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Friday, January 7, 2011

Can a 7-year old declare faith?

Tan Yi Min is now Eilliyah Foong Abdullah. This child is Tan Cheow Hong's daughter. She was born into the Tan family. Her grandfather belonged to the 'Tan' clan, as did her great grandfather and her great, great grandfather. Her mother Fatimah Foong Abdullah has with cold calculation misused Islam to deprive 'Eilliyah Foong Abdullah' of her birthright - the 'Tan' surname.

The Malaysiakini report said Fatimah converted Yi Min on Nov 9 at the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department. She snatched her from school on Nov 8. This time-line indicates that Fatimah converted Yi Min the very next day.

Remember that the child has lived with her father these past three years. She has never been taught Islam and knows next to nothing about the religion. Yet barely 24 hours after being snatched with the help of the police and the Islamic officials, this little girl could miraculously declare - before another different set of Islamic bureaucrats - that she wishes to embrace Islam.

Bagaimana budak Cina tujuh tahun boleh mengucap dua kalimah syahadah?” This question was the first thing to cross the mind of Sharifuddin Abdul Latiff, administrator of the mediawatch group Hartal MSM.

You trying saying this: 'ašhadu an la ilaha illa (A)llah, wa ašhadu anna Muhammada(n) rasulu (A)llah'. Now imagine a traumatised little girl who had just been kidnapped and driven pell-mell from Penang to Selangor reciting the syahadah in a language she'd never spoken a word of before; and doing it twice correctly (a procedural convention) in the presence of intimidating strangers in an alien environment a long distance from home.

When Yi Min ostensibly bore witness as a 'Muslim', she would have had no conception of who the Prophet Muhammad was. Sharifuddin further points out that when the Prophet received his calling, he was a mature man 40 years in age.

It's impossible that an immature child grasped the message of Islam in the matter of a mere 24 hours. How could the officer-in-charge then proceed to stamp approval without first ascertaining that the conditions for conversion were properly fulfilled?

Fatimah Foong holds no 'sijil perkahwinan' (Muslim marriage certificate). Yi Min was not conceived in Muslim wedlock. Yi Min's father was not present to give his consent. This makes the conversion of his daughter, a minor, against civil law.

That Fatimah's mockery of justice was entertained by ketuanan Islam is beyond a dereliction of duty; it is criminal mala fide.

Selling their skin

If this sick, shotgun conversion is not immediately voided, Yi Min is doomed to Hotel California - you “can check out but never leave”. Like Banggarma, remember her? Like Revathi. Remember her too?

It's high time that Malays here do some deep soul-searching and ask yourselves what kind of saudara baru you're all acquiring in droves.

Parental duty is a shared responsibility. As a Malay man or woman, how would you feel if your estranged Malay spouse was to snatch and deciding alone to convert your little boy to Hinduism in a Hindu-predominant country or Christianity in a Christian-predominant country?

How would you react if your wife 'bin'kan your offspring with another name?

Previously victims of the Islamic apparatus were poor Tamils. Cyberspace armchair critics gave not two hoots then and refused to understand why Hindraf had to happen. Now the mullahs have clamped their manacles on a middle-class Chinese child.

I have had Chinese Last converts telling me that they embraced Islam so that they can benefit from the monthly allowance provided to mualaf. I'm disappointed with the public perception that Chinese would have no qualms to convert if it made them eligible for special privileges as well as the actual opportunism that motivates some converts.

Well, at least the alarm bells have rung for the National Fatwa Council which decreed that non-Muslim politicians quoting holy text without sincerity are an insult to Islam. One of my readers pointed out the Tuan Guru doesn't quote the scriptures of other religions, whereas DAP leaders trip over themselves in promoting Islam.

The Pakatan 3 monkeys

See no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil - opposition parties and non-Muslim can so self-servingly sugarcoat their tongues when tiptoeing around Islam.

ou yang wen feng book launch penang 150810 ou yang wen fengTake for instance gay pastor Rev O Young (right) who pontificated that he is flabbergasted by the “prejudice against the Islamic faith” shown by his Christian detractors. His accusation prompted one reader 'Susah Kes' to respond: “But can I label you as hypocritical, since you train your sights on Christians only, and not on Islamic 'fundamentalists' who also share similar views [on homosexuality] as Christian 'fundamentalists'? Why don't you take those Jakim fellas on, too?”

It was a segment of Muslim society, and not any 1HomophobicMalaysia that wanted to stone homosexuals after viewing Azwan Ismail's YouTube 'Saya gay, saya okay'.

The Malay engineer coming out of the closet attracted an enormous number of comments, some 3,400 and most of them “vicious, rude and uncalled for”, according to project organiser Seksualiti Merdeka.

Before the plug was pulled on the 15-video series, earlier clips which managed to be uploaded had two Chinese men and one Indian woman. No death threats greeted the trio; it was only Azwan who was threatened with violence.

Root out gay culture, PAS Youth urged. Has the supposedly secular DAP anything to say to this demand by their fundamentalist partner?

“Being gay is not a crime”, the Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) announced defiantly in their press statement. Such parsing by JAG is utterly disingenuous.

Under the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territories) Act 1997, a person found guilty of liwat (sexual relations between males) can be fined up to RM5,000, jailed up to three years or whipped up to six strokes or any combination thereof. A person found guilty of musahaqah (sexual relations between females) is liable to the same penalties.

JAG must explain why, if as they claim homosexuality is no crime, these punishments are prescribed for homosexual acts.

PAS plays organ grinder

Even though Rome is burning, the Pakatan people are still fiddling away. It's usually said that Umno is trying to out-Islamise PAS. Nobody says PAS is trying to out-corrupt Umno. The PAS political vocabulary has influenced Umno but Umno has had negligible influence on PAS.

PAS is the opinion leader that calls the tune.

Gauge for yourself how much DAP is dancing to the PAS beat since Pakatan came into being. How can DAP ever hope to be a check and balance within Pakatan when it is like a bendy to PAS's uncompromising straight iron rod. PAS whether in 1951, 1971, 1991 or 2011 has adhered to the same consistent principles whereas in slightly under three years, DAP's inconsistent shape-shifting has come to signify an almost abject apologia.

NONEThe next time a BN candidate campaigns in your constituency, please do ask her if MCA or Gerakan can compete with the DAP on National Key Results Areas, such as Teo Nie Ching's Key Performance Index.

First the Serdang MP is banned from the mosque prayer hall. Next we hear that she's jumping about in a mosque carpark. Thereafter you can expect her activities to move on out to the roadside in front of the mosque. KPI mission accomplished is when she can no longer be shooed away.

You should hope that your MP is able to articulate and take up more pressing national concerns than setting as her NKRA a mighty resolve to continue visiting mosques.

NONEThe December edition of Milenia Muslim headlined 'Islam or Secularism?' and other cover-story features in the magazine reflect the level of serious discussion on Islamic issues. On the other hand, Pakatan and their non-Muslim supporters are perversely punctilious in trying to avoid talking about the Islamic state. They can also perform the most astounding aerobics and acrobatics just to appear un'communal'.

Thus, to these First-ers, the little child in tudung - formerly known as Tan Yi Min - is no more than another Malaysian First statistic.



HELEN ANG used to be a journalist. In future, she would like to be a practising cartoonist. But for the present, she is in the NGO circles and settling down to more serious writing and reading of social issues.

Copts celebrate amid tight security


Thousands of Coptic Christians have packed churches across Europe and the Middle East to celebrate Christmas Eve mass amid security fears following a recent deadly bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt.

Security was stepped up across Egypt as threats against specific churches were posted on the internet, days after the New Year's Day bombing of the al-Qiddissin Church in Alexandria that killed 23 people.

Tensions remained high in the country ahead of the Coptic Christmas on Friday as Copts gathered for mass, and the mood was somber outside St Mark's Cathedral in the capital, Cairo.

Al Jazeera's Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from outside the church, said Egyptian authorities are still trying to identify the attackers.

"The government says it is carrying out an intense search operation to identify just who was behind that attack on the church in Alexandria," he said.

"They also continue to reiterate that the attack was not just aimed at Copts, but all Egyptian citizens."

Solidarity amidst tensions

Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been threatening Christians in Iraq and Egypt. In response to threats against the Copts, Egyptian activists called on Muslims to form human shields in front of churches on Christmas Eve.

But Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Alexandria, said that Muslims had been urged by the church not to attend the Christmas Eve Mass.

"The Coptic church here in Alexandria issued a statement yesterday asking Muslims not to attend the Christmas Eve Mass," she said.

"According to that statement they said that they have to take into consideration the feelings and the sensitivities of the relatives of the victims."

Khodr said there was a sense of defiance among the country's Christian population, who would not be frightened away and would continue to pray in churches.

There is also tension and a sense of anger, our correspondent said. "The Christian community is angry; their anger directed at the state," she said.

Human rights groups say Egyptian police have been too slow to punish violence motivated by religion, sending a message that it is unacceptable.

Coexistence

Egypt's Muslims and Christians have co-existed for centuries, with occasional clashes often the result of family or business disputes or cross-faith relationships, rather than ideology.

Christians complain of discrimination in the job market and a lack of representation in government, the army and business.

A perception of growing intolerance is leading some to shun their Muslim compatriots.

Some blame growing tensions on a gradual Islamisation of education promoting a single, Islamic version of Egypt's identity that belies a diverse cultural history.

"Our school books are preaching Islamisation," said Youssef Sidhom, the Christian editor of weekly newspaper Watani.

"Coptic history of Egypt is to a vast extent withdrawn ... The syllabus is using Islam as the source of all traditions and norms."

Some young Copts, usually fiercely loyal to their church leaders, have begun to criticise them for keeping too low a profile and allowing political Islam to influence state policy.

Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has called for unity after the Alexandria attack, saying the bomber targeted all Egyptians.

Source:Al Jazeera and agencies

BN appoints Satim Selangor opposition chief

Khir quit the post after being charged with land fraud. — file pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 7 — Seri Serdang assemblyman Datuk Satim Diman has been named the new Selangor opposition leader, making him a potential mentri besar candidate if Barisan Nasional (BN) retakes the state.

At the state Umno liaison committee meeting last night, former minister Datuk Mohd Zin Mohamed was appointed state party secretary, a position previously held by Satim.

The minor reshuffle was made following the resignation of Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, who quit as opposition leader early last month after he was charged with land fraud.

“The appointment was decided last night and my task will be to prepare the party to win back Selangor,” Satim told The Malaysian Insider.

“Datuk Mohd Zin as a former minister is very experienced; he will focus on strengthening Umno and I will continue with other works that we started before; everyone will have a role to play. The reshuffle shows our seriousness in winning back Selangor,” said the Puchong Umno division chief.

Selangor Umno is headed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Datuk Seri Noh Omar as the new deputy.

“The meeting last night showed our preparedness. All members of the state liaison body attended including the new Youth chief Engku Salleh,” said Satim.

Satim had previously come under attack from Umno blogs for alleged failure to perform as a state lawmaker and was also rumoured to have resigned in June last year.

The four-term assemblyman later denied the rumours and made several appearances at Umno-organised public rallies in the state.

Satim was tipped to be the Selangor mentri besar after the resignation of Tan Sri Abu Hassan Omar in 2000 but then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad chose to back the younger Khir to take over the state leadership.

Early this week, Selangor Umno Youth also saw a leadership change when influential Serdang Youth leader Engku Salleh Engku Abdul Jamal was named as the new state Youth chief, replacing Sepang Youth chief Suhaimi Mohd Ghazali.

The reshuffle comes at a time when the Pakatan Rakyat Selangor government is struggling to control the fallout from its disagreement with the palace over the appointment of new state secretary, Datuk Mohd Khusrin Munawi.

The administration of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim has refused to recognise Khusrin’s selection, which it insists was made after interference by the BN federal government.

Surau ‘parking’ drug trafficker arrested with 6 others

KUALA TERENGGANU, Jan 7 — A ploy by a drug trafficking syndicate to use a surau as a front for their activities, was exposed when police managed to snuff out their illegal activities and arrest a man at 9.45pm on Tuesday.

State Narcotics chief Supt. Roslan Abd Wahid said a 36-year-old man, believed to be a member of the syndicate, normally parked his car in front of a surau situated near his house in Kampung Losong Haji Awang, hoping to dupe the police into believing that he was there for his prayers.

Police who carried out surveillance on the man from Bachok, Kelantan found that the man was an addict and the mastermind in the distribution of drugs in the area since last year.

“The modus operandi of the suspect is to park his car in front of the surau to fool the police and public into believing he was a pious man. The slick man tried to escape police and was involved in a scuffle when police tried to arrest him,” he told reporters here yesterday.

During the arrest police found 67 bottles of heroin weighing 311.6 grams, worth about RM106,000, in a Proton Perdana car that was parked at the surau.

Roslan said five minutes after his arrest, police also managed to detain six other suspects, including a woman, who were hiding in his house.

“When raiding his house we found 800 metamphetamine pills worth about RM24,000,” he said. — Bernama

Critics open fire on ‘open verdict’

PETALING JAYA: The open verdict in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest has drawn flak from various quarters, with some urging the government to establish a Coroner’s Court and others questioning the credibility of the coroner.

They were also unanimous in the call for a royal commission of inquiry to look into Teoh’s death.

Human rights organisation Suaram said it was concerned that magistrates attached to the Attorney-General’s Chambers lacked the qualification, experience as well as independence and impartiality in making sure law enforcement agencies were accountable.

“The current inquest process is lacking in independence and credibility as the procedure of an independent investigation and the qualification of the coroners are in question,” said Suaram coordinator E Nalini, who voiced the organisation’s disappointment with the decision as it failed to shed light on Teoh’s death.

Nalini said the inquest process in Malaysia needed critical reform especially in the pre-inquest and preliminary investigation stages and access to independent post-mortem.

She said that in 2006, the Parliamentary Select Committee on The Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code recommended the formulation of the Coroners Act in Malaysia to enable better procedures for investigation and inquests into deaths in custody.

“It also asked for a Coroner’s Court to be established. It is now critical that the government implements this Act,” she said, adding that the Enforcement Agencies Integrity Commission Act (EAIC) should be immediately implemented.

The EAIC Bill was tabled in 2009 and passed as an Act of Parliament by the Dewan Rakyat but yet to be brought to force.

Suaram also called for a royal commission to investigate all other cases of death in custody, and to address gaps in the current law enforcement system to ensure that human rights were protected.

It’s a strange decision

Lawyer N Surendran said Malaysia should emulate having a Coroner’s Court similar to what the UK had.

“What happens here is that a civil or criminal magistrate sits as coroner. Whether a magistrate is qualified or not is not the point. But it is good to have judicial officers who are concentrated on inquests, rather than having ‘part timers’,” he said.

Surendran said currently magistrates had to double up in doing their own cases which might cause delays in inquests, which were supposed to be heard and completed quickly.

“The credibility of the entire judiciary, including magistrates, are also in question and people don’t have confidence in the system anymore. For example, remands where the magistrate tends to favour the police. The authorities are behaving like ostriches and ignoring this problem,” he said.

On the Teoh inquest verdict, Surendran said it was a strange decision.

“If it is not suicide and not homicide, then what is it? If he says he doesn’t know, then he should not be so authoritative in saying it’s not homicide,” he said.

Another criminal lawyer, Akberdin Abdul Kader, however, said a Coroner’s Court could be considered but such a move should not be made too hastily.

“We should appreciate the verdict and let the matter run its course at the High Court,” he said, adding that he was also puzzled about the “open verdict”.

Akberdin, a former magistrate himself, said he disagreed that the ability of magistrates should be questioned as an inquest was merely a fact-finding mission.

“The law on inquests has been there for a long time, and in this case the inquest was given to a senior magistrate. There was a case around 1996 where the chief justice had instructed that a Sessions Court judge hear the case,” he said, adding that several policemen were charged in the death in custody case.

Lawyer Edmund Bon said he was also disappointed with the coroner’s verdict, although it was not an uncommon one.

“An open verdict is so common in Malaysia partly because our law enforcement agencies are so poorly run and crime scene investigations are inadequate and therefore the coroner cannot answer many questions.

“But he should have directed further investigations before he came to his verdict. The coroner erred in this aspect. The High Court, in appeal, should direct the coroner for the same questions to be answered,” he said.

Bon said that he felt that the coroner in this case, Azmil Muntapha Abas, did not reach the stage where he had exhausted all avenues.

“The coroner is part of an investigative process, so he cannot simply say there are things left unanswered; he must try his best to call all evidence and there is still a chance for him to do that if the attorney-general or High Court judge calls for the inquest to be re-opened,” he said.

Grave doubts cast

Former Transparency International president Ramon Navaratnam said the family could take consolation in the fact that the coroner ruled out suicide as a cause of death.

“But I wish it was more decisive and clear-cut as to whether he was killed or not,” he said.

“Maybe a royal commission could help. I support having a commission with a wider term of reference, then the public would be satisfied, ” he added.

Bar Council president Regunath Kesavan said that the indecisive findings cast grave doubts on the effectiveness of the inquest mechanism and rendered the whole process meaningless.

“While it is heartening that the coroner ruled out suicide, the inability to make a definitive finding is unsatisfactory, and leaves many issues unresolved in this matter of great public interest,” he said.

He said the coroner failed to consider the vital aspect that Teoh was under the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) when he died.

“This invariably places the burden on MACC to account for his death. The coroner ought to have reprimanded the conduct of the investigating officer for introducing the handwritten note midway through the inquest and should have ordered further investigation into his conduct,” he said.

He added that the Bar Council reaffirmed its call for a royal commission to be given a wide ambit to investigate the circumstances and cause of Teoh’s death.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Party secretary-general P Uthayakumar said that he was disappointed with the verdict.

“As always, the inquest is an open verdict. There has been no history of the court ordering a charge of murder or at least of manslaughter. Only an independent verdict by an independent court will end brutal and ruthless police killings.

“Teoh’s death is just the tip of the iceberg, the other 90% are Indian youths,” he added.

Malaysia slips down Democracy Index

Malaysia has taken a slight tumble down the Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2010 Democracy Index, slipping three places to number 71 out of 167 countries, with its overall score dropping from 6.36 points in 2008 to 6.19 last year.

This places Malaysia squarely in the “flawed democracy” category, along with 52 other countries that received overall scores of between 6 and 7.9 out of a maximum of 10 points.

Flawed democracies are countries that have “free and fair elections” and respect “basic civil liberties”, but face “problems such as infringements on media freedom”.

Such countries also have “significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation”, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) index shows.

The score is an average of points garnered in five different categories: electoral processes and pluralism, civil liberties, functioning government, political participation and political culture.

Scoring is based on expert assessment and public opinion surveys through the World Values Survey, Eurobarometer surveys, Gallup polls, Asian Barometer, Latin Barometer, Afrobarometer and national surveys, as well as voter turnout and predominance of the legislative branch over the executive.

The EIU recorded concern over political participation and civil liberties in Malaysia, giving these categories fairly poor scores of 5.56 and 5.88 points respectively.

However, Malaysia pulled a respectable 6.79 points for a functioning government, while its electoral processes received 6.5 points and political culture scored slightly lower at 6.25.

The EIU describes the the political situation in Malaysia as a “fierce political tussle” between BN and Pakatan Rakyat, which it expects to continue in the near future.

Media freedom wanting

Political cultures in Asia, it notes, are “often underdeveloped and shallow”, even in countries considered to be democracies.

Special mention was made of the deterioration of media freedom in Malaysia, placing it beside Fiji, Sri Lanka and Thailand, where there is “often pressure on the independent media”.

“The reasons for this decline are complex and varied. Underlying negative trends appear to have been exacerbated by the post-2008 economic crisis.

“Many governments have felt increasingly vulnerable and threatened, and have reacted by intensifying their efforts to control the media and impede free expression,” the report states.

Topping the index is Norway, with an overall score of 9.8, while South Korea leads Asia in the index at 20th spot, with 8.11 points.

Southeast Asia’s youngest nation Timor Leste leads the region at number 42 (7.22 points) while Thailand comes up tops among Asean countries at 57th spot (6.55) followed by Indonesia, which is ranked 60th (6.53).

Nevertheless, Malaysia trumped Singapore by 19 places. With a dismal 5.89 points, the island-state was ranked 82nd,, making it to the “hybrid regime” where “elections have substantial irregularities that often prevent them from being both free and fair”.

Other countries ahead of Malaysia on the index include Botswana (35th at 7.63 points), Papua New Guinea (59th at 6.54 points), Mongolia (64th at 6.36 points) and Namibia (69th at 6.23 points).

Bar Council says Beng Hock inquest ‘meaningless’

The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — The Bar Council criticised today the coroner’s court for delivering an open verdict in the Teoh Beng Hock inquest, and called the whole process meaningless.

Its president Ragunath Kesavan said the ruling was “indecisive” and had “cast grave doubts on the effectiveness of the inquest mechanism and renders the whole process meaningless”.

Shah Alam magistrate Azmil Muntapha Abas, who was appointed to be the coroner in the inquest, had ruled out homicide yesterday despite accepting the fact that Teoh had suffered injuries before falling to his death at Plaza Masalam in Shah Alam on July 16, 2009.

The political secretary to Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hian Wah had been interrogated overnight by anti-graft officers at their state headquarters in the building’s 14th floor.

The 30-year-old was due to register his marriage to primary school teacher Soh Cher Wei the next day.

Lawyer to enter defence for bribery

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: A 56-year-old lawyer has been ordered to enter his defence by a Sessions Court on two counts of bribery.

Justice Rozilah Salleh said the prosecution had proven a prima facie case against Ranjit Singh and fixed Feb 9 and 28 for him to enter his defence.

Ranjit was accused of receiving RM40,000 from Dr Chong Kuck Meng, 46, in relation to a police investigation against Dr Chong, who was being investigated for criminal intimidation.

He allegedly committed the offence at the lobby of Le Meridien Hotel here at about 11.45pm on April 22, 2005.

Ranjit was also accused of receiving a RM7,000 bribe from Dr Chong at Restoran Twin Happiness in Slim River, Perak, at about 8.30pm on June 28, 2005.

U.S. exploring reports of American's arrest in Iran

(CNN) -- The U.S. State Department is looking into reports that an American woman was arrested on spying charges last week when she tried to enter Iran from Armenia.

Mark Toner, State Department spokesman, told reporters on Thursday there are different news stories about what happened.

He said the United States is reaching out to authorities in Armenia and to the Swiss government, which represents U.S. interests in Iran.

"There are lots of conflicting reports swirling about," Toner said. "We're reached out through our Swiss protectorate to try to ascertain the facts surrounding this incident."

Toner said U.S. officials don't know whether the person is an American.

Citing Iranian authorities, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported Thursday that Iranian customs officials arrested a 55-year-old American woman on charges of illegal entry and espionage.

The officials identified the woman as Hall Talayan. They said she entered Iran from Armenia without a visa and security forces discovered "'espionage devices,' such as a microphone implanted in her teeth," Fars reported.

Citing an informed Iranian official, Fars said the woman asked authorities not to return her to Armenia because she feared for her life there.

She was detained in Nordouz, a border town in northwestern Iran, Fars reported.

Other media outlets also have reported the arrest.

But Al-Alam TV, an official Iranian news agency, cited an informed source in Tehran who said the woman is in Armenia and didn't enter Iran. The outlet reported that the woman was denied entry into the country because she did not have an entry visa.

In July 2009, three Americans were detained in Iran for spying after they allegedly strayed across an unmarked border while hiking in Iraq's Kurdistan.

One of them, Sarah Shourd, was released from an Iranian prison last September on humanitarian grounds.

Those still in prison are Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer.

Two German journalists, identified only as a reporter and photojournalist, were arrested in Iran in October and charged with espionage after they interviewed the son and lawyer of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was convicted of adultery in 2006 and sentenced to death by stoning.

Rape claim: What is MCMC waiting for?

(Malaysiakini) Blogger Ahirudin Attan demands to know why the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has yet to act on the allegations of rape against Information, Communication and Culture Minister Rais Yatim.

This, said Ahirudin, was contrary to MCMC's past actions, when the cyberspace watchdog had acted swiftly when a police report was filed against him.

The rape allegation had spread like wildfire over the Internet since Ahirudin, on Dec 23, posted in his blog Rocky's Bru, hints that a senior cabinet member was alleged to have raped his maid in 2007.

bloggers universe malaysia 010508 ahirudin attan"The allegations in blogs are under the (purview) of MCMC, so they have to investigate," Ahirudin (right) told Malaysiakini when contacted today.

MCMC comes under the control of the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry, helmed by Rais.

Rais, who was accused of the crime, has denied committing the act and insinuated that the claims were part of an "evil political game".

The Jelebu BN MP also added that the allegation was "ill-favoured, malicious and libellous, having been fabricated without any valid legal basis".

Ahirudin, who is also the group editorial adviser of local daily the Malay Mail, stated that the Prime Minister's Department, then under Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had also received reports of the allegations.

He added that his blog post was sourced from the 'diplomatic whispers' revealed by cables on Wikileaks.

It was also said to have been sourced from a report by foreign workers social welfare NGO Migrant Care, which was compiled and sent to the US and the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Although the blogger had stated that the Indonesia Embassy had received a copy of Migrant Care's report on the rape, the embassy has told Malaysiakini that it was unaware of the report.

"The case is still unclear. The matter is neither solved or closed... it is still a grey situation," said Suryana Sasteradiredja, minister counsellor in charge of information, social and culture.

Thorough investigations
Migrant rights group Tenaganita has also called for a thorough investigation into the rape incident, alleged to have occurred on Feb 19, 2007.

"If there is no investigation it would be double standards because the allegations this time involve a minister who is in charge of the MCMC," added Ahirudin.

rais yatim pc 020709 01Following the blog post two police reports have been lodged urging for the matter to be probed. One is by PAS, and the other by Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM).

"It's not enough that Rais (right) denied committing the rape. Since police reports have been lodged the police are responsible to investigate the matter," said Ahirudin.

He added that Rais should focus on clearing his name rather than attributing the allegation as an attempt to "undermine Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's 1Malaysia concept".

'Rais must apologise'

Meanwhile, PKR Women's wing chief Zuraida Kamaruddin demanded that Rais apologise for accusing the opposition, bloggers and the media of fabricating the incident as a part of a political game.

In a statement today, she said Rais must be suspended until an investigation on the matter is complete.

Zuraida also appealed to the Home Ministry and the prime minister to view the crime seriously and clean up Malaysia's image by bringing the perpetrator to justice.

Video: Batu Kawan Barn like Tamil School documentary (Part 1 to 4)





Providing for education is the first and foremost duty of any government and never that of the citizens! When the UMNO’s Najib Razak One Malay-sia government has billions of ringgits for all sorts of white elephant mega projects, why are the poor Malaysian Indians made to suffer even to provide basic education for their children?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (10 December 1948), proclaims:
Article 26.
· (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
· (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
· (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights (CRC) proclaims:
Article 28: Education
The child’s right to education and the State’s duty to ensure that primary education at least is made free and compulsory. Administration of school discipline is to reflect the child’s human dignity. Emphasis is laid on the need for international co-operation to ensure this right.
As a signatory to the UDHR and the CRC, Malaysia has failed miserably in showing any commitment in upholding the Malaysian children’s rights to education. Leaving it to the schools and the poor Indian parents to fund the school buildings and equip the schools with the basic amenities (as is the case with most Tamil schools in Malaysia) is a gross disregard to the children’s rights and humanitarian principles. It is very unbecoming of Malaysia as a United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council member.
“Rights not Mercy”
Please circulate.
S.JAYATHAS
Information Chief.

Najib’s future at stake in snap polls, says EIU


KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s position as Umno president and prime minister will be at risk if Barisan Nasional (BN) “fails to secure a resounding victory” in snap polls anticipated this year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Its latest country report on Malaysia said that with Umno’s internal elections postponed to 2012, its president will need a strong mandate in a general election this year.

“If the party fails to secure a resounding victory in the snap general election... there would be even greater resistance to economic reforms, undermining the credibility of the prime minister, Najib Razak (picture), and potentially placing his position as president of Umno — and hence his role as head of government — at risk,” said the EIU in this month’s report on Malaysia.

It also named Najib’s deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the most likely contender to be Najib’s replacement.

Umno’s support base sees it as a champion of Malay rights and privileges and a shrinking presence in Parliament will be interpreted by more hawkish factions as a threat to Malays.

Najib’s moves to liberalise and relax economic guarantees for Bumiputeras would provide fodder for right-leaning elements to push for a more hardline leader.

In its report, the EIU also warned that while BN was expected to maintain power after the next general election, “the ability to make or break BN” has been in the hands of politicians from Sabah and Sarawak whose bloc of 52 MPs now make up nearly two-fifths of BN’s 137 seats in Parliament.

“Unresolved issues, such as illegal foreign immigration to Sabah, may cause the BN parties based in Borneo, or individual MPs from the island, to defect to the opposition or use the threat to do so to secure greater influence within the coalition in the run-up to the next general election.

“Moreover, the Borneo-based parties will become even more influential if MPs from the island retain their seats at the next election and a substantial number of BN legislators based in Peninsular Malaysia lose theirs,” the report said.

The Sarawak state polls must be called by July 2011 and will be a severe test of what has been a BN stronghold.

A shaky performance will likely destabilise parties that have been loyal to BN there.

Umno announced in November that it had postponed internal party elections for 18 months which intensified speculation that a snap general election could be called in the first half of 2011.

Twice in recent history, when Umno has postponed its party polls, a general election has then been held within a year.

The EIU report also noted that BN has been boosted by victories in two recent by-elections — Galas in Peninsular Malaysia and Batu Sapi in Sabah — which may have marked a turning point in terms of voter support for the governing coalition after an initial run of consecutive defeats.

DPM orders review of ‘Interlok’

RAUB: Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has instructed the Education Ministry’s special committee to review the controversial “Interlok” used as a Malay literature textbook for Form 5 students beginning this year, Bernama reported today.

According to Deputy Education Minister Dr Puad Zarkashi, the study must be done in a serious manner so that the issue will not disrupt racial harmony.

“The Education Minister hopes the panel would reach a favourable decision that would satisfy all parties,” Puad told reporters after officiating at the Parent-Teacher Association meeting in SK Gali, here, today.

Several groups including non-governmental organisations have made known their opposition to the government as the contents on pages 211 and 220 allegedly contained sensitive remarks about the Malay and Indian communities.

Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Department T Murugiah has also called for the book to be withdrawn because of the controversial contents.

Puad hoped that all concerned parties will not politicise the issue as the government’s intention is to raise the knowledge of the students.

“There shouldn’t be any problems because the textbook by Abdullah Hussain is based on events in the past,” he said.

An Indian NGO, Tamil Foundation, has called for nationwide street demonstrations if the textbook is not pulled out.

Hindu Sangam’s former president, A Vaithilingam, expressed disappointment with the Education Ministry for allowing “Interlok” to be used in schools.

MIC has also called for the withdrawal of the book.

However, a literature group, Seniman Paksi Rakyat Malaysia, has defended the textbook, saying that the public should not view it as a political tool.

Form royal commission, says Zaid


PETALING JAYA: Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has called on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to form a royal commission of inquiry to probe the death of Teoh Beng Hock.

Commenting on the decision by the Coroner’s Court yesterday, the People’s Welfare Party (Kita) president said that the open verdict had upset the public.

He also pointed out that there had been too many cases of custodial deaths in the country over the years, and the government had the responsibility to adress this issue.

“I wish to appeal to the PM to order the setting up of a royal commission of inquiry. Many people are unhappy with the open verdict. While the coroner ruled out both suicide and homicide, he however failed to ascertain the cause of Teoh’s death,” he told FMT.

“Too many have died in custody. The government has the responsibility to go to the root of the problem, not just for Teoh’s family but to determine how the authorities conduct themselves,” he added.

Zaid stressed that it was important to convince the people that the authorities would not go astray in the execution of their duties.

“This issue is larger than Teoh Beng Hock, and so the PM must do something to ensure this saga ends,” he added.

Acknowledging the widespread scepticism regarding such royal commissions, Zaid pointed out that the prospect of no further action should not deter the pursuance of the truth.

“That is the second part of the problem. The people are cynical about such commissions but we have to go on with it. A royal commission will have more powers than a coroner, so at least there will be a definitive ruling,” he said.

“The commission will have more resources to conduct an exhaustive probe. Complaining about the coroner’s verdict will not solve the problem. It is necessary to determine what happened to Teoh,” he added.

PM holds high-level meet

Meanwhile, Nanyang Siang Pau reported that Najib convened a high-level meeting, which included Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, yesterday to discuss the possibility of setting up a royal commission of inquiry.

The report stated that Najib was expected to make an announcement on the matter within the next two days.

Nanyang also quoted Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Koh Tsu Khon, who was also present at the meeting, as saying that the Cabinet had explored several scenarios prior to yesterday’s verdict.

He said the Cabinet wanted to ensure that Teoh’s family and the public were given a satisfactory explanation.

“Two week ago, I held an in-depth discussion with the PM about the possible outcomes of the inquest and the steps which the government must take,” he added.

Six days after Teoh’s death on July 16, 2009, the Cabinet decided to establish a royal commission of inquiry once the inquest concluded.

That commission’s scope would, however, be limited to reviewing the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigation procedures.

Teoh, a former DAP political aide, had fallen to his death after a marathon interrogation session with the MACC in Shah Alam.

His family had rejected the possibility of suicide, suspecting that the 30-year-old former journalist could have been the victim of foul play.

Najib, who had subsequently visited the family, had ordered the inquest.

Following the open verdict yesterday, Teoh’s family lashed out at the prime minister, with the deceased’s sister Lee Lan asking if the PM really cared for the people.

Api perkauman belum padam?

PETALING JAYA: Ketika negara bakal menyambut ulang tahun kemerdekaannya yang ke 53 tahun ini dan kerajaan memperkenalkan konsep 1Malaysia, semangat perkauman di kalangan masyarakat negara ini dilihat semakin parah apabila sesetengah pihak menjadikannya sebagai landasan bagi kepentingan politik mereka.

Demikian menurut kenyataan akhbar yang dikeluarkan oleh Seniman Paksi Rakyat Malaysia (Paksi) semalam ketika menyatakan pendirian badan tersebut berkenaan isu novel Interlok karya Sasterawan Negara, Datuk Abdullah Hussein.

Menurut kenyataan yang dibacakan oleh Presiden Paksi, Che Shamsudin Othman, kemelut yang melanda novel Interlok ini merupakan bukti bahawa semangat perkauman di kalangan masyarakat di negara ini hari ini lebih tebal berbanding dahulu.

“Berbanding dengan dahulu, pemikiran dan sikap prasangka perkauman kita sekarang lebih teruk. Isu yang ditimbulkan sekitar novel ini menjadi buktinya.

“Dulu tak apa-apa, tak ada pembaca tersinggung, baik India, Melayu mahupun Cina. Sedangkan kalau nak difikir secara prasangka perkauman, dulu lagi isu ini boleh timbul,” menurut Che Shamsudin yang lebih dikenali dengan nama pena Dinsman itu.

Paksi juga melihat percaturan yang salah oleh pihak berkepentingan dalam politik demi kepentingan politik perkauman sempit mereka sebagai punca utama sentimen perkauman di negara ini semakin meningkat di kalangan masyarakat hari ini.

Sikap prasangka perkauman

“Paksi berpendapat, itu adalah kerana kita melihatnya dari sudut kepentingan politik perkauman. “Masyarakat kita hari ini masih tebal dengan pemikiran dan sikap prasangka perkauman, masing-masing berfikir untuk kepentingan politik masing-masing, bukan untuk kepentingan nasional.

“Sepatutnya novel hendaklah dilihat sebagai sebuah karya seni, bukan dilihat sebagai bahan atau alat politik. “Masyarakat kita hari ini terlalu sangat berpolitik, semua perkara hendak dipolitikkan dan segalanya hendak ditelan oleh politik,” katanya lagi.

Paksi turut membidas pemimpin-pemimpin parti politik yang menerajui kerajaan yang dianggap gagal membawa aspirasi 1Malaysia apabila mereka lebih cenderung bercakap mewakili kaum tertentu berbanding kepentingan masyarakat keseluruhan.

“Apa yang berlaku hari ini, pemimpin yang dilantik dalam kabinet tidak sepatutnya bercakap mewakili kaum tertentu sahaja tetapi hendaklah mewakili semua kaum atau bersikap nasionalis.

“Kalau kita baca di kulit belakang teks komsas Interlok ini, ada tertulis novel ini sejajar dengan konsep slogan 1Malaysia yang dilaungkan kerajaan. Tetapi apabila novel ini dipertikaikan oleh seorang Timbalan Menteri sendiri, ini menunjukkan pemimpin kerajaan sendiri gagal menjiwai aspirasi 1Malaysia.

Ketika menjawab soalan wartawan berkenaan novel Interlok itu lagi, Dinsman turut menyatakan orang Melayu dalam novel tersebut digambarkan lebih tidak berdaya maju daripada kaum India sendiri namun tidak menimbulkan pertikaian di kalangan masyarakat Melayu hari ini.

Rakaman keadaan sebenar

“Kalau hendak dilihat dari sudut siapa yang patut lebih sensitif, sebenarnya orang Melayu yang patut lebih tersentuh berbanding kaum India. Tetapi ia adalah rakaman sastera keadaan yang sebenar atau sejarah keadaan pada masa itu.

“Watak lelaki Melayu, Seman mulanya tidak ok, berakhir pun tidak ok berbanding dengan Maniam pula berakhir dengan menunjukkan keluarga Maniam telah jauh berubah, terdapat kemajuan hingga cicitnya dihormati dan menjadi kebanggaan keluarga.

“Masalah timbul jika pihak yang membaca novel itu, dibaca dengan bara perkauman yang memang dah wujud dalam dirinya. Semua yang dilihat, dibaca, didengar diukur dengan kayu ukur perkauman semata-mata.

Sebelum ini novel Interlok karya Sasterawan Negara Datuk Abdullah Hussein yang dijadikan sebagai komponen sastera teks bagi pelajar tingkatan lima telah menimbulkan protes oleh Timbalan Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri, Datuk T Murugiah kerana dianggap menghina kaum India di negara ini.

Rentetan protes oleh timbalan menteri itu, sebuah gabungan NGO masyarakat India turut mengancam untuk membakar novel berkenaan sekiranya ia tidak ditarik balik dari dijadikan sebahagian daripada teks sastera SPM.

Independent-minded Wakil Rakyat


What I mean when I say 'independent-minded' Wakil Rakyat and how currently those Members of Parliament or those in the State Assembly are not able to be independent because of their party affiliation.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin

LISTEN TO THE RECORDING HERE

Ruler's consent still necessary, says Dr M

(Bernama) - The PKR-led Selangor government has still to obtain the consent of the Sultan of Selangor even after it amends the state constitution to revert authority to the sultan and menteri besar in the appointment of the state's top three civil servants, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

He said the matter would eventually depend on whether the state government obtained the signature of the sultan or not, because without the signature and consent of the sultan, the amendment would not become law.

"The Selangor government requires a two-third majority in the state assembly session to amend the constitution. I do not know whether they will obtain the two-third majority," he told reporters after delivering a keynote address at seminar on unity at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), here.

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim had said that the state government would convene an emergency session of the state assembly to amend the state constitution to revert to the sultan and the menteri besar the authority to appoint the state's top three civil servants, namely the state secretary, state legal advisor and state financial officer.

The appointment of Mohd Khusrin Munawi, 54, as the new state secretary was disputed by Abdul Khalid because he was allegedly not consulted over the appointment.

Dr Mahathir also said that he felt that it was not necessary to call the next general election soon although there were what could be regarded as political indicators of impending elections of late.

MALAYSIAN FOOTBALL


1. It's not too late I hope, for me to congratulate the Malaysian football team for winning the AFF Suzuki Cup.

2. Although I am not much of a football fan, I do follow the progress of the national football teams. For a long time, our football teams have been in the doldrums.

3. I am proud of this young team's achievement. They have restored the pride of "Harimau Malaya".

4. I hope they will continue to achieve success. I hope too that they will not be spoilt by the riches their success brings and would maintain the discipline and hardworking nature that brought them this far. 

Press Statement Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim VS Dato Anifah Aman

Press Statement
Re: DSAI v Dato Anifah Aman Defamation Suit – KL High Court Civil 2
( Application by Anifah to striking out Suit)

The above applications by Dato Anifah were allowed by Court today.
An absurd decision today and worse still with no reasons given. It appears that now a Minister [and the Govt (vicariously)] cannot be sued for defamation. The decision gives any Minister a carte blanche to defame anyone and be “immune” to defamation suits. A miscarriage of justice, yet again.
Lately there is a disturbing trend in Dsai’s defamation suits – especially when it involves Ministers and VVIPs – they get away at a very early stage of the suit (before trial in court) – so that they need not have to sit in the witness box to be cross examined at full trial.
Another disturbing trend lately is to, not only strike out at the interlocutory (early) stage, but also impose hefty and punitive costs on DSAI (to be paid to the other side). This is to serve as a deterrent on Dsai from filing similar suits in future. How then will Dsai ever get Justice?
S N Nair
Counsel for DSAI

Inquest verdict ruling out suicide and on Beng Hock’s pre-fall injury an indictment of MACC and police and powerful ground for full-scale RCI into the actual causes of Teoh Beng Hock

The ending of the Teoh Beng Hock inquest in an “Open Verdict” 18 months after the tragedy outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) headquarters in Shah Alam has not only caused nation-wide consternation but validated the opposition to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s two-prong proposal in July 2009 to have first an inquest and after it, a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the procedural aspects of the MACC in carrying out investigations.

On 22nd July 2009, I had said:
“I am disappointed by the Cabinet decision on the mysterious death of Teoh Beng Hock.
“There will be no Royal Commission of Inquiry into the causes of Teoh’s death although an inquest would be held.
“A Royal Commission of Inquiry will be set up, but only to look into the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) investigative procedures and to determine if there were any human right violations when Teoh Beng Hock was being interrogated.

“This falls short of public expectations and is unsatisfactory and unacceptable.
“What the Malaysian public want is a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the mysterious causes of Teoh’s death at 14th floor of MACC Hqrs, the investigating procedures of MACC as well as into the independence, professionalism and integrity of the MACC whether it has become the catspaw of its political masters to declare war on the Pakatan Rakyat instead of declaring war on corruption.”
Three days later, I had called on the Cabinet to halt Teoh Beng Hock inquest to allow it to review and widen the terms of reference of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the causes of Teoh’s death to command public confidence in public institutions and the Prime Minister.
Unfortunately, the call for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into all aspects of Teoh’s death was ignored and the authorities decided to proceed with the inquest and to await its outcome before constituting a Royal Commission of Inquiry into investigation aspects of MACC.
Although there is nation-wide disappointment with the “Open Verdict”, the inquest had made two important findings:
  1. ruling out suicide as the cause of death, which had been openly canvassed by the MACC; and
  2. finding that Teoh Beng Hock was inflicted with “prefall injury”.
This raises the question who was responsible for Teoh Beng Hock’s “prefall” injury, which reflected adversely on the MACC as well as police investigations into Teoh’s death.
For this reason, a Royal Commission of Inquiry, not just into the procedural aspects of the MACC’s investigations but to probe further into the causes of Teoh Beng Hock’s death following the inquest findings ruling out suicide and on Teoh’s pre-fall injury, should be established immediately without any delay.

Press Release: Search for the truth must continue

Image
The Malaysian Bar regrets that, after extensive hearing of evidence from numerous witnesses, the Coroner’s Court delivered an open verdict yesterday in the inquest to determine the cause of Teoh Beng Hock’s death.  While it is heartening that the Coroner ruled out suicide, the inability to make a definitive finding is unsatisfactory, and leaves many issues unresolved in this matter of great public interest.

Such indecisive findings cast grave doubts on the effectiveness of the inquest mechanism and renders the whole process meaningless.

The Coroner failed to consider a vital aspect of the matter: Teoh was under the custody of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (“MACC”) when he died, which invariably places the burden on the MACC to account for his death.  In addition, the Coroner ought to have reprimanded the conduct of the investigating officer in respect of the introduction of the handwritten note midway through the inquest, and ordered further investigation into his conduct.

We reaffirm our call for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Enquiry (“RCE”) to continue the search for the truth and go beyond the scope of the inquest.  We welcome the news that the Government is expected to announce the setting up of the RCE shortly. 

The RCE must be given a wide ambit to investigate the circumstances and cause of Teoh’s death and to conduct a concomitant review of the MACC’s interrogation and investigation techniques.  These two aspects are intrinsically interlinked and cannot be analysed in isolation from one another.  The complexities of the case require nothing less than a holistic and inclusive examination of all the relevant facts by the RCE.  The RCE should also examine the shortcomings within the criminal justice system, and ensure that protocols are introduced to guarantee full compliance with accepted norms of the criminal justice system. 

Teoh’s family, colleagues and friends, and the Malaysian public, deserve nothing less than the Government’s absolute commitment in this regard.

The Malaysian Bar again extends its heartfelt sympathy to Teoh’s family and loved ones.


Ragunath Kesavan
President
Malaysian Bar

I'm Not Sexist, Says Kedah Gerakan Youth Chief

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 (Bernama) -- Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang has denied an allegations by DAP, PAS and PKR leaders that he was a sexist who was against pregnant woman serving as state representatives.

In a statement on Thursday, Tan said, the issue was raised by the opposition leaders after his statement on Twitter was misinterpreted as 'Subang Jaya State Assemblyman Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan was not capable enough to be given the mandate to service the area during maternity leave'.

"I was asked certain questions pertaining to the Subang Jaya state constituency (where my friend said he voted in previous general election).

"In the midst of our conversation, I asked whether 'would (my friend) choose MCA Beliawanis and Woman National Treasurer Jessica Lai May Kum or Yeoh, who will be on maternity leave soon," he said.

Tan noted that no where in his Twitter conversation did he say he was against pregnant woman becoming representatives nor did he request anyone to vote against pregnant women.

He said the opposition needed to be open-minded and not misinterpret the conversation of any person in the country while policing cyberspace for its political gains.

I'm Not Sexist, Says Kedah Gerakan Youth Chief

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 (Bernama) -- Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang has denied an allegations by DAP, PAS and PKR leaders that he was a sexist who was against pregnant woman serving as state representatives.

In a statement on Thursday, Tan said, the issue was raised by the opposition leaders after his statement on Twitter was misinterpreted as 'Subang Jaya State Assemblyman Hannah Yeoh Tseow Suan was not capable enough to be given the mandate to service the area during maternity leave'.

"I was asked certain questions pertaining to the Subang Jaya state constituency (where my friend said he voted in previous general election).

"In the midst of our conversation, I asked whether 'would (my friend) choose MCA Beliawanis and Woman National Treasurer Jessica Lai May Kum or Yeoh, who will be on maternity leave soon," he said.

Tan noted that no where in his Twitter conversation did he say he was against pregnant woman becoming representatives nor did he request anyone to vote against pregnant women.

He said the opposition needed to be open-minded and not misinterpret the conversation of any person in the country while policing cyberspace for its political gains.

‘Much ado about nothing,’ says Herald

The latest Catholic Herald weekly has carried a report in an attempt to clear the air over the Christmas tea party controversy.
Hardev Kaur
Meanwhile Special Officer to the Prime Minister Hardev Kaur has expressed regret (no apology?) in a Malaysian Insider report here and here. It was not an instruction but just a ‘request’ or suggestion, on her own initiative, for symbols to be removed from the rostrum, she says. (The Insider has disabled comments to these reports.) Hardev is an officer in the Finance Ministry (which is headed by Najib) and formerly Group Editor of NST.
Here’s the Herald report, written by someone who attended the tea party:


Much Ado About Nothing!
Published on: January 06, 2011 at 11:30 AM
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak with Archbishop Murphy Pakiam and Bishop Ng Moon Hing, who were wearing their pectoral crosses. HERALDpix courtesy of Tan Kong Beng.
KUALA LUMPUR: No crucifixes were taken down as there were no crucifixes mounted anywhere in the car park area fronting the residence of the Archbishop Murphy Pakiam. It is surprising that those who carried the news report in their various portals did not check the veracity about the statement of the ‘removal of crucifixes’.
There is no proper place to host a large gathering in or around the Archbishop’s residence. So on the eve of Christmas, the car park area was cleared of all cars and Bedouin like tents were put up as a make shift reception hall to celebrate Christmas. It was a simple celebration without much fan-fare.
The invitation cards were sent out to a number of people. Much of the programme as listed on the reverse of the card was carried out without much delay. The arrival of guests was scheduled for 3.00pm. The Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Fr Justus Pereira said the opening prayer, followed by the reading of the Gospel by Fr Julian Leow of College General, Penang. With that spiritual rite the carollers from the Cathedral of St John’s International Community began to sing a number of carols in their native languages.
There is that realism that the Church in Malaysia is also universal and is not just the Catholic population of Malaysia alone. The carollers were from Nigeria, Myanmar and Vietnam. To say that there wasn’t any singing of carols is to ignore their singing and their presence as well. So to say that the Archbishop complied with the requests of Ms Hardev Kaur from the Prime Minister’s Office is to DENY TRUTH.
At least one portal stated that “among the directives given from the Prime Minister’s Office” were:
To remove any overt Christian symbol, such as crucifixes, from the party premises.
Take a look at this: The Archbishop was seen wearing his pectoral cross and there were other Bishops who were also wearing their pectoral crosses. More crucifixes were put up than removed!
That carollers not belt out hymns. The carollers did sing a carol. It was Joy to the World.
Not to quote from Scriptures or say any Christian prayer during the visit.
We repeat, the Scripture was read by Fr Julian Leow and prayer was led by Fr Justus Pereira. We must always witness to the truth, for Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” Each year under the auspices of the Christian Federation Malaysia, an open house Christmas celebration is held.
The 2009 Christmas celebration was held at the Mar Thoma Church but the Prime Minister was not able to attend it, but for the 2010 Christmas celebration at the Archbishop’s residence, the Prime Minister was there till it was time for him to leave for KLIA.
For me, the moral of the story is simple. Next time, let’s not waste time accommodating worldly politicians during what is supposed to be a spiritual occasion to celebrate the Incarnation, the entry of a great Light to dispel the oppressive, murderous, unjust and corrupt forces of Darkness that grip the world. If anything, we should be speaking some hard truths to (worldly) power.
If political leaders want to attend the celebration, that’s fine and they would be welcome – but as guests who are welcome to come and leave as they please like everyone else, for everyone is equal in the sight of God. Thus, ‘requests’, ‘suggestions’ or ‘instructions’ from political leaders or their aides to the hosts are surely out of place.

Protest Memo to IGP: 3 extra-judicial killings, incl one 15 yr old

Via Lawyers for Liberty

NOTIFICATION OF EVENT: HANDING OVER OF A PROTEST MEMORANDUM TO THE IGP THIS SATURDAY (08.01.2011), 10.00am, BUKIT AMAN FEDERAL POLICE HQ (LAKE GARDEN ENTRANCE).

04/01/2011
SHOCKING FAILURE BY POLICE TO INVESTIGATE OR TAKE ANY ACTION ON THE UNLAWFL KILLINGS BY POLICE AT GLENMARIE ON 13.11.2010 INCLUDING THE KILLING OF A 15 YEAR OLD

The quest for justice for the recent police shooting victims at Glenmarie continues due to police failure to investigate.

Lawyers for Liberty is gravely concerned over the shooting to death of three alleged suspects by police during the early hours of Saturday 13th November 2010 at Glenmarie, Selangor. The dead were Mohd Shamil Hafiz Shafie, 15, Mohd Khairul Nizam Tuah, 20, and Mohd Hanafi Omar, 22. Although the three victims did not have criminal records, acting Selangor police chief Datuk A.Thaiveegan has made the incredible claim that all the dead were “seasoned criminals”.

Even after the shocking statistics of fatal police shootings that have risen 17 fold since 2001 was revealed in November 2010, the Police continue to act in blatant lawlessness as reflected in their failure to commence an independent and effective investigation in response to the police reports lodged by the victims’ families on November 2010. The police failure to independently and effectively investigate the shooting demonstrates clearly the culture of impunity and lawlessness that is deeply woven into the practice of the Malaysian police force. This deafening silence poses irreversible threat to the lives and safety of the general public who is vulnerable to being victims of police shooting as a result of uninvestigated misuse of power which goes unpunished.

We call for an immediate independent and effective investigation into this latest shooting, with the findings made public.

WE FREE CITIZENS OF THIS NATION MUST MAKE A STAND AGAINST THE PREVAILING FATAL POLICE SHOOTINGS! JOIN US FOR THE HANDING OVER OF A PROTEST MEMORANDUM TO THE IGP THIS SATURDAY (08.01.2011), 10.00am BUKIT AMAN FEDERAL POLICE HQ (LAKE GARDEN ENTRANCE).
Issued by,

LAWYERS FOR LIBERTY (LFL)