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Monday, August 23, 2010

Malaysia urged to improve maid laws



(Al Jazeera) There are hundreds of thousands of foreign maids working in Malaysia and almost 85 per cent of them come from neighbouring Indonesia.

But the Indonesia government has banned its citizens from travelling to Malaysia to work as domestic helpers after repeated stories of maids being exploited and abused.

Jakarta has also called for more regulation from the Malaysian government to protect the workers' rights.

Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett reports Kuala Lampur, Malaysia's capital.

'Karpal not alone in DAP in opposing hudud'

( Malaysiakini) DAP chairperson Karpal Singh is not alone in opposing hudud and Islamic laws to be implemented in this country, Teluk Intan parliamentarian M Manogaran said today.

a kugan detention death funeral ummc to puchong 280109 m manogaranHe says there are many within DAP who share Karpal's views, and want moderate laws to be implemented in Malaysia.

Manogaran (left) believes quite a number of Malaysians also oppose the implementation of hudud laws and an Islamic state.

"Within DAP, we allow Karpal Singh to do the talking on party policy matters. It does not mean he is alone in his view, but he is airing the views of the party. I for one would oppose the implementation of hudud laws and an Islamic state," he said.

NONE"The reason for this is that our federal constitution does not hold or support such a change to be made as our system is a secular system. Furthermore, more than 40 percent of the population are non-Muslims and hence, the imposition of hudud laws and an Islamic state would not gain their support,” he told Malaysiakini.

Manogaran, who is a lawyer by profession, was commenting on a New Straits Times report yesterday that quoted PAS Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat as saying that DAP chairman Karpal Singh (right) was “a lone voice” within DAP in his views against hudud laws and the establishment of an Islamic state in the country.

Manogaran added that this would not pose a problem in continuing the cooperation between PAS and DAP under the Pakatan Rakyat.

Malaysians want moderate laws

The Teluk Intan MP said Nik Aziz's views would not hold in a moderate, multi-racial and multi-religious society like Malaysia, and that Malaysians in general would not accept it.

He added that former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself did not accept it.

However he said that such differing views would not affect relations between DAP and PAS.

NONEDiffering views, says Mahogaran, will assure Chinese and Indian voters that there will be certain perimeters within which the DAP and PAS are willing to work together.

“We must not take for granted that the Chinese and Indians will stay with us (Pakatan Rakyat) no matter what,” he said.

Nik Aziz (left) and Karpal have been trading barbs over the hudud law and the Islamic state issues for quite some time, reflecting the opposing views of both influential opposition leaders.

Despite this, both PAS and DAP have managed to work together as seen in the Selangor Pakatan government, as well as the Perak government before it was overthrown by BN.

Johor HINDRAF & HRP sack the racist headmistress

Najib’s NEM could be seditious too, says Kit Siang

Lim: There is agitation and escalation of irresponsible rhetoric to classify legitimate and rational public discussion and debate as sedition
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang suggested today that Datuk Seri Najib Razak could end up being cited for sedition for proposing the New Economic Model (NEM) if he allowed Malay rights rhetoric to escalate unchecked.

The DAP advisor called on the prime minister to prevent his 1Malaysia policy from degenerating into a “hollow and empty” slogan, following a slew of attacks by Malay rights groups against politicians for purportedly questioning the social contract.

Najib has remained silent on such attacks as well as on recent incidents where two school principals were accused of making racist remarks against the Chinese and Indian communities.

“There is agitation and escalation of irresponsible rhetoric to classify legitimate and rational public discussion and debate as sedition and if such agitation is allowed, even Najib himself could be charged for sedition for unveiling the New Economic Model (NEM) on March 30,” said Lim in a statement today.

The NEM that was launched in March this year had called for affirmative action programmes to be based on “market-friendly and market-based criteria”, sparking a sour reaction from Malay groups who deemed the policy a threat against Malay rights.

Najib has now been criticised for backtracking on the New Economic Model (NEM) after he subsequently called the policy a “trial balloon” and maintained the 30 per cent Bumiputera equity target in the 10th Malaysia Plan.

“The Prime Minister must provide the leadership and set the example to ensure that good sense, reason and rationality is fully restored to public and political discourses and his 1Malaysia policy does not degenerate into a Malaysian sickness which all Malaysians deplore,” said Lim, also the Ipoh Timor MP.

Yesterday, Malay rights groups demanded that MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek be arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for purportedly “disregarding national interests” by pushing for the removal of the 30 per cent Bumiputera quota at the Chinese Economic Congress recently.

The Malay Consultative Council (MPM) led by Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali also accused Pakatan Rakyat (PR) of attempting to “destroy” constitutional monarchy, following allegations by Umno that several mosques in the Tasek Gelugor, Permatang Pauh and Jelutong areas had replaced the name of the King with Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng in Friday sermons.

Umno-owned Malay daily Utusan Malaysia also published a column last week threatening the onset of a “huge war” worse than the May 13 racial riots if a purported “new constitution” was passed, although Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Razak rubbished such claims as “coffee-shop talk”.

Ibrahim said yesterday that those who disagreed with the social contract could leave the country, following incidents where two school principals were accused of uttering racist remarks by telling Chinese students to return to China.

Despite a public outrage against a school principal in Johor for allegedly telling Chinese students to return to China and likening the prayer strings used by Indians to dog leashes, Najib has remained silent on the issue.

A school principal in Kedah was also accused of telling Chinese students to return to China for purportedly disrespecting Malays by eating in the school’s common area.

The incidents of the two school heads have led the MPM to demand the abolishment of vernacular schools, claiming that such schools could have caused “misunderstandings” of the school principals’ allegedly racist remarks.

“This sickness in the country is a total mockery and complete negation of Najib’s 1 Malaysia to give Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region a new sense of pride and unity as Malaysians,” said Lim. - The Malaysian Insider

Najib's 1'sick'Malaysia limps towards Merdeka

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Lim Kit Siang believes that Malaysia is ill. And his diagnosis is based on news headlines which indicate that the nation is sailing in the opposite direction of 1Malaysia.
“With eight days to go before the National Day proper on Aug 31 and 24 days before Malaysia Day on Sept. 16, Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region should be celebrating a new sense of pride and unity as Malaysians after 18 months of the 1Malaysia slogan and policy.

“But every 24 hours is demonstrating the opposite,” he said in a statement.

Citing headlines like Malay groups, such as Perkasa, calling for MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek's arrest, and the Umno mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia's beating on the war drum, Lim expressed disappointment with the current state of affairs.

Lim said prior to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's 1Malaysia proclamation, it was a comparative rarity for lies, falsehoods and extremist incitement of issues of race and religion to dominate public and political discourse.

“But what had been rare is happening with disconcerting frequency,” he added.

According to the DAP stalwart, clear cases of sedition were now committed with impunity, like calls for the closure of Chinese and Tamil primary schools which had been decided by the courts.

“On the other hand, there is agitation and escalation of irresponsible rhetoric to classify legitimate and rational public discussion and debate as sedition.

“And if such agitation is allowed, even Najib himself could be charged for sedition for unveiling the New Economic Policy on March 30 which called for an affirmative action programmes 'to consider all ethnic groups fairly and equally as long as they are in the low income 40% of households' and to be 'be based on market-friendly and market-based criteria together taking into consideration the needs and merits of the applicants',” he said.

“This sickness is a total mockery and complete negation of Najib’s 1Malaysia to give Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region a new sense of pride and unity. It will render the Merdeka celebrations totally hollow and empty,” he added.

The Ipoh Timor MP called on Najib to provide the leadership and set the example to ensure that good sense, reason and rationality were fully restored to public and political discourses.

Not a nice place for Najib up there

By Zainal Epi - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR Najib Tun Razak can only shake his head in dismay as the reports and briefings all paint a very bleak future for the Barisan Nasional.
The message is depressingly the same: in the next polls bout, his ruling coalition stands little chance of regaining the states lost to Pakatan Rakyat. Worse still, the opposition may make new gains in several states.

The prime minister and BN supremo is in a pickle: how to stem the tide? How to rally the disgruntled people to his cause? His pet projects lie virtually in tatters, his party members are ripping each other apart, his coalition partners are tearing into each other, while his political foes are growing stronger by the day.

The situation is so bad that some opposition leaders believe that Najib may resort to extreme measures to stop the deepening rot – exploit every issue, create a climate of fear, push the country to the brink and then invoke the draconian Internal Security Act.

The reasoning is that with all his opponents in Kamunting, he may entertain hopes that he can go to the polls playing the role of a saviour. The bad guys are not around to spoil his party. Only the good guys – him and his fellow dudes – are left and people will have no choice but to play along.

But political observers do not think Najib will turn into a desperado simply because the crude antics may backfire. People may choose to stay home.

Najib is left with one window of opportunity – the Sarawak election. A convincing victory over there will throw a lifeline to his sinking sampan. But the outlook is not so rosy. When Sibu fell in the recent battle, it clouded the prospects of the BN. Then there is Taib Mahmud, the White Rajah of Sarawak.

A millstone

The chief minister is a millstone around Najib's neck. BN leaders find it hard to deal with this man who has been around for nearly 30 years. He throttled the state and “robbed” it of its fabulous wealth. He has overstayed his welcome and there are now signs that he is losing his grip. The coming state election may well see Taib and Najib's doom.

Many politicians in Kuala Lumpur predict that the downfall of Sarawak BN will trigger a domino effect. Sabah will fall and so will the other states in the peninsula when the next general election is called. This is a scary fate for Najib.

Najib knows he needs to act fast. His sampan is leaking badly. The “rats” are deserting him. He is the only one putting his oars to troubled waters. There is little hope he can reach shore safely. All around him the storm is howling mad.

The MCA has recently whipped up a maelstrom of anger when it treaded on sensitive ground. It aroused the ire of Perkasa and many Umno leaders. It looked as if they were ready to start a civil strife. The venomous atmosphere is what Najib least needed at a time when he is trying to regain the trust of the voters.

Najib sorely needs the Chinese vote bank to stay intact. Problem is he is courting the Chinese at the expense of the Malay voters and at the same time antagonising Umno members. His efforts at fence-mending in the BN may be fruitless judging by the reports on his table. They all point to one incontrovertible conclusion: the Chinese are staying away from BN.

An Umno member said all the reports and briefings done by concerned groups for the benefit of Najib revealed the real picture of the voter trend. The flow is not going his away.

There were more disturbing news when Najib was told that the BN would not be able to retake all the states it lost in 2008. What must be more unnerving is that more states may fall to the opposition juggernaut.

Political vengeance

A source said that during the briefings, Najib was informed that states like Terengganu, Perak and Negri Sembilan are tottering. The ongoing internal bickering in Terengganu Umno is damaging and may well be the cause of its collapse. Perak may be a simple case of the people exacting political vengeance.

The source added that Negri Sembilan is another problematic state where the main issue is the feud between the Umno divisions and Menteri Besar Mohd Hassan.

More bad news piled up on Najib's table. Johor, long considered an Umno's bastion, is showing signs of crumbling as the opposition is making credible headway.

The big question is: why is the opposition making inroads into BN territories?

“It is not so much how strong the opposition is as how weak the component parties in the coalition are,” a party insider said.

“The MCA is truly losing ground and that explains its leader's controversial statements.

“Gerakan is totally out of the loop as the party is no longer seen as relevant to any of the races despite its multi-racial but Chinese-based concept,” he added.

Catch-22 position

An Umno member said: “The MIC is not functioning and so is the PPP. The Indian voters are searching for a solid political platform.”

So that leaves BN with only Umno. What can Umno do on its own? What can Najib accomplish if he is all alone?

Said another Umno member: “We feel that Najib is in a Catch-22 position. If he helps the Malays, he may lose the support of the other races. If he helps the Chinese and the Indians, he may see his Malay support evaporate.”

He said that someone floated the idea of a merger with an an NGO or even PAS to boost support for Umno. But the snag is the only reliable and strong NGO is Perkasa and the right-wing group is not the darling of the non-Malay crowd.

“PAS is split into two factions – the fundamentalists and the liberals (which are pro-Anwar Ibrahim). The fundamentalists are comfortable with the idea of a tie-up with Umno provided the prime minister comes from PAS while the liberals want PAS to stay with Pakatan Rakyat and Anwar to be the prime minister.

“With their demand, it is difficult for the fundamentalists to sit down and begin serious talks with Umno,” the Umno member said.

Perkasa may look an attractive proposition but the NGO is not too keen to change into a political entity and team up with Umno.

“Politicking is creeping into Perkasa. The fear is that if the NGO becomes a political party, then it may face the same troubles as Umno,” a source said. Hence, Perkasa feels it can play its check and balance role more effectively outside than inside the political arena.

The pile of reports on Najib's desk doesn't make good reading. He must be wondering what else can he do to bring the BN and the country back on track. The options are few. The risks are many. He is walking on a tight rope high above the circus crowd while juggling many things. The BN clowns below egg him on to perform more daring feats while jeering onlookers in the other camp will him to make a fatal mistake. The ground is hard, rocky and sharp: one slip and Najib goes down into oblivion. It is not a nice place to be at the top.

Sarawak Pakatan's new battlecry 'Aram Berubah'

By Joseph Tawie - Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: A new battle-cry, 'Aram Berubah', is set to echo throughout Sarawak in preparation for the forthcoming state elections. “Aram Berubah” is ‘Let’s Change’ in the Iban language.
Embracing the phrase last night, former law minister and PKR supreme council member Zaid Ibrahim flagged the new cry as he launched a scathing attack on Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, who he described as a “white elephant” monster.

His call for change “Aram Berubah” stirred the more than 300 diners at a PKR function organised by the Lubok Antu division.

“Changing Taib with another of the Barisan Nasional is not good enough. It is no different. We must change Taib and his government and replace with Pakatan Rakyat chief minister and government.” he said.

“This is our mission for the coming election, and the people must understand this,” he said, pointing out that Sarawakians must come forward in order to create a new political culture.

Zaid also stressed that the Pakatan Rakyat must be well prepared to face this monster, the “white elephant” which is very powerful and very rich.

“He is being supported by the government machinery including the police and the election commission.

“So it is important that we have proper planning and logistical support to fight him and his government and be ready for BN’s cheating and money” he added.

Be the agents of change

At the same event, Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian urged his fellow members to be ‘agents of change’.

“We cannot expect other people to change; it must begin with ourselves and for me, I am the agent of change.

“We do not have radio and television Malaysia (RTM) such as TV1, TV2 and TV3 or any other channel to pass our message for change to the people.

“But let us be the agents of change ourselves by visiting all the longhouses and villages and tell them about Pakatan Rakyat and its mission,” he said.

“Tell them that with their support this is the best time to change Taib’s government,” he said.

Another PKR leader vice president Jeffrey Kitingan, said in his speech that the state BN had begun “to feel the heat” of their (PKR) ceramah.

“They are in a state of confusion and feel threatened,” he said relating an incident at a function at Kampung Ensebang Kuari, Balai Ringin early in the day.

While the function was organised for visiting Zaid, the BN had organised a next door concert in a deliberate attempt to sabotage the PKR function and counter the impact of Zaid’s visit.

“They are frightened of us so much so they want to sabotage our function,” said Kitingan, pointing out that despite the attempted sabotage, the function went on smoothly.

Kitingan believed that with the support of the people, the rural areas which the BN claimed as their ‘fixed deposit’ are slowly slipping from their grips.

“It will be a loose deposit and what remains later on will only be the receipt,” he said to the laughter of the audience.

Singapore tightens one more screw

By Maxwell Coopers - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT Singapore in a new move is going all out to make it as costly as possible for kidnappers and hostage takers.
In a legislation passed last Monday, the country’s widely-circulated newspaper, the Straits Times, called the enactment of the new law as “(giving) effect to a United Nations convention against terrorism”.

For a country that recently was the target of a terror bomb plot inspired in Indonesia by militant clerics, it does therefore make for plenty of reason to justify why it may need such a law.

After all, it is a global metropolis. Hordes of business clusters dot its marketplace. And so too, are the many government and international organisations which have based their operations in the island-republic.

Hence, it did not take long to make sure the city-state retains its allure.  And perhaps accordingly with its fortress-like security preparedness, it told the world how little stomach it has for hostage takers!

The new law immediately imposes the death penalty on hostage takers of either a government official or an international governmental organisation. And if the offence is committed against any other person, the offender can be jailed for up to 15 years.

Strangely there was no mention either in local papers or over Internet chat lines why it was imposing, of all things, the death penalty when the victim is a government official!

Hardline attitude

There is no doubt that when matters such as this grave stare down the Singapore state, the republic always resorts to what it knows best: give the problem a good whipping and send it packing.

It is too soon, however, to consider the legal, ethical and moral implications that now warrants the death penalty for yet another new classification of offences.

And just as interestingly, the new law makes it permissible for offenders to be prosecuted and extradited to Singapore for offences committed outside Singapore’s boundaries.

What all these amounts to, is an unprecedented sweep of “extra-territoriality” though that may be purely an academic exercise in legalese.

Yet there is no denying of the practical challenges that may soon follow suit once implementation is adopted.
There was no discussion as to what prompted this sudden hardline attitude.

Singapore has not had any major kidnapping incidents on its mainland for as long as living memory could possibly arrive at.

High stakes

The only time when something of that sort ever did happen was late last year when one of the nation’s vessels, a container ship named Kota Wajar, belonging to shipping firm PIL, was hijacked and is crew commandeered.

That then proved a Catch-22 sort of situation for the nation’s operators.

Authorities were neither able to mount a French-style rescue mission nor undertake any kind of acts that would have resolved (the issue) in blood and thunder synonymous with nations exhibiting a healthy dislike for such kinds of criminality.

They were also constrained by the very law they themselves had instituted. And that concerns the Kidnapping Act 1998, which expressly prohibits ransom payouts as it may otherwise encourage kidnappings.

Yet there is no denying that, given the recent exposure of a military servicemen’s quest to join the ranks of the al-Qaeda terrorist group coupled with revelations that terrorist groups planned to bomb a train station, there conceivably is every reason to justify, stemming from those news, that attitude of not wanting to brook criminal activity of any kind must be met with the severest of penalties.

All said there should no faulting Singapore authorities.

It has high stakes riding on their back and one of them is to keep the country continually safe for all and sundry.

And nowhere was proven to such tantalising effect than in the recent Gallop poll commissioned in the United States which identified the city-state’s public record on safety as being the main draw for the world’s immigrants.


Maxwell Coppers is a free-lance writer based in Singapore.

Remember my piece on Black Ops?


This reminds me of the National Mosque issue of 1999. Umno whacked the opposition for allowing Tian Chua, Gobalakrishnan and other ‘unclean’ non-Muslims to enter the National Mosque. But it is okay for Japanese, Taiwanese and ‘Mat Salleh’ non-Muslim tourists to enter the mosque because they are foreign tourists and not opposition supporters.

NO HOLDS BARRED

Raja Petra Kamarudin

PM wants full investigation into 'doa' issue

(Bernama) - Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak wants the police and Penang Islamic Religious Council to conduct a full investigation into the alleged use of Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng's name, replacing the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's, in the "doa" after the Friday sermon at some mosques in the state recently.

He said action must be taken against those responsible under the existing rules.

"I ask that this matter be fully investigated; who did it... as the delivering of Friday sermons is determined by the state Islamic Religious Council and people are not allowed to use our own script," he said at the handing of Raya goodies for the Malaysian Armed Forces, here, today.

Penang Umno liaison chief Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was this week reported to have revealed the use of Lim's name in the "doa" recited after the Friday sermon at some mosques in the Permatang Pauh and Jelutong areas recently.

"What happened was clearly against the state Islamic Religious Council's ruling and this should be investigated by the relevant authorities, and action taken in accordance with the stipulated procedures," said Najib.

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

Umno denies lying, says six mosques dropped King’s name

(The Malaysian Insider) - Penang Umno has denied lying about state Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s name replacing the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in Friday sermons, saying that it has happened in six mosques since last February.

State liaison deputy chief Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman told The Malaysian Insider that he was unsure if Guan Eng knew of the trend but disclosed that six mosques had used the term “Chief Minister” or “Lim Guan Eng” in their sermons to replace that of the King, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin.

The mosques are Masjid Jalan Baru in Seberang Prai Tengah which mentioned Lim’s name on Aug 13, Masjid Padang Menora, Seberang Prai Utara (June 25), Masjid Pengkalan Tambang, Permatang Pasir (in May), Masjid Jamek Jelutong, George Town (in April) and Masjid Permatang Binjai, Kepala Batas (Feb 26).

“And yesterday, Lim Guan Eng’s name was mentioned at the Masjid Kubang Buaya, in Butterworth by imam Ustaz Zakaria Ahmad... it was still being used despite media reports about the issue,” he said in a telephone interview yesterday.

“This is not an issue that was created, it actually happened,” said Zainal Abidin, who sits on the powerful Umno supreme council.

He also criticised DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for saying Umno and its newspaper Utusan Malaysia had created stories and racial ill-feelings towards the Penang government.

“It isn’t good for Lim Kit Siang to say we created this on purpose. Now there is proof, what are they going to say,” he said, asking the PR leaders to retract their statements.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told the police and Penang Islamic Religious Council last night to conduct a full investigation into the matter, saying action must be taken against those responsible under the existing rules.

“I ask that this matter be fully investigated; who did it ... as the delivering of Friday sermons is determined by the state Islamic Religious Council and people are not allowed to use our own script,” he had said.

PR leaders have denied the Penang government had directed Guan Eng’s name be used to replace the King’s name but admitted it has been used by guest prayers leaders, who are out of their control.

Meanwhile, Zainal Abidin said Anwar had purposely defamed Umno by claimimg Penang Umno chief Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamid’s accusation was unsubstantiated as he had read the text of the sermons.

“Kit Siang should also retract his statement as this is something that happens at the grassroots,” he said, adding the practice of not mentioning the King’s name had started before Election 2008.

“Before the 2008 general elections, several mosques controlled by PAS did not mention the name of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or the Governor but after the 2008 general elections, it has become a normal phenomenon in Penang,” he added.

He described it as a bad act that can divide the people in the state especially the Muslims.

“It is as though we don’t acknowledge the existence of royalty and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. This is not good,” said Zainal Abidin.

When asked if the chief minister’s name was mentioned with the knowledge of Guan Eng, Zainal Abidin said he was unsure.

“I still believe ... Umno hopes the State Islamic Affairs Council, that every order made by the head of the State Islamic Affairs Council, is not influenced or controlled directly or indirectly by the Penang Chief Minister.

“We take a serious view ... the Islamic Affairs Council must control and ensure the sermon text is read fully. They must have full control,” he said, adding people must disregard the past and follow the decision of the Penang Islamic Affairs Council.

The Sermon Writing Committee is headed by the Penang Mufti Datuk Hassan Ahmad.

Zainal Abidin also said that those delivering the sermons should get approval from the Penang Islamic Affairs Council even they were guest prayer leaders.

He said this in response to an Utusan Malaysia report yesterday which quoted the Masjid Jamek Padang Menora imam Ibrahim Ishak as admitting that a guest prayer leader had mentioned the chief minister’s name when reading the Friday sermon recently.

The prayer leader had invoked Allah to open Guan Eng’s heart to accept Islam as his faith, the imam told the Umno-owned newspaper.

Ibrahim also admitted that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s name was not mentioned and he had censured the prayer leader for his mistake.

The imam had also said the mosque has a guest prayer leader to deliver the sermons every month, which will include a prayer for national leaders.

The Sinar Harian newspaper had quoted Jelutong Umno chief Abu Kassim Ismail as saying that sermons mentioning Guan Eng’s name is not new and has occurred between two and three months ago.

Zainal Abidin said the spate of incidents showed that guest prayer leaders must get permission from the state’s Islamic Affairs Council before being allowed to work.

“Don’t use the chief minister’s name in a sermon. Don’t use it in a prayer, if it is for good, OK but what if it is used to criticise, then it will cause dissension,” he added.

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

Asri sees no wrong in praying for leaders’ well-being

(The Malaysian Insider) - Popular Muslim preacher Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin has urged Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and Barisan Nasional (BN) to stop politicising the Penang sermon issue, saying it was acceptable to pray for the well-being of leaders.

Stressing that he was unsure if Umno’s allegations were true, the Penang-born Mohd Asri said that praying for Lim Guan Eng’s well-being in his capacity as Chief Minister was a minor issue.

“Don’t politicise this issue. I told Pakatan and also BN not to politicise it,” he said, adding that political parties need to work for the country and not always limit themselves to a partisan view.

“I am not siding with anyone... There are a lot of important things to be done for the people of this country... This issue is not really that important,” the former Perlis mufti said after returning from Mecca on Friday.

Penang Umno chief Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed on Thursday that several mosques in the state had replaced the King’s name with Lim’s in their sermons.

PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim hit back by claiming the allegations were a desperate attempt by BN to remain relevant, pointing out that he had personally read the text of the sermon.

When contacted yesterday, Mohd Asri explained to The Malaysian Insider that prayers fell into four categories. The first two involved praying that a leader receives guidance, and for a leader to be fair and sympathetic to the people.

“These prayers can be read whether or not the leader is Muslim or not,” he said.

He said the other two prayers involved wishing for the well-being of a leader even if he were unfair and outright praising of his leadership.

“These two cannot be done,” he said.

Mohd Asri also questioned why the prayer issue was being made a big deal of now despite the fact that there were political parties that prayed for a non-Muslim candidate’s election victory before.

He said if a prayer for victory could be read for a non-Muslim candidate, then a prayer for the well-being and guidance of a non-Muslim leader should be similarly permitted.

“There are prayers that can be done and prayers that cannot... Prayers for the sake of good, we can do,” he said.

He also advised that the sermon issue be solved fairly and factually from a religious point-of-view and not through emotional political platforms.

When asked about the alleged use of the chief minister’s name to replace that of the King, Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, Mohd Asri said he was not aware of the claim having just arrived back in Malaysia.

Penang Umno deputy chief Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman told The Malaysian Insider yesterday that those delivering the sermons should get approval from the Penang Islamic Affairs Council even they were guest prayer leaders.

He said this in response to an Utusan Malaysia report the day before which quoted the Masjid Jamek Padang Menora imam Ibrahim Ishak as admitting that a guest prayer leader had mentioned the chief minister’s name when reading the Friday sermon recently.

Zainal Abidin said the spate of incidents showed that guest prayer leaders must get permission from the state’s Islamic Affairs Council before being allowed to work.

The police have so far received three reports over the Friday sermon issue involving some mosques in Penang. Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein said police were now investigating the allegation contained in the reports.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday ordered a full investigation into the matter by the police and the Penang Islamic Religious Council.

MACC “commits suicide”!

By Martin Jalleh

When Pornthip maintained that Teoh did not commit suicide – a view which would definitely not sit well with the MACC, Abdul Razak became a spontaneous stand-up comedian!

He suggested that Teoh ‘strangled himself’ and was ‘depressive’. It was a line which he desperately copied from Dr M who had said that Anwar gave himself a black eye when in prison!

18 Aug. 2010 – The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), very tragically, “committed suicide” today. It killed the very little that was left of its own integrity and credibility.

Its public image plunged to the very depths with the help of its advocate Abdul Razak Musa. He had at first advocated self-strangulation. He even demonstrated how it could be done.

When that failed, the very experienced lawyer of 24 years assisted the Commission to take a wild leap out of the window of logic, common sense and civility.

Depressed

Many have observed that the MACC has been very depressed of late. It has gone through bouts of disappointment, doubts, dejection and denial, all contributing to its sudden self-destruction.

The last (first) MACC chief even jumped ship a few months before his due retirement date. It seems he could no longer handle the daunting (more appropriately read as “haunting”) task.

It appears that the MACC has left behind a suicide note which was supposedly written by its eight-month old new chief Abu Kassim Mohammed. The contents need to be verified of course. It reads:

“Things have been bad for us – bad public perception, bad press, bad publicity, and as though these were not bad enough, we have done badly in the courts with most of the big fish being acquitted!

“I have asked for a year to convince the rakyat of our commitment to combat and curb corruption but the public is still so very critical, cynical and condemning of the MACC.

“The public misunderstands us, press mistreats us, alternative media highlights only our mistakes, Opposition mocks us and Government makes use of us but we are very independent.

“I even told the Cabinet that its members should declare their assets publicly. But they asked me to take my proposal and shelve and shove it…in one of my many cabinets.

“On Teoh Beng Hock’s death anniversary I said we will act without fear, favour and farce. But it has been a flop and many flip-flops. We have lost face even after launching our Facebook page. It is very frustrating!

“It has been a long, lonely and losing battle. And now our learned legal department head has determinedly driven the last nail into our coffin and we have very dutifully dug our own grave!”

It seems that the MACC, due to its synergy with Umno, sent a “Solidarity in Suicide” invitation to the party. They declined, for they have received a similar earlier invitation from Perkasa.

Discredit

The events that led to MACC’s “suicide” began during the cross-examination of the world-renowed Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand by Abdul Razak in the Teoh Beng Hock’s Inquest.

He first attacked Pornthip on her qualifications and claimed that the MACC’s expert witness, Peter Vanezis, was “far more qualified” than her...as he had “graduated from Bristol University”.

He added that Mahidol University, where she had graduated from, was not recognised in Malaysia. Understandably, he was rather silent on where he graduated from, its ranking and whether it was recognised anywhere on the face of the earth.

Pornthip advised the antagonistic lawyer not to look down on Asians and retorted that Mahidol is ranked the 220th best university in the world and is Thailand's top-ranked university.

Abdul Razak also accused her of being biased, and as an expert witness engaged by the Selangor State Government, she had come to Bolehland “to attack the MACC”.

She stopped him dead in his tracks: "You have to understand. I work for the rights of the dead, not the Selangor government. My objective is to help the dead!"

It is hoped that the "dead clients” of Pornthip (who has offered her services on a pro bono basis in Teoh’s case) will not take offence and haunt the MACC lawyer who after all appears brain-dead!

It was perhaps the first time in her 25 years as a pathologist that Pornthip was meeting such a pathetic lawyer. She therefore could not resist asking Abdul Razak: “Are you really a lawyer?”

Abdul Razak charged that Pornthip kept changing her position and “the goalpost”. He forgot or got pretty mixed up that such a privileged role and position belonged solely to the Attorney-General with the ball always in his court(s).

He absurdly insisted that her expert opinion was based on her imagination. He would later prove that he was even much more imaginative than her by demonstrating the art of self-strangulation.

Demonstration

When Pornthip maintained that Teoh did not commit suicide – a view which would definitely not sit well with the MACC, Abdul Razak became a spontaneous stand-up comedian!

He suggested that Teoh ‘strangled himself’ and was ‘depressive’. It was a line which he desperately copied from Dr M who had said that Anwar gave himself a black eye when in prison!

The MACC lawyer decided to give a practical demonstration on himself, after being challenged by Gobind Singh Deo, the lawyer for Teoh’s family, to show how one can strangle himself.

Everyone in court was highly entertained, though some may have wished Abdul Razak had succeeded in his demonstration! Pornthip’s “clients” must have surely laughed out loud in their graves!

But the MACC’s prosecutor’s court antics were not over yet. He would provide more ammunition to the MACC to shoot itself. He asked Pornthip if she has any experience jumping off a building!

The cool, calm and composed counsel for the Selangor Government, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, countered with classic sarcasm: “With questions like these, we would all want to jump off a building!”

Pornthip sensed she had so far seen only the tip of the lawyer’s incompetence. He eventually became so confused that even the Bar Council representatives and coroner had to help clarify and correct him.

Despair

Abdul Razak was in court not to help the coroner determine the real cause of Teoh’s death but to denigrate Pornthip and to distract and divert everyone from the truth. He ended up destroying his own client’s integrity and credibility!

In trying to discredit “the most trusted individual in all of Thailand” (according to a Readers’ Digest Trust survey last year) he has driven the MACC into utter despair in its desperate attempts to restore public confidence!

The law, we are often told. is an ass. But it would be more accurate to say in this context that the lawyer (for the MACC) is an ass and being holed up in the commission, he has turned asinine, arrogant, absurd and abusive.

But why should we be surprised. He is after all the very same lawyer who told wheechair-bound Karpal Singh, the lead lawyer for the Teoh family in the Inquest: "I can sit but you cannot stand"!

But Abdul Razak has the making of a judge in the appellate courts, where, in the words of the very respected retired judge N H Chan, sit a bunch of “ignorant”, “inane”, “incompetent” and “idiotic” judges.

As the hearing ended, Gobind Singh Deo was overheard whispering to himself: “Deo Gratias!” (“Thanks be to God!”). He was indeed grateful to God for Abdul Razak Musa and his sterling role in assisting the MACC "commit suicide"!

Bagini Kesahnya

Aku meminta maaf jika cerita aku ini tidak masuk akal. Memang pada hari ini memang banyak cerita-cerita yang tidak masuk akal. Ada cerita Lim Guan Eng jadi Agung. Ada cerita kapal terbang boleh terbang tanpa injin. Ada cerita Bank Negara boleh buat duit dari daun getah – macam-macam lagi.

DARI JELEBU

Hishamuddin Rais

Kesah ini bermula apabila aku menerima sepucuk taligeram. Aku tidak tahu siapa yang memukul taligeram ini. Tidak ada nama penghantar dan tidak ada alamat di taligeram ini. Tidak ada angka talipon untuk aku membalas kembali. Aku tidak tahu siapa yang menghantar taligeram ini. Kenapa tali ini geram kepada aku – tidak pula aku tahu.

Isi kandongan taligram ini ialah: PERGI KE TELOK KEMANG STOP PADA MALAM 14 BULAN MENGAMBANG STOP PANDANG KE LAUT STOP DATNG SEORANG DIRISTOP.

Ini cukup pelik. Aku risau sebenarnya. Ini mungkin taligeram tersalah alamat. Ini mungkin taligeram untuk penyuludup pendatang haram dari Sumatera. Atau penyuludup ganja dari Acheh. Aku belek-belek taligeram ini. Jelas nama dan alamat aku. Tidak ada yang salah. Malah macam mana alamat aku ini diketahui pun aku tidak faham. Ini kerana amat jarang aku memberikan alamat aku kepada sesiapa pun.

Fikir punya fikir aku pun pergi lah ke Telok Kemang. Aku datang sehari sebelum bulan penuh mengambang. Ini kerana aku nak mensesuaikan diri aku dengan suasana laut. Maklumatlah aku orang kota. Untuk aku laut ini tempat taik dan kencing orang kota terkumpul terutama di Selat Melaka.

Aku amat-amat berharap di malam bulan mengambang yang dijanjikan ini hujan tidak akan turun kerana jika hujan atau mendung maka tidak akan kelihatan cahaya bulan. Aku tidak akan dapat melihat apa-apa ketika aku memandang ke laut. Memikirkan perkara ini aku jadi gelabah.

Untuk memastikan yang hujan dan mendung tidak datang aku telah pergi membayar nazar di Tanjung Tuan. Seekor ayam jantan hitam telah aku lepaskan ke dalam hutan belukar Tanjung Tuan yang dikatakan penuh dengan orang bunyian. Tapi orang bunyian di hutan Tanjung Tuan ini tidak sama dengan orang bunyian di Hard Rock CafĂ© atau orang bunyian Pancha Sitara. Jangan silap faham – mereka amat jauh bezanya.

Tidak cukup dengan merasuah orang bunyian ini aku telah menaburkan tujuh jenis bunga ke kawasan Bukit Telok Kemang. Kawasan ini satu masa dahulu adalah tempat melihat anak bulan. Mengikut surah orang Negeri Sembilan kawasan ini ‘keras’ kerana sejak zaman berzaman, setelah Islam masuk ke Tanah Melayu kawasan inilah yang menjadi tumpuan untuk menentukan bila hari puasa bermula dan bila kita berhari raya.

Cilaka – bila internet sampai – kita tidak perlu lagi melihat anak bulan. Kawasan ini menjadi belukar. Malah tarikh puasa, raya dan Hari Raya Haji semuanya telah diketahui sepuluh tahun lebih awal.

Keesokan harinya: Jam tujuh petang lagi aku telah berada di tepi laut. Aku duduk seorang diri disebuah bangku. Mata aku memandang ke laut dan ke langit. Memandang ke langit untuk melihat bulan mengambang. Memandang ke laut untuk melihat apa yang akan mucul. Sekali-sekali terfikir juga oleh kepala aku bagaimana kalau-kalau naga kepala tujuh akan muncul dari tengah laut. Seram juga bulu kaki.

Jam lapan malam gelap pun sampai. Bila gelap sampai maka bulan pun tanpa segan dan malu keluar menyinar. Mata aku terus memandang ke atas laut. Aku tidak tahu apa yang akan aku lihat. Dari jam sembilan hingga jam sepuluh aku keseorangan di tepi pantai Telok Kemang. Anjing sesat dan kucing lapar pun telah lama meninggalkan pantai. Semua sepi kecuali ombak memukul pantai. Nasib baik udara agak panas kalau tidak aku mengigil kesejukan.

Semakin lewat malam semakin terang air laut kelihatan. Tetiba tepat jam dua belas aku nampak ada satu cahaya bersinar dan berkelip-kelip datang dari laut. Aku ingatkan ini cahaya alat pemancar kapal selam yang baru dibeli. Kemudian aku teringat kapal selam Malaysia ini belum boleh menyelam. Jadi ini pasti bukan kapal selam Altantuya.

Cahaya yang berkelip dan kelihatan tenggelam timbul ini makin lama makin merapati pantai. Aku terfikir apakah ini ‘bendanya’ yang wajib aku tunggu. Aku memberanikan hati lalu pergi ke gigi pantai. Di gigi pantai aku menunggu dengan debaran. Cahaya berkelip kelip tenggelam timbul ini akhir sampai ke tepi pantai.

Nah! Rupa rupanya sebijil botol yang terapung-apung. Aku tersenyum lalu mengambil botol ini. Bila aku amati di dalam botol ini ada sepucuk surat. Wow! Baru aku sedar rupa-rupanya ini botol bersurat. Dengan tidak sabar-sabar aku membuka botol itu dan mengambil surat didalamnya.

Kepada Para pembaca yang budiman:

Aku minta maaf mungkin para pembaca tidak percaya apa yang telah aku tulis ini. Malah aku sendiri pun merasa kekok untuk menulis kesah ini kerana pasti ramai pembaca kurang yakin tentang apa yang telah aku tulis. Lebih memeranjatkan lagi ialah isi kandungan surat dalam botol ini dan siapa penulisnya.

Walau apa pun biar aku berterus terang kerana surat dalam botol ini telah meminta aku menerangkan seterang mungkin kepada seluruh rakyat Malaysia walaupun mungkin ianya berbau macam tidak masuk akal.

Wahai pembaca yang budiman jangan terperanjat dan jangan menjadi sinis – surat dalam botol ini ialah surat saheh dari Teoh Beng Hock.

Kenapa aku dipilih untuk melakukan semua ini tidak pula aku ketahui. Dari surat ini, Teoh Beng Hock ini telah meminta aku membuat beberapa perkara. Hari ini aku hanya menjalankan tugas. Salah satu dari tugas aku ialah membukakan cerita ini kepada umum pada hari baik bulan baik ini – ya ini bulan Ramadan. Ini permintaan Teoh sendiri.

Sebenarnya surat dalam botol ini telah aku temui satu minggu setelah Teoh meninggal dunia. Tetapi surat ini meminta aku menyimpan isi kandungan surat ini dari diketahui umum sehingga muncul dan ditemui satu ‘surat’ yang mengatakan bahawa Teoh telah membunuh diri.

Dalam suratnya Teoh telah menulis dan menerangkan bahawa dia tidak membunuh diri. Apabila aku teliti isi surat Teoh ini maka aku sedar bahawa sebenarnya Teoh telah mengetahui awal lagi bahawa dia akan dibunuh kerana itu Teoh telah membalingkan botol berisi surat ini ke dalam laut lebih awal. Teoh juga tahu bahawa akan ada pihak yang akan membuat surat-surat palsu dan memfitnah dirinya.
Menurut Teoh surat palsu ini ditulis oleh seorang penulis China Hailam yang pakar dalam hal pemalsuan dokumen. China Hailam ini ada membuka kedai menjual mee hailam di Jalan Raja Laut sebagai perniagaan halal. China Hailam ini memang bijak – malah dia pernah membuat satu surat cinta John Lennon kepada Yoko Ono yang telah dilelong di Christie London. Dari sumber yang tidak resmi surat palsu Lennon ini telah dibeli oleh Rais Yatim untuk dijadikan bahan muzium.

Dalam surat ini Teoh juga telah memberi ingatan bahawa China Hailam ini telah membuat sekeping surat wasiat bersama geran tanah atas nama Yap Ah Loy yang menunjukkan bahawa tanah TUDM di Sungai Besi itu sebenarnya adalah milik Taik Jho Low.

Menurut surat Teoh ini wasiat dan geran palsu ini dibuat jika sekiranya kes tanah TUDM ini ditimbulkan oleh Pakatan Rakyat di dalam parlimen. Menurut surat Teoh ini lagi – China Hailam ini juga telah membuat sekeping surat palsu yang telah di tandatangani oleh Nabi Sulaiman di mana tanah tapak Penjara Pusu itu adalah milik Vincent Tan.

Di dalam suratnya Teoh Beng Hock juga telah menceritakan bahawa sebab utama dia dibunuh ialah kerana: pada satu malam ketika dia menjalankan tugas sebagai pembantu Yang Berhormat dia telah diminta pergi membeli mee hailam. Waktu telah lewat malam tetapi sebagai pembantu yang baik Teoh telah pergi mengetuk pintu kedai mee hailam ini di Jalan Raja Laut.

Tanpa disedari oleh Teoh cara dia mengetuk pintu itu adalah tanda untuk membenarkan geng China Hailam ini masuk. Apabila Teoh masuk dia telah dibawa ke bilik rahsia dimana China Hailam ini sedang membuat dan mencetak kad pengenalan palsu untuk kerajaan Sabah. Teoh terserempak dengan kerja jahat ini. Kerana ini dia wajib dibunuh.

Pembaca yang budiman:

Aku berharap para pembaca sekelian akan percaya dengan surah aku ini. Sekali lagi aku katakan: Aku hanya menjalankan tugas. Aku meminta maaf jika cerita aku ini tidak masuk akal. Memang pada hari ini memang banyak cerita-cerita yang tidak masuk akal. Ada cerita Lim Guan Eng jadi Agung. Ada cerita kapal terbang boleh terbang tanpa injin. Ada cerita Bank Negara boleh buat duit dari daun getah – macam-macam lagi.

Pembaca semua pasti pernah membaca bagaimana Teoh dikatakan telah mencekek dirinya sendiri. Para pembaca yang budiman pasti telah tahu tentang ‘surat pengakuan Teoh membunuh diri‘ yang baru ditemui. Semuanya tidak masuk akal tetapi inilah hakikatnya pada hari ini.

Aku minta maaf terpaksa berhenti di sini. Aku hendak menghidup api di tunku untuk menenak beras untuk bersahur. Jika aku ada masa nanti aku akan membukakan lagi apa isi kandungan surat dalam botol dari Teoh Beng Hock. Ini janji aku. Aku rasa buat masa ini cukup setakat ini sahaja.
Di hari baik bulan baik ini aku menghulurkan tangan – kalau sesiapa yang memiliki duit berlebihan silalah bersedekah. Tak perlu hantar taligeram kepada aku. Hantar duit sedekah itu melalui pos.

DNBN Kuburkan BN : Pakatan Rakyat & Barisan Rakyat must join forces

By Haris Ibrahim,



million who voted at the last General Election, more than half voted for change.

A rejection of communal-based politics in favour of a more transparent, accountable, honest and representative governance of the country.

Barisan Nasional (BN), courtesy of our ‘first past the post’ electoral system, was returned to form the federal government, albeit without their usual two-thirds majority.

And DAP, PAS and PKR, now collectively referred to as Pakatan Rakyat (PR), took the stewardship of 5 state governments.

Many in civil society had hoped that political parties on both sides of the divide would take the cue from the sentiments registered by voters at the last poll, to bring about the desired changes.

BN, it was hoped, would begin a process to reform the institutions of governance of the nation, with more transparency and accountability, and a restoration of public confidence in the various institutions of state.

We had also hoped that PR, in their management of the 5 state governments, would begin to show itself as a viable alternative to BN, if mandated to form the federal government at the next general elections.

Two years on, those hopes of the rakyat seem a long way off from being realized.

The wresting of power in Perak by BN was the first clear indicator that BN was not minded to respect the wishes and the choice of the rakyat.

The decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Federal Court in relation to the Perak controversy reflect the extent to which the superior courts have become the tools of the Executive rather than the last bastion of the citizen to seek justice.

That no further action has followed upon the recommendations of the V.K Lingam Royal Commission of Inquiry serves as damning evidence that BN has no intention of undoing the damage inflicted on the judiciary by the Mahathir administration, and returning the same to the rakyat.

The ongoing Teoh Beng Hock inquest and the Sodomy II trial reveal the extent to which the various institutions of state are being manipulated to subvert the very transparency that the rakyat now demand.

Financial scandals, both in Semenanjung and in Sabah and Sarawak, make headlines in the alternative media, yet little of the same is reported in the mainstream media.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, meanwhile, looks the other way, even as a federal minister warns that bankruptcy looms ahead for the nation.

We are a nation in distress.

Many of us are convinced that if we are ever to begin the process of rehabilitating our nation, it must begin by removing BN from federal governance come the 13th General Election.

PR, at this time, however, does not inspire much confidence that they are well and truly ready to wrest power from BN, let alone take on the task of managing our nation thereafter.

The incidences of party-hopping that facilitated the fall of the PR state government in Perak, the seemingly unsettled state of the government in Selangor, and the internal skirmishes in the three component parties give rise to serious concerns amongst many of us as to the ability of PR to take on BN come the next election, win enough seats to form the next federal government, and then retain those seats and get on with the business of effective federal governance.

For these reasons, many of us in civil society feel that it is imperative that we no longer leave the process of choosing representatives in parliament and the various state assemblies entirely to the political parties, and that the intervention of the rakyat in this regard is a matter of urgency.

Some of us have come together for deliberations on these concerns.

We feel, however, that these matters are of such importance that they warrant deliberations by the largest possible number from civil society.

If you or the organization that you represent, too, share these concerns, we want to hear from you.

E-mail me at thepeoplesparliament@gmail.com if you or your organization wish to be a part of those deliberations.

Why I cannot support the death penalty

By Haris Ibrahim,

My ‘Petition to grant clemency for Yong Vui Kong’ elicited 43 comments.

I have to confess that many of those comments left me numbed.

Many took the position that Yong ought to have known the consequences of his actions.

Others felt that the drug scourge is such that we need the death penalty to deal with this menace.

I understand that Yong is due to be executed this coming 26th August.

The prison authorities will hang him from his neck until life is drained from his body.

I want to share my thoughts on why I think this is wrong.

Allow me to digress for a moment.

Irene is in her 70′s.

One night, as we talked, the subject moved to illness, suffering and death.

We both agreed that we were ready for death, but we did not want to suffer.

Irene then popped this question : if she was terminally ill and in great pain, would I, at her request, end it for her?

I said I would. I then asked if she would do the same for me.

She said she would.

We promised each other that night that if either was in a situation where death was imminent and was suffering great pain and requested to end it all, the other would do the necessary.

The truth, though, is, if confronted with this situation, I do not really know if I’d be able to go through with my promise to Irene.

Taking another’s life in these circumstances is called euthanasia.

Wikipedia explains euthanasia as “a deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to relieve intractable suffering“.

Most jurisdictions treat euthanasia as a criminal offence.

A culpable homicide.

Even if carried out to relieve intractable suffering.

Why?

Because life is precious, and no-one, absolutely no-one has the right to take life?

Really?

What of the death penalty then?

The death penalty is the deliberate intervention undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to …..

To what?

To give expression to our wrath?

To give expression to our sense of horror?

An eye for an eye?

One life for the many lost to drugs?

To remove a menace from the midst of our loving society?

This loving society will not condone mercy killing because no-one has the right to take life, yet we sanction the deliberate intervention by the hangman undertaken with the express intention of ending a life, to give expression to our wrath, our sense of horror? To exact society’s pound of flesh? To keep the rest of us safe?

We condemn the violent deaths inflicted by wars, yet we collectively sanction the violence inflicted on this young life by placing the noose round his neck and dropping the trapdoor below his feet, so that the force of the drop will severe the lifeline of his spinal cord?

Is this the society that we are?

I do not support the death penalty because I do not believe we have the right, individually or collectively to end another’s life.

The death penalty, for me, is state-sanctioned violence.

Some proponents of the death penalty, without addressing the prior question whether we have the right to take life, advocate that a more humane intervention, rather than by hanging, be undertaken with the express intention of ending a life.

They advocate death by lethal injection.

Watch the videos below and decide for yourselves.



Utusan Malaysia and Teoh Beng Hock

By Ding Jo-Ann | 23 August 2010 | The Malaysian Insider


HOW far can a newspaper go in presenting its version of the truth? Yes, it has become generally accepted in Malaysia and internationally that newspapers don’t necessarily print “The Truth” and have their biases. After all, a recent Merdeka Centre survey revealed that almost six out of 10 Malaysians don’t trust the traditional media.
But even so, how far can newspapers push their selective truth-telling? What happens when news reporting becomes truth distortion? And when newspapers start acting against the public interest?
Headlines on <em>Utusan Malaysia</em>
Utusan Malaysia's front-page headline (click for larger version)
These are questions that come to mind when perusing Utusan Malaysia‘s report on Thai forensic pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand’s evidence in the inquest into Teoh Beng Hock‘s death. Tiada bukti diseksa was Utusan Malaysia‘s front-page headline, highlighting the fact that Dr Pornthip had retracted her earlier evidence that Teoh’s death was 80% a homicide. It also reported Dr Pornthip’s conclusion that the anal tear and injury to Teoh’s buttocks were not caused by beating, as she previously thought, but due to the fall.
Troubling aspects
There are several troubling aspects about Utusan Malaysia‘s report on Dr Pornthip‘s evidence, some of which are listed below:
  • Crucial evidence: “No suicide”
The most significant point of Dr Pornthip’s evidence was surely her firm conclusion that Teoh did not commit suicide. This aspect of her evidence however was completely buried in Utusan‘s report. Dr Pornthip’s stunning conclusion was hidden away, obscured by a description of her “dyed hair” and “tight T-shirt”. This is just unacceptable.
Presenting the rest of the report about Dr Pornthip’s findings while obscuring that crucial piece of evidence completely distorts her evidence and takes it out of context. In fact, it is arguable that such selective reporting and distortion of facts renders reading such a news report almost meaningless.
  • Omission of context
Instead of reporting Dr Pornthip’s view that Teoh had not committed suicide, Utusan‘s report focused on how she had retracted her earlier estimate that Teoh’s death was 80% a homicide.
The report however failed to note that her new conclusion was based on her observation of the second autopsy on Teoh. It also omitted to mention that although Dr Pornthip declined to cite a percentage this time, she was still certain there was no suicide involved.
  • Gender insensitivity
Why discuss
Is Utusan really so concerned about different hair colours in court? (© Government of Thailand | Wiki Commons)
The reference to Dr Pornthip’s dyed hair and tight T-shirt was completely irrelevant to the evidence that she gave, yet it was mentioned in Utusan‘s report. The fact that this description was lumped together in the same sentence as Dr Pornthip’s conclusion that there was “no suicide” can only be interpreted as an attempt to undermine Dr Pornthip’s credibility when making that conclusion.
And for the record, there was no mention of what Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) prosecution head Datuk Abdul Razak Musa or anyone else was wearing that day.
So what?
Many Malaysians would say that this is only what is to be expected of Utusan Malaysia. After all, it is Umno-owned and strongly defensive of the ruling party and everything connected to it. But such misreporting should not be taken lightly. For here are some consequences of Utusan‘s irresponsible behaviour and unprofessional conduct.
  • Lack of accountability
Our government has vast powers over us. Institutions such as MACC and the police have wide powers of arrest and interrogation. Teoh himself was interrogated for at least nine hours, extending into the wee hours of the morning.
Attempts to stop round-the-clock interrogations proved fruitless when the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling barring such practices. Teoh’s death is not the only death in custody which occurred under suspicious circumstances. It is possible that any one of us could end up like Teoh, brought in for questioning one afternoon, only to be found dead the next morning.
It is therefore in all our interests that everything is done to get to the bottom of Teoh’s mysterious death. And hiding crucial facts from readers just does not serve the public interest.
Throughout the demonstration, the crowd shouted, “Siasat!” and “Reformasi” and called the MACC a political tool of the Barisan Nasional.
Demonstration on 17 July 2009 demanding the truth about Teoh's mysterious death
The media plays an important role in keeping those in power accountable. It is still unclear what part MACC officers had to play in Teoh’s death. But any fact that suggests that they contributed in any way, whether directly or indirectly, must be made known to the public. For how else will our institutions of power change if they can act with impunity?
It is in this context that Utusan‘s skewered reporting does such a disservice to the public. Covering up or glossing over facts indicting those in power only ensures that any possible abuses will likely be repeated. This is no time to protect those in power, regardless of a newspaper’s politics. Not when matters of life and death, and public safety are at stake.
  • Polarisation
One-sided reporting also results in increasing polarisation of the Malaysian populace. Take the “Allah” incident for example. Some parts of Malaysia are aware of the use of “Allah” to refer to God throughout history, whether by Christians, Muslims or Sikhs. They know that “Allah” has been used by Christians in Malaysia since before independence. These groups of Malaysians are certain that the word “Allah” predates Islam and that no one can claim ownership over how someone intends to address their God.
(Pic by xymonau / sxc.hu)
Other Malaysians, however, are equally convinced and certain that Christians in Malaysia, especially in the peninsula, never used “Allah” to refer to their God until recently. They surmise that the Catholic church’s court challenge to lift the ban on the use of “Allah” in their publication, The Herald, is a deliberate attempt to challenge Islam and a cunning ploy to confuse Muslims.
Now how did such polarised views come about? Casual chatter over teh tarik and family dinner, perhaps? Or teachings from religious leaders? Underlying all these conversations and teachings would be the media’s influence in shaping opinions and people’s perception about what is “true”. And when the media distorts the truth and hides crucial facts, it can only result in an increasingly polarised Malaysia, where its citizens cannot agree with each other due to the half-truths they have been fed.
So the next time you perceive that a newspaper is distorting the news, don’t be so quick to accept it as a given in the Malaysian media scene. Hold these newspapers to account. If we don’t, it’s just possible that we would be allowing somebody in power to get away with murder.

There is a sickness in the country which is total mockery and negation of Najib’s 1Malaysia policy

With eight days to go before the National Day proper on August 31 and 24 days before Malaysia Day on Sept. 16, Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region should be celebrating a new sense of pride and unity as Malaysians after 18 months of the 1Malaysia slogan and policy proclaimed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak after he became the sixth Prime Minister in April last year.

But every 24 hours is demonstrating the opposite.

There is a sickness in the country as illustrated by several headlines in a matter of a few hours by online media Malaysian Insider yesterday, viz:

*“Perkasa, MPM want Soi Lek arrested under ISA”
*“Pakatan wants to ‘destroy’ constitutional monarchy, claim Malay groups” (a lie)
*“Ibrahim Ali follows Tee, tells those who disagree to get out”
*"Malay groups want vernacular schools abolished”


Before Najib’s proclamation of 1Malaysia, People First, Performance Now, it is a comparative rarity for lies, falsehoods and extremist incitement of issues of race and religion to dominate public and political discourse.

But what had been rare is happening with disconcerting frequency as the four Malaysian Insider headlines within three hours yesterday.

Utusan Malaysia illustrates this sickness in the country with its front-page headlines and reports in the past week like:

*“Elak perang besar – Harussani enggan dedah pihak terlibat wujudkan ‘perlembagaan bau’”;
*“Benar, ‘perang besar’ boleh berlaku di Malaysia”
*“Nama Guan Eng ganti Agong”

Clear cases of sedition are now seen to be committed with impunity, like calls for the closure of Chinese and Tamil primary schools which had been decided by the courts.

On the other hand, there is agitation and escalation of irresponsible rhetoric to classify legitimate and rational public discussion and debate as sedition and if such agitation is allowed, even Najib himself could be charged for sedition for unveiling the New Economic Policy on March 30 which called for an affirmative action programmes “to consider all ethnic groups fairly and equally as long as they are in the low income 40% of households” and to be “be based on market-friendly and market-based criteria together taking into consideration the needs and merits of the applicants”.

This sickness in the country is a total mockery and complete negation of Najib’s 1Malaysia to give Malaysians regardless of race, religion or region a new sense of pride and unity as Malaysians.

It will render the Merdeka Month celebrations of “1Malaysia Transforming the National’ totally hollow and empty.

The Prime Minister must provide the leadership and set the example to ensure that good sense, reason and rationality is fully restored to public and political discourses and his 1Malaysia policy does not degenerate into a Malaysian sickness which all Malaysians deplore.

What does UMNO Penang fear?

Some Muslims in Penang were highly agitated when the khatib ( the man who reads sermons) offered prayers for the Penang chief minister. In what manner was it said? Was LGE’s name mentioned in the context of something?

Actually we have not heard what actually transpired other than listening to a few emotionally charged statements from some people. Who are these people? If they are UMNO members, then their response was hardly surprising.

To me, the fearful responses thus far only reflect how desperate UMNO is in re capturing the Malay support in Penang. I won’t say re-capture Penang, because that is already impossible. what UMNO fears now is losing Malay support in Penang. That is like the end of the world.

What UMNO fears is a rising consciousness among Penang Malays that despite detaching themselves from UMNO, their lot can still be improved. This will be the beginning of a wider consciousness debunking the myth that equates loyalty and allegiance to this country to loyalty and allegiance to UMNO. The two things are not the same. If Penang is successful in demolishing this long perpetuated myth and this awareness becomes a national phenomenon, UMNO is in serious trouble.

Neither UMNO nor Zaid Hamidi who is the Pengerusi Perhubungan UMNO Penang have the answer to counter this rising tide. The only way they can hit back is by manipulating the sermon issue. You hope this will escalate into a tidal wave of resentment.

I say, if we truly love UMNO we should stop this childish and very shallow strategy. offer Penang Malays a better vision and promises of a better future. Zahid Hamidi is wishing he is not the Pengerusi Perhubungan UMNO Negeri. Ini kes nyaya kat chek no.

Since capturing Penang from Gerakan and UMNO in the last elections, the state government has made serious inroads into winning the hearts and minds of the Muslim community. Mosques and suraus have been receiving a lot of facilities and assistance from the state government. What is the civil thing to do if someone has given you assistance? You say thank you sir.

So the particular imam who created the present controversy who happens to be the brother of the Penang mufti was telling the congregation that Muslims should pray the good deeds undertaken by the state government under Lim Guan Eng are carried out continuously. Muslims are thanking the state government under LIM Guan Eng. In addition, Muslims should be hopeful that Lim Guan Eng embraces Islam. What probably happened was perhaps Guan Eng’s name was mentioned in that context.

To me, this is a stupid way of trying to leverage on a religious issue. The present controversy serves to further expose our hypocrisy. For so many years while Penang was under the JV government of Gerakan and UMNO, the lot of Penang Malays has not improved greatly. You even had a PM from Penang and he didn’t achieve anything much for Penang Malays. He could offer only some nebulous ideas about Islam. People wanted more physical improvements not more sermonizing.

Before that you also had a former deputy PM from Penang, who did not achieve much either. All he could do was gurmal here and gurmal there. Senator Koh Tsu Koon could never match what Guang Eng has achieved in 2 years with what he has done all those years while in power. So really, you don’t have any defense against what the present state government is doing.

The better action by Penang Malays is to throw out all those useless UMNO leaders who rose to prominence not through offering great ideas and thinking, but got where they are by mastering political intrigues. It’s the comeuppance for many of these hollow leaders. For years you have come up not through the brilliance of your ideas or competency but you rise because you are more skillful at demolishing your political rivals, you rise by stabbing the backs of your political comrades, you rise because you plot here and there- suddenly you find you don’t have the substance to sustain your political relevance.

So you have incompetent UMNO leaders thinking they can stand toe to toe with better qualified Gerakan leaders. Suddenly you realize, your skills in removing your own political comrades don’t work when dealing with people from other parties.

So I find the Penang UMNO leadership and its ‘spokesmen’ behaving hypocritical in using religion to counter the state government.

Let’s have some finesse fellers.

Syor tangani buang bayi dapat reaksi berbeza

Berita Harian

KUALA LUMPUR: Pelbagai pihak memberikan reaksi berbeza mengenai cadangan Ketua Polis Selangor, Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar supaya diwujudkan pangkalan data termasuk rekod ujian asid deoksiribonukleik (DNA) bagi menangani gejala pembuangan bayi di negara ini.

Naib Pengerusi Yayasan Pencegahan Jenayah Malaysia (MCPF), Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye berkata, kerajaan perlu mengkaji cadangan itu sebelum dilaksanakan kerana perlu mengambil kira beberapa faktor seperti kos pengurusan dan agensi pelaksana.

Beliau yang menyambut baik cadangan berkenaan bagaimanapun berkata, penubuhan pangkalan data DNA mampu menjadi pemangkin kepada pencegahan jenayah dan praktikal untuk dilaksanakan.

Ia mampu menjadi panduan kepada pihak berkuasa untuk menyekat masalah jenayah, namun soal sejauh mana ia mampu dilaksanakan bagi menyimpan data kira-kira 27 juta penduduk di negara ini perlu dikaji, katanya.

Presiden Majlis Peguam Malaysia, Ragunath Kesavan, bagaimanapun melihat cadangan itu tidak praktikal kerana kerajaan akan mengalami kesukaran mengumpulkan DNA penduduk pelbagai kaum dan akan menelan perbelanjaan yang banyak.

Tidak praktikal jika kerajaan mahu menubuhkan pangkalan data sendiri berikutan faktor penduduk yang ramai dan ia bakal membabitkan kos perbelanjaan yang tinggi, katanya.

Sementara itu, Pengerusi Gabungan Pelajar Melayu Semenanjung (GPMS), Jais Abdul Karim, berkata negara memerlukan perubahan selaras negara membangun untuk mempunyai pangkalan data sendiri.
Jais berkata, pangkalan berkenaan tidak terhad untuk kes pembuangan bayi saja, sebaliknya diaplikasi pada beberapa kes lain seperti mengenal pasti identiti mangsa kemalangan dan kes penyeludupan bayi.

Setiap individu akan lebih berhati-hati untuk melakukan jenayah berikutan tahu dan bimbang bakal dikenakan tindakan undang-undang atas kesalahan yang dilakukan. Justeru, cadangan ini wajar dilaksanakan segera dan pelaburan kos pengurusan juga berbaloi serta lebih murah jika dilaksanakan secara besar-besaran, katanya.

Mengulas keperluan rekod DNA untuk warga negara asing, Jais meminta pihak berkuasa supaya melaksanakan tindakan yang sama terhadap mereka.

1Muted Malaysia

The Sun 
by Karen Arukesamy

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 22, 2010): About 20 people wearing black t-shirts and face masks with the words “1Muted Malaysia” written on them went on a walkabout in Suria KLCC today to protest against “media manipulation” and “crackdown on freedom of expression”.

The group’s spokesman Joshua Hong told reporters: “The reason we are gathered here is to send a simple message to the government that people are not stupid and want voice our dissatisfaction over a series of crackdown on freedom of expression.”

The group which gathered outside the Kinokuniya bookstore at the mall were escorted out of the building by security guards after they walked around the complex for 30 minutes, attracting attention from passers-by, many of whom also followed the small parade.

“We are wearing masks today because we are against the clampdown by authorities on Amir Muhammad’s books and deejay Jamaluddin Ibrahim’s indefinite leave,” Hong said.

Copies of writer Amir's book, ‘Body 2 Body: A Malaysian Queer Anthology’, were seized by the Home Ministry’ from the bookstore on Thursday, while 98.8 FM deejay Jamaluddin Ibrahim was asked to go on leave after receiving a letter from the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission accusing him of negative comments on race relations and affecting national security. -- theSun

Govt-owned ‘private’ hospitals

By Anil Netto,

With the federal and state governments and GLCs holding stakes in an increasing number of private hospitals, is there a conflict of interest?
Blog reader Ganesh shares his thoughts.
If you see the private hospitals, some of them are virtually owned either directly or indirectly by the government.
So, the government has absolutely no incentive to build more new government hospitals nor to upgrade existing government hospitals at all.
That is the biggest problems now. The (government-owned) ‘private’ hospitals are doing so well and the government is reaping so much of money from them that, in my humble opinion, there is a conflict of interest here.
Why should they even build or improve existing government hospitals?
Has anyone gone and seen the KL general hospital lately? It is shocking: the buildings look so old and run down and it is so disheartening to even enter the place. Even more so, when one is used to going to places like SJMC (SDMC now), to go to the KL GH is a sudden culture shock.
In other countries, for instance, the government hospitals and the private hospitals have really no difference. They both look posh and nice. For example, in the UK, I have been to many government NHS hospitals and they look like “hotels”. In other words, they even look better than our private hospitals here in Malaysia. The same with Singapore and Australia.
It is high time for a law to be passed that prohibits the government from owning or holding interests in private hospitals. Instead of spending tons of money building this and that, some an utter waste of money, we should be building more schools and government hospitals to cater for the poor and needy.
In fact, every state should have at least 10 large full-fledged government hospitals each.
It is high time we see something coming back from the taxes we pay.