.

The sermon also cited the Cabinet decision in 1986, banning the use of four Arabic words — including “Allah” — by non-Muslim as well as the state enactment which restricts the use of the word. The enactment was meant to prevent the word from being used for propagating other religious views to Muslims.

The first part of the sermon, which discusses the issue, ended with a reminder to Muslims to respect the rule of law, as the authorities are taking action according to the available legal process.

The row over the use of the word “Allah” has been linked to attacks on nine churches, a mission school and one Sikh temple over the last week.

Both the government and the opposition have moved in to defuse tensions, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announcing financial aid of RM500,000 to the worst hit church, the Metro Tabernacle in Kuala Lumpur. Opposition leaders have also been holding regular meeting with leaders and members of the Christian community.

Meanwhile, the Friday sermon prepared by the federal Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) did not touch on the issue. The body prepared two versions of sermon to be chosen by mosques in the Federal Territories today.

One version of the sermon urged the Muslims to control their sugar intake in an attempt to justify the government’s decision to reduce sugar subsidy, while another version discusses the solar eclipse which takes place this afternoon.

Karpal wants MACC lawyer cited for contempt of court

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani - The Malaysian Insider

SHAH ALAM, Jan 15 — The Teoh Beng Hock inquest took a bizarre twist today, when a hearing on an application to cite a senior MACC officer for contempt turned into an attempt to charge the MACC lawyer instead.

Earlier, counsel representing the Attorney-General’s chambers Tan Hock Chuan told the court that no action would be taken against Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand.

He added that the A-G did not think Dr Pornthip had leaked any information to Suara Keadilan.

Coroner Azmil Muntapha Abas then said there was no longer a need to proceed with contempt proceedings against MACC’s Raub Ghani, who had lodged a police report against Dr Pornthip for allegedly leaking the results of the second post-mortem on Teoh Beng Hock.

Lawyer Karpal Singh, representing Teoh’s family, then started to argue that contempt proceedings against Raub should still proceed as the A-G’s opinion seems to suggest the MACC officer had lodged a false police report against Dr Pornthip.

At this point, lawyer for the MACC Datuk Abdul Razak Musa stood up to protest Karpal’s use of the word “murder”, but Karpal asked him to sit down as he had the floor and Razak did not have the right to interrupt.

Karpal (in wheelchair) was insulted for his disability. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Razak then retaliated by saying: “I can sit down but you cannot stand up.”

This angered Karpal’s son and fellow lawyer, Gobind Singh Deo, who immediately protested and ordered Razak to apologise.

After a heated exchange, Razak finally apologised but this did not satisfy Karpal. He argued that insulting a member of the Bar is in contempt of the court.

However, the coroner reasoned that Razak had apologised and it was up to Karpal to accept the apology or not, before adding there was no need to bring contempt charges against Razak and that the lawyer should just be cautioned.

Karpal’s other co-counsel Malik Imtiaz, however, urged the coroner to reconsider his decision because this will lead to a precedence whereby a Bar member can be insulted in court.

The judge agreed and gave Karpal half an hour to provide previous case rulings to support his motion for Razak to be held in contempt of the court.

“Of course, he apologised but in my mind his apology is not sincere and we wanted a more severe punishment against Datuk Razak because we do not want this to become a precedent,” he told reporters outside the court room.

The court will resume after a break.

At DAP meet, Guan Eng to sketch out Pakatan’s Putrajaya goal

By Leslie Lau - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (picture) is likely to use his party’s national convention this Sunday to issue a stern warning to Pakatan Rakyat (PR) that it must quickly bring concrete and tangible changes to the states it governs, in order to convince voters that the DAP, PKR and PAS can be trusted to take over the federal government from Barisan Nasional (BN).

The Malaysian Insider understand from DAP sources that the party boss will use the convention as a platform to set clear goals not just for his party but for its partners in the coalition as well, ahead of general elections which many political pundits expect to be called by next year.

Lim’s address to the party faithful will be the first significant acknowledgement that the PR coalition needs to do more to convince ordinary Malaysians it is capable of taking power.

“We cannot just continue to use the excuse that we are new at ruling the states we control.

“We have to bring about substantive reforms,” a party source told The Malaysian Insider.

The DAP, PKR and PAS combined to deny BN its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority in Election 2008, before coming together to form the PR alliance.

The tripartite alliance initially controlled five states, before losing Perak to BN in a power grab last year.

While BN and Umno are still grappling with the fallout from its disappointing showing at the ballot box in 2008, PR parties have also been hit by their own squabbling.

BN, under Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has also seized some momentum away from PR.

PR officials have privately acknowledged as well that the federal opposition coalition must regain the initiative.

At this weekend’s convention, Lim will put forward his argument that how PR runs the states it still controls will be crucial to whether it can win federal power.

The Malaysian Insider understands that Selangor and Penang are key states in PR’s strategy of showcasing its abilities to the public.

As a measure of the urgency faced by PR, Lim, who is Penang Chief Minister, has been busy travelling abroad in an effort to secure foreign investments for his state.

Selangor, which is led by PKR, has seen the recent appointment of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as state economic advisor. Anwar’s appointment is seen as an effort to boost the state’s economic performance ahead of national polls.

Prime minister Najib is also staking BN’s hold on power on the economy.

It is understood that Najib is hoping to grow the national economy by at least six per cent and bring back a feel-good factor before he considers calling snap polls.

Another important message Lim will deliver to his members this weekend is that PR can no longer hope to be just “not as bad” as BN.

He will tell his party that they must be an attractive choice for voters, in what is an acknowledgement that PR must stop behaving like a perpetual opposition and instead, showcase its abilities at being a ruling party through the states it now governs.

Khalid Samad: Campaign against me politically motivated

A protestor walks over a picture of Khalid Samad, during last week’s protest at the Shah Alam state mosque. — file pic

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 — Ever since Shah Alam PAS MP Khalid Samad officially supported the High Court’s decision to allow the Herald to use the word “Allah”, an active campaign has been set up to discredit him.

Many pro-Umno blogs online have resorted to accusing him of being un-Islamic, with some even calling him “Khalid Gereja”, a fact that he himself is fully aware of.

“Dragging me into the picture only makes the picture even clearer that the situation is politically-motivated. They want to wrest Shah Alam from Pakatan Rakyat, something which they are in need of. I suppose they are trying to start a rallying call against me for that purpose,” said Khalid in a phone interview with The Malaysian Insider.

Last Thursday, during a gathering outside the Selangor Sultan’s palace gates, protestors shouted and demanded that the Shah Alam MP be kicked out of Selangor for “supporting the High Court’s decision.”

A day after that, during a protest after Friday prayers at the Shah Alam state mosque, a group of men stomped all over Khalid’s picture and urged him to change his stand over the issue.

However, he seems unfazed by the actions of protestors and instead affirmed that his position on the matter of the usage of “Allah” among non-Muslims was similar to the PAS leadership’s stand.

“It is unfortunate for these individuals that the PAS leadership has already taken a stand and my stand is in line with that.”

According to Khalid, the issue was not about his personal views but more of how one understood Islam and its application to everyday life.

“The answer for Muslims is to refer to the teachings of the Holy Al-Quran.”

He also blamed the mainstream media for failing to provide a balanced and accurate representation of views and opinions regarding the matter.

“Obviously the issue needs clarification, it is overwhelmed by the fact that the mainstream media does not give coverage... there is a blackout in terms of our (the opposition) side of the argument.

“People can read between the lines,” quipped Khalid.

One of the arguments presented by groups challenging the High Court’s decision was that the guidelines on the usage of the word “Allah” was clearly stated under the Selangor State Enactment for non-Muslims 1988 (Enakmen Ugama Bukan Islam).

According to the booklet, Section 9 of the enactment specifies words that cannot be used in reference to anything non-Islamic. The first word on the long list is “Allah.”

“What they are doing is trying to create a conflict with members of society. Look at the year of the enactment: 1988. Umno, in all its time in Selangor did not exercise this ruling because they knew that something was wrong with it, but now because Selangor is under Pakatan, they want to refer to this enactment, which is outdated,” explained Khalid.

Church attacks: Voices from Malaysia

(BBC News) Several Christian churches have been attacked since Friday in Malaysia in a dispute over the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims.

A High Court ruling overturning a government ban on the use of Allah by non-Muslims has raised concerns among Muslim groups that by using a name so closely associated with Islam, Christians are trying to win converts.

Here, Muslims and Christians in Malaysia discuss the issues behind the attacks.

Pat Lu, web consultant, Kuala Lumpur
Pat Lu

I am one of the administrators of a Facebook group which calls for everybody in Malaysia to be allowed to use the name Allah. The group has been growing rapidly in the last few days and we now have more than 68,000 members.

Because of the Facebook group, people take me as a leader, so I've received many calls and messages from Christians from all over the country saying how concerned they are about the attacks.

Because violence triggers more violence we are discouraging all Malaysians, irrespective of ethnicity and religion, from joining any street protests. It's better to participate in a cyber rally and have a dialogue online.

This has never happened in Malaysia before - attacking places of worship. Ours is a multi-cultural society, we've always lived in harmony.

The government should take responsibility for what's happened. They should not mix religion with politics and they should allow people to practise their faith. It's none of anybody else's business how I call my God.

Hussin Zin, retired company manager, Petaling Jaya
Hussin Zin

I appreciate the concerns of some Muslims in Malaysia, but I do not condone violence. The general view here is that this is the work of extremists. Malaysian Muslims are peaceful people, we are not of the terrorist kind.

We enjoy religious tolerance in Malaysia and different religious groups celebrate their festivals together.

There are fringe elements in every society. I am not so concerned about the attacks, but about the way the government is handling this issue.

Instead of banning the word in a Christian journal, they should have pushed for an inter-religious dialogue and invited religious groups to discuss and come up with a solution.

Everyone's been talking about this issue in the last week or so and there has been a strong reaction and many different views.

Most Muslim people, especially those who are well educated, are open-minded. The name "Allah" is used by Christians in the Middle East. Why should there be a problem? It's between you and God.

Nordin Abdullah, businessman, Kuala Lumpur

There is a concern in the country that Muslims could be misled and confused with Christians using Allah to address God. There are concerns that certain Christian groups are trying to convert Muslims this way.

Many Muslims will agree that it's not the use, but the misuse of the word. "Allah" means one, undividable God. It becomes misleading when used outside its historical context.

It's against Islamic teachings to attack churches and I am sure the majority of Malaysians don't think it's acceptable

The main problem is the idea of Allah having a son - this is not the original context of the word.

Whatever the views on this subject, nobody wants to see any kind of tension, whether it's ethnic or religious. The attacks on Christian churches are not the right way to respond to the issue. They are not very Malaysian. Differences should be resolved through an open discussion, not violent attacks.

It's interesting that these attacks are happening at a time when our prime minister is promoting the idea of "One Malaysia", where the emphasis is on the common ground, not on ethnic or religious divisions.

I don't know if this is a coincidence, but it seems strange that this tension is happening at a good time, when things are beginning to get better for everyone.

No-one seems to have the answer. If you ask me - these attacks are not organised, they are not part of something bigger. It's stupidity and it's against Islamic teachings to attack churches and I am sure the majority of Malaysians don't think it's acceptable.

Waihon Liew, university lecturer of global religions, Rawang
Waihon Liew

The attacks are very sad because we have managed to live harmoniously in the past. I was a bit nervous that they could escalate and get bigger, but I am happy that didn't happen.

The government is taking a lot of security measures around places of worship and I don't feel scared about going to church. Our government is doing the right thing, they are looking to promote dialogue and better understanding of religious issues.

I believe there might be a different agenda behind these attacks, not necessarily to do with the religious issue. It's still early to make a final decision, but it's possible that behind it are people who do not want to see the country as a tolerant and harmonious society. But this is a small group of people.

I think the government is in a tricky situation, it is not an easy task to govern a multi-racial society and it's not possible to please everyone. We need to find a middle ground, we need to cultivate peace and harmony, but we don't want to compromise in terms of religious doctrine.

The name Allah belongs to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Some Muslims may not even realise that it's been used long before Mohammad by Jews and Christians. Allah cannot be called anything else.

The impact of migration

thenutgraph.com

Image of birds in migration
(Pic by mirofoto / sxc.hu)

WITH the recent attack on churches, a Catholic school and a Sikh gurdwara, migration is likely to be on the minds of some Malaysians. Despite government assurances that "everything is under control", diminishing respect for rights as demonstrated by the "Allah" issue has naturally caused consternation among educated Malaysians.

At the same time, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak says Malaysia must become a "high-income" economy so that it can stave off decreasing prosperity and standards of living. Indeed, a government-commissioned 2007 World Bank report on Malaysia's education system and economy says Malaysia has "no choice" but to change its economic model.

Malaysia, the report said, can no longer compete with the lower wages in developing countries like China and Vietnam.

But with mass migration and the loss of skilled Malaysians, is it realistic to expect Malaysia to compete with developed economies? Will enough skilled Malaysians stay on so that Malaysia can escape the middle-income trap?

Skilled workers crucial

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research executive director Datuk Dr Mohamed Ariff Abdul Kareem says skilled workers are crucial to move the economy up the value chain.

"When foreigners come looking to invest, they look for people with skills ... If skilled people are leaving to go elsewhere, this will be a spoke in the wheel for us," says Ariff in a phone interview.

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan adds that while the number of unskilled foreign workers has increased, the number of skilled expatriates has dwindled.


Melissa Norman (Courtesy of Kelly
Services)
"In 2000, we had about 80,000 expatriates [in Malaysia]. By 2008, there were only about 38,000. Coupled with that, our professionals are also moving overseas," he says. Shamsuddin tells The Nut Graph in an e-mail interview that there are currently about 785,000 Malaysians working overseas.

Recruitment agency Kelly Services' vice-president and country general manager Melissa Norman confirms that the oil and gas, Islamic banking, and high technology sectors have faced challenges in finding suitable skilled labour.

"Countries such as China, Vietnam, India, Singapore, Australia and certain Middle Eastern countries have benefited from our brain drain," says Norman.

Wider economic ramifications

Other than the skills shortage, mass migration of skilled Malaysians also has wider economic ramifications.

Rating Agency Malaysia's group chief economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng says those emigrating tend to be in the high-income bracket with higher spending capabilities. "[Their] absence will have a negative impact on consumption and consequently on the country's overall domestic demand," he says.

"Emigration also causes a withdrawal of capital," Yeah adds. "When [skilled Malaysians] relocate, they bring with them whatever wealth and savings they have. It would contribute to the outflow of capital from the country."

Low pay, discrimination, corruption

One of the factors affecting Malaysia's unattractiveness to skilled workers is the relatively low wages compared with developed countries.

Shamsuddin says: "In the US, Malaysian professionals could earn about US$100,000 a year, which is about RM340,000 a year. They would need to earn about RM28,300 a month here [to match that]."


New York (top) and Tokyo. Can Malaysia compete with developed countries?
(Pics by Gayle Lindgren and maykim99 / sxc.hu)

In addition to the wage packages, Yeah says emigration can be worsened if there are discriminatory policies and loss of confidence. "Loss of confidence can be triggered by various factors such as rising crime rates, corruption, deteriorating quality of life and general concerns over the longer term prospects of the economy," he says.

"The underlying reasons for migration must be examined. Although most countries face this problem, country-specific reasons need to be looked at in greater depth."

"It's not just monetary," says Ariff. "It goes beyond dollars and cents. [Emigration] is not confined to any particular group. It's everyone; even Malay [Malaysians] are leaving."

Long-term solution

The 2007 World Bank report also cited the lack of scientists and engineers, and lack of capacity for innovation as some of Malaysia's greatest weaknesses in moving to a knowledge-based economy.

"If we can't bring those abroad back home, we have to somehow increase our own supply. It will require a massive shift in the education system to supply these skills in the long term. The system needs to be completely overhauled," Ariff says.

However, he notes that there seems to be a lack of political will in this direction.

Ariff says the lack of skilled workers in Malaysia will be especially felt once economic conditions improve. "Once the economy grows, we will feel the impact because we need [skilled talent] for the economy to expand," he says. "Either we have to bring people home or attract skilled foreigners."


Yeah
He notes, however, that employing foreigners is only a stopgap measure.

... and the good news?

With the economic crisis hitting developed nations hard, Yeah posits that emigration to developed countries may have reduced for now. "In fact," he says, "if developing economies can step up growth and lure back their own as well as foreign talents, a [brain drain] reversal may be in the works."

Norman agrees that skilled Malaysians would be returning to Malaysia as a result of the global economic crisis. "The question is, are there sufficient numbers to stem the brain drain?" she asks.

Additionally, Yeah notes that the policies in attracting skilled professionals back to Malaysia have yet to show results. "We have to give it a couple of years, but implementation needs to be more effective."

Shamsuddin encourages Malaysians to return. He argues that since it is still a young nation, many opportunities remain available. However, he says if Malaysians choose not to return, they can still contribute their ideas and expertise from abroad.

Running faster

Silhouette of running man
(Pic by hisks /sxc.hu)
The 2007 World Bank reports that many of Malaysia's fiercest competitors are working diligently to improve their higher education and national innovation systems. The report states that Malaysia will have to run even faster than its neighbours if it does not want to lose ground, what more to gain ground.

Although the outlook appears daunting, the World Bank report concludes it is by no means impossible. All we need to do, it says, is upgrade our university systems, develop innovative production modes, and address skills shortages that hamper efforts to produce more sophisticated goods and services.

With a UBS Securities Asia Limited report stating that there has been massive capital outflow from Malaysia in the last 12 months, these steps are more crucial than ever to ensure Malaysia's economic survival. But with a government that is constantly mired in issues arising from bad policies favouring majority over minority rights, will we still have the resources to think about global competitiveness, and move to the next level?

Pornthip did not leak info

Inquest adjourned 4half hour 4karpal 2submit precedents on law of contempt
01/15/2010 11:23 AM

Razak apologised but Karpal said apology only go to mitigation n court must commit Razak 4contempt Karpal said Razak’s apology insincere
01/15/2010 10:58 AM

Karpal said in insulting another counsel n all Malaysians in wheelchair Razak had committed contempt in the face of the court
01/15/2010 10:49 AM

Blowup in ct over Macc counsel Razak’s offensive insult agnst Karpal when saying: I can sit down but Karpal cannot stand up.
01/15/2010 10:46 AM

Karpal – TBH was murdered n the question is by who. Raub shld be charged 4lodging false rept. Coroner shld commit him 4contempt
01/15/2010 10:39 AM

Karpal submits AG’s views do not change situation that MACC officer Raub agnst Porntip had lodged false report n subvert course of justice
01/15/2010 10:33 AM

AG has recd police investigation papers n he found no evidence that Porntip had leaked evidence n no basis 4any charge against Porntip
01/15/2010 10:29 AM

AG counsel informs inquest that the two reports lodged by MACC officers one agnst Porntip have 2b investigated n anybody can lodge report
01/15/2010 10:26 AM

TeohBengHock inquest Shah Alam reconvenes
01/15/2010 10:21 AM

Why Muhyiddin go to UK to urge the return of the “best brains” while completely blind, unconcerned and insensitive to the loss of “best brains” to nei

by Lim Kit Siang

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin went to London to urge the “best brains” working abroad to return home and drive the country’s new economic model, but he had been thunderously silent in the past five days at the news from across the causeway that two Malaysians topped the 2009 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) Examination.

The question Muhyiddin must answer is why go all the way to the United Kingdom to urge the return of the “best brains” while he is completely blind, unconcerned and insensitive to the loss of the “best brains” to neighbouring Singapore or the 300,000 Malaysians who emigrated since last general election?

On Monday, it was reported in Singapore that Lai Kai Rou, 16, from Selangor, emerged tops in the island republic, scoring 10A1s. She studied at CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School (SNGS) which also topped Singapore schools with 14 of the 42 island-republic’s best scorers being its students, scoring 9 A1s.

Lai’s success is all the more remarkable given that she was struggling with her studies just four years ago, when she first arrived in Singapore.

Her primary school was a Chinese school so she used to do maths and science in Chinese when she first arrived in Singapore. She admitted having a hard time adapting to the English standard.

Last year’s top 0-level student in Singapore, Haw Sue Hern, who scored 10 A1s, is also from Selangor.

Lai is a Singapore Education Ministry scholar. The question Muhyiddin, who is also Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Human Resources, should address is why Malaysia continues to be helpless, unconcerned and even insensitive to the brain drain of the best and most talented young Malaysians to Singapore, right from the start of secondary education.

Is he aware that increasing incidents like the “Allah” controversy will only drive more Malaysian talents to other shores instead of returning or remaining home to drive the new economic model?

Can the Cabinet Committee on Human Resources headed by Muhyiddin come out with a masterplan to stop such a brain drain by not only ensuring that there is a quality education system in the country but that all talented Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, would be assured of equal opportunities both in education and employment as well as full respect of the constitutional right of all Malaysians?

Otherwise, the KPI and NKRA for education can only be one of failure.

Dare the KPI Minister, Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon fail the Deputy Education Minister-cum-Education Minister in his first KPI/NKRA for education? This will be Tsu Koon’s own KPI and NKRA.

Bodies Pile Up After Haiti Quake; Aid Jams Airport


Members of the Colombian civil defence and army prepare to leave for Haiti at the military airport in Bogota January 14, 2010. REUTERS/John Vizcaino
By Tom Brown and Andrew Cawthorne

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Troops and planeloads of food and medicine streamed in to Haiti on Thursday to aid a traumatized nation still rattled by aftershocks from the catastrophic earthquake that flattened homes and government buildings and buried countless people.

The Haitian Red Cross said it believed 45,000 to 50,000 people had died and 3 million more were hurt or left homeless by the major 7.0 magnitude quake that hit Haiti's impoverished capital on Tuesday.

The quake flattened buildings across entire hillsides and many people were still trapped alive in the rubble after two days, with little sign of organized rescue efforts. About 1,500 corpses were piled up outside the main hospital and bodies littered many streets.

Planes full of supplies arrived at the Port-au-Prince airport faster than ground crews could unload them and aviation authorities restricted flights from U.S. airspace for fear planes would run out of fuel while waiting to land.

The influx of aid had yet to reach shellshocked Haitians who wandered the broken streets of Port-au-Prince, searching desperately for water, food and medical help.

"Money is worth nothing right now, water is the currency," one foreign aid-worker told Reuters.

Looters swarmed a broken supermarket in the Delmas area of Port-au-Prince, carrying out electronics and bags of rice unchallenged. Others siphoned gasoline from a wrecked tanker.

"All the policemen are busy rescuing and burying their own families," said tile factory owner Manuel Deheusch. "They don't have the time to patrol the streets."

U.S. HELP

The United States was sending 3,500 soldiers and 300 medical personnel to help with disaster relief and security in the devastated Caribbean capital. The Pentagon was also sending an aircraft carrier and three amphibious ships, and a contingent of Marines.

"To the people of Haiti, we say clearly and with conviction, you will not be forgotten. In this, your hour of greatest need, America stands with you. The world stands with you," President Barack Obama said.

The United States pledged long-term U.S. help for the crippled Haitian government. Parliament, the national palace, and many government buildings collapsed and it was unclear how many lawmakers and officials survived. The main prison also fell, allowing dangerous criminals to escape.

"The authorities that existed before the earthquake are not able to fully function. We're going to try to support them as they reestablish authority," U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told CNN.

There were few signs of organized rescue operations to free those trapped in debris, and doctors in Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, were ill-equipped to treat the injured.

Makeshift tents were strung everywhere and Haitians at one informal camp approached a journalist shouting "water, water" in a multitude of languages.

"Please do anything you can, these people have no water, no food, no medicine, nobody is helping us," said Valery Louis, who organized one of the camps.

Groups of women who slept in the streets overnight sang religious songs in the dark and prayed for the dead. "They want God to help them. We all do," said Hotel Villa Creole employee Dermene Duma, who lost four relatives.

Sobs and wailing erupted each time someone died but aftershocks interrupted the mourning, sending panicked people running away from walls.

The quake's epicentre was only 10 miles (16 km) from Port-au-Prince, a sprawling and densely packed city of 4 million people in a nation dogged by poverty, catastrophic natural disasters and political instability.

Bodies lay all around the hilly city, and people covered their noses with cloth to try to block the stench. Corpses were delivered by the pickup truck load to the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, where hospital director Guy LaRoche estimated the bodies piled outside the morgue numbered 1,500.

BODY BAGS

The Haitian Red Cross had run out of body bags and the International Committee of the Red Cross said 3,000 were on the way. Brazil, whose troops make up part of the UN peacekeeping force, proposed setting up an emergency cemetery and the United States was sending mortuary teams.

Haitians clawed at chunks of concrete with bare hands and sledgehammers, trying to free those buried alive.

A 35-year-old Estonian, Tarmo Joveer, was freed from the rubble of the United Nations' five-story headquarters early Thursday, and told journalists he was fine.

The UN said at least 36 members of its 9,000-strong peacekeeping mission had been killed and scores were still missing. Brazil said 14 of its soldiers were among the dead.

Fourteen guests and workers were pulled out alive on Thursday from the landmark Montana Hotel, which was largely flattened. Chilean Army Major Rodrigo Vazquez, who was directing the rescue, said "We estimate 70 more inside ... this is devastating."

Nations around the world pitched in to send rescue teams with search dogs and heavy equipment, tents, water purification units, food, doctors and telecoms teams.

Aid distribution was hampered because roads were blocked by rubble and smashed cars, normal communications were cut off, and relief agencies' offices were damaged and their staff dead or missing.

U.N. peacekeepers around the city seemed overwhelmed by the enormity of the recovery task ahead.

"We just don't know what to do," a Chilean peacekeeper said. "You can see how terrible the damage is. We have not been able to get into all the areas."

Many hospitals were too badly damaged to use, and doctors struggled to treat crushed limbs, head wounds and broken bones at makeshift facilities where medical supplies were scarce.

Aid group Doctors Without Borders was sending an inflatable hospital with two operating theatres, while several nations were sending field hospitals. The U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort was on the way back to Haiti, where it delivered medical care after a spate of storms caused massive flooding and mudslides in 2008.

MACC lawyer insults Karpal’s disability

by Nathaniel Tan

My goodness. TMI:

Lawyer Karpal Singh, representing Teoh’s family, then started to argue that contempt proceedings against Raub should still proceed as the A-G’s opinion seems to suggest the MACC officer had lodged a false police report against Dr Pornthip.

At this point, lawyer for the MACC Datuk Abdul Razak Musa stood up to protest Karpal’s use of the word “murder”, but Karpal asked him to sit down as he had the floor and Razak did not have the right to interrupt.

Razak then retaliated by saying: “I can sit down but you cannot stand up.”

It’s a bit like how those who run out of good arguments always resort to personal attacks :P Shame!

Indian illegal immigrants in M’sia, but what about ‘missing’ Indonesians?

CPI Writings,

The less than coincidental trumpeting of “missing Indians” in the country’s three leading English papers (Jan 13, 2010) can be read in a number of ways.

One interpretation – the fact that more than 39,000 citizens of India are ‘missing’ in Malaysia – is that this disclosure was a preventive strike by PM Najib during his meeting with a team of Indian journalists. The claim would cleverly distract from the likely questions raised by the visiting Indian journalists on the way that the Malaysian government has been handling problems and concerns of the Malaysian Indian community.

The other is that the disclosure would serve as a welcome distraction to the national furore over the court judgement of the Herald use of the ‘Allah’ word in its publication.

A third interpretation is that we accept it at its face value, which is that the PM would welcome Indian priests and barbers to come and work in the country and for the others to come in as tourists, but that this abuse by Indian citizens is a major concern and issue.

Was the Prime Minister playing to a local ethnically sensitized gallery or was he trying to play the one-upmanship game against a foreign group? Or was he protecting national interests?

Supporters of the PM and BN Government may want to give him the benefit of the doubt by arguing that he has our national interests at heart. I think though that the jury should be out on this matter of government policy on foreigners illegally overstaying in Malaysia.

The issue of foreign workers, especially Indonesians, illegally in Malaysia has long been a major headache. Both in terms of numbers and socio-economic – not to mention political – impact, the issue of Indonesian visitors should have engaged the priority attention of the Government.

Instead we have seen a consistent pattern of official denial and unwillingness during the last 30 years to discuss the issue openly, and to openly come out with the facts and figures so that all stakeholders can provide their views and we can arrive at optimal policies instead of the weak, piecemeal and politically motivated ones that presently exist.

In what was supposed to be substantiation of the PM’s concern on “missing Indians”, data was provided that foreigners misusing their Visa-on-Arrival facility were from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

There was no mention at all of Indonesia. Presumably “missing Indonesians” become too rapidly transformed into “resident Malaysians” and “fellow Bumiputeras” too quickly for the authorities to be able to react.

According to various estimates, there may be as many as several million undocumented workers from Indonesia in Malaysia. This is a number that our normally super efficient Department of Statistics is still strangely unable to verify. How many have become permanent residents, if not citizens, is also hidden from public awareness by the Official Secrets Act.

If the PM was expressing concern on the issue of “missing visitors” in the country, he should have done so many years earlier. Clearly the horses have already long bolted.

Video Al Jazeera: Whose God?



Religious tensions are rising in Malaysia following a High Court ruling which declared non-Muslims could use the Arabic word "Allah" when referring to God.

Christian churches have been attacked across the country and protests have been held in major mosques against the decision.

The issue has highlighted the tensions between minority ethnic and religious groups and the Malay Muslim majority.

The ruling came after a recent petition by Malaysia's Roman-Catholic Church, whose main publication, the Herald, uses the word "Allah" in its Bahasa Malayu-language edition.

Rev Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, has said there is no other appropriate term for God in Malay.

The word "Allah" has been used by Malay-speaking Christians for centuries, as well as by Christians in Arabic-speaking countries and in Indonesia.

On this edition of 101 East, we look at the current debate raging in Malaysia over the ownership of the word 'Allah.'

101 East presenter Fauziah Ibrahim is joined by Marina Mahathir, a social activist, Khalid Samad, a Malaysian opposition MP, and Yusri Mohamad of the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement.

Malaysian Gurdwara Council: No law prohibiting use of 'Allah' for non-Muslims

There is no law prohibiting the use of 'Allah' among non-Muslims, the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council said today.

Its president Harcharan Singh said the preamble to the Selangor Non Muslim Enactment 1988 states that the law is meant to control and restrict the propogation of non-Islamic religious doctrines and beliefs among persons professing the Islamic faith.

NONEHarcharan said, however, when the Selangor Islamic Council president Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa's statement was reported in the New Straits Times on Jan 12, the preamble to the section was dropped.

"These words are vital to show the prohibition is only against usage of such words as 'Allah' to propogate among Muslims."

"There is no law to stop non-Muslims from using it in their own publications meant for members of their own faith," said Harcharan.

He said High Court judge Lau Bee Lan made it clear in her judgment that the publication or use of the term 'Allah' is only prohibited if it is meant to propogate non-Islamic faiths to Muslims.

Look at historical perspective

Harcharan appealed to everyone to look at the present issue from the historical and the federal constitution viewpoint.

"Furthermore, the enactments passed are state laws and can never over-ride the federal constitution."

"The detractors should consider the preamble to the 1988 Act which prohibits the usage of 'Allah' to propogate non-Islamic faiths among Muslims.

"Any argument for or against, should include the position of the federal constitution as Malaysia's supreme law," he said.

Harcharan, was referring to Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim's statement which appeared in The Sun today in which he was reported to have said that the enforcement of the law should be based on prevailing circumstance.

The New Straits Times, meanwhile, in its Tuesday edition quoted Mohamad Adzib as saying that there are laws prohibiting the use of the word by non-Muslims.

Harcharan said Perak was the first state to pass such a legislation called the "Control and Restriction of the Propagation of Non-Islamic Religions Bill 1988".

"After the enactment was passed, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism (MCCBCHS) met the then prime minister to express its concern.

"The MCCBCHS also issued a statement where it viewed the restriction on non-Muslims as unconstitutional. Dr Mahathir Mohamad had then promised to look into the matter."

Tian visits Gurdwara Sahib Sentul

P.Uthayakumar’s biased Judge, Ops Padam Hindraf and ASP Vasanthakumar confirmed by DCP Akhril


pdrm-logo-feb-19

P.Uthayakumar’s ethnic cleansing trial started today at 9.35 a.m with the continued Cross Examination of DCP Akhril Sani, the then Deputy CID Chief of Bukit Aman.

Even before P.Uthayakumar could finish his line of questioning, the Judge had ruled that his question was not relevant and another open argument and raising of voices.

The biased Judge was again trying to be difficult today but P.Uthayakumar told her off once again not to make it “too obvious”. This was followed by a staring match for a long 20 seconds after which the Judge told him to go on when.

During Cross Examination the incompetency, dishonesty and credibility of this very senior police officer DCP Akhril Sani and the Royal Malay-sian Police Force became very obvious when he

1) This police DCP testified that Exhibit P1 at page 1 was the picture of a dead man and his shirt was bleeding when he only produced a black white picture and never bothered to print a colour copy of the picture. When asked to point out the red blood that he had earlier testified on the black and white picture he could not answer.

2) A reporter had allegedly called him on 25/11/07 and told him of the posting in the Policewatch Malaysia website but he could not remember the name of the reporter, which press he was from ie English, Tamil, Chinese or Malay, his telephone number, he never lodged a police report even though he agreed that the allegation in the website was serious. P.Uthayakumar put it to him that the reporter never existed and that this police DCP was lying.

3) He does not remember who the CPO of KL was two years ago on 25/11/07.

4) Agreed that one person named Murugaiyah a/l Ratnam (65) was killed at the 25th November 2007 Hindraf peaceful assembly but the biased Judge disallowed P.Uthayakumar application for the police DCP to verify and confirm the Burial Certificate that was marked as “IDD-2”

5) Initially testified that he had never heard of the policewatchmalaysia website until 25/11/07 although he later agreed that this website criticizes the police force and UMNO.

6) Operasi Padam (wipe out) Hindraf was launched but led by the Special Branch. He agreed that under OPS Padam Hindraf, Hindraf was successfully declared unlawful in early 2008.

7) To a question that one ASP Vasanthakumar from the Police Special Branch E3 Division under the operational warfare was appointed and had been declared Hindraf leader by the IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan on 13/12/07 and not by the Hindraf Chairman or its members when he was “strategically” arrested and detained together with the other four Hindraf lawyers, he agreed to the same.

8) The learned Judge disallowed P.Uthayakumar’s application for the police list of Indian victims shot dead and killed by police and death in police custody although the same was specifically referred to in the charge sheet

9) The learned DPP Noorin Badaruddin said that the request was a fishing expedition. P.Uthayakumar replied that the Attorney General (AG) should not have prosecuted P.Uthayakumar in the first place if they are not prepared to make public this shooting to kill list listing out all the Indian victims

10) This DPP Noorin submitted that even if a statement was true P.Uthayakumar has committed Sedition by saying it. To this P.Uthayakumar replied that by virtue of Article 145 of the Federal Constitution the A.G should have to act in the general public interest which includes not wrongly convicting P.Uthayakumar.

P.Uthayakumar remarked that the we are not in Zimbabwe where it would be all right if Robert Mugabe had instructed his DPP to this effect but in Malaysia justice the rule of law has to prevail.

11) Lawyer N.Surendran however clarified that by virtue of Section 3(2) (a) of the Sedition Act if the intention is to point out an error of defects of the state or a fair comment then it is justified and not Sedition. And that this P.Uthayakumar’s prosecution is done with mala fide and is politically motivated. That the DPP’s submission is that even if P.Uthayakumar spoke the truth, he is to be sent to jail anyway is not in the interest of Justice. He cannot be punished for speaking the truth. “This is not only the law but also common sense”.

12) The other assisting lawyer Charles Hector submitted that the witness cannot remember and should be given the opportunity to show the court this list of Indians shot dead and killed by the police.

The DPP asked for an adjournment to make further submissions. The Court adjourned this matter to 9.30 a.m tomorrow (15/1/10).

The court sessions ended at 1.05 p.m.

By then P.Uthayakumar had been on his feet for about 3/1/2 hours continuously from 9.35 a.m to 1.05 p.m. But this did not deter him. He came out of the dock smiling and unscathed and knowing that he will be sentenced to jail in any event because the Judge has got UMNO’s orders to convinct P.Uthayakumar and not based on the facts law and justice.

Kandasamy.


Kerajaan harus bertanggungjawab terhadap keselamatan pelajar.

BATU CAVES, 12 Januari - Penutupan jalan di Batu Caves menyukarkan para pemandu bas sekolah untuk menurunkan pelajar di hadapan sekolah malah mereka menurunkan mereka di hadapan jejantas Batu Caves. Situasi ini membimbangkan para ibu bapa dan guru kerana murid sesi pagi yang diturunkan pada 6.30 pagi terpaksa menaiki dan menuruni jejantas yang boleh mengundang bahaya sekiranya mereka terjatuh di anak tangga. Malah selepas menuruni jejantas mereka harus berjalan di tepi jalan yang digunakan oleh lori besar, kereta dan juga pelbagai jenis pengangkutan. Pemandu bas tidak dapat memasuki jalan di depan sekolah kerana ia terlalu sempit untuk patah balik semasa keluar ke jalan besar. Jalan tersebut telah ditutup disebabkan oleh kerja pembinaan landasan untuk KTM yang bakal dilancarkan.

Komen HRP: Kerajaan harus menitikberatkan keselamatan para murid kecil ini yang kurang sedar akan bahaya lalu lintas. Kerajaan seharusnya menyediakan jalan alternatif kepada pemandu-pemandu bas dan para ibu bapa untuk menurunkan anak-anak mereka di hadapan sekolah supaya keselamatan mereka terjamin.

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Perjuangan penduduk rumah panjang Subang selama 16 tahun

Penduduk rumah panjang Subang yang dijanjikan rumah dalam 18 bulan kecewa kerana harapan mereka untuk berpindah ke rumah baru telah melangkah tahun ke-16. Pada asalnya mereka ialah penduduk kampung Bunga Raya dan telah ditempatkan di rumah panjang buat sementara waktu sehingga mereka mendapat rumah baru yang telah dijanjikan. Namun penantian selama 18 bulan yang dijanjikan bertukar menjadi 16 tahun dan sehingga kini mereka tidak mendapat sebarang kata putus daripada pihak yang berkenaan. Kini bilangan keluarga pula telah bertambah daripada 74 kepada 114 buah keluarga.

Menurut Balakrishnan (55 tahun), mereka dijamin rumah baru yang bernilai RM42,000 tetapi akan diberi yang hanya bernilai RM32,000 untuk penduduk-penduduk ini. Malah mereka juga telah dijanji akan dibayar duit pampasan sebanyak RM7000 bagi sebuah rumah. Namun kini mereka memberi alasan kegagalan sesetengah penduduk untuk mendapatkan pinjaman sebab faktor usia dan ada yang disenarai hitam untuk melengahkan mereka. Apa yang menghairankan ialah terdapat beberapa keluarga telah habis membuat bayaran penuh kepada bank untuk rumah yang dijanjikan tetapi masih tidak tahu di manakah rumah mereka. Penduduk rumah panjang sedar akan lokasi yang telah dijanjikan kepada mereka untuk perumahan baru telah bertukar menjadi Subang Permai yang menjadi taman perumahan rumah mewah. Para penduduk hanya menyimpan surat pernjanjian tawaran rumah (SPM) yang diberi oleh Sinar Fadilan Development dan tiada bukti yang lain.

Kini penduduk rumah panjang berhadapan dengan pelbagai masalah. Mereka sedang berhadapan dengan masalah takungan tangki kumbahan. Mereka juga sedang berkongsi satu meter air untuk 114 keluarga dan akan berkongsi bayaran yang melebihi RM2000 sebulan. Malah masalah jenayah dalam kalangan pemuda semakin menjadi serius seperti pengedaran dadah dan juga gengsterism. Malah mereka juga sedang sengsara kerana tiada kemudahan pengangkutan, tiada taman permainan dan masa depan anak- anak mereka menjadi tanda tanya. Berikut ialah soalan yang dituju oleh penduduk rumah panjang Bunga Raya terhadap kerajaan. “Kenapa hal ini tidak mendapat respons daripada UMNO yang dahulunya telah memulakan program perumahan baru buat kami? Adakah hanya rakyat yang bertanggungjawab dalam menyelesaikan segala kesulitan yang dihadapi semasa membuat permohonan di bank. Jadi kenapa kerajaan harus menyuruh penduduk pindah sekiranya mereka tidak dapat menyelesaikan masalah berkenaan bank? Adakah Kerajaan Pakatan akan mengambil berat akan isu ini?”

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No Kindergarden for poor Indian children

Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Permata Kindergardens admitting almost all malay muslim children, moving up the luxury of even providing Permata choir and Permata music classes (The Star 12/1/010 at page N 18).

But an estimated 70% or about 100,000 of the Indian children who enrol in Standard One in both Tamil and National schools do not go to kindergartens or have school choirs and music classes.

This is the UMNO Prime Minister’s One Malay-sia.

P. Uthayakumar

kindergarden

Compensation for burnt churches, Nothing for temples demolished


Hindu temple demolishments burnt down and relocated next to sewerage ponds but Najib did not pledge RM 500,000.00, Anwar Ibrahim did not condemn the same, Hadi Awang did not visit even one single such Hindu temple, Khairi Jamaluddin did not make a positive statement, Malaysiakini did not report 23 newsreports in one day, etc., as was done when churches were attacked & torched in Malaysia.

But when the Sri Kadagambal Kaliaman Hindu temple was burnt down in 2006 by the police personnel in uniform and a police report lodged and the Muneswarar hindu temple being burnt down in June 2009 during the racial attacks against the Indians in Taiping by the UMNO linked Pakida and Tiga Line criminal elements, there was zero such public reaction.

Playing to the Christian voters in Sabah, Sarawak and the Western Christian world? Western envoys were satisfied with briefing reports NST 12/1/2010 at page 6.

But no such pro-active action from the UMNO Malaysian government, opposition parties, NGOs’ and the Malaysian civil society towards issues affecting Indians, as was in the recent case of the torching of the Assumption Church in Petaling Jaya.

P. Uthayakumar

hindu-temple-1312010

Indian women denied RM 15 million govt alimony aid.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom made this announcement of RM 15 million alimony aid but it is only for muslim women. What about the poor and working class Indian women who face the highest divorce rate in Malaysia and which is poverty related One Malay-sia?


This is again discrimination against non muslims!

P.Uthayakumarindian-women

In ‘Allah’ issue, PAS may have found a game-changer

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysia Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — PAS will always back any cause or issue seen as being Islamic in nature, Malaysian political wisdom dictates.

But the party’s decision to back the High Court’s recent ruling allowing the Catholic newspaper to use the word "Allah" in the Bahasa Malaysia edition of its Herald newspaper has turned such thinking on its head.

"In some ways this Allah issue is God-send. If the party leadership was divided before now they are united on this," a senior PAS strategist told The Malaysian Insider.

It is understood that PAS leaders expect to lose some support among the Malay on the ground, in the short term.

But in the long term, they feel that by showing a principled stand on such issues they will be able to win over the larger middle-ground of moderates of not just Malays but among all Malaysians.

Instead of PAS, it is becoming clear that Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) are finding themselves in a spot.

When some Umno politicians stoked the fire and attempted to seize the initiative to portray the party as the real defenders of Islam by criticising the court ruling, the thinking was that this would be an opportunity to burnish BN’s Islamic credentials to rival PAS.

But following the spate of attacks against churches, Umno is now seen as being less moderate, while PAS is looking like a more progressive party.

PAS had already made some gains among moderate Malaysians in the 2008 general elections, but party leaders feel that by showing they are willing to risk their political base then more moderate Malaysians will be convinced to back them.

Sivamurugan feels there is an overemphasis on Umno.

“I do not know why the focus is on Umno, but after March 8, people tend to link all the wrongdoings to Umno,” said political analyst Sivamurugan Pandian.

He said that while Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been doing the right things, “there is a lack of collective effort” within Umno to properly address the "Allah" issue.

Sivamurugan added that PAS was also seen to be handling the issue better because of the emergence of younger leaders.

“PAS was seen as extreme party back then, but the emergence of younger leaders has helped in garnering the support that Umno had previously,” he said, commenting on the different image portrayed by PAS compared to ten years ago.

While PAS continues to play the moderate role, Umno leaders are now being forced to defend themselves against accusation that their strident stand against the "Allah" ruling had helped fan the flames that led to the church attacks.

Selangor Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo, who opposes the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims, pointed out this week that his Umno party did not benefit from the attacks on the houses of worship.

“I do not want to point fingers at anyone, but it is very unusual for a party that used to be very extreme in its approach in Islam but has now become very liberal,” said Khir on his blog.

Dzulkefly finds the development interesting.

“The same party is now linking Umno to the church burning incidents,” he added.

Dr Khir also said that the groups behind last Friday’s protests against the "Allah" ruling, the Islamic youth movement, ABIM and the Muslim students group, PKPIM, had never been supporters of Umno.

“This is strange because these NGOs are known to be sympathetic to an Islamic party, not Umno,” he said.

But PAS’s Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad dismisses the notion that PAS and Umno have swapped political hues.

“I don’t like the term role-swapping. It is just that we have become more mature in understanding plural politics,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“Not only has Umno been promoting racial politics for five decades, but they are now turning Islam into something parochial,” said Dzulkefly who is also the party strategist.

He said Umno should indeed be held responsible for the current situation as their party leaders had consented to the demonstration against the High Court ruling last Friday.

“They are doing a great disservice to Allah. They are doing a great disservice to Islam,” said Dzulkefly.

Inter-faith council ‘necessary’ to resolve disputes, says Yayasan 1 Malaysia chief

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 – Dr Chandra Muzaffar (picture), who heads the Yayasan 1 Malaysia (Y1M), believes a national consultative council on religious harmony is the best way to resolve the current “Allah” row.

“We feel such a council is necessary at this point,” Chandra told to The Malaysian Insider today, following the latest church attack in Johor.

The Catholic St Elizabeth Church in Kota Tinggi was found splashed with red paint this morning, police confirmed, making it the ninth church vandalised in two weeks after a court ruled that a Catholic newspaper had the right to publish the word “Allah” in the Christian sense.

Several Muslim groups in Malaysia, where Islam is gazetted as the official religion, are up in arms over the judgment. They claim the Arabic word is reserved solely for use by Muslims.

Chandra, who also lectures in global studies in Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), noted the increasingly antagonistic positions taken by both Muslims and non-Muslims towards each other .

“We need an effective mechanism for communication so that we can understand each other’s positions,” he explained when asked how the damage over the recent church attacks and “Allah” row could be repaired.

He added that the council, once established, would be able to pass on “rational and sober” policies to Cabinet and Parliament to be carried out.

While he has yet to speak directly to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, whom he regards as the best person to chair the council, Chandra said that the PM’s cousin, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein who is also the home minister, represents the government and has indicated deep interest.

Chandra, who is also a member of the Islamic consultative council in the Prime Minister’s Department, expressed confidence that such a council could be established within the first quarter of the year, or by April.

“I’m positive. The minister of home affairs responded very positively,” he said.

“His response in public was that he wanted to explain this idea. He wanted to meet me,” the 62-year-old don added.

Chandra disclosed that he has shared the idea with several influential parties, including the editor-priest of the controversial Herald, Father Lawrence Andrew; the former Perlis mufti Dr Asri Zainul Abidin and even the Hindu Sangam, and their feedback has generally been “very good.”

Talk of an inter-faith consultative council is not new, as Chandra readily admitted, but he is “quietly optimistic” that Y1M’s proposal will be a success this time around because “the government has to make sure the situation is under control.”

“Law and order are to be given priority,” he said, noting that tensions between the Muslim and Christian communities had calmed down now compared to the protests earlier right after the court decision came out.

Guan Eng has given his statement, says Karpal

By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — DAP chairman Karpal Singh today dismissed the claims made by the police that Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has been refusing to cooperate in investigation over his alleged seditious remark.

“The Chief Minister did, in fact, give a statement to ASP Ahmad Fauzi bin Mohamad Zain at his office in the presence of lawyer RSN Rayer and, thereafter, signed that statement,” said Karpal in a statement today.

Yesterday the Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar reportedly said that no statement was taken from Lim (picture) adding that they would arrest the DAP secretary-general as a last resort for his refusal to cooperate.

Karpal also denied that the Lim had complicated the matter by demanding for a copy of the police report, as it was his right as provided by the Criminal Procedure Code.

“Before giving the statement the Chief Minister had requested, and rightly so, that he be supplied a copy of the police report pursuant to which the Section 112 statement was required to be recorded,” said Karpal.

Lim is under investigation for allegedly uttering seditious remark at the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) convention on Dec 19 last year.

He was alleged to have said that the Selangor political aide Teoh Beng Hock, who died while in Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC), was murdered.

“In his statement, the Chief Minister made it very clear that he was not refusing to make a statement, but required a copy of police report to ensure what he said would be the truth as he was bound to state the truth,” said Karpal.

“What is more important is that the person making the statement has a right to know the identity of his accuser which would be reflected in his police report,” he said.

“The rules of natural justice demand that this be so. It is ridiculous to expect a witness to make a statement without knowing who his accuser is,” he added.

Karpal added that when he was investigated for alleged sedition by the Kuala Lumpur police last year , he was provided with a copy of the police report.

“It was only after I had identified my accuser and the contents of his report that I proceeded to give my statement,” he said.

Half a million take holy dip in India’s Ganges, crush kills 7

Hindu devotees take holy dip in the holy river during Kumbh Mela in the northern Indian city of Allahabad, Jan 14, 2010. – Reuters pic

HARIDWAR (India), Jan 14 – At least half a million Hindus braved chilly winds and took a dip in the icy waters of the Ganges river in a holy Himalayan town on Thursday to mark the beginning of a religious festival, with at least seven people killed in a stampede in the country's east..

Chanting hymns, thousands of Hindu men, women and children, bathed at the “Kumbh Mela”, or Pitcher Festival, held every 12 years in different Indian cities.

Hindus believe that bathing in the Ganges during the almost four-month-long festival cleanses them of their sins, speeding the way to the attainment of nirvana.

The ritualistic bathing takes place in other venues as well, with massive crowds often leading to accidents.

In West Bengal state in the east, six women were among seven people killed in a stampede as thousands bathed at the confluence of Ganges river and the Bay of Bengal, officials said.

"The stampede happened when pilgrims were rushing to get into a boat," said Surajit Kar Purakayastha, a senior police officer said in Kolkata, capital of West Bengal.

More than 50 million people from India and abroad are expected to visit the holy city of Haridwar over the next few weeks, authorities said.

People gathered near the river banks in northern Uttarakhand state before dawn and began bathing as soon as the sun rose.

A tight security ring was in place in Haridwar with policemen keeping a close eye on pilgrims with the help of more than 120 close circuit cameras.

“I am very happy. I am feeling blessed,” said Indu Karn, a woman who came from the eastern state of Jharkhand.

“I have come here to bathe for my salvation in the Ganges. I am really happy,” she said, shivering after several dips in the icy cold waters.

After dipping in the polluted but sacred waters, many filled cans and bottles with water, saying they would carry them for their relatives who could not make it.

Haridwar is one of four spots where Garuda, the winged steed of Hindu god Vishnu, is said to have rested during a battle with demons over a pitcher of divine nectar of immortality.

Garuda’s flight lasted 12 divine days, or 12 years of mortal time, hence the celebration of “Kumbh Mela” every 12 years.

Pilot Baba, a Hindu monk with thousands of followers in many countries, said the Kumbh showcased the best of Indian spiritualism.

“Kumbh is the soul of Indian culture. Kumbh gives us an opportunity to connect with the world, to be a progressive nation,” said the saffron-clad monk, as many bowed before him in respect. – Reuters