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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Najib’s visit: Firm word from New Delhi could have timely impact.”Malaysia strips Hindus of rights”

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Malaysia strips Hindus of rights

Sandhya Jain

A fourth generation descendant of Tamil indentured labour, P Uthayakumar, HINDRAF legal adviser and secretary-general, Human Rights Party of Malaysia, has returned from New Delhi’s Pravasi Bharatiya Divas jamboree to face trial for ‘sedition’, a charge made by the ruling United Malay National Organisation regime.

Advocates Uthayakumar and M Manoharan spent 514 days in Kamunting Jail under the draconian Internal Security Act for leading the spectacular one-lakh-strong HINDRAF rally of 2008, which demanded equal citizenship rights for Malaysian Hindus and opposed the ethnic cleansing of Tamil Hindus in that Islamic country. If convicted, the duo could face a three-year prison term, a real possibility given the nature of the Malaysian judiciary and the studied indifference of the token creamy layer of establishment Hindus.

The Hindu organisation has been banned since, though it poses no threat to Malaysian social or political stability. As India’s human rights ‘industry’ only serves Western geo-political interests, it cannot be expected to speak up for suffering Malay Hindus. Hence New Delhi should take up the matter with Kuala Lumpur and urge it to permit HINDRAF to work as a non-governmental minorities and human rights organisation.

Sadly, the HINDRAF leaders who came here to present the Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2009, Malaysia Truly Racist, received only a perfunctory hearing by official New Delhi.

The HINDRAF & HRP leaders urged Foreign Minister SM Krishna to diplomatically espouse the cause of the Indian minority which the Malaysian Government is subjecting to systemic racist, religious extremist, and supremist policies that keep 70 per cent of Indians desperately poor and outside the national mainstream development. As Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak is coming to India with a trade mission on January 19, a firm word from New Delhi could have a timely impact.

Mr Uthayakumar laments that Indians are denied equality and equal opportunities in direct contravention of Articles 8 and 12 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution, created by the founding fathers. Today, the state has denied birth certificates and citizenship documents to nearly 300,000 minority Indians; hence they cannot secure admission to kindergarten and primary schools, deserving students are denied places in elite schools and institutions of higher learning, loans and scholarships, and licences to do trades and related occupations.

He informed the Foreign Minister that Hindu temples, schools, burial grounds, or settlements are regularly demolished or relocated arbitrarily; poor and landless Indians excluded from agricultural land schemes; Indians denied top jobs in Government, corporate and business sectors.

So horrendous is the discrimination that Indians are arrested without cause and released only when no charges can be framed against them; over 90 per cent deaths in police custody are of Hindus. Every week, 1.3 persons on average are shot by the police; 95 per cent are Hindus. A staggering 70 per cent of Indian Malaysians have been reduced to hardcore poor, poor or working class, with 90 per cent being in the daily or monthly wage-earning category. As the racism and religious persecution is all state-sponsored — ordinary Hindus have no problems with ordinary Malay Muslims — there is a strong case for the Government of India to take up the human rights violations and religious freedoms of these besieged Hindus.

One of the worst problems is forced conversions to Islam, which has become particularly acute since 2001, despite the provision for freedom of religion entrenched in Article 11 in the Malaysian Constitution. A recent case that has shaken the country involves a 27-year-old Tamil Hindu, Bangaramma, who was converted as a minor in a Government orphanage and registered as a Muslim without her knowledge. She continued to regard herself as a Hindu, worshipping and marrying a Hindu in a temple, according to Vedic rites.

Bangaramma is now fighting for her religious freedom in order to live as a Hindu with her Hindu husband and two children, as the Government is refusing to register her marriage and to acknowledge her husband as father of her children. Worse, she is being threatened with the charge of apostasy, which in Islamic Malaysia means she can be forcibly separated from her husband and children (aged two and seven). It is obvious that the whole controversy is aimed at forcing the entire family to accept Islam.

Another acute problem is the deliberate attempt to reduce the number of Hindu professionals in the country. At independence, innumerable top Government jobs were held by education Hindus, but gradually Hindus are being frustrated in their quest for higher education. Some of the reputed, and relatively cheaper, medical institutions in Russia, China and East Asia have been de-recognised by the Government so that Hindus cannot practice medicine when they return to the country. The number of medical seats for Hindus was reduced from 16 to one in 2004 (out of 2,000).

Students also need a Government no-objection certificate to study overseas, and this is another obstacle. Leaders of HINDRAF have urged the Government of India to stop offering medical seats to Malaysia on a Government-to-Government basis, and to grant the seats directly to Malaysian Indian students alone. This is a legitimate request, and the task can be easily executed via the Indian High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. India could also consider scholarships for Malaysian Indian students wishing to pursue other professional courses such as pharmacy, IT, and such.

More direct pressure can be exerted by sourcing India’s imports of palm oil from Indonesia instead of Malaysia; curbing further Indian investments and discouraging Indian IT professionals from working in Malaysia; and, choosing to work with Malaysian corporations with a decent Indian Malaysian equity participation or employment of Indian Malaysians, especially at the top level.

Meanwhile, the BJP has a long way to go in its quest to rediscover traditional political values. Mr Uthayakumar unhappily observed that New Delhi only cares for the rich diaspora, from whom it solicits investments. Thus, it came as no surprise to learn that while the savvy Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi assured HINDRAF he was aware of the plight of poor and working class Malaysian Indians and would champion their cause in India and with Kuala Lumpur, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Ms Sushma Swaraj, expressed astonishment at their plight, though HINDRAF had come to India with a human rights violations report in 2008 as well.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/Default.aspx

India Foreign Minister SM Krishna

india-opposition-leader-mdm-sushma-suwaraf
India Opposition Leader Parliment Mdm Sushma Suwaraj
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Gujerat Chief Minister Narindra Modi
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India Former Opposition Leader Shri Lal Krishna Advani
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Mahindra Chaudrey former PM Fiji Island
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Member of Parliment Mr.Hanumanta Rao
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Lobbying a Pravasi delegation from California Mr.NP Acarya
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1,500 copies of The Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2009 distributed to delegates of 53 countries worldwide.

The Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2009

PIBG MINTA POLIS SIASAT XAVIER

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Anggota polis Perak diarah buat kad pengenalan awam?

(Harakah Daily) - PAS Perak kini mengesan satu usaha tersusun pihak-pihak tertentu untuk memastikan Umno dan Barisan Nasional (BN) menang pilihan raya di Perak melalui pendaftaran pemilih berganda. Antaranya adalah dengan mengarahkan semua anggota polis agar membuat kad pengenalan awam (IC) di samping mempunyai kad keanggotaan polis sebagaimana biasa.

Dengan cara ini, anggota polis berkenaan akan boleh mengundi dua kali iaitu satu menggunakan kad pengenalan polis dan satu lagi kad pengenalan awam.

Menurut maklumat yang Harakahdaily terima, dengan kad pengenalan polis, anggota berkenaan boleh mengundi secara pos manakala kad pengenalan awam melalui undi biasa.

Berita ini pula meletus ketika ura-ura pilihan raya akan diadakan secepat mungkin dan besar kemungkinannya penghujung tahun ini juga khasnya di Perak.

Semasa pilihan raya kecil Bagan Pinang, PAS hampir menarik diri dari pilihan raya kecil itu apabila mereka mengesan banyak nama berganda dalam senarai daftar pemilih.

Namun selepas didapati ia bukan berlaku di Bagan Pinang sebagaimana yang dihujjahkan balik oleh SPR, PAS meneruskan pilihan raya itu.

Ini bermakna, pendaftaran berganda ini mungkin dirancang sedemikian rupa khasnya di Perak.

Menurut sumber Harakahdaily, beliau secara tidak sengaja mendapat maklumat itu melalui perbualannya dengan beberapa pegawai polis di sekitar tempatnya dekat sini.

"Menurut pegawai balai tempat saya berjumpa itu, kesemua 14 anggotanya diarahkan agar membuat kad pengenalan biasa walaupun lambat lagi bersara. Kesemua mereka diarahkan membuat kad pengenalan itu di pejabat pendaftaran secara berperingkat," cerita sumber Harakahdaily itu.

Untuk mengesahkan perkara ini, sumber itu berhubung dengan Setiausaha kepada Menteri Besar Pakatan Rakyat Perak, Datuk Seri Mohamad Nizar iaitu Saudara Amran.

"Dia bagitau pada saya, mereka pun dapat maklumat tersebut malam tadi daripada polis daerah Manjong," beritahu sumber Harakahdaily itu.

Kedua-dua mereka membuat andaian, arahan membuat kad pengenalan awam untuk polis ini dibuat serentak ke seluruh negeri Perak kerana maklumat itu sampai serentak kepada kedua-duanya iaitu malam tadi.

Sehubungan dengan itu, mereka meminta PAS khasnya membuat siasatan penuh mengenai hal ini.

PKR lays Anwar’s Sodomy II before public

By Adib Zalkapli and G. Manimaran - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — PKR officials briefed foreign diplomats today, just one week before the start of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Sodomy II trial, in what appears to be a move to help shape public and international opinion.

The strategy is believed to be in anticipation of the salacious details that will be put forward by the prosecution next week, which could badly damage the opposition leader’s character.

Among those present at the briefing today were party deputy president Dr Syed Husin Ali, vice-presidents Sivarasa Rasiah and Mustafa Kamil Ayub, and religious understanding chief Dr Muhammad Nur Manuty.

The Malaysian Insider understands the party officials also took the opportunity to give a briefing to diplomats on the hotly debated “Allah” dispute.

A party official confirmed the briefing.

“We only want to explain our stand on the ‘Allah’ row and, at the same time, use the opportunity to give an update on Anwar Ibrahim’s trial,” said a PKR official.

Sivarasa, who is also the former deputy prime minister’s lawyer, has also written an article published on the Internet entitled “Sodomy Conspiracy Number Two” in what looks like a move to try the case in the court of public opinion.

“It is just over 11 years since Anwar Ibrahim, newly sacked as deputy prime minister, was first slapped with trumped-up charges of sodomy and supposed corruption (abuse of power), and subsequently put through two trials which were condemned around the world as manifestly flawed and politically motivated.

“The new case replays an old script with new actors — the current script also shows the previous episode’s features of political interference, manipulation of officers in the A-G’s Chambers and police, and falsification of evidence all arising from a political conspiracy to stop Anwar’s political career,” Sivarasa wrote.

Sivarasa also discusses the merits of his defence in a move to sway public opinion in his client’s favour.

Today’s briefing, attended by some 40 representatives of foreign missions, was part of the party’s attempt to influence international opinion and to lobby for support over his second sodomy allegation in a decade.

In 2008, the government held similar briefings for foreign diplomats, just weeks after Anwar was arrested over the sodomy allegations, due to concern over the international media reports on the arrest.

The opposition leader is accused of sodomising his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008.

Saiful alleged that Anwar had sodomised him in a condominium in Damansara. In 1998, the de facto leader of PKR faced similar charges. He was convicted of sodomising his former driver and jailed. In 2004, the Federal Court overturned his sodomy conviction.

His Sodomy II trial resumes next Monday, and if convicted, the Anwarwould lose his Permatang Pauh Parliamentary seat, bringing an end to his political career.

India, Malaysia look to energise ties with Najib’s visit

Najib (centre) will arrive in India for a state visit today. — file pic

NEW DELHI, Jan 19 — Malaysia was one of the toughest negotiators on the India-Asean free trade agreement, and frequently stalled negotiations with their stand on palm oil exports. But in January 2010, Malaysia became one of the first countries to ratify the treaty, bringing it into force.

As Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak arrives in India today, New Delhi is hoping to press the reset button on an important relationship with one of the biggest countries in southeast Asia that was in danger of becoming decrepit and even sour.

Najib’s decision to visit India, in the first year of his government, right after visiting China, is being seen as an indication of the way the wind blows.

While seeking to enhance bilateral ties, India and Malaysia are also expected to sign a number of MoUs and agreements including an extradition treaty. Sources said efforts were on to finalise an extradition treaty and sign it during Najib’s five-day stay.

Najib will hold talks with Indian PrimeMinister Manmohan Singh on a wide range of issues and explore ways to step up bilateral ties in various areas, particularly trade and investment.

The visiting leader will meet President Pratibha Patil and other leaders including UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, MEA spokesman Vishnu Prakash told reporters.

Although bilateral trade is at US$10 billion (RM34 billion), a more significant area of co-operation between India and Malaysia is in the area of defence. Since Malaysia invested in Sukhoi aircraft from Russia, India has been training their pilots for the past year-and-a-half. Defence officials say this was largely due to Najib himself, an initiative taken when he was defence minister.

For India, repairing and improving relations with Malaysia is important as the Asean FTA takes shape, giving Malaysian companies a bigger space in the Indian economic pie. This visit will see some 13 MoUs between Indian and Malaysian companies, and there is growing interest in real estate investment in Malaysia, too.

Najib will be accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor who, as a diehard fan of movie star Datuk Shah Rukh Khan, has specially asked to see him. Shah Rukh was given a Melaka state Datukship in 2008 and has a substantial number of fans in the country.

India’s ties with Malaysia have been rocky at best. Malaysia continues to oppose the East Asia community or the Asean+Six formulation, keeping its position in line with the Chinese. With a large Indian population (mainly Tamil) in Malaysia, a spate of attacks against them has not helped either.

Asked about this, the MEA spokesman parried a direct answer. Whenever safety and security of Indian nationals abroad was compromised, the government took necessary and suitable steps, he said. — Times of India

Sodomy Conspiracy Number Two – Part 1

By R.Sivarasa

SHAH ALAM: It is just over 11 years since Anwar Ibrahim, newly sacked as deputy prime minister, was first slapped with trumped-up charges of sodomy and supposed corruption anwaribrahim1 ( abuse of power), and subsequently put through two trials which were condemned around the world as manifestly flawed and politically motivated.

As a result he spent six years in detention in Sungei Bulu Prison, in solitary confinement throughout, with contact only with his family and lawyers.

Finally, after his nemesis, former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamed was reluctantly forced into retirement in October 2003, Anwar was acquitted and released on 2 September 2004 at the final level of his appeal against the conviction for sodomy.

Now the nightmare is starting all over again. (The trail has been fixed for a month from Jan 25).

On 16 July 2008, Anwar was arrested on a new charge of sodomy, after a report was lodged on 28th June 2008 by a junior aide in his office Saiful Bukhari. Anwar says that the charge is, again, politically motivated, and a renewed attempt to scuttle his political career which has revived dramatically, against all the odds, since his release.

Most people both inside and outside the country agree with this assessment.

The new case replays an old script with new actors – the current script also shows the previous episode’s features of political interference, manipulation of officers in the AG’s Chambers and police, and falsification of evidence all arising from a political conspiracy to stop Anwar’s political career.

A truly suspicious case

There are many facts about the current allegations made by Saiful and his behaviour which are already in the public domain. These facts speak for themselves and immediately show the lack of substance in the fabricated case now brought to attempt to bring down Anwar.

Saiful claimed in his police report of 28th June 2008 made at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (“HKL”) that he was sodomised by Anwar on the afternoon of Thursday 26th June 2008 at a condominium in Bukit Damansara. His version to the police in his police statement appears to allege that he had been assaulted about 8 to 9 times against his will by Anwar over the previous two months. In his police report made two days later on 28th June 2008, he claims that this incident of sodomy was also against his will.

This version immediately raises suspicion as to why this so-called “victim” is sodomised 8 to 9 times against his will over two months and yet made no complaint to the authorities. During that time, he was in regular contact with Anwar and all the other office staff at Anwar’s office.

It has also been revealed that on Wednesday 25th June 2008, the day before the last so-called assault on Thursday, he had met with a senior police officer Senior Assistant Commissioner Rodwan Mohd Yusof ( then Deputy Director of Criminal Investigation Dept of the Royal Malaysian Police Force, now CPO Melaka ) in the Concorde Hotel in KL at Room 619.

When asked by journalists about this meeting, Rodwan said he had no comment. Rodwan had played a key role in the police team in Anwar’s 1998/9 cases and in particular was infamous for his role in illegally using Anwar’s blood sample for DNA testing and was also embroiled in allegations of planting fabricated DNA traces on the infamous mattress brought to court.

In the first trial in 1999, the DNA evidence was so discredited that even the hostile trial judge Augustine Paul was forced to expunge the evidence to assist the prosecution.

It has also since been revealed that the “victim” also met the current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak ( then the Deputy Prime Minister ) a few days prior to the alleged incident.

What is interesting about this revelation is that Najib initially denied meeting Saiful to the media, then admitted it, then said the meeting took place because Saiful ( a university drop-out ) was asking him for assistance to get a scholarship, and then told the media that Saiful said he was sodomised by Anwar and looked traumatised during their meeting.

Saiful’s behaviour after the so-called assault on that Thursday also raises questions.

The next morning, Saiful went to the Anwar’s office as usual. He made no complaints to anyone and appeared quite normal. Later that day, he attended an Anwar Ibrahim Club event at Anwar’s house, at which Anwar was also present. There he helped serve coffee to the dozen or so persons present, showed no signs of fear or anxiety, and was able to sit and stand without showing any signs of discomfort.

The following day on Saturday in the afternoon about 2 pm, Saiful decided to go to a private hospital called Pusat Rawatan Islam ( PUSRAWI ) in Jalan Tun Razak. There he complained to one Dr. Osman that he had pain in his anus for a few days and that a “plastic” item had been inserted.

A proctoscopy examination by Dr. Osman showed no physical signs of penetration and a normal anus and rectum. After the examination, he then told Dr. Osman he had been sodomised by a VIP and was then advised to go for an examination at a government hospital.

Despite HKL being virtually across the road, it took Saiful two and a half hours to get there. At HKL, where he reported that he had been sodomised, he was examined by three specialist doctors, which was a very unusual procedure in itself.

These three doctors, in their official report, have stated that there were no ““no conclusive clinical findings suggestive of penetration to the anus …” again reinforcing the conclusions of Dr. Osman.

Any objective investigator would have understood that a prosecution for sodomy would get nowhere in the light of such clear medical evidence. No objective prosecutor would have allowed the case to progress.

Here we see the opposite – the investigation being driven fully although from the outset, the medical evidence itself ruled out penetration. The malice in the investigation further confirms the involvement of political motives.

This investigation was pursued despite the medical findings which would have been made available immediately to police investigators. Swabs taken from Saiful suspiciously took two days to reach the chemist lab for analysis.

We know now that the prosecution will rely on purported DNA evidence to attempt to prove that Anwar was involved in an act of sodomy with Saiful without his consent.

How a 61 year old man with a bad back can force himself on a fit and tall 24 year old man will be an interesting question for all observers of this political trial.

The other interesting question will be, in the light of the emphatic medical evidence that there are no clinical findings even suggestive of penetration, the lack of credibility of any DNA report purporting to show Anwar’s DNA was found in Saiful’s rectum.

Such a report would in fact raise suspicion about the credibility of such DNA evidence – i.e. that such evidence had been fabricated or tampered with which is easy to do with DNA evidence especially when the perpetrators are the investigators themselves as in the 1998 trials.

TOMORROW Part 2 of Sodomy Conspiracy: Examples of fabrication of evidence to implicate Anwar

Cite Nazri for contempt, says Kit Siang

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — Lim Kit Siang today urged Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to begin contempt proceedings against Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz for attacking “the independence, impartiality, integrity and professionalism” of Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan.

“Nazri launched a most improper, unwarranted and unprecedented attack on Lau, not only saying that her Dec 31 decision was wrong, but [he was] also maligning and besmirching her judicial competence and role by declaring that she is not a Muslim and had improperly ruled over a matter that concerned the ‘akidah’ (faith) of the Muslim community.

“This is the first time that I know of a judge being attacked on the ground of her religious credentials rather than her judicial competence and temper — and coming from the de facto Law Minister, it must be regarded most seriously as a totally unacceptable attack on the independence, impartiality, integrity and professionalism of the judiciary,” Lim (picture) said in a press statement.

The High Court had on Dec 31 last year ruled that the Catholic Church’s Herald weekly had the constitutional right to publish the word “Allah” in its publication, to cater to its Bahasa Malaysia-speaking followers.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s department and de facto Law Minister questioned Lau’s “Allah” decision because she was not a Muslim and therefore did not understand the “Malay psyche.”

Nazri also stressed that Muslims are constitutionally Malays and the two cannot be separated.

“You must study the psyche of the Malays. The Chinese can be Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, no problem, but the Malays, the race itself is defined in the Constitution.

“Who is Malay? In the Constitution, [a] Malay is one: a Muslim; two: speaks Malay; and three: practises Malay culture. In the Constitution, there can’t be [a] Malay who is not a Muslim. Anything at all, any suspicion will confuse the ordinary Malays. They become so protective because Malay and Islam cannot be separate,” Nazri told reporters yesterday.

The DAP advisor, however, rejected Nazri’s claims as a “dangerous perversion and subversion of the Constitution.”

“What is Nazri trying to say? Is he laying down a new law that in multi-religious and multi-racial Malaysia where the Constitution recognises Islam as the official religion but guarantees freedom of religion for all other faiths, non-Muslim and non-Malay judges must be excluded from adjudicating certain cases like the Herald ‘Allah’ case allegedly because it concerns the ‘akidah’ of the Muslim community, and the Malay psyche?

“Fifty-two years after Merdeka and 46 years after the formation of Malaysia, is the country going backwards with a further dichotomy of the judicial system where there is [a] new division of cases which is to be adjudicated solely by judges who fulfil the two conditions of being Muslim and Malay because they fall into the category of [the] ‘akidah’ of the Muslim community and the Malay psyche?

“Will the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court — should the appeal on the Herald’s “Allah” case reach that level — be constituted solely with Muslim and Malay judges to take into account Nazri’s extraordinary objections?” Lim asked.

What the Bible and Koran Have in Common

koranChristianity and Islam are somewhat known to be opposite religions (depending on who you ask). When we watch the news, there are always seem to be some sort of religious conflict brewing. A Christian living in a Muslim community may have a hard time continuing his faith, because of religious discrimination. Muslims also have difficulty preserving their religious cultures when they move into Christian communities.

The main similarity between them (Muslims and Christians) is that they have a holy book wherein they can get all the information about their religion. For Christians, it’s the Bible and Muslims have the Koran (sometimes spelled as Qur’an). The beliefs Bible and Koran hold are quite different; they don’t have the same views in life. While their differences are very much true, they offer some similar teachings and stories. This isn’t known to many, because so many people focus on the disparity rather than the common ground of the two religions.

Both the Bible and the Koran believe in only one Superior Being. Christians believe in God, while Muslims believe in Allah. The God they believe in can do all things if He wants. Both of the religions believe that God sent a messenger. For Christians, God sent Jesus Christ while Allah sent Muhammad to spread the Word of God.

Another big similarity between the two books is the story of Creation. Genesis, the first book of the Bible, details how God created the universe and everything that’s in it. The same goes for the Koran. Allah and God created the world in six days, without being tired. They have similar stories about the creation of man, which is we were molded from clay and the Lord just breathed life into us.

Another notable and similar teaching that the Bible and Koran have are the Ten Commandments. The Bible has its version of the Ten Commandments written in order. The Koran has similar verses with the commandments though it wasn’t written in the same order. Nevertheless, both give the same message. Only one god is to be worshipped and it is God/Allah. There should be no idol worship, nor make any images of the one true God. The name of the Lord shouldn’t be used needlessly, nor should we call out to Him in vain. We should consider the Sabbath day holy. Our parents should be respected and obeyed. Killing, stealing, adultery, lying, and envy are not allowed by either religion.

The moral codes of both Christians and Muslims are also similar in many ways. First of all, they believe that faith without works is useless. It doesn’t matter if you believe, if you’re not going to abide by the rules given by the holy book. Both of them abhor homosexuality and intoxication, although the person can be forgiven if he repents. The Koran also has its version of seven deadly sins which was taught similarly.

Last, but not the least, the two religions have similar practices. Although we all know not everything is the same. Prayer is important in both cases, since it is a way to communicate with God and He listens to our prayers. Charity to others is highly encouraged and doing so will have its own rewards. Muslims celebrate the birth of Muhammad, and Christians rejoice over the birth of Christ.

Man charged for brutal quadruple murder

Rasidi (seated) shows police the spot where a decapitated head was buried. — Bernama pic

REMBAU, Jan 19 — A jobless man was charged in the Magistrate’s Court here today with murdering his sister, father and grandparents.

Rasidi Ismail, 32, was charged with murdering his sister, Siti Khadijah, 22, at No. 119, Kampung Batang Rokan, Gemencheh, and his father, Ismail Awang, 76, grandmother Sufiah Katas, 80, and grandfather Atan Daud, 87, at an unnumbered house in the same village.

The offences were allegedly committed between 7am and 11am on Jan 5. No plea was recorded.

Magistrate Siti Nur Shafrida Hashim fixed Feb 19 for mention after deputy public prosecutor Masri Mohd Daud informed the court that the prosecution was waiting for the chemist’s report. Rasidi was unrepresented.

His mother, Saharah Atan, 59, and her nephew were present in court.

Later, just before he was taken away in a police car, she approached him, wiped his face and patted him on the shoulder while he said: “Whom did you come with? It doesn’t matter... Feb 19 for mention at the Tampin court.” — Bernama

Allah and the Malay language

The Nut Graph


(Blackboard pic by ilco / sxc.hu)

IF the church were to agree to the ban of the word "Allah" for non-Muslims, would this solve our problems? The answer is no. Religious authorities in the West Malaysian states have banned more than the word "Allah". In Pahang and Malacca, the word "nabi" (prophet) is banned, making it impossible to have the Bible or Torah translated into Malay. In fact, the word "Injil" (Bible) is banned in 10 states, including Pahang and Selangor.

The issue here is clearly not theological, whether "Allah" in the Christian sense is same with "Allah" as Muslims understand it. Instead, the issue is highly political: Can the Malay language be used in the religious realm by any faith or belief system other than Islam?

Md Asham Ahmad, a fellow at the Centre for Syariah, Law and Political Studies, Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim), expressed the apprehension of Malaysian Muslims: "Clearly what the Christians are trying to do is to deislamise the Malay language for missionary purposes."

"Deislamisation" here means allowing the Malay language to be used by everyone, and not exclusively by Muslims alone. Underscoring this is the attempt by the Islamic authorities to define Islam and Muslims as being exclusive.


Darwin (Public domain; source: Wiki
commons)
This could explain why the Indonesian-language edition of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species is banned in Malaysia, while the English original is freely available. I cannot think of any other explanation why only Malay-speaking Malaysians need to be protected from the bad influence of the evolutionists.

Now, imagine if a Buddhist or Hindu canon was translated into Malay, or if an Indonesian-language text of such cannons was imported from Java or Bali. Would the Buddhist or Hindu communities then be accused of attempting to proselytise Muslims?

Trinity

The logic here is simple:

The Malay language is spoken by Malay Malaysians;

Malay Malaysians are by constitutional definition Muslim;

The Malay language therefore belongs to Muslims and should not be deislamised.

With apologies to the doctrines of the Catholic and Protestant churches, this is a trinity of Malay ethnicity, the Malay language, and Islam.

This is why "Allah" is not at all an issue in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, which practices the same form of Islam prevalent in Malaysia: the Shafie school of jurisprudence in Sunni Islam. In Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia is not a language owned exclusively by Muslims.

But Asham then asks: "If [the Christians] say it is their right to do mission to the Malay [Malaysians] ... then shouldn't we, the Malays, also claim our right to repel any effort to undermine our religious and cultural identity?"

Good question. If the Malay language is exclusively for Muslims, I suppose Malaysian Muslims do have such a right, even if this amounts to "religious protectionism". Either that, or the Malay language is so central to the faith of Malaysian Muslims — more so than Arabic for Middle-Eastern Muslims or Hebrew for Jews.


Dante in an artist's rendition of Inferno from The
Divine Comedy
(Public domain; source: Wiki
commons)
But then, two questions arise. Firstly, as Malaysian Muslims are increasingly multilingual, should "the right to repel any effort to undermine [Muslims'] religious and cultural identity" be gradually extended to cover other languages, too? For instance, should the original English edition of On the Origin of Species be banned to protect Muslims from confusion and erosion of their faith? What about Dante's anti-Islam classic, The Divine Comedy?

Then there is the more urgent question: Is a mono-faith Malay language tenable as the national language? In other words, if only Islam-compatible concepts are allowed in the Malay language, such that one can only learn about Islam and not other religious or atheist thoughts though the language, why should Malaysian non-Muslims learn Malay? Why not exclude non-Muslim students from Malay-language classes just as they are from Islamic studies?

If the Malay language is supposed to be the Muslim language on faith-related matters, is the promotion of it as the national language an unspoken long-term proselytising plan? Does this explain the commonplace complaint about Islamisation in Malay-medium national schools?

Interestingly, the use of Malay in East Malaysia was an issue in the 20-point agreement upon the formation of Malaysia. Therefore, the usage of "Allah" might not have become so widespread in Malaysian Borneo had the National Language Policy not been so successful there.

Tension within the constitution?

What this controversy now shows is the tension between a narrowly interpreted Article 3 (Islam as the religion of the federation) and Article 152 (Malay as the national language) of the Federal Constitution.

At a discursive level, the "Allah" controversy is simply an internal contradiction of Umno's ideology: Malay supremacy (ketuanan Melayu). This ideology of Umno's ethno-nationalism is built on a trinity of religious ethno-nationalism (Muslim interests), linguistic nationalism (the Malay language), and economic ethno-nationalism (special status of bumiputera in Article 153). However, one must be careful not to conclude that a person who follows any or all of these strands of nationalism is automatically an Umno supporter.

What can be concluded is that Umno's political expediency to drum up what has been called Islamo-tribalism is not only undoing Malaysia's reputation as a moderate Muslim country, but also undoing the national language project.


Khoo Kay Kim (Pic by Hafiz Noor Shams
/ Wiki commons)
The debate on Allah should therefore be shifted from theology and semantics to nationhood and politics. The direct stakeholders here are not only Malay-speaking Malaysian Christians, from among native East Malaysians and West Malaysian Orang Asli, but also the standard bearers of Malay linguistic nationalism.

So, what are the positions of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and the Federation of Malay Writers Associations on this matter? What is the position of single-stream education proponents such as Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim? Have they given up on the necessity of an inclusive national language, or have they agreed all this while that the national language should be for Muslims only?

Court to hear suit by Nurin’s dad

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court will hear the negligence suit brought by Nurin Jazlin’s father against the police and Government over post-mortem photographs of his daughter appearing online.

Yesterday, High Court Judge Justice Zabariah Mohd Yusof granted an application by the Government to withdraw its application to strike out the suit. However, she did not issue any order as to costs.

Earlier, Senior Federal Counsel Noorin Badaruddin and SFC Zureen Elina Mohd Dom, for the defendants, had applied to withdraw their application and asked for RM10,000 in costs.

Lawyer Harjinder Singh Sandhu, who represented Nurin’s father, however, objected to the bid for costs.

Approached by The Star, Harjinder said the judge would now proceed to hear the suit proper.

For a start, he said, it would hear an application by the girl’s father on Jan 29 to include the name of a policeman in his suit for allegedly causing his daughter’s post-mortem photographs to be circulated online.

Jazimin Abdul Jalil, 36, had on Dec 1 last year filed a summons in chambers to name L/Kpl Amran Arifin as the fifth defendant in his suit.

In the suit on Aug 21, 2008, the father of three girls had named the Inspector-General of Police, the Selangor police chief, Petaling Jaya district police chief and the Government as defendants.

The defendants maintained that they should not be held responsible for the conduct of a policeman who did not dispose of a draft containing the photographs as istructed by his superior.

Nurin, eight, went missing on Aug 20, 2007 at a night market near her home in Wangsa Maju. Her naked body was found stuffed in a sports bag and left near the staircase of a shoplot in Petaling Utama on Sept 17, 2007.

Malaysians investing abroad more Anil Netto

More Malaysians are investing abroad than foreigners investing in Malaysia, the country’s balance of payments figures indicate.

Financial Account RM million Q3/09 -11,078 -24,198
Direct Investment Abroad RM million Q3/09 -13,283 -8,964
Direct Investment in Malaysia RM million Q3/09 3,565 863
Portfolio & Financial Derivatives – Net RM million Q3/09 18,580 -9,933
Other Investment – Net RM million Q3/09 -19,939 -6,163

IMF-style classification of the “Financial Account” of Malaysia’s Balance of Payments - Source: Bank Negara. Figures in the middle are for the third quarter of 2009, compared to the second quarter (far right column). All figures in RM million.

Malaysians invested RM13.3 billion in stakes in companies abroad while foreigners invested RM3.6 in Malaysian firms.

Portfolio investments appear to have returned in a big way in the third quarter – but has the impact been felt in the country? Is this just a return to emerging markets as a result of the low-interest regime in developed nations as part of their stimulus packages?

The ‘Other Investments – Net’ figure shows an outflow of RM20 billion, which is interesting:

“The other investment item is a residual category that includes all financial transactions not covered under direct investment, portfolio investment, financial derivatives or reserve assets … Other investment can be further subdivided into (i) trade credits, (ii) loans/currency and deposits and (iii) other assets/other liabilities.” (European Central Bank)

The negative figure (in ‘Other Investments – Net’) may be due to bank loan repayments by Malaysian residents to foreign banks or it could be due to Malaysian banks giving out loans to foreigners.

Petronas transactions could also affect the financial account.

Another possibility: the Malaysian Insider reports interest among Malaysians in foreign property has picked up:

Interest in foreign properties has surged among Malaysians thanks to favourable investment conditions at the destination countries, coupled with uncertainties on the domestic front.

… the Australian Trade Commission says Malaysians invested about A$4.9 billion (RM15.3 billion) in Australian property in 2008.

The amount invested in overseas property also suggests a continuing trend of brain and money drain from the country, as those who can afford to purchase property in Australia and UK tend to be educated and skilled and many do so with an eye on migration, either for themselves or for their children. It also contributes to the outflow of capital from Malaysia, which has exceeded inflows for the past decade.

Now, where would purchases of property abroad show up in the Balance of Payments? Under ‘Other Investments – Net’?

Says blog reader Ganesh:

This is where the bulk of the money is moving. Mind you these are merely official figures. We all know that people just fly direct to Australia and UK and buy (property) direct there.
It runs into billions, thus an opportunity cost to Bursa….

Could this partly explain why the younger crowd are now shunning the Bursa?

The larger question is, why aren’t more Malaysians investing locally in small- and medium-sized businesses to create a more sustainable, self-sufficient local economy which is less influenced by global market volatility?

Militant attack kills 5 in heart of Kabul

STORY HIGHLIGHTS


Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) -- An attack in which the Taliban claimed to have infiltrated key government sites in downtown Kabul killed at least five people Monday morning, hospital and government officials said.

Among the five were two policemen and one national security staff member, Interior Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar said at a news conference. Seventy-one others were injured, 36 of whom were police or security officers, he said.

His report of the death toll conflicts with those of Defense Ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi, who said 13 died, and the Taliban, which claimed even more were slain.

Seven attackers' bodies were recovered, with two or three of them burned beyond recognition, Azimi said. The Taliban said only five were killed.

The attack started as 14 members of Afghan President Hamid Karzai's Cabinet were to be sworn in, said Parliament member Fawzia Koofi.

About 20 Taliban insurgents entered the presidential palace; the ministries of Finance, Mines and Justice; and the Serena Hotel, said spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid.

NATO-led forces said "several small explosions" and gunfire were reported near the Feroshgah e Afghan Shopping Center and the Serena Hotel, and later added that "numerous" suicide bombers had attacked government buildings close to the presidential palace and the Ministry of Justice.

Atmar said that the coordinated attacks struck the city over a span of two hours and 45 minutes and that they targeted civilians.

And the threat continued at 1 p.m., when three attackers took over Bayman Hotel, Atmar said. More than two hours later, Afghan security forces killed the men, he said.

At least two insurgents were killed at the shopping center, NATO-led forces said in a news release, which also said that Afghan national police had secured all roads in the area.

A separate news release condemned the attack, which NATO-led forces said took place amid many civilians. Atmar, the Minister of Defense and chief of the National Security Department also condemned the violence.

The Taliban claimed that they killed 31 officials and injured 31 people. Their account could not be immediately independently verified.

The terrorist group also disputed the government on the number of its militants killed. Five militants had died and 13 had returned to their safe houses, the Taliban's Mujahid said, adding that two were still fighting.

But Zmaray Bashari, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said security forces had restored Kabul to normalcy by Monday afternoon.

Monday's assault followed weekend violence that killed at least three international troops and 14 militants in Afghanistan, authorities said.

Activists protest insult of Karpal Singh's disability

Penang DCM II mandore’s peanuts politics but no land for all 28 Tamil schools.

Yet again this MIC style politics but this time by the Penang DAP DCM II Indian mandore on his Towkay Kapitan Lim Guan Eng’s instructions (refer Makkal Osai 18/1/10 at page 6). This Penang DCM II Indian mandore makes pledges of peanuts RM 1.75 Million for the year 2010 for all the 28 Tamil schools in Penang and said he would go around dishing out this RM 1.75 Million to the respective schools and would probably get 28 bites at this the “wayang kulit” cherry. This is if this RM 1.75 Million actually filters down to these Tamil schools. As for the year 2009 budget of RM 1.5 was promised Million for these 28 Tamil schools. We doubt even 30% of the same reached these 28 Tamil schools in Penang. If Kapitan Lim Guan Eng had been transparent we would have known the truth. But he and the other PKR Indian Exco mandores in Selangor, PAS Indian Exco mandore in Kedah and the earlier DAP Indian Exco mandore in Perak all sidestep the real issues befalling on the Tamil schools ie land for all 28 Tamil schools in Penang, 98 in Selangor and 58 in Kedah is being denied by the Tuans and Towkay leadership of Penang, Selangor and Kedah

As they are powerless to get their Tuans and Towkay to alienate land to all these Tamil schools (which is 100% in their powers to alienate further to Section 76 of the National Land Code) so they end up playing these sort of MIC style wayang kulit peanut politics.

We see very little difference between this PR and the UMNO government ie no permanent solution but only temporary and piecemeal “showmanship by these the showcase Indian DCM II and Exco mandores.

P. Uthayakumar

penang-mandore

UMNO: Basic life necessities denied to Indian poor. In Sentul and nationwide.

UMNO: Basic life necessities denied to Indian poor. In Sentul and nationwide.

When the UMNO Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin visited Sentul on 16/1/2010 it is most shameful that even after 52 years of Independence from colonialism the Indians there have to beg for even the very basic life necessities from the neo colonialist UMNO as following:-

1) A room to conduct the final rites for deceased in especially low cost flats. (Note : In almost all of the low cost flats inhabited by the Indians nationwide a hall to conduct even their final rights have been denied to the poor Indians).

2) The Sentul crematorium be made into a modern one.

3) St. Joseph and Thambosamy Pillai Tamil Schools are to be made fully government aided Tamil schools.

4) Permanent land for hindu temples built before 2000.

5) That Kampong Tanah Lapang, the last traditional Indian village in Sentul and in fact in Kuala Lumpur be retained as the last Indian traditional village. This village was inhabitated by the Indian minority Railway workers who then dominated in the Malayan Railways and built the Railway network in Malaysia. This is the reward they get after 52 years.

(Note : There are scores of Malay and Chinese villages in Sentul and K.L but have been left alone and never demolished and their problems attended to because they both have the political power and the economic clout )

6) It is a shame that despite 52 years of independence from the British colonial masters and UMNO being able to built the world’s tallest Twin Towers which happens to be within sight of Sentul, the Indians in Sentul however have to suffer from even these very basic and elementary necessities of life.

And neither does the supposed multi-racial PKR, DAP and PAS top leaders and their 82 Opposition MPs’ bother to raise these critical Indian issues or seriously champion them especially when the victims’ misery, pain and sufferings are“merely felt by the Indians/Hindus”.

P. Uthayakumar

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PKR Selangor chasing Indian squatters away. (Sinar 5/1/10 page S5)


Many families will lose their jobs, cannot afford the increased cost of living in the proposed temporary relocation away at Lembah Subang and the other inconveniences.

They have been “temporarily” relocated into these longhouses for a good 20 years or so. And why do they now have to move to yet another temporary flats. Why can’t the PKR Selangor state government which has a moral duty to properly house it’s poor, landless and homeless give these Indian poor a permanent solution as opposed to trying to push through another UMNO style temporary solution and never ending story.

The state government can pay their rentals for these Indians to stay in and around their present area vide an agreement until their flats are built. Why chase them away and offer temporary solutions which either is to drag on for may be another 20 years if not being denied the flats at all like what UMNO had been doing for the previous 50 years.

How is PKR, DAP and PAS any different from UMNO vis a vis the Indians?

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pkr-selangor-21

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PKR Selangor MB destroys hindu cemetery, human bones strewn about.

After the Hindu cemetery at Ladang Batu Pekaka at Kuala Ketil was discriminately demolished last month by the Pakatan Rakyat led PAS Kedah state government, it is now the turn of the PKR Selangor government to demolish the Kampong Sungai Bakau, Rawang hindu cemetery in the 80 over year old rubber estate which has buried 200 over former rubber tappers (Sinar 7/1/10 at page S14).

There is zero respect for this hindu cemetery. Why doesn’t PKR DAP or PAS try demolishing a Muslim, Chinese or Christian cemetery. The economically and politically weak Indians are seen as soft targets by both PKR, DAP and PAS and also by UMNO.

Why these atrocities?

So what: “after all they are the poor Indians” seems to be the stand of PKR, DAP and PAS! In collaboration with UMNO!

P. Uthayakumar

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Church attacks : 17 Muslim & 13 Christian NGOs refused to condemn hindu temple arson

ndiscriminate demolishments or relocated next to sewerage ponds which has been going on with impunity at an accelerated rate in especially last ten years. And neither has the PKR, DAP and PAS top leadership any history of defending any of these hindu temples. In fact last month the PAS Kedah state government demolished the Hindu Crematorium at Ladang Batu Pekaka in Kuala Ketil. Whereas the Selangor PKR state governments demolished the Ampang and Shah Alam hindu temples and also the Kg. Sg Bakau, Rawang hindu crematorium.

In One Malay-sia there is one rule for the Indians/ Hindus and another rule for the rest of the people of Malaysia. Caring and Civil society in Malaysia?

P. Uthayakumar

church-attacks

Chitrakala: MIED AGM 2010

The Traveler, Monday, January 18, 2010

MIED finally held its official annual general meeting, this morning, with 26 attendee’s out of 31 members.

As expected, former MIC deputy president S Subramaniam, Ex-gang leader Vickneswaran Sanasee, Maha Thirudan Mahalingam and Supermom Chitrakala Vasu, former MIED CEO, mother of four kids having interest in 13 companies from Auto Service company to National Service Camp, were absent.



Also, absent from the meeting was Ambigaipagan who recently quit all his positions in AIMST and MIED.

Surprisingly, Sothinathan who severed his ties with Samy Vellu during the MIC elections was also present lending his support to Samy Vellu. This will be a new twist for the one time blue eye boy of Samy Vellu.

Sources said, the meeting ended in 10 minutes after passing the accounts.

In the mean time, Makkal Osai Tamil daily wacked Samy Vellu highlighting several MIED issues, today.


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Najib Set To Create History With Chennai Visit

By B.Anbumani

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's four-day visit to India beginning Tuesday is historic in that he will be the first Malaysian prime minister to make an official trip also to Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, in southern India.

Before this, only Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, when he was the Malaysian prime minister, had held a brief unofficial meeting in 1983 with then Tamil Nadu chief minister M.G.Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR in his heyday as a Tamil film actor.


Newspapers in India, based in New Delhi and Chennai, have begun to give wide coverage to the forthcoming visit of Najib, whom they describe as a reformist prime minister.

The Indian media report that Najib's first official visit to India since becoming Malaysia's sixth prime minister last year will give new hope and fresh confidence to efforts to strengthen bilateral ties.

While the Indians in Tamil Nadu are looking forward to the maiden visit of a Malaysian prime minister to Chennai, the Indian Malaysian community in Malaysia is also impressed with Najib's approach to put Chennai on his itinerary.

This is because the Indian Malaysian community in Malaysia has had close ties with Tamil Nadu for years in terms of blood relationships, friendship, culture, religion and business.

As such, Najib's visit to Tamil Nadu is expected to get extraordinary media coverage.

It is understood that many Malaysian businessmen doing business in Chennai or Malaysia are deeply touched by Najib's decision to visit Chennai.

"He has proved himself to be the prime minister of all the communities through the 1Malaysia concept. Usually, (New) Delhi will the focus but for the first time a Malaysian prime minister will make an official visit to Chennai. Najib's open policy will mark a new chapter in relations between Malaysia and Tamil Nadu," said a Malaysian businessman running a textile business in Kuala Lumpur.

What's certain is that Najib's visit to Chennai during the ongoing "ponggal" (harvest) festival in Tamil Nadu will surely give new hope to both sides.

The highlight of the Chennai visit is a meeting between Najib and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister "Kalaignar" M. Karunanidhi, which will be another historic occasion in Kuala Lumpur-Chennai ties.

Karunanidhi is a popular leader among the Indian community around the world. He is also a poet, writer and expert in Indian literature well respected among the Indian community worldwide.

The meeting between Najib and Karunanidhi is expected to touch on issues related to tourist visas for Malaysian and Indian tourists, business opportunities in Chennai and Kuala Lumpur, and permits for the small business sector such as restaurants, hairdressing salons and so on.

Najib is also scheduled to meet with Malaysian businessmen as well as students, and this will be the first time the students will be able to have a face-to-face interaction with their prime minister.

Besides addressing the 16th CII Global Partnership Summit 2010, Najib is expected to hold a round-table discussion with several leading businessmen in India and open a Malaysian property exposition in Chennai.

Nazri says too late for dialogue on ‘Allah’

By Debra Chong - The Malaysian Insider


KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Contrary to public opinion, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz (picture) thinks the court is the only way to bring an end to the “Allah” debate.

While his Cabinet colleagues, including fellow Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Jamil Khir Baharom, have been pushing to bring religious leaders to the table to settle the simmering stew, Nazri says it is too late for a dialogue.

“It’s too late. I’ve mentioned it many times,” the minister in charge of law and parliamentary affairs said when asked his opinion on the best way to resolve dilemma, which appears to be pitting the Malaysian Muslim community against the non-Muslims.

“It was the failure of the rundingan that resulted in the matter being brought to court,” he pointed out.

“It’s not the fault of the government. Let it be known that it was Tan Sri Pakiam, not the government, who brought the matter to court,” Nazri stressed.

The Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Reverend Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam representing the Roman Catholic Church had taken the federal government to court after the home minister banned the church newspaper from publishing the word “Allah” three years ago.

The High Court, had on December 31 last year, ruled that Herald had the constitutional right to publish the word in the Christian publication,to cater to its Bahasa Malaysia-speaking followers.

If there was to be any out-of-court settlement over the “Allah” row, Pakiam, as the official publisher of Herald — the Catholic Weekly, must make the first move, the government minister added.

“I got no choice as the minister in charge of law. Because of Tan Sri Pakiam, I must be the person to advise the government that we must use the courts-lah,” Nazri, who is also Padang Renggas MP said.

He said if he did not take that stand, the public would also lose their confidence in the country’s judiciary system.

“If I don’t do that, people may say, ‘Apa ini, menteri undang-undang tak konfiden dengan mahkamah ke? (What is this, the law minister is not confident with the court?)” Nazri added, half-jokingly.

“We must respect the system. So I’m using the court system to appeal the court decision,” he said.

Nazri did not reply when asked if he had read for himself the written grounds of judgment by High Court judge Datuk Lau Bee Lan which was released last week.

Instead, he noted that the judge is not a Muslim, and had ruled over a matter that concerned the “akidah” (faith) of the Muslim community.

“You must study the psyche of the Malays. The Chinese can be Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, no problem, but the Malays, the race itself is defined in the Constitution,” he said.

“Who is a Malay? In the Constitution, a Malay is one: a Muslim; two: speaks Malay and three: practises Malay culture. In the Constitution, there can’t be a Malay who is not a Muslim. Anything at all, any suspicion will confuse the ordinary Malays. They become so protective because Malay and Islam cannot be separate,” Nazri pointed out.

The Umno man said in the Borneo states the people had embraced the “1 Malaysia” concept a long time ago, unlike in the west where racial lines are still very apparent.

“I’m very liberal, I’m very confident, but if I try to explain to them... no way,” Nazri disclosed, referring to his contituents when asked how real the worry was that Christians would try and convert Muslims if the High Court ruling was upheld.

“For us,” he said, signalling to the reporters surrounding him at a post-launch press conference for consumer awareness on public transportation at the inter-city bus hub, a five-minute walk from Masjid Jamek, “it’s only a word. But for a Malay, it’s not. It’s their psyche.”

“Those people not in politics, they can say anything. But people like me, I depend on my voters,” the federal lawmaker said.

“I may look liberal but my constituents are not,” he added.

“Actually, in my opinion, I prefer to let it be,” Nazri continued.

“If everyone prays to Allah, they’ll all be Muslim. It’s a good ploy for Muslims to convert non-Muslims,” he quipped.

By whose standards?

Afghanistan, Turkey and Malaysia, all Muslim countries. But they have different rulings on even such a ‘simple’ thing as the tudung. And all three countries have religious scholars who have issued religious decrees. But why is it not consistent? Why the differences?

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Did you watch the debate between Khalid, Yusri and Marina on Al Jazeera (watch the debate here)?

There are many reports and videos on this same matter but today I would like to talk about this one in particular. This is because, first of all, I personally know all three personalities and, secondly, because of what these three personalities represent.

Khalid is a PAS (Islamic Party of Malaysia) Member of Parliament. So he is supposed to represent the extreme, uncompromising, radical, intolerant face of Islam (as what most people view PAS to be). Yusri is ABIM (Islamic Youth Movement), a product of UIA (International Islamic University) as well as MCKK (Malay College Kuala Kangsar; a ‘secular’ school), plus one-time personal assistant to Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (the founder President of PKR; a non-race-based, multi-ethnic liberal party). Marina (the daughter of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) is Sisters-in-Islam (whom many Malays view as ‘deviant’ Muslims).

It is therefore quite a ‘mixed bag’ and represents the two extremes of Malay-Islam with the ‘in between’, if you know what I mean. In other words, the three can be viewed as almost representing the entire cross-section of Malay-Islam. At least that is what the ‘normal’ perception would be.

Surprisingly, Marina did not ‘let loose’ as she is quite capable of doing and what I thought she would do. She actually held back quite a bit and I felt she was happy just allowing Khalid and Yusri to say their piece without ‘adding to the heat’. Khalid took the liberal and more accommodating stand while Yusri spoke as if he and not Khalid was PAS. In other words, Khalid and Yusri ‘switched roles’.

What Yusri said was a repeat of what many others also said since the ‘Allah controversy’ first exploded. He said things like: this is the Islamic tradition, this is what the ulamak (religious scholars) say, this is the fatwah (religious decree), and so on. Now, notice, he did not say: this is my opinion. He said this is the tradition and this is what the experts say.

This strengthens the argument that I have been putting forward in that Muslims do not dare think for themselves or rationalise the issue. They ‘hide’ behind what others say and justify this by saying that the ‘experts’ have made their ruling so let us go with what the experts have ruled.

And this has always been the problem with religion, all religions, for thousands of years. ‘They dare to be different’ is not the catch-phrase of religionists. ‘We follow without question’, is.

Okay, let us go with Yusri’s argument, a man whom I have great respect for and whom I actually quite like (and whom I always enjoy bullying since he is my junior in MCKK and in the MCKK ‘tradition’ the seniors are allowed to bully the juniors and the juniors are supposed to take it without a whimper).

Hmm…there we go…tradition. And since Yusri is a great defender of tradition I am sure he will not oppose this MCKK tradition as well. After all, Megat Najmuddin is also my senior in MCKK and in the MCKK tradition I allow him to whack me without whacking him back. (Remember he asked me to come home and surrender myself and go to jail?)

Anyway, today I want to discuss the Islamic tradition and opinions of ulamak and religious decrees, which Yusri and many others talk about. And my question is: by whose standards are they talking?

Let me give you an example or two of what I mean so that you can understand my question.

At the height of the (second) Wahhabi uprising against the Ottoman Colonialists of the Arabian Peninsula soon after the First World War and just before the Second World War (read the story of Lawrence of Arabia), it was the Islamic ‘tradition’ to put to death all non-Wahhabi Muslims. The joint Wahhab-Saud forces swept across the Arabian Peninsula and while all Jews, Christians and ‘others’ were spared, the Muslims who were not Wahhabis were slaughtered. In fact, the town of Taif was put to the sword and every man, woman and child, including livestock, were massacred. Nothing was spared.

That was the Islamic ‘tradition’ then, 100 years or so ago, at least as far as the Wahhabi Muslims were concerned. So, as I said, according to whose standards are we making our judgment? According to which Islamic ‘tradition’ do we base our decision on? The ulamak had spoken. Religious decrees were issued. So was it right or wrong to massacre all Muslims not of the Wahhabi faith while non-Muslims were spared?

In 1932, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded and Wahhabi Islam became the official religion of the Kingdom, just like Sunni Islam is the official religion of Malaysia. The Federation of Malaya was founded in 1957 followed by Malaysia in 1963. So Saudi Arabia was first. Malaysia came later. But Malaysia did not adopt Wahhabi Islam as the official religion of the country. Why? Why did the Malay religious scholars not follow the religious scholars of Saudi Arabia seeing that the seat of Islam is Mekah and Medina, both in Saudi Arabia?

So you see, there are scholars and there are scholars. And Islam is not just Islam. Islam comes in many ‘forms’, for want of a better word. And it all depends on your belief as to which Islam is the ‘correct’ version of Islam as far as you are concerned.

So, to say that this is what the scholars have decided and that this is the religious decree issued is not the end of the matter. You do not win the debate by arguing that this is what the scholars have decided and this is the religious decree they issued. It depends on when, where, who and why. And it also depends on what you believe in. So how do you regulate belief? It can’t be done as what the Malay-Muslims of Malaysia would like us to believe.

In short, you can’t argue that this has been decided and this is final. It may be as far as you are concerned. But who are you to impose the same on me?

When television was first introduced, the Saudi Scholars refused to allow television to come into the country -- just like Rais Yatim says that the Internet is a western invention that will erode our Malaysian culture.

It took many years for the ruling elite to convince the Saudi scholars to allow television to come into the country. Finally they agreed to compromise. But television can only broadcast ‘filtered’ news, religious programmes and Quran recitals (now football as well). But they can’t broadcast movies and entertainment programmes, until today.

This was the opinion of the religious scholars or ulamak. This was their religious decree or fatwah. It is considered ‘politically correct’ for Saudi Arabia, the seat of Islam. So why does Malaysia not also follow the rulings of the Saudi scholars? Are these scholars wrong when they know Islam better than any non-Arabic speaking Malaysian like our Minister of Information?

The Saudi scholars also refused to allow planes to land in Saudi Arabia. People who wanted to perform their pilgrimage to Mekah had to take a ship (kapal haji). It was not until later that the Saudi scholars compromised and allowed an airline company to be formed and for foreign planes to land in Saudi Arabia. But the Saudi airline company may not employ local Saudi women as stewardesses and there must not be any liquor on board the plane -- like MAS, the airlines from Malaysia, another country where Islam is the official religion.

I can go on and on; such as women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia and they can’t leave home alone and unescorted by a member of the family and so on and so forth. In Malaysia, the scholars have not ruled the same or issued any religious decree to that affect.

The point I am making is you can’t win an argument by saying that this is the opinion of the religious scholars and this is what they decreed because in different places, and at different times, different scholars have ruled differently. So what standards are you using for Malaysia when you talk about the Islamic tradition and religious decrees and whatnot?

In Afghanistan, another Muslim country, they beat women who do not wear a headdress (tudung) in public. In Turkey, yet another Muslim country, they ban women from using a headdress. Women must remove their headdress before entering the university compound or else they would be denied entry. One lady Member of Parliament was escorted out of the Turkish Parliament building because she refused to remove her headdress. In Malaysia, it is your choice to wear it or not. It is not compulsory and neither is it banned.

Afghanistan, Turkey and Malaysia, all Muslim countries. But they have different rulings on even such a ‘simple’ thing as the tudung. And all three countries have religious scholars who have issued religious decrees. But why is it not consistent? Why the differences?

In other words, whose standards do we apply? Afghanistan’s, Turkey’s or Malaysia’s?

The Malays will say we are Malaysians so we apply Malaysian standards. But why Malaysian standards? Does Malaysia have a monopoly on heaven? Is there a verse in the Quran that even mentions Malaysia by name? I have read the Quran from cover to cover so many times but I can’t find Malaysia mentioned anywhere. Okay, you may argue that reading the Quran alone is not enough. We also need to read the Hadith. Okay, then show me one Hadith, just one, that mentions Malaysia.

What if I were to argue that Prophet Muhammad was an Arab and the Quran is in Arabic so I would trust the Arabs more than the Malays, Afghans or Turks? I did not say I agree with this argument, I am just saying what if I were to argue that? And what if I argue: therefore I insist I follow the Arab ‘tradition’, which means the Wahhabi version of Islam?

Ah, then you will say that I am a deviant who has strayed from Islam and JAKIM will make a police report against me and ask that the police arrest me and send me to Kamunting, yet again, for religious rehabilitation. And I am yet to even say I want to follow the Iranian version of Islam and that I believe Shia is the correct version of Islam and that Ali is the real Caliph of Islam who, through a conspiracy by Abu Bakar, Omar and Osman, was denied his right to rule Medina as the First Caliph.

Why must we impose our belief on others? To argue that this is what the scholars have decided and this is their religious decree, like what Yusri did, does not solve the problem. To you your religion and to me, mine, as what the Quran would argue. You have your scholars and I have mine. You believe whatever religious decrees you want to believe in and leave me to believe in whatever decrees I wish to believe in.

I once had lunch at McDonalds in Washington DC with a renowned Muslim scholar. This man was one of the ‘brains’ behind the setting up of Malaysia’s International Islamic University (UIA). He ordered a beef burger and I ordered fish. He laughed and said he knows why I ordered fish and not beef.

“It is okay, brother Raja,” he said. “Beef is halal. Any meat other than khinzir (pork) slaughtered by People of the Book is halal for us to eat. But I have spent many years in Malaysia and I know Malaysian Muslims very well.”

“But how do you know it was a Christian or Jew who slaughtered the cow? It could have been someone not of the Book,” I replied.

“Why question so much? You should not always be suspecting and question everything. Why forbid what God has allowed?”

Anyway, being the Malaysian that I am, I still insisted on a fish burger.

After lunch, we went for Friday prayers and I was at a loss as to how to take my ablution in the very tiny washbasin without flooding the extremely dry washroom. I was about to take off my shoes so that I could wash my feet in the washbasin when my Saudi Arabian scholar friend stopped me and asked me to follow exactly what he does.

He then took a Kleenex tissue, damped it, and used it to wipe the top of his shoes. He handed me a tissue and I also did the same. We then took off our shoes and entered the mosque to pray.

In Malaysia they would send me for religious rehabilitation if I did that. In the US, Saudi Arabian scholars who have memorised the Quran by heart do that.

So, again, which scholar are you asking me to follow? And which Islamic ‘tradition’ are we talking about?

Over to you, my good friend Yusri of ABIM, MCKK and UIA. By whose standards?