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Monday, January 3, 2011

Laidback Sarawak MPs an ‘asset’ to Pakatan

KUCHING: Sarawak BN MPs’ neglect of the interest and welfare of rural folk in the state is to Pakatan Rakyat’s advantage, said visiting Ampang MP Zuraidah Kamaruddin.

“The Barisan MPs are not doing their job… they do not protect and speak for the interest of rural people when they fail to raise issues in Parliament, ” she said.

It was an obvious reference to the unresolved resettlement of natives affected by the Bakun Dam project, the native customary rights (NCR) land issues and the oil palm plantations on native lands.
“With all these issues yet to be settled, there is a potential for us in the Pakatan Rakyat to win the state government in the coming election.
“In fact, I dare say we can get 46 seats in Sarawak out of the 71 state constituencies,” said Zuraidah.

During her visit to Sarawak, Zuraida said she had been to several rural areas in the state and was aware of the acute problems affecting the people.
Zuraida, who is also PKR’s national women chief, said that although she was from Selangor, she could still speak for the natives in Sarawak in parliament.

“I feel more like a Sarawakian after visiting these places and seeing for myself the situation. Even though I come from Ampang, Selangor I can voice their grievances in parliament.
“We do not expect to get the support of the Barisan MPs, at least we want the government to be aware of the people’s problems,” she said.
On elections, Zuraidah said it was unlikely that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak would hold joint state and federal polls.

Satu lagi salah laku seks VVIP terburai?

PETALING JAYA: Ketika akhbar arus perdana berterusan menyepikan isu berhubung dakwaan skandal seks pemimpin negara, satu lagi skandal seks yang didakwa melibatkan golongan VVIP dibongkar.

Skandal yang dikatakan melibatkan hubungan seorang ketua agama dengan pragawati yang juga seorang pelakon terkenal tanah air,

Kavita Kaur itu mula dibangkitkan oleh beberapa blog terkenal termasuk yang menduduki carta nombor satu dalam Carta Alexa untuk Blog dan Portal Politik Malaysia 2010.

Selain, blog Tukar Tiub yang dikendalikan oleh aktivis terkenal Isham Rais, weblog Marhaen, Anak Sungai Derhaka, Pulak Dah, Steadyaku47 dan beberapa blog lain turut memfokuskan isu yang sama.

Sebelum ini, Tukar Tiub, blog yang menduduki carta nombor empat dalam carta yang sama dilihat secara konsisten telah menyelitkan nama Kavita Kaur dalam entri-entri yang melibatkan golongan raja-raja dengan maksud tertentu yang tidak didedahkan.

Rentetan tindakan tersebut, portal berita FMT, blog Beduk Canang dan Ureka Asia telah mempersoalkan kehadiran nama pelakon jelita tersebut dalam entri-entri Tukar Tiub.

Baru-baru ini pula, weblog Marhaen, blog Anak Sungai Derhaka, Pulak Dah, steadyaku47 dan beberapa lagi mula memberikan perhatian mereka dalam isu ini yang dikatakan berlaku sekitar Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur ini.

Malahan ada antara blog ini yang secara berani mendedahkan nama pembesar terbabit sekaligus dikaitkan dengan pelantikan kontroversi Datuk Mohammad Khusrin Munawai sebagai setiausaha kerajaan (SUK) negeri Selangor.

Semakin rancak di alam siber

Sementara itu, dalam isu kejadian rogol yang melibatkan seorang menteri kabinet terhadap pembantu rumahnya yang terbongkar gara-gara pendedahan WikiLeaks juga semakin rancak diperkatakan di alam siber.

Bermula daripada laporan blog Rocky Bru yang kelihatan samar pada awalnya, isu ini mula menunjukkan perkembangan dengan penemuan-penemuan maklumat terbaru yang diantaranya gambar wanita yang dikatakan sebagai mangsa rogol menteri dan sepucuk surat aduan yang ditulis oleh adik mangsa, Robengah.

Beberapa blog juga didapati mula menyiarkan surat terbabit yang dialamatkan kepada Migrant Care’s dengan menghitamkan pada bahagian nama menteri yang dikatakan melakukan perbuatan rogol itu.

Bagaimanapun nama menteri berkenaan masih boleh dilihat apabila imej surat berkenaan dibesarkan. Antara beberapa blog terkenal yang memfokuskan isu ini dengan menyiarkan surat tersebut Sharpshooter,, Tukar Tiub, Anak Sungai Derhaka, weblog Marhaen, edyesdotcom dan banyak lagi.

Pada ketika ini, nama menteri yang terlibat bukanlah lagi menjadi satu rahsia di alam siber sekaligus sedikit sebanyak menjejaskan imej Umno, Barisan Nasional dan individu itu sendiri.

Skandal ini sudah tentu menambahkan lagi senarai bahan kempen Pakatan Rakyat baik dalam Pilihan Raya Kecil DUN Tenang mahupun PRU-13 nanti.

Egypt's Copts clash with police

Angry Coptic Christians have clashed with police as they demanded more protection for Egypt's Christians following a New Year's Day church bombing that killed 21 of their brethren.

Hundreds of members of Egypt's large Christian minority protested in Cairo and Alexandria, the northern city where the presumed suicide bomber detonated a device outside a church during a midnight service.

At Saint Mark's Cathedral, the Cairo base of Orthodox Pope Shenouda, several hundred young Copts fought police on Sunday as they tried to leave the cathedral grounds and take to the streets to demand more protection for Christians.

Their protest continued into the night, the crowd held back by a cordon of riot police nine men deep. A church official approached the crowd briefly to try to calm them down, without success.

Egypt is holding seven people for questioning over the New Year's Day bombing.

Sunday's announcement came as congregants were back praying in al-Qiddissine [The Saints] church, targeted the day before by a car bomb that also wounded 97 people.

Reuters news agency, citing security sources, reported later that 10 of the 17 originally held were released, with the remaining seven being detained for questioning.

Earlier, protestors in Cairo had heckled government officials who visited the cathedral compound to offer condolences.

Extra police

Some protesters pelted a minister's car with stones when he left, witnesses said. Some visiting Christian officials had cars shaken by angry demonstrators, while other protesters scuffled with police outside the compound.

Extra police officers were posted outside several churches in Cairo and Alexandria on Sunday, preventing cars from parking next to the buildings, witnesses said

Dozens of worshippers attended Sunday Mass at the church, located in the Sidi Bechr district of the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, while riot police backed by armoured vehicles were deployed outside.

The service was marked by the grief and anger felt by a congregation devastated by the attack, which took place on Saturday outside the church's door about 30 minutes into the New Year.

Many wept while others cried hysterically, screamed in anger or slapped themselves.

"We spend every feast in grief," Sohair Fawzy, who lost two sisters and a niece in the attack, said.

Grim reminders of the attack remained in the church a day after the bombing. Its ground floor was stained with the blood of victims brought inside immediately after the attack.

Two statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary were toppled and the benches were scattered by the impact of the blast. A "2011" sign hung on the inside of the church's door was torn apart.

The attack was the worst violence against Egypt's Christian minority in a decade.

It sparked clashes between riot police and Christians who say the government hasn't done enough to protect them.

The Copts are the biggest Christian community in the Middle East and account for up to 10 per cent of Egypt's 80 million population.

No bombing claim

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing, which came as nearly 1,000 faithful left al-Qiddissine church.

According to the Egyptian interior ministry, the car that exploded was parked in front of the church.

After the blast, enraged Christians emerging from the church fought with police and stormed a nearby mosque.

Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from the Egyptian capital Cairo, said that the car bomb probably involved sophisticated remote-control timer technology.

"Churches in Egypt are heavily guarded, so undoubtedly questions will arise about how a car was parked so close to the church and who was able to detonate it from a distance," he said.

While it was not known who was responsible for the blast, a group calling itself "al-Qaeda in Iraq" had threatened the country's Coptic Christian community.
Egyptian Christians mourn
Day of anger in Alexandria

Egyptian police said on Sunday they are focusing their investigation on an Alexandria-based group inspired by al-Qaeda, but not under foreign command.

Security officials said that they were also examining lists of air passengers who arrived in Egypt recently from Iraq, in response to the threats from the Al-Qaeda in Iraq group.

They said they were looking for any evidence of an al-Qaeda financier or organiser who may have visited Egypt to recruit the bomber and his support team from the local population.

Investigators were also examining two heads found at the site of the attack, on the suspicion that one of them belonged to the bomber, state news agency MENA reported.

The crime lab investigation found the explosives used were locally made and were filled with nails and ball bearings to maximise the number of casualties.

Pope's appeal

The attack in Egypt prompted Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican to call for Christians to remain strong in the face of intolerance and violence in a New Year's appeal on Sunday.

It echoed comments last month in which he called a lack of religious freedom a threat to world security.

"In the light of this strategy of violence which is targeting Christians but has consequences on the whole population, I pray for the victims and for their families and I encourage the ecclesiastic communities to persevere in faith and in the testimony of non-violence which comes from the Gospels," he said.

The bombing comes almost two months to the day after an October 31 attack by fighters on Our Lady of Salvation church in central Baghdad, which left 44 worshippers, two priests and seven security forces members dead.

Al-Qaeda's Iraqi affiliate claimed responsibility for that attack and made new threats against Christians.

The group threatened to attack Egyptian Copts if their church did not free two Christians it said had been "imprisoned in their monasteries" for having converted to Islam.

The two women were Camilia Chehata and Wafa Constantine, the wives of Coptic priests whose claimed conversion caused a stir in Egypt.

Protection around Copt places of worship was discreetly stepped up after the threats, as Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, said he was committed to protecting the Christians "faced with the forces of terrorism and extremism".

Source : Al Jazeera and agencies

Khusrin clocks in, yet to meet MB

Mohd Khusrin Munawi arrived at work at the Selangor State Secretariat at 6.45am today, despite the controversy surrounding his appointment, avoiding the bevy of reporters waiting for him at the entrance.

"There was no problem," he said, putting a brave face, before disappearing into state government's headquarters in Shah Alam.

However, it is understood that he has not yet reported to the menteri besar, as Khalid Ibrahim will be coming in later this morning.

A source from the MB's office told the media that no directives were given to stop Khusrin from going to the state secretary's office on the 19th floor of the state secretariat building.

"There is not going to be any confrontation... Of course, he can come in but whether he works for us (the Selangor government) is a different story," he said.

He is due to be sworn in on Jan 6, but the state government is opposing his appointment saying that the MB was never consulted on his appointment.

The Selangor government is against Khusrin being named by the federal government as the top civil servant in the state as he had served as a special aide to Umno's MB Muhammad Muhammad Taib.
Khusrin, 54, was picked by chief secretary to the government Mohd Sidek Hassan to replace Ramli Mahmud, who ended his service on Dec 31.
Before his promotion, Khusrin served as the controversial head of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais). 

Ex-judge cautions against court action in state secretary tiff

Chan said the only possible challenge to the state secretary’s appointment is that he was not appointed by the appropriate service commission. — File pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — The Selangor government may find itself in a deeper mess than a stalemate if it heads to the court to resolve the controversial appointment of its new state secretary, says retired judge Datuk N.H. Chan.

Pointing to section 52 of the Selangor state constitution, Chan stressed the law clearly states that the state secretary is appointed by a service commission and not the mentri besar or even the Sultan as some parties have argued.

“As you can see, section 52(1) is definitive; it says specifically that the appointment of the state secretary shall be made by the appropriate service commission from amongst members of the relevant public services.

“He is not to be appointed by anyone else; not even by the Sultan, not even the prime minister but solely by the particular service commission of whom the candidate state secretary is a member of that public service,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“Therefore, the only possible challenge to the state secretary’s appointment is that he was not appointed by the appropriate service commission,” he stressed.

The former Court of Appeals judge told The Malaysian Insider that Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim must be very careful to identify the appropriate service commission before initiating any court action to settle the controversial appointment.

“If they sue the wrong service commission, they will lose 100 per cent. Their case will be dismissed immediately,” he explained over the phone from his home in Ipoh.

Another retired judge, from the Federal Court, had told The Malaysian Insider that the appropriate service commission stated in the Selangor constitution referred to the Public Service Department (PSD), headed by the Chief Secretary to the Malaysian Government, Tan Sri Sidek Hassan.

Chan was reluctant to comment on that view.

“I do not know because I’m not a practising lawyer; I do not have the suitable law books to refer to with me,” he replied when asked his opinion on the appointing authority.

“I read that Karpal Singh is helping. They must do their homework and identify the appropriate commission,” he stressed.

Constitutional law lecturer Professor Dr Abdul Aziz Bari, from the International Islamic University, had said that the Selangor MB’s best chance to settle the escalating row was through the courts.

“I believe there are several ways, but quo warranto, like in the Perak crisis case; or just ask for a declaration to that the court can declare the law on the issues,” Abdul Aziz replied when asked how the dispute could be settled in court.

“Since the Sultan is still immune in ordinary court, then like in Perak, sue Khusrin,” he added, referring to the 2009 landmark case over who was the state’s lawful mentri besar that went all the way up to the nation’s highest court.

The country’s richest state has been in turmoil for the past week since Sidek named Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi to the post, to replace Datuk Ramli Mahmud who left on December 31.

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 Khalid’s state administration.

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 oath of loyalty ceremony for January 6, which is expected to be boycotted by the state’s 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.

Several parties have claimed that the federal Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition has been engineering to sabotage Selangor’s administration from within the civil service in its bid to retake the country’s richest state.

Chan firmly stated that the Selangor situation was different from the Perak constitutional crisis that triggered the collapse of Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin’s Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state administration in February 2009 because of a different set of laws.

The retired judge also advised Khalid from taking a belligerent stand against accepting Khusrin’s oath of secrecy.

“I am of the view that it is unwise that he should be prevented from taking the oath of secrecy under subsection (4),” Chan said.

“Otherwise, it can be argued that he is not bound by any impediment or stricture not to reveal anything that happened at the State Executive Council,” he added.

He pointed to section 52(3) of the Selangor constitution that read: “Once a State Secretary has been appointed by the appropriate Service Commission, he shall have the right to take part in the proceedings of the State Executive Council and the Legislative Assembly.”

Chan said the state law also allowed for Khusrin to be appointed to any committee set up by the exco and the legislative assembly, but did not see it happening in the current circumstances because “most probably he will be treated like a pariah”.

“But it is important to note that the subsection also says that he ‘shall not have any vote in the State Executive Council or the Legislative Assembly or any such Committee’,” Chan stressed.

Disappointed Jeffrey quits PKR

jeffrey kitingan
KUALA LUMPUR: It’s official. Sabah politician Jeffrey Kitingan has resigned from PKR. FMT has acquired a copy of his resignation letter dated Dec 31 sent via e-mail to party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and copied to the state liaison secretary.

The letter ends Jeffrey’s denial today that he had not “yet” quit from the party after his close aides tipped off FMT earlier that the former PKR vice-president had sent in his resignation to Wan Azizah and copied the mail to some of his inner circle members.

Not amused by his latest theatrics, a source in his inner circle said that Jeffrey’s fickle-minded “stunt” was to enable him “to do some last-minute bargaining with Anwar (Ibrahim, PKR adviser)”.

But Jeffrey’s resignation letter, however, sounded otherwise.

In his letter, Jeffrey said: “Anwar’s obsession is to capture Putrajaya without listening to us and our Borneo Agenda. Therefore, after a deep soul-searching I have decided to resign from PKR with immediate effect.

“We have learnt from the 47 years of our so-called independence and our partnership with Sarawak and Malaya in the federation of Malaysia that we cannot trust others to defend our rights and to do things for us… We have to take responsibility for ourselves and our future.”

A disappointed Jeffrey also stated that PKR’s agenda was “not our agenda” and that the party’s priority “is not our priority”.

“My resignation from PKR does not mean that I do not support your (PKR) ideals nor does it mean that we will become enemies.

“We can still work together to achieve the desired change for a better Malaysia,” said Jeffrey who signed off as Pensiang division chief.

Jeffrey’s resignation has once and for all ended hours and weeks of speculation about his position in the party.

Jeffrey is expected to pursue his passion – autonomy for Sabah and Sarawak – through his newly established rights movement United Borneo Front (UBF).

The UBF aims to unite Sabahans to regain their position in the country.

Fears of sectarian violence mount in Egypt

(AFP) - Christians prayed Sunday at a church targeted by an apparent suicide bomber who killed 21 people as Egypt pointed the finger of blame at international "terrorism" and fears of sectarian violence mounted.

"With our soul and our blood we will redeem the Holy Cross," chanted the congregation as Copts gathered at the Al-Qiddissin church in Alexandria for Sunday mass a day after the bombing.

Blood stains from Saturday's attack were still visible on the facade of the church, where 21 people were killed early on New Year's Day and 79 wounded when an apparent suicide bomber blew himself up.

The attack sparked angry street protests in Alexandria and clashes between hundreds of Christian youths and police on Saturday.

There was no immediate claim but Al-Qaeda has called for punishment of Egypt's Copts over claims that two priests' wives they say had converted to Islam were being held by the Church against their will.

President Hosni Mubarak said the attack bore the hallmark of "foreign hands" and the interior ministry also blamed "foreign elements" -- euphemisms which point to Islamists militants such as Al-Qaeda loyalists.

Mubarak pledged in televised remarks on Saturday that he will "cut off the head of the snake, confront terrorism and defeat it" and urged Christians and Muslims to stand united in the face of a common enemy.

At least 5,000 people attended funerals late on Saturday for the victims at a monastery outside Alexandria, where crowds of mourners shouted slogans and refused to accept official condolences.

"No, no, no," the crowd shouted as a Church official tried to read out condolences from Mubarak.

The Church said in a statement that the attack "constituted a dangerous escalation in sectarian incidents against the Copts."

Government and independent newspapers in Cairo warned on Sunday that "civil war" could break out unless Christians and Muslims close ranks.

The papers also urged the government to give serious consideration to the plight of the Copts, who account for up to 10 percent of Egypt's 80-million population and often complain of discrimination.

"Someone wants to make this country explode... We must realise that there is a plot aimed at triggering religious civil war," the pro-government daily Rose el-Yussef said.

The independent paper Al-Shorouk said Christians had a right to be angry, but urged them not play into the game of "the instigators of (Saturday's) crime."

"If all goes as planned, criminal operations against Coptic targets and holy places will increase. Copts will clash with their Muslim neighbours and we will be stuck in marshlands like Lebanon was in April 1975," Al-Shorouk said of the 15-year Lebanese civil war unleashed that month.

Christian protesters Sunday heckled police and showered them with stones as they shouted slogans against Mubarak's regime.

"O Mubarak, the heart of the Copts is on fire," protesters chanted as they darted in and out of side-streets around the bloodied church to shower police with stones. Police fired tear gas grenades at the demonstrators.

The independent daily Al-Masri Al-Yom urged the authorities to take the bull by the horns and look beyond the security implications of Saturday's bombing, including at the political, social and cultural aspects.

"We should not hide our heads in the sand. Some say that foreign hands are probably behind this crime. But we believe that if the national fabric is solid enough, no foreign faction could set the fire in our midst."

The attack drew international condemnation with Pope Benedict XVI leading the fray on Saturday urging world leaders to defend Christians against abuse while US President Barack Obama denounced "this barbaric and heinous act."

The World Council of Churches (WCC) condemned "the vicious attack" and called for "proactive engagement in dialogue and partnership between Christians and Muslims in Egypt."

Saturday's attack came two months after Al-Qaeda's Iraq affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, claimed responsibility for a Baghdad church attack which it said was aimed to force the release of the women in Egypt.

Gobalakrishnan staying in PKR to push for reforms

(NST) - Embattled PKR Padang Serai member of parliament N. Gobalakrishnan yesterday alleged that the party’s deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali had breached its election rules by pushing for a re-election for the Perak PKR liaison committee chairman post.

Gobalakrishnan said this was despite the post being won by Mustafa Kamil Ayub by three votes.

“Azmin and his men pushed for a re-election with the intention to defeat Mustafa who had run for the deputy-president post against Azmin.”

Gobalakrishnan claimed that Azmin was going overboard in running down party members who were vocal in pushing for reforms in PKR.

“Azmin and his staunch supporters are acting above the party's constitution and creating a new culture in PKR whereby those who are not in line with him are being sidelined and pushed to leave the party.”

Gobalakrishnan, who failed to be elected as vice-president during PKR’s elections last November, also reiterated that the results were invalid.

Despite these, Gobalakrishnan insisted that he was not leaving the party and would stay to push for reforms in PKR.

“I am merely voicing out the disappointment among party grassroots over the election process.

“All this is happening because of Azmin and his group’s actions in going overboard,” said Gobalakrishnan to reporters at his service centre here yesterday.

Tahan Shuhaimi di bawah ISA'

(Utusan Online) - UMNO Selangor mahu Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) mengambil tindakan tegas terhadap Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (ADUN) Seri Muda, Shuhaimi Shafiei (gambar) ekoran kenyataan yang didakwa menghasut rakyat menentang institusi beraja di negeri ini.

Ketua Penerangannya, Abdul Shukor Idrus berkata, tindakan di bawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) harus dikenakan terhadap wakil rakyat Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) itu kerana kenyataannya yang dibimbangi boleh menggugat sistem pentadbiran dan keselamatan negara.

Katanya, negara ini mengamalkan sistem Raja Berperlembagaan dengan kedudukan sultan atau raja diiktiraf sebagai ketua bagi sesebuah negeri.

Justeru beliau menegaskan, sebarang kenyataan atau tindakan oleh mana-mana individu yang mempertikaikan kedudukan serta bidang kuasa institusi itu merupakan satu pengkhianatan terhadap prinsip-prinsip Perlembagaan apatah lagi mengajak rakyat menentang asas perundangan negara.

"Kita memandang serius perkara tersebut atas dasar menjaga kedudukan Perlembagaan serta keselamatan negara ini. Tindakan Shuhaimi seolah-olah mahu mewujudkan fahaman anarki dalam masyarakat khususnya di Selangor.

"Ini amat membimbangkan dan kita mahu KDN mengambil tindakan tegas terhadapnya termasuklah ISA sekiranya perlu," katanya kepada Utusan Malaysia di sini hari ini.

Pada 31 Disember lalu, Shuhaimi menerusi laman blognya, didakwa terang-terangan menentang keputusan Sultan Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah yang memperkenankan pelantikan Mohammed Khusrin Munawi sebagai Setiausaha Kerajaan Negeri (SUK).

Menurut Shuhaimi, pelantikan jawatan SUK tidak memerlukan perkenan Sultan Selangor sebaliknya ia adalah di bawah bidang kuasa Majlis Mesyuarat Kerajaan Negeri (MMKN) dan baginda seharusnya bertindak berdasarkan nasihat majlis berkenaan, bukannya berkecuali.

Malah, Shuhaimi menerusi kenyataan di dalam laman blog berkenaan seolah-olah turut memberikan amaran kepada institusi beraja Selangor supaya tidak berterusan bertindak membelakangkan MMKN atau terpaksa berdepan dengan gelombang kebangkitan rakyat bagi menentang pihak istana.

Tidak cukup dengan itu, wakil rakyat PKR itu turut menyatakan kononnya rakyat akan menolak sebarang tindakan "Beraja di mata, bersultan di hati" oleh mana-mana pihak yang bertindak sewenang-wenangnya, tidak kira sama ada oleh "raja yang berjiwa rakyat atau rakyat yang berjiwa raja".

“Pornographic” poetry for our teens?

by Mrs. Sheela R

The study of Malay literature for students of the Upper Secondary level features a poem by Raja Ali Haji, a scholar and a prominent literary figure of the nineteenth century. Raja Ali Haji was noted for his numerous literary gems such as the “Tuhfat Al-nafis” (The precious gift) and “Syair Kitab al-Nikah” (The book of marriage).

The poem selected for study at the Form four level is an excerpt from his lesser-known literary work entitled “Syair Siti Sianah”. The foreword written in Malay includes an explanation as to whom the poem is intended for and the purported advice it contains. I reproduce this extract below:

“Syair Siti Sianah pula mengandungi nasihat yang tujukan khas kepada golongan wanita supaya mereka sentiasa menjaga maruah diri, etika dan nama baik keluarga serta tidak melanggar ajaran, norma masyarakat dan budaya”.

(Translation: “Syair Siti Sianah” contains advice which is specially directed towards women to always guard their virtue, ethics and uphold their family name whilst not going against the teachings of religion, societal norms and culture”).

Now, to the poem itself. A total of 11 verses have been selected for inclusion in the text. As an example, I reproduce three verses below with a brief/approximate translation:

Verse 7
“Setengah perempuan yang makan angkat,
Memakai gelang bertingkat-tingkat,
Memandang laki-laki matanya lekat
Dengan jantan suka berdekat”
(Some women bedeck themselves with jewellery and seek to entice men with flirtatious looks)

Verse 8
Kaki dan tangan dinaikkan pula,
Pura-pura dikatakan ubat segala,
Hakikatnya diketahui Allah Taala,
Supaya laki-laki berhati gila
(With hands and legs lifted in a lascivious manner they try to seduce men)

Verse 11
Laki-laki perempuan bertindih lutut
Banyak kelakuan yang tidak patut
Sembahyang ibadat sudah bantut
Kerana syaitan duduk di buntut
(Men and women indulge in close proximity, with piety forgotten, for the devil has trapped them, literally in the derriere with lustful behaviour!)

Exactly how is a poem of this genre expected to encourage sixteen year olds not to “stray from the path of virtue”?

While poetic license is a virtue, poetry that denigrates women and at that too in a highly graphic manner cannot be considered appropriate study material for secondary schoolchildren. After all¸ the study of literature is to educate not titillate.

Samy Vellu Begins Special Envoy Duties

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 (Bernama) -- Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, who assumed duties as Malaysia's special envoy with ministerial rank on infrastructure to India and South Asia on Saturday, will begin his tour of duty on Thursday starting with New Delhi.

The former MIC president will be leading a 150-strong Malaysian Indian delegation to the ninth Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, an annual conference that brings together people of Indian origin from throughout the world, according to a statement from his office here today.

The former works minister is scheduled to hold talks with high-ranking Indian government officials on the sidelines of the four-day conference in New Delhi to prepare the ground to open up more opportunities for Malaysian businessmen to venture into India, the statement said.

The conference, to be officially opened by Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on Saturday, will also see participation by key Indian Cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Road Transport and Highways Minister Kamal Nath, who is responsible for infrastructure projects in India.

Samy Vellu, who stepped down last month after 31 years as MIC president, was appointed the special envoy by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to tap Samy Vellu's experience in clinching billions of ringgit worth of projects for Malaysian companies during his tenure as works minister.

Besides India, other South Asian countries under Samy Vellu's portfolio are Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives.

During a meeting with Dr Manmohan Singh here in October, Samy Vellu had expressed the hope that Malaysian businessmen would be given more opportunities by the Indian government to participate in infrastructure development projects in India.

Samy Vellu was quoted as saying that he had requested Dr Manmohan Singh for India to establish greater trade and investment cooperation with Malaysia.

He had said that in the past 10 years, Malaysian businessmen had played a significant role in infrastructure development in India, completing projects worth about US$20 billion (about RM61.4 billion) but that the figure had dwindled of late.

During his official visit here in October, Dr Manmohan Singh said India, which plans to raise its investment target in infrastructure projects to US$1 trillion (about RM3.07 trillion), welcomed greater Malaysian participation given Malaysia's strength in the sector.

In its 11th five-year plan which ends in 2011, India has targeted investment in infrastructure of US$500 billion (about RM1.5 trillion) and hopes to increase this to US$1 trillion in the 12th plan, Dr Manmohan Singh was quoted as saying.

'Pail protest' at DBKL before taps run dry

Tema ‘Umno Dahulukan Rakyat’ diperkasa pada 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: Slogan “Umno Dahulukan Rakyat” akan diperkasakan pada 2011 bagi memberi mesej jelas bahawa Umno sentiasa mahu melakukan yang terbaik dalam hal pembangunan rakyat dan negara, kata Ketua Penerangan Umno Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

Pelaksanaannya akan digiatkan melalui program Juara Rakyat yang akan dianjurkan sepanjang tahun dan disuntik dengan “gaya baru” dengan tema berbeza setiap bulan, katanya.

“Tema (program Juara Rakyat) untuk bulan Januari ialah pendidikan dan program ini akan bemula dengan gaya baru dengan mengadakan ceramah juara rakyat ketika aktiviti sedang berjalan.

“Ianya tidak seperti biasa yang hanya melibatkan pameran dan lawatan sahaja seperti sebelum ini dan ini dilakukan bagi memberikan penerangan yang jelas kepada peringkat akar umbi,”
katanya ketika dihubungi Bernama.

Program Juara Rakyat pada bulan Februari akan membawa tema “kebajikan” sebelum diteruskan dengan tema-tema lain selepas itu, katanya.

“Kita sasarkan minimum kita akan adakan satu program Juara Rakyat di semua bahagian bermula tahun ini,” katanya.

Tahun lepas, Umno berjaya menganjurkan 2,000 program Juara Rakyat di seluruh negara, katanya.

Ahmad berkata Umno juga mahu memberikan mesej yang jelas kepada rakyat bahawa parti itu dan Barisan Nasional (BN) sentiasa mahu menjadi pilihan utama mereka untuk pembangunan ekonomi dan sosial.

“Kita akan jelaskan misi kita untuk menjadi juara di hati rakyat, sedia berbakti di barisan hadapan demi rakyat dan sentiasa mencari yang terbaik untuk diberikan kepada mereka,” katanya.

- Bernama

Khairy confirms he won’t defend Rembau seat

By Teh Eng Hock, The Star

PETALING JAYA: Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin has confirmed speculation on social networking site Twitter that he will not defend his Rembau seat in the next general election.

When asked to verify the speculation that he might not contest in the 13th general election, Khairy replied “yes” via SMS.

He had earlier created quite a buzz in Twitter when he sent a tweet about taking a break from politics.

“Hope to help win more youth support for BN (Barisan Nasional) in 2011 & work hard preparing for elections. Then I’m taking a break from politics. Can’t wait,” Khairy wrote on Twitter.

His tweet generated much response from his followers who wondered if the Rembau MP was not going to defend his seat in the 13th general election.

“I would like to ‘stand down’ as they say in the UK. A couple of things I’d like to do before it gets too late,” tweeted Khairy in response to a follower who asked him what he meant by a “break”.

Asked how long he planned to be away from politics, Khairy replied: “Indefinite. Not sure what I will be doing. A few things I want to do like go back to school.”

Khairy first mentioned the possibility of not defending his seat in an interview with a newsportal last July.

At that time, he clarified his statement a day later, saying he was only mulling the possibility and that he had yet to make a firm decision on the matter.

2011 – The Rise Of Pakatan Rakyat, The Imminent Fall Of Umno/BN

by Richard Loh

Let us Malaysians start the New Year with a Big Bang. May our New Year resolutions not be for self but for the country. We should resolve to be fully committed to voting in a new Federal Government at the next GE, one that will bring about the changes Malaysians have desired for so long.

It would appear that 2010 was a very good year for Najib, even though all he did was to plaster the whole country with slogans and rhetoric that benefited no one but his wife, foreign agents and cronies. Just imagine the millions or even billions wasted to promote them. And it is the rakyat’s money!

What comes out of Najib’s mouth sounds so hollow. You must have read in the Mainstream Media his various speeches in front of different communities. He paints a rosy picture to arouse the rakyat into believing that what he is ‘trying’ to do is for the ‘good’ of the country.

He talks about unity, equality, religious tolerance, Bangsa Malaysia but his actions contradict his preaching. He can still tolerate the racists Utusan, Perkasa and civil servants spreading racial hatred and religious intolerance. All these are living proof that Umno/BN have failed in their 54 years of administration and governing.

The alternative media and bloggers too have countered all these insincere promises and pointed out that talk and slogans alone will not unite the country and bring prosperity to the rakyat.

We must reject Umno’s/BN’s call to return them to power again. There is totally no hope that they will change. BN’s continuing rule of this country will only bring more hardship to the rakyat and will bankrupt the country.

After March 2008, we expected Umno/BN to realise that there are so many faults in their ways of governing. However, instead of making amends, they have continued to use strong-arm tactics, undemocratic processes and a divide-and-rule system to stay on top. It is in name only that Umno/BN upholds democracy. In reality, it is leaning towards becoming a totalitarian regime.

Can you still tolerate Umno/BN, given their undemocratic actions, corruption and racism? While taking a break from writing this article, I read the news that Najib & Co are on their way to power-grabbing Selangor – just like what they did to Perak. And it was reported too that no cross was to be visible and no sermon allowed when Najib attended a Christmas function recently. This is a clear sign that 1Malaysia is not accepted even within Najib’s own administration.

Najib & Co do not care about the rakyat. They are busy planning and plotting how to take back the States that they lost in order to regain a two-thirds majority. They will not hesitate to resort to underhanded methods and undemocratic processes and yes, they will get the help of the EC in the coming GE to ensure a win.

The 2008 tsunami shook up Umno/BN but it did not destroy their corrupt, arrogant, racist and undemocratic nature. To date, they have still not felt any shame in using their power to betray the rakyat and choke the States under PR of development funds. This country cannot afford to continue to allow such incompetent and undemocratic leaders to govern any further.

Malaysians must learn to accept the truth – that this country and its citizens can survive without this regime. We need not be afraid of their threats. We must recognise that it is we who decide the government of the day, not Umno/BN. We need to punish Umno/BN for not listening to us and we must put them into cold storage for 2 or 3 terms.

We must believe our hands are not tied. We have choices in everything. If you don’t like a Proton Saga, you can go for a Persona. And there are many other choices of car models and makes. If you don’t like Versace, you can have Christian Dior, Amani and many other brands of clothing, perfume and make-up. The choice is yours to make. But make a wise choice, for otherwise the consequences can be disastrous.

Umno/BN have been the ruling government for 54 years and we have grown tired of their undemocratic actions, their censoring of our freedom, their corruption, racism, unequal distribution of the nation’s wealth, poor education system plus their downright incompetence.

We now have a choice, an opportunity to rid our country of the cancer inflicted by Umno/BN and to start afresh with Pakatan Rakyat. Yes, there are weaknesses and flaws in PR. They may not be 100% perfect (which government is?) but I am very sure they are well over 100% better than Umno/BN.

So, join me in spreading this call:


MIC Confident Of Increasing Indian Support In Tenang

LABIS, Jan 2 (Bernama) -- MIC President Datuk G. Palanivel expressed confidence that the party would be able to increase the Indian community's support for Barisan Nasional (BN) during the Tenang by-election.

Palanivel said since 1,100 of the 1,754 Indian voters in Tenang were members of MIC, there was every reason to be confident of their support for the by-election, scheduled on Jan 30.

"Maybe there will be an increase in the number when the final electoral list is released. From the current list though, 1,100 of the 1,754 Indian voters registered in Tenang are MIC members.

"There are 14 divisions and we have already received the list to identify the voters. We are confident of ensuring that all the registered voters will be able to come and cast their votes," he told reporters here after launching the MIC election machinery for Tenang, here Sunday.

Palanivel said efforts were also being carried out to ensure about 80 Indian voters who are currently working or staying outside Johor or Tenang, to return and cast their votes on polling day.

Najib and the Christmas party hoo-ha

By Anil Netto,

People are still talking about the PM’s aides asking the church to remove religious symbols at the Christmas tea party to which the PM and opposition leaders were invited.

In today’s Malaysian Insider, Utusan’s Ridhuan Tee has chipped in with his idiotic two cents’ worth. (I don’t know why people pay attention to what he says.) Meanwhile, a priest phoned me just now to find out what exactly had happened. One Christian emailed, critical not only of the PM’s aides but of the church itself: the big question, he wanted to know, did the Archbishop agree to the PM’s aides demands/instructions/advice? What concessions, if any were actually made?

The Christmas party is an annual event organised by the Christian Federation of Malaysia, an ecumenical umbrella body representing the main Protestant, Oriental Orthodox, Evangelical and Catholic churches in the country. This year, it was the turn of the Catholic Church to play host and so it was held at the residence of Catholic Archbishop Murphy Pakiam, or more precisely at the car park of the premises, where the issue of religious symbols didn’t arise in the first place. Read more