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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Perkasa 'warriors' getting weirder by the minute

'Can someone enlighten me as to who is actually disrupting racial harmony here? If candlelight vigils are seditious, then what do you call this?'

Perkasa declares 'war' against Namewee

BTN: It's time the Malays bangkit (rise) and declare 'war' against Perkasa as they are really damaging the name of the Malay race. The bigots in Perkasa acted just like hooligans and the biggest joke was calling Namewee a coward for not coming out to meet 50 over morons from Perkasa who claimed to be Malay warriors.

I'm no fan of Namewee but I believe in this situation he acted wiser than these 'Malay warriors'. Mind you, when you have those bigots from Perkasa isolated and not in group, then you will see the real face of a coward.

Dood: Under normal circumstances, the police would have acted against Perkasa for trying to intimidate, threaten and harass someone (who, I might add, has not been found guilty of anything).

If anyone else had done this, or if some people had done the same thing to any Perkasa or Umno/BN member, those people would have been hauled up by the cops already. But of course, practising double standards appear to be the norm for our police. This is the Malaysian way.

Logic: Can someone enlighten me as to who is actually disrupting racial harmony here? Or did Perkasa's youth chief Arman Azha Abu Hanifah mean Perkasa's harmony? They're a bunch of goons who are the ones actually stirring racial tensions and courting danger by torching pictures and now they want to be hulubalang (warriors) with the full consent of the police?

If candlelight vigils are seditious, then what do you call this?

Albert: Perkasa has declared 'war' against Namewee, while its youth chief Arman Azha Abu Hanifah said its members are ready to act as Malay warriors.

This is a sure and dangerous sign of potential violence. Yet, the police have remained passive so far to ensure 'public security'. If Perkasa can form 'Malay warriors', what if the minority races do the same?

This Arman fellow is bringing shame to his ancestors by calling himself and his friends 'warriors' when they're just a group of delinquent Malays going after one individual.

Anonymous: The fact that these Perkasa idiots have the time and energy to tail Namewee throughout his tour speaks volumes about their purposes in life. Can't they do something more productive like find a job instead of huffing and puffing around like mindless tin kosong?

Kee Thuan Chye: Perkasa accuses Namewee of "disrupting racial harmony". What about when Perkasa says and does things that disrupt racial harmony?

Just calling themselves 'hulubalang Melayu' is already a blatant act of disrupting racial harmony. Why 'Melayu'? Even if they merely called themselves 'hulubalang', that would already be saying they were out to fight. 'Melayu' makes it racial. This is intensified by their further calling themselves 'panglima perang'. And 'perang', we know, means war.

Judging from this alone, we can see that Perkasa is obviously an irrational group driven by emotions. They called Namewee a coward for not coming out on Tuesday night because they "just wanted to talk".

If they just wanted to talk, why did they burn Namewee's posters? Is that the preamble to talking? Who's being stupid here?

Croniq: This is getting weirder by the minute. A group of racists going after a racist for being racist by being racist.

Md Imraz Ikhbal: So Namewee's music video disrupts racial harmony but what about Siti Inshah Mansor's racist insults against the non-Malays? Or do different standards apply, depending on whether racist slurs are targeted at Perkasa's race or at the non-Malays?

By the way, is my comment here seditious as well now that I am condemning the hypocrisy and double-standards of the ultra-Malays? Or do I also need to draw some cartoons to qualify being apprehended for police questioning in this 'democratic' land of 1Malaysia?

Mob1900: This is a ploy to throw Namewee into lock-up. You know the drill - Namewee will be charged for "causing disharmony among the races" while Perkasa goes on rampaging and is spared from any offences. Remember Teresa Kok and the Sin Chew Daily reporter's case in 2008?

Can't C Injustice: Hey, Arman Azha, don't lie. Who is the real coward? It was a 50-against-1 situation - so unfair. If you are as brave as you claim, then have a one-to-one debate with Namewee.

And, who is hiding behind who? You and your gang are hiding behind Umno and the police. You're the real bully and coward.

Anonymous: Wow, with the police and all the government agencies in their corner, the Perkasa goons challenge Namewee to a fight. Warriors, konon.

Li Ting Rui: Did anybody see 'warriors' in that Perkasa group? I saw many hooligans there. Warriors do not threaten the minority and the outnumbered. They protect the majority from threatening the minority. Warriors do not burn pictures of a person. Have you seen real warriors throughout history behave in this manner?

Did Mahatma Gandhi burn the photo of the Queen of England?
Lim Chong Leong: What Perkasa is doing amounts to criminal intimidation. Where is this new IGP (inspector-general of police)? What is the police doing? Why are they allowed to hold gatherings without permits? Perkasa members should be arrested for interfering with Namewee's constitutional freedom.

Audrey Teow: When you are burning pictures of someone, it obviously does not give the impression that you merely want to 'talk'.

Official: Terror plot included possible attacks in 5 European countries

(CNN) -- A potential terror plot may have involved synchronized attacks in several countries with "at least a dozen" people taking part, a law enforcement official said Wednesday.

Earlier, a German counterterrorism source said that a man captured in Afghanistan had tipped off investigators to a potential "Mumbai-style" plot in Europe.

Mumbai, the financial hub of India, was the site of a three-day terror attack two years ago that left more than 160 people dead. Ten men launched the carefully planned assault, targeting prominent sites such as the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel, the Oberoi-Trident hotels, the historic Victoria Terminus train station and a Jewish cultural center.

The intelligence gathered so far, the law enforcement official said, indicated that sites in the United Kingdom, France and Germany as well as Italy and Belgium may have been targets in the potential plot.

Investigators believe al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden signed off on a European attack plan, a separate law enforcement source said. But U.S. and international officials say they have seen no sign of an imminent attack.

U.S. officials said the alleged plot has no U.S. component -- at least none that has been found. One official stressed that the plot is serious and credible but that the intelligence available lacked specificity: no who, where or how.

Some names of "known operational planners" are possibly connected with the plot, but there is "no precise insight" into who may be planning an attack, the official said. Soft targets such as hotels and economic targets are of particular concern, but there is "no precise" intelligence on the mode of attack, said the official.

Another official said there are different threads coming from different places, and it's not clear how or even if they will come together. The European countries involved -- primarily Germany, France and Britain -- are tackling the perceived threats as they see fit, the official said.

The "threat has certainly caught our attention" and that of our allies, the official said. Although no "U.S. dimension" to the plot has been uncovered, the official said, the "U.S. is only a seven-hour plane ride away" from Europe.

The potential plot is one reason for a dramatic increase in the number of missile strikes by unmanned drones against terrorist targets in Pakistan, according to a U.S. official.

The number of suspected U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan jumped to 20 this month -- more than in any previous month and twice the monthly average, according to a CNN estimate based on information from Pakistani officials.

A federal law enforcement official in the United States, meanwhile, said "the volume seems to be turned up" on the threat information coming out of Europe.

The intelligence indicates there is interest in using people with Western passports in an attack, that official said. The official said the potential operatives may be a mix of Europeans and others, possibly including North Africans, Pakistanis, Turks, Uzbeks and Tajiks.

There is concern about an "active shooter" scenario that would create as many casualties and as much chaos as possible in a short period of time. The Mumbai attacks showed how effective this kind of an attack can be in drawing attention.

Eiffel Tower evacuated after bomb threat

Economic institutions in Europe, including banks and stock exchanges, could be possible targets, according to the federal law enforcement source.

The man who described a potential attack, Ahmed Sidiqi, was detained in Kabul, Afghanistan, in July and transferred to U.S. custody, the German official said.

Sidiqi, a German of Afghan descent, attended the same Hamburg mosque as Mohammad Atta -- a leader of the September 11 attacks on the United States -- and was part of Atta's circle, the official said.

The man in custody has "revealed details about the terror plot," said the official, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to talk to the media.

Germany's Interior Ministry said Wednesday that authorities are aware of recent published reports about planned terror attacks in Europe and are analyzing the intelligence information.

"Presently this has produced no concrete indications of directly imminent attacks in Germany. The current accounts do not lead to a change in [our] assessment of danger," the ministry said.

Janet Napolitano, the U.S. secretary of homeland security, declined to say Wednesday whether there was concrete information about a plan to attack the United States.

"There are constantly threats of all types that we need to be able to be proactive against, and be proactive even when there aren't specific threats," she told CNN's "American Morning."

Sidiqi, the man who was captured, traveled with several other Germans from Hamburg, Germany, to the Afghan-Pakistan border area in 2009, where he joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, an extremist group allied with al Qaeda, German intelligence officials said.

One he was captured, Sidiqi "started to talk a lot" and detailed a "Mumbai-style" attack in Europe, the German official said.

Sidiqi is from Hamburg, where he worked for a cleaning company at the Hamburg international airport, the German official said.

He attended the Masjid Taiba mosque, formerly known as the Al-Quds mosque, in Hamburg, which became known as the meeting place of those behind the September 11 attacks.

Hamburg shut down the mosque this year, not long after Sidiqi's capture.

U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper would not talk about a plot Tuesday evening.

"We are not going to comment on specific intelligence, as doing so threatens to undermine intelligence operations that are critical to protecting the U.S. and our allies," he said. "As we have repeatedly said, we know al Qaeda wants to attack Europe and the United States."

The German government is increasingly concerned about the number of Germans becoming jihadists. According to a senior German counterterrorism source, about 200 individuals have traveled to train with jihadist groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region since the September 11 attacks.

The potential plot against Europe is apparently one reason for the increase in attacks by unmanned aerial drones in Pakistan.

"We would be remiss not to try to take action to thwart what might be underway in Europe," the official said, though the official emphasized it was not the sole factor.

U.S. officials say they are taking advantage of what they call "precise intelligence."

Most of the drone attacks this year have been focused on North Waziristan, a mountainous area bordering Afghanistan where Pakistani security forces have little control. That has continued to be the pattern this month.

Napolitano declined to comment on the increase in drone attacks.

But acknowledging the spike, one U.S. official said: "Our operational tempo has been up for a while now, we have good information driving it, and given the stakes involved, we hope to keep the pressure on as long as we can."

According to the official, the mix of threats remains the same. It comes from groups like the Haqqani network, al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban and the Pakistan Taliban. The threats they pose are "all deadly," said the official.

Pakistani officials say many recent strikes have been aimed at compounds in or around the town of Miramshah, a stronghold of the Haqqani network.

Western intelligence officials have long regarded the Haqqanis as one of the most dangerous terror groups and have linked them to several attacks in Kabul.

Intelligence analysts point to other reasons for the escalated drone attacks.

Those include better information from sources in the border area and better surveillance technology, including the growing use of spy balloons fitted with high-powered cameras.

In addition, the rising number of drone strikes is designed to deprive the Afghan Taliban of "strategic depth," as the Obama administration's campaign to defeat the insurgency enters a crucial phase, and to tighten the noose on the senior al Qaeda leadership.

Pakistani officials say one strike last weekend killed Sheikh Mohammad Fateh al Masri, described as the group's senior operational commander.

Teach all 'racist' gov't officers a lesson: MIC Youth

Perkasa torches Namewee's poster outside KLSCAH

'Politicising race and religion may hurt economy'

(Malaysiakini) Stop politicising race and religion as it is making investors anxious, said top banker Azman Hashim.

Not mentioning names, the Ambank chairperson said that this "very Malaysian phenomenon" is seeing certain parties make decisions "not just based on...impact on the rakyat but based on political advantage."

NONE"The first question foreign investors used to ask me was 'What is the economic outlook for your country?'

"Now (they ask) 'What are the prospects of political stability and sustainability of racial and religious harmony?'

"Racial and religious insults appear particularly on the Internet...for now cool heads prevail but how long can we expect to remain cool?" he said.

azman hashimBesides the politicisation of race and religion, Azman (right) said that other critical challenges to Vision 2020 is a lack of English proficiency due to "policy reversals" and the "high cost of corruption".

The Perdana Leadership Foundation chairperson's opening speech at the foundation's CEO Forum, which attracted about 400 industry players, hits home in view of recent heated discussions over race and religions among political parties and race-based NGOs.

Feeling the heat
Recently the DAP has been under attack from Umno and Malay rights NGO Perkasa for issues pertaining to bumiputera and Islam.

DAP-Serdang parliamentarian Teo Nie Ching felt the heat over her visit to a surau in her constituency, while colleague Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua faced the music for proposing the scrapping of bumiputera discounts for luxury property.

lim guan eng slaughters cow 310810 lim guang eng nizar jamaluddinBoth have been called to give police statements on the matter this week.

In Penang, DAP secretary general and Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was slammed when a cleric mentioned his name in a sermon, and again when doctored photos of him slaughtering a cow made its rounds.

Perkasa has also been on the forefront of the race struggle, leading the Malay Consultative Council in pressuring the government against doing away with racial quotas.

Whether or not their efforts paid off is arguable but some connect this to the lengthy chapter on bumiputera affirmative action in the 10th Malaysia Plan despite bold proposals to do away with race-based quotas in the New Economic Model.

NONESpeaking on the need for meritocracy at the following forum, Maybank Investment CEO Tengku Zafrul Tengku Aziz lamented that he is forced to hire some remisiers in order to fill quotas.

Fellow panellist Khazanah executive director Nungsari Ahmad Radhi added that there is also a need for open discourse and for people to be allowed to be critical.

"In the former Czechoslovakia, people used to live dual lives, a public life and private life, so after 40 years of that you lose your humanity.

"We have lost the ability to speak to each other, except to insult each other," he said.

Perkasa declares 'war' against Namewee

Malay rights pressure group Perkasa has declared 'war' against controversial rapper and film-maker Namewee, following the launch of his debut album last night.

Its youth chief Arman Azha Abu Hanifah said members are ready to act as panglima perang dan hulubalang Melayu (Malay warriors), and are willing to tail the rapper throughout his upcoming promotional tour.

“We accept news (of his tour) with open arms. If he performs inside (a hall), we will 'perform' outside too,” he said when contacted today.

perkasa protest at chinese assembly hall 5The young performer will kick off the tour tomorrow at the private New Era College in Kajang. It is owned by Chinese education NGO Dong Zong.

About 50 Perkasa members had yesterday protested against the album outside the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall where the launch was held.

They held up Perkasa banners and a Malaysian flag, while burning posters of Namawee.

The group has urged the rapper to apologise to Malaysians for “disrupting racial harmony”.

Namewee, whose real name is Wee Meng Chee, however said this is not the issue as his intention is to “address racism”.
He also said he is not afraid of Perkasa and believes that the police will protect him.

HoweverNONE, Arman Azha (left) described Namewee as a “coward” who has not owned up to what he has done.

“If he was so brave why didn't he step out yesterday?...If he is trying to act like a Tionghua (Chinese) hero, then why did he not have the guts to face Malay warriors last night? We only wanted to talk,” he claimed.

He added that Wee could only hide behind his Youtube account previously, and that he hopes to hide now behind the police and the electronic media.

“(The video) has disrupted racial harmony. Who made the video? He made a mistake, so why hide behind the police?” he asked.

A serious breach of Constitutional, Legal ,Statutory and International Treaty obligations on the part of National Registration Department denying I.C, B.C & Red I.C to Indian poor.

On the 26th of September we took in a group of 40 or so stateless but hopeful people – children and adults to the JPN office in Bukit Mertajam for resolving their problem of statelessness. At the end of the day, JPN accepted 13 applications for the BCs and the ICs with some of the applications deferred, rejected or redirected to other JPN centers. In that sense we did not manage to meet our objectives completely.

Of particular concern is the way the decisions are being made, on the acceptance of the application by the JPN.

There was one family of six children – the family of Maruthai and Punidadevi whose applications were not accepted by the JPN officers on that day. We had to put in a huge amount of work just to put the applications thogther. The reasons given for non acceptance was that photographs of two of their children who were not present that day, and who do have their birth certificates were not produced and that the application could not be sponsored jointly by Maruthai and Punidadevi and that an additional witness was required beyond the Hospital attestation of their birth and sponsorship of the mother and the step mother.

These additional requirements which were the basis for the non-acceptance are superfluous to the only requirement in the Malaysian Federal Constitution as in Article 14 (excerpted and reproduced below) and in that sense the rejection of the applications for their Birth certificates is unconstitutional and is a wilful denial of a fundamental right to a citizen by the Government of Malaysia .

Article 14 of the federal constitution states:
Citizenship by operation of law
[Article 14(1)(b)]
1. Subject to the provisions of Part III of this Constitution, the following persons born on or after Malaysia Day are citizens by operation of law, that is to say:
(a) every person born within the Federation of whose parents one at least
is at time of the birth either a citizen or permanently resident in the
Federation; and
The basis for the non-acceptance of the application and continuing denial of statehood are also in contravention of the Registration Of Births And Deaths (Special Provisions) Act 1975 subsections 5 and 6 (excerpted and produced below). The requirement for a qualified person is fully met by the attestation of the Government General Hospital, the production of “Tiada Rekod” status in the search form LM14 and the production of an additional witness in the form of the stepmother in LM 27.
Persons qualified to give information:
Subsection 5. (1) The following persons shall be qualified to give information
concerning a birth, that is to say:
(a) father of the child;
(b) mother of the child;
(c) the occupier of the house in which the child was, to the
knowledge of the occupier, born;
(d) any person present at the birth;
(e) any person having charge of the child; and
the birth.

Subsection 6. (1) A Registrar shall record such particulars as may be prescribed
in a report book in the prescribed form concerning any birth or
death given to him by any person qualified to do so.

(2) A Registrar may before recording the birth or death, put
questions to the informant to satisfy himself of the occurrence of
the birth or death, that the informant is qualified to give the
information and that the birth was to or the death was that of a
citizen of Malaysia.
Further, this act is also in contravention of the provisions in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989 of which Malaysia is a signatory and has International obligations to comply, from 1995.
Article 8 of the convention states
1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference.
2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.
Article 4 of the convention states:
States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention.
Malaysia, as a signatory to this convention is obliged by International Treaty to implement the rights set out in the convention.

This act of not accepting the applications of these children for speedily remedial measures is in direct contravention of the universally accepted rights of a child as set out in this UN Convention on the Rights of Children.

When seen altogether this is a serious breach of Constitutional, Legal ,Statutory and International Treaty obligations on the part of JPN and require that immediate steps be taken by JPN to rectify these unlawful requirements.

On the contrary any Government that had the intent to eliminate this problem will get off from the mind set that the children are all being smuggled in from somewhere else – maybe they think, India and registrations being sought stealthily for them. The way the requirements are structured and the way the JPN staff go about it, that is our perception.

If the Government truly had the intent, its officers at the counters would project a different more accommodating and supportive behaviour. But, in many cases, it just feels like the officers at the counters want to reject the applications of these poor Indian applicants rather than to help establish the bona fide of their application and resolve the problem on hand. Simple examples, like photo not of the right size, photocopying should be done on one side not two, change of forms after filling out one set, and for so many other silly reasons, these officers at the counter just turn these poor people away. This is not just at the JPN counters but also at the General Hospital counters when they are approached for attestation fo births – all kinds of silly reasons are given to deny, to delay, to abdicate.

To surmise all this, it looks like from the top to the bottom, there is just no will to accept the Indian poor as unfortunate victims of the system who need to be helped out. Judging from the grudging support we get all along the way, it looks like there seems to be an invisible policy to actually deny these people their rightful places in the country. If this were not the case, then why all the footdragging on so many suggestions we have given for an improvement to the system.

If the Government is serious about resolving this problem, then it is time for them to come out with a bold program to eliminate this problem once and for all.

Report Was For Cheating, Not For Missing Person - Deputy IGP

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 (Bernama) -- Police have not receive any report on the disappearance of Indian businessman Allal Kanthan Muthuraja, who was said to have gone missing early this year, Deputy Inspector General of Police Datuk Hussin Ismail said.

He said police only received a report about a cheating case "to free" the businessman, who was from Chennai, on March 29.

 sosilawati murder

"We can confirm that we received a report on March 29 at the Klang police station from the victim's elder brother, Dr Kasi Viswanathan, claiming that 'Bukit Aman police' had asked for a sum of money purportedly to free the businessman.

"So at that time, we investigated the case as cheating. Police then investigated the case as missing person when the businessman's wife S. Usharani made a police report on Sept 8," he told a news conference at the Bukit Aman police headquarters, here.

Hussin said it was not true that police did not act accordingly in investigating the disappearance of the 34-year-old businessman as claimed by the victim's family.

"I can confirm that our men had tried to trace Allal's whereabouts but were unsuccessful. When we received the report on Sept 8, we went deeper into the case and probed into its connection with the investigations into the murder of Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others," he said.

He also urged the victim's family to allow police to investigate the case in details and only obtain updates on the case from credible sources.

"To prevent the sourcing out of information to individuals or other parties, we have appointed an officer to channel all available information to the family," he said.

He added that police had arrested two men in connection with the case, one in Taman Wilayah, Selayang and the other in Kampung Laksamana, Batu Caves, in the past 10 days.

Meanwhile, on the police report lodged by the suspect in the murder of the cosmetics queen and three others, claiming police brutality, Hussin said investigations were ongoing and that the suspect had been sent for medical examination.


 sosilawati murder
 makkal osai
 sosilawati murder

Dr M says more money will end race problems

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 29 – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has told the government to ensure growth and wealth as a means to keep race relations problems at bay, returning to the formula he had used during his administration.

Malaysia is facing uncertain economic prospects with average GDP growth in the next five years projected to be just shy of the six per cent target Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had set.

“If we have a prosperous country, the stress on race will be less,” said Dr Mahathir (picture) in his closing speech at the CEO Forum organised by the Perdana Leadership Foundation today.

“When we thought of it (Bangsa Malaysia)... we thought when there’s prosperity, people would forget their racial origins,” he added.

Bangsa Malaysia was formulated by then-prime minister Dr Mahathir to achieve national unity under Vision 2020 which he unveiled in 1991.

Dr Mahathir, however, said today that his brainchild was likely to fail if the government continues to rely on foreign direct investment (FDI) to drive economic growth.

The former premier noted that the Barisan Nasional (BN) managed to secure a two-thirds majority in the 1999 general election - despite his misgivings - due to support from the business community who had enjoyed healthy finances at that time.

“In 1999, when BN went to the polls, we thought that we would not do so well. In 1999, somebody's black eye became a tremendous issue,” said Dr Mahathir in a thinly-veiled reference to his former deputy, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

At the height of the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, and after falling out with Dr Mahathir, Anwar was arrested and severely beaten by then Inspector General of Police Rahim Noor who gave him a black eye.

“We still got a two-thirds majority in 1999 because the business community was having a good time,” said Dr Mahathir.

The country’s fourth prime minister stressed that greater wealth would enhance the country’s stability and ease growth efforts.

“If you are able to prosper the country, the country will be much more stable. Growth will be much easier,” he said.

There has been a sharp increase in racially-tinged incidents over the past few months, such as the incident of two school principals accused of uttering racial slurs, the furore surrounding a Chinese MP's visit to a surau, and a National Civics Bureau (BTN) senior official who allegedly referred to the Chinese and Indian communities as “si mata sepet” and “si botol” at a closed-door Puteri Umno function on Monday.

The Cabinet ordered Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Sidek Hassan today to probe Federal Territory BTN Deputy Director Hamim Husin's remarks following an uproar across parties on both sides of the political divide.

Dr Mahathir also pointed out today that perceptions of the current government as being weak would affect the nation's stability, contrasting it to his administration when BN used to stride to elections with confidence.

“The strength of the government is not like before. When we went to the polls, we asked for two-thirds majority. We looked very strong,” said Dr Mahathir.

“Now, they perceive the government to be weak. When you are weak, people will take advantage of you. The country will be slightly unstable,” he added.

The BN lost their customary two-thirds majority Election 2008, which saw the loose opposition pact of DAP, PAS and PKR – now known as Pakatan Rakyat – capture five out of 13 states.

The elder statesman also noted that although the country's growth figures appeared to be healthy, businessmen had told him that they did not experience the effects of an expanding economy.

“The figures are good, but they don’t feel it,” said Dr Mahathir.

The country’s economy grew 9.5 per cent in the first half of the year and the Najib administration believe that Malaysia can exceed its 6 per cent growth target for 2010.

Dr M: Vision 2020 may not be achievable

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today,

KUALA LUMPUR: The architect of Vision 2020 Mahathir Mohamad has again cast doubts on whether the goal of this grand plan – to transform Malaysia into a fully developed nation – is achievable.

The former prime minister thinks the goal is unattainable if the nation continues to focus on foreign direct investments (FDI).
"My fear is that Vision 2020 is not achievable; maybe a little later, but not in 2020. It will not be achieved if we continue to solicit FDI,” he said here today, reaffirming a position he has been holding these recent months.

He said Malaysia should restructure and adopt a different strategy, specifically focusing on domestic direct investments.

"Vision 2020 is good. We should not have a different vision. At the moment, we are still talking about FDI. We go to other countries and talk about FDI but countries like South Korea and Japan did not depend on FDI and yet they grew faster than us," he told delegates at a forum organised by the Perdana Leadership Foundation to discuss the goals of Vision 2020.

He said the South Korea and Japan had acquired knowledge from abroad, set up their own companies and got their own companies to employ the strategies and technologies to build up their industries.

"We are used to FDI for a very long time. Before FDI became known to the world, we already had foreign investors coming here. We succeeded and this attracted foreign workers. We continued with this policy because we became addicted to it. We continued wanting FDI, and most (investors) came here because of the low-cost labour. We did well until other countries started it, " he said.

"Today, we are not getting much. I have some ideas but unfortunately I stepped down. I only have myself to blame," he said.

Bangsa Malaysia

Mahathir said Malaysia probably needed more time and would need growth from within, adding: "If investors are local, they will be able to keep the money local; if foreign, they will want to remit profits to their own countries and that won’t help us to grow."

He said Malaysia has a lot of potential for growth and with incentives, many local players could turn world class.

Mahathir said one of the problems was that Malaysians detested local products.

"Try to produce something innovative, original and Malaysian, and people just won’t buy. For instance, there was a Malaysian company producing local products; the products didn't sell well but when they were taken to Europe, and sold at a higher price, the products suddenly became acceptable because they are foreign," said Mahathir.

He also said the creation of Bangsa Malaysia or the Malaysian race, part of the nine objectives of Vision 2020, would take take a longer time to achieve.

"The creation of Bangsa Malaysia is a tricky thing. At the moment, people are arguing on a very racial basis. That includes me. I think to create a real Bangsa Malaysia will take a longer time."

May the ‘Chi’ be with you!

The Write Way by Tiberius Kerk

(BOOK REVIEW The Power of Chi by Geoff Pike) There are many paths to good health and longevity. Early to bed, early to rise just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Many have consumed and continuing to digest bottles of vitamin supplements to boost their own health. Others head straight for the gym after work. Then there are those “Do-It-Yourself” practitioners who work out within the confines of their own homes.

On a faraway corner, there are a select few who choose to follow the chi kung or qigong way. About two decades ago, an Australian named Geoff Pike became fascinated with the traditional Chinese art of attaining good health.

He journeyed to Hong Kong to seek the “holy grail” but it wasn’t what he had imagined. It turned out to be some seemingly simple exercises that he could have very well pick up back home.

Apparently, there was more to breathing than he ever thought possible. And there was no need for pumping iron.

Anyway, his curiosity was piqued and his motivation was heightened. Gradually the ways of the ancient art form were slowly unveiled before him. Pike took to chi kung like a duck to water.

The Power of Chi has one big advantage. It is written by a white man for English-speaking people. Thus, it is clear in its message and the illustrations are illuminating and unambiguous.

There are hundreds of books on “chi” written in Mandarin by Chinese chi kung experts but those who can’t read Mandarin won’t be able to comprehend these texts.

Ancient secrets

Naturally when someone like Pike comes along and writes a book on chi kung, the ancient secrets of healthy living breach the language barrier.

Today, there are many books on chi kung but Pike’s Power of Chi which was published in 1982 is one of the best in the market because of its simplicity in presentation and lucidity in explanation.

For Pike, his life journey inadvertently careened into a less travelled path when at the age of 48, he was diagnosed with throat cancer. Middle-aged and stumbling on the highway of poor health, Pike
chose to embark on the path of Oriental medicine.

He had been keenly interested in martial arts for many years and his quest to seek a cure for himself led him to Hong Kong. In the former British colony, he studied under a chi kung master and learnt
the healing power of chi.

As his knowledge of chi kung widened and deepened, his illness retreated through physical and breathing exercises. Eventually, the disease that plagued him dissipated and vanished.

With his newly acquired knowledge of an ancient health system, Pike plunged into the world of chi kung.

The Power of Chi is his way of returning the gift of life to others, one which that he had received at a crucial crossroads of his life.

Personal commitment

Anybody who has a basic understanding of the English language will appreciate this book.

It teaches those who desire to have deeper understanding of chi kung exercises that are vital in achieving good health and a fair measure of longevity.

Pike makes it easy for anyone to learn chi kung. There are no expensive machines to buy nor are there any formal classes to attend.

All that is required is determination and a personal commitment to improve one’s own health.

With patience and perseverance, your immunity to common cold can improve and the youthful vitality that has been missing from your life may return.

The Power of Chi helps smoothen your passage through middle-age years and puts the chi kung practitioner squarely on the road to general well being and mental alertness.

The simple exercises recommended are not complicated or even painfully strenuous. They involve some bodily movements that are deceptively simple and yet reap rewards when applied correctly.

Even those who are already familiar with Tai Chi and other wushu arts can benefit from Pike’s knowledge. Energy meridians, though not explained thoroughly in the book, will provide adequate information to readers that our body is indeed a highway of chi channels.

When these channels of energy are opened and widened, our life force will be strong and steady, thereby ensuring a life free of illnesses and other physical inconveniences.

Pike’s style of writing is both entertaining and educational. He has a way of expressing himself that holds the reader’s attention.

Before he became a master of chi kung, he was both an artist and a writer. For about 30 years, Pike was a creative director who had worked with numerous leading advertising agencies which won a string of awards.

Besides The Power of Chi, Pike has added three more titles to his series on chi kung. However, The Power of Chi gained him global recognition as a major player in the ancient Chinese healing art.

If you have to read your first book on chi kung, begin with this one. It will open your eyes wide on the merits of chi kung that have benefited millions all over the world.

Guilty in a court of press

By S Rutra - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: When news of their arrests broke, the media had painted the town red with extensive coverage and photographs of the suspects, especially of the alleged mastermind.

The prominent lawyer, his brother and six others were detained for the murders of millionaires Sosilawati Lawiya and three others. Their bodies were torched and the ashes and bones strewn into a river in Banting.

The police claimed that the brothers could be responsible for a spate of murders, including that of a well-heeled Indian national.

However, they had yet to charge them.

FMT spoke to senior lawyer Jagjit Singh regarding the case, and the latter cautioned the prosecution and the trial judge not to succumb to public pressure.

Jagjit was the lead counsel in several high-profile cases, including the murder trial involving notorious criminal Wong Swee Chin, better known as “Botak Chin”, in the mid-1970s.

He was also involved in the murder trial of Mokhtar Hashim and the more recent case of abused Indonesian maid Nirmala Bonat.

According to Jagjit, the Banting murder case was similar to the cases of Botak Chin and the other two in terms of extensive media coverage.

In view of this, the senior lawyer said the case must not become a trial by media, and the suspects must be accorded a fair hearing.

"The media is heavily prejudiced against the suspects, who until now are unable to give their side of the story. This can be done if investigators and the prosecution work closely in ensuring a fair trial.

“Judges are also humans, they read the papers, they may discuss with their friends or wife and will not forget what they read in the papers. In particular, if the trial judge is not experienced enough.

"They should not succumb to public and media preasure, and ensure justice for the families of the victims, as well as of the suspects,” he added.

'Solid evidence', you say?

The practising lawyer of 35 years also questioned the need to bring the suspects to various crime scenes, when some senior police officers had claimed that there was “solid evidence”.

"Why bring them from one location to another if solid evidence has been obtained?" he asked, adding that the police should not allow the public or media access to these crime scenes until investigations were completed in order not to compromise evidence which could pose problems for DNA analysis.

"Just because you discover a bat and a knife you come out with such statements? How will you know without a chemist and DNA analysis that it is connected to the crime?" he asked.

Senior counsel Akbardin Abdul Kader agreed with Jagjit, saying the discovery of a murder weapon itself had no value.

“You must show some connectivity, there must be some form of nexus between the exhibit and the accused," he told FMT.

"No doubt, the police will say the accused led them to discover the exibit, but the court always ensures that there is some form of independent evidence to connect the accused to the exhibit," he added.

Akbardin said the prosecution should not rush to charge the suspects without all the relevant chemistry and DNA reports.

Any holes in the reports would be strongly challenged by the defence team, he noted.

According to Jagjit, the prosecution would rely on these main points – direct evidence, circumstantial evidence or indirect evidence as well as a crown witness, an accomplice to the said crime.

This accomplice, known as “participis criminis”, would have full knowledge of what happened and the prosecution could use him to ensure that the perpetrators were convicted.

"However, the risk here is that his evidence would not be accepted if the testimony is not collaborated or if the witness turns hostile or his credibility impeached.

"Generally in my experience, a crown witness will toe the line, for he knows that they can be charged together with the other suspects with abetment,” he said.

Zaid, Badrul Hisham lead the pack in Negri Seremban

By Zefry Dahalan - Free Malaysia Today,

SEREMBAN: After two weeks of polling in eight PKR divisions, deputy president contender Zaid Ibrahim emerged the leader having secured three nominations to two for Azmin Ali, the other contestant.

For the national Youth chief post, Badrul Hisham Shaharin, a Youth executive council member, led the pack as his closest challenger Mohd Rafizi Ramli was unable to secure a single nomination.

Badrul Hashim was also returned unopposed as Rembau division chief while his deputy Yusof Tapar also won uncontested.

Meanwhile, Rembau nominated Anwar Ibrahim for president and Zaid for the number two slot. For vice-president, the division nominated Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan MP), N Gobalakrishnan (Padang Serai MP), Dr Lee Boon Chai (Gopeng MP) and Samsul Iskandar Mat Akin (Malacca PKR chief).

In Teluk Kemang, giant killer M Ravi (Port Dickson state assemblyman) became its new chief after he trounced Teluk Kemang MP and state PKR chief, Kamarul Baharin Abbas, with a thumping majority. His teammate Rusli Abdullah won the deputy chief post.

Teluk Kemang also nominated Anwar for president and Zaid for the second spot. For vice-president, the division picked Fuziah, Gobalakrishnan, Lee and Nurul Izzah Anwar (Lembah Pantai MP).

In Tampin, Baharuddin Arif Siri was elected the new chief while Hassim Othman took the deputy post.

Tampin also nominated Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for president and Zaid for the number two post. Fuziah, Gobalakrishnan, Samsul Iskandar and Chua Jui Meng (Johor PKR Chief) were proposed for vice-president.

Felda leader
The man who led the 766 settlers from Felda Serting and Felda Raja Alias schemes to sue Felda at the Seremban High Court in August, Karip Mohd Salleh, was returned unopposed as Jempol chief. His deputy is Sharifudin Musin.

Jempol put forward Wan Azizah and Azmin for the posts of president and deputy president respectively. Fuziah, Samsul Iskandar, R Sivarasa (Subang MP) and Dr Mansor Othman were recommended for vice-president.

Over at Jelebu, Syed Hussain Syed Idros won the chief post uncontested. His deputy is Tang Jay Son.

Jelebu too nominated both Wan Azizah and Azmin respectively for the two top posts in the party. For the vice-presidential slot, Fuziah, Samsul Iskandar, Boon Chai and Mustaffa Kamil Ayub (Perak PKR chief) were picked.

Nordin Ismail was returned unopposed as Kuala Pilah chief and his deputy is Azman Hashim. The division also nominated Anwar and Wan Azizah for president and deputy president. Azmin was picked for vice-president together with Fuziah, Samsul Iskandar and Mustaffa Kamil.

In Seremban, Dr Ahmad Azam Hamzah became its chief while Mohamad Rafaie Abdul Malek was elected his deputy. Wan Azizah was nominated for president and Mustaffa Kamil for deputy president. Fuziah, Samsul Iskandar, Tian Chua (Batu MP) and Yahya Sahri were proposed for vice-president.

Meanwhile, FMT was unable to obtain infomation for the Rasah division election. State PKR office-bearers were also unable to provide the nomination list.

In the race for the PKR national Youth chief post, Badrul Hisham, or popularly known as Chegu Bard, picked up five nominations from Negri Sembilan -- Teluk Kemang, Tampin, Jelebu, Seremban and Rembau.

This development was contrary to what Negri Sembilan Youth chief Rebin Birham said two weeks ago when he told a press conference that all the divisions in the state supported Samsul Iskandar for Youth chief post, with only Rembau rooting for Chegu Bard.

Later, state Youth deputy chief Norazizi Abdul Aziz said only Jempol Youth backed Samsul Iskandar, which turned out to be correct. Jempol nominated him for the Youth chief post although he had announced that he was going for the vice-presidential slot.

Meanwhile, Kuala Pilah nominated Hasmi Hashim for the Youth chief post.

Some silver lining in the cloud of chaos

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today,

PETALING JAYA: The PKR elections, which have been besieged by “teething problems”, came in for a lot of flak from various quarters.

While its independent elections committee chief Dr Molly Cheah acknowledged there are problems, she also reminded that hiccups are to be expected in a process that is a historical first for a political party in Malaysia.

Political observers have also offered a mixed bag of solutions that could prevent the recurrence of similar issues in the next few weeks.

Bridget Welsh, an associate professor in political science at Singapore Management University, zeroed in on the vague conflict mechanism procedure.

“The election committee seems to suggest that there is a procedure for lodging complaints but people are not clear of its exact nature,” she said. “The committee must do more to inform both members and the public of this procedure so that they know how complaints are being lodged and handled.”

As of the end of last week, Cheah said the committee had received 135 complaints and objections. However, she declined to disclose the nature and status of the complaints, saying that investigations would take time.

Dr Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia has pinpointed this lack of transparency as yet another aspect that the committee needs to rectify. He also questioned the extent of the election committee's independent role.

“There is no clear separation of power between the committee and party leaders,” he said. “The election committee claims it has been given full authority over the election process but this is not being seen.”

Extra effort

Sivamurugan added that he had heard talk that those selected by the committee to monitor the polling centres had been involved in vote rigging.

“This doesn't bode well for the committee or the party,” he warned. “The election committee has to make an extra effort to show that it is adhering to its own rules and regulations by monitoring the casting of votes even more closely than it is now.”

James Chin of Monash University, however, has dismissed the idea of a fully independent election committee on the basis that the very nature of politics is never 100% transparent, free and fair.

“So what we're looking for is the highest level of (being) free and fair,” he said. “ And in the Malaysian context, achieving just 70% of that is commendable. It is too late for any quick-fixes right now. The only thing PKR can do is conduct a re-run in divisions where voting was suspended and aim for legitimate results.”

Dr Lim Teck Ghee, director of the Centre for Policy Initiatives, recommended that another briefing be held for key officials engaged in the election process.

“This is a surefire way to ensure that they are fully acquainted with all the rules and procedures and do not screw up,” he said. “Provide them with examples of ambiguities, conflict situations and discrepancies as well as guidelines on how to resolve them. There is time for damage control but only if the party leadership is pro-active and do not sit on their behinds.”

Lack of substance

Political analyst Wong Chin Huat offered a different point of view by drawing attention to the lack of substance in the contestants' campaigns.

“An election is not about the intensity of the fight but what the contestants are fighting for,” he pointed out. “And up to now we haven't seen a real debate on policies. All the contestants are focusing only on their personalities as a differentiating factor instead of their vision for the party and country's future.”

“If Pakatan Rakyat wins the next general election, PKR will be the leading party and its number two is likely to be deputy prime minister,” he added. “Have we seen that calibre among its current leadership hopefuls? I don't think so. Contestants need to stop talking about their ability of building rapport or their stream of good ideas because you can't run a Cabinet on that alone.”

However, there is still a silver lining to the cloud of chaos and neither Chin nor Welsh has lost sight of it. Chin assured that no matter what the outcome of the elections, it would undoubtedly strengthen PKR.

“This is the first time that its leadership has a chance to test its support among party members since 2008,” he noted. “And it is also a clear demonstration of the party's commitment to democracy to its members.”

Welsh, on the other hand, said that calling the elections “a mess” would be losing perspective of the big picture as only seven of the 159 divisions have faced “real trouble”.

“You have to recognise the strengths,” she said. “It's the first time that such a large number of people were allowed to vote in a party election and it's bound to be a logistical nightmare.”

“This is a difficult ballot. PKR is party that has been institutionalised very quickly and it doesn't have the same kind of machinery that other parties do. The level of check and balances is still evolving. The question is whether there have been any fundamental injustices committed during this process and right now it's too early to say that there have been.”

Proof that the MACC is a component member of Barisan Nasional

The MACC was not set up to combat corruption. Just like the PDRM, SPR, AGC, and others, the MACC has proven to be just another component member of Barisan Nasional. Two years ago, Lim Soo Nee made a report that he was offered a bribe of RM5 million to jump ship. This is the MACC Early Investigation Report on the matter. The case, however, was finally marked NFA.

Raja Petra Kamarudin


Perkasa claims overreaction to BTN man’s racist words

GOMBAK, Sept 29 – Malay rights group Perkasa defended today the racist remarks made by a National Civics Bureau (BTN) official recently, claiming that the issue was being blown out of proportion.

Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said that unfair assumptions were being leveled against BTN deputy director Hamim Husain before investigations had even taken place.

“Things are being blown out of proportion, little things are being made into a big issue. We do not know whether the allegations against this person is true or not,” Ibrahim (picture) told reporters today.

Hamim had on Monday, during a closed door Puteri Umno function, referred to the Chinese and Indian community as “Si Mata Sepet” and “Si Botol” respectively when asking Puteri Umno members to approach the non-Malays for votes.

“The ‘si mata sepet’ that has never gone to a mosque or surau only has one vote. The ‘si botol’ that only knows how to go up to Batu Caves up and down only has one vote,” Hamim told the closed-door gathering, as reported in The Malaysian Insider.

The Cabinet, disappointed with Hamim’s remarks, has instructed the Chief Secretary to investigate the BTN official.

“We do not know whether the allegations are correct. If we do not know the facts, we cannot point fingers,” said Ibrahim.

The outspoken Pasir Mas MP argued that no action had been taken against rapper Wee Meng Chee for producing a “racist” video clip.

“Namewee makes a video clip which is so controversial, yet no action is taken against him yet,” said Ibrahim.

The DAP and MCA had yesterday demanded that Hamim be immediately punished.

DAP has pushed for an immediate dissolvement of the BTN courses while MCA wants it to be overhauled.

The BTN, a state agency charged with running courses on patriotism for civil servants and undergraduates, came under fire last year for promoting racism.

The Najib administration had promised a revamp of BTN’s courses following a widespread public outcry.

PKR is making a mockery of democracy, says academic

(The Star) - PKR will lose its moral and political legitimacy if it continues to allow unhealthy practices in the party, said an academic.

Universiti Sains Malaysia School of Social Science deputy dean Dr P. Sivamurugan said the party would only be making a mockery of democratic practices if it continues to ignore complaints of underhand tactics used to ensure the victory of certain personalities.

“It will affect the party’s credibility in the future if complaints of phantom voters, vote-rigging and other discrepancies in the voting process are not addressed,’’ he said.

Dr Sivamurugan said this in response to reports of vandalism, assault and procedural defects that marred PKR division elections.

“The party should take responsibility and address the issues instead of blaming others for its mistakes.

“It should not take the easy way out by alleging that others are out to sabotage it.

“People are watching developments in PKR and other Pakatan Rakyat component parties.

“If they cannot even handle their own divisions, how do they expect people to trust them to run the country?’’ he asked.

Dr Sivamurugan also said manpower shortage should not be an excuse for not being able to run a clean, free and fair election.

He said it was unhealthy of leaders to continue attacking deputy vice-president candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

“What are they afraid of? They should leave it to the members to decide,’’ he said.

Dr Sivamurugan also said reports of physical assaults during party elections reflected very badly on PKR.

Schoolboy Vujenthiran, 13, sustained a muscle tear when he tried to rescue his father S. Kottapan who was attacked by a group of men during the Kota Raja division election on Sunday.

Kottapan, who was vying for the division chief’s post, was attacked when he protested against the ticking of ballot papers on behalf of elderly voters.

Hari Malaysia at Rumah Anak Bangsa Malaysia

“September 16. Hari Malaysia. The day also marks Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia’s first year as we do our bit in sharing with our fellow citizens that there is such a thing as participation in democracy. It was a year with meaning. We mark the evening with a gathering at the Rumah Anak Bangsa Malaysia” – straits mongrel.
More of his thoughts at the SABM Website.

Why Islam And Democracy Are Destined to Coincide

Keynote address by Anwar Ibrahim, Parliamentary Opposition Leader of Malaysia at Brussels, 28th September, 2010

First and foremost, there is essentially no problem in terms of compatibility, not a foundational problem at least that would make it impossible for a country with a majority of Muslims to be governed according to the requirements of a constitutional democracy. In other words, the notion of Islam being diametrically opposed to democracy and its principles is a fallacy.

Islam enjoins the faithful to uphold equality, justice, and human dignity. If violence and terror are being spread by Muslims in the name of Islam then it is an aberration reflective of such people and the focus should rightly be on the underlying causes of such actions, not Islam. Blaming Islam won’t solve the problem as long as the underlying causes are not addressed and resolved.

But detractors say that Islam not only condones but urges the faithful to commit acts of violence in the name of jihad. This is nonsense. But they cite chapter and verse to support this view. Yes, but it is only by extreme distorting of the textual interpretation. On the contrary, the truth is that Islam prohibits violence and terror by virtue of the principles of moderation and the protection of life, limb and property.

This is subsumed under the doctrine of the maqasid al-Shari’ah, a most crucial and significant tool for the progress of Muslim societies, a tool which unfortunately has been much ignored. By virtue of this doctrine for example, jihad is a call to the faithful to fulfill the tenets of the religion by doing good and averting evil, establishing justice, promoting charity and helping the weak and the marginalized. It is not a battle cry for war, let alone one to justify mayhem and murder. Above all, jihad enjoins Muslims to maintain peace and harmony and safeguard the sanctity of life and property. These are ideals completely in consonance with the dictates of democracy.

But what about this incarceration/liberation dichotomy? The answer lies in debunking the school of ideological rigidity which is largely responsible for making the religion very rigid and exclusive. The fact is that Islam is amenable to adapting to modern times with its defining feature being its inclusive nature. Empirically, we know that Islam in Southeast Asia is a case in point. So is Turkey though the same may not be said about the Islam of the Middle East but that ought to be seen in the context of the geopolitical situation there.

The modernity of Islam in Southeast Asia is reflected for instance in the adoption of the principles of freedom and democracy for the establishment of an independent state. In this regard, the region’s transition to democracy debunks the notion of incompatibility between Islam and democracy.

As for equating Islam with intolerance and violence, that again finds no basis in reality. Muslim rule for centuries in Spain remains in the history books as clear testimony to the tolerance and spirit of convivencia among Muslims, Christians and Jews. In Southeast Asia, traders and Sufis spread the religion through their accommodative style of proselytizing which attracted adherents who have also kept some significant aspects of their pre-Islamic cultures. This explains why multi-cultural and multi-religious societies evolved in Muslim majority countries.

Today, those who call for violence and terror in the name of jihad can find little traction for their brand of Islam. A case in point is Indonesia two elections back when the people overwhelmingly rejected the radicals who rode on the jihad ticket. This is significant in debunking the notion that democracy in a Muslim majority nation can be easily hijacked by extremists and radicals.

Turkey is a fine example of what a Muslim nation can achieve if its leaders remain steadfast in observing the basic tenets of Islamic statecraft: modernist, moderate, progressive and tolerant with justice and the rule of law as a motto for governance. The recent referendum of the Turkish people in favor of fundamental constitutional changes to further strengthen democracy speaks volumes. In this regard, Turkey’s leaders stand in sharp contrast to the autocrats and dictators in some other Muslim countries who continue to deny the people democracy by raising the hijacking by extremists’ spectre.

The question arises as to whether there has been any real progress in political reform in the Muslim world apart from Turkey and Indonesia? Isn’t it true that certain states continue to be under one-man or one-party rule despite the trappings of reform? And even though certain states appear to moving on the path to real democracy, the rhetoric often exceeds the reality. There must therefore be greater resolve for Muslim countries to embrace constitutional democracy and translate that into reality: hold free and fair elections, ensure the separation of powers and guarantee fundamental civil liberties including allowing the full participation of women in political life. Vindictive prosecutions, arbitrary arrests, and the use of the state apparatus to silence political dissent must be a thing of the past. Unless and until such reforms are in place, the convergence of Islam and democracy will only be a mirage.
As for the process of democratization itself, there is the troubling question of the real intention of certain Western powers. You cannot turn a blind eye to blatant human rights violations in some countries and condemn these practices in others. You cannot say to one country, give us your support in this current war we’re waging, and we won’t interfere in your administration. The “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” diplomacy may be good realpolitik but it is a betrayal of the cause of democracy and freedom.

Unfortunately, however, it is partly because of this hypocritical approach to democratization that we still see many Muslim societies languishing under sham democracies. These are governments with the trappings of democracy but are in fact masquerades perpetuating injustice, human rights abuses and corruption. These ‘democracies’ employ the entire state apparatus and exploit the people’s hard earned money to promote their personal and vested interests. They plunder the state coffers, parcel out vast tracts of prime commercial land to relatives and cronies, and expropriate millions of hectares of virgin forests transforming them into wasteland.

So, the truth is that the assault on freedom and democracy is not from Islam, though the bulk of the perpetrators are Muslims. Indonesia and Turkey have demonstrated that democracy is not only acceptable but essential to Islam and that the enemy of Islam is not democracy but injustice, corruption, tyranny and greed. Indeed, freedom and democracy is part and parcel of the self-evident truths that would set mankind apart from the rest of God’s creatures.

The real issue is not whether Islam and democracy are destined to coincide but whether those in power in Muslim majority countries will uphold freedom and democracy, respect the rule of law and fulfil their duties to the people. If that doesn’t happen then it is incumbent on us to make it happen. And that is a cause worth fighting for.

Thank you.

No place for religious bigotry

by Thomas Lee
My Sinchew

The Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) should be commended for taking a firm stand against a so-called Christian preacher for attacking and insulting Islam in a series of videos posted on YouTube.

Certainly, there is no place for such a bigoted hostile attitude toward those of another faith from one’s own in our plural nation, with its multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-cultural and multi-lingual population.

As a Christian myself, I am very ashamed and disgusted with such intolerance, and the fanatical and uncompromising pursuit and propaganda of the Christian faith by the immature and uncouth preacher, who has brought shame to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The CCM is right in clarifying that the so-called preacher had acted in his individual capacity representing his own views, but it is incorrect to say that there is an “official view of the churches in Malaysia”, as there is none, although generally the Christian community abhors and loathes such destructive religious zealotry.

The assault on the people of another faith is not in the teaching of the Lord Jesus. Such bigotry is judging and degrading the human persons created by God in his own image on the basis of preconceived and bias opinions, and that is evil. It is definitely wrong, even sinful, when we participate in thoughts and actions that are based on pre-judging and condemning people of other faiths.

Obviously, we have our own doctrinal and theological understanding of our faith, and would certainly want to propagate and share it with others, simply because if we know it to be the truth, we cannot keep it to ourselves, particularly when we sincerely and firmly believe it to be a matter of eternal destiny.

But using insensitive and confrontational militant tactics in evangelism is not the teaching of the Bible. What we should be doing is to share the truth in love, not to run down others. Like what the Apostle Paul said, we should be all things to all persons, that is, to be accommodating and acceptable in our approaches and methods, without compromising our own beliefs.

Some of the most shameful episodes in the history of the Christian Church are the results of mistaken theological thinking and misguided zealotry, the result of the lack of understanding of the faith and the misinterpretation of the Bible.

For example, it was the misinterpretation of the Bible and theological prejudices that caused the white settlers of America to hate the so-called uncivilized and illiterate natives, calling them savages, robbing them of their land, and exploiting them as slaves or cheap labour.

It was the same religious prejudice that was used to justify the stealing of human persons from their homes and families in Africa and sent them to America as slaves. Human trafficking is the invention of the white Christians!

The previous South African policy of segregation and discrimination on grounds of race, notoriously known as apartheid, was based on the white reform theology taught and propagated by European Christians. The contemptible and despicable apartheid system was enforced by the National Party government in South Africa between 1948 and 1994, under which the rights of the majority non-white inhabitants of the country were curtailed and the minority rule by white people was maintained. Some reform Christian leaders justified the system on the basis that the black race is said to be cursed by God!

There is also the so-called “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia which was also the result of the religious bigotry. The Bosnian Serb forces sought to eliminate 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica. They robbed all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their faith.

Obviously, religious and ethnic hostility is the foremost contemporary social problem in our world, and we in Malaysia must not allow such maniacal and fanatical nests of intrigue to take roots and spread.

As an initial positive measure to do that, we need to restore religious knowledge as a properly constituted subject in our education system, allowing the students of various faiths to attend lessons on their own faiths. At present, only Muslims have to attend agama classes, while the non-Muslims do not have such a privilege. At the same time, a compulsory audit course on comparative religious studies should be offered in the tertiary institutions to allow the students to learn about and understand other religions.

The nefarious activity of the so-called Christian preacher is certainly not an isolate case. I am certain that there are others like him who are misleading the many biblical illiterate and gullible Christian folks in such hate crusades against the people of other faiths. This is because nowadays almost anyone can call himself or herself a pastor, or even an apostle or a prophet, and go around propagating his or her version of the Christian faith. Most of these people do not even have basic theological training, some even hold fake theological degrees to mislead and deceive the believers.

The Christian preacher certainly brought the Malaysian Christian community into an opprobrious situation in the eyes of our fellow citizens of the Muslim faith, and for that I ask forgiveness from them on behalf of my Christian brother who may not honestly know and understand the serious consequences of his action. Sure, he must be made accountable for what he has done, and be made to face the legal action he deserves. Let his case be a lesson for all of us.

Let me close with a story a friend sent me.

While waiting at the airport terminal to board a plane, a woman sat reading a newspaper. Earlier, she had bought a packet of cookies at the airport snack shop to eat after she got on the plane. As she was reading, she saw out of the corner of her eye that a man sitting next to her was eating a cookie.She looked down and saw that her packet of cookies had been opened and the man was eating them.

The woman couldn’t believe that the man would have such nerve as to eat her cookies. So with great irritation she removed all but one cookie from the packet and stuffed them into her mouth. At that point, the man reached down and took the last cookie. Before eating it though, he broke it in half and left half of the cookie for her.

This made the woman even more furious, so she grabbed the empty packet with the half cookie and crammed it in her handbag. Then, to her shock and embarrassment, she saw that there in her handbag was her unopened packet of cookies. The man had been eating the cookies from his own identical bag and not hers.

There is a valuable lesson in this story which relates to the subject of religious bigotry.

It shows us that it is often easier for us to see wrong in someone else than in ourselves. When it comes to the subject of religion, it is easier for us to think that other people have a problem in their faith than it is to think that we do. This story also tells us that when we judge or condemn others, we are actually condemning ourselves.

Najib Highlights Malaysia's ETP At Foreign Affairs Think Tank In New York

By Manik Mehta

NEW YORK, Sept 30 (Bernama) -- Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a leading foreign affairs think tank, in New York on Tuesday, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak highlighted Malaysia's economic transformation programme (ETP)and the opportunities it offered to foreign investors.

Lightheartedly addressing the packed auditorium as a "captive audience" - there were ripples of mild laughter amongst the attentively listening audience - he referred to his government's New Economic Model (NEM) which would bring about Malaysia's economic transformation.

Najib's lecture with the title "The Economic Transformation Programme in Malaysia", took stock of the changes in the country which he said needed to adapt itself to a global environment characterized by fierce competition with China, India and, lately, Vietnam.

The Prime Minister spoke of the creation of a "new paradigm" for Malaysia.

"We are trying to achieve nation-building in the form of our 1Malaysia concept which is aimed to bring all Malaysians together, irrespective of their ethnic and religious background, so that they can move together," he said.

He urged Malaysians living in the United States to join forces to make Malaysia a great nation.

Najib, playing up the advantages inherent in the attributes of Malaysia's diverse ethnic composition, particularly the Chinese and Indian population, observed: "We can relate to China, India, the Middle East and other places.

We can be connected to the world."

The new policy would also help the country's Bumiputras (original inhabitants) who he said "deserved help not because they are connected but because they merit it".

"This will also encourage foreign investors to come to Malaysia. Our (old) thinking has to change, if we want to be a developed nation by 2020. We have launched an ambitious new economic model to raise the per capita of Malaysians from currently US$7,000 (RM22,000) to US$15,000 (RM43,000), creating some 3.3 million jobs, and have identified 135 major projects in the country," he disclosed.

The Prime Minister said Malaysia was going to re-energise the private sector which would provide 92 per cent of the investments and function as an engine of growth.

He referred to the massive infrastructure project of setting up a MRT (mass Rapid Transport) system for Kuala Lumpur with an investment tag of US$12.5 billion (RM38.6 billion) aimed at bolstering the economy.

Such projects would contribute to future growth and facilitate Malaysia's transition to the goal of a developed nation by 2020, he said.

Najib said that Malaysia was interested in a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States - the talks had been called off during the Bush administration after both sides failed to achieve any progress - but also pointed out that there was a multilateral framework for negotiations between the US and the Asean grouping.

Najib underscored the importance of the US not only because it was Malaysia's third biggest market, after China and Singapore, but also because "we share the same common values and freedom".

He pointed out that 600 US companies were present in Malaysia.

Though economic and business issues were key elements of his address - Najib later faced a question and answer session led by Maurice R. Greenberg, chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr and Co. Inc., who had earlier introduced the Prime Minister - the discussions also, invariably, turned to a number issues that fell outside the ambit of business and commerce.

Hints dropped by the Prime Minister suggested that Malaysia aspired to become a strategic partner of the US.

"We should re-engage with the US because the forces that connect us are far greater than those that divide us. The US and Malaysia remain good partners because of the common values that bind us," Najib emphasized.

Najib called for moderates in the US and Malaysia to work together to stop extremism and violence.

He acknowledged the role of the evangelicals who were able to stop the recent threat by an obscure US pastor to burn the Koran.

Najib aid that Islam was a peaceful and tolerant religion which prescribed justice for all - Muslim and non-Muslims alike.

He said said that Malaysia would be sending a team of female Muslim doctors to Afghanistan which faced a scarcity of female medical experts to treat the female population.

There was also concern amongst American strategic thinkers over China's aggressive posturing in Southeast Asia.

Asked how he perceived the growing assertiveness of China in the region, Najib said that one must come to terms with the "new China" which was more assertive than before.

"However, we believe that China cannot destabilize the region.

We have mechanisms within Asean to resolve any differences.

The Chinese are pragmatic people.

But China certainly has greater economic clout," he said.

However, he said Malaysia also believed that the region should not be exclusive to one power's domination.

Najib also cleared the air about the episode concerning Malaysia's opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, which has been widely reported in the local media.

"Fundamentally, it is not the Malaysian government which is against Anwar.

It is an individual, one of his own staff members, who has filed a police report against him."

Najib also answered questions about the forthcoming high-profile visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Malaysia.

"India is a very important partner for us.

We are looking at various avenues of cooperation with India," he told Bernama in reply to a question about Singh's visit.

Najib, who was in India early this year, identified a number of areas of cooperation with the country such as in infrastructure, information technology, machine-building and electronics.

Najib also disclosed that before leaving for the US, he had asked the Malaysian minister concerned to finalise the negotiations with India on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

He said that India was equally interested to have the accord ready for signature during the Indian Prime Minister's visit to Malaysia in October.

Galas by-election: Ku Li put in a spot?

Has Tengku Razaleigh been put in a spot? The BN MP or Umno division head for the area would ordinarily be expected to play a pivotal role in his party’s campaign.

Image by Syed Azidi AlBukhary via Flickr
The Kelantan state assembly seat of Galas falls smack within his Gua Musang parliamentary constituency. But Ku Li is no ordinary MP.  He has been one of Umno’s most vocal internal critics.
His relatively more progressive and inclusive statements of late stand in sharp contrast to the ethno-nationalist rhetoric of the Umno mainstream. And this has often put him at the fringes of the party since his return to Umno.

This by-election could put him in an awkward position. Muhyiddin has already expressed hope that Ku Li will help to ensure an Umno win.

In the last election in 2008, Pas snatched the seat from the BN by a 646-vote majority. That turned around the previous Umno majority of 1,729 in 2004.

Lying with Galas is a logging township with kampungs, Orang Asli settlements and Felda schemes. From a national perspective, the latter two communities have expressed concern over native customary right lands and the way Felda is being run respectively.

Umno surrounded by the spectre of Perkasa’s chauvinist rhetoric will also be fighting an uphill battle in this constituency, which has a sizeable presence of minorities. Not only Ku Li, but also MCA and Gerakan would be in an uncomfortable position.

Time to put your cards on the table, Ku Li, and make a stand for what you really believe in.