Thursday, January 28, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak will this morning hope to stanch the flow of negative headlines in Malaysia, with a slew of moves to address crime, corruption, public transportation and poverty.
The prime minister is scheduled to outline detailed initiatives, targets and the time frame for National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) at an event today. These plans will form the cornerstone of his government transformation project, a programme which Najib believes will help his administration ride through the storm of negative headlines and propel Barisan Nasional to victory at the next general elections.
Since November, the administration has been on the back foot following disclosures of the chauvinistic nature of Biro Tatanegara courses, the missing jet engines, and the controversy following a High Court decision allowing the Catholic Church’s Herald to use the word “Allah”.
The unabated flow of bad news has soured the political landscape, which had appeared to be becoming more accepting of Najib.
Before the “Allah” issue broke, the PM’s approval rating was around 65 per cent.
The Malaysian Insider has learnt that a pilot project conducted to reduce crime under the NKRA has proven successful and could be adopted to cut street crime in certain high risk areas.A recent survey by the Merdeka Center showed that concern over the law and order situation in Malaysia was a main worry for Malaysians, surpassed only by the concern over the direction of the economy.
Aware of the cynicism on the ground over government programmes, Najib is likely to outline a timeline for the implementation of projects under the six areas of the NKRA. But missing will be a detailed roadmap of initiatives under the 1 Malaysia headline.
The Malaysia Insider has learnt that despite the efforts of Datuk Seri Idris Jala and his team, the objection by several Umno ministers have effectively scuttled wide-ranging and bold plans to improve race relations and remove some of the impediments to better ties among Malaysians of different races and religions.
During a retreat in December, several ministers including Datuk Rais Yatim and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin objected to several ideas, including a mediation council to resolves disputes between religions.
As a result, the document on 1 Malaysia initiatives today will be heavy on flowery rhetoric and thin on real mechanism and plans to improve race relations. For example, there is an acknowledgement that conversion cases and disagreements on the location of places of worship are incendiary points but no strategy or mechanism on how to deal with these issues.Still, government officials believe that Najib will be able to win over doubting Malaysia with plans to combat crime, tackle corruption, widen access to education, raise th
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — The Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI) today claimed that 12 people, including a Malaysian, were being held under the Internal Security Act (ISA) as opposed to the 10 announced by the Home Ministry yesterday.
It identified nine of the detained as Azzahari Murad (Malaysia); Aiman Al Dakkak (Syria); Mohamed Hozifa (Syria); Kutiba Al-Issa (Syria); Khalid Salem (Yemen); Luqman Abdul Salam (Nigeria); Hassan Barudi (Syria); Hussam Khalid (Jordan); and Abdul Alhi Bolajoko Uthman (Nigeria).
It has yet to determine the identities of the remaining three. GMI said the 12 were part of 50 detained in a security operation in Sungai Cincin, Gombak near here.
The ISA is a preventive security law that allows detention without trial.
Media reported that those detained were linked to the Nigerian underwear bomber who tried to detonate explosives aboard a US-bound flight last Christmas Day.
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has just cancelled today’s briefing for opposition leaders and activists on reforms for the tough Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960, which he said yesterday was used recently to detain 10 in an international terror plot.
His aides did not give a reason for the cancellation in a text message to reporters. However, they apologised for the inconvenience.
DAP Parliamentary Leader Lim Kit Siang yesterday confirmed the 2pm meeting at the Home Ministry, to discuss the amendments which are expected to be tabled in the next parliamentary session beginning March 15.
“It’s three from each of our parties in the Pakatan Rakyat,” the Ipoh Timur MP had told The Malaysian Insider, adding other activists are also expected to attend the meeting.
Lim, a former ISA detainee, had earlier said in a statement that Hishammuddin should clarify at the meeting the latest round of ISA detentions. The home minister said he could not provide further details except to say the nine foreign nationals and one Malaysian were arrested with help from foreign intelligence agencies.
Hishammuddin also said the detainees were picked up recently under the law that allows for detention without trial.
The act came about when the British used preventive detention in then Malaya in 1948 to combat an armed insurgency carried out by the Malayan Communist Party during the Malayan Emergency. The Emergency Regulations Ordinance 1948 was made, following the proclamation of an emergency, by the British High Commissioner Sir Edward Gent.
It allowed the detention of persons for a period not exceeding one year. The 1948 ordinance was primarily made to counter acts of violence, and conceivably, preventive detention was meant to be temporary in application. The emergency ended in 1960 and, with it, ended the powers contained in that ordinance as it was repealed.
The power of preventive detention remained a feature when, in 1960, the government passed the Internal Security Act under Article 149 of the Federal Constitution.
It permitted the detention, at the discretion of the home minister, without charge or trial of any person in respect of whom the home minister was satisfied that such detention was necessary to prevent him or her from acting in any manner prejudicial to national security or to the maintenance of essential services or to the economic life in Malaysia.
The government is in now the final stages of revising the ISA, with amendments that will revolve around five areas: the length of detention; rights and treatment of detainees and their families; the power of the home minister; the use of ISA for political reasons; and detention without trial.
On Aug 1, 2009, about 20,000 people took part in anti-ISA protests in Kuala Lumpur. The protesters had planned to march to the national palace to submit a petition to the Yang diPertuan Agong denouncing the security law. Reports said there were up to 15,000 to 20,000 demonstrators facing 5,000 police.
On the previous day, the police set up roadblocks in order to control the protests. During the march, police fired tear gas and water cannons when confronted by protestors and made numerous detentions.
The issue died down. So why and how come the mosques are now under attack? Why a pig’s head? And not burnings like the first series of attacks?
First and foremost, I would like to express my disappointment with the attackers, who showed disrespect to places of worship. Such actions are lowly, unethical, and are works of loser.
Besides that, lets take a look at the recent series of attacks on mosques, and the mode of attack. It does suggest that this could be another plot by certain individuals/groups to create unrest among us.
Well, I am a simple citizen and I don’t go very deep into each event of local politics; but here’s what came to my mind about the new attacks.
1) The burning of churches was not handled properly. And the government and police were inactive over it. Causing displeasure nationwide WITH THE GOVERNMENT. AND LITTLE WAS KNOWN ABOUT THE ARSONISTS, AND NO ONE KNOWS IF THEY ARE MUSLIMS OR NOT. SO NO ONE DID ANYTHING AGAINST MUSLIMS.
2) However, rakyat did not retaliate. The Christians have been forgiving. The issue died down. So why and how come the mosques are now under attack? Why a pig’s head? And not burnings like the first series of attacks?
It appears to me that the attackers, whomever they may be, are not worried about Churches getting burnt down but are worried about mosques being burnt down; so only two SURAUS were treated with Molotovs. Some even mentioned that the pig heads were covered in a plastic bag. Why so “Kind” if one really wished to do damage to the Muslims when they were so determined when treating the Christians Churches? And does anyone notice that the attack started BIG (with burnings, etc), then toned down to harassing? It doesn’t really make much sense, right? If one gets upset over an issue and could not get over it, the actions will only get worse, and gets bigger. And if one’s anger subsided, he wouldn’t even bother to attack anymore as he’s done enough with the last arson attack. Well, that would be logical, wouldn't it?
And we all know that here in Malaysia, many treatments are one-sided. So would any normal citizen even dare to try anything drastic towards the one majority race? Knowing well what the payback would be?? And if someone dared take such action, would he/them just put something as simple as a pig’s head?
It seems to suggest that certain individuals/groups, with the support of some “powers” at the back, masterminded the first arson attack and overconfidently believed it would be successful. But they failed, and failed miserably. Not succumbing to their failure, they had to come up with Plan B and make it look like revenge. But, after being warned by “higher powers”, and concerned over the loss of their own “properties”, they pulled off a milder mode of attack. Knowing well that Muslims are very sensitive with pigs, they expected the retaliation will be great. And with that, they would manage to push the courts to rule in favor of them as well as pulling in Malay-Muslim support. For Muslims may have different views on the use of the word “Allah” but would probably agree undoubtedly on the Haram-ness of Pigs.
As Malays are “Pantang Dicabar”, they now try to use the Malay force as the tool and force, after failing to put the blame on the non-Malay’s anger. Someone is trying to cause retaliation and major erruption of anger. After failing to invoke the Christians, they now turn to the Malays as the means to achieve that. So my dear brothers and sisters of Malaysia, let us not panic, not retaliate, and not run amok over such issues. Tackle it the positive way, the progressive way. Let us FAIL their PLAN B as well; and ALL SUBSEQUENT PLANS.
Here's what I think ...
To me, it would be useless if we go to the streets screaming in a display of outrage against the attacks. It will do more harm than good. Peaceful gathering is fine, but only allow renowned religious leaders to give speeches. Stop the gathering if the speech begins to turn into an incitement of hate (well, aren’t the police famous for stopping ceramahs with the reasons of “out of topic”? This would be a very good chance for them to show their capabilities). Show displeasure, but in a peaceful way. For the event is not fatal enough to require rampaging the streets with screams and threats. Furthermore, HOW RELIGIOUS WOULD AN ACTION OF VIOLENCE BE?
Write articles, but not to incite hate like the writer who, although the name indicates “safety”, writes hateful and vengeful articles. Instead, give insight, knowledge and wisdom over issues, to help people to reason, to think wisely.
Conduct forums, TV programs, and discussions, but don’t keep quoting someone else. Quote the religious books, but provide more insights into the written verses. Not by “Because it says so”, attitude.
Overcome disputes by instilling wisdom, by understanding, by reasoning. Not by fighting, conquering, overpowering, suppressing, or forcing. For the latter will only cause more tension, and awaits time for explosion.
To all Malaysians, my fellow brothers and sisters. Forgive my shallow view. Forgive my unfancy words. Forgive my unenthusiastic writings. But let us all join hands and resolve issues the peaceful way. And foil evil plans by “devils” disguising themselves among us.
May peace prevail in Malaysia, and May Allah guide us all.
Malaysia's simmering religious and racial conflicts could worsen after worshippers Wednesday found the severed heads of wild boars at two mosques, amid a dispute over whether Christians can use the term "Allah" as a translation for "God."
By James Hookway (WSJ)
Muslims consider pigs unclean, and leaving boar heads at a mosque is a potentially inflammatory insult, mirroring an incident last year when Muslim activists flung a severed cow head on a proposed site for a Hindu temple near Kuala Lumpur.
Wednesday's incident is considered the most offensive case of sacrilege against a Muslim place of worship since a storm erupted over the use of the Arabic word "Allah." It threatens to further upset this resource-rich, racially diverse country and complicate Prime Minister Najib Razak's efforts to build a multiracial support base before national elections, which must be held by 2013.
Adding to tensions, the trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges—the second he has faced in little more than a decade—is scheduled to begin next week. Mr. Anwar leads a multiracial opposition alliance trying to replace Malaysia's government after 57 years in power. Prosecutors accuse him of sodomizing a young male aide in 2008—an illegal act in Malaysia. Mr. Anwar, 62 years old, says the story was fabricated to destroy him.
Malaysia's High Court ruled on Dec. 31 that the Malay-language pages of the Roman Catholic Church's weekly newspaper could use the term "Allah" as a translation for "God."
That decision—which the government is appealing—triggered protests among Muslims who say the Arabic word should be reserved solely for Islam. They say they worry that the Christian use of the term could inadvertently trick Muslims into converting. The newspaper said it was the most appropriate local translation.
Since the ruling, 11 churches have been attacked around Malaysia, and the administration office of one church in Kuala Lumpur was burned to the ground. A Sikh temple also has been attacked, as have two Muslim prayer rooms.
Khalid Abu Bakar, chief of police in Selangor state near Kuala Lumpur, where one of Wednesday's incidents occurred, said a group of men who went to Sri Sentosa Mosque to perform morning prayers at 5:30 a.m. found the two animal heads in plastic bags on the grounds. Their mouths were stuffed with bank notes. Authorities reported a similar incident nearby.
Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said the government would find the perpetrators. "We are dead serious about this," he told a news conference. "We will bring them to justice."
Mr. Khalid said police hadn't identified any suspects and were continuing their investigation. He urged people to remain calm, as did Zulkifli Mohamad, the top official at the Sri Sentosa mosque.
The attacks this month have rocked the fragile racial and religious balance in this predominantly Muslim country of 28 million people, where relations between Muslim ethnic-Malays, who make up 60% of the population, and Malaysia's ethnic-Chinese and Indian minorities are generally amicable.
Since taking office in April 2009, the prime minister, Mr. Najib, has set out to win over the support of Malaysia's ethnic minorities, but the High Court ruling has complicated his efforts. Political analysts say that to maintain the ruling National Front coalition's strength in Malaysia's Muslim-Malay heartland, his government needs to be seen visibly defending the Islamic faith from perceived threats.
That stance, however, unsettles many of Malaysia's non-Muslim minorities, who fear the country has adopted an increasingly politicized form of Islam in recent years.
Opposition leaders, including Mr. Ibrahim, a Muslim, have said there is no theological argument against non-Muslims using the word "Allah," and that the term is commonly used by minority Christian communities in Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East. Many Malay-speaking Christians in eastern Malaysia also use the term for "God."
Separately, the Associated Press reported that Malaysia has arrested 10 terror suspects under its Internal Security Act, including nine foreigners allegedly with ties to an international network of militants. Authorities declined to give the suspects' nationalities, their organization or their objectives. Over the past decade, Malaysian authorities have held more than 100 militant suspects, most of whom have been members of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah network, which has its headquarters in neighboring Indonesia.
"This is a very serious threat to the security of our country," the AP quoted Mr. Hishamuddin as saying.—Celine Fernandez
contributed to this article.
By Wong Choon Mei, Harakah
The Malaysian government has again attracted international infamy – this time over news that severed pig heads, which are taboo to Muslims, have been found in mosques in its capital city.
Foreign media, still sizing up a racial row over the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims that has resulted in 11 churches being attacked, seized on the latest details, highlighting the hard line stand adopted by Prime Minister Najib Razak and his Umno party. They have been widely blamed for opening the floodgates to the current rampage.
“It has been a case of ignore and neglect and we are now paying the price for it,” Ramon Navaratnam, chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Studies, told Harakahdaily.
"When the government gave the green light for the mosque demonstrations, civil society advised against it and warned these could aggravate an already tense situation, but we were ignored. When the church attacks began, there was another chorus of calls for immediate action to nab the culprits and initiate an interfaith dialogue, but again these were neglected,” Ramon added.
"Malaysia is hogging the international limelight for all the wrong reasons," DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said in a statement. "This has undermined Malaysia’s international competitiveness and tarnished Malaysia as a safe and secure haven for foreign direct investments and as an ideal location for tourists and students."
Is it Pakatan or Umno
Indeed Najib’s cousin, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, has rushed to deflect blame for the latest sacrileges, warning that the perpetrators "want clashes between people of different races and religions”. He did not mention names but it was clear he was trying to point the finger at Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and his Pakatan Rakyat coalition.
However, Hishammuddin's comments may have backfired. Not only did his remarks raise eyebrows but they also appear to have hardened the suspicion most Malaysians already feel - that it is his Umno party that was yet again behind the latest incidents. And their purpose - to rally the Malays behind them in a bid to snuff out the growing challenge from Pakatan.
“Hishammuddin, you are right about that. My forecast is the people involved are from your own party,” a member of the public wrote in response to Hishammuddin’s remarks published on a popular news portal.
“Start by looking there first. I don't think any right minded Malaysian would do such a thing but Umno's strategy to win has always been and will always be a strategy to invoke racial clashes and inciting racial hatreds among Malaysians,” the commentator advised.
The response was just one of an avalanche of such feedback found all over the electronic media that is extremely popular with the younger Malaysians, who shun the mainstream, traditional media for its pro-establishment news.
Look at the track record
Indeed, soon after the first few churches were attacked, speculation swirled that a bigger plot was on the drawing board because despite widespread public outrage, both Najib and the police steadfastly resisted acting with urgency to nab the culprits.
Their tepid responses fired rumours of a conspiracy including the imminent jailing of leading members of the opposition and civil society under the country's draconian Internal Security Act that allows for prolonged detention without trial.
Although 15 youths have since been detained, none have yet been charged. Instead their seven-day remand have been extended, stirring fears that they may be subject to coercive interrogation methods aimed at making them either make false confessions or to pinpoint Pakatan leaders as their ‘dalang’ or puppet-masters.
“The Malaysian police and anti-corruption commission are already world famous for their brutal treatment of detainees. The number of people who have died while in remand is one of the highest in the region and on record with the Amnesty International,” N Gobalakrishnan, PKR MP for Padang Serai, told Harakahdaily.
“That the current ruling elite can stoop so low as to try and frame Pakatan for this latest religious bigotry is completely plausible. Just look at the trumped-up sodomy cases against Anwar Ibrahim and the attempts to intimidate Dr Pornthip, the Thai forensic expert in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest. But will the Malaysian people and the world be so easily fooled? Actually, who are the real fools?”
By Nazri Abdullah
PETALING JAYA, 27 Jan: Naib Presiden Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Azmin Ali akan mendedahkan satu maklumat yang diperolehinya yang mendakwa sebahagian yang dituduh berhubung kes serangan gereja di Desa Melawati tempoh hari adalah dari ahli pemuda Umno.
Bercakap kepada pemberita, beliau berkata sedang mengumpul maklumat berkaitan sebelum mendedahkan nama-nama tersebut kepada umum.
Selain nama, beliau juga sedang dalam usaha mendapatkan nombor kad pengenalan dan nombor keahlian Umno kesemua mereka yang didakwa terlibat.
"Berdasarkan senarai nama tertuduh yang telah didakwa di mahkamah, sebahagian daripada mereka pemuda Umno bahagian Gombak dan bahagian Ampang.
"Maklumat awal yang saya dapat, sekurang kurangnya empat atau lima orang ahli Umno, malah cawangan mana pun saya sudah perolehi," katanya yang juga Ahli Parlimen Gombak.
Pada 8 Januari lalu, Gereja Metro Tabernacle di Desa Melawati, Kuala Lumpur, terbakar diserang dengan bom api.
Pada masa sama, beliau mendesak Presiden Umno, Datuk Seri Najib Razak menjawab segera dakwaan penglibatan ahli Umno dalam kes terbabit.
"Saya lihat trend hari ini, survival Umno itu hanya boleh diperolehi melalui permainan isu kaum dan agama.
"Saya harap Umno hentikan sentimen seperti ini kerana ia cukup bahaya kepada rakyat Malaysia," katanya lagi.
Beliau berkata demikian sewaktu melawat tempat kepala babi yang dilontar di perkarangan masjid Taman Datuk Harun di Petaling Jaya awal pagi ini.
Berhubung hal itu, PKR jelasnya mengutuk sekeras-kerasnya tindakan tersebut.
Islam tegasnya tidak menganjurkan perbuatan khianat seperti itu apatah lagi yang boleh mencetuskan keadaan tidak tenteram dikalangan rakyat Malaysia yang majmuk.
"Pihak polis harus kerah seluruh kekuatan yang ada untuk menjaga ketenteraman awam dan bukan menjaga keselamatan dan ketenteraman pemimpin Umno dan Barisan Nasional sahaja," katanya.
“Much sound and fury from you and your readers on this Zul idiot. Is that all you are good for? Noise and little else?
Much confusion has been generated over this idiot’s antics.
He has tried to frame the debate over his alleged attempts to protect Islam and Allah. In other words, he is trying to project himself as an Islamic warrior and hero.
Truth is, the issue is not about defending Islam.
The issue is not about defending Allah.
The sheer arrogance on the part of this idiot to suggest that Allah, The Almighty, would require defending by a mere mortal?
And by the likes of this idiot?
Wouldn’t such a declaration in itself constitute an insult to Allah?
The real issue is politics.
The issue is about gross indiscipline.
The issue is about a cumulative pattern of openly defying the party leadership’s directives to Zulkifli to cease and desist.
The issue is about putting the party to public ridicule and contempt.
The issue is about jeopardizing the party’s relationship with PAS by lodging a police report against Khalid Samad and demanding that he be arrested under the Sedition Act.
The other idiot in the party, Azmin Ali, has tried to defend Zulkifli by asking why action is being taken against a Muslim and not against a Christian, in reference to Dato Jeffrey Kitingan.
That is the wrong question.
And asking the wrong question gives you the wrong answer!
If you feel as I do about the need to sack this idiot immediately, let his defender, Azmin Ali, know your feelings, especially if you are voting in his constituency - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, you can contact your ADUN or MP or Senator as listed below to let them know that you will only support a Zul-free PKR.
Tell them not to @#$% around with you anymore if they want to continue to be relevant after GE13.
This is important as there is an important meeting to make a decision on Zulkifli Nordin in PKR this Sunday, 31st Jan 2010 involving all of them.
Or are you only good at bitching and griping in blogosphere and, otherwise, quite impotent to do anything else ?”
The contact details of your PKR MP / ADUN / Senator :
MPs & Senators
Kedah: Senator Zamri Yusof
Kelantan: machang saifuddin nasution
KL: Ampang Zuraida Kamaruddin
Negri Sembilan: Telok Kemang yb dato kamarul baharin abbas <email@example.com>
Pahang: Indra Mahkota Azan Ismail
Penang: Balik Pulau Mohd. Yusmadi Mohd Yusoff
Perak: Bagan Serai Mohsin Fadzli Haji Samsuri
Selangor: Kuala Langat abdullah sani abd hamid
Gombak azmin ali
Kedah: “Bakar Arang Tan Wei Shu”
Kelantan: “Gucil Tuan Zamri Ariff Tuan Zakaria”
Negri Sembilan: “Ampangan Rashid Latiff”
Penang: “Balik Pulau Abdul Halim Hussain”
Perak: ” Kuala Sepetang Tai Sing Ng”
Sarawak: “Dominique Ng Kim Ho” firstname.lastname@example.org
Selangor: “Batu Caves amirudin shari”
The late Sultan of Johor (© Masami Takakuwa | Wiki Commons)
SULTAN Iskandar ibni Almarhum Sultan Ismail, one of Malaysia's most controversial rulers, passed away on 22 Jan 2010 at the age of 77. The late Johor Sultan will be remembered for many things, one of which would be when he got off his podium during a Merdeka Day parade in the 1980s to take a spin on a participant's superbike.
In reporting on the late sultan, the traditional press wrote of his "closeness" to his subjects, his "care and generosity", and his love for sports and sports cars. Unlike the international media however, Malaysian newspapers glaringly omitted any mention of the "Gomez incident" where the sultan allegedly assaulted a Johor hockey coach at his palace. Indeed, this incident was widely reported in the media when it occurred in 1992 and is recorded in Constitutional Landmarks in Malaysia: The First 50 Years, published by LexisNexis. Among others, the Asia Sentinel also reported about the charge against the sultan for culpable homicide not amounting to murder in 1971 and his subsequent pardon after his father intervened.
A painting of Pulau Batu Puteh by John
Turnbull Thompson, 1851 (public
domain | Wiki Commons)So who was the late Sultan of Johor? The man portrayed in the Malaysian traditional media or in the international media? The defender of Pulau Batu Puteh and Malaysian rights or an unpredictable man who had reports of violence lodged against him? And more importantly, why did our Malaysian media fail to ask these questions when reporting on the death of a Malaysian personality, one whose royal house and functions are funded by Malaysian tax payers?
The lion and the coward
Edward Kennedy (public domain
| Wiki Commons)Take US Senator Edward Kennedy who died in 2009, also at the age of 77. Many Americans will recall how he brought them to tears during a rousing 2008 speech in support of Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
And yet, this once presidential hopeful was also involved in the Chappaquiddick affair in 1969 where a 28-year-old aide drowned in his car following an accident. Despite his formidable reputation in the US Senate, Kennedy never managed to live down the appalling manner in which he behaved following the accident, not even in death.
A writer described him thus: "The drunk who crashed his car into a river, saved himself, left a girl behind, waited until morning to call the police. A coward. The statesman who eulogized his brother, reigned in the Senate for forty years, fought for progress. Lion of the Senate."
Whether lion or coward, no honest obituary celebrating Ted Kennedy's senatorial achievements would have left out the Chappaquiddick incident, no matter how shameful to his reputation.
Deng Xiaoping (public domain
| Wiki Commons)
Otherwise, what kind of obituary would it be?
Here's another example: would an obituary on Diana, Princess of Wales be worth reading if it didn't mention her unhappy marriage, her affairs, and the subsequent divorce to the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles? Additionally, can we imagine any respectable British media writing Prince Charles's obituary one day without mentioning his long-term affair with Camilla Parker Bowles?
Or any obituary on China's Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping without a paragraph on his role in ordering tanks on the Tiananmen Square demonstrators in 1989?
Would an obituary on Saddam Hussein which doesn't acknowledge his role in the Iran-Iraq war or his invasion of Kuwait in 1990 be worth a second glance?
Saddam Hussein (public domain
| Wiki Commons)
Even when Pope John Paul II died, obituaries acknowledged some views of him as an arch-conservative and an autocrat whose views on abortion and contraception adversely affected women.
For what kind of obituary would it be if it only gave a one-sided view of the deceased? Whether they are royalty, politicians or saints, are they not human?
Do they not have flaws and contradictions, as do we all? Is it not demeaning to them if we reduce their lives to mere platitudes and perpetuate dishonesty by portraying a skewered account of their lives?
Trusting the media
In reporting on a public personality's life, it is not the media's function to only report the positive aspects of their life or to make them look good. The media's function is to provide accurate information on matters of public interest and to act as a watchdog on the activities of government or any other institution of power. This is the media's role as the "fourth estate" in a democracy — to scrutinise and act as a check and balance on institutions of power.
The traditional media, however, have completely failed in this task in their obituary of Sultan Iskandar by their glaring omissions of his eventful life. If the traditional media cannot perform the simple task of recounting the salient facts of a public personality's life, how can we then expect them to be able to perform their democratic task of holding the government or any other public institution accountable?
Respecting the dead
Orson Scott Card (© Nihonjoe
| Wiki Commons)Author Orson Scott Card writes of how we tend to revise the life of the dead and give them a story so different from their actual life. "We erase them, we edit them, we make them into a person much easier to live with than the person who actually lived," Card says.
In his science fiction novel Speaker for the Dead, Card explores what it would be like to speak honestly of who the deceased was; what that person did; and to examine their "self-story" — "what they meant to do, what they actually did, what they regretted, what they rejoiced in. That's the story that we never know, the story that we can never know — and yet, at the time of death, it's the only story truly worth telling."
Perhaps in their one-sided telling of Sultan Iskandar's life, the traditional media were trying to respect the dead and the monarchy, while trying to also ensure the media's own survivability.But in doing so, perhaps they were being more disrespectful by telling the story of a different man than the one who lived, and thereby not telling his story at all.
Since the launch of the MyConstitution Campaign (the Campaign) in November 2009, the ConstiLC continues to receive on average, one request a week from various civil society groups to provide talks or workshops on the Federal Constitution. So far, the ConstiLC hasn’t turned down any of them.
On January 19, St. Francis Xavier (SFX) church hosted the ConstiLC by organising a “Conversations on the Constitution” session entitled “Relevance of the Federal Constitution: How does it affect us?”. 100 parishioners turned up. It was to be the first in a series of forums to be held at SFX; each coinciding with a theme of the Campaign’s nine phases. (For those who were not privy to the nitty-gritty details regarding the organisation of this talk, it was organised way before the High Court decision on the “A-word” was delivered.)
The panel speakers were from the ConstiLC; Edmund Bon, Paul Linus Andrews, Shad Saleem Faruqi and Leong Yeng Kong. Maha Balakrishnan made her debut as moderator for the evening and her questions ranged from something as straightforward as: “What are the things that people take for granted but are guaranteed by the Federal Constitution?” to others which were not so simple but instead, provoked much thought.
For instance, she asked,”What happens when there is a conflict between the rights of two citizens?” and proceeded to give the example of how the right to freedom of religion under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution is balanced between different citizens in a community when there is a dispute over the use of a loudspeaker for azan prayers and the ringing of the bells in a temple.
In responding to this question, Shad admitted that there is no easy way to resolve such dispute. However, he believes that it is important to step into the shoes of others and learn to look at the world through their eyes when confronted with a delicate issue such as those related to Article 11. He quoted former UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjold, who once said, “to be truly objective, one must be subjective”.
Shad recalled how Malaysian leaders in the 1950s were fond of dialogues and there is a need for the leaders of today to return to that quality and spirit. In his usual calm and dignified manner, Professor Shad said, “Nobody got everything [at that time] but everybody got something.”
Both the panelists and audience were candid and honest which made the talk worthwhile. It was clear that many are concerned about the government’s lack of effective implementation of fundamental rights and liberties under the Federal Constitution. Some went as far as to question the relevance of having the Campaign to promote constitutionalism. Losing faith in their religion may not be an option, but many have clearly lost faith in the government’s ability to rule the country justly and intelligently.
A disconcerting revelation however was the overwhelming sense of hopelessness and helplessness felt by some of the parishioners in terms of how far they think Malaysia has moved away from the ideals that were laid out by our founding fathers. Such is their conviction that many are willing to contemplate migration.
When the floor was opened for questions and answers, it was obvious that most people were not as eager to understand the constitutional aspects of Madam Justice Lau Bee Lan’s recent judgment on the “A-word” issue as they were anxious to know whether as Malaysians, are we ready for change? Despite the air of frustration, all speakers remained optimistic. Each one of them had something inspiring to impart.
Leong believes that enlightenment will free Malaysians from fear. It would be wrong for the government to keep the population ignorant, and to instill a sense of fear in them. Instead, the government should be the one to fear its citizens.
Edmund shared Leong’s sentiment by echoing the need for greater empowerment of and activism by the people. He said the results of the general election in 8 March 2008 are significant proof of this.
When one member of the congregation asked whether this Campaign is too idealistic and the ConstiLC ignorant of the realities facing the nation today, Shad answered, “Facts should not guide ideals. It should be ideals that guide facts. Otherwise, we’ll never move. We’ll remain static. It is our duty to prepare the people to reach those ideals.”
He continued to provide a personal anecdote. “Sometimes, I could be teaching a class of 100 students. Perhaps, I won’t be able to inspire all 10 of them. But if say, 10 students managed to show interest and potential, it is enough for me. It is something.”
Paul told the story of Emmett Hill, a 14 year-old African American who was murdered in Mississippi for purportedly whistling at a Caucasian woman. The main suspects were all acquitted but later admitted to the murder. The murder of Emmett Hill eventually became one of the leading events that inspired the American Civil Rights Movement.
Hill’s murder took place in 1955; 179 years after the independence of the US. That was how long it took and even longer before the first African American became President.
Paul asked, “If not now, when?” The point made was to show the insignificance of time when something is right and necessary. Emmet Hill’s violent death could have been avoided if the rights movement had started way earlier.
It was clear at the end that all speakers agreed the Campaign is necessary for everyone - Parliamentarians, Cabinet members, civil servants, Judges or those sitting in the audience; because change can only happen when there is awareness and it starts from us. We are ultimately responsible for all the changes made to the Federal Constitution. Who we vote into power also determines the destiny of our country.
Whether the speakers managed to present their views convincingly, the talk was effective as it allowed different people to express and share their fears and doubts in a safe space, something much needed in this country.
In addition, it is comforting that at so many levels, we witnessed genuine fellowship displayed by Muslims and Catholics under the same roof. Importantly, it finally dispelled my ignorant assumption that Muslim Malaysians are barred from stepping into churches.
As Maha would say, “Knowledge is power and ignorance is not an option.”
Let’s all take this wisdom with us as we start this new year.
KURUN, 27 Januari- Sebanyak 20 keluarga masyarakat India yang merupakan penduduk di Taman Murni sedang merana kerana tiada air selama 4 hari. Mereka menghadapi masalah tiada air kerana tidak ada air yang dikeluarkan oleh saluran air yang disambung di taman tersebut. Penduduk taman ini telah membuat aduan tentang ketiadaan air di saluran kepada Jabatan Pembekalan Air Daerah dan juga negeri sebanyak 15 kali. “Namun pegawai yang berkenaan tidak mengambil sebarang tindakan untuk menyelesaikan masalah ini” kata Panneerselvam salah seorang penduduk taman tersebut. Disebabkan tiada bekalan air ramai yang menghadapi kesusahan untuk. pergi bekerja, tidak dapat masak, kanak- kanak tidak dapat pergi ke sekolah. Jabatan Bekalan Air Negeri tidak mengendahkan masalah kami. Malah mereka tidak menunjukkan sebarang inisiatif untuk menolong kami kata Puan Neelawathy. 20 keluarga masyarakat India merungut bahawa sekiranya masalah ini berterusan di mana dan kepada siapa mereka harus mengadu? (Malaysia Nanban 27/01/10 di muka surat 2).
PORT DICKSON, Januari 26- Ibu tunggal bernama Puan Jayarani (44 tahun) yang tinggal di Taman Bandar Sungkala, Batu 6, Jalan Pantai, Port Dickson, tidak mampu membayar cukai tanah selama 6 tahun akibat kemiskinan hidup selepas pemergian suaminya. Kini beliau menerima surat bahawa rumahnya bakal dirampas oleh pegawai dari Majlis Perbandaran Port Dickson ekoran tunggakan bayaran cukai tanah. Puan Jayarani mempunyai 4 orang anak. Dia menjalani kehidupan dengan menggunakan wang sebanyak RM600 yang diberi oleh anak lelaki sulungnya, beliau terpaksa membayar duit ansuran rumah sebanyak RM 200 sebulan. Salah seorang anak perempuannya sedang belajar di kolej luar negeri. Jayarani terpaksa menghantar RM1000 kepadanya tiap- tiap bulan untuk perbelanjaan pendidikan. Anak perempuan kedua beliau telah kemalangan yang menyebabkan kakinya patah dan terpaksa berehat di rumah. Anak bongsunya sedang belajar di sekolah rendah tamil. Puan Jayarani yang sedang bertarung dengan perbelanjaan seharian terkejut mendapat surat yang mengatakan rumahnya bakal disita. (Tamil Nesan 26/01/10 di muka surat 2)
It is regretted that especially ex Perak Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin and Gobind Singh participated in this Ops Padam Hindraf forum which has been “franchised” to police mandore ASP Vasanthakumar to lead.
Just last Sunday 24/1/10 at a public forum at the Pillayar Temple in Nibong Tebal, Penang, a middle aged lady speaking up from the floor even cried when relating about this ASP’s similar banner in a Tamil Daily carrying the pictures of P. Waytha Moorthy and P. Uthayakumar with a cross on it. Res Ipsa Loquiteour .
The Penang DCM II and ex Perak DAP exco mandores are trying to play “paper politics” by compromising some local Tamil newspaper reporters by keeping them in their (these mandores) payroll. They would merely be one time elected representatives as in the post 25th November 2007 Hindraf Rally. The Hindraf people power would reign supreme in the 2012/2013 general elections
These DAP and PKR mandores can fool some of the Indians all the time and all the Indians some of the time. But they cannot fool all the Indians all the time especially in the post 25th November 2007 Hindraf Rally era.
Even the mastermind MIC successfully played this paper politics game for 50 long years but it no longer works since the 25th November Hindraf Rally and thereafter.
To all these DAP, PKR, PAS and the police mandores keep trying harder!
Posted by admin.
In almost all PPR, DBKL and other low cost flats the malay muslims without even asking are given a surau funeral rights hall (rumah mayat) and a multi purpose hall.
But for almost all the PPR, DBKL and other low cost flats, hundreds of thousands of Indians have to beg for even the very basic rumah mayat to conduct their loved ones’ last funeral rites. This extent of racism, religious extremism and UMNOs’ malay muslim supremacy does not happen in any part of the world expect in One Malaysia.
(Makkal Osai 5/1/10 headlines). But even after 52 years of independence and with 120,000 Tamil school pupils nationwide, UMNO is still refusing to grant full financial assistance for all the 523 Tamil schools nationwide.
Similarly the PKR, DAP and PAS state governments of Selangor (98), Penang (28) and Kedah (58) are refusing to grant state government land to all the Tamil schools in their respective states, the single factor that is preventing tamil schools from becoming fully government assisted.
Nirmala (31) has to spent about RM 810.00 per month on her kidney malfunction. Her husband earns a mere RM 750.00 per month as an unskilled security guard. But for the 2010 Budget only RM 48 Million has been allocated for the Indian poor.
But then UMNOs’ 1,016,799 graduates from the racist and religious extremist Biro Tata Negara (UM Buliten 21/6/09 at page 19) graduates see to it that Nirmala and hundreds of thousands of other such medically needy cases do not get help simply because they are Indians, whereas even divorcee muslim women are getting government assistance.