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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Osama bin Laden's neighborhood

Pakatan survey shows faltering support in Perak

KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — Public anger over Barisan Nasional’s (BN) 2009 takeover of Perak appears to have dissipated with a Pakatan Rakyat (PR) poll showing it will win fewer seats now than if snap polls were called then.

An opinion poll conducted by the state PR shortly after the February 2009 putsch found that the coalition would have swept to victory in 40 seats or a two-thirds majority in the 59-seat assembly which BN currently controls with 28 assemblymen and four “friendly” independents.

However, a similar survey by Perak PR earlier this year showed it would only win 33 seats if polls were held now.

“Sentiment was very high in 2009. Since then people have calmed down,” Perak DAP chief Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham told The Malaysian Insider.

Pakatan Rakyat (PR) had won 31 state seats in the March 2008 general election and in January 2009, Bota assemblyman Datuk Nasarudin Hashim defected from Umno to PKR.

However, he returned to Umno in early February at the same time three assemblymen left PR and backed BN as independents.

This allowed Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir to be sworn in as mentri besar on February 6, 2009.

The ousted Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin then challenged the validity of Zambry’s appointment in court.

The Bukit Gantang MP claimed the Sultan could not order him to resign as MB and that BN’s majority had not been tested in the assembly.

PR campaigned for a fresh election to be called so that the people’s mandate could be sought.

But BN resisted and finally prevailed in February 2010 when the Federal Court ruled that Zambry was the rightful MB.

Malim Nawar assemblyman Keshvinder Singh also left the DAP in June 2010 and became a BN-friendly independent, giving the ruling coalition a majority of 32 to 27.

Ngeh said personal feedback from Perak voters showed that they have become less interested in the takeover and wanted both coalitions to serve the public.

“After we did the hunger strike in May and fought BN’s legitimacy in several assembly sittings, people started telling us that they got the message and it was time to move on,” said the Beruas MP.

With the momentum appearing to swing back towards BN, Ngeh said PR may try to resurrect the issue during the next general election.

However, the Sitiawan assemblyman said the year-long impasse had created a personality battle between Nizar and Zambry in the silver state.

He said the state opposition has already agreed to maintain Nizar as its mentri besar candidate.

“One of the questions that Perak voters must decide on is which MB they prefer?” he said.

Ngeh said while PR questions Zambry’s record as mentri besar, BN countered this by trying to provoke Nizar and himself.

The senior state executive councillor during Nizar’s 11-month administration said this includes the claim that Ngeh was the “de facto MB” and the PAS leader was merely a puppet for the DAP.

He also said according to PR’s analysis, the next general election could see it losing up to nine marginal seats that it won in 2008 although it could also snatch victory in 11 such areas held by BN.

Dr M sees racial strife if MCA shut out

PUTRAJAYA, May 4 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested today that the Chinese community needed to keep MCA in government to maintain racial stability and co-operation.

He stressed that this was a matter of concern for the entire nation as without co-operation among the races in government, instability would ensue.

“It’s a cause of worry for the whole nation.

“Once we divide ourselves into Chinese and Malays and we fight each other, that’s the end of co-operation and there will be no stability in the country,” he told reporters after attending the prize-giving ceremony of the Perdana Leadership Foundation – MPH Essay Competition 2010 here today.

Dr Mahathir was asked to comment on his Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call for the Chinese community to vote for MCA or risk losing representation in government.

After the prime minister’s statement was likened to a threat to the community, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek came to his rescue, claiming it was merely a statement of fact.

Dr Chua added that Najib was only reiterating his party’s stance that it would not accept any post in the federal and state governments formed by BN if it did worse in the coming 13th general election than Election 2008.

Dr Mahathir agreed that Najib was stating the obvious, pointing out that should MCA fare badly in the next general election, its party leaders could not be appointed into government.

“You cannot expect that if there are no (MCA) candidates but Barisan Nasional wins, they take a DAP man as minister.

“That is not possible,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also recalled a similar scenario in 1969 when former MCA president the late Tun Tan Siew Sin had made the same assertion.

“But in any case, MCA still won quite a lot of seats then so there were candidates for MCA to be represented in government,” said Dr Mahathir.

MCA, the ruling BN coalition’s senior Chinese partner, currently only holds four out of 30 spots in the Cabinet.

Najib, who is also Umno and the coalition’s chief, said on Saturday that MCA had sent out a clear message to voters that they cannot have it both ways.

“I see the MCA sending the message that the Chinese cannot support the opposition and at the same time expect strong representation in the government. They have to choose,” he was reported as saying by state news agency Bernama.

In Najib’s defence, Dr Chua had also denied the Chinese electorate cannot be represented by leaders from other races but hinted that only MCA can lead the community in BN.

“No, it is not that the Chinese cannot be represented by Malays or Indians but because the composition of Barisan Nasional has been such that we are a multi-racial Barisan Nasional but traditionally within this Barisan Nasional umbrella, there are component parties that represent certain ethnic groups not forgetting the common interest of all Malaysians that cuts across races,” he added.

Currently, the senior party in the BN only has 15 MPs and 31 state assemblymen from the last general election in 2008.

It had contested in 40 parliamentary seats and 90 state seats in GE12.

The MCA presidential council has also backed Dr Chua’s promise to reject all government posts if it fails to win votes from the Chinese community it is supposed to represent.

Dr Chua was also reported to have said the MCA would stay in BN even if its performance remained dismal.

The former health minister has come under repeated attacks from the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) bloc and his predecessor in the MCA, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat, in the last two weeks since the Sarawak state election.

Dr Chua has been challenged to stake the MCA’s government positions after controversially telling its Chinese coalition partner in Sarawak, SUPP, to drop all positions in the state Cabinet after a poor showing in the state polls.

However, the MCA and Umno-owned newspaper Utusan Malaysia have clashed over the latter’s call for a “1 Melayu, 1 Bumi” campaign to unite the Malays against the growing threat of Chinese political power.

The sex video comedy and the Malaysian malady

How then are we to believe that by swearing on the Quran, Eskay exhibits religious conviction? Does it not more likely appear as some kind of stunt?
COMMENT

By Kee Thuan Chye

The sex video saga is really turning out to be a farce. It’s so funny you can’t help but laugh.

First, the ‘Datuk T’ trio who brought public attention to the video have been made the butt of countless jokes. Second, the police seem to be hesitant in revealing their findings even as the video has been leaked out and posted on YouTube and Umno-friendly blogs although the only copy is supposed to be in police custody.

And now one of the trio has taken the sumpah laknat. Last week, Shazryl Eskay Abdullah swore on the Quran to make us believe he is telling the truth in saying that the man in the video is Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim. What’s going to happen next?

This act of swearing on the Quran is getting to be a trend. In 2006, Saiful Bukhari Azlan did it to attest he was sodomised by Anwar. That same year, no less than Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak himself also did it to have us believe he was never involved with Altantuya. Despite their gestures, many people are still sceptical.

In the case of Eskay, the act is hugely ironic. He would have to be a good follower of the faith to take such an oath and be believed, but has he not been tainted by his own admission that he is one of the people caught on the video? As it is, he has not come clean on why he was there. His narratives are often cloudy and enigmatic.

It’s just as well that his collaborator Rahim Thamby Chik did not swear on the Quran too. His record of allegedly having had sex with an underaged girl, an act amounting to statutory rape, would have wrecked his credibility. In fact, it’s another laughable point that Rahim is part of this trio – he, of all people, accusing another man of immorality!

Besides, what the trio has done in regard to the sex video is already immoral. And that’s not even saying they were behind the videotaping itself, which is still a mystery.

Simply using it to destroy the reputation and career of another human being is already without doubt an immoral act. How then are we to believe that by swearing on the Quran, Eskay exhibits religious conviction? Does it not more likely appear as some kind of stunt?

Does it not also appear as an attempt to win public sympathy? Or a desperate measure? After all, the day before he took the sumpah laknat, Eskay intimated to the media that he and his collaborators would soon be charged in court; although what the charge would be, he wouldn’t say.

Ignorant cops

That was actually quite a revelation, because up till that time, no one had known if the police were ever going to take any action against the trio – for possessing and exhibiting pornography.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Ismail Omar had said from the outset that the case would be investigated under Section 292 of the Penal Code, which covers that offence, but along the way no action seemed to have been taken.

The Star did report on March 25 that according to Deputy Commissioner Ghazali Md Amin, three unnamed individuals had been arrested in connection with the sex video, but when the ‘Datuk T’ trio were asked if they were the ones, they said they were not.

Rahim even told the media that when the police questioned them on March 24, they did not sign any document stating they were arrested and released on bail.

Thereafter, nobody gave a straight answer when asked about the truth. Not even the cops.

In fact, on March 25, when the IGP himself was asked why Rahim and Eskay were not arrested when they went to the police headquarters for questioning, the country’s top cop actually said, “What offence (did they commit), you tell me.”

But then on the eve of his sumpah laknat, Eskay told Malaysiakini he was arrested “that day” (without specifying which) and “was bailed out with RM10,000”. Intriguing! More so when you consider that the IGP seemed ignorant of the offence when earlier he had mentioned Section 292. Did he have a lapse of memory?

Going by the events, the public perception so far is that the police are biased in their handling of the case – and that’s cause for another hoot.

There was reportedly even a police escort for the ‘Datuk T’ trio when they arrived at the mosque for the sumpah laknat ceremony. This reeks of VIP treatment. At least one of them, Eskay, wore a bulletproof vest, which he, however, claims belongs to him.

Nonetheless, do these three, who should instead be charged in court under Section 292, deserve police escort?

To reinforce the public perception of the police bias, the next day PKR alleged that a police officer with the rank of senior assistant commissioner had been giving talks to school principals and teachers in Kelantan in which he told them Anwar was the man in the sex video and a threat to national security. Whatever the truth of PKR’s allegation, it’s hard to bet now on police impartiality.

Moreover, the police still haven’t told us how the sex video in their custody managed to get into cyberspace.

More important, the central and most pressing question has not yet been answered although they have reportedly been investigating the case intensively. That question is: Who was actually behind the videotaping? Is it so difficult to find out who the culprits are? Who was the prostitute in the video? Have the police got to her? What has she revealed?

PM provides the best laugh

Are we going to get any answers at all? Or will this, like the many intriguing mysteries that have arisen in this wonderful land of ours, such as the murder of Altantuya, be swept under the carpet?

Could it be that the police are waiting for instructions from their political masters?

Are these political masters calculating when the right time would be to take action, how the case should be spun, who should be arrested, what should be done so that they can make political capital out of it?

It seems there is no going by the truth any more in Malaysia, and this sex video saga illustrates it clearly.

It is now all about twisting the truth to one’s advantage, hiding the truth, turning the truth into falsehood. And, worse, making falsehood the truth.

This, fellow citizens, is the Malaysian Malady. And the people who are suffering for it are the innocent rakyat.

Stricken with it, we have to laugh or face despair, and no amount of crying will bring us relief. On that note, perhaps the best laugh stems from Najib Tun Razak’s response when he was asked by the media if he had watched the sex video when it was uploaded on the Internet. “Apa punya soalan ini (What kind of question is this),” he said, dismissing it.

Don’t you think it’s a fair and legitimate question? But why is the PM evading it? Well, that, fellow Malaysians, is the crux of the Malaysian Malady.

Dramatist and journalist Kee Thuan Chye is the author of ‘March 8: The Day Malaysia Woke Up’. He is a contributor to FMT.

Why was QE Hospital hastily demolished?

Questions abound as to who would benefit most from the hasty demolition of Sabah's QE Hospital and the construction of a 10-storey twin tower at the site?

KOTA KINABALU: The state government may have demolished one of its buildings with undue haste.

According to new information, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital which was razed several months ago was ‘structurally sound’ and damaged portions could have been saved.

The iconic eight-storey tower block that was opened in 1981 was demolished in haste last year to make way for a 10-storey
twin tower project.

“It was done so fast before any discussions could be made (on repairing the building),” said a knowledgeable source.

The source cited the case of another multi-storey building in the city that was once condemned and left vacant for years and which had recently been refurbished and turned into a hotel.

“The same could have been done for the QEH. If the Nautica building can be changed from unsafe to safe, the QEH was a hundred times stronger,” said the source.

The commonly held believe is that ‘vested interest’ was involved in the hasty condemnation and demolition of the hospital.

“Just imagine, putting a 10 storey twin towers is going to be very lucrative for whoever gets the contract,” added the source.

Consultant engineering firm Kumpulan Ikram Sdn Bhd and the Public Works Department have justified the demolition on the grounds that the buildings would not stand for long and it was uneconomical to repair.

Poor planning

FMT sources however disagreed and said that such a major decision should have involved other professional bodies.

The demolition of the QEH Tower block, which acted as the main referral hospital in the state, caused a massive headache for health services with patients having to be shuttled around from hospital to hospital within the state.

The city has been without a general hospital for almost three years while a private hospital, Sabah Medical Centre, has been purchased and is being renovated to act as a substitute until the completion of the new hospital blocks.

Since 2008, medical workers and patients have criticised the poor planning by the government which has put patients who are already suffering major illnesses and injuries to further suffering.

QEH was declared unsafe in October 2008 during an engineering evaluation by Kumpulan Ikram Sdn Bhd and the Public Works Department.

Chief Minister Musa Aman later announced that the hospital was to be relocated and it would be replaced with a twin towers that would house 660 beds.

Since then, the wail of ambulance sirens have resounded around the city and surrounding districts as they shuttle patients from hospital to hospital.

Police reports that go nowhere

NGOs say police ignore their complaints, but the police blame them for lack of follow-ups.

KUALA LUMPUR: Police rarely investigate reports filed by non-governmental organisations.

Police blame the NGOs for not following up on their complaints, but several of the groups say this is not always true and is a poor excuse for inaction.

“We do follow-up,” said Fadiah Fikri of Lawyers for Liberty.

“We send memorandums and once went public asking for progress reports. But they keep forgetting to update us, or they pass us from department to department when we call.”

She added that it was in any case not necessary for complainants to follow up on their reports since it was the police’s duty to investigate.

An officer at Bukit Aman claimed that none of the reports that were ignored fell under the “criminal case” category, but the Human Rights Party (HRP) said this was a lie.

“We’ve made hundreds of reports over deaths in custody, racial disharmony and so on,” said S Jayathas, HRP’s information chief.

“I feel that police action is based on who makes the report. If it were Umno or Perkasa, action would be taken immediately.”

Police sources denied this allegation.

“If it’s criminal in nature, we will definitely investigate,” said one source. “But if there are civil cases which do not merit police investigation, then we do not. Many groups lodge reports for the sake of it. They should seek advice before doing so.”

Describing the typical NGO complaint, the Bukit Aman officer said: “It’s lodged at some police station, gets classified and falls into some strange category because it’s not under the Penal Code.

“We review them on a case-by-case basis and some are thrown out because they are civil cases under specific acts, such as commercial crimes.

“Complainants should come back to check on the status of their cases, but they don’t.”

Yap Heng Lung, a coordinator at Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), complained that although the police would give cursory preliminary updates, they would not follow up despite promises to do so.

“When we ask them what’s happening, they make excuses like saying they are busy.”

Ibu bapa serah petisyen kepada Muhyiddin

Salinan petisyen turut dihantar kepada Jabatan Pendidikan Selangor dan Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah.

PETALING JAYA: Sekumpulan ibu bapa dan bekas pelajar sebuah sekolah menengah kebangsaan di Shah Alam menyerahkan petisyen ke pejabat Menteri Pelajaran, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin kelmarin.

Kia Ooi Meng, V Stephen Perumal dan S Gopalan mewakili lebih 700 ibu bapa, penjaga, bekas pelajar dan penduduk sekitar kawasan itu yang menandatangani petisyen tersebut berkata, mereka kecewa dengan cara pentadbiran Pengetua terbabit, khususnya berikutan pelbagai kejadian yang berlaku di sekolah itu sejak awal April lalu.

“Puan Pengetua tidak adil, tidak bertanggungjawab dan tidak layak menjadi pengetua kerana banyak masalah timbul sejak beliau menjadi pengetua di sekolah ini hampir empat tahun lalu,” kata mereka selepas menyerahkan salinan petisyen itu kepada pegawai di

Pejabat Pelajaran Daerah (PPD) dan Jabatan Pelajaran Selangor (JPS) di Shah Alam, semalam.

Menurut mereka, petisyen dan aduan rasmi sudah diserah di pejabat Menteri Pelajaran, Timbalan Menteri Pelajaran dan Ketua Pengarah Pelajaran di Putrajaya sebelum salinan diserah kepada PPD dan JPS.

Bersama-sama aduan rasmi itu dilampirkan petisyen yang ditandatangani lebih 700 orang; laporan berita di akhbar, portal berita dan blog mengenai beberapa insiden yang berlaku di sekolah berkenaan; serta salinan laporan polis yang dibuat oleh ibu bapa berikutan insiden pergaduhan di sekolah pada 13 April dan 20 April 2011.

“Sikap lepas tangan dan tidak bertanggungjawab puan Pengetua menyebabkan nama sekolah tercemar, pelajaran anak-anak terjejas dan sekolah ini tidak lagi selamat.

“Dengan itu, kami menuntut Kementerian Pelajaran, PPD dan JPS menyiasat Pengetua ini dengan segera dan mengambil tindakan tegas sebelum masalah menjadi lebih besar,” kata surat aduan itu.

Ooi Meng, Stephen dan Gopalan berkata, harapan ibu bapa, penjaga, bekas pelajar dan penduduk sekitar kawasan itu adalah supaya Kementerian Pelajaran memandang serius aduan yang dikemukakan.

“Kami mengharapkan siasatan dan tindakan serta-merta demi maruah profesion perguruan, sekolah, PPD, JPS, Kementerian Pelajaran dan gagasan 1Malaysia yang dibawakan oleh Perdana Menteri,” kata mereka.

Pada 26 April lalu, sekumpulan ibu bapa yang kecewa dengan sikap Pengetua mengadakan perhimpunan aman di luar sekolah sebelum memulakan kempen mengumpul lebih 700 tandatangan bagi petisyen meminta PPD, JPS, Kementerian Pelajaran dan kerajaan memberi perhatian serius terhadap Pengetua berkenaan yang dikatakan memanipulasi keadaan yang wujud di sekolah itu.

China Invests Overseas


Image
Not the wisest possible overseas investment.
(Asia Sentinel) Mainly in stuff that aids their trade regime

Chinese outward direct investment has begun to soar upward, making the country the world's fifth-largest exporter of capital at nearly US$60 billion annually. That figure is expected to double in the coming three to five years, according to a new study by the HSBC China economics team, headed by Chief Economist Qu Hongbin.

The magnitude of overseas investment, according to the report, hopefully will take some of the pressure off China's gigantic foreign currency reserves, now valued at nearly US$2.9 trillion, with the expectation that outward investment will match and surpass inward direct investment and double within the next three to five years.

Even though outward investment is skyrocketing, the total remains dwarfed by outflows from other countries. According to the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development, the United States, for instance, recorded foreign direct investment outflows in 2009 at US$249 billion, towards the end of the worst global downturn since the Great Depression. US outflows soared upwards by 31 percent in 2010, according to UNCTAD, although no figure was given. In some cases, Chinese overseas investment has been met with outright xenophobia.  In 2004, an attempt by China's CNOOC oil giant to buy the US energy company Unocal was blocked by the US Congress. The attempt by the Haier white goods maker to buy the iconic Maytag brand was withdrawn after adverse publicity, prompting Haier to slow its overseas acquisition plans.  Concerns have been raised by Australian politicians over massive energy purchases. here are concerns that China is turning Burma and Laos into vassal states.
China's ambitions to invest in the world have also started to teach the country a hard lesson – that it can be dangerous, and raise serious political problems. Libyan fighting, for instance, has resulted in attacks and devastation of 27 Chinese construction sites and plants. Since 2009 China has been Libya's top trading partner, according to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, with total trade of US$6.6 billion. As many as 1,000 workers were set upon by the Libyan army and rebel groups and forced to walk hundreds of miles to get away from the fighting to catch aircraft back to China.

In February 2010, Chinese workers were murdered in Ethiopia. They have faced danger in a large number of other countries, and some of it they caused themselves. For instance, in October 2010 Chinese supervisors shot and wounded 11 workers in a Zambian coal mine. In 2006 security personnel killed five other protesting workers at the Chirambishi Copper Mine after a massive blast killed 49 workers in 2005 and leading President Hu Jintao to urge Chinese businessmen to respect local laws.

Despite the troubles, according to HSBC, "the expansion of China's Outward Direct Investment has been extraordinary, in particular since 2002 when China's government initiated its strategic plan to encourage Chinese enterprises to go global."

That drove up outward investment by more than 20-fold in eight years. By 2008, more than 12,000 Chinese companies and institutions were investing in more than 13,000 foreign companies across 177 countries and regions, according to the report.

State-owned enterprises – China's behemoth SOEs -- account for 67.6 percent of overseas investment, while private companies accounted for a minuscule 0.6 percent. The rest was spread among limited-liability companies, shareholding companies and foreign companies.

Unlike the great Japanese buying spree of the 1980s, China's overseas investment is not built on the ambition to acquire glamorous enterprises like motion picture companies or golf courses. Most of it appears to be directed to filling the enormous Chinese maw for natural resources to drive its manufacturing base, which last year led China to surpass the United States as the world's biggest manufacturing economy.

Chinese outward investment, according to the report, is concentrated in five sectors – leasing and commercial services, mining, wholesale and retail, manufacturing and transportation. Those five sectors cover 90 percent of investment, up from a mere 5 percentage points five years ago.

The key motivations for overseas investment, according to the report, revolve primarily around securing resources. China is now the world's second-biggest oil consumer, accounting for 10 percent of global consumption.

Second, the report says, is the acquisition of technology and brand names to strengthen competitiveness across the globe. Two of such acquisitions were Lenovo's purchase of IBM's laptop business and Geely's acquisition of Volvo. Others haven't worked out quite so well, including the purchase by the little-known Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co. of General Motors' behemoth, petrol-guzzling Hummer marque, which caused Chinese authorities to put their foot down and void the sale. The Hummer has been branded one of the 30 worst American cars ever built.

Third, according to the report, is the establishment of marketing channels in new markets, creating direct distribution networks to facilitate exports or establishing overseas factories to avoid trade barriers.

Emerging markets remain the top destination for Chinese funds. Overseas direct investment to developed markets accounts for only 7.4 percent of total accumulated overseas investment. Asia attracts 75 percent of the total, followed by Latin America at 12.5 percent, Africa 3.8 percent, 3.5 percent in Europe and only 2.1 percent in North America, a dramatic divergence from Japanese overseas direct investment of the 1980s.

Nonetheless, ODI in Europe skyrocketed by 280 percent in 2009, the last year for which figures are readily available; up by 32-0 percent in North America, and up by 100 percent in Latin America.

Hong Kong actually garnered an overwhelming share – 63 percent in 2009 currency flows and 66.9 percent in 2009 stocks. However, that, the report says, "should be treated as an exception." The funds are directed into leasing and commercial services, financial services and wholesale and retail sales.

"Unlike ODI to other tax haven economies, China's direct investment into Hong Kong is mainly due to its unique position as a gateway to the Asia Pacific region and the world. Aside from being a logistics hub, Hong Kong's developed financial markets and advanced services help Chinese companies establish an international presence, build better regional distribution and marketing channels, and enjoy easier access to the region's financial resources."

Within Latin America, the Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands are the top two destinations, accounting for a combined 11.6 percent of overseas investment and more than 93 percent of total Latin American ODI. The Virgin Island and the Caymans also represent two major offshore tax havens, an indication that perhaps it might pay for Chinese tax authorities to take a closer look at who is investing where.

"What China needs to do next is to acquire better technology and establish a global distribution network for its products, especially in emerging markets, in our view," the authors write. "This means much more cross-border M&A in the coming years. China's banks will accelerate international expansion to facilitate their clients' expansion around the globe, implying surging financial investment in the coming years."

‘Police treated me like a common criminal’


Consumer advocate Jacob George was also humiliated when he was put on an identification parade after a group of sand-stealing thugs lodge a police report against him.

PETALING JAYA: Consumers Association of Subang and Shah Alam (CASSA) president Jacob George said he was treated like a common criminal by the Shah Alam police yesterday.

And to add to his humiliation, he was also put on an identification parade after a group of men involved in sand theft lodged a report against him claiming he had threatened to shoot them.

Acting on public complaints about a syndicate trespassing on private land and dumping construction waste, George said he checked it out only to be threatened by three men.

“They threatened to harm my family. One who claimed to be a former Simpang Renggam detainee said he had a gun and that he could deal with anyone who opposed them.

“They even said they knew where my children are studying and also where my wife works,” said George.

“For the past eight months residents from TTDI Jaya in Shah Alam complained about lorries causing damage to the roads by dumping earth near the Monfort Boys Home.

“Our investigations revealed that it was a well-organised group collecting earth from construction sites and trespassing on private lands to dump the soil,” George said.

He added that he highlighted the matter to the press and also to the landowner, the TTDI Group of Companies.

“The company lodged two police reports over the matter and wrote letters to various local councils but no action had been taken against the perpetrators,” he said.

Group well-connected

George said he was informed by the Shah Alam police recently that someone had lodged a report against him and asked him to present himself for questioning.

“Imagine how I felt when I got to know that it was the men who had lodged the report against me. They even had the gall to accuse me of threatening to shoot them when I don’t even own a gun, or for that matter, even a permit to carry a gun.

“It was they who threatened me and the pressmen who were present can verify it,” said George, who lodged his own report against the men yesterday.

Currently out on police bail, George urged the federal government to intervene as he was concerned over the safety of his family.

“The group seems to be well-connected and well-financed because they are carrying out their activities in the open.

“I will meet Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, the Inspector-General of Police Ismail Omar and the director of Criminal Investigations Bakri Zinin over this matter.”

Eskay denies hiring woman in sex video



Obama chooses not to release bin Laden photos

Washington (CNN) -- Despite mounting pressure from some lawmakers and public opinion, President Barack Obama on Wednesday decided not to release photos of Osama bin Laden's body as evidence of his death, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

The decision settles the debate over whether to release the images, though Obama's choice is sure to garner criticism.

A senior Democratic official close to the White House told CNN that the president was "never in favor" of releasing the photos, even as CIA chief Leon Panetta made it sound like their release was imminent.

Obama felt that releasing the photos was unnecessary given the fact that so few credible voices have questioned the death, and that the conspiracy theorists would never be satisfied, the official said.

The decision not to appease critics with the photos came shortly after the president decided to release his long-form birth certificate to quell accusations that he was not born in the United States.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported Obama's inclination to not release the photos, the official said.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said he shares the president's view.

"In my opinion there's no end served by releasing a picture of someone who has been killed, and I think there is absolute proof that Osama Bin Laden was in fact the person that was taken into custody, was killed in the process in the firefight," he said.

But Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee, said Obama made the wrong choice.

"I want to see them personally," he said. "I did three tours. I'm not talking as a member of the Armed Services Committee -- as a Marine who did three tours because of 9/11. As Americans we deserve to see them."

Earlier, two top senators involved in national security also said the photos of bin Laden's corpse should be released.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, who chairs the Armed Services Committee -- and who has not seen the photos -- said the United States should wait to allow the emotions of people around the world who may be sympathetic to bin Laden to cool down.

"I'd let a little time pass so we that we don't play into the hands of people who want to retaliate with what obviously will be a sensational picture. I would not want to feed that sensation, so I'd wait days or weeks," he said.

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee -- who said he has seen the photos -- said they should be made public right away.

"I think the question is, what's the negative that could come from it?" Chambliss asked. "One of these days they're going to be released; it's a question of whether it be now on our terms or (let) somebody else do it."

Chambliss described the photos as "what you would expect from somebody who's been shot in the head. It's not pretty."

The two men answered questions from reporters as they entered a classified briefing in the Capitol on the bin Laden raid with the CIA Director.

Neither lawmaker immediately commented after news of Obama's decision.

Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers said he was against releasing any photos, saying that he didn't want to make the job of U.S. troops abroad "any harder than it already is."

"Imagine how the American people would react if al Qaeda killed one of our troops or military leaders, and put photos of the body on the Internet. Osama bin Laden is not a trophy -- he is dead and let's now focus on continuing the fight until al Qaeda has been eliminated," he said.

The risks of release outweigh the benefits, he said.

Obama's decision comes as a poll shows that a majority of Americans support making the photographs public.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday, 56% of those asked said yes, the government should release a photo of bin Laden's body. Another 39% said no. The poll of 700 adults had a sampling margin of 3.5%.

The government has said it matched DNA to confirm that the body was bin Laden's, and most have accepted that news as evidence of the outcome of the operation.

Some groups, however -- including the Taliban -- have questioned the assertion.

"(President Barack) Obama has not got any strong evidence that can prove his claim over killing of the Sheikh Osama bin Laden," Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mojahed said. "And secondly, the closest sources for Sheikh Osama bin Laden have not confirmed" the death.

Those who support releasing the images say that it will put to rest any critics or conspiracy theories, while others say that the photos will only inflame jihadists.

According to a senior U.S. official, the White House has received three sets of photographs. The first batch, which clearly shows bin Laden's body, was taken at a hangar in Afghanistan, the official said.

The official described one of the images as a clear, but gruesome, picture of the al Qaeda leader's face. Bin Laden is shown with a massive open head wound across both eyes, the official said, adding that the image would not be appropriate for the front pages of newspapers.

The other photos include the raid on the compound and bin Laden's burial at sea, according to the official.

‘Sick and tired of sex episode’

All attempts by the Datuk T trio to tarnish Anwar Ibrahim has fallen flat and now they are enlisting the help of religion

PETALING JAYA: The people are sick and tired of the sex video scandal and the Datuk T trio’s attempt to link it to Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

And the latest move to get Anwar to undergo a polygraph test or take an oath in a mosque to prove his innocence is an attempt to keep the issue in the limelight.

PKR vice-president N Surendran said Anwar was right to reject the calls as his three accusers – Rahim Tamby Chik, Shazryl Eskay Abdullah and Shuib Lazim – have tarnished reputations.

“Rahim was involved with a minor when he was the chief minister of Malacca, Eskay is a shoddy businessman and Shuib comes from Perkasa which, we all know, is a sworn enemy of Anwar,” said Surendran.

He said the attempt to tarnish Anwar’s public image has not worked as the people do not believe it was him who is featured in the video.

“In fact, the entire scandal had only served to fuel public anger against the Barisan Nasional (BN),” Surendran said.

Surendran, who is also a coordinator for Lawyers for Liberty, said the entire episode had failed to damage Anwar’s credibility as the accusers themselves had an image problem.

On the lie detector challenge, he said there was no basis for Anwar to take the polygraph test as it was not Anwar in the video in the first place.

“There are instances where people can beat the polygraph test. Besides, it is outrageous for Eskay to challenge Anwar to take the test. It’s just an attempt to sensationalise the matter to deflect public attention from the real issues of the nation,” he said.

Image intact

Fellow PKR vice-president, Fuziah Salleh, concurred with Surendran’s statement, saying that Anwar’s image was undamaged as the latter had consulted prominent ulamas on whether or not to take an oath in a mosque to prove his innocence.

As for Eskay’s claim that he was there when the video was shot, Fuziah said if Eskay was a God-fearing man, he should have stopped the act from taking place.

“If you bring the case to the Syariah court, the accuser must provide four witnesses to prove his allegation under ‘qazaf’. Eskay himself will be questioned on why he didn’t not stop the act from happening as he claimed he was there,”said Fuziah, who is also Kuantan MP.

She added that it was wrong for Eskay to have taken an oath in the mosque over the matter as this was only allowed for specific cases .

“Just by swearing on the Quran doesn’t not mean he is telling the truth. If an oath can be used to resolve such cases, then why do we need to have police and courts?” she asked.

Political analyst Khoo Kay Peng, however, believed that public perception on Anwar’s credibility was at stake among those who do not have access to alternative news.

“And the real victim here is not Anwar but Islam,” said Khoo.

He explained that the act of dragging Islam into the sex video scandal is creating a bad image of Islam among the non-Muslims.

More ammunition

Asked on whether Anwar could do anything to salvage the situation, Khoo said there was nothing much Anwar could do at this point.

“He should focus on strengthening PKR as the party itself needs a lot of improvement. He should also work to groom future leaders as people would want to see dynamism in a party,” he said.

International Islamic University of Malaysia’s political analyst Aziz Bari said Anwar’s image had not been hurt by the incident.

“The controversy had actually strengthened his resolve and it gives him more ammunition to take on Umno.

“Besides, look at the accusers. Can’t they (Umno) find anyone else apart from these three stooges,” Aziz said, referring to the “Datuk Trio”.

Last month, the trio had invited several journalists to view a 21-minute sex video allegedly showing Anwar having sex with a prostitute.

Anwar has since dismissed the allegations and had also filed a police report on the matter.

A force for evil

The mind of Perkasa is 'corrupted by the spirit of zeal and bigotry'.

A firebrand Malay group has been making a lot of threatening noise in its campaign to fight for Malay rights and supremacy. It called itself Perkasa and has rapidly won notoriety for its relentless assaults not on external foes but on the common citizens of other races. It has shed its innocent-looking NGO garb to reveal a blood-curdling ogre bent on creating fear and havoc. Thirsting for a fight, the increasingly militant organisation seizes every opportunity to bare its fangs and spill its venom. Its favourite tactics is to lodge police reports and hold placards in front of the intended target. In its self-anointed role as the guardian of the Malays, it has thrown sanity overboard in pursuing its agenda of total Malay supremacy. Ostensibly, the “brown shirts” are aiming their keris at leaders of ethnic parties for allegedly challenging the rights and special position of the Malays. But in reality their ultimate goal is not hard to guess – cowing the next largest ethnic population into submission. Or getting rid of them altogether. In short, Perkasa is lighting the fuse of an ethnic-cleansing war.

To achieve its dastardly aim, Perkasa has set up a Rela subgroup which has all the strappings of a military wing. Called the “Briged Setia Negara”, the volunteer corps will presumably receive para-military training – how to handle arms and kill with precision? – and will no doubt be called out “to preserve national peace and security” if the government whistles. The government has given the “Doberman” its blessing courtesy of the home ministry, which means that it has the full backing of the ruling party to be the shield of the Bumiputeras and not in response to an external threat. Once activated, one can imagine the armed members going on a rampage to stop citizens from exercising their right to stand up and speak out. It is unlikely the legitimate forces of law and order will stand in their way. As it is, Perkasa members seem to enjoy immunity when it holds rabid protests against its perceived enemies.

Perkasa is playing with fire with its aggressive political posturing. The mind of Perkasa is “corrupted by the spirit of zeal and bigotry”. By flagging the May 13 bogeyman, it is trying to intimidate the non-Malays to submit completely to the will of the dominant race. It threatens a replay of the 1969 race riots in the belief that the other races will back down and will forever keep quiet while waves of extremism wash over the land unchallenged. With its military wing, it probably sees itself as the “angel of death” sanctioned to spread terror and destruction. It gets bolder by the day in the knowledge that it has the tacit support of the two cousins occupying the seats of power. A governing political party needs an armed wing to do the dirty job while it maintains its seemingly neutral stance and caring attitude with its public behaviour. In Perkasa, Umno has found the ideal rabble-rouser to create a climate of dread to serve the Malay agenda.

The Rela or People’s Volunteer Corps that Perkasa has in mind is different from the original Home Guards formed in 1948. Then there was real and tangible threat – the communist menace, the Indonesian “confrontation” and the racial conflict. When the Home Guards or volunteer brigade was finally disbanded, its place was taken over by Rela in 1974 to preserve the peace of the land. It became the eyes and ears of the government. Now Perkasa’s Rela – a subgroup in the organisation – has become the binoculars and loudspeakers of Umno in their common objective to promote the 1Melayu power base. The friends of Umno are now regarded as threats to national security and therefore must be confronted with force. By resurrecting the May 13 ghost, is Perkasa saying the old Home Guards played a sterling role in the killing fields? Is Perkasa’s Rela ready to shed blood again all in the name of Malay supremacy? Its provocative behaviour seems to invite trouble.

Perkasa wants to propagate a “narrow-minded” 1Melayu, 1Bumi concept with only the Malays standing tall. It wants to turn it into a movement first mooted by an ultra Malay language newspaper. The Malay daily and Perkasa have joined forces to confront the political allies of the ruling party and the communities they represent. Their message is clear: oppose the Malays at your own peril. The subtext is the Malays do not need the support of their partners to survive a political battle. They can rule on their own which means Perkasa and its militant Rela can impose their extremist will without any hindrance. When this happens, an iron curtain will surely descend on the country separating the Bumiputeras from their fellow citizens. Two hostile camps. Two antagonistic forces. Two irreconcilable principles. Perkasa and its commander-in-chief Ibrahim Ali, however, cannot bask in strength of numbers. When minorities are pushed to the wall, they have no choice but to turn back – and fight for their lives.

Twisting Islamic rules to suit Umno

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak knows he needs more time for the voting public to buy this story about Anwar, says a former Umno assemblyman.
COMMENT

The Barisan Nasional (BN) people are gunning for Anwar Ibrahim’s morality when they are themselves soiled.

We are in full agreement that everyone has that right to do a “sumpah laknat”. But it must be done in accordance with the rules laid down by Islamic law.

It’s not done and never done in a circus-like atmosphere such as the one by Shazryl Eskay Abdullah.

I understand he was flanked by the two clowns – Umno supreme council member (Rahim Tamby Chik) and the other a Perkasa reject (Shuib Lazim).

Doing a sumpah laknat is not a trivial matter. The requirements are absolutely strict including the presence of four witnesses.

Rahim and Shuib are not witnesses. They are more like accomplices. Did Eskay bring with him four righteous witnesses?

Were Rahim and Shuib Lazim present during the filming of the video?

If Eskay swears that it was him who made the film, the police should not wait any moment longer.
If making a smut film is a punishable offence, arrest him.

Anwar scares Putrajaya

But that we all know is not the real aim. The real objective of the whole thing is politics. Politics is judged in a general election. But that again it is a tricky situation.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak knows he needs more time for the voting public to buy this story about Anwar.

My thinking is that the general election will not be held this year.

Let’s look at the facts. The opposition DAP “sapu-ed” almost all the urban seats in Sarawak, making the call by Najib for the Chinese to choose BN a futile academic exercise.

But the more dangerous thing is this – Anwar, with all the problems he has, has won three seats. Now that fact is sending shivers down Najib’s spine, which incidentally is becoming increasingly difficult to locate.

Coming back to Eskay’s sumpah laknat

Some modern Islamic jurists say videos or films are good substitutes for four upright witnesses.

But in my mind videos or films lack the important ingredient of being alive and imbued with righteous qualities demanded.

A film or video is a technical thing subject to manipulation and is unreliable. If it’s Eskay or Rahim doing the film, the accusation lacks integrity.

Validity of sumpah laknat

A sumpah laknat is only valid after all legal arguments have been exhausted and an impasse reached.

Only at this point is the choice open to invoke God. Umno wants to finish off Anwar, so in its minds this is the right method.

History notes that our Islamic judges were deafeningly silent when (allegedly sodomised) Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan took the oath.

Saiful did it before any court case and did not produce four witnesses. He did it before all legal debates were exhausted.

If Saiful takes the oath after the conclusion of the present court, then his conduct would be more credible.

Islamic experts have, however, said nothing of that.

Hypothetical argument

Was there a court case involving the allegations against Anwar in the sex video as represented by the Datuk T trio?

No. But this is a requirement in the dispensation of Islamic law. One only does a sumpah laknat after the full legal debates are exhausted.

So yes, everyone can do a sumpah laknat, especially if doing so involves Anwar and slowing down the declining fortunes of Umno.

But what if, hypothetically speaking, Raja Petra Kamaruddin decides to do a sumpah laknat somewhere in Regents Park Mosque in London or some mosque in Patani?

The act will be equally right and is capable of producing the same conclusions – that the sumpah laknat has actually done what is prayed for.

Again, hypothetically speaking, what if private investigator P Bala converts to Islam and carries out a sumpah laknat?

He invokes god and says Rosmah Mansor (Najib’s wife) was present at the grisly scene (involving Altantuya Shaaribuu).

What then?

The whole mess we are in at the moment is because we crusade on a moral issue. In the end, we find ourselves caught up in our own moral morass.

This excerpt is extracted from sakmongkolak47 website. The writer is also an FMT columnist.

Dr M backs Najib’s warning to Chinese

The former premier notes that a similar situation transpired in 1969, and warns that a halt in Malay-Chinese cooperation can destabilise the nation. Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Najib Tun Razak, BN, DAP, MCA, May 13, 1Malaysia, Perkasa

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today backed the warning by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak that the Chinese risk losing government representation if they keep voting for the opposition.

The former premier said Chinese voters cannot expect Barisan Nasional (BN) to pick elected leaders from DAP into the government.

“It’s just not logical,” he told reporters here, adding that this trend is a cause for alarm as a halt in Chinese-Malay cooperation will destabilise the nation.

Najib recently told the Chinese electorate to vote for MCA if they want representation in Putrajaya.

“I see MCA sending the message that the Chinese cannot support the opposition and at the same time expect strong representation in the government. They have to choose,” he said.

While the statement led some to accuse the BN chairman of political blackmail, MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek defended Najib’s remarks, arguing that it was a fact.

Meanwhile, Mahathir said the same situation happened in 1969.

Then MCA president, the late Tun Tan Siew Sin, gave the same warning, saying that the Chinese must continue to vote for the party to maintain representation in the government.

“But in any case, MCA still won quite a lot of seats so there were candidates for MCA to be represented in the government,” he added.

The political tension between the Malays and the Chinese in that year led to the infamous bloody May 13 racial riots that left hundreds dead.

Observers said such statements will send mixed signals and alienate Chinese voters further, rendering Najib’s 1Malaysia concept hollow.

Claims of discriminative policies have made the Chinese voters, the country’s second largest electorate, to turn to the opposition.

This is exacerbated by the emergence of ultra-Malay groups like Perkasa comprising Umno sympathisers who are calling for race-based affirmative action policies to be sustained.

International bodies like the World Bank believe racial polarisation has become one of the major stumbling blocks to Malaysia’s potential and economic growth.

How to beat the ISA

It has power only if you fear it, says ex-detainee.

KUALA LUMPUR: The primary objective of the Internal Security Act (ISA) is to spread fear among citizens, according to former detainee Hishamuddin Rais.

“If the people are not afraid of the ISA, it will lose its power,” he said during an anti-ISA forum at the KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night.

Hishamuddin, a prominent social activist, compared the ISA to tools of repression used by Middle Eastern regimes that are currently facing civil unrest.

He said the citizens of Yemen, Syria and Bahrain were showing these regimes that they could not be cowed by instruments of fear.

Hishammuddin was detained under the ISA for two weeks in 1994 and for two years from 2001.

He said the ISA was an imposition of state power to frighten citizens into obedience.

“That’s what it’s all about—to put fear into the people,” he said. “If it can be used to scare the people, then the ISA has succeeded.”

He also compared the ISA to the Patriots Act, which he said was used to imprison anyone that the United States government felt was a threat.

“It’s the same with the ISA. Don’t worry. If they want to arrest you, they will come.”

Other panellists at last night’s talk were PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan and Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar.

Arutchelvan said the Malaysian government had a tendency to use the ISA whenever there was a crisis affecting the country’s leadership.

“Every time there is a problem with the government, the ISA is used. Each time the government is under attack, they will use it.”

He noted that Malaysian prime ministers tended to release ISA detainees upon coming to power, only to imprison more citizens during their reign.

Ibu bapa sudah jemu dengan sikap Pengetua sekolah

Mereka tidak akan hadir jika diundang lagi ke mesyuarat pemuafakatan yang tiada penyelesaian.

PETALING JAYA: Ibu bapa kepada sekumpulan pelajar sebuah sekolah menengah kebangsaan di Seksyen 25 Shah Alam sudah jemu selepas beberapa kali mengadakan pertemuan yang tidak membuahkan hasil bersama Pengetua sekolah berkenaan bagi menyelesaikan isu pergaduhan pelajar baru-baru ini.

Jurucakap pihak ibu bapa itu, V Stephen Perumal berkata, susulan pergaduhan antara sekumpulan pelajar di kawasan sekolah pada 19 dan 20 April lalu, ibu bapa pergi bertemu Pengetua pada 21 April untuk mendapatkan penjelasan dan menyelesaikan masalah.

“Kami juga memenuhi undangan ke mesyuarat pemuafakatan pada 25 April dan mesyuarat prosedur keselamatan pada 28 April tetapi puan Pengetua ternyata tidak ikhlas dalam memanggil kami ke mesyuarat itu,” katanya ketika dihubungi FMT, pagi tadi.

Beliau mengulas mengenai mesyuarat prosedur keselamatan di sekolah selama hampir dua setengah jam pada 28 April lalu yang turut dihadiri pegawai Jabatan Pelajaran Selangor (JPS), pegawai Pejabat Pendidikan Daerah (PPD), pegawai polis serta Yang Dipertua Persatuan Ibu Bapa dan Guru (PIBG) dan timbalannya.

“Rata-rata ibu bapa yang menghadiri mesyuarat itu kecewa, tidak puas hati dan putus asa apabila diberitahu oleh pegawai polis bahawa foto, kenyataan dan salinan kad pengenalan 23 pelajar yang dibawa ke Balai Polis Seksyen 15 pada 20 April tidak akan dipulangkan.

“Sepanjang mesyuarat, puan Pengetua langsung tidak memberikan apa-apa jawapan kepada pertanyaan kami (ibu bapa) sedangkan kami datang untuk bersemuka dengan Pengetua yang merupakan ketua pentadbir sekolah,” kata Stephen.

Pada 26 April, sekumpulan ibu bapa yang kecewa dengan sikap Pengetua mengadakan perhimpunan aman di luar sekolah sebelum memulakan kempen mengumpul lebih 700 tandatangan bagi petisyen meminta PPD, JPS, Kementerian Pelajaran dan kerajaan memberi perhatian serius terhadap Pengetua berkenaan yang dikatakan memanipulasi keadaan yang wujud di sekolah itu.

“Kami sebagai ibu bapa sudah memberi terlalu banyak peluang kepada puan Pengetua tetapi nampaknya dia terus bersikap lepas tangan dan cuba menyalahkan orang lain.

“Sebagai Pengetua, dia sepatutnya lebih bertanggungjawab atau sekurang-kurangnya sedia berjumpa dengan ibu bapa yang datang untuk mendapatkan penjelasan,” kata Stephen yang juga bekas AJK PIBG sekolah berkenaan.

Ditanya sama ada ibu bapa terbabit akan hadir jika menerima undangan mesyuarat daripada Pengetua itu, Stephen berkata, “Tidak.

“Kami sudah jemu, marah dan kecewa, kami sudah pun banyak membazir masa kerana setiap kali kami tanya soalan (ketika dalam mesyuarat), puan Pengetua tidak menjawab dan kami nampak tidak ada apa-apa penyelesaian.”

Wartawan FMT gagal menghubungi Pengetua tersebut untuk mendapatkan komen kerana beliau dikatakan menghadiri kursus selama dua minggu.

Assault caught on CCTV, police forced to act

The district police have broken their silence and promised a transparent investigation.

KENINGAU: The Keningau district police have been forced to break their silence on an assault case because the whole incident was caught on closed circuit television.

In the incident which occurred close to midnight on April 30, Ben Cheah Ping Xen, 23, sustained multiple injuries all over his body as the result of the assault which was captured on a shop’s closed-circuit TV.

The CCTV video footage showed a senior prison officer and his three accomplices punching, kicking and beating Cheah with a baton, belt and a plastic stool.

Keningau is in Sabah’s interior and some 180 km from Kota Kinabalu with a population of some 150,000 people.

Already people in this small town are talking about the high handed action of the government official and the apparent police silence.

Now the Sabah Gerakan has stepped into the fray and the Keningau district police have assured the public of a thorough and transparent investigation into the alleged assault.

Keningau OCPD Supt Zahari Mohamad gave this assurance to Gerakan’s Sabah chairman, Gordon Leong .Leong and his delegation had called on Zahari after earlier visiting Cheah.

“We felt that such a visit to the OCPD was necessary as, we could feel for Ben’s and his family’s distress, pain, anxiety and more importantly their feeling of helplessness, as a result of the assault,” said Leong.

Leong said Sabah Gerakan was appalled and sad that there are still those who preferred to take matters into their own hands in a modern and civilised society.

“No one should take the law into their own hands or see themselves as above the law, more so law enforcement officers who are supposed to protect the public,” he said.

Uncalled for behaviour

The alleged assault incident which involved a senior government official, he said, must be viewed seriously as it is now of concern to the general public.

“If not addressed it could be misinterpreted by the general public and be exploited by political parties.

“This type of uncalled for behavior gives a bad name to the government and Gerakan believes and is confident that the relevant authorities will look into this matter seriously.

Earlier Cheah’s father Cheah You Hock demanded an investigation into the brutal beating of his son.

The arguments by narrow-minded Muslims


Yusri Mohamad, a product of the International Islamic University, ABIM and Pembela, and onetime personal aid to PKR President Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, claims that Islam is under attack. And should we be surprised when Muslims make a mockery of Islam? Anyway, this “Islam under attack” is all in the narrow minds of Muslims.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Islam's position under siege in M'sia, warns Pembela
(Malaysiakini) - The Coalition of Muslim Organisations (Pembela) has claimed that the position of Islam in Malaysia is under siege.
Speaking to reporters today, spokesperson Yusri Mohamad said this is particularly in relation to recent developments in Islam-Christian affairs.
Specifically, he cited the designation of a non-Muslim affairs exco in Penang and the 'pseudo-appointment' of Christian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Idris Jala to handle issues pertaining the Malay-language Bible as threatening Islam's position as the official religion.
He claimed there is no provision in the federal constitution for any official non-Muslim affairs body, and that making Idris the go-to minister for Christian affairs is thus unconstitutional.
"There is a (threat). These sorts of threats come in seasons but now have become more serious and are putting a lot of pressure on the way we deal with issues pertaining to Islam,” he said.
"Islam is the official religion and is a pillar of our nation, but attempts are being made to make its position equal to other religions.
"Followers of other religions are portrayed as marginalised and oppressed... Islam and Muslims are dressed in an ugly mask and is made to seem guilty so that they give in (to demands)."
The fact that Idris was appointed to handle the Al Kitab issue was also wrong, he said, since Idris cannot be said to be non-partisan because he is Christian.
"He says he is non-partisan politically but this is a religious issue, and he is partisan. As we understand it, the (10-point proposal) was produced without consultation with the Fatwa Council, religious scholars and Muslim NGOs," he said.
Instead, he said the matter should have been handled by two ministers in the Prime Minister's Department - Jamil Khir Baharom who is in charge of Islamic affairs, and Koh Tsu Koon who is in charge of national harmony.
"We feel that the government can act within their powers...but Christian groups are now using terms like 'deface' and 'desecration' which is pushing the issue ... out of hand," he said.
As such, Pembela, a coalition of about 80 NGOs, will be hosting a conference on Saturday to discuss the issue of the sovereignty of Islam in Malaysia.
Themed 'Islam under siege: What will we do?', the event will be open to all Muslim NGOs and will feature a forum on the topic.
Among the topics to be discussed are the Al Kitab, conversions to Islam, religious freedom and the way such matters are handled by the government.
"We hope to then take the outcome of our discussion to the cabinet, prime minister, Rulers Council, political parties and mufti," he said.
Pembela not 'extremist'
Commenting on a police report recently lodged by a Christian against Pembela, Yusri said said the coalition is not an extremist group as perceived.
"We feel that the police report was a way to blow up the issue. Pembela has been around for a while and anyone who does a background check will find that we are not an extremist group," he said.
Pembela has never officially said it is willing to 'shed blood against Christians', as stated in the police report, he said.
"But perhaps during the peaceful demonstrations there were harsh words said, which is normal in a demonstration. You can't expect us to berbalas pantun.
"It is wrong to say that our movement is a threat to our non-Muslim friends," he said.
He added that police had contacted Pembela a week after the report to ask for recordings and materials distributed during the demonstration in March to assist in their investigation.
"No member (has been) called for questioning," he added.

It’s nice to be able to say: I told you so


The problem is the Muslims are so full of bullshit. And the Malays believe that old pagan traditions and customs of pre-Islamic times are part of Islamic beliefs and rituals. And when you try to point this out they demand to see your certificate.
NO HOLDS BARRED
Raja Petra Kamarudin
When Saiful Bukhari Azlan swore on the Quran in a mosque three years ago that Anwar Ibrahim had sodomised him, I wrote that there is no such thing. In fact, the practice of swearing an oath on the Quran is man’s invention, not God’s decree, and that it was a pagan Arab practice of pre-Islamic times.
That was three years ago and the response I received was that I am not qualified to talk about Islam. You need a certificate to talk about Islam, although it is man and not God who issues that certificate.
In fact, soon after that I was detained without trial under the Internal Security Act and one of the charges was that I had insulted Islam. Malays get upset when I criticise them and they view criticism not as comments against them but as speaking out against God.

That was also the culture in Europe more than 1,000 years ago. The church believed that the world is flat and if you said that the world is round they would put you to death.
Anyway, now an imam has also come out to say the same as what I said three years ago. So what are you going to do to that imam? Confiscate his certificate and detain him under ISA?
The problem is the Muslims are so full of bullshit. And the Malays believe that old pagan traditions and customs of pre-Islamic times are part of Islamic beliefs and rituals. And when you try to point this out they demand to see your certificate.
Certificate my arse.

SEE VIDEO ON YOUTUBE HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYtyoqbGle4

BN Silap Catur Isu Anwar

Oleh Mohd Rashidi Hassan

Barisan Nasional nampaknya sedang memperjudikan nasib mereka dengan percubaan untuk membunuh karektor peribadi Ketua Pembangkang, Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim dengan menyebarkan video yang didakwa membabitkan beliau.

Kali pertama taktik kotor dibuat pada zaman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad menjadi Perdana Menteri iaitu pada tahun 1988. Kali kedua, takik yang sama diulang oleh Dato’ Seri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak.

Motif kedua-dua PM ini mudah, supaya rakyat tahu siapa Anwar dan selepas Anwar di’telanjangkan’ rakyat akan menolak Anwar.

Usaha untuk membunuh keperibadian Anwar dan menghapuskannya di persada politik negara, sudah tentunya merupakan suatu agenda yang difahami, iaitu untuk mempertahankan kuasa PM dan Umno-BN.

Mahathir ketika menerajui Umno-BN tidak menyangka rakyat akan bangkit sedemikian rupa selepas mendedahkan sepuluh salahlaku Anwar secara berleluasa dan menghukumnya bersalah, sebelum beliau dibicarakan di mahkamah.

Perkiraan Mahathir ketika itu silap. Tindakan jahat beliau dibalas dengan meletusnya gerombolan reformasi yang ditunjangi rakyat bawahan menentang keangkuhan kuasa pemimpin Umno-BN.

Kesan daripada kesilapan Mahathir besar. BN nyaris-nyaris hilang dua pertiga majoriti pada tahun 1999 dengan undi popular yang jatuh menjunam, khususnya di kalangan orang-orang Melayu. Pada ketika itu BN masih kekal berkuasa kerana mendapat dokongan ampuh dari kalangan bukan Melayu.

Amarah rakyat dalam isu yang berkait dengan kezaliman terhadap Anwar, korupsi, kronisme dan nepotisme pada ketika itu tidak menjalar di kalangan bukan Melayu.

Kekuatan BN selepas pertukaran PM kepada Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi tidak banyak mengubah nasib Umno-BN. Amarah rakyat kepada Umno-BN macam ‘api dalam sekam’. Ia dibuktikan pada Pilihan Raya Umum 2008 di mana gabungan parti pembangkang berjaya merampas lima negeri dan sekaligus menafikan dua pertiga majoriti BN di Parlimen.

Namun suasana sekarang sudah berubah. Orang Melayu yang tidak menyokong Umno-BN pada 1998 majoritinya kekal sehingga hari ini. Ditambah pula dengan kebangkitan kaum bukan Melayu yang turut sama menolak BN pada 2008 hingga ke Pilihan Raya Negeri Sarawak tahun ini.

Dengan membawa kes kedua Anwar yang dimulakan dengan kes liwat pada 2008 dan kes video seks, Umno-BN menyangka dengan isu ini mereka boleh membunuh Anwar kali kedua.

Umno-BN berfikir bahawa dengan membunuh karektor peribadi Anwar, perjuangan Anwar akan lenyap dan Pakatan Rakyat akan menjadi lemah.

Mereka ternyata lupa bahawa agenda utama Pakatan Rakyat, yang didokong majoriti rakyat jelata akan tetap menolak Umno-BN dalam apa jua keadaan.

Asas yang terpenting dalam Pakatan Rakyat adalah konsensus untuk bekerjasama membentuk Kerajaan Pusat dengan menjatuhkan BN pada PRU akan datang.

Waima ada Anwar atau tidak. Perjuangan yang dibawa Anwar sudah merepasi jauh di lubuk hati rakyat, iaitu sudah sampai masanya keangkuhan Umno-BN dihentikan. Kezaliman Umno-BN dihapuskan, ketuanan juak-juak politik Umno-BN diranapkan.

Semuanya digantikan dengan ketuanan rakyat. Ketuanan yang mendukung aspirasi rakyat untuk hidup dengan lebih demokratik, adil dan saksama di bawah naungan Pakatan Rakyat.

Silap catur Umno-BN akan terus membawa mereka ke jurang kemunahan dan penolakan rakyat.

The Future of US-Pakistan relations post-bin Laden


Image
Zardari Prays for peace
(Asia Sentinel) Not anything very encouraging

Scenes of rejoicing in Washington and New York accompanied the news that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been killed by US special forces on Sunday. But in Pakistan, many remained glued to their television sets, wondering what this event means for their nation's security and sovereignty. The killing of bin Laden signals to the Pakistani public that the United States can act with autonomy and impunity on their territory. However, if the US government acknowledges and addresses the valid concerns of the Pakistani public, bin Laden's death could prove a high point in American diplomacy.

For most Pakistanis, news of the terrorist leader's death was overshadowed by questions of what role their country's government and military had played in the operation. In his address to the nation, US President Barack Obama stressed that "counterterrorism co-operation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding." However, senior White House officials insisted that the United States acted alone, and that Pakistani authorities were only alerted once the operation had commenced. On Tuesday, Pakistan President Asif Zardari clarified that the strike had not been a joint operation.

International media coverage has focused on the fact that the United States' unilateral action emphasizes its lack of trust in Pakistan's security establishment. Conversely, the bin Laden operation has further weakened Pakistan's ability to trust the United States and its stated regional intentions. The strike follows a meeting last month between the directors of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). The ISI reportedly asked the CIA to reduce its footprint in Pakistan, and demanded greater oversight over US intelligence operations on Pakistani soil.

In recent months, US officials have stopped giving Pakistan advance warnings of drone strikes against militants in tribal areas. Moreover, the Pakistani public has still not come to terms with the detention and subsequent release of Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistani men in Lahore in January this year.

The perception that the United States can act with impunity in Pakistan will fuel a sense of insecurity. On social networks, Pakistanis are asking whether bin Laden's killing is the "beginning of the endgame in Pakistan", in other words, the start of open confrontation rather than cooperation between the United States and Pakistan. They fear that one unilateral strike within Pakistan's borders can only lead to more: a statement on Monday by US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers that at least a dozen senior Al Qaeda leaders are based in Pakistan has led many to wonder whether the United States is preparing for a series of strikes that would violate Pakistan's national sovereignty. These concerns are exacerbated by the recent appointment of General David Petraeus as the incoming Director of the CIA; the general has vehemently criticized Pakistan for maintaining ties with militant groups and tolerating terrorist safe havens.

To be clear, Pakistanis are equally concerned about the internal security situation of their country. They dread retaliatory attacks, which the Taliban vowed to carry out barely hours after the news of bin Laden's death broke.

Many are also unnerved by the fact that bin Laden was uncovered in Abbottabad, home to a Pakistani military base and the prestigious Pakistan Military Academy. The fact that the terrorist leader could hide in plain sight of Pakistan's security establishment is an alarming thought. The other possibility – that bin Laden was being sheltered by Pakistan's intelligence agencies – is even more terrifying, given that over 30,000 Pakistanis have been killed in terror-related attacks in recent years.

Given the sense of vulnerability that now prevails in Pakistan, this is not a time for American triumphalism. Indeed, if handled properly, bin Laden's death could be the turning point in a faltering bilateral relationship. It can be an opportunity for increased transparency in US-Pakistani relations as the modalities of the operation are explained, and a reminder that while the two allies' strategic priorities for the region diverge, they are nevertheless complementary. And if, as has been suggested, bin Laden's death facilitates US plans for withdrawal from Afghanistan, this could also be a time of unprecedented collaboration between Washington and Islamabad.

Huma Yusuf is a journalist and researcher from Karachi. She is currently the Pakistan Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

No Difference With or Without

By Kee Thuan Chye

PRIME Minister Najib Razak has changed his tack in relating to the Chinese electorate. He seems to have discarded his role of the charmer who spun 1Malaysia hogwash to win Chinese hearts and minds. He is now threatening them instead.

He’s telling them that if they don’t support Barisan Nasional (BN) at the next general election, they will not have representation in the Government. This is because Chua Soi Lek, the MCA president, has declared that his party will not accept government positions if they don’t get Chinese support.

Najib’s switch to a threatening mode shows that he’s desperate. He clearly must be after what has happened in the recent Sarawak state elections, when the Chinese dumped the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) in favour of the Opposition. Despite Najib’s 10-day campaign in the state, the Chinese there did not show him any face. They are simply fed-up with the corrupt BN Government and they want reform. But for BN, the loss of Chinese support, especially in Sarawak, with the possible spread to Sabah, could be crucial at the next general election.

Chua has since come forward to say that Najib was not issuing a threat but only making a “statement of fact” in response to the MCA’s proposed stand. But knowing the kind of pakat-pakat (conniving) politics practiced by BN, one is more likely to believe that Najib and Chua had both cooked up this ploy together right from the start – to supposedly strike fear in the hearts of the Chinese.

But should the Chinese be cowed? Should they worry if they had no representation in government – to be specific, the BN Government? Why should they? What has MCA (and Gerakan) representation in the Government done for them? Hasn’t Chua woken up to the fact that it is because the Chinese feel the MCA has been useless in BN that they dumped the party in 2008?

And as if to reaffirm the hopeless situation that both the MCA and Gerakan are in, the same day Najib issued his threat, Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali issued his own – warning the two parties to stop bringing up sensitive issues or risk having their candidates undermined at the next general election. By this, Ibrahim meant Perkasa would urge Malays not to vote for the MCA and Gerakan. He even insisted that both parties must defend the Malays and Islam before they should get Malay votes.

Of course, we can dismiss Perkasa as a minnow that appears bigger than it really is because its president has a loud mouth and exaggerates his own importance. But it is no less humiliating for the MCA and Gerakan to be publicly chided in this fashion. What’s more, big brother Umno has made no move to chide Perkasa back, which merely underscores the weakness of the lesser parties.

Should the Chinese support such weak parties? If the MCA and Gerakan were to remain in the BN Government after the next general election – and that’s assuming BN wins – they would merely be playing the same old second fiddle. Supporting them would probably just give them a chance to continue to get a share of the loot, like the MCA did in the PKFZ scandal. Why elect them for that purpose?

In any case, if the MCA wants to turn down government positions, that’s its own business. It has no right to put the onus on the Chinese or attempt to blackmail them.

Threats won’t work. Chua should know that. So should Najib. Former prime minister Abdullah Badawi issued the same threat on the eve of the 2008 general election; it was on the front page of mainstream newspapers. The Chinese didn’t give a damn; in fact, they were even more pissed off. Taib Mahmud did the same in the run-up to the Sarawak state elections. The Chinese told his coalition to go fly a kite.

If Najib wants to win back the Chinese, he has to take positive, radical measures. He has to assure them that the Government would be squeaky clean, that there would be no more rent-seeking, that the country’s institutions will be respected, that the Government will strictly follow the rule of law, that the Chinese would have a place under the Malaysian sun as is guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

It will not be enough for him to merely say that he will attend to these things; he has to be seen to be doing it. Because talk is cheap. The reason the Chinese don’t buy his 1Malaysia drivel is that it’s precisely nothing but drivel. In reality, nothing has been done to make things better for them. And meanwhile, the corruption and the rent-seeking continue. The Chinese realise more and more that the taxes they pay are going to the wrong causes. But what are they getting in return? Has there even been an improvement in the quality of Malaysian life?

The MCA and Gerakan have failed them. They are as culpable in the corruption that has set this country back. Their leaders get shouted down each time they make a squeak about any issue that displeases Umno. They get insulted by Umno seniors like Nazri Aziz and Hishammuddin Hussein.

Why should the Chinese want any party to represent them that has no cojones?

In fact, the MCA is a reminder to them of what a disgrace it is to Chinese dignity. As for Gerakan, whenever a politically aware Chinese person says something about its president, Koh Tsu Koon, they would accompany it with spittle. And they don’t even have to be from Penang.

The greatest irony about Najib’s threat is that for one who espouses 1Malaysia, he should even have entertained the thought. A truly 1Malaysia government would not look at race in its appointment of ministers. It would serve all races, whether or not there are Chinese representatives among its Cabinet. And if indeed the MCA did pull out of government positions and Najib still craved to see Chinese faces at Cabinet meetings, he could still do what he has done before – appoint non-politicians, like he did Idris Jala. Or appoint Chinese from other BN parties. If they haven’t been duly elected, he could simply make them senators first. He’s not new at that game either.

So, whatever it is, the Chinese have nothing to worry about. With or without representation in government, there is no difference – they will still be as they are. Chua and his MCA can do what they like; it won’t matter anyhow. The Chinese will vote according to their conscience. After all, they have a saying: “It is better to die a hero than to survive in disgrace.” Perhaps the MCA should take note of that before the next general election.

Surely not another 50 years of Islamisation?

by Yin Ee Kiong | CPIAsia

Until now one can arguably say that the non-Muslims have not made a stand against the erosion of their constitutional right regarding freedom of worship. Neither have they done anything to protect the status of their religion.

The church has stood by while symbols of their religion were dismantled from mission schools. The church leaders were weak and complaint, and for being a ‘good boy’ many were made Datuks. The same can be said of the leaders of the other religions.

If ever they thought that ‘turning the other cheek’ would appease the Islamist fundamentalists then they were wrong. Appeasement only emboldened the religious ultras among the Muslims.

Now we’ve had churches being torched and corpses snatched, temples demolished and cow heads paraded to insult the religions of the infidels.

It did not help that the government played to the gallery instead of applying the constitution regarding the freedom of worship in both letter and spirit. The fact that none of the other BN component parties protested only made Umno’s work easier.

It is only now that the Council of Churches of Malaysia Youth (CCMY) has come out to say that the government’s 10-point solution to the Bible in Bahasa Melayu (Al-Kitab) issue is not enough as it does not address decades of official harassment. They want a holistic solution to the problem of religious discrimination. The Christian youths blame the present situation on their elders who did not make a stand when the problem first emerged.

From the following list compiled by someone and making the rounds via chain mail (see ‘50 Years of Islamisation’ endnote) one discerns Anwar Ibrahim’s hand in all of this. That was during his Abim and Umno days, one may say to excuse him. But what is Anwar’s stand now, one has to ask.

More importantly, will the government protect the freedom of worship of all citizens in both letter and spirit as provided for by the constitution? Or will it continue to pander to the Muslim constituency to the disadvantage of the non-Muslims?

The government talks about interfaith dialogue but when push comes to shove it backs away from it. When he was the premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi cancelled the ‘Building Bridges’ seminar of prominent Muslim and Christian scholars under the auspices of the Archbishop of Canterbury due to pressure from Muslim groups.

Our schools are becoming more Islamised – the doa is recited at school functions and non-Muslim students must attend. Islamic Civilization is a compulsory subject for all university students. School history textbooks glorify Islam and Islamic civilization over other religions.

Our constitution states that Malaysia is a secular state yet one prime minister after another beginning with Dr Mahathir Mohamad, insists that Malaysia is a Muslim state. In current PM Mohd Najib Abdul Razak’s view, Malaysia was never a secular state.

There are also problems regarding Muslim radicals in Indonesia. But the Indonesian government takes a firm stand where religion is concerned. President Susilo Bambang Yuduyono has openly said that the government will not tolerate religious radicals. The official view is that the government is ‘neutral’ and will apply the law accordingly.

This is in contrast to Malaysia where state imams (the Mufti of Perak especially) can incite religious hatred and where the law is biased – pro-Islam protesters are allowed more latitude than those of other religions. Even when a legitimate meeting is held in a hotel (the Article 11 NGO campaign), the police stopped it because of the protest from Muslim groups. If it were other protesters, the FRU would have moved in with their truncheons and water cannons.

During tea with one of the workmen decorating the house [in Indonesia], I asked him what if his daughter married an infidel? ‘No problem!’ he replied.

What if the infidel refuses to convert to Islam? No problem. What if he changes his mind about Islam; can he opt out or convert to another religion? No problem – it is not against the law, according to him.

There are pockets of ultra Islamist communities e.g. in Acheh, but by and large Indonesians are quite tolerant and accepting of religious pluralism.

The government must cease obstructing the practice of other religions other than Islam. And it must cease harassing those who have the spine to stand up for their religion.

Thank you to the anonymous person who compiled the following:

50 YEARS OF ISLAMISATION

1957: The Reid Commission drafted the Federal Constitution, and at the behest of one of the Commission members, Mr Justice Abdul Hamid of West Pakistan High Court, Article 3 (1) was formulated as such: “Islam is the religion of the Federation”.

1966: Restrictions were placed on the employment, entry and residence of priests and religious personnel. This led to the reduction of religious personnel in mission schools.

1974: The Red Cross Society was renamed Red Crescent Society.

1974 to present: The airing of Islamic television and radio programmes began increasing. From 1974 onwards, prime-time television programmes were paused to air the azan [Muslim prayer].

1979: The Islamic Revolution and revivalism in Iran had a direct effect on Muslims here. Muslim clerics began exhorting their faithful to return to the fundamentals of the faith. The Angkatan Budaya Islam Malaysia or Abim led by Anwar Ibrahim started thedakwah movement mainly among government, and college/university students. Muslim women, for the first time, were seen donning the tudung. Over the years, wearing of the tudung has become the norm amongst Muslim women here.

1981: The Indonesian translation of the Bible Al-kitab was banned under the Internal Security Act. The ban was later lifted on condition the books were restricted to Christian use.

In 1982, Islamic content on TV stood at 10 percent; in 1988 it rose to 17.5 percent.

Songs that contain the word ‘Jesus’ have been banned [e.g. Jesus to a Child by George Michael], as well as movies depicting prophets [e.g. Prince of Egypt, a cartoon about the life of Moses].

1984: It became illegal for non-Muslims to use 49 ‘Islamic’ words including Allah [God], Alhamdulilah [Praise be to God] and Insya Allah [God willing].

1985: The then Deputy Prime Minister Musa Hitam said, “The gSovernment has set up a committee to co-ordinate the various aspects of Islamic Syariah and civil laws in line with efforts to infuse Islamic values into the administration” [New Straits Times, March 9, 1985]

Aug 1986: Abim proposes to the government that Islamic laws be the basis of legislation in Malaysia [New Straits Times, Aug 25, 1986]

Sept 1986: The federal and state governments agreed to the integration of Syariah and civil courts. The then Lord President Salleh Abas said this integration was a first step toward the Islamisation of laws in the country. He also said that changes should not be made drastically; the best changes are those which are imperceptible. [The Star, Sept 25, 1986]

The above situation led to a written protest by the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism [MCCBCHS], and a nationwide church and temple signature campaign denouncing the plans.

1988: The then Minister of Education Anwar Ibrahim, directed all principals, aged 55 and above in religious schools to stop service with immediate effect. The principals who took over were mostly Muslim. Subsequently,

(1) Moral Education replaced Christian religious education in these schools and the majority of Moral Education teachers were Muslim;

(2) Crucifixes in mission schools were removed;

(3) School history textbooks glorified Islam and Islamic civilisation over other religions;

(4) Islamic Civilization was introduced as a compulsory subject for all university students.

1988: Article 121 of the Federal Constitution was amended by Art. 121 (1A) to state that the civil courts shall have no jurisdiction in respect of any matter within the jurisdiction of the Syariah courts. The result of this amendment led to the civil courts being unable to adjudicate in cases where the Islamic ingredient is present notwithstanding the fact the person seeking judicial relief or remedy is a non-Muslim, especially in matters related to conversion, matrimony, children’s custody and burial.

Over the years, case law has shown:

(1) A person who converts to Islam can get his/her civil marriage dissolved by the Syariah court, automatically gains custody of children and is allowed to convert them without the non-Muslim parent’s consent [Subashini v Saravanan]. CPI note: Additionally the cases of Shamala Sathiyaseelan against her husband Muhammad Ridzwan bin Mogarajah and of Tan Cheow Hong against his wife Fatimah Foong binti Abdullah.

2) A person who converts out of Islam cannot change religious status on his/her identity card without permission from the Syariah Court [Lina Joy case];

(3) A person who applies to the Syariah Court to convert away from Islam is forced into rehabilitative detention [Revathi Masoosai case].

(4) State Islamic authorities are given power by the Syariah courts to claim, exhume and bury deceased persons who they deem as Muslims, regardless of the insistence of family members to the contrary [Moorthy Marian and Rayappan Anthony cases].

1980s: In line with Article 11 (4) of the Federal Constitution, state and federal law may restrict the propagation of any other religious doctrine among Muslims – the Control and Restriction of the Propagation of Non-Islamic Religions Enactment was
passed in six states. The penalties for such violations are a maximum RM10,000 fine or one year’s jail, or both. Five persons including a former Muslim were detained without trial under the ISA for allegedly performing missionary work amongst Muslims.

During the 80s the print media attempted to portray that Christian evangelism was a threat to the Muslim faith. As an example, on Oct 9, 1987, the NST reported that, Christians attempted to convert Muslims with bribe money. On Oct 5, 1987, Mingguan Islamalleged that US$100bil was provided by the World Federation of Churches for the Christianisation of Muslims. The Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism [MCCBCHS] asserted that both
these stories were false. Furthermore, there is no such body as the World Federation of Churches.

1980s to present: Approvals for building of non-Muslim places of worship became increasingly difficult. Unusual conditions were imposed: height restrictions on steeples, design restrictions re temple domes. Sikh gurdwaras are barred from building their traditional domes for fear that it may cause confusion for looking too mosque-like.

The Church of the Divine Mercy in Shah Alam took no less than 28 years to be approved and built due to vexatious bureaucratic delays and protests from residents.
To date, over 10 Hindu temples have been demolished by local councils on grounds that the structures were illegal.

1980s to present: Muslims by virtue of paying their tithes [zakat] are allowed a tax rebate of the amount tithed. This has resulted in Muslims having a lower effective tax rate, while non-Muslims with the same level of income are taxed a higher percentage.

1993: Banks and finance companies were allowed to offer Islamic banking services.

1993: he Kelantan State Legislative Assembly, which is under the control of opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia [PAS], passed the Syariah Criminal Code Bill, which included Hudud laws that call for stoning to death and chopping of limbs which however have not yet been enforced to date.

1999: The ruling Barisan Nasional lost the state of Terengganu to PAS in the general elections. PAS, with its vision of setting up a Syariah-based Islamic state, replaced DAP as the main opposition party in Parliament.

This led to a race between the BN and PAS to try and out-Islamise each other by posturing themselves to appear more Islamic.

2000: The Bahasa Malaysia translation of Al-Kitab was confiscated by the Special Branch from the Daughters of St Paul bookstore in Petaling Jaya. The then Deputy PM Abdullah Badawi later released the books on condition that the words ‘For Christians Only’ were printed on the cover.

2001: In an apparent attempt to thwart support for PAS’s plans of an Islamic state should it come into power, the then PM Mahathir Mohamed declared that Malaysia was already a model Islamic country. Despite public outcry from the non-Muslim population, the non-Malay component parties within the ruling coalition were either compliant or silent on the issue.

2002: The policy absorption of Islamic values into government administration was launched. According to the booklet, ‘Malaysia is an Islamic Country’, the policy will be implemented on a continuous basis until the goal of entrenching Islam into the nation’s system is fully achieved. The booklet was later withdrawn but the policy is arguably still in force.

2004: PAS was ousted by the DAP as main opposition party in Parliament when it lost Terengganu to the BN and retained Kelantan by the narrowest of margins in the general election. The BN, helmed by new PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, experienced its biggest victory to date winning nine-tenths of the contested Parliamentary seats. Abdullah then introduced the new concept of Islam Hadhari.

2005: Plans to set up an Interfaith Commission, a statutory non-adjudicative body to assist the government in shaping coherent policy pertaining to religious harmony, were scuttled by widespread protests from Muslim activists who alleged the commission would interfere with the holiness of Islam.

2005: City Hall enforcement officers arrested a non-Muslim couple for hugging and kissing in a public park. The couple appealed to the Federal Court, which ruled that City Hall was correct. The decision has now empowered local council authorities to act as morality police.

2006: An elderly American couple on holiday in Langkawi were harassed and humiliated by state religious enforcement officers who raided their apartment on suspicion they were Muslims committing khalwat, an offence under Syariah law.

2006: A coalition of non-governmental organisations [NGOs] formed Article 11 [named after the constitutional provision which enshrines freedom of religion], with the intention of reminding the government to defend the Federal Constitution and reaffirm the country secular nature. Their nationwide fora were repeatedly disrupted by Islamist activists. The PM stepped in and assuaged the protestors by putting a halt to the Article 11 activities.

2006: The Attorney-General’s Chambers now has a Syariah unit whose functions, inter alia, are to take steps toward the realisation of a set of laws and specific body that will be responsible for the harmonisation of civil law and syarak [laws of Islam. This could be seen as a resumption of the 1985-1988 initiative towards the integration of Syariah and civil courts.

2007: Islamic authorities have been observed to have grown more tyrannical in their enforcement, as evidenced by the Revathi Masoosai case where they forcibly took away her child on the grounds that she was a Muslim who illegally practised Hinduism, despite her claim that she had been a practising Hindu since childhood.

2007: Deputy PM Najib Abdul Razak said Malaysia has never been a secular state as the government has always been driven by the fundamentals of Islam, according to state Bernama news agency (July 17).

2007: New station TV9 was launched, which features mainly Islamic programming. There is no coverage of non-Muslim religious programmes, save for during the respective festivals.

Sources:

Hudud Laws, The Constitution and the Penal Code by O.C. Lim, SJ

Islamisation of Malaysian Laws by Paul Tan Chee Ing, SJ

‘Why the MCCBCHS Rejects the Application of the Syariah on Non-Muslims’

ADDITIONAL UPDATES BY CPI:

2010: Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (Jakim), an agency in the PM’s Department launches Malaysia’s first Islamic free-to-air Islamic channel, TV AlHijrah. Besides television, Jakim also owns and operates an Islamic affairs radio station, Salam FM.

2011: Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (Ikim) – yet another one of the Islamic government federal agencies – operates a 24-hour radio station IKIM.fm which claims 786,000 listeners (according to its bulletin last October). Early this month (April), Ikim organised a convention which established a technical committee with the principal objective of harmonising Syariah and civil laws,The Star reported. The convention did not rule out the possibility of having just one unified legal system for the whole country.