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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

High Court breaks hearts of estate workers

The High Court delivered a blow to former Bukit Jalil estate workers, dismissing their injunction application to stop DBKL from demolishing the former estate houses.

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court today dismissed an application by the former Bukit Jalil estate residents for an injunction against the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), which had proposed to demolish houses of the former rubber estate.

Justice Zabariah Mohd Yusof in her ruling said DBKL had the authority to evict them under the Emergency Ordinance.

She also dismissed an application for interim injunction pending appeal.

However, the residents have said that they will not let off their fight for proper compensation and would be filing an appeal against the ruling today.

On March 1, the 41 families residing in the former estate were slapped with eviction notices by DBKL, asking them to move out within two weeks.

But they obtained an interim injunction after an ex-parte hearing on March 14 to stop the eviction notice under the Emergency Ordinance.

The notices were referring to an offer made by the Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Ministry in February, offering RM23,000 each to those who have worked on the estate for more than 15 years while the rest were offered RM11,000 each.

This offer has not been accepted by the former estate workers or their next of kin.

At a press conference later, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general S Arutchelvan said they were upset over the ruling.

“Based on natural justice, it will be inhumane for DBKL to demolish the houses till the trial is over,” said Arutchelvan who was flanked by the estate action committee secretary S Thiakarajan and Hindraf Makkal Sakthi national coordinator K Balakrishnan.

Seeking Najib’s intervention

Arutchelvan urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to intervene and stop DBKL from demolishing their homes.

“This case has much in common with the Kampung Buah Pala incident. Though the residents there had their application for injunction rejected, the state government intervened to ensure the developer did not demolish their houses before the trial was over.

“So now, we are asking Najib to intervene here. Besides, Ladang Bukit Jalil is government-owned land,” Aruchelvan said.

In 2009, 23 families in Kampung Buah Pala had their homes demolished after a legal tussle with developer Nusmetro Ventures which had acquired the land.

However, the state government intervened and compensated the villagers.

Lawyers for Liberty coordinator Fadiah Nadwa Fikri said she was disappointed with the ruling and would be filing an appeal on behalf of the residents by today.

“It is sad that the judge had said DBKL was empowered under the EO to evict them when even the minister (Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin) had recognised them as former estate workers,” she said.

Malaysia has no official religion, says constitutional expert

KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 — The Federal Constitution has never stated Islam is the country’s “official religion”, says lawyer Syahredzan Johan as controversy raged over a Utusan Malaysia report that Christians want to usurp the religion’s place in the charter.

The Umno-owned paper and some Malay-Muslim groups, including Umno leaders, have been pushing the view that the country’s highest law proclaims Islam to be its “official” religion and that only a Muslim can be its prime minister.

Syahredzan, who is the Bar Council’s constitutional law committee chief, said Utusan’s reading of the law was wrong and warned the Malay-language daily was pushing what he described as a “dangerous misconception” that could plunge the country into religious and social unrest.

“In terms of the Federal Constitution, there’s only one religion for the federation, no official or unofficial. The Constitution is clear on this. Islam is not the official religion,” he said to The Malaysian Insider when contacted yesterday.

He cited Article 3 as stating “Islam is the religion of the Federation; but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation” and pointed out the word “official” was nowhere in the provision.

Syahredzan said that section of the constitution must be interpreted together with Article 11, which states “Everyone has the right to profess and practise his religion and, subject to Clause (4)’ — which is on Islam — ‘to propagate it’”.

“We need to understand the correct terminology to be used when we say anything about the Federal Constitution,” he said, and added “everyone, from ministers to NGOs to bloggers have been claiming all sorts, which goes to show they do not know what is in the Federal Constitution”.

He observed that by inserting the extra word into the Constitution, the bloggers, ministers and newspaper were reading things that are not there and changing the law.

“And that’s unconstitutional,” the lawyer insisted.

Syahredzan also said while the man-on-the-street could be excused for not being well-versed with the law, ministers and lawyers could not be forgiven because it was not only their job but their duty.

“If it’s normal people, they can be excused for not knowing the Constitution, but we’re talking about ministers, lawyers, the media ... people with influence in society.

“If they themselves don’t understand how the Constitution works, then we have a serious problem because people might be agitated,” he said.

Syahredzan said he was highlighting this issue because no one else seemed to be doing so.

“It’s a very dangerous thing and it gets played up and because of that, it becomes more than just a constitutional issue, it becomes a bogeyman ... it becomes a religious issue and a social issue and a political issue and a problem. Someone needs to stand up and say this,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

While the young lawyer noted that right-wing Malay rights lobbyists had been making noise about this issue, he said he was unsure if their campaign was deliberate or carried out due to ignorance.

But, Syahredzan stressed, it is time Putrajaya take the lead to correct the misconception to avoid disaster.

“But something needs to be done; the government must state clearly what is and what is not in the Federal Constitution.

“The government should play the leading role in trying to correct the misconception and not push further misconception,” he said, and volunteered the Bar Council’s MyConstitution campaign to help the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government help understand the Constitution.

Syahredzan also stressed that Malaysia is a secular country as it is a country that is bound by its constitution, and not the Quran or Islamic legal provisions.

“There are people who argue that our country is Islamic,” he conceded.

“But an Islamic state is guided and bound by the Quran and the Sunnah, which then becomes the supreme law of that state,” he said.

He also explained that the whole controversy of changing the official religion from Islam to Christianity, which he noted pro-Malay rights lobbyists had pinned on Article 3, could be carried out with a two-thirds majority of Parliament and did not need the permission of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.

“There’s no need for confirmation from the Conference of Rulers either, unlike Article 152 which is on the national language,” Syahredzan said, and cited Article 152 (1) which states “The national language shall be the Malay language”.

Similarly, Article 43(2) — on a Christian becoming prime minister — Syahredzan said it could happen because “the Constitution does not state the prime minister must be a Muslim. All it states is that someone who has the confidence of the majority of Parliament”.

Syahredzan said Islam’s position had become a basic structure of the Federal Constitution and was accepted by all regardless of their creed; adding he did not foresee any change to its position any time in the future.

The lawyer said there were enough safeguards in the Constitution and in the make-up of Parliament, where he observed Muslims outnumbering the non-Muslims, for any change to Islam to be put to the table.

“Why are we under this siege mentality that everyone is out to get us, as if they are afraid Islam is going to be changed?” he asked.

“We have got safeguards to protect Islam,” he said.

Pakistan rejects complicity in bin Laden case

Pakistan has denied allegations of complicity or incompetence in the Osama bin Laden case.

Yousuf Raza Gilani, the country's prime minister, said that it was "disingenuous" for anyone to accuse either the Pakistani state or its various institutions, including its intelligence agencies, of "being in cahoots" with al-Qaeda.

Addressing parliament on Monday, Gilani said it was Pakistan's spy agency that had given "key leads" that ultimately led to the US raid on the compound in Pakistan's Abbottabad where bin Laden lived.

He said that his country attached high importance to its relations with the United States, but warned that "unilateral actions" such as the raid on bin Laden's house in Abbottabad ran the risk of serious consequences.

Blaming "all intelligence agencies of the world" for failing to track bin Laden, Gilani said that an inquiry has been ordered, to be led by Pakistani Lieutenant-General Javed Iqbal.

"We will not allow our detractors to succeed in offloading their own shortcomings and errors of omission and commission in a blame game that stigmatises Pakistan," said Gilani, who termed allegations of complicity or incompetence on the part of Pakistan as "absurd".

He said that the country's relations with the United States remained "strong", and that the relationship was based on mutual trust and respect. He said that both sides have agreed a continuing process of dialogue on issues of difference.

"We have a strategic partnership that we believe serves our mutual interests," he said. The prime minister also said that co-operation on intelligence was essential to serve both countries' objectives.

Regarding engagement with the world's major powers, Gilani said that an "ongoing multi-track process" would continue apace, adding that engagement with India would be pursued in a "positive and constructive manner".

Later on Monday, Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said that the United States wants to have a "cooperative relationship" with Pakistan.

"We believe it is very important to maintain a cooperative relationship with Pakistan, precisely because it's in our national security interests to do so," Carney told a news briefing.

He also said that the US would "not apologise for the action that this president took" in ordering the raid on Abbottabad.

'Justice done'

The Pakistani premier said that al-Qaeda had "declared war" on Pakistan, and that the killing of bin Laden, its leader, was "justice done".

He said the Pakistani people and its government were "united in our resolve to eliminate terrorism", and asserted that there were no divides in the government between the military and intelligence services and the elected government.

He also said that Pakistan was determined not to allow its soil to be used for terrorism.

"Pakistan is not the birthplace of al-Qaeda ... we did not invite Osama bin Laden to Pakistan," he said, while saying that the blame for the creation of radical militant groups after the Afghan War against the Soviets must be shared amongst everyone involved. He placed particular emphasis on the US role in encouraging jihad "in the name of Islam and as a national duty".

Gilani said that Pakistan "has lost some 30,000 men, women and children", and more than 5,000 armed forces personnel in the fight against terrorism, adding that this fight was a "national priority".

"We are not naive to declare 'Mission accomplished'. The myth of Osama bin Laden must be demolished...the anger of ordinary people against injustice, tyranny and oppression must be addressed ... otherwise this rage will find new ways to be expressed," he said.

Gilani said that he "emphatically den[ied] the existence of .. a divide" in Pakistan's state institutions, and also rejected criticism of the armed forces' reaction to the US raid, saying that the armed forces "reacted as was expected of them".

He also warned against any attacks on Pakistan's "strategic assets" - a term often used by the government when referring to its nuclear weapons - by saying that the Pakistani military would respond to such an incursion "with full force".

No other country or security agencies had done as much as Pakistan's armed forces and ISI to kill or capture al-Qaeda fighters and leaders, Gilani said, adding that Pakistan had "cautioned international forces on" the implications of a "flawed military campaign" in Afghanistan.

Regarding the allegations against the ISI of either having actively harboured bin Laden, or incompetent at tracking his whereabouts, the prime minister said such "speculative narratives in the public domain are meant to create despondency".

PM Gilani said that the military and intelligence agencies were to give a joint session of parliament an in-camera briefing on the situation on May 13.

The prime minister also made a reference to Pakistan's "all-weather friend China", saying that its leadership as a regional power in technological and other advances was laudable.

International criticism

Delivered in English, the speech appeared to be directly aimed at the criticisms of the Pakistani government in the wake of the killing of the al-Qaeda leader.

On Sunday, US President Barack Obama appeared on the US television show '60 Minutes', saying that it appeared clear to the United States that "some sort of support network for bin Laden [existed] inside of Pakistan".

Al Jazeera's Kimberly Halkett in Washington DC reported that there have been some "sharp criticisms" of Pakistan emerging from the US capital in recent days.

"Really this is a direct response to what has been taking place in the US for the past week, and that has been some really tough questions about what the Pakistani government knew, what the Pakistani military knew and what the intelligence wing knew," she said.

Mosharraf Zaidi, an Islamabad-based analyst, told Al Jazeera that he did not believe that Gilani's speech would go down well with the Pakistani domestic audience.

"I don't think that at any way, shape or form, the prime minister did anything to assuage Pakistani citizens, Pakistani voters, Pakistanis who are worried about their own security and about the functionality of this country," he said.

"This was a very poor speech - it was basically a cut-and-paste job from the sort of meandering and bungling statements that have come out of foreign ministry, ... the military and ... the ministry for information.

"What the Pakistani people want to hear is some degree of confidence building for the future, how the Pakistani state will respond to this, how it will protect the lives of the Pakistani people and how it will ensure that Pakistan isn't made to look like a pariah and rogue nation."

Wajid Shamsul Hassan, Pakistan's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, however, told Al Jazeera that the speech was "very comprehensive", and lauded Gilani for placing the conflict in Afghanistan and the formation of al-Qaeda within the historic context of US support for Taliban fighters in the 1980s.

Regardless of the denial, some Pakistani analysts suspect that members of Pakistan's intelligence services did know that bin Laden was hiding out in the country.

"Somebody in a position of authority had to know," said Ayesha Siddiqa, a security analyst and author of "Military Inc", a book on Pakistan's military.

Talat Masood, a retired general and defence analyst, said that if there was any official complicity in keeping bin Laden hidden, it was most likely at the local level.

"I feel definitely there were influential people who were protecting him," he said.

In a separate development, sections of the Pakistani press have released what they claim is the name of the CIA station chief in Islamabad. If it is true, this would be the second time the name of the CIA's top operative in Pakistan's name would have been released in six months.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies

What’s wrong with Christian PM, asks BN minister

KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 — Barisan Nasional (BN) Cabinet member Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said today there was nothing wrong with a Christian prime minister, pointing out the country’s highest law has never made race or religion a criteria.

The plantation, industries and commodities minister is the first member of the Najib administration to point out that the idea of having a non-Muslim and non-Malay as prime minister was not against the Constitution.

The president of the United Pasokmomogun Kadazan Dusun Murut Organisation (Upko), a component party in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN), said the Federal Constitution “does not stipulate the religious affiliation of the prime minister”.

He added that the law clearly stated the only qualification to be PM was the latter’s ability to command the confidence of the majority of the Members of Parliament.

“If an Iban, a Bidayuh, a Kadazandusun, Murut, Kelabit, a Chinese or Indian Malaysian can satisfy the provision of Article 43 of the Constitution, he can be the prime minister of the country,” Dompok stressed in a statement.

“As for the question of a Christian prime minister, what is wrong with that, although I do not see this happening in Malaysia,” he said.

The 61-year old Sabahan waded into the ongoing controversy first raised by Utusan Malaysia in its report of a presumed secret plot to install a Christian as prime minister, which the Umno-owned paper claimed is unconstitutional.

Dompok said the position of Islam is enshrined in the Constitution and has been accepted without question by all Malaysians of every religious belief.

The Malay daily carried a front-page article on Saturday claiming the DAP was conspiring with Christian leaders to take over Putrajaya and abolish Islam as the country’s official religion.

The report, based entirely on blog postings by several pro-Umno bloggers, charged the DAP with sedition for allegedly trying to change the country’s laws to allow a Christian prime minister, pointing to a grainy photograph showing what they described as a secret pact between the opposition party and pastors at a hotel in Penang on Wednesday.

Today, Dompok slammed the paper for publishing such reports without checking for facts and observed it was promoting an unhealthy trend.

“How can a national newspaper not only print but sensationalise something written by a blogger? It is the height of irresponsibility,” he said.

He added that Christian churches have been “a responsible group even at the worst of times”

Nine reports lodged against newspaper on Christianity claim

A thorough investigation will be carried out to ascertain the truth in the Utusan Malaysia's report, says the home ministry.

PUTRAJAYA: The police have received nine reports against a newspaper on its claim that a group of Christian leaders wanted Christianity to be the country’s official religion.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said four of the reports were from Penang, Alor Star (two), and Kuantan, Ipoh and Sepang, Selangor (one each).

He said investigations into the allegation would be carried out thoroughly as directed by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

“Our focus is to investigate whether there was any truth in the report and on the newspaper’s (Utusan Malaysia) decision to play up a sensitive issue,” he said in a statement here today.

Utusan Malaysia carried a front report on Saturday quoting two blogs which claimed that a meeting had taken place in Penang, attended by Christian leaders who wanted Christianity to be an official religion of Malaysia.

Hishammuddin said the report was very sensitive and all quarters should know that it was not wise to raise such matter for it could lead to chaos and anxieties among the people.

“At this stage, we still could not make any conclusion or accuse any quarters based on the newspaper report.

“The prime minister, in response to the media yesterday, called on all quarters to remain calm and not to exploit the allegation for it will not benefit anybody,” said Hishammuddin.

He said the quagmire called for media practitioners to be more sensitive and responsible, more so in a plural society like Malaysia.

It is important for media practitioners to understand how important it is for values and sensitivity on religious and racial issues to be given utmost consideration before publishing any report, he added.

Hishammuddin said the police investigation would take into account all aspects and possibilities, including the differences on what transpired according to those involved and the newspaper’s report.

“I want the police to get an accurate and authentic information on what had actually happened and it should be transparent and firm,” he said, adding that Malaysia abided by the Federal Constitution which spells out that Islam is the official religion while ensuring freedom for other religions to be practised.


Perkasa stands firm: ‘PM must be a Malay’

Right-wing group Perkasa insists that the requirement that the premier must come from a majority race is implied in the Federal Constitution.

Zaira Jaafar, centre, with Perkasa colleagues

KUALA LUMPUR: Ultra Malay group Perkasa insisted today that the post of prime minister is reserved only for a Malay-Muslim.

Independent constitutional experts have argued that there are no provisions that state the premier must be a Malay-Muslim, but Perkasa women’s wing Youth chief Zaira Jaafar argued otherwise.

She said the sovereignty of the Malay Rulers was enshrined in the Federal Constitution, so the post (of prime minister) must be filled by a figure from the majority race.

“It is implied,” she told reporters after lodging a police report on Utusan Malaysia’s article that Christian leaders wanted to abolish Islam as the official religion.

“If we refer to the constitution, then a prime minister does not have to be a Muslim but the provision must be read together and not separately because the articles are all interconnected.

“Under Article 181 on the sovereignty of the Malay Rulers, we understand that a king has to be a Malay and professes Islam,” Zaira said.

Ironically, Perkasa’s backer, influential former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, agreed with the view that no provisions in the Federal Constitution state that the post must be filled by a Malay-Muslim.

However, he reminded the Malays that the post may be taken by a non-Malay should the country’s majority electorate remain divided.

The police report, based on blog postings by several pro-Umno bloggers, had charged the DAP with sedition for allegedly trying to change the country’s laws to allow a Christian prime minister.

The only evidence it has was a grainy photograph showing what they alleged was a secret pact between the opposition party and pastors from Sarawak at a hotel in Penang last Wednesday.

Big issue

Umbrella church groups like the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) and partners – Global Day of Prayer, Marketplace Penang and Penang Pastors Fellowship – dismissed the allegations as lies.

DAP leaders, who have also refuted the allegation, have accused Utusan of lying and have lodged police reports over the matter.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has called for calm, saying that the matter should be investigated first.

Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution states only that the Yang diPertuan Agong shall appoint as prime minister a member of Parliament who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat.

Opposition leaders argue that the continued attack on the Christian community by Utusan and groups like Perkasa is undermining Najib’s attempt to bring the divided races together under his 1Malaysia banner.

Zaira denied Perkasa is sabotaging Najib’s 1Malaysia. She said that her outfit was only interested in unravelling the truth behind the allegations.

“Many police reports have been lodged and we are only doing the same because it’s a big issue. We know that many have yet to understand the Federal Constitution,” she said.

Baptising M’sia: PAS calls it hogwash

PAS leaders say they did not even bother seeking a clarification from DAP because Utusan's Christian plot article is too far-fetched.

PETALING JAYA: PAS leaders have rubbished a media report regarding an alleged Christian plot, so much so that the Islamic party did not even bother seeking a clarification from its ally DAP.

Instead, they gave the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia, which broke the news on its front-page last week, a baptism of fire for peddling propaganda.

PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali said: “It is a propoganda designed to attack DAP and PAS at the same time. It will not work because we have an understanding between us.”

He said PAS also did not believe the report which claimed that DAP was conspiring with Christian leaders to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia and to eventually install a Christian prime minister.

According to the daily, which quoted two blogs, this was discussed during a closed-door meeting in the DAP-run state of Penang.

“Usually they will call us or we will call them to seek clarification,” said Mustafa. “But not this time. We don’t believe in the report.”

PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub said that the Umno-owned daily was making “irresponsible allegations.”

“The race and religion cards are the last resort in trying to win back Malay support,” he said.

Asked if DAP had contacted PAS over the controversy, Salahuddin replied that there was a meeting held last week but there were “no problems”.

“We must not be trapped in their political games,” he said.

The new Malay dilemma: Arrogance plus fear

A constitutional lawyer asks Malays to ask themselves why they feel so insecure.
PETALING JAYA: Malays who think Islam is under siege are suffering from a curious mental disorder in which arrogance is mixed with feelings of insecurity, according to writer and constitutional lawyer Syahredzan Johan.

“They feel superior because of the special position of the Malays, and they fear losing that position, which means losing that feeling of superiority,” he said.

“Furthermore, simply because they are the majority, they think that whatever they say must be correct.”

Syahredzan, who is a member of the Bar Council’s Constitutional Law Committee, was commenting on speeches made at a recent forum organised by Pembela, a coalition of Muslim NGOs.

The theme of the forum was “Islam Under Siege”.  Speakers at the forum alleged that there was a Christian conspiracy to convert Muslims, and this theme has been taken up by the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia.

Syahredzan, who is also columnist for Sinar Harian, said Muslims had only themselves to blame if it was true that large numbers of their brethren were leaving the religion.

“Surely there is something wrong with the way Islam is taught here if there are Muslims converting.”
He said it was strange that Muslims should fear for the future of Islam when it is the fastest growing religion in the world.

“Everything seems so sensitive,” he said. “Muslims have to look at why we are so insecure.”He also commented on an Utusan Malaysia report on Saturday that quoted blog articles about an alleged plan to have a Christian as Malaysia’s prime minister.

Syahredzan said this was unlikely to happen because Malay Muslims outnumbered others in Parliament.
He added that the position of Islam as the religion of the federation was secure even if a non-Muslim became prime minister.

The matter was also raised at the Pembela forum. Participants said they worried that a Christian prime minister would not be able to advise the King on Islamic matters.

“Article 40 of the Federal Constitution states that the Agong would receive advice from a minister authorised by the Cabinet,” said Syahredzan.

The religions of the book and politics

My contention is that, according to the way of Abraham and what the Quran teaches us, all the followers of the way of Abraham (followers of Moses, Jesus plus Muhammad) must get involved in politics to be true submitters.
Raja Petra Kamarudin
My good friend from Umno wrote his latest piece today called Where everybody miss the plot (you can go here to read it
I really don’t know whether today we should talk about politics or religion. Nevertheless, in Malaysia, both come in a package (spiced with race) -- so by talking about one you need to talk about the other.
I sometimes joke (or blaspheme, depending on how you see it) that Christianity is Version 2 of Judaism while Islam is Version 3. The ‘operating system’ of all three remains the same. It is only that some new ‘features’ are added, or deleted, as the case may be. And these ‘features’ would be the rituals. The fundamentals do not differ.
My Umno friend’s contention in his article above is that the Christians are ‘playing politics’. Now, before we confirm or deny this, let us rewind a bit.

The Quran states that all those followers of Moses (Musa) and followers of Jesus (Isa) who follow the way (Deen) of Abraham (Ibrahim) are the true submitters (Muslims). Note, in that particular verse, the Quran talks about Abraham, Moses and Jesus. There is no mention of Muhammad in that verse.
Now, have you noticed that Muslims always argue that Abraham, Moses and Jesus were Muslims? In a way they are not wrong. Muslim merely means submitter -- submit to God. This does not mean they were Muslims according to the Federal Constitution of Malaysia’s interpretation of Muslim. But they are submitters nevertheless, as far as the Quran is concerned (as long as they follow the way or deen of Abraham).
Now, Islam is not only a religion. It is a way of life or adeen. Every Muslim would tell you this.
Islam is not just about rituals. It is also about economics, governing, the legal system, politics, war, foreign affairs, internal security, public order and safety, the welfare system, and much more. In short, Islam is an entire and complete governing system for society.
Therefore, for the followers of Moses and the followers of Jesus to be true followers of the way of Abraham, they must not only focus on rituals. Politics is also part of the way or deen of Abraham.
This means if the followers of Moses and Jesus steer clear of or refuse to get involved in politics, then they are NOT the true followers of the way of Abraham, as far as the Quran is concerned. Any Jew or Christian who is NOT political is a deviant Jew or Christian. Islam would declare you a murtad or apostate for defying God.
Okay, now back to the issue of whether the Christians in Malaysia are or are not getting involved in politics; that is for you to decide. My contention is that, according to the way of Abraham and what the Quran teaches us, all the followers of the way of Abraham (followers of Moses, Jesus plus Muhammad) must get involved in politics to be true submitters.
The ‘separation of church and state’ does not exist in Islam. That is why PAS is not wrong in trying to seek political power. If it is okay for the followers of Muhammad to seek political power based on a religious platform, why is it wrong for the other submitters and followers of the way of Abraham to also seek political power on a religious platform?
If only the followers of Muhammad can seek political power on a religious platform, while those followers of Moses and Jesus cannot, then why would the Quran say that the followers of Moses and Jesus who follow the way of Abraham are the true submitters?
Note that the followers of Muhammad are allowed to marry women from the followers of Moses and Jesus (Muhammad married a Jewish woman) plus they can eat meat from animals slaughtered by them. So Islam recognises Judaism and Christianity as ‘brother-religions’. Therefore, what is allowed for Islam is also allowed for the Jews and Christians.
And politics is one such thing that is not only allowed but a must.
Okay, let me demonstrate this ‘political Islam’ in another way by quoting Imam Ghazali.
Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, more fondly known as Imam Ghazali, was one of the renowned imams from 11th century Persia. And you can read below what Imam Ghazli said.
Would you say that Imam Ghazali was ‘playing politics’?
Ponder on this before we whack the Christians and deny them their right of ‘political Christianity’. Would we tolerate a Christian or Jew telling us that Islam must be separated from politics? We will riot and lynch any Christian or Jew who tries to deny us our ‘political Islam’.

Press Release: Reject attempts by Utusan Malaysia to instil fear and spread falsehood

ImageThe Malaysian Bar is deeply concerned about the report that appeared on the front page of Utusan Malaysia on Saturday, 7 May 2011, entitled “Malaysia negara Kristian?

Without offering any evidence save references to postings by bloggers, which do not appear to have been separately and independently verified, Utusan Malaysia saw fit to publish this story.  Given the highly controversial nature of the alleged story, it is incumbent on any self-respecting newspaper to ensure that its reporting is fact-checked.  To have printed such a story without checking with the subjects of the alleged incidents is highly irresponsible on the part of Utusan Malaysia, and is nothing short of gutter journalism.

What concerns the Malaysian Bar further is the fact that Utusan Malaysia appears to be able to offer such so-called journalism in a climate of impunity.  Instead of questioning Utusan Malaysia’s journalistic conduct and ethics, the immediate responses from the Ministers in charge of home affairs and communications were to order investigations into the alleged incidents themselves.  

It appears that it is enough for the police to launch an investigation once a report has been made, without first investigating the veracity of such reports themselves.  The whole process of making police reports has thus been turned into an avenue to invade the privacy of dinner parties and closed-door meetings, without first asking whether the maker of such reports has ulterior motives.  People are then being made to respond to police investigations launched on the flimsiest of reasons and to defend their freedom of assembly and speech.  This is a mockery of the principle of justice that someone who is accused of wrongdoing is innocent until proven guilty.  This is clearly a dangerous erosion of the fundamental liberties enshrined in our Federal Constitution, and must be stopped.

By immediately investigating the alleged incidents rather than those who made the reports, the authorities have shown favoured irresponsible parties how they can wantonly instil fear and religious disharmony in the country.  All they have to do now is to make unproven and unsubstantiated allegations in any compliant national newspaper and the law enforcement authorities will do the rest.  In this way, the authorities are gullibly assisting those who seek to play up lies and falsehoods in order to artificially create religious conflict. 

In creating and/or highlighting this “non-news” item, these irresponsible parties seek to manoeuvre and manipulate current events so as to give the impression that certain elements within a particular community are working to cause disunity and perpetrate treasonous activities.

This dastardly deed by such reckless parties must be seen for what it is – a naked and blatant act of deliberate provocation.  The aim appears to be to cause fear through the creation of false news.  The lodging of police reports throughout the country seeks to invite the police to investigate a particular community, thus heightening emotions.  This then conveniently provides the authorities with a false justification to tighten control of blogs and other forms of electronic media, thereby muzzling free speech, open dialogue and informed discussions.

Any independent observer of the mass media would reach the conclusion that Utusan Malaysia is beyond the reach of the law.  Although the Malaysian Bar opposes the use of oppressive laws, including the Sedition Act 1948 and the Printing Press and Publications Act 1984, the Government threatens to wield such laws against those who voice dissent, hence acting in what is perceived as an arbitrary, or even biased, manner.

The Malaysian Bar is concerned that no action has been taken against Utusan Malaysia although it has persistently published intemperate and wild accusations, written in inflammatory language, which threaten Malaysia’s social fabric.  Utusan Malaysia continues to act with impunity, and thus appears to enjoy a status that is above the law.

We call on the authorities to instead investigate the Utusan Malaysia journalists and editors responsible for perpetrating such repeated attempts to instil fear and spread falsehood.

Lim Chee Wee
Malaysian Bar

Utusan Malaysia at it again

Utusan Malaysia is at it again. Faced with declining circulation and a buoyant opposition coalition after Sarawak, the Umno-owned paper resorts to stirring the pot and trying to create ill-will among Malaysians.
This strikes me as a paper that sudah hilang modal, i.e. has no other issue to capitalise on. (Same goes for the bloggers the paper cites.) Such irresponsible reporting should be censured by all right-thinking Malaysians and people of goodwill.
Joint Statement by the Christian Pastors of Penang with Penang Chief Minister of Penang Lim Guan Eng at Komtar, Penang 9 May 2011
DAP and the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng have never asked Christian Pastors to pray to seek God’s divine intervention to establish Malaysia as a Christian state or have a Christian Prime Minister.
Christian Pastors and Churches have always prayed for blessings for the nation, peace and well-being, unity and harmony amongst all races as well as a leadership that is honest and just.
Christian Pastors and Churches are aggrieved that such outright lies can be published in the mass media. We sincerely and strongly urge the Prime Minister and Home Minister to take action against Utusan Malaysia for printing and spreading such dangerous lies that have disturbed the multi-religious harmony of society, created fear and uneasiness amongst Malaysians, especially Christians.
We express grave concern that Utusan Malaysia is spreading dangerous lies that make Christians the object of hate and incite hatred against Christians that may lead to undesirable consequences.
The Chief Minister of Penang will continue to meet with Christian leaders, Bishops or Pastors just as he meets with Muslim clerics, Buddhist or Hindu monks in line with Mr. Lim Guan Eng’s duties as the Chief Minister.
Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM)
a) Roman Catholic Church
b) Council of Churches of Malaysia (CCM)
c) National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia
Lim Guan Eng, Penang Chief Minister
And this is a response by the organisers of the conference, which became the subject of Utusan’s cover story. The conference was held on 5-6 May and organised by the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF), Global Day of Prayer, Marketplace Penang and Penang Pastors Fellowship:
Christians’ response to “Making Christianity the official religion?”
The Christian community in Penang is disturbed by unwarranted and unsupported claims and allegations as contained in the write-up “Making Christianity the official religion” in the blog “The Thirteen Million plus Ringgit Guy Ramble ….”
While it is true that several Christians and pastors gathered together at a hotel in Macalister Road for dinner, the gathering was never with the intention to make Christianity the official religion of Malaysia nor was it with a vow to have a Christian Prime Minister. The dinner was held to honour several pastors from Sarawak who was in Penang for the Unashamedly Ethical marketplace conference held this morning. Such fellowship dinners are common amongst Christians and are part and parcel of the Christian custom of love and fellowship.
The organiser of the Unashamedly Ethical marketplace conference is also perturbed by the claims in the blog that a special convention in the morning and a special meeting to be held this evening at Khaw Sim Bee Road, Georgetown was to ponder over having a Christian brother as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The organiser vehemently denies such a claim as being unfounded and totally untrue aimed at creating division and social disharmony in multi-ethnic society of Malaysia and appears to be seditious. The so called special convention this morning was in fact an Unashamedly Ethical marketplace seminar organised to discuss and address the issue of bribery and corruption in the marketplace and the Christians’ contribution in addressing such issues. It has nothing to do with political succession.
The Christian scripture has always affirmed the teaching and practice to honour and pray for the ruling authorities. This is demonstrated in the custom in Penang where pastors have consistently prayed for the leaders of the State in public meeting irrespective of who they are or which party they represent. The question of whether who will become the ruling government and the prime minister must be left to the democratic processes and by the will of God.
The organiser therefore call on all ethnic and religious communities to reject unfounded claims and negative assertion and stand together in upholding love, charity, compassion, righteousness and mutual respect as well as to contribute positively towards the development in the state of Penang and the nation as a whole.
Organisers of Unashamedly Ethical Conference,

Ku Nan: Anwar is the ‘pandi kutti’, not my PM

Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Mansor says it is typical of the opposition leader to resort to smear tactics.

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Mansor criticised Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim for allegedly calling Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak “pandi kutti”, a Tamil description of a piglet.

He said it was typical of the opposition to resort to name calling.

“Why must he use the word pandi kutti… he is the pandi kutti. Not my prime minister. I am very upset with such statements,” he told a press conference at Umno’s headquarters here.

Anwar has allegedly made the offensive remark at a ceramah in Klang yesterday.

Adnan said Umno would not demand an apology from Anwar over his remark, adding that the ruling Malay party was against smear tactics.

The opposition leader, however, has embarked on a crusade to counter what he believed to be a concerted campaign by his political rivals in Umno to tarnish his name.

Anwar has been implicated in a sex video scandal involving a man said to resemble him having sex with a woman of Eastern Asian features. He has vehemently denied the allegation.

Anwar is also facing his second sodomy trial in 10 years. He has been charged with sodomising his former aide, Saiful Bukhari Azlan, a charge he openly claimed was trumped up by Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, in a bid to kill his political career.

Adnan said that Anwar’s name calling methods were used to divert attention and cover up the allegations against him.

He added that Umno would not resort to such tactics.

“We know more about him than he knows about us… but we won’t play such dirty tactics.”

Citing the recently concluded Singaporean general election, Adnan said the political leaders there had abstained from smear tactics and fought only ideological battles.

“They only fight on issues. No one called people names there,” he said.