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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

PM Thaipusam letter, UNESCO World Heritage Status for Batu Caves. Holiday.

HUMAN RIGHTS PARTY MALAYSIA

NO.6, Jalan Abdullah, Off Jalan Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur,

Malaysia

Tel: 03-2282 5241 Fax: 03-2282 5245 Website: www.humanrightspartymalaysia.com

Your Reference :

In Reply : Misc/Jan 2010 Thaipusam

Date : 26hb Januari 2010

YAB. Dato Seri Najib Razak

Perdana Menteri Malaysia,

Blok Utama Bangunan Perdana Putra,

Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan, Fax: 03-88883444

62502 Putrajaya E-Mail: najib@pmo.gov.my

YAB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim

Menteri Besar Selangor,

Pejabat Menteri Besar Selangor,

Tingkat 21,

Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin,

Abdul Aziz Shah, Fax: 03-55190032

40503 Shah Alam, Selangor E-Mail: khalid@selangor.gov.my

Re : 1) SOS Batu Caves & World Heritage Site Declaration by

UNESCO

2) Stop Work Order on housing project in Batu Caves Reserve.

3) National Public holiday for Thaipusam

In 1930 even the colonial masters saw and deemed the Batu Caves Hill as a Malaysian heritage and reserved the same as a site for public recreation. But only in 1980 did the UMNO Selangor State government agree to stop quarrying works at Batu Caves and protect the remaining hill and caves.

Finally in 2007, the Federal government declared the 272 hectre Batu Caves Reserve a National Heritage site, affirming the status of Batu Caves as a unique site of national interest. (refer Star Metro 26/1/2010 at page M9 quoting the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS).

However, in 2008 even the (Parti Keadilan Rakyat ruled Selangor state government’s) local government unlawfully permitted housing development right up to the base of the Batu Caves hill directly causing high-rise buildings and billboards to obscure the site.

The newly released Draft Selayang Municipal Council Local Plan 2020 by the PKR led Selangor state government zones the eastern part of the Batu Caves Reserve (Kg Melayu Wira Damai Selatan and Kg. Seri Gombak Tambahan) as high-density housing redevelopment contradicting the protected status accorded to the site under its gazette.

MNS had referred to the Minerals and Geosciences Department’s guidelines that stated that houses should not be built within 250m of the base of the hill (to avoid danger from rock-fall and sinkholes). Should the housing redevelopment plan be carried out it would directly contradict these guidelines, as well as posing a danger to the residents.

The same plan also proposes to put giant “MPS” lettering on the side of the Batu Caves hill which does not seem to serve any purpose other than defacing a natural rock formation for little publicity gain.

We hereby call upon your goodselves to forthwith issue an immediate stop Work Order and thereafter stop all further plan for housing development inside the said Batu Caves Reserve area and to manage this Nature Park reserve in accordance to its recreation rather than housing development.

Malaysia is a very big country measuring 329,845 square kilometers. We are sure that there are hundreds of thousands of other suitable sites that can be found for this housing development. Why then this greed? This our Heritage Batu Caves should be saved and preserved for our future generations.

In the circumstances we call upon your goodselves to:

1) Forthwith issue an immediate Stop Work Order on all development works in the said Batu Caves Hill Reserve Area.

2) The Federal and State Governments of Selangor gives effect to the original 1930 Batu Caves Hill Reservation gazette as a site for public recreation.

3) The Federal and Selangor State governments announces the proposed submission of Batu Caves as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Bearing this Unesco proposal in mind Thaipusam Day be declared a National Public Holiday accordingly with effect from next year (2011) onwards and that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announces the same accordingly on the eve of Thaipusam this year (29/1/10)when he becomes the first ever Malaysian Prime Minister to visit Batu Caves for Thaipusam

4) Moving forward and in recognition of and as a prelude to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the pain, suffering, oppression, marginalization and discrimination of the ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia and with the view to a new beginning that would put a stop to all further discrimination and marginalization of especially the ethnic minority Indian community in Malaysia this our aforesaid proposals would go a long way.

5) All unlawful housing or development within the said reserve area

should also be removed and/ or relocated to outside of the boundaries of the Batu Caves Reserve area.

6) Direct the issuance of an urgent circular by the Chief Secretary to the government and the Selangor State Secretary directing the aforesaid authorities that all operations of illegal touts preying on motorcycles, cars, buses and lorries parked and in and around the Batu Caves area especially during the Thaipusam festivities season this year and every year from now onwards put be to a stop.

7) Direct the Traffic Police and the Traffic Wardens from the Selayang Municipal Council to go easy on the issuance of traffic and parking summonses and tamper their enforcement practices with mercy during this year’s and every future year’s Thaipusam festivities as they rightly have been doing in particular during the peak hour weekly Friday prayers outside major mosques nationwide.

Note: Items 6 and 7 has become a yearly occurring complaint with no or very little action having been taken by the aforesaid authorities despite our almost yearly complaints in over the last fifteen years or so.

P. Uthayakumar

Secretary General (pro tem)

batu-caves-1

batu-caves-2

Now do you understand the word turncoat?

Is Anwar that naive or stupid that he cannot see the false façade that Zul is wearing on his face? I think Anwar may need to spend a second term in the Sungai Buloh Prison to wake him up to the reality of what is going on in the real world.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

The Member of Parliament for Kulim, Zulkifli Noordin, is keeping his options open. If and when his party sacks him then he will decide where he goes from there. Well, for sure, he will not be joining PAS because he is at war with PAS. That is why he always takes the opposite stand to that of PAS.

Zul’s personal feud with PAS actually goes back a long time, back to the time of the late PAS President, Ustaz Fadzil Noor. Ustaz Fadzil did not want to have anything to do with Zul. He would not touch Zul with a ten-foot pole.

There was one occasion when Ustaz Fadzil was on the way to an event and when he was told that Zul was also going to be there he told his driver to turn the car around and take him home. Ustaz Fadzil would try to avoid any event that Zul would be attending.

But why was Ustaz Fadzil so against Zul? Those who personally know Ustaz Fadzil would tell you that this is one very kind old man who carried no grudges. But why was he so ‘extreme’ when it came to Zul?

It is not that Ustaz Fadzil was taking it a bit too personal when it came to Zul. It is that Ustaz Fadzil did not trust Zul and felt that he was just a plant, a Trojan Horse, who should not be trusted further than you can throw him.

Zul is very ‘Islamic’. He is in fact even more Islamic than PAS, almost Taliban in attitude. So why did he not join PAS? Does he not want to join PAS?

It is not that he does not want to join PAS but more that PAS does not want him. And it is not because Zul is too Islamic even for PAS’s standards that the party does not want him. It is just that PAS does not trust him and suspects that there is more than meets the eye as far as Zul is concerned.

Don’t forget, in the Art of War you need ‘sleepers’. These are plants or Trojan Horses you send into the opposing camp to create damage from the inside. During the Cold War, the superpowers used sleepers a lot. Russia had scores of sleepers in the British government, some very high up the ranks.

And Umno too uses this very effective sleeper strategy. People are sent into the opposition camp as plants or Trojan Horses. They are in PAS. They are in DAP. And they are most certainly in PKR.

Do you know that back in 1999 one Special Branch officer became the head of one of the Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN) branches? Yes, that’s right. A Special Branch officer was a PKN branch chairman and the party did not find out until much later. How much damage do you think he had done by the time they found out?

Do you know that some of the staff in the PKN headquarters back in the early years reported to the Special Branch? Their job was to print out the membership list and other documents and reports and pass them on to the Special Branch. Yes, but what they did not know is there are also Special Branch officers who report to me. So I was fully aware of the ‘black ops’ going on in the party headquarters.

After I detected the Special Branch agent, I used him to leak false information to Bukit Aman. This is called a ‘disinformation’ campaign. In a disinformation campaign you leak false information to confuse the enemy.

I then placed my son -- who is now in the Sungai Buloh Prison -- in the party secretariat and his job was to key in members’ details into the computers. But we had two membership lists. One showed only 20,000 members, which we left ‘exposed’ for the Special Branch agent to copy and pass on to Bukit Aman. Then we had the second list, which actually had 250,000 members, but which we kept hidden.

We did not allow even the party Supreme Council Members to see this list. This is because we did not trust our own Supreme Council Members and suspected some of them to be Special Branch agents as well.

The only two people allowed to sight this genuine membership list was the Secretary-general, Anuar Tahir, and the Deputy President, Dr Chandra Muzaffar. Even Dr Wan Azizah was only told how many ‘real’ members we had but she was not given any printout. And the Supreme Council, much to its chagrin, would not receive a membership report during the monthly Supreme Council meetings.

Can you imagine the difficulty we faced when we could not trust our own party leaders in the Supreme Council and had to hide information from them and mislead them because we were worried if we told them the truth then Bukit Aman would get this information within the hour?

And there are still many plants, spies, agents and Trojan Horses in the opposition, in particular in PKR. Anwar Ibrahim knows this. Dr Syed Husin Ali knows this. Dr Wan Azizah Ismail knows this. Zaid Ibrahim knows this. Azmin Ali knows this. Datuk Kamarul Bahrin knows this. Saifuddin Nasution knows this. Tian Chua knows this. R. Sivarasa knows this. In fact, every bleeding party leader knows this and they have known this from way back in 1999.

Do you know how good these agents are? One day, back in 2000 or so, they downloaded all the data from the party’s computers and short-circuited the computers after that. We came to office one morning and found that all ten computers had practically ‘melted’. It was definitely an inside job and we suspected who that person might be.

This particular guy sleeps in the office -- so in that sense he is the first one in and the last one out. One night, I too slept in the office, without him knowing of course, and I monitored the telephone switchboard. When I saw the light come on to show which extension was being used, I sneaked up and eavesdropped on the conversation. Yes, he was sending in his daily report.

From then on I used him to send Red Herrings to Bukit Aman. I still smile when I think of all that crap I was feeding the Malaysian intelligence agency that at one time in the 1950s was acclaimed as the best in the world, far superior to even the KGB and CIA.

In another incident, one Special Branch officer penetrated Ruslan Kassim’s office. Ruslan Kassim was then the party Information Chief. I suspected he was Special Branch because during the ‘Arsenic Demonstration’ in the National Mosque (Masjid Negara) he wore a pink wristband. (Stupid isn’t it?)

I grabbed him by the arm and tugged at his wristband and asked him, “Ini apa?” He replied, “Takde apa. Saja.”

From that day on I kept an eye on him and one day he came to my office and asked whether he could leave his bag in my room for an hour or so as he needed to run out for lunch.

“No problem,” I replied, but as soon as he left I searched his bag and found a tape recorder. And it was running on record mode.

I then made many phone calls and spoke to ‘phantoms’ on the other end. I engaged in all sorts of conversations with imaginary people. And of course, in my ‘conversation’, I ‘revealed’ a lot of party secrets.

This chap came back after lunch to collect his bag and till today I still wonder how useful Bukit Aman found all those ‘secrets’ that were recorded.

Back in 1999, during the Tenth General Election, we had to ‘sweep’ the operations room a few times every day. And it was mind-boggling the number of ‘bugs’ that were discovered. How did they plant these bugs if not for the fact that it were insiders who were doing it -- because for sure outsiders and police officers could never get past the front door, let alone all the way up to the tenth floor. And we are not talking about lower level insiders, mind you. They were not allowed into the operations room. We are talking about high-level insiders, top party leaders, those with ‘security clearance’.

Anyway, I am rambling. But the point I want to make is for more than ten years we have had to live with this problem and always had to be one step ahead of these agents of Bukit Aman. And we did not trust even the top party leadership because all were suspects as far as we were concerned.

So who is Zulkifli Noordin? He is not even of that level I would call a top party leader. And if we do not trust the top party leadership and suspect the top party leadership of being police and/or Umno spies and agents, what more a person like Zul Noordin?

So, freedom of speech is fine. Democracy is fine. And we should not block anyone from exercising his or her right of expression. But was Zul merely doing this? Or is there something more sinister to what he is doing?

The late PAS President did not trust him. We too never trusted him since his second ISA detention because our sources in Bukit Aman told us he had been ‘turned’.

I would urge Anwar Ibrahim to exercise caution. Anwar sat in jail from 1998 to 2004. So he did not have to manage the party office. I was in the party office right up to the end of 2004. So I know more than Anwar himself about what was going on in the party office and the problems we faced in always having to be one step ahead of plants and Trojan Horses.

And we say that Zul Noordin has a hidden agenda. His agenda is not to uphold Islam or to exercise his right of expressing his opinion. His agenda is to create a split in Pakatan Rakyat, in particular in Selangor, so that Najib Tun Razak can grab back the state as he plans to do. And he had planned to do that this month. And this month has only a few days left. So expect them to become more desperate.

Is Anwar that naive or stupid that he cannot see the false façade that Zul is wearing on his face? I think Anwar may need to spend a second term in the Sungai Buloh Prison to wake him up to the reality of what is going on in the real world.

By the way, Anwar, now do you believe that Saiful, the man Najib sent to work in the party office, is a plant? You have only one plant to worry about. We have had so many. But we ‘killed off’ all the plants they sent. We used them to mislead the enemy. You allowed that one plant called Saiful to kill you. Now you want to allow another plant called Zul Noordin to kill Pakatan Rakyat as well?

Pig heads left at mosques

Forensic police hold a pig’s head outside a mosque in Kuala Lumpur today. — Reuters pic

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid and Lee Wei Lian - The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 —Pig heads were reported found at two separate mosques near here this morning and comes just days after about a dozen fire-bombing attacks and acts of vandalism were perpetrated on Churches and a Sikh temple in the wake of the “Allah” controversy.

Mosque officials found what appeared to be two wild boar heads wrapped in plastic bags and surrounded with Ringgit notes around 5.30 am this morning.

The two mosques in question are the Masjid Jumhuriyah in Taman Dato Harun and the Al- Imam Tirmizi mosque at Taman Sri Sentosa.

The heads of the wild boars could be construed as attempts to escalate unrest between Muslims and non-Muslims as pigs are considered unclean in Islam and therefore their presence in the mosques, an act of desecration.

Following the attacks on churches however, there was little tension between the various communities as a chorus of voices on both sides condemned the attacks and it is likely that it will be the same in this case.

No motives or suspects have surfaced so far but police and community leaders were on the scene.

Al-Imam Tirmizi mosque chief, Zulkifli Mohamed said that the heads were found by congregants going for their morning prayers, who thought at first that it was an abandoned baby.

“I am shocked by the incident as it is the first to happen to a Wilayah mosque. I plead for people to remain calm and don’t speculate but wait for police to complete their investigations,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

PKR’s MP for Petaling Jaya Selatan, Hee Loy Sian which is the constituency where Masjid Jumhuriyah is located said that the case was unusual as many RM1 notes were scattered around the plastic bags containing the boar heads.

He also noted the sensitivity of the location of the mosque as Taman Datuk Harun is near where the infamous Taman Medan racial clashes took place in 2001.

“I hope this is not related to the Allah issue and that the police find the people behind it. I also hope that Muslims can be patient,” he told The Malaysian Insider after visiting the mosque compound.

Selangor Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar also confirmed the incident at Masjid Jumhuriyah but mosque official Hazelaihi Mohd Abdullah could not be contacted at press time.

PKR Vice president Sivarasa Rasiah who visited both mosques said it looked to him like an organised operation that was an attempt to incite racial tension.

“I am not surprised if the same group that did this is the same group that attacked the churches. This group clearly has political motivations,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Meanwhile the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan called for calm.

“I have directed that extra patrols be conducted at places of worship throughout the country.

“We will not compromise as far as peace and security is concerned and will do everything within our means to ensure no untoward incident happens,” he said.

Stay Away From Book On Muslim Women, Muslims Advised

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 26 (Bernama) -- The book "Muslim Women and The Challenge of Islamic Extremism" can create doubt and disharmony among the people in the country, according to the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (JAKIM).

Its director general, Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz Wan Mohamad said the contents of the book contravened the Islamic Publication Materials Censorship Guidelines issued by Jakim in 1996.

"Several obvious errors were found (in the book)," he said in a statement Tuesday.

He said among others the book stated that Islamic family laws and Syariah criminal laws were promoting prejudice and discrimination against women.

The book also questioned the Fatwa institution and the ban on non-Islamic scholars from discussing Islamic issues, besides promoting re-interpretation of the verses in the Quran, especially on gender bias, he said.

Wan Mohamad said the book had been scrutinised, checked and referred to the Islamic Publication Materials Censorship Committee chaired by the Mufti of Perak, Tan Sri Dr Harussani Zakaria.

"Hence, Muslims in the country are advised to be wary of reading materials which contravene Islamic teachings. If in doubt, refer to the guidelines issued by Jakim," he said.

Wan Mohamad said Jakim also respected the High Court's decision on Monday to lift the ban on the book, but felt that it was its responsibility to explain to the public on the errors found in any Islamic book in the market.

Zaid slams PKR over Zul’s case

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 27 — Pakatan Rakyat ideologue Datuk Zaid Ibrahim today slammed PKR for treating Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Zulkifli Noordin with kid gloves, saying the party could become a “poor man’s version of Umno” that was incapable of defending its principles and bringing reform.

The political maverick also accused certain quarters in PKR of fearing to take action against Zulkifli as they felt the lawyer was popular among the Malays for his Islamic issues.

“Many feel that PKR is not serious in taking action. In fact, there those who predict it won’t take strict action within the time given,” Zaid wrote in a post headlined “Little Napoleon” in his weblog this morning.

PKR’s political bureau yesterday slapped a gag order against Zulkifli who went against the party line to lodge a police report against Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad over the “Allah” issue.

PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had said the bureau had also referred Zulkifli to a disciplinary panel for further action within 30 days.

It is understood that the political bureau meeting was fiery with many asking for action against the former Anwar lawyer who has crossed the party line a few times since being elected in Election 2008.

But a few felt action against the former PAS member would jeopardise the party’s standing among the majority Malay Muslim electorate.

Analysts said the episode exposes the soft underbelly of Anwar’s party — the desire to portray itself as multiracial but living with the constant fear of losing its pull with the Malay voters.

Zaid lamented that Zulkifli has ignored the gag order and has continued to insult the pact’s stand in rival Umno-controlled media.

“It’s strange that Zulkifli Noordin is an ‘untouchable’ in the party; one wonders why there is something special here.

“That is why he can criticise anyone as a ‘Little Napoleon’ or those who are powerless, people like me ,” he added.

The former Umno minister said the episode has convinced him that PKR cannot defend core principles in its struggles.

“Only the easy and expedient. PKR today is not that different from Umno, only its mold or just ‘a poor man’s version of’ Umno,” Zaid wrote.

Saying it was clear that Zulkifli’s action was to destroy the party from within, Zaid noted those who fear taking action against Zulkifli felt they risked alienating his supporters.

“But Zulkifli Noordin is not a warrior of Islam, not a Malay warrior. His attitude, action and words are the same as Umno champions,” he said, adding the politician had clearly made statements that are against decisions of the party and Pakatan Rakyat.

“He has given the impression to the people that PKR and Pakatan Rakyat have betrayed the Muslims and Malay Rulers for allegedly allowing those of other faiths to insult Islam especially in the “Allah” issue.

“For me, if we are not confident of our stand in the ‘Allah’ issue and other issues brought by Zulkifli Noordin, then just follow Umno and Zulkifli Noordin. But if we are confident and we hold to principles in the Federal Constitution, and the religious scholars, we must persist with our stand.

“Until when do we want to play politics in two worlds, sticking to one principle there and switching to another here,” he wrote.

Zaid noted there are party colleagues who will now ask him to be patient and follow the legal steps for action to be taken against the recalcitrant Zulkifli.

“I agree. That’s why we should suspend Zulkifli Noordin until the investigations are completed because his offence is clear and continues for those who can and want to see,” he added.

Zaid said PKR must be fair to Zulkifli but also equally fair to the thousands of members who need to be protected when defending party and Pakatan Rakyat principles

“In saying all this, I might be sacked by PKR because I don’t have invincibility like some PKR leaders. But I am used to being sacked and I will continue to voice political struggles that are principled and healthy for the good of PKR and Pakatan,” said Zaid, who had joined PKR after being sacked by Umno in late 2008.

“We are incapable of being a party to bring reforms to national politics and administration if we can’t settle the Zulkifli Noordin issue in the appropriate way,” he added.

Zaid concluded by saying PKR ally PAS has shown its principles and courage for taking action against Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hasan Ali, “but PKR is afraid of the Kulim Bandar Baharu MP”.

New poll chief bets on ‘creative servicing’ for PKR win

Fuziah Salleh (picture) intends to introduce a comprehensive party election manual that will standardise the party’s future election strategy. — Picture by Jack Ooi

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid and G. Manimaran - The Malaysian Insider

PETALING JAYA, Jan 27 — Newly appointed PKR elections director Fuziah Salleh believes “creative servicing” will be the party’s key to edging out rivals Barisan Nasional (BN) in the next general elections.

The Kuantan MP admitted that the party comes second to the ruling behemoth in terms of financial strength but noted that the voting pattern appeared to have changed and is now based on a party’s ability to deliver.

“Yes we admit that we have financial [constraints] and we cannot fight with BN when it comes to this but there are creative way of going about the obstacle,” Fuziaj said in an interview with The Malaysian Insider.

“You can give voters, say, fish but how many times would you actually give them fish? What we plan to do is give the electorate their rights by providing efficient servicing,” added the mother of six.

PKR and its allies in the Pakatan Rakyat won 82 parliament seats and four more states in Election 2008, denying Barisan Nasional its customary two-thirds majority. PR has won seven out of nine by-elections since then, caused by resignations and deaths, for an actual gain of just one parliament seat.

As the new elections director, Fuziah will introduce an improved vetting system for contesting candidates in line with PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s vow to provide voters with quality leaders.

He had admitted in the past that PKR, which have seen several of its elected representatives causing headaches to the party over various issues, have a weak vetting model.

Fuziah has been tasked to turn things around. Known for her motivational skills within the party, she will personally prepare and train potential candidates to face elections.

The training she said will be based on five ‘pillars’ with candidates groomed to have quality personality, leadership, communication, political and additional skills.

“I am convinced that this approach will be off advantage to us,” she replied when asked if she felt this strategy will bear fruit.

She also intends to introduce a comprehensive party election manual that will standardise the party’s future election strategy.

“The manual will be based on the world’s best election campaigning modules used by people like (USA president Barrack) Obama who managed to win using little money,” she added.

The Kuantan MP took over the post from current party secretary-general Saifudin Nasution who replaced Salehuddin Hashim after the latter resigned following a fall-out with Anwar.

Her appointment could not have come at a more crucial time. The party, along with its allies, are currently fighting a BN onslaught in the ‘Allah’ controversy which has resulted in deteriorating Malay support for PR.

Fuziah acknowledged this fact but believe the issue will only affect voting patterns slightly.

“From the experience I gained, voters will not pay that much attention to issues like this. Maybe a handful will but at the end of the day there are many more issues that are more important like local issues that will affect their lives directly.”

Her immediate focus as the new elections director is realising the party’s conquest of Sarawak, which will be going to the polls within the next 18 months.

Will UMNO Baru’s Facebook group uphold the rule of law?

I have not seen the UMNO Baru Facebook administrators ... taking “Tengku Osman” to task for incitement (see image below) and reporting this person to the relevant enforcement agencies.

By Sharifuddin A. Latiff

I was informed last night that Pat Lu, one of the administrators of “We support the use of the name ALLAH by all Malaysians“, will be making a police report with regard to ‘Facebook’ impostors who are creating mischief which tantamounts to cyber terrorism. (Background story here)

Well, one thing led to another, and before I can even shout out “&*##@… Zulkilfli Nordin!!!” in my utter disgust for another type of mischief, I received an e-mail from Pat Lu complete with a copy of her police report (as shown below) -

The Edge has filed this news item.

If you have read the previous posting (here), you’d realise that these ‘unidentified’ impostors were deliberately creating mistrust between fellow Malaysians and/or attempting to demonise the pro-Herald Facebook group by describing the latter as ‘racist Malaysians’.

Furthermore, it appears that there were also attempts at ‘cyber-phishing’ i.e. cloning the identities of genuine Facebook members and using it to appear as ‘the real Mccoy’ to unsuspecting readers while implicating a purported affiliation with an opposition political party as well.

Kudos to Pat Lu and her team of administrators for being alert to subterfuge and more importantly, for stepping up to the plate by making a police report on a possible felony punishable by law.

Read more at: http://hartalmsm.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/will-umno-barus-facebook-group-uphold-the-rule-of-law/

WHY I USE "ALLAH."

If it is suggested by adherents of the respective faiths, this could perhaps be more acceptable. But when followers of one faith, suggest (and insist) that believers of another faith, re-write their Scriptures to pander to their “unsubstantiated convictions” then we are not too far from the “height of arrogance.”

By Eu Hong Seng, Pastor

A layman’s perspective

In the current ongoing debate, some are of the opinion that Christians should just give in and forego the use of the word “Allah” so that the threats and attacks on churches will stop and Malaysia can continue to enjoy her peace and move on unhindered to developed nation status.

Now, more than ever the country needs clear-minded Malaysians and not “confused” citizens, Christians included.

There are ten salient facts and reasons and I would like to address these to the ordinary man in the street and lay people in the Church.1.


1. The use of "Allah" predates Islam


"Allah" is the Arabic name for God, and it indeed pre-dates Islam and even Christianity. The pagan Arabs of the Arabian Peninsula called God "Allah," even though they worshipped hundreds of idols in addition. Christians all across the Arab World today use the word "Allah" for God, and if one were to read an Arabic Bible, he would find that God is indeed called "Allah."

"Allah" is also the name that Jesus Christ called God. "Allah" is the Arabic equivalent of "Elohim," which is Hebrew for God. The "im" is a plural appendage of respect, and so the word is "Eloh," which is very similar to "Allah." In addition, the Aramaic word for God is "Alaha," and Aramaic was the language which Jesus himself spoke. Moreover, the word "Allah" is found in the English version of the Bible which we read today. In Matthew 27:46 we read: "About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?' - which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?'" The word "Eloi" is the Aramaic form of the Arabic "Allah."2

It is important to know the fact that Christians in Malaysia didn’t start using “Allah” only recently, as some contend.


2. It is used all over the world by Christians.

The Arabic word is commonly used by Christians to describe God in such countries as Egypt, Syria and Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation.

So it is not just a Malaysian word, for the Malaysian context only. One cannot just decide to copyright an “international” word and hope to escape ridicule.

And anybody in Malaysia can tell you that it is more than just one word that can be involved. The focus now may be on one word, thereafter the contention will be expanded to include other words, and at a later stage any other word or words that the “authorities” may so decide.

3. “Allah” was used by East Malaysians before Malaysia was formed

The SIB church was formed in Sarawak in 1928, nearly 30 years before Malaysia's independence, and they were already using “Allah” in their worship and literature.

And some of them don’t even speak BM or English, only their own mother tongue and in their mother tongue, the word used is “Allah.”

So it’s not only the Alkitab, the BM Bible. The other Scriptures which use “Allah” are the Kelabit and Lunbawang Bibles.

Daniel Raut, a senior leader of SIB Church — the largest Malay-speaking congregation in the country — said it will not drop the use of the word "Allah," even though Christians fear for their safety.

"Since our forefathers become Christians in the 1920s, we have been using Allah even in our mother tongue," said Raut, who is from the Lunbawang tribe in eastern Sarawak state.

Furthermore, how does one propose that its use be restricted to East Malaysians only? What happens when they come to work in West Malaysia? What about the thousands who are already in West Malaysia? What about our existing West Malaysia Bahasa Malaysia churches?

What happens when an East Malaysian crosses over to Labuan (a Federal Territory) for the weekend?

Some proponents of the “East Malaysia only” concept take it a step further and suggest (to those of us in West Malaysia), “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Though debatable, the new political landscape has all the major political parties, including the key partners of the Barisan, not aligned with Caeser, on this issue.

The Malay equivalent is “Masuk kandang lembu, menguak. Masuk kandang kambing mengembek” (When entering the cattle pen, moo. When entering the goat pen, bleat).

Perhaps it is time the new minority, moo and bleat with the majority.


4. The success of our National Language education policy


Since the introduction of the National Language policy, our emerging generation has become more proficient in Bahasa Malaysia. And with the continued emphasis, the next two generations can be expected to be not only proficient but dependent on the Bahasa Malaysia as the lingua franca in our nation.

Alongside the Allah contention, there are clear intentions to further impose restrictions on other words like “Injil” (Gospel) and “firman” (Word).3

So the logical question we all are asking is “how would this pan out?”

Any strategists will tell you that in winning the generational war, ignore the “old diehards” and focus on the future generations.

Our grandchildren and great grand-children, will find themselves reluctant to read Scriptures in a language in which they are less proficient and also not be able to access the Alkitab, and also, perhaps be the first generation who have never heard of “firman” and “Injil?”

I can understand the zeal of the government to Islamize the nation,4 but I pray that they will do so with honesty and integrity. “Bring all to the table” and aim for the hearts. Malaysians will respect you for that.

But no coercion, no bullying, no media misrepresentation, no scrambling the minds of our children and no re-writing of Scriptures!

But I also pray that by the same token and in the true spirit of religious freedom, the day will soon come, when others, if they so desire be allowed to share their respective faiths with our Muslim friends as is fully acceptable and permissible in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world. Surely Indonesia is a great example to us on what freedom of religion is all about. Sharing one’s faith with another should not be narrowly interpreted as with ‘intent to convert’. Understanding one another’s faith is surely an excellent way of promoting goodwill, peace and harmony among the multi religious population in this lovely country of ours.

Under the present circumstances, the many proposed “inter faith dialogues” and formation of councils to facilitate such dialogues will be nothing but a monologue, as the other faiths are “gagged” in the name of the constitution.


5. Used by others as well

The Sikhs use “Allah” in their Scriptures. Do we stop them next?

What about Hindus, who also refer to one of their gods as "Allah?"

Rigveda is the most sacred scripture of the Hindus, and one of the attributes given to God Almighty in Book no 2 Hymn no I verse II, is ‘Ila’ which if pronounced properly is the same as Allah5.

So it is not a Christian issue alone. What the Christians are asked to do, the

Sikhs and the Hindus will be asked to do, eventually.


6. Constitutional right to "manage" our own religion

This right must include how we address our God.

Over enthusiastic bureaucrats, consequentially are interfering with the worship & education of Christians – CDs have been confiscated, Sunday School materials are held up by customs, besides the confiscations of the Alkitab.

According to Prof. Dr. Shad Saleem Faruqi6, the Malaysian Constitution provides that Islam is the religion of the federation. But all other religions may be practised in peace and harmony: Article 3(1).

In respect of religion, every person has the right to three things:

* 1. To profess
2. To practice
3. And, subject to Article 11(4), to propagate his religion: Article 11(1)

Every religious group has the right to:

* 1. Manage its own affairs
2. Establish and maintain institutions for religious purposes.
3. Acquire and own property and administer it: Article 11(3).
4. Establish and maintain institutions for religious education: Article 12(2).7

Our constitutional right, to manage our own affairs, to practice religion freely has been increasingly under threat particularly over the past two decades.


7. Dictating what should be in the Scriptures of a major religion in the world

This suggestion that another word be used is perhaps “the biggest joke.”

Whether one agrees or not about the word is not the main issue.

The basic issue, lest we forget the obvious, is that each and every religious Scriptures is the sacred book – of Christians (including the Kelabit and Lunbawang), the Sikhs and the Hindus. We are not talking about some supplementary textbooks or a "pseudo scripture" just written recently.

Are those who argue for a substitute word suggesting that all these Holy Books be re-written to accommodate a few?

If it is suggested by adherents of the respective faiths, this could perhaps be more acceptable. But when followers of one faith, suggest (and insist) that believers of another faith, re-write their Scriptures to pander to their “unsubstantiated convictions” then we are not too far from the “height of arrogance.”

I know Malaysia is “boleh-land” but this move to “force” the other religious groups to rewrite their Scriptures is preposterous.


8. Prominent scholars of Islam and Muslim organizations have supported the use of "Allah" by Christians

In Malaysiakini dated 13th Jan 2010, Constitutional Law expert Abdul Aziz Bari contends that it is pretty clear that the use of Allah by Christians has some basis in the Quran.

This is strengthened by the exposition of eminent scholars, including Egyptian scholar Shaykh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi (Maal Hijrah award recipient 2009) who said that Christians, as part of the Abrahamic faiths together with the Jews and Muslims, can use the word 'Allah'.8

Earlier on, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) on 4 Jan 2010, also issued a statement viz -

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

We call on the Malaysian government to uphold the religious freedom of Christians and to let the court ruling stand. We also urge Muslim NGOs to respect Islamic teachings and long-held Islamic traditions, and to withdraw their opposition to the use of the word “Allah” by their Christian compatriots.”9

We would like to hear from our government a more coherent and intelligent response to these prominent voices than simply quote “this is Malaysia.”


9. Our State Anthems will take on a new meaning.


How does one sing the state anthems of Selangor, Kedah, Pahang, Johor, Kelantan and Trengganu now, since there are references to “Allah” in these songs, as it is now implied to refer to the Muslim God only?

In schools, about 30 years ago, we were told we were singing to “God.” Now are our children to sing only to one particular God?

See appendix for list of affected State Anthems.

Unless, of course, one is liberal and don't mind singing to all gods or any god or just the Muslim god.


10. We need to keep in mind that there was "good harmony" in the first 30 years after Merdeka, with freedom to use "Allah."

It never was an issue until enthusiastic politicians promulgated the infamous ISA gazette in 1982, referring to the Alkitab as a document “prejudicial to the national interest and security of the Federation.”

The rest is history.

What an insult! But the Christian community has always been a peace loving people.

For the sake of harmony, Christians engaged in closed door meetings in the past, to negotiate “restricted use” of the word rather than to bring it to the courts. And we were always assured by the government that we could use our Alkitab.

But today, they are saying we cannot use the word and the various government agencies started confiscating various Christian materials, not just the Alkitab. And the claim is we "used to accept it" – but that's because we have been tricked into negotiating behind closed doors in the name of the Malaysian culture of "talk and resolve quietly." So because “nobody” heard from us, now they take advantage and say, we accepted it all this while. This is absolutely not true. Christians have been moaning, complaining, objecting and writing to the government for years.

Should we concede for the sake of peace alone? Friends, the days of closed door meetings - where our views are deliberately misrepresented10
and compromised - where the minority is always bullied and threatened into submission for the sake of harmony and in the name of sensitivity, are perhaps over?

It is indeed sad, that after 52 years of independence, the country is still not ready for mature dialogue, and is still struggling to hear the voice of reason.

This is not a race issue, this is not a Malay supremacy issue, this is not even a religious issue. And this is definitely not an East-West Malaysia issue.11

Before us are simply constitutional and “human rights” issues, a call to respect the spiritual convictions and Scriptures of other faiths. This is simply a call to exercise common sense and to respect boundaries – ie no rewriting Scriptures!

I hope and pray that the above facts and reasons would help Christians understand that we are not insisting on using “Allah” to "irritate" the “easily confused people” of the land.

We continue to pray for peace and seek a reasoned solution, so that Malaysia can indeed shine as a land so affectionately known as “truly Asia.”


Eu Hong Seng
Pastor




Appendix – State Anthems

Selangor
Duli Yang Maha Mulia
Selamat di atas takhta
Allah lanjutkan usia Tuanku
Rakyat mohon restu bawah Duli Tuanku
Bahagia selama-lamanya
Aman dan sentosa
Duli Yang Maha Mulia

Kedah
Allah selamatkan Sultan Mahkota
Berpanjangan usia diatas Takhta
Memelihara agama Nabi kita
Negeri Kedah serata-rata


Perak
Dilanjutkan Allah usianya Sultan
Adil dan murah memerintah watan
Ditaati rakyat kiri dan kanan
Iman yang soleh Allah kurniakan
Allah berkati Perak Ridzuan
Allah selamatkan Negeri dan Sultan.


Johor
Allah peliharakan Sultan
‘Nugrahkan dia segala kehormatan
Sihat dan ria, kekal dan makmur
Luaskan kuasa, menaungkan kami
Rakyat dipimpini berzaman lagi
Dengan Merdeka bersatu hati
Allah berkati Johor
Allah selamatkan Sultan


Pahang
Ya Allah Yang Masa Kuasa,
Lanjutkan Usia Duli Yang Maha Mulia,
Dirgahayu, Darul Makmur,
Aman dan Bahagia Sentiasa,
Ya Allah Selamatkan Duli Tuanku Raja Kami


Trengganu
Allah daulatkan Tuanku Sultan,
Terengganu Darul Iman,
Allah peliharakan Tuanku Sultan,
Sejahtera sepanjang zaman,
Allah rahmatkan Tuanku Sultan,
Memerintah rakyat aman.


Kelantan
Lanjutka usia Al-Sultan kami
Sultan Kelantan raja ikrami
Aman sentosa Tuhan sirami
Kekal memerintah kami
Kasih dan taat setia disembahkan
Keriangan diucapkan
Segala kebesaran Allah cucurkan
Bertambah kemuliaan

PKR : Parti Kena Rembat - Haris Ibrahim

“I don’t bow down to Anwar, PKR or anyone” – Zul Nordin, quoted by The Malay Mail

“A defiant Zulkifli Nordin has issued a fresh challenge to his party leaders. He says he will continue talking about the “Allah” issue despite a gag order.

This is despite a warning from PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of stern action against the Ku­­lim-Bandar Baharu MP if he continues to make me­­dia statements about the matter.

Immediately after the PKR political bureau issued the order yesterday banning party members from making statements on the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims, Zulkifli declared that it was limited to his police report against PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad over the same matter”The Staronline

Lifting the SIS book ban

thenutgraph.com

THE Barisan Nasional (BN) government should thank High Court Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof for quashing the Home Ministry's ban on Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism. The academic book is edited by Prof Norani Othman and published by Muslim women's non-governmental organisation Sisters in Islam (SIS).

Too often we read about why judicial independence is good for the citizenry. It is, however, equally important for the government, because wise judges can prevent the government from doing stupid things to embarrass or trap itself.

For laws to work, they require either legitimacy or intimidation, which can be mutually substituted to varying degrees. If the law is highly legitimate, the government does not need to rely so much on intimidation — by threatening heavy penalties, for instance. On the other hand, if the law is highly illegitimate, then in order to enforce the law, the government would need to resort to heavy punishments. These could range from heavy fines and imprisonment to even death, plus additional threats of bloody crackdowns in the face of resistance.

Put another way, a government may legislate on anything, but a smart government would not legislate on everything. To quote the words of wisdom from the American Revolution: "That government is best which governs least."

Therefore, where social pressure is applicable and adequate, legal punishment should be spared. This explains why the use of vulgarities may be punishable in parliaments and courts of law, and yet most societies would not put someone behind bars simply for swearing in public. And if vulgarities, an offensive form of expression, can be left to society for censure, shouldn't more civilised expressions of opinion also be left to the public's judgement?

Why censor?

So, why do authoritarian governments like to censor opinions and thoughts? This is not a question of normative preference, but one of strategic consideration. What makes authoritarian governments think that their censorship would work?

Essentially, they believe their laws are legitimate in the eyes of the public since the public does not seem to object to these laws. They could also be convinced that the public would not want to pay the price of objecting to the enforcement of such laws.


Thoreau (Public domain / Wiki commons)B
But it does not require the whole of society to resist an illegitimate law. It just takes a few individuals to create an impact.

Consider the example of resistance to war. In the 1840s, Henry David Thoreau, author of Resistance to Civil Government, was imprisoned for a day because he refused to pay taxes to support the Mexican-American war. He was released against his will the next day when his aunt paid the taxes for him. Thoreau was only imprisoned for a day, and yet today, countries like Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Norway allow "conscientious objectors" to serve in civilian service as a substitute for military service.

What happens if the government insists on drafting pacifists to combat in the battlefield? It creates prisoners of conscience. When someone is willing to pay the legal price, like Thoreau, for opposing a law that he or she sees as unjust, intimidation fails. And the legitimacy of the government will be hanging in the air, depending on whether the conscientious objector's action can swing public opinion.

Conscientious objection

Back to SIS's book: what would have happened if the High Court upheld the Home Ministry's ban? What would happen if the government decided to appeal, and the Court of Appeal — and potentially the Federal Court, if it came to that — overturned the High Court decision?

It could pose a call for Malaysians to be conscientious objectors. Imagine this: 30 persons reading a copy of the banned book — this could be easily done if someone scanned it into PDF format and others downloaded and printed it — in front of a bookshop in one of Klang Valley's major shopping malls. Under the Printing Presses and Publications Act, mere possession of banned books may lead to a fine of RM5,000.

What would the Malaysian police do? Arrest them before the eyes of thousands of foreign tourists and reporters? If they did that, the subsequent trials for these 30 "conscientious readers" would have the entire world watching Malaysia.

Does Malaysia need more bad press in eyes of the world? After all, on a global scale, we have probably contributed a disproportionate per capita share of politicians saying stupid things.


Politicians – throw the book at 'em...

A parallel example can be drawn with the "Allah" row. Many worry that the government will win its appeal in the Court of Appeal and potentially the Federal Court. But those potential victories would just be a curse in disguise for the government.

Why? Because such judgements would indirectly uphold the ban on the word "Allah" and other Arabic words by the various states' Islamic enactments. Imagine this scenario: 30 Christian Orang Asli, Sarawakians, Sabahans and Indonesians using "Allah" and "nabi" and "Injil" during their church service. If the arson on churches has failed to instill fear among Malaysian Christians, it is very likely some might gladly defy the court order to show its absurdity.

So, for this hypothetical group of Christians, would the government then execute the Islamic enactments? If the government withheld execution, the laws would be as good as old newspapers. But if the government did impose Islamic legislation, it would have 30 indigenous persons and foreign citizens jailed for praying to Allah. Imagine what international headlines would scream about Malaysia.

If the government now cannot even decide whether to cane Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno for drinking alcohol, would it dare send 30 people to jail for worshipping Allah?

If I were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, I would instruct the Home Ministry not to appeal against the High Court's decision on SIS's banned book, and also to withdraw its appeal on "Allah". It is better to eat a small serving of humble pie now than to have to swallow a much bigger portion later.

Criticizing Malaysia's King

By Asia Sentinel

Image
Malaysia's Royal Palace
Police hunt for bloggers and others who abuse the late Johor sultan's memory


At least one blogger has been arrested and at least 25 police reports have been filed across Malaysia over online postings insulting Sultan Mahmud Iskandar Almarhum Sultan Ismail, who died Sunday at the age of 78, according to local media.

That included a 29-year-old who blogged under the name ‘Aduka Taruna' and who was arrested in Kelantan and hauled to Kuala Lumpur for investigation. He later apologized and the blog has been deleted. Police are searching for a second anonymous blogger who posted a video clip of the sultan in which the blogger deleted the former king's words and substituted his own. A task force has been established to seek to trace insults to the dead sultan, The Star reported.

The dead sultan reportedly killed two people, including a golf caddy whose head he bashed in with a golf club, and then maimed the caddy's brother. He was also reportedly responsible for wide range of other public outrages. See our story, Perception and Royal Reality in Malaysia.

Johor Police Deputy Commissioner Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff vowed that the police would "find those responsible and bring them to the court of law." In past months, police have threatened to use sedition charges against many who have criticized the royalty. The threat apparently has deterred a wide number of bloggers and other news outlets that usually pick up Asia Sentinel stories from using the Jan. 25 story on the sultan's death .

Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim found it necessary to seek to quell the outpouring of scorn for the Johor royal family, saying it was against Asian lifestyle, laws and the 1Malaysia concept, which Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is promoting to attempt to reduce racial tension, according to The Star.

"We have things to do. Nothing can be gained from running down someone who just died," he said "Very seldom do we find Asians lambasting a former head of state, especially the late Sultan of Johor who was once the Yang di-Pertuan Agong," or Malaysian king. Under Malaysia's Constitution, the country's nine sultans rotate the kingship between them every five years. Iskandar was named Agong in 1984 and relinquished the crown in 1989.

The sultan's death – and the coronation of his son, appears to have set of an extraordinary outpouring of relief that Iskandar has passed from the scene, and raised concerns about the conduct of his son, Ibrahim Ismail Almarhum Sultan Iskandar, 51, on allegations that he had beaten people in nightclubs and committed other offences including shooting a man in a nightclub after an argument during the 1980s. The charge was dismissed because of the prince's immunity. Ibrahim was also involved in two separate assault cases. In another 2005 case, a young woman reportedly was assaulted by Ibrahim after he accused her of two-timing him.

Nonetheless, The Star quoted associates of the newly crowned sultan as saying he is "regarded as a caring person who will ensure no one is left out in the develop­­ment of the state."

In response to Jan. 25 article in Asia Sentinel regarding the late sultan's behavior, letter-writers said they had been forced to duck-walk in nightclubs by members of the Johor royal family, that they lived in fear of being on the Johor roads with any of the sultan's family, that hotels cleared their cocktail lounges of waitresses when the sultan or his brood came in for fear that bodyguards would kidnap them and drag them out.

Despite the behavior of the Johor family and other sultans as well, the local media continue to ignore almost all of the allegations. That is partly because the United Malays National Organisation, seeking to keep the loyalty of ethnic Malays, has made criticism of the royalty an issue with which to bludgeon the opposition whenever possible. In particular, the opposition Pakatan Rakyat coalition criticized a decision by the Sultan of Perak to dismiss the opposition government in the state and instead appoint an UMNO chief minister. The case is still on appeal in Malaysian courts. However, UMNO members have filed hundreds of police complaints against Karpal Singh, the Democratic Action Party's senior leader and a lawyer who took the case to court.

That is a far cry from February 1993, in the wake of beatings of sports figures by Iskandar and Ibrahim, when former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad led a charge to revoke royal immunity from arrest and prosecution, delivering a fire-breathing speech in the Dewan Rakyat, or Parliament, that accused the royals of selling out the country to the British and quoted Tunku Abdul Rahman, the country's first prime minister, as saying the royals could even get away with murder if they wished.

Mahathir's speech can be found here: Criticizing Malaysia's Royals

"In this situation," Mahathir said, "the Rajas not only continue their habits that the People dislike and are uneasy with but also matters that are hated by the People. If this trend is not stopped, the feelings of the People towards the Raja will boil over and become so bad that at a point of time in the future, the People may no longer be able to control their feelings."

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia – which admittedly occasionally contains erroneous information – details a long list of offences by the recently crowned Johor Sultan, including that he had run up RM26,700 worth of traffic tickets before public embarrassment forced him to pay them. The entry can be found here: Ibrahim Ismail of Johor

Ripping to shreds Shamsul Akmar’s arguments

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

I would like to reply to Shamsul’s article that appeared in today’s New Straits Times. You can read the full text of the article below. The parts in brackets (Point number 1, 2, 3, etc.) are my own additions for easy reference — so that you know which part of the article I am replying to.

Point number 1: Ex-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been lamenting about the problem with the Malays his entire life. His letters to First Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman (which I have already published in the Internet back in 2001-2002) and his book, The Malay Dilemma, show that his opinion of the Malays go way back to the 1960s.

During one Umno general assembly, Mahathir cried because, according to him, he was disappointed about the attitude of the Malays. When asked by a journalist soon after he retired what he would consider his greatest regret in 22 years as Prime Minister, Mahathir replied that his greatest regret is that he could not change the attitude of the Malays.

And which part of the attitude of the Malays is Mahathir so upset about? He said it in his letters to Tunku Rahman, he said it in his book, The Malay Dilemma, and he said it many times more after that.

The Malays are too feudalistic, said Mahathir. “Why can’t the Malays be more like the Chinese, pragmatic?” asked Mahathir. And one of the reasons (I said ONE of the reasons) Mahathir engaged the Rulers in two Constitutional Crises back in the 1980s were to ‘break’ the feudalistic mentality of the Malays.

But he failed. The Malays rallied behind the Rulers, not behind Umno, and Mahathir was forced to back off.

So how does Shamsul come across whacking DAP for being feudalistic when the Grand Old Man of Malaysian politics said that this is what is the problem with the Malays? It is like a prostitute accusing Paris Hilton of being a woman of loose morals.

Point number 2: Shamsul accuses DAP of being a Chinese chauvinist party. Does DAP stand for Parti Cina Malaysia like the ‘M’ in Umno stands for Malays, the ‘C’ in MCA for Chinese and the ‘I’ in MIC for Indians? The ‘D’ in DAP stands for Democratic, not Chinese.

Point number 3: ‘Middle ground’ means meet in the middle. It does not mean ‘Middle Kingdom’ like in Old China. In English, when we say we search for the middle ground, it means we look for a compromise. We meet halfway. You take one step towards us and we take one step towards you. That is how we achieve the middle ground.

In short, it is not a winner takes all and loser loses all type of situation. It is you give in and I also give in. We both sacrifice something for the sake of compromise and for the sake of meeting in the middle, the middle ground.

Point number 4: And of course DAP will never be able to do it alone, as Shamsul says. Malaysia is not about one race or one religion. Malaysia is a diversity of races and religions. But how do you achieve unity in diversity? Well, you create a ‘melting pot’ of ethnicities. So certainly DAP can’t do this alone without the support of the others.

Is this so wrong? In fact, it is the reverse of wrong, although Shamsul tries to portray this in a negative light.

Point number 5: Sure, DAP’s slogan used to be Malaysian Malaysia. But DAP realises that Malaysians do not quite grasp what it means. So that has since been dropped. In fact, it was dropped a long time ago, not only now.

What about Umno’s slogans that have changed ever so often? Now it is 1Malaysia. It used to be Islam Hadhari not too long ago. And, before that, Umno had a string of slogans such as Malaysia Inc., Look East Policy, Buy British Last, and God knows what else. There are so many I can’t even remember them all.

Point number 6: Now this is an interesting point raised by Shamsul. Is DAP’s Middle Malaysia meant to break Barisan Nasional’s domination? I certainly hope so. I would be very upset if DAP is embarking on the Middle Malaysia strategy with no intentions to break Barisan Nasional’s domination. It must always be about demolishing Barisan Nasional. It must never be about anything but that.

Point number 7: Now Shamsul laments that PAS is compromising with its other partners in Pakatan Rakyat. Well, good for PAS. I remember when Umno used to lament that PAS is so extreme and uncompromising. Now Umno complains about the reverse?

Point number 8: Maybe there are some in PAS who share the top leadership’s views about the Allah word issue while there are some who don’t, as Shamsul alleges. So what? Have you not heard of democracy? Have you not heard that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion? Have you not heard about the right to express your opinion? And you say this is bad? I say it is good. It shows that democracy exists in PAS and that members are allowed the freedom to disagree, even with the top leadership.

Point number 9: Ah, Shamsul has to be very careful here. Khalid Samad is not ‘justifying’ his support for and solidarity with DAP and PKR by quoting verses of the Quran. If the Quran says so then the Quran says so. You are not ‘justifying’ anything by following the Quran. You are just being a good Muslim. And this is a crime?

Point number 10: Okay, let us talk about the Member of Parliament for Kulim. I know him personally of course. And so does my wife, a Chinese who converted to Islam. And one day my wife whacked Zul Nordin in public.

“What kind of Muslim are you?” asked my wife. “You are a hypocrite. You are a disgrace to Islam. You should remove that white skullcap on your head.”

Zul Nordin walked away speechless. He could not reply to even a Chinese who was never born a Muslim but became a Muslim later in life. You should have seen the smile on Datuk Kamarul Bahrin’s face to see a Chinese convert take to task a so-called mujahid of Islam.

So, Shamsul, I would not use Zul Nordin as a ‘good’ example if you want to argue your case. He is court jester at best. His white skullcap is probably too tight it restricts the flow of blood to his brain.

Point number 11: There are two points here. One is about the ‘outdated’ or ‘expired’ leaders in Pakatan Rakyat. I agree with Shamsul on this one and have said the same thing many times myself. Pakatan Rakyat needs to do some spring-cleaning. But then even Umno and Barisan Nasional suffer from this same problem, not only the opposition.

And on the second point that maybe PAS, DAP and PKR should dissolve and everyone join one party, that is certainly a good idea and I have no criticism against Shamsul on this suggestion. But let us see Barisan Nasional do this first in the spirit of 1Malaysia. I am sure Pakatan Rakyat will not be too far behind once Barisan Nasional takes the lead. Would Barisan Nasional dare do what it is challenging Pakatan Rakyat to do?

Point number 12: And on the final part of Shamsul’s piece, I want to correct him on only one point. Pakatan Rakyat is NOT a multi-racial party like Barisan Nasional. It is a non-race-based coalition. Multi-racial is still racial. Pakatan Rakyat is non-race-based, which means race, even multi-racial, does not exist.

And this is what Shamsul and his Umno masters do not understand. And since they do not understand they therefore do not know how to ‘spin’ their anti-Pakatan Rakyat propaganda.

Enough said already!

*************************************************

Middling value in ‘Middle Malaysia’
SHAMSUL AKMAR, New Straits Times

DAP’S new remedy for the nation — Middle Malaysia, sounds quite ancient and feudal — very much like the Zhou Dynasty’s Middle Kingdom.

Even if the Middle Kingdom is attached to that which is Egyptian, it is still very feudal, a period when rulers were divine and a law unto themselves. But for most Malaysians, surely Middle Malaysia will echo that of the Chinese Middle Kingdom and not that of the Egyptian. (Point number 1)

As it is, it has already been pointed out in the blogosphere that DAP’s departure from Malaysian Malaysia to Middle Malaysia is an attempt to beguile the Malays who had rejected the former as a subtle chauvinist agenda. (Point number 2)

Whether such arguments will gain currency is anybody’s guess but the coining of the new slogan by DAP has attracted debate.

It is ironic because DAP stalwarts, its national publicity secretary, Tony Pua, for example, in promoting the Middle Malaysia idea in his blog, described it as “apt in times like this, as we swim in various parochial and fringe controversies like Allah and ketuanan Melayu”, are now themselves accused of promoting “a chauvinistic fringe concept”.

Pua, when explaining Middle Malaysia, said: “It is time to position DAP and our partners Pas and PKR as taking the middle ground where the overwhelming majority of Malaysians stand, while leaving our political enemies to take the extremist position.” (Point number 3)

It sounds very reasonable albeit rhetorical.

But the more interesting aspect about Middle Malaysia is that DAP concedes that it will not be able to achieve it on its own and that it needs the all-round support of Pas and PKR. (Point number 4)

This is unlike its Malaysian Malaysia concept which was promoted as a DAP exclusive. With the promotion of Middle Malaysia, Malaysian Malaysia may soon be a slogan of the past. (Point number 5)

The first question now is whether this Middle Malaysia will be embraced wholeheartedly by DAP’s partners.

The next is whether Middle Malaysia is the formula to break Barisan Nasional’s domination. (Point number 6)

While PKR may just adopt anything, which can undermine or diminish Umno and BN, the same cannot be said about Pas.

Pas has, since the taste of the 2008 general election bounty, shown its preparedness to compromise on issues, which used to be its raison d’etre such as the Islamic state and hudud, but on several occasions struggled to keep abreast of its secular and liberal partners. (Point number 7)

Even in the Herald issue, Pas leaders have been unable to commit themselves to whether they agree on the use of the word “Allah” by those of other faiths. (Point number 8)

There are those within their midst like MP for Shah Alam Khalid Samad who has shown his eagerness to be aligned with DAP and PKR in much of their political stance, justifying his action with Quranic verses and Prophetic traditions. (Point number 9)

For that matter, even in PKR, the MP for Kulim Bandar Baru has on several occasions shown that he was opposed to the pursuits of DAP and his party. (Point number 10)

Before the DAP can “sell” its Middle Malaysia to the rest of Malaysians, their partners would have to get their act together and remove their leaders who are still stuck in various parochial and fringe political principles.

Another question begging for an answer is if DAP can convince PKR in embracing Middle Malaysia — would not the separate entities become redundant, if not overlapping?

As it is, most of DAP’s pronouncements are either echoed by PKR or similarly trumpeted. If Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) could see this and decide to embrace PKR, surely, sooner or later, either PKR or DAP must come to such a conclusion.

The only difference between the two parties now is that DAP has more non-Malays while PKR has more Malays and if they both decide to blur the racial identities, they should be able to exist as one and helm the Middle Malaysia together and not separately. (Point number 11)

But it is doubtful that Pas can ever be with the others unless DAP and PKR accept its leadership and subscribe to some of its ideological principles.

Then, it can be wondered aloud if Pas will be accused of subscribing to parochial and fringe interests.

On the part of the BN, it will never be able to be one as it was formed as a coalition of separate entities intending to pursue separate interests.

That has been its strength and its bane depending on the ebb and flow of domestic politics.

If the respective races they represent are comfortable, even if not necessarily pleased, with the distribution and equation, then the coalition is in good stead.

That has been the formula since the days of the Alliance and the succeeding BN.

The acceptance of BN over the years is actually quite a feat given the fact that it is not ideology-driven unless its pragmatism is considered one.

Otherwise, it is a political bargaining by party elites and adjustments are made where and when necessary.

While detractors are accusing BN of being too immersed in race politics, the BN components have existed because each race wanted them to represent its interests.

BN is actually a reflection of what the Malaysian races are all about — the want for race-based privileges be they in economy, or in education.

If the Malay/Bumiputeras want their privileges in scholarships and other economic ventures, the non-Bumiputeras want their race-based education to be protected and defended.

For as long as the different races in the country feel that their needs and interests are best pursued by the politicians and political parties representing their race, the BN concept remains the most viable though not necessarily ideal.

Their detractors, though styling themselves as multiracial are never far away from pursuing these racial interests in their political quests.

The only difference is that the BN admits it is a congregation of race-based parties while their opponents proclaim themselves to be the epitome of multiracial virtues.

And how dare anyone equate Middle Malaysia with the Middle Kingdom. (Point number 12)