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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Security concerns cause doctors to leave hospital, quake victims

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) -- Earthquake victims, writhing in pain and grasping at life, watched doctors and nurses walk away from a field hospital Friday night after United Nations officials ordered a medical team to evacuate the area out of security concerns.

The only doctor left was CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta. He assessed the needs of the 25 patients, but with no supplies there was little he could do.

And more people, some in critical condition, were trickling in late Friday.

"I've never been in a situation like this. This is quite ridiculous," Gupta said.

With a dearth of medical facilities in Haiti's capital, ambulances had nowhere else to take patients, some who had suffered severe trauma -- amputations and head injuries. Others had suffered a great deal of blood loss, but there were no blood supplies left at the clinic.

Search and rescue must trump security. ... They need to man up and get back in there.
--Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré

Gupta said some might not survive the night.

He said the Belgian doctors did not want to leave their patients behind but were ordered out by the United Nations, which sent buses to transport them.

"There is concern about riots not far from here -- and this is part of the problem," Gupta said.

There have been scattered reports of violence throughout the capital.

"What is striking to me as a physician is that patients who just had surgery, patients who are critically ill are essentially being left here, nobody to care for them," Gupta said.

Sandra Pierre, a Haitian who has been helping at the makeshift hospital, said the medical staff took most of the supplies with them.

"All the doctors, all the nurses are gone," she said. "They are expected to be back tomorrow. They had no plan on leaving tonight. It was an order that came suddenly."

She told Gupta, "It's just you."

A 7.0 magnitude earthquake flattened Haiti's capital city Tuesday afternoon, affecting as many as 3 million people. Tens of thousands of people are feared dead.

Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, lacked adequate medical resources even before the disaster and has been struggling this week to tend to huge numbers of injured. The U.N. clinic, set up under several tents, was a godsend to the few who were lucky to have been brought there.

It was not known whether the medical team would return in daylight.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russell Honoré, who led relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said the evacuation of the clinic's medical staff was unforgivable.

"Search and rescue must trump security," Honoré said. "I've never seen anything like this before in my life. They need to man up and get back in there."

Honoré drew parallels between the tragedy in New Orleans and in Port-au-Prince. But even in the chaos of Katrina, he said, he had never seen medical staff walk away.

"I find this astonishing these doctors left," he said. "People are scared of the poor."

Convention on the Prevention & Punishment of the Crime of Genocide(Ethnic Cleansing)

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Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948.

The Contracting Parties,

Having considered the declaration made by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 96 (I) dated 11 December 1946 that genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations and condemned by the civilized world;

Recognizing that at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity; and

Being convinced that, in order to liberate mankind from such an odious scourge, international co-operation is required;

Hereby agree as hereinafter provided.

The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

Article 3

The following acts shall be punishable:

Article 4

Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3 shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.

The Contracting Parties undertake to enact, in accordance with their respective Constitutions, the necessary legislation to give effect to the provisions of the present Convention and, in particular, to provide effective penalties for persons guilty of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3.

Persons charged with genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3 shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those Contracting Parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction.

Genocide and the other acts enumerated in Article 3 shall not be considered as political crimes for the purpose of extradition.

The Contracting Parties pledge themselves in such cases to grant extradition in accordance with their laws and treaties in force.

Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3.

Disputes between the Contracting Parties relating to the interpretation, application or fulfilment of the present Convention, including those relating to the responsibility of a State for genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article 3, shall be submitted to the International Court of Justice at the request of any of the parties to the dispute.

The present Convention, of which the Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall bear the date of 9 December 1948.

The present Convention shall be open until 31 December 1949 for signature on behalf of any Member of the United Nations and of any non-member State to which an invitation to sign has been addressed by the General Assembly.

The present Convention shall be ratified, and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

After 1 January 1950, the present Convention may be acceded to on behalf of any Member of the United Nations and of any non-member State which has received an invitation as aforesaid.

Instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Any Contracting Party may at any time, by notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, extend the application of the present Convention to all or any of the territories for the conduct of whose foreign relations that Contracting Party is responsible.

On the day when the first twenty instruments of ratification or accession have been deposited, the Secretary-General shall draw up a proces-verbal and transmit a copy of it to each Member of the United Nations and to each of the non-member States contemplated in Article 11.

The present Convention shall come into force on the ninetieth day following the date of deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.

Any ratification or accession effected subsequent to the latter date shall become effective on the ninetieth day following the deposit of the instrument of ratification or accession.

The present Convention shall remain in effect for a period of ten years as from the date of its coming into force.

It shall thereafter remain in force for successive periods of five years for such Contracting Parties as have not denounced it at least six months before the expiration of the current period.

Denunciation shall be effected by a written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

If, as a result of denunciations, the number of Parties to the present Convention should become less than sixteen, the Convention shall cease to be in force as from the date on which the last of these denunciations shall become effective.

A request for the revision of the present Convention may be made at any time by any Contracting Party by means of a notification in writing addressed to the Secretary-General.

The General Assembly shall decide upon the steps, if any, to be taken in respect of such request.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall notify all Members of the United Nations and the non-member States contemplated in Article 11 of the following:

Article 18

The original of the present Convention shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.

A certified copy of the Convention shall be transmitted to all Members of the United Nations and to the non-member States contemplated in Article 11.

The present Convention shall be registered by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the date of its coming into force.

Article 19

Article 17

Article 16

Article 15

Article 14

Article 13

Article 12

Article 11

Article 10

Article 9

Article 8

Article 7

Article 6

Article 5

Article 2

Article 1

Indian civil servants eliminated

Senior Indian civil servant (refer The Star 13/1/10 at page N 51), Mr. Periasamy Soorian, formerly of the Health Ministry Department, is about the last few Indian senior civil servants in Malaysia. The chances of his replacement almost always would never be an Indian.

mahathir

Based on Dr. Mahathir’s book the Malay Dilema at page 78, an estimated 50% of the Division I (then graduates) and Division 2 (then A Levels) civil servants were the Indians. But this has today been systematically reduced to an estimated 1% in this One Malaysia?

P. Uthayakumar

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No Tamil classes during school hours

This is the complaint made by parent K.Varatharaju about SMK Ahmad Boestaman in Setiawan (The Star 14/01/10 at page N 55).

But even in mid 1990s’ then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir had announced that Tamil classes would be held in all national schools. Then Prime Minister Badawi repeated the same and now Prime Minister Najib is still “looking into it” even some fifteen years later face this same problem.

Even Urdu is allowed to be thought in same of the United Kingdom schools. But in One Malay-sia, UMNO gives the excuse that there are no written request from ten students and therefore no Tamil classes during school hours. Even after school hours Tamil classes it is made very difficult by UMNO.

All this under Prime Minister Najib Razak’s UMNOs’ One Malay-sia.

P. Uthayakumar.

no-tamil-clasesPERHIMPUNAN AGUNG UMNO 2007

GiatMara : Malay homes repaired or built but not Indian homes

(refer UM 14/1/2010 at page 27)

22 poor malay muslim houses were repaired at about RM 8,000.00 each and a new house was built for RM 23,000.00. But we have never read reports of a poor Indian man’s house being similarly repaired or built.

Hundreds of thousands of poor Indians live in dilapidated or squatter houses but have never benefited from these UMNO help. Even in assisting the poor and handcore poor UMNO shows racism and religious extremism. But they preach One Malay-sia.

Editor

giatmara-1giatmara-2

one-malaysia3

RM 300 Million Felda, Felcra & Risda Consortium. Indians excluded. (Berita Harian 1/1/2010 at page 15)

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Uthayakumar’s Application For Number Of People Killed In Police Shootouts Allowed

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 15 (Bernama) — The Sessions Court here allowed lawyer P. Uthayakumar’s application for police to reveal the number of suspected criminals killed during police shootouts from year 2000 up to the mass rally organised by Hindraf on Nov 25, 2007.

Judge Sabariah Othman also allowed his application for police to disclose details such as their names, age and race at the next hearing on Feb 22.

Uthayakumar made the verbal application yesterday after Bukit Aman CID deputy director Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, told the court that police had compiled statistics of people killed during police shootouts.

Uthayakumar submitted Friday that he needed the statistics for his defence, adding that his comment posted on the “Police Watch Malaysia” website was not mere allegation.

“I have been compiling statistics on these incidents (shootouts) since 2000 based on newspaper reports, but I would rather rely on official figures from police in arguing my case on this issue,” said Uthayakumar who was representing himself.

Deputy public prosecutor Noorin Badaruddin objected to the application on the ground of relevancy to the charge faced by the lawyer, since the burden on the prosecution was to prove whether the article on the website was seditious and not the accuracy of figures stated in the said article.

On Dec 11, 2007, Uthayakumar, 47, pleaded not guilty in the same court to publishing a seditious letter on the “Police Watch Malaysia” website.

The charge under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948 carries a fine of not exceeding RM5,000 or imprisonment of up to three years, or both, upon conviction.

Two days later, Uthayakumar was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) following his involvement in street demonstrations here on Nov 25 and for allegedly making seditious remarks against the government.

Acryl Sani, the first prosecution witness when cross-examined for the third day, told the court that police only received a single report on an injured demonstrator.

He said the man was identied as B. Arumugam, 27, who was injured when hit on his nose by a spent tear gas canister fired by police.

However, Acryl Sani disagreed with Uthayakumar that more than 100 demonstrators were injured and they did not lodge police reports since it was very rare for police personnel to be charged for their actions.

However, he agreed with the lawyer that the Special Branch might have some intelligence on the injuries.

Sabariah rejected Uthayakumar’s application for the court to compel Acryl Sani to tender the report to the court.

Uthayakumar was also represented by counsel N.Surendran dan Charles Hector.

– BERNAMA

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Bottles thrown at Sarawak mosque

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — A mosque was vandalised following attacks on 10 churches, threatening to deepen a row over the use of the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God in the country.

The incident today in Sarawak is the first against a mosque after the arson and vandalism attacks on churches.

Malaysia’s deputy police chief Tan Sri Ismail Omar said police found broken glass near the outside wall of the mosque, and warned troublemakers against whipping up emotions.

“Don’t make any speculation. We are investigating this incident. The situation remains peaceful and no one should take advantage of this to create something bad,” Ismail told Reuters.

Ismail could not confirm whether the bottles thrown at the mosque were that of alcoholic beverages, which is forbidden to Muslims, but said he believed the act was vandalism.

The row stems from a court ruling that allowed a Catholic newspaper to use “Allah” in its Malay-language editions, which caused Muslims to protest outside mosques on Friday last week.

Most of the attacks have been against churches but a Sikh temple was also vandalised on Wednesday.

The office of the lawyer representing the Catholic publication in the court case over the use of the word was broken into and ransacked on Thursday.

The use of “Allah” is common among Malay-speaking Christians, who account for 9.1 per cent of the population, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

Opinions are split, but many Malays have expressed unhappiness over allowing the word to be used by Christians.

A page created in the online networking site Facebook to protest the use of the word by non-Muslims has so far attracted more than 220,000 users.

Berita Harian reported today that 70 Muslim-Malay groups would submit on Monday a memorandum appealing for intervention from the Malay rulers who oversee Islamic affairs in their respective states.

The government has warned that laws, including the Internal Security Act that allows detention without trial, would be deployed to keep tensions from boiling over.

A 25-year-old Malay student was charged in court yesterday with threatening public safety following a comment he reportedly made on his Facebook page offering to throw petrol bombs.

The government of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is appealing the court verdict and has condemned the arson and vandalism attacks, but analysts have said he would likely lose votes among non-Muslims unhappy with the row.

Malaysia’s mainly Chinese and Indian non-Muslim ethnic minorities, who form 40 per cent of the country’s population, abandoned the ruling coalition in the 2008 general elections partly due to complaints over increasing religious marginalisation.

Analysts have said the arson attacks, though not an immediate risk, are raising worries among some foreign investors at a time when Najib has pledged to lure more foreign investment.

Malaysia, which between 1990 and 2000 accounted for half of all foreign direct investment into it, Thailand and Indonesia, has now lost its leading position. Najib is trying to woo them back with economic liberalisation measures. — Reuters

No security threat in Sabah, says Muhyiddin

Muhyiddin (centre) is confident that all is well in Sabah. — file pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin sought to allay concerns over the security in Sabah, particularly in the state’s east coast, saying the government is constantly ensuring security in the area.

“The Malaysian government has never issued any notice on any security threat in the area. We know the situation better.

“I therefore feel that tourists need not be unduly worried when coming to Sabah. I am confident the situation there is peaceful,” he said when asked to comment on a warden notice issued by the United States Embassy yesterday.

Muhyiddin was speaking to reporters after attending a meet-the-people session at Bandar Baru Sentul here today.

The notice, among others, warned of indications that criminal and terrorist groups were planning acts of violence against foreigners in eastern Sabah.

It, however, acknowledged the Malaysian government’s “increased ability to detect, deter and prevent such attacks.”

Muhyiddin said the country’s security forces would continue implementing all forms of surveillance and enforcement at the state’s borders to ensure security was under control.

He described the notice as a normal advisory issued by the United States, saying it might have been prompted by the situation in the southern Philippines.

“They may be worried that the situation there will spill over to Sabah,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Kota Kinabalu, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the situation in the state’s east coast was under control. The security forces in the state, he said, were vigilant in their duties and constantly patrolling the borders.

He advised the public to be conscious of their safety nevertheless. “As far as we are concerned, Sabah is a safe place. Our security forces are always on standby and making constant patrols to ensure there are no potential threats,” he said.

Musa was responding to reporters’ queries on the issue after participating in a dialogue on the 10th Malaysia Plan here.

Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said the notice would not hamper the arrival of foreign visitors, especially from the US, to Sabah.

“The US frequently issues warden notice from time to time; it is a much lower level than a travel advisory,” he said. — Bernama

Jakim says ‘Allah’ ban must include Sabah and Sarawak

By G. Manimaran - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 — The Islamic Development Department (Jakim) maintains that Christians should not be allowed to use the word “Allah” and rejects the suggestion that the word could be used in East Malaysia while remaining banned on the peninsula.

Jakim director-general Datuk Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz said there should not be two sets of laws and rules to deal with the “Allah” issue.

The federal government’s highest Islamic body joins Christian leaders who also rejected today the suggestion made by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz who claimed in an interview with East Malaysian newspapers yesterday that the federal government had agreed for the word to be used in Sabah and Sarawak.

Wan Mohamad from Jakim said that since there were already rules on the matter, the word “Allah” should not be used by churches anymore. “We must respect the decision of the Cabinet.

“If we follow the spirit of respecting laws there has already been a decision at national level so they should not use the word,” he said.

He said that if the word “Allah” was allowed for Christians in Sabah and Sarawak it would not solve any problems because of the migration and mobilisation of people from the two East Malaysian states to the peninsula.

“That does not solve matters...we are in a small country and we need standard laws and rules.

“We must be more systematic...there cannot be two sets of laws. There are decisions made at national level by the Cabinet.” Wan Mohamad was referring to the Cabinet decision on May 16 1986, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was Prime Minister, when it was decided that the word “Allah” were among words that non-Muslims would not be allowed to use.

Words such as “Allah,” “Baitullah,” “Solat,” and “Kaabah” were gazetted as exclusive to Muslims under a gazette (Warta P.U (A) 15/82) and circular (Pekeliling KKDN. S.59/3/6/A) dated Dec 5 1986.

On Jan 3 2008 Tun Abdullah Badawi’s Cabinet reaffirmed the restriction against non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” in their publications.

Before that the various Cabinet had also reaffirmed the ban at meetings on Oct 18, 2006 and Nov 1, 2006.

Ten states except for Sabah, Sarawak, Penang and the Federal Territory are also enforcing the Non-Islamic Religions Enactment 1988 which restricts the use either verbally or in print of the word “Allah” for non-Muslims.

Yesterday Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, had indicated that Putrajaya may allow Christians to use the controversial word, but only in East Malaysia.

“Christians in Sarawak and Sabah need not worry over this issue because it is a common tradition there. I have been to an Iban church service and I heard the word “Allah” used there,” Nazri was reported saying in an exclusive interview with a Kuching-based newspaper last Thursday.

“Muslims here in Semenanjung 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’,” he allegedly added in justifying the ban in the peninsula.

The “Allah” row started in 2007 after the Home Ministry invoked a 1986 Cabinet directive banning non-Muslims from using certain Arabic words when it refused to renew the publication permit of the Catholic tabloid, Herald.

The Catholic church later challenged the government’s decision and on Dec 31 last year, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that the Herald has the right to use the word “Allah” for its Malay edition.

Another legal battle over the word “Allah” is also expected, as a Sarawakian Christian, Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill had earlier this week challenged the seizure of religious compact discs containing the word “Allah”, which took place in 2008 at the Sepang airport’s low cost carrier terminal.

Nazri’s pledge, which was front-paged by The Borneo Post today, comes just about one year before Sarawak is scheduled to have its state election.

The current state assembly’s term expires in mid-2011

Allah for East M'sia: Is Nazri flying a kite?

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz has been urged to clarify if his statements that Christians in Sabah and Sarawak will be allowed to use the word Allah is the government's official stance.

By Wong Choon Mei (Harakah)

“Given the Umno-BN's record for flip-flop, it is best to confirm before we congratulate our friends in East Malaysia. It is actually a contradictory stance and very worrisome because it shows they have no idea how to solve the situation. Umno is still trying to play to the gallery, a different tune for a different market. This reflects the fact that they are not anchored by principles at all,” PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub told Harakahdaily.

“There is a sense that the Minister may be flying a kite to test the reaction of the people. He should make it clear and the government should state its official stand as soon as possible,” Ramon Navaratnam, past president of Transparency International, told Harakahdaily.

Nazri had made the remarks during an interview with a Kuching-based newspaper published on Friday. He had also suggested that while East Malaysian Christians would be allowed to Allah, non-Muslims in the peninsula would be barred from doing so to avoid the hurting the sensitivities of the Muslims.

“Christians in Sarawak and Sabah need not worry over this issue because it is a common tradition there. I have been to an Iban church service and I heard the word Allah used there,” he was reported as saying in the interview.

Clarity not confusion, leadership not indecision


Coalition leaders within the ruling elite in the Sabah and Sarawak BN have welcomed the apparent concession from the federal government. However, few of the East Malaysian people are convinced or satisfied, given the prolonged tussle and the confiscation of thousands of Malay-language Bibles.

“Nazri has opened the floodgates of further confusion. We view his statement as condescending. He should stop trying to dictate how God should be addressed,” Ronnie Klassen, a Sabah PKR leader and prominent Church activist, told Harakahdaily. “By doing so, he has not only destroyed the concept of a 1Malaysia but also the sanctity of the courts. Is he suggesting he is above the courts by tossing to us this ‘political gift’?"

The Allah row began in 2007 after the Home Ministry refused to renew the publication permit of Catholic magazine, the Herald, by invoking a 1986 Cabinet directive that banned non-Muslims from using certain Arabic words. The Home Ministry's decision was challenged by the Herald's publisher and on December 31, 2009, the Kuala Lumpur High Court ruled that it had the right to use Allah to describe God in its Malay-language section.

The landmark court victory sparked a storm of protests spearheaded by top Umno leaders such as former premier Mahathir Mohamad, his son Trade Minister Mukriz Mahathir and Women’s Minister Shahrizat Jalil. While they do not deny the ruling was in line with the Federal Constitution, they insisted that it was offensive to Muslims and launched an 'Allah For Muslims Only' campaign.

Their inflammatory rhetoric has been blamed for the on-going series of firebomb attacks and vandalism against non-Muslim places of worship. So far,10 churches, a 100-year old Sikh temple and a Catholic school have been hit..

“PAS remains committed to its stand which is based on the teachings of the Quran. It is not haram for non-Muslims to use Allah. Again, we urge Umno-BN to stop procrastinating and put an end to this violence and vandalism," said Salahuddin.

“The government is accountable to the rakyat. The police is accountable to the rakyat. Why are the attacks still continuing, why haven't there been any arrests yet? What is going on? We need clarity and leadership, not confusion and indecision."

Bottles thrown at Sarawak mosque

(Reuters) - A mosque was vandalised following attacks on 10 churches, threatening to deepen a row over the use of the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God in the country.

The incident today in Sarawak is the first against a mosque after the arson and vandalism attacks on churches.

Malaysia’s deputy police chief Tan Sri Ismail Omar said police found broken glass near the outside wall of the mosque, and warned troublemakers against whipping up emotions.

“Don’t make any speculation. We are investigating this incident. The situation remains peaceful and no one should take advantage of this to create something bad,” Ismail told Reuters.

Ismail could not confirm whether the bottles thrown at the mosque were that of alcoholic beverages, which is forbidden to Muslims, but said he believed the act was vandalism.

The row stems from a court ruling that allowed a Catholic newspaper to use “Allah” in its Malay-language editions, which caused Muslims to protest outside mosques on Friday last week.

Most of the attacks have been against churches but a Sikh temple was also vandalised on Wednesday.

The office of the lawyer representing the Catholic publication in the court case over the use of the word was broken into and ransacked on Thursday.

The use of “Allah” is common among Malay-speaking Christians, who account for 9.1 per cent of the population, especially in Sabah and Sarawak.

Opinions are split, but many Malays have expressed unhappiness over allowing the word to be used by Christians.

A page created in the online networking site Facebook to protest the use of the word by non-Muslims has so far attracted more than 220,000 users.

Berita Harian reported today that 70 Muslim-Malay groups would submit on Monday a memorandum appealing for intervention from the Malay rulers who oversee Islamic affairs in their respective states.

The government has warned that laws, including the Internal Security Act that allows detention without trial, would be deployed to keep tensions from boiling over.

A 25-year-old Malay student was charged in court yesterday with threatening public safety following a comment he reportedly made on his Facebook page offering to throw petrol bombs.

The government of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is appealing the court verdict and has condemned the arson and vandalism attacks, but analysts have said he would likely lose votes among non-Muslims unhappy with the row.

Malaysia’s mainly Chinese and Indian non-Muslim ethnic minorities, who form 40 per cent of the country’s population, abandoned the ruling coalition in the 2008 general elections partly due to complaints over increasing religious marginalisation.

Analysts have said the arson attacks, though not an immediate risk, are raising worries among some foreign investors at a time when Najib has pledged to lure more foreign investment.

Malaysia, which between 1990 and 2000 accounted for half of all foreign direct investment into it, Thailand and Indonesia, has now lost its leading position. Najib is trying to woo them back with economic liberalisation measures.

Asia's War on Terrorism: Eye of the Storm

Disturbing revelations throw a spotlight on Malaysia as the region's key meeting place for al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists and an exporter of jihad
SIMON ELEGANT, Time Cover Story
Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks in the U.S., speculation has been rampant about the extent of al-Qaeda's ambitions in Southeast Asia. Some analysts fingered sprawling, chaotic Indonesia as the possible nexus of an Asian network, pointing to its thousands of radical Muslims fighting bloody private wars against their Christian neighbors. Others suggested the Philippines, whose lawless, predominantly Muslim south harbored well-armed Islamic militias that have been waging war against the central government for decades. Very few suspected peaceful, relatively prosperous Malaysia, where Muslims make up two-thirds of the population but seemed to have bought into the consumerist, essentially pro-Western views espoused by their leaders.

But after months of investigation and hundreds of hours interrogating detained terrorist suspects, even government officials in Kuala Lumpur can no longer deny that Malaysia was the financial and planning center for the region's main al-Qaeda-linked terrorist network, the place Osama bin Laden's proselytizers chose to recruit a core of loyal followers, launch new groups into neighboring countries, and coordinate with Southeast Asia's existing Islamic radicals. Increasingly, it seems clear Malaysia was one of a number of hubs used in the worldwide preparations for the carnage of Sept. 11 in the U.S.

If that isn't shocking enough, consider this: the networks are still thriving. Underworld figures involved in Southeast Asia's flourishing illicit trade in arms assert—and senior Malaysian government officials acknowledge—that representatives from the region's most notorious and violent radical Islamic groups still regularly gather in Malaysia to meet with their al-Qaeda backers. Listen to Mat, a pony-tailed Indonesian who has been trading illegal arms for 20 years. "How stupid can you be? Of course al-Qaeda is still here in Malaysia," he snorts. "This is their favorite place to have meetings with the other radical Islamic groups in the region."

Mat says the crackdown by police since the Sept. 11 attacks has yet to interfere seriously with his business, either with ordinary criminal groups or with regular customers from a laundry list of Asian Islamic militant organizations that he says are funded in part by al-Qaeda: the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf from the Philippines, the Laskar Jihad and Free Aceh Movement from Indonesia and Malaysia's own Kumpulan Mujahideen Malaysia (KMM).

To learn that terrorist groups continue to hold such meetings with apparent impunity is especially alarming in light of new details interrogators have gleaned from the roughly 50 terrorist suspects being held in Malaysian jails. For the first time, police have a detailed picture of how al-Qaeda stepped in and—mostly through the liberal use of cash and the services of two Indonesian clerics who acted as proxies—managed to transform a radical Muslim group preoccupied with domestic concerns into a band of foot soldiers in Osama bin Laden's crusade against the U.S.

Malaysia is, in the words of one U.S. official, "a perfect place for terrorist R. and R.," where Islamic radicals from around the region and their al-Qaeda backers can meet. The most notorious gathering of al-Qaeda operatives took place in January 2000 and involved two hijackers who died in the suicide attack on the Pentagon, the roommate of a third hijacker and at least one of the suspects in the U.S.S. Cole bombing. Zacarias Moussaoui, the Algerian-born French citizen now in custody in Virginia—the so-called 20th hijacker—also made several visits to Malaysia. Last week Washington labeled the country a staging area for the U.S. attacks, a charge that has put the Malaysian government on the defensive. "Malaysia is definitely not a primary launchpad for terrorists' activities," says a government official. "But it appears that Malaysia was used as a convenient meeting and transit point by some of these people from the radical groups."
Despite the semantic disagreement, there's little doubt that Malaysia is cooperating with the U.S. in seeking to apprehend militants. Although Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is known to rail against U.S. policy in the Middle East and its conduct of the war in Afghanistan, he has long warned of the threat of radical Islam. Malaysian police made their first arrests—of 12 KMM members—in early August 2001, well before last year's attacks, at the time raising a chorus of complaints from human rights advocates who said the arrests were politically motivated to stamp out opposition.

That tough antiterrorist line has continued. Since September, as part of the global crackdown on extremist Islamic groups, Malaysian police have arrested some 50 alleged members of the KMM, which they say sought the violent overthrow of the government for the purposes of installing a fundamentalist Islamic administration. Despite the arrests, as the Malaysian official notes, even with new, stringent surveillance of visitors and tightened-up immigration checks, it's nearly impossible to track what he estimates are "several hundred" al-Qaeda-linked businessmen, bankers, traders and tourists—many of them Arab—who pass through or live in the country.

"Let's draw parallels with, say, the Tamils and LTTE," another official explains, referring to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have been waging a bloody campaign for two decades for an independent state in Sri Lanka. "If Tamils set up businesses in Sri Lanka and then support the Tamil Tigers, what can the Sri Lankan government do? It can only monitor these businessmen but cannot arrest them without concrete proof. It's the same here. Al-Qaeda representatives are sent to ensure the radical groups in the region have the necessary funding to buy arms and don't have to worry about other logistics. You must always remember that Osama's main aim is to see powerful radical groups emerging."

Police in Malaysia say they now have a clear picture of how al-Qaeda managed to reprogram just such a radical group. The Malaysian authorities had been tracking the KMM for months before they moved to arrest the 12 alleged ringleaders under suspicion of a rash of crimes, including a bank robbery that left several members dead, a political assassination and bombings of temples and churches.

The KMM, which official sources allege was founded and led by the son of opposition leader Nik Aziz, had established branches in all nine states in peninsular Malaysia. KMM members were told that the group was conducting militia-style training to protect Nik Aziz's fundamentalist Islamic Party of Malaysia in the event of a government crackdown. But top KMM leaders were actively planning the violent overthrow of the country's government in favor of an Islamic regime, police say.

In the mid-'90s, that domestic focus changed with the appearance in Malaysia of two Indonesian ulema, or Islamic teachers. The two men, Abubakar Ba'asyir and Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, preached a radical new vision of Islam, heavily influenced by the worldview of Osama bin Laden, a man Hambali claimed to have met personally on two occasions. The militant clerics found a receptive audience among many KMM members, government officials say, focusing their attention on a KMM branch in the state of Selangor, outside the capital Kuala Lumpur.

With Abubakar acting as the spiritual leader and controller of the purse strings and Hambali responsible for most of the planning and day-to-day administration, the two men wooed KMM members in Selangor and elsewhere into a new organization they established in the late 1990s, called the Jemaah Islamiah. Abubakar hammered home the themes he still preaches at his school in central Java today: the glory of a martyr's death and the overriding goal of setting up a Muslim government. Officials say he espoused the formation of a new Islamic state encompassing Malaysia, Indonesia, the southern Philippines, Singapore and Brunei. To fund such an ambitious vision, he was in contact with al-Qaeda paymasters and responsible for funneling money through branches of some Middle Eastern banks in Malaysia to his own newly founded cells of Jemaah Islamiah, which gradually stretched through peninsular Malaysia to Singapore, as well as to other Islamic groups in the region.
If Abubakar was the founding father and spiritual leader, Hambali was his chief executive officer. A 36-year-old veteran of the Afghan struggle against the Soviet Union, Hambali was the practical man who made the plans and gave the orders. Officials say he was responsible for organizing paramilitary training stints for Jemaah Islamiah members in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

These sources also say he was the mastermind behind a series of bombing missions around the region. In one example, Hambali sent a known associate, Malaysian Taufik Abdul Halim to Jakarta, where he was arrested on Aug. 1, 2001, after a bomb he was carrying exploded and blew off one of his legs. Last fall in Malaysia itself, Hambali instructed Yazid Sufaat, a former Malaysian army captain now under detention in Kuala Lumpur, to place an order for four tons of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be used as a bombmaking ingredient. The current whereabouts of the chemical remains a mystery.

The role of bombmaker was a surprising one for Yazid, who officials say was a minor figure in the Selangor branch of the KMM, a "runner" as one puts it. But Yazid flourished in the Jemaah Islamiah, rising to become Hambali's most trusted lieutenant. Hambali ordered Yazid to host the two hijackers who died in the Pentagon attack at his condo in Kuala Lumpur. Yazid has told his interrogators that he had no knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks but, one official says, he suspected the men who stayed at his apartment had some role in the attacks because "they had asked if there were flying schools in Malaysia. Yazid recommended one in [BRACKET {Melaka}] but they said it would not be suitable for them."

Yazid has admitted to giving suspected hijacker Moussaoui a cover letter from a Malaysian company introducing him as its U.S. marketing consultant. The letter, U.S. sources say, contained a guarantee that Moussaoui would be paid $35,000 for his services. Malaysian officials deny reports, however, that Yazid confessed to actually giving money to Moussaoui during his visits to Malaysia. "Yazid has told us no money changed hands," one official says.

Despite the growing list of allegations against Abubakar and Hambali, Indonesian officials have been circumspect in dealing with Abubakar, who recently moved back to Indonesia after 15 years. (Hambali, who is wanted by police in Indonesia and Malaysia, has disappeared). Recently questioned by police, Abubakar was released after two days and continues to teach at his religious school in the town of Solo. In an interview with Time, the soft-spoken 63-year-old vigorously denies any connection with a terrorist network. "I am not advocating the overthrow of any government," Abubakar says. "What I want to see is a government committed to Islam." He blames Mahathir, the U.S. and a worldwide Jewish conspiracy for his problems (see interview). "This is just a political game," he says of the charges. "Jemaah Islamiah is an invention by Mahathir to instill fear [BRACKET {into}] the Muslim community."

But the Jemaah Islamiah's reach extends far beyond just Malaysia. In December, Singaporean police arrested 13 alleged members of the Jemaah Islamiah and uncovered detailed plans to bomb U.S. targets in the city-state. In addition to the scheme involving the missing tons of ammonium nitrate that were destined for Singapore, police there have unearthed another Jemaah Islamiah plot to order a further nine tons of the chemical. (For comparison, the devastating Oklahoma City bombing required only one ton of ammonium nitrate.)

More arrests might be in store. Malaysian officials say that despite the 50 previously detained suspects, several hundred more are still at large. And in Singapore, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong recently warned residents that despite the arrests there could well still be terrorists in their midst. "I do not want to alarm you," he said, "but it is prudent for us to work on the assumption that a bomb may go off somewhere in Singapore someday."

There is plenty of evidence that al-Qaeda operatives, or their proxies, are still active in the region. According to sources at all levels of the clandestine arms trade in Southeast Asia, meetings—sometimes several a month—between representatives of militant Islamic groups and their al-Qaeda financiers continue to take place in Malaysia: in cheap hotels and guest houses outside Kuala Lumpur, in the beach resort of Port Dickson and in the cities of Melaka and Johore Baru across the strait from Singapore. "These groups use the Internet to set up the venue and date for their meetings," says Mat, the arms trader. "The messages are sent in encrypted codes. For example, MILF might want 3,000 M-16s and the al-Qaeda member will agree to pay for the weapons."

Just how effectively this system operates is made clear by a spokesman for the fundamentalist Free Aceh Movement, better known by its Indonesian acronym gam. Agreeing to talk only by telephone and refusing to give even a nickname, the 10-year veteran of the murderous struggle—his wife and three children have all been killed in the fighting—says that he regularly places orders with arms syndicates for hundreds of weapons: M-16 and AK-47 automatic rifles, handguns and ammunition. Tracing a well-worn route, the weapons are bought in Thailand, sent down to Malaysia and then carried on boats through the Strait of Malacca.

But, he adds, he has nothing to do with the financing of the deals. He doesn't have any idea how much the weapons cost. Payment is taken care of by sympathizers, such as al-Qaeda. "My job is only to place orders with the arms brokers," he says. "When the weapons arrive, I will be notified."

That notification comes from middlemen like Mat, who are present at the initial meetings, then take over the ordering and delivery, working through the several criminal syndicates that control the region's flow of illegal arms. Due to the sensitivities and dangers involved, only one syndicate actually buys arms for the radical groups. Because the profits for the transactions are so high, official sources say, and al-Qaeda is still apparently able to command significant funds, non-Muslim criminals—some of them outwardly respectable businessmen—are a key part of the process. "The syndicate is based in Malaysia," says Mat, "and is made up largely of Overseas Chinese and some Malaysian Chinese." The middlemen and their sponsors represent the murky underworld where Islamic ideology becomes entwined with the straightforward criminal activity of gunrunning. The size and complexities of that network illustrate the difficulties of an effective government crackdown.

Malaysian officials say the security problem is compounded by the country's successful push in recent years to boost the numbers of visitors from the Middle East, attracted in part by Malaysia's policy of visa-free entry for citizens of most Islamic countries. "How do we stop these Arabs?" asks one official. "Even if we suspect them we can't just arrest people."

While the scope and reach of Malaysia's terror network is alarming, what is more surprising is that fundamentalist and separatist movements throughout Southeast Asia have been funded and armed by al-Qaeda operatives, sometimes without the guerrillas themselves knowing the identity of their backers. Equally troubling is the fact that the al-Qaeda terror network is linked with not only extremist Islamic groups but a host of criminal syndicates. Kuala Lumpur and the other governments can no longer blame foreigners, especially Arabs, for their domestic terrorist problems. The money might come from abroad, but the extremism and criminal support networks are largely homegrown. How Malaysia and the other countries counter this threat will become increasingly the concern not just of the U.S. and other potential targets of terrorism, but of other Asian populations and governments that will face persistent unrest until the War on Terror is finally won.

—With reporting by Robert Horn/Bangkok, Mageswary Ramakrishnan/Kuala Lumpur, Elaine Shannon/Washington, Jason Tedjasukmana/Solo and Douglas Wong/Singapore

An Open Letter to Mr 1-Malaysia-Prime Minister.

Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Member of the Malaysian Parliament, Kuala Selangor and Member of the PAS Central Working Committee.

May I take this opportunity to remind you that you have called yourself the 1-Malaysia Prime Minister. I have no qualms in admitting that it’s a good slogan. To be frank I thought it was almost a perfect one.

Partisan sentiment asides, no one in his or her right frame of mind should ever entertain to reject it. But beyond rhetoric, you have now turned into an exact anti-thesis of anything except 1- Malaysia. That has become very distressing and indeed extremely deplorable.

It would be very mean and unfair, to remind that you are the only Prime Minister in our political history that came into office carrying huge political baggage that might have disqualified you and derailed your dream of becoming the Right Honourable PM. Despite the onerous odds, you escaped and scrapped through.Mind you, those nightmares may have faded for now but much as you wish, it couldn’t be buried forever.

But you had all the chance to be putting right all the many wrongs of your own or party’s ‘sins of omission and commissions’. It has gone past 9 months since you took the helm, the nation is wary and everyone is asking, where is the 1-Malaysia?

You shouldn’t need reminding that rhetoric without substance breeds contempt and distrust. You are dangerously treading the path of your immediate predecessor.

Much worse, you are now perceived as even weaker and perpetuating the legacy of lost opportunity by your unending flip-flopping in the typical fashion of the party you now lead.

What is ailing you Mr PM?

Did you not have the chance to correct the many years of BN’s usurpation of contractual rights of the people of Kelantan by negating the agreement between Kelantan government and Petronas? You didn’t!

The people of Sabah and Sarawak now wonder if the corresponding ‘Vesting Deed’ by which they vested all their rights in their petroleum resources to Petronas will remain in force, once a regime change happens in East Malaysia.

You betray a very poor understanding of the ‘sanctity of contract’ and the practice of Federalism. Against this political decision, your continuous sloganeering of 1-Malaysia seems shallow and remotely caring.

Did you not have the chance to equally denounce and revamp the BTN’s overly ‘racist-indoctrination-propaganda’ on Malay supremacy, as to provide nation-rebuilding and your 1- Malaysia a chance? Again you didn’t! It’s very scary imagining the people you actually listened to.

Did you not witness for yourself of how ‘lawlessness’ in the judiciary has become the norm and the nation quickly degenerating into Uganda and Zimbabwe? Constant overturning of judgments by superior courts smacked of unending Executive interference.

Did you not have the chance to cleanup the rot in the Judiciary after the ceaseless assault by the Executive? You had the chance but you didn’t!

You liberalised the service sector to provide the nation a chance to rekindle our nation’s competitiveness. It was quite commendable. You equally have the chance to prevent and pluck all holes of leakages by stopping abuse of power, corruption and cronyism to truly boost our competitiveness. Oddly, why didn’t you! Your selective amnesia seems baffling.

Matrade convention contract award stood as a landmark testimony to all your performance-first empty-rhetoric. Apprehending small fries in the PKFZ-mother-of-all-scandal and allowing sharks to roam freely in Malaysian murky waters doesn’t augur well and at loggerheads with the effort to stamp off corruption, reminiscent of the earlier half hearted-war on corruption.

Now you have the chance to evade the looming battle on the usage of the name of Allah by adherents of other faiths. Very regrettably you don’t until it now has escalated to arson attack on 10 places of worships of the Christians and Sikhs?

Quite on the contrary and to everyone’s surprise, you consented to a demonstration by a deluge of disgruntled protestors to vent their anger and worse still, in mosques.

By so doing you are stoking flames of religious dissension and apparently condoning hard-liner’s stance. Isn’t this a great disservice to Islam? Isn’t this a great disservice to Allah? You have in fact fuelled the fire of religious bigotry.

You are in fact planting the seeds of extremism and discords in young Malaysian minds. Isn’t this diametrically opposed to your rhetoric of 1-Malaysia?

We couldn’t be faulted if we now perceive you as irresponsibly opening that flood-gate of self-destruction.

Were you totally oblivious of the far reaching ramifications of your action? Were you not aware of encouraging intimidation and violence as means to resolve religious differences in our truly plural society? Perhaps you weren’t.

That’s bad news for 1-Malaysia.

Finally, who are you really afraid of? Are we to understand that you are after all afraid of the party that you now lead? Are you really in control? Didn’t Pak Lah have all the good intention of putting the two decades of Tun M’s misdoings and failed for the same reason?

Are we witnessing a failing 1-Malaysia Mr PM?

Do unto others as you would have done unto you

by Haris Ibrahim,

I attended the “Allah : Siapa yang punya?” forum organised by Free Public Forum, PMIUM and KLSCAH at the Chinese Assembly Hall last Monday.

If you were not there, you missed out on a great effort by our youth at civilised discourse on a difficult issue plaguing this nation.

To the organisers, I say well done. Go forth and organise more of these forums. Educate our rakyat not just on the truth behind the issues confronting our society, but also on how to exchange thoughts and ideas without abandoning decorum and good form.

For an insight into the proceedings that evening, take a peek at what one of the speakers, Hasmi Hashim, had to say HERE.

I want to share with you about an encounter I had with three Malay youths outside the hall when I stepped out for a dose of nicotene.

After confirming that I moderate this blog, they wanted my views on this ‘Allah’ issue.

I told them that when I was in Batang Ai last year in the run-up to the by-election there, I had the opportunity to chat with some Dayak Catholics on this very issue.

I was told by these Dayak that “Allah” was integral to their recitations during the baptismal ceremony, during Holy Communion and in the Lord’s Prayer.

I was told that if “Allah” was not mentioned, then their prayers were nullified.

I asked the three youth if they were aware of this.

They all said ‘No’.

I asked them if they were aware that in the Christian Arab world, God was referred to as “Allah”.

All three said ‘Yes’.

I asked them to now imagine a country where the majority of the inhabitants were Christian who spoke Arabic and for whom, reference to God was by the name “Allah”. Imagine, too, a small minority of Muslims in that country who also referred to God by the name “Allah”.

The Christians in that country now want to ban the minority Muslims from using the name “Allah” on the stated reason that they fear such use of that name will confuse many Christians. They insist that this may lead to many of their Christians converting to Islam. This may lead to a breakdown in public order, they say.

Would this be fair to the minority Muslims, I now asked the three youths.

Silence.

Then one chap said ‘No’.

If it would not be fair to the minority Muslims in that make believe nation, are we being fair to our minority Christian brothers and sisters in this real country of ours, I asked.

Again, silence.

If you want others elsewhere to be kind to your minority Muslim brothers and sisters in their midst, should you not be kind to minorities in your own vicinity, I asked.

More silence.

I told them that was my view on this issue. Do unto others as you would want done unto you and your own.

I leave you with a video clip of the views of my brother from East Malaysia, Pastor Solomon Bulan, which was shared with me by another brother, Pastor Sivin Kit.


Call on all Ministers from Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC and from Sabah and Sarawak to declare their stand on Nazri’s proposal that the word “Allah” is allo

by Lim Kit Siang

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has come out with a most illogical and ridiculous solution to the “Allah” controversy – that the word “Allah” is allowed to be used by Christians in Sarawak and Sabah but not in Peninsular Malaysia.

When the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was reported as saying at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCFIS) in the United Kingdom two days ago that the “Allah” controversy arising from the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims would not be allowed to recur in the future, many were asking what he really meant.

Was Muhyiddin implying that no Home Minister would in future be so irresponsible and insensitive like Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as saying that the government did not prohibit the people from demonstrating over sensitive religious issues, when he should know fully well that it would be regarded as official “green-light” for such demonstrations which could easily get out-of-hand?

Was Muhyiddin implying that no Prime Minister would in future act so irresponsibly and insensitively like Datuk Seri Najib Razak as to endorse any such insensitive and irresponsible statement by a Home Minister as had been made by Hishammuddin, resulting in the spate of arson and vandalism against churches and places of worship which have not stopped after more than a week?

Or could it be that Muhyiddin was implying that no Home Minister would in future arbitrarily impose a ban on the of use of the word “Allah” as was done in 2007 by the then Home Minister, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar with regard to the Catholic weekly Herald – the cause of the current “Allah” controversy with all the adverse consequences to nation-building and grave repercussions to the country’s international reputation and economic prosperity.
But from Nazri’s interview on the solution to the “Allah” controversy, this does not appear to be Muhyiddin’s intention.

What is disturbing is the inference that although publicly the Ministers are supporting the holding of inter-religious dialogues, in actual fact, the Umno/Barisan Nasional government has made up its mind that the word “Allah” cannot be allowed to be used by non-Muslims, at least not in Peninsular Malaysia.

The inter-religious dialogue which is being canvassed is meant to reach the result already decided by the Umno/BN government and it not meang to be an open-minded one to seek a solution to the “Allah” controversy.

If so, such inter-religious dialogues to achieve a pre-set result decided by the government is not a genuine inter-religious engagement and cannot contribute to a meaningful solution to the Allah controversy.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should clear the air as to whether there is basis for such an inference about the inter-religious dialogue proposed by government Ministers.

Nazri’s solution that “Allah” can be used by Christians in Sarawak and Sabah but not in Peninsular Malaysia makes a total mockery of Najib’s “1Malaysia” slogan, producing a more fragmented, compartmentalized or segmented Malaysia instead of a more united nation and people.

Furthermore, what is the logic that the word “Allah” can be used in Sarawak and Sabah but not in Peninsular Malaysia if the constitutional prohibition of the proselytisation of Muslims is accepted and respected by all other religions?

I call on all Ministers from Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC and from Sabah and Sarawak to declare their stand on Nazri’s proposal that the word “Allah” is allowed to be used by Christians in Sarawak and Sabah but not in Peninsular Malaysia – which is really no solution to the “Allah” controversy and will make no contribution towards Malaysian nation-building.

Whips and poison tongues

My Sinchew

Parents were shocked by two recent social news.

A 42-year-old strict father, who educated his son with fists, was sentenced to a five-year prison term for causing injuries to his son.

Meanwhile, a missing Chinese teenage girl, who was still wearing Muslim attire three days ago, has been brought home from a training centre for Muslims. Dramatically, she prayed in front of Buddha, declaring that “I'm a devout Buddhist”.

The two cases have caused a widespread of concern and discussions within the society. Parents were filled with emotions as a father was jailed for beating his son while a daughter left home after being scolded. Some even lamented over the difficulties to raise and educate children!

The heavy penalty for the strict father was startling. It was a court decision and we must not openly criticise whether it was fair to avoid being regarded as a contempt of court. A lot of fathers could only say that there is no such thing called “patriarchy” today and a father beating his son is no longer a matter of course, but it will be considered as child abuse which requires a price to pay.

It must be pointed out here that under the child abuse law, a five-year prison term is not the maximum penalty. Instead, the maximum penalty is a fine of RM20,000 and imprisonment for 10 years!

The deputy attorney general said that in addition to have threatened to cut off his son's feet, the defendant had also beaten his son with an iron bar.

It was indeed too much to beat his son with an iron bar. But many parents would simply say something like “I'll cut off your feet if you hang around all day long again”. It frightened them if such a “pet phase” would be one of the reason for a jail sentence.

The plaintiff of the case was the defendant's wife. A Chinese old saying said that “a too loving mother will spoil her child”. It was in fact not an absolute rule. You might also say that she was “forsaking family loyalty for righteousness”.

As for the missing teenage girl case, it was relatively more complicated as it involved the very sensitive religion conversion controversy. Fortunately, she was found in time and her parents were able to reach a consensus with the person in charge of the training centre for Muslims, so that she was allowed to return home. She faced the problem together with her family, pondered over her own religious belief again and eventually, brought a dramatic turning point for the incident.

In this period when religious issues are extremely sensitive, the teenage girl's incident may serve as an example.

Parents should have learned a lesson from the above-mentioned incidents. They must profoundly think about the issue of parent-child relationship.

In this far-reaching Internet era, the new generation becomes more and more obsessed with the virtual online world. The traditional concept of “home” is getting weaker and weaker while parents become more and more distant with their children. Other than working hard on maintaining traditions, parents should also lay down their wipes and hold their poison tongues!

Relief slowly begins to arrive in Haiti

Destroyed houses dot a hillside in Port-au-Prince. Concern about unrest in Haiti is on the rise after this week's deadly quake.
Destroyed houses dot a hillside in Port-au-Prince. Concern about unrest in Haiti is on the rise after this week's deadly quake.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) -- The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson gave hope to Haitians on Friday that much-needed relief is on the way, arriving with helicopters, hospital beds and operating rooms to help in the aftermath of this week's earthquake.

Emergency crews raced against the clock to rescue those still trapped under rubble. Rescuers were trying keep survivors alive, fed and sheltered as well as stave off civil strife amid scarce supplies of food and water.

"The United States and countries around the globe are mobilizing every available element of our national capacity," said Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Washington.

"Coalition army and naval forces, disaster response teams, portable hospitals, canine search-and-rescue teams, and relief and medical supplies are streaming in from multiple compassionate nations."

He said the the military is best able to provide security, search-and-rescue capabilities, potable water and medical facilities as he ticked off the list of resources coming from the U.S. military.

The Vinson is bringing 19 helicopters, 51 hospital beds, three operating rooms and has the capability of providing hundreds of thousands of gallons of water per day. It will remain off the coast, while people and supplies are flown to and from its landing deck.

Other assets include the destroyer Higgins for search and rescue and support and Coast Guard cutters with helicopters. Mullen said the 82nd Airborne Division is arriving to help with security.

Small helicopter-carrying naval vessels will be arriving. Mullen said the Bataan will be accompanied by two other ships in her amphibious ready group, USS Fort McHenry and USS Carter Hall, and the Marines of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit.

And the hospital ship Comfort is expected to be off Haiti by the end of next week.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday that a "major humanitarian effort" that is under way.

"Although it is inevitably slower and more difficult than any of us would wish, we are mobilizing all resources as fast as we possibly can," Ban said, announcing an appeal for $550 million.

Ban painted a picture of devastation, pointing to "widespread damage to infrastructure in Port-au-Prince and other affected areas, with as many as 50 percent of buildings in the worst-hit areas damaged or destroyed. "

He said "a high proportion of the 3 million people in the capital area are without access to food, water, shelter and electricity" and that crews were working "to save as many lives as possible."

The relief effort has been challenged by the destruction and the need for more supplies, Ban said.

"Search and rescue remains a monumental effort. Heavy lifting equipment is still urgently needed," he said, adding that "logistics are extremely difficult. The airport is open, as you know, but capacity is limited. A lack of transport and fuel is also hampering efforts. Many roads remain blocked."

But he said "aid flights arrived through the night and will continue through the day" and the "distribution of food and medical supplies has begun in Port-au-Prince, supplemented increasingly by the aid beginning to arrive from the outside."

Ban listed the needs -- food, water, tents for shelter, medical supplies and medical personnel. He said the World Food Program "is feeding around 8,000 people several times a day" and food distribution centers in the capital are being established to offer ready-to-eat meals.

"Obviously, that is only a drop in the bucket in the face of the massive need, but the agency will be scaling up to feed approximately 1 million people within 15 days and 2 million people within a month."

He couldn't say yet how many people died in the disaster, but the United Nations said Friday that at least 37 of its personnel have died -- 36 with the U.N. mission and one with the World Food Program.

The number of unaccounted for people stands at 330. There are 12,000 people working for the U.N. system in Haiti.

As world agencies and countries marshaled relief resources, President Obama spoke for about a half-hour Friday with Haitian President Rene Preval, pledging the "full support of the American people," including long-term help.

Preval said that the American people's friendship has touched him. "From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the Haitian people, thank you, thank you, thank you," he said.

Preval also expressed condolences for the loss of Americans in Haiti, a toll the State Department placed at six. And, he said, relief is "now flowing in to the people of Haiti" from the world over.

Also Friday, Russian President Dmitry A. Medvedev announced the deployment of a rapid-response search and rescue team, dog teams, psychologists and doctors, special search equipment, including a lighting tower and powerful floodlights that will allow rescue operations at night.

Rescue and recovery efforts have become top priorities across the globe, and countries with poor relations have set aside their differences to help Haiti.

Cuba is allowing the United States to use its airspace to fly medical evacuation flights. This agreement will allow Americans to fly earthquake victims directly from Haiti to the U.S. and reduce the flight time.

Despite relative calm, there were reports of sporadic looting and violence after Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude earthquake clobbered the capital, affecting millions of people and possibly killing tens of thousands

"If help doesn't come quickly, it probably will [get worse]," said Agnes Pierre-Louis, manager of a Port-au-Prince hotel. "We're not hearing anything from the government. We're not seeing any foreign aid yet."

Gen. Ken Keen, deputy commander of the U.S. Southern Command, said U.S. forces, working with U.N. troops, were aware of "the increasing concerns about security."

He said the priority is to crank up rescue and relief efforts to stave off restiveness.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates echoed that remark, saying, "Other than some scavenging and minor looting, our understanding is the security situation is pretty good."

"The key is to get the food and the water in there as quickly as possible so that people don't, in their desperation, turn to violence or lead to the security situation deteriorating."

Gates said the U.N. force has "primary security responsibility" and Haitians will be pleased to see American troops providing relief.

Student charged for Facebook 'petrol bomb' remark - Malaysiakini

"Ke nak aku baling bom petrol di sana plak?...harga boleh runding..." (Do you want me to throw a petrol bomb there? ... the price is negotiable).

This is among the comments that landed 25-year-old Tasyrif Tajuddin in hot soup.

NONEThe film studies student with the government-owned Aswara National Academy of Arts and Heritage in Kuala Lumpur was charged at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court this afternoon for 'making threatening comments with the intent to cause harm'.

However, no plea was recorded from Tasyrif as the sitting Sessions Court Judge Aslam Zainuddin was away on official duty.

The charge was read instead before Magistrate Koh Khuang Chin.

When hearing the charge, the magistrate said that Tasyrif's case will be postponed for hearing before Justice Aslam, at the Sessions Court on Monday for his plea to be recorded.

Prosecution had offered bail to be set at RM10,000 with one surety. However, without the sitting judge present, the decision on whether or not to grant bail will also be made on Monday.

Tasyrif will be remanded until then.

It is believed that Tasyrif had made the comments on his friend's status message, on the popular social networking site Facebook.

In one of the comments, he said that he was responsible for procuring the substance used in the homemade explosive with regards to the spate of attacks on churches.

He also claimed that he was at the scene but was not present when a petrol bomb was hurled at a particular church.

'Charged for comments, not arson'


azlanTasyrif was charged under Section 233(1)(a) of the Communications and Multimedia Act which carries a punishment of one year jail and/or RM50,000 fine if found guilty.

The student was unrepresented while deputy public prosecutor Dusuki Mokhtar led the prosecution.

Dusuki said Tasyrif is being charged only for the comments he made on Facebook and not for the act of arson itself.

The student is the first person to be prosecuted in relation to the attacks.

As of yesterday, 10 churches have been targeted in the wake of a high court ruling that a Catholic weekly Herald can use the word Allah in their publication's Malay pages.

Sikh leaders hold the government responsible.mp4

P. Uthayakumar’s ethnic cleansing trial 15/1/2010 Zimbabwe standards of Justice

UMNO and AG frightened to give documents on police shoot to kill cum murder and murders in police custody.

The charge sheet against P. Uthayakumar specifically was underlined on the words “Every week one person at average is killed in a shoot to kill policy and in every 2 weeks one person killed in police custody” . About 60% of these victims are Indians though they form only 8% of the Malaysian population”.

This is a very serious case of “ethnic cleansing” of the Indians in Malay-sian. But UMNO and the Malay-sian police are frightened to furnish the name list of the victims thereto in open Court because the truth about this ethnic cleansing will surface.

The DPP Noorin Badaruddin had the cheek to submit this morning that the truth does not matter but it is Sedition anyway if the aforesaid underlined words are uttered the DPP had cited a line of outdated and obsolete case laws dated back from 100 over years ago during the British colonial era beginning from the case of Queen Emperor V Amba Prasad 1898.

N. Surendran submitted that P. Uthayakumar cannot be sent to jail for merely speaking the truth. Based on this DPP’s submission N. Surendran submitted that then half the country would be in jail for speaking the truth.

P. Uthayakumar then said that in conclusion that if the Attorney General of Malaysia seconds DPP Noorin Badaruddin for the Attorney General’s job in Zimbabwe, then P. Uthayakumar would be more than happy to endorse the same.

The court was adjourned at 11.42 a.m and fixed 3.00 p.m for decision.

At 3.00 p.m the Judge ruled that the documents on the deaths in custody and by police shooting according to ethnic origins, age and numbers But the DCP tried evading that he does not have the facts and figures P. Uthayakumar and N.Surendren somehow cornered him into answering are to be given to the Court. But we will have to wait until the next hearing date what staunts will be pulled up by the police and the AGP and DPP.

In the afternoon session DCP Mohd Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani continued answering P. Uthayakumar’s questions. When asked how many Hindraf supporters were injured on 25/11/2007 he replied that one civilian and one policeman P. Uthayakumar ticked him off by saying “jangan tunjuk belang polis, soalan saya penyokong Hindraf bukan polis”.

The Court disallowed P. Uthayakumar’s application for the Intelligence report on the number of injured Hindraf supporters based also on the police video recording and photographs after the DPP submitted that it is “ Rahsia Besar” .

This Court’s decision was also despite P. Uthayakumar’s submission that “Logic and common sense would dictate that the injury to the ordinary man cannot be a “rahsia besar” unless it is to cover up the police crime and abuse of power.

P. Uthayakumar also suggested that the police are so used to getting away with “short cuts” and getting people convicted that they don’t want to tender the full evidence in Court.

On whether ASP Vasanthakumar’s job scope under Ops Padam (eliminate) Hindraf is to create confusion and to break up the strength of Hindraf, DCP Acryl replied he does not know.

On P. Uthayakumar having already been punished without trial for 514 days and now this Sedition trial will be Double Jeopordy ie punished twice for the same offence ie the 25th November Hindraf Rally, the DCP disagreed.

The court then adjourned the trial for 3 days from to 22/3/2010 to 24/03/20410.

The court was adjourned at 5.06 p.m.

Kandasamy.