Friday, January 29, 2010
The Tamil-language book, entitled March 8, is based on research and eyewitness accounts of the racial clashes which rocked Kampung Medan in 2001, leaving six dead and more than 90 injured.
Judge wants more info
One of Arumugam's counsels, Joanne Leong told reporters that the reason for the delay is that the judge Justice Mohamad Ariff Md Yusoff wanted further information before deciding.
"This is in light of the recent decision by the same judge who lifted the home minister's ban on another book 'Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism'," she said.
Because of the recent case development, Leong said the judge has given them more time to file for further submissions.
March 8 was among the 50 books banned by the authorities in 2007
Among others banned are the Indonesian translation of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species and Karen Armstrong's The Battle for God: Fundamentalism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Three despatch riders were charged in the Sessions Court here today for the recent firebombing of the Metro Tabernacle Church, and could face up to 20 years in prison.
The three were brothers Raja Muhammad Faizal Raja Ibrahim, 24; Raja Muhammad Idzham Raja Ibrahim, 22; and another 23-year-old, Azuwan Shah Ahmad.
They were charged under Section 436 of the Penal Code, for the offence of “mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy a building.”
All three claimed trial and the date of mention has been set for March 12.
The three accused did not have legal representation. Bail was set at RM20,000 each.
The first accused, Muhammad Faizal, pleaded for leniency for his brother and him, claiming they could not afford to post the bail amount.
“I plead for the court to lower the bail amount. This is our first offence; we cannot afford RM20,000 bail,” he said.
However, Sessions Court judge Komathy Suppiah concurred with DPP Anslem Charles Fernandeez’s point that bail at that amount was fair given the public interest in the case.
A total of eight men had originally been detained in connection with the arson attack at the Metro Tabernacle Church here on Jan 8.
Another DPP, Lee Keng Fatt, would not reveal if or when the remaining suspects would be charged.
“I cannot say. We will have to wait and see,” said Lee.
Besides the eight, police have also detained seven other men over the recent arson attempt at Taiping’s historic All Saints’ Church and the town’s Convent School.
The attacks are believed to be linked to the controversial “Allah” ruling that has riled many Muslims.
Four other men were also picked up for arson attempts on two mosques in Muar.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said this week he believed the attacks against churches, a temple and now mosques appeared to be aimed at sparking racial and religious strife.
Boar heads were reportedly found at two mosques near here, earlier this week, following the fire-bombing attacks and acts of vandalism against churches and a Sikh temple had taken place in the wake of the “Allah” controversy.
These latest acts could be construed as attempts to escalate tensions and provoke unrest between Muslims and non-Muslims, as pigs are considered unhygienic in Islam and therefore their presence in the mosques were acts of desecration.
By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — Umno deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin dispelled the notion today that Malay nationalist group, Perkasa, had become more influential than his party.
He said that NGOs like Perkasa had a role to play, but it is ultimately political parties that set the tone for the country.
“At this stage, certain quarters may see the role of NGOs as [getting] stronger, therefore it is seen that the NGO is more influential than a political party.
“But in the end, people will decide their future based on parties that will fight for their future. And it is not [the] NGOs that will stand for election,” he said
He also stressed that Umno remained the strongest of all the local political parties.
Perkasa, which began as a one man band after Election 2008, has been shaping up as a national pressure group to Umno that represents those seeking to defend the constitutional position of the Malays and the “social contract”.
For the past two months, the Perkasa national leadership has been going on road shows to officiate state level launches and to organise massive recruitment drives.
Muhyiddin further argued that that the role of NGOs could not be compared with that of the government.
“Don’t belittle the government; they are only NGOs. No NGO can be compared to what the government can achieve.
“The government is strong and the government is very clear in its direction,” he said.
He added that the government was now more open and people can evaluate its sincerity and commitment.
“We (Barisan Nasional) are clear (in our direction). We are committed, brave and ready.
“We want to ask, what is Pakatan Rakyat and the opposition state’s direction?” asked Muhyiddin.
Despite Muhyiddin’s strong words, Perkasa has grown in strength in recent times.
Yesterday, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he believes Perkasa was increasingly popular within the Malay community because Umno was being seen as incapable of protecting their rights.
But the former Umno president said his party was still stronger than Perkasa, which was led by Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali, a deputy minister during the former’s administration.
The ex-premier also affirmed that Perkasa’s popularity among the Malays was increasing because they represented a significant number of Malay opinions.
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — MIC’s troubled investment arm Maika Holdings has been given the green light by the government to proceed with the proposal to sell off one of their most profitable subsidiaries — Oriental Capital Assurance Berhad — to a government-linked company (GLC).
Sources told The Malaysian Insider that MIC leaders have had several meetings since last month, with a number of GLCs to finalise the deal.
Under the proposal forwarded by Maika Holdings, a GLC under Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB) which operates insurance services was proposed as a suitor for Oriental Capital for a price of RM130 million.
At the same time, Maika Holdings has also filed a request in court to allow it to hold an annual general meeting, which has not been held since 2007.
The MIC investment arm is unable to repay its 66,400 shareholders who have invested RM106 million with it.
The proposed sale of Oriental Capital is part of the MIC’s plan to enable Maika to refund its shareholders.
“Yes, the prime minister has given his blessing to the proposal for a GLC to buy over Oriental Capital,” a source familiar with the deal told The Malaysian Insider.
Vell Paari, the CEO of Maika Holdings since 1999, declined to comment on the proposal.
But it is understood the proposal was put forward by Vell Paari’s father, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, during a meeting last September of the Special Cabinet Committee on the Development of the Indian Community chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The Malaysian Insider understands Najib subsequently instructed Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam to meet with various GLCs, including Khazanah Holdings, to look for a suitor for Oriental Capital.
“Datuk Subramaniam already had few meetings with [the] relevant agencies and we will have [a] meeting with Khazanah Holdings in coming weeks,” the source said.
“By getting a price of RM1.75 per share, Maika hopes to gather around RM130 million to settle with shareholders at the level of a minimum of RM1 per share, and also settle other dues.”
Oriental Capital had been profitable until 2006, when it suffered a loss of RM9.33 million.
Maika Holdings had proposed to sell Oriental Capital for RM1.75 per share, the level that was offered by engineering company Celcon to them two years ago. That sale never materialised due to objections from Koperasi Nesa Pelbagai Bhd, one of their main shareholders.
The MIC investment arm, set up to increase Malaysian Indian equity, also received bids from two other companies between 2007 and 2009 for a prices between RM1.50 to RM1.33 per share.
Oriental Capital is one of the few active subsidiaries of Maika Holdings. Other subsidiaries are Maika Corporate Services Sdn Bhd, Capital Oca Berhad, Maika Intellectual Resources Sdn Bhd and Golden Properties Sdn Bhd.
Maika Holdings was slapped with an injunction on Sept 24, 2007 to stop the implementation of resolutions passed at the annual general meeting that was scheduled for Aug 30 that year.
The main resolution affected by this injunction was the proposed sale of Oriental Capital Assurance Berhad.
The injunction was obtained by Koperasi Nesa Pelbagai Bhd, a company which has 625,000 shares in Maika and led by former MIC deputy president Datuk S. Subramaniam.
By Sira Habibu, The Star
Dissension within Pakatan Rakyat has spread and the simmering feud between DAP and PKR leaders broke into the open when Bayan Baru MP Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohd Hashim verbally attacked Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.
Describing the DAP secretary-general as a “dictator, a chauvinist and communist-minded”, Zahrain who is the former state PKR chairman, said Pakatan should stop compromising with the leader who is from Malacca as Lim had failed to deliver its general election promises.
Stressing that he was not attacking the DAP, Zahrain said Lim would become a liability to Pakatan in the state if he continued the way he was now.
“Lim does not like to be criticised. He is quick to label those who criticise him as Barisan Nasional agents,” he said. “Even his own party colleagues do not have a say the moment Lim makes up his mind.”
Zahrain said among the election promises that were not kept were the introduction of local council election and an open tender system.
“Lim may be reluctant to push for local council election because it will diminish his power if Penangites use that as an avenue to pass verdict on the state’s performance.
“He also promised an open tender system, but he has made the process worse by personally chairing the tender board,” he said, adding that there was better check and balance during Barisan’s rule.
He said when he criticised Lim for his dictatorial ways of managing the state, he was accused of being an Umno agent.
“I am certainly not an Umno agent. I just do not want to see Pakatan going against its promises,” he said. “It is a shame for Pakatan and its principles when projects are awarded based on who knows who.”
Zahrain said Lim was not suitable to be Penang Chief Minister because he was not a local and did not understand local sentiments.
“He has failed to bring in foreign investments despite travelling all over the world to attract investments,” he said.
“Voters are watching. Penangites are very particular about economic progress.”
Zahrain also questioned why a third of Lim’s speech during the Pakatan convention was in Mandarin.
“As a leader of the Pakatan, he should respect people of all races and speak in a language understood by all.”
The attack by Zahrain comes in the wake of the open defiance of Kulim Bandar Baru MP Zulkifli Noordin against party orders over the ‘Allah’ issue.
This led to a feud between Zulkifli and PAS’ Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad when the former even lodged a police report against the PAS man.
Zulkifli even challenged his party disciplinary board which let him off with a slap on his wrist but this in turned angered PKR’s political bureau chief Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who had quit as an Umno member, minister and senator to join the party.
Zaid criticised the party for letting off Zulkifli lightly saying it was no more than a poor copy of Umno.
Since rumours, climaxed with a Malaysiakini report, surfaced of at least one 'sure' defection of a Penang PKR MP, analysts have started to work on the theory that BN is trying hard to engineer 8 or 9 defections to re-gain its 2/3 in the lower house.
By "Sun Line" in a Facebook Note.
I shall not dwell on possible state level defections in this Note as it would only distract from the bigger implications at federal level.
While the elusive 2/3 may be the holy grail, things can get pretty messy even if just *three* PKR reps jump ship.
Here's why: PKR has 30 seats, DAP 28, PAS 23. If 3 PKR frogs leap, DAP becomes the strongest seat-based party in the opposition.
By convention and tradition the party with the most seats in opposition gets the Opposition Leadership position. This, however, is not a legal requirement because, in law, anyone -- even Zul -- can be opposition leader as long as he/she has the majority support of those on the opposition benches.
DAP and the then Keadilan have set a precedent in the 1999-2004 term by supporting Pas for the post even though their combined numbers are more than PAS, at a time when DAP and Pas were publicly bitch-slapping each other over the Islamic state issue.
If 3 PKR reps jump, Anwar has no moral claims to the post. As he's not even PKR's president, it would be hard-pressed to politically and morally justify giving the position to a mere 'de facto' leader of the second biggest party in Pakatan.
If he gets to keep the job, opponents will have a field day cementing claims that Pakatan is all about Anwar.
DAP members and supporters would also demand the party stick to convention and tradition and lay claims to the opposition throne.
If the post goes to DAP, then another Pandora's box will be opened. Umno will use all its, and the govt's, resources to cement claims that DAP pulls the Malay strings in Pakatan.
Under present socio-political conditions it just takes three frogs to re-shape public perception and the political landscape.al
This is, in my opinion, Umno's immediate plan. Selangor is peanuts compared to just 3 PKR federal frogs jumping.
Maybe this explains why Anwar is still hugging his political errant child so tightly despite loud calls for him to sack that fella.
Is he, in effect, just hugging himself?
* Sun Line is a socio-political kaypochee on Facebook. His Note can be viewed at its source at http://www.facebook.com/notes/sun-line/three-frogs-and-another-pandoras-box/287914044016 .
Round about this time last year, Perakians were robbed of their most basic of fundamental rights.
The right of self-governance.
Government of the people, for the people, by the people.
Round about this time last year, democracy died in Perak.
Do Perakians desire self-governance?
Do they deserve self-governance, or do they now have the government they deserve?
Do Perakians have what it takes to resurrect democracy in their state?
The Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Roadshow and Forum goes to Ipoh on 6th February, 2010. We’d like to share our thoughts with our Perakian anak Bangsa Malaysia.
Should you attend?
Click on the image below to read what straits-mongrel has to say.
2. A few of the articles tried to defend the Malaysian Government's action but mostly the blame for the crisis was attributed to the alleged failure of the financial and economic management of Malaysia. Practically no one has implicated the currency traders for the devaluation and the crisis. Even the writers who are friendly towards the Malaysian Government refuse to blame the currency traders.
3. Many are the reasons put forward by the writers to explain the crisis. It is alleged that the stock market boom contributed to the loss of confidence in the Malaysian economy and the Ringgit. Some blame the failure to rationalise and consolidate the banking systems. Others suggested that too much money had been channeled to the property sector. The other causes identified were the total loan-to-GDP ratio had increased; the rapid expansion of credit leading to deteriorating loan quality. Then the blame was put on companies assuming that the economy would forever be on the growth path. The two-tier regulatory system on banking introduced by Bank Negara and the failure to use the interest rate as a policy tool were also cited. Contagion i.e. infection from the financial disease which had affected Thailand was regarded as a major cause.
5. The fact that the chairman of the IMF, Michel Camdessus had enthusiastically praised Malaysia's management of its economy and finances, had praised the Central Bank (Bank Negara), for the healthy state of the Malaysian economy and finances just a few months before the crisis struck Malaysia which run counter to the negative remarks about Malaysia's economic management seem to be disregarded. The fact that after praising Malaysia for good management Michel Camdessus himself had about-faced and condemned Malaysia for bad management after the crisis occurred did not seem to strike these writers that the IMF was faulty in assessing the performance of a country's economy. And if the IMF is incapable than is it not likely that others too, including the rating agencies may not be capable of making good assessments and that they too are not the experts that they claim to be; and that in refusing to implicate the currency traders, these experts and the writers and analysts were themselves "in denial".
6. In the light of the meltdown and the collapse of the financial bubble which had struck the great democracies like the U.S., Britain, Germany and others, should not these analysts and writers realise how ridiculous it is to attribute the Asian Crisis to a lack of democracy.
7. The present crisis which is far more serious than the Asian crisis began in the great democracies of the world. One can almost say that it is democracy which caused the crisis and one can actually prove that elements of democracy are indeed to be blamed for the crisis.
8. This is because of the idea of less Government of Ronald Reagan and the advocacy of the free market, meaning free of Government regulation and oversight, a part of the concept of liberal democracy, which precipitated the current crisis.
9. Malaysia's democracy does not accept that the absence of Government supervision in a free market is a part of democracy. It is therefore free from the effects of the sub-prime loans by banks which gave the first indication that the economies of the great democracies were not as healthy as they make it out to be.
10. Democracy, particularly liberal democracy must therefore be a cause of the present crisis, and not the lack of democracy. If further proof is needed that a lack of democracy was not the cause of the Asian crisis, one only has to look at China. It hardly suffered from the Asian crisis and today it is economically and financially much more healthy than all the democracies of the world.
11. There may be some weaknesses in the administration and policies of the East Asian countries which contributed to the crisis of 1997 - 1998. But it is time that the role of the currency traders be thoroughly exposed so as to understand the true causes of the devaluation of the currencies and the serious crisis which followed.
The Situation Prior To The Crisis
12. The whole world acknowledged that in the decade before the crisis, i.e. in the period between 1987 and 1997, East Asia was booming. Certainly Malaysia was doing extremely well growing at an average rate of 8% p.a. continuously during that ten year period.
13. The Malaysian growth was not accidental. It was a result of the policies of the Government and the management of the economy and finances. National savings at 40% plus was the highest in the world and the reserves could sustain 4½ months of retained imports. The Ringgit was strong and steady - being valued at about 2.5 to 1 USD for most of the time.
14. Foreign borrowings were insignificant and the deficits in the budget and the trading accounts were small and manageable.
15. There was political stability, a factor that was appreciated by foreign investors who came in droves.
16. As I said no less a person than the head of the IMF, Michel Camdessus publicly stated in a speech on 17th June 1997 that "Malaysia is a good example of a country where the authorities are well aware of the challenges of managing the pressures that result from high growth and of maintaining a sound financial system amidst substantial capital flows and the booming property market......... The Malaysian authorities have also emphasized maintaining high standards of bank soundness".
17. Although Paul Krugman had commented that Malaysia faced the possibility of the growth rate slowing down in the mid-90s, there was no mention of any possibility of currency devaluation or of a crisis in the offing. Neither did the great rating agencies.
18. The situation in Malaysia was certainly not like that in Thailand where foreign debts were incurred by the business community due to the low interest rates as compared to the Thai rates. There was much money expanded on development of highrise buildings in Bangkok. A lot of new property development was taking place all over the country, financed by foreign loans.
The Thai Situation
19. The situation in Thailand could not but lead to a devaluation of the Thai baht. When it happened the Central Bank stepped in to shore up the exchange rate. But very quickly the bank found that it was unable to halt the decline in the value of the baht. It decided to stop intervention and to allow the baht to float. As soon as the baht was floated, speculators and those fearing devaluation sold the baht for USD. This caused the baht to devalue faster. As the baht continued to devalue foreign investors started to sell off their shares denominated in baht to avoid further devaluation. This caused another round of devaluation. It would seem that the devaluation of the baht would go on forever.
The Malaysian Situation
20. The Malaysian situation was not like that of Thailand. Growth in 1997 was still expected to remain high. There were few Malaysian borrowers of foreign currencies and there was no fear that servicing and repayment of the loans would require more Ringgit than was budgeted for.
21. Foreign direct investments were still coming in both for new industries and for the shares in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. All the other financial indicators remained healthy.
22. The Malaysian Government did not therefore anticipate any devaluation of the Ringgit. There was no reason why it should.
23. Then the press began to talk about contagion. It seems that the devaluation of the Baht would infect and drag down the Ringgit. This was worrisome as Thailand was a competitor in the export of various manufactured products. If a devalued Baht lowered the cost of production in Thailand, then to remain competitive, Malaysia may have to devalue the Ringgit.
24. But this was thought to be manageable. The Central Bank would go into the market to sell the Ringgit and keep its exchange rates down. The Malaysian industries would have to improve efficiency in order to remain competitive.
25. So confident was Malaysia that its finances would not be affected that it lent to Thailand one billion U.S. dollars to help it out. Even when the Ringgit started to depreciate a little Malaysia lent another billion U.S. dollars to Indonesia.
26. We believed that the financial problems of Thailand and Indonesia would be temporary. They would recover and there would be no problem for them to repay the loans.
The Financial Markets
27. The rich countries of the West had grown and prospered because of their industries i.e. the production of goods and the supply of services to their domestic market and to the world. Their cost was going up rapidly as the labour unions kept demanding for higher wages and expensive perks. But for as long as they remain the principal producers of the high-value goods and services, they could still sustain their production of goods and supply of services.
28. Then they discovered the poor countries with their cheap labour. Whenever they could they transferred their industries to these low labour cost countries in order to reduce cost and compete with the newly industrializing countries of East Asia. If whole industries could not be moved because of protest from their labour unions they would invest in the low labour cost countries for the production of simple parts and components. This way the European and American countries could compete with Japan and Korea.
29. But then the Japanese also did the same and they were able to remain highly competitive producing the same manufactured goods that were once monopolized by the Western countries. It was clear that the Japanese were going to displace most of the American and European manufactured goods in the world market.
30. Famous brands of American and European goods disappeared from the market altogether. The British gave up manufacturing cars, cameras, radios and televisions and other modern consumer products.
31. In America (the U.S.) well-known car makes were also disappearing. Well-known makes of radios, television, cameras, motorcycles and a whole range of branded goods also disappeared from the shelves.
32. In their places, including in Europe and America, all kinds of Japanese goods had made their appearance. Initially the Japanese goods were considered of inferior quality but soon it became clear that the quality had improved so much that they were superior to those of European and American make. In fact they exceeded the standards set by the west.
33. Thus when Japan started to export cars to the US, the US Government insisted that repair shops be set up everywhere. To their surprise these repair shops had hardly any business as the Japanese cars very seldom broke down.
34. When Honda exhibited their motorcycles in England, the British engineers were shocked to find that Honda engines were like the precision motors of high quality Swiss watches.
35. When later the South Koreans got into the act and they practically monopolised the construction industry in the world, the West saw the writings on the wall. There was no way for them to compete in the manufacture of goods, or to bid for the huge construction projects worldwide.
36. The financial market which had started in the 60s and 70s were not very attractive at first. But gradually the potentials were recognized and developed. New products were invented which gave ever increasing returns on investments.
37. Beginning with the sale of shares in order to raise money for capital, the smart players discovered that the buying and selling of shares could yield a lot of profits. The value of the shares were initially based on the profitability of the business.
38. But it became clear that the value would appreciate if there was demand. From then on the value of the shares became decoupled from the profitability of the enterprise. Demand or lack of demand determined the value of shares irrespective of the performance of the enterprise.
39. This led to the smart ones moving the share prices up and down by buying and selling. From this a short step led to the big players developing short selling.
40. The actual shares became irrelevant. Simply by offering to buy or to sell shares not in the possession of the party who offered was enough to move share prices. So large numbers of shares (non-existent) would be sold to depress the price. Then when the price reached a sufficiently low level, they would be bought at the low price to deliver to buyers who had bought earlier when the prices were higher. A tidy profit was sure to be made this way, now termed short selling.
41. It was realised that the bigger the funds available the easier it was to move prices up and down. Individuals would not have enough funds and they run the risk of being countered by those with bigger funds. Nor could individuals borrow much in order to be a substantial player in the market.
42. And so companies were formed to manage funds invested by individuals or companies. With funds running into hundreds of millions, there was a greater capacity to manipulate share price.
43. But to be even bigger the fund managers borrowed from the banks. This is called leveraging on the invested funds.
44. The banks agreed to lend as much as 20 to 30 times the funds held by the investment companies or hedge funds so that their capacity to play the market would be greater.
45. With this an investor would benefit from the 20-30 times bigger funds borrowed by the hedge funds. Besides the huge investments by the fund managers almost guaranteed that they would make profits through actually influencing the price of the shares.
46. The investments by the hedge funds and their leveraging (borrowings) are mysterious. It seems that they need not report to the Government on their activities. Besides, by operating from offshore tax-free havens, they needed to submit reports to no one. Investors in hedge funds were thus able to make huge profits.
47. Once the idea of leveraging became known, the fund managers began to look into other possibilities of investing the huge loans they had access to.
48. The currency traders designed their operations in the same way. Leveraging by between 20-30 times the investors' money held by them, they were able to invest and make huge profits. Again they need not report to anyone. Again, by operating out of tax havens they found themselves free from oversight of their operations by any Government.
Western Banking System and Practices
49. The banks were able to lend huge amounts of money for these operations simply because in the Western banking system, banks are allowed to lend more money than they have by way of capital and other assets and the deposits held by them. Normally they would be prudent and lend only certain multiples of the money held by them. But because Governments often bail out banks when there is a run by the depositors, the banks were emboldened to lend as much as 30 times their assets. This means that very much more money could be lent by the banks than they actually have. The banks are in fact creating money out of thin air to lend to the funds.
50. With huge loans available from the banks, billions of dollars could be lent for mergers and acquisitions. Consultants and experts appeared who were able to advise on mergers and acquisitions, getting huge commissions from their services. Not having the billions of dollars to purchase the businesses was not a problem as banks could lend the money they had created.
51. Now mergers and acquisitions became a business in itself. Rumors of impending mergers or acquisitions were enough to push share prices up or down. No matter whether the shares appreciate or get devalued, speculators would make money. The actual businesses done by the companies involved were not important. The purchase price of the companies bear little reflection of their profitability.
52. Then a couple of crooks invented junk bonds. The shares of poorly performing companies were bought and all kinds of manipulations were made to make them look good. Mike Milken and Ivan Boesky were eventually jailed.
53. Another scheme was to buy up companies to dispose off their assets. Slater Walker Securities developed this scheme.
54. Given the power to literally create money out of thin air, the banks were on the lookout for more ways to lend money. The returns for the banks were based on prospects of a return on the loans given out. The bigger the loans, the better.
Banking Prudence Discarded
55. And so instead of prudently ensuring that the borrowers could pay the loans extended, the banks began to lend even to very high-risk people - the so-called sub-prime loans. The assumption was that even if a percentage of the loans turn bad, the earnings on the rest would cover the losses.
56. But in order to make sure, the banks insured the loans with insurance companies or sold them to secondary mortgage companies. The banks believed that they were well covered for the loans. The risks were being taken care of by the insurance and secondary mortgage companies. But when huge numbers of the loan became non-performing, the bubble burst.
57. Then came the credit cards. Devised in order to make spending money more convenient, the credit card industry grew tremendously. The cards very quickly displaced cash and cheques.
58. Individuals may carry numerous credit cards so that they would not know really whether they have enough in the banks to cover the cost of the purchases they make. This led to a consumer boom as more goods and services are paid with credit cards irrespective of the money in the banks owned by the comsumers.
59. For the banks, any expenditure above what the customer had with the banks would be regarded as loans. Unlike ordinary loans, the interest rates are very high - as much as 18% to 20%.
60. Such are the calculated earnings of the banks from the credit card loans that even if a percentage of the loans became non-performing the banks were confident that the earnings from the rest of the credit cards would cover up the losses.
61. From all these activities, from hedge funds to mergers and acquisitions, sub-prime loans, financing insurance and secondary mortgages, credit card loans, currency trading, huge wealth seems to have been made. The Western countries appeared to be growing as shown by their per capita incomes and GDP growth. It would seem that their abdication from the real business of producing goods and services had paid off rather handsomely. Certainly their people seem to be enjoying very high standards of living.
62. The failures in the financial market here and there were ignored or covered up. No one thought there was anything wrong with the systems and the financial products they had created.
63. Then came the sub-prime crisis. Apparently the non-performing loans to the housing sector were too many to be compensated by the successes. First the banks and then the insurance and mortgage companies were pulled down. The economy went into a state of crisis as bank failures affected the share markets. Share prices plunged and the hedge funds sustained huge losses. It should be remembered that just as the profits would be much bigger with the 20-30 times the investors' funds invested, the losses too would be that much greater. There was no way for the losses to be covered or the huge loans from the banks to be repaid. The hedge funds therefore collapsed, pulling down the lending banks with them.
64. Attempts by the Governments to bail out the financial institutions and companies have not really succeeded. If the economy was doing well then the banks and companies bailed out by the Government would be able to make some recovery. But it would take time because they would have to do prudent business and such business would be slow in giving a return. They can only recover quickly if they were allowed the abuses they had indulged in before. But obviously they shouldn't although there are some who believe they should be allowed to. As for the companies, the general contraction of the purchasing power of the people must reduce sales of their products and therefore their profits. Even if they recover they would not be as financially healthy as before.
65. The recent talk of recovery is therefore not based on reality. Actually it is to justify not doing anything with systems which in the past had been so lucrative. It would take another worldwide crisis before the west would consider dismantling their banking, monetary and financial systems.
66. The leaders of the West are still in a state of denial. What is more likely is that they are aware of how the financial market operations have brought about the crisis but are unwilling to do away with them because they have made so many of their investors rich and have contributed much to per capita and GDP growth in their countries.
67. And so we may see the crisis continue, albeit de-emphasised so as to sustain the financial market.
68. The real solution would be a return to real business i.e. the production of goods and services. But then the developed countries of the West would have to accept being somewhat poorer than the good old days.
Some people just don't understand dialogue...
SO now the government wants a formalised interfaith dialogue mechanism? Going by the history of the state's response to attempts by civil society to initiate interfaith dialogue, I am not holding my breath.
In 2005, various members of civil society had a conference proposing a statutory Interfaith Commission (IFC) for Malaysia. A small number of Islamist non-governmental organisations (NGOs), claiming to speak for "mainstream" Islam, succeeded in derailing the initiative when the government pandered to their scare tactics and "shelved" the proposal. Noteworthy was the fact that these NGOs refused to participate in the conference, and set various ground rules that essentially sought to bar the participation of certain individuals and censor the discussion.
Furthermore, the mention of international human rights conventions in the IFC's draft statute became an excuse to insinuate that the entire initiative was an attempt to interfere with Islam and allow Muslims to apostasise.
The objections and methodology then were a prescient sign of other obstructionist tactics these NGOs have since taken.
(Family silhouette by jayofboy | sxc.hu)
Shortly after the aborted IFC initiative, a separate initiative by a coalition of NGOs called "Article 11" was again derailed. That coalition came about because of the injustice caused to S Shamala, the Hindu mother fighting a custody battle over her children with her estranged husband who had converted to Islam.
The injustice was in court decisions, which purported to legitimise the conversion to Islam of the infant children without Shamala's consent. She was given custody of her children, but prevented from "exposing" them to her religion, a decision the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) called Pyrrhic.
The Islamist NGOs took to the streets and disrupted closed door forums that the Article 11 coalition organised throughout the country. Forums in Penang and Johor Baru (JB) were disrupted. In Penang, the mob outside rushed into the meeting room and disrupted the forum. In JB, the police allowed the mob to come right to the doorstep of the hotel and no farther. Then, instead of dispersing the crowd, the police "advised" the Article 11 organisers to stop the forum. Obviously, the freedom of association and expression of the mob outside trumped the freedom of those inside to discuss issues of public interest.
I filmed the protestors at the JB venue during the forum in early 2006. They were not violent, but protested vigorously. True, the police need not have allowed them to block access to the hotel. But, I suppose the hotel needed to be shown what would happen if they failed to find a reason to cancel forums such as Article 11.
The point is this — there was no change in the mob protesting from the time they arrived at 9am until the forum was halted at 10am. What then precipitated the police's move to halt the forum?
Surrealism, Malaysian style
What about custody battles where one
spouse converts to Islam?
Then, in 2008 I was sitting inside the Bar Council auditorium where I was a speaker in a forum on the problems faced by non-Muslim families when one spouse converts to Islam. I was there as solicitor for R Subashini. Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, counsel for Subashini's estranged husband, was also a panellist.
Yet, again, the same Islamist NGOs were there. Earlier that morning, they had left two bottles looking like Molotov cocktails at the Bar's premises. Another cocktail, intended for then Bar president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan was instead put into her parents' old house, which, ironically, had since become the residence of then Umno Wanita deputy head Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
After protesting for an hour and blocking traffic outside the Bar Council, the mob again entered the premises, walked up to the front and stood in a line blocking participants' view. The following 10 minutes were surreal — those of us on the panel were speaking to an audience we could not see because we were blocked by the glares of several visibly upset Malay Malaysian men.
The most iconic moment of that fiasco, however, was when former Human Rights Commissioner Professor Dr Mehrun Siraj tried to reason with the protestors to let the forum continue. She tried to argue that it was her responsibility as a Muslim to engage and teach non-Muslims about Islam. Her pleas fell on deaf ears, and she was then berated for falling for the trickery of the non-Muslims.
Again, the Bar Council's observers outside the auditorium confirmed that the participants outside were not being any more difficult than they already were when the police "advised" the Bar Council to halt the forum. Again, no doubt, their right to protest on the streets trumped our right to talk indoors.
Talk is cheap
And so now, when I see some parties calling for the Catholic Church to withdraw their claim to use the word "Allah" to refer to God, I am reminded of these previous incidents. Violence, mob rule and irrational fears are allowed to overrule and undermine the legitimate exercise of fundamental liberties and freedoms by some.
The reality is that many Muslims have no problems with the Catholic Church using "Allah" within their own congregation in the exercise of their right of worship. But seeing this, the Islamists probably thought they had to cause the sort of disturbance to public order that the court had ruled was not proven to have existed.
The plea for inter-faith dialogue rings hollow to me. I have seen firsthand what "dialogue" means to some — you do not talk, you only talk on our terms; you listen to us and don't talk; and if you are allowed to talk, you can only say what we want to hear.If there is no respect; if there is no willingness to understand the other side's concern; if "living in harmony" means "live according to my dictates", then there is really no point in "dialogue".
From eureka street
By Peter Kirkwood
This interview with controversial Malaysian Opposition Leader, Anwar Ibrahim, continues the series recorded for Eureka Street at the Parliament of the World’s Religions held in Melbourne at the beginning of December 2009.
He speaks about the urgency of interreligious dialogue, how to deal with religious and cultural pluralism, the need for frank discussion and debate amongst Muslims, and the true meaning of sharia, of Islamic law.
The recent spate of fire-bombings of Christian churches in Malaysia highlights the need to promote dialogue and understanding between religious groups. In a recent press statement, Anwar denounced the actions of militant Muslims, saying he was ‘outraged by the tragic attacks on our Christian brothers and sisters’.
He reminded Muslims of the teaching in the 29th Chapter of the Quran: ‘And dispute not with the People of the Book but say, ‘We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and that which came down to you … our God and your God is one’.’
62 year old Anwar showed leadership from an early age. At university, he was president of the Muslim students’ organisation. After graduating he was one of the founders, and the second president, of a leading Islamic youth organisation called Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia.
In 1982 the charismatic Anwar entered politics, and was taken under the wing of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. He rose rapidly through the ranks, and held several ministries before becoming Deputy Prime Minister in 1993. But tensions grew between him and Mahathir as Anwar spoke out against nepotism and cronyism within the government, and they had differences of opinion over economic management.
In 1998 he was ousted from the government, and in 1999 was convicted of corruption and sentenced to six years in prison. In 2000 he was sentenced to another nine years for sodomy. In 2004 the Federal Court of Malaysia quashed the sodomy charges and he was released from gaol.
In 2008, he stood as a candidate in a by-election in the Malaysian seat of Permatang Pauh. He won with a landslide, re-entered parliament, and became Opposition Leader. Shortly after, fresh allegations of sodomy led to further charges which are now before the courts. Anwar denies all the charges against him, saying they were trumped up by political opponents.
In December 2009 Anwar was named by influential US magazine, Foreign Policy, as one of its Top 100 Global Thinkers. It says he has ‘a bold message for change in a country now at the forefront of the struggle for democracy in the Muslim world. Today, Anwar’s career is blossoming, despite a new, politically motivated indictment. Abroad, he has become an outspoken advocate of religious tolerance.’
Deputy registrar K. Pavani fixed the date in her chambers yesterday after meeting Senior Federal Counsel Zureen Elina Mohd Dom, who acted for the defendants, and lawyer Mazilah Abu Bakar for the plaintiff.
Zureen said Pavani had ordered the parties to file remaining witness statements by July for the hearing proper.
In the defamation suit, Jazimin Abdul Jalil, 36, named Selangor police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar, the Inspector-General of Police and the Government as defendants.
Jazimin said he decided to take legal action against the defendants to correct the perception of the public against him and his family.
Nurin, eight, was abducted and murdered over two years ago.
Jazimin, who works in a security firm, filed the suit on Aug 21, 2008.
In a statement of claim, Jazimin said Khalid had defamed him on Sept 21, 2008 by making a defamatory statement against him which was published by a local daily.
He is also asking for an injunction to stop the defendants from continuing to spread defamatory words against him, be responsible for their actions and an apology.
He is asking for RM2mil in general damages, other damages and further relief deemed fit by the court.
Police and Home Ministry officials have confiscated Zunar’s new book, ‘1Funny Malaysia’ from bookshops in Penang and Malacca.
Thirteen copies of the popular political cartoonist’s book were confiscated this evening from the Popular Book Store in Air Keroh, Malacca. A further 27 copies of ‘Where is Justice?’, edited by Nathaniel Tan, were carted away as well.
The latest seizure comes on the back of similar action in Penang three weeks ago. On 7 January, officials bundled away 30 copies of ‘1Funny Malaysia’ and four copies of ‘Where is Justice?’ from the Popular Book Store in Gurney Plaza.
‘Where is Justice?’ is a book about custodial deaths and police brutality. Both books are published by Kini Books.
This is the second Zunar publication to be confiscated in recent months. Copies of his inaugural periodical, Gedung Kartun, were seized six months ago.
Hi all – some have kindly asked about where they might be able to pick up copies of the confiscated books.
They have not technically been banned yet, so they should be available online via Kinibooks, and in major bookstores in the Klang Valley (Popular, MPH, Borders, etc).
We may think about other avenues for distribution as well, soon enough, but if possible, try to get them via this means if it’s still an option.
I’m rushing out at the moment, but will try to have more updates for you soon. Thanks!
|Secret 'Taliban talks' in Maldives|
It's a controversial idea that some say is the only way to bring peace to Afghanistan ... How to convince members of the Taliban to put down their guns, and bring them into the political fold.
Al Jazeera has learned that secret talks were held last week on the Maldives Islands between a government official, Afghan MPs and an armed opposition group fighting alongside the Taliban.
An ambitious plan is under way to get fighters lay down their arms in return for money and jobs.
David Chater has this exclusive report.
This kosong Selangor Indian Exco mandore who is powerless to even secure his “Tuan” Menteri Besar to grant state land for all the hindu temples in Selangor all in one go now has the check to publicise his pictures in large numbers in Batu Caves based on the reports we just received this evening (28/1/2010) Shame on him.
Classical MIC style political Indian mandore of Anwar Ibrahim and Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. Until you secure land for all hindu temples in Selangor all in one go and as a permanent and not piecemeal solution and not land here and there and peanuts cash for hindu temples here and there, you are not welcome to Batu Caves hindu temple or any other hindu temple nationwide land.
Batu Caves : Najib and Selangor MB not welcome.
In early 2009, the Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim in answer to the Kota Alam Shah State Assemblyman M. Manoharan’s written question at the Selangor State Assembly replied to the effect that in every ten (10) days one hindu temple is being demolished in Selangor in the year 2007. Based on this figure our estimate is that in every one week one hindu temple is demolished in Malaysia. This kind of atrocities does not happen in any other part of the world expect in Malay-sia.
It is coming to about two years now that PKR has been the ruling government in the Selangor state government. But this Selangor Menteri Besar has yet to grant land to each and every hindu temple in the state of Selangor as what has been rightly done for all suraus and masjids by UMNO over the last 52 years. *( See notes below)
Instead Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim continues with the 50 old year UMNO regime paper politics wayang kulit “tradition” by getting his Indian Exco and other mandores to create the impression of dishing out peanuts of RM 9,000.00 or so per hindu temple or land for this or that hindu temple without substantiating the same with land titles or at least firm written letters granting hindu temple land on the state government letterhead with an express undertaking to issue the land titles thereto within sixty days or so. This is done on an almost daily basis through especially the three Tamil newspapers (The Indian victims only realize that their hindu temple land promised were mere political statements when the bulldozers appear at the temple doorsteps to literally bulldoze these hindu temples).
Each of this peanuts and chicken feet funds and the supposed hindu temple “land” announcement is then repeated and amplified over and over again under various disguised titles and sub titles in especially the three Tamil newspapers as the malay proverb goes “ayam telur sebiji rioh sekampong” and to give the impression that the hindu temple problems are being attended to on a day to day basis.
Leading in this scheme of newspaper political play is the Selangor Indian Exco mandore who in particular has aped this 50 year old MIC mandores’ practice and perfected it into an art.
This very same “kosong paper politics” is also still played by the UMNO led by Prime Minister Najib in the other states ruled by UMNO and ably aped by the Chief Minister of Penang Kapitan Lim Guan Eng, Dato Seri Azizan the Menteri Besar of Kedah and (earlier) Dato Seri Nizar Jamaluddin the former Menteri Besar of Perak who also use their Indian DCM II and Exco mandores and their other Indian mandores for this same purpose.
Now on this year’s Thaipusam day “Tuan” Najib, “Tuan” Tan Sri Khalid, Kapitan Lim Guan Eng and “Tuan” Nizar Jamaluddin are expected to be accompanied by their respective mandores - Indian Minister, Deputy Ministers, DCM II, Exco and their other Indian mandores clad in white vashty and white shirts to do their usual media and paper politics wayang kulit and fish for the critical and crucial Indian votes in particular at Batu Caves, Kalu Malai (Ipoh) the Waterfall temple (Penang) and elsewhere nationwide
We now call upon Prime Minister Najib Razak Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Kapitan Lim Guan Eng, “Tuan” Dato Seri Azizan and ex Perak Menteri Besar “Tuan” Nizar Jamaluddin (when he resumes power in Perak) to forthwith announce the granting state government land titles to all hindu temples in Selangor, Penang, Perak and Kedah and the whole of Malaysia at worst by invoking Section 76 of the National Land Code and alienating land to all hindu temples in Malaysia all in one go as a permanent and lasting solution as opposed to the present practice of doing soon a piecemeal “one by one” and wayang kulit basis (most often empty promises) and the temple by temple chicken feet funds or supposed land allocations which is almost always never backed up by a land title or at least a firm written letter to that effect on the government letterhead.
If this is not done “Tuan” Najib, “Tuan” Tan Sri Khalid “Tuan” Nizar Jamaluddin and Kapitan Lim Guan Eng are not welcome for Thaipusam at Batu Caves, Penang, Ipoh and elsewhere nationwide. The Malaysian Indian minority have had enough
Secretary General (pro tem)
* We note with regret that this PKR/PR Selangor State government has yet to grant state land to the hundreds of such temples in Selangor. How is this PKR/PR State government goint to be any different from the previous UMNO/BN Selangor state governments in Selangor and all the other (5) P.R. ruled states have no interest in giving these hindu temples, tamil schools, crematoriums and Indian squatters a permanent solution to their problem. To the contrary the Selangor and Perak state government within one month of their coming to power granted RM100 Million and 400 hectares of land for a pig project in Sepang (NST 11/04/2008 and 26/08/2008 pg 3) Similarly in Perak 60,000 (110,000) lots in 134 Chinese New Villages (UM 5/04/2008 pg 4) and 102,000 titles for 349 Rancangan Kampong tersusun (mostly Malay) (UM 1/01/2009 pg 1), 3.3 hectares per orang asli land approved, 18,000 hectares has been gazette as orang asli reserve and another 30,000 hectare more waiting to be gazette says Nga Koo Ham DAP Senior Perak Exco Member (NST 20/09/2008 at page 20) 1,000 hectares (about 2,500 acres) of land to nine Chinese schools in Kampar, Manjung and Taiping (NST 31/08/2008) 101 hectres to the Premier International University with a possibility of an additional 20 hectres (NST 18/09/2008 pg 20) 3,000 illegal shrimp ponds in Mangrove forests near Manjong (Chinese) to be legalized by giving them land titles says Menteri Besar Nizar Jamaluddin (NST 28/12/2008 pg 26) land titles for 10,000 orang asli in Perak to help raise their socio economic status (NST 8/10/2008 pg 10). It is clear that just about every body else are granted state land ie the Malays, Chinese and the orang asli except the Indians. Even if it for the public purpose of Temples Crematoriums Tamil schools or Public Halls. How then are these PKR, DAP and PAS governments any different from the previous UMNO/ B.N state governments? This is the political reality we are facing today!)
The RM1 million spent on books part of the more than RM5 million reported missing from MIED coffers
Sources said former MIED Capital Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri M. Mahalingam told MACC officers that the sum came from Maju Institute for Education Development (MIED) that is under investigation.
The sources said Mahalingam alerted the MACC that the RM1 million was part of the more than RM5 million initially reported missing from MIED coffers.
The book, priced at RM150 each, was written by former MIED chief executive officer and financial officer P. Chitrakala Vasu, who is now at the centre of a row with MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu over missing MIED funds and files.
The 300-page book, Samy Vellu, As We Know Him, is a compilation of 97 glowing tributes from people whose lives had been touched by the former Works Minister and MP for Sungai Siput.
The matter came to light on the third day of MACC’s investigations into some RM4 million of MIED funds that were reportedly routed to the accounts of two companies owned by the family of a former key institute officer.
It has been alleged that the sum, paid out by MIED as advances to MIED Capital, a special purpose vehicle formed to manage MIED, was siphoned off to two of the companies after MIED Capital reimbursed the money.
Mahalingam, who was removed as chairman of MIED Capital and MIC treasurergeneral on Dec 24, 2008, was the second high-profile MIC leader to be interviewed by the MACC in connection with controversies surrounding the MIED.
Mahalingam confirmed that he had been interviewed but declined further comment. Earlier, MACC officers recorded a statement from another MIED Capital director, Tan Sri K. Kumaran, who together with Mahalingam, co-signed the three cheques for RM4 million.
Yesterday, the MACC team, examining the financial paper trail, seized more documents. They included the minutes of board meetings between MIED and MIED Capital Sdn Bhd that detail the advances of RM4 million
by MIED to its subsidiary.
Sources said the minutes were critical documents as they revealed how the advances were made.The MACC is expected to question the high-ranking MIC leader next.
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal - The Malaysian Insider
But the former Umno president said his party is still stronger than Perkasa, which is led by Pasir Mas MP Datuk Ibrahim Ali who was a deputy minister in his administration.
“Among the majority of Malays, there is a feeling that Umno is, by itself not quite capable of protecting them (Malays),” Dr Mahathir told reporters after an event at the National Library here.
“This has in turn resulted in a lot of NGOs being formed,” he said, referring to the various Malay non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The former prime minister also affirmed that Perkasa’s popularity among the Malays was increasing because they represented a significant number of Malay opinion.
He however stopped short of stating that the Malay nationalist group was formed as a pressure group to Umno.
“Well, it (Perkasa) is the biggest among Malay NGOs throughout the country. But it is not as strong as Umno.”
Perkasa, which began as a one man band after Election 2008, has been shaping up as a national pressure group to Umno that represents those seeking to defend the constitutional position of the Malays and the social contract.
For the past two months, the Perkasa national leadership has been going on road shows to officiate state level launches and to organise massive recruitment drives.
Dr Mahathir is scheduled to launch the Selangor Perkasa this Saturday. His presence will be seen as a coup for the right-wing organisation.
In every state, Ibrahim, who is the sole independent Member of Parliament, has been able to attract local Umno leaders to attend gatherings and express support for his struggle.
It has also successfully recruited Umno grassroots activists who have failed to climb up the party hierarchy.
Perkasa, which has been at the forefront in fighting for the exclusive use of the term “Allah for Muslims, has also set up its Sarawak chapter, the only state in Malaysia without Umno’s presence.
The group has also been lodging police reports against politicians who stand in their way such as the PAS Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad, who supported the Roman Catholic Church’s right to use the term “Allah.”
Umno began in May 1946 in Johor Baru as an umbrella group for all Malay groups and parties opposed to the Malayan Union proposed to consolidate the Malay states after World War 2. It fought for Malay rights and later independence with allies MCA and MIC as the Alliance.
But a section of Malays, who form some 60 per cent of Malaysia’s 28 million population together with the natives in Sabah and Sarawak, think Umno has strayed from its founding ideals and is “pandering” to the non-Malays.
Among them are ex-servicemen who have defended the nation and expect some rewards on retirement, such as taxi permits and business opportunities, which they see as rightful entitlements.
By Neville Spykerman - The Malaysian Insider
SELAYANG, Jan 28 — Police have ordered the Pakatan Rakyat state government to remove a stage set up at Batu Caves for celebrations on the eve of Thaipusam tomorrow despite prior approval from the authorities.
Selangor executive councillor Dr Xavier Jayakumar told The Malaysian Insider he had been informed that this was because Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was scheduled to visit Batu Caves at 9pm tomorrow.
“This is totally unfair, I had met the Gombak Police chief earlier this week at the Selayang Municipal Council and there was no problem.”
Xavier said tomorrow’s celebrations, which starts at 10.30pm, is part of the Selangor Tourism programme which is being hosted by the state government and sponsored by Digi.
“Nobody told us Najib was coming tomorrow and he was only initially supposed to visit on Saturday afternoon.”
The Malaysian Insider is still attempting to contact the Selangor police chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar for an official comment.
However when contacted Selangor Police Chief Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar told The Malaysian Insider that they had never agreed for a stage to be set up near a viaduct in front of the temple for the purpose of a concert.
Khalid said the area is not conducive because of the huge crowd, and previously the location was used by police to position their vehicles in order to maintain security.
“This has nothing to do with the prime minister’s visit tomorrow.”
He added that he had conveyed this to Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.
“I’ve spoken to the Selangor Mentri Besar and he agreed the stage should not be set up at that location.”
He added police had no objections if the state government wanted to set up a stage at a different location.
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - The Malaysian Insider
Politicians, particularly those from Umno/Barisan Nasional (BN) were also blamed for failing to defend Islam against perceived threats.
Panellists at a forum organised for civil servants here by the Islamic Development Department (Jakim) suggested that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government was lax in defending Islam, after the High Court ruling allowing a Catholic weekly to use “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia section.
Zamihan Mat Zin from the Institut Latihan Islam Malaysia blasted politicians for being vocal only on Malay rights but doing little for Islam.
“Some politicians are ever so vocal when it comes to defending Malay rights but when it comes to their religion, they are quiet. What is the use of defending Malay rights if our religion is not protected?” he told about 800 civil servants at a special forum here today.
Zamihan said deliberate attempts were being made to degrade Islam, citing as an example the Catholic Church’s legal challenge against the ban imposed on the Herald weekly for using “Allah” to describe the Christian God.
“Extremism can be found in any religion and this challenge is definitely one of them,” he said and stressed that references in Islam that “Allah” was exclusive to the Muslims are pervasive.
Mohd Aizam Masod, an officer from Jakim’s research department, said the argument that Arab Christians and Jews also used the word “Allah” had no domestic merits given that Malaysia is not an Arabic speaking nation.
“For Christians, this is just a question of translation but for us Muslims, the term Allah is integral to our akidah (faith),” he said, arguing that the usage of “Allah” by non-Muslims can and does confuse Muslims.
“Imagine if Jesus Christ, which under the Unitarian concept is considered as God to the Christians, be called ‘Allah’, wouldn’t it be confusing? Allah is by definition a description of a singular Muslim God, but non-Muslims usage will pluralise it,” he said.
Deputy chief of Syariah Research Department of the Attorney-General’s office, Mahamad Nasir Disa, who spoke on the issue from a legal perspective, agreed with his fellow panellists that the issue was an act of provocation by Christians.
“Often the argument given by them is that to deny the usage is to deny their rights to practise their religion but our argument is that the word ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of their religion as compared to us.
“If that is the case, then we can talk about rights. If not, don’t talk about rights,” he said.
Mahamad, too, agreed that there is “a lack of real leadership” in dealing with the matter, saying that the government had the power to prevent non-Muslims from using “Allah”.
He said that preventing non-Muslims from using the word “Allah” would ease ethnic tensions.
Yesterday, four boar heads were found at two mosques, the latest in a series of attacks and acts of vandalism on places of worship, including arson attempts on churches, following the “Allah” ruling.
In his remarks, Mohd Aizam also used alleged “historical facts” to say that Christians had tried to convert Muslims in the region since the colonial days by translating their bibles into local languages.
But Zamihan went as far as suggesting that a repeat of the May 13 racial riots was possible if the Christians, which to him practised extremism in the matter, did not back down.
“Who knows, there might be a Feb 13?” said Zamihan.
By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani - The Malaysian Insider
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today promised the government would prosecute the culprits behind the recent firebombing of a church here, even if they were Umno members.
“In fact I am urging the police to take action against the culprits, no matter who they are.”
PKR’s Azmin Ali claimed yesterday he had evidence to prove that some of those responsible for the attack on the Metro Tabernacle Church were Umno members.
Hishammuddin (picture) however dismissed suggestions that Umno was behind the attacks.
“If it’s true that Umno has a hand in this, why would I push for these crimes to be punished? When even the son of a policeman was arrested?” he asked.
He said that the government was committed in finding all the perpetrators of the attacks against places of worship.
“The people want firm action to be taken and our conduct after the church attacks show our
seriousness in combating this issue,” he said.
Yesterday, the minister had said the attacks against churches, a temple and now mosques appeared to be aimed at sparking racial and religious strife.
Pig heads were reported to be found at two mosques near here yesterday morning, just days after the fire-bombing attacks and acts of vandalism against churches and a Sikh temple had taken place in the wake of the “Allah” controversy.
The two mosques are the Masjid Jumhuriyah in Taman Dato Harun and the Al- Imam Tirmizi mosque at Taman Sri Sentosa.
These latest acts could be construed as attempts to escalate tensions and provoke unrest between Muslims and non-Muslims as pigs are considered unhygienic in Islam and therefore their presence in the mosques is an act of desecration.
So far, eight men have been arrested in connection with the firebombing of the Metro Tabernacle Church here. Seven others were picked up for an attack on a church and a school in Taiping.
Four men were also picked up for an arson attempt on two mosques in Muar.
So, with due respect to Dr Mahathir, it was actually the other way around. Umno was the one that split the Malays. And now Umno grumbles that the opposition is splitting the Malays? And, worse still, Umno split the Malays to serve the British interest and as a British ‘running dog’.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Dr M blames PAS, PKR for dividing Malays
By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal, The Malaysian Insider
Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed delivered a history lesson on Malay unity today and blamed PAS and PKR for dividing the community because of what he claimed was their greed for power.
He also described PAS and PKR among many other Malay-based political parties as Umno splinter groups responsible for disrupting unity among Malays.
Speaking at the National Library today at a special “Bicara Perdana” talk, he said that it was a historical fact that the first political party which was united and fought against the British for Malay rights was Umno.
He added that it was the unity of the Malays in backing Umno that made the British pull out and abandon their plans for a Malayan Union at the end of World War Two.
The former PM pointed out that it was the Umno ulamas, who had split from the Malay nationalist party in the 1950s to form PAS.
This was because they were “dissatisfied” when they were not given positions within the state and federal legislatures, according to Dr. Mahathir.
“PAS, in the beginning, were ulamas from Umno. They were upset that they were not chosen in the legislative and state legislative assembly...more educated and English-speaking Malay leaders were chosen and they were not happy with this.
“If you get selected, you become a YB, and then you got paid RM300,” he said.
The former premier said that these ulamas went into seclusion, then formed a new party so that they could “contest” to become candidates.
“The split between the Malays started just because they wanted positions. That was when PAS was formed.
“Later on the same thing happened with Keadilan, as well as the now-defunct Semangat 46..all these were splinter groups from Umno.”
Dr Mahathir also defended the social contract, the so-called unwritten agreement between the Malays and the non-Malays during independence, by affirming that without the agreement, Malaysia would not have been formed.
“If there was no social contract, the terms and conditions of allowing citizenship to non-Malays would have not taken place. One million outsiders were given citizenships at the time.”
Mustapha Hussain: Malay Nationalism Before UMNO
THE MEMOIRS OF MUSTAPHA HUSSAIN, 1910-1957
KMM: The Young Malay Union (1938)
Dr Burhanuddin Al Helmi
Dr Burhanuddin, a colossal name in Malay left politics, was not a KMM member. KMM only contacted him a week after the fall of Singapore. Ibrahim Yaakub and I interviewed him before suggesting that the Japanese Military Administration employ him as Advisor on Malay Customs and Religion. Dr Burhanuddin accepted the post graciously. Had he declined, KMM would have brought in Ustaz Abu Bakar Al Baqir, founder of the religious institute, Madrasah Maahad Il Ihya Assharif in Gunung Semanggul, Perak.
Dr Burhanuddin worked in Singapore initially, but when the Japanese Military Administration for Sumatra and Malaya was incorporated, and its HQ moved to Taiping, Perak, so did Dr Burhanuddin. We should commend Haniff bin Sulaiman, a faithful Taiping KMM member for introducing Dr Burhanuddin to the public in Perak through talks and religious sermons. That made it easy for the Malay Nationalist Party (MNP), the successor of KMM, to gain a foothold in Perak, when Dr Burhanuddin founded it in 1945.
Dr Burhanuddin was a remarkable religious figure, who combined the logic of science and Islam most effectively. Before World War II, he was a schoolteacher in Singapore and dabbled in politics from a distance. He had written many protest letters to the press on the Israeli Occupation of Palestine, and was once arrested and detained in a Police lock up. Although not a KMM member, he was very influenced by it.
According to a statement given to me dated 12 November 1975, Ahmad Boestamam, another great name in Malay left politics, joined KMM a couple of months before the Japanese invasion. He took over the post of Assistant Secretary from Abdullah Kamil, who had left Kuala Lumpur. Boestamam stated that although he was a member of the daily Majlis editorial board, led by Ibrahim Yaakub in Kuala Lumpur, he was never once invited by Ibrahim Yaakub to join KMM, although two other editorial board members (Abdul Samad Ahmad and Mohamad Salehuddin) were.
National List of KMM Members Whom I Knew
Abdul Samad bin Ahmad, Majlis, Kuala Lumpur
Mohamad Salehuddin, Majlis, Kuala Lumpur
Ahmad Boestamam @ Abdullah Thani, Majlis, Kuala Lumpur
Mohd. Yassin bin Salleh, Malay schoolteacher, Kuala Lumpur
Hamzah bin Alang, businessman, Kampung Baru, Selangor
Abdul Rahman Tambi, clerk, Kampung Baru, Selangor
Mustaffa Yunus, barber, Kajang Selangor
Saidi Hashim, book store owner, Kajang, Selangor
Ahmad, Agricultural Department, Cheras, Selangor
Hashim bin Mat Dali, Pucung, Selangor
Ahmad bin Mohd. Amin, Agricultural Department, Selangor
Johar bin Kerong, Agricultural Department, Selangor
Rais bin Abdul Karim, Agricultural Department, Selangor
Abdul Rauf, Agricultural Department Selangor,
Hamzah Sanusi, Kuala Selangor
Tuan Haji Ariffin, Kuala Kangsar
Zainal Abidin bin Kassim, Technical School student, Kuala Lumpur (son of ‘Rich Man Kassim’ in Tapah Road)
Mohd. Nor bin Abdul Shukur, Ipoh
Mohd. Mustaffa bin Ali @ Majid, Ipoh
Isa bin Sulaiman, Agricutural School graduate and Malay schoolteacher, Perak
Pak Cik Ahmad, self employed, Taiping
Haniff bin Sulaiman, insurance agent, Taiping
Mohd. Judin, Agricultural Department, Kuala Kangsar
Junid Mahmud, Malay schoolteacher, Tapah Road
Tuan Haji Mohd. Yusuf, Batu Gajah
Ahmad Shafik, Gunung Semanggul
Abdullah Che Dat or Abdullah C.D., Clifford English School, Kuala Kangsar (the youngest KMM member at 17)
Abdul Rahman Rahim
Mohd. Hanafiah Abdul Rahman
Mohammad bin Baginda Besar, smallholder, Bentong
Yahaya bin Hussain, Agricultural Department (my brother)
Kamarulzaman bin Teh, Agricultural Department, Bentong
Achih bin Haji Masud
Putih Badri bin Chek Mat, Al Mashoor schoolteacher
Abu Bakar Mohd Noor, Kelawai
Ustaz Abdul Majid
Mohd. Isa Mahmud
Abdul Hamid Abdul
Abdul Majid bin Haji Mohammad
Wan Daud Ahmad (Datuk)
Haji Abdul Hamid Fadzil Tahir
Musa, Agricultural Department, Muar
Abdul Kadir Adabi, writer
Ibrahim Mustaffa, journalist
Endnotes To Chapter 18
British Police Officer J. Birch, who once served in Bagan Serai, Perak was sent to arrest me in Taiping, but the Japanese military’s speedy advance forced Birch to retreat. He diverted to Teluk Anson (now Teluk Intan), hoping to arrest Raja Yahaya, a Police Officer absent without leave, but Birch was unlucky to be in the Japanese way. He was killed.
Translated by Insun Mustapha
Edited by Jomo K. S.
Okay, you have read Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lecture on history, which I republished above. Now, compare Dr Mahathir’s version of history to mine. And, to support my version, I offer you just a very small extract from Mustapha Hussain’s book, Malay Nationalism Before Umno.
If you were to read the entire book (which I have), you will discover that the Malays united to fight for independence from Britain long before the Second Word War and long before Umno was born in 1946.
Then the British ‘created’ Umno. And I have also written about this, about ten years or so ago, which was published in Harakah, when I interviewed an ‘old boy’ of MCKK, Datuk Andika, who died a couple of years ago in Kuala Terengganu at the age of 100.
Datuk Andika related how he was encouraged and financed by the British to set up the first Umno branch in the state of Terengganu, which was in Dungun.
The British allowed Umno to campaign for Merdeka the length and breadth of Malaya. But when the KMM people did the same, the British detained them without trial.
In short, the Malays were already united long ago. And they were united against the British. But along came the British who created Umno. And the purpose of creating Umno was to split the Malays and kill KMM.
It was actually a very clever strategy. The British in fact did the same in the Ottoman Empire, if you were to study the history of Lawrence of Arabia. The British invented this marvelous strategy called ‘divide and rule’. And it worked all over the British Empire.
So, with due respect to Dr Mahathir, it was actually the other way around. Umno was the one that split the Malays. And, worse still, Umno split the Malays to serve British interests and as a British ‘running dog’. And now Umno grumbles that the opposition is splitting the Malays?
And let Royal History Professor Khoo Kay Khim prove me wrong.