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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Nationwide police reports against Nong Chik and KL Mayor

We want the police to intervene on behalf of Bukit Jalil folk who have been at loggerheads with the minister and mayor, says Suaram

KUALA LUMPUR: Today saw a flurry of police reports across the nation against Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin and Kuala Lumpur Mayor, Ahmad Fuad Ismail and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) over the Bukit Jalil estate issue.

The reports were lodged by human rights organisation Suaram and other non-government organisations.

“Simultaneous police reports were lodged in nine places in the states of Penang, Kelantan, Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negeri Sembilan and Johor,” Suaram coordinator E Nalini told the media outside the Dang Wangi district police headquarters.

The 41 families living on the 26-acre land have been at loggerheads with DBKL for several years as the latter plans to build a cemetery at the place once they have acquired the land.

The residents had demanded that four acres from the 26-acre land be allocated for them to build low-cost houses and also compensation for the years they have worked in the estate.

Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin rejected their demand for land and offered RM23,000 each to those who have worked on the estate for more than 15 years while the rest were offered RM11,000 each.

“We are lodging police reports today because we want the police to intervene and ensure that the residents are not evicted by force and their human rights are upheld.

We also want the police to be neutral in their investigations,” Nalini said.

A resident S Thiagarajan 57 said: “We lodged 84 police reports on March 1 but no action has been taken.”

Last month a police report was also lodged against Raja Nong Chik and Ahmad Fuad Ismail. It was lodged by 41 former Bukit Jalil estate
residents with the help of Parti Sosialis Malaysia.

The ex-estate area now belongs to Bukit Jalil Sdn Bhd and they want to evict the ex-estate workers using the Emergency Ordinance.

MIC likely to take back anti-Samy Vellu trio

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — MIC president Datuk G. Palanivel is expected to reinstate three party leaders sacked by his predecessor Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu last year, a move seen as distancing the party from the previous leadership.

It is understood that former central working committee (CWC) members Kumar Aaamaan and KP Samy, and former MIC Youth deputy chief V. Mugilan will be re-admitted into the party when the CWW meets here tonight.

“The meeting will consider a report from the disciplinary committee headed by Tan Sri K.S. Nijhar who will make recommendations based on the appeals,” a party source told The Malaysian Insider.

A source also said the disciplinary committee will recommend all three to be accepted back for the sake of party unity and on the basis that their expulsion was illegitimate.

“There will one or two CWC members who may object but the majority will accept the recommendation for their admission.

“Admitting back members sacked by Samy Vellu is a new approach by Palanivel and this was a promise made to the BN leadership especially Datuk Seri Najib Razak,” he said.

The trio led an anti-Samy Vellu campaign in 2010 to force the veteran leader to resign immediately as party president.

The campaign began when Samy Vellu, who is now a special envoy, announced that he will resign before September 2011 despite objections from party members who wanted him to leave earlier.

The party’s longest-serving president eventually resigned last December 6.

The MIC has reinstated former Petaling Jaya chief V. Subramaniam, who was sacked by Samy Vellu last year.

Palanivel has previously stressed that he was willing to forgive all sacked party members and leaders, and was ready to accept them back.

“I do not want enemies. I want to become a friend to everyone,” he said.

In addition to the three leaders, MIC will also accept a number of party members sacked last year.

Perkasa to go ahead with ‘1Bumiputera’ movement

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Perkasa will still go ahead with its plans to form a movement to unite all Malay parties under the “1Bumiputera” banner despite the group’s patron Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad describing the idea as disastrous for the country.

The Malay rights group maintained that the community was in dire need of such a movement to defend their political rights, blaming the DAP for uniting the economically-strong Chinese minority to gain ultimate political power.

“We are calling it 1Bumiputera because we want to unite all Bumis. We will launch this to unite the Bumiputeras to defend our political rights. We have no problems about ethnic Bumi ethnic groups having differing political ideologies but there has to be a collective consciousness in the interest of Bumiputeras.

“Perkasa hopes the spirit of 1Bumiputera reverberates in the souls of all Bumis including those in Sabah and Sarawak. What is wrong with that?” Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali told The Malaysian Insider.

He said that Perkasa would still go ahead and launch the movement in Kedah on April 30 during its 3rd “Perhimpunan Melayu”, but will only do so once Dr Mahathir, the guest of honour on that day, leaves the ceremony.

The former prime minister had for the first time disagreed with Perkasa, and warned that such a movement would eventually result in a two-party system where each side would be dominated by one race.

Even Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak distanced his administration from the movement, saying that the movement was a personal opinion of Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia.

Utusan had first suggested the movement and had called on Umno to spearhead a 1 Melayu, 1 Bumi movement involving all Malay parties.

“Perkasa will still launch the 1Bumiputera movement in Kedah this April 30 as soon as Tun Dr Mahathir leaves the ceremony because we respect his views. He will be given the freedom to say anything he wants to say in his speech at the Perhimpunan Melayu Perkasa Kedah. We believe what he will say is for the harmony of the citizens of this country,” said Syed Hassan.

The Perkasa leader said they understood and respected the fact that the former PM did not agree with them, and likened the situation to Dr Mahathir disagreeing with Najib’s 1 Malaysia concept.

According to Syed Hassan, while Perkasa was aware that Malays needed to “share everything” with the other races, the non-Bumiputeras are now “refusing to share power” with the Bumiputeras.

“They want to control the economy and pressure the government to destroy the rights of the Bumiputeras. We have heard their demands many times.

“They do not respect the constitution,” he said.

He said the reason why Perkasa could not accept PR as the ruling coalition was because of the DAP, which, he stressed, would not help a form a fair administration.

“Perkasa feels secure with BN because over there is DAP... DAP is a party which propagates equality and we cannot accept DAP’s brand of equality.

“If we are talking about equality based on the race ratio we can accept, because that means 67 per cent of the country’s population are Bumis and therefore we need to control 67 per cent of the country’s economy. But if we have not even achieved 30 per cent and they are talking about getting rid of our constitutional rights how can we accept? This means they have no intention of sharing,” added Syed Hassan.

He said however that this did not mean that Perkasa rejected the 1 Malaysia concept which is a cornerstone of the Najib administration.

Harmony slipping out of hand

Why couldn't businessman William Cheng have asked that the New Year or other major public holidays be cancelled as well?
COMMENT

Something very sinister is happening in Malaysia. On the one hand Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak is sparing no effort in promoting his idea of peace through his 1Malaysia brand. Elsewhere, former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad has warned non-Malays not to get too comfortable living in Malaysia.

It was in February this year that Mahathir told the non-Malays that this country belongs to the Malays because it was once called Tanah Melayu.

And he went on to lecture the non-Malays that they should be grateful for being citizens of this nation.

Then there is Malay-rights group Perkasa which keeps badgering the non-Malays to keep their mouths shut when on the question of Malay supremacy and privileges. Its founder Ibrahim Ali never fails to blow his top each time Article 153 of the Federal Constitution is talked about.

And before Perkasa came into being post the 2008 general election, there was Umno, never failing to threaten anyone who discussed the special rights of the Malays.

For some time, certain Umno leaders kept drawing out the keris at the party’s general assemblies as a warning to the non-Malays that all hell would break loose should Article 153 be debated.

Circa May 13,1969, Malaysia faced a racial riot which left hundreds dead and the rest severely suspicious of one another’s faith.

Forty two years later, ‘lessons’ left by that bloody incident have not been appreciated by a large number of Malaysians, as proven by racial remarks made by Mahathir and leaders of the country’s ruling party, Umno.

Now, a businessman, William Cheng has stepped into the wrong footsteps left behind by the likes of Mahathir by insulting the Indians and Buddhists residing in this country, whom he labelled as ‘minorities’ and not deserving of a public holiday.

Cheng, chairman of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce, suggested that Deepavali and Wesak Day public holidays be scrapped as both were bad for business.

And since they were celebrated by minority groups, revoking these public holidays was hardly a reason to fuss over.

Does it matter that 87% of the 1, 970,000 Indians in Malaysia are Hindus and they celebrate Deepavali? Or that three million people in this country celebrate Wesak Day which marks the birth of Lord Buddha.

Harmony slipping out of hand

No doubt what Cheng said is an insult to the Hindu community and to the Buddhists.

The disrespect shown to a smaller number of people and the liberty taken to ridicule their presence has brought about the much dreaded question – just how truly united are Malaysians?

Cheng, having lived in Malaysia for many years is well aware that Deepavali, the Festival of Light, is the only national public holiday
accorded to the Hindu community.

For so many years, the Hindu community has urged the government to consider making Thaipusam a national public holiday but it never did.

This considering the fact that it is a religious event and one that has achieved global recognition.

If Cheng is disturbed with the 17 public holidays enjoyed by the people of this country, he could have asked that the New Year or the Hari Raya Haji public holidays be cancelled. But he did not?

Was it because he realised the significance behind these events? If so, how did he forget what Deepavali and Wesak Day signify? Or was Cheng afraid of the repercussions had he dared suggest that Hari Raya Haji no longer be treated as a public holiday? Beneath all these, there remains this nagging worry that Cheng has no respect for the minority communities, hence the insensitive suggestion.

Picking on the “minority” community is a folly Cheng can ill-afford. The country has not totally recovered from the shocks of May 13, so instead of the ‘superior race’ and ‘minority is not important’ attitude, it would help much if Cheng developed compassion towards the minorities.

Should turbulence between the different races be the order of the day, all the dollars and cents will not do Cheng any good.

Stop bullying minorities

Reacting to Cheng’s suggestion, Reverend Thomas Philips, president of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) said the statement smacked of disrespect for the religion.

“It’s not a question of majority or minority. Everybody should be treated as equal in this multireligious, multiracial society.

“We’ve been living with these holidays all along. The question of business should not arise as we should view the holidays as a long-term investment which brings diversity and peace,” Thomas said.

The reality, as painful and hurting as it is, shows that festivals like Hari Raya Puasa and Chinese New Year are given much priority and importance, all because they involve the majority race.

The television stations go to great lengths to provide an influx of special programmes, some for over a week, during the Chinese New Year and Hari Raya celebrations. But when it concerns Deepavali, the television stations become less enthusiastic in serving their Indian viewers? Why?

For Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who has been ambitiously promoting the 1Malaysia brand, it is time to put the brakes on his latest gig, the RM50 million worth 1Malaysia e-mail project and set the gear in reverse and re-look why 1Malaysia has thus far not been successful.

Ironically, after 53 years of tasting independence, Malaysia has yet to free itself from the clutches of racism, made worse over the years through the indoctrination perpetuated by the ruling party, Umno.

Education system at fault

What Mahathir, the boys of Umno and Cheng have displayed are mentalities of years of indoctrination that have reinforced by the education system.

The hierarchy of the different races was and still is – Malay, Chinese and Indians. It has become second nature for Malaysians to describe the different races living in this country as per this order. Is this necessary?

Clearly, the ruling government has done Malaysians a disservice by segregating the different races in this country according to majority and minority, resulting in the smaller groups being treated as less important.

Perhaps looking at how the Barisan Nasional government has shown no respect for the Indian community on the issue of the ‘Interlok’ novel, Cheng concluded that his suggestion could do no further harm.

When the ‘Interlok’ novel meant for Form Five students pursuing Malay literature describes the Indians as pariahs and demeans the community
and this hardly troubles the Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, something dangerous is brewing.

Are any more excuses necessary to avoid engaging in interfaith discussions or put in place an interfaith commission, keeping in mind the shaky foundation of the harmony once-upon-a-time enjoyed by the people of this country?

Stop bullying Indians

On Feb 19 this year, FMT reported that a 28-second video depicting a Malaysian Indian student forced to say “keling babi” by his nschoolmates was making its rounds on YouTube.

In the video, the antagonist who is behind the camera says: “Cakap sekarang, aku sepak sekarang. Aku terajang karang. Cakap keling babi.

Cakap keling babi.” (Say it now, I’ll slap you. I’ll kick you. Say Indians are pigs. Say Indians are pigs.)

When the student concerned did not respond, the antagonist continued until the Indian student relented.

The video had been viewed more than 18,000 times since it was put up on Feb 12. It was first uploaded by someone who identified himself as Amingenji and subsequently uploaded by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi, the user name for Human Rights Party (HRP).

HRP believes the incident shown on YouTube took place in SMK Shah Bandar, Klang, Selangor. Its protem secretary-general P Uthayakumar said no police reports had been lodged then.

“The police are not going to take action. The Attorney-General’s office is not going to prosecute,” Uthayakumar had said.

Looking at the disrespect meted out to the Indians, Cheng has assumed it is not wrong to treat the minorities as the government treats them – but this may just be the straw that break’s the camel’s back, sooner or later.

Poco-poco OK, says National Fatwa Council

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — The National Fatwa Council will not ban Muslims from doing the poco-poco as long as the dance does not go against existing guidelines, its chairman Prof Emeritus Tan Sri Dr Abdul Shukor Husin has said.

“If it does not violate (the rules), there is no ban. In fact, we feel there should be no restriction as it brings health benefits,” he told reporters today.

Abdul Shukor, however, said the National Fatwa Council would respect the decision of the Perak Fatwa Council to ban the dance on the grounds that it contained elements of Christian and spirit worship.

He also reminded Muslims to always be mindful and refer to the guidelines that the council has issued since 2007 that caution Muslims not to take part in non-Islamic rituals and to dress modestly.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria told The Malaysian Insider on April 6 that he would not rescind the ban on poco-poco but was willing to offer clarification on his decision to the National Fatwa Council.

Harussani stressed that the state fatwa committee had decided to ban the dance only after detailed study and consideration.

“I’m prepared (to explain) that we banned the poco-poco dance because we investigated ... we studied ... we examined, and we banned it because it deviates from Islamic teachings,” he had said.

“This decision wasn’t done simply. We know and realise what we’re doing. If anyone doesn’t understand, I am willing to explain and give reasons, even to the National Fatwa Council, as to why it was banned.”

Harussani said the state fatwa committee had taken into account nine basics — including one stating that faith and belief are more important than health — before declaring the poco-poco dance haram.

The backdrop to and rationale of Article 153

By Haris Ibrahim,


By 8th May, 1945, Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces.
The war in Europe was effectively over.

3 months later, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed.
The Japanese imperialist war, too, was over.

World War 2 was at an end, and the full extent of the atrocities committed by Hitler’s regime was soon to come to light.

According to Wikipedia, the persecution and genocide carried out in the cause of Hitler’s Holocaust accounted for the lost lives of between 11 and 17 million people.

Reacting to this, on 10th December, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and called upon all member nations to disseminate, display, read and expound the same.

The very first Article of the UDHR reads : All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

In 1956, Her Majesty the Queen of England consented to the formation of the Reid Commission, which was then tasked to draft a constitution for the intended Federation of Malaya.

It is inconceivable that the Commission would not have had in mind the UDHR principles, particularly Article 1, when they went about their work

On the basis of the recommendations of the Reid Commission, the Federal Constitution was passed by the Federal Legislative Council on 15th August, 1957.

With regard to what is now contained in Article 153, this is what the Commission proposed :
“Our terms of reference require that provision should be made in the Constitution for the ‘safeguarding of the special position of the Malays and the legitimate interests of other Communities’. In addition, we are asked to provide for a common nationality for the whole of the Federation and to ensure that the Constitution shall guarantee a democratic form of Government. In considering these requirements it seemed, to us that a common nationality was the basis upon which a unified Malayan nation was to be created and that under a democratic form of Government it was inherent that all the citizens of Malaya, irrespective of race, creed or culture, should enjoy certain fundamental rights including equality befoa re the law. We found it difficult, therefore, to reconcile the terms of reference if the protection of the special position of the Malays signified the granting of special privileges, permanently, to one community only and not to the others.

The difficulty of giving one community a permanent advantage over the others was realised by the Alliance Party, representatives of which, led by the Chief Minister, submitted that in an independent Malaya all nationals should be accorded equal rights, privileges and opportunities and there must not be discrimination on grounds of race and creed…’ The same view was expressed by their Highnesses in their memorandum, in which they said that they ‘look forward to a time not too remote when it will become possible to eliminate Communalism as a force in the political and economic life of the country’. When we came to determine what is ‘the special position of the Malays’… we found that… the special position of the Malays has always been recognised… We found that there are now four matters with regard to which the special position of the Malays is recognised and safeguarded… the system of reserving land for Malays has been in action for many years… There are now in operation quotas for admission to the public services… There are now also in operation quotas in respect of the issuing of permits or licences for the operation of certain businesses… In many classes of scholarships, bursaries and other forms of aid for educational purposes preference is given to Malays… We found little opposition in any quarter to the continuance of the present system for a time, but there was great opposition in some quarters to any increase of the present preferences and to their being continued for any prolonged period.


We are of opinion that in present circumstances it is necessary to continue these preferences. The Malays would be at a serious and unfair disadvantage compared with other communities if they were suddenly withdrawn. But, with the integration of the various communities into a common nationality which we trust will gradually come about, the need for these preferences will gradually disappear. Our recommendations are made on the footing that the Malays should be assured that the present position will continue for a substantial period, but that in due course the present preferences should be reduced and should ultimately cease so that there should then be no discrimination between races or communities…We recommend that after 15 years there should be a review of the whole matter and that the procedure should be that the appropriate Government should cause a report to be made and laid before the appropriate legislature; and that the legislature should then determine either to retain or to reduce any quota or to discontinue it entirely”.

Is Najib becoming another Pak Lah – a Prime Minister whose writ does not run in UMNO?

The question many are asking is whether the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is becoming another Pak Lah, the fifth Prime Minister whose writ did not run in Umno although he was also Umno President ending in his ignominious exit as Umno chief and prime minister.

This question has become more pronounced after Najib’s meek and completely unacceptable stance over Utusan Malaysia’s “1Melayu, 1Bumi” call.

Najib’s tame excuse is that the “1Melayu, 1Bumi” call was made by a columnist of a local daily and was the personal opinion of the writer concerned.

Najib’s excuse might be acceptable if Utusan Melayu is not the official organ of Umno, whose columns represent the mainstream opinion and demands of the Umno leadership in government.

Najib’s meek stance is doubly unacceptable because Utusan Malaysia’s “1Melayu, 1Bumi” call is an open challenge to his 1Malaysia policy in the past two years – tantamount to an open slap in the face of the Prime Minister’s signature concept.

Furthermore, if any Chinese newspaper had for instance called for a “1Chinese” campaign in the country, it would have been slapped with the full weight of the law, the press closed down and its editor/writer charged with sedition. Why the double standards in the case of Utusan Malaysia?

The Cabinet on Wednesday should repudiate and condemn the Utusan Malaysia’s “1Melayu, 1Bumi” call as irresponsible, seditious and a subtle attempt to sabotage Najib’s 1Malaysia policy.

As Umno President, he should revamp Utusan Malaysia to ensure that it should stop its anti-national campaign and to stop subverting his 1Malaysia signature policy.
If the Cabinet is silent on Utusan Malaysia’s “1Melayu, 1Bumi”, it could only mean that Najib’s 1Malaysia policy is sheer hypocrisy and chicanery costing Malaysian taxpayers RM70 million for APCO to package it as the greatest gift by Najib to Malaysians.

Government Won't Compromise On Projects That Jeopardise Public Safety - Najib

PEKAN, April 23 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the government will not compromise on projects that jeopardise public safety and their wellbeing.

Commenting on the project undertaken by Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Lynas Corporation from Australia, Najib said an independent panel comprising experts would carry out a study on the safety aspects and impact arising from the plant to be built.

"We have decided, firstly that we will not compromise in terms of public safety and wellbeing, we give top priority to public security and health. It's not the factor that we want the project," he told reporters after opening the general meeting of the Pahang chapter of the Malaysian Malay Contractors Association, here Saturday.

Najib said the panel would be given one month to undertake a study on the matter before preparing the report.

"The project must not jeopardise public security and health, and in line with this principle, we will set up a panel of experts made up of those who are extremely skilled in areas pertaining to the Lynas project to study all aspects within the next one month.

"They will come up with a report, and based on this report, the government will make a final decision," Najib said.

The Prime Minister hoped everyone would remain calm and let the panel carry out a detailed study.

"Let the panel of experts make its detailed study and come up with recommendations to the government.

"What should be done is based on the main principles, that public health and security must not be compromised. We will also not allow (the plant) to carry out pre-operations until a final decision is made," he said.

Yesterday, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said an independent panel would be set up as soon as possible to carry out a study on the health and security aspects arising from the setting up of the plant and it was hoped that the report would ease the concern of Kuantan residents and explain the actual situation to those who had politicised the issue.

Mustapa had said that no pre-operations licence would be issued to Lynas by the Atomic Energy Licensing Board (LPTA).

The factory, costing RM700 million, which was being built in the Gebeng industrial area, Kuantan had created a controversy because it was alleged to release radiation that could endanger public health.

Several series of briefings organised by the LPTA and the state government in Kuantan recently had not given positive results.

Jesus was tortured and executed

Tortured and executed. How different that is compared to the dry, passive “suffered and died” that we recite in creeds in church.
“Tortured and executed” raises questions in a way that “suffered and died” can’t. Who tortured and executed him and why?
It was the leaders of the political-religious-economic–social domination systems of his time that found Jesus’ proclamation of a new kingdom based on unconditional non-violent love and distributive justice a threat to their hegemony.
The liturgy and doctrinal creeds of many Christian churches today fail to capture that radical dimension to Jesus’ message.
This is a reflection by Fr. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy that I received in my mail box that I thought I would share with you.
Twelve frightened men, who feel that death is hovering over, crowd around the Son of Man whose hand is lifted over a piece of bread and over a cup.
Of what value is this gesture, of what use can it be?
How futile it seems when already a mob is arming itself with clubs, when in a few hours Jesus will be delivered to the courts, ranked among transgressors, tortured, disfigured, laughed at by His enemies, pitiable to those who love Him, and shown to be powerless before all.
However, this Man, condemned to death does not offer any defense; He does nothing but bless the bread and wine and, with eyes raised, pronounces a few words.
- Fran├žois Mauriac, The Mystery of Holy Thursday
Jesus does not die of a heart attack. He is murdered when His heart is attacked by human beings inebriated with the diabolical spirit of justified, religiously endorsed homicide—and He dies giving a definite, discernible, and consistent response to that satanic spirit. This reality cannot be insignificant in discerning the Truth of the revelation God is trying to communicate to humanity for the good of humanity in Jesus.
The Sacrifice of the Cross is not about mere animal pain that is meant to assuage the lust of a sadistic, blood-thirsty, parochial god. It is about the revelation of the nature and the way and the power of a Divine Love that saves from an Enemy and a menace.
At which the darkest phenomena of history and contemporary life can only hint.
To consistently dismiss and to structurally ignore major historical facts in the God-given revelatory memory presented and preserved in the Gospels is to assure that a large amount of what God intended to be communicated by this costly revelation will not be communicated by it. Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Churches in their Eucharistic Prayers normally only employ two minimally descriptive words, “suffered” and “died,” to bring to mind what took place with Jesus on Golgotha. While “suffered” and “died” is not historically untrue , pastorally speaking they are an emaciated remembrance (revelatory anamnesis) of the historical reality of the redeeming Passion of Christ. If two words are all the time that a Church’s Eucharistic Prayer can spend on calling to mind the historical reality of Jesus’ Passion, why not the infinitely more accurate and precise words “tortured” and “murdered?” “Tortured” and “murdered” contain all that “suffered and “died” do and far, far more.
But, “tortured” and “murdered” while a less ambiguous and more conscientious presentation of the historical reality of the crucifixion of Jesus, still of themselves they do not convey the full historical picture for they leave open what the Spirit and the Way were with which Jesus responded to His tortures and murderers. The historical record shows He responded with unconditional love toward them. A perfunctory presentation, or a non-presentation of this historical truth in the Eucharistic Prayer of a Church at the supreme moment when the saving decision of Jesus is re-presented to the Community as the Greatest of God’s Great Deeds in history for which we should be thankful (Eukharistica), would seem to be a perilous form of negligence or indifference to what the Word of God (incarnate) is communicating in wisdom and in power “for us and our salvation. (Nicene Creed)”
Here is an example of what should be part of, or at least available to be part of, every Eucharistic narrative-anamnesis of every Church regardless of their metaphysical understandings of what the Eucharist is beyond its empirical presentation to the senses:
…On the night before He went forth to His eternally memorable and life-giving death,
like a Lamb led to slaughter, rejecting violence, loving His enemies, and praying for His persecutors, He bestowed upon His disciples the gift of a New Commandment:
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.”
Then He took bread into His holy hands, and looking up to You, almighty God, He gave thanks, blessed it, broke it, gave it to His disciples and said:
“Take this, all of you, and eat it: this is my body which will be given up for you.”
Likewise, when the Supper was ended, He took the cup. Again He gave You thanks and praise, gave the cup to His disciples and said:
“Take this, all of you, and drink from it: this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.”
“Do this in memory of me.”
Obedient, therefore, to this precept of salvation, we call to mind and reverence His passion where He lived to the fullest the precepts which He taught for our sanctification. We remember His suffering at the hands of a fallen humanity filled with the spirit of violence and enmity. But, we remember also that He endured this humiliation with a love free of retaliation, revenge, and retribution. We recall His execution on the cross. But, we recall also that He died loving enemies, praying for persecutors, forgiving, and being superabundantly merciful to those for whom justice would have demanded justice.
Finally, we celebrate the memory of the fruits of His trustful obedience to thy will, O God: the resurrection on the third day, the ascension into heaven, the enthronement at the right hand, the second and glorious coming. Therefore with hearts full of gratitude we offer You your own, from what is your own, in all and for the sake of all…
Poised between time and eternity and about to be pressed like an olive by what history and the Gospels tell us was religiously endorsed, rationally justified and state executed homicidal violence, to which He knows He must respond with a love that is neither violent nor retaliatory, with a love that forgives and that seeks to draw good out of evil, He proclaims, “I will be with you only a little while longer. Now I say to you, I give you a new commandment: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn 13:33-34).
It is hard to conceive of a more dramatically powerful context to communicate the importance of a truth to people for an indefinite future. Imagine how the Church and the world would be today if this new commandment as taught on the first Holy Thursday and lived unto death on the first Good Friday was continuously remembered in Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Eucharistic Prayers throughout the ages! Imagine if in all the Churches of Christianity it were universally and immediately in their Eucharistic Prayers fused to how Jesus historically loved from the moment He spoke to His last breath.
The explicit inclusion of the memory of Jesus’ new commandment given at the Last Supper—which commandment “contains the entire Law of the Gospel…and summarizes the entire will of the Father that is to be done on earth as it is in heaven”(CCC#1970, 2822)—the explicit inclusion of Jesus’ rejection of violence, love of His enemies, prayer for His persecutors, return of good for evil in the Eucharistic Prayer of the Churches at the point of institution narrative-anamnesis is not a whimsical or arbitrary insertion of haphazard events from Jesus’ life. This is what happens from the Cenacle to Calvary. To side-step these authentic Apostolic memories in order to get to a more profound or holy or “deep” spirituality is sheer folly. One has to have the humility to accept revelation as God offers it. If one does not want to prayerfully enter into revelation as presented by the Word of God, then one has no access to revelation; for who but God can author revelation?
This is the memory given to us to revere and to imitate by the ultimate historical, theological, spiritual and pastoral documents on the subject: the four Gospels. It is what the conscientious obeying of Jesus’ one other commandment at the Last Supper—“Do this in remembrance of me”—honestly, honorably and in good faith asks—so that every Christian in all nations may become what he or she consumes in the Eucharist and be what he or she is—Christ.
Charlie

Swap with Umno: Palanivel to be full minister?

The deal being brokered is that MIC hands over two deputy minister posts in return for its president to rise up the Cabinet ranks.

KUALA LUMPUR: Speculation is rife that MIC will be given another full ministership in exhange for two deputy minister posts.

According to the MIC-linked Tamil Nesan, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had yet to decide on who would replace T Murugiah, who had to relinquish his deputy minister post after his senatorship expired on Monday.

Murugiah, a former PPP leader, had joined MIC following a leadership tussle and brought along his senatorship and deputy minister post.

Apart from Murugiah’s deputy minister post, the other deputy minister post which was expected to be given up to Umno was the portfolio held by MIC president G Palanivel.

Palanivel, who was appointed senator and made plantation industries and commodities deputy minister last year, was expected to be given the full minister post.

Palanivel, who succeeded veteran chieftain S Samy Vellu last December, was among the MIC top guns defeated during the 2008 general election.

Currently, MIC has one full minister (Human Resources Minister Dr S Subramaniam, who is also MIC deputy president) and two other deputy ministers, vice-presidents M Saravanan and SK Devamany.

The last time MIC held two cabinet minister posts was in 1976, where the late party president V Manickavasagam was communication minister while his deputy, Athi Nahappan, was appointed as minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of the law portfolio.

However, Athi Nahappan died two months after his appointment.

Since then, Umno had refused to give MIC two Cabinet minister posts, but there was also speculation that both Manickavasagam and his succesor Samy Vellu preferred to remain as the party’s sole full minister, in order to keep it as a “one-man show”.

According to a party insider, Palanivel was unhappy with the current situation, where his party deputy, Subramaniam, outranked him in the government.

“This is why the president has agreed to the swap with Umno. He wants to become a full minister to be on par with his deputy, and the position will also give him the clout and respect needed to lead MIC’s charge in the next general election,” the insider told FMT.

Despite numerous attempts, Palanivel could not be reached for comment.

In another development, another Tamil daily Makkal Osai quoted sources claiming that Penang MIC chief PK Suppaiah had received his appointment letter as senator, replacing the slot vacated by Murugiah.

The report stated that he was expected to be sworn in on April 25.

Malaysians not ready to abandon ethnic identities, says Dr M

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad insisted today that Malaysians are not yet ready to discard their ethnic origins by identifying themselves with only their nationality instead of their race.

The former prime minister said this was why Barisan Nasional (BN), as a coalition comprising various race-based parties like Umno, MCA and MIC, was still relevant in the country’s political landscape.

“That day has not arrived yet. Until then, only the BN coalition can represent all races in Malaysia,” he wrote in his blog today.

He was writing in response to BN’s win in the just-concluded Sarawak polls.

Dr Mahathir’s latest assertion will likely reopen the “Malaysian first, Malay next” debacle that erupted in Parliament last year when Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin caused a stir by declaring himself “Malay first”.

Muhyiddin was responding to DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang’s challenge to him to prove his support of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia concept.

Dr Mahathir, however, claimed it was likely that the BN formula of combining race-based parties was responsible for bringing Malaysia years of peace while other nations with the same racial diversity languished with numerous racial and religious clashes.

He pointed out that prior to independence, the various races in Malaysia were deeply divided and antagonistic towards one another, leading to the formation of race-based parties.

“But Tunku Abdul Rahman, the Umno president, together with Tan Siew Sin and V. T. Sambanthan decided that the races could cooperate more effectively if they formed a coalition of racial parties. They felt more secure even if they made up a minority.

“With the ensuing stability, Malaysia was able to develop and prosper. Can anyone deny that?” he said.

Dr Mahathir also cast aspersions on DAP’s claim to be a multiracial party, pointing out that the overwhelming majority if its members, supporters and leaders are Chinese.

“And their struggle is principally against anything Malay and for what they claim to be Chinese rights.

“Their disguise that they are for Malaysians is exactly that — it is a disguise. No one is taken in by their claim to be multiracial,” he chided.

He also rubbished DAP’s “Malaysian Malaysia” concept, claiming it reflected the party’s belief that Malaysia is presently just for the Malays.

“That the Alliance and the BN have representation from all races is ignored. That the parties share power in the Government is also ignored.

“That for 50 years the coalition has brought prosperity to all races, with the Chinese getting the biggest share because of their skills and ability is deliberately disregarded,” he said.

Unlike DAP, said Mahathir, parties like Umno and MCA may be admittedly race-based organisations but contested in elections on BN’s multiracial ticket.

He said that as members of the BN, the parties cannot promote the interests of one race alone as they worked together as a single entity.

“They have coalesced into one political entity and their struggle is for all the races in that entity. The race-based parties working together in the interest of members of all races lose their racial character,” he said.

Only the blind and the bigoted, added Mahathir, would fail to see the success of such a coalition of race-based parties like BN.

Even the opposition, he pointed out, was trying to go the way of BN by forming its own pact.

“But so far they can only co-operate during elections. They now don’t contest against each other. But each party is still racist, concerned only with its own race once the election is over,” he said.

No need for amendment on status of Islam, says minister

The Star

THERE is no need to amend the status of Islam in the Federal Constitution as the official religion of the federation, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said.

He added that amending its status as the “official religion of the Federation” into an “official religion” would restrict its scope and usage to official functions and religious rituals only.

“There is no requirement to amend Article 3 (1) of the Constitution.

“It is because this provision already gives recognition to Islam as the official religion of the Federation.

“The term ‘Islam as official religion of the Federation’ forms the basis of Government policies and laws which were created in accordance with Islamic principles.

“The provision has been accepted by the people of other races and origins in the country.

“This includes their freedom to practise other religions,” he told Senator Ahmad Hussin.

Ahmad had asked whether the Government would amend the article to include the word “official” and “Sunnah Wal Jammah”.

Jamil Khir also said that there was no need to add the words “Sunnah Wal Jammah” or Sunni to the term Islam in the Constitution.

“Although this is not stated in the Constitution, the National Fatwa Council had on May 6, 1996, decreed that Malaysian Muslims are required to adhere to Sunni teachings,” he added.

Najib Wants Indian Bodies, Media To Help Explain Government Transformation Programme

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 (Bernama) -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak wants Indian community-based bodies and the Tamil media to play a greater role in explaining the benefits of the government's transformation plan to Malaysian Indians.

Although he believed that the majority of Malaysian Indians supported the plan, Najib sensed a lack of excitement.

"Perhaps the lack of excitement is simply due to the lack of awareness of the plan, especially the economic transformation programme, in the context of how it can benefit each and every community in this country, including the Indians," he said.

This was where bodies like the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Tamil media could play their part to make the community realise the benefits of the economic and other transformation programmes, Najib added at the 60th MAICCI anniversary dinner here.

Najib told the guests of about 10,000 that it was important to explain the benefits of the programmes as he has made a commitment on behalf of the government that the Indian community would not be left out of the national agenda.

"This is not a political statement or mere rhetoric, but I am convinced that we can deliver a meaningful change to the Indian community so that someone who was disappointed by the government in the past must be addressed by the present leadership.

"I believe that the growing support of the Indian community for Barisan Nasional in the last few by-elections indicates that there is growing confidence among the Indian community that the BN government can deliver for the benefit of Malaysian Indians," he said.

To begin with, Najib said, the Indian community must understand the objective of the economic transformation programme and various entry point projects and how these related to them as individuals.

"We need to now look at the programme in great detail and how we can benefit from its implementation," he said.

The Prime Minister called on all Malaysians to join hands and embark on the transformative journey to ensure that the 1Malaysia concept could be translated into meaningful action to benefit the community at large.

Not a good Friday for Lynas

Sri Lanka warns UN on war-crimes report

The Sri Lankan government has warned the United Nations that publicly releasing a report on alleged war crimes in the country's civil war could harm post-war ethnic reconciliation efforts.

Gamimi Peiris, the country's external affairs minister, said in Colombo on Thursday that the UN panel had overstepped its mandate.

Rather than acting only as an advisory body to Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, it had taken on an investigative role, Peiris said.

"The publication of this report will cause irreparable damage to the reconciliation efforts of Sri Lanka. It will damage the UN system too. This UN report is preposterous."

The report, which was handed to Ban last week, harshly criticised both the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels on their conduct during the civil war, saying that there were "credible allegations" of war crimes and crimes against humanity against both sides.

While the UN has not released the report officially, media reports have described parts of it. Peiris was given a copy of the report nine days ago.

He stressed that the Sri Lankan government had never formally accepted Ban's appointment of the panel, and warned the UN secretary-general against initiating a full-scale inquiry into suspecting civilian deaths in the final days of fighting.

The report lists violations by both sides in the conflict, saying that "tens of thousands" of people died between January and May 2009 in a final government offensive that resulted in the defeat of the LTTE.

The government argues that no civilians were killed in that offensive.

Peiris said his country was ready to engage with the UN in a constructive discussion on taking the reconciliation process forward.

Mahinda Rajapakse, the Sri Lankan president, had earlier asked his supporters to turn this year's May Day rally on May 1 into a demonstration against any UN war crimes investigation.

Source: Agencies