Share |

Thursday, June 9, 2011

DAP backs couple’s ‘Anak Malaysia’ bid

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — The DAP pledged today to back Hannah Yeoh and Ramachandran Muniandy all the way to court in their bid to register their newborn child as an “Anak Malaysia” for her official ethnicity.

In a statement today, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said he has directed the party’s legal adviser, Gobind Singh Deo, to represent the interracial couple in court should they decide to pursue the case.

“Forcing Hannah (picture) and Ramachandran to choose either Indian or Chinese is repugnant when they just want their child to be known as Malaysian,” Lim said.

“By deliberately forcing us into ethnic boxes BN is not celebrating diversity nor creating a common Malaysian identity, but opportunistically playing divide-and-rule politics,” the Penang chief minister added, criticising the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Subang Jaya state lawmaker Yeoh, 32, and her husband had sparked controversy earlier this week after tweeting their failure to win approval from the National Registration Department (NRD) to register their daughter as “Anak Malaysia” under the category for race.

The NRD issued a statement yesterday explaining it was unable to process the duo’s unorthodox request as policy determined the child’s race follow the parents; leaving Yeoh and Ramachandran two options — Chinese or Indian.

The couple subsequently chose to register their firstborn as Chinese, but said they would appeal to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Fahaman Al-Arqam bertiup kembali, wakil Kelab nafi dakwaan

Menurut Fauziah kumpulan terbabit sudah lama terkubur malah sebahagian besar pengikutnya sudah tiada.
RAWANG: Wakil Kelab Taat Suami di Malaysia Fauziah Ariffin menafikan dakwaan bahawa penubuhan kelab itu mempunyai kaitan untuk menghidupkan semula kumpulan Al-Arqam yang diharamkan kerajaan Malaysia sejak tahun 1994 lalu.

Menurut Fauziah kumpulan terbabit sudah lama terkubur malah sebahagian besar pengikutnya sudah tiada.

Fauziah berkata isu itu timbul disebabkan persepsi segelintir masyarakat bahawa kelab itu ditubuhkan oleh bekas ahli-ahli Al-Arqam
melalui organisasi iaitu Global Ikhwan Sdn Bhd (GISB).

“Pengharaman Al-Arqam dahulu lebih kepada isu politik dan sekarang bila ada orang suarakan tentang Islam dan kembali kepada Tuhan mula orang akan berkata ini mesti Al-Arqam. Dulu ketika buka syarikat dengan nama Rufaqa’ Corporation Sdn Bhd pun orang kata kami nak cuba hidupkan fahaman Al-Arqam.

“Secara kebetulan Pengerusi Eksekutif Rufaqa’ adalah Abuya Ashaari. Pokoknya sekarang Al-Arqam sudah terkubur dan ia hanya satu persepsi segelintir masyarakat terhadap kumpulan ini. Sebahagian besar pengikut dan pemimpin kanannya sudah tiada.

“Pada pandangan saya sudah menjadi hak kepada semua manusia untuk mengamalkan agama dianuti serta mengajak mereka (manusia) kembali kepada fitrah. Ia bukan sesuatu yang dicipta atau kita nak hidupkan Al-Arqam.

“Kerajaan sudah mengharamkan dan mereka telah berjaya dengan kebanyakkan pengikut dan pemimpin mengikuti kursus pemurnian akidah,” katanya melalui temuramah bersama FMT di ibu pejabat Global Ikhwan di Bandar Country Homes di sini.

Semenjak kematian pengasas fahaman Al-Arqam yang juga Pengerusi Ekskutif Global Ikhwan Abuya Syeikh Ashaari Muhammad pada Mei tahun lalu, syarikat itu diambil alih oleh anak sulungnya Fakhrur Razi.
Kelab Isteri Taat ini mula diperkenalkan di Malaysia pada 4 Jun lalu dengan keahlian seramai 800 orang.
Ia diketuai oleh isteri arwah Ashaari, Khatijah Aam selaku Presiden serta menantunya iaitu Dr Rohaya Mohamed yang juga Naib Presiden kelab tersebut.

Kelab pertama dilancarkan adalah di Jordan pada 1 Mei lalu diikuti Malaysia dan Jakarta, Indonesia pada 18 Jun ini.

Al-Arqam dulu dan kini 


Menurut Fauziah sebahagian besar anggota Al-Arqam kini berjaya dalam pelbagai bidang yang diceburi mereka termasuklah perniagaan, penerbit filem, penyanyi dan lain-lain.

Sehubungan dengan itu Fauziah mahu masyarakat tidak cepat menilai sedangkan mereka kini merupakan sebahagian daripada anggota masyarakat.

“Hasrat kerajaan untuk memurnikan fikiran kumpulan ini sudah berjaya malahan kebanyakkan daripada kami kini berjaya menjadi ahli perniagaan, penerbit filem,penyanyi dan menjadi sebahagian anggota masyarakat.

“Kami ikut arus perdana dan tiada lagi memakai purdah seperti dahulu.

Perniagaan Abuya juga diwarisi oleh bekas anggota Al-Arqam yang merupakan orang kepercayaan beliau. Global Ikhwan kini berkembang dengan 1,000 syarikat di seluruh dunia seperti di Jordan,Indonesia,Thailand, Jerman….manakala di Malaysia sahaja ada 500 premis,” katanya.

Al-Arqam yang diasaskan oleh Ashaari juga dikenali sebagai Jamaah Aurad Muhammadiah dan aktivitinya berada di kemuncak sekitar lewat 80-an dan 90-an dan dilaporkan mempunyai kira-kira 10,000 pengikut.
Kumpulan ini menyebarkan kegiatan dakwah islam melalui bidang pendidikan, penerangan, penerbitan, perusahaan,perniagaan, perubatan, dan pertanian dan kemudian diharamkan oleh Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan pada Ogos 1994.

Apabila ajaran Al-Arqam diharamkan, Ashaari ditahan mengikut Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) dari 2 hingga 24 Sept 2004 sebelum ditahan mengikut Akta Kediaman Terhad di Rawang dan Wilayah Persekutuan Labuan selama 10 tahun.

Ashaari kemudian meninggal dunia pada 13 Mei 2010 akibat jangkitan paru-paru dan pelbagai aktiviti perniagaannya kini diambil alih oleh isteri dan anak-anak beliau.

Sexual harassment, so what?

Even an athlete's death failed to convince the nation's leaders on the importance of protecting women from such crimes.
COMMENT
Seventeen years ago, the country was dumbfounded when a rising female athlete committed suicide. The youngster, Rabia Abdul Salam, apparently had been sexually harassed by her coach.

What drove Rabia to end her life? The shame of being a victim of sexual harassment, of not being able to face life as a result of that?

Unfortunately, the Rabia episode failed to move the government to put into place legislation to safeguard women from vile acts of sexual harassment. Women continue to face sexual distress, be it at the workplace or in public spaces, but the government is least bothered about providing a helping hand.

In April 2008, the then minister Jamaluddin Jarjis was said to have sexually harassed a female worker of a restaurant at a five-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Jamaluddin’s disrespectful act far from shocked the government of the day. What, however, followed was that barely hours after the incident, the victim withdrew her statutory complaint against Jamaluddin, and the case was never heard again. He nows enjoys life as Malaysia’s ambassador to the United States.

More recently, a female tourist guide who was forced by a travel agency to share a room with a male tour bus driver had come forward complaining that she was sexually harassed by him. Sexual harassment, it seems, has been plaguing the female tourist guides for quite sometime. But these female tour guides remain silent for fear of losing their job. But for how long?

The absence of such invigilation also makes the perpetrator less fearful about the consequences of his actions.

While the government drags its feet in providing women protection from “crimes” like sexual harassment, the non-compulsory Code of Practice on the Prevention and Eradication of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace, put in place in 1999, is no help when it comes to providing women psychological relief from sexual harassment.

Indeed, it is appalling to note the government’s indecisiveness in swiftly putting in place the much needed sexual harassment law to protect women.

Sexist mindsets not welcomed

While the sexist mindsets found quartermiler Rabia’s death on Feb 25, 1994, not worthy of immediate action to protect more women committing suicide to hide the shame of sexual harassment, time is no longer a tool they can depend on to dismiss sexual harassment incidences taking place in the country.

In this respect, sexist remarks made against an act so damaging to a woman’s dignity must be dealt with severely. One such example was in 2009 when the Labour Department director-general Ismail Abdul Rahim commented that having a Sexual Harassment Act “could lead to a dull and rigid environment in the workplace”. Ismail’s words bear proof that sexual harassment is not viewed seriously.

But then Ismail is not the only culprit who needs severe reprimanding. Disrespectful Members of Parliament like Bung Mokhtar Radin (MP for Kinabatangan) and Mohd Yusof Said (MP for Jasin) earned the wrath of the women’s group for making fun of the female menstrual cycle.

Yet, the MPs never cease to learn from their mistakes and continue to regard the issue of sexual harassment as a trivial matter.

Had the government been serious about the issue of sexual harassment, it would long have criminalise sexual harassment. Instead, the government, in all its apathy, has been a big letdown to the women citizens of this country, who are left on their own in battling this disturbing emotional scourge.

The recent incident of a tour bus driver forcing himself on a tour guide while both were on an assignment received no feedback from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who has promised Malaysians that he is all about “people first, performance now”.

What is worrying is that the Malaysian Women Tourist Guide Association president Erina Loo Siew Ming, a tourist guide of 18 years, had also been sexually harassed in the cause of her work. However, the fear of becoming jobless forced these women tourist guides to endure such humiliation in silence.

Sexist comments

Last year, when Women’s Aid Organisation executive director Ivy Josiah lamented that Malaysia was still miles away when it comes to awareness on sexual harassment, she certainly hit the nail on the head.
Josiah cited the 90-day maternity leave proposal for women as one example.

“The Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and minister were all for it but the Cabinet wasn’t. So the ministry backed down and that was the end of it,” she was quoted by an English daily as saying.
Josiah added: “This government really needs to lead the nation in setting human rights standards.”

She then said only about 500 cases of sexual harassment were filed with the ministry over a 10-year period. The number, however, did not mean such cases were not prevalent.

Josiah said when the people were able to trust the system and believed they would get some form of justice, only then would they do something about it.

One such scenario was when the Domestic Violence Act came into being in 1996, there was a 200% increase in the number of reports made the following year. As Josiah said, “Women were just waiting for signs.”

Josiah was unequivocal when she said that the country had yet to accord women due respect and this was evident from views of people who hold on to the notion that sexual harassment was not an important issue to deal with.

“Even in Parliament, sexual harassment is rife with MPs making sexist comments. Parliament is the highest body and the parliamentary standing orders should have a clear clause to ensure that sexism and sexual harassment are not allowed,” said Josiah.

Sad day

In 2009, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry announced that it was in discussions with the Human Resources Ministry regarding the proposed legislation. Its deputy minister Noriah Kasnon said sexual harassment incidents affecting women were more than the number of cases reported because most victims felt embarrassed or afraid to lodge reports.

Noriah said between 2005 and 2008, there were 3,906 cases of sexual violence and harassment cases, including rape and molestation reported to the police. Another 27 disciplinary cases involving the public sector, were reported to the Public Service Department.

“Besides, sexual harassment in whatever forms, be it physical, verbal or psychological, was a serious offence under the Penal Code,” Noriah had said.

While the two ministries take their time in deliberating the proposed legislation, women continue to face sexual harassment, both at work and in public domain. Just how much more longer will the “discussions” go on, that too at the expense of the peace of mind of women in this country?

Perhaps both ministries should take cognisance of how other nations dealt with sexual harassment complaints. One such case involved former Israeli president Moshe Katsav who on Dec 30, 2010, was convicted of two accounts of rape, sexual harassment and indecent acts.

To Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the conviction marked a “sad day for the state of Israel and its residents”. The premier added that the conviction sent out two clear-cut messages, “that all are equal before the law and every woman has exclusive rights to her body”.

Truly, as Josiah pointed out, Malaysia had a long, long way to go with regard to awareness on sexual awareness. And when a sportswoman kills herself because she was sexually harassed, that was a “sad day for Malaysia and her people”.

Log on to WAO’s website at wao.org.my for details on what constitutes sexual harassment, types of sexual harassment, employer’s responsibility and steps you should take in dealing with it.

Stop-work order only for condo, says MBPJ

Petaling Jaya City Hall is not empowered to prevent Peter Brickworks from erecting barricades, according to councillor Latheefa Koya.
PETALING JAYA: The stop-work order that Petaling Jaya City Hall (MBPJ) issued against Peter Brickworks Sdn Bhd applies only to its construction of a condominium at PJS 1.

The order, MBPJ councillor Latheefa Koya said, did not empower City Hall to stop the developer from erecting barricades at the area where it demolished two homes last June 3.

“The developer can argue in court that they are just marking their territory,” said Latheefa.

On June 6, a committee representing residents of longhouses in the area complained that Peter Brickworks had started erecting barricades on the land where it had demolished the homes of two people named M Mahalingam and A Pushaparani.

The demolition was carried out by court order despite ongoing negotiations between the developer and the residents, City Hall and the state government.

The residents have refused to budge from the land, staying there in a makeshift tent.
Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, angry over the demolition, has instructed State Secretary Khusrin Munawi to acquire the land for the state.

Latheefa could not confirm whether the state had managed to take over the land.

“I have to check with Selangor state executive councillor Iskandar Abdul Samad,” she said. “However, land acquisition takes some time. We need to comply with certain regulations.”

Latheefa added that since the state had decided to the acquire the land, Peter Brickworks was no longer obliged to build low-cost flats for the PJS 1 residents.

“The state has to decide who will be building their flats before we can pursue the next course of action,” she said. “As far as providing alternative housing and free rental to the residents, MBPJ has no problems to meet the residents’ demands.”

The 27 families residing in the area had been waiting for Peter Brickworks to build the low-cost flats it promised in 2003.

After the developer had issued eviction notices to Mahalingam and Pushparani on May 23, they demanded that the state government and the developer provide them with alternative housing and free rental until their flats were built.

They wanted the promise in writing, but they told FMT this had not been done.

13th GE: Your choice ‘Original Malaysia’ or ‘Fake 1Malaysia’

By Richard Loh

We are warned and reminded about fake goods that look like it, feel like it but it is not the original branded goods. Many have been conned into believing that at a cheaper price you can still get the same original products that you wanted.

Being cheated of buying fake products may not cause us any harm in anyway except burning a hole in the pocket. A lesson to learn and you will be more careful when offered any branded goods at great discount the next time.


But what happen when you are conned into believing in a fake product that can caused great harm to you, your family and future generation?

Malaysia, in the 60′s and 70′s was the most memorable for its prosperity, harmony and peaceful living among all the races and there were hardly any religious issues. The Federal Constitution was closely followed in governing the nation without much fuss.

Then in the 80′s and 90′s came a great salesman with a doctor degree, force selling his great product of ‘Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah’ to the people and many bought it without realising that this hollow and fake product can cause so much damage in the later years. A certain group of people that consumed this product begin to have side effects. They got bolder and braver to challenge the Federal Constitution, got greedier, making more demands on special rights and turn the whole judiciary upside down. But credit must be given to him for his ability to sell his fake product for 22 years!

Before this old doctor salesman left, he put in place a less knowledgeable salesman, so he thought, that he could manipulate and control, but how wrong he was. This is the 21st century.

This 21st century salesman came out with his own products, ‘Cemerlang, Gemilang, Terbilang’ and ‘Islam Hadhari’, claiming to be the best products that can combat greediness and create religious harmony among the different religions. These products were hot selling for a couple of years that won him a landslide victory in 2004. Soon after the great victory the effectiveness of the products begin to wear out showing clearly that they were fake. Instead of leaving graciously, this salesman was force out by his own assistant.
Now, this assistant is a total different breed. He has been scheming and plotting to take over the salesmanship for quite sometime and finally he made it in 2009. Without wasting much time, he immediately peddled his own products convincingly to the public. He had seen how his two predecessors failed in selling their fake products and he knows he has to be wiser.

So, more products were churned out starting with ’1Malaysia’ which he claimed to be his own idea, even though others had already used it. This salesman is smarter, engaging foreign PR at hefty cost to churn out more make believe statements, advertisements and creating ’1′ this and ’1′ that, all with public funds.
To prop up his ’1Malaysia’, by products were introduced such as ‘People First Performance Now’ with a list of acronyms such as GTP (Government Transformation Programme), ETP (Economic Transformation Programme) and NKRAs (National Key Result Areas).

After two years of hard selling, never mind the millions wasted, what are the results, nothing, zilch, zero. Consuming these fake products, the people are getting more agitated, racial divide getting wider, religious intolerance are at its peak and the so call transformation had indeed transformed into something that can tear this nation apart.

Malaysia was once such a nice and peaceful nation but because of leaders peddling fake ideologies for their own gains and benefits are about to destroy it and the people must do something to correct it.
To bring back the original Malaysia, love by all Malaysians and to get rid of all these fake ’1Malaysia’ thingy et al, you have to make the correct choice comes the 13th GE.

Petronas Reports Higher Profit, Revenue For FY2011

KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 (Bernama) -- Petronas saw higher revenue and profit for its financial year ended March 31, 2011, driven by increased prices for all products and higher volume for major products amid improved economic growth despite the strengthening of the ringgit against the US dollar.

Its president and chief executive officer Datuk Shamsul Azhar Abbas said revenue rose 14.4 per cent to RM241.2 billion from RM210.8 billion.

Pre-tax profit increased 34.5 per cent to RM90.496 billion from RM67.3 billion previously.

The national oil company declared a dividend of RM30 billion to the government.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year included a net gain of RM9.2 billion arising from the initial public offering of Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PCGB) and Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd (MHB).

Excluding the said gain, EBITDA increased by 18.5 per cent, in line with higher revenue, Shamsul Azhar told a press conference here today.

Return on revenue for the year was 37.5 per cent despite rising cost which reflected stronger prices and the group's continuous drive for operational efficiencies.

Higher prices and robust demand resulted in improved performance for all core businesses, said Petronas executive vice-president of finance Datuk George Ratilal.

"Petronas' own performance was also in trend with our competitors, indicating another year of resilient performance by the group," he said.

He said gross revenue increased by 12.9 per cent with the downstream business being the biggest revenue contributor at 42.4 per cent of total gross revenue.

Cash from operations was RM70.8 billion compared to RM56.1 billion in the previous year, representing an increase of 26.2 per cent mainly due to better earnings.

A total of RM34.9 billion in capital expenditure was mainly spent towards intensifying exploration and production activities and continuing other efforts.

NRD says no to 'Anak Malaysia'


(Malaysiakini) Despite calls from civil society and opposition parties to accept 'Anak Malaysia' as an official ethnicity, the National Registration Department (NRD) refused to budge, stressing that the race of children must follow their parents.

“This department would like to inform that the ethnicity of a child is determined according to the ethnicity of the child's mother or father.

“This department cannot register a certain ethnicity other than that of either the child's mother or father,” said a statement released by NRD today.

The statement was issued by NRD's corporate communication officer Jainisah Mohd Noor in response to a Malaysiakini report yesterday.

It had been reported that Subang Jaya assemblyperson Hannah Yeoh and her husband Ramachandran Muniandy attempted to register their daughter's race as 'Anak Malaysia'.

However, this was rejected by NRD, saying that the couple can only choose either Chinese or Indian.

Yeoh eventually chose Chinese, but decided to write to both Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and the NRD to appeal.

The DAP lawmaker later shared the experience through her micro-blogging website Twitter and received strong support from both netizens and opposition politicians.

Puchong MP Gobind Singh, who is also from DAP, even suggested on Twitter that they should bring the matter to court.

Meanwhile, NGO Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) lent its support to Yeoh, urging Najib to immediately order the NRD to accept and register all children whose parents request that they be registered as 'Anak Malaysia'.

'Ethnicity' in all official forms

NONE"We unreservedly support the right of the parents to determine the identity of their beloved child.

"We wholeheartedly commend Hannah (right) and Rama for the courage to stand by their principles.

"Their stand to remind us of our common identity as human beings, and as members of this collective called Malaysia, deserves the highest accolade,” said SABM in a statement today.

It pointed that two years ago, the government had announced that it was reviewing the need for the category 'ethnicity' in all official forms.

“We wonder as to the status of this review exercise. Obviously the NRD has not acted on this decision yet.

“In this era of information technology, the NRD's reason that their system is not designed to capture a new 'identity' can only be considered lame.”

SABM said that Najib should take immediate action to show that the government is sincere about actualising its vision of 1Malaysia.

“We, as a people, need to consciously reject the ethnic silos created by politicians and bureaucrats alike.

“We call upon all Malaysians to stand with Hannah and Rama in this noble struggle to challenge the anachronistic paradigm of governance premised on 'ethnicity',” read the statement.

NATO: Time to plan for post-Gadhafi Libya

NATO: Time to plan for post-Gadhafi Libya(CNN) -- It is time to start planning for what to do in Libya after leader Moammar Gadhafi's departure "because Gadhafi's reign of terror is coming to an end," NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Wednesday.

Rasmussen, talking with reporters in Brussels, insisted that NATO bombing had saved lives in Libya.
Pressed by reporters on why airstrikes will be able to dislodge Gadhafi when "the history of the last 30 years" shows that air attacks alone do not win wars, Rasmussen offered no clear answer, saying only, "We have no intentions to put troops on the ground."

He said the alliance had agreed to extend its military mission for another 90 days past the end of June and had the resources it needed to keep up the campaign for that long.

But he refused to predict how long it would take, saying: "We will keep up the pressure for as long as it takes to bring this crisis to an early conclusion."

Gadhafi vowed Tuesday that "we will not surrender," even as NATO airstrikes bombarded his compound in Tripoli.

"I am now speaking as planes and bombs fall around me," Gadhafi said in a live audio broadcast on state television. "But my soul is in God's hand. We will not think about death or life. We will think about the call of duty."

At least three explosions rocked Tripoli late Tuesday night; it was not immediately clear what they hit.
Earlier in the day, NATO targeted a military base and Gadhafi's compound, state television reported. A spokesman for the Libyan government said that at least 31 people were killed, including a number of civilians, and dozens more were wounded after 60 missiles struck the capital city.

Rasmussen reiterated Wednesday that the alliance was doing all it could to avoid civilian casualties.
The Gadhafi compound was under "intensive continuous bombardment," according to state TV, which reported buildings and infrastructure were destroyed.

The blasts Tuesday, and others Monday that Libyan officials said hit state television buildings, elicited heated responses from the government spokesman.

"We believe NATO understands that its military campaign is failing miserably," said spokesman Musa Ibrahim. "No one has the right to shape Libya's future except for Libyans."

Ibrahim said Tuesday's morning blasts hit the popular guard compound and revolution compound, which are military barracks near Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya compound.

The spokesman said the attack on the television network killed two people and wounded 16.
NATO disputed the account.

"We did not target or hit the Libyan broadcast facilities. What we did target was the military intelligence headquarters in downtown Tripoli," the alliance said. "The story coming from Libyan officials that we targeted and hit the state broadcaster's building is bogus."

The back and forth between Libyan officials and NATO continues a public relations war between the two sides.

Libyan officials have continually charged that NATO airstrikes have damaged civilian facilities and killed hundreds of civilians.

This week, the Libyan government said it had evidence that alliance airstrikes were harming civilians.
Officials took journalists to Tajura, a city east of Tripoli, to show them a small crater that held what appeared to be the remains of a rocket.

The reporters were also taken to nearby homes that the government said had been damaged by airstrikes.
NATO said it had been active in the area hitting military sites but could not say whether the attacks had caused the damage in the residential area.

Reporters were also taken to a nearby hospital to see Nasib, a comatose baby who was a victim of the airstrikes, the government said.

A woman, who the government said was Nasib's mother, cried over the child's listless body.
Journalists were not allowed to talk to the woman or to the doctors. But one doctor quietly slipped a note to one of the journalists that said the girl was injured in a car accident, not a bomb attack.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, speaking Tuesday to British lawmakers, said the European Union has added six additional ports controlled by pro-Gadhafi forces to its sanctions list in an effort to starve Gadhafi's troops of military supplies.

He said the United Kingdom intends to push for additional sanctions against Gadhafi's regime.
"Any political settlement in Libya requires an end to violence and Gadhafi's departure," Hague said.

Non-Malays have rights to scholarships too, says inter-faith group

Philips (left) with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last year in this file picture.
KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — The Federal Constitution does not deny non-Malays government scholarships, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) has said.


The non-Muslim inter-faith group pointed out today that Article 153 (2) of the constitution only allowed a “reasonable proportion” of scholarships to be given to Malays and Bumipueteras.

It also stressed that this “ruled out 100 per cent scholarship reservation for Malays.”

“Therefore after reservation of reasonable proportion, the balance should also be made available to the non-Malays, as they have legitimate interests in it,” MCCBCHST president Reverend Dr Thomas Phillips said in a statement today.

Phillips also pointed out that Article 153 (1) of the constitution also imposed a responsibility on the Yang Dipertuan Agong in addition to safeguarding this special position of the Malays to also “safeguard the legitimate interests of the other communities.”

The group’s remarks today were in response to the Selangor Coalition against Corruption’s (GAPS) claim that only Malays and Bumiputeras had the right to receive government scholarships.

GAPS had said that their argument was based on the findings of the Reid Commission, the five-member Commonwealth panel which drafted the nation’s constitution in 1956.

“This position of GAPS is untenable,” said Phillips who said that the commission had back then called for a review of the quotas after 15 years of its implementation.

 “Article 153 only allows reservation of reasonable proportion of quotas in three areas - (i) positions in public services (ii) scholarships, exhibitions, etc, and (iii) obtaining permits or licences for the operation of any trade or business.

“Thus, there cannot be quotas in other areas,” he added.

Muslim couple in a bind

Amira Ismail and refugee Mohd Danial Abdullah were given the runaround when they tried to get their marriage solemnised.
KUALA LUMPUR: Amira Ismail, 25, from Pantai Dalam, and Mohd Danial Abdullah alias David Sing Liam Pui 28, met in August last year at a restaurant in Kelana Jaya where she worked.

They fell in love and wanted to get married. The Kuala Lumpur Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) initially told the couple that they could get married provided Danial is a Muslim.

It was not a problem for Danial who had converted to Islam in May. It should have cleared the way for Danial and Amira to start a new life together.

It was not to be so as that was when their problems began with the authorites. Danial, a Burmese Chin, who holds a UNHCR card, is not recognised as a refugee.

This is because Malaysia is not a signatory to the UN Convention Relating to Status of Refugees 1951, and as such Danial and Amira are now being given the runaround.

Said Amira: “Despite Danial’s conversion to Islam, Jawi and the National Registration Department are unable to help us in our efforts to get married.”

Lembah Pantai MP, Nurul Izzah Anwar said this is the first time she has encountered such a case involving her voter.

Both Amira and Danial had sought the help of Nurul, who is also PKR vice-president, to resolve the couple’s predicament.

“The problem is our country didn’t ratify the UN conventions on refugees and so our laws do not recognise refugees,” said Nurul, who was referring to the Immigration Act 1959.

Swap deal criticised

Nurul added that even a UNHCR refugee card-carrying person is deemed as an illegal, which is now the real barrier for Amira.

In light of Amira’s case, Nurul criticised the government’s preparedness in receiving new immigrants via a swap deal signed by Australia and Malaysia last month.

“It’s a shame. We will also send a memorandum to the Home Minister (Hishammuddin Hussein) and a note to (Australian Immigration Minister) Chris Bowen,” Nurul said at a press conference at her office in Pantai Dalam here today.

Under the deal, 4,000 immigrants would be sent to Australia from Malaysia and in return 800 of them currently in Christmas Island would be arriving in Malaysia soon.

Nurul said that she would be working with human rights NGO, Suaram, to help Amira and Danial work out their problem with the authorities and help couple start their married life.

‘Give me back my husband’

All Suriati Othman wants is to see her husband, imprisoned under Singapore's Internal Security Act (ISA) again.
KUALA LUMPUR: A worried wife is begging the Singapore government to let her meet her husband, who has been detained under the republic’s Internal Security Act (ISA) for allegedly colluding with Filipino militants.
 
Suriati Othman insisted that her husband, Abdul Majid Kunji Mohamad, was wrongly detained and did not deserve to be deported from Malaysia.

“I want to see him as soon as possible. I want him to come home and do business like before,” she said in front of the Singapore High Commission today.
 
She was also accompanied by members of the Abolish ISA Movement (GMI), who presented a memorandum to the commission earlier this morning.

The memorandum demanded that the Singapore government either release Abdul Majid or give him a fair trial in compliance with international standards.
 
It also asked that Suriati and her family members be allowed to see Abdul Majid.

Suriati, who is convinced of her husband’s innocence, has not seen him for more than three weeks.
A Singaporean national, Abdul Majid was arrested by Malaysian police on May 6 under the ISA. He was accused of funding and having links with Filipino militant groups, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

He was then deported to Singapore on May 19, and is currently detained under Singapore’s ISA.
Suriati’s family members in Singapore and Abdul Majid’s lawyers have also been unable to meet with him since he was deported there.

GMI chairman Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said that the 30-minute meeting with the commission was “cordial”.
 
He also expressed his appreciation for the commission’s First Secretary Harold Lee for agreeing to meet with the group.
 
Syed Ibrahim said that the commission would relay GMI’s demands to the Singaporean government.
Even so, he said that he did not have high hopes for the memorandum to be accepted by the island nation’s government.

He also did not think that the Malaysian government would help to pressure the Singaporeans into releasing Abdul Majid either.

Hold secret ballot, embattled Subbaiyah told

All is not well in Penang MIC as the state party chief continues to face criticism over his leadership.
GEORGE TOWN: MIC’s Senator PK Subbaiyah may have scored a major political point when several division leaders gathered at a hastily arranged press conference in Prai yesterday apparently to show support to his under-fire state party leadership.

But despite Subbaiyah’s gallant efforts to show that his leadertship has support , his main detractor, Bagan division leader Henry Benedict Asirvatham, remaines unconvinced.

Asirvatham insisted that the state chief does not command the majority support of the 13 MIC divisions in Penang.

The open support by eight division leaders may have given the embattled Subbaiyah a timely boost to strengthen his political standing especially with MIC top brass.

But in reality, Subbaiyah is facing the toughest time as the state party head since assuming office in May 2009.

There has been non-stop criticism of his leadership by Asirvatham, who faces an internal disciplinary hearing tomorrow for misconduct.

Ironically, Subbaiyah is also a member of the disciplinary committee headed by KS Nijhar.
Asirvatham wants Subbaiyah to validate his popularity by holding a secret balloting among all division leaders as a vote of confidence in his state leadership.

“I bet Subbaiyah will lose in a secret ballot among division leaders,” he said.
The press conference held at MIC state deputy chairman L Krishnan’s service centre yesterday evening was arranged  only for the Tamil press.

Diehard Subbaiyah backers

The division heads present were Kepala Batas’ SST Muniandy, Tasek Gelugor’s B Subramaniam and Bukit Mertajam’s KR Murugaiah; all from mainland; and Bukit Bendera’s M Karuppanan, Tanjung’s K Thangavelu, Bukit Gelugor’s K Loganathan, Bayan Baru’s K Sathiasilan and Balik Pulau’s P Arumugam, from the island.

Notable absentees were Nibong Tebal division chief Dr K Rajapathy, Jelutong’s P Muniandy and Batu Kawan R Muthiah.

State party Youth wing leader J Dhinagaran and his women wing’s counterpart, M Thanaletchumi @ Shanti, were also present.

On Sunday, FMT reported Asirvatham’s call on Subbaiyah to quit as state MIC chief to make way for a better leader.

He said Subbaiyah must go if MIC harboured any hopes of  winning at least one of the two state seats – Prai and Bagan Dalam that the party would contest in Penang under Barisan Nasional banner.

A check by FMT revealed that other than Permatang Pauh, helmed by Subbaiyah himself, only Tasek Gelugor and Bukit Mertajam divisions are diehard Subbaiyah backers.

In the press conference, Bukit Bendera chief Karuppanan expectedly declared his division’s full support to the beleaguered Subbaiyah. But he remains the only one to do so.

Insiders claimed Karuppanan, also the state party secretary, is Subbaiyah’s favoured candidate over state Youth leader J Dhinagaran and Asirvatham for the Bagan Dalam seat.

Dhinagaran, who is vying for the Bagan Dalam state seat, said the Youth wing fully backed Subbaiyah’s performance as state chief.

He denied any leadership crisis in Penang MIC as alleged by reports in Tamil newspapers.

Although Krishnan officially arranged for the press conference, it’s learnt that Subbaiyah apparently made numerous calls to many division leaders to attend the “show of support” press meeting.

At least four division leaders confirmed this to FMT. Among divisions strongly against Subbaiyah’s leadership are Nibong Tebal, Batu Kawan, Bagan, Tanjung, Jelutong and Bukit Gelugor.
Kepala Batas, Bayan Baru and Balik Pulau are fence-sitters.

1MDB scholarships a ‘gimmick’

While the additional scholarships are welcomed, a DAP leader says the government has still not dealt with the issue.
KUALA LUMPUR: An opposition leader has described the 1Malaysia Development Board (IMDB) scholarship scheme as a “political gimmick”.

According to DAP leader A Sivaneson, it was an attempt by the government to fish for votes in the coming general election.

“Of course, Pakatan Rakyat is happy with the additional scholarships but at the same time, the government does not want to solve this problem in a proper manner.

“Currently, we are talking about students who scored 8A+ and above only. How about students who scored 7A+ and below? Don’t they deserve to get scholarships?” he asked.

The Sungkai assemblyman said there were thousands of GLC-issued scholarships, but nobody knows where these had gone.

He also asked Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz to explain if the 1MDB scholarship was here to stay.

In a related development, MIC had thanked the Cabinet and 1MDB for awarding an additional 500 scholarships for students to study locally.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department SK Devamany said Indian students with good results and those from poor families would be considered for the 1MDB scholarship award.
“This will be of much help to excellent students from poor families,” he said.

He added that MIC would soon prepare a list of student names and submit it to 1MDB.
Previously, Nazri said 1MDB would offer 500 scholarships, 300 of which would go to Bumiputera students.

The minister added that the 1MDB scholarships would be channelled to the SPM top scorers who did not get Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships.

Unlike PSD, 1MDB scholarships would only cover local institutions of higher learning.

Tale of a Golden Buddha


Image
The Maha Muni Buddha in Mandalay
(Asia Sentinel) Local Burmese villagers thwart a government attempt to seize a brilliant artifact

On May 30, local authorities in Burma's Arakan state discovered an astonishing trove of Buddhist religious art, consisting of nearly 40 Buddha statues from an old temple in the ancient city of Mrauk U in Arakan State, which fronts on the Bay of Bengal.
The discovery of the figurines, one of which turned out to be made of solid gold and, weighing 6.52 kg, led to a confrontation with the new government in Naypyidaw , which  sought to remove the golden Buddha to the new capital.  Arakan, also known as Rakhine, is dotted with untold numbers of Buddhist shrines, reportedly a result of a week-long visit by Gautama Buddha himself to the region. It would be a rare victory of villagers over an authoritarian central government.
 
When government officials sought to remove the golden statue to Naypyidaw, hundreds of locals descended on the monastery where the statue was kept to protest against its transfer.  The protests only subsided when the authorities agreed to leave the statue where it is.  A local archaeologist said that the statue dates back to the eighth century A.D.
 
Although the incident seemed minor, it reminded the Arakanese people of their loss of sovereignty to the Burmese majority over two centuries ago, when the Burmese king Bodawpeya moved their giant Maha Muni Buddha image to his capital in Mandalay in central Burma as a war trophy.  That statue, 12 feet, seven inches tall and sitting on a seven-foot pedestal, is one of Burma's most important artifacts.   It was removed to Mandalay after the collapse of the Dhanyawadi Kingdom in 1784.
  
The Maha Muni Buddha is a seated image in which the right hand touches the ground to call the earth to witness. It is completely covered by a thick layer of gold leaf which is applied every day by men – no women allowed – who climb a small side ladder to get to the image. It is regarded is having life and every day its face is washed and its teeth are cleaned.
 
As to the golden Buddha, "It is not important whether it is gold or not. This is a win for us." said a retired school teacher in the town. "This is Arakanese heritage, which we will defend with our life."
 
She said that the Burmese authorities often took away local historical artifacts, saying they intended to study the items, but they were never returned.  The Arakan people often express resentment of Burmese majority rule and activists have often protested that their people are not benefiting from the billion-dollar oil and natural gas projects along the Arakan coast.
 
Dr. Aye Maung, the leader of an Arakan opposition party and an MP in the national Parliament, said that just as the British returned Burma's royal throne to its former colony after the country's independence, so also the return of the Maha Muni image to Arakan State would be a good token for Burma's national reconciliation process.
 
Although the return of the Burmese royal throne was regarded by some to be a British attempt to appease former Burmese dictator Ne Win, Aye Maung said, "The British did it because they have democracy. But with our country ruled by people with different ideas, it will be a long time before we get back our Maha Muni." 

This is reprinted with additional reporting from The Irrawaddy, with which Asia Sentinel has a content-sharing agreement

Kes Lingam boleh dicabar

Utusan Malaysia
Oleh NORLIZAH ABAS

PUTRAJAYA 7 Jun - Penemuan-penemuan dalam laporan Suruhanjaya Siasatan Diraja berkaitan rakaman klip video V.K. Lingam perlu dicabar melalui semakan kehakiman bagi menentukan sama ada kesannya benar-benar menjejaskan hak asasi peguam tersebut dan dua bekas Ketua Hakim Negara.

Hakim Mahkamah Rayuan, Datuk Zaharah Ibrahim berpendapat, isu yang dihujahkan bahawa penemuan-penemuan tersebut melanggar hak asasi mereka di bawah Perkara 5 Perlembagaan Persekutuan perlu didengar agar meritnya dapat diputuskan.

Demikian alasan penghakiman beliau ketika membenarkan rayuan peguam Datuk V.K. Lingam dan Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim serta Tun Mohd. Eusoff Chin pada 24 Ogos tahun lalu agar semakan kehakiman itu dikembalikan ke Mahkamah Tinggi.

Keputusan majoriti 2-1 itu dicapai oleh panel tiga hakim diketuai oleh Datuk Tengku Baharudin Shah Tengku Mahmud manakala Hakim Datuk Mohd. Hishamudin Mohd. Yunus menolaknya.

Lingam dalam rayuannya memohon diberi keadilan membersihkan nama yang tercalar teruk berikutan penemuan itu menyebabkannya disiasat oleh Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM) pada 10 Jun 2008 dan kemungkinan menghadapi pendakwaan.

Hakim Zaharah dalam penghakimannya menyatakan, perayu-perayu mendakwa, walaupun tiada pendakwaan dikenakan, kesan daripada penemuan itu telah meninggalkan aib yang berkekalan terhadap diri mereka.

Beliau turut menyatakan, suruhanjaya itu membuat penentuan berhubung kewujudan beberapa fakta dan selanjutnya mencapai kesimpulan daripadanya.

Ujar beliau, suruhanjaya tersebut turut mencapai penemuan di bawah tiga terma rujukan bahawa wujud bukti mencukupi berhubung salah laku pihak-pihak tertentu termasuk ketiga-tiganya yang memerlukan undang-undang dikuatkuasakan.

Hakim Zaharah berpendapat, penemuan-penemuan tersebut (walaupun bukan satu keputusan seperti yang dihujahkan oleh Peguam Kanan Persekutuan) masih perlu diberi kebenaran untuk dicabar semasa semakan kehakiman.

Kabinet pada 16 Mei 2008 memutuskan mendedahkan kepada umum isi kandungan laporan suruhanjaya itu yang mengesahkan bahawa rakaman perbualan telefon dalam klip video itu dibuat antara Lingam dan Ahmad Fairuz manakala isi kandungan perbualan itu adalah benar.

Lingam merayu terhadap keputusan Mahkamah Tinggi (Bahagian Rayuan dan Kuasa-Kuasa Khas) yang menolak permohonannya bagi mendapatkan kebenaran semakan kehakiman untuk membatalkan sebahagian atau keseluruhan hasil laporan suruhanjaya tersebut.

Pada 12 Disember 2008, Hakim Datuk Abdul Kadir Musa memutuskan penemuan-penemuan dalam laporan itu tidak boleh dicabar setelah membenarkan bantahan awal pihak responden yang merupakan ahli-ahli suruhanjaya.

Mereka terdiri daripada Tan Sri Haidar Mohamed Noor, Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, Datuk Mahadev Shankar, Puan Sri Zaitun Zawiyah Puteh dan Profesor Emeritus Tan Sri Dr. Khoo Kay Kim.

Bagaimanapun, pada 7 Februari lalu, Mahkamah Persekutuan mengizinkan suruhanjaya itu merayu terhadap keputusan Mahkamah Rayuan membenarkan penemuan laporan itu dicabar melalui semakan kehakiman.

Trader held under ISA for alleged terror activities

The Star
by STEVEN DANIEL and AUSTIN CAMOENS

PETALING JAYA: A 63-year-old textile trader has been detained under the Internal Security Act for alleged terrorism activities.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar confirmed yesterday the arrest of Abdul Haris Syhuhadi but declined to elaborate.

According to E. Nalini of Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI), Abdul Haris was arrested at his home on Sunday evening.

Nalini said a friend of the family notified the group of the arrest.

However, sources have revealed that Abdul Haris was detained on suspicion of being involved in Jemaah Islamiah (JI) activities.

It is learnt that Abdul Haris had the role of providing religious teachings to youths and young adults as well as recruiting them into the organisation.

They revealed that Abdul Haris had once fled the country after the local authorities mounted a search to track him down.

It is learnt that Abdul Haris operated a small shop selling scarves, textiles and robes.

It is not known where he is being held but Nalini promised to help get more details on the welfare and health of Abdul Haris and hoped the authorities would be accommodating, taking into account his age.

In an unrelated matter, federal police Special Task Force (Operations and Counter Terrorism) director Datuk Mohamad Fuzi Harun confirmed that police were aware of the arrest of two Malaysians in southern Philippines recently.

“We have contacted our counterparts there and have confirmed that two Malaysians had been detained for alleged involvement in terrorist activities,” he said.

He added that police were waiting for a detailed report before starting investigations.

It was reported on June 4 that Abdul Aziz Usman @ Aziz Othman, 50, and his aide Omar Abu were detained by police in the southern Philippines on May 28.

Aziz is allegedly the finance officer of a terrorist group. He was about to marry a Filipina in a ceremony at a mosque when he was arrested.