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Saturday, January 23, 2010

UK terrorist threat level raised to 'severe' - BBC

Alan Johnston: "The number one job of the government is to keep the public safe"

The UK terror threat level is being raised from "substantial" to "severe", Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said.

The new alert level means a terrorist attack is considered "highly likely". It had stood at substantial since July.

It is in response to the perceived increased threat from international terrorism following the failed Detroit airliner bombing on Christmas Day.

Mr Johnson stressed there was no intelligence to suggest a terrorist attack was imminent.

The decision to raise the threat level was made by the UK's Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC).

THREAT LEVEL SYSTEM
Low - attack is unlikely
Moderate - attack is possible, but not likely
Substantial - attack is a strong possibility
Severe - attack is highly likely
Critical - attack is expected imminently

Mr Johnson said JTAC kept the threat level under constant review, making its judgments based on a broad range of factors, including the intent and capabilities of international terrorist groups in the UK and overseas.

He said: "We still face a real and serious threat to the UK from international terrorism, so I would urge the public to remain vigilant and carry on reporting suspicious events to the appropriate authorities and to support the police and security services in their continuing efforts to discover, track and disrupt terrorist activity."

Mr Johnson said the new level meant people needed to be "more aware".

The decision to raise the threat level was not specifically linked to the failed Christmas Day bomb attack on a plane bound for Detroit or to any other incident, he said.

He said the government would not reveal specific intelligence details.

"We never say what the intelligence is and it would be pretty daft of us to do that," he said, adding: "It shouldn't be thought to be linked to Detroit or anywhere else for that matter."

But the UK had not reached the highest threat level of "critical", which would mean an attack was imminent.

Move mirrors US

He added: "We have a very adept and very focused counter terrorism facility in this country, which consists of many police officers as well as security officers, so the public should be reassured by that."

The US Department of Homeland Security said the move meant the UK would be on a similar level of alert to America.

ANALYSIS
Frank Gardner
Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent

Essentially four factors have prompted this: capability of terrorists looking to attack this country; their intent; the timing and the intelligence.

It is a bit of a spin off - it is not directly related but it's following the alleged attempt to bring down an airliner on Christmas Day in Detroit coupled with a lot of the intercepted signals coming out of al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen.

Measures were introduced last week to try to choke off any potential threat from Yemen.

But it is a wider picture - a kind of hubbub of raised chatter which, one has to assume, is being intercepted by eavesdropping agencies, that is all feeding into a big pot.

This is distilled by something called the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC) which sits inside MI5 24 hours a day, seven days a week, analysing the threat to Britain and its nationals.

They have concluded there is enough out there to raise it to the second highest level.

In a statement it said: "The UK is raising their measures to effectively where we are with the airport security measures that we have taken and announced over the last few weeks.

"We have enhanced our security measures and communicated specific information to industry, law enforcement and the American people."

BBC home affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford said the perceived threat from Yemen since the Christmas day attempted attack may be one factor behind the decision to raise the threat level.

But he added that there might be additional factors which have not been revealed by the government.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced on Wednesday that direct flights between Yemen and the UK were to be suspended over fears about their safety.

The change in threat level comes days ahead of two major international conferences on Yemen and Afghanistan in London on Wednesday and Thursday.

There are five levels of terror threat, ranging from low - meaning an attack is unlikely - to critical - when an attack is expected imminently. Severe is the second highest level on the scale.

The threat level was first made public on 1 August 2006, when it was set at severe. It was raised to critical on 10 August that year after a series of arrests over an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic aircraft but lowered to severe again the following week.

The threat level was last at critical in June 2007, following the attack on Glasgow Airport and the failed car bombings in central London.

As Sodomy II looms, feisty Anwar charms rural Perak

Anwar, on possibly borrowed time and a charm offensive. — file pic

By Clara Chooi - The Malaysian Insider

IPOH, Jan 23 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim promised last night to bring reforms and to turn the country’s economy around within six months if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is voted into power, pointing out that the coalition of PAS, PKR and DAP were prepared to carry on even if he is sent to jail.

Speaking before large crowds at two separate rallies in Slim River and Sungai Manik here, he said PR’s strategies and plans were already in place, in preparation for the possibility that he may again be jailed because of the sodomy charges against him.

“I know; they want to kill me off. They say that Anwar is dangerous for when he speaks, the Malays listen, and he also commands the support of those in PKR, PAS and DAP.

“So they plan to expedite my trial and throw me behind bars, to get rid of me. But let me say this — Najib, do not think you are God,” he said.

Anwar said that plans and strategies had already been ironed out among the parties of the PR coalition.

“So you can drag me to jail but we have agreed that should this happen, our fight will be even stronger. We will fight you (BN) to the end,” he said.

He also told the thousands in attendance that his colleagues in the PR would stay the course, despite his upcoming trial.

The opposition leader indirectly noted that his trial could very well result in a conviction but promised that such an outcome would not mean the end of Anwar Ibrahim.

His upcoming Sodomy II case, a major corruption crackdown and PR being painted as anti-Islam have pushed the informal alliance to hold nationwide rallies to keep its support against a Barisan Nasional (BN) onslaught.

Anwar, the PR and PKR de facto leader, held two back-to-back rallies in Selangor earlier this week before heading north to Perak last night.

The former deputy prime minister, who led PR to a historic win of 82 parliament seats and five states, did not waste any time in demonising his former comrades in the Barisan Nasional.

“Actually, there is no need for me to give further explanation to you over Umno/BN’s reckless ways.

“What more can I say? We have a state, it gets grabbed; we have a stadium, it collapses; we have jet engines, they get stolen; we have Balasubramaniam, he goes missing; we have Altantuya but she gets exploded. What more explanation is needed?” he said, to rousing applause and laughter.

“Let me ask you today, how many former army servicemen are here in our midst? How much are your pensions? RM600? It is a shame to even say it. After 21 years of service and you earn RM600 while they, after working for just five minutes by signing a document, they get a commission in the hundreds of thousands. And yet, most former servicemen still support Umno,” he said.

He added that it was because of the BN’s incompetency and corrupt rule that Malaysia’s economy is in such rapid decline.

“We have lost our competitive edge. Let’s not talk about competing with economies like Japan and Korea.

“We have also lost to Thailand and Indonesia. When it comes to economic growth, the Indonesians have surpassed us.

“Why? Are we a poor nation? We do not have oil? No oil palm? No manpower? We have everything but it is because of our corrupt politicians who hoard power at the expense of the rakyat that has created this sad reality today.

“How can Malaysia arrive at a stage like this?” he said.

Anwar promised the crowd that if the PR took over Putrajaya, it would change all of BN’s corrupt policies and turn the country’s economy around.

“Give me six months and I promise you we will bring the most lucrative change that we can manage for the people and the country,” he said.

For a start, Anwar said, with a sardonic laugh, that he would take on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Selangor.

“Najib wants to take over Selangor and this is why, over the past few months, the Selangor government has been attacked from all directions.

“(Mentri Besar Tan Sri) Khalid (Ibrahim) told me, ‘Anwar, Najib has taken over as the Selangor Umno chief. We need your help’. Therefore, I have been appointed as the economic advisor for the state.

“Oh, this is good, very good, because now, I have entered the arena and Najib, I will take you on. Insyaallah, we will prevail there,” he said.

Husni: Malaysians ‘wrong’ to abandon country

By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani - The Malaysian Insider

Some 300,000 Malaysians left the country last year. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah today criticised Malaysians who have emigrated, saying it was “wrong” and insinuating that they were betraying the sacrifices of their forefathers.

Husni, who is second finance minister, explained that “our forefathers” settled here because they believed that their children would have a future in Malaysia.

“You and me, our children, we build our lives here and we have our homes here. This is our homeland. I get very sad when I hear we have people migrating to foreign shores. To me, this is wrong.

“Our forefathers have come here, many years ago, bearing much hardship and deprivation. Why did they endure this? Because they believed that their future generations will reap the fruits of having to live on this blessed land,” he said in his speech when launching the Annual Real Estate Agent Convention 2010 at PWTC here.

He then went on to dismiss public complaints as mere “discomfort”.

“There is much here to strive for, there are many reasons to stay. Our fathers have given up so much and they went through so much. Surely, our complaints are merely discomfort compared to their sacrifices.

“Let us build our future in this homeland of ours and work hard together to make things better,” he said.

Husni stressed that the government has always ensured that Malaysians are able to own their own homes.

“It has always been the government’s policy to ensure that every Malaysian is able to own his or her own home. Home-ownership is one of the most fundamental and basic tenets of a market economy.

“We do not want to see the establishment of a landlord class nor do we wish to see the prices of homes being out of reach for the average Malaysian.

“We do not want houses to be the subject of reckless speculation and the rise of an inflationary asset bubble. Every Malaysian must have every opportunity to own a home as a basis of his domestic comfort and financial security,” he said.

Husni pointed that government policies have made Malaysia into the country with the largest number of middle-class homeowners in the region.

“All these years, we have seen home-ownership grow tremendously amongst all races.

“Malaysia, in fact, has the largest number of middle-class homeowners in Southeast Asia. This, you will not get if you are a citizen of any other Asean country,” he said.

Husni also emphasised that he is confident the country will be able to reach the targeted five per cent economic growth for 2010.

He added that the Najib administration has always been a “listening government.”

“I want to let you know that you have a listening government. This government listens. We heard your voice in regards to the RPGT (real property gains tax). We responded accordingly.

“The prime minister had announced on De 23 last year that the five per cent RPGT would now only be imposed on properties sold within five years from the date of its purchase. I hope this is okay with all of you,” he said.

Malaysians bought up 20pc of several high-end property projects in UK and Australia. — Reuters pic

With many high-end condominium projects being launched in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysians were still opting to invest in foreign properties, especially in the UK and Australia.

These include projects such as the Lumiere Residences in Sydney, which is priced between A$1.16 million (RM3.59 million) to A$2.88 million (RM8.91 million) and the Waterline House and Woodberry Park apartments in London that start at £340,000 (RM1.856 million) and £199,950 (RM1.1 million) respectively. From a news report, Malaysians made up 20 per cent of all buyers in November last year.

According to sources, one Kuala Lumpur office of a London-based real estate agency managed to garner sales of UK properties worth £70 million (RM382 million) last year and expects to do £140 million (RM764 million) this year.

Meanwhile, 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.

However, interest in these real estate markets is not only limited to Malaysians but has become a trend among Asians, led by China.

Khalid says biding time to strike

“When the time is right to attack, we will attack.” — file pic

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian insider

SHAH ALAM, Jan 23 — Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim brushed aside today the attacks by fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin that the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leadership was slow to react against the ongoing assault by its political rivals.

The state’s PR government is currently facing an ongoing probe by graft-busters, MACC, and is also the target of a campaign by Umno portraying them as anti-Islam due to their moderate views on the “Allah” controversy.

PR have called it an onslaught to “destabilise” the state’s administration.

Talks are also rife that all this is part of a concerted bid to oust PR from the nation’s richest state and Raja Petra, a known PKR supporter, has been relentless in blasting Khalid and his allies for their supposed lack of eagerness to retaliate.

Khalid, however, said today that the coalition has different ways of doing things.

“The way we react to the Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) attacks is by doing our job (as a government), by calling for such an event as today’s,” he said in a press conference after launching a convention held by Selangor’s PKR women’s wing.

The event became a platform for the state’s government leaders to launch various programmes aimed at elevating the status of women in the state through education and skill instillation initiatives.

“What BN wants to do is unsettle us but our reaction to this is to keep doing our job. Voters of Selangor voted us [in] so we would perform,” he said.

Khalid and his administration have been energetic in their charm offensives, often going to the ground to directly engage voters and promote what his government has described as “people-oriented” policies.

Among some of the many policies are the free water programme and burial allowances for the state’s inhabitants.

PR are also attempting to introduce participatory events where the electorate and government officials can directly address local issues.

Khalid said PR was well equipped to retaliate but the coalition must play its cards right.

“When the time is right to attack, we will attack,” commented the Selangor MB.

Four nabbed over arson in Muar

Firefighters inspect the damage on a prayer hall in Muar. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — Four men, one of whom is a son of a police officer, were arrested today over the arson attempts at two suraus in Muar, Johor on Jan 21, according to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar.

In the attacks on Thursday, the Sirratulrahim Surau in Kampung Sabak Awor, Jalan Ismail suffered burns to a window and some curtains, while another surau in Parit Beting was also badly damaged, with scorch marks found on a door, a window, and carpet.

A police forensics team which took evidence at the first surau discovered traces of splashed kerosense at the site, leading to suspicions that the fires were intentionally set.

Political leaders have been quick in condemning the attacks in Johor.

Via a statement, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng slammed “the destructive behaviour of the perpetrator of such irresponsible attacks, who clearly intended to provoke suspicions among our multi-racial and multi-religious communities”.

The latest attacks come on the back of a lull in tempers following a Dec 31, 2009 High Court ruling that allowed Catholic weekly Herald to use the term “Allah” to describe the Christian God in their Bahasa Malaysia section.

The ruling sparked Muslim outrage across the country, as some Muslims claim that the term “Allah” is exclusive to Islam and must not be used by anyone else.

In the wake of the on-going controversy and prior to Thursday’s attacks, nine churches, a mosque, a surau, a Sikh temple and a convent school have been damaged by fire, paint or stones since Jan 8.

The government has appealed against the decision and obtained a stay of execution.

On Facebook, Twitter, and the death of Malaysian media

All government newspapers are tools of state propaganda. Even a first-year Universiti Sains Malaysia student of journalism can tell us that. Even a padi farmer in Arau can preach that pertinent point to his children. Those who buy and read government-owned newspapers are news junkies subjecting themselves to Official Knowledge crafted to suit the need of the owners of the means of producing propaganda.
A REPUBLIC OF VIRTUE
Azly Rahman
on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/
on twitter: http://twitter.com/azlyrahman
on blog: http://azlyrahman-illuminations.blogspot.com/

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.” (Noam Chomsky)

“The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.” (Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826)

Is the death of distance nearer to us than our jugular vein?

Which stream is the mainstream media drowning in? It has forced us to drink too much from the River of Forgetfulness. It has shaped the consciousness of Malaysian citizens - they are now happily indoctrinated, blessed to be alive in a totalitarian state and constantly reminded by the state to count their blessings.

Nicollo Machiavelli once said that, to maintain power, pretend that you are religious and moral, even if you are allowing the Devil within to take charge.

That public image must be doctored by the media, the fourth estate. ‘Perception management’ is big business, especially in this age of political makeovers.

The business of Asian-despotic style of journalism is to tell doctored, nursed, and massaged truths that mask the ugliness of class and the modern caste system.

Perhaps our system of education has helped us become educated at a level enough to consume truth that is produced by the state-owned media companies - to have enough education to believe that what is real is actually an illusion constructed by those who owns the means of constructing reality.

Basic literacy means to have enough skills to read the newspapers, never having the skills to question the truth produced by these artifacts of state-propaganda.

Death of state propaganda

Totalitarian regimes thrives on a seemingly ‘free media’. When the media become conglomerates and giants, gobbling up small alternative media that tells alternative truths, the people will be in danger. The media becomes a King Kong atop the Empire State building, arrogantly pounding its chest after gobbling up production-houses of little truths.

When media control becomes interlocked with political parties and business interests, the selling of lies and half-truths become more savvy, sophisticated and salivating. The story of poverty and why people become poor will not be told - the truth will hurt and bring governments down.

In the movie ‘Entrapment’, starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones, this point is made clear: we allow Hollywood to promote the Petronas Twin Towers and we make sure that the world does not see the ugliness of our bantusaan/setinggan areas.

But the point on the print and broadcast media was mainly relevant before the advent of the Internet - before the birth and proliferation of bloggers. We now have a post-modern condition that threatens the survival of whatever dignity and respect is left of the government-controlled media. Welcome to the age of the imminent death of state propaganda.

The story of how we discriminate flood victims and take advantage of the helpless will be told in greater detail. The story of how much we pay our voters in a democracy that is hideously deformed will be narrated, published, and pod-casted.

We are all, in our own way, turning into journalists telling our own truth. We will soon no longer need daily newspapers to tell us half-truths. We need our cell-phone cameras, our blogs, and our will to speak truth to power.

Gutenberg’s legacy

The Internet is now such a powerful medium that it is threatening the print media - the Gutenberg creation that is being crushed under its own weight. Never underestimate how the Internet will become a powerful tool that will transform nations or even bring down corrupt governments.

I recall in the summer of 1998, in a discussion with classmates interested in anthropology at Columbia University. I presented a scenario of the changes in Malaysia as the nation becomes ‘cybernated’.

Taking the Laman Reformasi and Free Anwar websites as cases in point, I argued that this will be the next wave of democracy and free speech. It is going to be a war between the Grand and the Subaltern narratives, between Print and Digital Technology, between the elite of the print media and the digital proletariats.

Manuel Castells, Lorenzo Simpson, and Robert McClintock - scholars of Internet and social change - have written a great deal on this.

The fast rate of Internet penetration in Malaysia will see the proliferation of ‘citizen journalists and commentators’ who will continue to exercise their rights to free speech. Nothing can stop the bloggers from providing alternative truths or truths that matter or even - as of late - truths and nothing the truths.

The bedrock of the print media will be shaken as the microbes of voices in the wilderness continue to brew. The screenshots of social change will become a collage of radical social criticism and become a tapestry of voices of conscience that will engulf print media from head to toe. Such is the case of the metaphor of change.

There is a sense of panic, fear and trembling of the world of Print and Broadcast Literacy that Cyberspace a.k. a. the Internet is threatening the foundation of how knowledge is produced and propaganda crafted.

Tools of domination

All government newspapers are tools of state propaganda. Even a first-year Universiti Sains Malaysia student of journalism can tell us that. Even a padi farmer in Arau can preach that pertinent point to his children. Those who buy and read government-owned newspapers are news junkies subjecting themselves to Official Knowledge crafted to suit the need of the owners of the means of producing propaganda.

All government newspapers are used to skillfully silence and kill opposing viewpoints, albeit couched in some proclamation of free speech. It has been used to engineer risings, uprisings and downfalls. It has been bought and sold by those who have the means to buy and sell politicians.

The same goes for the government-owned television stations. They are shapers of consciousness. As a professor of media Neil Postman once said about television, "… thanks to television… our children (have) four eyes and no mouth".

Look at what is shown on television. What are our children watching? How much are they reading? How much junk is being funneled daily into the heads of our children? Through the television programmes, how much money is spent by advertisers to shape us and our children into consumers; those who buy things they do not need and consequently suffer by having to crave for objects of desire that define the symbols of social class they are in?

How many television channels do one need? Who benefits from the selling of mental junk to our children?

Can't we Malaysians organise a week of no-newspapers and a week of no-television campaigns to teach us to flush out junk from our consciousness?

The print and broadcast media has become tools of mental domination and purveyor of the post-modern totalitarianism. Those who participate in owning, writing, producing, editing and selling the ideology are partners with the regime of totalitarianism. They have become a citizen of the state of ‘Oceania’ as in George Orwell's novel 1984. They are, in the word of media theorist Stuart Hall, decoders and encoders of state propaganda.

The Internet is different. It is a protean technology – it is multi-medium and still has the potential for more interactivity. It speaks to us and lets us speak - unlike newspapers, radio and television.

The death of distance is near. How much longer will newspapers and television survive?.

Warning and Information (Najib' visit to India)

I have reliable information that the recent visit to INDIA by Najib and govt delegates (UMNO/BN) is mainly to recruit IT professionals and hackers from India for a 3 year contract. It's estimated that more than 200 will be recruited at MYR300 million per annum.
By Wan (Putrajaya)

Dear MT Admin,
I have reliable information that the recent visit to INDIA by Najib and govt delegates (UMNO/BN) is mainly to recruit IT professionals and hackers from India for a 3 year contract. It's estimated that more than 200 will be recruited at MYR300 million per annum.
Their only task is to jeopardize, intercept and make blog sites and bloggers who are anti-govt handicapped. Since mass media which is govt-controlled and Internet and local blog media is out of govt's control, this time Najib and UMNO/BN out of desperation are going all out to weaken local anti-govt blog spheres and bloggers by having these IT pros and hackers to infect viruses and trojans into individual IP addresses through TMnet and Celcom Internet service providers. Najib, Hishamuddin and Rais Yatim, along with a few UMNO/BN cabinet ministers had a closed door meeting with Telekom and Celcom Top gun CEOs to discuss these matters before Najib left for India.
This is planned to affect login passwords, local publication access, slow down systems, and even to the extent of destroying data in hard disks if anyone accesses any anti-govt blog web sites and to avoid blog websites from posting anti-govt news.
This will not affect pro-govt blog sites due to the fact that the interception is based on IP and POP proxy addresses of individual sites and individual access. So, if you access pro-govt blog websites, you won't be affected. Out of desperation, Najib and the UMNO/ BN govt will ensure that Malaysians won't be able to access news from any anti-govt blog portals and these websites won't be able to publish the truth of their corrupt activities and strategies to topple the PR govt in the Internet local access.
Rais Yatim, DPM and Hishamuddin had recently touched on Blogs, Facebooks, and Twitters that can destroy our culture. Besides these they also plan to get the police and army to apply for MyKad identification cards mainly not due to petrol subsidies and other uses but for the coming GE to vote for BN. The recent Allah issue was also another plot by Najib and UMNO to gain more Malay support. Lately, the burning of 2 suraus in Muar is to anger the malays and also gain support. It's apparent that Najib and UMNO will try all means to remain in power to continue robbing the nation of its wealth for another term or longer.
The Mosques on Friday prayers and Islamic cheramahs were lately told to press on kafir issues for the years 2010 and 2011, mainly for UMNO to gain Malay Muslim support. Buying over key politicians and representatives and voters from PR govt is also part of their plan to weaken the opposition so that they can remain in power. They also have plans to increase the incomes and allowances of all royal family discreetly, to gain support to remain in power.

To mourn or not to mourn

When I am asked to mourn for him as a Johorean, the fundamental question is bound to be asked of myself: what loss is it to me personally?

By A patriotic Johorean

When my son of Primary 1 woke up early this morning, he was faced with a dilemma: to school or not to school. It was so happened that his school has designated this Saturday as replacement school day for the long Chinese New Year break. And the news the previous evening of Johor sultan gravely ill is his source of dilemma. If he indeed had passed away by then, it was certainly an off-day for the school. As it turned out eventually, it was a 'happy' day for him as HRH has indeed passed away.

And for me a Johorean, I am faced with an even bigger dilemma: to mourn or not to mourn. It is a sad day whenever anyone passes away. In this case, I am sad that HRH has passed away as surely it's a great loss to his family and circle of friends. Every passing life is a loss to me.

But when I am asked to mourn for him as a Johorean, the fundamental question is bound to be asked of myself: what loss is it to me personally? As the Sultan of Johor and, for a period of time, Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia, what has the HRH done in discharging his duties? All of us exist for a role, being a father, a mother, a child, an employer, an employee or a sultan and king. We strive to give our best under each role for a meaningful life.

My impression of the HRH are listed as follows: his name was used in Iskandar Malaysia economic development zone, which was originally called South Johor Economic Region but the name change was never explained; his fondness to be displayed in military attire although I do not know his military skills or achievements; riding and showing off on a large motorbike during Merdeka parade. And that's it, really.

But then I read many commentaries and analysis of Malaysia's history especially during his tenure as Agong. First, he was alleged to have assaulted a golf caddy and caused the latter's death, simply because the latter laughed at him after seeing HRH miss a golf hole. The incident was promptly noted by the then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir, but he did not take any action again the HRH. A great expert of manipulation and maneuver in politics, Dr Mahathir exploited HRH's vulnerability when needed. The moment came in 1988 when Dr Mahathir wanted to sack the Lord President Salleh Abas, who headed the judiciary that had become an obstacle in Dr Mahathir's fight with his strong opponent Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. HRH, who was then the Agong, complied and sacked Salleh Abas. That was the moment when Malaysia's judiciary, which at that time enjoyed worldwide respect for its integrity and sound judgements, took a dramatic turn and started its disastrous decline until today. You can almost say the rot started then, under the hand of HRH.

HRH had failed to discharge his duty as the Agong to protect the judges from interference of the Executive. This failure of HRH was confirmed when HRH invited Salleh Abas to the Johor palace four years after the incident and sought Salleh Abas's forgiveness, according to Salleh Abas himself.

(The recent book, Malaysian Maverick, by Barry Wain has a detailed account of what has transpired then. Or visit Wikipedia.)

So, what loss have I, a patriotic Johorean and Malaysian, on HRH's demise? To mourn or not to mourn, indeed.

Let's See if PDRM and/or MACC got the balls to batch this loan shark (ah long)

I work for an engineering company and the company has got jobs but not enough money to execute them. So, my boss, after trying very hard to get some bank loans and failed had no choice but to borrow some money from a loan shark. This arsehole charges 13% per month and my boss struggles to pay salaries for us. I have not received my salary for the last 5 months but just trickles in at RM$200 or $300 to maintain myself and my family. This has been going on for a long time now.

By Anti-loansharks

Now the loan shark sends thugs to threaten my boss to collect interest on a RM70,000.00 loan he has taken and my boss has repaid RM120,000.00 to this loan shark already.

The mighty loan shark is Dato’ Veerapan A/L Muthaiyah, NRIC No. xxxxxx-xx-xxxx, who lives in Bandar Baru Selayang, driving a car 1129, brags that he has paid RM50,000.00 for his Datoship and paid RM20,000.00 under the table to custom officers for his Mercedes S320 and got the car for a mere RM120,000.00 from the customs yard. ( I have lost all respect for the Sultan who for a mere RM50,000.00 has given this lorry driver a Datoship who has not done any good for anyone.)

He even bravely says “go report if you want, we know how to handle the police”. This is how our beloved IGP has grown the loan sharks locally. This idiot from Johor, having had a transport business before has become Batu Caves Temple’s committee member and owns 3 shops inside the temple grounds under the name “Lucky Star Cash and Carry” and escapes taxation with flowery audit reports has become ruthless and merciless. (Batu Caves Temple’s regulation is that one can only have one shop lot inside the temple grounds which is gravely violated.)

It is very simple to get this arsehole:

  1. Get a warrant to search his car, and get hold of the many different company cheques he holds.
  2. If he does not have any documents to prove he is doing business with these companies, why should he be holding their cheques? (He holds about 4 chequebooks from the company I work and am willing to testify to this.)
  3. He maintains 2 journals which has all the information of who he loans to and their phone numbers and how much he loaned etc. (One book he keeps in his house and another he carries in his car.) I am very sure many of them will be willing to testify against this loan shark who have been suffering to pay his 13% per month take.
  4. Lucky Star Cash and Carry maintains an account at RHB Bank Selayang and his personal savings and fixed deposits are maintained at HSBC Jalan Ipoh.
  5. It will be so easy for the PDM and/or MACC to check this and find out how much tax he pays.
Now with this information, lets see if the IGP has got the balls to get this arsehole or just have a cup of tea with him to collect his dues. For the IGP, the PDRM and MACC to earn their respects, lets see if they can get this guy. Or maybe they need an official complaint to open a file!!!??

Greater unity under a Middle Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: Lim Kit Siang said the Middle Malaysia concept mooted by DAP stresses national transformation in bracing future economic challenges while more effectively uniting all Malaysians.

He said we must not interpret the new economic model purely from economic perspectives, but must first put in place a new model of governance.

“Although prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has proposed a new economic model, the many issues that have taken place lately such as the disappearance of military aircraft engine and the ‘Allah’ issue have shown that the Barisan Nasional government does not have a new model of governance to give rise to a new economic model”

He said during an interview with Sin Chew Daily that Middle Malaysia means the majority of Malaysians.

“If Middle Malaysia could get the support of majority of people, it would create a favourable prerequisite for the country to face future economic challenges.”

He said the continued deterioration of Malaysia’s global competitiveness shows that investors’ confidence in the country’s system was sliding. At the same time, the country’s ranking in Transparency International’s corruption perception index also went down last year.

“Countries like China have made significant improvements in both the ranking and score in the corruption perception index,” he said, adding that cases like a senior judge sentenced to life imprisonment in China would never happen in Malaysia.

“People’s Champion” only serves to consolidate the support of Malay grassroots

He said the People’s Champion campaign initiated by UMNO was meant to consolidate the support of Malay grassroots, not tailored towards the needs of all Malaysians.

He said that was just UMNO’s political gimmick for the Malays which was going against the 1Malaysia principles.

“Does the People’s Champion campaign launched by UMNO conform to the 1Malaysia spirit? Why was this campaign carried out only by UMNO and not the entire Barisan Nasional?”

He felt the campaign had been launched by UMNO with the next general elections in mind.

“UMNO’s biggest objective has been to consolidate its support and status among the Malays so that it can continue to rule after the next general elections.”

He felt that Najib was conscious of the implications of the RAHMAN predictions that after he took over as the country’s sixth prime minister, the RAHMAN predictions would be materialised, and that he could be the last prime minister from UMNO.

He said all new prime ministers would come up with some kind of new slogans, such as Dr Mahathir’s “clean, efficient and reliable government” in 1981 had helped him secure a landslide victory in the first general election after taking over the office.

Tun Abdullah, meanwhile, also came up with an impressive manifesto that saw him scoring the best ever results for BN in the general elections.

1Malaysia fails to manifest itself

“The 1Malaysia concept mooted by PM Najib may not get the desired results. Malaysians are not against the 1Malaysia concept, but the concept fails to manifest itself in many issues.”

He also said Pakatan Rakyat would not disintegrate even if PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim were convicted in the sodomy case. Instead, he said the Pakatan leaders would boldly face the problems and make sure that the opposition pact would continue to forge ahead towards its target of running the federal administration.

He said that was why DAP had come up with the “Middle Malaysia” concept and stressed the importance of a “Middle Malaysia.”

“After the 2008 general elections, parties in the opposition pact came to the realisation that the establishment of Pakatan Rakyat had a pivotal role on the political development in this country. Anwar’s role was indeed very special prior to the 2008 elections. He brought PKR, DAP and PAS together. Without him, there wouldn’t have been Pakatan Rakyat.”

He said Pakatan had been established for almost two years now, and he believed the component parties realised the importance of the pact.

He said no one would like to see what UMNO like to see most, that is Anwar would be convicted and jailed, and completely taken out of politics.

However, even if something were to happen to Anwar, he believed Pakatan would not crumble because of that.

He said it was not time now to talk about the successor, as the more important thing was to consolidate the direction of Pakatan towards a “Middle Malaysia” so that it could win the confidence of more people and eventually take over the place of BN in the future.

Ku Li to lead Pakatan?

When asked whether DAP would replace both MCA and Gerakan to become the dominant party for Chinese Malaysians, Lim Kit Siang said, “I agree that MCA and Gerakan are going downhill now, especially in view of their failure to express their stand in the ‘Allah’ issue. However, DAP does not aspire to replace MCA or Gerakan in their gradually diminishing roles. Instead, we want to promote ‘Middle Malaysia’ to get the recognition from the new government, and this should lead the country towards a brighter tomorrow and greater openness.”

On rumours that if something were to happen to Anwar, Pakatan would likely pick Tengku Razaleigh as his successor, Lim Kit Siang said he knew many people were talking about this thing, but he didn’t want to speculate on this and there was no need for him to rebuke such presumptive questions either.

“Some people were saying this, and I heard it. But there is no reason that we must get someone from UMNO to lead Pakatan Rakyat.” (Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)

Terror Against Religious Freedom - the State’s Duty

The violent attacks against churches and other places of worship that ushered in 2010 have brought into sharp focus the intolerance of an unruly minority determined to destroy the delicate balance reached through compromise and consensus in a plural society by the founding fathers, which form a critical component of the social contract under the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land. Rage and emotion must not take centre stage of national life. Instead, a calm and reasoned analysis of the constitutional position of religious freedom, which has served the nation well for half a century, must be undertaken.

I suggest the following propositions:-

1. Islam is the religion of Malaysia but other religions can be freely practised;

2. All citizens have the right to freedom of speech and expression;

3. Everyone has the right to profess and practise a religion of his choice;

4 Every religious group has the right to manage its own religious affairs and activities, free from state interference, and the right to acquire and own property;

5. Every religious group has the right to establish schools and other educational institutions for the education of children in its own religion;

6. As religion is a state matter, there is no national head of Islam for the whole of Malaysia. Instead, the nine Malay rulers are the Heads of Islam in their respective states, and the Yang DiPertuan Agong is the Head of Islam of the Federal Territories;

7. As part of the religion of the nation, federal and state laws have been passed regulating the worship of Islam. Such laws however only extend to Muslims and do not apply to non-Muslims;

8. No similar laws have been enacted for religions other than Islam. Thus, insofar as religions other than Islam are concerned, there is a wall of separation between the state and those religions. It follows that state action cannot regulate or govern the practice of religions other than Islam.

9. It is therefore not the state’s business how religions other than Islam conduct their worship in the churches, temples or gurdwaras, how priests are trained or appointed, what religious books are read in places of worships, what songs are sung, what sermons are delivered and in what language and by whom, and the like. All these are matters solely and exclusively for the religious group to determine.

10. The right of every person to profess and practise a religion of his choice, and for every religious group to govern its own affairs and own property – that is, the individual and collective rights to religious freedom – are fundamental liberties enshrined in Part II of the Federal Constitution. They are inalienable rights, and cannot be diminished by the state even during an Emergency. Indeed, religious rights form the backbone of fundamental rights which are themselves part of the basic structure of the Constitution, and therefore cannot be the subject of Parliamentary repeal.

11. It follows that, save for Islam, the state has no power over the religious books that any religious group worships or treats as holy. That is a matter entirely for the religious group concerned. The state has no power over the contents of the Bible, Vedas, Buddhist Sutra, Guru Granth Sahib and other holy books. They are the Word of God. The state cannot censor or rewrite these holy books. Neither a comma nor a full stop in these holy books concern the State, whether in their original languages or translations into other languages.

12. In consequence, it is beyond the legal power of any government officer to stop the distribution and use of Bibles and church publications which are restricted to Christians in whatever language containing whatever words, save for the very limited power to do so if they are intended to be used for propagation of Christianity among Muslims because converting or attempting to convert Muslims is prohibited under the Constitution. Once a religious group declares that its holy book and other medium of worship are not intended for purposes of conversion of Muslims, the State’s writ ends. This is fundamental to the social contract and to the Federal Constitution.

Accordingly, in my opinion, in constitutional law terms, the High Court was correct in holding that a civil servant had no power in law to prohibit the use of the word “Allah” in a Catholic publication, the Herald, in circumstances where there was no evidence of conversion of Muslims. It was profoundly disappointing to read in the mass media the massive criticism leveled against the High Court decision by Government leaders and politicians. The only possible inference is that pressure was being applied on the appellate Courts to overrule the High Court decision. It is one thing for chauvinists to play the religious and racial card, for political reasons, which they do with masterly effect. But it is altogether another thing for Ministers of the State not to uphold the law of the land. Confidence in the Judiciary is damaged when the Executive publicly goes on a war footing against the decision of a Court. That is exactly what Prime Minister Mahathir did against Justice Harun Hashim in 1986-7 which immediately led to a collision between the Executive and Judiciary, and ultimately to the dismissal of Tun Salleh Abas and 2 Judges of the Supreme Court in 1988. Until an appellate court sets aside a decision, the State must use all its powers to give effect to it. If the government of the day does not respect the decision of a court, it should not expect its citizens to show respect.

The Home Minister’s handling of the violent Church attacks has been dismal. He seems to be powerless to act. If he needs historical precedent, he should be reminded of the firm and fair handling of law and order issues by his most famous predecessor, Tun Dr Ismail in the wake of the 13th May 1969 riots which helped to restore calm speedily.

And what can one say about the police? Their raison d’etre is the protection of the weak, the powerless, the minority and the marginalized. In these difficult days it is the task of the police to protect the minority Christians and their places of worships. There can be no compromise on the matter. The police should get on with that task. Despite more than a dozen attacks in the past 2 weeks, not even one person has been arrested or charged. Only the arrest and prosecution of those involved in the dastardly acts will restore public confidence. Again if precedent is needed, mention should be made of the Hussein Onn administration’s speedy prosecution of those who destroyed idols in Hindu temples in the late 1970’s which immediately stopped that criminal activity.

20th century history is replete with illustrations of religious persecution of the minorities, whether Jews in Hitler’s Germany, Christians in Stalin’s Russia, Muslim’s in Mao’s China, all religions under Pol Pot’s brutal regime and Palestinians in Israel. This note was substantially written while I was away for a fortnight in the United States, where the mass media highlighted our religious intolerance. When I was asked where I came from and Malaysia was mentioned, the invariable response was “that’s where they burn churches”. If Malaysia does not wish to attain that kind of notoriety in the international arena, the government must take all immediate steps to arrest the descent into violence and anarchy by a minority group of Nazi storm-troopers. This is the appropriate time for Prime Minister Najib Razak to demonstrate that 1Malaysia is not limited to symbolic window-dressing but includes taking right decisions for the public good, even if they are electorally unpopular in the short run. There should be immediate condemnation of these acts and assurances of protection to members of the minority faiths. The Prime Minister should use the prestige of his office to solve the problem politically, which would mean consultations among all the relevant stake-holders, as occurred in the run-up to Merdeka some 50 years ago, and to which his illustrious father made a notable contribution. In addition to establishing the long overdue Inter-Faith Commission, I call upon the Prime Minister to demonstrate statesmanship, courage and the political will by urgently inviting leaders of all the political parties, leaders of all religions and civil society to a dialogue to resolve the matter in a calm, civilized and peaceful manner and in the national interest.

Tommy Thomas
20th January 2010

9 pro-democracy students held in Dang Wangi - Anil Netto

The nine students arrested in front of Sogo this morning are now being held in Dang Wangi.

The nine were among were among 200 who had gathered this morning for a rally organised by Solidarity Mahasiswa Malaysia reportedly to express concern over campus elections procedures.

Latest update from Suaram:

Altogether 9 persons were arrested by police for demanding campus autonomy and freedom of academic on 23 January 2010, between 11.30am and noon in front of Sogo shopping mall. Until 1.45pm, they are in IPD Dang Wangi.

Those arrested were:

  1. Mohammad Za’im Mustapha
  2. Ahmad Shukri Kamaruddin
  3. Ahmad Syukri Abrazab
  4. Mohd Idris Bin Mohd Yussoff
  5. Mohd Fikhri Harun
  6. Muhammad Hilman Diham
  7. Syahriul Ismail
  8. Mohd Aizat Bin Mohd Salleh
  9. Mohd Ridhuan Bin Muhammad Jamil

Solidarity Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) had organised a peacefully rally to express their demand on campus autonomy and freedom of academic from Dataran Merdeka and they have been arrested in front of Sogo.

Convert custody battle continues - Malaysiakini


The Ipoh High Court will decide on Feb 3 whether it has jurisdiction to hear a custody battle involving three children who were converted to Islam by one parent.

Justice Wan Afrah Wan Ibrahim met the three children in chambers for about 10 minutes and ordered that they be brought to court again when the case resumes.

mccbchst religious society conversion pc 220409 04The case was brought by kindergarden teacher M Indira Gandhi, 35 (left), to seek custody of her two girls, aged 13 and two, and son, aged 12.

She claims that her ex-husband K Patmanathan @ Muhammad Riduan Abdullah, 41, converted to Islam along with their three children in April 2009.

He later sought custody of the three children through a declaration from the Syariah court.

On Wednesday, Indira had attempted to quash conversion certificates at another High Court, but Justice Tarmizi Abdul Rahman dismissed the application because he said the court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter.

On the same day, she also filed an application at another High Court to challenge the Syariah court's declaration which granted custody to the father. This case has been set for mention on Feb 8.

Brief emotional reunion


Outside the courtroom, Indira broke down in tears when she told the press about the few minutes she had with her children inside the courtroom.

“I am meeting them after 11 months and I am very happy (my two-year-old daughter) can still recognise me when she smiled at me after so long. She kept calling me 'Amma! Amma!',” she said.

To a question, Indira said she was only allowed to cuddle her baby for a few minutes as her ex-husband was “not very cooperative”.

Indira's lawyer M Kulasegaran told reporters that the government should set up Family Courts to resolve such cases quickly and avoid causing trauma to families.

“The slowness in implementing this (family court) is causing a lot of family problems and mental stress and agony to the members especially the children. Also many lawyers are having problems taking up such cases (which involve conversions),” he said.

Anwar Ibrahim: Is This 1Malaysia or 1Jungle?



Bringing Britain to Penang

Pengumuman siasatan Dr Hasan, Khalid 29 Januari

Nizar: Investors 'sceptical' on Perak

Snap polls? We're ready, says Nizar

UMNO: Poor human rights marks Indians in particular

UMNO: Poor human rights marks Indians in particular (refer The Star 22/1/10) and “Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2009 Malay-sia Truly Racist

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RM 400,000.00 PKR Indian Exco mandore peanuts politics

He is showered with a shawl, garland and headdress as some Indians have been doing for the previous MIC exco mandore in Selangor. In return this PKR Selangor Exco mandore makes empty kosong promises of RM400,000.00 for the Tamil schools in Selangor. Then he repeats this very same figure over and over again at many different gathering and functions. He very “efficiently” lobbies the Tamil press to hatch and rehatch this very same news over and over again. Thus this is PKR’s peanuts politics. All by the orders of his tuan Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

How then is PKR any different from UMNO vis a vis UMNO.

P. Uthayakumar.

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PM Najib quizzed by Indian Opposition leader on oppression of minority Indians in Malaysia

(Makkal Osai 22/1/2010 at page 16 and UM 22/1/2010 at page 2).

But of course Utusan Malaysiaomes up with the sub headlines that the minority Indians in Malaysia are treated well unlike as alleged by certain quarters (HRP and Hindraf) during their recent Pravasi Bharathiya Divas meet on 7th to 9th January 2010, and was informed by Sushma Suveraj, the Indian Opposition Leader and Lal Krishna Advani the Foreign Minister SM Krishna, that they would raise the matter of the oppression of the Indian minority in Malaysia as per Hindraf’s “Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Violations annual Report 2009 Malay-sia Truly Racist”.

P. Uthayakumar

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PKR S’gor mandore’s wayang kulit on Indian senior citizens, child and single parents welfare help


(Malaysia Nanban 22/1/10 at page 16)

An Indian PKR Mandore councilor was reported as saying ala wayang kulit MIC that a forum and registration exercise would be held on Indian poor above 60 for death benefits, welfare aid for single parents and investment benefits for Indian children. These Indian mandores do a photo PR exercise in the largest selling Tamil paper.

But the actual number of Indian poor who actually benefited from these programmes, the list of their names thereto and the amount that was disbursed by their Tuan, Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim and Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim is not published. Why no transparency but propaganda ala UMNO seen so obviously.

How then is the PKR led Selangor state government any different from the previous Selangor State UMNO regime.

P. Uthayakumar.

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UMNO : Nanas N 36 Agriculture Ministry’s RM 3,200.00 income denied to Indian poor (UM 22/1/2010 Mega Agro at page 12)

This 223 hectacre project by the Agriculture and Agro based Industries Ministry is excluded to the Indians. It has succeeded in bringing the malay muslim poverty rate to 2.9%. But the Indian poor and hardcord poor form about 70% of the minority Indian population in Malaysia.

P. Uthayakumar.

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Sultan Iskandar of Johor dies

JOHOR BAHARU, Jan 22 — The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Iskandar ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail, 77, died tonight after ruling the state for almost three decades.

The Sultan breathed his last at 7.15pm at the Puteri Specialist Hospital after he was admitted to the hospital earlier following an illness.

The death of the sultan was announced by Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, here tonight.

The ruler left behind his wife, the Sultanah of Johor Sultanah Zanariah and 10 children.

Sultan Iskandar was born in Istana Semayam, Johor Baharu on April 8, 1932, and was made the Sultan of Johor on May 11, 1981.

On Nov 15 1984, he was installed as the 8th Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Nov 15, 1984.

Earlier today, his eldest son, Tunku Mahkota of Johor Tunku Ibrahim Ismail was appointed the Regent of Johor and the sworn-in ceremony was held at the Istana Besar Johor Baharu.

The Head of the Johor Council of the Royal Court, Tunku Osman Temenggong Ahmad, announced that Sultan Iskandar had been admitted to the Puteri Specialists Hospital at 5pm today.

Sultan Iskandar was the third son of the late Sultan Ismail Sultan Ibrahim and the great grandson of the Father of Modern Johor, the late Sultan Abu Bakar.

He received his early education in Johor Baharu, before pursuing his studies in Australia and united Kingdom.

He was also the Colonel-in-Chief of the Malaysian Special Service Regiment (Commando) and was always seen clad in a military uniform during official events due to his passion for military service.

His name was associated with many schools in Johor, as well as sports events like the Iskandar Johor Open Golf Tournament and southern Johor development corridor, the Iskandar Malaysia. — Bernama

Tunku Mahkota Johor appointed regent

JOHOR BARU, Jan 22 — The Tunku Mahkota of Johor, Tunku Ibrahim Ismail (pic), was appointed the Regent of Johor after his father, Sultan Iskandar ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail, the Sultan of Johor, was admitted to the hospital here today after falling ill.

The Head of the Johor Council of the Royal Court, Tunku Osman Tunku Temenggong Ahmad, announced that Sultan Iskandar had been admitted to the Puteri Specialists Hospital, here.

“The Council of the Royal Court hereby decided under Clause 9(1)(b) and 9(2) First Section of the Johor State Constitution 1895, after receiving the medical report from three medical specialists, to appoint Duli Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Ibrahim Ismail ibni Sultan Iskandar, Tunku Mahkota Johor as the Regent today to carry out the duty of the Ruler during the illness of Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Iskandar,” he announced at the Istana Besar Johor Baharu, here today.

Tunku Osman also asked the people to pray for the recovery of the Ruler. The event was attended by the State Executive Councillors.

For the eldest son of the Sultan of Johor, this is not the first time that he has been appointed Regent.

The first time he was appointed to the post was on April 25, 1984 when Sultan Iskandar was appointed the eighth Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Tunku Ibrahim Ismail, 51, was installed as the Tunku Mahkota of Johor on July 3, 1981 at the age of 22.

Tunku Ibrahim is married to Raja Zarith Sofiah Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah and they have five sons and two daughters. — Bernama

Malaysia and the Myth of Islamic Tolerance

At last count, eleven Christian churches and one Sikh temple have been attacked in Malaysia. That makes twelve attacks against places of worship in half a month’s time. What does it say about Islamic values when the impetus for these attacks was the use of a particular word?

Rich Trzupek, FrontPage Magazine

Malaysia is often held up as the model of what a modern Muslim-majority nation can be. The ruling class, the bumiputra (literally “princes of the earth”) are largely, though not entirely, Muslim. But when Malaysia’s High Court ruled in late December to lift a government ban on non-Muslims using the word “Allah,” Christian churches became the targets of fire-bombing attacks. This eruption of violence suggests that there is trouble brewing just beneath the surface even in this supposed paradise of Islamic moderation.

At last count, eleven Christian churches and one Sikh temple have been attacked in Malaysia. That makes twelve attacks against places of worship in half a month’s time. What does it say about Islamic values when the impetus for these attacks was the use of a particular word?

Everyone agrees that the word “Allah” pre-dates the birth of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. In Malaysia, as in most of the Muslim of the world, Allah simply means God, the same God that, according to the Quran itself, both Christians and Jews worship. Nonetheless, use of the word Allah among non-Muslims has long been prohibited by law in Malaysia. A December 31 ruling by a Malaysian court overturned that law, a move that upset many of the nation’s Muslims, who make up about sixty per cent of the populace. They claim that non-Muslims will use the word to corrupt Muslims into accepting infidel beliefs.

Once again, we are presented with evidence of Islamic intolerance and insecurity. To his credit, Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib condemned the attacks, which undermine both his “One Malaysia” policy and his re-election prospects. But no matter how much tolerance the leader of this nation may preach, the actions of his co-religionists speak much louder. Emboldened by an increasingly aggressive, violent, world-wide Islamic resurgence over the last few decades, this episode reveals what expatriates who have lived in Malaysia have long claimed: that the supposed harmony of Malaysia is nothing but a glossy veneer that barely covers up the inequities and prejudices of this society.

The Malaysian constitution grants special privileges to the bumiputra, or as they are called in the constitution, Malays. Malays are defined as those citizens who profess the religion of Islam, habitually speak the Malay language and conform to Malay customs. The constitution directs the King of Malaysia (Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy) to safeguard the special position of the Malays and to ensure that a certain percentage of public services and scholarships and other similar educational privileges are reserved by the federal government for the benefit of Malays.

The bumiputra enjoy other advantages as well. A certain percentage of stock in publicly-traded companies is reserved for the bumiputra. Traditionally, they pay less for real estate than other Malaysian citizens. This is clearly a separate and unequal society. Which is not to say that Malaysia is not governed in a more liberal fashion than reactionary Muslim nations like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Western clothing can be found on the streets of Kuala Lampur. Christians, Buddhists and Hindus, if less than equal compared to their Muslim masters, are at least allowed to practice their faith in relative peace.

Or rather they were allowed to worship in relative peace. The government of Malaysia has officially condemned the attacks, even as it tries to have the troublesome court ruling that set off the firestorm reversed. Troops have been dispatched to protect non-Islamic houses of worship, but it seems unlikely that many of the 2.3 million Christians who live in Malaysia feel safe going to church.

Even in this most mainstream of Muslim-ruled nations, supposed Islamic tolerance has been once again shown to be a matter of style, not substance.

Malaysia being ‘sold’ bit by bit, laments Dr M

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal- The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 22- Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed today lashed out at the ruling government for inaction over the issue of sand-smuggling throughout the country.

Dr Mahathir claims that this practice has been going on for some time but corrupt officials have managed to keep a close lid on the matter.

“I read in the papers about the Works Minister saying 500 lorries delivering sand to Singapore. No one has said anything on that, seems like they are ‘agreeing’ to it. Well I know it is not 500, it is actually 700 lorries,” he said to reporters during a press conference.

“If I didn’t draw people’s attention to this issue, no one would speak up, they all are too busy worried about whether they would get their Datukship,” quipped Dr Mahathir.

The elderly statesmen maintained the validity of his facts, saying that the main sources were the Works Minister (Datuk Shaziman Mansor) as well as a “friend”, whose identity he declined to reveal as he did not want to get his friend “into trouble”.

He claimed that Malaysia was being sold bit by bit to foreigners, citing the sand-smuggling issue as an example.

“What these people are doing is selling a little bit of Malaysia at one time, dig, keep digging Malaysia and give her to other people.”

When asked to comment on the recent arrests made by the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Crimes Commission) where 38 suspects were arrested for sand smuggling, Dr Mahathir expressed his relief that action had finally been taken.

“I’m glad ... I have seen so many places where people are digging sand and no action is taken, particularly in Langkawi.

“People were digging sand near the airport, so I told the MB (Mentri Besar) that doing so was going to affect the airport roads.”

According to him, these illegal activities were under the supervision of a “powerful individual.”

“I was told this man was a very powerful man. I don’t care whether he is powerful, you dig sand near the airport you are going to damage the airport.

“They must have some reasons for allowing this chap to dig sand. The government never takes actions,” lamented Dr Mahathir.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday arrested four more people, all of them government officers, and raised to 38 the number of people detained over the theft and smuggling of sand by a syndicate.

It is believed that three of them were caught in Pahang and one in Johor.

The MACC said 20 of the 38 people had been remanded for between four and seven days while the rest had been released on MACC bond after their statements were recorded.

The Kajang Magistrate’s Court had remanded nine of the suspects for five days from yesterday to assist in the MACC investigation.

Among the ones arrested was a senior aide to a PKR politician in the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat state government.

Hussein Ahmad, the executive secretary to Selangor Agriculture, Natural Resources and Entrepreneural Development Committee chairman Yaakob Sapari was detained at his office in Shah Alam, during the start of the crackdown by Malaysian graft-busters.

Khalid Samad

By Zaid Ibrahim,

Khalid Samad dari PAS adalah seorang pemimpin politik yang saya hormati kerana beliau berani mempertahankan perkara atau prinsip yang benar walau pun mungkin ada orang anggap ia akan rugi dari segi politik. Itulah yang membezakan ahli politik yang ada intelek dan integriti dengan orang politik yang bersifat murahan dan oportunis. Orang yang rakus biasanya tak faham isu yang diperkatakan, atau kalau pun dia faham isu, orang jenis itu akan terus berdrama dan berlakon untuk mendapat sokongan orang ramai dengan diperalatkan melalui ucapan sensasi dan penuh emosi.

Saya melihat Khalid sebagai seorang manusia yang berani apabila beliau mengatakan Enakmen Agama Islam Selangor 1988 yang membuat larangan penggunaan perkataan-perkataan seperti ilahi, nabi, wahyu, masjid dan sebagainya kepada orang bukan Islam adalah tidak lagi sesuai dan perlu rombakan. Cadangan bernas beliau sebaliknya telah memberi ruang kepada kumpulan NGO Islam untuk membuat laporan polis terhadap Khalid atas alasan kononnya menghina Islam dan Sultan. Inilah reaksi kumpulan yang tidak biasa dengan muzakarah dan musyawarah serta perbezaan pendapat. Mereka hanya mahu Khalid dihukum dan ditutup mulut dan mindanya. Usaha untuk memahami dan membincangkan pandangan beliau tidak penting langsung bagi kumpulan NGO Islam. Yang penting bagi mereka, Khalid mesti dihukum.

Sebenarnya maksud Khalid, pada hemat saya, adalah begini: Larangan terhadap orang bukan Islam daripada menggunakan perkataan tertentu oleh Majlis Agama Islam di mana-mana negeri sekali pun mestilah difahami dalam kontek sabenar. Apa pun prinsip atau peraturan mesti dilihat dan dikaji dalam kontek tertentu. Kontek larangan untok orang bukan Iswlam dari menggunakan perkataan tertentu mesti dilihat dari kontek larangan Perlembagaan Persekutuan yang tidak membenarkan orang agama lain memujuk dan berusaha untok “convert “ atau menukar agama Islam itu. Jadi tujuan Enakmen itu ialah secucok dengan dan berasaskan kepada Perlembagaan Persekutuan. Undang-undang negeri termasuk Enakmen Islam tidak sah kalau ia melanggar undang-undang Persekutuan. Di bawah Perlembagaan kita memang orang dari agama lain tidak dibenarkan memujuk atau mempengaruhi orang Islam untuk peluk agama mereka. Ini larangan yang telah ditetapkan oleh Perlembagaan. Jadi kalau mereka berniat nak pujuk atau dakwahkan agama mereka kepada orang Islam, maka sebab itulah mereka tak boleh gunakan perkataaan yang diwartakan di bawah Enakmen itu.

Maksudnya larangan menggunakan perkataan yang disenaraikan itu termasuk nama Allah hanyalah dalam konteks apabila seseorang itu cuba mempengaruhi orang Islam. Sebagai contoh, jika seorang paderi atau sami yang beberapa kali bertemu dengan seorang Islam memperkatakan tentang bagaimana agama Kristian itu sesuai dengan sanubari si polan Islam itu dengan menggunakan perkataan Allah, nabi dan wahyu, maka di situlah asas larangan yang sah. Ini adalah kerana perkataan itu digunakan dalam konteks untuk menarik orang Islam menukar agamanya. Itu lah maksud Enakmen itu.

Tetapi penggunaan perkataan Allah, wahyu, nabi, masjid dan sebagainya dalam konteks percakapan biasa tidak boleh dilarang. Contohnya, kalau anak Ah Chong menyanyikan lagu negeri Selangor atau Johor yang memohon Allah melanjutkan usia Sultan atau Sami Velu bertanya jirannya “Ahmad, kamu nak ke masjid ke petang ini?”, maka itu tidak boleh menjadi kesalahan. Mana ada undang-undang dalam dunia yang sah boleh melarang orang awam menggunakan sesuatu perkataan. Apa asas larangan itu? Apa rasa orang Melayu kalau orang India kata jangan gunakankan nama Iswara pada kereta Proton kerana Iswara adalah salah satu nama tuhan Hindu? Begitu juga jika orang Melayu diminta jangan menggunakan perkataan Sanskrit seperti syurga, neraka, dosa, pahala dan sebagainya.

Jadi Khalid memang patut dipuji kerana mahu menegakkan kebenaran. Kerana mahu memperjelaskan dan kemaskini Enakmen itu. Orang Islam kena faham apa tujuan larangan itu dan apa tujuan Enakmen yang tidak jelas itu. Kumpulan NGO Islam sepatutnya menyokong usaha supaya Ebnakmen 1988 itu diperkemas dan diterangkan dengan jelas . Barulah orang kata kita orang Islam ini faham agama sendiri dan faham undang undang Negara.. Jika ikut sentiment dan emosi dengan menolak kebenaran, maka jangan salahkan orang lain jika mereka tuduh orang Islam takut kepada bayang bayang. Takut kapada dialog dan diskusi, dan hanya suka hukum orang saja. Samoga Khalid menang lagi di Selangor

Attack against one faith is an attack against all faiths

By Haris Ibrahim,

Civil society initiatives issued a joint statement on the matter of the arson attacks on two surau in Muar yesterday.

The same is reproduced below.

It is expected that more civil society initiatives, other than those who have already endorsed the statement as listed below, will shortly lend their names to the same.

______________________________________

We the undersigned Malaysian civil society groups from different spiritual, cultural and ideological backgrounds condemn unreservedly in the strongest possible terms the latest arson attacks against two suraus in Muar in the early morning of January 21.

Any attack on any faith in Malaysia is an attack on all faiths in Malaysia. We express our solidarity with the Sirratulrahim Surau in Kampung Sabak Awor and Parit Beting surau, and to the Malaysian Muslim community at large.

The attacks on the suraus seem to be a deliberate and desperate move to provoke Malaysians into sectarian conflicts. The earlier attacks on nine churches, a mosque, a surau, a gurdwara and a convent school, have failed to trigger even distrust as Malaysians of all faiths and creeds stand united in the wake of violence.

While the Police must act swiftly in investigation and defeat any act of violence and terrorism, we call upon all Malaysians to have faith in peace, freedom and reason.

After all, these attacks are at most a crisis of law and order caused by a failure of the Malaysian state, not a crisis of religious harmony indicating a failure of the Malaysian society.

Let us stay calm and support each other. Let our spirit of fraternity defeat any unscrupulous conspiracy to tear Malaysian society apart, to censor media, to compromise on rule of law or to justify draconian measures like ISA.

As Malaysians stand united, terrorism and authoritarianism shall have no place in this blessed country.

Endorsing Civil Society Groups

  1. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  2. Bar Council of Malaysia
  3. Civil Right Committee, Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (CRC-KLSCAH)
  4. Civil Society Committee of LLG Cultural Development Centre Bhd (LLGCSC)\
  5. Civil Society Initiative for Parliamentary Reform (CSI@Parliament)
  6. Friends in Conversation (FIC)
  7. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
  8. Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism Christianity Hinduism Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST)
  9. Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
  10. Penang Du Zhong Education Society
  11. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
  12. Sarawak Central Region Friendship Association
  13. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia
  14. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  15. The Coalition of Malaysian Indian NGOs
  16. The Micah Mandate (TMM)
  17. Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)

Endorsing Political Parties

1. Democratic Action Party (DAP)