Thursday, February 18, 2010
Not many may know that a large part of Segambut was once an estate.
Instead of fulfilling the UMNO government’s Estate Workers Housing Scheme, after 52 years of independence these Indians at their old age after having sucked out their most from their labour are now promised peanuts of RM 10,000.00. And that is if and when they actually receive this RM 10,000.00.
But what happens to them after they finish up their RM 10,000.00.
Why can’t UMNO grant them the ten acre land ownership schemes in Felda, Felcra, Risda, Fama, Agropolition Kesedar, Kejora etc and offer them a permanent solution as opposed to the usual piecemeal paper politics. Afterall these Indians are the displaced plantation workers, whereas land is allocated to Malays under the many schemes even when they are not displaced persons.
Indians are excluded from the RM 500 Million TNB loans and scholarships given to 9,253 students overseas and locally. UM 13/1/2010 at page 4. We need disclosure on the recipients of these loans.
This is One Malay-sia?
P.Uthayakumar was on a short break with his family in Tg.Stualang, Parit Buntar HRP coordinator Siva, the Sri Siva Muni Alayam, Ladang Gula division 55, Bagan Serai estate temple Chairman Mr.Muniandy came up with his local temple problem.
At Siva’s house during breakfast P.Uthayakumar was met with an emotional greeting by HINDRAF/HRP’s oldest supporter Madam P.Anjalai (87) who had on many occasions insisted to be taken to Kemunting to meet the HINDRAF lawyers detained under the ISA
By JAMES HOOKWAY
Malaysian authorities said Wednesday that officials caned four Muslim men and, for the first time, three Muslim women this month after being found guilty of having sex out of wedlock.
The vibrant, resource-rich country came under intense international scrutiny last year after a Shariah court sentenced 32-year-old Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno to be caned after she was caught drinking beer in a hotel bar. Many moderate Muslims and non-Muslim Malaysians saw that verdict as reflecting the growing reach of Islam in Malaysia over the past several years, although Prime Minister Najib Razak has said he won't let Malaysia drift toward becoming an Islamist state.
The caning of Ms. Kartika, who is a Muslim, still hasn't been carried out despite her requests to the Islamic courts to get it over with.
Wednesday's announcement that three Muslim women were caned on Feb. 9 for having illicit sex thus came as a shock to many Malaysians. "This was a big a surprise. We had no idea this was going to happen," said Ragunath Kesavan, president of the Malaysian Bar Council. "We were always told Ms. Kartika would be the first."
Severed boars' heads are found at a Kuala Lumpur mosque in January amid a dispute over the Christians' use of the word 'Allah.'
Ethnic and Religious Conflict Flares
July 20. 2009—A 32-year-old mother of two is sentenced to six lashes with a rattan cane for drinking beer at a hotel in Pahang state in 2007. The sentence hasn't been carried out, despite her requests to get it over with.
Dec. 31, 2009—Malaysia's High Court rules that the Malay-language weekly newspaper of the Roman Catholic Church can use the term 'Allah' as a translation for 'God.' Angry Muslims say the word should be used only in Islam, despite its use by Arabic-speaking Christians world-wide. The government appeals the court decision.
January 2010—The court's translation ruling sparks tensions across the country: Some 11 churches are attacked, and a Sikh temple and two Muslim prayer rooms are vandalized.
Jan. 27, 2010—The severed heads of wild boars, considered unclean animals in Islam, are found at two mosques near Kuala Lumpur.
Feb 7, 2010—Fifteen Muslims, including two women, are arrested by religious authorities in Pahang state for allegdly consuming alcohol. Eleven others are detained for unlawful close proximity to members of the opposite sex.
Feb. 9, 2010—Four men and, for the first time, three women, are caned after being found guilty in an Islamic court of having sex out of wedlock..Reuters
The gate of a Catholic church is defaced in January.
Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein waited more than a week before announcing the punishment at a news conference following the government's weekly cabinet meeting Wednesday. He didn't provide details of the women's identities. Later in the day, Mr. Hishammuddin said in a statement that four men also were sentenced and caned in connection with the case. They also weren't identified. All seven were found guilty of illicit sex and sentenced by a Shariah court in the Kuala Lumpur area between December 2009 and January 2010.
"I hope this will not be misunderstood, so that it defiles the sanctity of Islam," Mr. Hishammuddin said. "The punishment is to teach and give a chance to those who have fallen off the path to return and build a better life in the future."
Two of the women and the four men were struck six times, while the other woman was struck four times.
Mr. Hishammuddin said that a doctor was present at the canings, which took place in male and female prisons, and that the offenders weren't tied. The women were seated while they were struck, and no injuries were reported. The idea, the officials previously have said, is to humiliate rather than injure—unlike the canings administered to drug pushers and other violators of civil laws, which can sometimes leave deep scars.
The offenders, Mr. Hishammuddin said, were then "advised on ways to repent and to get closer to Allah."
Malaysia has a two-track legal system in which Shariah laws are applied to its majority Muslim population, while its large ethnic-Chinese and Indian minorities answer only to civilian courts. Political analysts say the rapid growth of Malaysia's Shariah court system in recent years, however, is threatening to undermine the country's reputation as a tolerant, progressive Muslim nation that has been able to attract sizable foreign investments in manufacturing and services.
"As Shariah courts expand their reach, there is a question of jurisdication—about whether there should be corporal punishment at all," said Mr. Kesavan, the bar council president. "We think it is degrading, and as Malaysia evolves towards adopting international standards in other areas, we should observe international standards in legal matters, too."
Some analysts have ascribed the increasingly political role of Islam in the country to the country's race-based politics. Many ethnic-Malays view their Islamic faith as a symbol of their racial identity and a sign of their privileged economic status, which includes a wide range of affirmative-action policies providing them preferential treatment over non-Malay minorities.
The country's increasingly Islamic outlook also reflects the growing political role of the faith as the ruling National Front and the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party—one of the main parties in an opposition coalition—compete to demonstrate which has the strongest Muslim credentials.
"Islam is a big part of the equation here," says James Chin, a political-science professor at the Malaysian campus of Australia's Monash University.
Tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims also have escalated since a court ruling on New Year's Eve that allowed Christians to use the term "Allah" as a translation for "God" in their Malay-language publications. That triggered protests among Muslims who demand that Islam be protected, and led to attacks on a number of churches and the desecration of a mosque. The government immediately appealed the ruling.
Opposition leader and Muslim moderate Anwar Ibrahim, meanwhile, is now on trial for allegedly sodomizing a male aide in 2008—a charge that he denies and that he says was fabricated to destroy his political career. The government denies have anything to do with the allegations against Mr. Anwar.
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The Umno Youth went away with RM2 million to fund its programmes from Datuk Seri Najib Razak at yesterday’s meeting but he was non-committal about giving their chief Khairy Jamaluddin a Cabinet post.
Some Umno Youth executive councillors were disturbed with the Cabinet post request made to the party president. The Umno Youth only has its deputy Datuk Razali Ibrahim as the deputy youth and sports minister.
“Not everyone was given a chance to speak, but that’s alright, because there were too many of us, but that one issue which was brought up by an exco member was totally inappropriate,” an Umno Youth exco member said on condition of anonymity.
“Nobody should question the Prime Minister’s power to appoint the minister, he is free to appoint whoever he likes,” he added.
The Malaysian Insider understands that a member of the Umno Youth exco who asked Najib to award the wing with a ministerial position argued that the appointment would prove the administration’s good relationship with Khairy.
Questions on why Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, who lost her Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat in Election 2008, was made minister after she won the Wanita Umno chief post last year, was also raised.
“The PM talked about the suitability of Cabinet appointment and he gave the direction for Umno Youth to take and he also asked to close ranks,” he said.
Another Umno Youth exco member confirmed the request for ministerial post was made adding that the RM2 million allocation was for programmes such as the “Jelajah Pemuda 1 Malaysia” announced by Khairy yesterday.
Khairy, who is the son-in-law of former prime minister and Umno president Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, is the first Umno Youth chief in many years not to get a Cabinet post. The only other one in recent history is Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in 1993.
While Razali was made deputy minister, defeated Umno Youth chief contender Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir was appointed deputy minister of international trade and industry.
The meeting between the Umno Youth exco with Najib yesterday was described as normal “courtesy visit” by Khairy and he also dismissed the suggestion that the meeting was an attempt to resolve a leadership crisis insisting that the wing is not in any crisis.
The visit took place just about two weeks after a heated Umno Youth meeting where an exco member, Hishamuddin Yahya, was said to have asked Khairy to quit for being ineffective.
Hishamuddin had also called for fresh election to choose a more effective line-up of Youth leaders.
The Putrajaya Umno Youth deputy chief declined to comment when asked about what transpired at yesterday’s meeting.
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has freed an ex-political secretary on a RM50,000 bail four days after his arrest on Feb 12 for having RM2 million in cash.
The MACC said it seized a vehicle and an unspecified amount of cash during the arrest.
Last Monday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said in a statement his political secretary Hasbie Satar had resigned.
The minister did not say why Hasbie resigned but MACC sources said it was related to the arrest.
The aide was arrested under suspicion of committing acts which fall under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001. The MACC has reportedly frozen several of his assets and bank accounts in order to facilitate their investigation.
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyer accused Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor today of masterminding the sodomy charge being faced by the Opposition Leader.
“As I said, there’s a black hand in this trial, and that is the hand of the present Prime Minister..there are two hands and one is of his wife,” Karpal Singh told the court today.
Anwar echoed Karpal’s accusations by shouting from the dock the words “conspiracy, blatant lies.”
Karpal's accusations was the latest allegation flung by the defence against the PM and his wife, in what appears to be an attempt to link them to an alleged "political conspiracy."
Both Najib and Rosmah has been listed down as witnesses the defence wants to call during the trial.
Karpal was addressing the court soon after the sodomy trial resumed today after he failed in his bid to disqualify High Court judge Datuk Zabidin Mohd Diah from presiding over the case.
Karpal had wanted to disqualify the judge because of dissatisfaction with the way the court had dealt with Utusan Malaysia’s coverage of the trial.
The veteran lawyer has been unrelenting in his onslaught on the judge by citing what he claimed were examples of the judge’s lack of objectivity with regards to an Utusan Malaysia report on the trial published at the beginning of Saiful Bukhari’s questioning by the prosecution.
Zabidin, in summing up his decision, said he did not see any reason why he should recuse himself from the case.
“If I were to step down from this trial, I would be running away from my responsibility as a judge who has taken an oath of office,” said Zabidin.
Karpal gave notice to the court that Anwar’s defence team would be filing an application for appeal against the decision of the judge not to recuse himself from hearing the trial.
He also urged that the trial go on and the defence team be allowed to cross-examine Saiful, and that there be no more delays.
“Accusations of delay tactics by the defence must be cleared from people’s minds,” said Karpal to the court.
At this point, Solicitor-General 2 Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden replied by stating that neither the prosecution nor the judge had ever accused the defence of utilising delay tactics in the trial.
Karpal then retorted by saying that some media organisations had been doing so.
“We are prepared to carry on. There have been demonstrations, too many things going, like the protest at the Australian Embassy.
“We don’t want a repetition of it and Pemuda Umno cannot be allowed to run wild.”
Yusof, on the other hand, stressed that the trial must continue as the defence and the prosecution owed it to the Malaysian public, not the Australians, to do so.
The judge decided, however, to adjourn the trial until March 25 pending the appeal to the Court of Appeal.
The 62-year-old Anwar is accused of sodomising Saiful at the Desa Damansara Condominium here on June 26, 2008. Anwar has denied the charge, the second time in 12 years he has faced similar charges.
The former deputy prime minister has vehemently denied the accusations hurled by Saiful, describing them as “evil, frivolous lies by those in power” when the charge was read out to him. He is charged under section 377B of the Penal Code and can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years’ jail and whipping upon conviction. The trial is taking place 18 months after Anwar was charged in August 2008.
Anwar was charged with sodomy and corruption in 1998 after he was sacked from the Cabinet and was later convicted and jailed for both offences. He was freed in September 2004 and later resurrected his political career by winning back his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in a by-election in 2008, which had been held in the interim by his wife.
He had earlier led the opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, to a historic sweep of five states and 82 parliamentary seats in Election 2008.
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — Anti-Anwar Ibrahim leaflets were found scattered outside the Duta Court Complex here where the Opposition leader’s sodomy trial is taking place.
The leaflets accused Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of being “a traitor” and “a liar”. It further attacked the PKR de facto leader as “a desperate man” bidding to divert public attention from his “personal moral flaws” by politicising the trial.
“A derailed fighting agenda, he (Anwar) would sell his country, religion and race to become the prime minister. He would drag the rakyat in his personal problems,” read one of the leaflets.
Anwar’s daughter, PKR Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah, was also a target.
Leaflets alleging the first-term lawmaker of neglecting her constituency, saying it was suffering since she became the MP there.
“What has she done for the constituency since she won?” it read. The accusation is not without basis. Feedback from the ground indicates widespread discontent over Nurul’s inability to help her constituents.
Court security guards told The Malaysian Insider a black “Lexus-type” four-wheel drive vehicle came to the complex at about 5am, made a single round and scattered the leaflets before heading off.
“They’ve been doing this on a daily basis... every time the trial takes place, they will be around to distribute them,” said one security guard.
Nurul who was present to lend her support to her father believes Umno is behind this.
“This is definitely the work of Umno. I hope people will not be influenced by this. I will continue to do my job for the constituency,” she told reporters here.
Anwar, on trial for sodomising his former aide, has been actively engaging the media in a war to rally support as he faces what may be a politically career-ending charge.
But his political rivals, as seen by the distribution of the leaflets, aren’t about to let the Opposition leader win the out-of-court battle.
Amnesty International called on the Malaysian government to end caning after three women were subjected to the punishment following their conviction for extramarital sex.
This is the first time women have been subjected to caning in Malaysia.
Malaysian Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced today that three Muslim women were caned on 9 February at a prison near Kuala Lumpur. The women, along with four men, had been convicted of having extramarital sex in the Shariah court system, which has jurisdiction over Muslims in matters such as family law.
“The caning of these three women is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Donna Guest, deputy Asia-Pacific director at Amnesty International. “Since 2002 the Malaysian authorities have caned over 35,000 people, mostly non-Malaysians for immigration offenses.”
Most caning sentences in Malaysia are handed down by civil courts rather than Shariah courts. Amendments to the Immigration Act in 2002 stipulate caning for immigration offences, thus increasing the use of this punishment. In June 2009 the Malaysian government announced that they had sentenced 47,914 migrants to be caned since the amendments took effect.
"These thousands of cases point to an epidemic of caning in Malaysia," said Donna Guest. “The Malaysian government needs to abolish this cruel and degrading punishment, no matter what the offence.”
The practice of caning can inflict severe physical suffering and leave damage and scarring for months. Such corporal punishment constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, which is prohibited absolutely under international customary human rights law.
In July 2009 the Shariah High Court in Pahang sentenced a Muslim woman, Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, to six strokes of the cane and a fine after she pleaded guilty to consuming alcohol in a hotel bar in December 2007. To date her sentence has not yet been carried out.
Reading the Star today, I was overcome with the frightening knowledge that Talibanist Malaysia is now a reality. God help us all. Seriously, we have now unceremoniously entered the era of Talibanism and how we will reverse ourselves and usher in an era of enlightened Islam is beyond me. Things have got from bad to worse and this latest news is a sign of things to come.
Let us consider this event. 3 Muslim women have now been caned for having illicit sex. 2 of them were caned 6 times and the third was whipped 4 times. Further details of the case wasn’t given. We don’t even know who these women were and we weren’t told if there were any witnesses to their offences. What we do know is that these women were not injured in their punishment. That’s one plus at least.
The question arises as to how these punishments were decided. We were told that the punishments were decided by the Federal Territory Syariah High Court. No transparency is given, no opportunity for discussion. Nothing of the sort. Have these punishments even been gazetted to the public? Nothing was said in the news. No, this is how Malaysian Syariah law is carried out. Behind closed doors far from any kind of scrutiny.
Is this punishment Islamic at all? I would argue that it isn’t. Some may suggest that this punishment is from the Quranic punishment against fornicators and adulterors (found in chaper 24, verse 2) but I disagree for the following reasons:
1. The condition of this punishment is when there exists ‘deenillah’ (24/2) or when God’s system is in establishment. This condition exists when people enter willingly into God’s system in droves (110/1-2). Therefore the people must unanimously agree that this punishment is to be established. The Quran doesn’t force punishments on people who haven’t agreed to it beforehand
2. The punishment is 100 lashes, not 6 or 4. So we need to ask why the court sees it fit to reject God’s prescription and decide their own. No jailing at all is mentioned. So who gave the authority to the Syariah court to override Quranic law?
3. This punishment can also only happen when there are 4 witnesses (24/4) . Were there 4 witnesses? We are not told this at all. In fact, if there aren’t 4 witnesses then the Quran stipulates that the accusing party must be whipped and their evidence rejected thereafter (also 24/4). These 4 witnesses have to catch them in the act. The ‘tangkap khalwat’ method cannot work because the specific word used is ‘zina’ (actual intercourse) and not ‘khalwa’ (being together in an enclosed space) or even iqtirab az-zina (coming close to zina or foreplay).
4. This punishment required witnesses from among the believers. This requirement is because the punishment isn’t to physically hurt the guilty but to showcase people who cannot be trusted to keep sexual relations private (i.e. they behave lewdly in public) or are constantly of infidelity. The punishment carried on these women were behind closed doors so it totally defeats the purpose of the act.
This act by the government had nothing to do with Islam. I suspect it is an act to show how ‘Islam’ the UMNO folk are. True to form, they have chosen the most superficial and unislamic way to show their Islam to the world.
What can we the rakyat do about this heinous act? We can think of a political alternative to the BN. What’s more dangerous than a fundamentalist Islamic government is a racist governmen that wants to out-Islam the fundamentalist Islamic party to win votes. That’s when even the little rationale of fundamentalist Islam goes out the window. The ‘Allah’ issue is an example of this rampant fanaticism.
More imporantly, we need to look beyond the Pakatan Rakyat for our new government. PKR has now shown that its candidates cannot be trusted. UMNO culture has reared its ugly head in the PKR despite the good intentions of people like Nik Nazmi, Zaid Ibrahim and Nat Tan. The DAP to me lost their credibility since they stayed in the Pakatan despite PAS’s syariah ambitions.
And what about PAS? Now is the time to ask them: do they agree with this punishment on these three women? Lets see if they can tell the truth or continue to sublimate their syariah ambitions. They have already been exposed once. Expose them again.
What Malaysia now needs is a grassroots democracy. Forget professional politicians, racists and religious fundamentalists. Malaysia can be what it was once again.
The title of this post is the fifth of the five key messages that are pitched at all our Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia Roadshow & Forums.
It usually follows a hard-hitting presentation of the dark abyss into which this nation has sunk and how, much as we would like to deny it, we are, to some measure, to blame for the same.
The short video clip below leaves nothing more to be said.
Ambrose, you’ve moved the bar up several notches with this one, bro.
AS a Sarawakian, I am constantly frustrated by comments on Malaysian news websites and blogs by West Malaysians telling East Malaysians that they "get who they vote for". These comments are inevitably made whenever human rights issues affecting East Malaysia are discussed. Most of these comments are made by people who probably have little regard for the welfare of East Malaysians, let alone knowledge of our social and political concerns.
Well, the next Sarawak state election needs to be called before June 2011. This election will likely reflect Sarawak's direction, and could be a harbinger of the next general election's outcomes, given that Sarawak could tip the balance for or against the ruling federal government. Therefore, as a Sarawakian and a voter, I would like to offer my perspectives on the complexity of Sarawak politics primarily for West Malaysian readers.
Sarawak voters are split primarily by age. Older and younger voters have their own distinct voting trends.
How older voters will vote:
Familiarity with candidates
Many older Sarawakians tend to vote for candidates instead of parties. A familiar and well-connected candidate, linked by familial relations or friendship, is more likely to topple the odds than a strong political party agenda. Among Chinese Sarawakian voters, outstanding figures from their community can easily gain more votes than other candidates from established parties. A similar pattern can be seen with the indigenous community.
To generalise, Sarawakians, especially those of indigenous background, are very straightforward when it comes to their relationship with figures of authority. They are not likely to receive gifts from political parties and then vote for the other guy or gal. Among certain members of the Sarawakian community, loyalty to a particular Yang Berhormat is seen as a virtue.
Familiarity with the logo
This may seem ridiculous until you realise that many of the voters in the heartland are seniors, up to 70 years old or older. The dacing has built a reputation for itself — it is also, coincidentally, the logo of a popular brand of rice. Its closest rival, the Parti Keadilan Rakyat logo, has yet to build that reputation.
Therefore, local issues as well as familiarity of the candidate will be the core factors in deciding the older community's vote.
How younger voters will vote:
Jobs and economic opportunities
Poverty and economic opportunities are crucial issues concerning young Sarawak voters. Many young Sarawakians are now in West Malaysia, either to study or work. Like many urban West Malaysians, these young Sarawakians are strongly pro-opposition. However, monetary limitations and expensive flights may mean that they will not be able to return to cast their votes.
Religion and culture
East Malaysian native tribes in Sarawak identify as bumiputera but are predominantly Christian. Young Sarawakians have been affected by the "Allah" issue, but it remains to be seen if this issue is large enough to activate protest votes. My bet is it isn't. This is because the ban on non-Muslim usage of "Allah" will be more painfully felt among urban dwellers or those in West Malaysia, who face a stronger likelihood of arrest or fining. For their sentiments to make a difference, these young voters need to vote in their rural constituencies, and they are unlikely to be able to return there in time.
Lack of civic awareness and trust in established institutions
Among young Sarawakians who are residing within the state, many do not see politicians, lawmakers and law enforcers as people who can safeguard their safety and security. Instead, I believe a disturbing amount of young Sarawakians are turning to gangs or gang-like violence for protection. If my speculation is true, these youth will have no interest in registering as voters. Desperation, a strong factor in pushing West Malaysian youth to vote, will probably not cause many young Sarawakians to turn to the electoral process. They simply do not see it as an institution that can safeguard their interests.
In conclusion, just as in West Malaysia, the crucial change factor lies with Sarawakian youth. However, lack of finances for West Malaysian-based Sarawakians to return in time to vote, and lack of trust in elections among Sarawak-based young voters, means this voting demographic is virtually absent.
Bread-and-butter issues shall be
a primary concernThe following are my predictions for the upcoming state election. I have not taken into consideration local issues that are still developing and will continue to develop in the crucial few months prior to the election. These will also shape the outcome of the elections.
Kuching and its surrounding areas will be easily won by the opposition because it is culturally closer to West Malaysia, and the issues here are more complex. Issues such as corruption and freedom of religion are more relevant here.
Miri is likely to be won by the Barisan Nasional as it is the hometown of Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan. Recent years have seen a lot of development in the city. Miri is also more likely to be anti-Peninsula in sentiment, owing to the animosity some locals have towards wealthy "West Malaysian expatriates" working in petroleum companies such as Shell.
Sibu has always been a very pro-DAP town due to Chinese Sarawakian voting patterns. However, as with the last election, infighting among influential ethnic Chinese leaders may split votes as some may choose to contest as independents.
For every other location, typical rural voting trends will prevail, with bread-and-butter issues as well as local factors being the primary concerns. This is a similar pattern in both East and West Malaysian communities.
I write because I have something to say, one person speaking to many.
—Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Celebrated Indonesian writer banished by Suharto.
In writing, I am mindful of the lesson imprinted on me during my freshman English class. That is, what is the author trying to say, and has he or she said it well. It is for readers to answer the second part of the question, but as to the first, my brief response is as follows.
Throughout the world and at all times there have been differences in the social and cultural development of societies. Today while citizens in the West are enjoying unprecedented wealth and material comfort, many in the Third World are struggling with subsistence living. This book explores why such differences exist, and more importantly, what lessons Malaysians can learn so that our society too can be counted in the future to be among the developed.
My first thesis is that there is much that the West (America specifically) is doing right that is worthy of our emulation. My second is that Malaysians should look upon each other as potential clients, customers, and partners, and not in terms or “us” versus “them,” specifically, Malays versus non-Malays. Thus what is good for one should be good for all. The converse, what is bad for one will inevitably adversely impact the others.
Likewise, we should look upon the rest of the world in a similar fashion and not in adversarial terms. One sure way to make the outside world our enemy is to treat it as a potential one. Colonialism is now long gone; there is no need to resurrect it. No benefit would accrue in making it into our new or phantom enemy. Malaysians are more likely to progress if we are in partnership with the rest of the world, including those who were once our colonizers.
Today globalization shapes the world. Malaysians must actively participate in this new arena if we want to be on the next trajectory of development. The September 11, 2001 terrorists’ attacks on America and the 2007 global financial crisis may have dampened the enthusiasm for globalization, but rest assured that the setback is only temporary. Globalization is still very much a dominant force, and will remain so. We ignore this at our own peril.
My third point is that current preoccupation with special privileges or Ketuanan Melayu (Malay hegemony) is precisely the wrong approach especially in this era of globalization. The more pertinent issue is how to make all Malaysians, Malays in particular, competitive. If we are competitive and productive, we will be able to contribute to our well being as well as that of the nation. Special privileges and other preferential policies serve merely to redistribute, not create, wealth. We should be encouraging our citizens to be makers, not takers in the economy. We have to first create the wealth before we can distribute it. Besides, excellence has never emerged from behind protective barriers.
Societies do not develop in a linear or predictable pattern, rather in starts and spurts, with many ups and downs as well as changes in direction. Often changes are forced upon them by specific stresses and events, from within as well as without.
The arrival of Islam emancipated the ancient Arabs out of their Age of Jahiliyah (Ignorance). In contrast, the arrival of Christian Spaniards to the New World devastated the ancient and highly-developed Aztec civilization. In the first instance the change was from within and the development positive; with the second, it was external, and the consequences, destructive.
Malaysia’s own recent history is instructive. Unlike many Third World countries that had to fight for their independence, Malaysia chose the more civilized route of negotiations rather than resorting to glorified wars of independence. (Honoring those killed in such struggles as “freedom fighters” or “national heroes” would not in any way lessen the loss felt by their loved ones.) Malaysia then went on, with some hiccups along the way, to be a successful modern state. Why was Malaysia’s experience with colonialism and its consequences so unlike that of Algeria or Indonesia? Where did Malaysia go right and the others wrong?
Returning to my first thesis, the enduring qualities of the West that are worthy of emulation are its commitment to personal liberty, civil and open society, representative government, and free enterprise. We must learn from the West to respect the dignity of the individual, and be tolerant of and receptive to new and differing ideas. We should be like Muslims during the Golden Age of Islam when they eagerly learned from the Greeks and Romans. Those early Muslims did not consider learning from the infidels sinful or wrong. They learned from the Romans and Greeks because they were the most advanced societies at the time. Far from being insular, those early Muslims strived hard to master the existing state of knowledge. That required of them to venture beyond their own language and to master Greek and Latin. Only after that could the Arabs then go on to make their own seminal contributions.
Consider the Arabic numerals. The early Muslims learned mathematics from the Hindus, Greeks, and Romans. The prevailing numbering system then was the Roman numerals, with their cumbersome letters – IX for 9, X for 10, and XI for 11. While that is easy enough for low figures, the system becomes extremely cumbersome once we get to larger numbers. Try putting into Roman numerals the year 1828! (It is MDCCCXXVIII.)
The Arabs came up with the decimal system that was so much more convenient and easy, and now universally adopted. Today Roman numerals are seen only on the parchment papers of provincial universities with classical pretensions, and to denote Super Bowl Championships. Equally worthy of note is that those ancient Greeks and Romans readily accepted the new Arabic numbering system because it was so much simpler. Try subtracting MCMVIIIII (1973) from MCMXCIX (1999)! The Romans and Greeks did not insist that their existing system was the best and that they had nothing to learn from the upstart nomadic Bedouins.
Similarly today, Malaysians must learn from the West simply because it is the most advanced and successful society. The fact that it is a predominantly White society of infidels is irrelevant and should not deter us. Our only concern should be what aspects of the West are worthy of our emulation.
I am reminded of the commercials of many “get-rich-quick” schemes where the promoters would earnestly (and with feigned hushed tone) expound on their secrets to success. The way to be rich, they would intone with such gravitas, is to study the rich and follow their ways! A revelation that at first blush seems both blarney and profound. To be successful, emulate those who are! I venture this is sound advice for individuals as well as nations.
The crucial question is this: What aspects of the rich and successful must we emulate? For if we begin by imitating their expensive lifestyles – exotic vacations, splashy cars, and fancy dinners – that would surely be the fastest way to the poor house, even if one’s brother were the Sultan of Brunei. Those are the superficial manifestations of success, and not the cause. They are merely the epiphenomena.
Consider Bill Gates, the American billionaire software genius. If all one sees is his massive lakeside mansion in Seattle or his hopping around in his private jet, then one is missing the crucial point. However, if were to read accounts of his being a studious student and smart enough to be accepted to Harvard, then may be we would be on to something useful. Granted, he dropped out of college but I would not recommend that course of action to anyone. Instead read about how hard Gates worked to market his first software, the disc operating system. (Remember old DOS?) Consider how committed he was to that project to the extent that he was willing to give up Harvard, and how he struggled to have IBM, then the sole industry giant, accept his software.
Fortunately for Gates, IBM did not buy but merely licensed DOS. What a bonanza that later proved to be for him. Had he successfully persuaded IBM to buy his operating software, he would now be just another brilliant tinkerer in that vast corporation.
So in advising Gates wannabes, I certainly would not recommend that they drop out of college. Instead I would exhort them to study hard at school so they would be accepted to a top college, and then strive diligently at their chosen career.
Similarly with nations; there is much that Malaysia can learn from successful societies of today and great civilizations of the past. In our study however, we must be careful to differentiate between useful causative factors and mere epiphenomena.
Lest we think that the current state of affairs (with the West reigning supreme) is the natural order, it is good to be reminded that centuries before Shakespeare was penning his sonnets, the Iranian mystic poet Jalal al-Din Rumi was already producing volumes of his spiritual couplets, the Masnavi. While England was mired in the Dark Ages, the ancient civilizations of the Middle East were already flourishing. Muslim scholars then were contemplating the universe beyond and experimenting with novel medical therapies while Europe was still convinced of the flatness of the earth and treating patients with leeches.
Today of course the Iranians and Brits might as well be living on different planets, so wide is the gulf separating their living conditions.
In the past such disparities were hidden. Today with modern communications, the world is fast becoming a global village, and an increasingly smaller one at that. What occurs in Afghanistan is immediately beamed into the living rooms of America and elsewhere. In the past such capabilities were the exclusive domain of journalists with expensive television cameras and satellite hook ups; today anyone with a cell phone and access to the Internet could achieve the same at a fraction of the cost.
While the pros may disparage the contributions of the minions of these amateur journalists, the impact and consequences of their work cannot be dismissed or underestimated. It can be dramatic. In Malaysia (and elsewhere) we have seen egregious police abuses exposed in such a fashion. Also in Malaysia, we have seen blatant attempts at fixing the highest personnel of the judiciary, as we saw in the infamous Lingam Tape. All it took was someone with a cell phone and being alert.
Today, traveling to exotic destinations presents very little challenge. Unlike the ancient Arabic explorer Ibn Battuta who took nearly a lifetime to travel the landmass abutting the Mediterranean, today a local travel agent could arrange such a trip within minutes (or you could do it yourself on the Web). You could also complete a similar itinerary in a time frame of your choice.
In your travels instead of finding complete strangers and being unable to converse with them, you would more likely encounter natives who could speak English and been educated in the West. Along the way you might stay at familiar lodgings like Hilton, and eat in recognizable restaurants like McDonald’s. You might also encounter Malaysian businessmen peddling their wares and oilmen from Petronas exploring for oil and gas. The local colleges and madrasahs (religious schools) might even have a few Malaysians. When strolling in the bazaars and markets you would likely meet youths sporting T-shirts emblazoned with portraits of their favorite Western pop idols or athletes.
In the time that it took me to travel to the next village as a youngster would today land me in the opposite corner of the globe. With modern means of communications, glaring inequalities between nations and societies become just that – glaring, for all to see. The luxurious lifestyle of an American football star is flaunted not only to fellow Americans but also to children in the slums of Soweto and the back alleys of Bombay.
Similarly when citizens of oppressed societies see the freedom enjoyed in the West, they wonder why draconian laws and restrictions are shackling them back home. Previously the expression was, once they have seen Paris, you can’t keep ’em down on the farm anymore. Today with globalization, Paris comes to them, via television and the Internet.
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Thursday failed in his bid to recuse High Court Judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah from hearing the sodomy trial involving the opposition leader.
Justice Mohamad Zabidin, in dismissing the application, ruled that there was no reason for him to recuse himself from continuing to preside over the case and that if he were to do that, it would be tantamount to running away from his responsibility.
"A judge is bound by his oath and should not run away from the responsibility entrusted to him. The application is hereby dismissed," he said.
Anwar filed the application on Wednesday on ground of bias after Mohamad Zabidin refused to entertain requests by Anwar's lead counsel Karpal Singh to cite Utusan Malaysia for contempt.
Anwar, 63, who is the Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor and member of parliament for Permatang Pauh, is charged with sodomising Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, his former aide, at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.
The charge under section 377B of the Penal Code carries a maximum 20 years' jail and whipping upon conviction.
In his judgment, Mohamad Zabidin said that to recuse a judge from continuing to preside over a case on ground of bias, the applicant must show that there was indeed an element of bias in the trial.
He added that in determining whether bias was present, the court would have to look at the perception of others towards the case.
"If sound-minded people perceive that there is a real possibility that the judge is bias, then he should not preside over the case," he said.
Citing a previous case as an example, Mohamad Zabidin said facts should first be presented in court in order to prove that people were of the opinion that the judge was bias before the said judge could recuse himself.
He added that in Anwar's sodomy trial, the main issue to be determined was whether there was an offence committed under Section 377B of the Penal Code.
"The issue is whether there are facts in the case which will cause people to think that there is a real possibility that a decision pertaining to whether there was sodomy between the applicant and complainant, is made not based on evidence adduced in court but based on other factors," he said.
Prakash Moses was arrested on 14 February 2003, brought to the hospital after the fall on the following day and was pronounced dead in the morning on 18 February.
Based on the Royal Malaysia Police’s statistics, 85 persons died in police custody between 2003 and 2007 alone.
We express our heartfelt condolences to Prakash Moses’s family and friends on this anniversary of his death.
These are the issues of Zunar’s cartoon publications that have seen copies confiscated by the authorities.
But it seems that nothing will stop the top political cartoonist and his team from persevering. After all, if you are a political cartoonist, you have to be true to your calling.
The cross-examination of key prosecution witness, Saiful, in Anwar’s sodomy trial will have to wait after the judge this morning adjourned proceedings to 25 March.
Anwar’s defence counsel had ready to cross-examine Saiful. “We do not want to be accused of delaying tactics,” said Karpal Singh. “We are prepared to carry on.”
The adjournment follows Anwar’s decision to appeal to the Court of Appeal against High Court judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah’s decision this morning not to recuse himself on the basis there was no evidence that he had been biased.
In an immediate response, Aliran president P Ramakrishnan has issued a statement here.
17 February 2010
EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 GMT Thursday 18 February 2010
Three more shareholders have disinvested
from Vedanta Resources. © Survival
SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL APPLAUDS ROWNTREE DECISION TO SELL VEDANTA SHARES OVER ETHICAL CONCERNS
Survival International welcomes the news that the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is selling its shares in Vedanta Resources due to concerns over the company's human rights record. Two other shareholders, the Marlborough Ethical Fund and Millfield House Foundation, have also sold their shares.
Survival is campaigning for all shareholders to pull out of the company, and has been lobbying the Rowntree Trust since July 2009.
The news is just the latest in a string of PR disasters for Vedanta. Last week Amnesty International released a report slamming the company for 'failing to respect the human rights' of the Dongria Kondh tribe of Orissa, India, on whose sacred mountain it plans to build a bauxite mine. The previous week the Church of England also sold its shares, saying, 'We are not satisfied that Vedanta has shown, or is likely in future to show, the level of respect for human rights and local communities that we expect…’
The British and Norwegian governments have both condemned the project, and Martin Currie Investments has also disinvested following pressure from Survival International. The BP Pension Fund has reduced its shareholding over similar concerns.
Stephen Corry, Survival's director, said today, 'It is really encouraging to see shareholders taking indigenous rights seriously and refusing to bankroll Vedanta's activities. They have found that 'engagement' with the company is fruitless: Vedanta is clearly determined to mine the Dongria Kondh's sacred mountain. Vedanta is fast becoming the most controversial mining company in the world - controversy that ethical investors would be well advised to distance themselves from.'
By Mohd Zuharman - The Malaysian Insider
KOTA BARU, Feb 17 – An NGO alliance calling for the restoration of Kelantan’s oil royalty rights, Gegar, accused certain parties of distributing a pamphlet slandering Gua Musang Member of Parliament Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for his position on the matter.
Razaleigh’s (picture) position is that the state of Kelantan has a right to a 5 per cent royalty.
“We were made aware of the matter by several school teachers here. For Gegar, it is extremely disappointing.
“It is strange that the need to discredit Tengku Razaleigh’s noble intentions is so great that they are willing to spread pamphlets smearing him,” said Gegar joint-chairman, Dr Abdul Halim Yusuf.Gegar believes that the distribution of the pamphlets to schools was done through agents working at Umno and BN’s behest.
Barisan Nasional has denied responsibility for the distribution of the pamphlet, while the State Education Department refuted that it has been used for political purposes.
However, Kelantan Education Department director, Mohd Ghazali Abdul Rahman, confirmed Kelantan Umno liaison chief, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, was present during a meeting of education heads earlier this month and that the issue of oil royalty was broached.
Ghazali, nevertheless, denied Umno-BN was utilising educational institutions to disseminate information on its position in the oil royalty tussle.
“Datuk Mustapa knew about the conference, so he asked to address it briefly. I allowed it. He didn’t say much anyway.”
Ghazali also felt it would be useful if proper information could be delivered to school teachers, thereby eliminating possible confusion.
“But if this means that the education department is accused of supporting BN’s political aims, it is patently false,” he said.
Ghazali said he was uncertain if it was true that Kelantan schools were being used to spread the pamphlets on Razaleigh but vowed he would take stern action if schools were found to be involved.
Meanwhile, Kelantan BN secretary, Datuk Alwi Che Ahmad, claimed ignorance over the pamphlets but said it was improper to have distributed such material in schools.
By Adib Zalkapli - The Malaysian Insider
PUTRAJAYA, Feb 17 — Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin today hinted that the movement will not protest against the United States over its Senate’s call for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be given a fair trial.
“I have to study the statement made by Senator John Kerry because there is a big difference. If you say you want a fair trial, and what the 50 Australian MPs that want the charges to be dropped and the insinuation that the charges were politically motivated, that is two different things,” said Khairy (picture) referring to the demand by the Australian parliamentary Sub-committee on Foreign Relations for Anwar’s sodomy charge be dropped.
Earlier today Kerry, who is the US Senate Chairman of Foreign Relation Committee, called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to ensure a fair and free trial for Anwar and “to settle his case in a manner that builds confidence in the impartiality and credibility of the Malaysian judicial system.”
Khairy said Kerry’s call for a fair resolution of the trial reflects the wishes of the Malaysian public too.
The Rembau MP was speaking after a two-hour meeting with Najib which was also attended by all members of the Umno Youth executive committee.
On the protest against the Australian lawmakers today, Khairy said he had also briefed the Prime Minister on the matter.
“He was also satisfied that we presented a protest note to the Australian High Commission,” he said.
“I explained that the protest note was not against the Australian government or the Australian people, but against the 50 MPs,” added Khairy.
The protest this morning was also attended by members of the Malay nationalist group Perkasa and the Barisan Nasional back-benchers.
Some 300 people took part in the process a total of three memoranda were submitted to the Australian High Commission.
Najib had previously said that the government will explain the charges brought against Anwar to Australian lawmakers.
(Malaysian Mirror) - The Court of Appeal today dismissed Anwar Ibrahim's appeal to quash his sodomy charge.
The three-member panel led by Justice Abu Samah Nordin, unanimously ruled that the trial should proceed despite documentary evidence from three doctors there was no sign of penetration of Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan's rectum.
The joint forensic report by doctors Khairul Nizam Hassan, Mohd Razali Ibrahim and Siew Sheue Seng – who examined Saiful on June 28, 2008, two days after the alleged sodomy stated that there were no signs of any defensive wounds on Saiful's body.
Anwar's sodomy trial which began two weeks ago will now continue tomorrow.
Anwar's lawyer Karpal Singh said he would apply for a stay of hearing pending an appeal to the Federal Court.
On Dec 1 last year, Kuala Lumpur High Court judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah dismissed Anwar's striking out application and ruled the matter should proceed to a full trial.
The prosecution had argued that the medical report was only half the evidence and hence, should not be treated as conclusive.
It said that samples obtained from the victim's rectum shows there was semen.
Anwar, 62, had applied to strike out the sodomy charge following revelations from the medical report on Mohd Saiful that there was no indication that there was penetration of his rectum.
Anwar, is charged with sodomising Mohd Saiful, his former aide at the Desa Damansara condominium on June 26, 2008.
By John Doe
“KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – An official says Malaysian prison authorities have caned three Muslim women for having extramarital sex...”
Wasn't it just a short while ago that Kartika was left in Limbo because Authorities supposedly couldn't find any Female Caners? One cannot help but applaud the Malaysian government for how quickly these female caners have been located, and trained. Or were they canned by MEN?
Now what will happen to Kartika? Is her turn next? And if so, when will it be? Can the Press watch?
Also, when will it be the turn for Males to be caned for having extra-Marital Sex? Aren't all humans created equal? I've asked before about how come some are more “equal than others”. We can start by looking at the numerous numbers of Prostitute Centres and Karaoke Lounges to immediately see the popularity of extra-marital sex. One could argue about the CarpetMan, but that is another discussion. Also, why wasn't Razak Baginda caned for his frolic with Altantuya? Or the “PD incident” involving Najib? Are men above the Law when it comes down to issues like this?
Wives, I ask you, is it acceptable for your husbands to screw other women? Sometimes young and underaged girls as well? Some of these girls were trafficked. Some were sold by their parents, and a host of other reasons. Are women merely reduced to being nothing but sex-objects to gratify the desires of men? How many Kelantanese have second wives, and mistresses across the border? How many go there just for the Thai Prostitutes? Some are even imported from Laos. How many Perlis men have secret and/or second wives and mistresses, until the Perlis Government has to officially Advertise in their Official Perlis-Tourism Brochures that they need not get their First Wife's permission to have a second, or third, or fourth wife registered in Perlis? Think I'm joking? Go pick up a copy yourself! So, instead of caning them, you decide to legalize it instead! Why not legalize Polyandry then? Why is Polygamy only for MEN? Shouldn't women have that same right as well?
It still surprises me that women-folk are taking this sitting down. “Don't bring shame to the Family” seems to be the resounding echo. Maybe, but what happens when your dick-itchy-husband brings back diseases? What happens when you and your children get AIDs or HIV from your “wandering husband” who decided to sow his “royal oats” in another woman's Vagina, Mouth or Anus? Do the math. Look at the stats provided. Give a phone call to WAO, Sisters in Islam, or even WCC in Penang.
Who loses when these things happen? What about the young girls who have been in contact with your husband? What happens to them? What happens when men who decide to have sex for recreational purposes infect them with Diseases?
This is not a Male-Bashing Session. This is an Equality Discussion. Sad to say, there is NONE!!
The Bible, in Deutoronomy specifically dictates:
22:21 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the unmarried woman.
22:22then they shall bring out the woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones so that she will die...
So the Bible prescribes the killing of a non-virgin wife. Muslim Brothers can quote me their equivalent Hadith as well. Yes, the one which explains all that dancing around with the bedsheet immediately after they have sex on the first night; to show blood-stains and all ....
Unfortunately, most fail to read just one verse later, which says:
23 If a man is found to be sleeping with another man's wife, then both the man, and the woman whom he was sleeping with should DIE!!!
It's not just caning, my friends; it is STONING to DEATH!!!
I'll just assume that Christians are allowed to pick and choose what they wish to follow in the Bible, or not. By the same rationale, the same should also apply to Muslims, who, by the same logic should also be allowed to pick-and-choose whatever they wish either from the Koran, or the Hadith then. That sounds fair enough. If this be so, then how come Sky Kingdom was forced to shut down then? As one MT reader put it, what happened to Emak Pin (new Polyandry Religious Group)? Whatever you all may decide, let us never forget that “Allah” has been copyrighted by UMNO. That, we must all remember, friends. And if one tries to argue, the more Barbeques might happen (sigh). “And if you're not happy, then you Pendatangs who are sons of Beggars and Prostitutes should Leave ....”, so saith UMNO. Looks like we need inter-faith dialogues more than ever now!!
In closing, I challenge readers of MT to start listing Prositution Centres, with their addresses, along with the names of their owners to bring to light this monstrosity of an act being carried out under our very noses. I'll start by naming “D'Boss” on the way to Cheras, from Dewan Bahasa Dan Pustaka. Favourite hangout of Contractors, and Developers. PDRM, please shut them down. No? Are you collecting Ang Pows from them too? I heard that Ang Pows are in the ballpark of RM15k-35k per month per-outlet. No? What about the free cigarettes, or free alcohol which they serve you when you make your rounds there? It comes from “expired bottles” of Customers. Yes, I'm rather familiar with the system by which they operate. I have enough Deep Throats in this Industry.
Hang around Modesto's, or Hard Rock Cafe, to see who picks who up every night. That's so obviously easy to do. Plus, it's so blatant, no one even bats an eyelid anymore.
Nuff said. If women want to continue to be subjugates of men, or second-class humans, then there is absolutely nothing anyone can do for you. After all, “Wives, obey your husbands ....”
PENANG: Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng (picture) is ready to face legal action for implicating family members of Datuk Zahrain Mohamed Hashim in the RM40 million tender to manage Bukit Jambul Golf Resort.
According to Bernama, Lim said Zahrain was unhappy for losing the tender put in by a company formed two months before tender was called in Sept 2008.
“It is up to Zahrain (picture) to sue or not. We have enough proof and are willing to take the risk for the sake of a clean government,” he said when commenting on Zahrain’s legal threat for implicating his family members in the tender.
Lim said their ties soured after a company supported by Zahrain failed to get the tender to manage Bukit Jambul Golf Resort.
“I am willing to lose a friend rather than award the tender to an unproven company that lacked credibility,” he said at a Penang DAP Chinese New Year open house here today.
Zahrain, the former Penang Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief, could not be reached for comments on his threat to sue Lim.
Commenting on the suggestion by state opposition chief Datuk Azhar Ibrahim that minutes of the ‘Maulidur Rasul’ celebration meetings be revealed, Lim said it was a trap adding he was not responsible for religious affairs.
Azhar who is also Penang Umno secretary challenged Lim to reveal minutes of the ‘Maulidur Rasul’ meetings on Jan 19 and Feb 3 so that the truth would be known.
Lim said the ‘Maulidur Rasul’ (Prophet Muhammad) procession and other religious programmes would proceed as planned.
Meanwhile in an immediate reaction, Lim’s press secretary Cheong Yin Fah accused Bernama of “false and misleading” reporting.
“The Island Golf Properties Bhd(IGP)’s recommendation to award a RM2 company with a tender worth RM 40 million to manage the Bukit Jambulhad never mentioned any family members of Datuk Zahrain when rebutting personal attacks made by Zahrain. He believes in replying with facts and not stoop so low with personal attacks involving family members. The Chief Minister had clearly said that his relationship with Datuk Zahrain deteriorated after he refused to accept Zahrain’s and
(AFP) - Malaysia said Wednesday that three women have been caned under Islamic law for having extramarital sex, in a first for the Muslim-majority country.
Officials said the three women were caned on February 9 at a women's prison outside the capital Kuala Lumpur after being convicted of "khalwat" or "close proximity" between an unmarried couple.
"I hope this will not be misunderstood until it defiles the purity of Islam," Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said according to state media.
"The punishment is to teach and give a chance to those who have fallen off the path to return and build a better life in future," he said, adding that none of the three sustained any injuries.
Hishammuddin said the three women and four men were caned following a December decision in the religious courts -- which operate in parallel to the civil system in Malaysia.
He said one woman was released from prison last Sunday while another will be freed in several days and the third will be released in June.
Malaysian Islamic authorities triggered uproar last year when they sentenced mother-of-two Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno to six strokes of the cane for drinking beer.
Her case, which was to have been the first time a woman was caned under Islamic law in Malaysia, is under review and human rights groups have urged religious authorities to reverse the sentence.
Kartika's case has been given wide media coverage but the case of the three women convicted of extramarital sex came as a surprise.
Bar Council president Ragunath Kesavan said it was worrying that the punishment had gone ahead even as the caning issue was being hotly debated by Muslim scholars, religious groups and human rights activists.
"The impression was that Kartika's case would be the first so I've got no idea what has happened," he told AFP.
"It's not as if this is the Middle East... it's not a good signal that they're sending out."
"We are against any form of corporal punishment, for men or women," he added. "The fact is that any form of whipping is barbaric."
So, the Tiger Year will see Najib’s 1Malaysia crumble to pieces and the movement to oust him grow in strength. It would see the opposition go through some much-needed spring-cleaning and the weeding out of undesirables. And this will place the opposition in a most advantageous position to offer itself as the viable alternative to Barisan Nasional in the next general election.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
I have just purchased two oil paintings, which I will hang on my living room wall as soon as the frame is ready next week. They are not expensive pieces. I bought them on eBay and not in an art auction in New York. I believe they are from China, mass-produced of course -- so maybe 10,000 other houses also have the same paintings.
One painting is of a tiger. The other is of some tiger cubs. These will be the only two decorations on my wall thus far.
The significance of these two paintings is that I was born just after midnight 60 years ago in the Year of the Tiger (I am also a Libran). So the painting is symbolic of my year of birth. In a way, this year is my first anniversary of the Golden Tiger, which comes once every 60 years. I doubt I will be celebrating my second anniversary unless I live to 120.
The painting of the tiger cubs is symbolic of the next generation. This is to remind me that my life will soon come to an end and it will be up to the next generation to continue the work of bringing reforms or changes to Malaysia. And this means we will have to get the next generation committed to the struggle for a better Malaysia plus get them registered as voters and convince them that they must come out to vote come the next election.
Currently, only 50% of eligible voters vote in the general elections while about 60% of those who do not vote are not even registered as voters. Only when Malaysians care will we see change. And unless we can increase the numbers then Umno and Barisan Nasional will remain in power for a long, long time to come.
And these two paintings that will soon be hanging on my wall will be a constant reminder of what lies ahead of me.
I am not a believer in Feng Shui and whatnot. To me, such matters are not a science but folklore and superstition. My late Chinese mother-in-law -- who although a Catholic (but died a Muslim), strongly believed in old Chinese traditions (old beliefs die hard) -- once told me that those born around midnight in the tiger year are ‘fierce’. That is because tigers come out around midnight to look for food -- and that was around the time I was born.
The Orang Asli who pick durians in the jungles will tell you the same thing. They normally sit up in the trees at night to wait for the durians to drop. But if they hear the durians drop around midnight they will not climb down from the tree to collect the durians. According to the Orang Asli, tigers love durians and they will roam the jungles after midnight to wait for the durians to drop. So if you climb down from the tree around that time you might come face-to-face with a tiger.
I have spent some time deep in the jungles near the Kelantan-Terengganu-Pahang border and have seen this happen. We had to climb into a high shack on stilts at night and never touch the ground even if we had a bad stomach. The next day one of the three dogs disappeared and we saw tiger paw prints that told us what had happened to the dog.
It was quite an experience, especially when it came to bath time and we had to bathe in the river with the crocodiles sunbathing lazily in the sun on the opposite bank and eyeballing us with that very hungry look in their eyes.
Understandably, I never made a second trip into the deep jungles of interior Malaysia. Sharing the ‘bathroom’ with crocodiles and trying to sleep with tigers playing under the house is not exactly my idea of fun.
Anyway, back to what my mother-in-law told me. Midnight tigers are fierce, she said, and they will ‘eat’ their own parents. I did not quite understand what she meant and she explained that my father and mother would both die young because of when I was born.
As I said, I do not believe in these unscientific beliefs but the uncanny thing is both my father and mother died in their mid-40s. Is there some truth after all in these thousands of years old beliefs?
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was born in the Year of the Snake and the Chinese believe that tiger years are bad news for those born in snake years. This may be true. Then again, if your beliefs are strong enough, you may do certain things that would result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, in you believe in something, you may do things that will make this prophecy come true.
There are many who feel that Najib may not last the next 12 months. And I am not talking about those people in the opposition but those in Umno itself. And they are putting their money on the probability that Najib may be ousted and replaced with his number two. They even speculate that the Deputy President of Umno, Muhyiddin Yassin, may challenge him for the presidency come the next Umno general assembly.
Let’s not kid ourselves here. It would be very difficult to defeat Najib from the outside. But from the inside it would be more possible, just like how Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi were ousted -- from the inside. Yes, Dr Mahathir did not resign willingly. He was pushed out, just like how they pushed out Abdullah Badawi.
The writing is already on the wall. Moves are being made to discredit Najib and to undermine his 1Malaysia. The scandals like the exposes of the stolen jet engines, the military selling secrets to foreign governments, the submarine that cannot dive and whatnot, all point to Najib as Defence Minister.
In a subtle way they are exposing the failures of Najib without actually saying openly that Najib is to blame.
Then we have PERKASA and JASA and all those other movements and organisations that contradict Najib’s 1Malaysia. Some of the people in JASA are also involved in PERKASA. JASA is about Islamic supremacy while PERKASA is about Malay supremacy. How does 1Malaysia reconcile with what PERKASA and JASA stand for? They are opposite to what 1Malaysia propagates.
Then we have the new movement called Article 153 that has its own website and Facebook. This is promoted by PROWARIS, which is linked to Mukhriz Mahathir, just like PERKASA is linked to Dr Mahathir. In fact, Dr Mahathir even said that Umno has failed to uphold the interests of the Malays and PERKASA will be taking over the new role of Umno.
Are we seeing an Umno Lebih Baru in the wings? It looks like Umno Baru took over from Umno and the Umno Lebih Baru in the form of PERKASA will be the incarnate of Umno Baru which, as Dr Mahathir said, has failed the Malays.
The Umno Malays say they will defend Article 153 of the Constitution and Malay rights and privileges to the last drop of their blood. And if the Chinese, Indians and ‘others’ challenge this, then be prepared for another May 13, which will be even bigger than the May 13 of 1969.
There goes Najib’s 1Malaysia flushed down the toilet bowl.
The fact that opposition Members of Parliament like Zahrain Mohd Hashim, Ibrahim Ali and Zulkifli Noordin are behind the Islamic and Malay supremacy programmes does not upset me one bit. Everybody knows that these personalities are no longer opposition at heart but sympathise with Umno. I just wish they would all quickly join Umno so that Malaysians can see their true colours.
These Trojan horses would be doing the opposition a great service by joining Umno. Then they can scream and shout about Islam and Malay rights and privileges within Umno. That would not only score points for the opposition but will accelerate Najib’s downfall as well.
Najib may be sincere about his 1Malaysia. Or that may just be a political gimmick. I really don’t know. But let us give Najib the benefit of the doubt and take his 1Malaysia at face value. Let’s say he is genuine about his 1Malaysia. But that does not mean the rest of Umno also shares his sentiments.
Najib’s 1Malaysia could actually be his death wish. His enemies within Umno can use this 1Malaysia to galvanise an anti-Najib movement. And that appears to be what is happening. The only thing I cannot say for sure is whether Dr Mahathir is behind Muhyiddin and will back him in his bid to oust Najib. But if I were a gambling man I would put my money on Muhyiddin having the backing of Dr Mahathir.
Anwar Ibrahim has gained some ground with his recent apology about blundering on choosing the candidates in the last general election. What Anwar said is exactly what most people are already saying. Even if Anwar did not admit this everyone is saying it anyway. But it is good that Anwar came clean and took the blame for it and apologised.
I have often enough said that Anwar has made a lot of mistake, even back in his Umno days and when he was a member of the Cabinet. But as long as he refuses to admit these mistakes and apologise for it, then do not expect people to be forgiving.
Malaysians by nature are very forgiving. It does not take much for them to forgive and sometimes even forget. But they need to see sincerity and remorse first. And if Anwar can submit himself to these ‘confession sessions’ most Malaysians are prepared to overlook his transgressions of past and focus on the future.
Let’s face it: Anwar was a catalyst for opposition solidarity. Who else could bring two diverse parties such as PAS and DAP, not only to the negotiating table, but into a coalition as well? That can be considered Anwar’s greatest feat thus far. And that one major contribution can override the many misgivings people may have about him.
In the last general election it was very difficult for the opposition to attract quality candidates. Who would want to contest the general election on the ticket of a party that had no future?
But that has now changed. Not only do people see Pakatan Rakyat as a party with a future, they in fact see it as a viable alternative to Barisan Nasional and probably the new government in the next general election.
The problem the next time around is not in trying to find suitable and quality candidates to field in the elections. The problem would be there would be too many offering themselves as candidates that the leaders would be hard-pressed in deciding who to select.
But that would be a better ‘problem’ to face.
So, the Tiger Year will see Najib’s 1Malaysia crumble to pieces and the movement to oust him grow in strength. It would see the opposition go through some much-needed spring-cleaning and the weeding out of undesirables. And this will place the opposition in a most advantageous position to offer itself as the viable alternative to Barisan Nasional in the next general election.