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Friday, January 14, 2011

UMNO atrocities named & shamed at Pravasi International Conference New Delhi in Video

UN 'under attack' in Cote d'Ivoire

The United Nations has accused security forces loyal to Laurent Gbagbo, the Ivorian president who refused to resign after a disputed election, of attacking and burning UN vehicles in the city of Abidjan.

Martin Nesirky, a UN spokesman, said in a statement on Thursday that "the secretary-general [Ban Ki-moon] is deeply concerned that regular and irregular forces loyal to Mr Gbagbo have begun to attack and burn United Nations vehicles".

He said there were six attacks on Thursday, including one on an ambulance in which the driver and doctor were injured.

Earlier in the day, in the Riviera II neighbourhood, a Gbagbo stronghold, student supporters of the incumbent president forced a UN vehicle to stop at a makeshift roadblock.

They then pulled the driver out of the car and beat him while another group smashed the vehicle's windows and set it on fire, said a witness who wished to remain anonymous for security reasons.

Cote d'Ivoire has been in turmoil since the November 29 election. The international community believes the vote was won by Alassane Ouattara, a Gbagbo rival.

Ouattara supporters, angry at Gbagbo's reluctance to step down, have taken to the streets and clashed with security forces repeatedly.

Meanwhile, Philippe Mangou, the Ivorian army chief of staff, said UN peacekeepers had been sent away from the Abidjan suburb of Abobo after midnight, calling their presence "a provocation".

"According to our last report from the field, the head of the (UN) operation was turned around and went back," Mangou said after meeting Gbagbo at his residence.

"It was provocative and shameful on their part, because they are supposed to be an impartial force ... to bring us peace but they have become something else."

The UN mission spokesman was not available for comment.

Political divisions

Ouattara was proclaimed winner by the country's electoral commission and is widely regarded by foreign governments as having legitimately won the UN-certified poll.

But Gbagbo, who is backed by the country's top court, still controls the security forces.

The UN says more than 200 people have been killed as a result of post-election violence and more than 20,000 have fled to neighbouring Liberia.

Relations between the UN mission and Gbagbo have rapidly deteriorated since the world body recognised Ouattara as winner of the elections.

Gbagbo has ordered the roughly 10,000 UN soldiers and police to leave the country, but the mission has refused, and the UN security council has approved an increase in numbers by 2,000.


Malay group plans protest over ‘azan dispute’

Muslims leave after Friday prayer at the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur January 30, 2009. — Reuters pic
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — A protest will be held after Friday prayers today over claims that a mosque here had been pressured to stop using loudspeakers to play the Muslim call to prayer. A text message has been circulating over the past few days urging Muslims to gather outside the Al Kalsiah Mosque in Pantai Dalam here, claiming that a “Chinese lawyer” had demanded the mosque stop the “azan” (call to prayer) recital.
“What right does he have to stop the call for prayers? The Chinese lawyer had arrogantly written an objection to the prime minister and cited human rights to justify his demand,” said the text message.
“All members of ‘jamaah’ are requested to attend the Friday prayers on January 14 at the Al Kalsiah Mosque Pantai Dalam and to join in the protest against the Chinese lawyer for demanding that the call for prayers be stopped,” added the unsigned message.
 The lawyer, however, was not named in the brief message.
It added that the mosque situated near a new commercial development area called Bangsar South, was first opened 30 years ago, while the lawyer only moved to the Malay-majority neighbourhood about a year ago.
Pantai Dalam used to be dominated by squatters and low-cost flats but has seen the development of luxury apartments and commercial property in recent years.
Meanwhile, an official from the Muslim welfare group Pekida confirmed that it would lead the protest outside the mosque after claiming that the mosque has been forced to turn off its loudspeaker for two weeks.
“It has been two weeks since the mosque was forced to silence the call for prayers and the residents were wondering what happened. Later they found out it was because of pressure from this Chinese lawyer,” said Rahimuddin Harun from Kuala Lumpur Pekida’s Majlis Ayahanda or council of elders.
“This should not have happened as his house is about one kilometre from the mosque, but the mosque was forced to give in to the demand, because he had written letters to everyone,” he told The Malaysian Insider.
The Muslim call for prayer’s five recitals daily first became a political issue in 2008, when Selangor Executive Councillor Teresa Kok was arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for allegedly asking a Puchong mosque to stop playing the azan over its loudspeaker.
Kok, who was released a week after her arrest, denied the allegation while the mosque’s committee members also came forward to defend the Selangor DAP chairman.

Sodomy trial judge stays on

Anwar had previously tried and failed to have Mohd Zabidin dropped. — file pic
PUTRAJAYA, Jan 14 — The Court of Appeal here today dismissed Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s bid to remove Sodomy II trial judge Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah from hearing the case at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur. The opposition leader is accused of sodomising a former aide in June 2008.
Anwar had made the appeal last month after the trial judge refused to step down from hearing the case.
This is the second time he has tried to remove the trial judge on grounds of bias, and lost.
In an immediate reaction, Anwar who was sitting on the front bench in the public gallery turned around and exclaimed to reporters: “Are you surprised?”
The sodomy trial is set for case management on Monday.

Country first, not family feud

The sudden arrival of a long-forgotten and unremarkable megalomaniac is part of Barisan Nasional’s arsenal of dirty tricks, which will be used to try to turn the public against Paktan Rakyat in the fight for votes in the next general election. Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has put on his David Copperfield act and has performed his “rabbit out of a hat” trick to produce Ummi.
Ummi Hafilda Ali, the star witness in Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy and abuse of power trials in 1999, has seen herself as Malaysia’s “Messiah”. She has vowed to sue Anwar and other opposition leaders to “save the country” from Anwar and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, who happens to be her elder brother.
She said, “This is why I would like to expose the two. I know them well and I want to save the country and the next general election from them.”
Perhaps, if she feels so strongly about “saving the country”, she ought to put herself up for election.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair wanted to promote more women in his Cabinet and called the women ministers, “Blair’s Babes”. Even Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had the audacity to call his “serving ladies” the aptly appropriate title of “ministers”. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi never went anywhere without his buxom bodyguards, who were on 24-hour duty. Perhaps Najib could call his team “Najib’s Nubiles”.
Failing that, Ummi can become the deputy first lady and stand in for the first lady when Rosmah Mansor is on an official visit overseas.
If Najib was critical of the timing of the rape allegation which implicated a minister in his Cabinet, then the opposition should rightly question the timing of Ummi’s presence.
Her press conference seemed an odd affair with a backdrop of a smart “kedai runcit” and what looked like bottles of soy sauce on the shelves behind her.
She did not come out as sincere but appeared big-headed and arrogant, with her claims that the opposition made gains in 2008, only because she was “not around”.
What is the point of raking over her family feud? What is the point of calling someone else’s daughter illegitimate? That must be the most despicable and shameful act – an aunt could do to her own niece – to denounce her publicly and wrongfully like that. Her niece deserves a public apology.
Vindictive person
Far from projecting herself as the wronged “glamour-puss”, she has made herself look pathetic. Instead of making people think that she has waited patiently for 13 years to finally speak up, she looks like a vengeful and vindictive person.
Only the weak and insecure with low spiritual conviction will want to shout out their “holier than thou” credentials by swearing on the Quran. This is like the medieval kings of England who would say, that only those who survived after they plunged their arm into a cauldron of hot oil, was innocent of any crime – “trial by ordeal”.
Those who protest their innocence too loudly are the ones to watch out for. Those who claim they are honest, are the ones who are most insincere.
Najib appears to be bringing out the big guns to win this election, but his big guns are just old adversaries of Anwar whose sole strategy is to attack and besmirch the character of Anwar. His actions are reminiscent of terrorist sleeper cells which will be activated at an opportune time in the future; in Malaysia’s case, this is just before GE-13.
It seems that Najib is bankrupt of ideas for winning the people’s hearts and minds and can only resort to underhand and cynical methods.
Najib has all this dirt and sleaze. Poor Anwar. All he has to fight Najib and convince the people to vote for Pakatan Rakyat is his “10-point, 100-day reforms plan”. It is a positive and well thought-out plan to change the face of Malaysian politics and for the public apology of the country.
Anwar has vowed that if Pakatan were to form the next federal government, it would revamp critical institutions like the police, Election Commission, the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and reward teachers with additional money.

Mariam Mokhtar is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

Sino-natives banding together to fight for rights

The row over the freeze on native certificates has turned into political rallying point.

KOTA KINABALU: The almost 30-year-old freeze on the issuance of “native certificates” or “sijil anak negeri” has turned into a rallying point for the Sino-native community in Sabah.

The “hottest topic next to soaring food and fuel prices” has brought together the diverse community in a bid to consolidate its identity and redeem its constitutional right under native laws.

Sino-natives are children born of marriages between native women and non-native men.

The native certificates gave these children of mixed marriages an opportunity to follow their native and non-native culture and tradition much like the Peranakans in the Peninsula and Singapore.

But like the Peranakans, whom Umno has never acceped as Malays or natives because they are not Muslims, the Sino-natives also suffered a similar fate due to the slant of the New Economic Policy implemented by the Barisan Nasional regime since the early 1970s.

The policies, according to Sabah DAP, had discriminated against the Sino-natives, especially when they apply for jobs in the public service.

In fact, until 1982, children of such mixed marriages were issued native certificates which gave access to educational opportunities and allow them to inherit or buy native title lands in Sabah.

“But things changed after 1982. I am thankful that the native certificate problem is now becoming a rallying point for Sino-natives to exert their rights,” said Sabah DAP chairman Jimmy Wong.

Wong is a Sino-native but had his native certificare cancelled “for reasons best known only to the government”.

Delaying tactic

Since then the DAP has been demanding that the state government re-issue native certificates and recognise Sino-natives.

But the state, however, seems to be in no hurry although the fairly large community is angry.

Said Wong: “Although I am upset at my situation, I am very happy to note that something positive is coming out of my predicament.

“Since my case has been blown out of proportion by Umno, the Sino-natives have formed their own association and now the government is inviting the views of the Chief Justice of Sabah and Sarawak, Richard Malanjun,” he said, adding that this was a good sign for Sino-natives.

He urged all Sino-Natives to stand up and fight for their rights, while reminding them not to worry too much about him.

“I will fight my case when it is up for mention and I know many Sino-natives will be behind me on this issue,” said Wong, who is a lawyer.

According to him, the Umno-BN government is well aware of the provisions in the native law but is choosing to play “a delaying tactic game”.

“The government is pretending to be ignorant of this provision in the native law. What is so sensitive about this case?

“How about the issuance of MyKads to illegal immigrants who form its Umno-BN’s ‘fixed deposit’? This is a more sensitive issue,” Wong said.

Are we ready to Interlok?

The prime minister must be a frustrated man. It appears that his plan of turning Malaysia into a colour blind nation winds up in the red, more often than not. The latest obstacle being the controversy surrounding the Interlok novel.

Penned by national laureate Abdullah Hussain in 1971, the tale centres around the daily lives of the various races in Malaya in the early 20th century.

But critics claim that it paints the Indians in a rather unflattering hue and the author erred in giving the impression that all Indians who landed in Malaya are from the outcaste stock.

Despite the sensitive nature of its content, certain quarters in the Education Ministry have deemed it appropriate to introduce the book in classrooms for the Malay literature subject.

And over the weekend, the anger took a fiery twist and protesters torched a copy of the book and an image of the author.

Those who defended the book condemned the protest, arguing that Interlok is a work of literature and should be viewed as such, without exploiting the race perspective for political mileage.

But a politician later asked if the same degree of intellectual tolerance would be extended for a book penned by a non-Malay author containing condescending remarks about the Malay race.

Would this book also be introduced in schools for the sake of learning and fostering integration or would the likes of Perkasa litter the streets of Kuala Lumpur with burnt remains of the book?

Burning books, however, is not the solution. To quote the French philosopher Voltaire, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

Teaching a dicey subject

However, is the Malaysian education system, its students and more importantly, teachers, mature enough and equipped with the right skills to handle a book replete with racial sensitivities?

Three years ago, history lessons on slavery were made compulsory for secondary students in England aged between 11 and 14 under a revised curriculum.

Students had to learn about the development of the slave trade, colonisation and the links between slavery, the British empire and the industrial revolution, alongside both world wars and the holocaust.

The Guardian newspaper then quoted children’s minister, Kevin Brennan, as saying, “Although we may sometimes be ashamed to admit it, the slave trade is an integral part of British history.”

The report added that it is hoped the topic would help students understand the make-up of the UK and help prepare them for life in a diverse and multi-ethnic society.

However, the Guardian also reported education charity DEA’s warning that teachers would need more guidance and support to tackle such issues effectively.

The government then funded the Understanding Slavery Initiative to develop teaching materials for use in museums and classrooms and training for teachers on to how to approach the issue.

In Teaching History: A Journal of Methods (2009), Daniel P Kotzin elaborated on broaching the complexities of slavery. He quoted historian Jorn Rusen as arguing that a critical historical consciousness, by encouraging a critique of past moral values, could make a positive contribution to students’ own moral values.

However, Rusen noted that in order to have the ability to offer an effective critique, students must have a firm understanding of the historical context in which those values existed.

Would teachers here delve into such depths or just skim the subject on the surface and as a result of which, further sow the seeds of racism in impressionable minds and yield a crop of future Perkasa and Hindraf leaders?

Has the Malaysian Education Ministry given this any thought?

Were concerned groups and experts consulted before making the decision to introduce Interlok into the syllabus or was it just bulldozed through by a group of people who gave little thought about the possible impacts?

As for teachers here, recent incidents have shown that some of them need to return to school to polish their integration skills first before imparting their views on the subject to the children.

In a nation that uses its racial and religious diversity to lure in tourist dollars, the education climate however is still similar to the plot in Interlok, with school heads and teachers telling their non-Malay students to board the next ship back to their motherlands.

Contrasted against this backdrop, one could only imagine the horrors to be endured sitting in a classroom when the pages of Interlok are flipped through.

And herein lies the problem with Najib Tun Razak’s fabled 1Malaysia kingdom.

It seems that only the prime minister and his band of public relations wizards are working overtime to promote the concept while the rest appear hell-bent on sabotaging it.

Let's stop talking politics and get real!

Anwar is the Leader of the Opposition; Najib is the Leader of the BN. Anwar is the Prime-Minister-in-Waiting; Najib is the serving Prime Minister. Both are top leaders of their respective parties. They are equally matched to take on one another.

By P Ramakrishnan (President, Aliran)

Let’s set aside political rhetoric and rigmarole and become sensible and serious. We cannot – and should not - play politics at the expense of our national well-being to score meaningless political points. What should be uppermost should be the nation and its people.

The Pakatan Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Ibrahim Anwar, has come out with his 100-day plan to transform Malaysia’s economy for the greater benefit of Malaysians. His transformation plan for the country, according to him, will cost the national budget RM19 billion. Our Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has pooh-poohed this plan. His caustic dismissal of Anwar’s plan won him a round of applause from the party faithful. They laughed and felt good that Anwar was being bashed. Najib, in evaluating Anwar’s plan, had questioned where the fund was coming from for this grandiose transformation and contended that if this plan were to be implemented it would bankrupt the country in two years and reduce it to the pathetic status of Greece.

On the other hand, Anwar had countered Najib by claiming that RM28 billion can be recouped from corruption and leakages the country suffers as a result of poor management as estimated by the Auditor-General in his report. Through waging a relentless war against corruption, this colossal amount can be recouped for the benefit of the many instead of allowing the few connected cronies reaping the profit through graft.

Anwar talked about saving RM19 billion from the subsidy given to the Independent Power Producers and another RM4billion through overhauling the toll concession system. We are not sure how successful Pakatan would be in these two areas considering the legal implications involved.

However, recouping the money lost as a result of corruption and poor management is a real possibility. Pakatan Penang government has shown the way how prudent and stringent management of the public coffers can indeed save millions of dollars for the benefit of the people. The Penang state government had not only provided various benefits to the people, it has also accumulated reserves that are fantastic achievements within three years.

Anwar has stated that he is prepared to defend his transformation plan and has thrown down the gauntlet challenging Najib to a national debate. This is a golden opportunity for Najib to expose what he claims as Anwar’s irresponsible and irrational plan that is not achievable. If Anwar is fishing for votes with plans that are attractive to the voters but which will spell doom for Malaysia, Najib has a responsibility and duty to expose this hog-wash which is presented as a national plan.

We are not interested in the views of BN politicians, one or two economist and academics who tend to parrot the Prime Minister and deprecate Anwar’s plan because they are people who are expected to parody the Prime Minister. Their role is as expected, to toe the official line.

We are not interested in Umno Youth Leader, Khairy Jamaluddin, or Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, picking up the gauntlet to debate Anwar. They don’t measure up to the Prime Minister’s status or stature to stand in for him and therefore do not qualify to debate Anwar. Anwar did not challenge them to a debate; he challenged Najib. It is simple as that.

Anwar is the Leader of the Opposition; Najib is the Leader of the BN. Anwar is the Prime-Minister-in-Waiting; Najib is the serving Prime Minister. Both are top leaders of their respective parties. They are equally matched to take on one another.

Apart from that the issue involved is a matter of grave importance to the nation. Economy is the cornerstone of our survival; it is what will assure our success and well-being. That is why a national, televised debate is all the more crucial for the people to make an informed decision.

This matter concerns not only party faithful of both parties but it concerns all our citizens. They have a right to this debate. They want to know where the economy is heading to; they want to know what is in store for them and for the country.

Let the debate take place and let us set a precedent for debating all issues concerning the nation. Let this be the trend for the future.

It is a real pity that Najib has turned down Anwar’s challenge to debate their economic policies. Najib’s decision has not taken anyone by surprise but Malaysians are disappointed that Najib had failed to justify his criticism of Pakatan’s plan through a national, televised, public debate. He could have nailed Anwar and projected BN’s economic policies as superior and deserving the support of the people. He failed himself and let down the BN government terribly.

Najib’s justification “that voters did not need such an exercise to decide if they wanted Barisan Nasional (BN) or Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in Putrajaya” does not hold water. If a referendum was taken to ascertain whether such a debate was necessary, without a doubt a vast majority of voters would welcome it.

Najib does not make sense in stating, “If we want to debate, there must be an outcome from the debate. I do not see one and what is important is public opinion.”

Indeed, if there was a debate there will be an outcome. Malaysians will be able to judge whose economic policy is superior and who deserves their support. Malaysians are clamouring for this debate.

We should consciously cultivate the culture of public debate rather than having a mindless mob at your doorstep or turning up at the police station making innumerable reports that amount to nothing.

Why are the three richest states in Malaysia also the poorest?

Ancaman hubungan sejenis di Malaysia

Editor’s note: This is a translation [updated] by Amir Muhammad of Malaysia’s gay threat, a commentary by Shanon Shah, that was published on The Nut Graph on 10 Jan 2011.

PADA 15 Dis 2010, muncul sebuah video di YouTube yang memaparkan Azwan Ismail, 32, seorang lelaki Malaysia Melayu-Muslim, di mana dia menyatakan, “Saya gay, saya ok.”
Seminggu kemudian, dia memberitahu media bahawa dia bimbang nyawanya terancam. Dan siapa yang boleh menyalahkannya? Sudah terdapat menteri yang bertanggungjawab atas hal-ehwal Islam, mufti Perak, Pemuda PAS, blogger-blogger Muslim dan beberapa organisasi Islam yang lain mengawasinya dengan “penuh minat”. Seorang blogger Muslim bahkan mencabar kepimpinan negara untuk membunuh Azwan, dengan sindiran bahawa jika kita adalah negara Islam yang tulen, “pengakuan” Azwan boleh menjadi bukti yang cukup untuk melaksanakan hukuman bunuh. Ini tidak termasuk berbagai ancaman keganasan dan pembunuhan yang ditulis terhadap Azwan di YouTube dan forum internet yang lain. Video Azwan merupakan sebahagian daripada siri yang dihasilkan oleh Seksualiti Merdeka, sebuah inisiatif hak asasi seksualiti, yang akhirnya memutuskan untuk memadamkan video itu kerana bimbang akan keselamatan Azwan.
Ancaman keganasan terhadap Azwan telah dikutuk oleh beberapa blogger, individu, dan juga kumpulan-kumpulan masyarakat sivil seperti Pusat Kewartawanan Bebas Malaysia dan Kumpulan Tindakan Bersama untuk Persamaan Jantina. Kutukan sebegini diperlukan kerana kekerasan dan ugutan tidak boleh dibenarkan meresap ke dalam perbincangan awam yang melibatkan kepentingan awam, tanpa mengira samada seseorang itu menyokong Azwan atau tidak.
Tapi mungkinkah perbincangan yang tenang dan tidak memihak atas isu seperti ini dapat wujud? Kita mendengar dua ekstrim dalam debat ini: hak pro-gay, pro-hak asasi manusia di satu hujung — dan sifat anti-gay yang mengaku “Islam” di hujung yang lain. Apakah rakyat negara ini terpolarisasi dengan cara sama? Atau apakah jurang antara dua ekstrem ini dihuni oleh kepelbagaian warga negara yang samada takut, kurang pasti, bingung, dipenuhi ingin tahu, atau acuh tak acuh? Bagaimanakah rakyat Malaysia dari berbagai latar belakang dan kepercayaan boleh berpendapat dalam hal ini jika ianya telah digambarkan oleh begitu ramai orang sebagai pertempuran keagamaan?
Fakta lawan ideologi

Pertamanya, fakta-fakta nyata ada kecenderungan untuk merumitkan tuntutan ideologi yang gah.
Imam Feisal
Tentu saja, pengutukan terhadap hubungan sejenis boleh dilihat dengan banyak dalam fiqh Islam dan tafsir Al-Quran. Ini tidak dinafikan. Tapi ada juga perbezaan pendapat di kalangan ulama Islam mengenai isu seksualiti dalam Islam. Ulama kontemporari dan cendekiawan seperti Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf dan kiyai Indonesia Husein Muhammad menegaskan bahawa tafsir dan kitab yang penting, bahkan dari zaman awal Islam, telah mengakui dan mungkin membiarkan kepelbagaian seksualiti dan jantina.
Kajian sejarah dan antropologi (misalnya Murray dan Roscoe dalam Islamic Homosexualities) juga telah menunjukkan bukti hubungan bukan-heteroseksual dalam masyarakat Muslim yang telah wujud sejak zaman lampau.
Dengan mengambil kira fakta sebegini, kenapa “wakil” Islam di Malaysia berkeras bahawa debat tentang homoseksualiti adalah hitam-putih dan memerlukan pengutukan dan hukuman kekerasan? Dan mengapa ada kecenderungan, baik di kalangan umat Islam anti-gay atau bukan-Islam yang pro-gay, untuk menganggap Islam sebagai “kes istimewa” secara amnya apabila terdapat isu-isu seksualiti, jantina dan hak-hak asasi manusia? Apakah andaian ini benar?
Kekerasan terhadap golongan bukan-heteroseksual telah dilakukan oleh mereka yang berkuasa setelah mentafsir teks-teks utama dari banyak agama terbesar di dunia. Kefahaman Ibrahimiah yang datang sebelum Islam, iaitu Yahudi dan Kristian, juga mempunyai tempoh intoleransi yang panjang terhadap wanita, bukan-heteroseksual dan bukan-seagama.
Gambar promosi untuk Haram Iran, sebuah filem yang didasarkan pada hukuman bunuh terhadap dua homoseksual remaja di Iran (sumber:
Namun demikian, ada perdebatan lebih bernuansa yang wujud sekarang di dalam tradisi-tradisi ini. Yahudi reformis dan liberal tidak lagi percaya wanita lebih rendah martabatnya atau bahawa lesbian, gay, biseksual dan transgender (LGBT) adalah individu yang dilaknat Tuhan. Juga terdapat beberapa pemimpin dari Gereja Anglikan di seluruh dunia yang berusaha untuk lebih inklusif dan kurang menghakimi terhadap wanita, LGBT, minoriti etnik, bukan-Kristian dan sebagainya.
Sudah pasti, gerakan-gerakan ini ada juga mendapat tentangan dalam tradisi-tradisi agama masing-masing, tetapi kenyataannya adalah bahawa semangat inklusif ini juga ada dalam Islam. Namun, Islam mungkin adalah “kes khusus” — dalam erti bahawa undang-undang negara digunakan untuk menahan kepelbagaian pandangan dalam agama di negara-negara yang majoriti penduduknya Muslim.
Implikasi lawan kemungkinan

Tapi mari kita, untuk seketika, bayangkan hal ini dengan cara berbeza. Bayangkan jika pihak berkuasa Islam telah berkata, “Azwan Ismail, awak boleh teruskan dengan sifat awak, dan kami menghormati keputusan awak.” Apakah implikasi yang akan wujud dari pernyataan tersebut? Adakah ini bermakna bahawa pihak berkuasa perlu untuk merombak semua undang-undang jenayah Islam kita? Adakah kerajaan perlu mengkaji semula Seksyen 377 dalam Kanun Keseksaan kita?
Selanjutnya, apakah ini bererti bahawa pihak berkuasa menghalalkan perhubungan sejenis? Jika ya, apakah itu bererti bahawa mereka harus merestui perkahwinan sejenis? Jika ya, apa ertinya untuk pemahaman kita tentang perkahwinan dalam Islam?
Sekarang ini pun, sudah terdapat banyak isu tentang intipati dan pelaksanaan Undang-undang Keluarga Islam di Malaysia. Berapa keras atau longgarkah sikap pihak berkuasa dalam hal perkahwinan poligami? Berapa seriuskah mahkamah syariah memaksa lelaki untuk membayar nafkah kepada isteri dan anak mereka setelah bercerai? Apakah benar lelaki Muslim dibenarkan untuk memukul isteri mereka? Adakah perkahwinan bawah umur dibenarkan dalam Islam?
Ini bukan sekadar konsep-konsep teologi, tapi mempunyai kesan yang sangat nyata terhadap kehidupan individu dan pada gagasan tentang daulah Malaysia. Dilihat sebegini, ketakutan  “pihak berkuasa” terhadap LGBT Muslim, jika kita mengakui kewujudan mereka, adalah ketakutan akan terurainya Islam itu sendiri — dari segi teologi, sosial, politik dan hukum. Hal inilah yang menerangkan panik moral yang kita lihat.
Tapi dari manakah kita mendapat idea bahawa sesuatu agama boleh hancur hanya dengan pengakuan fakta dan realiti? Dari manakah kita mendapat idea bahawa jika kita tidak menggunakan kekerasan atau paksaan, maka keimanan akan berhenti? Adakah ini dalam teks-teks utama Islam, atau dalam mana-mana agama lain?
Kepastian lawan kekaburan

Mungkin contoh yang berbeza diperlukan di sini. Cendekiawan Muslim Amerika Scott Siraj Al-Haqq Kugle merujuk kepada sebuah hadis sahih yang terkandung dalam Sunan Abu Dawud, Buku 41, No 5106), yang mengatakan:
“Anas bin Malik (r.a) berkata:

(© arte_ram |
Seorang lelaki sedang bersama Nabi (s.a.w), bila seorang lelaki lain melewati mereka dan lelaki yang bersama Nabi berkata ‘Ya Rasulullah! Sesungguhnya aku mencintai lelaki tadi.’ Nabi bersabda, ‘Adakah kamu sudah memberitahunya?’ Dia menjawab, ‘Tidak’. Kemudian baginda bersabda, ‘Khabarkan padanya’. Jadi lelaki itu pergi kepada lelaki tadi dan berkata padanya, ‘Aku cinta kamu kerana Allah,’ dan lelaki itu menjawab, ‘Semoga Dia yang kerana-Nya kamu mencintaiku akan menyintai kamu juga!’”
Hadis ini tidak dengan terang mengatakan apakah cinta itu platonik, spiritual atau romantik. Namun demikian, ia secara khusus tentang cinta antara dua lelaki yang tidak berkaitan, dan ia tidak menghakimi. Antara kekaburan dan kekhususan hadis ini, terdapat sebuah ruang besar yang belum diselidiki untuk debat dan pemahaman lebih lanjut. Dengan menamatkan perdebatan, pihak berkuasa Islam di Malaysia menafikan peluang kepada rakyat kita yang luas dan pelbagai untuk mengkaji dan mentelaah kebijaksanaan yang mendalam yang wujud dalam tradisi Islam.
Masyarakat yang luas dan pelbagai merangkumi orang yang punyai kawan, adik-beradik, pakcik atau makcik, anak, anak saudara, bahkan ibubapa (ya, ibubapa) yang bukan-heteroseksual. Tentunya suatu teologi yang kuat tidak akan meminta mereka untuk mengutuk atau menghukum orang yang mereka kasihi? Tentunya suatu teologi yang syumul dan indah akan menjelajah cara-cara di mana hubungan manusia boleh dirayakan dengan cinta dan perasaan saling menghormati?

Cabinet nod for NUR alert

The Sun

KUALA LUMPUR: The cabinet yesterday approved an early child abduction alert system which will allow the authorities and media to be notified within hours of a child being reported missing.

NUR (National Urgent Response) Alert will focus on missing children under the age of 12.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the system was the best solution to the issue of safety of children.

She said the system was created to spread information about missing children as widely as possible. "This will help speed up the process of bringing the missing child home unharmed."

Shahrizat said it would see the authorities working more effectively with private and non-governmental agencies on missing children.

"It aims to bring the authorities and community together to recover and rescue missing children within the shortest time possible."

The implementation of the NUR Alert system will be overseen by a task force headed by the police with a representative from her ministry as deputy.

Under the system, efforts will be made to display information and pictures of missing children on television.

This includes the use of posters, websites, short messaging service (SMS) and electronic bulletin boards within 24 hours of a police report being filed on a missing child.

The system, previously known as Nurin (Nationwide Urgent Response Information Network) Alert, was proposed following the abduction and murder of Nurin Jazlin Jazimin, 8, in 2007.

Remove offensive word from book: Chandra

The Sun

PETALING JAYA (Jan 13, 2011): The offensive word "pariah" in the novel Interlok, which is being used as Malay literature text for Form Five, should be removed to improve race relations, said Yayasan 1Malaysia chairman Chandra Muzaffar.

"In the larger interest of improving ethnic relations in our country, which is at one of its lowest ebbs since Merdeka, the offensive word should be dropped from the particular sentence in the novel. It will not change its meaning in any way or alter the intent of the author," said Chandra.

"I am sure the author, National Laureate Datuk Abdullah Hussein, would be able to appreciate the significance of this slight modification at a time like this," he added.

Chandra, in a press statement today, said the word "pariah" in Interlok should be looked at in its larger context of the themes of the novel.

"It is employed as a descriptive term to explain why the largely Tamil speaking passengers in the Malaya-bound ship were able to relate to one another, without prohibitions or inhibitions since they were all ‘pariah’ within the caste structure. Whether this was factually true or not is another matter," he said.

Chandra also pointed out that the word had a pejorative connotation.

"Whatever the context of its usage, it would be perceived as negative. Because ‘pariah’ is inherently pejorative, Mahatma Gandhi replaced it with ‘harijan’ (children of God) in the midst of the Indian struggle for Independence from British rule."

He called on parties involved in the proposed dialogue between the Education Ministry and representatives of the Indian community on Interlok to resolve the controversy in the best interest of the parties concerned.

Rescind the ban on Muslim workers, MPSJ told

The Star

SUBANG JAYA: A public outcry has erupted following a move by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) to ban Muslims from working at entertainment outlets with liquor licences.

The council is facing pressure to rescind the controversial ruling.

State local government chairman Ronnie Liu said the state government had not given approval for the council to enforce the ruling which would affect the livelihood of Muslims employed at pubs, hotels, restaurants and entertainment clubs. He said the issue was discussed at the state exco meeting on Wed­nes­day.

“We have advised the MPSJ president to withdraw this new condition,” he added.

MPSJ is said to be enforcing this condition on entertainment outlets namely pubs, discos and clubs which have liquor licences issued by the Customs Department, stopping them from employing Muslims.

This new condition was apparently endorsed at the MPSJ’s full board meeting in June 2009 and is in accordance with Section 18 (2) of the Syariah Criminal Enactment (Selangor) 1995.

Under the new guidelines, entertainment outlet operators will be subject to fines of up to RM5,000 if they flout conditions of the licence.

MPSJ councillor Mohd Nasir Yusoff said the councillors were informed of the new ruling during a full board meeting in 2009. The matter, however, was not discussed thoroughly.

“The enactment has been in existence since 1995,” Mohd Nasir said.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general Abdul Halim Mansor said MTUC was against the ruling as Muslim employees are only working at these outlets, not drinking alcohol.

Jamsharee Al Qudsi used to be a marketing manager but after being retrenched, accepted a job as a mixer for cocktail drinks at an entertainment outlet in Subang Jaya.

“I don’t drink, I mix the drinks based on what I feel would taste good.

“MPSJ must rescind the ruling as it would affect numerous Muslims,” said Jamsharee who considers himself a devout Muslim.

e-Service The Way Of Life For Many Malaysians

By Ali Imran Mohd Noordin

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 (Bernama) -- The idea of filling up forms, queuing up to pay the fees if any or to submit them reminds one of the red tape riddled counter services that Malaysians use to frown upon.

Malaysians will recall that 10 years ago they had no other avenue than to queue up or wait for their number to be called when applying for MyKad, passports and even settle telephone, electricity and water bills. And when multiple transactions are involved, the counter-hopping ritual starts.

Not anymore. Thanks to e-Service, now one can do almost anything ranging from work, business and many more all within the comfort of the home or office.

Today everything has to move fast, preferably seamless. This is where Internet has helped us to upgrade our lifestyle and the quality of life itself.


Since its inception in Europe in the late 1980s, e-Service aspired various organizations to come up with value added approach to satisfy their clients.

Today the concept has become a 'must-have' feature for service providers in various industries. Organizations either big or small have put huge investment to ensure customers are served well virtually.

The e-Service wave has spread around the globe since the US government formally introduced the e-Government concept in 1993.

In 2010, United Nations e-Government Survey ranked Malaysia second out of 11 Southeast Asian (SEA) countries on its e-Government Development Index.

Among other SEA e-Service powerhouse are the number 1-ranked Singapore and number three ranked Brunei. Most countries had improved their global rankings including Malaysia that notched up to the 32nd spot out of the 189 countries involved in the survey.


Saibani Muhamad, 30, an accounts executive here illustrated how the e-Service has become an indispensable part in him.

He started using e-Service 3 years ago with online banking being the first step. From there he moved on to use Companies Commission of Malaysia's E-Lodgment service for work purposes. A year ago he renewed his car insurance and road tax online too.

"I have been using the service to perform fund transfers, pay my utility bills and PTPTN installments as well as some shopping," he said.

Saibani later explained that he did experience minor problems especially with line connection while doing online transaction but that did not deter him from continuing to use the online services.

He encourages the public to turn to e-Service that makes life easier and stressed that `to do online transactions, you must be precise with what you want'.

Johan Kasturi, 27, and analyst from Kajang agreed that e-Service has brought convenience to him.

"With the introduction of these online services, all I need to do is to go online and follow a few simple steps that can be completed in a matter of minutes, all from the comfort of my home. It is very cost effective too".

Here, we have online portals that assist Malaysians to perform transactions with various government agencies all in one portal. Rilek e-Services ( and MyEG Services Berhad ( are a familiar feature for transactions involving the masses.


For some Malaysians, factors that deter them from using e-Service are lack of awareness and security issues, a misconception that it involves tedious procedure and the lack of confidence in online transactions. Some of them are not tech savvy or afraid to reveal their real identity on the Internet.

"I made my first online transaction a few years ago and haven't stopped since. Today, online transactions are more secure than it used to be three or four years ago. Financial institutions have invested a lot of time and money improving customer experience and increasing the level of security for online transactions", added Johan.

Using the web portal is as easy as A-B-C. Each website provides users ample information and clear direction to register and use the available services. Users could easily identify what to do and even undo.

This helps to ensure accuracy and reliability of information submitted leading to seamless transactions.


A random check on e-Service portals for this write up indicated high traffic at the Royal Malaysian Police's (PDRM) portal as members of the public were checking their summons, taking advantage over PDRM's summon discount initiative.

Meanwhile, the services offered by the Road Transport Department (JPJ) including the check for KEJARA demerit points, renewing driving licence, road tax and insurance as well as applying for the 'L' licence.

Telekom Malaysia and TNB services allow users to do online bill payment and Kuala Lumpur City Council's (DBKL) portal helps the public to check and pay assessments and composite license fees.

The Immigration lets you to renew your maid's working permit, and interestingly the National Registration Department (JPN) offers MyKad replacement service with 24-hours ready-for-collection feature!


Currently Malaysia is ranked 16th in the world for online service development, and online transaction is fast becoming a trend among Malaysians.

It helps to cut unnecessary cost, save valuable time and most importantly allows users to conduct transaction at their own convenience.


Sargunan: The next Selvach?

This post comes a bit late, but: Another man has bravely stepped forward to bear witness about how the police beat a man to death.
The witness who allegedly saw a man being beaten to death in a police lock-up has lodged a police report.
In his police report, Sargunan, who is also victim M Krishnan’s friend, said that they were in a mutual friend’s house in Cheras when the police stormed in late at night on Jan 2.
The police allegedly made both of them lie on their stomachs, then started kicking and stomping on their backs with boots on.
They were taken to the Bukit Jalil police station for alleged drug-related offences.
Sargunan, a 34-year-old taxi driver, also said Krishnan had confided in him over how the police had beaten him up and showed him his bruises on his ribs in the lock-up.
Krishnan said he was in extreme pain and could not breathe and then he started vomiting,” said Sargunan in his police report.
Over the four days that they were detained, Sargunan said that Krishnan had pleaded with the police to take him to hospital for treatment.
Sargunan claimed that Krishnan was instead dragged out of the lock-up and beaten up before being thrown back into the lock-up.
Krishnan died at the Bukit Jalil police lock-up last Friday.
While his family claimed that he had been assaulted – based on bruises and cuts on the body – the police and the hospital have claimed that he died due to a stomach ulcer.
I don’t know what to say anymore, that I haven’t said a hundred times already – and to no avail.
The last time a witness accused the cops of beating someone to death, that man – one Selvach Santhiran – was himself beaten by police, and is now being detained without trial.
Will Sargunan be next? It’s too late for Krishnan (though not for justice), but will we at least spread the word on Selvach and Sargunan, to see that they do not meet similar or worse fates?

Half the country disappears in Malaysian history syllabus

In view of the controversy swirling around the content of the History textbooks used in schools, we thought Dr Geoff Wade’s ‘The Origins and Evolution of Ethnocracy in Malaysia’ on the measures used to maintain Malay hegemony merit revisiting.

“It is very strange today that in the diverse, multi-ethnic polity of Malaysia, a single ethnic group completely controls and occupies virtually all positions in the judiciary, public administrative organs, the police, the armed forces as well as universities.

“While Malays constitute a majority of the population of this nation, their presence in all these spheres of power far exceeds their ratio within the general population.”

CPI first carried Dr Wade’s ARI Working Paper No.111 in our website on Sept 9, 2009. Dr Wade is an historian who researches various aspects of Sino-Southeast Asian historical interactions over the last 1,000 years and has recently been concentrating on 20th-century interactions between Southeast Asia and China.

He previously studied and worked in Australia, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong.

This write-up belongs to the Working Paper Series by Asia Research Institute (ARI) at the National University of Singapore.

History Writing

When trying to ensure that the populace is sympathetic to a particular point of view, starting inculcation young is a useful tactic. In various ways, Umno is using school history textbooks to push its view of Malayan and Malaysian history. There has been a gradual process of ethnic cleansing in Malaysian history books over the last 25 years.

A anonymous textbook entitled Sejarah Menengah Malaysia, (Tingkatan Tiga), published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) in under the Ministry of Education in 1971 had much space devoted to the British role in Malayan history, and included a chapter on the Chinese in the peninsula until 1874.

By 1998, a textbook entitled Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menegah Sejarah Tingkatan 1, also published by DBP and compiled by Dato’ Dr Abdul Shukor bin Abdullah and his 17 Malay collaborators, depicts a peninsula whose history begins with the Melaka Sultanate, when it appears that the population of Malaya was entirely Malay, and continues on into the Johor period of Malayan history. The cultural aspects are entirely Malay and it is as if half the country has disappeared.

A 2003 textbook entitled Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah Sejarah Tingkatan 5, published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and compiled by Ramlah bte Adam and her seven Malay collaborators, concentrates on finding Malay national heroes, almost one for each state.

It portrays immigration as something which only happened in the 19th century and only involved people from India and China. The 1930s is written of only through vignettes of Malay figures, while the Malayan Union and Federation depicted as though only Malays and the British existed.

The state/Umno-endorsed and sponsored textbooks are increasingly depicting the history of Malaya’s past as almost solely a Malay history and are gradually excising the roles of Chinese and Indian figures from national history.

And when legislation, distorted history and electoral and media controls fail to convince others of the necessity and validity of Malay ethnocracy, there are always threats of violence available.  - Centre for Policy Initiatives

Malaysia Chronicle appends below Dr Wade's full article which appeared in the CPI website in September.

Second-class citizens deprived of opportunities

The effect of ethnocratic administration in Malaysia is the subordination of the interests of other ethnic groups.

By Dr Geoff Wade

The 50-year dominance of Umno as supreme power in Malaysia has seen it pursue policies aimed at empowering the Malays and creating an ethnocracy where Malay interests are prime.

This has, by definition meant that the interests of other ethnic groups in the country have had to be subordinated. This is manifested in an almost infinite variety of forms – politically, economically, culturally, and socially, some of which are detailed in other areas of this paper.

Even at national level, Umno’s dominance has relegated other ruling coalition parties representing minority interests to insignificance, fuelling discontent over ethnic, religious and economic marginalisation. Here we need only examine the recent Hindraf events to see how this subordination is manifested.

The Indian community in Malaysia constitutes perhaps 8 percent of the population and has long been associated with some of the most menial economic positions in the country — plantation workers, labourers and street-sweepers.

The changes in the plantation industry have seen some of these persons forced into urban slums where they are precluded from decent housing, education or opportunity. Their interests are supposedly represented at national level by the Malaysian Indian Congress, a component party of the Barisan, but it is more than apparent that the national MIC has been less than competent in representing the interests of Indians of the lower socioeconomic strata. As powerless squatters, they are often easy prey for those who wish to oppress or exploit them.

The situation came to boiling point in 2007, when the Hindu Rights Action Force, a coalition of 30 Hindu non-governmental organizations committed to the preservation of Hindu community rights and heritage, began to protest about the tearing down of Hindu temples by local government agents.

On 25 November 2007, Hindraf organised a rally to present a petition to the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur. In one of the largest protests against ethnocracy seen in the country, more than 10,000 people participated in the protests which were subject to tear gas and water cannons.

According to the Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS), Indians have the lowest life expectancy amongst the major ethnic groups; according to Hindraf, Indians have the highest suicide rate amongst the major ethnic groups; while according to government statistics, Indians make up 40% of convicted criminals.

But this community is excluded from the many advantages available to those the government claims are the marginalized Malays.

Religious Autocracy

Establishing Islam as the ‘official religion’ of the state and ensuring that the government departments and agencies are run by Muslims has had major social repercussions throughout the country. These range from complaints from followers of other religions that they are unable to obtain permission or land to erect houses of worship, to the targeting and destruction of temples.

From 2002-2007, 15 Hindu temples were demolished in the Klang Valley by state contractors or agents, and 31 others have been threatened with demolition. The construction of a 36 metre-high Chinese ‘Goddess of the Sea’ statue has also been suspended by the state government in Sabah.

At the level of the individual, persons have been precluded from having the religion of their choice noted on their identification cards (the Lina Joy case), and non-Malay parents have complained about powerful Islamization trends within the schools their children attend.

Educational Woes

The policies which have been implemented in the educational realm over the last 20 years have produced much anger both over the discrimination practised against non-Malay students and the huge declines in educational quality at both secondary and tertiary levels as a result of staffing schools and universities with essentially members of only one ethnic group.

  • Regardless of the quality of school examinations results, non-Malays will be generally ranked behind Malays in terms of being provided with university access.
  • Non-Malays are often precluded from scholarship allocation.
  • Non-Malays are virtually precluded from teaching positions at the tertiary level. On the University of Malaya’s ‘Expert Page’ which details the researchers and thereby essentially the academic staff of the University,1 of 1,240 persons listed, only 20 Chinese names are included, 8 of whom also have Islamic names, as well as 46 Indian names (both Tamil and Northern), and 30 names which are obviously foreign or otherwise cannot be classified. Thus, of the 1,240 UM academic researchers listed on the university’s website, less than 100 are, under the ethnic divisions as used in Malaysia, ‘non-Malay’.
  • There can be no political activity on university campuses. Section 15 of Malaysia's Universities and University Colleges Act states that no student shall be a member of or in any manner associate with any society, political party, trade union or any other organisation, body or group of people whatsoever, be it in or outside Malaysia, unless it is approved in advance and in writing by the vice-chancellor. This precludes any organized resistance to the policies of exclusion.
  • Non-Malay parents are frequently cited in the Malaysian press suggesting that schools are run with Islamic religious aspects throughout (assuming Islam as the norm, imposing food restrictions, fixing apparel expectations, and demanding subordination to these impositions) giving parents the feeling that non-Muslim children do not exist or do not matter.
  • The cavalier attitude to education demonstrated through such schemes and policies has resulted in very marked reductions in the quality of Malaysian education. The United Kingdon's General Medical Council withdrew full recognition of University of Malaya medical degrees in 1989 because of the decline in the standards of medical education at the university.2 The European Union has not recognised Universiti Malaya's medical degree programme (MBBS) since its medical student intake of 1990.
  • There has also been a freefall in the gradings of Malaysian universities in the international assessment exercises for tertiary institutions. The University of Malaya fell from 89th in 2004 to 192nd in 2006 and now has fallen out of the top 200 list.
Judicial Problems

There has been a gradual process of replacement over the last 50 years of the ethnically diverse judiciary with a majority of Malays. Today, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court, the President of the Court of Appeal, and the Chief Judge of the High Court are all Malay. The Chief Judge for Sabah and Sarawak Richard Malanjum is a KadazanDusun from Sabah. Five of the six judges of the Federal Court are Malay.
When the incumbents of any position — public or private are appointed from a restricted pool, quality will by definition suffer.


The ethnic unification of the police force has resulted in enormous attitudinal changes to the force among the population, and particularly among non-Malays.

From the obvious increase in payments to police officers to avoid prosecution, to faked witness statements, and from increased deaths in police custody to assault on the former deputy prime minister [Anwar Ibrahim] by the commissioner of police, there has been a widespread lack of confidence in the police. Most non-Malays will today not approach a police officer or a police station unless under duress.

Again, having only one ethnic group comprise the police force provides a greater platform for corruption and abuse than would be the case with a multi-ethnic force.


The corruption and nepotism which marked the latter years of the Mahathir reign appear to have established new levels for these activities.

When Finance Minister Daim [Zainuddin] persuaded Mahathir to give the Economic Planning Unit and Treasury full power in implementing the privatisation policy, it became no longer necessary to call for tenders for government projects. Instead, the projects were awarded directly to favoured companies. Thus were opened many doors for potential corruption.

But this was true at every level of a society where economic interests were being restructured, where licenses were being awarded, where commissions became par for the course, and where ethnicity was itself a valuable asset.

Migration and Citizenship Issues

Migration and citizenship issues have been at the heart of Malay ethnocracy for 50 years. Under the 1948 Federation of Malaya Constitution, sultans were given control over migration and issues of citizenship engaged all the non-Malay inhabitants of the peninsula.

Today, as Malay ethnocracy is pursued, the ratio of non-Malay peoples in the population continues to fall. The Chinese percentage of the population has declined from 45% in 1957 to 26% today. How is this being achieved?
  • Firstly, by making life difficult and opportunities few for the non-Malays. This is a great inducement to migration for those who have the financial capacity. According to Abdul Rahman Ibrahim, the home ministry's parliamentary secretary, some 14,316 Chinese surrendered their citizenship on migration between 2000 and 2006, compared to 1,098 Malays, 822 Indians, and 238 others.
  • Secondly, by encouraging in-migration of Muslims from Indonesia and the southern Philippines. These persons can often become ‘bumiputra’ and enjoy the benefits of such status in Malaysia.3 Statistics on such in-migration are not made public. Ethnic statistics are some of the most closely guarded secrets in the Malaysian statistical firmament, and outsiders have no idea of (or access to) how the statistics are compiled or adjusted.
Measures used to maintain Malay ethnocracy

Given the often specious claims made to validate the aspirations to special status, indigeneity and other aspects of the Malay Agenda, how has Umno gone about maintaining the claims and avoiding or quashing opposition to them?


One of the key methods of quashing those who wish to question or argue against the special privileges enjoyed under Malay ethnocracy is to legislate. Article 10.4 of the Constitution allows Parliament to prohibit the questioning of any “matter, right, position, privilege, sovereignty or prerogative”, including of course Article 153 of the Constitution.

[The other pieces of legislation are the ISA, Sedition Act, UUCA, and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.]

Failure to Ratify UN Conventions

Malaysia has failed to ratify a range of international covenants and conventions, which have been signed by the majority of UN members. These include:
  • the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), which is monitored by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
  • the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (CCPR), which is monitored by the Human Rights Committee;
  • the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which is monitored by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination;
  • the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), which is monitored by the Committee against Torture;
  • the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (MWC).4
The signing of these conventions would mean that Malaysia’s domestic social and particularly ethnic policies would be subject to much greater attention and supervision from around the globe. Various of the policies of ethnic discrimination as practiced in Malaysia would be illegal under the CERD.

Electoral Control

Parliamentary democracy is premised on elections and if Umno is to continue to win elections and maintain its ethnocracy, there is a need to have methods by which to, if not ensure, at least encourage, this outcome. The most effective weapon in the arsenal is control of the Election Commission (EC).

The EC is seen as one of the primary instruments through which the BN has manipulated the election process for its own political gain . The Government appoints all members of the EC, and all recommendations made by the EC must pass through the Government in order to take effect.

The EC is also the main vector through another key weapon – the gerrymander – is implemented. This can be observed in Malaysian electorates where generally rural voters (predominantly Malay) have a higher vote value. The average number of voters per seat in the Malay dominant state of Perlis is about 40,000, while in Chinese-dominated Selangor it is 71,000,5 giving the Perlis voters almost twice the value for their vote.

Control of Media

Umno controls Bernama, the state news agency, six state-owned radio stations and two television stations under national broadcaster RTM, the Utusan Group and is also closely allied to media conglomerate Media Prima Bhd.

The MCA, through its investment arm Huaren, owns Star Publications, which owns the English newspaper, ‘The Star’, various magazines, and radio stations FM 988 and Red FM. It now holds a 20 percent stake in Nanyang Press, which publishes Chinese newspapers ‘Nanyang Siang Pau’ and ‘China Press’.

The ruling Indian party, MIC, has close affiliations with owners of major Tamil newspapers ‘Tamil Nesan’ and ‘Malaysian Nanban’.

Thus, rather than having to shut down newspapers as Dr Mahathir did in 1987, the newspapers now do not need to be shut down as they print no stories which reflect poorly on the government.

History Writing

When trying to ensure that the populace is sympathetic to a particular point of view, starting inculcation young is a useful tactic. In various ways, Umno is using school history textbooks to push its view of Malayan and Malaysian history. There has been a gradual process of ethnic cleansing in Malaysian history books over the last 25 years.

A anonymous textbook entitled Sejarah Menengah Malaysia, (Tingkatan Tiga), published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) in under the Ministry of Education in 1971 had much space devoted to the British role in Malayan history, and included a chapter on the Chinese in the peninsula until 1874.

By 1998, a textbook entitled Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menegah Sejarah Tingkatan 1, also published by DBP and compiled by Dato’ Dr Abdul Shukor bin Abdullah and his 17 Malay collaborators, depicts a peninsula whose history begins with the Melaka Sultanate, when it appears that the population of Malaya was entirely Malay, and continues on into the Johor period of Malayan history. The cultural aspects are entirely Malay and it is as if half the country has disappeared.

A 2003 textbook entitled Kurikulum Bersepadu Sekolah Menengah Sejarah Tingkatan 5, published by Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka and compiled by Ramlah bte Adam and her 7 Malay collaborators, concentrates on finding Malay national heroes, almost one for each state.

It portrays immigration as something which only happened in the 19th century and only involved people from India and China. The 1930s is written of only through vignettes of Malay figures, while the Malayan Union and Federation depicted as though only Malays and the British existed.

The state/Umno-endorsed and sponsored textbooks are increasingly depicting the history of Malaya’s past as almost solely a Malay history and are gradually excising the roles of Chinese and Indian figures from national history.

And when legislation, distorted history and electoral and media controls fail to convince others of the necessity and validity of Malay ethnocracy, there are always threats of violence available.

Malaysia and Israel

Can one then pursue a democracy where citizens are supposedly equal in their rights, and yet at the same time constitutionally mandate the special position of a certain group within that country? In this respect, the Malaysian state as created by Umno shares a problem with Israel.

Israel wants to develop a modern democratic state, one which gives a specially-mandated place to Jewish people, but at the same time, treats all citizens fairly as equals. As the Malaysian ethnocracy demonstrates, the contradictions of such an arrangement will always ensure friction.

A religion or ethnicity which is detailed in a basic legal document as an essential element of the state necessarily makes believers in other religions, or persons of other ethnic groups, second-rate citizens, and precludes an equality of citizenship.

The ethnocracy which has been slowly developed in Malaysia particularly since 1957 has excluded from full participation in the country the non-Malay peoples of the land. Through economic and social policies, non-Malay people have been deprived of education, employment, political and other opportunities as a cost of the development and consolidation of Malay supremacy and the economic aspects of the NEP.

In any major re-examination or reconsideration of the various privileging policies and ethnocratic structures which have been created in Malaysia, an essential element needs to be a recognition that these structures have as their root the British-Umno alliance of 1946-57, which pursued the interests of these two groups, and excluded from fair participation in the political process the non-elite and non-Malay members of society.

* The ARI Working Paper Series is published electronically by the Asia Research Institute of the National University of Singapore.

** Geoff Wade is currently a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore, having previously studied and worked in Australia, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong. An historian, he researches various aspects of Sino-Southeast Asian historical interactions over the last 1,000 years and has recently been concentrating on 20th-century interactions between Southeast Asia and China.

Unrest persists in Tunisia

Tunis, Tunisia (CNN) -- The tense mood in crisis-ridden Tunisia persisted Thursday as street unrest percolated and a message purportedly from an al Qaeda affiliate announced its support of angry protesters.

But reports indicate that the government is working to address the eruption of grass-roots rage and resolve widespread dissatisfaction with what is seen by many as poor living conditions.

At least 21 people have been killed during protests over high unemployment, alleged corruption, rising prices, and limitations on rights in the North African nation perched on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

The wave of demonstrations was sparked this month by the suicide of an unemployed college graduate, a man who torched himself in December after police confiscated his fruit cart.

Riots and clashes occurred on Mohamad Ali Street in the capital, Tunis, and there is a heavy presence of security forces in that area. Also, rioting erupted on Al Tadamon street in that city's suburbs. Amateur video showed security forces clashing with protests and tear gas is seen.

The videos also showed throngs of protesters packing the streets in Sousse and in Kairouan province. In Sousse, the demonstrators chanted that they will not give up protesting against government economic policies.

There were Arabic-language media reports of six deaths Thursday, reports attributed to eyewitnesses.

These fresh reports come a day after the top U.N. human rights official urged Tunisia's government to make sure its security forces stop using excessive force against protesters and investigate deaths that occurred during demonstrations.

Despite the conflict, there were signs that the government is willing to tackle a range of problems brought to its attention by protesters.

State-run TV on Thursday reported that Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali picked a new interior minister, Ahmed Qureiah, who replaces the fired Rafik Belhaj Kacem.

The president also has fired a couple of close aides, both of whom are perceived to be conservative hard-liners, said Abdel Latif Abid, a Tunisian human rights lawyer and an active member in the opposition.

TV reported that Ben Ali decided to release everyone detained in the latest events in various parts of the country, except for those who were proven to have links to violent incidents and property damages.

He has decided to form one committee to probe the violence and a second committee to look into complaints of bribery, corruption and officials' mistakes, TV reported.

Ben Ali also called on the country's two houses of parliament to meet in an emergency session and implement presidential decrees to help raise employment, create more resources to improve peoples' living and push for more investments.

Abid also told CNN that Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi is currently meeting the opposition leaders, Mustafa Ben Jaafar, Ahmad Ibrahim and Ahmad Najib.

The sitdown is viewed by the opposition as an unprecedented step by the government toward the opposition.

In recent years, Abid said, the government has created fake opposition parties. It is the first time that the government is meeting with the real opposition, he said.

The unrest has drawn travel warnings from the U.S. State Department and attention from the al Qaeda terror network.

The State Department recommended suspending "non-essential travel" to the country and urges Americans to avoid any demonstration, even peaceful ones that can get out of hand.

"The unrest has recently spread to Tunis and all major cities, including popular tourist destinations. These spontaneous and unpredictable events have degenerated on several occasions into violent clashes between police and protesters, resulting in multiple deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage.

"While these disturbances appear to be triggered by economic concerns, and not to be directed toward Westerners, U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security."

The State Department said the Tunisian government has imposed an 8 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. curfew for the greater Tunis metropolitan area.

An audio message about Tunisia surfaced on militant websites on Thursday, and it is said to be from Al Qaeda's North African affiliate, Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb.

While the message cannot be authenticated by CNN, it appeared on various radical Islamist websites known for posting similar statements, messages and recruitment videos by al Qaeda figures.

The 13 minute and 3 second long message is titled "A call of blessing & Support for the intifada of our people in Tunisia" and is said to be from AQIM leader Abdelmalek Droudkel, also known as Abu Musab Abdul Wadud.

He expressed his support for the protesters and called the clashes part of the main battle against tyranny, the crusaders and the Jews. The term "crusaders" is usually a reference to Christians.

The message said that the riots in the Tunisian capital are nothing but a "loud outcry from a victim confronting his executioner, breaking the wall of silence that overshadowed Tunisia for long decades, a long awaited outcry and a blessed uprising against tyranny."

The speaker said AQIM is ready to offer advice and encourages the protesters to defy the government as part of a larger battle to "liberate the lands of Islam" and establish sharia law.

"Now for your movement to be fruitful, your uprising should not be limited to one city or one suburb but your duty is to spread all over and extend your action to every part of the country because the tyrant can only extinguish the fire of one uprising of one limited group but not the fire of the uprising of the whole nation," the message said.

The street protests have gotten the attention of the world.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said Wednesday that reports suggest the majority of protests have been peaceful in nature but that security forces have reacted excessively.

"It is imperative that the government launch a transparent, credible and independent investigation into the violence and killings," she said. "If there is evidence that members of the security forces have used excessive force, or conducted extra-judicial killings, they must be arrested, tried and -- if found guilty of offences -- punished according to the law. It is essential that justice is done, and is seen to be done."

She also expressed her concern over widespread arrests.

"While it is correct that people should be arrested if there is evidence they have committed crimes such as violence or arson, no one should be arrested or harassed for standing up for human rights," she said. "Human rights defenders and bloggers, arrested solely for their peaceful activities, must be released immediately."

Ummi wants to 'save the country' from Anwar

Obsolete Interlok Book should be replaced with 25th Nov 2007 Hindraf Rally Book to reflect current realities on causes and effect of UMNO racism and religious extremism on Indian poor.

url interlokArticle 10 provides for freedom of expression and the author of Interlok is entitled to his literary works.
But making the UMNO racist and religious supremacist Interlok Book as a compulsory book in order to pass SPM is another matter altogether;  it is mischievous, degressive and an attempt to continue suppressing, oppressing and depressing the Indian poor in One Malay-sia.
What is the motive of the Education Ministry in compelling our students to study about the degressive thoughts of the author?
We hereby propose that Interlok is forthwith replaced by the 400 page “25th November 2007 Hindraf Rally” by P. Uthayakumar which outlines the current very serious problems faced by the Malaysian Indian poor by being excluded and segregated from the National mainstream development of Malay-sia under the UMNO regime’s racist and religious supremacist policies.
Unlike Interlok, 25th November 2007 is progressive in having identified UMNO racism and religious supremacy policies of excluding and segregating the Indian poor from the national mainstream development of Malay-sia, equal rights and in particular equal job, educational, scholarship, licences and business opportunities as the way forward and progressive.
Talking about the Interlok the Indian poor may actually have been better off 150 to 200 years ago when they were brought into Malaya.
At least they had an attap hut in their villages in India to sell or mortagage to raise money top come to Malaysia (see page 210). And upon arriving in Malaya they were free to sell kacang putih, ice water, mee (goring) rice (food) or the kandar tea. Many could save enough to even set up a food shop in India when they finally returned home. But in One Malay-sia today an Indian poor unlike a Malay muslim poor is excluded and segregated from setting up a kacang putih, ice water, mee goreng food or a tea stall.
Even when they have attempted, their stalls are demolished within months if not within weeks.
Because of the UMNO racist and religious supremacist policies, the Indian poor cannot even afford to pay RM 124 being their monthly rentals and end up 20 including a one month old baby living in one small government low cost flats, if not made homeless and having to sleep on the streets.
And their can they go back to India as an estimated 450,000 Malay-sian Indian poor have been rendered stateless when they have even been denied their innate Birth Certificates and Identity Cards. This level of racist and religious extremist atrocities does not happen in any other part of the world. (see Malaysian Indian Minority & Human Rights Violations Annual Report 2010).
In conclusion replace this Interlok book with 25th November 2007 Hindraf Rally Book as the compulsory book for all Form 5 students as the very least attempt to undo the injustices the these Indian poor.
(see NST 13/1/11 at page 6)
“Rights not Mercy”
Information Chief
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