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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Who'll protect poor people like us?..PPR Wahyu Residents

Growing MyKad woes for kids of Hindu-Muslim birth

A special government taskforce, aimed at providing assistance with documentation issues plaguing the Indian community, has uncovered at least ten cases involving the children of Muslim-Hindu couples.

“There have been 10 to 20 of such cases identified by the taskforce in the one year since we started work,” said taskforce coordinator S Siva.

Of the cases identified, two have formally lodged their complaints to the National Registration Department for resolution and have received case numbers.

Of them, one involves a 30-year-old woman, raised as a Hindu but recently barred from marrying another Hindu when she was told by the authorities that she is Muslim.

NONEShe claims to have had no knowledge that the NRD has registered her as a Muslim following her mother's religion at birth.

Fifteen-year-old M Saraswasthy* faces similar problems.

Born of a Muslim mother and a Hindu father, she had her MyKad application rejected because she chose the Hindu identity 'Saraswathy a/p Muniandy'.

NRD officers are insisting on the Muslim name Saraswathy binti Kamal Shah - following the name religious officials had forced onto her father even though he had never converted and is recognised by the NRD as a Hindu.

While Muniandy* (left) has been persistent with the NRD in pushing for a MyKad for his daughter, he is still wary of going public with his predicament for fear of persecution.

The family, who have been living as Hindus for the past 17 years, has had to move at least five times in as many years following a religious department raid and threats from parang-wielding vigilantes who had discovered their situation.

'Nothing to fear'

Subramaniam however asserts that those who bring their problems to the taskforce, that is chaired by Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam and that works closely with the NRD and the Home Ministry, have nothing to fear.

mykad counter 051105“They won't be prosecuted, unless of course they have blatantly broken the law, like killing or robbing someone.

“We handle (these problems) on a case-by-case basis, and we will consult legal authorities, experts and religious bodies from both religions involved. At the end of the day, people need to be documented,” said Siva.

Malaysiakini understands that Muniandy will be in touch with the taskforce to find a solution for his children's documentation problems.

Official records show that there are 32,000 Indians with birth certificates but without MyKads.

The figure for those without even the birth certificate is expected to be staggering.
* Names have been changed to protect privacy. 

HRPs’ Top Ten Newsmakers for the year 2010

1) Chakaraguna who torched himself to death to stop PKR Selangor demolishing Puchong hindu temple.

Puchong Temple
Chakaraguna, who set himself ablaze in a bid to stop a temple store demolition in Pusat Bandar Puchong on Nov 8, died in Hospital Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.
M. Chakragunasegaran,52, who suffered severe burns to his body and face, died at 9.15am after 22 days in hospital. He leaves behind a wife and five children.

2) Hindraf joins forces with indigenous group at House of Common in London
House of Lords (7)Joe Fernandez & Chen Yi Ling  (Malaysiakini)
It was a historic first in London on Tuesday when Hindraf joined forces with an indigenous group from Sabah

Continue Reading »

3) Uthayakumar’s address in Pravasi Bharathiya Divas Meeting & distribute to some 2,000 worldwide Indian Diospara  The Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2009
P.Uthayakumar  being interviewed by a local media on Indian Problems in Malaysia
Uthayakumar Ponnusamy from Malaysia. The great Indian leaders, the Prime Minister, and the external Affairs Minister all spoke on business, social and cultural issues concerning the Indian Diasporas.  We regret that the Human rights issues of Indians especially in Malaysia, where the Indians are being denied their birth certificate and the citizenship even for the fourth and fifth generation Malaysian Indians.  Contineu reading:-

4) 1st Hindraf National Convention demands ‘rights not mercy’, from UMNO led Malay-sian government.

DSC_02791st Hindraf National Convention demands ‘rights not mercy’, from UMNO led Malay-sian government.
K.L 8/8/2010. Hindraf creates another major history yet again after the 25th November
Continue Reading »

5) Historic Buntong – First Indian majority seat. HRP on road to Project 15/38.
Signature Campaign Conversion
HRP will otherwise be at PKR, DAP and PAS’ mercy if no Project 15/38. (See The Star 10/8/10 at page N6)
The 1st Hindraf National Convention
Continue Reading »
6) Indian stateless elimination campaign at HRP Penang HQ. JPN officers will be present on 26/9/2010
13Today was the happiest moment of some stateless people as clearly seen in the photograph above and these people have every reason to be so. Their applications for a birth certificate which was supposedly issued to them when they were born in this soil were systematically denied by the authorities but however with the interference and guidance of HRP Penang they were successful in submitting their application to the JPN at Bandar Baru Perda on this day.

7) HINDRAF 18 Point Demands dated 12/8/2007 not fulfilled by UMNO prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
52nd year Merdeka (Independence) demands by the two (2) million ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia to Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak Prime Minister
Continue Reading »

8 ) Complaint to U.N on 2, 237 top Indian students denied higher education in Malaysia

  HRPMemotoUNRE: HRP Memorandum ON:-

 (1)      An estimated 2,237 top and high achieving Indian students have been segregated and denied JPA scholarships, PTPTN loans, Matriculation and University seats.

(2) Indian students in Public Universities systematically reduced from 28% to 0.27% in 40 years. Continue reading:-


9) Memo Freedom of Religion: Malaysian Police insults Sultan of Perak and attempted to assault HINDRAF leader

IMG_4307_resize_resize You can be forced into Islam when you are seven years old and there is NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT, there is no recourse for you – every body gangs up against you – the courts, the police, the administration, the politicians.
When some dare speak up against the injustice in all this, they are brutalized. Continue reading:–

10)  Last Indian village in KL, Bukit Jalil Estate including Hindu temple, cemetery and Tamil school to be “ethnically cleansed” to make way for Malay muslim cemetery.
BktjalilUMNO’s DBKL Kuala Lumpur City Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Fuad Ismail cheated and lied to the poor Indian estate workers that their Tamil School,
Continue Reading »

History subject in Malaysia has turned into BTN indoctrination and myth

Senator Dr. S. Ramakrishnan

The public allegation of two history book authors that the secondary school history textbooks are being used to promote ketuanan Melayu (Malay lordship over other Malaysians) and UMNO indoctrination is well known and understood by Malaysians for a long time. Malaysians who do not agree have developed empathy and apathy towards the governance of education by the UMNO led BN government.

Those who do not learn from history will be condemned by it said a great man. UMNO perverts have degraded and distorted history so much, that this subject has lost all its sanctity and relevance to Malaysian students themselves. The purpose of studying history is to learn from the past as to how the present society and civilization came about. This knowledge helps the present generation to understand the undercurrent that underlies the change process. It enables community leaders and decision makers make decisions that are relevant and resolve conflicts. A distorted history is no use to anybody except the UMNO fundamentalists who are on the war path to destroy the Malaysian nation.

After 53 years of independence, UMNO is still not at peace with history and that it wants to change the history to glorify and amplify their role in history. Looks like the UMNO wallahs are laying the seed of desolation and dissolution of Malay society in particular and Malaysia in general. Distortions and lies cannot stand the test of time. Truth has to be reliable, universal and natural to be accepted by all. Unfortunately these UMNO wallahs who have no regard for truth, will decide the contents of the history subject. Looks frightening isn’t it?

There are Malaysians who feel that nothing can be changed politically and that the way forward is to migrate to another country. Malaysia has lost many able, skilled and talented minds. The deputy minister in Prime Minister’s office Datuk K. Devamany said that about 734,000 Malaysians left the country since 2000 to work abroad. But Devamany refuse to accept that the racial marginalizations by UMNO wallahs are the root cause of Malaysians migrating abroad. More Malaysians will leave if this is the way our education system is micro managed by UMNO racists. Efforts to set up Talent Corporation with 30 million allocated, will go down the drain and wasted.

History which is distorted and perverted will not interest students and teaching becomes a nightmare to history teachers. Historian Pearl Buck said that if you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday. History itself may suffer from inherent distortions and together with UMNO’s prejudice and adulteration students will learn the history which is a myth. On Oct 23, Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that History will be made a must-pass subject for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia from 2013. The ministry will also introduce a revised SPM History curriculum in 2017, for in that year those who begin Form One in 2013 would have reached Form Five. Fresh elements to be incorporated when the History syllabus begins its new cycle are 'patriotism', 'citizenship' and 'the constitution', which by extension implicate the so-called social contract. History subject will be used as vehicle for BTN indoctrination and islamization starting from Form one itself. Looks like every other nation progressing except Malaysia.

Settle state secretary dispute in court, law expert tells Khalid

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — A constitutional law expert has suggested that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s best chance to break the impending stalemate over the controversial appointment of the new state secretary is to take dispute to court.
“The law, as it stands, favours MB Khalid and the Selangor Pakatan administration,” Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bari told The Malaysian Insider today.
The lecturer, who specialises in constitutional law at the International Islamic University (IIUM) here, pointed to the Selangor state constitution to back his assertion.
Article 52 (4) of the Selangor state constitution stipulates that the state secretary “shall take and subscribe in the presence of the Mentri Besar the following oath of secrecy.”
There is no mention that the state secretary’s oath of office has to be done in the presence of the Sultan.
“Under the state constitution, the power to appoint the ex-officio members of the exco — including the SS — is with the Sultan,” Abdul Aziz (picture) said, calling the state secretary post by its initials.
“But he (the Sultan) has to consider the names submitted by the relevant service commission; and before he does that, the Sultan must consider the advice of the MB,” the academic added.
The country’s richest state has been in turmoil for the past week since the Chief Secretary to the Government named Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi to the post to replace outgoing State Secretary Datuk Ramli Mahmud, whose last day of office was yesterday.
The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government has rejected Mohd Khusrin; and insists it has the right to name its own person for the job.
The conservative former director of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) is known to be at odds with the PR state government.
The Sultan of Selangor overrode the MB’s objection and approved Mohd Khusrin’s appointment.
The state Ruler has also fixed the civil officer’s swearing-in ceremony for January 6, which is expected to be boycotted by the state PR lawmakers.
Khalid has also indicated that he will not accept Mohd Khusrin’s oath of secrecy before him, which is required of all top state civil officers before they can start their duties.
The tension between the state’s chief executive officer and the state secretary could lead to a breakdown in Selangor’s daily administration.
“Given the continued controversy, perhaps the better way is for MB Khalid to take the matter to court and see how the judges dance, whether they have new legal acrobatics to show us,” Abdul Aziz said.
He noted court rulings handed out after Election 2008 have shown a clear pattern of favouring Umno, the biggest party in the federal coalition.
He also noted that Selangor’s impending crisis was a result of the Mahathir administration’s 1994 move to amend the Federal Constitution and strengthen the powers of the executive by limiting the monarchy’s authority.
“Now the law is this: even when the constitution says, after considering advice [from the prime minister or the mentri besar], the Agong or the Sultan must accept that advice,” Abdul Aziz said.
“Now Umno is trying to use the Rulers to sabotage the Pakatan states.
“Umno forgot that one day it would go down; and all the measures it did years ago to strengthen government powers would nail them down,” he said.
The professor said that if the courts were to deliver a decision that favours the Malay party, “it has to say that the amendment done by Mahathir in 1994 was illegal and unconstitutional”.
Veteran lawyer Karpal Singh told The Malaysian Insider yesterday he has been asked by MB Khalid to look into the legal aspects of the matter personally.
“I am actually looking at the laws right now... I have been asked to help on behalf of the MB,” said Karpal, who is also DAP chairman.

MIC Youth chief: Palanivel could restore people’s confidence

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — MIC Youth chief T. Mohan believes newly-minted MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel could make the difference in restoring the people’s confidence in the party.

He said Palanivel would take measures for the betterment of the Indian community like his predecessor Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

Asked if Palanivel (picture) would be a better leader, he said: “We have to wait and see.”

Speaking to reporters after performing special prayers at the Batu Caves temple near here today, Mohan also said Palanivel would announce his plans for transparency in the party at the central working committee meeting on January 15.

Palanivel took over as the new MIC president last month after Samy Vellu, who had led the party for over 31 years, stepped down.

As for him, Mohan said he would focus on getting more Indian youths recruited in the government this year. — Bernama

Unite or fall, Jeffrey tells Sabahans

KOTA KINABALU: The leader of the rightsKOTA KINABALU: The leader of the rights movement United Borneo Front (UBF), Jeffrey Kitingan, has called on Sabahans to unite to regain their position in the country.

“The old saying, ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ is the premise by which we have lost our autonomy. To regain our position as equals, we must unite and put our differences aside,” he said in a New Year message.

“We must unite under the Borneo Agenda which we will push together as a growing team before the next general election. This is the last chance we’ll have to make this known to the federal powers.”

He was speaking at the Tambunan Village Resort Centre (TVRC) in Tambunan on Thursday, in conjunction with the launch of UBF’s roadshows as part of its commitment to educate the masses on the Borneo Agenda and its many demands.

Jeffrey said that the old political model used since 1963 based on the premise that political parties must only fall within clear racial lines was no longer relevant to the present society.

“The focus was not on meritocracy or even solution- and issue-based agendas. It was simply inciting people to believe that power must fall along racial and religious divides.

“UBF doesn’t agree with this model and I have personally witnessed how we are so easily controlled because we fell for the simple trap of being divided; divided as natives and divided as Sabahans,” he said.

Platform for unity

On UBF, the former PKR vice-president, who is now an ordinary member of the opposition party, said that the new movement was a platform for unity open to everyone regardless of their political affiliation.

“Everybody can support us because we are not biased towards any particular political alliance. We are a pressure group that criticises ineffective, repressive or irrelevant political models.

“We must be ready to take up this challenge and revolutionise our political models and our mindset when it comes to politics. We must resolve to change and prevent resentment from taking root in extremism,” he said.

He told his audience that he hoped the gathering-cum-Christmas Open House at his resort which he dubbed a “Borneo Tea Party”, would unite the people of Borneo for their own common good irrespective of their racial and religious persuasions and political affiliations.

UBF, which was officially launched on Dec 16, has been well received by Sabahans in general.

Jeffrey is being assisted by co-leaders – lawyer, activist and writer Nilakrisna James and economist and policy-maker Zainal Ajamain, who both worked with him to strategise and formulate the blueprints for the new political model proposed by UBF.

Nilakrisna said she was convinced that every Sabahan understands the urgency and necessity for unity.

“It is time that we addressed the way in which we have been repressed for nearly half a century.

“By uniting under an umbrella that addresses our rights… we are in a better position to have the final say when it comes to the revenue and the resources of our own territories.”

She said that UBF hoped to help people “understand that laws can either empower or repress us. We are not inferior. We have just been too silent for too long. Jeffrey is a leader with great compassion and grit and he has the courage to make his stand known without fear. ”

Total lack of transparency

Zainal said that the digital and economic divide was the clearest indication of how Sabah has been left to degenerate.

“It is evident in the way we handle the oil revenue that there is a total lack of transparency in the data available to the public. We should have easy access to information that enables everybody to see how our state budget is spent, where it goes to and where it comes from, down to the last sen.

“We should be able to trace the data of all goods imported and exported into and out of Sabah. The younger generation is a very technologically advanced group. They derive their knowledge from the Internet and grew up with an encyclopaedia of information that is forever expanding and limitless.

“If we are not transparent in our facts and figures in government spending, our leaders will face a rude shock in the years to come because the young people will not stand for it,” he said.

UBF also announced that the next “Borneo Tea Party” event will be hosted at a private function in Keningau today.

Investigate ‘rapist’ minister, say Pakatan MPs

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan MPs have demanded an investigation over claims that a minister had raped his Indonesian maid.

The rape case was supposedly covered up by former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2007.

It was allegedly unveiled through online whistleblower WikiLeaks, according to well-known blogger Ahiruddin Attan, or Rocky (from Rocky’s Bru).

“Given that a minister is involved, the government has to come clean on this matter. They have to clarify the matter,” said DAP-Klang MP Charles Santiago.

He also said that although the incident may have happened during Abdullah’s reign, current Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak needed to take responsibility.

“The onus is on the Najib administration. Does Najib know the story behind this? These are the questions that one needs to ask,” he said.

PAS-Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad told FMT that he was surprised that such a matter would have occurred during Abdullah’s reign.

“If this is true, then it is very tragic. (Former PM) Abdullah is looked upon as a morally upright person,” he said.

Khalid added that he could not imagine that a man of Abdullah’s stature could allow such a cover-up to proceed.

He also questioned why the alleged rapist had been allowed to remain in office.

“I don’t think Malaysia is short of good and capable leaders (so that they can) cover up this case, so he (the rapist) can remain a minister,” he said.

“This is a serious allegation. The government shouldn’t just ignore it, but should look into it.”

‘Be careful with WikiLeaks’

Nevertheless, the MPs were very wary about the so-called revelation.

PKR-Balik Pulau MP Mohd Yusmadi Mohd Yusoff said thorough investigations needed to take place before charges could be made.

“Until investigations are done, anyone can say anything about the minister,” he said.

Yusmadi added that an investigation would give an alleged rape victim the chance to come forward with evidence.

Santiago said that the alleged report also needed to be scrutinised. “A leak is a leak. You don’t know whether it’s true or not,” he added.

“You have to be quite careful with WikiLeaks. It (WikiLeaks report) is quite damning,” he said, adding that the report may just be a discussions between the US Embassy in Malaysia and the US government.

Meanwhile, former Transparency International Malaysia president Ramon Navaratnam agreed with Santiago.

“The authenticity of this report is questionable unless we have documents to look at and establish that it is not fake,” he said.

“If established to be true, and if the evidence is absolutely correct, then it is unfortunate and those responsible have to be held accountable,” Navaratnam added.

“It is necessary for the integrity, transparency and good governance of the government.”

MCLM will campaign in the Tenang by-election

The PAS Representative Council of UK & Eire, Friends of Pakatan Rakyat, and the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM), are jointly helping to raise funds for the Tenang by-election in Johor. MCLM will also be campaigning in the by-election.
Raja Petra Kamarudin
The PAS Representative Council of UK & Eire, Friends of Pakatan Rakyat, and the Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM), are jointly helping to raise funds for the Tenang by-election in Johor.
Those who want to donate money to this by-election effort can do so by sending it to Jupri Bade, the Chairman of the PAS Representative Council of UK & Eire.
The bank account details (Natwest, South Kensington Branch, London) are sort code 51-50-01 and account number 87687577. Please indicate ‘PRK TENANG’ when you make payment.
Jupri’s e-mail address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and his mobile number is +44 77 3535 2484 in case you need to get in touch with him.
Alternatively you can pay to Parti Islam SeMalaysia at Bank Islam Malaysia Berhad account number 14023010000855 Jalan Raja Laut Branch, Kuala Lumpur.
MCLM will also be sending a team down to Tenang to help campaign for the by-election. Bernard Khoo is in charge of coordinating the names of those who wish to join the campaign group and can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +6 016 631 9973.
It is hoped that those who are not free to participate during the entire campaign period could at least go down on Nomination Day to make up the numbers. Special campaign T-shirts will be distributed, as we would like everyone to be in uniform. Bernard is also coordinating that.

The Religious Pluralism Debate: A Critique.

As the curtain draws to a close for the last year of the first decade in the third millennium, I wanted to just sit back and peruse the many edited writings and commentaries for my book “In Search of a Better Malaysia”. The indulgence was rather short-lived when it dawns on me that I have failed to provide any commentary on an equally troubling acrimonious debate that is raging dangerously in the nation. Yes, how could I miss that one?
Well, frankly I was neither excited nor felt provoked by it, when it came back on stage recently. My knee-jerk response was to evade and ignore it. I thought that the already-overloaded-and-overburdened Malaysian public could no longer stomach any more of such divisive issues. Truly, there has been an overdose of it of late.
But after thinking through and weighing the far-reaching implications, especially on the undiscerning citizenry, this writer could no longer allow it to fade into oblivion only to raise its ugly head again later.
Conscious of the fact that it could very well boomerang on me, I’m now willing to take the bull by the horn. As I embark this effort, a strange reminiscent of the discourse (read polemic) of past Muslim scholars haunted me.
Neither wanting to draw nor deserving of any intellectual parallel, I must say in all humility that I couldn’t help to be reminded of the great debate of the ‘Incoherence of the Incoherence’ (Tahaafut al-Tahaafut) of Ibn Rushd’s (Averroes) against the mighty Al-Ghazali’s Incoherence of the Philosophers (Tahaafut Al-Falaasifah). I honestly believe that this undertaking, at the expense of being crucified as ‘apostate’ is nonetheless equally noble, urgent and extremely pertinent in the bigger agenda of ‘In Search of a Better Malaysia”.
Yes if you are still wondering, I’m meaning the “The Religious Pluralism Debate”, organised by Muafakat, a Muslim NGO in the Federal Territory mosque a fortnight ago. For reasons only known to them, the forum was also supported by government agencies such as the Selangor Islamic Department (JAIS), Federal Territory Mufti Department, Federal Islamic Missionary Foundation (YADIM), Information Ministry’s Special Affairs Department (JASA) and the Institute of Islamic Understanding (IKIM).
In summary, the Muslim scholars and the newly-minted PhD holder Yusri Mohammad, an Islamic Law lecturer in the IIUM and the UKM’s Nur Fahana Abd Rahman included, asserted that Islam considers that not all religions are equal, and that the concept of ‘Religious Pluralism’ is antithetical to Islam as this belief stems from the idea that Islam is no more and no less equal to other religions ie promoting religious equality.
For the record, not only was Dato Seri Anwar Ibrhaim demonized for allegedly promoting ‘religious pluralism’ and undermining the Islamic faith, the Menteri Besar of Kelantan, Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who also is the Mursyidul Am of PAS, did not escape from their criticism for having previously attended an official function at a Buddhist temple in Kelantan.
In all fairness, it must also be registered that the scholars at the forum also issued reminders to other Muslim leaders, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak included, to refrain from attending other religious celebrations, claiming that it would threaten the position of Islam as a supreme religion.
Dr Muhammad ‘Uthman El-Muhammady, another panelist and a fellow at the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization (ISTAC) also echoed the others and called on Muslims to fight against those who promote religious equality as this is dangerous and a threat to the Islamic faith.
More assertively, the UKM’s Nur Fahana Abd Rahman, has asked Federal Islamic Authorities (JAKIM) to issue a guideline to prevent Muslims from celebrating other religious celebrations, calling it an element of religious pluralism.
Little wonder that the Mufti of Perak was recently reported (17-Dec, 2010, Utusan Malaysia) as saying that it (religious pluralism) needs to be rejected by all Muslims in our country as it could destroy one’s faith, and that those who believed in it are as good as being apostate.
Lest you think I’m afraid to stand my ground and categorically state my position (especially as a PAS Member of Parliament), you got me wrong again. If you have been following by writings and speeches, you know that I don’t double speak, much less to only appease you people (especially my voters) for political support.
You now would surely want to know whether this writer would go along with the understanding of ‘religious pluralism’ as mentioned above and would this writer support the policy advocacy of the Muslim scholars.
Firstly, my response to religious pluralism. In all conviction and intellectual honesty, I must make it categorically clear that I’m against “Religious Pluralism” as it stands to be advocated by the ‘prophets’ (read philosophers) of this theology.
Just as you are about to despair or rejoice by this answer, let me hasten to add that I’m  however, totally at loggerhead with and vehemently opposed to the policy advocacy of the Muslim scholars mentioned above that are arguably the genesis of a recent rise of religious bigotry and spate of religious extremism.
Let me begin my short discourse. Let’s get back to the substantive issue of the debate.
Going by The Oxford Dictionary, “pluralism” is defined as a “a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, etc co-exist”, The search for a common understanding of the word ‘pluralism’ becomes evidently more complicated because it has been extensively used (and abused) unilaterally by almost everyone – religious leaders, politicians, journalists – without fully understanding what the concept actually means and implies.
Be that as it may, the debate and contention at hand is even more difficult as “Religious Pluralism” is simply not about religious diversity as implied by its literal definition. Contrary to the lay understanding, religious pluralism is not as innocuous (harmless) and naïve as you and I would like it to believe in. It is not merely semantic though.
It far surpasses the notional concept of accepting religious diversity as the fundamental basis for the peaceful and harmonious co-existence of all persons or all faiths, with each practicing his faith with sensitivity and due respect to people of other faiths.
I implore that you bear with me as I briefly expound and paraphrase my writing in my first political book the Blindspot (Harakah, 2007).
Islam Affirms Religious Plurality but Not Religious Pluralism.
Religious pluralism, like any other ‘ism’ ie theology or ideology, are propounded by its advocates and ‘prophets’. Ardent proponents of religious pluralist theology include renowned scholars amongst the like of Ernst Troeltsch (1865-1923), William E. Hocking (Rethinking Mission, 1923), Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975), Wilfred Carnwell Smith (1916-2000) and currently Professor John harwood Hick (1922-present). Diana L. Eck, Professor at the Harvard University researches extensively on religious pluralism. John Hick is undoubtedly the current iconic thinker of the pluralist theology.
Citing from John Hick, ‘Religious Pluralism,’ (Mircea Eliade(ed.), The Encyclopedia of Religion (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987), Vol. 12, p. 331.
…the term refers to a particular theory of the relation between these traditions (religions), with their different and competing claims. This is the theory that the great world religions constitute variant conceptions and perceptions of, and responses to, the one ultimate, mysterious divine reality…the view that the great world faiths embody different perceptions and conceptions of, and correspondingly different responses to, the Real or the Ultimate, and that within each of them independently the transformation of human existence from self-centeredness to reality-centeredness is taking place.
John Hick concludes that “the great religious traditions are to be regarded as alternative soteriological “spaces” within which, or “ways” along which, men and women can find salvation/liberation/fulfillment” ( Problems of Religious Pluralism, pp. 36-7; and ———, ‘Religious Pluralism,’ p. 331). Hence all religions are essentially the same, authentic and valid.
Without going into the extensive discourse on religious pluralism by the various proponents of this theology, it could easily be summarized as advocating that all religions are equal, simultaneously denouncing and undermining the claim to absolute truth of all religions on the world stage.
It has ‘relativised’ all truth claims and has equated all religions to be essentially and relatively the same. Hick added that “all religions are equally valid to the same truth”. To proponents of “Religious Pluralism”, all religions are relative ie is limited, partial and incomplete, one way of looking at something. Accordingly, they pledged that all religions are the same and ‘all paths lead to the summit’.
In other words, religious pluralism transcends the conflicting and relative truth claims among religions, claims a façade of democracy and world peace and is the ‘absolute messaih’ to the phenomemnon of religious diversity.
The claim of exclusivity to its beliefs and teachings in Islam, like Christianity and Judaism and indeed all other religions, Hinduism etc, would surely be on a head-on collision with religious pluralism.
Contrary to religious pluralism, Islam is all for religious plurality and accords respect for all other religions as fully others without reduction, deconstruction or relativisation. While ‘pluralism’ is unwilling to allow others to be ‘exclusively and uniquely’ others, Islam acknowledges the plurality of religion and allows the adherents of all religions the plurality of laws to govern their lives within the aegis of their religious belief and precepts.
This is the perspective of Islam and as far as I could represent and speak for PAS, this is our stand and we uphold and advocate this position.
Islam perceives diversity and plurality (not pluralism) as a ‘Sunnahtullah’ (in accordance to the dictates of the creation of Almighty Allah).   References to other religions could also be found, though indirectly as generically mentioned by the verse: And verily We have rasied in every nation a messenger, (proclaiming) ; Serve Allah and shun false gods..(16:36).indeed at the behest of His Majestic Being. Hence, a religious claim is an absolutist doctrine which must be respected as such, not simplified, reduced, relativised and much less negated.
More specifically Allah says it categorically that “Religion before Allah is Islam (submission to His Will) (Chapter Ali-Imran:19) and has decreed that ““This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion (Chapter Al-Maidah: 3). That is the claim of absolute truth found in the Quran.
A Muslim’s faith is firmly based and premised on the conviction that the source of his religion Islam is Allah and Muhammad is the last and final Prophet on the Earth. A true Muslim holds that Islam is not just one of the many religions, but The Religion or Way of Life (Ad-Deen), the only true religion of Allah, the religion of the created natural order (Deen-al-Fitrah).
Incidentally, YB Lim Kit Siang, commenting on the debate has this to say in his blog.
“As a Christian, I can understand the IKIM position, since my faith is also an exclusive one. No Christian will dispute or challenge my contention that Christianity also claims exclusivity to be the only way of salvation for mankind, and that the Lord Jesus Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life” and “No one comes to the Father (God) except through me (Jesus)”. (John 14:6), and that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Be that as it may, we now come to the most contentious aspect of the debate.
While I may hold similar conviction to those who are against Religious Pluralism, I must say that I’m extremely baffled and most appalled by the ‘narrow-mindedness’ of these Muslim scholars and the various religious authorities. The kind of ‘siege-mentality’ is so evident and regrettable while the unwillingness to ‘engage’ is a far cry from embodying the true spirit of Islam.
The paranoia is deplorable at best and a disservice to Islam at worst. Incidentally, will this writer, a Member of Parliament for Kuala Selangor who regularly visits Churches and Temples in the constituency, be seriously monitored by the authority for bordering into the practice of religious pluralism?
It must be made known to these scholars and religious authorities that the issue before us is not about anything theological or matters pertaining to belief and belief-system. Those are exclusively the right of all faiths. Having said that though, the bone of contention is about how to relate an exclusive faith to other religions in a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-cultural, and multi-lingual demographic make-up like Malaysia. That is the challenge at hand.
It is here that we are in dire need of the engagement of Islam as an essentially a “Way of Life” (Ad-Deen) that provides for a Universal Justice for all and a “Mercy Unto Mankind” (Rahmatan LiL ‘Aalamin).
It is the vital and critical role of man as the “Vicegerent of Allah on Earth” (KhalifatulLah fil ‘Ard) that now awaits the Islamic Leadership together with the bigger constituency of the nation-state in providing the moral and intellectual leadership, in ‘The Search for a Better Malaysia’.
Muslims must engage and not disengage in all public sphere in promoting peace and harmony among the people. It is not participating in an inter-faith worship service which the nation is in dire need of but a mutually rewarding dialogue and discourse. Not in matter of faith but in the dimensions of good-governance, justice, righteousness, equality, freedom, human, civil and constitutional rights.
PAS will endorse and support any inter-faith engagement and “dialogue” as we have clearly stated in our Manifesto. The Pakatan Rakyat similarly espouses and advocates such religious discourses that are mutually rewarding in nature.
These are social policies of PAS and Pakatan that are positive for the development for the common purpose of nation-building, and are jointly dealing with many fundamental and structural issues relating to their role as citizens, hence, the need to come together to talk and discourse.
Admittedly there are numerous religious and racial fault-lines that are dangerously lurking ahead.  Assuming a ‘strict and rigid position’ and seemingly ‘intolerant measures’ as advocated by the above mentioned Muslim scholars so as to safeguard the purity and sanctity of the Islamic faith will surely become fodders for more intense religious bigotry and chauvanism.
We have had enough of the incidences of cow-heads, sacrileges of places of worship, the debilitating debate of the name of Allah etc. PM Najib and his cahoots must state their position loud and clear and not talk of ‘moderation’ on world stage and become so parochial, extreme and narrow in defending both racial and religious bigots on our own shores. That is hypocrisy at its worst.
Thanks to the former and current Mufti of Perlis, Dr Juanda Jaya and Dr Mohd Asri respectively. The latter is recently is reported to have commented that the nation is going down the Taliban route if we start persecuting other Muslims because they don’t subscribe to our brand of Islam.
In them are embodiments of the moderate Muslims scholars that have invariably not failed to contextualize to the “Purpose of  Syari’ah” (Maqasid as-Syariah) and to the greater public interest (Maslahah Al-Ammah) and to the agenda of nation-rebuilding.
To evade the discourses by offering lame excuses that the citizenry are not ready is an unacceptable denial of reality and a continuous assault on Reason. It is to shirk from the shared responsibility of Change and Reform.
We do so at our own peril and have only ourselves to blame!
I rest my case.
Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, Member of the PAS Central Working Committee.


JAN 1, 2011

The Selangor Government regrets that Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan willfully ignored the process of selection adopted by the state in choosing the best candidate to fill the state secretary position.

In naming Dato Khusrin Munawi , the Chief Secretary had disregarded the selection process which is in line with the civil service practice notes as prepared by the state civil service commission which seeks advice from the public civil service at the federal level.

The selection process requires the state civil service to propose candidates suitable for the position for the approval of the Menteri Besar after which the names will then be presented to the DYMM Sultan of Selangor for consent.

After securing the consent of the Sultan, the state service will forward the name to the public civil service for appointment.

The State had taken a step further by setting up a committee led by Selangor State Assembly Speaker Dato’ Teng Chang Kim to interview all eight candidates proposed by the state civil service commission. The committee had chosen three best candidates based on their merits apart from other necessary criterias needed to fill such a strategic and senior position.

When he announced Dato Khusrin’s appointment , the Chief Secretary had not only bypassed the Menteri Besar but he had willfully disregarded a process which had picked the best candidates based on their ability, caliber and experience.

Needless to say, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek’s acts are unconstitutional, irresponsible and unprofessional which can be construed as a political act in an attempt to sabotage the credibility of the Pakatan Rakyat Government in Selangor.

Additionally, Tan Sri Mohd Sidek has sent out an unhealthy message to civil servants that merits and ability is not priorities in promoting government servants who are already facing criticisms for being ineffective and incompetent.


2011 challenge to Malaysians – to unite and demand that they enjoy equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and the family

“Malaysia is at the crosssroads.” – 1Malaysia Government Transformation Programme Road Map (January 2010).

“Malaysia has reached a defining moment on its development path.” – New Economic Model (March 2010).

“We need to see the reality for what it is: we are on a burning platform” – Tenth Malaysia Plan (June 2010).

However, the year 2010, which also marks 21 months of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s premiership, has not been distinguished by any conviction or sense of urgency that Malaysia is “on a burning platform”, “at the crossroads” or “a defining moment” – that the country has no choice but to forge ahead with a paradigm shift in national economic strategy and public policy.

It is the exact reverse. Despite the 21 months of Najib’s premiership, based on his signature theme of “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now”, multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia has suffered greater racial and religious polarization and loss of social cohesion, with the concepts of unity in diversity and inclusiveness, social justice, excellence, integrity and our international competitiveness receiving one setback after another.

The bad old days of “the government knows best” are back with a vengeance, as illustrated by the raft of developments in the closing days and weeks of 2010, eg:

• Catholic church officials told to remove crucifixes and to avoid hymns being sung when Prime Minister Najib Razak attended the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur’s Christmas tea party last Saturday.

• Controversy over Cabinet decision to make history a compulsory-pass subject for SPM from 2013 when the history text books are antithetical to the principles of unity in diversity and inclusiveness reflective of Malaysia’s plural society.

• The appointment of Tan Sri Isa Samad, who had to relinquish his previous post as Cabinet Minister because of UMNO “money politics”, as the new Felda Chairman, rubbishing the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) and National Key Result Action (NKRA) on fighting corruption.

• The ordeal of businessman Chia Buang Hin who alleged that he was beaten and robbed by police over the expired road tax of his wife’s car that he was driving which re-opened anew the question of the efficiency, incorruptibility and professionalism of the police to keep crime low and be the protector of the rights of Malaysians and the crying need for the establishment of an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as proposed by the Dzaiddin Police Royal Commission in 2005.

• The brewing constitutional crisis in Selangor over the appointment of the State Secretary, stemming from the refusal of the Barisan Nasional-controlled Federal Government to respect the democratic rights of the voters of Selangor to elect a Pakatan Rakyat state government of their choice.

• The unchecked racist and inflammatory incitement by irresponsible media like Umno’s Utusan Malaysia such as the targeting of DAP MP for Serdang Teo Nie Ching.

These developments are all inimical to the 1Malaysia concept of unity in diversity and inclusiveness propounded by Najib and not calculated to enhance public confidence in good governance and our international competitiveness.

The Talent Corporation is to start operation tomorrow to carry out a more effective brain-gain strategy to attract talented Malaysians and non-Malaysians to contribute to Malaysia’s knowledge-based economy.

But the Talent Corporation is set to become another expensive failure as how could it convince the return of the talented from the Malaysian diaspora when the present government is incapable to arrest the unchecked brain drain from the country.

Have more Malaysians migrated abroad in the 21 months of Najib’s premiership than the previous 21 months?

It is not that Najib does not have the answer. The New Economic Model had pinpointed the problem and the solution when it said:

“We are not developing talent and what we have is leaving. The human capital situation in Malaysia is reaching a critical stage. The rate of outward migration of skilled Malaysians is rising rapidly.” (p.6)

“Globalisation has created a fierce competition for talent, forcing companies and government to recognize that people are the most valuable assets. To compete on a regional and global scale, Malaysia must retain and attract talent. Malaysia must be seen by its people and others as a land of equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and family.” (p.8)

The Talent Corporation is incapable of giving such an assurance – that Malaysia is “a land of equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and the family”.

In fact, the developments of the past 21 months, and in particular in the closing days of 2010,which are completely detrimental to the 1Malaysia concepts of unity in diversity, inclusiveness and social justice, will destroy whatever chances of success the Talent Corporation might have.

Only a Malaysian government, with unwavering leadership and political will, can give such an assurance.

This is the national challenge for Malaysians in the new year 2011 – to unite and demand a government and leadership with the political will to convince Malaysians that they enjoy equal opportunity to earn a good living and provide a secure, happy life for each individual and family life.

Wishing all Malaysians a Happy New Year.

PSD Calls On Civil Servants To Give Feedback On New System To Replace PTK

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 (Bernama) -- The Public Service Department (PSD) today called on civil servants to give their feedback on a suitable format and criteria for a new competency assessment system to replace the Competency Level Assessment (PTK).

In a posting on its website, the department said this was in line with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's announcement when tabling the 2011 Budget in October that the PTK would be abolished and replaced by a more suitable assessment system acceptable to civil servants by June 2011.

Civil servants can give their feedback and inputs on the matter by answering the online questionnaire available on the website.

The questionnaire is divided into three parts, namely respondent's information, proposed assessment methods and new assessment criteria, which must be answered completely by the respondents.

Death in custody – G Veerasamy (Pandan Indah police station lock-up, 28 Nov 2003)

On 28 Nov 2003, over seven years ago, 52-year old security guard G Veerasamy died in police custody at the Pandan Indah police station.

According to his son, V Suresh, his father had been healthy when he had last seen him at the same police station on 24 Nov 2003, the day of his arrest.  V Suresh was informed that his father had died from stomach pains, but when identifying his father’s body at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, he reportedly saw injury marks on his father’s face.

An inquest into G Veerasamy’s death started on 13 Jul 2004 at the Ampang Magistrates Court.  According to a news report, a doctor from Kuala Lumpur Hospital testified that when G Veerasamy had been brought to her for treatment on the day of his arrest, he had a fractured nasal bone, laceration of the nose and bruises on his back.  Based on those wounds, the doctor believed he had been assaulted.  No further details on the progress or outcome of the inquest were available at the time of writing.

Beaten and robbed by cops over expired road tax

FTA EU-M’sia menyekat kedaulatan negara

Miti sepatutnya berwaspada dengan rundingan EU-Malaysia FTA. Janganlah terburu-buru menandatangani perjanjian dengan EU kerana dalam FTA, pihak korporat boleh membawa kita ke mahkamah, ujar Jeyakumar Devaraj.
An anti-FTA protest in front of the EU Commission offices in Brussels

Saya ingin sentuh butiran 24: 030100 ia-itu “Dasar dan Rundingan Pelbagaihala dan butiran 30500 di bawah maksud Rundingan Perjanjian Perdagangan Bebas (FTA).

Tuan Pengerusi, saya difahamkan bahawa Miti akan ke Eropah bulan depan (Disember 2010) untuk meneruskan perundingan dengan EU, European Union, berkaitan FTA antara Malaysia dan EU. Saya rasa negotiator kita harus berwaspada. Kita mesti memahami hasrat di belakang negotiator EU. Mereka bukan berhasrat membangunkan ekonomi Malaysia ataupun merwujudkan peluang kerja untuk rakyat kita. Tujuan utama mereka adalah untuk mendapatkan konsensi yang maxima untuk kaum korporat di Eropah. Untuk mendapatkan peluang untuk pelabur besar Eropah mengaut keuntungan yang besar sekali.

Tuan Pengerusi, perjanjian FTA mengandungi beberapa klausa yang merbahaya pada kita. Suatu antaranya adalah klausa ‘expropriation’ di mana jika kerajaan kita melaksanakan sebarang polisi atau regulasi yang mengurangkan keuntungan para pelabur, pelabur itu boleh menghadap kerajaan kita ke Mahkamah Antarabangsa untuk menuntut pampasan.

Ini telah berlaku di negara Chile. Kementerian Kesihatan di Chile telah mengumumkan polisi untuk mencetakkan gambar barah di atas kotak-kotak rokok. Syarikat antarabangsa Philip Moris telah memakai perjanjian FTA antara Chile dan Switzerland untuk menuntut pampasan kerana keuntungan Philip Moris telah dikurangkan oleh tindakan Kementerian Kesihatan yang menakutkan rakyat.

Klausa ‘expropriation’ ini menyekat kedaulatan Negara kita. ‘Policy space’ atau kelonggaran kita untuk mengenakan regulasi untuk kebaikan rakyat kita dikompromi oleh klausa seperti ini. ‘Policy space’ ataupun ruang kerajaan untuk campur tangan dalam urusan ekonomi disekat.

Suatu perkara lagi yang dibawa oleh negotiator EU adalah konsep ‘National Treatment’. Ini bererti pelabur dari Eropah mesti diberi layanan yang tidak berkurangan berbanding layanan pada syarikat-syarikat tempatan. Ini merakumi segala aspek perniagaan dari permohonan untuk tanah, persaingan untuk tender dan juga pembelian oleh kerajaan  ataupun government procurement.

Tuan Pengerusi, saya tidak setuju dengan caranya kontrak kerajaan diberi tanpa tender terbuka kepada syarikat-syarikat kroni pada masa ini. Ini merugikan negara dan rakyat. Tetapi saya percaya kerajaan kita mesti ada kelonggaran untuk memakai kaedah affirmative action untuk membantu kaum-kaum atau kumpulan-kumpulan yang ketinggalan. Umpamanya, katakan kerajaan ingin membina kapasiti Orang Asli dalam sesuatu bidang, kerajaan harus mempunyai option untuk menawarkan kontrak pada usahawan atau koperasi Orang Asli dengan terma yang lebih menguntungkan supaya membolehkan koperasi itu membina kemahiran Orang Asli dalam bidang tersebut. Dan sama juga dengan kaum Iban, Kenyah dan Kadazan.

Tetapi kaedah ini tidak dapat digunapakai jika kita menandatangani FTA dengan EU yang mengandungi klausa ‘National Treatment’. Kerana di bawah klausa seperti ini, pelabur EU boleh mendakwa kerajaan kita kerana ‘memilih kasih’ dalam memberi peluang ke kumpulan ketinggalan dengan terma yang lebih longgar.
Jadi saya ingat memperingatkan pada Miti, kita sebuah negara yang merdeka. Tidak wajar kita jual murah. Janganlah terburu-buru menandatangani perjanjian dengan EU. Kerana perjanjian ini ada legal ramification. Mereka boleh membawa kita ke mahkamah!

Tidak perlu kita menerima pendekatan negotiator EU berkaitan perdagangan antarabangsa. Negotiator EU berkiblat pada keuntungan koporat gergasi sahaja. Mereka berkiblat pada kepentingan pelabur-pelabur besar. Kita, sebagai negara yang merdeka boleh buat pilihan yang lain.

Kita boleh menegakkan pendirian bahawa perdagangan antarabangsa harus didorong oleh hasrat membina kapasiti negara kita dari segi menjana pekerjaan dan kemahiran pekerja kita. Kita boleh menegakkan pendirian bahawa perdagangan harus membawa kebaikan pada semua rakyat kita terutama mereka yang berpendapatan rendah.

Jadi saya minta Miti berwaspada. Jangan setuju secara terburu-buru. Mengadakan dialog dengan NGO-NGO yang menangani isu ini dan juga masyarakat madani. Jangan membenarkan Malaysia terperangkap dalam satu perjanjian antarabangsa yang akan menyekat ruang polisi kerajaan dan menrugikan rakyat jelata kita.

Jeyakumar Devaraj ialah ahli parlimen dari Sungai Siput